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By Emma Rosenthal

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.”Jessica Dovey  incorrectly attributed to martin luther king jr.*

“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that” — Martin Luther King, Jr  Strength to Love

This quote (printed as one single quote)  has been making rounds on the internet. I was one of the people who sent it out, after receiving it. Now another article is circulating that the quote is a hoax. Actually, it’s NOT  a hoax. the first sentence is not attributable to King, but the rest of the quote comes from his book Strength to Love.  It should be printed as two separate quotes, both worthy of mention.  Perhaps the author of the first quote didn’t think his or her words would get the attention they deserved, and attributed it to MLK jr., or perhaps it was sent out as a comment and a quote, and others blended them together to meet character limits on facebook.  (I wrote this sentence before finding out the name of the first sentence of the quote, which i have since included, in a later edit.– emma rosenthal)

Don’t get me wrong.  As a researcher, writer and activist, I appreciate correct attributions, good research and  setting the record straight.

Regardless, the sentiment resonated with a lot to a lot of people.  With all the anger and animosity in the world, that we might confuse a mythical Martin Luther King Jr. with the factual one, in a quote that could very well (had it been written a whole lot better!) be attributed to him, speaks of a different Amerika than the one Obomber is representing, a different America than the Navy Seals represent.  Martin Luther King Jr. is as much a part of our collective Amerika as all the bombs, and debt dependency structures, and multinational corporations and foreign wars, and covert actions.  Should we be ashamed that we tried to find,  that we believed, Martin Luther King Jr had words to express our collective grief and outrage, in a nation where the code name for Bin Ladn, during this alleged raid, was “Geronimo” ?

Which is the greater hoax? Really?

*http://bookhaven.stanford.edu/

More interesting commentary:

http://www.onthemedia.org/transcripts/2011/01/14/06

http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/Horizons/2011/0503/How-Osama-bin-Laden-s-death-sparked-a-fake-Martin-Luther-King-quote

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Facebook Status Montage

 
Facebook provides an amazing network of activists, writers, photographers, artists.  Here are commentaries by some of my facebook (and in some cases, real life) friends, allies, comrades. 

Majed Abusalama “All Gaza people are praying in solidarity with our friends in the flotilla , Gaza is so angry now , Mosques is calling all the people to make protests in the streets , the streets are full of people ! A new Intifada in Gaza will start! My beloved Gazan people are so angry ! we are with all our friends in the Peaceful boats ! Let us act now” Gaza, Occupied Palestine

 

Tamara Joy Rettino “Before sleep, two thoughts: 1. The Israeli army attacked and killed 16 civilians bringing humanitarian aid to blockaded Gaza. This is an atrocity. 2. BUT this is simply a symptom of Israel’s systemic violence. The vast majority of men, women, and children injured and killed and occupied by the Israeli Army are unarmed civilians.” Los Angeles, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Don Emmerich ” Since the Gaza Massacre, public opinion has been turning against Israel. Now Israel continues damning itself. Now is the time for us to remain calm and reasonable. Yes, anger is okay, but we must calmly and reasonably expose the truth. Don’t give the media the chance to slander us and our cause.”  -Denver, Colorado, Occupied Amerika

 

Jay Cassano “Israel afraid of Palestinians receiving cement, wheelchairs, and water purifiers. For shame.” Amherst, Massachusetts, Occupied Amerika

 

Elise Hendrick “For anyone still confused: Piracy is what the Israeli Navy is in the process of doing right now, not what Somali fishermen are doing to protect their territorial waters.”  Cincinnati, Ohio, Occupied Amerika

 

Emily Jacir “thinks its sheer insanity that EU nations are issuing statements that they are “shocked” about the Israeli massacre of unarmed peace activists in international waters. Really? You are shocked that Israel would do this? Where have you been the last 62 years? oh thats right quietly supporting Israel and turning a blind eye to a sea of massacres.”   Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

 

Sasha Crow “There is appropriate outrage today of its murders of internationals on the Gaza aid flotilla but the state of Israel has been murderers since its inception. Our outrage should be constant and relentless against its ongoing murders – not only of internationals but also of its taking of equally valuable Palestinian lives.” Amman, Jordan

 

Ali Abunimah “States failed to act so a people’s navy was formed, carrying no weapons & much love, to run an unjust blockade.”  Chicago, Il, Occupied Amerika

 

Ben White “globalise the intifada”

 

Nada Elia “You do NOT have the right to remain silent, and still claim that you have a modicum of decency.” Seattle, WA, Occupied Amerika

 

Tom Vee “When you open fire on a ship and drop heavily armed masked men from the sky in the middle of the night you forfeit any “self-defense” claim.” Oakland, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Ben White “i hope congress boosts its aid to Israel next year to combat the threat of bagged marbles”

 

Anne Key “How many BBC reporters does it take to fix a liebulb?”  Cumbria, England.

 

Dina Odetalla “Release the names of our dead friends”

 

Jehanzeb Dar “Attacking Gaza aid boats, advancing the war in Afghanistan, and ordering drone strikes on Pakistan all kill innocent civilians and are deserving of equal and bold international condemnation.” Langhorne, PA, Occupied Amerika

 

Emman Chehade Randazo “Mark our words Israel, we will never let you forget the carnage you have caused over the past 62 years. If not in our lifetime, then our children and their children will carry the torch and we will never forget, we will build museums, make documentaries, shout our hellacious experiences from the rooftops, and you will be spit on by history as the garbage superficial morally lacking thieving entity you are.” Chicago, IL, Occupied Amerika

 

Hussam Ayloush “While this new massacre is not the first in Israel’s history and possibly not going to be the last, it still indicates a growing Israeli arrogance, carelessness, and disregard for the world’s reaction or to the sanctity of the lives of those who disagree with its policies.”  Anaheim, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Sylvia Posadas “after the F35s – I think Turkey has at a least a signed contract, the US keeps delaying the signing of Israel’s toys guarantee.  Turkey could stop Israel’s water contract, rip up the drone contract, tell elbit and iai to take a hike. Yet, then Turkey would have to face the US. Still, the US needs Turkey in NATO – without Turkey’s boots on the ground, the US presence in Afghanistan would be through. The EU, where the richest US $ investments are, needs Turkey as a transit for energy.

Turkey can wait, keeping a low profile, working on its regional trade alliances and patching up all wounds till the empire falls a little more, dragged down by its zionist accomplice.” Noosa, Queensland, Occupied Australia

 

Human Rights Watch “A prompt, credible, and impartial investigation is absolutely essential to determine whether the lethal force used by Israeli commandos was necessary to protect lives and whether it could have been avoided. Given Israel’s poor track record of investigating unlawful killings by its armed forces, the international community should closely monitor any inquiry to ensure it meets basic international standards and that any wrongdoers are brought to justice”

 

Tamara Joy Ruttino “Israel is STILL refusing to release the names and bodies and whereabouts of the dead, injured, and prisoners from the Free Gaza Flotilla. They have forced an information blackout, and who knows what they are doing to our people…I am OUTRAGED at Israel’s flagrant violation of international law and lack of basic common decency. Guess what Israel? THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING. “  Los Angeles, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Donna K.Khorsheed “ MV Rachel Corrie set sail Monday from Malta with goal of breaking Israel’s blockade of Gaza ~ Our hearts are with you ~”  San Francisco, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Steve Cooke “supports the right of people on aid convoy ships to defend themselves from state pirates.” Stockton-on Tees, England

 

Dirk Adrieansens “Following Israel’s criminal raid in international waters on May 31st, the Rachel Corrie MV continues to sail towards the Gaza coastline in defiance of Israeli threats.

In an act of tremendous courage, the Rachel Corrie MV is determined to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. A lot of my friends are on board that ship, like Denis Halliday, Matthias Chang and his brother and other Malaysian friends. Go, friends, go !”

 

Emily Jacir “Oh! And lets not forget the 24 hour media blackout and refusal to allow any media access to the civilians they attacked and imprisoned or the ships in order to give Israel a 24 hour PR advantage.” Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

 

Cindy Sheehan “ Many Jews and people of Jewish heritage or descent do not support what the State of Israel does. Just like many of us “Americans” do not support what our State does. Anger at Israel should not evolve into hatred of Jews. Many of my friends are peace loving Jews (Muslims, Christians, Pagans, Atheists, etc).” Oakland, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Zahra Billoo “just overhead bystanders discussing that they observed more Jews on the Gaza solidarity side than the Israeli side of the SF rally.” San Francisco, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Greta Berlin “Israel’s ‘military video’ had no time code in the upper right had corner when the ‘alleged’ attack from passenger occurred. However, the time code is clearly there at the beginning of the action when it’s just a shot from the helicopter.”  Paris, France

 

Miko Peled “Activists aboard the boat fought courageously as they were attacked by armed Israel pirates. The Israeli pirates, trained assassins or “commandos” – cowards to the very end opened fire.” San Diego, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Tamara Joy Rettino “Love is the color of action. So make us an army of lovers…irrational optimists, forever blind to the possibility that we cannot win. Let us find purification in the rites of fighting and fucking. Uniforms of blushing flesh, sacrificial devotees of desire. You can beat us, gas us, jail us, but our love is immutable. We are crazy with love. And we will be victorious, because even in death, love makes us strong…” Los Angeles, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Mary Hughes Thompson “Sweet Rana and Lara, I will need to knit two more hats. I hope the Israeli pirates are able to make good use of the ones they stole.” Los Angeles, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Colleen M. Keyes “WE MUST ENCOURAGE EVERY COUNTRY TO SEND AID TO PALESTINE–AND LET’S NOT FORGET THE WEST BANK AND EAST JERUSALEM WHERE DAILY ISRAEL CONFISCATES PALESTINIAN LAND, EVICTS PEOPLE FROM THEIR ANCESTRAL HOMES, DEMOLISHES HOMES, ATTACKS PEACEFUL ACTIVISTS.” Middletown, CT, Occupied Amerika

 

Tali Shapiro “will be supporting the arrested flotilla survivors at the Be’er Sheva prison, at 18:00, this afternoon.” Jerusalem Al Quds, Occupied Palestine

 

Jenny Grossbard “ here’s an independent investigation of the flotilla massacre: israel fired the first shot. in 1948. case closed” New York, NY, Occupied Amerika

.

Donna K. Khorsheed  “After all this… Nothing will change… The US will stand by Israel and they will continue to do what they are doing… and worse. The only hope we have is knowing there are so many people in the world that support our cause and believe in justice. We mourn the peace activists that were killed. Good people that were only coming to give humanitarian aid… It’s a sad world…” San Francisco, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Leah Bolger “VFP condemns the Israeli attack and calls for an immediate cessation of mililtary aid to Israel”   San Francisco, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Marcy Winograd “(running for Congress, CA36):  As a Jewish woman of conscience, I invite my opponent, Jane Harman, another Jewish woman, and all of Congress to join me in denouncing this kind of barbaric violence, demanding an end to the blockade and seeking an international investigation into these murders. I recommit myself to working towards a true, just and lasting peace.

(Quote does not constitute an endorsement of one candidate or another. As a non-profit entity, Cafe Intifada is barred from endorsement of candidates.)

 

Norman Finkelstein “ Israel is not violating US doctrine. Israel is implementing it.” Chicago, IL, Occupied Amerika

 

Muhammad Alsyed “7 month-old infant died in Gaza today – unable to reach medical treatment.”  Napier, New Zealand 

 

Fatima Mojaddidy “Between the BP oil spill and Israeli massacre of the humanitarian activists on the freedom floatilla, if we don’t wake up and see what’s wrong with this world and fix it NOW, then we are a worthless, stupid, self destructive species that will be our own demise!! These two incidents are MAJORLY eye-opening, DO SOMETHING!!!!” Oakland, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Garrick Ruiz “History is moving very fast around us. We can choose to watch it unfold or we can jump in and let the rulers know that they don’t create history. We do. All of us together. Get involved and lets create the beautiful world we all know is possible. From Gaza and the Mediterranean to Arizona and Los Angeles the resistance is growing! Palestine will be free! And so will we! Love and Rage!” Los Angeles, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Donna K.Khorsheed “The truth is coming out… and there is nothing the filthy zionists can do to cover up the massacre they have committed… yet again… The world better wake up and put an end to this.The international community must step up with or without the US… Don’t kid yourselves… This will go on forever if it is left up to them!” San Francisco, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

Cindy Sheehan “ The US gives Israel about 10 million dolars a day in military and other aid. That’s like an insane, pyschopathic older brother arming his even insaner and more psycopathic younger brother. When is someone going to sanction the US?” Oakland, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

S Brian Willson “As a typical religious, all-American type kid growing up in rural USA, I thanked “God” for special benefit of being born in “America,” the greatest country on earth endowed by God to bring salvation to the heathen & prosperity to the poor. Such myth. Now, I ask the Great Spirit for strength to resist & separate myself from the most dangerous, diabolical force on the planet – that same USA. Epistemological shift!”

Majed Abusalama “ Good Night after a lot of work for my beloved people , I loved the solidarity events which going on everyday in Gaza to show the flotilla activists that we are supporting them and waiting for them again to Break Gaza Blockade!”   Gaza, Occupied Palestine

Cindy Sheehan “The State of Israel and its Zionist supporters always say that Israel is “acting in self-defense,” but the US and Israel NEVER extend that right to the people they occupy and systematically exterminate.” Oakland, CA, Occupied Amerika

 

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A Cafe Intifada response to demands made by Stand With Us*

______________________________________________

This week, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren spoke as a guest of the UC Irvine Law School.  Eleven students were arrested and may yet be EXPELLED because each uttered one sentence and then walking peacefully out of the hall.

Zionist, right wing organization, “Stand  With Us”   frequently  visiting upon events and demonstrations in Los Angeles, with provocative signs and disruptive tactics, including heckling and even acts of violence,  condemns these students for their outbursts, suggests shutting down the Muslim Student Union for its “obvious” leadership and demands disciplinary actions against the students.

The article asserts:

“The main lesson from Ambassador Oren is that we must stand up with dignity and eloquence for free speech.  If we do not, if speakers give up and walk off the stage, we risk sacrificing the civil dialogue essential to education and a bedrock of American values. ”

But what is the record of “Stand With Us” when it comes to free speech?

Some of their recent activities and advocacy  includes:

Blanket support for Israeli brutality including  Operation Cast Lead  -Israel’s invasion of Gaza last year- included in the devastation and death,  was the destruction of over 200 schools.  What disciplinary actions should be taken for that breech of free speech in an educational environment?  On this, Stand With Us stands with the Israeli military  and the Israeli government in shutting down and discrediting the Goldstone report.

Stand With Us  hosts a covert web page (Stand 4 Facts)  on activists and speakers to be used to contradict, disrupt and even prevent events from occurring on campus and to monitor those who would raise criticism of Israeli brutality.

(My dossier, the last time I had access, was 61 pages long! –with privatized espionage, there is NO freedom of information act!!!)

It uses this dossier to defame and discredit activists and educators.  Stand With Us was part of the contingent that DEMANDED that United Teachers Los Angeles President Duffy cancel a meeting hosted by the Human Rights Committee to DISCUSS boycott sanctions and divestiture from Israel.  That is, they felt that ANY discussion of this matter should not be allowed within a democratic union.  Along with the rest of the contingent that pressured the union, they demanded that the union disassociate from the groups sponsoring the event, INCLUDING UTLA MEMBERS!

Stand With Us shelters these demands by insisting that events be “balanced” and not “promote only one extreme view” But of course neither offiers nor demands any balance to a speech by the Ambassador from Israel, or the curricular materials and leaflets Stand with Us provides to educators and students.

Stand With Us was instrumental in the attacks against Professor Robinson at UCSB, stating “This case is a litmus test of whether professors can exploit their positions of authority to impose their political prejudices on students or whether the university truly will remain a place where all points of view can be comfortably and responsibly discussed.”

So– let get this straight!!!

When a law school sponsors a speaker who is the ambassador of a country, framed by security, police and University dignitaries, what HE has to say is protected speech, but when a university professor includes a photo essay in his supplemental material, it  “exploit(s) their positions of authority to impose their political prejudices on students.”

Stand With Us worked closely with Harvard Law Professor, and slime ball legal advocate for wealthy violent men who kill their wives,  Alan Dershowitz in convincing De Paul University to deny tenure to Norman Finklestein, and continues to  discredit Finkelstein, while collaborating with Dershowitz to pressure Hampshire College trustees to violate the college’s socially responsible investment policy that by definition, excludes companies complicit in Israeli human rights violations.

And they were front and center in the effort strip an L.A. County Commission on Human Relations award from Maher Hathout, a founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Not only does Stand With Us, NOT support free speech, open dialogue, respectful behavior or the free flow of ideas, but in addition to promoting the most brutal of Israeli policies, attempting to discredit ANY critics, attacking free speech and academic freedom, disrupting rallies and community events,  Stand With Us.  (along with their close affiliates- the ADL, the Simon Weisenthal Center, etc) in their effort to maintain the illusion of one Jewish voice, and the control of the narrative,  are actually more instrumental in silencing Jewish voices (of dissent) than any non-Jewish  organizations or entities within the United States.—so NOW who’s the anti-semite!!???

Groups like Stand With Us  set dangerous precedent, which is my main assertion—that these shills for Zion, actually have a more sinister role to play in the body politic closely aligned with privatization, attacks on democracy, U.S. empire, attacks on education, labor, the left and progressive efforts in general. They may wrap themselves in the memories and the fallout of the Shoah, manipulate with accusations of anti-Semitism,  and engage in and appeal to ethnic nationalism, but theirs is a much larger social agenda .  This isn’t JUST about Israel.

It’s about academic freedom.

It’s about free speech.

It’s about who controls dialogue and narrative.

It’s about democracy, hegemony and inevitably, U.S. Empire.

These eleven students, each, have been detained for simply shouting their opinions (not threats, not fire, just a point of view) in a public arena and walking out of the room!!!  While the collective impact may have been distressing for some of the event participants, the idea that a student in a university might be expelled or arrested for simply yelling briefly at an event should offend us all!

_______________________

Readers are encourage to contact the University and demand that these students experience no more violations of their rights, that all charges be dropped and that no disciplinary action taken.

REQUESTED ACTION:

Contact UCI Chancellor Michael Drake and the Dean of Students to voice your opposition to UCI’s treatment of students who practiced their First Amendment right and ensure they are not punished for peacefully voicing their opposition.

Chancellor Michael Drake
Telephone: (949)824-5011
Email: chancellor@uci.edu

Acting Dean of Students Rameen Talesh
Telephone: (949)824-5181
Email: deanstu@uci.edu

Read more: http://www.mpac.org/article.php?id=1027#ixzz0fM7r6O0m

References:

http://www.stand4facts.org/register.html

http://www.jewishjournal.com/thegodblog/item/standwithus_gets_signatures_for_ucsb_prof_investigation_20090501/

http://www.jewishjournal.com/israel/article/las_defenders_of_israel_20080215/

For the Stand With Us article referenced in this post:

http://www.standwithus.com/app/iNews/view_n.asp?ID=1329

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Exciting times.  I was a student at Hampshire College for two years, before transfering to UMASS and graduating in 1981.  Those were the days fighting South African apartheid.   
  

Towards a Divestment Policy that Makes Global Connections

University of Massachusetts/Amherst Calls for Divestiture of Companies that profit from War and Occupation


Emma Rosenthal

 

On March 25, The Student Government Association of the University of Massachusetts/ Amherst, passed a resolution calling for divestiture in companies that profit from war and occupation.  While not specifically mentioning Israel , this motion, which is not binding on the University, had the clear intent of addressing Israeli Apartheid within a global context of war profiteering and colonization. Taken on the heels of the very successful campaign at Hampshire College, also in Amherst, that resulted in divestiture of similar companies, the resolution is part of a consolidated campaign to focus and address responses to Israeli Apartheid. 

 

 I have long argued that any discussion of Palestinian human rights is best made in a global context, that ties together the particular conditions of Palestinians with human rights struggles historically and globally.  This methodology provides three important possibilities for activists:

 

1.  International Solidarity:  It draws important connections between the struggle for Palestinian human rights and other human rights struggles, focusing on issues such as war profiteering, military occupation, neo-liberalism, the military industrial complex, expropriation of resources, labor, guest worker programs, free enterprise zones, racism, apartheid, imperialism, U.S. empire,  funding for education, health care and other social programs; differentiating this movement from the neo-liberal agenda that includes in its analysis, the living conditions of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, but ignores the overall issue of western hegemony and U.S. empire.  This approach also distinguishes itself from the White supremacist movement, which repeatedly attempts inroads into this movement, with similar rhetoric to the neo-liberal argument, but with the added emphasis, and whose purpose is fighting what they see as the ZOG, the Zionist Occupied Government, here in the U.S.  and around the world.  For them, fighting for Palestinians, is essential for defeating “global Jewish domination.”   They see Palestinians on the front lines of that battle, though as racists, their empathy for Palestinians usually ends there.

 

2.  Israeli Accountability: Such an approach, shields the movement from attacks of “singling out Israel.”  When the position on Israeli apartheid is part of a broader human rights agenda, within a larger human rights analysis, it is the Zionists who are insisting on singling out Israel, as the only country beyond reproach.  

 

3.   U.S. Accountability:  It is hypocritical for amerikans to call for BDS and human rights for Palestinians without holding accountable the U.S. government and the U.S. corporations, who are the main supporters and beneficiaries of U.S. military aid to Israel (75% of which MUST be spent on U.S. weapons systems!)  The U.S. is not a neutral player here, but a very vested ally that must be brought to task as well.  Additionally, while Israel shares a special relationship with the U.S. on so many levels, not least of which is a parallel narrative of colonization, divine purpose/destiny, control of and destruction of a “hostile” indigenous population, entitlement, suffering, exceptionalism, and victimization, the U.S. is the belly of the beast in regard to global empire and neo-colonialism.  Israel by all accounts is simply U.S. lite.  It is only fitting that any criticism of Israel be placed in the context of the larger global arena in which this travesty of justice is able to thrive.

 

Calling for investment policies that are socially responsible, globally, and not merely regionally, is the only investment policy that is socially responsible.  On the other hand there are agencies (unions, pension funds) that have similar policies, but have singled out Israel in their unwillingness to apply these standards to Israeli militarization, human rights violations and hegemony.  If we come to the conclusion that investment be universally responsible,  because of awareness raised by the outrageous violations of human rights committed by Israel, or  that Israel must be held accountable because of an awareness that international standards must be applied universally, as well, the outcome is the same: a human rights agenda, a connection between the  lives  of students and workers in the United States and around the world, (pensions, educations, etc.) and the corporations that benefit from our endowments and the extreme exploitation of workers, globally.  

 

Emma Rosenthal

Cafe Intifada

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_Hakrq3nT0

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http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/chaderton020209p.html  

Matos Roy Chaderton, Venezuela’s Ambassador to the Organization of American States, speaks of numerous members of the Jewish community who have supported the struggles of peoples against imperialism and Zionism, and he rejects any attack against the Jewish people.

Watching television footage of one of the necessary and legitimate protests against the Israeli Embassy in Caracas, I spotted a lone sign with a slogan that left me thunderstruck. The slogan was something like: “We condemn Hitler for not having completed his work of extermination. . . .”

The frightening message, totally alien to the Bolivarian process and the Chavista commitment to liberty, democracy, equality, and social justice, shows that, every now and then in our struggles and protests, “loose cannons” come dog us and that we have to detect them and neutralize them and expel them like any foreign body.

Those hidden anti-Semites are much like other “loose cannons” such as professional anti-clericalists who shout, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” when they encounter a believer, incited by the undeniable fact that a majority of the Venezuelan Catholic hierarchy refused to use their potential capacity to become a bridge between Venezuelans in the opposing camps and instead embraced the ultra-right-wing Creoles and the immoral dictatorship of the media. What’s lost on these pseudo-Chavista infiltrators is the deep Christian foundation of our socialist process and the social fact that most Venezuelan Catholics, including nuns and priests at the grassroots, are committed to the Bolivarian revolution.

None shall ever be permitted to use the recurrent crimes against humanity committed by the mediocre and murderous militarist elite of the State of Israel as justification for twisting the just rebellion of the Palestinians and solidarity with them into anti-Semitic aberrations.

No leftist has the right to forget that the Jews — historically persecuted, not by the Muslims who for centuries opened their doors for them, but by first the Christian crusaders, then the inquisitors, and finally the Nazis — have a historical tradition of pioneering solidarity with social rebellions and progressive thought. Never forget such illustrious Jews as Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, and Bob Dylan. Never forget the participation of Jews, even at the cost of their lives, in civil, labor, social, and anti-war struggles in the United States or struggles against the ultra-Catholic military dictatorships in the Southern Cone. Never overlook the fact that, in the United States, against the organized anti-Chavista campaign supported by the “Israel lobby” in that country, American Jewish intellectuals have spoken up: the most famous intellectual in the world, Noam Chomsky, so often cited by President Chávez, and Joseph Stiglitz, a winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, who has supported us in our struggles against the dictatorship of neoliberalism.

But even if there had been no progressive Jew in history, which isn’t the case, it would still be a mortal sin to silence the Jews or call for their extermination. What we must do is to discuss, openly and face to face, the Zionist deviations and the systematic violations of human rights of the Palestinian people. The killing of innocents or righteous fighters in Gaza cannot be solved by applying the radicalized lex talionis which is precisely the barbaric adventure undertaken — with the cruelty of criminals and electoral opportunists — by the Israeli battalions.

Repeatedly during the Fourth Republic in Venezuela, crypto-Nazi groups were established, which occasionally vandalized synagogues and other Jewish buildings with anti-Semitic symbols and slogans (e.g., “MSN,” “Tradition, Family, and Property,” etc.). In general, those were ultra-radical Catholics — of whom Hitler was one — of the upper-middle class, who, instead of setting up a vulgar corner bar decorated with a bullfighting theme in their home, opted for a Nazi corner with flags and swastikas, old editions of Mein Kampf, Wehrmacht helmets or Gestapo caps, and sometimes also a fine Luger awaiting an opportunity to kill a Jew. To my surprise, by the way, some compatriots from the Jewish community in Venezuela, whether due to anti-Chavista conviction or sheer lack of awareness, have ended up marching in protest against our Bolivarian government side by side with those crypto-Nazis, inflamed by the poisons spewed by the media’s dictatorship.

In those days, too, the Venezuelan diplomats, at the United Nations and other international forums, supported the vast majority of decisions in favor of the Palestinian cause. We just abstained, as in fact I personally did more than once, from any draft resolution containing untenable ultra-radical propositions. I especially remember that, during my time as a member of the Venezuelan Mission to the UN, I organized a meeting, in 1978 at the Tudor Hotel New York, between a group of Venezuelan diplomats, recent graduates guided by the director of our School of International Studies, Carlos Guerón, a Jewish Venezuelan, and the head of the Washington office of the Palestine Liberation Oraganization, Hassan Rahman.

In this international political battle, we, who have a balanced attitude to the problem but are committed to the Palestinian people, come across two manipulative visions that we must not accept. One comes from those who insist on the Holocaust denial as if it were a matter of statistics. One wonders: at what number does the Holocaust begin? Six million? Four million? Two million? One million? Half a million? The controversy would be laughable if it were not tragic. For me there is no doubt that there was a policy of extermination of the Jews in Christian Europe. To trivialize it is to disrespect the memory of its victims and the truth, as it would be to deny the genocide in Armenia, in Rwanda-Burundi, in Hiroshima-Nagasaki, or in Palestine, including the genocide of the indigenous population in Latin America.

The other is the blackmail that gets imposed on us, through the international media dictatorship, which accuses any persons or organizations of being anti-Semites when we raise our voice for the Palestinian cause and denounce the ghettos and concentration camps in Palestine, whose inhabitants are being exterminated by those in search of a final solution, with the First-World “Christian” support, deliberately massacring Arab children in order to eliminate future “terrorists.”

Familiar as I had already been with the suffering of the Jewish people since my childhood, through my conversations with my family and my readings, upon arriving at my first diplomatic assignment in Warsaw, the first thing I noticed was the climate of terror sown, among the already decimated Jewish community in Poland, by the anti-Semitic purges designed by the then Interior Minister Mieczysław Moczar in 1968, which affected even key Jewish leaders of the Polish Communist Party. Familiar as I am since my adolescence, through my personal dialogues and readings, with the suffering of the Arab-Palestinian people who have been forced to pay for the crimes committed by the Nazis, I cannot but recognize what has been done to the Gaza ghetto as a policy of genocide.

There is much more to say about all this, but for now it’s enough that we are filled with spiritual oxygen, and we proclaim the brotherhood of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and atheists, all who believe and pray, and all who don’t believe and don’t pray. Meanwhile, the specters of historical anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe, including the Vatican, are stirring again.

Roy Chaderton Matos, born in 1942, is Venezuela’s Ambassador to the Organization of American States (since 15 April 2008). He began his diplomatic career under the Rafael Caldera government as Secretary of the Venezuelan Embassy in Poland (from 1969 to 1972). Under the Hugo Chávez government, he was Foreign Minister from 2002 to 2004; Ambassador to France from 2004 to 2006; diplomatic advisor to Francisco Arias Cárdenas, Venezuela’s Ambassador to the United Nations, in 2006; and Ambassador to Mexico in 2007. The original article “Chavismo: Cristiano, Antinazi, Pro-Musulmán y Pro-Judío” was published by Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias, Radio Nacional de Venezuela, TeleSur, and YVKE Mundial on 30 January 2009. Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi.

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Palestinians Calculating Next Move:

Coexistence with Occupation Not an Option

By Sam Bahour

Palestinians have been historically outmaneuvered, politically neutralized, and made totally dependent on international handouts. Or have they?  A newly released Palestinian strategy document which outlines strategic political options gives witness to a renewed breath of fresh air in the Palestinians’ struggle for freedom and independence.

After 60 years of dispossession and 40 years of a brutal Israeli military occupation, many of the world’s power brokers are convinced that the Palestinians are successfully being forced into submission and acceptance of the colossal injustices that have been carried out against them.

Leading the choir is the U.S. and its Israeli ally, along with several undemocratic Arab regimes.

On the political front, they continue to take great pride in a never-ending “peace process” that has created a peace industry in Palestine, all underwritten by taxpayers from around the world. This peace process has no intention of realizing peace with justice, but rather looks to fragment Palestinians’ national aspirations into bite-sized pieces with state-like trappings — the antithesis of a state with real sovereignty, let alone self-determination.

On the security front, they claim that the Palestinian Authority (referring to the unelected government of Salaam Fayyad in Ramallah) is excelling by installing a heavy-handed security regime, frighteningly reminiscent of the undemocratic, police-state Arab regimes such as Egypt, Jordan and the entire batch of oil-rich Gulf states, which the U.S. has propped up for decades. Driven by US General Keith Dayton and sanctioned by the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership, this security-heavy thrust of activity appears to many observers to be nothing more than another outsourcing option for an Israeli version of its own “security” needs. 

On the economic front, they point to grand plans to establish a handful of industrial mega-zones, the majority being located on the unilaterally-defined (illegal) Israeli border between the West Bank and Israel.  These industrial zones are meant to absorb the over 150,000 Palestinian laborers that Israel has prohibited from working in Israel. Moreover, as I was recently told by an Israeli promoting these industrial zones, for every job created in such a zone, three will be created for Palestinians outside the industrial zones — thus, in essence, creating an entire artificial economy built around Palestinian and foreign-owned, but Israeli-controlled economic bubbles.

The 1.5 million Palestinians trapped by Israel in the world’s largest open air prison, Gaza, are not even a part of the discussion.

 In short, the approach of the international community is one of creating a dynamic whereby Palestinians co-exist, not with their Israeli neighbors, but rather with the system of Israeli military occupation, or put simply, sugar coating the status quo which benefits Israel.

What the international community fails to mention is that the dynamic on the ground is explosive. The Israeli military occupation is alive and well and causing structural, possibly irrevocable damage to Palestinian lands and persons. The Jewish-only Israeli settlement enterprise is off the leash and building more and more illegal settlements as if there were no tomorrow, not to mention the increasing tides of settler violence which remains unpunished.  All this settlement activity is happening with full approval of the Israeli government and in full view of the international community. The failing (or failed) health care and education systems in Palestine are producing a generation of Palestinians with much less to lose and little hope for the future.

Those who have dealt the Palestinians out of the equation for the future of Palestine need to take a closer look at history and at the struggle of this great people. Palestinians recognize better than most the dangers that are posed by the current powder keg of internal disunity and foreign intervention into their livelihoods. Palestinians know better than anyone else that the current state of affairs generates tremendous fear as their struggle for freedom and independence is set back by decades. Yet, at defining times in their history Palestinians have always reclaimed the initiative and carried on, like any oppressed and struggling people are wont to do.

Over the past several months, I participated together with a group of 45 Palestinians from all walks of life — men and women, on the political right and left, secular and religious, politicians, academics, civil society and business actors, from occupied Palestine, inside Israel, and in the Diaspora. We were a group that is a microcosm that reflects the dynamics of the Palestinian society. We could not all meet in one room anywhere in the world because the reality (of travel restrictions) that Israel has created does not permit it, nevertheless we continue to plan and to act. Our mission is to open a discussion on where we go from here: What are the Palestinians’ strategic options to end the Israeli occupation, if any?

After several workshops in Palestine and abroad and a continuous online debate we have produced the first iteration of “Regaining The Initiative: Palestinian Strategic Options To End Israeli Occupation.” The document is posted at www.palestinestrategygroup.ps and reflects an alternative to an official but impotent Palestinian discourse that will very shortly, in the judgment of most Palestinians, run head-on into a brick (cement) wall.

Palestinian society is a dynamic, thinking society which has been so battered and demeaned by Israel and its supporters that many folk, including many Palestinians themselves, will be surprised that the Palestinians have any options whatsoever. One thing is for sure: No matter how long the illegal Israeli occupation continues, do not expect the Palestinians to wake up one morning and accept that they are somehow less human than any other free person in this world.

The Palestinian people have given everyone – including their own traditional leadership – plenty of time to end this humiliating and brutal occupation. When all else fails, Palestinians will reclaim the initiative, and will continue to do so over and over, until this occupation is consigned to the trash bin of history, along with all the war criminals who allowed it to persist for so many years.

Sam Bahour lives in occupied Palestine and is co-editor of “Homeland: Oral History of Palestine and Palestinians.” He may be reached at sbahour@palnet.com

 

September 3, 2008

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