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    ‘No more blank check for Israel’

    by Sunny on 11th February, 2009 at 1:30 am    

    A press release I received
    The New York-based Campaign for Peace and Democracy is sending a declaration to President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Middle East Envoy George Mitchell entitled “No More Blank Check for Israel!” To date 1253 individuals have signed, including Ervand Abrahamian, Stanley Aronowitz, Norman Birnbaum, Noam Chomsky, Ariel Dorfman, Martin Duberman, Carolyn Eisenberg, Daniel Ellsberg, Chris Hedges, Adam Hochschild, Doug Ireland, Tony Judt, Dave Marsh, Scott McLemee, Charlotte Phillips, MD, Katha Pollitt and Matthew Rothschild. The full list of signers is available at www.cpdweb.org

    The statement says:

    No country should have to face rockets fired at its citizens, and we condemn Hamas’s launching of rockets into Israeli civilian areas. But the solution is not raining bombs and missiles down on one of the most densely populated sites in the world, making massive civilian casualties inevitable, and which, apart from its immorality, guarantees only another generation of hatred towards Israel. The solution — as the Israeli peace movement, human rights groups, and the United Nations have urged — is to lift the economic blockade imposed on Gaza and end the Occupation.

    The statement ends with a call for an immediate end to U.S. military aid to Israel. “We do not want our tax dollars or the leaders who speak in our names to continue supporting the attacks on the Palestinian people.”

    On a related note, Tony Lerman - former head of Jewish Policy Research thinktank - wrote two excellent articles that deserve plugging. On in the Guardian and one in Prospect mag - on how Jews in the UK and USA are speaking out against Israel’s actions.

      |   Trackback link   |   Add to del.icio.us   |   Share on Facebook   |   Filed in: Current affairs, Middle East, United States

    18 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. Imran Khan — on 11th February, 2009 at 9:05 am  

      Well lets see. Today Israel potentially elected a government that isn’t interesed in peace, advocates transfer of population based on ethnicity and to continue “settlement” building.

      If any other country especially an Arab country had donethis then Israel would be demanding that diplomatic relations are cut off and the country isolated.

      So lets see what the response is now when Israel does this.

      Interestingly the head of the 3rd largest party in Israel is ran on a platform of ethnic transfer of an indiginous population whilst he himself is not even from the region having been born and raised in Russia.

      So will Anglo-Jewry now support such a government and justify its actions or will it take the moral ground and oppose such a government. If it doesn’t oppose then where does that leave Anglo-Jewry.

      Israel has as it major parties a right wing slant that is essentially racist and no one is saying a word - yet.

      As a side note there is great tension between the leadership of both communities (Jewish and Muslim) here in the UK and something needs to be done to counter that and bring some bridge building.

    2. Hermes — on 11th February, 2009 at 9:20 am  

      Don’t hold your breath Imran. Double standards in the west are an unlimited farce. When Gazans elected an extremist party which was not committed to a peace process, the West immediately declared sanctions and refused to recognise the Hamas administration. Now we are likely to have a right-wing coalition dedicated to war and land grab…will the West also impose sanctions on Israel?

      No, because apparently democracy only works if it results in leaders acceptable to the US. But more Jewish voices like that of Tony Lerman are extremely welcome. Hopefully they will give Obama the elbow room he needs to make his move against Israeli aggression.

    3. Leon — on 11th February, 2009 at 10:25 am  

      Good move, not sure I see it having any effect but we can but hope the US with holds it’s ‘aid’ to Israel until the occupation ends…

    4. Shamit — on 11th February, 2009 at 10:40 am  

      60 Democratic US Congress members have asked for Secy of State Clinton to step in and proactively help rebuild Gaza and provide medical assistance to the people in Gaza. They also urged the Obama administration to make Israel-Palestine resolution a key goal for the new team.

      The pressure is building and if Netanyahu is PM I think the pressure would increase on Israel. It needs to take the next few steps and pressure from US could go a long way.

    5. soru — on 11th February, 2009 at 11:37 am  

      Actually, most of the soft-pedalling of Israel by the West (and western-influenced arab governments) has been done with an eye on keeping the Israeli Hamas-lite out of power.

      Everyone knows if you want hamas to prosper, bomb them. So standard wisdom, probably largely true, is that attacks and threats to Israel (let alone Jews in general) only make Yisrael Beitenu stronger. This policy even counts as about as successful as could be expected: Kadima increased their vote compared to polls.

      If Beitenu end up prominent in the government anyway, that motivation goes away. The BBC calls them ultra-nationalists - the coming debate on whether they are explicitly fascists will be interesting…

    6. Hermes — on 11th February, 2009 at 11:53 am  


      The Nazis were also ultra-nationalists.

    7. Jai — on 11th February, 2009 at 1:22 pm  


      So were many British people not so long ago, especially those virulently in favour of imperialism, including Churchill.

      Were they ‘Nazis’ too, or is this something people only like to accuse Israelis of these days ?

    8. cjcjc — on 11th February, 2009 at 1:27 pm  

      On a separate topic, the Balen report on BBC bias (on I/P) looks now more likely to be published following Lords ruling today.


    9. Hermes — on 11th February, 2009 at 2:48 pm  


      Churchill did not disenfranchise the minorities in the UK, or strip them of their citizenship unless they took an oath of allegiance to the Crown. He fought against the German nationalists. The Israelis ultra-nationalists want to take away all citizenship rights from the country’s Arab minority, who make up 20 percent of the population.

    10. Refresh — on 11th February, 2009 at 3:07 pm  

      cjcjc, that’s great news. Sooner the better. It was one of the things I listed on another thread that we should have out in the open.

      Everything should be forced into the open.

      That will just leave minutes of BBC Mark Thompson’s meeting with Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abas; FCO involvement and Thompson’s clearance.

    11. Jai — on 11th February, 2009 at 3:08 pm  


      Churchill had a somewhat less than healthy attitude towards the people of the subcontinent (who obviously fell under the overall international authority of the British Government at the time, in the case of residents of ‘British India’), especially his ‘musings’ on what he wanted to do to them if he could have got away with it. Presumably you’re also not aware of his opinions on the historical continent-wide slaughter and disenfranchisement of the Native Americans and Aboriginal Australians respectively at the hands of European colonialists, which he regarded as “nothing wrong” and essentially justified in the spirit of “might is right” and victory & dominance deservedly falling into the hands of the strongest and most ruthless.

      Sound familiar ?

      Unfortunately he had a little more in common with the mentality of the “German nationalists” which you mentioned than you may think. Quite tragic, considering his superb and inspiring leadership of this country during WW2…..but his response there was due to Britain being on the receiving end of imperialist territorial aggression for once.

      He did not have a problem with the concept per se; on the contrary, in fact.

    12. soru — on 11th February, 2009 at 3:14 pm  

      Were they ‘Nazis’ too, or is this something people only like to accuse Israelis of these days ?

      The world is pretty much split into two camps:

      1. those who would call Israelis ‘nazis’ even if they did nothing other than try to live peacefully in the house their grandfather was born in.

      2. those who wouldn’t call them ‘fascists’ if they formed an organised party and militia within a democratic state aimed at overthrowing and replacing it with a purified essence of itself.

      (The same applies to Muslims, except everyone swaps camps).

      Personally, I think technically, Yisrael Beitenu don’t quite count as fascists: the closest analogue is the National Party circa 1948 in South Africa. They seem to want a restricted-franchise democracy, not an authoritarian or totalitarian state.

    13. Refresh — on 11th February, 2009 at 3:19 pm  

      Hermes, Jai is correct. You only have to look at Churchill’s use of chemical weapons on Iraqi villagers as a form of control.

      In a nutshell brutality and collective punishments were not just used by the Nazis, they have always been a central tool for any colonialist force. It is all about sapping the will to resist the writ of an occupying force.

      So can we please please get off these Nazi jibes.

    14. Comrade Tovya — on 11th February, 2009 at 7:26 pm  

      I find it interesting that the Imran Khan wrote:

      “Today Israel potentially elected a government that isn’t interesed in peace”

      and for some reason forgot that the Palestinians elected Hamas, whom of course openly admit that their goal is to “drive the Jews into the sea”

      You know what they say, “what’s good for the goose…”

    15. comrade — on 11th February, 2009 at 7:43 pm  

      Jai 11, good post.

      Churchill was a outright racist, he made the following comments in regards to the Bengal Famine of 1943-1944 ”Indians breeding like rabbits”on another occation he remarked ” I Hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.” Source: The Blood Never Dried by John Newsinger.

    16. Jason — on 11th February, 2009 at 7:51 pm  


      Your basic premise is wrong. The United States generally does NOT cut off diplomatic relations with countries that behave immorally. It would be especially unusual (and counter productive) for them to do so on the basis of a democratic election. Israel has rarely make the mistake of asking the United States to do this.

      As far as Yisrael Beitenu goes, their basic premise: “If you want to be a citizen of a country, you have to be loyal to that country” commands majority support in most nations around the world. The United States fell victim to this during the red scares.

      I would expect any democracy that is home to a significant population of people who do not recognize that country’s legitimacy to rapidly develop popular support such a movement. It amazes me that it took so long for this to happen in Israel.

    17. Imran Khan — on 11th February, 2009 at 7:54 pm  

      CT - “I find it interesting that the Imran Khan wrote:

      “Today Israel potentially elected a government that isn’t interesed in peace”

      and for some reason forgot that the Palestinians elected Hamas, whom of course openly admit that their goal is to “drive the Jews into the sea”

      You know what they say, “what’s good for the goose…””

      The comment was in relation to the election held in Israel today. There was no election today in Gaza so I can hardly say that today Palestinians elected Hamas who are not interested in peace can I!

      The Hamas aim is to drive the Jews into the sea and the aim of Lieberman is so much different huh? I find it interesting you didn’t mention that?!

      If the Palestinians are the bad people then why is good Israel electing people who are not interested in peace or compromise? Ha!

    18. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 11th February, 2009 at 8:58 pm  

      As a side note there is great tension between the leadership of both communities (Jewish and Muslim) here in the UK and something needs to be done to counter that and bring some bridge building.

      I agree and that really should be OUR focus.
      I don’t know what to do anymore for the people living in the actual situation. They are all stupid, they all are to blame. They all go to extremes. Israels formation led to the formation of Hamas and an increase of violence and terrorism to strengthen the Palestinian cause ..and the formation of Hamas has increased Israeli violence and terrorism against them and strengthened the zionsist cause and movement.
      sigh … it’s stalemate! and has been for too long but we just keep playing.
      The US/ west whatever has done it’s share - just as Arab/ whatever involvement has done its part for the other side. Together we seem to have built some horrible Frankenstein monster terrorizing the countryside.
      what can the creater do to stop his creation? and the angry mod reaches for pitchforks and rallies for blood….
      geesh I’m dramatic today.
      I do always believe in endless possibilities, but can only come up with 2 solutions
      either some outside force will need to take over as an “occupation”
      or we all need to get out and let them duel to the death, winner take all! other wise it will just keep spreading.
      Both will defiantly see destruction coupled with lives lost, followed by resentment.
      anyway … I’m going outside now..it’s a beautiful day

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