Palestine/Israel/Palestine

The events of May 1948 in Palestine have sparked trillions of conversations that have droned on in parallel for seventy years now. You may find a few thousand meaningful uncommon conversations post Nakba (the Catastrophe). They are exceedingly rare. Most “conversations” parrot propaganda mills (hasbara in Hebrew).  Below are concerns of an individual Israeli citizen. I have not redacted a single word.

Bill hi, I would suggest you come and visit Palestine – you know Palestine was Israel before 1948. If you come I would be only too happy to offer you coffee and you can tell me what you think about Israel and answer any of your questions if I can.

Even though I live here and spent hundreds of hours at lectures my memory unfortunately is not what it used to be as I am now 76. I live in Netanya and would be only too pleased to help you find answers from history lecturers to any questions you may have. My opinion on Israel seems a bit different to yours but I am sure we could have interesting chats.

I must tell you I am fascinated with BDS and how so many people really do have a problem with facts here and there but I always believe you have to visit a country and speak with the locals so as to make up your own mind.

I keep hearing from members that there is a Genocide in Israel and the disputed territories yet their own statistics show this to not be true.

How many members know that an Israeli president was sentenced to jail by an Arab judge. That Arabs account for 20% of the population and that is their representation at Universities and hospitals where they are professors and famous surgeons.

Please don’t mix up Israel and politicians – I would swap Bibi for Trump in a heartbeat. I think we should keep our correspondence private as I really do not want to cause anyone any grief.
Looking forward to your reply
Mike Altman, Netanya Israel

Hello Michael, Thank you so much for the very kind comments, they are gratefully received. In the two years I’ve been writing this blog, yours is the very first remark from an Israeli perspective — a succinct and thoughtful set of arguments as well. I certainly respect your wishes to maintain an off-blog conversation; however, I would also like to share your views with my audience. Please know that I am quite willing to make your comment visible — again, I understand your concern.
Here is one proposal: I am eager to write a post that addresses your points and to respond on each concern you express. An open conversation between viewpoints is sorely lacking, but desperately needed.

Droning on in parallel from differently selected events, statistics and perspectives proceeds without hope of resolution, and indefinitely.

I have been following the “conflict” for many decades now. I was born eight months before the events of 1948, so it is possible for me to relate each event. For example, I was a student in Germany during the Munich Olympics of 1972. So I was 25 years old and so was Israel/Palestine Palestine/Israel.

Perhaps a point-by-point response that does not reveal your name or location might be a worthy compromise between private and open dialog.
It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Michael. I look forward to learning from you 🙂

I try and reply to posts immediately but your reply was different to what I somehow expected. I do not at all mind our conversation being viewed online I incorrectly assumed it would be you that would rather have an offline chat.

Since I am blessed/cursed with a very over active imagination I manage to see things from multiple angles and standpoints. When I think of BDS my mind is flooded with so many questions of why does one well funded organization with ardent followers choose a basically one sided view of just one of the many obviously urgent problems on our planet. Reading articles I do understand that people are writing from their viewpoint but like I am colour blind I expect people to try and see what is there but maybe not visible to them. The thing about being colour blind is that the mind can force oneself to see the missing things if you think they should or could be there.

I have a childhood friend that adamantly believes that we should not intervene – like invading Iraq – we are obliged to do nothing and wait for evolution to choose a path for everyone. Maybe Obama also believed in doing nothing and the result was half a million people killed more wounded and displaced causing hardship and misery for millions more. Never mind the other millions migrating to Europe from Africa to find a better and safer life for them and their children.

The reason I mention this is because with all this abject misery surrounding us I would think that such a well-funded and run organization would not be focusing on just one problem amongst all others. I have always been able to analyse what I see and read and imagine the many directions things could take and how effective they could be. In my humble opinion I cannot see why BDS could succeed as it has already “solved” this complex problem without understanding too much about it.

My father would not have won many “father” awards but he was smart and instilled in me to never judge anyone until I have walked in their shoes. As an example, the last time I visited the Western wall myself and everyone else including tourists passed through metal detectors – like we do at airports today – thank goodness. After arms were taken onto the Temple Mount and used to kill two policeman.

The head of the police promised their families who happened to be Druse that they would take steps so it would not happen again. Maybe even to foreign visitors on this holy site. The police themselves decided to install metal detectors at the entrances and this is what caused the current serious problem. People prayed in the streets instead as they would not pass through the machines and dispersed after prayers with very little problems but in some parts of town young people rioted and people were injured and killed.
Please forgive the over long post but there is so much to say.
May you all have a very good week, Mike

Hello Michael, Thank you for your kind comments on my About page. Dialogues on this topic are as desperately needed as they are rare, and misinformation is the coin of the realm. I think it’s a good sign that both of us responded with consideration for the privacy of each. Would you mind if I wrote a new posting that contains your comments without redaction on my part? In other words, a genuine open and civil dialogue.

Shalom,
 
Bill

I have no problem whatsoever – in fact would welcome it.

A very strange time of year here as more than 4 million Israelis leave to spend a greener cooler holiday all over the world. Amazing when there are only 5,600,000 Danes in Denmark.

 Have a good week Bill

Mike

 

You are a kind soul, Michael. Our exchange already contains enough grist for the mill to inspire quite a few conversations. Actually, that observation on climate, travel and Denmark is sufficient for an entire post. 🙂

A superb week to you, Michael.

🙂 an interesting thought – if we can get the mill to spin faster it could take off – imagine that, flying windmills. Something to think about while trying to sleep.

Thanks for reading.

Palestinian Animal League

When you announce your vegan beliefs expect incredulity, perhaps not visceral, perhaps visceral. Make public your support of Palestinians to self-determination and expect raw nerves to flare — it comes with the territory. Or am I tilting at windmills? Why must Palestine be a verboten topic?

pal

Misunderstanding happens to “the least of these, my brethren” (Matthew 25:34). I mentioned recently that I am the green sheep in the family. Do I hold a lightning rod aloft, inviting impending doom? I guess.

I live in an area of the country noted for its borders — political, racial, climatic, geomorphic, social: there are others.  Our planet does not need more division and more rancor. Welcome the green, the black and the rainbow. Welcome the stranger.

 

sudfeh.vegan.cafe
Sudfeh Vegan Cafe

Languages fascinate me intensely. Learning them lightens my spirit and dispels an illusory separation. We are all one. I lived and studied in Germany, a country that knows something of borders — their erection and their dissolution. Loving languages is a joy that requires patience, but it rewards that patience by several orders of magnitude. Or is it a waste of time, a conceit if you already speak THE international language — one dipped in the blood of imperious arrogance. Just saying. Colonialism is not dead. Were that it were.

 

berlin.wall
Berlin Wall

My intense interest in the Middle East began in 1967 when I began to seriously study its physical, cultural and religious geography. Study makes friends of pain and joy. I was living in West Germany in 1972, at the time of an ill-fated Olympics in Munich. Stasi was still going strong in East Germany. That same year I learned about Savak and the Shah of Iran from my fellow exchange students of the University of Tehran — a full seven years before the revolution in their ancient land, one with the longest continuous civilization in history, one that started with Cyrus the Great. Many cool people are Persian. Yes they are 🙂

Perhaps this is an overlong preface to my topic. I hope not, but please accept my apology if it is.

 

PALlogo
Source

Let me meld two curiously similar joys and pains — veganism and Palestine. Mix them together and you have The Palestinian Animal League. That kind group of animal activists knows that “acting like an animal” is an expression to deflect misbehavior of a specie with an overdeveloped ego that imposes their self-righteous “superiority” to the innocent fellow sentient beings possessing inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, though it be inexpedient to the self-described exceptional.

We’re not the top dog, we are the arrogant yapping selfish being that always takes advantage. Are we not a part of the cycle of life? Who made us the boss? What is the difference between cannibalism and meatism? I suggest that the difference between eating the flesh of your own and eating the flesh of an other is as trivial as the difference between apples and oranges — both are fruit. Human flesh and the flesh of any other sentient being — both are meat.

Let me now lighten the burden of writing. I yield the pen to The PAL. They know more about themselves than I. Expect joy.

arabic-public-art-qma
Arabic public art

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Palestinians Are Either in Exile or in Prison

 

 Hello.

 

hi
Source

Today we look at two nouns rooted in  Palestinian history 

1948 a

1967 a

Languages based on a root system are dendritic — consider trees, rivers, fractals..

 

dendritic
Source

Look at the two letters in blue  b (ب )  s ( س )

But now a word from our sponsor:

On the day of Nakba, 700,000 people were exiled from their ancestral homes.

Andrew Jackson’s illegal exile of the Cherokees began in 1838. Jackson may not have said

“Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it,”

but the result was still dispossession.

President Jackson drove the Cherokee Nation into an exile called The Indian Territories until they in turn became Oklahoma. Native Americans now live in rural areas served by Food Desert convenience stores — they get to stay there until a monied interest drops straight edge on a map and calls it an access pipeline, or the equivalent.

We return you to your regularly scheduled program, in progress.

In each case (Trail of Tears, Nakba) people took luggable items, including the house keys. The six days of Naksa happened in 1967 (imprisonment).

nakba_48

Omar Chaaban defines these two  for Sixteen Minutes to Palestine.  I yield the words to Omar:

نكبة

…they chose the word Nakba which, in Arabic, refers to a supreme calamity that happens once in an eon. That is to say, this disastrous collective experience exacted upon the Palestinians is an unprecedented trauma that had to be referred to by a word that communicates to the entire world that nothing can happen that is worse than being uprooted in the manner they were in the events leading to and following Israel’s declaration of statehood.

نكسة

…the word Naksa does not really mean ‘setback.’ In classical Arabic, Naksa is used to describe an event where a thing is literally flipped upside down. The great Arabic lexicon Lisan Al-‘Arab — The Tongue of the Arab People — says that when a Naksa happens to a thing, its top becomes its bottom and its front becomes its back. It then goes as far as saying that in many cases a Naksa can be so bad that the chances of it being reversible are almost nonexistent and that no good can be found in it.

Arabic dictionaries sequence by root. Hans Wehr assembled the definitive dictionary organized by roots. Here are the roots I’ve generated in Aratools

nakba:

nakba

naksa:

screenshot-2017-02-18-10-31-36

Arabic affixes a special letter to nouns of feminine gender. The grammatical term is “taa marbuta.” It’s also a handy way to create a new word in that language:

Maktab مكتب (office)

Maktaba مكتبة (library)

taa-marbuta
Gender Observations

Coming real soon now: Mental Maps of Palestine

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Another Billboard the Mainstream Media Can’t Quite Fathom

from: Fig Trees and Vineyards

Banksy is a gifted and prolific artist. He informs his audience with paintings that tear at the fabric of disinformation perpetuated by those who will perpetuate apartheid if not confronted.

banksy_calais__01_2015

The Palestine Poster Project is another source for powerful portrayals of the Nakba, Naksa (the occupation of 1967). An abundant source for inspiration and resolve.

 

Fig Trees and Vineyards

bethlehembillboard

A TV station in North Carolina has published a report on a strange, new billboard that has cropped up in their area that some local residents, at least those who work in the media, are having trouble figuring out.

View original post 569 more words

Leitmotif of a Commonplace Book

A commonplace book is a collection of loosely organized snippets of stuff. It’s a way of thinking that I first encountered by way of detour (my favorite hobby) at the Cincinnati Library — a book caught my eye and subsumed my identity — A Certain World by W.H. Auden. ’twas many a decade ago (4) in what now seems a distant galaxy.

Galaxy (not the magazine) reminds me now of that breathtaking work by Douglas Adams — by golly, esme recently alluded to HHGTTG. Please consult esme for more, much and many. You’ll enjoy the visit. You will, yes you will. Say, I also offer a thread from H2G2 too.

commonplace-book-cartoon-newyorker  

I like to use the word eponymous whenever possible. By gosh, this entire writing adventure is eponymously named billziegler1947. Tell your friends about this ever so clever self-referential weblog, or not.

But WTF is a leitmotif? Doesn’t sound light to us. Har Har.

A leitmotif is a recurring theme in a musical or literary work.  

leit-motif

All so very well Bill, but isn’t it time for an unnecessary ‘detour’, one you cloyingly call a hobby?

A blog is a jarringly clumsy word created in the internet wild-west world: a two character left-string truncation of ‘weblog’ — it removes the ‘we’, or is it the’us’?

Captain’s weblog 2016.366. We is back. Welcome. Just us chicken defenders.

And so, this has all been a rather detour-ridden post. However, it’s a holiday of sorts — the null point , nodding here to Hariod, between 2016 and 2017. Or are we to be taken, in far less than an instant, to arrive in 1957. There to encounter a Back to the Future replay of the fell sort, Biff and all perhaps.

biff-wins-again

Holy heavens, you have completely abandoned every modicum that informs an insistent adherence to proper writing-style. Will you ever stay on task?

No.

Veganism is the best ‘ism’ ever. If you don’t believe that then you haven’t visited Crows Head Soup by Peter Schreiner, have you? Right. Go there now.

As you gather about that soup cauldron, allow me to pass the microphone to a most impassioned advocate, one who brings voice to each and every animal crushed to the marrow for the sake of appetites unending and insatiable — outsidersinsides. Expect no bon appetit if meat be on the table. Thank you! And to all gatherers — grab that mike. My ear enjoys your insights. Always.

Let’s say that you recognize the longest occupation in modern history, one that continues into 2017 and you are also interested in animal rights. Right. Palestinian Animal League.

Let us remind you, Bill, that you are no Laurence Sterne and we fervently pray that you not dash off first lines from Tristram Shandy to cover your untidiness. We merely ask.

First lines

shandy-black-page

Copy. (and paste). But I do recall that page of solid black ink from high school, don’t I?

Yes, I do.

cover-page-tristram

And so, with gratitude for every and each reader, and with appreciation for everyone I follow, a hearty fist in the air on behalf of all the exploited sentient beings who are our fellow travellers.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Palestine Children’s Relief Fund: Cincinnati 2016

Yesterday I met a young mother and her infant child at the annual PCRF picnic 2016.
img_1337
I gazed into the eyes of that beautiful woman and her precious child. Let me just inform you that they are in Cincinnati because those who can help transcended borders and the powers that be, to bring them to Ohio. Helping the helpless. Something that defines Menschheit (the word for “humanity” in German and Yiddish). Mother and child are here because white phosphorous burns to the bone. And, yes, it happened in Gaza.
dime-and-white-phosphorus-26-638
Yesterday brought souls together to share inextinguishable joy in the very spite of every attempt to extinguish the spirit of a proud people, century-long family traditions in culture, history and charm.
Yes, they melted my heart, moistened my eyes.
The occupiers who uproot ancient olive trees wishes that these people would plant their ancient roots anywhere but along the paradise of a Mediterranean shore that has nourished Philistines (Filistina) for so long.
uprooted
The occupiers boast of residing in a land celebrated as mere desert waiting for miracle workers to bring seed to fruit. The evicted and exiled Philistine people have every right listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including a refugee’s right to return. The United States signed this document in 1948, the year of Nakba.
Yesterday I attended the PCRF picnic and enjoyed splendid company, warm smiles and genuine enthusiasm. Most importantly it was an opportunity to meet people who better our world by healing wounds, providing support for families and restoring hope that the youngest and most innocent among us may flourish.
a-boy-with-the-word-palestine-written-on-his-face-takes-part-in-a-protest-against-the-israeli-blockade-of-the-gaza-strip-in-amman-december-5-2008-reuters-1
Such a delight and a privilege to speak personally with people who work miracles in the course of their daily lives. Cynicism and disillusionment are not support systems within PCRF: joy derived from mending deep wounds humbles the ego and makes room for love. 

Junior Chills: “Wake Up World”

Announcing a new music video from Junior Chills, a three-piece band in Belfast, Northern Ireland. They produce songs of strong feeling. This one is about the stupefying lack of media coverage on a marginalized, ignored, dismissed,  forgotten, unknown people.
strokespic
Many still know nothing of refugees who lost their homes, who are still denied a right of return guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They still possess that right denied. It’s another reason for following Junior Chills.
Did I mention that billions of people alive today are unaware that these people even exist. I am ashamed to report being a citizen of a country whose military and intelligence communities dump enormous taxpayer funds into weapon and security systems that stagger the imagination. Are we exceptional?  Is that not arrogance?
But the name of their occupiers is on the map, methinks the occupiers doth occupy too much. The population of Israelis in Israel-Palestine is approximately the same as the population of the Philistines (the name they actually give themselves) but would you know that from looking at the map below?

do.economic.ties.corrupt.789.001

Humiliation is the name of the game, but these people possess joy in the very spite of subjugation.  Prisons for the occupied are stuffed with dissenters. Children as young as 12 are imprisoned daily for throwing stones. Perhaps they throw them at low-flying F-16 fighter jets. Call them terrorists and toss them into prison. Then throw away the key. While you are throwing away keys, break into their grandparent’s house and throw away their family home they had to leave in 1948 (more on that in the next paragraph). So yes, I am complicit in this 68-year ethnic cleansing operation by the “only democracy in the Middle East.” But I don’t yield to those who actually believe that ignorance is strength.
nakbabynumbers_pppa
Wake Up World” is Junior Chills’ latest contribution toward bringing attention to the human rights of the people exiled from their homes in 1948. They are refugees to this day. 700,000 were forced from their land in that year alone. I was eight months old that year.
Many were cast from the paradise of a coast along the Mediterranean into a part of Palestine west of the Jordan River and into an open-air prison known as Gaza. They brought only what they could carry in 1948. House keys used to lock their doors on Nakba Day (the Arabic word for catastrophe).
Damien McGee  writes, sings and plays guitar for Junior Chills. Here is how he described the protest song in our recent communication:
 
“It is called simply Wake Up World. I am going to try my best to share it out there as widely as I can to help do my bit to raise awareness of the daily struggle in Palestine…I hope you like it!!”
 This is a very powerful musical and visual depiction of the massive injustice meted out every day. The bombs you see exploding in the video killed 2200 people in Operation Protective Shield (a lovely name for an excuse to spew death IMO), 500 were children. Just one of many “operations” that are all pretty much alike. One encouraging note for anyone looking to buy shares in corporations such as Halliburton: every round expended is a round for another round of expenditures. Revolving doors. dick cheneys.
terrorist or victim
Lengthy prison sentences can be imposed in Israel for throwing stones
It gives the viewer pause and tears tears from your eyes. The violence depicted in the video is not gratuitous, but know that young innocents were not of concern to those who saw the exterior of the buildings in the crosshairs.




The streaming trails you see in the photograph below spew from two white phosphorous bombs exploding from a height, that height insures horrid deaths and agonizing injuries. Population density is very high in Gaza, there is no safe place. White phosphorous burns to the bone.
white-phosphorous

The Tyranny of the Majority

Majority rule is an expedient way to exercise authority over the unwanted and to marginalize unpopular ethnic groups, such as Native Palestinians in Palestine.

That guy on the $20 bill made the South safe for democracy. Somewhere in Jacksonian Democracy lies a lesson, one learned by 10,000 despots: if undesirables are out of the picture, they are not a problem. Future generations can safely and comfortably observe “mistakes were made.”

After the Trail of Tears, America was made safe for slaveholders again. Cherokees are for westerns or in teepees next to a Stuckeys. Have you heard this one: “I’m 1/24th Cherokee.” Really?

trail.of.tears
Look up Nakba for a similar trail of tears.

America was great I hear. But them Indians got it made now, every tribe has a casino. Sad to say, they’re fat and lazy and coddled by Washington. Things never change, I guess. Wink. Nod.

Grocery stores near reservations are food deserts. If a vehicle becomes available a real supermarket is only 70 miles away. While you are 70 miles away from home you can stock up on health care services and relax a while at the local casino. Chill with your fellow ingrates.

Native Americans are number one in death by police.(The Counted: 2016) among all ethnic groups.

The Guardian compiles this database, but for some reason such information is not collected in the US.

screen-shot-2016-09-06-at-12-38-31-pm

DJT is not a reader, but profound ignorance is no barrier to enormous wealth or monstrous feats of racism. Just a casual side note.

Ethnic cleansing silences voices of dissent.

Israel expelled 700,000 native Palestinians in 1948. Today the growth of settlements in the West Bank make population distribution look a lot like reservations in the formerly unoccupied American West.

Ethnic Cleansing Begins At Home

Nazi ethnic cleansing began with a single unknown undesirable, but within a decade the 1 became the 6,000,000. To observe that number from the perspective of coincidence, it’s the number of Palestinians alive today: each a refugee still. There is no statute of limitation for war crimes. Just ask someone on the receiving end of genocide.

bilal.kayed

Have I mentioned that the Palestinians are from Palestine? Roots matter to olive trees and to Palestinians. Water, hummus, olives. An incomparable Mediterranean coastline. Countless cities and villages cleansed of long-established inhabitants.

Viva Palestina!

The time for Israel to stop Palestinian home demolition and pacification was 68 years ago; both demolitions and executions are crimes against humanity, against an indigenous people living under occupation today or as refugees in planet-wide diaspora.

Daily life for the indigenous Semitic people of this land: constant torment by mostly non-Semitic settlers indigenous to Europe. IDF and IOF combatants may commit any crime of their choosing, without fear of consequence or inconvenience. Any day, every day, all day. Which Semites are not included in a blanket inditement: Antisemitism! Antisemitism!

celtic.fans.for.palestine

A strange celebration of Sparta and ungodly decadence: a failed experiment, a way of life that requires several billion dollar annual infusions from the United States and the Marshall Islands.

A land-based aircraft carrier with a hundred nuclear weapons, a laboratory for testing weapon systems and conducting security experiments. Well chosen people? Well…

From the layout of the house housing a 12-year-old rock-throwing terrorist. IDF soldiers show up at 2:00 A.M. No proverbial knock on the door, just break it down and rattle the sleeping. Rattle and curse the ugliest phrases a fighting man can muster. And, so a final enough solution: indefinite incarceration for the kid, a house removed by a wrecking ball or dozer, a homeless family. But it doesn’t matter: they are annoying Arabs. Ptui.

settlers_znet

Some sources for guidance in non-violent resistance. Think Warsaw Ghetto.

Jews Against Genocide

Jews for Justice for Palestine

Jewish Voice for Peace

Thanks for reading.

In the Land of Xenophobia the Rosary is an Assault Weapon

Humans cast some long Jungian shadows. Xenophobia and racism flourish in dark places. 2016 witnesses a political voice “from the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie.”

abrahamic.religions

 

quotes-men-become-civilized-not-in-proportion-to-their-ambrose-gwinett-bierce-4316

 

Two sides of the triangle described above have denoted Judeo-Christian values since the Common Era began: Christianity and Judaism, but never Islam, although Abraham is patriarch for all three faiths.

Broadcasters who welcome the views of demagogues Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer and such ilk become proudly complicit in the crimes committed by members of their audience.

Perhaps I am too easily offended or I am missing the subtlety of radio programs that boast of a battle-ready Jesus. The search argument “A rosary is an assault weapon with a 50 round clip” yields

About 874 results (0.67 seconds)

Ishmael? Do you mean the third word in Moby Dick? Otherwise, no, we don’t talk about that family member. Oh, you meant Israel. Well that’s better.

Well indeed. I discovered that the sentence “Call me Ishmael” is not the first line. My thanks to Ken Jennings for that correction and for his website The Debunker.

Pope Francis reminds us that baptized Catholics are just as ready to become unwitting militants. Islamophobes are not entirely pleased with the Francis’ papacy.

francis.apartheid.wall

Israel is Sparta. It is also a laboratory for weapons and “security” systems. Jeff Halper just posted an item on FB that takes on the euphemism “security.” His suggestion: substitute “pacification.” Propaganda (hasbara) suggests a patriotic rush to judgement and to a false security.

The last thing a spartan state needs is another 1.5 billion dollars to top off the annual contribution from the United States and the Marshall Islands. A response to stones thrown by Palestinian youth. I sense overreach.

Thanks for reading.