US Tax Dollars Provide Welfare to the Global Repression Industry!

If American’s think gun violence in the US bad now, things are about to get a whole lot worse with the $38 BILLION US tax dollars of ‘military aid’ going to Israel and $60 BILLION to Saudi Arabia.
Not only will this trillion dollar hand out to military contractors and arms dealers, justified by the illegal, immoral ‘war on terror’ will be used to kill civilians abroad – it comes at the expense of much needed funding for: education, healthcare, affordable housing, infrastructure & everything else that’s in shambles in the US.
Still this war against the people, is not limited to those abroad. As Jeff Halper notes:
This type weaponry for everything from counterinsurgency to combating refugees to Ferguson to the Occupy Movement should send the message: the Occupation is here in our community. As our armies, police forces and paranoid-induced civilians are being “israelized,” the rest of us are being palestinianized.”

So here is an Israeli weapons company, Israel Weapons Industries (IWI), announcing a ten-fold increase in ammunition sales to the US of $66 million, a third of it geared to the civilian market. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. IWI, the manufacturers of the most famous submachine gun in the world, the Uzi, recently opened a manufacturing plant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. http://iwi.us

What IWI is producing and selling is chilling: powerful military weapons that have been “civilianized” so that they can be used by police and civilians. The Uzi, for example, has been made into a large pistol, so the next time you’re stopped by your local police (or if you’re black or poor, shot at by your local police), they could be pulling from their holsters Uzi machine gun pistols.

Besides supplying weapons and ammo to the US army, IWI is targeting two American populations. First, the police. It is encouraging the militarization of US police by producing a range of semi-automatic rifles, machine guns and other “hybrid” military/police weapons, and using local police to lobby in their departments — and Congress –for IWI weaponry.

Second, IWI targets the huge American civilian market (Americans, about 4% of the world’s population, own 250 million small arms, about 40% of the world’s total). In fact, on the IWI US website is an icon urging Americans to support the gun lobby. So IWI produces the X95 combined carbine, assault rifle and submachine gun. Why a carbine component? Would you use an X95 to hunt deer? Because assault rifles and submachine guns are (marginally) harder to purchase across the counter; being a normal carbine removes that difficulty. $1200 at your local gun shop (or maybe Walmart’s) will buy you one.

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Bay Area Community’s Declare Decisive Victory Over Apartheid Israel!

October 28, 2014

San Francisco Bay Area Community’s Decisive Victory Over Apartheid Israel

Oakland has made history once again with another BDS victory for Palestine against the Israeli Zim shipping line. This latest round of organizing has been the most momentous and historic. Members of ILWU Local 10 informed Block the Boat organizers that the Zim Beijing which was headed to the Port of Oakland, has been re-routed to Russia to avoid disruptions at the SSA terminal. For the first time ever, an Israeli ship has been completely turned away before reaching its port of destination due to sustained overwhelming community organizing.

The damage to Israel’s credibility can’t be exaggerated–the Zim line, though privately owned, is an Israeli “security asset.” Israel exerts control over the corporation through a “golden share” which it uses to prevent the sale of the company into foreign hands. The Zim line is mandated to be part of Israel’s critical supply chain during protracted military conflicts. The brand and economic impact on Zim has yet to be calculated, but is surely devastating. Goods have been rerouted, and undelivered for months. ILWU workers have honored our pickets and sided with the community against US complicity in Israeli apartheid. Zim has been disrupted and confronted by anti-Zionist protests in Seattle, Tacoma, Los Angeles, Vancouver, New Orleans, New York and Tampa. Ports all over North America are making it clear that Israel can no longer conduct business as usual because Zionism is simply not welcome on our coasts.

Zim‘s Maneuvers

The Zim Beijing, which was scheduled to arrive in Oakland on the morning of Saturday October 25, 2014, instead broke from its heading soon after it reached the north western coast of Mexico on Wednesday, October 22nd, and headed further northwest. Several sources, including Zim’s own online schedule, and port and union authorities confirm that the Beijing’s intended destination was Oakland, but that it changed its itinerary to avoid yet another humiliating defeat. In an article published on 10/26, headlined “Zim Beijing Avoids Oakland” the GulfShip News reported, “The ship was due to call on Saturday, but then delayed its call to today [Sunday]. Reports from Oakland suggest Zim has now decided to cancel the call altogether. Zim has been hit by protests at Oakland in August and September, disrupting its schedules.”

We also tracked the ship via satellite using an online marine tracking service and documented that the ship listed its destination as Oakland just minutes after it left the Panama Canal–the norm for Zim ships on the Asia Pacific line, which stop at either Los Angeles or Oakland before heading to China and Russia. Just days into its 9 day journey from the Canal, however, Zim abruptly removed Oakland from its online schedule, and headed northwest, taking it ever farther from Oakland.

Confronting Global Repression

It is clear that the Zim Beijing diverted course in response to the powerful Block the Boat organizing. In August, Block the Boat organized and inspired a series of historic night and day pickets, which with the support of ILWU workers, prevented the Zim Piraeus from unloading for 4 days, and eventually forced the ship to leave before even a fraction of its cargo could be unloaded. In September, Zim faced another set of pickets that forced the Zim Shanghai to offload in Los Angeles, rather than its intended Oakland destination. The Block the Boat coalition along with the broader Bay Area community has made it clear that we can determine what takes place in our towns. And business with the racist, exclusionary, Zionist state of Israel, which works alongside local and federal law enforcement to repress our communities, will not go unchallenged.

Activists remained focused throughout Zim’s obfuscations, organizing for a large turnout to picket the Beijing whenever it would arrive–Saturday, Sunday, or any day of the coming week. Given the convoluted maneuvers Zim used in August, in which it left the port under the cover of an Israeli consulate press release, only to return to another terminal less than an hour later, organizers now know to be thorough and patient. After tracking the Zim Beijing for several days, Block the Boat prepared for a week of possible pickets by staging a late day march of hundreds on Sunday to the Port of Oakland to show the strength and focus of this movement. It was a warning to Zim to keep going as it reached the 1000-mile mark from Oakland and a promise that the gates would be lined again with unstoppable anti-Zionist picketers if it returned.

As the Beijing sails beyond the horizon, it still bears the destination of Oakland, though it is over 1200 miles away from San Francisco Bay at the time of this statement. Our efforts have paid off; Zim Beijing does not appear to be turning around. Even if it did reverse course and head back to Oakland at this point, it would be a week late, and it would find us once again, prepared to stop it at the port.

BDS Victory

We are declaring a historic victory in our effort to block the Beijing. It is very likely that Zim has been completely prevented from doing any future business at the Port of Oakland. Only time will tell if Zim’s changes to its schedule reflect the real re-routing of its ships, or simply just another ruse to fool opponents of Israeli apartheid. Obviously, here in Oakland, we are ready for Zim’s return any time. Together with our brothers and sisters from Ferguson to Palestine, we are fighting back against state violence and apartheid and we are prepared to bring it down brick by brick, wall by wall, port by port.

Community organizing.

The damage to Israel’s credibility can’t be exaggerated–the Zim line, though privately owned, is an Israeli “security asset.” Israel exerts control over the corporation through a “golden share” which it uses to prevent the sale of the company into foreign hands. The Zim line is mandated to be part of Israel’s critical supply chain during protracted military conflicts. The brand and economic impact on Zim has yet to be calculated, but is surely devastating. Goods have been rerouted, and undelivered for months. ILWU workers have honored our pickets and sided with the community against US complicity in Israeli apartheid. Zim has been disrupted and confronted by anti-Zionist protests in Seattle, Tacoma, Los Angeles, Vancouver, New Orleans, New York and Tampa. Ports all over North America are making it clear that Israel can no longer conduct business as usual because Zionism is simply not welcome on our coasts.

Zim‘s Maneuvers

The Zim Beijing, which was scheduled to arrive in Oakland on the morning of Saturday October 25, 2014, instead broke from its heading soon after it reached the north western coast of Mexico on Wednesday, October 22nd, and headed further northwest. Several sources, including Zim’s own online schedule, and port and union authorities confirm that the Beijing’s intended destination was Oakland, but that it changed its itinerary to avoid yet another humiliating defeat. In an article published on 10/26, headlined “Zim Beijing Avoids Oakland” the GulfShip News reported, “The ship was due to call on Saturday, but then delayed its call to today [Sunday]. Reports from Oakland suggest Zim has now decided to cancel the call altogether. Zim has been hit by protests at Oakland in August and September, disrupting its schedules.”

We also tracked the ship via satellite using an online marine tracking service and documented that the ship listed its destination as Oakland just minutes after it left the Panama Canal–the norm for Zim ships on the Asia Pacific line, which stop at either Los Angeles or Oakland before heading to China and Russia. Just days into its 9 day journey from the Canal, however, Zim abruptly removed Oakland from its online schedule, and headed northwest, taking it ever farther from Oakland.

Confronting Global Repression

It is clear that the Zim Beijing diverted course in response to the powerful Block the Boat organizing. In August, Block the Boat organized and inspired a series of historic night and day pickets, which with the support of ILWU workers, prevented the Zim Piraeus from unloading for 4 days, and eventually forced the ship to leave before even a fraction of its cargo could be unloaded. In September, Zim faced another set of pickets that forced the Zim Shanghai to offload in Los Angeles, rather than its intended Oakland destination. The Block the Boat coalition along with the broader Bay Area community has made it clear that we can determine what takes place in our towns. And business with the racist, exclusionary, Zionist state of Israel, which works alongside local and federal law enforcement to repress our communities, will not go unchallenged.

Activists remained focused throughout Zim’s obfuscations, organizing for a large turnout to picket the Beijing whenever it would arrive–Saturday, Sunday, or any day of the coming week. Given the convoluted maneuvers Zim used in August, in which it left the port under the cover of an Israeli consulate press release, only to return to another terminal less than an hour later, organizers now know to be thorough and patient. After tracking the Zim Beijing for several days, Block the Boat prepared for a week of possible pickets by staging a late day march of hundreds on Sunday to the Port of Oakland to show the strength and focus of this movement. It was a warning to Zim to keep going as it reached the 1000-mile mark from Oakland and a promise that the gates would be lined again with unstoppable anti-Zionist picketers if it returned.

As the Beijing sails beyond the horizon, it still bears the destination of Oakland, though it is over 1200 miles away from San Francisco Bay at the time of this statement. Our efforts have paid off; Zim Beijing does not appear to be turning around. Even if it did reverse course and head back to Oakland at this point, it would be a week late, and it would find us once again, prepared to stop it at the port.

​###​

The “Lawless” Sinai and Israel’s Biblical Pipedream

The latest chapter in Egyptian political drama is set in the ‘lawless Sinai’, or ‘Wild Wild West’ as it’s also called – and took front and center stage this week. The murder mystery, also known as the “Ramadan Massacre”, which killed 16 Egyptian soldiers came complete with a showdown of political rivals, Arab/Muslim extremists and riveting plot twists, has all its viewers at the edge of our seats, and is far more fascinating than any Hollywood blockbuster.

In typical fashion of any good political drama, the absolute lack of evidence did not prevent mud slinging by political rivals, followed by a variety of conspiracy theories, and those with the most entrenched interests trading accusations. The lack of clear evidence, gave all the political parties the green light to throw around their opinions of who was responsible, and of course the parrot media followed with their rein of articles, and within minutes officials blew up the internet, blogosphere and social media sites speculating about events and reporting them as facts–thus utterly confusing the public. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas blamed Israel’s Mossad, and Israel blamed militants from Gaza and within hours the borders were shut, the notorious travel ban was enacted and the collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians, was intensified. The Egyptian army then deployed troops to respond to the situation and media reports spread widely, announcing that 20 insurgents had been killed. But the initial report was never confirmed, and it has become clear now that it was almost certainly false.

President Morsi did not disappoint and proved to be a (news) worthy actor. In a move deserving of an Academy Award, he created for his presidency a triple win scenario. By reshuffling key positions and appointments, he removed the much hated Field Marshal Tantawi from his position-thus averting a showdown with the Egyptian street, and provided him a dignified exit strategy by making him an adviser in his cabinet and decorated him with the country’s most prestigious honor, pleasing the high level military brass which to everyone’s surprise, did not even utter a word of disagreement..and in the end – consolidating his Presidential powers.

So, who’s to blame

With it still unclear as to who was responsible, and evidence unlikely to be forthcoming – what’s clear across the board, is that the killing of the army officials was a complete military disaster. Yet, the security failure should not be seen as the shortcomings of the Egyptian army alone. The incoming government, inherited a legacy of lawlessness which began in 1979 as a result of Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel. According to he “Security annex of Camp David accords Egypt can not have army officers or soldiers in the areas, only police and lately borders guards with light arms and armored vehicles.” . This was the first time since 1967, the Egyptian Air Forces sent its planes from air fighters like F16 and helicopters to the area. Today, there are said to be approximately 1,500 ‘extremist’ groups in the lawless territory, now the big question is, WHO will be able to control the situation and prevent future attacks.

When viewed in the above light, it seems that the most logical question is if the goal of Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel is truly to secure the troubled region, limiting its military presence from their mutual ‘borders’, would seem a rather foolish policy. The Bedouin community has been warning Egypt of the growing danger on its border for many years:

”but no one listened to us,” the Sheikh said in reference to yesterday’s raid by a jihadist commando on an Egyptian border patrol barracks, which left 16 soldiers dead. The situation might drive Israel to occupy parts of northern Sinai, especially the el-Arish border access points, al-Maniei said. An Israeli military spokesman yesterday called the Sinai ”a great hothouse for the flowering of international terrorism.” And in that vacuum, you’re starting to see and residents complained that Islamist militants are finding a home. And they say a lot of the tribes up there that we spoke to in light of recent events are saying we’ve been begging for help, we’ve been begging for security, but the army hasn’t responded.1

Still, the barrage of analysts and commentators fail to ask the most important questions – such as, what is the history of ‘extremism’ in the region? Who are the groups present – what are their objectives, where are they from, and what are their ideologies? And, perhaps most importantly – why/were they allowed to flourish, unchecked for decades when violence and ‘terror’ was a easily foreseeable outcome.

If Securing the Sinai isn’t the Goal, then What is?

Since clear evidence as to who was responsible for the “Ramadan massacre” may never be forthcoming – as with any murder mystery, a good detectives strategy is to uncover motive. To analyze the motive, we can look first look at the fall out, of which three major policy developments have resulted. The first is the ever increasing and tightening of the illegal siege of Gaza, the second is the ‘major shakedown’ of the top military brass and key cabinet positions – and the third was the (at least limited/temporary) increase in the military’s presence. The first and second serve to uphold the status quo, which the Egyptian government was under attack for upholding (following which, now public criticism has largely disappeared). For the final fall out, of who will control the troubled region, long term – is perhaps the most important question of all.

Recent and regular statements made by Israeli officials, reflect that of former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt,  Zvi Mazel, who following the attack stated: “If terrorism continues from Sinai to Gaza or from Sinai directly to Israel or from Sinai-Gaza-Israel, at a certain time at a certain point Israel will be forced to act, even to penetrate into Sinai, and it may change everything.”  this standpoint, the whole charade begins to become much clearer to understand. This is why most outside observers conclude that none of the ‘extremist’ or other suspected groups had anything to gain by such an operation, besides Israel.

Map of “Greater Israel” Published by Radical Settler Movement

Israel’s declaration of independence, on May 14, 1948, makes no mention of the new state’s borders; it vaguely declares “the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.” Eretz-Israel is a Biblical term meaning the “Land of Israel,” the borders of which are variedly defined in Scripture. A maximalist interpretation would extend it from the Nile to the Euphrates.

Here, the Israeli settler movement published what it calls “the map of greater Israel.” Israel’s borders in the map include the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. You can see the map here.

“The settler movement quoted Rabbi Avrom Shmulevic of the Bead Artzein (“For the Homeland”) Movement as saying, “The process of national revival of the Jewish people is irreversible and has its internal logic. We shall have no peace as long as the whole territory of the country of Israel will not return under Jewish control. This might sound too hard, but such is the logic of history. The war on the Holy Land has been already fought for 4,000 years and the end cannot be seen. A stable peace will come only then, when Israel will return to itself all its historical lands, and will thus control both the Suez and the Ormudz channel. The state will find at last its geostrategic completeness. We must remember that Iraqi oil fields too are located on the Jewish land. This may seem utopia to many now – but an even greater utopia seemed a hundred years ago the revival of the Jewish state…If you want it, this will not be a fairy tale.” http://english.pnn.ps/index.php/national/2439-palestine-brief-palestinian-factions-condemn-sinai-attack-israeli-supreme-court-rejects-demands-for-torture-investigation-90000-jerusalemites-at-risk-of-forcible-displacement-by-israel

Once we remove the theatrics of so called experts, commentators and analysts, and focus on the basis and substance to which these attacks and expected responses by all the players, we can see the clear theme in place. This biblical pipe dream is in no way an unlikely goal, according to every Israeli leaders fantasy. Still pragmatism aside, there is every reason to believe zionists will risk everything to see just how far they can take it.  So before the charade carries on any further, someone needs to yell “Cut!” and ask ourselves how we can contribute to returning Egypt back to its original owners, the Egyptian people.

1) Kidnapper: Why I nabbed two Americans in Egypt’s Sinai – The recent kidnappings in Egypt’s Sinai are not motivated by religious extremism or a desire for money, but a desperate desire to make the government listen to a marginalized group. Christian Science Monitor -By Kristen Chick, Correspondent / July 17, 2012

In response to the Christian Science Monitor – “Israel-to-Clinton-Tell-us-what-Egypt-is-thinking”

Dear Christian Science Monitor:

In what should have been a comical headline (but apparently, was not) titled: “Israel to Clinton: Tell us what Egypt is thinking” Israeli officials are hoping US Secretary of State Clinton, after meeting with new Egyptian leader Mohamed Morsi – can shed some light on how to repair frayed Israel-Egypt ties.

Do you want the truth, the whole, and nothing but the truth? Are you sure you can handle it?? Since apparently, the tomatoes and shoes protesters threw at Clinton’s motorcade on Sunday during her visit to Egypt, were not enough to give your and  investigative journalists a clue, and it may not have been clear that the chants of “Monica, Monica”, were not simply an expression of their appreciation of the acts (lol, ONLY in Egypt!!:/) of former Bill Clinton intern, Monica Lewinsky.

Consequently, I can see how your writers may have been confused, since Hillary did not quite get it either – as evidenced by her response when asked about the assault in Alexandria on Sunday, which Clinton characterized the as an outburst of “nervousness about the changes taking place in Egypt. She added that she was “not offended” by protesters in Egypt who pelted her motorcade with tomatoes, calling the demonstrations a sign of greater freedom and anxiety, and mainly regretting what she saw as wasted food.”

Sometimes what is evident to outside observers, is not always so to those who don’t want to see the reality, and know the truth of.. which is apparent to even to the poorest and hungriest of these protesters, that the food was hardly wasted. This expression of self expression is what many Egyptians gave their lives for. And what was evident, is that Egyptians are growing increasingly aware of and outright rejecting this foreign interference in their affairs (Egypt is the second largest recipient to US aid only after Israel – for one reason only, as an ‘incentive’ to ‘uphold’ the peace treaty with Israel.).

Sometimes photo’s do a much simpler job at describing the sentiment – so perhaps this image from yesterday’s protest of her visit, can give you and Israel (and I understand why no one wants to tell them the truth), a hint of what Egyptians are thinking:

For Egyptians, the US’s historic role and destructive policies, are becoming increasingly evident, and the increased levels of democracy are what frightens the US most. Abdulmawgoud Dardery, an MP who represents Luxor for the Freedom and Justice Party summarized it, in a nutshell: “Unfortunately, the United States’ administration, for the past 60 years, has been supporting dictatorship(s) in the Arab and Muslim world. From what they saw happening in the Arab Spring, I think the people in the Arab world have spoken and the United States’ administration has to listen to the voices of the people and they have no other option but to support democracy in Egypt as well as in the Arab world.”

For future  reference – I hope your journalists and those in the press corp begin to wake up to the fact, and start disclosing the the US’s role…and why it is that Israel and the US are afraid of true democracy in the Arab/Muslim world.

The reality is: it doesn’t matter who the people elect as President, the US prefer the military run things. It largely remains to be seen and we’ll see in the end, who will win over the future direction of the country – the US’s interest or the Egyptian people — yesterday’s events scores one for the Egyptian people! 🙂 Too bad it was probably lost upon your readers.

Candle Light Vigil In Solidarity With Khader Adnan & Political Prisoners

Today in Cairo at the Arab league near Tahrir 16:00 – 18:00

BREAKING NEWS: KHADER ADNAN IS SUPPOSED TO BE RELEASED APRIL 17, AND HAS AGREED TO END HIS HUNGER STRIKE. WE WILL STILL MEET TO CELEBRATE THIS NEWS, AND HAVE A VIGIL FOR THE OVER 300 PALESTINIAN PRISONERS STILL DETAINED UNDER ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION IN ISRAELI JAILS.

Please bring signs to end administrative detention and free all political prisoners–and end torture

Join us for a candle light vigil, in front of the Arab League to demand they help release Khader Adnan, who has been on hunger strike since 17 December 2011.

After the vigil, we will go to El Sawy, Culture Wheel where they will hold an event for Khader this evening.

Amnesty International: Israeli decision to release Palestinian detainee in April ‘insufficient’: http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/israeli-decision-release-palestinian-detainee-april-insufficient-2012-02-21 #KhaderAdnan

Mr. Khader is protesting his being held under administrative detention by the Israeli occupation forces. Adnan’s detention is based on military order with secret evidence that he and his attorney are not allowed to review. According to the order, he was sentenced to jail for a six month period that may be renewed without limitation. His detention is continuing without trial or charges. According to International Humanitarian Law, it is the responsibility of the ICRC to take active steps to save his life by applying pressure on the Israeli government to release him. Please bring candles and signs and Palestinian flags

Finkelstein: Scholar, Advocate, Radical or Liberal/Zionist

 

 


Norman Finkelstien is called an ‘American Radical’, but I believe a far more appropriate term for him, and those who share his views is ‘typical American Liberal’.

I recently heard Norman Finkelstein speak at the American Muslims for Palestine conference, for the first time following the incredible uprisings and display of people power – which began in the Arab world, and inspired the occupy movement which continue to grow in strength and numbers daily. No doubt an outstanding scholar, Finkelstein has gone to great lengths to research, document and disseminate the ongoing atrocities and war crimes committed by Israel. His thorough, meticulous approach is unparalleled and he’s paid a great price to his professional career, as his advocacy on Palestine caused him to lose tenure at DePaul University. Yet, instead of using his address to seize and build upon our knowledge during this historic moment, I was disappointed to hear him give, almost verbatim, the same talk we’ve heard for years.

For the sake of progress, I believe it’s necessary to understand Finkelstein’s logic and to do so, we must note the line and important distinction, of where his scholarly work ends and his advocacy begins. When the role of scholar and advocate blur, it becomes unclear and difficult for the audience to follow a line of reasoning; creating a schism. The issues he shifts from academic to advocate are some of the most critical for Palestinians and include, but are not limited to: one-state versus two, right of Palestinian refugees to return, and boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

He stakes all of his positions on these issues, which are virtually based on the same premises, that we should a) do what is popular or ‘realistic’ b) adjust our language and positions to appeal to ‘global consensus’ for fear that c) if we don’t, we will inevitably ‘turn people off.’  It is difficult to understand from where he comes up with his conclusions and what he lays down to be, ‘realistic goals’. What is clear however, is that all of these positions he urges are heavily based in an antiquated top down model of power and are, it is worth noting, most commonly held liberal Zionist positions. During this historic time it is more important than ever to be critical and understand the role of our allies, while building mechanisms for communication – in order to learn from one another.

Though it’s not complicated to understand once presented with the truth, the corporate media would have us believe otherwise, and the majority of American’s are utterly confused by the situation, issues and facts on the ground. The role of a scholar is to present facts and information, in a clear and succinct manner; which is very important in educating the masses and is desperately needed today. This is especially true for the case of Palestine, as for anyone with a belief in justice and human rights, the facts alone speak for themselves compelling one to join the cause.

The role of an advocate is to take these available facts and use the information to create analysis, build positions and ultimately take action. For many years now, Finkelstein’s stated position has been consistent (with itself). He suggests, like so many liberals, with regards to advocacy for Palestinian justice, that we take a more “practical” or “realistic” approach to the most difficult issues, until we are able to achieve ‘global consensus’.

Despite taking note of the global uprisings and referencing the shift of power in his talk, he continues to selectively advocate for “realistic” strategies, and appeal to this ‘global consensus’. He goes on to define this ‘international consensus’ broadly to mean: “the authoritative political, legal and human rights bodies in the world”1 and suggests that we place our hope in international law and bodies such as the United Nations and the International Court of Justice-despite what he recognizes as their historic inability and/or political unwillingness to enforce their own laws, as they relate to Palestine. He even goes on to acknowledge “one of the best kept diplomatic secrets is that a broad international consensus has long existed on how to settle the Israel-Palestine conflict.”1 and in doing so, displays another example of his confusing and contradictory conclusions.

Using the same logic when speaking about one of the most important issues for Palestinians-right of return, he continues to overlook and thus dismiss altogether, the unlimited potential for people power, handing it over to Zionists: “For now, Israel will not honor a Palestinian right of return; to ‘demand’ it is the emptiest of gestures. That right will be honored only if the Palestinians become powerful enough to enforce it. If or when that happens, that some leaders verbally renounced the right will count for nothing.”

If and when, we amass such a show of people power that we will be able to influence justice to be served, we certainly will not need Israel’s permission to grant us these rights. Just as the apartheid government of South Africa was forced to fall, so will the Israeli system of oppression. Would the activists who worked all those years to end apartheid in South Africa have done justice to their cause if they created goals, based on what they thought the oppressors would be wiling to concede? For 20 years Israel has shown a clear lack of good will to engage in negotiations, or even uphold the agreements they’ve already made!

Another one of his bizarre recommendations is, rather than educate the international community about the racist ideology of Zionism* and Israeli apartheid, he suggests we adjust our language to fit this ‘global consensus’. Would the civil rights, women’s rights or any other movements in the USA have succeeded if they backed down because they didn’t have popular support at the time? Could they have effectively succeeded without talking about the KKK and white supremacy, issues of gender and male dominance etc.? Are we more concerned about protecting people’s feelings, or “turning them off” – than we are capable of/educating the general public about the source of the injustices, and seeking justice for the oppressed?

He builds on this line of reasoning, with regards to perusing the two state solution, by saying that “thousands of Palestinians suffered, sacrificed, even died for a sovereign Palestinian state.” However, I would far more likely characterize Palestinians brave struggle and sacrifices have been for the sake of freedom, liberation and justice. And, finally in a blow to the logical thinking mind, Finkelstein admits, in a posting subtitled: The one-state solution is an attractive ideal mistaken for a live option, implies the one state solution is ideal, and goes on to recognize: “of course the two-state solution is unjust. It cements Zionist usurpation of Palestinian land. It lets the perpetrators of this usurpation go scot-free, without so much as compensation for their victims. Worst of all, it perpetuates a state based on racial supremacy. Israel’s notion of Jewishness, the determinant of who should hold sovereignty, is ultimately a biological. It is based on kinship. In practice, this kinship does not, as in other countries, depend on tracing family lines back to residence in the sovereign state, but simply on closeness to anyone considered ‘Jewish’ in the racial sense of the term.” 2

He clearly lays out all the reasons to be against such a state, yet still defies his own knowledge of the issue, and astoundingly makes his case for a two state solution. Using the following logic: “it leaves ‘Jewish property’, including the settlements, in place. Some advocates of the one-state solution are explicit about this, though they never seem to mention it when criticizing the two-state solution. Others don’t speak of the settlements, or make vague references to adjudication – not a promising way to expel committed fanatics.” Yes, the settlements would remain in place and those who want to live in them as equals would be encouraged to do so. Those who wish to disrupt the process of justice and sharing the land as equals, could be taken in to be held to legal proceedings, in addition to truth commissions and international observers (such as, but necessarily the UN) to enforce the deal.

He also takes a hard, critical look at boycott, divestment and sanctions, a powerful nonviolent strategy, modeled after the case of South Africa, largely credited for ending apartheid. He rejects this strategy, in direct opposition to Palestinian calls for international solidarity, put forward by Palestinian activists and 170 NGO’s in 2005. He does so using the logic that it is divisive and will turn people off.  Yet if Finkelstein were consistent with even his own positions, rather than catering to Zionist critics, he would resent them as reasonable demands-to cease all relations with the state of Israel, until it complies with international law (demands of BDS call: http://www.bdsmovement.net/bdsintro.). In fact, we can learn a great deal by Palestinian proponents of the call, who are well versed in steering clear of ideological debates altogether, and care not for semantics of a so called one or two state solution, and instead focus on achieving their rights.

He even continued his talk with commonly repeated Zionist logic, that India has a prevailing caste system and the struggle for Kashmiri independence and gives the example of  so many of the other countries such as China and Saudi Arabia. All of which are indeed unjust and which we should most certainly be critical of! However, none of these countries proudly boasts to be US’s number one ally, or recipient much less largest recipient, of US tax dollars and weapons – which without Israel would never have amassed so much power.

Just as we don’t want a state based on religious purity, we also don’t want to be ideological purists. However, we have gone too long and come too far, to compromise on our most basic rights now. I understand wanting to be practical to achieve political gains. However, Palestinians have already been down that road and in the process, given up so much; and lost everything in the process. We should learn these important lessons from history, and must support allies based in principles and solidarity, rather than compromising our most basic fundamental rights. Besides, why would anyone with absolutely no power to negotiate officially, begin with such week positions when all we have is the truth and our principles.

The overwhelming show of people power globally, shows increasingly that we are no longer waiting for, nor depending on governmental or international bodies to correct the massive number of injustices which are taking place on our planet.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is in nearly 1,500 cities worldwide, and growing in strength and numbers daily. During this most historic moment, and incredible show of people’s power globally, we are discovering, defining and realizing what is possible. We have drawn massive inspiration from those across the globe who literally managed the impossible: to over throw some of the most powerful US backed allies/dictators- which were to the West of utmost strategic importance. Just as the corrupt 1% of bankers, politicians, dictators and war makers are working closely together, so must we. The success of this global people’s movement to achieve our full potential, is directly related to the extent of which we learn to work together, learn from each other and share information.

The role of an ally is more important and necessary than ever to actively connect the various issues – from OWS, to Egpyt with the issue of Palestine etc, and show how they are all the same struggle. As the the 99% begins to collectively taking matters into our own hands, it is literally impossible for anyone to predict what is ‘realistic’ or ‘possible’. Norman Finkelstein who is speaking to people from all over the country and the world, is in a position of great influence. The international solidarity movement (http://www.palsolidarity.org), the Flotillas (http://www.freegaza.org/) and the Global March to Jerusalem (http://www.globalmarchtojerusalem.org/gmtj/?page_id=34) and BDS (www.bdsmovement.net) are great ways and perfect examples of movements and campaigns for allies of the Palestinian people to support. Otherwise, just stick to the facts Norm! ; )

1. From his article, titled: Resolving the Israel-Palestine Conflict: What we can learn from Gandhi http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/resolving-the-israel-palestine-conflict-what-we-can-learn-from-gandhi/

2. Article: Reasoned rejection of one-state position: The One state solution is an attractive ideal mistaken for a live option: http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/reasoned-rejection-of-one-state-position/

*The definition of Zionism is the belief in the right of a Jewish state to exist, which is in itself inherently racist. It is impossible to reconcile democracy, equality and justice with separate laws and standards for non-Jews. The definition of apartheid is ‘separate’, as in laws for non-Jews.

Road to Tahrir, Paved by the West

The images and display of people power in the Arab world shocked and inspired the world over, in ways regional and political science experts never dreamt possible. The toppling of Dictator Mubarak in Egypt which took place in 18 days, defied the belief of even the most determined protesters. During this momentous time of sweeping political change in the Arab world, the only thing that’s clear is: history is being written and no one can predict the future. This level of political uncertainty can be seen in the realm of infinite possibilities, still what and how it will be implemented is the big question on top of everyone’s mind. Unless civil society forces are armed with sheer relentless will and an apt political strategy, the gaping political vacuum leaves the likelihood to be filled by the most powerful and influential players, namely the US and Israel. Though all countries in the region are unique in many ways, the case of Egypt can be analyzed generally to the extent that others will follow suit, as the ideological battleground for what is taking hold in the region today.

What is overtly clear from the recently released Pew research poll, and seems representative of public opinion of Egyptians is that the vast majority (9 out of 10[i]) are pleased that Mubarak is gone. However, beyond that there is a wide range views of the kind of change people would like to see, how to implement change and the role that the military and political Islam will play. When it comes to change agents’, according to the poll, public opinion is split almost down the middle with support for the secular April 6th movement (leading by one point), versus the Muslim Brotherhood (whose increase in popularity came as a disturbing blow to many). Therefore what the outcome of the elections in September, is everyone’s top concern these days.

Paved with good intentions?

Poll numbers alone are confusing and inconsistent and must be analyzed in context and as connected parts of a whole, in order to predict future trends and realities. The high level of support Egyptian people have for army leaders came to many as a big surprise: the military is now almost universally seen (88%) as having a good influence on the way things are going in Egypt and a whopping 90% rate military chief Mohamed Tantawi favorably.

Yet, contrasted with the clear support for the ousting the US[ii] backed dictator, ( 9 out of 10) the numbers don’t add up. In Tarik Ali’s, article: Who will reshape the Arab world: its people, or the US? Phase one of the Arab spring is over. Phase two – the attempt to crush or contain genuine popular movements – has begun[iii], “Washington has, for the time being, succeeded in rerouting the political process into a carefully orchestrated change, led by Mubarak’s defense minister and chief of staff, the latter being particularly close to the Americans. Most of the regime is still in place. Its key messages are the need for stability and a return to work, putting a stop to the strike wave. Fevered behind-the scenes negotiations between Washington and the Muslim Brotherhood are continuing.” One reason for this contradiction at the polls, may be the glaring omission and what is being completely left out of the headlines: the role the US and Israel are playing behind the scenes. Any reporting on such facts would compel people to begin asking questions like: What interests are behind the US bolstering its support for Egypt’s Brotherhood and military – while withholding substantial economic aid (another fact that remains hidden)? What was John McCain doing in Cairo last week? What is with Egyptian government’s support for the Syrian regime[iv]?? If called into question, these trends would then be openly reported as an attempt of the US to directly interfere in, and retain control over the country’s policies.

US interests in Libya coming to light                                         

Meanwhile, a clearer picture of the US interests in Libya, are slowly beginning to emerge. The following research paper, put out and translated into English by an Italian research firm titled: Financial Heist of the Century: Confiscating Libya’s Sovereign Wealth Funds[v] (SWF) provides clear evidence of the objective of the war against Libya, and it is not just its oil reserves (estimated at 60 billion barrels). The impact of the Nato war will have a devastating impact on the economic future and independence of the entire continent of Africa. Before carrying out a military attack on Libya U.S. and European ruling circles focused on getting their hands on its energy wealth, so they took over the Libyan sovereign wealth funds.

The assault on the Libyan sovereign wealth fund is a direct attack on the Arab African Investment Company which has been crucial in allowing African countries to begin to become independent from the U.S. and Europe by investing “in over 25 countries, 22 of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Even more important were the Libyan investment in the implementation of three financial institutions launched by the African Union”.  The development of these bodies would enable African countries to eventually escape control of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, tools of domination. The article goes on to state that “Freezing Libyan funds deals a strong blow to the entire project.”

In this historic moment, a battle that is being waged to the extent that the forces of the ruling powers interests will either collide with that of the people – or meet somewhere in the middle. This battleground of wills, is what is going to determine the future of not only the country, but also the region and quite possibly the world. Obama intends to speak again very soon about his Middle East policies. What is needed three months after the January 25 Revolution and two years after his big Cairo University speech-out to the Arab and Muslim worlds, is a revolutionary approach to America’s Middle East policies. However we know this unlikely as a politician already launching his campaign for re-election in 2012. What he will likely do is the opposite of what is desperately needed.

What we can do is learn from the people of Egypt who following their glory in toppling the regime, have begun on the long journey and ongoing process of holding officials accountable, building up open and transparent economics, support competing democratic political movements, civil society organizations promoting judicial and media independence, free trade unions and women’s rights, etc.

From May 21-24, 2011, timed to coincide with the annual policy meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), American citizens from all over the country will converge in Washington, DC. They will expose the lobby for war and occupation – and build the vision for a new US foreign policy in the Middle East. To register, of for more information see: Move over AIPAC: http://www.moveoveraipac.org/. My wish is that they too could occupy their capital, and stay there, until their demands are met!

Will you join them?!


[ii] The polls finds “favorable ratings of the U.S. remain as low as they have been in recent years, and many Egyptians say they want a less close relationship with America. Israel fares even more poorly. The poll states as many as 54% of Egyptians want the peace treaty with Israel country annulled.

[iii] Who will reshape the Arab world: its people, or the US? Phase one of the Arab spring is over. Phase two – the attempt to crush or contain genuine popular movements – has begun

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/29/arab-politics-democracy-intervention

[iv]Egypt backs Syrian regime, receives sharp criticism: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/416758

[v] Financial Heist of the Century: Confiscating Libya’s Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=DIN20110424&articleId=24479