Archive for January 2009
I’ve been invited to speak at an event on “post-Gaza war situation and how Jews here and in Israel can help secure a just peace” (details soon). As part of the preparation, I was asked about my service & refusal. So I googled a bit and dugg up this letter.
But you know, whatever I did pales in the face of the shministim.
A ‘Refusenik’s’ Thank You – 5 More IDF Solders Jailed Today
From Peretz Kidron, 26 April 2002
- Dear friend,
- Below we include a letter from Yishay Mor, just out of jail. The letter speaks for itself. All the more reason then to attend the VIGIL FOR THE REFUSENIKS AT ATHLIT PRISON, this Saturday April 27, at 4:00 p.m., sponsored jointly by Yesh Gvul and Ometz Lesarev (“Courage to Refuse”).
- Meeting point: Bet Oren turn-off, the old Haifa-Hedera highway Transportation: Jerusalem (Binyanei Haumma) 1:30 Tel Aviv (Rakevet Tzafon – Arlozorov/Namir) 2:45 There will be transport from the vigil to the TEL AVIV PEACE MARCH (7:00)
- ==== From Yishay Mor
- Excuse me for not writing to each and every one of you personally. Believe me — I planned to. However, the amount of support I got was so overwhelming that it is practicably impossible.
- Last Sunday I was released from my 28 day sentence for refusing to serve in the occupied territories. I am sure I need not explain the motivation for my refusal, but I’m not sure all of you realize how hard a decision it was. As confident as I was, and still am, in my act of disobedience, it goes against my upbringing, my way of life, and my feelings of loyalty.
- For the last 12 years I have been a soldier and a commander in a highly praised reserve infantry unit. I am proud to belong to this unit. The hardest part about deciding to refuse was the feeling that I am betraying my friends. In almost all cases I witnessed, my comrades handled the most delicate situations with utmost professionalism and humanity. Yet, as morally as you wage war you cannot wage a moral war. I have not a single word of complaint against my fellow soldiers. The guilty ones are those leaders who sent us to missions that will taint our souls forever.
- While in prison, I drew endless strength from the support I received. It is very frustrating to be locked away, seeing your country going down a dark ally, and feeling unable to act. The letters and other messages I received made me feel my act was not in vain. Thank you all!!!
- There are circa 40 refusniks in military prison today. Support them. They need it, and they deserve it. Write to them and to their families, call and see if they need help. Come to the rallies outside the prison. Most of all, help them by doing the things they cannot do. Pick one refusnik, and every day he (or she) is in prison, do something to end the occupation.
- Hoping for better days,
- - Yishay Mor
Thank you for your advice. Unfortunately, the first part of it repeats a previous conversation, and is therefore not very helpful. Repeating a statement twice does not make it true (although according to Lewis Carroll, trice does).
As for the suggestion that I send you a screen shot, regretfully I do not own a time machine, nor do I capture my screen continuously, and thus have no way of retrieving a screen shot from three weeks back.
2009/1/27 Web Customer Support <WebCustomerSupport@nationalexpress.com>
Thank you for your email regarding seat reservations.
Seat Reservations need to be made at the same time of booking, and the website does give you this option to opt in to reserving on your preferred services.
If you would like to reserve seats now, you will need to take your tickets into a station.
as stated in your email that you selected the seat reservation for the outward and return journey could you please send in a screen shot so we can look into this fault further.
If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.
national express Web Support
PO Box 1207
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel: 08457 225 111
As I said, If you haven’t seen Waltz with Bashir go quick. A sheer kick in the gut, artistically, emotionally, and intellectually. A study into the soul of the middle east and the dark corners we all have inside.
Coming soon: the graphical novel. TomDispatch has a preview.
In related news, apparently Waltz with Bashir is banned in Lebanon.
Alternative Information Center (AIC) staff member Mohammad Abu Humus was taken from his home at 3am today by masked members of the Israeli security forces, who stormed and searched his home with drawn weapons. Abu Humus was subsequently brought before a judge, who acquiesced to the police request and extended his detention for 11 days.
All of the material and evidence concerning Abu Humus is classified. Abu Humus is accused of involvement in unruly protests against Israeli military actions in Gaza, which he categorically denies, and the classified nature of the evidence for such a minor accusation calls into question the true motives of the Israeli authorities in the detention and interrogation of Abu Humus.
Abu Humus, 43 years old and a resident of the East Jerusalem village of Issawiya, is a long-time political and social activist in East Jerusalem. He is married to Wafa and has four small children, two daughters: Irfat (11) and Shahd (10) and two sons: Anas ( 8 ) and Majd (3). He has worked with the AIC since 2006
Attending the court hearing today were Abu Humus’ wife Wafa, members of the Alternative Information Center and additional residents of Issawiya, who came in support and solidarity with Abu Humus.
Wafa noted that “our children were terrified by the masked men with drawn weapons. I asked them how they expect us to live with them in love and respect, when they act like this? They don’t leave us any room for love,” added Wafa sadly.
Since the beginning of Israel’s military attacks on Gaza, more than 300 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem have been detained, arrested and taken for interrogation by the Israeli security services. For the past several days, Israeli forces have entered Issawiya every night, detaining prominent political activists.
The Alternative Information Center requests that you:
- Contact the Israeli Attorney General, Mani Mazuz, in addition to the nearest Israeli embassy or consulate, and demand that the right of all citizens and residents of Israel to express their opinions and opposition to Israeli policy be respected, including that of Mohammad Abu Humus, in accordance with international human rights law. Attorney General Mazuz: Fax: +972 (0)2 646 7001
- Contact your nearest Israeli Embassy. Find your nearest Israeli embassy or consulate: http://www.science.co.il/Embassy.asp
- Send a message of solidarity to Mohammad Abu Humus: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m dreaming, right? This isn’t a real Playmobil prodoct on Amazon, right? Please, tell me this is a joke or something.
The best thing about this product is that it teaches kids about the realities of living in a high-surveillence society. My son said he wants the Playmobil Neighborhood Surveillence System set for Christmas. I’ve heard that the CC TV cameras on that thing are pretty worthless in terms of quality and motion detection, so I think I’ll get him the Playmobil Abu-Gharib Interogation Set instead (it comes with a cute little memo from George Bush).
update II, 27 Jan, 2009:
Found it! scroll down.
Thanks http://www.leftlanenews.com/chrysler-publishes-thank-you-ad.html for the copy, and here are a few cached comments: http://consumerist.com/5137457/chrysler-buys-ads-thanking-you-for-tax-money-you-get-pissed-chrysler-censors-you
update, 27 Jan, 2009:
Chrysler have removed the blog post. Does anyone have it cached? Waybackmachine & google cache not good.
I love it when old school corporates try to go web2.0, endless laughs guaranteed:
Hey Crysler! You’re not welcome. You took my hard earned tax dollars without congressional approval. This is not the time for a “thank you.” This would be a good time for a refund…and an apology. http://rightklik.net
It takes a man with a whole lotta chutzpah to thank a person for investing in a company when they had zero voice in the matter.
My elected representatives decided ‘no’. The executive branch decided ‘yes’ through means that might be legal but frankly smell like rotten fish.
You may certainly get my money this way, but you will never see a dime of my money voluntarily spent on any of your products.
Mr Nardelli, Fire your PR and advertising teams and execs immediately. We the People did not want to see any more ads and money wasted on ads, be it from Chrysler, et al, or from your own pocket. You should have put up a website thanking the people and just submitted it to various online news aggregators for free. Once again, I am pained to see you are demonstrating a lack of common sense and fiscal responsibility. We supported the bailout of the car companies, even in the face of the horrendously mismanaged and secretive bailout of banks, and you stlil throw money away in the name of your company. Time to wake up. Sincerely, Matt and the rest of the Internet.
Thank You? Kiss mine you looters. I had ZERO choice in the matter. The money was taken from me by FORCE of GOVERNMENT and given to you. Ads like this reaffirm my decesion to buy a Honda last year. Bottom line Chrysler- I WILL NEVER BUY FROM A COMPANY THAT POINTS A GUN TO MY HEAD AND THEN SAYS THANKS. This ad infuraties me. Rot in hell scumbags.
here’s an idea: instead of thanking people for what they didn’t want, why don’t you use the web to ask them what they do want? then maybe you can produce stuff that will actually sell on the market.
Since Chrysler is apparently having some technical difficulty with their site, I thought I’d show them my appreciation by hosting a copy of the ad here. Please feel free to share your sentiments:
An anonymous open letter to President Obama, from a member of Machsom Watch.
MachsomWatch, in existence since 2001, is an organisation of peace activist Israeli women against the Israeli Occupation of the territories and the systematic repression of the Palestinian nation. We call for Palestinian freedom of movement within their own territory and for an end to the Occupation that destroys Palestinian society and inflicts grievous harm on Israeli society.
Contributions to MachsomWatch can be made by
Direct Bank Deposit
Women’s Fund for Human Rights
33 Achimeir Street
Tel Aviv 69492
Tax deductible donations may be made through
Cheque to the “New Israel Fund”, earmarked for “MachsomWatch”
New Israel Fund
New Israel Fund
I had a long chat with Mark today, and with a few other friends. Cooled me down a bit, and helped me understand why I’m so angry. It has also raises a few questions.
When something horrible happens, we feel empathy with the victims. Since we usually do very little to help, we also feel guilt. When I observe the anti-Israeli reactions in Europe, I wonder: are you dealing with the issue, or are you dealing with your guilt? Its really quite simple to answer, all it requires is a bit of honesty. Just write down what you’ve done about the situation, and what are the probable consequences of your actions. Not what you would wish the consequences would be: what you believe is their real most likely effect. Don’t tell me, this is between you and yourself.
Remember one thing: however dire the state of affairs, there is always a course of action which offers a chance for positive change. This, for me, is the axiom of human existence. The circle of hope. Without it, we might as well all blow ourselves up. If the tally for your chosen action does not fall within the circle of hope, abandon it and look for a new path.
Mark was disturbed by people’s obsession with categorising fellow humans, for him (and for me) this is hard to understand, and the root of great evil. He said: I observe people all the time, always looking for the common. I recalled how history and science have shown that it is normal people who commit the greatest atrocities, and that the first step that enables this is xenomorphism (my term, don’t know what would be the proper one): defining a group as “others” who pose a threat. Once you divide the scene into “us” and “them”, and identify “them” as a threat, you can do anything to them. Resolution and reconciliation will start from breaking down this dichotomy. A Palestinian from Ramallah will not bomb Gaza, even if he opposes Hamas with all his heart. Likewise, an Israeli soldier will not shoot a setteler even if he sees him as the cause of all his troubles. You do not kill your own. Peace can only come from the acknowledgement that we have one land, one fate. It could be manifested in two states, that’s detail. But it has to rest on an appreciation of the common, and the unique.On an acceptance that all tears are equal, all blood weighs the same. If its all one bug Us,then violence is not an option.
That’s when I realised how wrong the protests, and the media coverage, are.
It doesn’t matter if you’re marching “for Israel” or “for Palestine”. Either way, you’re marching for the dichotomy. Reinforcing the image of two tribes. One good, one bad. I don’t care who’s the good and who’s the bad in your story. Its just a bad story.
Then there’s the issue of Hamas. The resistance movement. Even the BBC, which has been amazingly restrained and thoughtful in its coverage, often talks of Hamas’ “resistance”. This puzzles me. I thought “resistance” implies some acts of resisting the occupying forces. So where where the Hamas resisters when the Israeli army combed the streets of Gaza? Surely, if they would have offered any resistance, they Israeli army would have suffered more casualties. As I undestand it, most of the 10 Israeli soldiers killed where victems of accidents and friendly fire.
Yes, Israel has the right to protect itself, the Palestinians have a right to resist the occupation. Over the last three weeks neither right was exersiced.
Update, 21 Jan:
Bob from Brockley has a good roundup on the comedy of British anti-Israeli protest. My favorite is the chair of Sheffield Palestinian Solidarity tearing down a placard that reads “no to IDF no to Hamas”.
So what now? Nothing. Gaza is still in ruins, its hospitals full of wounded. Israeli kids are still afraid to sleep. But the European left can sleep well tonight, and tomorrow return to contemplate the state of its holiday homes.
The last three weeks have been soaked in pain, anger and sadness. I am horrified by the pictures from Gaza and the cold facts of the carnage. I share the distress of families in southern Israel who live in constant fear. I make no comparison. Both are unacceptable. I am angry at the Israeli government for choosing a path of violence, and angry at the Hamas for leading the way to this path. This was a was on two peoples, conducted by two armies. The military actions of the Israeli government provided its citizens no more security than the absurd provocations of the Hamas provided its people dignity. I am sad for my friends, family and countrymen, who are blinded by fear and anger, to a point that then become numb to the pain of others.
But when it comes to the reactions I see around me, I am bemused and frustrated. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised, in smaller portions, I’ve seen it all before. Some call it anti-semitism. I won’t even grant them this halo. No, here wearing a Kaffiah is a fashion statement, and so is boycotting Israeli goods. You know what? I’m just bloody sick of it. Sick of hearing about pro-Israeli vs. pro-Palestinian, sick of hearing “like we did with South Africa”, sick of hearing the rape of language, the intolerable ease with which frightful words are casually scattered like guji berries on your morning yoghurt. Words which should be reserved for the worst events in history. Rwanda was a genocide. Srebrenica was a massacre, as was Sabra and Shatilla.
Let me spell it out. There is no “us” and “them”, there are those who want to live, and those who want to kill. If you really care, help the people doing good on the ground. All your chanting and picketing doesn’t twitch a single donkey’s hair in the middle east. It hasn’t saved the life of a single child. Hamas will still do what it thinks it should, and so will the Israeli government. I’ll let you in on a secret: you didn’t topple Apartheid either: De Klerk and Mandella did it. All your fancy petitions and demonstrations serve one purpose: to make you feel better about yourself, allow you to feel morally superior. Fuck that. Save the money you spend on your post-demo cappuccino, and donate it to one of these. Or pay for them to publish a half-page ad in the guardian in place of your righteous hate banter.
A night of peaceful, artistic expression in support of and to raise funds for the people of Gaza
Acts donating their time and performance include:
*Steve Sabella* – Palestinian Photographer; *Prof Haim Bresheeth* – filmmaker, photographer and a film studies scholar; *Soraya Boyd* – human rights campaigner; *Klezmer Klub*- jewish/Yiddish folklore music; *Poetic Pilgrimage* – Muslim sisters hip hop band; *Nour Alkawaja* – Palestinian Female comedian and director
Date: Saturday 17th January 2009
Time: 6.00pm – 8.30pm
Venue: Abrar House, 45 Crawford Place, London, W1H Nearest tube: Edgware Road/Marylebone road Minimum donation on the night: £15 Dinner will be served at 20:30 after the acts. There is a vegetarian option. PLEASE NOTE CHANGE IN START TIME. Acts will start promptly at 6:15pm
TICKETS: Minimum donation is £15.
Please purchase prior to the event, tickets are limited:
This is updated regularly. Please scroll to donate button to purchase your ticket. Tickets are confirmed by email.
All proceeds on the night will go to Medical Aid for Palestinians
If you are unable to attend for any reason and would like to donate visit http://expressionsforgaza.blogspot.com and follow the link.
There are several events taking place and many charity collections- donations to any are appreciated.