Monday, October 29, 2007

Thoughts after Attending the Sabeel Conference - Part 3

The Israel Lobby Strikes (out) Again

(note the timely use of a baseball phrase here in Boston the day after the Red Sox won the World Series)

So it appears that the minister of the Old South Church knew that the local “leaders” of The Israel Lobby (TIL) would be upset by their hosting the Sabeel Conference so they reached an agreement with TIL to have Dennis Ross and a Rabbi speak at the church after the conference ended. Before the Sabeel Conference began, however, I read that the TIL demanded that a representative of its choice be invited to be a speaker at the Sabeel Conference.

My guess is that the folks at the Old South Church probably assumed, as any reasonable person would, that this was just another joke, an attempt at humor, and laughed it off. Would it not be an act of arrogant and, may I say, chutzpah to think you can dictate a speaker for someone else’s conference?

Is it really possible that 800 people attending this conference and hearing speaker after speaker present evidence about the 40 years of oppression by the Government of Israel of the Palestinians - demolishing of homes, stealing of land, uprooting of olive trees, holding in detention, building high walls and separate roads, establishing 500 checkpoints, allowing 120 Jewish settlements - would be so immediately convinced by what was said as not to be able to listen to counter arguments and opposing views a day later? (Hmmm? Now that I think about it......)

TIL probably said that the program must have “balance.”

It has gone beyond ridiculous. You have to laugh!

Think about it. When was the last time you heard about TIL inviting the Rev. Canon Naim Ateek, Archbishop Tutu, Jeff Halper or even Marty Federman to be a speaker at a program sponsored by AIPAC, ADL, JCRC, CJP, the David Project or CAMERA to provide a balance for the comments of the representative of the Government of Israel.

“The distinct odour of panic” is driving the TIL to become even more fearful that the truth will emerge. It has NO interest in open discussion. Its sole purpose is to keep the public from hearing about the oppression of the Palestinians so that …….. I don’t know so what?

In order to insure that folks at the Old South Church would hear its views, guess what I heard TIL did – would you believe that it persuaded Dennis Ross and the rabbi to back out and withdraw from their commitments to speak at the Old South Church.

That’s right. You heard it here. TIL persuaded Dennis Ross and the rabbi to back out and withdraw from their commitment to speak at the Old South Church.

Let me say that again in case you missed it the second time.

Because Sabeel did not want to cave in to the ridiculous demand of the TIL to be allowed to choose a speaker for Sabeel’s Conference, the TIL decided to bring pressure (so it seems) on those it had agreed on to present what is commonly referred to as “Pro-Israel” arguments at the Old South Church and organized a protest which consisted of signs that contained really thoughtful comments full of deep insight like “Sabeel’s Solution, Blame the Jews”

So the Old South Church asked Rabbi Arthur Waskow, the director of the Shalom Center in Philadelphia to speak.

He accepted and spoke to over 200 people this past Sunday, the day after the end of the Sabeel Conference.

While I was not there and I do not know what he said, this is an excerpt from one of his recent messages:

“In the last few days, the Israeli government has announced draconian new measures to reduce electricity and fuel deliveries to Gaza, and six Israeli human-rights organizations have joined in protesting. I urge you to call Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, to urge that the US demand the Israeli government abandon plans for this worsening of its blockade. The reason given for the new measures is as a response to continuing rocket attacks against the Israeli town of Sderot. These attacks are reprehensible and contemptible, but collective punishment upon an entire civilian population is profoundly immoral.”

Message to TIL “What a well thought out strategy – stop Dennis Ross from speaking and allow Rabbi Arthur Waskow to present “the Jewish perspective?”

That works for me!!

You really do have to laugh!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Thoughts after Attending the Sabeel Conference - Part 2

This Apartheid is Worse than the Africaaners's.

When did I write this? About six hours ago?

But saying that it is similar to South Africa misses an important point - the Government of Israel's form of Apartheid is WORSE than what the white Africaaners imposed on the blacks; i.e., in South Africa there were no collective punishments (like destroying a power plant), there were no separation barriers (walls, fences), no destruction of land, no destruction of trees (olive or others), there were no closures and roadblocks, there was freedom of movement, there were no separate roads, no separate license plates, the Africaaners hired the blacks to work for them allowing them to earn a living whereas the Government of Israel uses laborers who are brought in from other countries, and there was a benign condescending attitude of the ruling class for the oppressed and no concerted effort to work towards their eventual removal from the land.”

It doesn’t take long for the Government of Israel to provide evidence and support for the speakers at the Sabeel Conference.

Excerpts from this story on Sunday, October 28
Responding to rockets, Israel slashes Gaza fuel supply
Israel restricted the flow of fuel to Hamas-controlled Gaza on Sunday, a move it vowed to take in response to "the incessant firing of rockets into Israel," an adviser to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said. Ten Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups are petitioning Israel's Supreme Court to stop the reduction. The Israeli company Dor Alon supplies fuel to Gaza. It's unclear how the new reductions will affect Gaza's power plant, which is fueled by Dor Alon. Ahmed Ali, deputy director of Gaza's Petroleum Authority, told The Associated Press that fuel shipments on Sunday were more than 30 percent below normal. "There should be no sanctions against the Palestinian people, neither individual nor collective punishment," Abbas said days after the Israeli Cabinet's decision. "It will harm our bilateral relations. It will harm our discussions and negotiations. It will harm the atmosphere and even sabotage it." After the Israeli Cabinet's unanimous decision last month, Chris Gunness of U.N. Relief and Works Agency said the impact of the measures would be "extremely detrimental" to the humanitarian situation in Gaza. "This would be just another tightening of the knot on Gaza," he said, adding that 1.2 million Gazans are already receiving emergency food rations. Also, said Gunness, the Cabinet action will "further radicalize the youth," as more are forced into unemployment.

Even so, whether the Apartheid that existed in South America is better or worse than that imposed on the occupied territories, this action of restricting the flow of fuel is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949: i.e., Article 33 of the Fourth Convention states: "No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed," and "collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited."

Some Palestinians fire rockets into Israel. There is absolutely no evidence and to reason to believe that all Palestinians - men, women, children, babies, the elderly, the sick, the infirm - living in Gaza participated in the action of firing rockets into Israel. To restrict fuel to all of them is not only collective punishment and a violation of international law.

It is worse. It is immoral.

Thoughts after Attending the Sabeel Conference -Part 1

We Need to Speak Out

One day after attending the Sabeel Conference on "The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine-Israel: Issues of Justice and Equality”, many possibilities for action run through my head – an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the implications of 40 years for a "temporary" occupation, showing segments of the conference DVD at a gathering, accompanying Archbishop Tutu as he walks to and speaks at all the temples in Greater Boston (-:

First of all, in response to the harsh criticism from the "leaders" of the Jewish community about the use of the word "apartheid", after listening to the speakers in the conference, I think that it is appropriate to use the word to describe what is happening in the occupied territories because it involves dominion, control, separation and racism (treating people differently because of the accident of birth).

But saying that it is similar to South Africa misses an important point - the Government of Israel's form of Apartheid is WORSE than what the white Africaaners imposed on the blacks; i.e., in South Africa there were no collective punishments (like destroying a power plant), there were no separation barriers (walls, fences), no destruction of land, no destruction of trees (olive or others), there were no closures and roadblocks, there was freedom of movement, there were no separate roads, no separate license plates, the Africaaners hired the blacks to work for them allowing them to earn a living whereas the Government of Israel uses laborers who are brought in from other countries, and there was a benign condescending attitude of the ruling class for the oppressed and no concerted effort to work towards their eventual removal from the land.

I DO agree with the speaker who said that the Government of Israel has lost the high moral ground and that the “leaders” of the Jewish community are going to become even more vocal and strident. I have adopted the phrase I read two weeks ago which describes their actions as having the “distinct odour of panic”. The vicious outrageous unjustified words and sophistry of the CAMERA op-ed piece in the Boston Globe the day before the Sabeel Conference will remain with me as a classic example.

I would like to be able to describe my feelings when I walked out from the Old South Church after 24 hours of vivid pictures, talks about and opinions of the apartheid rule of, and the brutality and cruelty being rained down on the heads of the Palestinians by, the Government of Israel and looked across the street. I saw people with signs that said something like "Stand with Israel, Stand for Peace". We were asked not to engage with them as we walked to the Anti-Apartheid rally sponsored by the Jewish Voice for Peace. I was not angry with them. I was only slightly ashamed and embarrassed for them. Were I to have engaged them, I would have simply smiled and said, "You're kidding, aren't you?"

We need to begin to be comfortable and confident in our belief almost NO ONE supports what the Government of Israel is doing to the Palestinians and that the only barrier to them saying so is the intimidation and pressure of a few vocal and "influential" members of the Jewish community.

We need to assume that CAMERA, the David Project, AIPAC and the JCRC DO NOT represent the views of the Jewish community. So many members of the Jewish community are too good and too decent and have devoted too much time to social justice to agree with those who support colonization, oppression, dominion, racism and the "breaking of bones" and call it striving for peace. In fact., their uncritical views about the violent actions of the Government of Israel over the last 40 years is one of the reasons why fewer and fewer of those born Jewish no longer identify themselves as Jewish and why fewer and fewer of those who marry non-Jewish individuals raise their children Jewish. (Message to The Israel Lobby - "How's that working out?")

Like noting that the emperor has no clothes, we need to cry out "The Government of Israel does not want a JUST peace for the Palestinians." (even as you keep in mind the possibility of consequences such as the end of personal contact which followed my saying this at dinner to a cousin who was also a longtime friend.)

And all we need to do is to speak out. In every conversation in our homes, in our work, in social gatherings, in churches, in the offices of legislators, we need to stress the importance of Ending the Occupation.

We need to assume that ALL clergy know that the actions of the Government of Israel violate the core values of ALL religious faiths (as well as humanistic principles).

Archbishop Tutu urged all clergy to stand up for the core values of their faith. While he said that they could "win" in the long run by staying silent, eventually they will corrode and finally implode inside.

I think that, as we all speak out and break the "code of silence", we will approach the day when not only Bishop Shaw but the clergy of all faiths will stand up to the Jewish “leadership” by signing a statement and holding a press conference condemning the occupation and demanding that the Government of Israel end it.

(NOTE - while I support the two-state solution (TSS) - the end of the occupation, the closing of all the settlements and the establishment of a viable contiguous Palestinian state - I find myself more and more convinced by what Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and others are saying; i.e, the TSS is no longer realistic and is therefore DEAD. That leaves two options - a one-state solution (OSS) or Apartheid. Certainly, for me, Apartheid is NOT an option. If so ...............)

And, we are also close to the day when, having the support of those in the Jewish community, the clergy will NOT thereafter have to issue an "apology" to the Jewish community and will NOT have to promise to set up a meeting with the so-called "leaders" of the Jewish community.

And with the support of the entire community, we are also approaching the day when, having agreed with everything and asking what we need to do to have them demand that the occupation be ended, our politicians will never again respond by saying "Get AIPAC to support your position."

We do not need to be worried about being attacked with the label of "anti-semite". That is the last gasp attempt to suppress the truth by those slowly sinking into the mud. Why don't we try not to be angry with them as they slowly become irrelevant? Perhaps we should not even laugh at their ranting and ravings.

The final speaker at the Sabeel convince before the beautiful loving talk by Archbishop Tutu provided the best response one could make when his or her descriptions about the inhumanity of the occupation are met by the slander of "anti-semite". Simply say "Demolishing housing is not Jewish. Destruction of olive trees is not Jewish, building separation walls is not Jewish, stealing land is not Jewish.

I saw another sign as I left the church which began, I think, with “Sabeel’s Solution” and ended with “Blame the Jews”. Funny thing, I never heard anyone say that the oppression of the Palestinians was being carried out by “the Jews”. What I heard over and over again was that the Government of Israel has taken actions grossly in violation of human rights, civil rights, international law, UN Resolutions and the teachings of Judaism and Christianity. The Government of Israel has. The Government of Israel has.

Opposing these actions of the Government of Israel in the occupied territories (and within Israel) is not anti-semitic. Opposing the military adventures of the United States is not anti-American.

Opposing the actions of both these countries is purely and simply support for peace with justice.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

CAMERA Comedy Troupe

Four of us went to see the “Jimmie Tingle for President” performance last Saturday night. I have attended a number of shows at his Somerville theater over the last five years and, if I did not always laugh at his political humor throughout each one, I always felt good about supporting Jimmie Tingle. At his core he is simply a good, decent person. (I had the opportunity to have lunch with him once when he provided the local Tikkun group with the space for a speaking engagement for Michael Lerner.) But it was a bittersweet evening. Jimmie is shutting the doors next week. I will miss the theater but expect that I will be seeing him perform in other venues in the near future.

I wondered who would take his place and provide us with the highly sophisticated comedy that I had come to expect. This morning’s Boston Globe provided the answer – welcome to the CAMERA Comedy Troupe.

I used to get angry reading CAMERA stuff.

Now, I just love what they do. I can’t quite figure out if they are more like Stephen Colbert or Laugh-In.

What is sad is that I think they probably want to support the Government of Israel. What is sad is they probably think what they say is profound and serious. What is not sad is that come off as a caricature of a ridiculously foolish propaganda machine.

In an op-ed by someone described as its “Christian media analyst” the writer from CAMERA in “Hate at the altar” paints a vivid picture with nooses hanging from trees just prior to a lynching of an “African-Americans” to the Old South Church and Sabeel. What a cool backdrop for the presentation!

The star of this version of the “Perils of Palestine”, the man with the black cloak and the wide mustache, is Dr. Naim Ateek, founder of Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center “an international peace movement initiated by Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land, who seek a just peace based on two states—Palestine and Israel—as defined by international law and existing United Nations resolutions.”

(NOTE you might want to have a little background of Dr. Ateek that the CAMERA Comedy Troupe failed to provide. Naim Ateek had just turned eleven when his town of Beisan (Beth Shean) twenty miles south of the Sea of Galilee was occupied by Israeli soldiers on May 12, 1948 during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The Ateek family, with Naim, were Christians in a predominantly Muslim community. For two weeks they lived under occupation when finally the military commander informed his father that unless the family left straightaway, they would be killed. All the Christians were relocated to Nazareth and the Muslims were deported to Jordan. This traumatic and sudden dislocation was the Ateek family's personal version of the event the Arabs call, the "Nakba" (the catastrophe). When the Ateek's were finally permitted to travel to Beisan a decade later, they discovered their former home was now occupied by a Jewish family. Shortly after, Ateek's father suffered a paralyzing stroke. Naim earned his BA degree from Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, Texas in 1963, and his Master of Divinity degree in 1966 from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP), Berkeley, California. He then returned to Galilee where he started his ministry after being ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. In 1974, Naim was married to Maha Fuad Aranki of Birzeit, West Bank (Palestine) In the early 1980’s he returned to the United States where he completed his doctoral studies at San Francisco Theological Seminary. Dr. Ateek has also received honorary Doctors of Divinity from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, California and the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and the distinguished alumni award from San Francisco Theological Seminary. This year, Dr. Ateek received the Sayre award from the Episcopal Peace Fellowship USA. After 30 years of parish ministry, Naim took an early retirement and dedicated his time to the ministry of Sabeel, the Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center that he helped to found at the beginning of the 1990’s. As the president and director of Sabeel, he expanded Sabeel’s ministry both inside the country as well as abroad. In addition to the work of justice and peace, it includes the ecumenical ministry within the Christian community and the inter-faith work between Christians and Muslims.)

So here we have the portrayal of this person who has devoted the last nearly twenty years to working with Sabeel for peace in Israel/Palestine – listen as we hear his words of the man in the mustache as he strokes it with the evil grin – “The Government of Israel is like Herod.”
And don’t we know what Herod did? He ordered that all infants be murdered in an attempt to kill the infant Jesus “according to the Christian gospel”.

And don’t we know what that means that Dr. Ateek means

drum roll please …………..

He is saying that Israel (and, in case you don’t get the message, that includes any of you who are reading the Boston Globe this morning who are of the Jewish persuasion) attempted to murder the infant Jesus.

(Stagehand enters left and posts sign for the audience – hhhhhiiiiiissssssss!!)

So that’s what Dr. Ateek was trying to say wasn’t he?

That’s all there was to Herod, wasn’t it?

Not really.

He accomplished a lot like the expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, the development of water supplies for Jerusalem, building fortresses such as Masada and Herodium, and founding new cities such as Caesarea Maritima.

But he could have been criticized for burning alive Judas and Matthias and their students. He did murder one of his ten wives. He did execute two of his sons, Aristobulus and Antipater, causing the emperor Augustus to joke that it was preferable to be Herod's pig (hus) than his son (huios). He may have ordered the violent destruction by fire of the monastery at Qumran, the home of the Essenes, suffered a violent and deliberate destruction by fire in 8 BCE. He may have ordered the murder of all children under the age of 2 in Bethlehem.

And, by the way, wasn’t Herod Jewish? He was an Idumaean. When Idumea was conquered in 140BC all Idumaeans were required to obey Jewish law or leave and most converted to Judaism. King Herod identified himself as a Jew and was considered as such by some but not by others.

Could it be that Dr. Ateek was trying to say that the Government of Israel - in its brutal treatment of Palestinian men, women and children by demolishing their homes, by overreacting to unjustified acts of violence by killing innocents, by caused substantial economic harm by preventing the harvesting of olives, by neglecting their unemployment and their poverty, by allowing the death of soon-to-be born babies because of delays at checkpoints – was acting in a way that was similar to the cruelty of Herod?

The irony is that on other pages of the Boston Globe this morning are two stories: the first about intruders (thought to be Jewish extremists) who broke into a Jerusalem church and set the building on fire – one that was rebuilt 25 years ago after being burned down by ultra-Orthodox extremists; the other about a plan (not public yet) whereby the Government of Israel will shut off the electricity to Gaza after every rocket attack. (This reminds me of the comments of one of the women of the Jerusalem Women Speak panel. Her cousin was paralyzed after being hit by an Israeli missile and is being kept alive in Gaza by medical equipment which is electrically operated.).

Since I am getting tired laughing, I will leave to another time more credit to this comedy team for the other two jokes: how “the Israel government crucifixion system is operating” and “Palestine has become the place of the skull.” means that he is accusing Israel of “the crucifixion of Jesus the prophet”; and how “Ateek compared the Israeli occupation to the stone blocking Christ’s tomb” means that he blames Israel ”for blocking the resurrection of Christ the Savior”

But seriously, folks, this is so far beyond intellectual dishonesty as to be farcical.

Isn’t this a stereotypical example of a smear campaign?. Isn’t the writer throwing a huge glob of mud on the wall connecting non-existent dots to accuse Dr. Ateek of saying that the Jews killed Christ?

But now, here comes the writer with his best and most hilarious skit, you know the one where he says

“Taken to its logical end, language like this suggests that the only solution to Palestinian suffering is Israel's elimination, which Sabeel called for in a 2004 document that stated the organization's "vision for the future" is "one-state for two nations and three religions."

Oh, so that’s what it means to call for the one state solution does it – the elimination of Israel?

That is certainly the final straw – he is suggesting a one state solution.

But if you are going to attack someone just because they are trying to bring about a one state solution, wouldn’t that mean that I would not be able to attend any program where a speaker is an official of the Government of Israel. Isn’t it the Government of Israel that over the last 40 years: has promoted and supported the creation and expansion of the settlements, has created now over 500 checkpoints closures and barriers, taken control over 42% of the land in the West Bank for military and other purposes, spent billions of dollars building a Jewish only road system leading to “facts on the ground” that no longer make the establishment of a viable contiguous Palestinian state an option?

And would I be able to attend any program where a speaker is an official of the Government of the United States. Didn’t President Bush in a letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on April 14, 2004, recognize the permanence of major Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, stressing the irreversibility of “new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers?”

And, of course, we must not forget to ban attending any program where Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is speaking since today’s Boston Globe this morning reports that she said yesterday that a “two-state solution” in the Middle East is in jeopardy and that “our concern is growing that without serous political prospect for the Palestinians that gives to moderate leaders a horizon that they can show to their people that indeed there is a two-state solution that is possible, we will lose the window for a two-state solution”.

How dare she even imply that there might be an alternative to the two-state solution? I wonder what that might be?

Stay tuned – soon appearing in a theater near you – CAMERA Comedy Troupe

You really have to try to laugh!!!

Ha Ha!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Jeff Halper: End House Demolitions, End the Occupation


Last night I attended the presentation of Jeff Halper at the City Hall in Gloucester sponsored by the Cape Ann Forum. I had been in Jeff’s company once before for an open discussion. In addition, I had read much and written often about the courageous and effective work of the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions. 
Masterful!! That was the response of the person sitting next to me when Jeff had finished. I could not have agreed more. Jeff spoke for 90 minutes and gave the best presentation I have ever heard about the situation in the occupied territories. He not only gave a history of the conflict (including his path from growing up in Minnesota to the field of anthropology to teaching at Haifa University) but also explained how and why he got involved in the issue of the demolitions by the Government of Israel of the houses belonging to Palestinians and co-founded ICAHD in 1997.

He gave a comprehensive perspective on the significant role of house demolitions play in the Government of Israel's long term plan to “finish 1948, to redeem the Land of Israel”. His maps provided a detailed picture of what he refers to as the “Matrix of Control” by the Government of Israel over the occupied territories: the closing off of Palestinians into what will eventually be four “islands”; the setting aside of much land as agricultural; the building and growth of the Jewish settlements; the construction of highways which can only be used by Israelis; and the building of The Wall.

The most powerful piece of the presentation were the pictures of the demolition a few years ago by the Government of Israel of the house belonging to Salim, a Palestinian, his wife Arabiya and their children. Salim needed a home for his family and wanted to build it on his land. Salim applied four times (at a cost of $5000 for each application) and a permit was denied each time. He was told by the “civil” administration that it was agricultural land (and apparently the zoning could only be changed if Jewish individuals wanted to build a settlement). Nevertheless, Salim built a house. The pictures show the “authorities” arriving with their weapons, dragging Salim out, and carrying out Arabiya on a stretcher (on her way to a two month stay in a hospital in Jordan). Next were pictures of Jeff chained in the house followed by all the family’s belongings strewn on the ground followed by the house being demolished by a bulldozer driven by a Palestinian friend of Salim. Finally there is a picture of a neighbor of Salim’s who is seen looking at the ruins of the house. Ironically in the picture you can see the neighbor’s house which was demolished a few months ago.

This analysis explains why, even though the PLO in 1988 agreed to the two-state solution and the Saudi Plan in 2002 added a range of incentives, the Government of Israel has rejected any solution which would result in the Palestinians having a viable contiguous state.

Jeff concluded that there were only three options. The first is the two-state solution which he sees as no longer feasible in light of the Matrix of Control. The second is the one-state solution which is absolutely unacceptable to the Government of Israel. The only option left is Apartheid – the Palestinians living in four Bantulands. (But worse than in South Africa where those living in these “islands” were allowed out to earn income as laborers since the Government of Israel has no need for their labor having recruited laborers from around the world). The Jewish people would then become the Africaaners of the 21st Century.

His primary message is that the solution is to End the Occupation.

It takes unbelievable courage to do what Jeff does.

It even takes courage to do what the Cape Ann Forum does, bringing in individuals who speak critically of the actions of the Government of Israel.

Why? Because every presentation of overwhelming facts about the brutality of the occupation will usually be met by angry denunciations such as anti-semite, giving aid and comfort to anti-semites, anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, self-hating Jew.

Why? Because the raising of the issue of the human rights of Palestinians in the presence of many Jewish people will incur an emotional verbal retaliation or the end of a friendship as happened to me last year.

Why? Because for the last 40 years there has been a “code of silence” among those in the Jewish community – an agreement not to present to the community any information that might be critical of the Government of Israel. It has almost become a mantra – to be Jewish one must never criticize Israel.

Hence, the Jewish community has adopted what Jeff calls the Israel “framing of the conflict”; i.e., the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, Israel’s policies are based on security, the Palestinians are our enemies and are out to destroy Israel, Israel has the right to use all military means at its disposal.

Any comment that suggests sympathy for the Palestinians must be countered and one effective technique is a personal attack on the speaker.

For years I have observed one group after another (often religious organizations) respond critically to actions of the Government of Israel in Lebanon, Gaza, the West Bank and recommend that the Government of Israel do something and, sometimes, even include suggestions for sanctions against Israel.

For years I have observed a powerful well orchestrated media attack by what are usually referred to as “leaders” of the Jewish Community labeling the group as anti-semitic or, more recently, aiding those who are anti-semitic. These attacks will rarely address the facts of the situation. And the result often has been a meeting between the leadership of the organization and an “apology” …. for what? for speaking the truth and offending the Jewish community????

With the publication of The Israel Lobby, the extent of the efforts on the part of a very extended group of those in the Jewish community to prevent the public from learning about, and having open discussions about, the extent of the violations of the Government of Israel of international law, human rights, UN Resolutions and Jewish core values is now widely known.

With the airing of this in a New York Times bestseller, the charge of anti-semitism and anti-Israel, hopefully, will wear thin and to be treated as much of a cliché as the Joe McCarthy “Communist” smear.

A charge to be responded to not with anger but with a laugh!!!

I have quoted often the words of one long time peace activist who spoke after hearing a presentation by a Refusenik (a member of the Israeli army who refused to serve in the occupied territories). She asked us to recognize the courage of this officer whose penalty for his action might be jail and urged us to have the simple courage to speak out about what we think about the treatment of the Palestinians by the Government of Israel since the reactions perhaps of others would be so much less severe than being sent to prison.

This is what I hope will happen:

The public (including the leaders of all faith and peace groups) will listen to Jeff and others with first hand knowledge of what is happening in the occupied territories and continue to follow the news about the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

The public (including the leaders of all faith and peace groups) will conclude that the Occupation by the Government of Israel of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza is brutal, cruel, illegal and immoral in that it violates human rights, international law, UN Resolutions and the core values of Judaism (and many other faiths).

The public will have the courage at all times, in all places and in all company to say to one and all:

“End the Occupation.”
The leaders of all faith and peace groups will come together, agree on one strong message and publicize this message widely to the media. The message will conclude:

End the Occupation.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston and The Israel Lobby

I read something today about the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston and it reminded me of a project I was involved in about 12 years ago.


I was active with the Jewish Federation of the North Shore (of Massachusetts) in the mid 90’s. In 1994 I helped form and co-chaired its Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council based on the belief that many pressing social issues needed to be address by the Jewish community. The council was a branch of the national organization now known as the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA).

At that time and continuing at least until 2001, the JCPA stated the extensive and broad issues that were the focus of its concerns. Here in its Agenda for Public Affairs 2000-2001 are some of them:

Poverty, Children and Families, healthcare, Race and Ethnicity, Public Education, Immigrants and Refugees, Right to Reproductive Choice, Combatting Bias-Motivated Hatred in American, Stemming Violence in America, Religion in America, Protective Free Exercise, Air Pollution, Global Warming and Energy Policy, Urban Sprawl, Environmental Health and Justice, Biological Diversity and Israel and other International Concerns.

Even today on its website the JCPA says “The work of the JCPA, especially in matters relating to democratic pluralism and social justice, reflects the profound Jewish commitment to tikkun olam, the repair of the world. It expresses the conviction of the organized Jewish community that it must be active in the effort to build a just society."

While noting the subjects of its Press Releases does not give anywhere near a complete picture of its priorities, it seems to me to be an indicator of what it wants the public to know about the organization. Public relations is certainly an important department of any organization. Here is a list of the press releases from January 5, 2006, to August 1, 2007, as found on its website:

*JCPA Implores World Leaders To Expedite Enforcement of UN Resolution 1769
*JCPA Welcomes UCC Resolution Calling for a "Balanced" Approach to the Middle East Conflict
*JCPA Congratulates Shimon Peres On His Election To Israel’s Presidency
*JCPA Applauds Reintroduction of Hate Crime Legislation in House of Representatives.
*JCPA Demands Freeze in Aid to Palestinian Gov't Until Quartet Requirements are Met
*JCPA reaffirms its Commitment to Combat Iran's Quest for Nuclear Weapons.
*JCPA Praises Au for Rejecting Sudan's bid to lead the Alliance
*JCPA Condemns Suicide Bombing in Eilat, Urges Continued Quest for Peace Despite Violence.
*JCPA applauds Argentinean Leader for Refusing to Meet with Iranian President
*JCPA Welcomes Cease-Fire Agreement by Sudanese Government and Rebel Groups
*JCPA Condemns Rep. Goode's Letter Expressing Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Muslim Sentiment
*JCPA Expresses Concern over Religious Violations by Military Leadership
*UJC/JCPA Israel Institute Brings Protestant Leaders to Israel
*JCPA Praises Secretary General Kofi Annan For Urging Human Rights Council To Focus Attention on Darfur
*Commending Kofi Annan’s Statements on UN Human Rights Council
*JCPA Praises President Bush’s Decision to Appoint a Special Envoy to Darfur
*JCPA Welcomes a Clarification of a Presbyterian Church Publication
*JCPA Hails Passage of U.N. Resolution Authorizing Force in Darfur
*JCPA Calls For International Community to Enforce UN Resolutions; Push for Disarmament of Hezbollah
*Jewish Community Leaders Press for Continued U.S. Support for Israel at White House, State Dept., Capitol
*JCPA Supports Israel's Right to Defend Against Recent Terrorist Attacks
*JCPA Helps Collect One Million Postcards Urging Bush to Play Leadership Role in Ending Darfur
*Joint Statement post PC GA 2006
*JCPA Condemns Sudanese President For Rejecting United Nations Peacekeepers
*JCPA Praises Presbyterian Church for More Balanced Investments Policy
*JCPA Praises Darfur Peace Agreement
*Applauds President Bush and Deputy Secretary of State for their Efforts
*JCPA Expresses Outrage Over Today’s Terrorist Attack In Tel Aviv
*JCPA Responds To Immigration Reform Controversy
*JCPA Congratulates Olmert on Election Win
*JCPA Applauds U.S. Treasury Department’s Decision Designating Al-Manar A Global Terrorist Entity
*JCPA Condemns Recent Anti-Semitic Attacks In France
*Jewish Council for Public Affairs Applauds European Union s Decision to Refer Iran to U.N. Security Council
*Jewish Council for Public Affairs Prays for the Health of Prime Minister Sharon

Even though I am quite certain that the JCPA is actively involved in areas such as poverty and the environment, one could hardly be faulted for assuming that the JCPA’s agenda is Israel and Darfur.


During the same period when I was involved with the North Shore Jewish Community Relations Advisory council, we would look to the efforts of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC) for ideas about programs to develop to combat the personal plight issues facing our community. We were aware that the leaders of that organization were actively involved at the national level in pursuing social justice in many of the areas listed in the agenda of the JCPA which, the last I read, lists the JCRC as a “Constituent Organization.”

From its website "JCRC promotes a society that reflects the best of American and Jewish values—in Greater Boston, Israel and around the world—by convening and mobilizing the Jewish community. Through advocacy, organizing, service and partnerships, JCRC pursues social justice, ensures a vibrant Jewish community, and builds a network of support for Israel."

What follows are excerpts from its focus areas:
PURSUING SOCIAL JUSTICE - pursues social justice by taking action to raise awareness, build coalitions, develop leaders, and promote volunteer service to effect change in the broader community, encourages investment in urban economic development, engages volunteers to promote childhood literacy, social justice in Israel through the Haifa Social Justice and Civil Society Initiatives, efforts to end family homelessness,
STRENGTHENING COMMUNITY - advocates for the needs of vulnerable Jews, in Greater Boston, Ukraine, Israel, and Ethiopia, links to Haifa and Dnepropetrovsk, shares the universal lessons of the holocaust, organizes leadership development opportunities, mobilizes teens, college students and young adults to engage in community service
SUPPORTING ISRAEL - builds a broad network of support for Israel in its quest for a secure and lasting peace, convenes the Jewish community in times of celebration and crisis, involves college students in pro-Israel initiatives through the Israel Campus Roundtable, facilitates educational opportunities for Jews and non-Jews to visit Israel, builds grassroots support through community and synagogue-based efforts, educates Jews, opinion leaders and the general public about challenges facing Israel.

The JCRC still appears to be involved in good works in such areas as literacy, education and the environment.

But I just reviewed the page titled “JCRC In The News” for the last six months and found about 72 entries of which only ten (10) did NOT relate to Israel, Darfur or the Holocaust.

Here are the most recent 36 from September 7, 2007 to October 15, 2007.
JCRC In the News
*Religious tensions flare as Mideast conference nears
*JPost writer visits Boston
*Iran shuts border with north Iraq
*MetroWest Israel Town Hall Meeting in Natick on October 2
*Sudan divestment bill passes in Massachusetts legislature
*US dismantling nuclear warheads ahead of schedule
*Anger at Iran leader's NY speech
*Ahmadinejad: Why do we need a bomb?
*U.S.: Iran is arming Iraq
*Lines harden over Iran leader's visit to US
*France warning of war with Iran
*Iran convinced West will not attack
*Iran scorns French warning of war
*EU ministers duck Iran nuclear issue for now
*Rudy: No nukes in Iran
*Syria-Iran weapons project is reported
*Iran has plans to strike Israel in case of war, general says
*Newton to drop out of ADL program
*French diplomat tones down talk of war with Iran
*New France gets tough with Iran
*Gates: US favors diplomacy with Iran
*Iranian FM Mottaki claims Russian fuel ready for Iran
*ElBaradei warns against striking Iran
*600 Iranian missiles said to be pointed at targets in Israel
*JCRC prepares for a new year
*Iran denies plans to build atomic bomb
*Teamsters make an excellent move

Again, this is not meant to detract from the worthwhile efforts of the JCRC in areas that directly affect the lives of those in this country BUT I do believe that even though the JCRC is not mentioned in many of these press releases, the choice of what to place in the section entitled “JCRC In the News” seems to provide a picture of the priority issues the organization wants its members and supporters to be aware of .


These organizations, I believe, are highly respected – the JCPA nationally and the JCRC locally. The choice of both to heavily showcase articles about Israel, Iran, Darfur, the Holocaust, etc., (and, most likely, although I have to admit that I have not read all the material, not critical of the Government of Israel) is further evidence of the extent to which organizations like the ADL and others made a transition from a priority of issues here in the diaspora, by either willingly participating in the efforts of or by being pressured and intimidated by that large group of individuals and organizations known as The Israel Lobby, to a new priority involving support of any actions of the Government of Israel.

Our Community Relations Advisory Council had taken its lead in developing our mission statement from a statement in the JCPA 1993-1994 Program Plan which read “The fundamental premise of the field of Jewish community relations is to foster conditions conducive to Jewish security and creative Jewish living in a free society. Such conditions require a society committed to equal rights, justice and opportunity … The state of the American Jewish community in a strong, democratic society is reinforced by the moral imperative on the Jewish community to pursue social justice.”

With that in mind, we found the most pressing issues of Jewish members of the North Shore of Massachusetts were; family and divorce, senior citizens, children, alcohol and drugs, the economy, education, women’s issues, health, isolation, self-esteem and materialism.

Sadly, I must add, as usual, that the stark inappropriateness and inconsistency of a Jewish organization that states as a primary mission the pursuit of justice and supports the Government of Israel as it maintains the illegal and immoral occupation, builds illegal settlements which are an obstacle to peace and treats Palestinians cruelly, unjustly and brutally is no longer shocking to me.

I wonder whether either the JCRC or the JCPA has ever held a serious discussion about whether the Government of Israel may be jeopardizing the security of its country when it withholds from Palestinians those “equal rights, justice and opportunity" which are the fundamental conditions for Jewish living in a free society?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Newspaper Bias (or Ignorance) Masquerading as Fact - Part 2

Excerpted from the Boston Globe, October 16, 2007

"Rice pushes for plan on Mideast peace - Urges Israelis, Palestinians to compromise
By Michael Abramowitz, Washington Post October 16, 2007
RAMALLAH, West Bank - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressed Israelis and Palestinians yesterday to compromise on a plan to jump-start peace negotiations, describing the ending of their long conflict as one of the top goals of President Bush in the 15 months he has left in office. A day after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Rice traveled here to meet with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, who urged Rice to lean on Israel to address a variety of grievances and lay out a detailed plan to resolve the status of Palestinian refugees, the future of Jerusalem, and other elements of the conflict. When she emerged for a joint news conference after meeting with Abbas for nearly three hours, Rice chose only to reiterate her past admonition that both parties should avoid steps that "undermine confidence." Rice is trying to nudge the Israelis and Palestinians into agreeing on a yet-undefined document that could help launch the peace conference - perhaps followed by final negotiations. The Palestinian side wants the document to be as detailed as possible, in part to give hope to its population that a solution may be near; the Israelis are trying to make the document as vague as possible and are nervous that the political ground has not yet been laid for some of the difficult compromises that might be necessary.

So let me see if I understand this correctly. The Government of Israel (GOI) wants a vague document (probably not "full of sound and fury" but definitely "signifying nothing") and the Palestinians want a detailed plan to resolve the issues of the conflict.

And the Secretary of State of the United States, the representative of the President of the United States who she says has as a top priority the ending of the conflict, "pressed Israelis and Palestinians yesterday to compromise on a plan".

What, Madame Secretary, did you suggest to the Palestinians that they do in order to effect a compromise?

Oh, yeh.

Agree to have NO plan?

Might it not seem a bit disingenuous (gently stated) on her part to say that she is "pressing" both sides?

There are only two versions of reality and neither one is that she is "pressing" both sides.

EITHER she has stated to the GOI in the strongest terms possible that it needs to agree to a plan that includes all differences between the parties and has warned the GOI of the consequences of its failing to comply.

OR she hasn't.

When will the media notice that the Palestinians are pleading (begging?) for the GOI to join in the effort to work for a just peace and that the GOI will stall and find excuses not to do so?

Is it ignorance or bias that motivates a newspaper to allow an article to be published that simply recites whatever Madame Rice chooses to say without pointing out how deceptive and misleading her words are?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Why The Israel Lobby Does Not Want Open Discussions

Thanks to Richard Siverstein of Tikun Olam who in this post gives "Thanks to Magnes Zionist for this alternately horrifying and fascinating post about the ways in which Occupation bureaucrats manipulate and exploit Israeli law to further the ends of subjugating the Palestinian people. He ends his post with an amazing Times of London obituary of Plia Albeck, who was Israel's chief government lawyer dealing with settlements and land issues in the Territories."

What you learn from this article is why it is critically important to The Israel Lobby to prevent any open discussion about what is happening in the Occupied Territories - why the Israel Lobby plays so loose and fast by throwing mudpies called "anti-semite, anti-Zionist, anti-Israel" at anyone who dares to criticize the Government of Israel (GOI). Some of the actions of the GOI and some of the ways in which the law has been perverted by agents of the GOI to oppress the Palestinians are absolutely unbelievable and disgusting!!!!

If The Israel Lobby were to let down its guard and the American public began to see the full extent of the brutality of the GOI, who knows what might happen - probably a viable Palestinian State and a just peace.

And thanks to Philip Weiss for this post questioning whether the Committee for Accuracy(?) in Middle East Reporting in the Media (CAMERA) - will supply "context" in its upcoming conference on Jewish Defamers of Israel.

The Israel Lobby Attacks the Sabeel Conference - Just As I Predicted

From this previous post, The Distinct Odour of Panic in The Israel Lobby,

“Herewith a bold prediction - timedated by me as 1:45pm on Thursday, October 11, 2007. Based on "The Distinct Odour of Panic"- within the next fortnight (using the term for 14 days to be consistent with the word "odour") there will be a quote from a "leader" (as proclaimed by the media) of the Jewish community labeling the Sabeel conference as either or both "Anti-Semitic" and "giving aid and comfort to Anti-Semites".


Herewith from today’s Boston Globe Sunday, October 14, 2007 - " ‘Anyone who uses apartheid as an accusation is really employing old anti-Zionist arguments - that's really what it is - and is really applying a double standard of judgment to Israel which can be traced to historic anti-Semitic rhetoric, that all things Jews do are evil, including their nationalism,’ Kaufman (the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston) said…. The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) … describes Sabeel as ‘an anti-Zionist organization that traffics in anti-Judaic themes.”

Message to CAMERA:
I went to the website of Sabeel and here is an excerpt from its purposes statement: “Sabeel strives to develop a spirituality based on love, justice, peace, nonviolence, liberation and reconciliation for the different national and faith communities.”
Which of these spiritual foundations do you believe to be anti-Judaic? If these are not Judaic, which themes are the core values of your vision of Judaism. How about this one: “You shall wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Germany.”

I noticed what I consider to be a significant, though subtle, change in reporting of the tension about the conference . The reporter writes that: the Sabeel Conference is rapidly becoming another source of tension between the “leadership of the Jewish community and mainline Protestant denominations”; “The major Jewish community organizations say”; “Tensions between mainline Protestants and Jews, largely at the level of organizational leaders”; and “Organizers say that the conference will be attended by a number of Jewish participants.”

The reporter, the long-time religion writer for the Boston Globe, seems to recognize that the conflict may not be between the Jewish community and the Protestant denominations but perhaps a few leaders of a few Jewish institutions and that these individuals are not speaking for the Jewish people but just for the boards of their institutions.

May we soon see the day when no credible journalist ever again takes seriously a statement from anyone that begins “the entire Jewish community thinks” or “area Jewish people all firmly support the policies of the Government of Israel”

I just received this comment from Marty Federman, the Co-Chairperson of the Boston Chapter of the Jewish Voice for Peace:

You're absolutely right in picking up the (maybe not so) subtle movement reflected in Paulson's reporting. The only thing I'm uncomfortable about is that the "Mainline Protestants" aren't the problem nor are their leaders. The Christians have really been very open. The problem is that JCRC et. al. aggressively pass themselves off as the Jewish voices (as the JCRC did in their attack on Bishop Tom Shaw and the Episcopal bishops a couple of years ago * ). When discussions were set up after that brouhaha, Bishop Shaw sent out an open invitation through the Mass Council of Churches inviting all those who felt they had an interest to be part of the Christian "delegation" - the JCRC hand-picked a group of Rabbis and lay leaders that covered the spectrum from barely middle to (a heavily weighted) very extreme right-wing/pro Israel policy group. The fact is that some in the Jewish community, such as members of groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and Tikkun, have had positive and productive relations with the leaders of many Protestant denominations. (There are a lot of "pro-Israel" Christians - Protestant and Catholic - but they are significantly part of the "Christian Zionist" and related movement, and not predominantly leaders or even semi-leaders of Main Stream denominations. And, even among evangelicals there are strong voices - like Jim Wallace, of Sojourner Magazine - that are outspoken supporters of human and civil rights, including for Palestinians, and an end to the Israeli Occupation.)

* Boston Globe - July 12, 2006 “Bishop M. Thomas Shaw of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, who five years ago jolted local Christian-Jewish relations by joining a pro-Palestinian demonstration in front of the Israeli Consulate in Boston, plans to reprise his performance today with another protest at the same location. Saying that his Christian faith does not allow him to remain silent in the face of Israel's incursions into Gaza, Shaw said he feels a moral obligation to call attention to the plight of Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim, and especially to an Episcopal hospital in Gaza, Al Ahli Arab, that he said is operating on a generator and is days from running out of electricity to care for its patients. . .. The Jewish community is planning a counter-demonstration today, said Nancy K. Kaufman, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council. Kaufman said Shaw's concerns ``are not a reason to demonstrate. They're a reason for us to have a meeting and to talk to the Israeli consul general," she said. … Shaw's decision to protest in front of the consulate in October 2001 shocked and angered the local Jewish community, which had been largely unaware of the depth of Protestant concern about Israeli government conduct.” (Blogger’s note – that’s totally unbelievable!!)”
Michael Paulson Boston Globe, July 12, 2006

I am so upset by the brutality, cruelty and injustice of the Government of Israel (duh!!) Day after day I pen (or is it pound) tirades describing, often more emotionally than well written, how what that government does is contrary to my view of Judaic themes. And yet, it seems that those who raise this subject can easily be referred to in the press as anti-Zionist, an anti-Semite, anti-Israel or, at least, a giver of aid to anti-Semites. (I assume that being an anti-Zionist or anti-Israel implies that the person is in favor of the destruction of the State of Israel.) Why would a reporter allow something that smacks of hate speech into a newspaper column without doing extensive research for evidence of proof? I can imagine being referred to as anti-Ohmert or anti-the Ohmert administration of Israel, the same way so many (including myself) would be proud to be referred to as anti-Bush or anti-the Bush administration. However, the good citizens of this country are quite hesitant to refer to the latter as anti-American. It is sad and inexcusable that The Israel Lobby has no such qualms about throwing around the phrases anti-Israel and anti-Semite.

MORE ASTOUNDING PREDICTIONS – 10:30am, Monday, October 15, 2007
With a record of 1 for 1, I herewith go out on a limb with three more:

1) I predict that the Boston Globe will give extensive coverage to tonight’s Boston Red Sox playoff game with the Cleveland Indians.

2) I predict that at the program tonight at the temple in Brookline sponsored by The Israel Lobby, the speaker, Former (Israeli) Ambassador Itamar Rabinovich, will NOT devote a significant amount of time reviewing the categories of brutal treatment of the Palestinians by the Government of Israel.

3) I predict that Secretary of the United States Rice in her “intense” effort to effect a meaningful peace conference involving Israel and the Palestinians will NOT threaten the Government of Israel by demanding that either it participate in good faith rather than “pressing for a vaguely worded document that would give it more room to maneuver” or the United States will suspend ALL military aid.

Speaking of the upcoming Sabeel Conference; here is one of the quotes from the handout I posted previously - a 2002 statement of Archbishop Desmond Tutu about the settlements in the West Bank and the occupation. (I apologize for not being able to cite the source.):

“In a region where repressive governments and unjust policies are the norm, Israel is certainly more democratic that most of its neighbors. This does not make dismantling the settlements any less of a priority. . Over 35 new settlements have been constructed this year. Each one is a step away from the safety deserved by the Israelis and two steps away from the justice owed to the Palestinians. If apartheid ended, so can the occupation, but the moral force and international pressure will have to be just as determined.”

A conference about applying the term Apartheid to the conflict between the Israels and the Palestinians is appropriate but we should not lose sight of the fact that the underlying primary cause of the plight of the Palestinians is not just the treatment of the Palestinians by the government of Israel but the 40 year occupation and that the FIRST step towards a just peace is that the government of Israel must

End the Occupation
End the Occupation
End the Occupation

Strangely enough, I do not think that this is an appropriate subject of negotiations at the peace conference. I believe that the occupation is such a violation - of international law, of UN resolutions, and the values of Judaism – that it should be UNILATERALLY ended by the Government of Israel. When you are committing a heinous wrong, you do not continue to do it and wait to discuss whether you might stop. If you do not, it is an obligation of all those individuals and governments who seek peace and justice to demand that you cease and desist.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Newspaper Bias (or Ignorance) Masquerading as Fact

I must be a masochist to continue to read the Boston Globe.

Here’s the first bit of so-called “news’ I read this morning:

“Abbas rules out talk with Hamas – Contact would kill Israeli peace bid”

So Abbas will not talk with Hamas unless it gives up control of the Gaza Strip. Why would he talk to Hamas? But wait a minute!! Wasn’t Hamas the popular choice of the Palestinians in the democratic election held on January 25, 2006? Didn’t Hamas win 74 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) to the ruling Fatah’s 45 seats? Did I just say democratic election? I thought that they were fighting against the government of Israel because they hate its freedoms and its democracy. And didn’t the government of Israel arrest members of Hamas duly elected to the PLC? And didn’t Israel cut off, and the “Quartet” threaten to cut off, funds to the Palestinian authority after the election won by Hamas?

And didn’t Abbas illegally dissolve the unity government on June 14, 2007 and dismiss the Palestinian Minister Ismail Haniya, a member of Hamas and illegally establish himself (Abbas) as ruler over Gaza and the West Bank? And didn’t the spokesman for Hamas state that Abbas had no legal right to do that and that therefore Haniya remained the head of the government resulting in a new Gaza Strip government?

So Hamas wins a majority of the seats in the PLC and enough pressure is brought by outside forces to prevent it from taking power and then Hamas takes control over the Gaza Strip but not the West Bank which it would have had legislative control over had democracy been allowed n the Occupied Territories?

And Abbas, who staged a coup d’(if-we-could-only-have-an)etat and has no legitimate authority among the Palestinians, rules out talks with Hamas.

How do you say “Chutzbah” in Palestinian?

And the media actually doesn’t realize that Abbas is only a figment of deluded imagination and a creation of the governments of the United States and Israel.

The reporters might have provided some background to support an assertion that the elected representative of the Palestinian people is Hamas and the party that should be at the negotiating table is Hamas.

Abbas says that the reason that he would not talk with Hamas because “dialogue with the Islamists could torpedo a peace deal with the Jewish state.”

Did Abbas just fall down the rabbit hole and have a conversation with the Mad Hatter?

That brings me to the next sad excuse for a “news” article:

“Two sides appear far apart in Mideast peace talks – Palestinians, Israelis look to US to bridge gap”

The two sides have reached an impasse and the “Israelis look to US to bridge gap”!!


The Government of Israel wants to have the product of the negotiations be something which might look like this: “Wow, wasn’t that great to get together to have peace talks? There is nothing like sharing the delicious crabcakes in Maryland to generate visions of peace. The Government of Israel strives for peace and sincerely looks forward to getting together again to seek peace during the seventh year of the presidency of the next peace-loving President of the United States who undoubtedly will be looking to end her presidency on a high note by bringing about peace between the terrorists of Palestine and the Government of Israel (which will still be desperately searching for a partner for peace as well as the killer of Nicole Brown Simpson.)”

The Palestinians, of course, do want to find a permanent resolution to the conflict that would result in the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

And they call that an impasse!! A gap??

The Palestinians are urgently seeking a solution and the Israelis are doing what – offering what, proposing what?

The article states that the Bush administration is “leery to take an active role in mediating the core issues of the conflict: the borders of a new Palestinian state, what part of Jerusalem it will include, and whether any of the millions of Palestinian refugees would be allowed to return to Israel.”


Why do the reporters not follow up on this and provide factual background that would point out the implications of this position of the Bush administration?

The reporters might have noted that the United States has all the leverage needed to pressure the government of Israel to end the conflict and reach a just peace agreement.

Who (unless their materials have been provided to them by The Israel Lobby) would believe that there is any reason for the Bush administration not bringing pressure on the government of Israel other than that the United States supports whatever the Government of Israel wants to do and that neither government wants to grant the Palestinians a viable state.

The reporters might have read somewhere that for forty years the Government of Israel has maintained the illegal occupation and has illegally built settlement after settlement in the West Bank and that its goal is to make the West Bank part of Israel without Palestinian interference and that it has never made a good faith offer which would result in a contiguous viable independent Palestinian state.

The reporters might have supplied facts indicating that if there is an impasse, it is because the government of Israel is not a good faith participant in these negotiations and that the Palestinians do not, in fact, have a “partner for peace”

The reporters, while pointing out that the Bush administration has prodded the parties to negotiate “for the first time in nearly seven years”, might have noted the minimal amount of financial support and resources that the Bush administration has provided to impoverished Palestinians and the number of occasions in which the Bush administration has not come to the aid of the Palestinians when they have been attacked by the government of Israel (such as the bombing of the power plant in Gaza).

The reporters might have pointed out that during those seven years of unforgivable inaction the Bush administration has given the government of Israel everything it could want – money (averaging 2 billion dollars a year, most of it for military assistance), autonomy and no serious objection to whatever it does to oppress the Palestinians (whether in Gaza, the West Bank, or Lebanon).

The reporters might have helped the readers conclude that the United States is far from being a neutral party.

The reporters might have helped the readers conclude that the Government of Israel has absolutely no need or reason at this time to look for help from the US to “bridge the gap”.

The reporters might have compiled a list of the categories of international human rights laws that have been violated by the government of Israel in its treatment of the Palestinians and described the desperate situation of the Palestinians.

The reporters might have helped the readers conclude that it is the Palestinians who urgently need the United States to demand that the Government of Israel actively work on efforts to bring about a “just” peace.

“Israel said that talks between Hamas and Fatah could “ruin efforts” ahead of a US-sponsored conference on Palestinian statehood.”

Why do I not think that the Boston Globe Editorial Board will respond with this "Memo to the Government of Israel: There is nothing to 'ruin' when you are not making an 'effort'?

Bias or Ignorance? You decide.


Friday, October 12, 2007

What The Israel Lobby has "Taught" Americans

I previously recommended reading Philip Weiss’s blog Mondoweiss. Here is an excerpt from his recent article about the “dual loyalty” of American Jews and Israel:

“Jewish prominence in American society, coupled with definitions of Jewish identity that tie us to Jerusalem, mean that these suspicions are going to arise whenever the U.S. makes policy choices, like the disastrous Iraq war decision, that appear to be in Israel's interest more than our own. ........As I've said again and again, the horror of the Iraq war ought to set off a soulsearching among Jews of conscience about the extent to which the now-routine business of rationalizing Israel's brutal policies toward the Palestinians has come to affect American choices in the Middle East.”

How could The Israel Lobby’s threats, intimidation and pressure to prevent any open discussion about the treatment of the Palestinians by the Government of Israel in violation of international human rights, United Nations Resolutions and the core values of Judaism have facilitated the approval of the plans to invade Iraq?

As The Israel Lobby used its vast resources to limit public access to the facts on the ground, here is what it “taught” the American public (either deliberately or subconsciously) over the last 40 years about what was happening in the West Bank and Gaza (the occupied territories) and Southern Lebanon.

There are a lot of Arabs/Muslims there. All Arabs/Muslims hate all Jewish Israelis (who, of course, are just like us in the United States, Judeo-Christians). These Arabs/Muslims want to destroy a democratic peace-loving State of Israel. The Arab/Muslim leaders of the Palestinians are despots and corrupt and leaders of a totalitarian entity. The Occupied territories are filled with Arab/Muslim terrorists - individuals who kill anyone associated with a democratic peace-loving country like Israel (or, actually, any government, even if it is a right-wing dictatorship, so long as it is supported by the United States).

Any time there is violence or the threat of violence against Israel, the solution is overwhelming military attacks (even if it by a preemptive strike). Such attacks are always justified because they are always in retaliation against Arab/Muslim individuals or groups that hate our freedoms. The deaths of a few women and children Arab/Muslim Palestinians are, unfortunately, simply collateral damage incurred while engaging in the fight against all Arab/Muslim militants (terrorists).

The lesson to be learned is that if you don’t get Arabs/Muslims where they are, you will have to fight them in the streets of your country. Be worried at all times. Be fearful at all times. Heightened security is the answer and the only way to bring about peace. Peace will come when these Arab/Muslim terrorists who hate us stop using violence against our democratic freedom-loving country. Take whatever action is necessary to keep these Arab/Muslims from hurting us. Keep them away from us. Build walls. Build roadblocks and checkpoints. Station troops among them. Destroy their governmental infrastructure. Undermine their economy. Bomb their power plant. Assassinate suspected terrorists. Destroy their homes. The only way to deal with these Arab/Muslim terrorists and the only language they understand is force.

I am not saying that the pressure of those in The Israel Lobby was the primary motivation for the invasion of Iraq nor am I am not saying that The Israel Lobby’s support of the invasion of Iraq was given because it was in the best interests of Israel (nor am I saying they are not true).

What I am saying is that the American public has “learned” from the extensive effort of the Israel Lobby that: the Arab/Muslims are terrorists; there is simply no justification for their violence; “we” are right and just, “they” are wrong and evil; and the only solution is to attack them with overwhelming military force.

Again from Philip Weiss:

“As I've said again and again, the horror of the Iraq war ought to set off a soulsearching among Jews of conscience about the extent to which the now-routine business of rationalizing Israel's brutal policies toward the Palestinians has come to affect American choices in the Middle East.”

What a tangled crusade we weave, when first we practice to deceive.

Thanks to The Israel Lobby, we – Jews, Americans, Israelis and Palestinians - are all a little less than what we might have been.

Soulsearching, anyone???

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Friends of Sabeel - New England Conference - Archbishop Tutu and Jeff Halper

I have read a few of Tony Karon's articles but did not realize that he had a Blog - the Rootless Cosmopolitan. Here is a good example of his writing - one on Archbishop Desmond Tutu

I mention this because Archbishop Tutu is the keynote speaker at the Friends of Sabeel - New England Conference entitled “The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine-Israel: Issues of Justice and Equality” on Friday, September 26 and Saturday, September 27 in Boston. Here are a few more details:

Location: Old South Church, 645 Boylston St., Boston
Friday—2:30 PM—10:00 PM - Saturday—8:00 AM—4:30 PM
Keynote Address: Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Panelists: Naim Ateek, Anat Biletzki, Diana Buttu, Noam Chomsky, John Dugard, Farid Esack, Noura Erekat, Jeff Halper, Donald Wagner, David Wildman
Other Participants:Phyllis Bennis, Joan M. Martin, Nancy Murray, Bishop Thomas Shaw
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee—Massachusetts Chapter
American Friends Service Comm.--Peace & Economic Security Program
Boston Committee on Palestinian Rights
Boston Theological Institute
Episcopal Divinity School
Grassroots International
ICHAD-USA (Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions)
Jewish Voice for Peace—Boston Chapter
Massachusetts Islamic Society
Middle East Children’s Alliance
National Lawyers Guild—Massachusetts Chapter
Pax Christi Massachusetts
Society of Saint John the Evangelist
Somerville/Medford United for Justice and Peace
Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
Watertown Citizens for Environmental Safety—Peace & Justice Task Force

For the brochure and the entire program, go to

I plan to attend and encourage you to do the same.

As you will note in the program, Jeff Halper will be ending his Boston area speaking engagements as a panelist Friday night.

Herewith a bold prediction - timedated by me as 1:45pm on Thursday, October 11, 2007.

Based on "The Distinct Odour of Panic"- within the next fortnight (using the term for 14 days to be consistent with the word "odour") there will be a quote from a "leader" (as proclaimed by the media) of the Jewish community labeling the Sabeel conference as either or both "Anti-Semitic" and "giving aid and comfort to Anti-Semites".

The Distinct Odour of Panic in The Israel Lobby

Someone recently referred to the posting of full page ads in the New York Times by those who oppose the boycott of Israeli academicians as having "the distinct odour of panic."

That is similar to the feeling I had when I was invited to attend this program.

"A Conversation with Former (Israeli) Ambassador Itamar Rabinovich"
Past President of Tel Aviv University, and currently a lecturer at Harvard.

Monday, October 15
Temple Ohabei Shalom
1187 Beacon Street, Brookline
7:15 PM

Sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council's Israel Action Center, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, and the Consulate General of Israel to New England. Cosponsors of the event include AIPAC-The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, American Jewish Committee-Greater Boston Chapter, Anti-Defamation League-New England Region, Boston-Haifa Life Sciences Initiative, Bureau of Jewish Education, CAMERA-Committee for Accuracy for Middle East Reporting in America, The David Project, Hadassah
NorthEast, Israel Aliyah Center, Synagogue Council of Massachusetts, and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism-New England Region.

RSVP Required. To register, contact or 617-457-8650

I do not recall a recent program in which so many of these Boston area Jewish organizations who almost always support any action taken by the Government of Israel have gathered together to co-sponsor a program. I may be wrong in assuming that Mr. Rabinovich will not talk about the torture of, and extensive violations of international law by the Government of Israel in its treatment of, Palestinians but I don't think so.

Whats happening?

The Israel Lobby, that's what's happening.

The Mearsheimer/Walt highly researched, well documented book has hit the best-seller list and deservedly so. It is a tough read. I am half way through and have not even looked at any of the citations in the over 100 pages of footnotes.

What strikes me the most is the depth and extent of the joint effort on the part of many Jewish individuals and groups: to prevent any criticism of the Government of Israel by individuals, organizations and Members of Congress and to ensure that there is no open thoughtful discussion anywhere in this country about the relationship between the United States and Israel.

What brought this home to me, and should have been obvious to me at the time, took place last year when the Government of Israel decided, as usual, to pursue a military solution to its conflict with Hezbollah (which had been formed in reaction to Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982), using as its pretext this time the firing of a rocket into Israel.

(The following is excerpted from Wikipedia) The Government of Israel attacked with a combination of massive airstrikes and artillery fire on targets in Lebanon, which damaged Lebanese civilian infrastructure, including Beirut's Rafic Hariri International Airport, an air and naval blockade, and a ground invasion of southern Lebanon. Hezbollah then launched more rockets into northern Israel and engaged the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in guerrilla warfare from hardened positions. The conflict killed more than a thousand people, most of whom were Lebanese civilians; severely damaged Lebanese infrastructure; and displaced 974,184 Lebanese. After the ceasefire, some parts of Southern Lebanon remained uninhabitable due to unexploded cluster bombs.

What was the reaction of the Congress of the United States which has been in gridlock for years with intense bitter debates over hundreds of controversial issues from children's health to abortion to education to the environment to stem cell research to the war in Iraq to the minimum wage to the Armenian genocide?

Wouldn't you expect an outcry from many liberal progressive Democrats who, I have to assume, believe that this action of the Government of Israel to be an overreaction, brutal, barbarian, inexcusable, unjustified, another illegal invasion of Lebanon, a humanitarian crime, and another reliance on the military rather than the negotiation route to end a conflict??

Sorry to disappoint you.

On July 20, 2006, the United States Congress called the Question on House Resolution 921 "On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Agree to a Bill Title: Condemning the recent attacks against the State of Israel, holding terrorists and their state-sponsors accountable for such attacks, supporting Israel’s right to defend itself, and for other purposes - the yeas were 410 and the nays were 8. No question that there are many congressman who could be given "profiles in cowardice" awards for this action.

Overwhelming, no debate, no opposition.


As thousands who are now reading The Israel Lobby will find out, AIPAC is either the most effective lobbying organization or second to AARP and/or the NRA. Over the years it has been able to use the carrot of financial support and the threat of withdrawing financial support to ensure that Congressmen become and remain "Friends of Israel".

"The Israel Lobby" is now in the public domain and has ended, perhaps forever, the effectiveness of the intimidation and pressure of certain Jewish individuals and organizations to prevent an open discussion about the actions of the Government of Israel and the relationship between Israel and the United States.

(If you want to some extremely well written articles about John Mearsheimer/Stephen Walt/The Israel Lobby, I suggest you go here to the Book Category of Mondoweiss, scroll down to the article "Anticipating Walt and Mearsheimer" written by Philip Weiss on August 2, 2007, and scroll back up for more articles about The Israel Lobby and its authors.)

Back to the "the distinct odour of panic."

But I do not expect those who participate in what is referred to as The Israel Lobby to sit back and ignore what is happening. What you can expect is an onslaught of public presentations by Israeli officials and others "justifying" the actions of the Government of Israel, more full-page ads screaming out about anti-semitism of critics of policies of the Government of Israel, more whispering about "self-hating Jews", more subtle anti-Arab anti-Muslims crusades, more secret threats to Congressmen of being called "Enemies of Israel".

This panic is, I hope, a justified response. We may be seeing the end of the darkness. Time to listen again to the song from the play - Time to "Let the Sunshine In".

400,000 Palestinians in Lebanon Refugee Camps - Who Cares?

I just read this article in the Boston Globe.

We focus on the brutal treatment by the Government of Israel of the Palestinians in the West Bank, the Palestinians in Gaza, and the Bedouin Israelis.

That leaves little time to be concerned about a mere 400,000 Palestinians living in impoverished refugee camps.

Think about these Palestinians living in refugee camps for 40 years. Think about them raising their children and their children raising their children in abject poverty with no hope for meaningful employment.

A settlement of the conflict - dealing with issues such as the "right of return" or the possibility of resettlement in a Palestinian state - are far from theorectical, political concepts for them.

As the Government of Israel uses delaying and stalling tactics year by year and tolerates violations of international human rights and acts contrary to the values of Judaism, dreaming someday of complete control over a West Bank without Palestians who have been "encouraged" to go somewhere else, I remind Jewish people and others of this excerpt from the Haftarah read on Yom Kippur called Acharey Mos written by Ezekiel ABOUT 400-500 BCE:

“O city that sheddest blood in the midst of thee, that thy time may come and that makest idols unto thyself to defile thee. …therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the nations, and a mocking to all the countries. Those that are near and those that are far from thee, shall mock thee, thou defiled of name and full of tumult. Behold the princes of Israel, every one according to his might, have been in thee to shed blood. In thee have they made light of father and mother; in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger; in thee have they wronged the fatherless and the widow. Thou hast despised My holy things and hast profaned My sabbaths…. In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken interest and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbors by oppression, and hast forgotten Me, saith the Lord God. Behold, therefore, I have smitten My hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee. And I will scatter thee among the nations, and disperse thee through the countries; and I will consume thy filthiness out of three. And thou shalt be profaned in thyself in the sight of the nations and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel XXII, 3-8

I do not have a citation to it but I recall a recent global survey that found that the two countries that are the greatest threat to world peace are the United States, of course, and Israel (a "reproach" and a "mocking" for sure).

Palestinian refugees return to camp devastated by militants in Lebanon
By Hussein Dakroub, Associated Press October 11, 2007


They came in buses, cars, and on foot, clutching plastic bags and boxes of food. About 100 Palestinian families become the first of 30,000 displaced people to return to this refugee camp, destroyed in three months of fighting with Islamic militants inspired by Al Qaeda. More are expected to arrive in the coming weeks even before reconstruction begins.

Buses and pickups with mattresses and pillows piled on top and packed with canned food, bottled water, bread, and dates queued at an army checkpoint on a dusty street at the camp's eastern entrance in front of shelled and burned buildings.

Most of the families were returning for the first time to the camp since the army crushed Fatah Islam militants on Sept. 2 after more than three months of heavy fighting. Many did not know whether their homes and shops were still standing.

The government has said it would cost $382.5 million to rebuild the camp, and the United Nations has appealed for $55 million in emergency funding.

Lebanon has about 400,000 Palestinians - mostly refugees who fled after Israel was created in 1948 and their descendants. They live in 12 impoverished camps, including Nahr el-Bared, banned from all but menial jobs and mostly living off UN aid.

The issue is so sensitive that the refugees, and the government, are eager for a quick return to Nahr el-Bared even though large parts are unfit for habitation. The refugees fear being permanently resettled elsewhere in Lebanon as a prelude for a larger Palestinian resettlement, and the government has taken pains to allay their concerns by promising a quick return to Nahr el-Bared.

"I cannot describe my happiness with the return to my home in the camp," said Samira Youssef al-Bani, a veiled 44-year-old mother of 10, seated in a waiting bus. "I am ready to live with my family even in one destroyed room in Nahr el-Bared."

Large parts of the camp, on the outskirts of the northern port city of Tripoli, were destroyed by tank and artillery bombardment and door-to-door fighting. More than 200 militants, 168 soldiers, and about 40 civilians were killed in the worst internal fighting Lebanon has witnessed since the 1975-90 civil war.

The 100 families, who fled to the nearby Beddawi camp, are the first group of about 800 families the Lebanese Army is allowing to return to one section of the camp. About 100 families will return per day, Lebanese military and Palestinian officials said.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East handed out leaflets to the returning families warning them against touching unexploded shells. Troops banned journalists and photographers from joining the families.

© Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Quotes about the Illegality and Immorality of the Jewish Settlements

As noted in my previous post, I am printing below the handout I prepared prior to a panel discussion in 2003 about the legality of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank.


1980 April 25, 1980 - Hon Arie Lova Eliav – his belief that Palestinians also have a right to the land led him being a prominent member of the Labor party to leadership of the doves “It also is the basis for his opposition to the present policy of establishing Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. This land, under his proposal is being held for the Palestinians subject to their agreement on demilitarization and other conditions.”

1991 -Michael Lerner on Linkage in Nov/Dec 1991 Tikkun Starting in early 1990 Shamir clearly announced his intention to use Soviet Jewish immigration to counter …the threat of higher Palestinian birth rates … But to carry out Shamir’s strategy, Israel needs loan money to be used inside Israel; this would then free up the billions of dollars for settlements on the West Bank… So in a supreme act of chutzpah, Shamir turned to the U.S. and asked Bush to provide the funds to make a mockery of Bush’s own land-for-peace policy.

2002 Core Vision and Founding Principles of the Tikkun Community “… the greatest obstacle to the creation of a state living up to the values of an ethically and spiritually renewed Judaism are the Occupation, the settlements, and what is described in Michael Lerner’s book Jewish Renewal as the “Settler Judaism” mentality.

2002 - Michael Lerner – June 24, 2002 - If the US wants peace, George Bush is going to have to summon the courage that allowed his father to stand up to the American friends of Israel’s Right wing. In 1991 that meant demanding a settlement freeze, but in 2002 that will mean support for an international intervention to separate and protect the two sides from each other and to impose a settlement which minimally requires an end to the Occupation and the settlements, reparations for the Palestinian refugees

2002 Jan Hayden – the settlements are currently an obstacle to peace - I want to get the US to move from the “obstacle to peace” language … downgraded from “illegal” over the years, back to stating that the US considers the settlements to be illegal, and therefore Israel must abandon them.

2002 - April 14 - Rabbi Ben-Zion Gold at Harvard Hillel – Building of Israeli settlements in parts of the West Bank has frustrated their (Palestinians) hopes. At this point three generations of Palestinians have lived for thirty-five years under Israeli occupation and the persistent building of settlements on their land has led to violent conflict. When Sharon was elected . . his commitment to the preservation of the settlements precluded the possibility of a peaceful resolution of the conflict. . the conflict can not be solved by power alone. Then by what? By removing the basis for the conflict. The Jewish settlements on the West Bank are a grave and dangerous mistake that have done much harm to Israel. Micah. “He has told you, O man, Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.” By all means, Humbly.

2002 Brit Tzedek V’Shalom - Founding Principles – 6) The evacuation of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories. These settlements are a major obstacle to peace, a tremendous
financial burden to Israel and do little, in anything, to enhance Israel’s security. There settlements constantly endanger the settlers themselves and the Israeli soldiers sent to defend them, and they bring grave harm to the Palestinians living under Occupation. We call for bringing safely home to Israel the settlers from all settlements except those included as part of a negotiated and mutually agreed upon exchange of territories between Israel and Palestine in determining the final borders of both states.

2002 Archbishop Desmond Tutu statement – In a region where repressive governments and unjust policies are the norm, Israel is certainly more democratic that most of its neighbors. This does not make dismantling the settlements any less of a priority. . Over 35 new settlements have been constructed this year. Each one is a step away from the safety deserved by the Israelis and two steps away from the justice owed to the Palestinians. If apartheid ended, so can the occupation, but the moral force and international pressure will have to be just as determined.”

2002 Jimmy Carter – “Arial Sharon … rejection of all peace agreements that included Israeli withdrawal from Arab lands, his invasion of Lebanon … have all been orchestrated to accomplish his ultimate goals; to establish Israeli settlements as widely as possible throughout occupied territories and to deny Palestinians a cohesive political existence.”

2002 National Lawyers Guild – April 15, 2002 – More than 200,000 Israeli settlers now live in the West Bank in some 190 settlements linked by special highways (from which Palestinians vehicles are excluded) that have effectively cut the West Bank in isolated enclaves surrounded by Israeli military forces and checkpoints. In numerous resolutions, the UN Security Council and General Assembly have condemned these settlements as illegal under Article 49(b) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an Occupying Power from transferring parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies. In May 20, 2001, the Mitchell Report urged that Israeli government completely freeze building more settlements. Nonetheless, Peace Now, reported in March 2002 that an aerial survey of the West Bank shower thirty-four new settlement sites build in the last year. The recent military offensive continues the same process that the settlements reflect, and in so doing is an attempt by Israel to effectively continue the occupation indefinitely or drive the Palestinian population from the West Bank.

2002 Rabbi Arthur Waskow - Periodically in Israeli public life, the question is raised about bringing settlers safely home from the Gaza settlement of Netzarim, where fifty families of Israeli settlers have required the presence of thousands of Israeli troops and the deaths of more than a dozen in order to protect them. Asked in an interview with Ha'aretz in April 2001, .. "Would you be ready to evacuate settlements as part of a non-belligerency agreement?", Sharon answered bluntly: "No. Absolutely not." "Not even isolated settlements like Netzarim in the Gaza Strip?", the interviewer followed up: "No. Not at any price," Sharon answered. "Why do we have to evacuate Netzarim? For what?" Later Prime Minister Sharon said that to him, this settlement is as precious as Tel Aviv.

2002 – July 27 - Yitzhak Frankenthal – My beloved son Arik, my own flesh and blood, was murdered by Palestinians. The Palestinians … have been ready to make peace with us; it is we who are unwilling to make peace with them .. as an occupation force it is we who trample over human dignity, it is we who crush the liberty of Palestinians and it is we who push an entire nation to crazy acts of despair. Finally, I call on my brothers and sisters in the settlements – see what we have come to.