Reality campaign ad by the Coen brothers.
Amira Hass has a brilliant piece in the latest issue of the London Review of Books. I consider LRB and Le Monde Diplomatique easily the world’s best publications. They are also eminently affordable; I’d encourage everyone to subscribe.
On Friday, 16 January, Mohammed Shurrab and his two sons, Kassab and Ibrahim, took advantage of the daily lull in the Israeli assault – the ‘three hours’ promised by the IDF – to travel from their plot of land in the eastern part of the Gaza Strip back to their home in Khan Younis. They were driving a red Land Rover. On the road, soldiers in a tank waved them on. Later, in the village of Al Fukhari, in a street lined with small houses and gardens, their vehicle was shot at by soldiers stationed on the roof of a local home. Kassab was killed instantly. Ibrahim lay bleeding beside his father; he died at midnight. Mohammed Shurrab had called for help on his cellphone, but the army prevented ambulances from entering the area until 23 hours after the shooting. The closest hospital was two minutes’ drive away.
Continue reading “Return to Gaza”
Focus on Gaza is a weekly Al Jazeera show that offers a rare look at what life is like for ordinary people inside the Gaza Strip.
In this episode: It has been two months since Israel’s war on Gaza began with a devastating air strike on a police academy. Lauren Taylor reports from Gaza on the impact of that strike on the affected families and on the job of policing itself. Also, host Imran Garda talks to Usama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, about attempts at Palestinian reconciliation. And, in the first of our weekly glimpses into family life in Gaza, we catch up with the incredible story of the Samouni children.
Here’s Rachel Shabi putting paid to the Zionist ploy of passing off ethnic cleansing as ‘exchange of populations’.
Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC) thinks that Middle Eastern Jews and Palestinian refugees should somehow be offset against each other – the rights of one side counterbalancing the rights of the other. It’s a neat argument: Jews were forced to abandon material assets and leave Arab countries; Palestinians similarly fled or were expelled from their homes. Ergo, the region witnessed an exchange of populations and if Palestinian refugees are to be compensated by Israel, so too must the Jewish “refugees” from the Middle East, by the Arab nations that expelled them.
Nice try, but there are many reasons why this formula is all wrong. First off (as David Cesarani points out), it’s tasteless. There is no need for the fate of these two peoples, Middle Eastern Jews and Palestinians, to be so fused materialistically. Middle Eastern Jews may indeed have a claim to lost assets, but those genuinely seeking peace between Israel and its neighbours should know that this is not the way to pursue it.
Professor Mahmood Mamdani of Columbia University believes that defining the conflict as Arab against African is inaccurate and says much more about the potency of race in the West rather than the relevance of the notion in Darfur. He believes that estimates of 400,000 dead in Darfur are inflated, irresponsible and unrealistic.
Mamdani, who was named as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world by the US magazine Foreign Affairs in 2008, is from Uganda, and is the current chair of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Dakar, Senegal.
He is the author of numerous books and articles, including the book Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism. His upcoming book, Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, politics and the War on Terror will be published in English by Pantheon (Random House, New York) on March 17, 2009 and by Verso (London) a month later.
Following is the full interview conducted by IOL correspondent in Khartoum, Sudan, Isma’il Kushkush. Continue reading “Darfur: A War of Definitions”
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To celebrate the release of new U2 fluff, here is Harry Browne’s take on Bono.
Entries have already been pouring in to the ‘rewrite a U2 song’ competition in honour of the group’s Irish tax-exile status, as described here on Counterpunch by Eamonn McCann. ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ has been recast as ‘Where the Cheats Have No Shame’, ‘Angel of Harlem’ as ‘Arrangement in Holland’ — and those are just the entries from my house.
But CounterPunchers are rarely less than fair, so we just had to read more when we saw this news intro on page-one of today’s Irish Times: “U2 singer Bono says he was ‘stung’ and ‘hurt’ by criticism of the band moving part of its business to the Netherlands to lessen its tax burden.”
Oh, Bono, dear Bono. Is that a tear I see in your eye, behind the wraparound shades? No, maybe not. As the interview with Bono in the newspaper demonstrates yet again, this is indeed a man entirely without shame. And also not too well endowed in the smarts department. His main excuse — all the other corporate entities were doing it — is a childish abdication of moral responsibility. And as another excuse he adds, “I can’t speak up without betraying my relationship with the band” — i.e. maybe this wasn’t really my idea but I’ve got to stick with my greedy pals. Well, that’s just low.
Stephen Lendman on boycott, divestment, sanctions and prosecutions.
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The Solution to Ireland’s Austerity Plan by Eamonn McCann. I had attended a McCann talk once — the man is a real force of nature.
The most eye-catching placard on a 120,000-strong march in Dublin last Saturday against the Irish government’s austerity response to the tottering of the capitalist system was held aloft by a scrawny teenager with the look of a music-lover about him, reading “Make Bono Pay Tax.”
The march, organised by the Irish Congress of Trades Unions, was protesting against measures including a pay freeze plus a one percent wage levy on all public sector workers, education cut-backs which will mean, for example, the closure of special needs classes in primary schools, and much else along the same screw-the-workers, neo-liberal lines.
The cut-backs and attacks on public sector workers come against the background of a banking scandal which, proportionately, dwarfs the crimes of the bankster class in the US. Rummaging through the rubble of Anglo Irish Bank which collapsed at the end of 2008 and was nationalized in January, investigators discovered that the bank’s founder and boss Sean Fitzpatrick was secretly in hock to his own bank to the tune of €87 million, which he had shifted into Irish Life and Permanent on the day before the annual audit and shifted back again the day afterwards. Fitzpatrick—“Seanie” to both Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowan and his predecessor Bertie Ahern—had performed this manoeuvre with sums of around €80 million every year for the past seven years.
You won’t see anything like this on the BBC. The Al Jazeera show Empire on the US relationship with Israel. Interviewees include Stephen Walt, Jim Lobe, Avi Shlaim, Ilan Pappe, Anatol Lieven, Stephen Walt and Aaron David Miller. There is a hard hitting segment on AIPAC towards the end of the Part 1. However, despite the excellent contributions from interviewees, especially Lobe, Shlaim, Lieven and Stephen Walt, the host keeps imposing the tired old Leftist view of Israel as a ‘strategic asset’ to the US on the narrative. The program could have also done without the Egyptian idiot in the second part of the show.
In this episode of Empire, Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst, and his guests zero in on the special relationship between the US and Israel.
They explore who benefits from the special relationship and whether the status quo will prevail.
Warmongering president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) Morton Klein believes that the ultimate goal of any Zionist is to live in Israel. Except of course for Christian Zionists, they don’t need to go to Israel for fulfilment “but you’re not a 100% fulfilled Jewish Zionist unless you live in the Jewish state. ”
There are other exceptions, such as Klein himself who says “many people tell me, rightly or wrongly, that I can really do more as one human being fighting for Israel from America – with our lobbying in Washington, our campus work, our work in the courts and with my writings in America and throughout the world – than I could if I were in Israel.”
Klein also reveals that Israel requested US permission to bomb Iran and that the Zionists in America are beginning to move towards the Likudnik belief that there is no “partner for peace”. One might wonder what his solution is then? Another Gaza massacre? Another ’48? The problem is that the Palestinians want a just peace, Klein does not.
Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) national president Morton Klein is not known for his optimism in the face of the Middle East conflict. Nor does he mince words when being critical of the “peace process,” or of the response on the part of many of his fellow Jewish activists to violations on the part of the Palestinians.
Continue reading “Interview with Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America”