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Friday, 1 January 2010

Mary Rizzo's 'Palestine Think Tank' Supports the Egyptian Regime's Attack on Gaza

Anti-Semitic web site SUPPORTS
Mubarak's attempt to Destro
y Viva Palestina and the Gaza Freedom March
For those who doubt where racism of any kind, anti-Semism included, leads, one has to read the article from the so-called Palestine Thinkthank that Gilad Atzmon and Mary Rizzo set up. Whereas 99% of the Palestine Solidarity Movement has rallied in support of the Gaza Freedom Marchers and Viva Palestina, in their attempts to break the blockade of Gaza, PTT gives full support to the Egypian regime of Mubarak, in its attempts to uphold the blockade. According to Haitham Sabba, it was apparently all Viva Palestina’s fault for getting the paper work wrong!

Who would have guessed that Egypt receives the second largest amount of US aid after Israel itself? Or that Mubarak’s regime is considered a lynchpin in terms of a US presence in the Middle East? Or that even amongst regimes considered brutal and repressive that Egypt stands in a league of its own? To say nothing of the fact that Mubarak was deputy to Anwar Sadat who first broke the breach in the wall by recognising the State of Israel?

Palestine Think Thank from its very beginning was a bastion of utter reactionaries and anti-semitic racists. As such you have an outlook whereby the world is divided into different ‘races’. Some are good and some, the Jews prime amongst them, are bad. It’s simple really. Mubarak is an Arab, Abbas is an Arab, therefore we should not criticise them.

If you divide the world in terms of race, because that is what we are talking about, then you disregard class. It is simply irrelevant. We are all Palestinians. And likewise a Zionist Jew is the same as an anti-Zionist Jew. Therefore you simply have no explanation for why the Egyptian regime tortures its own people and maintains the blockade of Gaza. After all they are Arab, so we should be quiet about it and let the Saudi ruling class gamble away the oil wealth whilst executing and cutting off the limbs of the poor and migrant labourers.

Anti-Semitism is and always has been the ideological and political refuge of the most bankrupt of reactionaries. It was the prop for the German steel barons and it is the first explanation for Arab collaborators and quislings be they ever so high, or as lowly as Sabbah. The difference is the former had all the power that imperialism bestows, whereas the Mubaraks of this world, and the Arabs like Sabbah that fawn upon them, merely imagine they are important. The PTT can’t comprehend that class loyalties and ties have a greater sway than national affiliations, hence why the Palestinian Authority operates as Israel’s junior partner in the West Bank. To Sabbah it is some kind of legitimate authority that bestows a seal of approval over Gaza’s isolation and siege.

In an article ‘Egypt Approves Gaza Freedom March Passage, Viva Palestina Blunders Paperwork and Blames Egypt’ Haitham Sabbah quotes from a press conference by Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit. Apparently the said press conference ‘was boiling with Aboul Gheit's very firm and angry answers to the journalists' questions’. And well he might boil!

And in his article, Sabbah makes no mention of the Iron Wall that the US Army Corps of Engineers are constructing on Gaza’s southern border with Egypt. Indeed Sabbah, co-editor of PTT, supports Egypt’s Iron Wall.

Sabbah is pained because
no one has published any of the surprises or the good news which he [Gheit] carried for the Gaza Freedom March and the surprise he had for Viva Palestina…. Instead, searching the mainstream media today you will only get news about Egypt's arrest of activists in Cairo, the activist hunger strike, Viva Palestina's redirection to Syria, and so on.’
But there is, apparently ‘good news, Aboul Gheit announced that the Egyptians approved a limited number of Gaza Freedom March members to pass through and reach Gaza, Palestine, in the coming few days.’ It is of course an offer that the marchers have rejected, since it is a naked attempt at divide and rule.

I have been receiving a daily blog from a member of the Gaza Freedom Marchers, which I intend to publish later. It shows, from hour to hour, exactly what the conditions are for the marchers – the fears and the attacks, and being surrounded by the state goons of Mubarak and the exhiliration of breaking free, the support from local Egyptians and the determination of the marchers themselves not to be divided. None of this, of course, finds it way into Sabbah’s piece of PTT coverage.

But PTT is ever willing to accept Mubarak’s excuses as to why the regime has been less than keen to have the march go ahead.Align Centre
‘Aboul Gheit said… we identified that some of them want to reach the Egyptian Rafah to exercise unlawful acts which deal with the Egyptian construction (referring to the Iron Wall), which means demonstration against Egypt, and some tried to hold contacts in Egypt’.
In other words some activists had apparently planned protests against the US/Egyptian iron wall and further the demonstrators did not seem to understand that they had come to a police state, financed by the US and supported by Israel! They should have been cowed and acted deferentially to the Egyptian state and its security forces.

This is of course an unsupported, and indeed unlikely allegation, given that the priority was getting into Gaza, not protesting about the outrageous wall that Mubarak and the USA are constructing. But the ‘Think-Tank’ is happy to give it legs. Naturally, just like the PTT itself, the Egyptian regime resorts to conspiracies to explain away their unpopularity.
‘Aboul Gheit added, "Those thousands of people trying to conspire against Egypt, all that we will do is to let them in our streets, seeking to provoke the Egyptians, but the Egyptians are wiser, especially after we saw that all these demonstrations have been limited to those foreigners who tried to invoke the Egyptian security, who had not provoked, stressing that these will be in the hospitality of this magnificent sun, until the end of their desire to stay and they leave."
And even worse they had done something most Egyptians do not dare – they had gone on demonstrations! Sabbah concludes by saying that
‘this is a very embarrassing day for activists around the world. At least for those who follow and support both, Gaza Freedom March and Viva Palestina. Both of them … have intentions for uncalled propaganda against Egypt which all activists and Palestinians are better off without.

Gaza Freedom March seems not in control of who joins and who is not supposed to, especially since it is clear that many of them did not comply with the Egyptian request of providing the details they requested ahead of time.

On the other hand, Viva Palestina never mentioned anything about Egyptian pre-approval to pass through Al-Arish. At least not to the mass followers, supporters and activists.’

And amazingly Sabbah finishes off by calling for an apology to Egypt (read the regime of Mubarak, since most Egyptians support the marchers). This is also a common mistake of nationalists – to confuse a regime with the people suffering under that regime.
‘Only apologizing to Egypt in a public press conference can make one forgive these fatal mistakes which made Egypt sound as THE enemy deflecting our sight from the real enemy and the real reason behind all this atrocities that Gazans and Palestinians live in, ISRAEL.
Most, but by no means all of the comments were critical. In particular
Sabbah received fulsome support from co-editor, Mary Rizzo. Sabbah continued to put his foot in it with his support for the Iron Wall of Mubarak and Obama.
‘The "Wall of shame" as you call it is a different story. tell Hamas to stop smuggling drugs (one of many reasons) in and out from Gaza then we can speak about it. Keeping in mind that if Egypt wants to cut aid to Gaza, all what they need to do is close the road that leads to Egyptian Rafah.
… Is Egypt occupying my land? No, it is Israel. Are the Egyptians closing Rafah crossing by their own? No, the Palestinian Authority asked them to do that. So if Galloway want to blame anyone and not the Israeli occupation, then it is the PA and Hamas. But Galloway have his political agenda supported by Iran to smear Egypt.’
And there you have the full stupidity of the Arab quisling. ‘It’s not the Arabs who are taking away our land, it’s the Jews’. Yes but don’t those who sell them that land, who connive in its occupation, who aid and abet the siege of Gaza and run the quisling authority in Ramallah share any guilt? After all guilt and responsibility are not finite. But Sabbah has just got into his stride:
‘Let's assume the border is open, wont you have to pass through passport regulations at your country? That's the case everywhere. So, who decide if you or me can leave Gaza or not? What if I was a criminal running away from my country, how would Egyptians know? This is the responsibility of PA and national boarder police, which is NOT Hamas and which Hamas refusing to install back.’
These too are the arguments of supporters of immigration controls. Apparently the blockade was imposed, not to subvert the will of the Palestinian electorate who had voted in Hamas, but to stop criminals escaping (though Israel seems to let them in and become cabinet ministers!). But Sabbah continues digging:
‘So, keeping just the above example in mind, why would Egypt open the boarders? At the end of the day they have the right to protect their citizens.

The Convoy claimed objective is to aid and help Gazans and expose ISRAEL, not Egypt. They could have changed their plan or asked their own governments to negotiate with Israel to let them in, not ask Egypt to do that on their behalf and smear them if they don't…

Last but not least, the Iron Wall. You are a Gazan, and I'm a Palestinian like you. We all know who controls the tunnels, and what they are used for. Who can dig a tunnel and who can't. What can be brought from Egyptian Rafah and what should not. And we all know that the tunnels are not used ONLY for food. In fact food is just a cover to many other businesses and even worse a passage for terrorist groups such as Al-Qaedaa and their likes which Gaza are full with these days. If this is not enough reason for Egypt to construct this iron wall, I don't know what can be a good reason.’
So there we have it. Full support from the Palestinian ‘Think Tank’ for the Iron Wall of Mubarak, Obama and Netanyahu (not forgetting Abbas of course!). But Sabbah hasn't finished:
It is clear to me and many more activist now that this convoy drove thousands miles just to promote anti-Mubarak regime campaign, which is not what we hope for. yes, the Egyptian regime can do more, but let me remind you that this campaign served Israel more than it helped Gazans.’
And then Mary Rizzo jumps into rescue her forlorn colleague.
‘It is clear that PA approves the Rafah closing. Israel wants to shift the control of the bad, bad, bad Gazans to their agents in Palestine Authority who will do the work for them, so yes, the PA has to be held accountable for this.
3) in the anniversary of the war, what has been the argument? DIVISION of the Arabs, brother against brother and the bad party is not Israel, who are only mentioned in passing and are looking on, perhaps, gleefully… activists are discussing actions to hurt Egypt and spending energy in rage against Egypt. There is a lot to be enraged about, but why not have kept this campaign WORLD against Israel? Was it necessary to further divide an already fragmented Arabhood?

4) We heard that Galloway did not like the conditions. Until we see something in writing, we will assume NO conditions were changed once they arrived and that Galloway agreed to bargain with Egypt.This is wrong.

5) What does one go to break a siege for and then bargain? There were other ways to do it and were these not attempted? As suggested by Haitham, BY SEA. Why was this not done?...

9) If the road is open, there is no more need for tunnels, and I can't go into an argument I know nothing in detail on. Haitham lives with Arab radio and TV so he knows more than I do and I don't believe the drug traffic between Egypt and Israel he mentions is a lie, however, I have no way of knowing.

10) Letting Israel fall out of the spotlight of shame was a terrible thing to have happen.’
Rizzo of course is an inveterate anti-Semite and when she says she wants the spotlight to be on Israel, she poses the whole question of Palestinian liberation in a typically chauvinist and racist way. The fact that Mubarak is complicit in maintaining the siege is immaterial. His is an Arab regime there is should not be criticized. Israel is Jewish therefore it can be. And if that means blaming George Galloway, whose role has been invaluable, then so be it.

It is interesting though that Atzmon’s ex-collaborator is actually supporting the attempt by the Mubarak regime to sabotage Viva Palestina and likewise that she is also supporting the Iron Wall. As she explains:
‘There will always be a Palestine, and it is from the River to the Sea, and it is under Jewish Israeli military occupation and this has been supported wrongly and indecently by many many players, including those who certainly should never have allowed Arabhood to be in discussion and should never have abandoned this cause for their own personal reasons..… the fomenting of divisions is what Israelis/Jews have been driving at and love. I also believe that if we are "fighting" amongst ourselves, it is because we don't want Palestinians to be taken advantage of or fooled by good intentions, etc… To get every zionist out of their land and to get every Palestinian who will sell them to Zionists out of office.’
In other words to expel every Israeli (though to where she does not say). This is the logic of the anti-semitic ‘supporters’ of Palestine. But for the fact that PTT represents no-one and nobody this would provide ammunition to those who say support for the Palestinians is anti-semitic. In the midst of such madness, at least ex-leftist Jeff Blankfort, with whom I’ve crossed swords, puts it well when says that:
‘I confess I find myself astounded, confounded and disgusted by Haitham's defense of Egypt in its responses to both the Gaza Freedom March and Viva Palestina. Had the Egyptian government not demonstrated for some years that is a tool both of the US and Israel (with the former being the tool of the latter), he might have had a leg to stand on. But he doesn't.
Egypt, not Israel, has to bear FULL responsibility for keeping its border with Gaza sealed. The police state of Egypt is simply an accessory to Israel's crimes out of fear of loss of aid at the hands of the US Congress which is constantly threatening to cut Egypt's billion plus annual funding.’
Quite. But when you lie down with dogs Jeff, it's no surprise you end up with fleas.

For one of the many Palestinian sites which do recognise reality rather than deal with racial fantasies, I recommend The Palestine Telegraph's reports.

Tony Greenstein


Gert said...

G-d, what a pair of dangerous plonkers...

Tony Greenstein said...

And the Palestine Sinktank, devoted as it is to 'free speech' has, for some reason, rejected my comment on Sabbah's article. I can't think why! This is what I posted:

'Comment to PTT

This is an outrageous article. It supports the Mubarak regime, the recipient of the next largest amount of US aid after Israel, in its attacks on the Palestinians of Gaza as if the latter were a danger to Egyptians. Or maybe Haitha Sabbah is unaware that it isn't Palestinians but Egyptian security who torture Egyptian dissidents.

Egypt is doing no more than all Arab regimes have done - collaborate with Israel. What is disgraceful is that a pro-Palestinian web site supports Egypt against those trying to destroy the siege of Gaza. An article which supports, and Jeff Blankfort is correct, the iron wall that the US Corps of Engineers is/has constructed in order to seal off Gaza completely. It carries drugs apparently. It seems Sabbah and PTT are content to carry Mubarak's lying propaganda as fact.
Sabbah - you are not better than an Abbas. You are not the first nor the last to justify collaboration with Israel, because that is what Mubarak does. And why does this site carry such propaganda? Because as Mary makes clear, the battle is against Jews, because Israel is Jewish. So Arabs, even Arab regimes are good, Israelis and Jews are bad. Except that you forgot that Zionism doesn't exist just because of Jews but imperialism. In other words, it's also a question of class, hence why some Arabs collaborate, and Palestinians like Sabbah support them.

As like all racial nationalists you gravitate to the most powerful amongst the oppressed - the Mubaraks of this world. Whilst Gazans die and thousands of people throughout the world do their best to express their support for the people of Gaza, Sabbah tries to flatter the vicious regime of Mubarak.

Shame on you'

Yes, can't imagine what they took exception to!

Gert said...

Oh well, the Palestine Stinktank have finally shot themselves in the foot and we must all now distance ourselves completely from it.

Good work, Tony.

freepalestine said...

absolutely. but how stupid of them to attack the solidarity movement. they've really shot themselves in the foot... now we know that not only are they antisemitic (and therefore harmful for the palestinian solidarity movement and struggle for just peace and equal rights and unacceptable on the basis of their racism). it is obvious now, that their real purpose is to discredit and sabotage the global palestinian solidarity movement.

my comments were censored too, including a link to the cairo declaration. i guess they don't publish those that criticize them.

it's important to warn the uninformed about this. thanks for the article. i think i'll link to it.

joe90 kane said...

my comments were censored too, including a link to the cairo declaration. i guess they don't publish those that criticize them.

- 'Jewish gatekeeping' used to be a personal paranoid antisemitic obsessesion of Mary Bizarro's.

Italian Mary Rizzo also took it upon herself to criticise the activities of British people, in the UK, trying to help Palestinians as part of British solidarity efforts. There is little or no evidence of Mary's involvement in Italian solidarity and she rarely, if ever, mentions her own political context of Italian politics, domestic and international i.

Palestinians themselves have ask people to get involved in 'solidarity', at their local level, in order to affect and change the foreign policy of their own western governments. After all, changing government policy is always best done by voters and taxpayers. Hence the obvious reason to join with and promote organised domestic solidarity campaigns and efforts. Like charity, solidarity begins at home not abroad.

In this, as in much else however, Mary knows what's best for Palestinians. Hence the reason she doesn't get involved in domestic Italian politics, as part of an organised Palestinian solidarity campaign, in order to change Italian government's foreign policy towards Israel-Palestine.

Mary and the non-enities at the anti-Palestine Septic Tank are now criticising international solidarity activists because they have come up against the anti-Palestinian American dictatorship that runs Egypt, through no real fault of their own, except that they want to help the people of Gaza.

Like Atzmon, Bizarro and her chums at the Septic Tank operate only in the context of their own empty egos and racist shallowness. They are part of nothing and represent no-one and nothing except the fact anyone can set up a website and call themselves 'editors' and claim they are 'anti-racist' (as Atzmon now is) and have 'free minds' etc etc etc

Sorry for chuntering on.

all the best TGB!

Tony Greenstein said...

Yes it's strange how that supporter of 'freedom of speech' for Ernst Zundel is now censoring comments on her blog!

Not least the fact that she is tight-lipped about the parting of the ways with Atzmon. One would have thought that the departure of fellow editor would have merited some comments.

No doubt, having already called for the GFM/Convoy to apologise to the Egyptian State, Rizzo and her collaborator friend Sabbah will be telling the Viva Palestina group to apologise for having assaulted the night-sticks and clubs of the Egyptian Police with their heads!

Anonymous said...

As a member of many pro Palestinian groups I would like to point out that Mary Rizzo is a poisonous bigot who only goal is to divide the pro Palestinian movement. She is well know for her personal attacks on activists and nobody with an ounce of sense takes her seriously.

Genie said...

Interesting, Tony. I stopped reading from PTT some time ago...too many different points of view going in different directions. I decided to see what's going on around there and found the site closed, maybe for maintenance but then found this post. Then found another from Ken O'keefe, I wonder if you read it?
This is all old news. boy I have not been around I guess.

Tony Greenstein said...


I must confess I can't follow the blog of Ken O'Keefe. Who is and who isn't writing for PTT anymore? Nahida, who appears there, is an unreconstructed apologist for Hamas e.g. their attempts to prevent Palestinians demonstrating in support of the Egyptian revolution. She wrote to me personally on this score and I replied by posting the 'lousy Hamas' article.

Is it Ken who is no longer writing? As far as I am concerned PTT came with an anti-Semitic heritage, although it junked Gilad Atzmon, the article by Sabbagh attack the Gaza freedom marchers and IN SUPPORT OF MUBARAK'S SIEGE OF GAZA was the pits.

But the stuff on Ken's blog seems to imply one mustn't say anything about Hamas.

Anonymous said...

Yes, It is quite obvious that Mary Rizzo's goal is to divide the pro Palestinian movement. She has been at it for some time and its unfortunate that some people are gullible enough to believe her drivel.