Henry Herskovitz – Will IJAN Challenge Jewish Power?
Posted: 20 Mar 2010 01:27 AM PDT
Below is the analysis of Henry Herskovitz (with Michelle J. Kinnucan) of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends to a recent op-ed by Rebecca Tumposky on the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN).
There are many problems with IJAN, which lead me to doubt the purposes of the group. I first question whether they are a Palestinian solidarity group or yet another group that seeks to shield and preserve Jewish power both in Palestine and in the U.S.
In this writer's opinion, Jews – if they are acting in a group that represents Jews in the peace movement – should first and foremost challenge what Akiva Eldar and J. J. Goldberg, among others, call the "Jewish lobby" – the powerful people and institutions (and their rank-and-file supporters) who dominate the US discourse and policy regarding Jews and Israel. Often, these are the very people behind the charge of "self-hating Jews" (and for non-Jews, "anti-Semites") about whom Rebecca Tumposky, national organizer with the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, complains. Yet, nowhere in her article does Ms. Tumposky show a disposition to directly do that.
It is perhaps worth mentioning that three originators of IJAN who live in southeast Michigan, including "Invincible," declined the invitation to stand vigil with Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends at ourGlobal Vigil Day in 2007 or at any other time. They refused to expose and challenge Beth Israel Congregation–a local institutional bastion of open, unabashed Jewish support for Israel–when they had the opportunity. And yes, I'm the first to admit that standing in front of a synagogue is not the only way to challenge Jewish power, but at the same time ask where does IJAN directly challenge this power using another tactic?
In Tumposky's op-ed she says IJAN "seeks to challenge the violence and injustice of Israeli apartheid" but she and IJAN are US-based. So, where is her mention, let alone challenge, of the Jewish supremacism/power that allows Jews – less than two percent of the US population – to so effectively steer US policy and resources into underwriting Jewish apartheid in Palestine?
Right out of the box, she shows her hand – Tumposky's and IJAN's opposition to apartheid is rooted not in universalistic notions of justice and human rights but in Jewish chauvinism/exceptionalism. Thus, they appeal to Jews on the grounds of "our varied traditions of social justice." And Tumposky wants to make sure – absolutely certain – that fighting anti-Semitism is prioritized in any work on freeing Palestine from the genocide brought on by the Jewish state. Thus, she writes, "We challenge anti-Jewish prejudice while standing in solidarity with organizations that support Palestinian liberation and historic justice …" In short, IJAN enters the Palestinian solidarity movement with an explicit agenda of highlighting, if not foregrounding, the concerns of Jews, the very people who enjoy Jewish privilege here and in Israel.
Her opposition to Zionism is carefully couched as a subset of opposing colonialism and imperialism, in general: "We share a commitment to participation in struggles against colonialism and imperialism. We therefore oppose Zionism … IJAN, in fact, opposes all imperialist aggression". She refuses to take notice of the peculiar situation of Zionism – Jewish imperialism – in that Jews lacked a nation-state of their own and, thus, Zionists commandeered other countries, namely Britain and the US, to realize their goals.
Tumposky beats up one or two carefully placed straw men along the way: "We will say it again and again, despite accusations of being 'self-hating Jews': Zionism is not Judaism and the Jewish community." Just who is it that equates Zionism with "Judaism and the Jewish community"? And why is this point so essential for "anti-Zionists" like the IJAN folks? What would Tumposky say to the 757 rabbis – "the largest number of rabbis whose signatures are attached to a public pronouncement in all Jewish history" – who in 1942 stated that Zionism is an "Affirmation of Judaism" and "Anti-Zionism, not Zionism, is a departure from the Jewish religion"?
She also plays a Left Zionist game when she attempts to distinguish the 'types' of Zionism, claiming that "the Zionism we oppose is not a longstanding cultural or religious expression". She conveniently ignores the fact that when push came to shove, all the Zionists – Left, Right and Center – gave their blessings to destroying Palestine.
In the first chapter of his book Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, Norman Finkelstein challenged the myth that any of the Zionist tendencies (Labor, Religious, etc.) were ever benign. In short, the only thing about Zionism that really matters is that it "is a form of racism and racial discrimination," as the UN General Assembly correctly identified in 1975.
Tumposky's definition of Zionism is also problematic – "the 19th century ideology that led European Jews to work with imperialist powers to displace and ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people, which continues today." It is folly to imply that Jews were passive objects of that "ideology". Zionism was created, implemented, and popularized by Jews. Are readers supposed to believe that it was the imperialist powers that Jews only "worked with" that committed this crime? Isn't it more accurate to say that Jews led these imperialist powers by the nose – as they still do today – to have non-Jews die for the Jewish state?
When she writes "Israel and its U.S. lobby helped pushed us toward the Iraq war and are exerting similar pressure to attack Iran", readers need to be cognizant of what she omits – EVERY major constituent group of the organized Jewish community pressed for war on Iraq, and there's a list of at least two dozen Jewish individuals – in powerful government or media positions – who also pressed strongly for war.
Tumposky touts "Jewish visions of collective liberation and traditions of social justice", but doesn't give us any proof that this tradition ever existed, other than in the minds of Jews who want their image spit-shined, if not outright falsified. More than 300 years ago, Benedictus de Spinoza, who is often upheld as a great Jewish intellectual, observed that Jews had in fact nothing to commend themselves as superior to others, had acted in such a way as to "incur the hatred of all", and that this hatred was the glue that bound Jews together. Other than, perhaps, a few years during the Civil Rights struggle (andBenjamin Ginsberg casts doubt on even this), Jews collectively have acted in concert NOT for universal well-being, but for the benefit of Jews. IJAN does not seem to be an exception.
Distinguishing IJAN from AIPAC, J-Street and Tikkun, might make good reading, but doesn't let them off the hook. Once again, I'm reminded of Paul Eisen's words: "The crime against the Palestinian people is being committed by a Jewish state with Jewish soldiers using weapons displaying Jewish religious symbols, and with the full support and complicity of the overwhelming mass of organized Jews worldwide. But to name Jews as responsible for this crime seems impossible to do." It seems obvious to me that IJAN and similar organizations exist, in no small part, to prevent the naming of Jews as responsible for the Jewish-led genocide against the Palestinian people.
Silvia Nicolaou-Garcia – On the absurdity of a "Palestinian incitement index"
Posted: 20 Mar 2010 01:14 AM PDT
A common blueprint of Israeli hasbara, or official propaganda, is to deflect criticism of its actions in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip by stressing that within the 1948 boundaries, it is a model of democracy incomparable to other societies in the Middle East. The reality however is far from this. In fact, Israel is in the grip of a wave of unchecked racism and incitement, both from a societal and an institutional point of view. It therefore does not come as a surprise that last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee that Israel is going to officially monitor "incitement" within the Palestinian Authority (PA), and periodically issue reports on it.
Toward this end, Netanyahu appointed Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, the former senior intelligence officer of the IDF Central Command, as government coordinator for incitement in the PA. "The incitement index" will be produced by monitoring broadcasts in the official PA media, statements and actions by senior PA officials and textbooks, senior Israeli official spokesmen stated. Yossi aims to monitor all acts which "encourage terrorist acts", which demonize Israel and which create an atmosphere of hostility. This "index" will allow the Israeli government to "set parameters by which to measure the level of incitement," and which encourage a supposed atmosphere of violence and alleged anti-Semitic manifestations.
Not only is it hard to understand how the collection of non-numerical data can be "quantified", there also seem to be various flaws in the thrust underpinning this proposal.
The debate started with Mahmoud Abbas' decision to name a square in Ramallah after Dalal Mugrhabi, a Palestinian woman who took part in the coastal road operation three decades ago, in which 38 Israelis were killed. It seems however that the granting of "martyrdom" status is not confined to the Palestinian Authority only. Let us not forget the 1994 massacre, in the city of Hebron, when Baruch Goldstein entered a mosque and opened fire, killing 29 Muslims during prayer. Subsequently, a shrine was erected in Goldstein's memory in the Meir Kahane Memorial Park, a Jewish settlement adjacent to Hebron. Until 1999, when legislation and a Supreme Court ruling prohibited monuments to terrorists, this shrine was a pilgrimage site visited by over 10,000 people. Its plaque read: "To the holy Baruch Goldstein, who gave his life for the Jewish people, the Torah and the nation of Israel." In any case, the inauguration ceremony in the Ramallah square was cancelled. Netanyahu stated that naming a square after Mughrabi was "problematic in the extreme" and that "this was not how peace was made". Well, let us look back a couple of decades, and see how, if anything, Israel can enlighten us on how peace is notmade.
Israel's argument is that, under the "1993 Oslo Agreements", the Palestinians committed themselves to eliminating violence and "incitement" against Israel. In fact, the Oslo Agreements required a commitment from both sides to refrain from incitement and an agreement to amend the educational systems to reflect the peaceful coexistencei. Under the 2003 Quartet-backed "Road Map for peace" proposal, the Palestinians committed to end violence and incitement against Israelis, and Israel was required to halt all settlement construction, amongst other things. There is no point for Israel to point the finger at Palestinians for "inciting" violence against Israel, when a plan to build 1,600 settler homes in the Ramat Shlomo settlement was officially approved last week. Not only are these settlements unlawful under international humanitarian law, which prohibits population transfers by an Occupying Power into lands that it occupies, but they are severely depriving the Palestinians from their basic human rights. Therefore, by reducing the argument to whether or not the Palestinians have abided by their agreement and stopped "incitement" against Israel, simply misses the point.
We can easily turn the coin and examine how Israel uses misleading language and terminology in the media on the events occurring in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. For example, Zvi Bar'el explains in his article, Israel is demanding peace from the Palestinians as its own racism spreads. The West Bank is referred to as "Judea and Samarae", we are often presented with a decorated illegal annexation of East Jerusalem which is termed a "defensive operation" and settlements which are deemed illegal under international law commonly referred to as mere "towns". So who is inciting violence against whom?
Israeli settler violence against civilians is a theme which is also often overlooked. When Palestinians attack Israelis, the Israeli authorities use all means at their disposal (including non legal means such as administrative detention and arbitrary arrests, which are incompatible with international law and international humanitarian law) to arrest suspects and bring them to trial. Settlers on the contrary enjoy the support of the government, and when they attack Palestinians, the Israeli authorities employ leniency and fail to enforce the law against them. The discrimination undermining this difference of treatment is a clear example of how Israel flouts the well known principle of "equality before the law." One is probably not bewildered by this attitude, since the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, Avigdor Lieberman, has himself lived since 1988 in Nokdim, a settlement in the West Bank.
Before moving to racism within the 1948 boundaries, it is worth mentioning how Palestinian children are often used as tools to support Israel's "incitement" campaign. Israel claims that these children are "full of hate" against Israel. What else is to be expected from children, when up to 300 are being held in Israeli prisons in administrative detention for throwing stones, or not even that? These children are forced to sign confessions in Hebrew, forcing them to admit to crimes they did not commit. Some of these are as young as 12, who according to a recent Guardian article, when held behind bars are treated like "terrorists". What other means of protesting do they have when the checkpoints and Jewish only roads prevent them from going to school? Israel state officials also complain about the Palestinian educational system, whose textbooks apparently do not portray history accurately and do not refer to Israel. It is interesting that they touch on the issue of geography textbooks, because not too long ago the Northern Line on the London Underground advertised an "Experience Israel" tourism campaign which wiped out the West Bank and Gaza Strip off the map (and Lebanon, for that matter).
Finally, it is important to mention the spread of racism within Israel. A recent poll conducted by the Maagar Mochot research institution and presented at a Tel Aviv University Conference show that 56% of Israeli high school students believe that the country's Arab citizens should be prohibited from being elected to the Knesset and should not be allowed to vote, and that the figure rises to 82 percent among religious youths. Israel lacks a written constitution unlike Britain, which has no written constitution either but contains the Habeas Corpus act of 1679, the Human Rights Act of 1998 and many other quasi-constitutional documents and constitutional conventions which guarantee individual rights. Israel is yet to enact a constitution or laws which guarantee equal rights to all citizens regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or national origin. The Israeli Supreme Court is flooded with employment or land dispute cases, and is simply not equipped to guarantee equality between Israeli Jews and their Arab counterparts. If the Israeli government wants to condemn "incitement", shouldn't they start by first cleaning up their act and redress this discriminatory imbalance?
This article does not aim to justify any alleged Palestinian incitement, since two wrongs do not make a right. It is evident however that the position of both parties is substantially different, and the context of the occupation should always be taken into account. Officially monitoring Palestinian levels of incitement distorts the reality and demeans the suffering of the 1,5 million Palestinians under siege in the Gaza Strip, of the hundreds of innocent Palestinians who are administratively detained and of the hundreds of families who are left homeless when their houses are demolished by bulldozers. It also silences the voice of brave young Israelis who refuse to serve in the IDF army and are jailed for this, and of human rights activists like Rachel Corrie, who was killed by a bulldozer operated by the IDF forces whilst attempting to prevent them from demolishing the home of a Palestinian family.
This initiative aims to portray Israel as angelic. It aims to transform its status of "Occupier" to that of "victim". It is a hoax and I did not fall for it.
iArticle XXOO Oslo II Agreement
Posted: 19 Mar 2010 07:23 AM PDT
WRITTEN BY MARCY NEWMAN Yesterday (18 March 2010) after I finished teaching at 2 PM I headed for Palestine to spend the weekend and my birthday with friends in Palestine. I arrived on the occupied side of the bridge at 4:55 PM. I used to live in Palestine, most recently last year when I taught at An Najah National University in Nablus, but I had not been back since July when I left.
I arrived at the bridge, went through the routinized luggage and security screenings and headed for the passport window. The woman in the occupying army at the window asked me questions when it was my turn. She asked me what I was planning to do in "Israel," a word and question that makes my blood boil given that I was clearly trying to enter Palestine. Although I have spent extended periods of time living in Palestine since the summer of 2005, this is the first time I did not say that I was doing research as my reason for entering. This question normally got all sorts of questions, too, but at least it did not implicate my friends, something I had been unwilling to do before now. When I first went to Palestine in 2005 I used names of colonists, because I would much rather to have them questioned, but since 2006 when I adopted a policy of anti-normalization I refuse to speak to or normalize with a single colonist other than the occupying soldiers I am forced to deal with at the border and at checkpoints. I had arranged beforehand with my friend to say that I would be staying with him since he lives in Jerusalem and I wanted to make sure that I did not get one of those new stamps that said I can only enter the West Bank (my real plan was to stay in Doha, but I did not want to give additional names of friends). I was also asked how long I would be staying, and even though I had only planned to come for the weekend, I said I was not sure because I wanted to avoid getting one of the increasingly frequent stamps that is only for one week. I was worried that it would have implications for longer visits in the future. In the past I have always been given the three-month visa at the bridge (I've never entered the airport in occupied Lydd). But there have been occasions in the past when I wanted to come just for a wedding, just for the weekend when I was still given a three-month visa.
The occupying female soldier gave me a piece of paper to fill out and told me to wait. I'm used to the waiting part, but not this paper. It's new. It asked for basic information such as the address where you live, your employer, phone numbers and email address, as well as who you will be staying with and their contact information. I filled it out and waited. After about an hour one of the occupying private security contractors came over and asked for my paper and told me to wait. But first he wanted to know about my other passport. He read the back page and noted the two-year expiration on my passport and said he knew I had another one. I said that I don't have it with me. He said, well maybe we'll check your luggage to see if it is there. I said it isn't and I don't have another passport (which, of course, is not true). I said if you need to see that passport in order for me to enter then you need to send me home now. Finally, he said that he did not need to see it in order for me to enter. There were at least a dozen people ahead of me. So I waited. After another two hours (around 7 PM) he returned to ask me questions. He wanted to know more about my friend. He wanted to know his age, what he did for a living, where he worked, where he lived exactly, how I know him, etc. I told him you have his phone number and you may call him and ask him yourself, but I don't see how this is any of your business (he never did call my friend). I replied only that he is my age and that he lives in the Old City in Al Quds. Then he asked me questions about how long I was staying for and where I would go. I said that I didn't have any definite plans. He didn't like that answer and so I said, okay I'm staying for one week. Is that a better answer? He didn't like that answer either and said I had to sit down again.
I waited with others, mostly Palestinians with American or Jordanian passports, although there was a young, white American couple studying Arabic in Amman who had already been held since 2 PM. Eventually all of these people were allowed in after a good 7 hours of waiting each. The occupying private security contractor returned and asked me the same questions a couple more times. Then he said I would have to have an interrogation with someone from the "Israeli" Ministry of Interior and a body search (which they never got around to). This was also nothing new. Usually I do get questioned and have to wait anywhere between 5-7 hours. But I've never gone at night before. Usually their questions are also mostly about my research and sometimes about things they seem to find on Google about me.
By 10 PM or so there were only about five people still waiting, all Palestinians with huwiyyas. They decided at this point that they would check my suitcase and purse. They told me to sit down, but I told them no I wanted to watch them go through my clothes, toiletries, and books. They said I can take my money out of my purse before they go through that. I had two change purses, one with Jordanian cards and money, the other with my Arab Bank ATM card and money from the occupying entity. They said I could not take the change purses, but that I could only take the cash. They wanted to take all of my cards–ID cards, credit cards, everything–into another room away from my field of vision. I told them no. I've been through this process numerous times before and never have they tried to do this. Eventually they said I could keep my ATM cards, but that my huwwiya, driver's license, and bank account cards (detailing my account information) would have to go into the other room. I said no. They also wanted to take my SIM cards for my Jawal and Zain (Jordanian) phones into the other room as well. I said no. I don't trust thieves with my personal papers. They had my passport; that was enough. There were about 12 occupation private security contractors and police around me looking through my things at this time. They were asking questions about my religion because somehow the Arabic-English dictionary in my purse is a clue about my religion. They were, as always, very curious about the books in my bag and examined them with a fine-tooth-comb, including my Bedford Anthology of World Literature, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, and Edward Said's The Question of Palestine. They were also going over my student attendance sheets (which are in Arabic) and my syllabi, which were in my bag.
Eventually they let me pack up my suitcase and told me to go back and wait. At this point there were three of us left. Two brothers from Ramallah and me. They were allowed to leave at around 5 minutes to midnight when the bridge closes. I was made to wait until about 1 AM. I asked for my passport several times as I still didn't know what they were going to do, but they told me that I'd get it when they decided I'd get it. After midnight, after all the floors had been washed and the terminal was empty, all the occupying soldiers and private contractors stood around laughing and doing nothing. But still no passport. I was alone for at least an hour. Eventually I heard one of them speaking in Arabic to the jordanian mukhabarat on his walkie-talkie and I knew then that they were calling for a bus and that somewhere there had been two other men also waiting to be deported. I got on the bus and returned to Jordan. I was told by one of the occupying police that I "should never bother to try returning to Israel again."
The story above is, of course, ordinary. This happens regularly to activists invested in liberating Palestine. It happens even more frequently to Palestinians trying to enter their own country. Perhaps I was denied entry because I refused to talk about my friend or would not submit to their search in full. I know that there is a game at the bridge. That one is supposed to be polite, sometimes laugh or smile. I don't know how to do that with murderers and thieves and I don't know that I want to learn how to do that. The anger that I feel when I see that flag symbolic only of a history of massacres and massive land theft at the border makes me irate. Perhaps it would have enabled me to see my friends. But it is also not clear that this is not related to my work with ISM in the past (including a day in jail for protesting in Bil'in) or my work with the BDS movement that they saw online, although they did not question me about that yesterday. In any case, if I never have to hear their language or see their flag again it will not be too soon. Although I don't think it has hit me yet what this means, on some level it is an honor to be denied entry because of my failure to submit to the rules of the colonist.
Marcy Newman is a literature professor at Amman Ahliyya University and an Organizing Committee member with the US Campaign for the Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel (usacbi.org).
zaterdag 20 maart 2010
Israel als Schurkenstaat 61
Israel als Schurkenstaat 60
Middle East Quartet condemns Israel over Jerusalem settlements
(Yuri Kadornov/AFP/Getty Images))
Tony Blair and Hillary Clinton revealed their plans for Israel and the Palestinians to resolve the conflict of house-building in East Jerusalem
The Middle East Quartet set a deadline for peace between Israel and the Palestinians yesterday after condemning plans to build new Jewish homes in Arab east Jerusalem.
Meeting in Moscow as Israeli aircraft fired on the Gaza Strip in retaliation for a Palestinian rocket attack, the international diplomatic mission sought to revive plans for indirect negotiations that collapsed over the decision to build 1,600 homes in the disputed capital. It set a 24-month deadline for final settlement of the conflict and the creation of an independent Palestinian state. It called on Israel “to freeze all settlement activities . . . and to refrain from demolitions and evictions”.
In a statement read out by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, the Quartet said that it “condemns the decision by the Government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in east Jerusalem”.
The group also comprised Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister, and Baroness Ashton of Upholland, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, as well as Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, who represents the Quartet in the region.
They did not say how their goal would be achieved. The Palestinians refused to enter indirect talks after Israel announced the construction during a visit by US Vice-President Joe Biden last week.
Mrs Clinton meanwhile said that the strong US reaction to Israeli settlement plans was paying off. Israel’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu proposed “mutual confidence-building measures” in a telephone call with her. She called his ideas ”useful and productive”.
However, Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Foreign Minister, accused the Quartet of setting “an unrealistic calendar”. He said: “It gives to the Palestinians the wrong impression that by failing to negotiate directly they will achieve their goals by using all sorts of pretexts.”
Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, insisted that Israel freeze settlement activity “so that the peace process can restart”. He added: “The settlement issue is the essence of the problem.”
The risk of renewed violence was underlined by Israeli strikes on targets in Gaza, which followed a Palestinian rocket attack that killed a Thai labourer in an Israeli village.
On the second night of Israeli raids, Palestinian medical officials said that three people were injured last night when aircraft hit a disused airport. Lady Ashton was visiting Gaza when the militants struck on Thursday.
1979 Camp David accords Agreements between Egypt and Israel won the Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and the Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin the Nobel Peace Prize. “We have won, at last, the first step of peace,” said the US President Jimmy Carter. Sadat was assassinated the following year and two years later, Israel launched a massive invasion of Lebanon
1993 Oslo accords The first face-to-face talks between Israelis and Palestinians were hailed in the West as a breakthrough and again won the protagonists Nobel Peace Prizes. But Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli Prime Minister, was assassinated and the two sides plunged into fresh violence with the “al-Aqsa intifada” (uprising) in 2000
2002 “Road map” The George Bush-backed “road map” to peace aimed to end the conflict by 2005 by implementing three phases of change. Despite the efforts of Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State, it fell behind schedule and the militant group Hamas won Palestinian elections in 2006, plunging the region back into conflict
Source: Times archives
Israel als Schurkenstaat 59
More damning evidence of the massive complicity of the EU in sustaining Israel's system of oppression.
Those who keep hammering on the fact that Israel's economy is so strong, shedding doubt on the economic effectiveness of the BDS campaign, need to recognize that the enormous, complex and pervasive subsidy that Israel receives from the EU, and of course the US, is the MAIN factor that keeps Israel's economic indicators relatively healthy.
Israel's increasing reliance on that subsidy and on exports of products and services that the world can live without (actually would do much better without, in many cases!) or can have produced elsewhere at lower cost and comparable quality is its Achilles heel that the BDS movement is quite aware of.
Should the EU subsidise Israeli security?
By Ben Hayes
18.03.2010 / 05:15 CET
The inclusion of Israel in the European Security Research Programme undermines the EU's commitment to even-handedness in the Middle East.
Since the European Community began funding research in 1984, both the amount of funding available and the range of topics on offer have steadily increased (the latest framework programme, FP7, has a seven-year budget of €53 billion). So has the participation of researchers from outside the EU in collaborative projects.
In per capita terms, no non-EU country has received more from the EU's largesse than Israel. Indeed, the European Commission says that the EU is now second only to the Israel Science Foundation in Jerusalem as a source of research funding for Israeli academics, corporations and state enterprises.
More and more of that funding is finding its way to Israel's already buoyant security sector. Israeli revenues from the export of counter-terrorism-related products now top $1bn annually, according to the Israeli government.
Since incorporating Israel into the ‘European research area', the Commission has signed off on dozens of lucrative EU research contracts to the likes of Israel Aerospace Industries (a state-owned manufacturer of drones), Motorola Israel (producer of ‘virtual fences' around Israeli settlements) and Elbit Systems (one of Israel's largest private military technology firms, responsible for segments around Jerusalem of, to use the United Nation's term, the separation wall constructed between Jewish and Palestinian communities).
Some 58 EU ‘security research' projects have now also been funded under the new €1.4bn ‘security research' component of FP7. Israeli companies and institutions are participating in 12 of these, leading and co-ordinating five of them. Only the UK, Germany, France and Italy lead more projects.
Among this latest tranche of contracts is a €9.1 million project led by Verint Systems that will deliver “field-derived data” to “crisis managers” in “command-and-control centres”. (These contracts tend to avoid phrases such as ‘surveillance' and ‘homeland security', substituting less emotive terms.)
Verint describes itself as “a leader in enterprise workforce optimisation and security intelligence solutions, including video intelligence, public safety and communication intelligence and investigative solutions”. What it primarily provides is workplace surveillance, CCTV and wire-tapping facilities. Verint is now effectively being subsidised by the EU to develop surveillance and communication systems that may ultimately be sold back to the member states.
The raison d'être for establishing the EU security research programme was to enhance the ‘industrial competitiveness' of the nascent European ‘homeland security' industry. The Commission argues that funding for Israeli ‘homeland security' is wholly consistent with this aim (insofar as it will enhance Europe's “knowledge base”).
But should the Commission be giving more money to Israel's flourishing security sector than to its counterparts in most of the EU states?
More importantly, should it be subsidising it at all? Israel's control of what remains of the Palestinian territories now depends as much upon the hardware and software provided by its ‘homeland security' industry as its traditional military supremacy.
The EU therefore risks complicity in the actions of a military that frequently shows too little regard for the lives and livelihoods of civilians. And the EU's subsidies make it appear less than even-handed in the peace process.
In the eyes of many Palestinians, it is already fundamentally compromised. Last September, Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief for a decade, told an audience in Jerusalem: “Israel is, allow me to say, a member of the European Union without being a member of the institutions.”
“No country outside the continent has the type of relations Israel has with the European Union,” he said, adding that Israel's “relation today with the European Union is stronger than the relation of Croatia” (which still hopes for membership in 2011).
Solana apparently did not mind whether the EU appeared even-handed or not, or how its research budget was being spent. But do European taxpayers want the EU's administrators to allocate their money to an industry at the heart of one of the bloodiest, most protracted and most sensitive geopolitical issues of our time?
Ben Hayes is a project director of the civil liberties group Statewatch and runs a blog on the EU Security Research Programme.
Het Orakel uit Somalie
Hirsi Ali: nieuwe oorlog Midden-Oosten onvermijdelijk
Gepubliceerd: 20 maart 2010 09:53 | Gewijzigd: 20 maart 2010 12:11
Door een onzer redacteuren
Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Hirsi Ali is tegenwoordig schrijfster in dienst van de American Enterprise Institute (AEI), een Republikeinse denktank in Washington. Ze zegt dat de „relatie tussen het Westen en de islam groeit in de richting van een grote oorlog”.
Volgens Hirsi Ali, die goede contacten onderhoudt met oud-president Bush en oud-vicepresident Cheney, wordt in de VS nagedacht over ,,allerlei mogelijke scenario’s rond het hele gebied van Iran, Pakistan, Jemen, Somalië en Israel”. Ook zegt zij: „Tegen de achtergrond tegen de ideologische spanning die de politieke islam oproept, lijken nieuwe gewapende conflicten onvermijdelijk.”
Lees verder: http://www.nrc.nl/binnenland/article2507827.ece/Hirsi_Ali_nieuwe_oorlog_Midden-Oosten_onvermijdelijk
En ondertussen bekritiseert in dezelfde slijpsteen haar mentor en terzijde geschoven minnaar, professor Paul Scheffer, voormalig burgemeester Cohen die niet krachtdadig genoeg zou zijn.
'de boel bij elkaar houden is niet genoeg', aldus de vroegere linkse professor.
Israel als Schurkenstaat 58
Israël censureert mensenrechtenboek Amnesty
Verzwegen in de media. In de Israëlische krant Ma'ariv (16.3.2010) stond een bericht over het Israëlische Ministerie van Educatie dat een probleem had met een boek van Amnesty international genaamd 'We Are all Born Free - the Human Rights Declaration in Pictures' voor de schoolkinderen in de joodse nederzetting Ariel. Het betreft onder andere Artikel 18 van de Universele Verklaring van de Rechten van de Mens:
Een ieder heeft recht op vrijheid van gedachte, geweten en godsdienst; dit recht omvat tevens de vrijheid om van godsdienst of overtuiging te veranderen, alsmede de vrijheid hetzij alleen, hetzij met anderen zowel in het openbaar als in zijn particuliere leven zijn godsdienst of overtuiging te belijden door het onderwijzen ervan, door de praktische toepassing, door eredienst en de inachtneming van de geboden en voorschriften.
This is quite incredible, and fails to make it into Western media! The Israeli Department of Education recalled copies of a book, entitled We Are all Born Free - the Human Rights Declaration in Pictures, which had been ordered for a settler kindergarden in the West Bank. The book was deemed to have "problematic content" specifically, two articles from the declaration that establish freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and freedom of movement.
Censoring the UN (from Maariv, translated by the OCHA)
The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights is considered to be a document that bridges differences of religion, race and gender and protects the weak all over the globe. But there are some people in the Israeli Education Ministry who believe that Israel’s children’s should not be exposed to this international document, no matter how seminal it is. The Ariel municipality has returned to the Kinneret publishing house 300 copies of a book that incorporates the declaration’s articles, because of what it called “problematic content.”
The book, 'We Were All Born Free—the Human Rights Declaration in Pictures' was published in a prestigious edition together with the Amnesty organization. Among the dozens of pages of the elegant book are 30 illustrations by leading world artists, who were asked to simplify the sections of the declaration to make it suitable for children.
The Ariel municipality decided to buy hundreds of copies of the book to distribute them as a gift to kindergarten children. But after the Education Ministry’s intervention, the books were returned, even though they had already been bought with money and a message from the municipality pasted in them. This is because the Education Ministryinspectors from the state religious department did not like two illustrations and two sections of the declaration, and decided to disqualify the book.
One of the controversial pictures relates to the section of the declaration that says everyone has the right to music, art and sport and which shows, in profile, the exposed chest of a woman. Another illustration relating to the article that says that nobody has the right to hurt or torture, shows a doll with a blood-stained dress.
But the Education Ministry was not only upset by the illustrations: the inspectors also disqualified the book because of two sections of the declaration, considered one of the most important documents ever adopted by the international community. One of these isArticle 18: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance." The other relates to the right to move to another country if a person does not feel protected in his own country.
The Education Ministry issued a statement saying: "After the Ariel municipality’s consultation with the inspectors of state and state-religious kindergartens, the municipality decided not to give out the books since they are not suitable for five year-old children."
Mayor Ron Nahman said, "it is positive and good to hand out a book about children’s rights. But our attention was drawn to two sentences that are not exactly what we teach the children. The Education Ministry said this was wrong and we accepted its decision." Nahman said he did not know about any problems with the illustrations, just the articles, but Education Ministry sources confirmed that the pictures were the problem.
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