Friday, January 8, 2010

What More Can I Say

Sharing what I have learned
Published: Friday, January 8, 2010 10:58 AM CST

Criticize Israel or Israeli government violence, and the response is always the same: you’re an anti-Semite. Those who spuriously spit out the slur intend to damage my reputation and discredit my perspective.

In defense, I am not anti-Semitic. Anti-Semitism, bigotry, means not sitting at the same table as a Semite, blaming all for the sins of one, developing irrational hatred. A bigot feels that all members of the group are lesser beings to be denigrated in the basest ways.

Does this mean that because I am well prepared to discuss what happens in Israel/Palestine, but not prepared to discuss similar problems elsewhere, that I am a bigot? I have lived in Jerusalem, visited Gaza and maintain close ties with Palestinians and Israelis of conscience. I have spent 15 years researching the situation and history of the Israeli/Palestinian problems.

I sit at the same table as Israelis and plenty of Semitic people; I do not blame all for the crimes of the Zionist government. I know the difference between Judaism, Zionism and Israeli nationalism. Motivated by a need to inform, I write to advance peace that only justice can bring.

I speak against Israel because I feel complicit in what Israel does. My taxes pay for actions that never will bring about peace. When Congolese women are gang raped, the United States Congress does not pass a resolution saying they approve. When Israel unjustly crushes Palestinians who have no recourse whatsoever, we not only send words of approval, we pay for the deed.

There’s no need to write about Palestinian wrongs; we get that news. The American people have the right to know the whole truth. Israel’s will costs us money, lives and morality. I make no apology for trying to share what I have learned.

Elizabeth S. Mayfield


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Name Calling, again, does not address the issues

The trade of antisemitism
Published: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 11:15 AM CST

Elizabeth Mayfield’s Dec. 31 letter ostensibly addresses the problem Berlanty Assam has traveling between Gaza and the West Bank for her education. There is legitimate criticism of Israeli policies, and there is antisemitism. Mayfield offers little of the former and much of the latter.

The background of Assam’s case is the Hamas-Fatah war. Their war has stopped only because Hamas is isolated in Gaza and cannot infiltrate the West Bank. As the left-wing Haaretz noted in 2007, Hamas was brutal in seizing Gaza, “aside from assassinating Fatah officials, Hamas also killed innocent Palestinians, with the intention of deterring the large clans from confronting the organization.”

To prevent the spread of Hamas’ terror, Israel has imposed restrictions on movement between the Palestinian areas. This effort to protect Palestinians has had unfortunate consequences.

Among others, it has impeded Gaza resident Berlanty Assam from completing her studies in the West Bank in a normal fashion. Despite her apparent illegal entry into Israel, people such as Assam benefit from Israeli democracy. She has legal representation from a major human rights organization in Israel and has received review of her case by the Israeli Supreme Court.

Unfortunately, Mayfield seriously examined none of the important issues in Assam’s case. Instead, she trades in thinly veiled antisemitism.

Mayfield claims that a “family” of “chosen” people manipulate the U.S. Congress. She invokes Christmas imagery in describing how “chosen” Israel disrupted the peace of Bethlehem in arresting Assam. She claims “they” invoke some God-given right to “murder,” among other crimes. If the “they” who Mayfield calls “chosen” are not Jews, she should be clear. Any normal person knows she means Jews.

Myths of Jewish control, lies about Jewish defilement of Christianity and allegations that Jews claim divine right to commit evil crimes are the stock in trade of antisemitism.

James Eaves-Johnson

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Story about Injustice

The Strange Case of Berlanty Assam
BY: Elizabeth S. Mayfield
Published: The Tribune, Ames, Iowa, December 31, 2009

Berlanty Assam, a fourth year undergrad from Gaza at Bethlehem
University in the little town of Christmas song, was awakened from
sleep on October 26th, blindfolded, handcuffed, thrown in the back of
a van and transported back to her parent's home in Gaza. The Israeli
government, issuers of a 2005 permit allowing her to study and live in
Bethlehem, changed their minds three months shy of her graduation. A
trial ensued. No, Berlanty was not a security threat. Old documents
including those Berlanty held were confiscated and promptly lost.
Missing, too, all Israeli administrative records. No evidence; no
college degree for Berlanty. In early December, Israeli courts denied
Berlanty and her university's plea to allow her to finish.

This injustice affects fewer than the Christmas 2008 murderous attack
leaving more than 1,000 Palestinians dead, but it still matters.
Imagine how you would feel if Berlanty were your child attending an
American University and our "democracy" just yanked her out and sent
her home. Is this a deed worthy of our support? There is a "family"
of Washington leaders who encourage Congress to issue declarations of
support for Israel whenever this colonizer country feels unjustly
criticized. Always our Representatives give a thumbs-up to Israel, no
matter what the rest of the world says. Evidently, these men consider
themselves "chosen" by God to lead the rest of us. Since they, like
Israel, are "chosen," they believe that if they support outrageous
acts like this one or the murders of a year ago, it's O.K. because
they're chosen by God and God knows best.

What about you? Please think about Berlanty and how injustice done
to her might be brought to an end. Think letters; think about Obama's
"just war" application. Think about how you could help give Berlanty
a gift of a future and end your year with a uniquely personal gift
representing justice and love.
P.S. The Ames Tribune ran this letter on the last day of the year, Dec. 31, 2009. I had written it as a Christmas letter asking people to remember the Bethlehem of today when they celebrated the Christian holiday on Dec. 24th and 25th. I rewrote the letter so that I would get it in as my monthly contribution in December. The paper chose not to run this letter in their electronic mail follow up.

Today, another letter surfaced from one of the friends of Israel in our area who regularly rebuts letter I send in. We'll see if they publish that one on-line. This is how people in the United States are silenced by the friends of Israel.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Public Relations War in Ames, Iowa

In Ames,Iowa, there are a handful of us who are, frankly, engaged in a public relation's war. Every letter that I or my colleague, John Hauptman, write in support of the Palestinian people is refuted with the charge that we are anti-Semitic. I cannot speak for John, who speaks for himself below in an unpublished response to the latest Pnina Luban public charge against us, but I believe that I cannot, must not stop writing until the opposition, the friends of Israel in our area, stop slandering me and the Palestinian people in their rendition of one of the worst human rights crises in the world today. Of course, what is happening to the Palestinian people is not the only crime against humanity on our planet, but it's the one I know about first hand and that is why I focus on it. I try to not engage in direct rebuttal or name calling with those like Luban and Eaves Johnson who harass John and me . In the past, the editor of our paper would not run directly slanderous letters that named names and called people names in the manner of an uncreative seven grader bully. The new editor, however, has chosen to allow any slanderous writings to be printed. This is why so few Americans will engage at all in discussions about the horrendous (and getting worse everyday) situation in Gaza and, for that matter, in the entire region.

The letter below answers each of our opposition's charges, but the editor, so far, refuses to print John's letter. It is longer than the paper requires for Letters to the Editor, but it could be run as commentary. I have asked for that and received no answer. Anyone really interested in this exchange needs to read the four following letters starting with Pnina Luban's letter, John Hauptman's unpublished reply, my letter, Dec. 31 and the Jan.6 rebuttal from Eaves Johnson. You will need to read down and, then, select the lates archive dates to see the whole stream.

A Rebuttal to Pnina Luban (her letter follows)

From: John Hauptman
Professor of Physics
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa 50010

Dear Editor,

There are so many things wrong with the "double standard or anti-Semitism" letter,(see below on this blog) that I don't know where to start. Honest and accurate criticism of a government's illegal actions evoked a long list of non-sequiturs, followed by the explicit contradiction between a "tiny democracy" and a "Jewish state" with 420 nuclear weapons designed for the incineration of cities. A "Jewish state" can be a "theocracy", but not a "democracy".

As for "two" people and "50 letters", I know people in Ames who have been threatened, don't speak up, and don't write letters, and in a community where the main currency is one's reputation, this is a powerful suppressant. I have been threatened and hilarious inventions have been floated, but I cannot be easily intimidated. I have understood the dynamics of revolt and protest since Berkeley in 1964, and the use of personal intimidation by the John Birch Society even earlier. I have the comfort of knowing that my opinions are well aligned with the whole world.

The Pew Research Center (Washington, D.C.) conducts vast surveys of national and international opinion. Every year the Israeli government is ranked as the "greatest threat to world peace" (59% in the European Union, and pegged close to 100% in friendly countries like Jordan and Egypt), followed in second place by Iran, then North Korean.

We can talk about Richard Goldstone and the 650-page report (Google: goldstone gaza un) of his Fact Finding committee on "crimes against humanity" by the Israeli government, "war crimes" by the Israeli military, and both "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" by Hamas. Although I find identifications abhorrent, Richard Goldstone (a citizen of South Africa) is always identified as Jewish, a strong supporter of Israel, on the Board of Directors of Hebrew University, whose daughter lives in Israel. On Israeli Army radio, his daughter said that her father tried to protect Israel, but that the evidence was so extensive and so clear. The slaughter of 1000 defenseless civilians on one side, and 10 soldiers on the other (four by "friendly fire"), was a "crime against humanity". Richard Goldstone has been accused of being an "anti-Semite", an "enemy of Israel", a "self-hating Jew", and all the rest of the usual slanders from the Israeli government.

Watch for this truism: when a government finds it necessary to attack an individual, you know that something is wrong.
The leader of the Israeli opposition party, Tzipi Livni, canceled a trip to London this week because a warrant had been issued for her arrest by the UK. The Israeli government confirmed that this morning (Dec. 14). Why? Her role in the slaughter in Gaza, that's why.

The Israeli government strategy, adopted by the US government, is to dismiss the Goldstone report as "biased" and unworthy of consideration. Goldstone has explicitly asked Obama to point out any bias in the report. No answer. The US is silent. They just hope it will go away, but it won't go away.

For years the Israel lobby has told us "look at Darfur, look at Darfur" (don't look at what we are doing). My Federal tax dollars pay for what the Israeli government is doing, and it is illegal. I don't pay for Darfur, Somali, Chechnya, or the Tamil rebels. Because so much innocent blood is being spilled, we paying in more than dollars.

A British diplomat remarked to an American diplomat recently "If you want better relations with Muslims, you should stop killing Muslims."

I read the Israeli press every day (Jerusalem Post, Ynet, Jewish Forward, Ha'aretz), and none of this is a mystery. The Israeli government whines about Hamas, but they created Hamas as a counter to Fatah, not suspecting that their creation would grow its own legs. I also read the weekly report of the PCHR (

By the time this letter is printed, I will probably be listening to the roars of "God is Great" echoing over the roof tops of Tehran. There is a revolt there, no different from any other revolt against a government or any arbitrary authority. This one is for Iran, however, not for us. The US government has already done enough damage to the Iranian people by toppling their democracy in 1953, installing a dictator, stealing their oil for 30 years, supporting Saddam Hussein as he murdered one million people and rained US-made chemical weapons onto Iranian cities, shooting down a civilian airliner killing 300 people, supporting terrorist groups inside Iran, and all of this in spite of Iran's help against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan by guaranteeing a safe haven to US pilots. You didn't read any of this in the US press. Humans yearn for freedom, like we did under the British Redcoats, like Iranians today, like Palestinians today. It is not unusual at all.

Roger Cohen of the New York Times has written a series of perceptive columns on Iran, from Iran. He demolishes the propaganda from the Israel Lobby that is trying to sucker the US into starting a third war in the region. To save the American Republic, we must resist the Israel Lobby whose primary loyalty is to another country.

This Christmas season when you see a Nativity scene, look carefully at Mary, veiled and covered. The dress and veil are identical to that of Palestinian women today, and for good reason. The Palestinians today are the direct genetic descendants of the Jews during the Roman occupation. They have stayed in this land of "milk and honey" for thousands of years, invaded by Roman Legions, Arab conquerors, Christian Crusaders, Ottoman Turks, and now an invasion by European Zionists intent on conquering the land, all of it. (Google: amazon Salomo Sand). The Palestinians have invaded no one, and the whole world knows this. They are, as always, essentially completely defenseless civilians. As a citizen of the United States, a "high contracting party to the Geneva Conventions", it is our legal obligation to bring the Israeli government into compliance with basic international humanitarian law. That is not a double standard and it is not anti-Semitism.