tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Ali Abunimah 2018-01-29T04:54:52Z tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/626804 2013-12-05T03:08:35Z 2018-01-29T04:54:52Z Rush translation of 4 December 2013 Swiss TV report on Arafat  

RTS (Swiss) TV News - 4 December - 7.30PM
Rush translation starting at 1:50.

Darius Rochebin (Anchor): Yasser Arafat died in Paris on 11 November 2004 aged 75, almost ten years ago, and the mystery persists about the cause. Swiss experts talk about a poisoning theory that can be reasonably supported. French experts by contrast speak of death by natural causes and, I quote, of "old age." Tonight experts from CHUV (University Hospital Center of Vaud) react. Laurent Dufour reports.

Laurent Dufour (reporter): On his [Arafat's] body, French and Swiss scientists found the same thing: polonium levels 18-36 times higher than normal. But for the French experts there is a simple explanation: radon, a radioactive gas present in nature and therefore in the tomb of Yasser Arafat, that can be transformed into polonium. So according to this version it is the environment of the tomb that contaminated the body and the Palestinian leader would have died of natural causes. A theory rejected by the experts in Lausanne.

Francois Bochud, Director Institut de Radiophysique Appliquee, CHUV: If radon was sufficient to explain what we observe, then you would see the same thing in all the soil samples. We found levels of lead and polonium 17 times higher in the soil samples that were taken from just beneath the body compared with this taken from further away.

Dufour: For the professor, if the two sets of experts differ it is because among the scientists sent to Ramallah, only the Swiss team included radiation specialists.

Bochud: The samples were measured by highly competent people at [unclear] in Paris, but at the site there were police officers, a judge, a doctor, a toxicologist but no one who knew anything about radiation. So it is more difficult to select good samples when you don't know anything, than when you are on site with radiation specialists.

Dufour: Two diametrically opposed conclusions and a widow visibly upset. 

[Video] Suha Arafat: You can only imagine how devastated I am by these contradictions among the best experts in Europe.

Dufour: But for Francois Bochud the important thing is the levels of polonium, levels that were identical in both reports.

Bochud: So there's no doubt about what we wrote. And I'd even say that the fact we have confirmation of our base measurements from the French laboratory is more than anything an element in favor of the conclusion we rendered a month ago.

Dufour: A prudent conclusion, but one that indeed points toward the poisoning of Yasser Arafat.

[cut to studio]

Anchor: Patrice Mangin, good evening. You are the director of the Romand university centre for legal medicine, and are a key figure in all this. First of all, what do you think of the thesis of generalized infection?

Mangin: I am a bit surprised by this explanation because I remind you that Mr. Arafat was hospitalized for two weeks in Paris where the greatest experts were brought to bear and no cause was established. Notably, the generalized infection hypothesis seems to be the one most easily dismissed - no fever, no infectious [unclear]. All the microbiological tests were negative.

Anchor: The formula 'death of natural causes' seems strange?

Mangin: It appears strange to me because the moment you say "death of natural causes" it means you have a precise diagnosis. Even with all the advanced diagnostics, that seems to me debatable.

Anchor: Given polonium 18-36 times higher than normal, do you understand the interpretation given by the French?

Mangin: No I don't understand because, as was said with regard to the radon theory, of course, we considered it. But we rejected it. We rejected it for reasons that are a bit long to explain but which in any case appear to me to be entirely justified.

Anchor: You went very far, you even bought some polonium to make comparisons.

Mangin: Absolutely. Professor Bochud and his team procured a source of polonium in order to examine how polonium would behave over time. 

Anchor: Many open questions, no autopsy.

Mangin: No autopsy, which is stunning.

Anchor: No samples [from the body], even though they were taken it is not known where they are.

Mangin: What's stunning is that samples were taken [from Arafat] for toxicological tests in an institute belonging to the army and even for radio elements and these samples were destroyed.

Anchor: You were telling me earlier you have 30 years of experience. You have autopsied thousands of bodies. You were present when Arafat's body was exhumed. It was in the condition of a skeleton.

Mangin: Yes.

Anchor: At that point was it still possible to carry out an investigation?

Mangin: Based on the elements [samples] taken, yes, of course.

Anchor: Is there a risk we'll remain in a situation of historic doubt as for Napolean and arsenic?

Mangin: I think we will remain in doubt, because I remind you that we were very cautious in our conclusions and we put forward hypotheses, not certainty.

Anchor:  You said you obtained polonium for your investigations... if it was poisoning isn't it difficult to obtain polonium?

Mangin: Yes you can't buy polonium in a pharmacy. It's true it is difficult to get. It requires authorizations. 

Anchor: So it is usual states or authorities...

Mangin: In order to produce polonium, you need to have a reactor, so it is states that control this kind of chemistry and so of course it is difficult.

Anchor: Last word. The Swiss thesis.. there was the word "reasonably." One can "reasonably" support the poisoning theory. You uphold that?

Mangin: Absolutely. All the way.
tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526031 2013-01-11T22:10:47Z 2018-01-29T04:54:52Z "Don't fib!"

When I was little, I played with Stickle Bricks. One day, when I was in the second grade, I took a few bricks with me to school. I liked having them in my hand. It just so happened that Stickle Bricks were also among the toys we had in our classroom. They were very popular in the 1970s.

At the end of the day, as I was about to go home, my teacher Miss K saw the bricks in my hand. I wasn’t hiding them. She came over and said that I could not take the bricks home. They belonged to the school. I explained to her that these bricks did not belong to the school. They were my bricks that I had brought with me from home. Miss K got quite cross. “Don’t fib!” she said, and she took my bricks.

Although I haven’t thought about it recently, this incident stayed with me for many years. I remember distinctly that it was the first time I had ever heard the word “fib.” I knew the word “lie,” and I wasn’t lying. I must have worked out the meaning of “fib” from the context.

From that day, I lost all trust in Miss K, and thankfully I only had her as my teacher that year. The following year, I had Mrs. M, whom I had had in first grade and liked much better.

I don’t think I ever told anyone what happened, because I was sure I would get in trouble.

I remembered this today when listening to the voices of people on the BBC – now adults – who were victimized by the late BBC star Jimmy Savile, as much a fixture of my 1970s childhood as Stickle Bricks. Savile sexually assaulted hundreds of children over six decades, often targeting the most vulnerable in hospitals or residential schools.

A recurrent theme was that children did speak up and time and again were not believed; they were accused of fibbing. The earliest report of Savile’s offenses occurred in 1955, and the most recent in 2009, according to the official police inquiry released today.

As I listened, I remembered how upsetting it had been to be accused of lying over something as insignificant as a few Stickle Bricks. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to live with what these and so many other victims had to endure because no one believed them or they feared no one would.

tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526040 2011-09-03T16:19:17Z 2018-01-29T04:54:52Z Sound of zaffeh in the distance ]]> tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526048 2011-08-24T21:01:56Z 2018-01-29T04:54:52Z Video: Kitten vs. Feather ]]> tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526061 2011-06-24T00:56:00Z 2018-01-29T04:54:51Z I am now blogging at The Electronic Intifada

Thank you for reading my blog at Posterous, a rich record of my activities, talks, reportage, media appearances and other experiences over the past two years.

For the past few weeks I have started blogging at The Electronic Intifada: http://electronicintifada.net/blog/ali-abunimah

Please bookmark that blog and join me there.

I will certainly keep this blog here as an archive and may at some point post personal stuff to it.

tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526070 2011-04-01T21:23:00Z 2018-01-29T04:54:51Z Photo: A tree in Lifta for me and my mum - awaiting return.

On Land Day, Budour Hassan (@Budouroddick on Twitter), visited Lifta, the village where my mother was born, just outside Jerusalem, and planted an olive tree in honor of my mother and me, as the photo shows.

My mother and her family, along with all other Liftawis were forced out of the village due to Zionist attacks during the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1947-48. The village still stands, however, Israel has never permitted its people to return solely on the racist grounds that they are not Jews. Now, Israel plans to demolish what's left of Lifta and turn it into a Jews-only luxury condominium complex, compounding the crime of 1948.

Lifta's people are now engaged in a new struggle to save the village. (See "Suspended in time, Lifta under threat," The Electronic Intifada, 25 March 2011).

Thanks to Budour, and to her friend Amal who took the photo, for this very touching gesture. I hope that all Liftawis will have the chance to return one day, and see this tree grow tall!

tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526081 2011-04-01T00:41:59Z 2018-01-29T04:54:51Z Video: Ali Abunimah & David Cronin at King's College London, March 24

Ali Abunimah & David Cronin at King's College London on 24 March 2011, sponsored by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and King's College Action for Palestine.]]>
tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526099 2011-03-07T13:09:00Z 2018-01-29T04:54:51Z Israel's negative ratings rise sharply in US, UK, BBC global poll finds

Israel remains one of the world's most negatively viewed countries alongside Iran, North Korea and Pakistan, according to the latest annual survey of global opinion by the BBC World Service. But most significantly, according to full results of the survey:

While overall views of Israel have not moved substantially over the past year , there have been significant increases in negative views of the country among Americans (negatives rising from 31% to 41%) and Britons (from 50% to 66%).

In total 28,619 citizens in 27 countries, were interviewed face-to-face, or by telephone December 2, 2010 and February 4, 2011 by the firm GlobeScan on behalf of the BBC.

The poll does not give reasons for why this shift has taken place, but this erosion of support for Israel is no doubt due to a combination of factors: Israel's brutal massacre of Palestinians in Gaza in winter 2008-2009, the ongoing siege and the massacre aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla last May, as well as the general aura of extremism and intransigence conveyed by the country's actions (continued settlement in the occupied West Bank, ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, racist laws against Palestinian citizens and so on).

The reality of Israel is can no longer be hidden by slick hasbara. The world is waking up to smell the apartheid.]]>
tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526111 2011-02-28T22:19:06Z 2018-01-29T04:54:51Z Award-winning Gaza journalist Mohammed Omer speaking in NYC area Mar 2-5 Award-winning Gaza journalist and photographer Mohammed Omer will be speaking in the New York area between March 2-5. Do not miss the chance to hear him! Most recently, Mohammed has been reporting from Egypt and Gaza during the Egyptian revolution.


Details of the events are below.


March 2, 2011, 7 PM
Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ
sponsored by the Princeton Middle East Society, Interfaith Network for Understanding.
Main Lounge in Mackay Campus Center, Princeton Seminary

March 3rd , 201, 7 PMTemple University , speaking together with Julia Hurley.1801 North Broad Street, Conwell Hall 103
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122-6096

March 4th, 2011, 7 PMRiverside Church, NYC
490 Riverside Drive New York, NY 10027-5788
(212) 870-6700. Subway: 116 St - Columbia University

March 5th, 2011 from 11-4PM
Stony Point CenterAllison House 142 W. Main St. Stony Point, NY. (reservation required, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb rabbilynn@earthlink.net)This event is co-sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace Westchester,The Fellowship of Reconciliation and The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship.]]>
tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526124 2011-02-24T20:24:00Z 2018-01-29T04:54:51Z Toward Palestine's 'Mubarak moment' | Ali Abunimah, Aljazeera.net
Toward Palestine's 'Mubarak moment'
The Palestinian Authority should dissolve itself, as it is acting in Israel's interest, writer says.

Last Modified: 24 Feb 2011 16:25 GMT

New elections will not give Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the credibility he needs, writer says [Reuters]


The slow collapse of Palestinian collective leadership institutions in recent years has reached a crisis amid the ongoing Arab revolutions, the revelations in the Palestine Papers, and the absence of any credible peace process.
The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) controlled by Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction has attempted to respond to this crisis by calling elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and the PA presidency.

Abbas hopes that elections could restore legitimacy to his leadership. Hamas has rejected such elections in the absence of a reconciliation agreement ending the division that resulted from Fatah's refusal (along with Israel and the PA's western sponsors, especially the United States) to accept the result of the last election in 2006, which Hamas decisively won.
But even if such an election were held in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it does not resolve the crisis of collective leadership faced by the entire Palestinian people, some ten million distributed between those living in the occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank, inside Israel, and the worldwide diaspora.

Read the whole article english.aljazeera.net
tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526141 2011-02-22T14:33:29Z 2013-10-08T17:13:48Z Palestinians in Washington DC to hold Feb 28 protest telling PA: "You're fired!"

Please join us and forward widely...





We the Palestinian People

Find you have failed to keep your oath to represent the Palestinians



  • Suspend and terminate the Oslo Accords
  • Dissolve the Palestinian Authority – Abbas must resign
  • End the Blockade of Gaza
  • End all security arrangements with Israel
  • Release all Palestinian political prisoners from Palestinian jails
  • Unify the resistance – Build a national platform upon which to coalesce Palestinian political parties and formations in their resistance to apartheid, colonialism and ethnic cleansing


Notice of termination served on February 28, 2011 4:00-6:00 p.m.

at the General Delegation of the PLO Mission to the U.S.

1320 18th Street, NW - Washington, D.C. 

 Issued by the United States Palestinian Community Network-DC

tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526155 2011-02-02T17:14:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:48Z The Palestine Papers

I was asked for some resources about the Palestine Papers, which were released by Al Jazeera on 23 January. These 1600 documents, dated from 1999 to 2010, including minutes, reports, emails, maps and presentations, constitute the largest leak and the deepest insight into the failed "peace process" ever.

I was one of several experts and analysts invited by Al Jazeera to take an early look at the documents and I wrote at least eight articles about them which are linked below. I've also included some key articles by other writers and links to the document archive itself. Scholars, historians and activists should take it onwards from here because there is still much exploring to be done of these valuable documents.


"Jordan, PLO clash on refugee issue"
Ali Abunimah, Al Jazeera, 24 January 2011

"A dangerous shift on 1967 lines"
Ali Abunimah, Al Jazeera, 24 January 2011

"PA lobbying blocked Shalit swap"
Ali Abunimah, Al Jazeera, 26 January 2011

"Israel's lawyer, revisited"
By Mark Perry and Ali Abunimah, Al Jazeera, 24 January 2011

"The US role as Israel's enabler"
By Mark Perry and Ali Abunimah, Al Jazeera, 26 January 2011

"US sidelined Palestinian democracy"
Ali Abunimah, Al Jazeera, 26 January 2011

"The Palestine Papers and the 'Gaza coup'"Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 27 January 2011http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11756.shtml

"If US can't be 'honest broker' in Middle East, get out of the way"
Ali Abunimah, Christian Science Monitor, 27 January 2010


"PA relinquished right of return"
Amira Howeidy, Al Jazeera, 24 January 2011

"Dayton's mission: A reader's guide"
Mark Perry, Al Jazeera, 25 January 2011

'Not worth the paper they're printed on'
Mark Perry, Foreign Policy, 27 January 2011

Aljazeera English's special page on The Palestine Papers with many more articles and analsyes by other authors: http://english.aljazeera.net/palestinepapers/

All the Palestine Papers documents can be viewed at:

VIDEO: The Palestine Papers panel discussion

"Shlomo Ben Ami, former Israeli Forign Minister, Daud Abdullah, director of Middle east monitor UK and Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada make up the panel of analysts who discuss the Palestine Papers. This is Part three"

tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526180 2011-01-30T17:17:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:49Z VIDEO: Democracy protests in Amman, Jordan

Short video clips of protest in downtown Amman, Jordan, 28 January 2011. Parties represented included Islamist and Leftist parties. Slogans included calls for resignation of the government of Samir Rifai; Free elections based on a fair election law; end to corruption and privatization; economic justice; cancelation of the peace treaty with Israel; an end to the withdrawal for citizenships from Jordanian citizens of Palestinian origin. Many slogans in solidarity with protests in Egypt today. Protest which began after Friday prayers at Al-Husseini mosque lasted about two hours and ended peacefully. Protests have now occurred on four successive Fridays in Amman and other parts of Jordan.

tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526195 2011-01-28T13:09:15Z 2013-10-08T17:13:49Z PHOTOS: Amman #JO protest for democracy, economic justice solidarity with Egypt #Jan25 #JO #ReformJO
Protest in downtown Amman, Jordan, 28 January 2011. Parties represented included Islamist and Leftist parties. Slogans included calls for resignation of the government of Samir Rifai; Free elections based on a fair election law; end to corruption and privatization; economic justice; cancelation of the peace treaty with Israel; an end to the withdrawal for citizenships from Jordanian citizens of Palestinian origin. Many slogans in solidarity with protests in Egypt today. Protest which began after Friday prayers at Al-Husseini mosque lasted about two hours and ended peacefully. Protests have now occurred on four successive Fridays in Amman and other parts of Jordan.

tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526209 2011-01-27T15:26:55Z 2018-01-15T11:20:50Z BREAKING: Palestinian students demanding democracy take over Palestine diplomatic mission in London


Announcing a sit-in at the Palestinian Embassy, London, UK, in the name of the General Union of Palestine Students, and as part of a campaign for Palestinian national representation, calling for the holding of direct elections to the Palestine National Council. More details are attached in our English and Arabic press releases. We are currently talking with the ambassador.

General Union of Palestine Students, UK
27 January 2011

tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526222 2011-01-26T10:36:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:49Z Video: Ali Abunimah on right of return and The Palestine Papers - Al Jazeera English 25 Jan 2011

I was interviewed by David Foster on Al Jazeera English on 25 January 2011 on the revelations that the Palestinian Authority had conceded the right of return for Palestinian refugees to Israel.

tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526236 2011-01-23T16:18:23Z 2013-10-08T17:13:49Z Just received this really charming email signed "your Israeli friend"
From: ofer kagan <opozik@hotmail.com>
Date: January 23, 2011 10:09:54 AM CST
To: <gazaflotillamap@gmail.com>
Subject: you sopund more and more not like ali but....


 ther will be on state....but not with arabs ya tembel....

 say hi to your sharmota mom for me..... she had a good time with me and the army boys last night....

 allah is a pig and muhamed a dog....

 you on the other hand.... gonna get it right in the x:

 (.) X (.)


                your israeli friend.....                                                           
tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526253 2011-01-18T09:53:11Z 2013-10-08T17:13:50Z When did butcher Ehud Barak cease to be VP of the Socialist International? As recently as January 5, Israeli defense minister and Gaza war criminal Ehud Barak was listed as Vice President of the Socialist International, bringing that organization into eternal disrepute and irrelevance. On January 17, Barak announced he was breaking away from Israel's ostensibly "socialist" Labor Party and forming his own "Centrist, democratic and Zionist" party called Atzmaut ("Independence"). Well Barak is no longer listed as a VP of the Socialist International as the pictures show. When did they have time to remove him?

tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526265 2010-12-17T10:22:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:50Z LA Times oped: "Israel leaves us no choice but to boycott" ~ Ali Abunimah

Israel leaves us no choice but to boycott

Palestinians have already given up so much since 1948. It's up to Israel to end its campaign of ethnic cleansing for the peace process to move forward.

Ayalon claims that the settlements Israel refuses to stop building on occupied land are a "red herring" and present no obstacles to peace because in the "43 years since Israel gained control of the West Bank, the built-up areas of the settlements constitute less than 1.7% of the total area."

But let us remind ourselves of a few facts that are not in dispute. Since the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel signed the Oslo peace agreement in 1993, the number of Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, has tripled to more than half a million. Ayalon's deceptive focus on the "built-up areas" ignores the reality that the settlements now control 42% of the West Bank, according to a report last July from the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem.
Read the rest at latimes.com


tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526276 2010-12-14T15:53:17Z 2013-10-08T17:13:50Z Video: Ali Abunimah, Congressman Brian Baird, Jonathan Sacerdoti debate peace process on Riz Khan show

Is the US losing its grip on the Middle East peace process?

Israeli-Palestinian talks have reached a deadlock following US failure to convince Israel to extend a freeze on illegal settlement-building in occupied Palestinan territories.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, says there can be no negotiations until there is a complete halt to the construction of Israeli settlements. Abbas has also been campaigning for international recognition of the Palestinian state, which so far has been accepted by Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Washington has condemned those actions as detrimental to the peace process.

Meanwhile, some former European leaders are pushing for a tougher stance against Israel, urging the European Union to impose sanctions.

On Monday's Riz Khan, we ask: Where exactly is this roadmap to peace going?

We will be joined by: Ali Abunimah, the co-founder of Electronic Intifada, a non-profit online publication that covers the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; Brian Baird, a US congressman who has visited Gaza several times; and Jonathan Sacerdoti, an independent commentator on the Middle East.

This episode aired on Monday, December 13, 2010.

tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526288 2010-12-07T22:57:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:50Z Defending Palestinian solidarity - Opinion - Al Jazeera English
Defending Palestinian solidarity
There has been a recent escalation by the 'Israel Lobby' to muzzle the growing Palestinian solidarity movement.

Last Modified: 07 Dec 2010 05:40 GMT

Uri Rosenthal, the Dutch foreign minister, has taken it upon himself to investigate the source of The Electronic Intifada's funding, at the ushering of the 'Israel Lobby'  [EPA] 

The Electronic Intifada, the online publication about Palestine that I co-founded in 2001, finds itself at the centre of a storm as a pro-Israel group applies pressure to have a grant from a Dutch foundation withdrawn.

This assault on our freedom of conscience is about much more than our website. It is part of a well-coordinated, escalating Israeli government-endorsed effort to vilify individuals and cripple organisations that criticise Israel's human rights record and call for it to respect Palestinian rights and international law.

The latest salvo came in a scurrilous article in The Jerusalem Post based on allegations from a group called NGO Monitor, accusing The Electronic Intifada of "anti-Semitism" - without citing a single example from the almost 12,000 articles we have published. The Electronic Intifada has responded to NGO Monitor's accusations. Of course the charge of "anti-Semitism" has long been a weapon in the hands of Israel's apologists when they cannot find a factual basis to challenge the site's reporting and analysis.

Read the rest: english.aljazeera.net


tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526039 2010-12-07T21:40:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:47Z Waarom NGO-Monitor de Electronic Intifada aanvalt, ofwel een aanval van extreem rechts op de vrijheid van meningsuiting

Waarom NGO-Monitor de Electronic Intifada aanvalt, ofwel een aanval van extreem rechts op de vrijheid van meningsuiting

30 november 2010 

Oorspronkelijk gepubliceerd op http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11651.shtml
Vertaald door G. Daniel Bugel-Shunra, http://dutch.shunra.net  

De lastercampagne van ‘NGO Monitor’ tegen de ‘Electronic Intifada’ richt zich op de steun die deze nieuwssite van een Nederlandse stichting ontvangt.

‘NGO Monitor’, een extreem-rechtse groepering met nauwe banden met de Israëlische regering, het Israëlische militaire apparaat en Joodse kolonisten op de Westoever, met een man in de organisatie die is veroordeeld werd wegens het misleiden van het Amerikaanse Congres, en met banden met notoire Islamofobe personen en organisaties in de Verenigde Staten, is een campagne gestart tegen de steun die door een Nederlandse stichting aan de ‘Electronic Intifada’ wordt gegeven. ‘NGO Monitor’ beticht deze nieuwssite, die in februari 2001 is opgericht en door dagelijks door duizenden wordt geraadpleegd, onder andere van “antisemitisme”.

De lastercampagne van ‘NGO Monitor’ tegen de ‘Electronic Intifada’ (EI) heeft nu de steun die deze nieuwssite van de Nederlandse ICCO ontvangt op de korrel genomen. ‘NGO Monitor’ oefent druk uit op de Nederlandse overheid, die ICCO subsidieert, om de steun aan EI te beëindigen. Minister Uri Rosenthal van Buitenlandse Zaken zou de lastercampagne tegen EI steunen.

De aanval van ‘NGO Monitor’ is onderdeel van een goed geoliede en door de Israëlische overheid gesteunde poging om verslaggeving over en kritiek op Israël de mond te snoeren door het afschieten van zogenaamde “delegitimizers” – personen en organisaties die documentatie over de schendingen van mensenrechten verspreiden, de boycot en sanctiebeweging (BDS) ondersteunen, of voor gelijke rechten voor Palestijnen opkomen. In februari dit jaar meldde EI dat een toonaangevende Israëlische denktank adviseerde om critici van Israël gericht te saboteren, bij wijze van regeringsbeleid (“Israel’s new strategy: “sabotage” and “attack” the global justice movement”, 16 februari 2010).

In het verleden nam ‘NGO Monitor’ reeds het voortouw bij het smoren van proteststemmen van Joodse dissidentengroeperingen binnen Israël, toen deze trachtten het Israëlische humanitaire beleid te verbeteren.

De in Jeruzalem gevestigde ‘NGO Monitor’ pretendeert een project te zijn dat zich bezig houdt met het doorlichten van niet-gouvernementele organisaties (NGO’s), maar zoals de Israëlische mensenrechtenactivist en journalist Didi Remez opmerkte, is NGO Monitor “geen objectieve waakhond: Het is een partijdige onderneming die vermeende ideologische tegenstanders door middel van McCarthy-achtige technieken probeert klein te krijgen: het plaatsen op zwarte lijsten, suggestieve aantijgingen van medeschuld, en een selectieve weergave van feiten” (“Bring on the transparency,” Haaretz, 26 november 2009).

In een artikel in The Jerusalem Post, van 6 november j.l. kondigde de directeur van ‘NGO Monitor’ Gerald Steinberg aan dat zijn groep deel uitmaakt van een nieuw door de ‘Jewish Federations of North America’ (JFNA) en het ‘Jewish Council of Public Affairs’ (JCPA) opgericht ‘Israel Action Network’, dat als doel heeft de boycotbeweging te ondermijnen (“Turning the tables on BDS,” The Jerusalem Post, 6 November 2010). JFNA zal het ‘Israel Action Network’ over de komende drie jaar met 6 miljoen dollar financieren om “delegitimatie” tegen te gaan, die volgens JFNA-directeur Jerry Silverman door “Israëlische leiders ... als het op één na grootste gevaar voor Israël wordt gezien, direct na het streven van Iran naar nucleaire wapens (“Federations, JCPA teaming to fight delegitimization of Israël,” JTA, 24 oktober 2010).

Het doel van ‘NGO Monitor’ en het ‘Israel Action Network’ is blijkbaar niets minder dan het sluiten van onafhankelijke nieuwsorganisaties zoals de ‘Electronic Intifada’ en van mensenrechtenorganisaties in Israël, op de bezette Westoever en in de Gazastrook, en elders ter wereld. In zij artikel van 6 november j.l. noemde Steinberg specifiek de Electronic Intifada en haar medeoprichter en directeur-bestuurder Ali Abunimah, evenals de Palestijns-Christelijke oecumenische vrede- en rechtvaardigheidsbeweging Sabeel en haar stichter, dominee Naim Ateek, als doelwitten van de campagne. “Om deze politieke oorlog te winnen moet het [Israel Action] netwerk zich met gedetailleerde informatie over de oppositie wapenen, en op basis daarvan een effectief tegenbeleid voeren. Dit houdt in het verspreiden van informatie aan studenten op de campussen en activisten in de samenleving, zodat deze de groeperingen die de demonisering [van Israël] aanvoeren en financieren aan de kaak kunnen stellen”, aldus Steinberg.

Steinberg stelde verder vol trots dat ‘NGO Monitor’ reeds heeft “bewezen dat deze aanpak erg effectief kan zijn. Na zorgvuldig onderzoek heeft de Canadese overheid flink gesneden in fondsen die voor mensenrechten en ontwikkelingshulp bestemd waren, maar in feite werden gebruikt voor haat en opruiing. Vergelijkbare stappen worden door Europese overheden overwogen met betrekking tot een aantal van de meest verderfelijke NGO’s die bij de boycotbeweging zijn betrokken.”

Als nieuwste doelwit van een laster- en sabotagecampagne van ‘NGO Monitor’ bevindt zich de Electronic Intifada in het goede gezelschap van eerder beschuldigde organisaties, waaronder Amnesty International, Artsen Zonder Grenzen, Human Rights Watch, Adalah, Al-Haq, Mada al-Carmel, evenals Israëlische groepen zoals B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, HaMoked, het New Israel Fund, en tientallen anderen. Een blik op de publicaties van ‘NGO Monitor’ toont aan dat deze organisatie elke beschrijving van – of oproep tot het beëindigen van – de stelselmatige Israëlische schendingen van mensenrechten, de gewelddadige kolonisatie van de bezette West Bank inclusief Jeruzalem, de blokkade van Gaza, en de uitvoerig gedocumenteerde oorlogsmisdaden en misdrijven tegen de menselijkheid als “haat”, “opruiing” en/of “antisemitisme” karakteriseert.


Aanval op financiering om vrijheid van meningsuiting en gedachten te ondermijnen 

In 2007 begon ‘NGO Monitor’ een reeks acties tegen de Canadese ontwikkelings- en mensenrechtenorganisatie ‘Alternatives’, die zich met ontwikkelingswerk in de bezette West Bank en Gazastrook bezig hield. Na een ferme campagne door pro-Israëlische lobbyisten kortte de conservatieve Canadese regering haar subsidie voor ‘Alternatives’ en voor een aantal andere groeperingen die zich voor de rechten van Palestijnen inzetten (“Canada’s neoconservative turn,” The Electronic Intifada, 26 februari 2010).

Eerder dit jaar stopte het door de Canadese overheid gesteunde internationale centrum voor ontwikkelingsonderzoek (IDRC) haar onderzoekstoelagen aan Mada al-Carmel, een onafhankelijk onderzoekscentrum in Haifa en het enige in zijn soort in Israël, dat zich op de rechten, behoeften en toekomst van Palestijnse burgers richt. Volgens het Israëlische dagblad Haaretz zouden de toelagen, bestemd voor een onderzoek van de “Arabische politieke betrokkenheid in Israël en de toekomst van de Israëlische democratie,” en van “Palestijnse vrouwen in Israël en de politieke economie”, zijn stopgezet onder druk, uitgeoefend door het Israëlische Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken op de regering van Canada (“Did Foreign Ministry lobby to stop Canadian funding of Israeli Arab group?” Haaretz, 19 augustus 2010).


Intifada onder vuur

Op 26 November publiceerde The Jerusalem Post een artikel van Benjamin Weinthal met als titel “Dutch will look into NGO funding of anti-Semitic website.” Volgens Weinthal geeft de Nederlandse overheid steun aan de interkerkelijke organisatie voor ontwikkelingssamenwerking (ICCO), “een Nederlandse hulporganisatie die de ‘Electronic Intifada’ steunt, een website dat, zoals de ‘NGO Monitor’ tegenover donderdag tegenover de Jerusalem Post verklaarde, antisemitisch is, en Israëlisch beleid regelmatig met dat van het Nazi-regime vergelijkt.” De Jerusalem Post citeert echter geen enkel voorbeeld uit de bijna 12.000 sinds 2001 door EI gepubliceerde artikelen die deze choquerende beschuldigingen zouden staven.

Met haar reportages en onafhankelijke commentaren heeft de Electronic Intifada sinds haar oprichting een wereldwijde reputatie verworven. Op haar website stelt ze dat haar “visie op het conflict in de universele beginselen van het internationaal recht en de verdragen met betrekking tot mensenrechten zijn verankerd, en dat de reportages zijn gebaseerd op een solide basis van gedocumenteerd bewijsmateriaal en zorgvuldig feitenonderzoek.”

Volgens de Jerusalem Post zou de Nederlandse Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken, Uri Rosenthal, hebben verklaard: “Ik zal deze zaak persoonlijk onderzoeken. Als zal blijken dat de door de overheid gesubsidieerde ICCO de ‘Electronic Intifada’ steunt, zal het een ernstig probleem met mij hebben.” Als Minister Rosenthal juist is geciteerd (waarvan echter niet mag worden uitgegaan, gezien de vele andere fouten en onwaarheden in Weinthals artikel), moet worden opgemerkt dat het Nederlandse Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken nooit contact heeft opgenomen met de EI, voordat de minister zijn gewicht achter de door ‘NGO Monitor’ gemaakte aantijgingen zette.

De Jerusalem Post beweert verder dat director-bestuurder Ali Abunimah van de Electronic Intifada een leidende functie zou hebben in de tegen Israël gerichte delegitimatie- en demoniseringscampagnes. Tijdens zijn door het budget van de Electronic Intifada gefinancierde voordrachten en spreekbeurten zou hij oproepen tot het creëren van één [gemeenschappelijke] staat als oplossing tot het Israëlisch-Palestijnse conflict, en “regelmatig gebruik maken van valse apartheidsretoriek”.

De Jerusalem Post heeft nooit gepoogd om met de Electronic Intifada of met Abunimah contact op te nemen, om deze beweringen te verifiëren. Als het dit wel had gedaan, zou de Jerusalem Post hebben vernomen dat geen van Abunimah’s reizen en spreekbeurten ooit uit het budget van de ‘Electronic Intifada’ is betaald, maar dat deze altijd door de gastgevende organisaties zijn bekostigd, en helemaal los staan van de EI nieuwssite.

Sinds 2006 is ca. een derde van het budget van de Electronic Intifada afkomstig van ICCO. Het grootste deel van de financiering van de nieuwssite is afkomstig van giften van lezers, en een klein deel wordt bijgedragen door particuliere stichtingen. Het totale budget van de Electronic Intifada bedroeg $149.208 in 2008 en $183.760 in 2009, zoals blijkt uit de openbaar toegankelijke belastingaangifte van de Middle East Cultural and Charitable Society, Inc., de non-profit stichting waarvan de ‘Electronic Intifada’ onderdeel uitmaakt.


‘NGO Monitor’, de Israëlische regering, het leger, en extreem rechts

‘NGO Monitor’ is nauw verbonden met extreem rechts in Israël, met de regering en de legerleiding van dat land, evenals met toonaangevende anti-Palestijnse en anti-Islam-activisten in de Verenigde Staten. Op de website van ‘NGO Monitor’ staat dat de organisatie een joint venture is van het Institute for Contemporary Affairs, de Wechsler Family Foundation, en B’nai B’rith International.

De Electronic Intifada rapporteerde reeds in 2005 dat het Institute of Contemporary Affairs van het Jerusalem Center on Public Affairs een denktank is die onderdak biedt aan Israëls militaire en politieke elite. Tot de coryfeeën onder de Israëlische ambtenaren en officieren die voor het instituut spreken en schrijven behoort bijvoorbeeld Doron Almog, die internationaal bekend werd toen hij in London Heathrow in een El Al vliegtuig bleef zitten en terug naar Israël vluchtte om een tegen hem uitgevaardigd arrestatiebevel te ontlopen in verband met oorlogsmisdaden die hij zou hebben gepleegd als divisiecommandant in de bezette Gazastrook (“‘NGO Monitor’ should not be taken seriously,” 18 oktober 2005).

Onder de leden van het internationale adviesorgaan van ‘NGO Monitor’ bevinden zich wat opvallende keuzes, voor een organisatie die zich op aanspreekbaarheid zegt te richten. Naast Alan Dershowitz en Elie Wiesel (die in het openbaar heeft verklaard dat hij principieel niet in staat is om Israël waarvoor dan ook te bekritiseren) vinden we het voormalige hoofd van de CIA en Iraq-oorlogslobbyist James Woolsey, en ook Elliott Abrams, die in 1991 werd veroordeeld voor het achterhouden van informatie van het Amerikaanse Congres in de Iran-Contra affaire, waarin hij als ambtenaar in de Reagan-administratie diep betrokken was. Als plaatsvervangend adviseur voor nationale veiligheid tijdens de regering van George W. Bush was Abrams het brein achter de clandestiene Amerikaanse acties die tot doel hadden, de gevolgen van de Palestijnse parlementsverkiezingen van januari 2006 terug te draaien door Palestijnse oppositionele milities te bewapenen en hen tegen verkiezingswinnaar Hamas in te zetten. De handelingen van Abrams leidden tot een Palestijnse burgeroorlog die honderden mensenlevens kostte. (David Rose, “The Gaza Bombshell,” Vanity Fair, April 2008).

Een van de leden van het juridische adviesorgaan van ‘NGO Monitor’ is de voormalige Israëlische ambassadeur Alan Baker, die jaren lang in dienst van de Israëlische overheid de Israëlische schendingen van het internationaal recht goedpraatte, evenals het kolonisatiebeleid in de bezette gebieden, dat door alle EU-regeringen, waaronder ook de Nederlandse, formeel wordt afgewezen. De band wordt verder gecementeerd door een rapport dat onlangs door ‘NGO Monitor’ is gepubliceerd in samenwerking met een partnerorganisatie, het Institute for Zionist Strategies, met als titel: “Trojan Horse: The Impact of European Government Funding for Israëli NGOs”. Didi Remez wijst erop dat het Institute for Zionist Strategies, wordt geleid door Israel Harel, een van de stichters van de fanatieke kolonistenbeweging Gush Emunim.

Oproep tot “aanspreekbaarheid” – (maar enkel voor anderen)

Terwijl ‘NGO Monitor’ almaar openhartiger toegeeft dat het zijn doel is om de openbare discussie over Israëls schendingen van mensenrechten de mond te snoeren, beweert het nog steeds dat zijn bestaansreden de vergroting van “aanspreekbaarheid” en transparantie is. Deze oproep tot transparantie geldt echter niet voor zichzelf, of voor politieke bondgenoten.

Er is maar weinig informatie beschikbaar over de financiering van ‘NGO Monitor’. De organisatie houdt de namen van de donoren en van de gegeven bedragen geheim, terwijl het tegelijkertijd eist dat andere organisaties hun boeken wel openen. Onder de hoofddonors die wel worden genoemd valt naast de Wechsler Foundation ook de naam van het Middle East Forum Education Project van Daniel Pipes. Pipes is reeds vaak in de aandacht gekomen wegens zijn verspreiding van anti-Islamitische en anti-Arabische propaganda, hetgeen voor Senator Tom Harkin aanleiding was om tegen George W. Bush’ benoeming van Pipes tot de raad van het United States Institute for Peace te protesteren (“Daniel Pipes nomination stalled in committee”, The Baltimore Chronicle, 23 juli 2003).

Tot de hoofddonoren van ‘NGO Monitor’ telt tevens een van Amerikaanse belastingen vrijgestelde organisatie, American Friends of ‘NGO Monitor’ (AFNGOM) genaamd. Terwijl AFNGOM begin 2009 als een van belasting vrijgestelde non-profit is erkend, is het voor non-profits verplichte Form 990 voor 2009 nog steeds niet op Guidestar.org, de informatiesite voor Amerikaanse non-profits, ter inzage beschikbaar. (Volgens Guidestar wordt een Form 990 gewoonlijk binnen twee maanden na inlevering op de website gepubliceerd).

Één van de bestuursleden van AFNGOM is Rita Emerson. Emerson en haar man Steven Emerson zijn bekenden in de Amerikaanse pro-Israëlische en anti-Islamitische gemeenschap; zij doen regelmatig schenkingen aan pro-Israëlische doelen. Samen financieren zij de “Emerson Fellowships” voor de anti-Palestijnse lobbyorganisatie ‘Stand With Us’ (die nauw met het Israëlische leger samenwerkt in het organiseren van spreekbeurten van Israëlische soldaten op Amerikaanse universiteiten), en tevens tellen zij tot de belangrijkste donoren van het Technion Israel Institute of Technology. “Zij zetten zich met passie in voor kankeronderzoek, de verdediging van Israël op de campussen en in de media, en de strijd tegen de wereldwijde Jihad”, zo luidde de beschrijving van het echtpaar in 2007 in een programmaboekje van een diner voor de American Freedom Alliance.

De Emersons hebben goed geboerd met hun opruicampagnes tegen Moslims. Uit een recent onderzoek van de krant The Tennessean bleek dat Steven Emerson in 2008 3,4 miljoen dollar aan honoraria aan zijn eigen bedrijf heeft betaald, afkomstig van een door hem gestichte non-profit, die volgens deze krant “donoren om geld vraagt door hen te vertellen dat zij direct door Moslims worden bedreigd”. Volgens The Tennessean is Emersons non-profit in werkelijkheid een dekmantel voor een lucratieve onderneming (“Anti-Muslim crusaders make millions spreading fear”, The Tennessean, 24 oktober 2010). Het is opmerkelijk dat het Form 990 van deze non-profit geen personeelsleden, bestuursleden of salarissen vermeldt, behalve Steven Emerson zelf, als enige functionaris van de organisatie. Een search op de website van ‘NGO Monitor’ vond geen enkele verwijzing naar het gebrek aan transparantie van het “non-profit” miljoenenbedrijfje van de Emersons.

‘NGO Monitor’ toont een even groot gebrek aan interesse aan transparantie als het gaat om extremistische Israëlische groeperingen. Zoals Didi Remez aantoont, worden “honderden miljoenen dollars aan Israëlische belastinggelden en Amerikaanse belastingvrijstellingen aan de openbaarheid onttrokken en naar de kolonisatieprojecten gekanaliseerd, onder andere via organisaties zoals Elad, de drijvende kracht achter de actuele inspanningen van Israëlische kolonisten om Palestijnen uit bepaalde woonwijken in bezet Oost Jeruzalem te drijven (“Bring on the transparency”).

Remez merkt op dat terwijl de meeste Israëlische, door ‘NGO Monitor’ op de korrel genomen oppositie- en mensenrechtenorganisaties reeds aan hoge normen van fiscale transparantie voldoen, dit voor de kolonistenorganisaties niet het geval is. Deze laatsten zijn volgens Remez “afhankelijk van financiële ondoorzichtigheid” om hun activiteiten op lange termijn te kunnen voortzetten. ‘NGO Monitor’ heeft hieraan nooit een enkel woord besteed.

Nu de internationale solidariteitsbewegingen met Palestina, waaronder de boycot- en sanctiebeweging, almaar meer toeloop krijgen, raken de leiding van Israël en Israëls apologeten in paniek, en verliezen alle scrupules. Door niets wordt dit beter geïllustreerd dan door de aanval van ‘NGO Monitor’ op de financieringsbronnen voor media- en mensenrechtenorganisaties zoals de Electronic Intifada en zoveel andere groepen, die dringend nodige werkzaamheden verrichten.

tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526050 2010-12-02T04:41:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:47Z Jewish Federation of New Mexico's response to my UNM lecture vindicates BDS for justice in Palestine

The New Mexico Jewish Link, the official organ of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico (JFNM) carries a lengthy article by Sam Sokolove, the organization's head, denouncing the November 7 speech I gave at the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque (December 2010 issue, p.4 of the PDF)

Mr. Sokolove, you may recall, was at the forefront of a failed effort -- in which I was likened to a member of the KKK -- to have several UNM departments withdraw their endorsement for my lecture, which was attended by hundreds of people. Sokolove himself apparently did not bother to show up.

So naturally Sokolove addresses almost nothing of what I actually said in his ironically headlined article "Blind Hatred and Vision." My full lecture is available on video and I assume Mr. Sokolove watched it and I can note here that he does not challenge a single fact I stated in my lecture.

The one point he does address directly is my call on the JFNM to apologize for a despicable "Dry Bones" cartoon published in a previous issue of The New Mexico Jewish Link which  likens supporters of boycott, divestment and sanctions to Hitler (see video clip of me speaking about this). Sokolove writes:

The visit from Abunimah was a case in point. Abunimah -- a man who is intent on denying Jews their national identity and their covenantal relationship to the land of Israel, and who has likened the situation in Gaza as a "Holocaust" -- can still muster the chutzpadik to demand, straight faced, an apology from The New Mexico Jewish Link and the Jewish Federation of New Mexico on behalf of the "defamed" victims of the Shoah for publishing a "Dry Bones" comic comparing BDS tactics to those of Third Reich propagandists.

But BDS is all about tragic comedy, and organizing in the midst of a comedy has unusual challenges, among them unraveling their core message from smokescreen layers of platitudes on justice, peace and human rights. It can't be easy for these haters to see the Jewish State survive, let alone thrive.

Does Sokolove not spot the irony that while accusing me of comparing Gaza to the Holocaust (no citation provided of course) he is the one who hides behind hyperbolic Third Reich analogies and imagery -- apparently because he has no stronger arguments to offer in defense of Israel's atrocious and worsening behavior.

The Jewish Federation of New Mexico, like so many other Zionist organizations, is jumping on to the bandwagon of fighting "delegitimization" of Israel. This campaign is based on a fundamental misunderstanding that Israel has an "image" problem. It doesn't. Israel has a reality problem that its apologists refuse to acknowledge.

But here is what is so striking. Toward the end of his article, Sokolove is forced to acknowledge Israel's appalling and worsening human rights record, abuses that are integral to maintaining the current system of oppression and inferiority of Palestinians in their native land. Sokolove minimizes, tries to justify the abuses, and engages in victim-blaming, but he acknowledges them:

So, here's what it means to have vision: For those who love Israel, and who truly care about peace, it's important to see the plight of the Palestinian people, those who may be subjected to some bad Israeli policies, to the daily indignities of check- points, to callous IDF soldiers (a very small minority of the IDF to be sure, but a growing concern).

It is also important for all others people to become aware of a systematic and shameless perpetuation of the Palestinian dilemma by Arab states to distract attention from their own totalitarian regimes.

For those who do see Israel as a state that has lost its moral compass, it's important to see the very real security challenges that motivate policies that make for rotten public relations. These policies are not popular but they do save lives.

Now, Sokolove comes to the heart of the matter:

And for members of our community who continue to sit on the fence about these concerning matters, or who are simply burned out by all the shouting, it's all right (even part of our tradition, one might argue) to challenge "establishment" Israel advocacy groups -- yes, Federation included -- and to explore a variety of narratives, without giving in to the ink-black BDS vision of a world absent the nuisance Jewish state.

What Mr. Sokolove fears is the growth of support for BDS, especially among Jewish Americans. It is only in the context of trying to stave off this growing movement for justice and equality, that he is willing to acknowledge what he euphemistically calls "some bad Israeli policies."

BDS, we must always remember, is not an end in itself. It's a set of tactics -- like the Montgomery Bus Boycott, or the boycott of apartheid South Africa -- that is intended to bring about real change for the better. In this case, the goal is to end Israel's occupation and colonization of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, end Israel's systematic discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel and ensure full respect for the inalienable human rights of Palestinian refugees.

BDS aims not to harm any legitimate interest or right of any Israelis, but to bring about equality, justice for Palestinians, respect for international law and universal human rights. No one can deny that Israelis have exactly the same human rights as every other group of humans. What they don't have and will never have is a "right" to dispossess, discriminate against, dehumanize and oppress Palestine's indigenous people and maintain an odious system of apartheid in the name of any "covenant." How Jews worship, how they view their relationship to God, how they imagine the place of a certain piece of "holy" land in their religion is of no interest or concern to me. What does concern me, and what all who believe in human dignity and equality should resist, is the use of any such claims or beliefs to justify Israel's ongoing ethnic cleansing and oppression of Palestinians.

BDS works not only by putting pressure on Israel but by forcing those who would otherwise not examine Israel's actions or their own views to do some introspection. Sokolove -- apparently against every fibre of his being -- has been forced to do that precisely because of the looming "threat" of BDS. It's not much, but it vindicates that BDS is the right choice for those who want to see justice, equality and peace.



tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526062 2010-11-10T14:45:00Z 2014-10-06T21:18:44Z Ben Harris of JTA on my talk at University of New Mexico



It's a story that is depressingly familiar. A pro-Palestinian speaker is invited to a university. The local Jewish community gets wind of it and protests the speaker as extreme and anti-Semitic. The protest then becomes the story and the pro-Israel community is forced to fend off charges of "stifling" free expression.

So it went this week at the University of New Mexico. Ali Abunimah, a co-founder of the Electronic Intifada blog and a mainstay of the campus speakers circuit, was invited to the University of New Mexico. Abunimah is a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement as well as the author of "One State."

Read the rest at blogs.jta.org

Ben Harris of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) has an interesting blog post on my talk at UNM, and although its clear he does not agree with much of what I say, he made a genuine effort to convey it -- even though he uses questionable terms such as "Israel's supposed war crimes and crimes against humanity" as if there is not a mountain of evidence documenting such, including in a tiny number of cases convictions in Israeli courts.

Harris also writes about me: "Incredibly, he attacked European Union humanitarian aid to the Palestinians as complicit in the occupation by ameliorating its worst effects. Far better, he implied, that the Palestinians suffer so as to accelerate international outrage."

That is not at all the point I sought to make. Rather, what I argue is that aid in the absence of political action to end the oppression which makes aid necessary in the first place is what Desmond Tutu has called 'polishing the chains' of captivity. I am not saying aid should end and Palestinians should suffer more, but that aid should not be used as a conscience-cleansing substitute for the tough political action --and even confrontation-- needed to end Israel's abuses.

tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526073 2010-11-10T14:36:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:47Z "What did Ali Abunimah actually say" - UNM faculty letter responds to defamation and sets record straight

Israel/Palestine one-state solution is misunderstood


What did Ali Abunimah actually say?
The Daily Lobo is yet again filled with debate about the Israel/Palestine conflict. Given the relatively small populations of Israelis, Jews, Arabs and Muslims in our state, it is amazing how much energy this issue generates. 


Read the rest dailylobo.com

A letter from University of New Mexico professors Alex Lubin and Les Field, in The Daily Lobo.

tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526091 2010-11-08T17:58:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:48Z Breaking News: Young Jews Disrupt Bibi Netanyahu Speech at Jewish GA
Received this release by email. Removed contact info

From: jewishvoiceforpeace.org>
Date: November 8, 2010 10:48:53 MST
Subject: Breaking News: Young Jews Disrupt Bibi Netanyahu Speech at Jewish GA

PRESS RELEASE Jewish Voice for Peace, Israelis and Palestinians: Two Peoples, One Future   www.jvp.org

Eyal Mazor: 
Matan Cohen: 
Antonia House

Young Jews Challenge American Jewish Leadership At Jewish Federation General Assembly in New Orleans.

Disrupt Bibi Netanyahu speech to say Israel’s own behavior is making it a pariah, not student and peace groups that are trying to stop Israeli human rights violations

[November 8, 2010, New Orleans] A group of young Jews with the Young Leadership Institute of Jewish Voice for Peace has traveled to the largest gathering of Jewish leaders in the US, the Jewish Federation General Assembly, to confront leaders on an approach to saving Israel’s reputation and building young Jewish identity they say actually turns young Jews away.

Five of the young adults, including 3 Israelis and Israeli--Americans, disrupted a speech this morning by Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu with banners that said:

YoungJewishProud.org and and one of the below-

The Settlements Delegitimize Israel
The Occupation Delegitimizes Israel
The Siege of Gaza Delegitimizes Israel
The Loyalty Oath Delegitimizes Israel
Silencing Dissent Delegitimizes Israel

The young Jews' website, www.YoungJewishProud.org,  presents the group's Young Jewish Declaration, a compelling vision of collective identity, purpose and values written as an invitation and call t
action for  peers who care about Israel and Palestine. It is also a strong challenge to elders.

These actions are in part a protest of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and Jewish Public Affairs Council (JCPA) newly announced $6 million dollar program to target campus, church, peace
and human rights groups that are working to end Israel’s human rights violations through nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions pressure campaigns. The Federations and JCPA are calling this initiative the “Israel Action Network.”  Critics say it is a "Shoot the Messenger" approach.

“We’re here to call out the elephant in the middle of the room. Israel continues to expropriate Palestinian land for Jewish-only communities,passes increasingly racist laws in the Knesset, the
foreign minister wants to strip Palestinian citizens of their citizenship -- these are the reasons Israel is becoming a pariah in the world, NOT the human rights groups that are using nonviolent economic pressure to hold Israel accountable. We would be dismissing the values we were raised on if we did not speak up.”
Eitan Issacson, Israeli-American, Seattle

“The Jewish establishment thinks that all we want are free trips to Israel and feel-good service projects. That is in insult to our intelligence and to the Jewish values we were brought up on. What we want is for the American Jewish community to stand up and say that Israel’s ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights are wrong and that we will not continue to support it with our dollars, our political strength and our moral abilities. We are the next generation of American Jews, proud of our heritage, strongly committed to Jewish life. We live our Jewish values in opposing Israel’s human rights violations and we invite – no, implore –all Jews to join in this urgent struggle.”

Hanna King, Swarthmore College, Philadelphia

“We were surprised by how many other young Jews were enthusiastic about the perspective that we brought to the General Assembly. It was scary to ask questions of sometimes hostile panelists, but in fact many people our age were supportive and even asked their own critical questions. We realized this is a terrific opportunity to organize.” Antonia House, graduate student, NYU

“Right now, the choice for those of us who care about the future of Israel and Palestine is between the status quo--- which includes continued settlement expansion, the siege of Gaza, and the racist Israeli foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman-- or Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions. Given that choice, Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions will win every time.”

Matan Cohen, Israeli, Hampshire College

The students also announced the creation of a spoof Birthright Trip called Taglit-Lekulanu http://taglit-lekulanu.org/, Birthright for All, open to Palestinian and Jewish-Americans which they followed up
with a spoof denial. The goal of the spoof was to highlight the one-sided narrative that Birthright presents, the ways it renders Palestinians invisible. The rebuttal laid bare the problematic assumptions underlying Birthright such as the emphasis on marrying Jews and procreating. http://taglit-lekulanu.org/

Participants in the institute include students from schools as diverse as UCLA, NYU, UC Berkeley, Hampshire, and Swarthmore.

A new Jewish Voice for Peace campus chapter was recently started at Brandeis University.

Jewish Voice for Peace is America’s largest Jewish grassroots peace group dedicated to reaching a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians based on the principles of equality and international human rights law.

JVP recently led a campaign to support Israeli artists' boycott of the Ariel settlement. The campaign secured the signatures  of over 200 artists dozens of Broadway and Hollywood's leading figures includingStephen Sondheim, Hal Prince, Theodore Bikel, Eve Ensler, Julianne Moore, Mandy Patinkin, Miriam Margolyes, Cynthia Nixon, Roseanne Barr, Ethan Hawke, Ed Asner, the architect Frank Gehry and more.

JVP works with activists in Palestine and Israel, and in broad coalition with other Jewish, Arab-American, faith-based, and peace and social justice organizations to support the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for justice, security and self-determination.

Jewish Voice for Peace calls for:

* A U.S. foreign policy based on promoting peace, democracy, human rights, and respect for international law
* An end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem
* A resolution of the Palestinian refugee problem consistent with international law and equity
* An end to all violence against civilians

tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526100 2010-11-06T16:14:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:48Z Ali Abunimah lecture at Stanford, Nov 3, 2010 - Youtube in 13 parts!

My lecture at Stanford, hosted by Students Confronting Apartheid by Israel on Nov 3, 2010. Go to the Youtube page to access the subsequent segments.

tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526109 2010-11-05T15:55:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:48Z Time-traveling University of New Mexico volunteer faculty member reviews the lecture I haven't given yet

The ‘single-state’ solution to Middle East conflict is violent

Last updated: 10 hours ago


Ali Abunimah recently spoke at UNM to promote the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) of Israel. He also calls for a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rather than the popular two-state solution. His vision is one of hate and destruction, rather than bringing Israelis and Palestinians together.

In the latest (hilarious) installment of the defamation and vilification against me by Zionists at the University of New Mexico, a certain "Professor" Todd Goldblum writes with horror that "Ali Abunimah recently spoke at UNM to promote the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) of Israel" and goes on to offer all sorts of criticism of my views.

Except there is one problem. I am not scheduled to speak at UNM until Sunday, 7 November.

The only Todd Goldblum I could find associated with UNM is an opthalmologist who lists on his online resume that he is "Volunteer Faculty, Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of New Mexico, 2000 to present ."

Well Dr. Goldblum, if that's you let me say this: just because I have eyes, does not make me an opthalmologist, and just because you have opinions, does not make you an expert on Palestine, much less a time-traveler.

Why don't you broaden your vision and come to my talk instead of making yourself look ridiculous by writing about things you clearly know little about?

See Also:


tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526117 2010-11-04T16:06:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:48Z Why do UNM Zionists want to "protect" Jewish students from a message of equality, justice and peace?

Several developments to report in the over-the-top Zionist campaign to prevent me being heard at the University of New Mexico on Nov 7.

The Zionists of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico (JFNM) and Hillel at the University of New Mexico (UNM) are apparently embarrassed by the exposure of their backdoor campaign to have two academic departments cancel their sponsorship of my upcoming talk at the University of New Mexico on 7 November.

The campaign of vilification and defamation has included a statement by JNMF director Sam Sokolove published in the Albuquerque Journal likening me to the Ku Klux Klan. 

In the latest demarche, Sara Koplik, director of UNM Hillel and one the organizers of this defamation campaign has written a letter to "Hillel Students" reproduced below. In her letter, Koplik expresses annoyance that her and Sokolove's initial letter to department heads vilifying me and calling on the departments not to support my appearance became public, but she goes on to attack me further by claiming that "Ali Abunimah calls for the destruction of the State of Israel." You would think from her hyperbole that it is me, and not Israel, that possesses hundreds of undeclared nuclear warheads, or that it is me, and not Israel that constantly invades, occupies and threatens its neighbors and holds millions of people under a brutal military occupation without any basic civil or political rights. Nevertheless, Dr. Koplik goes on to claim that it is her "job to help make UNM a place where Jewish students do not feel under siege." Apparently my presence on campus constitutes such a siege!

Surely Dr. Koplik should be more concerned about hundreds of thousands of children and students in Gaza who are literally under Israeli siege, and urge Hillel Students to help expose, break and end this siege in keeping with the Jewish values of justice that Hillel professes.

Of course I can only guess at Dr. Koplik's motives in continuing with this campaign of personal vilification and defamation against me, I wonder if her real fear is that students under her tutelage may come to my event, find out that I am a human and not a monster, that what I actually call for is not the "destruction of Israel" but its transformation into a democracy which guarantees strict equal rights for all its citizens including its Palestinian and Israeli Jewish citizens -- equality under the law just like we have in the United States. This is the unbearable threat to the Zionist narrative that must be stopped. Here is Koplik's letter.

Dear Hillel Students,

You may have noticed an article in the Daily Lobo last week or one in the Albuquerque Journal yesterday which talks about Hillel's opposition to departmental sponsorship of a talk by Ali Abunimah on Sunday.

Ali Abunimah is the founder of the Electronic Intifada and a representative of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.  Along with the Executive Director of the Jewish Federation, I expressed private concerns to Prof. Alex Lubin of American Studies and Prof. Les Field of the Peace Studies Program.  

Unfortunately, Prof. Lubin did not respond to us directly, but rather sent out our letter to the BDS list serve, the Stop $30 Billion list serve, and to Ali Abunimah, who printed our letter on his blog.  

This turned a private matter into a public one, and now much of Albuquerque knows about this controversy.  Please allow me to explain our perspective.

1. We are not opposed to Ali Abunimah speaking at the University of New Mexico.

2. We are not opposed to any student group sponsoring this talk.

3. We are opposed to departmental sponsorship of this talk, as we believe that Ali Abunimah calls for the destruction of the State of Israel, and thus, it is not appropriate for a department in a public university to condone such language. 

As Hillel director, it is my job to ensure that Jewish students have a home on campus - no matter what their political persuasion or feeling about Israel.  All Jews are welcome to every event. However, it is also my job to help make UNM a place where Jewish students do not feel under siege.  This is why I am concerned about Ali Abunimah.  I do not believe that hatred towards the State of Israel, and the policies of boycott, divestment and sanctions will bring about a peaceful future for Israelis and for Palestinians. Next Friday, November 12th, we will have an opportunity to talk about these issues after Shabbat services and dinner.  If you have any concerns, questions, or thoughts on the matter, I hope you can attend.

All the best,

Sara Koplik

In another development, Professor Les Field, Director of the UNM Peace Studies Program, had also written to UNM Hillel Members (letter below) stating, "In light of the unfortunate misunderstandings that have so far characterized the upcoming lecture by Ali Abunimah this coming Sunday, I would like to extend my formal invitation to the members of Hillel." He adds, "There are also many Jewish people, like myself, in this country and in Europe who are trying to reach out across the sharp differences of opinion about the present and future of Israel-Palestine conflict.  It is crucial to hear a wide variety of ideas at this point."

I wholly endorse Professor Field's invitation. Last night at Stanford I stood for two hours and took unmoderated questions from an audience including many strong supporters of Israel. Instead of scaremongering and making outrageous claims about me, why doesn't Dr. Koplik urge Hillel students to attend my event? I will, as I did at Stanford answer all their questions and concerns, and I am ready to stand for as long as it takes. Here is Professor Field's letter:

Dear UNM Hillel members:

In light of the unfortunate misunderstandings that have so far characterized the upcoming lecture by Ali Abunimah this coming Sunday, I would like to extend my formal invitation to the members of Hillel.

I hope that you and other members of Hillel will attend the Abumimah event, and hear him out. You would be very welcomed.

Positions similar to his have been enunciated in different ways by a significant number of people in Israel, including academics, activists and politicians. There are also many Jewish people, like myself, in this country and in Europe who are trying to reach out across the sharp differences of opinion about the present and future of Israel-Palestine conflict.  It is crucial to hear a wide variety of ideas at this point.

Thirty years ago Israel's official position was that a two-state solution was not only impossible but that the Palestinian people did not really exist. Talking to the PLO was seen as an endorsement of terrorism, and those who advocated talks with Yasir Arafat were called anti-Semites. The history of this conflict shows us that dialogue even with those whose ideas we currently find unacceptable is crucial and can eventually prove productive.


Les Field

Les W. Field Professor of Anthropology

Director, UNM Peace Studies Program

Department of Anthropology MSC01-1040

University of New Mexico(Albuquerque, NM 87131

Also, the Albuquerque Journal has published an op-ed  (Palestinian's Message Not Anti-Semitic or Divisive) responding to the Jewish Federation and Hillel's defamation campaign, authored by Danya Mustafa, UNM Coalition for Peace and Justice in the Middle East (CPJME) co-President, Margaret Leicester CPJME co-founder, and Rich Forer an Albuquerque community activist. An excerpt:

Federation and Hillel authors write: "Abunimah is a representative of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a global movement intent on destroying Israel and her credibility in the world... according to the Anti-Defamation League, 'BDS is about the three 'D's: Demonization, Delegitimization, and applying a Double Standard.' This movement is disinterested in peace, the exchange of ideas or legitimate dialogue.... This is all anti-Semitism in its clearest, most noxious form."

Who is guilty of the three D's? Not once has Hillel or the Jewish Federation engaged the Coalition for Peace and Justice in the Middle East in public dialogue about this issue. Instead, their supporters write nasty letters to the editor and on Internet blogs attacking campus and community members critical of Israeli policies. They employ character assassination and ad hominem attacks to stifle dialogue and constructive debate.

In contrast, the coalition is bringing Ali Abunimah to our campus in order to unite all sides of the Israel-Palestine issue through dialogue about peaceful resolutions to this ongoing conflict. BDS is not about demonizing, delegitimizing and applying a double standard nor is it a strategy intended to punish the Jewish or Israeli people.

They end with this rallying cry:

The Coalition for Peace and Justice in the Middle East and its many sponsors will unambiguously communicate to every single person in the room that denouncing Israel's inhumane policies is not a crime, nor is it anti-Semitic. We will take this opportunity to educate and raise awareness on the UNM campus and in the larger Albuquerque community about the Israel-Palestine issue and the BDS campaign. Abunimah personally invites Jewish Federation and Hillel members to attend his talk on Sunday and "to ask me any questions they want." Join in the dialogue!

See Also:

tag:aliabunimah.posthaven.com,2013:Post/526130 2010-11-02T11:45:00Z 2013-10-08T17:13:48Z Albuquerque Journal: "UNM Jews Upset Over Palestinian Speaker " (This time desperate Zionists liken me to the KKK)
The Albuquerque Journal reports on the "controversry" over my upcoming talk at the University of New Mexico on 7 November. In perhaps a new low for anti-Palestinian activists, Sam Sokolove, the executive director of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico, which has been leading the campaign of vilification and slander, likens me to the KKK while advocates for racist Zionist apartheid Israel are supposedly the equivalent of the NAACP.

What's striking is that the Zionists' smear tactics and vilification have failed. I am really looking forward to being at the University of New Mexico, and we will see if Mr. Sokolove and his colleagues will have the courage of their convictions to show up. I will be more than happy to answer their questions.

Read the full story at the newspaper's website. Here are a few excerpts:

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

UNM Jews Upset Over Palestinian Speaker

By James Monteleone

Journal Staff Writer

Local Jewish groups are asking two University of New Mexico departments to disassociate themselves from a speech by a Palestinian-American author who they say is anti-Semitic and who could have a "chilling" effect on Jewish students and faculty.

Heads of the American Studies and Peace Studies departments co-hosting the event, however, say that what is "chilling'" is the attempt to stifle academic debate at UNM by confusing criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.


American Studies Head Alex Lubin, who is Jewish, said he was disappointed that the groups labeled a political conversation hosted on a university campus as anti-Semitism.

" I understood that it was a controversial topic, but it's particularly chilling, I think, when groups that publicly represent Jews accuse people of being anti-Semites merely for their critique of Israel," said Lubin.


Sam Sokolove, executive director of the Jewish Federation who signed the letter, said Abunimah represents a hate movement that is not interested in dialogue. He compared a Jewish conversation with Abunimah to a debate between the NAACP and the Ku Klux Klan.


Abunimah, in an interview with the Journal, said the opposition isn't a surprise. The letter-writing campaign is an attempt to stop the conversation before it occurs because the debate is one critics don't win, he said.

"I'm against apartheid in Israel. I'm against discrimination. I'm for equal rights for everyone, I say that every time I speak. ... I believe Israeli Jews and Palestinians have a right to live in peace, tranquility and equality, just like Americans do," he said. "But that's a very threatening message for people who believe there should be a system where one group of people has more rights than another. I'm assuming that's why they don't want me to be there and speak."
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