Michael Santomauro @ 917-974-6367
What sort of Truth is it that crushes the freedom to seek the truth?
Let's End Thought Crimes in the Twenty-first Century. -- to separate historical fact from propaganda…peace is patriotic!
Jun 24, 2010
Is Benjamin Netanyahu Rational?
... The neoconservatives frequently complain that Islam is not a "religion of peace," but the Old Testament is also a bloody book, including as it does many accounts of the Israelites massacring their enemies with God's blessing. There are also elements of the Jewish religion that are dark and lend themselves to a mindset that accepts one standard for Jews and another for gentiles ... Based on recent evidence, lying to the gentiles certainly appears to be the hallmark of the Israeli government response to the Gaza flotilla massacre. The Israelis have fabricated information and even two videos, contrived a manifestly false narrative, and lied at every step along the way
More College Grads Are Returning Home to Live
... A survey of last year's college graduation class showed that 80 percent moved back home after getting their diplomas, up significantly from the 63 percent in 2006. The CollegeGrad.
Obama Pushes Diversity in the Federal Courts
President Barack Obama is appointing women and minorities to federal judgeships at an unprecedented rate, and nowhere is the evidence more clear than in the Golden State ... Obama has already done more to diversify the Supreme Court than any other president by choosing two women for the high court. His first choice, Sonia Sotomayor, is the first person of Latino heritage to serve on the Supreme Court. ... Of Obama's nominees, 43 percent are women and minorities, a much higher rate than any of his predecessors, according to an analysis by Alliance for Justice, a liberal advocacy group.
Multiracial US Becoming Even More Diverse
The Associated Press
The nation's minority population is steadily rising and now makes up 35 percent of the United States, advancing an unmistakable trend that could make minorities the new American majority by midcentury. As white baby boomers age past their childbearing years, younger Hispanic parents are having children -- and driving U.S. population growth ... Currently four states -- Hawaii, New Mexico, California and Texas -- as well as the District of Columbia have minority populations that exceed 50 percent.
The Lobby's Blend of Paranoia and Belligerence
Mike Carlton -- Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
It is a ferocious beast, the Jewish lobby. Write just one sentence even mildly critical of Israel and it lunges from its lair, fangs bared ... It's standard operating procedure for the lobby to hurl accusations of anti-Semitism with that peculiar Israeli blend of paranoia and belligerence ... None of this is accidental. The Israel lobby, worldwide, is orchestrated in Jerusalem by a department in the Prime Minister's office with the rather Orwellian name of the Ministry for Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs. Less than 24 hours after the attack on the Mavi Marmara, the ministry hit the internet with "important talking points" for Jews around the world, the first of which was - surprisingly - that "the Palestinian people are not under blockade".
The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment
Peter Beinart -- The New York Review of Books
... Morally, American Zionism is in a downward spiral. If the leaders of groups like AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations do not change course, they will wake up one day to find a younger, Orthodox-dominated, Zionist leadership whose naked hostility to Arabs and Palestinians scares even them, and a mass of secular American Jews who range from apathetic to appalled. ... In the world of AIPAC, the Holocaust analogies never stop, and their message is always the same: Jews are licensed by their victimhood to worry only about themselves. ... This obsession with victimhood lies at the heart of why Zionism is dying among America's secular Jewish young.
Israel's Cult of Victimhood
... The Holocaust's lesson for most Israelis is not a universal one that might inspire them to oppose racism, or fanatical dictators or the bullying herd mentality that can all too quickly grip nations, or even state-sponsored genocide. Instead, Israelis have been taught to see in the Holocaust a different message: that the world is plagued by a unique and ineradicable hatred of Jews, and that the only safety for the Jewish people is to be found in the creation of a super-power Jewish state that answers to no one. Put bluntly, Israel's motto is: only Jewish power can prevent Jewish victimhood ... The lesson the rest of us need to draw from the deadly commando raid is that the world can no longer afford to indulge these delusions.
What Price Afghanistan?
Patrick J. Buchanan
... Eight years ago, the Taliban seemed finished. Since then, we have poured in scores of thousands of troops, spent $300 billion, lost 1,000 soldiers and seen thousands more wounded. Yet, the Taliban have never been stronger or operated more broadly ... To succeed in creating in Afghanistan a country where the Taliban have been driven permanently from power and there is no chance of al-Qaida's returns, we need a government in Kabul and an Afghan army and police that can follow up U.S. military gains by taking control, protecting the population and providing social reforms. We don't have that government. We have, instead, a regime that has no confidence we will stay the course and is thus dealing behind our backs with the enemy who is killing our troops.
Helen Thomas: An Appreciation
Paul Craig Roberts
... Any other government that murdered thousands of civilians in other countries, as Israel does routinely in Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank, would have its entire government and military on trial before the War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague. Israelis have no worst enemy than their own government. Every time the rest of the world tries to hold the Israeli government accountable for its crimes, the US vetoes the UN resolution. America has become the enabler of the zionist-hijacked Israeli government. And the Israeli government knows it.
Grim Outlook for the Global Economy
... The United States, 25 percent of the global economy, can't rein in its spending or cut debt. President George Bush inherited a surplus and went on to create the biggest deficit in US history (excepting WWII). Now, President Barack Obama is making matters worse by piling on more unsustainable debt ... Most alarmingly for resource exporters like Canada and Australia, Roubini warns China has massively overspent on infrastructure, exporting its excess capacity. Beijing has "front-loaded 15 years of capital spending," says Roubini.
Who Are We Defending?: Cut Military Spending
B. Friedman and C. Preble - Los Angeles Times
... The truth is that the U.S. no longer has a "defense" budget. The adjective is wrong. Our military forces' size long ago ceased to have any meaningful attachment to the requirements of protecting Americans ... Our military spending is nearly equal to half the world's, and our allies spend most of the other half. Russia, China, North Korea, Syria and Iran collectively spend about a fourth of what we do on defense ... Our deficit problem is an opportunity to surrender the pretension that we are the world's indispensable nation, preventing instability, shaping the international system and guiding history. We should be content to settle for being the big kid on the block that looks out for itself and occasionally helps friends in a bad spot.
Stop 'Thriving Holocaust Industry,' Says German Legislator
Ynet News (Israel)
"Stop cooperation with the state of Jewish scoundrels", "Don't give in to the thriving Holocaust industry." These statements were not said in the Tehran parliament, but in the German city of Dresden, during a parliament meeting in the state of Saxony. Leader of the extreme right National Democratic Party (NPD) Holger Apfel stirred up a storm in the parliament on Thursday when he carried a speech titled "no to cooperation with scoundrel countries - and end cooperation between Saxony and Israel."
In Ireland, a Call For End of `Cynical Holocaust Exploitation' by Israel
The Irish Times (Ireland)
David Norris (Ind.) [member of the Seanad or Senate of the Irish Republic] called on the Israeli authorities to end their "cynical, heartless and contemptible exploitation of the Holocaust for their own political purposes. This lets us all down, including those tragic victims of Auschwitz and all the other terrible camps." Mr Norris said he utterly condemned the recent murderous assault on the Gaza-bound peace flotilla, "where, in what was the equivalent of Bloody Sunday for the Israelis, a group almost equal in numbers of innocent, peaceful protesters against an outrage against humanity in Gaza were slaughtered by Israeli commandos."
Arizona Lawmaker Takes Aim at Automatic US Citizenship
The Associated Press
Emboldened by passage of the nation's toughest law against illegal immigration, the Arizona politician who sponsored the measure now wants to deny U.S. citizenship to children born in this country to undocumented parents. Legal scholars laugh out loud at Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce's proposal and warn that it would be blatantly unconstitutional, since the 14th Amendment guarantees citizenship to anyone born in the U.S. But Pearce brushes aside such concerns ... The 14th Amendment, adopted in 1868 in the aftermath of the Civil War, reads: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside."
New York Hotel Pioneers Birth Tourism
Breaking Travel News (Britain)
A New York hotel is staking its claim to have invented a new hospitality niche ? birth tourism. The Marmara Manhattan offers "an exclusive package for new mothers that wish to give birth in the USA", with the additional bonus of the newborn child gaining US citizenship. The hotel, which is part of the Turkish hospitality chain, exploits the 14th amendment to the US constitution, which states that all children born on American soil "are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside".
Joe Biden: In Israel's Service
... Like scores of other US politicians who have traded their political souls for access to the seemingly bottomless checking accounts of Israel's American supporters, Biden has become a poster boy for "dual loyalty." Given that he has done this as a member of Congress and continues to do so while now a heartbeat from the White House should probably qualify him for a treason trial and a cell next to Jonathan Pollard ... Biden stated, "When I was a young senator, I used to say, 'If I were a Jew I'd be a Zionist.' I am a Zionist," he said. "You don't have to be a Jew to be a Zionist."
Genes Set Jews Apart, Study Finds
Los Angeles Times
Jews of European descent living on opposite sides of the globe are more closely related to one another than they are to their fellow countrymen, according to the largest study ever conducted of what it means genetically to be Jewish. Ashkenazis, the primary group descended from European Jews, are all as closely related as fourth or fifth cousins would be, the study found ... They [Jews] are not different enough to be considered a separate race, as some experts have argued, he added, but definitely are a "distinct population" -- the result, presumably, of cultural separation down through thousands of years.
Irving's File on the Strange Franke-Gricksch Documents
An index to documents on the 1943 "Franke-Gricksch Report," including 1945 British Army documents on the genuine Franke-Gricksch report, a summary of the genuine report, entries from the postwar diary of SS officer Maximilian von Herff, a facsimile of the alleged extract of the Franke-Gricksch report made public by Lipman.
Pearl Harbor: Case Closed?
Theodore O'Keefe - Institute for Historical Review
... Two recent books argue that Admiral Husband Kimmel, in particular, was gravely wronged by his superiors, not merely after December 7, 1941, but in the weeks and months before. One, Robert Stinnett's Day of Deceit, is radically revisionist, claiming to abound in new evidence for a conspiracy involving the president, the war and navy departments, the army chief of staff, and the chief of naval operations, among many other participants. The other, Michael Gannon's Pearl Harbor Betrayed, makes no explicit accusations of conspiracy, nor does it seriously fault America's confrontational diplomacy vis-a-vis Japan in the years leading up to the attack. Odd as it might seem, this reviewer found the second the more satisfying book.
Franklin Roosevelt, the Myth of Pearl Harbor, and the U.N.
John V. Denson
A book entitled The Pearl Harbor Myth: Rethinking the Unthinkable, by George Victor and published by Potomac Books Inc. of Washington, D.C. is well researched and gives a very clear picture of how and why the Pearl Harbor myth was created. ... Based on a good summary of the up-to-date research the author, who is an approving admirer of Roosevelt, concludes that Roosevelt deliberately provoked the attack and that he and his key military and administrative advisers clearly knew, well in advance, that the Japanese were going to attack both Pearl Harbor and the Philippines.
Remains of First King of England's Sister Found in German Cathedral
The Guardian (Britain)
Bones offer insight into royal life of Eadgyth, whose brother Athelstan married off to German king in 929, say scientists. She ate lots of fish, rode frequently, may have suffered from a disease or an eating disorder at ten and regularly moved around the chalky uplands of southern England, presumably as she followed her regal father around his kingdom. Analysis of remains found in a German cathedral have not only confirm they belonged to the granddaughter of the English king Alfred the Great but also given an insight into the life and times of a Saxon princess.
Israelis Feel Growing Isolation
The Associated Press
... Israel seems to be losing the battle against the country's isolation worldwide. That isolation was exacerbated after Israel's May 31 naval raid on a flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza spiraled into violence that left nine Turkish activists dead in a clash with the troops. Ecuador, South Africa and Turkey recalled their ambassadors and Nicaragua broke off diplomatic relations following the raid. Vietnam put off a visit by Israel's president, Greece suspended military exercises and Swedish dockworkers launched a weeklong boycott of Israeli ships and goods.
The Deadly Closing of the Israeli Mind
Ilan Pappé -- The Independent (Britain)
... One would have thought that Israel's drastic decline in international reputation would prompt new thinking by its leaders. But the responses to the attack on the flotilla in the past few days indicate clearly that there is no hope for any significant shift in the official position ... As long as the international community is complacent, the Arab world impotent and Gaza contained, Israel can still have a thriving economy and an electorate that regards the dominance of the army in its life, the continued conflict and the oppression of the Palestinians as the exclusive past, the present and future reality of life in Israel.
In the Footsteps of the Oregon Trail Pioneers
The Associated Press
... Kids crossing the continent in the mid-19th century often had roles and responsibilities that were critical to the family's survival, said Larry Jones, a retired Idaho state historian who has written extensively about the Oregon Trail. "They were pretty tough little kids," said Jones. "Many walked the entire 2,000 miles barefoot." It's been about 160 years since the westward migration started up in force between Missouri and the Pacific states, but there are still plenty of signs left behind by the more than 400,000 people estimated to have made that journey. ... The details of the crossing are dramatic. An estimated one in ten pioneers perished en route from cholera or dysentery or from accidents like accidental gunshots or falling under a wagon wheel.
Why Some Jews Would Rather Live in Siberia Than Israel
The Christian Science Monitor
... This Siberian territory bordering Manchuria and seven time zones east of Moscow is a Jewish republic. The Jewish Autonomous Region [Birobidzhan] was created by Stalin 75 years ago as an alternative to the Zionist project in Israel ... Today, just 6,000 of the region's 200,000 residents identify as Jews. But the Jewish dream in Siberia is not quite dead yet, and the region is now experiencing a small revival, thanks to Jews arriving from Israel.
Orthodox Jews Rally to Maintain Segregated Schools
One of the toughest clashes between the [Israeli] state and Israel's ultra-Orthodox community came to a head on Thursday ... The parents, of Ashkenazi descent, have refused to allow their daughters to study alongside peers from Sephardi descent at a religious school in the West Bank settlement of Immanuel. The parents had removed their daughters from the school, despite the court's decision barring them from doing so, and refused to comply with the ruling in the future ... 100,000 ultra-Orthodox demonstrators came out to the streets to support the right of Ashkenazi Hasidic parents to keep their children in classes segregated from their Sephardi peers and to greet the parents on their way to custody.
Dalton's Holocaust Radio Debate on April 24, 2010:
Call anytime: 917-974-6367
Amazon's: DEBATING THE HOLOCAUST: A New Look At Both Sides by Thomas Dalton
From: frank scott <frankscott@comcast.
Date: Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 10:35 PM
Moral Debts and Ethical Deficits
by Frank Scott
Our heads are filled with stories about the danger of trillions of dollars in debt and deficits , with little if any mention of the real problem they represent. It is not the debt, but what we are indebted for that threatens the future of our nation . If we owed hundreds of trillions of dollars - which may soon be the case - and every American was employed, housed, educated, cared for without question in time of ill health or economic need and safe from warfare and violence from inside the nation or out , such debt would not be any problem at all.
Borrowing today and paying back tomorrow shouldn't mean we lavishly spend most of the borrowed money on weapons , waste, cosmetics and pets , causing us to scrimp on health, education and social life while complaining that we have too much debt. We need to control our spending on things only a minority of us actually need or really want, and begin changing priorities to satisfy the shared needs and wants of the great majority. This can't happen under the domain of forces that mislead us into social divisions by exaggerating differences and minimizing similarities to protect a commodity culture and a perverse political order that defines minority rule as democracy.
The present renewal of the drive to dismantle Social Security and turn it over to private profiteers is one among many of the lies and distortions offered as suggested solutions for our problems which will only make them much worse. Increasing budgets for war and decreasing budgets for social service only make sense to anti-social forces which profit from divide and conquer policies that reduce Americans, especially the working majority, to special interest and identity groups whose common cause is sacrificed to competition while ruling minorities practice a lucrative socialism at their expense.
Our common condition has been ignorance for much too long and it needs to become a common cause of democracy and transformation of our economy before we are transformed by it into a totally failed society.
All people need housing, safe communities, health care , education, transportation and the time and effort necessary to pursue interests other than simply working to maintain those needs. But we are socialized to accept a lack of any and all of those things for far too many of our number , believing that those who don't have them are simply undeserving. This divisive condition is part of the political economy that replaces citizenship with consumerism and substitutes anti-social competition for social cooperation.
When people can go to places of religious community and entertain belief in invisible forces that call for solidarity and love among humanity, and leave those places and practice competitive individualism and economic warfare amongst themselves, the society in which they practice this split personality is suffering more than a collective mental disorder. That disorder is part of the economic foundation that is taught to us as a natural order of god's universe, except when god is being communed with at church, ashram, temple or other place of worship of the beautiful immaterial ideal in order to escape the ugly material reality. This fractured dualism makes it possible for a society to be in great debt in order to make war, create poverty and destroy the natural environment, while lacking the material and spiritual sustenance of life for a majority of the human community.
If , as many good people believe , we are all god's children we need to stop treating some of our kin folk like excrement. The human family is dysfunctional under profit and loss rules in which family values that sound good in words about love and brotherhood turn out to be deeds of pillage, waste and murder. We cannot be ethical people practicing high minded morals in the midst of a collectively immoral economy that trashes ethical behavior with murderous attack on humans and all other parts of the natural environment. The earth is treated as a profit making commodity and we see it erupting in gushers of oil that threaten far more than the profit margin of one petroleum company. Humans are treated as nothing more than commodities by the same system, and it cannot and should not be blamed on corporate CEOs or political and media gas bags who simply follow the systemic dictates of creating profit for some at the expense of all. That is the religion of the market under private control, creating profit for a minority and loss for the great majority. That loss is being reflected in greater numbers of personal lives as this economy suffers what is called a recession, but even more telling signs are revealed in the rapid breakdowns in life support systems that can no longer withstand the ravages of being treated like commodities rather than what they are; the substance of our lives.
Nature is our nature and not some product which we can simply market and sell at profits. When we incur massive debts in order to create massive destruction of nature, we are in process of destroying the very substance of ourselves. That cannot go on and will only be changed by a motivated and informed public that demands service to humanity - itself - before service to a commodity market . The growing global numbers who profess that another world is possible are voicing the necessity, not just the possibility. We will have that other world or we will not have any world at all. And creating that future organism is worth far more debt than anything we have incurred for this present failing mechanism.
Dalton's Holocaust Radio Debate on April 24, 2010:
Call anytime: 917-974-6367
Amazon's: DEBATING THE HOLOCAUST: A New Look At Both Sides by Thomas Dalton
- The brand is tanking, in the East River
- Third war is urged on Obama
- Today in Palestine: Gaza cancer patient is denied chemotherapy, given painkillers
- cycle of abuse
- 'New York Review of Books' is thinking outside the box, again, on one-state
- Israeli expo in NYC markets penthouses in settlements
- Don't fall into the 'noble savage' trap re women's rights in Middle East
Posted: 24 Jun 2010 10:25 AM PDT
The Conference of Presidents, a lead group in the Israel lobby, is as we speak leading some kind of flotilla in the East River near the United Nations to demand the release of Gilad Shalit by Hamas, according to twitter feeds from Dan Sieradski (congrats on your marriage, Dan) and Gal Beckerman. Sieradski: "conference of presidents hosts booze cruise "flotilla" for gilad shalit." And from Beckerman, this:
If this statement is true, this is why the Israeli brand is tanking. Complete indifference to another people's suffering. The world sees this and is shocked. Here's the flotilla at Conference of Presidents site. (And yes, my heart goes out to Shalit. As it does to the 10,000 Palestinian prisoners, and to the people suffering Israeli persecution in Gaza.)
Posted: 24 Jun 2010 08:12 AM PDT
Amitai Etzioni in Haaretz, on confronting Iran:
Thanks to Boulos.
Posted: 24 Jun 2010 08:07 AM PDT
And China, Morocco and Ban Ki-moon come out against Jerusalem house demolitions, in some of the other news...
Land theft and destruction/
Israel's Likud to back West Bank settlement growth (AFP)
Mohamed Khodr – Petition: A World United for the Freedom of Humanity…Freedom of Palestine
Violence and Aggression
Barak seeks to put aside rows to advance peace process (AFP)
The Rape Of America: Capitalism: A Love Story (Part 1)
The Rape Of America: Capitalism: A Love Story (Part 2)
Posted: 24 Jun 2010 06:09 AM PDT
I don't like the Nazi analogy, I try to avoid it. All the same, last night I was on the couch at midnight, grazing books, and happened to read the following passages within ten minutes of one another. So I'm going to put this one down to Jungian synchronicity.
--From Hirsh Goodman's 2005 memoir, Let Me Create a Paradise, God Said to Himself, describing his son Shai's service in the occupation in 1991. Shai Goodman subsequently left Israel, saying he will never forgive the country for what it made him do, per this memoir. He works as a guide in the bush in his father's native country, South Africa.
Update, from Mark Wauck:
Posted: 24 Jun 2010 05:48 AM PDT
Seven years after the New York Review stunned the Upper West Side by running Tony Judt's argument for one-state in Israel/Palestine (and 43 years after I.F. Stone notioned binationalism in Ramparts; further proof that this whole issue is a hamster wheel), the New York Review is allowing these ideas to reach its readers. It runs a good piece by Israeli David Shulman, blasting the flotilla raid, and pointing out that the right wing in Israel is more receptive to one-state talk than all the great liberals. Shulman is a two-stater, but what is noble in this excerpt is that he seems aware that liberal Zionists are also enmeshed in an ideology that has destroyed imagination.
P.S. The Shulman is one of two pieces by Israelis opposing the occupation in my latest issue (the other is fiction by David Grossman). I continue to fail to understand this, why others are not given a voice here. This is a mental reservation, on the part of the editors.
Posted: 23 Jun 2010 09:35 PM PDT
At the Jewish Agency's 2010 Aliyah Expo in New York last week, people asked one another, "When is your flight?"--no if's about it. Many planned to move to a country that seems increasingly intent on ostracizing itself from the international community. And yet, during the four hours I spent at the Aliyah Expo, I heard just a single concern. "My husband would love to have a goat," one woman with a thick New York accent told a Jewish Agency aliyah specialist, lamenting, "but you have to live on a moshav for a goat!" It's like moving to Arizona in the wake of the anti-immigrant bill SB1070 and worrying about finding a house with a big enough swimming pool--oblivious to those who have died of thirst while crossing in the desert.
"Jobs are waiting for you in Israel," a fresh-faced woman from the Jewish Agency promised us during the Aliyah Expo's "Young Professionals Wine and Cheese Reception." Both the young and the old exchanged business cards and ate cheese that had melted from the heat of the packed room. The minglers were a mixed crowd: from orthodox black hats and t-shirts for the men, to headscarves and tank tops for the women--and even a pair of flip flops with an Israeli flag on the strap.
Another Jewish Agency employee approached the front of the room and gravely addressed the assembly. "I'm going to talk quickly about the crisis that just occurred," he began. He wasn't talking about the Mavi Marmara. Rather: the economic crash of 2008. As English speakers, he assured us, we already have a leg up on the job market; acclimation is the real issue. For best results, sell all of your possessions, grab your free one-way ticket to Israel, and throw yourself into Hebrew lessons upon arrival. "Your aliyah will be as successful as the amount of effort you put into it," he advised. Such is the nature of Jewish privilege that one gets to experience it as labor.
Here is a short summary of my (already abridged) "Summary of Aliyah Benefits for Olim [immigrants]" sheet: As a single person moving to Israel, my aliyah payment would be about $4,000 (families get about $14,000), and I'd receive the first installment upon arrival at Ben Gurion airport—in cash; free health care for a year; five months of free Hebrew classes; free tuition for a BA and/or masters degree; rent subsidy for five years (about $60/mo for a single, $105/mo for families); job counseling; a 70-90% reduced property tax; low mortgage rates; and more.
Down the hall, another session was starting: "Aliyah First Steps." In a soothing voice, the presenter promised to tell us everything we needed to know "so that it's not so scary" (the antecedent being the logistical hassle of claiming the myriad perks offered to Jewish immigrants to Israel). Afterward, Andrew and Alana, two recent college graduates, got to chatting and discovered they're both on the same July 6th Nefesh B'Nefesh flight bound for Ulpan Etzion, an all-expenses-
As a 24-year-old, I know how to write a college paper and have (hopefully) learned critical thinking skills, and so I am too old to wield a gun in the IDF. For women making aliyah, army service is required for those 18-21; for men, it's 18-23. Newcomers have a special unit in the IDF: Garin Tzabar. Before shipping out, the Americans get prepped by Israel Scouts, a New York-based non-profit. Young immigrants can also join their Israeli peers for a pre-army year at a number of leadership academies called Mechinot; some, like Hemdat Yehuda, list their addresses as mobile trailers in West Bank settlements: outpost leaders.
The Jewish Agency says settlements are great if you're making aliyah with kids. "Try to visit within a year of your aliyah with your children," the website reads. "Small communities with a high percentage of olim, such as settlements in the Galilee, or Judea and Samaria, often offer more support than major cities." That's an understatement. At the Aliyah Expo, I learned of the Go North program from Nefesh B'Nefesh, the Jewish Agency's North American partner. Go North families get $25,000 and a vehicle subsidy of up to $16,000 (with extra employment help, a "local 'buddy' family," and more). And for the past five years, Nefesh B'Nefesh and the Jewish Agency have offered "Community Aliyah," which offers extra rent subsidies, job counseling, social events, and more to families that move to settlements like Gush Etzion, Ariel, and Ma'aleh Adumim. Whether it's the Galilee or the West Bank, the Jewish Agency is committed to "Judaization" on both sides of the green line: separation and containment of Palestinians while expropriating their land.
About 3,800 North Americans made aliyah in 2009 (of a total 16,244), and about 4,000 North Americans are expected in 2010. Yedioth Ahronoth reports that 1,000 people attended the Aliyah Expo last week.
Strange how one sees the erasure of the Green Line all the way from New York. Its absence was in the real estate room, where agents and mostly orthodox families (or so it seemed to me) perused floor plans for homes in new developments in Jerusalem "neighborhoods." Shmuel Aron of Brooklyn Realty was peddling new units in Katamon and Har Homa, each with identical luxury apartments in identical high rises but only one within pre-1967 Israel. This brought to mind a lunch in February at Mazin Qumsiyeh's home in Beit Sahour, just outside of Bethlehem. He turned to the window and gazed long and hard at the glittering white towers rising out of what used to be the Palestinian-
Holyland Properties of Brookyn wanted to sell me a high rise apartment in a new development in East Jerusalem's Eshkol Heights. Tivuch Shelly Levine was in town from Israel to sell units in Modi'in (within the pre-1967 borders, barely, so as to grow "naturally" into the West Bank) starting at $366,000, and units in the settlement of Maale Adumim (where she's based) starting at $217,000. The Israeli construction company Chazon and Galili was there peddling units in a new neighborhood of Beit Shemesh, with red tile roofs as if over the Green Line yet within the 1967 borders; it takes some committed googling to tell a settlement from a suburb. Chazon and Galili first got into the business by building the settlement of Har Nof on top of the Deir Yassin massacre site.
Finally, with the Aliyah Expo drawing to a close and the crowds clearing out, I stopped by Kedumim 3000, the deeply ideological settlement construction giant whose bulldozers break ground all over the West Bank, including Kiryat Arba, the hothouse for settler violence on the edge of Hebron. The Kedumim 3000 backdrop advertised "penthouses and apartments with a view of the Temple Mount" in the Maale Hazeitim "Neighborhood in [East] Jerusalem." A gold dome could be seen through the window in the artist's rendering of a sleek, modern living room. A blackhat family with a baby stroller was deep in conversation with the Kedumim proprietors, a mess of floor plans spread out in front of them. "Do you mind if I take a pamphlet?" I asked out of courtesy as I lifted one from the tall stack. "No!" the man snapped. "I haven't enough." Apparently, a screening process was at work.
As I left, I passed by the Jewish Agency's welcome table, with its now-empty bowl of specially made fortune cookies. Shouldering a swag bag full of fliers and informational cards--possibilitie
Posted: 23 Jun 2010 06:00 PM PDT
Sometimes I wonder if you're not falling into the romanticizing trope of the "noble savage" with posts like this, "Casual Prejudice Against Muslims" (by Weiss).
The fact of the matter is that in most, if not all, Arab and Muslim countries, women are discriminated against as a matter of course, from citizenship laws to inheritance to paternalistic familial structures and domestic abuse. This is clearly not a purely Muslim or Arab affair, since, with perhaps the exception of Scandinavia, it exists in various degrees throughout the world. But the fact of the matter is that even if it's often used as a pro-Israel or neocon club to bludgeon Arabs on other, unrelated issues like the Israel/Palestine conflict, that doesn't make the charge less true.
I look at it as being similar to Soviet charges against US treatment of black citizens. Did pointing out the Jim Crow laws make Siberian gulags or Eastern European oppression any more acceptable? Of course not, although it may have scored Moscow some points in the world arena by pointing out American hypocrisy. At the end of the day, though, the answer to Stalinist accusations of racism should have been the civil rights movement, not a denial of segregation. Likewise, to my mind, the oppression of women and minorities and homosexuals in the Mideast is not directly related to the Arab/Israeli conflict, but it is very important to me, and I don't see that there's any contradiction in my struggle to fight for my wife's right to marry who she pleases, legally own land and work at any job she wants to in Lebanon and her right to return to and live in Haifa.
The internet is bad here, so I didn't listen to the clip, but I don't think that the knee-jerk reaction that many people, especially those who don't live in the region, have to dismiss any and all criticism of Arab or Muslim states and/or societies as hasbara for Israel is helpful at all. In fact, it plays into the rhetoric of Arab states that justifies the emergency laws in Syria and Egypt and censorship laws here in Lebanon, not to mention the shameful treatment of Palestinians throughout the Arab world. For my part, an equitable solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict should be about justice, not about supporting "my side" right or wrong.
Sean Lee blogs from Beirut at the Human Province.
Dalton's Holocaust Radio Debate on April 24, 2010:
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Amazon's: DEBATING THE HOLOCAUST: A New Look At Both Sides by Thomas Dalton