vrijdag 13 februari 2009

Het Israelisch Fascisme 5

'Jonathan Cook
The National
February 13. 2009

NAZARETH // The near-tie in parliamentary seats between the centrist Kadima party and the right-wing Likud is evidence of a dramatic lurch rightward by the Israeli electorate this week.

Kadima leader Tzipi Livni won a wafer-thin victory after the final results were released yesterday because traditional left-wing voters defected to her from Meretz and the once-dominant Labor party.

Likewise Mr Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud party failed to muster the necessary votes to ward off Ms Livni’s challenge because traditional Likud supporters drifted into the camp of the far-right, voting for Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party.

The one certainty of the outcome, according to Neve Gordon, a political scientist at Ben Gurion University in the Negev, is that the Right is in the ascendant. “The results clearly testify to the fact that a large majority of the elected politicians are against an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement based on the two-state solution.”

In the coming days, Shimon Peres, the president, will tap the party leader most likely to establish a stable government. Ostensibly Mr Netanyahu, wearing the Right’s mantle, appears better placed than Ms Livni, despite having only 27 to her 28 seats.

But in reality both must court the mid-size parties to stand a chance of forming a government, and in the fractious atmosphere of Israeli politics that will be no easy matter.

Top of the list to woo has been Mr Lieberman, widely seen as kingmaker. It is hard to imagine any arrangement that does not include his Yisrael Beiteinu party.

Ms Livni cannot pass the threshold of 61 seats needed for a majority in the 120-member parliament without drawing in 13 seats from Labor as well as Mr Lieberman’s 15 mandates and the seats of one of the two ultra-Orthodox parties.

Few observers believe such a coalition can be constructed. Most in the battered Labor party want to sit on the opposition benches while they rebuild the party, and would certainly object to joining Yisraeli Beiteinu. Their power-hungry leader, Ehud Barak, would probably tear apart his party if he tried to join either a Kadima or Likud government.

Ms Livni, meanwhile, has been clutching at a straw: that she and Mr Lieberman share some common political ground. Both appear to want a two-state solution offering minimal concessions to the Palestinians, both are passionately secular and both are enthusiastic about centralising political power, possibly through Israel’s reform into a presidential system.

Nonetheless, Mr Lieberman’s agenda is more openly anti-Arab than Ms Livni’s and ultimately he may have to answer to his voters, who expect a right-wing government.

Mr Netanyahu can pass the 61-seat threshold only if he calls on Yisrael Beiteinu and the 11 seats of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, as well as a further 12 from smaller far-right and religious parties.

His chief problem is that Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas are more implacable enemies than natural allies. During the campaign, Shas’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Yosef Ovadia, even equated Mr Lieberman with Satan.

The latter’s “sin” is that he wants to end a monopoly on marriage ceremonies fiercely guarded by the rabbis. It is a plank of his platform he cannot easily discard. He draws heavy support from the one million so-called Russians who left in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse. Many are of questionable Jewishness and have been denied the chance to marry in Israel by the rabbinate.

Three other factors are likely to weigh on Mr Netanyahu’s mind.

First, there is a long and not always harmonious history between himself and Mr Lieberman. During Mr Netanyahu’s premiership in the late 1990s, Mr Lieberman was both head of his private office and director-general of the Likud party.

Privately Mr Netanyahu is known to regard his protégé as dangerously ambitious. Mr Lieberman is already being touted as the country’s next prime minister but one, a role he would like to see become more presidential – and, some would say, dictatorial.

Second, the formation of what will be effectively a coalition of the far-right, in which Mr Lieberman would be all too visible, would isolate Mr Netanyahu internationally and probably set him on a collision course with the new administration in Washington.

And third, a lengthy police inquiry into Mr Lieberman’s shady business dealings is reaching a climax. According to well-placed sources, the police have established a watertight case of corruption. “If Lieberman is charged, his party will be finished. It’s a one-man show,” said Dr Gordon, the political scientist.

In the circumstances, the natural solution for both Mr Netanyahu and Ms Livni might be to set aside their differences and establish a unity government, possibly with Yisrael Beiteinu as the junior partner.

The inclusion of Kadima in a Netanyahu government would provide precisely the diplomatic cover Mr Netanyahu needs to make his government durable. It would also keep Mr Lieberman on the sidelines. Ms Livni says she will not concede the top job, though she may relent over the coming days.

However, Dr Gordon thinks Kadima may see it as in its interests to sit in the opposition for the time being, watching a weak Netanyahu government flounder.

“Remember, Olmert had 78 seats in his coalition. The best Netanyahu can probably hope for is 65. There is a global financial crisis coming and a potentially hostile administration in Washington. If I were Livni, I’d sit this one out.”

Similar sentiments were voiced yesterday by Kadima’s Meir Sheetrit, the interior minister. He said Mr Netanyahu would be forced to lead “an extremist religious coalition”. “If a government like this is established I anticipate it will have a very hard life.”

Whatever emerges, the legitimacy of Israel’s system of governance is in the spotlight. Domestic political paralysis is likely to ensue, and Israelis face the threat of another short-lived government. Most Israeli commentators agree that the country desperately needs to overhaul the political system, either through electoral reform or a Lieberman-style presidential revolution.

Both changes would make the government more stable by increasing the large parties’ power. But with the smaller parties in no hurry to vote for their own extinction, no one is expecting reform soon.'

De Israelische Oorlogsmisdaden 65

Het wordt steeds interessanter nu de Palestijnse Autoriteit die illegaal in handen is gekomen van de PLO vandaag met autoriteiten van het International Criminal Court in Den Haag heeft gesproken over de recente Israelische oorlogsmisdaden. De Palestijnen zouden volgens welingelichte kringen vandaag ook contact hebben gehad met minister Verhagen van Buitenlandse Zaken.
Via Justwatch: 'This is interesting, and I see a possible strategy emerging here that could be called clever and ironic:
To shore up Mahmoud Abbas and the PA, the US would have to assent to, or not fight, this attempt to seek justice at the ICC. This could be a way to give the PA legitimacy over Hamas, and certainly would be a lot more political correct, and palatable, than if the PA were to (as the Israeli right and the Americans who supported Bush policy want them to do) ride back into Gaza on Israeli tanks and aid trucks.
During the preparation of the case against the perpetrators of the Sabra and Shatila massacre in Belgium, the PLO was not at all eager to participate in a search for accountability and justice through universal jurisdiction. (although so many people preferred to think that the case was a fabrication and 'foolishness on stilts' dreampt up by the PLO). It looks like the Palestinian leadership is finally catching on to the fact that they aren't going to get redress from the US or the EU, so maybe international justice is worth pursuing. Slow learners!
This will be interesting to watch, as the politics behind it will be complicated to say the least, if it even gets past the starting block to be taken seriously.
International Criminal Court Faces Big Test With Israel By Amitabh Pal, February 12, 2009
The International Criminal Court soon faces a big test—a test that could reveal whether it is truly an independent institution.
The Palestinian Authority has asked the court’s chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, to examine if Israel was guilty of war crimes during its recent Gaza operation. Moreno-Ocampo should take a look into the allegations, not the least to refute the assertion that the court is an instrument of the West.
I have been a big supporter of the court and have written in its favor for a decade now, ever since it was being formed. But an article a few months ago in The Nation by Professor Mahmood Mamdani of Columbia University gave me pause. Mamdani insists that the International Criminal Court can be seen as the legacy of a tradition of Western paternalism toward the rest of the world, in some sense displaying a continuity with colonialism. While Mamdani overreaches in his argument and downplays the Bush Administration’s opposition to the court (for more on that see my January 2007 piece in The Progressive), he does make some interesting points.
"The fact of mutual accommodation between the world's only superpower and an international institution struggling to find its feet on the ground is clear if we take into account the four countries where the ICC has launched its investigations: Sudan, Uganda, Central African Republic and Congo,"
Mamdani writes. "All are places where the United States has no major objection to the course chartered by ICC investigations. Its name notwithstanding, the ICC is rapidly turning into a Western court to try African crimes against humanity. It has targeted governments that are U.S.
adversaries and ignored actions the United States doesn't oppose, like those of Uganda and Rwanda in eastern Congo, effectively conferring impunity on them."
Mamdani limits his analysis to Africa, not delving into the obvious issue as to whether the International Criminal Court should have considered a case against the Bush Administration for its illegal invasion of Iraq. (In fact, Roger Cohen points out in a New York Times column that Moreno-Ocampo rejected pleas to try British forces in Iraq.)
Mamdani exposes a basic structural flaw with the International Criminal
Court: The U.N. Security Council can refer cases to the court (even regarding a non-signatory) or, conversely, block any such attempts. This gives an inordinate amount of clout to the five permanent members, including the three Western powers. This explains to a large extent the hesitance of the court's chief prosecutor to take on the West or its allies.
In the case of Israel, Moreno-Ocampo faces a number of legal and procedural hurdles. Israel is not a signatory to the court. And the very legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority is in question, especially after Hamas’s takeover of Gaza. Nevertheless, Moreno-Ocampo has indicated—after initially declining the case—that he is considering whether to go ahead, possibly including a review of any war crimes that Hamas may have committed.
The Obama Administration has already signaled its approval of the International Criminal Court. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice two weeks ago called the court "an important and credible instrument,"
indicating that the United States is moving from confrontation toward co-optation.
Now is the time for the International Criminal Court to assert its independence. Opening a case against Israel would be a good start.'

The Empire 396

In zijn column in de VPRO-gids schrijft Arnon Grunberg over Wilders en zijn aanhang. Wat hem opvalt is hoeveel mensen 'kritiekloos het betoog van Wilders' lijken 'te ondersteunen. Geheel verbazingswekkend is dat misschien niet. Elke ochtend koop ik mijn krant bij een vriendelijke man uit India. Hij heeft niets met Nederland, niets met Wilders, niets met Joden, alleen iets met India en zijn haat tegen moslims overstijgt die van Geert.' Voor zover ik weet schrijft Grunberg vanuit de Verenigde Staten. Het gaat hier dus om een 'man uit India' die naar de VS is uitgeweken.
Dit voorbeeld illustreert nog eens dat de gedachte van veel Europeanen dat de VS een smeltkroes is maar zeer ten dele waar is. Sterker nog: vanaf het allereerste begin heeft er in de VS altijd een sterk wantrouwen geheerst tegen de nieuwkomers. De laatst aangekomen etnische groepering was altijd de dupe van discriminatie en uitsluiting, zoals nu weer de Mexicanen ontdekken. Over dit onderwerp schreef de Amerikaanse hoogelaar Matthew Frye Jacobson, docerend aan de Yale Universiteit, een verhelderende studie onder de titel: 'Barbarian Virtues. The United States encounters foreign peoples at home and abroad.' Kenmerkend voor die ontmoetingen was het racisme en antisemitisme van de blanke Amerikaan. Tot vlak na de Tweede Wereldoorlog mochten in de VS zwarten en joden niet in bepaalde wijken en zelfs dorpen wonen, en ook aan universiteiten werden ze geweerd. De WASP-cultuur van de white anglo-saxon protestants zag er nauwlettend op toe dat de VS juist geen smeltkroes werd, maar een multiculturele samenleving waarin de etnische minderheden buitenspel werden gezet. Ze mochten het smerige en zware werk doen. Dat was alles. Die blanke heersers werden rond 1900 door de latere president Theodore Roosevelt voor het volgende gewaarschuwd: 'over-sentimentality, over-softness, in fact washiness and mushiness are the great dangers of this age and of this people. Unless we keep the barbarian virtues, gaining the civilized ones will be of little avail.' Hij zei dit op het moment dat de VS zijn buitenlands imperium begon op te bouwen omdat -- in de woorden van de latere president Woodrow Wilson -- 'since... the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of nations which are closed against him must be battered down. Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state even if the sovereignity of unwilling nations be outraged in the process.' Vanaf de toenmalige bloedige verovering van de Philippijnen tot aan de huidige even bloedige inval in Irak is dit nu al meer dan een eeuw de officiele doctrine van het Witte Huis.

De bevolking binnen de VS speelt hierin alleen de rol van militair, die zijn leven moet offeren voor de belangen van de 'manufacturer' en 'financiers'. En de bevolking buiten de VS speelt alleen de rol van het slachtoffer, zodra zij de Amerikaanse belangen bedreigt. En dat de man uit India zijn islamitische landgenoten in de VS nog erger haat dan Wilders zijn islamitische landgenoten, maakt voor de Amerikaanse politici niets uit, zolang hij maar zijn belasting betaalt. Niemand zal hem vragen waarom de 'vriendelijke man uit India' naar 'the land of the free and the home of the brave' is gekomen wanneer hij niet in vrijheid en gelijkheid gelooft. Waarom zou men ook, zolang hij maar geld oplevert, en geld er de hoogste waarde blijft. Hetzelfde geldt in feite ook voor Nederland. De Nederlandse ambassadeur in het Verenigd Koninkrijk doet zijn best om Wilders het land in te krijgen om daar islamhaat en racisme te verspreiden, dezelfde haatverspreiding waarvoor Wilders in Nederland juridisch vervolgd wordt. Maar de eigen wet interesseert de Nederlandse politici niet. Hoewel Wilders nog niet veroordeeld is, is deze houding van de Nederlandse regering op zijn minst opmerkelijk.

donderdag 12 februari 2009

Nederland en Afghanistan 190

Nu de militaire strategie in Afghanistan failliet is gaat het Westen de milities van de drugsbaronnen annex krijgsheren bewapenen. Het effect zal zijn dat straks de heroineprijzen in Europa en de VS gaan dalen. Dat is dan weer een voordeel voor de gebruikers. Zo heeft elk nadeel een voordeel, om in de termen van Johan Cruyff te blijven.

'A leaked email acquired by the Huffington Post indicates just how far advanced the plans are to create local militias in Afghanistan.
A US-backed project called the Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF) has been established to help communities defend themselves against the Taliban. It has also been created with the hope that the communities then supply the US and NATO forces with important security information. Surely, there is no better way to confirm that the national police, the national army and NATO forces combined are losing the war in Afghanistan than the idea of creating citizen militias of untrained, armed men.
The email, which was marked as being highly confidential and not for public distribution, came from the office of the director of the Afghanistan National Security Office, which coordinates in-country security for international and national non-government organizations (NGOs) operating in Afghanistan.
It states that the Afghanistan Ministry of Interior made a secret presentation to a select audience about the establishment of tribal militias. The presentation covered "who will select them, who will control them, will they be armed & paid and what will they do."
Apparently the location of the first militias is secret, though the email does say "all eyes will be on Wardak" - a province in central Afghanistan for the pilot. (Date to be fixed).
NGOs have been concerned about the creation of militias - questions have been asked about how they will be controlled, directed and disbanded after their duties have been completed.
The confidential email then goes on to summarize parts of the meeting including points that all recruits must be between 25 and 45, fit, "non-drug using, no criminal record and actually be from the district they are recruited for. There is no overt tribal or ethnic dimension to selection. All recruits will be subjected to ... background check."
The citizen militia "will receive 3-week basic training including Values, Ethics, Police Law & Constitution, Use of Force, Human Rights and First Aid."
Each recruited member of the militia "will be equipped with 1 x Vz58 rifle (similar to AK-47), 90 rounds ammunition plus spare magazine. Approximately 180 rounds per (militia member) will be kept as reserve ammunition at District Centre."
(Afghanistan has spent years trying various means of controlling the huge amounts of guns in the country - now they are giving them out).'
Lees verder: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/virginia-moncrieff/us-nato-forces-in-advance_b_165998.html

Het Israelisch Fascisme 5

'Israeli Elections: Rise of the Right, the Extreme Right, and the Fascist Right
By Phyllis Bennis

11 February 2009

There is little question that the timing of the December-January Israeli assault on Gaza had everything to do with Israeli elections. (Well, almost everything – there was that little item of finishing the military attack before Barack Obama was inaugurated U.S. president.)
But now the elections are over. And while final tallies are not officially finished, a few things are already clear. The votes for the two top mainstream parties popularly known as “right” and “center” came in virtually neck-and-neck. Tzipi Livni’s ostensibly centrist Kadima Party ended up in first place, one seat ahead of the officially rightist Likud bloc of Bibi Netanyahu. Far more significant – for Israelis, for Palestinians, for U.S.-Israeli relations – was Israeli voters’ choice for third place in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) line-up.
The great victor in the election was neither Netanyahu nor Livni. The big winner is Avigdor Lieberman, whose racist, indeed fascist, Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Is Our Home) party took third place, leaving the traditionally powerful Labor Party of the once-and wannabe-future Prime Minister Ehud Barak struggling for fourth. Lieberman’s star had been rising for a long time; his party had even won the mock elections held recently by Israeli high school students. His officially racist right was strengthened and legitimated through the election, not newly created. Ironically, it was the skyrocketing popular support for Lieberman’s extremism that pulled enough votes away from the rightist Likud to reverse what until a few days ago appeared to be Likud’s inevitable victory, thus giving Kadima and Livni the titular first place. Only in Israel, perhaps, has political opinion moved so far to the right that Kadima, the party of former Likudniks including General Ariel Sharon – long known as the “Butcher of Beirut” for his role in the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and especially the Sabra-Shatila massacre – could be transformed into a moderate “centrist” party without changing a single tenet. As Palestinian legislator and democracy activist Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi noted on the morning after the election, the vote consolidated Israel’s apartheid system.
(It should be noted that even if her Kadima party wins the most votes, Livni may not become prime minister. The president can choose any party leader he believes has the best chance of putting together a governing coalition. And given the right-wing, militaristic majority in the new Knesset – 64 of 120 seats – that position may still go to Netanyahu. Either way, Lieberman and his fellow extremists will have a powerful kingmaker role.)'
Lees verder: http://www.interlinkbooks.com/pages.php?page=febupdate

Het Israelisch Fascisme 4

Few Peacemakers in Israel's Knesset
Neve Gordon
February 10, 2009

The residents of the town of Ni'lin continue to fight Israel's efforts to take away their land. Is anyone listening? Thirty-three parties ran for the Knesset (the Israeli parliament), ranging from the well-known Kadima, Likud and Labor to a variety of lesser known parties that ran on an array of platforms from the rights of the disabled to legalizing cannabis. However, only twelve parties managed to garner enough votes to secure seats in the Knesset.
The incoming Knesset will have a solid right-wing bloc, made up of Likud with twenty-seven seats, Yisrael Beiteinu with fifteen seats, two ultra-Orthodox parties with sixteen seats and two smaller nationalist parties with seven seats. This bloc has four more than the sixty-one-seat threshold needed to form a coalition.
The center bloc was able to muster forty-one seats. This bloc consists of Kadima with twenty-eight seats and Labor with thirteen seats. The remaining fourteen seats were won by liberal, leftist and Arab national parties.
The results clearly testify to the fact that a large majority of the elected politicians are against an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement based on the two-state solution. Moreover, some parties have blatant neo-fascist tendencies. Yisrael Beiteinu, for example, ran under the banner of "no citizenship without loyalty," and would like to strip any person who is critical of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians of their citizenship. People like me.
While the devastating effects of these elections on internal Israeli politics may not concern the international community, their repercussions for Israel's relations with its neighbors--not least the Palestinians--should certainly concern world leaders and specifically President Barack Obama, who has already declared that Middle East stability and peace are vital to US interests.
Obama's political vision has engendered hope not only in the United States, but around the world. My expectation is that he will make good on his promise for change and introduce a courageous initiative that will finally bring peace to Israelis and Palestinians. He has both an opportunity and a responsibility to do so.
The opportunity has arisen as a result of over eighteen years of political negotiations on the two-state solution (from the Madrid Conference in 1991, through Oslo, Camp David, Taba, and Annapolis) as well as the publication of promising initiatives (from the Geneva Initiative and the Arab Peace Initiative to the Nusseibeh and Ayalon Plan), which have clarified exactly what needs to be done in order to reach a peace settlement between the warring sides.'
Lees verder: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090223/gordon

De Israelische Terreur 745

Nog meer door de Nederlandse massamedia verzwegen informatie.

UN official slams Israel for blocking textbooks Head of UNRWA operation in Gaza 'extremely frustrated' by Israel's refusal to allow paper into Strip, says new textbooks meant for children's human rights program
Associated Press

The top UN Official in Gaza criticized
Israel on Monday for blocking the shipment of paper to print textbooks for a new human rights curriculum that will be taught to children in all grades in the Palestinian territory.
Israel also has refused to allow 12 truckloads of notebooks into Gaza as well as plastic sheeting which is
turned into plastic bags to distribute food that the UN provides to some 900,000 people, John Ging, head of Gaza operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency which helps Palestinian refugees, said in a videoconference with reporters at UN Headquarters.
He said 60% of the textbooks needed in Gaza have not been printed, so children don't have the material they need to study.
Ging said he was "extremely frustrated" at Israel's refusal to allow paper into Gaza, "Not least because we have a new human rights curriculum which everybody here is very excited to teach the children."
The human rights courses are modeled on those developed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, with input from the human rights community in Gaza, he said. They will be taught by specialist human rights teachers in every school, and human rights organizations in Gaza will evaluate the teachers' performance.

"Hopefully when the kids leave our schools, they'll have the clearest understanding of rights, responsibilities and the effective mechanisms to uphold and achieve those rights," Ging said.

"We want these kids to come up with a civilized outlook, with the mindset that is orientated toward peace and tolerance, and we're being obstructed," he said. "Not being allowed to bring in paper to print the human rights textbooks means that there is an obstruction for the teaching of human rights to the children here in Gaza."
Zie: http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/

De Israelische Oorlogsmisdaden 64

Van de afdeling Verzwegen Nieuws in Nederland:

'UN says Israel blocks most Gaza aid
Wed, 11 Feb 2009 09:02:37 GMT

A Palestinian woman sits outside her house, destroyed by an Israeli air strike, near the border between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip.UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says Israel only allows a meager amount of humanitarian aid to enter the impoverished Gaza Strip. The United Nations strives to provide relief to one million people daily inside a coastal sliver that is home to 1.5 million people, Ban said during a news conference on Tuesday. Israel, however, is only allowing supplies enough for 30,000 people to get through and only from one crossing, he added. "We are experiencing serious difficulty in getting all the materials, humanitarian assistance, so it is absolutely necessary that they open the crossings," the secretary general affirmed while announcing plans to launch a probe into Israel's bombing of UN compounds during its war on the Gazan population. Ban told reporters that although Israel has completely ignored his calls, he "will continue to urge that" Tel Aviv allow more aid into the Palestinian strip. Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has largely criticized Ban for being too timid on the extent of an inquiry into Israel's attack on its facilities. "What is needed is a comprehensive international investigation that looks at all alleged violations of international law by all armed groups involved in the conflict," Irene Khan, the secretary general of Amnesty International, said in an announcement. Khan added that researchers have found clear evidence of war crimes during the operation - in which more than 1300 Gazans have been killed and over 5300 others have been injured.'

Nederland en Afghanistan 189

De Nederlandse regering moet bezuinigen wil ze de bankiers met miljarden blijven steunen. Misschien kan men de Nederlandse troepen terugtrekken die alleen maar de Afghaanse drugsbaronnen/krijgsheren aan de macht houden. Dat scheelt weer veel geld.

War against Taliban 'will be lost by autumn' unless strategy changes
The war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan will be lost by the end of the summer without dramatic changes in counter-insurgency strategy, according to a US military expert.

By Alex Spillius in Washington

Last Updated: 12:41 AM GMT 11 Feb 2009

The assessment of Col John Nagl, who is consultant to the US government as it conducts four policy reviews on Afghanistan, comes amid fears that unless the insurgents’ advance is halted, Afghanistan will become the new president’s Vietnam.
Adml Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he expected to announce the deployment of a further 30,000 US troops soon, even though President Barack Obama’s administration is waiting to evaluate the reviews.
The expectation in military circles is that Mr Obama will agree to the extra troops and the adoption of the approach that worked well in Iraq, where US forces concentrate on a “clear, hold, build” strategy designed to prevent captured towns falling back into enemy hands.
Col Nagl, an Iraq veteran who helped devise the strategy, told The Daily Telegraph that the gains made by the Taliban needed to be reversed by the end of the fighting season, around late September or early October, or else the Taliban would establish a durable base that would make a sustained Western military presence futile.
“Counter-insurgency campaigns have momentum, like a football game when the crowd senses something before it happens. Right now the Taliban has that momentum,” said Col Nagl.In his campaign Mr Obama committed to sending extra resources to Afghanistan and was bullish about the chances of success. But at a press conference this week, he played down expectations of ushering in a Western-style democracy and instead set a goal of preventing the country from becoming a haven for terrorists to “act with impunity”.
The president’s spokesman on Tuesday announced that he had asked Bruce Riedel, a former CIA agent and academic, to head an inter-agency review that would include civilian and military affairs in Afghanistan and the region.'
Zie: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/4585669/War-against-Taliban-will-be-lost-by-autumn-unless-strategy-changes.html

De Israelische Oorlogsmisdaden 63

'Israel’s Crimes

By Grit TV
Retired US army colonel
Ann Wright talks about her recent trip to Gaza. Throughout Israel's intensive war in Gaza, reporters and international observers have been barred from entering the region. Wright says that the damage is extensive and Israel's disproportionate response "criminal." During her visit to Egypt and Gaza, Philip Rizk, a 26 year old student of Middle Eastern Studies at the American University in Cairo was detained after participating in a rally in support of Gazans. Rizk has been an outspoken critic of the Israeli invasion and of the Egyptian government's feeble response to the suffering of Palestinian civilians. His whereabouts remain unknown and no formal charges have been issued. A demonstration in support of his release will take place on Wednesday, February 11 at 11:30 in front of the Egyptian Consulate in New York.
Wright and Code Pink are also planning fundraising events to aid women's groups in Gaza for International Women's Day. You can find out more

Het Neoliberale Geloof 322

"Geithner is realistically pessimistic about the economic crisis while the rest of Washington—even President Obama—hasn't caught on to how bad it is yet."

'Ready for More Bad News?
The economic crisis is even worse than Obama admits.
In the past week, the stock market reacted erratically to two huge government actions intended to shore up economic confidence. As this five-day chart of the Dow Jones industrial average shows, stocks rallied last Thursday and Friday as a deal over fiscal stimulus crystallized. The mere anticipation of the passage of an $800 billion-plus stimulus package was enough to get people whistling "Happy Days Are Here Again." But on Tuesday, stocks surrendered most of those gains after Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner laid out the latest plan to stabilize the faltering financial industry.
What accounts for bipolar response? These were twin, aggressive efforts to deal with the woes affecting the whole economy and the pathetic financial sector. Why would Geithner's Treasury plan worry Wall Street while the stimulus plan didn't? As a public speaker, Geithner is no Obama. Geithner could learn to be more upbeat, but that wouldn't be useful. Investors have lost faith in the financial system precisely because policymakers and executives engaged in the classic post-bubble reaction of promising a swift return to profitability. (In my forthcoming e-book, Dumb Money, I dub the realization that the titans of finance were a bunch of clueless oafs "The Slow Unmasking.")
Geithner is realistically pessimistic about the economic crisis while the rest of Washington—even President Obama—hasn't caught on to how bad it is yet. From the rhetoric surrounding the stimulus bill, you'd think the American economy is already stabilized, able to breathe on its own, and ready to get up and start walking. The bill itself is called the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Plan. Its success will be measured, Obama noted in his press conference last night, through positive milestones, most notably the saving or creation of 4 million jobs. That number, which he used six times, was the justification for the size of the package and its
urgency: "It's important for us to have a bill of sufficient size and scope that we can save or create 4 million jobs." Obama might want to retire that line, for this reason. The takeaway: Things are tough and might get somewhat worse. But this plan is a plan for recovery and job creation.
Geithner struck a different tone in his speech. The patient he diagnosed is nowhere near ready for ambulatory care or physical therapy. Rather, it's struggling to breathe without life support. Worse, it is still in danger of infecting the whole hospital. The financial sector, pro-cyclical on the way up—easy money begat more easy money—is also pro-cyclical on the way down. "Instead of catalyzing recovery, the financial system is working against recovery," he noted.
For Geithner, the plan is more about stabilization and triage rather than recovery. Look at the language he uses. The initiative's Web site is FinancialStability.gov. "We're going to require banking institutions to go through a carefully designed comprehensive stress test, to use the medical term," Geithner said. Merely stabilizing the patients under his care, Geithner said, would be an expensive and lengthy process. "This strategy will cost money, involve risk, and take time," he said. Even when the course of treatment is complete, a recovery may still be a long way off.
"As costly as this effort may be, we know that the cost of a complete collapse of our financial system would be incalculable for families, for businesses and for our nation." (Here's the fact sheet.) The takeaway: The financial sector is still in meltdown. The best we can hope for is that these hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending and support will help stabilize things.
The great challenge for Obama now is that the economy at large is beginning to resemble the financial sector. The latest readings on job losses, auto sales, and overall economic growth show an economy that is spiraling downward. Politicians may be hoping that the economy is like a bungee-cord jumper, who, after experiencing a sickening drop, experiences great relief as he bounces back sharply. But they might want to temper the promises they make about recovery. Many economists believe we need a bigger stimulus package, not a smaller one. Obama's rhetoric about recovery may be reassuring, but, at this point, Geithner's pessimism is more credible.'

Het Neoliberale Geloof 321

Fixing the Economy: Of Fences and Futures
By Robert Freeman
February 11, 2009

A man calls a carpenter and says that his dog has been getting out. He instructs the carpenter to raise the fence in the back yard by a foot. The carpenter does the job.The next day, the man calls the carpenter back and says that the dog is still getting out. He tells the carpenter to add another foot to the top of the fence. The carpenter does so.On the third day, the man calls the carpenter back yet again and begins to tell him to add still another foot. But this time the carpenter interrupts him. Pointing to the far corner of the yard, he says, "Sir, I can raise the top of the fence to the sky, but until you fix that hole at the bottom, the dog is going to keep getting out."So far, all the money aimed at fixing the economy has gone to the top of the fence - the banks - and not at the actual hole in the bottom - insufficient incomes. We can pour money into the banks until the government itself is bankrupt but until we fix the problem at the bottom, with vanishing jobs, declining incomes, and rising foreclosures, the crisis will only deepen.Giving money to the banks hasn't worked and won't work for three reasons. First, they are insolvent. The financial crisis has destroyed almost $4 trillion in bank-system capital, against a little less than $2 trillion in equity. The banks are literally bankrupt with nothing to lend. Unless the government is willing to give the banks an additional $2 trillion of taxpayer money, they cannot be revived in their current form.Second, the banks are leery of loaning to each other because they all know this. They all know of their own devastated balance sheets and of the "toxic sludge" that has brought them down. They know all too well that the same toxic sludge infects the balance sheets of all of the other banks. No one wants to lend to someone that is both bankrupt and holding nothing but bogus assets. Would you?The final reason the top-of-the-fence strategy won't work is that banks know all too well the plight of consumers whose spending makes up over 70% of GDP. They can see better than anybody the collapse of consumer incomes, the overextension of credit card debt, the late payments on car loans, the decimated retirement accounts, the skyrocketing foreclosures, and the imploding home values. There has never been a worse time to lend money, so expecting it to happen from bankrupt banks to collapsing consumers is idiocy.All of this is made still worse because the collapse is feeding on itself. Every time someone loses a job, the chance of foreclosure skyrockets. And every time a home's value is written down in foreclosure, the balance sheet of the bank that wrote the mortgage is undermined. The losses at the bottom are precisely what continue to erode the balance sheets at the top.'
Lees verder: http://informationclearinghouse.info/article21966.htm

Honger in de Wereld 5

The Geopolitics of Food Scarcity
By Lester Brown
In some countries social order has already begun to break down in the face of soaring food prices and spreading hunger. Could the worldwide food crisis portend the collapse of global civilization?
One of the toughest things for us to do is to anticipate discontinuity. Whether on a personal level or on a global economic level, we typically project the future by extrapolating from the past.
Most of the time this works well, but occasionally we experience a discontinuity that we failed to anticipate. The collapse of civilization is such a case. It is no surprise that many past civilizations failed to grasp the forces and recognize signs that heralded
their undoing. More than once it was shrinking food supplies that brought about their downfall.
Water tables are falling in countries that contain half the world's people, including the three biggest grain producers -- China, India, and the United States.
Does our civilization face a similar fate? Until recently it did not seem possible, but our failure to deal with the environmental trends that are undermining the world food economy -- most importantly falling water tables, eroding soils, and rising temperatures -- forces the conclusion that such a collapse is possible.
These trends are taking a significant toll on food production: In six of the last eight years world grain production has fallen short of consumption, forcing a steady drawdown in stocks. World carryover stocks of grain (the amount remaining from the previous harvest when the new harvest begins) have dropped to only 60 days of consumption, a near record low. Meanwhile, in 2008 world grain prices have climbed to the highest level ever.
The current record food price inflation puts another severe stress on governments around the world, adding to the other factors that can lead to state failure. Even before the 2008 climb in grain prices, the list of failing states was growing. Now even more governments in many more low and middle-income countries that import grain are in danger of failing as food prices soar. With rising food costs straining already beleaguered states, is it not difficult to imagine how the food crisis could portend the failure of global civilization itself.
Today we are witnessing the emergence of a dangerous politics of food scarcity, one in which individual countries act in their narrowly defined self-interest and subsequently accelerate the deterioration of global equilibrium. This began in 2007 when leading wheat-exporting countries such as Russia and Argentina limited or banned exports in an attempt to counter domestic food price rises. Vietnam, the world's second-largest rice exporter after Thailand, banned exports for several months for the same reason. While these moves may reassure those living in exporting countries, they create panic in the scores of countries that import grain.
In response to restrictions by these and other grain exporters, grain- importing countries are trying to nail down long-term bilateral trade agreements in order to secure future food supplies. The Philippines, no longer able to count on rice from the world market when it needs it, negotiated a three-year deal with Vietnam for a guaranteed 1.5 million tons of rice each year. Other importers are seeking similar arrangements.'

Obama 84

Het begint voor het grote publiek duidelijk te worden waarom Obama voor het Witte Huis werd voorgedragen. Nu opletten hoe lang het gaat duren voordat de Nederlandse massamedia doorhebben wat er aan de hand is, na al hun praatjes over CHANGE.

'The Recovery Plan From Hell
What Wall Street Wants
February 11, 2009 "
Counterpunch" -- -
Tuesday’s announcement of the Obama-Geithner recovery plan is basically an extension of the Bush-Paulson plan – yet more giveaways to financial insiders, with a view to concentrating the U.S. banking system into a cartel of just a few large banks. This is not altogether bad news for the still relatively healthy part of the banking system (healthy in the sense of still avoiding negative equity). Smaller, less troubled banks will be bought out by the large “troubled” ones, to the personal financial benefit of their stockholders. This cannot solve today’s financial problem: the fact that the debt overhead far exceeds the economy’s ability to pay. In fact, it will spread the distortions that the large banks have introduced, until the entire system presumably looks like Citibank, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo.
But this clearly is only Stage One of a two-stage plan that has not yet been announced, although the Wall Street Journal’s op-ed page has provided enough hints trickling out for the past three months to tip the hand of Wall Street’s “dream recovery plan.”
It is not exactly what most people are hoping for. In fact, it threatens to be a nightmare scenario for the economy at large. Watch for the magic phrase: “equity kicker,” first heard in the S&L mortgage crisis of the 1980s.
The first question to ask about the Recovery Program is, “recovery for whom?” The answer is, for the people who design the Recovery Program and their constituency, the bank lobby. The second question is, what is it they want to recover? The answer is, another Bubble economy, having seen the Greenspan Bubble make them so rich with his particular kind of “wealth creation”: wealth in the form of indebtedness of the “real” economy at large to the banking system, and unprecedented capital gains to be made by riding the wave of asset-price inflation.
For the financial elites, the problem is that it is not possible to inflate another bubble from today’s debt levels, widespread negative equity, and still-high level of real estate, stock and bond prices. No amount of new credit or capital for the banking system will induce banks to provide credit to real estate that already is over-mortgaged, or to individuals and corporations already over-indebted. All professional observers have forecast property prices to keep on plunging for at least the next year, which is as far as the eye can see in unstable conditions such as we are experiencing today.
While the Obama administration’s financial planners wring their hands in public and say “We feel your pain” to debtors at large, they also recognize that the past ten years have been a golden age for the banking system and Wall Street. The wealthiest 1 per cent of the population has raised its share of the returns to wealth – dividends, interest, rent and capital gains – from 37 per cent of the total ten years ago to 57 per cent five years ago, and an estimated 70 per cent today. Over two-thirds of the returns to wealth now go to the wealthiest 1 per cent of the population. This is the highest on record. We are approaching Russian kleptocratic levels.
Yet the financial Hard Right of the political spectrum – the lobbyists now in control of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve and the Justice Departments for starters – repeats the new Big Lie: that it is the poor who have brought the system down, “exploiting” the rich by trying to ape their betters and live beyond their means. Subprime families have taken out subprime loans, the lying poor have signed documents to obtain “liars’ loans,” as Alt-A, no-documentation loans are called in the financial junk-paper trade.
I learned the reality a few years ago in London, talking to a commercial bank strategist there. “We’ve had an intellectual breakthrough,” he said. “It’s changed our credit philosophy.”
“What is it?” I asked, imagining that he was about to come out with yet a new junk mathematics formula?
“The poor are honest,” he said, accompanying his words with his jaw dropping open as if to say, “Who could have guessed?”
The meaning was clear enough. The poor pay their debts as a matter of honor, even at great personal expense. Unlike Donald Trump, the poor are less likely to walk away from their homes when market prices sink below the mortgage level. In today’s neoliberal Chicago School language, the poor behave “uneconomically.” That is, they make choices that do not make economic sense, but rather reflect a group morality. This sociological gullibility is what made them rich pickings for predatory lenders such as Countrywide, Wachovia and Citibank.'

Boycot Israel 28

'Subject: [COSATU Press] COSATU and the BDS campaign against Israel
COSATU humbled by inspirational messages from all over the world for our BDS campaign against Israel
12 February 2009
The South African week of action against Israeli barbarism and in support of Palestinian heroism and resistance has been an unprecedented success.
COSATU, its affiliates, particularly the South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union, (SATAWU) and the rest of Palestinian solidarity movement in South Africa are humbled by the large number of letters of support we have received from trade unions, solidarity groups, workers, activists and people of conscience from all over the world for our stance in solidarity with the people of Palestine. In particular, letters congratulated SATAWU dock workers in Durban for their determined refusal to off-load goods from Israel carried on the Johanna Russ.
Messages of support included those from the Palestinian BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions) National Committee, dock workers in Liverpool, trade unions in Australia and Canada, and solidarity organisations from around the world.
We note, in contrast, the vicious, racist and extremely offensive campaign waged against COSATU by the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF), the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) and Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein in several of their fora and publications. We believe that this reflects the fact that our campaign to support the struggle for freedom of the Palestinian people and for the isolation of Apartheid Israel is having the desired impact of putting pressure on Israel and its apologists in South Africa.
We treat with particular contempt the comment, as reported in the media, by Goldstein that COSATU is racist and that our actions are immoral. What is immoral is the insistence by Goldstein, the SAZF and the SAJBD that they will support Israel's murderous actions in Gaza, including the massacres of civilians, the bombing of schools, places of worship, ambulances, hospitals and UN refugee centres. The real racism is manner in which Israel treats the Palestinian people – both in the Occupied Territory as well as its own citizens – as sub-human beings. The members of COSATU know what racism is; we lived with it and fought against it for decades while the SAZF and SAJBD supported the Apartheid state in South Africa, just as they uncritically support Apartheid in Israel.
We will not be cowed by the attempted intimidation of Zionists in South Africa, as evidenced on Friday when they attempted to provoke protestors in Raedene, Johannesburg, – one of them even hurling projectiles at us. We pledge to stand our ground in demanding justice and peace for our brothers and sisters in Palestine, as we do for oppressed and suffering people everywhere in the world. Already, other COSATU affiliates are seriously discussing their own strategies to act on the BDS campaign. We expect that, over the next few months, more affiliates will outline their programmes of action in support of the call 'FREE PALESTINE! ISOLATE APARTHEID ISRAEL!'
COSATU General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, addressing a rally in Cape Town on Sunday, said: "COSATU calls on workers in the rest of the world to follow the lead of our members in SATAWU who have vowed not to unload any Israeli goods, and our members who are planning a campaign not to handle any Israeli goods in supermarkets, and other stores".
He added: "Workers of the world united to isolate the Apartheid South African state in 1970s and 1980s. Workers need to stretch our hands across the seas and our continents to join together, now, to isolate the Apartheid Israeli state and to Free Palestine."
We also note that Histadrut (Israeli trade union Federation) supports unequivocally the acts of brutality against the people of Palestine, whilst also seeking to reverse the advances of the global BDS Campaign. This is not only unfortunate, but also a serious challenge to the unity of the international trade union movement in struggle for justice.
We note that very heart-warming and humbling messages have been written by many friends of justice all over the world. We will quote from a few (see below) to illustrate the growing voices of justice that refuse to be intimidated by Zionist threats and double standards by the powerful.
Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU)
Please accept our deep gratification and appreciation for all efforts you exerted to secure solidarity to our people against Israeli's violations and crimes. Please convey our thanks and appreciation to our comrades in COSATU for their courageous steps and stunning efforts to support Palestinian people and to condemn Israeli aggression on Gaza and West Bank. The activities and the actions that have been exerted show your historical tradition to face the apartheid either in South Africa or in Palestine. We learn from your experience the belief of facing the crimes of the occupation.
BDS National Committee (BNC) in Palestine:
[We] warmly salute the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), a member of COSATU, for its decision today not to offload an Israeli ship that is due to arrive in Durban... Coming weeks after the massive Israeli massacre in Gaza, this distinguished expression by SATAWU of effective solidarity with the Palestinian people in general, and with Gaza in particular, sets a historic precedent that reminds us of the first such action during the apartheid era taken by Danish dock workers in 1963, when they decided not to offload ships carrying South African products, triggering a similar boycott in Sweden, England and elsewhere.
Northern Branch of the Independent Workers Union, Ireland
The Northern Branch of the Independent Workers Union, Ireland sends its greetings and solidarity to the inspiring actions of South African dock workers and this stance by Cosatu and tireless work of PSC.
The protests that erupted round the world in response to Israel's onslaught in Gaza showed the anger of ordinary people at the persistent injustice faced by Palestinians. It is clear that this must be transformed into more concrete actions to change the conditions for Palestinians and the way power is abused by the wealthy in today's world. The actions by the dockers in South Africa, again, show the spirit of resistance that other trade unions would do well to follow and we salute the courage and direction marked out by your example.
The Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid – Southern California
The Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid-Southern California (https://email.wits.ac.za/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.ceia-sc.org) wishes to voice its enthusiastic support of the members of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) in Durban for taking the lead in the struggle to defeat apartheid in the State of Israel by being the first group of workers to refuse to offload a ship coming from Israel and carrying Israeli goods.
These brave workers lived under, and struggled against, apartheid in South Africa. As such, they know firsthand the brutalities and dehumanization of the apartheid system. They also know how important international solidarity was in the struggle to defeat apartheid in South Africa.
Freedom Socialist Party sections in both Australia and the United States
I'm writing... to congratulate COSATU on the stance that you have taken to support the just struggles of the Palestinian people through building a mass movement to boycott Israeli goods and demand divestment and sanctions.
South African workers, more than workers anywhere else in the world, will clearly understand and appreciate the power that an international mass movement that has the backing of organised labour can have. The leadership you are providing is inspirational and will boost efforts of unionists around the globe and help galvanise the power of organised workers everywhere to support our Palestinian sisters and brothers.
International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 10, USA
Congratulations to COSATU, SATAWU, the dockers who stood firm on the night against all manoeuvres, and everyone involved in this magnificent and historic action. I know there are other dockworkers around the world who are watching very closely, and who may be inspired to act themselves.
SAMWU (South African Municipal Workers Union)
[We] salute your members for their wonderful act of solidarity by refusing to off-load the Johanna Russ with its cargo of Israeli goods. SATAWU has set the rest of the labour movement an inspiring example of what can be done.
LO Norway
We have appreciated COSATU's clear and strong engagement in this issue, and your information sharing on this. LO-Norway will continue following the situation and continue our solidarity work with the Palestinian workers. LO condemns Israel's bombing and ground invasion of Gaza. Killing civilians and abusing the population cannot be justified. Israel must immediately stop its acts of war.
Deb Reich, Israel
Dissidents in Israel! I want to thank you for what you do to help bring justice here. I have spent most of my adult life trying to help other Jews in Israel understand that there is a way out of the vast nightmare of injustices perpetrated here in the name of various noble ideals. The brainwashing is so thorough here that people become quite incapacitated -- unable to comprehend the simple idea that, while pluralism can embrace and make space for endless varieties of particularity, all of which can thrive in happy proximity -- the reverse is impossible: particularity and exclusivism cannot make space for a healthy pluralism. If you want a decent shared prosperity, you have to open up to it!
When a military giant refuses to get the message, international economic pressure such as you have brought to bear is evidently the only answer that makes sense. Let us hope the tide will turn soon and minimize the number of innocents who are forced to pay with their lives for the blindness, fear, and prejudice of their neighbours.
Permit me to say thanks again for your courageous stand. Its importance is probably even greater than we realize; one day, looking back, all will see how significant your action has been.
BDS National Committee in Palestine:
Refusing to fall prey to Zionist intimidation and bullying (which have very effectively, alas, muzzled mainstream condemnation of Israeli crimes in the west for many years), the COSATU-led BDS campaign in South Africa is truly setting new precedents with unique courage, vision and the best tradition of internationalism and solidarity.

Bongani Masuku, International Relations Officer
Congress of South African Trade Unions
1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets
Braamfontein, 2017

P.O. Box 1019
Johannesburg, 2000

De Israelische Terreur 744

Informatie die de Nederlandse commerciele massamedia al jaren verzwijgen: twee jaar geleden zond het progressieve Amerikaanse Democracy Now een gesprek uit tussen de kritische joods-Amerikaanse hoogleraar Norman Finkelstein en de voormalige joods-Israelische minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Shlomo Ben-Ami, tevens de belangrijkste onderhandelaar met de Palestijnse Autoriteit. Ben-Ami verklaarde toen dit:
'The Palestinians didn’t even mention self-determination so a leader like Rabin could have thought that, okay, we will have an agreement that will create something which is a state-minus. This was Rabin’s expression. He never thought this will end in a full-fledged Palestinian state.' Lees verder:
Deze werkelijkheid past niet binnen de pro-Israel berichtgeving van de Nederlandse massamedia en wordt dus verzwegen. Het 'linkse' zionistisch leiderschap was nooit van plan geweest te streven naar een volwaardige Palestijnse staat. En het rechtse ook niet.

Het Israelisch Fascisme 3

'Israel lurches into fascism
By Ali Abunimah
The Electronic Intifada
12 February 2009

Whenever Israel has an election, pundits begin the usual refrain that hopes for peace depend on the "peace camp" -- formerly represented by the Labor party, but now by Tzipi Livni's Kadima -- prevailing over the anti-peace right, led by the Likud.
This has never been true, and makes even less sense as Israeli parties begin coalition talks after Tuesday's election. Yes, the "peace camp" helped launch the "peace process," but it did much more to undermine the chances for a just settlement.
In 1993, Labor prime minister Yitzhak Rabin signed the Oslo accords.
Ambiguities in the agreement -- which included no mention of "self-determination" or "independence" for Palestinians, or even "occupation" -- made it easier to clinch a short-term deal. But confrontation over irreconcilable expectations was inevitable. While Palestinians hoped the Palestinian Authority, created by the accord, would be the nucleus of an independent state, Israel viewed it as little more than a native police force to suppress resistance to continued occupation and colonial settlement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Collaboration with Israel has always been the measure by which any Palestinian leader is judged to be a "peace partner."
Rabin, according to Shlomo Ben-Ami, a former Israeli foreign minister, "never thought this [Oslo] will end in a full-fledged Palestinian state." He was right.
Throughout the "peace process," Israeli governments, regardless of who led them, expanded Jewish-only settlements in the heart of the West Bank, the territory supposed to form the bulk of the Palestinian state. In the 1990s, Ehud Barak's Labor-led government actually approved more settlement expansion than the Likud-led government that preceded it headed by Benjamin Netanyahu.
Barak, once considered "dovish," promoted a bloodthirsty image in the campaign, bolstered by the massacres of Gaza civilians he directed as defense minister. "Who has he ever shot?" Barak quipped derisively about Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the proto-fascist Yisrael Beitenu party, in an attempt to paint the latter as a lightweight.
Today, Lieberman's party, which beat Labor into third place, will play a decisive role in a government. An immigrant who came to Israel from the former Soviet republic of Moldova, Lieberman was once a member of the outlawed racist party Kach that calls for expelling all Palestinians.
Yisrael Beitenu's manifesto was that 1.5 million Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel (indigenous survivors or descendants of the Palestinian majority ethnically cleansed in 1948) be subjected to a loyalty oath. If they don't swear allegiance to the "Jewish state"
they would lose their citizenship and be forced from the land of their birth, joining millions of already stateless Palestinians in exile or in Israeli-controlled ghettos. In a move instigated by Lieberman but supported by Livni's allegedly "centrist" Kadima, the Knesset recently voted to ban Arab parties from participating in elections. Although the high court overturned it in time for the vote, it is an ominous sign of what may follow.
Lieberman, who previously served as deputy prime minister, has a long history of racist and violent incitement. Prior to Israel's recent attack, for example, he demanded Israel subject Palestinians to the brutal and indiscriminate violence Russia used in Chechyna.
He also called for Arab Knesset members who met with officials from Hamas to be executed.
But it's too easy to make him the bogeyman. Israel's narrow political spectrum now consists at one end of the former "peace camp" that never halted the violent expropriation of Palestinian land for Jewish settlements and boasts with pride of the war crimes in Gaza, and at the other, a surging far-right whose "solutions" vary from apartheid to outright ethnic cleansing.'

De Commerciele Massamedia 189

Naar aanleiding van mijn kritiek op Alex Burghoorn van de Volkskrant kreeg ik onder andere deze reactie:
'Anoniem said...
De analyse kan ik in grote lijnen onderschrijven. Echter de uitspraak "Er is alleen hoop voor de Joden in Israel van wie een meerderheid wil dat hun Palestijnse landgenoten voorgoed verdwijnen uit 'de Joodse staat' " klopt denk ik niet. De analyse kan ik in grote lijnen onderschrijven. Echter de uitspraak "Er is alleen hoop voor de Joden in Israël van wie een meerderheid wil dat hun Palestijnse landgenoten voorgoed verdwijnen uit 'de Joodse staat' " klopt denk ik niet, althans niet op de lange termijn. Genoemde joden denken dat hun belangen parallel lopen met die van hun leiders. Dat is echter de grote leugen in deze hele wereld. Die leiders (leidende families) opereren internationaal en verkassen daarheen waar ze in het betreffende tijdsbestek het meeste geld en macht kunnen verdienen. Voor zichzelf - niet voor de bevolking die ze zouden moeten dienen. Die zijn niks anders dan een stuk gereedschap. Dit geldt overigens net zo goed voor Amerika, Nederland, etc. Ik heb niet de illusie dat deze landen langdurig welvaart en vrede zullen bewaren met een politiek die net als dat van Israël op grootschalige diefstal en macht is gebaseerd.
3:22 PM
stan said...
dat is waar, maar of die belangen nu vermeend zijn of daadwerkelijk, maakt in dit geval geen verschil. een meerderheid van de joods-israeli's denkt dat een etnisch zuivere staat hen goed zal doen.
3:27 PM
Anoniem said...
Het maakt wel verschil omdat hier de oplossing in schuilt. Als we in staat zijn de mensen te laten zien dat hun belangen vermeend zijn en dat ze in feite zelf hun (klein)kinderen de dood in jagen, moet je mensen van mening kunnen laten veranderen. Daar probeer ik zelf over na te denken. Hoe doe je dat. Ik ben erg benieuwd hoe Stan als journalist daar over denkt. Informatie beschikbaar stellen alleen, is niet genoeg, blijkt. Wat wel. Of doet die mening er ook niet toe – zou kunnen - maar is belangrijk voor de te volgen strategie voor de goedwillende journalist/burger.
3:56 PM
stan said...
ik weet niet meer dan het leven mij geleerd heeft, en dat is dat angst een grotere drijfveer is dan rationele beschouwingen. als journalist en burger heb ik niet de pretentie dat ik reeds overtuigde mensen kan overtuigen door feiten. mijn doel is vrij bescheiden: ik beschouw mezelf een chroniqueur van mijn tijd, niet meer dan dat. een chroniqueur wiens stukjes later gelezen kunnen worden door mensen die zich afvragen hoe het in godsnaam mogelijk was dat mensen de werkelijkheid niet zagen en dan ontdekken dat er wel degelijk een dissidente uitleg van de werkelijkheid bestond.

Om mijn standpunt nog eens te bekrachtigen zou ik dit willen opmerken: al een aantal jaren volg ik op deze weblog de producten van mijn collega's en onderwerp die aan een kritische maar altijd gefundeerde analyse. Ik heb redelijk veel theoretische en praktische studies over de werking van de massamedia gelezen en weet waarover ik het heb. Daarnaast ken ik tamelijk veel journalisten van nabij. Desondanks ben ik nooit, maar dan ook nooit, een keer gevraagd door een School voor de Journalistiek of door een mediaprogramma om mijn gedocumenteerde kritiek te komen toelichten. Dit is geen klacht van me, maar een constatering. Ik wil daar slechts mee aangeven dat er in Nederland geen serieuze mediakritiek bestaat, de kritiek mag nooit wezenlijk zijn, gericht op de journalistiek als fenomeen.
Een voorbeeld: ik ken Felix Meurders persoonlijk al minstens eenkwart eeuw, maar nooit zal hij het ook maar in zijn hoofd halen om mij te vragen in zijn programma De leugen regeert om mijn fundamentele kritiek op deze of gene collega te komen verdedigen. Felix kijkt wel uit, want dan loopt hij het gevaar door andere journalisten niet serieus te worden genomen. Ik ben namelijk gemarginaliseerd, ik ben een dissident, en zoals overal, mogen dissidenten niet gehoord worden. Nogmaals, dat is geen klacht, integendeel, ik voel me er prettig bij. Ik zou mezelf gaan wantrouwen als een van die programma's of scholen me zouden uitnodigen. Ik wil er alleen mee zeggen dat ook journalisten niet door feiten overtuigd kunnen worden zodra ze vastzitten aan een ideologie. Die ideologische kijk op de wereld maakt ze blind voor de werkelijkheid. Zo werkt een ideologie nu eenmaal. Ondertussen hoef ik met nagenoeg niemand rekening te houden in mijn beschrijving van de werkelijkheid. Ik voel me wat dat betreft zo vrij als een vogeltje. Wie zou dat nu niet willen?

Het Neoliberale Geloof 320

Dit artikel is zeer de moeite waard om te lezen:

'How Economists (and Pundits and Politicians) Helped Steer America Off a Cliff
Joshua Holland, AlterNet. Posted February 12, 2009.
As the economy crashes around us, Dean Baker's star has been on the rise, and for good reason.
While most of his colleagues were following the herd, swept up in the irrational exuberance of an economy fueled by the growth of a massive housing bubble, Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, was one of the few voices warning of the housing market's impending crash.
When AlterNet interviewed Baker in mid-2006, there was no talk of "subprime" loans and "toxic securities," yet he warned that the crash of America's "debt bubble" -- mortgages, consumer debt and all the rest -- could decrease Americans' average wealth by as much as 40 percent.
At the time, he said that he hoped he was wrong, but unfortunately he wasn't.
In his new book,
Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy, Baker explains the rise of the speculation-fueled bubble economy following the relative prosperity of the New Deal era, offers insight into how so many of his colleagues could have gotten the situation so wrong, and calls out politicians, pundits and corporate America for getting us into a mess that's threatening the entire global economy.
AlterNet caught up with Baker recently to discuss his new book, and to find out where he thinks we should be going from here.
Joshua Holland: You describe this virtuous cycle of prosperity following World War II, where productivity growth was widely distributed in wage gains, which increased consumption, which increased corporate investment and expansion, which led to increased productivity growth, etc., etc. And, you point out that the bubble economy grew in the mid-'90s, after two decades in which that cycle was broken and wages were flat for most Americans. Briefly, how did that fundamental shift occur, and how did it fuel the creation of the bubble economy?
Dean Baker: Well, I'd say what happened was, we had a period -- and this is highly debated, and you'll get different people give you different answers on this -- we had a period in the '70s where things weren't working, that we saw an end to that virtuous cycle. Several things went on, which I think explain the shift.
We had extraordinary shocks to the system in the form of much higher food prices and much higher oil prices. There was a lot of inflation. Now, my view is that if we had kept the same policies, we might have gotten back to somewhere like where we were in the '60s, but we didn't keep the same policies. Reagan got into office, and he quite deliberately set about weakening the power of workers, the power of unions.
He broke the air traffic controllers' strike, which really changed labor relations. Before that, companies negotiated with their workers when they went on strike. They didn't fire them. But suddenly, following the lead of the president, it became common practice in the private sector to start firing workers. So, there were many instances where you had workers fired when they went on strike, and that hugely weakened their bargaining power. Suddenly, if they went on strike they had to fear that they'd be fired.
Also, the National Labor Relations Board became much more hostile to unions. Then there was the trade policy. We had a high-dollar policy that made it difficult for workers in sectors that are open to competition, most importantly manufacturing, and made it difficult for them to keep their wages up.
At the same time, you had deregulation of many major sectors. The airlines, trucking … telecommunications. Several major sectors, employing millions of people with good-paying jobs, were all deregulated. And this was quite consciously an effort to reduce the power of workers and lower their wages.
So, I'd say that's really what changed in the '80s. And, as a result of that, we stopped seeing wage growth for most workers. And, it wasn't until the '90s, late '90s, where we did get low rates of unemployment, where we began again to see some wage growth for workers.
But basically, that was brought about by the stock bubble, which led to strong growth and low rates of unemployment, so finally workers were in a position to share in some of the wage gains from productivity growth. But, that was after a long period of time in a very different environment.'

Alex Burghoorn van de Volkskrant 12

Wanneer Alex Burghoorn van de Volkskrant suggereert dat 'Hoop toch kans [krijgt] in Israël' illustreert dit zijn schizofrene houding. Ik bedoel dit: zou Burghoorn als hij een Palestijn was geweest hetzelfde hebben beweerd? Nee, natuurlijk, dan zou hij in grote angst hebben verkeerd voor het Joods-Israelisch geweld. En dat geldt zelfs als hij een Palestijnse inwoner van Israel was geweest die nu bedreigd wordt met etnische zuivering. En dit alles weet hij zelf maar al te goed. Er bestaat dus een brede kloof tussen wat Burghoorn denkt en wat hij doet. Desgevraagd zal hij toegeven dat hij niet graag in de positie van een Palestijn zou willen verkeren, maar wat hij schrijft is daar volstrekt mee in strijd. Hij doet het voorkomen dat er 'hoop' bestaat. Daarmee rechtvaardigt hij de bestaande situatie waarbij extreem rechts in Israel de macht in handen heeft gekregen en de situatie nooit eerder zo uitzichtloos is geweest. De situatie is zo hopeloos dat de vooraantaande joods-Israelische journalist Gideon Levy in Haaretz de volgende wens uitspreekt: 'Let's hope Obama won't be a ''friend of Israel''' Lees verder: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1035415.html

Het was Confucius die in The Great Digest schreef: 'wanting good government in their states, they first established order in their own families; wanting order in the home, they first disciplined themselves.' We hebben hier te maken met wat de Israelisch-Britse historicus Avi Shlaim 'een schurkenstaat' noemt waarvan de overgrote meerderheid van de Joodse inwoners zichzelf en de Palestijnen hebben getraumatiseerd door hun slachtofferschap uit politieke overwegingen te cultiveren. We hebben te maken met patienten. Net als de Serven destijds radicaliseren nu de Joden in Israel steeds verder, totdat genocide op de vermeende vijand, in dit geval de Palestijnen, het enige is dat overblijft. En de rechtvaardiging van dit proces wordt overvloedig gegeven door de journalisten in dienst van de pro-Israel lobby.

Alex Burghoorn van de Volkskrant 11

Dit zijn de laatste zinnen van Burghoorn's artikel dat begint met de kop 'Hoop krijgt toch kans in Israël':
'Grofweg 3,4 miljoen Israëli’s (65 procent van de kiesgerechtigden) hebben 12 partijen in de Knesset gekozen. De versnippering is zo groot dat geen enkele partij een kwart van de stemmen behaalde. Het is bekend patroon, dat wijst op voortdurende besluiteloosheid over de koers van het land. Het is daarin dat de Israëlische wanhoop waarschijnlijk nog het best tot uitdrukking komt.' Zie: http://www.volkskrant.nl/buitenland/
Wat nu weer? Eerst: 'Hoop krijgt toch kans in Israël' en tenslotte: 'Het is daarin dat de Israëlische wanhoop waarschijnlijk nog het best tot uitdrukking komt.'
Wat is dit voor een analyse die begint met een bewering die aan het eind weerlegd wordt? Deze nonsens krijgt men wanneer een journalist gaat liegen en bedriegen, hij raakt uiteindelijk verstrikt in zijn eigen propaganda. De hoop van de wanhoop, of de wanhoop van de hoop? Wat wordt hier nu beweert? Burghoorn, collega, begin nu eens gewoon journalistiek te bedrijven door de feiten te geven en door op te houden met het verzwijgen van feiten die niet passen binnen de pro-Israel propaganda.

Alex Burghoorn van de Volkskrant 10

Onder de adembenemende kop: 'Hoop krijgt toch kans in Israël', schrijft Alex Burghoorn van de Volkskrant:

'Wie geloofwaardig een boodschap van hoop wil brengen in Israël – en het dan niet heeft over de komst van de messias – moet van goeden huize komen. Ehud Olmert, de scheidend premier en voorganger van Livni als partijleider, mijmerde wel over Israël als ‘een plek waar het lekker leven is’. Maar hij laat een angstig land achter, geen ‘fun place’. Daar verandert ook het nieuws dat het Israëlische model Bar Rafaeli is uitverkoren als cover girl voor het bikininummer van Sports Illustrated, niets aan.

Het Hamas-bestuur in de Gazastrook, het machtige Hezbollah in Libanon en het Iraanse ayatollah-regime in Teheran geven veel Israëli’s het gevoel klem te zitten tussen existentiële bedreigingen. Dat maakt hen eenzaam. Temeer daar er maar weinig vertrouwen is in de door corruptie geteisterde politieke klasse, en de indruk bestaat dat de rest van de wereld zich van de Joodse staat aan het afkeren is.' Zie: http://www.volkskrant.nl/buitenland/article1147278.ece/Hoop_krijgt_toch_kans_in_Israel

Het staat er echt allemaal. Maar wat staat er niet? Onder andere dit: in september 2008 verklaarde demissionair premier Olmert in een interview dat ook door The New York Review of Books werd afgedrukt: 'In a few years, my grandchildren will ask what their grandfather did, what kind of country we have bequeathed them.... We have a window of opportunity -- a short amount of time before we enter an extremely dangerous situation -- in which to take a historic step in our relations with the Palestinians and a historic step in our relations with the Syrians. In both instances, the decision we have to make is the decision we've spent forty years refusing to look at with our eyes open.We must make these decisions, and yet we are not prepared to say to ourselves, "Yes, this is what we must do." We must reach an agreement with the Palestinians, meaning a withdrawal from nearly all, if not all, of the [occupied] territories. Some percentage of these territories would remain in our hands, but we must give the Palestinians the same percentage [of territory elsewhere] -- without this, there will be no peace. Including Jerusalem? Including Jerusalem.'
Premier Olmert voegde hieraan toe: 'De Libanese oorlog zal de geschiedenis ingaan als de eerste oorlog waarin het militair leiderschap begreep dat klassieke oorlogsvoering achterhaald is… Maar de ware les is… dat in hedendaagse oorlogen het thuisfront het front is, het thuisfront is bij de strijd betrokken.’
Maar deze informatie verzwijgt Alex Burghoorn angstvallig, want het past niet in de pro-Israel propaganda van onder andere de 'pro-zionistische lobbygroep' het CIDI waarvoor correspondent Burghoorn meer dan eens heeft opgetreden. Olmert heeft gelijk, een moderne oorlog is geen oorlog meer, het is terreur tegen de burgerbevolking, 'het thuisfront is bij de strijd betrokken' aangezien het 'thuisfront het front is.' De Palestijnse bevolking die al jaren de Israelische terreur ondergaat weet dit al jaren. Ondanks de uitspraken van Olmert beweert Burghoorn dat met de overwinning van Livni 'Hoop toch kans [krijgt] in Israel', terwijl haar partij fel gekant is tegen de ontruiming van de Joodse nederzettingen in bezet gebied.
Deze zinnen zijn ook propagandistische juweeltjes: 'Het Hamas-bestuur in de Gazastrook, het machtige Hezbollah in Libanon en het Iraanse ayatollah-regime in Teheran geven veel Israëli’s het gevoel klem te zitten tussen existentiële bedreigingen. Dat maakt hen eenzaam. Temeer daar er maar weinig vertrouwen is in de door corruptie geteisterde politieke klasse, en de indruk bestaat dat de rest van de wereld zich van de Joodse staat aan het afkeren is.'

'De indruk bestaat dat'? Beste Burghoorn, het is niet slechts een 'indruk' van de Joden in Israel, maar een keihard feit dat de wereld walgt van de Israelische terreur, zelfs in de VS is er nu sprake van een publieke omslag. Al in 2003 bleek uit een opiniepeiling van de Europese Unie dat Israël algemeen gezien werd als grootste bedreiging voor de wereldvrede. In 2007 toonde een BBC-onderzoek aan dat Israël door een representatieve groep burgers het meest negatief werd beoordeeld van in totaal twaalf landen, waaronder Iran en Noord-Korea. Jouw pro-Israel propaganda wordt niet meer geslikt door de overgrote meerderheid van de bevolking. Hoeveel nonsens je ook mag schrijven, het publiek weet inmiddels beter. Jij probeert Israel nog af te schilderen als de kleine David, 'eenzaam' en 'klem' zittend tussen allerlei 'machtige' Goliaths, maar de Europese burgers weten inmiddels dat Israel de op drie na machtigste strijdkrachten ter wereld bezit, die regelmatig slachtpartijen onder Palestijnse burgers veroorzaken. Jij bent een van de weinigen die nog in de door jou verspreide propaganda gelooft. Wordt wakker, collega. Ga je werk doen, en dat is het verstrekken van feiten.

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