To readers I would highly recommend Norman Finkelstein’s new book, ‘This time we went too far’. It is the most systematic and thorough dismantling of the hasbara edifice erected by Israel and its apologists (including Morris). On paper, Morris is a fine historian, but in his media appearances he always dons the hat of the propagandist. In this debate from Russia Today’s CrossTalk, Benny Morris comes across as defensive and boorish. He uses the familar tools of the propagandist, derision and ridicule, to evade serious questions. Every one of his claims about Gaza — that Hamas used human shields, and that its leadership took sanctuary in basements of hospitals — is rebutted by extensive research carried out by the Goldstone Commission, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. (via MondoWeiss)
On this edition of Peter Lavelle’s CrossTalk, he asks his guests whether the current “indirect talks” between the Israelis and Palestinians are a waste of time.
The call for academic and cultural boycott is clearly a way to encourage civil society to play a broader political role—that is why it has the support of wide sections of Palestinian civil society. One of the most significant questions that call poses to us is simply this: How could those of us who oppose apartheid, occupation, and colonialism not support such a call?
Dear Amitav Ghosh,
We wish to express our deep disappointment in your decision to accept the Dan David prize, administered by Tel Aviv University and to be awarded by the President of Israel. As a writer whose work has dwelled consistently on histories of colonialism and displacement, your refusal to take stance on the colonial question in the case of Israel and the occupation of Palestine has provoked deep dismay, frustration, and puzzlement among readers and fans of your work around the world. Many admired your principled stand, and respected your decision not to accept the Commonwealth Writers Prize in rejection of the colonialist framework it represented.
One year after Israel’s war on Gaza, Al Jazeera talks to the UN special rapporteur Professor Richard Falk on Palestine and asks him about his views on that war, the impact of the Obama presidency and the future of the peace process.
Looking in the mirror is no easy task. Especially when your eyes are smoked by Zionism. Now that impunity is slowly diminishing, Israel finds itself stuck between the Goldstone and a hard place. How does the spoiled brat of the Middle East deal with the fact that years of stealing cookies from the cookie jar have left its face covered in damning chocolate?
Common Sense Solutions to Self-Inquiry
For weeks now, the Goldstone report has gained its rightful place in the Israeli mainstream media- the front page. At first, articles were all about the “one-sidedness” and the “antesemitism” of the report. Now, what we’re seeing is a consistent media push for self-inquiry. Not because we have some ethical ‘splaining to do, mind you, but because Israel’s public image is in jeopardy. Ha’aretz’s diplomatic correspondent (and a fellow at the Israeli Institute For National Security Studies), Aluf Benn- a shining example of this “practical strategic thinking”- finally remembers to ask some tough questions:
The Samouni family of Palestine lost 29 members of its extended family in Israel’s December massacre against the defenceless population in Gaza. Brenda Heard, founder of Friends of Lebanon, reveals how the goodwill of the Samouni family and assumption of continued cordiality with Israelis was repaid: in their family’s blood. The Samouni’s naive neighbourliness in the service of self-preservation was repaid with most of their extended family mercilessly wiped out by the occupying apartheid regime. This was not collaboration but a misguided attempt to co-exist under conditions of occupation and siege. The genocidal contempt towards genuine peace and all Palestinians is on display in a microcosm here as the UNHRC passes the Goldstone Report.
Anything that happens in my world, now, seems just that little bit more ironic, since Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Not that I credit the institution with too much merit, considering its list of peace-fakers, but the propaganda of this ill-executed award bothers me, nevertheless. While it’s easy to discredit Obama as an initiator of peace just for the sheer amassing of dead Afghans, this year I’d like to take it to my own little corner of the world.
Politics of Human Rights
Another action against peace, which the Obama administration has taken, is the pressure it applied in the UN to bury the Goldstone report:
Unsurprisingly, an early ally in the Israeli campaign for impunity was the Obama Administration, whose UN ambassador, Susan Rice, expressed “very serious concerns” about the report and trashed Goldstone’s mandate as “unbalanced, one-sided and basically unacceptable.” (Rice was acting true to her word; in April she told the newspaper Politico that one of the main reasons the Obama Administration decided to join the UN Human Rights Council was to fight what she called “the anti-Israel crap.”) [Electronic Intifada]
After hearing that the Palestine Liberation Organization has decided to abandon a resolution requesting the Human Rights Council to forward Goldstone’s report to the UN Security Council, the thought flashed through my head that if I was Palestinian, I’d vote Hamas. What could have possibly possessed them, but a sheer disconnect from their people? One must ask, is their money that good?
Fatah Vs. Hamas
On many occasions, we that are born free (all is relative) find it hard to understand Palestinian mentality. Just this week, I’ve had exhausting debates about the safety of children, during the Bil’in weekly protest. Though I can’t defend or agree with allowing your children to be near the fence, when the army is 101% likely to fire gas grenades, I firmly believe that mindsets under occupation are something we don’t fully understand. Maybe when I’m a mother to a child that’s been snatched from his bed at night, arrested, beaten and interrogated, I’ll have a different perspective on danger.
By the same token, I believe it may be extraordinarily hard to make that fateful choice, when you’re at the voting booth. Although Hamas has been cynical towards its people during the Gaza massacre (claiming to have “won the war” and other flamboyant rhetoric), as if militaristic ego was a top priority; If I were Palestinian this latest in a long line of PLO sell-outs would seem much more cynical, to me.