Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Sunday, 25 September 2016

"There's a Name for That & it's Antisemitism": Some Snippets

Alan Dershowitz talks to Jonathan Sacerdoti regarding the exhibition at London's Hinde Street Methodist Church, about which David Collier writes here and Archbishop Cranmer (hat tip: Ian G.) here, both writers showing the vile antisemitism the exhibition has unleashed:


 Ben White's ten cents worth:


(Is that the Stephen Leah of York PSC, author of Israel-demonising lyrics set to the music of well-loved hymns?; I seem to recall anti-Israel soprano Deborah Fink warbling one, in a church.)

Jenny Tonge and friends approve the  White piece:


Girls set off for Gaza:


On a bus stop outside a Jewish school in North London, just some of the crude antisemitic grafitti scrawled there on 16 September (h/t: DC):


In Newport, Wales, on 15 September, one of the PSC's squalid little demos, plus a comment (inset) from Welsh Greens' leader Bartolotti:
'Around 50 Pro-Palestine protestors gathered in Newport this afternoon to rally against Israel's European football union membership. The protest began outside the Westgate Hotel at 4pm, ahead of the game between Wales women and the Israel women's side at Rodney Parade. Members of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) aimed to lead a march to the stadium before the Euro 2017 qualifying group game, but were stopped by police when crossing Newport city footbridge. There were reports of anti-Israel shouts inside the ground after the anthems though. But security carted out those responsible, according to eyewitnesses. Members of the PSC said the were holding the protest because Israel "should be boycotted until it abides by international law and gives the Palestinians their human rights”....
Joining the protest was Ella Furness, from a group called Easton Cowgirls, a women’s football team who went over to Palestine to play football with the women there. Miss Furness said she was excited to be a part of the protest, and hoped it would raise further awareness of the situation in Palestine....'
(Ella Furness and the gals would of course be better employedpersuading Islamic countries to allow women to participate in sports instead of picking on Israel!  Strange, eh, that they don't seem to think of that?!)

On 24 September, before the Arsenal vs Chelsea match, some familiar voices and faces:

(It seems the little lady in the baseball cap and friends who want Israel expelled from FIFA have met a bit of a snag, since FIFA has changed its rules on expulsion, as the guy with the Irish accent explains in this Alex Seymour video)


To quote the uploader:
Demo by Football Against Apartheid calling for the expulsion of Israel from FIFA. The action took place immediately before the local derby game at the Arsenal in front of supporters rushing to the match and beneath a police drone.

Friday, 23 September 2016

David Singer: Islamic State and al-Nusrah Survive Whilst America and Russia Crash Dive (sequel to previous post)

Here's the latest article by Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer.  It is a sequel to the one posted yesterday, in view of further developments.

Writes David Singer:

Botched airstrikes by American, Australian and British warplanes in Syria have accidentally killed at least 62 Syrian soldiers and wounded more than 100 – leading Russia to making the accusation that the “White House is defending Islamic State”.

The boot was however on the other foot when America blamed Russia for an airstrike a few days later that killed 20 Syrian Red Crescent aid workers and truck drivers delivering humanitarian aid relief to 78000 civilians trapped in Aleppo province.

A very angry American Secretary of State – John Kerry – addressed the UN Security Council on 21 September:
“For weeks over the summer, experts from my government worked with our counterparts from Russia in good efforts to develop a plan that would take into account the lessons learned from the original cessation, and the key elements of that plan launched in Geneva two weeks ago include the renewal of a cessation of hostilities, excluding only Daesh [Islamic State – ed] and al-Nusrah.
Importantly, it included arrangements for the unfettered delivery – unfettered delivery – of humanitarian aid to people in Aleppo and elsewhere in the country, and it envisioned the possibility – providing humanitarian assistance was unimpeded and sustained, and provided there were at least seven days of consecutive adherence to the cessation – that the United States and Russia would begin to coordinate their efforts against Daesh [Islamic State] and al-Nusrah. And I want to make it clear, under President Obama’s orders, all preparations were being made in order to achieve that cooperation in terms of our military and intelligence community and the work we would do. So we’re committed to that."
America and Russia had again put the cart before the horse – and these two tragic events have happened as a result.

Russia, America and their respective cohorts now need to get on with the job of first destroying their commonly agreed enemies - Islamic State and al- Nusrah – but only after first obtaining a UN mandated Security Council Resolution - rather than acting independently of the UN by pursuing some joint co-ordinated action of their own.

President Putin warned in his speech at the UN just one year ago of the perils of operating outside a UN Security Council resolution:
“Russia stands ready to work together with its partners on the basis of full consensus, but we consider the attempts to undermine the legitimacy of the United Nations as extremely dangerous. They could lead to a collapse of the entire architecture of international organizations, and then indeed there would be no other rules left but the rule of force.”
Obama and Putin should urgently co-sponsor a Security Council resolution under Article 42 of the UN Charter before the Syrian sinkhole opens even wider.

Such a Resolution would enable the UN to take action by air, sea, or land forces to defeat and remove Islamic State and al-Nusrah as a threat to international peace and security. All UN Members would be obliged to make available to the Security Council, on its call, armed forces, assistance, and facilities, including rights of passage.

Only a UN-mandated military force led by a single commander-in-chief can ever hope to defeat Islamic State and al-Nusrah.

America seems unable to understand that resolving this world threat to international peace and security in Syria must first happen before it becomes possible to start resolving the 5 year old civil war in Syria.

Meantime Islamic State and al-Nusrah survive – and the inhumane suffering in Syria continues.
Russia and America must use the United Nations Security Council for the purpose it was created – not as a debating forum to play the blame game.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

David Singer: Islamic State Crows as Russia and America Trade Blows

Here's the latest article by Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer.  (Update: There is a sequel here)

He writes:

Islamic State combatants were no doubt jumping with joy following botched airstrikes against them by American, Australian and British warplanes in Syria that accidentally killed at least 60 Syrian soldiers and wounded more than 100.

The 15-member United Nations (UN) Security Council met on 17 September after Russia demanded an emergency session to discuss the American-led airstrike fiasco.

The U.S. ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, chastised Russia for the move:
"Russia really needs to stop the cheap point scoring and the grandstanding and the stunts and focus on what matters, which is implementation of something we negotiated in good faith with them"  
Russia made no bones about its feelings:
"We are reaching a really terrifying conclusion for the whole world: That the White House is defending Islamic State. Now there can be no doubts about that," the RIA Novosti news agency quoted Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying.”
The boot was however on the other foot with America blaming Russia for an airstrike a few days later that killed 20 Syrian Red Crescent aid workers and truck drivers delivering humanitarian aid relief to 78000 civilians trapped in Aleppo province.

Islamic State no doubt relishes these recriminations and counter recriminations that will guarantee the end of the current tenuous ceasefire.

This disastrous state of affairs could have been avoided had Russia, America and their respective cohorts agreed to concentrate on jointly destroying their common agreed enemy –  Islamic Stateunder a UN mandated Security Council Resolution, rather than acting independently of each other.

President Obama’s decision to intrude uninvited upon Syrian sovereign territory in September 2014 without the backing of a Chapter VII UN Security Council Resolution has seen America behind the eight ball ever since.

President Putin warned in his speech at the UN just one year ago of the perils of operating outside a UN Security Council resolution:
“Russia stands ready to work together with its partners on the basis of full consensus, but we consider the attempts to undermine the legitimacy of the United Nations as extremely dangerous. They could lead to a collapse of the entire architecture of international organizations, and then indeed there would be no other rules left but the rule of force.”
The chickens are now coming home to roost for America as the consequences of its by-passing the UN unfolded this past week.

Obama and Putin now need to urgently sponsor a Security Council resolution under Article 42 of the UN Charter before the Syrian sinkhole opens even wider.

Such a Resolution would enable the UN to take action by air, sea, or land forces as might be necessary to defeat and remove Islamic State as a threat to international peace and security.

All UN Members would be obliged to make available to the Security Council, on its call, armed forces, assistance, and facilities, including rights of passage, necessary for the purpose of defeating Islamic State.

Only a UN-mandated military force led by a single commander-in-chief can ever hope to defeat Islamic State and end the threat to world peace that this evil organisation represents.

How many more horrendous incidents like these latest two have to occur before Russia and America agree to jointly initiate action in the Security Council to confront and eliminate Islamic State?

Resolving Syria’s horrific five year civil war cannot be achieved until Islamic State is comprehensively routed and driven out of Syria.

The name-calling and blame games being traded between Russia and America serve no purpose other than to prolong Islamic State’s existence and Syria’s suffering.

Wake up Russia and America.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Academic Who Dreams of Israel's Demise Takes US Students on Free "Trip of a Lifetime"

"It is essential to talk about Israel/Palestine, considering that Israel is the world's largest  recipient of US aid...

 I dream of a binational secular democratic state in Israel/Palestine that provides equal rights to all citizens and inhabitants of the Holy Land (Jewish Israelis and Palestinian Christians and Muslims) regardless of ethno-religious affiliation.

 I believe that we can and will realize this within our lifetime."
 [Emphasis added, here and below]

The words are those of Swarthmore College visiting professor in Peace and Conflict Studies (and class of '06 graduate) Sa'ed Atshan [pictured], quoted  in the Summer 2016 Swarthmore College [alumni] Bulletin that I finally got around to reading today, having flicked through the class notes a fortnight or so ago.

It's on a profile of Atshan on page 8 by one Michael Agresta, demonstrating how Atshan, an Arab Quaker who attended Ramallah Friends School, "balances scholarship and peace activism".

Inter alia:
"Atshan's most recent foray beyond the ivory tower is the inaugural Swarthmore College Israel/Palestine Study Trip, but he has long worked to build bridges from academia to the front lines of social justice and peace activism.  As a graduate student at Harvard, he organized a similar spring break study trip to Israel/Palestine; the program has endured and is in its eighth year.  He has also partnered in projects with Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees....'
On page 15 is a cross-referenced report by one Carrie Compton headed "Trip of a Lifetime".  Illustrated, as you can see here, by, respectively, "Rainbow in Jericho; Palestinian potter; Lunch in Hebron; Dome of the Rock", it tells us:
'Over winter break, 19 students from Sa’ed Atshan ’06’s Israeli-Palestinian Conflict class spent 10 days in that region of the Middle East, meeting with top humanitarian figures on all sides of the conflict. The journey was free for the entire class, thanks primarily to funding from an anonymous donor.
Though the trip occurred during a break in the academic year, the students found it as demanding as any other Swarthmore experience. 
“They were rigorous, emotionally draining days filled with phenomenal meetings,” says Omri Gal ’19, whose parents are Israelis from Jerusalem. “I can’t even count how many times I’ve been to Israel before this, but this was something else entirely: an all-access, insider’s trip.”
The group’s itinerary swept the region, with stops in Israel and the West Bank: Tel Aviv, Haifa, the Negev, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, and Hebron. On each day the travelers spoke with about 10 of the area’s most influential peace activists, including Israeli and Palestinian Swarthmore alumni, during meetings that began at 8 a.m. and typically ended around 10 p.m. 
“We really got to see every single aspect of the region’s struggles from the conflict zones, which as a tourist, you’d never be able to do,” says Gal. “The vast majority of students came away from the experience with an incredible amount of hope for the situation, because the people we met were so full of strength and resilience.” 
“One of the inspirations for this trip was to help students better think about how they can be engaged globally,” says Atshan, “and how they can contribute to the amelioration of suffering and creating a more peaceful and nonviolent world.” 
Professor Atshan’s course on the Israel-Palestine conflict is slated again for fall 2016, but funding for another trip has yet to be secured.'
So who precisely did fund this trip?  Swarthmore? Soros? CAIR? ...

There is a podcast interview here by Joelle Hageboutros of this extremist Swarthmore group with three participants in the trip.

If you can be bothered to listen to this depressing piece of Israel-bashing (the photo below is a clue to the slant) you will notice that Ms Hageboutros states that the trip was organised by Atshan "in conjunction with Boston College and fully funded by Swarthmore" (which conflicts with the information given by Carrie Compton).

The interview shows how much these young participants have been brainwashed by the "peace activists" with whom they came in contact. 

Though I suspect, that at least one of the interviewees needed little encouragement to become a "useful idiot". 


 When they talk of "peace" is it the demise of Israel that they, too, seek?  Sadly, I assume so. 




Sa'ed Atshan is gay, it seems.

The photo at the top shows him at Swarthmore in 2013, visiting from Tufts.

No doubt he had only good things to say about the treatment of gays in Israel compared wiith Arab states, and his audience was duly impressed and appreciative. with the enlightened attitude of the little Jewish State.  Huh?

Alas for Dr Atshan's "dream" of a replacement state in which all would live in harmony, tasting and meting out only loving kindness,  we don't need a much-vaunted Swarthmore or Ivy League education to work out who, in the kind of state that would inevitably follow his "dream" of the fall of the Zionist Entity, would have reason to fear the sight of cranes and the tops of tall buildings.

Let's hope the kids snap out of their fantasies soon.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

BDSing Aussie Professor Writes of "Israel's Vampiric History" (updated)

Once upon a time, 2002 to be precise,  two Aussie academics, one of Lebanese Christian background and the other Joo-ish (see my post here) co-sponsored an online anti-Israel petition  A journalist for the Melbourne Age (from the Fairfax stable of Aussie newspapers and thus no great friend to Israel) reported inter alia on 6 June that year:
"Angered at Israel's treatment of Palestinians, the pair last month launched an online petition calling for the boycott. They have collected about 100 signatures but have also provoked a counter-petition that attacks the pair for singling out Israel and failing to request similar boycotts of academic contacts with totalitarian regimes such as China and the Arab states."
The Lebanese-born academic referred to was anthropologist Ghassan Hage, then of the University of Sydney and now of the University of Melbourne (see image at left, dating to 2015).

As I well recall, the online petition he co-sponsored soon became a laughing stock.  How the two co-authors must have exulted at seeing the number of signatures steadily rise, only to realise that swelling the numbers were such monikers as "Adolf Hitler" and "Yasser Arafat" and even, if I recall correctly,  "Ariel Sharon".  Thus adorned with signatures each more preposterous than the last, and teeming with  pro-Israel comments, the flopped petition was in effect put out of its misery when its "add signature" facility was hidden from public view so that no further sport could be had with it.

Here's Professor Hage, who began his academic career as a political scientist and holds the chair of anthropolgy and social theory at Melbourne Uni, talking about racism:


On 6 June 2010 the Electronic Intifada published the following by Professor Hage in response to the Mavi Marmara incident, reprinted here:
Ghassan Hage’s response to some of the outrageously unbelievable Israeli propaganda that spewed forth from the mouths of Israeli political leaders and their spokespersons in the days following Israel’s massacre of civilians in international waters:
I don’t write poems but, in any case, poems are not poems.
Long ago, I was made to understand that Palestine was not Palestine;
I was also informed that Palestinians were not Palestinians;
They also explained to me that ethnic cleansing was not ethnic cleansing.
And when naive old me saw freedom fighters they patiently showed me that they were not freedom fighters, and that resistance was not resistance.
And when, stupidly, I noticed arrogance, oppression and humiliation they benevolently enlightened me so I can see that arrogance was not arrogance, oppression was not oppression, and humiliation was not humiliation.
I saw misery, racism, inhumanity and a concentration camp.
But they told me that they were experts in misery, racism, inhumanity and concentration camps and I have to take their word for it: this was not misery, racism, inhumanity and a concentration camp.
Over the years they’ve taught me so many things: invasion was not invasion, occupation was not occupation, colonialism was not colonialism and apartheid was not apartheid.
They opened my simple mind to even more complex truths that my poor brain could not on its own compute like: “having nuclear weapons” was not “having nuclear weapons,” “not having weapons of mass destruction” was “having weapons of mass destruction.”
And, democracy (in the Gaza Strip) was not democracy.
Having second class citizens (in Israel) was democracy.
So you’ll excuse me if I am not surprised to learn today that there were more things that I thought were evident that are not: peace activists are not peace activists, piracy is not piracy, the massacre of unarmed people is not the massacre of unarmed people.
I have such a limited brain and my ignorance is unlimited.
And they’re so fucking intelligent. Really.
 
 Now, Professor Hage has hit the headlines, so to speak, of the execrable Mondoweiss, for his response to the Anthropological Association of Israel, inviting him to be keynote speaker at its conference.

Not that this refusal should come as much of a surprise to Mondoweiss's readers, for they will have seen here that Professor Hage is a proponent of an academic boycott of Israel!

Professor Hage posted his response to the invitation on Facebook a day or two ago, and it has attracted (when last I looked) 397 likes, 47 comments, and 163 shares there.  It seems all leftist anti-Israel life is exulting, in Australia and overseas (yes, there anti-Israel Israeli-born academics among them).

Dear …
I have spent a bit of time writing this so it is a bit formal. That’s not the intention. It’s more that I want to be as clear as possible about my reasons.
I sincerely appreciate your invitation to give the keynote at the Anthropological Association of Israel. And I accept that it is an invitation made in good faith that emanates from your desire to open up the association to voices that are strongly critical of Israel as it has come to exist in the world today, and that as you say are not heard enough.
I am afraid I have to decline from accepting your invitation. I can’t say I am overjoyed to decline. As I mentioned to you before by temperament I am always inclined and disposed to dialogue, but I have thought hard about what my presence would achieve and I feel that the end result is negative not positive. But in thinking what is positive and what is negative I am thinking of how it impacts on the struggle of the Palestinian people to free themselves of colonialism, not the struggle of Israeli anthropologists to make their society more open minded and receptive. It is a mistake to equate the two even though they might occasionally overlap in terms of interest. You probably don’t want to hear me giving you a full blast of my reasons. And you might even think that you have heard it all before. But I genuinely accept that you want dialogue. And so I want to quickly say why, while I am also all for dialogue, I am not for the dialogue as you are proposing it, even though I am more than flattered about what you say about my work and thankful that you thought of me as a possible keynoter.
Israeli anthropologists face a number of situations that are similar to those we face in other settler colonial environments such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. We are all anthropologists working in a social space that is always already vampirically sucking a native population dry and violently (legally and illegally) blocking its claims to the land. You Israelis have to face the extra situation that your vampiric history is relatively short and new, the population that has been colonised by you is still relatively strong and still making claims of national sovereignty and autonomy over the land. The dominant forces in your society aspire to get to a situation where this will stop being the case. It aims to efface the existence of Palestinians as claimants of sovereignty and it is subjecting them to horrendous inhumane violence of a scale, intensity and permanence that is so beyond acceptable. This is what your own Baruch Kimmerling has beautifully called politicide.
So to me, the beginning of any decolonial anthropology is to be anti-politicidal. It has to be concerned with how to stop this horrendous violence and how to give presence and political and social power to the colonised. It is not about making the anthropologist of the colonising society more liberal and open minded and capable of confronting difference. This I feel is all what me presenting a keynote for your organisation would achieve: some conservatives will be upset. But that’s because they are dumb. Then there will be the intelligent liberals who will leave saying "what a feeling. I have heard a genuinely and authentically anti-Zionist intellectual with really confronting views, and with an Arab background to boot. It was a really enriching experience, I must be so open minded and groovy." This does not and never did help the colonised. There will be a minority however who will fully understand these limitations and who will genuinely want to move towards the territory of decolonising anthropology. Those, I would love to work with, but I don’t believe the AAI is the best frame for this to be done.
I have many ideas of what a dialogue towards establishing a decolonial Israeli anthropology would entail. The first among them would be for Israeli anthropologists to refuse to belong to an organisation that symbolically absences Palestine from its name, or to belong to an organization that accepts anthropologists from the settlements among its ranks. If I was invited to Israel by an organisation that calls itself the Anthropological association of Israel/Palestine, that would be a good beginning. I will see it as indicating an aspiration to confront the mono-national mono-religious and eliminationist tendencies of the state. I would be happy to meet with Israeli anthropologists who aspire for such a decolonial politics. And it would be a delight for me to discuss with them possible strategies. Given that the numbers in the foreseeable future will be small perhaps we can meet in a Palestinian café and invite some local Palestinian anthropologists to participate in a dialogue about radically different non-colonial directions. I would genuinely be happy to take part in something like this.
This situation actually reminds me a bit of the politics of positive discrimination. When you are aiming for structural change, your politics can be incommensurate with individual interests and unfair to genuinely nice people. That is, you can be aiming for more women in management and you end up discriminating against a genuinely charming feminist guy. Likewise, I want to participate in dialogues that open up the space for more Palestinian anthropologists to be as subjects and participants in shaping the future of anthropology in Israel/Palestine, even if I have to forgo interacting with excellent, open-minded and charming Israeli anthropologists. [Emphasis added]
 The question might be asked: since Professor Hage's antipathy to Israel is a matter of public record, why did the Anthropological Association of Israel extend their invitation to him in the first place?

Update: 
Ghassan Hage on Facebook (20 Sept.)
 I had initially asked the president of the Israeli Anthropological Association who invited me, Nir Avieli, if he wanted his invitation published. As I didn't get an initial response i assumed he didn't. But he has sent me his considered response to my reply. So here they are both for the records. As you can see both my response and Nir's are polite and even cordial despite the differences, and if people want to comment, I'd rather if people keep the same tone of exchange.

Response to the president of the Israeli Anthropological Association’s invitation to give a keynote at their annual conference and the president’s reply

Dear Nir
I have spent a bit of time writing this so it is a bit formal. That’s not the intention. It’s more that I want to be as clear as possible about my reasons.
I sincerely appreciate your invitation to give the keynote at the Anthropological Association of Israel. And I accept that it is an invitation made in good faith that emanates from your desire to open up the association to voices that are strongly critical of Israel as it has come to exist in the world today, and that as you say are not heard enough.
I am afraid I have to decline from accepting your invitation. I can’t say I am overjoyed to decline. As I mentioned to you before by temperament I am always inclined and disposed to dialogue, but I have thought hard about what my presence would achieve and I feel that the end result is negative not positive. But in thinking what is positive and what is negative I am thinking of how it impacts on the struggle of the Palestinian people to free themselves of colonialism, not the struggle of Israeli anthropologists to make their society more open minded and receptive. It is a mistake to equate the two even though they might occasionally overlap in terms of interest. You probably don’t want to hear me giving you a full blast of my reasons. And you might even think that you have heard it all before. But I genuinely accept that you want dialogue. And so I want to quickly say why, while I am also all for dialogue, I am not for the dialogue as you are proposing it, even though I am more than flattered about what you say about my work and thankful that you thought of me as a possible keynoter.
Israeli anthropologists face a number of situations that are similar to those we face in other settler colonial environments such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. We are all anthropologists working in a social space that is always already vampirically sucking a native population dry and violently (legally and illegally) blocking its claims to the land. You Israelis have to face the extra situation that your vampiric history is relatively short and new, the population that has been colonised by you is still relatively strong and still making claims of national sovereignty and autonomy over the land. The dominant forces in your society aspire to get to a situation where this will stop being the case. It aims to efface the existence of Palestinians as claimants of sovereignty and it is subjecting them to horrendous inhumane violence of a scale, intensity and permanence that is so beyond acceptable. This is what your own Baruch Kimmerling has beautifully called politicide.
So to me, the beginning of any decolonial anthropology is to be anti-politicidal. It has to be concerned with how to stop this horrendous violence and how to give presence and political and social power to the colonised. It is not about making the anthropologist of the colonising society more liberal and open minded and capable of confronting difference. This I feel is all what me presenting a keynote for your organisation would achieve: some conservatives will be upset. But that’s because they are dumb. Then there will be the intelligent liberals who will leave saying "what a feeling. I have heard a genuinely and authentically anti-Zionist intellectual with really confronting views, and with an Arab background to boot. It was a really enriching experience, I must be so open minded and groovy." This does not and never did help the colonised. There will be a minority however who will fully understand these limitations and who will genuinely want to move towards the territory of decolonising anthropology. Those, I would love to work with, but I don’t believe the AAI is the best frame for this to be done.
I have many ideas of what a dialogue towards establishing a decolonial Israeli anthropology would entail. The first among them would be for Israeli anthropologists to refuse to belong to an organisation that symbolically absences Palestine from its name, or to belong to an organization that accepts anthropologists from the settlements among its ranks. If I was invited to Israel by an organisation that calls itself the Anthropological association of Israel/Palestine, that would be a good beginning. I will see it as indicating an aspiration to confront the mono-national mono-religious and eliminationist tendencies of the state. I would be happy to meet with Israeli anthropologists who aspire for such a decolonial politics. And it would be a delight for me to discuss with them possible strategies. Given that the numbers in the foreseeable future will be small perhaps we can meet in a Palestinian café and invite some local Palestinian anthropologists to participate in a dialogue about radically different non-colonial directions. I would genuinely be happy to take part in something like this.
This situation actually reminds me a bit of the politics of positive discrimination. When you are aiming for structural change, your politics can be incommensurate with individual interests and unfair to genuinely nice people. That is, you can be aiming for more women in management and you end up discriminating against a genuinely charming feminist guy. Likewise, I want to participate in dialogues that open up the space for more Palestinian anthropologists to be as subjects and participants in shaping the future of anthropology in Israel/Palestine, even if I have to forgo interacting with excellent, open-minded and charming Israeli anthropologists.
Best wishes,
Ghassan
----------------------------------------------------------
Dear Ghassan
Thank you for your frank mail.
I am disappointed but I am certainly not surprised by your decision to decline my invitation.
Colleagues I consulted in Israel and abroad told me that inviting a Palestinian and/or Middle Eastern anthropologist as a keynote for the Israeli Anthropological Association (IAA) annual meeting would be futile if not foolish: “no self-respecting Palestinian or Arab intellectual would accept such invitation”, they said. “Yes”, they added, “Edward Said came. But that was Said and the visit took place in a very different time”. Previous IAA presidents also confided in me that they made genuine efforts to invite prominent Arab anthropologists in the past: invitations that were declined.
As I wrote in my original email, I do hope my invitation was not too bold, or indeed, insensitive. But because we intend to hold the annual meeting in Kfar Qasim, an Arab town known for its tragic history – I thought this might indicate our serious intentions to create genuine dialogue, rather than simply feature you as a fig-leaf for liberal minded pious anthropologists.
I also felt that not even trying to invite you would be yet another indication of how we in the academic community have succumbed to the ruling regime. Giving up without even trying seems to plague the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is especially the case when we consider the death of the “the Israeli left” over the past decades, whose members once struggled for peace and reconciliation, but have now lost all political power and hope. We now make an invisible, silent few – the academia is perhaps the last bastion.
In this sense, I hope our email exchange was a forgone conclusion, though I respect and understand your decision. To be honest, I don’t think we really disagree on the fundamentals: The IAA has officially condemned the occupation of Palestine and called upon the Israeli government to stop the military control and human and civil rights abuse and engage in peace talks.
And as you convincingly argue:
“Israeli anthropologists face a number of situations that are similar to those we face in other settler colonial environments such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. We are all anthropologists working in a social space that is always already vampirically sucking a native population dry and violently (legally and illegally) blocking its claims to the land”.
Indeed, you and I face similar difficulties and dilemmas (for instance, working in public universities in Israel or Australia). The way I understand it, our privileged position demands that we critically engage in discussing sociopolitical problems, however intractable. I also feel that this is our only way of influencing others (our students or, at least, some of them) and, perhaps, having an impact.
I also agree with you that the main question at hand is what would be the most effective way of assisting the Palestinians in their struggle for freedom and independence. In a week in which the US administration committed 37 BILLION DOLLARS of the US tax payers money in military assistance to Israel, the largest ever sum of money given by the US to any foreign country, it is clear that the occupation of Palestine is an American interest and that the occupation is fueled by American tax payers. It is, of course, also maintained politically by the US and its allies, not least ‘Fortress Australia’: perhaps the most loyal of US allies.
The way I understand it, the most effective way of assisting the Palestinians in their struggle is by demanding that the US and its allies stop supporting the occupation. I realize that anthropologists anywhere have very little political power, but this is probably the only way to help the Palestinians.
Talking to Israeli anthropologists might not be very effective, but I do believe it can generate a productive discussion, to the chagrin of the ruling power.
I could have written now that “I look forward for better times”, but this would be just another self-righteous and meaningless phrase. For lack of better words I’ll just say that I’ll keep on trying…
Sincerely
Nir Avieli
President, The Israeli Anthropological Association

Thursday, 15 September 2016

David Singer: Bibi's Claim of Palestinian Ethnic Cleansing of Jews is Certainly Justified

Here's the latest article by Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer.

 It's entitled "United Nations Rebuked for Promoting Palestinian Ethnic Cleansing of Jews".

Writes David Singer:
United Nations member States need to examine their own consciences and policies following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu castigating them for promoting a Jew-free Palestinian Arab State in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and East Jerusalem. In a video presentation last week Netanyahu declared:
“Israel's diversity shows its openness and readiness for peace.
Yet the Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one pre-condition: No Jews.
There's a phrase for that: It's called ethnic cleansing.
And this demand is outrageous. It's even more outrageous that the world doesn't find this outrageous.
Some otherwise enlightened countries even promote this outrage” 

 The Oxford Dictionary defines “enlightened” to mean “having or showing a rational, modern, and well-informed outlook”

Enlightened United Nations member States lost their moral and humanitarian compasses when supporting United Nations Resolution A/67/L.28 passed on 29 November 2012 (“the Resolution”) which reaffirmed:
“the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967”
Among the 138 countries voting for the Resolution were enlightened States such as:
Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Russian Federation, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Uruguay and Venezuela

Canada, the Czech Republic, Israel, and the United States voted against the Resolution, whilst 41 others – including Australia – abstained.

800,000 Jews currently live in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem under rights vested in them by:
* Article 6 of the 1922 Mandate for Palestine,
* Article 80 of the 1945 United Nations Charter, * Israel’s 1967 annexation of East Jerusalem
* The 1993 Oslo Accords.
 Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared in 2010:

“We have frankly said, and always will say: If there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli in it,”

Like Hitler – Abbas made no secret of his racist plan to create a Jew-free State.

Member States of the United Nations remained silent. In voting for the Resolution they chose to march to the same tune.

Abbas repeated his evil message in 2013: 
“But when a Palestinian state is established, it would have no Israeli presence in it.”
Enlightened States still said nothing.

Jews forced from their Jerusalem homes in 1948
They had said nothing after every single Jew had been ethnically cleansed from Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem following Jordan’s conquest of these areas between 1948 and 1967 when the following events happened:
“After the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem was captured, the destruction, desecration and systematic looting of Jewish sites began and continued. 57 ancient synagogues (the oldest dated to the 13th century), libraries and centers of religious study were ransacked and 12 were totally and deliberately destroyed. Those that remained standing were defaced, used for housing of both people and animals. The city’s foremost Jewish shrine, the Western Wall, became a slum. Appeals were made to the United Nations and in the international community to declare the Old City to be an ‘open city’ and stop this destruction, but there was no response.”
The independent Jew-free Palestinian State promoted by the United Nations in 2012 could have been created between 1948 and 1967 with the stroke of an Arab League pen when not one Jew lived in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem. That 19-year window of opportunity will not return.

Netanyahu’s rebuke was certainly justified.

Enlightened – and unenlightened – States need to affirm their total opposition to any settlement of the Jewish-Arab conflict involving the ethnic cleansing of any Jews from Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem.

(Note from Daphne. Full text of Netanyahu's speech below):
 I'm sure many of you have heard the claim that Jewish communities in Judea Samaria, the West Bank, are an obstacle to peace.
I've always been perplexed by this notion.
Because no one would seriously claim that the nearly two million Arabs living inside Israel – that they're an obstacle to peace. That's because they aren't. On the contrary.
Israel's diversity shows its openness and readiness for peace. Yet the Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one pre-condition: No Jews.
There's a phrase for that: It's called ethnic cleansing.
And this demand is outrageous.
It's even more outrageous that the world doesn't find this outrageous. Some otherwise enlightened countries even promote this outrage.
Ask yourself this: Would you accept ethnic cleansing in your state? A territory without Jews, without Hispanics, without blacks?
Since when is bigotry a foundation for peace?
At this moment, Jewish schoolchildren in Judea Samaria are playing in sandboxes with their friends.
Does their presence make peace impossible?
I don’t think so.
I think what makes peace impossible is intolerance of others. Societies that respect all people are the ones that pursue peace. Societies that demand ethnic cleansing don't pursue peace.
I envision a Middle East where young Arabs and young Jews learn together, work together, live together side by side in peace.
Our region needs more tolerance, not less.
So the next time you hear someone say Jews can't live somewhere, let alone in their ancestral homeland, take a moment to think of the implications.
Ethnic cleansing for peace is absurd.
It's about time somebody said it.
I just did.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Aussie Greens See Red, Over Islamophobia "Racism"

There go the Aussie Senate's Greens this afternoon. Showing their attachment to democratic freedom of  speech by walking out on a senator's maiden speech because they don't agree with what she is saying. Yep,on the far right of the picture is Greens leader Richard di Natale,  and on the far left (seemingly unable to resist a parting peep at the cynosure of the assembly) is Lee Rhiannon.


The red-haired lady all eyes and ears are on is, of course, Pauline Hanson.  I hold no brief for her or her political views in general, but the boycott reflects more on the Greens than on her.

How about hate speech against Jews and Israel, Senator?
As reported by the Australian Associated Press:
'Pauline Hanson has declared Australia is in danger of being swamped by Muslims and is calling for a halt to all immigration.
Echoing her first speech to parliament 20 years ago when as the member for Oxley she made the same warning about Asians, Senator Hanson warned Australia would be living under Sharia law if it didn't act.
How very democratic of you, Senator Rice
Muslim neighbourhoods were suffering from an escalation in crime and decline in social cohesion, she said.
She used her first speech to parliament as a Senator on Wednesday night to call for a ban on Muslim immigration, as well as a halt to all immigration.
"We are in danger of being swamped by Muslims who bear a culture and ideology that is incompatible with our own," she said.
"If we don't make changes now there will be no hope in the future.
"Have no doubt we will be living under Sharia law and treated as second-class citizens with second-class rights if we keep heading down the path with the attitude 'she'll be right mate'."
Greens senators walked out half way through her speech, with Liberal senators yelling "stunt" as the minor party left the chamber.
Senator Hanson offered to personally take to the airport anyone not willing to become Australian and give their undivided loyalty to the nation.

She declared Islam was partly a religion but had a political agenda, saying Muslims were imprisoned at almost three times the average rate and unemployed at two to three times the national average.
She warned of radicalisation on the streets and slammed political leaders for urging Australians to be tolerant, insisting more Muslims were going to fight with Islamic State than the Australian army.
"How should we tell the difference? There is no sign saying good Muslim or bad Muslim," she said..
"How many lives will be lost or destroyed trying to determine who is good or who is bad?"
She called for a ban on Muslim immigration, the burqa and construction of new mosques or Islamic schools while insisting existing ones be monitored.
All immigration should be halted until Australia cleaned up its own backyard, she said, insisting Australians were suffering from massive migrant intake....
Greens senators later took to Twitter vowing to call out Senator Hanson's "racism".
Liberal senator Linda Reynolds hit back, tweeting: "we may not all agree with what she says but in Aust she has the right to say it".
Senator Hanson joked about the walk-out in her speech.
"I can feel the Greens cringing - no they've left - at the thought that I could possibly be here for six years."'
Far better, of course, had the Greens, instead of boycotting Hanson's speech from at least the hallfway mark, remained in their place to hear all of what she had to say with a view to rebutting her points in a fair and civilised manner.  But they are too agenda- and gimmick-ridden a bunch to conduct themselves like Liberal former prime minister John Howard.

Reports the ABC:
'John Howard told Lateline that Senator Hanson was "entitled to be treated in a respectful fashion by the rest of the Parliament".
 In response to the Greens walking out, Mr Howard said: "I think that reflects poorly on them".
He told 774 ABC Melbourne earlier that it would be a mistake to generalise Ms Hanson and her supporters as bigots.
"When I was in politics I always thought it was a mistake and it was inaccurate and it was unfair to brand her supporters as racist and it remains my view, and I don't think anything is gained by those allegations," he said.
Mr Howard said the Parliament should deal with the newly elected senator on the merits of individual issues.
"When she was wrong I said so and when she wasn't wrong I didn't say anything," he said.'
Of course, despite their radicalism, despite their feminism, the Israel-bashing Greens are shtum regarding Islam's benighted practices,  lumping all criticism of Islam, even the un-Western misogyny lurking within Islamic teaching and sharia, under the "Islamophobia" veil.
 
 Just another aspect of their sheer hypocrisy, of course.

For Andrew Bolt's thoughts on the speech see here