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America’s Shame
By Paul Craig Roberts 

January 11, 2009
Source: vdare.com

Why does Israel have a right to exist, but Palestine doesn’t?

This is the question of our time.

For sixty years Israelis have been stealing Palestine from Palestinians. There are maps available on the Internet and in Israeli publications showing the shrinkage over time of what was once Palestine into what Palestine is today–a small number of unconnected ghettos or bantustans.

Palestine became “the occupied territory” from which Palestinians were ejected and Israeli settlements built for “settlers.” Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are full of refugee camps in which Palestinians driven off their lands by Israeli force have been living for decades.

Driving people off their land is strictly illegal under international law, but Israel has been getting away with it for decades.

Gaza is a concentration camp of 1.5 million Palestinians who were driven from their homes and villages and collected in the Gaza Ghetto.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency was created 60 years ago in 1949 to administer refugee camps for Palestinians driven from their lands by Israel. As of 2002, the registered Palestinian refugee population was 3.9 million.

Caterpillar Tractor makes a special bulldozer for Israel that is designed to knock down Palestinian homes and to uproot their orchards. In 2003 an American protester, Rachel Corrie, stood in front of one of these Caterpillars and was run over and crushed.

Nothing happened. The Israelis can kill whomever they want whenever they want.

They have been doing so for 60 years, and they show no sign of stopping.

Currently they are murdering women and children in the ghetto that they have created for Palestinians in Gaza. The entire world knows this. The Red Cross protests it. But the Israelis brazenly claim that they are killing “Hamas terrorists who are a threat to Israel’s existence.”

The American media knows that this is a lie, but does not say so.

Israel has been able to slowly exterminate a people for sixty years without provoking sufficient outrage to stop it.

The United States, “Christian America,” has been Israel’s greatest enabler in its long-term murder of the Palestinian people. Millions of “evangelical Christians” endorse Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

The rest of the world condemns the Israeli military attack on the Gaza Ghetto. Last week the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution requiring a ceasefire and the withdrawal of the Israeli SS from Gaza.

The United States abstained.

While the rest of the world condemns Israel’s inhumanity, the US Congress–I should say the US Knesset–rushed to endorse the Israeli slaughter of the Palestinians in Gaza.

The US Senate endorsed Israel’s massacre of Palestinians with a vote of 100-0.

The US House of Representatives voted 430-5 to endorse Israel’s massacre of Palestinians.

The resolutions endorsed by 100% of the US Senate and 99% of the House were written by AIPAC, as were the speeches praising Israel for its inhumanity.

The US Congress was proud to show that it is Israel’s puppet even when it comes to murdering women and children.

The President of the United States was proud to block effective action by the UN Security Council by ordering the Secretary of State to abstain.

Be a Proud American. Swagger and strut. Pretend that you are not besmirched by the shame that your government has heaped upon you. Take refuge in your ignorance, fostered by 60 years of Israeli lies, that the murder of Palestinians and the theft of their lands is “Israel’s right of self-defense.”

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term.  He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal.  He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Jon Snow of Britain’s Channel 4 investigates issues of censorship and propaganda: was the Western media coverage of Gaza sanitised? Why did Israel not allow journalists into the warzone? What effect did that ultimately have? Watch Unseen Gaza.

This was pulled from YouTube.

Hasbara spam alert
With Israel’s foreign ministry organising volunteers to flood news websites with pro-Israeli comments, Propaganda 2.0 is here

The Guardian
Richard Silverstein, 9 January 2009

The hasbara brigade strikes again! You always hear about Israeli attempts at media manipulation. Everyone knows it’s going on but usually the process happens through cyber insurgents like those involved with Giyus (and its media monitoring software, Megaphone). Now, we know that the Israeli foreign ministry itself is orchestrating propaganda efforts designed to flood news websites with pro-Israel arguments and information.

A reader of my blog has received the following email which documents both the efforts and the agency that originated them. The solicitation to become a pro-Israel “media volunteer” also includes a list of media links which the ministry would like addressed by pro-Israel comments:

Dear friends,

We hold the [sic] military supremacy, yet fail the battle over the international media. We need to buy time for the IDF to succeed, and the least we can do is spare some (additional) minutes on the net. The ministry of foreign affairs is putting great efforts in balancing the media, but we all know it’s a battle of numbers. The more we post, blog, talkback, vote – the more likely we gain positive sentiment.

I was asked by the ministry of foreign affairs to arrange a network of volunteers, who are willing to contribute to this effort. If you’re up to it you will receive a daily messages & media package as well as targets.

If you wish to participate, please respond to this email.

My friend did so and received this official communique from the ministry with talking points about Operation Cast Lead which s/he was to use in her/his propaganda efforts. Among the links was was a Peter Beaumont Cif piece. The following were identified as “target sites”: the Times, the Guardian, Sky News, BBC, Yahoo!News, Huffington Post, and the Dutch Telegraaf. Also targeted were other media sites in Dutch, Spanish, German and French considered critical of the invasion.

Locally, here in Seattle, peace activists held a rally at our federal building attended by 500 protesters. In the foreign ministry communique issued the next day, activists were directed to comment in the Seattle Post Intelligencer’s article about the demonstration. The comment thread for the article is riddled with clear hasbara “plants” who distort the balance and tone of the discussion with their programmed arguments, making it much more favorable than it otherwise would be.

Here the foreign ministry’s coordinator describes a meeting he attended at the government’s offical office:

Hi all,

I had a meeting in the ministry of foreign affairs today, and was very happy to hear that their metrics show that Israel’s position in the internet is getting better every day. It means that you’re doing a good job! MFA are concerned with the biased public opinion in Europe. So please focus your efforts on European media.

What can you do to help?

– Identify internet battle-grounds in different languages, and let me know
– Comment/post/vote in the listed links and others; you can use the material attached below
– Write letters to authors and editors. Identify yourself as a local resident
– Have your friends join this activity

This message was meant to encourage the pro-Israel activists in their work:

World governments are still patient with Israel’s justified operation in Gaza. The [sic] public opinion, on the other hand, is impatient, to say the least. This gap will soon close – it always does.

It is our goal to shift the public opinion, as conveyed in the internet; avoiding, or at least minimising, sanctions by world leaders. We need to buy the IDF enough time to achieve its goals.

Besides the talking points provided by the foreign ministry to the pro-Israel web activists, they are offered online pro-Israel material to link to in their comments such as these:
Bicom.org.uk/

Aish HaTorah’s What Really Happened in the Middle East

YouTube video: Amid Gaza violence, Israeli and Palestinian doctors save baby’s life –

CNN’s Amanpour interviews Tzipi Livni

Military incursion should be seen as part of War on Terror

Blog from Southern Israel, Morit Rozen

Remember when the defence department was paying public relations companies and Iraqi newspapers to insert articles praising the Iraq war? The companies also attempted to plant coverage favorable to the US military in US newspapers. There rightly was a media uproar about the manipulation. We’ll see whether the same happens over this.

The foreign ministry shouldn’t get a pass on this one. It may view such hasbara as maximising its efforts to “explain” Israel’s position in the world media. I view it as a cynical attempt to flood the web and news media with favorable flackery in a vain attempt to tilt public opinion toward Israel. Not only does it do Israel a disservice, it stains every legitimate effort that the ministry might make to explain Israel to the world, since no one will believe a word it says knowing it engages in such outright propaganda.

Not to mention that this is such cheap pennyante stuff. What do they gain by this? How effective can it be and how many can be convinced? By the way, I’ve even noticed the hasbaraniks in my own blog. You can see them a mile away because they’ve never published a comment before yet write something like: “I’ve enjoyed your blog for a long time, but anyone with a brain in their head knows that Hamas is out to destroy Israel blah, blah blah.” Pretty formulaic stuff. Also, you can Google a few phrases of the comment and if you find it appears elsewhere on the web you know you either have a hasbaranik or someone who has repetition compulsion.

In some instances, western media may intentionally or unintentionally fall victim to manipulation. Tony Karon points out that pro-Israel journalist-historian Michael Oren has published several stories since the Gaza incursion began in US media outlets like the New Republic and Los Angeles Times. He is also on active duty with the IDF in Gaza serving as a public affairs officer liasing with foreign media. You will find nothing noting this in the Los Angeles Times op ed. In effect, the media is allowing advocates like Oren to pass themselves off as disinterested experts when they are anything but. It behooves editors to do some due diligence when they publish any piece that advocates for one side or the other to determine whether there may be conflicts of interest or other unacknowledged factors influencing a commentator’s judgment.

It seems we are now well and truly in the world of Propaganda 2.0.

URGENT ALERT: Palestine – Write to the foreign minister of your country urging for creation of Israeli war crimes tribunal

Islamic Human Rights Commission

22 January 2009

In light of the latest massacre of over 1,300 Palestinians, the IHRC calls on campaigners to write to their foreign ministers urging for the creation of an Israeli war crimes tribunal.

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
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22 January 2009

URGENT ALERT: Palestine – Write to the foreign minister of your country urging for creation of Israeli war crimes tribunal

Contents
1. Summary
2. Background
3. Action required
4. Sample letter
5. Addresses for sample letter

1. Summary

With more than 1,300 Gazans having been killed and nearly 6,000 injured, the Islamic Human Rights Commission calls on campaigners to send letters to their country’s foreign minister to urge the UN General Assembly to establish an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel (ICTI).

2. Background

After twenty two days of consecutive bombardment of Gaza, and a still increasing death toll, people all over the world are calling for Israel to be held to account. Campaigners are urged to continue airing their grievances against the Israeli transgression, and are now asked to send letters to their country’s foreign minister, urging for the long-overdue establishment of an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel (ICTI), under UN Charter Article 22.

The call for an International Criminal Tribunal in no way sets a precedent as such tribunals were created to deal with both the genocide in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

Francis A. Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois, in calling for the creation of such an Israeli war crimes tribunal, said:

“The establishment of ICTI would provide some small degree of justice to the victims of Israeli war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against the Peoples of Lebanon and Palestine–just as the ICTY has done in the Balkans. Furthermore, the establishment of ICTI by the UN General Assembly would serve as a deterrent effect upon Israeli leaders such as Prime Minister Olmert, Foreign Minister Livni, Defense Minister Barak , Chief of Staff Ashkenazi and Israel’s other top generals that they will be prosecuted for their further infliction of international crimes upon the Lebanese and the Palestinians.”

3. Action required

Write to the foreign minister of your country urging for the establishment of an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel (ICTI), under UN Charter Article 22.

4. Sample letter

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If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you sent and the reply you received to IHRC. This is extremely important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters.

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Sample letter to the British Foreign Minister David Miliband. Please replace the Foreign Minister’s name and address with the name and address of the foreign minister in your country using the addresses following the sample letter.

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by Dennis Rahkonen
December 31st, 2008

Dissident Voice

Five years ago, the Bush administration lied about weapons of mass destruction to dupe us into supporting an illegal, immoral invasion of Iraq.

A few days ago, Israel trotted out only an infinitesimally more credible excuse — the Hamas rockets case — as justification for its own murderous shock and awe in Gaza, a long-planned campaign perniciously aimed at ousting a “regime” that came to power via popular, democratic vote.

Yes, such rockets exist, but they’re little more than slingshots against Israel’s incredible military might, and they’re used out of desperation by Palestinians who’ve never been accorded the democratic space within which to gain redress of their eminently just grievances.

Israeli apologists have presented absurd propaganda about those devices.

We’ve been asked, for instance, what would we do if rockets were being launched on our homes in New York or Texas, from Canada or Mexico?

The proper answer is that, if those two nations had been unlawfully occupied or embargoed by the United States for sixty years of relentless oppression and repression, and if all attempts at peaceful change had been forcefully prevented or scuttled by the U.S., then such attacks would be an understandable, indeed justifiable attempt at gaining intolerably deferred liberty.

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