August 2012 Archives

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Father Roy writes:  This article was published in today’s Jerusalem Post.  The highlights are mine.  The meeting will take place from August 29 – 31.   

Peace, Roy 

UN chief announces he will attend Non-Aligned Movement meeting in Tehran despite US and Israeli opposition.

08/22/2012

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s decision Wednesday to go to Tehran for the Non-Aligned Movement’s (NAM) summit will make it more difficult for him and others to convince Israel to give diplomacy more time in dealing with Iran, government officials said.

The official said this was a “bad day for all those who wanted to see the exercise of vibrant diplomacy” end the Iranian crisis, because Ban’s visit will decrease Iran’s isolation and render hollow the argument that all peaceful means are being used – including diplomatic isolation – to press Tehran.

“This undermines the diplomatic pressure,” the official said. “Iran will view this as a victory, and say that as a result they are not isolated.

On the contrary, the leadership will be able to tell their people that international leaders are visiting their capital.”

By deciding to attend the conference, Ban has turned a deaf ear to direct appeals from the US and Israel, who urged him not to go.

A statement issued by his office said Ban will visit Tehran from August 29-31 and “looks forward” to the summit and working with the visiting leaders, “including the host country,” towards solutions on issues that are “central to the global agenda.”

The statement said Ban “takes seriously his responsibility and that of the United Nations to pursue diplomatic engagement with all of its member states in the interest of peacefully addressing vital matters of peace and security.”

His decision to attend the conference comes just days after he condemned the Iranian leadership’s recent “offensive and inflammatory” comments about Israel.

“The secretary-general is dismayed by the remarks threatening Israel’s existence attributed over the last two days to the supreme leader and the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the UN press office said over the weekend.

Wednesday’s statement said that Ban would use his visit to “convey the clear concerns and expectations of the international community on the issues for which cooperation and progress are urgent, for both regional stability and the welfare of the Iranian people. These include Iran’s nuclear program, terrorism, human rights and the crisis in Syria.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in a phone conversation with Ban two weeks ago, implored him to stay away from the conference, saying his presence would grant legitimacy to the regime at a time when it needed to be isolated. He said Ban’s visit now would be a “horrible mistake” that would forever stain both Ban and the UN.
“Mr. Secretary-General, your place is not in Tehran,” Netanyahu told Ban.

Netanyahu came under some criticism at the time for publicizing what he said in the conversation. Some also argued that he backed Ban into a corner, and that if the secretary-general then decided not to go he would appear to be doing Israel’s bidding.

Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office rejected that criticism, saying it was important to make this message public and that Netanyahu did not violate any diplomatic codes by making public what he – not what Ban – said in the conversation.

On Monday US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland also called on Ban to stay away from the conference.

“Iran is going to try to manipulate this NAM summit and the attendees to advance its own agenda, and to obscure the fact that it is failing to live up to multiple obligations that it has to the UN Security Council, the International Atomic Energy Agency and other international bodies,” she said.

Indeed, Iran’s official FARS news agency quoted the vicechairman of the parliament’s national security and foreign policy commission, Mansour Haqiqatpour, as saying the summit “will promote the Islamic Republic’s political face and also serve as a good political backup for Iran in its future talks” with the world powers negotiating over the nuclear program.

He also said the summit would boost the Iranian economy, and that the presence of senior world officials would “prepare the bed for bilateral and multilateral negotiations to help Iran bypass the [Western] sanctions, establish joint banks, set up transportation and transit networks, and other areas of economic cooperation.”

Meanwhile, US Jewish organizations – which launched an effort to try and persuade Ban to stay away – slammed the decision to attend.

David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, issued a statement saying “we are stunned” that Ban “would honor a regime that consistently ignores both him and the world body he heads in ways that threaten regional and global security.”

Iran, at the meeting, will assume the rotating chairmanship of the 120-member organization for the next three years.

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I find it good for the heart (as well as the mind) to touch base with Uri Avnery on a regular basis. He remains consistently optimistic about the impossibility of an Israeli attack on Iran. He has said it repeatedly: ‘it will not happen!’ And the truly encouraging thing is that his positive prophecy isn’t based on his faith in his leaders, let alone in God (being an atheist) but on his cold, hard political realism.

Father Dave

Uri Avnery

August 18, 2012

Mad or Crazy?

by Uri Avnery

BINYAMIN NETANYAHU may be crazy, but he is not mad.

Ehud Barak may be mad, but he is not crazy.

Ergo: Israel will not attack Iran

I HAVE said so before, and I shall say so again, even after the endless talk about it. Indeed no war has been talked about so much before it happened. To quote the classic movie line: “If you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk!”

In all Netanyahu’s bluster about the inevitable war, one sentence stands out: “In the Committee of Inquiry after the war, I shall take upon myself the sole responsibility, I and I alone!”

A very revealing statement.

First of all, committees of inquiry are appointed only after a military failure. There was no such committee after the 1948 War of Independence, nor after the 1956 Sinai War or the 1967 Six-day War. There were, however, committees of inquiry after the 1974 Yom Kippur war and the 1982 and 2006 Lebanon Wars. By conjuring up the specter of another such committee, Netanyahu unconsciously treats this war as an inevitable failure.

Second, under Israeli law, the entire Government of Israel is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces. Under another law, all ministers bear “collective responsibility”. TIME magazine, which is becoming more ridiculous by the week, may crown “King Bibi”, but we still have no monarchy. Netanyahu is no more than primus inter pares.

Third, in his statement Netanyahu expresses boundless contempt for his fellow ministers. They don’t count.

Netanyahu considers himself a modern day Winston Churchill. I don’t seem to remember Churchill announcing, upon assuming office, “I take responsibility for the coming defeat.” Even in the desperate situation of that moment, he trusted in victory. And the word “I” did not figure large in his speech.

IN THE daily brainwashing, the problem is presented in military terms. The debate, such as it is, concerns military capabilities and dangers.

Israelis are especially, and understandably, worried by the rain of tens of thousands of missiles expected to fall on all parts of Israel, not only from Iran, but also from Lebanon and Gaza. The minister responsible for civil defense deserted just this week, and another one, a refugee from the hapless Kadima party, has taken his place. Everybody knows that a large part of the population (including myself) is completely defenseless.

Ehud Barak has announced that no more than a measly 500 Israelis will be killed by enemy missiles. I do not aspire to the honor of being one of them, though I live quite near the Ministry of Defense..

But the military confrontation between Israel and Iran is only a part of the picture, and not the most important one.

As I have pointed out in the past, far more important is the impact on the world economy, already steeped in a profound crisis. An Israeli attack will be viewed by Iran as American-inspired, and the reaction will be accordingly, as explicitly stated by Iran this week.

The Persian Gulf is a bottle, whose neck is the narrow Strait of Hormuz, which is totally controlled by Iran. The huge American aircraft carriers now stationed in the gulf will be well advised to get out before it is too late. They resemble those antique sailing ships which enthusiasts assemble in bottles. Even the powerful weaponry of the US will not be able to keep the strait open. Simple land-to-sea missiles will be quite enough to keep it closed for months. To open it, a prolonged land operation by the US and its allies will be required. A long and bloody business with unpredictable consequences.

A major part of the world’s oil supplies has to pass through this unique waterway. Even the mere threat of its closure will cause oil prices to shoot sky-high. Actual hostilities will result in a worldwide economic collapse, with hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of new unemployed.

Each of these victims will curse Israel. Since it will be crystal clear that this is an Israeli war, the rage will be turned against us. Worse, much worse – since Israel insists that it is “the state of the Jewish people”, the rage may take the form of an unprecedented outbreak of anti-Semitism. Newfangled Islamophobes will revert to old-time Jew-haters. “The Jews are our disaster,” as the Nazis used to proclaim.

This may be worst in the US. Until now, Americans have watched with admirable tolerance as their Middle East policy is practically dictated by Israel. But even the almighty AIPAC and its allies will not be able to contain the outburst of public anger. They will give way like the levees of New Orleans.

THIS WILL have a direct impact on a central calculation of the warmongers.

In private conversations, but not only there, they assert that America will be immobilized on the eve of elections. During the last few weeks before November 6, both candidates will be mortally afraid of the Jewish lobby.

The calculation goes like this: Netanyahu and Barak will attack without giving a damn for American wishes. The Iranian counter-attack will be directed against American interests. The US will be dragged into the war against its will.

But even in the unlikely event that the Iranians act with supreme self-restraint and do not attack US targets, contrary to their declarations, President Obama will be compelled to save us, send huge quantities of arms and ammunition, bolster our anti-missile defenses, fund the war. Otherwise he will be accused of leaving Israel in the lurch and Mitt Romney will be elected as the savior of the Jewish State.

This calculation is based on historical experience. All Israeli governments in the past have exploited American election years for their purposes.

In 1948, when the US was required to recognize the new Israeli state against the express advice of both the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, President Truman was fighting for his political life. His campaign was bankrupt. At the last moment Jewish millionaires leaped into the breach, Truman and Israel were saved.

In 1956, President Eisenhower was in the middle of his re-election campaign when Israel attacked Egypt in collusion with France and Britain. It was a miscalculation – Eisenhower did not need Jewish votes and money and put a stop to the adventure. In other election years the stakes were lower, but always the occasion was used to gain some concessions from the US.

Will it work this time? If Israel unleashes a war on the eve of elections, in an obvious effort to blackmail the president, will the American public mood support Israel – or could it go the other way? It will be a critical gamble of historic proportions. But like Mitt Romney, Netanyahu is a protégé of the Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, and he may be no more averse to gambles than the poor suckers who leave their money in Adelson’s casinos.

WHERE ARE the Israelis in all this?

In spite of the constant brainwashing, polls show that the majority of Israelis are dead set against an attack. Netanyahu and Barak are seen as two addicts, many say megalomaniacs, who are beyond rational thinking.

One of the most striking aspects of the situation is that our army chief and the entire General Staff, as well as the chiefs of the Mossad and the Shin Bet, and almost all their predecessors, are totally and publicly opposed to the attack.

It is one of the rare occasions when military commanders are more moderate than their political chiefs, though it has happened in Israel before. One may well ask: how can political leaders start a fateful war when practically all their military advisors, who know our military capabilities and the chances for success, are against it?

One of the reasons for this opposition is that the army chiefs know better than anyone else how totally dependent on the US Israel really is. Our relationship with America is the very basis of our national security.

Also, it seems doubtful whether Netanyahu and Barak have a majority for the attack even in their own government and inner cabinet. The ministers know that apart from everything else, the attack would drive investors and tourists away, causing huge damage to Israel’s economy.

So why do most Israelis still believe that the attack is imminent?

Israelis, by and large, have been totally convinced by now (a) that Iran is governed by a bunch of crazy ayatollahs beyond rationality, and (b) that, once in the possession of a nuclear bomb, they will certainly drop it on us.

These convictions are based on the utterances of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in which he declared that he will wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

But did he really say that? Sure, he has repeatedly expressed his conviction that the Zionist Entity will disappear from the face of the earth. But it seems that he never actually said that he – or Iran – would ensure that result.

That may seem only a small rhetorical difference, but in this context it is very important.

Also, Ahmadinejad may have a big mouth, but his actual power in Iran was never very great and is shrinking fast. The ayatollahs, the real rulers, are far from being irrational. Their whole behavior since the revolution shows them to be very cautious people, averse to foreign adventures, scarred by the long war with Iraq that they did not start and did not want.

A nuclear-armed Iran may be an inconvenient near-neighbor, but the threat of a “second holocaust” is a figment of the manipulated imagination. No ayatollah will drop a bomb when the certain response will be the total annihilation of all Iranian cities and the end of the glorious cultural history of Persia. Deterrence was, after all, the whole sense of producing an Israel bomb

IF NETANYAHU & Co. were really frightened by the Iranian Bomb, they would do one of two things:

Either agree to the de-nuclearization of the region, giving up our own nuclear armaments (highly unlikely);

Or make peace with the Palestinians and the entire Arab world, thereby disarming the ayatollahs’ hostility to Israel.

But Netanyahu’s actions show that, for him, keeping the West Bank is vastly more important than the Iranian bomb.

What better proof do we need of the craziness of this whole scare?

Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement

 

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This report is simply tragic. Labelling Jimmy Carter – one of the greatest men of our time – as an enemy of human rights is a reductio ad absurdum so far as I’m concerned! In other words, it is so obviously false that it discredits the speaker completely!

The great shame is that Carter is one of the few Americans who could still exercise a positive influence in the Middle East. He has been at the heart of Israel/Palestine dialogues for many years and has a history (though, admittedly, an ambiguous one) with Iran and other neighbouring countries as well. He is also, I believe, a man with a genuine love for both Jews and Arabs and all the peoples involved.

Father Dave

P.S. The highlight is courtesy of Father Roy

Jimmy Carter

source: ZOA: Rescind Convention Invitation to Carter

ZOA to Democrats: Rescind Convention Invitation to Carter

Zionist Organization of America calls on the Democratic National Committee to rescind its invitation to former President Carter.

By Rachel Hirshfeld

First Publish: 8/19/2012, 5:16 PM

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called upon the Democratic National Committee to rescind its invitation to former President Jimmy Carter to address the upcoming 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The ZOA pointed to Carter’s “decades-long hostility towards, and defaming of, Israel” as well as his “advocacy of negotiations with Hamas” as evidence of the “inappropriateness of the invitation.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition and the National Jewish Democratic Council have both opposed Carter’s scheduled appearance. Yet, the Democratic National Convention continues to champion Carter “one of the greatest humanitarian leaders of our time and a champion of democracy around the globe.”

“The invitation to President Carter to address the Democratic National Convention is an insult to American Jews, Christian Zionists and all Americans who care — as polls show them to do in large numbers — for Israel,” said ZOA National Chairman of the Board Dr. Michael Goldblatt.

President Carter’s 2007 book titled Peace Not Apartheid, contains “numerous falsehoods about Israel, not least the vicious insinuation in its title that Israel resembles the evils of the apartheid regime in South Africa.”

In the book, “Carter falsely claimed that, not Arab non-acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state, but Jews living in Judea and Samaria, is the ‘primary’ obstacle to peace. He has thus endorsed the Palestinian agenda of setting up a Jew-free state.”

The ZOA continued to cite the many falsehoods and libels against Israel that Carter has spread over the years, including his claim that, “Israel destroyed 40,000 homes; destroyed hospitals; rendered several hundred thousand Palestinians homeless; that Gaza was surrounded by an impenetrable wall; and that the Goldstone Report had investigated the deaths of 1,387 Palestinians in that conflict.”

“In fact, not a single one of these claims was correct; they were all lies against the Jewish state of Israel,” Goldblatt asserted.

“Far from being a champion of human rights, Jimmy Carter has harmed the cause of human rights, especially in regard to the continuing Arab war on Israel. The Democratic National Convention Committee and Obama for America should do the right thing and rescind their invitation to Jimmy Carter.”

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Miko Peled is a passionate activist on behalf of Palestinian human-rights. That in itself is unusual for a Jew. What makes Miko unique though is that his father was one of the leading Israeli generals in the war of 1967!

It is hard not to respect someone who gives up a life of privilege for the sake of their commitment to justice and peace. Miko is a great man. He is also a man of extraordinary insight into Israel/Palestine that has come from his unique upbringing. I met Miko in person last year when he was in Sydney. Indeed, we had the privilege of having him address our community here in Dulwich Hill (and you can see the videos here).

In the following article Miko is not optimistic the future. Can anybody stop Israel from taking a preemptive strike against Iran? Certainly he recognises that the violent rhetoric wasn’t always serious but he clearly believes now that Israel is 100% serious about war. I hope he is wrong.

Father Dave

Father Dave and Miko Peled
Father Dave and Miko Peled in 2011

Can Sparta be Stopped?

by Miko Peled

source: Miko’s Blog – Tear Down the Wall

A senior Israel government official, who is strongly believed to be Israel’s Defense Minister General Ehud Barak, was quoted in Haaretz saying “The blade that rests on our neck today is more dangerous than the blade that threatened us in 1967.” In spite of evidence that clearly proves Israel was not under any threat in 1967, the legend of the1967 war where Israel was supposedly under an existential threat and therefore had to engage in a pre-emptive strike against it Arab neighbors, continues to live on in the minds of Israelis. Now this myth is being manipulated to justify an attack on Iran. General Barak and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are recreating 1967 in order to spread fear among Israelis and solidify their arguments for an attack on Iran.

Until recently it seemed that Israel wanted the so-called Iranian threat so it could use it as a smoke screen. It was easy for Israel to hide behind an Iranian threat so that the state can continue its atrocities and gross human rights violations against the Palestinian population. But now, as the 1967 scenario is being re played it seems that Israeli decision makers want more than just the threat, they want the war.

In the weeks and months leading up to the war of June1967, several elder statesmen warned of a pending disaster if Israel acted alone and they pleaded that Israel must not act until US approval was clearly given for an attack. Today, Israeli President Shimon Peres came out of his non-political post as citizen number one, and said Israel must not attack without the US or “It will remain friendless”. Line by line, this too was taken from the script of the 1967 play.

Clearly Israel is the Sparta of today where war is just a game. Seventy five million Iranians who have done no harm must suffer sanctions and live in fear of an impending attack. Israel is known to be a nuclear power and it has a history of aggressive, one would argue irrational and violent behavior. The question is who has the power to stop Sparta, and the answer, sadly, is: No one.

In a world where stockpiles of weapons need to be replaced so that new ones can be manufactured and sold, and politicians running for office confuse war mongering with leadership, an entire nation is once again seen as collateral damage. Iranians may be victims to the war hungry state of Israel and money hungry US arms manufacturers and contractors.

Just as in the case of Iraq, once the guns are silenced and the dead have been counted, and whatever it is that these blind, war hungry megalomaniac generals and politicians did not foresee happen does happen, only then will people ask, “why?” Why was this war necessary? Why did we allow the rogue Zionist state that has already delegitimized its very existence by practicing ethnic cleansing and mass murder of civilians to go ahead with this act of terrorism against Iran? Then politicians will claim they opposed this from the get-go and that they were misinformed, and the look for a scapegoat will begin. But by then the damage will already have been done, the destruction will not be undone and the dead will not be brought back to life.

What will it take to stop Sparta? Palestinians, who suffer daily under the yolk of Israel’s oppressive and brutal regime, have been calling out for years but their cries fall on deaf ears. Israel continues the slow and methodical ethnic cleansing campaign that began six decades ago, but the world looks the other way. Now it seems that Israel is preparing for its most dangerous, indeed most deadly escapade and still politicians in the US and around the world either sit idle or add to the beat of the war drums with their absurd claims of an Iranian threat. One wonders what would it take for millions to start protesting in front of Israeli embassies and consulates around the world and demand Israel stand down the threat of war.

On June 1967, Israel’s government was pushed into the war by an irresponsible, trigger happy, overly confident group of young generals who wanted to conquer land and destroy the Arab armies. No thought was given to the future of the state or to the consequences the war may bring, but because they were victorious their irresponsible actions were forgotten. Today, a government that is blinded by a desire to fight, destroy and of course win leads Israel. They are certain that victory is within reach and they seem willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to act on their urge to attack. They are Sparta.

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This press release just in from Gush Shalom – the Israeli ‘Peace Bloc’.

Image001

Press Release August 26, 2012

 At the Jordan Bridges border crossings, Israeli authorities prevented the entry of more than a hundred international activists
Gush Shalom: "The country’s border crossings are wide open to the international friends of the violent settlers"

About 7.30 pm, more than a hundred activists from all over the world arrived from Jordan to the Israeli border crossings at the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge, telling that they on their way to Bethlehem at the invitation of its Palestinian governor and of civil society organizations there, and that they were carrying  with them notebooks and school equipment for Palestinian pupils about to begin their school year. However, their entry into the West Bank was denied.  In the Israeli-controlled area of the Allenby Bridge was seen a major alert of military forces, and journalists there were told that the area had been declared "a closed military zone".

"They did not even let us get off the bus," said Olivia Zemor of Paris, one of the organizers of the visit. "They collected our passports and a few minutes later returned them with each and every passport stamped ‘Entry denied’. The soldiers refused to give any explanation, they just said – that’s it, your entry is denied, go back to Jordan." Zemour noted that last year, when she and her fellows tried to reach the Palestinian Territories through Ben Gurion Airport, they were told, "Why don’t you come through the Jordan bridges?". "So we did try to get through the Jordan bridges, and now we got a definite answer from the government of Israel."

"Violent settlers, those who under the name of ‘price tag’ set olive trees and  mosques on fire, are all the time getting reinforcements from abroad. For the settlers’ friends, Jews and Christians, Israel’s border crossings are wide open.  From the airport they go to the settlements" says Adam Keller, Gush Shalom Spokesperson. "When the Palestinians living under Israel’s rule try to invite guests to come and visit them, the government of Israel instructs the army and police to block their way. The government has the power and the ability to act in such a belligerent and arbitrary way. But by so doing, the government ends up emphasizing and demonstrating to the entire world that – despite the so- called ‘judicial report’ which the government commissioned from Judge Edmond Levy –  the territory is indeed under an oppressive occupation".

Contact:
Adam Keller, Gush Shalom +972-(0)54-2340749
The organizers of the "Welcome to Palestine" campaign:  
Nicholas (contact in Europe) +33 6 73 38 24 84
Olivia (contact in the delegation at the bridge) +33 6 80 88 71 54

Video press conference held by the organizers prior to their departure from Paris – can be used with acknowlegement :
presstv.com… #. UDO8FphiaQs