Subject: ON STANDING AT THE TABLE, READY TO PLAY, IN THE CROSS HAIRS OF A SNIPER.
The rationalizations are endless and nauseating : truly this is the "banality of evil" --everywhere and everyday, talk, talk, talk; distorting, obfuscating and amplifying in an attempt to justify these wretched means with venerable objectives. It is practically impossible to see any longer that our relationships are capitalist relationships, that we are in every way the unmistakable products of capitalism, always ready for new entertainments and distractions, totally immerged in a wash of mystification, which is necessary to anesthetize our bodies and minds from the inconvenient truths that spring up around us. We are begging to be tricked, just one more time, as we willfully block out the murderous social context in which we are living.
The 9 items below offer CEIMSA readers information and analyses of the material relationships which govern our lives --from near and from afar-- reminding us that even our spontaneous actions are structured to a large degree by the context of capitalist interests.
Item A. is an article first published by The New York Times on the historic landmark that has been passed in the rising student debt in the United States. (The shade of things to come....)
Item B. is an interview with America's Black Forum producer, Glen Ford by The Real News founder, Paul Jay.
Item C., sent to us by Professor Edward S. Herman, is an article by Charles Glass on "Goldstone’s Guide to Gaza."
Item D., sent to us by Dr. Catherine Shammas, is a letter from Palestinian militant Wissam El Haj, address Gaza, speaking of his friend Vittorio, who was assassinated this week in the Israeli's concentration camp in Gaza.
Item E. is an article critical of Gilbert Achcar's recent apologies for "humanitarian wars," by Edward Herman.
Item F., sent to us by the Council for the National Interest Foundation reporting on recent anti-colonial resistance by Palestinians in Gaza and the moral imperative reaching out from the entire world to the occupants of Israel still capable of living in good faith.
Item G., sent to us by Tikkun editor, Michael Lerner, is a commentary on the sad history of Mr. Richard Goldsmith, by Uri Avnery
Item H., from Historians Against War scholar, Jim O'Brien, is a suggested bibliography for activists studying contemporary US militarism.
Item I. is a refreshing look at one alternative life style produced and broadcast by one American reporter George Kenney on Electric Politics: Rewiring the American Regime.
And finally, we urge readers to watch the documentary film by German Gutierrez et Carmen Garcia :
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Université de Grenoble 3
Director of Research
Université de Paris 10-Nanterre
P.S. We remind readers that they are invited to our May 19 International Conference on the University of Paris campus at Nanterre. Resistation at the door with no fees required: please see Program = http://dimension.ucsd.edu/CEIMSA-IN-EXILE/newsletter/newsletter45.html
from The New York Times :
Date 12 April 2011
Subject: The politics of debt.
NYTimes.com Home Page
Student loan debt will likely top a trillion dollars this year as more people go to college and borrow money to do so.
from The Real News :
Date 5 April 2011
Subject: The Black Agenda Report.
Glen Ford is a distinguished radio-show host and commentator. In 1977, Ford co-launched, produced and hosted America's Black Forum, the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. In 1987, Ford launched Rap It Up, the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. Ford co-founded the Black Agenda Report. Ford is also the author of The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion.
from Edward Herman :
Date: 13 April 2011
Subject: Goldstone's Guide to Gaza.
A powerful analysis of Goldstone's work.
It takes courage to confront Israel on the battlefield. Egypt, Syria, and
Jordan’s puffed-up armies learned that lesson in June 1967, when six days of
combat forced them to throw in the towel. Courage is also necessary to take
on Israel in the court of public opinion, something the once-respected South
African jurist Richard Goldstone ought to have considered. When he accepted
the United Nations’ invitation to investigate Israel’s military assault of
December 2008 and January 2009 on the Gaza Strip, he took precautions to
avert attacks on his character. At the beginning, he said, “I insisted on
changing the original mandate adopted by the Human Rights Council, which was
skewed against Israel.” Israel could not have asked for a more sympathetic
investigator of its army’s behavior during its invasion of the Gaza Strip.
Perhaps Justice Goldstone believed that, by accepting Israel’s terms of
reference and emphasizing his own commitment to Zionism, he would avoid
being smeared if his inquiry turned out to be anything other than a
commendation to the Israeli armed forces for a job well done. If so, he
discovered how wrong a good lawyer can be.
Goldstone and the three other members of the UN Human Rights Council’s Fact Finding Mission—Pakistani lawyer Hina Jilani, Irish Colonel Desmond Travers, and British professor Christine Chinkin—conducted a thorough inquiry into the conduct of Israeli soldiers and Hamas militants during Israel’s
Operation Cast Lead. The report acknowledged:
When the operations began, the Gaza Strip had been for almost three years
under a severe regime of closures and restrictions on the movement of
people, goods and services. This included basic life necessities such as
food and medical supplies….These measures were imposed by the State of
Israel purportedly to isolate and weaken Hamas after its electoral
As a renowned lawyer, Goldstone knew that an embargo—such as when Egypt
closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping in 1967—constitutes an act
of war against which the aggrieved party is entitled to defend itself. Ignoring the proximate cause of Hamas’s futile deployment of homemade rockets against Israel was like condemning America for attacking Japan in World War II without any reference to Pearl Harbor.
Rather than appearing “skewed” against Israel, the Mission refrained from asking basic questions:
Why do 1.6 million people dwell on a narrow strip of sand between Israel and
the Egyptian Sinai, when most of them, their parents, or their grandparents
were born in villages a few miles away in what became Israel in 1948?
Does Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza have any connection to
the violence undertaken by the occupied population?
Does Israel have any obligation to observe UN Security Council Resolution
242 calling for its complete withdrawal from territories it occupied in
While the Palestine Authority has recognized the State of Israel and its
“right to exist,” is there no reciprocal obligation on Israel to recognize
Palestine and its “right to exist”?
Do Israel’s attacks on Gaza and its seizure of land in the West Bank serve
to undermine Palestinian voices calling for peaceful coexistence and do they
fuel the radicalism of Hamas and its allies?
Israel was not required to answer any of these questions. In fact, it
refused to answer any questions at all. Nor would it allow the Mission to
enter the Gaza Strip from Israel, forcing it to travel via Egypt. In Gaza,
the Mission could not ignore the evidence of its eyes and ears during two
days of dramatic and compelling testimony that is recorded in the 575-page
report it published in September 2009.
The Mission noted that at least 1,387 Palestinians were killed, compared to ten Israeli soldiers, four of whom were killed in fire from their own side.
Despite the disproportion in casualties that indicate an onslaught rather than a battle, the Fact Finding Mission condemned both sides. It found Hamas
guilty of “an indiscriminate attack on the civilian population of southern Israel, a war crime, and may amount to crimes against humanity.” That balance would not be enough for Israel, however, to act upon the Mission’s recommendations that soldiers and officers be investigated and prosecuted for war crimes. Instead of prosecuting war crimes, it attacked Justice Goldstone.
A US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks cites Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as saying that Israel faces “three principal threats: Iran’s nuclear program, missile proliferation and the Goldstone Report.” Israel may not have done much about Iran and the missiles, but it has now put Goldstone to rest. Israel’s thuggish foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman (who must have the suave Abba Eban moaning from the grave) triumphed, “The price of dealing [with the report] over the past few years was worth it.”
Goldstone performed an auto-da-fé in the Washington Post’s op-ed pages on April 1, which unfortunately was not an April Fools’ deception: “If I had
known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” The new development, he asserted, was Israel’s prosecution of
several soldiers. That seems unlikely. This is a system of justice that ordered an Israeli settler to do six months’ community service for beating a ten-year-old Palestinian to death. No one has been prosecuted for killing twenty-nine men, women, and children of the al-Simouni family in their home. One soldier who stole and used a Palestinian’s credit card was sentenced to seven months, while two soldiers who risked a Palestinian child’s life by using him as a human shield were given three-month suspended sentences. Goldstone relied on a report by New York judge Mary McGowan Davis that he said exonerated Israel, when her report had done exactly the opposite. The more likely explanation for Justice Goldstone’s recantation was not new evidence, but what the soon-to-be-indicted-for-graft Lieberman would call“dealing.”
Leading lights of prominent Jewish organizations in South Africa told Goldstone they were unhappy with his report. Zionist groups threatened to picket his grandson’s Bar Mitzvah if he attended. He was, like the great philosopher Baruch Spinoza in the seventeenth century, suddenly an outcast among his own. The pressure was understandably too much for him to bear. British architect Richard Rogers trod a similar path in 2006 when he formed a group to oppose construction of the Separation Barrier (also known as the Apartheid Wall) that sealed off the West Bank and added Palestinian land to the Israeli side. After calling for a boycott of companies building the wall, he saw the light when New York threatened to withdraw his $1.7 billion contract to reconstruct the Javits Center. To confirm his enlightenment, Rogers stated, “I unequivocally renounce Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine and have withdrawn my relationship with them.” Like Goldstone, he learned how far Israel would go to defend itself from criticism.
Critics of Israel, beware. If you don’t have the stomach for a fight, don’t go into the ring.
Meanwhile, Israel continues its embargo and assaults on Gaza.
Professor and Director
School of Communication
The Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
3502 Watt Way, Suite 305
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0281
 740-3770 FAX:  740-3913
Chères et chers Camarades,
Nous venons de subir de fortes frappes qui ont touchÃ© deux de nos
camarades Juliano d'abord et Vic ensuite. Cela nous a tous troublÃ©
et traumatisÃ© profondÃ©ment. Et nous sommes nombreux Ã essayer de
trouver des rÃ©ponses aux questions lÃ©gitimes sur lâ€™identitÃ© des
auteurs de ces deux crimes. Le fait que Juliano ait reÃ§u des menaces
venant de palestiniens, ou que Victorio ait Ã©tÃ© kidnappÃ© et tuÃ© par
des palestiniens, a fait que beaucoup d'entre nous ont rejetÃ© le
fait que les auteurs peuvent Ãªtre des palestiniens, et ont cherchÃ©
la piste IsraÃ©lienne dans les deux affaires, vu que ces crimes ne
servent fondamentalement quâ€™Ã l'occupant sur plusieurs niveaux. Cela
nous renvoie tous Ã un questionnement, qui doit Ãªtre autre, car ce
est pas Ã nous de trouver l'acteur de ces crimes, mais aux autoritÃ©s
palestiniennes (malgrÃ© toutes les critiques que jâ€™adresse Ã ces
derniÃ¨res). Quand Juliano Mer Khamis, ou Vittorio Arrigoni ont
choisi leur palestinitÃ©, ils ont fait le choix de leur camp, et
quand ils ont Ã©tÃ© tuÃ©s dans la lutte, les auteurs du crime ont
choisi leur camp aussi. Si les criminels sont nÃ©s palestiniens,
IsraÃ©liens, chinois, quelle que soit leur nationalitÃ©, leur
religion, ou leur couleur de peau: ces derniers ont dÃ©jÃ choisi
d'Ãªtre les ennemis de la cause palestinienne, la cause pour laquelle
ont vÃ©cu nos camarades. Si les tueurs sont vraiment des palestiniens
par naissance, et criminels pour raisons idÃ©ologiques, politiques ou
autre; et/ou si ils Ã©taient tÃ©lÃ©guidÃ©s par IsraÃ«l ou n'importe
quelle force ennemie de la cause de la justice et la libÃ©ration; ils
sont dÃ©jÃ les ennemis de chacun d'entre nous.
Les groupes salafistes Ã Gaza qui sont accusÃ©, dans un premier
temps, de l'assassinat de Vic, qui sont ils? et sont ils vraiment
les auteurs du crime?
Comme dit prÃ©cÃ©demment, les ennemis de la cause, ne sont pas des
palestiniens, dans le sens ou la Palestine est un choix de lutte
pour la justice et la libertÃ©. HÃ©las, mÃªme si les salafistes
jihadistes de Gaza n'Ã©taient pas les auteurs du ce crime prÃ©cis,
celui de l'assassinat du Vic, n'ont ils cependant pas tuÃ© et attaquÃ©
les palestiniens de Gaza: des fÃªtes de mariages, des salons de
coiffure, des cafÃ©s, des structures associatives ET MÃŠME des
militants du Hamas et du Jihad Islamique. Ces groupes ont dÃ©jÃ fait
des morts en Palestine, et ils sont prÃªts idÃ©ologiquement et
fonctionnellement Ã faire plus. Sâ€™ils ont tuÃ© Juliano, Vic, ou non,
ils ont dÃ©jÃ tuÃ© des palestiniens, et leur cause n'est pas celle de
la Palestine. Ils sont nos ennemis qu'on soit palestinien de par
notre naissance, ou de par notre engagement, et nous devons
continuer la lutte contre toutes les ennemis de notre cause.
Un camarade est tombÃ© au combat aujourd'hui. Qu'on rÃ©affirme notre
engagement avec sa cause, sachant que notre rÃ´le n'est pas de
condamner sa mort, et nous nâ€™avons pas Ã nous justifier. L'un des
notre est tombÃ© en combat, et nous qui restons, nous devons lever le
drapeau: c'est ce drapeau qui est visÃ© par l'ennemi, quelque soit
Et Ã mon cher Vic, comme promis, je chanterai Ounadikum pour faire
ton deuil camarade.
from Ed Herman :
Date: 8 April 2011
Subject: More on "humanitarian wars".
THERE IS something tragicomic about the persona of Richard Goldstone.
First there was a veritable storm of fury when the original Goldstone report was issued.
What a fiend! A Jew who claims to be a Zionist and an Israel-lover, who publishes the most abominable slanders about against our valiant soldiers, aiding and abetting the worst anti-Semites around the world! The very prototype of a self-hating Jew! Still worse, a “mosser” – a Jew who turns another Jew over to the evil Goyim, the most detested figure in Jewish folklore.
And now the turnabout. Goldstone, the Jew who has recanted. Goldstone who has publicly confessed that he was wrong all along. That the Israeli army committed no crimes in the 2009-2010 “Cast Lead” Gaza operation, On the contrary, while the Israeli army has conducted honest and meticulous investigations into all the allegations, Hamas has not investigated any of the horrendous crimes it has committed.
Goldstone, the Man of Stone, has become Goldstone, the Man of Gold. A man of conscience! A man to be admired!
It was, of course, Binyamin Netanyahu who had the final word. Goldstone’s recantation, he summarized, has confirmed once again that the IDF is the Most Moral Army in the World.
MY HEART bleeds for Judge Goldstone. From the beginning he was placed in an impossible situation.
The UN commission which appointed him to head the inquiry into the allegations of war crimes committed during the operation was acting on a seemingly logical but actually foolish calculation. Appointing to the job a good Jew, and an avowed Zionist to boot, would disarm, it was thought, any allegation of anti-Israeli bias.
Goldstone and his colleagues undoubtedly did an honest and conscientious job. They sifted the evidence laid before them and arrived at reasonable conclusions on that basis. However, almost all the evidence came from Palestinian and UN sources. The commission could not interrogate the officers and soldiers of the Israeli forces because our government, in a typical and almost routine act of folly, refused to cooperate.
Why? The basic assumption is that all the world is out to get us, not because of anything we do, but because we are Jews. We know we are right, and we know that they are out to prove us wrong. So why cooperate with these bloody anti-Semites and Jewish self-haters?
Today, almost all influential Israelis concede that this was a stupid attitude. But there is no guarantee that our leaders will behave any differently next time, especially since the army is dead set against allowing any soldiers to appear before a non-Israeli forum, or, for that matter, before an Israeli non-military forum either.
BACK TO poor Goldstone. After the publication of his commission’s report, his life became hell.
The full fury of the Jewish ghetto against traitors from its midst was turned on him. Jews objected to his attending his grandson’s Bar Mitzvah. His friends turned away from him, He was ostracized by all the people he valued.
So he searched his soul and found that he had been wrong all along. His findings were one-sided. He would have found differently if he had heard the Israeli side of the story. The Israeli army has conducted honest investigations into the allegations, while the barbarous Hamas has not conducted any investigations at all into their obvious war crimes.
So when was Goldstone wrong? The first or the second time?
The answer is, alas, that he was wrong both times.
THE VERY term “war crimes” is problematic. War itself is a crime, never to be justified unless it is the only way to prevent a bigger crime – as with the war against Adolf Hitler, and now – on an incomparably smaller scale – against Muammar Qaddafi.
The idea of war crimes arose after the horrendous atrocities of the 30-year war, which devastated central Europe. The idea was that it is impossible to prevent brutal actions if they are needed to win a war, but that such actions are illegitimate if they are not needed for this purpose. The principle is not moral, but practical. Killing prisoners and civilians is a war crime, because it serves no effective military purpose, since both sides can do it. So is the wanton destruction of property.
In Israel this principle was embodied in the landmark judgment by Binyamin Halevy after the 1956 Kafr Qasim massacre of innocent farmers, men, women and children. The Judge ruled that a “black flag” flies over “manifestly” illegal orders – orders which even a simple person can see are illegal, without talking to a lawyer. Since then, obeying such orders has been a crime under Israeli law.
THE REAL question about Cast Lead is not whether individual soldiers did commit such crimes. They sure did – any army is composed of all types of human beings, decent youngsters with a moral conscience besides sadists, imbeciles and others suffering from moral insanity. In a war you give all of them arms and a license to kill, and the results can be foreseen. That is one reason why “war is hell”.
The problem with Lebanon War II and Cast Lead is that the basic approach – the same in both cases – makes war crimes as good as inevitable. The planners were no monsters – they just did their job. They superimposed two facts one on the other. The result was inevitable.
One consideration was the requirement to avoid casualties on our side. We have a people’s army, composed of conscripts from all walks of life (like the US army in Vietnam but not in Afghanistan.) Our public opinion judges wars according to the number of (our) soldiers killed and wounded. So the directive to the military planners is: do everything possible so the number of our casualties will be next to nil.
The other fact is the total disregard for the humanity of the other side. Years and years of the occupation have created an army for whom Palestinians, and Arabs in general, are mere objects. Not human enemies, not even human monsters, just objects.
These two mental attitudes lead necessarily to a strategic and tactical doctrine which dictates the application of lethal force to anyone and anything that can possibly menace soldiers advancing in enemy territory – liquidating them in front of the soldiers preferably from afar by artillery and air power.
When the opposition is a resistance movement operating in a densely populated area, the results can almost be calculated mathematically. In Cast Lead, at least 350 Palestinian civilians, among them hundreds of women and children, were killed, together with about 750 enemy fighters. On the Israeli side: altogether 5 (five!) Israeli soldiers were killed by enemy fire (some six more by “friendly fire”).
This result did not contradict the undeclared political aim of the operation. It was to pressure the Gaza Strip population into overthrowing the Hamas government. This result, of course, was not achieved. Rather the opposite.
The logic – and the balance of casualties – of Lebanon War II were about the same, with added huge material destruction of civilian targets.
FOLLOWING THE Goldstone report, our army did indeed conduct quite extensive investigations into individual incidents. The number is impressive, the results are not. Some 150 or so cases were investigated, two soldiers were convicted (one for theft), one officer was indicted for the killing – by mistake – of an entire extended family.
This seems to satisfy Goldstone, who this week gratefully accepted an invitation from the Israeli Minister of the Interior – perhaps the most rabid racist in the entire government, in which racists abound – to visit Israel. (When the conversation was leaked, Goldstone cancelled the matter and stated that the report would not be withdrawn.)
On the other side, Goldstone is aflame with indignation against Hamas, for launching rockets and mortar shells at civilians in Israel and conducting no investigations at all. Isn’t it rather ridiculous: using the same standards for one of the five mightiest armies in the world and a band of irregular and poorly equipped resistance fighters (alias terrorists).?
Terrorism is the weapon of the weak. (“Give me tanks and airplanes, and I promise I won’t plant bombs’” a Palestinian once said.) Since the entire military strategy of Hamas is terrorizing Israeli communities along the border in order to persuade Israel to put an end to the occupation (and, in the case of Gaza, to the ongoing blockade), Goldstone’s indignation seems a bit surprising.
Altogether, Goldstone has now paved the way for another Cast Lead operation which will be far worse.
I expect , however, that he can now pray in any synagogue he chooses.
Uri Avnery is chair of the Israeli peace movement Gush Shalom
from Jim O'Brien :
Date: 14 April 2011
Subject: [haw-info] HAW Notes 4/14/11: Links to recent articles of interest.
Suggestions for these more-or-less biweekly lists can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Mim Jackson, Sam Lowe, Stuart Schaar, and Rusti Eisenberg for suggesting articles that are included in the following list.
"Not Why But How: To the Shores of (and the Skies above) Tripoli"
By Andrew J. Bacevich, Tom Dispatch.com, posted April 12
The author teaches history and international relations at Boston University
"The Success of Revolutions That Do Not Succeed"
By Vijay Prashad, CounterPunch.org, posted April 8
The author teaches history at Trinity College
"Morocco: Can Dinosaurs Become Butterflies?"
By Stuart Schaar, The Indypendent, posted April 6
The author is a professor emeritus of Middle East and North African history at Brooklyn College
"The Censored War and You"
By Kelley B. Vlahos, antiwar.com, posted April 5
Compares coverage of the Vietnam and Afghanistan wars
"100 Years of Bombing Libya: The Forgotten Fascist Roots of Humanitarian Interventionism"
By Mark Almond, CounterPunch.org, posted April 5
"Japan, Europe and the Dangerous Fantasy of American Leadership"
By Karel van Wolferen, Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, posted April 4
"Last Act in the Middle East"
By Andrew J. Bacevich, Newsweek, posted April 3
"A Matter of Empire"
By Arno J. Mayer, CounterPunch, posted April 1
The author is an emeritus professor of history at Princeton University
"Response to Juan Cole on Libya"
By Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies, posted April 1
"The Dangerous US Game in Yemen"
By Jeremy Scahill, The Nation, posted March 30
Has much historical background
haw-info mailing list
from George Kenney :
Date: 17 April 2011
Subject: Electric Politics: Rewiring the American Regime.