November 26, 2010

How "The Middle East's Only Democracy" Crushes Dissent

Ever since becoming an activist on behalf of Palestine some ten years ago, I have found ironic humor in the label, “The Middle East’s Only Democracy” used by American policymakers and media in describing the Jewish State. This statement is erroneous on two counts. Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of a democracy knows that Israelis overwhelmingly shun the values associated with such a system; furthermore quite a few countries in the Middle East hold elections regularly. Most recently, Jordan elected a new parliament.

Of course there are those who argue that a democracy simply means “majority rule,” or that government leaders are elected, so technically Israel would qualify. “Democracy” is defined by www.thefreedictionary.com, “government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.” So in the purely political sense, as Israeli leaders are elected, they have democracy. However, the fifth definition of democracy reads “the principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community,” a concept diametrically opposed to Israel’s inherently racist establishment.

Not only is Israel content merely to expand settlements on stolen land and deny Arab citizens the basic rights of religious freedom, education, health care and mobility, any form of dissent is quashed. Arab Israeli Knesset member Haneen Zoabi was stripped of her parliamentary privileges for participating in the Gaza freedom flotilla. In addition to receiving numerous death threats, Zoabi was recently shot in the back and neck with rubber bullets during a protest against a march by militant settlers in the town of Umm al-Fahm. Under Zionism, there is no such thing as freedom of assembly or free speech.

Take for instance a recent haiku contest on Facebook sponsored by El Al Airlines. Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry requiring three non-rhyming lines: the first and third line consisting of five syllables, the second line containing seven. I swallowed my pride and became a fan of the page; the possible temporary damage to my reputation seemed well worth it when considering the unwitting audience I would have. However, shortly after I began posting the haiku, a chorus of “she has to be banned” ensued.
I found out that indeed, I had been blocked from posting comments on the site after an hour or so. The El Al fan page administrator deleted all my haiku. I should not have been surprised.

This is the modus operandi of the Zionist machine. Dissent is not tolerated and must be completely obliterated, as in the case of Congressmen and women who dare try and stand up to it: Paul Findley (re-districted out), Cynthia McKinney (trumped up charge assaulting a guard who was harassing her; victim of a smear campaign and voted out), Dennis Kucinich (marginalized and belittled), Jim Traficant (jailed). Prominent figures in the media are silenced, most recently the legendary Helen Thomas and Rick Sanchez, formerly of CNN. Numerous Israeli youth sit in jails for refusing to military duty in the West Bank. The most sinister, however is the way activists Rachel Corrie, Tristan Anderson,Tom Hurndall, Furkan Dogan and 8 other flotilla participants were silenced, along with the untold thousands of Palestinians who have been murdered since 1948 for the “crime” of resisting occupation or while merely trying to live out their daily lives in their homeland.

Yet the legacies of these brave individuals continue, and to honor them, I put forth the haiku again in a place where the hasbara machine cannot penetrate.

Ignorant tourists
Celebrate sixty-plus years
Of ethnic cleansing.

Bustling Tel Aviv
Welcoming occupiers
Atop Lydda's graves.

Stealing Holy Land
As amid scorched olive trees
More settlements rise.

Arrogant squatters
Frolic on stolen beaches
Kids in Gaza die.

El Al transporting
Still more and more invaders
to dear Palestine.

Flight attendants' thobes
Food service is falafel
Theft of a culture.

Big jet engines scream
Not unlike those that have rained
Hell upon Gaza.

And then there was my daughter’s contribution:
El Al carrying
"Israeli" stowaways to
Steal from Palestine

El Al's jet engines
Cannot drown out the screams of
White phosphorus wounds.

Airline of the blind
You see touristy mudbaths
Not Gaza's bloodbath.

October 5, 2010

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui: Why She Was Targeted and Why She Matters to All of Us

In the final scene of the 2002 remake of “Dr. Zhivago,” Lara observes the inevitable black car following her and has just enough time to make up a game with her young son, challenging him to a race. She knows full well she will never see him again.

“I’ll let you have a head start,” she smiles at her little boy. He begins running as she is escorted to the car, offering no resistance as she continues watching him from the backseat; the first leg of a journey to an unnamed Siberian gulag.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui had no such warning, no time to distance herself from her three young children during the mayhem of their 2003 kidnapping in Karachi, Pakistan. Neither U.S. nor Pakistani officials admitted knowledge of the family’s whereabouts from 2003 to 2008. It was later learned that Dr. Siddiqui was detained and subjected to brutal interrogations at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan before resurfacing in New York in 2008, answering to charges of the attempted murder of two U.S. soldiers.

For years, Dr. Siddiqui did not know whether her children were alive or dead until her oldest son, Ahmed, was released in 2008. Daughter Maryam was dropped off at the family’s residence in Karachi in April 2010, speaking only English and Farsi. The fate of baby Suleman, six months old at the time of the kidnapping, remains unknown.

Former prisoners in Bagram tell of the tortured screams of Prisoner 650, commonly known as “the Gray Lady of Bagram.” By all their accounts, Prisoner 650 was Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and she herself later testified that she endured both physical and psychological torture, including being forced to look at a photograph of her baby Suleman lying in a pool of his own blood.

It is no surprise that anyone under such unspeakable conditions would seek every opportunity to exact revenge on their tormenters. Yet discrepancies in testimony describing the “crime” for which Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years in prison—the attempted shooting of two US soldiers—raise serious doubts as to whether it actually occurred. Furthermore, Dr. Siddiqui was detained and tortured for allegedly plotting terrorist acts and links to Al-Qaeda. Why wasn’t she brought up on terrorism charges?

The overriding question remains: Why was a brilliant American-educated neuroscientist singled out for such heinous abuses?

Zaid Hamid, Pakistani political analyst and host of the program “Brasstacks,” stated that Dr. Siddiqui’s novel and unique research in neuroscience included groundbreaking work relating to biology, psychology, perception management and mind control: the latest weapons coveted by governments, militaries and media. Dr. Siddiqui later revealed that an Indian interrogator at Bagram had asked her about her research at MIT, his familiarity with her work leading her to believe he was a former colleague.

In addition to her research at MIT, Dr. Siddiqui completed her Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience from Brandeis early in 2001. Her PhD dissertation abstract discussed how people perceive, remember, and enact observations. One of her experiments required volunteers to view and then recreate the movement of a disk across a computer screen in order to study the components of visual perception and memory. She observed that they saw only the momentary positions of the disc and had to interconnect those positions. She concluded that in a sequence of movements without a visible trail, it became difficult for the subject to form a picture or a story.

A May 2010 Greg Miller appearing in Smithsonian Magazine entitled “How Our Brains Make Memories,” unwittingly ties into Dr. Siddiqui’s research. In the article, Montreal neuroscientist Karim Nader discusses the “flashbulb memory” effect surrounding such occasions as 9/11 and his theory that the very act of remembering can alter a memory.

Such a suggestion would indicate that if our own memories are altered by repeated remembering, how much easier would it be for some other entity—the government or the media for instance— to alter our memories by repeated playback of 9/11 footage, peppering scenes of the attacks with commentaries from their own “experts” and “eyewitnesses?”

Could it be that Dr. Siddiqui, because of her groundbreaking research in the field, was tapped by the government to potentially help develop a weapon of mass psychosis which would cause a nation to believe that airplanes brought down the World Trade Center and the aerial maneuvering of a novice pilot landed another smack-dab into the Pentagon? Her refusal to cooperate would have been motive enough to discredit her and lock her away, let alone if she had actually been briefed on such a plan.

Why, some will ask, was she not killed outright? Why risk the possibility of this information coming to light? One explanation is that she is being used as an example, to frighten and intimidate others who dare to defy the powerbrokers in the “War on Terror.” Furthermore, the initial injection of an unknown substance followed by years of torture rendered Dr. Siddiqui nearly incompetent to stand at her own trial. Even if connections with 9/11 plots and mind control weapons had surfaced, they would be dismissed as the ranting of an insane woman and her crackpot-conspiracy-theorist supporters.

It is imperative that we discover the truth, not just to save an innocent mother of three, but for the sake of our whole society. I have often been told that my western appearance has saved me from the horrors of interrogation, but I wonder, for how much longer? My children and I were harassed by immigration officials upon our return to the United States from Ecuador this summer and recent days have seen the homes of peace activists in Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan raided by FBI agents who confiscated laptops, cell phones and bank records.

Do we hold our elected officials and media responsible? Do we organize mass civil disobedience in support of those harassed and detained for speaking out against U.S. policy? Or do we wait for the black cars, wondering if we will have time to give our children a head start?

September 12, 2010

Ramadan Reflections From A Christian

As of this writing, the Islamic holy month of Ramadan is coming to a close. The past month has been a time of unprecedented turbulence for Muslims around the world. While both natural and man-made disasters plague our brothers and sisters overseas, media-fed controversy strains Muslim/non-Muslim relations here in the United States.

The unimaginable humanitarian catastrophe in the aftermath of the flooding in Pakistan has been compounded by evidence revealing India’s role in opening major dams along shared rivers. Such tactics are reminiscent of Israel’s opening of the al-Wadi dam which flooded parts of Gaza earlier this year; however due to the size and volume of the rivers, the suffering in Pakistan is much more widespread. After rainfall subsided on July 29, the Baghliar Dam located in Indian-occupied Kashmir and the Sarobi Dam near Kabul and maintained by India, were opened, causing the rivers to overflow. To make matters worse, vitriolic comments began appearing on Western news websites covering the disaster. One example, forwarded to me by a colleague in Lahore:

“lets hope more rains and floods kill more pakis soon!! pray to god for this that he brings more rain to kill more pakis!! lets hope the rain washed these samosa smelling bastards before they are sent to hells gates! a good paki is a dead paki!!”

Kashmir, long a prisoner of the Indian army, has been under curfew for a good portion of the month; praying at mosque has been a sporadic privilege for most Kashmiris. Funerals on the other hand, have been quite commonplace as youths protesting the injustices are gunned down. Images from Indian-occupied Kashmir mirror those of Israeli-occupied Palestine, where, despite the latest round of direct “peace talks,” it is business as usual.

While Abbas and Netanyahu posed for their American-orchestrated photo op, two Israeli soldiers who committed separate atrocities walked free: one who emptied his magazine into a Palestinian schoolgirl was acquitted and peace activist Tom Hurndall’s murderer was released from prison. The monotony of the siege on Gaza is broken only by periodic missile attacks from the Israeli Air Force as tunnels—Gaza’s precarious lifelines to the outside world—are destroyed. Yet the American news media has pursued only two stories for the sole purpose of stoking controversy and pitting non-Muslim against Muslim.

The “Ground Zero Mosque” as it has been inappropriately dubbed in the press, actually sits two blocks away and cannot be seen from the former site of the World Trade Center. What should have been an issue of a man’s right to do what he likes with his private property (within zoning constraints) has transformed into a clash of civilizations-style debate on religious freedom—or lack thereof—in the United States. In all fairness, since September 11, 2001 was the manufactured catalyst for the deaths, injuries, displacement and detainment of untold millions of Muslims worldwide, the “Ground Zero Mosque,” moreover, Ground Zero itself, should become home to a Muslim Holocaust Museum.

Due to Eid al-Fitr coinciding with the ninth anniversary of 9/11, many Muslim organizations are choosing to “tone down” or cancel their Eid celebrations altogether. I daresay this falls into one of two categories: fear of retaliation from those who listened to talk radio fascists circulating the myth that Muslims are celebrating 9/11 this year, or a sheepish appeal to the American population at large that says “we respect your sensitivities, please like us.”

Either way, I want to ask those organizations if Eid festivities were ever toned down to honor the Palestinian victims of the Black September massacres in 1970. Or to honor the one million Iraqis killed during and after the U.S. invasion? Were Eid festivities ever canceled when the holiday coincided with any one of the numerous massacres in Palestine? I would point out to them that Americans aren’t canceling any celebrations for 9/11. Here in Dayton, the Hispanic Heritage Festival will pause for a “September 11 Commemoration,” but the salsa music is set to resume shortly afterwards.

This is all well and good, as commemorating the anniversary of 9/11 should not be tied ceremonies at the pieces of ground in Lower Manhattan, Washington, D.C. or a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It should not be about playing Taps or waving flags; citizens would do the greatest honor to the victims by pursuing the truth as to what really happened that day, demanding answers to the discrepancies, omissions and falsehoods put forth by the 9/11 Commission. Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel held a press conference regarding evidence of explosive material in Buildings 1, 2 and 7 of the WTC, although mainstream media was massed in Gainesville, Florida and missed it.

Although I hate to contribute to a publicity-hungry pastor’s fifteen minutes of fame, the irony of General Petraeus’ condemnation of “International Burn the Qur’an Day” merits a mention. This is the same guy who orders drone attacks destroying mosques, schools and homes in which Muslim men, women and children are incinerated, let alone copies of the Qur’an which they undoubtedly kept.

In the midst of anger and frustration at the ignorance festering within my own country, fasting throughout the month of Ramadan has increased my patience, self-discipline and inner peace. Friends and family wondered why a Christian would elect to partake in such a difficult fast, one that is not mandated by our religion. Some thought I had converted.

My reasons for fasting are simple: Jesus fasted; he also advised that some forms of healing only come with prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29). I also wanted to be in solidarity with those facing hard times in Gaza, Pakistan and so many other places who may not get to break their fasts at sunset. I fasted to support my Muslim brothers and sisters here at home in a sometimes hostile society rife with hatred and misunderstanding. It is my sincere desire to reflect this newfound patience and peace to my community and to the rest of the world.

August 30, 2010

What Christian Zionists Don't Know About the New Testament

In previous articles, I have discussed how Christian Zionists have manipulated Old Testament history and prophecy to justify their unconditional support for modern-day Israel; support that includes aiding and abetting the occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians—Muslim and Christian alike. Sadly, the New Testament has not been immune to abuse by Christian Zionists, either. Certain passages have been taken out of context to perpetuate the myth that the Jews, as “God’s Chosen” should be allowed to get away with murder.

Romans 1:16 is one of the most notable passages co-opted by Christian Zionists: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

There are many Christian Zionists who believe this verse instructs them to proselytize Jews exclusively before sharing their faith—such that it is—with the neighbor down the street. It is also used to emphasize the supposed Jewish “chosen-ness” as if there is some sort of divine pecking order. While logic dictates that when originally spreading Christ's message, the early apostles would have gone to the synagogues first because they were in possession of the Old Testament history and prophecy that were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. More simply, it made sense to go to the people who knew about Moses, Jonah and Isaiah before tackling the people who worshipped Zeus. Moreover, it is evident throughout the whole body of scripture, beginning with the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ to his apostles’ inspired letters to the churches, that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3: 28-29.

Jesus, foretelling signs of end times, states in Luke 21:24:
“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

This warning is significant, considering the ethnic make-up of modern-day Israeli society. By law, any person born of a Jewish mother has the right to Israeli citizenship. However, the connection between modern Jewry and the biblical Hebrews is virtually nonexistent. After Rome razed Jerusalem in 70AD, Palestinian Jews who fled to Europe, Africa and other parts of the Middle East introduced the local populations to Judaism, drawing a significant number of converts. Thus, modern-day Jews are mostly descended from non-Semitic peoples who have no physical connection to Palestine. Israeli immigration laws have become more liberal to include recent converts to Judaism. Therefore, that the Gentiles to whom Jesus referred are not Arabs, but rather the Israelis themselves.

Furthermore, “Israel” in the Bible does not refer to a future political nation-state. Peter, a disciple of Jesus, uses the same language in reiterating God’s promise to the early Church that was originally made to Moses and the Children of Israel (Jacob) in Exodus 19:5-6: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people…” (I Peter 2:9) This text, taken almost verbatim from the Old Testament, is proof positive that the “holy nation” no longer refers to Israel as a kingdom or earthly nation, but a spiritual body of believers in Jesus Christ, regardless of race, ethnicity or nationality.

Jesus gives us a final warning in Revelation 2:9: “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” All Christians must heed this divine warning by separating themselves from those engaged to a heretical theology of racial superiority that supports ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Christians have a sacred duty to study God’s word so as not to be deceived by false doctrines, including Zionism. Christian Zionists are hindering the fulfillment of Christ’s Great Commission to preach his love to the world by throwing all their time, money and resources into aiding and abetting the ethnic cleansing of indigenous people by those who categorically deny Jesus Christ and everything he represents. Once Christians understand Zionism’s opposition to scripture and incongruence with Biblical prophecy, the withdrawal of all forms of support—financial, material, political and spiritual—from the lie that is Israel will surely follow.

August 25, 2010

What Christian Zionists Don't Know About Old Testament Prophecy

Old Testament prophecy and history are interconnected because the ancient prophecies were fulfilled while the books that eventually became the Bible were still being written: fulfillment became history. However, Christian Zionists believe Old Testament prophets foretold the establishment of modern-day Israel and the rebuilding of a Third Jewish Temple, discarding all semblance of historical context.

It may be argued that Zionism, as a political and secular movement, never relied on scriptural land grants as the basis for a Jewish homeland. However, the symbiotic relationship between Christian and political Zionism has already been explored and proven beginning with William Hechler’s unholy alliance with Theodor Herzl. http://www.palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16204

Israel’s wars of expansion illustrate a sense of divine entitlement rather than a mere desire to create a refuge for the world’s Jewry: the annexation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, seizure of Syria’s Golan Heights, Lebanon’s Chebaa Farms and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula (later returned under duress) and for the past two decades, the United States serving as a proxy to destroy and occupy Iraq. In all the madness, one can sense a certain religious fanaticism reminiscent of the doctrine of Manifest Destiny that led early settlers in the United States to perpetuate atrocities against Native Americans in order to fulfill an imaginary divine decree that the fledgling nation would stretch from sea to sea.

While the Bible outlined boundaries for the ancient Israelites, found in Joshua 1:4: “From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun (Mediterranean), shall be your coast,” Zionists use these parameters as a present-day ordinance for the creation of a “Greater Israel,” including not only Palestine, but parts of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. This was evidenced in a 1952 speech by then Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan:

“…our task consists of preparing the Israeli army for the new war approaching in order to achieve our ultimate goal, the creation of an Israeli empire.”

To Christian Zionists, the establishment and expansion of such an Israeli empire is imperative in order to precipitate the return of Jesus Christ to earth, or the Second Coming. They believe that all Jews must be gathered in Palestine in order to fulfill prophecy; furthermore that a “Third Temple” must be constructed where Al-Aqsa Mosque—Islam’s third holiest shrine—now stands.

Chronologically, Joel’s writings are the oldest, dating back to the 9th Century BC. The book bearing his name foretells the manifestation of the Holy Spirit at the Jewish feast of Pentecost in Acts 2. The next set of prophecies was written in the 8th century BC: the Books of Isaiah, Hosea, Amos and Micah all contain warnings of Israel’s destruction, which occurred when the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom in 722 BC. Babylonians defeated the Southern Kingdom (Judah) in 597 BC, marking the beginning of the exile. Amos 9:11 states:

“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up thee breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.”

At the time Amos prophesied, Babylonian captivity was well over 100 years away, as well as Jerusalem’s subsequent restoration. Amos 9:11 is quoted by James in Acts 15:16-17 when he addresses the church council, indicating the fulfillment of Amos’ prophecy in the person of Jesus Christ, not a literal “Third Temple.”

Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Zephaniah all wrote during the Babylonian exile in the 6th century BC. When they foretell the return to Jerusalem, they are referring to the end of the Babylonian captivity, not the eventual creation of a modern political Israel.

In his essay, “Zionists and the Bible,” Christian theologian Alfred Guillaume sums it up:

“These prophecies were fulfilled. The Jews returned to Judea, rebuilt Jerusalem’s walls and rebuilt the Temple. After fluctuating fortunes, they secured a brief period of political independence and expansion under the Maccabees. Thus, the prophecies of the Return have been fulfilled already and cannot be fulfilled again. The Old Testament’s canonical literature contains no prophecy of a second return after the return from the Babylonian Exile, because after the Exile, all Jews who wished to do so returned to the Holy Land, though a great many more preferred to remain where they were….”

Those still insisting that there will be another Temple need only read John 2:19: “Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’” Here Christ is clearly referring to himself as the temple which will be “raised up,” or resurrected. During his ministry, Christ also points to various stories found in the Old Testament in order to refute the “Chosen Race” doctrine:

“And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias (Elijah), when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus (Elisha) the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.” (Luke 4: 24-27)

Jesus gives us many more such teachings and parables throughout the New Testament, which will be examined in an upcoming article.

August 20, 2010

What Christian Zionists Don't Know about Old Testament History

I have been comforted by the divine wisdom and promise found in the Bible countless times throughout my life, yet it troubles me how this sacred book has been manipulated by so many into a how-to manual of theft and destruction. Often I have been questioned by non-Christian friends regarding biblical passages commonly abused by Christian Zionists—those who believe that Jews are God’s Chosen and must be implanted in Palestine in order to precipitate the Second Coming of Jesus Christ—“Does the Bible really say that?”

My answer is always a resounding “no.” While it is possible to take certain passages out of context and ignore the historical perspective in which they were written in order to manufacture a case for a modern-day nation called Israel, it is neither accurate nor theologically sound. Yet as many as 70 million people in the United States espouse the doctrine of Christian Zionism which endorses racism, ethnic cleansing and wholesale slaughter as manifested in the Israeli occupation of Palestine. This heresy is twofold: Zionist Christians have manipulated both biblical prophecy and the Bible’s historical content to support their murderous agenda.

It is imperative that true followers of Christ actively fight back against this lethal false doctrine that has caused far more death and destruction than any so-called Islamic extremism by first examining history from a biblical perspective. It is very important not to confuse the term Biblical Literalist with Christian Zionist. I probably take the Bible more literally than anyone I know and in fact, the most effective way to rescue otherwise benign individuals from the dangerous heresy of Christian Zionism is through a strict literal interpretation of the Bible.

Beginning with the Book of Genesis, God establishes a covenant with Abram (Abraham) whom modern-day Jews, Christians and Muslims all revere as a patriarch and a prophet. In the Covenant, God promised Canaan (Palestine) to Abram and his descendants (Genesis 17:8).

Later, in Genesis 17:19-21, God specifically establishes His covenant with Abraham’s son Isaac. Unfortunately this is an early point of contention between Christianity and Islam, as Muslims believe it was Ishmael (Ismail PBUH) whom Abraham was ordered to sacrifice in a test by God while Christians believe it was Isaac. Yet even in the Bible, God does not exclude Ishmael and his descendants from the original promise to Abraham of all the land between the Nile and the Euphrates Rivers. Christian theologian Alfred Guillaume (1888-1965) addresses this point:

“It is generally supposed that these promises were made to the Jews alone. However, this is not what the Bible says. The words ‘to thy seed’ inevitably include Arabs, both Muslim and Christian, who can claim descent from Abraham through his first son Ishmael. Ishmael was the reputed father of many Arab tribes…”

The name Israel is first heard in Genesis 32 when God renames Jacob, the son of Isaac. From this name are derived the terms “Children of Israel,” “Israelites,” and “Twelve Tribes of Israel.” Christian Zionists base Jewish claims to Palestine on the ridiculous notion that they are directly and purely descended from the biblical Israelites, as members of a Jewish “race” rather than adherents to the religion of Judaism. Ironically, anyone who converts to Judaism has legal rights to immigrate to the Jewish State regardless of heritage.

Intermarriage was prevalent early on, beginning with Isaac’s marriage to Rebekah, whose father was Syrian. Hence Arab blood was already present in the Israelites’ lineage. There are numerous other instances of intermarriage throughout the Old Testament, including Moses, whose father-in-law is identified as a Midianite, of an Arab tribe. Ruth, whose story is told in the Old Testament book bearing her name, was not Jewish but Moabite. In the first chapter of Matthew, Ruth is listed as a direct ancestor of Jesus Christ. Jacob’s youngest son, Joseph, married Asenath, daughter of Potipherah who was an Egyptian priest. She bore him two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim (Gen. 41: 50). Jacob (Israel) later adopted Manasseh and Ephraim hence the two of the Twelve Tribes of Israel bear their names.

The Twelve Tribes of Israel were to divide the aforementioned land. The Levites, to whom Moses and Aaron belonged, were chosen as a caste of priests, thus not entitled to any land. Ironically, those with the surname Cohen claim to be descended from the Levites, not knowing if this were indeed true, they would have to relinquish rights to any land in Palestine! Likewise, the tribes of Gad, Reuben and half of Manasseh elected to settle east of the Jordan River.

When Israel split in the 6th Century B.C., the Northern Kingdom (which retained the name Israel) was comprised of ten tribes. The remaining two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, formed the Southern Kingdom (Judah). From 734-732 B.C. the kingdoms were at war with each other; the Assyrians routed the Northern Kingdom ten years later. The Babylonians conquered Judah in 597 B.C., the beginning of a seventy-year exile. The majority of those who eventually returned from the Babylonian captivity were from the tribe of Judah, from where the term “Jew” is derived, first appearing in the Second Book of Kings 16:6.

Another name found in the Bible is Ashkenaz, a son of Gomer. From this word comes Ashkenazim, referring to Jews of European heritage. However, Gomer was descended from Japheth (I Chronicles 1:6) and not Shem; therefore the name itself defines them as non-Semitic people.

Biblical origins of names become very important when confronting Zionist Christians, as evidenced in this inane statement from Craig Winn, author of such inflammatory titles as Prophet of Doom:

“The name ‘Palestinian’ was derived from the Roman Latinized name of the Philistines. The Assyrians murdered the last of the Philistines in 585 B.C. There are therefore, no Palestinians alive today. There haven’t been for over 2,500 years.”

In reality, the Philistines were only one of seven Canaanite nations and inhabited the area immediately around Gaza. Canaanites were descended from Ham, not Shem (Genesis 10), thus were not Semitic and cannot be related to modern day Palestinian Arabs who are true Semites. One of the many biblical prophecies warped by Zionist Christians is found in Zechariah 14:21b “…and in that day there shall be no more Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts.” They use this passage to justify the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, when in fact Palestinians are not Canaanites.

An upcoming article will be devoted entirely to other biblical prophecies that Zionist Christians have taken out of context and twisted to fit their homicidal master plan.

August 15, 2010

The Roots of Christian Zionism

It is common knowledge that many so-called Christians throw unconditional, unyielding support behind the Jewish state. Known as Christian Zionists, or more recently “Israel-firsters”—indicating their degree of loyalty over and above the interests of their own country—it is estimated they are over 50 million strong in the United States alone. By stripping biblical passages out of their proper context and ignoring historical perspective, Christian Zionist leaders have convinced the masses that Jesus Christ will return when all Jews are gathered in Palestine, even if it means the systemic destruction of the Palestinian people.

Questions remain how such a blatantly un-biblical doctrine hijacked an entire segment of the Christian community; moreover, how the doctrine came to be so widely accepted not only in churches but in the halls of political power.

It has been argued that Christian Zionism originated as a spin-off of secular Zionism; that Christians were co-opted by political Zionists in order to gain support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Ironically, Palestine was sixth on the list for such a homeland at Theodor Herzl’s First Zionist Congress in 1897, behind locales including Argentina, Uganda and Turkey. It was in fact the Christian Zionists who were orchestrating the takeover of Palestine from the beginning.

The Politics of Christian Zionism 1891-1948 by Paul C. Merkley provides startling evidence that the poisoned theology of Christian Zionism predates Herzl, long considered the father of Zionism. In fact, Herzl received a tremendous amount of support from William Hechler, the son of Anglican missionaries and author of an 1893 pamphlet entitled “The Restoration of the Jews to Palestine According to Prophecy.” It was Hechler who arranged meetings between Herzl and Kaiser Wilhelm II, promoting the Zionist ambition to usurp Palestine among world leaders.

Early support for Zionism among United States policymakers was manifested through a handful of misguided religious nuts who manipulated leaders by flattering their sordid egotistical fantasies. According to Merkley, President Harry S. Truman compared himself to Cyrus, the Persian king who allowed Jews to return to Palestine in ancient times after the Babylonian captivity, although Zionist sympathies have run deep in America since its foundation.

The Puritans drew a parallel between themselves and the Children of Israel, escaping religious persecution in Europe just as the ancient Hebrews were led out of Egypt. America was their “Promised Land,” making way for the doctrine of Manifest Destiny (that it was God’s divine will for the new country to stretch from sea to sea) that justified the abhorrent treatment of Native Americans. By the same token, Christian Zionism justifies the killing and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians to this day. Plymouth Brethren minister John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) popularized the doctrine under the name “dispensationalism,” which was further spread by the Scofield Reference Bible published in 1909. That edition contained copious footnotes instructing readers how to interpret Bible verses and prophecy centered around the re-establishment of Israel as a modern nation-state.

Thus the Zionist heresy was mass marketed to a largely ignorant populace who are convinced they do not have enough sense to read the Bible for themselves. Today, support for Israel has gained momentum through apocalyptic preaching by televangelists who make large profits for supporting Israel. They have co-opted Christian laypeople into thinking they can bring about Christ’s return, ending suffering on earth.

It would be scary enough if such ideas were confined to churches, but Zionist Christians have organized political lobbies such as Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Arguably, they have considerable influence over US foreign policy, particularly effective with neo-conservatives as witnessed during the George W. Bush administration. Numerous Christian groups encourage Jewish immigration to what is now called Israel through financial contributions while assisting ultra-orthodox Jewish groups to promote settlement expansion on Palestinian land.

Not only do Zionists distort biblical history, they spread lies about more modern events as well. Proponents of Israel will often pander the tired Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini obfuscation in an attempt to connect all Palestinians to Adolph Hitler. Husseini was imposed upon the Palestinians in 1921 by the British Mandate's first high commissioner, a British Jew named Herbert Samuel. Husseini was selected over the rival Nashashibi candidate and favored by the Zionist Commission. Husseini allied with Hitler to oppose the British, falling into the trap as so many others who have believed “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

In this manner Christian Zionists have the ability to reach outside their own cult and snag more secular (although nonetheless misguided) individuals by linking Arabs—particularly exploiting the blood connection between Husseini and late President Yasser Arafat—with the epitome of “anti-Semitic” evil. These same “Christians” are poised to use the anniversary of the September 11 tragedy to accuse Muslims of celebrating the attacks. In reality, the end of Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr, coincides with that date this year. Meanwhile, Florida pastor Terry Jones, leader of the innocuous-sounding Dove World Outreach Center, is encouraging Christians to burn a Qur’an on September 11.

Although emboldened by all the media attention, proponents of these views are fortunately far from mainstream Christianity. The problem is that Christians who do take seriously Christ’s message of love are reluctant to gently—or not so gently—correct those hate-mongers masquerading as Christians. We must be willing to take back our faith by outspokenly refuting the heresy of Christian Zionism and its hateful manifestations both at home and abroad.

July 5, 2010

Fear or Apathy, We Are All To Blame

Over the years, I have lambasted the U.S. government, particularly in the area of foreign policy. Wars, copious amounts of taxpayer dollars in aid to an apartheid state, inherent racism and hypocrisy have provided endless fodder for constant criticism.

Has that criticism been aimed at the right place? The motivations behind the aforementioned institutionalized evils are elementary: money, power and greed; however the real problem is much deeper. A government that—at least in principle—is supposed to be “for the people, by the people” must relinquish some of the responsibility for erroneous policy to the people. Whether we feel the need to acquiesce out of fear or out of apathy, we are equally culpable.

The first great enemy to humanity is fear. It is fear that ultimately leads to racism, bigotry, hatred and any number of social ills. Those in power are well aware of this, and will use any means to instill fear in their citizenry in order to manipulate them. Recently, Israeli schoolchildren underwent numerous air raid drills, supposedly in the event of an attack by Hezbollah, or maybe Iran, or just in case the resistance groups in Gaza finally develop a rocket that can hit the broadside of a barn.

Of course, a country which touts itself as a premier tourist destination cannot be under the threat of imminent attacks from Hezbollah, Syria, Iran and Gaza, yet these brainwashed youngsters will—like us—be taught not to question, only to fear and to support their government’s attacks on Palestinian civilians and humanitarian activists under the guise of self-defense.

The tragic absurdity was compounded when Israeli commandos stormed a Gaza-bound humanitarian cargo ship, murdering unarmed activists, only to make outlandish claims that they were ambushed and attacked with knives, pipes and clubs. According to the increasingly preposterous hasbara machine, the Free Gaza movement is tied to Al-Qaeda and hate-filled passengers had prepared themselves for a violent confrontation. Logic dictates that if a group of activists plans a violent confrontation against one of the most advanced and trigger-happy armies in the world, they will carry at least a couple of AK-47s rather than knives and pipes.

However, fear leaves us with the inability to reason, thus it is the most important weapon in the propagandists’ arsenal. Common sense becomes an early casualty. Traveling on internal flights within Ecuador during a recent trip served as a blissful reminder that in other places in the world, travelers do not have to dump their water and liquids in larger-than-three-ounce containers at the door, nor remove their shoes. Yet fear-mongering has convinced us that there is a bomb in every bottle of baby oil and we are poised to submit to even more indignities after the infamous alleged “underwear bomber.” It is truly amazing what people will tolerate.

The Obama administration is poised to give Israel an additional $205 million for a missile defense shield, while the state of California has announced budget cuts eliminating programs such as welfare-to-work and home health care. The vicious cycle continues: give money to Israel, cut program funding for poor and destitute Americans to keep them busy with basic survival so there is no concern for what is going on overseas.

Such apathy, like fear, is equally debilitating. Whether it is the amount of gratuitous violence in news and entertainment, or simply that we are too busy trying to find employment, pay mortgages, maintain health coverage, gas the car and put food on the table, we are losing our uniquely human ability to empathize. Our government’s endless quest for global hegemony has created these conditions—instead of focusing on our own job creation, inner cities, education and health care, foreign wars and entanglements have drained our resources, leaving our citizens to die at hospital doors and our desperate youth to gun down each other in the streets.

I ran into a former coworker at a wedding recently. Sitting together at the reception, three year-old grandson on her lap in his crisp white tuxedo, I showed her pictures of my children while listing the major life changes that had taken place in the eleven years since I had seen her. She spoke of retirement with an air of sadness not usually associated with a comfortable pension after a lifetime of hard work and then informed me quietly that her youngest son—the father of the little boy seated so solemnly in her lap—had been shot and killed in 2007.

After heartfelt yet inadequate and clich├ęd expressions of sympathy, I realized that I had most likely seen reports of his murder on the news, but had given it little attention: it wasn’t in my part of town and I would not have recognized the name. In other words, it didn’t affect me.

Only then did I come to the disturbing realization that I am not immune to the sickness that has infected us all to one degree or another: the apathetic tolerance that we afford such untimely loss of human life. The people in neighborhoods and situations who have to worry about getting gunned down in front of their own homes cannot be bothered with the gross oppression going on in Palestine. More ignorance and apathy allows the government to continue unabated the flow of economic and military aid to the apartheid state of Israel.

To combat these dual forces of fear and apathy, we must remember the words of the 17th Century English poet John Donne: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less…any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind…” We must afford each priceless human life the reverence it commands and refuse to succumb to the irrational scare tactics used by our government to justify mass murder.

April 5, 2010

Al-Nakba Denial: Concealing the Catastrophe


On May 15, 1948, one day after the British mandate over Palestine ended, the Jewish state of Israel was officially created. That date marked the beginning of a 62-year exile for 750,000 Palestinians, who along with their descendants now comprise the world’s largest refugee population at nearly five million people. Palestinians and people of conscience all around the world commemorate al-Nakba, meaning catastrophe in Arabic. The Palestinian population within what is now Israel—one quarter of which are internally displaced from villages decimated by the Israeli army and Zionist militias—mark al-Nakba by marching through the places where their villages once stood.

The protest marches do not sit well with the establishment in the “Middle East’s Only Democracy.” In 2008 World Likud Chairman Danny Danon called for a ban on the annual Nakba Day procession. He demanded authorities arrest any Arab leader speaking against Israel and its institutions, as well as anyone seen carrying the flag of an enemy state or “terrorist organization.” Danon stated in a press release that the march is “…a deliberate and subversive challenge of the Arab Israeli leadership against the existence of the State of Israel,” elaborating that its purpose was “to oppose and incite against the state.”

The following year, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's ultranationalist party, Yisrael Beitenu, proposed legislation to ban Nakba commemorations, calling for jail terms of up to three years for any event expressing sorrow for the Palestinian tragedy.

Party spokesman Tal Nahum explained, "The draft law is intended to strengthen unity in the state of Israel and to ban marking Independence Day as a day of mourning," Ironically, Israeli Independence Day celebrations rarely coincide with Nakba demonstrations, as the former is marked in accordance with the Hebrew calendar and can fall in April or May.

Recently, the Israeli parliamentary Law Committee approved a draft law proposal that, if passed by the Knesset, would impose economic sanctions on the organizers of Nakba commemorations. Although the language was softened, discarding the jail term provision, the bill forbids government-supported organizations from spending money on Nakba activities and will levy fines as much as ten times the amount of money spent on such activities.

The mere suggestion of forbidding peaceful memorials to honor Palestinians who were killed or driven out in 1948 is a criminal attempt by the Israeli government to conceal atrocities committed while establishing the Jewish “homeland.” Thankfully, there are eyewitnesses to the slaughter that make such rewriting of history impossible.

In 2002, Dr. Anthony McRoy, lecturer at the Evangelical Theological college of Wales, published an article detailing the Ramleh and Lydda massacres perpetrated by the Haganah and Irgun militia. Beginning on July 13, 1948, the entire population of 70,000 men, women and children were forced to flee their homes. Two American journalists, Keith Wheeler and Kenneth Bilby, reported the carnage. Wheeler of the Chicago Sun Times wrote “practically everything in their way died. Riddled corpses lay by the roadside.” Bilby, writing for the the New York Herald Tribune reported seeing “…the corpses of Arab men, women and even children strewn about in the wake of the ruthlessly brilliant charge.”

Israeli historian Benny Morris wrote of the brutal treatment that Palestinians suffered during their forced exodus, relating the testimony of soldiers who partook in the torment. Looting on a massive scale was commonplace, as were rapes. After the population was gone, soldiers who were planning on joining kibbutzim stole mechanical and agricultural equipment. Palestinians were stripped of their valuables and forced to march 20 miles in searing heat to Ramallah; at one point a child fell into a well and drowned. An estimated 350 people died from heat exhaustion and dehydration during trek, although British Arab Legion Commander John Glubb later stated “nobody will ever know how many children died.”

Some Palestinian civilians stayed in Lydda, only to be massacred by Israeli forces. Out of the 426 men, women and children that were murdered, 176 were sheltered in the Dahmash mosque where they had been promised safe haven by the Israelis.It was a matter of Israeli policy to circulate news of what transpired in Ramleh and Lydda, as well as the massacre in the village of Deir Yassin three months prior, in order to demoralize and frighten neighboring Palestinians into fleeing as well.

Today, the people of Lydda and Ramleh and their descendants number around half a million, living mainly in refugee camps around Amman, Jordan and Ramallah; the airport built on the site of the devastation was named after the man who ordered the ethnic cleansing, Ben Gurion. These continuing gross injustices are part of the “ongoing Nakba” as stated by The Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights. The organization defines the situation as “…caused by Israel's system of institutionalized racial discrimination which is composed of laws, policies and practices that have resulted in second-class citizen status of Palestinians, more land confiscation, discriminatory development planning, segregation of Palestinian communities, home demolitions and forced evictions, in order to ensure Jewish privilege and domination.”

Indeed the catastrophe does not merely lie in the human tragedy and devastation wielded by depraved bands of terrorists—and condoned by the international community—for the establishment of a Jewish state 62 years ago. The catastrophe is the desperation of life under siege in Gaza, the degradation of life under occupation in the West Bank, the discrimination of life as a Palestinian in what is now Israel and the humiliation of refugee status for those suffering a six-decade exile.

The catastrophe is exacerbated not only by those who celebrate the original crime, but by denying Palestinians the right to mourn the loss of loved ones and homeland. This is by far the most damning evidence that not only is Israel is an oppressive state that routinely violates international humanitarian law, but also an Orwellian state not content to simply eradicate Palestinians from the map, but to obliterate the memory of their existence.

March 19, 2010

Questioning Holocaust Curricula: The 21st-Century Scopes Monkey


It is hard to imagine more of a mockery being made of America’s public education system than occurred in the 1925 case Tennessee vs. John Scopes. The “Scopes Monkey Trial,” as it came to be known, found substitute biology teacher John Scopes guilty of violating a state law banning the theory of evolution from being taught in public schools. The Butler law, which passed overwhelmingly in the Tennessee state legislature earlier that year, made it illegal to present "any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.”

The American Civil Liberties Union persuaded John Scopes to challenge the Butler law as a test case to determine its constitutionality. The guilty verdict was later thrown out by Tennessee’s Supreme Court on a technicality; hence the statute was never fully tested. It did, however, set a precedent as to the degree which government can intervene in the academic freedom of public education.

Fast forward to today. Five states: California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and New York have enacted laws requiring teaching of the Holocaust in public classrooms, while an additional ten states have issued executive regulations recommending Holocaust studies be included in their respective curricula. The Simon Wiesenthal Center—ironically, same organization poised to build a “Museum of Tolerance” on top of the historic Muslim Mamilla cemetery in Jerusalem—defines the Holocaust as "the destruction of some 6 million Jews by the Nazis and their followers in Europe between the years 1933-1945. Other individuals and groups were persecuted and suffered grievously during this period, but only the Jews were marked for complete and utter annihilation."

It is not necessary to parse words; the Holocaust refers to singular Jewish suffering, while giving a patronizing nod to other groups persecuted by the Nazis. Singular study of the Holocaust comes at the omission of any other World War II-era genocide or mass persecution: the Japanese occupation of China and other countries in the region, the releasing of the atomic demon upon millions of Japanese civilians, the internment of Japanese-Americans in concentration camps, or the millions who died at the hand of Soviet president Josef Stalin, then a US ally.

Stalin waged a campaign to erase Chechnya and Ingushetia from existence, deporting 1.4 million people from these regions in the western Soviet Union between 1941 and 1944. Most were accused of being Nazi collaborators, although evidence shows they were targeted due to a series of anti-collectivization rebellions against Soviet rule. On February 23, 1944 alone, approximately 387,000 Chechens and 91,000 Ingush were forced from their homes.

The BBC reported in 2004, that young Chechen men were taken from the front lines and sent to forced labor in Siberian gulags, their medals, decorations and papers confiscated. Civilians were rounded up and taken to Kazakhstan and other central Asian republics. According to Mohmad Musaev, head of the Chechen National Archive, Russian soldiers massacred many villagers rather than going to the expense of deporting them. Seven hundred people were burned alive and others were drowned in mountain lakes. A 2002 PBS series reported that an estimated 30 percent of Chechen deportees died en route to resettlement or within their first year of exile.
In 1957, Nikita Krushchev re-established Chechnya and Ingushetia as an autonomous republic, allowing survivors to return, only to find their homes taken over by neighboring Russians.

Most people are unaware of the Chechen genocide, while the Holocaust has two internationally recognized days: Yom Hashoah, falling in April or May in accordance with the Hebrew calendar and International Holocaust Remembrance Day, designated as January 27 by the United Nations General Assembly, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The same U.N. resolution rejects denial of the Holocaust and condemns discrimination and violence based on religion or ethnicity.

If “discrimination and violence based on religion or ethnicity,” is to be condemned, then why such silence regarding the Chechen genocide, or al-Nakba, the catastrophe during which 750,000 Palestinians were driven out of their land to establish the modern Jewish State?

Aside from the fact that the victims in these cases were predominantly Muslim, the answer lies in the proximity of Holocaust Remembrance Day to Israeli “Independence Day.” Any mention of the Palestinians killed or displaced in 1948 runs contrary to the month-long media blitz of pro-Israeli propaganda using the shield of the Holocaust to silence those critical of Israel’s policies.

Holocaust studies are only serving to mask the ongoing 62-year ethnic cleansing and genocide of Palestinians by generating unconditional sympathy for Israel. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, “Every member nation of the U.N. has an obligation to honor the memory of Holocaust victims and develop educational programs as part of an international resolve to help prevent future acts of genocide.” If that is the goal, Holocaust curricula are failing miserably.

Instead of condemning oppression, Israel apologists routinely use the Holocaust to defend the cruel treatment of Palestine’s original inhabitants. Paula E. Hyman, a professor of modern Jewish history at Yale Uni¬versity, has accurately observed:

“…it (the Holocaust) reinforces the sense of Jews as an eternally beleaguered people who can rely for their defense only upon themselves. The invocation of the suffering endured by the Jews under the Nazis often takes the place of rational argument, and is expected to convince doubters of the legitimacy of current Israeli government policy.”

While it may not be illegal yet, questioning the agenda behind Holocaust education in the United States earns the dreaded label “Holocaust Revisionist,” akin to the even more feared “Holocaust Denier,” first cousin to the infamous “Anti-Semite.” The climate in which the Holocaust is being shoved down the throats of our nation’s school children is comparable with 1925 Tennessee and introducing ideas contrary to the approved curriculum of Holocaust studies is the 21st Century’s Scopes Monkey. The sole purpose of this teaching is for our youth to accept Israel’s legitimacy without question, a non sequitur based on sympathy for Jewish suffering during the Holocaust. Zionist indoctrination is never logical, but thanks to our complacency, it is effective.

February 19, 2010

Israeli Environmental Terrorism: Nothing Sacred in the Holy Land

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” Jews and Christians alike have commandeered this prophecy from the Old Testament book of Isaiah to fit their respective Zionist agendas: for Jews, the establishment of the state of Israel; for Christians, the transfer of all Jews to Palestine so that Christ may return to earth. The verse is superimposed on photographs of kibbutzim gardens in vile propaganda used by televangelists and in slideshows seen in small country churches. After all, who better to take care of the Holy Land than God’s own Chosen People? In the 62 years since Israel was created, hard-working Jewish immigrants have turned the land from a barren desert into a veritable oasis fit for Abraham, Jacob, David and Solomon.

Right.

With respect to the nearly 800,000 Palestinians that were forced to flee their homes upon the establishment of Israel in 1948, the Jewish State’s wanton destruction of the environment in their absence merits condemnation as well. The land once known as Palestine began suffering detrimental and irrevocable changes in the early 1950s when Israel’s fledgling government drained the wetlands surrounding Lake Huleh, north of the Sea of Galilee, for a housing project. Once the lake was dry, the Palestinian Painted Frog that inhabited the wetlands became extinct. The last reported sighting of the small amphibian was in 1955. Today, many other species are facing extinction due to Israel’s gross disregard for the environment.

Israeli fish farming is killing off coral reefs in the Red Sea, threatening unique species of fish and other marine life. According to coral ecologist Dr. Yossi Loya, five million fish are bred in cages each year without permits, a $20 million per year industry protected by the Israeli agriculture lobby. Coral reefs in Aqaba and along the Sinai Peninsula continue to thrive, as Jordan and Egypt do not permit large scale fishing off the Red Sea coast.

Meanwhile, Israeli corporate greed is threatening another natural wonder, the Dead Sea. At a 2009 regional conference to address the dramatic decrease in Dead Sea water levels, it was determined that industrial development would need to be abated. Israeli company ICL Fertilizers/Dead Sea Works responded by increasing potash production in their Dead Sea facility by 30 percent.

In 1999, Israel’s gross abuse of natural resources led a group of concerned citizens to form Zalul, a watchdog organization that monitors the effects of industrial dumping. According to the group, 500 million tons of raw sewage are discharged into the Mediterranean Sea annually, mere miles from public beaches. Israel’s Ministry of the Environment issues licenses to the culpable corporations, effectively granting permission to dispose of waste in such a manner.

In addition to industries, several municipalities, including Acre and Ashdod, have no properly built sewage treatment plants, contributing to Mediterranean Sea pollution. In the Tiberias municipality, a malfunctioning sewage treatment plant caused the closure of seven beaches along the Sea of Galilee in 2007 after Israeli Health Ministry officials found double the allotted amounts of fecal bacteria in the water for the second time in as many months.

While Israeli citizens have been adversely affected by the government’s failure to adopt responsible policies, Israel’s environmental racism and wholesale environmental terrorism against Palestinians and neighboring countries are far more sinister. In March 2009, Israel was forced to compensate Jordan for polluting the Yarmouk River with oil waste and sewage, contaminating the Kingdom's water supply. Eleven years ago, water contaminated with sewage was pumped from Lake Tiberias into Jordan.

In the West Bank, illegal outposts and unauthorized settlements pump sewage into rudimentary pits. The village of Deir Sharaf served as a dump for Israeli settlers until 2005, despite its close proximity to underground wells on which tens of thousands of Palestinians depend for drinking and sanitation. In Ya’abad, close to the city of Jenin, most residents work in wood-coal factories that pollute the air with rank smoke. The same industry exists in Egypt, although workshops were moved out of town for the health of the residents. Such a move in occupied Palestine is impossible because the Israelis control the area outside the city limits, prohibiting construction.

The human rights organization Yesh Din released a report in December 2009 citing 69 complaints of olive groves being damaged or destroyed during the past four years, 27 of which occurred between January and October 2009. The Israel Defense Forces issued a statement that the olive harvest had passed “quietly,” despite hundreds of Palestinian trees being reported destroyed. Not only are the centuries-old olive trees vital to the livelihood of Palestinian villagers, they possess an almost spiritual quality so the loss to farmers is tantamount to losing members of their immediate families.

It is worse still in Gaza. Even before the Israeli blockade, Palestinian fishermen were prohibited from sailing more than five kilometers out to sea, rendering the immediate coastal area devoid of fish. The Israeli military routinely destroyed wells serving refugee camps in Gaza. International Solidarity Movement member Rachel Corrie wrote of sleeping in front of the wells with fellow activists to prevent their destruction before she was murdered in 2003 by an Israeli bulldozer driver.

Also in 2003, the Israeli military began bulldozing the Gaza side of the internationally recognized “Green Line,” which is the site of one-third of Gaza’s agricultural land, according to a United Nations report. Israel continues to raze olive and fruit trees, farmland, irrigation piping, homes, greenhouses and wells; anyone found within this Israeli-imposed “buffer zone” risks being shot. At least 13 Palestinian civilians have been killed and 39 injured in border regions in and outside of the buffer zone this past year, including women and children.

It is not just the human toll that has devastated Gazan farmers. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reported in September 2009 that 35,000 cattle, sheep and goats, as well as one million birds and chickens were killed during Israel’s nearly four-week assault on Gaza dubbed Operation Cast Lead. The animal carcasses, along with chemical agents used by the Israeli army, contaminated the water. According to the farmers, chemical-laden water now dehydrates trees rather than quenching them.

Earlier, during Israel’s 2006 simultaneous bombardments of Lebanon and Gaza, the Jiyeh power plant serving southern Lebanon was hit, resulting in a 15,000 ton oil spill, devastating local fishermen along with the ecosystem. Millions of dollars of infrastructure was destroyed in Gaza, exacerbating the already grave situation concerning water supply and sanitation.

Such problems resulted in the March 2007 disaster in the village of Umm Naser when a sewage reservoir burst its banks, killing two elderly women and three children, while destroying 200 homes. International development agencies had been prevented from entering Gaza to upgrade treatment facilities or build new ones. Palestinians continue to suffer severe power shortages and just last month, Israeli forces opened dams, flooding areas of the already ravaged Gaza Strip.

Israelis have duped the international and religious communities into believing their claim to Palestine is based on a belief that the land is holy—that their spiritual and emotional connection to this land reaches across millennia. Through the willful decimation of the land’s natural resources along with its native inhabitants, the Zionist establishment has proven that in the Holy Land, nothing is sacred.

February 11, 2010

Israel Gets Away With Murder...Again

Amid the glamour of the world’s tallest building, gold bars, man-made islands, casinos and fashion, a man lay dead in his hotel room. Preliminary reports would say he had been suffocated with a pillow; further investigation would determine that he was injected with poison.
Post-mortem photos of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, age 50, told a story the media would not tell: the tip of his nose blackened, red blotches covering his cheeks and jaw and a horrific indentation on one side of his nose testified of torture and a cruel execution.
Most news sources subliminally justified Al-Mabhouh’s murder in Dubai on January 20. He was described only as a “senior Hamas militant,” “founding member of Hamas’ military wing” or even “arch-terrorist.” As someone who was allegedly involved in the deaths of two Israeli soldiers in the 1980s and committed numerous other acts of armed resistance against Israel, he was undoubtedly a menace by western standards.
Al-Mabhouh grew up in the squalor of Gaza’s Jabaliya refugee camp, but had lived in exile in Syria since 1989. He had been the target of two previous assassination attempts: a car bombing and a poisoning. The latter took place in Beirut only six months ago and rendered him unconscious for 30 hours.
The Israeli government issued a statement claiming Al-Mabhouh had traveled to Dubai en route to Iran in order to smuggle weapons back to his native Gaza. Israeli defense officials told the Associated Press that these rockets would be capable of reaching Tel Aviv 40 miles away. Evidently, there have been some major technological advances since Israel’s assault on Gaza last year, as retaliatory rockets fired from Gaza ranged only 25 miles.
While Israel has not officially acknowledged involvement in Al-Mabhouh’s murder, Israeli news agency Inyan Merkazi reported that a four-member squad of Shin Bet and Mossad agents interrogated Al-Mabhouh before executing him.
Whitewashed by western media as “extra-judicial assassinations” or “targeted assassinations,” such acts are tantamount to premeditated murder against anyone suspected of resistance against Israel’s 62-year occupation of Palestine. Al-Mabhouh’s death is the latest of numerous executions carried out by the Mossad and other Israeli government agencies throughout the Jewish State’s existence.
In 1972, the Mossad began a series of assassinations in what was supposed to be retribution for the deaths of Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics. Thirty-five suspects believed to have been involved in the attack were systematically ambushed throughout Europe and Lebanon. Many had ambiguous ties at best to the Munich operation and in a case of mistaken identity Ahmed Bouchiki, a young Moroccan waiter, was gunned down in Norway. Throughout this and other operations, the Mossad used false passports without the issuing government’s knowledge or approval in what has become a trademark of that organization’s modus operandi.
In 1997, Mossad agents traveled with Canadian passports to Amman, Jordan in a botched attempt on the life of Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. In 2004, New Zealand jailed two Mossad agents for six months and imposed diplomatic sanctions against Israel after the pair illegally applied for passports in that country. Authorities in Dubai investigating the murder of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh have confirmed that his killers are traveling on Irish passports.
However, not all Israeli assassinations are clandestine operations.
Fateh co-founder Khalil al-Wazir, known as Abu Jihad, was killed in 1998 at his home in Tunis in front of his family. The 2004 Israeli airstrikes that killed Hamas founder and spiritual leader Ahmed Yassin and subsequently his replacement, Abdelaziz Al-Rantissi also killed Rantissi’s son, his bodyguard and eleven bystanders, including a five year-old child.
Not only are the leaders of armed resistance in the crosshairs of Israeli assassins, but political activists who speak out against the occupation of Palestine as well. Cartoonist Naji Al-Ali, whose brutally honest body of work earned him many powerful enemies, was murdered in cold blood in London on the way to his office. Although Al-Ali was critical of Arab governments and the corruption present in the hierarchy of Palestinian resistance groups, a preponderance of evidence points directly to the Mossad being responsible for his death.
Ten months after Al-Ali was killed, Scotland Yard arrested a student named Ismail Suwan, who turned out to be a Mossad agent. Suwan confessed that his superiors knew of the plot to kill Al-Ali. Upon refusing to cooperate further, Great Britain expelled two Israeli diplomats and closed the Mossad’s London base. Despite all this, no one was ever brought to justice for the crime.
In March 2003, a 23 year-old American college student named Rachel Corrie was killed by a bulldozer driven by an Israeli soldier while trying to prevent a home demolition in the Gaza Strip. It was learned through Corrie’s own writings that activists with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) had come under fire in the weeks prior to her death while trying to retrieve the body of a Palestinian killed by Israeli forces. She told also of how the camp’s water wells were being destroyed by the Israeli military and that members of ISM had slept in front of the wells to deter the attacks. Clearly the group’s activities were a source of consternation to the Israelis, one of whom took the opportunity to murder a young woman on a clear day in the Rafah refugee camp. Claiming Corrie’s death was “accidental,” he was never punished.
Many have paid the ultimate price for challenging the Israeli juggernaut, no matter what form that challenge has taken. Many individuals who never picked up a weapon have been targeted by the Jewish State. And if Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh was attempting to procure weapons, he was simply guilty of trying to help his people defend themselves against Israeli aggression. Only when the western-dominated court of world opinion is no longer content to let Israel act as judge, jury and executioner, will there be justice for occupied Palestine and all the people who met untimely and brutal deaths in her defense.

January 26, 2010

Haiti Hypocrisy Hides Yet Another War Crime

The human catastrophe gripping Haiti since a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated that nation on January 12 rightfully dominated nearly every newscast for a week. With devastation of such unimaginable proportions, there are the riveting stories of despair and courage, along with a relatively new and hideous phenomenon: politicization of the disaster and its aftermath.

Media opportunists have reached new depths of hypocrisy and ineptitude in covering the tragedy. Mainstream television networks and newspapers touted the overwhelming US military response, as well as other countries that were among the first to reach the victims in Haiti, including Israel.

Conspicuously absent from the kudos list were two of the first responders, Cuba and Venezuela.

On January 13, one day after the quake, a C-130 transport plane was dispatched to Port-au Prince loaded with supplies, food and doctors. To date, six massive shipments from Venezuela have reached Haiti, totaling 5,000 metric tons of foodstuffs, as well as humanitarian aid teams and heavy machinery for reconstruction. Additionally, President Hugo Chavez pledged that his country will provide Haiti with free gasoline and diesel.

Cuba has maintained approximately 400 doctors who provide free medical services throughout Haitian communities for the last several years. Therefore, Cuban medical teams were first on the scene to set up two emergency hospitals. A group of 38 Haitians currently completing medical internships in Cuba returned to their homeland to assist in the relief efforts, along with an additional three Cuban surgical teams. The Associated Press reported on January 20 that Ena Zizi, a 69 year-old pulled from the rubble after a week, was taken to the Cuban hospital for treatment. Reportedly, Cuban teams are working 18-hour shifts in order to save as many of the injured as possible.

Meanwhile, in the most poignant outpouring of compassion for the Haitian people, Palestinians—themselves no strangers to widespread death and destruction—lined up at the Red Cross headquarters in Gaza to donate toiletries, toys, sweets and blankets. Unfortunately, none of the goods will be shipped to Haiti due to the Israeli siege. Some Gazans were able to donate money, apparently the only commodity allowed to leave the Strip.

While ignoring the contributions of political and ideological rivals, American media gave Israel special recognition at every turn. The field hospital set up by the Israeli army warranted an entire segment of NBC’s nightly newscast on January 19. One senior Israeli officer stated “If we save one life, it’s as if we save the whole world.”

So let us get this straight: it is imperative to give Israelis singular credit in saving Haitian children, while ignoring the fact that last year’s assault on Gaza killed hundreds of children and maimed thousands more, not to mention the 360 Lebanese children slaughtered during Israel’s 2006 offensive.

With the American media locked in fierce competition as to who could lavish the most praise on the Israeli military for saving Haiti, another disaster was brewing in Gaza. Israeli officials opened the Al-Wadi dam east of Gaza in the wake of torrential rainfall in the region, flooding the refugee camp of Al-Nusseirat, Johr al-Deek village and al-Mughraqa, a suburb of Gaza City. Villagers provided eyewitness accounts that Israeli forces stationed in the area opened the dam without warning and without coordination with Palestinian civil agencies. Media outlets from Brunei to China to Iran reported the disaster.

According to China’s Xinhua news agency, Israel had constructed the dam to hoard rain water, depriving Gazan farms and villages of this precious resource for years. As the dam was opened, houses that had been built along the dried-up ditch were inundated with flood waters, displacing approximately 100 Gazan families and drowning cattle and poultry. Palestinian Civil Defense Chief Yousef al-Zahar stated “…what happened was a deliberate act by Israel.”

Israeli officials were quick to deny opening any dams, or that a dam even existed in the area. Israel’s Eshkol regional council bordering Gaza dismissed the claims as “silly,” maintaining they knew nothing of such a dam.

Pro-Israeli bloggers took up the cries of “water libel,” adding that there were no coordinates on any map indicating the presence of a dam and that Palestinians had made up the whole story. Of course, the Israelis would do well not to acknowledge the presence of such a dam, else admit to years of denying water to Gazan farmers.
However, pictures show that the deluge in Gaza could not have resulted merely from flash flooding. According to the Israeli Meteorological Service, up to five inches of rain fell in the area. The Gaza valley where the floods occurred runs nearly five miles from its eastern border with the Jewish state, descending to the Mediterranean Sea. The downgrade would allow for more severe flooding, but not to the levels seen in Gaza. Therefore, some other factor had to contribute to such massive amounts of water rushing into the area, i.e. Israel’s opening of the Al-Wadi dam.

Another instance of Israel’s disregard for environmental consequences—even more sinister given what happened in Haiti—took place in August 2009. Israel National News reported that tremors were created in the southern Negev in a joint project with the University of Hawaii and funded by the US Department of Defense. In the experiment, Israelis detonated 80 tons of explosive material to simulate the intensity of a magnitude 3.0 earthquake. Supposedly, this will help scientists improve seismological and acoustic readings to predict future earthquakes. It was not explained why the US Department of Defense was involved.

The tragedies of Haiti and Gaza are compounded by mainstream media’s exploitation of millions of innocent people in order to promote the US and Israel’s masquerade as benevolent societies. Good works done by governments at odds with the US-Israeli agenda are ignored, maintaining contempt for the very people who should be praised. And once again, while the world’s attention is elsewhere, Israel takes the opportunity to attack Palestinian lives and livelihoods, making a bleak existence even more unbearable.

January 11, 2010

Letter from an Ultra-Zionist: My Exchange with Congressman John Boehner (OH-8)

I received the following letter from Congressman John Boehner (Ohio-8th District):

Dear Tammy,

Thank you for contacting me regarding our Israel. (Yes, he did use the word “our.”) It is good to hear from you.

H.Res 867 was introduced by Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on October 23, 2009 and referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. H. Res.867 would urge the President and the Secretary of State to oppose unequivocally any endorsement or further consideration of the “Report on the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict” in multilateral fora. The resolution would further consider the “Report on the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict” or the Goldstone Report, to be biased and unworthy of further consideration or legitimacy. The resolution further supports the Administration’s efforts to combat anti-Israel bias at the United Nations and reaffirms support for Israel and for Israel’s right to defend its citizens from violent militant groups and their state sponsors. This resolution passed through the House on November 3, 2009 by a vote of 344 to 36, with 22 Representatives voting present. I voted for this resolution.

I am a strong supporter of Israel and always have been. This besieged nation is the oldest democracy in the Middle East and its stability and ability to defend itself are essential to a lasting peace in the region. Israel is surrounded by many countries which have never recognized its right to exist (with the exception of Egypt and Jordan). These neighbors have gone to war with Israel five times with the sole purpose of annihilating the Jewish state and have pledged time and time again to maintain this adversarial position.

My support for Israel does not mean that I ignore the tragic loss of life on both sides. I can assure you I am closely monitoring this situation. This is a matter Congress is paying a great deal of attention to, and we will continue to suppport President Obama’s efforts to encourage and facilitate peace.

Please rest assured I will keep your thoughts in mind should I have the opportunity to vote on legislation addressing this issue. Thank you again for contacting me with your thoughts. Pelase don’t hesitate to inform me of your concerns in the future. To sign up for email updates, I invite you to visit my website at http://johnboehner.house.gov/Forms/Form/?ID=89.

Sincerely,
John A. Boehner

I replied with the following:

Congressman Boehner:

Thank you for contacting me regarding Palestine.

Your support of HR 867, effectively dismissing the Goldstone Report as “biased and unworthy of further consideration or legitimacy” is appalling. Judge Richard Goldstone serves as a trustee of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and is a self-proclaimed Zionist. His report concluded both Israel and Hamas committed grave breaches of international law. Therefore, claims of bias are baseless, showing how far the House of Representatives will go to whitewash Israeli war crimes.
If you define democracy as a state with an elected government, then Israel may qualify. In the broader sense--the one where democratic ideals include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people, regardless of race or religion--then Israel falls painfully short.

Israel is currently holding over 10,000 Palestinian prisoners in its jails, including women and minors. Ha’aretz, a leading Israeli newspaper, published the report of a European fact-finding mission to the prisons. It was discovered that 88 percent of the inmates were being held without formal charges, trial or hearing. Is this your idea of a democracy?

In a true democracy, freedom of religion is extended to all citizens. Israel has often denied Christian and Muslim pilgrims alike from worshipping in their respective holy sites. Muslim boys and men aged 15-40 have at times been barred from Friday prayers by Israeli authorities arbitrarily.

Moreover, it is historical fallacy to cite Arab countries as the aggressors in Israel’s wars. Prior to 1948, the Irgun and Stern gangs waged a terror campaign against British forces in Palestine, as well as targeting Palestinian civilians. The King David Hotel bombing killed 91 British personnel, injuring 45. These same gangs, led by Menachem Begin (who would later serve as Israel’s Prime Minister) massacred over 100 Palestinian men, women and children in the village of Deir Yassin on April 9, 1948. Small wonder that when Israel was established the following month, Arab neighbors attempted to thwart the total depopulation and subsequent obliteration of some 500 Palestinian villages, courtesy of the new Israeli army.

In October 1956, Moshe Dayan launched combined air and land assaults into Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.

In 1967, Israel launched a pre-emptive strike into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. It was during the six-day course of this war that Israel also attacked the USS Liberty, an American ship. Thirty-four American sailors died and an additional 172 were wounded. Israel claimed the Liberty was mistaken for the Egyptian El Quseir, a ludicrous excuse as El Quseir was 180 feet shorter and very differently configured. The Liberty had her name clearly written in English, while the Egyptian ship would have displayed Arabic script. Surviving sailors testified that it was a deliberate attack, unless you wish to doubt the words of the American servicemen you claim to so vehemently support. As an intelligence gathering vessel, Liberty was likely to intercept real time evidence of the massacres committed by Israel in the Golan Heights, enough motive to destroy the American ship.

The Yom Kippur War in 1973 stemmed from Egypt’s desire to regain the Sinai Peninsula lost in the 1967 conflict, as Syria tried to recapture the Golan Heights.
Israel launched a full-scale invasion of Lebanon in 1982.

It is apparent the only thing you are monitoring is the flow of money from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) into your coffer. Your position itself is not surprising; however, I was shocked by your audacity to spend 42 taxpayer cents on mailing me pro-Israel propaganda. Let me make it clear that I am not buying.

Sincerely,

Tammy