Operating since 2006, Social TV was established out of deep concern from the ability of Israeli Media to perform its duty as democracy’s “watch dog”. In the last two decades three major corporations have gained control over most of Israel’s television channels, newspapers, radio channels and popular news sites. As a result Israel’s media has become quite homogenous and pluralism of opinion declined… Today Social TV is the only independent on-line TV channel in Israel.
I’m very satisfied that the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement conducts itself with the utmost ethical consistency and respect to international law (if it didn’t, I wouldn’t advocate it). It’s true that it’s following the South African model, but at the same time it’s setting an example of its own. As a young activist, it’s a pleasure learning from its outspoken leaders. In my involvement in the movement, every step presents us with an ethical challenge. Avoiding the pitfall of a sweeping, uncommunicative action, the Global BDS movement, led by the Palestinian people, is employing guidelines of a “smart boycott”, differentiating institutions from individuals and Zionists from Jews. It’s never simple and dedicated research and much debate goes into every initiative. As a student of the boycott tactic, it’s just as important for me to learn what not to do, and examples are ample.
A simple google search with the words “Palestinian violence” yields over 86,000 pages, while a search with the words “Palestinian civil disobedience” generates only 47 pages.
Sometime in 1846, Henry David Thoreau spent a night in jail because he refused to pay his taxes. This was his way of opposing the Mexican-American War as well as the institution of slavery. A few years later he published the essay Civil Disobedience, which has since been read by millions of people, including many Israelis and Palestinians.
Kobi Snitz read the book. He is an Israeli anarchist who is currently serving a 20 day sentence for refusing to pay a 2,000 shekel fine.
Thirty-eight year-old Snitz was arrested with other activists in the small Palestinian village of Kharbatha back in 2004 while trying to prevent the demolition of the home of a prominent member of the local popular committee. The demolition, so it seems, was carried out both to intimidate and punish the local leader who had, just a couple of weeks earlier, began organizing weekly demonstrations against the annexation wall. Both the demonstrations and the attempt to stop the demolition were acts of civil disobedience.
I waited a bit to have a complete picture of Ha’aretz (“the elite left”) coverage of the Goldstone lead UN report on Gaza. Israeli citizens could have learned something about the government and themselves through this report. Instead, I learn, yet again, how corrupted the media, the government and the people are, by the Zionist mythos.
Keeping the Myth Alive
The first Ha’aretz article (and all the subsequent articles that weren’t written by Amira Hass or Gideon Levy) about the report plays on the myth that both sides of this “conflict” (a.k.a. “occupation”) are on equal footing:
UN probe: Israel, Palestinians both guilty of Gaza war crimes
This title is, of course, misleading, as anyone who’s taken the time to read just the table of contents of the report, can see a clear ratio that puts Israel to shame. But the sillies don’t stop there; Not only is the title misleading, when reporting about the mission, it’s misleading in characterization of the article it heads! The article mentions the main points (I’ve rephrased, in order to avoid linguistic bias, such as calling a massacre “war”):
M. Shahid Alam
“I think this is a very hard choice,
but the price, we think the price is worth it.”
When Genghis Khan swept through
Samarkand, he did not shrink
from the hard choices. His men carried out
a general carnage, not sparing women
or children. Afterwards, when Genghis
inspected the mounds of dead bodies,
skulls piled into pyramids, he knew
instinctively (he had been honed for it)
that the price was worth it. Genghis
did not care for carnage – he did not always
see the point of it. But it was Mongol mothers
he had to answer to. If the terror
in Samarkand produced one fewer body bag,
he thought, the price was worth it.
—first published in Black Bear Review (January 2001)
Genre-specific readers be alerted: this is first draft fiction, not reportage – though its material is entirely factual. Twenty seven years ago today.
The militia were Arabs, brother Arabs.
The Phalangists were already baying from east Beirut, howling revenge. Now Israel flew Haddad’s militia, la crème de la crème, up from the south. Both groups assembled at the airport, for General Sharon to ensure all were properly kitted out: with weapons, military rations, medical supplies; Israeli cocaine and Lebanese hashish; Mediterranean testosterone, bad breath.
Then he uncaged them.
At six on Thursday evening. In the first penetration, three hundred and twenty men were brought on thirty trucks. Four gangs invading from four approaches. These were the most blood-addicted, rape-happy, battle-addled of militiamen, men long ago surfeited on outrage, men who required ever more extreme atrocities to stir their glutted senses. Ever wilder, ever sharper.
Israel lit the sky for them. White phosphorus flares trailing and dancing. Fire above like a terrible sun in the ceiling, a sun switched on in anger, while the children are sleeping.
In woman’s womb, reposes the people’s future and in her soul the heart of a nation.
~ Frau Siber of the Ministry of the Interior (Germany 1933)
I know, I know, the Nazi comparison has been sooo done to death, but so has my statement that if the swastika fits- choke on it. Books have been devoted to the study of racial purity theories and practices, and what you’ll usually find is not only racism, but chauvinism, restricting women to mere purity producers.
Keeping Petah Tiqva Girls Pure
Many people find it insulting when I say Israel is a chauvinist state and nation. “Compare it to your beloved muslim regimes!” They spit venomously, as they tell me that “if all women were like [me], [they’d] turn gay”. Institutionalized chauvinism and racism has been prevalent in the Israeli government and institutions, since its inception. Municipal racism certainly isn’t new (definitely not to the city of Petah Tiqva); Palestinian citizens of Israel have been discriminated against for 61 years.
Continue reading “Get Out of My Vagina, You Filthy Zionist!”
How progressive is Barack Obama? It’s a question pundits, bloggers, and journalists have trouble grappling with. But one individual goes beyond the Obama phenomenon andinvestigates who Obama is and what he’s all about. In Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics, author Paul Street cuts to the chase and takes a closer look at the man who became the 44th president of the United States. What Street uncovers is a man crafted by campaign consultants with political beliefs consistent with elite party interests.
Street is an independent journalist, policy adviser, and historian. He is a former vice-president for research and planning at the Chicago Urban League, and author of Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis: a Living Black Chicago History and Segregated Schools: Educational Apartheid in the Post-Civil Rights Era.
I caught up with Street to discuss his new book by Paradigm Publishers.
George Mitchell is in Israel/Palestine as the White House’s special envoy, in a visit described as “a final push to revive Middle East peace talks”. The focus remains on Israel’s so –called settlement ‘freeze’, with Mitchell reported as saying that there was still work to be done on the “Israeli-American dispute over construction in the West Bank”. Ahead of his meeting with Mitchell today, Netanyahu has confirmed that there will not be a “complete halt to building” in the settlements, telling a Knesset committee that “a reduction on building in Judea and Samaria will only be for a limited period”.
The ‘freeze’ is the latest warmed-up gimmick to be offered by the international community’s peace process’, though even by the standards of previous efforts such as the ‘Road Map’ and ‘Annapolis’, the settlement freeze is transparently lacking in seriousness. The Israeli government’s definition of a ‘freeze’ excludes: settlement activity in occupied East Jerusalem; 2,500 housing units already under construction; and, hundreds of new units just recently announced.
That the ‘freeze’ will last in the region of six to nine months is rather academic, given that it will make no difference to this year’s total settlement housing consolidation compared to previous years. As Ha’aretz pointed out, “instead of construction permits being given gradually throughout the year, the government intends to issue hundreds of permits within a few days, before the official announcement of the “freeze” is made”.
Even the PM’s spokesperson Mark Regev has found it hard to spin what Deputy PM Eli Yishai has called merely a “strategic delay”. The new construction in West Bank colonies ahead of the ‘freeze’ Regev argued was a case of doing something now to “actually make progress possible tomorrow”. MK Nissim Ze’ev, visiting a settlement outpost, felt no need to resort to such contortions, encouraging the settlers that there is “no one in the government who doesn’t want more and more construction throughout Judea and Samaria”, but that owing to tensions with the US, there are currently “limitations”. Continue reading “Peace propaganda and the Israeli consensus”
In honour of the victims of the Sabra Shatila massacre, we are republishing this piece by Sonja Karkar from 2007. May we never forget this Israeli-enabled Phalangist crime. Warning: the following article depicts the horror of a massacre and should be read by mature readers — details of the atrocity appear over the fold.
It happened twenty-five years ago – 16 September 1982. A massacre so awful that people who know about it cannot forget it. The photos are gruesome reminders – charred, decapitated, indecently violated corpses, the smell of rotting flesh, still as foul to those who remember it as when they were recoiling from all those years ago. For the victims and the handful of survivors, it was a 36-hour holocaust without mercy. It was deliberate, it was planned and it was overseen. But to this day, the killers have gone unpunished.
Sabra and Shatila – two Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon – were the theatres for this staged slaughter. The former is no longer there and the other is a ghostly and ghastly reminder of man’s inhumanity to men, women and children – more specifically, Israel’s inhumanity, the inhumanity of the people who did Israel’s bidding and the world’s inhumanity for pretending it was of no consequence. There were international witnesses – doctors, nurses, journalists – who saw the macabre scenes and have tried to tell the world in vain ever since.