A musical blast from the past

H/t to The Nation’s Greg Mitchell for finding this rare gem and posting it on Twitter.

This is from John Lennon’s documentary “Gimme Some Truth.”  It features a young Tariq Ali, Robin Blackburn, Regis Debray, and the legendary Miles Davis … shooting hoops with Lennon. Classic.

Onward!

“Only the mood music has changed”: Tariq Ali on Obama’s presidency

OK… here’s the PULSE exclusive I’ve been working on. Hope you enjoy.

Is president Barack Obama the change America has been waiting for or is he another corporate Democrat representing elite interests?  According to Tariq Ali, very little has chanced between Obama and former president George W. Bush.  In his latest book “The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad,” Ali argues that Obama is carrying on the reckless policies of the Bush regime.  If Obama continues down this path, the Democratic Party not only face the prospect of the House & Senate in 2010 but also the presidency in 2012.  This should be a cause for concern.

I caught up with Ali during his American book tour and here’s what he had to say about the Obama presidency.

Where did the idea for this book emanate from? Why did you want to write a book about “The Obama Syndrome” and what does that refer to?

The idea occurred because I speak a lot on the United States. People ask me questions after each talk and increasingly in the past two to three years, the talk has been about Obama.  I thought a short book which essentially provided a balance sheet from the left on the mid-term would be a useful exercise. Given that he’s being attacked nonstop for being a socialist, a leftist, being a Muslim and all this nonsense that comes from the Tea Party-Fox Television alliance, I thought it was better to have a hard-headed realistic account about who the guy really is.  So my book is a critique of him, but it’s also by implication a very sharp critique of people who claim that everything Obama is doing is so radical that they can’t take it anymore.

Continue reading ““Only the mood music has changed”: Tariq Ali on Obama’s presidency”

Reese Erlich: “Stop using the word ‘terrorist'”

Defining what a terrorist is and isn’t is a major dilemma. What one may consider terrorism, another may consider resistance. So where does one draw the line? Reese Erlich tackles that topic in his latest book “Conversations with Terrorists: Middle East Leaders on Politics, Violence, and Empire.” Erlich is a veteran journalist who has covered U.S. foreign policy for decades. He has freelanced for National Public Radio, Radio Deutsche Welle, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Radio, and writes for The San Francisco Chronicle and The Dallas Morning News.

Drawing on firsthand interviews and original research, Erlich argues that yesterday’s terrorist is often today’s national leader and that today’s freedom fighter may become tomorrow’s terrorist. By branding all of American’s opponents as “terrorists,” it makes it more difficult to look beyond the individual or the political group and understand what they are really all about. I caught up with Erlich recently and here’s what he had to say.

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Feeling the Loyalty to the Jewish State of Israel

By Max Blumenthal and Joseph Dana

The Israeli Knesset is debating a bill proposed by David Rotem of the extreme right Yisrael Beiteinu party that would require all Israeli citizens to swear loyalty to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state.” This bill is targeted at increasing pressure on the twenty percent of Israelis who are Palestinian citizens while forcing the ultra Orthodox Jewish minority who reject the legitimacy of any state not based on Jewish biblical law to accept Zionism. If passed in its proposed form, citizens unwilling to take the loyalty oath would be at risk of losing citizenship.

Continue reading “Feeling the Loyalty to the Jewish State of Israel”

Anna Baltzer: Palestinians “come second” at peace talks

This interview first appeared at iBrattleboro.com

Anna Baltzer on "The Daily Show"

A visit to the occupied territories of Palestine can change one’s perspectives forever. Such was the case of Anna Baltzer. Baltzer is a Jewish-American granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. In 2002, she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to teach English in Ankara, Turkey and soon after volunteered with the International Women’s Peace Service in the West Bank. There she was exposed to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. She documented human rights abuses for the IWPS, returned to Palestine/Israel over the years, and published her experiences in a book called “A Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories.”

Baltzer is a leading human rights activist on the Mideast and travels across the country to raise awareness about the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Her appearance on “The Daily Show” with Palestinian human rights activist Mustafa Barghouti was instrumental in raising awareness about life under the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. I caught up with Baltzer and we discussed several topics including her “The Daily Show” appearance; occupation myths; Israeli apartheid and the boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign; and the Mideast peace talks in Washington, DC.

Continue reading “Anna Baltzer: Palestinians “come second” at peace talks”

Jeremy Scahill TKOs former NYC mayor Ed Koch on “Morning Joe”

First it was Glenn Greenwald, now it is independent journalist Jeremy Scahill.  Today on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” former New York City mayor Ed Koch tried to defend Israel’s actions for attacking the Mavi Mamara flotilla. Koch uttered complete nonsense and Scahill picked him apart piece by piece a la Greenwald vs. Eliot Spitzer. Here’s the debate they had. Koch couldn’t defend himself, resorted to interrupting, and even used  the ridiculous “Hamas Card” on Scahill. Scahill wasn’t buying it.

Later, Scahill had this to say about their off-the-air discussion (if you could call it that).

During the commercial break during my debate with Koch, the former mayor called me a “terrorist supporter.” I told him, “Say it on the air.” He didn’t.

To read Scahill’s account, click here.

Demonstration in Burlington, Vermont, USA

Here is a video of yesterday’s action in Burlington, VT, my home state. The second speaker is Yonatan Shapiro, a former IDF pilot who was in the same squadron that conducted the atrocious raid on the Mavi Mamara.

The activists took their message beyond the streets. They walked into a department store and the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream store. I’m sure you’re all familiar with Ben & Jerry’s. Given Ben & Jerry’s economic and social justice activism, I’m hoping this will wake them (and all Vermonters) up to the realities of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.  Another rally will take place tomorrow.  I’ll update this post when I get new information.

Ultra Zionists Take Manhattan, and Demand the Holy Land

Indepedent journalist Max Blumenthal has just released his latest video.  This one deals Jewish extremists at a New York city rally that closely resemble members of the American Tea Party movement.

Blumenthal writes the following.

On April 25, over 1000 New York-area Jewish extremists gathered in midtown Manhattan to rally against the Barack Obama administration’s call for a freeze on construction in occupied East Jerusalem and to demand unlimited rights to colonize the West Bank. With Obama and top White House officials engaged in a charm offensive to repair their relationship with mainstream American Jewish organizations, speakers at the rally lashed out at the Jewish groups and Democratic politicians, warning that cozying up to Obama would endanger Israel and imperil their cherished settlement enterprise.

I’ll let Blumenthal’s video tell the rest.

Last year, Blumenthal, along with Joseph Dana, produced the famous “Feeling the Love in Jerusalem” video that was banned on YouTube and Huffington Post. He also produced “Bomb a Ghetto, Raise a Cheer,” a video documenting pro-Israeli teabaggers rallying in support of Operation Cast Lead. For more of Blumenthal’s works click here.

Mohammed Omer denied from entering US (updated)

UPDATE: Success! See Haymarket Books Press Release (appended below in full): International Pressure Campaign Brings Award-winning Palestinian Journalist Allowed Entry to the U.S.

I’m late posting this.  But nevertheless, it’s still important.

Award-winning journalist Mohammed Omer is being denied from entering the US.  The US consulate in the Netherlands is holding his visa application for an extended period of time and has led to a cancellation of his US speaking tour. Omer was scheduled to speak with Ali Abunimah in Chicago on April 5.  Abunimah has more on the story at his Web site Electronic Intifada. The US Consulate did not provide an explanation as to why they denied his visa and the only American media source (that I know of ) that’s raising a concern is The Progressive.

Omer was to visit Houston, Santa Fe and Chicago, where local publisher Haymarket Books was to host his Newberry Library event, “Reflections on Life and War in Gaza,” alongside a broad set of interfaith religious, community and political organizations.

Rather than cancel the meeting, organizers are calling on supporters to write letters and emails calling for the US consulate’s approval of Omer’s visa.

Continue reading “Mohammed Omer denied from entering US (updated)”