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Articles Archives - March 2010
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Israeli forces continue their campaign of widespread arrests in the occupied Palestinian territories - International Press Center photo

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Monday, March 15, 2010
Israel Crackdown Puts Liberal Jews on the Spot
Chris Hedges, TruthDig 3/15/2010
      The Israeli government, its brutal war crimes in Gaza exposed in detail in the U.N. report by Justice Richard Goldstone, has implemented a series of draconian measures to silence and discredit dissidents, leading intellectuals and human rights organizations inside and outside Israel that are accused—often falsely—of assisting Goldstone’s U.N. investigators. The government of Benjamin Netanyahu is attempting to shut down Israel’s premier human rights organizations, including B’Tselem, the New Israel Fund (NIF) and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. It is busy expelling or excluding peace activists and foreign nationals from the Palestinian territories. The campaign, if left unchecked, will be as catastrophic for Palestinians as it will be for Israel.
     The Goldstone report, which is over 500 pages, investigated Israel’s 22-day air and ground assault on Gaza that took place from Dec. 27, 2008, to Jan. 18, 2009. The United Nations and the European Parliament have endorsed the report. The report found that Israel used disproportionate military force against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip while failing to take adequate precautions to protect the civilian population against the military assault. The Israeli attack killed 1,434 people, including 960 civilians, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. More than 6,000 homes were destroyed or damaged, leaving behind some $3 billion in destruction in one of the poorest areas on Earth. No Israelis were killed by Hamas rockets fired into Israel during the assault. The report did not limit itself to the 22-day attack; rather, it went on to indict the occupation itself. It examines the beginning of the occupation and condemns Israel for the border closures, the blockade and for the wall or security barrier in the West Bank. It has two references to the right of return, investigates Israeli torture and criticizes the willful destruction of the Palestinian economy.
     “The impact of the Goldstone report is tremendous,” the Middle East scholar Norman Finkelstein said when I reached him in New York.....
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Olive Oil And Tears
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD, Desert Peace 3/15/2010
      "If the olive tree knew the suffering of its owner, its oil would turn into tears" -- Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish
     The olive young leaves and flower sprouts are denser than ever before. It promises a great season not only of bountiful agricultural harvest but of bountiful harvest on the activism front. It is true that, as the Palestinian poet stated, if the olive tree knew the suffering of its owner, its oil would turn into tears. The Israeli apartheid forces have been uprooting olive trees in Beit Jala the last few days. They have also intensified their repression and attempts at intimidation of activists (with help from Palestinian collaborators). But it is also true that the apartheid system is facing grassroots activists everywhere despite all these tactics. Today we joined the demonstration in Beit Jala as we did not have a competing event at Ush Ghrab. The lack of an event here in Beit Sahour happened because the popular committee decided collectively (over 15 people) to put the actions before the local forces to decide on how (and if?) to support the popular resistance. Yet, we did go to Ush Ghrab in the morning and an Ashkenazi white man wearing a blue shirt entered as we were meeting and drinking coffee, fiddled with his backpack, for a few minutes, then left. Later, as we were leaving, we notice the Israeli army on the hill and the same man with the blue shirt “briefing” them.
     Soldiers uprooting olive trees were confronted in Beit Jala and later landowners with help of other locals and internationals went back and replanted these trees and rebuilt a bulldozed children’s playground in Beit Jala....
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Anti-Semitism: Zionism’s indispensable alibi
Maidhc Ó Cathail, Redress 3/15/2010
      Maidhc Ó Cathail considers the symbiotic relationship between Zionism and anti-Semitism – real or imagined – and how Israel and other Zionists have at times faked instances of “anti-Semitism” in order to promote their cause.
     Although Zionism typically represents itself as the solution to anti-Semitism, the truth is less flattering. In fact, hostility toward Jews is indispensable to the cause of Jewish nationalism. If anti-Semitism didn’t exist, Zionists would have to invent it. And in many cases that is precisely what they have done.
     Contrary to the widespread perception that Zionism opposes anti-Semitism, its adherents have occasionally revealed a more ambivalent attitude to Jew-hatred. In 1895, Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, prophetically wrote in his Diaries: “Anti-Semites will become our surest friends, anti-Semitic countries our allies.” Even the suffering inflicted on European Jewry by the Nazi holocaust doesn’t seem to have unduly tempered such cynicism. In 1995, Jay Lefkowitz, an American government official, told the New York Times Magazine: “Deep down, I believe that a little anti-Semitism is a good thing for the Jews— reminds them who they are.”
     If Zionist extremists can’t provoke the desired level of anti-Semitism to advance their goals, they are even prepared to fake it. A 1952 article in Davar, the official organ of Mapai, the party of the then Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, suggested sending a team of saboteurs “to help redeem Jews” from the countries where they are “absorbed in sinful self-satisfaction”.
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European Union found guilty at first session of Russell Tribunal
Electronic Intifada: 15 Mar 2010 - The first session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RTP) was heard in Barcelona, Spain earlier this month. The RTP is a peoples' legal initiative designed to systematically try key actors responsible for the perpetuation of human rights violations in Palestine. In the frame this time was the European Union (EU). Two days and 21 expert witness testimonies later, the RTP found individual states and the EU as a whole guilty of persistent violations and misconduct with regards to international and internal EU law. Ewa Jasiewicz and Frank Barat comment for The Electronic Intifada.

Review: Finkelstein's transformation to victim hero in "American Radical"
Electronic Intifada: 15 Mar 2010 - With unfettered access to Norman Finkelstein during the most dramatic stage of his career, American Radical: the trials of Norman Finkelstein directors David Ridgen and Nicolas Rossier provide a compelling look at one of the most roundly vilified academics in recent American history. Max Blumenthal reviews the new documentary for The Electronic Intifada.

Boycott or censorship?
Electronic Intifada: 15 Mar 2010 - Critics of the movement for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel -- including Israeli concert producer Shuki Weiss -- have claimed that calling on artists to cancel performances in Israel is a form of censorship. Is the cultural boycott a form of censorship or McCarthyism? Sami Hermez comments for The Electronic Intifada.

Clashes Spread Through East Jerusalem
Palestine Monitor: 15 Mar 2010 - A heavy police presence faced off with activists and residents around the disputed capital on Friday. The decision to bar access into Jerusalem for all Palestinians, even those with blue IDs, led to angry protests around Damascus Gate, the Al-Aqsa Compound and Sheikh Jarrah. The movement restrictions have now been extended until Thursday, for a record five days. All photos by Lazar Simeonov. IDs being scrutinised by the Damascus Gate. A young boy is arrested by plainclothes officers outside the Al-Aqsa Compound. One of several casualties. Forced to pray on the street under police supervision. International and Israeli activists join Palestinian protestors in Sheikh Jarrah. Read and watch more from Sheikh Jarrah here http://www.israeli-occupation.org/2...

Israeli Settlement Expansions Continue
Palestine Chronicle: 15 Mar 2010 - By Stephen Lendman Currently, around 500,000 Jews reside illegally in over 120 West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements as well as dozens of outposts. Their numbers grow daily despite occasional pledges to curtail or slow them, the latest last November when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a 10 month freeze, calling it a move to "help launch meaningful negotiations to reach a historic peace agreement that would finally end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians." Never mind Israel's history of past peace process futility because all previous efforts were more pretense than real, or as some Palestinians say - How can they negotiate in good faith without a willing partner? They've never had one and don't in Netanyahu, an extremist hard-right zealot. The same holds for a settlement freeze, just rhetoric with no substance, especially given Israel's plan to make all Jerusalem a Jewish city, according to Netanyahu. During...more

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