My Catbird Seat » Activism Fri, 22 Jul 2011 03:54:03 +0000 en hourly 1 USS Liberty Song “Please Can You Tell Me” Tue, 12 Jul 2011 19:25:52 +0000 Debbie This is a Song Dedicated to the 34 Men Killed, and to the Survivors of the USS Liberty, Attacked by the Israeli’s on June 8, 1967.

by Debbie Menon / My Catbird Seat

Yes, I know… Israel, Israel, Israel… it’s becoming tiresome, turning up Israel under every stone.  But, there they are!  More and more of this stuff, and stuff like this, are appearing everyday.

It is like Grace Halsell says it was, “what we did not know, and were shocked to learn….”  But, finding out and telling about it, are horses of different colors, uphill battles, seldom won, which she describes as part of the problem and amongst those things we “did not know.”

[Vocalist - Songwriter : Cathy aka Cat]






















Spattered by Israeli gunfire

The most recent account in the book What I Saw That Day, is indeed a heartfelt account by Phil Tourny a survivor of the attack. Merlin Miller sums it best in her review at “This heartfelt account, written by a survivor of the USS Liberty, is a page turner. The events that unfolded on June 8th, 1967 altered the course of history, yet are generally unknown to the American public. Israel attacked a defenseless US spy ship, intending to kill all aboard, and her act of betrayal was covered up by our own government and media. This book reveals the reasons behind this incredible conspiracy, as well as a riveting account of the horrors that day and how they have haunted the lives of the survivors and their loved ones. Many have spoken out about this outrageous act of war, but none so eloquently as Phil Tourney. This story should be made into a major motion picture, as the story has incredible drama with international implications. It is full of mystery, action, betrayals, and, most importantly, incredible acts of heroism and sacrifice. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat and should be read by every patriot.”


A review of the USS Liberty story here explains a lot of how and why we have arrived at the state and conditions in which we currently find America and its governance!

USS LIBERTY: The Fifth Fleet Sacrifice – Why did it happen?

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Netanyahu Panics — American and European activists Flytilla Tue, 12 Jul 2011 15:12:44 +0000 Debbie When Folks like Kathy Kelly Visit Palestine by Sea or by Air Netanyahu Panics

“I, and another US Boat to Gaza campaign member, Missy Lane, will head to Tel Aviv, where we plan to be part of a “flytilla,” a new campaign which will bring hundreds of activists together in Israel’s Ben Gurion airport, all of us intent on reaching Palestinian refugee camps and/or visiting Gazan families.” — Kathy Kelly

by James M. Wall / My Catbird Seat

Kathy Kelly -- Voice for Palestine

When the Israeli government discovered that a large contingent of American and European activists were coming to visit Palestine, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went into his full military stance.

He made one huge mistake. He forgot to ask: What is the enemy’s goal? If he had asked himself that question, he would have known that the overarching purpose of the flotilla and the flytilla was to drawn attention to the harsh and ugly reality that Israel maintains absolute military control over the lives of Palestinians living under occupation in Gaza and the West Bank.

Did he not know, could he not have realized, what a burden it is for the New York Times to cover up the harsh and ugly reality of occupation when Israel so dramatically shuts its doors to anyone it brands as “pro-Palestinian”?

Israeli police detain pro-Palestine activists in Ben Gurion Airport to prevent activists from entering Palestine

Israeli police detain pro-Palestine activists in Ben Gurion Airport to prevent activists from entering Palestine. In its report on the airport blockade, The Times was forced to use a headline that said the visitors were blocked from attending a “conference” in Bethlehem. That did not come out very well for Netanyahu. The Israeli line was that the visitors were blocked because they were a threat to Israeli security. Both the Times and Israel know that “conferences” are held in Bethlehem all the time without all this fuss.

How is this flytilla different? Could it be because this “conference” was clearly intended to draw world attention to Israel’s treatment not only of Palestinians, but also to its behavior toward friends of Palestinians?

The Times inserts a brief observation that Palestine has no airport of its own. And why, pray tell, an astute reader will want to know, is there no airport in Palestine? The Times does not say. It also fails to mention that Israel will not permit Palestinians to build their own airport. Nothing gets built in occupied Palestine without Israeli approval.

In her Friday story, the Time’s Isabel Kershner reported that Israel was aware that the air travelers had been invited by Palestinian activists to come to Bethlehem for a week of “fellowship and actions”.

Most of the foreigners who planned to fly to Tel Aviv and join the “Welcome to Palestine” initiative were either deterred from trying to come or were prevented from boarding flights to Israel by foreign airlines, on instructions from the Israelis.

The Palestinian hosts decried the Israeli measures, but also chalked up a small victory.

Fadi Kattan, a Palestinian organizer, said at a news conference in Bethlehem that he was “pleased — sadly pleased” that the episode had exposed what he described as Israel’s draconian anti-Palestinian policies.

Netanyahu’s initial response to this planned event proved once again that a man in a panic does not think clearly. Instead of letting the party go forward, Israeli authorities put together a “no fly” list of “peace and justice” passengers believed to be “threats” to Israel’s security.

Outside groups are frequently invited to Palestine to travel to Bethlehem and other parts of both Israel and  Palestine to talk, pray and plan. Religious types often get through passport control clutching a Bible or a guidebook to the “holy sites”. It also helps if you know the name of an Israeli rabbi, just in case you get into a second round of questioning. But this time was different. Both sides knew the game was on.

Ha’aretz reported:

Over the past few days, hundreds of police officers were deployed in and around the airport near Tel Aviv. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toured the base of operations at Ben-Gurion with his internal security minister, the police chief, security branch representatives and immigration officials.

Netanyahu demanded that European airport authorities do to air passengers what the Greek Coast Guard did to the flotilla, halt them at the alpha point. Knowing some passengers would make it to Tel Aviv, Netanyahu took personal command of his second line of defense, Ben Gurion airport.

Ben Gurion authorities had to sift through the long line of American and British Bible tour groups, Christian pilgrims, business travelers, and the European Holy Land travelers, to find those dangerous passengers who made it through the security net.

Al Jazeera reported that “of the 600 Tel Aviv-bound pro-Palestine activists who wanted to fly Friday, the majority were prevented from boarding their flights”.

The Palestinians and their international allies had set Netanyahu up.  He fell for it hard in his response to the Freedom to Enter flytilla campaign which originated in Bethlehem under local Palestinian leaders like Mazin Qumsiyeh.

Netanyahu’s over reaction to the international flotilla left him looking like the town bully who gets his way with other nations by using his Daddy’s money.  In the case of both the flytilla and the flotilla, Netanyahu is the big loser.

Kathy Kelly is shown in action in the picture above, holding her weapon, a microphone. She was one of those passengers who made it to Tel Aviv. She was already well-known to Israeli officials, just as she is well known to her many friends and admirers elsewhere, including those of us in her home town of Chicago, Illinois, where the author of this blog, in the interest of full disclosure, must confess to having known, and admired her, for more than two decades.

Kelly was among the passengers on the Audacity of Hope, the US ship which was sailing to Gaza, when it was intercepted by the Greek Coast Guard. Undaunted, she wrote in The Palestine Chronicle that she would fly to Tel Aviv. She explained her reactions as she prepared to leave Athens:

I leave Greece tonight with sincere regret that I didn’t spend more time learning from these sturdy activists.

I, and another US Boat to Gaza campaign member, Missy Lane, will head to Tel Aviv, where we plan to be part of a “flytilla,” a new campaign which will bring hundreds of activists together in Israel’s Ben Gurion airport, all of us intent on reaching Palestinian refugee camps and/or visiting Gazan families.

Earlier this evening, a group of U.S. activists who’ve been able to remain longer, here in Athens, demonstrated at each of the heavily guarded streets leading to the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Greece. The Ambassador is hosting a huge festival tonight, in celebration of the U.S. July 4 holiday that commemorates independence.

Several Greek people passing us read our signs seeking freedom for Gaza and asked us to understand that as recently as one year ago, the government of Greece showed no sign of submitting to Israeli or U.S. pressure and allowed international flotilla boats to sail. But, now. they are dependent on the whims of financial elites around the world. The IMF is prescribing draconian measures which will wreck their economy and make them subservient to the dictates of foreign multinationals.

Kelly and Missy Lane landed at Ben Gurion, but they were detained by airport authorities. No word yet on what will happen next to the two of them, though a swift return back home is likely.

Kelly, by the way, would be the first to insist that we acknowledge here that she is but one of more than 600 travelers who participated in both the flotilla and flytilla projects. There are many more Kathy Kelly stories among those peace and justice travelers to Palestine. And their number is growing. No wonder Netanyahu is in such a panic.

Here are the beginning words from the citation presented to Kelly from the Justice Studies Association when Kelly was awarded the 2011 Noam Chomsky honor for her work on peace and justice issues:

Kathy Kelly is a long-time pacifist and co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. A tireless activist whose efforts toward peace transcend borders, regions and time zones, writer Studs Terkel wrote of her: “She has visited more countries, cities and small towns not listed in Baedeker’s [travel guide] than anyone I have ever known.”

Born, raised and educated in Chicago – as a student at St. Paul-Kennedy High School, Kelly watched the film Night and Fog which exposed her to the horrors of the Holocaust. She also was exposed to the writings of Daniel Berrigan and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. All of this convinced her to make a commitment never to sit by and watch evil happen.

Now 58, Kelly has spent her life living up to her commitment. Over the last 30 years, she has helped the victims of war wherever they were – whether in Bosnia, Haiti, the West Bank, Iraq or Afghanistan. A war tax resister since 1982, Kelly has perhaps most notably used her resources (financial and spiritual) to provide medicine and other supplies to those trapped by the politics of militarism. Kelly co-founded Voices in the Wilderness, a peace group that highlighted the suffering of Iraqi civilians during the U.N. imposed economic sanctions of the 1990s. (To read the complete citation, click here.)

No American television coverage has yet to emerge from the flytilla. But there is clip available from the English language channel of RT (Russia Television), which provides an interview with Pippa Bartolotti, a British passenger who made it successfully through Ben Gurion passport control.


See original article at: Wall Writings

James Wall is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois.  From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine.  He has made more than 20 trips to that region as a journalist, during which he covered such events as Anwar Sadat’s 1977 trip to Jerusalem, and the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. He has interviewed, and written about, journalists, religious leaders, political leaders and private citizens in the region.  Jim served for two years on active duty in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF (inactive) reserve. He can be reached at:

Read more


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‘US needs A Declaration of Independence – from Israel’ Tue, 05 Jul 2011 07:08:14 +0000 Debbie Henry Norr reports on a “Declaration of Independence from Israel” written by the passengers of the US boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, and handed to the US Embassy in Athens, in protest at Israel’s use of its powerful influence inside the US to secure Washington’s backing for its illegal policies and the use of US taxpayer money in military aid for Israel.


by Henry Nor / Common Dreams


Two hundred and thirty-five years after the American colonies declared independence from Britain, the passengers on the US boat to Gaza call for a new American Declaration of Independence, this time from Israel.

The passengers issued their call from the decks of the US-flagged boat, The Audacity of Hope, which is currently confined to a Greek military pier near Athens, while its captain sits in jail.

Like the Founders in Philadelphia, the passengers in Athens recognize that “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them to another, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

Just as the Founders cited “a long train of abuses and usurpations” committed by the British, The Audacity of Hope passengers detailed the Israeli abuses motivating their call for US independence:

  • For generations, Israel has engaged in a systematic campaign to dispossess Palestinians of their lands and drive them from their ancestral homes.
  • Since 1967 Israel has occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights in open defiance of UN Security Council resolutions and the Geneva Conventions. Residents of these occupied territories have been subjected to numerous forms of mistreatment, including military attacks, arbitrary arrests, home demolitions and the confiscation of vast areas for the construction of illegal Jewish-only settlements and roads.
  • Since the mid-1990s Israel has imposed an ever-tightening regime of economic strangulation on the Gaza Strip. In particular, since 2006 the 1.5 million people of Gaza have been kept in isolation and under siege, with severely limited access to medical care, clean water and construction materials needed to rebuild after Israeli military attacks. They have been prevented from fishing in their coastal waters, growing crops on much of their farmland or exporting almost anything.
  • Israel has used its powerful influence inside the US to secure Washington’s backing for these illegal and counterproductive policies. In addition to more than 3 billion dollars per year of US taxpayer money in military aid, Israel has gained uncritical American diplomatic support, including repeated use of the American veto in the Security Council to stymie any UN effort to enforce international law and to hold Israel accountable for its crimes.
  • In recent years Israel has reacted with brutal violence against international as well as Palestinian and Israeli activists who have dared to step in where the US and the UN have feared to tread. On 31 May 2010, Israel’s vicious assault on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters caused the deaths of nine unarmed human rights volunteers, including 18-year-old American citizen Furkan Dogan.
  • This year, Israel, in collusion with the US, has deployed a variety of economic, diplomatic and other pressure tactics to undermine the sovereignty of Greece, Turkey, and other nations and force them to obstruct the Gaza Freedom Flotilla II in defiance of their own maritime regulations and procedures. In addition, Israel has carried out a campaign of unbridled distortion and defamation against the organizers and participants in this year’s flotilla. When that failed, Israel’s agents resorted to life-threatening sabotage operations against at least two of the flotilla’s ships.


“In light of this long — but still very partial — list of abuses and usurpations committed by Israel, it is past time for the US to end its ‘special relationship’ with Israel and declare its independence from that country,” said a letter that the passengers will deliver to the US Embassy in Greece on 4 July. “Just as the original American Declaration of Independence inspired popular struggles for independence and democracy all over the world, we humbly call on other countries that have been subjected to Israeli pressure and manipulation, particularly Greece and Turkey, to join us in our campaign to rid our country of this scourge.”

Henry Norr, a passenger on the US Boat to Gaza called The Audacity of Hope, is a former technology writer.

Related Posts:

Israeli Apartheid and The Nakba

We should all realize that Israel cannot be allowed to continue walking over the Palestinians in their hob-nailed boots, and face the fact that international diplomacy has failed, miserably — by Anthony Lawson

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Criticize Israel and Lose Your Career: Interview with Alison Weir Mon, 04 Jul 2011 12:48:11 +0000 Debbie Alison Weir: They would be outraged and would demand that this stop. I have found that when I speak to groups around the country the most common question I receive is, “What can we do about this?!”


Interview by Kourosh Ziabari / My catbird Seat

About Alison Weir


If you’ve ever tried to search for reliable information and analyses which expose the concealed and obscured side of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict, you’ve surely come across the website “If Americans Knew.” This website belongs to a non-profit organization which focuses on the Israeli – Palestinian conflict and the foreign policy of the United States toward the Middle East. “If Americans Knew” publishes commentaries and articles that the American mainstream media pusillanimously shun and reject because of their fear of the influential Zionist lobby which predominantly rules the U.S. administration and Congress. “If Americans Knew” releases statistical reports on the history of Israeli – Palestinian conflict including the number of Palestinian casualties, the number of children murdered by the Israel Defense Forces, the number of Palestinians detained in the Israel jails and the number of Israel’s illegal settlements on the Palestinian lands.

American freelance journalist and researcher Alison Weir is the founder and executive director of “If Americans Knew.” She has written several articles and compiled investigative reports on the Israeli Palestinian conflict and provoked the furious and frantic criticism of Zionist organizations such as Anti Defamation League. Her articles have appeared on a number of media outlets and news websites including Counter Punch,, The Link, Znet, Los Angeles Times, Greenwich Post, and Washington Report for Middle East


Alison Weir is at the forefront of combating the biased coverage of Israeli – Palestinian conflict in the mainstream media and through her sincere efforts has revealed the plight of the Palestinian nation under the occupation of Zionist regime. She believes that criticizing Israel in public will cost a journalist his career. She says that it’s far less damaging for an American journalist to write critically of the United State government than of Israel.

What follows is the complete text of my interview with Alison Weir in which we discussed a variety of topics including the dominance of Israeli lobby over the U.S. administration and Congress and also the biased coverage of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict by the western mainstream media.

Alison Weir

KZ: What made you think of establishing “If Americans Knew?” Actually, what were your motives for taking such a sensitive step?

AW: When I returned from my first trip to Gaza and the West Bank, I was determined to tell Americans what was going on. I felt that while I could probably occasionally get articles into the mainstream media, the context would remain so distorted that they would make little difference. Therefore, I felt it was essential to begin an organization that would work to get the information straight to the public in as many ways as possible and that would also study and expose media malfeasance on this issue.

KZ: What difficulties did you face while working on this project?

AW: One of the most difficult aspects is raising enough money to sustain the organization. The good news is that we have been able to keep going for almost ten years. The unfortunate reality is that there’s never been enough money to go beyond a paid staff of about 2-3 people. Zionist organizations of all sorts have extremely large staffs, extensive offices, etc. They also have a great many people of sufficient wealth that they can work on this issue without compensation. We’re in a far different situation.

KZ: Have you ever been pressured by the Zionist-controlled mainstream media or the Israeli lobby in the United States not to talk of Israeli regime critically?

AW: I don’t recall being pressured by the Israeli Lobby directly. Instead, they frequently try to pressure local organizations not to have me speak.

Mainstream media organizations also don’t pressure me directly. Rather, they simply don’t report about my information or inform their audiences about the existence of If Americans Knew. Democracy Now is among this group.

One book editor commissioned an article by me and then attempted to censor what I wrote.

KZ: Have you ever been threatened or seriously intimidated for the content which you publish?

AW: Yes. I received a death threat in 2003. You can read the details here. We periodically receive obscene or harassing emails and phone calls from Zionists. There are websites that misconstrue my work and that defame me, including the very powerful Jewish “Anti-defamation League.”

There are infiltrators in the pro-Palestinian movement who initiate whispering campaigns against me and work to prevent groups from inviting me to speak and from using our written materials. This often fails; sometimes it succeeds.

Recently a man knocked my phone from my hands. You can see this here.

Once when I tried to go to Palestine I was stopped at Ben Gurion Airport, held in a detention cell for 28 hours, and deported. Twice I have been briefly detained by Israeli soldiers while trying to film incidents in the Occupied Territories.

KZ: Several renowned politicians, academicians, activists and writers have likened Israel’s treatment of the subjugated Palestinians to the deplorable situation of the blacks under the South African Apartheid regime. From the former U.S. President Jimmy Carter to the Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan and from the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu to former Israeli Knesset member Uri Avnery, many people believe that Israel undeniably resembles aspects of the South African Apartheid regime. What’s your viewpoint in this regard? Does the Israeli regime have the features of an apartheid state?

AW: While no two situations are ever identical, it is clear that Israeli actions are a form of apartheid. As you note, South African experts who have visited Palestine have stated this and they are clearly in a position to know.

The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa commissioned a legal study of the Israel-Palestine situation to “scrutinize the situation from the nonpartisan perspective of international law, rather than engage in political discourse and rhetoric.” Their 15-month investigation found that “Israel, since 1967, is the belligerent Occupying Power in occupied Palestinian territory, and that its occupation of these territories has become a colonial enterprise which implements a system of apartheid.”

In addition, inside Israel itself there is systemic discrimination against non-Jews.

KZ: In your recent article, you referred to statistical studies which reveal that primetime network news shows report on Israeli children’s deaths at rates up to 14 times greater than they report on Palestinian children’s deaths. The same is applicable to the other aspects of mainstream media’s portrayal of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. For example, we clearly witnessed the exercise of double standards by the Western media during the Gaza War of 2008 – 2009. Why do the American media treat the Israeli – Palestinian conflict so unfairly?

AW: I feel there are most multiple causes. Below are some of the main ones:

1. Advertising and consumer pressure by Israel partisans against media that begin to provide more accurate coverage on this issue. These are often orchestrated and cause considerable financial damage to news organizations.

2. Reporters and editors who are biased towards Israel. I recently was astounded to learn how many of the allegedly “objective” journalists in the region reporting for American media have close ties to the Israeli military. Ethan Bronner, New York Times bureau chief, has a son in the Israeli army. Others have themselves served in the Israeli military. “Pundit” Jeffrey Goldberg, who is often interviewed for commentary on U.S. mainstream news broadcasts, served in the Israeli military.

I’ve written several articles and made a video on this topic.

The Associated Press is probably the primary source of international news for media all over the U.S. and is probably an extremely significant cause of the problem. Its control bureau, through which virtually all reports on the region must pass, is located in Israel and is staffed largely by Jewish and Israeli journalists, many with close family ties to the Israeli military. Their reporting invariably contains pro-Israel spin and context. Quite often, they don’t even send out reports on newsworthy items that reveal negative facts about Israel.

3. Media owners, publishers, CEOs, etc. who are biased toward Israel, for example, Mortimer Zuckerman, Leslie Moonves, Sumner Redstone, etc. Journalist Jeffrey Blankfort has reported on this.

4. Editors who know nothing about this issue and would not necessarily be Israel partisans but are taken in by AP, the New York Times, etc. Journalists who have never been to the region, never read a book on it, or studied it independently, often think they are experts on the subject because they’ve been reading AP et al reports for years. They have no idea how filtered and slanted these are.

5. Journalists quickly learn that reporting honestly on Israel-Palestine is not a good career move and often self-censor. It is much safer not to touch the “third rail” of American journalism; they are aware that the people who pay them won’t like it. It is far less damaging to one’s career to write critically of the American government than of Israel.

6. Fear of being called “anti-Semitic” and of being black-balled. The ADL, similar organizations, and Israel partisans are quite powerful in the U.S. People don’t wish to come under their attack; they’ve seen what happened to Helen Thomas and others.

KZ: Many American citizens who voted for President Obama in the 2008 presidential elections had hoped that he would be a different, sincere and trustworthy politician and a real man of change who would detach himself from the hawkish policies of George W. Bush. However, no essential change of policy was observed during President Obama’s administration. What’s your analysis of the performance of President Obama? Why did he fail to fulfill his promise of change?

AW: Because he is aware that pro-Israel groups and individuals determine who has the chance to be a major contender for the Presidency of the United States. If he tried to do something substantial, there would be a powerful – and successful – campaign to prevent him from winning a second term. This campaign would consist of funneling donations away from him to his opponents and of defaming him on a variety of issues in the media. Plus, even if he tried to do something, Congress would over-rule him, out of the same fears. Long before Mearsheimer and Walt wrote their exposé on this, Paul Findley described this situation in his powerful book, “They Dare to Speak Out.” Richard Curtiss, Janet McMahon, and Delinda Hanley, from the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, have been exposing this for many years.

KZ: Following the 9/11 attacks, a wave of Islamophobic sentiments began to encompass the public sphere in the United States and the European society. The U.S. administration portrayed a horrific and appalling image of Islam and sowed the seeds of hatred against Muslims in the hearts of the Western citizens. However, we already know that they were not Muslims who planned and carried out the 9/11 attacks. Even if we admit that it was Osama Bin Laden who masterminded the 9/11 attacks, I as a Muslim should promulgate that he was not a devout Muslim, but rather a CIA asset since the Afghan-Soviet war in 1980s. What’s your viewpoint in this regard? Why is the American society’s stance toward the Muslim so repulsive?

AW: Islamophobia in the U.S. has been largely promulgated by media, individuals, and organizations working on behalf of Israel. This is one of their most despicable and dangerous campaigns and has been going on for decades. Among those whose work, statements, and or funding have resulted in making Americans fear and hate Muslims are Pamela Geller, Steve Emerson, Aubrey and Joyce Chernick, Martin Kramer, Charles Jacobs, David Horowitz, David and Meyrav Wurmser, Frank Gaffney, Caroline Glick, Daniel Pipes, etc. John Sugg has written on this topic for years; more recently Max Blumenthal, Maidhc O Cathail, and several others have exposed it. See 1, 2, 3 and 4

KZ: The Zionist lobby and organizations such as Anti Defamation League, as you have pointed out in your articles, denounce as anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish every single criticism of the actions and policies of the Israeli regime, thus demoralizing and discrediting the critics of Israel who dare to call into question the illegal and immoral actions of this regime. What’s your take on this? How should the critics of Israel find podiums to voice their opposition to the actions and policies of the Israeli regime without being demonized?

AW: This is one of their most widely used tactics. Their intention is two-fold: to undermine the credibility of people speaking and writing accurately on Israel, and to intimidate people from doing this.

I feel that people should simply ignore these attacks and continue to write and speak as honestly and accurately as possible. Such smears have become so widespread that they are beginning to be a bit like crying wolf too often. An increasing number of Americans are rolling their eyes when they hear that yet another person with no record of bigotry is allegedly “anti-Semitic.” In fact, such an attack often helps to raise interest in the person being so maligned, many people assuming – often correctly – that this is a person giving the true facts on Israel and/or the Israel Lobby.

KZ: You may admit that as long as the United States gives its unconditional support to the Israeli regime, vetoes any UNSC resolution critical of Tel Aviv and prevents the international community from investigating its crimes and illegal activities, including its underground military nuclear program, no progress may be made in the course of holding Israel accountable for its actions and policies and therefore no change will be resulted and the suffering of the Palestinian nation will continue. Do you foresee a future in which Israel is eventually held responsible for its criminal actions before the international community? Is such a thing practically possible at all?

AW: Yes, I believe strongly that this will change when Americans learn the facts and demand a change in U.S. policies. The reality often forgotten in analyses on this issue is that Israel’s power comes from the U.S. When the sleeping giant in this relationship, i.e. the American public, wakes up, everything will change. The fact that this is already starting is reflected by the creation of entities such as J Street trying to co-opt this growing movement.

Ground breaking Articles by Alison Weir. She can be reached at

Interviewer Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian media correspondent, freelance journalist and interviewer. He is a contributing writer of Finland’s Award-winning Ovi Magazine and the the Foreign Policy Journal. He is a member of Tlaxcala Translators Network for Linguistic Diversity (Spain). He is also a member of World Student Community for Sustainable Development (WSC-SD). Kourosh Ziabari’s articles have appeared in a number of Canadian, Belgian, Italian, French and German websites. He can be reached at Read more from him here

More from Alison Weir

How American News Media Works In Favor Of Israel — Alison Weir/ VIDEO


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A July Fourth Shame on the Founders Mon, 04 Jul 2011 09:03:15 +0000 Debbie

“Happy Independence Day to the Zionist States of America.”

ED NOTE: Ray McGovern’s reflections that from:  “…the Chief Executive to members of Congress — have been seduced by money and political expediency into disregarding our first president’s farewell address, George Washington’s warning to avoid what he called “entangling alliances” and a “passionate attachment” to goals of another country;at the time, it was France that Washington had in mind. Today, the “entangling alliance” and “passionate attachment” relate to Israel. Common values are adduced to try to justify conflating U.S. objectives and actions with the goals and behavior of our “ally,” Israel….. “ just might justify a title such as “Happy Independence Day to the Zionist States of America.”


Yes, that was I standing before the U.S. Embassy in Athens on the eve of the July Fourth weekend holding the American flag in the distress mode — upside down.

Indignities experienced by me and my co-guests on “The Audacity of Hope,” the American boat to Gaza, over the past 10 days in Athens leave no doubt in my mind that Barack Obama’s administration has forfeited the right to claim any lineage to the brave Americans who declared independence from the king of England 235 years ago.

In the Declaration of Independence, they pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to a new enterprise of freedom, democracy and the human spirit. The outcome was far from assured; likely as not, the hangman’s noose awaited them. They knew that all too well.

But they had a genuine audacity to hope that the majority of their countrymen and women, persuaded by Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and the elegant words of Thomas Jefferson, would conclude that the goal of liberty and freedom was worth the risk; that it was worth whatever the cost.

These days we have been seduced into thinking that such principles have become “quaint” or “obsolete” — words used by President George W. Bush’s White House counsel Alberto Gonzales to make light of important international agreements like the Geneva Conventions.

As every American should know, and remember, the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence were based on the firm belief that ALL men are created equal, that they have UNALIENABLE rights — among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Not just “all Americans,” mind you, but all people. The Declaration of Independence was meant to be a statement expressing the “self-evident” rights of all mankind. Those principles had a universality that was a beacon to the world.

True, American democracy and, indeed, the Founders themselves were far from perfect. In the early decades of the Republic, basic rights were denied to women, to black slaves, to Native Americans and to many of the poor. But Americans worked on building that “more perfect union” and are still working on it.

Justice was always at the heart of the American ideal. That we still have a long way to go in securing that justice must not be allowed to obscure the fact that ours is a noble and courageous experiment. Or at least it was.

That President Barack Obama would have popularized the phrase “audacity of hope,” after which we named our boat, now seems a cruel hoax, particularly as many of us recalled the high hopes we had once harbored for Obama the candidate. Instead of an “audacity of hope,” Obama the president has often displayed a “paucity of courage.”

But it’s not just Obama. Sadly, all too many of Americans now think of the sacred principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence as applying to Americans, but not to many others — like the 1.6 million people locked in the narrow confines of Gaza.

The tendency is to think of ourselves as “exceptional” — so special that we need not care about suffering elsewhere in the world, including the suffering enabled by our own tax dollars.

It is also sad that many U.S. politicians — from the Chief Executive to members of Congress — have been seduced by money and political expediency into disregarding our first president’s farewell address, George Washington’s warning to avoid what he called “entangling alliances” and a “passionate attachment” to goals of another country.

At the time, it was France that Washington had in mind. Today, the “entangling alliance” and “passionate attachment” relate to Israel. Common values are adduced to try to justify conflating U.S. objectives and actions with the goals and behavior of our “ally,” Israel.

Why the quotation marks around “ally?” Because decades ago, when the U.S. government broached the possibility of a mutual defense treaty with the government of Israel, it refused to go along. Mutual defense treaties, you see, require internationally recognized borders and normally a mutual commitment to avoid attacking other countries at will and without forewarning.

The difficulties, which we on “The Audacity of Hope” have encountered at the hands of the Greek government, are clearly a result of Israeli pressure with a likely assist from Obama’s diplomats.

In my own writings, I have highlighted what I have learned about the extraordinary power of joint U.S.-Israeli influence. But it is something quite different to watch that influence be brought to bear on the government of Greece, a seafaring nation normally devoted to unfettered navigation.

And for what purpose? To prevent our “ally” Israel from being exposed for its brutish behavior vis-a-vis the people of Gaza.

I thought I’d seen everything. But the Israeli accusation that our Gaza flotilla is carrying sulfur to pour on Israeli commandos attempting to board our boats … well, that one takes the cake. Plus, the accusation by an Israeli official that we had vowed to shed the blood of Israeli Defense Forces. Amazing.

On the U.S. side, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears as unconcerned about what might happen to us at the hands of Israeli (or Greek) commandos as she was on Feb. 15 as she watched me brutalized just 12 yards in front of her during a speech she was giving at George Washington University.

My offense then? Standing quietly — motionless, actually — with my back turned toward her, as a way of showing that not everyone in that audience was oblivious to the killing, maiming and other suffering inflicted on millions of people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen … and the list goes on.

Last week, Clinton charged the international flotilla, of which “The Audacity of Hope” is a part, with planning to enter “Israeli waters” and warned of the consequences — in effect, giving Israel carte blanche to have its way with us.

Meanwhile, descriptions of last year’s violence, in which Israeli commandos staged a night-time boarding raid on the Turkish ship Mari Marmara in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea and killed nine passengers including one American, get expressed in the passive voice. Violence by whom, a Martian might ask.

In any event, we have long since made it abundantly clear that we had no intention to enter “Israeli waters.” Is it conceivable that Madame Secretary still doesn’t know that or is she simply spreading a falsehood meant to discredit our mission? Gazan waters are not Israeli waters. Neither, we thought, is the Aegean Sea.

Adding transparent insult to injury, eight days ago the State Department spokeswoman obfuscated when asked directly, twice, whether the U.S. government considered the Israeli blockade of Gaza legal. This determination to fudge on this key issue (the blockade is, on the face of it, against international law) has not stopped U.S. government functionaries from speaking as if the Israelis are well within their rights.

Worse still, we have learned that some U.S. officials wouldn’t shed a tear if we got our comeuppance at the hands of the Israelis.

Before leaving the United States, I was cautioned by a source with access to very senior staffers at the National Security Council that not only does the White House plan to do absolutely nothing to protect our boat from Israeli attack or illegal boarding, but that White House officials “would be happy if something happened to us.”

They are, I am reliably told, “perfectly willing to have the cold corpses of activists shown on American TV.”

So here we are, passengers and crew of “The Audacity of Hope,” awaiting further instructions from the local Greek authorities, some of whom have been quite candid in expressing their embarrassment and resentment at being manipulated by Washington/Tel Aviv in this new Great Game.

The instructions, of course, come from a weak Greek government unable to stand on principle because of the economic damage that can be done to Greece by the U.S.-dominated IMF, the European Union and Israel, a major trading partner.

We await a deus ex machina to extract us from this seemingly intractable situation. We remain determined to sail to Gaza at the earliest opportunity. And so do the passengers on the other boats in our international flotilla, at least on those boats that have not been physically sabotaged.

(No one has claimed credit for the damage to propeller shafts to two of the boats, but Israeli officials won’t exactly deny that they had a hand in the underwater operations.)

Delays seem to be built into the scenery in this part of the world.  After all, It took Odysseus 20 years to get back to Ithaca.

In this day of instant communication, in which audacity can trump cowardice, we continue to hope. Whatever our circumstances, they are light-years better than the everyday experience in Gaza. We are holding that before our eyes. We do not intend to let the suffering Gazans down.

On Friday, the Audacity of Hope did make a move to set sail, before being turned back by the Greek coast guard. On Saturday, we were on a coast guard wharf with the boat impounded, the crew restricted, and the captain facing some significant charges.

The authorities said the guests were free to leave the boat, but it wasn’t clear that we’d be allowed back on. So, we decided not to leave the captain. We remain determined to go to Gaza.

It would be a fitting way to celebrate the Fourth of July.


Ray McGovern Former US Intelligence Analyst

Ray McGovern is retired CIA analyst. During his career as a CIA analyst, he prepared and briefed the President’s Daily Brief and chaired National Intelligence Estimates. He is a member of the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Read more from Ray McGovern

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The US ‘Audacity of Hope’ Dashed ? [UPDATING] Sun, 03 Jul 2011 11:41:39 +0000 Debbie Greek Coast Guard and Commandos Stopped US Boat to Gaza

Is it any surprise that they have undertaken Israeli dirty work?

by Debbie Menon / My Catbird Seat

Greece has somehow maneuvered itself (or been maneuvered) into a financial crisis which threatens the incumbent government, and the economic quality of corporate life in Greece if IMF and World Bank historical response are pursued. So, to whom will they turn for relief?

Is it any surprise that they have undertaken Israeli dirty work?

Adam Shapiro — Update from Athens

The Audacity of Hope, the US Flotilla to Gaza named after Obama’s book Audacity of Hope was stopped at sea by the Greek Coast Guard 20 minutes after leaving the port. The captain refused to turn back despite the pleas of the Coast guard captain. After about 2 hours, Greek commandos joined the Coast guard vessel and the decision was made to turn back.

Captain John has been detained!

Johnny Barber, a passenger, on the Audacity of Hope, was able to do this amazing recording as it happened.

US Flotilla Stopped at Sea 01:07:2011

When armed men, such as those in the video above, are sent out by any Government, US, British, Israeli, Greek, Palestinian, whatever, with a “mission” to do, they are not provided with options. They are expected to either accomplish the mission, or come back dead.

This puts paid or professional soldiers, voluntary militia, mercenaries, patriots, psychopathic wannabe killers or whatever the men were before they “joined up” or were sent on that mission, in a position where judgment is limited, and they must either proceed, kill, or die.

It is futile to try to persuade, argue or debate with one of them at sea, either the Private soldier behind the weapon and the mask, the NCO or Junior Officer behind him, or the Commander of the Unit. They have orders, and they are not accustomed or encouraged to think or to go back and say “We did not accomplish what you sent us out to do… Sir!”

The men behind the guns and masks are lackeys. In this particular incident, the Nation behind the men behind the guns are lackeys. Call them what you may, jack-boot lickers,  cowards and traitors to humanity and humane causes, whatever the case may be, those men are men without options… and the Nation which sent them a Nation of fools, who have gotten themselves, or been manipulated, into a similar situation without options.

Hercules, probably a Greek, discovered that it is futile to fight the Hydra one head at a time… cutting off heads which can be replaced faster than you can cut them off simply does not work!!

The solution? Go to the heart of the matter! Find the singular and central cause and source behind the dread and the terror, and root it out! Dig it up! Root it out! Kill it! Drive an oaken stake through its heart! Shoot it with the silver bullet. Whatever it takes, do it!

You cannot kill the Hydra by chopping off her heads. You cannot kill the Beast by cutting off his fingers. Go to the Heart of the Matter.

Marlowe did it, and he conquered himself, and the Darkness.

All of the protestations of those well-meaning American protesters, “good boaters” aside, if they want to “help Palestine”, withdraw Israeli-American assistance for Israel, and Palestine will need no help.

US “The Audacity to Love”

Obama Wants More Dead Rachel Corries to Boost AIPAC Standing

by Craig Murray

I am proud to call Ray McGovern a friend. He is a retired senior member of the CIA, and was so valued as an analyst that he used to give the US President his daily intelligence briefing. Ray and I both had senior government service careers, in the course of which you make personal friendships that last, hopefully as long as you do. So sometimes we both get told things from the inside of government.

As Ray sets out on the US Gaza peace flotilla ship, he has been warned in the starkest of terms that the Obama administration will do nothing to protect their US flagged vessel, or the US citizens on board, against attack by the Israelis.

I also have been cautioned by a source with access to very senior staffers at the National Security Council that not only does the White House plan to do absolutely nothing to protect our boat from Israeli attack or illegal boarding, but that White House officials”would be happy if something happened to us.” They are, I am reliably told, “perfectly willing to have the cold corpses of activists shown on American TV.”

While I know Ray to be an extremely honest man, motivated by a genuine activist Christianity, I thought it was possible that his source was exaggerating. I therefore set my own diplomatic sources to work in Washington, without giving them any indication of Ray’s information. They came back with an independent report from a different source – close to Clinton rather than the White House – with exactly the same result of which Ray was warned. I was told that Obama will welcome an Israeli attack on the US ship, as giving him a chance to confirm his pro-Israeli credentials and improve his standing with AIPAC ahead of the Presidential election race. Fatalities would be “not a problem”.

There was no information that the Obama regime has quietly given Netanyahu a green light to attack the ship. But I strongly expect they will; by deniable means, of course.

The US Government has never shown much interest in its citizen’s welfare or safety when it has involved the slightest conflict of interest with some client despot or petty dictatorial puppet…

At best, Obama will pull a Lyndon Johnson.  It worked the last time, and it can work again.  He could even assign a Senatorial hearing to investigate the matter, headed by Senator John McCain, just like Johnson had the Admiral McCain conduct the investigation of Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty.

I am sure that SecDef Gates will ensure that no US Naval forces interfere with whatever the Israelis decide to do.

With the thousands of “valiant loyal soldiers” who have sacrificed their lives saving the world from a bogus “war on terror,” who is going to miss or cry over a few limp wristed, elderly bleeding hearts?

Even if it did deter Obama, he could not and would not take any action against Israel.

But, if he lets this go down, and people like Ray McGovern get killed, then what points he made with AIPAC (American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee) would be to no avail.  He would not stand a chance at being elected dog catcher in his own home town.

Thinking freely and out of the box….  Letting the dog off the leash and watching where he hunts…

Ray McGovern turned his back on Clinton while she spoke. That was a clear and audible message, but ineffectual.  An irrelevant incident, which got him hustled and bashed around.  But, if we could somehow get a few thousand spectators to demonstrate the principles of  Mr. Ray McGovern to virtually turn their backs, stand up and walk out on President Obama whenever and every time he spoke in public, then that might have some impact on his political advisors and his status as a political candidate…something which might force his attention.

TV networks and stations have a means of counting or surveying real-time listener/watcher numbers when they present someone like President Obama  or Hillary Clinton on public TV, and if somehow a sufficient number of people would suddenly turn their TVs off, or shift channels every time he appeared on TV, this would show up on a chart somewhere and someone in his political advisory staff might take notice and force his attention.

I am really grasping at straws, am I not, to even suggest such a hair brained idea?  But, it might have some effect,  if we could just come up with some way to pull it off.

Get the sights focused on the real target and enemy to world peace. Treat the disease, not the symptoms.

Was it an American who said recently, “We had no enemies in the Middle East until Israel became our ‘friend’ in the Middle East?”

It’s time for US to rid the body politic of its infested fleas. Time for the Kagans and the Chertoff’s and the Schumer’s and the Zelikov, and the Libby, and Addington, and Abrams…and yes Wolfowitz, and Feith!!! EVERY LAST ONE OF them to be removed from the drivers seat of CHANGE in America. Go figure!

Audacity of Hope is complementary to and can be matched by Resignation of Despair.  It is simply the other side of the coin, and a position to which Israel is becoming much closer than the “Audacity of Hope” which is falsely purported to have fired the foundations of Israel in the late forties and early fifties.

I say “falsely purported” because the foundation of Israel had nothing at all to do with providing a “home for a homeless people,” but was simply a land-grab, under false pretensions in order to establish a legal haven and operating base for worldwide criminal activities of the Zionist Jewish Mafia which have led the world to the criminal situations in which we find it today.

Debbie Menon is a freelance writer based in Dubai. Her articles have been featured in several print and online publications. She can be reached at:,

A version of this article was first published in Veterans Today.

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Kucinich: Ensure safety of US citizens on the Audacity of Hope Tue, 28 Jun 2011 19:21:44 +0000 Debbie

ED NOTE: It is possible that this letter, or letters like this, could be, but not necessarily be tips of an iceberg, or cracks in the rock, which lead to future changes in the Congressional weather, but as a measure of safety at sea in this particular storm, I suspect it will have little effect.

At best, it will get some sunshine on those six members of Congress, probably at the expense of their jobs, and little else.

Hillary will ultimately do what her President or her AIPAC handler has told her to do, or whatever she finds in her own best political interest, and her President will do whatever he is told to do, or whatever he finds in his own best political interest; neither of which seem to have any reflection on the interests and safety of these Americans on a human rights mission on this boat.





Six Members of Congress have written to Secretary of State Clinton, urging her to do “everything in her power” to work to ensure the safety of the U.S. citizens on board the U.S. Boat to Gaza.

The Audacity of Hope.

The letter was signed by Representatives Dennis Kucinich [OH-10], William Lacy Clay [MO-1], Sam Farr [CA-17], Bob Filner [CA-51], Eleanor Holmes Norton [DC], and Barbara Lee [CA-9].”

In many arenas of human endeavor, there is no plausible way to convince someone through abstract argument that an endeavor that appears to be incredibly difficult is nonetheless not impossible. There’s nothing for it but to create an example.

Efforts to get Members of Congress to do anything related in any way to the basic human rights of Palestinians that is not slavishly pro-Likud is a prime example of this phenomenon. Many are convinced – not without evidence that makes their position seductive – that it is an immutable law of the universe that all Members of Congress must always express fealty to right-wing views on this topic.

Well, now we have a counterexample. Six Members of Congress have written to Secretary of State Clinton, urging her to do “everything in her power” to work to ensure the safety of the U.S. citizens on board the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope.

The letter was signed by Representatives Dennis Kucinich [OH-10], William Lacy Clay [MO-1], Sam Farr [CA-17], Bob Filner [CA-51], Eleanor Holmes Norton [DC], and Barbara Lee [CA-9].

Dear Hilary- PLEASE PROTECT OUR GAZA BOAT PEOPLE – Middle East Discussions – AOL Message Boards.

The actual text of the letter is spectacularly modest. The six Representatives express their concern for the safety of a group of American citizens; urge the Secretary of State to act to protect them (as she is legally obligated to do as part of her job); note that the Israeli government, like any other government, must conform to international law; note that The Audacity of Hope has declared its cargo of letters from Americans to Gazans to be “open to international inspection”; and note the commitment of the passengers on The Audacity of Hope to nonviolence and international law.

In any other arena of contemporary advocacy for peace, getting six Members of Congress to sign on to a letter designed to be spectacularly modest advocacy of basic common sense would not be something to crow about

But this is not any other arena. The Freedom Flotilla is challenging the Israeli blockade of 1.6 million Gazans, and therefore, in official Washington, the Freedom Flotilla is “radioactive.”

So these six Representatives deserve a huge round of applause. There is no question that if it were possible to anonymously sign Congressional letters, this letter would have many more signatures. These six Representatives were willing to publicly sign their names to this basic appeal, knowing full well that there is a dedicated and well-financed crew of pro-Likud activists in Washington determined to punish any deviance from the Likud line.

It will be interesting to see how the pro-Likud activists respond to this letter. Because the letter is so reasonable and modest, it puts the pro-Likud activists in a lose-lose situation. If they attack the six Members for expressing concern for the safety of a group of American peace activists, the Likudniks will be exposed as extremists. But if they let the letter pass, then a precedent will be established that six Members of Congress can speak up for basic decency on an issue related to Palestine without anything bad happening to them. And then maybe next time it will be twelve Members of Congress, and after that 20. On the first vote on the Afghanistan war, only Barbara Lee voted no. When the House voted a few weeks ago, only eight Democrats voted for open-ended continuation of the war.

In this way, the Congressional letter is like the Flotilla itself. By doing something so mundane – bringing humanitarian aid, or in the case of the American boat, letters – the Flotilla puts the Likud authorities in a lose-lose situation. Either they let our boats pass, in which case they concede that they are not politically invincible, or they stop our boats with force, in which case they expose themselves as extremists.”

Related video:

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Anthony Lawson : The Death of American Democracy VIDEO Sat, 25 Jun 2011 13:25:11 +0000 Debbie It was the final nail in a coffin, the construction of which began long ago

Israels’ prime minister Benjamin Netanyahus’ ‘standing ovations speech’ before joint meeting of United States congress– May-24-2011

By Anthony Lawson / My Catbird Seat

The collapses of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre, on September 11, 2001, were the most frightening images that I have ever seen, up until May 24th, 2011, when Binyamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of the United States Congress and received 29 standing ovations, along with many other outbursts of sycophantic applause.
It was the final nail in a coffin, the construction of which began long ago, and in it all remaining vestiges of democracy were joyfully laid to rest—by those sworn to protect it—as it became clear that the United States was now controlled by Enemies Inside its Gates.

Vimeo link

The Death of American Democracy

Warning: The photographs and video clips included in the above video are used under the Fair Use provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Anthony Lawson is an inimitable, conscientious and unique man. What he does can be described as professional and committed video-journalism. Lawson is a retired international-prize-winning commercials director, cameraman, ad agency creative director and voice over. He calls himself as a “stickler for accuracy” and his record demonstrates the rightfulness of this description. His articles and videos on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 9/11 attacks and U.S. foreign policy have appeared on a number of media outlets and news websites.

Related Post

RAY MCGOVERN : Please Don’t Trust Fox News, There Was NO Heckler

Related Video

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Israel Lobby Group Outlines Dirty Tricks Against Campus Palestine Activists Thu, 23 Jun 2011 08:07:01 +0000 Debbie The David Project’s dirty tricks

While name-and-shame tactics can be put to positive effect, they can also easily backfire and do more harm than good. We need to learn the art of being disagreeable in the most agreeable possible fashion.

by Ali Abunimah


What is the best way to smear Palestinians and Palestine solidarity activists and get away with it?

That is the question David Bernstein, Executive Director of the pro-Israel propaganda group, The David Project, asks in a surprisingly frank article titled “How to ‘Name-And-Shame’ Without Looking Like a Jerk” posted on Israel Campus Beat, a website sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.


Bernstein writes:

One of the more controversial tactics in a growing effort to counter the delegitimization of Israel is to “name-and-shame” – to go after those who actively delegitimize Israel and seek to delegitimize them.

There are even those, such as British journalist Melanie Phillips, who argue that our entire strategy should be to relentlessly attack the other side and to cease “defending” Israel.

While name-and-shame tactics can be put to positive effect, they can also easily backfire and do more harm than good. We need to learn the art of being disagreeable in the most agreeable possible fashion.

Hiding vilification behind a veneer of “civility”

Bernstein offers advice on how to be as insincere as possible in order to undermine Palestine solidarity work, especially on college campuses:

  • Start every critique with supportive words for peace or free discourse or both.
  • Don’t accuse anti-Israel forces of anti-Semitism unless they openly vilify Jews; accuse them of being anti-peace for opposing Israel’s right to exist.
  • On campuses and other places where anti-Israel groups act in a disruptive manner, write and promulgate civility petitions calling on all parties to engage in a respectful discussion. If the anti-Israel groups sign it, then they constrain their future actions; if they don’t, they can be accused of being uncivil.
  • In taking on an anti-Israel professor on campus, don’t focus on the substantive arguments they make. That will make you look like you’re trying to stifle discourse. Instead, accuse them, in the words of Professor Gil Troy, of “academic malpractice” for propagandizing the classroom.
  • When someone on campus justifies Hamas or Hezbollah, call them out by asking a question: Do you really support the Hamas charter’s call for killing Jews? Can that ever be justified?
  • Avoid indictments against all Muslims or Islam; preface any criticism of a Muslim radical group with an acknowledgement of peaceful Muslims.

No one should be fooled by the mask of civility – Bernstein makes clear that the goal is to “delegitimize” and marginalize, not to actually engage in “civil” debate.

The David Project’s dirty tricks

The David Project has a long history of dirty tricks. Indeed, the group was a key actor in the slander and fabrication campaign against Columbia University Professor Joseph Massad, part of the unsuccessful effort to deny him tenure (Massad explains the background in a statement on his website after his list of publications).

More broadly, the effort to “name and shame” Palestine solidarity activists is part of the broad “anti-delegitimization” efforts underway by American Zionist organizations at the suggestion of The Reut Institute, an Israeli think-tank which in 2010 called for a campaign of “sabotage and attack” on activists and organizations.

In October 2010, the Jewish Federations of North America – an umbrella for 157 major pro-Israel organisations – and the Jewish Council on Public Affairs launched a $6 million initiative called the “Israel Action Network” to fight “delegitimization” – a strategy that will undoubtedly include “name and shame.”

As I wrote for last December in “Defending Palestinian solidarity”:

I got a foretaste of what the Israel Action Network’s tactics will likely be when Sam Sokolove, the head of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico, launched a failed effort to get academic departments at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque to withdraw their support for a lecture I gave in November. Sokolove’s campaign involved publicly vilifying me in the media, likening me to a member of the Ku Klux Klan. It is probably because of the publicity the Jewish Federation gave me that hundreds of people attended my talk.

We can thank Bernstein for his honesty in explaining to us what Israel lobby tactics amount to: personal vilification hiding behind a thin veneer of calls for “civility.” It’s a further sign of the bankruptcy of so much “pro-Israel activism.” It is not so much “pro-Israel” as anti-Palestinian. It has no positive message to offer whatsoever, certainly not one of peace.

Melanie Phillips named and shamed

One final note of irony. In his piece, Bernstein cites Melanie Phillips, a very prominent pro-Israel advocate in the UK who has routinely attacked and vilified many people who have spoken up for Palestinian rights.

Last week, Phillips left her position at The Spectator under a cloud: the publication was forced to make several high profile apologies for Phillips’ totally false attacks against several people and organizations for alleged anti-Semitism or criticism of Israel. Phillips has been particularly virulent in her Islamophobic attacks on British Muslims, as Mehdi Hasan of The New Statesman reports.

See the original article at: Electronic Intifada

Ali Abunimah is Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, and author of One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse

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June 21 Massive Demonstrations favoring Bashar al-Assad Wed, 22 Jun 2011 22:08:05 +0000 Debbie Syrians throughout the country took to the streets on Tuesday, 21 June 2011.


Several million Syrians throughout the country took to the streets on Tuesday, 21 June 2011. The crowds were particularly dense and impressive in Damascus Alep, Tartous and Homs.

They turned out to express their support for the reform measures announced by President Bashar Al-Assad the previous day in the speech he delivered at the University of Damascus.

The scale of the demonstrations, unprecedented in the history of Syria, are a token of the huge popular support enjoyed by the «regime», so widely demonized by Western media and political leaders.

For the sake of comparison, at the peak of the anti-government rallies of the past three months, the overall number of protesters in the entire country amounted was between 150 000 and 200 000.

The Syrians living in the country and whose children are serving in the army don’t swallow the disinformation dished out by satellite channels that portray them as being under the yoke of a dictatorship, where the police is torturing children and the army is bombarding villages. Instead, what they do know is that their country is prey to a destabilization plot at the hands of armed groups piloted from abroad, a prelude to a possible NATO aggression.


In your opinion, who is telling the truth: the Syrian people or the Western media?




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