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Here are the headlines from Mondoweiss for 05/28/2011:

Obama’s mild defiance at AIPAC cost him $10 million in Jewish donations
May 27, 2011 03:02 pm | Philip Weiss

Adam Kredo in the Washington Jewish Week honestly addresses a central political issue that a far more prominent journalist, Robert Siegel on NPR, sought to mystify earlier this week. First Kredo:

One prominent Jewish leader who attended Obama's AIPAC speech told me that "the Jewish community has a form of IBS [Irritable Bowel Syndrome] with the president. They're unsettled."

"It's safe to say," the source added, "that about $10 million [in Jewish donations to the Obama campaign] evaporated in that speech."

Now here is Robert Siegel and Ron Kampeas of JTA talking about the same issue on NPR the other day. Note that Kampeas, who is a settler in occupied East Jerusalem, owns property there, is halfway honest about the money issue. But Siegel immediately makes it about voters. This is a lie, and Siegel knows it. Jewish voters can swing one state maybe, Florida. As the Wall Street Journal noted the other day, this is about money...

KAMPEAS: The issue is how it's played with Jewish donors to the Democratic party and there, there has been some concern. There's sort of three levels of Jewish donorship to the Democratic party. There are Jews that donate just because overall they favor the party and then on the right, there are Jews who only donate because of Israel....

SIEGEL: And is the degree of difference that we've seen between Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu, do you think it's substantial enough that republicans who are eager to peel away some votes from the Democrats in 2012 might actually have something to work with?

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Mr Obama, maybe the pogroms have to stop before you talk about a Palestinian state…
May 27, 2011 02:58 pm | Joy Ellison


In Washington DC, the pundits are frantically debating the implications of Obama’s recent speeches on the Middle East. Meanwhile, thousands of miles away in the of village At-Tuwani, the tiny flowers of spring are pushing up through the dry ground. Palestinian farmers are grazing their sheep on land that has been owned by their families for generations. Children are walking to school. And just a hillside away, Israeli settlers are expanding Ma’on settlement. While politicians quibble, the people of At-Tuwani are enduring some of the Israeli occupation’s most brutal violence and severe repression. 150,000 Palestinians living in the rural villages of the West Bank are also struggling to survive in the face of similar injustices. If peace is to come to Israel and Palestine, the rights of these villages must be honored. So what are the implications of Obama’s statements for rural villages like At-Tuwani?

“The people of At-Tuwani and surrounding villages are very simple farmers and shepherds. They depend on their land and flocks, a life that, until recently, has been self-sufficient,” says Keifah Al-Addara, the director of the At-Tuwani Women’s Cooperative. At-Tuwani is one of a dozen small villages located at the Southern tip of the West Bank. This is “area C,” West Bank land that under the Oslo accords is completely under Israeli control. In area C, the Israeli government places severe restrictions on all construction, preventing Palestinians from building homes or basic infrastructure. Area C is also where Israeli settlers, including violent zealots, build settlements and outposts. In many areas, including At-Tuwani, these settlers attack Palestinians with impunity. As Al-Addara explains, these settlements “led to a series of aggression against powerless people; the stealing of our lands; the blocking of our roads; and the attacks on our people. The result was the spread of poverty, fear and insecurity.”

If Obama is to offer any hope to villages like At-Tuwani, he will need to demand that Israel stops its settlement expansion, takes legal action against settlers who attack Palestinians, and recognizes the equal rights of Palestinians as individuals and as a nation. Unfortunately, in his recent speeches Obama did just the opposite.

In his 2009 Cairo speech, Obama said, "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements... It is time for the settlements to stop." This time, Obama took a much more lenient position, describing settlements as a hindrance to peace negotiations. Netanyahu likely understood these statements as a capitulation in the face of his government’s refusal to abide by any settlement freeze. Extremist settlers can take this as a sign that Obama will not put pressure on Israel to curb their violence towards Palestinians.

Settler violence against Palestinians is on the rise. Over the last 6 months, settlers in the South Hebron Hills have attacked Palestinians more frequently and with greater violence. Most recently, on May 15th, Israeli settlers invaded the village of Tuba, killed and stole several sheep belonging to the Ali Awad family and vandalized their home. Previously, on March 19th, a settler stabbed 32-year-old Mahmoud Ibrahim Ali Awad on the edge of At-Tuwani village.

ellison2Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian farmers, cut down olive trees, and even attacked Palestinian children on their way to school. Israeli authorities have refused to prosecute settlers for these crimes. At-Tuwani residents report that settlers and soldiers are now communicating and coordinating more than ever. Obama’s statements about settlements amount to waving the white flag of surrender to these settlers. At-Tuwani has no reason to believe that the United States will do anything to pressure Israel to keep its own citizens in line.

In his Thursday May 19 speech, Obama said that “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.” After this statement was met with Chicken Little protests from conservative politicians, Obama clarified his position in his Sunday speech to AIPAC. Obama said that Israel and Palestine must “negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967.” This border wouldaccount for the changes that have taken place over the last forty-four years, including the new demographic realities on the ground and the needs of both sides.” And what needs will need to be accommodated? The approximately 500,000 settlers living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Instead of telling Israel to stop settlement expansion, Obama told the settlers that if they expand their settlements fast enough, the land on which they stand will become a part of Israel.

For At-Tuwani, talk of land swaps is an unwelcome reminder of home demolitions and ethnic cleansing. Settlers in the South Hebron Hills have made it clear they want their settlements to become a part of Israel. The Israeli government has shown itself all too willing to help the settlers achieve these goals by destroying inconvenient Palestinian villages. In 1998 the Israeli army served orders to over one hundred families in the At-Tuwani area, instructing them to leave their villages. When the families refused, soldiers confiscated their belongings, rounded up the villagers, and dumped them on the side of the highway. After the villages won their case in the Israeli high court, they were able to return to their homes but the Israeli government is still attempted to dispel Palestinians from the At-Tuwani area. This year, on May 7th, the Israeli army demolished the village of Al-Aymir, expelling its residents. This was the third time that the Israeli army demolished Al-Aymir and the Israeli government has made it clear the village will be demolished again when Palestinians return.

Obama’s speech offers little hope of change to communities like At-Tuwani. His statements indicate that he will not stand up to Israel’s continued settlement expansion and ethnic cleansing. At the same time, Obama praised the uprisings in Arab countries for their use of nonviolence. Nonviolent resistance is something about which At-Tuwani village could teach Obama plenty. Like many villages, At-Tuwani has a long history of using demonstrations and other creative actions to stand up to Israeli settlers and soldiers. When I asked a friend what he and the rest of At-Tuwani will do if their villages are “swapped” to Israel, he didn’t hesitate before he answered. “Whatever happens,” he said, “We will stay here. We will not leave our land.”

This determination, not the empty words of politicians, is what offers hope for the people of At-Tuwani.

Joy Ellison is a writer and activist living in Chicago.  From 2007 to 2010, she lived in At-Tuwani, where she worked to support Palestinians nonviolent resistance.  Joy is now writing a graphic novel about At-Tuwani and advocating for the village through Humanity Together.  For news and information on At-Tuwani, follow Humanity Together on Facebook.  For information on Joy, visit her website

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Next generation of American leaders getting ready to write Dear John letter to special relationship?
May 27, 2011 02:35 pm | Philip Weiss

Brookings poll of attitudes among likely future leaders, American millenials, those born between '80--2005, selecting for those in leadership positions, says that they regard Israel as both an ally and a problem. The numbers, which are a little vague, are at the link:

As plays out in global politics, a number of states were identified by the young leaders in both the most likely problem and most likely ally categories. Countries about whom the young leaders had these mixed sentiments included China, Russia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, India and Israel (including its Palestinian territories).

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AIPAC official says Egypt’s commitment to peace demands blockade on Gaza
May 27, 2011 01:30 pm | Seham

and other news from the Arab Spring:

Bahrain's abuse of dissenters: four detailed cases
A pattern of widespread abuse emerges from these cases, including detention without trial, beatings, and lack of access to lawyers and family.

Bahrain: High court to review death penalty cases (AP)
AP - Bahrain's state news agency says military prosecutors have asked the country's highest court to review two death penalty sentences linked to anti-government protests.*

Four protesters get one-year jail terms in Bahrain (AFP)
AFP - A special Bahraini court has sentenced four people to one year in prison for taking part in protests that rocked the kingdom before being crushed in March, a rights group said Wednesday.*

Bahraini Student Activists Lose Scholarships
Many have been left stranded in the United Kingdom after demonstrating against actions of regime.

Bahrain: Formula One Should Take Account of Rights Crisis
(Washington, DC) - The international racing bodies responsible for scheduling Formula One events should take full account of continuing serious human rights violations when they consider rescheduling a 2011 race in Bahrain, Human Rights Watch said today.

Moody's cuts Bahrain bond rating, cites unrest (AP)
AP - Credit agency Moody's Investors Service cut its ratings on Bahrain's government bonds Thursday, citing damage being done by the political turmoil in the Gulf island kingdom.*

Egyptians protest, demand deeper and faster reforms
CAIRO, May 27 (Reuters) - Thousands of Egyptians packed Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday in what organisers called a "second revolution" to push for faster reforms and a speedy trial for ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his former aides. Activists complain of delays in putting Mubarak, his family and members of his ousted regime on trial and that the army has not restored order quickly enough to the country of 80 million.

Why we are holding Egypt's second 'Friday of rage'
Egyptians have earned the right to control our future. On Friday 27 May we will be out in Tahrir Square again to assert that right. In Egypt this week, plans for a large protest on Friday 27 May have attracted more controversy than any other call for a "millionia" (a million-man march) since the revolution. Partly this stems from the names used to describe the day this time: in accordance with the revolutionary tradition of giving names to the various Fridays since the "Friday of rage" on 28 January, it has already become known as "the second revolution", or "the second Friday of rage".

Egypt jails ex-housing minister over graft
Ahmed Maghrabi given five year prison sentence and fined $12.6m for selling land below market value.

Egypt’s ex-spy chief says Mubarak knew of ‘every bullet fired’ as mass protests planned
Egypt’s former Hosni Mubarak, charged with murder, “had complete knowledge of every bullet fired” at protesters, according to damning testimony by his former spy chief, a day before activists plan to stage a mass protest dubbed a “second revolution.”

And so Soliman sold Mubarak !!
The order to transfer Mubarak to criminal court means that the prosecution has got a solid case especially it is the first time in our history and also in our judicial history in particular to have such case. There should be solid testimonies against Mubarak to stand in court. I thought that the one that sold Mubarak and confessed that he gave the orders to shoot the protesters and use live ammunition was Habib El Adly but it seems that I am wrong. According to Al Akhbar newspaper today the one who put the guilt on Mubarak is none other than his vice Omar Soliman !! It is surprising to me because according to early press leaks Soliman defended Mubarak and claimed that he did not give the orders to shoot the protesters.

Egypt to open Rafah border permanently
Palestinians welcome easing of four-year blockade on Gaza Strip, a sharp departure from policies of former president.

Hamas, EU hail Egypt's plan to open Rafah border (AFP)
AFP - Gaza's Hamas rulers and the European Union on Thursday welcomed an Egyptian decision to permanently open the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Palestinian enclave.*

AIPAC official says Egypt's commitment to peace demands blockade on Gaza
An official at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has warned that the Arab Spring revolutions might lead to the emergence of "regimes that are hostile towards the Israelis". Executive Director Howard Kohr stressed to his organisation's conference "the importance of Egypt's commitment to the peace agreement with Tel Aviv", so as not to be pushed into military confrontations with the Israeli army.

Senior Egyptian Official: Free elections in Egypt could "threaten" accomodation with Israel
"EGYPT'S decades-long accommodation with Israel could be endangered this year when the country holds free elections, said Hossam Zaki, a senior adviser to the Egyptian Foreign Minister and pivotal intermediary in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Mr Zaki said Egypt would soon loosen restrictions on Palestinians travelling to Egypt. In his only newspaper interview during a visit to Australia, he also accused Israel of undermining the Egyptian-brokered truce between the Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, which have been fighting a civil war for control over the Palestinian territories. Mr Zaki, a senior adviser to the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Nabil Elaraby, was in Canberra .... Mr Zaki said that even after the ''earthquake'' of the revolution, one of the enduring pillars of Egyptian foreign policy was its 1979 treaty with Israel, but that presidential and parliamentary elections later this year could threaten that. ''My sense is that if Israel continues to ignore international calls for achieving peace on a just basis, and allowing the Palestinians to establish their state, there will be more and more bitter and negative feelings towards Israel, and the difference now, after January 25 [when the uprising began], is that no government in Egypt will be able to ignore those feelings,'' he said..."

Egyptian FM trying to amend Camp David accords
Egyptian foreign minister Nabil al-Arabi is studying an idea to amend several items and activate other items that have been neglected on the Camp David accords.

Can Egypt’s communication giants be sued in the US for the blackout early in the revolution?
Egyptians may be able to sue Vodafone and Mobinil in US courts under a law that allows foreign citizens to bring legal claims to redress violations of international human rights law.

Revolutionary graffiti in Egypt - in pictures
In response to the recent popular uprising in Egypt, revolutionary art has sprung up on the streets of Cairo. Here is a selection of the most notable works to appear

Egyptian graffiti artist Ganzeer arrested amid surge in political expression
Mohamed Fahmy, who goes by Ganzeer, was one of three artists arrested today on the eve of massive protests. His work is part of a wave of political and revolutionary graffiti on Cairo's streets.

Tell that to Thomas Friedman and other Zionists
"Hundreds of Egyptians, emboldened by their revolution, have also rallied in a series of demonstrations here to call for an end to the blockade. A recent demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy led to clashes with security forces that left several wounded and sent nearly 200 to jail. Signs, T-shirts and bumper stickers calling for a new Palestinian “intifada,” or uprising, have proliferated around Cairo."

17 Lost Egyptian Pyramids Discovered By Space Archaeologists
A new golden age of Egyptology may have only just begun. But this time things are a little different. Instead of treks through the desert, khaki hats, and camel rides into the sunset, modern archeologists are using satellite imaging and modern technology to uncover the lost secrets of Egypt. Astoundingly, scientists at the University of Alabama believe they have discovered 17 "lost" pyramids using this methodology, according to MSNBC.

Sadr supporters rally against US presence in Iraq (AFP)
AFP - Thousands of followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr staged a mass rally in Baghdad on Thursday against US forces, as Iraqi leaders consider asking for an extended American troop presence.*

Sadr followers send message to US: Don't try to stay
US troops are scheduled to leave Iraq by Dec. 31, but Prime MInister Maliki said he is considering seeking an agreement that would allow them to stay longer.

Head of Iraq anti-Baath committee gunned down (AFP)
AFP - The head of Iraq's controversial anti-Baath committee was gunned down while on his way home in Baghdad on Thursday, while nine other policemen and soldiers were killed in nationwide unrest.*

Tell the colonial power that people don't need to get paid to resist foreign occupation
"These Shiite militias have emerged as perhaps the greatest threat to the 46,000 United States troops still in Iraq, military officials say. And a barrage of recent attacks — some of them deadly — has raised questions about the safety of Americans as the military withdraws troops and equipment in the months ahead.  “There are plenty of groups who will be paid to kill the last Americans on their way out,” said Col. Douglas Crissman, the military commander who oversees Maysan and three other southern provinces.  Officials say the attacks, coupled with an increase in anti-American leafleting and speeches by hard-line groups, seem to be aimed at tilting the highly charged public debate over whether American forces should be asked to remain in Iraq despite a deadline to leave by the end of the year.   Mr. Sadr himself makes no secret of his strategy. “Yes, we are still resisting and striking bases, troops and vehicles, as long as they are in Iraq,” he told the BBC Arabic service on Thursday. “And there is no doubt with that. It’s an honor for us.”  Southern Iraq is strategically important to the United States, even in the final days of the American deployment here. It is the point of entry for many of the weapons coming from Iran, particularly rockets and the shaped explosives used in improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.’s, military commanders say, and thousands of departing troops and convoys will pass through the region as they head into Kuwait.  Last week, militants hit a United States military base in Basra from seven miles away, and in a single day about 10 rockets were fired at the Green Zone in Baghdad, home to the American Embassy and a sprawling American military base.  American officials say many of the militants have close ties to Iran or to Mr. Sadr, whose once-fearsome Shiite militia, the Mahdi Army, was largely demobilized after suffering humiliating defeats three years ago."

Qaddafi Flees to Hospitals to Dodge Bombs, Reports Say
Two British newspapers say NATO bombings are keeping the Libyan leader increasingly on the run.

NATO air strikes rock Libyan capital
Attacks come as UK gives clearance for the use of its attack Apache helicopters in ousting Gaddafi.

LIBYA-TUNISIA: Growing frustration in Choucha transit camp
DUBAI 25 May 2011 (IRIN) - Tensions have escalated among third country nationals who fled violence in Libya and have been living in Choucha transit camp in Tunisia, and the situation could get worse, an aid worker warns.

Spain says Libya sent message proposing cease-fire (AP)
AP - Spain's government said Thursday that it has received a message from Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi proposing an immediate cease-fire in his country's conflict with rebels.*

Kadafi's government proposes he stay as a figurehead
The idea apparently aims to play on fears of long-term instability and the possibility that if Kadafi cannot be ousted, war-weary Western nations may start looking for a way out of Libya. As President Obama and Western allies reaffirm their resolve to force Moammar Kadafi from power, the government here is promoting an alternative: The embattled Libyan leader remains as a figurehead who would ensure a transition to democracy.,0,3021219.story

ICC prosecutor hopes for Gaddafi arrest
Luis Moreno Ocampo, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court [ICC], spoke to Al Jazeera on war crimes and the effectiveness of the prosecution process. He admitted that it was difficult to prosecute and arrest people in power but said "we are moving in the right direction". Weeks after ICC sought Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's arrest on war crime charges, Ocampo said sooner or later the Libyan leader would be brought to justice.

Exclusive: Battered Libya sues for peace
The Libyan regime is preparing to make a fresh overture to the international community, offering concessions designed to end the bloodshed of the three-month-long civil war.

240 Canadian Bombs Dropped On Libya
(CBC) -- Canadian warplanes have dropped 240 laser-guided bombs on Libya so far in the NATO-led mission, according to the military. Brig.-Gen. Richard Blanchette made the revelation during a weekly briefing on Canada's involvement in the air campaign over the North African country aimed at protecting civilians from attacks by forces loyal to Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi. Six CF-18s have flown 324 attack missions so far. A spare CF-18 is also deployed to the mission.

Libyan rebels continue fight for border crossing
Opposition fighters in western Libya are still fighting battles with government troops. One such fight is for control of the Wazin border crossing with Tunisia. Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid reports from the region.

Misurata bears brunt of Libya battles
The rebel-held western town of Misurata has seen much of the violence between forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and opposition fighters. The opposition now say they have driven out all of Gaddafi's troops - but some remain as prisoners. Tony Birtley reports from Misurata on Libyans surveying the mass destruction inflicted by Gaddafi's forces.

"Morocco: Mapping the 20th of February Movement Marches Held on the 22nd of May"
Cf. Rashid Abul-Samh, "Besieged Monarchs" (Al-Ahram Weekly 1048, 19-25 May 2011); Oxford Analytica, "Persistent Protests Undermine 'Moroccan Exception'" (24 May 2011).

Saudi Arabia
YouTube Saudi woman driver faces further 10-day jail term
Manal al-Sharif, the Saudi mother arrested for uploading a video of her driving on YouTube, faces another 10 days in jail. A Saudi Arabian woman who posted a video online of her driving her car is facing another 10 days in prison, according to reports from the kingdom. Manal al-Sharif, a 32-year old mother who drove around the eastern city of Khobar last Saturday, had been expecting to be released on Friday after five days in jail on charges that her lawyer described as driving without a licence, provoking other women to do the same and provoking public opinion in Saudi Arabia. It is disputed by lawyers whether it is illegal for women to drive under national law but it is socially and religiously unacceptable in many quarters.

Saudi Arabia Scrambles to Limit Region’s Upheaval
Saudi Arabia is flexing its financial and diplomatic might across the Middle East in a bid to avert the overthrow of any more leaders struggling to calm turbulent republics.

US put pressure on Saudi Arabia to let women drive, leaked cables reveal
Documents given to WikiLeaks show Obama administration pushed Saudis to give female citizens more rights. The Obama administration has been quietly putting pressure on Saudi Arabia to allow women to drive, according to leaked US embassy cables. But the jailing of woman protester Manal al-Sharif after she posted an online video of herself at the wheel of a car in Khobar reveals the extent of US diplomatic failure regarding the ban.

Saudi Arabia opens the world's largest university for women …
...But even when they graduate most of the women won't be able to work. The world's largest women-only university was opened barely two weeks ago by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Situated on the outskirts of the capital, Riyadh, the Princess Nora bint Abdulrahman University is ambitious – it has the capacity for 50,000 students and will improve women's access to courses such as business and science. It has a teaching hospital, laboratories and libraries.

Protesters 'shot dead' by Syrian forces
Reports of three people killed by security forces in Damascus suburb amid ongoing protests after Friday prayers.

Syrian student tells of torture ordeal in mass stadium detention
A Syrian student's account of the security forces' mass arrest and torture of Banias residents after pro-reform protests. A 25-year-old university student tells Amnesty International of the beatings and torture he and other detainees suffered while held in a sports stadium after he was seized with his 73- year-old father by security forces from their home in the coastal town of Banias on 8 May.

Syrian soldiers die in ambush near Homs
(AGI) Damascus - "Three Syrian soldiers have died in an ambush near Homs, in central Syria according to military sources quoted by the state Sanaa news agency. Sources reported that a patrol was attacked on the road that from Homs goes to the village of Ghajar. Violent clashes occurred in recent days in Homs, 10 kilometers north west of Damascus, in which at least 18 people were killed..."

Amnesty slams Syria's 'shoot to kill policy'
Amnesty International has said the Syrian government should be put to trial over its alleged "shoot to kill policy" towards anti-government demonstrators. The human rights group has pointed to citizen-captured video that apparently show security forces killing and beating civilians. More than 1,000 civilians have been killed across Syria since protests first erupted in mid-March, according to numerous human rights groups Syria has banned international journalists from the country, making it almost impossible to independently verify the veracity of the videos. Monica Villamizar reports.

Joshua Landis, "Syrian Opposition to Meet in Turkey: May 31-June 2"
Opposition groups and activists are planning to meet in Antalya, Turkey from May 31 to June 2 in an attempt to elect a transitional council, connect with protesters inside the country, and present the international community with a clear alternative to Assad. In April, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood gathered in Istanbul, where a press conference was held by Riad al-Shaqfa, a mentor of the Muslim Brotherhood. It was carried live on Al Jazeera. The meeting was organized under the auspices of the Independent Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association, or MÜSİAD, but the financer and the real organizer was Gazi Mısırlı, one of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and a Syrian who has been living in Turkey with Turkish citizenship, the Syrian ambassador to Ankara, Nidal Kabalan, told the Hürriyet Daily News. "The conference will be open to all supporters of the opposition, independent personalities and representatives of all faiths," Ammar Qurabi, president of the Egypt-based National Organisation of Human Rights, told AFP.

Divisions within the Syrian Opposition on Eve of Turkey Meeting
The opposition meeting scheduled to take place in Turkey in four days (May 30) has brought out divisions among leaders of the Syrian uprising. The opposition is divided over the proper role foreign governments should play in bringing down the Syrian regime. Some believe that only foreign action – primary sanctions as presently articulated – will destroy the Syrian government. One advocates an Israeli role in the destruction of the regime. A growing divide between those inside the country and outside is developing as well. This is suggested by Burhan Ghalioun’s refusal to go to the Turkey meeting of the opposition. Pro-Israel interests in the US, best articulated by the authors at the Washington Institute of Near East Policy, have proposed ways they believe that Sunni soldiers can been persuaded to defect from the Syrian Army. They recognize that so long as the military remains loyal to the president and government, the opposition cannot succeed. Because they do not envisage Alawite officers turning on the regime, they list ways to convince “Sunni members of the Syrian military [to] oust the ruling family.” They advocate that “Washington should begin an active dialogue with the members of the National Initiative for Change.” The principle authors of this program are Radwan Ziadeh, Ausama Monajed, Ammar Abdalhamid, Najib Ghadbian. See more here.

Air strikes 'target Yemen tribes'
Yemen's government uses air strikes to target tribal forces opposed to President Saleh ahead of expected demonstrations, tribesmen say.

Yemen's Saleh faces growing condemnation
G8 leaders call for Saleh to quit as government planes bomb tribal fighters and hundreds flee the capital, Sanaa.

Saleh orders rival tribal chief's arrest
Yemeni president calls for arrest of key rival as government forces and tribal fighters engage in deadly battles.

Deadly street battles sweep Yemeni capital
More than 40 killed and hundreds flee as fighters loyal to rival tribal leader clash with forces of President Saleh.

Shelling shakes Yemeni capital
Threat of civil war grows as fighting between forces loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh and tribal fighters spreads from Sanaa.

Yemen's president vows no retreat as battles rage
Civil war looms as big blasts rock Yemeni capital of Sana'a where heavy fighting near ministries leave the airport closed.

Qatar suspends Yemen embassy ops, withdraws staff
CAIRO, May 26 (Reuters) - Qatar temporarily suspended the operations of its embassy in Yemen on Thursday and withdrew its diplomatic staff from the country due to a flare-up of violence, broadcaster Al Jazeera said. More than 40 Yemenis were killed in pitched street battles in the capital Sanaa on Thursday as fighting aimed at ending President Ali Abdullah Saleh's three-decade-long rule threatened to ignite civil war.

Hague urges British nationals to flee Yemen
William Hague issued a renewed plea for UK citizens to flee Yemen as bloody clashes forced the withdrawal of all but a "core" staff at the British Embassy.

US pulls diplomats out of Yemen
The US orders all its non-essential diplomatic staff to leave Yemen and issues an advisory against travel there as clashes escalate.

Obama tells Yemen’s Saleh to quit amid Sanaa clashes
SANAA (AFP) – US President Barack Obama on Wednesday repeated his call for Yemen's leader Ali Abdullah Saleh to quit as clansmen loyal to a powerful opposition tribal chief seized buildings and battled security forces in Sanaa.

Other News
CIA Bin Laden Compound Search Approved
Pakistan has agreed to allow the CIA to send a forensics team to examine the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed, giving the agency permission to use sophisticated equipment in a search for al-Qaeda materials that might have been hidden inside walls or buried at the site, U.S. officials said.

Power of the internet joins nuclear risks and Arab Spring on G8 agenda

Leaders of the "real" and "virtual" worlds will meet, en masse, for the first time in northern France today. At the G8 world economic summit in Deauville in Normandy, the future of the internet will join the Arab Spring, Africa and nuclear safety as an official "problem" on the agenda of the most powerful men, and women, on earth.

The IMF versus the Arab spring
The IMF is depicted as the rich uncle saving wayward children, but proposed loans for Egypt and Tunisia could be devastating. In the midst of the media storm surrounding IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn last week, my feelings were perfectly expressed in a tweet by Paul Kingsnorth: "Could someone please arrest the head of the IMF for screwing the poor for 60 years?"

The Arab Awakening - Absolute Power
As revolution shakes the Arab world, a series of films explore the roots of the uprisings and ask 'what next'? Those in a position to know reveal the 'tricks of the trade' of Arab dictatorship.

Kenyon Review Interview with Sinan Antoon on Litearture and Arab Uprisings
[The following interview was conducted with Jadaliyya Co-Editor Sinan Antoon on the relatonship between the Arab uprisings and literature. The interview was originally published on the Kenyon Review Blog.]

'The smallest minds and cowardliest hearts': Is Congress clapping for apartheid?, Stephen M. Walt
Mark Twain once described members of Congress as having "the smallest minds and the selfishest souls and the cowardliest hearts that God makes." Twain's mordant assessment provides a parsimonious explanation for the predictably rapturous reception that Bibi Netanyahu received there yesterday. All one can say about the vast majority of our courageous elected officials is that they aren't genuine friends of Israel, because every burst of applause was another nail in the coffin of the Zionist dream.

A Good Week for Bibi, a Bad Week for Barack, an Opportunity for the Palestinians
The past week in Washington was an extraordinary one. It witnessed an American president give two speeches in which he offered further concessions to Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of a country that is a client of the United States. Netanyahu challenged the President from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, effectively seeking and receiving Congress's stamp of approval on his strikingly extreme positions. This end-run around the US Executive Branch followed an invitation from the head of the Republican congressional opposition to speak to a joint session of Congress. This invitation itself was in defiance of American constitutional principles and the hallowed convention that politics stops at the water's edge. The world looked on as this foreign leader got at least twenty-six standing ovations during a hard-line speech that ruled out either the prospect of a serious negotiation, or of anything approaching a sovereign Palestinian state. Given the trend of Arab and Palestinian politics lately, negotiations on American-Israeli terms were in any case unlikely.

The biggest problem i have with Aljazeera is not political and is not that it has become a pure voice for the Arab counter-revolution and for the dreadful Saudi-Qatari alliance.  The problem is that it has become an example of bad journalism.  I tuned in this morning to watch the news and I only got propaganda.  Pure propaganda.  They basically have become like trash talk radio in the US: they open the phone lines and--unlike US trash talk radio--they treat their anonymous callers like their own correspondents and ask them questions about political developments in Syria (the country of choice these days).  And if the callers offer opinions that diverge from the agenda of Aljazeera, they are immediately shut off.  Aljazeera the other day did not even cover the speech by Nasrallah, when it used to extensively provide live coverage of his speeches.  Maybe it over did it in the past, just as it now underdoes it.   Today, they barely covered the massive demonstrations in Tahrir Square, while allowing anonymous callers to report to them on Syria.  They had a Youtube footage of a "massive demonstration" in a Syrian town when I was able to count around ten people.  When it comes to Syrian developments, one has to struggle hard.  On the one hand, you get crude and weird propaganda on Syrian regime TV (where they spend hours on technical topics, like "food security" or "irrigation in the 21st century"), and on the other hand you have the sensational and unreliable Saudi and Qatari propaganda outlets.  One suffocates in these conditions.  It is fair to say that Aljazeera suffered its most serious blow to its credibility since it went on the air.

Female Imams
Chinese Islam retains characteristics that set it apart. The communist revolution with its emphasis on gender equality has left its mark here. Mao famously said that "women hold up half the sky", a lesson China's Muslims seem to have imbibed well.

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Col Desmond Travers captures NYC
May 27, 2011 01:18 pm | Philip Weiss

traverssThe Nation has posted a video of the panel we and the Culture Project did a week ago in New York on Gaza and Goldstone-- with Naomi Klein, Noura Erakat, Col Desmond Travers of the Goldstone mission (above), and our co-editor Lizzy Ratner. It was a great evening. I'm going to rewatch it myself to mine the treasures. And below are some more faces to put on the names, all photos by Prabhakar Jeff Street: Trudie Styler, Klein, Erakat, and Ratner.




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Reconciliation agreement was born of renewed national movement that includes refugees
May 27, 2011 12:22 pm | Philip Weiss

Smart piece by Jesse Rosenfeld and Joseph Dana at the Nation saying that the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas was brought about not so much by Egypt but the spirit of the Arab spring in Palestine-- a Palestinian youth movement reinvigorated by participation of Palestinian refugees in the bordering states.

The Nakba protests have been the largest so far of a growing Palestinian youth revolt. The protests—launched with unity protests on March 15 in the Palestinian Authority–controlled West Bank and Hamas-governed Gaza Strip—are the Palestinian response to the outbreak of revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.

While it is a new development, this manifestation of popular anger against Palestinian Authority concessions in the failed negotiations process—shockingly revealed with Al Jazeera’s January release of top-secret negotiation minutes, known as the Palestine Papers—and Israel’s practice of divide and rule has been simmering under the surface for the past three years.

“The unity agreement between Fatah and Hamas gave people hope to be here today and continue with this new phase of struggle,” said Fadi Quran, a founding organizer of the March 15 movement, amid the clashes with Israeli soldiers at the Qalandia checkpoint. “It showed us that something was possible and we must continue,” he added, coughing from tear gas.

The March 15 movement marks a generational shift in Palestinian politics. Demanding that Palestinians shape their future through full democratization of the PLO, March 15 has sought to reshape national identity through unity and the relaunching of a popular struggle.

Following a surge of momentum that has forced a reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, ending four years of official national division, the Nakba Day protests expanded the concept of unity from below to encompass Palestinian refugees living on Israel’s borders.

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Levy: settlers can claim to be Israel’s authentic Zionist voice
May 27, 2011 12:10 pm | Philip Weiss

Daniel Levy has a great piece at Foreign Affairs about the actual composition of Israeli society, and wonders what kind of a democracy we're speaking of...

Israel prides itself on being a democracy -- a proposition that always appeared somewhat tenuous for the 20 percent of Israel's citizens who are Palestinian-Arab, who lived under a military governorate from 1948 to 1966 and continue to face entrenched structural discrimination. Many older, more established elite groups in the Israeli secular political establishment, academia, and media have a growing concern over what they see as Israel's fragile democracy, driven by a sense that Israel lacks a set of universally shared democratic values among its increasingly self-segregated population. These elites fear that the country may lack a thriving democratic ecosystem, with a clear and binding rulebook for the majority of Israelis, be they ultra-Orthodox, traditional Orthodox, national religious, Palestinian-Arab, or Russian-speaking. The influence of the Russian population is especially worth noting: almost 20 percent of Israeli citizens are immigrants from the former Soviet Union who have arrived over the past two decades. This Russian-speaking community, coming from authoritarian states, is relatively less at home with democratic politics than other communities are; at the same time, the Israeli state was ill-equipped to pass along democratic norms as part of the absorption process.

Democratic frailty plays out most worryingly in the arena of majority-minority or Jewish-Arab relations, something that is being exploited by the current governing coalition (and especially Foreign Minister Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party) with a slew of anti-democratic and at times unashamedly racist legislative initiatives  targeting the Palestinian-Arab community. This political trend has found great resonance in the Israeli public: according to a 2010 survey by the Israel Democracy Institute, 86 percent of the Jewish public believe that decisions critical to the state should be taken only by a Jewish majority; 53 percent support the government's right to encourage Arabs to emigrate from Israel; and 55 percent say that greater resources should be allocated to Jewish communities than to Arab ones....

Yet it is beyond doubt that the settler lobby has become a powerful and entrenched political machine, relying on a narrative that credibly claims to being the country's authentic Zionist voice.

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Zakaria lightbulb moment: Israel rules millions of ‘serflike’ disfranchised Palestinians
May 27, 2011 11:55 am | Philip Weiss

Fareed Zakaria at Washington Post:

The chief threats to Israel are from new technologies — rockets, biological weapons — and demography. Its physical existence is less in doubt than its democratic existence as it continues to rule millions of Palestinians in serf-like conditions — entitled to neither a vote nor a country.

Further evidence of the smartest line in the last week, Peter Beinart's assertion that Americans and Jews are losing their ability to shape the destiny of the Middle East, because all they've given rise to is a "mindless land grab."

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When do we tell the children? (Goldberg concedes that anti-Zionists are winning)
May 27, 2011 11:49 am | Philip Weiss

I keep saying that Jeffrey Goldberg is confused. Well here's more evidence. He knows that the settlement project is destroying Israel but he insists that Zionism can be saved. He refuses to accept his own complicity in the settlement enterprise, and all the other Israel lobbyists who supported the settlements no matter what throughout election cycles from the 90s on when they were under some political pressure here. Goldberg:

settlements should be fought as if there was no such thing as anti-Zionism, and anti-Zionism should be fought as if there were no such thing as the settlements. This, I think, reflects the centrist position.

Now comes a belief that is a delusion, as much as the contention in the 1950s that communism had liberated the Soviet proletariat was a delusion:

A centrist on the question of Israel believes that the settlements represent a corruption of Jewish ideals, but that Israel remains the physical manifestation of a righteous cause.

And now the realist collapse:

Now The right, of course, believes that settlements are an expression, not a corruption, of that cause. The left, on the other hand, believes that settlements are a manifestation of Zionism's true nature. I disagree with that argument strenuously. But I will say this, though: The left position on this question has the wind at its back.

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Walt: ‘Every burst of congressional applause for Netanyahu was another nail in coffin of Zionist dream’
May 27, 2011 11:45 am | Philip Weiss

Amazing that Jimmy Carter was tarred and feathered for writing Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, but any intelligent person agrees. Stephen Walt at Foreign Policy says Congress chose apartheid the other day:

All one can say about the vast majority of our courageous elected officials is that they aren't genuine friends of Israel, because every burst of applause was another nail in the coffin of the Zionist dream.   Why? Because Netanyahu's central message yesterday was an emphatic rejection of a genuine two-state solution...

Some people still believe that settlement building was just a wacky project undertaken and backed primarily by religious extremists and by rightwing parties like Likud. In fact, colonization of the West Bank began under the Labor-led governments in the 1960s and 1970s, and governments of all stripes have backed it without exception.

Read Gershom Gorenberg's Accidental Empire, Idith Zertal and Akiva Eldar's Lords of the Land, or Shlomo Gazit's Trapped Fools, and you will learn that settlement building was a deliberate policy designed to "create facts," so that future prime ministers like Netanyahu could claim it was simply impossible for Israel to withdraw.  And the location of key settlement blocs like Ariel and Ma'ale Adumim were chosen to secure Israeli control over key aquifers and make it difficult-to-impossible to create a viable Palestinian state. 

As I said in my previous post, Israel faces a choice-- a two-state solution or apartheid -- and it is now crystal-clear which one Netanyahu has chosen. I see this situation as genuinely tragic, as he is condemning several more generations to live in bitter conflict and putting his own country's future at risk. That's his privilege, I suppose, but America's blind support for this foolish policy is also a serious threat to U.S. national security. So if your Congressman or Senator was clapping loudly yesterday, you might drop him or her a note and ask why they care more about subsidizing an illegal and unjust occupation than they do about America's long-term welfare and well-being.

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