Archive for History

UN documents, Passover, Peace

I havn’t written here in awhile. I have been caught up with school and life and the likes….BUT, in doing some research I found a website that has access to documents and correspodance dealing with Palestine since the British Mandate period after WWI.

Here is the UN page dealing with Palestine

and here is the page with documents predating the state of Israel (pre 1948)

If you are interested in the peace process (and you shoudl be) I encourage you to thumb through these websites. I am definitly sick of relying on news media sources, even progressive ones. I think they are good in exposing stories and circulating them, but the people really involved in creating a peace in Palestine are working through governmental agencies and not just news outlets.

Here is an exerpt from a PLO official letter dated from Febuary of this year:

In this regard, in follow-up to my previous letters to you regarding Israel’s illegal colonization activities, I regret to inform you of the demolition and eviction orders recently issued by Israel, the occupying Power, in Palestinian neighbourhoods of Occupied East Jerusalem. In the past week, the occupying Power ordered the eviction of dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in the centre of East Jerusalem by ordering the evacuation of 27 homes there. This was followed by a decision during the current week to order the eviction of 1,500 Palestinians from their homes in the Al-Bustan neighbourhood of East Jerusalem.

Contrary to the false, empty pretext given by Israel, the orders clearly aim at the illegal confiscation of Palestinian property and land and the forced displacement of more Palestinian civilians from East Jerusalem. These unlawful and provocative orders by the occupying Power have stoked already heightened tensions, threatening to further destabilize the fragile situation on the ground and, moreover, have been thoroughly rejected by the Palestinian people and their leadership.

As we have repeatedly warned, the direct and deliberate intent of all of these illegal colonization measures is to entrench Israel’s presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and to facilitate its attempts to illegally acquire and de facto annex even more Palestinian land. Such destructive, racist and colonial policies and measures constitute grave violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, and the Security Council has, in numerous resolutions, clearly declared the illegality and invalidity of such measures by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

These unlawful measures are seriously undermining the contiguity, integrity, viability and unity of the Palestinian Territory. Moreover, as has been widely recognized, this relentless land grab is gravely jeopardizing — if not completely destroying — the prospect for physically realizing the two-State solution for peace, on which there exists an international consensus.

The international community, including the Security Council, must act to address these dangerous developments. Israel, the occupying Power, cannot be permitted to continue to so flagrantly and grossly breach international law without consequence. The international community must demand Israel’s compliance with all of its obligations under international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, by which it is bound as the occupying Power, and demand the cessation of all of its illegal policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

Hope and belief in the potential for making peace a reality are rapidly diminishing in the face of such incessant Israeli breaches of international law and violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people under its occupation since 1967. Peace and security in the Middle East can never be achieved by colonization, displacement, disenfranchisement, collective punishment and oppression; it can only be achieved by respect for international law, human rights and United Nations resolutions. Urgent action is thus required by the international community, including all relevant United Nations bodies, to stop this illegal behaviour by Israel, which runs totally contrary to and is destroying the purpose, spirit and goals of the peace process, to the irreversibility of which the Security Council declared its commitment in resolution 1850 (2008).


This was written by the permanent observer  to Palestine, Riyad Mansour. He is right, peace and security cannot and will never come from colonization, collective punishment, and displacement. Which is exactly the policy of Israel towards Palestine. The settlements in Palestine and the demolition of Palesitinian homes is the current day colonization.  When Jews all over the world celebrate Passover tonight and the important fight against oppression, I hope they remember who are the oppressors now.  Israel, the Jewish Nationalist State has taken the star of David and made it into a flag of oppression and war. I hope Jews who are global citizens and care about all human beings will sit down to the cedar tonight and vow to fight Israel and its present administration. They have almost irrevovably hurt Judaism and it is up to us to reclaim Judaism to stand for a peaceful philosophy, not a nationalist and militarist state.


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Rain of Fire:Israel’s War Crimes

Human Rights Watch issued a report on Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of Gaza in Dec and Jan.

Watch this video:

Thank you to the people who have rigorously investigated these war crimes. They do such a service to the people of Gaza by refusing to let Israel get away with their militarism. Truth, investigation, justice are all indispensable and having people that do this kind of work is such a blessing.

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UN Reports Slams IDF for War Crimes


Thank god the UN hasn’t also drank the Israeli koolaid.

I hope Israel takes this seriously and starts to reform and punish the IDF who commit these atrocious war crimes. Bus according to this new york times article, there is a war brewing within the IDF ranks, and the religious nationalists are winning if the new PM is any indicator.

Is there any hope though? What is happening in Israel? What happened to secular humanism in Israel? Their international identity is totally one of war and militarism. Supposedly they are going to undergo a PR campaign to ‘rebrand‘ the Israeli name. Good luck Israel, the only PR campaign you need is a peace solution which is also reportedly not “a priority” for Netanyahu.


And on an update on Tristan Anderson, his parents are calling for a full investigation into the shooting. He has had 3 brain surgeries in a week and has severe damage to the frontal lobe of his brain. Lets see if the IDF claims responsibility which they never did with Rachel Corrie.

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RIP Natasha Richardson

I was so saddened to hear of Natasha Richardson‘s tragic death today. I cried for her and her family, and it really reminded me that each day has to be lived fully with integrity. In reading about Natasha’s life, I read about her mother Vanessa Redgrave.

Vanessa Redrave has been a radical activist for most of her life. Her outspokenness is inspirational. In 1977 she won an oscar for her role in Julia which was about the terror of the Nazi regime against Jews. Because she had also produced and narrated a documentary about the plight of the Palestinian people, many people in the Zionist propaganda machine tried to block her nomination. In her acceptance speech for Julia, she addressed and thanked the Academy for not being swayed by the “Zionist hoodlums.” I personally think this is great. Later a Jewish screenwriter broke from the script and stated how much he hated people using the Oscars to spout their politics.

Here is the clip of both:

This reminds me that I should not shy away from being outspoken and opinionated regardless of the feelings I might hurt or the attacks I might receive. 

What I admire most about Redgrave’s politics is that she felt so deeply for both the Jewish people’s suffering and that of the Palestinians. She understands the difference between Jews and Zionists. I want to contribute to teaching people about the difference. I want more and more Jews to stand up against Zionist Israel. 

Israel is becoming more and more isolated according to a new york times article. The world public opinion is turning away from them as the truth of their expansionism and militarism is becoming more widespread. It is an interesting article, I suggest you take the time to read it. It talks about the new public imaging and rebranding that Israel is going to implement. I think it will be pretty hard to rebrand after the last 60 years of war. The only rebranding they can do is to seriously embark on a peace process, which the new Bibi administration says is not on their priority list!

Anyway, back to the Natasha Richardson. I truly pray for your family right now. Just in a few days these peoples lives have been changed. When celebrities die it impacts us because we felt we sort of knew them. But it reminds me that so many nameless people are dying, not by tragic accidental deaths, but by preventable violent acts of war. The tragedy of one mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend dying can impact people exponentially, and for the rest of their lives. Imagine the rage, shock, and horror when this is not an accident, but the result of a process of occupation and violence. 

I pray for Tristan Anderson who is has also is suffering from a head injury. He will hopefully pull through, but his injury was not a ski accident, but the Israeli Military firing a high velocity tear gas canister into his head. 

I recently had to write a paper on my personal philosophy of history. I wrote about radical history, and the practice of history for the goal of social change. Radical history is not always popular, but it is important. The radical element in the way I practice history will probably marginalize my audience, but it is still important to speak the unpopular truths.

Anyway, this has been a sort of incoherent blogpost…but thats okay…I just thought the clip of Vanessa Redgrave was pretty great, and I wanted to say how sad and affected I am by Natasha’s death.

Its just so sad:


Rest in Peace Natasha…

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Almost 6 years to the day after American activist Rachel Corrie was murdered by IDF forces another American activist is critically injured. Tristan Anderson, a bay are activist was shot with a high-speed tear gas bullet in the head while he demonstrated the devastation of Palestinian homes by Israel’s military. They are trying to demolish a whole village in order to continue building their partitioning wall of apartheid.


I am so angry. Here is an article where the witness says that the hole in Tristan’s head was so deep you could see his brain.

And here is Rachel Corrie, murdered March 16, 2003.

A video interview two days before  Rachel was killed


And finally, Rachel Corrie’s body shrouded in the American Flag:


When is this going to stop?

When are people going to rise up against the American-Israeli lobby and stop this?

And these are just 2 victims, there are thousands of others, who are not American, not white.

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Israel’s blockade

The amorality of a modern day blockade is fairly obvious. People should be granted the freedom of movement. The walls and blockades that divide the Palestinian people would not be tolerated anywhere else in the world or by any other country than Israel.

Here is a video made by the director of Waltz with Bashir, about the physical blockade of the Palestinian people and the barrier that the blockade enacts on the peace process.

Also, here is an article written on the huffingtonpost by a Palestinian American and his experience with the blockade and his maltreatment in Israel.

And finally, here is a link to the news article about the member of the Alvin Ailey dance company that was taken into a security room and questioned on his identity and intentions because of his Muslim name. He was forced to dance in the airport to prove his identity. As this is not an isolated event in humiliating a profiled muslim person trying to enter Israel, a man was forced to play a violin to prove it was not filled with explosives. 

These incidents illustrate the unfair and policed state of Israel’s blockade. The reality of an American whose country pours tax dollars into Israel getting harassed due to a Muslim name or a Palestinian ethnic identity is a but a minor result of Israel’s heavy hand. 

If I go to Israel this summer (which I might) I will not be questioned in this way. I do not have a muslim name or any reason for them to question my intentions. In fact, I can even apply for citizenship as a Jew. In fact, I can even go to Israel for free paid for by the American Zionist machine that pushes North American (Canadian and American) Jews to connect politically and ideologically  with Zionist Israel. 

Hopefully they don’t find out about my blog. I don’t think the Birthright movement would approve of my message of condemning Zionism and the Israeli Occupation.

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Academia and Zionism

In recent years the hotbed of protest on American campuses against Israel’s policy of Zionism and Apartheid has put the universities in a precarious position due to the economic relationships between these institutions and Israel. The academic world has not really dealt very professionally when it comes to voicing dissent against Israel and American policy in the Middle East. Besides the campaign of Alan Dershowitz to sabatoge and end Norm Finkelstein’s career at DePaul University, another case of academic bullying has occurred. This time Joel Kovel, the social scientist, has been suspiciously dropped from his affiliated university, Bard College. Joel Kovel wrote, Overcoming Zionism, a critique of the present day zionist movement and a call for a one state solution. This solution is fervently feared by Zionists because it would mean the end of a ‘Jewish’ state. This is ever more pertinent due to the rise of the Israel political party of Lieberman that wants to eventually expell Arab-Israeli’s from Israel.

The academic world was shaken in the 1950s when professors were required to sign loyalty oaths. Looking back, I am not sure anyone respects that movement. Academic freedom is supposedly one of America’s staples of proving what a ‘free’ society we have. It seems that the likes of the Israel Lobby bullies would like for all professors to sign loyalty oaths to Israel and Zionism! There is a website dedicated to stalking ‘radical’ professors that lie about Israel. There are facebook groups that monitor what they consider anti-semetic and anti-zionist propaganda on campuses. (it should be noted that I believe the two to be wholly differetn) One of the anti-semetic/anti-zionist posters? A simple green sticker reading ‘free palestine.’ Really? That is anti-semetic? It didn’t even say end Israel’s apartheid!

Clearly this is a hot issue right now, and sensitivities are boiling. I think that the larger issue of student activism on campuses is going to work its self out. Both ‘sides’ of the issue practice their freedom of assembly and speech, and while they get flack from the opposing voice, they are both pretty much on agreement that they both have the right to protest. (Even though they repeatedly call the others racist and want to ‘end’ that racism on campus- good luck)

But, when it comes to the firing, or the more diplomatic ways in which they ( the universities) ‘let go’ the blacklisted professors, I find the consequences more dire. It is too reminiscent of Cold War politics and censorship. The politics of tenure are probably ridiculous anyway, but adding  to it the fear of pertient and critical scholarship on one of the biggest trajedies of our time is beyond what I consider to be within the realm of acceptable practices.

The precendent of sabotoging the academic careers of Finkelstein and now Kovel is dangerous to the suppossed academic freedom that we want in our universities. I find it so funny when I read about different groups wanting politics to stay out of lectures! People should know, especially at the college level, that there are inherent politics in everything that you learn. Objectivity is a pipe dream, and essentially meaningless. There ARE politics in academia. Deal with it. And stop trying to silence and bully the scholars that are adding to the important public discourse of international and global affairs!


Here is Kovel speaking about the issue of Zionism and the taboo of honestly discussing the issues surrounding it


And here is Kovel discussing the attack of what he calls the Zionist Apparatus

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