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Blatant Racism Toward Israeli Bedouins – The Iron Dirt Dome

8:22 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Sunday, as fighting escalated in the open prison grounds of Gazagrad, a desperate rocket, fired from the internment camp’s interior killed an Israeli Bedouin citizen.  The Association for Human Rights in Israel reports:

In Israel, two civilians have been killed. One was a Bedouin, the 32-year-old Oudi Lafi al-Waj, who lived in an unrecognized village in the Negev (Naqab) desert, near Dimona. Several Bedouin children have also been injured by rocket fire since Israel began ‘Operation Protective Edge.‘ Bedouin villages do not have air raid sirens, nor are they covered by Iron Dome. They also lack bomb shelters. In the wake of al-Waj’s death, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, a non-governmental organization, ‘submitted an urgent request’ this morning to the Israeli High Court for an answer on the petition the organization filed last week requesting that the state provide bomb shelters for the Bedouin. But in a Sunday hearing at Israel’s High Court, the ‘state expressed its position that there is no need to provide additional protective facilities to these communities, and advised the Bedouin residents to protect themselves by lying on the ground,’ ACRI reports. The organization added that ‘officials claimed that protecting the Bedouin villages was a low priority.’ [emphasis added]

Part of the reason these non-Jewish, second-class citizens of the apartheid state are being advised to “lie on the ground” is that if they were to build adequate bomb shelters in their villages, they would most likely be demolished by Israeli police or military forces:

In the State’s formal pleadings to the court, it claimed that the responsibility to provide protective facilities rests primarily on homeowners, but did not refer to the fact that most of the houses in these communities are simple shacks that are particularly vulnerable to damage and provide no protection. They also did not refer to the fact that the current legal situation forbids any construction in these communities and that any construction would be subject to a demolition order. [emphasis added]

Writer Max Blumenthal has been among the most assiduous in gathering evidence of longtime Israeli racism and institutional apartheid policies toward its Bedouin citizens.  A small sample, from February, 2011:

Yesterday morning, the Bedouin village of Al Arakib withstood the 18th pogrom against it by the Jewish National Fund and Israeli riot police. I mentioned in my last post that I would begin promoting actions to hold the Jewish National Fund accountable for violently ethnic cleansing Al Arakib in order to build the GOD TV Forest of Hate. Now here is something everyone who reads this blog (minus the professional hasbara trolls) can and should do: Join the Jewish Voice for Peace call in campaign to demand that the JNF cease demolishing villages like Al Arakib. Tell your local JNF office to stop the pogroms against the indigenous population of the Negev. To be sure, this is a minor action that will probably yield only dismissive responses from JNF representatives, but it is important to apply pressure and get them on the record.

In recent Firedoglake diaries about the ongoing assault on Gaza, several commenters have defended Israeli conduct.  Please show up here, my deluded, Zionist friends, and explain how not providing protection to citizens in harm’s way because of their ethnic background does not constitute blatant and enduring apartheid?

In recent years, village residents and human rights organizations have turned repeatedly to the Ministry of Defence and the Home Front Command to provide protective facilities for these villages. Most of the letters were ignored. One of the responses provided to Physicians for Human Rights – Israel in 2009 explained that while advocacy activities were planned for village residents, there was no intention to provide any protective facilities to any Bedouin communities apart from Rahat [a Bedouin <strike>gated community</strike> forced relocation camp. [emphasis added]

At least Marie Antionette wanted France’s second class citizens to be able to “eat cake.”  The Israeli High Court wants their Bedouin citizens to “eat dirt.”

It will be interesting to see how Israeli policies toward its other second class (i.e. – non-Jewish) citizens are influenced by the pressure of events in the wake of the current criminally disproportionate response to Palestinian rocket barrages.

Is Obama’s Upcoming Israel Visit as Fictitious as That of The Rolling Stones?

1:25 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Rolling Stones - Jewish-Press Punked

I.  A whole lot of people hooked on Ziocaine got punked last week by a prank article published in The Jewish Press.  The article touted an upcoming concert in Israel by The Rolling Stones:

Despite a barrage of attacks from British, European and U.S. Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) groups, the Rolling Stones will perform their planned concert in Jerusalem on Israel’s Independence Day, Monday, April 15.

“We’ve been slammed and smacked and twittered a lot by the anti-Israeli side,” said Mick Jagger, the band’s leader and most recognizable member since 1963. “All I can say is: anything worth doing is worth overdoing. So we decided to add a concert on Tuesday.”

Needless to say, tickets to both concerts, Monday night in Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem and Tuesday night in Bloomfield Stadium, Tel Aviv, have been sold out even as Jagger was speaking.

The hoax article went further into details of the fictitious concert series.

Unsurprisingly, some took the bait in spite of a disclaimer (“This has been a Purim prank…”).  My favorite:

Some of the web sites or publications falling for it were jns.org:

Legendary rock band The Rolling Stones has announced it will not cancel its planned concert in Jerusalem, to be held on Israel’s Independence Day April 15, despite pressure from anti-Zionist groups. Instead, the band decided to add a second Jerusalem concert the next day.

and Abby Martin’s favorite fake news source, Allgemeiner, about whose punking Phan Nguyen wrote, “the reliably unreliable Algemeiner“:

Legendary rock band The Rolling Stones has announced it will not cancel its planned concert in Jerusalem, to be held on Israel’s Independence Day April 15, despite pressure from anti-Zionist groups. Instead, the band decided to add a second Jerusalem concert the next day.

“We’ve been slammed and smacked and twittered a lot by the anti-Israeli side. All I can say is: anything worth doing is worth overdoing. So we decided to add a concert on Tuesday,” said Mick Jagger, the band’s lead singer, according to the Jewish Press.

and my favorite, the amazing Pamela Geller, who was in ecstasy over this, in her original post that lauded the Stones’ courage:

ROLLING STONES TELL JEW-HATERS TO KISS THEIR ……. ADDS ANOTHER DATE TO ISRAEL TOUR ON ISRAEL INDEPENDENCE DAY

and:

It is so delicious to see very cool people standing against savagery, thuggery and injustice. I’d wish I could get to Jerusalem just to see this show.

When Geller’s punking was exposed by commenters to her post, she lied and turned on them. According to Phan Nguyen:

Thus—essentially saying, “I was testing you”—Geller pretended to be in on the joke. However, there are several reasons why this is implausible:

1. Geller acknowledged that it was a Purim joke. But by the time of she had posted her story on February 26, Purim was already over. It would be like making an April Fool’s joke on April 2.

2. Geller didn’t quote directly from the original Jewish Press article but instead based her post on Robert Miller’s Joshuapundit article. To this day, Miller appears unaware that the story is a hoax and his post stands uncorrected. There is no indication that Geller had seen the original article in The Jewish Press before she posted.

3. Despite claiming that she was proving a clever point, Geller later removed the posting from her website and also deleted her tweet referencing it. What’s the point of making a point and then deleting all references to the point?

II. So The Rolling Stones aren’t going to Israel in April, after all. How about Obama in March, especially if he doesn’t have an Israeli Government with whom to meet?

President Barack Obama’s historic first visit as US leader to Israel this month could be in jeopardy after Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to plead for extra time to cobble together a new coalition government.

The Israeli prime minister was granted a two-week extension by Shimon Peres, Israel’s president, after missing Saturday’s deadline to reach agreement with rival parties following January’s inconclusive general election.

He now has until March 16 to form a government – otherwise Mr Peres will ask another party leader to lead coalition talks.

White House officials have said Mr Obama will call off his visit if no government is in place by then.

The US president is scheduled to arrive on March 20 for a two-day trip that will also include the West Bank city of Ramallah.

If you find Israeli party politics bewildering, you are not alone. I suppose Netanyahu himself is bewildered by the maze he helped build, and in which he is now all but trapped:

Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu won 31 of the Knesset’s 120 seats – an eroded lead that forced him to cast a wide net for partners while juggling their disparate demands.

During the 28-day period, Netanyahu managed to forge a pact only with the party of former foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, whose six-member faction “The Movement” has given him 37 seats, way short of the minimum 61 needed to confirm a new coalition.

In a brief statement following his meeting with Peres on Saturday night, Netanyahu hinted that at least one potential coalition partner refused to sit alongside others.

Netanyahu has faced demands from the parties that placed second and fourth, Yesh Atid (There is a Future) and Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home), to slash mass exemptions from military conscription and cut welfare stipends to ultra-Orthodox Jews.

In coalition talks on Friday with Bayit Yehudi, Netanyahu’s chief negotiator said the right-wing party was unwilling to sit alongside ultra-Orthodox parties but Bayit Yehudi officials denied this.

At Mondoweiss, Annie Robbins has provided an excellent, detailed analysis of Netanyahu’s pickle, which most likely adds up to no Israeli ruling coalition by the date set for Obama’s trip.  She observes that in spite of gains by moderate factions in the January election, the hardliners seem to hold the last trump.  Playing it – accepting the notion of outright annexation of Palestine without giving the non-Jewish Palestinians any citizenship rights – will isolate Israel internationally, certainly from Europe and most of Latin America.

Pressures on the disagreeing parties to come up with something so as to avoid a cancellation or rescheduling of Obama’s trip are probably there, but insignificant.  One shouldn’t forget that there is far more antipathy toward Obama in Israel than there is, even among white GOP conservatives and Tea Party fanatics, in the USA.

hat tips to Phan Nguyen and Annie Robbins

As Eliminationist Racism Explodes in Israel, Obama Defends Its Consequences – Updated

5:49 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Four Palestinian siblings killed by IDF 11/18/2012

I.  As the civilian death toll in Gaza mushroomed Sunday, the son of long comatose Ariel Sharon invoked mushroom clouds, in a stark metaphor of eliminationism toward the people of Gaza:

The son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has called on Israel to escalate its current military assault and “flatten all of Gaza”.

In an inflammatory op-ed article for The Jerusalem Post,  Gilad Sharon dismisses any concern over the deaths of innocent Palestinian civilians as a result.

“The residents of Gaza are not innocent, they elected Hamas,” he writes.

“We need to flatten entire neighbourhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.”

Sharon was far from alone.  A line was crossed Saturday when Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai called for a Holocaust against Palestinians:

Palestinian activists routinely claim to be suffering a “shoah” at the hands of Israel, but the Jewish state normally denies any moral equivalence between the suffering of Palestinians today and European jewry under the Nazis.

Matan Vilnai, deputy defence minister, broke that taboo when he used the term “shoah” during interview on Army Radio.

“The more qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they (the Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves,” he said.

His use of the term reflects the febrile atmosphere in Israel where public opinion demands the government does something decisive to stop the daily barrage of rockets fired from Gaza over the border into Israel.

The Telegraph article was incorrect in its claim of “a daily barrage of rockets fired from Gaza.”  That is certainly the case now, but there have been many extremely long lulls and cessations in the most often innocuous and ineffectual rocket launchings or barrages.  Indeed, the Israelis have killed more Palestinian kids this week than Palestinian rockets have claimed over all the years among all Israelis, let alone innocent children.

Minister Vilnai wasn’t the only government spokesperson to vilify human life itself this weekend in public comments.  Interior Minister Eli Yishai earnestly advocated genocidal war crimes against Gazans:

Read the rest of this entry →

Likud MK Danny Danon Wants to Put African Migrants in Israel into Concentration Camps

9:30 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

As violence against illegal and legal African migrants to Israel has escalated this past week in and around Tel Aviv, so has the rhetoric coming out of recently elevated figures in Netanyahu’s new coalition power structure:

Following Wednesday’s violent protest against African migrants in Tel Aviv, Likud MK Danny Dannon called to remove African asylum seekers from population centers in Israel.

Speaking to Haaretz, Dannon said that the immediate solution for calming the situation and for putting a stop to the violence requires the evacuation of the African migrants from south Tel Aviv.

“The infiltrators must be distanced immediately,” he said. “We must expedite the construction of temporary detention facilities and remove Africans from population centers.”

He doesn’t seem to mean “some” Africans.  He means all of them.

Signs that the country almost 100% of America’s national legislators claim to love even more than our own is becoming increasingly racist at an alarming rate are growing.  The meme that the ultra-Orthodox of Jerusalem and the illegal settlements are the problematic ones in respect to racism and eliminationist rhetoric, and that places like Tel Aviv are much more like the USA, is being revealed in these demonstrations to be nothing more than bullshit.  In the run-up to this week’s rampage in south Tel Aviv, there was this encounter:

The violence began escalating in April, with a series of fire bombings of  dwellings and shops of African migrants and refugees.  As it has gotten more out of hand, some politicians seem to be participating in feeding the violence.  Here is Interior Minister Eli Yishai, speaking at  conference in April:

And here is more from extremist MK members:

Earlier, Knesset members spoke at the event. Some blamed government inaction for the “infiltration problem,” while others heaped accusations on human rights organizations helping the refugees. Knesset Member Miri Regev called the refugees “a cancer in our body.” Regev, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, said that “leftists” are preventing the state from deporting the refugees back to Africa. Knesset Member Danny Danon (Likud), who also spoke at the event, wrote in a Facebook status tonight that “Israel is at war. An enemy state of infiltrators was established in Israel, and its capital is south Tel Aviv.”

According to one of the eyewitnesses, the most inflammatory speaker was MK Michael Ben-Ari, a former member of Meir Kahane’s racist Kach party, who was a resident of south Tel Aviv himself before moving to a settlement. “The police commissioner wants to give the African jobs,” said Ben-Ari, referring to a statement by Chief of Police Yochanan Danino, who recently urged the government to allow the refugees to work in Israel, in order to prevent the crime rate from rising. “This will bring another 50,000 people here,” said Ben Ari.

The growing evidence of racist violence by Israelis may be what finally brings American liberals who have somehow managed to keep their faith in that country warm, away from support for the Zionist cause.  Back in mid-2009, when author and videographer Max Blumenthal produced the controversial video, Feeling the Hate in Jerusalem, many were shocked at the open racism, particularly toward Obama:

In the 35 months since Blumenthal posted the video, the examples of virulent racism in Israeli society have multiplied.  Yet can anyone name an American politician who has spoken up about this, even an African American one?

In that sense, the hard-right Zionists and their blind supporters here in the USA seem to never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.  More than the rantings pushing for a war against Iran, more than the struggle for Palestinian rights, more than the billions upon billions we give away to Israel every year, the almost daily mushrooming of racial hatred by Israelis may be what finally disgusts us out of our stupor.

[emphases in quotes added by author]

Günter Grass Declared Persona non Grata in Israel for a Poem

11:01 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Gunter Grass in 1944 (at right), in German labor service

Nobel Prize for Literature recipient and leading German novelist Günter Grass’ new poem, What Must Be Said, has quickly become the most talked-about poem in recent memory. The reactions of militant expansionist Zionists have been all too predictable. The most recent reaction by the Israeli government to his critique of Israeli government policies may have gone far enough to elicit a strong reaction from the German people, though:

Interior Minister Eli Yishai declared Sunday that German Nobel laureate Gunter Grass is a persona non grata in Israel, after Grass published a poem last week which was highly critical of Israel and its policies.

Yishai harshly condemned Grass’ poem, and said that he is declared a persona non grata in Israel for wearing SS uniform in the past.

A poll taken at the end of the week by The Financial Times Deutschland finds the reaction by Germans who have read the poem in its original language to be along these lines (at 9700 respondents):

“The statements by Grass are …

- insane 8%
- dangerous 4%
- antisemitic 4%
- worth discussing/arguable 27%
- correct 57% ”

As Mondoweiss commenter Klaus Bloemker observes from Germany, “The respondents who see Grass’ statements as correct or at least arguable: 84%.  I think in the general German public the approval of Grass is even higher than this poll reflects. This will have political consequences in the longer term.”

Up until this event, Germany has been Israel’s most staunch European ally in the quest to increase pressures upon Iran.  With a poll showing 84% of a segment of readers of a fairly conservative German financial newspaper backing Grass, this support on Iran sanctions may be something far more representative of the Merkel administration than of the educated population at large.  Bloemker observes further, “As for now, the establishment is overwhelmingly distancing itself from Grass.”

There is more to be gleaned from the Haaretz article on Grass’ banning, beginning with this:

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also issued a harsh condemnation of Grass’ poem on Sunday, during a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.

Lieberman said that Grass’ poem is the expression of “egoism of so-called Western intellectuals, who are willing to sacrifice the Jewish people on the altar of crazy anti-Semites for a second time, just to sell a few more books or gain recognition.” [emphasis added]

So the racist foreign minister tries to pull in the Prime Minister of Italy in linkage to his strange words.  Not only that, with the Italian PM sitting there, Lieberman made demands:

Speaking during a meeting with the Italian prime minister, Mario Monti, Lieberman demanded condemnation from European leaders. “We have witnessed in the past how small seeds of antisemitic hate can turn into a large fire that harms all of humanity.”

Further on in the Haaretz article, written by Ophir Bar-Zohar and Barak Ravid, there is this:

In his poem, which was published in several European newspapers last week, the 85-year-old author claims that Israel’s nuclear reactor – and not Iran’s – presents a threat to world peace. [emphasis added]

In the translations I’ve read – four of them – the words “nuclear reactor” do not appear. Such terms as these do, in order of appearance:

first strike
a bomb is being built
growing nuclear potential
no testing is available
concealment of these facts
all-destroying warheads
a single atomic bomb
the nuclear power of Israel
an unhindered and permanent control
Of the Israeli nuclear potential
And the Iranian nuclear sites

(from Heather Horn’s translation for The Atlantic)

Were the Haaretz authors, Ophir Bar-Zohar and Barak Ravid, legally constrained from mentioning Israeli nuclear weapons in the article, thus forcing the inaccurate term, “nuclear reactor”?

If you are familiar with Grass’ important novels and enjoyed them for their deep antiwar sentiments and scenarios, but are unfamiliar with Grass’  2007 New Yorker article, How I Spent the War, you should read the article.  Here some relevant sections:

His initial service at age 15:

In 1943, when I was a fifteen-year-old schoolboy in Danzig, I volunteered for active duty. When? Why? Since I do not know the exact date and cannot recall the by then unstable climate of the war, or list its hot spots from the Arctic to the Caucasus, all I can do for now is string together the circumstances that probably triggered and nourished my decision to enlist. No mitigating epithets allowed. What I did cannot be put down to youthful folly. No pressure from above. Nor did I feel the need to assuage a sense of guilt, at, say, doubting the Führer’s infallibility, with my zeal to volunteer.

It happened while I was serving in the Luftwaffe auxiliary—a force made up of boys too young to be conscripts, who were deployed to defend Germany in its air war. The service was not voluntary but compulsory then for boys of my age, though we experienced it as a liberation from our school routine and accepted its not very taxing drills. Rabidly pubescent, we considered ourselves the mainstays of the home front.

His attempt to join the submarine service:

It must have been possible for a Luftwaffe auxiliary to trade a weekend leave for a Wednesday or Thursday off. In any case, one thing is clear: after one long day’s march, I took the tram from Heubude to the Central Station, and from there the train via Langfuhr and Zoppot to Gotenhafen, where Navy recruits were trained to handle submarines. It took all of an hour to reach the goal of my dreams of heroism. I found the recruitment office in a low, Polish-period building where, behind a row of doors with signs, bureaucratic rigmarole was processed, passed on, filed. After signing in, I was told to wait for my name to be called. There were two or three older boys ahead of me. I did not have much to say to them.

The sergeant and the seaman first class I spoke to rejected me out of hand: I was too young; my age group hadn’t come up yet; it would soon enough; no reason for excessive haste.

They were smoking and drinking coffee with milk out of big, bulbous cups. One of these—from my perspective—elderly gentlemen (the sergeant?) was sharpening a supply of pencils while I spoke. Or did I pick up this dramatic detail from some movie or other?

I must have stood my ground even as I was told that there was no need for submarine volunteers at present: they had stopped accepting applications. And then they reminded me that the war was not being fought entirely underwater, and said that they would make a note of my name and pass it on to other branches of the military. Provisions were being made for new panzer divisions. “Patience, young man, patience. We’ll come and get you soon enough. ”

His induction through draft into the Waffen SS:

It took less than two months for my induction letter to arrive, black and white on the kitchen table, signed, dated, and stamped. In September, 1944, my train pulled out of Danzig Central Station, headed for Berlin.

Mother had refused to accompany son to the station. She was smaller than I was, and when she hugged me in the living room she seemed to dissolve into tears between the piano and the grandfather clock. “All I ask is that you come back in one piece,” she said.

Father accompanied me. We didn’t say a word to each other on the tram. Then he had to buy a platform ticket. His velvet hat gave him a soigné, bourgeois look: a man in his mid-forties who had managed to stay a civilian and stay alive.

The 17-year old’s assignment:

My new marching orders made it clear where the recruit with my name was to undergo basic training: on a drill ground of the Waffen S.S., as a panzer gunner, somewhere far off in the Bohemian Woods.

His feelings about the Waffen SS at the time:

The question is: Was I frightened by what was obvious then in the recruitment office, as I am terrified now by the double “S,” even as I write this more than sixty years later?

There is nothing carved into the onion skin of my memory that can be read as a sign of shock, let alone horror. I most likely viewed the Waffen S.S. as an élite unit that was sent into action whenever a breach in the front line had to be stopped up. I did not find the double rune on the uniform collar repellent. The boy, who saw himself as a man, was probably more concerned with the branch of the service: if he was not destined for the submarines, then he would be a tank gunner in a division that was named in honor of Jörg von Frundsberg, whom I knew as the leader of the Swabian League during the sixteenth-century Peasant Wars and the “father of the Landsknechts”—crack infantry mercenaries. Someone who stood for freedom, liberation. Besides, the Waffen S.S. had a European aura to it: it included separate volunteer divisions of French and Walloon, Dutch, and Belgian, and many Norwegian and Danish soldiers; there were even said to be neutral Swedes on the Eastern Front in the defensive battle, as the rhetoric went, to save the West from the Bolshevik flood.

His explanation of later doubts and concealment:

So there were plenty of excuses. Yet for decades I refused to admit to the word, to the double letters. What I accepted with the stupid pride of youth I wanted to conceal after the war out of a recurrent sense of shame. But the burden remained, and no one could alleviate it.

True, during the tank-gunner training, which kept me numb throughout the autumn and winter, there was no mention of the war crimes that later came to light. But the ignorance I claim cannot blind me to the fact that I had been incorporated into a system that had planned, organized, and carried out the extermination of millions of people. Even if I could not be accused of active complicity, there remains to this day a residue that is all too commonly called joint responsibility. I will have to live with it for the rest of my life.

Grass is now being hauled over the coals for his forced service in what was the largest draft of very young people into military service in the history of the Third Reich.  Had he refused to serve, he probably would have been imprisoned, hung or shot.

Grass writes compellingly of the end of that 1,000-year reich, as military units crumbled around him; as he abandoned his fuel-less tank, abandoned his weapon (which, apparently, he never shot at a Soviet soldier); as he shuffled by the bodies of other young men his age, hanging from trees, with placards around their necks.  Here’s one of his descriptions of the environment:

In the chaos of retreat, I sought to join up with scattered soldiers who were likewise trying to find their units. Even though I had had no direct contact with the enemy, I was scared to death. The soldiers hanging from the trees along the road were a constant warning of the risk run by every one of us who could not prove that he belonged to a company or was on his way to this or that unit with signed and sealed travel orders.

The central section of the Eastern Front, now retreating inexorably west, was under the command of the infamous General Schörner. According to “Schörner’s orders,” military police—bloodhounds, the lot of them—were to go after soldiers without marching papers and haul them, no matter what their rank, before mobile courts-martial as malingerers, cowards, and deserters. They would then be summarily and conspicuously hanged. Schörner and his orders were more to be feared than the enemy.

Well, the war was soon over and Schörner and his ilk are long gone.

Soon afterward, however, many of Israel’s early leaders were planning the killings of hundreds of British Army soldiers and thousands of Palestinians, as they sought to terrorize the local governing authorities and local indigenous population into blunt acceptance of a new kind of  racially pure society.

The hypocrisy of current top Israeli officials needs to be called out.  Günter Grass has clearly done this.  Hopefully, he will be able to withstand increasing pressure to recant, and hopefully, more people – including commenters and diarists here – will come to his defense.

It must be said.

From my point of view, what must be further said is that Israel is not our ally.  The government of Israel is not a friend of U.S. long-term interests.  Rather, they have become the most dangerous adversary we have faced since before the implosion of the USSR.  Unlike the USSR, however, the Israeli government and its prime functionaries are deeply embedded into our political and military machinery.

Pete Seeger Joins BDS – Updated

11:52 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

From Haaretz:

American folk music legend Pete Seeger yesterday officially joined the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign – an international movement to pressure and sanction Israel through economic means.

Seeger, 92, one of the fathers of American folk music, is a veteran political and peace activist. In the 1950s he was interrogated by the McCarthyist House Unamerican Activities Committee and two years ago performed for U.S. President Barack Obama’s inauguration concert.

Seeger has been labelled many things over the years, but after doing a google search, it doesn’t appear anyone has yet called him an anti-Semite. That will soon change.

Those defending the increasingly racist and eliminationist Israeli government, in the face of a tidal wave of revolutions by young people who are aware that the U.S. and Israel have helped suppress their countries’ search for true democracy, as it comes crashing down, will attack Seeger tomorrow. And the next day. But his joining the ranks of people opposed to Israeli apartheid will probably shake the performing arts community more than the defections of such luminaries as his friends Theodore Bikel or Gil Scott-Heron.

Monday, Adam Horowitz covered Seeger’s change of opinion on this matter:

During a January meeting at his Beacon, NY home with representatives from the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and Adalah-NY, Pete Seeger explained, “I appeared on that virtual rally because for many years I’ve felt that people should talk with people they disagree with. But it ended up looking like I supported the Jewish National Fund. I misunderstood the leaders of the Arava Institute because I didn’t realize to what degree the Jewish National Fund was supporting Arava. Now that I know more, I support the BDS movement as much as I can.”

Jeff Halper, the Coordinator of ICAHD, added, “Pete did extensive research on this. He read historical and current material and spoke to neighbors, friends, and three rabbis before making his decision to support the boycott movement against Israel.” Seeger has for some time given some of the royalties from his famous Bible-based song from the 1960s, “Turn, Turn, Turn,” to ICAHD for their work in rebuilding demolished homes and exposing Israel’s practice of pushing Palestinians in Israel off their land in favor of development of Jewish villages and cities.

The November virtual rally “With Earth and Each Other” was billed as an apolitical effort to bring Israelis and Palestinians together to work for the environment. Dave Lippman from Adalah-NY noted, “Arava’s online event obfuscated basic facts about Israel’s occupation and systematic seizure of land and water from Palestinians. Arava’s partner and funder, the JNF, is notorious for planting forests to hide Palestinian villages demolished by Israel in order to seize their land. Arava was revealed as a sterling practitioner of Israeli government efforts to ‘Rebrand Israel’ through greenwashing and the arts.”

Regarding Seeger’s friend Bikel, Horowitz adds:

Pete Seeger’s long-time colleague Theodore Bikel, an Israeli-American known for his life-long involvement with Israeli culture, recently supported the Israeli artists who have refused to perform in a new concert hall in Ariel, a large illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

The times, they are a-changin’. Solidarity may be growing as more young people hope for the planet to be this land – yours and mine, in peace.

Is that such a strange dream??

Update – Tuesday 1:30 pm PST: Late Monday, when I wrote this post, there wasn’t much on the web about Seeger’s decision, except for the Haaretz article quoted at the top, and Adam  Horowitz’s background post at Mondoweiss.  Now the Jewish Telegraph Agency has published a short article, and JPost a more extended one, with comments attached.  Here are selected comments:

Very nice Pete…now it not only LOOKS like you support the people who started 3 wars with the intention of destroying the State of Israel…now we know it’s a fact…

and:

I put all the LP’s and CD’s into “little boxes” and “turned, turned” them into the landfill where they belong.

and:

Wherever he shows his ugly face, people should protest. I will be glad to do so. He deserves no less for his support of terrorism.

and finally:

The man is a male “Jane Fonda” without the looks . No surprises there and who gives damn about him anyway. He is just another anti Viet war “has been”

Andrew Breitbart IS a Racist – Max, Digby and Eric Boehlert Are Painting Him into a Corner

4:32 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Honorary Alaska blogger, and author of Republican Gomorrah, Max Blumenthal dropped by CPAC last week, for his fourth or fifth year. They’re on to him now, though, and he was pretty much surrounded by aspiring young Republican videographers, their followers, and – eventually – racist Andrew Breitbart. Breitbart kept on asking Max to detail an accusation toward Breitbart, but every time Max tried to get an intelligent discussion going, Breitbart derailed it with epithets.

Breitbart issued a video late last week that purported to clean Max’s clock on the issue. It didn’t. And over the weekend both Eric Boehlert and Digby came to Max’s defense. Here’s Boehlert:

Last September, when the ACORN scandal that his website helped launch was breaking in the press, Andrew Breitbart wrote a column for The Washington Times detailing the rollout of the undercover, right-wing gotcha. He recalled a 2009 meeting with "filmmaker and provocateur James O’Keefe" that took place in Breitbart’s office in June. It was there that O’Keefe played the columnist the surreptitiously recorded videos he’d made with his sidekick, Hannah Giles, and which captured the two famously getting advice from ACORN workers on how prostitutes could skirt tax laws.

In his Times column, Breitbart was quite clear about what he saw that day in his office: He watched videos of O’Keefe "dressed as a pimp" sitting inside ACORN offices "asking for — and getting — help" from the misguided employees.

But today we know that’s almost certainly not true. Breitbart didn’t huddle in his office and watch clips of O’Keefe "dressed as a pimp" chatting with ACORN employees, because based on all the available evidence, O’Keefe wasn’t dressed as a pimp while taping inside the ACORN offices.

Make no mistake: Last fall, both Breitbart and O’Keefe, with the help of Fox News, did their best to confuse people about that fact. It’s true the duo seemed to purposefully push that falsehood and mislead the public and the press about the ACORN story. And more importantly, they did it to make the ACORN workers captured on video look like complete jackasses for not being able to spot O’Keefe’s pimp ruse a mile away.

But the story was not true.

And here’s Digby, taking Breitbart’s dishonesty and its most likely purpose to the logical next level:

But the less than obvious reason this is a big deal is that the pimp and ho costumes were a send-up of over-the-top racial stereotypes that both reinforced some very ugly notions about the African American community, but more importantly, made these ACORN workers look as though they were so dumb they shouldn’t be allowed to cross the street, much less handle tax dollars. And this was done for a reason. The little dirty tricksters,it turns out, had relied on some other stereotypes to perform this sting — he had dressed like a nice, young, preppie fellow, just trying to help this unfortunate young white girl caught in a bad situation in order to gain the ACORN workers’ trust and compassion. He used his stereotypical innocent, youthful, studiously upstanding looks to create a false impression with the ACORN workers and then turned around and filmed some bogus footage of him dressed in a ridiculous pimp costume to give a false impression to the mostly white audience. It was a very clever way to use racial stereotypes on both groups to get what he wanted.

It is pretty obvious that Breitbart, who apparently was in on the editing of O’Keefe’s sequences, for their introduction to Fox and others through Breitbart’s connections, has known all along about not only the dishonesty of the way O’Keefe described what happened in the Acorn offices, but also was involved in the creation of this racially biased narrative. If that isn’t racism, well, somebody has just changed the definition.

Here’s Max’s YouTube of his encounters as he wandered the lobby at CPAC. At first, he’s trying to persuade Breitbart employee Hannah Giles (aka – "the hooker") to convince Breitbart employee James O’Keefe (aka – "the pimp") to sit for an interview with Max. Spew warning, by the way, on some of the humor: