Rodney King, whose horrific beating by a gang of armed police officers sparked the L.A. race riots in 1992, has died in suspicious circumstances. King, 47, drowned in his home swimming pool in the early hours of Sunday, June 17th, 2012. Family members claim foul play as L.A. coroners announce that it could take over a month for them to release their opinion on the cause of death (more than enough time for everyone to get their stories straight; if this was, as some suspect, an assassination).
KING AND THE L.A. RIOTS
March 3rd, 1991: Rodney King is pulled over by the LAPD for speeding: Ushered out of his car at gunpoint, King was set upon by a swarm of police officers who reigned down a barrage of head and body blows with boots, fists and batons. King was even electrocuted with a Taser and the cops seemed to intensify their assault the weaker he became.
Fortunately, courageous eyewitness George Holliday managed to tape the attack and get the footage to local news station KTLA. Rodney King was treated for his injuries in Pacifica Hospital. ER Nurses recalled how the cops joked amongst themselves, openly bragging about the extent of the damage they’d managed to inflict upon King.
In the wake of the attack, concerned citizens formed neighbourhood watch groups to safeguard communities against police brutality, ‘The October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality’ was also established to counteract cop-on-citizen violence.
King was charged with evading arrest, imprisoned for four days and released on March 6th 1991.
April 29th 1992: The police are acquitted of all charges. Public outrage escalates to an all time high as racial tensions reach breaking point.
April 29, 1992–May 4, 1992: The L.A. race riots begin, as justifiably enraged African Americans and other racial minorities take to the streets in six days of widespread unrest. 53 people are killed and approximately 2,000 are injured as the U.S. regime deploys troops in a mad panic to pacify the city.
As fate would have it, the race riots even had a ready made soundtrack: Here, popular rap group ‘NWA’ present a harmonized, colloquial summary of anti-police sentiments amongst the African American community:
The U.S. department of Justice announces a reopening of the investigation.
March 9th 1993: At the re-trial, two of the police officers are found guilty and sentenced to two and a half years in prison whilst two others are freed without charge.
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON RODNEY KING
Now I’m tired of seeing the same old spin on the King story where they try and imply that he was somehow the author of his own misfortunes: Look out for these disinformation tangents in any Rodney King story you may come across:
1. ‘Rodney King was an alcoholic’: And? George W. Bush was an alcoholic and no one stopped that drug addled, extremist Jew controlled moron until he’d murdered close to a million innocent people. So until those who endorse the attack on King, demand that Bush be treated in the exact same way, their sermonizing amounts to nothing more than racist hypocrisy.
2. ‘Rodney King should have pulled over’: He did, and was beaten to within an inch of his life for doing so.
3. ‘The assault wasn’t as severe as the footage made it out to be’: of course it wasn’t, in fact, if you play the tape backwards; the police actually help Rodney King to his feet and send him safely on his way.
4. ‘African Americans were out of control in the L.A. Riots’: Yes, they were, almost as out of control as the cops that beat Rodney King into a catatonic stupor, two wrongs don’t make a right, but one crime doesn’t negate the crimes that provoked it.
Today, African American, Muslim, Latino and Hispanic communities appear to be losing the civil rights struggle on both the foreign and home fronts: For the prematurely lauded ‘first black president’ cowered to the homicidal whims of his Israeli-Jew administration, and obediently sanctioned the mass murder of Africans in Libya, Egypt, Sudan and Somalia whilst keeping his mouth shut on the Rothschild rape of the continent (i.e. theft of African water resources to be re-directed to the illegitimate state of Israel). The Rothschild controlled U.S. regime maintains a neo-Talmudic policing policy at home whereby dissenters, of all faiths and races, are persecuted, detained or disappeared at will. Makeshift concentration camps have already been used to imprison civilians (e.g. Pier 57 Hudson Depot, 2004) as the police become a privatized, Israeli influenced entity, no different to integrated criminal networks like the Stazi, Shin Bet or SAVAK.
The LAPD was even gifted the Real-time Analysis Critical Response (RACR): A high tech surveillance centre built in a working bomb shelter: RACR allows cops to spy on citizens 24/7 like the Cheka once did in the Soviet Union. And as for the honourable exceptions, that handful of honest policemen and policewomen; they are just that; honourable exceptions, physically unable to stem the tide of effluent villainy that hangs over this institution like a burgeoning miasma of filth and degeneracy: An all consuming toxic cloud that adversely mutates the mere concept of law and order and renders the cops little more than corrupt, morbidly obese stooges and dumb henchmen for every pro-Israeli, criminal regime in power.
For the police are subordinate to the state and the state is in hock to Israeli usurers, so to expect the employees to defy both their employer and their employer’s bosses is delusional and unlikely to happen. Unless there’s some radical change in the way that these people think or some miraculous mass awakening that opens their eyes to the awful truth.
So until then; the fight against racism goes on, as does the battle to liberate the bodies of law enforcement from the death grip of corruption and Israeli influence. The absence of serious African American leaders is also felt now more so than ever; The Honourable Minister Louis Farrakhan can only do so much and most U.S. Muslim groups are too PC for their own good. Sloganeering placard wavers who aren’t even clued up on basic information like the fact that Israel did 9/11 or that the Federal Reserve is an extremist Jew run cartel that holds the world economy to ransom.
Rodney King was an average man, an essentially decent fellow; a man occasionally afflicted by the ills produced by the same system that indoctrinated the depraved gang who attacked him. But most of all, Rodney King was a living symbol of Rothschild’s America, the racist regime that has desecrated the universal testaments of human decency beyond recognition. I forgive him his flaws and salute his courage in the face of endless provocation and relentless persecution. For in the immortal words of author Toni Morrison: “In this country, American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.”
“…assure them that you are made from love, that you speak from love,
because that is from where you were born…
many will laugh at you, many will brand you insane,
yet when has madness ever really mattered here…
some will listen, some will stay, and you will grow into friends,
into solidarity, into the forever we dream about…so treasure your woman,
treasure your man, because you are all we have…
stand in the present, draw from the future and shoot with all the ammunition of the past.”Anthony Anaxagorou: The Master’s Revenge
The Festival of San Juan began yesterday in the Venezuelan town of Curiepe, Venezuela in the northeastern state of Miranda, popularly known as Barlevento. Popular festivals in Venezuela are a traditional form of expression through which barrio residents take the public square and surrounding blocks as a community emphasizing their common history in resistance against the slavery and oppression that brought them to the Americas. The festivals represent a combination of African traditions and colonial Catholicism initiated and mediated through African drumming and dancing announced by a shell horn across the town. The traditional dances and drums at the festival dates to the times of slavery when slaves were given three days off at Solstice. Our intent to observe the festivals here in Venezuela is grounded in our experiences using ethnography and phenomenological methods of research as a form of resistance to non-European research modes.
As we entered the town the over the past two days the local police and Federales are highly visible standing around in groups with guns strapped to shoulders, parked in official trucks, hanging around stations set in areas around the square and in apartments overlooking the square. This presence is to prevent the gang violence of past festivals where struggles occurred when gangs prevented the festival from occupying the square and took control over the proceedings. These past struggles have at times ended with shoot-outs and murders. We were informed by one of the women we interviewed that there are suspicions among Chavez supporters that the US sponsored opposition is arming these gangs and encouraging violence to damage the Chavez government thus opening the door to yet another coup attempt. Our guide informed the police of our group’s intent to observe the festival and later the police allowed us space to interview people we met at the festival.
In addition to the police uniformed presence are the uniformed presence of young people in t-shirts representing the government support for the festival handing out colorful posters and festival program booklets. The T-shirts are also worn by many barrio residents. Chavez implemented policies for funding the arts with the Project of the Organic Law of Culture in 2000 with a specific aim of preserving culture. The Chavez government uses oil revenues to support cultural forms such as the urban festivals. While the intent of the government is national cohesion of culture through support for festivals such as this one the distinct history of exclusion and the religious aspects remain important to the town’s people. This was most evident in the children who were dressed in a range of cultural costumes and were waving the red flags provided by the government to honor the saints.
In her book, “Who Can Stop the Drums? Sujatha Fernandas details how the cult of San Juan may be seen along the lines of the patron client relationship where through-out the year people make requests to the saint and then repay the saint with promises, loyalty, or the carrying of the statue of the saint on their shoulders. The relationship of the people in the political sphere represents another level of the patron client relationship. While for some of the barrio residents celebrating this year, Chavez is viewed as a benefactor protecting their interests, the opposition candidate, Mr. Rondanski, the governor in this area arrives at the church heavily surrounded by guards before the mass to promote his race in a festival highly associated with black identity.
The festival celebration represents the construction of lineages that link contemporary marginality and poverty with the oppression experienced by earlier generations. We met two maestros/ elder teachers on our visits to the festival. One revered elder who explained to us the importance of the two saints, San Juan Congo and San Juan Buatista. He led us to the home of the family that houses the effigy of the San Juan Bautista who functions as the moral arbiter of purification that Catholicism imposed on the slave and explained that traditionally by being allowed in the home housing the saint we should ask the saint to grant our prayers. In contrast, San Juan Congo is the figure of slave rebellion that helped free the slaves. The second maestro/teacher who was introduced to us by a Gambian student attending the festival, explained to us the importance of the drums in addressing the continuity of culture from Africa to the Americas and the legacy of exclusion and inequality in the Americas. The drumming and dancing, was critiqued as distinct from African traditions while a meaningful embrace of African culture by the Gambian student studying in Venezuela in the exchange program established by Chavez.
The fiesta, a historic tradition challenging the unjust exclusion from membership in cities and states, reflected issues of belonging and exclusion for each member of our research group. African-American participants expressed emotional associations with people in the barrio who looked like an uncle or a grandfather with tears in their eyes and voiced a longing for cultural traditions to be preserved in the USA as experienced at the San Juan festival. A Muslim participant who wears traditional hijab fascinated many residents who asked her who she was, why she was there and wanted photos of her and with her. As the word got out quickly that we were North Americanos,or as some called us,Yankees, a group of young boys whose ages ranged somewhere between 10 -14 initiated a political discussion with her about the bad things the USA does to their country and the importance of their country’s oil. Their knowledge of history and politics was impressive. Mexican-American students described the familiarity of the culture of the festival and said they felt at home in that regard but that the overt attention from men was very uncomfortable for them. Another participant observed the exclusion and discrimination against gays at the festival and in Venezuela generally.
The festival reminded me ofthe many Saint festivals celebrated through-out my mother’s homeland of Italy. The little church in Curiepe brought back memories of the church in the town square of San Pietro Magisano, Italy and even more so, of beloved family members now deceased. The intense commitment of my Italian family to Christianity was mirrored by the town’s people crowding into the church and evoked longings for community and cultural traditions never found in the USA. The community I long for is that which Chavez is fighting for, community committed to a revolution grounded in social justice and community based on love and respect for the people. My prayer to the Saints today was this community for us all.
EVERYBODY KNOWS by now why we are stuck in Palestine.
When God instructed Moses to plead with Pharaoh to let his people go, Moses told him that he was unfit for the job because “I am slow of speech and of a slow tongue” (Exodus 4:10).
Actually, in the Hebrew original, Moses told God that he was “heavy of the mouth and heavy of the tongue”. He should have told Him that he was also heavy of the ears. So when God told him to take his people to Canada, he took his people to Canaan, spending the prescribed 40 years – just long enough to reach Vancouver – wandering hither and thither in the Sinai desert.
So here we are, in Canaan, surrounded by Muslims.
FOR DECADES, my friends and I have warned that if we dither in making peace, the nature of the conflict will change. I myself have written dozens of times that if our conflict is transformed from a national to a religious struggle, everything will change for the worse.
The Zionist-Arab struggle started as a clash between two great national movements, which were born more or less at the same time as offshoots of the new European nationalism.
Almost all the early Zionists were convinced atheists, inspired (and pushed out) by the European nationalist movements. They used religious symbols quite cynically – to mobilize the Jews and as a propaganda tool for the others.
The Arab resistance to the Zionist settlement was basically secular and nationalist, too. It was a part of the rising wave of nationalism throughout the Arab world. True, the leader of the Palestinian resistance was Hadj Amin al-Husseini, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, but he was both a national and a religious leader, using religious motives to reinforce the national ones.
National leaders are supposed to be rational. They make war and they make peace. When it suits them, they compromise. They talk to each other.
Religious conflicts are quite different. When God is inserted into the matter, everything becomes more extreme. God may be compassionate and loving, but His adherents are generally not. God and compromise don’t go well together. Especially not in the holy land of Canaan.
THE RELIGIONALIZATION (if a Hebrew-speaking Israeli be allowed to coin an English word) of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict started on both sides.
Years ago, the historian Karen Armstrong, a former nun, wrote a thought-provoking book (“The Battle for God”) about religious fundamentalism. She put her finger on an astonishing fact: Christian, Jewish and Islamic fundamentalist movements were very much alike.
Delving into the history of fundamentalist movements in the US, Israel, Egypt and Iran, she discovered that they were born at the same time and underwent the same stages. Since there is very little similarity between the four countries and the four societies, not to mention the three religions, this is a remarkable fact.
The inevitable conclusion is that there is something in the Zeitgeist of our time which encourages such ideas, something not anchored in the remote past, which is glorified by the fundamentalists, but in the present.
IN ISRAEL, it started on the morrow of the 1967 war, when the Army Chief Rabbi, Shlomo Goren, went to the newly “liberated” Western Wall and blew his Shofar (religious ram’s horn). Yeshayahu Leibowitz called him “the Clown with the shofar”, but throughout the country it evoked a resounding echo.
Before the Six Days, the religious wing of Zionism was the stepchild of the movement. For many of us, religion was a tolerated superstition, looked down upon, used by politicians for reasons of expediency.
The overwhelming victory of the Israeli army in that war looked like divine intervention, and the religious youth sprang into life. It was like the fulfillment of Psalm 118 (22): “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.” The pent-up energies of the religious sector, nursed for years in their separate ultra-nationalist schools, burst out.
The result was the settlers’ movement. They raced to occupy every hilltop in the occupied territories. True, many settlers went there to build their dream villas on stolen Arab land and enjoy the ultimate “quality of life”. But at the core of the enterprise are the fundamentalist fanatics, who are ready to live harsh and dangerous lives, because (as the Crusaders used to shout) “God Wills It!”.
The whole raison d’être of the settlements is to drive the Arabs out of the country and turn the whole land of Canaan into a Jewish state. In the meantime their shock troops carry out pogroms against their Arab “neighbors” and burn their mosques.
These fundamentalists now have a huge influence on our government’s policy, and their impact is growing. For example: for months now, the country has been ablaze after the Supreme Court decreed that 5 (five!) houses in Bet El settlement must be demolished, because they were built on private Arab land. In a desperate effort to prevent riots, Binyamin Netanyahu has promised to build in their stead 850 (eight hundred and fifty!) new houses in the occupied territories. Such things happen all the time.
But let there be no mistake: after the cleansing of the country of non-Jews, the next step would be to turn Israel into a “halakha state” – a country governed by religious law, with the abolition of all democratically enacted secular laws that do not conform to the word of God and His rabbis.
SUBSTITUTE THE word “shariah” for “halakha” – both mean religious law – and you have the dream of Muslim fundamentalists. Both laws, by the way, are remarkably similar. And both cover all spheres of life, individual and collective.
Since the start of the Arab Spring, the fledgling Arab democracy has brought Muslim fundamentalists to the fore. Actually, that started even before, when Hamas (an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood) won the democratic, internationally monitored elections in Palestine. However, the resulting Palestinian government was destroyed by the Israeli leadership and its subservient US and European subcontractors.
Last week’s apparent victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Egyptian presidential elections was a landmark. After similar victories in Tunisia and the events in Libya, Yemen and Syria, it is clear that Arab citizens everywhere favor the Muslim Brotherhood and similar parties.
The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928, is an old established party which has earned much respect with its steadfastness in the face of recurrent persecution, torture, mass arrests and occasional executions. Its leaders are untainted by the prevalent corruption, and admired for their commitment to social work.
The West is haunted by medieval ideas about the horrible Saracens. The Muslim Brotherhood inspires terror. It is conceived as a fearsome, murderous, secret sect, out to destroy Israel and the West. Of course, practically no one has taken the trouble to study the history of this movement in Egypt and elsewhere. Actually, it could not be further removed from this parody.
The Brotherhood has always been a moderate party, though they almost always had a more extreme wing. Whenever possible, they tried to accommodate the successive Egyptian dictators – Abd-al-Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak – though all of these tried to eradicate them.
The Brotherhood is first and foremost an Arab and Egyptian party, deeply embedded in Egyptian history. Though they would probably deny it, I would say – judging from their history – that they are more Arab and more Egyptian than fundamentalist. They certainly have never been fanatical.
During their 84 years, they have seen many ups and downs. But mostly, their outstanding quality has been pragmatism, coupled with adherence to the principles of their religion. It is this pragmatism that also characterizes their behavior during the last year and a half, which – so its seems – caused quite a number of voters who are not particularly religious to prefer them to the secular candidate who is tainted by his connection with the corrupt and repressive former regime.
This also determines their attitude towards Israel. Palestine is constantly on their mind – but that is true of all Egyptians. Their conscience is troubled by the feeling that at Camp David, Anwar Sadat betrayed the Palestinians. Or, worse, that the devious Jew, Menachem Begin, tricked Sadat into signing a document that did not say what Sadat thought it said. It is not the Brothers that caused the Egyptians who greeted us enthusiastically, the first Israelis to visit their country, to turn against us.
Throughout the heated election campaigns – four in a year – the Brotherhood has not demanded the abrogation of the peace agreement with Israel. Their attitude seems to be as pragmatic as ever.
ALL OUR neighbors are turning, slowly but surely, Islamic.
That is not the end of the world. But it surely compels us, for the first time, to try to understand Islam and the Muslims.
For centuries, Islam and Judaism had a close and mutually beneficial relationship. The Jewish sages in Muslim Spain, the great Maimonides and many other prominent Jews were close to Islamic culture and wrote some of their works in Arabic. There is certainly nothing in the two religions that precludes cooperation between them. (Which, alas, is not true for Christianity, which could not tolerate the Jews.)
If we want Israel to exist and flourish in a region that will for a long time be governed by democratically elected Islamist parties, we would do well to welcome them now as brothers, congratulate them on their victories and work for peace and conciliation with elected Islamists in Egypt and the other Arab states, including Palestine. We must certainly resist the temptation to push the Americans into supporting another military dictatorship in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere. Let’s choose the future, not the past.
Unless we prefer to pack up and head for Canada, after all.
How the pro-Israel lobby fails this simple test
Have you read this… ?
It is not difficult to figure out why the Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee feels he has to write such nonsense. The real puzzle is why a publication with the standing of the Wall Street Journal feels the need to print it.
- “No universities existed in the West Bank until Israel opened them after the 1967 war,” claims Mr Harris.
This will surprise the Vatican and many Catholics in the US. The first university in the West Bank was Bethlehem, opened in 1973 by the De La Salle Christian Brothers with the co-operation of the Vatican’s Congregation for Oriental Churches. It has been closed at least 12 times by the Israeli invader and shelled by Israeli tanks. Its staff and pupils are continually harassed by the Israeli occupation forces.
Birzeit became a university in 1975 after offering first and second year university courses while still a college. It too has suffered repeated closure by the Israeli occupation. In 1988 Israel shut it down for 51 months (until 1992) and the university had to operate underground, off-campus, with students taking up to 10 years to complete their degree. Can you see the good folks of Harvard, Yale, Brandeis, etc, sitting still for that kind of abuse?
And, just to be bloody-minded, Israel won’t allow students from one part of Palestine, Gaza, to attend university in another part, the West Bank, even though the two territories are considered continguous under international law. War on students is part of Israel’s obnoxious policy mix.
- “There was no Palestinian state before 1967. The West Bank was in Jordanian hands…”
I often hear this. So what? Before 1948 there was no Israeli state and the West Bank was in British hands. Before that it belonged to the Ottoman Turks. What is Mr Harris trying to tell us? That the native Palestinians were somehow responsible for what happened to the Jews in Europe and the Soviet Union, that their land was forfeit – up for grabs, ripe for the picking – and it was OK to expel them?
In 1948 the Jews declared statehood pretending to accept the UN Partition Plan’s over-generous allocation of Arab lands, but they had already embarked on a terror campaign to grab more. They ethnically cleansed some 700,000 Palestinians at gun-point. One of the hundreds of villages whose Palestinian inhabitants were put to flight was Najd, on which the Israelis built their township of Sderot… whose Jewish inhabitants everyone is supposed to feel sorry for.
They even stole Jerusalem, which the United Nations had designated an “international city”. The Old City is actually part of East Jerusalem, which is Palestinian territory; but Israel wants it all and the dispossession, annexation and Juda-isation continues at an ever-increasing pace.
- “Israel has recognized the legitimacy of Palestinian statehood as a result of negotiations.”
Instead of enforcing international law, implementing UN resolutions, ending the illegal occupation and restoring to Palestinians their lands and rights, the international community created an outrageously tilted playing field and set up ‘negotiations’ between a strong party (the nuclear-armed occupying power) and a weak party (an occupied people living under cruel military rule). Now, while the occupation continues, Israel’s Western stooges want to sit the helpless Palestinians down once again to bargain with their tormentor for their freedom.
As before, these lopsided negotiations are intended to pressure the Palestinians into abandoning their rights under international law and settling for far less than they are entitled to… in other words, accepting a pseudo-state made up of shredded remnants with little or no control over its borders, no security, no means of defence and submitting to perpetual Israeli control. The situation is plainly immoral and back-to-front.
“Just as there is currently no parity in the field of confrontation, there is also no parity around the negotiating table,”
says Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal. Negotiations serve only Israel.
How can there be peace without justice? So law and justice first, please, Mr Harris.
- “Have the Palestinians similarly accepted the legitimacy of Jewish sovereignty?”
Does anyone seriously expect Palestinians to recognise a state whose jackboot is on their throat? Israel has ethnically cleansed and confiscated Palestinian lands and water resources and obliterated Arab heritage. It has deposited more than 500,000 Jewish “settlers” on the Palestinian territory it illegally occupies with the clear intention of making the occupation permanent. For this reason Israel refuses to declare its borders. Moreover, the regime is a habitual violator of Security Council resolutions being in flagrant breach of over 30 dating back to 1967.
Meshaal has said: “We refuse to recognise the legitimacy of Israel because we refuse to recognise the legitimacy of occupation and theft of land.” Such recognition would be inconsistent with international law and human values. He also said they would accept Israel’s status (which does not amount to formal recognition) within its 1967 borders. “We just don’t want to give Israel the legitimacy for having taken our land in the first place,” he told an interviewer.
For their part Hamas would be happy to build a Palestinian state within the internationally recognised 1967 lines. This from the Palestinian Resistance won’t be music to the ears of Mr Harris, Israel’s American minders or their British government poodle, but it’s perfectly in line with international law and Palestinian rights. Israel just won’t accept it.
The credibility gap gets wider and wider…
Here in the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority insists that communications messages must be “legal, decent, honest and truthful”. I imagine the American Association of Advertising Agencies too condemns false, misleading or exaggerated claims. These standards should also apply to editorial.
Does the American Jewish Committee pass the ‘decent, honest and truthful’ test? On its website http://www.ajc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=ijITI2PHKoG&b=2818289&ct=11819077¬oc=1 the AJC expresses deep disapproval of an American Christian group, Kairos USA, for endorsing a Palestinian Christian document “demonizing Israel”.
According to Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC’s director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, “the original Kairos document did nothing to advance peace. People of goodwill recognise that direct negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis are the only way sustainable peace will be achieved”.
Would people of goodwill really put arm-twisting ahead of compliance with international law? I don’t think so. And whatever those bent ‘negotiations’ are designed to achieve, it isn’t justice.
The rabbi also says that Kairos USA aims to change American understanding of the history and complexity of the Middle East. The Christian group’s goal is not peace but “the undoing of Israel”.
The document he complains about – the Kairos Palestine Document - is the Christian Palestinians’ message to the world asking the international community to stand by the Palestinian people, who have faced oppression, displacement and apartheid for more than six decades, and work for a just peace in the Holy Land.
This hard-hitting document declares that the military occupation of Palestine “is a sin against God and humanity” and any theology that legitimizes the occupation “is far from Christian teachings”. Zionists naturally don’t like the way Kairos alerts the world to the fact that Jerusalem is still being emptied of its Palestinian citizens, their identity cards confiscated and their homes demolished and/or expropriated, and that the city of reconciliation has become a city of discrimination and exclusion, and a source of struggle rather than peace.
And they probably squirm at the way it hits out at Israel’s contempt for international law and international resolutions, and the paralysis of the international community.
The Kairos document and a report called ‘Justice and Peace for Palestine’ (discussed recently by the Methodist Church) both conclude that the occupation of Palestine by Israel is the main obstacle to security and peace. Israeli settlements on Palestinian soil are of course illegal under international law. Furthermore Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as Israelis and their pimps in the international corridors of power know perfectly well, forbids an occupying power from transferring parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies. But Israel is allowed by the ‘Big Boys’ to continue doing it.
Kairos USA therefore urges Christians in the US to press their government for a foreign policy that shows a commitment to justice for both Israelis and Palestinians. “We urge all Americans to support political candidates who do the same”.
What’s wrong with that?
How far does Israel’s ‘right to exist’ extend?
The AJC’s swipe at Kairos echoes last year’s big grumble by The Board of Deputies of British Jews, who complained that the document didn’t acknowledge Jewish connections with the land of Israel. But the Israelis’ programme of dispossession and demolition disregards the Arabs’ ownership of the same land.
The BoD also criticised British Methodists for quoting Kairos in their decision to support a boycott of Israeli goods. Again the hypocrisy is breathtaking considering that Israel relentlessly strangles Palestine’s trade and has choked off Gaza from the outside world.
“Kairos is unhelpful,” moaned Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg. “It fails to mention the violence unleashed towards Israel from before its very inception… It does not acknowledge the effect of acts of terror carried out in the heart of civic life… and by thousands of rocket attacks from Gaza.”
What is the good rabbi talking about? Israeli forces inflict terror every day on Palestinian civic life. Yes, they complain loudly about the garden-shed rockets from Gaza and will tell you the exact number. But do they keep count of the number of state-of-the-art bombs, rockets and shells fired into Gaza by their tanks, jets, helicopter gunship, armed drones and navy warships? And the resulting mega-deaths and wholesale destruction of key infrastructure, much of which was paid for by us Western taxpayers?
Has he ever mentioned the evil work of Jewish terror gangs in the run-up to Israeli independence?
Today, few people flying in to Ben Gurion airport (which serves Tel Aviv) realise that it was formerly Lydda airport. During the British mandate Lydda was a major town and designated Palestinian in the Partition. In July 1948 Israeli terrorist troops shot up the town and drove out the Arab population, Muslims and Christians alike. Donald Neff http://www.palestineremembered.com/al-Ramla/al-Lydd/Story761.html tells how, in an orgy of ethnic cleansing, the Israelis massacred 426 men, women, and children. 176 of them were slaughtered in the town’s main mosque. For the lurid details see http://www.palestineremembered.com/al-Ramla/al-Lydd/index.html.
Out of the 19,000 residents only 1,052 were allowed to stay. The remainder were forced to walk into exile in the scalding July heat leaving a trail of bodies – men, women and children – along the way.
The bloody assault on Lydda was witnessed by two American news correspondents. One recorded that “practically everything in their way died. Riddled corpses lay by the roadside.” The other wrote that he saw “the corpses of Arab men, women and even children strewn about in the wake of the ruthlessly brilliant charge”.
Then the looting: Israeli troops reportedly carried away 1,800 truck loads of Palestinian property. Jewish immigrants flooded in and Lydda was given a Hebrew name, Lod.
It can be argued that Israel has no legitimate right to Lydda/Lod/Ben Gurion airport – it was stolen in a murderous terror raid as were so many other Palestinian towns and villages. But keep it under your hat. Rabbi Noam Marans wouldn’t want American understanding of the situation, so carefully shaped and nourished by the pro-Israel lobby, to change.
As long as the Israel defies the codes of civilised conduct and denies millions their freedom its right to exist is bound to be challenged. If only the regime had behaved decently, honestly and truthfully from the start, things would have been so different.
And so would the prospects for world peace.
Stuart Littlewood’s book ‘Radio Free Palestine’ can now be read on the internet by visiting www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk .
In his 22 June 2012 speech to the Otago Foreign Policy School, The Middle East unfolding: dreams and dramas in the early 21st century, New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully spoke about what the New Zealand government sees as the strategic and economic significance of the Middle East to New Zealand.
Early in his speech McCully said, “Sadly, we are reminded by our television screens most evenings that the Middle East remains the world’s major source of potential and actual conflict. We now have, in effect, a civil war in Syria. The Assad regime is treating its own civilian population with almost unbelievable brutality. In doing so it is thumbing its nose at the international community.” Just who is thumbing their nose at the international community we shall examine below but the reference to “our television screens” and “most evenings” draws attention to the role of the corporate news media in promoting US, NATO and Israeli plans for the Middle East. A Jerusalem Post (http://www.ekurd.net/mismas/articles/misc2012/5/syriakurd499.htm) article of 16 May 2012 entitled: ‘Veteran Kurdish politician calls on Israel to support the break-up of Syria’ cites the objective of the US-sponsored armed insurgency, with the help of Israel, to “Break Syria into Pieces”.
The power political manoeuvrings over Syria are being falsely promoted by the news media as a concern for human rights. The role of the US-NATO-Israel military alliance in triggering an armed insurrection is not mentioned and neither is the role of CIA-MI6-Mossad covert intelligence operations and acts of terrorism. The US State Department’s involvement is on record (US admits funding Syrian opposition – World – CBC News 18 April 2011
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/04/18/syria-united-states-backing-wikileaks.html). No wonder the five permanent members of the Security Council are divided. The division reminds us that people have not forgotten the lies and deceit that were used to justify the criminal war of regime change in Iraq. That war destroyed the country’s infrastructure and economy. It has also cost countless lives and sown a deadly cancer-inducing legacy of white-phosphorus and depleted uranium. Whatever else such wars are about, the welfare of ordinary people is not one of them and television screens are certainly no way to decipher the truth behind the propaganda.
Israel and Palestine
In a statement of the blindingly obvious, New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister observed, “Tragically, the Middle East is no stranger to conflict.” He went on to say, ”One of the world’s most enduring, complex and dangerous conflicts is between Israel and the Palestinians. The basic elements of this conflict are well known.” Well known? Not if the news media and politicians like McCully have anything to do with it. The Zionist ideology that drives Israel to thumb its nose at international law and the world community is never mentioned. One example of nose-thumbing is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s boast to US President Obama regarding Israel’s illegal settlements that “we’re here to stay”. Another affront to the international community is the Israeli assertion that Jerusalem is the “eternal and undivided capital of Israel”.
McCully’s speech continued, “For too long, the Palestinian issue has been the fuse that threatens to ignite wider conflict in the Middle East. Festering differences that find their origins in this conflict have done much to inspire extremist attitudes affecting the wider region and beyond.” The first of these sentences is revealing. McCully does not say “the Israeli issue” or even the “Israel/Palestine” issue. He chooses to say “the Palestinian issue”. It is a matter of historical fact that before the Zionist project and the unilateral founding of the Israeli State there was no “Palestinian issue”. Palestine was simply Palestine, a part of the Ottoman Empire and later ruled under the British Mandate. The ‘issue’ plainly began with Israel and the interests of the imperial European powers. But Western propaganda implies blame upon the Palestinian people for the consequences of foreign-sponsored colonisation of their land. The reference to “festering differences” and “extremist attitudes” ignores the extremism of Zionist ideology which is amply recorded in the statements and actions of Israel’s leaders.
Not forgetting the dissembling that preceded the invasion of Iraq and following his “Palestinian issue” remarks, McCully went on to accuse Iran of threatening destabilisation in the Middle East through what he called “the Iranian nuclear programme”. Once again the speech revealed the Foreign Affairs Minister’s main concerns when he went on to say “the Israelis see the question of Iran as inextricably linked to Palestine.” For McCully, Israel’s interests are paramount and the blame placed upon the Palestinians is now linked to Iran. For good measure he added, “At the end of the day, to Israel, both are about security.” Not once in the speech did he mention the Palestinian people’s need for security. In McCully’s Middle East fantasy Iran, which has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and which co-operates with IAEA over its nuclear weapons programme, must suffer sanctions while Israel, the state that introduced modern terrorism and nuclear weapons to the Middle East, is treated favourably. The Zionist state refuses to sign the NPT and will not co-operate with the IAEA. Yet, for McCully, it is Iran that remains the threat and Israeli intransigence is excused on the grounds of ‘security’. Security, that is, only for Israel to pursue its objectives with impunity.
While the New Zealand Government will not consider sanctions as a non-violent way to help persuade Israel to respect the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the speech reveals a willingness to use sanctions against Iran, astonishingly, as a means of “arriving at a sensible and durable settlement in relation to Palestine”. Indeed, McCully said in the speech that, “I am intent on promoting legislation similar to that enacted in Australia last year to provide the capacity to impose autonomous sanctions.” Bearing in mind that, regarding the “conflict in the Middle East”, McCully declared his belief that “we can make a difference”, what better demonstration of independence and leadership could New Zealand show than to autonomously impose sanctions upon Israel? Instead, Iran, which does not occupy its neighbours’ territories, must suffer sanctions but Israel, which occupies and exploits neighbouring lands, must be allowed to do so with impunity. Israel is of course armed and equipped by the US in order to be able to maintain its regional hegemony.
In his speech, McCully made much of New Zealand’s part in the removal of land mines from nearly 400 square kilometres of unusable land in the West Bank. Israel laid more than 1.5 million mines in the 1950s and 1960s, contaminating a combined area of 200 square kilometres in the Golan Heights, in the Arava Valley and along the Jordan River. This includes more than 300,000 that render 20 sq. km. of agricultural and residential land in the West Bank unusable. Unexploded Israeli ordnance causes further problems. http://maic.jmu.edu/journal/15.3/notes/or/or.htm
Another type of mine
In a 3 January 2012 report Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that Israel’s mining companies may exploit the occupied West Bank’s natural resources for economic gain. http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=11410 The Supreme Court ruling is in favour of activity that is illegal under international law. In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) declared Israel’s occupation of the West Bank territories illegal under international law.
The daily toll
Just this month alone, to 8am, 21 June, Israel carried out at least (figures for one of the days are unavailable) 141 night-time home invasions in the West Bank. In the same period, ten Palestinians died at the hands of Israeli Occupation forces and settlers, one of them a 14-year-old boy. This month Israeli forces and settlers committed 88 acts of agricultural/economic sabotage, including setting fire to olive trees and the destruction of 20 tons of wheat. There were 34 Israeli air strikes, in one of them a poultry farm was strafed and 69 Palestinians have been injured in Israeli violence so far this month. These statistics are only the tip of the iceberg. Underlying the violence is the constant daily harassment. For example, Israel blocks Palestinian roads at intervals so that farm produce has to be unloaded and reloaded onto another vehicle brought up to the obstacle from a point beyond it. This exercise may need to be repeated more than once. Israeli checkpoints force Palestinians to make journeys of several hours that could be accomplished in minutes. Ethnically segregated roads for Israeli use only dominate the Palestinian landscape. Palestinian families regularly endure the abductions of terrified young people from their homes at dead of night. Israeli abductions of minors from the West Bank under the age of 18 number at least 226 this year. The youngest so far is aged 11 and five children aged 12 have also been abducted. United Nations agencies have reported extensively the cruel treatment of Palestinian youngsters at the hands of Israel. The statistics come from the Palestine Monitoring Group (PMG) daily situation reports (http://www.nad-plo.org/dailyreports.php). Children and adults are often incarcerated by Israel without charge or trial by means of a process the Zionist regime calls ‘administrative detention’. See also United Nations sources such as:
Sadly, these crimes seldom, if ever, reach our newspapers or television screens. Likewise, radio does not seem interested either. One can be certain that if Israeli homes were to be invaded night after night or Israeli vessels fired upon and hijacked, our news media would report such violence with outrage and large headlines.
What must be borne in mind is that decades of Israeli Occupation, land theft, settlement, Israel’s annexation Wall and ethnic discrimination are all in gross violation of international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as scores of UN General Assembly and Security Council Resolutions. If ever a UN member state were a candidate for the imposition of sanctions it is the state of Israel.
The dreams in the title of McCully’s speech are in reality nightmares and the dramas, nothing but Western play-acting. Does he really believe the Israeli/US propaganda line on the Middle East? Or, does his speech reflect New Zealand Government complicity in a policy that has created generations of ethnically-selected refugees? The public must be the judge of that. But the responsibility for the continued dispossession of the Palestinian people and the denial of truth and justice upon which it rests lies with us, the international community. We can make a difference.