Monday, August 29, 2011

Read the post for which Derfner was fired: ‘The awful, necessary truth about Palestinian terror’

by PHILIP WEISS on AUGUST 29, 2011

Below (I believe) is the post that Larry Derfner published on his blog on August 21 but has since removed that resulted in his firing by the Jerusalem Post. I'm also publishing Derfner's apology for this post following the original post. (I found the original at Alice in Wonder-Land. Thanks to James North and Shmuel).
The awful, necessary truth about Palestinian terror. [link to Derfner's site doesn't work anymore]
I think a lot of people who realize that the occupation is wrong also realize that the Palestinians have the right to resist it – to use violence against Israelis, even to kill Israelis, especially when Israel is showing zero willingness to end the occupation, which has been the case since the Netanyahu government took over (among other times in the past).
But people don’t want to say this, especially right after a terror attack like this last one that killed eight Israelis near Eilat. And there are lots of good reasons for this reticence, such as: You don’t want to further upset your own countrymen when they are grieving, you don’t want to say or write anything that could be picked up by Israel’s enemies and used as justification for killing more of us. (These are good reasons; fear of being called a traitor, for instance, is a bad reason.)
But I think it’s time to overcome this reticence, even at the cost of enflaming the already enflamed sensitivities of the Israeli public, because this unwillingness to say outright that Palestinians have the right to fight the occupation, especially now, inadvertently helps keep the occupation going.
When we say that the occupation is a terrible injustice to the Palestinians, but then say that Palestinian terror/resistance is a terrible injustice to Israel, we’re saying something that’s patently illogical to anyone but a pacifist, and there aren’t many pacifists left, certainly not in Israel. The logical, non-pacifist mind concludes that both of those statements can’t be true – that if A is hurting B and won’t stop, then B damn sure has the right to hurt A to try to make him stop. But if everybody, not only the Right but the Left, too, is saying that B, the Palestinians, don’t have the right to hurt A, the Israelis, then the logical mind concludes that Israel must not be hurting the Palestinians after all, the occupation must not be so bad, the occupation must not be hurting the Palestinians at all - because if it was, they would have the right to hurt us back, andeverybody agrees that they don’t. So when they shoot at us or fire rockets at us, it’s completely unprovoked, which gives us the right, the duty, to bash them and bash them until they stop – and anybody who tries to deny us that right doesn’t have a leg to stand on, so we’re just going to keep right on bashing them. And when the Palestinians complain about the occupation, we Israelis can honestly say we don’t know what they’re talking about.
This, I’m convinced, is how the Left’s ritual condemnations of terror are translated in the Israeli public’s mind – as justification for the occupation and an iron-fist military policy.
But if, on the other hand, we were to say very forthrightly what many of us believe and the rest of us suspect – that the Palestinians, like every nation living under hostile rule, have the right to fight back, that their terrorism, especially in the face of a rejectionist Israeli government, is justified – what effect would that have? A powerful one, I think, because the truth is powerful. If those who oppose the occupation acknowledged publicly that it justifies Palestinian terrorism, then those who support the occupation would have to explain why it doesn’t. And that’s not easy for a nation that sanctifies the right to self-defense; a nation that elected Irgun leader Menachem Begin and Lehi leader Yitzhak Shamir as prime minister.
But while I think the Palestinians have the right to use terrorism against us, I don’t want them to use it, I don’t want to see Israelis killed, and as an Israeli, I would do whatever was necessary to stop a Palestinian, oppressed or not, from killing one of my countrymen. (I also think Palestinian terrorism backfires, it turns people away from them and generates sympathy for Israel and the occupation, so I’m against terrorism on a practical level, too, but that’s besides the point.) The possibility that Israel’s enemies could use my or anybody else’s justification of terror for their campaign is a daunting one; I wouldn’t like to see this column quoted on a pro-Hamas website, and I realize it could happen.
Still, I don’t think Hamas and their allies need any more encouragement, so whatever encouragement they might take from me or any other liberal Zionist is coals to Newcastle. What’s needed very badly, however, is for Israelis to realize that the occupation is hurting the Palestinians terribly, that it’s driving them to try to kill us, that we are compelling them to engage in terrorism, that the blood of Israeli victims is ultimately on our hands, and that it’s up to us to stop provoking our own people’s murder by ending the occupation. And so long as we who oppose the occupation keep pretending that the Palestinians don’t have the right to resist it, we tacitly encourage Israelis to go on blindly killing and dying in defense of an unholy cause.
And by tacitly encouraging Israelis in their blindness, I think we endanger their lives and ours, their country and ours, much more than if we told the truth and got quoted on Hamas websites.
There’s no time for equivocation anymore, if there ever was. The mental and moral paralysis in this country must be broken. Whoever the Palestinians were who killed the eight Israelis near Eilat last week, however vile their ideology was, they were justified to attack. They had the same right to fight for their freedom as any other unfree nation in history ever had. And just like every harsh, unjust government in history bears the blame for the deaths of its own people at the hands of rebels, so Israel, which rules the Palestinians harshly and unjustly, is to blame for those eight Israeli deaths – as well as for every other Israeli death that occurred when this country was offering the Palestinians no other way to freedom.
Writing this is not treason. It is an attempt at patriotism.
Here is Derfner's apology on his blog, on August 26:
I have an apology to make for “The awful, necessary truth about Palestinian terror,” which I posted here and on Facebook on Sunday. I didn’t mean to say anything “good” about Palestinian terror against Israelis – I see nothing good in it whatsoever, and I thought I made that clear, but I see now that I didn’t.
I wrote that because of the occupation, Palestinians are “justified” in attacking, even killing Israelis, that they have the “right” to do so. Later on I stressed that I didn’t wantthem to kill my countrymen, and that I would do anything necessary to stop it. I meant those two points to show that I wasn’t “for” terrorism, that while I thought the occupation justified it, that didn’t mean I supported it. But I see now that the distance from “justified” to “support” is way, way too short – and I am as far away as anybody can be from supporting attacks on Israel and Israelis.
Writing that the killing of Israelis was justified and a matter of right took a vile image and attached words of seeming approval to it. This, I’m afraid, produced an “obscene” effect, as one critic wrote. I don’t want to write obscenity about Israel. I didn’t mean to, and I deeply regret it.
I meant, instead, to shock Israelis and friends of Israel into seeing how badly we’re hurting the Palestinians by denying them independence: It’s so bad that it’s helping drive them to try to kill us. This is something I believe, something liberal Israelis and friends of Israel believe, and I wrote that if we were to start saying so publicly, it might force other Israelis to finally confront the reality of what we’re doing to the Palestinians, and thereby get them to see that it’s wrong and must stop.
My intention was to shock people into recognition, but I ended up shocking many of them into revulsion, and twisting what I wanted to say into something I didn’t and don’t mean at all. 
What I mean is this: The occupation does not justify Palestinian terror. It does, however, provoke it. Palestinians do not have the right to attack or kill Israelis. They, do, however, have the incentive to, and part, though not all, of that incentive is provided them by the occupation. I believe that if Israel gives the Palestinians their independence, we have enough military power to neutralize whatever leftover incentive they would have to attack us. So my purpose with regard to Palestinian terror against Israelis is not to legitimize it, God forbid, but to end it.
Again, I regret what I wrote on Sunday. I apologize to everyone who was offended by it, and I apologize to my countrymen.  The post is no longer on my blog; I’ve taken it down.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Anti-Arab racism in Israel


RetweeOriginal Post:

Eli Ungar-Sargon writes in The Electronic Intifada about a survey of Jewish Israeli racism and the video above:
We began our survey in February 2011 and completed it in early March. On the Israeli side, we interviewed a total of 250 Jewish Israelis in Haifa, Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Jerusalem and Beersheba. For this part of the survey I conducted the interviews myself from behind the camera in Hebrew. On the Palestinian side, we interviewed a total of 250 Palestinians in Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron. (Despite multiple attempts, we were unable to procure permission to enter the Gaza Strip.) Here, we collaborated with local journalist Mohammad Jaradat who, using my questions, conducted the interviews in Arabic.
The questions we asked pertained to a number of sensitive political topics and the idea was to get people to talk long enough to detect if there was any racism at play in their answers. In sociological terms, we were engaged in qualitative analysis, but unlike typical qualitative interviews, we spent minutes, not hours with our subjects. Our survey is not exhaustive and our method was very simple. We went to public places and asked people to talk to us on camera. In designing the questions, I set out to distinguish actual racism from conflict-based animosity. That is, to allow for the possibility that Israelis might exhibit animosity towards Palestinians without being racist and to allow the same on the Palestinian side in reverse.
The very first question we asked of Jewish Israelis was the extremely broad “What do you think about Arabs?” It is only reasonable to expect that people who harbor anti-Arab sentiment would mask their feelings when answering such a direct question on camera. Most people responded to this question with some variation of “They are people,” although we were surprised that a sizable minority used the opportunity to launch into anti-Arab diatribes.

One of the most disturbing trends that we noticed was the strong correlation between age and anti-Arab sentiment. The majority of Israeli teenagers that we spoke to expressed unabashed and open racism towards Arabs. Statements like “I hate them,” or “they should all be killed” were common in this age group.
When looking over the data, we divided the respondents into three groups: those who were neutral about Arabs; those who were positive about them; and those who expressed negative attitudes. Amongst the responses, 60 percent were neutral, 25 percent negative and 15 percent positive.
Read the entire piece here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

McDonald's Hamburger Recipe

Here is a pdf of all of McDonalds Recipes. From Cheeseburgers, quarter pounders to Big Macs and fillet-o-fishes

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Eyewitness to Judaization

Eyewitness to Judaization (I saw a soldier strike a young boy for walking on a road for Jews)


Matt Berkman lately returned from a a two-week delegation to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories organized by Interfaith Peace-Builders. The U.S. Middle East Project has just published Berkman's important account of what he saw by email.
Jerusalem effectively consists of two cities, one Jewish, one Arab. Whereas these cities were at one point geographically distinct—Jews living in West Jerusalem, Palestinians in East Jerusalem—the Palestinian half of the city has lately seen its ethnic homogeneity rent by the construction of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, a process ongoing since the city was conquered in 1967. These Jewish settlements—illegal under international law—are clean, affluent-looking housing complexes that are well serviced by the Greater Jerusalem municipality. The Palestinian neighborhoods whose physical and social contiguity the Jewish settlements fragment, on the other hand, are visibly underserviced and neglected. Traveling through them, I found these areas to be overcrowded and littered with trash; the roads were unpaved, the schools few and derelict. A visual staple of the Arab neighborhoods was their black rooftop water tanks, used to offset the insufficient level of water pressure allotted them by the city. 
The reason for the overcrowding in these neighborhoods is that it is nearly impossible for Palestinians to procure building permits anywhere in Jerusalem. Permits are arbitrarily denied or left indefinitely in bureaucratic limbo. Palestinian neighborhoods are also forbidden to expand beyond their present boundaries, which have been the same since 1967. The surrounding land (and this goes for all Arab villages and cities in Israel) was nationalized after 1948 and turned over to the dispensation of the Jewish National Fund, which does not sell or lease land to non-Jews. If a Palestinian family wants to expand their home or build a new one on a vacant lot, they must do so illegally, or not at all. If they build illegally, they risk having their homes demolished on short notice (often they are given ten minutes to vacate their possessions before the bulldozers arrive). That is why the landscape of East Jerusalem is riddled with the husks of demolished Arab homes. Jewish neighborhoods and settlements, on the other hand, have no problem purchasing land or receiving expedited permits. 
This systematic discrimination, along with discrimination in the provision of municipal services, cannot be seen as other than a calculated policy of slow-motion ethnic cleansing. The goal is evidently to immiserate Arabs until they leave Jerusalem. 
Although Israel formally annexed Jerusalem after 1967, the Palestinians that live there, unlike Palestinians residing within Israel’s internationally recognized borders, are not Israeli citizens. They have no citizenship. They are legally "residents" of Jerusalem, which entitles them to certain economic benefits like subsidized healthcare, but they cannot vote in Israel's parliamentary elections nor do they have passports or other national identity documents. Traveling outside of Israel, except to the West Bank, is an arduous process for them that requires multiple authorizations. Moreover, their residency (and accompanying benefits) can be revoked if they are absent from Jerusalem for a period of three years. On our delegation, we heard reports of Arab Jerusalemites who have studied abroad only to come back and find that their right to live in the city of their birth has been revoked. The same goes for those caught residing in the suburbs beyond Jerusalem’s city limits, something Arab residents are often forced to do due to the overcrowding. The IDF launches periodic night raids in order to prove that these Palestinians are living outside the city, so that their residency can be revoked.
Although the notion of partitioning Jerusalem is likely defunct thanks to the proliferation of Jewish settlements, there do still remain small concentrations of Arab residents around the Old City that could potentially serve as a truncated Palestinian capital in the event of a two-state solution. For this reason, certain radical groups of settlers have been seizing or purchasing buildings in the heart of densely populated Arab neighborhoods in order to create a Jewish demographic foothold in these areas and, in this way, prevent partition. These settler dwellings are prominent for their Israeli flags and razor-wire ramparts. We saw several of them, and attended a weekly protest against one such cluster of settlements in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where using Ottoman-era documents of dubious authenticity a settler group recently secured the legal eviction of several Palestinian families that had been living in homes there since the 1950s. These houses were given to the families by the United Nations and the Jordanian government in compensation for homes in West Jerusalem from which they had been expelled by Zionist militias in 1948. Recently, however, an Israeli court ruled in favor of a settler group that claimed to hold the original deeds to these homes. The state then evicted the Palestinian residents and the settlers moved in. Needless to say, Israeli courts would never entertain the congruent notion that these same evicted Arabs could reclaim the West Jerusalem properties stolen from them in 1948.
The other day we traveled to the Galilee area, which is inside Israel proper. In the not too distant past, the Galilee was majority Arab. Today, due to the success of Judaization policies (which have their own ministry in Israel’s government, the “Ministry of Development of the Negev and Galilee”), the number of Jews in the Galilee has surpassed the number of Arabs. The same discrimination in land and services that I described above applies equally to the Galilee. While Arab-majority cities of the Galilee have indigenous mayors, which should theoretically make the degree of discrimination in municipal services lower, the cities' budgets are in fact determined by Jewish-controlled "regional councils" in conjunction with relevant state ministries (education, industry, infrastructure). According to an advocacy organization we met with, Israel's Arab community, which currently stands at 20% of the total population but has needs disproportionate to its size, receives no more than 5% of any given ministry’s annual budget, and often less. 
What we saw in the Galilee, however, was far more disturbing than these statistics. Our group toured a number of "unrecognized villages"—Arab and Bedouin shantytowns that existed before 1948 but were never recognized by Israel following the creation of the state. Because they were not recognized (for reasons unspecified), their land was declared state land by the government and their homes were summarily bulldozed. Instead of emigrating, however, many villagers rebuilt their homes after each demolition, evidently using industrial detritus. The situation today is that these villagers (or what remains of them) live in corrugated iron shacks, up to fifteen in a house, without electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing. Because they are unrecognized, the state refuses to hook them up to the electricity grid or sewage system. Meanwhile, many of them are located within clear view of fully-serviced Israeli cities, some built just a few years ago on land that was originally theirs. One village we visited was almost fully encircled by the Russian-Jewish settlement of Karmiel. The villagers live literally feet from this affluent suburb of sparkling white high-rises but lack paved roads, sewage, electricity, and schools (the children must drive or walk to a nearby village to attend class). According to another civil society advocate, there are more than 40 such villages in Israel, all of them Arab, and all of them facing possible demolition. Most notable among these is the village of al-Araqib in the Negev, which has now been demolished more than 20 times.
So far I have been discussing what happens within what Israel considers to be its legitimate borders (despite East Jerusalem’s status as an occupied territory under international law). But nearly identical strategies of Judaization are also being applied in the West Bank, which has been under Israeli military occupation since 1967. Our delegation spent a night in the village of Bi'lin, which on a clear night is within view of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, but located across the Green Line that demarcates the pre-1967 border. Bi'lin is an agricultural village whose farmers rely on their thousand-year-old olive trees to make ends meet. However, in 2002, under the pretext of security, Israel erected a wall in the West Bank that cut the villagers off from most of their agricultural lands, effectively annexing them for the expansion of nearby Israeli settlements, which at the time of our visit were undergoing further construction. The olive trees in the path of the wall were uprooted. 
For the last few years, the residents of Bi'in have mounted weekly non-violent protests against the wall. These protests have been brutally suppressed by Israel’s military. According to videos we screened, it appears that protesters are routinely fired upon with high-velocity tear gas canisters, rubber-coated steel bullets, and live ammunition—all of which can be fatal. We toured the site of the protests and discovered shell casings, spent tear gas grenades and even live bullets littering the ground. One large patch of earth emitted a foul, fecal odor that was the product of Israel's latest crowd-control method: spraying protesters with what our guides described as “sewage water.” The spray was last deployed a month ago and the stench remains to this day. 
There are also midnight kidnappings and imprisonment of protest leaders and participants by the IDF, including children. The twenty-year -old son of the family I stayed with was abducted from his home by soldiers in the middle of the night, dragged to a nearby olive grove, and nearly beaten to death. His brother, Abdullah, was still on the lam after being targeted for abduction. The charge against them was arranging non-violent demonstrations. In addition, several protesters and innocent bystanders have been killed by Israeli soldiers in Bi’lin, including a woman who recently died of respiratory problems after inhaling tear gas and sewage water. Our group screened a video of a soldier firing a tear gas canister directly into the chest of a local protest leader name Bassem, killing him instantly. He was unarmed.
In 2007, an Israeli court ruled that the wall should be moved back 500 meters. That decision was implemented only last month. In the process of moving the wall, the IDF set fire to much of the land being returned to Bi'lin, destroying a number of olive trees. The ground there is visibly charred. Either way, the 500 meter alteration in the wall's path has not ended the protests, which continue to demand the dismantling of the wall altogether. 
There are several others villages like Bi'lin, where the wall annexes agricultural lands and aquifers for the use of nearby settlements. But there are also other cities that have it worse. Qalqiliya, for example, is a West Bank city of 60,000 inhabitants that is entirely encircled by the wall. Gates in the wall open twice a day for two hours; otherwise, its residents are imprisoned. In the area of East Jerusalem, the wall cuts off certain Arab suburbs that once formed an organic part of the city, disrupting family, labor, and religious ties. According to a former IDF soldier, the thousands of Palestinian laborers who penetrate the wall each week in search of work belies its security justification as a bulwark against suicide terrorism. Its only ostensible purpose is land theft. 
We also visited Hebron. Hebron is unique among West Bank cities. It has an Arab population of 250,000, and a Jewish population of around 800 armed, highly ideological settlers that have underhandedly purchased or seized homes in the heart of the city. According to locals and the testimony of a former IDF soldier stationed in Hebron, these settlers perpetually antagonize and attack the Arab population. What is more, they do so with near impunity due to the fact that they are protected by 1,200 IDF soldiers whose orders are to arrest or kill any Palestinian that defends him/herself against settler assaults. The Palestinians know this and are forced to passively absorb all measure of abuse. To illustrate this, the soldier we spoke with told the following story. Responding to cries, he entered a marketplace one day to find several settler women violently beating the shopkeepers with rolling pins. When he demanded to know they were doing, one of them replied, "What does it look like? We’re beating the Arabs." The soldier surmised they were doing this in order to provoke a violent reaction from the shopkeepers, which would oblige him (the soldier) to shoot or arrest them. 
During our visit I personally witnessed a soldier striking a young boy because he was walking on a road accessible only to Jews and internationals. Our group also saw the mesh canopy that overhangs the Arab marketplace located below the settler houses. The canopy had caught cinder blocks, metal chairs, garbage, eggs, knives, and other objects thrown by the settlers onto the Arabs below. One of the overhangs had been eaten away by battery acid poured from above, and we heard reports of settlers urinating out of their windows onto the marketplace. All this, it appears, takes place in full view of an IDF watchtower. The soldiers do nothing to prevent settler rampages. It's not part of their orders. On the contrary, many of them are subservient to the settlers. We witnessed one settler command an IDF soldier to arrest our Arab guide for walking on a street where Arabs were forbidden. The soldier, who had been ignoring us hitherto, quickly began to oblige (luckily we eluded him). 
In order to hear the widest variety of perspectives on the situation in Hebron, we also met with a spokesperson for the settler community, a man named David Wilder. Wilder described a situation in which Jews, not Arabs, were the party facing ethnic discrimination in Israel and the West Bank. Jews, he said, were confined to 3% of the city, both by agreement with the Palestinian Authority and by the disinclination of local Arabs to sell them property. (In fact, Israel’s security control of Hebron, a city with 800 Jews, ranges over 30% of the city, including its holiest site, the Cave of the Patriarchs). He described what he considered Arab incitement—including the practice of shooting off fireworks to celebrate high school graduations—and cited instances of terrorism directed against Jews in Hebron during the Second Intifada. He denied the existence of premeditated settler violence, describing any attacks on the local population as the work of undisciplined youth reacting to Arab provocations. (Shortly after this meeting, our guide Issa, a local activist, recalled David Wilder holding a loaded pistol to his head as he attempted to videotape a settler pogrom.) 
After our delegation concluded, I joined a small group of Israeli activists called Ta'ayyush (“Coexistence”) in the South Hebron Hills, where they gather each Saturday to assist the local population with reconstruction and agricultural projects (at its request). As a group of Israelis and internationals, Ta'ayyush's very presence also provides these Palestinians with a measure of protection from violent settlers and apathetic military personnel who together conspire to make their lives unlivable.
Upon arrival, we split into two groups. The first was to accompany local shepherds who had lately been assaulted by settlers as they tried to bring their flocks to pasture. The purpose of this activity was not only to protect the shepherds, but also to document settler rampages that would otherwise be ignored by the military. The second group (my group) drove to the encampment of Bir al-Id to help an older man named Hajj Ismail and his family clear rocks and debris from the ruin of their demolished home. Following a fruitless court battle, the military had carried out its demolition order a month earlier on the typical grounds of “illegal construction.”
Hajj Ismail and his family are members of the most neglected substratum of Palestinian society. They are of a class referred to by village- and town-dwelling Palestinians as “cave people,” for the fact that many of them inhabit (and have from time immemorial) relatively well-provisioned caves in the South Hebron Hills. In recent times, however, population growth has forced families like Hajj Ismail's to leave their caves and establish hilltop encampments like Bir al-Id, which are then declared illegal by the occupation authorities and slated for demolition. Meanwhile, these same authorities actively facilitate the creation of new Jewish settlement outposts in the area (allegedly “illegal” under Israeli law) by provisioning racist bands of Israeli “hilltop youth” with water, electricity and security. One such “illegal” outpost, whose power lines and massive cisterns strike a familiar contrast with the makeshift structures of Bir al-Id, was perched less a kilometer from Hajj Ismail's ramshackle tent. 
After a few hours the two groups reunited to perform a “direct action” at the illegal outpost of Bat Maon, from which settler attacks on Palestinian schoolchildren had recently originated. (According to an Italian NGO worker who has been accompanying the children to class for several months, settlers from Bat Maon had only days earlier beaten two American activists with lead pipes as they attempted to film these attacks.) Camcorders in hand, our group circumnavigated Bat Maon in hopes of drawing the military's attention to what was going on there. We were immediately encircled by armored vehicles and asked to leave. One of our activists demanded to know why so many soldiers had been dispatched to quell Ta'ayyush's nonviolent action while none had been tasked with investigating the recent stabbing of a Palestinian by a masked settler. Such attempts to shame the military, he later told me, had in the past succeeded in achieving marginal improvements in the conditions of the local Palestinians.
Driving back to Jerusalem, I asked one long-time member of Ta'ayyush, a mathematician named Danny, how many leftists of his stripe he thought existed in Israel today. He guessed a couple of hundred. (Israel's Jewish population currently stands at 5.8 million.) 
This, in part, is the situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories as I have seen it and heard it described by those who live there. I leave it to the reader to draw from this testimony his/her own conclusions about the nature of the political system under which Israelis and Palestinians live, both within and beyond Israel’s recognized borders.