Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

Jewish World

Two confidential Anti-Defamation League memos from the 1970s show that the pro-Israel “civil rights” group sent spies to report on talks by Noam Chomsky, a noted critic of Israel. “Chomsky is an Arab apoligist, [sic] pure and simple,” one reads, addressed to Irwin Suall, then national director of “fact-finding.”

Let me start with a proposition that should by now be a matter of general knowledge: the totality of Jews do not constitute a nation in the modern sense of this term; nor have they been a nation in any contemporary meaningful sense for well over 2,000 years.

In Knowing Too Much, Norman Finkelstein [argues] that both American Jews and the American public more generally are moving away from uncritical support for Israel. This shift, he suggests, holds out the possibility that the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be settled at last.

HRW’s Bill van Esveld: “The main concern is over the fact that a person cannot simply be disappeared. That is against the norms of international law. That person’s family needs to know what has happened to them. They have to be able to have access to a defence attorney and their government needs to be informed to permit consular access.”

Since 1999, over 300,000 young Jews from around the world have embarked on the free, 10-day tour of Israel known as Taglit-Birthright. It’s considered the most effective means of connecting the next generation of the Jewish Diaspora to the state of Israel. The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently pledged $100 million to the program.

Under international law, Israel’s rule in the West Bank and Gaza is considered “belligerent occupation” and, therefore, its actions must be justified by military necessity only. If there is no occupation, Israel has no military grounds to hold on to the territories. In that case, it must either return the land to the Palestinians, and move out the settlers, or defy international law by annexing the territories, as it did earlier with East Jerusalem, and establish a state of Greater Israel.

In the name of [“Never again to us, the Jews”], they end up denying the humanity of the victims of Israel, the purported “State of the Jews”, just as most oppressors throughout history have denied their victims’ humanity.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is planning to build a Museum of Tolerance on the Muslim Mamilla cemetery. This project is a grotesque attempt to erase the well-established history of a continuous Muslim presence in the city that dates back over a millennium… There is no justification for these desecrations. If they were occurring in any other place on earth, the outcry would be deafening. Unfortunately, the treatment of Mamilla is not an anomaly; Muslim and Christian sites of cultural, religious and historical significance continue to be systematically disrespected by Israeli authorities. The Protection of Holy Sites Law in Israel now covers 137 sites. Not one of these is Christian or Muslim.

In June, Norman Finkelstein will mark 30 years of criticizing Israel. He remembers the exact day – the beginning of the Lebanon war, which ended his indifference to the Middle East’s troubles. He’ll have a new book coming out – “Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel Is Coming to an End” – that focuses on Jewish public figures who represent, in his view, the narrative of beautiful Israel that’s coming to an end. He is sure to make a lot of people mad again.

National Union MK Michael Ben Ari believes he was barred from US for being a member of far-right Kach organization, says in response that this type of ‘US blindness’ is what brought about the 9/11 attacks.

JVP has grown dramatically in size and influence in the past two years. As part of the ongoing assessment sparked by this growth, JVP reviewed its BDS policy. On the basis of an organization-wide conversation about BDS, we have refined our position while maintaining our strategy. JVP shares the aims of the Palestinian Boycott National Committee — ending the occupation, achieving equality for Palestinians now living in Israel, and recognizing Palestinian refugees’ right of return. JVP focuses our efforts on boycott and divestment campaigns that directly target Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip. We believe this to be the most effective way for JVP to help bring about the aims we share with the Palestinian BDS call.

Fully 80 percent of Israeli Jews believe that God exists – the highest figure found since this review of Israeli-Jewish beliefs began two decades ago… 70 percent of respondents believe the Jews are the “Chosen People,” 65 percent believe the Torah and mitzvot (religious commandments ) are God-given, and 56 percent believe in life after death.

IOA Editor: From “Chosen People” to the “Promised Land,” Zionism, and the occupation: it’s a hop, skip, and a jump. Indeed, the belief in the ‘promised land’ is a prerequisite for Zionism — yes, even secular Zionism. The ‘chosen people’ concept goes hand in hand with the ‘promised land.’

The owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, Andrew Adler, has suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu consider ordering a Mossad hit team to assassinate US President Barack Obama so that his successor will defend Israel against Iran.

IOA Editor: One can only imagine what would have happened if, say, an Arab American were to utter such an immoral and stupid suggestion: they’d be put away for quite some time.

Last summer, Israelis rose up in a mass movement inspired by the regional protests of the Arab Spring. Starting on Rothschild Boulevard, one of tel Aviv’s wealthiest neighborhoods, tent cities sprung up throughout the country, and Israelis poured to the streets to demonstrate. But in September, as quickly as the tent cities popped up, they disappeared. The protests stopped, and in a sweeping move, the government demolished dozens of tent cities throughout the country.

On New Year’s Eve, thousands of Ultra Orthodox men came out in protest of what they called religious prosecution. In recent weeks, tensions in Israel between religious and secular Jews escalated after Israel’s main TV news, Channel 2, filed a report showing Ultra Orthodox men in the city of Beit Shemesh attacking an 8-year old Orthodox girl for not dressing modestly enough. The report sparked nation-wide outrage and brought thousands to Beit Shemesh in protest.

The Jewish National Fund (JNF), that ownes 13% of Israeli lands, forbids the sale or lease of its lands to any but Jewish owners. Many are now joining a global campaign against this policy whose roots come from expropriated Palestinian Land. The Real News’ Lia Tarachansky looks at the history of JNF land acquisition from the land taken from 1948 refugees in the village of Ma’alul, 1967 refugees on whose land Canada Park was built, and the Bedouins of Al Araqib on whose land the JNF is attempting to build the Ambassador’s Forest.

IOA Editor: An outstanding report by Lia Tarachansky where she puts current events in their historic, political, institutional, and legal context: How the repeated destruction of the Beduin village of al-Araqib fits in the Palestinian history of the Nakba, post-1948 confiscation of Palestinian lands within Israel, and the destruction of the Latroun villages after the 1967 War — all with the full involvement of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), a tax-exempt organization in the US.

To escape the contradictions created by history and its lessons, we chose to buy the meta-historical explanation of our armed, fortified presence here: no more and no less than God’s promise to Abraham, from whom all of us are directly descended. This promise is what permits us, in our view, to do whatever we please to the people that dwells here, the natives of this land: to expel, to concentrate, to divide, to blockade, to impoverish, to dry out, to bomb, to uproot, to dispossess.

US Likudniks, who had remained relatively restrained on [book talks] until now, could not stand it any longer. They launched a massive attack against me in the form of a smear article … written by two Campus Watch vigilantes and first published on FrontPageMag… From there, the article was reproduced by countless websites and blogs belonging to the same ideological swarm, and distributed by them to their extensive email lists.

We could get in trouble for this. Not in New York City, where this editorial is being written, because legitimate comment is protected under the First Amendment. But our editorials, along with many other stories and columns in the Forward, also appear every Sunday in the English edition of the Haaretz newspaper in Israel. And now, with a new anti-boycott law approved by the Knesset and due to take effect in less than 90 days, the boundaries of free speech and legitimate expression have grown unpredictably and suffocatingly tight.

In the case of Israel- the line between the government and the Jewish people as a whole is deliberately obscured and groups like the ADL never hesitate to use this confusion to their advantage, making virtually all criticism of Israel subject to potential condemnation as a a form of anti-Jewish hatred. This is the essence of Israeli exceptionalism which leads to the situation we have now- a country that claims all of the benefits of being a western style democracy with little of the accountability.

Two years after participating in a Taglit-Birthright tour, Harald Fuller-Bennett was denied entry into Israel. The Shin Bet claimed he had links to terrorists and suspected him of no longer being Jewish.

Israel’s legal system, despite its reputation for presuming that Palestinian citizens are habitual security offenders, has found Sheikh Salah guilty neither of anti-Semitism nor of directly helping terrorists. So why is Britain being even “more Israeli rather than the Israelis”, as two Arab members of the Israeli parliament caustically observed?

“My understanding of the Jewish ethical tradition comes primarily from my knowledge of the Jewish historical experience… I feel they are the principal determining factors: our ethical tradition, our struggles for justice, going back to the 19th-century shtetl, where my great-grandmother was hunted by the Cossacks, in pogroms.”

Settling a score

16 June 2011

According to the [Israeli] court decision, the custodian of abandoned property in the West Bank area allocated the land on which the farm stands to the World Zionist Organization, which granted a permit for use of the land to Sussia, a cooperative agricultural association [a group of Jewish settlers].

“Israel is occupying the Palestinian people in my name, in the name of world Jewry,” Lucas, clutching his American passport, tells the camera. “And I myself, an American Jew, is here to say that is completely unjustified and ethically reprehensible.”

IOA Editor: This news story finally made it to Haaretz, and got distorted along the way. The group of Israelis marching through East Jerusalem chanting “death to the Arabs” was not “small,” as several video reports have clearly shown.

Scene: an elevator, downstage right. Stuck inside are ROY Cohn and Ethel Rosenberg, characters in Tony Kushner’s landmark play, Angels in America. McCarthyite lawyer, Roy prosecuted Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were accused of spying for the USSR and executed in 1953. Ethel now paces impatiently, pushing elevator buttons. Above the stage, captions from recent New York Times headlines wink on and off didactically.

Last Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of Israeli youth marched along the Green Line to celebrate Jerusalem Day, an annual commemoration of the Israeli occupation of the city in the 1967 war. The organization of the march was done under a Zionist banner. Three days later, thousands of Israelis marched in Tel Aviv in support of the Two State Solution. While many organizations participated, the overall slogan was “Netanyahu says no, Israel says yes to a Palestinian state”.

RELATED Jerusalem Day 2011 by Just Jerusalem

Rae Abileah, a Jewish-American activist of Israeli descent with the peace group CodePink, disrupted Netanyahu’s speech. Standing in the congressional gallery, she yelled, “No more occupation! Stop Israel war crimes! Equal rights for Palestinians! Occupation is indefensible!” As she screamed, members in the audience tackled her to the ground, and undercover security forces later dragged her outside. She was taken to George Washington University Hospital where she was treated for neck and shoulder injuries. At the hospital, police arrested Abileah and charged her with disorderly conduct for disrupting Congress.

Netanyahu … is determined to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state by any and all means. That did not start with the present government – it is an aim deeply embedded in Zionist ideology and practice. The founders of the movement set the course, David Ben-Gurion acted to implement it in 1948, in collusion with King Abdallah of Jordan. Netanyahu is just adding his bit.

Move Over AIPAC / CodePink flashmob event at Union Station, Washington DC on 20 May 2011, during the annual AIPAC convention and the Move Over AIPAC convention and series of protest in Washington DC.

Two Jews, three opinions, is the old adage. On “everything but Israel,” is the present reality. Despite its belief to the contrary, neither the Jewish community nor Israel is well-served by that reality. Mainstream Jewry is dishonored by having the likes of Wiesenfeld and Hikind be its public voice on such matters, and by insisting that unquestioning and irrational loyalty to Israel substitute for rational debate and a commitment to what is just.

The problem, of course, is that Kushner’s status earned him reconsideration; other less well-known personages critical of Israel, including academic and political analysts, are often targeted in ways that generate less attention and debate. Many conclude it’s just not worth it to speak up about Israeli policy, less they became targeted and smeared – and even lose their jobs.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner was to receive an honorary doctorate from CUNY’s John Jay College. Not for critics of the Israeli occupation, said CUNY’s Board of Trustees.

Tony Kushner: I believe that the historical record shows, incontrovertibly, that the forced removal of Palestinians from their homes as part of the creation of the state of Israel was ethnic cleansing, a conclusion I reached mainly by reading the work of Benny Morris, an acclaimed and conservative Israeli historian…

UPDATE
New York Times: In Reversal, City University Trustees Approve Honorary Degree for Tony Kushner
New York Times Editorial: CUNY Shamed Iteself
New York Times: After Reversal, Honor Is Likely for Kushner

If the story told … is true, Gaddafi is entitled to immigrate to Israel as a Jew under Israel’s Law of Return. Even if every other country on earth refused him entry, Israel would be obligated by its own laws to take Gaddafi in.

IOA Editor: The evil deeds of mankind, and the ironic twists of history.

“It cannot be expected from the State of Israel to forbid Jews from purchasing private property in Jerusalem. There is no democratic country in the world that would impose such a ban on Jews and it cannot be expected that Israel will be the one to do so.”

Once you are labeled and stereotyped – especially if you are denounced as an anti-Semite – you are relegated to the fringes, pronounced a hater beyond redemption, and even beyond explanation.

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