Category Archives: good news

Palestine Think Tank

If you’re wondering why I’ve been “absent”, it’s because I’ve been working very hard! The new site www.palestinethinktank.com has loads of new material every day, and I haven’t yet had time to cross post it here, but will do.

In the meantime, bookmark that site, this blog will remain to reprint some of those papers as well as featuring a few things you won’t find there that deal with other issues.

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PALESTINE THINK TANK IS BORN!!

Haitham Sabbah, Mary Rizzo and Gilad Atzmon are very pleased to announce their new site. Palestine Think Tank. It is a site containing news, analysis, art and more to further the cause of justice for Palestinians. It concentrates on many aspects of the resistance, but also focuses on the issues affecting the entire Middle East. Please visit us at www.palestinethinktank.com, share this news with those who might be interested, and if you have a blog or site, consider linking to us. We also have a forum for those interested in interactive communication.

Together with us are some of the most insightful and talented writers, activists and artists around. Contributors include Khalid Amayreh, Ramzy Baroud, Adib Kawar, Ernesto Paramo, Wael Al Saad, Nadia Hasan, Iqbal Tamimi, Richard Jones, Nahida Izzat, Razan Al Ghazzawi, Khaled Islaih, Steve Amsel, Ben Heine and many more. www.palestinethinktank.com contains both original material and material from other sources that we believe deserves to be considered.

We are people from different backgrounds who live in different countries. We speak different languages and believe in different religions, or even believe in no religion at all.

These differences are not a problem to any of us.

Differences are what makes the world a wonderful place because everyone is unique. It allows us the possibility to learn more about the world and gain insights we would never have access to otherwise.

Celebrating our differences, we understand that there is a belief that unites us and unites all the people involved in creating this website. It is the belief that Zionism is wrong. Zionism is racism. For Zionism to happen, it means the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous people of the land of Palestine. We accept nothing about Zionism as being positive, yet we believe there are some people who don’t know exactly what Zionism is, and therefore assume it is something different than an ideology, and therefore, is beyond criticism.

We wish to educate those who don’t know what Zionism is so that they are able to see how damaging it is and how it is a just cause to stop it. We hope www.palestinethinktank.com will be a space for free discussion and wide-ranging analysis.

We believe that the just struggle of the Palestinian people is the greatest liberation struggle of our times, and we aim to render service to their cause through presenting as many aspects of their history, culture and struggle as we can. We intend to give space to many Arab voices as well, since the full realisation of the potential of people in the entire Arab world has been hindered for far too long by the “International Community”. It is far easier to promote an idea of “the Arab” that cleanses Israel and the West from all responsibility for the instability and lack of progress that in some cases is evident than to listen to the complex arguments and reasoning that people from these countries and who understand the history of the Arab World are able to present.

We hope to be able to provide a site full of valid content that is at the service of the Palestinian people especially. Their steadfastness is an inspiration to all mankind, and to those of us in particular who feel close to their cause or are Palestinian, it is a message of love, hope and humanity that we hope we are worthy of.

Content of www.palestinethinktank.com is intellectual property of the authors. All material that does not appear in this site as the original source will always be credited for authors and source.

The material here may be reproduced elsewhere, but we request that you kindly cite our source and post a link to the page on www.palestinethinktank.com from where it was taken. We will also build up our links and community as time develops, so that we can all work towards our goal with the energy and imagination required.

www.palestinethinktank.com contains a forum, which is a space to discuss arguments related to the Middle East. We hope that it will allow all of us to broaden our horizons, engage in constructive debate and present a social network that will be useful to all of us.

www.palestinethinktank.com will be in two languages, in English predominantly, and Arabic.

We accept original articles as well as suggestions for material published elsewhere.

Support Gazans!

Just today I discovered the site http://gazatoday.blogspot.com/ of a wonderful friend of mine, Sam. He is probably one of the most creative and sharp activists I have ever come across in my life. In his early 20s, he helps manage the Popular Committee Against the Siege www.freegaza.ps, which has come up with very imaginative awareness campaigns and is constantly reporting events of the siege that Gazans are the victims of. Some of them are the Human Chain, the candlelight vigil and the Dead Flowers campaign.

This person represents the brilliant future of Palestinians. Dedicated to nonviolent protest, they are examples for all of us. Gaza will be free and all Palestinians will get the long-overdue justice that has been denied to them. When that happens, it will also be due to the hard work and intelligence of Sam and his colleagues.

Try to censor peacepalestine? It’s Tony wot done it.

Yes, dear friends and readers. You have been following the saga of Tony vs Gilad Atzmon and peacepalestine (or Mary Rizzo, since he seems to blur the distinction). Yes, you have signed an open letter for Tony to stop the defamation and harassment and let us continue our work of exposing Israeli crimes, Western complicity and in asking us to assume our responsibilities towards the Palestinian people and the other people oppressed by Zionism, and that includes you and me and all of us who want justice and rule of law. Rather than reflect and see that he is on the margin of the margin and no one wants him to dictate to Palestinians or activists for their rights what the discourse is supposed to be, who should be silenced and smeared and to mismanage every single campaign he works on. He is out to destroy and “target” all those who oppose him, and he doesn’t care about what “the movement” says and requests.

In the past day, we have seen this blog go down. Without any warning, it simply vanished. Thinking it was a technical glitch, I had contacted Google. I thought it would be a long wait, since this company is big and has millions of sites and blogs to think about. MUCH to Google’s credit, they immediately informed me that there was legal action being taken against my site and sent me court documents. Actually, it was not against my site, but as I was already aware of, Tony Greenstein is suing Gilad Atzmon, although, on his friendly sites, he tells the 18 readers that he is being himself sued!!! Tony hates Gilad more than anything. More than Zionists. (Ask yourself why…) He never touches Zionist sites, seems to think my parody of Gilad Shalit campaign is horrors, but ignores the actual campaign, which he seems to have no qualms with. He only tries to bring down one of the most widely read Palestinian blogs, many hardworking and committed pro-Palestinian groups such as Redress and DYR, as well as now deciding that the list of signatories will comprise his new battles for justice. Yes, the activists in Palestinian activism don’t only get insulted and called collaborators, now they will be targeted! Great Tony, glad to see you are consistent in your abuse, going only in the direction of those who engage in total solidarity with the righteous cause of the Palestinians!

So, I saw the suit, where he gives Google an ultimatum to take my blog down because HE SAYS SO. I ask you to read the PDF. It is quite interesting!

There are several interesting contradictions between it and the content of the Claim, which I am only reprinting the first page, although Google sent it all to me. (I can’t believe how good Google was in all of this, and I intend upon sending them a thank you note as well as encouraging all of us to support them when they make these decisions). Read both items carefully (clicking on them enlarges them), and you will note some very odd things. There is a serious contradiction there, and I know all of you can see it. The letter practically contradicts the allegations of the claim itself!! This should not escape the attentive eye and it makes one wonder what the claim is even supposed to be about if not just stopping Gilad Atzmon and trying to squeeze money out of him based on the hope that others are inattentive. But let’s examine still more: Yes, Tony is suing Gilad and yes, Tony claims, without any evidence, just his good name (sic) that “There is no truth in these allegations but they are, nonetheless, highly defamatory. The blog itself purports to be supportive of the Palestinians but is in fact deeply anti-Semitic”.


So, besides the immediate huge support from my friends and fellow activists who already had it up to their eyeballs with his games, they nevertheless dropped what they were doing and went into action in a matter of moments, and were planning other actions – thinking, as I was, that this would be a long struggle, and they were going to fight to the bitter end. We were creating new blogs, saving content from archived material, sharing stuff on computers so that we all had backups…. these are the best friends in the world, as well as the greatest activists I have ever known… During this time I wrote twice to Google asking them to actually investigate the claim by Tony. These are my letters:

Dear Sirs,
If you read the pdf you sent, it is clear that there is no suit filed against me. Nor have I received any calls to alter or to delete information from anyone.

You may be aware that you have made a judgment yourself based on the comments of a person who has been repeatedly harassing in numerous ways over the course of years a great number of activists. As a matter of fact, he has been using the terminology to smear and defame others as his political tool. There has been no evidence provided in the claim he makes in the Pdf: “The blog itself purports to be supportive of Palestinians but is in fact deeply anti-Semitic.”

IN fact, the claim is not against me, but against another person, who also has not been demonstrated to be anti-Semitic, despite the claims this individual uses to smear us. Read the Pdf, and you can see for yourself what the content is, and my blog should NOT have been pulled without warning, especially since it is one of the most widely circulated and trusted blogs on the subject of Palestinian rights, Human rights, Activism and Anti-War.

As a matter of fact, my blog is in no way racist or anti-Semitic. In fact, his “evidence” is that I have in the past sought to deter others from engaging in smear campaigns and rather do political work. This to him, especially when he operates to smear and damage activists, is defined as racist and anti-Semitic. I am not affiliated with anti-semites or neo-Nazis and he knows this. And, as a matter of fact, the BLOG is only composed of posts I have set up. There is not a single anti-Semitic post on it, and he has never been able to find one, yet continues in the harassment.

This harassment was requested also to be stopped by a large number of anti-racist activists, including a Holocaust survivor. In addition, being of Jewish origin myself, it is a strange claim to make on his part.

If that were not enough, I was actively involved in the campaign to extradite Michael Seifert, an SS officer in the Bolzano Camp to Italy to face his punishment. As a matter of fact, just a few days ago, the official news dispatch service that furnishes all the newpapers with their content released this: http://www.adnkronos.com/IGN/Esteri/?id=1.0.1880767965

It is in Italian, but it is clear enough. I was a protagonist in the capture of a Nazi criminal in hiding.

It is the dispatch, including my name TWICE, once in bold text, highlighting my involvement in the discovery and bringing to justice of this Nazi. I wonder just how many friends of Neo-Nazis, anti-Semites and Holocaust Deniers or Apologists have played an active part in such work. This is evidence, as if any other were needed, that this individual invents his charges and seeks to damage humanists who work for the Palestinian cause. I need to consult my blog. I ask you to reinstate it at least for my own personal use as I wish to archive all the information. My blog is very popular, and Google may not like repercussions coming from complaints from readers.

SECOND LETTER, (a few hours later)
I have requested that you reinstate the blog for my personal use (at the very least), as there has been no judgment against my blog, and you have yourselves decided to judge it, without any evidence that the person bringing legal action to another individual is justified in his claims.

I request that you examine the blog and you demonstrate where it is anti-Semitic if this is the decision you have made, as indeed you have made a decision and have passed judgment based on an arbitrary claim. I ask you to look up my own person history, or even just the dispatch linked to you from last week’s Italian News Service dispatch Adnkronos, which supplies all the Italian media with their news feed, and you will see that I am a well-known activist and have an excellent track record FIGHTING hate crimes, and not supporting them.

I further request that since the material on the blog is intellectual property and contains not simply words, but the writing of many individuals as compiled by myself, almost all of these persons, if not the entirety, involved for many years in Human rights activism, and well-known persons, have been insulted and smeared as well by having their content removed from your server, and therefore, the net, and for this reason, out of respect for them, who work using their own names, I also that you identify yourselves also by name – not Blogger Team – so that I am allowed to know which human beings have made this decision.

I may not need to remind you that on the Social Rank rating (the currently most popular one for blogs) my blog is always among the top 3 Palestinian blogs. It has extensive readership, and its absence from your server is not going unnoticed.
Awaiting your quick reply

Mary Rizzo

THIS IS BLOGGER’S REPLY

From: “Blogger Help”
To: “mary rizzo” Cc: “mary rizzo” Subject: Re: [#246323120] [Spam?] Blog termporarily suspended due to lawsuit

Hello Mary,
After reviewing your blog and the suit filed against Mr. Atzmon, and the Claimant’s alleged claim against you or your blog is unclear, we have reinstated your blog. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this temporary suspension has caused you and your readers.
Thank you for your understanding and continued support.
Sincerely,
The Blogger Team

Justice will prevail! Thanks Google, Thanks Blogger, and thanks to all the wonderful people who believed that we have to fight the Zionists, no matter what they call themselves. Tony says all the time… if it quacks like a duck….

There Will Always Be A Palestine!!

Peacepalestine lives

This blog takes up where peacepalestine left off (for now). And…It will go further –

Straight to the liberation of the Palestinian people so that Justice will be theirs, as well as the Peace they deserve after so much pain and hardship.

It may not be the definitive blog. I will decide how to fight the censorship forced upon me by someone who arrogantly defies the requests of many hardworking activists, Palestinians, Humanists, people from all around the world who care about the lives of the Palestinians.

Together with the blog, the person who has attacked it has brought down a gigantic slice of Palestinian activism: hundreds of links, almost all the major bloggers against Zionism and against Imperialism. He has silenced the voices of hundreds of writers, slammed the door on information about the Boycott of the Turin Book Fair, (the only blog in English covering this with immediate translations of the latest information), direct links to the Popular Committee Against the Siege in Gaza and other activist, relief and charitable works that are there only for the benefit of helping us wake up and listen to the cries of the Palestinians who have been victims of one of the worst crimes imaginable, and are treated instead as if they are the aggressors. Yes, in shutting down my blog, for personal gain of his own image, this person has probably damaged without remedy, his own “reputation” within campaign for Solidarity with Palestinians. Never has a Zionist blog been even slightly scratched, no. Apparently, they are better for the Palestinian cause than Peacepalestine.

Peacepalestine was (and is) a labour of love of just one person. I chose to do it myself, because my view is that nothing but the most radical activism, without compromising on a single right that belongs to the Palestinian people, is what it takes. I can’t ask anyone else to be responsible for my content, and my content is not tender with Israel or its supporters. My content is a true faith in the steadfastness and in the rightness of the Palestinians. Just to serve them, whatever it is they ask for to liberate themselves from their oppression.

I was able to have obtained some original documents (such as the only version of the Avrum Burg interview in its entirety in English, and many others besides), some important work by others, especially by Palestinian and Arab writers who probably don’t have as much chance of getting published as perhaps someone involved in politics or someone who represents the “peaceloving Israeli”. All of this has been decided by the censor that it is not good for others to see.

Mind, not a single Zionist blog or site has ever had even the slightest problem from this individual.Ask yourself why.

This person has silenced the voices of 250 activists who want to hear what we say and want other people to respect our rights of free speech. Their request was not only ignored, but it was spat upon. Perhaps others will be subject to this same treatment. I don’t doubt it.

Yet, in these three years of blogging activity, I have learned one thing: a lot of other people believe in Radical Solidarity. I’m not the only one. Perhaps this blog, or another one with more features, will replace this one, and it will be built together with others who feel like I do. It may be a group blog. At any rate, we are not defeated, and I learned just how greatly my blog is loved. It’s not just “my” blog, it’s a blog of all the people who use it and love it.

A heartfelt thanks to my loving and supportive friends who are there for me right now, despite the fact that each of them has their own burdens to bear:

All my love and affection to the best friends anyone could ever hope to have, people who are so beautiful and whose hearts are made of pure gold:
Gilad, Manuel, Iqbal, Steve, Annie, Laila, Haitham, Reham, Akram, Edna, Susanne, Kristoffer, Khalid, Robin, Nadia, Sumaia, Adib, Wael, Miguel, Sarah, Benedetta, Francis, Paul, Ariella, Mohammad, Khaled, Javier, Daniel, Mazin, Richard, Les, Juan, Walid, Glenn, Simon for their supportive letters and phone calls, putting things in perspective and giving me their encouragement and wisdom.

The practical help and the knowledge and advice of so many of you has gotten me through a few rough hours, and now we are ready to begin where we left off.
I love you all.

Culture cannot save Israel, Shabtai and more on the Turin Israel Extravaganza

The Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai says “no” also to the Book Fair of Paris. Here is the letter he sent to negatively respond to the invitation of the director of the book fair, dedicated, as is the Turin edition, to Israel.

Dear Edna,
Thank you for your letter.
I do not believe that a State that maintains an occupation, committing on a daily basis crimes against civilians, deserves to be invited to any kind of cultural week. That is, it is anti-cultural; it is a barbarian act masked as culture in the most cynical way. It manifests support for Israel, and even to France that sustains the occupation. And I do not want to participate.
Kind regards,
Aharon Shabtai
7 December, 2007

Culture – Aharon Shabtai

The mark of Cain won’t sprout

from a soldier who shoots
at the head of a child
on a knoll by the fence
around a refugee camp-
-for beneath his helmet,
conceptually speaking,
his head is made of cardboard.
On the other hand,
the officer has read The Rebel;
his head is enlightened,
and so he does not believe
in the mark of Cain.
He’s spent time in museums,
and when he aims his rifle at a boy
as an ambassador of Culture,
he updates and recycles
Goya’s etchings
and Guernica.

ANOTHER LETTER TO VALENTINO PARLATO

Dear Valentino,
I think that for you to have expressed your hasty negative judgment on the proposal of boycotting of the International Book Fair of Turin this year, which has decided to choose as its guest of honour the State of Israel in the year that marks the 60th since its birth, you could and should have used less banal and more convincing arguments. Your fine distinction between the (just) boycott of Apartheid South Africa and the (wrong) boycott of Apartheid Israel is of a subtlety that is even somewhat dangerous to interpret. You write, with a particularly insufferable tone, that “with the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the State of Israel, the Palestinian question inevitably reopens”. In reality, the Palestinian question has been open for 60 years and has never been closed. The State of Palestine, which itself was foreseen by the UN in December 1947, never saw the light of day, not even on that minuscule 22% in which the Palestinian population has been rounded up into after the Nakba, that is, the Catastrophe, that is, the ethnic cleansing of 1948. And it is really strange that you, in order to justify these 60 years of oppression, occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing bring in Stalin, notorious organiser of Gulags. It is just as strange that you cite the fact that in the Warsaw Ghetto the last Jews who were the protagonists of a heroic armed resistance (that right to resistance that the cowardly and hypocritical European governments deny to the Palestinians who are occupied militarily and who have been mistreated for decades by Israel), sung the Internationale before being massacred. Those heroes, certainly, would have had nothing whatsoever to do with a State, the State of Israel, that for more than 60 years denies every kind of right to the Palestinian people, that forces them to undergo cruel incarceration in a ghetto and constant genocide. Not in their names, please! Hence, there is nothing to celebrate: next 15 May will be a sad and tragic date, it is the sign of a historical failure and a catastrophe that unfolds day after day. It is with a heavy heart that I write this to you, deeply troubled by your brief article and, I add, aware that the newspaper you edit is one of the very few non-embedded voices and that through your correspondents from Palestine, it is able to still communicate that tragic truth without compromise, taking the side of the victims and not of the persecutors no matter what ethnic group or religion they belong to.

Vincenzo Tradardi
ISM Italia
Parma 24 January 2008
Translated from Italian by Mary Rizzo, member of Tlaxcala, network of translators for linguistic diversity.

Nahida Izzat – Two poems for the beloved people of Gaza

Photo from Free Gaza, one of many photos of the people of Gaza.

Beloved people of Gaza
Treasured people of Palestine

Teachers of courage and dignity
Archetype of humanity

Allow me to kneel down
And wash your feet with my tears
Kiss your blessed hands
And sprinkle your beautiful faces with musk and roses

While we sat pondering like fools
Utterly helpless
Talking much and doing less
Going round and round in circles
Thinking how to help
What to offer you to relief some of your pain

As usual
Full of surprises, you come out to our rescue, to soothe our agony
You present us with the most precious gifts
Lessons in bravery
Steadfastness, patience, perseverance, defiance, resilience
Optimism against all odds
Creativity in the face of utter oblivion
You’ve demonstrated that you are the free ones … we are the captives
You chose resistance over subjugation
You decided not to be enslaved
Not even to superpowers

Would we ever learn from you?

I Believe in Miracles

You can break my bones
My free spirit is invincible
You can cause me the loss of sight
The light of my insight
You’ll never take away

In the shadows of darkness
Lies the corpse of your might
You can destroy my house
The windows of my hope,
You cannot break
The pillars of my faith
You can never shake

You can threaten me
With weapons of death
And mass destruction
Implanting fear in my heart
You cannot achieve
Nor can you cut off
My divine connection

With a missile
You can tear my body apart
My soul however
Is out of your reach
And is forever intact

You claimed victory in six days!
Victorious are those
With a dignified gaze
Facing tanks with tender flesh
And only with stones,
The F16 fighter blaze

You can never defeat my will to be
Because my power that you cannot explain
Grows from within the roots of my pain
You depend on the United States
For wealth and war supply
My infinite strength stems from

My creator, the One most high

Nahida is the author of many poems, prose and articles. Her site is http://poetryforpalestine.spaces.live.com/