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.