Archive for Fascism

V for Vendetta

Posted in Culture, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 05/11/2011 by arabrhizome

Today I read the graphic novel V for Vendetta. I didn’t realise that I was reading it on Guy Fawkes night, thus unwittingly making a political statement. I had seen the film before and loved it, although I had forgotten the details of it. The graphic novel is brilliant. It is intelligent, poignant, gripping, insightful, and fantastic. I highly recommend it. It is even more relevant today with the rise of fascism, xenophobia, and religious extremism around the world. It was written in the 1980s and yet still feels fresh and relevant. Alan Moore, the man who wrote it, is a genius.

After reading the graphic novel, I thought I should watch the film and do some comparing. First, having Natalie Portman play Evey is a complete mistake. She’s an awful actress that makes any film she’s in not as good as it could have been. Also, her fake english accent was so bad that it destroyed any possibility for me of buying into the narrative. Then there are so many things that are wrong with the film. I mean it’s a good film in and of itself, but when you’re comparing it to the graphic novel it’s very poor. It fails on certain key points.

One of the things that really bothered me is that Evey leaves and is somehow fine for the whole summer. If we are to buy that it’s a fascist surveillance based society that is being represented than she would have been arrested within a week. The feeble attempt to say that no one recognised her because she’s changed so much on the inside is completely unbelievable and frankly insulting to our intelligence. If a former colleague had seen her, given that in the film she worked at the state tv, they would have recognised her. Journalists are supposed to be observant, even in fascist regimes.

But that’s not the worst one in my opinion. The really bad thing in the film is the last bit when V says that he fell in love with Evey and is personalised in this way. V is a symbol, that’s why anyone who wears the Guy Fawkes mask after him and is free, truly free, is V. He is the hammer, the destroyer, the bringer of chaos before the advent of true Anarchy, spontaneous order through consent. He isn’t a simple man. He doesn’t fall in love with Evey. He trains her for what is to come after the revolution. He is the destroyer and she is the creator. I just felt that it was such a hollywood moment that completely and utterly missed the point of the whole thing.

Anyway, I really really recommend the graphic novel, it’s brilliant. Also, my favourite part in both the novel and the film is Valerie’s story. Alan Moore created one of the most gripping, heart breaking, and believable story for her. She brings home the fact that those who suffer under fascism are human beings. Her story shows that there is no such thing as acceptable bigotry. Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia, xenophobia, antisemitism, disablism, etc are all evil and must be fought. They must never be allowed to be “normal”. They must be stopped where ever they are found. On this note, stay safe everyone. Love you bye.


Language About Israel and Zionism

Posted in about the blog, Me, Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 14/05/2011 by arabrhizome

Right as I promised a few posts ago I am going to explain why I use a certain type of language when I speak about israel and zionism. This post is a result of a comment I got on my “Palestinians didn’t exist before 1948” post a few days ago. Weirdly, I didn’t plan this I promise, but most of my posts have been about Palestine lately. I say weirdly because tomorrow is Nakba day, one of my first posts was about it, and I have somehow built up towards tomorrow without really meaning to. So I do think that it is important to have this post today and then talk about the Nakba again tomorrow.

So as I said I got a comment on my earlier post from a reader called Tim Sullivan. I’ve already replied to him but I think that it might be a good idea to expand on my initial response and give a bit more context and flesh to that response. I think that his comment was meant in the spirit of constructive criticism and I am happy to have it. I know that internet comments and subsequent responses can devolve very quickly into arguments and insults and I am very keen to avoid that here. Anyway, here’s his original comment: “You make some forceful arguments but stop using hot button and un needed terms like proto-fascist. It is rather a cliche and unseemly considering countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran exist in that area of the world.”

I think that Tim is making two distinct, but related, points in his comment. Here’s my oiginal response for those who didn’t read it: “Thanks for your comment. I don’t think that the term proto-fascist is unneeded here. When you have state sponsored rabies saying that jewish women should be protected from arab men, and saying that jewish landlords shouldn’t rent to arabs. I also reject the idea that because there are horrible theocratic regimes like saudi and iran in the region, it is a cliché to call israel what it is. I understand that this term, as well as others, carry a certain historical weight with them, especially when it comes to the global jewish community and their suffering. However, I am calling it like I see it. Israel is sliding quickly onto fascism and the worshipping of the state and racial and ethnic purity. By any stretch of the imagination that is proto-fascism.
I hope that clarifies why I think the use of those terms is justified.
Thanks again for reading and commenting.”

As you can see my response looks at two different points. First the use of the term proto-fascist when referring to israel and zionism. I do not use this term lightly. I know that it is a term that has been over-used and thrown around in contexts where it isn’t exactly warranted. I also understand that the European Jewish community has been the major part of the population that has suffered from fascism in the twentieth century. My use of the term is not at all intended to trivialise or belittle that historic suffering. It is also not a term that I am using lightly. I use it because I think that it is completely justified to use it in the context of contemporary zionism and israel.

As I pointed out in my original response israel is quickly sliding towards a fascist state. Let’s stop and think about what fascism is. My laptop’s dictionary says “Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group, a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach”. Let’s look at everyone of these statements and decide whether they apply to israel and modern zionism. If they all apply without any caveat or qualification then it would be justifiable to use the term fascist to describe israel. However if they mostly apply but need some qualification then the term quasi fascist would work. If through our analysis we see that there is a movement towards fascism from a quasi-fascist position then proto-fascist would be the right term, as it connots a movement towards fascism without being quite there yet.

First, “Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group”. Well that applies strictly to israel and zionism today. israel is a state for the “chosen” people. Israel thinks of itself as the country of Jewish people and the native people of the land are either treated as second class citizens by the laws of the state, or ethnically cleansed (1948 more on that tomorrow, or Jerusalem and the Negev desert today), or occupied and subjected to military rule. The zionist narrative, from making the desert bloom to the dehumanisation of Palestinians (like mr. Jeffery Wiesenfeld who said in an interview with the New York Times about Palestinians: “People who worship death for their children are not human. They have developed a culture which is unprecedented in human history”), contains within it the idea that Jewish people are superior to Arabs and that they are better.

We can also talk here about the number of discriminatory laws that have been passed, or are in the process of being passed, by the Knesset. First, there’s the Nakba law which makes any commemoration of the Nakba an offence that can lead to the loss of state funding. The reason given is that these celebrations “deny the Jewish and democratic character of the State”. In other words arab schools and municipalities are not allowed to commemorate their own history. Basically it’s a move to deny the Nakba. Second, a law that allows villages to refuse admitting new members by citing a failure “to meet the fundamental views of the community”. In other words, Arabs can be denied moving into all Jewish villages. Finally, a law has been passed to punish anyone who calls for or supports a call for the boycott of israeli or settlement goods. This is a law clearly aimed at crushing descent. There are a few more laws but I’m not going to run through all of them. This is a great article about them.

Now these laws are important for my second point. So the second statement is that Fascism includes “a contempt for democracy”. Well that’s a bit of a complicated one. Israel likes to see itself as the only democracy in the Middle East. While that statement was taken at face value by many pro-zionist commentators it has always been complicated and not entirely accurate. Firstly the current events around the region make this statement utterly meaningless. But more importantly many see it, including myself, as completely untrue. Countries like Lebanon and Turkey for example can easily be characterised as democratic, also the fact that Arabs in israel don’t have the same rights as Jewish israelis is an issue for the democratic characterisation.

But more importantly we can see that israel is sliding more and more towards an undemocratic system. With the laws discussed above we see that a whole set of the population is being disenfranchised more and more. There is a definite move towards a completely undemocratic system, because a whole set of the population does not have the same democratic rights as another. Also, the revival of the old idea of the transfer of the Arab population away from israel is highly undemocratic. So as we see this is a qualified statement, however there is a clear move towards fascism here.

Third, “an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader”. This is not there yet. Although, as the laws are showing. There is a move towards the obedience to a state and the idea that whatever that state choses to do is right. We can see this in the outlandish justifications used for crimes in international law like the attack on and murder of civilians in international waters, or the unlawful targeting of schools, homes and places of worship in the wars on Lebanon and Gaza, or the continued efforts to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem and the West Bank of the native population (here’s an article about this effort in the West Bank).

Finally, “a strong demagogic approach”. This one is probably the hardest one to prove because of the disagreement over whether something is demagogic or not. I would argue that the current israeli refusal to give the PA the tax money it is owed because of the unity agreement between Hamas and Fatah is an example of demagogy. The constant demonisation of the Palestinians who live in israel by avigdor lieberman, and many israeli MKs, is another example of demagogy. I know that not everyone would agree, but I think they’re wrong. The point is that the modern zionist movement and israeli officials as well as religious figures use demagogic arguments against Palestinians.

Anyway, as we have seen it would be inaccurate to say that israel is a fascist state. However, it clearly is quasi-fascist and as I think I have shown on a slippery slope towards fascism. Thus I feel that the term proto-fascist is completely justified when describing israel. I don’t think that it is a red button term or and unneeded one. I think that it is important to call out this trend in israeli politics and to call it what it is. By failing to do so, I feel that we are allowing proto-fascist practices to go on. Some people might be turned off by the use of this term, but that’s their problem. It would be wrong to try to appease these people. Something very ugly is happening and to not call it what it is is just as ugly.

The second point raised by Tim is about the use of such terms in the context of the region. The fact that the Middle East has such horrible regimes as Saudi or Iran makes characterising israel as proto-fascist somehow “unseemly”. Again, I understand where Tim is coming from. However, I completely reject that line of thought. It is true that the Saudi and Iranian regimes are completely and utterly disgusting. We can also add many other regimes in the region, including Syria, Bahrain, KSA, Jordan, well to be honest pretty much all of them. Having said that though, I don’t understand how that has any bearing on the characterisation of israel. The fact that there are horrible and disgusting regimes, that are much closer to fascism in some aspects than israel, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t call out israel on it’s fascistic and proto-fascistic practices. The argument of comparison is a flawed one because it seems to justify the excesses of one state by comparing them to the excess of another.

Anyway, that’s my much longer and more rounded response. There are many other terms that I use to talk about israel, those include colonial, apartheid, racist, imperial, violent, and others. I have thought about each and every term that I use and I do not use them lightly. I think that every single one of those terms is valid and justified. I might in the future explain why I use each and every one of them, but I think that’s enough for now. Anyway, tomorrow is Nakba day and we shall all remember the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1947-48. We shall all continue, in anyway we can, to struggle for the liberation of Palestine and the return of those who were forcibly removed from their ancestral homes. Until then, stay safe. Love you bye.

Palestinians Didn’t Exist Before 1948

Posted in about the blog, Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 10/05/2011 by arabrhizome

So a new old zionist lie has been revived in the past week, which is that Palestinians didn’t exist before 1948. Now if you are a normal human being with an average intellect and basic human decency, you would probably be appalled at that statement. At least I would hope you are. This argument takes one of two forms. The first form is: Palestine never existed so it has no right to exist now. The second form is: Palestinians are in fact Syrians and Jordanians, they weren’t called Palestinians before 1948, so Palestinians didn’t exist before that, therefore they have no right to the land.

This argument has been around for a very long time but has usually been confined to the crazy right wing in israel and some silly american zionist apologists. Most israeli, European, American, Arab, African, Asian, Australian, South American academics, basically everyone in the world, agree that this is a load of crap. The problem is that with the rise in fascism in israel with the far right becoming mainstream and ideas of racial, ethnic and cultural purity becoming acceptable (at least in mainstream discourse, they are after all what the state of israel is built on), this argument is finding a new life. Hence why I called it a new old argument.

In fact, during a twitter discussion, although argument would be a better description of it, with Ali Abunimah the Jerusalem Post deputy news editor, Israel Kasnet, advanced that Palestinians didn’t exist 63 years ago. His exact words were “that’s because 63 years ago Palestinians didn’t exist!!!”. I think you know how I feel about the use of extra exclamation marks. If you don’t, let me explain: I believe that the number of exclamation marks used by an individual is directly proportional to their level of nuttery. So the more one uses the more mental they are. So this guy is clearly scoring quite high on the nuttery level.

Anyway, that’s besides the point. Let’s understand what the JP deputy news editor is saying here. I stress that he is the JP deputy new editor because that gives his comment an extra layer of significance. Indeed, we’re not talking about any zionist troll on the internet but a supposedly respectable journalist. Not only that, he edits one of israel’s largest newspapers. If a news editor is willing to make a public statement like that then we’re all entitled to ask ourselves if this “newspaper” is actually objective. If anyone read the JP they would know that it isn’t in fact an objective news resource but a propaganda publication fuelled by zionist ideology.

I don’t want to stick to that point too much as many people have written more eloquently about the objectivity, or lack thereof, of the JP. I’d like to look at what he is actually saying and what the significance of that statement is. There has been a rise in racist and fascist sentiment in israel. And this type of attitude which erases the Palestinian’s history has become very mainstream. By denying that Palestinians existed zionists try to deny their rights over the land. It is one of many dehumanising strategies employed by zionist commentators and ideologues.

Right now israel is in a very uncertain place, all around it regimes with which it had forged good relations are crumbling under the force of the people, the Palestinians have managed to start talking to each other again (although I’m sceptical of the unity agreement), there is a UN vote to recognise a Palestinian state in September, the BDS movement is getting stronger and stronger, israel is perceived by the majority of people as an aggressor, and they are consistently voted as one of the most dangerous countries to world peace along with states like North Korea and Iran.

Israel is going through a very tough time that is of its own doing. By committing war crimes in Lebanon, Gaza, on the mavi marmara, in the West Bank, and by undertaking extra-judicial assassinations using passports stolen from the citizens of allied countries, as well as continuing to build illegal settlements in the West Bank, israel has isolated itself. The successive israeli governments have tried to maintain an unsustainable status quo, but in doing that are now risking losing everything. So in this climate israelis are becoming more and more radicalised. When one listens to interviews by israeli officials, or even members of the public, it seems that they are disconnected from reality.

This radicalisation is obviously self defeating, as the more radicalised israelis become the more isolated they become, which in turns makes them more radicalised and so on. What this means is that now we are at a point when denying the existence of Palestinians has become an acceptable thing to say. This statement and the nasty sentiment behind it is a symptom of the proto-fascist turn in israeli public discourse. I think that this signals quite clearly the complete loss of moral direction in israel and in the global zionist movement. This is just another sign that the zionist project is losing its grip and that the apartheid state of israel might in fact be dismantled very soon. The only fear I have is that israel has a lot of nuclear weapons and that if it continues to become clear that the state will turn into a binational state they might use them.

Leicester Again

Posted in Friends, Me, Palestine, Silly Thoughts, Uncategorized, World Cup with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 18/11/2010 by arabrhizome

So the day of reckoning came on Wednesday. I am not being melodramatic. I woke up early and got ready to go to the train station. I was hoping that there wouldn’t be any drunk people around the train station this time. I had some time before going, so I had a nice little breakfast. Nothing special, just some tea, cereal, and fruit. I then made my way to the station. It was a little dreary and cold. When I got there I tried to buy a train ticket using my railcard. It usually makes my train fair cheaper. However, not this time. It made my train ticket more expensive. I was annoyed about that. Clearly the machine was mistaken but there was nothing I could do about it as there was nobody at the desk.

Anyway, I sat and waited for the train. There were no drunk people around, which was very nice. However, before I got on the train I checked my twitter account and realised that I am being followed by an account called TalmudReadings. It is based in tel aviv, and is clearly managed by some mental people. I had a look at their timeline and they are a crazy fascist account. I think you might all enjoy some of their more insane tweets. So here we go:

‘Shabbath 116a. Jews must destroy the books of the Christians, i.e. the New Testament.’ Also, ‘Sanhedrin 57a . When a Jew murders a gentile (“Cuthean”),there will be no death penalty. What a Jew steals from a gentile he may keep.’ Another nice one is ‘Soferim 15,Rule 10.This is the saying of Rabbi Simon ben Yohai: Tob shebe goyyim harog(“Even the best of the gentiles should all be killed”).’ And ‘Rabbi Yaacov Perrin- “One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.” NY Daily News, Feb. 28, 1994, p.6’. And finally ‘Sanhedrin 58b. If a heathen (gentile) hits a Jew, the gentile must be killed.’

So I noted on twitter that I find it quite strange that a person who believes this kind of murderous fascist account chose to follow me. I then started wondering if they are a joke account of some sort. I thought they might be a satirical account that tries to show the violence in the talmoud in order to highlight the fact that Islam isn’t the only violent religion. But given the people who follow that account I doubt it. It seems they are really just a fascist account.

Anyway, I had a little bit of fun calling them fascists and nazi wannabes. Then the train came and I got distracted. The train journey itself was very pleasant. Once I arrived in Leicester, I made my way to the mac store. It was much earlier then my appointment, but I thought I’d chance it. It turned out to be a good idea, as there was no body being served at the genius bar. I talked to one of the technicians who was very nice. I explained what happened and he had a look at my computer.

It turned out that my Apple Care doesn’t cover accidents. Which meant that I had to pay. I was hoping that it wouldn’t be too expensive. If it was I had decided to buy myself a new computer, rather than fix this one. Thankfully it turned out to be a very reasonable price. I was lucky as only the display screen was cracked and not the whole monitor. This meant that they don’t have to change the whole thing, but simply refit a new screen. They also offered to redo the finish for free, which was very nice.

The whole operation is going to take a week, but thanks to A I have a computer in the mean time. I have to admit though that there was a tiny little bit of me that was disappointed that it could be fixed for not too much money. I secretly hoped that I would buy myself a new toy. But now I know that I will buy a Macbook pro at some point later, rather than just a Macbook. And in the long run that’s better.

I made my way back to the station and wanted to get on my train back. However, the train was cancelled. A man came and offered us a bus replacement service. I decided to wait for the next train, which was going to be there an hour later. I just didn’t fancy being on the road, especially that it was going into two other towns before getting me home. So I bought myself a coffee and sat around in the station waiting.

I have to admit that it was a little boring. But the train arrived eventually and I made my way back home. When I got home I felt a little ill. My right ear was particularly bad. It was painful and blocked. My throat was acting up as well. So I took some lemsip and decided to try and sleep it off. I was planning to go A’s flat later to watch the football but at the time I was almost sure that I wouldn’t.

However, when I woke up I decided to go anyway. I wasn’t feeling a lot better but at least the pain was mainly gone. So I went and watched the football. We had a little bit of a bet going over who would win. It was France against England. I thought that England would win because their line up seemed a lot stronger then the French one. However, it was very  clear that France were playing a lot better than England. The only player that seemed to be playing for England was Andy Caroll, who’s a great player.

Anyway, the betting system allows us to change our bets at halftime. I decided along with someone else, to bet that France would win with a 2-1 lead. It turned out to be the final score and I ended up winning. After a very enjoyable evening, even though it was a little bit dampened by my ear being blocked, I got back home. I came home to find a note that said that my gas was turned off at the meter with a number to call. I decided not to worry about it until morning and just went to sleep. More about the gas thing tomorrow. Don’t you like how I’m ending on a cliff hanger?

Teaching, Hitler Moustache, and Errors

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Me, Uncategorized, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 14/10/2010 by arabrhizome

So today is my teaching day. I went to uni to teach this afternoon, I also had to go in the morning to deposit my sample for the tests about my illness. You probably didn’t need to know that but I told you anyway. Deal with it I had to shit in a cup. That’s the way it is. Well after this short coprophiliac interval let us move towards a more civilised and grown up discussion of my teaching. I actually woke up early today after having a very unpleasant dream about today’s teaching. For some reason A was my co-teacher, and the students were being incredibly horrible. They were rude and insulting, and A did nothing to help, he just sat there enjoying my anger. I got very angry with them and ended up screaming at them, and calling them names. I woke up about 20 minutes before my alarm rang and decided to just get out of bed. It wasn’t exactly a nightmare, just a very unpleasant dream. In fact, it’s one of the very few dreams I remember having in a very long time, which in itself is quite nice.

Anyway, so I went to teach this afternoon. I was quite looking forward to it, even though my dream might say otherwise. The thing is this crop of students seems to be a very good one. They are eager and willing to get into it. They come prepared, which is a definitive plus. I was also hoping that they would be ready to talk a lot more this time, having laid the ground work for them last time. If you recall I used a technique that I find gives them comfort and makes them eager to share with the rest of the group. I wasn’t disappointed. They came prepared and had a lot to say. Some of them actually made some incredibly good points. One kid, who I really like, made an excellent point about the make up industry and its methods of lowering the self esteem of women in order to shift more products. He made the point that make up tells women that they need to put it on in order to go out, while men are good just the way they are. He argued that this fact shows that gender equality is still a pipe dream.

I love teaching. Especially when I’m lucky enough to teach such smart and engaged students. It doesn’t feel like work, but like an interesting book club. I still have to steer them in certain directions, but that’s just a lot of fun. It was nice also to see them feel that being politicised isn’t such a bad thing. Some of them actually said I never thought politics could be this interesting. I felt happy, albeit very drained and tired by the end of the day. I walked slowly home, enjoying listening to ‘A History of the World in 100 Objects’ on the way there. When I got home I was very pleased to see that my copy of Hitler Moustache, the Richard Herring DVD had arrived in the mail. I got it from, it comes with an extra DVD of extras. I spent my evening watching it.

I went to watch him do this show last year and it was a lot of fun. When I went to see him the tour had just started, it was his 3d or 4th show, so the show was still evolving. The recording of the DVD is quite down the line and the show had clearly grown during this time. There were a lot of bits that seemed to have been perfected during the tour. So when I watched it, it was almost as if I was watching a new show. It is a very good stand up show. It is also a very interesting political anti-fascist show. In the show Herring tries to reclaim the tooth brush moustache for comedy, Chaplin had it before Hitler. The point is that we need to say no to fascism by reclaiming the imagery of fascists, like they reclaim things like the spitfire for the BNP, or the swastika for the Nazis, and transform them into democratic symbols. He asks that we all wear a fake one, or shave down to it if we can, or put it on someone or something, on April 16th of every year. This would become a day for democracy, it is Chaplin’s birthday. I am looking forward to next April for that. I hope some of you will join me and explain it to other people. Fascism is rising and we shouldn’t be silent in its face.

This triple DVD kept me going and I still have a lot to watch. Herring really makes a lot of quality stuff. He gives a lot for free so when he releases something for money I’m very happy to pay. Anyway, I tried to write this post earlier but couldn’t access my page. I was afraid I was going to miss the deadline because of some errors that kept appearing on my screen. I ended up rebooting my airport card and re-logging in and it seems to have done the trick. I will try to post it now, I hope I don’t get an error message. It would be a shame to miss my day out of no fault of my own. I would mind less if it was my fault, because at least I can blame myself. But if its some kind of server problem, or something else I don’t understand about the binary world of computers, then I would be quite angry and resentful. Anyway, fingers crossed.

Post in Two Instalments

Posted in about the blog, Food, Friends, Me, Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12/10/2010 by arabrhizome

So I’m not home at the moment. I’m writing from my phone. This is just to lock the post on today’s date. I will write more once I’m home. I hope you don’t judge me too harshly for this underhanded tecnique. Now only those who read my blog at night will be affected. Since for most of you this will look like a single post. So anyway, I’ll talk more when I’m home.

Right so now I’m back home. Well I’ve been back home for a while, but haven’t been feeling great. I had a good day and a good evening, but then after I wrote the first paragraph on my phone and posted it, I suddenly felt very ill. It’s the same issue I’ve had for the past few days. I thought I was better but it seems I’m not. Good thing is I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow. I wanted to finish this post earlier, but decided to try to sleep. However I’m too nauseous to sleep, so I thought I’ll write a bit and take my mind off the unpleasantness and sleeplessness.

So let me start by talking about my day. I continued the cleaning of my flat and I’m almost satisfied. Today was mainly about laundry and changing the way I organise my clothes. I also did some vacuuming and general dusting. The flat wasn’t that dirty, as I’ve been vacuuming on a regular basis. So I think what’s left for me is to reorganise my kitchen storage, put up the art I have bought more then a year ago, and I think I’ll be done here. And since it looks like I will stay home until, and after, my doctor’s appointment tomorrow then I’ll probably try to do that then.

After this long and productive day, I had a nice evening planned. It’s A’s birthday today, well technically yesterday, and we had planned to go to a French restaurant for dinner. Guess what? We did exactly that! Don’t you love it when plans actually happen. So we went to this nice restaurant and had lovely food, also some alcohol. We had a lot of laughs, especially when we were making fun of A, even though it was his birthday. We were quite mean, but in a loving way, still mean though. After that went back home and that’s when I felt like shit. So there you go a nice little circle to end the story.

I said yesterday that I wanted to talk about Palestine today. I still feel that my thoughts on the issue I want to bring up are a little rough and not thought through. So I was thinking of postponing writing about it again. But then I thought that this might actually be the best place to think through them, and also I realised that this post was shamefully short. So here it goes.

Remember two posts ago I wrote about the new racist and proto-fascist (I’m being nice here because I do believe that it is actually fascist) loyalty oath to israel as a ‘jewish and democratic state’ that was approved by the apartheid government of israel. Well, obviously the arab population of israel, which remember makes up 20% (and is rising) of the total israeli population, are quite upset. Also, the Palestinians of the occupied territories are upset, but I think that the ones who are most upset are the Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed from their land in 1948, and their decedents. As I have written before on this blog, I believe that there can be no peace in the region without the right of return, but that’s not the major point right now.

So with this happening on Sunday, the non-representative Palestinian Authority, which is somehow kept in power even though the term of the president has expired for a very long time, and the actual people who were voted in are not part of, said that there will be no negotiations with israel until the fake partial settlement freeze was extended. Netanyahu responded by offering to renew that freeze if the PA recognised israel as a jewish state. The PA surprised everyone by rejecting this ‘offer’. In other words they acted with a modicum of backbone, and did not collaborate more then they already have (which is on the levels of very high treason right now), at least not on that issue. The PA said that they already recognised the state of israel, they weren’t going to give more concessions until they get some results.

You see the problem with Netanyahu’s offer is the same as the problem with the oath. It alienates at least 20% of the population. Imagine the UK declaring itself a white and democratic state and demanding that everyone swear an oath to that. This is what israel has done. The other major problem of course is that if the PA recognise israel as a jewish state then the Palestinian Diaspora (which was kept away from power on purpose by the PA) would be seen by israel as not having a claim anymore to the right of return. You see if israel is a jewish state then it makes no sense anymore for arabs to say they have a right to return to that land.

Anyway, after the Arab League meeting, or as they’ve been called the circus of clowns, this weekend and its decision to give the US one month to sort out a deal to restart the negotiations, we have to wait a bit before this round of negotiations fails. I’m hoping that Abbas will go through with his promise and resign. I’m also hoping that he develops some kind of backbone during this time and decides to dissolve the PA, since it has failed miserably and made Palestinians lives worse because it is a set of institutions of collaboration with the occupier. If he does that, then israel will be in deep shit, because the PA that helps it mask and whitewash its apartheid and international law violations will be gone. The Palestinians will be seen for what they are, a people occupied, dispossessed, and systematically discriminated against through a racist system of laws and actions. In other words, Palestinians suffer from apartheid.

Well my thoughts are clear on the issue, it’s just my delivery of them that needs a bit of work. Anyway, that’s what I think about the recent developments. I could also talk about the violent take-over of the Jewish boat that was trying to reach the besieged Gaza a few weeks ago, but it’s a little bit late. Although this letter appeared in the guardian yesterday. The point that is important to make here is that israel said that the boat was taken peacefully. That’s a lie. Peaceful is taken here to mean without anyone dying, but that’s not what it means. You see tasering people and beating others while illegally boarding a boat in international waters, is not peaceful. Just because no one died or was seriously injured doesn’t mean the operation was peaceful.

Anyway, my nausea is better so I’m going to try to sleep now. Good night.


Posted in about the blog, Food, Friends, Me, Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 10/10/2010 by arabrhizome

It is official, I hate my intestines! So they’ve been acting up for a few weeks, on and off, as was documented in one of my posts from a few weeks ago I think. But this last week has been really bad. Well I say really bad. The problem is everytime I think about calling a doctor it gets better, and I think it’s just a bug and now it’s over. So I never get an appointment. However, I’ve decided that enough is enough and I will call for an appointment tomorrow. I made that decision yesterday.

Today I woke up and was feeling a little better, as usual. But I thought I’d still call tomorrow. I also decided not to go to tennis today, as I didn’t want to do something that would upset my body too much. I think my intestines didn’t like my resolve. I ended up feeling very faint and light headed after lunch. I also had a lot of pain all day. I just felt week and unable to function properly. On the plus side, Z took care of me and made me a nice chicken noodle soup. I feel a little better now, but I’m still not okay.

The worst bit is that I had set today aside to clean up my flat. Now this will have to wait until tomorrow. So I think I will stay in tomorrow and work on my flat. I don’t believe I have an appointment or anything tomorrow, so that’s okay.

I also watched the first two episodes of Planet Earth, the documentary. It is brilliant and Sir David Attenborough’s narration of it is just fantastic. I love nature documentaries and find them strangely comforting. So watching it this afternoon made my tummy ache feel less bad. I am still very much a child.

In more depressing news, Israel continues its inexorable march towards fascism and its apartheid system is becoming more intrenched. The israeli cabinet approved a law that forces all new citizens to swear an oath to israel as a ‘jewish and democratic’ state. While this might not seem at first site to be a problem, for those who know nothing of the region and its history, it is actually a very worrying development. You see about 20% of the actual population of israel is arab, and some more percents (I don’t know the numbers) are non-jews. What this oath is saying, is that these people aren’t really citizens, because they aren’t jewish,

Now there are many problems with this oath in and of itself. What does Jewish mean? Are we talking about religion, ethnicity, culture, or something else? Does a religious Jewish person, who is black, have more rights then a secular Jewish person, who is ‘ethnically’ jewish (I put ethnically between parenthesis because the question of jewishness as an ethnicity is very much an open question as this book, by an israeli academic, for example argues)? Where does that leave the Arab and non-jewish populations of israel? Is it the first act in the eventual deportation/population swap that Netanyahu and Liberman have been talking about recently?

The most worrying thing about this is that only 100 people protested this law in israel. This tells you to what extent the population of israel is complicit with the apartheid system that has been getting more and more entrenched in israel. The argument made by Prof. Gavriel Solomon comparing this law to some of the laws passed in Germany in 1935 is very strong. Gideon Levy wrote and interesting piece about it in today’s Haaretz. His argument is quite interesting, especially that it is coming from someone who still identifies himself, more or less, as a zionist. The truth of the theocratic, dispossessing, and violent regime that is israel is finally becoming clear for everyone to see. I have said it before and I will say it again, it is time for us, the citizens of the world, to do something about it. Our governments and international bodies are not doing nearly enough to combat the suffering that this state has forced on the region and the world. We therefore need to take matters in our own hands and through non-violent protest do everything we can to put pressure on it to change. The BDS movement is getting stronger but has still a lot of room to grow. So stop buying products made in israel or from companies that whitewash israeli crimes, or at least those that deal with the illegal settlements or are made in them.