My Catbird Seat » Egypt Sat, 23 Jul 2011 05:39:39 +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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Freedom Flotilla II sets sail for Gaza Fri, 17 Jun 2011 08:16:41 +0000 Debbie

Illustration: Carlos Latuff

Freedom Flotilla aid ship is setting sail for Gaza again.

The Palestinian message on the ground is clear, but no one’s listening. They won’t accept surrender for peace. They want nothing less than freedom and justice in their own unoccupied land.

By Debbie Menon / My Catbird Seat

The aid flotilla is being organized by a coalition of pro-Palestinian groups, most of them based in Europe, the Associated Press reported.

The mission is named after the first Freedom Flotilla, which Israeli naval commandoes  attacked on May 31, 2010, in international waters,  killing nine Turkish activists and injuring around 50 others.

Huwaida Arraf,  was on board The Challenger, a U.S.-flagged ship that was part of this international effort to break Israel’s cruel illegal blockade of the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

Huwaida Arraf ISM Co-Founder

Huwaida recounts : “Israeli commandoes grabbed me by my hair and rammed my head into the deck. They then stepped on my head in order to cuff my hands behind my back and then put a sack over my head. Worse yet, the commandoes killed nine of my fellow passengers, including 19-year old U.S. citizen Furkan Dogan, on the Mavi Marmara.

An international fact-finding mission of the UN Human Rights Council concluded that Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip is “collective punishment”–a war crime–and that its May 31, 2010, attack on the flotilla in order to enforce its blockade was “illegal.” The mission found that six passengers, including Furkan, were killed “in a manner consistent with an extra-legal, arbitrary and summary execution,” and that survivors were subjected to “torture.”

Rather than put pressure on Israel to end its illegal blockade of Gaza, investigate Israel’s killing of a U.S. citizen and attack against a U.S. ship, and sanction Israel for misusing U.S. weapons to attack the flotilla, the Obama Administration shamefully has tried to shield Israel from accountability for its actions.

On Saturday, Egypt permanently reopened its border crossing with Rafah. This is an important step toward ending Gaza’s isolation. But because Israel is still illegally blockading Gaza by land, sea and air, and because my country–the United States–is still enabling Israel to get away with it (in April, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice even publicly pressured governments to block future flotillas), in June I plan to sail for Gaza again with “Freedom Flotilla II–Stay Human.”

Four women Nobel Peace Laureates have sent an open letter calling on United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to support the safe passage of the Freedom Flotilla II. The flotilla will be bringing much-needed humanitarian supplies to the people of Gaza in late June.

Mairead Maguire, Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, and Rigoberta Menchú Tum have asked the Secretary General to “support the people of Gaza with two key actions.

First, by appointing a representative to inspect and seal the cargo of the boats of the Freedom Flotilla II—thus assuring the Israeli government that the boats are carrying humanitarian supplies…”

and to “call on all governments to support the safe passage of the Freedom Flotilla II.”

Download the open letter here or read the full text below.

Nobel Women’s Initiative An Open Letter to Ban Ki Moon

10 June 2011 | Nobel Women’s Initiative

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

United Nations

New York, NY 10017 USA

RE: Inspection and sealing of Freedom Flotilla II cargo

Dear Mr. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,

We are writing to urge you to use your good offices in support of the humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza.

In our view, you can support the people of Gaza with two key actions. First, by appointing a representative to inspect and seal the cargo of the boats of the Freedom Flotilla II—thus assuring the Israeli government that the boats are carrying humanitarian supplies such as toys, medical supplies, cement and educational materials. Equally important, we strongly urge you to use your authority to call on all governments to support the safe passage of the Freedom Flotilla II.


We are disappointed to learn of your recent efforts to persuade member governments from stopping the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza on the Freedom Flotilla II. We urge you to reconsider and instead encourage member states to lend support and ask Israel not to use force against legitimate humanitarian initiatives undertaken by civil society to help ease the suffering of the people of Gaza who are facing a humanitarian crisis of devastating scale.

The Freedom Flotilla II, organized by 14 national groups and international coalitions and carrying approximately 1500 ‘freedom riders,’ is set to sail to Gaza this month. Sailing in the spirit of promoting human rights, prosperity, and social responsibility, the aim of the Flotilla is to alleviate the  humanitarian crisis faced by the citizens of Gaza. The blockade in Gaza is clearly having a harmful impact on the people of Gaza, and indeed UNDP and other agencies report high levels of malnutrition and other disturbing health problems.

According to a report by the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization, the level of “abject poverty” among the Palestinians of Gaza has tripled since the imposition of the blockade, with 61 % of households not having enough food.

The blockade has crippled the Gaza economy and destroyed Palestinians’ livelihoods and homes.

We believe our requests to you are in keeping with UN Security Council Resolution 1860 of January 2009 as well as the 2010 UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission on the attack on Freedom Flotilla I, which are calling for a lift of the blockade to allow humanitarian assistance. We urge you to do all you can to support this nonviolent international humanitarian effort, to provide UN representatives to inspect and seal the cargo, and to appeal to all governments to allow safe passage of the Freedom Flotilla II.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to your positive response.


-Mairead Corrigan Maguire

-Rigoberta Menchu Tum

-Jody Williams

- Shirin Ebadi

A short promo video edited by Adam Shapiro, co-founder of International Solidarity Movement, for Freedom Flotilla 2:

Message in a Bottle.mp4

Contact: Adam Shapiro, +30-694-781-5798,
Huwaida Arraf, +30-694-781-5798,
Greta Berlin, +33 607 374 512,

Greta Berlin one of the early pioneers of the flotilla initiative and founder of  Free Gaza Movement wrote: “Instead of pressuring countries to stand in our way, or coming up with ways to bribe governments to stop our ships, the United Nations, the United States and the rest of the international community should recognize the power of this non-violent civilian effort to pressure Israel to change its policy.”

The world community must force Israel to back off and world public opinion and people of conscience must demand that it does so.

The inability of the world community and the United Nations to challenge Israel only frustrates hopes for a stable and peaceful world.

The US government being the primary negotiator for peace and security between Israelis and Palestinians should bear the responsibility for the Zionist regime’s massacre of Palestinian women and children in their homes and territories. Peace and security will be realized only through the establishment of true justice. How can sustainable peace and security be reached by provoking and humiliating others?

Gaza remains under siege, Palestinians in Gaza remain deprived of basic amenities, provoked and angered, the West Bank is also terrorized, Palestinians are being evicted from their homes daily, settlements continue being built, Palestinian land keeps being taken, more innocent lives in the territories are being lost, suffering remains unbearable, and hope for the beleaguered people are dashed.  More Sanctions are being imposed on Israel’s perceived  enemies in the region, crippling their economies further.  Israel does all this without offending anybody!

The Palestinian message on the ground is clear, but no one’s listening. They won’t accept surrender for peace. They want nothing less than freedom and justice in their own unoccupied land. Israel won’t leave them in peace, so the struggle continues.

The United States is not being part of the solution, and appears as a great part of the problem.

I believe the only conclusions to the problem is for Americans to force their Government and Congress to stop supporting Israel diplomatically, militarily and financially.

But, first, and above all, someone is going to have to conduct a spinal implant in the US administration and the Congress!

“America’s inability to resolve the question of Palestine is one of the gravest tragedies of our times. This is primarily because the US administration and the US Congress have succumbed to the demands of the Zionists in America, the Zionist regime in Telaviv and its various Lobbies, AIPAC (American–Israeli Policy Action Committee) and ADL  (Anti-Defamation League). There exists a coordinating agency called “The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations,” Their website ( ) is worth exploring (and AIPAC is just one of literally dozens of organizations under its umbrella). This is a lethal ailment that afflicts the United States.  The American politicians have fallen captive to this Zionist network.”

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:,

This article was first published in Veterans Today.

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Does Palestinian Left Hand Know What Right Hand is Doing? Fri, 10 Jun 2011 04:51:19 +0000 Debbie Muddle and mixed messages while waiting for a Call to Action

The PA/PNA/PLO’s “enlightened road map to peace”. Is the PA/PNA/PLO going wholeheartedly for UN recognition or is it determined to scupper its people’s hopes by entertaining more “peace talks”?

by Stuart Littlewood / My Catbird Seat

There are hundreds of thousands – perhaps millions – of dedicated pro-Palestinian activists out there waiting… straining at the leash…hoping for a call from the Palestinian leadership to mobilize, get stuck in, set the mood and pave the way for the make-or-break bid for UN recognition and statehood in September.

They long to hear a coherent theme, a gutsy strategy and a strong, persuasive message that puts across the Palestinian case in terms that cannot be argued with. But the big day is only three months away and “the silly season”, as the media call it, is nearly upon us. It’ll need sharp thinking and superhuman effort to make enough noise to get the world’s attention.

And the Palestinian Authority is off to an unpromising start with the depressing news that “a statehood push at the United Nations will not advance the Palestinians’ cause”, according to President Mahmoud Abbas. The initiative, he is reported as saying, will be compromised by the fact that the Palestinians first have to seek support from the Security Council before going to the General Assembly.

The most that can be hoped for is “a non-binding affirmation of previous resolutions saying the Palestinians have the right to a state”. The Palestinian leadership is only going ahead with its plan to approach the UN “in order to save face among the Palestinian people”, said the report.


According to Ma’an News a member of the negotiating team denied the report saying some of the world’s most important international lawyers are backing the initiative and the Palestinians are hopeful they will succeed.

The PLO’s negotiators have made a career of bolloxing up negotiations for years. So who exactly are the “negotiating team”? It’s time we knew their faces and background.

And here’s more silliness: The Palestinian Authority (PA), the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)… what’s with all these names saying different things? Those of us in the world outside should only have to listen to ONE authority otherwise we’ll lose patience. Which one is it going to be?

Surely not the PLO. This organization has strong paramilitary overtones, being Arafat’s old outfit. How clever is it to bring to the negotiating table or to the UN a name like that at a time like this? Yet it has a Negotiations Affairs Department which in turn has a Public Relations unit. A fat lot of good either of them are. Do they seriously intend heading up this statehood move?

Now is the time to dump all unwanted baggage. Like Abbas. He may be the Americans’ and Israelis’ pet dinosaur but it won’t help in this situation and has never helped the Palestinian cause in any event. There is surely considerable talent among the ‘Palestinian Forum’, which has been quietly pulling things together behind the scenes. It was left to Robert Fisk to bring us news of their work while Abbas’s useless PLO and worthless PR units kept us in the dark.

And I thought chief negotiator Saeb Erakat resigned following the scandal of the “Palestinian Papers”, which revealed the shameful behaviour of the Palestinian team in their pathetic peace talks with the Israelis. But no, he’s still there issuing press releases. His seems to be the only voice and he continues to have a high profile role. Erakat is reported to be in Washington talking with US officials about reviving the peace process.

Adding to the confusion and showing the world that he can face two ways at once, Abbas was reported welcoming a scheme by French foreign minister Alain Juppe to arrange a conference in Paris in July where the discredited “peace talks” could be resumed. Juppe says Abbas “responded favorably”.

Palestinian prime minister Fayyad also welcomed the idea, we’re told. Nothing is more likely to kick their application for UN recognition and statehood into the long grass than resumption of dragged-out, lopsided “negotiations” with an illegal occupier who’s determined to make the occupation permanent

And why is Juppe doing this? If he is so concerned about Middle East peace why doesn’t he concentrate on ensuring that in September the UN recognizes Palestine as an independent state on pre-1967 borders?  A just and proper peace will flow from that.

The PA/PNA/PLO’s “enlightened road map to peace”

Yesterday I received a press release from the Palestinian embassy in London which said: “The Palestinian Leadership has… concluded that endless negotiations with Israel have not led to a just solution to the conflict… The Palestinian Leadership’s decision to pursue a September United Nations recognition of a Palestinian State on the 1967 lines comes as a result of the deadlock in the peace process.  This legitimate move has been welcomed by many countries that have recognized the Palestinian Leadership’s strenuous efforts to secure a negotiated settlement and that recognize the Palestinian People’s right to self determination and statehood.”

The document quoted the Palestinian Ambassador, Professor Manuel Hassassian, as saying: “The foundations upon which Palestinians seek the establishment of a homeland are based upon peace, prosperity, freedom and security, against which Israel justifies its brutal occupation. Home demolitions, family evictions, revoking ID cards, the illegal occupation over Palestinian land, the re-mapping of Jerusalem, stalling peace talks and defying International Law are tactics employed by Israel to stall the establishment of a viable Palestinian state…”

Professor Hassassian calls on the International Community to “seize the  moment” and support recognition of a Palestinian state in September. “This is the enlightened road map to peace,” he says.

Is it the Call to Action? Who knows? It isn’t enough to email a press release. You have to follow up and make sure key publications broadcast it. And I cannot find it on the embassy’s website, so there’s no link.

For activists it contains no action plan, no briefing material, no “killer” statistics for activists to arm themselves with, no “lines to take” against stooges of the US-Israel axis, no contact details of articulate and media-savvy spokespeople on hand at a moment’s notice… Nothing to support a campaign.

Maybe information packs are on the way.

And why spoil it with words that grovel, like “Palestinians seek to establish a homeland”? That’s the language used by Zionist bribers and manipulators after World War One when trying to wheedle their way into Palestine. Palestinians already have a homeland, for God’s sake! They just want it back.

Professor Hassassian is the PA/PNA/PLO’s mouthpiece here in the UK. Presumably he is told to stick to Ramallah’s script. According to Ramallah, then, the foundations for establishing a homeland are “peace, prosperity, freedom and security”. But the real purpose of the application, surely, are to end the brutal occupation, secure the return of stolen lands and natural resources, restore refugees to their homes if they wish, and become an independent self-determining state. There can be no peace, prosperity, freedom and security until these things are achieved.

The Palestinians’ demands are based squarely on international law and numerous UN resolutions, which are waiting to be implemented. Not least, they are enshrined in human rights legislation and the principles of the UN Charter.

The question is, will senior member-states respect these solemn principles when the crunch comes in September? Or will they show the world how lawless, grasping and corrupted they have become?

One of the strongest cards in the Palestinian hand is the realization that there never has been and never could be any meaningful negotiation with Israel in present circumstances. No-one can reasonably be expected to “negotiate” with a gun to their head. Furthermore the Israeli prime minister has refused to talk with a Palestinian government that includes certain democratically elected elements. Clearly the only way forward is an application to the UN.

So what are we to make of the mixed messages at this eleventh hour? Does the Palestinian left hand know what the right hand is doing? Is the PA/PNA/PLO going wholeheartedly for UN recognition or is it determined to scupper its people’s hopes by entertaining more “peace talks”?

If I were a Palestinian I’d be tearing my hair out.

Stuart Littlewood is a marketing specialist turned writer-photographer in the UK. His articles are published widely on the web. He is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. More posts by the Author

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Israelis Say to Obama “Yes We Ken” Wed, 08 Jun 2011 05:18:55 +0000 Debbie

“The amazing moments in the march came when protesters chanted: “Israel and Palestine, two states for two peoples”; “Yes we ‘ken’ (the Hebrew word for “yes”); and “Bibi and Barak, peace isn’t a game”

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat / My Catbird Seat

In his recent and memorable speech at Capitol Hill and while mesmerizing America’s Congressmen with his reiterated talk of Israel being the only democratic friend of the United States in the Middle East, and as he was reaching a state of absolute euphoria due to the unbelievable non-stop applause and standing ovations he received from his most distinguished and hypocritical audience, Mr. Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, somehow forgot that the democracy he was boasting about incorporated a counter view to the one he was enthusiastically presenting to the American Congress about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Bibi’s Impossible Peace

“No preconditions whatsoever, no concessions on Jerusalem as a unified capital for the Jewish state of Israel, no consideration of the right of return for the Palestinian refugees, no restrictions on Israeli military deployments outside its territory, no negotiations with any Palestinian delegates which include Hamas, and no clear indications of what territory might ultimately be sacrificed- painfully- to the Palestinians, even then, except that would not be based on any reference to 1967 border lines. In short, if the Palestinians want peace, they will have to accept whatever and whenever Israel is willing, unilaterally and unconditionally, to concede” …That was Mr. Netanyahu’s vision for any possible Mid-East peace or rather the impossible one.

In most political circles, this restrictive and shamefully biased and detached from reality vision for a so called peace will probably be viewed like Mr. Netanyahu is unequivocally blocking any hope for restarting the Mid-East talks, but the esteemed American Senators and Congressmen attending his speech didn’t think so.

The Israeli Wall and the Wind of Change

Israelis marching on the evening of Naksa Day calling for a sovereign Palestinian state

Mr. Netanyahu, despite the brash and unapologetic chauvinism and his outright refusal of any political advice or moral leadership from Obama, proved that he is not an exception from those Middle Eastern dictators who are currently being toppled by their angry people in the region.

And as Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, pointed out, Netanyahu is acting the same as Mubarak of Egypt who had the leverage and the time of 30 long years to empower his country and people but instead he wasted all the time and opportunities and when he was finally forced to concede and implement some democratic changes it was a matter of doing too little too late.

This is exactly where Mr. Netanyahu is headed, he has been following the Arab awakening, but as a politician he failed to see through the core of those uprisings.

Hiding behind his high West Bank wall he somehow couldn’t feel the wind of change sweeping through the whole Middle East. If Netanyahu had the kind of political and historical insight that allowed him to decipher what is being currently written down as history in the Middle East he should have realized that now is the time to change the Zionist rhetoric, let go of the old prejudices and make some concessions that would bring about peace to the Palestinians, the Israelis and the whole Middle East.

If only Netanyahu invested some critical and professional political thinking before he slammed the white house late initiative and if he had not been hypnotized by the support of the most fanatic Israeli right wingers and the most stubborn and unrealistic American Zionist lobbies he would have had the courtesy to contemplate the wisdom in Obama’s Middle East speech.

But not all the Israelis are grudging right wingers and not all the pro-Israeli American lobbies are as blinded and detached from reality like AIPAC. The newly liberal pro-Israel group, j-street has made it clear from the start that they endorsed Obama’s call for establishing a sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 border lines and so did the liberals and the leftists in Israel.

Middle Eastern Rocks

Netanyahu left the United States feeling victorious after getting the American Congress on its knees and after having lectured Obama about the political perils of a two-state solution based on 1967 borders but it didn’t take so long before that phony triumph crashed upon the rocks of Middle Eastern reality, as Netanyahu himself put it.


Once he got back to Tel Aviv, Netanyahu called for a state of high alert as it was a matter of days before the anniversary of the six-day war, or what the Arabs refer to as the shameful setback or Naksa, that was launched on June 5, 1967 and after which Israel had premeditatedly occupied big chunks of Arab lands on 3 fronts, the Egyptian, Palestinian and Syrian.

Last week the Israeli defense forces –IDF- braced for possible Palestinian marches on the Israeli borders commemorating the 1967 Israeli aggressive war but this year’s Naksa day came a little different than what Mr. Netanyahu expected, not that hundreds of Palestinians didn’t march on the borders with Israel but because thousands of Israelis unexpectedly and on the evening of Naksa day marched in Tel Aviv itself and loudly called for the realization of the two-state solution now and before it is too late and exactly as president Obama has called for in his Middle East speech last month.

Yes We Ken

Some 5,000 people, with protesters affiliated with the Hadash party, Meretz, Peace Now, the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement and the Geneva Initiative marched through the streets of Tel Aviv Saturday evening in a demonstration calling for the creation of a Palestinian state contiguous to the Israeli state.

Those rallies shouldn’t be viewed as Obama striking back at Bibi in the heart of the Israeli capital but rather as a sincere bid for rejuvenating the call “give peace a chance” embraced by liberal politicians and peace activists in the United States, in Israel and even in the occupied Arab territories in East Jerusalem and the west Bank who are pleading for letting not, what might be the last chance to reach a fair and durable settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, simply slip away over some futile dueling speeches between Bibi and Obama in Washington DC.

“it’s difficult for us to be excited by the applause Netanyahu received in Congress. Applause there cannot protect us here.” said Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On as she addressed the Israeli protesters

Speakers in the rally included Knesset members from the Meretz, Hadash, Labor and Kadima parties who in turn showed their endorsement and solidarity to the recent call by President Obama for a two-state solution based on 1967 border lines.

The rally sends an important message about Israeli support for President Obama’s vision at this critical moment — especially as his opponents are on the attack, distorting facts and apt to question his political loyalty to the concept of greater Israel, a concept most of his predecessors of the United States presidents had subscribed to.

The amazing moments in the march came when protesters chanted: “Israel and Palestine, two states for two peoples”; “Yes we ‘ken’” (the Hebrew word for “yes”); and “Bibi and Barak, peace isn’t a game,”

Indeed… peace is not a game and neither is war.

… Those Israeli rallies which have been hardly reported by the main stream media clearly show that Obama’s Middle East speech should not be regarded as some kind of a political blunder that somehow offended the American Zionist lobbies and jeopardized his odds for a second term in office but rather as a road map that ought to be followed if Israel want to escape the otherwise inevitable doom of turning into an apartheid regime where a Jewish minority would rule over an Arabic majority. And we all know how appallingly apartheid regimes crumbled down throughout history.

Dr Ashraf Ezzat is a medical doctor by profession. In his spare time he writes about ancient Egyptian history, Ancient Near Eastern history, comparative religion and politics especially the Arab- Israeli conflict. He is founder and board member of the bibliotheca Alexandrina friends society. For more articles by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat visit his website

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Israelis prepare to emigrate and Palestinians to Return? Fri, 03 Jun 2011 18:08:38 +0000 Debbie The number of Israelis thinking of leaving Palestine is climbing rapidly according to researchers, while many more, with actual millennial roots but victims of ethnic cleansing, prepare to exercise their right of Return.


by Franklin Lamb / Al-Manar

Is this how the Zionist project might end?

Perhaps historians or cultural anthropologists surveying the course of human events can identify for us a land, in addition to Palestine, where such a large percentage of a recently arrived colonial population prepared to exercise their right to depart, while many more, with actual millennial roots but victims of ethnic cleansing, prepare to exercise their right of Return.

One of the many ironies inherent in the 19th century Zionist colonial enterprise in Palestine is the fact that this increasingly fraying project was billed for most of the 20th century as a haven in the Middle East for “returning” persecuted European Jews.  But today, in the 21st century, it is Europe that is increasingly being viewed by a large number of the illegal occupiers of Palestinian land as the much desired haven for returning Middle Eastern Jews.

To paraphrase Jewish journalist Gideon Levy:

“If our forefathers dreamt of an Israeli passport to escape from Europe, there are many among us who are now dreaming of a second passport to escape to Europe.”

Several studies in Israel and one conducted by AIPAC and another by the Jewish National  Fund in Germany show that perhaps as many as half of the Jews living in Israel  will consider leaving Palestine in the next few years if current political and social trends continue.  A 2008 survey by the Jerusalem-based Menachem Begin Heritage Center found that 59% of Israelis had approached or intended to approach a foreign embassy to inquire about or apply for citizenship and a passport. Today it is estimated that the figure is approaching 70%.

The number of Israelis thinking of leaving Palestine is climbing rapidly according to researchers at Bar-Ilan University who conducted a study published recently in Eretz Acheret, (“A Different Place”)   an Israeli NGO that claims to promote cultural dialogue.  What the Bar-Ilan study found is that more than 100,000 Israelis already hold a German passport, and this figure increases by more than 7,000 every year along an accelerating trajectory. According to German officials, more than 70,000 such passports have been granted since 2000.

In addition to Germany, there are more than one million Israelis with other foreign passports at the ready in case life in Israel deteriorates.  One of the most appealing countries for Israelis contemplating emigration, as well as perhaps the most welcoming, is the United States. Currently more than 500,000 Israelis hold US passports with close to a quarter million pending applications.

During the recent meetings in Washington DC between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s delegation and Israel’s US agents, assurances were reportedly given by AIPAC officials that if and when it becomes necessary, the US government will expeditiously issue American passports to any and all Israeli Jews seeking them.

Israeli Arabs need not apply.

AIPAC also represented to their Israeli interrogators that the US Congress could be trusted to approve funding for arriving Israeli Jews “to be allocated substantial cash resettlement grants to ease transition into their new country.”

Apart from the Israeli Jews who may be thinking of getting an “insurance passport” for a Diaspora land, there is a similar percentage of Jews worldwide who aren’t going to make aliyah. According to Jonathan Rynhold, a Bar Ilan professor specializing on U.S.-Israel relations, Jews may be safer in Teheran than Ashkelon these days—until Israel or the USA starts bombing Iran.

Interviews with some of those who either helped conduct the above noted studies or have knowledge of them, identify several factors that explain the Israeli rush for foreign passports, some rather surprising, given the ultra-nationalist Israeli culture.

The common denominator is unease and anxiety, both personal and national, with the second passport considered a kind of insurance policy “for the rainy days visible on the horizon,” as one researcher from Eretz Acheret explained.

Other factors include:

  • The fact that two or three generations in Israel has not proven enough to implant roots where few if any existed before. For this reason Israel has produced a significant percentage of “re-immigration” — a return of immigrants or their descendants to their country of origin which Zionist propaganda to the contrary notwithstanding, is not Palestine.
  • Fear that religious fanatics from among the more than 600,000 settlers in the West Bank will create civil war and essentially annex pre-1967 Israel and turn Israel more toward an ultra-fascist state.
  • Centrifugal pressures within Israeli society, especially among Russian immigrants who overwhelmingly reject Zionism. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, some one million Jews have come to Israel from the former Soviet Union, enlarging the country’s population by 25 percent and forming the largest concentration in the world of Russian Jews. But today, Russian Jews comprise the largest group emigrating from Israel and they have been returning in droves for reasons ranging from opposition to Zionism, discrimination, and broken promises regarding employment and “the good life” in Israel.

Approximately 200,000 or 22% of Russians coming to Israel since 1990 have so far returned to their country.  According to Rabbi Berel Larzar, who has been Russia’s chief Rabbi since 2000, “It’s absolutely extraordinary how many people are returning. When Jews left, there was no community, no Jewish life. People felt that being Jewish was an historical mistake that happened to their family. Now, they know they can live in Russia as part of a community and they don’t need Israel.”

  • No faith in or respect for Israeli leaders, most of whom are considered corrupt.
  • Feelings of anxiety and guilt that Zionism has hijacked Judaism and that traditional Jewish values are being corrupted.
  • The increasing difficulty of providing coherent answers to one’s children, as they become more educated and aware of their family history, and indeed honesty to oneself, on the question of why families from Europe and elsewhere are living on land and in homes stolen from others who obviously are local and did not come from some other place around the World.
  • The recent growing appreciation, for many Israelis, significantly abetted by the Internet and the continuing Palestinian resistance, of the compelling and challenging Palestinians’ narrative that totally undermines the Zionist clarion of the last century of “ A Land without a People for a People without a Land.’
  • Fear mongering of the political leaders designed to keep citizens supporting the government’s policies ranging from the Iranian bomb, the countless ‘Terrorists” seemingly everywhere and planning another Holocaust, or various existential threats that keep families on edge and concluding that they don’t want to raise their children under such conditions.

Explaining that he was speaking as a private citizen and not as a member of Democrats Abroad Israel, New York native Hillel Schenker suggested that Jews who come to Israel “want to make sure that they have the possibility of an alternative to return whence they came.”  He added that the “insecurities involved in modern life, and an Israel not yet living at peace with any of its neighbors, have also produced a phenomenon of many Israelis seeking a European passport, based on their family roots, just in case.”

Gene Schulman, a former American-Jewish fellow at the Switzerland-based Overseas American Academy, put it even more drastically, emphasizing that all Jews are “scared to death of what is probably going to become of Israel even if the U.S. continues its support for it.”



According to Layal,  a Palestinian student from Shatila Camp, who is preparing for the June 5th “Naksa” march to the Blueline in South Lebanon: “What the Zionist occupiers of Palestine saw from Tahir Square in Cairo to Maroun al Ras in South Lebanon has convinced many Israelis that the Arab and Palestinian resistance, while still in its nascence, will develop into a massive and largely peaceful ground swell such that no amount of weapons or apartheid administration  can insure a Zionist future in Palestine. They are right to seek alternative places to raise their families.”

Dr. Franklin Lamb

Franklin Lamb , a former Assistant Counsel of the US House Judiciary Committee at the US Congress and Professor of International Law at Northwestern College of Law in Oregon, earned his Law Degree at Boston University and his LLM, M.Phil, and PhD degrees at the London School of Economics. Lamb is Director, Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Beirut-Washington DC, Board Member of The Sabra Shatila Foundation, and a volunteer with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Lebanon. He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon. He can be reached at: He is a regular contributor to My Catbird Seat, is doing research in Lebanon and can be contacted c/o More from the author


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Palestine : Under Criminal occupation for 44 Years Fri, 03 Jun 2011 10:11:53 +0000 Debbie June 6 marks 44 years of occupation, a crime against humanity by any standard.

by Stephen Lendman / My Catbird Seat

Qadura Fares - Palestinian Prisoner Society Head

On March 7, Palestinian Prisoners Society head Qadura Fares presented a paper to the UN International Meeting on the Question of Palestine, addressing the plight of political prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention facilities, saying:

Palestine “has been under criminal occupation for 44 years. During that time, (Israel) committed the worst crimes against humanity, violating every international instrument. The occupier has killed tens of thousands of our struggling people, most of them defenseless civilians. There have been over 800,000 instances of imprisonment. Tens of thousands of people have been injured,” 30% left with permanent disabilities.

Moreover, thousands of homes, crops, and other property have been destroyed. “All this has been done in full view of the world.” Even Israeli rabbis “legitimized the slaughter of Palestinian babies (claiming they’ll) grow up to become enemies.”

Citing many other lawless examples, Fares asked for UN help to end “the occupation and (let Palestinians) live in freedom in an independent sovereign State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem) as its capital.”


June 6 marks 44 years of occupation, a crime against humanity by any standard. Yet world leaders ignore it, denying Palestinians equity, justice, and freedom, putting a lie to those endorsing democracy. Israel long ago spurned it, especially for anyone not Jewish.

In 1948, in fact, its war without mercy depopulated villages and cities, massacred innocent victims, committed rapes and other atrocities, destroyed Palestinian homes and other property, and prevented them from returning after seizing 78% of historic Palestine.

During its Six-Day War, it took the rest, claiming self-defense against neighbors it attacked preemptively during its long-planned aggression it knew it could win and did easily.

The New York Times quoted Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s (1977 – 83) August, 1982 speech saying:

“In June, 1967, we had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches (did) not prove that (President Gamal Abdel) Nasser (1956 – 70) was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

In February 1968, two time Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (1974 – 77 and 1992 – 95) told the French newspaper Le Monde:

“I do not believe Nasser wanted war. The two divisions which he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”

General Mordechai Hod, Commander of Israel’s Air Force at the time said in 1978:

“Sixteen years of planning had gone into those initial eighty minutes. We lived with the plan. We slept on the plan. We ate the plan. Constantly we perfected it.”

General Haim Barlev, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief told Ma’ariv in April, 1972:

“We were not threatened with genocide on the eve of the six-day war, and we had never thought of such a possibility.”

Other Israeli leaders and generals voiced the same sentiment, saying Israel wasn’t threatened, yet preemptively waged war, falsely claiming no other choice. In fact, it had a clear one. It could have chosen peace, but didn’t and never did earlier or since, pursuing its imperial interests like America, its paymaster/partner from then to now, supporting its worst crimes.

In 1967, it was Israel’s third major war, pursuing its vision for a Greater Jewish State, justified by the myth that Jews got there first, establishing their ancestral home on “a land without people for a people without land.”

Israel’s 1948 “War of Independence” was its first preemptive aggression. Palestinians call it al-Nakba. More aggression followed against Egypt in October 1956, with Britain and France, after Nasser’s Suez Canal nationalization. Eight days later, US and Soviet pressure ended it, Israel withdrawing its last troops in March 1957 but not further belligerent intentions.

A decade later, more war and occupation followed. Ahead of it, Foreign Minister Abba Eban got Lyndon Johnson’s backing to pursue it.

Begun on June 5, 1967, it was an impressive display of power, Israel easily destroying 90% of Egypt’s 300 + aircraft on the ground and two-thirds of Syria’s Air Force the first day.

After 24 hours, Israeli Air Force (IAF) Commander Mordechai Hod announced the combined Arab air forces were destroyed. The devastating toll proved it. In contrast, Israel lost only 19 fighter aircraft compared Egypt’s 300, Syria’s 60, Jordan’s 35, Iraq’s 15, and Lebanon’s one or two.

Palestinians, however, lost the remaining 22% of historic Palestine leaving them stateless. It began on day two when Israel invaded Gaza and the West Bank.

On day three, IDF troops entered northern Sinai, devastated Egyptian brigades, captured Jerusalem, and got Jordan to surrender.

On day four, they invaded Haram Al-Sharif and central Sinai, and by day five advanced to the Suez Canal, taking all of Sinai and the Syria’s Golan (including its valuable water resources).

The war practically ended before it began, but Israel showed no mercy, using unopposed air power to massacre thousands of defenseless Egyptian troops on the ground.

It was a turkey shoot Washington supported, providing Israel with the latest weapons and munitions, including tarmac-shredding explosives preventing undamaged planes from taking off, leaving them easy targets on the ground. Moreover, a US carrier group provided intelligence and communications help, standing ready to intervene if needed. Washington effectively partnered in Israel’s war, even ignoring the USS Liberty attack.

Monitoring hostilities in Mediterranean waters about 13 nautical miles off Sinai, Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats attacked it, knowing it was a US vessel as its lead pilot later admitted. Despite 34 on board killed, another 170 wounded, and heavy damage inflicted, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara called it a case of “mistaken identity,” knowing full well it was naked aggression.

Later, retired Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Thomas Moorer called the incident “one of the classic all-American cover-ups,” one of many times Washington alibied for the worst of Israeli crimes, even against US forces.

End the Occupation – Americans and Other Organizations Against It

Its web site ( explains its “call to action,” supporting “freedom from occupation, and equal rights for all….including the right to exist in peace and security.”

Its members from 325 diverse groups include civil and human rights activists; faith-based organizations including, Muslims, Jews and Christians; students; and others for peace and justice in Palestine, united to end US support for occupation.

Other organizations are also involved, including the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), calling itself:

“a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli apartheid in Palestine” through nonviolent, direct activism.

Other Opposition

On May 15, the Iranian Fars News Agency headlined, “Israeli Occupation of Palestine Continues Amid Int’l Inaction,” saying:

Forty-four years of occupation, “bloodshed and devastation….falls squarely on (Israel’s) shoulders (in) direct violation of international laws and any reasonable moral standard.” According to Global Exchange:

We “oppose the policies of the Israeli government and the United States support for them, which, in our view, prevent any peaceful resolution and guarantee that (neither side) can live” safely in peace.

Despite international law and numerous UN resolutions calling for occupation to end and demanding Israel respect its legal obligations, Palestinians are still denied.

On May 16, the General Assembly published identical letters dated May 13 from the Permanent Observer Mission to Palestine’s Charge d’affairs, addressed to the UN Secretary-General and Security Council President, saying:

Palestinians are still “uprooted, dispossessed and displaced” as refugees or under “belligerent military occupation of Israel….since (June 6,) 1967 in the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, forced to endure the systematic violation of their fundamental rights and war crimes at the hands of the occupying power for nearly 44 years.”

Israel clearly shows “contempt….for the rights and very existence of the Palestinian people, whom it continues to collectively punish, colonize, humiliate, intimidate and (subject) to all forms of oppression.”

By not firmly confronting it, occupation, conflict and suffering continue, affecting the entire region and world peace. Again this year, Palestinians “call upon the international community to enforce its own Charter by assuming its (legal) responsibility for Palestinian “self-determination and freedom in their independent State of Palestine on the basis of the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and ensuring a just and lasting solution to the plight of the Palestinian refugees.”

“This letter (follows 390 earlier ones) regarding (resolving) the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem….For all of these war crimes, acts of State terrorism and systematic human rights violations committed against the Palestinian people, Israel….must be held accountable and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.”

On June 5, organizers of the Nakba Day rally said Palestinian refugees will again march to Israel’s borders against 44 years of occupation, despite IDF Nakba Day violence against them, killing over 20 nonviolent demonstrators, injuring dozens more.

Palestinian protesters on the Lebanese side of the border near Maroun al-Ras take cover from Israeli gunfire on Nakba Day

Organizers again said this is “just the beginning (until) Palestinian refugees return to Haifa, Haffa, Al-Majdal, Bi’r As-Sab and all occupied Palestinian towns. The Nakba Day procession was not a one-time event, but rather a new phase in the Palestinians’ historic struggle.”

On June 1, International Middle East Media Center writer Kevin Murphy headlined, “Protests Announced for Naksa Day (“the setback” on June 5),” saying:

Other marches are planned, including to the Israeli – Lebanese border. Eil Hilweeh refugee camp official Muneer Maqda “said that 50,000 refugees will march on Israel’s borders from two separate locations, Maron Ar-Ras and Naqoura….” They’ll erect tents until their right of return is granted.

Other demonstrations will support them, including ones in Gaza, the West Bank, a march to Jerusalem, another opposite Israel’s London embassy, and others worldwide in support of Palestinian liberation.

A Final Comment

On June 1, ahead of Nakba Day, Israelis commemorated Jerusalem Day provocatively, marching on the forty-fourth anniversary of its reunification. On June 2, Haaretz writers Yair Ettinger, Jonathan Lis and Nir Hasson headlined, “24 held during Jerusalem Day violence,” saying:

Twenty-four Palestinians and Jews “were arrested yesterday during the traditional….flag procession which saw isolated instances of racist epithets, fist fights and stone-throwing. Tens of thousands” of mostly ultra-Orthodox zealots and right-wing settlers marched through Sheikh Jarrah, a predominantly East Jerusalem Arab neighborhood, home to about 2,800 Palestinians, as well as diplomatic missions and well-known landmarks.

Settlers, however, want it back and have encroached for years, displacing dozens of Palestinian families, putting hundreds more at risk.

On the same day, Netanyahu addressed a special Knesset session, affirming continued illegal East Jerusalem settlement construction, pledging also that the city never again will be divided at a Jerusalem Day Ammunition Hill ceremony, site of a key 1967 battle.

Kadima leader Tzipi Livni expressed the same sentiment, saying: “There is no ‘their’ Jerusalem and ‘our’ Jerusalem,” showing contempt for Palestinian rights and rule of law justice.

Throughout the day, tensions remained high, exacerbated by Netanyahu and extremist supporters defying Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

Nonetheless, Nakba Day rallies will affirm their determination to accept nothing less than liberation on their own land in their own country, no matter the obstacles confronting them ahead. Their courage deserves everyone’s support.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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What Bibi Didn’t Say in His Congress Speech Thu, 02 Jun 2011 13:21:50 +0000 Debbie “I intend to speak the unvarnished truth because now more than ever what we need is peace” Netanyahu said before he twisted the truth in his speech to the American Congress.

“Demographic changes … this may be the most concrete point Netanyahu has come to mention in his whole speech and could very well be the name of the Israeli next game of forestalling any possible agreements in the Mideast talks”

by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat / My Catbird Seat

BIBI’S GIG BEFORE A BASE US-CONGRESS ON MAY 24, 2011 Image: Jason Reed/Reuters

Something about Netanyahu’s eloquent speech lately to a joint meeting of Congress, which has been interrupted by 29 standing ovations, sounded familiar to me. I don’t mean Netanyahu’s words but the response of his high caliber audience; it seems as if I have seen it before.

As an Egyptian who is not so keen on following much of the American congressional sessions, if any, still this extraordinary joint session of the American Congress with all that public display of candid acquiescence to everything Bibi said, or even thought, reminded me of the similarly eloquent speeches Mubarak used to deliver at the Egyptian parliament for well over 30 years of sordid dictatorship.

And also as an Egyptian I could attest to the fact that the televised sessions of the former president speeches to the Egyptian parliament members ranked high, not on the most viewed political videos but on the funniest ones.

For 30 long years Mubarak has been ranting about his relentless efforts to build a strong democracy where freedoms and the rule of law would be respected where in fact he was sincerely engaged in doing the exact opposite. But still his full house audience of apparently attentive parliamentarians kept on showing their frantic applause and repeated standing ovations to every one of his deceiving talks.

Of course Mubarak has been lying all along and he knew it and may be enjoyed it too, but what about those flocks of parliamentarians and politicians, how could we explain their attitude? Were they lied to, intimated or just hypnotized by the power of the presidential office?

The post- Mubarak probes proved beyond any reasonable doubt that 90% of those then incumbent high statesmen knew for a fact that Mubarak was the scum of the earth and they cheered for him only in gratitude for letting them keep their jobs and for the slim chance they would join in for a tiny slice of the ripped off cake. Oh yes, and the remaining 10% were just plain fools who just happened to hop in for the ride.

Shared values and interests

Going over Bibi’s landmark speech to the congress and trying to recapitulate the main points he stressed in his long speech, the first thing that strikes me as enigmatic and hard to grasp is his assertion that the relation between Israel, or the so called Jewish State, and the United States is so strong because it is rooted in shared values and interests.


And every time I listen to this assertion, which usually pops up whenever Israel needs another big favor of Uncle Sam, being a foreigner I wonder, what on earth those shared values and interests might be. Are they so exclusively Israeli-American that no other nation on planet earth could hope to subscribe to? In his speech, the Israeli Prime minister set out by stressing his country’s stand as a democratic “friend of America” in the Middle East, but largely ruled out touching on the issues that are important to Palestinians and their history.

In the warm arms of the US Congress, he somehow managed to get away with alleging that Jewish settlers – living in illegal settlements – in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are not occupiers, that the West Bank (using the biblical designation, Judea and Samaria) is not occupied territory, that a united Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel and that Israel should be recognized as “a Jewish state”.

Netanyahu reiterated the same old Israeli-Zionist jazz we have been listening to for years, boasting about the Jew’s historical and spiritual claims to the land.


But were all the senators and congressmen attending the speech aware that modern historians and archeologists had refuted the Biblical narrative of ancient Israelites and their stories of exodus, conquest and a magnificent unified kingdom. In other words, most of the ancient Israelite Biblical history is now more close to being a mere myth than a historical fact that cannot, or better yet shouldn’t be counted upon as historical evidence.

Were they aware, when Netanyahu spoke of giving up parts of the ancestral Jewish homeland, that the Palestinians are more likely to be the true descendants of the ancestral Israelites than those Ashkenazi and Haredi – orthodox- Jews who are in fact immigrants, who fled Eastern and Western Europe following the horrors of the WWII, and whose ancestors just happened to adhere or convert to Judaism centuries ago?

When Benjamin Netanyahu told Congress that Israel is prepared to make “painful compromises” for peace with the Palestinians, including the handover of land they seek for a state, had it crossed the minds of his esteemed audience that the land Mr. Netanyahu was most kind and generously willing to hand over is not Jewish land in the first place under any international law, no matter how biased or manipulated it could get.

Repeating a message he has delivered consistently during his visit to Washington, Netanyahu said “Israel will not return to the indefensible boundaries of 1967 narrow lines because they don’t take into account certain demographic changes that have taken place on the ground over the last 44 years.

Demographic threat, in other words Palestinian Arabs

“Demographic changes” … this is may be the most concrete point Netanyahu has come to mention in his whole speech and could very well be the name of the Israeli next game of forestalling any possible agreements in the Mideast talks.

In 1996, Israel’s population was 5.7 million people; today, that number is 7.75 million. Today, there are 1.59 million Palestinian Arabs in Israel, compared to 1.03 million in 1996.

In my opinion, while the historical, spiritual and political Zionist claims to the disputed land of Palestine are liable to be questioned, doubted or even refuted by professional academics and scholars, demographic changes remain the one robust reality on the ground that defy neglect or negating.

Over the last 6 decades Israel has not only succeeded in actualizing the Zionist’s dream of establishing a statehood for the Jews from all over the world, or the invention of the Jewish people, as the prestigious historian, Shlomo Sand put it, but also managed to turn it into a demographic reality.

While he was getting his, God knows how many, enthusiastic applause and standing ovation for branding Hamas as the Palestinian version of al Qaeda Netanyahu was thrilled the Zionist-controlled main stream media had managed, throughout the last decade, to downplay the world wide accusations pointing the finger at Mossad and its covert role in 9/11 and his own statements of how good it was for Israel.

Advising or rather, patronizing Mahmoud Abbas, the PLO leader to break his pact with Hamas, Netanyahu somehow disregarded the fact that he himself had made a political bond with Yisrael Beiteinu, the right-Zionist party that advocates kicking out, or to put it mildly, the transfer of 1948 Palestinian Arabs out of East Jerusalem and the West Bank and moreover appointed its leader, Avigdor Lieberman as his deputy and foreign minister who has been called by western and Israeli media as “neo-fascist, a certified gangster and anti-Arab virulent racist”


It doesn’t make much sense for Netanyahu to order Abbas to break up with Hamas while his coalition government is currently harboring hard-line extremists from both Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas parties who are deemed not only as anti-Arabs but whose highest spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef publicly advocates that Arabs should perish and be wiped off the face of the earth- a virulent hatred that Netanyahu usually dismisses while focusing on the long time israeli propaganda of ” we want peace, but unfortunately there is no one to talk to from the other side”. A pretext that Tel Aviv is bound to fully exploit after the late Palestinian reconciliation deal.

And as Netanyahu was keen to draw the attention to the Israeli demographic reality he never mentioned how a society deeply rooted in modern and civilized American values spoke of the Arabs and Palestinians in particular.

“If Obama wants to know who the true unacceptable partners for peace are, all he has to do is get an English transcript of discussions from the Israeli Knesset (parliament) and read how members from the political right call Arabs “animals” and make all manner of racist slurs against Palestinians” says Aljazeera opinion writer, Lamis Andoni.

And if the world cares to find out who is the intransigent party that is persistently hindering all the declared peace talks and the secret ones as well, all we have to do is to examine the “Palestine papers” leaked by aljazeera that revealed tons of documents exposing generous and extremely painful concessions offered by the Palestinian authority which had been turned down by the Israeli side in the most degrading and humiliating manner.

Over the last 20 years, and as the demographic changes Bibi mentioned has been in the making more kindergartens and primary schools were increasingly in demand. And with the ultra-orthodox Shas party running almost 30% of those primary schools one can imagine the kind of hate speech that is being indoctrinated to Israel kids. As a matter of fact the anti-Arab rhetoric in those primary schools has been so obvious and huge it became a rich material for the Israeli popular comic TV shows.

And since Comedy has to be based on truth, those shows are regarded as a funny way of being serious about Israel’s controversial policies and practices.

YouTube – Veterans Today – The Israeli TV comic shows

In his memorable speech to the congress and as he took the stage Netanyahu kept a long legacy of depicting Israel as the utopia of the Middle East alive.


Israeli Demographic changes manifested by non-stop new settlements

As he was elaborating on the long list of values Israel shared with the United States Netanyahu refrained from depicting the other side of Israel with a whole set of its other genuine values, such as segregation, blockade, covert operations and military expansion, that Israel cared to share only with its Mossad and Zionist ideologues.

Touching on any of those unpleasant issues could have carried the risk of tarnishing the glittering utopian image of Israel he was sketching before a joint assembly of American statesmen 90% of whom knew who Netanyahu really was and what he stood for and the remaining 10% just happened to be invited for the free Zionist ride on the Israeli-American campaign to block the UN vote aiming to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state due next September where Israel and America will yet stand  isolated once more against the will of the free world, but what does it matter, after all that what friends who share the same values and interests, are for.

Dr Ashraf Ezzat is a medical doctor by profession. In his spare time he writes about ancient Egyptian history, Ancient Near Eastern history, comparative religion and politics especially the Arab- Israeli conflict. He is founder and board member of the bibliotheca Alexandrina friends society. For more articles by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat visit his website

Shared Values, Must Watch:


Israeli Children TV show “Toffee VeHa-Gorillah” a Girl in Bikini makes fun with a monkey of how Jesus Christ, a Nazi, was Crucified and how all Christians are an Evil People.

Israeli TV Show Blaspheme Jesus and Virgin Mary

Monkey Christ

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The Unchanged Path to Mideast Peace Tue, 31 May 2011 09:55:45 +0000 Debbie U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 of Nov. 22, 1967, concluded the war of that year and has been widely acknowledged by all parties to be the basis for a peace agreement.

by James Carter

Jimmy Carter -- the thirty-ninth President of the United States

It was not a new U.S. policy concerning the borders of Israel, nor should it have been surprising to Israeli leaders, when President Obama stated:

“The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”

U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 of Nov. 22, 1967, concluded the war of that year and has been widely acknowledged by all parties to be the basis for a peace agreement.

Its key phrases are, “Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war,” and “Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.” These included the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, plus lands belonging to Lebanon, Egypt and Syria.

At Camp David in 1978, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat accepted the following words: “The agreed basis for a peaceful settlement of the conflict between Israel and its neighbors is United Nations Security Council resolution 242, in all its parts.”

Specifically concerning the West Bank and Gaza, the Israelis and Egyptians mutually agreed: “In order to provide full autonomy to the inhabitants under these arrangements the Israeli military government and its civilian administration will be withdrawn as soon as a self-governing authority has been freely elected by the inhabitants of these areas. …” As a result of the Oslo Accords of 1993, a self-governing authority was freely elected in January 1996, with Yasir Arafat as president and 88 Parliament members.

The International Quartet’s Roadmap for Peace in April 2003, supported by President George W. Bush, began with these words: “A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors. The settlement will resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and end the occupation that began in 1967. …”

In addition, all 23 Arab nations and all 56 Islamic nations have offered peace and normal relations with Israel, but called upon Israel to affirm: “Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967. …”

All these statements assume, of course, that Israel may live in peace within its internationally recognized borders — but not including territories it occupied during the 1967 war. Israel withdrew from Egypt’s Sinai as a result of the 1979 peace treaty, but still occupies and is colonizing with settlers the Golan Heights of Syria, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. (When I was negotiating during the 1970s, it was clear that neither Israel nor Egypt wanted to retain control of Gaza, from which Israel withdrew in August 2005, but continues to hold under siege.)

For more than three decades, Israel’s occupation of Arab land has been the key unresolved issue. Stated simply, Israel must give up the occupied land in exchange for peace. There has never been any question regarding the occupied territory in international law as expressed through United Nations resolutions, the official policies of the United States, nor those of the International Quartet (the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia).

A number of peace proposals have included the caveat found in President Obama’s recent speech: that the pre-1967 border can be modified as a result of mutually agreeable land swaps to permit Israeli settlers in areas close to Jerusalem to remain in what is now occupied Palestinian territory, with an equivalent amount of Israeli land to be transferred to the Palestinians.

One interesting proposal that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made to me in 2005 was that this exchanged land might comprise a corridor between Gaza and the West Bank (about 35 miles), on which a railroad and highway could be built. It would be provided security by Israelis but owned and operated by Palestinians. This is just one possibility.

Two recent developments add urgency to the peace process: moves to unite the major Palestinian factions so they can negotiate with a single voice, and the potential vote in the U.N. General Assembly in September to recognize Palestine as a state. It is likely that about 150 U.N. members are prepared to take this action.

The only viable peace alternative is good faith negotiations, with the key issue remaining the same: Israel’s willingness to withdraw from the occupied territories, with the exception of small land swaps as mutually agreed with the Palestinians.


The New York Times

Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, is the founder of the Carter Center. He was awarded the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.

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Franklin Lamb :Is the Arab Spring spreading to US Congressional staffs? Sat, 28 May 2011 05:22:55 +0000 Debbie Some Congressional scholars, historians, and longtime observers of Congress are expressing dismay over what seems to have dramatically diminished the claimed, “World’s greatest deliberative body”.

by Franklin Lamb / My Catbird Seat

Millions of American voters were offended this week by the vulgar display on Capitol Hill which witnessed the annual rite of nearly 2/3?s of Members on Congress stumbling over one another at the annual AIPAC Conference in order to ingratiate themselves with their hosts and to protect their sinecures.


Equally nauseating to many was what some on Capitol Hill are calling “Congressional Black Tuesday” when they assert Congress cheapened its status in American and foreign eyes and fouled itself by taking the role of undignified cheerleaders for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu during his appearance before a joint session of Congress, an invitation normally reserved for august occasions and accomplished personages.

With 41 applause interruptions and 29 standing ovations, even with some appearing half-hearted and somewhat forced, Congress sent a message that the Legislative branch, increasinglyunder the control of a foreign power, and not the Executive branch, will continue to determine American policy toward Israel and the Middle East.

Some Congressional scholars, historians, and longtime observers of Congress are expressing dismay over what seems to have dramatically diminished the claimed, “World’s greatest deliberative body”.

Among those objecting to what they see as the corruption of Congress are an increasing number of the more than 18,000 Congressional staffers, many of whom work as many as 70 hours per week in their sometimes highly competitive jobs. Most Congressional staffers understand and respect the institution of Congress, know their Members politics, are aware of American interests in the Middle East and are fairly well informed on the Question of Palestine.

However, many are not happy and are beginning to rise up against what they are witnessing in their offices which is the increasing smothering of their erstwhile legislative aid roles by agents of Israel such as AIPAC. The latter are seen as increasingly preempting their roles and taking over some of their work by flooding their offices with position papers and then lobbying incessantly to see their ‘recommendations” implemented.

It is not always easy being a Congressional staffer and many have been and continue to be abused in various ways, some of which become public in an institution that values discretion and averting attention from their Members foibles. Yet working in Congress can be interesting and often rewarding work for those wanting to serve their constituents and help solve myriad problems on the local and federal level.

There is no shortage of access these days to friends and acquaintance who work on the Hill and whose work assignments include US Middle East policy.* *This longtime observer of Congress and former staffer has been somewhat pleasantly surprised by the strong reaction of some Congressional aides to last week’s events on the Hill and the rapid changes happening across the Middle East.

Congressional staff reactions to the Obama and Netanyahu AIPAC speeches and particularly the Israeli PM’s speech to Congress is strong and leads to the tentative conclusion that the effects the Arab Spring are being felt in both Houses of Congress as well as numerous support agencies such as the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress.

Many House and Senate staffers identify with those of similar age who have taken to the streets across the Middle East, who are thought of as courageous, smart and reasonable. They also understand that the Arab Awakening of 2011 is an historic game changer and they are often deeply sympathetic and supportive. Perhaps because of their knowledge of the issues, they express abhorrence to the Zionist falsehoods and disinformation that comes from AIPAC offices at the bottom of Capitol Hill and some of which were repeated by Netanyahu in their workplace.

Virtually all Congressional staffers who objected to Netanyahu’s appearance before Congress expressed rejection of his following assertions as ludicrously false:

  • “Of 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights.”
  • “Throughout the millennial history of the Jewish capital, the only time that Jews, Christians and Muslims could worship freely, could have unfettered access to their holy sites, has been during Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem.”
  • “In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers.”
  • “In recent years, the Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli prime ministers to establish a Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six-Day War.”
  • “We have helped the Palestinian economic growth by removing hundreds of barriers and roadblocks to the free flow of goods and people, and the results have been nothing short of remarkable.”
  • “The Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside the borders of Israel.”
  • “They (Palestinians) continue to educate their children to hate.”
  • “A nuclear armed Iran would ignite a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.”
  • *How Netanyahu received his “speech of a lifetime” ovations*

    Protester Rae Abileah

    Two staffers who work with the House Foreign Affairs Committee and who know the issue of Palestine very well and also how AIPAC operates on the Hill explained to this observer how Netanyahu’s “speech of a lifetime” was organized by AIPAC.

    Firstly, orders were issued that nothing was to be left to chance and they essentially succeeded, but for the protesting slogans shouted by Rae Abileah before AIPAC undercover security tackled her and she ended up in the hospital, groped, injured and under arrest.

    “Here is how Bibi got his “spontaneous” applause”, one and then the other explained. “AIPAC, as usual with visiting Israeli officials, edited his speech for most favorable local consumption. Marks were made at the end of intended applause lines for Bibi to highlight them verbally. Key Members such as Eric Cantor (R-VA), Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Harry Reid (D-NV) were designated as floor leaders and were seated in strategic locations in the Chamber. Once Bibi began his speech the floor leaders would leap up at the indicated cue phrases and begin to applaud enthusiastically. Quite naturally, others would follow either not wanting to appear impolite or to stand out and be noticed as not showing proper support for Israel and its Prime Minister.

    “In addition, AIPAC staffers who prowl congressional offices daily, let it be known that videos of the Members listening to Bibi would be kept on file and insinuated that how the Member’s performed during his speech to Congress would be taken into consideration when planning this summer’s Jewish fundraising events.

    One aide, who supports his boss’s “moderately pro-Palestinian positions”, defended his applause for Netanyahu with these words: “Look, my guy could not just sit there and be conspicuous. Of course he resents being forced to fake support for Israel’s insane policies that he believes harms our country. Believe me*,* many Members feel like him and many Hill staffers are disgusted by what we see. But the guy needs to keep his job to work on other issues like protecting Medicare and stopping home foreclosures. Plus not many of our constituents probably even watched him grovel on TV so it was kind of a freebie for us. What would you have done?”

    A surprising number of Congressional staffers explain that they feel they are stigmatized abroad and particularly in the Middle East as being part of the Israel lobby when they are not. One staffer explained: “This sounds arrogant but we who work in Congress know this subject much better than the general American public and when you understand the history of Palestine and its takeover by Europeans and the continuing ethnic cleansing of the rightful owners of the land, how do you think we feel? We feel the same as the Palestinians refugees spread all around the World feel. We* *are human beings too. Arab and foreign media often lump us with the Members of Congress, whereas in reality many of us are working for change.”

    One lady, whose job it is to summarize and update Arab-Israeli conflict developments for her boss who is a Senator from the Midwest explained that “sometimes AIPAC sees what I write and will contact and challenge me on my work that should be between me and my boss. Everyone knows that Members of Congress are regularly pressured and targeted by AIPAC. You should know that dozens of staffers have been fired from their jobs on the Hill during the 15 years I have been here. I may be next.” And then she added, “But until that day comes I will continue to support the Palestinian cause and work to change our foreign policy and see that it’s made in the USA and not in Tel Aviv.”

    Note:  Staffers could not be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.

    Image credits: All pictures taken from Uprooted Palestinian website.

    Franklin Lamb , a former Assistant Counsel of the US House Judiciary Committee at the US Congress and Professor of International Law at Northwestern College of Law in Oregon, earned his Law Degree at Boston University and his LLM, M.Phil, and PhD degrees at the London School of Economics. Lamb is Director, Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Beirut-Washington DC, Board Member of The Sabra Shatila Foundation, and a volunteer with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Lebanon. He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon. He can be reached at: He is a regular contributor to My Catbird Seat, is doing research in Lebanon and can be contacted c/o More from the author

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The President Goes AIPACing Fri, 27 May 2011 14:41:03 +0000 Debbie Indeed, U.S. foreign policy has only sustained Israel’s ability not to resolve the conflict.

Israel is not so much a small nation as a military giant. Obama knows that because it is the U.S. that has done the most to make Israel flagrantly oversized in this regard. In doing so Washington allowed Israel to become the bully that dominates the neighborhood.

by Lawrence Davidson / My Catbird Seat

Part I – Doing the Domestic Political Dance

President Obama addressed the Zionist lobby AIPAC on 22 May 2011, just four days after his major televised 19 May address on the Middle East. In that earlier speech he paid attention to the popular uprisings going on in the region and placed himself, at least rhetorically, on the side of those seeking democratic reform. But then, in typical diplomatic fashion, he gave no indication that his administration would do anything forceful to prevent the current violent suppression of democratic protesters in those places where, we might assume, the U.S. has influence, like Bahrain, Jordan and Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

The speech to AIPAC was of a similar nature. In the earlier talk the president also said that the 1967 border was an appropriate starting point for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Within the pro-Israeli environment of American domestic politics, many Zionists took offense. So, the speech on the 22 of May was diplomatically required to reassure them of the toothless nature of the original assertion.

There was something wearying about the President’s speech to AIPAC. The first half of it was all about how we are so solidly committed to Israel that whatever they do we will never abandon them. It was all about how we are going to go right on arming them so that, in effect, they will continue to have no incentive to negotiate justly with the Palestinians. In other words, the first half of the speech was all about why the Israelis and their supporters need pay no attention to the 1967 borders.

The president also peppered the talk with statements that, I am sorry to say, sound utterly wrong to anyone with an objective sense of the present situation. Here are just a couple of examples:

1. “We also know how difficult that search for security can be, especially for a small nation like Israel in a tough neighborhood.” Israel is not so much a small nation as a military giant. Obama knows that because it is the U.S. that has done the most to make Israel flagrantly oversized in this regard. In doing so Washington allowed Israel to become the bully that dominates the neighborhood. In other words, the president, as almost all of his modern predecessors before him, was reversing the facts for the sake of domestic political advantage.

2. “No country can be expected to negotiate with a terrorist organization sworn to its destruction.” This reference was, of course, to Hamas. To call Hamas a “terrorist organization” is considerably out of date. Actually, it would be more fitting to assign the epithet to the Israeli government. That purveyor of state terrorism has brought sudden death to much larger numbers of innocent people than Hamas. And, using Obama’s logic, one might argue that Hamas should not be expected to negotiate with Israel, because Israel adamantly refuses to recognize it as the legitimately elected government of Palestine (which it is) and is “sworn to its destruction.” Further, as Palestine’s legally elected government, Hamas too has a right to defend itself against predatory neighbors.

3. “America’s commitment to Israel also flows from a deeper place–and that is the values we share.” There is something really embarrassing, actually downright humiliating, about the first African American president of the United States saying this about a prima facie racist state like Israel. Our two countries do not share any important values. This can be seen clearly in the fact that, when it comes to societal goals, the two lands are moving in starkly opposite directions. At least since the end of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s the United States has moved in the direction of greater and greater inclusiveness. This movement has not always been smooth and consistent. However, today President Obama himself stands as living proof that inclusiveness is the direction American society has consciously set for itself. Not so Israel. Here it is the opposite–exclusiveness is the goal. If you are not Jewish, the goal of Israeli society is to render you a second class citizen and, eventually, expel you altogether. In terms of democracy, this makes Israel as democratic as, say, Alabama circa 1950. As a nation, the United States has left that era behind. So tell me, where are the shared values?

Part II – The Political Dance Has Become Irrelevant

President Obama sought to avoid “idealism or naivete.” He claimed to be approaching the Israel-Palestine problem in a “hard-headed” manner. Let me do the same. The American domestic political dance done obsessively by all recent presidents has never resulted in anything positive on the ground in Israel-Palestine. Indeed, U.S. foreign policy has only sustained Israel’s ability not to resolve the conflict. As a consequence of this Washington has rendered itself largely irrelevant to any final just resolution of this contest. Take the issue of the 1967 border which is the center of the present political flap in the U.S. It has significance only if you assume that there will be a viable two state solution. However, long ago Israel has demonstrated that this will never happen. That was what Netanyahu was trying to tell Obama over the last few days. Most Palestinians and their worldwide supporters know this quite well. However, what neither Obama nor Netanyahu will admit is that the probable future of the Israel-Palestine conflict lies along a path that parallels the one taken by apartheid South Africa. In other words, the fate of Israel-Palestine is no longer in the hands of the Israelis and the Palestinians alone. The entire conflict has been internationalized. There is a quickly growing world-wide Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that has joined the fray and its actions will, in the end, be more significant in resolving this struggle than those of any American President.

Part III – Conclusion

Weariness and boredom set in when you listen to people repeat themselves endlessly. Within the democratic political realm, that is the obsessive spell lobbies can cast on politicians. It is a design flaw, if you will, in the democratic system. The lobbies act like jealous gods who need to hear the prayers of their devotees said again and again. I am loyal, I am yours, forever, forever. Deviation means blasphemy and blasphemy means that the gods will bestow their cash blessings on someone else come the next election cycle.

It is weariness and boredom, a pronounced ennui, that one experiences when presidents go AIPACing. It would be better if they just sent an e-mail.

Dr. Lawrence Davidson is the co-author of A Concise History of the Middle East and author of America’s Palestine: Popular and Official and The Alexian Brothers: An Evolutionary Look at the Monastery and Modern Health Care. A member of West Chester University’s history faculty since 1986, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and completed his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Georgetown University and the University of Alberta in Canada, respectively.,

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