Tag Archives: activism

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.

Wael Al Saad – The Logic of Resistance

You may wonder my explanation why Palestinian and the world are silent about Gaza. It may be the same reason why they have been silent about killing in Iraq, in Darfur or hunger in Africa etc. which are a product of an unjust system made by the bad part of us humans.

We have created this situation and the society, even the world we live in. This make each on of us is responsible for the current situation in Gaza.

So how can we face the real challenge together?

So long our communication channels are not well set up, our efforts are not effective and do not have any leverage and activism Information Management are not organized, so long no IT-group in this forum (PEF Palestinian-eForum – PEF) offer support to upgrade it from a 5000 member email-group into real advanced forum for all activists who believe in dialog and team work, so long as each focuses on his individual political point of view only and doesn’t listen, so long we do not step further and develop our co-creative consciousness,  we will not be able to plan any recognizable  strategy can be used to transfer the situation into another one. If we do not change ourself/minds the trend will keep on. And sure PNA and supporting whales is going with the trend.

The trend is not a resisting one. Our society is more material trendy than ever. No one is ready to give up something, anything, if he/she is not forced to. People want to have what others have. Consumption, comfort and survival is the trend, but not resistance.  Israeli products are almost in every shop in Jenin.

They cry because the flour prices raised so much, but they do not like to till the soil and seed the land. No one is willing to live primitive roots life, even most miss it or limit the trend on his personal costs.

They like warrior leaders, like Nasrallah (only to make my point clear), because a military solution does not need any self sacrifice by the majority. Because it is easier to put the challenge on someone else or on certain ideology. They just expect the warriors to finish the mission to establish new occupation in the age of power.

Yes, the power of non-violence is much difficult to have, because then each one who is committed is an individual resisting army.

In the end we have to put the finger in the middle of the wound. Each one of us is the problem and responsible. Either we say an honest NO for the occupation-matrix in all its dimensions and re-educate the society accordingly or we keep co-existing with it, feed it and support it.

This is the challenge of real liberation. This the crisis, which is to know what each wants to BE. To understand what does it mean to be Palestinian. Not to protest externally emotionally, but to protest internally continuously. To transform what it is.

We can not change the situation radically, but we can transform it and co-create a learning and consciousness evolution process, if we radically deeply commit to what we are.

Let me ask the 5000 members of PEF one thing: Can you give up using your cars for 1 month?

If 100 of you do and prints a T-shirt ” I walk for Gaza”, we have hope and hope is power. Otherwise we are killing Gazans. This is my logic.

Wael Al Saad is a Palestinian from Jenin. In the picture, Wael with one of his flowers.

The Legacy of Riad Hamad

Thanks very much to Colin for forwarding me this material. It tells us more about how important Riad was for his people and how his generosity changed the world for the better. He will live forever in the hearts of those whose lives he has touched.

Dear Friends and Colleagues.

A few months back I sent an email about Riad Hamad. He was the director of the Palestinian Children’s Welfare Fund and the email described how his home had been invaded and searched by the FBI and all his papers, documents and computers had been taken.

On Wednesday his body was found drowned in a Lake in Austin Texas.

Riad was one of the most generous people I have been honored to have known. Thousands of Palestinian children benefited by his work. But I want to focus on the story of a young family from Lebanon who were directly supported by Riad.

When I was living in Beirut I received a phone call from Riad asking if I would visit a family in Saida, south of Beirut for him. He was sure they needed some specific equipment to help look after their two handicapped children. He also wanted me to find out about the schools that would accept the children and how much the fees would be.

I visited the Palestinian family who were supported solely by Riad. (It is not possible for Palestinian refugees to get paid work in more than 72 professions in Lebanon. The father of the family drove a taxi but this provided little enough money to cover food costs.) The family were wonderfully grateful to Riad. We sat with them for a few hours and listened to them speaking about Riad as if he were a father to them all. It was very moving and I remember writing to Riad on my return to thank him for letting me see the direct effects of his generosity. Out of his own pocket by the way.

Thousands of children have lost a dedicated fighter for their cause. As we have lost a strong comrade.

Ahmad and his family have lost their father. I am hoping to raise some funds for Ahmad’s family in the memory of Riad Hamad. I will visit them in the last week of May and give them whatever donations I have managed to raise by then.

It may help them to continue until someone with the means and as generous as Riad can support them again.

Please if you feel you can give anything contact me or Wissam (my friend in Beirut who made all the visits to the family with me and has also put out an appeal in Lebanon in memory of Riad)

UK contact: Eliza Ernshire.
eliza.ernshire@gmail.com
0044 7506174080 (mobile)

Lebanon contact: Wissam Alsaliby
wissam@lb.reser.org
00961 3025832

In Peace,

Eliza Ernshire.

The following is an extract I received from a close friend of Riad’s and apparently one of the last people Riad spoke to:

Riad Hamad, 1952-2008

“Hi, Riad.” I knew it was him from the caller ID, even though the phone had never been in his own name.
“Hey, Bolos. How you doin’?” He used the Arabic translation of my name.
“I’m good. How about you?”
“I’m OK.” His voice didn’t have the usual energy, but perhaps he was in a place where he couldn’t speak loudly.
“I sent you a couple of email messages.”
“Yes, I saw them.” The messages were about my role in helping with his charitable work on behalf of Palestinians. There were a few things I didn’t understand about the messages, so Riad cleared them up for me. “Now it makes sense,” I said.
“OK. Well, that’s all I wanted to tell you.” Typical Riad. Always in a hurry to get off the phone.
“Wait, I’ve got some good news!”
“Oh yeah? What is it?” He sounded surprised.
“We’re finally getting donations here. A check for a thousand came in today.”
I had set up a nonprofit account to receive donations for Riad’s work.”Was it from __________?”
“Hang on a second.”
“Well, it doesn’t matter.” Still anxious to get off the phone.
“What do you mean it doesn’t matter? I’ve got the name right here. No, it’s from ____________.”
“That’s nice. Well, gotta go.”
“OK. Take care of yourself.”
“You, too, Boulos.”

Those were apparently Riad’s last words, spoken from his car near Ladybird Lake in Austin, Texas. At the time I had thought it slightly odd that Riad was repeating what he had already told me by email. I think he just wanted to hear a familiar voice. The police found the phone and car keys on the seat of the unlocked car. Typical Riad. He was thinking of the person who would find the car.

I wish I had told him that the person who sent the check had also written a letter thanking him for the gifts of handmade Palestinian crafts and other items that Riad had sent as a thank you for a previous donation. He had also included handmade thank you cards from his two young daughters. The older daughter, age 11 had written, “Live in peace on the world. Everybody should LOVE! I am sad because people should be nice to you, but they are not.”

The younger, age 8, had written, “I hope you start to live in peace.”I would have read them to him over the phone if he hadn’t been so anxious to end the conversation, but I decided to send them for him to read later, and enjoy the children’s drawings. The father’s letter was longer and more specific in his praise for Riad’s tireless efforts on behalf of Palestinians and their rights.

“I have included 2 checks for the needs of Palestinian children. It is my hope that you will use it to create hope for those oppressed. As we both see the dollar’s value sink, the value of life especially in the eyes of the Creator never loses value. I extend this help to you and these children as if they were my own. We have the misfortune in living in very dark times, but in that darkness hope, love, and peace shine like the sun. To those that plant hope, they shall harvest peace.”
Harvest peace, Riad.
SHUKRAN for your work and support
Salamat

Activist Riad Hamad Murdered – letter he wrote to Bush in 2003

For the obituary: Annie’s Letters. For a video.

To: George Bush,
President of the United States of America
Washington, DC

I was very amused last week when I was trying to get into my car in the morning on my way to work, when my neighbor across the street came out and asked me if we could talk. Although I was in a hurry since I was late, I listened to him since he said that the topic was important. My neighbor told me that he was approached by the FBI and was asked many questions about me and was asked to put a camera in his house to watch me. The request was denied, as my neighbor, who happened to be a Libertarian, did not trust the motives of the FBI. Also, my neighbor told him that, “Riad is my friend and I would not spy on him.” Apparently, the agent did not give up and told my neighbor that he would call on him again.

Although I knew and expected such activities by the FBI, I was surprised about their lack of professionalism and the absence of decency. I carry my Iraqi flags to every rally and I am always the loudest and the most obvious. Hundreds of people come and ask me about the flags as they do not know which countries the flags stand for, and I have to say, “These are the flags of the countries that your tax money is paying to occupy, kill and maim,” since not many of them knew the colors of the flags of Palestine or Iraq. For the FBI to have to go and knock on my neighbor’s doors is very unprofessional and illegal. Besides, the FBI has been harassing members of the International Solidarity Movement and monitoring their phone calls, e-mails and movements around the nation. I assume this is an effort to harass them, intimidate them, and scare them from going around the United States to expose your lies, and that of your administration, about the real situation in occupied Palestine.

I have lived, went to college, and worked in the United States for over 30 years. I have no criminal record and not even a suspicion of committing a crime, such as your cocaine addiction, drunk driving, and going AWAL during your National Guard duty in Texas. Also, I have never sold shares of a bankrupt company to the pension fund of Bahrain National Oil Company like you did, which is nothing but fraud and insider trading.

I work with a group of individuals around the globe called the Palestine Children’s Welfare Fund in association with the Holy Land Trust out of Bethlehem, Palestine. We bring olive wood and embroidery from Palestine and raise money in the United States for the women and the children of the refugee camps. We are non-political and non-religious, and our donors and supporters are Muslims, Christians, Jews, and others who know better than to believe your message of hatred and aggression. Every penny we receive is accounted for and every penny we spend is accounted for on our Web site that I am sure that you have monitored and observed. Also, we sponsor only civilians who are either orphans or not affiliated with any political or religious groups and their only crime is that they are Palestinians.

As a patriotic citizen of this country, and to make sure that I give you a hand in combating “terrorism,” I have posted a sign near in our neighborhood letting people know that we are under surveillance. And asking our neighbors and the passers by to inform the FBI of any suspicious activities and the sign and the pictures of the house with the sign is on the Web page link.

Over the past weekend, several of our neighbors came by and apologized for your stupidity and that of the FBI and other officials. One of them told me that, “I am ashamed to say that I am an American since George Bush became president.” Others tried to apologize, and I had to remind that I am also ashamed of you and your actions and that of your administration. I have not been outside the United States since you became president, to avoid showing my passport and avoid associating with you and your administration. Besides helping you monitor me by posting the sign near our home, I will help you find some terrorists that I know and I believe that they are threat to the safety and the security of the United States. You do not have to look far to find them and apprehend them, and if you do not soon, WE THE PEOPLE will some day soon. These terrorists are now in Washington and you see them every time you have a cabinet meeting and I am afraid you are one of them.

George,

Get the hell out of my life and take your FBI thugs from our neighborhood because they are not wanted.

Riad Hamad

Riad Esolh a martyr for Palestine. (by Adib S Kawar)

We were greatly shocked and saddened with the news of the murder of Riad Hamad Esolh. Riad’s body was found floating in Lady Bird Lake in Austin after he was reported missing since the beginning of the week.

Riad was a dedicated man as chairman of the “Palestinian Child Welfare Foundation”, he was helping disabled children in Palestinian refugee camps, and he used to ask for my help to contact these unfortunate children to hand them financial help for medical treatment, education and food. I am sure that these young people and families who had highly appreciated Riad’s help and humanity shall be saddened and in tears with the dreadful sad news of Riad’s murder. We are sure it is a murder, and not a suicide, for a man who dedicated his life to help the unfortunate to recover from their sickness, complete their schooling, and have enough food so as to live a decent life, even in their retched refugee camps, would not commit suicide. He was helping people to live, then how would he take his own life!!!

What shocked me was to hear that some security agents broke into his house and carried away with them his files and CDs and other things, I didn’t know what happened after that, but I was sure that he would be accused of supporting some “terror organizations” or “white washing money”! This is a big joke that Zionists and those who collaborate with them would want to see even disabled Palestinian children helped to overcome the hardships Zionism had brought them.
We call on all those who are in a position to donate to Riad’s fund so as his good work will be continued, not to hesitate in doing so. I am sure that with continuing the hard and honest work shall make his soul rest in peace.

Riad comes from a Beiruti and lived in Beirut not far from the Palestinian refugee camps that surround Beirut, which see first hand their hardships, for who he decided extend his help to enable his Arab compatriots practice their Right of Return to their homes and land.
God bless his soul.

A friend that I had never met face to face, but heart to heart.
Adib

Riad Hamad, PCWF, murdered

http://www.myfoxaustin.com/myfox/pages/News/Detail?contentId=6333239&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=3.2.1

Go to link for news video

Body Found in Lake Lady Bird Is Austin Middle School Teacher
04/17/2008 — A family spokesperson has confirmed that the body found floating yesterday in Lady Bird Lake is Riad Hamad. He was a teacher at Clint Small Middle School and President of the Austin Chapter of The Palestinian Welfare Fund. Police have not stated how he might have died.

See Video
Grief counselors on hand at AISD middle school
11:19 AM CDT on Thursday, April 17, 2008
KVUE News Staff reports
http://www.kvue.com/news/local/stories/041708kvueAISDteacher-cb.7215ba7a.html?npc#

Grief counselors were called to an Austin ISD middle school Tuesday.
AISD officials confirm that counselors are on hand at Clint Small Middle School on Monterey Oaks Boulevard in Southwest Austin.

AISD officials would not comment on the reason counselors were called to the school, but parents told KVUE News that they were informed Thursday morning a teacher had been killed. They also told KVUE the teacher is Riad Hamad who was the technology teacher at the school.

Parents said they did not know if a letter had been sent home about the teacher.

KVUE News questioned AISD officials about the information, but officials said they could not say anything more than counselors were at the school.

Body found in Lady Bird Lake (04/16)
Austin police investigators Thursday said a body found near Festival Beach in Lady Bird Lake is that of an Austin ISD teacher reported missing earlier this week.

Riad Hamad was the technology teacher at Clint Small Middle School on Monterey Oaks Boulevard in Southwest Austin.

APD Sgt. Joseph Chacon said they have not ruled out foul play, but they believe that Hamad, who is a peaceful activist for Palestinian causes, may have committed suicide. They do not believe his activism was related to his death.

Police say Hamad was seen walking from his car to the shoreline of Lady Bird Lake alone just before he was reported missing. Family members said Hamad was dealing with intense pressure and had been experiencing suicidal thoughts. His vehicle was found on the south shoreline.

In a statement to the media, representatives said his family and friends are devastated by their loss. They said Hamad had been an AISD educator for 10 years and that he was pursuing a graduate level degree in educational technology.

“He was a peace activist who worked tirelessly on behalf of those less fortunate than him and was loved and admired by many members of the local, as well as international community,” the statement said.
Police are asking anyone who saw him to call them with information.

A student told KVUE News the principal of Clint Small Middle School announced Thursday morning that Hamad had been found dead. Grief counselors were on hand to talk to students.

Trust betrayed – Brides on Tour Tragedy

Italian artists Pippa Bacca and Silvia Moro decided to make an artistic statement about trust. They wanted to travel by autostop (hitchhiking) from Milano to Syria. They would do it dressed as brides. This was first of all to attract attention locally to those who were on the road, but also because the bride represents an idea of future and hope, and generally, in most cultures, especially our Mediterranean one, the bride is considered to be a vessel of purity and is respected.

Along the way, they wanted local women to add an embroidered element to their gowns, and after all of this was done, it would serve as a testimony of the meeting of cultures and communication between people. Most of all, they had decided that they would need to let go of fear and trust that others would carry them safely. It was to express a message that almost is difficult to articulate without sounding too Pollyanna.

The dream was shattered into pieces on Friday, as it was discovered that one of the women was raped, assassinated, stripped of her clothing and buried in a shallow grave by one of the persons who gave her a ride.

When I first heard of this artistic endeavour, I wasn’t too keen on it. Especially because the radio speaker said they were to go as far as Tel Aviv. I later discovered they would go to Beirut and Damascus. I really hate it when there is a trend to call anything involving Israel for “peace”. This is what happens here, as if there is some automatic connection of the two. Those of us who are not disinformed know how it is, but most people think Israel is fighting for peace in a hostile world, and this kind of propaganda is damaging mostly because it is a lie. But when I learned more about the trip, I thought it was very symbolic and intriguing.

Then, I heard that the two women had a disagreement and split. They decided to meet up in Ankara. Also, this was odd. If they are supposed to be a vehicle for dialogue, they themselves should be the first example, and not a lesser consideration, there is safety in numbers.

No one knows what lies in store, especially “on the road” and in a totally vulnerable position as is a hitchhiker. Who knows where you will be taken, who is driving you? Does that person deserve trust just because you want to give trust?

The unfortunate Pippa Bacca was assassinated while trying to demonstrate that trust was a beautiful thing. Her the conclusion to this propostion expressed as art was instead a demonstration that her thesis was wrong. Not because this happened in a foreign country, the same thing could and does happen on any street in any town you can name. There are sick and violent people everywhere and there are also those whose trust is more angelic than human.

Internet censorship – the ballad of Gilad and PePa

racism.jpg

http://machetera.wordpress.com/2008/04/05/internet-censorship-part-3-an-inconvenient-mirror/ from the divine Machetera. At the bottom, a small commentary by me.

Not long after posting an article about Tony Greenstein’s obsessive and unsuccessful efforts to shut down the peacepalestine blog, the blog’s editor Mary Rizzo reported that her blog access (though not Machetera’s) had been shut down once more, this time on the basis of the false accusation that she was running a “spam blog.” Rather than delve into definitions of what constitutes a spam blog and why someone would run one, for now Machetera will simply make the following observations:

1. peacepalestine is not a spam blog,

2. Blogger does appear to have a shoot first, ask questions later approach;

3. Machetera does not have enough information at the present time to say whether WordPress has a less trigger-happy temper, although being somewhat self-interested she will hope for the best;

4. The timing of the latest shutdown for peacepalestine is certainly curious, coming as it did on the heels of Machetera’s recent post on the subject, although Machetera does not claim credit nor would she want to, and finally,

5. Something very curious is going on in what Gilad Atzmon would call the Zionist/crypto-Zionist world. Translation (since that is Machetera’s specialty): the opinions expressed by Gilad Atzmon and Mary Rizzo are upsetting enough to certain people, to try to block their internet publishing.

It won’t work. The example of peacepalestine demonstrates pretty clearly that this form of internet silencing is at best, a short term endeavor, because the internet is like water; by design it is meant to follow the path of least resistance, and it’s impossible to plug all the leaks all the time. As Machetera has already pointed out, for really effective internet censorship you need to operate with an iron hand, preferably through the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control. Even then it’s a slippery beast, even for those who invented it. Shut down peacepalestine in one manifestation, and it will flower in a thousand other places.

What is it that disturbs these particular censors so? Well, nobody likes thinking of themselves as a racist, but Atzmon posits that secular Jewishness is a form of racism, so settling for being an anti-Zionist is not enough – Manuel Talens spoke to him about it some years back:

Talens: Now tell me why you argue that secular Jewishness is a mere form of racism. There are so many millions of honest people of Jewish extraction who are not religious at all and nevertheless feel and consider themselves Jews that such an assertion surprises me. Could you explain it? And by the same token do not forget to put in plain words what Zionism is: keep in mind that you are dialoguing with Western Gentiles, whose cultural genes – the so-called memes – are Christian and who quite often feel baffled when confronted with notions such as Zionism, Semitism or their antonyms anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

Atzmon: OK a clarification is needed here. It is not the Jewish origin that makes one into a racist but rather the endorsement of a Jewish secular identity that “may” do so. As I mentioned before, once you remove the religious content from Jewishness you are left with the concept of Jewish blood. Zionism is in fact a nationalist perception that connotes Jewishness to race rather than to a religious belief. As such, Zionism is the belief that Zion (Palestine) is the national homeland of the Jewish people. This strange belief is basically grounded on a Biblical promise. In other words, the Zionists transform the spiritual text (the Bible) into a mere land registry. But then one may ask, who are the Jewish people? From a Zionist perspective, Jews are those who happen to be racially Jewish. In fact, Zionism predates Nazism. Early Zionists spoke about Jewish blood and racial eugenics when Hitler was still in nappies. The problem is that while Zionism started as a marginal esoteric political movement and was highly criticised by most Jewish ideological and religious schools of thought, it is now touted as the official voice of the Jewish people. I tend to argue that many Jews, and this would include even the so called “Jewish anti-Zionists”, are in fact nothing but crypto-Zionists.

In one of my latest papers I contend that those who call themselves Jews could be divided into three main categories: 1. Those who follow Judaism; 2. Those who regard themselves as human beings that happen to be of Jewish origin; and 3. Those who put their Jewishness over and above all of their other traits. Obviously, I have no problem with the two first categories, but the 3rd one is rather problematic. The 3rd category Jew is for instance: a Jew who lives in America (rather than an American who happens to be of Jewish descent), a Jew who plays the saxophone (rather than a saxophonist who happens to be Jewish), a Jewish anti-Zionist (rather than an anti-Zionist who happens to be Jewish). For the 3rd category Jew, the racial belonging is a primary qulity and this is, in fact, the very essence of Zionism. Thus, to be born a Jew is innocent indeed, but to be a Jew isn’t necessarily innocent. It all depends on the category one happens to endorse. Unless one falls into the first 2 categories, one isn’t necessarily innocent.

MT: Excuse my doggedness, but I want you to be extremely precise. To me this “one isn’t necessarily innocent” you have just mentioned suggests that it is still possible to belong to the 3rd category without being a racist. Is that what you mean?

GA: This is just because I am really trying to be polite.

MT: I insist: Are you ready to accept that these Jewish anti-Zionists who according to you are nothing but crypto-Zionists could still be wonderful human beings, not racists after all?

GA: You see, we are all “racially aware” but then being a “racist” is a different condition altogether. I will be very clear about the subject. To be a secular Jew and yet to make your Jewishness into a primary quality is a clear manifestation of a racist tendency. Many amongst the anti-Zionist Jews are simply unaware of the problems entangled with their racial approach. This is the reason why I have attempted to dialogue with them and try to push them towards a further realisation of their mistaken racial agenda. I call them to leave behind their racially exclusive anti-Zionist approach and to join a universal call instead. Needless to say, many Jews realise it by themselves. I argue that if Zionism is categorically wrong, then to those fighting it, one’s racial or ethnic belonging is irrelevant.

As Atzmon himself admits, this is “a serious challenge of the Jewish identity.” But he also points out, “I have seen many things written about me and yet I have never come across a sufficient counter argument. I start to wonder whether there is any argument as such.”

Atzmon’s thought provoking views are amply published (for now) at peacepalestine here or here, at his own website, and Machetera looks forward to publishing excerpts here in future as well.

And that was Machetera’s post. I’d like to advise those who have been faithful readers of Peacepalestine for 3 and a half years now, to understand that while it may look as if we are defeated into believing that the story ends here, it hasn’t. WordPress at the moment is “a parking space”… It may remain the main blog (If someone thought they were going to stop me from blogging, they were wrong), but then again, things are still in motion. YET… there are some things that must be said. Blogger acted fine once regarding me. This time, NO! And, more than that, they have blocked other political blogs for no reason. That should have been a red flag, but moving a blog with 800 posts is not something one really looks forward to doing, so the signs were not taken into due consideration and now we see a stream of attempts to close down Peacepalestine. Who is really responsible? I think we know the answer to that one, but as the Wicked Witch of the West might say…”All in due time, my pretty, all in DUE time!”

The red flag: Blogger spammed Steve of Desert Peace off. That should have been a warning to me as clear as this screen in front of me. Not only Steve a VERY popular blogger, he endorses a two-State solution, he is someone who, living in Israel, actually engages in fruitful dialogue and is an example of THE blog to salvage. Blogger didn’t care. I have no real illusions that it will be different this time, however… in the meantime, a few friends have been advised, and Blogger is being monitored as to how it will act. Not only that, but a few wrote letters. This one from Edna really says it all:

Dear Blogger
 
I am writing to complain in the strongest possible terms about what seems to be a targeting of pro-Palestinian sites by Blogger, one in particular:
 
This blog was closed down unfairly about a month ago, and then reinstated, and has in the last few days been shut down again, the lastest reason given is that it is being regarded as SPAM.  This is insane!!
 
Are you aware of the huge readership this blog has, and how many people use it as a resource every day??  There is no SPAM there at all, only thought-provoking posts and very good quality writing about Palestine, which is also published at many other sites on the net.
 
What is Blogger’s real agenda here, one has to ask? Why is Peacepalestine being repeatedly targeted, while sites which are truly LIBELLOUS continue to be hosted by Blogger?
 
I find this one extremely offensive, with no real content except for the endless smearing of 2 well-known Palestinian activists:
http://azvsas.blogspot.com/  Why is this site being hosted at all by Blogger?
 
Would very much appreciate a letter back from Blogger.  If you are targeting Palestinian sites and anything anti-Israel, then wouldn’t it make more sense to stipulate that very clearly in your guidelines, so that progresive blogs can simply AVOID using Blogger at ALL, and instead rather be hosted by servers who genuinely support freedom of speech, such as WordPress.  The only freedom of speech Blogger seems to support is LIBEL.
 
Will appreciate an answer please.
 
Thanks (signed) 

I thank Edna for this, and I encourage others who are against censorship and who have supported Pepa to write to blogger support@blogger.com and to let them know we are watching and we aren’t going to take it sitting down. Not only are some bloggers and sites ready to expose the whole messy story, just as Machetera and Haitham have done, which isn’t going to leave Blogger looking too good at least in some sectors of activism, but it might just be time to leave the blog format (which I love) and go the route of a domain site. At any rate, just as much as we fight racism, we fight censorship, and we aren’t going to be silenced.

NEW! the letter Ma Chetera wrote to Blogger:
Hello,
I am a journalist who reads the peacepalestine blog on a regular basis 
and who has become aware that the blog’s editor has been denied access 
to her own blog because it has been flagged as a spam blog.
I can assure you that peacepalestine is not a spam blog, and surely 
all you have to do is look at the site to understand that immediately.
Fortunately, although the editor cannot post to her blog, I can still 
access its content, but if the lockout continues it would appear that 
Blogger means to encourage peacepalestine’s editor to move her blog 
elsewhere, since a blog which cannot accept new content is of limited 
use.
Is this indeed Blogger’s aim?
What procedure does Blogger follow when a site is flagged, as 
peacepalestine appears to have been?  Do you investigate and determine 
whether it is a malicious flagging or simply shut the site down 
immediately no matter what, pending an internal investigation? If blog 
access is denied pending such an investigation, how long might one 
reasonably expect such an investigation to take?
I would be very interested in Blogger’s response to these questions.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Ma. Chetera

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.