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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Interview with Gilad Atzmon by Prof. Norton Mezvinsky-Washington Report

DateTuesday, March 27, 2012 at 9:10AM AuthorGilad Atzmon

Introduction by Gilad Atzmon:

One could imagine how delighted I was to be interviewed (and grilled) by Prof. Norton Mezvinsky whom I admire for years. Prof. Mezvinsky is an observant Jew, he is also one of the world leading scholars on Jewish history, Zionism and Jewish identity politics. He has written numerous books, articles and book reviews that deal with various aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict and Zionism. He is the co-author of Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, which he wrote with Israel Shahak. Beside the intellectual engagement, I must also mention that Norton is an incredible spirit and one of the most charming people I have ever come across.
It goes without saying that I was thrilled to meet and to be questioned by the legendary Helen Thomas. I will use this opportunity to thank the outstanding Washington Report and the other incredible organisations and individuals who orgenised, endorsed and supported my last USA truth seeking mission into a great success.

Engaging Gilad Atzmon

Israeli-born Gilad Atzmon, one of Europe’s finest jazz musicians, was in Washington, DC for the first time at the end of a multi-city North American grassroots tour to discuss his recently published and highly controversial book, The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics.
On March 14, Atzmon was interviewed by Prof. Norton Mezvinsky, Connecticut State University Professor of History Emeritus, at Washington’s Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church. The previous day a letter signed by 23 Palestinian activists called for “the disavowal of the racism and anti-Semitism of Gilad Atzmon.”
Watch the video of the Atzmon addressing the charges frequently levied against him. Decide for yourself—should Atzmon continue his frank discussion of Jewish identity or should his voice be silenced?

Bristol AdvertThe Washington Report believes that no writer or thinker should be shunned in the United States—or anywhere—and we stand by our decision to host his DC events.

Gilad Atzmon’s New Book: The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics or

The wandering who- Gilad Atzmon

Bin Jeddo: What is going in Syria exceeded reform and democracy calls, transformed into regional, international conflict

Bin Jeddo: What is going in Syria exceeded reform and democracy calls, transformed into regional, international conflictTUNIS– Renowned Arab Journalist, Ghassan Bin Jeddo, underlined that what is going on in Syria has exceeded the calls for reform and democracy, having been transformed into a regional and international conflict.

Bin Jeddo  pointed out in an article published on Thursday in the Tunisian Newspaper of al-Magreb, that Syria, under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad, has become throughout the past years the most important entrance for supporting the Resistance.

He stressed that the Resistance would not have libratrd South Lebanon in 2000 and triumphed against the Israeli aggression in July 2006 without the Syrian-Iranian support.

Bin Jeddo criticized the Tunisian foreign policy with regards to the Syrian file, pointing out that he wished that the initiative would have contributed to reconciliation in Syria rather than becoming a place for the so-called "Friends of Syria" Conference.
Thursday 29-03-2012

"Like US, Hezbollah Caught in the Middle of Israel-Iran Conflict"

Abu acknowledges: "...The relationship between Hezbollah and Iran remains complex and opaque, which is why it is worth taking with a grain of salt the analysis of anyone who claims to fully understand its intricacies..."
"... Hezbollah eventually forced Israeli troops out of southern Lebanon in 2000 and again defeated Israel in the 2006 Lebanon War, known in Lebanon as the July War. But even if Hezbollah’s senior leadership continues to pledge its fealty to the supreme leader in Tehran, there is ample reason to doubt Hezbollah is enthusiastic about attacking Israel again.
First, Hezbollah’s core strength long ago ceased to be its relationship with Iran and is instead its relationship with its political constituency in Lebanon, which supports Hezbollah both by voting for its endorsed candidates in elections as well as through financial donations. This constituency, almost exclusively Shiite, was long made up of Lebanon’s economic and political downtrodden, but it is much wealthier today than it was in the early 1980s. People living in southern Lebanon and the predominantly Shiite suburbs of southern Beirut have a lot more to lose, materially, today than they did even in the 1990s. Hezbollah knows this, and it knows the war in 2006 was painful for its constituency. This might explain why the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, made the extraordinary concession after the war’s conclusion that he would not have ordered the July 12 kidnapping of Israeli soldiers that triggered the fighting had he known that the consequences would be so severe.
Second, Israelis worried in the aftermath of the war in 2006 that they had lost their deterrence capability. Never again, they fretted, will our Arab enemies take us seriously. They could not have been more wrong. From the perspective of Hezbollah, each major Israeli offensive on Lebanon since the end of the Lebanese Civil War has been progressively more severe. Operation Accountability of 1993 was a brutal air and artillery campaign that destroyed more than 6,000 homes in southern Lebanon. Operation Grapes of Wrath of 1996 was likewise an air and artillery campaign, but one that also targeted civilian infrastructure in Beirut. And during the 2006 war, Israeli air and ground forces struck all over Lebanon, killing more than a thousand Lebanese and displacing hundreds of thousands more, while destroying billions of dollars worth of infrastructure. None of these punitive campaigns accomplished any of Israel’s immediate objectives. They were all, in a sense, failures. But all of them laid the groundwork for a pretty credible deterrent threat. When Israeli commanders speak of destroying the entirety of the southern suburbs of Beirut in a new campaign, as they did in 2006, Lebanese and Hezbollah leaders must take them at their word.
Third, while Israel did not, in fact, lose its deterrent capability in 2006, the Iranians just might have. Israelis weathered the war in 2006 relatively well, with very few civilian casualties despite a 34-day bombardment of northern Israel by Hezbollah’s missiles. If the cost of a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, which Israel considers to be an existential threat, were a similar assault from southern Lebanon, that would be a price Israel could live with. If Iran was counting on Hezbollah to intimidate Israel into not attacking Iran, that strategy has obviously failed.
I nonetheless believe that Hezbollah will strike Israel if the latter attacks Iran. The relationship between Hezbollah and Iran remains complex and opaque, which is why it is worth taking with a grain of salt the analysis of anyone who claims to fully understand its intricacies. But the financial, political and ideological ties between the two sides’ senior leadership will likely trump any constraints imposed by Hezbollah’s war-weary constituency.
More interesting than the question of whether or not Hezbollah will strike Israel is the question of how it might do so. An expansion of the battlefield beyond southern Lebanon and northern Israel to Israeli targets abroad, such as embassies, might be one option Hezbollah would consider ...
Another scenario, also quite possible, is one in which Israel pre-empts any action by Hezbollah by attacking targets in Lebanon -- specifically, sites suspected of housing Hezbollah’s medium-range rockets -- simultaneous to an attack on Iran. Such a pre-emptive attack would almost certainly trigger a response in the form of Hezbollah rockets. Previously, analysts had worried that a new war between Israel and Hezbollah would spill over into Syria, but the ongoing crisis there makes that less likely.
In the end, Hezbollah finds itself in much the same position as the United States as it watches the clouds of war gather between Israel and Iran. Like the United States, it has reason to hope conflict can be averted. But like the United States, it is realistic about the likelihood that it will be drawn into a conflict once the first shots are fired."

Global March to Jerusalem Celebrates Land Day at Lebanese-Palestinian Borders

Land Day Memorial, Sakhnin, Galilee

Land Day and Global March to Jerusalem ceremonies were launched Friday in Lebanon, after participants gathered at Beaufort Fortress in the Southern Lebanese village of Arnon, near the borders with Palestine.
Global March to Jerusalem, Beaufort Fortress; March 30, 2012Friday prayers at the scene were followed by the ceremony activities, starting with the arrival of international delegations coming from Arab and foreign countries to participate in the event, Al-Manar Website correspondent Mohammad Alloush reported.

Waving Palestinian flags and singing Palestinian national songs, participants chanted slogans of death to Israel and support for the Palestinian cause, and lifted a large banner reading "Global March to Jerusalem, the world's people want to liberate Jerusalem."

The demonstrators delivered speeches on the occasion stressing that the issue of Palestine will remain the nation's first cause of priority.
Global March to Jerusalem, Beaufort Fortress; March 30, 2012
Intensive masses from Asian countries of India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Azerbaijan and many other states attended the march, alongside Arabs, Iranians and Turks activists. The most prominent were the anti-Zionist rabbis of "Neturei Karta".

The Lebanese army conducted intense security checks and barbed wires had been installed around the gathering courtyard.

Global March to Jerusalem, Beaufort Fortress; March 30, 2012Similar protests were held in the West Bank and Gaza. While organizers said the events would be nonviolent, Zionist army and police were girding for trouble after similar demonstrations last year turned deadly.

Thousands of Palestinian demonstrators clashed with Zionist troops at a West Bank checkpoint of Qalqiliya Friday as hundreds more gathered by Jerusalem's Old City to mark Land Day.

Global March to Jerusalem, West Bank demonstrators commemorating the Land DayTensions were high at the Qalandia checkpoint, just north of Jerusalem, as a handful of Palestinian youths hurled rocks and set tires alight, with Israeli troops firing a barrage of teargas, rubber bullets and stun grenades against the protest.

Troops also fired a foul-smelling liquid called "skunk" into the crowd, an Agence France Presse correspondent said. By 1100 GMT, around 30 people had been treated for teargas inhalation, Palestinian medics said.

At least a dozen rallies were held across the occupied territories, AFP reported.

In annexed Arab east Jerusalem, around 400 demonstrators waving huge Palestinian flags gathered outside the Old City near Damascus Gate. However, another hundred or so people gathered by Lion's Gate, where Zionist police arrested four people, and another two were treated by medics after being injured by police batons, an AFP correspondent said.

The main Land Day march took place in the Arab ‘Israeli’ town of Deir Hanna in Galilee, with another march scheduled in the southern Negev desert.

In anticipation of mass protests, the Zionist occupation army imposed a 24-hour closure on the occupied territories late on Thursday, barring Palestinians from entering the entity, excepted for humanitarian reasons or medical emergencies.
Source: Websites

30-03-2012 - 18:05 Last updated 30-03-2012 - 18:09
Land Day: Syria

Palestinian lawmaker wounded in Land Day protest
Land Day Clashes: Youth Martyred, 130 Injured Including MP Barghouti

A Gaza youth was martyred and at least five more people seriously injured, including a journalist, at the Erez checkpoint between "Israel" and Gaza, as security forces are clashing with protesting Palestinians.

RT's correspondent also reported that the Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti was rushed to hospital and is in serious condition after being hit in the head by an "Israeli" tear gas canister at Qalandia checkpoint in West Bank.

"Ambulances are racing to and from the scene," the agency added.

The standoff between the "Israeli" army and Palestinians continues at various checkpoints, with occasional bursts of tear gas being fired at protesters. "Israeli" forces were using water cannons and rubber bullets.

At least 130 people have reportedly been wounded throughout the West Bank so far, according to medical sources. Reports also suggest that four medics were struck with rubber bullets.

Moreover, two Palestinians have been injured as "Israeli" forces were carrying out mass arrests in al-Quds, particularly around Damascus gate in the old city.

The Palestinian rallies, joined by international human rights activists, are part of an international campaign named Global March on al-Quds, a peaceful international movement that also condemns the "Israeli" occupation of the holy city.

Source:RT, Edited by

Scores Injured as Israeli Troops Attack West Bank land Day Protests

Khamenei to Erdogan: Iran Firmly Opposes Foreign Interference in Syria

Local Editor

Imam Khemenei erdoganSupreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei says Tehran vehemently against any foreign meddling in Syria as it supports Damascus for baking the resistance.

In a meeting with visiting Turkish Prime Minister, Imam Khamenei said:
““The Islamic Republic will defend Syria because of its support for the resistance front against the Zionist regime (Israel) and is vehemently opposed to any intervention by foreign forces in Syrian internal affairs”.
The leader also slammed the way world powers have been dealing with regional states, and in particular the United States, saying:
“The Americans recognize no nation as an independent nation”.
“The Americans treat all countries in this [instrumental] way, and therefore the interests of Islamic countries should be taken into account in decision-makings”.

Talking about the situation of the region, Imam Khamenei emphasized the importance that independent nations make “correct decisions”.

The deployment of a NATO warning system in Malatya’s Kürecik district
has come under harsh criticism by opposition parties and the residents of the region.

On the other hand, Erdogan called for developing bilateral ties between Ankara and Tehran.
“We believe that, given this long history [of bilateral relations], the ties between the two countries should be further deepened, particularly in the area of infrastructural collaborations”, the Turkish PM told the Leader at the holy city of Mashhad.

Source: Agencies

30-03-2012 - 08:13 Last updated 30-03-2012 - 08:13

Khamenei: Iran Firmly Opposes All Foreign Interference in the Syrian Internal Affairs

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister: Foreign Interferences in Syria Have Failed

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What's Next in Syria?

by Stephen Lendman

My PhotoOn March 27, Syria formally accepted Kofi Annan's six-point peace plan. His spokesman, Ahmad Fawzi said:

"The Syrian government has written to the Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan accepting his six-point plan, endorsed by the United Nations Security Council."
"Mr Annan views this as an important initial step that could bring an end to the violence and the bloodshed, provide aid to the suffering, and create an environment conducive to a political dialogue that would fulfil the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people."
At the same time, the Western-backed Syrian National Council (SNC) rejected the plan. SNC member Naji Tayara spuriously accused Assad of wanting "more time to continue with the killing."

Russia welcomed Assad's acceptance. A Foreign Ministry statement said it's a way to end violence if both sides agree to talk and end violence. Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said:

"Moscow met with satisfaction the statement of UN and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan that he had received the confirmation of the Syrian government’s consent to his proposal for peaceful settlement in the Syrian Arab Republic."
"We are convinced that this offers a real opportunity for the realization of lawful aspirations of all Syrians with respect for the country’s sovereignty and independence and consolidated support by the entire international community for Annan’s mission."
"This opportunity must not be lost. It is extremely important in this context that Syrian opposition groups should follow Damascus’ example and state clearly their consent to the proposal for peaceful settlement made by the UN and Arab League special envoy and supported by the UN Security Council."

Assad showed he wants peaceful resolution. The ball's in the opposition court. Elements in it remain fractious. SNC/Free Syrian Army killer gangs spurn peace. So does Washington to keep the Syrian pot boiling and its regime change plans on track.

Syria's National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change (NCC) wants negotiations to resolve contentious issues peacefully. It rejects violence and SNC/Free Syrian army elements pursuing it.

On March 29, a BRICS Summit (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) issued the following statement:

"The principles of normalization for Syria have all been made clear ever since Kofi Annan’s mission got down to work. There can be no foreign intervention in Syria."
"The Syrian government, on the one hand, and the opposition forces, on the other, should engage in dialogue. The government and the opposition in Syria should believe in dialogue rather than follow a short-sighted approach by saying that dialogue is doomed and that only military operations can restore order in the country. Russia will exert efforts to secure the success of the dialogue."
"The BRICS countries have swapped opinion on this issue and Russia has called on them to render humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people. Russia has already been providing Syria with relief supplies."

In contrast, US-led "Friends of Syria" will meet Sunday in Istanbul. Key players plan conflict, not peace. As many as 70 countries may participate. Only major Western and anti-Assad Middle East ones matter.

Russia and China won't attend. A Foreign Ministry statement said participants "aren't looking for dialogue" to end conflict. Indeed not, and Moscow and Beijing know the stakes affecting their own regional interests.

Ahead of Sunday's conference, Arab officials and Syrian opposition elements met in Istanbul. At issue was forging consensus and unity. Efforts fell short. Divisions remain.

Former SNC leader Haitham al-Maleh, several Kurdish delegates, and others walked out. Syria's main nonviolent opposition group, the National Coordination Committee (NCC) for Democratic Change, boycotted the meeting. Those remaining claimed success.

Violent opposition elements alone agree, despite claiming they support a "civil, democratic, pluralistic, independent" sovereign Syria. In fact, they want the country turned into another US vassal state like their own.

On Thursday, Arab leaders met in Baghdad. Divisions were clear. Sunni-led Gulf states Saudi Arabia and Qatar support regime change, including violently ousting Assad to get it. Host country Iraq's firmly opposed. So are others supporting Annan's peace plan.

UK Writer Patrick Seale on Syria

Syria has a tradition of secularism
and of mutual acceptance.
This tradition did not emerge by accident.
It was necessary for social peace
precisely because
Syrian society is a complex
mosaic of sects and ethnicities.

UK writer Patrick Seale knows Syria well. He wrote Hafez Assad's biography, Bashar's father, titled: "Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East." On March 28, 2011 his Foreign Policy article headlined, "The Syrian Time Bomb," saying:

"Syria lies at the center of a dense network of Middle East relationships, and the crisis in that likely to have a major impact on the regional structure of power."
He called Syria the "linchpin" of a Tehran/Damascus/Hezbollah "bulwark" against US/Israeli regional dominance. Like other Middle East states, Syria's comprised of "a mosaic of ancient religions, sects, and ethnic groups held uneasily and sometimes uncomfortably together by central government."

Internal conflict profoundly disrupts the region. If Assad falls, "blood-thirsty sectarian demons risk being unleashed, and the entire region could be consumed in an orgy of violence."

In February 2012, Seale said the Syrian conflict's not only an assault on Damascus but one on Tehran and Hezbollah. It's waged to thwart their "bulwark" against US/Israeli regional hegemony. That's what we're witnessing, he said.

"It’s a struggle for regional supremacy, regional dominance, as well as an internal struggle between the Assad regime and its enemies, of whom the Muslim Brothers are the most organized and best funded element, the only element perhaps in the (SNC) opposition that enjoys some support at a public level." At the same time, it represents a small minority.

He added that Assad seems in no imminent danger of being toppled. His army and security forces remain loyal. Russia and China support him. India, Brazil, and other nations likely do as well. In addition, he benefits greatly from divisions among opposition elements.

At the same time, most Syrians back him as the only way to stop violence and prevent possibly replicating the worst of Iraq or Libya.

After years of US led regional violence, many people want Assad to survive rather than open "the door to the Pandora's box of the opposition."

If another war erupts, Seale, like others, sees regional disaster resulting. They're easy to start, hard to end, and risk spreading uncontrollably to something much greater with potentially devastating consequences hopefully no one wants.

Nonetheless, he sees a possible replay of the run-up to attacking Iraq in 2003. Dialogue's the only way out. Continuing conflict's likely to end badly for all sides. On March 27, he called for a Middle East "Grand Bargain," saying:

Conflicts plagued the region for decades. It's time to curb the rage for war. The five permanent Security Council members are key. Other influential ones like Germany, India and Brazil can help.

Together they can bring conflicting sides together peacefully. They've got muscle enough to do it. The nature of regional conflicts requires global action. All sides must make concessions.

Facilitating Palestinian self-determination would improve chances for success. Doing so would "puncture a (longstanding) boil" that's "poisoned political relationships in the Middle East for decades," and erupts often in violence.

A Final Comment

Washington, of course, is key. It's the main obstacle to peace. So far, achieving it's impossible given its rage to replace independent regimes with client ones by any means, including war.

Changing that requires international opposition from major Western and regional allies. Wars beget more of them. Endless carnage results. Instead of solving problems they magnify them.

Peaceful resolution offers hope. The key to peace and keeping it always requires give and take, as well as a realization that wars solve nothing. Didn't two global ones prove anything?

Imagine another now with nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. The potential disaster's too horrifying to allow.

Maybe cooler US and Israeli heads one day will prevent it. Wouldn't that be "grand" indeed, though so far it's nowhere in sight.

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.