What “Change” In America Really Means

Barack Obama

Barack Obama

My first visit to Texas was in 1968, on the fifth anniversary of the assassination of president John F Kennedy in Dallas. I drove south, following the line of telegraph poles to the small town of Midlothian, where I met Penn Jones Jr, editor of the Midlothian Mirror. Except for his drawl and fine boots, everything about Penn was the antithesis of the Texas stereotype. Having exposed the racists of the John Birch Society, his printing press had been repeatedly firebombed. Week after week, he painstakingly assembled evidence that all but demolished the official version of Kennedy’s murder.

This was journalism as it had been before corporate journalism was invented, before the first schools of journalism were set up and a mythology of liberal neutrality was spun around those whose “professionalism” and “objectivity” carried an unspoken obligation to ensure that news and opinion were in tune with an establishment consensus, regardless of the truth. Journalists such as Penn Jones, independent of vested power, indefatigable and principled, often reflect ordinary American attitudes, which have seldom conformed to the stereotypes promoted by the corporate media on both sides of the Atlantic. Read American Dreams: Lost and Found by the masterly Studs Terkel, who died the other day, or scan the surveys that unerringly attribute enlightened views to a majority who believe that “government should care for those who cannot care for themselves” and are prepared to pay higher taxes for universal health care, who support nuclear disarmament and want their troops out of other people’s countries.

Returning to Texas, I am struck again by those so unlike the redneck stereotype, in spite of the burden of a form of brainwashing placed on most Americans from a tender age: that theirs is the most superior society in the history of the world, and all means are justified, including the spilling of copious blood, in maintaining that superiority.

That is the subtext of Barack Obama’s “oratory”. He says he wants to build up US military power; and he threatens to ignite a new war in Pakistan, killing yet more brown-skinned people. That will bring tears, too. Unlike those on election night, these other tears will be unseen in Chicago and London. This is not to doubt the sincerity of much of the response to Obama’s election, which happened not because of the unction that has passed for news reporting from America since 4 November (e.g. “liberal Americans smiled and the world smiled with them”) but for the same reasons that millions of angry emails were sent to the White House and Congress when the “bailout” of Wall Street was revealed, and because most Americans are fed up with war.

full article: www.insight-info.com

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Why `Holocaust Denial’ Laws are Dangerous

Frederick Toben

Frederick Toben

On October 1, British police at London’s Heathrow airport arrested Dr. Frederick Toben – an Australian citizen and a Holocaust revisionist – during a stop on a flight from the United States to Dubai. He was detained on the basis of a “European Arrest Warrant” issued by German authorities that accuses him of publishing material online “of an anti-semitic and/or revisionist nature.”

Toben, a former schoolteacher who holds a doctorate in philosophy, has reportedly described the Holocaust as “a lie”. His Australia-based “Adelaide Institute” website allegedly carries the transcript of an interview in which he says there is “no proof” that the Hitler regime systematically exterminated Jews.

He is being held in custody until a British court decides if he is to be extradited to Germany. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 17. A German prosecutor says that if Toben is extradited, he could be sentenced to five years in prison. He would then join two German citizens, Ernst Zundel and Germar Rudolf, who are already serving prison terms for having violated Germany’s “Holocaust denial” law.

In Germany it is crime to “deny, play down or justify” genocidal acts carried out by the Hitler regime. “Holocaust denial” is also a crime in France, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, and several other European countries, as well as in Israel. Over the years many individuals have been fined, imprisoned or forced into exile for “denying the Holocaust,” including Robert Faurisson and Roger Garaudy in France, Siegfried Verbeke in Belgium, Juergen Graf and Gaston-Armand Amaudruz in Switzerland, and Ernst Zundel, Germar Rudolf, Guenter Deckert and Hans Schmidt in Germany.

full article: www.insight-info.com

International Al-Quds Day Demonstration in London

Qods Day London

Qods Day London

The Annual Al-Quds Day Demonstration will take place on Sunday 28th September 2008, 1pm at Marble Arch and marching towards Trafalgar Square. The International Day of Al-Quds is day of the oppressed in Palestine and around the World.vIt is held each year on the last Friday of Ramadan. Al-Quds Day is not an Islamic religious holiday but a political event open to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and thus observance is not obligatory in Islam.

 
The remembrance of this day originated in Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The observance was suggested by Imam Khomeini, Founder of the Islamic Revolution, in August of that year, saying:

“I invite Muslims all over the globe to consecrate the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as Jerusalem Day and to proclaim the international solidarity of Muslims in support of the legitimate rights of the Muslim people of Palestine.”

“For many years, I have been notifying the Muslims of the danger posed by the usurper Israel which today has intensified its savage attacks against the Palestinian brothers and sisters, and which, in the south of Lebanon in particular, is continually bombing Palestinian homes in the hope of crushing the Palestinian struggle. I ask all the Muslims of the world and the Muslim governments to join together to sever the hand of this usurper and its supporters. I call on all the Muslims of the world to select as Jerusalem Day the last Friday in the holy month of Ramadan – which is itself a determining period and can also be the determiner of the Palestinian people’s fate – and through a ceremony demonstrating the solidarity of Muslims world-wide, announce their support for the legitimate rights of the Muslim people. I ask God Almighty for the victory of the Muslims over the infidels.”

The Jewish Experience by Gilad Altzon

For more than half a century, those who have been trying to combat the forces that are behind the Israeli paradigm have been identifying Israeli policies and practice with Zionism and Zionist Ideology. I am afraid to say that they were wrong all the way along. Indeed, Zionism’s project dictates the plunder of Palestine in the name of Jewish national aspiration. It is also true to argue that Israel has been rather efficient in translating the Zionist philosophy into a devastating oppressive and murderous practice. Yet, Israelis, or more precisely, the vast majority of Israeli-born secular Jews, are not motivated or fuelled by Zionist ideology. Its spirit or symbols are virtually meaningless to them. As bizarre as it may sound to some, Zionism is either a foreign or just an archaic notion for most Israeli-born secular Jews.

Since the vast majority of Israelis are confused by the notion of Zionism, most forms of criticism that would label itself as anti-Zionist would have hardly any effect on Israel, Israeli politics or on the Israeli people. In other words, in the last sixty years, those who have been using the paradigm of Zionism and its antipode have been preaching to the converted.

A total review of the amalgam formed by Israel, Zionism and Jewishness is now overdue.

Intimate Departure

Once a year around Easter, my family leaves me behind for two weeks. My wife Tali and our two kids Mai (12) and Yann (7) make their way to Israel. My wife calls it a family visit, she insists that the kids must see their close relatives and my views on Israel, Jewish identity and global Zionism should never stand in the way or interfere with family matters. For the obvious reasons, I myself never go to Israel. I had decided ten years ago that unless Israel becomes a state of its citizens, I have nothing to do there.

In our first parental years in London Tali and I had some discussions about her favourite choice of Easter break. Initially I didn’t approve. I insisted that schlepping innocent youngsters to the apartheid ‘Jews only state’ would contribute little to their future well-being, and in fact, it may distort their ethical senses. In those early parental years Tali dismissed my fears, she argued that our kids should be treated as free human beings. They must be entitled to see their family and it is down to them to make up their minds when they are ready to do so.

When our kids were very young, I found it pretty difficult to sustain my argument. Mai and Yann didn’t have any interest in political or ethical complexities. However, as my kids grew up, their journey in and out of the Hebraic shtetl had become a major education chapter for myself more than for anyone else. Observing my kids transformed into light Israelophiles opened my eyes. I happened to grasp the impact of Israel and Zionism through the juvenile eyes of my British kids. I had learned to admit how easy it may be to fall in love with Israel.

My kids love it there. They adore the blue sky, they go on and on about the sea and the sandy beaches. I guess that they love humus and falafel. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that everything I have mentioned so far belongs to the land – i.e., Palestine rather than the state – i.e., Israel. However, it doesn’t end there. They also love to talk in Hebrew surrounded by Hebrew speakers, to laugh in Hebrew and even to get upset in Hebrew. They love the Hebraic Chutzpah that is inherently entangled with the Israeli openness. At the end of the day, Hebrew is their mother tongue.

When Tali and the kids land in cloudy London they happen to be confused and lost for a while. Tali becomes slightly nostalgic about the successful theatrical career she left behind. This obviously makes a lot of sense. The case of my kids is slightly more complicated. They are Brits. Though Hebrew is their mother tongue, English is their first language. In London they clearly miss some liberties they celebrated there: they want to keep on playing in the open fields, to bathe in the glorious Mediterranean sun overwhelmed by the dry spring blossoms. But far more noticeably, Israel resolves what seems as their inevitable emerging identity complex. While here in London they are troubled with their ethnic identity, they can never decide who they are, whether they are ex-Israelis, ex-Jews, Secular Jews, Christian by culture, the descendents of a Hebrew speaking Palestinian, the son and daughter of a notorious proud self-hater and so on. In Israel, and especially with their family around, none of those questions come into play. The Israelis tend to accept you as a qualified brother as long as you are not an Arab. While in multi-ethnic London my kids are often confronted with some obvious questions regarding their origin, questions they find hard to tackle a lot because of myself and my stand, in Israel those questions are non-existent.

 

full article: www.insight-info.com

26 Years on 1982 Invasion, Resistance Made the Change

June 6 is a day with a special characteristic. It’s a day that marked the beginning of a new era in the Arab-Israeli conflict and paved the way for strong resistance movements to rise and eventually make a change.

us embassy beirut


On this day, twenty-six years ago, Israeli occupation forces launched a massive military incursion into Lebanon in an operation dubbed “Peace for Galilee.” At first glance, the Israeli aggression seemed to be aimed at south Lebanon, but then Defense Minister Ariel Sharon pushed all the way to the capital Beirut.
“Peace for Galilee” for the Israelis is the “Israeli Invasion” for the Lebanese.  It began on 6 June, less than two months after Israel transformed its defeat in Sinai into a political victory in Camp David. Then Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin got the impression that all Arab countries would follow Egypt and sign so-called peace deals with Israel.
 
Jordan gave its word to Israel that it would sign such treaty once Lebanon signs a similar one. The Kingdom did not want to get involved in any agreement that would put it at odds with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) that had its leadership headquarters in Beirut.
Back then, Lebanon meant the fertile land for Palestinian resistance movements; thus dealing a blow to the PLO in Lebanon would crush the resistance once and for all and pave the way for signing a peace deal with Lebanon and then with Arab states. In doing this, Israel would extract the acknowledgment of Arabs in the so-called “state of Israel” and open the way for political and economic expansion in the Middle East region.
 
Menachem Begin found that the only way to achieve this “glory” for Israel was to invade Lebanon to crush the PLO, but under what pretext?
 
On July 24, 1981, US President Ronald Reagan’s special envoy Philip Habib arrived in Beirut with a controversial mission. Habib managed to broker a shaky nine-months ceasefire between Yasser Arafat and Israel. When the ceasefire took effect, Tel Aviv was like a beehive preparing politically and logistically for their “big time invasion.”  
Back in Beirut, Israeli and pro-Israeli bodies worked persistently on straining the internal front. Clashes between Lebanese and Palestinian forces expanded throughout south Lebanon. Both forces got weak and their chances of closing ranks to confront any Israeli military operation were zero.  
 
The element of direct military resistance was removed at a time some Arab regimes were at the Arab Summit in Fass preparing a formula to penetrate the Arab impregnability.
So everything was ready for the invasion. Israel just needed the pretext and it was not hard to find. On June 3, 1982, Israel’s ambassador in London Shlomo Argov escaped an assassination attempt.
The Israeli intelligence told Begin that the PLO was not involved in the attack, however he withheld this information from his cabinet. Rafael Eitan, who was then the Chief of Staff of the Israeli army, responded to the aforementioned information in his famous saying “Abu Nidal, abu shmidal. We need to end PLO!”

Full article: http://www.insight-info.com/articles/item.aspx?i=1156