Saturday, October 31, 2009

What the BBC won't show: Israel Targets Children

Yesterday (15 July 2006) Israel gave the people of Ter Hafra village in South Lebanon two hours to leave their village or face destruction. Those who were able to flee went to the nearby UN base. The UN refused to shelter these children, not wanting to take responsibility after the Qana massacre in 1996 when Israel massacred the civilians taking shelter in the UN headquaters. Left on the open road without shelter these fleeing civilians made easy picking for the Israeli airforce with their US donated F-16 fighter planes. Most of the victims were children, their bodies burnt in the precision targeted missle attack. The photos are from Associated Press but it seems no western media is prepared to show them.
Original Source:
Action Alert: Protest Israeli war against Lebanon and Gaza

Saturday, August 29, 2009

KBRM's July Letter of the Month

This little gem is currently prominently displayed on the home page of KBRM

It remains in its exalted position even through August, so it obviously struck a chord with the principals of KBRM. Problem is, it is replete with the usual religious myths recounted as historical facts and yet again paints a powerful, hegemonic war machine called Israel as victims - yes, the cult of victimhood remains alive and well in Israel. Pity the oppressor!

Anyway, please read the letter and I will respond in detail below (I have added paragraph breaks to make it more reader-friendly).

July 2, 2009
Kudos for the excellent ad in today's Herald. It is very sad, I must stay, that KBRM has to pay in order to expose dishonest reporting. Why do they hate us so much?

I have been made refugee because I was Jewish. First my ancestors were forced to leave the land of Israel after the destruction of the second temple by the Romans. They found a new home in the welcoming Iberian peninsula, where they flourished in art, science and commerce. But then King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, under pressure from the Catholic Church and their inquisitors drove my family out of Spain in what is known as the expulsion of the Jews from Spain and Portugal at the end of the 15 th century.

They managed to get out alive and settled in North Africa, in Casablanca precisely where I was born. Life was good, but the ‘euphoria’ was short lived. The French Colonialism ended in 1956 and Morocco declared its independence. As soon as the last French officer left, the Arabs turned their anger towards the Jews of Morocco. We were forced to leave everything behind us and emigrated to Israel to start a new life.

For my family , as for hundred of thousands of other Jewish families, it meant closure! It meant returning to our homeland after being abused, rejected, persecuted and expelled from every other country. We joined an extended family already residing in Jerusalem. They were there in Israel. They've always been there, a part of that land, long before Muslims came and claimed any rights. Long before Rome changed my country's name into Palestine, long before the western world got blinded by the petrodollars and dropped its moral values. I served in the army to defend my country against daily Arab aggression. Against prejudice. Against anti-Semitism. I helped build a modern and prosperous country- The new State of Israel, on what used to be the kingdom of Judah and Israel.

I contributed to the ungrateful world, in science and medicine. In arts and music. In Biotechnology and Hi-tech. In humanitarian efforts, desalinisation of water, agriculture and the list goes on. In fact we Jews and Israelis account for 1/3 of all intellectual property and patents in the world. Yet we represent only 1/4 of a percent (0.25%) of the entire population on this planet. Me thinks; Can you please tell me why they hate me so much?

Please let us know how can this household help KBRM in any way?
Best regards

I commented on the KBRM advertisement this letter referred to in my preceding post.

My objections?

Let's start with the nonsense of a mass expulsion by the Romans. Like with the so-called Exodus, so popularised by the fiction writer Leon Uris, there is no historical record of such an event by a civilisation that put great store in record keeping. It was, like the miracles of the New Testament, invented at a later date to manufacture a history.

Then there is another myth, the myth of the great biblical nation nation of Israel, for which not only does no archaeological evidence (other than distortions of dedicated Zionists) exist, but archaeological evidence does exist which disproves the biblical inventions (see my reading list).

And it is important to understand that the adherents of Judaism who lived in Palestine (always, like Christians, a tiny minority in a pagan land) were Arab Jews. If the New Testament Jesus actually lived, he was an Arab Jew, not the idealised European version we all grew up with.

The letter writer uses the Spanish expulsion of 1492 as another example of Jew's status as the most victimised people ever (a claim made, I think, more justifiably by all non-Europeans slaughtered, dispossessed and oppressed by the all-conquering Europeans), yet Spain also expelled all Muslims. And who took in tens of thousands of the expelled Jews? The Ottoman Empire, including Palestine. And again, the Jews in Spain were Mizrahi Jews - semitic Jews - not the European variety now in power in Palestine '48.

As far as the Romans changing the name of Palestine (supposedly from Israel?) is concerned, I think the truth is that Romans actually adopted the name in use in a conquered area and "Romanised" it.

Now then, don't you just love the turn of phrase of the "western world blinded by the petrodollars and dropped its moral values"?  That compliment aside, at last we have something we can agree on!

Let's have a look at some instances of the western world, blinded by petrodollars, did indeed dropped it's moral values.

IN 1953, the US and Britain organised a coup against a democratically elected government led by Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadeq. More details are here but basically it was an argument over ownership of Iran's oil. In the words of that famous poster: how did our oil get under their sand?

Then there is the ongoing support for dictators like Mubarak (no oil to speak of, but strategically placed in an oil rich region), Saddam Hussein, and, well, any Arab regime you care to mention, really. Then we have Venezuela and their generals. And, not least, from 1967 and especially after 1973, unquestioning support for Israel, especially, and shamefully, from the United States of America.

Talking about Israel, let's move to the letter writer's defend[ing] my country against daily Arab aggression.

It is simply the genius of the Jewish propaganda machine which has enabled Arab resistance to the Jewish conquering and colonisation of historic Palestine to be reframed as aggression on the part of the indigenous Arab population.

Now I understand how difficult it is to overturn a lifetime of conditioning from undoubtedly one of the greatest propaganda exercises in history, to see through the smoke and mirrors and set the conflict in its true historical perspective.

And understand that the western world not only was complicit, but actively assisted in one last great colonising project, which, as colonising projects always do, ignore the human rights of the local, indigenous population, resulting in slaughter, dispossession and oppression.

Now let's consider the final paragraph, a long anguished cry of perpetual victimhood. An ungrateful world? What a strange comment to make about a world that has accorded Israel its dubious legitimacy in the family of nations and remains, sadly, supportive of a state that, if it was a Muslim nation, would long ago have been placed at the top of the list of rogue states.

Then the letter writer seems to be saying that a disproportionate contribution to science, technology and the arts somehow outweighs the tremendous wrong done to Palestinians. Of course it does not.

Why do they hate us so much? Read the above.

The fact is that Israelis live in a world of willful self-delusion, perpetuating gross injustice for the most base of human motivations - the greed of the oppressive coloniser.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A reluctant rebuttal

I have reproduced below, in full, an article posted on the KBRM website.

I hesitated to address the article as any help accorded Palestinians, deprived as they are of their country, their freedom and their hope for a future, a future we tend to take for granted as being one of peace and prosperity.

As regards the writer, I have only admiration for her devotion to children's health, and nothing I write here is intended to, and should not, diminish her personally or professionally. This is her story:


by Dorothy Finlay

Dorothy Finlay lives in Tauranga and is a member of Kiwis for Balanced Reporting on the Mideast.

I have spent nearly 35 years of my life in the Middle East. As a Christian with close friends among Arabs and Jews, I am literate in Arabic and can communicate in Hebrew. I have nursed in the Christian Arab sector of the Old city, in St. John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem, and Nasir Eye Hospital in Gaza in 1999. I have also worked in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem and taught in the Arab Bethlehem University. I recently returned from Jerusalem, where I was part of an expat team helping Arab children with congenital heart disease who receive life-saving surgery from Israeli paediatric cardiac surgeons.

I know how issues related to Israel are always inflammatory to those who have prejudice — both religious and political. I have even seen charges of Israel's ‘oppression’ of Arabs and ‘apartheid’. I can say, on the basis of my own experience and that of others, that such charges have no basis in fact.

Following is an account of a typical day (January 20, 2009) during my most recent stay. What I saw, on this day — and all other days — was quite the opposite of ‘oppression’ and ‘apartheid’.

Abdullah Siam

Abdullah Siam, relative of a senior Hamas leader, following life-saving heart surgery in an Israeli hospital

Today is another busy day for the team from Shevet Achim, an NGO that coordinates care for children from Iraq, Gaza, and the West Bank who need urgent heart surgery in Israeli hospitals.

As I walk through the corridors of Wolfson Children's Hospital near Tel Aviv, I see nearly as many Arab children with their mothers as Israelis. You could see they are all good friends, sharing concerns for their children. Hebrew, English and Arabic languages are interwoven in the hum everywhere as parents discuss their children with no thought of their origins.

Wahaj was first into the theatre for repair of a critical congenital heart condition. This bouncy two-year-old and his mother had travelled from northern Iraq to Jerusalem and had been waiting for a week for the ‘big day’. Now it is history and soon he will be able to return home with a new heart and future.

Havan, a very small 11-month-old from Iraq, is scheduled today for heart catheterisation. This little boy, who nearly succumbed to pneumonia en route through Jordan, now has a perpetual smile.

Today six children from Gaza with serious heart problems are being transported from the Erez Israel/Gaza crossing to Israeli hospitals for assessments, examinations and surgery. Last week there were ten such children in one day. Palestinian doctors, who depend on Israeli hospitals to treat these children, referred them to Dr Tamir, head of the Israeli NGO ‘Save a Child's Heart’ (SACH). Israeli surgeons with SACH provide the high tech surgery at no charge to the children.

Last night I accompanied a little six year old boy, Hizam, with his father back to the Gaza border, twelve days following radical heart surgery. While at the border, as we were depositing him and his father, the alarm came over the intercom for us to leave quickly. There was a loud noise and in the sky we saw a rocket that had been launched in the direction of S'derot, an Israeli town 10 km from Erez. It fell short and landed in a field. It gave me a small sense of the fear and tension that is felt every time HAMAS fires at Israel, sometimes 10-20 times a day.

I asked Hizam's father about his attitude to coming to Israel from Gaza. He was so happy. ‘Everyone is willing to help a sick child’, he said.

Today there are also several Palestinian children from Hebron to be examined and treated by sensitive and loving Israeli nurses and doctors who provide skilled professional care, served with a generous dollop of kindness and compassion.

Abdullah Siam (see photo) is a close relative of a senior Hamas leader who was operated on earlier. He is now packed up waiting to return to Gaza following life-saving heart surgery. Yes, even as Hamas is launching rockets at Israel and as the war in Gaza is pounding away, this child received the same loving care as the other children.

The Headquarters of Shevet Achim is in central Jerusalem, surrounded by Arab and Orthodox Jewish families. Next door construction work goes on and overcrowded buses and taxis ply the narrow road, known as Prophet Street. The children and parents are transported to the hospitals in Tel Aviv by Shevet drivers and are always accompanied by their staff.

New Zealand has provided a number of volunteers over recent years, living in an historic stone building where the first-ever children's hospital was established in Jerusalem in the 1860's. The mothers, children and expatriate staff share the facilities like a big family.

Prayers and love are the special ingredients that characterise this unusual organisation. Shevet Achim in Hebrew means ‘Brothers Together’. It demonstrates the common goals linking us with the Israeli staff, who also believe God wants to save these little lives and send them back to their families, healthy, with a future and a hope.

All in all, Save a Child's Heart has brought more than 1,700 children from 28 countries to Israel for life-saving heart surgery. More than half of the patients have been Palestinians, Jordanians and Iraqis. The families of these children understand full well the true situation in Israel. As the mother of an Iraqi child treated in 2007 said, ‘Israel is a good country. It's a country that has mercy on other people.’ Yet this mother would not give her last name for fear of retribution from Islamic militants who reject Israel's existence.

Israel, within its "Green Line" boundary, which is actually an armistice line, but is nevertheless Israel's internationally recognised boundary, has a Palestinian-Arab population of about 1.2 million, or 20% of the population. There are many heart-warming stories of cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, but they are, in fact, notable as exceptions.

As the recognised occupying power of the Palestinian territories, Israel is legally obliged to cater for the medical needs of the territories, but outside of the work of charities and NGO's, my understanding is that Israel charges the Palestinian Authority for any treatment in Israeli hospitals, with occasional, well publicised exceptions where fees are waived. Consequently, the PA prefers to send patients on longer journeys to Egypt, which provides all treatment free of charge.

Furthermore, it is well documented that Israel interrogates all applicants for treatment in Israel in an attempt to both extract information and to convert the applicant into informer for Israel. This leads to unfortunate tension when these patients return home.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel documents the harsh realities on the ground of providing medical assistance to the occupied Palestinian territories in the face of official Israeli resistance and hostility.

And is it just me, or is there something obscene in Israel proclaiming it's morality in providing medical care for Palestinians when the cause of treatment being required is more often than not Israel attacks on a defenseless population?

Many Israelis and KBRM seize upon cooperation such as that described in the above article, and stories of Jews and Palestinians happily socialising in coffee bars, etc., as negating allegations of oppression and apartheid. All I ask is this:

If Israelis and Palestinians socialise together, work together, live together in that small land of Palestine '48, coexisting and cooperating so very very well, as Israel is always at pains to publicise, why don't Israel, the West Bank and Gaza simply fold into one country, one state? Why the Apartheid Wall? Why the laws that so very clearly discriminate against Palestinians? Why the ongoing oppression and dispossession of Palestinians as epitomised by the settler (read coloniser) activity and violence?

The membership of Fatah, Hamas and other resistance groups combined (although it appears Fatah has transformed from a resistance group to a quisling movement, not uncommon in colonisation histories) numbers some 60,000 strong.

But the Palestinian population of the territories numbers some 5,000,000, thereabouts. So if the excuse for not transforming Israel from a violent, oppressive, colonising and hegemonic power in the Middle East is fear of the resistance groups, what about the remaining 4,940,000, thereabouts, Palestinians who just want to go home and live in peace?

Why not open the question up to a referendum amongst Palestinians? After all, Israel's Jews exercised their rights to self-determination via guns, tanks and planes, so why not allow Palestinians to exercise their right to self-determination through the ballot box? Too peaceful?

In the meantime, Dorothy, keep up the good work.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Israel and balance, just for KBRM

Below is an extract from a letter posted as a Selected Letter by KBRM.

Reports that show damage to civilian areas and people after an Israeli military response are one sided. What isn't shown is that from the very same location rockets have recently and at times repeatedly been launched into civilian areas in Israel.

I am very happy to inject some balance into reports from Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, especially as KBRM fails so miserably at this on its own website.

Click the link below and take a tour of Gaza and Israel. A journey from the hell of an occupied territory to the relative peace and security of the occupier.

I don't think I need to comment further, but you may like to.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Anniversary of admission of Israel to United Nations: Ban Ki-Moon speech

United Nations General Assembly,
New York, NY
11 May 2009

Mr. President
Ladies and Gentlemen:

With each passing year, we come closer to our past. Every year brings with it momentous anniversaries of events that shaped our world. For example, we have recently marked the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and of the United Nations itself. These two events, inextricably linked, form the basis of what we have come to know as the modern era, the post-war era.

For me, as Secretary–General, looking back on where the UN started and where it is now has a special importance, for I am now charged with guiding the world body through unknown and uncertain territory. “Terrorism” has long since replaced “arms control” and “d├ętente” as the focus of international security, yet the term defies definition. One country’s terrorist is another country’s revolutionary hero. Some insist that terrorists are opposed to democracy, but we have all seen democracies behave like terrorists.

In many ways, the world today does not seem to be very removed from the barbarity of world war. The invasion of Iraq has lasted longer than World War II, and more tons of bombs have been dropped on that poor country than all the bombs dropped in that great war. The International Declaration of Human Rights, so prized and venerated by men and women of honour everywhere, stands as an impotent relic of a forgotten time because conquest, cruelty, and arrogance are still with us and growing stronger.

For all of the good the UN has accomplished since its founding, and there have been successes, the sheer magnitude of human suffering and violations of international law that have occurred and are still occurring must also be taken into account.

Few people know that Israel is the only state to be given a conditional admission. Under General Assembly Resolution 273, Israel was admitted on the condition that it grant all Palestinians the right to return to their homes and receive compensation for lost or damaged property, according to General Assembly Resolution 194 paragraph 11. Suffice to say, Israel has never lived up to these terms, and never intended to.

For 60 years Israel has violated its terms of admission, and for 60 years the UN has done nothing about it. It has watched as Israel heaped misery upon misery on Palestine, and violated international law with impunity.

After “Operation Cast Lead,” no person, no country, no democracy can look at Israel without thinking of the inhuman slaughter and destruction committed by the axis powers in World War II, though one could have said the same about numerous past massacres. What atrocities might the world have been spared if the UN had refused to admit Israel 60 years ago?

Of course, the immediate post war world was a different time. The world had just witnessed the horrors of Hitler’s racist excesses, and collective Western guilt for the Holocaust dictated attitudes toward the idea of Jewish state. Even the UN could not withstand the moral pressure.

On Nov. 29, 1947, it passed General Assembly Resolution 181, “The Partition Plan,” to carve a Jewish state out of Arab Palestine. However, it was never ratified by the Security Council, and so does not exist in law, which means the UN played no role in the creation of Israel. Nevertheless, “The Partition Plan” was utterly illegal and a violation of the UN Charter, because the UN had no right or power to take land from one people and give it to another.

If it hopes to play a meaningful role in the 21st century, the UN must do more than simply promise to enact reforms. It must search deep within its soul to redress the fundamental violations of its founding principles, which have long since ceased to have any force. That recommitment must begin now, for it was 60 years ago today, May 11, 1949, that Israel became a member of the UN. The UN cannot hope to achieve any measure of peace or justice as long as it condones war crimes, which it does every day that Israel is allowed to flout its terms of admission.

The past cannot be undone, but the future can change. As its newly elected Secretary-General, I promise that the UN will no longer be a passive enabler of genocide. Therefore, I will ask the General Assembly to meet in special session at the earliest possible time to strip Israel of its membership.

Ordinarily, a motion to expel a member nation would have to come at the recommendation of the Security Council, but this is not an ordinary motion. Because Israel is in violation of its terms of admission, it is not a member in good standing, so the UN has every right to declare General Assembly Resolution 273 null and void. Since Israel’s membership depends on adherence to that resolution, its expulsion is automatic.

Essentially, the unavoidable, lamentable truth of the last six decades is that the UN has been a moral and political failure because it has refused to enforce its own rules and defend the Charter. Nothing the UN does can have any value as long as this illegitimate member occupies a place in the General Assembly. I want the UN to have value.

I count on your support...

( Comment: and who says cheats never prosper? )

Sunday, May 10, 2009

KBRM: a racist organisation?

In this post I reproduce a letter approvingly published by KBRM that is a picture perfect example of hate speech, demonstrating racism in the form of Islamophobia.

I examine what is meant by the term Islamophobia (also spelt as Islamaphobia), rebut the content of the letter and question the motivation of Dr Rodney Brooks and his team in posting such an uninformed spiel.

But first, the letter in question:

Jan. 30, 2009
Have just read your advert in today's Herald. Great stuff. I have written several times to newspapers over the uneveness of press reports about the Middle East. Hardly any letters got published. I have come to the conclusion that Europe is more concerned with not annoying Muslim countries — quite understandable when you consider the very significant numbers of Arabs, Pakistanis, Turks, etc. living in Europe (or ‘Eurabia’) that represent a massive entrenched fifth column in time of war.
Where would Muslims loyalties lie? (emphasis added) Have a guess. I am prepared to put some credence on the claims that militant Islam intends to first take over the UK in its march to dominate the secular, democratic countries of Europe.
Please accept my support for your efforts to ‘paint in the other side of the picture’.
If I can join could you please sign me up as a KBRM member and let me know what the annual subscription is.

And KBRM attached their response to the letter: Be assured that we appreciate what you are doing and we are doing our part here in Feilding NZ to reveal and uphold the truth over the situation.

The Runnymede Trust, a British charitable organisation, published a 1997 report that identified eight components of Islamophobia:

1) Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to change.

2) Islam is seen as separate and 'other'. It does not have values in common with other cultures, is not affected by them and does not influence them.

3) Islam is seen as inferior to the West. It is seen as barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist.

4) Islam is seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism and engaged in a 'clash of civilisations'.

5) Islam is seen as a political ideology and is used for political or military advantage.

6) Criticisms made of the West by Islam are rejected out of hand.

7) Hostility towards Islam is used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society.

8) Anti-Muslim hostility is seen as natural or normal.

Thus, it's pretty clear that the KBRM letter writer is well advanced on the path to profound anti-Islamic racism - Islamophobia.

And the fact that KBRM so enthusiastically endorses the writer's view lays it open to the charge of being a racist organisation.

Now let's examine the letter writer's one specific question:

Where would Muslims loyalties lie?

Fortuitously, recent research is available to answer this rather fearful question. A recently released Gallup poll, which surveyed accross 140 countries, found Muslim immigrants generally more patriotic that the general population. See a brief overview by Haaretz or a British summary in the Independent.

Finally, I promised a quick word on my reading of the motivation of Dr Rodney Brooks and his team of intrepid propagandists in publishing such an overtly racist letter, especially when they complain so loudly, and often quite justifiably, of the anti-semitism of some critics.

Quite frankly, I think that their racist view of both the Arabs they dispossessed and their Arab neighbours is so deeply ingrained they are simply unaware of it. It's just a natural state of affairs for them.

And for those readers inclined to accept Dr Rodney Brooks' assurance of full equality for the 1.4 million Palestinian Arabs in Israel, a quick perusal of the website The Arab Association for Human Rights will soon enlighten you as to the real state of affairs.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

More textbook propaganda from KBRM

Click on the title to be taken to and to their latest advertisement in their "The Missing Truth" series.

I hesitate to get drawn into these kinds of "you said, he said, she said..." discussions. At various times, in various contexts, people say things which at another time, in another context, sound inflammatory, inhumane, and sometimes downright contradictory to positions stated previously or since.

However, the advertisement illustrates again that, in reality, rather than the missing truth, the KBRM advertisements are actually highly subjective, which is illustrated by the selectivity exercised in the content of the advertisements.

But just to play the game, here is another selection of quotes to read in conjunction with those selected by KBRM.

KBRM: [Our Arab neighbors] have much to give us, they are blessed by what we lack. Great territories, ample for themselves & their children. We do not covet their expanses... But if this region is to expand to the full, there must be reciprocity, there can be mutual aid — economic, political & cultural between Jew & Arab. — David Ben Gurion, 1st PM of Israel 1947

KBRM rebutted: We have no connection with the Arabs. Our regime, our culture, our relations, is not the fruit of this region. There is no political affinity between us, or international solidarity.-David Ben Gurion, 1st PM of Israel 1952

KBRM: "We still call upon the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to return to the ways of peace... we offer peace and neighborliness to all neighboring states and their peoples." - Israel Declaration of Independence 1948

[As usual with Israeli statements, the devil is in the detail. The "Arab inhabitants" are the Palestinians who escaped the ethnic cleansing and who were then placed under oppressive military rule for two decades; and notable by omission is any mention of the 7-800,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled during the war]

KBRM rebutted: "The Achilles heel of the Arab coalition is the Lebanon. Muslim supremacy in this country is artificial and can easily be overthrown. A Christian State ought to be set up there, with its southern frontier on the river Litani. We would sign a treaty of alliance with this State. Thus when we have broken the strength of the Arab Legion and bombed Amman, we could wipe out Transjordan; after that Syria would fall. And if Egypt still dared to make war on us, we would bomb Port Said, Alexandria and Cairo. We should thus end the war and would have but paid to Egypt, Assyria and Chaldea on behalf of our ancestors. David Ben Gurion, !st PM of Israel 1948

KBRM: "I enter negotiations with Chairman Arafat, the leader and representative of the Palestinian people, with the purpose of having coexistence between our two entities, Israel as a Jewish state, and a Palestinian state, next to us, living in peace." — Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli PM 1993

KBRM rebutted: " I wish Gaza would fall into the sea...since that won't happen, a solution to the problem must be found." Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli PM, 1992

KBRM: "The end of Israeli control & responsibility for the Gaza Strip allows the Palestinians, if they so wish, to develop their economy and build a peace seeking society... The most important test the Palestinian leadership will face is in fulfilling their commitment to put an end to terror and its infrastructure..." Ariel Sharon, Israeli PM 2005

KBRM rebutted: "We'll make a pastrami sandwich of them, ... we'll insert a strip of Jewish settlements in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlements right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years' time, neither the United Nations nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart." Ariel Sharon 1998

KBRM: " Peace is a common and enduring goal for all Israelis and Israeli Governments, mine included." - Binyamin Netanyahu, current PM of Israel 2009

KBRM rebutted: Netanyahu is a master of double speak, so let's turn to what the Palestinians think of his return, here: which opens as follows: The recent election of Former Prime Minister Benyamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu of the extreme right wing Likud party does not bode well for the prospects for a comprehensive and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine. In fact, it is my belief that the Israeli leadership will be only too willing to continue consolidating the status quo occupation and repression of our people.

The remainder of the article serves to illuminate some facts which make a mockery of many KBRM's claims.

So I have shown it's usually easy to find statements by the leaders selected by KBRM to place them in a less than conciliatory light. There are many statements much more extreme which I could highlight, but I just don't see the point.

It's time for KBRM to dig their way out of the past and front up to today's reality: the increasing unwillingness of the world to stand by and watch one population, slowly shrinking into minority status in historic Palestine, live in militaristic hubris and obscene wealth while deliberately oppressing the majority purely on the grounds of race.

Is that apartheid?

Interestingly, the final Palestinian quote in the list is yet another offer of a long-term ceasefire:

We are prepared to accept a Palestinian state in the 1967 boundaries only as a temporary solution, without recognizing the Zionist occupation of any inch of our homeland. — Taher a-Nunu, Hamas spokesman 2009

Not many westerners know that Hamas has been offering Israel a cessation of hostilities in return for talks since 1995. At first, the intermediary was the Palestinian Authority, but on September 23, 1997, King Hussein of Jordan sent the then and current Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, a message conveying an offer from Khalid Mishal, Hamas' political head, of a ceasefire in return for discussions under the mediation of King Hussein.

If Netanyahu received the message, which is almost certain, he was not deterred from continuing with his preferred course of action, killing Mishal. The attempt was made two days later, September 25, 1997, and the end result was humiliation for Israel.

I think readers will agree this is not the Netanyahu KBRM promotes as a man of peace in this quote from the advertisement:

Peace is a common and enduring goal for all Israelis and Israeli Governments, mine included — Binyamin Netanyahu, current PM of Israel 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

KBRM reinvents history: the root of the conflict

Here's a little gem from our friends at KBRM in a post dated April 17, 2009 discussing coverage by the Otago Daily Times.

Hamas' avowed goal is to destroy the state of Israel, not to regain land taken over the past 50 years. This fact is at the root of the conflict and should be understood by everyone (emphasis added).

Hamas' avowed goal, as expressed in its charter, is to replace Jewish rule in Israel/Palestine with Islamic rule, which necessarily entails regaining the "lost" land - although KBRM seem to have lost a decade somewhere; the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Jews began in 1947.

But the second sentence is even stranger. Hamas' goal is the root of the conflict? Perhaps Rodney Brooks and his friends genuinely don't know that the root of the conflict lies in Zionism, which misappropriated the myths of Judaism to justify a long and ultimately successful (to this point, at least) international campaign to be permitted to colonise Palestine.

And this campaign came to fruition mainly in 1948 and again in 1967 with wholesale ethnic cleansing operations.

Hamas was formed in the wake of the 1987 Intifada, and the charter was issued in 1988.

So Dr Rodney Brooks and his mates say the goals of a two decades old organisation is at the root of a six decades old conflict.

No wonder it's just so difficult to have a rational discussion with these guys. For the Palestinians, the reality is that every time one obstacle to peace is surmounted, Israel just invents a new one.

But reinventing history is a Zionist trait. I have already illustrated some examples: misrepresenting the age of the conflict and the Hamas charter, and describing land taken by force and ethnic cleansing as "lost". But here's yet another:

Peres also said that “tyrants like Stalin, Hitler and Ahmadinejad chose the Jews as the focus for their hatred and violence”.

Stalin killed 30 million Russians. This is all the Wikipedia entry says about Jews under Stalin:

During Stalin's rule the following ethnic groups were deported completely or partially: Ukrainians, Poles, Koreans, Volga Germans, Crimean Tatars, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, Karachays, Meskhetian Turks, Finns, Bulgarians, Greeks, Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians, and Jews.

It's an extensive if unpleasant list of innocent people victimised by a tyrant but it certainly doesn't indicate a "focus" on Jews, as Shimon Peres would have us believe.

Hitler demonised Jews as part of his campaign to rule Germany, but his sweep included other ethnicities and cultures, especially the Gypsies, whose fate became submerged under the sheer weight of numbers of Jews massacred during Hitler's rule.

But to lump Ahmadinejad in with these two historical giants of mass murder and genocide is simply nonsensical. He is not even a tyrant. He is an elected President who term expires soon, he doesn't create law by fiat, and has often failed to have his policies enacted. Iran's tyrant is the Ayotallah.

But even though Hamas obviously want Israel as a Jewish State eliminated, the charter's aim is to reestablish an Islamic State rather than eliminate Jews:

Article Thirty One THE MEMBERS OF OTHER RELIGIONS, THE HAMAS IS A HUMANE MOVEMENT ...Under the shadow of Islam it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism to coexist in safety and security. Safety and security can only prevail under the shadow of Islam...

This is the usual state of affairs under Islamic rule, especially as defined by the Ottoman Empire.

Israel's use of white phosphorous : KBRM please reply!

The photographic evidence presented by Human Rights Watch is distressing but compelling evidence of Israel's descent into immorality and depravity.

Dr Rodney Brooks, Michael Kuttner, Simon Kuttner and Kirsty Walker, all members of support these Israeli actions even while denying them.

Perhaps they could all enlighten as to exactly how these photos of the use of white phosphorous is somehow intended as "flare" or as "smokescreens".

And remind us again about the most moral army in the world doing everything possible to avoid civilian casualties.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

KBRM admits to Israel war crimes charges

KBRM admits to Israel war crimes charges. This is the only possible conclusion to be drawn from KBRM's introduction to its latest advertisement which states: the charges (of war crimes) were either completely false or greatly exaggerated.

A war crime exaggerated is surely still a war crime.

Let's examine the text of the advertisement to discover where KBRM confirms war crimes were committed and what KBRM considers extenuating circumstances.

Charge: The invasion. The invasion of Gaza was alleged to be a war crime in itself, because of the impossibility of distinguishing between military targets and surrounding civilians.

So KBRM admits it was impossible for Israel to distinguish between military and civilian targets.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur Richard Falk: The fact that six times more Palestinian civilians than combatants were reportedly killed strongly suggested a failure on the part of Israel to respect the fundamental legal obligation to conduct military operations permitting the distinction between military and civilian targets.

But KBRM acknowledges it is impossible for Israel to have launched such a massive attack on Gaza and NOT to have committed a war crime, so we must turn our attention to find why we should excuse Israel from culpability.

Every country has the right and duty to protect and defend its citizens. When Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, it was ‘rewarded’ with an unremitting barrage of 7000 rockets. When a partial blockade (the UN's recommended action to stop aggression) didn't work, and when nobody, including the UN, stepped in to help, Israel had to do something. What other country would endure four years of rocket attacks without striking back?

Let's deal first with the allegation implying that the UN approves of Israel's blockade of Gaza. Article 41 of the UN Charter states:

The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.

The United Nations Security Council did not recommend a blockade of Gaza. Israel imposed the blockade unilaterally because, although it describes itself as a "beacon of democracy in the Mideast", it did not approve of Hamas' very democratic election win.

This is yet another example of the depths Israel and its supporters descend to to defend the indefensible.

In fact, the Security Council called for the blockade to be lifted here, and the UN states that it already considered Israel's blockade to be in breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and thus a war crime here.

As to Israel's right to self defence justifying the massacre in Gaza, the international consensus is that Israel is occupying Gaza. This is the UN view:

Israel’s continuing occupation of Gaza (since 1967) had been confirmed repeatedly in several international fora, since its 2005 disengagement and the UN confirms ...the Palestinian right of resistance to occupation within the confines of international law and in accord with the Palestinian right of self-determination.

Also, occupying powers are subject to extensive legal obligations, none of which allow massacres. Essentially, under international law, Palestinians are Israeli citizens. A claim of self defense against oneself is a nonsensical concept, void in law.

Furthermore, the UN has repeatedly condemned Hamas' rocket attacks as a war crime. And unless one is guided by the Old Testament rule of "an eye for an eye" rather than international law, one war crime does not justify another.

As the UN states: Violations of international humanitarian law by one party to a conflict offer no justification for non-compliance by other parties.

And the claim of enduring four years of rocket fire compelling a response misses the truth that in the six months leading up to the massacre, a ceasefire was in place, adhered to by Hamas but deliberately broken by Israel to provoke more rocket fire. I question the wisdom of Hamas' response to Israeli provocation but make no judgment as I am not subject to brutal occupation.

Charge: Civilian casualties. An excessive number of civilian deaths has been alleged, with one cartoonist depicting a 10-to-1 ratio.

Well that cartoonist got it horribly wrong because KBRM then admits to a 100:1 ratio of civilian to military casualities. KBRM goes on to state: ...but 92% of the victims between 16 and 59 were listed as male and is hard to believe that this predominantly male, fighting-age group was mostly innocent civilians.

Thus Israel arrives at a 25% civilian toll as opposed to the accepted figure of 65%: "If you are of fighting-age, male, and we killed you, you are a fighter."

In fact, this is exactly Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories. Never mind that males do what males do in times of war and put themselves in danger, between their families and the enemy.

It reminds me of the Stalinist policy of gendercide: kill the fighting age males between ages 15 and 55. Stalin managed to alter the population statistics in the USSR to as much as 70% female to 30% male over the decades from 1930 to 1960. Interestingly, large numbers of Israeli immigrants are ex-USSR.

Moving on through the advertisement:

Charge: ‘Lop-sided’ ratio. The 100-to-1 ratio of Palestinian deaths to Israeli deaths has also been claimed to be evidence of a war crime.

Answer. If casualty ratios were an indicator of morality, then the Allies in World War 2 would have been guilty of war crimes. In fact, ‘body count’ has nothing to do with who is right and who is wrong.

Quoting again the UN Special Rapporteur, Richard Falk: The overall ratio of deaths (1,434:13) also provided a basis for challenging the legality of initiating a military assault with modern weaponry against an essentially defenseless society.

Coercively confining the Gazan population to the combat zone during the military operations had effectively denied the Palestinians in Gaza a refugee option.

Such a war policy should be treated as a distinct and new crime against humanity and explicitly prohibited.

So the kill ratio does indeed permit a war crimes charge to be laid. The outcome, of course, is up to the hearing, if Israel ever allows itself to be judged by international law. Don't hold your breath.

In fact, Mr Falk finds the massacre so appalling that he suggests a new war crime, that of penning your target into a confined area and proceeding with a turkey shoot.

And what strange reasoning by the writers at KBRM, confusing the issue of whether war crimes have been committed with "who is right and who is wrong". There can be no moral justification for committing a war crime.

There is no doubt the Allies committed war crimes in WWII. Unfortunately for Israel, the difference is that the Allies totally vanquished their opponents. Israel's opponents are still fighting, still lashing back regardless of rewrites of history, neither annihilated, swamped, vanquished nor defeated. Indeed, war crimes may yet prove to be the undoing of the discriminatory Jewish State.

More from the advertisement:

Charge: UN school ‘massacre’. Israeli troops were alleged to have killed dozens at a UN school used to house civilian refugees.

Answer. Later investigation found that an adjacent street, not the building, was hit and that 12 people outside were killed, of which nine were armed terrorists. (Google ‘hamas claims proven false’.)

Firstly, the Google search result actually originates from the Israel National News website. In a political environment where the usual left/right paradigms, especially regarding the value of (non Jewish) human life, are so skewed that Genghis Khan would sit comfortably in the centre, INN is so far off the scale you would risk your neck circling clockwise forever. A cruise through their Blogs section will soon enlighten you as to their politics.

Secondly, take note of this press release from the United Nations (UNRWA), which informs us how certain media organisations distorted UN announcements and affirms it stands by all its statements regarding the Gaza massacre (my term). And these are some of the statements the UN stands by:

Direct Hit on UNRWA School Kills Three in Gaza

third United Nations school hit by Israeli forces


Next we will consider:

Charge: Phosphorus bombs. Israeli troops allegedly used illegal phosphorus bombs.

And KBRM's defense of the use of white phosphorous bombs:

Answer. The use of phosphorus in flares and smoke-screen bombs is not unusual and is legal, but Israel is investigating further. In the meantime, Palestinians sent an axe-wielding murderer into a play area to kill children (Google ‘axe-wielding Palestinian’).

One might ask again about the moral compass of the principals of KBRM, DR Rodney Brooks, Wanaka, New Zealand and Simon Kuttner, Israel, when they place the actions of a lone Palestinian, undoubtedly avenging an Israeli act that affected him personally, side by side with the actions of one of the modern era's mightiest armies, the IDF.

One man, belonging to a dispossessed and oppressed people compared to an army largely funded by billions of US dollars for totally self-interested and venal purposes. The compass needle is oscillating! Where is north, exactly? Rodney and Simon?

Anyway, the respected Human Rights Watch has issued a report titled Rain of Fire.

Please take the time to read this report.

On a personal note, my wife and I watched, live on Iranian Press TV, after the so-called unilateral ceasefire declared by Israel, Apache gunships lazily circling above Gaza randomly firing off white phosphorous bombs into a defenseless population. And we have seen videos and photos of adults and children killed, dying or maimed by these incendiary bombs.

These are not propaganda productions. They are presented by ordinary people attempting to live in extraordinary circumstances, who now can use modern technology to share their experiences and their grief with the world. Just Google "youtube gaza" or go here.

Israeli charges. Rumours of possible ‘war crimes’ were passed by an officer to the Israeli Chief of Staff for investigation. They were leaked to the press, which reported them as fact, including a charge that a soldier deliberately shot a woman and her two children.

Answer. Investigation found the charges to be false (Google ‘case closed on gaza’). The fact that the Israeli army (and press) took these allegations seriously is an indication of Israel's high standards of morality.

The Google search suggested will take you here.

Of course, we all believe an army who investigates allegations of war crimes against itself and concludes there is no case to answer. Don't we?

And Israel took numerous allegations of war crimes by the IDF so seriously that it conducted its entire investigation in a mere 11 days before declaring "case closed."

Like the PLO and Hamas, the IDF is a deeply cynical, self-serving organisation.

The final charge, according to the KBRM advertisement:

Charge: Obscene T-shirts. Some Israeli soldiers had purchased hateful T-shirts.

Answer. The T-shirts are indefensible, and shocked and outraged Israelis. But what do they show? That Israel, like every country in the world, including New Zealand, has ‘undesirables’. Fortunately, their number is small and they do not reflect or influence official Israeli policy.

This article in Haaretz gives more details, including descriptions of the prints soldiers requested. More important is that the IDF did not initiate any disciplinary hearings over the "hateful T-shirts".

KBRM's parting shot (view the advertisement) encapsulates why the conflict has never been settled. Israel just moves the goalposts and carries on building illegal settlements in the West Bank, which Israel refers to as the mythical, Biblical Judea and Samaria. For a country that can't distinguish fantasy from fact, the self-delusion the Jewish nation exhibits with its denial of its attempted genocide of Palestinians is no surprise.

The fact is that this totally asymmetrical conflict is not about Hamas, or the PLO, or the PA, or the War on Terror (now officially over) but about the rights of the dispossessed and oppressed people of historic Palestine.

And yes, folks, KBRM know all about my blog.

I know, because I email them every new post, and they studiously ignore me, which is why I welcome your comments.

I would love to engage them in a debate, especially about the credibility of the sources we each refer to...ah well, dreams are free.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

That C-word and the A-word as Kirsty Walker strikes again

Click on the title to read another Kirsty Walker gem of misinformation and red herrings. Topped off with the usual rubbish of "Complex" history and the slur of Anti-semitism thrown at those who dare criticise her beloved, romanticised Israel.

First, an extract from the KBRM commentary: one caller spoke extensively about the Palestinian refugees who left Israel in 1948 (emphasis added).

Now this is an outstanding example of whitewashing Israel's crimes through the use of language. The correct terminology is fled in relation to a relatively small number who escaped the future war zone in 1947-48 in advance of hostilities, and expelled or ethnically cleansed for the vast majority of refugees.

The farmers of an agrarian society do not abandon their land without very good reason. The acts of Jewish terror and massacre now admitted to even by Zionist historians like Benny Morris, and former cabinet minister Shlomo ben Ami, were the catalyst for the Palestinian abandonment of land and property.

The United Nations passed Resolution 194 in November, 1948, insisting that the refugees be permitted to return. Israel has refused. But Israel proclaims loudly its "acceptance" of Resolution 181, yet rejects Resolution 194. A whiff of hypocrisy, perhaps? Or a force 10 hurricane?

Back to Kirsty Walker and we find her asking us to remember the 800,000 Mizrahi Jews (also known as Arab Jews) who emigrated to Israel from the Arab nations.

It's true the Arab Jews of Egypt and Libya were expelled, and Arab Jews left other Arab nations as a result of the overt hostility of Arab governments. In general, they were not permitted to take their property. And they were expelled or forced out by their fellow Arabs solely on the grounds of their religion, albeit because of what Europeans were doing in Palestine in the name of their faith. All this is as reprehensible as what European Jews inflicted, and still inflict, on Palestinians.

However, there were other influences at work here as well.

Primarily, the Zionists were disappointed that many more European Jews, when permitted by their governments to emigrate, were choosing destinations other than Palestine. The US was especially popular, and there are now more Jews in the US than in Israel.

The Zionist movement reportedly actively campaigned in the Arab nations to entice Jews to emigrate to Palestine, and there are persistent rumours that many acts against Jews, terrorist acts, were perpetrated by Mossad as part of a campaign to maximise the number of immigrants into Israel.

And Shlomo Sand suspects his family and the Jews of Iraq were required to leave their property as a result of a deal between Israel and Iraq, who were actually reluctant to see the Jews leave.

But whatever the truth, this issue has simply no bearing on justice for Palestinian Arabs, who, in addition to expulsion and dispossession, have been subjected to 60 years of oppression and murder.

The Arab Jews argument is with those Arab countries and possibly Israel itself. And those Arab Jews have not been subjected to 60 years of oppression and murder.

And let's not forget the second round of ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs in 1967.

Kirsty Walker also promotes the myth that Palestinians fled at the request of their leaders. This myth has been thoroughly discredited.

The first Palestinians to flee in advance of hostilities were the wealthy, as was their tradition. Then there was an exodus of families from the cities back to their home villages in preparation for war. This was also a traditional movement for this group in times of war. And as the level of conflict intensified women, children and the elderly were sent from the war zone to safety.

But the vast majority of Palestinians were expelled, first by terrorist tactics intended to result in flight, and later as a deliberate policy to ensure an overwhelming Jewish majority in the state that would become Israel.

And it is irrelevant to the right of return.

Then some more misinformation from Kirsty Walker:

Don't forget that many Jews had been living in Israel for many generations and that many Arabs had only been in Palestine since the turn of the 20th century, seeking employment in Jewish run industries.

Now I think Kirsty Walker surely meant Palestine, not Israel. Regardless, this is yet another attempt to diminish the Palestinians as the indigenous people of that area.

The fact is that until the late 19th century, Jews comprised about 2% of the population of Palestine. These were overwhelmingly Mizrahi Jews. The Jewish population exploded at a later date due entirely to European Jew immigration.

The proportion of Arab immigrants has been variously as 5-10% of the total Arab population of Palestine. And certainly, until the Zionists arrived there was relative peace and cooperation between Jews and Arabs.

But it's just yet more irrelevancy. Nothing can justify what Israel has visited upon the Palestinans, and still continues to this day.

Probably her most offensive statement is this:

For every Palestinian claim, you will find that there is an equally compelling Jewish one

I would love the opportunity to debate this with Kirsty Walker. Let's just compare the current living standards in Israel with that of Palestinians in the Occupied terrorities. Maybe not. There is no comparison, really.

And I repeat: Nothing can justify what Israel has visited upon Palestinans, brutal expulsion, dispossession and oppression which continues to this day.

Finally, I am pleased KBRM, and its principals, Dr Rodny Brooks and Simon Kuttner, recognise the growing anti-Israel coverage in the UN and the media. The fact is, if Israel continues on its present course, the criticism will only increase.

And I agree there is, sadly, growing anti-semitism as a result of Israel's actions, just as arose in the Arab states in 1948, but the best way Israel could counter this is to look inwards and change its policies.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Newsflash: Arts & Letters Daily publishes pseudo-history

Click on the title to read a Benny Morris article purporting to be an objective account of Palestinian and Arab resistance to Zionist colonisation.

I have followed aldaily almost since its inception and, while I love the site, it does have a pronounced US (and by extension, pro-Israel) bias. I have always understood this and usually just grin and bear it. After all, the site's founder, Denis Dutton, is himself American, and he is certainly no dissident.

But publishing this particular article, supporting a state involved in a brutal war of conquest and colonisation, and not provide a counterbalance from the Palestinian viewpoint, is disappointing to this long term fan of Arts & Letters Daily.

However, the site which commissioned the article does have a discussion section and a liberal posting policy, which alleviates the disappointment somewhat. Naturally, I and others have availed ourselves of that facility.

It's a shame that the principals of KBRM don't follow suit rather than hiding behind the skirts of its webmistress.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Israel's "moral army"

This quote is taken from a Simon Kuttner (a principal of KBRM) letter posted on their website.

Israel's army, despite all the difficulties of fighting a terrorist organisation that uses human shields as defence, does not purposely target civilians.

Click on the title to see evidence to the contrary.

The area being filmed is within 400 metres of the separation wall, on the Palestinian side, of course, which Israel has declared as a sort of no-mans-land where "man" refers to Palestinian farmers who own and farm the land through which Israel built its fence.

Simon, they are civilians. And they are being purposely targeted. Please post a retraction. After all, Chairman Rodney promises to correct any inaccuracies.

The Missing Truth re-examined

Let's take a look at another example of the truth KBRM conveniently misses:

The Jewish state accepted the land given to it by the United Nations.

Ignoring the rather obvious fact that the land was not the United Nations' to give, this is a misrepresentation of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 which recommended partition. The word recommended is important here: General Assembly resolutions are recommendations only and are not legally binding.

It is true, at face value, that the Jewish Authority accepted the terms (why wouldn't they?), but it is now well known that David Ben Gurion and his fellow thugs were already planning to expand their portion to include all of historic Palestine.

The fact that they have failed (to date) is not for want of trying, but even Israel's rulers realise that the world has had enough of ethnic cleansing by Israel's Jews.

The Arabs simply said "No", which they were quite entitled to do.

Furthermore, the resolution did not give a licence for ethnic cleansing. Rather, it was remarkedly detailed as to the manner in which Jews and Arabs were to co-exist within their respectives states.

And the Jews never mention the 1939 White Paper which was soundly rejected by the Jews, and, in fact, was a prime motivation for their terrorist campangn against the British because while it guaranteed Jewish rights, it also guaranteed an Arab majority.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem also rejected the plan. This was, and perhaps still is, a cause of regret amongst Palestinians, as acceptance may have seen British support for Zionism evaporate.

But that's history. The present situation is an abombination of the intentions of the United Nations, and that body constantly makes clear its negative view of Zionist actions, but has yet to act purposefully and rectify the situation.

But I don't think many, if any, Palestinians regret rejecting 181, as alleged by Dr Brooks.

Which indigenous population would voluntarily agree to giving up their ancestral lands?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's a complex issue...yeah, right

How often have we heard this statement regarding the problem of Israel: it's a complex issue. Here is an example from KBRM (well schooled in the way of Israeli propaganda):

The Bedouin situation in Israel is complex; it would take an entire article to describe it adequately. It is true that Israel would prefer to see the Bedouins settled in permanent villages, rather than in temporary encampments on state land, but this is not apartheid; the Bedouins themselves choose to live apart

Well, the "Bedouin situation" is anything but complex. Bedouin are probably the true indigenous people of Palestine. In a New Zealand Herald article The Unwanted Tribe of Israel a Bedouin is quoted as tracing their presence on the land of his village back 7000 years.

The village in question is the one KBRM refer to above as a temporary encampment. A 7000 year old camp. Temporary. Actually, it's now non-existent because it was destroyed by Israeli police.

This article The Depiction of Bedouin as 'nomads' - a myth shatters the second major claim in KBRM's statement, that apartheid is not being forced upon Bedouin. Take the time to study the evidence and decide for yourself.

The permanent villages KBRM mentions do exist, and the offer to live in them in return for giving up land claims was taken up by about half of Bedouin.

Of course, the fact this deal was even offered to Bedouin proves their claim, which Israel now denies to the half who preferred to stay in their "temporary" 7000 year old "encampments".

And to give you an idea of how great life is in these villages, they rest at the bottom of every socio-economic indicator in Israel.

Israel is the first occupying power in 7000 years to deny Bedouin their right to their ancestral lands.

Why? Israel wants Bedouin land to build new towns for mainly Eastern European immigrants whose only links to the land are the myths of the Old Testament, including the overtly racist notion of the "Chosen People".

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tell the truth, KBRM

Below is a typical example of Israeli lies presented by KBRM on its Feedback page in response to a "disputant":

The writer's charge that Israel is occupying Palestinian land is false. Israel withdrew from Gaza four years ago. Its recent attack was not an attempt to reoccupy, but an attempt to stop the rockets that have been unrelentlessly
(sic) fired at it ever since.

With regard to the occupation issue, read the following extract from a report - that is not for the faint hearted - just released by the group Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (on which I will post more soon, including links).

Occupation starts when a foreign military entity has factual control over a territory or a population. And despite the 2005 Disengagement Plan, Israel still controls Gaza borders, airspace, territorial waters, population registry, tax system, power supply, and movements of inhabitants...Despite the fact that there is no officially recognized Palestinian State, most experts, UN Resolutions, and the International Court of Justice in its Advisory opinion regarding the separation wall in 2004, all consider the Palestinian territories occupied.

But, as usual, Israel will play the victim and accuse all these eminent experts and bodies of bias, antisemitism, ignorance...etc, etc. And oh, it's a complex issue, of course.

By the way, the ICJ Advisory Opinion was that the wall is illegal.

As regards the "relentless rocket fire" a ceasefire was in place, Hamas was enforcing a crackdown on rocket fire, the facts are well known, and Israel broke the ceasefire as a device to provoke Hamas into resuming its attacks, as an excuse for the Gaza massacre. Not a war, note, a massacre. And the defence of self-defence is void for an occupying power.

As to why Hamas responded the way it did, I don't know. I would have thought restraint was a better option, even if it knew, as it probably did, that the attack was coming anyway. But I am not resident in a territory under occupation.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A challenge to KBRM

The Arab Association for Human Rights publishes annual reports entitled Annual Review of Human Rights Violations of the Arab Palestinian Minority in Israel and reports can be viewed or downloaded for 2005 here and 2006 here.

These reports detail the true state of race relations in Israel as between Jews and Palestinians in Israel, by people who actually experience the effects of Israel's "facts on the ground" policies.

Because of the sheer volume of information contained in the reports I shall publish extracts and challenge KBRM to respond. Readers could do Palestinians a service by sending extracts direct to KBRM and requesting a response. My advice is not to hold your breath, although if you do receive a reply I would appreciate a copy. Just post a comment or email me.

The question is, is KBRM genuinely ignorant of these violations or are they simply an apologist for whatever Israel does?

Here is the first extract (2005 rep0rt)

In February the army began marking cars owned by settlers in the West Bank with “resident” stickers so that they could be distinguished from cars owned by Arab citizens.

The army and the Shabak security service25 said this was needed because there had been an increasing number of Arab citizens involved in terror acts.

The stickers would make it easier for the security services to identify and search Arab cars. According to Haaretz, the “resident” stickers would allow settlers’ cars to pass through checkpoints more quickly.

The army decided to mark settler cars rather than Arab cars so as to avoid legal challenges from human rights groups for singling out Arabs.

In view of KBRMs public denials of racial discrimination in Israel, I would love to hear how they justify such labelling (in this case, a label has the same effect as no label) other than the mentality Israel suffers from that all Palestinians are potential terrorists.

And how does KBRM differentiate Israeli labelling from Nazi labelling?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Words fail me...almost...

Click on the title to read the newest posting on the website of the woefully misnamed Kiwis for Balanced Reporting in the Mideast

Let's examine the opening clause: The reason I don't give up is my deeply-held concern that the world is sleepwalking (rather than goose stepping) towards another holocaust.

It is only the context of this letter appearing on a pro-Zionist website which disabused me of my initial thought that the writer, Kirsty Walker, New Zealand, was referring to the Palestinians plight.

But no, Ms Walker somehow believes that the militarised entity masquerading as the country Israel, possessor of the fourth most dangerous nuclear weapons stockpile in the world, is in danger of being wiped out, rocket-firing, oppressed, brutalised, arms-embargoed, starving Palestinians?

I think she needs a reality check. The world is, in fact, highly engaged in the problem of Israel, if rather strangely so in thrall of the Jewish state that it largely turns a blind eye to the horrendous consequences of the Zionist experiment, so far.

Now for the second part of her opening compound sentence: I cannot look the other way and say nothing when innocent Jewish men, women and children are being put at grave risk by the anti-Semitic propaganda that is found in the international media.

Ms Walker obviously believes any criticism of Israel's policies is anti-semitic, even in the media arena where the Palestinian cause has always rated as less worthy than "a national homeland for the Jewish people" as Lord Balfour so fatefully announced.

I would like to see some evidence of this anti-semitism in international media alleged by Ms Walker, and I, for one, would join her in her protestations if that is the case. But it would make no difference to my absolute disgust with the State of Israel for the fate it has forced upon the Palestinians and it's absolute disregard for non-Jewish human life.

The main messages of the remainder of her opening paragraph seem to be that "somone" is orchestrating a Nazi-style propaganda and that the international media and the UN are biased against Israel.

Ignoring the worn conspiracy theory paranoia, let's examine her account of Nazi propaganda:

lots of subtle, seemingly unrelated anti-Jewish messages, that collectively amount to devastatingly effective anti-Semitic propaganda

I am afraid the news for Ms Walker is that reality intrudes on her wish to demonise the few in the media who criticise Israel for its indefensible actions. Nazi anti-semitism was anything but subtle, the messages anything but unrelated. For example, by 1933, when Hitler assumed power, the Nazi publication Der Sturmer, stridently anti-Jewish, was already well established spent 22 years inciting racial hatred of Jews. Nazi posters, a major propaganda tool, demonised Jews with savage caricatures.

In contrast, western Israel critics, including the international media and yours truly, very carefully and correctly avoid statements which even hint at anti-semitism. Of course, the accusations flow anyway such as here. I would indeeed be grateful if readers could point out how my remarks in reply to the Benny Morris article are in any way racist.

So, just as Ms Walker has an exaggerated sense of military threat to Israel, her reinvention of Nazi propoganda methods in her attempt to tar Israeli critics with the same brush fails miserably.

In accusing the United nations of bias, she and Israel align themselves with other extremist and vicious nations condemned by that body and who make the same protest. Israel is not censured by the UN because of its existence, which has been approved by the UN, but for its actions. Only the slavish support of the US saves Israel from isolated ignominy and sanctions.

And her confusion is clear in the following:

I do not write to defend the political entity that is the state of Israel

Ms Walker, your writing does exactly that. I'm afraid.

It's not much, but it's the least I can do

Ms Walker, the least you can do is get a firmer grasp on reality and stop supporting a despotic regime and the unjustified dispossession and oppression of the indigenous people of Palestine.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Israel: Nazi state? Apartheid state? Does it matter?

Two recent postings on the KBRM website protest at comparison of Israel to the two former pariah states, Nazi Germany and South Africa under apartheid.

It is just as easy to find points of dissimilarity with these abhorrent regimes as it is to find points of similarity.

And this, surely, should be cause of great concern for Israel; today's world will not permit anything approaching a state of apartheid indefinitely.

To paraphrase Obama, Israel is on "the wrong side of history" in this matter.

Wikipedia carries an absorbing discussion on the Israel-apartheid analogy.

As for the Nazi comparison, this comprehensive article provides an in-depth analysis far superior to KBRM's simplistic efffort.

A personal observation regards two books in my reading list.

In one, Rise and Fall of the Nazis, the writer mentions the distribution by the Nazis of a poster depicting the perfect white, blond haired, blue eyed, muscular and "superior" Aryan soldiers and citizens.

A little later, in the highly recommended The Lemon Tree, I read of the female lead, Dalia, the young Jewish Bulgarian immigrant resident in a confiscated Palestinian home, gazing admiringly at poster idealising Jewish soldiers in exactly the same way.

An isolated incident, yes, but you should take the time to read the two articles and draw your own conclusions.

Are these comparisons useful? I struggle to see why, except as an academic exercise. Any state with Israel's policy settings and practices would have similarities with other oppressive, murderous regimes.

Israel is a demonic state. But Israelis, in general, are not. They love their families, they yearn to be fully accepted in the international community, but they have lost their way.

The Jews have returned to the desert.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The intelligence of Jews

If there were gold medals for pure ignorance, the writer of this extract from the KBRM Feedback page would surely go close:

One only has to look at the number of Jewish Nobel Prize winners and then compare the list with those who are Muslim - it's no contest as they say. Hamilton

So this writer believes the ongoing dispossession and oppression of the indigenous population of Palestine is justified because Jews have garnered more Nobel Prizes, proving they deserve to be the Chosen People.

Click on the title to see how our super- intelligent Jews utilise their intellectual prowess (Hint: the red is deliberately symbolic).

Out of the approximately 163 Jewish winners, it would be an interesting exercise to see how many, of those currently living, support current Israeli policy, especially mass murder of defenceless civilians.

But, writer from Hamilton, if we are to have subjective justification for attempted genocide, and I use the term genocide carefully and deliberately, why stop at Nobel Prizes?

How about the most successful religion between Islam and Judaism? Oh dear, 1.2 billion Muslims to 12 million Jews...oh well.

Or the most nukes? Ah, 300 to Israel, maybe 12-15 for Pakistan, the only Muslim nation with nukes. That's strange, I thought Jews were the peaceful ones?

Talking about nukes, here's food for thought. One Israeli homegrown winner, Robert Aumann, possesses such prodigious intellect that he justifies genocide with his pet version of game theory.

Of course, now we see the intellectual basis of Israel's vociferous objection to Middle East nations acquiring nukes. Mr Aumann proves mathematically that the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) syndrome actually acts to prevent war. Ergo, Israel does not wish to prevent war.

If anyone thinks I deserve a Nobel Prize for that little effort, please feel free to nominate me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More feedback 25 Jan 2009

All my liberal educated friends assume the ‘pro-Palestinian’ stance and detest my references to historical facts which undermine their viewpoints. I am that annoying guest at the dinner party who must be tolerated but not listened to, as I single mindedly (and single handedly in Christchurch at least) defend Israel's right to exist.

This writer may indeed not, as is stated elsewhere in the letter, be Jewish, but he or she has certainly adopted beliefs common in Jewish discourse.

We see twice the brave stand against the world: All my liberal and educated friends which begs the question of whether this writer values more his or her illiberal and uneducated friends. And single handedly, which is another way of expressing the Jewish mentality of victimhood, discussed here.

And if KBRM would be so kind as to point the writer in my direction, I would love to discuss versions of historical facts with a view to developing a shared narrative.

Finally, we read of the writer single mindedly defending Israel's holy grail, its right to exist.

Only the most nationalistic Palestinians (and it is Palestinians who, as well as Israelis, are really the people that matter in this whole debacle) reject recognising Israel, and the PLO is not amongst them.

Israel's insecurity is actually a reflection of its policies and actions that grossly contravene accepted international norms, legal and moral.

The right to exist is a red herring. But certainly, the longer Israel persists in its current actions, it will face increasing pressure from the international community.

And although Hamas and other groups contravene international law as well, these asymmetrical contests can only be resolved, excluding another holocaust, by the dominant party making sincere peace overtures.

A return to the accepted 1967 borders, negotiating a limited but generous right of return for refugees and providing massive compensation would deligitimise Palestinian armed resistance overnight. In return, Israeli Jews must receive a guarantee of political and religious freedom as in, for example, a bi-national state model.

And Israel must abandon its apartheid era ideology of a Jewish majority.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Let's dig deeper into the KBRM fan club's bias

The earliest fan letters posted on this feedback page are dated Jan 22 2009. Starting at the top of the list, we have:

Dear People , I was thrilled to spot your advert in the ODT Jan 22/09 As a regular watcher of HONEST REPORTING I am so very pleased to find some Kiwis dedicated to remedying the bias exhibited by much of the media. Keep up the good work.

Honest Reporting's lack of balance is clearly illustrated on its home page where it posts a video of Hamas fighters supposedly using children as human shields. Only problem is, the children in question appear to have wandered into the line of fire from Israeli soldiers, who we know kill Palestinian children without compunction, and the militants are risking their own lives to get the kids to safety, under fire.

B'Tselem reports that in 2008 Israelis killed 455 Palestinians, including 175 civilians of which 87 (50%) were children.

In contrast, 21 Israeli civilians (including 4 children) were killed in Palestinian attacks during the same period (2008).

The above statistics exclude casualties from the commencement of Operation Cast Lead 23 Dec 2008, which, of course, as a massacre, skews the imbalance even more in Israel's favour.

Looks like Honest Reporting needs an honesty watchdog itself.

Then we have:

Hi, We have been following the reports on the situation in Gaza and feel that the press is not telling whole story. We support Israel's action, as they are continually being fired on by Hamas and are only protecting their own position.

It was good to read your material — it's a shame that many NZers including some of my family can only criticise the Israelis although they admit that some response to the Hamas rockets was needed. From discussion with my neighbours, I note that there is widespread support for the Israeli action.

Do these people not understand that the West Bank and Gaza are, according to the UN, under military occupation? Resistance to occupation is legal under international law.

Furthermore, far from "protecting their own position", Israel has placed Gaza under siege, in international law, a casus belli, so Hamas has a quinella of reasons to attack the IDF. But Hamas is to be condemned for targeting civilians, and if Hamas is condemned, so is Israel 10 times over in 2008, let alone the so far horrific 2009.

Who would be punished more in a properly constituted war crimes hearing?

Finally, this little gem:

Hi to the balanced media folk,
Made my day/week/month etc. to come across your advert. in this morning's ( Jan. 22 ) ODT.
Then on to your computer site. Excellent, excellent, excellent. Because of your going public like this, many people who are being ( often unknowingly ) brainwashed, will, hopefully, see the truth.
I'm absolutely sick of this anti-Israel bias. I angrily switch off the BBC when their constant bias is parroted.
Thanks again

Well now, aside from the obvious contradiction in terms (who is knowingly brainwashed, pray tell?), accusing others of being brainwashed is an easy way out of justifying one's views with evidence and clear reasoning. And this writer must be watching an imaginary version of the BBC which is so in thrall to Israel it refuses to even assist raising funds for the humanitarian aid to Palestinians.

Personally, I see little evidence of "anti-Israel" bias, quite the reverse. Moreover, the free use, or misuse, of the term anti-semitism to abuse those who criticise Israel's actions is simply a disgraceful attempt to stifle free speech.

And it's a bit rich when the writer is praising a well-funded organisation that is able to flood our newspapers with expensive advertisements/propaganda and when one considers the power of the obscenely well-funded "Jewish Lobby" in the US, which contributes so much to that country's complicity in the ongoing mass murder of Palestinians.