Council conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process

The Council adopted the following conclusions:

“1. In light of recent developments and taking into account previous Council Conclusions, the European Union firmly believes that now is the time to take bold and concrete steps towards peace. The parties must engage in direct and substantial negotiations without pre-conditions in order to achieve a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ending all claims.

2. The European Union reaffirms its position that clear parameters outlining the basis for negotiations are key elements for a successful outcome. All parties must avoid acts which undermine confidence and the viability of a two-state solution. The European Union underlines the urgency of renewed, structured and substantial peace efforts in 2013 and, towards this end, it is ready to work with the US and other international partners, including within the Quartet. There will be no sustainable peace until the Palestinians’ aspirations for statehood and sovereignty and those of Israelis for security are fulfilled through a comprehensive negotiated peace based on the two-state solution. The European Union recalls that the Arab Peace Initiative provides regional support for a comprehensive Israeli- Palestinian peace agreement. The European Union will work with those who are willing to join in such a quest for peace, stability and prosperity.

3. The European Union is deeply dismayed by and strongly opposes Israeli plans to expand settlements in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, and in particular plans to develop the E1 area. The E1 plan, if implemented, would seriously undermine the prospects of a negotiated resolution of the conflict by jeopardizing the possibility of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state and of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states. It could also entail forced transfer of civilian population. In the light of its core objective of achieving the two-state solution, the EU will closely monitor the situation and its broader implications, and act accordingly. The European Union reiterates that settlements are illegal under international law and constitute an obstacle to peace.

4. Recalling its parameters for the resumption of negotiations between the parties, as set out in previous Council Conclusions, including in December 2009, December 2010 and May 2011, the European Union reiterates that it will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties. The European Union expresses its commitment to ensure that – in line with international law – all agreements between the State of Israel and the European Union must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, namely the Golan Heights, the West Bank including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Recalling its Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions adopted in May 2012, the European Union and its Member States reiterate their commitment to ensure continued, full and effective implementation of existing European Union legislation and bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement products.

5. The European Union calls on Israel to avoid any step undermining the financial situation of the Palestinian Authority. Any such action by Israel would undermine existing cooperation mechanisms between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and thus negatively affect the prospects of negotiations. Contractual obligations, notably under the Paris Protocol, regarding full, timely, predictable and transparent transfer of tax and custom revenues have to be respected.

6. On 29 November, the UN General Assembly voted in favour of resolution A/RES/67/19 on the granting of non-member observer State status in the United Nations to Palestine. The European Union calls on the Palestinian leadership to use constructively this new status and not to undertake steps which would deepen the lack of trust and lead further away from a negotiated solution.

7. The European Union welcomes the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and Israel which followed several days of intense violence and commends the efforts of Egypt and all those who engaged in mediation. This tragic escalation of hostilities underlined very clearly the unsustainable nature of the status quo with regard to the situation in the Gaza Strip. Fully recognising Israel’s legitimate security needs, the European Union reiterates its call for the immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from the Gaza Strip, the situation of which is unsustainable as long as it remains politically and economically separated from the West Bank. It is vital that all parts of the ceasefire agreement are implemented. The European Union is committed to facilitating the social and economic development of the Gaza Strip. Equally, the issue of illegal weapons’ transfer into the Gaza Strip has to be effectively addressed as a matter of urgency. The European Union expresses its readiness to make use of its instruments in support of the parties’ efforts, including the possible reactivation, in the appropriate way, of the EUBAM Rafah mission. The European Union underlines its readiness to explore further ways to address the situation in the Gaza Strip, including with concerned parties in the region , in line with UNSC Resolution 1860 (2009).

8. The European Union reiterates its call for intra-Palestinian reconciliation behind the strong leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas, in line with the principles set out in his speech of 4 May 2011, as an important element for the unity of a future Palestinian state and for reaching a two-state solution.

9. The European Union reiterates its fundamental commitment to the security of Israel, including with regard to vital threats in the region. The European Union will never stop opposing those who embrace and promote violence as a way to achieve political goals. The EU finds inflammatory statements by Hamas leaders that deny Israel’s right to exist unacceptable. The European Union will never cease its efforts to combat terrorism which seeks to undermine the openness and tolerance of societies through indiscriminate acts of violence against civilians.

10. It is in the fundamental interest of the European Union to support peace and democracy in the entire region and a strategic priority to see an end to this conflict which will continue to undermine peace and security along the EU southern borders, as long as it remains unresolved.”

(unispal.un.org / 10.12.2012)

Gaza: don’t believe the media hype

 

Unless you’ve been living a hermit-like existence for the past week I’m sure you must be aware of the current war going on between Israel and the Gaza strip.

I say war, although that implies a sense of equality. “Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely-crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques, and slums to attack a population that has no air force, no air defence, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanised armour…no army…and calls it a war. It is not a war. It is murder.” The words of world-renowned activist Noam Chomsky.

But that’s not how it’s portrayed in the mainstream media. Malcolm X once said, “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”  And this couldn’t be truer of the Israeli conflict.

BBC News headlines read: “Three Israelis killed by Gaza rocket attack”, but fails to mention the Palestinians that have been killed since the commencement of the rocket and air strikes. And I assure you its more than three. Many more. Just one Israeli rocket in the past week killed 14 Palestinians. And on Saturday the Israelis launched 300 air strikes into the Gaza strip, one of the most densely populated areas in the world. The death count is always rising. But in the newspapers Israelis are described as being “killed” whereas Palestinians have simply “died”.

Another BBC News headline “Escalating violence takes its toll on Israelis” and speaks of the fact that normal life in Israel has been put on hold. It doesn’t mention that the current state of fear the Israelis are in is a permanent reality for the Palestinians. Netanyahu said “No government would tolerate a situation where nearly a fifth of its people live under a constant barrage of rockets and missile fire”, so why does he expect Palestinians to tolerate this?

A Sky News report interviews an Israeli citizen who says about the Palestinians: “They are terrorists, they’re not humans.” But you’d be hard-pressed to find an interview of the family of 10-month-old Hanen Tafish who died on Thursday or an interview with the remaining members of the al-Dallu family, 7 of whom have died, including 4 children.

It’s honestly absurd that media tycoon Rupert Murdoch tweeted “Why is Jewish owned press so consistently anti-Israel in every crisis?” The facts show the complete opposite.

The media supports Israeli claims they are only mounting their attacks in “defence”. However, Noam Chomsky stated: “You can’t defend yourself when you’re militarily occupying someone else’s land. That’s not defence. Call it what you like, it’s not defence.” It’s also not defence when you’re using tanks against children throwing stones. And it’s definitely not defence to tie a 13-year-old Palestinian child to an armoured jeep as a human shield so his friends won’t throw stones.

Since Wednesday when the air strikes began 91 Palestinians have been killed (at the time of writing, the number is always rising) and hundreds injured to the extent that hospitals cannot house them. The loss of life is not an acceptable collateral in any conflict, especially not when it’s innocent children, Israeli or Palestinian. But that doesn’t detract from the facts – Palestinians are being slaughtered.

So I think it’s important to be aware that it’s not an equal war going on in the Gaza strip. Don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers. They’ll have you hating the Palestinians, the ones who have been subjected to constant bombings and fear of death, demolition of their homes, and forced to live in a large prison called “the Gaza Strip”.

Oxford Palestine Society (PalSoc) has set up a protest on Tuesday 20th November at 5pm. A large demonstration organised by Stop the War Coalition will also be taking place in London on Saturday 24th November at 12pm, meeting at Downing Street in the hopes that something can be done about the crisis.

The Israeli state has broken 65 UN resolutions and suffered no consequences. 75,000 Israeli reservists have been mobilised as the country is currently priming itself for another invasion of Gaza. Four years ago, when they invaded, they committed a number of crimes such as using chemical weapons and human shields. Why would anything be different this time?

(oxfordstudent.com / 10.12.2012)

The Empire Behind World’s Largest History Magazine Chain: How American History Magazine Censored Palestine

Weider History GroupWeider History Group

“…I found out that the magazines are part of a massive and lucrative empire based on bodybuilding and related products: an empire that has been investigated and convicted for using false claims to sell potentially dangerous “nutritional supplements” and for publishing “obscene” magazines, run by powerful people with powerful friends in high places who’ve opposed the regulation of such supplements.Not the profile readers might expect, though Publisher Weider is now interviewed in the media as an expert on American history – one whose commentary supports the alleged necessity of American wars in the Middle East….”

It all started out simply enough. The nonprofit Council for the National Interest, of which I am president, recently tried to buy an advertisement in American History magazine.

The ad was to promote a new book by CNI’s founder, former Congressman Paul Findley, offering discounted copies through the CNI website.

The book, Speaking Out: A Congressman’s Lifelong Fight Against Bigotry, Famine, and War, is a fascinating memoir of Findley’s nine decades of life. It describes his depression-era childhood, World War II service in the South Pacific, experiences as an editor of a small town corn-belt newspaper, and 22 years as a Congressman grappling with everything from farm issues, to Vietnam, to Israel-Palestine.

The ad featured the cover of Findley’s book and four strong endorsements, including the following by Bill Moyers:

“There is a place in America called Findley Country. Inspired by its founding father, the people who live there cherish principled politics, political courage, and speaking truth to power (even when it hurts). Paul has given us a lively recollection of a robust and honorable life in public service, grounded in a patriot’s devotion to the country he loves.”

American History magazine refused to run our advertisement.

In fact, Advertising Director Julie Kershenbaum gratuitously informed us that they would not publish it in any of the 10 other U.S. history magazines owned by the same company. She said that the chain’s CEO and publisher, Eric Weider, had personally made the decision.

The reason? CNI is allegedly “anti-Israel.”

In reality, CNI is a nonpartisan organization founded 20 years ago by highly principled former U.S. Congressmen and diplomats. Our board members include several ambassadors.

CNI provides in-depth, transparently sourced information on the history and current situation in Israel-Palestine, on U.S. Middle East policies, and on their impact on American citizens, in line with our mission to work for U.S. Middle East policies that serve the national interest; that represent the highest values of our founders and our citizens; and that work to sustain a nation of honor, decency, security, and prosperity.

We oppose failed national policies that prolong the tragic violence in the Middle East, that place perceived Israeli interests over American ones, and that drain billions of dollars from the American economy.

Although many Americans are unaware of this, Americans are closely connected to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We give well over $8 million per day to Israel, a state smaller than New Jersey. On average, Israelis receive 10,000 times more U.S. foreign aid per capita than other people throughout the world. And this costs us significantly more – some analysts have placed the total cost at approximately $15 million per day.

We feel that it is essential that Americans become thoroughly informed about this conflict, which has cost multitudes of lives and created potentially catastrophic instability in the Middle East for over 60 years.

Yet, because the owners of what may be the world’s largest publisher of history magazines are partial to Israel, readers of 11 key American history magazines will neither be permitted to read about Findley’s autobiography nor even see the CNI name.

Troubled by this censorship, I phoned Publisher Eric Weider to discuss his decision. When he failed to return my calls, I began to research his company. Who were the people deciding what information could or could not reach American history fans?

While many people might picture the publishers of these magazines as scholars dedicated to the disinterested study of history, I discovered a very different situation.

Instead, I found out that the magazines are part of a massive and lucrative empire based on bodybuilding and related products: an empire that has been investigated and convicted for using false claims to sell potentially dangerous “nutritional supplements” and for publishing “obscene” magazines, run by powerful people with powerful friends in high places who’ve opposed the regulation of such supplements.

Not the profile readers might expect, though Publisher Weider is now interviewed in the media as an expert on American history – one whose commentary supports the alleged necessity of American wars in the Middle East.

The Weider History Group’s Eleven Magazines

The entity known as the Weider History Group publishes several history-related websites and eleven magazines:  America’s Civil War, American History, Aviation History, Armchair General, British Heritage, Civil War Times, Military History, MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, Vietnam, Wild West, and World War II.

All but one of these publications were originally independent magazines. Some of them are decades old. Civil War Times has been around for half a century; American History since the 1960s.

In 2006 the Weider History Group took over them all, acquiring them from another magazine chain.

Not everyone was pleased with the change. Civil War Times Editor Chris Lewis eventually resigned over the new direction the magazines were taking. He circulated an email explaining why he had decided to leave:

“I am a lifelong reader and care a great deal about this publication—which is why I cannot be a part of the ‘new direction’ that the magazines in this group are either already going in, or will be going in soon. There is no respect here anymore for history, historians or the core audience.”

The Empire that Owns American History

The Weider History Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of Weider Health and Fitness, Inc., which in turn is part of a larger Weider empire valued at a billion dollars. The Weiders were initially Canadian promoters who are known for largely creating the business of modern bodybuilding and its multitude of spin-off products. Brothers Ben and Joe Weider founded the empire 70 years ago. Ben later said that his original dream had been to be an architect but that anti-Semitism had prevented this. Today, the principals are Joe Weider and Ben Weider’s son, Eric.

By the 1990s the Weider empire consisted of numerous brands and over a thousand products. These include bodybuilding extravaganzas and competitions; a wide range of exercise equipment and purported body enhancing devices; diverse publications; and a dazzling collection of “fitness products” and “nutritional supplements”– pills, powders, potions, and programs.

The latter are a large part of the Weider empire’s moneymaking machine. They include weight gain products, weight loss products, muscle health products, etc. An example is Weider BodyShaper Diet & Energy tablets  “for Mental Energy and Thermogenesis.”

While many people purchase Weider products and some may deliver fully on their extravagant promises, federal investigations have found that a number of them do not.

Weider merchandise has been the subject of a number of federal investigations, and Weider companies have been found guilty of fraud on several occasions. The Weiders have worked to prevent legislation that would have further restricted the kinds of supplements sold by their companies.

In the 1970s U.S. postal officials found the Weider company had engaged in false claims involving a number of its products: “Slimmer Shake,” also known as “Weider’s Weight Loss Formula, XR-7;” “Slim Guard;” “Joe Weider’s Crash Weight Gain Formula #7;” “5 Minute Waist Slimmer Plan;” “5 Minute Body Shaper Plan;” and “Beauti-Breast of Paris,” a device which promised to enlarge breasts.

In 1981 the FTC found the company had made fraudulent claims regarding its “Slim-Quick formula.” The FTC also concluded that under some circumstances the weight-loss concoction could be significantly dangerous to health and required the company to add warning labels.

In 1986 the FTC forced Weider Health & Fitness Inc. to refund the purchase price paid by those who bought its “Anabolic Mega-Pak” or “Dynamic Life Essence” pills

In 2000 Weider Nutritional International settled an FTC complaint involving false claims for PhenCal and was required to pay $400,000, a sum unlikely to have caused much pain to a billion dollar operation.

An Empire Built on Bodybuilding 

The foundation of the Weider empire was originally the business of bodybuilding, and this still remains a significant part of its focus. According to anthropologist Alan Klein, the Weiders own “the largest conglomerate of bodybuilding products in the world.”

The Weiders founded the International Federation of Body Builders (IFBB) in 1946 and Joe Weider has been called the “czar” of bodybuilding.

In a 1998 book, former Mr. Universe Bob Paris stated that the Weiders “control bodybuilding.”  (To learn more about bodybuilding see the montage at the IFBBpro website. As of this writing, the Weider history magazines have a banner ad on the site.)

Paris writes that the Weiders would pressure the most promising young bodybuilders into signing contracts with them. Anyone who publicly criticized or questioned any of the policies of the IFBB or its officers, Paris wrote, could be suspended. The officers seem to have mostly been the Weiders themselves or their friends.

Paris states:

“[T]he Weider brothers claim that the IFBB and the Weider companies are separate and completely unrelated. Only the most naive fool would believe that. They should simply say that, yes, they are completely linked…but of course if they did that, then nasty words like monopoly or conflict of interest would start getting thrown around….”

Another writer reported that a connection to the Weiders spelled success for an aspiring bodybuilder, but for a price: “…from that point on, the bodybuilder’s career is owned by the Weider corporation.”

The Arnold Schwarzenegger Connection

It was the Weiders who discovered future movie star/California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and brought him to America. They got the aspiring bodybuilder an apartment, bought him a car, and crafted him into a celebrity, tutoring him on everything from his exercise regimen and real estate investments to how to wear his hair. Joe Weider told the New York Times, “We created Arnold.”

The Weiders supported Schwarzenegger for California governor and remain close to him. Schwarzenegger declared July 9, 2007 “Joe Weider Day.” As we will see, there is a further connection. But first, we need to examine another aspect of the Weider business machine.

The Weider empire has also long included an array of magazines, mostly focused on bodybuilding and fitness. A few in past years seem to have crossed the line into lewdness and Joe Weider was twice indicted for producing and distributing obscene literature. In 1957 he was placed on a five-year probation.

In 2003 the Weiders sold this line of publications (the more obscene ones had been abandoned) to American Media, which also publishes the National Enquirer and Star tabloids, for $350 million.

This was less than a clean break, however, as the businesses seem to have arranged a mutually beneficial association, some of it apparently touching on Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Joe Weider remained in charge of the magazines under American Media, while American Media director David Pecker signed a contract to co-sponsor major bodybuilding contests with the Weiders.

With this new Weider-Pecker alliance came a change in how American Media’s tabloids covered Schwarzenegger, who was then running for California governor, and whose previous steroid use, sexual affairs (one allegedly with a minor), bullying groping incidents, etc. were the kind of fodder that often fuels tabloids.

According to an article in the San Jose Mercury News, “Tabloids Starry-Eyed for Schwarzenegger,” by Dion Nissenbaum, Pecker promised Weider that his tabloids would “lay off’’ Schwarzenegger and “not dig up any dirt” on the gubernatorial candidate. In fact, following its deal with Weider, American Media now seemed to be promoting Schwarzenegger.

The Mercury News reported that American Media produced a 120-page glossy magazine called Arnold, the American Dream, “crammed with flattering photographs” that auspiciously hit the streets just as Schwarzenegger headed into the final lap of his campaign for governor.

The next year, after Schwarzenegger became governor, Pecker made him executive editor of Flex and Muscle & Fitness, promising him an estimated $8 million over the next five years for helping to “further the business objectives” of the company, according to the LA Times.

If anyone wondered how a sitting governor of one of the nation’s largest states would have time for such a position, Advertising Age reported that that this was “a largely honorary position” and according to a Schwarzenegger aide “would only take up a ‘nominal amount’ of the governor’s time.”

The following year Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed legislation that would have cracked down on the use of supplements by student athletes.

A number of these supplements have been tied to serious health consequences. The medical community has warned that potential health effects include liver cancer, heart disease, impaired testicular function, and neurodegenerative effects.

Following Schwarzenegger’s veto, critics accused him of a conflict of interest, since supplements constituted a large portion of the advertisingin the magazines that were paying him so generously for his work.

Advertising Age also made a point of noting that Schwarzenegger’s veto of legislation that would have regulated supplements “highlighted Mr. Schwarzenegger’s decades-long relationship with Joe Weider, the godfather of the supplement business.”

While Schwarzenneger was governor, and since, he has also worked to promote Israel. In a speech at an event at the Israeli Consulate Schwarzenegger proclaimed, “I love Israel. When I became governor, Israel was the first country that I visited.”

“I’ve had the pleasure of being there many times,” Schwarzenegger said, “and have seen it from a bodybuilding point of view, from a tourist’s point of view, from an entertainer’s point of view, from the governor’s point of view, forming trade relationships with Israel in order. I have been a long-time friend of Israel.”

The Orrin Hatch Connection

The Weiders have a history of working against public health regulation of supplements, despite evidence that some supplements can be dangerous to health – sometimes fatally so.

In 1994, according to a report on Weider Nutrition International in the International Directory of Company Histories, Vol.29, the Weiders worked with Utah Senator Orrin Hatch to successfully counter the FDA’s attempts to regulate supplements. Many Weider companies are headquartered in Utah.

The company history reports that a bill sponsored by Hatch entitled “the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act” was passed “toprevent the Food and Drug Administration from overregulating the health products industry.”

“Later that year,” the report states, “Weider Nutrition honored Senator Hatch for his work on the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. Arnold Schwarzenegger came to Salt Lake City to present Hatch with Weider’s first annual award for major health contributions.”

A 2001 article in the Washington Monthly, “Scorin’ with Orrin: How the gentleman from Utah made it easier for kids to buy steroids, speed, and Spanish fly,” gives the details.

Washington Monthly reports that the FDA had not bothered to participate in debates over Hatch’s bill, because it believed the law was so obviously bad it would never pass. However, Hatch sneaked the bill through in a late-night session, the magazine reports. Afterward, a pharmacist and public health expert appalled at the bill remarked: “I do not understand how a single member of Congress voted for it.”

Washington Monthly concludes, “Thanks to Hatch, the U.S. now has standards as low as those in many Third World countries for the sale of many products with serious, pharmacological effects. The results have been deadly. Between 1993 and 1998, the FDA linked at least 184 deaths to dietary supplements, which are now suspected of contributing to the sudden deaths of three football players in August.”

Six years later, a number of athletes who had taken American supplements were devastated when they failed drug tests at the 2000 Olympics. Unbeknownst to these athletes, the supplements contained substances banned internationally because of the dangers they posed to health.

The Olympic International Committee (IOC) warned athletes to avoid American supplements, particularly those manufactured in Utah, which had become known as the “Cellulose Valley of the U.S. supplement industry.”

When Olympic officials and others specifically blamed Hatch for the problem, Weider and other manufacturers met with him to encourage him to keep the supplements as unregulated as possible. Washington Monthly reports that Hatch’s office “apparently reassured them that the senator would continue to defend their interests.”

While Hatch is reportedly a true believer in alternative medicine, the article pointed out: “There’s big money in dietary supplements, and Hatch has taken his fair share in campaign contributions.”

Loren Israelson, executive director of the Utah Natural Products Alliance, which represents the Utah supplement industry, lauded Hatch’s commitment: “He is by far our greatest advocate. No one rises to the issue the way Sen. Hatch does. He’s a true believer in natural health.”

Weider Foundations

The Weider empire is not limited to the U.S. The Weiders have promoted bodybuilding (and Weider products) worldwide. There are now IFBB groups in 182 countries, and there are photos of Weider with diverse government officials, including Ronald Reagan, Yasser Arafat, and Menachem Begin.

Multimillionaires often set up tax-deductible foundations and the Weiders have created several.

The Ben Weider foundation has donated gyms around the world as part of their bodybuilding outreach, including in Israel and Palestine. Benendowed what is now known as the “Ben Weider Jewish Community Center in Montreal” and also supported two Lubavitch institutions, a charismatic and sometimes controversial branch of Orthodox Judaism. He was an admirer of Lubavitch head Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, a religious leader who was a major force in Israel; Israeli leaders – including Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, and Benjamin Netanyahu  – would often visit him when they were in the U.S. and seek his advice. A widely revered but controversial leader, Schneerson was held by some followers to be the Messiah. Less widely known is the fact that he made statements that Jews are a different and superior species to non-Jews.

There is also a Joe Weider Foundation; Joe Weider is CEO and Eric Weider has been CFO and is currently President. This has given several large grants to a Los Angeles-based organization called American Friends Of Aish HaTorah. Aish HaTorah is an Israeli organization that opposes Jewish assimilation and promotes Israel in the United States. It has been connected to the production of pseudo-documentaries promoting Islamophobia that were distributed in the U.S.

Journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, a strong Israel proponent himself, calls Aish “just about the most fundamentalist movement in Judaism today. Its operatives flourish in the radical belt of Jewish settlements just south of Nablus, in the northern West Bank, and their outposts across the world propagandize on behalf of a particularly sterile, sexist and revanchist brand of Judaism.”

Among its multitude of activities, Aish has a program to create and equip advocates for Israel on American campuses. These “Hasbara Fellows” as they’re termed, operate on over 120 campuses.

Joe Weider is one of six North American chairmen of The Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah. This focuses on bringing political leaders, corporate executives, investors, and entertainment personages on private trips to Israel to increase their support for Israel.

Weider Empire Acquires History Magazines

The same year the Weiders sold their muscle and fitness magazines they began their foray into history magazines. Working out of the same San Fernando offices, they published the first in their new chain, Armchair General, the following year. A Reuters story on the launch announced:

“The Los Angeles publisher that made its fortune on the dreams of armchair musclemen everywhere now wants to get Americans pumped up on a new avocation — becoming armchair generals.

“Eric Weider, whose family firm sold mainstream America on bodybuilding and Arnold Schwarzenegger, on Tuesday launched Armchair General, an ‘interactive’ war magazine aimed at selling military history to the masses.”

The Weiders’ market analysis showed a potential readership of “more than 35 million lifelong devotees.” Eric Weider, who had moved to California from Canada many years before, became an American citizen around this time.

While Eric Weider appears to be a genuine history buff, he apparently has no training or degree in history. He has a Master’s degree in business administration and has spent most of his life working in his family’s business empire, mostly in its bodybuilding and “nutritional supplements” divisions.

Business Week c.v. lists the following positions: President and Chief Executive Officer of Weider Health and Fitness Inc., President of the Joe Weider Foundation, Chairman of Schiff Nutrition International Inc., Director of a number of public and private companies in the United States and Canada, including Nutripeak, Inc., Hillside Investment Management, Inc., Organ Recovery Systems and Life Science Holdings, and Weider Health and Fitness, a subsidiary of Schiff Nutrition International Inc.

Nevertheless, TV and radio shows hosted by such people as Tucker Carlson and Al Rantel feature Eric Weider as “an historian” to provide what is promoted as expert commentary on current events and today’s wars.

Weider is an engaging speaker, but the history he cites is highly selective and is used to support military action in the Middle East. On the Rantel show he suggested that American presidents should ignore polls indicating what Americans want and instead “instill the will” to fight.

The Weider History Group and Israel-Palestine 

A survey of the publications’ website, HistoryNet, shows most articles and commentaries regarding Israel-Palestine to be Israel-centric. They often extol the Israeli military.

The publications’ articles during and following Israel’s 2008-9 massive attack on Gaza largely consisted of cheering Israel’s victory. The articles failed to mention that this allegedly proud conquest (fueled by massive American money and weaponry) was over one of the world’s poorest populations (largely thanks to Israeli policies). They also failed to mention that Palestinians have no navy, no air force, and no real army, and that their resistance groups are minimally armed.

When Israel finally ended its three-week long invasion of the densely populated enclave (during which Israeli forces had killed 1,400 Palestinians, 470 of them women and children; many others elderly men), a Weider HistoryNet article bemoaned Israel’s decision “to break off its punitive expedition into Gaza prematurely—despite the superb performance of the Israel Defense Force….”

The HistoryNet articles emphasized Israel’s need “to defend itself” against Palestinian rockets, but they failed to report that these are largely small, homemade projectiles and that Palestinian resistance forces began firing them only after Israel had already invaded Gaza numerous times and killed and injured hundreds of Palestinians of all ages.

They also neglected to mention that, before the invasion, these rockets had killed a total of approximately 19 Israelis – ever. (The total fatalities from Gaza rockets through November 2012 are 29. During the same time, according to the Israeli organization B’Tselem, Israeli forces killed over 4,000 Gazans.)

The articles erroneously claimed that Israel invaded Gaza because the Palestinian Hamas group had violated a ceasefire agreement with Israel. In reality, it was Israel that had violated the ceasefire three times – killing seven Palestinians – before some Palestinian groups then resumed rocket fire.

Finally, the Weider articles failed to inform readers that Israel had been planning the invasion for six months ahead of time, as revealed by aJewish Chronicle article applauding Israel’s effective “hasbara” (propaganda) campaign during the operation.

Eric Weider himself has occasionally posted pro-Israel comments on the site’s forums. In one he responds to a member’s posting about Israeli fighters flying over Gaza several times a day to create sonic booms in order to frighten the people below, who would dive for shelter. Weider comments: “Next thing you know the Israelis will start talking excessively loudly! Their cruely [sic] knows no bounds!” In another thread, Weider states, “It is important to recognize that there is a lot of anti-semetic [sic] inspired Anti-Israel sentiment in the world.”

Eric Weider and George Washington

Eric Weider expresses great admiration for George Washington and has begun a petition to restore his birthday as a federal holiday. He has written: “If I have a historical role model I would say that I most admire George Washington and I do my best to conduct myself in a way that he (and my father) would approve of.”

Yet, Weider seems to be violating one of Washington’s major recommendations:

In his Farewell Address, Washington warned against a “passionate attachment” to any foreign nation, saying that such attachments were “particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot.”

If Eric Weider looked at the CNI website when he decided to censor it from his 11 magazines, he saw prominently displayed on the homepage a picture of the American forefather who he has called “first in his heart.”

Under this he saw an excerpt from his role model’s famous speech in which Washington warned: “Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.”

On our homepage Weider would have also seen a history article on the U.S.-Israel relationship that contains considerable new, somewhat explosive information. Much of this would quite likely be of interest to readers of American history magazines, if they were allowed to learn of it.

Determining the future through controlling the past

It is disturbing to find that a chain targeting American history enthusiasts is exploiting its considerable power in furtherance of a political agenda of such monumental significance.

Multitudes of lives have been lost and destroyed in Middle East wars – many thousands of them American. Israel is the core issue in the Middle East and key cause of hostility to the U.S., is a factor in the American economic crisis, is embedded in U.S. electoral politics, and plays a significant role in many aspects of American policy formation. It is essential that Americans become well informed on Israel and on our relationship to it.

Author George Orwell’s words capture the profound significance of the Weider censorship within its history magazines: “Who controls the past controls the future.” Or, in the words of someone who posted to an online bodybuilding forum about the Weiders’ ownership of history publications: “Of course, if you control the writing of history…you gain power.”

The way to avoid a dangerously darkening future, I feel, is to free the past to full, open, and unfiltered inquiry. Our forefathers created freedom of the press because they rightly understood the necessity of a fully informed populace for the survival of our democratic republic.

The only way to counter the manipulation of powerful media owners is to expose their actions widely and to demand better. I hope all those who love knowledge, who care about the United States, and who value the lives of others on the other side of the world will help disseminate this information. It is time to stop allowing those who own the press to abuse their massive power.

(Alison Weir / www.councilforthenationalinterest.org / 10.12.2012)

Lawyer: Bahrain sentences activist’s daughter to jail

 

A Bahraini court on Monday sentenced the daughter of prominent opposition activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja to one month in jail for taking part in an unauthorized demonstration, her lawyer said.

Zainab al-Khawaja, the eldest of the Shia rights activist’s daughters, was found guilty of entering the “prohibited area” of Pearl Square, the main symbol of 2011 protests crushed by security forces, on 12 February, the lawyer said.

She also was fined 100 dinars (US$258).

Her lawyers disputed the charges, saying there was “no formal decision declaring that Pearl Square is a forbidden area.”

Defense attorney Mohamed al-Wasta also said on his Twitter account that the prosecution ordered Khawaja’s detention for a week on charges of incitement against the regime.

Khawaja, whose father is serving a life sentence for plotting against the state, has faced courts on several occasions already this year.

Her lawyer says she was arrested on Sunday after visiting a hospital in Manama to check on a youth injured during a demonstration.

In October, Khawaja was freed after serving a two-month jail term for destroying government property.

The judiciary accused her of tearing apart a portrait of King Hamad during detention, according to Amnesty International.

In May, she served a one-month prison sentence for assaulting a police officer.

Bahrain came under strong criticism from international human rights organizations over last year’s deadly crackdown on the protests, led by the majority Shiites in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

An international panel commissioned by King Hamad to probe the government’s clampdown found that excessive force and torture had been used against protesters and detainees.

(www.egyptindependent.com / 10.12.2012)

Abu Ismail supporters camp outside Media Production City

Protest of salafists to demand the application of Islamic law and denounce the new constitution

Supporters of former presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail continued their sit-in outside of Media Production City for the fourth day to demand the “cleansing of the media of certain talk show hosts.”

They canceled a mass demonstration that was planned for Monday in order to avoid confrontations with what they called “thugs” intending to sabotage state institutions.

The protesters moved from Gate Four to the main gate, prompting the police to increase their presence out of fear they would storm the studios.

They put up 150 tents, with some of them sleeping on mattresses in the park and covering their faces from the cold. A tent caught fire when a protester lit wood for heating, but the fire was controlled.

The demonstrators also built five brick bathrooms in the park and connected them to the sewage network.

They formed inspection committees and human shields on both sides of the road, carrying banners supporting President Mohamed Morsy and the 15 December referendum on the draft constitution.

(www.egyptindependent.com / 10.12.2012)

Israeli Terror: The “Final Solution” to the Palestine Question

November 28, 2012 “Information Clearing House” –  For the past forty-five years the state of Israel has been dispossessing millions of Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories, confiscating their lands, destroying homes, bulldozing orchards and setting-up ‘Jews-only’ colonial settlements serviced by highways, electrical systems and water works for the exclusive use of the settlers and occupying soldiers.  The process of Israeli territorial expansion throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem has greatly accelerated in recent years, converting Palestinian-held territory into non-viable isolated enclaves – like South Africa’s Bantustans – surrounded by the Israeli soldiers who protect violent settler-vigilantes as they assault and harass Palestinian farmers at work in their fields, beat Arab children on their way to school , pelt Palestinian housewives as they hang their laundry and then invade and defecate in Palestinian mosques and churches.

The Rage and Rape of Gaza and its Apologists

            Israel ’s strategic goal is to impose ‘Greater Israel’ on the region: to take over all of historical Palestine , expell the entire non-Jewish population and subsidize ‘Jews-only’ settlements (for settler-immigrants, often from the US and former USSR ).  While bulldozers and tanks have dispossessed Palestinians in the West Bank for decades, the launching of thousands of missiles and bombs have become the ‘weapons of choice’ for uprooting and eliminating the Palestinians in Gaza .  In just eight days, Israel ’s latest blitzkrieg resulted in the killing of 168 Palestinians (42 children and 100 civilians), the wounding of 1,235, the destruction of over 1,350 buildings and the further traumatizing of over 1.7 million children, women and men fenced in the world’s largest concentration camp.  According to the Israeli Defense Minister, the Jewish State dropped “a thousand times more bombs onto Gaza ” than the Palestinians fired back into Israel .

            The current Israeli offensive began with the gruesome assassination of a prominent Hamas leader, Ahmed Jabari, and immediately escalated into an assault on the entire Palestinian population of Gaza .  Secure in the knowledge that the Palestinians had no capacity to retaliate with similar weaponry, the Israeli High Command ordered the systematic destruction of civilian life, workplaces and densely populated neighborhoods. Over 75% of the casualties have been non-combatants; almost half are children, women and elders.

            The Israeli propaganda machine and its ‘Fifth Column’ in the US fabricated and repeated the Big Lie:  that the Jewish state was ‘defending itself’… Right… with only six (mostly military) deaths and 280 wounded (the majority non-threatening) versus the nearly 200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, slaughtered.  The US Zionist power configuration (ZPC), embedded in the policy centers of the US Executive, the Congress and both political parties, parroted this line.  All the major US TV networks and print media reproduced verbatim Israeli Foreign Office press handouts about Israel ’s ‘defensive’ … genocide … while entire Palestinian families were being buried under the rubble of their bombed apartments.

            Death and destruction, planned and executed with the unanimous support of all the major Israeli political parties and leaders, enthralled the mass of its Jewish citizens: Indeed, over 80% of Israeli Jews supported the terror blitz against Gaza .  As the Russian media outlet (RT) reported: “A new wave of hatred towards Palestinians is sweeping through Israel from public figures to the man (person) in the street”.  The Israeli Interior Minister declared that “Gaza should be bombed into the Middle Ages”. Israeli demonstrators in Tel Aviv shouted; “they (the Palestinians) don’t deserve to live, they must die”, “may your children die” and “now we must go back there (to Gaza) and kick out all Arabs”.  The prominent Israeli Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, the son of a former chief rabbi, made a speech in the Cave of the Patriarchs in occupied Hebron where he blessed the Israeli soldiers and urged them “to slaughter their enemy”.

            Even more to the point, Israel Katz , Israel ’s Transport Minister, demanded “Gaza be bombed so hard the population will have to flee into Egypt (the Sinai desert)”.  Avi Dichter, the Minister of Home Front Defense, incited the Israeli military to “re-format” Gaza – that is to erase its population with bombs.

            Almost half of Israeli Jews considered Netanyahu’s terror bombing of Gaza insufficient: According to the independent Israeli Maagar Mohot poll, half of Israelis opposed the cease fire and demanded the bloody assault against the Palestinian population of Gaza continue.  The same poll reported that almost a third of Israeli Jews though their government should have sent ground forces into Gaza , an invasion which would have led to tens of thousands of Palestinian casualties and total destruction of their vital infrastructural life-lines.  Netanyahu and his allies in power now confront a new, totalitarian mass opposition that openly embraces a genocidal ‘Final Solution’ to the Palestinian problem.

Genocide at the Service of Greater Israel

            The parallels between the pronouncements and actions of Nazi Germany and Zionist Israel are overwhelming.  The bloodlust in Israel goes far beyond psychopathic raving of a few deranged rabbis and marginal politicians:  it extends from the top Cabinet members to the average citizen.

            In Israel, almost an entire people – over 80% of Jews – support, with varying degrees of intensity,  the terror bombing and slaughter of the people of Gaza.  Setting aside the profound sociopathic disorders of the raging and racist multitude in Israel , what is politically more significant are the totalitarian rants of leading Israeli public figures, published as editorials, in such newspapers as the respectable Jerusalem Post: “We need to flatten all of Gaza . There should be no electricity in Gaza , no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing,” writes Gilad Sharon and the statements of prominent Knesset members, like Michael Ben-Ari , “There are no innocents in Gaza … mow them (all) down”.  These outbursts reveal Israel ’s strategic goal:  Genocide at the service of Greater Israel – the bloody purge of 5 million Palestinians, the creation of a 100 percent ‘pure’ Jewish State.  Overseas (mostly US) Zionist-Jewish media moguls, Ivy League university academics, billionaires, US Congress people and government officials finance, underwrite, propagandize for and promote with single-minded perseverance the defense of Israel’s most heinous war crimes, its violations of international law and its ongoing crimes against humanity.

            During the entire period of the recent Israeli blitzkrieg, Israel ’s Fifth column, the Presidents of the 52 Major American Jewish Organizations, the New York Times and the rest of the major US press rose to the dirty task of giving unconditional support for Israel ’s war crimes.  Vocal support from the US White House and by extension the leaders of the European Union echoed Netanyahu’s lies.  In order to grasp the media white wash of these ongoing crimes against humanity one could compare the US press reports on Israel’s bombing of Gaza to those which would have appeared in the leading fascist newspapers at the time of Hitler’s ‘defensive’ attacks on Poland and Belgium and the bombing blitz of civilians in London.

            The true purpose of Israel ’s terror bombing raids and assassinations in Gaza and the cutting up of the West Bank is to make these territories uninhabitable for the Palestinians. The daily humiliation and destruction of the basic conditions for normal life are designed to force young, educated, ambitious Palestinians to abandon their land, homes and families for less grotesquely barbaric sites, where they might achieve a normal civilized existence, free from foul-mouthed Jewish settlers, unending military incursions, Israeli soldiers pistol-whipping their fathers or breaking the legs and arms of stone-throwing Arab schoolkids.

The Logic of Public Flogging

            This obscene Israeli-Jewish behavior is intentionally open and flagrant:  Flaunting Jewish military superiority over the defenseless Arab is vital part of the psychological war reinforcing the idea of Arab inferiority and of Palestinians as aliens in their own country.  Israel ’s underlying slogan “Arab Raus!” (Arabs Get Out!) echoes the Nazi screed, “Juden Rauss” (Jews Get Out!).  The message is clear: “If you are not a Jew then you do not exist!  Your very alien presence is an abomination in the eyes of the Zionist GodSo if you won’t leave politely we will hasten your departure with a few thousand bombs, missiles and a rain of white phosphorous.”  That is the deeper meaning of Israel ’s rape of Gaza .

The Impact of Israel ’s Genocide on US Society

            Leading journalists in the politically most influential US newspapers, academics from the most prestigious universities and ‘experts’ from the leading research institutes have systematically defended each and every Israeli war-crime, including the rape of Gaza, the demolition of Palestinian civil society and the cruel blockade of 1.7 million Palestinians in the biggest ‘open air concentration’ camp in the world.

            As usual, the Uber-Zionist Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz and his acolytes provide a legal gloss on the savage bombing of essential public services and private communication and media centers.  Not to be outdone by the loudmouths in Harvard Square , Yale and Princeton professors, with tribal loyalties to the Jewish state, describe the Israeli killing machine as a righteous citizen army defending its eternally victimized people.  “Experts” at the Brookings Institute, Hudson Institute and dozens of other ‘research’ (read propaganda) centers provide ‘scientific’ explanations regarding Israel ’s unique right to dispossess millions of Palestinians. The experts’ justifications of Israeli war crimes permeate the mass media, penetrate the homes of millions of Americans and fill the heads of elected officials.  Meanwhile they ‘convince’ and/or browbeat thousands of non-tribal school teachers and educators into complicity or silence, thus perverting and hollowing out what residual humane and democratic values remain embedded in the citizenry.  It is precisely the much-vaunted ‘high achievements’ of so many Israel-Firsters that has led to their rise to the most influential positions in US society and state and makes their support of terror bombings, ethnic cleansing and genocide so deeply destructive to the US political culture.  In spite of this, some of the same expert-academic apologists for Israel’s terror against the Arab civilians are the most vociferous defenders of human rights everywhere else in the world – including the US (piously condemning US war crimes whenever and wherever they are not explicitly aligned with the interest of the Jewish State).  These ‘experts’ have perverted the concept of universal human rights in the minds of the US public.

            As the US mass audience and political class watches the smoke, debris and wreckage of Gaza – and even catch glimpses of a child’s dismembered small body – they are told by the tribal loyalists that this destruction is morally justified, that the target is really “Hamas” – even over the piercing cries of Palestinian mothers for their slaughtered children.  US citizens are told that Israel ’s aggressive aerial bombing and mass shelling from warships off-shore is really a “defensive” maneuver against a “terrorist” regime – one which just happens to lack a single airplane, warship, tank or missile capable of hitting a single major Israeli military or civilian installation.

The Zionist Academic –Journalist Propaganda Complex

            The Israeli academic-journalist propaganda complex in the US has pushed the entire US political narrative even further to the fascist right.  It has perverted our political vocabulary, equating mass slaughter with national defense; equating the ‘anxiety’ of Israeli Jewish civilians with the homeless, jobless and traumatized widows and children emerging from their devastated densely-populated urban neighborhoods.

            The tribal scholars and mass media pundits excel in transforming executioners into victims and victims into executioners.  The Liberal-Zionists, peace-time critics of Israel, remove their peace buttons and pick up scripts defending ‘just wars’, as soon as Israel starts bombing another Arab population or adversary.  For the liberal (human-rights-spouting) Zionists, bombing civilians is always illegal – except when it is Israel launching the missiles.  Propaganda zealots for Israel saturate the media attacking any human rights activist critical of Israel with charges of “anti-Semitism”. They smear, threaten and blackmail each and every dissenting voice daring to oppose their narrative.

The entire mass media and the most prestigious universities censor any mention of Israeli crimes against humanity.  As bombs rained on Gaza not one single Congressional voice denounced the odious American President Obama when he defended Israel’s eight-day “Guernica” against a defenseless population.  Unlike the citizens in Nazi Germany, we, in the US and Western Europe , cannot claim that we did not know about Israeli war crimes as they were happening.  On the other hand, how can the mass of semi-literate TV viewers in the US really ‘know’ what is going on when Israel-Firsters have so thoroughly ‘framed the context’ – claiming it’s all defensive, that only Hamas “terrorists” are targeted …despite the images of children being frantically pulled from the wreckage of their homes.  However, the educated classes in the US do know about Israel ’s tradition and practice of mass civilian bombings; they do remember Lebanon 2006 as well as Gaza 2008-2009 (and countless Israeli massacres in the late 20thcentury). At the same time, they also “remember” the vicious reprisals and vitriolic attacks the Zionist ideological attack-dogs launched against the critics.  Having ‘learned their lessons’ from the Zionist ‘thought-cops’ they conveniently remember … to forget and walk away… from the whole ‘Middle East mess’.  Worse still, they sanctimoniously blame the Palestinians for their efforts to retaliate in the face of Israel ’s blatant murders of their most prestigious leaders as well as their stubborn refusal to surrender.

There are a few Left-Zionists who actually praise the ‘resilience’ of the Palestinians and their refusal to surrender to the dictates of Israel and its occupying army. They note how the Gazans ‘celebrate’ their ‘victory’ amidst the rubble after having secured a very tenuous cease fire.  Any reasonable observer could reply to this sentimental nonsense:  Is survival in an open air concentration camp for another day, the daily prospect of Israeli drone flights overhead and a brutal land and sea blockade any “victory”?  There is no cause for celebration:  Transforming Israeli war crimes into Palestinian virtues is a cheap liberal Zionist sideshow.  An eight-day Israeli assault, which had successfully destroyed every major and minor public office responsible for providing the people of Gaza with essential services, and the savaging of the  water and sewage system, power and electrical grids and media offices (not to mention perishable food and medicine) is nothing to celebrate.  In fact the underlying strategic goal of the Jewish state – to make the remains of historical Palestine uninhabitable (a modern ‘howling wilderness’) for its people – has been advanced by leaps and bounds.  Surviving another day in order to bury loved ones and scrounging among the burnt ruins of a home for a birth certificate or photograph is hardly the noble “Hamas victory” proclaimed by Norman Finkelstein and Uri Avneri.

Why NATO – Washington Support Israel ’s Genocidal War

            Unlike in the past, where some international organizations and European states raised tepid objections to Israel ’s military assaults against Palestine or Lebanon , this time around nothing took place.  The White House immediately embraced Israel ’s terror bombing as did the governments of Western Europe .  Meanwhile, Turkey , the Gulf States , the Arab League and the pan-Islamic organizations did nothing concrete, offering no arms, no boycotts, no oil embargos – only shallow symbolic gestures.

Netanyahu timed his assault to take advantage of the western imperial offensive against independent countries and leaders who had historically supported the Palestinian liberation struggle for decades.  Since NATO states had invaded and bombed the sovereign nation of Libya back into the Stone Age, Netanyahu’s Cabinet Ministers must have reasoned, “Why can’t we send the Gazans back to the Middle Ages with our bombs”?  When NATO and the Gulf States now arm, finance and support a prolonged terrorist-led assault against the secular regime, people and infrastructure of Syria , Netanyahu reasons, “Why don’t we do the same to the Palestinians”?

            With the EU, Washington and the Gulf States engaged in covert and overt wars against all of Palestine’s staunchest allies (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya Syria, Iran and the Sudan) and against the people’s movements in Yemen, Bahrain and Pakistan, Netanyahu’s plan to ethnically purge Palestine has advanced with total impunity – indeed with overt Western approval and without concern for any international ‘humanitarian’ sanctions or even protest.

Netanyahu’s murderous war on Gaza , with full US complicity, has unmasked the collaborationist-nature of Egypt ’s Islamist President Morsi.  Morsi, together with US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, secured a cease fire only after Netanyahu had accomplished his immediate goal of destroying the public institutions of civil society and undermining the vital public functions of the Hamas government.

            Against the protests of the blood-thirsty Israeli public, who wanted their bombers and army to ‘finish the job’, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu negotiated and signed an agreement overseen by Morsi on a cease fire where Israel will pay no indemnity to the devastated civilians of Gaza while confirming the Mubarak-era Israeli– Egyptian treaty and starvation blockade of Gaza.      Right after the ‘cease-fire’, President Morsi assumed dictatorial powers over the Egyptian state.  With the shameful terms of the cease fire and Morsi’s assumption of dictatorial powers the ‘Arab Spring’ has come to a tragic end.

Conclusion

            The people of the Middle East , especially the Palestinians, are in their worst position ever.  Palestinians have lost the political, financial and military support of the independent, secular regimes of Libya , Syria and Iraq .  And Iran , the principle source of arms for the Palestinians, faces a US Naval armada off its coast.  Israel is accelerating its naked land grabs in the West Bank .  The PLO continues to be Israel ’s frontline ‘cop on the block’ – jailing resistance fighters and dissidents by the hundreds.  Israel ’s Fifth Column in the US ensures unconditional support for Israel ’s ethnic cleansing of its non-Jewish population. Above all, as the terror bombing of Gaza reveals, Israel, as a state and as a people, is free to bomb and destroy Gaza in order to force a mass exodus of the Palestinians so that they may establish a ‘pure’ and unadulterated Jewish state on historical Palestine.

Epilogue

            Less than 24 hours after the so-called “cease fire” Israeli soldiers murdered an unarmed Palestinian protestor and wounded dozens with live ammunition on the Gazan side of the border.  Israel storm troopers raided West Bank homes and arrested 55 Palestinians accused of supporting Hamas.  Scores more Palestinians in the Beit Lahia area of the West Bank were summarily arrested and jailed as suspected Hamas members.  Jewish vigilante settlers near occupied Hebron uprooted 400 olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers from the village of Hawara .  As the missile murderers take their break, the bull dozers rev up their engines:  Israel ’s leaders pursue their strategic objective of a “pure” Jewish state with their inexorable and destructive juggernaut.  The ‘cease fire’ merely changed the methods and the terrain of dispossession for the time being.

Israel’s assault on Gaza has totally demolished its vibrant recovery and growth since the previous war of destruction.  In 2011 the economy of Gaza grew by 20%; after the recent Israeli attack who would dare consider Gaza as a place to live and invest?

(Prof. James Petras / www.informationclearinghouse.info / 10.12.2012)

Political prisoner Ameer Makhoul: international solidarity a “lighthouse” on journey to Palestine’s liberation

Ameer Makhoul

Ameer Makhoul, a Palestinian citizen of Israel who was persecuted for his work to uphold the rights of his community, penned a letter of salutation to theWorld Social Forum Free Palestine from his Israeli prison cell.

The World Social Forum Free Palestine convened in Porto Alegre, Brazil last weekend. Makhoul, a member of the International Council of the World Social Forum, is 2.5 years into a nine-year sentence for trumped up security charges made by Israel after it coerced a confession from Makhoul throughtorture, his lawyers and family say. Human rights groups have condemned Makhoul’s arrest and imprisonment.

In his salutation to the World Social Forum Free Palestine, Makhoul urges international attention on Gaza and support of Palestinian political prisoners. Despite its latest killing spree in Gaza, Makhoul states, Israel “will never be able to break the spirit [of the] Palestinian people – not in Gaza, not in [the] West Bank, not in Palestine ‘48, not among refugees in [the] Diaspora, and not among [Palestinian political prisoners] in Israeli jail.”

(electronicintifada.net / 10.12.2012)

Hamas representative in Lebanon arrives in Gaza

 

 

GAZA, (PIC)– Ali Baraka, Hamas’s representative in Lebanon, arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday.

A terse statement by the movement’s office in Beirut said that Baraka is scheduled to visit families of martyrs and prisoners on his first ever visit to the Strip.

It said that Baraka would also meet with premier Ismail Haneyya and first deputy speaker of the Palestinian legislative council Dr. Ahmed Bahar in addition to PLC members and leaders of Hamas and other factions in the Strip.

(www.palestine-info.co.uk / 10.12.2012)

Alan Hart: Scoop! Bibi’s letter to Khaled Meshal

Hey readers, I’ve got a scoop. It’s the text of a letter – don’t ask me how I got it – from Israeli Prime Minister  to  leader Meshal.

Alan Hart: Scoop! Bibis letter to Khaled Meshal

It was hand delivered in  by one of ’s many Palestinian collaborators who lives there.

Like most if not all others of his kind, the poor man didn’t volunteer to spy for Israel. He was “recruited” after being told that his wife would be raped if he didn’t provide information for Israel.

Many years ago, as I noted in my book , Terrorist or Peacemaker?, , Fatah’s intelligence chief, told me that most Palestinians who became Israeli assets did so because they were told that their mothers, or their wives, or their daughters or their sisters would be raped if they didn’t do what Israel’ssecurity agencies wanted. “It’s Israel’s standard procedure,”  said. (During Israel’s ground and air assault on Beirut in 1982, a Palestinian woman came to and confessed that she was an Israeli agent, one of 30 who were reporting on Arafat’s movements to enable Israeli jets to zero in and bomb him to pieces.  had the other 29 rounded up and shot. He didn’t tell Arafatuntil they were dead because he knew the chairman would have insisted on mercy and forgiven them).

The envelope containing Netanyahu’s letter was addressed to “His Excellency,.” The letter itself was to “The Palestinian Terrorist Leader.”

The text was as follows:

I thank you with all my heart for your speech in Gaza confirming that Hamas wants no compromise with the  state which, you said, must be liberated, destroyed, “inch by inch.”

Why am I moved to thank you?

I’ll tell you very frankly.

You have solved what was threatening to become a serious problem for me.

The problem?

For some months past European leaders and even people with an inside track to my very, very dear friend  have been telling me that I do not understand Hamas’s real position.

Time and time again I have been told that if I want to do what is best for Israel, I must look beyond the rhetoric Hamas leaders use to keep hope alive in the hearts and minds of their supporters and Palestinians everywhere.

Hamas’s real position, I have been told, is that while it will never, ever, recognize Israel’s right to exist, it is prepared to accept the reality of Israel’s existence inside its pre-1967 borders, The obvious implication, I have been told time and time again, is that Hamas has become pragmatic and is prepared to negotiate on the basis of an end to Israel’s occupation of the  including East , to enable the creation of a Palestinian state which would live in peace with an Israel as envisaged by the letter and spirit of UN SecurityCouncil Resolution 242.

I have even been shown “evidence” in the form of newspaper reports which quoted you and other Hamas leaders categorically stating your readiness for peace or at least “a permanent truce” with an Israel inside its pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem the capital of a Palestinian state or an undivided Jerusalem the capital of two states.

We both know this is a deception on Hamas’s part. You revealed its true face in your speech in Gaza. You want to destroy the Jewish state.

Thanks to what you said in Gaza, I can now look European and other leaders inthe eye and say, “It’s not me who doesn’t understand Hamas’s real position, it’s you.” And if they continue to tell me I should accept Hamas as a party to negotiations, I can and will tell them to go to hell.

As I told my cabinet colleagues shortly after you had spoken in Gaza, if we handed over territory in  and Samaria, we’d be inviting rocket and missile attacks from there on Tel Aviv. And that, I told my colleagues, is why no government I lead will ever bow to international pressure and put Israel’s security at risk.

The old year is about to end and my wish is that you won’t see a new one.

All I want to add for the sake of discussion of the kind I once had with Arafat is this.

The notion that a Palestinian state would launch attacks on Israel from the liberated West Bank is absurd in the extreme. What would happen if it did? Arafat’s answer in more or less the following words was this: “The Israeli Goliath would roll over the mini Palestinian state and crush it out of existence, and it would do so with the understanding and support of the world.”

Arafat added, and surely he was right, that having struggled so long for some justice, his people would not be mad enough to give Israel the pretext to close the Palestine file for ever.

The only madness is in the mind of Netanyahu and more than a few of his cabinet colleagues.

And one more point. The man who is contributing most to the process that may well lead to the destruction of the “Jewish state” is Netanyahu himself. If that was only my  opinion it would not matter, but there is today a still small but growing number of , including some Israelis, who are aware of this and saying so.

In that light Meshal could respond to Netanyahu’s letter with these words: “No, prime minister, it is me who has to thank you for what you are doing to destroy your state!”

(sabbah.biz / 10.12.2012)

Jewish settlers storm Aqsa mosque

 

images_News_2012_12_10_aqsa_300_0[1]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– A big number of Jewish settlers entered the holy Aqsa mosque on Monday morning under heavy police escort.

Eyewitnesses inside the holy site told the PIC reporter that special police units protected the settlers during their stroll in the mosque.

They said that the settlers toured the mosque’s various plazas, utilities, and historical wall near the Marwani mosque.

The witnesses noted that the storming coincided with the presence of a big number of schoolchildren from various schools in Jerusalem.

(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 10.12.2012)