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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"When the Saints" Robert Greenwald's New Katrina Video

On the two year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the most deadly hurricane to hit the United States, Robert Greenwald has released a new three-minute video, "When the Saints"
Please go to the website to sign the following petition:

We, the undersigned, urge the United States Senate to pass Senator Dodd'sGulf Coast Recovery Bill of 2007 (S1668) to assist the Gulf Coast region in rebuilding the infrastructure lost after the Katrina and Rita disasters. Passage of this bill is an important step towards returning the Gulf Coast residents to their homes.

Robert Greenwald and Brave New are asking the following of all viewers:

You can help share the When the Saints go Marching video by hosting it on your website, blog, or MySpace page. It is easy to embed the video onto your page. Webmasters and bloggers, just copy and paste this code into your page. MySpace hosts, just copy and paste this code into your "about me" section in your profile:

And Still They Rise: Confronting Katrina

“I’m scared to return. Too much death. Too many spirits.” This is what a friend said to me the week before I left for New Orleans. I had never been to the Crescent City. He had traveled there many times - a “home away from home” - before August 2005 changed the course of the city forever. Now he fears it.

I felt the fear before my plane even landed at Louis Armstrong International Airport. As we began our descent, dark jagged shadows jutted across the verdant swampland. It was all too cinematic. I found out later that what I thought were dramatic shadows was wetland defoliation; the banal reality proving to be far more frightening than the supernatural.

My second NOLA moment was leaving the airport, catching a glimpse of a man riding down the center strip of the highway in 100-degree heat, on a bicycle, with headphones, no helmet and his hands off the handlebars. At the time, I thought it was just local flavor, like seeing a cardinal in St. Louis. But later, after learning about the spike in the suicide rate over the last two years, I began to wonder if it was something else.

I was in the Big Easy as an invited speaker at a conference of NOLA bloggers called Rising Tide II. In most cities, bloggers practice a peculiar virtual cannibalism, tearing each other apart for sport. But at Rising Tide, among people young and old, black and white, I saw my first glimpse of what can be termed blogger solidarity. It stemmed, as one told me, from “the necessity of coming together after Katrina.” They referred to each other in conversation by their blog names, more colorful than the mobsters in the film Goodfellas. There was Danger Blonde, MD Filter, my unflappable guide, Liprap, and Mom’n'em. (Mom’n'em is a man. The handle comes from a matriarchal New Orleans phrase. Instead of asking, “How’s the family?” You say, “How’s Mom’n'em?”)

The bloggers represent the best of something beginning to bubble that you won’t see on the nightly news, as the two-year anniversary of Katrina arrives today. Amid the horror, amid the neighborhoods that the federal government seems content to see die, there are actual people sticking it out. And they do it with gusto. As Valentine Pierce, a poet and journalist at the conference, said, “Bush’s promises don’t hold water. The only thing that holds water is the city.”

They were also the perfect people for me to speak with to learn the ground-truth about post-Katrina New Orleans. They’re not paid to write about the myriad of issues they confront - from mental health to public housing to the loan swindles to the state of art. They do it because they want everyone - those staying away, the transplants from the North, the ones who get their information from the mainstream media - who sees New Orleans as merely a symbol to know the facts: the good, the bad and the ugly.

And the ugly side is that the majority black city is still being left to wither slowly on the vine. There is a reason President Bush did not say the word New Orleans in the last State of the Union. This is Moynihan’s “benign neglect” writ large. Butit has had a bizarre boomerang effect. Because the future of city is at stake, the neglect that guides federal policy is something that both whites and blacks have to confront.

Also, since New Orleans was far less segregated to my eyes than Washington, D.C., where I live, it puts the suffering of the black majority into people’s faces where it can’t be ignored. If Katrina wrecked and removed 40 percent of the city, it has, among a minority, also brought people together.

It is remarkable that a city can be both torn asunder and also find a measure of salvation in the same name: Katrina. To the people I spoke with, Katrina is a noun, an adjective and even a verb. But one thing it isn’t is simply a hurricane. When locals talk about Katrina, they are very conscious of the fact that the hurricane itself barely dented this proud city. Katrina means the breaking of the levees. Katrina means loss of their homes. It’s the politicians so fatally slow with aid. It’s the spike in violent crime. It’s the ever-rising suicide rate. It’s the aged who have died of desperation.

Katrina is something ephemeral, a sadness seeped into the humidity. It gets in your clothes, your eyes, your hair. It’s everywhere, even if you aren’t staring at a house with a black X, with a number underneath, denoting a death at the hands of levees. It made me feel as if the city’s almost satirically gothic above-ground cemeteries were monuments to August 2005, even though the graves have stood for generations. The only thing I can compare the experience to would be visiting Kent State University, another site with spirits that can’t find peace.

But as spiritual as post-Katrina New Orleans feels, the ravages of the city are something that residents know were man-made. The people of New Orleans are the last ones to need a lecture about how horribly unnatural this disaster was. It wasn’t an act of God. It was the product of a whole set of priorities that put their city last. Bumper stickers are everywhere that read, “Make Levees Not War.” People have signs in their front yards telling the Army Corps of Engineers to take their eminent domain and back off their houses.

Make no mistake, there is anger and a sense of desperation among the city’s poor. Sometimes it’s inward, as the mental health and suicide studies show. Often it is outward, as the violent crime demonstrates. That feeling of being abandoned by this country and this criminal administration, of being left to die on a roof, remains. And yet, they still, so very inconveniently, continue to live, love and, most importantly, struggle and agitate. Everyone in this country should travel to New Orleans and be among a people supposed to perish, who act like they just didn’t get the memo.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Real News To Launch This Fall

Provided By:
The Real News is a non-profit news and documentary network focused on providing independent and uncompromising journalism. Our staff, in collaboration with courageous journalists around the globe, will investigate, report and debate stories on the critical issues of our times.

We are member supported and do not accept advertising, government or corporate funding.

Real News is launching in North America this Fall. To register now go to their website at
The Real News where several videos and other information about this new invaluable media outlet.

The Real News will not be accepting corporate advertising, thus freeing them to report the news without corporate pressure. Be SURE to go to the website and register now for The Real News.

Monday, August 27, 2007

BD While PG (Belly Dancing While Pregnant)

Arab-American Times Hits the Newstand and the Web

Original post can be found at Kabobfest
Kabofest's link is on my side bar, GREAT source of information.

New Arab-American Newspaper
By Will
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There is a new Arab-American newspaper out now. The Arab-American Times is positioning itself as a national community newspaper, a mix of both localism and national appeal. The first issue just came out and is dated September, 2007, so it appears it will be circulated monthly. It is distributed in 600 participating stores in 48 states.
Check it out.
Ideally, the website itself will take on a news website format in the future.

I second Will, check it out, there's even some good recipes in it as well as lots of information about Arab-Americans you might not know about.

Nebraskan Psychologist Stands Against Interrogation and Torture

Often in our lives, we are faced with situations in which our own integrity is challenged, whether it be our personal, or professional integrity. In profound moral situations such as this, it is up to the individual to decide how to handle the situation. Hopefully, their own value system, as well as their professional ethics, lead them to make the proper decision. Politicians fail at this all the time and we ridicule them for it if they betray the "public trust" Teachers and clergymen who "fall" are scorned and ridiculed. On the other hand, we are taught to trust the medical profession who are bound by the Hippocratic Oath.

One version, approved by the American Medical Association, is as follows:

You do solemnly swear, each by whatever he or she holds most sacred:

  • That you will be loyal to the Profession of Medicine and just and generous to its members.
  • That you will lead your lives and practice your art in uprightness and honor.
  • That into whatsoever house you shall enter, it shall be for the good of the sick to the utmost of your power, your holding yourselves far aloof from wrong, from corruption, from the tempting of others to vice.
  • That you will exercise your art solely for the cure of your patients, and will give no drug, perform no operation, for a criminal purpose, even if solicited, far less suggest it.
  • That whatsoever you shall see or hear of the lives of men or women which is not fitting to be spoken, you will keep inviolably secret.
  • These things do you swear. Let each bow the head in sign of acquiescence. And now, if you will be true to this, your oath, may prosperity and good repute be ever yours; the opposite, if you shall prove yourselves forsworn.

But what if the professional association of which you are a member allows it's members to do something which you are morally against? What if you were in a situation where you were in opposition to what other members in your own profession were allowing. What would you do in such a case? Read what happened to one such individual, and what she stood up for:

Pipher returns award in protest

Lincoln author and psychologist Mary Pipher says she didn’t act impulsively when deciding to protest the actions taken by her professional organization.

She thought about it for more than a year. She listened to what others had to say, read articles and reports.

On Tuesday, she sent a three-page letter to the president of the American Psychological Association, Sharon Stephens Brehm, to say she is returning her 2006 Presidential Citation, given to recognize her work in helping to resettle refugees.

“I have struggled for many months with this decision and I make it with pain and sorrow,” she said in the letter. “I do not want an award from an organization that sanctions its members’ participation in the enhanced interrogations at CIA ‘black sites’ and at Guantanamo.”

A report on Monday, by “Democracy Now,” a national, daily, independent news program heard in Lincoln on radio station KZUM, set Pipher in motion.

The report said the American Psychological Association’s policymaking council had voted to reject a resolution at its annual convention Sunday that would have banned members from participating in interrogations at Guantanamo Bay and other U.S. detention centers around the world often referred to as “black sites.”

In its place, the council had approved a resolution prohibiting psychologists from direct or indirect participation in 19 “unethical” interrogation techniques and called on the U.S. government to ban their use.

The list includes mock executions, simulated drowning or suffocation, sexual humiliation, exploitation of phobias, exposure to extreme heat or cold and isolation or sleep deprivation “that represents significant pain or suffering, or in a manner that a reasonable person would judge to cause lasting harm.”

The resolution left what Pipher sees as loopholes on such techniques as sensory and sleep deprivation, which cause people to fall apart very quickly. And it stopped far short of banning psychologists from participating in the interrogations of prisoners at the military sites, she said.

The vote upset Pipher, who has worked with victims of torture and has seen the lifelong harm it can inflict.

Many innocent people get tortured, she said.

The presence of the psychologists has educated the interrogation teams in more skillful methods of breaking people down and legitimized the process of torture in defiance of the Geneva Conventions, she said.

The association’s code of ethics pledges to respect the dignity and worth of all people, especially the most vulnerable, she said. And prisoners in secret CIA-run facilities, with no right of habeas corpus or access to attorneys, family or media are highly vulnerable.

“I also believe that when any of us are degraded, all of human life is degraded,” she told the association.

Without their psychologist partners, she believes the secret “black sites” would have to shut down.

The former association president, Gerald Koocher, has said in interviews that the association doesn’t tell its members they can’t work for a given employer. Psychologists at the prison sites have brought about positive changes, he said.

Pipher has been following the association’s response to the issue since at least June 2006, four months after she received the framed citation, when she heard another “Democracy Now” interview with Koocher.

She thought at the time about how Koocher, who had signed her citation, was taking a position diametrically opposed to her own. She thought about returning the award then. But she waited.

Over the next months, she read other articles in “The New Yorker,” “Vanity Fair” and “” that outlined how psychologists have helped design interrogations and train those who do them.

According to “Democracy Now,” association members were outraged by the revelations and introduced a moratorium resolution that called for a ban on participation.

In her letter to the association president, Pipher said she had been honored to receive her award and proud to be a member of the group during her career. She retired in 2000. With her rejection of the award, she feels she is ostracizing a good friend.

But Sunday’s resolution placed the association on the side of the CIA and Department of Defense, and at odds with the United Nations, the Red Cross, the American Psychiatric Association and American Medical Association, she said.

“I know that the return of my Presidential Citation ... will be of small import,” she said in her letter to the association, “but it is what I can do to disassociate myself from what I consider to be a heinous policy.”

Her hope is that the organization will reconsider its position.

Pamela Willenz, manager of the association’s public affairs office, said in an e-mail Wednesday that the association had no response to Pipher’s letter because those people who could speak on the issue were traveling back to Washington, D.C., from the annual convention in San Francisco.

A Monday news release from the association said its policy condemns and prohibits psychologists from planning, designing, assisting in or participating in interrogations that involve torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.


To read the report on Democracy Now:

Monday, August 20th, 2007
American Psychological Association Rejects Blanket Ban on Participation in Interrogation of U.S. Detainees

Another report on Democracy Now:

A Hypocritical Oath: Psychologists and Torture

by Amy Goodman

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Colored People to the Back of the Bus

Colored People to the Back of the Bus

August 25th, 2007 | Posted in Journals, Hebron Region , Photos

by: Yifat Appelbaum

This summer, the International Solidarity Movement, Art Under Apartheid and Tel Rumeida Project teamed up to take over 100 Palestinian children from Hebron to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the beach in Jaffa.

This was no easy task.

West Bank Palestinian residents over the age of 16 are not allowed into Israel but those under 16 are allowed. In fact, there is no legal way to prevent them from entering because they do not have ID cards yet. But most of these kids will never get to visit Jerusalem or go to the sea because their parents are not allowed in to take them.

Although we knew it was permitted to take these kids across the checkpoints (we checked with the the Association for Civil Rights in Israel) into Israel, we decided to check in with the District Coordination Office (DCO) of the Israeli military just to let them know we would be doing this and that we didn't want any problems. They told us we needed a permit (this is not true). We asked for a permit and were refused. So of course we decided to do it anyway.

Fourty-five kids in one trip was going to be plenty to handle so we decided to do two trips. We bought food and water for 45 kids, arranged for them to have lunch at a restaurant in Jerusalem, got copies of their birth certificates (proof of their age and proof they are allowed to be in Israel) arranged for a bus to take them, and we met the kids at 7am in downtown Hebron.

We knew that if soldiers at any of the checkpoints knew there were West Bank Palestinian kids on the bus, they would stop us, cause a problem, and more than likely tell us we had to go back, even though it is allowed for the kids to go in. We didn't want a repeat of the last field trip nightmare so we choose to use Israeli checkpoint racism to our advantage.

It has been my experience that if soldiers at a checkpoint see white or Jewish-looking people in the front seat of a car, they will not stop the car and check the passenger's IDs to verify that they have the correct ID to enter Israel. This has happened to me countless times. If anyone who looks Palestinian is sitting in the front seat, they are automatically stopped, even if they are Jewish but have dark skin.

Settler cars zoom through those checkpoints with no delays. Palestinians are always stopped and searched.

Now, I will prove to you how the apartheid wall is completely useless for keeping suicide bombers out of Israel.

We stuck four white people in the front seat of that bus, and we drove through the checkpoint without so much as a second glance from the soldiers. All the kids cheered.

Now see how easy it is to sneak Palestinians (legally or illegally) into Israel? The inherent racist legal system allows it. As long as you are white, you can go though many checkpoints in a car unhindered and unquestioned. Because it's so easy, if a Palestinian really wants to enter Israel badly enough, he or she will find a way.

The kids were elated to go to the mosque and to play in the water. Most of them had never seen the sea before.

I didn't see any of them playing with Israeli kids at the beach but I think it was good for them to at least be around Israelis kids who weren't hostile or violent towards them. The Palestinian adults who ran the Tel Rumeida summer camp this summer made a point to explain to the kids the difference between Israelis living in Hebron and Israelis living in Tel Aviv. Fortunately we have a lot of Israeli activists coming to volunteer in Tel Rumeida so the kids are already learning the difference.

Hat-tip to Clo, THANK YOU my sister in peace.

Sunday Offering #23: Native American Peace Offering

This week, I am posting two videos as my Sunday Offering. The first is "Messages of Peace":
messages and insights of indigenous Native American wisdomkeepers sharing ancient knowledge passed down through many generations. The second is "Yeha Noha"-Sacred Spirit
and is a montage of videos of Native Americans and their experiences which have been a blight on my nation's history. Today, we as a nation carry on this same policy of supremacy and domination around the world, killing. It is a circle, those whom we sought to remove, the Native Americans, are those with the message of survival through peace. May this circle come back, to where it began, and our nation and people learn to spread peace rather than war.

A special blessing goes out to those friends, new and old, who I have met in my "blogging adventures". May it be known to all of you, I treasure you as my friends and your inspiration is
what warms my soul every moment.

Peace, Salam, Shalom, Mahalo and Dohiyi.

JFREJ Takes a stand in support of Debbie Almontaser and Khalil Gibran International Academy

JFREJ Takes a stand in support of Debbie Almontaser and Khalil Gibran International Academy

For Immediate Release

August 23, 2007

Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) on Debbie Almontaser's Resignation and the targeting of the Kahlil Gibran International Academy

As parents, students, teachers, New Yorkers, and Jews, we are outraged by the series of events that have culminated in Debbie Almontaser's resignation as principal of the Kahlil Gibran International Academy. We are particularly disturbed that Mayor Bloomberg, Joel Klein, the Chancellor of the Department of Education, and Randi Weingarten, the President of the United Federation of Teachers, bowed to right-wing pressure and did not strenuously resist and condemn the unjustified attacks on Ms. Almontaser, which fed on and fostered anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudice. We call for Debbie Almontaser to be reinstated to her position as principal if that is what she wishes, and for full support for the Kahlil Gibran International Academy.

After 9/11, Ms. Almontaser was a key partner with JFREJ on a series of community-building events to build greater understanding between Muslims and the broader community. She stood out to us in her fervent desire to learn about other communities and put forward a clear vision of a Muslim commitment to peace and justice for everyone.

In failing to strongly defend Ms. Almontaser, Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Klein, and Ms. Weingarten have helped to undermine the Kahlil Gibran International Academy?s mission before it even opens and have contributed to the very problems it seeks to address. These actions also contributed to an atmosphere of fear among educators that weakens their ability to serve the children of New York City.

The Kahlil Gibran International Academy was created to teach Arab culture, Arabic, and Middle Eastern history. Since the announcement of the school?s opening in March of 2007, it has been repeatedly targeted by right-wing media outlets for scrutiny and criticism. Ms. Almontaser's ostensible offense, in responding to a question about the phrase "Intifada NYC" on a T-shirt made by Arab Women Active in the Arts and Media (AWAAM), was to seek to educate. This was a trick question posed by the New York Post. Ms. Almontaser responded honestly and thoughtfully, trying to keep the focus on the school that she and many others hope will increase mutual understanding within our diverse city. She should not have felt compelled to resign.

The tactics used to attack Ms. Almontaser have been used against members of every minority and/or oppressed group, including Jews, in one context or another. They bring to mind the way that prominent African-Americans are periodically pressed to respond publicly to remarks and opinions of other Blacks in a way that white public figures are never pressed. The objective is to create a political loyalty test that members of minority or oppressed groups may be required to pass at any moment or be subject to savage attack.

Those who exploit Middle East tensions to create and exacerbate suspicion in our city are enemies of New Yorkers of all ethnicities, nationalities and religions. We reject the effort by The Sun, the New York Post, and their allies to whip up hysteria by attacking Ms. Almontaser and, through her, the Kahlil Gibran International Academy. We reject their attempts to demonize language and limit the political discourse in public life. We are disturbed that the Mayor, Chancellor, and UFT president capitulated to their pressure. When a similar situation of anti-Arab race-baiting arose in the NYC Human Rights Commission, the Mayor stood by Commissioner Omar Mohammedi. We are disappointed that Mayor Bloomberg did not do the same in this situation.

Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) urges Chancellor Klein to re-appoint Ms. Almontaser to her position as principal, if she wishes to be reinstated. We call on Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Klein, and Ms. Weingarten to fully support the Kahlil Gibran International Academy and to work with Muslim and Arab communities and all communities in New York that to break down fear and ignorance, and to build bridges, in the manner that Debbie Almontaser and her colleagues are seeking to do.

Jews for Racial and Economic Justice engages Jews to pursue and win racial and economic justice in partnership with Jewish and allied people of color, low-income and immigrant communities in New York City. JFREJ's letter to Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Klein, and UFT President Weingarten is posted at

Take Action to support KGIA!

Letters to the Editor-- We need to act now to support the Khalil Gibran International Academy. Those opposed to having an Arabic language school in New York are launching yet another episode of vicious attacks against the school and its supporters.

Please write a quick letter to the editor today expressing your support for KGIA. Some points to make:

1. State why a school like this is so important.

2. Name the specific opponents of the school.

3. Articulate how they use misinformation and lies.

4. Call on public officials to not rely on mis-information as truth (DOE Chancellor Klein, UFT President Weingarten and Mayor Bloomberg.)

Below is a list of email addresses and links for letters to the editors at various outlets. There isn't much time so please keep your letters concise, 2-4 paragraphs--they will be edited down anyway.

New York Post Letters to the Editor

Fox News Letters to the Editor

New York Times

Send letters to the editor to For recorded instructions, call (212) 556-1831.

Daily News

Send letters to the editor to

Please include your full name, address and phone number. (This information will be used for verification purposes only).

New York Sun

Send letters to the editor to Letters must include the writer's name, address and phone number.

The Jewish Week
Send letters to the editor to
Letters must include the writer's name, address and phone number.

Friday, August 24, 2007

"Allah Made Me Funny"

I think I need a laugh. The following is a clip from the "Allah Made Me Funny", the official Muslim Comedy tour. You can get their schedule of appearances here

Who ever said "laughter is the best medicine" was right :)

Hey Mr. President, LISTEN.

Is Bush Our Modern Day Napolean?

Bush Napoleon

Bush: In the footsteps of Napoleon
By Juan Cole

French Egypt and American Iraq can be considered bookends on the history of modern imperialism in the Middle East. The Bush administration's already failed version of the conquest of Iraq is, of course, on everyone's mind; while the French conquest of Egypt, now more than two centuries past, is all too little remembered, despite having been led by Napoleon Bonaparte, whose career has otherwise hardly languished in obscurity.

There are many eerily familiar resonances between the two misadventures, not least among them that both began with supreme arrogance and ended as fiascoes. Above all, the leaders of both occupations employed the same basic political vocabulary and rhetorical flimflammery, invoking the spirit of liberty, security, and democracy while largely ignoring the substance of these concepts.

The French general and the American president do not much resemble one another - except perhaps in the way the prospect of conquest in the Middle East appears to have put fire in their veins and in their unappealing tendency to believe their own propaganda (or at least to keep repeating it long after it became completely implausible).

Both leaders invaded and occupied a major Arabic-speaking Muslim country; both harbored dreams of a "Greater Middle East"; both were surprised to find themselves enmeshed in long, bitter, debilitating guerrilla wars. Neither genuinely cared about grassroots democracy, but both found its symbols easy to invoke for gullible domestic publics. Substantial numbers of their new subjects quickly saw, however, that they faced occupations, not liberations.

My own work on Napoleon's lost year in Egypt began in the mid-1990s, and I had completed about half of Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East before September 11, 2001. I had no way of knowing then that a book on such a distant, scholarly subject would prove an allegory for Bush's Iraq War. Nor did I guess that the United States would give old-style colonialism in the Middle East one last try, despite clear signs that the formerly colonized would no longer put up with such acts and had, in the years since World War II, gained the means to resist them.

Read further>>>>>>

Is Bush our modern day Napolean? I say yes. What say you?

Sign the Voters for Peace Pledge

Sign the Pledge

"I will only vote for or support federal candidates who publicly commit to a speedy end to the Iraq war, and to preventing future ‘wars of aggression’."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Shoving Christianity Down Muslim Throats

It seems like the topic of religious strife is in the air a great deal, made more prominent with this week's airing of "God's Warriors" on CNN. Yesterday, the below article ran in the LA Times.
George Bush, here you go again, trying to shove your righteousness down Muslim throats. What is it going to take for this administration to STOP it's flaming of the already untenable situation in Iraq with such ridiculous disrespectful ideas? And you say this is not a war on Islam, then STOP this behavior!

Not so fast, Christian soldiers

The Pentagon has a disturbing relationship with private evangelical groups.
By Michael L. Weinstein and Reza Aslan August 22, 2007

Links added by Under the Holly Tree
Maybe what the war in Iraq needs is not more troops but more religion. At least that's the message the Department of Defense seems to be sending.

Last week, after an investigation spurred by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the Pentagon abruptly announced that it would not be delivering "freedom packages" to our soldiers in Iraq, as it had originally intended.

What were the packages to contain? Not body armor or home-baked cookies. Rather, they held Bibles, proselytizing material in English and Arabic and the apocalyptic computer game "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" (derived from the series of post-Rapture novels), in which "soldiers for Christ" hunt down enemies who look suspiciously like U.N. peacekeepers.

The packages were put together by a fundamentalist Christian ministry called Operation Straight Up, or OSU. Headed by former kickboxer Jonathan Spinks, OSU is an official member of the Defense Department's "America Supports You" program. The group has staged a number of Christian-themed shows at military bases, featuring athletes, strongmen and actor-turned-evangelist Stephen Baldwin. But thanks in part to the support of the Pentagon, Operation Straight Up has now begun focusing on Iraq, where, according to its website (on pages taken down last week), it planned an entertainment tour called the "Military Crusade."

Apparently the wonks at the Pentagon forgot that Muslims tend to bristle at the word "crusade" and thought that what the Iraq war lacked was a dose of end-times theology.

In the end, the Defense Department realized the folly of participating in any Operation Straight Up crusade. But the episode is just another example of increasingly disturbing, and indeed unconstitutional, relationships being forged between the U.S. military and private evangelical groups.

Take, for instance, the recent scandal involving Christian Embassy, a group whose expressed purpose is to proselytize to military personnel, diplomats, Capitol Hill staffers and political appointees. In a shocking breach of security, Defense Department officials allowed a Christian Embassy film crew to roam the corridors of the Pentagon unescorted while making a promotional video featuring high-ranking officers and political appointees. (Christian Embassy, which holds prayer meetings weekly at the Pentagon, is so entrenched that Air Force Maj. Gen. John J. Catton Jr. said he'd assumed the organization was a "quasi-federal entity.")

The Pentagon's inspector general recently released a report recommending unspecified "corrective action" for those officers who appeared in the video for violating Defense Department regulations. But, in a telling gesture, the report avoided any discussion of how allowing an evangelical group to function within the Defense Department is an obvious violation of the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment.

The extent to which such relationships have damaged international goodwill toward the U.S. is beyond measure. As the inspector general noted, a leading Turkish newspaper, Sabah, published an article on Air Force Maj. Gen. Peter Sutton, who is the U.S. liaison to the Turkish military -- and who appeared in the Christian Embassy video. The article described Christian Embassy as a "radical fundamentalist sect," perhaps irreparably damaging Sutton's primary job objective of building closer ties to the Turkish General Staff, which has expressed alarm at the influence of fundamentalist Christian groups inside the U.S. military.

Our military personnel swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, not the Bible. Yet by turning a blind eye to OSU and Christian Embassy activities, the Pentagon is, in essence, endorsing their proselytizing. And sometimes it's more explicit than that.

That certainly was the case with Army Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin, deputy undersecretary of Defense for intelligence. The Pentagon put him in charge of the hunt for Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda in 2003. The same year, Boykin was found to be touring American churches, where he gave speeches -- in uniform -- casting the Iraq war in end-times terms. "We're in is a spiritual battle," he told one congregation in Oregon. "Satan wants to destroy this nation . . . and he wants to destroy us as a Christian army." The story wound up in newspapers, magazines and on "60 Minutes." And, of course, it was reported all over the Muslim world. The Pentagon reacted with a collective shrug.

American military and political officials must, at the very least, have the foresight not to promote crusade rhetoric in the midst of an already religion-tinged war. Many of our enemies in the Mideast already believe that the world is locked in a contest between Christianity and Islam. Why are our military officials validating this ludicrous claim with their own fiery religious rhetoric?

It's time to actively strip the so-called war on terror of its religious connotations, not add to them. Because religious wars are not just ugly, they are unwinnable. And despite what Operation Straight Up and its supporters in the Pentagon may think is taking place in Iraq, the Rapture is not a viable exit strategy.

Youtube: "God in the Military - The Pentagon and its Christian Embassy" August 6, 2007. Lou Dobbs, CNN. Top generals in the Pentagon represented a Christian proselytizing organization called, "The Christian Embassy", to work within the ranks of the US military.

"DoD Inspector General Finds Misconduct by Pentagon Generals Participating in "Christian Embassy" Promo Video:
Military Religious Freedom Foundation's Exposé Vindicated"

"Americans have been unaware until now that their tax dollars have been used by the Pentagon for over twenty five years to further religious proselytizing."

Michael L. Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, wrote "With God on Our Side: One Man's War Against an Evangelical Coup in America's Military." Reza Aslan, author of "No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam," is on the MRFF advisory board.

God's Muslim Warriors and the Elephant in the Room

This week, airing on CNN, is the documentary "God's Warriors". Tuesday, the first of this documentary' segments, "God's Jewish Warriors" was aired (you can view it here). Last night, "God's Muslim Warriors" aired.

The embedding has been disabled for this portion, but you can view "God's Muslim Warriors"


The following is a short video available on you tube of a synopsis of this segment "God's Muslim Warriors" The submitter who posted this video writes:

"This is taken from a snipet of the CNN show God's Warriors. This segment happens to be about Islam and why Muslim parties are getting elected, even in overtly secular countries like Egypt. She is so right it hurts. It has nothing to do with them hating us for our freedom and everything with US foriegn policy and wealth. People are waking up finally."

I agree, people are waking up. Please read below this video for my own thoughts thus far on this series.

If you happen to be watching this series as it airs, or if you are viewing it for the first time here,
it should be known that CNN is dedicating a very large chunk of their air time to this documentary. Both days thus far, the program has aired three times, a total of six hours. That is one full quarter of their air time each day, for three days in a row. I venture to say that CNN will also re-air this series in the future as they do their other documentary series.

When a major news outlet such as CNN ventures on an undertaking such as this one, which took eight months to produce, the time and effort which went into it is vast. Much editing took place, and topics themselves were chosen to focus on.

I would like to refer at this point to Karin's posting (Munich and a Little Bit of Everything) concerning her own personal feelings thus far while watching this series. Please read here
And with Karin, I would like to state emphatically, that I do NOT condone the use of violence EVER.

I agree with Karin whole heartedly in her synopsis, that while CNN should be commended for such a monumental undertaking, there are certain things omitted, certain things stated and emphasized.

One glaring omision of the second in this series, "God's Muslim Warriors", was the fact that more Muslims have suffered from so-called "Islamic terrorism" than have others. While the first airing, "God's Jewish Warriors" gave ample air time to Israel removing the settlers (who by indication are the "Jewish Warriors"), not nearly enough air time was given to Arab governments in the Middle East cracking down on terrorist cells in their own countries. True, Egypt has cracked down, but it was stated that Egypt is a "virtual police state" which has lead to an upswing in fundamentalism as opposed to the desired result, thus painting Egypt as inept at dealing with the situation. Also, CNN let "stand" the statement concerning Sadat's peace initiative with Israel as an "earthquake" WITHOUT stating why.

Saudi Arabia and Jordan are two others who quickly come to mind who have had to deal with terrorism on their own soil, both are Islamic nations, both have had their share of tragedies , yet CNN chose not to air this fact. In other words, this is a problem that is affecting the nations of the Middle East more than here or in Israel yet I do not feel CNN adequetly covered this fact.

Furthermore, CNN chose to ignore the "elephant in the room", Zionism. While choosing to focus on Israel's dilemma with the settlers, who on one hand they remove a few while allowing others to construct illegal settlements, it IGNORES the fact that the state of Israel itself was established with the SAME mentality, the SAME methods as shown in this documentary. Yet they focus on the settlements now as a hindrance to the "peace process".

The hindrance to the "peace process" is Zionism itself, which through its' "God Warrior" actions, established a state in a land where Palestinians had been living for mileniums. 750, ooo Palestinians were made refugees from their own land in 1948 and still as yet have not been allowed to return to their homeland which is a right guaranteed to them under the Declaration of Human Rights:

Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Where was this covered in this series? Where was it said that the state of Israel has created an exclusive state for Jews to be invited to ONLY? NO WHERE was it stated in this series.

Furthermore, to add insult to injury, last night's "Muslim Warriors" ended on a note of a young Palestinian woman stating "we all wish to be martyrs". "ALL"? Why did CNN leave off with this quote and ignore Zionism altogether?

Perhaps the first in this series could have covered the MANY instances of the IOF battering Palestinians participating in non-violent demonstrations against the occupation. (View here, the weekly non-violent protest in Bel'in in which Palestinians and ISM workers participate 8/10/07 protest) The IOF repeatedly has fired upon peaceful NON-violent protesters in the ILLEGALLY occupied territories.

Jean Bricmont writes here: (Political Lobotomy: Dezionizing the American Mind)
Why is Israel so hated? The constant stalling of "peace plans" in favor of more settlements and more war aggravates that hatred, but the basic cause lies in the very principles on which that state is build. There are basically two arguments that have justified establishing the State of Israel in Palestine: one is that God gave that land to the Jews, and the other is the Holocaust. The first one is deeply insulting to people who are profoundly religious, like most Arabs, but of another creed. And, for the second, it amounts to making people pay for a crime that they did not commit. Both arguments are deeply racist, with their claim that it is right for Jews, and only Jews, to set up a state in a land that would obviously be Arab, like Jordan or Lebanon, if not for the slow Zionist invasion. This is illustrated by the "law of return": any Jew, anywhere, having no connection with Palestine whatsoever, and not suffering from the slightest persecution, can, if he so wishes, emigrate to Israel and easily become a citizen, while the inhabitants who fled in 1948, or their children, cannot. Add to that the fact that a city claimed to be Holy by three religions has become the "eternal capital of the Jewish people" (and only them) and one should start to understand the rage that all this provokes throughout the Arab and Muslim world.

Is Zionism itself not a policy of a "God Warrior"?

The "elephant in the room" is NOT going to go away, and it must be exposed. America's own foreign policy has been driven for years to support Israel to the detriment of all other nations in the region, and ESPECIALLY to the detriment of the Palestinian people. While in the past we meddled in the affairs of Middle Eastern countries to benefit our own business interests (such as the overthrowing of the democratically elected Moussadaqh of Iran), since Israel declared it's nationhood, the US has stood by them as their most staunch ally. CNN has put a great deal of time and effort into this series, yet it fails to state what is obvious to Arabs and Muslims : by allowing Israel to thwart international law, to use the US veto power at the United Nations on so many occasions (32 times since 1982 source) thus giving Israel carte blanch approval of their activities, the US (also by their other meddlings and in particular the invasion of Iraq)and Israel have themselves been the root cause of the rise of "Islamic terrorism".

To CNN, I say, your ignoring of this fact, that the state of Israel itself was established upon the suffering of another people, you have voiced your own bias in this matter. While attempting to educate the public on the connection between religion and politics, the populace again has been fed inadequate information.

Further reading:

The Nakba: 1948 marked the NAKBA of the Palestinian people: the state of Israel was established over the disposession of hundreds of thousands........

"Israel's Right to be Racist" by Joseph Massad

"History Shows Jews and Christians Killed More Muslims Than Muslims Killed Jews and Christians" by Mohammed Elmasry

"Is There Still a Terrorist Threat: The Myth of the Omnipresent Enemy" by John Mueller in Foreign Affairs Magazine

Jews Against Zionism

Naturei Karta: Jews United Against Zionism

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"God's Jewish Warriors"

This week, for three days, CNN is running the documentary, "God's Warriors".

Tuesday, yesterday, was the first segment of this monumental documentary.

It is available now in short segments on you tube.

The link to "God's Warriors" at CNN is here

"God's Jewish Warriors" (youtube, broken down into 10 consecutive segments)

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New York's first Arab school under fire - August 22 07: Al_Jazeera TV

Surfing for Peace in Gaza

Hawaii Surfer Donates Boards for Gazans

U.S. surfer Dorian Paskowitz, 86, foreground, from Hawaii carries two surfboards that are part of a personal donation to Palestinian youths in the Gaza Strip, at the Erez Crossing, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2007. Paskowitz believes surfing can bring peace to Israelis and Palestinians and he's come here with boards to press his point. Paskowitz arrived at the Erez crossing into Gaza on Tuesday to hand over 12 surfboards he is donating to Gaza's small surfing community. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
U.S. surfer Dorian Paskowitz, 86, foreground, from Hawaii carries two surfboards that are part of a personal donation to Palestinian youths in the Gaza Strip, at the Erez Crossing, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2007. Paskowitz believes surfing can bring peace to Israelis and Palestinians and he's come here with boards to press his point. Paskowitz arrived at the Erez crossing into Gaza on Tuesday to hand over 12 surfboards he is donating to Gaza's small surfing community. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov) (Tsafrir Abayov - AP)

JERUSALEM -- An 86-year-old Jewish surfing guru from Hawaii is bringing good vibrations to the impoverished Gaza Strip.

Dorian Paskowitz, a retired doctor who has been surfing for 75 years, donated 12 surfboards to Gaza's small surfing community on Tuesday in a novel gesture to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

God will surf with the devil if the waves are good," Paskowitz said. "When a surfer sees another surfer with a board, he can't help but say something that brings them together."

Tanned and shirtless, Paskowitz emerged grinning at the Israel-Gaza border crossing after handing over the dozen boards to Palestinian surfers waiting on the other side.

He said he was inspired after reading a story about two Gaza surfers who could not enjoy the wild waves off the coastal strip because they had only one board to share between them.

So I said to my son 'come, we'll go to Israel and get them some boards,'" Paskowitz told AP Television News.

He described his mission as a "mitzvah," Hebrew for a "good deed."

During his visit, Paskowitz said he wanted to "do something spectacular, like getting all the surfers and paddling around into the waters of Gaza." But those plans were scuttled because of security concerns.

Arthur Rashkovan, a 28-year-old surfer from Tel Aviv, said Paskowitz's project was part of a larger effort called "Surfing for Peace," aimed at bringing Middle Eastern surfers closer together. He said eight-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater, who is of Syrian descent, is expected to arrive in Israel in October to take part in the drive.

"We want Palestinians to enjoy the surfing experience. We believe it brings people together," Rashkovan said. "The idea is for people to forget about the violence and follow the journey to peace on the waves."

Paskowitz is venerated by Israeli surfers as the man who brought the sport to the Jewish state five decades ago. Rashkovan called him a "guru" to Israeli surfers.

Paskowitz said he first arrived in Israel in 1956 during a war between Israel and Egypt. He tried to join the Israeli military but was turned down. So he surfed off the coast of Tel Aviv instead, he recounted, and was mobbed by Israelis charmed by the strange sight of a man riding the waves standing upright on a board.

The father of nine served in the Navy during World War II, practiced family medicine for more than half a century and has published books on surfing and health. He said he has surfed for 75 years all over the world, and he ranks the waves off the Israeli and Gaza coasts as among the world's best.

"I'm 86 years old. I can't stand up very well, I have a piece of titanium in my hip. But I still love it," he said.


Palestinian men carry the donated surfboards.

More pictures>>>>>>>>>

Why not? Surfing has a LONG history of being a peaceful sport, catching the waves, the image of the kick-back surfer. Since Hamas has taken over the beaches are safe and crowded. People choose on their OWN to reach out in peace, I say Mahalo to Mr. Paskowitz and others.

Young men explore freedom atop the surf along Gaza's coast

Lying on his battered board, he scanned the horizon. The turquoise water glittered in the midday sun.

Moments later, he caught a wave, effortlessly.

Back at the shore, Ahmed Abu Hassan, a 28-year-old Palestinian, pulled his board from the water and walked along the Gaza beach where green Hamas flags competed for space with red and yellow umbrellas. It looked as if Islamic militants and ice cream vendors had engaged in a turf war over the golden sand.

"It's a joy," said Hassan, a taciturn and graceful surfer.

If surfing is a quest for freedom, nowhere is such a pursuit more relevant than in Gaza -- an overcrowded, poverty-stricken strip of land on the Mediterranean controlled by Hamas and cut off from the rest of the world by Israel.

"Gaza is like a prison," said Bashire Watfa, owner of the Al Shira (or the Sail) beach cafe. "There's nowhere to breathe except the beach."

Rival Palestinian factions recently fought running street battles among the scarred apartment blocks that tower over downtown Gaza City. After weeks of bloodletting, Hamas prevailed over the more secular Fatah forces. In response, Israel quickly shut down its border crossings with Gaza, allowing only limited international aid to enter.

For the surfers of the Gaza Strip, the popular Al Deira beach is a refuge where catching the perfect wave trumps politics.

"We go to the beach to forget about the suffering," said Mohammed Juda, 20, who surfs with his brother, Wadia, 15. The Juda brothers, who paddle out into the surf every morning at 6, wore identical blue T-shirts and black bathing shorts.

Read further>>>>>>>

Jubilation: Palestinians swim at a previously forbidden beach in the Gaza Strip.

Mahalo Hawaii, On This Day in 1959 You Became a State

dancer 9

This day in history: Hawaii became the 5oth State.

Virtual field trip of Hawai

Below is a video of Hawaii's attempt to preserve their culture by reviving their language. Language is the glue that binds all cultures, their identity, and CANNOT be translated exactly.
There are nuances in all languages, emotions, subtleness.

Last summer our family spent a week on Maui. My ten year old daughter wanted to know how to say "good morning", so I asked an employee (native) at the hotel where we were staying "How do you say good morning in Hawaiian?"

She answered, "Aloha"

I replied, "I thought that means 'hello' generally, or a sort of welcoming implied"

"We have no specific 'good morning' " she responded, "Aloha is what we say for good morning also, we say this for all greetings"

As an English speaker I was perplexed. How can you not have a specific greeting for that which is intended? It got me thinking, there is something subtle in this difference, there is a CULTURAL specificity that cannot be translated, can "Aloha" be said without knowing what the Hawaiian language is implying? If I learn the subtleness of this word heard so often as a tourist (along with mahalo of course) can I go beyond the surface of my brief visit here.

The answer of course is yes. Because in order to understand any culture completely, one must know the language, because this is the spoken identity of that culture and is UNIQUE and like no other.

Aloha and Mahalo:

Aloha and mahalo are ineffable, indescribable, and undefinable with words alone; to be understood, they must be experienced.

Deeper meaning and sacredness is hinted at by the root words of these words. Linguists differ in their opinions as to the exact meanings and origins, but this is what was told to me by my kupuna (elder):

On a spiritual level, aloha is an invocation of the Divine and mahalo is a Divine blessing. Both are acknowledgments of the Divinity that dwells within and without.

[Alo = presence, front, face] + [ = breath]
"The presence of (Divine) Breath."

[Ma = In] + [ = breath] + [alo = presence, front, face]
"(May you be) in (Divine) Breath."

Think of them as single-word blessings or prayers.

Youtube: "The Soul of my Culture" Why don't I speak my language? What can I do to learn my language? How can I help to perpetuate the language and culture? This video (a webcam copy of a documentary-but absolutely ok to view) is a documentary about Hawaii's effort to maintain their native language.

"When you loose your language, you loose the soul of your culture"

When you use your language, you are expressing the soul of your culture.

In order for the people's of the world to understand each other, we must understand each other's language. Language is not something to be afraid of, language is a means of communication. Each culture is unique, each human being a unique child of our creator, using their own language given them. Celebrate diversity, practice respect, and learn from one another.

Mahalo. Salam, Shalom, Peace and Blessings.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Imagine Unity

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Ask Your Cable Channel to Carry Al-Jazeera

The new Sept./Oct issue of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs features a story on Al Jazeera English-language channel which in the U.S. can only be seen in Toledo, OH and Burlington, VT. This is ironic since Al Jazeera English is viewed by 85 million households worldwide -- vastly outdistancing BBC World and CNN International.

The channel runs 24/7 reporting from capitals all over the world -- for instance, David Frost, formerly of the BBC, reports from London.

All we need to do is call our local cable supplier and insist that they offer Al Jazeera English as an option selection.

Either check your latest cable TV bill to get the local number or I have listed below numbers published in Washington Report.

We're calling today.

Time Warner Cable 1-203-328-0600
Charter Communicatrions l-888-438-2427
Comcast 1-800COMCAST
Cox Communications 1-404-269-7054
Dish Network 1-888-284-7116
Mediacom: 1-866-755-2225
Nat'l Cable & Telecommunications Assn. 1-202-222-2350
Southern California

To view Al Jazeera's website, please check

"Witness for the Defenseless" by Anna Baltzer

The following article is long-nine pages-but a must read.

Witness for the Defenseless
by: Anna Baltzer
August - September 2007
The Link - Volume 40, Issue 3

Every time I think I have understood the Israel/Palestine conflict, something will remind me how much more I have to learn. My first breakthrough came during a trip to southern Lebanon, where for the first time I heard a narrative about the state of Israel altogether different from the one I had learned growing up as a Jewish American. My grandmother, who had fled Europe and lost most of her family in the Nazi Holocaust, had always spoken of Israel as a tiny victimized country that simply wanted to live in peace but couldn’t because of its aggressive, Jew-hating Arab neighbors. Then, while traveling through the Middle East, I was taken in by a family of Palestinian refugees who told me their story of being violently expelled from their homeland, never allowed to return. They told me stories of past and present military attacks, colonization, house demolitions, imprisonment without trial, torture, and government-sponsored assassination.

At first, I didn’t believe them.

So I did my own research, and soon I realized that the stories of my friends in Lebanon were true. I realized that it was largely Israel’s aggressive actions and policies—and U.S. unconditional financial support for those actions and policies—that were precluding a just peace in the region. I felt responsible for the role my tax dollars and government were playing in the violations of international law and human rights, and I felt doubly responsible as a Jewish American, since Israel’s abuses were being carried out in the name of Jews everywhere.

Determined to see the situation for myself, I traveled to Palestine in late 2003 as a volunteer with the International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS), a grassroots solidarity organization dedicated to documenting and nonviolently intervening in human rights abuses in the West Bank, and to supporting Palestinian-led nonviolent resistance to the Occupation.

In spite of my research, nothing could have prepared me for witnessing firsthand the injustices that characterize Israeli rule in the West Bank, including the expansion of Jewish-only colonies on Palestinian land, the virtually unchecked brutality of soldiers and settlers against Palestinian civilians, and Israel’s Apartheid Wall, separating hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their land, jobs, hospitals, schools, and each other.

I met one family whose house was completely surrounded by the Wall—a one-family bantustan. I met Palestinians who had spent their lives in prison never having been told what crime they were accused of, nor given access to a lawyer. I helped villagers pick barley seeds boiled in rat poison out from shrubs where settlers had planted them to deter shepherds from grazing their sheep on their land. I watched soldiers uproot olive trees in the middle of the night as collective punishment on entire villages. I took reports about extrajudicial assassinations and torture. I met the family of a six-year-old boy who inhaled poisonous gas that had been shot by soldiers into his home when he was less than a year old, and he hasn’t been able to walk, talk, or eat on his own since. I saw soldiers shoot at unarmed nonviolent protesters, including internationals and Israelis. I documented a week-long invasion into Nablus, including the systematic obstruction of medical services, and the extensive use of human shields, including an eleven-year-old girl.

Those “Benign” Checkpoints

Perhaps the biggest surprise about the Occupation for me was the nature of Israel’s military checkpoints. Of all the institutions of the Occupation, checkpoints had always seemed to me the most benign. Wasn’t it natural that people be stopped to show their IDs when crossing between Israel and the West Bank, just as travelers between the U.S. and Canada have to stop on their way from one to the other? I quickly realized that the hundreds of checkpoints and other road obstructions in the West Bank were not on its border with Israel, but concentrated on Palestinian roads between Palestinian towns and villages. Also, unlike normal border crossings, not everyone had to stop at these checkpoints. Jewish settlers, their cars distinguishable by their yellow (Israeli) license plates, would breeze by hundreds of Palestinians waiting at checkpoints in their vehicles with white and green (West Bank Palestinian) plates.

During my eight months in the West Bank, I documented countless abuses at these checkpoints. I interviewed Hessa, a woman who was stopped by soldiers at the checkpoint between her village of Deir Ballut and the nearest hospital in Ramallah when she went into labor with twins. Unable to reach the hospital in time, she lost both of her babies.

Soldiers stopped my friend Dawud and his wife at Atara checkpoint as they were rushing their six-month-old son, who was having trouble breathing, to the hospital in Ramallah. Despite the parents’ screams as they watched their son begin to choke, shake, and eventually pass away, the soldiers refused to let the family pass.

I met Jaber, who was stopped at Huwwara checkpoint on his way home from the hospital in Nablus. Sick with meningitis, Jaber had strict doctor’s orders to rest in bed but was held by soldiers for ten hours in the sun without food or water.

Not all of the violations were health-related. I watched soldiers manning checkpoints beat and humiliate Palestinians. I documented additional checkpoints set up during Jewish holidays and following threats of violence from Jewish settlers. I saw the way checkpoints prevent the efficient transport of Palestinian goods. I witnessed first-hand the way checkpoints block Palestinians from reaching their homes and holy sites, in addition to their land, hospitals, and schools.

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"FOREIGN AGENTS: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal"

Bestseller "Foreign Agents" with free shipping!

The book, "FOREIGN AGENTS: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal" is now available from the AET Book Club.

Senator James Abourezk says "This is an important book that should be read by everyone, especially those who are in policy making positions." Radio Host Jeffrey Blankfort reviewed the book and believes that "for those who want to understand how AIPAC and the Israel lobby have hijacked the American political process, Grant Smith's FOREIGN AGENTS is required reading."

Washington Report executive editor Richard Curtiss says "Grant F. Smith’s book provides a superb review of the efforts that have been made to expose the Israel lobby from 1963 to 2005. Smith’s work is extremely well researched. He gathers together documents, testimony from closed-door hearings, and news articles that most Americans have totally forgotten. Although Israel’s friends in America continue to discredit pro-American researchers like Grant Smith, using lies and other machinations, more and more people are discovering the truth. His work is monumental.

U.S. readers of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs magazine and email list subscribers can get the book for $11.00 plus shipping.

To listen to a one hour August 19, 2007 WBAI radio interview with the book's author, download the free MP3 or Windows media audio files at:

(MP3 Audio File)
(Windows Audio File)

Foreign Agents is now #1 on Barnes and Noble's New Policy book release ranking: and #7 among all new B&N new Politics books:

Read more reviews of Foreign Agents at:

For more on Grant Smith interviews, go to

Evenings with Combatants for Peace in Los Angeles Aug 21-28

The Topanga Peace Alliance


*An Evening with the Combatants for Peace*

Thursday, August 23 at 7 pm (Pot Luck at 6 pm) scroll down for additional appearances Aug. 21 through Aug. 28
Topanga Community House
1440 N Topanga Cyn. Blvd.
Topanga, CA 90290

Former combatants working together in the state of Israel and the occupied Palestinian land.
"Only by joining forces will we be able to end the cycle of violence"

Moderated by Yigal Arens
Special musical performance by Yuval Ron (don't be late).

On August 23, Ra'ed Haddar and Shimon Katz, members of the group Combatants for Peace, will appear at the Topanga Community House to share their stories of transformation from lives of violence to working for peaceful coexistence.

Shimon Katz, an Israeli, served four years as an officer in an elite Israel Defense Force unit. Ra'ed Haddar, a Palestinian, was formerly connected to Fatach and spent years in Israeli prisons. But now they are on the same side, as part of an organization spreading the call for peace.
The presentation will be at the Topanga Community House located at 1440 N Topanga Cyn. Blvd. A $10 suggested donation will be collected at the door, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

A potluck dinner organized by the Topanga Peace Alliance starts at 6:00 p.m. and the program will begin at 7:00 P.M.

The two Combatants for Peace will also appear at a series of Southern California events between August 20 to August 30. These events have been coordinated by and are sponsored by the Topanga Peace Alliance.

For more information or to RSVP to the Topanga event on August 23, contact Susan Beeftink of the Topanga Peace Alliance, at susanbeeftink@
For more information about the Combatants for Peace, visit their website at www.combatantsforpe

Co-sponsored by: American Friends Service Committee and CodePink
Endorsed by: Women In Black; I Wage; L. A. Jews For Peace; L. A. Catholic Worker; Progressive Democrats of Santa Monica Mountains

Additional events with the Combatants for Peace include:

August 21, 7:30 p.m.
Cousins' Club of Orange County
15600 Sand Canyon Avenue
Irvine, CA 92618

August 24, 7:30 p.m.
Beth Shir Shalom
1827 California Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90403

August 25, 7:00 p.m.
First Congregational Church
241 Cedar Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90802

August 26, 11:30 a.m.
Santa Monica Unitarian Church
1260 18th St.
Santa Monica, CA 90404

August 26, 2:00 p.m.
Arlington West
Santa Monica Beach

August 28, 7:00 p.m.
All Saints Church
132 Euclid Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91101

Youtube: Combatants for Peace: June 2007
There's a real sense of optimism ahead of the Middle East peace talks. For the past two years, former Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters have been meeting together to call for peace.