UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

May 7, 2009

BREVITAS

MID EAST

Muzzle Watch
- In their press release titled "New BESA Center/ADL Poll: Attitudes of Israelis Toward the U.S. Remain Strongly Positive", Abe Foxman's Anti-Defamation League writes: The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and the Anti-Defamation League today released results of a comprehensive poll of Israeli opinions on a number of issues involving U.S.-Israel and Israel-Diaspora relations." . . . Nowhere in their lengthy release does it mention what you can only find by reading the actual report, under Methodology, where it says: "The poll was conducted as a telephone survey…constituting a representative sample of the adult Jewish population (aged 18 and higher) in Israel." So in the eyes of the ADL, if you are not Jewish, you are not Israeli. Some 25% of Israelis are not Jews- they include Muslims, Druze, Christians and the nearly 5% who identify as "other". . . .
What's remarkable about this is that a Jewish anti-bigotry group, which knows all too well the price we Jews paid for not being considered citizens of our home countries, is committing the exact same sin.

INDICATORS

Claims for unemployment have hit their highest level since 1967

FREEDOM & JUSTICE

Rasley Balko, Reason
- Police raid the wrong house in Baltimore. Weeks later, the guy still can't get the city to repair his door. Their explanation is that because the address written on the warrant is the address the police raided, there was no mistake. Even though the guy they were actually after lived and was eventually arrested two doors down. The guy stored his old door in his backyard, hoping the city would eventually repair it. When it became clear that wasn't going to happen, he called the city's special trash pick-up to come and get it. They never did. But a city code inspector did come, and fined the guy $50 for having a broken door in his backyard.

DRIVERS ACCUSE TEXAS POLICE OF PIRACY ON ROADS

THE MIX

Haaretz
- A Gallup poll examining Muslim integration in major European countries has shown that Muslims identify more strongly with the countries they live in than the average in the population. The global study of interfaith relations showed that more than two-thirds of Muslims living in Britain, Germany and France state they are loyal to the countries they live in, even though they identify equally strongly with their religion. However, in what the report described as a "gulf of misunderstanding", only about between 30 per cent of the total population in the three countries believed that Muslims were loyal to the state.

MONEY & WORK

Dean Baker, Prospect
- One of the best and most often repeated lines of the opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act is that it will deny workers the right to vote decide on a union with a secret ballot election. That is wrong, wrong and wrong. First of all, workers do not currently enjoy that right. . . Under current law, an employer has the option to recognize a union based on a majority of workers decision to sign cards requesting recognition. That's right folks, under current law, employers can decide to recognize a union without a secret ballot election. The big change under the Employee Free Choice Act is that the decision as to whether or not to have a secret ballot election or to organize through majority sign-up would rest with workers not employers. Of course if workers wanted to have a secret ballot election they could petition the National Labor Relations Board to get a secret ballot election. So, anyone who claims that they oppose the Employee Free Choice Act because they support workers' right to a secret ballot, they are not telling the truth. The media should be pointing this out.

2 Comments:

Anonymous http://www.gtr5.com/ said...

Abe Foxman, AIPAC,ADL,and all the NAZI Zionists can kiss my fucking ass.

May 7, 2009 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Arrest of Ezra Nawi ... for Protecting Peoples' Homes
Jailed for Caring
By NEVE GORDON

Without international intervention, Israeli human rights activist Ezra Nawi will most likely be sent to jail.

Nawi is not a typical rights activist. A member of Ta'ayush Arab-Jewish Partnership he is a Jewish Israeli of Iraqi descent who speaks fluent Arabic. He is a gay man in his fifties and a plumber by trade. Perhaps because he himself comes from the margins, he empathises with others who have been marginalised – often violently.

His "crime" was trying to stop a military bulldozer from destroying the homes of Palestinian Bedouins from Um El Hir in the South Hebron region. These Palestinians have been under Israeli occupation for almost 42 years; they still live without electricity, running water and other basic services and are continuously harassed by Jewish settlers and the military – two groups that have united to expropriate Palestinian land and that clearly have received the government's blessing to do so.

As chance would have it, the demolition and the resistance to it were captured on film and broadcast on Israel's Channel 1. The three-minute film – a must see – shows Nawi, the man dressed in a green jacket, not only courageously protesting against the demolition but, after the bulldozer destroys the buildings, also telling the border policemen what he thinks of their actions. Sitting handcuffed in a military vehicle following his arrest, he exclaims: "Yes, I was also a soldier, but I did not demolish houses … The only thing that will be left here is hatred."

The film then shows the police laughing at Nawi. But in dealing with his audacity, they were not content with mere ridicule and decided also to accuse him of assaulting a policeman. Notwithstanding the very clear evidence (captured on film), an Israeli court recently found Nawi guilty of assault in connection with the incident, which happened in 2007, and this coming July he will be sent to prison. Unless, perhaps, there is a public outcry.

Nawi's case is not only about Nawi. It is also about Israel and Israeli society, if only because one can learn a great deal about a country from the way it treats its human rights and pro-democracy activists.

Most people are not really surprised when they read that human rights activists are routinely arrested, prosecuted, imprisoned and harassed in Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and several other Middle Eastern countries. Indeed, it has become common knowledge that the authoritarian nature of these regimes renders it dangerous for their citizens to actively fight for human rights.

In this sense, Israel is different from most of its neighbours. Unlike their counterparts in Egypt and Syria, Israeli rights activists, particularly Jewish ones, have been able to criticise the policies of their rights-abusive government without fear of incarceration. Up until now, the undemocratic tendencies of Israeli society manifested themselves, for the most part, in the state's relation to its Palestinian citizens, the occupied Palestinian inhabitants and a small group of Jewish conscientious objectors.

People might assume that Nawi's impending imprisonment as well as other alarming developments (like the recent arrest of New Profile and Target 21 activists, who are suspected of abetting draft-dodgers) are due to the establishment of an extreme rightwing government in Israel. If truth be told, however, the rise of the extreme right merely reflects the growing presence of proto-fascist elements in Israeli society, elements that have been gaining ground and legitimacy for many years now.

Nawi's case, for what it symbolises on both an individual and societal level, encapsulates the current reality in Israel. His friends have launched a campaign, and are asking people to write letters to Israeli embassies around the world. At this point, only international attention and intervention can make a difference.

Neve Gordon is chair of the department of politics and government at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and author of Israel’s Occupation (University of California Press, 2008).

May 10, 2009 11:28 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home