Progressive Calendar 01.24.09
From: David Shove (
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 2009 07:43:27 -0800 (PST)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    01.24.09

1. Peace walk         1.24 9am Cambridge MN
2. Community gardens  1.24 9am
3. Green Party meets  1.24 9am
4. UofM AfAm anniv    1.24 10am
5. Palestine/secular  1.24 10am
6. RCTA/immigration   1.24 10am
7. Northtown vigil    1.24 2pm
8. Bicking cam party  1.24 6pm
9. Overcoming Zionism 1.24 9pm

10. Noam Chomsky - "Exterminate all the brutes": Gaza 2009 (pt2 of 2)
11. ed           - No c*ns*rsh*p here  (p**m)

--------1 of 11--------

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 1.24 9am Cambridge MN

every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM
Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street

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From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: Community gardens 1.24 9am

Community Gardeners:
Promoting Participation & Sharing Wisdom
A new learning community series for gardeners who want to increase
participation and opportunities for growing community gardens!

 Discover the Power of Asset-Based Community Development
 Develop a Leadership Plan for Gardeners
 Learn Facilitation Skills for Group Decision Making & Planning
 Create Structures for Getting Things Done!

Sessions 1-4 will be held Saturdays from 9-11:30 am
Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association
821 E 35th St, Minneapolis
See below for location details of session 5-7

Session 1-January 24
Asset-Based Community Development: Power in Diversity

Session 2-February 7
Shared Leadership for the 21st Century

Session 3-February 21
Communication, Conflict & Meaningful Conversations

Session 4-March 14
Fun & Effective Meetings!

Session 5-March 28
Creative Consensus Building for Community Gardens (Workshop at the
Community Garden Resource Fair, Unity Church, 732 Holly, St Paul)

Session 6 & 7-April 18 & May 2
Topics and location to be designed and determined by participants

Fee: $25 for the series with scholarships available.

Facilitators for this learning community will be Rachel Hefte, Extension
Educator in Leadership & Civic Engagement with the University of MN, and
Ila Duntemann, Program Coordinator for Gardening Matters.  Participants
will share their organizing experiences and "what works" as well as share
their new leadership tools with Resource Fair attendees on March 28.

**Note** This series is focused on skills for building people capacity
rather than gardening techniques. We highly recommend 2 or more gardeners
per garden attending together.

To register, contact Ila Duntemann at
ila.gardeningmatters [at] or 612-492-8964

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From: Amber Garlan <agarlan [at]>
Subject: Green Party meets 1.24 9am

The Green Party Winter Membership Meeting will be this Saturday 1/24/09 at:

St. Paul Central High School
275 Lexington Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104

For lunch please bring a brown bag, or we will order out for sandwiches.
You don't want to miss our keynote speaker from the communities of youth,
hip hop and women of color, Rachel Raimist!

9:00 - Registration
9:30 - Welcome ceremony
10:00 - Workshop 1
11:00 - Workshop 2
12:00 - Lunch
12:30 Keynote Speaker (Rachel Raimist)
1:00 - Elections and Fundraising pitch
2:30 - Workshop 3
3:30 - Workshop 4

Workshop 1
Peak Oil
Metro Independent Business Alliance
Green Party Electoral Strategy

Workshop 2
Department of Peace
Single Payer Health Care
Immigrate, Felons & Youth Voting Rights

Workshop 3
Economy (Crash Course on the Crash)
Affordable Housing
Stop Acid Mining in Northern MN

Workshop 4
Labor History (Floyd Olson) & (Union Rep)

1/24/09 Green Party winter membership meeting list of speakers and workshops
1.  Peak Oil - Brian Merchant
2.  Metro Independent Business Alliance - Jesse Mortenson, John Kolstad
3.  Green Party Electoral Strategy - Shannon Ikebe
4.  IRV - Dakotah Rae, Troy Trooien
5.  Dept. Of Peace - Greg Skog and family
6.  Single Payer Health Care - Amy Lange, Lisa Niles, John Kolstad and
    Senator John Marty
7.  Economy (Crash Course on the Crash) - Karen Redleaf
8.  Labor History - (1930's depression era governor Floyd Olson) Rhoda
    Gilman & SEIU union rep.
9.  Affordable Housing - Julie Johnson (MN Housing Partnership)
10.  Immigrate, Felons & Youth Voting Rights - MN coalition for the
     expansion of voting rights
11.  Stop Acid Mining in Northern MN - Sky Blue Waters

--------4 of 11--------

From: Kelly O'Brien <obrie136 [at]>
Subject: UofM AfAm anniv 1.24 10am

Roundtable discussion on Morrill Hall Takeover
Saturday, January 24, 10:00 a.m.
Coffman Memorial Union Presidents Room, 300 Washington Ave SE,
University of Minnesota east bank

Mahmound El-Kati, Spike Moss, Bill English, Randy Staten, Horace Huntley,
Marie Braddock Williams, Lester Cannon and Rose Freeman Massey
free and open to the public
FFI: Department of African American and African Studies, 612-624-9847

In January, 1969, black students at the University of Minnesota staged an
occupation of Morrill Hall, home of University administration, to demand
the creation of a department committed to African American studies. Their
actions led to the formation of the University's Department of African
American and African Studies, along with the Martin Luther King, Jr.
Advising Office and the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence.

On the 40th anniversary of that event, Twin Cities community members and
participants in the 1969 Morrill Hall Takeover will convene a roundtable
discussion to review the events of January, 1969 and to reflect on the
legacy of their actions. They will also talk about the role of activism
today. The public is welcome to attend and will be invited to participate
in a question and answer session.

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From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Palestine/secular 1.24 10am

An Idea Whose Time Has Come: "Transforming Palestine/Israel into a
Single, Secular Democratic State"    1/24

Saturday, January 24, 9:30 a.m. (Refreshments), 10:00 a.m.
(Presentation and Discussion) Southdale Hennepin County Library, 7001
York Avenue South, Edina. A DVD panel discussion presented by the
Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism (CODZ) June 7, 2008.
Moderator: Rabbi Susan Einbinder: Panelists: Ali Abunimah, co-founder
and editor of the Electronic Intifada: Kathleen Christison, author of
Perceptions of Palestine: Their Influence on U.S. Middle East Policy;
Amaya Galili, Israeli activist with Zochrot, a group working to raise
Israeli consciousness of the Nakba; Joel Kovel, editor of Capitalism
Nature Socialism, and author of Overcoming Zionism. Sponsored by:
Middle East Peace Now (MEPN). WAMM is a member of MEPN. FFI: Call
Florence Steichen, 651-696-1642.

--------6 of 11--------

From: biego001 [at]
Subject: RCTA/immigration 1.24 10am

Resource Ctr of the Americas coffeehour, 10-11:30am, 3019 Mnnehaha Ave. S.
Mpls, MN (Lake St and Minnehaha Ave., E. of Hiawatha lightrail station)

May 12, 2008, Postville, IA was home to the now 2nd largest Immigration
raid in the U.S. (behind Laurel, Mississippi). Around 390 people were
arrested from their worksite, Agroprocessors, Inc. Eight months later, the
local faith community is declaring a humanitarian crisis. Hundreds of
people are without work, without electricity, facing eviction and
dependent on the local food shelf. After passing months in detention
centers around the country, many have been deported already, their
families left to fend for themselves under the vigilance of ICE.  Others
are being forced to stay on in Iowa, with tracking bracelets on their
ankles, until the Agroprocessors trial, which will likely not occur until
September, 2009.

On December 28th, a Solidarity caravan traveled from Minneapolis to Iowa
with vans full of food as a sign of solidarity and support across borders.
The aftermath of this raid was harsher than many had imagined.  Those that
participated in the caravan promised to bear witness to this tragedy as
well as continue reaching hands across borders in any way possible. Please
come listen to their account and see in what way we can all be involved.

--------7 of 11--------

From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 1.24 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday

--------8 of 11--------

From: Dave Bicking <dave [at]>
Subject: Bicking cam party 1.24 6pm

I would like to invite you all to a party next Saturday night (January 24)
to kickoff my 2009 campaign for Minneapolis City Council.  We will have
live music, snacks and desserts, good conversation, and a speech or two
with time for questions.  And yes, of course this is also a fundraiser.
But there is no minimum donation, and your presence is most important to
me and to the campaign.  Let's get this campaign off to a powerful and
encouraging start! (And have some fun together.)

The details:

Saturday, January 24, 6:00 - 9:00pm, Campaign kickoff / fundraiser
party for Dave Bicking for Mpls City Council, in the basement of Walker
Community Methodist Church, at 3104 16th Ave. S., Minneapolis.  (One block
east of Bloomington Ave. and one block south of Lake St. - good bus
service on both those streets.)

The music:

1)  Papa John Kolstad, singer and blues guitar player.  A Minneapolis
legend - and also our 2006 Green Party candidate for MN Attorney General!
Arrive by 6:15 to catch his set.

2) My band!  (I play clarinet): Nice Driveway.  We play Klezmer, Eastern
European, and old- time dance music.  You may have heard us at several
past Green Party events and fundraisers.

3) Char Engen, singer, songwriter, and guitar-player.  She describes her
genre as jazzy folk.

If you can't make it to the party, but want to help the campaign
financially, please make out checks to Bicking for City Council.  Any
amount is appreciated; the legal maximum is $300.  Mail to: Bicking for
City Council, 2425 Franklin Ave. E. #407, Mpls, MN 55406.

Please contact me if you are able and willing to volunteer for the
campaign in any capacity.  A grass-roots campaign needs a lot of
volunteers to win!  I would also like your input regarding campaign
issues, message, and strategy. Just as I want to be a different kind of
City Council member, I want to run a different kind of campaign - one that
incorporates your ideas, your experience, and your expertise.

We have a lot of serious work to do to improve Minneapolis city
government. But I also want to make sure that this campaign is fun for all
involved.  So please come and party, and show your support!

For a more fair and compassionate city,
Dave Bicking 612-276-1213

PS.  You may be wondering who I am and what this campaign is about.  Here
is a brief synopsis:

I have been an activist since my college days during the Vietnam War.  I
ran for this same office in 2005 - my first attempt at elected office.  I
was endorsed by the Green Party, and I am seeking Green Party endorsement
again. I received 30% of the vote - at least respectable for a novice who
started my campaign late in the season.  For the past two years, I have
been one of the official spokespeople for the MN State Green Party.

I helped lead the opposition to the Hennepin County sales tax that
subsidizes the new Twins Stadium.  I am now active with a group that is
opposing public funds for a proposed new Vikings stadium.  I have worked
closely with Communities United Against Police Brutality.  I have helped
lead three labor organizing efforts.

Since my last campaign, I have been monitoring the City Council and
closely following many of the local issues, including the library
consolidation (against the undemocratic process), Police Chief Dolan's
appointment (against), changes to the CRA, Taser policy, Lake St.
reconstruction, immigration raids, and support of those arrested at the
RNC.  Since last June, I have been an appointed member of the Mpls
Civilian Police Review Authority (CRA), which hears citizen complaints and
provides civilian oversight of the police department.  I have also
volunteered with the local Community Restorative Justice Program.  You may
recall that I worked with many neighborhood activists to successfully
defeat a proposed wood-burning power plant that would have polluted our

The issues in this campaign are reflective of my experiences listed above:
No corporate welfare for billionaires.  Development should serve people's
needs, not enrich the large developers who wield too much power in city
government. We need a better police department, with greater
accountability to the people it is supposed to serve.  End racial
profiling and abuse.  Support small locally owned businesses.  Clean up
and preserve our environment.  What are your concerns?  What would you
add?  The campaign will be built on your experiences as well as my own.

More important than the particular issues are two broad principles that I
would like to emphasize:

1)  We need more than just new faces on the City Council - we need a new
way to govern.  It would be no more appropriate - or successful - for me
to act by myself on the City Council than it would be for me to try to
campaign all alone.  City Council members need to be more connected to the
community. Those people directly impacted by a decision should be
consulted before that decision is made.  Many of the current "public
input" opportunities work to frustrate and discourage any real input.
Hearings are often held after the real decision has already been made. On
any given issue, there is more experience and expertise among members of
the general public than there is in the Council chambers - and that will
continue to be true if I am on the Council!  That input should be actively
sought out, not just in the interests of democracy, but also to reduce

2)  City government should be judged by how it treats the most vulnerable
among us - the poor, the elderly, and the very young.  It is
unconscionable that people must sleep on the sidewalks next to towering
symbols of great wealth.  Food, housing, health, and education are basics.
They must be our priorities.  City spending is limited by its dependence
on regressive property taxes, which we cannot continue to increase.  We
must be as frugal as necessary in our other spending until we can assure
the most basic necessities for all residents.

--------9 of 11--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Overcoming Zionism 1.24 9pm

Majestic Minneapolis Television Network (MTN) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and
Tuesdays at 8am, after DemocracyNow!  Households with basic cable may

Sat, 1/24, 9pm and Tues, 1/27, 8am
Overcoming Zionism with Joel Kovel

A secular Jew (and eco-socialist), Joel Kovel is a great American thinker
and author of many books. Once a practicing psychiatrist and
psychoanalyst, Kovel is now a Professor of Social Studies at Bard College
its critique of Israel. In late 2008 Joel Kovel visited the Twin Cities
and spoke about "Overcoming Zionism" and the struggle to get these ideas
out to the U.S. public.  Includes Q and A.

Stream it:

"Our World In Depth" features analysis of public affairs with
consideration of and participation from Twin Cities area activists.
Locally produced and not corporately influenced, "Our World In Depth" may
be better than PBS! Order a dvd copy or contact us at
ourworldindepth [at]

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"Exterminate all the Brutes": Gaza 2009   (pt2 of 2)
January 20, 2009 By Noam Chomsky

Aggression always has a pretext: in this case, that Israel's patience had
"run out" in the face of Hamas rocket attacks, as Barak put it.  The
mantra that is endlessly repeated is that Israel has the right to use
force to defend itself.  The thesis is partially defensible.  The
rocketing is criminal, and it is true that a state has the right to defend
itself against criminal attacks.  But it does not follow that it has a
right to defend itself by force.  That goes far beyond any principle that
we would or should accept.  Nazi Germany had no right to use force to
defend itself against the terrorism of the partisans.  Kristallnacht is
not justified by Herschel Grynszpan's assassination of a German Embassy
official in Paris.  The British were not justified in using force to
defend themselves against the (very real) terror of the American colonists
seeking independence, or to terrorize Irish Catholics in response to IRA
terror - and when they finally turned to the sensible policy of addressing
legitimate grievances, the terror ended.  It is not a matter of
"proportionality," but of choice of action in the first place: Is there an
alternative to violence?

Any resort to force carries a heavy burden of proof, and we have to ask
whether it can be met in the case of Israel's effort to quell any
resistance to its daily criminal actions in Gaza and in the West Bank,
where they still continue relentlessly after more than 40 years.  Perhaps
I may quote myself in an interview in the Israeli press on Olmert's
announced convergence plans for the West Bank: "The US and Israel do not
tolerate any resistance to these plans, preferring to pretend - falsely of
course - that `there is no partner,' as they proceed with programs that go
back a long way.  We may recall that Gaza and the West Bank are recognized
to be a unit, so if resistance to the US-Israeli annexation-cantonization
programs is legitimate in the West Bank, it is in Gaza too."

Palestinian-American journalist Ali Abunimah observed that "There are no
rockets launched at Israel from the West Bank, and yet Israel's
extrajudicial killings, land theft, settler pogroms and kidnappings never
stopped for a day during the truce. The western-backed Palestinian
Authority of Mahmoud Abbas has acceded to all Israel's demands. Under the
proud eye of United States military advisors, Abbas has assembled
`security forces' to fight the resistance on Israel's behalf. None of that
has spared a single Palestinian in the West Bank from Israel's relentless
colonization" - thanks to firm US backing.  The respected Palestinian
parliamentarian Dr. Mustapha Barghouti adds that after Bush's Annapolis
extravaganza in November 2007, with much uplifting rhetoric about
dedication to peace and justice, Israeli attacks on Palestinians escalated
sharply, with an almost 50% increase in the West Bank, along with a sharp
increase in settlements and Israeli check points.  Obviously these
criminal actions are not a response to rockets from Gaza, though the
converse may well be the case, Barghouti plausibly suggests.

The reactions to crimes of an occupying power can be condemned as criminal
and politically foolish, but those who offer no alternative have no moral
grounds to issue such judgments.  The conclusion holds with particular
force for those in the US who choose to be directly implicated in Israel's
ongoing crimes - by their words, their actions, or their silence.  All the
more so because there are very clear non-violent alternatives - which,
however, have the disadvantage that they bar the programs of illegal

Israel has a straightforward means to defend itself: put an end to its
criminal actions in occupied territories, and accept the long-standing
international consensus on a two-state settlement that has been blocked by
the US and Israel for over 30 years, since the US first vetoed a Security
Council resolution calling for a political settlement in these terms in
1976.  I will not once again run through the inglorious record, but it is
important to be aware that US-Israeli rejectionism today is even more
blatant than in the past.  The Arab League has gone even beyond the
consensus, calling for full normalization of relations with Israel.
Hamas has repeatedly called for a two-state settlement in terms of the
international consensus.  Iran and Hezbollah have made it clear that they
will abide by any agreement that Palestinians accept.  That leaves the
US-Israel in splendid isolation, not only in words.

The more detailed record is informative.  The Palestinian National Council
formally accepted the international consensus in 1988.  The response of
the Shamir-Peres coalition government, affirmed by James Baker's State
Department, was that there cannot be an "additional Palestinian state"
between Israel and Jordan - the latter already a Palestinian state by
US-Israeli dictate.  The Oslo accords that followed put to the side
potential Palestinian national rights, and the threat that they might be
realized in some meaningful form was systematically undermined through the
Oslo years by Israel's steady expansion of illegal settlements.
Settlement accelerated in 2000, President Clinton's and Prime Minister
Barak's last year, when negotiations took place at Camp David against that

After blaming Yassir Arafat for the breakdown of the Camp David
negotiations, Clinton backtracked, and recognized that the US-Israeli
proposals were too extremist to be acceptable to any Palestinian.  In
December 2000, he presented his "parameters," vague but more forthcoming.
He then announced that both sides had accepted the parameters, while both
expressed reservations.  The two sides met in Taba Egypt in January 2001
and came very close to an agreement, and would have been able to do so in
a few more days, they said in their final press conference.  But the
negotiations were cancelled prematurely by Ehud Barak.  That week in Taba
is the one break in over 30 years of US-Israeli rejectionism.  There is no
reason why that one break in the record cannot be resumed.

The preferred version, recently reiterated by Ethan Bronner, is that "Many
abroad recall Mr. Barak as the prime minister who in 2000 went further
than any Israeli leader in peace offers to the Palestinians, only to see
the deal fail and explode in a violent Palestinian uprising that drove him
from power." It's true that "many abroad" believe this deceitful fairy
tale, thanks to what Bronner and too many of his colleagues call

It is commonly claimed that a two-state solution is now unattainable
because if the IDF tried to remove settlers, it would lead to a civil war.
That may be true, but much more argument is needed.  Without resorting to
force to expel illegal settlers, the IDF could simply withdraw to whatever
boundaries are established by negotiations.  The settlers beyond those
boundaries would have the choice of leaving their subsidized homes to
return to Israel, or to remain under Palestinian authority.  The same was
true of the carefully staged "national trauma" in Gaza in 2005, so
transparently fraudulent that it was ridiculed by Israeli commentators.
It would have sufficed for Israel to announce that the IDF would withdraw,
and the settlers who were subsidized to enjoy their life in Gaza would
have quietly climbed into the lorries provided to them and travelled to
their new subsidized residences in the West Bank.  But that would not have
produced tragic photos of agonized children and passionate calls of "never

To summarize, contrary to the claim that is constantly reiterated, Israel
has no right to use force to defend itself against rockets from Gaza, even
if they are regarded as terrorist crimes.  Furthermore, the reasons are
transparent.  The pretext for launching the attack is without merit.

There is also a narrower question.  Does Israel have peaceful short-term
alternatives to the use of force in response to rockets from Gaza.  One
short-term alternative would be to accept a ceasefire.  Sometimes Israel
has done so, while instantly violating it.  The most recent and currently
relevant case is June 2008.  The ceasefire called for opening the border
crossings to "allow the transfer of all goods that were banned and
restricted to go into Gaza." Israel formally agreed, but immediately
announced that it would not abide by the agreement and open the borders
until Hamas released Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas in
June 2006.

The steady drumbeat of accusations about the capture of Shalit is, again,
blatant hypocrisy, even putting aside Israel's long history of kidnapping.
In this case, the hypocrisy could not be more glaring.  One day before
Hamas captured Shalit, Israeli soldiers entered Gaza City and kidnapped
two civilians, the Muammar brothers, bringing them to Israel to join the
thousands of other prisoners held there, almost 1000 reportedly without
charge.  Kidnapping civilians is a far more serious crime than capturing a
soldier of an attacking army, but it was barely reported in contrast to
the furor over Shalit.  And all that remains in memory, blocking peace, is
the capture of Shalit, another reflection of the difference between humans
and two-legged beasts.  Shalit should be returned - in a fair prisoner

It was after the capture of Shalit that Israel's unrelenting military
attack against Gaza passed from merely vicious to truly sadistic.  But it
is well to recall that even before his capture, Israel had fired more than
7,700 shells at northern Gaza after its September withdrawal, eliciting
virtually no comment.

After rejecting the June 2008 ceasefire it had formally accepted, Israel
maintained its siege.  We may recall that a siege is an act of war.  In
fact, Israel has always insisted on an even stronger principle: hampering
access to the outside world, even well short of a siege, is an act of war,
justifying massive violence in response.  Interference with Israel's
passage through the Straits of Tiran was part of the pretext for Israel's
invasion of Egypt (with France and England) in 1956, and for its launching
of the June 1967 war.  The siege of Gaza is total, not partial, apart from
occasional willingness of the occupiers to relax it slightly.  And it is
vastly more harmful to Gazans than closing the Straits of Tiran was to
Israel.  Supporters of Israeli doctrines and actions should therefore have
no problem justifying rocket attacks on Israeli territory from the Gaza

Of course, again we run into the nullifying principle: This is us, that is

Israel not only maintained the siege after June 2008, but did so with
extreme rigor.  It even prevented UNRWA from replenishing its stores, "so
when the ceasefire broke down, we ran out of food for the 750,000 who
depend on us," UNRWA director John Ging informed the BBC.

Despite the Israeli siege, rocketing sharply reduced.  The ceasefire broke
down on November 4 with an Israeli raid into Gaza, leading to the death of
6 Palestinians, and a retaliatory barrage of rockets (with no injuries).
The pretext for the raid was that Israel had detected a tunnel in Gaza
that might have been intended for use to capture another Israeli soldier.
The pretext is transparently absurd, as a number of commentators have
noted.  If such a tunnel existed, and reached the border, Israel could
easily have barred it right there.  But as usual, the ludicrous Israeli
pretext was deemed credible.

What was the reason for the Israeli raid?  We have no internal evidence
about Israeli planning, but we do know that the raid came shortly before
scheduled Hamas-Fatah talks in Cairo aimed at "reconciling their
differences and creating a single, unified government," British
correspondent Rory McCarthy reported.  That was to be the first
Fatah-Hamas meeting since the June 2007 civil war that left Hamas in
control of Gaza, and would have been a significant step towards advancing
diplomatic efforts.  There is a long history of Israel provocations to
deter the threat of diplomacy, some already mentioned.  This may have been
another one.

The civil war that left Hamas in control of Gaza is commonly described as
a Hamas military coup, demonstrating again their evil nature.  The real
world is a little different.  The civil war was incited by the US and
Israel, in a crude attempt at a military coup to overturn the free
elections that brought Hamas to power.  That has been public knowledge at
least since April 2008, when David Rose published in Vanity Fair a
detailed and documented account of how Bush, Rice, and Deputy
National-Security Adviser Elliott Abrams "backed an armed force under
Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza
and leaving Hamas stronger than ever." The account was recently
corroborated once again in the Christian Science Monitor (Jan. 12, 2009)
by Norman Olsen, who served for 26 years in the Foreign Service, including
four years working in the Gaza Strip and four years at the US Embassy in
Tel Aviv, and then moved on to become associate coordinator for
counterterrorism at the Department of State.  Olson and his son detail the
State Department shenanigans intended to ensure that their candidate,
Abbas, would win in the January 2006 elections - in which case it would
have been hailed as a triumph of democracy.  After the election-fixing
failed, they turned to punishment of the Palestinians and arming of a
militia run by Fatah strong-man Muhammad Dahlan, but "Dahlan's thugs moved
too soon" and a Hamas pre-emptive strike undermined the coup attempt,
leading to far harsher US-Israeli measures to punish the disobedient
people of Gaza.  The Party Line is more acceptable.

After Israel broke the June 2008 ceasefire (such as it was) in November,
the siege was tightened further, with even more disastrous consequences
for the population.  According to Sara Roy, the leading academic
specialist on Gaza, "On Nov. 5, Israel sealed all crossing points into
Gaza, vastly reducing and at times denying food supplies, medicines, fuel,
cooking gas, and parts for water and sanitation systems..." During
November, an average of 4.6 trucks of food per day entered Gaza from
Israel compared with an average of 123 trucks per day in October. Spare
parts for the repair and maintenance of water-related equipment have been
denied entry for over a year. The World Health Organization just reported
that half of Gaza's ambulances are now out of order" - and the rest soon
became targets for Israeli attack.  Gaza's only power station was forced
to suspend operation for lack of fuel, and could not be started up again
because they needed spare parts, which had been sitting in the Israeli
port of Ashdod for 8 months.  Shortage of electricity led to a 300%
increase in burn cases at Shifaa' hospital in the Gaza Strip, resulting
from efforts to light wood fires.  Israel barred shipment of Chlorine, so
that by mid-December in Gaza City and the north access to water was
limited to six hours every three days.  The human consequences are not
counted among Palestinian victims of Israeli terror.

After the November 4 Israeli attack, both sides escalated violence (all
deaths were Palestinian) until the ceasefire formally ended on Dec. 19,
and Prime Minister Olmert authorized the full-scale invasion.

A few days earlier Hamas had proposed to return to the original July
ceasefire agreement, which Israel had not observed.  Historian and former
Carter administration high official Robert Pastor passed the proposal to a
"senior official" in the IDF, but Israel did not respond.  The head of
Shin Bet, Israel's internal security agency, was quoted in Israeli sources
on December 21 as saying that Hamas is interested in continuing the "calm"
with Israel, while its military wing is continuing preparations for

"There clearly was an alternative to the military approach to stopping the
rockets," Pastor said, keeping to the narrow issue of Gaza.  There was
also a more far-reaching alternative, which is rarely discussed: namely,
accepting a political settlement including all of the occupied

Israel's senior diplomatic correspondent Akiva Eldar reports that shortly
before Israel launched its full-scale invasion on Saturday Dec. 27, "Hamas
politburo chief Khaled Meshal announced on the Iz al-Din al-Qassam Web
site that he was prepared not only for a `cessation of aggression' - he
proposed going back to the arrangement at the Rafah crossing as of 2005,
before Hamas won the elections and later took over the region. That
arrangement was for the crossing to be managed jointly by Egypt, the
European Union, the Palestinian Authority presidency and Hamas," and as
noted earlier, called for opening of the crossings to desperately needed

A standard claim of the more vulgar apologists for Israeli violence is
that in the case of the current assault, "as in so many instances in the
past half century - the Lebanon War of 1982, the `Iron Fist' response to
the 1988 intifada, the Lebanon War of 2006 - the Israelis have reacted to
intolerable acts of terror with a determination to inflict terrible pain,
to teach the enemy a lesson" (New Yorker editor David Remnick).  The 2006
invasion can be justified only on the grounds of appalling cynicism, as
already discussed.  The reference to the vicious response to the 1988
intifada is too depraved even to discuss; a sympathetic interpretation
might be that it reflects astonishing ignorance.  But Remnick's claim
about the 1982 invasion is quite common, a remarkable feat of incessant
propaganda, which merits a few reminders.

Uncontroversially, the Israel-Lebanon border was quiet for a year before
the Israeli invasion, at least from Lebanon to Israel, north to south.
Through the year, the PLO scrupulously observed a US-initiated ceasefire,
despite constant Israeli provocations, including bombing with many
civilian casualties, presumably intended to elicit some reaction that
could be used to justify Israel's carefully planned invasion.  The best
Israel could achieve was two light symbolic responses.  It then invaded
with a pretext too absurd to be taken seriously.

The invasion had precisely nothing to do with "intolerable acts of
terror," though it did have to do with intolerable acts: of diplomacy.
That has never been obscure.  Shortly after the US-backed invasion began,
Israel's leading academic specialist on the Palestinians, Yehoshua Porath
- no dove - wrote that Arafat's success in maintaining the ceasefire
constituted "a veritable catastrophe in the eyes of the Israeli
government," since it opened the way to a political settlement.  The
government hoped that the PLO would resort to terrorism, undermining the
threat that it would be "a legitimate negotiating partner for future
political accommodations."

The facts were well-understood in Israel, and not concealed.  Prime
Minister Yitzhak Shamir stated that Israel went to war because there was
"a terrible danger... Not so much a military one as a political one,"
prompting the fine Israeli satirist B. Michael to write that "the lame
excuse of a military danger or a danger to the Galilee is dead." We "have
removed the political danger" by striking first, in time; now, "Thank God,
there is no one to talk to."  Historian Benny Morris recognized that the
PLO had observed the ceasefire, and explained that "the war's
inevitability rested on the PLO as a political threat to Israel and to
Israel's hold on the occupied territories." Others have frankly
acknowledged the unchallenged facts.

In a front-page think-piece on the latest Gaza invasion, NYT correspondent
Steven Lee Meyers writes that "In some ways, the Gaza attacks were
reminiscent of the gamble Israel took, and largely lost, in Lebanon in
1982 [when] it invaded to eliminate the threat of Yasir Arafat's forces."
Correct, but not in the sense he has in mind.  In 1982, as in 2008, it was
necessary to eliminate the threat of political settlement.

The hope of Israeli propagandists has been that Western intellectuals and
media would buy the tale that Israel reacted to rockets raining on the
Galilee, "intolerable acts of terror." And they have not been

It is not that Israel does not want peace: everyone wants peace, even
Hitler.  The question is: on what terms?  From its origins, the Zionist
movement has understood that to achieve its goals, the best strategy would
be to delay political settlement, meanwhile slowly building facts on the
ground.  Even the occasional agreements, as in 1947, were recognized by
the leadership to be temporary steps towards further expansion.  The 1982
Lebanon war was a dramatic example of the desperate fear of diplomacy.
It was followed by Israeli support for Hamas so as to undermine the
secular PLO and its irritating peace initiatives.  Another case that
should be familiar is Israeli provocations before the 1967 war designed to
elicit a Syrian response that could be used as a pretext for violence and
takeover of more land - at least 80% of the incidents, according to
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan.

The story goes far back.  The official history of the Haganah, the
pre-state Jewish military force, describes the assassination of the
religious Jewish poet Jacob de Haan in 1924, accused of conspiring with
the traditional Jewish community (the Old Yishuv) and the Arab Higher
Committee against the new immigrants and their settlement enterprise.
And there have been numerous examples since.

The effort to delay political accommodation has always made perfect sense,
as do the accompanying lies about how "there is no partner for peace." It
is hard to think of another way to take over land where you are not

Similar reasons underlie Israel's preference for expansion over security.
Its violation of the ceasefire on November 4 2009 is one of many recent

An Amnesty International chronology reports that the June 2008 ceasefire
had "brought enormous improvements in the quality of life in Sderot and
other Israeli villages near Gaza, where before the ceasefire residents
lived in fear of the next Palestinian rocket strike.  However, nearby in
the Gaza Strip the Israeli blockade remains in place and the population
has so far seen few dividends from the ceasefire." But the gains in
security for Israel towns near Gaza were evidently outweighed by the felt
need to deter diplomatic moves that might impede West Bank expansion, and
to crush any remaining resistance within Palestine.

The preference for expansion over security has been particularly evident
since Israel's fateful decision in 1971, backed by Henry Kissinger, to
reject the offer of a full peace treaty by President Sadat of Egypt,
offering nothing to the Palestinians - an agreement that the US and Israel
were compelled to accept at Camp David eight years later, after a major
war that was a near disaster for Israel.  A peace treaty with Egypt would
have ended any significant security threat, but there was an unacceptable
quid pro quo: Israel would have had to abandon its extensive settlement
programs in the northeastern Sinai.  Security was a lower priority than
expansion, as it still is.  Substantial evidence for this basic conclusion
is provided in a magisterial study of Israel's security and foreign policy
by Zeev Maoz, Defending the Holy Land.

Today, Israel could have security, normalization of relations, and
integration into the region.  But it very clearly prefers illegal
expansion, conflict, and repeated exercise of violence, actions that are
not only criminal, murderous and destructive but are also eroding its own
long-term security.  US military and Middle East specialist Andrew
Cordesman writes that while Israel military force can surely crush
defenseless Gaza, "neither Israel nor the US can gain from a war that
produces [a bitter] reaction from one of the wisest and most moderate
voices in the Arab world, Prince Turki al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia, who said
on January 6 that `The Bush administration has left [Obama] a disgusting
legacy and a reckless position towards the massacres and bloodshed of
innocents in Gaza...Enough is enough, today we are all Palestinians and we
seek martyrdom for God and for Palestine, following those who died in

One of the wisest voices in Israel, Uri Avnery, writes that after an
Israeli military victory, "What will be seared into the consciousness of
the world will be the image of Israel as a blood-stained monster, ready at
any moment to commit war crimes and not prepared to abide by any moral
restraints. This will have severe consequences for our long-term future,
our standing in the world, our chance of achieving peace and quiet.  In
the end, this war is a crime against ourselves too, a crime against the
State of Israel."

There is good reason to believe that he is right.  Israel is deliberately
turning itself into perhaps the most hated country in the world, and is
also losing the allegiance of the population of the West, including
younger American Jews, who are unlikely to tolerate its persistent
shocking crimes for long.  Decades ago, I wrote that those who call
themselves "supporters of Israel" are in reality supporters of its moral
degeneration and probable ultimate destruction.  Regrettably, that
judgment looks more and more plausible.

Meanwhile we are quietly observing a rare event in history, what the late
Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling called "politicide," the murder of a
nation - at our hands.

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