Goldberg Propaganda Laid Bare

Yet again I have been compelled to the keyboard because of Jeffrey Goldberg’s mendacity.  He posted a piece yesterday which regurgitates practically every long debunked falsehood surrounding the events of Palestine in 1948.  Like other hardened supporters of Israel and Zionism, Goldberg opens his piece by engaging in the usual hyperbole

‘….but what I won’t do is label as a “nakba” a war that saw the 600,000 Jews of Palestine prevent their own slaughter at the hands of invading Arab armies.’

Israel declared statehood unilaterally, on 15th May 1948 using United Nations Resolution 181 as their basis for doing so.  As I will demonstrate they had no moral or legal basis for this declaration of statehood. The Israeli/Zionist narrative posits the nascent Israeli state declaring ‘Independence’ and holding out against all odds from the invading armies of the surrounding Arab nations. Or as others would have it ‘Israel defended itself against a genocidal war of extermination’ (Dershowitz)

Undoubtedly there were startling statements emanating from some of the Arab elite, such as the oft cited alleged statmement from Secretary General of the Arab League, Abd al-Rahman Azzam  – “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades”

Yet this statement has never been verified.  However a war of defence cannot be credibly claimed to be in defence if it is launched on the basis of rhetoric alone.  The question of what constitutes defence and what constitutes aggression is very important.  The common failure of those who claim Israel acted in self-defence in 1948, is that they leave out the context of Israel’s declaration of statehood.  It is a vital area which requires close examination to truly decide whether or not 1948 was a war of defence, as far as Israel is concerned.

Goldberg continues…

The Middle East suffers today from the crucial mistakes made by Arab leaders in the late 1940s. The United Nations, you’ll recall, voted to divide Palestine into two equal halves, one for a Jewish state, the other for an Arab state.

Ok, for the umpteenth time, UN Res. 181 was a recommendation only and as such held no enforcement power whatsoever.  Furthermore the Jewish Agency had no right to declare statehood against the express will of the inhabitants of Palestine.  The Arabs of Palestine were under no moral or legal obligation to accept 181, which advocated the partition of their land into a Jewish state and an Arab state, and as such were fully entitled to refuse it as they did.  Not to mention the recommendation for partition sought to give the Jewish minority the majority of the land.  This view was shared by a US State Dept official, who in a secret memo to the then US Secretary of State, George Marshall, wrote

‘These proposals [of the majority of UNSCOP proposing partition]…ignore such principles as self-determination and majority rule.’

Indeed in the words of one of the worlds foremost jurists of the time, Hans Kelsen (himself a Jew) UN General Assembly recommendations “do not constitute a legal obligation to behave in conformity with them”. In this regard Kelsen was in agreement with the likes of Clyde Eagelton, Leland Goodrich and Edvard Hambro who stated “recommendations have no obligatory character.”

This non-obligatory character of UN resolution 181 was also highlighted by Canada at a Security Council meeting on 17th December 1948 when their representative statedwe regard the resolution of the general Assembly [Resolution 181] as having the force of a recommendation.”  For UN resolution 181 to succeed, it had to be accepted by both sides.  As already stated, the Palestinians were perfectly entitled to reject it as they did.

With regard to UN resolution 181 (a recommendation only) Goldberg writes…

The Jews accepted the plan; the Arab leadership, thinking its armies were strong enough to annihilate the Jews, invaded, and then proceeded to lose.

A couple of issues here. First, the Zionists were on record as seeing the initial partition of Palestine as merely a stepping stone to a greater Israel as, in the words of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion…

The Jewish State now being offered to us is not the Zionist objective. Within this area it is not possible to solve the Jewish question. But it can serve as a decisive stage along the path to greater Zionist implementation. It will consolidate in Palestine, within the shortest possible time, the real Jewish force which will lead us to our historic goal.

Ben-Gurion was on record claiming that Zionists would accept partition..

on the assumption that after we become a strong force, as a result of the creation of the state, we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine.

No mention of these Zionist aims from Goldberg of course, as for him to admit to these realities would highlight how his whole piece is built on sand.  On his claim that the Arab armies simply ‘invaded’ to annihilate the Jews and lost.  First thing to note, is that Zionist forces had begun ethnically cleansing Palestine of its indigenous inhabitants well before the Arab armies intervened.  Even today, intervention is still seen as the best way to avoid such man-made humanitarian catastrophes.  But it seems for some people, Arab nations are not allowed to intervene in the way Western states are.

When the surrounding Arab armies entered Palestine on 15th May 1948, the day after Israel’s declaration of statehood, Israel (or rather the Jewish Agency) petitioned the UN that this move by the Arab states amounted to aggression. Unfortunately for the Jewish Agency, the UN did not make such a deliberation. In point of fact, the surrounding Arab nations stressed that they were coming to the aid and at the request of the lawful bearers of sovereignty in Palestine, namely, the Palestinians. It is worth remembering also that the League of Arab States had adopted a charter on March 22nd 1945 which recognized the rights of the Palestinians and identified Palestine as a state.

The Arab Higher Committee also submitted a memorandum to the UN in June of 1948 in which they explicitly defended their entry into Palestine. It was entitled ‘Why the Arab States Entered Palestine: Their Action Justified in Fact and in International Law’.  Part of which reads

The Arab armies entered Palestine on the invitation of the native Arabs of Palestine who are ‘resisting attempted subjugation by the armed (Jewish) minority and outside (Jewish) pressure.

This ‘outside pressure’ being not just Jewish/Zionist groups, but also actual states, such as Czechoslovakia, which was selling arms to the Jewish Agency.  The support that the Jewish Agency was in receipt of from outside elements, which it required in order to subvert the rights of the majority indigenous population, could be argued to have given the surrounding Arab states the right to intervene. As noted by eminent international jurist, Michael Barton Akehurst, who stated

“The Jewish community in Palestine…was being used by foreign interests to commit indirect aggression against Palestine. The Arab States were protecting Palestine against such subversion, it is generally agreed that one state may protect another against subversion, under the idea of collective self-defense

As mentioned above, the UN did not agree with nascent Israeli state that the actions of the surrounding Arab armies in entering Palestine amounted to aggression. In fact China’s representative Tsiang Tingfu highlighted the aggressive nature of the Jewish Agency’s unilateral declaration of statehood –

The prompt proclamation of the Jewish state last evening reduced considerably the prospects for peace in Palestine.

Goldberg continues…

As a consequence of the war, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians became refugees — some were expelled by Jewish forces in the course of fighting, some fled, others were encouraged to leave by their leaders.

Thats his way of putting it. More honest people might say Zionists ethnically cleansed large swathes of Palestine, as had been Ben-Gurion’s dream.  Goldberg also dredges up the long debunked Arab leaders caused the exodus of Palestinians argument.  He goes on to write The disaster, in other words, was the result of a series of mistakes made the leaders of the Arab states in 1948.

No Jeffrey, the Naqba was a premeditated land grab and ethnic cleansing project long envisaged by the early Zionists and indeed the man who became Israel’s first Prime Minister, who we would rightly label a war criminal today.  What is patently obvious is that in your attempt to lay the blame for the Naqba with the Arab states, you seek to ignore declared Zionist intent to ‘transfer’ the Arabs out of Palestine, the immorality and illegality of the Jewish Agency’s declaration of statehood and the right of those Arabs not just to live on their own land, but to fight to uphold that right.

Goldberg continues his blatant falsehoods…

The war that brought the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank under Israeli control in 1967 was not of Israel’s making,

I have previously demonstrated this claim of Goldberg’s to be false, which resulted in his clicking on my profile page on Twitter and hitting ‘Block’.  But to be fair he was no doubt already angered by previous posts of mine demonstrating his mendacity.

Goldberg concludes by mentioning the movement of 850,000 arab jews into Israel..

And speaking of nakbas, here is a report about another, more silent nabka, one that caused the movement of 850,000 people across the Middle East, but one that doesn’t get that much attention, in part because these refugees were cared for by their brethren.

What he doesn’t say, is that this took place over several decades, involved not just expulsion, but also messianic jews on Aliyah, and also Jews fleeing as a result of what has been termed ‘cruel zionism‘ working in tandem with British attempts to move Iraqi Jews to Israel.

If this threat [to expel Iraqi Jews] could be transmuted into an arrangement whereby Iraqi Jews moved into Israel, recieved compensation for their property from the israeli government, while the Arab refugees were installed with the property in Iraq, there would seem to be something to commend it.

(Foreign Office to British Embassy, Baghdad, Sept 5th 1949)

Instances like the Lavon affair also undermined the position of Arab Jews even further.  Indeed as John Rose has written with regard to Zionism’s desire to artificially implant a settler population in Palestine, its ‘first victims were the Arabs of Palestine. The second were the Jews in Arab countries.’

It is a sad reflection that Jeffrey Goldberg has the standing he does among US commentariat.  His piece is predicated upon his belief that his readers are not well informed about the issue.  Unfortunately one does not need to examine his output that vigorously to see what a crude and unabashed propagandist the man truly is.


Peaceful Palestinian = persona non grata

The Jewish Daily Forward recently published two articles, one by Naomi Zeveloff was a profile of Ali Abunimah, the other more recent piece is an interview of top Hamas official Abu Marzook by Larry Cohler-Esses.  The articles are worth reading for anyone interested in the Palestine situation, but what caught my eye was the respective reception of each piece in certain, shall we say, pro-Israel media circles.

On the one hand you have a profile of Abunimah, a man who advocates peaceful non-violent resistance to the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people.  He is an advocate of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS),  he is also an outspoken opponent of antisemitism and will not tolerate it within the Palestinian solidarity movement.

On the other hand, the interview piece with Marzook, a top Hamas official reveals that he believes Hamas will not honour a peace treaty with Israel if it is signed by the Palestinian Authority, at the most he claims, Hamas would agree to a hudna (ceasefire).  It illustrates Marzook’s and indeed Hamas’ antisemitism by highlighting the anti-jewish rehtoric in the Hamas charter.    In it Marzook also peddles The Protococls of the Elders of Zion lie.

Of the two pieces, it is very revealing the anger (or lack of) each one raised in certain quarters.  The Jewish Daily Forward was lambasted by senior editor at Commentary magazine Jonathan Tobin for daring to give a platform to…, no, not designated terrorist and evident anti-semite Abu Marzook but rather, Ali Abunimah…

That this apologia for Rosenberg ran in the same issue of the paper that also contained a flattering profile of Ali Abunimah, one of the leading advocates of the campaign to boycott Israel in the United States, only reinforces the impression that some on the Jewish left are so deeply invested in the effort to undermine backers of the pro-Israel consensus that they are seeking to erase any boundary between mere criticism of the government in Jerusalem and activity whose aims are clearly more sinister.

Get that?  Tobin (a man whose lies and falsehoods I have previously written about) takes issue with the Jewish Daily Forward for giving a platform to a non-violence advocate and vocal opponent of antisemitism.  Tobin was actually quite happy with the platform the JDF gave to noted anti-semite and designated terrorist Abu Marzook.

Why is that? Why would a man like Tobin be happy with the JDF to give voice to Hamas, an organistaion dedicated to violence towards Israel, but be vehemently opposed to offering a similar platform to a man who resolutely abhors antisemitism and advocates peaceful non-violent resistance and equality for all before the law?  Indeed because of the vitriol spat by Tobin at them for daring to profile Abunimah, the JDF felt the need to post a response.

Its plain to see what Tobin’s motivations are here, as further revealed by this tweet of his…

You see, for the likes of Tobin and the folks at Commentary the only Palestinian that should be seen or heard is the sort that reinforces their view of them as ‘antisemitic savages’, only negative coverage of Palestinians is acceptable to such people seeking to maintain support for Israel.   I have written before about the ‘Red Injun’ nature of much of the MSM portrayal of Palestinians and this is a perfect example of someone seeking to maintain the scaffolding round that archaic colonial mentality.  Tobin’s anger at the JDF bucking the trend and demonstrating that Palestinians are not a hive mind of ‘savages addicted to violence’ reveals quite a bit about how he thinks the debate should be shaped.

Quite obviously it is easier to argue the Israeli case if you think you can pick the opposing team, opting for those who are easier to holdup and exclaim loudly – “look at this savage”.  It also demonstrates the hollowness of the call we routinely hear from Israel’s supporters – “If only they abandoned violence and pursued peaceful means”.  Which is a crock anyway as Palestinian non-violent resistance long pre-dates the creation of Israel in 1948, and not to mention the silence from the same quarters when Israel kills or imprisons non-violent activists.

To be fair, Tobin is by no means the only one to reveal this mindset.  His reaction does however raise a number of issues, not only as already highlighted, his desire to frame the debate, pick the teams and keep the stucco on the ‘Palestinian savages’ trademark looking fresh,  but also the contradiction evident at Commentary.  Others at the magazine believe BDS to be a complete failure, yet the anger evident in Tobin’s broadsword against the JDF for daring to profile Ali Abunimah, suggests otherwise.  So the question arises, who is the real threat to Zionism’s ethnocentric sovereignty over the land of Israel/Palestine…judging from some reactions, it isn’t the guys with the guns and rockets.

Pushing the Osiraq Kool-Aid

There has been an interesting exchange recently between Mehdi Hasan of The New Statesman and Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes) writing in The Commentator.  Staines took Mehdi to task for claiming that Osiraq does not hold up as a good model for preventing nuclear proliferation, after their initial exchange on twitter.

Mehdi today responded to Staines piece.  In reading the exchange you will notice, that Mehdi cites numerous specialists in the fields of international security and nuclear proliferation etc, such as Richard BettsMalfrid Braut Hegghammer, Dan Reiter and Michael Hayden (among others).

By way of rebuttal, Paul Staines offers up one single quote, from world renown nuclear proliferation expert….Bill Clinton, whom Staines describes as ‘(you know, former president of the United States and all that)’ – unfortunately for Staines ‘all that’ doesn’t extend to expertise in the field of nuclear proliferation, nor history it seems, as Mehdi pointed out in his response.  Of course, it would be fair to say that Mehdi had at his disposal an embarrassment of riches with regard to experts in the field who support his own analysis.  Some of those who didn’t make the cut…

People such as Dr Jayantha Dhanapala and Bennett Ramberg.  Dhanapala cites Ramberg in his paper –  COUNTER-PROLIFERATION AND THE ROLE OF THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL

in an article entitled “Preemption Paradox” in the July/August 2006 issueof the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,
Bennett Ramberg analyses why the example of Osirak was not repeated and concludes that “surgical military strikes can only buy time” and that “preemption is no easy solution”.

There is also Greg Thielman

In this context, it is instructive to look anew at the conventional wisdom about Israel’s 1981 raid on Iraq’s Osirak reactor. Generally regarded as a spectacular success, the attack did indeed delay Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons program. But Iraq’s determination to succeed was strengthened, its commitment of personnel and resources skyrocketed, and its success at hiding its activities from the IAEA and Western intelligence collectors increased.

You can read about Iraq’s pursuit of nuclear weapons AFTER the raid on Osiraq here -and yet in light of all the evidence to the contrary,  Staines claims that…

The reactor was destroyed and Saddam’s nuclear programme was halted in its tracks.

Now one point not often raised, is the fact that Saddam was therefore pursuing nuclear technology with more vigour after having been attacked by Israel.  No doubt Saddam enjoyed raining those scud missiles down on Tel Aviv and Haifa during the first Gulf war getting a little payback whilst trying to drag Israel into the war and upset the coalition which included some Arab nations.

So a question people like Paul Staines need to ask themselves – In light of the fact that, as the experts agree, an attack on Iran will only delay (and no doubt enrage) them, bearing in mind also that both the US and Israel intelligence officials agree that Iran has not decided to build a bomb – do they really think attacking Iran is a sensible option?  You think Israelis would live comfortably knowing they have attacked another nation, who may or may not now be pursuing Nuclear weapons?

Its time to stop drinking the Osiraq Kool-Aid.

Foundation for the Defence of Propaganda

If you are not familiar with the group known as the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, this article by one of their ‘fellows’ should give you a taste of what they are about.  In it Benjamin Weinthal is rather nonchalant with the facts, and shows contempt towards historical reality by one particularly glaring omission.

Weinthal uses as the basis for his piece what he calls the ‘Begin Doctrine’.  That is the doctrine of preemptive strikes on other states, named after former terrorist and later leader of Israel, Menachem Begin.   Weinthal claims this has been ‘the preemptive-military-strike doctrine of Israel’s government since the early 1980s’.   But anyone aware with the history of Israel knows that it has employed this tactic since well before, and even lied about doing so in front of the world, as Abba Eban did in 1967.

Weinthal continues by writing

…in light of the Holocaust and the lethal anti-Semitism of the clerical regime in Tehran, Israel cannot tolerate the toxic combination of weapons of mass destruction with a regime determined to “wipe Israel off the map.”

A few issues here.  Undoubtedly Ahmadinejad is an unsavoury character, but if as Mr Weinthal claims Iran’s leadership espouses a particularly ‘lethal‘ form of anti-semitism, why haven’t they done anything about their quite sizable jewish minority?  And if Tehran espouses such a ‘lethal‘ form of anti-semitism, why have Iran’s Jews refused the offer of migration to Israel?   And Weinthal regurgitates the old wipe Israel off the map‘ lie.  One thing to notice when propagandists such as Mr Weinthal refer to this alleged claim, they resolutely refuse to cite Ahamdinejad’s follow up comments.  Their screeds wouldn’t work so well if they did.

Weinthal continues by referring to the Israeli attacks on Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear reactors.  Yet here is where the glaring omission comes in, as he makes no mention of the fact that the Israeli attack on Osirak was actually counter-productive

…the Israeli raid on Osirak had the effect of transforming what had been a relatively modest operation involving 400 scientists funded at $700 million a year — with a capability for generating enough plutonium for less than one bomb a year — into a large, covert enterprise involving over 7,000 scientists and technicians with a $10 billion investment dedicated to developing the underground capacity to enrich enough uranium for six nuclear bombs a year.

Does that make the Osirak raid sound like it was a successful cure to Saddam’s nuclear ambitions.  And remember, Saddam was therefore more serious about seeking nuclear capability AFTER having been attacked by Israel.

Weinthal continues…

An out-of-control regime in Tehran that shows no hesitation to repeatedly call for Israel’s abolition (and murders U.S. soldiers in Lebanon, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan), animated Bibi’s efforts to go to great lengths in Washington to convey the murderous nature of Iran’s regime.

His use of the term ‘out-of-control’ quite obviously seeks to paint the Iranian leadership as irrational (an important branch to this push for war).  Unfortunately such an inference is not shared by senior figures in the US military and in the leadership of Israel.   Weinthal also seeks to invoke the ‘use of proxies’ argument for waging war on Iran.  Unfortunately the logic that this argument carries with it, is usually not applied to those western states who have a far more bloody track record when it comes to the use of proxies, never mind direct aggressions and invasions (something Iran can’t be accused of).

When Wienthal writes… ‘While the Mullahs move at a rapid-fire pace to develop nuclear weapons devices’ – he for some reason, decides not to provide evidence for this claim.

He continues…

…Israel and the panic-stricken Sunni states have to consider other means to end Iran’s drive to obtain nukes. Recall it was the Wikileaks cables that revealed Saudi King Abdullah’s desire to “cut off the head of the snake” in Iran in order to stop Tehran’s atomic program

If the Sunni states in the middle east are ‘panic-stricken’ its not by the story Mr Weinthal seeks to present here…

73 percent of respondents believe that Israel and the US are the two countries presenting the largest threat to the security of the Arab world, with 51 percent believing that Israel is the most threatening, 22 percent believe the US is the most threatening, and 5 percent reporting a belief that Iran is the single country most threatening to the security of their countries. The results on this question vary from one Arab country to another.

And with regard to King Abdullah’s remarks (one of the rare occasions you will hear folks like Foundation for Defense of Democracies Mr Wietnhal cite an Arab leader favourably – when it supports the push for war) they should be viewed in the age old tradition of Arab leaders (US clients) telling the US what they think it wants to hear.  Sweet nothings to remain in bed beside a rich benefactor.

Wienthal finishes thus… ‘It is worth reading Adam Kredo’s important piece on Obama’s flip-flops’ – which doesn’t actually demonstrate any flip-flopping from Obama.

It would appear that folks at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, with their rather benign sounding title, are engaged in some malignant propagandizing in a push for war.  My thoughts?  No surprise there.

Dying to live free.

As Khader Adnan enters his 63rd day of hunger strike, his plight has merited very little mention in the western MSM, aside from pieces like this in the Independent and The Guardian.  Now cast your mind back and compare this paucity of coverage surrounding Khader with the near media saturation of the name Gilad Shalit.  Throughout the 5 years of Shalit being held by Hamas in Gaza, western MSM routinely peddled the Israeli line that he had been ‘kidnapped’.

The ridiculousness of the idea that a soldier in a conflict can be ‘kidnapped’ by the enemy is one of the quirks of the Palestine/Israel conflict, particularly given this soldier was taken from a outpost which had tanks stationed at it, that routinely shell Gaza. Also remember the day before Shalit was captured, the IDF had committed an incursion into Gaza and taken two brothers, an event that was virtually unreported in western MSM.  As Shalit’s name was seared into the memory of folks in the west, those same people would be hard pressed (very hard pressed) to name just one, just a single name of one of the hundreds of Palestinian children Israel has incarcerated.

The plight of Khader Adnan is another case in point.  Israel has not charged him with anything, some media outlets have speculated that he is a member of  Palestinian Islamic Jihad (Harakat al-Jihād al-Islāmi fi Filastīn).  Speculation is all fine and well, but as a self-styled ‘western democracy’ (or beacon) it is incumbent upon Israel to either charge the man, producing evidence to back up those charges, or failing that, release him.  That Israel has neither charged nor released him should come as no surprise to those acquainted with the rather Victorian standards of the Israeli ‘justice’ system.

It is my opinion that Israel’s reluctance to charge Khader with any specific crime and their desire to keep him incarcerated, may be related to his involvement in the Palestinian reconciliation committee.  Which as the name suggests, is a group concerned with bringing the various Palestinian factions such as Hamas and Fatah, together.  Honest observers of the Palestine/Israel conflict will know that the idea of a united Palestinian people is an anathema to Israel.  This also helps to explain why Israel steadfastly refused to release the man dubbed the Palestinian Mandela in return for Shalit.  Speaking personally, here in Ireland we are well accustomed to the old colonial tactic of divide and conquer, we still bear the scars to prove it.

So as Khader Adnan’s life ebbs away, in place of the denunciations of Hamas for capturing an Israeli soldier enforcing an illegal siege, we have weasel words from the EU over Israel’s incarceration of a man, without trial or any semblance of due process, not to mention, as already stated, silence over the fate of Palestinian children.

The easiest way to explain why this obscene reality is the way it is, involves me juxtaposing it against one of my great loves….the Western.  The MSM’s coverage of the Palestine/Israel conflict is I feel, akin to the manner in which the US used to depict Native Americans.  Compare the old westerns from the 40’s and 50’s where the ‘injun is depicted as a soulless, faceless savage – not to be reasoned with or sympathized with.  He is either to be killed or pushed into the reservation.  Manifest Destiny could not be sidetracked by the rights or concerns of some pesky brown natives.  It wasn’t until the late 60’s, early 70’s with movies like Little Big Man and The Outlaw Josey Whales, that a reality dawned on American cinema, of the true nature of the creation of their state.  The fact that it took American society as a whole, so long to recognize the pain and suffering that their vision had inflicted upon a people, whose only crime was to inhabit the land earmarked for their ambition, appears not to have been a lesson learned.  With regard to an honest appraisal in the MSM, of the Palestine/Israel conflict, I fear we are still languishing in the 1950’s.

So whilst Khader Adnan drifts farther from this world, embraced by those cognizant of the truth – I offer this as a response to the silence greeting him from those who are seated in the front rows of 50’s cinema, those who have never been on the receiving end of oppression…

The Rhythm Of Time

There’s an inner thing in every man,
Do you know this thing my friend?
It has withstood the blows of a million years,
And will do so to the end.

It was born when time did not exist,
And it grew up out of life,
It cut down evil’s strangling vines,
Like a slashing searing knife.

It lit fires when fires were not,
And burnt the mind of man,
Tempering leandened hearts to steel,
From the time that time began.

It wept by the waters of Babylon,
And when all men were a loss,
It screeched in writhing agony,
And it hung bleeding from the Cross.

It died in Rome by lion and sword,
And in defiant cruel array,
When the deathly word was ‘Spartacus’
Along the Appian Way.

It marched with Wat the Tyler’s poor,
And frightened lord and king,
And it was emblazoned in their deathly stare,
As e’er a living thing.

It smiled in holy innocence,
Before conquistadors of old,
So meek and tame and unaware,
Of the deathly power of gold.

It burst forth through pitiful Paris streets,
And stormed the old Bastille,
And marched upon the serpent’s head,
And crushed it ‘neath its heel.

It died in blood on Buffalo Plains,
And starved by moons of rain,
Its heart was buried at Wounded Knee,
But it will come to rise again.

It screamed aloud by Kerry lakes,
As it was knelt upon the ground,
And it died in great defiance,
As they coldly shot it down.

It is found in every light of hope,
It knows no bounds nor space
It has risen in red and black and white,
It is there in every race.

It lies in the hearts of heroes dead,
It screams in tyrants’ eyes,
It has reached the peak of mountains high,
It comes searing ‘cross the skies.

It lights the dark of this prison cell,
It thunders forth its might,
It is ‘the undauntable thought’, my friend,
The thought that says ‘I’m right!’

(Bobby Sands)

Policing The Discourse….redux

It appears that The New York Times has a new Jerusalem bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren and she has quickly become accustomed to the, shall we say, expectations‘ that appointment entails.  It first started with a post by Adam Kredo, attacking Rudoren for having the ‘temerity’ for tweeting to people he disagrees with.  Just to give you a taste of how utterly ridiculous Kredo’s piece is…

The New York Times’ newly appointed Jerusalem bureau chief played Twitter footsie on Tuesday with some of Israel’s most extreme non-terrorist critics.

Yes, thats correct, even ‘non-terrorist’ (!!!!) critics of Israel should be out of bounds for the New York Times Jerusalem correspondent.  I have previously commented on attempts like this to police debate, but I wonder if Adam could tell us, just who the New York Times (and indeed the entire MSM) is allowed to have contact with…to adequately report on a conflict with two opposing sides?

Kredo continues his bullying rant…

Abunimah initially had criticized Rudoren for moving to the Time’s Jerusalem office building, which Abunimah described as “stolen” from the Palestinians.

Unfortunately for poor Adam, his bias is demonstrated by the quote marks around the word stolen, as that word is most apt for describing the fate of that particular property.

Kredo continues by sounding a warning…

Pro-Israel observers are already beginning to question Rudoren’s impartiality on issue of Israel.

Would it be too cheeky of me to ask Kredo for a link to where he questioned Jodi Rudoren’s predecessor Ethan Bronner’s impartiality? Considering Mr Bronner’s son served in the IDF during his tenure at NYT’s Jerusalem bureau. Kredo continues his piece by quoting a man who gained notoriety recently for a failed smear campaign against reporters/bloggers critical of Israel’s repression of Palestinians.

These are not people you engage like this, especially your first day as Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the paper of record. You really don’t even want to be seen in public with them—it’s just a mistake.

The man in question is Josh Block and considering Block’s odious smear attempt and efforts to close down debate surrounding the Israel/Palestine conflict was only a few weeks ago, Kredo’s omission of this information is in itself quite illuminating.  But we should also note as Glenn Greenwald highlighted, Block considers that there should be a tight rein around debate concerning issues pertaining to Israel …

As a progressive Democrat, I am convinced that on issues as important as the US-Israel alliance and the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, there is no room for uncivil discourse or name calling, like ‘Israel Firster or ‘Likudnik’, and policy or political rhetoric that is hostile to Israel, or suggests that Iran has no nuclear weapons program, has no place in the mainstream Democratic party discourse. I also believe that when it occurs, progressive institutions, have a responsibility not to tolerate such speech or arguments.

There you have you it, Adam Kredo quotes a man looking to shut down debate and neglects to mention his instigation of a failed smear campaign.  What does this tells us about Kredo?

From Kredo to a man who has served in the IDF, but apparently can’t remember taking the oath, which I call bullshit on, as that day is seared in the memory of any young man or woman who volunteers to serve under a flag.  Goldberg refers to Rudoren’s contact with Ali Abunimah, describing Ali as an ‘extremist’, which is a rather telling terminology used to describe a man who simply advocates equality for all before the law, regardless of colour or creed.

Goldberg thinks that..

…it would have been better if she had twinned this reach-out with one to a Kahanist or some sort of radical settler rabbi, for balance.

Got that? Jeffrey Goldberg thinks that when contacting a Palestinian activist who advocates equality for all, one man, one vote – one should ‘balance’ that out by contacting ethno-supremacist land thieves.

Goldberg goes on to critcise Rudoren for praising a book he admits he hasn’t read.

Praising Peter’s book is fine, if she weren’t meant to be an objective reporter (I haven’t read Peter’s book, just a propagandistic missive about it, and for all I know I might like it).

You may indeed like it Jeffrey, but best to bite your lip on it until you actually read it though…no?

What we have here are basically pro-Israel attack dogs rounding on a woman taking up a new position, who had the audacity to have contact with people who do not hold acceptable views (according to them) of Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians.  Even more than that, I consider it indicative of how Palestinian voices are virtually nonexistent when it comes to debate in the US over Israel/Palestine.  Britain used to debate the fate of my own land in much the same manner.  What does it say about the US that it adheres to Victorian standards of discourse?

When you can’t even contact ‘non-terrorist critics’ (think about that) of Israel, or even review books other people haven’t yet bothered to read,  I for one don’t envy Jodi Rudoren, but I do wish her all the best.

Covering his tracks…

Occasionally I will sift through old posts and check any links I have are still working, a bit of blog housekeeping as it were.  Well it seems that one of my recent posts does indeed now contain a dead link.

The post in question is here, and the link which was working, but is now dead is the one towards the bottom contained in the following sentence…

Second – one of Eli Lake’s cheer leaders has leveled an accusation against me on Twitter of employing a fake quote from Theodor Herzl in the above post.

Unfortunately it now appears that the owner of that tweet, instead of admitting he wrongly accused me of employing a false quote (as I demonstrated in the updated section of that post) chose instead to try and cover his tracks by deleting the tweet, lest anyone reading my blog click on the link and see who it was who leveled the false accusation against me.

Unfortunately for him, I was aware of his dishonest nature and thought it might be prudent to capture a screenshot of said tweet.  Now what does it say about that person that instead of holding his hand up and admitting his accusation against me was baseless, chose instead to try and cover his tracks?

I think we can all appreciate the glorious irony of his hash-tagging his now deleted erroneous accusation, with the word ‘integrity’.  If i remember correctly, the person in question is also pursuing a career in law…now now, no laughing at the back 🙂

Iranian-American concerns.

An interesting article appeared in Foreign Policy magazine this week which indicates a lack of consensus among the Iranian-American community, with regard to how their host nation should approach the current regime in Tehran.  It was written by Peter Kohanloo and Sohrab Ahmari, the latter being a member of the Henry Jackson Society.  The general intent of the article is to portray the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) as being out of touch with the desires of the Iranian-American community at large…

By cynically exploiting Iranian-Americans’ deepest fears and by misrepresenting the community’s true aspirations, NIAC promotes an Iran policy agenda that shortchanges both Iranians and Americans.

The basis for the article are the results of a recent Zogby poll on the attitudes of Iranian-Americans garnered from replies to questions about how the US should approach the issue of Iran and it’s current leadership.  However it is the manner in which the authors portray the Zogby findings which is quite interesting. They claim that the poll shows…

An overwhelming majority (63 percent) chose “promotion of human rights and democracy,” while 30 percent chose “promoting regime change.”

The basic tone of the piece is that the authors claim Iranian-American’s ‘…prefer a more robust U.S. policy toward the Khomeinist regime…’. However its what the authors don’t tell us about the poll that is most revealing.  They refer to the fact that

‘only 14 percent identified “preventing an American military strike against Iran” as one of their top two priorities.

To read this you would assume that the remaining 86% favour a US strike on Iran, which i believe is the authors intent.  However, as there is little to no chance of a US attack on their homeland, its patently obvious that ‘preventing one’ is going to be pretty low down the list of top priorities for Iranian Americans.  This point is further reinforced by a finding that the authors (for some reason) decided to omit from their article.

They make no mention of the fact that the poll found ‘Only three percent (3%) of Iranian Americans favor a military option against Iran.‘  They can’t refer to this you see, if they hope for their piece to work.  The authors go on to smear the NIAC as having ‘..consistently endeavored to shield the Iranian regime from Western sanctions and other forms of pressure.’   Which is not only an attempt to depict the NIAC as some kind of fifth column, but also fails to distinguish between support for the Iranian people versus support for the Iranian regime.  Other little statistics that the authors have decided not to mention include that only 7% of Iranian-Americans favour tightening economic sanctions on Iran, something the authors undoubtedly seek to bring to fruition.

Kohanloo and Ahmari claim that NIAC ‘…continues to advocate against sanctions capable of shifting the mullahs’ nuclear calculus.   Aside from their apparent clairvoyance in knowing these sanctions will change alleged Iranian nuclear ambitions,  the link they provide to ‘prove’ this accusation is one where NIAC plead for a more acute form of sanctions, those which target the leadership and human rights abusers in Iran directly, instead of the broadsword set of sanctions which worsen the lives of the average Iranian.  This is a common-sense request and in making it, NIAC demonstrate a greater concern for their people at home in Iran than Kohanloo and Ahmari do with their ridiculous cherry picking of data to push for a ‘more robust’ US approach to their homeland.  They continue…

Prior to the 2009 post-election uprising, for example, NIAC rarely spoke out on the issue of human rights in Iran and, indeed, repeatedly sought to defund U.S. government programs for promoting democratization there.

Two issues here.  First the US fund for democracy in Iran was criticised not just by NIAC but by many human rights activists on the ground in Iran.   Like like Iranian dissident journalist Akbar Ganji…

“The US democracy fund was severely counterproductive. None of the human right activists and members of opposition in Iran had any interest in using such funds, but we were all accused by Iran’s government of being American spies because a few groups in America used these funds.”

Secondly, NIAC are on record pre-2009 loud and clear on human rights issues in Iran.  No mention of either of these facts by the authors, again we should ask ourselves, why?

Kohanloo and Ahmari also write…

Asked at a Middle East Policy Council forum in 2008 about the organization’s reluctance to address human rights issues, NIAC President Trita Parsi responded: “NIAC is not a human rights organization. That’s not our expertise.”

Aside from it being obvious that NIAC is not a human rights organization (clue is in the title guys) just like AIPAC aren’t, the authors odious attempt to portray Trita Parsi and NIAC as not being concerned with human rights is disingenuous to say the least.  As already mentioned above, they are on record with regard to human rights, also I urge everyone to have a watch of the video the authors link to, to try and prove their accusation.   Selective editing is, in my opinion, an apt description and it raises questions about the editorial standards at Foreign Policy magazine.

This article is, i believe, part of a broader attempt to smear NIAC and anyone associated with them, in order to either silence them or have their genuine, legitimate concerns for their homeland railroaded under another push for war.  The authors of this piece are guilty of the very thing they accuse NIAC of, that is, not honestly representing the feelings of the Iranian-American community.

It is possible that NIAC could be close to the Iranian leadership, but the evidence against them or Trita Parsi is non-existent.  Therefore it is my view that his and NIAC’s legitimate position as representative of a large portion of Iranian-Americans and their concerns, should be respected and listened to.

Do as I say, not as I do.

In case you missed the recent brouhaha over the use of the term ‘Israel-Firster’ in the US, Salon’s Glen Greenwald has a great piece on it here.  One thing which has caught my eye however is the blatant hypocrisy of some of those who are claiming use of the term is anti-semitic, which is a claim that would hold up better if it were not for the fact that the term can be applied to many gentiles as well.  The loony Christian Zionists like John Hagee, being one such example.  Hagee is also a perfect example of the fallacy that antisemitism dwells solely with those who are ‘anti-Israel’, he embodies Herzl’s famous statement that ‘Anti-Semites will become our surest friends…’.

That said, when someone claims that it is wrong to use the term ‘Israel-Firster’ because it is an unsavoury thing to question the patriotic allegiances of people you disagree with, yet in the past that same person has done just that….what are we expected to think?  It’s fine for Eli Lake to raise questions of others loyalty and fidelity to America, but don’t you dare try it with him.

Not to mention that poor old Eli has taken to defending Caroline Glick of all people.  Lake is obviously living in a dream world if he thinks Glick is not demanding loyalty to Israel from non-Israeli Jews when she writes…

We must hope that world Jewry will recognize today that the fate of the Jewish people in Israel and throughout the world is indivisible and rally to Israel’s side whatever the social cost of doing so.

And make no mistake when Glick writes about rallying to Israel, what she means is rallying to support the Israeli government.  She also seeks to bury the old adage about two Jews – three opinions, because for Ms Glick world Jewry should all be singing of the same hymn sheet when it comes to a certain Levantine country.

Among my own diaspora, there have been instances where fidelity to what is viewed as the mother land (or ‘aul sod, as we call it)  seemed paramount.  Such as Irish-American opposition to the US entering the first world war.  Fact of the matter is, crude or not, the term ‘Israel-Firster’ does indeed describe a mentality that exists among some folks and as already stated, it is not reserved solely for Jews.  That the term is alleged to have been coined by unsavoury right wing anti-semite Willis Carto matters little, as to demand the extinction of the term based upon its etymology is like demanding the world Totalitarian be scrapped because it was coined by Mussolini’s Fascist philospher Giovanni Gentile.

In conclusion, when you complain about your political opponents questioning where your (or your political allies) loyalties lie and try to police the discourse, yet reserve the right to question the loyalty of others, you demonstrate not a desire for civil debate, rather, its a shameful attempt to smear and yes, to silence opposition.

Update 30/Jan/2012 @21:00hrs

Two quick updates – first it appears that the term ‘Israel-Firster’ did not originate with Willis Carto as alleged by Eli Lake and Jamie Kirchick, but was first coined much earlier by anti-zionist American Jew Alfred Lilienthal.  Even if this were not the case, as i have already stated above, using the etymology of a term to try and bury it, is a fatuous exercise.  However it does beg the question why Lake and Kirchick sought to claim such a genesis for the term?  Quite obviously they believed it allowed them to paint their opponents in an unsavoury light.  An old tactic.

Second – one of Eli Lake’s cheer leaders has leveled an accusation against me on Twitter of employing a fake quote from Theodor Herzl in the above post.  Two things i hate, unwarranted accusations and fake quotes.  I welcome being corrected on anything I write or say as factual accuracy is paramount, but having read this quote many times I was sure that this was a baseless accusation.  Which it is, as it is a direct quote from Herzl’s own diaries.  Now, if i remember correctly, Herzl penned his diaries in german, which helps account for the interchangeable ‘dependable/surest’ based upon which translated source you use.  To use one or the other does not take away from the sentiment of Herzl’s statement.  So my accuser is either ignorant of the facts, or is purposely seeking to discredit.  More likely probably both, unfortunately for him he face-planted with this attempt.

What kind of message…?

With the news that Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, the man who lead the squad which slaughtered 24 Iraqi civilians at Haditha in 2005, is set to receive 3 months detention for his actions, you have to ask, exactly what kind of message does this send to the Iraqi people and the wider Arab world?

Never mind the fact that insult was already heaped upon this horrific incident by Wuterich facing the lesser charge of negligent dereliction of duty, instead of the obvious murder charge this incident required.  This monstrous injustice comes hot on the heels of the recent video which showed US marines urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban. One can only assume that with Wuterich receiving 3 months, the culprits in this video will probably be promoted.

Unrelated but also of concern is this reading list for junior officers in the US army.  Why does it raise question marks? Well if you look to number 43 on the list you’ll see why.  Yes, still recommended reading among junior officers in the US military is The Arab Mind by Raphael Patai.  For those unaware of the books contents, the Guardian’s Brian Whitaker has a good overview of it here.  Unfortunately Mr Whitaker’s article is from 2004 but you will notice at the bottom of the reading list, that it is from a publication dated February 2012.  It appears the US military has not heeded Mr Whitaker’s sensible advice.

All of these things are worrying taken in isolation, but when considered together, we must return to my initial question, what kind of message does this send to the people of a region with which Obama had made improving relations a central tenant of his foreign policy?