The blinding power of Israel’s closed information environment

Lawrence Davidson considers the distorting power of the Zionist thought collective on Israel’s leaders and supporters, which makes them hostile to criticism, even from friendly quarters, and blinds them to impending perils of their own making.

Not too long ago I gave a talk on the Palestinian bid for statehood. In the audience was a Russian-Israeli expatriate who politely took exception to my criticisms of Israeli policies and behaviour. His main point was that I could not credibly criticize the Israelis because I had not experienced what they had and did not know what they knew. Or, to put it in a more homely manner, I had not walked in their shoes. “Israelis have been trying to find solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian dilemma for over 60 years, so what gives you the wisdom to criticize them and tell them what they should do?” This is an old and often used objection and, if taken literally, would suggest that outside mediation is never possible.

My response to this was quite pointed: it is exactly because Israelis have been entangled in this dilemma for so long and, in addition, have passed off to themselves as well as others their hidden expansionist ambitions as “security” needs, that most of them are incapable of coming up with a just and equitable solution. They therefore very much need those with an outside and relatively objective view to critique their actions.

Israel’s media “may be technically free, but it is nonetheless dominated by the nation’s Zionist ideology and the political and social assumptions it expounds.”

Essentially, most Israelis live in a closed information environment. This is so despite their claim to have a free media. That media may be technically free, but it is nonetheless dominated by the nation’s Zionist ideology and the political and social assumptions it expounds. Counter views may indeed exist, but they do so only as rare exceptions or at the margins. So consistent is the Zionist interpretation of things that, for the country’s Jewish citizenry, it now constitutes a “thought collective” and as such dictates the parameters of their thinking. Under such circumstances, it is only by standing outside this “thought collective” (as do a small number of clear-sighted progressive folks on the Israeli margins) and looking in that one can see clearly what is going on, identify its self-destructive aspects and respond with a rational critique. Of course, to the committed Israeli ideologue, enmeshed on the inside, such a critique will sound wrong-headed and dangerous.

Take for example the valiant efforts of Gideon Levy, the Haaretz journalist who is one of those rare persons dwelling on the margins of Israeli journalism. He has somehow managed to escape the smothering impact of the “thought collective,” or what he calls a “machinery of brainwashing …which really accompanies each of us [Israelis] from early childhood”.

Levy is exceptional because he can ask ordinary questions that, nonetheless, go unasked by the vast majority. Take for instance the following comment he made during the self-aggrandizing Israel celebrations upon the release of Gilad Shalit.

Who isn’t against terror and for Shalit’s release? But that same sobbing [Israeli] society did not for a moment ask itself, with honesty and with courage, why Shalit was captured. It did not for a moment say to itself, with courage and honesty, that if it continued along the same path there will be many more Gilad Shalits, dead or captured. In successive elections it voted, again and again, for centrist and right-wing governments, the kind that guarantee that Shalit will not be the last… No one ever told it that Shalit was the unavoidable price of a state that chooses to live by the sword forever.

“As a consequence of his publicly-offered insight, [IsraeliHaaretz journalist Gideon] Levy ‘has been shot at repeatedly by the Israel Defence Forces, been threatened with being ‘beaten to a pulp’ on the country’s streets and faced demands from government ministers that he be tightly monitored as ‘a security risk’.”

As a consequence of his publicly-offered insight, Levy “has been shot at repeatedly by the Israel Defence Forces, been threatened with being “beaten to a pulp” on the country’s streets and faced demands from government ministers that he be tightly monitored as “a security risk”. According to the UK’sIndependent newspaper, Levy might be either the “most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic”.

Sometimes the outside critique is so unacceptable that it demands suppression. A good example of this has recently surfaced. It seems that back on 12 February 2009 then head of the CIA Leon Panetta (who is now secretary of defence) endorsed a secret CIA analysis “predicting the demise of Zionist Israel within 20 years if general political trends in the region continue”. A primary assumption of the report was that “it was unlikely that Israeli leaders would grant even minimal concessions in order to achieve a settlement with their neighbours which comprise increasingly disillusioned and rapidly growing dignity- and justice-seeking populations”.

So politically unwelcome was this outside assessment that it was immediately suppressed by Zionists within the US government. According to web based accounts only seven copies of the report exist today (at least one of which must be buried deep in some CIA vault).

Though the report was kept from broad distribution, it was not forgotten. So, when Leon Panetta went off to pay a visit to the Israeli leadership in October 2011, he resurrected this assessment. In private talks he told the Israelis that time was working against them and that they had a choice of making peace with their Palestinian and Arab neighbours or risk Israel’s national stability.

Publicly, his message came out like this: the Israelis may have a military edge, but in the long run that may not be enough to sustain them. Things are changing rapidly in the Middle East and yet Israel is not adjusting to the evolving reality. It is instead isolating itself particularly in terms of the diplomatic arena. It is a no-win situation for them.

In addition, Panetta tried to get across to the Israeli leaders that US support, particularly at current levels, is unlikely to last forever. Public attitudes toward Israel are changing in the US and economic troubles might well undermine American support in the foreseeable future.

“…the persistent level of continuing Palestinian resistance has made Israel’s Zionist storyline vulnerable and, instead of adjusting it to changing circumstances, they have circled the wagons and insisted on ideological purity.”

Reportedly, the Israeli leaders’ response was to get angry with Panetta. The traditional Zionist attitude is that the West owes Israel support because of the Holocaust and they expect the West to deliver, whatever the sacrifices and inconveniences. This sort of attitude seems still to prevail not only in Israel, but also in the US Congress (where a similar closed information environment exists). Panetta’s message was that Israel’s assumptions might outlast US feelings of obligation.

Israel’s reaction to ideologically unacceptable messages is, of course, not unique. All nations seek to establish a paradigmatic storyline favourable to themselves and then inculcate it in all following generations. And most succeed in doing so. But the persistent level of continuing Palestinian resistance has made Israel’s Zionist storyline vulnerable and, instead of adjusting it to changing circumstances, they have circled the wagons and insisted on ideological purity. They have even undertaken a new effort to censor Palestinian textbooks, as if such an act will negate what Palestinian children witness daily on the streets.

Stubbornness has risks when it comes to Israel. Panetta emphasized the regional risks to Israel but those are not the only ones.

As just mentioned, economic times are tough here in the US. Deficits are high – perhaps high enough to impact Defence Department budgets. Social and cultural programmes are being cut back daily. And yet Congress, under the mesmerizing sway of Zionist ideologues, pours billions of dollars yearly into Israeli coffers. How long do the angry men in Jerusalem think it will take the American public to notice? And when they do, when aid to Israel becomes a voting issue, the politicians they so depend on, the ones who have been loyal to Israel for decades, are liable to abandon them with alacrity.

But that is not all. At least some of the outrage at this diversion of resources to Israel is bound to take the form of anti-Semitism. Israeli behaviour has managed to turn the Middle East, a region largely devoid of anti-Semitism until the intrusion of the Zionists, into a potential breeding ground for that obnoxious sentiment. And perhaps they will do the same to the American hinterland. That is called blowback. But the men in Jerusalem will never admit their responsibility for this. They say they always knew the world was anti-Semitic at heart and they will loudly proclaim they were right. It was there all the time, even in the heartland of their greatest ally.

Such is the distorting power of a thought collective.

( /26.10.2011)

Ariel Sharon’s son calls Israeli PM Netanyahu a ‘coward’ and ‘subversive’ in new book

In his new book on his father Ariel Sharon’s life, Gilad Sharon calls current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “coward” and a “subversive.”

His attack on Netanyahu came in the context of discussing his father’s effort to push his Gaza disengagement plan through the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in 2004. Gilad discussed how Netanyahu and several other members of Sharon’s cabinet tried to make the effort more difficult.

“Netanyahu, who had helped draft the plan and voted in favor of it in the cabinet meeting … suddenly added a condition: they called for a national referendum, without which they would not support the plan,” he wrote in “Sharon: The Life of a Leader.”

To push this new condition, Gilad writes, Netanyahu demanded an “urgent” meeting with his father before the vote. Ariel Sharon refused.

Netanyahu ultimately voted in favor of the plan at the vote, but the move irked Gilad.

“This was a true manifestation of Netanyahu’s character,” Gilad writes. “Not only was he subversive, but he was also a coward,” he added, presumably calling Netanyahu a coward for not standing by his threat to vote against the measure.

Netanyahu would ultimately resign in protest from Sharon’s cabinet in 2005 before the cabinet formerly authorized the first faze of the Gaza withdrawal. Ariel Sharon suffered a debilitating stroke at the beginning of 2006 which forced him out of the prime minister’s office.

In an interview with The Daily Caller, Gilad seemed none too enthused to discuss that passage of his book.

“Well, you know, I bring the facts as they are,” Gilad said when asked if his father viewed Netanyahu similarly. “I am sure Netanyahu is doing his best,” he added, before transitioning to discuss his father’s diplomatic efforts.

When pressed again to discuss how his father’s relationship was with Netanyahu, Gilad exclaimed, “My father appointed him minister in his government!”

( / 26.10.2011)

Settlers attack on civilians in southern Nablus

Dozens of Jewish settlers attacked on Wednesday night, a number of citizens, they broke windows of a number of Palestinian vehicles south of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus.

The groups of settlers have been present near the junction of Yitzhar south of the city and started throwing stones at vehicles passing citizens, breaking windows between 15 and 20 of them, indicating that the soldiers did not intervene against these attacks.

While attacked a Palestinian family from the town of Hawara, preventing them from picking olives in their territory, and attacked the policemen and attack them.

(Facebook / 26.10.2011)

Qatar admits it had boots on the ground in Libya; NTC seeks further NATO help

Libya’s interim leader, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, said that Qatar had been a major partner in all the battles the National Transitional Council fought. (Reuters)

Libya’s interim leader, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, said that Qatar had been a major partner in all the battles the National Transitional Council fought.

Qatar revealed for the first time on Wednesday that hundreds of its soldiers had joined Libyan rebel forces on the ground as they battled troops of veteran leader Muammar Qaddafi.

“We were among them and the numbers of Qataris on ground were hundreds in every region,” said Qatari chief of staff Major General Hamad bin Ali al-Atiya.

The announcement marks the first time that Qatar has acknowledged it had military boots on the ground in Libya.

Previously the gas-rich country said it had only lent the support of its air force to NATO-led operations to protect civilians during the eight-month uprising, which ended when Qaddafi was felled with a bullet to the head after being captured last week.

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting in Doha of military allies of Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC), Atiya said the Qataris had been “running the training and communication operations.”

“Qatar had supervised the rebels’ plans because they are civilians and did not have enough military experience. We acted as the link between the rebels and NATO forces,” he said.

Libya’s interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil told the meeting that Qatar had been “a major partner in all the battles we fought.”

He added that the Qataris had “planned” the battles which paved the way for NTC fighters to gradually take over Qaddafi-held towns and cities.

Libyans seek further NATO help

Libya’s interim leader urged NATO on Wednesday to maintain its involvement in the country until the end of the year, though the Western military alliance is keen to wind up its formal mission within days.

“We hope (NATO) will continue its campaign until at least the end of this year to serve us and neighboring countries,” Abdel Jalil told the Conference of Friends Committee made at a Doha conference of military allies of his National Transitional Council.

This request is aimed at “ensuring that no arms are infiltrated into those countries and to ensure the security of Libyans from some remnants of Qaddafi’s forces who have fled to nearby countries,” he added.

The NTC is also seeking help from NATO in “developing Libya’s defense and security systems,” Abdel Jalil told the conference.

With Qaddafi’s son and heir-apparent Seif al-Islam believed still at large and seeking to flee following his father’s killing last week, Jalil said he wanted NATO help in stopping Qaddafi loyalists escaping justice.

But at the Brussels headquarters of the alliance, whose air strikes and intelligence backed the motley rebel forces for eight months at substantial financial cost, NATO officials recalled that their U.N. mandate was to protect civilians, not target individuals.

A meeting of NATO ambassadors, postponed from Wednesday to Friday to allow for further discussion with the NTC and United Nations, was still due to endorse a preliminary decision to halt the Libya mission on October 31, a spokeswoman for the bloc said.

Asked if NATO ambassadors on Friday would stick to the decision to end the mission at the end of the month, spokeswoman Carmen Romero said: “That is the preliminary decision … The formal decision will be taken this week.”

She added that, for the time being, “NATO continues to monitor the situation on the ground, and retains the capability to respond to any threats to civilians”.

Romero said NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was in consultations with the United Nations and the National Transitional Council about plans to conclude the mission.

NATO states took their decision last week based on military recommendations. The commander the Libya mission Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard said on Monday he saw virtually no risk of forces loyal to Qaddafi mounting successful attacks to regain power and NATO believed NTC forces were able to handle security threats.

War crimes complaint

Meanwhile Qaddafi’s family plans to file a war crimes complaint against NATO with the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the alliance’s alleged role in his death, their lawyer said .

The 69-year-old ex-strongman was captured near the city of Sirte in circumstances that are still unclear, but it has been confirmed NATO aircraft fired on pro-Qaddafi vehicles driving in a convoy from the city.

Marcel Ceccaldi, a French lawyer who previously worked for Qaddafi’s regime and now represents his family, told AFP that a complaint would be filed with the Hague-based ICC because NATO’s attack on the convoy led directly to his death.

“The willful killing (of someone protected by the Geneva Convention) is defined as a war crime by Article 8 of the ICC’s Rome Statute,” he said.

He said he could not yet say when the complaint would be filed, but said it would target both NATO executive bodies and the leaders of alliance member states.

“Qaddafi’s homicide shows that the goal of (NATO) member states was not to protect civilians but to overthrow the regime,” Ceccaldi said.

“Either the ICC intervenes as an independent and impartial jurisdiction or it doesn’t, in which case force will overrule the law,” he said.

The NTC has announced an investigation into Qaddafi’s death.

International disquiet has grown over how Qaddafi met his end after NTC fighters hauled him out of a culvert where he was hiding following NATO air strikes on the convoy in which he had been trying to flee his falling hometown.

The ICC in June issued arrest warrants for Qaddafi, Seif al-Islam and the former regime’s intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, for “crimes against humanity” committed by troops under their orders, using “lethal force” to quell the uprising against his regime.

Local officials said Tuesday that Seif al-Islam and Senussi, who have so far evaded capture, were poised to cross into Niger where they were expected to seek refuge along with other former regime officials.

( / 26.10.2011)

Mauro’s vrienden: “toekennen van verblijf aan Mauro enige optie”


1) AANWEZIGHEID BIOLOGISCHE MOEDER: Mauro heeft geen noemenswaardig contact met haar daarom heeft het NIDOS (jeugdzorgasielzoekers) na herhaalde pogingen besloten dat contact niet mogelijk is, daarna is geïnvesteerd in verstevigen band met pleegouders.

De Nederlandse overheid, het NIDOS, heeft de pleegouders gevraagd Mauro op te vangen. Mauro en het gezin hebben altijd aan alle afspraken en verzoeken voldaan.
De voogd van het NIDOS valt ook niet te verwijten, hij heeft vastgesteld dat de band met de moeder niet meer goed was en terugkeer onacceptabel, hij meent dat de band voor Mauro niet meer te herstellen is. De voogd heeft in zijn beslissingen gehandeld overeenkomstig hetInternationaal Verdrag Rechten van het Kind (IVRK).
Voor Nederlandse kinderen wordt de regel gehanteerd dat een kind dat 2-3 jaar elders geworteld is, niet meer verplaatst wordt. Deze regel wordt ten aanzien van Mauro niet toegepast, hij wordt zelfs na 8 jaar niet als geworteld beschouwt als het aan de minister ligt. Er mag geen onderscheid gemaakt worden tussen kinderen
Mauro heeft het recht op “family life” opgebouwd en het recht moet worden toegepast in het beste belang! van het kind.

3) PRECEDENTWERKING: het verhaal van Mauro is uniek, we hebben noch namen noch aantallen gehoord van de minister wat betreft andere pleegkinderen die wachten op verblijf.Mauro’s situatie is uniek:
a) op zeer jonge leeftijd hierheen gekomen
b) als alleenstaande minderjarige vreemdeling
c) langdurig verblijf in Nederland (ruim 8 jaar)
d) gehecht geraakt en gebleven aan pleeggezinDeze unieke situatie maakt dat minister Leers ook zijn discretionaire bevoegdheid kan gebruiken. In voorgaande jaren is ongeveer 160 keer per jaar deze speciale bevoegdheid toegepast om zeer schrijnende gevallen toch toe te laten.
Minister Leers heeft deze bevoegdheid pas iets meer dan 40 keer gebruikt.Als Mauro’s Vrienden menen wij dat minister Leers in gegeven omstandigheden zijn bevoegdheid moet gebruiken om aan Mauro een verblijfsvergunning voor onbepaalde tijd af te geven.
( / 26.10.2011)

Report: Germany rethinks submarine sale to Israel

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — Germany is reconsidering its decision to sell Israel a sixth “Dolphin” class submarine, Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Wednesday.

According to a report in Ynet, a news service connected to the newspaper, the move was prompted by the tensions between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Top political sources” say Merkel is fed up with Netanyahu, who “gave her the impression that he would be willing to suspend settlement expansion in order to push the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.”

Instead, Israel approved over 1,000 housing units in the Gilo settlement, indicating Netanyahu “cannot be taken seriously and has no intention of complying with the basic terms” to renew talks.

( / 26.10.2011)

Four-Year-Old Girl Shot in Neck next to Wall in Anata

Shortly after noon on Wednesday, a four-year-old Palestinian girl named Asil Arara was shot in the neck by Israeli troops near her village of Anata, northeast of Jerusalem. A PNN reporter in Jerusalem said the shot was fired from the nearby Anatot army training camp toward Arara’s home, which lies next to the wall separating Anata from Jerusalem.

An Israeli soldier holds a tear gas canister and rifle
Medical sources in al-Makased Hospital in Jerusalem told PNN that Arara was “seriously wounded” and described her condition as “dangerous.” Arara, they said, was in danger of paralysis as a result of the injury.
Arara’s grandmother Samiha spoke to PNN on Wednesday afternoon, describing her granddaughter’s condition as “between life and death” and said she was playing near the wall when the shot was fired. Samiha speculated it was a stray bullet, not aimed at Asil.
( / 26.10.2011)

Nederlandse ziekenhuizen vangen 50 Libische gewonden op

Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, voorzitter van de NTC, bezoekt een in Sirte gewond geraakte strijder.

Vijftig Libische gewonden komen naar Nederlandse ziekenhuizen om hier behandeld te worden. Het kabinet reageert daarmee op een dringend verzoek van de Nationale Overgangsraad (NTC) in Libië. Dat is vanavond bekendgemaakt.

Ziekenhuizen in Libië zijn grotendeels verwoest door de strijd in het land. Daarnaast is het aantal gewonden groot. Ook andere Europese landen als Duitsland, Italië, Spanje en Frankrijk vangen Libische gewonden op. Libië betaalt voor de verkregen zorg in andere landen.

Naar verwachting komen later deze week of begin volgende week de eerste gewonden naar Nederland. Het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken wijst erop dat de zorg aan hen niet ten koste zal gaan van Nederlandse patiënten. Zodra de behandeling is afgelopen, gaan de gewonde Libiërs terug naar hun eigen land.

( / 26.10.2011)