Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Why Israel?

The debate over whether or not to single out Israel for criticism is typically framed by two opposing notions. One is that Israel ought to judged by the same standards as every other nation in the region. If Iraq was invaded and devastated twice for breaking international law, occupying someone else's land, and was the subject of intense public and governmental scrutiny over the possible existence of weapons, why does Israel not only escape such a fate, but in fact even get rewarded each time it kills and destroys? Of course, neither Israel nor Iraq ought to be in the condition they are in. But clearly there is a glaring double standard at play.

On the other side is the continued call for Israeli exceptionalism. Here in the UK where there is lively debate about boycotting Israel the basic premise of the latter camp seems to be that Israel, if not treated as exceptional, will be engulfed by a sea of marauding, vengeful Arab peoples. In other words, Israel is always the victim, the weaker party, the one on the precipice. It can subjugate an entire people and deny their catastrophe while at the same time decry those who deny its own defining catastrophe, the Holocaust. It can kill and brutalise, such as in its most recent indiscriminant bombing campaign of Lebanon which left at least 1000 people dead and several more injured and the country in ruin. Israel's security has always been premised on a hypothetical (what if Iran gets the bomb?, what if Israel seizes to be a Jew-only state?, etc) while the security of the Palestinians and the Lebanese does not even rate a mention even though for them life and death is an all too gruesome reality and has been for decades.

Some people ask why do we always target Israel, why not Syria or Egypt or Tibet. The answer is quite simple. We didn't choose Israel, those in power did. It is they who chose to fund her like no other nation on earth with billions of unaccountable dollars every year, support her brutal occupation of Palestine, arm her to the teeth with the latest of weapons (how do hundreds of nuclear weapons, including in submarines, make Israel or anyone else safer?), and continue to provide unparalleled and unquestioning political support. No other nation on this planet is treated like this. No nation, not even your own, deserves to be treated like this.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Want to be part of achieving the impossible?

The Break the Siege of Gaza project needs YOU. The small group of people currently working on the project would love to see the formation of some local groups, anywhere in the world, to help make this project happen.

Even two people is enough to be a local Break the Siege group, whether you want to focus on fundraising, publicity, or share some of the practical tasks. At least one person in your group needs to have some experience of Palestinian solidarity campaigns/work.

We also need a few more people to join our Finance, Planning, Media and Logistics committees. You would need to provide us with a reference from a Palestine solidarity group or campaign, have good internet access, and be able to commit to a fairly daily check of email and a minimum five hours a week offline time to carry out tasks. More hours would be great!

You don't need to be able to come along aboard the ship itself to be part of making it happen...
Find out more about the project at, and contact us via (or contact Iqbal on

Friday, August 17, 2007

Changing the global economic order

'Is Another World Possible?' That was the theme of this year's annual meeting of the American Sociological Association that was held in New York City this past weekend. "We did not lose the battles of ideas. We were not outsmarted and we were not out-argued,” journalist and author Naomi Klein said. “We lost because we were crushed. Sometimes we were crushed by army tanks, and sometimes we were crushed by think tanks. And by think tanks I mean the people who are paid to think by the makers of tanks."

Naomi Klein featured on Democracy Now. You can read and watch the full speech here. Definitely worth the effort, something of a manifesto on the political economy of the global economy.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Life should be a musical

Thursday, August 09, 2007

John Howard on future leadership

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Undercover mosque distortions

Today's Guardian reports:

West Midlands police and the Crown Prosecution Service have criticised the Channel 4 Dispatches programme Undercover Mosque for distortion and broadcasting speeches out of context.

The CPS said it had considered charging Channel 4 with broadcasting material likely to stir up racial hatred, but decided not to proceed with this course of action.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Simpsons - a tired old corporate earner

The show [The Simpsons] makes merciless fun of right-wing Christian Americans. That's brave, considering it's owned by one. The fact that the show has always been on Rupert Murdoch's Fox Network - indeed, it helped to make the network a success - is just one of the enigmas.
(review from Sydney Morning Herald)

Is it really? As Michael Moore once said (in the documentary The Corporation), the corporates would sell you a piece of rope to hang them with if there was a buck in it.

Just saw The Simspons movie, having not watched the show for a few years. I've always enjoyed but hadn't seen it for a while owing to a general lack of interest and time to watch television. The movie was funny but really just felt like two Christmas specials strung together and the dilemmas the characters went through were far from original. Yes there were some tasty controversial moments but after the South Park Movie they felt somewhat trite. Perhaps I'm a wet nose but I couldn't help thinking that at the end of the day, no matter how pointed or biting the social commentaries underlying the film (of which there weren't really all that many), the proceeds were going to one of the most ruthless, fascist individuals on the planet. The same man behind Fox News and blanket support for Bush, the Iraq slaughter and Israel.

I could've looked past all of that if the movie had been more devastatingly, controversially funny. But I guess their accountants calculated that they could have made a relatively 'safe' film and still make a tidy profit.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Lives in the balance - Jackson Browne

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Holocaust survivers denied funds

A revealing story on Israel's neglect of Holocaust survivors. If it cannot find even a few hundred shekels for Holocaust survivors then for whom precisely does Israel exist?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Rose Byrne is...

(a) overrated;
(b) drop dead, flamingly hot;
(c) the most popular search term on my blog;
(d) all of the above.

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Iron Wall - Israel's settlement program

This documentary is a must see, please take the time to watch. Here is Part 1. Follow the links below for the rest of the documentary.

Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

Thursday, August 02, 2007

International Crisis Group on Gaza

ICG has just posted their latest report on the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Haven't properly read it yet but it looks to be a fairly 'balanced', if very careful, document. But a good little summary for anyone interested in 'practical' solutions to the conflict.

Colonial Europe