ISRAHELL 2DAY: Settlers blamed for mosque blaze

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Israeli settlers are reported to have set fire to a mosque in a Palestinian town in the occupied West Bank, damaging prayer rugs and a large number of copies of the Quran, as well as spraying anti-Arab graffiti on the walls.According to witnesses, five Jewish settlers broke into a mosque in Beit Fajjar in the early hours of Monday and set it alight before the morning prayers, Ahmad Thawabteh, the town’s mayor, told Al Jazeera.

The Israeli military told Al Jazeera that primary investigations showed Hebrew graffiti and burnt carpets at the mosque, located south of Bethlehem.

Avital Leibovitch, a spokeswoman for Israel’s military, said Israeli authorities will bring the guilty parties to justice.

“The Israeli police … have opened a very widespread investigation; the other security forces in Israel will be a part of [it], as well as Palestinian information that has some contribution to this investigation,” she told Al Jazeera.

“We see this incident in a very severe manner. We will do the utmost to find these lawbreakers and bring them to court.”

Emotions running high

Al Jazeera’s Nour Odeh, reporting from the mosque, said emotions are quite high in the town.

“It was a little before three in the morning when residents saw smoke coming out of the mosque, that they rushed in to put out the fire,” she said.

“We heard residents [break] into chants about revenge. Much of the talk here is [calling this a] religious type of attack rather than a politically motivated one.”

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from Jerusalem, said: “Certainly this is something that is ratcheting up tensions at a time when the Israeli cabinet are meeting to decide on extending the settlement freeze.

“A mosque was burned in the West Bank earlier this year by settlers who say it was on their land – land that they claim and occupy.

“There is certainly a pattern here. There will be a settler demonstration north of the West Bank today which is also linked to a mosque that the settlers want destroyed.”

Illegal settlements

Vandals occasionally spray-paint the words “price tag” on buildings and cars, suggesting that the attacks are the “price” for any attempt by the Israeli government to curb the growth of illegal settlements.

Human-rights groups say the Israeli government does not take the attacks seriously enough.

A report by Amnesty International, the London-based rights group, found that “impunity remains the norm” for settlers accused of vandalism and physical attacks on Palestinians.

The incident in Beit Fajjar comes as Israeli and Palestinian officials prepare to resume indirect negotiations.

Palestinian leaders are pushing for a complete freeze in new Israeli construction in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, approved last year a temporary halt in West Bank settlement growth – but it does not apply to East Jerusalem.

Many communities in the West Bank have ignored the order and continued new construction.

Source:
Al Jazeera

ISRAELI BANALITY: Video shows Palestinian man hit in car attack – 02 Dec 09

This is how the ethnical cleansing is done step by step, palestinian by palestinan.

Never say you didn´t know.

Israel murders, steals and ethnical cleanses everyday for 60 years. With the support

of the white democratic world.

GAZA MASSACRE: American Zionist vs Israeli Professor Neve Gordon on Gaza

Israel lobby commits major blunder in France: tries to silence a comedian

Amazing stuff is happening in France. It all began with a relatively well-known French-Cameroonian comedian, Dieudonné M’bala M’bala was invited to participate on a TV show on the channel France 3. The show also featured a Maghrebian artist and Dieudonne decided to impersonate an extremist Israeli settled infuriated by the presence of an Arab on a French show
).

Dieudonne who, in the past, had always enjoyed ridiculing pretty much every segment of French society clearly had never expected the hysterical uproar that his humor would trigger that day: the huge constellation of French Zionists organizations lead by the notorious CRIF (”Representative Committee of Jewish organization in France” – the French version of AIPAC) immediately attacked Dieudonne, suing him for racists comments and suing him for “anti-Semitism” (a criminal offense in France). This was hardly the first time that the French Zionist mob had decided to crush an outspoken critic of its role in French politics or its unconditional support for the last racist state on the planet: Israel. But this time, the Ziomob miscalculated, badly.

Dieudonne began making the accusations of anti-Semitism made against him a central piece of his shows. Here is a sampling of the kind of the hilarious skits Dieudonne came up with:

This was not at all what the Ziomobsters in France had hoped to achieve when they attacked Dieudonne for his appearance on France 3. In response to his defiant stance, they then used their total control over the French political class to shut down his shows under the pretext that they would “threaten the public order”. Dieudonne immediately replied that France is capable of providing the security needed for an event like the G8 summit, but not to let one comedian make his show.

Still, while in the past he had filled the biggest concert halls in France, Dieudonne was forced to perform his skits in a rented bus (you can see a report about this here). But Dieudo, has he is known, had one more thing up his sleeve.

His logic was simple: if I cannot use my freedom of speech as a comedian, why not use it as a politician?

Dieudo had already tried one to run for office a couple of times, but he never achieved any measure of success. This time, however, he came up with a stunning argument. Basically, Dieudo claims that the Left-Right chasm is an artificial and meaningless chasm in French politics and that the real issue which separates the parties in France is their attitude towards the Zionist ideology, the state of Israel, and the role of the Israel Lobby in France.

Read more at Les dessous de l’information mondiale-Downside World News

Netanyahu’s Plan – The Emperor’s Old Clothes


Everybody is talking about the first 100 days of Barack Obama. And there’s a lot to talk about.

Like a young bull he stormed into the arena. A deluge of new ideas in every direction, a tsunami of practical initiatives, some of which have already begun to be implemented. Clearly he had been thinking about them for a long time and intended to put them into practice from his first moment in office. He put his team together long ago, and his people started to act even before his triumphal entrance to the White House. During the first days he appointed the ministers, most of whom he had designated long before – this seems to be an effective cabinet, whose members are up to their tasks.

Everything according to a rule that was laid down long ago: what a new president does not initiate in his first 100 days, he will not accomplish later on. In the beginning everything is easier, because the public is ready for change.

An Israeli cannot, of course, resist comparing Obama to Binyamin Netanyahu, our old-new Prime Minister, who did not exactly storm into the arena. He crawled into it.

* * *

ONE COULD have expected that Netanyahu would trump even Obama in this respect.

After all, he has already been there. Ten years ago he was sitting in the Prime Minister’s chair, gathering experience. And from experience – especially bad experience – one can and should learn.

Moreover, Netanyahu’s victory was no great surprise. The only unexpected part of the election results was that his opponent, Tzipi Livni, won slightly more votes than he, but not enough to prevent him from attaining – together with his partners – a majority.

He had, therefore, a lot of time to prepare for his ascent to power, consult experts, perfect plans in every field, choose his team, think about the appointment of ministers from his own and allied parties.

Yet, incredibly, it appears that nothing, really nothing, of all this happened. No plans, no assistants, no team, no nothing.

To this very minute, Netanyahu has not succeeded in putting together his personal team – a fundamental precondition for any effective action. He does not have a chief of staff, a most important position. In his office, chaos reigns supreme.

The choice of ministers threw up one scandal after another. Not only did he put together a hideously bloated cabinet (39 ministers and deputy ministers, most of them flaunting fictitious titles) but almost all the important ministries are stuck with totally unsuited persons.

At a time of world-wide economic crisis he appointed to the Treasury a Minister who has no idea about economics, apparently thinking that he himself would manage the treasury – quite impossible for a man who is responsible for the state as a whole. The Ministry of Health got an orthodox rabbi as Deputy Minister. In the middle of a world-wide epidemic, we have no Minister of Health, and according to law the Prime Minister has to exercise this function, too. In almost all the other ministries – from Transportation to Tourism – there are incumbents who know nothing about their fields of responsibility and don’t even pretend to be interested in them – they are just waiting for an opportunity to move on to higher and better things.

No need to waste many words on the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman to the Foreign Ministry. This professional scandalmonger provokes a daily scandal in this most sensitive area of government. The bull in the china shop has already succeeded into turning all the diplomats into small bullocks, each of which is running about and smashing the dishes in his vicinity. At the moment, they are busy messing up Israel’s relations with the EU.

All these appointments look like the desperate efforts of a cynical politician who does not care about anything other than returning to power, and then quickly putting together a cabinet, whatever its composition, paying any price to any party prepared to join him, sacrificing even the most vital interests of the state.

* * *

AS FAR as plans are concerned, Netanyahu does not resemble Obama either. He has come to power without any plans in any field. One gets the impression that he has spent his years in opposition with his head in hibernation

A week ago he presented a grandiose “economic plan” for saving our economy from the ravages of the world economic crisis. Economists raised their eyebrows. The “plan” consists of little more than a collection of tired old slogans and a tax on cigarettes. His embarrassed assistants stuttered that it was only a “general outline”, not yet a plan, and that now they would start working on a real plan.

The public did not really worry about the lack of an economic plan. They have faith in improvisation, the wondrous Israeli talent that makes up for the inability to plan anything.

But in the political field, the situation is even worse. Because there the unpreparedness of Netanyahu meets the overpreparedness of Obama.

Obama has a plan for the restructuring of the Middle East, and one of its elements is an Israeli-Palestinian peace based on “Two States for Two Peoples”. Netanyahu argues that he is not in a position to respond, because he has no plan of his own yet. After all, he is quite new in office. Now he is working on such a plan. Very soon, in a week, or a month, or a year, he will have a plan, a real plan, and he will present it to Obama.

Or course, Netanyahu has a plan. It consists of one word, which he learned from his mentor, Yitzhak Shamir: “NO”. Or, more precisely, NO NO NO – the three no’s of the Israeli Khartoum: No peace, No withdrawal, No negotiations. (It will be remembered that the 1967 Arab summit conference in Khartoum, right after the Six-day War, adopted a similar resolution.)

The “plan” which he is working on does not really concern the essence of this policy, but only the packaging. How to present to Obama something that will not sound like “no”, but rather like “yes, but”. Something that all the serfs of the Israeli lobby in Congress and the media can swallow painlessly.

* * *

AS A taster for the “plan”, Netanyahu has already presented one of its ingredients: the demand that the Palestinians and other Arabs must recognize Israel as “the State of the Jewish People”.

Most of the media in Israel and abroad have distorted this demand and reported that Netanyahu requires the recognition of Israel as a “Jewish State”. Either from ignorance or laziness, they obliterated the important difference between the two formulas.

This difference is immense. A “Jewish State” is one thing, a “State of the Jewish People” is something radically different.

A “Jewish State” can mean a state with a majority of citizens who define themselves as Jews and/or a state whose main language is Hebrew, whose main culture is Jewish, whose weekly rest day is Saturday, which serves only Kosher food in the Knesset cafeteria etc.

A “State of the Jewish People” is a completely different story. It means that the state belongs not only to its citizens, but to something that is called “the Jewish People” – something that exists both inside and outside of the country. That can have wide-ranging implications. For instance: the abrogation of the citizenship of non-Jews, as proposed by Lieberman. Or the conferring of Israeli citizenship on all the Jews in the world, whether they want it or not.

The first question that arises is: what does “the Jewish People” mean? The term “people” – “am” in Hebrew, Volk in German – has no accepted precise definition. Generally it is taken to mean a group of human beings who live in a specific territory and speak a specific language. The “Jewish People” is not like that.

Two hundred years ago it was clear that the Jews were a religious community dispersed throughout the world and united by religious beliefs and myths (including the belief in a common ancestry). The Zionists were determined to change this self-perception. “We are a people, one people”, Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism, wrote in German, using the word Volk.


The idea of “the State of the Jewish People” is decidedly anti-Zionist.
Herzl did not dream of a situation in which a Jewish State and a Jewish Diaspora would coexist. According to his plan, all the Jews who wish to remain Jews would immigrate to their state. The Jews who prefer to live outside the state would stop being Jews and be absorbed into their host nations, finally becoming real Germans, Britons and Frenchmen. The vision of the “Visionary of the State” (as he is officially designated in Israel) was supposed, when put into practice, to bring about the disappearance of the Jewish Diaspora – the Jewish people outside the “Judenstaat”.

David Ben-Gurion was a partner to this vision. He stated that a Jew who does not immigrate to Israel is not a Zionist and should not enjoy any rights in Israel, except the right to immigrate there. He demanded the dismantling of the Zionist organization, seeing in it only the “scaffolding” for building the state. Once the state has been set up, he thought quite rightly, the scaffolding should be discarded.

* * *

NETANYAHU’S DEMAND that the Palestinians recognize Israel as “the State of the Jewish People” is ridiculous, even as a tactic for preventing peace.

A state recognizes a state, not its ideology or political regime. Nobody recognizes Saudi Arabia, the homeland of the Hajj, as “the State of the Muslim Umma” (the community of believers.)

Moreover, the demand puts the Jews all over the world in an impossible position. If the Palestinians have to recognize Israel as “the State of the Jewish People”, then all the governments in the world must do the same. The United States, for example. That means that the Jewish US citizens Rahm Emmanuel and David Axelrod, Obama’s closest advisors, are officially represented by the government of Israel. The same goes for the Jews in Russia, the UK and France.

Even if Mahmoud Abbas were persuaded to accept this demand – and thereby indirectly put in doubt the citizenship of a million and a half Arabs in Israel – I would oppose this strenuously. More than that, I would consider it an unfriendly act.

The character of the State of Israel must be decided by the citizens of Israel (who hold a wide range of opinions about this matter). Pending before the Israeli courts is an application by dozens of Israeli patriots, including myself, who demand that the state recognize the “Israeli nation”. We request the court to instruct the government to register us in the official Population Registration, under the heading “nation”, as Israelis. The government refuses adamantly and insists that our nation is Jewish.

I ask Mahmoud Abbas, Obama and everyone else who is not an Israeli citizen not to interfere in this domestic debate.

Netanyahu knows, of course, that nobody will take his demand seriously. It is quite obviously just another device to avoid serious peace negotiations. If he is compelled to drop it, it will not be long before he comes up with another.

To paraphrase Groucho Marx: “This is my pretext. If you don’t like it, well, I have a lot of others.”

Ref: Counterpunch
Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is a contributor to CounterPunch’s book The Politics of Anti-Semitism.

NAKBA DAY … “THEY KILLED ANYONE THEY SAW” + “Happy Nakba Day!”

OCCUPIED WEST BANK — Mohammed al-Saghir Abu Sharar was 37 when the Hagana and other Jewish terrorist gangs attacked al-Dawayema, a village located 18 kilometers northwest of Al-Khalil (Hebron) in 1948.

“When they came they started killing the civilian population en mass, men, women and children,” recalls Mohammed, now nearly 100-year-old.

“They killed anyone they saw. They broke the heads of children and cut open the bellies of women with bayonets. They even raped some women before murdering them.”
Mohammed said one of the bloodiest chapters of that day took place in the mosque.

“It was Friday and many elderly people had already gone to the local mosque for the congregational prayer,” he remembers.

“About two hours before the prayers, around 10:00 or 10:30 a.m., a number of vehicles carrying gunmen arrived. They sprayed everyone with bullets, killing all the 75 elderly people. Not a single one survived,” he added with tears in his eyes.

“They then started going into the houses, killing entire families. The killings forced people to flee eastward. However, the Hagana men pursued the fleeing civilians, killing more people.”

In his book “All That Remains,” Walid al-Khalid, a Palestinian historian of impeccable credentials, wrote that al-Dawayema had a population of 3710 in 1945.

The world marks on May 15 the “Nakba Day,” when Israel was created on the rubble of their country.

On April 18, 1948, Palestinian Tiberius was captured by Menachem Begin’s Irgun militant group, putting its 5,500 Palestinian residents in flight. On April 22, Haifa fell to the Zionist militants and 70,000 Palestinians fled.

On April 25, Irgun began bombarding civilian sectors of Jaffa, terrifying the 750,000 inhabitants into panicky flight.

On May 14, the day before the creation of Israel, Jaffa completely surrendered to the much better-equipped Zionist militants and only about 4,500 of its population remained.

No Shelter

Mohammed, who now lives with his family at the small village of al-Majd, about 7 kilometers southwest of al-Dawayema, says dozens of families had sought shelter at a big cave called “Turel Zagh”.

“The Jews told them to come out and get into a row and start to walk. And when they started walking, they sprayed them with machinegun fire from two sides,” he adds.

“One woman, the wife of Mir’ie Freih, survived the massacre by pretending to be dead.”

Mohammed said the victims of the massacre were later buried inside the Bir al-Sahra and Bir al-Sil wells.

His testimony was corroborated by Israeli historians and researchers relying on the de-classified archives of the Israeli army and interviews with veteran soldiers.

Happy Nakba Day!

Israeli historian Benny Morris had interviewed a participant in the massacre who told him that about 80 to 100 people, including women and children, were killed by “the first wave of conquerors.”

In 1984, an Israeli journalist interviewed the former Mukhtar (village notable) of al-Dawayema, Hasan Mahmoud Ihdeib, and took him back to the site for the first time since the massacre.

Ihdeib told him about the people killed in the mosque and the families
slaughtered at the cave, showing him the cistern where the bodies had been buried.

A few days later, the Israeli journalist brought workers who dug and discovered bones and skulls.

In 1955, the Jewish settlement of Amatzya was built on the ruins of al-Dawayema.

Aharon Zisling, Israel’s first agriculture minister, had likened the massacre, codenamed “Operation Yo’av”, to Nazi crimes.

Living Memory

A few years ago, Mohammed and his family visited the ruinous cite of his village where his father, mother, grandfather and their ancestors are buried.

“I stood their crying. I saw our home, badly dilapidated. I saw the chamber where my father used to receive guests. I saw the abandoned wells of water.”

The century-old Palestinian still hopes he would be allowed to live in his old home village.

“My wish has remained unchanged, it is to return to my village, to die and be buried there.”

Asked further if he would accept compensation for his lost property, he lapsed into a moment of silence before answering.

“It is not a matter of property and compensation,” he said.

“This is my country, my history, my home, my childhood memories. My forefathers and foremothers are buried there. Would you trade the grave of your father for all the money in the world?”

Ref: Islamonline

Many Israeli Jews celebrated Israeli Independence Day (according the Hebrew calendar) not long ago. Many more Israeli Jews had fun a couple of weeks later, on Lag B’Omer, while thousands of Israel’s Arab citizens decried the “Nakba” (The Catastrophe), namely the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 (according to the general calendar) with a day of mourning among Israel’s Arab community. That says everything…

So while the Jews were happy and dancing, first on Independence Day, then on the anniversary of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochi’s death (over 300,000 near his grave in Meron alone), the Arabs were crying over the tragedies that befell them. Isn’t that just the way it should be?

Well, Happy Nakba Day!

For example in Lod, a Jewish city with Arabs living there, over 1,500 Arabs attended a “Nakba Day” rally. So did some Arab Knesset members, such as Azmi Bishara. “This is a day of mourning for the Palestinian people,” MK Jamal Zahalka said. “Lod is a special place for us, because it is here that the massacre [?] of 1948 took place at the Great Mosque, and that is why the city has become a symbol for us. Our message is that we will never forget and never forgive for what happened. We have come here to say that the Arab population will remain in Lod forever.”

Several major attacks by Arab forces occurred in the Lod area during Israel’s War of Independence. Lod and Ramle were counter-attacked by the IDF because they were on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road and convoys attempting to resupply and reinforce Jerusalem had to travel through the streets of the two towns, routinely under fire. The IDF could not afford to allow Jerusalem to be cut off from the rest of the country.

Yitzhak Rabin, then a commander involved in the operation, later said he agreed with Ben-Gurion’s order to expel the Arabs of Ramle and Lod. The Arabs in Lod were “armed and hostile,” Rabin said, presenting a danger, and they had to be driven away. Fighting with Arab gunmen took place, but no massacre occurred, the enemy during wartime was dealt a heavy blow.

Lod is a town where till this day; the Arab population has been consistently harassing the Jewish population. See my article, “The Jewish Struggle Against Arabs in Israel”.

“This is our memorial day,” National Democratic Assembly member Gabi Tanus said in Lod. “It is more important to us than the Holocaust is to the Jewish nation.”

Notice the Arabs suffered more than the Jews did from the Holocaust…

Happy Nakba day!

Lag B’Omer by the way, also marks the end of a period of deaths, of thousands of Rabbi Akiva’s students. Tradition tells us that 24,000 died during a plague. Rabbi Akiva was an arms smuggler during Bar Kochba’s revolt against the Roman occupation of Judea (according to Maimonides). Others surmise, they died in the battles to liberate Judea from the Roman occupation. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochi (one of Rabbi Akiva’s top students), was forced to flee for his life and hide in a cave. There, he and his son studied Torah night and day for 13 years, till the “secrets of creation” were revealed to him. His teachings were later written down as “The Zohar,” the Book of Splendor, the “Bible” of Jewish Mysticism.

So just as the Jews of Judea fought and gained independence from the “super-power of their time” the Roman Empire, for 3 and a half years, Modern Israel finally gained independence, over 1,800 years later.

And the Arabs? They sit and weep, just as Jews did for those intervening 1,800 years. The only difference is that the Arabs are a recent settler population, who came to the Land of Israel only in the last hundred years or so, and have no real connection to this place, in spite of their weeping (and terrorism).

Notice they are not mourning the loss of the 1967 territories, but all of “Palestine”. Coming up in a little over a week is Jerusalem Day. Jews the world over will celebrate the liberation of Eastern Jerusalem, with it’s Temple Mount and Western Wall. Hebron, Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights were all delivered out of the hands of the Arab occupiers and into the hands of their rightful Jewish owners.

Israeli Arabs were never a happy bunch even though they have full civil equality. But in recent years, there has been growing active involvement from their community with “Palestinian” terrorists from the Palestinian Authority. Combined with their recent (since Oslo) vocal repudiation of Israeli Independence Day as their “Catastrophe;” it has been proven to many Israeli Jews, what they always suspected, Israeli Arabs are not trustworthy.

According to the Israel Democracy Institute’s recent study, the “2006 Democracy Index,” only 14% feel that relations between Jews and Arabs are good in Israel and 62% of Israelis would like to see the government actively encourage Arabs to leave Israel through financial incentives (the poll includes Israeli Arabs, so the figure for Israeli Jews must be even higher).

Professor Asher Arian (who conducted the survey), said he was not surprised by the support expressed for encouraging the Arabs to leave. “This has been a stable sentiment in the Israeli Jewish public for many years,” he said. “The public is both cynical and very Zionist.” He pointed out that if the survey were carried out right after a terrorist attack, the numbers would have been even higher in support of encouraging Arabs to leave.

The Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research of Tel Aviv University, found in their latest, “Peace Index: March 2006” (conducted on April 3-4, 2006, after the Israeli elections), a clear majority of Jews are against expelling more Jewish “settlers” from their homes. When questioned whether Israel should act unilaterally to set its final borders (Olmert’s Convergence/Expulsion Plan) or continue the existing situation (leave the
Jewish settlements alone) and wait until conditions are ripe for renewing contacts with the PA, 44% said they were for maintaining the status quo, whereas only 41% favored acting unilaterally to expel Jews from their homes. Don’t forget this poll too included about 20% Arab respondents.

Maybe Israel will one day soon decide to solve its “Arab security and demographic problem” the way most Jews in Israel would like it to, not by expelling Jews from parts of their ancestral homeland but by removing “the thorns in our side,” (Numbers 33:55).

Then Israel’s “good Arab citizens,” freed from their burdensome host, would have a real cause for celebration, as would the rest of us.

Ref: Israelinsider
Views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of israelinsider.

Ahmadinejad, Durban and another fine mess

This is hardly the time for levity, but watching delegates at the Durban anti-racism review conference walk out while President Ahmadinejad served up his version of Zionist history, I couldn’t help thinking of that immortal phrase from Laurel and Hardy: “Well, that’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.” The Geneva UN gathering is an event of high seriousness. It coincides with Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day and Hitler’s birthday. It has been heading for disaster for months while western states and Jewish groups have been at loggerheads over strategy. It appears to have been completely derailed by a publicity-seeking, not especially powerful politician, desperately campaigning for re-election as president. And meanwhile, the millions whose lives are utterly blighted by racial discrimination, violence and hatred are relegated to a footnote. Part farce, part tragedy? Seeking refuge in humour doesn’t seem an entirely inappropriate way of responding when none of it seems to make any sense.

Some who stayed in their seats clapped and cheered. In whose interests? Did the anti-Israel rhetoric at the 2001 Durban anti-racism conference help alleviate the plight of the Palestinians one iota? No. The last eight years have seen a gross deterioration in their position. Did the attempt to brand Zionism a form of racism help bring closer an end to the aggressive settlement policy on the West Bank? No. It continued apace. And with the new rightwing dominated government now in power in Israel, that policy looks likely to intensify. The Palestinians, who deserve no less than a complete and immediate end to occupation and all the repressive policies and human rights abuses that go with it, lost out then and will lose out again.

Jewish groups have long been agonising over what stance to take. Bitter accusations of appeasement and betrayal have been flying around between self-styled individual champions of Jewish and Israeli honour, and Jewish defence organisations unable to make up their minds about fighting expected antisemitism from inside the tent or avoiding the taint of appearing powerless to prevent it by remaining outside. The pugnacious American lawyer Alan Dershowitz epitomises the latter position by demonstrating outside Ahmadinejad’s hotel. The UK Jewish Human Rights Coalition epitomises the former by deciding to attend, but shows the confusion at the heart of their strategy by calling on the UK delegation to withdraw because of Ahmadinejad’s attendance.

A mess, and doomed, it may well be. But the boycotts by the US, Canada, Israel, Italy and others only hand a kind of victory on a plate to those who want to hijack the conference for their own, narrow political purposes. Since when has the UN been a children’s tea party? It can’t help for powerful countries to give the impression that they cannot make the arguments that need to be made against Ahmadinejad and his ilk. And these arguments need to be addressed to a wider world audience. And in whose interests is it for Israel to be playing the victim? Israel too is perfectly capable of making its arguments. What on earth will withdrawing its ambassador from Switzerland achieve? When the dust settles, it will be easy for other states to ask: “Why should we entertain the likes of a far right racist like your foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman?”

Laurel and Hardy’s famous signature tune was The Cuckoo Song. A pompous and dramatic melody and an out-of-key harmony, with just two notes. Sounds like this benighted conference.

REf: Guardian