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.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Racism - Unjust, Ungodly and Ignorant

Whether our president should have been stronger in condemning the racism displayed by hate groups this week in Charlottesville, it is clearly condemned by the media, politicians and religious groups all across America. And rightly so. Racism is unjust, ungodly and totally based on ignorance. Racism is rejected, even in the deep south, by all people of good will. We will not condone it and we teach our children to condemn it as well. Unless…

Unless it is practiced by Israel.

In Israel, racism is protected by law. None of its shameful policies is denied or hidden under the rug. Jews are declared to be superior human beings, and are given preferential treatment in commerce, education and health care.  Most of all, Jews are treated with dignity.

On the other hand, those who are not Jews are declared a “demographic threat.”  In spite of 750,000 Palestinians driven by force from their homes in 1948, and millions more displaced in 1967, in Israel’s mind, there are still too many.  How can Israel be a Jewish State with Palestinians around to remind it of how it got to be such.  Thus, Palestinians in Israel are confined to assigned areas. Those in the West Bank are hidden out of sight by an apartheid wall, and those in Gaza are imprisoned in the world’s largest open air prison.

Marc Ellis, Jewish scholar and activist for justice, reflecting on the riots in Charlottesville over the monument to Robert E. Lee,  writes:

I think of Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Israel as among other things, a monument. At Yad Vashem, the dark chapter of Jewish life is highlighted, as it should be. But part of that chapter of Jewish life after the Holocaust, the Nakba, is omitted.[1]

Why does the US media and government declare racism evil in Charlottesville and support it in Israel?  If there is a difference in Steve Bannon and Benjamin Netanyahu, I can’t see it.

Israel, as a Jewish state is unjust, ungodly and based on ignorance.

 Thomas Are
August 18, 2017




[1] Marc H. Ellis, On Charlottesville and Jewish Memory, Mondoweiss, August 16, 2017

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Smothering Palestine

In a quick passing sentence in the Introduction to his chapter, A Country in Darkness, Vijay Prashad wrote:

Palestine struggles alone. Israel turns, hand on the pillow, pushing down and says, “Look, Palestine is threatening us, endangering our lives. Others look away, giving Israel license to push harder.[i]

That image of smothering Palestine caught my imagination. I picture some poor victim being pushed to the floor, thrashing about, feet and hands clawing in the air doing any and everything in his power to push away the pillow so he can breathe.

Now, make the pillow invisible and all the thrashing around looks unreasonable and out of control. Is that not exactly what our US media and politicians have done. They freely talk about the unreasonable Palestinians who simply want to deny Israel’s right to exist.  Make the pillow invisible and every reaction from rocks to rockets looks like the acts of mad men. Nobody is in control. Nobody wants peace. 

In reality:

In January 2004, Sheikh Yassin said he was willing to end armed resistance against Israel if a Palestinian state was created in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi also said that Palestinians would declare long hudna in exchange for independence.

On March 22, Israel assassinated Sheikh Yassin, On April 17, they killed al-Rantissi.[ii]  To this day, most of Palestine’s leaders have either been killed or are sitting in Israeli prisons.  But if Palestine does not resist, it will totally suffocate under the Israeli pillow. And its reaction to Israel’s theft of its land and water,  the continued enlargement of Israel’s apartheid wall, road blocks, check points, illegal imprisonment of Palestinians, including children, the cutting off of electricity, and regular bombardment of Gaza will go unnoticed.

And as long as the good citizens of the US refuse to see the pillow and allow Israel to dictate our conscience, little will change. The pain of the pillow will press down harder and harder.

Thomas Are
August 12, 2017

 [i] Vijay Prashad, Letters to Palestine, (Verso Books, NYC, 2015) p.9.
[ii] Vijay Prashad, Letters to Palestine, (Verso Books, NYC, 2015) p.8

Friday, August 4, 2017

Put the Blame on God

What a great idea. Don’t blame Israel for its cruelty to the Palestinians, blame God.

In 1937, David Ben-Gurion waved a copy of the Bible at the members of the Royal Peel Commission, shouting, “This is our land registry proof, our right to Palestine does not come from the Mandate Charter, the Bible is our Mandate Charter.”[1]

That leaves us with the question;  Whose Bible? Well, it was the Jewish Bible in which the Jewish God, spoke in a language understood only by Jews that declared enormous favor to the Jews above all their fellow human beings. It does cause one to wonder.

Yet, according to a 2013 Pew Research poll:
           
Forty-four percent of the U.S. general public replied “yes” to the question, “Was Israel given to the Jewish people by God?”[2]

When you consider that about one in five Americans claim to not even believe in God, these numbers are quite amazing. So, with American support and approval, Israel builds settlements, puts those who resist the occupation, including children, in prison, restricts travel, erects road blocks, cuts off electricity and constructs a separation wall blocking farmers from their fields, doctors from their hospitals and children from their schools... all in the name of God.

And that is just in the West Bank. Gaza fares even worse. Because “God wants Israel to have all that land purged of Palestinians”, Gaza has been barricaded from the rest of the world, mercilessly bombarded time and time again.  The U.N. has warned that because of the lack of food, water and medical care, Gaza will be uninhabitable in about three more years. According to Israel, what does the U.N. have to do with anything? God wants it this way. 

However, to come to this conclusion, Israel has to distort its own biblical claims by omitting the “conditions” upon which such a divine donation was made. Such as, the Jews, “shall be just and compassionate, and they shall not oppress the orphan, widow, alien and the poor. (Zechariah 7:9-11). At best, Israel’s claim of God’s endorsement is based on half-truths and over simplification. Again, Washington Report points out:

In order to gain membership in the United Nations, Israel promised that it would allow refugees it created in 1948 to return to their homes. Instead it demolished more than 400 Palestinian villages and killed those who attempted to return.

To this day, Israel has never declared its borders nor established a constitution. Its “democracy, for Jews only” is declared through the barrel of a gun, and it’s all done for God. How convenient.

Thomas Are
August 4, 2017



[1] Tom Srgev, One Palestine,  Complete, London: Abacus, 2001, p.401. Cited in Ilan Pappe, Ten Myths About Istrael, (Verso, 2017) p.40.
[2] God’s Expired Promise, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs,  August/September 2017. p. 7.