ISRAHELL GAZA HASBARA: spoof video mocking activists (WARNING RACIST!!!) This is another piece of handicrafted Israhell goods in the framing of the murders it committed on int waters!

“But the most recent video distributed on Friday by the Israeli government press office (which belongs to the Israeli prime minister’s office and is responsible for accrediting foreign journalists) is distasteful and insulting to those killed and injured on the Freedom Flotilla, and quite frankly disturbing – especially since it was made by the Jerusalem Post’s deputy managing editor, Caroline Glick, who also moonlights for the American Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC. (Read more about Caroline Glick and her dual role as a pro-Israeli advocate and “credible journalist” in mainstream American and Israeli media here.)

On Friday afternoon, the Israeli Government issued the following email:

Due to a misunderstanding on our part, earlier today we inadvertently issued a video link that had been sent for our perusal.  It was not intended for general release.  The contents of the video in no way represent the official policy of either the Government Press Office or of the State of Israel.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Thank you for your patients and understanding.

Efraim Roseman

Ref: Al Jazeera

Israel forced to apologise for YouTube spoof of Gaza flotilla

Israeli government press office distributed video link featuring Arabs and activists singing

The Israeli government has been forced to apologise for circulating a spoof video mocking activists aboard the Gaza flotilla, nine of who were shot dead by Israeli forces last week.

The YouTube clip, set to the tune of the 1985 charity single We Are the World, features Israelis dressed as Arabs and activists, waving weapons while singing: “We con the world, we con the people. We’ll make them all believe the IDF (Israel Defence Force) is Jack the Ripper.”

It continues: “There’s no people dying, so the best that we can do is create the biggest bluff of all.”

The Israeli government press office distributed the video link to foreign journalists at the weekend, but within hours emailed them an apology, saying it had been an error. Press office director Danny Seaman said the video did not reflect official state opinion, but in his personal capacity he thought it was “fantastic”.

Government spokesman Mark Regev said the video reflected how Israelis felt about the incident. “I called my kids in to watch it because I thought it was funny,” he said. “It is what Israelis feel. But the government has nothing to do with it.”

The clip features a group led by the Jerusalem Post’s deputy managing editor Caroline Glick, wearing keffiyehs and calling themselves the Flotilla Choir. The footage is interspersed with clips from the recent Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound aid ship, the Mavi Marmara.

The clip has been praised in Israel, where the mass-circulation daily Yediot Aharonot said the singers “defended Israel better than any of the experts”.

But Didi Remez, an Israeli who runs the liberal-left news analysis blog Coteret, said the clip was “repulsive” and reflected how out of touch Israeli opinion was with the rest of the world. “It shows a complete lack of understanding of how the incident is being perceived abroad,” she said. Award-winning Israeli journalist Meron Rapoport said the clip demonstrated prejudice against Muslims. “It’s roughly done, not very sophisticated, anti-Muslim – and childish for the government to be behind such a clip,” he said.

A similar press office email was sent to foreign journalists two weeks ago, recommending a gourmet restaurant and Olympic-sized swimming pool in Gaza to highlight Israel’s claim there is no humanitarian crisis there. Journalists who complained the email was in poor taste were told they had “no sense of humour”.

Last week, the Israel Defence Force had to issue a retraction over an audio clip it had claimed was a conversation between Israeli naval officials and people on the Mavi Marmara, in which an activist told soldiers to “go back to Auschwitz”. The clip was carried by Israeli and international press, but today the army released a “clarification/correction”, explaining that it had edited the footage and that it was not clear who had made the comment.

The Israeli army also backed down last week from an earlier claim that soldiers were attacked by al-Qaida “mercenaries” aboard the Gaza flotilla. An article appearing on the IDF spokesperson’s website with the headline: “Attackers of the IDF soldiers found to be al-Qaida mercenaries”, was later changed to “Attackers of the IDF Soldiers found without identification papers,” with the information about al-Qaida removed from the main article. An army spokesperson told the Guardian there was no evidence proving such a link to the terror organisation.

While the debate over accounts of the flotilla raid continues, Israel is facing more boycotting. In the past week, three international acts, including the US rock band the Pixies, have cancelled concerts in Tel Aviv.

Best-settling authors Alice Walker and Iain Banks have backed the boycott campaign, with Banks announcing his books won’t be translated into Hebrew. Dockworker unions in Sweden and South Africa have refused to handle Israeli ships, while the UK’s Unite union just passed a motion to boycott Israeli companies.

Ref: Guardian

Rewarding Israel’s criminal behaviour (Israel is no liberal Western-style democracy, it is an ethnocracy with a racist agenda)

Israel is no liberal Western-style democracy, it is an ethnocracy with a racist agenda.

By Stuart Littlewood

Members of the European Parliament recently took a critical view of proposals to upgrade the EU-Israel Association Agreement and put down amendments designed to toughen up the conditions. “It’s time for the Israeli government to stop considering itself above the law and start respecting it,” warned Luisa Morgantini, the Parliament’s vice-president.

As a result, the vote was postponed – “a political stunt”, said the frustrated Israel lobby. In the meantime, all 27 EU ministers voted unanimously to approve the upgrade. However, it is not a done deal just yet. The EU Parliament still has to vote on this.

Most citizens, myself included, are baffled by the way the EU operates. One thing is certain: it has little to do with democracy. I seem to remember that when they voted in 2002 to suspend the EU-Israel Agreement on account of Israel’s continual violation of human rights, they were ignored by the Commission and Council of Ministers – that’s Western democracy for you.

* Meet Israel’s European friends

Why would anyone in Europe think it a good idea to reward Israel’s disregard for international law and common decency? One of the MEPs in my region in England, a Conservative Friend of Israel, explained his position:

I have been closely following recent developments in the Middle East… I believe there is significant benefit in closer economic and commercial ties between the EU and the only functioning and embedded democracy in the Middle East. I have great sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians … but, in my view, the state of Israel has been placed in an impossible position by the continuation of terrorist attacks mounted from Gaza. The motive behind the Israeli restrictions was a refusal to tolerate unending and increasing attacks from Hamas and other terrorist groups… I wish to see a two-state solution with an essentially Jewish state of Israel at peace with an essentially Palestinian neighbour, which is free from thuggery and terrorism, and where democracy and social and economic well-being can flourish.

Another, also Conservative, wrote in similar vein:

I am familiar with the situation in Israel and the occupied territories as well as the suffering of many innocent Palestinian caught up in the maelstrom of the terrorist actions of Hamas and the Israeli counter attacks… The Conservatives are opposed to any new settlement building in the occupied territories yet I support an enhanced agreement with Israel, because Israel, as a democratic government, is very similar to Britain. They hold free and fair elections, have a free press, healthy and lively public debate, an independent judiciary and uphold the rule of law. Because of these values Israel finds itself at the front line fighting the existential threat of Islamists.

Note the way the situation is redefined to make Israel smell good: Hamas the terrorist, Israel only responding, Israel imposing “restrictions” (when in truth it’s a full-blown blockade all the way down to shelling Gazan fishing boats), wishing to see a Palestinian neighbour “free from thuggery” (that’s funny coming from people who admire and support an apartheid state, the plain-language description of Israel by the president of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto, and many, many others).

Yet another Conservative MEP the other side of the country sent out the same distorted framing of the situation, which we can assume is “standard issue” in the Conservative Party. He too was “very familiar with the situation in Israel and the occupied territories”, adding that the separation barrier had “considerably reduced the ability of human bombers to cross over and kill innocent Israeli civilians who are still subject to Hamas rockets launched from Gaza”.

It angers me that these MEPs claim to know everything but actually know only the nonsense they are spoon-fed. Israel is no liberal Western-style democracy, it is an ethnocracy with a racist agenda. I am deeply offended to be told by such ignorant people that we in Britain share its values. And when I recently asked a newspaperman in Jerusalem if the Israeli press was free he laughed in my face. Most of the time Israel bars journalists, and even medics, from entering Gaza to witness and report.

Upholding the rule of law? Maybe for Jews. Some 9,000 Palestinians, including women and children, abducted from their homes, are banged up in Israeli prisons, many without charge or trial. There are several reports, even by Israeli organizations such B’Tselem, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and the Centre for the Defence of the Individual, drawing attention to Israel’s torture and medical neglect of prisoners and detainees.

When the Palestinians exercised their democratic right in free and fair elections in 2006, Israel and Western leaders rejected their choice and resolved to destroy their embryonic democracy and bring Palestinian civil society to its knees in an orgy of vicious collective punishment. As for the Hamas government now confined to Gaza, does it not have a perfect right under international law to take up arms (the same right the Israeli government pretends is exclusively its own) to defend its people against the brutal oppression of an illegal invader and occupier?

As for terrorists, anyone who has been to the Holy Land knows who they are.

How come the EU finds it so difficult to uphold justice in the Middle East? Meet the European Friends of Israel (EFI). And what does the EFI do? Its purpose includes:

At the core of EFI’s work, says the website, is a belief that Israel deserves better recognition of the cultural and democratic bonds that it shares with the EU. EFI’s objective is to “improve and help foster an environment in which Israel’s commercial interests are enhanced. Our aim is to increase the number of Europeans who share this belief and encourage them to take individual political action.

In signing up to support such a lawless foreign power, how can our politicians possibly conform to the Principles of Public Life, in particular the Principle of Integrity, which lays down that holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organizations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties?

And have they bothered to read and understand the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which they are pledged to observe and promote?

EFI, as you might expect, is economical with the truth. It says that Israel didn’t really want to build the Wall and resisted doing so for more than 35 years, but “was forced to act… It is important to stress, as repeatedly mentioned by Israeli officials, that the fence is not political, and is not a border.”

On the contrary, the Wall has been instrumental in Israel’s seizure of more than 38 per cent of the West Bank, including prime agricultural land and strategic water resources. These areas are now off-limits to Palestinians. Eighty per cent of the West Bank’s precious water is diverted to illegal settlers while Palestinians are strictly rationed or go without. If it is simply a security fence, then why wasn’t it built within Israel’s recognized border?

* Is an Israeli life more precious than a Palestinian life?

Another EFI gem was this statement after 27 months of siege:

Faced with unremitting rocket attacks from Gaza (4,000 rocket and mortar attacks on its civilians since the Jewish state dismantled every settlement and removed every settler from Gaza in 2005), the government of Israel has shown great restraint as it takes action to defend its citizens, the right and the prime obligation of any nation.

We hear the non-stop mantra about home-made rockets “raining down” on Sderot (although only 1 in 500 causes a fatality) but nothing of the countless thousands of Israeli bombs, missiles, grenades and tank shells that are blasted into Gaza’s tight-packed humanity. And nothing about how Israel still occupies Gaza’s airspace and coastal waters and all the Strip’s entries and exits.

EFI urges the freeing of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and “wants to keep awakening the conscience of the world, to display to Gilad’s family that Europe has not abandoned their son”. But it shows no such concern for the 6,500 children arrested by the Israeli army in the last eight years, usually after bursting into their homes between midnight and 4 a.m., and the use of handcuffs, blindfolds and leg shackles on these youngsters. They are held for up to 90 days, incommunicado and without access to a lawyer.

Nor do they urge the freeing of the 30-odd Palestinian MPs and legislators kidnapped and still under “administrative detention”.

So where is the balance expected of our EU legislators and decision-makers? Sad though it is, the Shalit story needs to be seen in context. To Palestinians, this is just another trained killer in Israel’s occupation force. How many women and children had his tank blown to smithereens? How many homes had it reduced to rubble? How much infrastructure, probably paid for by European taxpayers, had it wrecked?

Why aren’t the same powerful voices speaking up for the sons of Palestinians snatched from their homes and locked up in Israeli jails? In the Holy Land struggle eight Palestinians die for every Israeli. When it comes to children, the kill-rate is 11 to 1. Is an Israeli life deemed more precious that a Palestinian life?

I am greatly encouraged by the news that a group of human rights lawyers has now filed charges of crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court against Israel and its leaders – Olmert, Barak, Vilnai, Dichter and Ashkenazi. Their bloodstained hands have no doubt been eagerly clasped by their many “friends” in Brussels.

Ref: Al Jazeera
Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation

US trains Gulf air forces for war with Iran

The American air force is working with military leaders from the Gulf to train and prepare Arab air forces for a possible war with Iran, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

Neocons seek to justify action against Teheran

Iranian president Ahmadinejad

An air warfare conference in Washington last week was told how American air chiefs have helped to co-ordinate intelligence-sharing with Gulf Arab nations and organise combined exercises designed to make it easier to fight together.

Gen Michael Mosley, the US Air Force chief of staff, used the conference to seek closer links with allies whose support America might need if President George W Bush chooses to bomb Iran.

Pentagon air chiefs have helped set up an air warfare centre in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where Gulf nations are training their fighter pilots and America has big bases. It is modelled on the US Air Force warfare centre at Nellis air force base in Nevada.

Jordan and the UAE have both taken part in combined exercises designed to make sure their air forces can fly, and fight, together and with American jets.

The conference was long-planned to discuss developments in air warfare technology, but the question of possible hostilities involving Iran was discussed.

Bruce Lemkin, the American air force deputy under-secretary for international affairs, said: “We need friends and partners with the capabilities to take care of their own security and stability in their regions and, through the relationship, the inter-operability and the will to join us in coalitions when appropriate…

“On its most basic level, it’s about flying together, operating together and training together so, if we have to, we can fight together.”

While it is unlikely that America’s Gulf allies would join any US air strike against suspected nuclear targets in Iran, their co-operation might be required to allow passage of warplanes though their airspace. American defence officials are also keen that Iran’s Arab neighbours prepare to deal with any Iranian attempt to target them in return.

Lt Gen Prince Faisal bin Al Hussein, who is special assistant to the chief of staff of the Jordanian armed forces, said “concern at Iran’s attempt to establish itself as a regional superpower” had led to greater co-operation, “not just at the inter-service level but also at the political level”.

He said the new air warfare centre had allowed them to “exchange information and exercise together”.

But Air Chief Marshal Sir Glen Torpy, the head of the RAF, voiced the fear of many British officials that America is too devoted to military solutions. He said: “In an environment like this, we always focus on the part that the military can play in solving security and foreign policy problems, but the military will rarely, if ever, be the solution.”

Ref: Telegraph