Arab writers denounce celebration of Israel at Mexican Fair

[Recently received:  "Below is a statement issued by Arab writers and intellectuals protesting having Israel as the guest of honor at the Guadalajara International Book Fair – Mexico, which opened on Saturday November 30......The main signatories are: Idriss Allouch (Poet) from Morocco, Abdul-Razzaq Bukubba (Novelist and Storywriter) from Algeria, Naela al-Wardi (Plastic Artist and Translator) from Tunisia, Najwan Darwish (Poet) and Rasha Hilweh (Writer) from Palestine, Mohammad Dibo (Poet) from Syria, Samah Idriss (Writer and Publisher) from Lebanon, and Jamal Naji (Novelist), Ilias Farkouh (Novelist), Fakhri Saleh (Literary Critic), Ghazi al-Theibeh (Poet), Basma al-Nsour (Storywriter), Mahmoud al-Rimawi (Storywriter and Novelist), and Hisham Bustani (Storywriter) from Jordan." -- Frontlines ed.]
Guadalajara International Book Fair
“Israel” should be boycotted and condemned, not celebrated and honored
 
We write to you from a region that suffers from daily oppression, oppression that is the direct result of the establishment of the Zionist movement in Europe during the late nineteenth century, its campaign to found a settler colonialist state in Palestine with the assistance of imperialist powers, and its declaration the “State of Israel” in 1948 – an event that marked a catastrophe for Palestinians, for Arabs and for humanity. This event was accompanied by massacres and ethnic cleansing, atrocities that the “State of Israel” – built on fabricated religious myths and values of isolationism, aggression, expansionism and hegemony – continues to commit until this day.
 
We are living in the twenty-first century and “Israel” continues to exist as a settler colonialist state. It continues to exist as a state built on imprisoning people in Bantustans and ghettos behind high cement walls. “Israel” is one of very few states in the world today that is openly based on religion, in an age that scorns isolationism, denounces religious discrimination and mocks those who claim to have a mandate from God … that is, except “Israel”.
 
Justice, freedom and openness are fundamental values in the creative world. They are values that cannot be realized in a settler colonial state – a state that on a daily basis commits murders and massacres, shells people, assaults them and confiscates their land. Any person – especially one from the region of Latin America, which has suffered from such colonialism in the past – knows that such a regime can only survive through complete hegemony and the systematic destruction of indigenous people, their society and culture, and by falsifying history – with the catastrophic implications this has for humanity as a whole. Continue reading

Israel’s Colonial Conquest at Mexican Book Fair Draws Protests

Protest Israel’s honoured status at FIL!

Published on 12 November 2013
Written by Connie Hackbarth, Alternative Information Center (AIC)

 Israel was selected as guest of honour at the 2013 Guadalajara International Book Fair/Image: fil.com.mxIsrael was selected as guest of honour at the 2013 Guadalajara International Book Fair/Image: fil.com.mx

Mexico’s Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL), slated for 30 November – 8 December, selected Israel as its guest of honour for this year’s event. A hasbara dream for Israel, the fair’s guest of honour “brings to the city its publishing industry and literary presence, as well as the best of its culture, including the performing and visual arts, music, cinema, gastronomy and folklore.” “Each night,” the Fair’s website notes “the Guest of Honour offers a performance at FIL’s Foro as well as several performing venues throughout the city that host events in an effort to display and achieve a transforming experience for the public.”

Prominent intellectuals in Mexico publicly condemned the selection of Israel as guest of honour, writing in the Mexican press that the creation of Israel “caused the tragedy of the Palestinian people, condemned to exile, oppression and dispossession…Coexistence was replaced by a state founded on ethnic and cultural exclusion which has denied the legitimate right of the Palestinians to a state and a territory.”

Signatories of the statement include Néstor Braunstein, an Argentine exile in Mexico and one of Latin America’s most prominent psychoanalysts, and Margit Frenk, the daughter of Jewish German refugees in Mexico and world expert in Spanish literature and Miguel Cervantes. 

Israel understands the importance of this honoured position, which according to fair organisers has over the years “consolidated the Book Fair’s international and multicultural character.” Israeli President Shimon Peres himself will be present to open the Israeli pavilion.

Statement signatories requested that a “pluralistic and representative roundtable on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” be conducted during this year’s fair, and that Palestine be invited as the honoured guest in 2015. It is unclear at this stage if the fair organisers have responded positively to this public request.

Continue reading

Event honoring Edward Said prompts Zionist smear campaign against San Francisco State students

The mural honoring Edward Said at San Francisco State University.

An anti-Palestinian group is mounting an attack against students at San Francisco State University. Following an on-campus event honoring a mural of the late Palestinian scholar Edward Said, the group asserted that an artistic stencil glorified “the murder of Jews.”

The university’s president, at the urging of pro-Israel advocates, has joined the condemnation of the students.

On 7 November, as part of the sixth annual event to celebrate the mural and Palestinian culture, activists with several allied student organizations, including the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) and the Student Kouncil of Intertribal Nations (SKINS), an indigenous student group, set up informational tables on the campus’s Malcolm X Plaza.

The SKINS’ table made various stencils available for students to express themselves using images and slogans. One slogan read “my heroes have always killed colonizers,” which has been used for years by indigenous cultural workers in commemorating the resistance to the genocide of First Nations peoples and other indigenous communities around the world.

For the last two years, for example, indigenous communities have held cultural events entitled “My Heroes Have Always Killed Colonizers” in San Francisco during Indigenous Peoples’ Day — a day reclaimed from the national holiday celebrating the legacy of Christopher Columbus.

It didn’t take long for local Zionist watchdogs to launch a vicious attack against the entire event, the student organizations involved, and even the co-sponsoring academic department on campus, calling it “anti-Semitic” and insinuating that the stencil “glorif[ies] the murder of Jews.” Continue reading

Down with imperialist aggression against Syria! USA, hands off Syria!

[The following is a recent statement from revolutionary Maoists in Brazil, detailing their analysis of the ever-growing civil war in Syria as a proxy war by contending imperialist powers for control of the Middle East.  It is an important contribution to the international debate among revolutionaries, over the shifting relations and aggressions, direct and indirect, by leading powers in the world imperialist system. -- Frontlines ed.]

Proletarians and oppressed people of the world, unite!

Declaration of the Revolutionary Front for the Defence of the People’s Rights – Brazil

About the recent situation in Syria

In the last months, the imperialist Yankee has intensified its manipulations and provocations to justify its military invasion in Syria. The US propaganda machine is once again creating smokescreens to justify to the world public yet another predatory war. “To defend democracy,” “human rights”, stop use of chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction;” these are the new smokescreens of the Yankee imperialism in its counter-revolutionary offensive, reviving the “War on Terror”. These were also the same pretexts used to justify the aggression towards Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali, Libya, and many other countries. by the very forces  who are the most responsible for countless massacres and use of weapons of mass destruction in human history; imperialism, mainly Yankee.

Since 2011, the people in Syria are subjected to imperialist predatory war that currently is conducted in the form of a civil war. The armed forces of Assad’s regime (sustained politically, economically, and militarily by Russian imperialism) and the self-proclaimed ‘Free Syrian Army’ (mercenary forces directly controlled by the USA through their intelligence services and regional allies) are the contenders of this inter-imperialist dispute on the Syrian territory. In this war all kinds of horrors against the masses have been practised, without this having motivated attention or outcry from the well know”international institutions”. Continue reading

The Zionist Threat to “Take Alice Walker Out”

“Alice Walker’s New Book Makes Her the Zionists’ Target”Smearing Alice Walker
by JEFFREY BLANKFORT, in CounterPunch, June 26, 2013
Alice Walker

Alice Walker

In the comments section of a recent online article in the right wing New York Jewish publication, Algemeiner, not to be confused with the Frankfurter Allgemeine but conceivably with Der Sturmer, there was an argument over whether or not the “Mossad should deal with” Alice Walker as punishment for the critical comments directed towards Israel and American Jewish supporters of Israel in her latest book, “The Cushion in the Road” which, we can assume, none of those commenting had read.

All it took to set off the threat and a stream of racist venom against the 69 year African-American author was an inflammatory headline in Algemeiner’s June 19th edition:“ADL Blasts Anti-Israel Author Walker: ‘She is ‘unabashedly infected with Anti-Semitism’” followed by an article in the same vein.

As could be anticipated from the headline, the story featured a statement by Anti-Defamation League director, Abe Foxman:

“Alice Walker has sunk to new lows with essays that remove the gloss of her anti-Israel activism to reveal someone who is unabashedly infected with anti-Semitism.

“She has taken her extreme and hostile views to a shocking new level, revealing the depth of her hatred of Jews and Israel to a degree that we have not witnessed before.  Her descriptions of the conflict are so grossly inaccurate and biased that it seems Walker wants the uninformed reader to come away sharing her hate-filled conclusions that Israel is committing the greatest atrocity in the history of the world.”

According to an ADL press release, Walker’s book “devotes 80 pages to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, often making comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany, denigrating Judaism and Jews, and suggesting that Israel should cease to exist as a Jewish state.”

To make the point, the ADL includes four examples. Let’s look at one of them:

“Walker analogizes the Palestinians’ situation with the civil rights era and discrimination against Blacks in the American South.  She writes: ‘It is because I recognize the brutality with which my own multibranched ancestors have been treated that I can identify the despicable, lawless, cruel, and sadistic behavior that has characterized Israel’s attempts to erase a people, the Palestinians, from their own land.’”

In case the inner racists of its readers hadn’t been stirred up enough by Foxman’s rant, the Algemeiner reporter added that “Walker has a history of making extreme anti-Israel statements. In June 2012 she refused to allow an Israeli company to publish a Hebrew edition of her novel, ‘The Color Purple.’ Most recently, Walker wrote a letter calling on the singer-songwriter Alicia Keys to cancel her upcoming July 4th concert appearance in Tel Aviv.”

“In her book,” the article concludes, “Walker accuses Israel of ‘genocide,’ ‘ethnic cleansing,’ ‘crimes against humanity,’ and ‘cruelty and diabolical torture.’” In so doing, it should be noted, she is simply observing the same phenomena that a number of dissident Israelis have previously noted. Continue reading

US / Israel: Behind the Mask of “Human Rights” — Spies for Repression

ADL Spies
by JEFFREY BLANKFORT

“[T]he Anti-Defamation League for many years has maintained a very important, confidential investigative coverage of Arab activities and propaganda….Our information, in addition to being essential for our own operations, has been of great value and service to both the United States State Department and the Israeli government. All data have been made available to both countries with full knowledge to each that we were the source.”

–  Letter from Benjamin R. Epstein, National Director, Anti-Defamation League to Saul Joftes, Executive Secretary, B’nai B’rith, July 7, 1961.

Those were the days when snooping usually meant digging through garbage cans, checking other people’s mailboxes, and primitive phone tapping. How the Anti-Defamation League is doing it today one can only imagine.

Over the last three days of April, the ADL celebrated its 100th anniversary in Washington DC in high style with Vice President Joe Biden the featured speaker at its Centennial Gala dinner on April 30 and Attorney General Eric Holder doing the obligatory genuflecting the day before.

Standing next to the ADL’s ubiquitous current national director, Abe Foxman, Biden told the one thousand paying guests, “You have become the conscience of this country, no matter what the issue. You have been a pillar of the Jewish community, but you reach out and you have reached out your embrace for all communities.”

For hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals the ADL’s embrace has been too close for comfort and “unconscionable” would be a term more befitting the organization’s activities. What is definitely in order is a reminder that this year also marks the 20th anniversary of the exposure of a nation-wide spying operation run by the ADL that went back at least five decades. Continue reading

Tel Aviv Sold Advanced Weapons To Four Arab Countries

by Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies Tuesday June 11, 2013 11:20
The British Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, has reported that Israel sold, over the past five years, military and security equipment for four Arab countries in addition to Pakistan.
In its report, which deals with military and security equipment exports, the department said that Israel exported the weapons to Algeria, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco. Continue reading

Palestine: Female Detainees Start Hunger Strike

author Thursday June 06, 2013 — by Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies

Palestinian female detainees, held by Israel, started an open-ended hunger strike demanding the Israeli Prison Authority to provide the needed medical treatment to detainee Heba Abu Rezeq.

detaineesf.jpg[Abu Rezeq was kidnapped three months ago, and is being held in solitary confinement.]

She is facing several psychological problems, and needs urgent therapy, yet, the prison administration is threatening to move her to a different facility, and to completely isolate her.

The detainees are demanding the transfer of Abu Rezeq to a private hospital. They stated they would escalate their strike should Israeli refrain from providing the needed medical attention to Heba.

The International Coalition for Breaking the Chains has reported that what is happening to Heba is a direct proof of the ongoing Israeli policies against the detainees in direct violation of International Law.

The Coalition held Israel responsible for the life of Abu Rezeq, and the lives of all hunger striking female detainees

“Israel leads global drone exports” (and marketing hype for war crime conspiracies) “as demand rises”

[For the other side of the Israeli/repressive munitions story, which AP will never disclose, see http://israelglobalrepression.wordpress.com/ where you can download the important booklet, "Israel’s Worldwide Role in Repression" in English or Spanish.  And for more information on UAV/drone warfare, see http://www.livingunderdrones.org, http://droneswatch.org/, "People & Power - Attack of the Drones: Al Jazeera Documentary" (http://youtu.be/SdQvF5xmKL4), and the recent Frontlines posting  (http://revolutionaryfrontlines.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/india-uav-proves-ineffective-in-anti-maoist-operations/).  All this runs counter to the official US government story: "The US publicly describes its drone program in terms of its unprecedented ability to 'distinguish … effectively between an al Qaeda terrorist and innocent civilians,' and touts its missile-armed drones as capable of conducting strikes with 'astonishing' and 'surgical' precision." --  Frontlines ed.]

BEN-GURION AIRPORT, Israel – The Associated Press, 7 June 2013

Israel’s long record of using drones in its region of conflict has turned it into a dominant force in the industry, as the worldwide demand for the morally criticized systems has been soaring”

Drones are seen in a hangar at Israel Aerospace Industries.

Israel has emerged as the world’s leading exporter of the aircraft, putting it in a key position. Global spending on the technology is expected to jump from an estimated $6.6 billion this year to $11.4 billion in 2022, according to the Teal Group. AP photo

In an expansive hangar in central Israel, workers toil on one of the world’s most contentious aircraft, fitting dozens of drones with advanced sensors, cameras and lasers before they are shipped to militaries worldwide to perform highly sensitive tasks.Whereas drones are often criticized elsewhere for being morally and legally objectionable, in Israel they are a source of pride. Israel – a pioneer of drone technology – has emerged as the world’s leading exporter of the aircraft and its accessories, putting it in a strong position as the industry continues to grow.

A report produced by U.S. consulting firm Frost & Sullivan determined earlier this year that Israel is now the largest exporter of unmanned aerial systems, surmounting aerospace giants in the U.S. The report said that from 2005 to 2012, Israel exported some $4.6 billion worth of systems, including aircraft, payloads, operating systems and command and control caravans. U.S. overseas sales for the same time period were between $2 and $3 billion, the report said. Continue reading

Cruelty of Israel’s Cast Lead assault captured by new documentary

Daryl Meador, The Electronic Intifada, 6 June 2013

WBoy leans against fence with destroyed homes in backgroundhere Should the Birds Fly, the new documentary directed and narrated by Fida Qishta, begins with chilling footage of Israeli bulldozers destroying houses in Rafah in 2004. Qishta, a native of Rafah, the city in the south of the Gaza Strip, watched her parents’ house of 30 years crumble under the bulldozers. As it was destroyed, her father told her and her family to leave and keep walking. “He feared if our eyes took in the sight, our hearts would be filled with hate,” Qishta says.

The young woman channeled the intense anger and frustration felt from this episode, and many others caused by the Israeli blockade, to create a touching film that reveals many of the daily injustices in Gaza.

Qishta began her career as a wedding videographer. After becoming comfortable with the camera, she began to film her surroundings and eventually accompanied human rights observers to document their work.

Much of the first half of the film features scenes of everyday life for Palestinians in Gaza. Qishta left the Gaza Strip in 2006 to visit Europe; when she returned she was forced to wait for three weeks at the border. She filmed the time she spent waiting to re-enter her home.

Shots of the border crossing terminal show tired men, women and children as they waited indefinitely without being offered beds or food.

Targeted by snipers

The documentary visits the farming village of Khozaa, which lies in the Israeli-designated “buffer zone,” land near the boundary with Israel that Palestinians are forbidden from entering. The land, once fertile farmland, is frequently targeted by Israeli sniper fire when farmers attempt to tend it.

The documentary follows farmers as they are accompanied by international activists and try to work the land. Included in this scene is footage of International Solidarity Movement volunteer Vittorio Arrigoni, who dedicated much of his life to working in Gaza and was murdered there in 2011.

Arrigoni stands up against the faraway Israeli soldiers who are shooting at the farmers and yells into a bullhorn, “Stop shooting. We are unarmed.” The shooting continues. Continue reading

Washington DC: Students Against Israeli Apartheid confront Israeli Occupation


Published on Jun 5, 2013

See the protester’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GMUSAIA

On June 4, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visited Washington, D.C.’s Woodrow Wilson Center to offer a so-called “moderate” perspective on Middle East affairs and the Palestinian-Israeli impasse. A DC area coalition of Palestinian justice activists, led by George Mason University Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA), were there to challenge Olmert and interrupt the Wilson Center’s complicity with the ongoing normalization of Israeli occupation, settler colonialism, and apartheid. Making clear that no Zionist presence is welcome in the DC metropolitan area, throughout the event activists interrupted Olmert, discrediting the supposed “peace plan” he has been parading around as a viable solution.

India: The State’s dilemma–people can’t be trusted, and cameras fog up with humidity

Digital cameras for closer look on secretariat visitors

RANCHI: To keep an eye on movement of every individual on the state secretariat, Jharkhand police are installing around 30 high resolution digital CCTV cameras. These cameras will be placed at strategic location, including the main gate, which will take picture even during rain and fog. At present there are some analog CCTV cameras are in place on the secretariat but pictures taken by them are not very clear.

The images are hazy when it rains or there is dense fog during winter.  The number of cameras are also a few, sources in the police department said. “Since the state is sensitive because of Maoist presence in 18 of the 24 districts and a number of top politicians are on the hit list of the rebels, we expect that advance CCTV system will help us in proper monitor the place where thousands of people visit every day,” said a source. Continue reading

India: ‘UAV proves ineffective in anti-Maoist operations’

[Highly touted as the solution for Indian counter-insurgency operations against an elusive Maoist rebel force, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are proving to be as unreliable as other forms of surveillance; they're never in the right place, and they can't see through trees nor discern fighters from farmers.  As this article points out, these Israeli drones came with exaggerated claims and high price tags, but "'It is ...  a fact that the available UAV has become a white elephant,' credible sources in the state police told TOI." -- Frontlines ed.]
Srinath Vudali, TNNJun 3, 2013

HYDERABAD: The much-hyped unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are proving ineffective in tracking the Maoists in the Andhra-Odisha and Andhra-Chhattisgarh borders. Intelligence officials claim that the drones have become a white elephant as the UAVs stationed miles away in Hyderabad hardly come handy in locating the movement of the Maoists after attacks in the thick forests on the border areas.

The UAV, operated by the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) from the Begumpet airport, is meant to be used for anti-Maoist intelligence gathering in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. The information gathered by the drone is meant to be shared with various security agencies.

starkheron-300x110 However, it is learnt that after the recent ambush on Congress leaders in Sukma district in Chhattisgarh, in which the Maoists killed 28 people, the UAV was of little use in locating the retreating Maoists. A decision has been taken now to relocate the UAV from Hyderabad to Bhilai in Chhattisgarh. State police officials said Andhra Pradesh would get another drone at a later stage as a replacement.

When the proposal of deploying the Israeli-made UAVs for anti-Maoist operations was first mooted, officials of various agencies felt it would be useful in tracking the extremists even during night time. “It is a fact that the UAV can be deployed to gather intelligence after an attack to quickly locate the retreating naxalites. Besides capturing images, it is also capable of picking up voices. It is also a fact that the available UAV has become a white elephant,” credible sources in the state police told TOI. Continue reading

Palestine: “After the flames, only determination remains in Burin and Madama”

International Solidarity Movement | June 3, 2013

Burin and Madama, Occupied Palestine – On Monday 3rd June, around a dozen settlers from the illegal colony of Yizhar set fire to Palestinian’s fields in the villages of Burin and Madama, destroying at least 50 acres of arable land with olive trees. The settlers were joined by a jeep of border police when 40-50 Palestinians from the village of Burin came out to attempt to put out the fire, with some being stopped from doing so by the border police present.

As people from the two villages south of Nablus were hoping for an uneventful workday, the settlers from Yizhar, renowned for being one of the worst for settler violence, set fire to fields in the Khallat al-Injas neighbourhood of Madama. One young person there desribed how, “then I went there quickly with my friends and tried to extinguish it. During that time the settlers went to the eastern area which is between Madama and Bureen. They set fire into the hills there.”Before long, the enormous fires spread across the field and towards the olive tree groves of neighbouring Burin. Shortly after, Israeli border police turned up at the scene in Burin’s land, delaying the extinguishing of the fire.

Salman Valley was a major source of income for Burin (photo: ISM)

Salman Valley was a major source of income for Burin (photo: ISM)

Of the Palestinians that gathered, the Israeli border police only allowed uniformed firemen and those from the Palestinian Authority’s civil volunteer service to put out the raging fires. Those who approached to help were threatened with pepper spray. The fire was eventually slowed down when  the border police left and the community was able to help. Areas of the hills still burned when volunteers were leaving at around 6 o’clock in the evening. The Israeli fire service appeared in case the fire spread to settler-occupied land, but did nothing to help the Palestinians nearby. Continue reading

Israel demolishes West Bank homes, water wells

[A woman from the 24-member Palestinian Ghaith family stands with the rubble of her home destroyed by Israeli forces under the pretext that it was built without a permit in the mostly Arab East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Tur on 29 April 2013. (Photo: AFP - Ahmad Gharabli)]

Monday, April 29, 2013 — Israeli forces on Monday demolished Palestinian homes and water wells in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as settlers confiscated land near Hebron to build a new outpost, local media reported.

In occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli forces razed two apartments in the Tur neighborhood after several attempts by the owners to reverse the demolition order failed.

The authorities evicted 24 members of the Ghaith family, including five children and an elderly woman, from the two apartments ahead of the demolition, Rushi Ghaith, one of the owners, told Palestinian news agency Ma’an.

The apartments were scheduled for demolition in December but the family secured a court-ordered injunction to stop it from going ahead, Ghaith said.

The Ghaith family lawyer said they had successfully stalled attempts to raze the apartments since September 2004, when Israeli authorities handed down the demolition notice because the home was built without a licensing permit. The family’s case to reverse the demolition order is ongoing.

Ghaith said the family has been fined 80,000 Israeli shekels (about $22,000) since the case began.

Meanwhile Israeli soldiers demolished water wells south of Hebron in al-Fawar refugee camp, as settlers from the nearby Ma’oun settlement seized land west of Yatta in preparation for the establishment of new outposts. Continue reading