According to sources in the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel is making preparations to welcome Hosni Mubarak into exile after Saudi Arabia rejected overtures.
Assertions without substance, prejudice without apology, violence without regret; these are the foundations of the Zionist dream of Israel, writes Shahid Alam*
On 12 January, The New York Times carried an article by David Brooks on Jews and Israel. It so caught my eye that I decided to bring it to my class on the economic history of the Middle East. I sent my students the link to the article and asked them to read it carefully and come to class prepared to discuss and dissect its contents.
My students recalled various parts of the New York Times article, but no one explained its substance. They recalled David Brooks’ focus on the singular intellectual achievements of American Jews, the enviable record of Israeli Jews as innovators and entrepreneurs, the mobility of Israel’s new class of innovators, etc. One student even spoke of what was not in the article or in the history of Jews — centuries of Jewish “struggle” to create a Jewish state in Palestine.
But they offered no insights on Brooks’ motivation.
Why had he decided to brag about Jewish achievements, a temptation normally eschewed by urbane Jews? In my previous class, while discussing Edward Said’s critique of Orientalism, I had discussed how knowledge is suborned by power, how it is perverted by tribalism, and how Western writers crafted their writings about the Middle East to serve the interests of colonial powers. Not surprisingly, this critique had not yet sunk in.
I coaxed my students, asking them directly to explore if David Brooks had an axe (or more than one) to grind. Was there an elephant in the room they had missed? What was the subtext of the op-ed?
At last, one student moved in the direction of the missing elephant. David Brooks had not mentioned the “aid” that Israel had received from the United States. Did my class know how much? Several eyebrows rose when I informed my students that Israel currently receives close to $3 billion in annual grants from the US, not counting official loan guarantees and tax- deductible contributions by private charities. Since its creation, Israel has received more than $240 billion in grants from the US alone.
We had grasped the elephant’s ear, but what about the rest of it, its head, belly, trunk, tail and tusks? My students did not have a clue — at least, so it appeared to me.
My students did not understand — or perhaps did not show it — that no discussion about Israel, especially in the New York Times, could be innocent of political motives. Israel is a contested fact, a colonial-settler state, founded on ethnic cleansing, a state of the world’s Jews, but not of its Arab population. It continues to marginalise its Palestinians “citizens”, to dispossess the Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and strangulate them in Gaza.
Supported and coddled by the United States and other Western governments, Israel now faces growing protests from diverse segments of Western civil society. Churches, labour unions, professors, students and other activist groups are calling on corporations and governments to divest from, boycott and sanction Israel. As always, but now more than ever, advocates of Israel continue to manufacture myths, opinions, and “facts” that can cover for its crimes against the Palestinians and other Arabs in its neighbourhood.
Isn’t that what David Brooks was doing, I asked my class, by painting Jews and Israel in the colours of pure glory?
I saw a few nods of recognition. But one student demurred. “Doesn’t everyone glorify his own country? The US too had engaged in ethnic cleansing. What is the difference?”
There are two differences, I submitted. David Brooks is glorifying Israel but he is not Israeli. More to the point, he is glorifying Israel to cover up for Israel’s present and projected crimes against Palestinians. He is covering up for Israeli apartheid that exists here and now.
At this point, many in my class gasped at what they heard. It appeared to be a voice quarried from the past. It was a defence of genocide quite commonly advanced in previous centuries when European settlers were exterminating natives in the Americas, Oceania and Africa. “We had done so much better with the land than the natives.” Occasionally, such repugnant ideas from the past, which we think we have buried forever, leak into public discourse. Perhaps it is good that they do: they remind us that the past is not dead.
David Brooks starts his article with statistics to show that the Jews “are a famously accomplished group”. Do we need to be convinced of the accomplishments of the Jews? Is there anyone who contests this? So why does Brooks feel the need to support this with statistics? “They make up 0.2 per cent of the world population,” he informs us, “but 54 per cent of world chess champions, 27 per cent of Nobel physics laureates and 31 per cent of medicine laureates.” Just in case these comparisons fail to clinch the point, David Brooks offers more comparative statistics.
Does Brooks aim to belabour the point, or is he saying, ‘Look at all the great things we have done for you Gentiles. We are indispensable. Don’t you criticise what we do. Don’t you go against us’? Or does he feel so personally inadequate that this forces him to seek comfort not in Jewish accomplishments — as he claims — but in Jewish superiority?
Alas, the Jews in Israel have not matched the achievements of the Jews in the Diaspora. The Jewish state contains close to 40 per cent of the world’s Jewish population, but very few of the Jewish Nobel laureates are Israelis. Only nine Israelis in 61 years have won the Nobel Prize. If we exclude the three “Peace” laureates — and wouldn’t you, if you knew who they are — that leaves six. Only three of these six were born in Israel, and one was born there while his parents were visiting relatives in Tel Aviv. Hardly a great total. Ireland, with a smaller population, has six Nobel laureates.
David Brooks knows this. “The odd thing,” he writes, “is that Israel has not traditionally been strongest where the Jews in the Diaspora were strongest.” Why has Israel fallen short? Blame it on the Palestinians and the Arabs. “Instead of research and commerce, Israelis were forced to devote their energies to fighting and politics.”
That was in the past, however. Israel is now bubbling over with innovation and entrepreneurship. Tel Aviv is now “one of the world’s foremost entrepreneurial hot spots”. Once again, statistics are offered to establish Israel’s leadership in civilian research and development. Israel’s more ominous leadership in military technology is not mentioned.
Moreover — and this is David Brooks’ point — this technological success “is the fruition of the Zionist dream”. Then follows another piece of chauvinism. Israel was “not founded so stray settlers could sit among thousands of angry Palestinians in Hebron. It was founded so Jews would have a safe place to come together and create things for the world.”
David Brooks disguises Israel’s second round of colonial expansion that began in June 1967 as a diversion from the main goal of Zionism, a distraction created by “stray” settlers in Hebron. The close to half a million Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, supported, financed, and protected by the world’s fourth most powerful military are minimised as “stray” settlers in Hebron, who are a problem only because they are surrounded by “angry” Palestinians.
Israel was founded — David Brooks asserts, invoking the language of Zionism — so Jews could have a “safe place” and create “things for the world”. Has Israel been a safe place for the Jews? Safer than the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, or even the Arab world before 1917, when the Zionist movement gained official sponsorship from Britain? Plausibly, the answer is no.
One must also ask: What “things” has Israel created for the world? What “things” has Israel given to the Arab world, other than wars, massacres, ethnic cleansing, occupation, war crimes, and alibis to its rulers to create repressive regimes? What has it given to that other world — the Western world — that Brooks probably has in mind? Israel has jeopardised the strategic interests of Western powers in the Islamicate. On more than one occasion, it has brought the United States close to nuclear collision with the Soviet Union. The most valuable “things” that Israelis provide to Western powers, to the United States in particular as an occupying power in Iraq and Afghanistan, are the technologies and tactics they have been perfecting while crushing Palestinian resistance. But David Brooks does not wish to talk about that.
Then comes the coup de grace. This is the blow aimed to finish off Brook’s primary target, the Arabs. Jewish and Israeli accomplishments must finally be placed against the terrible paucity of Arab creativity in the sciences, technology and entrepreneurship. Arabs are asked to declare the patents they have registered in the United States. The astronomical gap between Arab and Israeli patents can only have one cause. The Arabs do not have the “tradition of free intellectual exchange and technical creativity”. In true Orientalist style, blame Arab failures on Arab culture.
Ironically, the two countries Brooks picks to make his point — Egypt and Saudi Arabia — are the closest Arab allies of the United States. The US never wags its finger at the despotic monarchy in Saudi Arabia or the repressive dictatorship that has controlled Egypt for decades. The United States works to bring “democracy” only to its enemies.
Yet for all its triumphalism and crude claims of superiority, the New York Times op-ed ends on a disappointing note. Israel’s innovators, the sons of Zionist dreamers, bring no real commitment to Israel. Just a little instability, and they will vote with their feet. “American Jews used to keep a foothold in Israel in case things got bad here. Now Israelis keep a foothold in the US.” As remarkable as it is, Israel’s success is “also highly mobile”.
Is Brooks the great friend of Israel that he must believe he is? All that any one has to do to destroy Israel’s economy, he writes, is “to foment enough instability so the entrepreneurs decide they had better move to Palo Alto, where many of them [Israelis] already have contacts and homes.”
What sad and strange thinking. Perhaps this is what happens when a person gets trapped inside the nightmare that was sold to the Jews as the great Zionist dream. Brooks confirms that this nightmare cannot be saved by Israel’s technological prowess. Apparently, Israel’s greatest success stories — its cutting-edge technology companies — are also footloose. They could be heading for the exits at the first sign of instability.
Technological prowess will not save Jewish apartheid. Nothing will. But Jews can shore up their lives and build a more promising future for themselves by discovering their common humanity with the Arabs, by making amends with the Palestinians, and learning to give back to the Palestinians what they have taken from them over the past nine decades.
The Zionists are prisoners of a bad dream: they must first free themselves — break free from the prison in which they can only play the part of tormentors — if they and especially their Palestinian victims are to live normal lives.
Ref: Al Ahram
* The writer is professor of economics at Northeastern University. He is author of Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilising Logic of Zionism .
A small band of European Zionists enters the world stage in late 19th century,
determined to create a Jewish state in Palestine. This is their solution to the ‘abnormal’ condition of European Jews, who are without a land and are not a nation. To achieve this, they must seize Palestine; induce Western Jews to become colonists; and, above all, recruit Western powers to adopt their colonial project.
Zionists can only succeed by creating Islamicate enemies; they need resurgent
anti-Semitism to send Jewish colons to Palestine; and they must persuade/coerce the West to stand behind their colonial project. In succeeding, the Zionists merely transplant Jewish abnormality from Europe to the Middle East – and make it worse. In Europe, Jewish-Gentile frictions were local problems; in Israel, ominously, they have come to form the pivot of a global conflict that pits the West against the Islamicate.
Writing about Zionism has not been easy. The history of Zionism is history gone wrong, and not only for the Palestinians. The tragedy for the Palestinians is obvious, although, blinded by racism and the Zionist bias of their media, Westerners only recently have begun to see this tragedy for what it is. It has been a tragedy for the Jewish people too, who were co-opted by the Zionists to place their energy, their talent and their hopes on a project they should never have undertaken, and whose only chance of success lay in obliterating the hopes of another people. The more trapped this project becomes in its own logic, the greater the destruction it becomes willing to wreak. It chooses destruction in order to delay coming to terms with, and making amends for, the tragedy it has spawned.
Filed under: A MUST READ, ANTI-ISRAEL, gaza, ISRAEL, ISRAELI-APARTHEID POLICY, occupation, palestine, proIsrael thinktanks, proUS thinktanks, Racism/hate, reflections, Resistance, shoah, zionism | Tagged: "safe place", "stray" settlers, Afghanistan, american jews, Arab allies, bad dream, colonial expansion, colonists, coup de grace, democracy, despotic, diaspora, dictatorship, entrepreneurial, Hebron, iraq, Israeli accomplishments, Israeli Exceptionalism, Jewish state, language of Zionism, Logic of Zionism, military technology, New York Times, Nobel, nobel prize, Orientalism, Orientalist, palestine, palestinian resistance, patents, superiority, tel aviv, Zionist façade | 2 Comments »
Gaza? Where’s that? Have you heard about it recently? It doesn’t figure on the list of important matters for consideration by the world’s presidents and prime ministers. It has vanished from the media. Most people couldn’t care less about a generation of Palestinians who are subjected to viciously inflicted privation by an imperialist nation that has lost touch with humanity.
Most countries, most human beings, with predictable exceptions, condemned Israel for indulging in frenzied savagery during its blitzkrieg on Gaza last December and January. There is no doubt that many of its actions were criminal. For example, there are well-documented instances of use of white phosphorus artillery shells against civilians. Poison gas, in other words – if a bit more hi-tech than the venomous vapors that exterminated so many millions of innocent Jewish men, women and children in Nazi concentration camps.
But Israel, propped up as a strutting jackbooted puppet on the global stage by the well-muscled fingers of Washington and some other capitals whose endorsement of violence seems boundless, can get away, quite literally, with murder. Innocent men, women and children can be exterminated by armed forces that have no reason to fear justice or even criticism from the world’s juridical system.
A highly respected international jurist, Mr Richard Goldstone (a South African Jew), produced a report for the UN about Israel’s attempted genocide and Hamas atrocities and was impartial and objective about assessing facts and apportioning responsibility, as would be expected of such a distinguished judge.
His terms of reference were “to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after.”
He investigated thoroughly (although the Israelis refused to cooperate in any way) and reported fairly. His finding was that Palestinian terror groups were culpable of atrocities, as were Israeli armed forces, and for the latter ruling he was promptly attacked by Israel, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist and the Financial Times.
And by President Barack Obama.
The Obama administration pronounced the report to be “flawed,” without giving any indication of what the flaws might be. Mr Goldstone, courteous and balanced as ever – if a trifle taken aback at such a reaction – observed gently that “I have yet to hear from the Obama administration what the flaws in the report that they have identified are . . . I would be happy to respond to them, if and when I know what they are . . . Of course I’m concerned and would like to engage with the Obama administration, at least informally.”
Fat chance of that happening, unless Mr Obama is prepared to risk the wrath of Israel.
But Mr Obama, like his predecessors, isn’t in favor of anything that is critical of Israel. He wants a second presidential term, after all, and must not offend the rich and dominant Israel Lobby. And his country’s legislators, who are equally beholden to that Lobby and have to follow the Tel Aviv line, “overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning a report by a United Nations fact-finding panel that criticized Israel as part of an assessment of the conflict in Gaza in 2008 between Israel and Hamas.” They voted against the report by 344 to 36, thereby showing, like the White House, their contempt for impartial analysis, the UN, the eminent Justice Goldstone, international law, and almost everything that remains civilized in this horrible world. (And you wonder how many of them read the report before voting.)
Hundreds of legislators in the US and Britain have sold their souls to Israel and will support Tel Aviv in any circumstances.
Britain’s governing Labor Party is right behind Israel, and it is recorded that “The Labor Friends of Israel (LFI), ‘a Westminster based lobby group working within the British Labor Party to promote the State of Israel’ fostered close ties with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who joined the society upon his premiership.”
After his catastrophic decade as prime minister, Blair, a squalid, greedy and unprincipled man, and a proven liar, was appointed “Middle East envoy working on behalf of the US, Russia, the UN and the EU,” as which he achieved precisely nothing. The selection of Blair as a representative to the Middle East was absurd. Nobody could imagine for an instant that his activities would be regarded as impartial – unlike Mr Goldstone – but this didn’t matter, because he had the seal of Israeli approval.
Just as in the US, Israel knows no political borders in Britain, whose present prime minister, an uninspiring and petulant dullard called Brown, declared that :
“it is one of the great privileges I have to be able to address the Labour Friends of Israel, to be able to thank you for everything that you do to promote the cause of justice . . . I count myself not only a friend of Israel but someone who wants to support the future of Israel.”
“The cause of justice”?
As Judge Goldstone recorded, Israel “committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity” by intentionally killing civilians during its Gaza blitzkrieg.
But Britain’s prime minister imagines that Israel’s slaughter of over 300 children will “promote the cause of justice.”
And the leader of Britain’s Conservative Party was equally toadying in June when he told the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) fundraising dinner at the Dorchester Hotel that he supported Israel unequivocally, “Not simply because of my party’s unstinting support for Israel through the decades, but also because it’s something I feel very deep inside of me.”
What drivel. This little man, whose name escapes me, has jumped on the Israeli bandwagon because it means money. 80 per cent of Conservative legislators are members of the CFI, and subsidies for political campaigns from Israel-supporting business organizations are discreetly disguised and happily grasped.
There is hardly a word of criticism of Israel by politicians in the US and the UK, and it’s not at all surprising that this is so, because so many of them couldn’t exist without cash from the Israel Lobby, passed on in one way or another. All the lavish expenses-paid holiday trips to the land of “the cause of justice” are simply confirmation that legislators are out to get whatever they can for free.
And Peace Prize-winning Mr Obama, of whom so many of us had high hopes of even-handedness, has a Secretary of State who told the Israel Lobby “It is wonderful being here with all of you among so many friends and I feel like this is a giant family reunion . . . and I feel like I am among family . . . I have a bedrock commitment to Israel’s security . . . God bless Israel . . .”
With servile, bootlicking friends like these, Israel can continue to defy UN Security Council resolutions, it can build scores of illegal settlements on land stolen from Palestinians, it can condemn the people of Gaza – and especially countless thousands of children – to indefinite and hideous hardship. The state of Israel exists in a wicked and vicious parallel world, bolstered by smug and sleazy western politicians.
Ten years ago Justice Goldstone declared that “bringing war criminals to justice stems from the lessons of the Holocaust.”
Indeed it does.
But when so many politicians and so much of the media in the US and Britain are intent on supporting Zion and ignoring Israel’s repulsive human rights violations, you wonder if the lessons of the Holocaust are perhaps a bit one-sided. The people of Gaza are suffering from the effects of an illegal and malevolent Israeli blockade. Its people are enduring horrible privation. The crimes against them go unpunished.
And nobody cares. For it would be very difficult to admit that war crimes have been committed by people who come to your giant family reunions, promoting “the cause of justice.”
Brian Cloughley’s book about the Pakistan army, War, Coups and Terror, is to be published in the US by Skyhorse next month. His website is http://www.beecluff.com.
Filed under: BLOGISM | Tagged: barack obama, Blair, blitzkrieg, Britain’s Conservative Party, CFI, Conservative Friends of Israel, gaza, Gaza blitzkrieg, genocide, God bless Israel, Goldstone, Hamas atrocities, Hamás, Holocaust, Israel’s security, lobby, nazi, Nazi concentration camps, Nobel peace prize, obama, Peace Prize, phosphorus, tel aviv, the cause of justice, UN Security Council resolutions | Leave a comment »
Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Israel has confirmed that its forensic scientists in the 1990s took organs from dead bodies, including those of Palestinians, without their families’ consent, an Israeli television report said.
Israel’s Channel 2 TV aired an interview on Saturday with the former director of the Abu Kabir forensic institute, Dr Yehuda Hiss, in which he admitted to taking skin, corneas, heart valves, and bones from Israeli soldiers, Israeli civilians, Palestinians and foreign workers.
The report appeared to confirm the premise of an article in the Swedish daily Aftonbladet, which caused an explosive controversy when it appeared in August. The article quoted Palestinians alleging that Israel returned their relatives bodies with their chests sewn up, suggesting organ harvesting.
Israeli officials denounced the report at the time, labeling it “anti-Semitic,” but did not comment on the specific allegations.
The interview with Hiss was filmed in 2000 by an American academic, Nancy Sheppard-Hughes, a professor of anthropology at the University of California-Berkeley, who said she released the footage in the wake of the Aftonbladet controversy.
In a response to the TV report, the Israeli military confirmed that the practice took place. “This activity ended a decade ago and does not happen any longer,” the military said in a statement quoted by Channel 2.
In the interview, Hiss describes the steps he and other scientists took to conceal the thefts.
“We used to take corneas without plucking out the eyes. We used to glue them shut. We did that for the purpose of scientific advancement,” Hiss said in the interview.
“We used to take skin from the backs of dead people, and the families wouldn’t notice that because they buried the dead without turning them over,” another pathologist is quoted as saying in the report.
Hiss said he ignored Israeli law that prohibits harvesting organs without a family’s consent.
“We used to send organs to Israeli hospitals, particularly Tel Hashomer in Tel Aviv, because many doctors there were friends of mine. We didn’t ask for money in return, but four years later, the hospital gave us a microscope. We also sent organs to Hadassah Hospital, and in return they gave us a video camera that can film corpses from inside,” Hiss was quoted as saying.
According to Channel 2, In 1986, Israel established a skin bank. Skin supplied by the Abu Kibir institute was used in transplants for wounded soldiers and burn patients.
The right-wing Israeli Knesset member Aryeh Eldad, a plastic surgeon, was also quoted on the program saying, “We had orders to harvest organs without families consent.”
Former Israeli MK Arieh Eldad who is a surgeon specialized in plastic surgery and burns said, according to Israeli TV report, “We had orders to harvest organs without families consent.”
Lawsuits were filed against the institute, however, including by the families of Israeli soldiers. One of these came from the father of a soldier, who appeared on the Channel 2 report saying that he opened his son’s coffin to find that his neck was cut and his eyes plucked out.
Under mounting pressure, Hiss was fired in 1998.
Israel’s Health Ministry told Channel 2 that all harvesting had been done with permission and, “For the last 10 years, Abu Kabir has been working according to ethics and Jewish law.”
Again, as with many israeli violations this is not really “news”. A colonial, racist state creates and reproduces these kinds of practices everyday as part of it´s banality. Everytime Israel denies these practices one knows that they are true!
Filed under: A MUST READ, gaza, ISRAEL, ISRAELI-APARTHEID POLICY, occupation, palestine, proIsrael thinktanks, Racism/hate, settlers, shoah, zionism | Tagged: Abu Kibir, anti-Semitic, dr mengel, Dr Yehuda Hiss, Hadassah Hospital, harvest organs, Hiss, israeli mengel, ISRAELI ORGAN THEFT, Israeli organ trafficking, mengel, organ, organ harvesting, organ theft, tel aviv, Tel Hashomer | 1 Comment »
A resident of the West Bank settlement outpost Shvut Rachel was arrested last month for suspected murder and for his alleged role in a string of attempted murder plots, according to details of an investigation revealed on Sunday after a gag order on the case was lifted.
Yaakov “Jack” Teitel, 37, is suspected of killing two Palestinians, for rigging the package bomb which left the child of a Messianic Jew seriously wounded, for attempting to kill left-wing professor Ze’ev Sternhell, and for his alleged role in a series of warning attacks against Israel Police at the time of the Gay Pride Parades.
According to the Shin Bet and Israel Police, Teitel has confessed to most of the allegations against him.
The footage below shows a man believed to be Teitel rigging a bomb package sent to the Ortiz family, Messianic Jews living in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.
Teitel, a resident of the northern West Bank outpost, was born in Florida and has moved back and forth between the United States and Israel over the last two decades. In 2000, he returned to Israel to live permanently.
During a search of his home, police discovered rifles, handguns and explosive materials; they were unable, however, to find the gun which he allegedly used to kill the Palestinians.
He even apparently claimed during his investigation to involvement in the attack on a gay-lesbian youth club in Tel Aviv, in which two people were killed. The Shin Bet has said, however, that there is not sufficient evidence at this point to tie him to that attack.
Teitel was arrested on October 7 in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Har Nof, in Jerusalem, after posting signs around town praising the attack on the Tel Aviv gay club.
His posters were signed with the name ‘Shleisel,’ referring to the ultra-Orthodox man who stabbed and wounded a number of marchers during the Jerusalem pride parade a couple of years ago.
Police also found posters in his neighbourhood offering a one million shekel reward to anyone killing a member of Israel’s Peace
Now movement, that opposes West Bank settlement activity.
Teitel was arrested after a prolonged police follow-up; he was in possession of a loaded gun at the time of the arrest. He was interrogated without right to a lawyer. Deliberations over his arrest were held at a number of courts, even reaching the High Court of Justice.
During his investigation, Teitel repeatedly said that he had acted of his own accord and that nobody else was involved in his alleged crimes.
His wife, Rivka, was brought in for questioning for a few hours a little over a week ago. She reserved her right to silence. Police have said that they do not have sufficient evidence to believe that she had known of his plans, even though the majority of his weapons were discovered at their house and in the adjacent yard.
According to a senior Shin Bet source, Teitel was an “autodidact” who taught himself to use weapons and rig explosives, apparently on the Internet.
Teitel has confessed to murdering a Palestinian shepherd near Mount Hebron in 1997 and to killing an Arab taxi driver in East Jerusalem some two months later. He said that he came to Israel precisely to carry out attacks against Palestinians as revenge for suicide bombings.
Teitel was not the first and joins a long list that includes Baruch Goldstein, who gunned down 29 Muslim worshipers in Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs in 1994, Eden Natan-Zada, who killed four Israeli Arabs in Shfaram ahead of the Gaza disengagement in 2005, and the Bat Ayin Underground, which was caught after planting a massive bomb next to an Arab girls school in east Jerusalem in 2002.
A senior Shin Bet official admitted Sunday that there were still many anti-Palestinian terror attacks in the West Bank, including murders, that took place over the past few years that have yet to be solved, meaning that there are likely more Jewish terrorists still at large.
Filed under: ISRAEL, ISRAELI-APARTHEID POLICY, occupation, palestine, Racism/hate, settlers, shoah, zionism | Tagged: 1994, Baruch Goldstein, East Jerusalem, Eden Natan-Zada, Har Nof, Hebron's Cave of the Patriarchs, ISRAEL, ISRAHELL, jewish settler, murder, palestinians, settlement, settler, Shleisel, Teitel, tel aviv, terrorism, terrorist, ultra-Orthodox | Leave a comment »
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The Toronto Declaration: No Celebration of Occupation
An Open Letter to the Toronto International Film Festival:
September 2, 2009
As members of the Canadian and international film, culture and media arts communities, we are deeply disturbed by the Toronto International Film Festival’s decision to host a celebratory spotlight on Tel Aviv. We protest that TIFF, whether intentionally or not, has become complicit in the Israeli propaganda machine.
In 2008, the Israeli government and Canadian partners Sidney Greenberg of Astral Media, David Asper of Canwest Global Communications and Joel Reitman of MIJO Corporation launched “Brand Israel,” a million dollar media and advertising campaign aimed at changing Canadian perceptions of Israel. Brand Israel would take the focus off Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and its aggressive wars, and refocus it on achievements in medicine, science and culture. An article in Canadian Jewish News quotes Israeli consul general Amir Gissin as saying that Toronto would be the test city for a promotion that could then be deployed around the world. According to Gissin, the culmination of the campaign would be a major Israeli presence at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. (Andy Levy-Alzenkopf, “Brand Israel set to launch in GTA,” Canadian Jewish News, August 28, 2008.)
In 2009, TIFF announced that it would inaugurate its new City to City program with a focus on Tel Aviv. According to program notes by Festival co-director and City to City programmer Cameron Bailey, “The ten films in this year’s City to City programme will showcase the complex currents running through today’s Tel Aviv. Celebrating its 100th birthday in 2009, Tel Aviv is a young, dynamic city that, like Toronto, celebrates its diversity.”
The emphasis on ‘diversity’ in City to City is empty given the absence of Palestinian filmmakers in the program. Furthermore, what this description does not say is that Tel Aviv is built on destroyed Palestinian villages, and that the city of Jaffa, Palestine’s main cultural hub until 1948, was annexed to Tel Aviv after the mass exiling of the Palestinian population. This program ignores the suffering of thousands of former residents and descendants of the Tel Aviv/Jaffa area who currently live in refugee camps in the Occupied Territories or who have been dispersed to other countries, including Canada. Looking at modern, sophisticated Tel Aviv without also considering the city’s past and the realities of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza strip, would be like rhapsodizing about the beauty and elegant lifestyles in white-only Cape Town or Johannesburg during apartheid without acknowledging the corresponding black townships of Khayelitsha and Soweto.
We do not protest the individual Israeli filmmakers included in City to City, nor do we in any way suggest that Israeli films should be unwelcome at TIFF. However, especially in the wake of this year’s brutal assault on Gaza, we object to the use of such an important international festival in staging a propaganda campaign on behalf of what South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and UN General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann have all characterized as an apartheid regime.
This letter was drafted by the following ad hoc committee:
Udi Aloni, filmmaker, Israel; Elle Flanders, filmmaker, Canada; Richard Fung, video artist, Canada; John Greyson, filmmaker, Canada; Naomi Klein, writer and filmmaker, Canada; Kathy Wazana, filmmaker, Canada; Cynthia Wright, writer and academic, Canada; b h Yael, film and video artist, Canada
Ahmad Abdalla, Filmmaker, Egypt
Hany Abu-Assad, Filmmaker, Palestine
Mark Achbar, Filmmaker, Canada
Zackie Achmat, AIDS activist, South Africa
Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, Filmmaker, Jerusalem
Anthony Arnove, Publisher and Producer, USA
Ruba Atiyeh, Documentary Director, Lebanon
Joslyn Barnes, Writer and Producer, USA
Harry Belafonte, Musician/Actor, USA
John Berger, Author, France
Walter Bernstein, Screenwriter/Film Producer, USA
Dionne Brand, Poet/Writer, Canada
Daniel Boyarin, Professor, USA
Judith Butler, Professor, USA
David Byrne, Musician, USA
Noam Chomsky, Professor, USA
Julie Christie, Actor, USA
Nandita Das, Actor/Filmmaker, India
Guy Davidi Director, Israel
Na-iem Dollie, Journalist/Writer, South Africa
Igor Drljaca, Filmmaker, Canada
Eve Ensler, Playwright, Author, USA
Eyal Eithcowich, Director, Israel
Lynne Fernie, Filmmaker and Programmer, Canada
Sophie Fiennes, Filmmaker, UK
Peter Fitting, Professor, Canada
Jane Fonda, Actor and Author, USA
Danny Glover, Filmmaker and Actor, USA
Noam Gonick, Director, Canada
Malcolm Guy, Filmmaker, Canada
Rawi Hage, Writer, Canada
Anne Henderson, Filmmaker, Canada
Mike Hoolboom, Filmmaker, Canada
Annemarie Jacir, Filmmaker, Palestine
Gordon Jackson, Jazz Musician, South Africa
Fredric Jameson, Literary Critic, USA
Nadia Kamel, Filmmaker, Egypt
Juliano Mer Khamis, Filmmaker, Jenin/Haifa
Bonnie Sherr Klein Filmmaker, Canada
Joy Kogawa, Writer, Canada
Paul Laverty, Producer, UK
Min Sook Lee, Filmmaker, Canada
Paul Lee, Filmmaker, Canada
Yael Lerer, publisher, Tel Aviv
Mark Levine, Professor, USA
Jack Lewis, Filmmaker, South Africa
Ken Loach, Filmmaker, UK
Arab Lotfi, Filmmaker, Egypt/Lebanon
Kyo Maclear, Author, Toronto
Guy Maddin, Screenwriter/Director, Canada
Mahmood Mamdani, Professor, USA
Fatima Mawas, Filmmaker, Australia
Anne McClintock, Professor, USA
Tessa McWatt, Author, Canada and UK
Viggo Mortensen, Actor, USA
Cornelius Moore, Film Distributor, USA
Yousry Nasrallah, Director, Egypt
Joan Nestle, Writer, USA
Rebecca O’Brien, Producer, UK
Pratibha Parmar, Producer/Director, UK
Anand Patwardhan, Documentary Film Maker, India
Jeremy Pikser, Screenwriter, USA
John Pilger, Filmmaker, UK
Shai Carmeli Pollak, Filmmaker, Israel
Ian Iqbal Rashid, Filmmaker, Canada
Judy Rebick, Professor, Canada
David Reeb, Artist, Tel Aviv
B. Ruby Rich, Critic and Professor, USA
Wallace Shawn, Playwright, Actor, USA
Eyal Sivan, Filmmaker and Scholar, Paris/London/Sderot
Elia Suleiman, Fimmlaker, Nazareth/Paris/New York
Eran Torbiner, Filmmaker, Israel
Alice Walker, Writer, USA
Thomas Waugh, Professor, Canada
Christian Wiener Freso, President – Union of Peruvian Filmmakers, Peru
Debra Zimmerman, Executive Director Women Make Movies, USA
Howard Zinn, Writer, USA
Slavoj Zizek, Professor, Slovenia
DN! Artists Protest Isreal (3\3) Tel Aviv in Toronto
Canadian-Jewish filmmaker slams TIFF’s spotlight on Tel Aviv
Listen to this great interview with Naomi Klein on the CBC discussing the Toronto Declaration and clarifying many of the misconceptions about the controversy around the Toronto International Film Festival’s City to City program with Tel Aviv LISTEN HERE
Filed under: A MUST READ, ANTI -NEOCON & NEOLIB, gaza, imperialism, ISRAEL, ISRAELI-APARTHEID POLICY, neo liberalism & neo capitalism, occupation, palestine, Racism/hate, Resistance, settlers, shoah, VIDEO & PICTS, zionism | Tagged: ISRAEL, ISRAHELL, naomi klein, No Celebration of Occupation, STOP ISRAEL, tel aviv, Tel Aviv Party, Toronto Declaration, Toronto International Film Festival, zionism | Leave a comment »
VIDEO: Gilad Atzmon – Jewish angst needs enemies + Shlomo Sand: ‘There are Israeli, not Jewish people’
Shlomo Sand: ‘There are Israeli, not Jewish people’
Jews living in Tel Aviv, New York or Moscow do not share the same secular practices and language and thus cannot be called one people, says Professor Shlomo Sand.