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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fadi Quran Victimized by Israeli State Terror

by Stephen Lendman
My Photo
On February 25, international and supportive Israelis joined 500 Palestinians protesting in Hebron's Old City.

Youths Against Settlements organized it. They're "a national Palestinian non-partisan group" against colonization, including settlements, "through nonviolent popular struggle and civil disobedience." They demanded Shuhada Street be reopened. More on its closure below.

As they approached the street, soldiers attacked them violently with tear gas, sound bombs, and rubber bullets. Ten were arrested, including a Palestinian journalist and Quran. In the process, he was assaulted, beaten, and detained for allegedly pushing an Israeli soldier.

In fact, his offense was peacefully protesting Israeli policy with others. In response, soldiers attacked him with pepper spray, smashed his face against a jeep metal bar, and arrested him with other nonviolent participants.

They were protesting closure of Hebron's Shuhada Street. It's a main thoroughfare Palestinians have been forbidden to use for many years. It links north and south city areas. It also passes by major markets, the Old City, the Tomb of the Patriarchs, and Israeli settlements.

In 1994, restrictions began. Access was alternately allowed, then denied. Since October 2000, Palestinians were entirely prohibited from walking or driving on Shuhada and adjacent streets.

Doing so caused center city economic collapse. Over 300 shops and other commercial facilities closed. Israel turned Hebron's central bus station into an army base. Area properties, including homes, were closed by army order. Many residents left. A ghost town remained.

Settlers can use the street freely. They also harass Palestinians with impunity. Closing Shuhada Street reflects longstanding Israeli policy to make life so unbearable residents will give up and leave Occupied Palestine.

Some do, but most resist courageously and won't quit. It's their country, their land, and they're struggling to regain it and end decades of abusive occupation.

Quran and other activists support them. He's a Palestinian American, a US citizen/Stanford University graduate, class of 2010. He's now in Al-Maskubiyeh Prison. It's notorious for conducting abusive interrogations. Torture's freely used. US officials in Israel were told. Whether or not they'll help isn't known.

On February 27, his trial began. In military tribunals, guilt by accusation is policy. Secret evidence was presented unavailable to defense attorneys. It's standard Israeli practice when none exists. Justice is systematically denied. Expect Quran to fare no better.

His family was denied contact. His lawyer barely saw him. Whether or not charged, he faces potential months or years in prison.

In March 2011, Time magazine profiled him in an article headlined, "A New Palestinian Movement: Young, Networked, Nonviolent," saying:

Quran represents "the face of the new Middle East." A Palestinian American, he returned home to begin an alternative energy company and "help create a Palestinian state."
At Stanford, he was president of Stanford Students for Palestinian Equal Rights (SPER). He's also part of Palestine's March 15 movement. A new generation of Palestinian youths, they demand unity against occupation and repression. Social networks in Arabic and English are used. They call for liberating protests.
Without leaders or names, most activists prefer anonymity to prevent arrest and abuse. Its mission statement says:

"We call on all the Palestinian factions to unite under the banner of Palestine, in order to reform the political system....based on the interests and aspirations of the Palestinian people in the homeland and the diaspora."

Thousands support them, even though one member says:

"We live in constant fear that we're being followed, that they know who we are, that we are letting slip our identities."

Another says:

"We're doing this because we want to have a future here. And tell our (children) that we did something for the future of our country."

Quran told Time magazine:

"I think about the dogs unleashed on Martin Luther King in Birmingham. I think about the beatings. That's what it took for Americans to see the justice of his cause. We will be risking our lives, but that is what it takes."

On February 27, Stanford students organized a campaign for his release. A petition drive's included. It states:

"Fadi should not be detained for an indefinite period of time on false charges. It is imperative that the Israeli government release (him) so that he may continue to speak for his people and PEACEFULLY push for basic human rights."

On its first day, over 1,000 supporters signed it. They urge others join them for justice.

On February 26, ASSU (Associated Students of Stanford University) undergraduate senators drafted a resolution calling for Provost/Acting President John Etchemendy to publicly support fair legal treatment and Quran's immediate release.

His treatment directly affects Stanford students, they said. They cited "emotionally distressing" video footage of his arrest and close association with current students. They also stressed public support and outrage following his abusive treatment.

Palestinians stage regular nonviolent protests. Israeli security forces confront them violently.

Arrests, injuries, and at times deaths, result. Palestinians are denied justice. Longstanding Israeli policy enforces occupation ruthlessness.

A Final Comment

After hunger striking for 66 days, Khader Adnan struggles to survive and regain health. Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) said he's "expected to go through a long and complicated recovery process."

It included severe intestinal blockage pain. On February 28, he underwent abdominal surgery at Safed's Ziv Hospital to relieve it. Reports called his condition stable, but given his weakened state, recovery's far from certain.

On February 28, the Addameer Prisoner support group said the following:

"Last night, 27 February 2012, Khader Adnan went through surgery at Ziv Hospital, due to problems in his digestive system. PHR-Israel's volunteer doctor reached the hospital immediately to speak to Khader and his doctors before the operation."

They "reported to us today that the operation went well and that Khader's condition is currently stable." He's now in the hospital's surgical wing. During transfer to Ziv Hospital, both arms and legs were again painfully shackled despite no ability to walk.

Doing so contradicted Israel's February 23 District Court ruling. It constitutes cruel and inhumane treatment, even toward a man close to death.

Adnan's abuse reveals Israeli state terror. Palestinians endure it daily. Their liberating struggle continues. Activists like Quran and many others are committed to help.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Syrians Overwhelmingly Approve New Constitution

by Stephen Lendman

My PhotoMajor media scoundrels can't bear reporting good news they'd rather suppress, so they downplay and disparage it best they can. More on that below.

On Sunday, Syria's state TV showed huge pro-Assad crowds in Damascus' Saba Bahrat Square. By national referendum, they were eager to support constitutional reforms. They also backed state security force efforts against Western-backed killer gangs.

Russian Eurasian Institution head Alexander Doglen also endorsed draft constitutional changes. Islamic scholar Abdul-Rahman Ali al-Dalaa said they boost human dignity and religious freedom.

On February 27, Syria's Interior Ministry announced Sunday's impressive results. From 7AM, 14,185 polling centers opened across Syria's governorates, as well as at border crossings, airports, mobile desert areas, and other locations.

Syrians are enthusiastic for change. Despite opposition boycotts, threats, anti-Assad media campaigns, and turnout hampered in violence-torn areas, 89.4% of eligible voters approved it. Another 9% opposed, and 1.2% of ballots were invalid.

Overall, 57.4% of Syrians participated. The total was impressive, given the risks voters took to show up.

Raw numbers included 8,376,447 voting among 14,589,954 eligible. Those for totaled 7,490,319 compared to 753,208 against.

The Constitution includes 157 articles. From its initial draft, 14 are new, 37 were amended, and another 34 reformulated. Among other reforms, political pluralism was established for the first time, as well as presidential term limits, and press freedom.

Reporting it, The New York Times headlined, "Syrians Said to Approve New Charter as Battles Continue," saying:

Fighting keeps raging. Critics called it "too little too late, and Western leaders labeled (it) a farce."

"Even before the result was announced, after a morning of new shelling in the beleaguered city of Homs and elsewhere, some Western leaders had disparaged the vote as having no credibility."

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said it "fooled nobody. To open polling stations but continue to open fire on the civilians of the country has no credibility in the eyes of the world."

In fact, Western-backed insurgents bear most responsibility for violence and instability to impose regime change most Syrians oppose. Their impressive turnout showed it.

Huge crowds voted in Damascus and other less violent areas. Voting continued until 7PM, and in high turnout areas until 10PM. Only then were centers closed.

Downplaying an impressive day, The Times said "(s)ome polling places appeared deserted, and at others, the opinions were divided."

Hillary Clinton called Sunday's vote an empty gesture, saying:

"It's a phony referendum that is going to be used by Assad to justify what he is doing to other Syrians. So it's a cynical ploy to say the least."

Anti-Assad Syrian National Council (SNC) member Bassma Kodmani said:

"It is not going to work because the repression is continuing. They are caught up in this cycle, and it is simply to late."

AP buried referendum results paragraphs into an article headlined, "Red Cross delivers aid to Syrian city of Hama." It stressed violence and opposition boycotts over impressive results downplayed dismissively.

At the same time, EU nations imposed new Syrian sanctions. They include freezing central bank assets and those of certain government officials. Importing precious metals, diamonds, and minerals were also banned. Moreover, cargo flights may no longer land in EU countries.

New measures build on last September's oil embargo and other multiple rounds. They're effective after publishing them in the EU's Official Journal. It's usually within 24 hours of imposition.

A joint EU foreign ministers statement said:

"The EU underlines that those responsible for the violence across Syria will be held responsible for their actions. The EU supports the Syrian opposition in its struggle for freedom, dignity, and democracy."

In fact, rogue EU states, like America, won't tolerate democracy at home or abroad. They wage wars to prevent it.

For his part, Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned about intervening against Syria and/or Iran "under cover of humanitarian slogans." In fact, "tragic events (are) driven not by concern for human rights, but a desire by some (nations for regime change and) to redistribute markets."

Russian news agencies quoted him saying nations need to "decide their own fate independently." He added that Western nations backed Arab Spring revolts to advance their own regional interests.

They very much want Syria and Iran regime change to assure them there against majorities in both countries.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

The Mossad Has Long Given Marching Orders to AIPAC

Recommended by Maidhc Ó Cathail

By Grant Smith
February 28, 2012

AIPAC’s Washington policy conference next month is drawing intense scrutiny and unprecedented resistance. AIPAC has worked quietly for years to tripwire the United States into war with Iran. Soon it will “ask” Congress and the president to define “nuclear weapons capability” as the threshold for war, essentially demanding an immediate attack. Because Iran presents no military threat to the United States, many Americans wonder exactly where such costly and potentially disastrous policies are formulated. Recently declassified FBI files reveal how Israeli government officials first orchestrated public relations and policies through the U.S. lobby. Counter-espionage investigations of proto-AIPAC’s first coordinating meetings with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the head of Mossad provide a timely and useful framework for understanding how AIPAC continues to localize and market Israeli government policies in America.

Although AIPAC claims it rose “from a small pro-Israel public affairs boutique in the 1950s,” its true origin can be traced to Oct. 16, 1948. This is the date AIPAC’s founder Isaiah L. Kenen and four others established the Israel Office of Information under Israel’s U.N. mission. It was later moved under the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The IOI opened offices in New York City, Washington, and Los Angeles, which became testbeds for working out how Israeli government leaders would promote lobbying initiatives through public relations harnessing the power and financial support of American organizations and supporters. Although the FBI nervously noted IOI founder Kenen had become a member of the Communist Party in 1937 while working as a newspaperman at the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, he was never the subject of a criminal investigation. Only because Kenen interacted with so many U.S. and foreign nationals who were targets of espionage, foreign counter-intelligence, and domestic security investigations (such as super-lobbyist Abraham Feinberg, Israeli diplomats, and assorted Mossad officers) did Kenen’s movements appear as cross-references in hundreds of pages of recently declassified FBI documents [.pdf].
Continue reading…

For the release of our compatriots and colleagues held captive in Baba Amr

by Thierry Meyssan

Several journalists are held in the sealed-off Baba Amr area. According to Atlanticist leaders, they are prevented from leaving by the constant pounding of the rebel stronghold by the Syrian Army. As an on-the-spot privileged witness of the negotiations, Thierry Meyssan gives an account of the situation: the journalists are kept as prisoners by the Free "Syrian" Army which uses them as human shields. Their evacuation by the Syrian Red Crescent has been obstructed by the rebels.
JPEG - 18.4 kbOur colleagues Marie Colvin (Sunday Times) and Remi Ochlik (IP3 Press) were killed on Wednesday, 22 February 2012, in the rebel-held area inside Homs.

According to Western news agencies quoting the Free "Syrian" Army, they were victims of the shelling inflicted by the Damascus forces on the area. However, the National Army made use of multiple rocket launchers only for a very brief period to destroy firing positions, and at no time after 13 February. Furthermore, if it were true that the city was pounded for 21 days, as reported by the news agencies, it would have been reduced to a heap of rubble without a living soul a long time ago.

At least three other journalists still remain in the rebel zone: Edith Bouvier (Le Figaro Magazine), Paul Conroy and William Daniels (Sunday Times), and probably a fourth one of Spanish nationality.
In a video posted on the Internet, Edith Bouvier, who was wounded in the leg, and William Daniels called for a cease-fire and for their evacuation to a hospital in Lebanon. Immediately, an intensive communication campaign was mounted for them, including the creation of several Facebook groups and thundering declarations by French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé.

There is no GSM or G3 coverage left in Homs, and the telephone wire lines in the rebel zone have been cut.

It won’t escape anyone’s notice that if the journalists were able to upload a video to call for help, it is because they had access to a satellite connection. And if it hasn’t been possible for them to contact their families, their employers or embassies, it is because those who control that satellite connection have denied it to them. They are, therefore, not free in their movements and are kept as prisoners.

The military situation

The Syrian generals deemed that the Battle of Homs was won on 13 February and reported to President Bashar al-Assad that it was over on Thursday, 23 February, at 1900 hours.

Victory does not have the same meaning for civilians as for the military. The former dream of a return to a peaceful life. The latter proclaim it much in the same way as a surgeon at the end of a successful operation. The fact remains that the injured are still subjected to months of treatment and years of rehabilitation. Specifically, what the end of the battle means to them is that the rebels have been confined inside a completely encircled area and no longer pose a threat to their security.

The main arteries of the city were reopened to traffic, but they are strewn with speed bumps for miles on end. Cars must zigzag their way along. The city has been emptied of the vast majority of its inhabitants and is nothing more than a ghost town.

The Battle of Homs unfolded in three stages:
- The first day, Syrian troops were stopped from entering the besieged neighborhoods by the anti-tank missiles fired by the rebels, notably Milan missiles.
- Then, the Syrian troops bombarded the missile firing posts, at the cost of significant collateral damage among their fellow citizens, while the rebels regrouped into a single zone which they appropriated.
- Finally, the troops surrounded the rebel stronghold, penetrated it and began liberating each street, one by one. To avoid being ambushed from the rear, the Syrian army advanced row by row, which slowed its progression.

The encircled area was once inhabited by 40,000 people. It now shelters an unspecified number of civilians, mostly old men who could not flee in time, and about 2,000 fighters of the Free "Syrian" Army. This label hides several rival groups divided into two main currents: on one hand, the Takfirists who consider not only that democracy is incompatible with Islam, but that the Alawites (including Bashar al-Assad) are heretics and should be barred from any political responsibility in Muslim lands; on the other hand, the felons who were recruited to strengthen the so-called Free "Syrian" Army. No longer paid, these gangs have resumed their independence and do not follow the same logic as the Takfirists. Most foreign fighters left Homs before the bastion was sealed off. They are currently assembled in the northern district of Idlib.

All the rebels in Baba Amr have considerable stocks of arms and ammunition, which in the current situation are no longer replenished, and sooner or later they will have to give themselves up, short a foreign military intervention. Their arsenals contain night vision Dragunov sniper rifles, as well as 80 to 120 mm mortars and incalculable quantities of explosives. They converted basements into warehouses and even set up weapons caches in the sewers. However, contrary to what has been reported, the pipes are too narrow to allow them to circulate. Similarly, the tunnels that were dug in the days when they had the protection of the former Governor of Homs, are no longer ventilated and can no longer be used. As for the ex-governor, he has long been exiled in Qatar, where he quietly enjoys the salary for his treachery.

The population had backed the rebels for a while, but it is now being used as human shields. Civilians who attempt to flee are shot by snipers. They have no way of rebelling, especially since most of them are elderly.

One could suppose that in the medium term, the rift within the Free "Syrian" Army, its lack of popular support, and the drying up of international reinforcements should lead some of the rebels to surrender. However, the Takfirists may decide to fight to the death.

At present, the rebels won’t allow civilians to flee their area and are blowing up the empty houses, at a rate of about a dozen per day. Moreover, rebel commandos located outside the cordoned zone attack the camps of the regular army to disorganize it and loosen the noose. They resort mainly to car bombs, thanks to the reopening of the streets, which explains the need to maintain the speed bumps.
Baba Amr is not being pounded. The only shelling still taking place is rebel mortar fire against the National Army.

The situation of the journalists

The journalists inside the rebel area are grouped into the same apartment, called a "media center," whose precise location is unknown.

They entered Syria illegally, when they could have applied for a press visa, which all would have obtained, with the exception of Israeli citizens in view of the state of war between the two countries.
Their transportation to Homs was organized by a single smuggling ring, either from northern Lebanon or from southern Turkey. This ring serves as Office of Public Relations for the Free "Syrian" Army. It is responsible for having put the journalists in contact with the persons hosting them, and whose identity is unclear.

On Friday, 24 February, the International Red Cross and the Syrian Red Crescent began negotiating with the Free "Syrian" Army via the Red Crescent workers inside the cordoned area. They were given permission to enter the premises with ambulances to repatriate the bodies of the two dead journalists, and to evacuate the rest, both injured and sound. However, at the last moment, the journalists refused to leave, fearing a trap set up by the Damascus authorities. Indeed, they had been told by their French colleagues who left the scene earlier that the Syrian government would strive to eliminate them.
Moreover, having access only to satellite TV channels controlled by NATO and the GCC, they are convinced that the fighting of which they are the victims is not only limited to their neighborhood, but extends throughout all of Syria.

Ultimately, the Syrian Red Crescent was allowed to evacuate twenty-seven sick and injured civilians who were driven to the Al Amin hospital in Homs (in the liberated part of the city). The London office of the Muslim Brotherhood, known as the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, according to which hospitals have become torture centers, had spread the rumor that several of the wounded people were later arrested by the Syrian police. Following an investigation, the Red Crescent attested that these charges are absolutely unfounded.

On Saturday 25th, the International Red Cross and the Syrian Red Crescent asked the Free "Syrian" Army for permission to re-enter the area. Being on the spot, I offered my services to the authorities to facilitate the removal of my compatriots and colleagues. The negotiations lasted over four hours. Several states, including France, were kept abreast of these events.

After several twists and turns, the officers of the Free "Syrian" Army received the instruction via satellite to decline. Their encrypted communications with their superiors either ended up in Beirut or were relayed via Beirut. De facto the journalists are being used as human shields even more effectively than civilians, the rebels fearing a final assault by Syrian forces.

Therefore, journalists are now the prisoners of those who sponsor the Free "Syrian" Army, the very same ones on whose behalf the "Friends of Syria," gathered at the Tunis conference, appealed for support, funds and arms.

DONOR OPIUM, the impact of international aid to Palestine

How Long Can Jews Keep Supporting Their 'Monster' State Without Suffering a Global Backlash of Anti-Semitism?

Israeli children write messages on bombs to be fired into Lebanon

AIPAC’s annual policy conference is set to get underway this weekend in Washington. How nice it would be if at least a few of those attending might give some consideration to a bit of what Alan Hart presents in the following article. Me personally, I don’t have much hope of that happening, and as we all know, history often has a way of repeating itself. But of course the prospect of being pleasantly surprised is a door one might leave open for as long as one can.

In this article, Hart is addressing something I think a lot of people, myself included, have been wondering about, namely how long can Israel continue its aggressive policies of wars, land theft, and apartheid without igniting a backlash of worldwide anti-Semitism, one with possible catastrophic effects on Jews living outside of Israel? It’s a good question, and Hart obviously has given the matter considerable thought. But I’d like to take the liberty, if I may, of tossing a few other questions up into the air—questions closely related to the first, but which Hart doesn’t address.

First of all, it isn’t only the Middle East where Israel’s behavior is causing problems. The dilemmas caused by the existence of this rogue state extend into virtually every country, or at least those in the West, where they are having a significant impact on the lives of local populations. People cannot help feeling outrage when they see their elected leaders shamelessly kowtowing to Jewish lobbies. This is becoming increasingly true in the US, and I’m sure the same is happening in Britain, France, and other countries where powerful Israeli lobbies subvert public will. But of course it is especially ongoing in America—where the very leaders who are giving billions away to Israel—and spending trillions to fight Israel’s wars—are calling for the dismantling of Social Security and cutbacks in public education. At some point people are going to start putting two and two together (despite the lack of funding for our schools), and when they do they’re going to realize that the source of the problem is not Iran and it’s not Syria. The source of the problem is Israel—along with the domestic Jewish PACs and lobbies, and their network of supporters, who keep the money to the Zionist state flowing. We’re of course talking about tax dollars that could be going to provide health care for Americans, jobs programs, schools, and affordable higher education. How long before people start blaming the Israeli lobby for the lack of these things? There are countless sites on the internet run by people who have already figured these things out—with more going up every day—and it’s only a question of time before the rest start to catch on as well.

Hart says he believes the only way of heading off what he refers to as “Holocaust II” may be for American and European Jews to publicly distance themselves from Israel. What he doesn’t mention, though, is that the majority of Jews not only remain silent in the face of Israeli crimes, they actually go on funding the pro-Israel lobbies and PACS in their respective countries. And this is the crux of the matter. This is what’s fueling the anger and causing people to question whether there really is the distinction between “Zionism” and “Judaism” Hart claims there is.

Another thing is I don’t think simply “distancing” themselves is going to cut it. What is needed is a call for a dismantling of the state of Israel along with a total abandonment of the enterprise of operating lobbies and PACs on its behalf. If Jews want to lobby for health care, or an end to war, or even lobby for this or that industry, fine. But spending your efforts lobbying on behalf of a foreign government, particularly one which has caused so much harm, is not going to endear you to your fellow citizens.

Granted, publicly calling for a complete dismantling of the Jewish state (or what refers to itself by that name) may be a difficult thing for some Jews to do. If that is the case, then here’s my alternate suggestion: enthusiastic support—by a majority of Jews—for the one state solution. Simply put, it’s one person—one vote—all encompassed in one state. This is democracy. This is what you need to call for if you can’t bring yourself to voice the other.

But this isn’t what’s happening, at least not to any appreciable degree. Instead we see Jews calling for more and more wars, more and more aid for Israel, and carrying out “anti-Semite” witch hunts against those who object. All of which makes you wonder: what exactly are these “Jewish values” we hear so much about and which Hart alludes to? Can someone define them? And when the values, if they exist, come into conflict with certain doctrines in the Talmud, which one trumps the other and gives birth to the “monster” Hart talks about? Questions for pondering—although I’m not sure a majority of Jews are capable of such self-reflection. And on that score, Hart, too, seems to have his doubts.
Is Holocaust II (shorthand for another great turning against the Jews) inevitable?

By Alan Hart
The Gentile me believes this question needs to be addressed because there is a very real danger that the rising, global tide of anti-Israelism, which is being provoked by Israel’s terrifying arrogance of power and sickening self-righteousness, will be transformed into anti-Semitism unless two things happen.
The notion that anti-Israelism could be transformed into anti-Semitism is not new. In his book Israel’s Fateful Hour, published in 1986, Yehoshafat Harkabi, Israel’s longest serving Director of Military Intelligence, gave this warning:
Israel is the criterion according to which all Jews will tend to be judged. Israel as a Jewish state is an example of the Jewish character, which finds free and concentrated expression within it. Anti-Semitism has deep and historical roots. Nevertheless, any flaw in Israeli conduct, which initially is cited as anti-Israelism, is likely to be transformed into empirical proof of the validity of anti-Semitism. It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.”
The fact that (pre-1967) Israel is a Zionist not a Jewish state – how could it be a Jewish state when a quarter of its citizens are Muslims (mainly) and Christians? – in no way diminishes Harkabi’s message.
He was, in fact, treading a quite well worn path. Prior to the obscenity of the Nazi holocaust, and as I document in my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, most Jews, eminent American and British Jews especially, were opposed to Zionism’s enterprise in Palestine. They believed it to be morally wrong. They feared it would lead to unending conflict with the Arab and wider Muslim world. But most of all they feared that if Zionism was allowed by the major powers to have its way, it would one day provoke anti-Semitism.
Today, in my opinion, it can be said that Zionism wants and needs anti-Semitism in order to justify anything and everything its monster child does.
So what are the two things that must happen if anti-Israelism is not to be transformed into anti-Semitism (assuming as I do that the Zionist state is not going to change course in the direction of peace)?
One is that the mainly Gentile citizens of the Western world among whom most Jews live become aware of the difference between Judaism and Zionism, and thus why it is wrong to blame all Jews everywhere for the crimes of the hardest core Zionist few in Israel. The difference can be simply stated. Like mainstream Christianity and mainstream Islam, mainstream Judaism has at its core a set of moral values and ethical principles. Zionism, which created a state for some Jews in the Arab heartland mainly by ethnic cleansing and terrorism, is without moral values and ethical principles. Its driving ideology, conditioned by Jewish experience of persecution on-and-off down the centuries, is that might is right. Mainstream Judaism and Zionism are, in fact, total opposites. (In April one of the anti-Zionist Jews I most admire, Nazi holocaust survivor Dr. Hajo Meyer, is giving a talk in Luxembourg with the title How Israel betrayed all the human values of Judaism).
In the paragraph above I insist on the term “few” in Israel being to blame because the truth is that most Israeli Jews have been brainwashed by their leaders. (As the headline over an article by Gideon Levy for Ha-aretz put it on 5 February, Israelis should be afraid of their leaders, not Iran). Most Israeli Jews are, for example, totally unaware that the vast majority of Palestinians and most Arabs everywhere have been ready for many years for peace on terms which any rational government in Israel would have accepted with relief.
The other thing that must happen if anti-Israelism is not to be transformed into anti-Semitism stems from the fact, perhaps I should say overwhelming probability, that no American president is ever going to be free to use the leverage he has to oblige the Zionist state to be serious about peace because of the Zionist lobby’s control of policy for Israel-Palestine in Congress.
So as things are Israel is a nuclear-armed monster beyond control. (From recently de-classified documents we now know that in a memorandum dated 19 July 1969, Henry Kissinger, then national security adviser, warned President Nixon that the Israelis “are probably more likely than any other country to actually use their nuclear weapons.” And as I mentioned in my post of 30 January with the headline Is Israel on the road to “self-destruction”?, Golda Meir said in an interview I did with her for the BBC’s Panorama programme when she was prime minster that in a doomsday situation Israel “would be prepared to take the region and the world down with it.”)
On reflection it seems to me that whether or not anti-Israelism is transformed into anti-Semitism will depend not only on the Westerners among whom most Jews live understanding why it is wrong to blame all Jews everywhere for the crimes of the few, but also on what the Jews of the world, European and American Jews especially (I mean the majority of them), do from here on.
In my view they have two options.
OPTION 1 is to stay silent which, at this moment in time, is still the preferred option of most European and American Jews.
That said it has to be acknowledged that recent years have seen an increase in the number of Jewish groups which are critical of Israel’s polices and, in some cases, have even endorsed the call of Palestinian civil society for a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights. But the voices these groups represent are those of only a minority of Jews.
On the debit side of this particular balance sheet is also the fact that by limiting their campaigns to calls for an end to Israel’s occupation to make the space for a two-state solution, most if not all of the “progressive” (critical of Israel) Jewish groups are demonstrating that they are out of touch with or don’t want to recognise the reality on the ground in Israel-Palestine. The reality is that Israel’s still on-going consolidation of its occupation of the West Bank has made a two-solution impossible. It is not yet formally buried but it is dead.
My own understanding of why began with a private conversation I had with Shimon Peres in early 1980. At the time he was the leader of Israel’s main opposition Labour party and seemed to be well placed to win Israel’s next election and deny Menachem Begin and his Likud party a second term in office – an outcome for which President Carter was praying. After learning that Carter had said behind closed doors that institutional diplomacy could not solve the Palestine problem because of the Zionist lobby’s control of Congress and that what was needed was some informal and unofficial diplomacy, my purpose was to invite Peres to participate in a secret and exploratory dialogue with PLO chairman Arafat with me as the linkman. The idea was that if we could use the 18 months or so before Israel’s next election to get agreement in principle on the way to the two-state solution to which Arafat’s PLO was by then committed, Peres and Arafat could begin to do the business for real when Peres became prime minister. (I was aware that a two-state solution would not provide the Palestinians with full justice, but at the time I shared the hope of those, including Arafat, who believed it was not impossible that within a generation or two the peace of a two-state solution could open the door to One State for all by mutual agreement, thus allowing all Palestinians who wanted to return to do so).
Peres welcomed the idea of an exploratory dialogue with Arafat with me as the linkman, but at a point in our conversation before I went off to Beirut to secure Arafat’s agreement to participate, he, Peres, said, “I fear it is already too late.”
I asked him why.
He replied: “Every day sees new bricks on new settlements. Begin knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s stuffing the West Bank with settlers to create the conditions for a Jewish civil war because he knows that no Israeli prime minister is going down in history as the one who gave the order to the Jewish army to shoot Jews (in order to end the occupation).” Pause. “I’m not.”
Question: If it was too late in 1980 when they were only about 70,000 illegal Jewish settlers on the West Bank, how much more too late is it today when the number of illegal Jewish settlers is in excess of 500,000 and rising, and the political influence of Israel’s religious fanatics and other bigots is growing?
In the words of an old English cliché, Jewish groups which are critical of Israeli policy but limit their effort to calling for an end to Israeli occupation are flogging a dead horse.
My considered Gentile take on why most Jews are silent on the matter of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians and denial of their rights is in my book. For this post I’ll make only two brief points.
One is that deep down, if only in their sub-consciousness, most Jews fear (in large part because they are conditioned by Zionism to fear) that there will one day be another great turning against them. Holocaust II. So they perceive Israel as their refuge of last resort, and they tell themselves they must say nothing, do nothing, that could undermine Israel and put their insurance policy at risk.
The other, no doubt related, is that private discussion about publicly criticising Israel or not can and does tear Jewish families as well as communities apart. So for the sake of at least the appearance of Jewish unity it’s best not to discuss the matter.
The problem with Jewish silence is that it’s not the way to refute and demolish a charge or assertion of complicity in Zionism’s crimes. So continued silence by the majority of European and American Jews is most likely to assist the transformation of anti-Israelism into anti-Semitism.
OPTION 2 is for the Jews of the world to distance themselves from the Zionist state.
A most explicit statement of this as a possible option was made in October 2001 by Dr. David Goldberg, the prominent, widely respected, liberal London rabbi and author of a popular introduction to Judaism, The Jewish People, Their History and Their Religion. He dared to say, in public, “It may be time for Judaism and Zionism to go their separate ways.”
Eight years on the late Tony Judt, a professor of history at New York University and director of the Remarque Institute, put some flesh on that bone. British-born of a Jewish mother whose parents emigrated from Russia and a Belgian father who was descended from a line of Lithuanian rabbis, Judt started out as an enthusiastic Zionist. He helped to promote the migration of British Jews to Israel, and during the 1967 war he worked as a driver and translator for the IDF. But after that war, his belief in the Zionist enterprise began to unravel. “I went with the idealistic fantasy of creating a socialist, communitarian country through work, but I started to see that this view was remarkably unconscious of the people who had been kicked out of the country and were suffering in refugee camps to make this fantasy possible.”
In an article for the Financial Times on 7 December 2009, Judt wrote this:
“If the Jews of Europe and North America took their distance from Israel, as many have begun to do, the assertion that Israel was ‘their’ state would take on an absurd air. Over time, even Washington might come to see the futility of attaching American foreign policy to the delusions of one small Middle Eastern state. This, I believe, is the best thing that could possibly happen to Israel itself. It would be obliged to acknowledge its limits. It would have to make other friends, preferably among its neighbors.”
For the sake of discussion there’s a case for saying that an Israel that was obliged by European and America Jews to acknowledge its limits might also be an Israel in which many Israeli Jews were prepared to open their minds to the wise words of one of their own – Avraham Burg. Between 1999 and 2003 he was the speaker of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. By the end of his term in that office he was a leading advocate of the idea that Israel and a viable Palestinian state could coexist in peace. In August 2003 he wrote a most remarkable essay which was published in its original Hebrew by Yediot Aharonot and subsequently newspapers in Europe and America.
His lead point was that Israel had to “shed its illusions” and choose between “racist oppression and democracy.” The Jewish people, he wrote, “did not survive for two millennia in order to pioneer new weaponry, computer security programmes or anti-missile missiles. We were supposed to be a light unto nations. In this we have failed.”
And the following is what Burg had to say about Israel’s need to change course and the choices:
Here is what the prime minister should say to his people: the time for illusions is over. The time for decisions has arrived. We love the entire land of our forefathers and in some other time we would have wanted to live here alone. But that will not happen. The Arabs, too, have dreams and needs.
Between the Jordan and the Mediterranean there is no longer a clear Jewish majority. And so, fellow citizens, it is not possible to keep the whole thing without paying a price. We cannot keep a Palestinian majority under an Israeli boot and at the same time think ourselves the only democracy in the Middle East. There cannot be democracy without equal rights for all who live here, Arab as well as Jew. We cannot keep the territories and preserve a Jewish majority in the world’s only Jewish state – not by means that are humane and moral and Jewish.
Do you want the greater land of Israel? No problem. Abandon democracy. Let’s institute an efficient system of racial separation here, with prison camps and detention villages.
Do you want a Jewish majority? No problem. Either put the Arabs on railway cars, buses, camels and donkeys and expel them en masse – or separate ourselves from them absolutely, without tricks and gimmicks. There is no middle path. We must remove all the settlements – all of them – and draw an internationally recognised border between the Jewish national home and the Palestinian national home. The Jewish law of return will apply only within our national home, and their right of return will apply only within the borders of the Palestinian state.
“Do you want democracy? No problem. Either abandon the greater land of Israel, to the last settlement and outpost, or give full citizenship and voting rights to everyone, including Arabs. The result, of course, will be that those who did not want a Palestinian state alongside us will have one in our midst, via the ballot box. (Here, I note, Burg was being less than explicit about the consequences of Greater Israel giving full citizenship and voting rights to everyone. At the point not too far into the future when the Palestinian Arabs outnumbered the Jews of Greater Israel, Zionism would be voted out of existence. Palestine would effectively be de-Zionized, opening the door to One State for all).
The prime minister should present the choices forthrightly: Jewish racism or democracy. Settlements or hope for both peoples. False visions of barbed wire and suicide bombers or a recognised international border between two states and a shared capital in Jerusalem.
In my view Judt’s assumption that Israel “would” be obliged to acknowledge its limits if the Jews of Europe and America took their distance from it is questionable. Why? It’s rational, based on reason, and Israel’s deluded leaders are beyond reason. They are never going to shed their illusions and present the choices for Israel’s Jews in the terms outlined by Burg.
But the main argument for European and American Jews distancing themselves from the Zionist state and its policies is self-interest. By demonstrating that they were not complicit in Zionism’s crimes, they would be playing their necessary part in preventing anti-Israelism from being transformed into anti-Semitism.
But even if self-interest (in the context above) is the direction in which most European and American Jews might move, events on the ground suggest to me that the time left for them to decide whether or not to actually distance themselves from Israel is running out. And here is my brief summary of why.
Given their determination to keep for all time much if not all of the occupied West Bank (despite what they sometimes say to the contrary for propaganda purposes), Israel’s leaders have got to find a way to defuse the ticking, demographic time-bomb of occupation (the coming of the day when the Palestinians will outnumber the Jews of Greater Israel).
The evidence of the past 44 years is that Israel’s leaders believed they could do it in one of two ways.
One was by making life hell for the occupied Palestinians in the hope that very many of them would either give up their struggle in despair and accept crumbs from Zionism’s table – a few disconnected Bantustans which they could call a state if they wished; or, better still, abandon their homeland and seek new lives elsewhere. Neither of those two things happened or are going to happen.
The other was having in place a compliant, puppet, Palestinian leadership which could be bullied and bribed, with American assistance, into forcing its people to accept crumbs from Zionism’s table. It might be that Israel’s leaders still hope they can make this scenario work with Palestinian “President” Abbas or his successor, but it won’t work.
And that will leave them, Israel’s leaders, with only one way of defusing the demographic time-bomb of occupation – creating a pretext to drive the Palestinians off the West Bank and into Jordan, Syria or wherever. The final ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
I think that will be Zionism’s final solution to its Palestine problem. I also think that such an event will guarantee that the rising, global tide of anti-Israelism is transformed into anti-Semitism, meaning, as Harkabi warned, that Jews throughout the world will pay the price of Israel’s “misconduct”.
I’ll end by re-asking my headline question and giving it an explicit answer.
Is Holocaust II (shorthand for another great turning against the Jews) inevitable? Yes unless the Jews of Europe and America distance themselves from the Zionist monster before it’s too late to do so. 

War of Nerves

By JOHN CHERIAN, February 2012
The West, along with "Israel", is racheting up threats of an attack, but Iran appears unfazed.
REPORTS appear every other day in the Western media about an imminent "Israeli" strike against Iran. The Barack Obama administration keeps on repeating that "all options are on the table" against Iran. The United States armed forces have begun their biggest amphibious landing drill in the Persian Gulf region in more than a decade. The Pentagon recently doubled the number of aircraft carriers in the region. U.S. military and spy drones have been flying over Iran for some time now. Late last year, Iranians brought down a sophisticated U.S. drone.

The "Israeli" media are full of stories about the build-up of American troops in two small Gulf islands near the Strait of Hormuz. "Israeli" "Defense" Minister Ehud Barak, one of the architects of the massacre in Gaza three years ago, said in early February that "the window" for an effective military strike on Iran was rapidly closing because of the continuing development of uranium enrichment centrifuges by that country. "Israeli" Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon declared that his country was confident of hitting any facility in Iran it chose to, saying that he was speaking from his experience as a former head of the "Israeli" armed forces.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy added his belligerent voice to the war discourse by saying that an attack on Iran would be justified if the country "continues its senseless race to get the bomb and threaten its neighbors". Sarkozy seems to have conveniently forgotten that in the modern era, Iran never started a war. It has always been a victim of aggression. It was the West and the Arab monarchies that encouraged Saddam Hussein to attack Iran in 1980, leading to the eight-year war, which led to the loss of more than a million Iranian lives.

Teheran appears to be unfazed by the ratcheting up of threats from the West.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking on the occasion of the 33rd anniversary of the Iranian revolution, said that the Islamic Republic would soon announce some "very important" achievements in the nuclear field.

The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also reiterated that Iran would never give up its "rights" to a peaceful nuclear program. Iran has been consistently stating that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) it has every right to pursue a peaceful nuclear program. All of Iran's nuclear facilities, including those engaged in uranium enrichment, are monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ensure that weapons-grade uranium is not produced.

Khamenei warned the West against undertaking a military adventure, saying that if hostilities broke out, "it would be 10 times deadlier for the Americans" than it would be for Iran. Reacting to threats from "Israel", he said the country was a "cancerous tumor" in the region, which had to be removed.
U.S. Secretary of "Defense" Leon Panetta told the media in Brussels in early February that there was a strong likelihood of "Israel" attacking Iran by the middle of the year. On December 20, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told CNN that a whole range of options were being examined for military action against Iran. "I am satisfied that the options that we are developing are evolving to a point that they would be executable if necessary," he said.

The right-wing government in "Israel" would like nothing better than precipitating a war with Iran. The hawkish government in "Israel" has coldly concluded that the Obama administration, readying itself for re-election later in the year, will have no other option but to finish the war that "Israel" wants to start. But the realists in the Obama administration know that Iran is not like neighboring Iraq, which they could occupy in a couple of weeks. President Obama, trying to tone down the talk of imminent war, said in the first week of February that the "Israelis" had not yet decided their course of action against Iran. He emphasized that the two countries would "work in lockstep, as we proceed to solve this, hopefully diplomatically". Meanwhile, the Republican contenders for the U.S. presidency, with the exception of Ron Paul, are carrying on with their refrain of "bomb, bomb Iran".

On the nuclear issue, the Iranian people are united as never before. The neighboring Arab monarchies are no doubt tacitly supporting the psychological and economic warfare being currently waged by the West against Iran, but they realize that Iran too has many cards to play. The Shia populations in these countries are already restive and are demanding their democratic rights. Senior Iranian officials have warned that if war breaks out, the Iranian army will target the U.S. military bases littering the Gulf countries. If shipping is affected in the choke point of the Strait of Hormuz, global oil prices are bound to shoot through the roof. Even the American consumer could be left with a big hole in his pocket during an election year. This will be detrimental to Obama's chances of winning a second term.

On a parallel track, the U.S. has been trying desperately to arm-twist traditional friends and trading partners of Iran, like India, to implement the unilateral sanctions imposed by the West. When India's Foreign Secretary, Ranjan Mathai, was in Washington recently for talks, the U.S. State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, told reporters that "how India might find alternative sources of energy" was among the important issues discussed. She said that the U.S. was trying to implement a "two-track policy, both to encourage countries to wean themselves from Iranian oil, but also to work with suppliers around the world to help countries find alternative sources of energy".

The Saudi Arabian government has promised to ramp up the production of oil in order to meet any shortfall in case Iranian oil is forced out of the international market. Iran has described the unilateral sanctions imposed by the West as part of the "psychological warfare" being waged against it. In the first week of February, the Obama administration gave more powers to U.S. banks to freeze Iranian assets and close loopholes that would make it even more difficult for the Iranian government to transfer funds through international banking channels. Iran's Vice-President, Mohammed Reza Rahimi, defiantly reacted to the latest set of sanctions by saying that Iran would make "the sanctions ineffective, as it has done in the past, and will continue selling oil".

The sanctions, meanwhile, are beginning to affect the lives of ordinary Iranians. The Iranian rial has registered a steep decline against the dollar in recent months, leading to high inflation and rise in the prices of basic imported goods such as medicines.

India is among Iran's biggest buyers of oil and gas. Senior Indian policymakers say that though the country's dependency on Iranian oil is decreasing, Iran will continue to be a major supplier. Twelve per cent of India's crude imports are from Iran. In January, India became the biggest importer of Iranian oil, displacing China. The announcement by the Indian government that it was planning to send a large trade delegation to Iran to strengthen economic ties has angered Washington. Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar told the media in Delhi that India was implementing the United Nations-mandated sanctions against Iran but emphasized that the sanctions did not apply "to a vast range of products India supplies to Iran".

With Iran agreeing to payment in rupees and other unconventional methods like barter trading, Indian officials made it clear that India would not be pressured by the West into taking steps that would have an adverse impact on the national economy. For that matter, even Pakistan has struck a defiant note. Despite open warnings from the U.S., Pakistan has announced that the work on the gas pipeline with Iran will continue. Washington was more successful with New Delhi on the gas pipeline issue. Under pressure from the Bush administration, India had withdrawn from the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) project, saying that it was economically unfeasible and would give Islamabad undue leverage on the country's energy security. Under American pressure, many major private Indian companies such as Reliance suspended their contracts with Iran for the supply of refined gasoline.

The Obama administration is naturally unhappy with India's decision to broaden economic ties with Iran at this juncture. U.S. Congressmen have started raising the issue. Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat speaking at the confirmation hearing for the Obama administration's nominee for the Ambassador's post in New Delhi, Nancy J. Powell, said that India "seems to be rebuking the sanctions" imposed by the West on Iran.

Senior Indian officials insist that they will continue dealing with Iran. They point out that until recently the West was urging India to cut economic ties with Myanmar in order to isolate the government there. Today, it is the West which is leading the charge to invest in that country. Indian officials predict that this situation will replicate itself in Iran within a couple of years.