Evolution of Dispossession

Evolution of Dispossession
How to Steal a Country?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Real Scholars Defend Finkelstein

Alan Dershowitz somehow omits these comments from his relentless attack on Finkelstein.

What a complete boob !

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A Palestinian Speaks Against Israeli Prejudices

Amen Amen Amen, Azmi sums up an essential problem with the conflict ; it is based on an irrational push to create a democratic society in which only jews may participate, but can such an underlying racist doctrine provide the foundation for a democracy.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Anti-Americanism : Some Root Causes

Blackened Beacon of Lost Liberty

April 27, 2007 -- Post 9-11, various Bush administration officials explained to the American people that the reason the United States was “attacked” on September 11, 2001 was because of our freedoms. President George Bush said on September 12, 2001:

"America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world." [1]

There are several factors that contribute to anti-American sentiment globally. Being the brightest beacon for freedom, an idea that is no longer factual, is not one of them. The truth is that the Israel-Palestine crisis is the issue that arguably fuels the majority of anti-American sentiment in the Middle East (of course the 2003 invasion of Iraq has not helped matters) and the world at large. The historical role the CIA has played in overthrowing, destabilizing, or subverting foreign governments, political organizations, and populist movements around the globe has also contributed heavily to anti-American attitudes. More factors could be discussed, but for now, these two issues will suffice to make the point.

The United Nations has various deliberating elements. Two important bodies within the United Nations are the UN General Assembly, where all member nations have a voice, and the UN Security Council consisting of five permanent members (US, UK, France, Russia, and China) and 10 non-permanent members who serve two-year terms. If any permanent member nation of the Security Council vetoes a resolution, then the resolution is automatically defeated.

Even though there are many shortcomings regarding the United Nations, I think the UN could better fulfill its mission were the U.S. to stop being the principle obstructionist when it comes to condemning the actions of the state of Israel, pay its UN debt of over $1 billion [2], and stop casting proxy votes on behalf of Israel. What follows may be shocking to many, but I think it is imperative to consider the "why" of these vetoes and how they relate to the Zionist state. Donald Neff, author of “Fallen Pillars", has meticulously researched the following list. The lone veto of the following votes was cast by the United States on behalf of Israel in the UN Security Council, thus scuttling the intended goal of the resolution.

1. Sept. 10, 1972—Condemned Israel’s attacks against Southern Lebanon and Syria; vote: 13 to 1, with 1 abstention
2. July 26, 1973—Affirmed the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, statehood and equal protections; vote: 13 to 1, with China absent.
3. Dec. 8, 1975—Condemned Israel’s air strikes and attacks in Southern Lebanon and its murder of innocent civilians; vote: 13 to 1, with 1 abstention.
4. Jan. 26, 1976—Called for self-determination of Palestinian people - vote: 9 to 1, with 3 abstentions.
5. March 25, 1976—Deplored Israel’s altering of the status of Jerusalem, which is recognized as an international city, by most world nations and the United Nations; vote: 14 to 1.
6. June 29, 1976—Affirmed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people - vote: 10 to 1, with 4 abstentions.
7. April 30, 1980—Endorsed self-determination for the Palestinian people; vote: 10 to 1, with 4 abstentions.
8. Jan. 20, 1982—Demanded Israel’s withdrawal from the Golan Heights - vote: 9 to 1, with 4 abstentions.
9. April 2, 1982—Condemned Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip and its refusal to abide by the Geneva Convention protocols of civilized nations; vote: 14 to 1.
10. April 20, 1982—Condemned an Israeli soldier who shot 11 Muslim worshippers on the Temple Mount of the Haram al-Sharaf near the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem; vote: 14 to 1.
11. June 8, 1982—Urged sanctions against Israel if it did not withdraw from its invasion of Lebanon; vote: 14 to 1.
12. June 26, 1982—Urged sanctions against Israel if it did not withdraw from its invasion of Beirut, Lebanon; vote: 14 to 1.
13. Aug. 6, 1982—Urged cut-off of economic aid to Israel if it refused to withdraw from its occupation of Lebanon; vote: 11 to 1, with 3 abstentions.
14. Aug. 2, 1983—Condemned continued Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine territories of West Bank and Gaza Strip, denouncing them as an obstacle to peace; vote: 13 to 1, with 1 abstention.
15. Sept. 6, 1984—Deplored Israel’s brutal massacre of Arabs in Lebanon and urged its withdrawal - vote: 14 to 1.
16. March 12, 1985—Condemned Israeli brutality in Southern Lebanon and denounced Israel’s “Iron Fist” policy of repression; vote: 11 to 1, with 3 abstentions.
17. Sept. 13, 1985—Denounced Israel’s violation of human rights in the occupied territories; vote: 10 to 1, with 4 abstentions.
18. Jan. 17, 1986—Deplored Israel’s violence in Southern Lebanon; vote: 11 to 1, with 3 abstentions.
19. Jan. 30, 1986—Deplored Israel’s activities in occupied Arab East Jerusalem which threaten the sanctity of Muslim holy sites; vote: 13 to 1, with 1 abstention.
20. Feb. 6, 1986—Condemned Israel’s hijacking of a Libyan passenger airplane on Feb. 4 - vote: 10 to 1, with 1 abstention.
21. Jan. 18, 1988—Deplored Israeli attacks against Lebanon and its measures and practices against the civilian population of Lebanon - vote: 13 to 1, with Britain abstaining.
22. Feb. 1, 1988—Called on Israel to abandon its policies against the Palestinian uprising that violate the rights of occupied Palestinians, abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention and formalize a leading role for the United Nations in future peace negotiations; vote: 14 to 1.
23. April 15, 1988—Urged Israel to accept back deported Palestinians, condemned Israel’s shooting of civilians, called on Israel to uphold the Fourth Geneva Convention and called for a peace settlement under U.N. auspices; vote: 14 to 1.
24. May 10, 1988—Condemned Israel’s May 2 incursion into Lebanon - vote: 14 to 1.
25. Dec. 14, 1988—Deplored Israel’s Dec. 9 commando raids on Lebanon - vote: 14 to 1.
26. Feb. 17, 1989—Deplored Israel’s repression of the Palestinian uprising and called on Israel to respect the human rights of the Palestinians; vote: 14 to 1.
27. June 9, 1989—Deplored Israel’s violation of the human rights of the Palestinians; vote: 14 to 1.
28. Nov. 7, 1989—Demanded Israel return property confiscated from Palestinians during a tax protest and allow a fact-finding mission to observe Israel’s crackdown on the Palestinian uprising; vote: 14 to 1.
29. May 31, 1990—Called for a fact-finding mission on abuses against Palestinians in Israeli-occupied lands - vote: 14 to 1.
30. May 17, 1995—Declared invalid Israel’s expropriation of land in East Jerusalem and in violation of Security Council resolutions and the Fourth Geneva convention; vote: 14 to 1.
31. March 7, 1997—Called on Israel to refrain from settlement activity and all other actions in the occupied territories - vote: 14 to 1.
32. March 21, 1997—Demanded Israel cease construction of the settlement Har Homa (called Jabal Abu Ghneim by the Palestinians) in East Jerusalem and cease all other settlement activity in the occupied territories; vote: 13 to 1, with one abstention.
33. March 26, 2001—Called for the deployment of a U.N. observer force in the West Bank and Gaza - vote: 9 to 1, with 4 abstentions.
34. Dec. 14, 2001—Condemned all acts of terror, the use of excessive force and destruction of properties and encouraged establishment of a monitoring apparatus; vote: 12-1, with 2 abstentions.
35. Dec. 19, 2002—Expressed deep concern over Israel’s killing of U.N. employees and Israel’s destruction of the U.N. World Food Program warehouse in Beit Lahiya and demanded that Israel refrain from the excessive and disproportionate use of force in the occupied territories; vote: 12 to 1, with 2 abstentions.
36. Sept. 16, 2003—Reaffirmed the illegality of deportation of any Palestinian and expressed concern about the possible deportation of Yasser Arafat; vote: 11 to 1, with 3 abstentions.
37. Oct. 14, 2003—Raised concerns about Israel’s building of a security fence through the occupied West Bank; vote 10 to 1, with 4 abstentions.
38. March 25, 2004—Condemned Israel for killing Palestinian spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in a missile attack in Gaza; vote: 11 to 1, with 3 abstentions.
39. Oct. 5, 2004—Condemned Israel’s military incursion in Gaza, causing many civilian deaths and extensive damage to property - vote: 11 to 1, with 3 abstentions. [3]

Condoleezza Rice, in her position as Secretary of State, claims to work for a peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but it seems her words ring hollow as the agenda is quite clear; block peace and protect Israel's lawless actions. Recently, Condoleezza Rice said the following:

"The United States has a unique relationship with each party, and we will do our part to support their engagement. So I will meet with the Prime Minister and the President periodically – sometimes separately, sometimes together – in whatever form will be most effective to accelerate progress. The Israelis and Palestinians are taking the initial step on the path to peace, and the American role will include helping them to overcome obstacles, develop new ideas, and rally international support for their efforts." [4]

Rice’s words are words of a politician, not someone who is truly committed to justice and peace. Regrettably, the Bush administration is simply continuing the legacy of other U.S. administrations in obstructing peace. If the current administration really wanted peace, then it would pressure Israel to cease its settlement activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and force Israeli compliance with the dozens of UN resolutions the U.S. has vetoed on Israel's behalf. While it is true that Israel "unilaterally" withdrew from the Gaza, the "disengagement" from Gaza was nicely packaged and marketed by its criminal West-Bank expansion.

Gaza is currently in ruins, with its population and borders completely enveloped by IDF forces that continue to limit the movement of the Palestinian people, and the humanitarian crisis within Gaza continues to worsen. Poverty, starvation, and in fighting between Hamas and Fatah have all exacerbated the situation, and the politics of the U.S. has not alleviated any suffering. When Hamas was voted into power in 2005 by the Palestinian people in a free election, the U.S. Congress, under the direction of AIPAC and other elements of the Israel Lobby, moved swiftly to impose sanctions on the newly elected government. The U.S. trumpets democracy abroad but only if the U.S. approves of the outcome. When the U.S. disapproves, sanctions are imposed.

Professor Norman Finkelstein of DePaul University wrote a book titled Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History. His book did two important things. First, the book compared the contents of Alan Dershowitz's The Case for Israel to Joan Peter's From Time Immemorial, a book published in 1984 in which Peters argued that on the eve of Zionist colonization, Palestine was virtually empty, and that the "Palestinians" came only after the Jews made the "desert bloom", then claiming to be indigenous. Peter's book was soon after debunked as a monumental fraud. Finkelstein charged Dershowitz, the Felix Frankfurter chair at Harvard Law, with plagiarizing substantive pieces of Peter's book. Second, Finkelstein summarized the findings of the mainstream human rights groups, most notably Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, B'tSelem, Physicians for Human Rights - Israel, and the Public Committee Against Torture. Finkelstein compared the yearly reports of these mainstream human rights groups, each with its own autonomous research staff, and showed the eerie similarity of their conclusions; that Israel has violated humanitarian law, international laws, Geneva conventions, and the spirit of the UN resolutions designed to bring peace to the region, and some modicum of justice for the dispossessed and displaced Palestinians.

Additionally, former President Jimmy Carter wrote a book published this year called Palestine: Peace not Apartheid. The contaminating pro-Israel groups within the United States lurched on him and assailed his character. Carter has been called a "supporter of terrorism" and an anti-Semite, despite winning the Nobel Peace Prize and despite having delivered the only lasting peace accords between Israel and any Arab neighbor. The Camp David Peace Accords of 1978 have still not been complied with on the Israeli side, as it called for Israelis to withdraw from the territories occupied by Israel since the June 1967 war.

Two mainstream academics from Harvard University and the University of Chicago jointly published a paper on the Israeli Lobby operating in the United States and had the courage to suggest that the US-Israel alliance is indeed harming the broader U.S. interests in the world. Walt and Mearsheimer have similarly been attacked, and the question is thus begged: at what point does an open dialogue on the Israel-Palestine conflict take center stage in the U.S.? It is trivial to point out that an open dialogue cannot exist if justice-minded Americans who criticize Israeli policies are slandered as being anti-Semites.

Sadly, there are other UN resolutions vetoed by the U.S. in the General Assembly and the Security Council that were entirely unambiguous and peace-minded.

For example, in 1986 a resolution was introduced calling on all governments to observe international law. The U.S. vetoed it. At the time, the U.S. was still smarting over the International Court of Justice ruling in 1986 which found that the U.S. had violated international law by arming the Contras and mining Nicaragua's harbor. The International Court of Justice ordered the United States to pay more than $1 billion in reparations to Nicaragua. The reparations were never paid, and the funding to the Contras increased! Despite the attempts of the U.S. government to prevent Ortega from retaining power in Nicaragua, the same man was recently elected President of Nicaragua again. The policy failed.

There are several resolutions concerning South African Apartheid, some condemning the practice, some attempting to prevent the flow of arms into South Africa. The U.S. vetoed these as well. The United States vetoed another UN resolution, which called for a nuclear test ban. The U.S. vetoed a UN resolution that was designed to prevent the development of new weapons of mass destruction. How can these votes at the UN by the United States, the brightest beacon of freedom mind you, go unreported in the mainstream presses? Most likely because these types of votes are cast to protect Israel, the darling of US media. One can argue that Israel has veto power at the United Nations through its successful lobbying via AIPAC.

Next, in considering the role the CIA has played in toppling governments around the world (1953 in Mossadegh's Iran, 1954 in Guzman's Guatemala, 1961 in Trujillo's Dominican Republic, 1961 in Lumumba's Congo, 1963 in Vietnam, 1963 in Iraq, 1964 in Goulart's Brazil, 1965 in Sukarno's Indonesia, 1970 in Prince Sahounek's Cambodia, 1973 in Allende's Chile, et al) the question that must be asked is would the U.S. tolerate any reciprocal meddling in our affairs – other than Israel’s?

The CIA has also militarily and financially aided counter-populist movements in dozens of other nations. Do Americans consider how these actions by the CIA have affected the people of the countries subjected to U.S. interference – interference that is not the will of the American people? After all, the American people have not voted or approved of these covert CIA maneuvers. Should the people of these affected countries admire the U.S. government for destroying their fledgling political systems?

Can the U.S. be considered the brightest beacon of freedom when its principals direct such deplorable and questionable votes at the UN? Can the U.S. be considered the brightest beacon of freedom when its CIA has done serious harm to dozens of countries worldwide? Was the United States attacked on 9-11 because it is the brightest beacon of freedom, or was the U.S. attacked on 9-11 because of what the United States has done, and what the US continues to do?

Answering these questions requires removing the rose-colored glasses that apathetic and self-centered Americans are indoctrinated into wearing. It is a painful lesson that all Americans should learn, in my opinion. Bury one's head in the sand of blind, feel-good patriotism, or learn a few unsavory truths about one's government, past and present.

Of course, Americans are told en masse that to question its government in times of war (though the war in Iraq is completely fraudulent) is seditious. I'll defer to Thomas Jefferson who said that "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism" and to Edward Abbey who said that "A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government” and to Teddy Roosevelt who said, "Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official..."

[1] CNN, Text of Bush's Address, September 11, 2001, http://cnnstudentnews.cnn.com/2001/US/09/11/bush.speech.text/index.html, [Accessed April 25, 2007]
[2] Global Policy Forum, 'US vs. Total Debt to the UN 2003' as reported in "50 Facts that Should Change the World", Jessica Williams, http://www.globalpolicy.org/finance/tables/core/un-us-03.htm [April 25, 2007]
[3] Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, An Updated List of Vetoes Cast by the United States to Shield Israel from Criticism by the U.N. Security Council, June 2005, Donald Neff, http://www.wrmea.com/archives/May-June_2005/0505014.html, [Accessed April 25, 2007]
[4] U.S. Department of State, Remarks after Meetings with Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas, March 27, 2007, http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2007/mar/82237.htm, [Accessed April 25, 2007]