Monday, November 27, 2017

Israel's Right to Defend Itself

Activist/author Anna Baltzer writes:

There is nothing defensive about denying Palestinians water.  There is nothing defensive about preventing people from having materials to build their homes.

Avreham Shalom, from Israel’s Shin Bet (secret service) acknowledged:

We must once and for all admit there is another side…that it is suffering, and that we are behaving disgracefully - this entire behavior is the results of the occupation.[i]

Back in 1937, David Ben-Gurion stated the Zionist agenda. “We must expel the Arabs and take their places. In 1938, he stated, “Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves … politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves.”  As recently as 1998, Ariel Sharon stated: “There is no Zionism, colonization, or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands.”[ii]

And Philip Giraldi points out:

Over the past 50 years, an estimated 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned by Israel at one time or another, fully 40 percent of the adult male population.[iii]

These are not defensive actions. Expelling 700,000 Palestinians in 1948 might be called ethnic cleansing, but it could hardly be considered defensive. The robber who breaks into his neighbor’s house is not defending. Withholding medical supplies to an injured neighbor is not defending. Denying him, and his children, clean water, cutting off electricity and aggressively destroying homes, schools and hospitals is not defending.

Trump’s sending Jered Kushner to Israel to work out a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is a joke because Israel does not want peace. It wants freedom to steal more land and water until Israel has it all. If it takes demolishing homes, assassinating Palestinian leaders, road blocks and building an apartheid wall, and worst of all, bombing the unarmed people of Gaza. They simply declare it an act of self-defense and there is nothing in Israel’s moral code to object.

Even Israel’s army, known for its aggression and cruelty is called Israel’s Defense Force.

Yet, with all this clearly in Israel’s repertory, our US media and politicians speak of nothing but “Israel’s right to defend itself.”

Thomas Are
November 27,2017




[i] Penny Rosenwasser, Hope and Practice, Jewish Women Choosing Justice Despite our Fears, (June Jordan Literary Estate Trust, 2013) p.171.
[ii] Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June, 2017, p.7.
iii Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June, 2017, p.12.


Monday, November 20, 2017

Shared Values

I am waiting for it to come up on Jeopardy. The answer is, “a nation run by barbaric beggars.” The question, “What is Israel?”

How much is it now? Netanyahu begs, “Give us $3.8  billion a year, and we won’t ask for any more,” unless Israel wants to fight another war, then it will be, ”Who knows?” And to keep the American tax-payer from rioting, we are told over and over again about our “shared values.”

Yet, Who values Israel’s program of occupation, the imprisonment of children, extrajudicial executions., the demolition of homes, and the stealing of land and water from a weaker people? Who supports an apartheid wall as in the West Bank and the deliberate starving of millions of people as in Gaza?  Unfortunately, we Americans do.

Jeff Halper tells it like it is:

This occupation is not perceived as an Israeli occupation. It’s perceived as an American-Israeli occupation. It is clear that Israel couldn’t maintain this occupation for a month without the political and military support that the United States offers.[i]

I condemn Israel for its brutal betrayal of human life. But I am an American which means that I also have my hand in that dish. Israel lives on my tax money and I object too little and too seldom. I ask myself, how can I enjoy my swimming pool when my neighbor, just over the wall, turns on his faucet and nothing…no water.

I am disturbed that so few Americans are disturbed by the gross injustice we blindly support.  One thing for sure. It’s not because we have shared values. I will never accept that.

Ilan Pappe points out how wrong it all is:

The official decision to colonize was a grave violation of international law. The Geneva Convention requires an occupying power to affect the existing order in the occupied territory as little as possible during its tenure. One aspect of this obligation is that it must leave the territory to the people it finds there. Another vital obligation, decreed in Article 49 of the Geneva Convention, states: The occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territory it occupies.[ii]

Of course, these guidelines were written for a nation seeking to be guided by moral values and with a desire to be considered civilized. Thus, it was not written with Israel in mind… or the U.S. One can’t claim moral values and be silent on Palestine.


Thomas Are
November 20, 2017



[i] Tom Hayes, Challenges and Changes in 25 Years Working on Israel-Palestine Issues, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May 2017, p.44.
[ii] Ilan Pappe, The Biggest Prison on Earth, (Oneworld Publications, London, 2017) p. 133.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Good for Iran

Yet again, we see on the evening news a flash reporting of Iranian students taking over the U.S. embassy and yet again it is totally void of context. Nothing about the Shah’s  billion plus dollar birthday bash he threw for himself while the average Iranian struggled to put food on the table. Not a word about the 70 students shot to death by the SAVAK for demonstrating against the Shah’s opulent life-style, nor the attack forty days later when funeral services became anti-Shah demonstration when the SAVAK killed an estimated 900 students.[1]  Yet, it was then that Jimmy Carter, and I love Jimmy Carter, embraced the Shah and pledged undying support for the Shah and his regime. Carter’s commitment to supporting the Shah as an ally and allowing him refuge in  the United States, exploded into the student’s take-over of our embassy in Tehran.

I don’t hold up Iran as the perfect society, but at the same time, I am distressed that our president rattles his saber toward them.

In over 200 years, Iran has attacked nobody. Even in 1982 when Saddam Hussein attack Iran using poison gas, Iran did not retaliate saying that in doing so, innocent people would die. In the same mind, Iran has ruled out the use of nuclear weapons. When the USS Vincines shot down an Iranian airliner, killing 280 innocent people, there was no retaliation.

In their view, nuclear weapons are forbidden by God and violate Islamic morality.

Also, Flint and Hillary Mann Laverett, whose job with the CIA was to keep an eye on Iran, explain that when translating the words of Amadinajad from the Farsi, he did not say anything about driving all the Jews into the sea. What he said was that “this Zionist regime occupying Jerusalem must disappear from the page of time.”[2] That is a moral judgement, with which I agree, not a physical threat.

We should also keep in mind that Iran is home to the largest Jewish community in the Middle East, outside of Israel, and no one forces them to stay. Jews there feel secure and happy. Why else would they turn down Israel’s offer of money to bribe them into moving to Israel? Morsedegh, a 50 year old hospital surgeon says:

The fact is, Iran is a place where Jews feel secure and we are happy to be here. We are proud to be Iranians. I know this does not follow the Zionist script, but this is the reality.[3]  

It’s true, all over Iran one can see signs saying, “death to America.” But you can also hear taxi drivers saying, “death to traffic, or death to teen age drivers. In America, we would say, “Damn this traffic, or damn teen age drivers.” The cab driver in Iran is not literally wishing for the destruction of America any more than our drivers wish for all our young people to literally be killed and go straight to hell.

I wish we could tone down the rhetoric. Why, yet again, jump into a needless war that nobody wins? Why? Benjamin Netanyahu tries to sell Israel as the most feared bully in the neighborhood but, Iran is not buying. Good for Iran.

Thomas Are
November 14, 2017





[1] Check  out Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God, (Alfred A. Knoff, 2000) p. 304-306.
[2] Flynt and Hillary Leverett, Going to Tehran, (Metropolitan Books, New York, 2013) p. 19
[3] Kim Sengupta, Iran’s Jews on Life inside Israel’s “enemy state”: We feel secure and Happy. The Independent.co.uk. March 16, 2016.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The First Son-in-Law

I don’t like Jered Kushner.  There, I said it and I am glad. It’s not that he is Jewish. To dislike him for that would make me a bigot.  I don’t like him because he wears blinders.

Old time farmers in the south used to put “blinders” on their mules when plowing to keep them from being distracted by their context. Little leather flaps hung about an inch from each eye. Thus, without being aware of anything around it, a mule would respond only to the bridle and the sting of the whip.

Kushner, king of the lucky sperm club, was born into enormous wealth and privilege and moves through life unaware of his context.

He supports settlements on what little land Palestinians have left and he has no idea of how settlements on their land takes food from children whose bowl of soup comes around all too seldom and runs out all too soon. What does he care. He is the president’s son in law.

Israel’s blockade, which is in its tenth year has:

            Demolished over 48,000 homes;
            Confiscated over 586,000 acres of land in the West Bank;
            Created 300,000 Palestinian refugees;
Colonized the West Bank with over 600,000 Jewish settlers;
Enacted over 50 laws that discriminate against Israel’s Arab minority; and
Established an apartheid system with civil courts for Jewish settlers and military courts for Palestinians, including indefinite detention without trial and a conviction rate of over 99%,[1] all in direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention;

And then there is Gaza. Abby Smardon, who has visited Gaza every year for the past six years says:

On my sixth visit, including a few months after Israel’s assault in 2014, I have never seen Gaza so devastated. Israel’s land, air and sea blockade has destroyed its economy and allowed for the near complete destruction of critical infrastructure.[2]

I can’t imagine being locked up in a land where electricity is available only a few hours a day, usually in the middle of the night, where raw sewage runs through the country side and empties into the sea, where most hospitals and health clinics have been closed due to power outages and  where an 11-year old child attempts suicide declaring that death would be a relief?

As American citizens, we own this occupation and I am grieved by it. On the other hand, Jered Kushner, blinded by privilege and protected by a battery of lawyers, prances around Israel like a rock star undisturbed. He is the chosen of the chosen…at least in his mind. And he is, after all, the president’s son-in-law.

Thomas Are
October 15, 2017


[1] References to these facts are too many to list.  Just google 50 years of illegal  occupation and take your pick.
[2] Abby Smardon, On My Sixth Visit, I’ve Never Seen Gaza so Devastated.,Mondoweiss.net. 10/12/2017.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Wolf's World

It’s really quite simple.  If it is critical of Israel, it is a myth. If it gives Israel a pass, it is fact.

Wolf Blitzer published a book, in which he promoted one piece of Zionist propaganda after another and denounced Palestinian views as “spurious myths.” It is a myth that Arab citizens were “massacred” at Deir Yassin, a “myth” that Palestinian refugees “were major victims of the 1948 war,” and a “myth” that “Jewish atrocities” caused the Palestinians to flee.[1]

I read his book.[2] He declares that “Arabs formed a majority of the population in Palestine in 1948 is a myth.”  Then once he gets rid of the Palestinian population, it’s anything goes; that Palestinians were the victims of the establishment of the State of Israel, that the Palestinian question is the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, that Israel discriminates against its Arab citizens, it’s all a myth. 

In reality, at the founding of the State of Israel, numerous acts of violence were designed to frighten Arabs into fleeing for their lives. One of the best documented examples was the village of Deir Yassin.  On April 9, 1948, the Stern gang, headed by Yitzak Shamir, and the Irgun, headed by Menachem Begin, conducted the massacre of the Arab village of Deir Yassin.  Jews claim only 100 people were killed, Arabs say it was 250.  The commander of the Haganah, Zvi Ankori described what he witnessed:

I saw cut-off genitalia and women’s crushed stomachs. It was direct murder. Soldiers shot everyone they saw, including women and children. Parents begged commanders to stop the slaughter, to please stop shooting.[3]

No one denies that most of those slashed to death were women and children. Jewish terrorist shot people in their homes and threw their bodies into the streets as a message to neighboring Arab villages. Survivors of the raid tell stories of Israeli soldiers starting to kill early in the morning and continuing all day. They killed everyone they saw, including old people and children. One pregnant woman had her stomach cut open with a butcher’s knife.[4]

Rather than hiding its face in shame, Israel’s leaders promoted the massacre to frighten other villages into fleeing their homes and leaving them for Israeli Jews to occupy, “free of charge.” 

Yet, Blitzer claims that the massacre of innocent Arabs in Deir Yassin did not happen, It’s all a myth.

Blitzer, pro-Israeli lobbyist for AIPAC-turned-news-anchor, has become the face of CNN and CNN has become the propagandist for Israel.

The Day after the violent murders of four Rabbis in a Jerusalem synagogue, CNN hosted eight Jewish Israelis, three Jewish Americans but, not a single Palestinian to comment on the violence in Israel… the next day, CNN hosted seven pro-Israel guests including Alan Dershowitz, twice. While 15 pro-Israel guests were hosted in just two days, not a single Palestinian or Arab was asked to comment on the violence in Israel-Palestine. “This one-sided narrative allows the erroneous and self-serving assertions of the most right-wing and hyper-nationalistic government in Israel’s history to go unchecked.”[5]

I guess when Dershowitz said that Israel “has never attacked a mosque,” he forgot about the 73 mosques in Gaza that were completely demolished during Israel’s bombardment in 2014 and the 205 others partially destroyed when they were deliberately targeted by Israeli bombers.

So, I say shame on CNN for committing itself more to propaganda than to news. But, I say shame on us more if we allow CNN to dupe us with Wolf’s world.

Thomas Are
September 26, 2017


[1] Charlottesville is Moment of Truth for empowered U.S. Zionists (Who name Their Children after Israeli Generals.) Mondoweiss, 8/18/2017.

[2] Wolf Blitzer, Myth and Facts 1976, A Concise Record of the Arab-Israeli Conflict., Near East Research, Inc. 1976
[3].Lanni Brenner, The Iron Wall: Zionist Revolutions From Jabotinsky to Shamir, (Zed Books, Ltd. 1984). P. 97. And Ralph Schoenman, The Hidden History of Zionism, (Veritas Press, Santa Barbara, California, 1988) p.33.
[4].Quoted in David Hirst, The Gun and the Olive Branch: The Root of Violance on the Middle East, Faber and Faber, 1977) p. 141. Cited in Clifford Wright, Facts and Fables: The Arab-Isreli Conflict, (London, Kegan Paul International. 1989) p.19
[5] CJ Werleman, CNN is Israel’s Biggest Cheerleader-in-Chief.  Middle East Eye, February 13, 2015.



Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Israel's Greatest Fear

Already you know that I am in over my head. Who could possibly name Israel’s greatest fear? There are just too many from which to choose. However, somewhere in the list would be Israel’s fear of education. I don’t know what Israel fears most.

AN EDUCATED PALESTINIAN?

Why else would Israel go to such lengths to destroy Palestinian schools:

The night before the new school year started, Israeli bulldozers arrived on the outskirts of the Palestinian city of Bethlehem to demolish several caravans recently erected as a school for some 100 students… In the meantime, children study in a tent, without water or bathrooms.[1]

In addition to destroying school buildings, Israel is determined to control the curriculum:

Israel puts financial pressure on Palestinian schools in occupied East Jerusalem in an effort to make them switch over to an Israeli-controlled curriculum, one that teaches that Al-Aqsa is not their holy place, that the Palestinian flag is not their flag, that their land belongs to the settlers and that Ariel Sharon is a hero.[2]

Yet, perhaps more frightening to Israel than an educated Palestinian is an

AN EDUCATED ISRAELI.

Just a little investigation will reveal that Palestine was not a land without a people, that Palestinians did not voluntarily leave their homes in 1948, that Israel chose the war of 1967, that the IDF, Israel Defense Force, is not the most moral army on the globe and that Israel is not a democracy. And most of all, that Zionism is a violation of Judaism.  

However, probably, most frightening to Israel is an

AN EDUCATED AMERICAN.

I have in mind Brant Rosen, who serves a congregation in Evanston, Il. and is fearless in speaking out against Israel from his Jewish heart:

My primary religious motivation comes from my inherited Jewish tradition, in which God commands me to stand with the oppressed and to call out the oppressor…I simply don’t agree with the “official” Jewish community position that Israel’s actions are justified acts of self-defense. Rosen speaks not only as a Jew, but as an American:

I am also the citizen of a nation whose government has essentially given Israel a blank check to take numerous measures that I believe are counter to the cause of peace, including the expropriation of Palestinian lands, destruction of homes, injustice in military courts and widespread building of settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, to name a few.[3]

From every angle, education is Israel’s enemy and it’s an enemy that will never be defeated. You just cannot wall out intelligence.

Thomas Are
September 12, 2017




[1] RT News, So sad our school is destroyed: Israel razes EU-funded schools for Palestinian Children. Aug 29, 2017.
[2] Al Jazeera English, How Israel is turning Palestinians into Zionists, August 31, 2017.
[3] Brant Rosen, Wrestling in the Daylight, (Just Word Books, 2012) p. 42.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Normal Society

It all sounded so polite and gracious, when the Zionists were seeking recognition and power. Yitzak Epstein, Jewish activist spelled out how Jews moving into Palestine would improve the lives everyone, including Arab farmers:

The residents will benefit from new scientific farming methods, better health care and education, and will recognize “us as their benefactors and comforters”.

Haim Kalvarisky, expounding on the Balfour Declaration addressed the Arab resistance to Zionist intrusion into their land by declaring:

Palestine constitutes the homeland of all its residents, Jews, Muslims and Christians are citizens on equal footing. Its government would not discriminate against anyone, its administration will be open to all, its schools will promote bilingual education and social services will be provided by the state with no distinction between people on the basis of religious origins.

Bret Shalom, organized in 1925, based on “absolute political equality,” declared:

Although Palestine was the only place where Jews could become a nation-state, they have to operate together and in equality with the Arabs.[i]

Then came Israel with power.

Arnon Soffer, professor at Haifa University, just looking at Gaza, offered a much less optimistic prognosis:

When 2.5 million people live in a closed off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will be even bigger animals than they are today. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.

He goes on to express concern:

If we don’t kill, we will cease to exist. The only thing that concerns me is how to ensure that the boys and men who are going to have to do the killing will be able to return home to their families and be normal human beings.[ii]

His concern was right on target. Of all the things that can be said of Israel today, being a “normal society” is not one of them.  

Thomas Are
September 1, 2017




[i] These quotes are taken from Chapter One of Ran Greenstein’s book, Zionism and Its Discontents, (Pluto Press, 2014)  p. 3-18.
[ii] The Gaza Massacre is the Price of a “Jewish State.” , Electronic Intifada, July 25, 2014.