Edward S. Herman’s article published in Zmag on Israel-Palestine, the ‘right to self-defense’ and the double standards to which the crimes of official allies and enemies are held.
The U.S. political class and those of the EU and the new “hope” and “change” leader of the United States, Barack Obama, justify Israel’s attack on Gaza as based on its “right of self-defense.” There is, of course, the question of whether it is acceptable to defend yourself by a massive attack on a civilian population when this is not the only route to self defense—the Israelis could withdraw from an illegal occupation, they could stop starving the Gaza population, and they could abide by negotiated ceasefires (in this case, effectively and almost surely deliberately ended by their November 6 killing of six Gaza Palestinians). There is also the problem that the Israeli action violated the UN Charter. Article 51, the self-defense exception, requires immediate notification of the Security Council and, after any immediate attack is contained, giving over remedial action to the Security Council. There is also the problem that this “self-defense” operation was planned six months in advance and is widely believed in Israel to be linked to Israeli politics, with the two ruling parties seeking an improved standing—which they achieved—by military action.
Ali’s The Don’s debut music video for his hard hitting single “Arab Blood”. An inspiring track starting with a great Malcolm X quote: If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ”freedom” out of your vocabulary. For more see Ali the Don’s Myspace or Facebook.
Despite being the PA’s largest donor and Israel’s biggest trading partner, the EU’s policies towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are rarely subjected to the kind of critical analysis that the US attracts. Scant attention has been paid to attempts by the EU Council of Ministers to push through an upgrade of the current relationship with the Israeli state since mid-2008 – an upgrade which would grant Israel access to the Single Market and deepen ‘cooperation’ on key strategic issues. Though a planned EU-Israel summit has been put on hold as a result of Israel’s most recent war on Gaza, it is likely the talks will be resumed once the outrage over Israel’s actions subsides, all the more so given that the presidency over the EU presently rests in the hands of the Czech Republic – one of Israel’s staunchest European supporters. Pepijn van Houwelingen’s excellent article exposes the EU’s supposedly ‘impartial’ approach for what it is: “Israel suffers no consequences for its actions and the Palestinians are generously granted the right to barely survive.”
The carnage of Israel’s recent invasion of Gaza spurred great numbers of dismayed Europeans to participate in demonstrations against the war. In major cities such as Madrid, Brussels, Rome, Berlin and London, tens of thousands took part in demonstrations to make clear to their governments that what was happening was unacceptable. Yet, their objections to Israel’s massive use of deadly force were not reflected in the declarations and actions of their countries, as represented by Europe’s most significant political body, the European Union, which did not alter its policy of status quo relations with Israel.
The Canadian government has basically latched on its foreign policy to the United States and Israel. Around the world Canada is closing down consulates and offices (the latest one is a commercial/consulate in Milan, Italy) — there is no need for these if Canada merely aims to ape the US. At the United Nations, Canada’s votes are the same as those of the United States. It used to be only the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu, and Israel that voted with the US, but now Canada joins this august gang. The US tells Canada to “jump!”, the Canadian lackeys merely ask how high. The latest sordid demonstration of the Israelization of Canada is the recent declaration that Canada would bar the entry of George Galloway, the British MP who just returned from Gaza. Prof. Cook explains the significance of this.
Banning Galloway Mocks Canada’s Criminal Code
by William A. Cook
Canada’s border security officials and Jason Kenny, the immigration minister, banned George Galloway, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, from Canada where he was scheduled to speak in Toronto on the 30th. “A spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada said the decision … was based on a ‘number of factors’ in accordance with section 34 (1) of the country’s immigration act” (Guardian.co.uk 20 March 09). This action denies Galloway entrance as a foreign national on security grounds for one or more of six reasons including “engaging in terrorism,” and “engaging in acts of violence that would or might endanger the lives or safety of persons in Canada.” The CJC, the Canadian Jewish Congress, supporting the decision, noted that it should be seen as an “issue of security law, not a dispute over free speech” (27 Mar. 2009, Montreal Gazette). Indeed, other Jewish organizations like the League of Human Rights of B’nai B’rith, not only supported the action but took some credit for the banning of Galloway.
Voniati: The international public opinion and especially the Muslim world seem to have great expectations from the historic election of Obama. Can we, in your opinion, expect any real change regarding the US approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
Seumas Milne writes that “ministers want Muslims to accept shared values. Luckily they already do, including opposition to wars of aggression.”
The British government’s brand new counter-terrorism strategy is already in disarray – and ministers have only themselves to blame. The souped-up plan to fight al-Qaida, confound dirty bombers, halt suicide attacks and confront “extremism” in the country’s Muslim community was unveiled by the prime minister with much fanfare on Tuesday. But even before the 175-page “Contest 2” document had been launched, the credibility of its promise to engage with the Muslim mainstream had been thrown into question by the decision of Hazel Blears, the communities secretary, to cut all links with the Muslim Council of Britain.
Tom Hurndall was murdered by the IDF in Gaza. Mr Hurndall’s father described a “culture of impunity” saying “they just lied continuously … it was a case of them shooting civilians and then making up a story. And they were not used to being challenged.” Now as Hurndall’s journals are to be published Robert Fisk writes “I wish I had met Tom Hurndall, a remarkable man of remarkable principle.”
I don’t know if I met Tom Hurndall. He was one of a bunch of “human shields” who turned up in Baghdad just before the Anglo-American invasion in 2003, the kind of folk we professional reporters make fun of. Tree huggers, that kind of thing. Now I wish I had met him because – looking back over the history of that terrible war – Hurndall’s journals (soon to be published) show a remarkable man of remarkable principle. “I may not be a human shield,” he wrote at 10.26 on 17 March from his Amman hotel. “And I may not adhere to the beliefs of those I have travelled with, but the way Britain and America plan to take Iraq is unnecessary and puts soldiers’ lives above those of civilians. For that I hope that Bush and Blair stand trial for war crimes.”
‘Police identify 200 children as potential terrorists’, the Independent reports. Orwell could not have imagined this. This is Labour Party’s Britain, where a child can be criminalized for adopting “bad attitudes towards ‘the West'”! Soon enough, even infancy won’t protect you from the long hands of the state. Blair was more forthright. He had once told an interviewer that criminal behavior should be monitored even before birth (implying it is genetic). And now we got the bovine home secretary giving the most imaginative dystopians a run for their money. Notice the tone of the reporter (Mark Hughes, Crime correspondent). He treats this news as if he were reporting on a lost umbrella. Pathetic.
Drastic new tactics to prevent school pupils as young as 13 falling into extremism
Two hundred schoolchildren in Britain, some as young as 13, have been identified as potential terrorists by a police scheme that aims to spot youngsters who are “vulnerable” to Islamic radicalisation.
The number was revealed to The Independent by Sir Norman Bettison, the chief constable of West Yorkshire Police and Britain’s most senior officer in charge of terror prevention.
He said the “Channel project” had intervened in the cases of at least 200 children who were thought to be at risk of extremism, since it began 18 months ago. The number has leapt from 10 children identified by June 2008.
It’s worth remembering that the brutal assault on Gaza is a greater crime than any of the war crimes contained within it. Noam Chomsky explains that “it is […] a mistake to concentrate too much on Israel’s gross violations of jus in bello, the laws designed to bar practices that are too savage. The invasion itself is a far more serious crime.”
UN envoy, and expert on international law, Richard Falk agrees, describing the attack on Gaza as a war crime of the “greatest magnitude” stating it had no legal justification and may represent a “crime against peace”. This is because Israel had not employed all peaceful options and ignored Hamas’s calls for a ceasefire based on an easing of the siege. The siege is also an attack against the people of Gaza, a collective punishment that breaches Geneva conventions. Clearly Israel’s action most certainly were not defensive; given Israel’s illegal occupation and colonisation of Palestinian lands, it can only be seen as part of an ongoing aggressive policy. Continue reading “Campaign Against the Guardian”