Archive for the 'Palestine' Category

Two more now confirmed war crimes to add to Bush’s tally

Despite a complete media blackout on the story in Canada, the U.K. and the United States, the dean of the U.S. White House Press Corps, Hellen Thomas, recently received a great deal of online attention for daring to state the obvious.  By most accounts, the attention began on the popular social networking site, which managed to raise several thousand dollars to send Ms. Thomas flowers for what was seen as her daring question for White House Press Secretary Dana Perino.

The ‘obvious’ thing that Thomas pointed out is, of course, that revelations of evidence (both photographic and otherwise) of the use of WWII-era torture techniques as well as evidence that U.S. President George W. Bush personally signed off on approving torture, necessarily means that President Bush lied when he said the U.S. does not torture.

However, even this somewhat subdued (yet obviously true) fact, has been met with a virtually complete media blackout.  One could even push the envelope even further in this matter though, and if North America had a critical press, Ms. Thomas’s question would not have been seen as either particularly extreme or controversial.  Rather, on the contrary, if Ms. Thomas wanted to be even more accurate, she could have also pointed out — with equal confidence — that these recent revelations on torture means that George W. Bush is, by definition, a war criminal and that this is but merely one of two items which came to light in the past two weeks which constitute war crimes on the part of the U.S. President.

The other revelation, which was covered somewhat in the mainstream press, was the revelation that U.S. President Bush blessed (and assisted through military aid) the expansion of the illegal Jewish settlements in Palestinian occupied territory.  Of course, acquiring lands through conquest constitutes not only a war crime but constitutes what Robert H. Jackson, chief prosecutor for the United States at the Nuremberg Trials, claimed was the “supreme” war crime.  This latter fact, yet again, was not mentioned in the mainstream media in North America or the U.K..

So, if you’re keeping track:  that’s two war crimes revealed in as many weeks.  The press has not only glossed over both revelations, but to the extent that Helen Thomas’s rather subdued and tame question about lying (rather than war crimes) has been addressed online or elsewhere, it has been treated as somehow radical.  Don’t get me wrong: Thomas deserves the utmost credit for posing her question in a forceful manner, but let’s not kid ourselves here — the lying is nowhere near as bad as the war crimes.

Israeli lobby group has begun to pay students to agree with Israeli policy

A pro-Israeli lobby group, has begun a program to pay Canadian and American university and college students to agree with Israeli policy and to voice pro-Israeli sentiment in classroom discussion, and in grassroots organization with other campus groups.

The program, organized by the pro-Israel lobby group Stand With Us Campus, offers $1000 per year to pro-Israeli students or to students who may be enticed to go along in order to receive the prize of $1000 (source).  In exchange for this money, students are to, in Stand With Us Campus‘s own words, “build relationships with their campus groups and individuals” to influence discourse in favour of Israel and then (again, in their words) “report back to SWU campus staff to evaluate program effectiveness and network among themselves to ensure consistency.” (source)

So the next time you hear an undergraduate  student in class claiming that Israel is only defending itself when the Palestinian/Israeli  death toll is more than 14-to-1 in Israel’s favour, just think:  he or she might actually be getting paid to say (and believe) such arguments.

According to Stand With Us Campus‘s literature, so far, the following Canadian and American universities and colleges have a student or students  (or “Fellows”, as they call them) who are being paid to advocate Israeli policy in their discussions and in their extra-curricular campus activity.

(Canadian schools listed in boldvictim-of-israeli-attack.png

Columbia University
Cornell University
Florida Atlantic University
Florida International University
Indiana University
Johns Hopkins University
Lawrence University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
McGill University
Miami Dade College
Northern Illinois University
Queens College (CUNY)
Rice University
San Diego State University
San Francisco State University
San Jose State University
Santa Monica College
State University of New York at New Paltz
Swarthmore College
Syracuse University
The George Washington University
The University of Texas at Austin
Towson University
University of Arizona
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Riverside
University of California, San Diego
University of Florida
University of Michigan
University of New Mexico
University of North Texas
University of Oregon
University of Pennsylvania
University of Southern California
University of Vermont
University of Victoria
University of Windsor
Wayne State University



Note: The images used in this piece are curtosy of Information Clearing House‘s photographic archive of images of the most recent Israeli incursion into Lebannon (the one that was planned months before to await provocation).  WARNING:  If you click the above link to Information Clearing House, the images you will see are much more graphic than the images included in this post.  The images selected for inclusion above were selected because they were generally much less gruesome than the worst of the images of Israeli attacks.

Our regressive view of Palestinian democracy

I don’t want to write a blog post specifically on the topic of how the US is punishing the Palestinians for “voting the wrong way” and electing Hamas and the hypocrisy thereof.  I think Red Jenny has done a superb enough job and demonstrating this (click here for her post), that further going over this here wouldn’t add anything to the debate.

I did, however, want to discuss some of the similarities between us and the Palestinians which should give us pause the next time we criticize their system and then, with that in mind, discuss the double standard in how we’ve treated Israel compared to how we treat Palestine.

First:  the similarities between us (and our government) and the Palestinians (and Hamas):

We:  recently elected a government not because we necessary liked the platform but because the Liberals were corrupt.  (which, incidentally, is an argument that Tory supporters use to defend their government’s actions:  they say “well, you may not like what they’re doing, but at least we keep our promises.”)

The Palestinians:  recently elected a government not because they necessarily liked the platform but because Fatah was corrupt.  (which, incidentally, is also an argument that Hamas supporters use to defend their government’s actions) 

Continue reading ‘Our regressive view of Palestinian democracy’

O’ for the days when racism was rewarded…

According to a new poll by Angus-Ried’s Israeli subsidiary ‘Dialogue’ [available here], Israel’s far-right former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is now the most popular politician in the country.  For any lover of peace and dispiser of racism, this would be a sad day simply by virtue of the party standings in this poll – Likud (which, if you don’t know what they’re like, think of the hard-line of the US Republican Party and you’ll have a rough approximation) is first, the centre-left Labour party is down slightly from their last election results, and Yisrael Beytenu (another right-wing party) is in third place and up in popularity from their last election results.

But what really troubles be about this poll is the continued strength of Netanyahu’s Likud Party despite recent remarks.   On January 3rd, the Jurusalem Post noted here that Netanyahu had the following words to say about the massive cuts to child welfare he instituted when he was PM:

“Two positive things happened,” he told a conference of haredi government officials in Nir Etzion this week. “Members of the haredi public seriously joined the workforce.  And on the national level, the unexpected result was the demographic effect on the non-Jewish public, where there was a dramatic drop in the birth rate.”

That’s right folks, you read that correctly, it’s a positive thing that the Arabs are now too poor to feed their children.  The Jurusalem Post article went on to explain that:

“The once-and-possibly-future prime minister of Israel says publicly that he’s sorry his welfare cuts made life harder for Jewish families who are “blessed,” as he put it, with many children, but isn’t it “positive” that these cuts resulted in fewer Arab children being born? Then Netanyahu went on to suggest a national remedy for the victims of his economic policies – but for Jewish victims only, not Arab victims.”

So this was on January 3rd.  The Angus-Ried poll was released on January 15th.  So Netanyahu makes a remark that one positive ancillary benefit to giving children less aid was that there were fewer non-Jews born and less than two weeks later he’s the most popular politician in the country with an increase in popularity since November 2006.

The collective lament of France’s Jean-Marie Le Pen, Italy’s Alessandra Mussolini (Benito Mussolini’s granddaughter), Austria’s Jorg Haider, and others on the far-right, pleading “O’ for the days when racism was rewarded…” has, with this poll, been answered.


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