30 July 2012

Alex Cockburn - Death of a Reactionary Radical

Progress Was Back to the Past

Counterpunch - A Mockery of his Communist father Claude Cockburn

Cockburn - His radicalism deserted him

I promised not to write any blogs on my vacation.  Kids and all that plus lack of adequate facilities.  This is a blog without graphics as the Gottenberg youth hostel's computers have only installed the Internet. 
The youthful Cockburn became increasingly attracted to fascism
As Kipling remarked, when all around are losing their heads it's a good idea to keep one's own.  In snatches of the Internet over the past few days I have been astonished that a reactionary and it would appear, corrupt buffoon, has been lauded by much of the Left.
The internet magazine Cockburn founded became a test bed for what has been called the Brown-Red alliance
The paper I am closest too, the Weekly Worker has it would appear abandoned its Marxist analysis (or at least its columnist Jim Creegan has) and comrades like Mick Hall, who authors the excellent Outrage blog, seem to lost their bearings.

There is a whole genre of 'the left' who, having no confidence in the working class, mouth radical slogans.  Gilad Atzmon is one such creature.  Cockburn was another.
Cockburn abandoned socialism for nationalism
I must confess I was stunned by the Jim Creegan's Obituary of Alex Cockburn's 'A Radical for all Seasons'.  He was described as an anti-Zionist no less.  I accept that in American terms Cockburn took up what would be described as radical postures but he did it as a caricature of true progressive and socialist politics.
Cockburn was never a Marxist
Cockburn made common cause with the whole galaxy of Atzmonites and other fake progressives. He was a part of that reactionary gaggle of conspiracy theorists who, not understanding capitalism, reached back into the cesspit of pre-capitalist society.  Instead of looking for the obvious, the control of the resources of this planet by a thin crust of the ruling class, their prostitute regimes and military, he reached for conspiracies as an all embracing answer.  This put him on a par with the neo-fascist survivalists and idiot blogs like Veterans Today.  The fruitcakes and loony tunes of the 9/11 conspiracy theorists.

I have done a quick google search on the Counterpunch site and it lists no less than 304 articles by Gilad Atzmon, no doubt some of them are duplicates.

What is worse is that this garbage site Cockburn set up, Counterpunch, has constantly reprinted the articles of the medieval anti-Semite Israel Shamir who believes that the Blood Libel, whereby Jews murdered non-Jewish children to use their blood to make matzot (unleavened bread) for Passover, is true. Countless Jews died the most horrible deaths, victims of Christian inspired pogroms at Easter because of this. Julius Streicher, editor of Der Sturmer and Gauleiter of Franconia, who was hanged at Nuremburg, revived this blasphemy in his pornographic paper.

This was the extent of Cockburn's radicalism, reaching into the sewers of the most barbaric anti-semitism.  Nor was this the only example.  In the print edition of Counterpunch was an article by Shamir 'Dreyfuss Case Revisited' . 'Was he really a victim of anti-Semitism' Shamir asks about the royalist-military-clerical frame up of the Jewish officer Alfred Dreyfuss. It was precisely the defeat of these reactionaries that led, 40 years later to the resistance to the Nazis and the remarkable survival of 75% of French Jewry in the holocaust.

I also have a personal-political axe to grind. When Mary Rizzo, Atzmon's collaborator (before she found out he was a mysoginist) printed a particular article attacking me  and Jews Against Zionism. Roland Rance and myself replied.  Cockburn not only refused to publish it but he, despite many emails and phone messages, refused to even acknowledge it.

If his father, the redoubtable Claude Cockburn, had seen what and who his son had aided in the cause of 'anti-imperialism' he would have turned in his grave. That Alex Cockburn started off as a radical is not doubted but he died a reactionary racist who believed that conspiracies explained all.

Tony Greenstein

21 July 2012

Moshe Silman – Murdered by Netanyahu and the Jewish State

The Tragedy of Moshe Silman Should Not Blind Us as to the Culpability of Zionism

Moshe Silman
It is more than a terrible tragedy, that a 57 year old son of holocaust survivors died after setting himself on fire in protest at the way the Israeli state treated him.  There are lessons as well as reflections on what happened and why.

Moshe Silman’s act of self-immolation will not become as well-known as that of the Tunisian man, Mohamed_Bouazizi, who set himself on fire last year.  Bouzizi triggered the revolution in Tunisia which set off  the Arab Spring – a veritable hurricane of protest.

Not that it matters to either man, since they are both dead.  Let us leave aside the desperation that leads someone to kill themselves in this manner.  Silman sustained 94% third degree burns on his body and it must have been an agonizing way to go.
Flames rising from the site where Moshe Silman set himself aflame. (Photo: Yuval Ben-Ami)
 But we should be clear in tribute to  Silman.  He was killed by Netanyahu and Barak and all those who use Zionism to pretend that a Jewish nation will not be an oppressive one – even to Jews.  In Israel the poor go to the wall.  The welfare state has been dismantled.  The experiences of Moshe Silman are detailed below in a Ha'aretz article.

Every death is tragic in some way but especially when someone is driven to kill themselves because they can see no light at the end of the tunnel.  Moshe Silman was brought up in a society where racism is the norm.  Zionism had no use for him any longer.

Moshe Silman may not even have thought about many of these questions until poverty and desperation led him to become involved in the J14 protests last year.  Zionist supporters in Britain and the USA talk about Israel as a refuge.   But it is no more than a refuge against poverty than it is against racism.  Instead we see what was termed the ‘poor white’ syndrome of the USA whereby those who live in poverty are told that at least they have a white skin and can lord it over the Blacks.  It doesn’t feed you, or house you or clothe you – but apparently some people feel better because of it.  In Germany it mean the loweliest tramp could feel superior to a Jewish doctor.  In Israel the same is true for the Jewish working-class.

Today Jewish workers and the unemployed are told to feel that if only the Palestinians suffer more then their situation will be better.  When of course it is the corrupt oligarchy that runs Israel that benefits regardless of who suffers.  Unity is strength, an old labour movement slogan, was never more apt.

Tony Greenstein
Moshe Silman at a social protest in Haifa. Photo by Hagai Frid

Moshe Silman dies afterself-immolation at Israeli protest

The Israeli social protester was suffering from second and third-degree burns on 94 percent of his body after he set himself on fire at a protest in Tel Aviv last week.

 By Revital Hovel and Dan Even | Jul.20, 2012 | 3:30 PM

Moshe Silman at a social protest in Haifa. Photo by Hagai Frid
By Revital Hovel | Jul.20,2012 | 3:30 PM | http://www.haaretz.com/images/icons/comment.png23

Moshe Silman, the Israeli activist who set himself on fire during a social justice protest in Tel Aviv one week ago, succumbed to his wounds on Friday at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer.
Silman was suffering from second and third-degree burns on 94 percent of his body.  
Protesters trying to extinguish the flames from Moshe Silman, after he set himself on fire during a social justice demonstration in Tel Aviv on July 14.
From Friday morning, activists and close friends of Silman were informed by his family that he was in his last hours. His family wanted to be surrounded by close friends, and announced that they would sit Shiva, the seven-day mourning period of an immediate family member required by Judaism, in the house of his sister in Rishon Letzion, where a mourner's tent would be set up.

The  57-year-old son of Holocaust survivors did not have an easy start. He lived alone and according to friends, tried to get ahead in life and live in dignity. But a small debt to the National Insurance Institute grew and sent him into an economic and bureaucratic tailspin that ended in self-immolation Saturday night on Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street in front of the cameras.

Moshe was simply not willing for the State of Israel to run him over anymore,” a friend said.
Silman’s friends were not surprised to hear what he did. The decision to set himself on fire because the state would not help him overcome his economic difficulties was in character for him, they said, especially considering his despair. “There was protest in his soul,” said a friend who went to rallies with Silman in Haifa. “He waited for it to break out and was glad when it did,” the friend added.

Two years ago Silman moved from Bat Yam to Haifa. As his economic situation deteriorated he became more and more involved in the protests in Haifa. The activists he met at the protest tent on the Carmel last summer became his best friends. “He was a man of action. He said you have to be political and get elected anywhere possible,” said Yossi Baruch, a Haifa activist. 

According to friends, Silman lived in a neglected two-room apartment on the edge of the poor Wadi Salib area of the city. The refrigerator is empty. The neighbors do not know him at all.
Friends said he believed in action and took his belief to the extreme. He was born in Israel, and has two sisters, Bat Zion Elul from Rishon Letzion and Naomi Angel, a member of Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael. Angel would visit him in Haifa from time to time, always bringing food. Elul said Thursday of her brother: “He was in despair. He was mired in debt. Until the last moment we helped him. But he didn’t want it. Since the day he lost everything, the day they took everything, the house, his trucks, the money, my parents’ house, he has been going downhill.”

Silman never married and had no children and so his request for public housing was repeatedly denied. He worked at odd jobs and spent a few years in the United States. On his return, he established a messenger service and things finally began to look up. But then, toward the end of 2000, his business was hurt by the outbreak of the second intifada. He moved the business to a smaller warehouse and his office to his home in Jaffa. It later turned out that the National Insurance Institute’s debt notices never reached him, because they were sent to his former address. In 2002, the institute seized one of the four trucks he used for his company. The reason: a debt of NIS 15,000. Silman paid a third of the debt to reclaim his truck, but then he was asked to pay a further NIS 1,200 to cover towing expenses. Silman could not reclaim the truck due to a strike at the institute, and says that it led to the business’ collapse. Later, in 2005, he was forced to evacuate his apartment.

A history of court battles

Together with his mother, Sarah, Silman decided in 2008 to sue the National Insurance Institute. He and his mother claimed damages of NIS 8 million because of the seizure of his trucks that he said led to the loss of his business. But to file the suit he needed to pay a court fee, which he said he could not afford.

The court turned down his request to waive the fee and the case was never heard. The court registrar called Silman’s claim “baseless.” Silman appealed the decision to the Tel Aviv District Court, but it was turned down in 2010. 

In a Facebook post last March, Silman urged his friends to organize protests against the institute: “I think that considering the upcoming appointment of a new director general of the NII, which is actually the Anti-Social National Insurance Institute, which has throughout the years caused the most cases of injustice by any governmental service to the weakest segments of society − and continues to do so daily − we should organize protests in front of NII offices,” he wrote.

Silman began working as a taxi driver, but made very little money, according to an affidavit and documents, submitted with his damages claim against the institute.

Meanwhile, as his financial situation worsened, his bank account was seized, and all his savings and insurance benefits were either seized or used to pay his debts, estimated at hundreds of thousands of shekels. Silman’s mother, a guarantor of his debts, was also left without savings. In order to save her apartment, she legally transferred it to her daughters, free of charge. The court registrar who rejected Silman’s plea to be exempt from the court fee to file his damages suite wrote: “Someone who used this route of property smuggling cannot be heard afterward saying that he cannot pay the court fee.”
After losing his driver’s license because of his debts, his health began to deteriorate. The NII assessed his loss of ability to work at 50 percent and gave him only a limited allowance. Avri Raviv, who went with Silman several times to the institute said: “Like the cliche says, the handwriting was on the wall. Silman threatened suicide more than once to them. The representative of the psychiatric committee told me that people who threaten, don’t do it.”

But then, last summer’s social protest put wind in Silman’s sails. He began to participate regularly in rallies and became well known in Haifa’s small activist community. Idit Lev, who was one of the people closest to him, said: “He was always trying to turn over one stone and then another, to see if he could move ahead somehow.”

He spent his days looking for work, in endless lines at the health maintenance organization and in attempts to fight the Housing Ministry for help with rent. He filed four such applications with attorney Becky Cohen-Keshet, all of which were rejected on the grounds that he once owned an apartment and had no children. A fellow activist said after Silman set fire to himself Saturday night: “Moshe chose to harm himself in protest. It’s terrible when a person has to commit an act like that to explain their situation to people.” 

See also this excellent article.Moshe Silman’s flames should not die with memorial candles http://972mag.com/silmans-flames-should-not-die-with-memorial-candles/51520/

This will be my last blog article for 2 weeks as I'm away!!  Lotta Continua! - Tony Greenstein

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin – the ‘academic’ face of Zionist and American McCarthyism

The racist cartoon heading the site of fellow racist Rabbi Fischer.  Arabs are barbarians who hide behind their babies whereas Israeli soldiers defend them (whilst shackling Palestinian kids).

trying to find the mike!
Ross Benjamin's life mission is to prevent others speaking their minds.  It is 'unlawful' to use state resources to host an academic's political webpage (unless you agree with it).
 They don’t like it up ‘em
 As Corporal Jones of Dad's Army fame used to say 'they don't like it up 'em'.  In other words she can dish it out but can't take the flack.  I refer to another Police State Academic Tammi Ross Benjamin, who spends most of her miserable life trying to censor the pages of fellow academics.

I did a couple of features on this particularly grotesque parody of an ‘academic’.  Ms Benjamin obviously didn’t like the criticism she regularly doles out, because she has replied, albeit in her normally dishonest, cut and paste fashion.

In a letter she tells us that she and her fellow would-be censors ‘remain deeply dismayed that you have not responded to our letters to you, nor to the letters of numerous members of the Jewish community, urging you to remove Professor David Klein’s “Boycott Israel Resource Page” from the CSU Northridge server. Disappointingly, you have not even acknowledged our concerns.’

 How impolite.  Don't they know she is an important person and what's more, highly influential.  There are no end of sleazy congressmen willing to take her shilling.  But Ross-Benjaim is nothing if not resourceful.  She wishes to inform her correspondents of ‘a more personal matter.’   With bated breath I read on.

What is the personal matter in question?  Perhaps she’s found out that David Klein has committed bigamy, abandoned his children, become a new Hannibal Lector, had sex with a reindeer ( made that one up!).   Well actually the blighter has been found out ‘unlawfully’ using ‘University and taxpayer resources’.   Ah - crime indeed.  Let us forget the small matter of some $3 billion in taxpayer aid for the Israeli military.  It's that wicked Mr Klein we are talking about.

Clearly Mr Klein must have been using State resources to fund his own business, evade taxes?  Err not quite.  They have been using these resources, including the ‘prestige of the California State University; to tell the truth, sorry libel, Ms Benjamin.  Question – is it possible to defame Ms Benjamin when she does such a good job herself?

What has really got her (kosher) goat is that not only has David Klein supported a Boycott of Israel he has done this on his university pages!  Free speech?  Forget it.  Ross-Benjamin is an important person.  And Boycotts are unAmerican (unless it's Iran of course!).

And holy of holies.  She has linked to my article ‘Rossman-Benjamin: The Face of a Police State Academic.”   What’s wrong you may ask with a Police state academic?  Well for a start they are a bit of a contradiction and in any case she supports the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’.  It may torture, steal and confiscate land, set fire to olive groves, impose hundreds of check points to detain and harass Arabs, it may Judaise the Negev and Galilee and Jerusalem, demolish Arab villages and a thousand more instances of discrimination reminiscent of Apartheid at its worst, but you can still vote in Israel!

Even worse ‘The article to which his webpage is linked bears the same title and was written by British anti-Zionist Tony Greenstein, a leader of the international campaign to boycott Israel.’  Now I hate to point it out to such a distinguished academic but I am a mere footsoldier, not international leader!  My real offences are bullet headed:

I compares Ms Benjamin ‘to a Nazi collaborator.’  Well no I was being a bit more subtle, though clearly Rossman-Benjamin doesn’t do subtlety.  I pointed out that in Germany in 1933 academics rushed to associate themselves with Nazism, shunning their fellow Jewish academics.  Martin Heidigger was, of course, the most famous, elected Rector of Freiburg University in March 1933.  Collaboration was what the Zionist Federation of Germany did and later people like Israel Kasztner.   This was more a form of political prostitution.

And even worse I had ‘accused her of “climbing into bed with Hitler supporters.” ’  Well it’s a pretty damaging accusation – if true.  It would imply that Ross-Benjamin is a Nazi as opposed to a fool and a McCarthyist.  But of course she doesn’t post the whole quote.  She is one of those cut and paste merchants, i.e. a junk academic.  My original quote was about her ‘climbing into bed with Hitler supporters such as Rev. John Hagee of CUFI.’  Which is a very different proposition.
Pastor John Hagee was President of the Southern Baptist Congregation and is currently head of Christians United for Israel.  It is a matter of fact that he has described Hitler as god’s messenger, sent to drive the Jews to Palestine.  He has spoken about ‘Jewish half-breeds’ and used viciously anti-Semitic language. He is one of a number, people like Glenn Beck, who are both anti-Semitic and pro-Zionist.  Indeed it is quite a normal thing for those who are anti-Semitic to wish Jews to leave their homelands.

Apparently it is libellous to imply that the AMCHA Initiative is funded by the Israeli government.  Well I'm inclined to agree with her!  And Amcha?  It is a locally based, indigenous struggle.  And I’m batman!

Apparently the Amcha Initiative, like Camera, Stand With Us and all those other non-Israeli funded ‘initiatives’ is solely concerned for the ‘safety and well-being of Jewish students on California campuses.’  So why is a boycott of Israel any problem for them then?  We make a sharp distinction between Israel, its war crimes and being Jewish.  Fact is, of course, that anti-Semitism is only a concern for Zionism when support for the Palestinians is on the agenda.  Israel is the biggest single cause of anti-Semitism world wide.   And Zionists like Ross Benjamin do their best to associate Jews in the diaspora with Israel's war crimes.  But opposing anti-Semitism (the real kind I mean)?  I can honestly say that in 30+ years of organising against fascist groups like the National Front I have never known a Zionist organisation to become involved with us.

Well dear reader, ‘Professor Klein’s inclusion of a link to Tony Greenstein’s article on his CSUN-hosted webpage is further evidence of the misuse of university and taxpayer-funded resources.’  Perhaps the brilliant mind of Benjamin could enlighten us as to how much this ‘misuse of ….’ actually costs and isn’t free speech the most valuable of all commodities (to those like Ms Benjamin, education is yet another commodlity).

Indeed it is a ‘case a vicious personal attack on Tammi and the AMCHA Initiative, among other things.’  Quite how you make a personal attack on an organisation I shall leave to the brilliant Ms Benjamin.  But as regards herself I was simply painting another side to this, no doubt, charming woman.

In another letter co-ordinated by Ross Benjaim, from 1800 gullible fools who probably don’t have a clue what it’s all about  what is abundantly clear from some of the comments made, is their anti-Semitic character!  This from a defender of those poor Jewish students.

Mr Outraged writes that ‘I would advocate budget-cutting to cut out this cancer.’  Ah yes, nothing to do with free speech, its all a question of economics!

According to another it is a ‘Jew-hating college.”  Of course this particular idiot is long on descriptions but somewhat shorter on fact.  And one fact is that the campaign to boycott Israel is driven in large part by Jewish people!

Another has 3 children ‘all who might have considered CSU as an option.  There is absolutely no way I would consider giving tuition funds, not to mention the considerable donation potential to any of these campuses under these conditions.”  I think I’m getting the message.  It’s about financial contributions and the threat of withdrawing them.  Now where does this particular idea come from?

Isn’t it one of the standard anti-Semitic tropes that Jews bribe their way through life and buy up any one who doesn’t agree with him/her.  True to type Ross-Benjamin shows the anti-Semitism in her as is typical of Zionist supporters when the mask slips.

And where Ross-Benjamin leads others follow.     Rabbi Dov Fischer lends his support to her when arguing that Jews should refuse to support the Orange County Jewish Federation.  And what is the Fed’s crime?  Well they support the Olive Tree Initiative who harbour this strange idea that there is more than one side to a conflict.

Note how ‘Palestine’ and ‘Palestinian’ are in inverted commas.  It is common now on the American right to deny even the existence of the Palestinians.  Martin Heidigger eat your heart out.

And Dov Fischer has a nice line in racist cartoons.  On the top of his blog is a cartoon explaining the differences between the Israeli army and Arab ‘terrorists’.  The Israeli military defends a baby in a pram.   The Arab uses the pram as cover.  Well what do you expect of these barbarians?

Fischer writes that 'Jewish funds should not be expended on paying for Jewish students to travel throughout “Palestinian” towns and villages to hear lectures by trained anti-Israel propagandists from “Palestine,” as part of an OTI mission to expose Jewish students to a “balanced” understanding of narratives:'

Not only is Ross-Benjamin and friends interested in curtailing academic debate but she wants to suppress internal debate in the Jewish community.

  Tony Greenstein

Dear Chancellor Reed,

We remain deeply dismayed that you have not responded to our letters to you, nor to the letters of numerous members of the Jewish community, urging you to remove Professor David Klein’s “Boycott Israel Resource Page” from the CSU Northridge server. Disappointingly, you have not even acknowledged our concerns.

Now, however, we are writing to inform you of a more personal matter.  We believe that CSUN Professor David Klein and Interim President Harold Hellenbrand have been using University and taxpayer resources unlawfully and the name and prestige of the California State University to mount what we believe are defamatory attacks targeting one or both of us:

1) For the last several weeks, Professor Klein has included as the first item referenced on his Boycott Israel webpage a link entitled “Rossman-Benjamin: The Face of a Police State Academic.” The article to which his webpage is linked bears the same title and was written by British anti-Zionist Tony Greenstein, a leader of the international campaign to boycott Israel.  Greenstein’s article includes the following verbal assault against Tammi Rossman-Benjamin and the AMCHA Initiative, a grassroots organization which we co-founded to promote the safety and well-being of Jewish students on California campuses:

 Greenstein compares Tammi Rossman-Benjamin to a Nazi collaborator, writing: “Rossman-Benjamin reminds me of the court academics who prostituted themselves in 1933 when the Nazis came to power.” He has posted three photographs of Tammi next to a photograph of Martin Heidegger, whose caption reads: “famous philosopher who lent his talents to the cause of the 3rd Reich,” and he has accused her of “climbing into bed with Hitler supporters.”
 Greenstein calls Tammi a “police state academic,” a “junk academic,” a “zombie,” a “fruit cake,” and a “McCarthyite apparatchick,” and he insinuates that she is part of the “racist right.”
 Greenstein falsely implies that the AMCHA Initiative is funded by the Israeli government.

Professor Klein’s inclusion of a link to Tony Greenstein’s article on his CSUN-hosted webpage is further evidence of the misuse of university and taxpayer-funded resources to promote Klein’s own partisan agenda, in this case a vicious personal attack on Tammi and the AMCHA Initiative, among other things.

2) CSU Northridge Interim President Harold Hellenbrand has recently issued an official statement entitled “J’ACCUSE! THE NEW ANTI-ANTI-SEMITISM,” which he posted as the April ’12 “Provost’s Message” on the Academic Affairs home page and circulated widely by email to all CSUN faculty and administrators. In his statement, President Hellenbrand demonizes and delegitimizes the AMCHA Initiative’s efforts to address the issue of anti-Jewish bigotry at CSUN.  For example:

 President Hellenbrand criticizes the recent policy articulated by the U.S. Department of Education affording civil rights protection to Jewish students, and he falsely accuses the AMCHA Initiative of capitalizing on the new policy “to denounce, with the fury of Jeremiah, dissent to policy as if it were apostasy.”
 President Hellenbrand falsely accuses the AMCHA Initiative of being a Jewish messianic organization, which “fantasizes its inception as a Golden State recapitulation of the in-gathering of the Jews under the Word”.
 President Hellenbrand falsely accuses the AMCHA Initiative of violating U.S. law through “entangling alliance with a foreign power [Israel]” and ignoring “the separation of church and state”.
 Ironically, although President Hellenbrand accuses us of using University resources for engaging in political advocacy — by which he presumably means the occasional and legitimate use of our UC email accounts to send letters to university administrators urging them to ensure that Jewish students are protected on their campuses (hardly a use of University resources) — as we have noted in our previous letter to you, President Hellenbrand himself has used his administrative office and substantial taxpayer dollars to promote  his own highly partisan and political agenda.
President Hellenbrand’s statement contains false and wild charges and is unprofessional, politically-motivated, and highly unbecoming of the top CSUN administrator. Moreover, his astonishing lack of sensitivity to the issue of anti-Jewish bigotry is extremely offensive to a great many members of the Jewish community.

We believe that Professor Klein’s and President Hellenbrand’s behavior is in clear violation of California state law, including California Government Code 8314, which prohibits any state employee from using public resources for personal benefit, and California Education Code 89005.5(a)(2)(C), which prohibits the use of the state-owned name CSU Northridge for the purpose of promoting personal or political activities including boycott.

Moreover, we believe that Professor Klein and President Hellenbrand are using their University positions and privileged access to University internet and electronic services to silence the legitimate concerns we are raising about their misuse of University and taxpayer resources for promoting a political hatred of the Jewish state and its supporters. Indeed, we note that to the extent that Professor Klein and President Hellenbrand are violating our constitutionally-protected freedom of expression, their speech cannot be considered constitutionally protected.

Finally, besides the potential violations of state and federal law that we have enumerated, we believe the behavior of Professor Klein and President Hellenbrand suggests an egregious failure of leadership at CSUN.

We therefore urge you, as CSU Chancellor, to take the following actions immediately:

1) Remove Professor Klein’s offensive webpage from the CSUN server.

2) Remove President Hellenbrand’s “J’ACCUSE” statement from the Academic Affairs website and replace it with an apology to the AMCHA Initiative for misusing the CSUN Office of Academic Affairs to promote a highly partisan and political message.

3) Post on your Chancellor’s website and circulate widely among all CSU faculty and administrators a statement articulating the state and federal laws and University policies prohibiting the use of University resources for partisan or political purposes, and insist on the proper enforcement of these laws and policies by all CSU employees.

We hope to hear from you soon regarding this matter, which is of great importance not only to us personally, but to the entire Jewish community.


Tammi Rossman-Benjamin
Co-founder the AMCHA Initiative

Leila Beckwith
Co-founder the AMCHA Initiative
CSU Presidents
CSU Board of Trustees
CSU General Counsel Christine Helwick
California Governor Jerry Brown
California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom
California Speaker of the Assembly John A. Perez
California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
California Attorney General Kamala Harris
Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley
City Attorney for the City of Los Angeles Carmen A. Trutanich
Congressman Brad Sherman
Congressman Howard Berman
California State Senator Alex Padilla (Northridge)
California State Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (Northridge)Bcc: Members and supporter of the Jewish community

20 July 2012

Another Israeli Barbarian - MK Michael Ben-Ari

MK Michael Ben-Ari tearing pages from the New Testament (photo: Itamar Ben-Gvir)
An interesting little story.  Whilst a lunatic American pastor insists on burning the Quoran, his counterpart in Israel – far-right religious party MK Michael Ben Ari, demonstrates the hatred of the religious Jews and Talmud for Christians.

Here we have one particular Neanderthal demonstrating the subtlety of his arguments.  It makes it even more absurd, on the surface, that US Christians support Israel in such numbers.  But actually it doesn’t, because the theology and practice of US Baptism is above all political – US power is god given and it is irrelevant whether Israelis like Christians.  What matters is that Israel is a willing guard dog of US interests in the Middle East.

US fundamentalist Christianity is intensely political – it provides the ‘god cover’ for US imperialism.  God is always on their side, and damn the consequences.  Whether it is abortion, the death penalty or health care – US Christianity is a religion that worships the rich and promises ‘apple pie’ only in the next world.

Just imagine the cries of 'anti-Semitism' is the Torah were subject to similar treatment.

Tony Greenstein

Tuesday, July 17 2012|Ami Kaufman

MK Michael Ben-Ari rips up New Testament, throws it in trash

According to the Israeli website NRG,  MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) tore the New Testament to pieces and then threw it in the trash after the Bible was sent to all 120 members of Knesset by a man named Victor Kalish, who according to NRG specializes in publishing Christian religious texts.

In the article, Ben Ari is quoted as saying, “This abhorrent book promoted the murders of millions of Jews during the Inquisition and the autos da fé… this is an ugly missionary provocation by the Church, there’s no doubt that the book and its senders belong in the trash of history.”

Black Prisons - The Secret United State's Places of Torture and Incarceration

Court demands secret files on US 'black jails’

Abd al Rahim al Nashiri was detained at a Polish prison for six months Photo: GETTY
Mihail Kogalniceanu air base. Romania. @ 44.36043300, 28.49149700
Black Site, Kabul, Afghanistan. Trevor Paglen: This site was brought to my attention by Afghan journalists and human rights activists in Kabul. The code name of this site remains unknown.
Diego Garcia Island, Indian Ocean, United Kingdom Territory. Rendition Flights Refuelled on the Island in 2002.
Khalid Shiekh Mohammed
Kiejkuty Stare
Exhibit I: Rendering of Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah's first cell in Afghanistan (based on Bashmilah's own drawings). Source: Salon.com
In Afghanistan, the largest CIA covert prison was code-named the Salt Pit, at center left above. (Space Imaging Middle East). Source: Washington Post
The Salt Pit, Shomali Plains Northeast of Kabul, Afghanistan. Trevor Paglen: The Salt Pit is located in an old brick factory a few miles northeast of Kabul, along an isolated back-road connecting Kabul to Bagram.
The United States is facing fresh embarrassment over its use of 'black' detention sites after the European Court of Human Rights ordered Poland to hand over secret documents about its role in the War on Terror, The Daily Telegraph has learned.

Judges in Strasbourg have requested documents that contain details of how the CIA set up its "extraordinary rendition" centre outside Warsaw in 2002 where it subjected al-Qaeda suspects to water-boarding and other extreme interrogation techniques.

A month ago, a Polish whistle-blower alleged that a document existed which allowed the setting up of the prison – including procedures to adopt in the event of an inmate's death. It was said to have been signed by the head of Polish intelligence.

According to the leak, American officials "laughed" and refused to sign the document. "They considered us amateurs and explained that this kind of business could not be dealt with by means of formal agreements," the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reported.

Polish officials have refused to confirm or deny the existence of the agreement, citing official secrets laws, as part of a four-year investigation into the jail.

However, in a decision hailed by civil rights lawyers, the court has asked the Polish government to confirm the existence of the agreement and "if that document exists ... to supply a copy." Both Poland and the US have fought to keep operational details of the camp secret. Under European law Poland has until Sept 5 to comply with the court's request for information, a copy of which has been seen by this newspaper.

The court demand was made after US civil rights lawyers filed a compensation claim at the court in Strasbourg on behalf of Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, the man accused of masterminding the October 2000 suicide bomb attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 American sailors.

Lawyers for al Nashiri, who was detained at the Polish prison for six months from December 2002 to June 2003, said the court order was a "significant step forward" in the ongoing battle to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding the CIA's rendition programme. "It would be a significant step forward for relevant documents to be produced so that the truth can finally be aired," said Amrit Singh, of the New York-based Open Society Justice Initiative which filed the case.

"Every single case brought by a rendition victim in the United States has been dismissed, until now no rendition victim has had their day in court. The US has never officially acknowledged any of its secret locations.

"The US and Poland conducted this secret rendition and torture operation on European territory without any judicial review or oversight, and now a European court is showing that it takes these violations very seriously,"
she added.

The European court's demand for information is potentially deeply embarrassing for the US government as it puts al Nashiri on trial at a war crimes tribunal in Guantánamo Bay, which began hearing pre-trial motions on Tuesday.

The court questions could also circumvent US government attempts to block requests by the al Nashiri defence team for the release of official documents relating to his detention in Poland and other sites in Morocco and Thailand.

Prosecution lawyers have urged the war crimes tribunal not to give up documents relating to the "arrest, detention and rendition" of al Nashiri, arguing they are "not material" to his defence and that the Guantánamo tribunal has no power to order foreign governments to hand them over.

The CIA black site at the Stare Kijekuty army base 110 miles north of Warsaw has caused a major political scandal in Poland as details emerged about how al Nashiri was subjected to mock executions, kept hooded and naked and threatened with a power drill and the rape of his family members.

In evidence given to an earlier Guantánamo Bay hearing in 2007, al Nashiri said his physical torture was so severe that "before I was arrested I used to be able to run about 10km. Now, I cannot walk for more than 10 minutes".

The court has also demanded to know whether Poland knowingly allowed al Nashiri to be tortured and sent to a country – Morocco – that used the death penalty, which would be a serious breach of European law.

As Zionism moves to the Right – so Progressive Zionist Organisations Are Seen as More Effective Opponents of BDS

The answer of course is that J Street and Peace Now aren’t progressive.  J-Street’s only claim to be progressive is that it isn’t as far to the Right as AIPAC – the main Zionist lobby group in the US.  As for Peace Now.  They barely exist in Israel and outside Israel function as one of the few remaining left-Zionist groups left and they function solely as a means of conveying the idea that Israel is a pluralist democracy.  In fact peace activists who are Jewish in Israel are regularly reviled as ‘traitors’, physically attacked and threatened with assassination.   I can remember after the horrific massacres in 1982 in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra & Chatilla, which Israel oversaw, Peace Now was trumpeted around campuses to show how vibrant Israeli democracy was.

One of these hypocrites was put up against a motion at Sussex University in October 1982.  I was also an invited speaker, though the Zionists tried to prevent me speaking on grounds of 'anti-Semitism'.  A creature called Jeff Samuels, the Vice President Finance led the attack.  To no avail.  A massive Union General Meeting of 900 decided it wanted to hear from someone opposed to Zionism from a Jewish perspective. 

After the Peace Now propagandist was wheeled on I spoke.  I say modestly that it brought the house down when I said, and I remember it still, that Jews above all, given the history of anti-Semitism, should be the last people to perpetrate racism.  The Israeli state had allied with fascism - the Phalange.

The meeting went on to vote overwhelmingly for a motion calling for a democratic, secular state in the whole of Palestine.  Something like 75-80% of those present voted in favour.

I was told late that I had 'intimidated' Jewish (they mean Zionist) students who were upset and in tears at having to listen to my arguments.  Such precious, sensitive little souls these Zionists are.  It brings tears to their eyes to have to listen to a description of their murderous activities.

Indeed on this basis I was described as 'anti-Semitic'.  Putting forward views that some Jewish students don't like is anti-Semitic. 

Tony Greenstein

Why did progressive U.S. Jewish groups oppose divestment?

Despite having an explicit anti-settlement position, J Street and Americans for Peace Now actively opposed the Presbyterian Church’s efforts to divest from companies that profit from the occupation. By doing so, they are standing in the way of the Palestinian stride for freedom.

By Naftali Kaminski and Michael Zigmond

Undoubtedly, when Peter Beinart wrote his groundbreaking essay in 2010, “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment,” he did not foresee the events around this year’s 220th General Assembly in Pittsburgh of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), but his analysis was proven right again.  For months the entire Jewish establishment, both nationally and here in Pittsburgh, shifted their attention from the real concerns of American Jews  and dedicated itself to a topic  most American Jews were not even aware of – how to prevent the Presbyterians from following their ethical principles when making financial decisions.

The issue of divestment was first raised by the Presbyterian Church in 2004, and at this year’s assembly, two resolutions on this matter were put up for a vote: the boycott of products produced in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the divestment from corporations whose products are used in the ongoing maintenance of occupation.

Despite the campaign against divestment, virtually nobody at the General Assembly of PCUSA suggested that the occupation was justified or that Israeli settlements were not an obstacle to a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the end, the General Assembly approved a call to boycott products such as the popular Ahava cosmetics and a resolution to divest from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions was defeated by only 2 votes out of 664 through a parliamentary motion that prevented a vote on the divestment proposal itself. Importantly, a resolution to create a personal divestment option for pension holders (reversed on a procedural technicality), received significant majority support suggesting that Church-wide divestment is likely to happen in the future, if there is no end to the occupation, perhaps as soon the next General Assembly in 2014.

While the knee-jerk opposition to the Presbyterian resolutions and the usual kitchen sink assembly of implications of anti-Semitisms, recollection of Jewish suffering across the centuries, and a hint that these resolutions would support terrorism was predictable, what was new was the positioning of groups considered progressive or moderate at the forefront of the Jewish establishment campaign. In Pittsburgh, a local newspaper highlighted the role of “progressive” groups such as the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee and the local chapter of J Street in the opposition to the PCUSA resolutions. James Gibson, a Rabbi respected here for his progressive leadership, moderate views on Israel-Palestine and interfaith work, called on the Presbyterians not to “disinherit Israel.”

And on the national level, one may argue that, despite the heavy-handed campaigning by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the groups that actually prevented approval of the divestment resolution were two prominent “pro-Israel, pro-peace” groups, J Street and Americans for Peace Now  (APN) who instead of simply pointing out that they did not support targeted divestment and/or boycott, actively called on Presbyterian to reject the measures. Their opposition was particularly influential because, unlike the other anti-divestment lobbyists, both groups are known to be vociferous critics of the settlements.

In what may be a telling analogy, much of the moderate Jewish establishment public pronouncements in Pittsburgh in 2012 bore an eerie resemblance to those of white ‘moderates’ in Alabama in 1963. In that year, eight white clergymen issued a public statement titled A Call for Unity in which they claimed nonviolent civil disobedience to segregation was “unwise and untimely” and suggested it would “incite to hatred and violence, however technically peaceful those actions may be.” They acknowledged the “natural impatience of people who feel that their hopes are slow in being realized,” but insisted that the only way forward “should be pressed in the courts and in negotiations” and “not in the streets.”

As if inspired 49 years later by this letter, J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami, in an essay published just before the Presbyterian divestment vote, stated with regard to the Palestinian-led nonviolent resistance movement that “pursuit of these tactics has promoted little more than debate and division,” and that despite the fact that “frustration is rising over diplomatic stagnation,” the only way forward is through a full-on pursuit of diplomatic efforts.  Yet, during 20 years of diplomatic efforts the number of Jewish settlers in the occupied territories has nearly doubled – and has risen 18 percent during Prime Minister Netanyahu’s three-plus years in office – and the Palestinians are still under Israeli control and no closer to an independent state that they were when talks began in fall 1991.  It may be argued that J Street’s position is a logical extension of its position as a lobbying group seeking to impact lawmakers and a direct continuation of its realignment with Jewish Establishment policies as was evidenced by its support of a US veto on the Palestinian UN bid and the recent dismissal of the call by Peter Beinart, earlier celebrated as J Street’s Troubadour, for a boycott of settlement products.

More striking was the response by Americans for Peace Now (APN), a group admired by many for its consistent anti-occupation stance and its support of boycotting goods made in illegal Israeli settlements. Widely misrepresenting the carefully crafted Presbyterian position which only focused on three companies profiting from the suppression of Palestinian human rights in the occupied territories, the APN President Debra DeLee, said that the proposal targeted “Israel rather than the occupation” and raised worries of “global anti-Semitism.”  Oddly, in her rush to vilify the Presbyterian deliberations, she neglected to mention that the Presbyterians’ overture to boycott products made in Israeli settlements in the West Bank perfectly echoed APN positions.  In fact, her complete disregard for the actual text of the Presbyterian resolutions was disturbing, because it suggested a deep paternalistic attitude:  As if Palestinians or their Presbyterian supporters had no say in the design of their nonviolent resistance strategy, as if they needed to defer to Ms. Delee for approval.  Not unlike the moderate preachers in Alabama, She and APN seemingly consider Palestinian nonviolent resistance a distraction.

In 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. responded to the white moderate preachers with his now famous Letter from Birmingham Jail:

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.

The Palestinians who have been living under a brutal occupation for 45 years, and who have only seen a deterioration of their conditions under negotiations, and are now asking for international support for a nonviolent strategy to finally change the status quo, must feel the same way -  that moderate Jewish groups like J Street and APN have become the  “largest stumbling block” in their stride for freedom and independent statehood.  In their vocal opposition to the Presbyterian limited divestment and settlement boycott resolutions, J Street and APN challenged the legitimacy of Palestinian nonviolent resistance, an attitude reminiscent of the white moderate preachers who preached patience and obedience to the leaders of the Civil Rights movement. The white moderate preachers ended up on the wrong side of history.  Where will J Street and Americans for Peace Now end up?

Michael Zigmond is an American scientist and long-time member of the Pittsburgh Jewish community with strong ties to Israel. Naftali Kaminski is an Israeli Physician-Scientist now living in Pittsburgh. Both were past supporters of J Street and contributors to APN and are members of the Middle East Peace Forum of Pittsburgh.They blogged their impressions from the boycott and divestment deliberations at the Presbyterian General Assembly  at the Pittsburgh Middle-East Peace Blog

The Shackling of Children – Another Innovation of the Middle East’s ‘Only Democracy’

The Treatment of Palestinian Children Says Everything about Zionist Racism


Israeli soldiers stand guard over Palestinian children arrested in the West Bank city of Hebron. Photograph: Abed Al Hashlamoun/EPA

If there is one thing that demonstrates, beyond doubt or debate, that Israel is a racist society, then it is the shackling, abuse and torture of Palestinian children.  Think what would happen if Jewish children anywhere in the world were treated in this way.  The pictures of Jewish children putting their hands up as they are marched away by the Nazis is indelibly printed on peoples’ minds.  Likewise the use of leg irons on Palestinian children by the Israeli military.  No Jewish child in Israel would ever be handcuffed or chained.  There would be an uproar.  But for some reason (racism?) it is considered acceptable to detain without charge, without seeing a lawyer or their parents, Palestinian children.

Thanks to the indefatiguable Dr Derek Summerfield for this.

Tony Greenstein

 [27 June 2012] – On 26 June a new report on children held in Israeli military detention was published in London. The report - Children in military custody – was produced by a delegation of UK lawyers following their visit to the region. The delegation of nine lawyers, including Sir Stephen Sedley (formerly Lord Justice Sedley) and Baroness Scotland QC (former Shadow Attorney General and Attorney General of England, Wales and Northern Ireland) travelled to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory in September 2011 to assess the treatment of Palestinian children under Israeli military law.

According to the delegation's website, the “objective of the group was to produce an independent report founded on the principles of the rule of law and children’s rights. A substantial and balanced body of relevant information was collated. The delegation met with a number of key parties, including Israeli Government departments and the military, Israeli and Palestinian NGOs, UN agencies, former Israeli soldiers and Palestinian children. They also visited the military courts at Ofer prison outside Jerusalem and observed proceedings involving children.”

The delegation’s terms of reference were “to undertake an evaluative analysis of Israeli military law and practice as they affect Palestinian children in the West Bank by reference to the standards of international law and international children’s rights. The terms of reference did not include the legality of the occupation. Nor did the terms of reference include the impact of the occupation on the welfare and rights of children outside the legal process.” The question which concerned the delegation was “whether there is any justification for treating Israeli and Palestinian children differently in law or in practice”.
The key findings of the report, based solely on legal differentials, include the following:

Israel is in breach of article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that prohibits the transfer of Palestinian prisoners out of occupied territory.

Israel is in breach of article 65 of the Fourth Geneva Convention for failing to translate relevant military orders into Arabic.

Israel is in breach of articles 2 (discrimination), 3 (child’s best interests), 37(b) (premature resort to detention), 37(c) (non-separation from adults), 37(d) (prompt access to lawyers, and 40 (use of shackles) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“If the manner of arrest and detention is to any significant extent that which was described to us by the UN, Israeli and Palestinian NGOs and Palestinian children, Israel will be in breach of the prohibition on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in article 37(a) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

“We record our view that to hold children routinely and for substantial periods in solitary confinement would, if it occurred, be capable of amounting to torture in breach not only of article 37(a) but also of other well-known international instruments.”

The report concludes by making 40 specific recommendations, including:

Arrests of children should not be carried out at night save for in extreme and unusual circumstances.

At the time of their arrest, all children should be informed, in their own language, of the reasons for their arrest, and their right to silence.

Children should never be blindfolded or hooded.

Methods of restraint should not be used unless strictly necessary. Single plastic ties should never be used.

Children should not be transferred on the floor of vehicles. They should be properly seated and treated with dignity at all times.

The prohibition on violent, threatening or coercive conduct towards children should be strictly observed throughout all stages.

Children should have a parent or guardian present prior to and during their interrogation.

Interrogations should be audio-visually recorded and the tapes should be made available to the child’s lawyer.

Children should not be required to sign confessions and statements written in a language other than their own.

All Palestinian children detained under Israeli military law should be held in facilities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and not in Israel, which constitutes a breach of article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

It is relevant to note in regards to breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, that the UK Government has specific legal duties and obligations under article 1 of the Convention “to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.”

The full report is available on line.

Related links:
The Independent – UK ready to take on Israel over fate of children clapped in irons

The Independent - Nothing resonates like the mistreatment of minors

The Guardian – Israel subjecting Palestinian children to ‘spiral of injustice’

Channel 4 News report - Israel 'breaches rights of Palestinian children'

The Jewish Chronicle – Israel ‘in breach of international law’ over child detainees

DCI-Palestine - Bound, Blindfolded and Convicted

B’Tselem – No Minor Matter

Breaking the Silence – Video testimonies: Everything was filmed