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Home arrow Blog arrow April 2009 arrow April 21, 2009

April 21, 2009
April 21, 2009, Mairead Maguire and me on TV and Today is Holocaust Memorial Day...UPDATE 4 PM EST

Charlie Wolf/Stephen Linskey, an American radio show talk host based in Britain with a neoconservative Zionist agenda, got my Irish up on live TV [
 To view "Mitchell in the Middle: Obscure Way to Peace?" click: http://www.presstv.ir/programs/player/?id=92015 ] when he referred to Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire, and I as two well meaning ladies living in a fantasy world for calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine through dialogue and nonviolent reactions to violence.


On April 19, 2009 Wolf flung straw men and red herrings at Mairead and I in his vain attempt to blot out reality as the three of us addressed the topic: "Mitchell in the Middle: Obscure Way to Peace?"


Wolf deemed nonviolent resistance as "mealy mouth" and meaningless, exposing his vapid ignorance of the programs of practical nonviolent responses to the evil that is violence that have been articulated since the days of Hebrew midwives, Jainism, Buddhism, Jesus, St. Francis of Assisi, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and the Muslim Badshah Khan.


"For decades, the Palestinian struggle for freedom was largely a non-violent movement. With occasional pockets of armed resistance, Palestinians in the occupied territories employed methods of general strikes, demonstrations and the like to express their demands and desires to finally live in freedom. And yet these were the years where Palestinians saw that great majority of their homeland swallowed up into what is now the State of Israel. Land was stolen with no recompense to its owners, prisons burst at the seams with prisoners who never received a trial, houses demolished by the hundreds, entire orchards of olive and fruit trees ransacked and burned. All this was carried out in the confines of an “Intifada-free” society. So, it might be suggested that Palestinians gave non-violent resistance more than a fair shot."[1]


In Belfast during the 1980's and early 90's, Máiread's vision of non-violence was dismissed, ridiculed, and ignored, while those who called for retaliatory vengeance and violence were applauded. From the start, Maried understood that her dream had to reach beyond the narrow boundaries of North Ireland to embrace a non-violent future for all humanity.

After a year of political negotiations, a breakthrough settlement was reached on Good Friday 1998, bringing Northern Ireland to an Easter dawn of peace. Maried was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for what had once been unimaginable became reality and she continues to envision the unimaginable: justice and peace in Israel Palestine.

On January 22, 2009 I received an email reply from Mairead inquiring what she thought about the appointment of Senator Mitchell as President Obama's Special Envoy to the Mid East.


Mairead Maguire wrote:

Senator Mitchell is a good man whom I admire as he  helped  in the peace process in Northern Ireland. I remember he traveled well over 100 times from USA to Northern Ireland to help bring the various parties together and was very helpful. I am glad he has been appointed and know he will bring great compassion, fairness and perseverance to his enormous challenge.  Yes, like him I believe every conflict can be solved, where there is political will.  The conflict of the Israeli state and Palestinian state (yes I said Palestinian state as even if Israel does not recognize it the world does) can be solved by Israel ending its occupation and apartheid system and this is a problem of political will of Israel and USA to bring freedom and justice to the people of Palestine.  I hope the appointment of Senator Mitchell is a sign that the USA Administration is prepared to treat both parties fairly and equally, and to work for Palestinians Human rights and Freedom. Peace- Mairead.


Upon accepting his appointment Mitchell stated, "For those of you in the Middle East who are discouraged, I understand your feelings. But from my experience in Northern Ireland I formed the conviction that there is no such thing as a conflict that can't be ended. Conflicts are created and conducted by human beings. They can be ended by human beings. I saw it happen in Northern Ireland although admittedly it took a very long time. I believe deeply that with committed, persevering and active diplomacy it can happen in the Middle East."


During our TV debate, Wolf regurgitated that Hamas was responsible for breaking the 2008 cease fire and maintains a willful blindness to Israel's war crimes, state terrorism and defiance of international law and negation of human rights to Palestinians.

But, "based almost exclusively on Israeli newspapers and government sources, confirms that there were no rocket or mortar attacks claimed by or plausibly attributed to Hamas during [the more than four months after 19 June 2008]. This can also be verified by surveying archives of news reports from the period. The few that were launched, none of them causing any casualties, were claimed by the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, by Islamic Jihad, by "the Badr Forces," or by nobody.

"Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called repeatedly for a cessation of rocket fire, and denounced those factions who broke the truce. A Hamas spokesman criticized Fatah for allowing the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which is affiliated with Fatah, to fire rockets. Meanwhile, Israeli occupation forces' murders and settler pogroms continued unabated on the West Bank. They included an attempt by a settler to fire a homemade rocket toward the Palestinian village of Burin, which nearly killed another settler. During the lull, then, Israeli settlers fired more rockets (i.e., one) than did Hamas.

"In a document entitled "The Hamas terror war against Israel, 'The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides striking visual evidence of Hamas's good faith during the lull. It reproduces two graphs drawn up by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center.'"[2]


Reality is the total number of rocket and mortar attacks out of Gaza went from 245 in June- to 26 total for July through October; a reduction of 97 percent.

Reality is that Israel violated the truce by its siege of terror and famine in Gaza, while Hamas refrained from launching rockets into Israel until November 4, 2008 when Israeli commando squads entered Gaza and killed six Hamas members and they retaliated with firing 30 rockets.


Professor of Arab studies at Columbia, Rashid Khalidi wrote for The NY Times on January 8, 2009:

"Lifting the blockade, along with a cessation of rocket fire, was one of the key terms of the June cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. This accord led to a reduction in rockets fired from Gaza from hundreds in May and June to a total of less than 20 in the subsequent four months (according to Israeli government figures). The cease-fire broke down when Israeli forces launched major air and ground attacks in early November; six Hamas operatives were reported killed.


"The targeting of civilians, whether by Hamas or by Israel, is potentially a war crime. Every human life is precious. But the numbers speak for themselves: Nearly 700 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed since the conflict broke out at the end of last year. In contrast, there have been around a dozen Israelis killed, many of them soldiers. Negotiation is a much more effective way to deal with rockets and other forms of violence. This might have been able to happen had Israel fulfilled the terms of the June cease-fire and lifted its blockade of the Gaza Strip." [3]


Hope Re-ignites

"HOPE has two children. The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it."-St. Augustine

On April 18, 2009, Jason Koutsoukis reported for www.theage.com that, "US officials are openly using Israeli anxiety over Iran's fledging nuclear program as a bargaining chip to force Israel's hand on giving up control of the West Bank Palestinian territory. No less a figure than White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel — whose father fought with the militant Zionist group the Irgun, and whose appointment had provided such reassurance to Israeli officials — was quoted this week laying down the law to Israel. If Israel wants US help to defuse the Iranian threat, Mr Emanuel was reported to have told Jewish leaders in Washington, then get ready to start evacuating settlements in the West Bank.

"Washington sources added that the Obama Administration would not be continuing the tradition that had developed during the Bush years of hosting Israeli prime ministers whenever they showed up in town, sometimes with just a phone call's notice. Mr Obama is also demanding a freeze on Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank, and has dropped the Bush administration's opposition to Hamas being part of a future Palestinian Authority government."[4]


On April 5, 2009, President Obama admitted in Prague that, "Words must mean something…There is violence and injustice in our world that must be confronted. We must confront it by standing together as free nations, as free people. I know that a call to arms can stir the souls of men and women more than a call to lay them down. But that is why the voices for peace and progress must be raised together. Human destiny will be what we make of it."

There was no honeymoon for Netanyahu and this Administration; and hope has reignited that change is possible and words do indeed mean something:

"The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave...a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils…Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all...and passionate attachments for others should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated."-George Washington's Farewell Address – 1796

The obvious way to peace and security for Israel is to end the occupation, uphold international law and honor equal human rights for all the people of the land we call Holy.

1. Quote from Ramzy Baroud http://www.palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=15024

2."Israel's fabricated rocket crisis" by Jim Holstun and Joanna Tinker, The Electronic Intifada, 6 January 2009

3. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/opinion/08khalidi.html

4. http://au/world/obamas-stance-worries-israelis-20090417-aa90.html?page=-1




Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, the official day for commemorating the victims of the Nazi genocide.

 

From

Holocaust Memorial Day, Durban II, and the occupation

Yesterday, at the Durban II conference in Geneva, Holocaust-denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave a keynote address. Even before he spoke, the fact that he was given this world stage illustrates the absurd setting in which we - all of us - try to navigate the complicated dynamics of racism, human rights, nationalism, morality, and of course genocide in the early 21st century. That there are deniers of the Nazi genocide of Jews and others is a fact; that they are world leaders granted legitimacy on the topic of racism & oppression, such as on the stage at Durban, is a terrible shame.


On the other side, many people and politicians who call themselves Israel supporters use the history of the Holocaust to shade Israel's human rights abuses and.


What we need is not more blunt-force polemic, but careful, sensitive analysis that emphasizes and perpetuates livable lives for all.


What do we learn from the Nazi genocide? If the only answer is that it existed, that is something - but it's not good enough.

Here are three good thinkers to listen to today:

1) Cecilie Surasky of Jewish Voice for Peace is at the Durban II conference. Her reports are invaluable. You can see them here: www.muzzlewatch.com. Surasky's last post said she was on her way to the Holocaust Remembrance event taking place in
Geneva tonight, so we can expect a post about that soon, too. Check Muzzlewatch.com regularly for her updates.

2) Gideon Levy wrote a useful and important column on comparisons between the occupation and the Nazi genocide. He says, "There is no one absolute evil. Comparison between the Israeli occupation and Nazism is like comparing an elephant to a fly," but, he continues, "
Israel in 2009 is beginning to resemble 1930s Germany more and more." Racism against Palestinians inside of Israel bears resemblance to the 1930s. And fenced-in Qalqilya, the West Bank Palestinian city, looks "a concentration camp" - which is "not an extermination camp." Here's the article: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1079368.html

3) Roger Cohen wrote another exciting column in the New York Times. He's on a roll; check his back columns to read his courageous, smart insight into
Iran, Israel, and U.S. policy. (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/columns/rogercohen/index.html). Today he writes about Germany, Israel, and moving on after World War II. He notes that "uncertainty does not so much hang over the country as inhabit its very fiber." Notions of fear and vulnerability permeate (and are invoked by politicians and spokespeople for Israel) - yet Israel is strong: it has a nuclear arsenal, peace with Egypt and Jordan, and a "cast-iron security guarantee" from the U.S. So what would moving on from the Nazi genocide look like for Israel? Cohen ends with this message "Closure is the overcoming of horror. It is the achievement of normality through responsibility. It cannot be attained through the inflation of threats, the perpetuation of fears, or retreat into the victimhood that sees every act, however violent, as defensive." (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/20/opinion/20iht-edcohen.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=roger%20cohen&st=cse)

These sources are three among many who honor and draw lessons from the horror of the Nazi genocide while insisting that we act boldly for full human rights. We need to hear more of their voices and amplify them.

Sarah Anne Minkin


Jewish Peace News editors:
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Racheli
Gai
Rela Mazali
Sarah Anne Minkin
Judith Norman
Lincoln Shlensky
Rebecca Vilkomerson
Alistair Welchman

Jewish Peace News archive and blog: http://jewishpeacenews.blogspot.com

Jewish Peace News sends its news clippings only to subscribers. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or manage your subscription, go to http://www.jewishpeacenews.net


   
 
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"HOPE has two children.The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it."-St. Augustine

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