How to start a World War III with Iran in 3 easy steps. 1. Move The USS Enterprise scheduled to be decommissioned next year, with 8 nuclear reactors to the Straights of Hormuz. 2. Israel positions its Dolphin nuclear subs awaiting the USS Enterprise. 3. Sacrifice the Enterprise and all its crew and blame it on Iran to start World War III.
The issue is not about hummus, chocolate bars or Dead Sea vacations. It is about civil society taking full responsibility for its own action (or lack of). The issue is not exactly about Israeli products either, but rather about how even a seemingly innocent decision like buying Israeli dates may enable the continued subjugation of the Palestinian people.
Because the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) highlights this, the reaction it often generates is charged and vehement. Many also react to the BDS because it actually works. Israeli supporters have every right to be concerned that their carefully customized discourse on Israel’s infallibility (juxtaposed with Palestinian depravity) – which has been promoted for decades in various media and political outlets in the US and Western countries – is now simply falling apart.
The recent University of Pennsylvania BDS conference, organized by student group, PennBDS, was the latest example to illustrate both the effectiveness of the global movement and also of the real worry felt by supporters of Israel in the United States. Knowing fully that facing BDS allegations head on would most likely be unsuccessful, they organized around misinformation, name-calling and intimidation. However, the tired strategy is no longer bearing fruit.
Israel’s Zionist supporters made every attempt to galvanize the Jewish community in Philadelphia into targeting the conference that called for Israel to be held accountable for its military occupation, racial discrimination and flagrant violations of international law.
One of those angered by the conference is Ruben Gur, a professor of psychiatry at the university. In an article published in the Daily Pennsylvanian, he likened the conference organizers to ‘Nazis’.
A relevant precedent for such a movement is the groups organized by the Nazis in the 1930s to boycott, divest and sanction Jews and their businesses,”
he wrote, perhaps knowing fully the historical inaccuracy of his statement.
Penn President Amy Gutmann and Trustees Chair David L. Cohen insisted that allowing PennBDS to organize was merely a moral duty aimed at
protecting speech we may not like” (a strangely balanced statement, to say the least). “The University has repeatedly, consistently and forcefully expressed our adamant opposition to this agenda. Simply stated, we fundamentally disagree with the position taken by PennBDS,” they wrote in the Daily Pennsylvanian.
The debate registered in every available medium and extended far beyond the parameters of the university itself. Bizarrely, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia wished to counter the BDS conference by hosting no other than Alan Dershowitz to deliver an emergency speech on campus. Dershowitz, known for his inflammatory rhetoric and smearing approach to pro-Palestinian activists, was forced to change tactics, as the conference and the controversy it generated allowed BDS activists a platform to organize and convey a clear and peaceful message.
The BDS conference gives us an opportunity to respond to hate with positive messages,” Dershowitz said, as reported in Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent newspaper.
Those involved in promoting causes of peace and justice know well that such hysteria is an indication of fear and palpable weakness. The pro-Israeli logic – justifying racial superiority, rationalizing military occupation, defending ethnic cleansing – is simply worthless in the face of an articulate opposing message. Therefore, whenever confronted by such events, Israeli-sympathizers resort to igniting ‘controversy’. This is fed mostly by biased reporting, inflammatory language and unfounded accusations. Professor Gur was unmatched in representing the model, as he attacked even the student newspaper itself: “I could barely believe my eyes. It is bad enough that Penn has allowed itself to be associated with this hateful genocidal organization, but for you to give room for their ‘explanation’ and then dignify this outpouring of misinformation and anti-Semitism…”
Still, “while the opponents of BDS were busy name-calling, the people at the conference were engaged in pointing out the facts on the ground,” according to Uri Hores, an Israeli peace activist (writing in +972 magazine). These include: “practical facts, historical facts and legal facts, presented by experts in international human rights law like Noura Erakat, who provided the conference with a comprehensive overview of the complex legal system under which Palestinians live.”
According to Hores, the Penn conference was “modeled after a similar conference held in 2009 at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.” This is very important since the success of these initiatives, despite the defamations and exaggerated controversy, invite discussions elsewhere. One such precedent was in April 2010, when the student senate at the University of California, Berkeley debated the issue of divestment from US companies that were “materially or militarily profiting” from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. A divestment bill was put to a vote. Notable individuals including Noam Chomsky, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Naomi Klein and Alice Walker issued statements in support of the bill, while Nobel laureates Shirin Ebadi, Mairead Maguire, Rigoberta Menchu Tum and Jody Williams signed a letter echoing the outpouring of support: “We stand united in our belief that divesting from companies that provide significant support for the Israeli military provides moral and strategic stewardship of tuition and taxpayer-funded public education money. We are all peace makers, and we believe that no amount of dialogue without economic pressure can motivate Israel to change its policy of using overwhelming force against Palestinian civilians.”
It should be noted that the outpouring of support for BDS initiatives was hardly done at the behest of any individual or group. Rather it was a response to a call made by 171 Palestinian civil society organizations in July 2005.
The Middle East region is already testimony to the rise of people power which has inspired the world. BDS is a mere continuation of a global struggle for justice, and PennBDS are but mere facilitators of an expanding movement that will surely usher real change in a long-stagnant colonial paradigm. Prominent Palestinian activist Ali Abunimah told the conference in his keynote speech:
This insane hysteria about the conference tells us something about the moment we are in. In terms of the battle of ideas, we are in the end game.”
A growing number of people are already realizing this fact. One of the US’s most celebrated rock musicians, Cat Power, cancelled her Israel show, “joining a list of artists shunning the country,” according to the Washington Post (Feb 10). She canceled a scheduled Tel Aviv concert because she felt “sick in her spirit”. Numerous artists, companies and ordinary individuals also feel that way, proving that global solidarity is not a sentimental value, but real podium for those who wish to bring about positive change.
- Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).
We are all Palestinians engaged in the jihad (struggle) against Zionist meglomania and lies.
Terror campaigns led by Israel supporters against mosques, universities and any venue which invites Palestinians, speakers on the Israeli occupation or Islam are revealed regularly on blogs such as Harry’s Place. These co-ordinated bullying tactics are terrorism by harassment with endless phone calls and emails to the venue provider who is led to believe the person coming to speak or even play music is anti Semitic, racist or a holocaust denier.
Harry’s Place is unashamedly and openly Islamophobic, in 2006 they won the annual award for Islamophobia from the Islamic Human Rights Commission.
Posters on Harry’s Place plumbed new depths of Islamophobia this week with a photograph of Sheik Haitham al Haddad wearing clothes which are commonly worn by religious Muslim men. The wearing of loose, white, long garments by men is not something cultural, it is recommended by the Prophet Mohammed p.b.u.h. to show modesty and cleanliness. Anyone who enjoyed Bible stories as a child will remember illustrations of Prophets and religious figures wearing loose, flowing robes. What Harry’s place did with the photograph of Sheik Haitham al Haddad was to make it a caption competition. To me, and to most right minded people, inviting comments to make fun of people who wear clothes out of religious conviction is the lowest of the low. It is actually symptomatic of an intolerance of cultures which are foreign to western values. British values and manners used to mean not poking fun at people who may look a little different and to respect men of the cloth or religious scholars. Harry’s place posters are not happy with British values or even British laws, they want to impose their own. Is it possible that Harry’s place is foreign to British culture and if it is, exactly which culture does it represent?
Not only are they Islamophobic, the posters on Harry’s Place are liars. They claim to care about the rights of Muslim women, the rights of gays and other Human Rights issues, but what they really seek to do is to undermine Islam itself. To claim to support Human Rights whilst fully supporting war and occupation in Muslim lands and especially the ethnic cleansing and occupation of Palestine is total hypocrisy.
These days we find we are all Palestinians as Zionists try to control our society by extensive and relentless political lobbying. But they also engage in the active suppression of those voices whom they do not wish to hear. It is time that people in the U.K. were more aware of the Zionist agenda controlling the discourse, whether it be Islam being taught in the masajid or on Middle Eastern politics. Read here about a clear and open campaign to set up a central point of reference for universities to consult on who should be considered kosher to speak to students on campus. This, if realised would be yet another attempt to control discourse in addition to the various lobby groups already in existence.
Perhaps the grossest act of hypocrisy of Harry’s place is their banner which claims “Liberty, if it is anything, is the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear”. They are either liars or openly admit they are the biggest opponents of Liberty around.
Surah 83 Al Mutaffifin verse 29
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ أَجْرَمُوا كَانُوا مِنَ الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا يَضْحَكُونَ
Indeed, those who committed crimes used to laugh at those who believed
Racism is a big word with some very bad connotations. Being accused of racism is one of the most hurtful and potentially damaging labels around. And yet, how many ‘racists’ really think in ‘biological determinist’ terms? How many ‘racists’ out there really think in terms of ‘genes,’ or even ‘skin colour’? I guess not that many.
While acknowledging that racism had a significant cultural, and politically lethal impact between the late 19th century and the middle of the last century, in today’s politics, the word ‘racism’ is often misused, mistakenly used, or in some cases, consciously used to mislead and even to silence.
Though discrimination against minority groups is unfortunately common and totally unacceptable, it is not necessarily always motivated by crude racism. Islamophobia, for instance, is commonly regarded as a contemporary manifestation of racism but I would challenge such an understanding. Islamophobia, I contend, is not driven by racism, but rather, it is actually a crude symptom of intolerance — xenophobia manifested as hatred, bigotry and discrimination. My English Muslim convert friends are often subjected to abuse by Jewish campaigners (both Zionist and ‘anti’ Zionists) and the English Defence League — but not because of their ‘genes’, ‘biology’ or the colour of their skin, but rather because they are ‘different’; because they challenge Western value system and because they oppose Israel and its lobbies. Clearly, they are perceived by some as a ‘public enemy’ but that reaction cannot always be understood solely as ‘racism’ per se.
Similarly, it is beyond doubt that it is not easy to be black in ‘multi cultural’ Britain. Being a jazz musician I see first hand how my black friends are often treated in this country and I see plenty of evidence of institutional anti-black bigotry. I read about black youngsters being stopped and searched by police between one to four times a day. This is unacceptable and clear evidence of discrimination.
But is this really always about racism? Is it driven solely by ‘biological determinism’? Is it really about ‘genes’, ‘blood’ or ‘skin colour’? This is indeed an open question and obviously I would not rule out the possibility of anti- black (biological) racism. However, I tend to believe that in contemporary multi ethnic societies, most cases of anti-black bigotry and discrimination are various manifestations of deep, thuggish xenophobic feelings mixed with some examples of deep, and sinister cultural intolerance. In other words, often enough, the contemporary bigot is not concerned at all with biological matters but rather with social constructs and culturally driven symbolism(1). This is surely a matter of serious concern, and in some case it is driven by murderous inclinations and it must be dealt with, but it isn’t necessarily (biological) racism per se.
But if it is not racism, what is it then? I reiterate, that these are better understood as different forms of deep cultural and political intolerance within the context of some severe and troubled ethnic interrelations.
So one might ask, why do we restrict our understanding of what fighting ‘racism’ means, when it is actually more likely to be forms of intolerance, ethnic tension and cultural discrimination which we should be protesting against?
I suggest that the confusion here between ‘deep intolerance’, ‘cultural discrimination’ and ‘racism’ is actually no coincidence – rather it is there to serve a clear Zionist political cause. Peculiarly enough, it is there to maintain a clear racial orientation and segregation at the heart of the multi-cultural discourse. In many cases, those who ‘oppose’ racism must be able to think in racial categories first, otherwise their opposition would be in vain.(2)
Paradoxically then, ‘anti racism’ which many of us identify with, may in some cases evolve into a racially driven discourse. Often, it can even jeopardise the process of natural integration and the shift towards harmonious social relationships (3). It may even dismantle true self-reflective and mirroring process amongst both the victim and the aggressor.
For within a public discourse controlled by ‘anti-racist’ ideology, the victim of any racist slur is immediately redeemed. He or she does not have to self-reflect on his or her actions, for there is not much he or she can do about their ‘biologically determined conditions’. Zionists and Hasbara campaigners(4), for instance, tend to dismiss any possible criticism of Jewish politics and Israeli actions as ‘anti-Semitism’. By so doing, they basically ‘switch off’. They are able to ignore their surrounding reality by referring to any possible criticism of their actions as just another example of blind, ‘racially’ driven hatred towards Jews. Instead of taking the criticisms on board and examining them by means of self-reflection, Jewish political discourse has evolved into an insular and window-less discourse.
In the following video Israeli veteran MK Shulamit Aloni admits that tossing ‘antisemitism’ is an old Zionist trick:
Equally, the so-called ‘racist’ or ‘aggressor’ can also dismiss the anti-racist call because his or her criticism is largely ignored. The ‘aggressor’ knows that in most cases, the issue is not actually about ‘race’ per-se but rather about some acute political, cultural and ideological issues, so this enables him or her to ignore the issue altogether. In spite of the fact that within the contemporary anti Zionist discourse no one criticises Jews for being Jews or employing any racially driven ideology or terminology, Israeli Hasbara and Zionists agents attempt to silence Israel’s political critics by tossing the anti-Semitic label in the air. This tactic obviously fails to silence Israel’s critics but it certainly maintains an abyss of mutual deafness between Zionists and their critics. So we are left with two parallel discourses that have lost all hope of any future exchange.
I believe that this fact alone emphasises how grave is the prospect of peace. Anti-racist politics is in constant danger of erecting walls of deafness that maintain intellectual, political and ethnic segregation at the heart of our public discourse. Rather than promoting hope, integration, tolerance, harmony, assimilation and dialogue – anti-racism could easily promote deafness and insularity exactly where attentiveness and exchange are most needed.
It took me some time to realise that in many cases it is Zionist and Jewish lobbies that maintain and promote the ‘anti-racism’ political discourse, and they do so for two main reasons:
- Being submerged in a racially driven discourse themselves, they are bound to think in terms of racial political categories.
- Racism/anti racism is convenient because it removes any responsibility from the victim. If Jews are hated just for ‘being Jews’, then the Jew is ethically flawless.
The implications of all this are grave – as long as Jewish identity politics and Zionism are shielded by categorical definitions of ’anti-racism’, Jews can avoid any form of self-reflection.
But Jews and Zionists are not alone here: the Left also is interested in an anti-racist discourse because it maintains the Left’s relevance as being in the vanguard of progressive ‘ethical insight’. The Left has set itself up as the defender of the weak, and this is indeed adorable. Through the years the Left has sided with the ‘blacks’, with the ‘Zionists’, with the ‘Jew’, with the ‘Iraqi,’ and even with the ‘Palestinian’. But for some reason, the Left has failed to side with the leading contemporary anti-imperialist force — the Muslim. The Left has also failed to recognise that in Europe, the Muslim is the real oppressed working class and the Left clearly failed to side with the democratically elected Hamas or the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. I suggest that the Left’s failure to side with the Muslim is symptomatic of a deep and inherent Western intolerance: the Left is not racist, but it is fundamentally soaked with cultural and ideological intolerance — possibly a state of mind related to the practicality and pragmatism of being ‘a progressive’ (5). I guess that some people may feel very ‘special’ just because they believe in equality
Naturally, the ’cause’ of ‘anti racism’ binds together some elements within the Left with the Zionists and the Hasbara campaign. Arguably, so-called ‘anti racist’ politics has become just another symptom of the Zionification of the Western political discourse with the supportive Left seen as a mere Zionist instrument. This may explain why the UK’s leading anti-racist campaign group Hope not Hate(6) is an offshoot of the Zionist Searchlight Magazine, it also explains why the same Zionist Hope not hate attempts to censor the freedom of speech of Muslim leaders in Britain. It explains why the alleged ‘anti’ racist Harry’s Place (closely affiliated with Hope not hate) won the UK section of the Islamic Human Rights Commission’s ’Annual Islamophobia Awards’ in 2006. In Germany the ‘anti’ racist Antideutsche –Anti Fa coalition is openly pro-Israel, pro-Zionist and also anti Islam. My guess is that these rabid Zionist and pro Zionist campaign groups planted themselves at the heart of the so-called Left just to make sure that from there they would be better able to fight Israel’s enemies. But it goes further. In the last UK Palestinian Solidarity Campaign’s AGM, two Jewish campaigners who openly operate within an exclusive ‘Jews only’ political cell (J-BIG) proposed a motion against racism. I guess that the absurdity of the situation is clear and doesn’t need further elucidation.
So, as we can now see, some of the leading supremacist and intolerant forces within our contemporary political discourse have managed to locate themselves directly at the very heart of the ‘anti-racist’ call. Furthermore, as it becomes clear that Israel and its lobbies are the driving force behind Islamophobia, it is pretty astonishing to find out that Zionist bodies also dominate the ‘anti-racist’ discourse. The meaning of it is pretty simple – racism and its opposition has gradually become an internal Jewish affair.
The conclusion is simple. It’s time for us to move on, to admit that racism and biological determinism have no significant role in today’s public and political discourse. We must re-think and redefine exactly what it is that leads towards social discrimination and cultural intolerance. Racism in its crude form largely belongs to the past. Our multi-ethnic universe is not inherently racist and therefore anti-racism cannot be a universal call. In many cases, ‘anti racist politics’ is actually there to divert the attention from some institutional discriminatory policies and ideologies.
It is increasingly obvious that the anti-racism campaign, in its current form, is there to serve some clear political interests, and is largely controlled by racially driven Zionists, Jewish lobbies and Jewish pressure groups. It is there to silence any criticism of the Israeli lobby, Israel, Jewish politics and Zionism.
I began this paper by asking why should any Jew feel guilty for crimes that are committed by other people whom he or she does not know and with whom he or she is not affiliated? The answer should by now be obvious: Rather than liberating the rest of humanity from racism, Zionists, Hasbara campaigners and Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists should first emancipate themselves from their own racially-driven ideologies – And stopping projecting their own tribalism onto their surrounding reality would certainly be a good place to start.
- I tend to believe that clashes between ethnic and political groups in Britain are fuelled by social tension and demography rather than by hatred towards skin colour.
- One cannot contemplate over the meaning of anti X without obtaining first a certain comprehension of X
- Minority groups engaged in varied discourses of victimhood (for instance), may miss some opportunities to integrate into wider social, ethnic and political structures.
- Hasbara-Israeli propaganda
- Which is in practice not different from Jewish secular sense of ‘choseness’.
- According to its official website HOPE not hate is “Searchlight’s campaign to counter racism and fascism.” http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/about-us/
When 21 year old Clemence, a welder by trade, popped out to the shops, he forgot to take a piece of paper with him. Before too long he found himself in a strange country, where he knew no-one. It took him four months and a lot of walking to get back to his home.
Clemence, whose dad had brought him to South Africa as a toddler, is amongst the almost 10000 humans who have been forcibly removed back to Zimbabwe by the ANC government since a moratorium on arresting and deporting undocumented Zimbabweans was lifted in October last year.
It shouldn’t have happened. Clemence had his asylum seekers permit at home, and there is an internal directive issued by the Director-General of South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs, which stipulates that checks should be made to ensure that the migrants have not applied for asylum or other permits before deportation takes place.
Yet, according to Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh, who heads up the Refugee and Migrant Rights Programme at Lawyers for Human Rights, migrants with the right to remain in South Africa are often found at the Lindela Repatriation Centre outside Johannesburg, where humans like Clemence are taken prior to deportation.
Reading about this brings back vivid memories of watching cops round up people without the right permits, on Saturday nights in Hillbrow Johannnesburg, in the early eighties in Apartheid South Africa.
When I was still in primary school in South Africa, I ran away from home and was picked up by the police. At the police station a cop showed me the cells that were overcrowded, dark and smelly. He showed me the awful food that prisoners were fed, and warned me that if I was dumb enough to run away from home again, I would end up in a cell like that too. Four decades later and minors are still being detained in these appalling conditions for fleeing violence, and seeking sanctuary.
It does make me wonder how many people who watched Clemence’s arrest on that night of September remembered the Pass Laws of the Apartheid era, and realised how similar this all was. When struggling for liberation from oppression the ANC were full of lofty ideals about freedom and equality. Now they are in power, the Freedom Charter is a forgotten piece of paper, and their cops behave just like the cops behaved before ‘liberation’ was achieved.
How many watching Clemence being bundled into the back of that van wanted to step in and say, “Leave him alone, he is harming no-one, let him get on with his life”? How many felt powerless, like I did in the eighties, and wished they knew what to do to stop it?
Last night, activists who had been attending the London No Borders convergence, descended on the Harmondsworth and Colnbrook Detention Centres near Heathrow, where they attempted to block the exits in effort to stop migrants being taken to a chartered flight (which some named the #deathflight) to Ghana. In the end, the flight may well have been delayed, and most of the humans due to be on the flight may find themselves in Ghana by now, but at least 2 were saved by last minute court interventions.
One of the blockaders, Dave Leighton, 34, said:
“This flight has to be stopped. Everyone, not just a privileged few, should enjoy the freedom to move and stay wherever they want or need, regardless of their nationality or bank balance. Forcible deportations reinforce a screwed-up system whereby the rich and powerful use borders as a convenient tool to divide and distract ordinary people from the real causes of inequality.”
I’m glad that Clemence is home, and that two people were saved from that #deathflight, but how many hundreds of thousands of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees will suffer unbearably today for wanting to escape the violence and seek sanctuary. Or just for trying to feed their hungry kids?
And what will we do about it?
Another great video release from the Anonymous Hacker collective. This one makes some points about how Israel was essentially born from terrorism, and it is Israel that is the real terrorist state and their have been doing it ever since.