Bulletin N°263


27 September 2006
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
The beginning of the semester is accompanied, as usual, by theses to read and theses defense juries to organize. Meanwhile, classes have resumed, and CEIMSA will soon be presenting a series of anti-war films, beginning with Stanley Kubrick's 1957 film, Paths of Glory.

Strategies and tactics for the anti-war movement have been discussed at CEIMSA since our April conference on Pacifist Movements in the United States and France, the papers of which will be published in the form of a 400-page book by presses universitaires at l'Université de Savoie next December.

We are currently organizing another International Colloquium for next spring on Patriarchy in American Institutions. We will be telling you more during the following weeks about this program, and we hope that you will be able to attend in early April 2007.

Over the past several weeks informations circulating around the wars in the Middle East have invited many radical commentaries. The international context of these wars, and vibrant democratic movements in Third World countries such as Venezuela and Bolivia offer a contrast with "imperial democracy," as practiced in the United States and parts of Europe, where, in the opinion of many, the "dictatorship of capital" governs the managers of society, who are "driven by ideology and/or personal greed."

We invite readers to visit the Democracy Now! broadcast interview with Bolivian President Evo Morales to observe a vivid contrast to the First World mode of governing, to which we have grown accustomed.

The inhumanity of U.S.-Israeli imperialism in the Middle East, an historical perspective.
Re-reading last week the very influential book by the American-Palestinian scholar Edward Said, The Question of Palestine (1979), was an illuminating experience. I had picked up a copy of this book many years ago at the UC-Santa Cruz book store. It was being used at the University of California in a course on the Middle East, and I thought it would useful in my American foreign policy readings. I was not disappointed. Written at the end of the Carter administration, Said clearly shows why the United States of America is not "on the wrong side" but rather "is the wrong side". To demonstrate this fact, he necessarily adopts an historical perspective. At the beginning of the first chapter he writes:

Until roughly the last thirty years of the nineteenth century, everything to the east of an imaginary line drawn somewhere
between Greece and Turkey was called the Orient. As a designation made in Europe, "the Orient" for many centuries
represented a special mentality, as in the phrase "the Oriental mind," and also a set of special cultural, political, and even
racial characteristics (in such notions as the Oriental despot, Oriental sensuality, splendor, inscrutability). But mainly the
Orient represented a kind of indiscriminate generality for Europe, associated not only with difference and otherness, but
with the vast spaces, the undifferentiated masses of mostly colored people, and the romance, exotic locales, and mystery
of "the marvels of the East." Anyone familiar with the political history of the late Victorian period, however, will know that the
vexing, mostly political "Eastern Question," as it was called, tended then to replace "the Orient" as a subject of concern.
By 1918 it is estimated that European powers were in colonial occupation of about 85 percent of the globe, of which a large
segment belonged to the regions formerly known simply as Oriental. The romance of the Orient was thus succeeded by the
problems of dealing with the Orient, first in competition with other European powers maneuvering there and second with the
colonial people themselves in their struggles for independence. From being a place "out there,"  the Orient became a place
of extraordinarily urgent, and precise detail, a place of numerous subdivisions. One of these, the Middle East, survives today
as a region of the Orient connoting infinite complexities, problems, conflicts. At its center stands what I shall be calling the
question of Palestine. (pp.3-4)

The Western imperialist mission of the 19th Century was, of course, to bring civilization and progress to a "benighted people" (to use Kipling's term for the indigenous populations of the Third World). Lord Arthur James Balfour, as British Foreign Secretary (1916-1919) and architect of British Imperialist policy in the Middle East, commented on his famous "Declaration" of 1916 three years later in a memorandum written in August 1919 :

The contradiction between the letter of the Covenant (sic) [the Anglo-French Declaration of 1918 promising the Arabs of former
Ottoman colonies that as a reward for supporting the Allies they could have their independence] is even more flagrant in the
case of the independent nation of Palestine than in that of the independent nation of Syria. For in Palestine we do not propose
even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country, though the American Commission
has been going through the forms of asking what they are. The four great powers are committed to Zionism and Zionism, be it
right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the
desire and prejudices of 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land. In my opinion that is right.(p.16-17)

Not everyone shared the callous imperialist view of Lord Balfour. The distinguished French Orientaliste, Sylvain Lévi, representing the Zionist delegation, gave testimony before The Supreme War Council which was preparing the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919, claiming that :
though the work of Zionists was of great significance from the moral point of view, Palestine was a small and poor land with
a population of 600,000 Arabs, and the [incoming] Jews, having a higher standard of living, would tend to dispossess them.(p.20)
However, according to Chaim Weizmann, Polish Zionist leader and the future first president of Israel in 1949, writes Edward Said, this concern expressed in 1919,
embarrassed the Zionists since, as he was later to say, "the world would judge the Jewish state [and presumably the Zionist
movement] by what it shall do with the Arabs." For indeed it was the world that made the success of Zionism possible, and it was
Zionism's sense of the world as supporter and audience that played a considerable role in the struggle for Palestine.(p.20)

The Zionist idea was that the Jewish people had the right to reclaim a territory that had been promised them by their God. "The concealment by Zionism of its own history," wrote Said, "has by now ... become institutionalized, and not only in Israel." Theological representation displaced real history, hiding the fact "that the entire historical duration of a Jewish state in Palestine prior to 1948 was a sixty-year period two millennia ago, [and] that the dispersion of the Palestinians was not a fact of nature but a result of specific force and strategies." (p.58)

  What all such material partially screens is something totally intractable, something that totally resists any theory, any
one-plus-one explanation, any display of feelings or attitudes. I refer to the plain and irreducible core of the Palestinian
experience for the last hundred years: that on the land called Palestine there existed as a huge majority for hundreds of
years a largely pastoral, a nevertheless socially, culturally, politically, economically identifiable people whose language
and religion were (for a huge majority) Arabic and Islam, respectively. This people --or, if one wishes to deny them any
modern conception of themselves as a people, this group of people -- identified itself with the land it tilled and lived on
(poorly or not is irrelevant), the  more so after an almost wholly European decision was made to resettle, reconstitute,
recapture the land for Jews who were to be brought there from elsewhere. So far as anyone has been able to determine,
there has been no example given of any significant Palestinian gesture made to accept this modern reconquest or to
accept that Zionism has permanently removed Palestinians from Palestine. Such as it is, the Palestinian actuality is today,
was yesterday, and most likely tomorrow will be built upon an act of resistance to this new foreign colonialism. But it is
more likely that there will remain the inverse resistance which has characterized Zionism and Israel since the beginning:
the refusal to admit, and the consequent denial of, the existence of Palestinian Arabs who are there not simply as an
inconvenient nuisance, but as a population with an indissoluble bond with the land.

   The question of Palestine is therefore the contest between an affirmation and a denial, and it is this prior contest, dating
back over a hundred years, which animates and makes sense of the current impasse between the Arab states and Israel.
The contest has been almost comically uneven from the beginning. Certainly so far as the West is concerned, Palestine has
been a place where a relatively advanced (because European) incoming population of Jews has performed miracles of
construction and civilizing and has fought brilliantly successful technical wars against what was always portrayed as a
dumb, essentially repellent population of uncivilized Arab natives. There is no doubt that the contest in Palestine has been
between an advanced (and advancing) culture and a relatively backward, more or less traditional one. But we need to try
to understand what the instruments of this contest were, and how they shaped subsequent history so that this history now
appears to confirm the validity of the Zionist claims to Palestine, thereby denigrating the Palestinian claims.
   In other words, we must understand the struggle between Palestinians and Zionism as a struggle between a presence
and an interpretation, the former constantly appearing to be overpowered and eradicated by the latter. What was this
presence? No matter how backward, uncivilized, and silent they were, the Palestinian Arabs were on the land.  . . . .(p.7-8)

Noam Chomsky's book, Fateful Triangle (1983) is a comprehensive documentation of western imperialist interests in the Middle East, and the use of theology to preclude public debate on social issues such as war and economic exploitation. Imperialist policies in the Middle East, protected by taboos and surrounded by uncritical support and dogmatic denials, led Chomsky to conclude:

If current plans succeed, the predictions of Israeli government Arabists in 1948 might be fulfilled: the refugees would
either assimilate elsewhere or "would be crushed" and "die," while "most of them would turn into human dust and the
waste of society, and join the most impoverished classes in the Arab countries." Apart from privileged sectors that
accommodate to the "neo-colonial" settlement, those remaining in the territories can look forward to the bright future
of Haitians toiling in U.S. assembly plants for a few cents an hour or the semi-slave laborers in China's foreign-controlled
export industries. And Palestinians within Israel may expect to live as American Jews and Blacks would if the U.S. were
to become "the sovereign State of Christian Whites" throughout the world (to paraphrase Israeli law), not the state of its

Below, are 7 items we recently received on war and anti-war strategies coming out of the United States and England today.

Item A. is a 40-minute podcast of British moral philosopher, Ted Honderich, who examines the moral implications of Zionism and terror in the world today.

Items B., C., and D. concern the alarming destruction of Palestinians in Gaza which is under constant attack by the IDF.

Item E. is a critique of Zionist strategies against an increasingly uncooperative reality.

Item F., from Robert Attorney Robert Rivkin of San Francisco, offers a new view of the anti-imperialist mobilizations in America, which now include a growing number of Republicans.

Item G. is a copy of Daniel Ellsberg's San Francisco speech on "new political realities" in the United States, delivered on 9 July 2006, sent to us by San Diego community organizer Monty Kroopkin.

Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal-Grenoble 3

from Professor Ted Honderich :
Subject: Video Documentary on the philosophical meaning of terror.
25 September 2006

Can suicide bombers ever be justified? Professor Honderich, Britain's leading moral philosopher, is unafraid to tell the truth as he sees it. Taking what he says is the betrayal of the Palestinian people as his starting point, Ted reveals who shares moral responsibility for recent acts of terrorism, and points a finger at the politicians.

The Real Friends of Terror


from Ed Herman :
Subject: Gaza's darkness
19 September 2006
A picture of unilateral violence and disastrous abuse in Gaza, written by Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy--a picture you will not see in the NYT or
Philadelphia Inquirer.

Gaza's darkness
By Gideon Levy

Gaza has been reoccupied. The world must know this and Israelis must know it, too. It is in its worst condition, ever. Since the abduction of Gilad Shalit, and more so since the outbreak of the Lebanon war, the Israel Defense Forces has been rampaging through Gaza - there's no other word to describe it - killing and demolishing, bombing and shelling, indiscriminately.

Nobody thinks about setting up a commission of inquiry; the issue isn't even on the agenda. Nobody asks why it is being done and who decided to do it. But under the cover of the darkness of the Lebanon war, the IDF returned to its old practices in Gaza as if there had been no disengagement. So it must be said forthrightly, the disengagement is dead. Aside from the settlements that remain piles of rubble, nothing is left of the disengagement and its promises. How contemptible all the sublime and nonsensical talk about "the end of the occupation" and "partitioning the land" now appears. Gaza is occupied, and with greater brutality than before. The fact that it is more convenient for the occupier to control it from outside has nothing to do with the intolerable living conditions of the occupied.

In large parts of Gaza nowadays, there is no electricity. Israel bombed the only power station in Gaza, and more than half the electricity supply will be cut off for at least another year. There's hardly any water. Since there is no electricity, supplying homes with water is nearly impossible. Gaza is filthier and smellier than ever: Because of the embargo Israel and the world have imposed on the elected authority, no salaries are being paid and the street cleaners have been on strike for the past few weeks. Piles of garbage and obnoxious clouds of stink strangle the coastal strip, turning it into Calcutta.

More than ever, Gaza is also like a prison. The Erez crossing is empty, the Karni crossing has been open only a few days over the last two months, and the same is true for the Rafah crossing. Some 15,000 people waited for two months to enter Egypt, some are still waiting, including many ailing and wounded people. Another 5,000 waited on the other side to return to their homes. Some died during the wait. One must see the scenes at Rafah to understand how profound a human tragedy is taking place. A crossing that was not supposed to have an Israeli presence continues to be Israel's means to pressure 1.5 million inhabitants. This is disgraceful and shocking collective punishment. The U.S. and Europe, whose police are at the Rafah crossing, also bear responsibility for the situation. 

Gaza is also poorer and hungrier than ever before. There is nearly no merchandise moving in and out, fishing is banned, the tens of thousands of PA workers receive no salaries, and the possibility of working in Israel is out of the question.

And we still haven't mentioned the death, destruction and horror. In the last two months, Israel killed 224 Palestinians, 62 of them children and 25 of them women. It bombed and assassinated, destroyed and shelled, and no one stopped it. No Qassam cell or smuggling tunnel justifies such wide-scale killing. A day doesn't go by without deaths, most of them innocent civilians.

Where are the days when there was still a debate inside Israel about the assassinations? Today, Israel drops innumerable missiles, shells and bombs on houses and kills entire families on its way to another assassination. Hospitals are collapsing with more than 900 people undergoing treatment. At Shifa Hospital, the only such facility in Gaza that might be worthy of being called a hospital, I saw heartrending scenes last week. Children who lost limbs, on respirators, paralyzed, crippled for the rest of their lives. 

Families have been killed in their sleep, while riding on donkeys or working in fields. Frightened children, traumatized by what they have seen, huddle in their homes with a horror in their eyes that is difficult to describe in words. A journalist from Spain who spent time in Gaza recently, a veteran of war and disaster zones around the world, said he had never been exposed to scenes as horrific as the ones he saw and documented over the last two months.

It is difficult to determine who decided on all this. It is doubtful the ministers are aware of the reality in Gaza. They are responsible for it, starting with the bad decision on the embargo, through the bombing of Gaza's bridges and power station and the mass assassinations. Israel is responsible now once again for all that happens in Gaza.

The events in Gaza expose the great fraud of Kadima: It came to power on the coattails of the virtual success of the disengagement, which is now going up in flames, and it promised convergence, a promise that the prime minister has already rescinded. Those who think Kadima is a centrist party should now know it is nothing other than another rightist occupation party. The same is true of Labor. Defense Minister Amir Peretz is responsible for what is happening in Gaza no less than the prime minister, and Peretz's hands are as blood-soaked as Olmert's. He can never present himself as a 'man of peace' again. The ground invasions every week, each time somewhere else, the kill and destroy operations from the sea, air and land are all dubbed with names to whitewash the reality, like 'Summer Rains' or 'Locked Kindergarten.' No
security excuse can explain the cycle of madness, and no civic argument can excuse the outrageous silence of us all. Gilad Shalit will not be released and the Qassams will not cease. On the contrary, there is a horror taking place in Gaza, and while it might prevent a few terror attacks in the short run, it is bound to give birth to much more murderous terror. Israel will then say with its self-righteousness: 'But we returned Gaza to them.'

 < http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/images/0.gif>

from Truthout :
25 September 2006

The conflict in Gaza has attracted relatively little international attention, not least because for five weeks it was overshadowed by that in Lebanon. But
the death toll has continued to rise.

Gaza: Children Killed in a War the World Doesn't Want to Know About

from Ed Herman :
10 September 2006
Subject: Genocide in Gaza--Ilan pappe


The absence of a loud and passionate protest over this horror scene is really distressing.

Genocide in Gaza
By Ilan Pappe

[Nothing apart from pressure in the form of sanctions, boycotts and divestment will stop the murdering of innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip.]

A genocide is taking place in Gaza. This morning, 2 September, another three citizens of Gaza were killed and a whole family wounded in Beit Hanoun. This is the morning reap, before the end of day many more will be massacred. An average of eight Palestinian die daily in the Israeli attacks on the Strip. Most of them are children. Hundreds are maimed, wounded and paralyzed.

The Israeli leadership is at lost of what to do with the Gaza Strip. It has vague ideas about the West Bank. The current government assumes that the West Bank, unlike the Strip, is an open space, at least on its eastern side. Hence if Israel, under the ingathering program of the government, annexes the parts it covets - half of the West Bank - and cleanses it of its native population, the other half would naturally lean towards Jordan, at least for a while and would not concern Israel. This is a fallacy, but nonetheless it won the enthusiastic vote of most of the Jews in the country. Such an arrangement cannot work in the Gaza enclave - Egypt unlike Jordan has succeeded in persuading the Israelis, already in 1948, that the Gaza Strip for them is a liability and will never form part of Egypt. So a million and half Palestinians are stuck inside Israel - although geographically the Strip is located on the margins of the state, psychologically it lies in its midst.

The inhuman living conditions in the most dense area in the world, and one of the poorest human spaces in the northern hemisphere, disables the people who live it to reconcile with the imprisonment Israel had imposed on them ever since 1967. There were relative better periods where movement to the West Bank and into Israel for work was allowed, but these better times are gone. Harsher realities are in place ever since 1987. Some access to the outside world was allowed as long as there were Jewish settlers in the Strip, but once they were removed the Strip was hermetically closed. Ironically, most Israelis, according to recent polls, look at Gaza as an independent  alestinian state that Israel has graciously allowed to emerge. The leadership, and particularly the army, see it as a prison with the most dangerous community of inmates, which has to be eliminated one way or another.

The conventional Israeli policies of ethnic cleansing employed successfully in 1948 against half of Palestine's population, and against hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank are not useful here. You can slowly transfer Palestinians out of the West Bank, and particular out of the Greater Jerusalem area, but you cannot do it in the Gaza Strip - once you sealed it as a maximum-security prison camp. 

As with the ethnic cleansing operations, the genocidal policy is not formulated in a vacuum. Ever since 1948, the Israeli army and government needed a pretext to  commence such policies. The takeover of Palestine in 1948 produced the inevitable local resistance that in turn allowed the implementation of an ethnic cleansing policy, preplanned already in the 1930s. Twenty years of Israeli occupation of the West Bank produced eventually some sort of Palestinian resistance. This belated anti-occupation struggle unleashed a new cleansing policy that still is implemented today in the West Bank. The Gaza imprisonment in the summer of 2005, which was
paraded as an Israeli generous withdrawal, produced the Hamas and Islamic Jihad missile attack and one abduction case. Even before the abduction of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli army bombarded indiscriminately the Strip. Ever since the abduction, the massive killing increased and became systematic. A daily business of slaying Palestinians, mainly children is now reported in the internal pages of the local press, quite often in microscopic fonts.

The chief culprits are the Israeli pilots who have a field day now that one of them is the General Chief of Staff. In the 1982 Lebanon war, the Israeli airforce issued orders to its pilots to abort missions if within 500 square meters of their target they spotted innocent civilians. Not that these orders were kept, but the pretense for internal moral consumption was there. It is called in the Israeli airforce, the "Lebanon Procedure" [Nohal Levanon]. When the pilots asked a year ago if the "Lebanon procedure" is
intact for Gaza, the answer was no. The same answer was given to the pilots in the second Lebanon war. 

The Lebanon war provided the fog for a while, covering the war crimes in the Gaza Strip. But the policies rage on even after the conclusion of the cease-fire up in the north. It seems that the frustrated and defeated Israeli army is even more determined to enlarge the killing fields in the Gaza Strip. There are no politicians who are able or willing to stop the generals. A daily killing of up to 10 civilians is going to leave a few thousand dead each year. This is of course different from genociding a million people in one campaign - the only inhibition Israel is willing to undertake in the name of the Holocaust memory. But if you double the killing you raise the number to horrific proportions and more importantly you may force a mass eviction in the end of the day outside the Strip - either in the name of human aid, international intervention or the people's own desire to escape the inferno. But if the Palestinian steadfastness is going to be the response, and there is no reason to doubt that this will be the Gazan reaction then the massive killing would continue and increase.

Much depends on the international reaction. When Israel was absolved from any responsibility or accountably for the ethnic cleansing in 1948, it turned this policy into a legitimate tool for its national security agenda. If the present escalation and adaptation of genocidal policies would be tolerated by the world, it would expand and used even more drastically.

Nothing apart from pressure in the form of sanctions, boycotts and divestment will stop the murdering of innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip. There is nothing we here in Israel can do against it. Brave pilots refused to partake in the operations, two journalists - out of 150 - do not cease to write about it, but this is it. In the name of the holocaust memory let us hope the world would not allow the genocide of Gaza to continue.

-- Ilan Pappe is senior lecturer in the University of Haifa Department of political Science and Chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian Studies in Haifa. His books include among others The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (London and New York 1992), The Israel/Palestine Question (London and New York 1999), A History of Modern Palestine (Cambridge 2003), The Modern Middle East (London and New York 2005) and forthcoming, Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006)

from Ed Herman :
12 September 2006

Powerful article, though “coming collapse” may be doubted.


The Moral Bankruptcy of Israel's Founding Idea
The Coming Collapse of Zionism

(Former CIA Analyst)

I s it only observers outside the conventional mainstream who have noticed that by its murderous assault on Lebanon and simultaneously on Gaza, Israel finally exposed, for even the most deluded to see, the total bankruptcy of its very founding idea?

Can it be that the deluded are still deluded? Can it truly still be that Israel's bankruptcy is evident only to those who already knew it, those who already recognized Zionism as illegitimate for the racist principle that underlies it?

Can it be therefore that only the already converted can see coming the ultimate collapse of Zionism and, with it, of Israel itself as the exclusivist state of Jews?

Racism has always been the lifeblood of Israel. Zionism rests on the fundamental belief that Jews have superior national, human, and natural rights in the land, an inherently racist foundation that excludes any possibility of true democracy or equality of peoples. Israel's destructive rampage in Lebanon and Gaza is merely the natural next step in the evolution of such a founding ideology. Precisely because that ideology posits the exclusivity and superiority of one people's rights, it can accept no legal or moral restraints on its behavior and no territorial limits, for it needs an ever-expanding geography to accommodate those unlimited rights.

Zionism cannot abide encroachment or even the slightest challenge to its total domination over its own space -- not merely of the space within Israel's 1967 borders, but of the surrounding space as well, extending outward to geographical limits that Zionism has not yet seen fit to set for itself. Total domination means no physical threat and no demographic threat: Jews reign, Jews are totally secure, Jews always outnumber, Jews hold all military power, Jews control all natural resources, all neighbors are powerless and totally subservient. This was the message Israel tried to send with its attack on Lebanon: that neither Hizbullah nor anything in Lebanon that nurtures Hizbullah should continue to exist, for the sole reason that Hizbullah challenges Israel's supreme authority in the region and Israel cannot abide this effrontery. Zionism cannot coexist with any other ideology or ethnicity except in the preeminent position, for everyone and every ideology that is not Zionist is a potential threat.

In Lebanon, Israel attempted by its wildly reckless violence to destroy the nation, to make of it a killing zone where only Zionism would reign, where non-Jews would die or flee or prostrate themselves, as they had during the nearly quarter-century of Israel's last occupation, from 1978 to 2000. Observing the war in Beirut after the first week of bombing, describing the murder in an Israeli bombing raid of four Lebanese army logistics techs who had been mending power and water lines "to keep Beirut alive," British correspondent Robert Fisk wrote that it dawned on him that what Israel intended was that "Beirut is to die . . . . No one is to be allowed to keep Beirut alive." Israeli Chief of Staff Dan Halutz (the man who four years ago when he headed the Israeli Air Force said he felt no psychological discomfort after one of his F-16s had dropped a one-ton bomb on an apartment building in Gaza in the middle of the night, killing 14 civilians, mostly children) pledged at the start of the Lebanon assault to take Lebanon back 20 years; 20 years ago Lebanon was not alive, its southern third occupied by Israel, the remainder a decade into a hopelessly destructive civil war.

The cluster bombs are a certain sign of Israel's intent to remake Lebanon, at least southern Lebanon, into a region cleansed of its Arab population and unable to function except at Israel's mercy. Cluster bombs, of which Israel's U.S. provider is the world's leading manufacturer (and user, in places like Yugoslavia and Iraq), explode in mid-flight and scatter hundreds of small bombs over a several-acre area. Up to one-quarter of the bomblets fail to explode on impact and are left to be found by unsuspecting civilians returning to their homes. UN surveyors estimate that there are as many as 100,000 unexploded cluster bomblets strewn around in 400 bomb-strike sites in southern Lebanon. Scores of Lebanese children and adults have been killed and injured by this unexploded ordnance since the cease-fire last month.

Laying anti-personnel munitions in heavily populated civilian areas is not the surgical targeting of a military force in pursuit of military objectives; it is ethnic cleansing. Fully 90 percent of Israel's cluster-bomb strikes were conducted, according to UN humanitarian coordinator Jan Egelund, in the last 72 hours before the cease-fire took effect, when it was apparent that a UN cease-fire resolution was in the works. This can only have been a further effort, no doubt intended to be more or less a coup de grace, to depopulate the area. Added to the preceding month of bombing attacks that destroyed as much as 50 or in some cases 80 percent of the homes in many villages, that did vast damage to the nation's entire civilian infrastructure, that crippled a coastal power plant that continues to spill tons of oil and benzene-laden toxins along the Lebanese and part of the Syrian coastlines, and that killed over 1,000 civilians in residential apartment blocks, being transported in ambulances, and fleeing in cars flying white flags, Israel's war can only be interpreted as a massiv act of ethnic cleansing, to keep the region safe for Jewish dominion.

In fact, approximately 250,000 people, by UN estimate, are unable to return to their homes because either the homes have been leveled or unexploded cluster bomblets and other ordnance have not yet been cleared by demining teams. This was not a war against Hizbullah, except incidentally. It was not a war against terror, as Israel and its U.S. acolytes would have us believe (indeed, Hizbullah was not conducting terrorist acts, but had been engaged in a sporadic series of military exchanges with Israeli forces along the border, usually initiated by Israel). This was a war for Israeli breathing space, for the absolute certainty that Israel would dominate the neighborhood. It was a war against a population that was not totally subservient, that had the audacity to harbor a force like Hizbullah that does not bow to Israel's will. It was a war on people and their way of thinking, people who are not Jewish and who do not act to promote Zionism and Jewish hegemony.

Israel has been doing this to its neighbors in one form or another since its creation. Palestinians have obviously been Zionism's longest suffering victims, and its most persistent opponents. The Zionists thought they had rid themselves of their most immediate problem, the problem at the very core of Zionism, in 1948 when they forced the flight of nearly two-thirds of the Palestinian population that stood in the way of a establishing Israel as an exclusive Jewish-majority state. You can't have a Jewish state if most of your population is not Jewish. Nineteen years later, when Israel began to expand its borders with the capture of the West Bank and Gaza, those Palestinians who it thought had disappeared turned out to be still around after all, threatening the Zionists' Jewish hegemony.

In the nearly 40 years since then, Israeli policy has been largely directed -- with periodic time-outs for attacks on Lebanon -- toward making the Palestinians disappear for certain. The methods of ethnic cleansing are myriad: land theft, destruction of agricultural land and resources, economic strangulation, crippling restrictions on commerce, home demolition, residency permit revocation, outright deportation, arrest, assassination, family separation, movement restriction, destruction of census and land ownership records, theft of tax monies, starvation. Israel wants all of the land of Palestine, including all of the West Bank and Gaza, but it cannot have a majority Jewish state in all of this land as long as the Palestinians are there. Hence the slow strangulation. In Gaza, where almost a million and a half people are crammed into an area less than one-tenth the size of Rhode Island, Israel is doing on a continuing basis what it did in Lebanon in a month's time -- killing civilians, destroying civilian infrastructure, making the place uninhabitable. Palestinians in Gaza are being murdered at the rate of eight a day. Maimings come at a higher rate. Such is the value of non-Jewish life in the Zionist scheme of things.

Israeli scholar Ilan Pappe calls it a slow genocide (ElectronicIntifada, September 2, 2006). Since 1948, every Palestinian act of resistance to Israeli oppression has been a further excuse for Israel to implement an ethnic cleansing policy, a phenomenon so inevitable and accepted in Israel that Pappe says "the daily business of slaying Palestinians, mainly children, is now reported in the internal pages of the local press, quite often in microscopic fonts." His prediction is that continued killing at this level either will produce a mass eviction or, if the Palestinians remain steadfast and continue to resist, as is far more likely, will result in an increasing level of killing. Pappe recalls that the world absolved Israel of responsibility and any accountability for its 1948 act of ethnic cleansing, allowing Israel to turn this policy "into a legitimate tool for its national security agenda." If the world remains silent again in response to the current round of ethnic cleansing, the policy will only escalate, "even more drastically."

And here is the crux of the situation today. Will anyone notice this horror? Has Israel, as proposed at the beginning, truly exposed by its wild summer campaign of ethnic cleansing in Lebanon and Gaza the total bankruptcy of its very founding idea, the essential illegitimacy of the Zionist principle of Jewish exclusivity? Can even the most deluded see this, or will they continue to be deluded and the world continue to turn away, excusing atrocity because it is committed by Israel in the name of keeping the neighborhood safe for Jews?

Since Israel's crazed run through Lebanon began, numerous clear-eyed observers in the alternative and the European and Arab media have noted the new moral nudity of Israel, and of its U.S. backer, with an unusual degree of bluntness. Also on many tongues is a new awareness of growing Arab and Muslim resistance to the staggering viciousness of Israeli-U.S. actions. Palestinian-British scholar Karma Nabulsi, writing in the Guardian in early August, laments the "indiscriminate wrath of an enemy driven by an existential mania that cannot be assuaged, only stopped." American scholar Virginia Tilley (Counterpunch, August 5, 2006) observes that any kind of normal, peaceful existence is anathema to Israel, for it "must see and treat its neighbors as an existential threat in order to justify . . . its ethnic/racial character." Even before the Lebanon war, but after Gaza had begun to be starved, political economist Edward Herman (Z Magazine, March 2006)condemned Israel's "long-term ethnic cleansing and institutionalized racism" and the hypocritical way in which the West and the western media accept and underwrite these policies "in violation of all purported enlightenment values."

Racism underlies the Israeli-U.S. neocon axis that is currently running amok in the Middle East. The inherent racism of Zionism has found a natural ally in the racist imperial philosophy espoused by the neoconservatives of the Bush administration. The ultimate logic of the Israeli-U.S. global war, writes Israeli activist Michel Warschawski of the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem (July 30, 2006) is the "full ethnicization" of all conflicts, "in which one is not fighting a policy, a government or specific targets, but a 'threat' identified with a community" -- or, in Israel's case, with all non-Jewish communities.

The basically racist notion of a clash of civilizations, being promoted both by the Bush administration and by Israel, provides the rationale for the assaults on Palestine and Lebanon. As Azmi Bishara, a leading Palestinian member of Israel's Knesset, has observed (al-Ahram, August 10-16, 2006), if the Israeli-U.S. argument that the world is divided into two distinct and incompatible cultures, us vs. them, is accurate, then the notion that "we" operate by a double standard loses all moral opprobrium, for it becomes the natural order of things. This has always been Israel's natural order of things: in Israel's world and that of its U.S. supporters, the idea that Jews and the Jewish culture are superior to and incompatible with surrounding peoples and cultures is the very basis of the state.

In the wake of Israel's failure in Lebanon, Arabs and Muslims have a sense, for the first time since Israel's implantation in the heart of the Arab Middle East almost 60 years ago, that Israel in its arrogance has badly overreached and that its power and its reach can be limited. The "ethnicization" of the global conflict that Michel Warschawski speaks of -- the arrogant colonial approach of old, now in a new high-tech guise backed by F-16s and nuclear weapons, that assumes Western and Israeli superiority and posits a kind of apocalyptic clash between the "civilized" West and a backward, enraged East -- has been seen for what it is because of Israel's mad assault on Lebanon. What it is is a crude racist assertion of power by a Zionist regime pursuing absolute, unchallenged regional hegemony and a neoconservative regime in the United States pursuing absolute, unchallenged global hegemony. As Palestinian commentator Rami Khouri observed in an interview with Charlie Rose a week into the Lebanon war, Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine, having both grown out of earlier Israeli wars of hegemony, are the political response of populations "that have been degraded and occupied and bombed and killed and humiliated repeatedly by the Israelis, and often with the direct or indirect acquiescence, or, as we see now, the direct support of the United States."

Those oppressed populations are now fighting back. No matter how much Arab leaders in Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia may bow to the U.S. and Israel, the Arab people now recognize the fundamental weakness of Israel's race-based culture and polity and have a growing confidence that they can ultimately defeat it. The Palestinians in particular have been at this for 60 years, never disappearing despite Israel's best designs, never failing to remind Israel and the world of their existence. They will not succumb now, and the rest of the Arab world is taking heart from their endurance and Hizbullah's.

Something in the way Israel operates, and in the way the United States supports Israel's method of operating, must change. More and more commentators, inside the Arab world and outside, have begun to notice this, and a striking number are audacious enough to predict some sort of end to Zionism in the racist, exclusivist form in which it now exists and functions. This does not mean throwing the Jews into the sea. Israel will not be defeated militarily. But it can be defeated psychologically, which means putting limits on its hegemony, stopping its marauding advance through its neighborhood, ending Jewish racial/religious domination over other peoples.

Rami Khouri contends that the much greater public support throughout the Arab world for Hizbullah and Hamas is "a catastrophe" both for Israel and for the United States because it means resistance to their imperial designs. Khouri does not go further in his predictions, but others do, seeing at least in vague outline the vision of a future in which Israel no longer enjoys ultimate dominion. Gilad Atzmon, an ex-Israeli living in Britain, a jazz musician and thinker, sees Hizbullah's victory in Lebanon as signaling the defeat of what he calls global Zionism, by which he means the Israeli/U.S. neocon axis. It is the Lebanese, Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghani, and Iranian people, he says, who are "at the vanguard of the war for humanity and humanism," while Israel and the U.S. spread destruction and death, and more and more Europeans and Americans, recognizing this, are falling off the Zionist/neocon bandwagon. Atzmon talks about Israel as, ultimately, "an historic event" and a "dead entity."

Many others see similar visions. Commentators increasingly discuss the possibility of Israel, its myth of invincibility having been deflated, going through a South Africa-like epiphany, in which its leadership somehow recognizes the error of its racist ways and in a surge of humanitarian feeling renounces Zionism's inequities and agrees that Jews and Palestinians should live in equality in a unitary state. British MP George Galloway (Guardian, August 31, 2006) foresees the possibility of "an FW de Klerk moment" emerging in Israel and among its international backers when, as occurred in South Africa, a "critical mass of opposition" overwhelms the position of the previously invincible minority and the leadership is able to justify transferring power on the basis that doing so later under duress will be far less favorable. Short of such peaceful transition, along with a move to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Galloway ­ along with many others -- sees only "war, war and more war, until one day it is Tel Aviv which is on fire and the Israeli leaders' intransigence brings the whole state down on their heads."

This increasingly appears to be the shape of the future: either Israel and its neocon supporters in the United States can dismantle Zionism's most egregious aspects by agreeing to establish a unitary state in Palestine inhabited by the Palestinians and Jews whose land this is, or the world will face a conflagration of a scale not fully imaginable now.

Just as Hizbullah is an integral part of Lebanon, not to be destroyed by the bombing of bridges and power plants, the Palestinians before their expulsion in 1948 were Palestine and still are Palestine. By hitting the Palestinians where they lived, in the literal and the colloquial sense, Israel left them with only a goal and a vision. That vision is justice and redress in some form, whether redress means ultimately defeating Zionism and taking back Palestine, or reconciling with Israel on the condition that it act like a decent neighbor and not a conqueror, or finally joining with Israeli Jews to form a single state in which no people has superior rights . In Lebanon, Israel again seemed bent on imposing its will, its dominion, its culture and ethnicity on another Arab country. It never worked in Palestine, it has not worked in Lebanon, and it will not work anywhere in the Arab world.

We have reached a moral crossroads. In the "new Middle East" defined by Israel, Bush, and the neocons, only Israel and the U.S. may dominate, only they may be strong, only they may be secure. But in the just world that lies on the other side of that crossroads, this is unacceptable. Justice can ultimately prevail.

Kathleen Christison
is a former CIA political analyst and has worked on Middle East issues for 30 years. She is the author of Perceptions of Palestine and The Wound of Dispossession.

from Robert Rivkin :
18 September 2006

Hello Francis,
My article,  "Bush's Paltry Excuse for Subverting Geneva Convention," was published on September 19, 2006.  You can find it at:   www.commondreams.org 
P.S.  There's a terrific rumination about Franz Kafka's relevance to our times by Christy Rodgers , also published on September 19th, on www.dissidentvoice.org 
P.P.S. Another well-documented one  is Chuck Almdale's August 29, 2006 piece, "Fascist Propaganda Principles and the Bush Administration," on www.crisispapers.org
P.P.P.S  Read them and weep  --   but pass them on! 


from Monty Kroopkin :
Subject: Daniel Ellsberg speech 9-7-06
20 September 2006

Here is a copy of Daniel Ellsberg's speech in San Francisco. His analysis of the fascist movement here today, comparisons with Germany in 1933, the effects of the 3 Vietnam War Moratoriums in 1969 (general strikes, not called that) and the current resistence and threat of even wider war and attack on Iran.

Ellsberg has joined 5 members of Congress, Jesse Jackson, Jr., and thousands of others calling for a walkout from work and school on October 5.

The World Can't Wait ran full-page ads in the New York Times, the LA Weekly, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the Chicago Reader, and DC's weekly paper. It may also run this week in USA Today. Radio ads are running on Air America.

Yours in solidarity from my (now officially illegal) NSA party line,