various media; all via indy: BBC:  Corporate insiders create a front organisation that seems independent, but is really under their control. ----------- A Japanese Corporation(SunPeaks) and the Canadian and B.C governments are trying to remove an Indigenous people from their land and send them to jail! ------------------ 193084 Russian family farms undersiege by privatization ---------------- rabble ( on globalization -----------193718  WHAT'S SO BAD ABOUT ISRAEL? Michael Neumann ---------- 193657 Bill Moyers, Modernity, and Islam  Sakura 6:32am Mon Jul 22 '02 Bill Moyers, Modernity, and Islam 
--------------------- 193315 Don't name it, cure it (english) Alistair Cooke 9:22am Sat Jul 20 '02 (Modified on 3:21pm Sat Jul 20 '02) "This," writes Mr Krugman, "is the way the ploy works. "  Corporate insiders create a front organisation that seems independent, but is really under their control. "This front buys some of the firm's assets at unrealistically high prices, creating a phantom profit that inflates the stock price, allowing the executives to cash in on their stock. Executives such as the Pretzelman. Don't name it, cure it Alistair Cooke Monday, 15 July, 2002 world/letter_from_america/ newsid_2129000/2129435.stm They say - and I was reluctant for many years to believe they're right - that in old age you tend to revert to your origins in matters of taste, habits. From the day I settled permanently in this country I naturally tried to do in Rome as the Romans did. When, in my early days at Yale, I wondered if there might be a toast rack handy, the nice English professor I was breakfasting with very gently, almost confidentially told me: "They don't exist." It was many years before I read Mark Twain's response when on his first visit to England he encountered a toast rack. "In the heyday of the industrial revolution it took the mechanical genius of the English to devise a receptacle which guaranteed to deliver in the shortest possible time toast that was both cold and hard." I was so eager to fit in with the natives as inconspicuously as possible that I at once started drinking bourbon in the evenings, especially when I was out on the town listening to the great blues men like Earl Hines and the Duke and Art Hodes. It took me about 20 years to realise that I greatly dislike bourbon. I reverted to the humble but golden liquid of the Highlands. And from that day on I decided that while I was becoming, in habits and tastes, no longer English, I wasn't American either. I decided to be myself. Which left me, without apology, yearning for English ox tongue and Dover sole while not having to yearn for, but relishing, Maryland crabs, striped bass, key lime pie and American beef in all its great variety of succulent cuts. Also, after 40 years, I was certain by then that I didn't like coffee. So I started the day out, as I do, with the drink that cheers but not inebriates, thank God, at nine in the morning. Like everybody else in old age I have an increasingly set way of life. I sit up in bed and swig the tannin and nibble at two cookies - what in Britain are biscuits. If I lived in the South I should be dearly tempted to start the day with what they call biscuits, which are small flowery cakes of soda bread served hot with lashings of butter. However, I live in the North where the secret of baking Southern biscuits is hidden. The New York Times falls on my bed with all the lightness of a drunken sailor. I spend between one and a half and two hours reading the stories and dispatches about America, the war and American doings abroad. That's as much as I can take in. I have to skip Mexico's police problem, the guerrilla drug war in the mountains of Colombia, the Zimbabwe turmoil. I had come to the end of these early morning chores - which I must say could well have been accompanied on Sunday by the classic early morning blues - when I came on a column, a piece with the blithe title, Story of a lucky man. Just the bracer I needed. It was about a failing businessman who'd run through millions of other people's money but was now deep in debt and losing money. However, a big company came along and bought him out, paying an amazingly high price. But the big company did badly, yet the stock price stayed high enough for our hero to sell out and pick up close to a million dollars before the company slumped. When I read that the accountant who handled this manoeuvre was Arthur Andersen, now collapsed and under indictment, I thought I was reading all over again the story of one of Enron's or WorldCom's bigwigs. But now - I think from now on I'd better tell the story in the exact words of the storyteller, Mr Paul Krugman, the chief economic commentator of the New York Times whose lawyers I'm quite sure scrutinised every syllable of his piece with a microscope - because Mr Krugman is writing about George W Bush and a company called Harken. Here is a true excerpt, quote: "Harken Energy bought his company at an astonishingly high price. Harken was basically paying for Mr Bush's connections." He was then the son of a president. Nevertheless, quote: "Harken did badly. For a time it concealed its failure, sustaining its stock price just long enough for Mr Bush to sell most of his stake at a large profit with an accounting trick identical to one of the ploys used by Enron a decade later. "This," writes Mr Krugman, "is the way the ploy works. "Corporate insiders create a front organisation that seems independent, but is really under their control. "This front buys some of the firm's assets at unrealistically high prices, creating a phantom profit that inflates the stock price, allowing the executives to cash in on their stock. That's exactly what happened at Harken." There came a time when the Securities and Exchange Commission - which is the policeman of the stock exchange - moved on these funny financial doings and ordered Harken to restate its earnings. Mr Bush responded by filling in the proper forms seven months later. This Sunday morning piece had no sooner appeared than a great cloud of amnesia about the war and terrorism descended on Washington. Topic A was suddenly the president's stock sale of long ago. The president was the immediate victim of a bombardment of questions - from the media, from both parties in Congress, from financiers, professors of economics, while, as a Washington observer wrote, "the Democrats salivated." The piece could not have come at a worse time for the president. He'd already announced that on Tuesday he would make a speech about the need to restore confidence in the market and to reassure investors that cases of fraud would be severely dealt with. Also, he hinted, he'd ask for more money to strengthen the investigative powers of the SEC, the Securities and Exchange Commission. But now he knew he would appear before that audience in the awkward position of being not the scourge of insider trading but a suspected insider trader himself. On Monday the president dashed back from his brief holiday in Maine and he called a quick press conference in the hope of clearing the air, before his New York speech, of all these suspicions about an event that after all had happened a decade ago. One or two reporters did come to reflect that nothing was done during the Clinton administration to uncover or correct these scandals. But the press badgered him about nothing else and he appeared next morning in New York for his big speech under a darker cloud than ever. There was no way he could win. He was addressing a whole congregation of Wall Street executives and officers and they responded very solemnly to his vow to put fraudulent directors in jail and create a sort of government detective squad to go after what Franklin Roosevelt once called "malefactors of great wealth". He reminded his audience that America was the giant of technology and its economy the envy of the world. A very odd way to start. Then he proceeded to assure his audience that the vast majority of businessmen and stock traders were decent and honourable but his administration would get rid of the few bad apples. This was a speech given on a day when the SEC was reported to have required 1700 companies to revise the account of their earnings in the flush years of the 90s. The president stressed each sentence in praise of the system with his genial smile and a reassuring nod of the head - an expression I at once recalled having seen on the face of a surgeon who had performed on me an operation he assured me would make me feel a new man within a week. But within two weeks I was feeling like the old man in considerable discomfort. "Well," he said, "let's look at this thing." He examined me and said cheerfully: "All is well, it's simply post-operative itch." "Please," I said, "don't name it, cure it." And that, we know from the polls, was the reaction of the general public to the president's speech. He evaded the central issue - a radical reform of the accounting system which has gone from laxity to crookery in the most distinguished companies. As a famous Nobel Prize-winner has put it: "It is rational, if not irresistible for executives to loot their companies when accounting standards are lax." The public reaction is revealed not only by the polls, but by the dramatic behaviour of the stock market while the traders on the floor, both in New York and Chicago, were listening to him. Half the households of the United States are in the stock market and from the minute the president started his speech the main industrial average went down, down - 170 points on Tuesday, 282 on Wednesday. It may be that these melancholy numbers and the president's speech were an ill wind that did some good. It made the senators and congressmen and women, who are sponsoring bills to discipline and reform corporate trading, rush back to their offices and make the bills tougher than they were in earlier drafts. On Wall Street itself and in the president's audience there was and are still a disturbing number of CEOs and top financiers who want to be left alone, who look on outside efforts at reform and punishment as a certain way to strangle the system itself. It is a problem in all exposures of fraud in high places that has cursed every civilisation we know about. It was, remember, the ancient Romans who put the relevant question: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? - Who shall police the policemen?  -------------------------- BACKYARD POLITICS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA (english) Ravyn 5:54am Sat Jul 20 '02 article#193306 A Japanese Corporation(SunPeaks) and the Canadian and B.C governments are trying to remove an Indigenous people from their land and send them to jail! BACKYARD POLITICS IN BC And a call to Solidarity! Dear Indigenous peoples,groups and allies, SUN PEAKS SKI RESORT Sun Peaks Resort is built on Secwepemc Land, located near Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. The Secwepemc have never ceded,released, or surrendered their land. In 1997, SunPeaks announced a $70 Million expansion plan. The Secwepemc have said NO, but SunPeaks is still pushing ahead with the expansion and destroying anything that is in the way of making money. (Sound Familiar?) Which includes the Secwepemec lives and human rights.This land has provided 300 generations of people with everything needed to nourish their bodies and spirits. This expansion will irreparably damage the WATER, PLANTS and ANIMALS that the Secwepemc depend on for their survival! And for what? Just what the world needsƒ?Ýanother golf course, snowmobile park and hotel. Sun Peaks expansion plans include: 1.Clearcutting 2 more mountains bring the mass clear cut damage to 5 mountains. We all know by now what effect clearcutting has on water. DESTRUCTION!!! 2.Building a golf course which not only clears the land but pollutes it later with chemicals to keep the grass all pretty and the weeds away. 3. They then would like to construct a Delta Hotel. Oh goody more tourists! It will be just like going to Banff! I love those kind of people that come and visit WILDWESTERN Canada, stay in posh hotels and wonder why they never see any wildlife and/or indigenous peoples. Could it be they were all destroyed in the process of contructing these fine resorts? Nah. Canada would never allow that to happen. Theyƒ??re the nice guys. So what are the Secewpemc trying to do to save their land? They are taking on this hugh Japanese corporation and inadvertantly the Canadian and British Columbia governments, who by the way are in full support of the SunPeakƒ??s expansion. British Columbia has seen fit to arrest approximatley 60 people involved in this struggle already! The government has even made it illegal for the Secwepemc to occuppy this land that they live on by issuing trespass notices. Note: this land falls under the Supreme Court of Canadaƒ??s recognition of Aborginal Title not the Treaties and therefore not the treaty process. It appears that Canada and British Columbia feel quite ok with ignoring their own Supreme Court laws regarding Indigenous land rights. They much perfer to recognize their laws that kick people out of their homes to make themselves more money. A common tactic used in our Canadian history to get land out of the ƒ??Nativesƒ?? has been to not only out right kill them and then later to give them alcohol and disease infested blankets to which they had no immunity but also to make them feel that they were less important then the white folk. Putting Indigenous people onto tiny reservations then taking their children out of these communities; telling then that they were backward, stupid and most likely going to hell. Anyone recall why residential schools are now being sued by Indigneous peoples? My favorite story is how all the children used to be beaten for speaking their own language. Imagine what might have happened if they spoke out about being raped and tortured? I hope Iƒ??m not losing you with the short history lesson but it is an important reminder since these same tactics are being used today. In our own backyard. SunPeaks has recently launched a severely racist smear campaign against the ƒ??the Indiansƒ?? and with the permission of the British Columbian government they have also destroyed two Secewpemc homes, two sweat lodges, deactivated roads and dug WAR like trenches to stop ƒ??the Indiansƒ?? from continuing any activity on the land. Over the past few years these people have suffered physically violent attacks from angry snowmobilers and police. Mmmƒ?Ýpepper spray. Someone even tried to kill one of their puppies by driving over it with a snowmobile. I guess that person was trying to make a point? Through all this the Secwepemc have been holding on to their traditional beliefs and are staying strong! I commend them for there courage. Unfortuatlely the ill treatment of these people goes on and onƒ?Ý it must stop sometime. Maybe today? Personally I am quite tired of hearing these stupid stories. Iƒ??d rather be out dancing or hanging out in the sun then sitting inside writing you all this sad letter. I am a pretty simple person that way. So here I am inside writing, hoping that a few of you might get together. Check the situation out and show some support. Solidarity in Amsterdam, Ravyn DEFENDERS OF THE LAND COURT CASE July 22, 23, 24, 2002 Kamloops Court House Defenders charged (criminal contempt) Irene Billy ƒ?? Elder ƒ?? Charlie Willard ƒ?? Elder Henry Saul George Manuel Jr. Come and show your support for these courageous people who are defending the land and our rights If you cannot attend, write letters to governments of Canada and British Columbia condemning their actions of criminalizing our people who stand up for the land For more information in Canada please call Janice Billy (604) 679-3295 -------------------------- Russian family farms undersiege by privatization (english) pasted by junglejaws 5:48pm Thu Jul 18 '02 article#193084 "Ownership is an empty symbol," he says. "What's important is who possesses the land and how he uses it. Just because someone can afford to buy land, it doesn't make him a farmer." Kind of reminds me of some corps!! Russias' struggling family farms see private land ownership as major threat FRED WEIR Canadian Press Thursday, July 18, 2002 TOLPAKI, Russia (CP) - When Russia passed a revolutionary law last month legalizing the sale and purchase of farmland for the first time since 1917, Russia's tiny number of struggling family farmers should have been cheering. But for many here, that's just not the case. In fact, some say private ownership of land will destroy them. "This law will benefit only a few rich oligarchs, because they're the only ones in this country who have any cash," says Alexander Poprov, who has built a successful private farm over the last six years on land leased from a failed Soviet-era collective farm. "Ownership is an empty symbol," he says. "What's important is who possesses the land and how he uses it. Just because someone can afford to buy land, it doesn't make him a farmer." Poprov ruefully admits his views on the issue put him in the same boat as the still powerful Communist party and the 12-million members of Russia's 27,000 unreconstructed Soviet-era collective farms. Private property in farmland has been the subject of the country's toughest post-Soviet political struggle, and one which may be far from over. Polls show at least half of Russians oppose private ownership of land, and a majority of collective farmers, who still control three quarters of Russia's arable land, are mostly dead set against the idea. The Communists have promised to force a national referendum to revoke the law, one which experts believe they could win. "Land is an emotional issue for most Russians; they don't think of it as a commodity but as the foundation of national power and wealth," says Ivan Klimov, a sociologist with the independent Public Opinion Foundation in Moscow. "You can't reach them with practical arguments." Private ownership of agricultural land has existed in theory since former president Boris Yeltsin handed over control over almost all Russia's arable land  400-million hectares - to the members of state and collective farms a decade ago. But no one has been permitted to buy or sell it until now. Today, Russia has just 260,000 private farms operating separately from the collective system, and their numbers have dwindled disappointingly rather than grown in recent years. The new law was intended to effect an agricultural revolution in Russia by enabling outside investors to purchase land from moribund collective farms in order to create big, efficient agribusinesses. As a concession to the Communists, the Kremlin introduced a last-minute amendment to the law banning foreigners from purchasing Russian farmland. Experts say that land ownership is Russia's most vexed political issue for many reasons, some historical, others rather new. Family farms were rare in Russia until, ironically, the Bolshevik Revolution, when Vladimir Lenin fulfilled his promise of land to the peasantry by breaking up big estates into some 25-million private plots. Josef Stalin reversed that with a brutal collectivization campaign a decade later, which killed millions and created today's rural landscape of huge collective farms. Almost a quarter of Russia's population still lives in rural areas, but they are overwhelmingly elderly or otherwise unfit for work, Klimov says. For many, the collective farms represent not just the past, but the only existing anchor of stability and source of income in a rural wilderness of hopelessness and poverty. Poprov, a former helicopter pilot, was elected head of the bankrupt Pushkin Collective Farm in this western Russian community about seven years ago. He dissolved the collective, leased its land in his own name and hired many of the former farm's able-bodied members to work for him. Production has soared. "The maximum yield of grain or vegetables in a good year on the collective farm is for us today the absolute, bare minimum in a bad year," he says. But the new law, passed at the urging of President Vladimir Putin, threatens him and many other private farmers who have built up their operations in similar ways, with utter ruin, he says. "The collective farmers who hold the title to this land may now find it much more attractive to sell it," Poprov says. "Everything I've built will be lost if I can't get access to land." Like most private farmers, Poprov has plowed every kopeck he's earned back into his operations. Russia has no developed banking system, nor does the government have any program for providing farmers with cheap credits to purchase land. "Some oligarch will come in here, buy up all the land and offer to make me his serf," Poprov says. "I'll say no thanks, and I'll be back in the street with nothing again." Experts say Poprov's fears may be justified. "Just about everything in Russia has been privatized already, except land," says Andrei Ryabov, an analyst with the Carnegie Endowment in Moscow. "It is big business that lobbied for this law on land sales because they see it as the new frontier for speculative investment." It was people with lots of cash who tended to be the winners in the first round of privatizations in Russia in the 1990s, especially those who got hold of the country's highly-exportable oil, natural gas, minerals and forestry resources. Even liberals, who support a wide open market in land, say the law might end up compounding the problems in Russia's deeply-depressed and tradition-bound countryside. "You shouldn't confuse this law with a comprehensive land reform," says Yevgenia Serova, an agricultural specialist with the liberal Institute of Economics of the Transition Period in Moscow. "Russia needs to take careful steps that will gradually put land into the hands of those who can use it most efficiently. This law might well have the opposite effect." ------------rabble on globalization--------------- Empire ends with a passage about the roll of the militant in the struggle for liberation. It struck me that this model of what it means to be a militant and definition of militancy was more true to my heart than any discussion about militancy as a street tactic. To be a militant is to resist, but to go “through and beyond resistance, in the collective construction and exercise of a counter power capable of destructing the power of capitalism and opposing it with an alternative program.”  My roll, ideas, and function in this global movement against neoliberalism and toward a multitude of liberations has appeared to me through my actions rather than being something I set out to do. Last week while working with Bolivian activists in Cochabomba somebody called me a ‘Revolutionary Technico.’ That is what I’ve become, a nomadic militant who travels the world and constructs the systems of information and communication through which resistance can be articulated. My actions are built upon a world stage where liberation has become redefined. The more simplistic conception of liberation in the past was based upon seizing power. Through the change of the party in control we would be able to redirect the goods of society toward equitable ends. The tragic blunder was that liberation is not simply about material equality. Society and power, it turned out where much more complex and liberation could not be achieved through the simple redirection of the benefits of modernization.  Globalization in my view, is the process by which the fundamental basis of society has shifted from that of industrial production to that informational production. Resistance today must take different forms. Capital and the markets have become decoupled from the ties of locality and the nation state. So too, our activism has reacted to this fundamental shift by looking beyond the struggle to overthrow or reform the wilting nation state. Today we are faced with a new set of institutions of power. These institutions have been transformed and created on the basis of the information organization. Over the last few decades corporations, governments, and institutions of civil society have become transformed by the informatization of their internal processes. They’ve transformed to a services based model of networked organizations with a highly communicative information technology based infrastructure. It is this transformation is part of what has driven globalization. With this new communications technology physical proximity and bureaucratic middle management has lost its vital roll in the functioning of the organization. The organization is in the process of replacing traditional structures with networked, decentralized, and autonomous forms. The rapid decentralization and internationalization in to the networked society is in large part a result of this technological transformation. Our resistance to oppression and struggle for liberation has equally been transformed.  Negri & Hardt claim that the resistance movements of the 60’s where what drove capital to make this transformation but I only partially agree with that point. Clearly the shift from fordism to neoliberalism was driven in part by the popular rejection of the fordist comprise. Yet the rise of neoliberalism only represents part of the globalization process. The shift in technology form a slowly changing and peripheral factor in society to a central one is less analyzed and perhaps more important.  It’s important to understand technology has having grown to hold tremendous power over the functioning of society. This technology is not some neural force that simple is driven down the narrow and linear path of progress. Technology is a social production and the result of many conflicting factors and forces. It has come to take on a quality of a legal and judicial system, the laws which define the world through which the possible is demarcated. (Lessig A famous example of this is the conflict between the legal conception of copyright and property and file sharing systems such as gnutella. The legal system says that the social ownership of music is strictly forbidden but multitude has created technological systems that make the legal system impotent. This transformation of the functioning of power has profound implications for the possibility of liberation. Instead of needing to seize or eliminate the power of capital and the state there is the possibility that we can create the world where their power ceases to be centrally relevant.  This transformation is fundamentally due to the existence to a new kind of machine, the computer. In the past analog machines were built for a specific function, and although they could be altered, the nature of the technology meant that the cost of passing on the innovation to a second machine is almost as much as it is initial modification. Computers on the other hand are fundamentally built to be modified. The cost of replicating a new function from one machine to a second is almost nonexistent. Computers have spawned a fundamental shift in the continuity of technological development. Almost every computer is capable of being used to recreate the whole ecology of information technology. There is no way you could use an industrial product, such as car purchased off the assembly line to recreate and modify the technological basis by which cars are produced and function. IT is of course not neural. It has been developed and promoted by the markets that see it as a method by which they could construct more productive and exploitive regimes of work. The same power in IT which allows the multitude to create a technological system by which the ownership of music is taken out of private hands and socialized, allows the possibility for corporations and governments to build systems which monitor, control, and exploit to an unprecedented extent. In the past the struggle for liberation was over who controls the legal system, which was often determined by who had the potential to exert actual or potential coercive force. Today we are seeing a shift to where to a greater extent the level and form of technology is defining the power dynamics and outcomes of social conflict. For example, in the US there is a huge debate over access to abortion. Through years of dedicated struggle the left won the legal right to abortion. In reaction the right has fought on two fronts, first to legally prohibit abortions and second to exert direct force to shut down the clinics that provide abortion. The simple existence of the RU-486 abortion pill is shifting the terrain of the conflict. As the pill can achieves wide spread availability in the US then what was a public contestable space, the women’s clinic, becomes a private, dispersed, and invisible activity. The site of intense conflict, the clinic and doctors, disappears with the simple existence of a pill. Even without the abortion pill being legal the drug war makes it clear that if there is a demand, the legal system is unable to stop it’s wide spread use of any drug. Billions are spent every year by governments to enforce their laws regarding the production, transportation, and use of ‘illegal’ drugs to very little effect. The combination of technological feasibility and sufficient social demand can clearly trump traditional legal and judicial systems. With the rate of technological change growing faster we will increasingly see this dynamic play out. This shift in power has tremendous implications for liberation movements. The traditional systems of laws and power still play a large roll but they are now contrasted with a second system where by the judiciary process is embedded in technological systems. Neither the traditional legal system of the state nor the new system based on technology are exclusively libratory or repressive. They are both shaped by a myriad of conflicting and hybridized lines of power generated by the conflicting by the parties which create and exert power within the systems. With globalization we hare facing a partial shift of sovereignty from the political system to sovereignty of the technological system. This is I believe a truer meaning of the ‘hybridized’ or mixed constitution of Empire.Neither sovereignty should be idealized. We are faced with a world where everywhere we look we are faced with systems of domination. The nation state was at it’s core a system by which the powerful could have their advantage and domination regulated, ordered, and legitimized. Despite this repressive core, popular struggle won many progressive and necessary concessions from the nation state. With the development of liberal democracy there even became such a level of potential popular participation in governance that large media and educational systems were constructed to manufacture consent to maintain hegemonic power imbalances. The shift toward a sovereignty of information technology plays out differently than development of past sovereignties. The future of technological development is an open space of possibility and contestation. The powerful corporations and markets are attempting to use this shift to consolidate their position securing unprecedented levels of domination through control over the system in which future struggle for power will take place. They are not acting out of malice but rather are taking the logical step forward within a framework that values the individual maximization of profit and the continued conditions for that profit. If corporations and the markets were able to shape and control the fundamentals to a new system of control based on information technology then the prospects of liberation would be very dim indeed. The nature of communications and information technology and examples of popular creation and social ownership over the production of new technology presents a hope for an alternative. The shift to information technology presents tremendous growth of the power of our technological systems over society. It creates the possibility of popular social control over these systems. With the traditional legal system the power to make laws rested in the hands of those who controlled society. The power to make the ‘laws’ within the sovereignty of information technology rests in the hands of the creators of that technology. This is where in the struggle lies. Who is going to get to create the technology that becomes popularly adopted? Critical to larger power struggles is which portions of society are interested in and able to adopt this technology to transform themselves. At present there are two distinct models for the production of information technology. The proprietary and the collaborative free software models. The proprietary model is epitomized by Microsoft the one of the largest corporations in the world. Microsoft has been the longest standing company to argue that information technology is a product which must be bought and sold as property. The argument for proprietary ownership over technology is that the only way to finance the development of the massive projects is the private control over the product. The other model for software and information technology development is the free or open model. Based on free and open collaboration of developers working in flexible, decentralized, and networked organizations free software has two fundamental tenants. First is that the there is a fundamental right for information technology to be held in common equivalent to the rights to free speech and association. The second tenant of the free software movement is that is produces better technology. Human intellectual production is effective when we aren’t compartmentalized in to small and isolated groups but are collaboratively creating out of love and passion. Capitalism argues that money is the only true motivator and therefore all conflicts in society should be resolved on the level of money but rise of information technology fundamentally proves that wrong. The existence of the internet and almost all the software which has driven the libratory parts of the information revolution were developed out of the free software school. The most complicated and diverse technological communication system in human history could never have been created by proprietary corporate model of development. This is our fundamental advantage when we struggle against corporations over the creation of the technological infrastructure that will underpin society in the era of globalization.It’s not enough to look at the models and paths for technological development alone. We must consider how technology is deployed in movements, organizations, and institutions. The process is not linear, rather the transformation of organizations and their technology are mutually dependent in their development. Information technology isn’t developed just out of the whim out the creator, but rather to address issues that exist in the real world. The values embedded in that development are reflective of both the creator of the technology and the social, economic, and political pressures placed upon the creator. Within corporations the external pressures upon the developer can be quite strong where as the free developer is more often driven by a sense of inspiration from outside dynamics. Either way the programmer is not an autonomous entity rather s/he is creating within the context which is permeated with values and biases. If we are to advance a project of creating a technological system which embodies specific values then we need to be actively advocating those values. The values embodied in liberation are not fixed and uniform, rather they are defined and redefined through struggle based on a diverse historical circumstances. To make the claim that one person, group, or perspective has a monopoly on what liberation embodies would be to fall in to the trap that generated the Marxist new man and the American liberation through consumption. To deign a universal and all encompassing conception of values is not to reject agency or to say that all values are equal. I have very real and strongly held values upon which I base my struggle to transform the world. To claim that my values are based on some superior rationality is to claim there is a monopoly on the truth. If anything the rise of the networked society based on the information revolution should tell us is that right and wrong are socially constructed and transitory. We must be critical about what we believe as we struggle to implement it for there is no utopia or end to the struggle. As we liberate ourselves from one form of oppression we are by necessity creating new forms of oppression. The struggle has no beginning or end, rather it is the thread of humanity that runs through history.We are in an age where technology is taking an increasingly central stage. The values that drive my work are the result of my personal evolution as a person, activist, and programmer. The things I value are: creativity, self-motivation, autonomy, participation, love, democracy, difference, integrity, excellence, intellectualism, disobedience, individuality, humility, egalitarianism, internationalism, passion, solidarity, reflection, and action. My work in building and deploying technology is informed and driven by those values. For our technological systems to be used for further liberation rather than control we need to develop a culture among the creators of technology based on critical reflection upon values. By combining creative action informed by values and an understanding of the role that technology is playing in defining the groundwork of society in the era of globalization we can take forward looking progressive action. There never has been a universally correct course of action that is bound to create a more just and equitable society. The same truism applies when considering the shaping, building, and deploying technology for social change. In different situations and times people have had to make due with their intuition about how they should best apply themselves to creating change. My intuition is that people who are the creators of information technology, the programmers and engineers, need to understand their now central roll in the shaping of society. This prospect is a bit scary as many technologists are stereotypically not very interested in the ‘outside’ world. Unlike Edward Said’s work “The Roll of the Intellectual” where the intellectual is understood to play a primary roll in understanding and critiquing society, the programmer’s primary job is creating technological products. The profound implications of the programmer’s work is in some ways seen as secondary. That said, in the same way that mountain climbers will say that they want to climb the mountain because it is there, the justification at the core of many programmer’s work is that they want to ‘change the world.’ Service is a core value in the culture of programmers. One may program for pay or for the joy of it, but seeing your program be used by others is the source of true motivation which drives further creation. This is why there are programmers who have devoted their life’s work to the creation of technology for which they never expect finical compensation. The bridge between social movements and the technical community is still mostly nonexistent. It’s a bridge that will have to be built piecemeal as geeks rebel from the corporate system of proprietary technology and begin to see the larger implications of their work. For techies to bridge that gap there needs to be groups that work on specific projects for them to join. A social space needs to be opened within movements for techies to function. A few of these spaces already exist in the form of autonomous tech collectives. The collectives do the tech work of sustaining and building a communications infrastructure through which social movements can grow, network, and articulate themselves. Other less explicitly political groups are engaged in thinking about the political implications of the free software they develop. It is through the development of new technology, creatively pushing the cutting edge in directions that undermine the existing power structures, that the real potential radical power of technology can be realized. My work as an activist is to create and get activists and social movements to use the communications and information technology more effectively than those who want to horde the wealth of our planet and society in the hands of a small elite. Posted by rabble at 05:51 PM -------------------------- WHAT'S SO BAD ABOUT ISRAEL? (english) Michael Neumann 1:11pm Mon Jul 22 '02 article#193718 Israel has pioneered the science of making life unlivable with as little violence as possible. The Palestinians are not merely provoked into reacting; they have no rational choice but to react. If they didn't, things would just get worse faster, with no hope of relief. Israel is an innovator in the search for a squeaky-clean sadism. What's So Bad About Israel? by Michael Neumann July 6, 2002 It's hard to say what's so bad about Israel, and its defenders--having nothing better to use--have seized on this. Some do so soberly, like Harpers publisher John R. MacArthur, who thinks Israel comes off no worse than the Russians in Chechnya, and much better than the Americans in Vietnam (Toronto Globe and Mail, May 13th, 2002). Others do so defiantly. True, Israel has taken the land of harmless people, killed innocent civilians, tortured prisoners, bulldozed houses, destroyed crops, yada yada yada. Who cares? What else is new? I completely sympathize with this point of view. The appetite for world-class atrocity may be adolescent, but it belongs to an adolescence that many of us never outgrow. The facts are disappointing. Even compared with post-Nazi monsters like Pol Pot or Saddam Hussein, the Israelis have killed very few people; their tortures and oppression are boring. How could these mediocre crimes compete for our attention with whatever else is on TV?. They couldn't; in fact they are designed not to do so. Yet Israel is a growing evil whose end is not in sight. Its outlines have become clearer as times have changed. Until sometime after the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel's sins were unspectacular, at least from a cynic's perspective. Israel was born from an understandable desire of a persecuted people for security. Jews immigrated to Palestine; acquired land by fair means or foul, provoked violent reactions. There ensued a cycle of violence in which the Jews distinguished themselves in at least one impeccably documented and truly disgusting massacre at Deir Yassin, and probably many more that Jewish forces succeeded in concealing. The new state accorded full rights only to its Jewish inhabitants, and defeated its Arab opponents both in battle and in a propaganda campaign that effectively concealed Israeli racism and aggression. It was said then, as now: what's so bad about that? The answer is, nothing. Of course the perpetrators of these crimes deserve no state, but only punishment: what else is new? Isn't this the normal way that states are born? Israel's pre-1967 crimes, then, are not a part of its special evil, though they did much to create it. The past was glorified, not exorcised. Both Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, indisputably responsible for the worst pre-1967 brutalities, went on to become prime minister: the poison of the early years is still working its way through Middle East politics. But the big change, post-1967, was Israel's choice of war over peace. Sometime after 1967, Israel's existence became secure. It didn't seem so during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, but soon it became clear that Israel would never again be caught with its guard down. Its vigilance has guaranteed, for the foreseeable future, that Arab nations pose no serious threat. As the years pass, Israel's military advantage only increases, to the point that no country in the world would care to confront it. At the same time, and to an increasing extent, Palestinians have abandoned any real hope of retaking pre-1967 Israeli territory, and are willing to settle for the return of the occupied territories. In this context, the Israeli settlement policy, quite apart from its terrible effect on Palestinians, is outrageous for what it represents: a careful, deliberate rejection of peace, and a declaration of the fixed intention to dispossess the Palestinians until they have nothing left. And something else has changed. Israel could claim, as a matter of self-interest if not of right, that it needed the pre-1967 territory as a homeland for the Jews. It cannot say this about the settlements, which exist not from any real need for anything, but for three reasons: to give some Israelis a cheap deal on housing, to conform to the messianic expectations of Jewish fundamentalists, and, not least, as a vengeful, relentless, sadistically gradual expression of hatred for the defeated Arab enemy. In short, by the mid-1970s, Israel's crimes were no longer the normal atrocities of nation-building nor an excessive sort of self-defense. They represented a cold-blooded, calculated, indeed an eagerly embraced choice of war over peace, and an elaborate plan to seek out those who had fled the misery of previous confrontations, to make certain that their suffering would continue. So Israel stands out among other unpleasant nations in the depth of its commitment to gratuitous violence and nastiness: this you expect to find among skinheads rather than nations. But wait! there's more! It is not just that times have changed. It also has to do with the position Israel occupies in these new times. Though we might wish otherwise, the political or historical 'location' of a crime can be a big contributor to its moral status. It is terrible that there are vestiges of slavery in Abidjan and Mauritania. We often reproach ourselves for not getting more upset about such goings-on, as if the lives of these far-off non-white people were unimportant. And maybe we should indeed be ashamed of ourselves, but this is not the whole story. There is a difference between the survival of evil in the world's backwaters and its emergence in the world's spotlight. If some smug new corporation, armed with political influence and snazzy lawyers, set up a slave market in Times Square, that would represent an even greater evil than the slave market in Abidjan. This is not because humans in New York are more important than humans in Abidjan, but because what happens in New York is more influential and more representative of the way the world is heading. American actions do much to set standards worldwide; the actions of slave-traders in Abidjan do not. (The same sort of contrast applies to the Nazi extermination camps: part of their specialness lies, not in the numbers killed or the bureaucracy that managed the killing, but in the fact that nothing like such killing has ever occurred in a nation so on the 'cutting edge' of human development.) Cultural domination has its responsibilities. What Israel does is at the very center of the world stage, not only as a focus of media attention, but also as representative of Western morality and culture. This could not be plainer from the constant patter about how Israel is a shining example of democracy, resourcefulness, discipline, courage, toughness, determination, and so on. And nothing could be more inappropriate than the complaints that Israel is being 'held to a higher standard'. It is not being held to one; it aggressively and insolently appropriates it. It plants its flag on some cultural and moral summit. Israel is the ultimate victim-state of the ultimate people--the noblest, the most long-suffering, the most persecuted, the most intelligent, the Chosen Ones. The reason Israel is judged by a higher standard is its blithe certainty, accepted by generations of fawning Westerners, that it exists at a higher standard. Other countries, of course, have put on similar airs, but at least their crimes could be represented as a surprising deviation from noble principles. When people try to understand how Germans could become Nazis, or the French, torturers in Algeria, or the Americans, murderers at My Lai, it is always possible to ask--what went wrong? How could these societies so betray their civilized roots and high ideals? And sometimes plausible attempts were made to associate this betrayal with some fringe elements of the society--disgruntled veterans, dispossessed younger sons, provincial reactionaries, trailer trash. If these societies had gone wrong, it was a matter of perverted values, suppressed forces, aberrant tendencies, deformed dreams. With Israel, there is no question of such explanations. Its atrocities belong to its mainstream, its traditions, its founding ideology. They are performed by its heroes, not its kooks and losers. Israel has not betrayed anything. On the contrary, its actions express a widely espoused, perhaps dominant version of its ideals. Israel is honored, often as not, for the very same tribal pride and nation-building ambitions that fire up its armies and its settlers. Its crimes are front and center, not only on the world stage, but also on its own stage. What matters here is not Israel's arrogance, but its stature. Israel stands right in the spotlight and crushes an entire people. It defies international protests and resolutions as no one else can. Only Israel, not, say, Indonesia or even the US, dares proclaim: "Who are you to preach morality to us? We are morality incarnate!" Indonesia, or Mauritania, or Iraq do not welcome delegations of happy North American schoolchildren, host prestigious academic conferences, go down in textbooks as a textbook miracle. Characters on TV sitcoms do not go off to find themselves in the Abidjan slave markets as they do on Israel's kibbutzim. Israel banks on this.Its tactics seem nicely tuned to inflict the most harm with the least damage to its image. They include deliberately messy surgical strikes, halting ambulances, uprooting orchards and olive groves, destroying urban sanitation, curfews, road closures, holding up food until it spoils, allocating five times the water to settlers as to the people whose land was confiscated, and attacks on educational or cultural facilities. Its most effective strategies are minimalist, as when Palestinians have to sit and wait at checkpoints for hours in sweltering cars, risking a bullet if they get out to stretch their legs, waiting to work, to get medical care, to do anything in life that requires movement from one place to another, as likely to be turned back as let through, and certain to suffer humiliation or worse. Israel has pioneered the science of making life unlivable with as little violence as possible. The Palestinians are not merely provoked into reacting; they have no rational choice but to react. If they didn't, things would just get worse faster, with no hope of relief. Israel is an innovator in the search for a squeaky-clean sadism. The worse things get for the Palestinians, the more violently they must defend themselves, and the more violently Israel can respond. Whenever possible, Israel sees to it that the Palestinians take each new step in the escalation. The hope is that, at some point, Israel will be able to kill many tens of thousands, all in the name of self-defense. And subtly but surely, things are changing still further. Israel is starting to let the mask drop, not from its already public intentions, but from its naked strength. It no longer deigns to conceal its sophisticated nuclear arsenal. It begins to supply the world with almost as much military technology as it consumes. And it no longer sees any need to be discreet about its defiance of the United States' request for moderation: Israel is happy to humiliate the 'stupid Americans' outright. As it plunders, starves and kills, Israel does not lurk in the world's back-alleys. It says, "Look at us. We're taking these people's land, not because we need it, but because we feel like it. We're putting religious nuts all over it because they help cleanse the area of these Arab lice who dare to defy us. We know you don't like it and we don't care, because we don't conform to other people's standards. We set the standards for others." And the standards it sets continue to decline. Israel Shahak and others have documented the rise of fundamentalist Jewish sects that speak of the greater value of Jewish blood, the specialness of Jewish DNA, the duty to kill even innocent civilians who pose a potential danger to Jews, and the need to 'redeem' lands lying far beyond the present frontiers of Israeli control. Much of this happens beneath the public surface of Israeli society, but these racial ideologies exert a strong influence on the mainstream. So far, they have easily prevailed over the small, courageous Jewish opposition to Israeli crimes. The Israeli government can afford to let the fanatical race warriors go unchecked, because it knows the world would not dare connect their outrages to any part of Judaism (or Zionism) itself. As for the dissenters, don't they just show what a wonderfully democratic society Israel has produced? As Israel sinks lower, it corrupts the world that persists in admiring it. Thus Amnesty International's military adviser, David Holley, with a sort of honest military bonhomie, tells the world that the Israelis have "a very valid point" when they refuse to allow a UN investigative team into Jenin: "You do need a soldier's perspective to say, well, this was a close quarter battle in an urban environment, unfortunately soldiers will make mistakes and will throw a hand grenade through the wrong window, will shoot at a twitching curtain, because that is the way war is."(*) We quite understand: Israel is a respectable country with respectable defense objectives, and mistakes will be made. Soldier to soldier, we see that destroying swarthy 'gunmen' who crouch in wretched buildings is a legitimate enterprise, because it serves the higher purpose of clearing away the vermin who resist the implantation of superior Jewish DNA throughout the occupied territories. It is this ability to command respect despite the most public outrages against humanity that makes Israel so exceptionally bad. Not that it needs to be any worse than 'the others': that would be more than bad enough. But Israel does not only commit its crimes; it also legitimates them. That is not a matter of abstract moral argument, but of political acceptance and respectability. As the world slowly tries to emerge from barbarism--for instance, through the human rights movements for which Israel has such contempt-- Israel mockingly drags it back by sanctifying the very doctrines of racial vengeance that more civilized forces condemn. Israel brings no new evils into the world. It merely rehabilitates old ones, as an example for others to emulate and admire. Michael Neumann is a professor of philosophy at Trent University in Ontario, Canada. He can be reached at: -------------------- animals (english) et 2:34pm Mon Jul 22 '02 comment#193729 Islam is a filthy, vile, vicious, cancerous, political manifesto of terrorism masquerading as religion, with its tenets clearly written in the blood of its victims. It is political cancer metastasizing into an anti-western genocidal cult. Its adherents are the most simpleminded of nationals cheering the murder of innocent civilians. Islam, like its communist neighbor, is attempting to destroy all western thought in favor of intolerance, mass murder and mass conformity. Islam is a direct attack on the individualism and freedom of thought that helped create the western world. If Islam is permitted its cancerous spread, the world will enter another dark age of bigotry, intolerance, and the genocidal rage of madmen masquerading as religious leaders. If Israel is any test case, Islam has proven its political ideology is one of hate, intolerance and genocidal rage. Virtually every Islamic nation is ruled with an iron fist because their Islamic populations behave like rabid dogs. Islam has proven itself incompatible with civilized western values, and should be treated as a political manifesto of terrorism. Spare me the body count of other religions: I haven't seen Catholics, Protestants, Jews, or any other religion take such pleasure in murdering innocents in my lifetime. The past is the past, and islam's murderous ideology seems to currently command somewhat of a popular monopoly in the "Joy of Killing" westerners, and, being a westerner, I'm quite prepared to return the favor a thousand fold. For westerners, the destruction of islam is a matter of survival. Unfortunately, too many religious individuals have been fooled into granting islam that which it does not deserve: survival. I've seen images of the followers of islam jumping, clapping, and cheering in a euphoric murderous orgy of twisted joy when some of islam's storm troopers killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11. Since I'm personally unencumbered by any religious baggage, I clearly see islam for the political manifesto of terrorism that it is, and that its followers are as deserving of the fate that their terrorists so willingly bestow upon others. Islam has earned its place in history with the bombing of the world trade center; now, we just need to secure its final resting place in the trash bin of history. ----------------- no point (english) coffeecat 3:09pm Mon Jul 22 '02 comment#193734 i thought the radical left's support for palestine was support for peace and self-determination, not condemnation is the entire state of israel. what's the point of expounding on how israel allegedly exploits its jewishness to get away with its crimes except to put murder and oppression hand in hand with jewishness? this article is senselessly anti-jew. it does nothing to gain support or help the palestinian cause. it simply condemns one form of violence in order to justify another. and assumes that israel is out to kill every single arab the way that many pro-israeli military people assume that the palestinians won't rest until they've "pushed all the jews into the sea" we cannot foster this gotta-get-them-before-they-get-you attitude. it will never end in peace. i've heard too many comments equating zionism with racism, sharon with hitler, stars of davids with swastikas to believe that the immature radical movement isn't passively becoming anti-jew. how can you say everything about judaism is evil but claim to not be anti-jew? oh its not that the idea of being god's people is evil, its just that that's what leads to evil. great. good job, i'm sold. i hate jews. they think they're the best and we're jsut stupid american suckers. hell why should they have their own nation if i can't have my own? buncha prejudiced self riteous hypocrites, all of them! all of them except the ones i've met on indymedia and pro-palestine marches. those folks are on the right side, they're not really jewish they were just born that way and that's not their fault and i can still respect them because i'm no nazi i'm an antiracist activist! ---------------- I didn't see... (english) Brian 3:50pm Mon Jul 22 '02 comment#193750 anything about Judaism being evil - Zionizm yes, but the mentions of Jewishness are mostly talking about the extremists - don't all good Christians hate Pat Robertson, John Ashcroft, Ian Paisley and their ilk? The problem isn't Jews, it's evil Zionist apartheid Nazis. They may not want to kill the Arabs, but they certainly want them off the territory that Israel stole in their carefully planned 1967 offensive. Fuck Israel, and fuck anyone who supports them. ----------------- Israel-Palestine Crisis (english) Yawner 6:51pm Mon Jul 22 '02 comment#193769 Background to the Israel-Palestine Crisis by Stephen R. Shalom What are the modern origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? During World War I, Britain made three different promises regarding historic Palestine. Arab leaders were assured that the land would become independent; in the Balfour declaration, Britain indicated its support for a Jewish national home in Palestine; and secretly Britain arranged with its allies to divide up Ottoman territory, with Palestine becoming part of the British empire. Historians have engaged in detailed exegesis of the relevant texts and maps, but the fundamental point is that Britain had no moral right to assign Palestine to anyone: by right Palestine belonged to its inhabitants. In the late years of the 19th century, anti-Semitism became especially virulent in Russia and re-emerged in France. Some Jews concluded that only in a Jewish state would Jews be safe and thus founded Zionism. Most Jews at the time rejected Zionism, preferring instead to address the problem of anti-Semitism through revolutionary or reformist politics or assimilation. And for many orthodox Jews, especially the small Jewish community in Palestine, a Jewish state could only be established by God, not by humans. At first Zionists were willing to consider other sites for their Jewish state, but they eventually focused on Palestine for its biblical connections. The problem, however, was that although a Zionist slogan called Palestine "a land without people for a people without land," the land was not at all empty. Following World War I, Britain arranged for the League of Nations to make Palestine a British "mandate," which is to say a colony to be administered by Britain and prepared for independence. To help justify its rule over Arab land, Britain arranged that one of its duties as the mandatory power would be to promote a Jewish national home. ------------ Who were the Jews who came to Palestine? The early Zionist settlers were idealistic, often socialist, individuals, fleeing oppression. In this respect they were like the early American colonists. But also like the American colonists, many Zionists had racist attitudes toward the indigenous people and little regard for their well-being.1 Some Zionists thought in terms of Arab-Jewish cooperation and a bi-national state, but many were determined to set up an exclusively Jewish state (though to avoid antagonizing the Palestinians, they decided to use the term Jewish "national home" rather than "state" until they were able to bring enough Jews to Palestine). Jewish immigration to Palestine was relatively limited until the 1930s,.when Hitler came to power. The U.S. and Europe closed their doors to immigration by desperate jews, making Palestine one of the few options. ------------ Who were the indigenous people of Palestine? Pro-Israel propaganda has argued that most Palestinians actually entered Palestine after 1917, drawn to the economic dynamism of the growing Jewish community, and thus have no rights to Palestine. This argument has been elaborated in Joan Peters' widely promoted book, From Time Immemorial. However, the book has been shown to be fraudulent and its claim false.2 The indigenous population was mostly Muslim, with a Christian and a smaller Jewish minority. As Zionists arrived from Europe, the Muslims and Christians began to adopt a distinctly Palestinian national identity. ------------ How did the Zionists acquire land in Palestine? Some was acquired illegally and some was purchased from Arab landlords with funds provided by wealthy Jews in Europe. Even the legal purchases, however, were often morally questionable as they sometimes involved buying land from absentee landlords and then throwing the poor Arab peasants off the land. Land thus purchased became part of the Jewish National Fund which specified that the land could never be sold or leased to Arabs. Even with these purchases, Jews owned only about 6% of the land by 1947. ------------ Was Palestinian opposition to Zionism a result of anti-Semitism? Anti-Semitism in the Arab world was generally far less severe than in Europe. Before the beginning of Zionist immigration, relations among the different religious groups in Palestine were relatively harmonious. There was Palestinian anti-Semitism, but no people will look favorably on another who enter one's territory with the intention of setting up their own sovereign state. The expulsion of peasants from their land and the frequent Zionist refusal to employ Arabs exacerbated relations. ------------ What was the impact of World War II on the Palestine question? As World War II approached, Britain shrewdly calculated that they could afford to alienate Jews -- who weren't going to switch to Hitler's side -- but not Arabs, so they greatly restricted Jewish immigration into Palestine. But, of course, this was precisely when the need for sanctuary for Europe's Jews was at its height. Many Jews smuggled their way into Palestine as the United States and other nations kept their borders closed to frantic refugees. At the end of the war, as the enormity of the Holocaust became evident, for the first time Zionism became a majority sentiment among world Jewry. Many U.S. Christians also supported Zionism as a way to absolve their guilt for what had happened, without having to allow Jews into the United States. U.S. Zionists, who during the war had subordinated rescue efforts to their goal of establishing a Jewish state,3 argued that the Holocaust proved more than ever the need for a Jewish state: Had Israel existed in 1939, millions of Jews might have been saved. Actually, Palestine just narrowly avoided being overrun by the Nazis, so Jews would have been far safer in the United States than in a Jewish Palestine. During the war many Jews in Palestine had joined the British army. By war's end, the Jewish community in Palestine was well armed, well-organized, and determined to fight. The Palestinians were poorly armed, with feudal leaders. The Mufti of Jerusalem had been exiled by the British for supporting an Arab revolt in 1936-39 and had made his way to Berlin during the war where he aided Nazi propaganda. From the Zionist point of view, it was considered a plus to have the extremist Mufti as the Palestinians' leader; as David Ben Gurion, the leader of the Jewish community in Palestine and Israel's first prime minister, advised in 1938, "rely on the Mufti."4 ------------ What were the various positions in 1947? Both the Palestinians and the Zionists wanted the British out so they could establish an independent state. The Zionists, particularly a right-wing faction led by Menachim Begin, launched a terror campaign against Britain. London, impoverished by the war, announced that it was washing its hands of the problem and turning it over to the United Nations (though Britain had various covert plans for remaining in the region). The Zionists declared that having gone through one of the great catastrophes of modern history, the Jewish people were entitled to a state of their own, one into which they could gather Jewish refugees, still languishing in the displaced persons camps of Europe. The Zionist bottom line was a sovereign state with full control over immigration. The Palestinians argued that the calamity that befell European Jews was hardly their fault. If Jews were entitled to a state, why not carve it out of Germany? As it was, Palestine had more Jewish refugees than any other place on Earth. Why should they bear the full burden of atoning for Europe's sins? They were willing to give full civil rights (though not national rights) to the Jewish minority in an independent Palestine, but they were not willing to give this minority the right to control immigration, and bring in more of their co-religionists until they were a majority to take over the whole of Palestine. A small left-wing minority among the Zionists called for a binational state in Palestine, where both peoples might live together, each with their national rights respected. This view had little support among Jews or Palestinians. ------------ What did the UN do and why? In November 1947, the UN General Assembly voted to partition Palestine into two independent states, a Jewish state and an Arab state, joined by an economic union, with Jerusalem internationalized. In 1947 the UN had many fewer members than it does today. Most Third World nations were still colonies and thus not members. Nevertheless, the partition resolution passed only because the Soviet Union and its allies voted in favor and because many small states were subject to improper pressure. For example, members of the U.S. Congress told the Philippines that it would not get U.S. economic aid unless it voted for partition. Moscow favored partition as a way to reduce British influence in the region; Israel was viewed as potentially less pro-Western than the dominant feudal monarchies. ------------ Didn't Palestinians have a chance for a state of their own in 1947, but they rejected it by going to war with Israel? In 1947 Jews were only one third of the population of Palestine and owned only 6% of the land. Yet the partition plan granted the Jewish state 55% of the total land area. The Arab state was to have an overwhelmingly Arab population, while the Jewish state would have almost as many Arabs as Jews. If it was unjust to force Jews to be a 1/3 minority in an Arab state, it was no more just to force Arabs to be an almost 50% minority in a Jewish state. The Palestinians rejected partition. The Zionists accepted it, but in private Zionist leaders had more expansive goals. In 1938, during earlier partition proposals, Ben Gurion stated, "when we become a strong power after the establishment of the state, we will abolish partition and spread throughout all of Palestine."5 The Mufti called Palestinians to war against partition, but in fact very few Palestinians responded. The "decisive majority" of Palestinians, confided Ben Gurion, "do not want to fight us." The majority "accept the partition as a fait accompli," reported a Zionist Arab affairs expert. The 1936-39 Arab revolt against the British had mass popular support, but the 1947-48 fighting between the Mufti's followers and the Zionist military forces had no such popular backing.6 But even if Palestinians were fully united in going to war against the partition plan, this can provide no moral justification for denying them their basic right of self- determination for more than half a century. This right is not a function of this or that agreement, but a basic right to which every person is entitled. (Israelis don't lose their right to self-determination because their government violated countless UN cease-fire resolutions.) ------------ Didn't Israel achieve larger borders in 1948 as a result of a defensive war of independence? Arab armies crossed the border on May 15, 1948, after Israel declared its independence. But this declaration came three and a half months before the date specified in the partition resolution. The U.S. had proposed a three month truce on the condition that Israel postpone its declaration of independence. The Arab states accepted and Israel rejected, in part because it had worked out a secret deal with Jordan's King Abdullah, whereby his Arab Legion would invade the Palestinian territory assigned to the Palestinian state and not interfere with the Jewish state. (Since Jordan was closely allied to Britain, the scheme also provided a way for London to maintain its position in the region.) The other Arab states invaded as much to thwart Abdullah's designs as to defeat Israel.7 Most of the fighting that ensued took place on territory that was to be part of the Palestinian state or the internationalized Jerusalem. Thus, Israel was primarily fighting not for its survival, but to expand its borders at the expense of the Palestinians. For most of the war, the Israelis actually held both a quantitative and qualitative military edge, even apart from the fact that the Arab armies were uncoordinated and operating at cross purposes.8 When the armistice agreements were signed in 1949, the Palestinian state had disappeared, its territory taken over by Israel and Jordan, with Egypt in control of the Gaza Strip. Jerusalem, which was to have been internationalized, was divided between Israeli and Jordanian control. Israel now held 78% of Palestine. Some 700,000 Palestinians had become refugees. ------------ Why did Palestinians become refugees in 1948? The Israeli government claim is that Palestinians chose to leave Palestine voluntarily, instructed to do so via radio broadcasts from Arab leaders who wanted to clear a path for their armies. But radio broadcasts from the area were monitored by the British and American governments and no evidence of general orders to flee has ever been found. On the contrary, there are numerous instances of Arab leaders telling Palestinians to stay put, to keep their claim to the territory.9 People flee during wartime for a variety of reasons and that was certainly the case here. Some left because war zones are dangerous environments. Some because of Zionist atrocities -- most dramatically at Deir Yassin where in April 1948 254 defenseless civilians were slaughtered. Some left in panic, aided by Zionist psychological warfare which warned that Deir Yassin's fate awaited others. And some were driven out at gunpoint, with killings to speed them on their way, as in the towns of Ramle and Lydda.10 There is no longer any serious doubt that many Palestinians were forcibly expelled. The exact numbers driven out versus those who panicked or simply sought safety is still contested, but what permits us to say that all were victims of ethnic cleansing is that Israeli officials refused to allow any of them to return. (In Kosovo, any ethnic Albanian refugee, whether he or she was forced out at gunpoint, panicked, or even left to make it easier for NATO to bomb, was entitled to return.) In Israel, Arab villages were bulldozed over, citrus groves, lands, and property seized, and their owners and inhabitants prohibited from returning. Indeed, not only was the property of "absentee" Palestinians expropriated, but any Palestinians who moved from one place within Israel to another during the war were declared "present absentees" and their property expropriated as well. Of the 860,000 Arabs who had lived in areas of Palestine that became Israel, only 133,000 remained. Some 470,000 moved into refugee camps on the West Bank (controlled by Jordan) or the Gaza Strip (administered by Egypt). The rest dispersed to Lebanon, Syria, and other countries. ------------ Why did Israel expel the Palestinians? In part to remove a potential fifth column. In part to obtain their property. In part to make room for more Jewish immigrants. But mostly because the notion of a Jewish state with a large non-Jewish minority was extremely awkward for Israeli leaders. Indeed, because Israel took over some territory intended for the Palestinian state, there had actually been an Arab majority living within the borders of Israel. Nor was the idea of expelling Palestinians something that just emerged in the 1948 war. In 1937, Ben Gurion had written to his son, "We will expel the Arabs and take their places ... with the force at our disposal."11 How did the international community react to the problem of the Palestinian refugees? In December 1948, the General Assembly passed Resolution 194, which declared that "refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so" and that "compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return." This same resolution was overwhelmingly adopted year after year. Israel repeatedly refused to carry out the terms of the resolution. ------------ Did the Arab countries take steps to resettle the Palestinian refugees? Only in Jordan were Palestinians eligible for citizenship. In Lebanon, the government feared that allowing Palestinians to become citizens would disturb the country's delicate Christian-Muslim balance; in Egypt, the shortage of arable land led the government to confine the Palestinians to the Gaza Strip. It must be noted, however, that the Palestinians were reluctant to leave the camps if that would mean acquiescing in the loss of homes and property or giving up their right to return. It is sometimes implied that the lack of assistance to Palestinians from Arab nations justifies Israel's refusal to acknowledge and address the claims of the refugees. But if you harm someone, you are responsible for redressing that harm, regardless of whether the victim's relatives are supportive. ------------ Hasn't there been a population exchange, with Jews from Arab lands coming to Israel and replacing the Palestinians? This argument makes individual Palestinians responsible for the wrong-doing of Arab governments. Jews left Arab countries under various circumstances: some were forced out, some came voluntarily, some were recruited by Zionist officials. In Iraq, Jews feared that they might be harmed, a fear possibly helped along by some covert bombs placed by Zionist agents.12 But whatever the case, there are no moral grounds for punishing Palestinians (or denying them their due) because of how Jews were treated in the Arab world. If Italy were to abuse American citizens, this would not justify the United States harming or expelling Italian-Americans. ------------ How were the Palestinians who remained within Israel treated? Most Arabs lived in the border areas of Israel and, until 1966, these areas were all declared military security zones, which essentially meant that Palestinians were living under martial law conditions for nearly 20 years. After 1966, Arab citizens of Israel continued to be the victims of harsh discrimination: most of the country's land is owned by the Jewish National Fund which prohibits its sale or lease to non-Jews; schools for Palestinians in Israel are, in the words of Human Rights Watch, "separate and unequal"; and government spending has been funneled so as to keep Arab villages underdeveloped. Thousands of Israeli Arabs live in villages declared "unrecognized" and hence ineligible for electricity or any other government services.13 ------------ Following 1948, didn't the Arab states continually try to destroy Israel? After Israel's victory in the 1948-49 war, there were several opportunities for peace. There was blame on all sides, but Israeli intransigence was surely a prime factor. In 1951, a UN peace plan was accepted by Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, but rejected by Israel. When Nasser came to power in Egypt, he made overtures to Israel that were rebuffed. When Nasser negotiated an end to British control of the Suez Canal zone, Israeli intelligence covertly arranged a bombing campaign of western targets in Egypt as a way to discourage British withdrawal. The plot was foiled, Egypt executed some of the plotters, and Israel responded with a major military attack on Gaza.14 In 1956, Israel joined with Britain and France in invading Egypt, drawing condemnation from the United States and the UN. ------------ How were the Occupied Territories occupied? In June 1967, Israel launched a war in which it seized all of Palestine (the West Bank including East Jerusalem from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt), along with the Sinai from Egypt and the Golan Heights from Syria. Large numbers of Palestinians, some living in cities, towns, and villages, and some in refugee camps, came under Israeli control. (In 2001, half the Palestinian population of the Occupied Territories lived in refugee camps.15 The Israeli conquest also sent a new wave of refugees from 
Palestine to surrounding countries.) Israel's supporters argue that although Israel fired the first shots in this war, it was a justified preventive war, given that Arab armies were mobilizing on Israel's borders, with murderous rhetoric. The rhetoric was indeed blood-curdling, and many people around the world worried for Israel's safety. But those who understood the military situation -- in Tel Aviv and the Pentagon -- knew quite well that even if the Arabs struck first, Israel would prevail in any war. Nasser was looking for a way out and agreed to send his vice-president to Washington for negotiations. Israel attacked when it did in part because it rejected negotiations and the prospect of any face-saving compromise for Nasser. Menachem Begin, who was an enthusiastic supporter of this (and other) Israeli wars was quite clear about the necessity of launching an attack: In June 1967, he said, Israel "had a choice." Egyptian Army concentrations did not prove that Nasser was about to attack. "We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him."16 However, even if it were the case that the 1967 war was wholly defensive on Israel's part, this cannot justify the continued rule over Palestinians. A people do not lose their right to self-determination because the government of a neighboring state goes to war. Sure, punish Egypt and Jordan -- don't give them back Gaza and the West Bank (which they had no right to in the first place, having joined with Israel in carving up the stillborn Palestinian state envisioned in the UN's 1947 partition plan). But there is no basis for punishing the Palestinian population by forcing them to submit to foreign military occupation. Israel immediately incorporated occupied East Jerusalem into Israel proper, announcing that Jerusalem was its united and eternal capital. It then began to establish settlements in the Occupied Territories in violation of the Geneva Conventions which prohibit a conquering power from settling its population on occupied territory. These settlements, placed in strategic locations throughout the West Bank and Gaza were intended to "create facts" on the ground to make the occupation irreversible. ------------ How did the international community respond to the Israeli occupation? In November 1967, the UN Security Council unanimously passed resolution 242. The resolution emphasized "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war" and called for the "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territory occupied in the recent conflict." It also called for all countries in the region to end their state of war and to respect the right of each country "to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries." Israel argued that because resolution 242 called for Israeli withdrawal from "territories," rather than "the territories," occupied in the recent conflict, it meant that Israel could keep some of them as a way to attain "secure" borders. The official French and Russian texts of the resolution include the definite article, but in any event U.S. officials told Arab delegates that it expected "virtually complete withdrawal" by Israel, and this was the view as well of Britain, France, and the Soviet Union.17 Palestinians objected to the resolution because it referred to them only in calling for "a just settlement to the refugee problem" rather than acknowledging their right to self- determination. By the mid-1970s, however, the international consensus -- rejected by Israel and the United States -- was expanded to include support for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, perhaps with insignificant border adjustments. ------------ How did the United States respond to the Israeli occupation? Prior to the 1967 war, France, not the United States, was Israel's chief weapons supplier. But now U.S. officials determined that Israel would be an extremely valuable ally to have in the Middle East and Washington became Israel's principal military and diplomatic backer. Why, given the U.S. concern for Middle Eastern oil, was Washington supporting Israel? This assumes that the main conflict was Israel vs. the Arabs, rather than Israel and conservative, pro-Western Arab regimes vs. radical Arab nationalism. Egypt and Syria had been champions of the latter, armed by the Soviet Union, and threatening U.S. interests in the region. (On the eve of the 1967, for example, Egypt and Saudi Arabia were militarily backing opposite sides in a civil war in Yemen. Israel had plotted with Jordan against Palestinian nationalism in 1948, and in 1970 Israel was prepared to take Jordan's side in a war against Palestinians and Syria.) Diplomatically, the U.S. soon backed off the generally accepted interpretation of resolution 242, deciding that given Israel's military dominance no negotiations were necessary except on Israel's terms. So when Secretary of State Rogers put forward a reasonable peace plan, President Nixon privately sent word to Israel that the U.S. wouldn't press the proposal.18 When Anwar Sadat, Nasser's successor, proposed a peace plan that included cutting his ties with Moscow, Washington decided he hadn't groveled enough and ignored it. But after Egypt and Syria unsuccessfully went to war with Israel for the limited aim of regaining their lost territory, and Arab oil states called a limited oil embargo, Washington rethought its position. This led in 1979 to the Israeli-Egyptian Camp David Agreement under which Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt in return for peace and diplomatic relations. Egypt then joined Israel as a pillar of U.S. policy in the region and the two became the leading recipients of U.S. aid in the world. ------------ What progress was made toward justice for Palestinians during the first two decades of the occupation? The Palestine Liberation Organization was formed in 1964, but it was controlled by the Arab states until 1969, when Yasser Arafat became its leader. The PLO had many factions, advocating different tactics (some carried out hijackings) and different politics. At first the PLO took the position that Israel had no right to exist and that only Palestinians were entitled to national rights in Palestine. This was the mirror image of the official Israeli view -- of both the right-wing Likud party and the Labor party -- that there could be no recognition of the PLO under any circumstances, even if it renounced terrorism and recognized Israel, let alone acceptance of a Palestinian state on any part of the Occupied Territories. By 1976, however, the PLO view had come to accept the international consensus favoring a two-state solution. In January 1976 a resolution backed by the PLO, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and the Soviet Union was introduced in the Security Council incorporating this consensus. Washington vetoed the resolution.19 The 1979 Camp David agreement established peace along the Egyptian-Israeli border, but it worsened the situation for Palestinians. With its southern border neutralized, Israel had a freer hand to invade Lebanon in 1982 (where the PLO was based) and to tighten its grip on the Occupied Territories. ------------ What was the first Intifada? Anger and frustration were growing in the Occupied Territories, fueled by iron-fisted Israeli repression, daily humiliations, and the establishment of sharply increasing numbers of Israeli settlements. In December 1987, Palestinians in Gaza launched an uprising, the Intifada, that quickly spread to the West Bank as well. The Intifada was locally organized, and enjoyed mass support among the Palestinian population. Guns and knives were banned and the main political demand was for an independent Palestinian state coexisting with Israel.20 Israel responded with great brutality, with hundreds of Palestinians killed. The Labor Party Defense Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, urged Israeli soldiers to break the bones of Palestinian demonstrators. PLO leader Khalil al-Wazir, who from Tunis had advised the rejection of arms, was assassinated (with the approval of Rabin); Israel was especially eager to repress Palestinian leaders who advocated a Palestinian state that would coexist with Israel.21 By 1989, the initial discipline of the uprising had faded, as a considerable number of individual acts of violence by Palestinians took place. Hamas, an organization initially promoted by the Israelis as a counterweight to the PLO,22 also gained strength; it called for armed attacks to achieve an Islamic state in all of Palestine. ------------ What were the Oslo Accords? Arafat had severely weakened his credibility by his flirtation with Saddam Hussein following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. (The Iraqi leader had opportunistically tried to link his withdrawal from Kuwait to an Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories.) Israel saw Arafat's weakness as an opportunity. Better to deal with Arafat while he was weak, before Hamas gained too much influence. Let Arafat police the unruly Palestinians, while Israel would maintain its settlements and control over resources. The Oslo agreement consisted of "Letters of Mutual Recognition" and a Declaration of Principles. In Arafat's letter he recognized Israel's right to exist, accepted various UN resolutions, renounced terrorism and armed struggle. Israeli Prime Minister Rabin in his letter agreed to recognize the PLO as the representative of the Palestine people and commence negotiations with it, but there was no Israeli recognition of the Palestinian right to a state. The Declaration of Principles was signed on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993. In it, Israel agreed to redeploy its troops from the Gaza Strip and from the West Bank city of Jericho. These would be given self-governing status, except for the Israeli settlements in Gaza. A Palestinian Authority (PA) would be established, with a police force that would maintain internal order in areas from which Israeli forces withdrew. Left for future resolution in "permanent status" talks were all the critical and vexatious issues: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, and borders. These talks were to commence by year three of the agreement. In September 1995 an interim agreement -- commonly called Oslo II -- was signed. This divided the Occupied Territories into three zones, Area A, Area B, and Area C. (No mention was made of a fourth area: Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.) In area A, the PA was given civil and security control but not sovereignty; in area B the PA would have civil control and the Israelis security control; and area C was wholly under Israeli control (these included the settlements, the network of connecting roads, and most of the valuable land and water resources of the West Bank). In March 2000, 17% of the West Bank was designated area A -- where the vast majority of Palestinians lived -- 24% area B, and 59% area C. In the Gaza Strip, with a population of over a million Palestinians, 6,500 Israeli settlers lived in the 20% of the territory that made up area C. Palestinians thus were given limited autonomy -- not sovereignty -- over areas of dense population in the Gaza Strip and small, non-contiguous portions of the West Bank (there were 227 separate and disconnected enclaves),23 which meant that the PA was responsible chiefly for maintaining order over poor and angry Palestinians. ------------ How did Israel respond to the Oslo Accords? Whatever hopes Oslo may have inspired among the Palestinian population, most Israeli officials had an extremely restricted vision of where it would lead. In a speech in October 1995, Rabin declared that there would not be a return to the pre-1967 borders, Jerusalem would remain united and under exclusive Israeli sovereignty, and most of the settlements would remain under Israeli sovereignty. Rabin said he wanted the "entity" that Palestinians would get to be "less than a state."24 Under Rabin, settlements were expanded and he began a massive program of road-building, meant to link the settlements and carve up the West Bank. (These by-pass roads, built on confiscated Palestinian land and U.S.- funded, were for Israelis only.) In 1995, Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli and he was succeeded as prime minister by Shimon Peres. But Peres, noted his adviser Yossi Beilin, had an even more limited view than Rabin, wanting any future Palestinian state to be located only in Gaza.25 Yossi Sarid, head of the moderate left Israeli party Meretz, said that Peres's plan for the West Bank was "little different" from that of Ariel Sharon.26 Settlements and by-pass roads expanded further. In May 1996, Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu who was openly opposed to the Oslo accords was elected prime minister. Netanyahu reneged on most of the already agreed on Israeli troop withdrawals from occupied territory, continued building settlements and roads, stepped up the policy of sealing off the Palestinian enclaves, and refused to begin the final status talks required by Oslo.27 In 1999, Labor's Ehud Barak won election as prime minister. Barak had been a hardliner, but he had also confessed that if he had been born a Palestinian he probably would have joined a terrorist organization28 -- so his intentions were unclear. His policies, however, in his first year in office were more of the same: settlements grew at a more rapid pace than under Netanyahu, agreed-upon troops withdrawals were not carried out, and land confiscations and economic closures continued. His proposed 2001 government budget increased the subsidies supporting settlements in the Occupied Territories.29 ------------ What was the impact of the Oslo accords? The number of Israeli settlers since Oslo (1993) grew from 110,000 to 195,000 in the West Bank and Gaza; in annexed East Jerusalem, the Jewish population rose from 22,000 to 170,000.30 Thirty new settlements were established and more than 18,000 new housing units for settlers were constructed.31 From 1994-2000, Israeli authorities confiscated 35,000 acres of Arab land for roads and settlements.32 Poverty increased, so that in mid-2000, more than one out of five Palestinians had consumption levels below $2.10 a day.33 According to CIA figures, at the end of 2000, unemployment stood at 40%.34 Israeli closure policies meant that Palestinians had less freedom of movement -- from Gaza to the West Bank, to East Jerusalem, or from one Palestinian enclave to another -- than they had before Oslo.35 ------------ What was U.S. policy during this period? The United States has been the major international backer of Israel for more than three decades. Since 1976 Israel has been the leading annual recipient of U.S. foreign aid and is the largest cumulative recipient since World War II. And this doesn't include all sorts of special financial and military benefits, such as the use of U.S. military assistance for research and development in the United States. Israel's economy is not self-sufficient, and relies on foreign assistance and borrowing. During the Oslo years, Washington gave Israel more than $3 billion per year in aid, and $4 billion in FY 2000, the highest of any year except 1979. Of this aid, grant military aid was $1.8 billion a year since Oslo, and more than $3 billion in FY 2000, two thirds higher than ever before.36 Diplomatically, the U.S. retreated from various positions it had held for years. Since 1949, the U.S. had voted with the overwhelming majority of the General Assembly in calling for the right of return of Palestinian refugees. In 1994, the Clinton administration declared that because the refugee question was something to be resolved in the permanent status talks, the U.S. would no longer support the resolution. Likewise, although the U.S. had previously agreed with the rest of the world (and common sense) in considering East Jerusalem occupied territory, it now declared that Jerusalem's status too was to be decided in the permanent status talks. On three occasions in 1995 and 1997, the Security Council considered draft resolutions critical of Israeli expropriations and settlements in East Jerusalem; Washington vetoed all three.37 ------------ What happened at Camp David? Permanent status talks between Israel and the Palestinians as called for by the Oslo agreement finally took place in July 2000 at Camp David, in the United States, with U.S. mediators. The standard view is that Barak made an exceedingly generous offer to Arafat, but Arafat rejected it, choosing violence instead. A U.S. participant in the talks, Robert Malley, has challenged this view.38 Barak offered -- but never in writing and never in detail; in fact, says, Malley, "strictly speaking, there never was an Israeli offer" -- to give the Palestinians Israeli land equivalent to 1% of the West Bank (unspecified, but to be chosen by Israel) in return for 9% of the West Bank which housed settlements, highways, and military bases effectively dividing the West Bank into separate regions. Thus, there would have been no meaningfully independent Palestinian state, but a series of Bantustans, while all the best land and water aquifers would be in Israeli hands. Israel would also "temporarily" hold an additional 10 percent of West Bank land. (Given that Barak had not carried out the previous withdrawals to which Israel had committed, Palestinian skepticism regarding "temporary" Israeli occupation is not surprising.) It's a myth, Malley wrote,39 that "Israel's offer met most if not all of the Palestinians' legitimate aspirations" and a myth as well that the "Palestinians made no concession of their own." Some Israeli analysts made a similar assessment. For example, influential commentator Ze'ev Schiff wrote that, to Palestinians, "the prospect of being able to establish a viable state was fading right before their eyes. They were confronted with an intolerable set of options: to agree to the spreading occupation ... or to set up wretched Bantustans, or to launch an uprising."40 ------------ What caused the second Intifada? On September 28, 2000 Ariel Sharon, then a member of Parliament, accompanied by a thousand-strong security force, paid a provocative visit approved by Barak to the site of the Al Aqsa mosque. The next day Barak sent another large force of police and soldiers to the area and, when the anticipated rock throwing by some Palestinians occurred, the heavily-augmented police responded with lethal fire, killing four and wounding hundreds. Thus began the second Intifada. The underlying cause was the tremendous anger and frustration among the population of the Occupied Territories, who saw things getting worse, not better, under Oslo, whose hopes had been shattered, and whose patience after 33 years of occupation had reached the boiling point. ------------ Who is Ariel Sharon? Sharon was the commander of an Israeli force that massacred some seventy civilians in the Jordanian village of Qibya in 1953. He was Defense Minister in 1982, when Israel invaded Lebanon, causing the deaths of 17,000 civilians. In September 1982, Lebanese forces allied to Israel slaughtered hundreds of Palestinian non- combatants in the Sabra and Shitila refugee camps, a crime for which an Israeli commission found Sharon to bear indirect responsibility. As Housing Minister in various Israeli governments, Sharon vigorously promoted the settlements in the Occupied Territories. In January 2001, he took office as Prime Minister. ------------ How did Israel respond to this second Intifada? Israeli security forces responded to Palestinian demonstrations with lethal force even though, as a UN investigation reported, at these demonstrations the Israeli Defense Forces, "endured not a single serious casualty."41 Some Palestinians proceeded to arm themselves, and the killing escalated, with deaths on both sides, though the victims were disproportionately Palestinians. In November 2001, there was a week-long lull in the fighting. Sharon then ordered the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud Abu Hanoud, which, as everyone predicted, led to a rash of terror bombings, which in turn Sharon used as justification for further assaults on the PA.42 By March 2002, Amnesty International reported that more than 1000 Palestinians had been killed. "Israeli security services have killed Palestinians, including more than 200 children, unlawfully, by shelling and bombing residential areas, random or targeted shooting, especially near checkpoints and borders, by extrajudicial executions and during demonstrations."43 Palestinian suicide bombings have targeted civilians. Amnesty International commented: "These actions are shocking. Yet they can never justify the human rights violations and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions which, over the past 18 months, have been committed daily, hourly, even every minute, by the Israeli authorities against Palestinians. Israeli forces have consistently carried out killings when no lives were in danger." Medical personnel have been attacked and ambulances, including those of the Red Cross, "have been consistently shot at."44 Wounded people have been denied medical treatment. Israel has carried out targeted assassinations (sometimes the targets were probably connected to terrorism, sometimes not,45 but all of these extrajudicial executions have been condemned by human rights groups). The Israeli government criticized Arafat for not cracking down harder on terrorists and then responded by attacking his security forces, who might have allowed him to crack down, and restricting him to his compound in Ramallah. Israeli opinion became sharply polarized. At the same time that hundreds of military reservists have declared their refusal to serve in the West Bank and Gaza (, polls show 46% of Israelis favor forcibly expelling all Palestinians from the Occupied Territories.46 ------------ What has U.S. policy been? U.S. military, economic, and diplomatic support has made possible the Israeli repression of the previous year and a half. Much of the weaponry Israel has been using in its attacks on Palestinians either was made in the United States (F-16s, attack helicopters, rockets, grenade launchers, Caterpillar bulldozers, airburst shells, M-40 ground launchers) or made in Israel with U.S. Department of Defense research and development funding (the Merkava tank). On March 26, 2001, the Security Council considered a resolution to establish an international presence in the Occupied Territories as a way to prevent human rights violations. The United States vetoed the resolution. Because Israel did not want the U.S. to get involved diplomatically, Washington did not name a special envoy to the region, General Zinni, until November 2001, more than a year after the Intifada began. Bush met four times with Sharon during the Intifada, never with Arafat. In February 2002, Vice President Cheney declared that Israel could "hang" Arafat.47 ------------ What caused the current crisis? As the Arab League was meeting to endorse a Saudi peace proposal -- recognition of Israel in return for full Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders -- a Hamas suicide bomber struck. Sharon, no doubt fearing a groundswell of support for the Arab League position, responded with massive force, breaking into Arafat's compound, confining him to several rooms. Then there were major invasions of all the Palestinian cities in the West Bank. There are many Palestinian casualties, though because Israel has kept reporters out, their extent is not known. In the early days of Sharon's offensive, Bush pointedly refused to criticize the Israeli action, reserving all his condemnation for Arafat, who, surrounded in a few rooms, was said to not be doing enough to stop terrorism. As demonstrations in the Arab world, especially in pro-U.S. Jordan and Egypt, threatened to destabilize the entire region, Bush finally called on Israel to withdraw from the cities. Sharon, recognizing that the U.S. "demand" was uncoupled from any threat of consequences, kept up his onslaught. ------------ Is there a way out? A solution along the lines of the international consensus -- Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied in 1967, the establishment of a truly independent and viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with its capital in East Jerusalem -- remains feasible. It needs only the backing of the United States and Israel. ------------ Don't the Arabs already have 22 states? Why do they need another one? Not all Arabs are the same. That other Arabs may already have their right of self- determination does not take away from Palestinians' basic rights. The fact that many Palestinians live in Jordan and have considerable influence and rights there, doesn't mean that the millions of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation or who were expelled from their homes and are now in refugee camps aren't entitled to their rights -- any more than the fact that there are a lot of Jews in the U.S., where they have considerable influence and rights, means that Israeli Jews should be packed off across the Atlantic. ------------ How can terrorists be given a state? If people whose independence movements use terrorism are not entitled to a state, then many current-day states would be illegitimate, not the least of them being Israel, whose independence struggle involved frequent terrorism against civilians. ------------ Won't an independent Palestinian state threaten Israeli security? Conquerors frequently justify their conquests by claiming security needs. This was the argument Israel gave for years why it couldn't return the Sinai to Egypt or pull out of Lebanon. Both of these were done, however, and Israel's security was enhanced rather than harmed. True, the Oslo Accords, which turned over disconnected swatches of territory to Palestinian administration, may not have improved Israeli security. But as Shimon Peres, one of the architects of the Oslo agreement and Sharon's current Foreign Minister acknowledged, Oslo was flawed from the start. "Today we discover that autonomy puts the Palestinians in a worse situation." The second Intifada could have been avoided, Peres said, if the Palestinians had had a state from the outset. "We cannot keep three and a half million Palestinians under siege without income, oppressed, poor, densely populated, near starvation."48 Israel is the region's only nuclear power. Beyond that, it is the strongest military power in the Middle East. Surely it cannot need to occupy neighboring territory in order to achieve security. Nothing would better guarantee the Israeli people peace and security than pulling out of the Occupied Territories. ------------ Isn't the Palestinian demand for the right of return just a ploy to destroy Israel? Allowing people who have been expelled from their homes the right to return is hardly an extreme demand. Obviously this can't mean throwing out people who have been living in these homes for many years now, and would need to be carefully worked out. Both Palestinian officials and the Arab League have indicated that in their view the right of return should be implemented in a way that would not create a demographic problem for Israel.49 Of course, one could reasonably argue that an officially Jewish state is problematic on basic democratic grounds. (Why should a Jew born in Brooklyn have a right to "return" to Israel while a Palestinian born in Haifa does not?) In any event, however, neither the Arab League nor Arafat have raised this objection.50 ------------ Don't Palestinians just view their own state as the first step in eliminating Israel entirely? Hamas and a few other, smaller Palestinian groups object not just to the occupation but to the very existence of Israel. But the Hamas et al. position is a distinctly minority sentiment among Palestinians, who are a largely secular community that has endorsed a two-state settlement. To be sure, Hamas has been growing in strength as a result of the inability of the Palestinian Authority to deliver a better life for Palestinians. If there were a truly independent Palestinian state, one can assume that Hamas would find far fewer volunteers for its suicide squads. It must be acknowledged, though, that the longer the mutual terror continues, the harder it will be to achieve long term peace. ------------ Is a two-state solution just? There is a broad international consensus on a two-state solution, along the lines of the Saudi peace proposal. Such a solution is by no means ideal. Palestine is a small territory to be divided into two states; it forms a natural economic unit. An Israeli state that discriminates in favor of Jews and a Palestinian state that will probably be equally discriminatory will depart substantially from a just outcome. What's needed is a single secular state that allows substantial autonomy to both national communities, something along the lines of the bi-national state proposed before 1948. This outcome, however, does not seem imminent. A two-state solution may be the temporary measure that will provide a modicum of justice and allow Jews and Palestinians to move peacefully forward to a more just future. -------------- Stephen R. Shalom teaches political science at William Paterson University and is the author of Imperial Alibis (South End Press). Notes As Zionist writer Ahad Ha'am put it, his fellow Jews "treat the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, deprive them of their rights, offend them without cause, and even boast of these deeds." Quoted in Jews For Justice in The Middle East, The Origin of the Palestine- Israeli conflict, 3rd ed., P.O. Box 14561, Berkeley, CA, 94712, available at return . Norman G. Finkelstein, "A Land Without a People: Joan Peters's 'Wilderness' Myth," in Image and Reality of the Israel Palestine Conflict, New York: Verso, 1995, pp. 21-50. return See the sources cited by Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians, updated edition, Cambridge: South End Press, 1999, p. 169n10. return Simha Flapan, The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities, New York: Pantheon, 1987, pp. 66-67. return Quoted in Jerome Slater, "What Went Wrong? The Collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process," Political Science Quarterly, vol. 116, no. 2, 2001, p. 174. return Flapan, pp. 55, 73-77. return Flapan, pp. 153-86. return Flapan, pp. 187-199. return Christopher Hitchens, "Broadcasts," in Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question, ed. Edward W. Said and Christopher Hitchens, New York: Verso, 1988, pp. 73-83. return Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987; Norman G. Finkelstein, "'Born of War, Not By Design," in Finkelstein, Image and Reality..., pp. 51-87. return Slater, pp. 173-74. return See Mark Tessler, A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994, pp. 308-11; and sources in Noam Chomsky, Towards a New Cold War, New York: Pantheon, 1982, p. 462n33. return Ian Lustick, Arabs in the Jewish State: Israel's Contorl of a National Minority, University of Texas, 1980; Human Rights Watch, Second Class: Discrimination Against Palestinian Arab Children in Israel's Schools, Sept. 2001, On Israeli-Arab "unrecognized" villages, where some 100,000 people are forced to live without basic government services, including electricity and water, see return Charles D. Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 4th ed., Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001, pp. 237-38. return John Dugard, Kamal Hossain, and Richard Falk, "Question of The Violation of Human Rights in The Occupied Arab Territories, Including Palestine," Report of the human rights inquiry commission established pursuant to Commission resolution S-5/1 of 19 October 2000, E/CN.4/2001/121, 16 March 2001, para 29. return Quoted in Chomsky, Fateful Triangle, p. 100. return Smith, pp. 306, 334n10. return Henry Kissinger, White House Years, Boston: Little, Brown, 1979, p. 376. return Chomsky, Fateful Triangle, chap 3, esp. p. 67. return Smith, pp. 418-21. return Smith, pp. 422-24. return Richard Sale, "Israel gave major aid to Hamas," UPI, Feb. 24, 2001. return Geoffrey Aronson, "Recapitulating the Redeployments: The Israel-PLO 'Interim Agreements'," Information Brief No. 32, Center for Policy Analysis, 27 April 2000. return Slater, p. 177, citing speech to Knesset of 5 October 1995, printed in Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories 5 (November 1995). return Slater, p. 178n9, quoting Ha'aretz, 7 March 1997. return Slater, p. 178n9, quoting Report of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Israeli-Palestinian Security,1995. return Slater, p. 179. return Smith, p. 490. return Slater, pp. 180-81. return Edward Said, "Palestinians under Siege," in The New Intifada: Resisting Israel's Apartheid, ed. Roane Carey, New York: Verso, 2001, p. 29; Allegra Pacheco, "Flouting Convention: The Oslo Agreements," in Carey, p. 189. return Sara Roy, "Decline and Disfigurement: The Palestinian Economy After Oslo," in Carey, p. 95; Pacheco, p. 187. return Roy, p. 95. return Roy, p. 101. return CIA World Factbook 2001. return Roy, pp. 98-100. return Clyde R. Mark, Israel: U.S. Foreign Assistance, Updated March 15, 2002, CRS Issue Brief for Congress, Congressional Research Service, The Library of Congress, Order Code IB85066. Available at http:/// return See the list of vetoed Security Council resolutions on Palestine at return Robert Malley and Hussein Agha, "Camp David: The Tragedy of Errors," New York Review of Books, August 9, 2001. See also Deborah Sontag, "Quest for Mideast Peace: How and Why It Failed," New York Times, 26 July 2001, p. A1; and the critique of the Barak offer on the website of the "Peace Bloc," Gush Shalom, return New York Times, July 8, 2001. return Slater, 184, citing Ha'aretz, 24 November 2000. return Dugard et al., para. 22. return Suzanne Goldenberg, "Middle East: Israeli strikes dim hopes for peace mission: Sharon accused of trying to sabotage visit," Guardian, Nov. 26, 2001, p. 6. return Amnesty International, 58th UN Commission on Human Rights (2002), Background Briefing, IOR 41/004/2002, March 11, 2002. return AI statement before Commission on Human Rights, March 26, 2002, MDE 15/027/2002. return Dugard et al., paras. 56, 62, 64. return Ha'aretz, March 12, 2002. On the reservists, see return Clyde Mark, Palestinians and Middle East Peace: Issues for the United States, Updated March 19, 2002, Congressional Research Service, The Library of Congress, Order Code IB92052. return Jason Keyser, "Peres Says Mideast Peace Process Flawed >From Outset," Associated Press, Feb. 21, 2002. return See Arafat, New York Times, Feb. 3, 2002, and Dugard et al., para. 31 for further discussion. return For discussion of the right of return, see Palestinian Refugees: The Right of Return, ed. Naseer Aruri, London: Pluto, 2001. return ------------------------- such fucking ignorance and bullshit (english) yer mom 7:00pm Mon Jul 22 '02 comment#193772 so i guess the way it goes is, "israel has been humane and moderate in their dealings with palestinian agression for so long that, in order to continue my jew-bashing, i'll redefine humanity and moderation as evil and sinister." this is like how the u.n. declared jenin a horrifying masacre before the fighting even started, and when the fighting was over, the u.n. inspection teams came in and found everything to be just as the idf said it was; less than 75 palestinian casualties, almost all combatants, and evidence of mines and booby traps. yet the inspection team still came home calling it a horrifying massacre. sharon somehow got the impression from this that the u.n. may be just a little bit biased, so he made some reasonable demands on the composition of the investigatory team which the u.n. rejected out of hand. they stalled for a week and declared that it was too late to conduct a "productive" investigation. i guess sharon called their bluff and was correct, the investigation was never intended to be impartial. still, in the hearts of "anti-zionists", israel comes out looking like they had obstructed justice. so who do you think the first people to hang will be if this new european/arab cabal in the u.n. install the icc? i would hope the sudanese, who still alow the practice of slavery to go on unabated by their undemocratic government, but somehow i doubt it. at least not with ignorant parrots like brian, who boldly asserts that israel "stole" the occupied territories in a "carefully planned 1967 offensive". you see, up is down, black is white, land taken while repelling an invading force with the declared intention of "pushing the jews into the sea" was "stolen" in an "offensive", the jews are the real nazis. i wonder if this flys for those who wear their support for anti-semetic genocide on their sleeves (despite the identical nature of their historical distortions regarding israel)? i.e., african americans are the real klan, women are the real patriarchs, anarchists and leftists are the real brownshirts. wait a minute, what was that last one? ----------------------------------- Bill Moyers, Modernity, and Islam (english) Sakura 6:32am Mon Jul 22 '02 article#193657 Bill Moyers, Modernity, and Islam Bill Moyers, Modernity, and Islam by Michael Gillespie When America's preeminent public television journalist focuses his considerable talents on an increasingly complicated, challenging, and threatening world, the vast media wasteland seems a little less bleak and many Americans' hopes burn a little brighter. Bill Moyers, a fellow Texan, has long had that kind of effect on me. I've been a devoted fan since the day I saw his interview with Myles Horton, the legendary Tennessee human rights activist and founder of Highlander School. But in the months since the jarring events of September 11th, Moyers has disappointed, and this writer finds that failure and what it signifies deeply troubling. On July 12, Moyer's popular PBS program, Now, featured his conversation with eight journalists and scholars, among them Muslims, Christians, Jews, and agnostics who talked about the clash between Islam and the West. The discussion focused on Islam's struggle, especially the Arab Islamic world's struggle, to adjust to the modern world. The unspoken premise of the conversation about 'the collision between Islam and the West' seemed to be that Islam, and Arab Islam in particular, is failing to cope with the modern world, while Christianity and Judaism, in the USA and Israel, having successfully completed the transition from primitive to modern, from repression and violence to self-determination and the rule of law, represent modernity and all that is desirable about Western civilization, a consumers' paradise where all are comfortable and happy. The conversation began honestly and earnestly enough with comments about the artificial barriers between East and West and helpful observations on the nature and causes of the growing discontent within the Muslim world. Then, Akbar Ahmed noted that, 'Because in the West we are reacting as a sort of outrage, anger, very justifiable after September, we are not being able to understand what is happening in the Muslim world,' which is certainly true as far as it goes. Ahmed continued, offering a brief explanation of the Koran's 'two categories of commands . . . rituals which link the individual to God . . . and the second category . . . which links the individual to other individuals.' And he went on to say that some Muslims, such as the Taliban, are failing in the second category, which is related to justice and education, as evidenced by their mistreatment of women and minorities. 'It is this imbalance that needs to be identified,' said Ahmed. What was missing from the conversation, edited out perhaps, was any effort to identify any corresponding imbalance in Western philosophy and Christian and Jewish theology and practice. In its place was a concerted effort to ignore and obscure even the most obvious of the many failings and flaws that bedevil so-called Western modernity from within. Referring to September 11th, Moyers asked, 'Why didn't this attack come from Christian fundamentalists? Why didn't it come from orthodox Jews?' One of the Jewish conferees had a ready answer. 'First of all, Christian fundamentalists, whether you believe them or not, have come to terms with modernity. They are happy to live in the United States, which has embraced modernity. They don't like certain aspects of the culture, but they don't believe that the best thing to do for their version of the kingdom of God is to destroy modernity,' replied David Aikman. What could be further from the truth? Many Christian fundamentalists believe precisely that the best thing to do for their version of the kingdom of God is to destroy modernity. As yet another Texan, the late Grace Halsell, who, like Moyers, worked in the Johnson White House, pointed out in Forcing God's Hand: Why Millions Pray for a Quick Rapture and the Destruction of Planet Earth, more than 30 million Christian Zionists across the United States fervently hope and pray that, in their lifetimes, the modern world will be destroyed in a final battle, Armageddon, the conflict between good and evil at the end of the world. Moreover, many of them work industriously toward that goal, putting their efforts and their money behind Israeli plans for the creation of a greater Israel. In what Dr. Alfred M. Lilienthal called 'the strange marriage of convenience between the U.S. Christian Right and Israel,' U.S. Christian Zionists are providing political and financial support for the return of American Jews to Israel and the hundreds of still growing Jewish-only settlements established on illegally occupied Palestinian lands. Such illegal settlements are widely acknowledged to be the greatest obstacle to peace in the Holy Land. U.S. Christian Zionists support the illegal settlements in the fervent belief that their actions will hasten Armageddon, the end the modern world, and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. On July 9, a group of 400 American and Canadian Jews immigrating to Israel arrived in Tel Aviv on an El Al charter flight from New York. Each of the new Israeli settlers was supported by a grant of $5,000 from American evangelical Christians and each received additional funds through the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, a group with which Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, among other prominent U.S. political figures, is associated. Why did Moyers let Aikman's glib falsehood pass unchallenged? Could he have failed to take note of Christian Zionism and its proponents' alarming influence in American politics and foreign policy? Hardly, given that North Texas, where Moyers grew up, is the sentimental home of the socially and politically influential Christian doomsday cult. Its founder, an alcoholic Confederate Civil War veteran named Cyrus Schofield who wrote his own thoughts into the margins of what has come to be known as the Schofield Reference Bible, became the pastor of Dallas' First Congregational Church in 1882. His Armageddon theology, also known as Dispensationalism, is now taught in some 200 Bible colleges, seminaries, and institutes across the USA, including the large and influential Dallas Theological Seminary, where Hal Lindsey studied. Lindsey, author of the 1974 best-seller, The Late Great Planet Earth, which sold over 28 million copies and was made into a documentary film narrated by Orson Welles, popularized Armageddon theology and reshaped it in so-called modern Western consciousness into an apocalyptic nuclear third world war scenario that takes place in the Middle East. Today, three-fourths of those who attend the National Religious Broadcasters annual convention believe in Armageddon theology, and 'fast-paced end-time thrillers' are big sellers in bookstores across the U.S. The Now conversation focused on Islam's imperfections to the exclusion of Christianity's and Judaism's. In response to a question from Moyers, Kanan Makiya offered a remarkable observation. 'Let's face it,' said Makiya, 'there is a death wish, a death instinct in Islam.' If that is true, this Christian, who has yet to identify any sign of a death wish in any of his Muslim friends and acquaintances, suspects it is less the result of theology than of a modern economic, social, and political history experienced by the vast majority of Muslims as a history of scarcity, political repression, and conflict. Of course, Western critics blame Islam for this history, despite the West's prominent and continuing role in it. That the modern history of the Muslim world, and the Arab world in particular, has been and continues to be an experience largely imposed upon it by Western powers determined to secure and maintain access to oil and other natural resources owned by Arabs and Muslims is indisputable. Indeed, the economically and militarily enforced arbitrary imposition of Western values upon the peoples of the Islamic world, by rapacious Western corporations and technologically superior Western nations that take away from the Muslim world what they wish in the way of natural and human resources while supporting dictatorial repression, engenders frustration and resentment and provokes anger across the Muslim world. That frustration, resentment, and anger has achieved a certain critical mass in the form of Osama bin Laden ' s al-Qaeda terror organization. At the same time, Christian Zionism s primitive, dark, and violent theological doctrines, as dogmatically held and arguably at least as socially and politically influential as any of the supposedly evil doctrines that some Western critics are wont to see in Islam, are thriving in a Western economic, social, and political environment characterized by decades of unparalleled economic success, technological advancement, social progress, and triumphant political and cultural hegemony. Following the Vietnam War, American fundamentalists, including the Rev. Jerry Falwell, looked for inspiration to Israel's victories over its Arab neighbors. In the decades since America's ignominious defeat in Vietnam, conservative ideologues beguiled by Christian Zionism's violent theology have increasingly found fulfillment and taken a vicarious but nonetheless pathological pleasure in Israel's war against Palestinian civilians and its other Arab neighbors. The new 'war on terrorism' provides for more immediate and direct expressions of Christian Zionism's animosity toward any and all who stand between militant Christian fundamentalists and their dreams of and desire for rapture, heavenly release, on a schedule of their own making. If it is difficult to believe Moyers could be unaware of essential tenets of Christian Zionism's Armageddon theology, it is well nigh impossible to suppose he believes Christian Zionism's theology of death and destruction exemplifies the West's supposedly successful adaptation to modernity. So why, at a time when U.S. policy regarding the conflict in the Holy Land is clearly dictated by the Israeli government, and many Americans are wondering aloud if their president's publicly acknowledged belief in and debt to Christian philosophy and theology runs to Dispensationalism, did Moyers fail to point out that, if Christian Zionism is an embrace of modernity, it is an embrace that looks very much like a death grip? Arrogant and exclusivist Western notions of theological superiority, like claims that the West, particularly the United States and Israel, have successfully adjusted to modernity, ought to provoke hoots of laughter and a host of objections. Western colonialism, the lingering effects of which are still reverberating throughout the world, was, and is, based directly upon the most primitive and savage elements Old Testament Hebrew tribalism, the Promised Land/Chosen People theology. This patently racist theology of land theft, mass murder, and genocide, founded upon the supposed word of God as recorded in the Old Testament (see: Deuteronomy 20: 10-18, Joshua 6, Joshua 11:20, I Samuel 15:3, Psalms 21:9-10, et al.) and writ large again and again across the pages of history as the theological underpinning of the political ideology of Western colonialism, has informed the march of European and American-European conquest for centuries. Roy H. May, Jr., writing in Joshua and the Promised Land, notes: 'During the Middle Ages, European Christians launched military campaigns to take the Holy Land from the Muslims. Early on the Crusaders took Jericho. Following the example of Joshua 6, they marched around the city led by clergy carrying sacred banners and pictures of Christian saints. When the walls did not fall down as expected, they attacked and overran the city. Then they massacred the inhabitants. Jews were locked in their synagogue and burned alive. Even some of the Crusaders were horrified by the slaughter.' As May points out, the great American experiment in democracy was founded upon Biblically authorized land theft and slaughter: 'The Puritans who disembarked in Massachusetts in 1620 believed they were establishing the New Israel. Indeed, the whole colonial enterprise was believed to have been guided by God. . . . Promised Land imagery figured prominently in shaping English colonial thought. The Pilgrims identified themselves with the ancient Hebrews. They viewed the New World as the New Canaan. They were God's chosen people headed for the Promised Land. . . . This self-image of being God's Chosen People called to establish the New Israel became an integral theme in America's self-interpretation.' But to write, as May does, that 'most land was taken violently,' is to diminish the savagery of the European conquest of America. In New England Frontier: Puritans and Indians 1620-1675 by Alden T. Vaughan, we learn that the Puritans did not merely kill their native enemies but savagely mutilated them, too. They frequently set fire to native villages, shooting down those who were fortunate enough not to be burned alive. When they allied with a tribe, the Puritans demanded the body parts of their enemies as proof of the tribe's sincerity. After battle they often sold captured natives into slavery, and they were not averse to looking on as their native allies roasted and ate the dead. The Puritans viewed themselves as God's enforcers of law and order, prayed for guidance before setting out to hunt down their native enemies, and justified their own savagery by proclaiming their enemies to be 'Satan's horde' who had 'sinned against God and man.' May notes that, 'Land rights of native Americans were never taken seriously. Rather, they were seen as obstacles to the colonists' need for land. The Puritans did not respect the farms of Native Americans. They sought 'legal' ways to get their land. If a Native American broke one of the rigid Puritan religious laws, the fine was paid by giving up land. In this manner, some Puritans were able to amass large landholdings through the Massachusetts courts. John Winthrop, for example, obtained some 1,260 acres along the Concord River. . . . When the 1600s ended, most Native Americans in New England had been killed or driven away.' One hundred and sixty years later and half a continent to the West, the lot of Native Americans had not improved. In 1864, at Sand Creek in the Colorado Territory, a Methodist lay preacher and U.S. Cavalry officer, Col. John M. Chivington planned and led a liquored-up troop of irregular cavalry in an unprovoked surprise attack against a peaceful and unsuspecting native village. Over 200 Arapahos and Cherokees, mostly women and children, were slaughtered and mutilated. "The women and children were screaming and wailing, the men running to their lodges for their arms and shouting advice and directions to one another . . . Many of the people had preceded us up the creek, and the dry bed of the stream was now a terrible sight: men, women, and children lying thickly scattered on the sand . . . We . . . came to a place where the banks were very high and steep . . . and the older men and the women had dug holes or pits under the banks, in which the people were now hiding . . . Most of us . . . had been wounded before we could reach this shelter; and there we lay all that bitter cold day from early in the morning until almost dark, with the soldiers all around us, keeping up a heavy fire most of the time . . . That night will never be forgotten as long as any of us who went through it are alive . . . Many who had lost wives, husbands and children, or friends, went back down the creek and crept over the battleground among the naked and mutilated bodies of the dead. Few were found alive, for the soldiers had done their work thoroughly . . ." said George Bent, a Southern Cheyenne. ". . . I did not see a body of a man, woman, child but was scalped; and in many instances their bodies were mutilated in the most horrible manner, men, women, and children--privates cut out, etc. I heard one man say that he had cut a woman's private parts out and had them for exhibition on a stick; I heard another man say that he had cut the fingers off an Indian to get the rings on the hand . . . I also heard of numerous instances in which men had cut out the private parts of females, and stretched them over the saddle bows, and wore them over their hats, while riding in the ranks," reported First Lieutenant James Connor, United States Army. The Sand Creek Massacre outraged easterners, but it seemed to please many in the Colorado Territory. Chivington took a leading role in a Denver celebration where he delighted audiences with war stories and displayed 100 native scalps, including the pubic hair of women. Later denounced after a congressional investigation, Chivington was forced to resign. When asked at a military inquiry why children had been killed, one of the soldiers quoted Chivington as saying, "Nits make lice.' Chivington had come to Colorado to avoid more hazardous duty in the Civil War battles then raging in the South. He was known as a militant abolitionist, but his views on race seem to have been inconsistent and confused at best, not unlike some Americans' views today. Colonization schemes and ideologies based on Promised Land/Chosen People theology tend to corrupt and demoralize Judeo-Christian colonists almost as effectively as they damage, displace, and destroy communities and unhinge those unfortunate enough to have their lands, homes, and families targeted by Judeo-Christian colonizers. In 1996, the United Methodist Church officially apologized to Native Americans for the crimes of Col. John M. Chivington and the Sand Creek massacre. In the weeks after the September 11th attacks, President George W. Bush, yet another Texan and a Methodist, made a public comment that harkened back to an earlier era in American history: "When I was a kid I remember that they used to put out there in the Old West a wanted poster. It said, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive.'" History is not always kind to those who resort to wholesale slaughter in the name of security interests when somewhat narrower personal and partisan political interests, commercial interests, and national aggrandizement are the actual motivating factors. Promised Land/Chosen People theology/ideology and the demoralizing ultra-nationalistic criminality it so often engenders pose an unacceptable threat to human civilization in an era of weapons of mass destruction. But perhaps such concerns have escaped both the president and Bill Moyers. Campaigns of land theft and mass murder based upon Judeo-Christian theology were also carried out enthusiastically by European Christians in Central and South America and in Africa. Among the Afrikaners, May notes that the Promised Land/Chosen People theology ultimately, 'found its political expression and program in the National Party. This program was based on racial separateness and the belief that Afrikaners were set apart for a special mission in God's designs for political organization. Apartheid and Promised Land went hand in hand.' The state of Israel has likewise made use of the Promised Land/Chosen People theology and ideology. The early Zionists were secular Jews, Marxists and socialists, but they were quick to put the Promised Land/Chosen People theology/ideology to use for its political value, both as a means of attracting believing Jews to their cause and as a way of justifying their war of colonial conquest in Western eyes. May notes that religion and politics were joined, quoting Donald Harman Akenson writing in God's People: Covenant and Land in South Africa, Israel, and Ulster, 'By going back to the earliest scriptural texts, the parts of the Bible that defined the Promised Land and told the people to conquer it, the religious purpose of the Israeli people was declared to be the same as the purpose of the state, so long as it kept and colonized the 'occupied territories.' Thus, twentieth-century Israeli nationalism and some of the most ancient parts of the original Hebrew covenant were joined.' In the aftermath of two disastrously destructive world wars that began in Europe, the West wisely began to turn away from colonial conquest and rule if not economic and political interventionism, and around the world indigenous peoples began the difficult work of finding their way in a world that had been shaped by Western colonialists and their interests for centuries. All legitimate Western claims to have adjusted successfully to modernity are, in fact, predicated upon the not always entirely voluntary cessation of colonialist enterprises and the attendant systematic oppression, exploitation, mass murder, genocide, etc. perpetrated upon indigenous non-European peoples. But while other countries were turning away from colonialism, Israel, seen by the vast majority of the nations of the international community as a classic European colonialist enterprise because European (Ashkenazi) Jews founded and still managed the Zionist enterprise, has grown increasingly powerful under the auspices of the world superpower. Today, Israel, the world's fifth most powerful military force, armed with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of the latest U.S. military technology and between 200 and 500 of its own nuclear weapons made with stolen U.S. materials and technology, threatens to halt and reverse the trend of post-war, post-colonial social, economic, and political progress. Why then should it come as a surprise to the best and the brightest Western minds that many in the Islamic world, which has long struggled under the weight of Western economic and political domination and interventionism, deeply resent the world's only remaining colonialist enterprise, one that is underwritten by the United States government and the Judeo-Christian theology/ideology of land theft and genocidal slaughter? What kind of mind would expect Muslims to welcome foreign oppression, exploitation, and slaughter? Professor Michael Neumann of Canada's Trent University recently penned a remarkable essay titled 'What's So Bad About Israel?' In it he offers a compelling explanation of the gravity of Israel's crimes, crimes against Palestinians, yes, but crimes against modernity and human values that transcend the differences between East and West, between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Neumann writes: 'What Israel does is at the very center of the world stage, not only as a focus of media attention, but also as representative of Western morality and culture. . . . Its atrocities belong to its mainstream, its traditions, its founding ideology. They are performed by its heroes [and represent the] perhaps dominant version of its ideals. . . . What matters here is not Israel's arrogance, but its stature. Israel stands right in the spotlight and crushes an entire people. It defies international protests and resolutions as no one else can. Only Israel . . . dares proclaim: 'Who are you to preach morality to us? We are morality incarnate!' . . . It says, 'Look at us. We're taking these people's land, not because we need it, but because we feel like it. We're putting religious nuts all over it because they help cleanse the area of these Arab lice who dare to defy us. We know you don't like it and we don't care, because we don't conform to other people's standards. We set the standards for others.'' And that, of course, is precisely the problem. Israel is legitimizing systematic military conquest, oppression, and exploitation based on doctrines of racial and religious superiority and exclusivity, while the U.S., the dog wagged by the Israeli tail, having been drawn into a world wide war without end against terrorism by its unqualified support of Israeli criminality, is inadvertently legitimizing the suppression of human rights by dictatorial regimes around the world that are now using terrorism as a pretext for the systematic denial and violation of human rights and the suppression of legitimate dissent. Neumann continues, 'Israel Shahak and others have documented the rise of fundamentalist Jewish sects that speak of the greater value of Jewish blood, the specialness of Jewish DNA, the duty to kill even innocent civilians who pose a potential danger to Jews, and the need to 'redeem' lands lying far beyond the present frontiers of Israeli control. Much of this happens beneath the public surface of Israeli society, but these racial ideologies exert a strong influence on the mainstream. . . . The Israeli government can afford to let the fanatical race warriors go unchecked . . . As for the dissenters, don't they just show what a wonderfully democratic society Israel has produced? . . . It is this ability to command respect despite the most public outrages against humanity that makes Israel so exceptionally bad. . . . As the world slowly tries to emerge from barbarism--for instance, through the human rights movements for which Israel has such contempt--Israel mockingly drags it back by sanctifying the very doctrines of racial vengeance that more civilized forces condemn. Israel brings no new evils into the world. It merely rehabilitates old ones, as an example for others to emulate and admire.' It is important to note here that many devout traditional Jews view modern political Zionism, with its emphasis on schemes of material and increasingly militaristic conquest and temporal rule, as a form of heresy. They see political Zionism as a disastrous departure from spiritual Zionism and the spiritual concept of the kingdom of heaven, upon which the original Hebrew covenant--and Jewish intellectual and religious traditions that value dissent, human dignity and the sanctity of life--were based, a departure that represents a grave threat to all Jewry. But not one of those courageous Jews was invited to participate in Moyers' discussion group, and their events are seldom covered by mainstream print and broadcast media news organizations. Their persistent protests against political Zionism's excesses are lost in the din of Western mass media expressions of so-called pluralistic modernity. Small wonder that when some Western intellectuals, conservatives mostly, glibly attempt to equate modernity and what has been called the Judeo-Christian tradition, the vision those shibboleths conjure up among non-European peoples, including Arabs and Muslims, is less likely to be one of equality, freedom, self-determination, and social progress, than one of colonial oppression, exploitation, slavery, interventionism, bloody slaughter, mass murder, and genocide. Why does Moyers, who does a creditable job of criticizing the rapacity of unfettered capitalism and the dangers of rampant militarism on other occasions, seem to be ignorant of all such excesses when the topic is Islam? It is worth noting that in his feigned ignorance he accurately reflects the ethos of an American mass media industry that purposefully keeps Americans largely ignorant of our country's role in the world beyond our borders and frequently depicts non-European foreigners, most especially Arabs and Muslims, in demeaning racist stereotypes, all while conveying distinctly materialistic American and Western values to a wider world that is rightly suspicious of those values and in many cases alarmed and offended by them. Even America's European allies fear Hollywood's unrelenting blitzkrieg of socially destabilizing entertainment product, entertainment freighted with a seductive mix of salacious sex and gratuitous violence. They fear it will result in the same kind of tragic school massacres in European communities as have occurred repeatedly here in the U.S., and their fears appear to be well founded. Moyers is a player in an industry that informs an American cultural perspective that has become militantly materialistic and parochial, determinedly ignorant of the wider world and worse than careless regarding its responsibilities toward the peoples of that world, an America that is the only first-world government to routinely detain illegal immigrant children in jails with criminals who abuse them. It is that kind of systematically inculcated ignorance, parochialism, thoughtlessness, stupidity, and carelessness, as much as the arrogance of American military and corporate power abroad, that many Arabs and Muslims, among others, find so repellent, so offensive. Americans who fail to comprehend the damage wrought by decades of systematic oppression, exploitation, and interventionism carried out in their names in less developed countries around the world need only contemplate for a moment the painful economic losses here at home (lost jobs, investments, retirement savings, etc.) resulting from the collapse of some of America's largest and wealthiest corporations under the weight of American CEOs, CFOs, directors, accountants, investment bankers, stock brokers, and government watchdogs involved in a veritable orgy of fraud and avarice. If corporate America engages in that kind of criminal behavior here, ask yourself: How has corporate America behaved abroad, where its activities are not subject to U.S. law and the scrutiny of U.S. journalists? Our president has sought to blame the rising tide of anti-Americanism abroad on hate. 'They hate our freedom. They hate our freedom to worship. They hate our freedom to vote. They hate our freedom of the press. They hate our freedom to say what you want to say. They can't stand what we stand for,' said the president in one speech. More likely, they hate us because many wealthy and powerful Americans and their corporations habitually behave like thieves and gangsters, which, of course, is what some of them are. Foreign observers can hardly be blamed for thinking that America stands for that kind of criminal behavior--when it goes unchecked and unpunished for decades. Our president's plans to use the United States military abroad to a) fight Israel's enemies, b) serve as corporate America's enforcers, and c) fight terrorist organizations makes about as much sense as a plan to bomb the world into understanding "how good we are." It is a plan that is bound to fail catastrophically, disastrously. It will fan the flames of anti-American hatred; it will create new generations of terrorists; it will create police states; it will make Americans less safe and less free as it destabilizes much of world making life less enjoyable and more dangerous for everyone. One of the Now conferees was Charles Krauthammer, a determinedly pro-Israel and politically conservative Jewish commentator. 'You can't deny the modern history, which is that the chief source of anti-Semitism in the world today, the propagation in the media, in textbooks, is coming out of the Arab world. It's unfortunate, but it is a fact,' said Krauthammer. Krauthammer's assertion is a classic example of the manner in which America's determinedly pro-Israel broadcast media commentators seek to perpetuate politically useful negative stereotypes even as they deny viewers an accurate historical perspective and distort and misrepresent the complex reality of current events. In Krauthammer's world, there is no inconvenient context, no history of anti-Semitism prior to the Nazi holocaust, no hint that classic European anti-Semitism was a product of the Middle Ages following canon law prohibitions on the taking of interest, which put the money lending trade exclusively in the hands of the Jews, who were, of course, not subject to the laws of the Roman church. There is no mention that through usury, death pledges, and an extraordinary accumulation of money and real estate the Jews came to be so resented and hated in Europe during the Middle Ages that they were restricted to ghettos, forced to wear distinctive clothing (which some traditional Jewish groups still wear today), subjected to widespread persecution, blood libel, and, eventually, mass murder. All Krauthammer's American audience needs to know about anti-Semitism, in addition to what it already well knows about the Nazi holocaust, is that the Arab world is 'the chief source of anti-Semitism in the world today.' Missing is any suggestion that anti-Jewish sentiment in the Arab world might be an understandable result of the outrageous excesses of militant Zionist colonialism, Israeli state terrorism, and decades of political instability, repression, and economic hardship in the Arab world greatly exacerbated if not caused by Israeli expansionism, arms dealing, espionage, and black propaganda operations. No, if al-Jazeera would stop broadcasting images of U.S.-supplied F-16s bombing Palestinian police stations, businesses, and home into piles of rubble and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and Israeli tanks blowing apart Palestinian civilians, men, women, and children, if Arab governments would remove all mention of Israel's wars of conquest from their textbooks, all would be well in Krauthammer's world, which is the false mediated reality of American popular culture, which is acme of Western modernity, Now's modernity. I heard Bill Moyers speak at Drake University in Des Moines last November, a month or so after the September 11th attacks. In response to a question from the audience, he said, 'It's hard to get good information about the Middle East. It's there, but you have to search for it.' Moyers went on to say that to get information about the Middle East, he reads three foreign publications, two of them British. 'I read the Independent, the Guardian, and Dawn, a Pakistani newspaper,' said Moyers. But, sitting in a comfortable overstuffed chair in Cowles Library, speaking to a standing room only crowd of university faculty, family members, and friends, that was as far as the avuncular, confident progressive icon could go. Moyers could not, or would not, take the logical next step, a step that is second nature for any principled journalist. He could not explain why it is hard for Americans to get good information about the Middle East at the height of the information age. He could not explain because he knows all too well why it is difficult for most Americans to get good information about the Middle East and the conflict in the Holy Land in particular. The powers that be, the pro-Israel lobby, the owners of mass media, the movers and shakers in the American Jewish community who contribute somewhere between one third and one half of all the money that goes into political campaigns in the USA, that superbly well organized and focused, profoundly and inordinately influential ethnic special interest group does not wish Americans to get good information about the Middle East because, in their view, it is not in the interests of Israel and the American Jewish community for Americans to have ready access to unbiased news and information about the Middle East. Were Bill Moyers to tell Americans why it is hard for them to get good information about the Middle East, he would be out of a job. He would lose his access to America's 349 PBS television stations and virtually all other mainstream broadcast media outlets. The American Jewish establishment would ostracize and marginalize Bill Moyers, and it might even bring its very considerable resources to bear in an attempt to vilify and punish Bill Moyers. That's not a battle Moyers is prepared to fight, not a sacrifice he is prepared to make for the sake of truth, integrity, and country. As I said, Bill Moyers has disappointed, and that is deeply troubling. When the best and most accomplished professional journalists among us are afraid to speak truth to power, our country is in great danger, our most cherished freedoms, the ones that set the United States of America apart from nations where people cannot worship freely or voice dissent, are at great risk. Indeed, we have already lost something more precious than the lives that were taken from us on September 11th, as precious as those lives were and are to us. We have lost the freedom to act in ways that will prevent future terrorist acts here in our country. We've been hoodwinked. We've been cheated of our birthright as Americans, in a way not dissimilar to that in which some Americans have cheated others, but it was neither al-Qaeda nor the Taliban that robbed us of that freedom. Nevertheless, it happened on our watch, and we have to get back what has been stolen from us. We must take our country back. We have no alternative. We owe our children a world in which Americans are not justly feared, hated, and reviled. We owe our children and their children not an America that oppresses and exploits, not an America that rains down death and destruction from the sky, not an America that drives the world before it at gunpoint, but an America that leads the world by the power of its own positive example toward a brighter future of universal suffrage, self-determination, freedom, and justice for all. We have to take our country back, and we have to do it while keeping in mind that the rights of those who have hoodwinked and cheated us must be protected and their safety ensured even as their power is curtailed and the grave damage resulting from their excesses and abuses is ameliorated. It will mean insisting that our federal government change many of its ways. We must insist that our elected representatives act in good faith in Cobell v. Norton, the law suit which seeks to force the federal government to account for, collect, and disburse the billions of dollars owed to some 500,000 Native Americans who are beneficiaries of the Indian Trust. We must insist that our elected representatives look to President George Washington's Farewell Address for guidance in reformulating the organizing principles of our government's foreign policy establishment so that our Arab and Muslim friends know that the American people value their friendship and respect the dignity and human and civil rights of all peoples. We must insist that our elected representatives begin immediately address the root causes of international terrorism--oppression, exploitation, poverty, and state terrorism--by allowing other nations and peoples around the world, especially the long-suffering Palestinians, more freedom and more opportunities, even when doing so may not be to our economic advantage in the near term. We must insist that our elected representatives enact laws that will put corporate thieves and gangsters and those who collude with them behind bars with other common criminals where they belong. We must insist on honesty and fair dealing in government. The work before us is the challenge of the age. We must prevent a catastrophic interruption of cultural progress; we must halt human civilization's regression into an interregnum of wisdom, a new 'dark ages.' We must renew America, and we must begin soon. We will succeed if our efforts reflect a wholesome sincerity of purpose that inspires our friends even as it disarms our enemies. We will not fail because we can not fail. ---------------------- bill and the CIA (english) john browns daughter 9:01am Mon Jul 22 '02 comment#193670 check out the book "who's who in the CIA"...ole bill's got an interesting history... ---------------- tilting with windmills (english) rb 11:54am Mon Jul 22 '02 comment#193695 I like where you ended up but your problem is basically one of tilting with windmills, or just completely misconstruing the moment for your own fantasy's righteous need for attention. The Moyer's show was to give Americans a more congienial, and evenhanded understanding of the challenges the Muslim world has been facing and failing to address so far. It was not to take on the sad history of the West, Christianity or America. If you just take your little diatribe and consider it a preamble to such a discussion you'll see that you already ate up most of the time Moyers had to discuss the Arab situation. By the way while the West is certainly not Heaven, it did accomplish the first stages of modernity which the Islamic nations or cultures have not. However, as a second great subject for Moyers to bring on the air it might be well considered "where did we in the West lose the Road to The Enlightenment and get lost on the Road to Progress." --------------- Islam (english) B52 1:03pm Mon Jul 22 '02 comment#193714 Islam is a filthy, vile, vicious, cancerous, political manifesto of terrorism masquerading as religion, with its tenets clearly written in the blood of its victims. It is political cancer metastasizing into an anti-western genocidal cult. Its adherents are the most simpleminded of nationals cheering the murder of innocent civilians. Islam, like its communist neighbor, is attempting to destroy all western thought in favor of intolerance, mass murder and mass conformity. Islam is a direct attack on the individualism and freedom of thought that helped create the western world. If Islam is permitted its cancerous spread, the world will enter another dark age of bigotry, intolerance, and the genocidal rage of madmen masquerading as religious leaders. If Israel is any test case, Islam has proven its political ideology is one of hate, intolerance and genocidal rage. Virtually every Islamic nation is ruled with an iron fist because their Islamic populations behave like rabid dogs. Islam has proven itself incompatible with civilized western values, and should be treated as a political manifesto of terrorism. Spare me the body count of other religions: I haven't seen Catholics, Protestants, Jews, or any other religion take such pleasure in murdering innocents in my lifetime. The past is the past, and islam's murderous ideology seems to currently command somewhat of a popular monopoly in the "Joy of Killing" westerners, and, being a westerner, I'm quite prepared to return the favor a thousand fold. For westerners, the destruction of islam is a matter of survival. Unfortunately, too many religious individuals have been fooled into granting islam that which it does not deserve: survival. I've seen images of the followers of islam jumping, clapping, and cheering in a euphoric murderous orgy of twisted joy when some of islam's storm troopers killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11. Since I'm personally unencumbered by any religious baggage, I clearly see islam for the political manifesto of terrorism that it is, and that its followers are as deserving of the fate that their terrorists so willingly bestow upon others. Islam has earned its place in history with the bombing of the world trade center; now, we just need to secure its final resting place in the trash bin of history. -----------------