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 kbrm.org.nz 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: www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article840 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