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Daniel Dworsky
 
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Quote Daniel Dworsky Replybullet Posted: 28 September 2006 at 1:21pm
Hi,
Hope this may interest you.
I am sending this earlier than usual, because of a short
vacation.
By the way, the question of the different numbers of the
verse quoted by the pope has been cleared up. In different
translations, the numbers are different, because some count
the obligatory opening verse (In the Name of Allah...) and
some don't. So the pope and I were both right and fallible.
Shalom,
uri

Uri Avnery
30.9.06

                Because of a Small Nail

HAD HAMLET been a reserve soldier in the Israeli army, he might now
declare: "Something is rotten in the State of Israel!"

And indeed, something is rotten -

- The President of the State refuses to suspend himself, in face of eight
individual accusations of sexual harassment. He whines about a
monstrous conspiracy against him and points at Netanyahu's men in the
Likud.

- The Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense refuse to resign, in spite
of the overwhelming majority of the public's expressed lack of confidence
in Ehud Olmert (70%) and Amir Peretz (82%). Instead of agreeing to the
establishment of an independent judicial commission of inquiry, they
have set up an examining committee that has already lost the confidence
of the majority of the public - even before it has started to investigate the
events of the Lebanon War.

- The Chief-of-Staff, under attack from retired and serving generals,
declares that he "will not take off his uniform until somebody tears it off."

- The chairman of the Knesset Foreign and Military Affairs Committee is
indicted for fraud and perjury.

- The Minister of Justice is on trial for pushing his tongue into the mouth
of a female soldier.

According to the polls, the overwhelming majority of the population is
happy with their personal situation (80%) but depressed about the
situation of the state (59%).

So what to do?

Simple: just change the system.


THIS IS a typical Israeli reaction. Perhaps typically human.

When a crisis threatens to upset the foundations of our perceptions, we
tend to turn away from the main issue and concentrate all our attention
on some detail. Thus we are relieved from questioning our basic beliefs
and the world-view we are accustomed to. We take some detail, as small
as possible, and put all the blame on it. That’s it! Found it! That's the
guilty part!

As the old song goes: "All because of a small nail!" So when a major
disaster occurs, we find the small nail that caused it, and we need not
look further.

For example: the Yom-Kippur war. Why did this bloody war break out at
all? Why didn't we accept President Anwar Sadat's earlier offer of peace in
exchange for the return of the Sinai? Why did our Ship of Fools blithely
sail from the Six-day war to the Yom-Kippur war on a sea of arrogance?

No, such questions were not asked. But what was asked? Things like: Why
didn't the army intelligence department warn us that the Egyptians and
Syrians were about to attack? Why weren't the reserve units called up in
time? Why weren’t the "instruments" (tanks and artillery) moved to the
canal?

It was called "The Omission". That was the slogan of the mass protest
movement that sprang up and swept away Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan.

That's like emptying the ashtray when a car breaks down. Now something
similar is happening.


THE POLLS show that the public has no confidence in the leadership. But
the public does not say: We voted for these leaders, so we are to blame.
That would be an unpleasant admission. What they say is: It's not our
fault. So who is to blame? The "system", of course.

That's because our parliamentary democracy does not assure the Prime
Minister a full term of four years. He can fall before that. It also compels
him to include in his government leaders of the coalition parties, even if
they are quite incompetent to direct their ministries. The Prime Minister
cannot plan long-term policy, nor put capable experts in charge of the
ministries.

That's very bad. Therefore, we must adopt the American system. The
people will elect a president, who will serve at least four full years. He will
choose a cabinet composed of outstanding personalities, each one an
expert in his field. Thus Zion will be redeemed.


THIS IS the purest snake oil - one bottle to cure all illnesses, without pain
and without delay.

First of all, one cannot simply transfer a political system from one country
to another. Every state has its own tradition, its own specific culture, its
own social set-up. A political system must grow from within. It cannot be
imposed on another people. When one tries to do that, the society adapts
it to its own requirements and changes it beyond recognition. (Japan after
World War II springs to mind.) Only out-of-touch professors in ivory
towers could imagine that the illnesses of a society can be cured by an
ideal political system copied from another country.

That has already been proven in Israel: under the influence of some
professors, our "system" was changed some years ago. It was decided
that the Prime Minister would be elected directly, separately from the
Knesset elections. But soon it became obvious that this system was worse
than the one before it. So the Wise Ones took counsel and changed the
whole thing back again.

But there's no need for us to go through that experience ourselves. In
order to appreciate the advantages of the presidential system, it's enough
to look at the situation in its homeland: the United States.

What has this system achieved there? Indeed, the president has at least
four full years, but many would add "alas!" When it is discovered that a
complete idiot has been elected and embroils his country in disastrous
adventures, he cannot be removed. In our parliamentary system, as in the
United Kingdom, a Prime Minister can be removed with comparative ease.
Tony Blair will be gone within a year, while George Bush serves out his full
term.

Are the American ministers more competent than ours? Is Donald
Rumsfeld less of a disaster than Amir Peretz?

Moreover, in order to be elected president, a candidate needs huge sums
of money. Such heavy money can come only from interest groups, lobbies
and large corporations. The American system is corrupt to the core - a
corruption so deep and wide, it makes the sins of Olmert & Co. look
innocent.


BUT LOGIC is not the key to this discussion, because the demand for
system change is serving as a cover for something much more sinister:
the call for a Leader.

Such calls always arise in times of crisis. When there is a feeling of defeat
and a climate of distrust of the old leadership, people long for a strong
father. Democracy looks weak and rotten, especially faced with the legend
that the politicians have "prevented the army from winning." A strong
leader solves problems with an iron fist. A policy of dialogue and
agreements is something for weaklings.

It must be clear: the proposal to adopt the presidential system is nothing
other than a disguised call for an all-powerful leader. One has only to
look at those who propose it.

The foremost advocate of "system change" is Avigdor Liberman, the
leader of the "Israel Our Home" party, composed mainly of immigrants
from the former Soviet Union. This is a party of the radical Right - to use
an understatement. In other countries, they might be called by another
name.

"Israel Our Home" stands for unbridled nationalism and xenophobia. It is
more radical than Joerg Haider in Austria and Jean-Marie Le-Pen in
France. It calls for all Palestinians to leave the country, including the Arab
citizens of Israel proper, who constitute 20% of the population. That does
not prevent Ehud Olmert from declaring publicly that he would like to
have this party in his government. (When Haider joined the Austrian
government, Israel recalled its ambassador from Vienna.)

Liberman, who wants to be Minister of Defense, has set five conditions for
joining the government, headed by the demand for the adoption of the
presidential system. It is quite clear who his candidate for president is:
Avigdor Liberman.

The polls say that if elections were held now, Liberman's party would get
16 seats in the 120-seat Knesset (compared to 11 seats in the present
assembly). To this, one must add the nine seats occupied in the present
Knesset by the "National Union", whose leader, a knitted-kippa-wearing
general, publicly demands the expulsion of all Arabs from the occupied
Palestinian territories, and the withdrawal of democratic rights from the
Arab citizens of Israel itself. When such parties constitute a fifth of the
voting public, there is certainly cause for concern.


I BELIEVE in Israeli democracy. It is an incredible phenomenon,
considering where most Israeli citizens or their parents came from:
Czarist and Communist Russia, the Poland of Pilsudsky and his heirs,
Morocco, Iraq, Iran and Syria - in addition to those born in colonial
Palestine under the rule of the British High Commissioner. Like the
resurrection of the Hebrew language, which has no parallel in the world,
this democracy is a miracle. (This means, of course, democracy in Israel
proper. In the occupied territories, a very different situation prevails.)

I don't believe that there is a concrete danger of the rise of fascism at
present. But we have to be on our guard, every day and every hour.
Several factors may promote fascist tendencies here: the feeling of defeat
in war, the legend of the "the stab in the back of the army", lack of
confidence in the democratic system, a widening gap between rich and
poor, incitement against the national minority described as a Fifth
Column.

That is more than a small nail.



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Quote Daniel Dworsky Replybullet Posted: 05 October 2006 at 2:47am
Uri Avnery
7.10.06          ; 

                Lunch in Damascus

ONCE, WHILE traveling in a taxi, I had an argument with the driver - a
profession associated in Israel with extreme right-wing views. I tried in
vain to convince him of the desirability of peace with the Arabs. In our
country, which has never seen a single day of peace in the last hundred
years, peace can seem like something out of science fiction.

Suddenly I had an inspiration. "When we have peace," I said, "You can take
your taxi in the morning and go to Damascus, have lunch there with real
authentic Hummus and come back home in the evening."

He jumped at the idea. "Wow," he exclaimed, "If that happens, I shall take
you with me for nothing!"

"And I shall treat you to lunch," I responded.

He continued to dream. "If I could go to Damascus in my car, I could drive
on from there all the way to Paris!"


BASHAR AL-ASSAD has done it again. He has succeeded in confusing the
Israeli government.

As long as he voices the ritual threat to liberate the Golan Heights by
force, it does not upset anybody. After all, that only confirms what many
want to hear: that there is no way to have peace with Syria, that sooner or
later we shall have a war with them.

Why is that good? Simple: peace with Syria would mean giving back the
Golan Heights (Syrian territory by any definition). No peace, no need to
give them back.

But when Bashar starts to talk peace, we are in trouble. That is a sinister
plot. It may, God forbid, create a situation that would compel us to return
the territory.

Therefore, we should not even speak about it. The news must be buried
in some remote corner of the papers and at the end of the news on TV, as
just "another speech of Assad". The government rejects them "on the
threshold", adding that it cannot even be discussed until…

Until what? Until he stops supporting Hizbullah. Until Syria expels the
representatives of Hamas and the other Palestinian organizations. Until
regime change takes place in Syria. Until a Western-style democracy is
installed there. In short, until he registers as a member of the Zionist
organization.


THE RELATIONS between Israel and Syria have a documented history of at
least 2859 years. In the year 853 B.C. Israel is mentioned - for the first
time, it seems - in an authentic document outside the Bible. Twelve
monarchs of the region, led by the kings of Damascus and Israel, united
against the growing threat of Assyria, The decisive battle took place at
Karkar (in the north of today's Syria). According to an Assyrian document,
20 thousand soldiers and 1200 chariots of Damascus fought side by side
with 10 thousand soldiers and 2000 chariots of Ahab, king of Israel. It is
not quite clear which side won.

But that was a temporary alliance. For most of the time, Israel and Aram-
Damascus fought against each other for regional supremacy. Ahab died a
hero's death in one of these wars against Aram, just two years after the
battle against the Assyrians.

In modern times, the Syrians (although then still under French colonial
rule) strenuously opposed the Zionist enterprise right from the beginning.
But they also opposed the Palestinian national movement. That is
grounded in history: in the Arabic language, the name al-Sham ("the
North"), as Syria is called, includes the entire territory between Egypt and
Turkey. Therefore, in Arab consciousness, not only Lebanon, but Jordan,
Palestine and Israel as well are really part of Syria.

When Yasser Arafat created the independent Palestinian national
movement at the end of the 1950s, the Syrians demanded to be
acknowledged as the protectors of the Palestinian people. When he
refused, the Syrians threw the entire Palestinian leadership into prison.
(Only the wife of Abu Jihad, Intissar al-Wazir, remained at liberty and took
over the command of the Fatah fighters - thus becoming the first woman
in modern times to command an Arab fighting force.)   

Naturally, all the enemies of Arafat found refuge in Damascus, and that is
the original reason for the presence of some leaders of Hamas and other
organizations there. They were more of a threat to the PLO than to Israel.


IN THE 1948 war, the Syrian army was the only Arab army that was not
defeated. They continued to occupy some Israeli territory. Along this
border, many incidents took place (mostly initiated by an officer by the
name of Ariel Sharon). In the end, the Israeli army occupied the Golan
Heights in the Six-day war, for the outbreak of which Syria bears some
responsibility.

Since then, all the relations between Israel and Syria have been centered
on this occupied territory. Its return is a paramount Syrian aim. Israel has
applied Israeli law there (which, contrary to the accepted view, means less
than annexation). Hafez al-Assad re-conquered it in the 1973 war, but in
the end was pushed back to the approaches of Damascus. Since then, the
Syrians have been trying to harass Israel mostly by means of Hizbullah.

Once upon a time, the idea of an "Eastern Front" - a coordinated attack by
Jordan, Syria and Iraq - used to cause nightmares in Israel. The prophecy
of Jeremiah (1, 14), "Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the
inhabitants of the land", echoed through the war-rooms of the army High
Command. Since then we have made peace with Jordan, Iraq has been
blown to smithereens by the Americans, with the enthusiastic support of
Israel and its American lobby. But the Syrians are still considered a
menace, because they are allied with Iran and connected with Hizbullah.

Is it worthwhile for us to live in this situation in order to keep the Golan
Heights? Common sense says no. If we reach a peace agreement with
Syria, it will automatically entail an agreement with Hizbullah, too.
Without Syrian consent, Hizbullah cannot keep an efficient military force,
since practically all Hizbullah's arms have to come from Syria or pass
through Syria. Without Syrian support, Hizbullah will become a purely
Lebanese party and cease to constitute a threat to us.

Moreover, Syria is a thoroughly secular country. When the Muslim
Brotherhood rebelled against Assad Sr, he drowned them in blood. Also,
the great majority of Syrians are Sunni. When Syria makes peace with
Israel, it will have no reason to remain allied with the fanatical Shiite Iran.

So why don't we make peace with Syria?


AT THIS time, there are two reasons: the one domestic, the other foreign.

The domestic reason is the existence of 20 thousand settlers on the
Golan Heights, who are far more popular than the West Bank settlers.
They are not religious fanatics, and their settlements were set up under
the auspices of the Labor Party. All Israeli governments have been afraid
to touch them.

That is the real reason for the failure of all the attempts to negotiate with
Syria. Yitzhak Rabin thought about it and drew back. He argued that we
should first of all concentrate on settling the Palestinian issue. Ehud Barak
almost came to an agreement with Syria, but escaped at the last moment.
The only question that remained open was almost ludicrous: should the
Syrians reach the shoreline of the Sea of Tiberias (the situation prevailing
before the Six-day war) or stay at a distance of a few dozen meters
(according to the border fixed between the British, then ruling Palestine,
and the French, then ruling Syria). In popular parlance: will Assad dangle
his long feet in the water of the lake? For Assad Sr. that was a question of
honor.

Is it worthwhile to risk for this the lives of thousands of Israelis and
Syrians, who may die in another war?

Until Israel has a government ready to answer this question and to
confront the settlers, there will be no agreement with Syria.

The second reason for rejecting peace with Syria is connected with the
United States. Syria belongs to George Bush's "axis of evil". The American
president doesn't give a damn for the long-range interests of Israel, what
is important to him is to achieve some sort of victory in the Middle East.
The destruction of the Syrian regime ("a victory for democracy") will
compensate him for the Iraq fiasco.

No Israeli government - and certainly not that of Olmert - would dare to
disobey the American president. Therefore, it is self-evident that all
peace feelers from Assad will be rejected "on the threshold". Tsipi Livni,
who last week opened a new front against Olmert and presented herself
almost as a peace-lover, opposes the start of negotiations with Syria as
well.   


THIS AFFAIR throws some light on the complex relations between Israel
and the United States: who is wagging who - does the dog wag its tail or
the tail its dog?

Olmert says that we must ignore Assad's peace offers, because we must
not help him to escape Bush's wrath. Let's dwell on this utterance for a
moment.

An Israeli patriot would, of course, have said exactly the opposite: If
Assad is ready to make peace with us - even if only because he is afraid
of the Americans - we should jump at this opportunity and exploit this
situation to achieve at long last peace on our northern front.

Last week Olmert made a remarkable declaration: "As long as I am Prime
Minister, we shall not give up the Golan for all eternity!" What does that
mean? Either Olmert believes that his term of office coincides with God's
term of office, and he will rule in eternity - or in Olmert's world, eternity
extends to four years, at most.

Anyhow, until then, my taxi-driver and I shall have to wait for our lunch
in Damascus.
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Quote Daniel Dworsky Replybullet Posted: 21 October 2006 at 10:08am

Hi Beautiful people,

I hope this interests you.

URI On liberman


A BLACK FLAG!

When the racist Joerg Haider joined the Austrian government, the Israeli
government recalled our ambassador from Vienna.

Now there is an intention to invite Avigdor Liberman, a racist much worse
than Haider, to join the Israeli government itself.

The inclusion of Liberman in the government is not just a change in the
coalition. It raises a black flag over the State of Israel.

The very idea that such a person, which such views, can be a member of
the Government of Israel is shocking. It shames everyone who advocates
it.

Liberman is a threat to the fabric of Israeli society, a threat to a whole
sector of citizens, a threat to democracy, a threat to any chance for Israel
to achieve peace with its neighbors.

The proposed law for the change of the regime, which has been
introduced by Liberman in the Knesset, is not just a proposal for another
change in the mechanism of government. It is the first step towards the
establishment of a dictatorship, which will lead to national disaster.

This is a road of no return.

A cynical Prime Minister, out to save his skin, together with a gang of
corrupt and/or st**id politicians, are helping Liberman to put his foot in
the door of Israeli democracy.

Anyone who raises his hand in favor of Liberman and his proposals raises
his hand against the State of Israel as defined by the Declaration of
Independence, a state that was supposed to be democratic, peace-
oriented, with equality for all its citizens.

Each of them will be remembered forever with shame.


                                            GUSH SHALOM


972-3-5221732 - P.O.Box 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 - www.gush-
shalom.org - info@gush-shalom.org

------------------------------------------------------------ --
------------------------------------------------------------ --
------------


Special large ad published in Haaretz
October 17, 2006
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Quote herjihad Replybullet Posted: 21 October 2006 at 7:06pm

Originally posted by Daniel Dworsky


Hi Beautiful people,

I hope this interests you.

URI On liberman


A BLACK FLAG!

When the racist Joerg Haider joined the Austrian government, the Israeli
government recalled our ambassador from Vienna.

Now there is an intention to invite Avigdor Liberman, a racist much worse
than Haider, to join the Israeli government itself.

The inclusion of Liberman in the government is not just a change in the
coalition. It raises a black flag over the State of Israel.

The very idea that such a person, which such views, can be a member of
the Government of Israel is shocking. It shames everyone who advocates
it.

Liberman is a threat to the fabric of Israeli society, a threat to a whole
sector of citizens, a threat to democracy, a threat to any chance for Israel
to achieve peace with its neighbors.

The proposed law for the change of the regime, which has been
introduced by Liberman in the Knesset, is not just a proposal for another
change in the mechanism of government. It is the first step towards the
establishment of a dictatorship, which will lead to national disaster.

This is a road of no return.

A cynical Prime Minister, out to save his skin, together with a gang of
corrupt and/or st**id politicians, are helping Liberman to put his foot in
the door of Israeli democracy.

Anyone who raises his hand in favor of Liberman and his proposals raises
his hand against the State of Israel as defined by the Declaration of
Independence, a state that was supposed to be democratic, peace-
oriented, with equality for all its citizens.

Each of them will be remembered forever with shame.


                                            GUSH SHALOM


972-3-5221732 - P.O.Box 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 - www.gush-
shalom.org - info@gush-shalom.org

------------------------------------------------------------ --
------------------------------------------------------------ --
------------


Special large ad published in Haaretz
October 17, 2006

Salaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,

This is to let you know that I've been reading as much as I can, and today I read your last three entries throughly.  Thanks!

It is obvious to those who are not blind that Bush doesn't care for America's long-term interest either!  Some call him st**id, but I think he's pure evil looking for advantage and profit in his own lifetime at anyone's expense.

*** This is funny.  I thought you had blocked the word stupi*d, but it seems that that word isn't allowed on IC anymore.  Hilarious!



Edited by herjihad
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.
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Daniel Dworsky
 
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Quote Daniel Dworsky Replybullet Posted: 22 October 2006 at 2:31am
No S**T!     
Just checking.


I don't think Bush is a bad guy His Dad may well be. I think evil people
are very very rare. Very few people get up in the morning and say to them
selves,"Hmm what kind of mischief can I get up to today?" Good people
are capable of doing evil by doing nothing to stop evil or compromising
the wrong things for what they believe to be the greater good. I know a
little something about evil. The real stuff. It has nothing to do with
politics, religion or disorderly people. It has to do with an absence of
tolerance. You don't have to love or forgive as much as you have to just
wait, think, talk or just start over sometimes.

Uri is on the rampage again

Uri Avnery
19.10.06

                        Ehud von Olmert

THE NAME of Franz von Papen is familiar to everyone who knows the
history of the German republic that was born after World War I and that
died when Hitler came to power.

What made him deserving of a place in history? Not his talents. On the
contrary, during his short term as Reichskanzler (chancellor), he was as
much a failure as his predecessors. Neither was he a very interesting
person - just an ordinary politician from the minor nobility ("von"), a
member of the "Zentrum", a German party like our own "National-
Religious Party", before it lost its mind.

No, the name of von Papen is remembered only because he paved the way
for the Nazis to take over Germany. It was he who advised the President
of the Reich, an almost senile Field Marshal, to appoint Hitler as
Reichskanzler. Von Papen told him that Hitler was just another
demagogue with a big mouth, who, once in power, was sure to moderate
his views. And anyhow, for safety's sake, all the important positions - War
Minister, Foreign Minister etc. - would be given to non-Nazis. Hitler
would be Kanzler in name only, unable to move.

Well, everybody knows what happened next. After getting his foot in the
door with the help of von Papen, Hitler stormed into the building,
instituted a reign of terror, threw his opponents (including the assistants
of von Papen himself) into concentration camps, changed the law and
established the dictatorship that led Germany to disaster.

Now there is a danger of Ehud Olmert becoming the Israeli von Papen.


I HAVE always been careful to avoid the example of the famous shepherd
who used to cry "Wolf! Wolf!" just to tease the others.

Many times, this or that Israeli politician has been accused of being a
fascist. But to be a fascist, it is not enough to espouse extreme nationalist
views or to carry out racist policies.

There is no scientific definition of fascism. But from experience one can
say that it is a combination of world view and personality type, radical
nationalism, racism, a cult of violence, dictatorship and more. When
asked who is a fascist, I answer: When you see one, you will know.

Or, as the Americans say: If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it
is a duck.

More than once, Menachem Begin was called a fascist, but he was far
from it. He was indeed an extreme nationalist, but also a confirmed
democrat, with decidedly liberal views (like his guide and master, Vladimir
Ze'ev Jabotinsky). Rehavam Ze'evi, who advocated "voluntary transfer" of
the Arab population, came close to the definition, but he lacked the
special character that makes the fascist.

The only leader in the history of Israel who can accurately be defined as a
fascist was Meir Kahane. He did not grow up in this country but was an
import from the US. He was and remained alien in appearance and style,
and failed to impress the general public.

Now Israeli democracy is threatened by a much more dangerous
individual.


AVIGDOR LIBERMAN is a clever person. It is not easy to nail down his
views. They are always formulated in a slick and elusive way. But the rule
applies to him: When you see him, you will know.

When he came to Israel from the Soviet Union, he already brought with
him a racist outlook. He wants a purely Jewish state, with no Arabs. For
this, he is prepared, so he says, even to give up Israeli territory in which a
dense Arab population is living. He proposes to get these citizens out of
Israel, together with the land they are living on. Not a second Naqba, God
forbid: the Arabs will not be driven from their lands, as then, but will be
expelled together with their land. In return, Israel will annex the
territories on which the settlers, one of whom is Liberman himself, are
living.

What's wrong with that? The basic idea is wrong: the turning of Israel into
a state "cleansed" of Arabs. In German that would be called "Araber-rein".
(Actually, it's an inversion of the Nazi phrase: not Juden-rein, but Rein-
für-Juden. That is clearly a racist slogan, which appeals to the most
primitive instincts of the masses.

The chances of this actually happening are, of course, nil. But the very
voicing of this idea prepares the way for something even worse: the
simple expulsion of the masses of Arabs from Israel proper and the
occupied territories. Without euphemisms, without exchanges of territory,
without any kind of spin. Once the fascist genie gets out of the bottle, no
power can stop it before it leads to disaster.

The annexation of the settlements will, of course, put an end to any
chance of peace.

But the menace of Liberman lies not only in his acknowledged or
unacknowledged views. It is imprinted in his character. Witness: he is the
sole leader of his party, which is almost entirely composed of new
immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Like previous waves of
immigration, this is a group of people who did not grow up in a
democratic society, and tend to have an oversimplified view of the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict.   

Many of them live in Israel as if on an island, read only the local Russian-
language press (almost entirely far to the right), and are isolated from the
liberal and democratic tendencies in the country. They have pushed out
Nathan Sharansky, who looks too weak, and vote for a tough,
authoritarian leader whose main election slogan, even in Hebrew-
language broadcasts, was "Da, Liberman!" (Yes, Liberman!) What does that
remind one of?

Liberman does not hide his intention of totally changing the structure of
the Israeli political system and establishing an authoritarian regime,
headed by a strong leader (himself). As a first step, he has submitted a
bill for the establishment of a "presidential" regime, in which the
president would have almost dictatorial powers. He would not be
dependent on the Parliament, which would become unimportant, and
would control all the instruments of power himself. The immediate model
is Vladimir Putin, the gravedigger of Russian democracy, but it seems that
Liberman is far more extreme.


WHY DOES Ehud Olmert court this man? Why does he insist on including
him in his government and agreeing to vote for his proposals? Why is
Libermania fast becoming the hottest topic in Israeli politics?

Simply: Olmert, completely bankrupt, is clutching at straws.

Only seven months after becoming Prime Minister by a stroke of luck -
Ariel Sharon's stroke - he is left with nothing, and right with nothing, too,
it seems:. The public already understands that the Lebanon War, in all its
facets, was a total fiasco. His refusal to appoint a Judicial Commission of
Inquiry has deepened the feeling of defeat. The central slogan of his
election campaign - "Convergence" - has become a bad joke. From the
famous "Social Agenda" nothing has remained. Olmert & Co. have been
left without any plan, any mission, except one: to hold on to power at any
price.

One of the hallmarks of a person like Liberman is a talent for sensing and
exploiting the weaknesses of others. He is making Olmert a seductive
offer: he would join the government and bring with him his 11 votes in
Parliament - without anything in return. Literally for nothing.

In the past he has demanded the post of Minister of Defense, or at least
Minister of Police (officially "Minister of Interior Defense"). Now he talks
about a nebulous title: "Minister in Charge of Long-Range
Strategy" (translation: the bombing of Iran). But he does not insist even
on that. He is prepared to be a minister without portfolio, not even
demanding that two or three of his colleagues also become ministers, as
the size of his party would justify.

An offer that cannot be refused. Liberman knows that the title is
unimportant. What is important is to get his foot in the door and gain
legitimacy as a minister. The rest will come in due course.

For the despairing Olmert, out to hold on to power, this looks like a gift
from heaven. He has opponents in the government, especially in the
Labor Party. His parliamentary majority is not safe. And here comes
Liberman and provides him with complete security in office. People have
sold their souls to the devil for less.

The official justification is: "One cannot reject any Zionist party" (a
wording that automatically counts out all Israeli Arab parties). Adapting
the famous words of Dr Samuel Johnson, it could be said: "Zionism is the
last refuge of a scoundrel."

Olmert wants to gain some more years - or months, or weeks - in power.
Power for its own sake. Power for no cause or purpose, for no idea, for no
action. In return, he is ready to open the door to the forces of darkness.
What does he care? After him the deluge.


I HAVE said more than once that I believe in Israeli democracy. The
immigrants from the Soviet Union are not the only ones who grew up in a
dictatorial system - almost all Israelis, or their parents, grew up under
tyrannical regimes. But Israeli democracy, the miracle that has no logical
explanation, is holding up even in these difficult circumstances.

However, we cannot ignore the dangers that threaten our democracy now.
Years of a brutal occupation have corrupted the state and the army,
racism is flourishing in our daily life - not only against the inhabitants of
the occupied territories, not only against the Arab citizens of Israel
proper, not only against foreign workers. There exist in our society deep
schisms that can be exploited by fascism in its search for power.

When Rome was in danger from the approaching Carthaginian army, the
cry went up: "Hannibal ante portas!" We should now raise the cry:
"Liberman at the gate!"

Ehud Olmert will be a passing episode in the annals of Israel. In a few
years, nobody will remember him. Unless he acquires the status of the
Israeli von Papen.


Edited by Daniel Dworsky
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Quote Daniel Dworsky Replybullet Posted: 28 October 2006 at 5:59am


Stormy Demonstartion in Bil'in

It was the stormiest demonstration in Bil'in for some time. Clouds of tear
gas, salvoes of stun grenades were showered on the 300 demonstrators -
Palestinians, Israelis and internationals - who marched again to protest
against the wall in this village, as they have done every Friday for than 20
months.

The army was ready. From early morning, all the roads to the village were
blocked. Yet all the demonstrators succeeded in reaching the village,
some on foot, some over paths known to the experienced Palestinians. At
the appointed time, the procession started on its way.

The creative abilities of the organizers, people of the village and
"Anarchists against Fences", who invent every week a new symbol for the
demonstration, did not disappoint this time either. At the head of the
procession, ladders were carried, with flags affixed with nails to both
sides, like flowers on moving flower-beds. Marching in front were
Palestinian leaders and Israeli public figures, including Knesset Members
Dov Chinin (Hadash), Gamal Zakhalkeh (Balad) and former Knesset
Member Uri Avnery (Gush Shalom).

It was obvious that the army had decided in advance on harsh treatment.
When the protesters were just approaching the fence, they were stopped
by rows of Border Police behind barbed wire. When the demonstrators
broke through and put the ladders to the wall, the first salvo of stun
grenades and tear gas was shot at them. Within minutes, the whole area
was covered by the stinging and choking gas.

For an hour, the confrontation went on, with the demonstrators shouting
at the soldiers - "Soldiers go home!" "No, no to the fence!" - and the
soldiers shooting grenades from time to time. The protesters retreated,
choking and coughing, but returned at once. Dozens of them knocked
with stones on an iron fence, a noise that could be heard for miles along
the wadis. Others entered into arguments with the soldiers.

Several times, stones were thrown from the crowds towards the fence.
There is a strong suspicion that this was done by undercover agents,
disguised as Arabs, in order to provide the army with a pretext to shoot
at the demonstrators. (This has happened several times before and has
been documented on camera.)

After about an hour, the soldiers started to shoot concentrated salvoes of
stun and gas grenades in all directions. The organizers of the
demonstration requested the protesters to retreat towards the village -
and then the soldiers started to shoot tear gas wildly. The grenades
exploded in front of the protesters, behind them, on both sides and in
the middle of the retreating crowd, so that there was no escape.

Several demonstrators were wounded. One was hit by a stun grenade on
his face and suffered deep cuts, another was hit by a gas canister on his
leg, a third was dragged by the soldiers on the rocks.

The army stated that two of its men were also wounded. No one of the
demonstrators had seen that. The joke went around that the army has
two soldiers, whose regular job it is to pretend to be wounded, and who
go from one demonstration to the next.
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Quote superme Replybullet Posted: 28 October 2006 at 11:04pm

Originally posted by Daniel Dworsky

Uri is on the rampage again

Many thanks to Uri and to you as well Daniel for letting us know. I have come to know few things that are not available in the common media.

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Quote Daniel Dworsky Replybullet Posted: 11 November 2006 at 3:17pm
Uri Avnery
11.11.06

                 In One Word: MASSACRE!
                

"THANK GOD for the American elections," our ministers and generals
sighed with relief.

They were not rejoicing at the kick that the American people delivered to
George W. Bush's ass this week. They love Bush, after all.

But more important than the humbling of Bush is the fact that the news
from America pushed aside the terrible reports from Beit Hanoun. Instead
of making the headlines, they were relegated to the bottom of the page.


THE FIRST revolutionary act is to call things by their true names, Rosa
Luxemburg said. So how to call what happened in Beit Hanoun?

"Accident" said a pretty anchorwoman on one of the TV news programs.
"Tragedy", said her lovely colleague on another channel. A third one, no
less attractive, wavered between "event", "mistake" and "incident".

It was indeed an accident, a tragedy, an event and an incident. But most
of all it was a massacre. M-a-s-s-a-c-r-e.

The word "accident" suggests something for which no one is to blame -
like being struck by lightning. A tragedy is a sad event or situation, like
that of the New Orleans inhabitants after the disaster. The event in Beit
Hanoun was sad indeed, but not an act of God - it was an act decided
upon and carried out by human beings.


IMMEDIATELY AFTER the facts became known, the entire choir of
professional apologists, explainers-away, sorrow-expressers and
pretext-inventors, a choir that is in perpetual readiness for such cases,
sprang into feverish action.

"An unfortunate mistake… It can happen in the best families… The
mechanism of a cannon can misfunction, people can make mistakes…
Errare humanum est… We have launched tens of thousands of artillery
shells, and there have only been three such accidents. (No. 1 in the
Olmert-Peretz-Halutz era was in Qana, in the Second Lebanon War. No. 2
was on the Gaza sea shore, where a whole family was wiped out.) But we
apologized, didn't we? What more can they demand from us?"

There were also arguments like "They can only blame themselves." As
usual, it was the fault of the victims. The most creative solution came
from the Deputy Minister of Defense, Ephraim Sneh: "The practical
responsibility is ours, but the moral responsibility is theirs." If they launch
Qassam rockets at us, what else can we do but answer with shells?

Ephraim Sneh was raised to the position of Deputy Minister just now. The
appointment was a payment for agreeing to the inclusion of Avigdor
Liberman in the government (in biblical Hebrew, the payment would have
been called "the hire of a whore", Deut. 23,19). Now, after only a few days
in office, Sneh was given the opportunity to express his thanks.

(In the Sneh family, there is a tradition of justifying despicable acts.
Ephraim's brilliant father, Moshe Sneh, was the leader of the Israeli
Communist Party, and defended all the massacres committed by Stalin,
not only the gulag system, but also the murder of the Jewish Communists
in the Soviet Union and its satellites and the Jewish "doctors plot").

Any suggestion of equivalence between Qassams and artillery shells, an
idea which has been adopted even by some of the Peaceniks, is
completely false. And not only because there is no symmetry between
occupier and occupied. Hundreds of Qassams launched during more than
a year have killed one single Israeli. The shells, missiles and bombs have
already killed many hundreds of Palestinians.


DID THE shells hit the homes of people intentionally? There are only two
possible answers to that.

The extreme version says: Yes. The sequence of events points in that
direction. The Israeli army, one of the most modern in the world, has no
answer to the Qassam, one of the most primitive of weapons. This short-
range unguided rocket (named after Izz-ad-Din al-Qassam, the first
Palestinian fighter, who was killed in 1935 in a battle against the British
authorities of Palestine) is little more than a pipe filled with home-made
explosives.

In a futile attempt to prevent the launching of Qassams, the Israeli forces
invade the towns and villages of the Gaza Strip at regular intervals and
institute a reign of terror. A week ago, they invaded Beit-Hanoun and
killed more than 50 people, many of them women and children. The
moment they left, the Palestinians started to launch as many Qassams as
possible against Ashkelon, in order to prove that these incursions do not
deter them.

That increased the frustration of the generals even more. Ashkelon is not
a remote poverty-stricken little town like Sderot, most of whose
inhabitants are of Moroccan origin. In Ashkelon there lives also an elitist
population of European descent. The army chiefs, having lost their honor
in Lebanon, were eager - according to this version - to teach the
Palestinians a lesson, once and for all. According to the Israeli saying: If
force doesn't work, use more force.

The other version holds that it was a real mistake, an unfortunate
technical hitch. But the commander of an army knows very well that a
certain incidence of "hitches" is unavoidable. So-and-so many percent are
killed in training, so-and-so many percent die from "friendly fire", so-
and-so many percent of shells fall some distance from the target. The
ammunition used by the gunners against Beit-Hanoun - the very same
155mm ammunition that was used in Kana - is known for its inaccuracy.
Several factors can cause the shells to stray from their course by
hundreds of meters.

He who decided to use this ammunition against a target right next to
civilians knowingly exposed them to mortal danger. Therefore, there is no
essential difference between the two versions.

Who is to blame? First of all, the spirit that has gained ground in the
army. Recently, Gideon Levy disclosed that a battalion commander
praised his soldiers for killing 12 Palestinians with the words: "We have
won by 12:0!"

Guilty are, of course, the gunners and their commanders, including the
battery chief. And the General in charge of the Southern Command, Yoav
Gallant (sic), who radiates indifference spiked with sanctimonious
platitudes. And the Deputy Chief-of-Staff. And the Chief-of-Staff, Dan
Halutz, the Air-Force general who said after another such incident that he
sleeps well at night after dropping a one-ton super-bomb on a
residential area. And, of course, the Minister of Defense, Amir Peretz, who
approved the use of artillery after forbidding it in the past - which means
that he was aware of the foreseeable consequences.

The guiltiest one is the Great Apologizer: Ehud Olmert, the Prime
Minister.

Olmert boasted recently that because of the clever behavior of his
government "we were able to kill hundreds of terrorists, and the world
has not reacted." According to Olmert, a "terrorist" is any armed
Palestinian, including the tens of thousands of Palestinian policemen who
carry arms by agreement with Israel. They may now be shot freely.
"Terrorists" are also the women and children, who are killed in the street
and in their homes. (Some say so openly: the children grow up to be
terrorists, the women give birth to children who grow up to be terrorists.)

Olmert can go on with this, as he says, because the world keeps silent.
Today the US even vetoed a very mild Security Council resolution against
the event. Does this mean that the governments throughout the world -
America, Europe, the Arab world - are accessories to the crime at Beit
Hanoun? That can best be answered by the citizens of those countries.


THE WORLD did not pay much attention to the massacre, because it
happened on US election day. The results of the election may sadden our
leaders more than the blood and tears of mothers and children in the
Gaza strip, but they were glad that the election diverted attention.

A cynic might say: Democracy is wonderful, it enables the voter to kick
out the moron they elected last time and replace them with a new moron.

But let's not be too cynical. The fact is that the American people has
accepted, after a delay of three years and tens of thousands of dead, what
the advocates of peace around the word - including us here in Israel -
were saying already on the first day: that the war will cause a disaster.
That it will not solve any problem, but have the opposite effect.

The change will not be quick and dramatic. The US is a huge ship. When it
turns around, it makes a very big circle and needs a lot of time - unlike
Israel, a small speed-boat that can turn almost on the spot. But the
direction is clear.

Of course, in both new houses of Congress, the pro-Israeli lobby
(meaning: the supporters of the Israeli Right) has a huge influence,
perhaps even more than in the last ones. But the American army will have
to start leaving Iraq. The danger of another military adventure in Iran
and/or Syria is much diminished. The crazy neo-conservatives, most of
them Jews who support the extreme Right in Israel, are gradually losing
power, together with their allies, the crazy Christian fundamentalists.

As former Prime Minister Levy Eshkol once said: when America sneezes,
Israel catches cold. When America starts to recover, perhaps there is hope
for us, too.   
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