Those coming from Central Asia, Bahrain, Qatar or Saudi Arabia to the Olympics, interested to see what life in a democracy feels like, will find it seems exactly like life at home in their dictatorship. 17,000 soldiers will be glowering over the venues, checking identity documents, stopping and searching. The mlitary will occupy residential buildings, be buzzing overhead, rolling down the streets and patrolling the river. There will be missiles on land, sea and air, though nobody knows what the threat is that this is supposed to counter.
What will make our dictatorship resident visitors feel especially at home is the contempt for the ordinary citizen. Not only will they have the military all over them and be subject to frequent stopping and questioning, they will be expected continually to get out of the way of their betters. Special VIP lanes on the road will allow officials to sweep by, while normal citizens will simply have to sit in gridlock and stew. Who cares? The military will stick missiles on your roof if they wish. What they are going to shoot down, and which bit of London it will land on, is not to be questioned.
Here in Ramsgate we are losing our regular train service to London completely for the duration. All the HS1 trains are being commandeered to run a shuttle service between Ebbsfleet and Stratford. 22 trains a day from Ramsgate are simply cancelled. Slow trains are available, but a journey normally 70 minutes will become – at the fastest possible – 2 hours and 35 minutes. A large number of commuters will simply be unable to get to work anything like on time, and have to spend door to door over seven hours a day in travelling as well as their working day. Nobody was consulted. Quite a few don’t yet know – there has been no determined effort to tell people. Leaflets are available in the ticket office if you ask for one.
But the leaflets might as well just say,
You are fucked, and we don’t care.
The extra 3,500 military personnel it was today announced will be used at the games cover a shortfall in Group Four personnel. Group Four were providing 4,000 paid staff and 6,000 unpaid volunteers. It is the unpaid volunteer numbers which are short by 3,500.
Most people are not stupid. They may volunteer happily for sport or for charity, but to work for nothing to make tens of millions of pounds of profit for Group Four as it exploits them, plainly does not have universal appeal. Those 2,500 who have volunteered to work for nothing for G4S are the idiots in this story. How gullible can you be?
Bob Russell, MP for Colchester, today in parliament made the excellent point to Teresa May that Group Four (or G4S as they now call themselves) should not be employed because of their role in aiding and abetting Israel’s illegal activities in the West Bank and human rights abuse there. With breathtaking chutzpah Teresa May replied that it was this kind of valuable international experience that made Group Four the right company to provide security for the games.
Which brings me back to my point at the start. Those visiting from oppressive regimes will feel absolutely at home. That is the one and only thing you can trust Teresa May to ensure with grim efficiency.
On this day the 12th of July 2006 Israel started its war on Lebanon, the war that lasted 33 days and ended with the defeat of Israel and its inability to invade Lebanon despite the wide range of weapons that has been used and the constant flow of arms that did not stop during the whole period coming from US via Britain, not to forget the massive Arab financing of the war against Lebanon where it is said that the contribution of Saudis alone reached above 9 billions.Israel lost this war as it lost its reputation of military superiority and supremacy.We won.
Man’s Divine Victory
How did it happen we don’t know, how we won, how we liberated the land, how the Israelis were defeated, we don’t know, how the land was retrieved, how the villagers went back to their villages and started cultivating the land again, we don’t know, how we chased them and followed them and outsmarted them, we don’t know, how we got to know them and their cowardice and weaknesses we don’t know, and how we got acquainted with our capacities and potentials we don’t know; but we know that this happened. No one expected this to happen, no one expected the Israelis to be defeated, no body expected them to evacuate, the way they evacuated, in a big haste, leaving lots of weapons behind them and tanks, they could not wait to reach beyond borders, they were told that coming to Lebanon would be like going on vacation, on a trip of some sort, but it was something totally different that they experienced in Lebanon.
It is still a mystery how the Lebanese freedom fighters with their light weapons succeeded in defeating the Israeli army, a mystery for those who do not know what this whole operation required. There was a basic transformation that happened and great decisions that were taken regarding individuals and society; a great pure resolve from the bottom of few hearts started the whole thing and got externalized into steps and acts and measures and relations and understanding and insight into the nature of the task and its requirements. All this became suddenly clear to the freedom fighter’s eyes: the goal, the way and the means became clear, also the enemy in all what he represents became clear, his motives, his nature, his greed and violence and blindness all this became clear like pure water,and the freedom fighters could swim in these waters with excellent visibility.
The task was immense but the men were up to it by way of concentration and commitment and dedication and prayers; the men and women were up to the task, it was like moving mountains and they moved the mountains, like lifting boulders and they lifted the boulders. Many people became involved, everyone had his share of the work that he carried on, at the same time independently and in coordination with the others. The fighting part was only the tip of the iceberg and what went underneath was even more impressing, the training, the testing, the praying, the austerity, the fasting and, above all, the study. All these were offerings that paved the way to victory in an endeavor that involved the whole of society and involved the chore of religion and spirituality.
Our Resistance by this way – slowly and surely- achieved a monumental work that ended in the shameful retreat of the mighty army, a retreat never experienced before, where Israelis were seen dragging their dead and wounded and crying publicly on the screens of several local and foreign stations.
It is the awareness of the people and the setting of their order of priorities that made the Resistance to the enemy acquire this unquestionable value, this value outstood all others and took over the desire of prospering and multiplying and living leisurely, from this awareness originated the readiness for work and sacrifice, and the will to channel all efforts towards the desired goal. As the awareness grew, the work and sacrifice grew and, with them, grew the span and the depth of the action. All this lead to the outstanding victory of the people over their dire enemy, the enemy of humanity in all its aspects.
The old will die and the young will forget. – David Ben Gurion, 1948 (1)
When I first went to Palestine in 1965, Ben Gurion’s prediction seemed plausible. Palestinians and the Palestine solidarity movement were nearly invisible outside the Middle East. The Palestinian narrative was not commonly heard, except among academics and specialists who rarely had the opportunity to address the public. Building an international movement was an unlikely dream and dependent mainly upon the good graces of sympathetic governments and NGOs, which proved elusive.
Today, the prediction seems more like wishful thinking, bordering on delusion. Both Palestinians and their allies throughout the world are more numerous and better organized than ever. They are mounting increasingly sophisticated movements to challenge the Zionist project of expelling the indigenous population from Palestine and replacing it with racially and ethnically selected immigrants.
The reasons for this are many. Foremost is the enduring determination of Palestinians to stand up for their rights and to correct the wrongs done to them, even when the likelihood of prevailing appeared dim. This determination spawned Palestinian champions that included resistance fighters, writers, academics, artists and politicians who have carried the cause into new dimensions and to new audiences.
Of course, the rise of the internet as a tool of communication, information dissemination and organizing has also been a major factor in empowering the Palestinian cause. However, social movements have always been able to organize by other means, as exemplified by the abolitionists, women’s suffragettes, trade unionists, U.S. civil rights advocates, and anti-apartheid organizers. Many of them started with small seminal groups that grew in number and size finally coalescing and following a well-worn path to popular acceptance.
In the case of Palestine, the motivation for the movement was also furthered by the greed and ruthlessness of the Israeli and Zionist leadership who continued to confiscate land, expel and impoverish Palestinians and conduct wars and pogroms on both Palestinians and their Arab neighbors. Each of these actions brought Israeli intentions to world attention yet again, enhancing Israel’s image as a pariah society bent on genocide.
Continued Israeli brutality also helped to foster Palestinian movements both inside and outside the areas under Israeli control. Many of the movements that began within Palestine are now linked not only to their brothers and sisters outside, but to wider international support as well. This has emboldened more of them to speak out in self-defense and assume roles of leadership in the international Palestinian rights movement as well as at home. This relationship between Palestinians living under Israeli control, those outside and the international solidarity movement was powerfully brought into focus by international support for the Palestinian hunger strikers held without charge – sometimes for years – by the Israeli military.
The expulsions also sent exiled Palestinians into the societies upon which Israel depends for support, providing additional voices outside of Palestine willing to challenge the Zionist case. Today, these exiles and their offspring are becoming leaders in their new homes, while retaining more commitment than ever to righting the wrongs of the Palestinian expulsion. Simply put, second and third generation Palestinians in other lands are angry at the humiliation of both their parents and their remaining families in Palestine, but they do not see themselves as foreigners in their expatriate homes, and are therefore not intimidated in pursuing their cause. Instead, they perceive their pursuit of Palestinian rights as merely an extension of their rights as citizens to have a voice in the foreign policy of their diaspora governments and societies.
These ambassadors for the Palestinian cause also have many new allies in the societies that once barely acknowledged their existence. As with the movements that preceded them, other societies are impelled to support and participate in the Palestinian cause, initially by a sense of social conscience, as the myths and misinformation that supported the injustices are exposed, but also by moral outrage at having been deceived by Zionist propaganda.
Later, as they become more informed, the citizens of these societies may begin to recognize the price – including the blood of their soldiers as well as massive foreign aid – that their countries have been paying for support of Israeli policies. At that point, they conclude that such support is contrary to their own interests and values, and become advocates for Palestinian rights out of common interest.
The Beginnings of a Movement
Today, despite the setbacks that Palestinians are facing in areas controlled by Israel, international popular support for Palestine is growing faster than ever. In fact, Israeli strategic advisors recognize it as the greatest existential threat to the Zionist state. (2)
This is not unprecedented. The growth of the Palestinian rights movement has followed a progression similar to that of other movements. The basis of such movements has been a great social injustice affecting large numbers of people. Inside and outside the population affected by injustice, advocates often begin as small, disempowered and fragmented groups and individuals, reminiscent of Margaret Mead’s quotation about the origination of social change among small groups of dedicated individuals. (3)
If these groups are only partly successful and if the injustice persists or worsens, the groups may begin to proliferate and grow in number and diversity, each appealing to different constituencies, typically with different views on both the issues and the nature of remediation. This process may wax and wane with external developments, as with the first intifada, followed by the Oslo agreements. During this stage there is also typically a struggle for the voice of the movement and the articulation of its aims, principles and means.
Today, however, the Palestinian rights movement is well into the second stage of progression: the formation of coalitions. When smaller groups proliferate beyond a critical number, they find their size to be a significant disadvantage in competing for support, even among a growing constituency. At this point, they increasingly form alliances in order to achieve common goals, while retaining their individual identities and priorities. Individually, the groups provide innovation and diversity, but collectively they empower each other and the movement.
The Palestine Liberation Organization is itself an early example of a strategic alliance within the Palestinian community. Other examples are the international network of al-Awda Right to Return coalitions, the Network of Palestinian Popular Resistance Committees, and the Palestinian NGO Network (PENGON). The unified human rights appeal of the Palestinian Christian community, as represented by the Kairos Palestine document, is also a notable example of this type.
In the solidarity community, national coalitions have formed in various countries for the purpose of both supporting Palestinian efforts and influencing the foreign policy of the countries concerned. Some, such as Friends of Sabeel, Friends of al-Aqsa and others, organize along religious or other parameters, and transcend national boundaries. At the same time, international ad hoc coalitions have been created in order to implement specific projects, such as the land and sea convoys to Gaza, the Gaza Freedom March, and others.
These projects are notable for bringing together groups that have never previously worked together. Although sometimes thwarted from accomplishing their stated goals, the projects have forged new networks of individuals and organizations that are now able to build upon shared resources and common interests. In addition, the exposure to different societies with different narratives and viewpoints on Palestine has been catalytic in the evolution and unification of these perspectives. In simple terms, the participants in these projects now have allies that they know personally all over the world and upon whom they can call for further action.
Towards a Unified Global Movement
Some readers will note the omission of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign from above mention. This is because BDS is an example of the third stage in the progression of the movement: global unification of effort. It is the first of its kind to create a unified and focused Palestinian advocacy project on a global scale, but it is not the only one, and will hopefully be joined by many more. In 2011, for example, the Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ) was formed, which articulated very ambitious plans for a massive nonviolent march on Jerusalem. Although these plans were redefined and only partly successful on the first try, the effort was informative about the possibilities for a global movement, upon which the GMJ intends to build further attempts.
Lessons have been learned from all of these efforts, and permit us to speculate upon the elements that will unify the resources of highly disparate groups and societies into a global movement for projects that translate resistance against social injustice into substantive social change.
Most important among these is the necessity to recognize that there is a wide range of perceptions and perspectives with regard to Palestine. In some societies, Islam and the sanctity of Jerusalem is a major element. In others, it is hardly a factor at all. For some, political ideologies and parties are a major factor. Others approach the issue primarily from a human rights or social justice perspective, including a large proportion of the anti-war movement, which views justice in Palestine as a key element in reducing the threat of war in the region and the world.
The diversity of views is a paramount consideration. Information about Palestine is expressed very differently in the U.S., Russia, Iran, Western Europe, Korea, Indonesia, Latin America, China, South Africa, Pakistan, Japan, India, the Arab world and elsewhere. Politically, potential partners include advocates of a two-state solution as well as those who insist upon removal of the non-indigenous population and a complete reversal of the effects of Zionist settlement. Some seek secular rule while others are committed to the implementation of their own understanding of God’s will, as dictated by Muslim, Christian or Jewish scriptures. Nonviolence is a creed for some, while armed resistance is a right and an imperative for others.
Is it even possible to bind such diversity together? The jury is still out on this, but there are hopeful signs that as the movement matures, it will begin to coalesce along lines of consensus. Based upon the experience of other social movements as well as current trends in the Palestinian rights movement, the following principles appear to be conducive to global unification:
1. Choose a goal that is limited but widely shared. “Justice in Palestine” is a universal goal, but far too broad and subject to interpretation to serve as a practical project. In contrast, the BDS movement offers three specific goals: the end of occupation and colonization, equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the implementation of the Palestinian Right of Return. Such concrete goals enable wide participation, from those who would target only the products of Israeli companies located on land occupied in the 1967 war to those for whom any interaction with the Zionist state is unacceptable. Signed by 171 Palestinian organizations inside and outside Palestine, the BDS call expresses the collective aspirations of the Palestinian people and serves to legitimate the support and participation of solidarity and human rights groups everywhere.
Similarly, the image of a vast nonviolent convergence on Jerusalem to protest ethnic cleansing was selected for the Global March to Jerusalem on the basis of its wide appeal but limited focus, as well as the broad possibilities for interpretation and participation.
These movements, as well as the efforts to break the siege of Gaza, also have in common that they are achievable in stages that permit success to be realized in periodic increments, which is important to maintaining momentum and providing encouragement to supporters and participants.
2. Articulate a set of principles that defines the movement but is widely accepted. The issue of Palestine generates strong disagreement on facts, priorities, a definition of justice and the shape of a solution. There is a temptation for each group to insist that all the other constituent groups in a movement must conform to its strongly held principles.
This temptation must be resisted. It is the nature of a coalition that the constituents have divergent agenda on some issues but make common cause for coincident strategic goals. Accordingly, the principles need to be few in number and as general as possible while maintaining a coherent and meaningful set of values and objectives.
Although the principles must not be overly restrictive, without them the movement risks becoming “United for Peanut Butter and Jelly” or the “Coalition for Applehood and Mother Pie.” The coalition must be inclusive, but it is the nature of every movement to be exclusive of those who do not subscribe to its principles. The aim is to determine which principles are both necessary and sufficient to the goals of the movement, and not to insist upon those about which some members may be passionate but which are not essential to the coalition.
As previously indicated, the BDS movement accomplishes this by encouraging all forms of boycott, divestment and sanction against Israel, but allowing each group or individual to select its own targets and act according to its own criteria. What binds them together is their willingness to make Israel pay a price for its violation of Palestinian rights.
In the case of the Global March to Jerusalem, the common thread is to create a massive nonviolent march to Jerusalem and to protest on site, in person and in massive numbers for Palestinian human rights. However, the groups and individuals are free to choose their own reasons for supporting the movement, to articulate it in their own way and to organize their own local or regional support actions.
3. Accept participation and endorsement from all groups and individuals that agree to the set of principles. Although it is the nature of every movement to be exclusive in its aims, principles and acceptable practices, a unified movement (and most successful movements of any kind) is inclusive of all who accept its principles. It seeks adherents and participants, and therefore grows by virtue of its inclusivity.
There is often a temptation to try to exclude certain individuals or groups on an ad hoc basis. This also must be resisted. If there is a principled basis for excluding some participants, this basis must be articulated in the movement’s principles. Otherwise, it becomes little more than a private club, where individual members are approved or disapproved by the rest.
It is sometimes difficult to conform to this requirement, as some individuals or groups may refuse to work or be associated with certain others. However, exclusion is a slippery slope. It is better and more defensible to allow some participants to exclude themselves for their own reasons than for the movement to be the agent of exclusion for purely strategic and non-principled reasons. If the movement remains true to its principles, chances are that the reticent groups will return. On the other hand, exclusion of a particular group or individual by the movement can create ill will and division, which work against the objective of unity and may be more difficult to repair.
4. Accommodate a wide range of narratives that appeal to different constituencies in different settings. Different narratives are effective in different societies. In some, there is almost universal support for the Palestinian cause; in others, the Israeli government position dominates policy and the media. Religion plays a big role for some groups, while others demand its exclusion. In some societies, a nonviolent approach has broad appeal, while in others the resistance fighter is a major inspiration.
A global movement needs to permit this range of narratives while holding to its principles and core message. Different societies must be permitted to place this message in the context of what is most effective locally, as long as it does not contradict the same message that is being disseminated elsewhere.
5. Establish a system of governance that represents and empowers a diversity of participating societies, and is inclusionary of as many voices as possible within those societies. In order to establish a united global movement, all potential members of the movement need to feel that they are welcome, that they participate in the decision making and that their views are valued. This requires diversity along several parameters, including roughly equal or proportional representation by gender, geography, religious affiliation, political affiliation, etc.
A partial exception to this is that the affected community – in this case the Palestinians – must have priority in the representation, so that its will receives special weight in every decision. This is necessary because the decisions of the movement affect that community disproportionately, and because the struggle is fundamentally theirs. Their leadership and approval are therefore paramount. It is not recommended, however, that any community – even the Palestinians – constitute a majority in the movement; otherwise it cannot truly be considered global in scope, and will not appear to be so. In addition, care must be taken that the Palestinian voices in the movement are diverse and represent the full spectrum of Palestinian constituencies, insofar as possible. Similarly, all societies in the movement need to be representative of the diversity within themselves insofar as possible, so as to engage all of their communities.
Although some societies are more accustomed to hierarchical governing structures and others to a greater sharing of authority, it is recommended to avoid concentration of authority and to rely on collective decision making insofar as possible. The most representative bodies of the movement should be the supreme authority, with all other authority (e.g. to committees and offices) being delegated and subject to review and approval.
6. Establish a system of communication that allows decision making to be as open and transparent as possible, with participation from and empowerment of as many voices as possible. A global movement requires a global communication network. Besides its necessity for decision making, strategy development and sharing of resources, it is an important way for participants in the movement to feel connected with each other, which is vital to the growth and empowerment of the movement.
Today, websites, email, social media, and other internet tools are some of the most inclusive and flexible means of communication at our disposal. However, voice communication and the postal service continue to be indispensible for certain functions. In addition, in-person conferences and meetings serve an important function of bonding the participants and renewing commitment in a way that electronic and print media cannot. They also allow for secure private conversations, which encrypted electronic communication can also help to facilitate.
It is still the case, however, that not all societies and participants use internet media to the same degree and with the same effectiveness, which can depend upon factors like availability, access and income. The remedies for this are to assure that at least some members at each location are proficient in internet use and can act as intermediaries for those who are not, and to maintain a mix of media. Otherwise, we risk selectiveness of participation for technical reasons, which would be unfortunate.
Different types of projects also have different communication needs. In the case of BDS, for example, most of the implementation decisions are made relatively autonomously at the local and regional level, simply because the circumstances and opportunities differ accordingly. International coordination therefore takes the form of sharing information and strategies, as well as suggestions for focusing attention on specific targets. Internet-based communication is largely adequate for such purposes, while periodic opportunities to gather at international meetings and conferences help with brainstorming and maintenance of esprit de corps.
The Global March to Jerusalem and similar efforts that confront Israel directly, on the other hand, require much more international logistical and practical coordination and decision-making. As a result, direct contact between and among participating societies and their representatives becomes more essential, with more in-person meetings. However, international meetings are by their nature impractical for daily communication and permit only a small fraction of constituent participation. Internet-based communication systems are therefore necessary in order to maintain the required level of popular participation and support.
A word should also be said about language considerations, which have been an obstacle to international organizing since time immemorial. The use of English as a lingua franca cannot be taken for granted. A global movement must make communication accessible to all, regardless of language, and not allow proficiency in a specific language to become a selection criterion, even unintentionally. At international meetings, simultaneous interpretation must be a high priority, and participants in internet communication must be encouraged to use the language with which they are most comfortable, as well as to avail themselves of free internet translation software (regardless of its limitations). Such translation allows the use of multiple languages in the same conversation.
7. Provide an opportunity for all to participate. Participation is the key to a global movement. All participants must feel that they are contributing in some way and that their voice counts. Popular committees, local events and regional organizing are therefore all important components for success.
In addition, local news needs to be shared internationally, so that participants recognize that they are part of a global movement and can celebrate each other’s activities. In the case of BDS, for example, victories against Veolia or Caterpillar are announced internationally, regardless of whether they take place at local councils in small communities or at a national or international level. Similarly, the turnout of 100,000 demonstrators for Jerusalem in Morocco and a small but enthusiastic group in Korea for the 2012 Global March were both causes for celebration by the entire movement.
There are, of course, many more components to a successful movement, whether global or not. Fundraising, media strategies and many more can be cited. However, in order to become global, a movement must adapt its principles and terms of reference to accommodate the range of societies that will be included. This requires a special effort to understand diverse, unfamiliar and sometimes uncomfortable narratives.
It is worth the effort. The development and application of common principles requires a negotiation process that is itself educational and transformational. When one of the constituent groups of the GMJ first proposed such a set of principles that it considered noncontroversial, for example, it was completely rejected. Upon rewording by the rest of the group, however, the result was accepted by everyone. Similarly, creative solutions were found to overcome objections to the roles of individuals or parties that some groups needed to accommodate.
The result was a new appreciation by everyone of the needs of others, and by the movement for new ways of thinking. There is no unity without understanding and respect. The dialogue that takes place between groups that have never previously worked together can fundamentally change a movement and forge it into a new and powerful force.
The Fourth Stage of a Successful Movement
M.K. Gandhi is reputed to have said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” (4)
The four stages in movement growth outlined in this discussion do not necessarily mirror Gandhi’s description, but the outcome is the same. If the third stage is a global movement, the fourth will be its acceptance in popular culture and the success of its narrative and message. Today, no one seriously advocates slavery, or suggests revoking the right of women to vote. However, movements had to form, grow and eventually become part of the popular discourse for this to happen. In the later stages of the anti-apartheid movement, this discourse was captured in song, sport and other forms of popular culture, such that people who had little notion of the substantive issues nevertheless considered themselves anti-apartheid. This was the point of no return. Governments came under increasing pressure from their constituencies to end support of South Africa, and the South African leadership came to recognize the futility of trying to resist the rest of the world.
Popular will triumphs when it becomes consensus. And unlike the many years of hard work, sacrifice and organizing that characterize the first three stages of a movement, this last one happens suddenly, and is a sea change that often comes as a surprise to those who have spent so long trying to bring it about. It is also a time of flux, as many new adherents join the cause. At this stage, control and leadership of the movement often pass from those who have helped to define it until that point to newcomers and even opportunists, who will nevertheless claim to have been part of it all along.
We should welcome these developments. The victory of a movement rarely conforms to the vision of the victors, but it nevertheless expresses the will of the people. Those who have brought the victory to fruition must at that point accept it as their child, grown to adulthood, and allow it to have its own life, even if parenthood never fully ends.
Victory is never inevitable, but for Palestine it may be closer than we think. The hardest time for a movement is just before it wins, because that is when it encounters the greatest resistance. In the US, the final struggle against slavery was a civil war. In South Africa, the Emergency Laws were the last gasp of apartheid, though few recognized it at the time. In Palestine, the increasing brutality of Israeli repression, the movement of political power in Israel toward the most fanatical racists, and the emigration of Israeli Jews to other countries should indicate that the struggle for Palestine will not be won on the floor of the US Congress or the United Nations or even in the leadership of the Arab nations. It will be won in the hearts and minds of the world’s peoples.
- Dr. Paul Larudee is a co-founder of the movement to break the naval blockade of Gaza and of the Global March to Jerusalem. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.
(1) David Ben-Gurion’s diary, July 18 1948
(2) Reut Institute, The Delegitimization Challenge: Creating a Political Firewall, February 14, 2010, http://reut-institute.org/Publication.aspx?PublicationId=3769
(3) “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ¯ Margaret Mead (source unknown)
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The above video was made in 2002. As you watch, consider that the woman in it passed away in December of last year. Consider also that her husband and other members of her family are convinced she was beset by demons at the time of her death. The woman’s name was Alynn Pike. The man with her in the video is her husband, Rev. Ted Pike, director of the National Prayer Network.
Ted Pike is a genuine Christian conservative who opposes U.S. support for Israel and who for some three decades or more has been trying to waken other Christians to the true nature of Israeli apartheid and the dangerously disproportionate power wielded by AIPAC. “Today a foreign government, Israel, operates the most powerful lobby in Congress,” Pike says—and he has not been shy about quoting the Talmud or the racist public statements of Israeli rabbis to prove his points.
“The Talmud provides a frightening scenario of events leading up to a Jewish world conquest,” he has stated.
There’s evidence that America’s evangelical Christians are beginning to heed Pike’s warnings. Criticism of Israel can now be found on a number of evangelical websites (here, here, here, here, here, and here, for instance ), while divestment/sanction resolutions have been taken up by both the Methodist and Presbyterian churches. None have passed as of yet, but they do, at least with regard to the Methodists, seem to keep getting re-introduced year after year. Clearly Israel is facing the prospect of crumbling support among evangelical Christians, who traditionally have been its largest and most influential supporters in America, and just as clearly, Pike has played a leading role in the erosion of this support. That’s why his account of his wife’s apparent struggle against demonic possession is a fascinating, and eerily bizarre, story for us to consider.
Light and Darkness
If you were to ask me, “Do demons exist?”—the only really honest answer I can give you is, “I don’t know.” However, as I’ve observed events of the last ten or twelve years—the wars, the slaughter of millions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere, and the destruction of whole nations—it does seem clear there are people in the world today pushing evil agendas, people who very much seem to be in thrall to…something.
A number of accounts of demonic possession are supplied to us, of course, in the New Testament. So what is it possible for us, here in the 21st century, to make of these? Yes to be sure, such concepts as psychosis, bi-polar disorder, and epilepsy were unknown two thousand years ago. So does that mean we explain away each of these accounts as incidents of physical or mental illness? In each and every case? Possibly—but somehow I don’t think so.
Clearly there are things that cannot rationally be explained by science. Take the story of “Maria,” for instance. A migrant worker living in the U.S., Maria suffered a heart attack and was rushed to Harborview Hospital in Seattle, where she was placed on a coronary unit. A few days later, she suffered a complete cardiac arrest, but was quickly resuscitated. The next day, being visited by a critical care social worker at the hospital, Kimberly Clark, she gave an account of a rather bizarre-sounding experience she insisted she had undergone during the moments she was clinically dead. Clark listened with feigned but seemingly empathic respect as the patient told of rising to the ceiling and looking down upon herself as the medical staff attempted to revive her. As the out-of-body experience progressed, she found herself no longer in the hospital room, but rather outside the building, floating in the air, where she suddenly became distracted by an object resting on a ledge—oddly enough a tennis shoe. In great detail Maria described the shoe—the little toe had a worn place and one of its laces was tucked underneath the heel. Unsure herself whether what she had experienced was real—and in desperate need of knowing—Maria pleaded with the social worker to go and see. Still skeptical and with deep reservations, Clark went to look for the shoe, and on the north face of the building, on the hospital’s third floor…she found it. Resting on a ledge and visible from a window, the shoe was precisely as Maria had described it—worn toe with one lace tucked under the heel. The story is related by Dr. Kenneth Ring, professor emeritus of Psychology at the University of Connecticut and longtime researcher of near-death experiences, in a 2006 book in which he chronicles similar case histories from more than two decades of research in the field. The book, entitled Lessons from the Light, relates dozens of cases similar to Maria’s—stories typically involving an out-of-body experience like hers, often combined with a tunnel and light, encounters with deceased loved ones, etc. Some of Ring’s subjects have even spoken of coming into the presence of a spiritual entity—often described as bearing unconditional love toward them.
Clearly science has not provided a rational explanation for “veridical NDEs,” as Ring refers to them (i.e. near-death experiences that are corroborated by witnesses such as Clark)—and if there is a place of “Light” from which “lessons” such as this may come to us, does the opposite hold true? In the days of Jesus, approximately 40 years before the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, the Pharisees in Jerusalem wielded considerable power, roughly comparable, in certain respects, to that held by Jews in America today. Yes, technically speaking, they were not the supreme lords and rulers of Palestine, but the Romans afforded them considerable latitude in terms of trade and commerce, the collection of Temple taxes, and even to conduct trials and mete out punishments to those deemed to have violated Jewish law. While it’s true Jews were expelled from the city of Rome by Tiberius in 19 AD, this does not seem to have adversely impacted Jewish fortunes in Palestine. But beginning 40 years after the crucifixion of Christ, things changed dramatically. The other main Jewish sects, the Sadducees, Essenes, and Zealots, were wiped out in the revolts of 66 and 132 AD. The Pharisees alone managed to linger into the modern age, and it is they who compiled the Talmud, the Zohar, and other such heartwarming Jewish religious texts in existence today. In the book Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, by Israel Shahak, we find the following rather curious passage:
Other prayers or religious acts, as interpreted by the cabbalists, are designed to deceive various angels (imagined as minor deities with a measure of independence) or to propitiate Satan. At a certain point in the morning prayer, some verses in Aramaic (rather than the more usual Hebrew) are pronounced. This is supposed to be a means for tricking the angels who operate the gates through which prayers enter heaven and who have the power to block the prayers of the pious. The angels only understand Hebrew and are baffled by the Aramaic verses; being somewhat dull-witted (presumably they are far less clever than the cabbalists) they open the gates, and at this moment all the prayers, including those in Hebrew, get through. Or take another example: both before and after a meal, a pious Jew ritually washes his hands, uttering a special blessing. On one of these two occasions he is worshipping God, by promoting the divine union of Son and Daughter; but on the other he is worshipping Satan, who likes Jewish prayers and ritual acts so much that when he is offered a few of them it keeps him busy for a while and he forgets to pester the divine Daughter. Indeed, the cabbalists believe that some of the sacrifices burnt in the Temple were intended for Satan. For example, the seventy bullocks sacrificed during the seven days of the feast of Tabernacles, were supposedly offered to Satan in his capacity as ruler of all the Gentiles, in order to keep him too busy to interfere on the eighth day, when sacrifice is made to God. Many other examples of the same kind can be given.
The more we learn about Talmudic Judaism, the more it seems we run into funny little tidbits like this. A rather remarkable analysis of the Talmud in fact is provided in the video above. You’ll hear Alynn Pike say, “The Talmud’s homicidal hatred of Gentiles leaps from its pages.” She also tells us, “The Talmud clearly does more than dehumanize Palestinians. It dehumanizes Jews. The Talmud is the scalpel that makes the Mideast bleed.” All statements that would be hard to argue with.
Ted and Alynn Pike were married for 27 years. In the account below, Ted Pike tells the story of his wife’s battle with demons—their onset in 2005 and the effect it had on their lives. As he puts it, “In the years following, we had to adjust to literally thousands of supernatural sounds, visions, and physical intrusions into our lives.” Doubtless there will be many skeptics—people for whom curiosity is a thing generally to be avoided and whose psychological well-being depends on seeing the world as systematic and well-ordered for the most part. And that’s probably the majority. But others, the more alert, the more heedful, Inshallah…Deo volente, will read Pike’s story with an open mind.
While we are both Christians, Pike and I come from opposite ends of the political spectrum. He is a conservative, while my own political background is the far left. On a number of points, gay rights for instance, we would differ. Yet on the single most crucial issue facing the humanity today—Israel and its lobbies and the threat they pose to life on the planet—our views concur without exception, which at least to my way of thinking (he might disagree) makes the inferred differences between us pale in significance.
And finally…yes, as you read the article, you’ll find that the demons—if we can call them that—display, for their own part, rather pronounced Zionist sentiments. Pike believes their attacks, insofar as the timing and severity of them, were intentionally designed to disrupt his and his wife’s political mission.
On Tuesday, December 6, 2011, my beautiful and saintly wife Alynn passed from this earth. She was beloved by countless viewers of our major videos and by her family.
It is with greatest reluctance that I reveal the bizarre circumstances of her death. I almost certainly will destroy my credibility with readers whose beliefs exclude the possibility of the supernatural. Yet I believe God wants Alynn’s story known. He especially wants the pro-Zionist church to know the powerful demonic forces with which they align themselves—powers of deception now increasingly unleashed on the world. I have always taught and attempted to live according to the premise that the whole truth, no matter how incredible, will uphold those who speak it. I must honor my wife by speaking the whole truth about her courageous life and sudden recent death.
First, some background. In 1971, at age 25 after years of study of Bible prophecy, the Babylonian Talmud and the Jewish world revolutionary movement, I was ready to write my book, Israel: Our Duty, Our Dilemma. I felt compelled to warn the evangelical church against her unholy alliance with Judaism, with impeccable documentation and Christian love toward Jews. I went to a cabin in the mountains to begin writing.
That night, my sleep was shattered by violent, racing nightmares. I was woken at least a dozen times. I had never experienced such mental assault. This continued every night. Unable to write, I returned home. Soon after, I became so weak I couldn’t walk 500 feet without lying down. Over months I experienced dozens of “visitations” by tangible presences in the night, temporarily paralyzing me, overwhelming in their sensation of evil. For the next 12 years, I could do only light work for no more than 20 minutes—usually accomplishing only five hours of work per week. If I pushed myself, I would be flattened by immobilizing exhaustion for at least five days. I existed on five percent of my former energy.
In 1983-4, God strengthened me enough to write and publish my book. Advertised in The Spotlight, it became a bestseller in its genre. Its uncensored truth about Talmudic Judaism filled a void. My Other Israel video followed in 1987, selling 10,000 copies in the first several months. Both works jumpstarted more active inquiry into the threat of Jewish supremacism. I showed the world that one individual, protected by God and truth, could walk onto the thinnest ice and survive.
Meanwhile, I had met a stunningly beautiful, 28-year-old jewelry designer and Christian conservative activist, Alynn Dunham. She was highly intelligent and passionate about theology and the arts. In her, I found the love of my life. We married in 1984.
After the wedding, my new wife—who was formerly able to work fulltime, walk up to ten miles daily, jog, and practice piano several hours a day—suddenly became extremely weak. We tried to leave for our honeymoon road trip but only got a few miles; Alynn was so nauseous and exhausted she had to lie in the grass beside the road.
For the next 16 years, she experienced unexplainable and debilitating fatigue comparable to mine. During these years, she never wavered in her devotion to God and political freedom. She never shrank from the shameful libel of “anti-Semitism” hurled against a husband who criticized Jewish supremacism and Israel. She was not just willing to bear any shame or suffering for the sake of truth; she earnestly and repeatedly asked the Lord to let her sacrifice even more if that would produce spiritual power. She accepted her weakness as a badge of honor. Her will and life was laid before the cross of Christ. She became one with me in opposition to the forces of darkness. Once, while asleep together I dreamed that an evil man was coming toward my neck, his hands about to strangle me. We awoke simultaneously. Alynn said she had a terrible nightmare, that an evil man was coming toward her neck, his hands about to strangle her.
In 2000 we were both strengthened at exactly the same time and began to warn against ADL’s hate crimes legislation through video. In 1987, Alynn had appeared in The Other Israel. In 2001 she cohosted Hate Laws: Making Criminals of Christians, then in 2002 Why the Mideast Bleeds and finally Zionism and Christianity: Unholy Alliance in 2003. These unique videos have been viewed by at least a million people and continue to awaken the world to the dangers of Zionism.
In 2003 Alynn had a seizure while driving and was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. After recovery from eight and a half hours of brain surgery, she showed dramatically worsened symptoms of attention deficit disorder, bipolarity and nervous frailty. Yet she remained an intelligent, indispensable partner. She assisted not only our political efforts but, just as important to her, our biweekly Bible classes. Many lessons were inspired by her spiritual insights; she contributed immeasurably to the growth in holiness and dedication of our entire church. Alynn led by example and through her unique and fierce appreciation of God and His ways. She rightly deserved her reputation as a person of exceptional love, eager to spend any amount of time and energy to help someone reach a new level of faith and devotion to Christ.
Arrival of the Demons
On a pleasant evening in the late summer of 2005, Alynn and I were strolling in a large rock quarry. Suddenly, she exclaimed that the sky was covered with what seemed like an aurora borealis of streaking, flashing lights, a living version of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. She saw an enormous black silhouette of a man’s torso and head in the heavens. This was all invisible to me. As we left the quarry and drove home, the sky remained alive to Alynn with fantastic shapes and lights. The stars darted around; colored lights appeared on trees and moving cars and inside our own car.
In the years following, we had to adjust to literally thousands of supernatural sounds, visions and physical intrusions into our lives. To fully describe the strange activity would take a very long book. Some critics will legitimately suggest that what Alynn experienced was hallucinations after brain surgery. But she was not alone. Here I will relate very largely what I witnessed following our visit to the quarry, only some of the phenomena we encountered and a small fraction of what Alynn experienced. In fact, Alynn told me that, to spare me, she did not relate much of what was happening to her. Continue reading
I would encourage people, even the skeptics, to go to Pike’s site and read the rest of his story. You’ll find also, in podcast form, comments from other family members and friends, whose accounts, if anything, are even more compelling than the written article. Included are the remarks of Aaron Daws, husband to Alynn’s niece, who tells of the night he first became convinced the demons were real:
We were having a bible study here, and I stayed downstairs with her during the bible study. And before the Bible study began, she was already being attacked. She was saying, “kill-kill, die-die”, and telling all the spiritual people to get out, that kind of thing. So we all—several people went down to pray for her, and I ended up staying down there with her during Bible study. After everyone left, Alynn went to lie down in the bedroom, and a couple of things happened that made me certainly not a skeptic at all anymore. I was very skeptical in the first place, but I certainly had no skepticism after this situation. I went to try and comfort her. I tried to go into the room. As soon as I opened the door, Alynn started to seize, and she looked like she was in extreme pain, like she couldn’t handle me being anywhere near her, and then she managed a very light whisper out of her own voice—and I could totally tell it was her—that just told me that “It hurts when you’re near me.” And she said, “I’m so sorry. It hurts when you’re near me.” And she was very hurt that I couldn’t be near her, but it was very obvious that she was in pain. So I left the room, and I closed the door, and I went to sit on the couch, and this is the part that really was very obvious because she couldn’t see me at all, in any way shape or form. I went to sit down on the couch and she started screaming, “Don’t sit there. Don’t sit there,” over and over again, “Don’t sit there. Don’t sit there,” and so I sat down anyway, and then she just started screaming, and I went ahead and sat there, and then I went to get up and go into the room, and was told, “Don’t stand up. Don’t come in here,” several expletives, so I didn’t go in. And then I went to start looking at Ted’s statue that he was working on, and she started screaming again—and she could not see me—“Don’t look at it. It’s ugly. Don’t look at it. It’s ugly,” screaming, and so—and that was the end of that part. A few minutes later after a little bit more screaming, she came out, and she was herself again. She started playing the piano. She was playing ‘O Christmas Tree’ on the piano. She asked me to sing with her, and she seemed basically normal after that. And so it was a very stark contrast as well as an incredibly creepy experience for me. She could not see me, and so it was certainly a point in time where I had no doubt that there were absolutely demons in that apartment.
The full 89 minute podcast is available on mp3 here and streaming audio here . Below is a two-part video paying tribute to Alynn Pike, and uploaded to YouTube by Pike’s organization, the National Prayer Network:
And another quite interesting NPN video, entitled “Zionism is Stumped,” is made by Rebecca Pike:
Additional items of interest:
Video of Ted Pike responding to being called a “lying anti-Semite”—an accusation made by Joe Farah, of the pro-Zionist website World Net Daily
Jeff Rense and Ted Pike discuss the “Talmudic Takeover” of America in a program dated January, 2011. Discussion includes discussion of the “blatant and outright racism in Israel that is coming to the attention of the world.”
And this final item of interest:
Macabre video of a Pulsa DeNura, or Kabbalistic cursing ceremony, held by a group of right-wing Jews in Israel. The target of the curse is not Alynn Pike, but Ariel Sharon. What’s interesting, however, is the timing. The ritualistic ceremony reportedly took place on the night of July 19, 2005—around, or in close proximity to, the arrival of the demons at the Pike home. The video was uploaded to YouTube on January 7, 2012, almost exactly one month after Alynn’s death, and just five days after the uploading of the two-part tribute to Alynn Pike embedded above.
Something strange happened when I did a web search on Israel + democratic + Jewish. I stumbled on this piece that I managed to read and copy, but the site itself disappeared shortly thereafter, and there’s not even a record of having visited it. It bears a date that has not yet occurred and is distributed by a news service that doesn’t even exist (yet), but seems to to be a byproduct of global warming.
For what it’s worth, I share it with you:
Antarctic Press Service
Israel now “100% Jewish and democratic,” says new government
by Yehudi Newman
The newly elected government of the state of Israel declared today “We have finally achieved our goal of being 100% Jewish and democratic, not only under the law, but in terms of our actual population.”
The new prime minister, Adam Newman, also announced that the state would henceforth be known as the “Glorious and Beloved Jewish and Democratic State of Israel” and that anyone using a different designation would be stripped of citizenship and permanently exiled.
The result of this act was to leave Prime minister Newman and his wife, President Eve Lesden-Mann, as the only remaining citizens of Israel, since I, their son, have been exiled for using an unauthorized state name in this report.
Prior to the elections that swept him to power, Prime Minister Newman campaigned against the more liberal incumbent, Avigdor Lieberman, on a platform of purifying the electorate. Newman’s party, Only Jews Are Human (and not all of them), railed against the failure of the previous administration to carry its reforms far enough.
During Lieberman’s administration, a series of laws barred entry and eventually stripped citizenship from both non-Jews (Palestinians, guest workers and non-Jewish spouses and other persons related to Jews) and Jews critical of Israel. The resulting population attrition removed many who are accustomed to voting for the lesser of two evils and might have therefore have voted for Lieberman to prevent Newman from coming to power. However, their disenfranchisement sealed Newman’s victory.
Asked about the impact such a small population might have on Israel’s security, Prime Minister Newman replied, “The Glorious and Beloved Jewish and Democratic State of Israel’s security does not depend upon population. Samson was only one man and he defeated the Philistines by himself. We have the “Samson option” to defend ourselves, and besides, the United States will always defend our right to exist as a Jewish and Democratic state.”