Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Petition to UN: Deploy Darfur Peacekeepers!

Take Action: End the Delays - Deploy the Peacekeepers

Although the UN Security Council authorized a robust peacekeeping force for Darfur one year ago, the force has still not been deployed - the first time the UN has ever failed to deploy an authorized peacekeeping mission.

On July 31, the UN Security Council authorized yet another peacekeeping force: a hybrid United Nations-African Union force similar to one that the Sudanese government has said it will accept.

Fill out the form at the link above to add your name to a petition urging UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to pressure world leaders to stand behind their commitment to deploying this new peacekeeping force without further delays.

The taste of flagrant lies...

from Ami Isseroff at Israel News: Jewish Psychosis: Authentic Middle East flavor in Arab world press

The American and other governments take care that the public who cannot read Arabic generally do not see and taste some of the more extravagant "cuisine" prepared in the kitchens of Middle East media: Jews capturing Christian children to make matzoth from their blood, a TV series about the workings of the Elders of Zion and their Protocols, sermons about Jewish sons of dogs and Christian sons of pigs, promises to fly the flag of Islam over London, and bring about a world without America.
For reasons related to oil greed and the stupidity of diplomacy, the United States subsidizes several Middle East regimes very heavily. The US government, and the US Middle East academic establishment, would be sorely distressed if Americans were too aware of the sort of regimes and societies that their tax dollars subsidize.
As a result of its peace treaty with Israel, Egypt enjoys an annual aid grant of about $2 billion. Despite horrendous poverty, most of this money is spent on buying armaments in the United States. Egypt is not a very democratic society. You can be put in jail for hinting that elections are fraudulent, or for criticizing the government too strongly. The press is tightly controlled as well. Nothing is published that the government would not want to be published.
Arab countries have, in addition to their Arab language media, a small English language press that is in large part for external consumption. Journals like Arab News, Al Ahram and Jordan Times put "respectable" faces on the regimes of their countries. They allow a bit more criticism of the government, and somewhat less racism and vitriolic American diatribes. Additionally, there are journals like As-Sharq Alawsat run from London, that reflect more Westernized points of view.
However, even in the English language journals, we can sample a great deal of the Middle Eastern journalistic cuisine. We can find manufactured events, such as the bombing of Baghdad with nuclear weapons, and Israel injecting Palestinian children with AIDS, and opinions based on those tales of the 1001 Arabian Nights.
READ THE REST, INCLUDING EXAMPLES

US urges Japan to apologize for enslavement of 200,000 'comfort women'

from BBC NEWS

US lawmakers have called on Japan's government to formally apologise for its role in forcing thousands of women to work as sex slaves in World War II.

The symbolic and non-binding resolution was passed during a vote in the House of Representatives.

Up to 200,000 "comfort women" from across the Far East were part of Japan's military brothel programme.

Japan says it has shown sufficient remorse over the issue. A spokesman said the resolution was "regrettable".

Chief Cabinet Spokesman Yasuhisa Shiozaki told a news conference that Japan had "handled the comfort women issue with sincerity".

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had "clearly explained his views" on the subject during a visit to Washington in April, he said.

'Nauseating' denials

The resolution calls on Japan - one of the strongest US allies in Asia - to "formally acknowledge, apologise and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner" for the suffering of the women.
"Those who posit that all of the comfort women were happily complicit and acting of their own accord simply do not understand the meaning of the word rape"--Tom Lantos, House Committee on Foreign Affairs chairman
Earlier this month, a group of Japanese lawmakers demanded the US government retract the resolution, saying it was based on "wrong information that is totally different from the historical fact".

Tom Lantos, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, described attempts to deny the use of sex slaves as "nauseating".

"There can be no denying the Japanese imperial military coerced thousands upon thousands of Asian women," Mr Lantos said.

"Those who posit that all of the comfort women were happily complicit and acting of their own accord simply do not understand the meaning of the word rape."

In 1993 Japan issued an official apology for the suffering of comfort women, acknowledging its involvement managing the brothels. But it was never approved by parliament and Japan has rejected most compensation claims, saying they were settled by treaties.

Mr Abe caused an uproar in March when he said there was no proof that the government or the military had forced the women into sexual servitude.

He later apologised, saying he felt sympathy for those affected.

The resolution comes at a difficult time for Mr Abe. On Sunday his ruling coalition suffered a crushing defeat in upper house polls, losing its majority and handing control of the house to the opposition.

He is facing pressure from the public and the media to step down, but the premier says he plans to remain in office and continue with an agenda of reform.

The legacy of collaboration in a French university

from Jewish Political Studies Review 18:1-2 (Spring 2006)

"Le dossier Lyon III" by Henri Rousso, Reviewed by Michelle Mazel

For decades France has been struggling with the legacy of the war years and its responsibility for the fate of its Jews, who were first victims of racist legislation and then deported en masse with the active participation of French authorities and police. It took nearly fifty years before a French president, Jacques Chirac, formally acknowledged responsibility in the name of the Republic. Many high-ranking civil servants managed successfully for many years to avoid being brought to justice for crimes committed at that time. Coincidentally or not, a significant number of right- wing politicians and academics kept openly expressing doubts about the Holocaust and the existence of the gas chambers and are still doing so today.

From 1980 to 2000, one academic institution, Jean Moulin - the third university of the Lyon academic district, thus known as Lyon III - found itself repeatedly in the limelight following a number of scandals involving staff members and students, such as the Notin and Plantin affairs.

Academic Negationists

Bernard Notin, an associate professor, published in August 1989 a long article in which he questioned the reality of the gas chambers and expressed clearly anti-Semitic views. Jean Plantin received a master's degree cum laude in history in 1990 for a thesis devoted to glorifying a known Holocaust denier. A second work by Plantin on the subject of typhus in concentration camps - negationists regularly assert that typhus, not gas chambers, was the main cause of death in these camps - subsequently disappeared and the professors who graded it "did not remember" what it said.

In both cases, university authorities took action belatedly and reluctantly. Halfhearted disciplinary measures were taken against Notin. However, because of unabating public outcry and protest by students, a temporary posting was eventually found for him in a foreign university. As for Plantin, a civil court condemned him, but when university authorities at last decided to revoke his degree the statute of limitations on civil actions had expired.

Because of these and other affairs, the university was accused of fostering racism and Holocaust denial. In November 2001, the Socialist education minister 1 Jack Lang set up a commission whose undertaking, according to the letter defining its scope, was "to shed light on racism and negationism that might have found expression within Lyon III University." 2

The facts had already been more or less established and discussed exhaustively in academic forums, and some of the affairs had led to prosecutions under the tough French laws on racism and anti-Semitism. The commission was tasked to form an opinion on two main issues. First, was there indeed a right-wing group within the university that was openly disseminating forbidden racist or negationist theories - through teaching, encouraging students with the same views and awarding unwarranted grades, and working to recruit like-minded colleagues? Second, had the university dealt promptly and properly with these problems?

Finding the right person to head the commission was not easy. Few were eager to enter the minefield, and many refused. However, Lang found a candidate with outstanding academic credentials and a long list of publications: Prof. Henry Rousso, a historian who specialized in the Vichy regime. By appointing a historian, the minister emphasized that the commission was primarily to "conduct an investigation of a scientific nature and not an investigation with any sort of normative dimension." 3

The Commission's Findings

Many saw in the commission's work a threat to academic freedom and were not eager to cooperate with its members, which may explain why it took nearly two years to publish its report. It is, however, a remarkable work, which includes an extensive description of the evolution of French universities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and a detailed history of the events that led to the establishment of Lyon III. It also carefully scrutinizes the Notin and Plantin affairs. Yet, after lengthy discussion of the political atmosphere at Lyon III, the commission delivered a curiously bland verdict, seemingly intent on giving the university a clean bill of health.

The report acknowledges that there is an extreme-Right group active at the university, but claims its members do not preach or proselytize, and that in no way can Lyon III be described as a fascist campus. It acknowledges that university authorities resorted to a legalistic approach, and did not sufficiently condemn or combat reprehensible behaviors and publications, but asserts that neither constituted a substantial problem and much was made of some isolated incidents. Perhaps crucially, there are no recommendations for actions or changes.

It seems clear that the commission could have been bolder in its conclusions and taken a stronger stand. However, by openly condemning acts of individuals it may have invited libel suits. After all, the report was not supposed to have a "normative dimension."

The document is, however, an important tool for future historians, and delivers, albeit in an understated fashion, an unmistakable warning to all parties concerned. The facts are there, well documented in an orderly manner, and will not go away.

Notes

1. Although French universities enjoy a large measure of academic freedom, they are under the jurisdiction of the Education Ministry, which appoints their rectors and provides much of their budget since higher education in state institutions is free.

2. Letter of intent issued by the Education Ministry (reviewer's translation).

3. Ibid.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sudan will punish Darfur refugees who go to Israel

from Ynetnews:

Sudanese Interior Minister Zubair Bashir Taha blamed Israel for using his country's refugee crisis to undermine Sudan's international reputation, Ynet has learned Monday.

In a press conference held in Khartoum Sunday, Taha said some 3,000 refugees had found their way to Israel via Egypt. About 40 percent of them are from southern Sudan and some 35 percent are from Darfur.

The Sudanese authorities, he added, would "find the appropriate way to deal" with those who "dared immigrate to Israel."

Read the rest here...

Sudan: "Jews behind Darfur conflict"

from Ynetnews: Sudanese defense minister says '24 Jewish organizations fueling conflict in Darfur' by Yaakov Lappin

Sudan's defense minister, Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein, has accused "24 Jewish organizations" of "fueling the conflict in Darfur" last week in an interview with a Saudi newspaper.

Hussein was interviewed during an official state-visit to the Saudi kingdom last week.

A journalist from Saudi Arabia's Okaz newspaper asked Hussein: "Some people are talking about the penetration of Jewish organizations in Darfur and that there is no conflict there?"

A journalist from Saudi Arabia's Okaz newspaper asked Hussein: "Some people are talking about the penetration of Jewish organizations in Darfur and that there is no conflict there?"

"The Darfur issue is being fuelled by 24 Jewish organizations, who are making the largest amount of noise over the issue, and using the Holocaust in their campaigning," the Sudanese defense minister replied.

Hussein added that the Darfur conflict was driven by "friction between farmers and herders and shepherds. Among the biggest problems is that of water, which is used to exploit the differences and fuel the conflict."

"Are these Jewish groups supporting (the rebels) financially?," the interviewer from Okaz asked Hussein.

"Yes, they provide political and material support through their control over the media and across American and British circles," Hussein said, adding that Jewish groups were using "all means to fuel these conflicts."

He added that Western reports of 200,000 people dying in Sudan were false, and said: "We talk about 9,000 dead as a result of either government or rebel actions."

'We came to Israel to look for a better place'
Several days ago, Sudan's Interior Minister, Zubair Bashir Taha, lashed out at Sudanese refuees who had sought asylum in Israel, and accused "Isaeli authorities of encouraging the Sudanese refugees to come to their country."

He added that his ministry was "very confused" by Sudanese citizens who came to Israel."

The Sudan Tribune quoted a Sudanese refugee as telling al-Jazeera television: "We were surprised when we came here. We met good people, who welcomed us and gave us food. We feel that we are extremely happy. We hope that the Israeli government would find a solution for us and our children. We came here to look for a better place."

Meanwhile, in the US, a number of Jewish organizations have attempted to raise awareness over the plight of Sudanese citizens who face mass killings and ethnic cleansing from the Sudanese government. Some 20 Jewish organizations joined the 'Save Darfur Coalition,' along with other religious communities and American civil rights groups.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Vito Fossella's Darfur Scorecard

Following up on the U.N. condemnation of Sudan's war against civilians in Darfur, and on a couple of posts (here and here) concerning Ron Paul's opposition to doing virtually anything to help those poor souls, I checked out my congressman's record. Oy, vey... He got a "D".

He voted AGAINST the Funding amendment for protection and AGAINST humanitarian aid. In case anyone believes this is an ideological issue, and that I, as a Democrat, am expressing some bias against Rep. Fossella, you should know that such other raving liberals as Senators Brownback and McCain voted FOR these amendments. And...President Bush supported and signed them.

What's up with that, Rep. Fossella? I would really like to know.


Vito Fossella | Darfur Scorecard

Ron Paul Gets an "F" on Darfur Report Card

Following up on an earlier post on this blog which quoted Ron Paul opposing the Comprehensive Peace in Sudan Act (2004), here, from Darfurscores.org, is Ron Paul's report card grading him on issues relating to Darfur. He received an "F".

read the report card at: Ron Paul | Darfur Scorecard

Friday, July 27, 2007

UN criticises Sudan abuses

from BBC NEWS:

African Union peacekeepers in Darfur
Mr Kouchner called for quicker changes to the peacekeeping force
The UN Human Rights Committee has criticised Sudan for what it says are widespread and systematic abuses.

The HRC expressed concern over reports of torture, discrimination against women and the use of child soldiers.

It also condemned violations in Darfur, including murder, rape, evictions and attacks on civilians.

In a separate development, the French foreign minister called for quicker deployment of a joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force to Darfur.

In its first overall review of Sudan's record for more than a decade, the HRC said "widespread and systematic serious human rights violations, including murder, rape, forced displacement and attacks against the civil population, have been and continue to be committed with total impunity throughout Sudan and particularly in Darfur".

The HRC, which comprises 18 independent experts, called on Khartoum to "ensure that no financial support or materiel is channelled to militias that engage in ethnic cleansing or the deliberate targeting of civilians".

French concern

The AU peacekeeping force currently in Darfur is over-stretched and under-funded, the BBC's Elizabeth Blunt in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, reports.

Map of Darfur region

The current plan is to move in phases towards a properly resourced and full international peacekeeping force.

In the next phase the AU will reinforce its troops with logistical support from outside, and only in the third phase will this become a hybrid AU-UN force.

France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said this process would have to be speeded up, and UN funding would be needed for this.

"We have to join, to merge, the third phase with the second phase," Mr Kouchner said, speaking in Addis Ababa after talks with AU and Sudanese government officials.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

U.S. Unions Organize Against British Unions' Israel Boycott

from the venerable Forward (by
Leaders of some of America’s most powerful unions are said to be considering whether to pull support for a top British union official, Keith Sonnet, in his bid to lead a major international service workers union, Public Services International. The American union leaders are responding to last month’s passage of a resolution proposing a sweeping boycott of Israeli goods by Sonnet’s union, Unison, which represents 1.3 million public service workers.

The group that Sonnet is looking to lead, PSI, is a global federation of more than 600 unions from around the world, but the American labor movement has traditionally wielded significant power in its ranks.

As the number of British labor unions passing Israel boycott resolutions has snowballed in recent months, American trade union officials have raised alarms over the growing phenomenon, which encompasses boycotts of Israeli goods and academic institutions. Last week, nearly every top union leader in America signed on to a statement drafted by the Jewish Labor Committee decrying the raft of boycott proposals as non-constructive.

Avram Lyon, executive director of the JLC, said that Sonnet, who is running against Danish candidate Peter Waldorff for the international union post, had given assurances to American labor leaders in advance of his group’s national delegate conference that the Israel boycott measure up for consideration would either be voted down or have its teeth taken out. But the opposite came to pass, causing Sonnet’s American counterparts to feel misled, Lyon said.

“That has raised questions among some American unions as to whether or not they will support Keith Sonnet’s candidacy,” Lyon said. “The concern is based on the fact that Sonnet put forward a resolution which American unions would consider to be divisive.”

***


David Hirsh, who is the editor of Engage’s Web site and a lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, said that while he lauded American anti-boycott efforts, the leaders of the boycott movement in Britain are unlikely to be swayed by American complaints.

“It should be a powerful statement that all of these leaders of the American labor movement are making against the boycott campaign, but I’m skeptical as to how effective it will be,” Hirsh said.

The roster of 29 signatories to the JLC’s statement included a broad spectrum of union leaders, who cut across religious and ethnic lines. Among the signatories to the statement were Ron Gettelfinger, president of United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America International Union, which tends to stay out of the geo-political arena; William Lucy, president of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and Larry Cohen, president of Communications Workers of America.

Absent from the list of signatories was Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, which represents some 1.8 million service workers. An SEIU spokesman said Stern lent his support through Change To Win, a coalition of seven American unions, which signed on to the statement.

Whether or not the Americans’ robust condemnation of the British unions’ boycott measures has an effect, labor leaders here say that the concerns over Sonnet’s handling of the issue could have real consequences for his candidacy. A handful of signatories to the JLC’s anti-boycott statement — including the American Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — are members of PSI, which represents more than 20 million workers from 160 countries. PSI’s election is set to take place during its World Congress, held in Vienna from September 24 to 28.

At least two past PSI presidents — legendary labor leader Victor Gotbaum and AFSCME’s William Lucy — have hailed from American unions.

A source at AFT, who requested anonymity because authorization to speak for the union had not been granted, said that its four delegates to the PSI congress would weigh the Israel boycott issue heavily. “I’m sure there are going to be a lot of people asking questions about Keith Sonnet’s view of the resolution adopted by Unison,” the source said.

According to Lyon, another American effort to stymie the British boycott movement met with success this week, when American unions torpedoed efforts by the UCU to introduce an Israel boycott resolution at the world congress of Education International, a worldwide federation of teachers’ unions, held this past week in Berlin.


It's enough to make me say: "Union, yes!"

READ THE FULL STORY HERE...

The connection between Mel Gibsons' anti-Semitic cult and the Terry Schiavo case

from the La Crosse, Wisconsin Tribune

Hate Groups in America By GREG HANIFL

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which identifies and monitors racist hate groups in the United States, has named 844 active hate groups in the United States with 12 hate groups identified in Wisconsin. One such group, the "Christian Identity" movement, believe whites are the chosen people, Jews are the essence of evil and non-whites are soulless "mud people".

Recent letter writer Fred Ainslie, of Sparta, Wis., stated that no one in the pro-life cause "would ever endorse Christian Identity".

However, the facts would refute this claim. Christopher Ferrara, who was the lawyer for the family of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman whose feeding tube was removed in 2005 after a court battle, also writes for anti-semitic journals like the Remnant.

Ferrara recently stated that Pope Benedict XVI had "abased himself by entering a synagogue". He also works with Robert Sungenis, a violent anti-Semite, who staffs the "Apologetics Desk" at Ferraro’s legal organization.

The Southern Poverty Law Center lists as other Catholic extremists Mel Gibson and his father, Hutton Gibson, a known Holocaust denier who believes "a Masonic plot back-ed by the Jews" led to the Second Vatican Council reforms of the 1960s. Hutton Gibson is especially angry over the council’s declaration, Nostro Aetate, which condemns "all hatreds, persecutions and displays of anti-semitism leveled at any time or from any source against the Jews".

A three-year investigation by the Southern Poverty Law Center has determined the Catholic extremists, including Mel and Hutton Gibson, Christopher Ferrara and as many as 100,000 like minded individuals, may represent the largest population of anti-semites in the United States.

Christians Flee Growing Islamic Fundamentalism in Holy Land

This post is from 7 months ago, but worth reading:

from the
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs: ''Christians Flee Growing Islamic Fundamentalism in the Holy Land'' by Justus Reid Weiner
    • The Christian population of the areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA) has sharply declined in recent decades, as tens of thousands have abandoned their holy sites and ancestral properties to live abroad. Those who remain comprise a beleaguered and dwindling minority. In sharp contrast, Israel's Christian community has prospered and grown by at least 270 percent since the founding of the state.

    • While Israel understands that the construction of the security barrier inconveniences some of the Christian communities living in its vicinity, Israel has shown sensitivity to Christian interests in planning the route of the barrier.

    • The plight of Christian Arabs remaining in the PA is, in part, attributable to the adoption of Muslim religious law in the PA Constitution. Israel, by contrast, safeguards the religious freedom and holy places of its Christian (and Muslim) citizens. Indeed, in recent years Israel has been responsible for restoring many of the churches and monasteries under its jurisdiction.

    • The growing strength of Islamic fundamentalism within the Palestinian national movement poses problems for Christians, who fear they will be deemed opponents of Islam and thereby risk becoming targets for Muslim extremists. This is exacerbated by the fact that Hamas holds substantial power and seeks to impose its radical Islamist identity on the entire population within the PA-controlled territories.

    Who Threatens Christians in the Holy Land?

    Palestinian Christians have a higher rate of emigration compared to Palestinian Muslims and the Christian population of the West Bank and Gaza has plunged from about 20 percent after World War II to less than 1.7 percent now.1 Tens of thousands have abandoned their holy sites and ancestral properties to live abroad.2

    Some senior Christian clerics claim that the dramatic rise in Christian emigration from PA-controlled territories is a result of the Israeli "occupation."3 However, in-depth research demonstrates that the precipitous decline in the Christian population is primarily a result of social, economic, and religious discrimination and persecution within Palestinian society in the West Bank and Gaza.

    In a July 3, 2006, article, "Who Harms Holy Land Christians?," syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak, a long-time critic of Israel, paraphrased a letter from Michael H. Sellers, an Anglican priest in Jerusalem, to U.S. Congressmen Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Joseph Crowley (D-NY), who were circulating a draft resolution blaming the Christian decline on the discriminatory practices of the Palestinian Authority.4 Sellers insisted that "the real problem [behind the Christian Arab exodus] is the Israeli occupation - especially its new security wall."

    Yet two-thirds of the Christian Arabs had already departed between 1948 and 1967, when Jordan occupied the West Bank and Egypt the Gaza Strip, prior to the "occupation" and decades before construction began on the security barrier to protect Israel's population from waves of deadly suicide bombers. During the same period, hundreds of thousands of Christians were leaving other Muslim-ruled countries in the Middle East, Asia, and North Africa. Every one of the more than twenty Muslim states in the Middle East has a declining Christian population. In fact, Israel is the only state in the region in which the Christian Arab population has grown in real terms - from approximately 34,000 in 1948 to nearly 130,000 in 2005.5

    Novak also refers to Sellers as "coordinator of Jerusalem's Christian churches." Actually, there are at least 16 traditional, Oriental, and Protestant churches represented in Jerusalem, yet only three other clergymen signed the letter with Sellers - and all three are known for their close loyalty to Arafat's Palestinian nationalism.

    Israel's Security Barrier

    Novak also quotes Father Faras Arida, a Catholic priest in the West Bank village of Aboud, who asserts that the security barrier costs villagers their water and olive trees. In fact, the water resources used by Aboud will remain on the side of the barrier where the village is situated. At the same time, the Israeli government is to fully compensate farmers for the 1,500 olive trees uprooted during the barrier's construction.

    Although the security barrier inconveniences some West Bank residents, it was designed to include dozens of gates for transit and agriculture for those on legitimate business, including Christian residents, pilgrims, and clergy. As noted by former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Jack Kemp, Israel has displayed particular sensitivity to Christian religious concerns, taking measures to ensure their access to holy sites. To this end, Israel has negotiated with Christian communities directly impacted by the barrier, and has, in some instances, rerouted construction to better accommodate their requests.6

    Significantly, the barrier would not exist but for Palestinian terrorism. Israelis across the political spectrum would reject any demand to remove the security fence before the Palestinians stop their attacks. The blame for its construction belongs squarely on the Palestinian leadership that sponsored years of bloody terrorism against Israeli civilians. Prior to the erection of the fence, Palestinian terror killed an average of 103 Israelis and wounded 688 each year. After the completion of the first portion of the fence, an average of 28 people were killed and 83 wounded per year - a decrease of approximately 90 percent.7 The last two "successful" suicide bombers in Jerusalem murdered a total of 18 people by entering through unfinished portions of the barrier near Bethlehem.

    Novak also ignores the Palestinians' refusal to negotiate the occupation's end. In 2000 and 2001 Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Authority rejected a generous Israeli offer of a Palestinian state comprising the Gaza Strip, much of eastern Jerusalem, and virtually all of the West Bank in exchange for peace with Israel. Rejecting even Arafat's fa├žade of negotiations, Hamas, which won the January 2006 Palestinian elections, has demonstrated no interest whatsoever in any negotiated settlement with Israel.

    Islamic Religious Extremism

    Novak further alleges that I initiated the congressional letter that blamed the Palestinian Authority for the flight of Christian Arabs from the Holy Land - a role that exists only in the columnist's imagination. I am a scholar who has spent nine years researching this subject. In the process I have interviewed scores of Christian Arabs, and published five scholarly articles and a monograph on the topic - none of which Novak saw fit to cite.8

    From Christian Arabs under the thumb of the PA, I have heard testimony of forced marriages of Christian women to Muslim men, death threats against Christians for distributing the Bible to willing Muslims, and Christian women intimidated into wearing traditional ultra-modest Islamic clothing. Churches have been firebombed (most recently in Nablus, Tubas, and Gaza when the Pope made his controversial remarks) and/or shot up repeatedly. And this is the tip of the iceberg.

    Under the Palestinian Authority, whose constitution gives Islamic law primacy over all other sources of law, Christian Arabs have found their land expropriated by Muslim thieves and thugs with ties to the PA's land registration office. Christians have been forced to pay bribes to win the freedom of family members jailed on trumped-up charges. And Arabs - Christians and Muslims alike - have been selling or abandoning homes and businesses to escape the chaos of the PA and move to Israel, Europe, South America, North America, or wherever they can get a visa.

    Notes

    1. Other factors include declining economic conditions in the PA (J. C. Watts, "Yasser Arafat vs. Christians," Washington Times, Dec. 4, 1997, at A19) and Islamic law in the PA Constitution (David Bedein, "Final Version of Official Palestinian State Constitution," Makor Rishon [Hebrew], April 17, 2003).

    2. For further reading on the plight of Christian Arabs, see Justus Reid Weiner, Human Rights of Christians in Palestinian Society (2005). This monograph can be downloaded free of charge at www.jcpa.org/christian-persecution.htm. It is also available to purchase from amazon.com.

    3. These Christian clerics include Michael Sabbah, Munib Younan, and Riah Abu el-Assal.

    4. Robert D. Novak, "Who Harms Holy Land Christians?," Washington Post, July 3, 2006.

    5. Eric Rozenman, "False Premises, Repeated Errors in Robert Novak Column on Christian Arabs," March 17, 2006, available at: http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=6&x_article=1098. This is a response to an earlier publication by Novak.

    6. Jack Kemp, "Absolute Necessity," New York Sun, April 26, 2006, available at http://www.nysun.com/pf.php?id=31674. This is a response to a previous publication by Novak.

    7. Israeli Ministry of Defense, "Security Fence's Effectiveness," News Brief, July 1, 2004, available at http://www.securityfence.mod.gov.il/Pages/ENG/news.htm#news19.

    8. See additional related scholarship by Justus Reid Weiner: "Human Rights Trends in the Emerging Palestinian State: Problems Encountered by Muslim Converts to Christianity," 8(3) Michigan State Journal of International Law 539 (1999); Appendix "Israel and Palestine" to Forum 18 Report "Freedom of Religion: A Report With Special Emphasis on the Right to Choose Religion and Registration Systems," financed by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (February 2001); "Palestinian Christians: Silent Victims of a Zero-Sum Game," 8(2) Mediterranean Journal of Human Rights 383 (2004); "Palestinian Christians: Equal Citizens or Oppressed Minority in a Future Palestinian State," 7 Oregon Review of International Law 26 (Spring 2005); and "Palestinian Christians: A Minority's Plea for Rights Silenced by the Politics of Peace," The Journal of Human Rights (October 2005).

    What the Arab League boycott of Israel does, and why U.S. tax laws penalize it

    from AP: "The U.S.'s antiboycotting measures" by PAUL CHAVEZ

    Imagine that you're the owner of a U.S.-based oil services company that specializes in custom rigs and drillings.

    One day your business contact in the Middle East sends a letter asking questions such as: Do you or any of your subsidiaries now or have ever had a branch or assembly plant in Israel? Can you provide a certificate stating that products related to the drilling project have not been manufactured in Israel?

    Such are the types of requests American firms can encounter when doing business in countries that observe the Arab League's boycott of Israel, according to a government Web site. The U.S. Treasury Department publishes a quarterly list of countries that participate in the boycott, the latest of which included Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen last week.

    The 23-member Arab League has maintained an official boycott since the founding of Israel in 1948. Enforcement, however, is sporadic and some Arab League members have limited trade relations with Israel and are therefore not on the list.

    The United States opposes the boycott against Israel, and U.S. lawmakers in the 1970s passed legislation to discourage companies from cooperating with it. Companies must notify the government if they are asked to comply with the boycott, and violators can face fines and even jail time.

    The Internal Revenue Service also denies tax benefits to U.S. taxpayers who participate in the boycott.

    "I think it has helped," said Stan Smilack, a tax lawyer in Washington D.C. with Steptoe & Johnson. "It has prohibited a significant amount of discrimination against Israel and Israelis."

    ---

    Further reading: http://www.bis.doc.gov/AntiboycottCompliance/oacantiboycottrequestexamples.html

    Daniel Jonah Goldhagen on "The Humiliation Myth

    from Democracy: A Journal of Ideas

    As Peter Bergen and Michael Lind ably demonstrate in their recent article ["A Matter of Pride," Issue #3], the notion that poverty causes terrorism–and that, absent poverty, terrorism would diminish radically–is a fallacy. Indeed, the "myth of deprivation" is so manifestly inadequate that it is worth asking whether its supporters actually believe it or whether, instead of confronting the complexities of terrorism’s causes and the difficulty of combating it, they prefer to mouth a platitudinous perspective that poverty causes all ills and that alleviating poverty (which will not happen soon) cures them. Bergen and Lind are also certainly correct that a sense of humiliation fuels terrorism. After all, the terrorist movements they discuss, as well as others, so often speak its wounded idiom and the associated, though analytically distinct, idioms of vengeance and justice for perceived wrongs.

    Yet whatever the substantial virtues of Bergen and Lind’s analysis, they seek to replace one misguided and reductionist master explanation with another. The threat we face is not merely a humiliated Muslim populace that can be assuaged by putting an end to the putative humiliation. Rather, we are in a struggle with a powerful, highly aggressive, and dangerous political movement, Political Islam. This is distinct from the religion of Islam and its many non-Political Islamic adherents. Because of this, focusing on the "humiliation" that we are said to cause Muslims obscures the central issues regarding the real nature and magnitude of the current threat.

    The problems with the humiliation perspective of Bergen and Lind partly mirror those of the poverty position. The authors take humiliation mainly as a given and thus fail to investigate why terrorists and their supporters feel so humiliated in the first place, especially while other peoples and groups subject to similar or greater indignities do not. For instance, while they note that many non—Middle Eastern countries have not given birth to terrorist movements, they fail to note that many of those countries have also suffered substantial exploitation, domination, and all manner of indignities by Western powers, which often exceeds anything experienced by Middle Eastern countries. But, even assuming that Bergen and Lind are correct, they still fail to explain what exactly humiliation is–because, far from being an objective characteristic, as they seem to propose, it is a subjective quality that manifests itself in different quantities and intensities in different places, even in response to similar stimuli. And unless we delve deeper to understand what makes some people more prone to humiliation, we avoid the central issue and set ourselves up for misguided policy decisions.

    Nor do Bergen and Lind explain why humiliation in and of itself leads to such disproportional will to violence and slaughter. For example, they claim that humiliation is the master explanation for the rise of Adolf Hitler and the politics he, with the willing aid of so many Germans, pursued. Its historical absurdity aside, this argument actually highlights the reductionism and untenability of their claim. There is simply no way to explain how the "humiliation" of a lost war (World War I) and a perceived unjust peace (Versailles) led Germans to attempt the annihilation of an entire people (the Jews) who had nothing to do with either; exterminate the mentally ill of Germany and elsewhere; conquer the Eurasian continent; slaughter additional millions of so-called subhumans (Poles, Russians, and others); turn entire peoples into slave populations; create a vast concentration camp system with more than 10,000 installations; and seek to destroy Christianity–and that’s only a partial list of the Nazi regime’s assault on humanity and Western civilization. Such an apocalyptic and cataclysmic politics can come only from a mix of many other ideological and other factors, including eliminationist anti-Semitism, a profound racism that held the world to be composed of warring races in a struggle for dominance and survival, and a strategic vision and the opportunity to finally fulfill certain long-standing imperial aspirations. Much the same can be said of today’s Political Islamic terrorists who seek to destroy the West; of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who seeks a world "without the United States and without Zionism"; and of Hamas, whose leader, Khaled Meshal, would desire to "sit on the throne of the world." In each case, a grandiose, uncompromising, and apocalyptic vision of Islam is the motivating force. Humiliation has played, at most, a tertiary part in producing such hopes and plans.

    This points to a third problem with Bergen and Lind’s singular emphasis on humiliation: It ignores the other critical factors that govern terrorist aspirations, especially the political-religious ideologies that shape their political goals and through which they understand the actions of Western powers. This is not to say that Bergen and Lind make no mention of ideology. They do several times, and they do see it as a critical factor. But they treat it only in passing, and wrong-headedly. In their analysis, ideologies are principally an outgrowth of humiliation and not the framework that governs people’s understanding of their own situation in the world. Such a cursory theory of ideology cannot explain why, for example, Arabs–and now with the Islamification of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, so many Muslims worldwide–conceptualize the very existence of Israel as an intense humiliation. Such a phenomenon can only be explained by plumbing the worldviews of those who feel humiliated by a political fact that has, objectively speaking, nothing to do with the vast majority of them.

    Bergen and Lind also categorize the relevant ideologies as "radical" and "revolutionary," spread by "madmen and isolated sects" and "revolutionary extremists"; in doing so, the authors render them as extreme, unusual, artificial, or perhaps artifactual of something else (namely humiliation). But the ideologies at issue are not in fact obscure ideas but rather foundational political-religious worldviews, grounded not in the minds of "madmen" but in extremely widespread (though by no means universal) interpretations of Islam. They precede and then evolve in conjunction with political developments and acts, including (but hardly restricted to) those acts that are interpreted as humiliating.

    READ THE REST HERE (free registration required)

    Israeli envoy to Croatia accuses TV official of anti-Semitism

    from Haaretz - Israel News

    Israeli ambassador to Croatia, Shmuel Meirom, called on Tuesday for the dismissal of a programming council official at Croatian TV broadcaster HRT, accusing her of anti-Semitism.

    Jadranka Kolarevic had attacked Ephraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for speaking out against the broadcast of a concert by ultra-nationalist Croatian performer Marko "Thompson" Perkovic.

    Perkovic's songs feature patriotic sentiment and nostalgia for the Ustasha regime, which collaborated with the Nazis during the Second World War, and during whose rule (1941-1945) tens of thousands of Jews, Serbs, Roma and anti-fascists were killed in concentration camps.

    Perkovic's fans often wear black uniforms resembling those of the Ustasha army.

    "Many people die daily in Palestine and he wants to comment on the situation in Croatia," Kolarevic said of Zuroff, who runs the Wiesenthal Centre's Israeli branch.

    Meirom sent a letter to Croatian Parliamentary Speaker Vladimir Seks and HRT General Director Vanja Sutlic, demanding the dismissal of Kolarevic for what he called "deeply anti-Semitic" remarks.

    While Seks has yet to react to the ambassador's request, Sutlic said it was not Meirom's place to interfere in Croatia's internal matters.

    Hamas asks Jimmy Carter to mediate with Fatah

    from Maan News Agency

    Deposed Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Sunday stated his approval of the intervention of former US President Jimmy Carter in the Palestinian domestic crisis.

    Haniyeh's comments were made during a meeting with director of the Carter Centre in the West Bank, Scott Caster, in Haniyeh's office in Gaza City.

    Caster conveyed to Haniyeh Carter's willingness to mediate in the domestic Palestinian dispute.

    Judicial Activism: a problem more of the right than the left

    Alan Dershowitz: Reactionary Activism - Politics on The Huffington Post

    Judicial activism, especially by the Supreme Court, has always been more a tactic of the Right than the Left. Reactionary judicial activism reached its highpoint -- or low point depending on one's perspective -- during the Progressive era and the New Deal, when state legislatures and then Congress passed liberal legislation, only to have it struck down by an activist, reactionary Supreme Court. The call for judicial restraint, now heard so often among political conservatives, originated with the Left.

    Its primary spokesman was a progressive Boston lawyer named Louis Brandies, who eventually became a justice himself, and in that capacity developed various mechanisms of judicial restraint. He understood that judges have historically been elitist members of the upper classes, not representative of common folk. The legislatures are more representative of the populace at large. Indeed, our system of checks and balances, as originally formulated in the Constitution, saw the conservative judiciary as a check and balance on the popular branches of government. Many of the framers of the Constitution feared what they called "mobocracy," a pejorative euphemism for democracy. Sensible judges would hold the mob in place by their conservative judicial opinions. As Lord Coke once put it, "the known certainty of the law is the safety of all." A pretty conservative point of view!

    There was, to be sure, a brief historical window during which liberal activism reached a highpoint. The Warren Court, presided over by the liberal Republican Earl Warren, from the mid 1950's to 60's, rendered a series of decisions granting remedies to disenfranchised litigants who had rights that were being largely ignored. These remedies included desegregation of public schools, reapportionment of gerrymandered legislative districts, and exclusionary rules forbidding the introduction of evidence obtained in violation of the constitution. These rulings were controversial and caused a reaction in which conservatives railed against liberal judicial activists and demanded a return to judicial restraint.

    Republican presidential candidates promised to appoint judges who applied existing law, not activists who imposed their own views of what the law should be. There are now seven justices (out of nine) appointed by Republican presidents, and the current Supreme Court is among the most activist in history. The most activist decision, not only in the history of the Supreme Court but probably in the history of any court was, of course, Bush v. Gore in which five Republican justices imposed their own views of who should be president on the entire world. In the process, they distorted the law so badly that they had to announce that their decision would not have precedent value. What their decision did assure, however, was an activist Republican Supreme Court for generations.

    In the past term alone, the activist majority overruled key provisions of congressionally mandated campaign-finance reform, dictated to cities how to assign students to public schools, reversed the decisions of federal agencies, overturned jury verdicts against large corporations and overruled its own precedents. So much for judicial restraint!

    Adam Cohen of The New York Times, after reviewing the current Court's record of activism, concluded that:

    "The other disturbing aspect of the new conservative judicial activism is its dishonesty. The conservative justices claim to support 'judicial modesty,' but reviews of the court's ruling over the last few years show that they have actually voted more often to overturn laws passed by Congress -- the ultimate act of judicial activism -- than has the liberal bloc."

    So let's not here any more nonsense about judicial activism from the Right. The real culprit is reactionary judicial activism from the current Republican Court.

    Monday, July 23, 2007

    Wonkette descends into blatant anti-Semitism

    As a Jew who's lived in small town America, both rural and suburban, I've had experience with this peculiar phenomenon: the not-very-clever person who believes it funny to replace the word "New" in "New York" with the word "Jew". This "pun" ranks with references to the "Jew store" and to bargaining as "Jewing down".

    As bad as this is, Wonkette also finds it amusing to call Rudy Giuliani "Jew-liani", a "joke" worthy of the neo-Nazi websites that have probably already done this.

    What is this trash doing on a main stream liberal political blog like Wonkette? And why on earth hasn't someone there figured out, since it was posted, that this is wrong: offensive, stupid and pointless? Don't they understand that they discredit any point they believe they're making. They make themselves, their bigotry and bad taste, the issue.

    I pity the fool who thought this was amusing.


    Those with high tolerance for bigotted trash, read it here.

    UPDATE (7/1/2008):
    Either Wonkette has eleted the above referenced post or the link is bad. An archived version is available here.

    Saturday, July 21, 2007

    Britain and France to call for 26,000 U.N. Peacekeepers to Darfur

    Britain and France to make joint effort on terrorism and Darfur - International Herald Tribune

    Heralding a new era of cooperation, France and Britain vowed Friday to intensify cooperation on terrorism and make a joint push in the United Nations Security Council to deploy thousands of peacekeeping troops in Sudan. Following their first meeting since they took office, President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned the Sudan government of tougher sanctions if it did not halt the killing of civilians in its western Darfur region. They said they would send their foreign ministers to New York to lobby fellow Security Council members to approve a draft resolution authorizing 26,000 troops and police officers from the African Union and the United Nations to go to Darfur and pledged a symbolic joint trip to the region to press for an immediate cease-fire once the resolution is passed.

    "People are dying and people are suffering and it must stop," Sarkozy said during a joint news conference with Brown, vowing to pressure more reluctant members of the Security Council, like China, to come on board. "We cannot guarantee success. But what Gordon and I guarantee is that we are determined to shake up the system."

    The French-British initiative on Sudan is the most concrete evidence yet that Europe's resolve is toughening to end a four-year-old conflict between rebels in Darfur and government-backed militias that has killed an estimated 200,000 people and driven 2.1 million from their homes.t is also a first indication of how the arrival of two new leaders over the past two months could reshape the political landscape in Europe. On Monday, Sarkozy and Brown held separate talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. Three high-profile meetings in the past week gave a glimpse of the new personal and political relationship that is forming at the heart of Europe. The triangular dynamic heralds a fresh start and not just because the three leaders share a nonideological approach to politics and governance. It also ends years of squabbling among their predecessors over a host of issues, most notably the decision to go to war in Iraq.

    Anti-Semitism Drove Chaplain to Resign from U.S. Army, Now He's Slandered as Deserter

    Swastikas at Hunter Airfield, and a Rabbi on the Run

    By Jason Leopold (t r u t h o u t | Report, 7/17/2007)

    A former Army chaplain who has been listed as a deserter by the Department of Defense intends to file a civil rights lawsuit against the United States military for refusing to discipline three Evangelical Christian Army chaplains at Fort Stewart, Georgia. The three allegedly subjected Rabbi Jeffrey Goldman to vulgar displays of anti-Semitism in 2001 and 2002.

    Goldman, 35, a native of Toronto, said the Army listed him as a deserter in retaliation for speaking out about other chaplains' anti-Semitic behavior at Fort Stewart. Goldman contends that he legally resigned from his stint as an Army chaplain in January 2002 when his transfer requests were rebuffed.

    Mikey Weinstein, head of the watchdog group The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said Goldman approached him last month after reading a story reported by Truthout in which Weinstein exposed a pattern of anti-Semitism displayed in Biblical teachings by chaplains at Fort Leavenworth.

    Rabbi Goldman's civil rights "were perniciously raped in a literally mind-boggling, intentional manner," Weinstein said in an interview. "The Army retaliated against him for speaking out. The Army refused to lift a finger to address Rabbi Goldman's complaints despite documentary evidence that supports his claims. And now the Army is going to find itself the defendant in a lawsuit our organization will file on behalf of Rabbi Goldman for grossly violating his civil rights."

    According to documents obtained by Truthout, an investigation by the Army Inspector General into Goldman's claims of anti-Semitism shows that in May 2001, Captain Robert Nay, a Christian chaplain at the Fort Stewart Army base, hung Nazi uniforms and swastikas on the wall of the officers' club at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia, during a May 23, 2001 interfaith prayer breakfast Goldman was ordered to attend.

    In an interview, Goldman said seeing the Nazi uniforms did not entirely surprise him. A month earlier, Nay had informed Goldman that he thought it would be "funny" if he dressed up soldiers in the Nazi uniforms on Holocaust Memorial Day, a time when the world memorializes the six million Jews who were slaughtered by the Nazis during World War II.

    When contacted for comment, Nay hung up the telephone. A public affairs official at Fort Stewart would not comment for this story, nor would he disclose his name.

    Goldman says he complained about Nay's anti-Semitic tirades to his Fort Stewart chaplain supervisor, Major Larry Sharp. In a sworn affidavit, Goldman said Sharp told him that he "needed to get along with people who hate Jews." Moreover, Goldman was then informed by Sharp that he would now be reporting directly to Nay. Goldman said he immediately contacted Rabbi David Lapp, head of the Jewish Chaplains Council in New York, who had sponsored Goldman's chaplain service in the military.

    Lapp said he was made aware of the Nazi paraphernalia and the episode of anti-Semitism Goldman says he was subjected to, but he dismissed that as "no big deal."

    "Lots of people collect Nazi material and swastikas," Lapp, now retired, said in an interview from his New Jersey home. "Sure, he told me about it. But that's not the issue here. The issue is he ran away from his commitment when he found out he was going to be sent to Afghanistan in 2001."

    Goldman disputes that account. He said he was never privy to information regarding "troop movement" and that Lapp's accusation is an attempt to cover up the fact that he "turned a blind eye" to Goldman's numerous complaints of anti-Semitism and his requests for a transfer.

    "I would have willingly gone to Afghanistan," Goldman said. "I just didn't want to be subjected to anti-Semitism at Fort Stewart. The whole reason I volunteered to become a chaplain is because I was eager to help Jewish kids who chose the military and needed spiritual guidance while being far away from home serving" in the Army. "Rabbi Lapp told me over and over again not to rock the boat in the military and that I should just do what the goyim(gentiles) want and keep four meters away from the people who were anti-Semitic."

    Lapp agreed that he told Goldman to ignore the alleged anti-Semitism at Fort Stewart.

    Goldman said Lapp requested his [Goldman's] resignation, which was approved by Major General Buford C. Blount at Fort Stewart, according to documents.

    Goldman then returned to Toronto in January 2002. But because the Army was terribly short of Jewish chaplains, the deputy assistant secretary of the Army Review Boards in Washington, DC, overturned Goldman's resignation and demanded he return to service at Fort Stewart, documents show. Goldman agreed, but only on the condition that he be reassigned. The Army declined and Goldman refused to return. In 2002, Goldman was listed as a deserter, meaning he is subject to arrest if he returns to the United States.

    Goldman enlisted the help of the Canadian Parliament to address the military's claims that he deserted his post. On July 16, 2004 Dan McTeague, parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs in Canada, intervened and wrote a letter to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, seeking an amicable resolution to the matter.

    "Mr. Secretary, it is my hope that you can offer some assistance in dismissing the charges against Rabbi Goldman," McTeague's letter to Rumsfeld states. "Rabbi Goldman has no intention of returning to the United States to be arrested and forced to endure a court-martial that he believes would not be conducted fairly. Given the documentation Rabbi Goldman has provided me, I share his concern about him receiving fair treatment."

    The Army's criminal division responded to McTeague's letter on October 13, 2004, saying the desertion charges would stand and urging Goldman to turn himself in to US military authorities to face a court-martial. Moreover, the Army said there was no truth to any of Goldman's claims of anti-Semitism - in contradiction with the Army's own internal investigation.

    Weinstein said he expected the Army's denials to Goldman's claims, so he demanded that the rabbi take a lie detector test to measure the validity of his allegations of anti-Semitism. The administrator of the test, John McClinton, a forensic polygrapher and former Canadian military intelligence officer, said Goldman scored a "+21" in response to questions about claims of anti-Semitism at Fort Stewart, which McClinton says suggests Goldman is "being more than truthful."

    Tuesday, July 17, 2007

    Poll: 50% in U.K. think Jews more loyal to Israel than home nation

    from Haaretz:

    Asked to respond to the statement "Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own country," the survey found that 50 percent of U.K. respondents replied "probably true," up from 39 percent two years ago...




    Bush Admin Tried to Silence His Warnings on Darfur.

    Nicholas Kristoff from the NY Times via The Unknown Candidate:

    He Rang the Alarm on Darfur By Nicholas D. Kristof

    Some day an American president will visit a genocide museum in Darfur and repeat the standard refrain: If only we had known ...

    But that excuse will ring hollow, because there was a whistle-blower in the heart of the Bush administration. Roger Winter, whom President Bush had appointed in 2001 to a senior post in the U.S. Agency for International Development, frantically tried to ring alarm bells — but instead the administration turned away.

    If there was a hero within the U.S. government on Darfur, it was Mr. Winter. But it was doubly frustrating for him because in 1994 he had the same experience during the Clinton administration, when he was running a refugee organization and desperately trying to galvanize officials to respond to the Rwandan genocide.

    In outrage at Bill Clinton’s inaction during the Rwandan slaughter, Mr. Winter abandoned the Democratic Party and became a Republican.

    Mr. Winter, 65, who also served in the Carter and (briefly) Reagan administrations, traveled regularly to Sudan for the Bush administration, trying to end the 20-year war between northern and southern Sudan. On those trips, Mr. Winter encountered the slaughter in Darfur as it began.

    In May 2003, long before any newspaper noticed, Mr. Winter warned in Congressional testimony that violence was erupting in Darfur. Then, on Nov. 3, 2003, the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum transmitted a message warning Washington that “the situation in Darfur is critical” and adding that “ethnic cleansing ... is underway.”

    But Washington shrugged.

    State Department officials apparently worried that an uproar over Darfur would derail the north-south agreement in Sudan, a prize achievement for the Bush administration. So they looked away. The State Department was even angry when the Agency for International Development released satellite photos showing the burned villages in Darfur.

    Before testifying to Congress, Mr. Winter had to submit prepared remarks to the State Department for vetting. Frustrated by State’s passivity, he used his off-the-cuff remarks to speak passionately — and uncensored — about the horrors in Darfur.

    Mr. Winter once took an administration colleague with him to fly over Darfur from Chad, to show him the Janjaweed militias as they burned villages. Administration officials aren’t supposed to invade another country’s air space and buzz militias as they slaughter civilians, but Mr. Winter was desperate to get another administration witness.

    “We were trying to get everybody’s attention, including the White House and State Department and everybody else,” Mr. Winter recalls.

    When Sudanese forces blocked a road to aid groups, Mr. Winter invited aid groups to join his own convoy and insisted on going down the road to assure humanitarian access.

    It was agonizing, he says, to feel that Mr. Bush wanted to do the right thing on Sudan — and yet see the administration acquiesce on mass murder. Later Mr. Winter served as State Department envoy for Darfur, but at State he burned with the same frustration and retired last year, deeply disillusioned.

    “Khartoum looked the U.S. in the eye, and we looked away,” Mr. Winter said, adding: “There was no real intention of taking effective action. They saw that. They read us. And so they weren’t threatened.”

    Mr. Winter favored — and still favors — a no-fly zone over Darfur. We wouldn’t keep planes in the air, or even shoot planes down. But after Sudan bombed civilians in Darfur, we would later destroy a Sudanese attack helicopter on the ground.

    Aid groups worry that such a strike would endanger their efforts. But I think Mr. Winter, who has 26 years’ experience in Sudan, is exactly right that a no-fly zone is the best way to shake up Sudanese officials and make them negotiate seriously for a peace agreement in Darfur.

    “What we have done with our handling of Darfur is show Khartoum that in certain circumstances we are a toothless tiger,” he says. “No matter how forceful the words we use, we don’t act. Or we act in ways that the bad guys in Khartoum find tolerable. ... It tells them that they can get away with mass murder.”

    The upshot, Mr. Winter believes, is that Sudan is increasingly likely to resume its war against southern Sudan, erasing one of Mr. Bush’s genuine achievements. Mr. Winter says of administration officials, “They’re turning a silk purse into a sow’s ear.”

    Mr. Winter admires Mr. Bush for pushing for north-south peace but fears that the administration is simply running out the clock on Darfur. “Where we have gotten to with Sudan,” he says heavily, “is a tragedy.”

    Forward to Lou Dobbs: The real immigration health threat

    Yeah...Lou Dobbs has been touting as real the non-existent threat of Mexican immigrants infecting U.S. citizens with leprosy. Turned out his statistical evidence was totally off the wall -- manufactured by some anti-immigrant crackpot. (READ ABOUT IT HERE.)

    Contrary to the Dobbsian view of the world, here's the real threat, according to todays NY Times:

    Mexican Migrants Carry H.I.V. Home - New York Times

    I guess Dobbs will now call for those who've been in the U.S. to be banned from other countries.

    Monday, July 16, 2007

    What's Scary About the Anti-Immigration Debate


    from History News Network (hnn.com) By Jean Pfaelzer (professor of English and American Studies at the University of Delaware, author of Driven Out: The Forgotten War Against Chinese Americans)

    When we think of ethnic cleansing we think Darfur, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia. Maybe its time we started thinking Fortuna, California; Hazleton, Pennsylvania; Cherokee, Georgia; and Whitewater, Wisconsin.

    Once, 1.5 million Native American Indians lived here; by 1900 250,000 survived the roundups, slaughter, and wars of extermination.

    Between the Gold Rush and the turn of the 20th century, in town after town, Chinese miners and merchants, lumberjacks and field workers, prostitutes and merchants’ wives, were gathered up at gunpoint in over two hundred towns. The first Chinese Americans were forced onto steam ships, marched out of town, or driven out, sometimes along the railroad tracks they had built.

    In Tacoma, Washington, at nine o’clock in the morning of November 3, 1885, the mayor ordered all the steam whistles at the foundries to blow, to notify vigilantes to begin the rout of the town’s Chinatowns. By mid afternoon Tacoma’s Chinese were forced from town on a nine mile trek in the mud and rain, never to return. In Eureka, California the rout of 1885 took less than a night, as the Chinese packed whatever belongings they could. The Chinese, many of whom had lived in Eureka for twenty years, were held under gunpoint at a warehouse on the docks, loaded onto two steam ships and sent to San Francisco.

    In the mountain town of Truckee, it took ten weeks to starve out the Chinese, when the editor of the local newspaper shamed merchants, timber barons, and women who ran boardinghouses, ordering the town to neither buy from, rent to, hire, or honor wood cutting contracts with early Chinese Americans. When most of the Chinese had left, the “anti-Coolie” League and the vigilante committees (like the “601”—six feet under, zero trial, one bullet) circled the white part of town with fire wagons, invited the ladies to watch, and burned Chinatown to the ground. Two Chinese men died, refusing to leave their homes.

    During the Great Depression, two million Mexicans and Mexican Americans were deported under Herbert Hoover’s Mexican Reparation campaign. Sixty percent of the deportees were children, born in America. The rest were mostly US citizens who had lived on this land for generations.

    Now, from Fortuna, California, to Trenton, New Jersey, immigration officials are sweeping through towns without warrants, seizing Latinos from homes and factories, leaving children abandoned at schools and day care centers.

    And now too, a simple housing code, traveling the Internet, is purging thousands of Latinos, suddenly homeless and on the run. Over eighty towns have enacted the canned language of “The Illegal Immigration Relief Act” and banned any landlord from renting to an undocumented worker.

    Evicted from their housing, American citizens, legal immigrants, and illegal immigrants are in flight from frightened landlords who have become the storm police.

    In Hazelton, PA, landlords face arrest or fines of $250 per day. In Riverside NJ the fines grow to $1,000 per day. In Cherokee, GA, even after an eviction, landlords must prove that their former tenants have left the county before they can again collect rents.

    In just one year this housing code has spread from historic Sandwich on Cape Cod, (whose web site invites you to “experience life the way it used to be”), south to Riverside NJ, Landis, NC and Beaufort, SC, to Avon Park, FL, Cherokee, GA, and Valley Park, MO. The code travels to Farmer’s Branch, Texas, up through Carpentersville, IL, Bloomington, MN, and Arcadia WI, where 140 Latinos once lived in a little town of 2,300 people. Then it jumps westward to Escondido, California.

    As civil rights groups try to enjoin the codes, others spring up. Only the federal government can deport people, but small towns can drive them out of town.

    This week, as soft wild dogwoods bloomed along the East Coast, I read a Christmas story, a tale of Christmas just past. It was called the Ordinance 2006-18.

    T’was the week before Christmas 2006 when Hazleton banned Santa Claus. Santa was about to climb down the chimney without a green card. Although his biology has always been a bit unclear, Santa was an “alien” of the illegal sort who employed thousands of alien elves—“unfair foreign competition” to American toymakers.

    Making a list and checking it twice? For the feds: “identity data provided by the property owner.” Data provided by a landlord? Based on what kind of verification?

    And why?

    Hazleton’s mayor told Sixty Minutes about a 70% rise in violent crime since Latinos came to town in 2001 (the correct number is 20 of 8,500 crimes). Farmers Branch, Texas said that the code would prevent terrorist attacks by purging its Latinos. One third of towns that passed the code are in unemployed areas of Pennsylvania--railroad towns that once sold anthracite coal, steel tubes, and carpets. Now they export Latinos.

    These gentlemen prefer blondes. The mayor wants Hazleton to remain 94.7% white. Last week in front of a burning cross the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party, recently defunct, announced to ABC Evening News that since they began assaulting, torching, and “bleaching” Latinos, membership has risen 40%.

    “Pack your bags…It’s over, go home” shouted local Minutemen after Escondido’s city council voted 3-2 for the Hazleton code. With nearly half the town born outside the US, anyone who looked or sounded “foreign” stood to be evicted. In Altoona, which is 99.9 % white, a city councilman declared “We just want to stay ahead of the curve.”

    Neither the local U.S. Attorneys (those that still have their jobs), the Department of Homeland Security, or Attorney General Gonzales is stopping the unconstitutional enforcement of this unconstitutional code.

    But immigrant rights groups are trying to stop the spread of this internet virus. They took Hazelton to federal court, arguing that the code violates immigrants’ rights to due process, fair housing codes and legal leases. The judge temporarily stopped the town which still awaits a final ruling. Sixty eight percent of the voters in Farmer’s Branch voted to support its code in May, but in June the Mexican American Legal Defense fun managed to get that vote overturned. Another break may be protections in the Hate Crimes Bill, passed by the House, moving through the Senate but facing a presidential veto.

    Still, as Hazelton’s mayor bragged, the code endures, even though his struggling town faces $2 million in fines and legal costs

    Yet across small town America, landlords face empty apartments and vacant trailer parks. Businesses are shutting down. One-third of Riverside’s immigrant population has moved away. Twenty-five percent of our undocumented population has children who are US citizens, but unable to fend for themselves, these kids are losing their constitutional right to live here. This code, perhaps deliberately, violates what children promise: permanence, stability, and future generations.

    Latinos often say, “mi casa es su casa.” By contrast, this code says “leave.”

    Sunday, July 15, 2007

    Racist Lies on BBC Noticeboard

    This kind of false Talmudic quote is a mainstay of the anti-Semitic internet age. I've seen the stuff quoted frequently. I once saw it in a letter to the editor of the Aspen Colorado Times. I called it to their attention and, lo and behold, they deleted the letter from their website and offered an apology. It would be nice if the BBC could muster the ethical strength of the local paper in Aspen, Colorado.

    from
    Harry's Place:

    BBC Radio 5 Live message board moderators have refused to remove a posting from the 5 Live website, which states that

    “Zionism is a racist ideology where jews are given supremacy over all other races and faiths.
    This is found in the Talmud.
    There is a law called Baba Mezia which allows jews to lie as long as its to non-jews. many pro jewish supporters will cringe at this being exposed because they know it exists, yet they keep quiet about it, hey frip, jla and co
    The Law of Baba Mezia!! Tsk tsk tsk! Its in the Talmud.”

    When I brought the mailing to the attention of the moderator, “The BBC Communities Team” emailed back, stating

    “we have decided that it does not contravene the House Rules and are going to leave it on site”.

    Apparently, at least three others have also complained to the BBC.

    The message was posted by “Iron Naz”. A brief Google search on this name suggests that he is unlikely to be a (bottom of the class) Jewish theological student.

    Only “Iron Naz” himself knows how he came to hear of the supposed Law of Baba Mezia. The bastardisation of Talmud quotes, however, is normally rooted within “The Talmud Unmasked”, a classic core antisemitic text written at the end of the 19th Century by a Jew hating Russian Catholic Priest, Rev. Father Justin Praniatis, who gave evidence at the infamous Beilis blood libel trial in Kiev, 1913.

    Praniatis argued that the Talmud advocated ritual murder, but was shown by Jewish and Christian scholars to be a charlatan with no knowledge of the Talmud. The all Christian jury found Beilis innocent. The influence, however, of Rev. Praniatis’ work has of course spread well beyond the confines of Imperial Russia.

    Today, the core text, “The Talmud Unmasked” is distributed by neo-Nazi booksellers via the internet. It gained a brief surge of publicity in the UK in the early 1990s as part of a series of mass antisemitic mailshots by a coterie of veteran Jew haters led by the notorious Dowager Lady Jane Birdwood. She was eventually convicted in 1994 of distributing “threatening, abusive and insulting material” on account of an antisemitic compendium, “The Longest Hatred”, the contents of which included the Talmud material.

    Attacks on the Talmud are also an increasingly routine component of Arab and Islamist antisemitism, anti-Zionism and Israel hatred. Until now, however, the BBC was not known to have joined this particular part of the club.

    It is bad enough that it is up to readers to police what the BBC publish on their own websites, but it is far sadder that this public body should actively refuse to remove the filth, and give no explanation for their actions - or perhaps its just that “The BBC Communities Team” agree with the essential element of the posting:

    “Zionism is a racist ideology where jews are given supremacy over all other races and faiths.”

    Galloway to be suspended from Commons over Iraq

    from the London Times Online:

    GEORGE GALLOWAY, the MP who campaigned against the Iraq war, is to be suspended from parliament [for one month] over his links to the United Nations oil-for-food programme in Iraq. The parliamentary standards watchdog will rule this week that Galloway failed properly to declare his links to a charitable appeal partially funded from money made by selling Iraqi oil under Saddam Hussein, according to a source close to the inquiry...

    In 1998 Galloway founded the Mariam Appeal, which campaigned for the lifting of sanctions on Iraq. The appeal, which paid Galloway’s wife and funded international travel for the MP, received almost £450,000 from Fawaz Zureikat, a Jordanian businessman who was also a trustee of the appeal. It subsequently emerged that more than half of this money came from the proceeds of Iraqi oil sales...

    The Mariam Appeal, which raised more than £1.4m, has never filed any accounts and the parliamentary authorities have been unable to account for some of the expenditure.

    According to the Times, Galloway plans to fight the charges. This should be interesting...

    Saturday, July 14, 2007

    Alan Dershowitz: End the Occupation!

    from The Huffington Post


    The indigenous population is killed or chased away. New settlers of a different ethnic background are brought in to replace the indigenous population. They are given financial inducements to settle the stolen land and are protected by military forces.

    No, I'm not talking about Israel and the Palestinians. I am talking about Darfur where a dictatorial Arab regime, supported by other Arab governments, is committing a brutal genocide against Black African Muslims in Darfur. This genocide includes not only mass murder and systematic rape, but also a policy of replacing the murdered black Africans with ethnic Arabs. This is how Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times describes the situation:

    "One of the most troubling signs is that Sudan has been encouraging Arabs from Chad, Niger and other countries to settle in Darfur. More than 30,000 of them have moved into areas depopulated after African tribes were driven out. In the last few months, Sudan's government has given these new arrivals citizenship papers and weapons, cementing in place the demographic consequences of its genocide...

    Then there's rape. Ever since Sudan began the genocide, it has been using rape to terrorize populations of Africans - and then periodically punishing women who seek treatment on charges of adultery or fornication....As Refugees International puts it in a new report: 'The government is more likely to take action against those who report and document rape than those who commit it."

    Arab governments actively support the genocidal Sudanese regime, which thus far has murdered 400,000 civilians and displaced 2.5 million. Jimmy Carter, who has mendaciously said that what Israel is doing is even worse than genocidal Rwanda and Apartheid South Africa, has said little about Darfur in comparison to his daily tirades against Israel. Carter, the Neville Chamberlain of today's war between tyrannical, terrorist regimes and democracies, calls for "balance" in our approach to genocidal regimes and their victims. The United Nations does little about real genocides because it is preoccupied with Israel's imperfections.

    The real victims of this obsessive focus on Israel to the exclusion of major human rights violators are neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians. The real victims are Black Africans and others whose dreadful plights are being ignored or downplayed in the name of some bizarre notion of political correctness.

    By any standard of justice, human rights, international law and basic common sense, what the Sudanese government is doing in Darfur is incomparably worse than anything the Israelis have ever been accused of. Indeed, there is absolutely no comparison. Even to mention them in the same condemnatory breath is an obscenity. The relatively small number of Palestinian civilians killed by the Israeli Army have been the accidental victims of self-defense action, whereas the Darfur genocide has been deliberate and unprovoked. Arabs have killed more Palestinians than Israel has, despite the terrorism directed at Israeli civilians by Palestinian terrorists. More Muslims have killed Muslims in Darfur than Israel has killed Muslims in all the wars and battles in the Mideast. Yet those who complain most loudly about the Israeli occupation of parts of the West Bank are actively supporting - or at least not actively opposing -- the Sudanese genocide and occupation in Darfur.

    It's perfectly reasonable, indeed desirable, to criticize Israel and other democracies for their imperfections or excesses, so long as the criticism is proportional to their faults and does not deflect attention away from far more serious offenders. But the disproportionate degree of condemnation being heaped on Israel today - by British unions, American academics, human rights organizations and others - is, in fact, deflecting needed attention away from ongoing genocides.

    As hypocrisy reigns supreme, innocent victims continue to be murdered, raped and displaced. It's about time the international community, and those who claim to speak for the victims of human right violations, got their priorities straight.

    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    Father Tadeuscz Rydzyk Anti-Semitic Media Mogul Uses Hate To Promote Political Career

    from the Simon Wiesenthal Center

    FATHER RYDZYK, JEW-HATING MEDIA MOGUL LEVERAGES ANTISEMITISM TO CAUSE POLITICAL CRISIS IN POLAND

    SIGN THE PETITION DEMANDING RYDZYK'S REMOVAL

    Once again, antisemitic priest, Father Tadeuscz Rydzyk (pictured) is leveraging Jew-hatred to promote his extremist agenda in Poland. Speaking to university students, the media mogul who heads Radio Maryja has created a major political crisis by seeking to scapegoat Jews, and by denouncing Poland’s President, Lech Kaczynski, as a “fraudster who is in the pockets of the Jewish lobby.”

    Rydzyk went on to accuse the tiny Polish Jewish community of “grafting $65 billion from Poland" under the pretext of “Jewish pogroms” in the 1930’s saying, “They [the Jews] will come to you and say, 'Give me your coat! Take off your trousers! Give me your shoes!'"

    WE MUST ACT NOW BY CLICKING HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO ARCHBISHOP JOZEF MICHALIK, PRESIDENT OF THE POLISH BISHOPS CONFERENCE, URGING HIM TO CALL FOR THE IMMEDIATE DISMISSAL OF FATHER RYDZYK...

    Three million of Poland’s estimated 3.25 pre-World War II Jewish population, the largest Jewish community in the world, were murdered in the Nazi Holocaust. The Jewish Community’s property was never returned after World War II by the Communist regime. Current efforts to address the Restitution issue have led to Rydzyk’s outrage.

    Father Rydzyk’s extremism was previously criticized by Pope Benedict XVI. His radio station has hosted antisemites and Holocaust deniers. Join the Wiesenthal Center’s call to the Catholic Church to dismiss this “Josef Goebbels in a collar.”

    PLEASE ACT NOW. SIGN THE PETITION AND FORWARD TO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY.

    Assyrian cuneiform tablet confirms Torah story

    from the Telegraph (U.K.):

    The sound of unbridled joy seldom breaks the quiet of the British Museum's great Arched Room, which holds its collection of 130,000 Assyrian cuneiform tablets, dating back 5,000 years. But Michael Jursa, a visiting professor from Vienna, let out such a cry last Thursday. He had made what has been called the most important find in Biblical archaeology for 100 years, a discovery that supports the view that the historical books of the Old Testament are based on fact.

    Searching for Babylonian financial accounts among the tablets, Prof Jursa suddenly came across a name he half remembered - Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, described there in a hand 2,500 years old, as "the chief eunuch" of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon. Prof Jursa, an Assyriologist, checked the Old Testament and there in chapter 39 of the Book of Jeremiah, he found, spelled differently, the same name - Nebo-Sarsekim. Nebo-Sarsekim, according to Jeremiah, was Nebuchadnezzar II's "chief officer" and was with him at the siege of Jerusalem in 587 BC, when the Babylonians overran the city.

    The small tablet, the size of "a packet of 10 cigarettes" according to Irving Finkel, a British Museum expert, is a bill of receipt acknowledging Nabu-sharrussu-ukin's payment of 0.75 kg of gold to a temple in Babylon. The tablet is dated to the 10th year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, 595BC, 12 years before the siege of Jerusalem.

    Evidence from non-Biblical sources of people named in the Bible is not unknown, but Nabu-sharrussu-ukin would have been a relatively insignificant figure.

    "This is a fantastic discovery, a world-class find," Dr Finkel said yesterday. "If Nebo-Sarsekim existed, which other lesser figures in the Old Testament existed? A throwaway detail in the Old Testament turns out to be accurate and true. I think that it means that the whole of the narrative [of Jeremiah] takes on a new kind of power."

    Cuneiform is the oldest known form of writing and was commonly used in the Middle East between 3,200 BC and the second century AD. It was created by pressing a wedge-shaped instrument, usually a cut reed, into moist clay.

    The full translation of the tablet reads: (Regarding) 1.5 minas (0.75 kg) of gold, the property of Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, the chief eunuch, which he sent via Arad-Banitu the eunuch to [the temple] Esangila: Arad-Banitu has delivered [it] to Esangila. In the presence of Bel-usat, son of Alpaya, the royal bodyguard, [and of] Nadin, son of Marduk-zer-ibni. Month XI, day 18, year 10 [of] Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.

    Sunday, July 8, 2007

    Major British workers' union joins moves to boycott Israel

    from Ha'aretz

    Britain's Transport and General Workers' Union has called upon its 800,000 members to boycott Israeli-made products based on what they term Israel's "criminal policies in Palestinian territories."

    The decision to call for a boycott, reached at a union conference in Brighton, is declarative and does not include concrete steps to implement the boycott.

    The TGWU is the second British union to call for a boycott on Israel this year - last month the British public services union UNISON also urged its members to refrain from purchasing Israeli products, basing the call on Israel's "criminal behavior in the territories," and Israel's responsibility for the Second Lebanon War.

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