David Bloom

Bi'lin demo savagely attacked by Israeli forces

The following release from Gush Shalom describes how Israeli forces attacked a joint Palestinian-Israeli non-violent demonstration against the separation barrier in the West Bank village of Bi'lin. The demonstration is notable for its size, and the fact that Palestinian Israeli MK's and some well-known Palestinians took part. For the second time, Israeli special forces dressed in mufti staged provocations from within the Palestinian side, throwing rocks at Israeli forces so that they could have a pretext to open fire. Previously Ha'aretz' Amira Hass noted a Border Police unit in mufti did the same thing at a demo in the village of Beit Surik.

Blankfort takes on Chomsky

Jeffrey Blankfort, relentless critic of the Israel lobby and what he sees as the failure of the left to properly engage the question, has written a long-awaited critique of Noam Chomsky's views. Blankfort writes:

The 2005 edition of Left Curve has been published and most of it is now available online including my latest article: "Damage Control: Noam Chomsky and the Israel-Palestine Conflict." I am aware that its contents will be controversial but I hope it will stimulate further critical analysis of Chomsky's writings and statements on that issue, an analysis that, given his status among progressive thinkers and activists, is long overdue.

NYT defends lack of "occupation"

The New York Times is seemingly allergic to the word "occupation" when it comes to describing the Israel-Palestine conflict. It rarely mentions that all Israeli settlements, including those in East Jerusalem, violate international law. Daniel Okrent, the Times' public editor, appears to see no problem with that. When describing Israel's occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, NYT is reduced to writing stuff like Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1967 and 200,000 Israelis now live there and Palestinians claim this land as theirs, ignoring completely that the weight of international law and all respected human rights organizations consider East Jerusalem occupied, and reducing the conflict to a matter of he-said, she-said.

Some settlers push back pt. II: From Central Park to the Gush!!

The annual Salute to Israel Day Parade on June 5 in New York, the largest yearly pro-Zionist gathering in the world, will feature a break-out rally against Israel's disengagement plan from the occupied Gaza Strip and northern West Bank. Featured in the rally will be hyper-Zionist ex-minister and general Effi Eitam and New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind. The two will lead hundreds of US volunteers straight from the rally to travel to the Gush Katif settlement bloc in the southern Gaza Strip, slated for evacuation this summer. US Christian Zionist clergy have raised $8.5 million to fight disengagement. (JPost, Apr. 17)

Interview with Israeli anarchist Jonathan Pollak

Jonathan Pollak is an Israeli activist who grew up in Tel Aviv and lives in Jaffa. He has been involved in non-violent direct action in the West Bank for the last two and half years, participating in more than 200 protests with Palestinians in the West Bank with the Israeli non-violent direct action group Anarchists Against the Wall and with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).

On April 3, 2005 an Israeli soldier shot Jonathan in the head with a teargas canister from an M-16 from a distance of approximately thirty meters at a peaceful protest against the Wall in the West Bank village of Bil'in. Bil'in is one of tens of West Bank Palestinian villages losing land because of Israel's wall construction. He was interviewed by ISM volunteer Pat O'Connor on April 7.

Kurdistan travelogue

Last week I spent three days traveling in Turkish Kurdistan, in southeastern Turkey, near the Syrian border. I spent time in four towns, Diyarbakir, Marden, Sanliurfa, and Harran.

Like everywhere in Turkey, huge signs in Turkish adorn the hillsides. From 1984-99, this was the epicenter of violence and fighting between the Marxist-Leninist Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) and the Turkish government that claimed 37,000 lives, mostly Kurdish civilians. The fighting has mostly abated since then, with a ceasefire ordered by the imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. The Kurds were fighting for language and political rights. Kurdish was forbidden to be taught in schools, posted on signs or used on the airwaves. In the last year, a half hour of Kurdish-language programming started up on Turkish state radio. 90% of Kurds favor EU entry. The Turkish National News reported Apr. 5 that 62% of male Turkish University students favor ascension. Oddly, only half that many female students favor it. EU ascension will impel Turkey to guarantee minority rights, and recognize the Armenian genocide. As a result, there is a Turkish nationalist backlash to EU entry. Officially, Turkey considers Kurds to be "mountain Turks," but their language is Indo-European, and not Turco-Altaic. The Kurds migrated to the area from northern Iran in the last millenium. Now Kurds are allowed to take Kurdish language lessons, but only in private classes, which are not widely affordable. A Kurd I met in Diyarkabir notes it makes little sense that someone has to pay to learn one's mother tongue. Kurdish is taught in the home, but in the public sphere, Turkish is widely used. One Kurdish boy I meet speaks only Turkish, his parents have not taught him Kurdish.

New party aligned with David Duke has Ukrainian Jews concerned

A new party in Ukraine allegedly aligned with US-based neo-Nazi, former Klu Klux Klan Grand Wizard and Louisiana state representative David Duke has Ukrainian Jews concerned. The Ukranian Conservative Party was registered with the country's Justice Ministry last month and espouses "anti-fascist" and "anti-Zionist" views. But it also calls for re-inserting the ethnic identity of Ukrainian citizens in their passports, a practice which led in the past to discrimination against Jews. According to AP, the party's leaders is Heorhiy Shchyokin, chief of the Kiev-based International Academy of Personnel Management, which teaches some 35,000 students. The Moscow-based Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union has accused Shchyokin in the past of turning his academy "into the leading publishing center of anti-Semitic literature in Ukraine." Shchyokin has been widely criticized in the Ukrainian media for his reported links to Duke, with his party being labeled the "Ukrainian Klu Klux Klan." AP does not say which materials Shychyokin has been publishing, but Duke has been making inroads in the last decade into the former Soviet Union and India. His book "Jewish Supremacism" is billed as a "world-wide bestseller" on his website, and is sold in front of the Russian Duma. On his website he decries the "Jewish Oligarchs who have stolen approximately 65 percent of the natural wealth of Russia," and applauds the Duma for trying to pass blatantly anti-Semitic legislation recently. Approximately 100,000 Jews live in Ukraine.

Mussolini thanks soccer captain for Fascist salute

David Horowitz, center-right editor of the center-right Jerusalem Post, reports with concern some recent fascist nostalgia in Rome:

"Maybe we should shrug off the ongoing little rumpus in Rome
surrounding Lazio soccer team captain Paolo Di Canio's recent Fascist
salute to his loyal fans during his team's 3-1 victory over local
rivals Roma. After all, the player remarked of the gesture, 'it was
only to celebrate.' It was 'nothing to do with political behavior of
any kind,' insisted Di Canio, who has a tattooed homage to Benito
Mussolini on his arm and in his autobiography called the fascist
dictator 'a very principled, ethical individual.'

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