Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

West Bank rabbi: Jews can kill Gentiles who threaten Israel

By Haaretz Service

Just weeks after the arrest of alleged Jewish terrorist, Yaakov Teitel, a West Bank rabbi on Monday released a book giving Jews permission to kill Gentiles who threaten Israel.

Rabbi Yitzhak Shapiro, who heads the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in the Yitzhar settlement, wrote in his book "The King's Torah" that even babies and children can be killed if they pose a threat to the nation.

Shapiro based the majority of his teachings on passages quoted from the Bible, to which he adds his opinions and beliefs.
"It is permissable to kill the Righteous among Nations even if they are not responsible for the threatening situation," he wrote, adding: "If we kill a Gentile who has sinned or has violated one of the seven commandments - because we care about the commandments - there is nothing wrong with the murder."

Several prominent rabbis, including Rabbi Yithak Ginzburg and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, have recommended the book to their students and followers.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Israel's apartheid is worse than South Africa's

By Yitzhak Laor

The shock that gripped the shrunken peace camp following Hillary Clinton's statement that the settlement construction freeze is not what we thought it would be, but rather what Benjamin Netanyahu thought it would be, is reminiscent of other shocks generated by American peace plans ever since the 1960s.

Had the educated people of this camp not outnumbered its foot soldiers, this shock and amazement could be compared to other superstitions, like the correlation between rainfall and women's fertility.

But precisely because the Israeli intelligentsia is always coming up with prophecies about "American pressure," it would not be unreasonable to assume that we can once again expect expert regurgitation of speculations about a "first-term president" versus a "second-term" one, and about when he stops being an "incoming" president and starts being a "lame duck."

The truth is simpler. Regardless of whether there is a Democrat or a Republican in the White House, the United States became a distinctly pro-Israel world power after the 1967 war. It has no intention of being a "balanced mediator" when it comes to the conflict with the Palestinians.

Barack Obama's public relations moves in the Arab world have frightened many average Israelis. But Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, allies of the final takeover of the West Bank, know very well that U.S. policy has not changed. It doesn't take a genius to read the working papers of past prime ministers.

The prevailing attitude of all U.S. administrations was drafted by Henry Morgenthau, and was later updated by Kenneth Waltz. One line guided all of them - Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, George Mitchell - essentially, that any possible settlement must match the positions of the stronger party.

This is how the Americans abandoned the refugee issue, and this is why they abandoned the opposition to settlements. Netanyahu is no genius. He is simply not interested in saying good-bye to the occupation. That is all. After all, he came to power because of this. To complain about him is to complain about November rain.

The Israeli public's choice is a different matter. The spokesmen of the dovish camp tell us horror stories about a future binational state. But the binational state is already here. It has a rigid apartheid legal system, as the High Court of Justice fades away.

The system preserving this apartheid is more ruthless than that seen in South Africa, where the black were a labor force and could therefore also make a living. It is equipped with the lie of being "temporary." Occasionally, Israel's indifference comes up with allegations against the Palestinians.

Abba Eban captured the allegation by coining a phrase repeated by the doves of all parties, who never really went to battle over Israel's future and allowed the "settlement project" to spread. After all, occupation makes Israelis richer. Why oppose it?

Yaakov (Jack) Teitel is the American aid secured by moderate Israel. What Yitzhak Rabin failed to do after the massacre by the last import, Baruch Goldstein - to uproot the Jewish settlement in Hebron - will not happen now either. Shvut Rachel, Tapuah or any other such town will not be moved, nor will the smaller "illegal" outposts.

Beyond the two Palestinians whose murders were never really investigated, and past what Ami Ortiz or Professor Ze'ev Sternhell went through, Teitel is a Made-in-the-U.S.A. reminder that "no one will do for you what you fail to do for yourselves."

How to do what needs to be done? Surely, not through the rules drafted back in the 1970s, when "we" were in power and "they" were the opposition. The settlers are in power. The Shin Bet security service and Obama will not fight them

Israel, 'Worse than apartheid'

By Gideon Levy

I thought they would feel right at home in the alleys of Balata refugee camp, the Casbah and the Hawara checkpoint. But they said there is no comparison: for them the Israeli occupation regime is worse than anything they knew under apartheid. This week, 21 human rights activists from South Africa visited Israel. Among them were members of Nelson Mandela's African National Congress; at least one of them took part in the armed struggle and at least two were jailed. There were two South African Supreme Court judges, a former deputy minister, members of Parliament, attorneys, writers and journalists. Blacks and whites, about half of them Jews who today are in conflict with attitudes of the conservative Jewish community in their country. Some of them have been here before; for others it was their first visit.

For five days they paid an unconventional visit to Israel - without Sderot, the IDF and the Foreign Ministry (but with Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial and a meeting with Supreme Court President Justice Dorit Beinisch. They spent most of their time in the occupied areas, where hardly any official guests go - places that are also shunned by most Israelis.

On Monday they visited Nablus, the most imprisoned city in the West Bank. From Hawara to the Casbah, from the Casbah to Balata, from Joseph's Tomb to the monastery of Jacob's Well. They traveled from Jerusalem to Nablus via Highway 60, observing the imprisoned villages that have no access to the main road, and seeing the "roads for the natives," which pass under the main road. They saw and said nothing. There were no separate roads under apartheid. They went through the Hawara checkpoint mutely: they never had such barriers.

Jody Kollapen, who was head of Lawyers for Human Rights in the apartheid regime, watches silently. He sees the "carousel" into which masses of people are jammed on their way to work, visit family or go to the hospital. Israeli peace activist Neta Golan, who lived for several years in the besieged city, explains that only 1 percent of the inhabitants are allowed to leave the city by car, and they are suspected of being collaborators with Israel. Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, a former deputy minister of defense and of health and a current member of Parliament, a revered figure in her country, notices a sick person being taken through on a stretcher and is shocked. "To deprive people of humane medical care? You know, people die because of that," she says in a muted voice.

The tour guides - Palestinian activists - explain that Nablus is closed off by six checkpoints. Until 2005, one of them was open. "The checkpoints are supposedly for security purposes, but anyone who wants to perpetrate an attack can pay NIS 10 for a taxi and travel by bypass roads, or walk through the hills.

The real purpose is to make life hard for the inhabitants. The civilian population suffers," says Said Abu Hijla, a lecturer at Al-Najah University in the city.

In the bus I get acquainted with my two neighbors: Andrew Feinstein, a son of Holocaust survivors who is married to a Muslim woman from Bangladesh and served six years as an MP for the ANC; and Nathan Gefen, who has a male Muslim partner and was a member of the right-wing Betar movement in his youth. Gefen is active on the Committee against AIDS in his AIDS-ravaged country.

"Look left and right," the guide says through a loudspeaker, "on the top of every hill, on Gerizim and Ebal, is an Israeli army outpost that is watching us." Here are bullet holes in the wall of a school, there is Joseph's Tomb, guarded by a group of armed Palestinian policemen. Here there was a checkpoint, and this is where a woman passerby was shot to death two years ago. The government building that used to be here was bombed and destroyed by F-16 warplanes. A thousand residents of Nablus were killed in the second intifada, 90 of them in Operation Defensive Shield - more than in Jenin. Two weeks ago, on the day the Gaza Strip truce came into effect, Israel carried out its last two assassinations here for the time being. Last night the soldiers entered again and arrested people.

It has been a long time since tourists visited here. There is something new: the numberless memorial posters that were pasted to the walls to commemorate the fallen have been replaced by marble monuments and metal plaques in every corner of the Casbah.

"Don't throw paper into the toilet bowl, because we have a water shortage," the guests are told in the offices of the Casbah Popular Committee, located high in a spectacular old stone building. The former deputy minister takes a seat at the head of the table. Behind her are portraits of Yasser Arafat, Abu Jihad and Marwan Barghouti - the jailed Tanzim leader. Representatives of the Casbah residents describe the ordeals they face. Ninety percent of the children in the ancient neighborhood suffer from anemia and malnutrition, the economic situation is dire, the nightly incursions are continuing, and some of the inhabitants are not allowed to leave the city at all. We go out for a tour on the trail of devastation wrought by the IDF over the years.

Edwin Cameron, a judge on the Supreme Court of Appeal, tells his hosts: "We came here lacking in knowledge and are thirsty to know. We are shocked by what we have seen until now. It is very clear to us that the situation here is intolerable." A poster pasted on an outside wall has a photograph of a man who spent 34 years in an Israeli prison. Mandela was incarcerated seven years less than that. One of the Jewish members of the delegation is prepared to say, though not for attribution, that the comparison with apartheid is very relevant and that the Israelis are even more efficient in implementing the separation-of-races regime than the South Africans were. If he were to say this publicly, he would be attacked by the members of the Jewish community, he says.

Under a fig tree in the center of the Casbah one of the Palestinian activists explains: "The Israeli soldiers are cowards. That is why they created routes of movement with bulldozers. In doing so they killed three generations of one family, the Shubi family, with the bulldozers." Here is the stone monument to the family - grandfather, two aunts, mother and two children. The words "We will never forget, we will never forgive" are engraved on the stone.

No less beautiful than the famed Paris cemetery of Pere-Lachaise, the central cemetery of Nablus rests in the shadow of a large grove of pine trees. Among the hundreds of headstones, those of the intifada victims stand out. Here is the fresh grave of a boy who was killed a few weeks ago at the Hawara checkpoint. The South Africans walk quietly between the graves, pausing at the grave of the mother of our guide, Abu Hijla. She was shot 15 times. "We promise you we will not surrender," her children wrote on the headstone of the woman who was known as "mother of the poor."

Lunch is in a hotel in the city, and Madlala-Routledge speaks. "It is hard for me to describe what I am feeling. What I see here is worse than what we experienced. But I am encouraged to find that there are courageous people here. We want to support you in your struggle, by every possible means. There are quite a few Jews in our delegation, and we are very proud that they are the ones who brought us here. They are demonstrating their commitment to support you. In our country we were able to unite all the forces behind one struggle, and there were courageous whites, including Jews, who joined the struggle. I hope we will see more Israeli Jews joining your struggle."

She was deputy defense minister from 1999 to 2004; in 1987 she served time in prison. Later, I asked her in what ways the situation here is worse than apartheid. "The absolute control of people's lives, the lack of freedom of movement, the army presence everywhere, the total separation and the extensive destruction we saw."

Madlala-Routledge thinks that the struggle against the occupation is not succeeding here because of U.S. support for Israel - not the case with apartheid, which international sanctions helped destroy. Here, the racist ideology is also reinforced by religion, which was not the case in South Africa. "Talk about the 'promised land' and the 'chosen people' adds a religious dimension to racism which we did not have."

Equally harsh are the remarks of the editor-in-chief of the Sunday Times of South Africa, Mondli Makhanya, 38. "When you observe from afar you know that things are bad, but you do not know how bad. Nothing can prepare you for the evil we have seen here. In a certain sense, it is worse, worse, worse than everything we endured. The level of the apartheid, the racism and the brutality are worse than the worst period of apartheid.

"The apartheid regime viewed the blacks as inferior; I do not think the Israelis see the Palestinians as human beings at all. How can a human brain engineer this total separation, the separate roads, the checkpoints? What we went through was terrible, terrible, terrible - and yet there is no comparison. Here it is more terrible. We also knew that it would end one day; here there is no end in sight. The end of the tunnel is blacker than black.

"Under apartheid, whites and blacks met in certain places. The Israelis and the Palestinians do not meet any longer at all. The separation is total. It seems to me that the Israelis would like the Palestinians to disappear. There was never anything like that in our case. The whites did not want the blacks to disappear. I saw the settlers in Silwan [in East Jerusalem] - people who want to expel other people from their place."

Afterward we walk silently through the alleys of Balata, the largest refugee camp in the West Bank, a place that was designated 60 years ago to be a temporary haven for 5,000 refugees and is now inhabited by 26,000. In the dark alleys, which are about the width of a thin person, an oppressive silence prevailed. Everyone was immersed in his thoughts, and only the voice of the muezzin broke the stillness.

"Hey, can I use your gun to shoot an Arab? After Shabbat, of course"

From Aaron Levitt's blog, "Justice for Palestine:"

On several occasions, when I've made my trips to Israel/Palestine, I've taken advantage of the opportunity to recapture a bit of my old Chabad experience by having Shabbat dinner with an observant family. If you go near the Western Wall on any Friday evening, looking Jewish and preferably a bit lost and/or American, you will almost certainly be approached with invitations to dinner. There's often a 'match-maker' involved; one of several observant folks who do this regularly as a religious 'mitzvah', or divinely sanctioned good deed. I've had good luck with a few past attempts, dining with a traditionally observant couple or family, and perhaps another guest or two. The discussion is apolitical, as befits Shabbat, so I can take a break from the near war-zone of Palestinian advocacy within the Jewish community. Last Friday, when I was introduced to a kindly, grey-bearded Hasid as my host for the night, and particularly when I was told that he was a well-respected teacher of Torah, I figured I was in excellent shape for the evening.

My heart sank a bit when my prospective host asked me what brought me to Israel, but when I replied that I was involved in Palestinian human rights work, he was unexpectedly complimentary. A young American man who already knew the way to our host's house was also joining us, and we headed off while our host waited to meet a third guest...or so I thought. It turned out that our host family was particularly committed to Shabbat hospitality, and wound up with some twenty people at dinner. I'm not much for large groups, even in situations less fraught with potential tension, but it was too late to reconsider without being quite rude, so I settled in for the duration. Here is the cast of our dining party:

1) My initial companion, an young American from the US who volunteered for a 14-month enlistment in the Israeli army (now almost complete) without even taking Israeli citizenship.
2) Another young American IDF volunteer in the same program, serving in a sniper unit.
3) Two Israeli soldiers: one an Israeli-born conscript, and the other a foreign-born 'only son' (normally exempt from combat duty) who volunteered for a combat role. Both are serving in a search and rescue unit that provided humanitarian assistance after earthquakes in Kenya and elsewhere {all four of the soldiers present served in the recent, apparently war-crime plagued, invasion of Gaza}.
4) A North American couple who have been in Israel for several years.
5) A small family who I never really got to meet.
6) An older woman from North America studying Torah in Jerusalem.
7) Two young men and two young women, all from North America, all studying Torah in Jerusalem.
8) Two young men from Australia, also studying Torah in Jerusalem.
9) Our host and hostess and their young daughter. 10) {the invisible other}

Most of us were already seated and chatting when the soldiers arrived, carrying their automatic weapons. One of the Australians almost immediately asked a soldier, "Hey, can I use your gun to kill an Arab? After Shabbat, of course." I don't remember the exact response, but the soldier certainly didn't chastise him, and neither did anyone else. A few minutes later, I turned to the speaker and told him that I didn't find his joke remotely funny. His only response was to say, "I wasn't joking", at which point I told him that the joke wouldn't have been funny coming from an Arab who was speaking about a Jew, it would be even less funny if the Arab were serious, and so it was in his case. I think the speaker looked at least a little abashed, though that might be wishful thinking on my part. {Slightly off-topic, I've noticed that pro-settler Australians visiting Hebron seem to be particularly racist and aggressive, even relative to the high pro-settler norms in those areas. I've wondered whether this is due to Australian anti-aboriginal racism that translates easily to Palestinians, which theory came up in a discussion with a Kiwi couple a couple of nights ago. They thought my theory seemed pretty plausible, and told me that Australian aborigines were still classified under the Flora and Fauna Act(!), and could be legally hunted(!!), until passage of a 1967 Referendum(!!!).} A bit later, our host asked the soldiers to set their guns aside during dinner; while deciding where to put them, the American sniper joked that maybe we shouldn't trust the Australian with them, which drew a hearty laugh from the assembled diners (myself excluded, as you might imagine); apparently, race-based murder was seen as a risible subject. Somewhere around this time, there's a go-round of the table, in which everyone says something about what they're thankful for this Shabbat. Our hostess leads off, and is the first of five consecutive diners who wax eloquent in their admiration of the soldiers at the table, with additional appreciation of being in Israel/Jerusalem, and some for other topics. There is no tempering, much less criticism, included in the soldier love-fest, and even the soldiers look a bit uncomfortable with the adulation. The next several speakers also fete the soldiers, though in lesser proportion to the rest of the universe; I'm the first speaker for whom neither Israeli soldiers nor the wonder of being in Israel arise. Everyone, including myself, thanks our hosts for their hospitality, etc.

At some point, all the diners go to wash their hands in the kitchen, where a very petite, dark-skinned, "foreign worker" (maybe Thai, or possibly Filipino) is washing dishes. I actually caught a glimpse of this woman earlier in the evening, but her presence has been so completely ignored by everyone else that I thought I might be mistaken. Presumably, hiring a foreign worker is better than employing a potentially 'uppity' Palestinian who might feel she has actually has rights in her homeland. I find it extraordinary that, in our round of thanksgiving, nobody (notably our hostess) has even mentioned this woman. I thank her, now, and it takes some time and a second attempt for her to even recognize that she's being addressed, though she has a great smile when she does realize I'm expressing my appreciation for her work.

As dinner progresses, the soldiers actually turn the table to a discussion of sniping techniques, the relative merits of different automatic weapons, and whether the IDF should issue bayonets to its troops. I'm a bit flabbergasted by this content at a Shabbat dinner, and wait for our host to redirect the conversation, but no such luck. After a considerable period, and to my relief, he does invite explications of the week's Torah portion (Lech Lecha: Abram and Sarah go to Egypt, Abram rescues Lot from Sodom, Sarah gives birth to Ishmael) from a couple of the students in attendance. The first 'vort' (a 'word', or short lesson on Torah) is by one of the young American students, and involves Lot's curiosity and overconfidence in his own righteousness, which lead him to reside in sinful Sodom, where he is ultimately dragged down by the corruption surrounding him. It's not a bad lesson, but I'm listening to this and getting more and more incredulous that the speaker sees no applicability to one's company at Shabbat dinner. The next vort is given by the older American woman, who tells how the Ba'al Shem Tov (a uniquely influential Jewish mystic and teacher) and his companions see a man stealing a bridle. The Ba'al Shem Tov tells his companions not to say anything, because the man obviously needs money for Shabbat; he also says that a Jew should not accuse another Jew of a crime, because, after death, Satan will call the accuser as a witness against the accused before G-d's judgment. Our host speaks up at this point, quietly pointing out that one isn't permitted to use stolen money or property for a mitzvah (such as honoring the Shabbat), and the story is rather suspect. Again, it's a good lesson, but all I can think is that the espousal of cold-blooded murder didn't warrant even a similarly mild correction.

A bit later, my original companion asks me privately to explain something I mentioned to him about mapping work I was doing in the the village of Lifta. At this point, I am fervently wishing that I had never come, swearing to myself that I never will again, and the last thing in the world I want is to be subjected to a gang-bang on the supposed evils of Palestinians. Hoping I can still salvage some small positive from the dinner, however, I present my case: Basically, I say, I have come to perceive Israeli Jews/Zionists as seeing no inherent human value in 'the other' (in this case, non-Jews, and primarily Palestinians), but viewing them basically as a contaminant of the Zionist ideal, a 'demographic time-bomb', or what have you. They are hated and persecuted by some, 'tolerated' by others, but viewed as a vital and desirable piece of the tapestry by almost no one. This kind of world view led to the ethnic cleansing of Lifta, a large Palestinian village west of Jerusalem, in 1948. It is also, in my mind, the same thinking that lay at the core of Nazi atrocities against the Jews, and all the other persecutions of our people over the centuries. My hope is to show the beauty and history of the village, its life and its people, and use that beauty to remind Israelis/Jews of the humanity and inherent value of its inhabitants. This is largely because I find it intolerable that the mindset of our persecutors has so thoroughly infiltrated Jewish life, not only because these things were done to our people, this point, I pause to search for words, and my interlocutor actually finishes my sentence for me: "it's just not a good way to be!". He then tells me that he completely agrees with everything I've said, and he thinks what I'm doing in Lifta is amazing and important work. I'm absolutely delighted, of course, but also utterly amazed, and ask this guy how in the world he wound up volunteering for the IDF. He tells me it was due to "first year in Israel-itis"; he was super idealistic and caught up in the romance of the 'Jewish state'. Now, he says, he's still idealistic, but his experience in the Army has shifted his views and the nature of his idealism 180 degrees. He's obviously about to go into more detail when he visibly stops himself with an upward hand gesture, which I take to mean that he is worried about violating the Shabbat, or starting a firestorm with the other diners, or both, but I can't be sure. I give him a brief description of Zochrot, and urge him to seek out the group before he leaves Israel, and that's pretty much the end of my evening.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Read history; Palestinian children shall remember you...

Kosher BBC and beyond... on Aumtie Ziona Today

Mark Thomson and the Kosher BBC

Oi I was so happy with the BBC (Building Bridges Corporation) reaction to the Gaza appeal so I went to check who is looking after us in this wonderful organization and I found such a lovey goy named Mark Thomson who really loves to build bridges with us. Here is what we say about him in our Wiki'le on line encyclopedia.'In November 2005, Thomson traveled with his Jewish wife to Israel, where he held direct talks with Sharon, which were intended to let the BBC build bridges with Israel'.
This is so nice... that the BBC loves to build bridges while we destroy bridges, demolish houses and inflict genocide the the Palestinian people.It is a shame he is not a proper Jew but he is trying hard and he is getting close. According to the Independent, sources at the BBC say 'He's a Catholic, but his wife is Jewish, and he has a far greater regard for the Israeli cause than some of his predecessors."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Israel drops chemical weapons over children in GAZA

Israel drops chemical weapons over a U.N. school in Gaza

Monday, January 19, 2009

We'll never forget....

Do you know justice?Who ever you are...who ever you may be. You are a human being
I may not be able to get to your head and how you are thinking
But pictures are a universal language that can get us together.
I don't want you to feel sorry and drop a tear
I just want a word of justice and for you to take a position of humanityI just want you to close your eyes and imagine if one of those victims were your son, sister or father
Without a doubt your heart will scream NO!!!Those you've seen have people who love them and they scream NO, but Israel keep trying to shut their voices off So, cry it (NO) in the face of the Israeli killing force.

Don't ever forget the Israelis: