Friday, 31 December 2010

BDS: More Powerful than the Sword

Eric Walberg, over on Dissident Voice has written a helpful review of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel's illegal occupation of the Palestine during 2010. The aims are to penalise Israel both politically and economically to end the siege and make a just peace with the Palestinians.

Politically BDS has coaxed more and more governments to legitimise Palestine, even going as far as to delegitimise an apartheid Israel. Important steps include:

  • Venezuela and Bolivia cutting diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009 after the invasion of Gaza, Nicaragua after the attack on the Freedom Flotilla in May 2010.
  • Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay recognising a “free and independent” Palestine with 1967 borders in 2010, with Paraguay to follow suit in the spring.
  • Norway and Britain upgrading their Palestinian Authority representative to consul, with the new year promising more European countries to follow suit.
  • Edinburgh city council rejecting a bid by French company Veolia to take over public services due to its complicity with Israeli crimes.
  • Also in Scotland, Stirling city council approving a comprehensive boycott campaign against Israel’s “open aggression and disregard for international law.”
  • Marrickville, Australia, a sister city to Bethlehem since 2007, recently voting to support a comprehensive BDS campaign.

Israel besieges Gaza. BDS calls on the world to “besiege the siege”, to starve Israel of its export and import markets and pressure it to make a just peace with its captives. There were many victories on this economic front in 2010 too. Examples include:

  • Qatar cutting its trade relations with Israel;
  • deals cancelled with Turkey, the UK, Egypt and Gulf States;
  • a Turkish company demanding that Israeli companies sign a document condemning the Israeli massacre in Gaza to continue doing business. Israeli businessmen in Turkey now have to hide their identity;
  • Japan’s MUJI abandoning plans to invest in Israel, facing immense pressure from citizens in Japan and South Korea;
  • European Union guidelines requiring supermarkets to mark the origin of produce on labels to allow consumers to distinguish between Palestinian, Israeli and settlement produce;
  • Dutch pension fund PFZW disposing of the Israeli companies in its portfolio. Major Swedish and Norwegian investment funds sold their shares in all Israeli companies involved in building settlements and the separation wall;
  • the Chilean parliament’s decision to adopt a boycott of Israeli products made in settlements; and,
  • The decision by companies such as Multilock to close their West Bank businesses because of human rights organisation pressur

Read more here

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Surprise, Surprise: Christians “are becoming less sympathetic to Israel”

The Church of England Newspaper reports the findings of a recent survey conducted by the Board of Jewish Deputies which has found, surprise, surprise, a whopping 50 per cent of Christians and Jews believe that Christians “are becoming less sympathetic to Israel”.

Fewer than one in five of the Christians polled said they would describe themselves as "Zionist" with more than a quarter agreeing that, "Zionism is a colonial movement which, while not racist in intent, has resulted in racial discrimination."

The survey, published by the Forum for Discussion of Israel and Palestine(FODIP), also asked participants, both Christian and Jewish, to respond to four statements about Israel.

More than 50 percent of respondents agreed they had become "less sympathetic to Israel" in the past five years and less than one in 20 agreed that, "Christians are, and remain strong supporters of Israel".

This should have been blindingly obvious since British Christians are not fed the AIPAC censored pro-Zionist diet of CNN and Fox News. Instead they appreciate the factual reporting found in newspapers such as the Independent and Guardian as well as the reasonably balanced reporting of the BBC.

It also suggests Christian journals and agencies committed to justice and peace in Israel-Palestine are having an increasing impact. The most notably active in the UK (and regularly smeared by Zionist groups) include:

Amos Trust
Bethlehem Bible College
Biblelands
Christian Aid
Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI)
Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding
Friends of Sabeel UK
Holy Land Trust
Just Peace for Palestine
Musalaha
Open Doors
Tearfund
Third Way
World Vision

New films like With God on our Side and Little Town of Bethlehem are also helping to mobilize Christians to become active peacemakers in the Middle East.

The findings come one year after the Kairos Document – produced by Palestinian Christian leaders — which has rightly fuelled the campaign to boycott Israeli goods illegally produced in the 'white only' apartheid Settlements controlling the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Jesus Recruited: God-TV Helps Israel Oust Bedouin

Jonathan Cook has written an insightful update on the scandal of the 'God-TV Forest' Jesus Recruited: God-TV Helps Israel Oust Bedouin
Half a million trees planted over the past 18 months on the ancestral lands of Bedouin tribes in Israel's Negev region were bought by a controversial Christian evangelical television channel that calls itself God-TV.

A sign posted a few kilometres north of Beersheba, the Negev's main city, announces plans to plant a total of a million trees over a large area of desert that has already been designated “God-TV Forest”.

The Jewish National Fund, an international non-profit organisation in charge of forestation and developing Jewish settlements in Israel, received $500,000 from God-TV to plant some of the trees, according to the channel's filings to US tax authorities last year.

A coalition of Jewish and Bedouin human rights groups have denounced the project, accusing God-TV and the JNF of teaming up to force the Bedouin out of the area to make way for Jewish-only communities.

No one from God-TV was available for comment, but in a video posted on its website, Rory Alec, the channel's co-founder, said he had begun fundraising for the forest after receiving “an instruction from God” a few years ago. He said God had told him: “Prepare the land for the return of my Son.”

Standing next to the “God-TV Forest” sign, Alec thanked thousands of viewers for making donations to “sow a seed for God”, adding: “I tell you Jesus is coming back soon!”

Part of the forest has been planted on land claimed by the Aturi tribe, whose village, al-Araqib, is nearby.

Al-Araqib has been demolished eight times in recent months by the Israeli police as officials increase the pressure on the 350 inhabitants to move to Rahat, an under-funded, government-planned township nearby.

Earlier this year, Joe Stork, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa division, criticised the repeated attempts by Israeli authorities to eradicate the village and displace its residents.

“Tearing down an entire village and leaving its inhabitants homeless without exhausting all other options for settling long-standing land claims is outrageous,” he said.

Human Rights Watch and other international human rights groups have criticised Israel for harsh measures taken against the people of al-Araqib and the other 90,000 Bedouin who live in Negev villages that the Israel refuses to recognise. They accuse the government of trying to pre-empt a court case moving through Israeli courts aimed at settling the Bedouin ownership claims.

God-TV’s involvement in the dispute has prompted fresh concern.

Neve Gordon, a politics professor at Ben Gurion University in Beersheba, said the JNF, which has semi-governmental status in Israel, had set a “dangerous precedent” in accepting money from God-TV.

“The Israeli authorities are playing with fire,” he said. “This dispute between the Israeli government and the Bedouin is a long one that until now focused on the question of land rights. But the involvement of extremist Christian groups like God-TV is likely to turn this into a religious confrontation, and that will be much harder to resolve.”

The JNF did not respond to questions about its involvement with God-TV or the Negev forest.

Gordon said it was particularly worrying that Alec was using the language of Biblical prophecy in justifying his decision to finance the forest.

The channel, which has become one of the most popular global evangelical stations since its founding in Britain 15 years ago, claims a potential audience of up to a half-billion viewers, including 20 million in the United States.

Stephen Sizer, a British vicar and prominent critic of Christian Zionist groups, described God-TV as part of an evangelical movement that believes Israel's establishment and expansion are bringing nearer the “end times” – or the moment when, according to Christians, Jesus will return for the second time.

Its followers, he added, believed that, by dispossessing Palestinians of their land and replacing them with Jews, Jesus's return could be expedited.

Read the whole article over at the Palestine Chronicle

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Is Britain Poised to Recognise the Palestinian State?

Not to be outdone by other European countries, according to Irish sources (admittedly sympathetic themselves), the UK government is poised to upgrade the diplomatic status of Palestinian Delegation in London. This is an essential step toward Britain recognising the Palestinian State, as France is considering doing Several leading Latin American countries including Brazil and Argentina have already done so. The momentum is growing. Next step a UN Resolution which the US Administration will find hard to veto.

Read more here on the Palestine Telegraph.

Suicide or Murder? Iranian General Dies in Israeli Jail

Richard Silverstein breaks the following news this morning.

Hold on to your hats because this post is going to be a wild ride.  New and astonishing developments in the case of Prisoner X, known to a source within Ehud Barak’s inner circle as Ali Reza Asgari, retired Iran Revolutionary Guard general and former deputy defense minister. 
I exposed the name of Prisoner X here a few weeks ago.  Today, brings news from Israel that Asgari is dead in his cell.  According to the standard version, he committed suicide in his cell within the past week or so.  Ynet reported the suicide story and noted that it was under gag order.  Of course, this story was erased from the internet, but I’m posting a copy of the article which was taken down from the Ynet site.
Read more here

Thursday, 23 December 2010

China's Anti-Christian Edict

"Politburo campaign puts house-church leaders at greater risk" says David Aikman, writing for Christianity Today. The announcement by China Aid.org that the Chinese Politburo had decided to unleash a major new assault on China’s house-church community was broadly publicized after the original press release in early December. But the organization also paid a heavy price.

Its own website was brought down by a concerted attack of hackers within hours of the December 1 starting date of the new Politburo-organized campaign. Within three and a half days, skilful Internet repair operators have restored the China Aid website to normal.

China Aid says it believes the Chinese government might well have been behind the website attack because hundreds of thousands of different computers have to be commanded to overload a website before an attack can be successful, and only a government-sized agency could mobilize such an attack, says a China Aid officer.

A China Aid representative also said that he had heard reports coming from China of close surveillance and investigation of a few Chinese Christian leaders in Beijing, and in Henan Province in the center of China.

“The leaders we spoke to said that something unusual was happening,” he said. One house church pastor from central China said that he had the impression that the authorities were collecting evidence to put him behind bars.

China Aid was especially watching the case of Dr. Fan Yafeng, the head of Christian Human Rights Lawyers of China and of the Shengshan (Holy Mountain) Research Institute. Fan had been detained for nine days, his wife had been interrogated overnight, and items had been removed by authorities from both his home and the research institute.

Read more here: Christianity Today

Today, China Aid posted a statement from Fan Yafeng in which he expresses thanksgiving for the prayerful support of the global Christian community. Click here for the statement.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Savage attack in Jerusalem forest

The savage attack on December 18, 2010 in the Jerusalem forest where Kristine Luken was killed and Kay Wilson seriously wounded, has shocked family, friends and the community of Christ Church Jerusalem.

Kristine, a US citizen, worked for CMJ (Church's Ministry Among Jewish People) in Nottingham UK and was a frequent visitor to Jerusalem. She had an infectious love for God and a great admiration and love for the Jewish people and the Holy Land. Recently, she studied Jewish history and the Holocaust on a CMJ sponsored tour of Poland.

Kay Wilson is the main educator for Shoresh Study Tours, a ministry of Christ Church Jerusalem, specializing in teaching the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. She is a well-loved guide and a gifted communicator as many Shoresh participants will attest. She is also an accomplished jazz pianist and artist. We ask that you join us in prayer for Kay's ongoing recovery. We will be organizing practical help for Kay as her needs become apparent.

On Thursday December 23rd at 4 p.m. we will hold a memorial service for Kristine at Christ Church in the Old City. We are creating a memorial for Kristine in the Christ Church Heritage Center, a ministry she loved. (Donations gratefully received). We also ask for prayer for Kristine's family.

In life Kristine was a faithful follower of Jesus and gave herself fully to the work of her Lord. In the midst of grief and great sorrow, we know Kristine’s life and work were not in vain and we take comfort in the promise of eternal life through the resurrection of Jesus the Messiah.

As a committed Christian with a deep love for the Jewish people she had had contact with CMJ in America, Israel and the UK. When the administrator position became available in the UK Kristine applied and was appointed in October 2009.

She had to cope with a move to a new country as well as a new job but quickly made the adjustment and became a key member of our team. She had a beautiful and gentle spirit as well as a strong and vibrant faith. She loved Israel and had visited on several occasions both as a tourist and as a member of CMJ. She had just taken on responsibility for Shoresh Tours, a CMJ company that organizes tours to Israel. Kay Wilson, who is the senior tour guide for Shoresh, was a close personal friend of Kristine’s as well as a colleague and her visit to Israel was for both

It is a tragedy that such a lively, caring and faith filled person should have been struck down in such a way. We are praying for her friends and family at this tragic time. However, CMJ will continue to share the gospel with the Jewish people and to work for forgiveness and reconciliation in Israel. This is a mandate that God gave us 201 years ago and we are confident that the best epitaph we could give Kristine is to continue to that to which she was totally committed to supporting.

by Rev. David Pileggi, Christ Church, Jerusalem and Robin Aldridge, CEO, CMJ UK


In correspondance with a colleague who knew Kristine, I wrote,

I grieve at Kristine’s death, as well as for Kay in her injuries and trauma, and also for their grieving families...

Instead of speculating about theories as to the motives of the murderers, or blaming the wider community, lets agree this was a murderous criminal act and lets pray for the speedy apprehension, conviction and punishment of the killers.

Every human being is created in the image and likeness of God and for whom Christ died. I will not divide Jew from Palestinian in my prayers or my evangelistic calling.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Narnia's 'Voyage of the Dawn Treader' is #1 Box Office Christmas Hit

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 3D remains at No. 1, earning $29.9 million in 61 markets. With a strong release in Germany this past weekend, the third installment in the adaptation of the C.S. Lewis book series has earned an international total of $124.4 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Read more of the Independent report here

Watch or read a sermon on the Voyage of the Dawn Treader called "A Lion in the Manger" delivered at our Carol Service last night.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

If you doubt the power of the Israel Lobby...

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved a resolution opposing the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.The resolution calls on the U.S. administration to "deny recognition to any unilaterally declared Palestinian state and veto any resolution by the United Nations Security Council to establish or recognize a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated by the two parties." It also urges Palestinian leaders to "cease all efforts at circumventing the negotiation process, including efforts to gain recognition of a Palestinian state from other nations, within the United Nations, and in other international forums prior to achievement of a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians… and calls upon foreign governments not to extend such recognition."

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimous about something? Anything? Just their opposition to the democratic rights of the Palestinian people, denied since the duplicitous Balfour Declaration in 1917. How ironic that the US House of Representatives is doing to the Palestinians precisely what the British did to them in the 18th Century. How tragic that those who stand for liberty, deny it so forcefully to others.

Read more Palestinian PM: Plan to declare statehood by 2011 remains on track

Letter to the Church Times: Occupied Palestine is not Israel

Dear Sir,

We write as members of the Interfaith Group for Morally Responsible Investment (IMRI), a group of Christians, Jews and Muslim individuals and others representing a variety of organisations, with regards to the full page advert that appeared in The Church Times on 10th December, advertising tours to the Holy Land.

We wish to object to the advert on three grounds:

Truthfulness
We believe that the advertisement breaches the guidelines of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on the grounds of truthfulness. We state this, because the website that it advertises, and that contains all the details respondents would need (http://www.walkwherejesuswalked.com) talks of visiting Israel, yet includes on its list of attractions and itineraries, the old city of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and details of a website that links to an Israeli Tourist Board itinerary that includes the Latrun Monastery. In reality, as the International Court of Justice stated on 9th July 2004, these places are within the militarily Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and so are not part of Israel. The http://www.walkwherejesuswalked.com website featured in the advertisement also links to and draws heavily from the website of the Israeli Tourist Board, which shows a map of "Israel" http://www.goisrael.com/vt/tour.aspx?map_id=1. Whilst this map does show the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in a slightly different shade of grey, it does not include any labels to say that the West Bank is in the Occupied Territories. In the case of the Golan Heights, which are legally part of Syria, they are not even shown in a different shade of grey.

You are undoubtedly aware of previous decisions of the ASA to criticise adverts that falsely claim or give the false impression that parts of the Occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and East Jerusalem are actually part of Israel. Thus on 15th July 2009, the ASA stated that an Israel Government Tourist Office poster, that "featured a map of Israel that included the West Bank, the Gaza strip and the Golan Heights," broke the advertising code. The map in that advertisement was similar to the one in the website advertised by The Church Times, in that the ASA “noted that the map showed border lines for the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, but we also noted that those border lines were faintly produced and difficult to distinguish on the map itself”. In a further ruling on 14th April 2010, the ASA ruled that another advertisement, this time of the Israeli Government Tourist Office, which also advertised visits to “Israel”, breached the code because it featured a picture of the “Western Wall of the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock,” in East Jerusalem. East Jerusalem, is of course, not part of Israel but is under military Occupation. These rulings all build on a similar ASA ruling from 9th April 2008. The result of these adjudications was that “the ad breached CAP Code clause 7.1 (Truthfulness)” and further that the ads must be withdrawn or that “the ad must not appear again in its current form.”

Studying carefully the rulings of the ASA, we therefore believe that this Church Times advertisement would also breach the code and we are considering writing to the Advertising Standards Authority accordingly.

Balance
We further wish to object to the advert on the grounds that, even though some Occupied Palestinian territories are mentioned, the vast majority of the locations that the website recommends to visit are within Israel itself. However, it makes the astonishing and incorrect assertion, at the top of the second paragraph of the home page of http://www.walkwherejesuswalked.com/, that “Israel is the Holy Land”. In reality, the territory between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, which many people consider to be the Holy Land, and which has sites holy to Christianity, Judaism and Islam, contains both Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Arguably, as well, the term “the Holy Land” could also include parts of Jordan. For the advert to claim that “Israel is the Holy Land” is a gross insult to the many Palestinian Christians of Bethlehem and elsewhere within the West Bank – people with whom readers of The Church Times must surely wish to identify. Such exclusive claims by Israel to be “the Holy Land” do nothing for the cause of peace and reconciliation between the Israelis and Palestinians who share that small piece of land.

As people who have visited the Holy Land ourselves, often many times, we believe it is so important that Western Christians meet the “living stones”, the Palestinian Christians who are suffering so much following 43 years of Occupation. Indeed, Palestinian Christian leaders such as His Beatitude Patriarch Michel Sabbah, in their Kairos Document of 2009, pleaded with us to do just that. It is for this reason that the Methodist Conference in June 2010, similarly called on Christians to visit the Palestinian Christians, see and experience the suffering of those living under Occupation. Methodists were confident that if Jesus were to visit the Holy Land once more, he would be far more concerned to reach out to the needy, the homeless and the persecuted, than to visit the religious sites of events that took place 2000 years ago.

Sponsors of the advert
We also note that the sponsors of this advertisement are the “Israel Government Tourist Office”. This is of course a body of the Government of Israel, a Government that has been accused of the most serious of war crimes by, amongst others, Justice Richard Goldstone in his report to the United Nations on Israel’s war on Gaza. Amongst the accusations Justice Goldstone makes in his official UN report, are that Israel used phosphorus weapons on civilian areas, that it used human shields, it deliberately targeted civilians including children and that needlessly destroyed thousands of homes for no militarily satisfactory reason. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have made similar accusations on both this and Israel’s earlier 2006 war against Lebanon. It is surely wrong to publish an advert from a Government under serious suspicion of such war crimes.

We therefore write to ask you to please consider the concerns we have raised about this advert. Christians must surely be concerned about the need to end injustice yet this advert has the potential to perpetuate an existing injustice.

We ask for assurances that this advert will not be considered for inclusion in any future editions of The Church Times.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Canon Garth Hewitt, Amos Trust, Canon of St George’s Cathedral Jerusalem
Abe Hayeem, Chair, Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine
Diana Neslen, Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Ibrahim Hewitt, Senior Editor, Middle East Monitor
Pat Price-Tomes, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) UK
Dr Stephen Leah, Member, Methodist Church
Ben White, Campaign Coordinator, A Just Peace for Palestine
Revd Dr Stephen Sizer, Vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water
Revd Tony Graham, Anglican
Penny Rivers, Anglican
Jan Davies, Sabeel UK
Angus Geddes, Member of URC Church
Isobel Webster, A Just Peace for Palestine

Members of Interfaith Group for Morally Responsible Investment

America's War Against Islam

Patrick Seale delivered the BRISMES lecture at the British Academy on 18 November 2010. His paper was entitled America’s War against Islam Here is his introduction and conclusion:
It must now be clear to everyone that President Barack Obama has failed to keep his promise to the Muslim world. In Cairo last year, and on subsequent occasions, he pledged that the United States was not, and would never be, at war with Islam. These words awakened immense hope throughout the Muslim world, but that hope has now given way to an equally immense disillusion. Most Muslims see little difference between Obama and his belligerent predecessor, George W Bush. For them, America is at war with Islam.And some of them intend to fight back.
There is an element of perplexing ambiguity about President Obama. He sends mixed signals. According to one view – a view I myself have held for some time -- he is a man of the Third World. His father was a Muslim. He spent some early years in Indonesia. He is the first black president of the United States. Everything about this background would suggest that he knows what needs to be done to defuse Muslim hostility and protect Western and American vital interests.
But there is another view of him, which has come to the fore, namely that he is really an all-American boy, who grew up in Hawaii, went to Harvard and then to Chicago, a very American town, and that he simply doesn’t really understand why Muslims are angry.
Obama may prefer America not to be at war with Islam, but he has done nothing about it except to utter a few emollient words – such as his speech a week or two ago in Jakarta -- as if Muslim hostility to the United States were only an unfortunate misunderstanding to be lifted by a little good will.
Instead of acting resolutely to defuse Muslim anger, he has placed himself in the hands of the very same people who have been making America’s disastrous Middle East policy under both parties for the past several decades. He has bowed to domestic pressures from powerful pro-Israeli lobbies and their affiliated think-tanks, from the US Congress, from a phalanx of neo-conservatives whose influence still reaches deep inside the Administration, from the higher ranks of the U.S. military, from hectoring TV channels such as Fox News, and from an ignorant and increasingly right-wing and Islamophobic American public, still demanding vengeance for the attacks on the American heartland of 11 September 2001.
As America wages war against Islam more ferociously than ever, so the threat of attack from radical Islamic groups has grown rather than retreated under Obama’s presidency...
and his sober conclusion:
Evidently, there is an urgent need to end the war between Islam and the West. In dealing with terrorism, police and counter-terrorist methods are obviously necessary, but they are not sufficient. The flow of angry recruits into militant organisations must be staunched. The only way to do so is to bring about a radical change in Western policies and attitudes towards the Arab and Muslim world and its conflicts.
Is there a realistic chance of any of this happening any time soon? I must admit that I don’t think so. Obama has been weakened; Europe remains divided; Israel is unrelenting; islamophobia is on the upswing. It looks as if the struggle will continue. We may indeed have to expect further calamities.
Read the whole paper here 

Visit Patrick Seale's website for more of his articles.

Monday, 13 December 2010

The Jewish National Fund and God TV's Forest of Hate



Video: GOD-TV’s Nakba Against Bedouin Negev Village

Max Blumenthal and Richard Silverstein  produced this video which tells the tale of the Nakba committed against the Bedouin village of Al Araqib by the Israeli State land thieves.

Richard Silverstein writes,
 No word on the fate of the Bedouin of the Negev who seem to be vanished ghosts in GOD-TV’s eyes. They’re little more than collateral damage in the far more important doings that will lead to the End Times. Please do what you can to spread word about the video. We’d like it to be seen by as many people as possible and so bring the plight of the Negev Bedouin to the world’s attention.
Check out my earlier posting Is God-TV Funding Ethnic Cleansing in the Negev?

Sunday, 12 December 2010

A Damning Indictment: a Review of Martin Gilbert's "In Ishmael's House"

Robert Irwin has written a clear and concise review of Martin Gilbert's In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands.

Entitled a Damning Indictment, it is not entirely clear whether this is Irwin's assessment of Gilbert's historiography (i.e. questionable and selective sources) or his conclusions (Jews have indeed been badly treated in Muslim lands) or perhaps both.
The subtitle to Martin Gilbert's new book (his 81st?) is a little misleading. This is not really a general account of the fortunes and misfortunes of Jews under Muslim rule from the seventh century until the present day...
...In the House of Ishmael reads more like a bill of indictment than a history. It is overwhelmingly focused on the sufferings of the Jews in the Islamic lands in the 20th and 21st centuries in the wake of the foundation of the Zionist movement, the establishment of Israel and the successive victories of Israel over Arab armies. The indictment is damning indeed. From Afghanistan to Morocco, Jews were made to suffer for the successes of Zionism. They were humiliated, robbed, raped, imprisoned, tortured and killed. In Iraq and elsewhere there were mass hangings of innocent Jews.

Gilbert has so much material and such a strong case that it should not have been necessary to stack the deck. Yet it seems to me that he has done so and his use of sources is sometimes questionable...

Gilbert's notes cite Bat Ye'or with approval several times. When, in 2002, her book Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide appeared, I reviewed it and then threw the book away. Bat Ye'or is not an academic and her books are poorly ordered assemblages of facts, real or alleged, that relentlessly show Islam and Arabs in an unfavourable light.
She believes that there is an Islamic conspiracy to turn Europe into something she calls "Eurabia". Those interested to get a fuller sense of the dementedly Islamophobic polemics of this woman should consult the website www.loonwatch.com.

When Gilbert discusses what was happening in Palestine during the British mandate, he quotes Joan Peters's From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine to back up his assertion that more Arabs than Jews entered Palestine as immigrants in the 1930s. But when that book was published in 1984, critics swiftly demonstrated that its use of archives and statistics was seriously flawed and substantially misleading. Yehoshua Porath, professor of Middle East History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, denounced the book as "sheer forgery".
Irwin concedes,
In the House of Ishmael, full of vivid accounts of Jewish sufferings in the Middle East, did not need the testimony of false friends to pad its grim story out. Its account of the slow-burning tragedy of the extinction of Jewish communities in the Arab world is moving and important. It should be read.  
Read the whole of Irwin's review here.

Avi Schlaim has also written a perceptive review for the Financial Times In Ishmael's House.
Gilbert is an anecdotal historian, not an analytical one. He has produced a lively chronicle of the Jews in Muslim countries from Morocco to Afghanistan. He has rich materials at his disposal and he is attentive to the human voices of individuals. But his account is both highly selective and narrowly focused on the Jews. What is missing is the wider political, social and economic context to enable the reader to place the Jewish minority in each Muslim country within its proper historical perspective...

Despite all its shortcomings, Gilbert’s book is an illuminating and a moving account of the history of the Jews in Arab lands. But he is psychologically hard-wired to see anti-Semitism everywhere. The picture he paints is consequently unbalanced. By dwelling so persistently on the deficits, he downplays the record of tolerance, creative co-existence and multi-culturalism in Muslim lands which constitutes the best model we have for a brighter future.
Read the whole of Schlaim's review here

Richard Silverstein points out that the position of the United States administration has not always favoured the Jewish people either. In Kissinger: Gas chambers not an American concern, he cites a conversation between Nixon and Kissinger following a visit of Golda Meir to Washington in 1973.
moments after she left, Nixon and Mr. Kissinger were brutally dismissive in response to requests that the United States press the Soviet Union to permit Jews to emigrate and escape persecution there. “The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy,” Mr. Kissinger said. “And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.” “I know,” Nixon responded. “We can’t blow up the world because of it.” 
Silverstein points out,
This was precisely the attitude of the FDR administration toward Jewish victims during the Holocaust.  It was no a strategic or military concern of the Allies in prosecuting the war.  It was merely a humanitarian concern, with “humanitarian” falling very far down in the list of priorities. To a certain extent this approach still afflicts policymakers as reflected in western paralysis in the face of genocide in places like Rwanda, Bosnia, Congo and Sudan.
See also Christian minorities living under Islamic rule

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Is Christmas Just for Children? John Ross


John Ross "Is Christmas Just for Children?" from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

John Ross is the Minister of Farnham Baptist Church. He spoke today at a Men's Breakfast at Christ Church, Virginia Water on "Is Christmas just for children?"

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Foreign Secretary William Hague "Settlements are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace."


The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have just issued a press release headed, Foreign Secretary "disappointed" Israel has not renewed the freeze on settlement construction.

The press release elaborates, "Foreign Secretary William Hague said that settlements are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace."
The Foreign Secretary said:

I am disappointed that Israel has not renewed the freeze on settlement construction and that peace talks are currently on hold. It is Britain’s longstanding view that settlements are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace.

I spoke to US Envoy Senator Mitchell to underline Britain’s support for work to find a way forward. The leadership of the United States remains vital.

There is an urgent need for progress to secure a two state solution, based on 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the future capital of two states and with a fair settlement for refugees. This is important for Israelis, for Palestinians and for the international community including the UK.

We will continue to work with the United States, the parties to the conflict and with our EU and UN partners to achieve a two state solution. In addition, we will continue to press for an end to all settlement activity.
When the British Foreign Secretary is ‘disappointed’ you better watch out. When he says, “The leadership of the United States remains vital” he means “The leadership of the United States remains responsible for this mess."

What he means by "a two state solution" is at best enigmatic and at worst is, to use a phrase from Monty Python, "a dead parrot"

The Palestinian Ambassador to the UK Professor Manuel Hassassian welcomed the recent statement made by the British Foreign Secretary the Rt. Honourable William Hague on Israeli policy on the “non-renewal of the freezing of settlement constructions”  Prof. Hassassian added that this statement has been a milestone in British-Palestinian relations advocating a new vision for peace and stability in the region. We welcome the Foreign secretary’s statement in support of a two state solution which has strengthened the viability of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

WikiLeaks is a Good Thing?

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Johann Hari, writing in the Independent, yesterday, has some perceptive comments to make in an article entitled This case must not obscure what WikiLeaks has told us. So is WikiLeaks actually a  good thing?
Every one of us owes a debt to Julian Assange. Thanks to him, we now know that our governments are pursuing policies that place you and your family in considerably greater danger. Wikileaks has informed us they have secretly launched war on yet another Muslim country, sanctioned torture, kidnapped innocent people from the streets of free countries and intimidated the police into hushing it up, and covered up the killing of 15,000 civilians – five times the number killed on 9/11. Each one of these acts has increased the number of jihadis. We can only change these policies if we know about them – and Assange has given us the black-and-white proof.
Each of the wikileaks revelations has been carefully weighed to ensure there is a public interest in disclosing it. Of the more than 250,000 documents they hold, they have released fewer than 1000 – and each of those has had the names of informants, or any information that could place anyone at risk, removed. The information they have released covers areas where our governments are defying the will of their own citizens, and hiding the proof from them. 
Read more here

The phone is off the hook

The talks are over. Nobody is talking. Nobody wants to deal. The phone is off the hook. President Obama's failure to tempt, bluster or cajole Netanyahu into a compromise over a brief Settlement moratorium has exposed the intransigence of the Israeli government and offers the Palestinian leadership and three other members of the Quartet, the chance to take the initiative. BBC's Jeremy Bowen in Middle East crisis is embarrassing for Washington is spot on.
America's policy towards the Israelis and Palestinians is in disarray.
The attempt to persuade, cajole and bribe Israel into a limited and partial freeze on building for Jews in the occupied territories has been declared dead.
That at least replaces some wishful thinking with a note of realism.
Unless there is a parallel, top secret peace negotiation going on that will surprise the region, as the Oslo agreements did in 1993, it is clear that the Americans are floundering.
Never mind the embarrassment that this very public display of the limits of their influence with Israel has caused President Barack Obama and his administration.
In the age of Wikileaks, they must be getting used to red faces. 
Read more here

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

French To Recognise Palestinian State

According to Press TV, France has declared that it will recognize a free and independent Palestinian state based on borders before the 1967 war, becoming the first European nation to do so.

Bernard Valero, a spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that Paris agrees with the formation of a Palestinian state based on the exchange of land between Israel and the Palestinians.

Valero also expressed hope that peace talks between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel will resume.

During the past week, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay have all sent letters to acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas, declaring that they recognize a free and independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

Map Reveals Cause of Crisis in the Middle East

See BBC Report Middle East peace talks crisis over settlement row

When Appeasement Fails

The BBC claims "US scraps demand for Israel settlements freeze". If only it had been a 'demand' with penalties instead of an inducement with sweetners, the US Administration might have got somewhere. The second paragraph makes the Palestinians sound like the bad guys:
The United States is abandoning efforts to persuade Israel to renew a freeze on settlement-building as part of efforts to revive Middle East peace talks. Washington had been negotiating with Israel to try to meet Palestinian conditions for restarting direct talks.
Washington had patently not been negotiating with Israel to try and meet Palestinian 'conditions'. The Palestinians insist on a withdrawal of the settlements, not merely a 3 month moratorium. They want to see the implementation of UN Resolution 242, and Israel recognise its own borders, based on international law, not simply a freeze, least of all a paltry three month freeze, with the assurance that no further restraint would be asked for. The US Administration has been attempting to placate the Israeli leadership and delay the implementation of international law.

The US Administration seems to be following the same discredited strategy of the British government expressed by Arthur James Balfour.
"The Balfour Declaration, made in November 1917 by the British Government...was made a) by a European power, b) about a non-European territory, c) in flat disregard of both the presence and wishes of the native majority resident in that territory...[As Balfour himself wrote in 1919], 'The contradiction between the letter of the Covenant (the Anglo French Declaration of 1918 promising the Arabs of the former Ottoman colonies that as a reward for supporting the Allies they could have their independence) is even more flagrant in the case of the independent nation of Palestine than in that of the independent nation of Syria. For in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country...The four powers are committed to Zionism and Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desire and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land,'" Edward Said, "The Question of Palestine."
I am not surprised the Palestinians didn't buy the offer then or now. I am surprised the Israelis turned down the billions of dollars worth of additional war planes, UN vetoes and diplomatic guarantees. They had absolutely nothing to lose except a short temporary delay to continuing the expansionist agenda declared by Herzl long ago in 1904 (see below).

And by the way BBC, the settlements are not, "considered illegal under international law" - they are illegal under international law.

See also Philip Weiss, What’s That Giant Sucking Sound? Peace Talks Going Down the Toilet
  

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Sometimes it is Better to be Wronged than Right

Lawsuits are breaking out all over Canada's Messianic Jewish ministry community, as one of the largest organizations dedicated to reaching Jewish people for Christ is exchanging legal actions with a man who went to work for another one. Marcello Araujo is suing Jews For Jesus Canada for wrongful termination. The organization let him go in 2005 for getting married without their counsel or consent, which they say violated the organization's Worker's Covenant. Araujo responds that he never signed the covenant. Jews For Jesus Canada, meanwhile, is suing Araujo right back, saying that when he went to work for another group, Chosen People Ministries Canada, he took a donor's list with him. Araujo counters that he has only contacted donors he personally brought in for his former organization. According to the National Post, a trial has not been scheduled.

Source: Christianity Today 

"The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?" (1 Corinthians 6:7)

Monday, 6 December 2010

Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, Hallelujah Chorus

On the Historical Necessity of WikiLeaks

Lawrence Davidson has written an important article on this controversial subject.
Given the ahistorical nature of the public mind, few people will recall that as the United States prepared to enter World War I, American citizens were quite exercised over the issue of "open diplomacy." Indeed, at the time, President Woodrow Wilson made it the number one issue of his fourteen points–the points that constituted U.S. war aims, and so the ones for which some 320, 518 American soldiers were killed or wounded in the subsequent year. Here is how the president put it while addressing Congress on 8 January 1918. “The program of the world’s peace…is our program” and among the fourteen prerequisites to peace is “1. Open covenants of peace must be arrived at, after which there will surely be no private international action or rulings of any kind, but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.”
Why did Wilson make this number one on his list of war aims? Because those Americans who paid attention to such issues did not trust the European style of international relations. They thought it was corrupt and tainted by narrow interest that seemed always to lead to conflict. This was one of the beliefs that encouraged American isolationism. However, Wilson was not an isolationist. He wanted the United States to engage in the world and take a leadership position. He imagined that America was a morally superior nation and its involvement in international affairs would make the world better. "Diplomacy proceeding frankly and in the public view" was his first move in the effort to assert that idealistic American leadership. So what would Woodrow Wilson, or for that matter the educated and aware American citizen supporting him in 1918, say about Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and other U.S. officials and "pundits" running about and insisting on the absolute need for secret diplomacy, while calling those who defy that standard criminals? What indeed?! 
He concludes,
Woodrow Wilson had it wrong about America. The United States is not a morally superior nation and its elites have always been just as corruptible and obsessed with secrecy as any in Europe. His plea for open diplomacy never had a chance on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. If Wilson’s idealism was seriously wounded at Versailles, it was killed outright by the Republican majority in the Senate which refused to ratify the peace treaty he brought home. Why? Largely because of the desire to frustrate and ruin a Democratic president. Sound familiar?

Can one imagine circumstances in which diplomatic interaction necessities secrecy? I am sure one can. However, those circumstances should be exceptional. They should not constitute the norm. And, there should be clear criteria as to what constitutes such circumstances. Arriving at those criteria should be part of a widespread public debate over a seminal right– the right to know what your government is doing in your name. At this point you might ask, what widespread public debate? Well, the one that supporters of Julian Assange and Wikileaks are trying desperately to begin.
Read the whole article on Media With Conscience

A Boycott Toolkit

Palestine is in crisis. Today Palestinians are subjected to daily human rights abuse and live in crushing poverty in refugee camps and under Israeli occupation. The United Nations estimates that 60% of the population of the Occupied Palestinian Territories lives in poverty, due in large part to the devastation of the Palestinian economy by Israeli policies of control and closure.

This War on Want report exposes the companies that are profiting from the Occupation and calls on ordinary people around the world to take action. War on Want believes that the global community has a duty to support the Palestinian people in the struggle for their rights.

James O'Nions writes,
"War on Want’s fantastic new report, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: Winning justice for the Palestinian people is therefore an important resource in this regard. Alongside succint summaries of various injustices the Palestinian people face, from water grabbing in the Jordan Valley, to the denial of the right to return of Palestinian refugees, to the Apartheid Wall itself, there’s a clear target for campaigning and actions you can take. Not all of these are companies, though many are. Most importantly, a balance is stuck between having a range of targets for campaigning actions and having too many...
BDS is a strategic response to the crisis Palestine faces. We can make a real difference if we take it seriously."
To order free copies of the report email palestine@waronwant.org

You can download the report in PDF format here Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions

Israel can't be a democracy with two classes of citizens

Haaretz carried an editorial yesterday insisting on the protection of the democratic rights of Israel's Arab minority. "About a fifth of Israel's citizens, the Arabs, are citizens with equal rights, and a democracy's mission is, first and foremost, to defend its minorities." In this successive governments have lamentably failed, it seems because a significant proportion of Israeli society can't decide between wishing to be a state based on race or democracy.
Cracks are emerging in Israel's democracy. A comprehensive survey compiled by the Israel Democracy Institute and reported in yesterday's Haaretz paints a gloomy, worrisome picture whose gist is a lack of understanding of the basic principles of Israel's political system.

Almost all the survey's findings point to this trend. A majority of the public supports predicating voting rights on a declaration of loyalty to the state; only 17% of the public believes the state's self-definition as a democracy should take precedence over its self-definition as Jewish; an absolute majority believes that only Jews should be involved in decisions crucial to the state; a majority supports allocating more resources to Jews than Arabs; a third of Jewish citizens support putting Arab citizens in detention camps in wartime; and about two-thirds think Arabs should not become ministers.
The editorial concludes:
The importance of this effort cannot be overstated: What is at stake is the very nature of Israel's society and political system. Cracks in either will endanger Israel's future no less than any external threat. The kind of society reflected by this survey will not be able to preserve democracy - or even a veneer thereof.
Read more here 

It is tough being "the only democracy in the Middle East."

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Monitoring the Monitors

Philip Weiss has posted a disturbing piece about the tactics of the NGO Monitor.

NGO Monitor was captured perfectly in The Forward by liberal jewish thinker Leonard Fine who said it was “an organization that believes that the best way to defend Israel is to condemn anyone who criticizes it.” But now, no longer satisfied with its McCarthyite efforts to not just condemn, but actually take down respected human rights organizations, it is seeking to stop critical funding of the Electronic Intifada, a key media source for information and analysis about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Electronic Intifada (EI) is a pioneering online news outlet that has been an essential resource for activists, scholars and journalists since its inception in 2002.  Its coverage is unapologetically sympathetic to the Palestinian struggle for human rights, grounded in an understanding of international law and universal human rights. Years before the current proliferation of blogs and alternate news sources, EI was there first, providing a much needed antidote to one-sided mainstream news coverage of Israel and Palestine. And they continue to provide original reporting and news and analysis you still can’t get anywhere else.
Which perhaps is why NGO Monitor has made the preposterous claim that EI is “an anti-Semitic website,” stunningly based on the fact that one staffer is a supporter of the BDS movement and executive director, Ali Abunimah, in his non EI-related speaking engagements, “calls for a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and routinely uses false apartheid rhetoric.” Really? This is what they’ve got?

Electronic Intifada point out:
NGO Monitor's attack on The Electronic Intifada is part of a well-financed, Israeli-government endorsed effort to silence reporting about and criticism of Israel by attacking so-called "delegitimizers" -- those who speak about well-documented human rights abuses, support boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), or promote full equality for Palestinians. Last February, The Electronic Intifada reported that a leading Israeli think-tank had recommended a campaign of "sabotage" against Israel's critics as a matter of state policy ("Israel's new strategy: "sabotage" and "attack" the global justice movement," 16 February 2010).
They conclude:
With international movements in solidarity with Palestine -- including BDS -- gaining steam, Israel's leaders and apologists are becoming more desperate and unscrupulous than ever. Nothing illustrates this better than NGO Monitor attacking funding sources for media and human rights organizations like The Electronic Intifada and so many other groups doing urgently needed work.
Its time to monitor the monitors. Read more of Philip Weiss here.  Check out the Electronic Intifada

Why NGO Monitor is attacking The Electronic Intifada

Saturday, 4 December 2010

It's All About Compassion


Dr Norm Nelson on Compassion Radio from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.


Norm and his wife Cher have landed in virtually every trouble spot on earth. Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, North Korea, Sudan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Bosnia and Palestine are but a few of the 155 countries in which they’ve worked. Nelson points to years of experience in diverse forms of work overseas.

“From being involved in the first State Department approved delegation to visit China after Nixon opened up that country in 1973, to more recently participating in an Inter-religious dialogue with top Islamic scholars from Iranian Universities in Tehran in 2004, we have met with presidents, diplomats, national parliaments, terrorists, war lords, prisoners, refugees, scholars and slaves, and always we have seen the power of God’s Good News bring positive change into seemingly hopeless situations.”

Compassion Radio has been instrumental in the founding and maintenance of four orphanages in Africa and Asia. It has helped shelter more than 500 abandoned infants in South Africa. It was on the scene giving relief aid to tsunami victims in Sri Lanka. It has renewed schools destroyed by the Taliban in Northern Afghanistan. It has rescued children from the filth of the garbage district of Cairo, Egypt. It has fed refugees in Kosovo, the Palestinian territories, Pakistan and Darfur, Sudan. It has ministered to earthquake victims in Bam and Mazandaran Province, Iran. It has funded 800 eye surgeries curing correctable blindness in Ghana, and the distribution of more than 350,000 Bibles in China. It monitors and supports the cause of religious freedom for persecuted Christians and other religious minorities in repressive countries. And these are just a few of Compassion Radio's projects.

“We work through strategic partnerships,” Nelson said. “First of all, we partner with radio listeners who are not content to be just listeners. They respond to the stories of need that we share on our broadcasts. Once informed, they care, then they give, and pray, and consequently, they change the world through the compassion of Jesus. Second, we partner with volunteers. They pack boxes, sort and address mail, and sometimes travel with us. And, third, we partner with relief and development agencies, and with churches at home and in the countries where we work. Partnerships are the key. They make us stronger, smarter, more efficient and more effective than we could be on our own.”

Find out more about Compassion Radio here compassionradio.com/​

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Netanyahu: WikiLeaks Revelations Good for Israel


The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed the  WikiLeaks are 'good for Israel'

In a Haaretz article, Netanyahu claims that Israel worked in advance to limit any damage from the leaks.
"Every Israeli leader has known for years that that dispatches are likely to leak out, so we adapted ourselves to the reality of leaks," he said. "That has a bearing on who I invite to meetings. No classified Israeli material was exposed by WikiLeaks." 
But for Israel, the outcome (of the WikiLeaks) is positive, Netanyahu said. For years he has warned of the dangers the Iranian nuclear program poses to the entire region. These warnings had been vindicated, Netanyahu said.

"Our region has been hostage to a narrative that is the result of 60 years of propaganda, which paints Israel as the greatest threat," Netanyahu said.
The Jerusalem Post also carries a similar report, WikiLeaks Vindicate, don't damage Israel 

Haaretz is now carrying an article Senior Turkey official says Israel behind WikiLeaks release
 
Perhaps Julian Assange, the founder and editor of WikiLeaks, might be awarded the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism which coincidentally features alongside the Haaretz article.

WikiLeaks is now accessible from www.wikileaks.ch 

Browse the WikiLeaks database at the Guardian

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Peace Cannot be Bought with Bribes

Daoud Kuttab writes about America's $3 Billion Bribe.
Anyone involved in a bribe is always afraid that the actual exchange of money or goods is documented. Funny enough, the current problem with this particular "bribe" has been the issue of documentation. The Israelis want it in writing, while the Americans, suffering a major economic crisis, appear ashamed to put in writing a promise that they have made in secret to the Israelis.

What the Americans are obviously worried about is the quid pro quo issue, that is the Israeli change of behavior. The danger in this latest American bribe is that it comes not as a reward for progress in talks, but as an incentive to the Netanyahu government to agree to stop carrying out actions that are considered illegal by the entire international community, including the US....

Israel is acting in an unusually arrogant manner, haggling with Washington as if it were one of America's 50 states rather than a foreign country. Perhaps Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu feels emboldened by the recent victories of like-minded ultra-rightwing candidates, and therefore he chose to challenge Barack Obama to say no to the tea party's favorite, Israel.

It is ironic that the term bribery, used to describe what was happening between Washington and Tel Aviv, was first introduced by a former American official who happens to be a devout Jew.

The term bribery was first used by former American ambassador to Israel and senior Obama adviser during his presidential campaign Dan Kurtzer, who is now affiliated with Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School for International Studies. Kurtzer, who was a senior adviser to Obama during his presidential run and who stated his opposition to Washington's haggling with the Israelis, sharply criticized what he called the US rewarding Israel's bad behaviour with the settlement freeze deal. "Washington will ?lmost certainly come to regret bribing Israel; Israel may regret receiving such bribe even more," he says.
Peace, and not peace talks, is certainly in the Palestinians' interest. But for the Israelis, the number one priority is to project a semblance of a process of peace rather than pay the price of peace. And if this process can be renewed with a nice $3 billion bribe, why not?
Read more here 

Visit Daoud Kuttab's website here

Is God-TV Funding Ethnic Cleansing in the Negev?

The residence of El-Araqib and activists of the Negev Coexistence Forum report that the Jewish National Fund is once more extensively foresting just north of the village of El-Araqib. There is concern that the forestation will once more be extended onto the village lands.
"The tractors and heavy machinery have been busy since Sunday. The lands being currently forested belonged to the Alamat Tribe before 1948, and who have since been refugees in Jordan.
It is extremely cynical that the donations are coming from an evangelical ministry named GOD-TV, who claim to have received "instructions from God… to prepare the land for the return of my Son… Plant a million trees." (See their video on http://www.god.tv/excavation minute 21:00).  So – the JNF, a Jewish organization, that is "redeeming land for the Jewish people", is now supporting (and being supported by) an evangelical ministry that wishes to utilize Israel and the planting of trees – to bring about the return of Christ. Anything… that will make sure the Bedouin cannot utilize their ancestral lands for agriculture."
Click to sign the petition to PM Netanyahu: End the destruction of Bedouin villages in Israel Remnants of Bedouin village of Al Arakib after 5th demolition on 9/13/10

Richard Silverstein has blogged about this in more detail invoking the prophet Isaiah.

Read more here and also Bedouin-Jewish Justice for Israel.

Check out this sickening update from Richard Silverstein Video: GOD-TV’s Nakba Against Bedouin Negev Village
 

See also: