2009-01-19

Latter day biblical genocide against wicked canaanite surrogates

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by Neil Godfrey

May last year a reader took strong exception to my use of the word “genocide” to describe the Israeli policies towards Palestinian Arabs since 1948 (the original post and comments where the word arose are here) — comparable to the policies of whites towards American and Australian aboriginal peoples in earlier generations. My use of the word was carefully chosen to conform to the Geneva Convention and UN definitions of this term that emerged out of the many atrocities of World War 2.

Article II of the Genocide Convention defines the international crime of genocide in relevant part as follows:

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such:

(a)  Killing members of the group;

(b)  Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c)  Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part

Anyone who finds the use of the word “genocide” extreme or in any sense racist I would invite to read / view and think through two recent web articles / videos:

One by Professor Francis Anthony Boyle.

A second by British Jewish MP Gerald Kaufman who said:

“My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszow. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed,” said Kaufman, who added that he had friends and family in Israel and had been there “more times than I can count.”

“My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.”

. . . .

He said the claim that many of the Palestinian victims were militants

“was the reply of the Nazi” and added: “I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.”

and that the Israeli government has

“ruthlessly and cynically exploiting the continuing guilt from gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians.”

Successive Israeli governments (left and right wing) have all consistently pursued the goals of Zionist founding fathers in expanding their “living space” to eventual biblical proportions (since 1967 this has been done with the ongoing creep and expulsions of Palestinians from their West Bank homes to make way for Jewish “settlements”) and to declare the indigenous inhabitants a non-people. (Edward Said nailed it when he showed that antisemitism has since WW2 flipped and bifurcated into Jews unrealistically good, Arabs — the other semitic wing — unrealistically bad). The Israeli beseiging and blockading of Gaza, along with continual terrorizing low flying (with sonic boom) war planes over the population, not to mention regular bombings called “targeted killings” that more often than not killed more than their so-called intended targets, and rejections of Hama offers to end rocket attacks in return for a lifting of this blockade, have not managed to cower the Palestinians — they still prefer to die standing on their feet than live crawling on their knees before those who expelled them to that barren overcrowded Gaza strip.

And the myth of vulnerable David facing ever present threats of total extermination from swarthy Goliaths is continually recycled. I hope in future to cite the evidence that shatters this myth as so falsely applied to the wars of 1948 and 1967 — evidence that few American in particular have had opportunities to see.


2008-10-19

Modern day Joshuas and Calebs

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by Neil Godfrey

Jewish settlers punched and kicked two news photographers and a British woman helping Palestinians pick olives in a West Bank town, and Israeli police responded by stopping the harvest.

The scuffle in the town of Hebron on Saturday was the latest of a series of efforts by settlers living in the occupied land to disrupt an annual harvest critical to many Palestinians’ livelihoods.

The rest of this Reuters story — one all too common and becoming significantly increasingly common yet all too under-reported in mainstream English speaking media — can be read here.

Pogroms 21st century style  — Death to Arabs!

See journalist Jonathan Cook’s report on the recent Acre riots.


2008-05-18

“Archaeology has become a weapon of dispossession” — Israeli archaeologist

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by Neil Godfrey

I found the following linked on the JAO-Sydney (Jews Against the Occupation) site:

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Chronicle Review (April 25 2008 edition), an article by Yigal Bronner and Neve Gordon:

Beneath the Surface
Are Jerusalem digs designed to displace Palestinians?

“Archaeology has become a weapon of dispossession,” Yonathan Mizrachi, an Israeli archaeologist, said in a recent telephone interview with us. He was referring to the way archaeology is being used in Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood in the oldest part of Jerusalem, where, we believe, archaeological digs are being carried out as part of a concerted campaign to expel Palestinians from their ancestral home.

That effort is orchestrated by an Israeli settler organization called Elad, a name formed from Hebrew letters that stand for “to the City of David.” For several years, Elad has used a variety of means to evict East Jerusalem Palestinians from their homes and replace them with Jewish settlers. Today Silwan is dotted with about a dozen such outposts. Moreover, practically all the green areas in the densely populated neighborhood have been transformed into new archaeological sites, which have then been fenced and posted with armed guards. On two of these new archaeological sites, Jewish homes have already been built. . . . . . . .

The full article can be accessed here.


2008-05-17

Macro and Micro religious extremism

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by Neil Godfrey

It is easy to identify and deplore the micro religious extremists, those who believe in chopping off heads and limbs and whipping the flesh in between those extremities or just stoning the whole lot because that’s what some ancient holy book requires.

If we think of decapitations as the working out of a micro fundamentalist/extremist vision, then I submit that a people who believes in the complete displacement by one race with another race (whom they regard as “the chosen people”) in a land because of what some ancient holy book requires is macro religious extremism.

If we are dismayed over a Wahabi court in Saudi Arabia making life and death distinctions by applying ancient religious injunctions over who persons were allowed to have sex with, then presumably we will be also dismayed over a governments and whole peoples justifying ethnic cleansing and displacement, and declaring one race as especially chosen with rights to do this, because of their devotion to an ancient holy text of theirs.

So we have the president of the United States pronouncing that his nation is fully on the side of macro religious extremism. Let’s call it racial religious extremism, justifying the displacement of one people with another on the grounds that the winners are “the chosen people”. As reported in Haaretz [Haaretz link removed; Now found in White House archives or The Wall Street Journal:

“Israel’s population may be just over 7 million. But when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong, because America stands with you,” Bush said.

You have raised a modern society in the Promised Land, a light unto the nations that preserves the legacy of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And you have built a mighty democracy that will endure forever and can always count on America to stand at its side.”

He noted that Israel’s Declaration of Independence “was the redemption of an ancient promise given to Abraham, Moses, and David – a homeland for the chosen people in Eretz Yisrael.”

And the original inhabitants? As with the Biblical Canaanites, they are not worthy of humanizing. They are only defined as “terrorists” or “havens for terrorists”. And the society created by the chosen people in this ethnically cleansed land will be reserved for one race only, despite the few token exceptions of Arabs who are allowed to remain as citizens, with equal rights at least on paper:

“Israel will be celebrating its 120th anniversary as one of the world’s great democracies, a secure and flourishing homeland for the Jewish people.”

“America stands with you in breaking up terrorist networks and denying the extremists sanctuary.

The President might also have reminded his world audience that contrary to his professed past visions of a Palestinian state, the government he was backing as 307 million strong on the grounds of his own macro religious extremism is by its own charter implacably opposed to any such state. The illegal settlements in the occupied territories will continue until a Greater Israel is restored fully to the territories worthy of a Chosen People and in full accord with an ancient religious text.

If it is worth going to war, paying the price of state-sanctioned killing, in order to liberate women from Wahabi extremism and end barbarous legal and social customs among the micro religious extremists, is it really justifiable to stand up for macro religious extremism?

I have attempted to do my little bit to help inform a wider audience of the realities on the ground in Palestine and Israel with two new pages on this blog: Palestinian news sources and Replies to ADL propaganda.


2008-05-11

Projects working for peace among Arabs and Israelis

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by Neil Godfrey

I was about to do a search for a list of these when I see the work has already been done! Fantastic! I have had the good fortune to have met Jews from some of these organizations and we have organized local community public dinners where they can speak and demonstrate what they are doing in Israel and Palestine.

What they are doing is hard, very hard, with incredible obstacles, which makes them all the more modern day heroes.

Please check out this Wikipedia site. It is really a fantastic breath of hope in a very dark beast:


Projects working for peace among Arabs and Israelis


Responding to Israel’s critics

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by Neil Godfrey

Independent.co.uk

Johann Hari: The loathsome smearing of Israel’s critics

Thursday, 8 May 2008

In the US and Britain, there is a campaign to smear anybody who tries to describe the plight of the Palestinian people. It is an attempt to intimidate and silence – and to a large degree, it works. There is nobody these self-appointed spokesmen for Israel will not attack as anti-Jewish: liberal Jews, rabbis, even Holocaust survivors.

My own case isn’t especially important, but it illustrates how the wider process of intimidation works. I have worked undercover at both the Finsbury Park mosque and among neo-Nazi Holocaust deniers to expose the Jew-hatred there; when I went on the Islam Channel to challenge the anti-Semitism of Islamists, I received a rash of death threats calling me “a Jew-lover”, “a Zionist-homo pig” and more.

Ah, but wait. I have also reported from Gaza and the West Bank. Last week, I wrote an article that described how untreated sewage was being pumped from illegal Israeli settlements on to Palestinian land, contaminating their reservoirs. This isn’t controversial. It has been documented by Friends of the Earth, and I have seen it with my own eyes.

The response? There was little attempt to dispute the facts I offered. Instead, some of the most high profile “pro-Israel” writers and media monitoring groups – including Honest Reporting and Camera – said I an anti-Jewish bigot akin to Joseph Goebbels and Mahmoud Ahmadinejadh, while Melanie Phillips even linked the stabbing of two Jewish people in North London to articles like mine. Vast numbers of e-mails came flooding in calling for me to be sacked. Continue reading “Responding to Israel’s critics”


2008-05-06

A Palestinian Christian’s perspective on the Israeli occupation and suicide bombing

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by Neil Godfrey

It is ironical that so many western Christians support or excuse the state of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians when there are both Christian Israelis and Christian Palestinians who do not. Indeed, the use of the Hebrew Bible by both Zionists and their Christian supporters to justify Zionism, illegal settlements, land confiscations, defiance of international law, humiliation and genocidal policies against the Palestinians, has been said to have turned the Old Testament almost into a current-day Mein Kampf.

Dr. Naim Ateek, a Palestinian Christian and theologian, has compared the current Israeli state to Herod. He sees “Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him”.

He has posted an article reflecting on 40 years of Israeli occupation and discussing what Palestinians, particularly Palestinian Christians, must do. It is part of a special edition of Cornerstone [link downloads 2 MB PDF file], titled The Great Deception: What must Palestinians do? Cornerstone is a publication of the Sabeel, the Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center.

Download (PDF, 1.99MB)

(from https://www.fosna.org/)

An earlier article of his take, as a Palestinian Christian, on Suicide Bombers is also worth reading.


2008-04-18

Israel’s God of War — against both Arab and (secular) Jew

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by Neil Godfrey

The ultra-orthodox religionists (the Haredim/Charedim) of Israel now make up 10% of the population and are a critical support for the Olmert government.

For the Haredim the very existence of Israel cannot be justified without God and the Abrahamic promises in the Bible, which require the expulsion of the Palestinians from all that they believe God has given them. Haredi/Charedi prayers even call for the destruction of the secular state of Israel. Today these Haredim are a minority, “only” 10% of the population. But they make no secret of how they would enforce changes on Israel if ever they feel the muscle to do so.

They are the direct counterpart of Moslem extremists. Haredim claim to follow the Halachi [link downloads a 400 KB PDF file] rules as forever binding. The Halachi gives licence to kill secular Jews, to show no kindness to them. It also relegates women to being the property of their fathers and husbands, and forbids them to testify in legal proceedings. In another ironic twist in the minds no doubt for some western observers, some Jewish Haredi/Charedi women in Israel today are volunteering to wear the hijab. This is just one of their practices that actually demonstrates their claim to be reliving a past tradition that may never have existed: where there are doubts about interpretation of Halachi directives, they will err on the side of over-doing them.

Harmless nuts? A passing fad?

A Jewish site dedicated to “Enlightenment, education and freedom from religion”, Daat Emet, publishes online the reasons they believe non religious Jews and others should not dismiss the ultra-orthodox as harmless cranks.

There have always been religious extremists among orthodox Jews, and back in the 1960’s we were reading of sects who were apparently plotting the destruction of the Moslem Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the reinstitution of sacrifices. It appears that Jewish extremism is currently finding a growing support base within Israel itself.

Background Briefing (on Australia’s ABC Radio National) put together a well researched (though perhaps hastily edited) program on these ultra-orthodox Jews who are already having a serious impact on Israeli politics, not to mention the lives of other Jews and Arabs who come within their orbit. It is titled Israel: selling out secularism? From their site one can download the podcast of the program, listen to live-streaming, or read the transcript.

Background Briefing lists the following bibliography — of all readily accessible online articles — discussing more academically the background to the growth of the Haredi in Israel. I’ve read most of them, and recommend them to anyone wanting to seriously understand the social and psychological background to the rise of this social and political group today, and to explore some of the details of the fluctuations of their political strength over the past decade.

Iannaccone and Berman’s article (listed first) argues that safety lies in religious pluralism. Danger follows where States attempt to suppress certain militant religious movements. The United States is, perhaps paradoxically, held up as a model. Maybe so. The future is impossible to know. But thank the Enlightenment for the secularists, the educators, the peace activists in the meantime.

Title: ‘Religious Extremism, the good, the bad and the deadly’ in Public Choice 2006
Author: Laurence R. Iannaccone and Eli Berman
URL: http://econ.ucsd.edu/~elib/rex.pdf

Title: ‘Haredi Violence in Contemporary Israeli Society’ in Jew and Violence, Image, Ideologies, Realities
Author: Menachem Friedman
Publisher: Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2002
URL: http://www.biu.ac.il/SOC/so/Haredi-Violence.pdf

Title: Sect, subsidy and Sacrifice: An economist’s view of ultra-orthodox Jews
Author: Eli Berman
Publisher: Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2000
URL: http://econ.ucsd.edu/~elib/sns.pdf

Title: ‘Rupture and Reconstruction: The transformation of Contemporary Orthodoxy’ in Tradition 1994
Author: Haym Soloveitchik
URL: http://www.lookstein.org/links/orthodoxy.htm

Title: ‘The Haredim and Israeli Society’ in Whither Israel – The Domestic Challenges
Author: Menachem Friedman
Publisher: The Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1993
URL: http://www.biu.ac.il/SOC/so/Ultra-Orthodox.pdf

Title: ‘The State of Israel as a theological dilemma’ in The Israeli State and Society, Boundaries and Frontiers
Author: Menachem Friedman
Publisher: State University of New York Press, 1989
URL: http://www.biu.ac.il/SOC/so/Theological-Dilemma.pdf

Title: ‘Haredim confront the modern city’ in Studies in Contemporary Jewry II
Author: Menachem Friedman
Publisher: Indiana University Press 1986
URL: http://www.biu.ac.il/SOC/so/Haredim-Modern_City.pdf


Israel’s birthday and God’s gift from the Nile to the Euphrates

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by Neil Godfrey

Manifest Destiny?

12/04/08
By Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom
Copied with permission from the Israeli peace activist site Gush Shalom (my links no longer default to new windows!)

NEXT MONTH, Israel will celebrate its 60th anniversary. The government is working feverishly to make this day into an occasion of joy and jubilation. While serious problems are crying out for funds, some 40 million dollars have been allocated to this aim.

But the nation is in no mood for celebrations. It is gloomy. Continue reading “Israel’s birthday and God’s gift from the Nile to the Euphrates”


2008-03-01

An Invention called “the Jewish People”

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by Neil Godfrey

My heading, “an invention called the Jewish people” is taken from an article recently published in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper. It’s about a book by Professor Zand of the Tel Aviv University. The article concludes with:

His book, “When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?” (published by Resling in Hebrew), is intended to promote the idea that Israel should be a “state of all its citizens” – Jews, Arabs and others – in contrast to its declared identity as a “Jewish and democratic” state. Personal stories, a prolonged theoretical discussion and abundant sarcastic quips do not help the book, but its historical chapters are well-written and cite numerous facts and insights that many Israelis will be astonished to read for the first time.

Some of those facts:

  1. “There never was a Jewish people, only a Jewish religion”, and the exile of 70 c.e. also never happened. At the most, tens of thousands were exiled. Most were permitted, and most did, stay in the land. It follows, if exile is a myth, that the idea that Jews since the twentieth century are “returning” to “their land” is a myth.
  2. When the Arabs conquered the land, many of the Jews converted to Islam and were assimilated among the conquerors. It follows that many Palestinian Arabs today are descendants of the original Jews.

Tom Segev, author of this article, writes:

Zand did not invent this thesis; 30 years before the Declaration of Independence, it was espoused by David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and others. . . . . Zand quotes from many existing studies, some of which were written in Israel but shunted out of the central discourse.

So how did the Jewish Diaspora originate?

From Tom Segev’s article on Prof. Zand’s book in the Haaretz:

  1. emigration of their own accord
  2. many Jews in Babylon had simply remained of their own will
  3. members of other faiths were forced to become Jews (c.f. the Book of Esther which says narrates just such an event — many converting because of fear of the Jews.)

Specific case-studies discussed by Zand:

  1. the Jewish kingdom of Himyar in the southern Arabian Peninsula
  2. the Jewish Berbers in North Africa
  3. the Jews in Spain — these originated from Arabs who became Jews and who arrived with the forces that captured Spain from the Christians; these mingled with European individuals who had become Jews.
  4. the first Jews of Ashkenaz (Germany) . . . became Jews in the Khazar Kingdom in the Caucasus.

Segev notes:

We find, then, that the members of a variety of peoples and races, blond and black, brown and yellow, became Jews in large numbers. According to Zand, the Zionist need to devise for them a shared ethnicity and historical continuity produced a long series of inventions and fictions, along with an invocation of racist theses. Some were concocted in the minds of those who conceived the Zionist movement, while others were offered as the findings of genetic studies conducted in Israel.

The original Haaretz article is worth the full read, not least for the same page’s other interesting news of the sort that does not normally see light of day in the English speaking Western media.

The story will not be news to those who already appreciate the fictional nature of the Bible’s Exodus and genocidal Conquest narratives. Nor to those familiar with some of the racist fictions that were concocted in the latter nineteenth and earlier twentieth centuries. Focus on Nazi racist myths has obscured from much public memory the fact that such racist ideologies and cults of physical ideals inflicted many races, nations and peoples then, many Jews included.

One day the world will look back on the current myths underpinning Zionism as with no more factual foundation than their nineteenth century and early twentieth century counterparts — and that were likewise used to rationalize ethnic cleansing and expansion of “living space”.


2007-12-17

3 problems with recognizing the state of Israel’s “right to exist”

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by Neil Godfrey

Historical Palestinian refusal to recognize the state of Israel has generally been portrayed in the western mainstream media as a sign of an Arab anti-Jewish hatred and wish to drive Israel “into the sea”. What is not often conveyed by western leaders and media are the reasons Palestinian and other Arab peoples have often refused to recognized Israel, and the fact that on several occasions they have conditionally offered to recognize Israel.

  1. Israel is a Jewish state, meaning it is a racial state, and this means that other racial or religious minorities do not in practice have equal citizenship rights. The world has come to deplore other states such as apartheid South Africa and nazi Germany using race in preference to truly democratic principles as the essential rationale for their existence.
  2. Recognizing Israel as a new state would mean accepting Israel’s refusal of the right of return for the refugees and their descendants who were expelled from territories Israel now controls from past wars. In other words, ethnic cleansing will be accepted as a legitimate fait accompli.
  3. To recognize Israel carte blanche means accepting their occupation and control over much of the West Bank, and ongoing “bantustan-ization” of Palestinians. Both Palestinian and Arab leaders have publicly agreed recognize Israel in her pre-1967 war borders. But Israel refuses to recognize any such borders as final, arguing it has both security and biblical-historical justifications to expand its “living space” (cf. lebensraum).

This is not to deny that there is a widespread anti-Jewish sentiment among many Arabs. But anti-Arab racism on the part of many Jews is just as tangible. Western media works against peace in the Middle East as long as they simplify Arab reasons for unconditionally accepting Israel’s right to exist (i.e. with present borders, a race-based state, ethnically cleansed) as a matter of irrational hate against Jews. Western media also works against peace while it refuses to openly criticize the real wrongs (and racism) of Israel. The above stumbling blocks to Arab recognition of Israel are discussed more openly and constructively in Israel than they are in the black-and-white simplistic reporting of mainstream English-language media.


2007-11-26

Israel’s purging of Palestinian Christians — article

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by Neil Godfrey

A January in-depth article by Jonathan Cook — on Electronic Intifada


2007-11-24

Gaza (the reality behind myth of “God’s will” for modern Israel)

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by Neil Godfrey

5 minute video: Gaza’s Reality: The living conditions of Palestinian refugees living in Gaza. A short clip from the award-winning film ‘Occupation 101: Voices of the Silenced Majority.”

Independent article: UN official discusses impact of the siege of Gaza


2007-11-15

Zionism and betrayal of the Jews

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by Neil Godfrey

Fear and self-imposed censorship has prevented the publication in the U.S. of Alan Hart’s book, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews.

Hart discusses the message of his book on Information Clearing House.

He writes that Peres said there is no Israel lobby in the U.S. There is only the Likud lobby. I might have headed this post: The Likud lobby and betrayal of the U.S.