Zionism is not a term of abuse but a designation for one who accepts a Jewish-only state

Many get all bent out of shape when Chomsky & Norman Finkelstein are referred to as Zionists because they have so righteously exposed the crimes of Israel. Sam Charles Hamad is bent out of shape at the suggestion that he is a Zionist & some are falling over themselves to assure him he is not.

Zionist is not an epithet of abuse. It is the designation for someone who believes Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish-only state. Chomsky, Finkelstein, & Hamad fit that description to a tee. If they’re uncomfortable with the designation, they should be because it means identifying with colonialism, apartheid, & ethnic cleansing. The solution to their discomfort is not to hold their hands & soothe their wounded egos but for them to reject Zionism & accept the Palestinian proposal for a democratic, secular state where Palestinians & Jews can live as brothers & sisters.

Cynics claim such a state is a pipe dream but those who grew up in the US under segregation & saw the transformative power of the civil rights movement know that human beings are more suited for harmony than discord. It took massive efforts to reverse the achievements of the civil rights movement because even whites preferred unity to social hatred & a false supremacy.

Sam Charles Hamad comes out as Zionist & opposed to Palestinian self-determination

Sam Charles Hamad blocked me for criticizing his attack on BDS before I was finished kicking his ass so I went to the article on The New Arab website & continued my offensive in the comments section:
Hard to pack more ignorance and libertarian sniveling into one article than Hamad has managed to do in this piece. It’s like a toxic waste dump. At least Hamad ought to try to get his facts about BDS straight and leave his petulant animosities against the left out of clear view–all the better to fool us that he gives a rat’s ass about Palestinian self-determination but doesn’t expose his arrant Zionism and political affinities with the rightwing and some from the very left he detests. One cannot tell the difference between Hamad’s views on Israel and those of Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, also contemptuous opponents of BDS and supporters of a Jewish-only state.

Hamad comes out slugging as an apologist for Israel & equivocal about apartheid. What’s with the “apartheid-esque” designation? In the style of, resembling apartheid? Most people would say if it looks like racist persecution, perhaps that’s what it is. Is “apartheid-esque” less racist, less violent, less discriminatory than outright apartheid? When Israeli police gunned down those three young Palestinians at Al Aqsa mosque last week, did those “apartheid-esque” bullets feel less deadly? Were the families of the young men relieved that they weren’t outright apartheid bullets?

Hard to pretend you’re a sophisticated secular scholar when you support a medieval structure like a Jewish-only colonial-settler state. But harder to pretend you have any sense of democratic principles, or any principles at all, when you support bantustates for Palestinians after watching 69 years of expropriations, settlements, military occupation, blockades, carpet bombing. Is Hamad even minimally informed about the character of the Oslo Accords? Or is talking through his hat the level of his investigative powers?

How can anyone who understands the character of the Zionist state, the history of Israel, and the role Israel plays as a fortress against democracy in the Middle East possibly oppose the economic and cultural boycott (BDS) of Israel? How can anyone watch Palestinians, vilified as terrorists, stand unarmed for 69 years against one of the most powerful militaries in the world and still oppose the international solidarity of BDS? How could anyone express as much ignorance about the Palestinian initiative, organization, administration of BDS as Hamad?

This is a shameful piece, rubbish, shabby apologia, intellectually impoverished. On the wrong side of justice.

Came across this delicious bon mot from July 19, 2013:

“You offer someone a sincere compliment on their
mustache & suddenly she’s not your friend

–Sanjana Kaushik

It took a while for my less than 15-pound Chihuahua mutts to stop being afraid of the two 70-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback rescues I took in. But today they nuzzle, roughhouse, chase each other. It’s so sweet to see the two galoots act like little puppies but they never had a home before. The two bambinos are another story. They’re part bulldog & all bully. They’re a work in progress & quite frankly way over my capabilities.

In indignation at Sam Charles Hamad’s scurrilous & ignorant attack on BDS, I wrote an email to The New Arab journal which published it & suggested they request a Palestinian who, unlike Hamad, actually knows something about the subject to write an article in response, or at least in defense of BDS. The journal bears responsibility for publishing this piece of rubbish.

If anyone else would like to give the journal their views on this betrayal of Palestinians, please write them at: info@alaraby.co.uk

“On Wednesday Radiohead will perform in a Tel Aviv stadium built over the ruins of the Palestinian village of Jarisha. It is a sad fact that Radiohead have failed to engage with Palestinians who have called for them not to play, & that Thom Yorke’s comments are devoid of any reference to Palestinians at all.

As the lights go out in Gaza & Palestinian cancer patients die because they are denied travel permits by Israel, while a Palestinian poet in Israel lives under house arrest for a poem she wrote on Facebook, while a young circus performer from the West Bank languishes in administrative detention without charge or trial–Thom Yorke speaks loftily about “crossing borders” & “freedom of expression.” One has to ask, freedom for whom exactly?”

–Mike Leigh, Film Director

Ilan Pappe calls the siege of Gaza “incremental genocide.”
Haidar Eid calls Gaza “the Guernica of the 21st Century.”

Support the economic & cultural boycott of Israel. Buy nothing with barcode beginning 729 & check the label on every product since the market is inundated with Israeli products from attire to foods to cosmetics.

The importance of the Palestinian struggle against apartheid, ethnic cleansing, colonialism

The attack by Sam Charles Hamad on the Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions movement & his proposal for a bantustate solution for Palestinians has made me think about why the importance of the Palestinian struggle cannot be overstated. When I became involved in solidarity after the 1967 Six-Day War, my teachers were Palestinians, Arab student activists, older Jewish socialists, & activists from Matzpen, the Israeli socialist group (now defunct).

They elaborated the history & political character of Zionism, the history of terrorist war against Palestine, the colonial partition of Palestine, the establishment of Israel as a colonial-settler state, & the role of the US in militarizing Israel. Grounded in that history & theory from uncompromising supporters of Palestine, I have never questioned the just demands of the Palestinian people nor wavered in my commitment to them. But as the socialist movement began to fall apart & move to the right after the Vietnam War ended, there was a noticeable shift to the right on the question of Palestine among activists of my generation. Many became Zionists, opposed & campaigned against BDS, & some came right out & began calling Palestinians terrorists.

To my mind, turning your back or going all equivocal on the Palestinians is a staggering betrayal of the most fundamental principles of international solidarity, as unthinkable as turning one’s back on the Vietnamese during that war or on the Afghans, Iraqis, Syrians, Somalis, Yemenis, Kashmiris today. But of course, it’s of a piece because those who moved to the right & became Zionists also stopped organizing or participating in the antiwar movement.

It could be said that what makes Palestinians so important to Americans is the military role of the US in arming Israel as a fortress against democracy in the Middle East. But to my mind, what makes their struggle so monumental is that in 69 years of colonialism, apartheid, occupation, ethnic cleansing, they have never bent the knee to colonialism & militarism but have fought intransigently against all odds even though vilified as terrorists. Like the Kashmiri struggle, a Palestinian victory against colonialism would alter the relationship of forces around the world to the advantage of the oppressed. Long live Palestinian Intifada.

End the occupation. Self-determination for Palestine. Honor the economic & cultural boycott (BDS) of Israel. Buy nothing with barcode beginning 729.

On MSNBC, veteran reporter Andrea Mitchell reported on the Afghan girl’s team at the high school robotics competition in Washington, DC. She reported the education of girls as an achievement of the nearly 16-year occupation & carpet bombing of Afghanistan.

It could be said that Islamophobic propaganda first tested the use of feminism to justify that monstrous war & it’s proven an inexhaustible source in the service of war & hate mongering. Feminists must speak out against it in no uncertain terms. War is not a method of liberation but of domination & destruction.

Humans of Occupied Kashmir

Humans of Occupied Kashmir

Torture Tales of Kashmir
(A Must Read)

Qalandar Khatana – A Torture Victim suffered by State Terror

Meet Qalandar Khatana: a shepherd and guide by trade in 1991, living in the village of Kalroos Moori Kothiyan in the north of (Indian held) Kashmir. When I first met him, it was not fear but resignation that I saw in Khatana’s eyes. Resignation over what he had suffered, over the ensuing helplessness, and over never being able to heal from the scars of trauma.

Khatana was among the civilian men caught during the 1990s by the Indian forces, at the peak of government efforts to quell the Kashmiri insurgency. He was accused of being a guide for militants who came from across the border (from what Pakistan refers to as Azad Kashmir). On mere suspicion, he faced third degree torture by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) and the infamous Special Task Force (now Special Operations Group) of Police.

Khatana was left crippled for life. He now begs for a living.
Khatana recalled how he was transferred to nine different BSF camps for questioning; in each camp he was tortured afresh. First he was stripped and hung upside down, and then the interrogators took a razor and made tiny cuts all over his body. Bleeding and in pain, he howled for mercy but there was no respite. Salt and chilli powder was applied to his wounds. Wires were then rigged to his body, mainly to the genitalia and the eyelids. He was then electrocuted. Torture was often followed by starvation and ritual humiliation. He was not given any water and instead was urinated upon by his captors. Hungry, he begged for food but none was forthcoming.

Khatana then shows us his legs; scars and rope burn marks are present along with a curious lack of flesh. What happened, I gently probed. “I have no flesh [on my legs],” Khatana replied in a faraway voice, “Because for six months in this one camp, the sentries cut it off and fed it to me. My own flesh. If I refused to eat it, they would beat me mercilessly. How much cruelty is man capable of?”

Shocked and disturbed, I asked him why they subjected him to this kind of brutality. “Because they were getting no answers, because I did not know any of the men I took across the border, let alone their names. What could I tell them? Under extreme torture, I remember shouting out random names, anything … just anything to make the pain stop”. Khatana’s ordeal was far from over; from here he was shifted to Jammu prison — one of the most feared torture centres of the 90s, with plenty of tales of beating and horror entrapped within its walls. The warden in particular was infamous for his cruelty.

“I was again stripped and hung upside down, then came the beating. Iron rods were used to beat me, after a while they cut the rope and I fell to the floor. In pain, I accidentally kicked the warden. This infuriated him further; he screamed at me: ‘How dare you assault me?’ I was in so much pain that, I could not comprehend most of what he was saying.” Pausing, he resumes in a whisper: “Then they cut off my feet. I remember the warden bending down and whispering ‘Now you will never set foot on Pakistani soil again’. Then there was darkness.”

I asked him if any medical treatment was given to him after the amputation “What medical attention? People tell me I only regained consciousness two weeks later. It was hell.” Khatana was then shifted to the army hospital in Badami Bagh, Srinagar where he remained for a few weeks. He was then sent to Kot Balwal prison, where he languished for another four years.

Upon his release, Khatana’s case was taken up by the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition for Civil Society (JKCCS), an NGO that is headed by leading advocate and human rights activist Parvez Imroz and others. A subsequent government investigation acquitted him of all charges, and condemned the torture that was inflicted on him. However he was only awarded Rs50,000 in compensation for his ordeal. That paltry sum quickly ran out, and much of it was used for treating his amputated feet which had developed gangrene and other infections. An NGO in Chandigarh paid for artificial limbs 15 years ago, but now the limbs have worn out.

Khatana now gets around on crude crutches made out of wood, and for his limbs there is nothing but plastic sheets covering the stumps.
“I lost my feet and eyesight. I don’t earn any money, and at times my children don’t have anything to eat. My children were studying in a local government school but they dropped out because I couldn’t afford it,” he laments. Every few months, he takes a loan to come to Srinagar, and to plead with the lawyers at JKCCS to help him get a little more compensation. Sadly, there is nothing more they can do.

In 2012, there were calls for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) — a powerful piece of legislation in force in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast of India, which allows soldiers to carry out operations without fear of prosecution. To an extent, this in understandable; but the AFSPA also shields soldiers from prosecution against human rights abuses. To date, not a single soldier has been prosecuted over human rights abuses in the Kashmir Valley.

But for men such as Qalandar Khatana — turned into invalids on mere suspicion by the same law — to be tortured is to know absolute helplessness. Hope is ground into the dust, blow by heavy blow.

Source : Was originally published on March 02, 2014 on Dawn/Gautham Ashok.

(From Facebook wall of Humans of Occupied Kashmir)

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