31 May 2009

The Corruption of New Labour & the Parliamentary Expenses Thieves

Those who don’t live in the UK may not be aware of the past 3 scandal-driven weeks in Britain. Whole swathes of politicians have been caught, literally, with their hands in the till.

Now no-one expects the Tories to be anything other than a gang of crooks and shysters. After all that is in the very life-blood of capitalism. Exploitation of the poor to pamper the rich. But historically Labour was relatively free, with exceptions of course, from the same scandals.

New Labour however was an ideological free-zone. You didn’t have to believe in anything apart from yourself. The free-market was fine as long as you got your kick-backs. With the economy and banking in the UK having all but collapsed, New Labour is now having to rescue the detested Public Finance Initiative (where private companies were given large dollops of public funds to build hospitals and schools over a 30 year period – with the money that would have gone to the National Health Service and Education over those years going instead to inflate the profits of these companies).

Only the politically blind or feeble can still believe that there is anything progressive about New Labour. From the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Serbia to the assault on civil liberties in Britain – ID cards, massive databases of peoples’ e-mails and phone traffic, unlimited powers for the Police to detain and arrest coupled with swinging attacks on legal aid for the poor. Asylum seekers have been particular targets and the present scumbag who occupies the post of Immigration Minister, Phil Woolas (ex President of the National Union of Students) has fed the growth of the British National Party by playing to the tabloid chorus about immigrants taking ‘our’ jobs. Woolas himself has been caught claiming for nappies, comics and red wine!

It is therefore gratifying to see that the Communities Minister Hazel Blears, a member of New Labour’s far-right and an ex-immigration Minister has been caught fiddling her expenses by ‘flipping’ her second and first homes to escape Capital Gains tax. As George Monbiot made clear in an excellent article, she is nothing but a sycophant to whoever holds the power at the moment - yesterday it was Tony Blair, today Gordon Brown. Except that she took to mocking Brown and has therefore been left to twist in the wind for her 'unacceptable' i.e. crooked expense claims.

Another crook who was also a detested Immigration Minister was Tony McNulty. He went one better than Hazel Blears. He claimed a second home allowance on his parents’ home!!

But still we shouldn’t overlook the Home Secretary, in charge of Police and coercion, one Jacqui Smith. Appointed because she is a total nonentity and willing to do Gordon Brown’s dirty work, she was caught claiming a second homes allowance on a room in her sister’s house. As even Alistair Graham, former Chairman of the Committee on Public Standards wrote in last week’s Observer, Jacqui Smith’s actions were ‘near fraudulent’, i.e the person in charge of the cops is a corrupt charlatan who will be thrown out of the House of Commons at the next election.

And then she was found claiming for two of her husband’s porn films! Admittedly it’s not surprising that he preferred porn to New Labour’s 1984 style Home Secretary, that is no reason why the tax payer should foot the bill. That didn’t stop Gordon Brown, the most unpopular Prime Minister in history from defending her.

As Secretary of Brighton Unemployed Centre I have seethed with rage at the adverts that have termed the poor and unemployed ‘Benefit Thieves’

They even work on Sunday. ‘Benefit Thieves We Are Closing In’ runs the adverts but they’re not talking about Jack Straw who claimed for 100% of his Council Tax even though he received a 50% rebate. He paid this back once the High Court declared that all details of MP’s fiddling would have to be revealed.

So what can you do?

Ring their free phone number and tell the scab at the end of the phone line what you think of them. Their union, PCS, is supposed to be left-wing yet they are pillorying people who live on the breadline. Ask them if they’ve investigated MPs, how they live with their conscience, if they are a member of the union (the one I phone, Margaret, said she was)

Clog up their lines and phone - 0800 854 440.

The most interesting thing is that the old Torygraph, The Daily Telegraph, usually a paper of mindnumbing boredom, has been the one that got the scoop and has run with it for 3 weeks. The British political system is in deep crisis as it is recognised that the Parliamentary Parties – Lib Dems, Tories, New Labour – have all been guilty of unprecedented thievery whilst at the same time targetting the poor.

Oh and I forgot to add – I had a couple of letters in the Independent and Guardian a couple of weeks ago making just these points!!

Tony Greenstein

In Israel even the Players Join in Racist Chants

“Racism in the soccer stadiums is nothing new, but this time players [of Betar Jerusalem] and among them also members of the Israeli national team joined in the racist chants [of the fans]."

This is written on the web site of the Israeli TV station Channel 2 and one can see there also the report about the incident:

On 26 May 2009 Channel 2 cameras photographed Betar players, among them the star Amit Ben Shoshan, singing very happily after they won the Israeli cup a song popular among their fans. A song that goes like this:
What’s salim doing here?
Don’t you know?
What’s going on here I ask?
everywhere I hear that this is the Land of Israel
Toama, this is the Land of Israel
This Is The Land Of Israel, Toama
This Is The Jewish State
I hate you Salim Toama!
I hate all Arabs!

Salim Toama is an Arab soccer player with a Israeli citizenship who plays in the Israeli national team and is now making his living in Belgium with Standard Liege.

The International Football Federation (FIFA), in accordance with its anti-racism campaign should ban Betar and the involved players from participating in any international activities. This is not the first report on Betar racism. This club and especially its fans are considered to be the
most racist in Israel.

(originally posted by Shraga Elam, Zurich/Switzerland)

UK politician: Ban racist Betar players
Jerusalem Post 31 May 2009

A member of the British RESPECT Party has launched an official complaint with FIFA, soccer's world governing body, after Betar Jerusalem players were filmed singing an anti-Arab song following Tuesday's State Cup final victory against Maccabi Haifa at the Ramat Gan National Stadium.

Amit Ben Shushan of Betar Jerusalem, left, shown here during an international match against Slovenia.

Among the players was Amit Ben Shushan, who is also an Israel international.
The song goes like this: "What's Salim doing here? Don't you know? What's going on here I ask? Everywhere I hear that this is the land of Israel, Toama, this is the land of Israel. This is the land of Israel, Toama… I hate you Salim Toama! I hate all the Arabs!"

The chanting was directed at Salim Toama, an Arab-Israeli soccer player who used to play for Betar's fierce rival Hapoel Tel Aviv and who now plays for Belgian club Standard Li├Ęge. He also represents Israel at the international level.

In a column for the Teheran Times the RESPECT member, Yvonne Ridley, called on FIFA to ban Betar and the involved players from participating in any international soccer matches. She also called for the world governing body to impose a heavy fine on the club.

"This is not the first report on Betar racism. This club and especially its fans are considered to be the most racist in Israel," she said. "By the way, the whistle-blower who brought this to my attention is a European Jew who is repulsed by any form of racism regardless of its origins, so any Zionists reading this can stop crying 'anti-Semite'."

29 May 2009

Cultural Boycott - Ken Loach open letter to the Edinburgh Film Festival

Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign recently scored a notable success when it shamed the organisers of the Edinburgh Festival to handing back £300 blood money from the Israeli Embassy. Ken Loach makes it clear that the Cultural Boycott is NOT about boycotting individual Israels because they are Israelis. The Boycott is about the State of Israel, its institutions and in the case of a recent picket of the Jerusalem Quartet at the Brighton Festival, because the artists involved had performed for Israel's genocidal army. Tony Greenstein

Ken Loach open letter to the Edinburgh Film Festival
Following an open letter from the Israeli film maker Tali Shalom Ezer here is Ken Loach's full reply.
This was sent to Sunday Times but the newspaper never published this in full.

Dear Tali Shalom Ezer,

From the beginning, Israel and its supporters have attacked their critics as anti-semites or racists. It is a tactic to undermine rational debate.

To be crystal clear: as a film maker you will receive a warm welcome in Edinburgh. You are not censored or rejected. The opposition was to the Festival’s taking money from the Israeli state.

The call for a boycott of Israeli cultural institutions comes from many Palestinians: writers, artists, journalists, lawyers, academics, trades unionists, teachers. They see it as “a contribution to the struggle to end Israel ’s occupation, colonisation and system of apartheid.”

Who are we, that we should not heed their call? Your counter arguments were used against the South African boycott yet that proved eventually to be successful.
We remember that the Palestinians have been dispossessed for sixty years, houses destroyed, communities wrecked. Israel ignores international law, the Geneva Convention and many UN resolutions.

We saw with horror the recent massacres in Gaza , how the Israeli army used phosphorous bombs in populated areas, how UN food stores and shelters were destroyed. The Red Cross described strikes on medical crews and the injured denied attention. Israeli journalist, Amira Hass, wrote of the killing of people flying white flags and the annihilation of entire families.

Faced with such crimes, Israeli poet, Aharon Shabtai, writes: “I do not believe that a state that maintains an occupation, committing on a daily basis crimes against civilians, deserves to be invited to any kind of cultural (event).”

Those who have attacked the boycott here are the usual suspects, old hacks and right wing extremists. One thought you were a man. They would embarrass you.
Please stand with the oppressed against the oppressor.

I hope you enjoy the Festival.
Ken Loach

Open letter from Tali Shalom Ezer to Ken Loach.

Dear Mr. Loach,

In the past 24 hours, I have been asked repeatedly to comment on your statement demanding to return Israel 's grant to our embassy in Edinburgh . I admit to have mixed feelings about your statement and all that it implies. As I have indicated in previous occasions, I have always been a member of the Israeli peace camp. Contrary to common perceptions in the media, ours is a large, strong camp – as I'd like to believe is the case amongst Palestinians.

I oppose, with all my heart, the Israeli occupation and settelments; I oppose an automatic resort to military solutions in times of conflict. I appreciate the wish to change the world by shunning what is perceived as an act of injustice, but I feel that what may seem right in theory, may be extremely wrong in practice.

In my opinion, every time a nation is subjected to a cultural boycott – be it a film or a lecture by an Israeli professor abroad – there is a tendency amongst its subjects to draw closer to more nationalistic elements; every time this happens, peace is farther away. Every time this happens, the concept of "A People that Dwells Alone" gathers more believers, and the conviction that the only way to survive is by strengthening the state's military power, is reinforced. Every time this happens, moderate voices are hushed, art is weakened.

I do not know if you are aware of this fact, but Surrogate was filmed by Radek Ladczuk, a talented Polish cinematographer. For 21 years, Israel and Poland had no diplomatic relations; all I knew about the country came from the media and history lessons about WWII.

I approached Radek from purely artistic considerations. Our work, despite difficulties in verbal communication, has proven to me once more the power of art and the many points of similarity which join people together, everywhere. I have no doubt that collaborations of this kind promote dialogue and lessen prejudice.

To conclude, I just want to stress my deep appreciation for your work. I have been an avid fan over the years, and will be honored if you attend the screening of Surrogate, thereby showing the world that despite your opposition to Israel's politics, you are a firm believer in the power of art, and the power of individuals to bring about change.


Tali Shalom Ezer

Nakba Denial is no different from Holocaust Denial

Not content with having driven ¾ million Palestinian Arabs from their homes and country, Israel’s fascist Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, of the Yisrael Beteinu Party has proposed outlawing commemoration of the Nakba.

Just as the far-right and their idiot supporters like Gilad Atzmon like to pretend that the Nazi holocaust never happened [it was a typhus epidemic, there were no gas chambers, it wasn’t 6 million, it's just a narrative among many etc.] in order that they can repeat the trick again, so the Israeli State and the Zionist movement is proposing to make it a crime to commemorate the Nakba.

Why? Because the tragedy of 1947-9 resulted in a ‘Jewish’ State. This is the significance of the new demand on Palestinian quisling, Mahmud Abbas, that he recognise Israel as a Jewish state. What this means of course is overtly accepting that Israel is a racist state.

This new Bill, which may yet be derailed by US pressure and the obvious embarrassment of making fascist erasure of the past into a principle, is one of a number that Israel’s Knesset, has supported in recent years.

There was the Act that forbade Palestinian spouses of Arab citizens of Israel from becoming Israeli citizens or residents. Their only option is to leave Israel. There was the Knesset’s passing of a JNF Bill whose purpose was to enable the overtly racist Jewish National Fund to continue to deny Arabs the use of ‘Jewish’ land after the decision of the High Court in the Kad'an case that the JNF, effectively a governmental organisation, couldn't discriminate any longer. Now even the very act of remembrance is to be outlawed. Not that this should be any surprise in the Middle East’s ‘only democracy’. It was only last Saturday that the Israeli Police were used to disband a Palestinian Cultural Festival. Clearly Goebbels book burners would have had a feast under their fellow Lieberman.

Tony Greenstein

Knesset okays initial bill to outlaw denial of 'Jewish state'

By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent

The Knesset plenum gave initial approval on Wednesday to a bill that would make it a crime to publicly deny Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, punishable by a sentence of up to a year in prison.

The measure was the latest of several introduced in the past week by right-wing lawmakers and denounced by critics as an assault on free speech, particularly for Israeli Arab citizens, most of whom are of Palestinian origin.

It would outlaw the publication of any "call to negate Israel's existence as a Jewish and democratic state, where the content of such publication would have a reasonable possibility of causing an act of hatred, disdain or disloyalty" to Israel.

Forty-seven MKs voted in favor of the bill and 34 voted against, with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) abstaining from the vote.

MK Zevulun Orlev, a lawmaker with the right-wing Bayit Hayehudi party who initiated the bill, said the bill permitted a maximum one year prison term for any offenders.

The measure would have to pass three additional votes in parliament and a committee review before becoming law.

Orlev linked the bill to the case of former MK Azmi Bishara, who resigned from the Knesset and fled Israel in 2007 to avoid charges of assisting the enemy. Bishara was under fire then for a series of trips he had made to Syria and Lebanon, where he issued praise for Hezbollah.

Orlev said Bishara's case shows that what begins with words "very quickly leads to actions."

MK Haim Oron (Meretz) attacked the proposal, saying "this insane government, what exactly are you doing? Creating a thought police? Have you run off the rails?"

Oron said that even though he disagrees with those who do not support Israel's identity as a Jewish, democratic state, there is no reason to make it a criminal issue.

Civil rights activists have cautioned that this and other legislation threatens to curb the rights of Arab citizens.

Its approval on a preliminary reading showed how Israeli support for laws seen as targetting Israeli Arabs has grown since a right-wing government was sworn in after a February election.

Most Israeli Arabs, who make up about a fifth of Israel's population, are descended from Palestinians who remained in the country after hundreds of thousands either fled or were driven away in fighting over Israel's founding in 1948.

Many are related to Palestinians in conflict with Israel living in the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank.

Naomi Chazan, president of the liberal New Israel Fund, denounced a bill approved by Israel's cabinet on Sunday to outlaw public displays of mourning over Israel's birth, which Palestinians call "nakba", an Arabic word for catastrophe.

Chazan called that bill an "attempt to trample on the feelings of pain of Israeli Arabs" that could hurt efforts to forge better coexistence between Jews and Palestinians.

Another bill introduced by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu Party this week would require Israeli citizens to take a loyalty oath to the Jewish state before they could be issued a national identity card.

The cabinet was scheduled to debate the loyalty oath measure at a session next week.

`Their independence is our Nakba`

Press Release `Israeli Law Banning al Nakba Commemoration`
May 26, 2009

The Israeli ministerial legal commission has approved on 24/5/2009 a draft bill to prohibit the commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba. The law includes a penalty of up to three years of imprisonment for any breaches of the prohibition.

In reaction to this draft law, Ittijah- Union of Arab Community Based Associations, states that al Nakba is one of the biggest crimes committed against a population in the twentieth century; this year we commemorate 61 years of occupation of our lands on which Israel was established.

Al Nakba commemoration holds within it the Palestinian plight and struggle for Liberation. The Palestinian right to return and realization of our people’s collective rights are still ongoing, unstoppable and no legislation can challenge that.

We condemn the draft law and its legislators and call for its immediate annulment.

We call the Palestinian masses to continue and insist on the commemoration al Nakba under the banner: ‘Their independence is our Nakba’. It is our historical memory and the greatest proof of Israel being a colonial regime.

Ameer Makhoul
General Director
Ittijah - Union of Arab Community Based Associations
(UN ECOSOC Special Consultative Status)
P.O.Box 9577 Haifa 31095
tel: +972 4 8507110
Fax: +972 4 8507241
Mob: +972 54 4862171

A history of discrimination
By Yitzhak Laor

Every year since Israel's independence, cinema newsreels, and later television news, have reported to the public on "the heads of Muslim, Christian and Druze communities congratulating the president in honor of Independence Day." It was the age of patriotic innocence, coupled with national blindness.

Over those years, Independence Day has been foisted in various ways on the Palestinians who remained in their land.

Military governors would allow their subjects to leave their enclaves for picnics on the remnants of their villages, if those were not already inhabited by new Jewish immigrants.

That which was prohibited all year was allowed for one day, so they could be allowed to celebrates on their own ruins.

Behind the blindness always lurked cynicism: We will discriminate against them in every possible field - education, health, water, infrastructure, employment - and they in turn will kiss the national flag across their 200 villages and towns.

If they protest against discrimination, we'll cry "disorder."

With the state's founding, three percent of its land was allocated to Arabs, of which only two percent was slated for housing, and only after the major expropriations of the 1950s and a series of convoluted land and property laws essentially prohibiting Arabs from acquiring land.

"Natural growth" was never used as justification for expanding their villages outside their borders, drawn up when their total population numbered 150,000, and erecting new settlements was, of course, out of the question.

Today, a million people have become locked in villages and towns described by their young generation as ghettos.

Only one not familiar with the Arab minority's hardships - growing poverty, growing racism around them, quotas in mixed cities, and municipally-encouraged religious and yuppie Jewish settlement in Jaffa despite the protestations of the Arab poor - can fail to understand that such "patriotic" proposals as a bill banning Nakba Day commemorations, even if not enforced, is a pretext for more incitement towards Arabs and interference in their political and cultural lives.

The 1952 Nationality Law not only granted conditions to new immigrants far more favorable than to the remaining Arab inhabitants, but also hastily (perhaps too hastily) granted electoral rights to an enormous proportion of the population - without requiring residence (as required in every country in which electoral privileges are universal), or even checking the background of hundreds of thousands of new immigrants.

The state was consumed with settling a single score: what was "ours," and what was not - namely, a demographic majority and land.

Avigdor Lieberman - the strong man cut down to his natural size the moment the Israeli agenda changed from electoral propaganda to the Egypt-Israel and U.S.-Israel diplomatic tracks - is again looking for his way, and may even be planning his resignation from the government, in order to serve as a fighting opposition through resorting to the well-worn tactic of "The homeland is in danger, beat the Arabs."

But Lieberman is not alone, and his Russian immigrant electorate will not be enough to reach power. He speaks to the fundamental Israeli racism, according to which "we are the landlords, and you are short-term guests."

This abomination is important to Israeli democracy, but whoever deludes himself that it will be possible to cover up the reality of Arabs in Israel through prolonged silence is doing the groundwork for a thug to come and "restore order."

For that, of course, we will need draconian legislation and "disorder."

Palestine Video 1880 – 1947

Slide show on You Tube of Palestinian urban life from 1800 to 1947.

When you reach 1939 this is the photo of Sameera Buderiri on her engagement day.
The old lie that Palestine was a dry desert waiting for a people is just that - a lie.
This clip allows people to see the beauty of the Palestinian people before they were
ethnically cleansed and murdered and made into refugees by the State of Israel.
Music by Joaquin Rodrigo, lyrics Helmut Lotti, sung by Lotti.

It is impossible not to be moved by the evocative images of Palestinian society in
happier times when people lived and loved in freedom.

The man-made catastrophe that decimated that society in 1948 is still ongoing today
as Israel reduces the Palestinians to a sub-human existence under its savage and
merciless military occupation.

23 May 2009

How US Capitalism Supported Hitler & the Final Solution

Edwin Black, who has written an excellent book on the Nazi-Zionist Transfer Agreement (Haavarah), which broke the anti-Nazi Boycott of Germany, has also written extensively on how US capitalism supported Hitler and in particular on the nefarious role of IBM, which had a site in every major concentration camp. Without IBM the Nazis would not have been able to organise the Final Solution as comprehensively and efficiently as they did. Although he doesn’t touch on it, George Bush’s grandfather, Prescott Bush, was also up to his ears in collaboration with Hitler. After all, in a free-market you cannot allow scruples to come between you and business.

Below is an article by Edwin Black.
Tony Greenstein

Op-Ed: American corporate complicity created undeniable Nazi nexus
By Edwin Black, ·March 12, 2009

Adolf Hitler was completely responsible for the Holocaust. But Hitler had help.

When zealous Nazis waged war against an imaginary generation-to-generation Jewish conspiracy; when Nazis created ghastly extermination plans to help ensure their master race would rule the world; when the German military smashed across Europe with lightning speed in heavy Blitz trucks; when Mengele undertook heinous medical experiments on twins in Auschwitz; and when the Reich identified the Jews everywhere in Europe and then systematically pauperized and destroyed them -- when all these terrible things were done, the shape and scope of the horror was pivotally determined by major American industrial giants.

Now the dots can be connected. They create an undeniably Nazi nexus between iconic American corporations and the greatest crime of the 20th century: the Holocaust.

Henry Ford, acting directly through the Ford Motor Company, virtually invented political anti-Semitism when he published worldwide the fake "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." Ford’s book quickly became the bible of German anti-Semites and early incarnations of the Nazi party. Nazis shipped the work throughout the country “by the carload.”

Among the many Germans massively influenced by the book was Adolf Hitler. Der Fuehrer read the work at least two years before "Mein Kampf" was written. In "Mein Kampf," Hitler wrote, “The whole existence of this people is based on a continuous lie [as] shown incomparably by the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion.'

The Carnegie Institution, the philanthropic incarnation of America’s greatest steel fortune, propagated the deadly American race science of eugenics that idealized a blond, blue-eyed superior race. In pursuit of that dream, Carnegie scientists believed some 90 percent of humanity was to be eliminated using various methods. These methods included organized identification, seizure of assets, marriage prohibition or nullification, forced surgical sterilization, segregation into camps and publicly operated gas chambers. Carnegie spent millions to propagate American eugenic theories in post-World War I Germany, financing race science programs in universities and official institutions.

While in prison, Hitler closely studied American eugenics. He proudly told his comrades, “I have studied with great interest the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock.”

Hitler was so steeped in American race science that he even wrote a fan letter to American eugenic leader Madison Grant, called his writing “my bible.” Der Fuehrer merely exchanged the American term “Nordic” for the Nazi term “Aryan" and then medicalized his pre-existing virulent anti-Semitism and fascist nationalism to formulate the concept of the blond, blue-eyed Master Race he deified in "Mein Kampf." As Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess insisted, “National Socialism is nothing but applied biology.”

The Rockefeller Foundation, the philanthropic incarnation of Standard Oil, acted as a full partner with Carnegie in establishing eugenics in Germany. In the quest to perfect the master race, millions of Depression-era dollars were transmitted by Rockefeller to Hitler’s most anti-Jewish doctors. In this quest, one specimen was desired above all: twins. Rockefeller funded Hitler’s chief raceologist, Otmar Verschuer, and his insatiable twin experimentation programs. Twins, it was thought, held the secret to industrially multiplying the Aryan racial type and quickly subtracting biological undesirables.

Verschuer had an assistant, Josef Mengele. Rockefeller funding stopped during World War II, but by that time Mengele had transferred into Auschwitz to continue twin research in a monstrous fashion. Ever the eugenicist, he sent precise clinical reports weekly to Verschuer.
From the first weeks of the Third Reich, General Motors president Alfred Sloan committed the company and its German division Opel to motorizing a substantially horse-drawn Germany, preparing it for war. Prior to this, Germany had been a nation devoted to legendary automotive engineering but only one vehicle at a time, built by craftsman. GM brought mass production to the Reich, converting it from a horse-drawn threat to a motorized powerhouse.

Sloan and GM knowingly prepared the Wehrmacht to wage war in Europe. GM built the Blitz truck for the Blitzkrieg. Detroit even secretly moved massive stores of spare Blitz parts to the Polish border in the days just before the Sept. 1, 1939 invasion to facilitate the Blitzkrieg. Using a charade of interlocking boards and executive committees, Sloan kept GM’s role secret as long as possible.

Internal Business Machines, inventor of the Hollerith punch card, precursor to the modern computer, custom-designed and co-planned the Nazi solutions to Jewish existence. IBM enjoyed a monopoly on information technology. Under the micromanagement of its president, Thomas Watson, while advertising itself as “a solutions company,” IBM in 1933 reached out to the new Hitler regime. It offered to organize and systemize any solution the Reich desired, including solutions to the Jewish problem.

With IBM as a partner, the Hitler regime was able to substantially automate and accelerate all six phases of the 12-year Holocaust: identification, exclusion, confiscation, ghettoization, deportation and even extermination. As it did with any other customer, IBM simply asked the Hitler regime what result was desired. Then company engineers devised custom-tailored punch card systems to deliver those results. There was an IBM customer site in every concentration camp. Machines were serviced monthly, sometimes weekly, by IBM on site -- whether that site was Auschwitz or downtown Berlin.

Had it not been for the continued conscious involvement of iconic American corporations in Hitler’s war against the Jews, the speed, shape and statistics of the Holocaust as we know it would have been dramatically different. No one knows how different, but the astronomical dimensions could have never been achieved.

For their part, American corporate collaborators have long tried to obscure or hide the details of their collusion using the well-known tools of corporate misinformation, financial contributions, and bought and paid for historian reviews. But in an era when people no longer believe big corporations, the dots can be fully connected to unveil the outlines of an indispensible Nazi nexus. The words “never again” must resound not just among the victims, but within board rooms of corporate perpetrators.

Edwin Black is the editor of The Cutting Edge News, which receives more than 1.5 million visits monthly. He is best known for the award-winning international bestseller, "IBM and the Holocaust." His just released book, "Nazi Nexus: America's Corporate Connections to Hitler's Holocaust," from Dialog Press. He can be reached at www.edwinblack.com.

22 May 2009

An Open Letter to the SWP - Have you Broken with Atzmon?

Rumours have been circulating, not least on this blog, that the SWP have finally woken up to the fact that it is useless denying that Gilad Atzmon is anti-Semitic and a holocaust denier, despite their attempts to brush it under the carpet and pretend that nothing is amiss. In the spirit of comradeliness I wrote to the SWP's National Secretary, Martin Smith, asking if the rumours were true and promising that my purpose in writing was not to exact some form of retribution or gloat. Suffice to say I have not received a response, hence why I have resorted to an Open Letter instead.

Tony Greenstein

Dear Martin Smith,

I wrote to you on 26th April 2009 to ask you whether or not rumours that the SWP had broken its ties with the anti-Semitic jazz player, Gilad Atzmon, were true. To date I have had no reply, which was not totally unexpected given the record for openness of the SWP.

You may recall that I wrote:
Cde. Smith,
I have heard from various people that the SWP has now decided to have nothing to do with Atzmon. My purpose in writing is to ask whether or not this is true or not. If this is true then well and good, since there is absolutely no doubt by now that Atzmon is anti-Semitic, especially with his articles seeking to blame Jews for the current capitalist crisis.
I am not seeking to gloat or say I was right or publicise that fact so much as to ascertain that what I have been told is true.
I would therefore welcome your assurances on this.
Tony Greenstein
Coincidentally, no sooner had I e-mailed you than I received a post from the well-known Jewish anti-Zionist, Lenni Brenner, asking me whether the SWP had denounced Atzmon. Lenni of course had no problem from the very start in denouncing Atzmon's politics. Of course I didn’t know the answer to his question but Lenni kindly attached an article from the Guardian of March 6 2009, ‘Manic beat preacher’ . In the course of an interview with John Lewis, Atzmon’s relationship with the SWP came up. Lewis notes that
‘Some Palestinian activists see his provocatively anti-Jewish rhetoric as discrediting their cause, while the Socialist Workers party, which once proudly paraded him at conferences, has distanced itself from him. "I don't give a shit, really," he says with a shrug.
Other rumours have surfaced recently that the relationship is not what it was, however one would have thought that a group which purports to be a Marxist, revolutionary socialist party would have the honesty and transparency to come clean, to be open about the matter, to admit that they got it wrong and to reflect on why that was the case, rather than letting people learn about the latest SWP about-turn from a liberal bourgeois newspaper such as The Guardian.

It is a long time since I was expelled from the International Socialists (the SWP’s precursor). However, whatever our differences at the time, I do recall that there was one thing the SWP made absolutely clear with its ‘Neither Washington nor Moscow’ slogan which was emblazoned on the front cover of Socialist Worker. It stood proudly in the tradition of the anti-Stalinist opposition. I recall how it poked fun at how the Stalinists had airbrushed Trotsky out of a picture taken with Lenin. It criticised the methodology of Stalinism,. which never took stock of its previous twists and turns before moving on to yet more of the same kind – from the Third Period to Popular Frontism and worse.

Yet here you are doing exactly the same. Changing your position but never acknowledging that it is such, nor being open about the reasons for such a change.

The fact that it took you four years to wake up to the fact that Atzmon was overtly anti-Semitic should be a matter of political self-examination and concern in itself. Maybe his attribution of the economic and political crisis that is engulfing western capitalism to the conspiracies of international finance Jewry forced your hand. I refer in particular to his attribution of the need for ‘spiritual de-Judaification’ of the financial world to one John Reynolds, Chair of the Ethical Investment Advisory Group, which resulted in Atzmon facing a libel action, since Reynolds had said no such thing.

Or maybe what eventually moved you was Atzmon's belief that socialism was no more than robbery of the (Gentile) rich:
'“Robbery and plunder doesn’t live in peace with a deep understanding of the notion of human equality” and citing his own youthful vengeance towards “wealthy goyim,” Atzom further asserts: “The Jewish nationalist would rob Palestine in the name of the right of self-determination, the Jewish progressive is there to rob the ruling class and even international capital in the name of world working class revolution.”
Perhaps you hoped that if you didn’t mention the subject then no one would notice and the problem would be solved that way. Either way that is the height of political dishonesty. One would have thought that a group that proudly trumpets its anti-racist credentials, might ask itself, in all seriousness, how it was that it managed to get into bed with a certified anti-Semitic crank? Was it all because of his music?

I should point out that the statement you issued on 21 June 2005, in response to the picket that Jews Against Zionism organised at Bookmarks in protest at your hosting Atzmon for a talk on Otto Weininger, Hitler’s favourite Jew, is still on your website. [accessed 22.5.09.] Does this statement, in the absence of anything to the contrary, still reflect your position? It claimed that
‘One or two small groups are claiming that Gilad is an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier. We would like to state the following:
 Gilad Atzmon is an Israeli born Jew who served in the Israeli Defence Force and who now lives in “self-exile” in Britain.
 He is an internationally acclaimed jazz musician whose album Exile won BBC Best Jazz Album of 2003.
The SWP would also like to make it clear, that we would never give a platform to a racist or fascist.’
Well of course all this was irrelevant. Bobby Fischer was also Jewish and was an acclaimed chess Grand Master, but that didn’t stop him being anti-Semitic.

At the risk of intruding on private grief, I will repeat the question again. Has or has not the SWP broken with Gilad Atzmon? Surely that isn’t too difficult a question for you to answer?


Tony Greenstein

18 May 2009

An interesting book which is likely to set the cats among the pigeons. There is no doubt that Einstein was a Zionist supporter in the early 1920's, as was Hanna Arendt. Both became more and more disillusioned as time progresssed and Einstein, as the review makes clear below, opposed the establishment of the Israeli State in 1946 when the Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry took evidence from him.

Tony Greenstein

Reclaiming Einstein: New Book Reveals Famed Scientist as an Opponent of Israel

By Jaisal Noor From the May 15, 2009 issue

Einstein on Zionism and Israel: His Provocative Ideas About the Middle East
By Fred Jerome
St. Martin’s Press, May 2009

Countless books and articles have been written about the life of the great physicist and thinker Albert Einstein, and since his death in 1955, a near consensus has existed that Einstein was a staunch supporter of the state of Israel.

Veteran journalist Fred Jerome uses hundreds of pages of Einstein’s own letters, articles and interviews — many published for the first time — to refute this thesis.

It is well known that Einstein, a German Jew, witnessed European anti-Semitism firsthand and spoke out against both prejudice and Nazism. These experiences convinced Einstein to support Zionism and a Jewish homeland. After gaining immense fame for his scientific breakthroughs, he was offered the presidency of Israel in 1952 after the death of the country’s first president, Chaim Weizmann.

In reality, while Einstein was sympathetic to the Zionist cause, he repeatedly warned that a “narrow nationalism” may arise if a Jewish-only state was founded and peaceful co-existence with the Palestinians was not achieved. Instead, Einstein advocated Cultural Zionism — the creation of Jewish cultural and educational centers within a bi-national state with equal rights for both Arabs and Jews.

When Einstein was offered the Israeli presidency, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion stated, “I’ve had to offer him the post because it was impossible not to, but if he accepts we are in for trouble.” In a letter written in the same year, Einstein compared the Zionists’ project with that of the Pilgrims, noting, “how tyrannical, intolerant and aggressive [they] became after a short while.” And in Einstein’s last media interview, which ran in the New York Post a month before his death, he stated “We had great hopes for Israel at first. We thought it might be better than other nations, but it is no better.”

Jerome has authored two previous books about Einstein; The Einstein File: J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret War Against the World’s Most Famous Scientist and Einstein on Race and Racism, co-authored with Rodger Taylor. These books are essential to understanding Einstein, a self-described “revolutionary,” who publicly stated that he would use his fame and celebrity status to bring attention to the causes important to him. For example, Einstein on Race and Racism details for the first time Einstein’s 20-year friendship with Paul Robeson. While the first two books were aimed at filling a large gap in the knowledge about Einstein’s radical beliefs and political activism, Einstein on Zionism and Israel seeks to debunk the myth that Einstein was a supporter of Israel.

In the process, Jerome reveals much about the nature of mainstream propaganda. Einstein’s opposition to Israel was widely known and reported on during his life. In fact, the myth of Einstein’s support of Israel was born the day after Einstein’s death in his obituary in The New York Times, which shamelessly wrote that he “championed” the establishment of the Jewish state. This contradicted decades of reporting from the “Paper of Record.” Jerome provides some examples, including a 1930 article headlined “Einstein attacks British Zion Policy,” a 1938 article stating Einstein was “Against Palestine State” and a 1946 article stating Einstein “Bars Jewish State.”

The book ends with a quote from author and intellectual Gore Vidal, “The only question that really matters: Why?” Jerome follows with, “Why have we not known?”

The New York Society of Ethical Culture will host a reception to celebrate the release of Einstein on Zionism and Israel May 28, 6:30 p.m. 2 West 64th Street in Manhattan. The event is free.

The Indypendent’s Jaisal Noor sat down with author Fred Jerome to discuss why Albert Einstein is remembered for his physics and not his politics.

Jaisal Noor: Why did you decide to write this book on Einstein and his views on Israel and Zionism?

Fred Jerome: When Einstein met Paul Robeson in 1952, Einstein had just turned down the offer to be president of Israel. According to Lloyd Brown [who was present at that meeting] Einstein told Robeson why he had turned down the invitation: He didn’t agree with Israel, with the nationalism, the establishment of the state of Israel, and so on. In both my previous books, there was a brief discussion about Israel. In addition, it is so clearly one of the central issues of today’s world. We cannot ignore this issue and pretend to be concerned about the world or people in the world. It seemed logical to me that if I was going to be concerned about what was happening in Israel, particularly the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians … it would be a logical step to write more on what Einstein had to say. I contacted the Einstein Archives in Jerusalem, and they actually thought it would be a good idea and encouraged me and said that they could provide information that probably had never been published before.

JN: You started with the Einstein Archive in Jerusalem — where else did you go?

FJ: Einstein gave all his papers to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem because he actually helped to found the Hebrew University. As a Cultural Zionist, he was in favor of cultural centers, like universities, but opposed to a Jewish state or nation. I also tried to talk to as many people as possible who talked to Einstein, knew Einstein, who remember Einstein. The most important was [eminent Egyptian journalist] Mohammed Heikel in Cairo. I included this interview, which was certainly never mentioned in any of the more than 100 books on Einstein.

JN: Could you describe the reaction the press had to your previous works on Einstein and the reaction you expect from this one?

FJ: The press’s reaction to the first book, The Einstein File [2002], was one of very significant interest, maybe because J. Edgar Hoover had fallen out of favor with the media in the past 20 years. And so you have a bad guy versus a good guy, Einstein being the good guy. He had just been named Person of the Century by Time Magazine in the year 2000 when I was working on the first book, and I had come up with this file that no one else had — the entire file. So it was a combination of new information and kind of a sexy theme. Then The New York Times devoted a full page of its science section when the book first came out — that helped get the book covered by lots of other media outlets.

When the book Einstein on Race and Racism [2006] came out, there was virtually no coverage in the mainstream media. There was some coverage in the Black press, including the Amsterdam News, some of the websites and so on. Publisher’s Weekly did a review in which they said that it was a good book, was well written, well researched, no complaints, no criticisms. Einstein was a race man, but so what? Six months after the book came out The New York Times finally did do a review of the book, a very favorable review of the book, and published it only in the New Jersey edition, which has very few readers compared to their other editions.

So the contrast was striking. I think primarily because the mainstream media in America really don’t want to write about racism in America and certainly don’t want to identify Einstein with an antiracist position. The other reason the media have ignored this book is that part of the book is Einstein’s friendship with Paul Robeson and while they finally did put Paul Robeson on a postage stamp, after much struggle and protest, clearly the mainstream media and the corporate interests they represent are still afraid of Paul Robeson’s leftism, his socialism, activism, the resistance to them he represented. Outside of the mainstream media it has gotten a very positive reaction. [Co-author] Rodger Taylor and I are still getting invited to speak, five years after the book was published, by students and other groups around the country. But the media reaction was clearly “don’t touch it.”

And my anticipation for this book is that most of the mainstream media will have the same reaction to this book, because I think that their attitude on Israel-Palestine for the most part is well over 150 percent support for Washington’s total backing of the Israeli government. They have been saying in the mainstream media that Einstein was a big supporter of Israel, and they have been saying that since the day he died, over 60 years ago. They never said it while he was alive.

17 May 2009

Nazi & Zionist Eugenics

It is not well known that the early founders of Zionism were devoted adherents to the racial sciences and Eugenics in particular. People like Max Nordau and Arthur Ruppin. The following article shows how this was the accepted wisdom of the Zionist movement's leadership.

For example Ruppin, in charge of land settlement for the Jewish National Fund and Jewish Agency was a devotee. He rejected most Jewish immigrants as not being the 'right human material.' Indeed this 'selectivity' was an important feature of Zionist immigration policy up to and including the years of the Nazi holocaust. Ruppin, probably the most important figure in the pre-state Zionist pantheon, as well as a founder of the Zionist 'peace' group Brit Shalom, was so enamoured of this nonsense that in 1933 he met with fellow co-thinker Professor Hans Gunther, Himmler's ideological mentor. As Tom Segev noted in 'The Seventh Million' p.19:

'George Landauer, a member of the Jewish Agency and formerly a leader of the Zionist movement in Germany, suggested to Ruppin that he travel to Jena, the famous university town that had once been home to Schiller, Begel and other great German scholars. There, Landauer said, he could meet Hans F.K. Gunther, one of the leading Nazi race theorists. Ruppin would be interested; he had himself conducted some research into the origins of the ‘Jewish race,’, looking in particular for a connection between the physical appearance and the mental characteristics of the Jews. [Arthur Ruppin, Chapters of My Life, vol. III, Building the land and the People, 1920-1942 (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 1968), p.223. see also Ruppin, Sociology of the Jews (Hebrew) (Warsaw: Stibel, 1931), pp. 33 ff.]

Tony Greenstein

`Do not have children if they won't be healthy!'

By Tamara Traubmann

A shocking new study reveals how key figures in the pre-state Zionist establishment proposed castrating the mentally ill, sterilizing the poor and doing everything possible to ensure reproduction only among the `best of people.'

Castrating the mentally ill, encouraging reproduction among families "numbered among the intelligentsia" and limiting the size of "families of Eastern origin" and "preventing ... lives that are lacking in purpose" - these proposals are not from some program of the Third Reich but rather were brought up by key figures in the Zionist establishment of the Land of Israel during the period of the British Mandate. It turns out there was a great deal of enthusiasm here for the improvement of the hereditary characteristics of a particular race (eugenics). This support, which has been kept under wraps for many years, is revealed in a study that examines the ideological and intellectual roots at the basis of the establishment of the health system in Israel.

In the Yishuv (pre-state Jewish community) in the 1930s there were "consultation stations" operating on a Viennese model of advice centers for couples that wished to marry and become parents. In Austria, with the Nazis' rise to power, they served for forced treatment. Here the stations were aimed at "giving advice on matters of sex and marriage, especially in the matter of preventing pregnancy in certain cases." They distributed birth-control devices for free to the penniless and at reduced prices to those of limited means. In Tel Aviv the advice stations were opened in centers of immigrant populations: Ajami in Jaffa, the Hatikvah Quarter and Neveh Sha'anan.

These are some of the findings of a doctoral thesis written by Sachlav Stoler-Liss about the history of the health services in the 1950s, under the supervision of Prof. Shifra Shvarts, head of the department of health system management at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. They were presented at the annual conference of the Israel Anthropological Association at Ben-Gurion College.

The father of the theory of eugenics was British scholar Francis Galton. It was he who coined the term - which literally means "well-born" - at the end of the 19th century. The aim of the eugenics movement was to better the human race. Galton proposed a plan to encourage reproduction among "the best people" in society and to prevent reproduction among "the worst elements."

Forced sterilization

Between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, Galton drew many followers and his ideas spread rapidly to other countries in Europe (among them Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Sweden and Belgium), to the United States and to some countries in South America. In various countries laws were passed that allowed for the forced sterilization of "hereditary paupers, criminals, the feeble-minded, tuberculous, shiftless and ne'er-do-wells." In the United States, up until 1935, about 20,000 people - "insane," "feeble-minded," immigrants, members of ethnic minorities and people with low IQs - were forcibly sterilized, most of them in California. The Californian law was revoked only in 1979. According to Dr. Philip Reilly, a doctor and executive director of the Shriver Center for Mental Retardation, in 1985 at least 19 states in the United States had laws that allowed the sterilization of people with mental retardation, (among them Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Vermont, Utah and Montana).

"Eugenics is considered to be something that only happened in Germany," says Stoler-Liss. "Germany was indeed the most murderous manifestation of eugenics, but in fact it was a movement that attracted many followers. In every place it took on a unique, local aspect. It is interesting to note that both in Germany and in Israel a link was made between eugenics, health and nationalism."

Stoler-Liss first encountered the eugenics texts of doctors from the Yishuv when looking for instruction books for parents for a research project for her master's degree. "I presented a text at a thesis seminar and then the instructor of the workshop said to me, `But why aren't you saying that this is a translated text?' I replied: `No, no, the text isn't translated.' `In Israel,' he said, `there are no such things.'"

She decided to look into whether there was only anecdotal and non- representative evidence, doctors and public figures here and there who supported eugenics - and she found many publications that promoted eugenics. Supporters of the idea were key figures in the emerging medical establishment in Palestine; the people who managed and created the Israeli health system.

One of the most prominent eugenicists of the Mandatory period was Dr. Joseph Meir, a well-known doctor who acquired his education in Vienna, served for about 30 years as the head of the Kupat Holim Clalit health maintenance organization, and after whom the Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava is named. "From his position at the very heart of the Zionist medical establishment in the land of Israel in the mid-1930s, he brought young mothers the gospel of eugenics, warned them about degeneracy and transmitted the message to them about their obligation and responsibility for bearing only healthy children," says Stoler-Liss.

Thus, for example, in 1934 Dr. Meir published the following text on the first page of "Mother and Child," a guide for parents that he edited for publication by Kupat Holim: "Who is entitled to give birth to children? The correct answer is sought by eugenics, the science of improving the race and preserving it from degeneration. This science is still young, but its positive results are already great and important - These cases [referring to marriages of people with hereditary disorders - T.T.] are not at all rare in all nations and in particular in the Hebrew nation that has lived a life of exile for 1,800 years. And now our nation has returned to be reborn, to a natural life in the land of the Patriarchs. Is it not our obligation to see to it that we have whole and healthy children in body and soul? For us, eugenics as a whole, and the prevention of the transmission of hereditary disorders in particular, even greater value than for all other nations! ... Doctors, people involved in sport and the national leaders must make broad propaganda for the idea: Do not have children if you are not certain that they will be healthy in body and soul!"

`Problematic and dangerous'

In its full version, the article, which was published in the "Health Guard" section of the now defunct labor Zionist newspaper Davar, the doctor proposed castrating the mentally ill. Stoler-Liss found many more examples in the "Mother and Child" books that were published in 1934 and 1935 and in journals like Eitanim, which was edited by Dr. Meir.

"The support of Dr. Meir and other senior people in the health system for these ideas has been kept under wraps for many years," claims Stoler-Liss. No one today talks about this chapter in the history of the Yishuv. In the mid-1950s Dr. Meir's articles were collected into a book that came out in his memory. The article mentioned above was not included in it. Stoler-Liss found a card file with notes scribbled by the editors of the volume. They defined the article as "problematic and dangerous." "Now, after Nazi eugenics," wrote one of the editors, "it is dangerous to publish this article."

During the latter part of the 1930s, adds Stoler-Liss, when word came out about the horrors that eugenics in its extreme form is likely to cause, they stopped using this word, which was attributed to the Nazis. Overnight eugenics organizations and journals changed their names and tried to shake off any signs of this theory. Dr. Meir, however, during all the years he was active, continued to promote the ideas of eugenics. At the beginning of the 1950s he published an article in which he harshly criticized the reproduction prize of 100 lirot that David Ben-Gurion promised to every mother who gave birth to 10 children. "We have no interest in the 10th child or even in the seventh in poor families from the East ... In today's reality we should pray frequently for a second child in a family that is a part of the intelligentsia. The poor classes of the population must not be instructed to have many children, but rather restricted."

"I'm not making a value judgment," says Stoler-Liss. "Zionism arose at a certain period, in a certain ideological atmosphere - there were all kinds of ideas in the air and there were also eugenicist Zionists. Some of the doctors were educated in Europe, and at that time the medical schools taught not only medicine but also the theory of eugenics."

Judaism of muscle

Dr. Meir was not the first Zionist leader who supported eugenics. According to studies by Dr. Rapahel Falk, a geneticist and historian of science and medicine at Hebrew University, other major Zionist thinkers - among them Dr. Max Nordau, Theodor Herzl's colleague, a doctor and a publicist, and Dr. Arthur Ruppin, the head of the World Zionist Organization office in the Land of Israel - presented the ideas of eugenics as one of the aims of the Jewish movement for national renewal and the settlement of the land.

Prof. Meira Weiss, an anthropologist of medicine at Hebrew University, describes in her book "The Chosen Body" how the settlement of the land and work on the land were perceived by these Zionist thinkers as the "cure" that would restore the health of the Jewish body that had degenerated in the Diaspora. In Nordau's terms, a "Judaism of muscle" would replace "the Jew of the coffee house: the pale, skinny, Diaspora Jew. "At a time when many Europeans are calling for a policy of eugenics, the Jews have never taken part in the `cleansing' of their race but rather allowed every child, be it the sickest, to grow up and marry and have children like himself. Even the mentally retarded, the blind and the deaf were allowed to marry," wrote Ruppin in his book "The Sociology of the Jews." "In order to preserve the purity of our race, such Jews [with signs of degeneracy - T.T.] must refrain from having children."

"Many people dealt with eugenics as a theoretical issue," says Stoler-Liss. "They even set up a Nordau Club with the aim of researching the racial aspects of the Jewish people and ways of improving it. What was special about Dr. Meir and the group that joined him was that for them eugenics was a very practical matter." They wanted to pursue applied eugenics.

The main institution was the advice station. The first station was opened in 1931 in Beit Strauss on Balfour Street in Tel Aviv. The aim was to work in "pleasant ways," through persuasion and choice. As Stoler-Liss explains: "Why should people work against their personal interests? It is here that the connection to the national interest comes in. If I understand that by having a baby I will harm the national interest, the building of the land, the `new Jew,' I will refrain from giving birth. But just to make certain, Meir told the doctors, in the event that a woman comes to you who is `a risk' for giving birth to a sick baby, it is your obligation to make certain that she has an abortion."

"Gynecologist Miriam Aharonova also wrote extensively on the subject of eugenics," adds Stoler-Liss. "In articles for parents under headings such as `The Hygiene of Marriage' she gives a list of eugenic instructions for parents - from the recommended age for giving birth (between 20 and 25), to the recommended difference in age between the father and the mother (the reason for which is the betterment of the race) to a list of diseases that could infect the spouse or "be transmitted through heredity to their descendents after them." In the diseases, she mentions "syphilis, gonorrhea, tuberculosis, alcoholism, narcotics addiction (fondness for morphine, cocaine, etc.) and diseases of the mind and the nerves." In the volume of "Mother and Child" published in 1935, says Stoler-Liss, the publication and discussions by doctors who supported eugenics was greatly expanded. Why, in fact, did they not use force? The establishment had a great deal of power over immigrants and refugees.

"The medical establishment's power was limited at that time. This was an establishment that developed hand in hand with the system it was supposed to strengthen and suffered from constant shortages: a shortage of doctors, a shortage of nurses and a shortage of equipment. It had to examine, treat, inoculate and so on. We are talking about the period of the British Mandate. When at long last there was a state, eugenics theory declined. My explanation is the change of generations: that generation had come to an end professionally, and a new generation with more national motivation came along that was not educated at the European universities during that period. They had already seen what the Nazis had done with it and the ideological identification was lower. The ideas themselves seeped in but they're not using the same rhetoric."

Have eugenics really vanished?

The eugenic chapter in the history of Western culture has been closed, but have eugenics really disappeared?

"Eugenic thinking is alive and well today," asserts Stoler-Liss. "It is expressed mainly in the very high rate of pre-natal tests and genetic filtering [of genetically deviant fetuses]. Mothers are very highly motivated to give birth only to healthy children and the attitude toward the exceptional, the different and the handicapped in Israeli society is problematic."

At hospitals today future parents are offered a plethora of genetic tests that diagnose the fetus before birth. Some of them are aimed at identifying serious disorders, like Tay-Sachs disease, a degenerative disease that causes a painful death in infancy. Others, however, are aimed at screening fetuses with conditions like deafness and sterility, the bearers of which can lead full and satisfying lives

15 May 2009

Denial of Workers Rights: A Means to Enforce the Blockade of Gaza?

Israeli company tells Tel Aviv labour court that compensation claims of enemy workers from Gaza must not be heard in court

In December 2008, Sawt el-Amel filed compensation claims on behalf of 13 workers from Gaza who used to work in the former Israeli-controlled Erez industrial zone. Since then, hundreds of men and women from Gaza who before closure and disengagement used to work in Erez, in the Israeli settlements in Gaza, and inside Israel have contacted Sawt el-Amel with their claims for labour and social-security rights. The question of Gazan workers who lost their jobs and social security rights due to the hermetic closure of the Gaza Strip in 2004 has gigantic economic dimensions: compensation claims for the first 13 workers amount to almost 1.5 million shekels (USD 365,000) of minimum-wage claims, severance pay and other social benefits.

In light of these enormous amounts, Israeli employers fear that the pending cases could set a precedent. A letter sent by the company in question to the labour court in Tel Aviv exemplifies this fear, using the single most striking argument: granting rights to Gazan workers promotes terror.

The letter, dated April 19, 2009, neglects legal arguments for the sake of political ones. Calling on the court to delete the cases, the companys lawyers present the presiding judge with the following scenario:

The claimants are residents of Gaza, which is ruled by a terror organisation. This organisation Hamas is at war with Israel and does not recognise its right to exist. The fact that Hamas is still in power means that all residents of Gaza agree with its ideology, and therefore, all people in Gaza are enemies of Israel. Thus, it is beyond chutzpah (boldness) that residents of Gaza would demand to appear before an Israeli court, and accordingly the Israeli legal system must not open its doors to them. Moreover, the company argues, hearing the cases of Gazan workers would undermine the efforts by the National Security Committee to uphold the economic blockade of Gaza. For if the workers won their cases, financial resources would flow into Gaza, an enemy entity. In conclusion, preventing workers from Gaza from claiming compensation would help Israel to crush Hamas and to liberate the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who is being held captive by Hamas. Therefore, the company calls on the labour court as an organ of the Israeli state to behave in the interest of the state. (1)

Sawt el-Amel is taken aback by the interpretation offered by the companys lawyers, as, while it may reflect popular sentiments prevailing in Israel, it offers little legal substance. Moreover, and more importantly, it is questionable to suggest that a states legal system should act in accordance with political ends.

In this context, it should be noted that the labour court has already agreed to suspend the court fees of seven of the 13 workers because they provided evidence that they are unable to pay. The court accepted proof of the workers economic dependence on aid from UNRWA.

In contrast to the employers assessment of the situation, Sawt el-Amel maintains that workers rights are unalienable and that economic suffocation is a cause of violence rather than a remedy. Sawt el-Amels lawyers are currently preparing a reply to be submitted to the Court.

Example: The case of Mr. Ehab Abu Tayyieh, Gaza

Mr. Ehab Abu Tayyieh used to work as a carpenter for an Israeli company in Erez from June 1999 to July 2005. He worked six days a week for 10 hours per day and received 1,488 shekels per month (Israeli national minimum wage in 2005: 3,200 shekels).

Sawt el-Amels lawyers investigated his case and filed a claim in the Tel Aviv labour court requesting 219,000 shekels (USD 54,000) compensation from his former employer. The sum corresponds to the amount he is entitled to according to Israeli labour standards, including minimum wage, overtime, holiday and severance pay.

Today, Mr. Abu Tayyieh and his family are dependent on humanitarian aid from UNRWA, and the Israeli company he worked for exports its products all over the world and appears to be in excellent financial shape.

(1) The paragraph paraphrases the arguments presented to the court in the companys letter dated April 19, 2

Release the Palestinian Activists Arrested on May Day Demonstration in al-Ma’sara!

According to Charlie Pottins, thousands joined the Gaza march called by three left-wing Palestinian organisations, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine(PFLP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine(DFLP), and the Palestine People's Party(PPP). RED flags were flying in the streets of Gaza, and in the southern districts of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, to celebrate May Day, and international workers solidarity. This didn't stop Israeli state forces attacking May Day demonstrations of Arab workers. In Gaza not a single green Hamas flag was to be seen. Not surprising since May Day means nothing to Islamic fundamentalist groups which are as hostile as the Zionists to workers' self organisation.

Tony Greenstein

Latest News, Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, PGFTU Bethlehem, May 3rd, 2009

After arrests and injuries on Workers Day, Palestinian workers and activists call on trade unions around the globe to increase solidarity

On May 1, people from the village of al-Ma’sara and the neighbouring villages in Bethlehem area commemorated Workers Day with a march in protest against the Apartheid Wall. The Wall continues to encroach on their land and isolates their villages. The demonstration and Workers Day festival was organized by the popular committees of the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign in al Ma’sara and Bethlehem district, in cooperation with the Bethlehem branch of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU).

Israeli Occupation forces repressed the mobilization and fired on the crowd with tear gas, sound bombs and rubber coated steel bullets. Nine people were injured, among them the head of the PGFTU, Shaher Sa’ad. Soldiers arrested ‘Azmi Sheukhi from Hebron, Mustafa Fawagreh from Um Salamoneh and Muhammed Brajiya, Mahmoud Zawahreh, Hasan Brajiya, all members of the popular committee in al Ma’sara. They are still held in prison.

The events of May 1 are the latest of a strategy of escalation implemented over the last months by the Occupation forces and which has lead to increased arrests, injuries and deaths among the coordinators and activists against the Apartheid Wall.

Several weeks ago, Basem Abu Rahmeh was shot and killed in the village of Bil’in while last week, 37 people were injured in similar protests. Ni’lin suffers regular invasions and arrests. This Friday, Occupation forces took over several homes as military bases. In February, Occupation forces staged a full day raid detaining 75 youth and arresting 16. The occupation forces regularly impose curfews and other collective punishment measures.

International trade unions must act in the face of these attacks on trade unionists, workers and villagers.

The popular committee against the Apartheid Wall of al Ma’sara and Bethlehem district, the Bethlehem branch of the PGFTU and the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign call upon trade unions across the globe to:

• Demand the release of the Palestinian activists arrested on Workers Day.
• Raise awareness about the land theft and ghettoization of Palestinian communities through the Wall and the grassroots resistance against it.
• Support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and promote concrete BDS actions to hold Israel accountable for its crimes and force it to respect Palestinian rights.

Popular committee against the Apartheid Wall of al Ma’sara and Bethlehem district
Bethlehem branch of the PGFTU
Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign