The Israeli newspaper Haaretz has revealed that roughly 75 per cent of construction of Israeli settlements has been carried out in contravention of Israeli law. The statistics are taken from a secret database compiled by the Ministry of Defence in order to fight legal challenges against the settlement programmes brought by the Palestinians. Scandalous indeed. You’d think that an illegal occupation would at least respect its own bogus laws.
Ha’aretz reports on the sudden growth of an American movement to boycott the Israeli academy, in protest at the Zionist ‘scholasticide’ aimed at Palestinian schools, universities, and students. Palestinians have long had the reputation of being the best educated population in the Arab world, but this is now under threat. For years, students in the occupied West Bank and Gaza have had only intermittent access to education as a result of curfews, closures and checkpoints. The Red Cross has found that children in Gaza are suffering from micronutrient deficiencies – which affect brain development – as a result of the Israeli siege of the territory. Studies have shown that more than half of children in Gaza suffered post-traumatic stress disorder before the latest massacre, a condition which results in insomnia, panic attacks, and an inability to concentrate. And during the massacre, Israel targetted schools and the Islamic university (which, despite its name, teaches secular subjects). In this context, anti-boycott lobbyists’ evocation of ‘academic freedom’ seems (to be polite about it) to miss the point. Palestinian civil society organisations, and anti-Zionist Israeli academics such as Ilan Pappe, have called for the boycott.
A call to join the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott, and then the mission statement of the Australian Academic Boycott of Israel follow. Please send on this information to all your academic contacts. Continue reading “Israel Academic Boycott Movement Comes to U.S, Australia”
How does the city sit solitary, that was full of people! How is she become as a widow!…
She weeps sore into the night, and her tears are on her cheeks:
among all who loved her she has none to comfort her.
(Book of Lamentations)
Last week, after murdering 1400 people – of whom 400 were children – after bombing hospitals and mosques, schools, universities and humanitarian supplies, and tens of thousand of homes, Israel declared a cease-fire. A shameful parade of European leaders immediately went to Jerusalem to embrace the mass murderers and to pledge their support for the continuing siege of Gaza.
You can hear people saying “Israel’s gone too far this time.” But it isn’t only this time. Large scale massacres have been a central part of Zionist strategy from the start. Here is some information on the preceding massacres. Unfortunately the list stops in 1999, so many recent massacres, including Qana 2 and Jenin, are not included:
Although the Image that Israel distributes about herself is that of an oppressed nation, it is with heavy hearts that we present these crimes that stand for themselves for the brutality of the Israeli Army and the heartlessness of its soldiers who seem to have a thirst for blood. It is for the hope that the world may see a clearer picture that we present these painful facts. It is interesting to notice that today’s media does not dwell on these crimes as they do on the Holocaust. They are reported in the news for a week or two and then swept into the sea of oblivion. Those who attempt to revive the true history of Israel are charged of being anti-Semitic. So with the hope to keep those memories in mind we present this shameful history of Israel that seems to have found that the role of Goliath is more interesting than that of David.
I’ve recently written to Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Khaled Mahmood MP to complain about their positions on the massacre in occupied Palestine. I’ve also written to Gerald Kaufman and Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, to praise their calls for an arms embargo on the apartheid state. And I walked into the office of my local MP, Russell Brown, and spoke to Mr Brown’s assistant. A few days later I received a letter from Mr Brown which repeats the usual rubbish about ‘peace’ and the need to disarm the resistance so the oppressor can sleep more soundly at night. At least he bothered to send me a letter. I received responses from Brown, Cameron, Clegg and Kaufman too, but none from Khaled Mahmood. Mr Mahmood was quoted by the Guardian as “dismissing” calls for sanctions and an arms embargo. Mahmood is a Birmingham MP who no doubt receives a lot of votes because he has a Muslim name. Not only is he betraying his Muslim voters who would like to see their representatives develop a peaceful strategy of resisting the murderous British-Zionist alliance, he isn’t even capable of replying promptly to letters.
Here’s my response to Russell Brown’s letter. I won’t publish his letter because I don’t have permission and because it’s on paper, but I quote some of it. You can imagine the rest – it’s the standard New Labour magical incantation.
If you haven’t already done so, please consider signing these petitions, and please pass the word on. The first is for British citizens and residents only, and it calls for the UK to impose an arms embargo on the apartheid state. The second is for all nationalities, and it calls on the UN General Assembly to create a tribunal to try Zionist war criminals.
I’ve just received news from the wonderful Mona Baker (Mona has been tirelessly campaigning for the academic boycott of Israel) of a courageous student action in the UK. King’s College students have begun an occupation demanding that the honorary doctorate awarded by the college to Shimon Peres be immediately revoked, in protest at the massacre in Gaza. Birmingham University students have started an occupation in solidarity. These students need our solidarity too. Please send messages of support for King’s occupation to Principal Rick Trainor at firstname.lastname@example.org Please call the students to congratulate them. Tony Benn already has. Please consider any similar action you could take. The students’ letter is below:
From: “KCL Occupation” <email@example.com
Subject: King’s College Student Occupation
order to revoke Shimon Peres’s Honorary Doctorate and to show solidarity
with the people of Gaza.
“Our struggle is not against the Jewish people, but against oppression and occupation. This is not a religious war,” says Basim Naim, Gaza’s Minister of Health, in the Guardian:
We believe in resistance, not revenge
Sixteen days into its attack, Israel continues to bombard all areas in the Gaza strip from F16s, Apache helicopters, ships and tanks. Weapons used against our people include white phosphorus rockets, made in America, which burn the skin black and destroy human soft tissue completely. Now we can hear shooting around the outskirts of Gaza City.
Ninety per cent of the targets attacked are civilian. Of nearly 900 confirmed dead, 32% are children. More than 40% of the 4,000 wounded are children, while medical centres and 13 ambulances have been destroyed.
Hamas is not the only group fighting against this aggression: its fighters are joined by members of Islamic Jihad, the PFLP and Fatah. But the popularity of Hamas has increased during the invasion. Every occupied people has the right to resist if negotiation fails. People know very well that those who took the other path – of negotiation without resistance – got nothing from it: only more settlements, checkpoints, killings, prisoners and occupation without end.
One of the stories we often hear is that Israel is ‘the only democracy in the Middle East.’ Israel is in fact an apartheid democracy, in which only Jews have full democratic rights. The area controlled by Israel includes almost equal numbers of Arabs and Jews, which means that almost half of the people under some form or other of Israeli rule have less than full democratic rights. The Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza can only vote for non-sovereign governments, and if they vote wrong, are starved. The ‘Arab Israelis’ (who make up 20% of the Israeli population excluding the West Bank and Gaza) face many restrictions, on which Adalah and Jonathan Cook provide good information. Today, Arab Israeli political parties have been banned from running in the nearby Israeli parliamentary elections. Here’s the story from Ha’aretz:
The Central Elections Committee on Monday banned Arab political parties from running in next month’s parliamentary elections, drawing accusations of racism by an Arab lawmaker who said he would challenge the decision in the country’s Supreme Court.
The ruling, made by the body that oversees the elections, reflected the heightened tensions between Israel’s Jewish majority and Arab minority caused by Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip. Israeli Arabs have held a series of demonstrations against the offensive.
Some thoughts in favour of plain speech concerning Zionism.
The numbers of the dead don’t mean much any more. It was round about the five hundred mark when I realised the impact of death on my mind was lightening. There are pictures on the internet – burning half bodies, a head and torso screaming, corpses spilt in a marketplace like unruly apples, all the tens and tens of babies and children turned to outraged dust – but how many pictures can you keep in your heart? How much anguish can you feel? Enough anguish to mourn 500 human beings? And of what quality can your anguish be? Can it be as intense as the anguish a bystander to the murder would feel? As intense as that of a friend of a victim, or of a father? What about the fathers who have seen all their children burn?
I remember the days when I was outraged if ten were killed in one go. Ah, happy days! Ten in one go would be good. But of course, this is what the enemy wants: the enemy wants us to value Arab life as little as it does. It wants us to stay in our numbness, to descend deeper in. It wants us to forget.