4 Feb 2009

Things You Don't Want To See

By Michael Brull
Keeping journalists out of Gaza was an effective move by Israel. Now that the world is allowed back in, we're starting to see what really happened there, writes Michael Brull
When Israel refused to admit foreign journalists into Gaza while they were attacking it, the reason was obvious: if reporters could see Israel's crimes, they would reveal them to the world. It was bad enough having Al Jazeera showing videos of children mutilated by Israeli weapons. Imagine if Europeans — or even worse, Americans — were able to see footage on the BBC or CNN of murdered Gazan civilians.

The death toll is well known: Israeli soldiers killed over 1,300 Palestinians, including 500 women and children. Palestinians killed three Israeli civilians, and only six Israeli soldiers, if the Israeli army is to be believed. But equally telling are their different attitudes to the media: Israel banned journalists from Gaza, Palestinians welcomed them.

The journalist ban was brazen. However, while it led journalists to compare Israel to Burma or Zimbabwe, it did not prompt comparisons of Israel to, say, Russia in Chechnya. In other words, while it did provoke sharp criticism on civil liberties grounds, the criticisms could not be primarily over Israeli atrocities, because they remained largely uncovered. Better to be criticised for not admitting journalists, Israel reasoned, than to be criticised for wanton murder.

Some disagree. For example, Dominic Waghorn, the Sky News Middle East correspondent, wrote angrily in the British media that Israel scored an "own goal" with the journalist ban. He thinks Israel gained such bad publicity with the ban that it was worse than foreign coverage of the invasion would have been.

I thought he was probably wrong when I first read his article. Now I'm sure of it. The time when criticism of Israeli atrocities mattered most was when they were occurring. At such a time, public outcry could perhaps have stopped the campaign. Furthermore, during the invasion was when the public cared the most. As time goes on, people will lose interest in the attack on Gaza. That is why Israel is beginning to admit foreign witnesses now.

However, increased scrutiny of Israel's onslaught has revealed more evidence of the bloody and savage nature of the attack. Pro-Israeli Government propagandists will be unhappy that I use the word "savage" to describe the attack. However, Israel's Government sometimes agree with the hasbara propaganda being conducted in its name, and says things that are out of step with its international supporters. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni explained on Israeli radio that Israel's onslaught has shown Hamas that Israel will "react savagely" to Palestinian provocations.

This presumably won't deter the "pro-Israel" lobby from talking about a carefully measured targeting of "terrorists", and a policy of "restraint" by Israel and so on. But neither did Ehud Olmert bragging about destroying "half of Lebanon" in 2006.

If Israel's leaders have set the tone of the onslaught, Israeli soldiers have certainly applied it. YNet reported on the "blatant, racist graffiti" Israeli soldiers left on the walls of Gazan homes. They included such writings as "Die you all", "Death to Arabs", and "Arabs must die".

An Amnesty International fact-finding mission was finally allowed into Gaza after Israel ended its invasion, and found similar vandalism. In addition to the graffiti — which among other messages informed Palestinians that "We came to annihilate you" — Amnesty noted that houses taken over by the Israeli army as military positions were always "ransacked". Some houses also had their personal items urinated on, or had cardboard boxes filled with the excrement of soldiers.

None of this should surprise those familiar with Israel's contempt for Arabs. Those who read human rights reports would, for example, know of the everyday stories of Israeli soldiers and police beating Palestinians.

While most of Israel's army is secular, the influence of religious fundamentalism on Jewish racism to Arabs should not be underestimated. As the war began, the Israeli army's chief rabbinate advised its soldiers to disregard distinctions between civilians and soldiers, using an old Jewish text to argue that "one must not be enticed by the folly of the Gentiles who have mercy for the cruel". This continues an ugly tradition of prominent rabbis endorsing murder and racism.

As Israel re-opens Gaza to outsiders there has been cause for further shock at the audacity of Israeli propaganda. As observers of the conflict will be aware, when Israel kills Palestinian women and children, it roars with wounded dignity that Hamas must have been using them as human shields, and that they are the real criminals. But now, while there is some limited evidence that Hamas did launch military attacks from among unwilling and frightened Palestinian civilians, there is actually much stronger evidence of Israel using human shields itself.

Israeli human rights organisations have for a while now been documenting Israel's use of Palestinians as human shields. For example, B'Tselem notes that Israeli soldiers have forced Palestinians to walk in front of them, literally shielding them while the soldiers would fire over their shoulders. In the attack on Gaza, Israel resumed its use of human shields. Soldiers invaded Palestinian homes and refused to let the Palestinian residents leave, "effectively...us[ing them] as human shields", according to Amnesty.

Other new reports tell of Palestinians being forced at gunpoint by Israeli soldiers to deal with Palestinian militants on behalf of the Israeli army.

While it hasn't usually made the major newspapers, word of  Israeli atrocities was already making it outside Gaza during the fighting, but now that Israel has finally let journalists and NGOs in we know more. Amnesty's team, for example, has spoken out against Israel's "indiscriminate shelling". They've documented Israel's "widespread use" of the (arguably chemical) weapon white phosphorous in "densely populated residential areas in Gaza" and noted that using the chemical repeatedly in "an inherently indiscriminate manner is a war crime". Further, Amnesty has condemned Israel's use of anti-personnel flechette ammunition, as they "should never be used in built up civilian areas".

Other testimonies of Israeli crimes have been seeping out. The Times of London reported on an Israeli order to "[f]ire on anything that moves in Zeitoun". An Israeli soldier explained that "[w]e were to shoot first and ask questions later."

YNet reported on the complaint filed by seven Israeli human rights organisations about Israel's "appalling" treatment of Palestinian detainees. One Palestinian detainee described being held with 70 other Palestinians in a huge ditch. They were not given food, water or blankets, nor were they allowed to go to the toilet. Another detainee complained that they were handcuffed for days while in the ditch, with some of them also blindfolded. Israeli soldiers beat Palestinians who dared "ask for anything". As the complaint further notes, the detainees included children.

Interestingly (although pro-Israeli Government propagandists will ignore this too) some detainees were "held near tanks and in combat areas, in gross violation of international humanitarian law which prohibits holding prisoners and captives in areas exposed to danger". The complaint further alleges that Palestinians transferred to Israeli prison facilities "continued to be held in humiliating conditions", still denied access to toilets or showers.

Now that the guns have largely gone silent, Israel is banking on renewed international indifference to the suffering of Gazans. Respected NGOs have long documented the horrendous effects of Israel's siege on Gaza. Now, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is saying  that Israel will open the Gaza crossings when Hamas releases Gilad Shalit.

As a result, Israel will continue starving 1.5 million human beings.

The journalists currently inside Gaza will be able to reveal to the world the appalling effects this decision will have on the entire Palestinian population in Gaza. It is up to us to determine whether we will hold Israel accountable, or treat Gaza as yesterday's story, and forget about the people there.

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Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2009 - 15:27

Thus continues New Matilda's tradition of publishing any old tosh that trashes Israel, but says nothing about the war crimes of those apparently blameless angels: Hamas.

New Matilda readers would do well to ignore these pieces of Palestinian apologism, and go right to the source: read <a href="http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp">the Hamas covenant</a>, for instance, which calls for the killing of all Jews and the destruction of the Jewish state. No need to take Israel's word for it - just take the Palestinians at their word.

Israel has nothing to gain from the continuing violence, while Hamas, the instigators of each fresh round of it, believes it has everything to gain, since its goal is breathtakingly simple: the genocide of the Jews and the liquidation of Israel.

Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2009 - 16:31

Give it a rest alphacrucis, your pathetic attempts to distract from IDF war crimes is not fooling anyone but yourself.

Hamas offered to renounce the covenant if Israel opened up the checkpoints, returned to 1967 borders and stopped illegal settler action but as usual their reasonable offer was rejected.

Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2009 - 16:42

Ha! Those blameless infantilised Islamist angels. They just want peace, right?

Let the ululating, pro-Hamas hatefest begin!

Dr Dog
Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2009 - 17:05

I am starting to wish New Matilda would stop publishing these articles myself. For starters aplhacrucis has huge backlog of unanswered questions from me in other threads.

Jacqueline Reidpath
Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2009 - 17:37

A look at the comments stats on other articles not related to Gaza says that this topic gets double and triple figures. While this topic is still hot I have a feeling there will be more articles.

But really, you know...it is the same exhaustive argument all the time with a different heading. Onc ethe momentum peters out on one thread it re-opens in a new one.

I think it really has reached saturation point.

Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2009 - 17:56

I've worked it out!

By displaying himself as insensitive, suffering from paranoid delusion, lying and psychotic, alphacrucis is pandering to all the stereotypes of true anti-Semites.

alphacrucis is not Jewish. He's a troll trying to create more hated towards Jews.

I feel better now I've got it sorted.

Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2009 - 18:10

And so the gaggle of Israel-haters descend on another thread.

Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2009 - 18:33

I think you have it! Your realisation about Alpha makes perfect sense. I ignore him/her because of the blatant lies and propaganda.

And yes, Jacqueline is right. perhaps for those who remain interested, and it is important that people do, we put more effort into using the forum as a provider of facts which can be used to support the boycotts campaign.

the campaigns are increasing.


Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2009 - 23:14

"The journalists currently inside Gaza will be able to reveal to the world the appalling effects this decision will have on the entire Palestinian population in Gaza. It is up to us to determine whether we will hold Israel accountable, or treat Gaza as yesterday's story, and forget about the people there."

Wow! Think about it.

The world has a wonderful opportunity to absolve itself from the sin of failing to do enough to save the victims of the Nazi Holocaust by doing something to save the victims of Israel's concentration camps and horrific annihilation of the Palestinian people.

The eyes and ears of the world are our journalists, they are our nervous system, ban them, the way those thugs in Israel have done, and each one of us will carry an apportionment of blame for the humanitarian crisis brought upon those miserable people by Israel simply because we allowed it to happen.

One Holocaust is one too many, we must stop this one before it is too late.

There should be an international law banning all bans on journalists and every Israeli who supported this horror should wash their filthy mouths and spend time doing tchuva (note the "U" in tchuva alphacrucis).

This user is a New Matilda supporter. Ginger Meggs
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 02:04

It's interesting to follow up some of the links that Michel Brull has given. Look for example at this one that comes from the Independent. Does anyone have any other source to corroborate this claim? Does anyone have a copy of the leaflet? Does anyone have any evidence that the claim is incorrect?


This user is a New Matilda supporter. Ginger Meggs
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 02:47

It's always useful to understand from where the author of any article might be coming. So when I googled Irwin Cutler I found a numnber of articles including one from a Canadian-based organisation sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. The article gives a view of Irwin Cotler somewhat different to that which NM readers might deduce from the Montreal Gazette article quoted above.


Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 03:37

Ginger, the source of the hit job article on Cotler, a highly respected human rights lawyer, is dubious. It is found onhttp://www.canpalnet-ottawa.org/ - just look at the home page; it's a Canadian pro-Palestinian propaganda site. Not exactly a reliable source for information on Jews who have expressed views supportive of Israel.

As for the leaflet, there seems to have been something that purported to be from the IDF rabbinate distributed amongst some of the soldiers that went into Gaza. There seems to be an ongoing internal investigation, because the views from that booklet were sourced from a fringe ultra-nationalist rabbi. This is grounds for the IDF chief rabbi's dismissal from his role. If the charges are proven. Most Israelis and Jews, myself included, would be rightly horrified if these charges are proven.

But Michael Brull makes it sound as if this is either a significant or official IDF policy. Read his rendition: <em>"While most of Israel's army is secular, the influence of religious fundamentalism on Jewish racism to Arabs should not be underestimated. As the war began, the Israeli army's chief rabbinate advised its soldiers to disregard distinctions between civilians and soldiers, using an old Jewish text to argue that "one must not be enticed by the folly of the Gentiles who have mercy for the cruel". This continues an ugly tradition of prominent rabbis endorsing murder and racism."</em>

While I share Brull's outrage at prominent rabbis endorsing murder and racism, these rabbis constitute a fringe element of ultranationalist sentiment in Israel. Brull makes it sound as if they are a dominant force in Israeli politics. They are not, and most Israelis find the bleatings of these extremists abhorrent. A few days ago Haaretz, the premier influential Israeli broadsheet, made a big deal out of it (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1059520.html). These kinds of comments are unacceptable in Israel, but Brull makes it sound as if this is business as usual.

What disgusts me about this is that Brull and the other article contributors here at NM consistently cherry-pick these sorts of things and imply that they are official Israeli policy, while the real and indisputably official Hamas policy is one of genociding the Jews. This is repeated again and again in Hamas media; shaheed martyrdom, or the culture of death in order to kill the infidel Jews, is passe in Palestinian media; and yet the Loewenstein wannabes like Brull wilfully ignore this, or minimise it. Instead, the Israeli extremists, who are but a fringe group and far from illustrate official consensus, are painted as influential and significant.

It would be as if Pauline Hanson or Family First or Fred Nile were portrayed as the Australian consensus view. A couple of seats in parliament and a bunch of racists who try to cause mayhem here and there, are not representative of Australia or any Australian consensus. Why then do writers like Brull insist on defaming Israel by playing this game with the statements and behaviour of Israeli extremists?

This is just one of a plethora of issues in Brull's and others' articles. I simply don't have the time to address them all. But this is a decent example of the sort of deliberate deceit that we see time and again in these pro-Palestinian propaganda pieces.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. Ginger Meggs
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 03:37

Some of the detail in handbook to which the Independent article referred along with comments for and against can be found at the following site.


This user is a New Matilda supporter. Ginger Meggs
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 03:48

It seems that there is more than one Pauline Hanson or Fred Nile in the State of Israel. This is another link included in the article by Michael Brull. Just a short excerpt -

"If they don't stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand," said Shmuel Eliyahu. "And if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don't stop we must kill 100,000, even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop."


This user is a New Matilda supporter. Ginger Meggs
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 04:08

The problem with this particular Rabbi does not seem to be a new one. See the link below and some of the links that flow from that site.

Brull did not say or imply that this had OFFICIAL IDF sanction; what he said was that 'the INFLUENCE of religious fundamentalism on Jewish racism to Arabs should not be underestimated'(my emphasis).

And when you read some of the responses to the jewschool.com blog it's clear that at the Rabbi's position is not without some support.

The evidence suggests to me that his claim is justified.


This user is a New Matilda supporter. Ginger Meggs
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 04:26

For more evidence of the influence of religious fundamentalists on the IDF see the following websitte. This one is not a pro-Palestinian one; but rather a couple of Israeli soldiers complaining not only about the interference by the fundamentalists but also (and mostly) about the toleration of this interference by officers.

It might not be official policy, but if was common practice tolerated by field officers, doesn't that vindicate what Brull said?


Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 13:18

Alphacrucis, it is obvious to everybody by now that the personalities whom you trot out in support of your justification for Israel's crimes are all queer dodgy characters.

The political leaders whom you adoringly worship are all saddled with arrest warrants, from rapist Presidents and your crooked Israeli Prime Minister or that monster, your Minister for Foreign Affairs, right down to the soldiers who are being investigated for war crimes on the ground following complaints from the International Red Cross and others.

Then you trot out Cotler whom anybody with a connection to Google will discover is rotten to the proverbial core.

Justice Goldstone, on the opther hand, is a respected name famous across the civilised world for his part in the War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague and who suddenly fell from grace, not because he did anything dodgy, but because he refused to retract his legal opinion that Israel and it's leaders were war criminals.

Try to find a single article in a ZOG country which even publishes his name. Yet French, German and Russian media frequently refer to that name, and with great respect with respect.

Justice Goldstone is a South African Jew with Israeli citizenship and yet another person whose character has been assassinated.

Cotler, on the other hand, is a confidence trickster with an obvious agenda and who has been exposed as a person far removed from the likes of Goldstone, an Israeli/South Africa Jew of genuine integrity and honour (being a zionist you will need to look that word up alphacrucis).

The world is waking up to your mob of thugs and criminals alphacrucis, and the world knows, instinctively, that humanity's population of confidence tricksters, the zionist Israelis, have finally shown their hand during Dec '08-Jan'09.

Can you hear what the world is thinking out loud?

Go Hezbo!

Free Palestine!

Prosecute all Israeli war crimes!

Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 14:21

It was clear that the Israeli's simply wanted to commit massacres - I suspect it has to do with their endless whining about demographics and the numbers of arabs. Why else wipe out so many kids.


It is very hard for Israel to continue to pretend that they attacked Gaza out of retaliation when this planning was going on down to the fact that the young cops would still be civilians when they were massacred.

On the first day of Operation Cast Lead, the air force bombed the graduation ceremony of a police course, killing dozens of policemen. Months earlier, an operational and legal controversy was already swirling around the planned attack. According to a military source who was involved in the planning, bombing the site of the ceremony was authorized with no difficulty, but questions were raised about the intent to strike at the graduates of the course. Military Intelligence, convinced the attack was justified, pressed for its implementation. Representatives of the international law division (ILD) in the Military Advocate General's Office at first objected, fearing a possible violation of international law.

"This was a very large group of people who at that moment were ostensibly civilians and the next day would become legitimate military targets," says an operational source. "You take these dozens of policemen and put them in your gunsights. That certainly came up in all the discussions and soul-searching."

Over the course of several months, the operational echelons, particularly Military Intelligence, kept up the pressure on the army's legal staff. In the end, ILD authorized the air strike as it was carried out. The "incrimination" of the policemen (that is, justifying an attack on them) was based on their categorization as a resistance force in the event of an Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip; not on information about any of them as individuals.

"Underlying our rationale was the way Hamas used the security forces," says a senior ILD figure. "Actually, one can look at the totality as the equivalent of the enemy's armed force, so they were not perceived as police. In our eyes, all the armed forces of Hamas are the equivalent of the army, just as in the face of the enemy's army every soldier is a legitimate target."

And how about this


I suggest alpha and other Israeli apologists that you get a life outside the bubble.

They have become monsters led by monsters.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. Ginger Meggs
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 14:54

In his article, Brull claims that Israeli soldiers have been using Palestinian civilians as 'human shields' and gave some hot links to western media sites. But there are Israeli sites that give even more detailed evidence that the practice has been going on for a long time, that the military authorities are ignoring injunctions from Israeli court orders to cease the practice, and that Israeli soldiers are using Palestine minors as well as adults. For a reputable and credible Israeli site see the link below.


Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 15:20

No, Ginger. 5 minutes on Google doesn't "vindicate what Brull said".

Anybody who's actually been to Israel and/or consumed its media knows that the very idea that the religious extremists are significantly "influential" in the broader society is just preposterous. And Palestinians being used as human shields? Sounds like a school yard call: "I know you are but what am I?" It's Hamas that's using Palestinian civilians as human shields; pro-Palestinians are obfuscating the issue with these bogus claim that Israel is doing that. It's a lie and it's obscene.

Getting your information from btselem is just a tad agenda-driven. You have made up your mind about which conclusion you'd like to reach (Brull's) and you are searching for articles that you can cherrypick and then infer some sort of general rule.

Dodgy, dude, really dodgy. Ever hear of "intellectual honesty"? Come in here and debate with some good faith.

Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 15:45

You do not need to go to Israel to understand what the israelis are doing alphacrucis.

London was bombed by the IRA to the point that the British cabinet had to take cover, some even under their desks. Even Margaret Thatcher had to take cover during a bombing raid by the IRA at 10 Downing Street.

Explain to us how the British government would have been justified to retailiate by ordering the RAF to bomb civilian populations in Ireland?

Why they would have been justified to murder 1300 Irish women and children? Why they would be justified to use White Phospherous? Or to destroy Irish homes, Catholic schools churches, hospitals, police training camps etc etc.

Yours are an uncivilised lot alphacrucis, a barbarous stone age mob with a flair for lies, deceipt and confidence trickery.

Dr Dog
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 16:17

In case you don't get it Ginger, debate for alphacrucis consists of his vetting all sources and jettisoning all views that don't correspond with his own.

Anything facts or theses that challenge his world view are 'silly', 'hateful', 'anti-semitic' or ignored.

I know one thing, to read alphacrucis exhort you to practice intellectual honesty after some of the stuff he has thrown up was chilling. Check out the intellectual honesty in 'Letter to a Gazan' that he posted previously. It puts the mental back into sentimental.

Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 17:13

I have been to Israel and the influence of jewish religious extremists is very real.
So too is the racist attitudes Israelis have to Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular. What got me was that Israelis were forever saying how dirty Arabs were and Tel Aviv was filthy. The coastline was littered with garbage and so was the road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. It is a very Third World place with First World superficiality in a lot of ways but hardly a match for the other developed nations.
I am beginning to wonder if Alpha has ever been to Israel. It does not sound like it.
I've also driven around Palestine, sadly, before it was turned into a series of concentration camps and found the Palestinians villages very clean and welcoming. No doubt they are no longer so given the violence which is inflicted upon them by Israelis and Israeli police and soldiers.

Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 18:13


The occupation can end if political and economic pressure is placed on Israel by the international community. Recognizing this, the Palestinian people continually call on the international community to intervene.
We, the signatories, call for the following:
The Irish Government to cease its purchase of Israeli military products and services and call publicly for an arms embargo against Israel.
The Irish Government to demand publicly that Israel reverse its settlement construction, illegal occupation and annexation of land in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions and to use its influence in international fora to bring this about.
The Irish Government to demand publicly that the Euro-Med Agreement under which Israel has privileged access to the EU market be suspended until Israel complies with international law.
The Irish Government to veto any proposed upgrade in EU relations with Israel.
The Irish people to boycott all Israeli goods and services until Israel abides by international law.

Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 18:15

Controversial Bestseller Shakes the Foundation of the Israeli State

By Joshua Holland

February 04, 2009 "AlterNet" -- - What if the Palestinian Arabs who have lived for decades under the heel of the modern Israeli state are in fact descended from the very same "children of Israel" described in the Old Testament?
And what if most modern Israelis aren't descended from the ancient Israelites at all, but are actually a mix of Europeans, North Africans and others who didn't "return" to the scrap of land we now call Israel and establish a new state following the attempt to exterminate them during World War II, but came in and forcefully displaced people whose ancestors had lived there for millennia?
What if the entire tale of the Jewish Diaspora -- the story recounted at Passover tables by Jews around the world every year detailing the ancient Jews' exile from Judea, the years spent wandering through the desert, their escape from the Pharaoh's clutches -- is all wrong?
That's the explosive thesis of When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?, a book by Tel Aviv University scholar Shlomo Zand (or Sand) that sent shockwaves across Israeli society when it was published last year. After 19 weeks on the Israeli best-seller list, the book is being translated into a dozen languages and will be published in the United States this year by Verso.


Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 18:19

It all makes so much sense. One State for all regardless of race, creed or sex.

Excerpt from above linked article:

The primary reason it's so difficult to discuss the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is the remarkably effective job supporters of Israel's control of the Occupied Territories -- including Gaza, still under de facto occupation -- have done equating support for Palestinian self-determination with a desire to see the destruction of Israel. It effectively conflates any advocacy of Palestinian rights with the specter of Jewish extermination.
That's certainly been the case with arguments for a single-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Until recent years, advocating a "single-state" solution -- a binational state where all residents of what are today Israel and the Occupied Territories share the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship -- was a relatively mainstream position to take. In fact, it was one of several competing plans considered by the United Nations when it created the state of Israel in the 1940s.
But the idea of a single, binational state has more recently been marginalized -- dismissed as an attempt to destroy Israel literally and physically, rather than as an ethnic and religious-based political entity with a population of second-class Arab citizens and the legacy of responsibility for world's longest-standing refugee population.
A logical conclusion of Zand's work exposing Israel's founding mythology may be the restoration of the idea of a one-state solution to a legitimate place in the debate over this contentious region. After all, while it muddies the waters in one sense -- raising ancient, biblical questions about just who the "children of Israel" really are -- in another sense, it hints at the commonalities that exist between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs. Both groups lay claim to the same crust of earth, both have faced historic repression and displacement and both hold dear the idea that they should have a "right of return."
And if both groups in fact share common biblical ties, then it begs the question of why the entirety of what was Palestine under the British mandate should remain a refuge for people of one religion instead of being a country in which Jews and Arabs are guaranteed equal protection -- equal protection under the laws of a state whose legitimacy would never again be open to question.

Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 18:31

More on extremists:

Did The Israeli Army Wage
A Jewish Jihad In Gaza?

By Jonathan Cook
04 February, 2009
Nazareth: Extremist rabbis and their followers, bent on waging holy war against the Palestinians, are taking over the Israeli army by stealth, according to critics.

In a process one military historian has termed the rapid “theologisation” of the Israeli army, there are now entire units of religious combat soldiers, many of them based in West Bank settlements. They answer to hardline rabbis who call for the establishment of a Greater Israel that includes the occupied Palestinian territories.


Posted Friday, February 6, 2009 - 10:50

And here's more grist to the mill, from the UK's MediaLens, which critiques the mainstream media's total lack of real analysis of Israel's own pogrom against Palestinians:


"... Israel, then, consistently shows a preference “for expansion over security.” Peace is actually a threat to a programme of illegal expansion that can be achieved only through violence under cover of conflict and war.

"And so, from this perspective, inflicting horrific violence on a defenceless civilian population makes perfect sense. When a high-tech military power demolishes schools, mosques and medical centres it enrages, divides and demolishes the “political threat” of peaceful negotiation.

"So while it is true that Israel’s bombs were intended to destroy Hamas and to stop the rockets, they also had a much uglier aim. And although, as we have seen, there is serious evidence in support of this argument, it cannot be found in the mainstream press."

Posted Friday, February 6, 2009 - 12:12

Even though the State if Israel refused to allow journalists into Gaza, we know what the jewish terrorist wing (IDF) were doing.

The charges are simple:
Mass Murder of Palestinians;
Ethnic Cleansing;
Attempted Genocide;
Destruction of Property;
and probably, theft of goods.

Similar scenario: A man enters a woman's home. He locks the door, bounds her, rapes her, murders her. The man leaves the house and insists he did this for his own protection. It happened behind closed doors.

Question: Just because it happened behind closed doors, is this good enough reason to allow this man to walk free?

We know what happened, the gravity is only now being fully realised, but it is no reason to continue to let things slide. We need more people power to rally our Governments to act. Talk is cheap - see alphacurious.

If the shoe was on the other foot, and Palestinians were invading the State of Israel and murdering Israelis, their would be a universal outcry from all sectors of society. Why? What is the difference between Palstinians and Israelis?

Documenting these crimes against our fellow humans is necessary, but if it is all we do, then we are really doing nothing. There is a universal conviction that crimes against humanity took place, and will continue to take place in Palestine. The only people who deny this are those Israelis and other pro-zionists who plan, fund, execute, and attempt to justify these unjustifiable acts.

I AM not a fundamentalist nor do I take literal interpretations of scripture. But if the base of the claim is that the land was promised to Israel by YHWH, take your head out of your arse and smell the coffee!

You shall not steal.

You shall not murder.

God-damn anti semites!

Posted Friday, February 6, 2009 - 12:31

Hey alpha - how's that "legal qualification" going LOL

Posted Friday, February 6, 2009 - 15:25

"So self-defense cannot justify this attack, or the siege that preceded it. What can? That Hamas is a “terrorist organization”? But terrorism is about deliberately killing civilians for illegal political ends, and in that enterprise, Israel has topped Hamas by many multiples. That Hamas does not recognize Israel’s “right to exist”? But Hamas has offered many times to make a long-term truce with Israel on the basis of the legal international borders, something it is clearly entitled to insist upon. Israel says that’s not good enough, that Hamas first has to recognize Israel’s legitimacy, in other words, it has to concede the legitimacy of the Jewish state and all it has meant to the Palestinians. In other words, as one Israeli journalist ironized, Israel is insisting that Hamas embrace Zionism as a condition of even talking peace with it."


Still putting paid to the lies told by Israel and its supporters.

Posted Friday, February 6, 2009 - 21:52

Ahimsa wrote: "If the shoe was on the other foot, and Palestinians were invading the State of Israel and murdering Israelis, their would be a universal outcry from all sectors of society. Why? What is the difference between Palstinians and Israelis?"

The shoe has been on the other foot for years. Over 8000 rockets, many of them Iranian-made and weapons-grade, have been raining down on Israelis since Israel left Gaza judenrein in 2005. Palestinian terrorists killed over 1000 Israeli civilians and maimed thousands more since the year 2000. And the world has said NOTHING. And yet, when Israel responds to these terrorist acts, the world shrieks in unison - even though the vast majority killed were Hamas terrorists.

So I ask you the same thing: what is the difference between Palestinians and Israelis? Why is Israeli life so cheap that no terrorist act killing Israeli civilians is worthy of world protest?

Where are the calls to boycott the Palestinians until the terrorism ends? Instead, all we hear are calls to boycott the victims of terrorism: the Israeli people.

Ahimsa wrote: "I AM not a fundamentalist nor do I take literal interpretations of scripture. But if the base of the claim is that the land was promised to Israel by YHWH, take your head out of your arse and smell the coffee!"

What claim? Israel's legitimacy is axiomatic. What legitimacy does Jordan have? What legitimacy does Egypt have? Turkey? Iran? Syria? Lebanon? Saudi Arabia? Precisely the same legitimacy as Israel. It's axiomatic.

"You shall not steal. You shall not murder. God-damn anti semites!"

I agree. I assume you are talking about Hamas.

Missnomar wrote: "Hey alpha - how’s that "legal qualification" going LOL"

Your question makes no sense. Rephrase. Are you jealous of my three degrees from two different G8 universities? Or is it the fact that I can practise law (while presumably you can't) that pisses you off?

This user is a New Matilda supporter. michaelbrull
Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 01:22

As the most striking part of comments, I thought I'd note the following by alphacrucis (with deletions and asterisks added for emphasis):

"But Michael Brull makes it sound as if this is either a significant or official IDF policy. Read his rendition: "*While most of Israel’s army is secular*, the influence of religious fundamentalism on Jewish racism to Arabs should not be underestimated. [deleted]"

While I share Brull’s outrage at prominent rabbis endorsing murder and racism, these rabbis constitute a fringe element of ultranationalist sentiment in Israel. *Brull makes it sound as if they are a dominant force in Israeli politics*."


Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 05:51

michaelbrull, it is not surprising that you have taken so long to come out and respond to a criticism of your dubious collections of words ("articles" would be too kind a descriptor for what you have spat out here on NM). Finally you have brought your agenda-driven rhetoric of twisted pseudo-logic onto the forum. But after all this time, <em>this</em> is your response? Come on.

It is fragile egos that feel the need to bash Israel in the obscene ways that you have chosen to do so, and it is a fragile ego that can only respond to my criticisms over the substance (such as it is) of your handful of published articles by hiding behind an overly literal and highly selective interpretation of your own content.

The crux of your allegations are quite clear. Pointing to your prefatory admission that "most of Israel's army is secular" is obfuscation and does not absolve you from your culpability for the gross exaggerations of the very argument that you were seeking to shield from criticism with that preface. Your real argument followed: "The influence of religious fundamentalism on Jewish racism to Arabs should not be underestimated".

Despite your prefatory obfuscation, your allegations are clear. You wilfully paint a thoroughly inaccurate picture of the real influence of these radical extremist fringe elements on Israeli society. Your "pieces" (which have heretofore been merely a series of agenda-driven phrases and, occasionally, sentences clumsily strung together in order to obfuscate for a general audience that doesn't know any better) are riddled with this sort of sleight-of-hand nonsense.

This is one example of your culpability not only in inflammatory, propagandistic rhetoric, but of outright intellectual dishonesty. You are well aware of the polar difference between the permeation of jihadi thinking in Gaza and its Hamas-run media, on the one hand, and Israel's vibrant civil society on the other which does not brook the vicious radicalism of the noisy fringe Kiryat Arba set. And yet you choose to tell lies and half-truths about what is really going on in Israel, and wilfully ignore the war crimes, wild rampant anarchy, and ultimate responsibility of Hamas and the Islamists for the continuation of the conflict, simply to serve your narrow "I"AJV agenda.

You may feel that you can get away with this kind of bullshit quasi-intellectual trollop here on New Matilda where you think that nobody is going to call you on your bullshit, but you are seriously mistaken. Feel free to actually engage me substantive discourse rather than throwing us your usual semantic obscurantism out here on NM in future.

Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 06:45

Alphacrucis, can you please present to the NM community at least one eye witness who can attest to having actually taken sight of a human brain in your head because I put it to you that none exists.

Jacqueline Reidpath
Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 07:34

Really, alphacrucis...what a rude individual you are.

You are likely the biggest denialists here, you refuse to acknowledge a professional jan't abide journalist presenting cold hard facts.

You use a lot of elongated and unnecessary words to pad out your rhetoric but what it all boils down to is, you can't abide when someone else is right and you're wrong.

You carry on with the same crap on this issue all the time. Journo bashing seems to be a favourite sport of yours, like I said in an earlier post...if you think you can write a better article, put your identity crisis [crucis] on the line and prove that you are a better journalist than he is.

You have no respect for anybody's opinions here so I put it to you, if you have it in you to present a BALANCED, UNBIASED, INTERESTING article then let's hear it.

And let the chips fall where they may with everybody here who appreciates well-written, informative articles that provide the FACTS.

This constant barrage of abuse from you to the journalists here and some of the members is beyond boring, it has surpassed saturation point.

Either give this tedium of yours a rest or write one better.

And let it reflect a change of subject so we can actually see that you can deviate from this tack you are on all the time.

Up for a challenge?? We are up for a change, if you dare.

Jacqueline Reidpath
Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 07:46

Oh and before you pick me up on it, a typo I missed in the first paragraph...should read: '...a professional journalist presenting cold hard facts'.

Now that makes more sense. :)

Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 15:06

Thus, perhaps the "court of last resort" is that of international civil society, whose tools for nonviolent enforcement include boycotts, divestment and sanctions. That route, once so effective in helping to end apartheid in Africa, offers a powerful model for those seeking justice in Israel/Palestine today. Israel is both sensitive to Western opinion and dependent on trade and would likely respond to ostracism.
Ending Israel's impunity should be a priority for us all. Palestinians clearly bear the brunt of Israel's violence. Israelis face a future of endemic conflict in a region that will never bow to pure might. We Americans suffer by acting as Israel's principal enabler and accomplice, isolating ourselves from much of the world and multiplying our enemies. International law - which protects the powerful and weak alike - is diminished when one nation tramples basic legal principles without consequence.


Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 15:08

One can count all the reasons given by the Israelis for not achieving the “peace” that Israel claims it wants, reasons such as:
We have no negotiating partner.
The Palestinians have to recognize Israel’s right to exist first before we talk to them.
They have to end terrorism first.
We made the Palestinians the best offer they could ever have gotten, but they turned it down.
These are just some of the shopworn excuses trotted out to avoid cutting a deal.
It seems that very few people have caught on to this scam, even though it has been exposed for many years. So, as the establishment continues to blather about achieving “peace,” Israel continues to swallow up Palestinian lands, beating up, imprisoning and massacring Palestinians on a daily basis.

Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 15:11

Please. He is no "professional journalist", and nothing that he has written resembles "cold hard facts". The anti-Israel articles on this website are about as factual as an Iraqi Information Minister's press statements. Don't ruin the good name of journalism by using the word to describe Brull's and the other deviants' rants here.

Dear lady, you think this is saturation point? You don't mind the antisemitic and anti-Israel hate speech on here - you've breathed not a word of complaint about the torrent of antisemitism on these forums. But I come here and rationally and assertively argue a view that challenges your narrow wayof thinking, and you think it's saturation point? I've got some news for you. I will comment on here until you people do what comes naturally and censor me. Until then, get used to it!

I'm more than happy to write. I've been published elsewhere and am more of a journalist than Brull will ever be. However, I strongly suspect that anything I write here on NM will be treated as Bruce Riedel's recent article has been treated: http://newmatilda.com/2009/02/05/palestine-ultimate-franchise

Frankly, I will not be the Colmes to your Hannity.

Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 16:13

Please stop replying to alpha -irrelevancies;
Give him/her the big A.

Those that will not be guided by the facts lead those who listen down a fool's road.

Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 16:21

I just noticed the reference to being censored. Quite ironic given the core criticism leveled at Israel on reportage, when such is made by FirstX.

Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 19:35

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

- MLK Jr.

Posted Sunday, February 8, 2009 - 11:38

israel is a terrorist (pseudo)state! By all definitions, very much those applied by the United States Presidents, up to, and so far including the present one, this is very true. By the definitions of those same US Presidents, the United States is also a terrorist State, particularly in reference to support for terrorist organisations (to wit, Zionism).
Unless the foreign policy of the United States undergoes a massive turn around, these same definitions will still apply to both israel and the USA.
Until such time as the Administration of the United States withdraws it's total and unquestioning support of the criminal Administration of the so-called State of israel, the Palestinians have no chance, and I see that up to last week, the Foreign Policy formulations of the USA are still very much pro-israeli Zionism and anti-Palestinian. The USA is still pushing European Governments to support their policy of NO TALKING to Hamas, the legitimately elected Government of the Palestinian people, and still insisting that all aid, support for Gaza be directed through Fatah, and their leader (no longer President) Abbas, AT THE DIRECTION OF israel. This recently led to the 'temporary re-direction' of a few truckloads of material entering Gaza, by order of the UN at the direction of the USA, to be distributed via Fatah groups, NOT the Government of Gaza. The UN then stopped food entering Gaza until it got it's truck loads back. But I can see Hamas' point. They are the elected Government, elected in the only credible elections that the Yanks and israelis have ever allowed in what is left of Palestine (the Yanks and israelis immediately called it a 'foul', and proceeded to try and exterminate Hamas, because they did not like the result), and even the UN is acting as an agent of the USA and israel in this issue.
I can never remember a time in history when everything is so heavily stacked against one group of people, when so-called modern civilisations are acting in concert to destroy one particular group of humanity, at the behest of a rogue group (Zionist Jews).
However, for the very first time ever, some of the vision of the israeli atrocities have penetrated US Mass Media, have not been edited out of existence by Editors so afraid of organised US jewish pressure groups. Even Time Magazine ran an article mildly critical of israel that would have had AIPAC frothing at the mouth, and ringing Editors to issue threats. One could hope for a lot more exposure, but AIPAC and other Jewish Zionist Groups will be well organised to make sure that the media toes the approved line.
One can see just what happens here in Australia when anything even mildly critical of israel appears in, for instance, the Fairfax Press, the Zionist and jewish pressure groups go rabid! Instantly they appear on ABC TV spouting the israeli Govt. approved line of propaganda, ignoring just how stupid and ignorant they may appear to be to anyone who can read. But then, how many Aussies read, these days?! In Britain, the BBC has been utterly cowed by Jewish groups, and are sticking to their pro-israeli line, despite mass criticism. The ABC in Australia likewise.


This user is a New Matilda supporter. michaelbrull
Posted Sunday, February 8, 2009 - 14:03

Hi again Alpha Crucis.

I'm sorry that you're upset I don't take your comments very seriously. I appreciate the time you take to write about things I write. I just don't think what you write is intellectually serious. Consider, for example, the human rights organisations, the reporters on the ground who've been accumulating testimony from Palestinians of being used as human shields. How do you respond to such evidence? They're lies. How do you know? Because the Israeli army says so?

Or B'tselem. Why is an Israeli human rights organisation an unreliable source?

So far as I can tell, you mainly trust the Israeli government. Well, okay, but this is the same recipe for honest inquiry into the holy state as was once conducted by the most fervent Stalinists. Feel free to keep calling me names (truthfully, it makes me smile a little to be called a "deviant" etc). But we shall have to respectfully disagree over who is engaging in "substantive discourse", and who is not.

Posted Sunday, February 8, 2009 - 14:38

While Israeli citizens were videotaped outside the Gaza borders, smiling as helicopters rained rockets of white phosphorus down on a metropolis where 50% of the people are under the age of 15 years old, one must wonder why the United States is so steadfast in its support of this rogue nation. Who sold them their white phosphorus munitions? Who sold them their helicopters that were used to rein death upon helpless civilians? According to human rights organizations, only 15% of the casualties in Gaza were Hamas.

“A Palestinian father has claimed that he saw two of his young daughters shot dead and another critically injured by an Israeli soldier who emerged from a stationary tank and opened fire as the family obeyed an order from the Israeli forces to leave their home.


Posted Sunday, February 8, 2009 - 14:48

I'll skip past the nebbish condescension, thanks all the same. As for "human rights organisations", on this issue they are irreparably politically tainted by their own "Durban Strategy" which NGO Monitor (yes, an NGO of a different stripe) calls "a process of attempting to isolate Israel internationally to achieve Palestinian political goals". In case you've forgotten, the NGOs agreed on this strategy at the 2001 Durban Conference of Anti-Semites and Jew-haters (cleverly disguised as a "World Conference Against Racism").

NGO Monitor's <a href="http://www.ngo-monitor.org/data/images/File/NGO_Front_Gaza.pdf">most recent report </a> is required reading.

<em>"A wide range of groups were responsible for implementing the Durban Strategy during the Gaza conflict: international “superpowers” – including Amnesty, Human Rights Watch (HRW), and Oxfam; Israeli NGO, B’Tselem; Israeli-Arab organizations, Adalah, Ittijah, and Mossawa; and Palestinian NGOs in Gaza, PCHR and Al Mezan. Under the cover of the “halo effect” – where NGOs’ human rights claims are accepted without question by virtue of their self-stated humanitarian mandates – these organizations accused Israel of “war crimes,” “disproportionate” and “indiscriminate” attacks, and “targeting civilians.” "</em>

My favourite part of the executive summary relates to your comment about "reporters on the ground who've been accumulating testimony from Palestinians of being used as human shields":

<em>"These NGOs publicized their claims despite not having access to Gaza to conduct their allegedly “independent, impartial investigations,” and relied on Palestinian
“eyewitnesses,” whose testimony, objectivity, and even identity could not be verified or corroborated. As opposed to objective reports on the human rights situation, the
Palestinian groups in Gaza promoted the Palestinian narrative in their political attacks on Israel. Moreover, the NGOs are unqualified to evaluate whether Israeli strikes were “disproportionate” and “indiscriminate”: they do not possess the necessary military expertise and detailed information on the dispersal of weapons by Hamas, and they
are not privy to Israeli targeting decisions."</em>

But, you know, you can continue with this facade that NGOs and UN organs are somehow objective and impartial; it's just that, well, they're not.