Vridar

2013/06/23

Terrorism Facts #4: Personal Motives of Palestinian Suicide Bombers

Filed under: Hafez: Manufacturing Human Bombs,Israel-Palestine,Terrorism — Neil Godfrey @ 11:32 am
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manufacturing-human-bombsPalestinian suicide bombing operations are now (hopefully) history. The last one was five years ago. It is still good (even if painful) to understand them, however. (I have certainly found much of the reading preparation for this post to be painful; sometimes I could not bring myself to repeat certain details of what I learned.)

Having said that, let me say now that I am vain enough to think that Vridar readers are in some respects like me and share an interest in learning facts about terrorism and suicide bombings (along with any related role of Islam) from investigative journalists and in particular from scholarly researchers who specialize in the relevant fields: anthropology, sociology, political science, Islamist studies among them. To this end my reading list to date consists of Amin Saikal, Ghassan Hage, Jason Burke, Robert Pape, John Esposito, Riaz Hassan, Greg Barton, Scott Atran, Mohammed Hafez, Zaki Chehab, Lily Zubaidah Rahim, Amin Saikal, Tariq Ali and Tom Holland.

I am interested in studying the data these researchers gather in support of their conclusions. That’s what these posts have been attempting to do ever since November 2006: to present some sound and verifiable research data and tried and tested explanatory models of human behaviour to counter the pop polemics from public figures (think Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne) who clearly have no more specialist understanding or knowledge of this area than a twelve year old madrassah pupil has about evolutionary biology or neurology.

It is also disturbing to learn through some of the rhetoric of critics of these posts (and the writings of Harris, Dawkins and Coyne) how very little they know about the “facts on the ground” and the history of the Middle East. I am dismayed that one such figure, Sam Harris, even publicly ridicules and blatantly misrepresents the findings of one of the most prominent and politically influential anthropologists who has risked his life to learn first-hand, in field research, how terrorists think.

In what other area would a public intellectual think to ridicule his intellectual peers while at the same time promoting the popular prejudices and CNN sound-bytes and Fox News stories as reliable and responsible datasets and founts of wisdom?

So far I have posted thoughts and research from publications by

  • Ghassan Hage — anthropologist with interesting insights, though some of his views relating to suicide terrorist motivations have been superseded by subsequent researchers
  • Robert Pape — political scientist responsible for a landmark study of all suicide terrorist attacks from 1980 to 2003.
  • John Esposito — professor of religion and Islamist studies; draws upon Gallup polling
  • Riaz Hassan — sociologist drawing upon a Flinders University Database 0f terrorist actions as well as other polling studies
  • Scott Atran — anthropologist who has been advisor and confidante to many governments and government bodies. (Have also posted on another book of his on the evolutionary basis of religion, “In Gods We Trust”.)
  • Mohammed Hafez — political scientist specializing in studies of Muslim societies in Middle East
  • Tom Holland — historian who has raised controversial questions about the origins of Islam

Also by

And yes, I’ve also read Sam Harris (two books), Chris Hitchens (four books), Richard Dawkins (six or seven books plus interviews), Daniel Dennett (one book) and even Jerry Coyne (one book and lots of blog posts) and what they have had to pontificate against their perceptions of Islam.

For the benefit of newer readers who have been upset by my posts on this theme, note that these posts began in the first month of the creation of this blog. This is not some new-found interest of mine. The by-line of this blog from the beginning has been, Musings on biblical studies, politics, religion, ethics, human nature, tidbits from science. Only this year have some readers seen fit to complain that they do not think that these posts meet Vridar standards of presenting reliable scholarly research and sound argument.

Mohammed M. Hafez

Mohammed M. Hafez

I have since had an opportunity to read two more books by Mohammed Hafez: one exploring the phenomenon of suicide attacks in Iraq (up to 2006) and the other Palestinian suicide bombers from 1993 to 2005.

I was prompted to obtain a copy of Hafez’s study of the terrorist attacks in Iraq after hearing of yet one more horrific spate of bombings that once again killed dozens of Iraqis. (Why are they targeting fellow Muslims? Especially now that the U.S. has left? It turns out that there is a strong motivation among a good number of people to maintain Iraq as a failed state.)

This post primarily addresses Hafez’s findings about the motives of individual Palestinian suicide bombers. I conclude with a few related explanations from Scott Atran. (Sorry, that was my intention when I began this post, but the post turned out way much longer than I anticipated. More on Scott Atran’s views later.)

Religious Fanaticism

A popular Western view is that the Muslim world has a fatal enchantment with martyrdom. Religious fanaticism is one of the most common explanations of why individuals volunteer to become human bombs. (Suicide Bombers in Iraq, p. 218)

In his earlier book, Manufacturing Human Bombs, Hafez singled out several problems with this explanation: (more…)

2013/05/11

Latest News from the Middle East — PEACE just for the recognition of International Law

Filed under: Israel-Palestine — Neil Godfrey @ 4:27 pm
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The caption that originally displayed beneath the Vridar title of this blog was

Musings on biblical studies, politics, religion, ethics, human nature, tidbits from science

Unfortunately I was unable to salvage that detail when I moved to the current WordPress theme. Nonetheless, it encapsulates the original intent of this blog. Even I need the odd breather from posts relating to biblical studies.

I don’t know how many Westerners were exposed to the latest news from the Middle East but, since the overwhelming majority of this blog’s readers are in affluent Western nations, I would like to bring to the notice of any reader with an interest in Israeli affairs the following news item that has emerged within the past 24 hours. It’s the sort of news item that tends to pop up at least once a year and then gets buried before anyone has time to notice it. Just as well. Otherwise the myths about Arab intransigence over the Israel-Palestine situation would be seriously threatened by an eroding of general public credibility.

Missing from the Arab Peace Plan: an Israeli Partner

Yep, once again, the Arab states are offering Israel a peace agreement. You never heard of any such thing before? Read on, and watch the video at the end. (I know, the Arabs really should lift their game and hire Western Public Relations firms to assist them with how they come across to the public. But I know Vridar readers are smart enough to read the core and dismiss the fluff.)

For reasons best left for another post (though addressed in previous comments here), most Westerners have been exposed to a constant barrage of “news” that depicts the Israeli government as bending over backwards, giving up land and all sorts of concessions, all for the sake of peace — yet in vain! The Arabs and Palestinians, our news media and official channels regularly inform us, are hate-filled war-mongers who want nothing but the complete eradication of Israel from the map.

This week, however, has seen the repeat of an annual event that this time has come with an added punch.

Every year since 2002 the Arab states have re-endorsed their offer to Israel for complete and full recognition of the State of Israel, an end to all hostilities and affirmation of peace, if Israel agrees to accept the borders still legally binding by the United Nations — the borders that existed before the Israeli attack on Arab states in June 1967.

A quick aside here. A few people old enough still cling to the propaganda that was fed to the Western media at the outbreak of the June 1967 attack by Israel on its neighbours and quaintly think David-Israel itself was being threatened with annihilation by Goliath-Arabs at the time and was thus fighting for its very survival. For the benefit of any Westerner still enamoured with that illusion, I present the following:

Israel Air Force Commander General Ezer Weitzman: Israel “faced no threat of destruction” but the attack on her Arab neighbours was justified so that Israel could “exist according the scale, spirit, and quality she now embodies.”

Menahem Begin: “In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s Chief of Staff: “I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to The Sinai would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive war. He knew it and we knew it.”

New York Times, 1997: “Moshe Dayan, the celebrated commander who, as Defense Minister in 1967, gave the order to conquer the Golan . . . [said] many of the firefights with the Syrians were deliberately provoked by Israel, and the kibbutz residents who pressed the Government to take the Golan Heights did so less for security than for the farmland . . . [Dayan stated] ‘They didn’t even try to hide their greed for the land . . . We would send a tractor to plow some area where it wasn’t possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn’t shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance further, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot.

And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that’s how it was . . . The Syrians, on the fourth day of the war, were not a threat to us.’”

At the time of the 1967 war, or at least in its immediate aftermath, the Israeli government declared that the territories that it had conquered in June 1967 were “a bargaining chip”. That is, at the time of their conquest, the Israeli state knew that it lacked any legitimacy to hold on to its conquered territories. It hoped to gain further concessions in the wake of the 1967 war of aggression through the territories it had conquered.

But this year, 2013, the Arab states have gone a step further. They have allowed Israelis living in the West Bank’ densest settlements to remain there!!!!!

And there’s a video presentation on The Real News network presenting the same recent event within a deeper historical context: (more…)

2012/01/08

Palestine 1896 (beautiful)

Filed under: Israel-Palestine — Neil Godfrey @ 4:55 am
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From Gilad Atzmon.

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2011/12/31

Lest we forget never know: The Nakba

Filed under: Israel-Palestine — Neil Godfrey @ 5:31 pm
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From http://zochrot.org/en

A Public hearing at Zochrot, a testimony given by Amnon Neauman, a 1948 Palmach soldier describing the occupation of the Negev villages.

Initiated and organized by Amir Hallel. The testimony was video-recorded by Lia Tarachansky. Miri Barak prepared the transcription. Eitan Bronstein edited, summarized, and added footnotes. Translated to English by Asaf Kedar. Video editing by Zohar Kfir.

 

Transcript

Amnon Neumann: I was in the Second, Eighth, and Ninth Battalions of the Palmach from February 1948 until my discharge in October 1949. I was there for this whole period, except for a few months after I had been wounded and after my father had passed away.

The most significant period for me in terms of the Nakba was April-May 1948, when the battles or clashes with the locals took place, until the Egyptian Army arrived. At first we escorted convoys traveling on the road from ‘Iraq Suwaydan , from Rehovot, [through] ‘Iraq Suwaydan, Kawkaba and Burayr, to Nir-‘Am where our company headquarters were located. Then an armed group of Arabs situated itself in Burayr and didn’t let us through, so we took a different route, from near Ashdod where Isdud was located, through Majdal, Barbara, Bayt Jirja, to Yad Mordechai. From there we drove to Nir-‘Am. Those were the two routes [we used] until the Egyptian army arrived. When the Egyptian army arrived, it was a completely different situation.

The Egyptian army arrived when we had wiped out all Arab resistance, which wasn’t that strong. It would be an exaggeration to say we fought against the Palestinians… in fact there were no battles, almost no battles. In Burayr there was a battle, there were battles here and there, further up north. But there were no big battles; why? Because they had no military capabilities, there weren’t organized. The big battles started with the entry of the Egyptian army, and those were very difficult problems, especially from May 15th, when we were still an organized army—the Palmach—semi-military. But their soldiers were organized by British methods, they fought like the British. But they had no leadership and they had no motivation. So when they attacked, it was very lousy, they hardly knew how to attack, but they did know how to defend themselves. They knew they were fighting for their lives. But as far as all the rest, it was a fifth-rate army. They had terrible cannons that killed us like hell. They had all kinds of tanks of different types, and they were a problem for us. We didn’t have anything, we had armored vehicles, those fluttering ones that were impossible to fight with, not against tanks and not even against a halftrack, right? But we more or less managed with them.

The villagers’ flight, and I understand this is the main issue here, happened gradually. I only know about what happened from the ‘Iraq Suwaydan road, [through] Majdal, to ‘Iraq al-Manshiyya . We were to the south of this area, and to its north there was the Givati Brigade. The day the Egyptians entered the war, the Negev was cut off and that was mostly our fault, my platoon’s fault… I’ll say more about it later. But that wasn’t significant. The Egyptians’ attacks were significant. They beat the hell out of us and killed us mercilessly.

The villagers’ flight started when we began cleaning these convoy escort routes. It was then that we started to expel the villagers… and in the end they fled by themselves. There were no special events worth mentioning. No atrocities and no nothing. No civilians can live while there’s a war going on. They didn’t think they were running away for a long period of time, they didn’t think they wouldn’t return. Nor did anyone imagine that a whole people won’t return. (more…)

2011/09/06

The Wandering Who?

Filed under: Ethics & human nature,Israel-Palestine — Neil Godfrey @ 4:36 pm
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Following is a review of Gilad Atzmon’s book. One part of what interests me about this sort of discussion is the inevitable comparison with any other similar experiences of losing one’s old identity and finding a new one. My own experience was in losing my identity as a Christian and becoming what many would call a secular humanist. I went through more than one iteration of Christianity (fundamentalist, liberal) but failed to appreciate the extent to which one’s identity can be entombed in such a belief at any level, until I left the “other-world” idea behind entirely. (One is constantly reminded that even “liberal Christians”, for example, can sometimes be just as arrogant in their humility, just as intolerant and hostile of other views, as the fundamentalist variety. The only difference for so many is that they change their targets or their levels of self-deception. But we are all where we are at and each of us has our own journey to follow.)

The original is at Gilad Atzmon’s blog here or on the VT site here.

Gilad struggled with the conflict between his early experiences as an Israeli Zionist and his awakening as a humanist

The Wandering WHO? navigates between thought-provoking personal experiences, historical and philosophical issues

by Paul J Balles

Gilad Atzmon, scholar, prolific writer and leading jazz saxophonist has authored the book The Wandering WHO? In it he astutely explores the identity crisis he himself experienced and one faced by many Jews.

Gilad struggled with the conflict between his early experiences as an Israeli Zionist and his awakening as a humanist.

His book reveals an innate ability to switch between the qualities of a down-to-earth artist (the successful sax player and word-smith) and the knowledgeable philosopher.

Without doubt, The Wandering WHO? will awaken many readers– pleasing some and disturbing others.

The pleased will include those who have experienced similar awakenings or resolved identity crises by continuously asking questions.

The book will also find welcome readers among those who have sought honest answers to the many contentious issues involving Jewish identity, Jewish politics and Israel.

The disturbed will include those Gilad might refer to as “separatist Jews…kind of a bizarre mixture of an SS commander and a Biblical Moses.”

Gilad will also face threats and complaints from those he calls “pro-war Zionist Islamophobes.”

He will undoubtedly find rejection from those who want “to stop proud, self-hating Jews (like Atzmon) from blowing the whistle.”

The Wandering WHO? navigates between thought-provoking personal experiences, historical and philosophical issues.

In the forward, Gilad tells the most remarkable story of his Jewish upbringing and the challenging questions raised by his early experiences as an Israeli Zionist.

In the chapters that follow, Gilad remarks that “Israel is the Jewish state and Jewishness is an ethno-centric ideology driven by exclusiveness, exceptionalism, racial supremacy and a deep inherent inclination toward segregation.”

Atzmon draws a distinction between Jews as: (more…)

2011/07/23

For Ottawa readers with an interest in Palestine

Filed under: Israel-Palestine — Neil Godfrey @ 8:34 am
Tags:
Hanan Aschrawi Hanan Ashrawi was awarded with ...

Hanan Aschrawi: Image via Wikipedia

This was forwarded to me by Mozer Zimmo (the alcanaanite blog).

Friends,

I received the below invitation from the Palestinian General Delegation in Ottawa announcing a “Briefing Session by Dr. Hanan Ashrawi” who is visiting Canada as special envoy of President Mahmoud Abbas. I believe you all know Dr. Ashrawi; a world renowned spokesperson for the Palestinian cause. If there is one person you would want to hear articulating the case for the Palestinian people in a highly sophisticated and civilized manner, it would be Hanan Ashrawi. Her briefing is not an event you would not want to miss. (more…)

2011/06/26

Turning Blooms to Desert

Filed under: Israel-Palestine — Neil Godfrey @ 11:25 pm

Now it’s all gone —

It’s not making headlines here but it should.

http://electronicintifada.net/content/now-its-all-gone-women-cope-siege-jordan-valley/10105

“Now it’s all gone”: Women cope with siege in Jordan Valley

Nora Barrows-Friedman

The Electronic Intifada

24 June 2011

 Israeli military forces have demolished 27 houses in the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank over the last two weeks. More than 140 Palestinians have been rendered homeless by the demolitions, while Israeli settlement expansion continues to threaten more land and restrict water access — affecting the vitality of dozens of Palestinian villages in the area. (more…)

2011/04/28

Israel-Palestine: A Totally Unique Conflict in Human History

Filed under: Israel-Palestine — Neil Godfrey @ 9:52 am

The following post by Gilad Atzmon is copied from his blog with his permission.

GILAD ATZMON: TIME IS RIPE FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27, 2011 AT 11:45AM GILAD ATZMON

It is slightly embarrassing for me to admit that sometime  Zionists are actually well ahead of our favourite  intellectuals in understanding the depth of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It is not that they are more clever, they are just free to explore the conflict without being subject to the tyranny of ‘political correctness’, also being proud  nationalist Jews- they do not need  the approval of the Jewish left thought police.

I have recently come across a short Haaretz article by Israeli writer A.B. Yehoshua*.

Yehoshua is a proud Zionist, He believes in the right of his people to dwell on Palestinian land.  He is also convinced that the Jewish state is the true meaning of contemporary Jewish life. I guess that Yehoshua loves himself almost as much as I despise everything he stands for and yet, I have to confess, he seems to grasp the depth of the Israeli Palestinian conflict’s parameters  slightly better than most  solidarity activists I can think of. (more…)

2011/01/25

The Great Betrayal of the Palestinians

Continuing my posts on the history of the Palestinians (from a Palestinian scholar’s historical research) seems superfluous now, given the in-your-face evidence of how the Palestinian Authority and PLO leadership has betrayed their people. The betrayal began with Arafat. He was the first to agree to be paid off to act as Israel’s policeman, with “foreign aid” in the form of police handcuffs from the U.S.

The principled Palestinian leaders, or would-be leaders, have long since been kidnapped (they were democratically elected in UN monitored free and fair elections, by the way) and incarcerated in Israeli prisons. But that crime is not nearly so well known, and the names of the victims are too numerous (and Arabic!) for anyone to recall, compared with the case of that solitary Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. (There’s a double irony in that last sentence that I hope is picked up — and more importantly followed up.)

One can only weep.

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2010/11/01

Zionist racism and pro-Zionist gentile folly

Filed under: Israel-Palestine — Neil Godfrey @ 12:29 am

Even worse than Gilad Atzmon’s nightmare is the very likelihood that many Christian Zionists — gentiles themselves — will agree with Rabbi Yosef’s dream of a master race over the rest . . . .

In case the Goyim cannot find a purpose in their life, Israeli senior Sephardi Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is there to help them out.  In his Saturday sermon Rabbi Yosef revealed that the sole purpose of Gentiles is to serve Jews.
“Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world.”  The Rabbi was also kind enough to provide the Goyim with some precise tasks. “Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat.
That is why gentiles were created.”

They may even console themselves that through their God they will refine Rabbi Yosef’s dream to allow a super-elite of believing Jews and other Christians at the top of the pyramid.

See for the full article: http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/gilad-atzmon-from-rabbi-yosef-to-marx.html

2010/09/20

The Weizmann Plan to “Transfer” the Palestinians

Filed under: Israel-Palestine,Masalha: Expul Palestinians — Neil Godfrey @ 11:22 am

This is the history and experience of Palestinians from a Palestinian view. This is, for many Westerners, the side of the story they have never heard. It is heartening to read the latest poll figures showing that most Americans do not agree that Israel should be building settlements in the West Bank and that the American government is out of step with its own people every time it reaffirms a “special relationship” with Israel. See John Mearsheimer’s article, American Public Opinion and the Special Relationship with Israel.

This post is another in my series highlighting key points in Nur Masalha’s historical research into the evidence for the Zionist plans to expel Palestinian Arabs from their lands that has been at the heart of the respective Israeli governments’ policies towards the Palestinians up to today (Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of “Transfer” in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948).

(more…)

2010/09/11

Sept. 11: A Day Without War

Sabra and Shatila massacre
Image via Wikipedia

September 11 came 5 to 7 days late for the Palestinian refugees in 1982. It is a most telling indictment that so much can be made of a September massacre of Westerners when up till 2001 the West scarcely registered a damn about massacres of Arabs and others, such as the slaughter of Arab civilians by pro-American thugs backed by Israel and the U.S.A.

Sabra and Shatila massacres

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabra_and_Shatila_massacre

Does anyone really have to ask “Why do they hate us?”

Sept. 11: A Day Without War

By Amy Goodman

September 08, 2010Information Clearing House The ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States should serve as a moment to reflect on tolerance. It should be a day of peace. Yet the rising anti-Muslim fervor here, together with the continuing U.S. military occupation of Iraq and the escalating war in Afghanistan (and Pakistan), all fuel the belief that the U.S. really is at war with Islam.

Sept. 11, 2001, united the world against terrorism. Everyone, it seemed, was with the United States, standing in solidarity with the victims, with the families who lost loved ones. The day will be remembered for generations to come, for the notorious act of coordinated mass murder. But that was not the first Sept. 11 to be associated with terror: (more…)

2010/09/08

Palestinian recognition of Israel, a Jewish state — Why?

Filed under: Israel-Palestine — Neil Godfrey @ 10:52 am

This post by Monzer Zimmo is found at http://alcanaanite.wordpress.com/2010/09/07/palestinian-recognition-of-israel-a-jewish-state-why/

Monzer Zimmo is a “Palestinian-Canadian living and working in Ottawa, Canada. Monzer is an advocate of resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the peaceful creation of a bi-national-democratic state on all the territory of historic Palestine, where Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others live together as equal citizens; be and feel safe, secure, and at home.

Why do Benjamin Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman, and other Zionist leaders insist that “without Palestinian recognition that Israel is the state of the Jewish people, there will not be peace”?  They have declared themselves as such.  They enjoy the support of most European nations, United States of America, Canada, Australia, and many other countries in the world that have no problem whatsoever in describing the state of Israel as such.  Many Arab countries – with leaders suffering from near-sighted vision – would have no problem going along with that concept.  Almost every country with significant military, economic, or diplomatic power and influence either fully agrees with the description of the state of Israel as the state of the Jewish people or has no real problem with it.  So, why does the Israeli leadership insist on demanding that recognition from the powerless, penniless Palestinian leadership?

Here are some thoughts in that regard: (more…)

2010/08/03

Israel Cannot Handle its Past

Filed under: Israel-Palestine — Neil Godfrey @ 12:32 pm

From http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/gilad-atzmon-israel-cannot-handle-its-past.html

By Gilad Atzmon:

Israel cannot handle its past. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu decided this week to extend from 50 to 70 years the time state archivesremain classified. Israel realizes that it has too much to hide.

Haaretz reported this week (in its Hebrew edition only), that the first documents will be released to the public only in 2018 (1948+70). Many of the documents that are stored in the archive are relevant to the history of the first 20 years of the Jewish state: the mass expulsion of the Palestinian people,  the massacres in Deir Yassin,  Tantura and many others, the 1956 Suez conflict, the Israeli nuclear project and so on. Disclosing such documents may bring to light some facts that could “shatter myths and cause embarrassment to many entities and individuals” said the Israeli paper. I guess that president Shimon Peres is one of those ‘many individuals’.

In my latest work I elaborated on the concerning fact that history is foreign to the Jewish  religion, ideology and politics. Israeli and Jewish history are set as phantasmic tales. Facts and historical documents are either pushed aside, shoved under the carpet, eliminated or simply destroyed. As we all know, truth seeking is interpreted by Israelis and Zionist as anti Semitism or even holocaust denial.

As it seems, 50 years were not enough for Israel to tackle its original sin. The reason is simple, the crimes that are entangled with the foundation of the Jewish state have never been resolved. Millions of Palestinian refugees are still awaiting to return to their land. Israel is still driven by racist and supremacist laws. The Jewish state has never matured from its lethal philosophy of constant physical intimidation. Consequently, the IDF, the Mossad and the security services mounted pressure on the government to extend the classification status of these 50 year old documents. And no surprise, Netanyahu has provided the required extension.

Haaretz pointed out that it is slightly peculiar that PM Netanyahu, the son of Benzion Netanyahu, a Zionist historian, gave his hand to a crude attempt to conceal  historical research and truth seeking. I read Benzion Netanyahu, I actually learned a lot from him. Benzion wasn’t exactly an ordinary historian, he was a Zionist historian (as opposed to a historian of Zionism). He was there to give the Jewish national aspiration a contextual pseudo academic meaning. PM Netanyahu’s decision to hide facts for another 20 years is actually in line with his father’s philosophy.

A disclosure of the truth regarding Israel’s early days would reveal that the Jewish state was a murderous lethal attempt from its very beginning. As much as Zionist and Israeli leaders vowed publicly to make Jews ‘people like all other people’, behind closed doors they commanded their army and secret services to kill like their imaginary Biblical forefathers.

I would argue that from a historical perspective, Israel can keep sitting on its secret files as long as it wants. We do not really need the Israeli archive in order to examine the true murderous meaning of the Jewish state and the Jewish national project. However, the fact that Israel insists on hiding its past, means that there is a little bit of shame and consciousness left in this tribal collective. This is actually a positive sign.

2010/07/25

Redemption or Conquest: Zionist Yishuv plans for transfer of Palestinian Arabs in the British Mandate period

British Mandate of Palestine, 1920s. Created b...
Image via Wikipedia

Yishuv refers to the Jewish community in Palestine. The British Mandate period was from 1922 to 1948.

This post continues from the same reference (Nur Masalha’s Expulsion of the Palestinians) as in my previous post, and looks at a Palestinian historian’s discussion of the fate of the Palestinian people as planned by the Zionist movement from “the beginning”. Some readers may accuse me of stirring up hatred against the Jews by posting this sort of research. I deny any such charge. The ill-feeling and tensions that have resulted from the events and attitudes described in this and in the previous post don’t have to be “stirred up”. But many people in the West certainly do need to be “waked up” to the other side of the story. Obscenely, one is often accused of “anti-semitism” for even daring to raise the Palestinian voice, or even any voice mildly critical of Zionist or Israeli state policies.

The world, and Palestinians and Israelis in particular, are living today with the legacy of the past. Justice, the precondition for peace, can only emerge after all the facts — from both parties — are laid out for all to see. Hiding one side’s story under the rocks of the desert will never extinguish injustice and hatred.  We have lauded Truth and Reconciliation Commissions and National Apologies in cases of other ethnic horror stories. They could never have happened unless both sides — especially that of the defeated — were fully aired.

The General Approach toward the Palestinians in the Mandatory Period

I had not realized until I read this section of Masalha’s account that the current practice of the Israeli government relying on third parties such as the US today (formerly Britain), and other Arab leaders, to facilitate discussions with (or without) Palestinian Arabs, originated in this period. Masalha’s explanation for this is:

At the root of this notion — that Palestinians did not have to be dealt with directly — was the denial of a distinct Palestinian identity or any semblance of Palestinian nationalism. This was unquestionably grounded in the dismissive attitude that had always attended anything relating to Palestinians or Palestinian culture. (p.17)

Population shifts and Arab protests

Jewish population in Palestine, 1917-1940:

  • 1917 = 10% of population; own 2% of the land.
  • 1931 = 17% of population
  • 1940 = 33% of population
  • (1948 Jews owned only 6% of the land — via purchase)

Growing Arab awareness of Zionist aims in Palestine, reinforced by Zionist calls for unrestricted Jewish immigration and unhindered transfer of Arab lands to exclusive Jewish control, triggered escalating protests and resistance that were eventually to culminate in the peasant-based great Arab Rebellion of 1936-39.

So two forces were beginning to collide:

  1. On the one hand it was increasingly clear that a Jewish state was an eventual likelihood (Balfour Declaration and the British Mandate offered real hope for this);
  2. but on the other hand it was becoming increasingly clear that the Palestinian Arab population were intent on keeping their land.

Predictable result: early 1920s saw the first indigenous demonstrations against Jewish immigration.

Problem

The Balfour Declaration had not only promised a national home for the Jews; it had also promised that the Palestinian Arabs would not lose any of their rights as a result. (more…)

2010/07/20

Zionist Founding Fathers’ Plans for Transfer of the Palestinian Arabs

Filed under: Israel-Palestine,Masalha: Expul Palestinians — Neil Godfrey @ 2:31 pm
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The following quotations by early Zionist leaders are from Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of “Transfer” in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948 by Nur Masalha, published by the Institute for Palestinian Studies.

Nur Masalha opens his book with

When in the late nineteenth century Zionism arose as a political force calling for the colonization of Palestine and the “gathering of all Jews,” little attention was paid to the fact that Palestine was already populated. Indeed, the Basle Program adopted at the First Zionist Congress, which launched political Zionism in 1897, made no mention of a Palestinian population when it spelled out the movement’s objective: “the establishment of a publicly and legally secured home in Palestine for the Jewish people.” (p.5)

It was in order to secure support for their enterprise that “the Zionists propagated in the West the idea of ‘a land without a people for a people without a land,’ a slogan coined by Israel Zangwill” (who is quoted a number of times in this post).

Even as late as 1914 Chaim Weizmann (one of the founding fathers of political Zionism) stated:

Chaim Weizmann

Image via Wikipedia

In its initial stage, Zionism was conceived by its pioneers as a movement wholly depending on mechanical factors: there is a country which happens to be called Palestine, a country without a people, and, on the other hand, there exists the Jewish people, and it has no country. What else is necessary, then, than to fit the gem into the ring to unite this people with this country?

But “neither Zangwell nor Weizmann intended these demographic assessments in a literal fashion. They did not mean that there were no people in Palestine, but that there were no people worth considering within the framework of the notions of European supremacy that then held sway.” (p.6)

20 May 1936, according to Arthur Ruppin, head of the colonizing department of the Jewish Agency, Chaim Weizman (to become the first president of Israel) replied, when asked about the Palestinian Arabs

“The British told us that there are there some hundred thousands negroes [Kushim] and for those there is no value.”

Zangwell made the meaning of his slogan clear in 1920:

Israel Zangwill

Image via Wikipedia

If Lord Shaftesbury was literally inexact in describing Palestine as a country without a people, he was essentially correct , for there is no Arab people living in intimate fusion with the country, utilising its resources and stamping it with a characteristic impress: there is at best an Arab encampment.

But Zangwell and other Zionists also were very well aware that far from being an empty land, the Palestinians were there in very large numbers. Zangwell had visited Palestine in 1897 and in a speech in 1905 said:

Palestine proper has already its inhabitants. The pashalik of Jerusalem is already twice as thickly populated as the United States, having fifty-two souls to the square mile, and not 25 per cent of them Jews.

Early Zionist texts do indeed show that its leaders were concerned about what to do with the “Arab problem” or “Arab question.”

As an example of the attitudes of Zionist groups and settlers concerning the indigenous Palestinian population, Zionist author and Labor leader who immigrated to Palestine in 1890, Moshe Smilansky, wrote:

“Let us not be too familiar with the Arab fellahin lest our children adopt their ways and learn from their ugly deeds. Let all those who are loyal to the Torah avoid ugliness and that which resembles it and keep their distance from the fellahin and their base attributes.”

Minority Jewish voices against racist attitudes

Some Jews spoke out against these attitudes. One was Ahad Ha’Am (Asher Zvi Ginzberg), a liberal Russian thinker who visited Palestine in 1891. He published a series of articles criticizing the “ethnocentricity of political Zionism as well as the exploitation of Palestinian peasantry by Zionist colonists.” He wrote that Zionnist “pioneers” believed that

“the only language that the Arabs understand is that of force…. [They] behave towards the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, trespass unjustly upon their boundaries, beat them shamefully without reason and even brag about it, and nobody stands to check this contemptible and dangerous tendency.”

He suggested that this aggressive attitude of the colonists stemmed from their anger

“towards those who reminded them that there is still another people in the land of Israel that have been living there and does not intend to leave.”

Another early settler (he arrived from Russia in 1886) who spoke out against such attitudes, Yitzhaq Epstein, warned that the methods of Zionist land purchases and dispossession of Arabs in the Galilee were stirring up resentment such that a future political confrontation was inevitable.

Early Transfer Proposals of the Founding Fathers

Theodor Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement, recorded in his diary in 1895: (more…)

2010/06/07

Jewish Ideology and World Peace by Gilad Atzmon

Filed under: Fundamentalism,Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 9:48 pm

If we want to understand religiously backed terrorism that “they” commit, we might first need to appreciate what our own religious heritage has contributed to the mix. The following is another by Gilad Atzmon.

Jewish Ideology and World Peace by Gilad Atzmon

Monday, June 7, 2010 at 11:41AM

” …then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy.” (Deuteronomy 7:1-2)

“…do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them…as the Lord your God has commanded you…” (Deuteronomy 20:16)

I am here to announce as loud as I can, there is no need for any ‘International’, ‘impartial’ or ‘independent’ inquiry into the latest Israeli massacre on the high sea. Though the Israeli opposition to such an inquiry is there to suggest that the Israelis have much to hide, the truth of the matter is actually deeper. If you want to grasp what underlies the Israeli deadly barbarism all you have to do is open the Old Testament. (more…)

2010/05/31

End the levity of the previous post. These are my comrades.

Filed under: Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 8:30 pm

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Israeli Butchery at Sea by Gilad Atzmon

Monday, May 31, 2010 at 11:58AM AuthorGilad Atzmon

As I write this piece the scale of the Israeli lethal slaughter at sea is yet to be clear. However we already know that at around 4am Gaza time, hundreds of IDF commandos stormed the Free Gaza international humanitarian fleet. We learn from the Arab press that at least 16 peace activists have been murdered and more than 50 were injured.  Once again it is devastatingly obvious that Israel is not trying to hide its true nature: an inhuman murderous collective fuelled by a psychosis and driven by paranoia.

For days the Israeli government  prepared the Israeli society for the massacre at sea. It said that the Flotilla carried weapons, it had ‘terrorists’ on board. Only yesterday evening it occurred to me that this Israeli malicious media spin was there to prepare the Israeli public for a full scale Israeli deadly military operation in international waters.  Make no mistake. If I knew exactly where Israel was heading and the possible consequences, the Israeli cabinet and military elite were fully aware of it all the way along.  What happened yesterday wasn’t just a pirate terrorist  attack. It was actually murder in broad day light even though it happened in the dark.

Yesterday at 10 pm I contacted Free Gaza and shared with them everything I knew. I obviously grasped that hundreds of peace activists most of them elders, had very little chance against the Israeli killing machine. I was praying all night for our brothers and sisters.  At 5am GMT the news broke to the world. In international waters Israel raided an innocent international convoy of boats carrying cement, paper and medical aid to the besieged Gazans. The Israelis were using live ammunition murdering and injuring everything around them.

Today we will see demonstrations around the world, we will see many events mourning our dead.  We may even see some of Israel’s friends ‘posturing’ against the slaughter. Clearly this is not enough.

The massacre that took place yesterday was a premeditated Israeli operation. Israel wanted blood because it believes that its ‘power of deterrence’  expands with the more dead it leaves behind. The Israeli decision to use hundreds of commando soldiers against civilians was taken by the Israeli cabinet together with the Israeli top military commanders. What we saw yesterday wasn’t just a failure on the ground. It was actually an institutional failure of a morbid society that a long time ago lost touch with humanity.

It is no secret that Palestinians are living in a siege for years. But it is now down to the nations to move on and mount the ultimate pressure on Israel and its citizens. Since the massacre yesterday was committed by a popular army that followed instructions given by a ‘democratically elected’ government, from now on, every Israeli  should be considered as a  suspicious war criminal unless proved different.

Considering the fact that Israel stormed naval vessels sailing under Irish, Turkish and Greek flags. Both NATO  members and EU countries must immediately cease their  relationships with  Israel  and close their airspace to Israeli airplanes.

Considering yesterday’s news about Israeli nuclear submarines being stationed in the Gulf, the world must react quickly and severely.  Israel is now officially mad and deadly. The Jewish State is not just careless about human life,  as we have been following  the Israeli press campaign leading to the slaughter,  Israel actually  seeks pleasure in inflicting pain and devastation on others.

(I have posted this in full. Previous correspondence with Gilad assures me that he would wholeheartedly approve of my copying this in full.)

2009/11/12

Kathy Kelly video — a “must watch” (yep, even I support some Church sponsorships!)

From Information Clearing House: Kathy Kelly co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare, and co-founded Voices in the Wilderness, a group which had openly defied economic sanctions from 1996-2003 by bringing medicines to children and families in Iraq.

Do go to this link to see the two videos of her very moving and inspirational presentation

From Gaza to Pakistan

The Cost of War Abroad and at Home

First Presbyterian Church, Binghamton, NY November 6, 2009

Two time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly discusses her experiences in Gaza and Pakistan, and helps evaluate the costs of war-making from the perspective of those who bear the brunt of suffering caused by war.

Kathy Kelly co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare, and co-founded Voices in the Wilderness, a group which had openly defied economic sanctions from 1996-2003 by bringing medicines to children and families in Iraq.

Sponsor: St. James Church Peace and Justice Committee

Posted November 11, 2009

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2009/10/16

The Zionist Dream, from delusion to vindictiveness

Filed under: Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 9:02 am
Tags: ,

Gilad Atzmon’s analysis of the Zionism strikes harmonious chords with other analyses of the psychology of fundamentalist Christianity, in particular with the latter’s self identity being grounded in a sense of natural worthlessness (consequence of sin) and in their belief that they can only become “whole” through fantasies that view others as inferior or worthless or evil. Compare the founding “ideals” of Zionism which include a desire to become “ordinary humans”, as if their self identity does not otherwise permit them them to see themselves as such.

Gilad Atzmon – the Wikipedia article

Gilad Atzmon’s website (including other articles)

From Delusion to Vindictiveness

Interpreting the Zionist Dream

By Gilad Atzmon

Early Zionism was indeed a cheerful dream, it was all about the transformation of the ‘Jew’ into a ‘civilised, respectful and authentic human being’. The founders of Zionism were inspired by the notions of ‘people like any other people’ and ‘nation amongst nations’. Reading early Zionists such as Nordau, Borochov and Gordon provides us with some very contemptuous references to Jewish character and identity that would make Nazi ideology look mildly liberal.

However, one is advised to take a short break for a second and to contemplate critically over the above Zionist dream. One may wonder what kind of people dream of ‘becoming human beings’. Can anyone imagine a French, English or Chinese man or woman who dreams of becoming an ordinary ‘human’? We can easily think of oppressed human beings who demand to be treated as humans (Palestinians, Civil Rights movements, anti Apartheid and so on). Yet, the Zionist dream is rather different. It is not just about the desire for recognition or equality, it is not just about being treated appropriately, it is also a dream of ‘self-transformation’. In fact, it is all about a miraculous metamorphosis from a morbid ‘abnormal’ state of being into an acceptable decent human form.

Within the context of a fictional fable we can easily imagine a cow that fantasises to become a dairy farmer, a pig who ‘dies to’ become a Kosher schnitzel, a snake who aspires to take over the Labour party and then to launch a new Zionist illegal war. And yet, it is pretty unusual to think of people who have managed to develop an aspiration to become ‘ordinary humans’.

An intelligible way to explain or interpret that very unusual dream is probably to assume that those who succumb to the Zionist dream are those who happen to believe that, as far as their natural state of being is concerned, they are indeed remotely human. One would rightly assume that those who dream to become humans must be convinced that humanity is somehow not exactly a characteristic that they happen to possess.

Yesterday during a talk at Librairie Résistances, Paris (a fund raising event for Gaza) I was asked for my interpretation of Israeli ‘evolving barbarism’, how is it possible that 84% of the Israelis supported the IDF genocidal crime in Gaza last December. “In order to understand how these Israeli murderous practices emerged” I said, “all we have to do is to trace back and reread the early Zionist ideologists.” We can easily learn from Zionist thinkers about their ‘dream’ and their vision of their fellow brothers. They, the founders of modern Jewish nationalism happened to admit somehow that something was totally corrupted within the Jewish identity, culture and character. However, they genuinely believed that it was amendable.

Zionism was there to bring about a new Jew, a civilised productive human being. It was indeed a very wet and epic dream. As an Israeli youngster I myself succumbed to this dream. I tended to believe that Israel was ‘my’ historic land, I regarded the Biblical protagonists as my direct ancestors. I was sure that, at least in the case of the so called ‘first Israelis’, the ideological transplant operation was a great success. We, the young Israeli natives tended to believe that we were all nothing less than a success story of ‘modified-civilised-humanist-secular-beings’.

Needless to say that the history of Palestine, the Palestinians and the Nakba was totally hidden from us. We didn’t see the Palestinians around us either, we were hardly aware of their suffering not to say their cause. We were in fact totally blind. We tended also to believe that our army was the ‘most humanist army around’. We grew up with the ‘1967 Victorious Diary’, a legendary chunky photo album every Israeli held in a prominent location on his book shelve. There in that glossy propaganda book an Israeli soldier was giving his water to an Egyptian prisoner. We regarded him as a symbol of our people’s endorsement of universal humanism. We were obviously not aware of the horrendous fact that the Sinai Desert was actually a slaughter field for hundreds of Egyptian POWs. Why didn’t we know? This in itself is a very good question. Our fathers who fought in this war must have known something but they kept quiet. Our parents who witnessed the 1948 convoys of Palestinians refugees should have known something about the Nakba but they somehow kept quiet. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t just our parents, we followed the exact same pattern. Once we ourselves matured into IDF soldiers, we did exactly the same, we turned a blind eye (1982 in Lebanon). And this has never changed. The Israeli moral awakening has never happened. By now I allow myself to argue that it won’t happen. The Zionist dream is just too comfortable. After more than one hundred years of moral phantasmic delusion the Israelis are deeply stuck in an ethical coma.

The Zionist dream of a ‘humanist metamorphosis’ has never matured into reality or practice. Quite the opposite, Israelis and Zionists have learned to see themselves through a phantasmic illusionary prism. Rather than being transformed into humanists for real, they have become ‘leading humanists’ in their own extreme judeo-centric dream.

Freud taught us that the dream is there to prolong the sleep: a siren, a baby cry and a dripping tap that takes place in the outside would be incorporated into the dream so we can keep snoozing. The ‘Israeli humanist dream’ operates in a similar manner, it is there to prolong the Zionist snore, it is there to keep Jews aloof to the crimes that are committed by their state, and in their names. The disturbances that come from the ‘outside world’ such as the Goldstone report or Ahmadinejad’s valid criticisms are incorporated into their dream as ‘white noise’ motivated by ‘pathological antisemitism’. Though in reality the Jewish state is barbarian with no comparison, in their dream, it is nothing but ‘business as usual’.

The daily reality of Israeli barbarism in Palestine should bring us back to elaborate over the Zionist dream of transformation. In spite of the great promise, the Jewish state has failed to become a ‘nation like other nations’. Similarly, the Zionist people are not exactly ‘people like other people’ for no other people approve genocide collectively.

The Jewish state that was supposed to be a celebration of identity transformation became instead the ultimate embodiment of the morbid symptoms Zionism was there to heal. Israel has already managed to surround itself by gigantic ghetto walls, it spits fire and WMD on its indigenous population. It locks millions in concentration camps and starves them. As bizarre as it may be, only in the face of Israeli colossal barbarism, can one adequately understand the full meaning of the irony of the Zionist dream of humanist metamorphosis.

Zionism was doomed to fail: it is a blood related project, it is racially orientated and it is supremacist to the bone. The Zionist dream has become a true devastating nightmare for real: the Golem* Jewish State wakes up every morning to commit more and more crimes in the name of the Jewish people. With an arsenal of hundreds of nuclear bombs and motivated by a phantasmic Holocaust religion that preaches nothing but vengeance, there is no greater danger to humanity, humanism and our civilization than Israel and its lobbies around the world.

All I have to say is beware!

*Golem – a Yiddish Frankenstein

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2009/10/08

The Cost of Christian Zionism / Judeo-Christianity

It is encouraging to be reminded that Christianity is not uniformly pro-Zionist-Israel. I would rather that those opposed to it pushed more substantial flesh and blood reasons for their critique than the medieval notion of religious heresy, but at least tiny glimpses of some of the flesh and blood human reasons for opposing it are captured in Charles’ Carlson’s article, The Unacceptable Cost of Judeo-Christianity; Its Legacy of Pain.

Gosh darnit, it is really is gobsmacking to read how so very slight, narrow and US-centric are the human costs cited in this article. But any effort from within “the belly of the beast” addressing an audience with little access to an international perspective probably should be applauded. (My personal energies will be directed in support for the likes of the ISM.)


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2009/07/19

Feeling the hate from “our” side

Filed under: Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 7:00 pm

Posting two links that coincidentally attracted a similar header despite being experiences of two very different people from different parts of the world (Australia, USA) in contact with two quite different facets (university students, ultra-orthodox) of the one country (Israel). Posting the links in the interest of providing one more avenue for letting the other side of the story get an airing among western audiences.

Reporter feels mob’s hate in Holy City — raining spit.

Feeling the hate in Tel Aviv — cosmopolitan Israelis share their views.

For a more positive view of Israelis and slivers of hope I recommend Googling the words Jews and peace or Jews for peace.

2009/02/01

The irony

Filed under: Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 11:06 pm

Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!

I know of many Jews (Israeli and non-Israeli) who label their fellow Jews who are critical of Zionism and the ethnic cleansing and expansionist policies of successive Israeli governments as self-hating Jews. That charge would seem a bit hard to sustain in this instance.  The irony is twisted even further when one learns that the founders of Zionism (who flourished alongside other racially based nationalisms in their most rabid late nineteenth and early twentieth century phase) were in many cases nonbelievers who nonetheless openly proclaimed that they found their mandate forceful expulsion of Palestinians and ever expanding takeover of their lands in the Bible.

Why post this? Because I am appalled at the outrageous bias in mainstream western media reporting and anything that might graphically help expose its one sidedness is not a bad thing. Imagine the western media addressing the Palestinians in Gaza as the product of documented ethnic cleansing and expulsion policies, represented by a democratically elected government that had offered to recognize Israel’s existence along the terms of the Saudi peace plan, and whose citizens and leaders are routinely kidnapped and jailed in a foreign country, and that has been imprisoned by land, sea and air to the point of humanitarian catostrophe. . . .  But that will never be said in the mainstream western media. At least not unless it is callously hidden behind the pseudo-impartiality that insists on giving equal time to state sanctioned official lies and half truths.

2009/01/19

Latter day biblical genocide against wicked canaanite surrogates

Filed under: Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 12:44 am

May last year a reader took strong exception to my use of the word “genocide” to describe the Israeli policies towards Palestinian Arabs since 1948 (the original post and comments where the word arose are here) — comparable to the policies of whites towards American and Australian aboriginal peoples in earlier generations. My use of the word was carefully chosen to conform to the Geneva Convention and UN definitions of this term that emerged out of the many atrocities of World War 2.

Article II of the Genocide Convention defines the international crime of genocide in relevant part as follows:

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such:

(a)  Killing members of the group;

(b)  Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c)  Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part

Anyone who finds the use of the word “genocide” extreme or in any sense racist I would invite to read / view and think through two recent web articles / videos:

One by Professor Francis Anthony Boyle.

A second by British Jewish MP Gerald Kaufman who said:

“My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszow. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed,” said Kaufman, who added that he had friends and family in Israel and had been there “more times than I can count.”

“My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.”

. . . .

He said the claim that many of the Palestinian victims were militants

“was the reply of the Nazi” and added: “I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.”

and that the Israeli government has

“ruthlessly and cynically exploiting the continuing guilt from gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians.”

The video text of his speech can be viewed from here.

Successive Israeli governments (left and right wing) have all consistently pursued the goals of Zionist founding fathers in expanding their “living space” to eventual biblical proportions (since 1967 this has been done with the ongoing creep and expulsions of Palestinians from their West Bank homes to make way for Jewish “settlements”) and to declare the indigenous inhabitants a non-people. (Edward Said nailed it when he showed that antisemitism has since WW2 flipped and bifurcated into Jews unrealistically good, Arabs — the other semitic wing — unrealistically bad). The Israeli beseiging and blockading of Gaza, along with continual terrorizing low flying (with sonic boom) war planes over the population, not to mention regular bombings called “targeted killings” that more often than not killed more than their so-called intended targets, and rejections of Hama offers to end rocket attacks in return for a lifting of this blockade, have not managed to cower the Palestinians — they still prefer to die standing on their feet than live crawling on their knees before those who expelled them to that barren overcrowded Gaza strip.

And the myth of vulnerable David facing ever present threats of total extermination from swarthy Goliaths is continually recycled. I hope in future to cite the evidence that shatters this myth as so falsely applied to the wars of 1948 and 1967 — evidence that few American in particular have had opportunities to see.

2008/11/06

“Their whole civilisation has been destroyed”

Filed under: Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 5:01 pm

When will the Palestinians be acknowledged as a people again? How can we accept such a total inversion of the anti-semitism that plagued earlier centuries to dehumanize both Jew and Arab in Palestine today — By dehumanize, I mean perceiving others as either somehow purer and more deserving than the rest of us, or worse than the rest of us.

Mary Robinson has visited Gaza and speaks from first hand observation: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7708670.stm

“Their whole civilisation has been destroyed, I’m not exaggerating,” said Mrs Robinson.

“It’s almost unbelievable that the world doesn’t care while this is happening.”

Why it’s important to take on board what Mary Robinson says, and to explore it further:

” . . . ordinary Israelis did not understand the situation as they “couldn’t possibly support it if they really did”.

Of course the news is quick to broadcast Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel — http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-11/05/content_10312060.htm

And so the black and white perceptions are reinforced.

Compare, for example, the less publicized Palestinian news story that started the recent attacks:
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9937.shtml

If what has been happening to the Palestinians since the 1940’s is not just another form of anti-semitism against the other branch of semites, or is not ethnic cleansing pure and simple, even genocide on a par with the generational genocide of American and Australian aboriginal populations, I don’t know what is.

2008/10/19

Modern day Joshuas and Calebs

Filed under: Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 8:23 am

Jewish settlers punched and kicked two news photographers and a British woman helping Palestinians pick olives in a West Bank town, and Israeli police responded by stopping the harvest.

The scuffle in the town of Hebron on Saturday was the latest of a series of efforts by settlers living in the occupied land to disrupt an annual harvest critical to many Palestinians’ livelihoods.

The rest of this Reuters story — one all too common and becoming significantly increasingly common yet all too under-reported in mainstream English speaking media — can be read here.

Pogroms 21st century style  — Death to Arabs!

See journalist Jonathan Cook’s report on the recent Acre riots.

2008/05/18

“Archaeology has become a weapon of dispossession” — Israeli archaeologist

Filed under: Israel-Palestine,OT archaeology & literature,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 7:54 am

I found the following linked on the JAO-Sydney (Jews Against the Occupation) site:

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Chronicle Review (April 25 2008 edition), an article by Yigal Bronner and Neve Gordon:

Beneath the Surface
Are Jerusalem digs designed to displace Palestinians?

“Archaeology has become a weapon of dispossession,” Yonathan Mizrachi, an Israeli archaeologist, said in a recent telephone interview with us. He was referring to the way archaeology is being used in Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood in the oldest part of Jerusalem, where, we believe, archaeological digs are being carried out as part of a concerted campaign to expel Palestinians from their ancestral home.

That effort is orchestrated by an Israeli settler organization called Elad, a name formed from Hebrew letters that stand for “to the City of David.” For several years, Elad has used a variety of means to evict East Jerusalem Palestinians from their homes and replace them with Jewish settlers. Today Silwan is dotted with about a dozen such outposts. Moreover, practically all the green areas in the densely populated neighborhood have been transformed into new archaeological sites, which have then been fenced and posted with armed guards. On two of these new archaeological sites, Jewish homes have already been built. . . . . . . .

The full article can be accessed here.

2008/05/17

Macro and Micro religious extremism

It is easy to identify and deplore the micro religious extremists, those who believe in chopping off heads and limbs and whipping the flesh in between those extremities or just stoning the whole lot because that’s what some ancient holy book requires.

If we think of decapitations as the working out of a micro fundamentalist/extremist vision, then I submit that a people who believes in the complete displacement by one race with another race (whom they regard as “the chosen people”) in a land because of what some ancient holy book requires is macro religious extremism.

If we are dismayed over a Wahabi court in Saudi Arabia making life and death distinctions by applying ancient religious injunctions over who persons were allowed to have sex with, then presumably we will be also dismayed over a governments and whole peoples justifying ethnic cleansing and displacement, and declaring one race as especially chosen with rights to do this, because of their devotion to an ancient holy text of theirs.

So we have the president of the United States pronouncing that his nation is fully on the side of macro religious extremism. Let’s call it racial religious extremism, justifying the displacement of one people with another on the grounds that the winners are “the chosen people”. As reported in Haaretz:

“Israel’s population may be just over 7 million. But when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong, because America stands with you,” Bush said.

You have raised a modern society in the Promised Land, a light unto the nations that preserves the legacy of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And you have built a mighty democracy that will endure forever and can always count on America to stand at its side.”

He noted that Israel’s Declaration of Independence “was the redemption of an ancient promise given to Abraham, Moses, and David – a homeland for the chosen people in Eretz Yisrael.”

And the original inhabitants? As with the Biblical Canaanites, they are not worthy of humanizing. They are only defined as “terrorists” or “havens for terrorists”. And the society created by the chosen people in this ethnically cleansed land will be reserved for one race only, despite the few token exceptions of Arabs who are allowed to remain as citizens, with equal rights at least on paper:

“Israel will be celebrating its 120th anniversary as one of the world’s great democracies, a secure and flourishing homeland for the Jewish people.”

“America stands with you in breaking up terrorist networks and denying the extremists sanctuary.

The President might also have reminded his world audience that contrary to his professed past visions of a Palestinian state, the government he was backing as 307 million strong on the grounds of his own macro religious extremism is by its own charter implacably opposed to any such state. The illegal settlements in the occupied territories will continue until a Greater Israel is restored fully to the territories worthy of a Chosen People and in full accord with an ancient religious text.

If it is worth going to war, paying the price of state-sanctioned killing, in order to liberate women from Wahabi extremism and end barbarous legal and social customs among the micro religious extremists, is it really justifiable to stand up for macro religious extremism?

I have attempted to do my little bit to help inform a wider audience of the realities on the ground in Palestine and Israel with two new pages on this blog: Palestinian news sources and Replies to ADL propaganda.

2008/05/14

Answering Zionist propaganda of the Anti-Defamation League

Facts and statistics can be spun in a way to tell lies and lying propaganda can consist of an overload of fineprint factual reports. The mass of factual detail can be so overwhelming that readers are numbed from any feeling of hope that they could possibly find the time or resources to personally investigate each claim. (Jacques Ellul, Propaganda)

The ADL has published one such list of facts that in fact is a source of ignorant lies and racial prejudice. It is a list of multiple scores of terrorist attacks on Israelis in an effort to demonstrate that there is a Palestinian genocidal campaign to drive Israeli Jews into the sea.

Since this list appears to be widely circulated on the net, and since it made its appearance in a comment on one of my blog posts, I decided I had the time to begin a detailed point by point response to each of the facts on this list. I do not dispute the facts presented, but when only half the facts are presented then we all know that a half truth can be as good as an outright lie. I have in each case begun to cite the facts missing from the ADL report, most of them sourced by mainstream western (US, UK, Israeli) media reports.

I’ve also included links for a “Palestinian right of reply” to some of the common charges levelled against Palestinians and Arabs generally by the ADL.

And since it received 1352 hits within just 24 hours of this lil newbie blog posting the page and bringing it to the attention of one and two other blogs, maybe it will be of some use to a few here too . . . .

Replies to ADL propaganda

2008/05/11

Projects working for peace among Arabs and Israelis

Filed under: Activist resources,Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 8:15 pm

I was about to do a search for a list of these when I see the work has already been done! Fantastic! I have had the good fortune to have met Jews from some of these organizations and we have organized local community public dinners where they can speak and demonstrate what they are doing in Israel and Palestine.

What they are doing is hard, very hard, with incredible obstacles, which makes them all the more modern day heroes.

Please check out this Wikipedia site. It is really a fantastic breath of hope in a very dark beast:


Projects working for peace among Arabs and Israelis

Responding to Israel’s critics

Filed under: Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 9:55 am

Independent.co.uk

Johann Hari: The loathsome smearing of Israel’s critics

Thursday, 8 May 2008

In the US and Britain, there is a campaign to smear anybody who tries to describe the plight of the Palestinian people. It is an attempt to intimidate and silence – and to a large degree, it works. There is nobody these self-appointed spokesmen for Israel will not attack as anti-Jewish: liberal Jews, rabbis, even Holocaust survivors.

My own case isn’t especially important, but it illustrates how the wider process of intimidation works. I have worked undercover at both the Finsbury Park mosque and among neo-Nazi Holocaust deniers to expose the Jew-hatred there; when I went on the Islam Channel to challenge the anti-Semitism of Islamists, I received a rash of death threats calling me “a Jew-lover”, “a Zionist-homo pig” and more.

Ah, but wait. I have also reported from Gaza and the West Bank. Last week, I wrote an article that described how untreated sewage was being pumped from illegal Israeli settlements on to Palestinian land, contaminating their reservoirs. This isn’t controversial. It has been documented by Friends of the Earth, and I have seen it with my own eyes.

The response? There was little attempt to dispute the facts I offered. Instead, some of the most high profile “pro-Israel” writers and media monitoring groups – including Honest Reporting and Camera – said I an anti-Jewish bigot akin to Joseph Goebbels and Mahmoud Ahmadinejadh, while Melanie Phillips even linked the stabbing of two Jewish people in North London to articles like mine. Vast numbers of e-mails came flooding in calling for me to be sacked. (more…)

2008/05/06

A Palestinian Christian’s perspective on the Israeli occupation and suicide bombing

Filed under: Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society,Terrorism — Neil Godfrey @ 1:10 pm
Tags: ,

It is ironical that so many western Christians support or excuse the state of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians when there are both Christian Israelis and Christian Palestinians who do not. Indeed, the use of the Hebrew Bible by both Zionists and their Christian supporters to justify Zionism, illegal settlements, land confiscations, defiance of international law, humiliation and genocidal policies against the Palestinians, has been said to have turned the Old Testament almost into a current-day Mein Kampf.

Dr. Naim Ateek, a Palestinian Christian and theologian, has compared the current Israeli state to Herod. He sees “Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him”.

He has posted an article reflecting on 40 years of Israeli occupation and discussing what Palestinians, particularly Palestinian Christians, must do. It is part of a special edition of Cornerstone, titled The Great Deception: What must Palestinians do? Cornerstone is a publication of the Sabeel, the Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center.

An earlier article of his take, as a Palestinian Christian, on Suicide Bombers is also worth reading.

2008/04/18

Israel’s God of War — against both Arab and (secular) Jew

Filed under: Fundamentalism,Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 7:42 am

The ultra-orthodox religionists (the Haredim/Charedim) of Israel now make up 10% of the population and are a critical support for the Olmert government.

For the Haredim the very existence of Israel cannot be justified without God and the Abrahamic promises in the Bible, which require the expulsion of the Palestinians from all that they believe God has given them. Haredi/Charedi prayers even call for the destruction of the secular state of Israel. Today these Haredim are a minority, “only” 10% of the population. But they make no secret of how they would enforce changes on Israel if ever they feel the muscle to do so.

They are the direct counterpart of Moslem extremists. Haredim claim to follow the Halachi rules as forever binding. The Halachi gives licence to kill secular Jews, to show no kindness to them. It also relegates women to being the property of their fathers and husbands, and forbids them to testify in legal proceedings. In another ironic twist in the minds no doubt for some western observers, some Jewish Haredi/Charedi women in Israel today are volunteering to wear the hijab. This is just one of their practices that actually demonstrates their claim to be reliving a past tradition that may never have existed: where there are doubts about interpretation of Halachi directives, they will err on the side of over-doing them.

Harmless nuts? A passing fad?

A Jewish site dedicated to “Enlightenment, education and freedom from religion”, Daat Emet, publishes online the reasons they believe non religious Jews and others should not dismiss the ultra-orthodox as harmless cranks.

There have always been religious extremists among orthodox Jews, and back in the 1960’s we were reading of sects who were apparently plotting the destruction of the Moslem Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the reinstitution of sacrifices. It appears that Jewish extremism is currently finding a growing support base within Israel itself.

Background Briefing (on Australia’s ABC Radio National) put together a well researched (though perhaps hastily edited) program on these ultra-orthodox Jews who are already having a serious impact on Israeli politics, not to mention the lives of other Jews and Arabs who come within their orbit. It is titled Israel: selling out secularism? From their site one can download the podcast of the program, listen to live-streaming, or read the transcript.

Background Briefing lists the following bibliography — of all readily accessible online articles — discussing more academically the background to the growth of the Haredi in Israel. I’ve read most of them, and recommend them to anyone wanting to seriously understand the social and psychological background to the rise of this social and political group today, and to explore some of the details of the fluctuations of their political strength over the past decade.

Iannaccone and Berman’s article (listed first) argues that safety lies in religious pluralism. Danger follows where States attempt to suppress certain militant religious movements. The United States is, perhaps paradoxically, held up as a model. Maybe so. The future is impossible to know. But thank the Enlightenment for the secularists, the educators, the peace activists in the meantime.

Title: ‘Religious Extremism, the good, the bad and the deadly’ in Public Choice 2006
Author: Laurence R. Iannaccone and Eli Berman
URL: http://econ.ucsd.edu/~elib/rex.pdf

Title: ‘Haredi Violence in Contemporary Israeli Society’ in Jew and Violence, Image, Ideologies, Realities
Author: Menachem Friedman
Publisher: Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2002
URL: http://www.biu.ac.il/SOC/so/Haredi-Violence.pdf

Title: Sect, subsidy and Sacrifice: An economist’s view of ultra-orthodox Jews
Author: Eli Berman
Publisher: Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2000
URL: http://econ.ucsd.edu/~elib/sns.pdf

Title: ‘Rupture and Reconstruction: The transformation of Contemporary Orthodoxy’ in Tradition 1994
Author: Haym Soloveitchik
URL: http://www.lookstein.org/links/orthodoxy.htm

Title: ‘The Haredim and Israeli Society’ in Whither Israel – The Domestic Challenges
Author: Menachem Friedman
Publisher: The Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1993
URL: http://www.biu.ac.il/SOC/so/Ultra-Orthodox.pdf

Title: ‘The State of Israel as a theological dilemma’ in The Israeli State and Society, Boundaries and Frontiers
Author: Menachem Friedman
Publisher: State University of New York Press, 1989
URL: http://www.biu.ac.il/SOC/so/Theological-Dilemma.pdf

Title: ‘Haredim confront the modern city’ in Studies in Contemporary Jewry II
Author: Menachem Friedman
Publisher: Indiana University Press 1986
URL: http://www.biu.ac.il/SOC/so/Haredim-Modern_City.pdf

Israel’s birthday and God’s gift from the Nile to the Euphrates

Filed under: Activist resources,Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 6:14 am

Manifest Destiny?

12/04/08
By Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom
Copied with permission from the Israeli peace activist site Gush Shalom (my links no longer default to new windows!)

NEXT MONTH, Israel will celebrate its 60th anniversary. The government is working feverishly to make this day into an occasion of joy and jubilation. While serious problems are crying out for funds, some 40 million dollars have been allocated to this aim.

But the nation is in no mood for celebrations. It is gloomy. (more…)

2008/03/01

An Invention called “the Jewish People”

Filed under: Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 9:41 am

My heading, “an invention called the Jewish people” is taken from an article recently published in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper. It’s about a book by Professor Zand of the Tel Aviv University. The article concludes with:

His book, “When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?” (published by Resling in Hebrew), is intended to promote the idea that Israel should be a “state of all its citizens” – Jews, Arabs and others – in contrast to its declared identity as a “Jewish and democratic” state. Personal stories, a prolonged theoretical discussion and abundant sarcastic quips do not help the book, but its historical chapters are well-written and cite numerous facts and insights that many Israelis will be astonished to read for the first time.

Some of those facts:

  1. “There never was a Jewish people, only a Jewish religion”, and the exile of 70 c.e. also never happened. At the most, tens of thousands were exiled. Most were permitted, and most did, stay in the land. It follows, if exile is a myth, that the idea that Jews since the twentieth century are “returning” to “their land” is a myth.
  2. When the Arabs conquered the land, many of the Jews converted to Islam and were assimilated among the conquerors. It follows that many Palestinian Arabs today are descendants of the original Jews.

Tom Segev, author of this article, writes:

Zand did not invent this thesis; 30 years before the Declaration of Independence, it was espoused by David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and others. . . . . Zand quotes from many existing studies, some of which were written in Israel but shunted out of the central discourse.

So how did the Jewish Diaspora originate?

From Tom Segev’s article on Prof. Zand’s book in the Haaretz:

  1. emigration of their own accord
  2. many Jews in Babylon had simply remained of their own will
  3. members of other faiths were forced to become Jews (c.f. the Book of Esther which says narrates just such an event — many converting because of fear of the Jews.)

Specific case-studies discussed by Zand:

  1. the Jewish kingdom of Himyar in the southern Arabian Peninsula
  2. the Jewish Berbers in North Africa
  3. the Jews in Spain — these originated from Arabs who became Jews and who arrived with the forces that captured Spain from the Christians; these mingled with European individuals who had become Jews.
  4. the first Jews of Ashkenaz (Germany) . . . became Jews in the Khazar Kingdom in the Caucasus.

Segev notes:

We find, then, that the members of a variety of peoples and races, blond and black, brown and yellow, became Jews in large numbers. According to Zand, the Zionist need to devise for them a shared ethnicity and historical continuity produced a long series of inventions and fictions, along with an invocation of racist theses. Some were concocted in the minds of those who conceived the Zionist movement, while others were offered as the findings of genetic studies conducted in Israel.

The original Haaretz article is worth the full read, not least for the same page’s other interesting news of the sort that does not normally see light of day in the English speaking Western media.

The story will not be news to those who already appreciate the fictional nature of the Bible’s Exodus and genocidal Conquest narratives. Nor to those familiar with some of the racist fictions that were concocted in the latter nineteenth and earlier twentieth centuries. Focus on Nazi racist myths has obscured from much public memory the fact that such racist ideologies and cults of physical ideals inflicted many races, nations and peoples then, many Jews included.

One day the world will look back on the current myths underpinning Zionism as with no more factual foundation than their nineteenth century and early twentieth century counterparts — and that were likewise used to rationalize ethnic cleansing and expansion of “living space”.

2007/12/17

3 problems with recognizing the state of Israel’s “right to exist”

Filed under: Activist resources,Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 5:08 am

Historical Palestinian refusal to recognize the state of Israel has generally been portrayed in the western mainstream media as a sign of an Arab anti-Jewish hatred and wish to drive Israel “into the sea”. What is not often conveyed by western leaders and media are the reasons Palestinian and other Arab peoples have often refused to recognized Israel, and the fact that on several occasions they have conditionally offered to recognize Israel.

  1. Israel is a Jewish state, meaning it is a racial state, and this means that other racial or religious minorities do not in practice have equal citizenship rights. The world has come to deplore other states such as apartheid South Africa and nazi Germany using race in preference to truly democratic principles as the essential rationale for their existence.
  2. Recognizing Israel as a new state would mean accepting Israel’s refusal of the right of return for the refugees and their descendants who were expelled from territories Israel now controls from past wars. In other words, ethnic cleansing will be accepted as a legitimate fait accompli.
  3. To recognize Israel carte blanche means accepting their occupation and control over much of the West Bank, and ongoing “bantustan-ization” of Palestinians. Both Palestinian and Arab leaders have publicly agreed recognize Israel in her pre-1967 war borders. But Israel refuses to recognize any such borders as final, arguing it has both security and biblical-historical justifications to expand its “living space” (cf. lebensraum).

This is not to deny that there is a widespread anti-Jewish sentiment among many Arabs. But anti-Arab racism on the part of many Jews is just as tangible. Western media works against peace in the Middle East as long as they simplify Arab reasons for unconditionally accepting Israel’s right to exist (i.e. with present borders, a race-based state, ethnically cleansed) as a matter of irrational hate against Jews. Western media also works against peace while it refuses to openly criticize the real wrongs (and racism) of Israel. The above stumbling blocks to Arab recognition of Israel are discussed more openly and constructively in Israel than they are in the black-and-white simplistic reporting of mainstream English-language media.

2007/11/26

Israel’s purging of Palestinian Christians — article

Filed under: Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 11:20 am

A January in-depth article by Jonathan Cook — on Electronic Intifada

2007/11/24

Gaza (the reality behind myth of “God’s will” for modern Israel)

Filed under: Activist resources,Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society,Terrorism — Neil Godfrey @ 10:51 am

5 minute video:
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article15693.htm

Independent article:
UN official discusses impact of the siege of Gaza

2007/11/15

Zionism and betrayal of the Jews

Filed under: Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 3:44 pm
Tags: ,

Fear and self-imposed censorship has prevented the publication in the U.S. of Alan Hart’s book, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews.

Hart discusses the message of his book on Information Clearing House.

He writes that Peres said there is no Israel lobby in the U.S. There is only the Likud lobby. I might have headed this post: The Likud lobby and betrayal of the U.S.

2007/10/16

Christian Zionism: Dispensationalism And The Roots Of Sectarian Theology

Filed under: Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 8:21 am

A history of Dispensational Approaches by John Scott . . . .

Christian Zionism: Dispensationalism And The Roots Of Sectarian Theology

Related blog post: Christian Zionism: Assumptions and Dehumanization

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