Archive for the Category »Israel «

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Georgia, Johannesburg & Jerusalem…

In October of ’59, I and a black friend sat down at an Augusta, Georgia, lunch-counter. We were both 17, from NYC, Army radio school students stationed at Ft. Gordon, Georgia, and out on our first pass in our new uniforms.

Bibi Netanyahu: American educated...

We stopped at a department store and ordered an ice cream soda. We didn’t have a clue…

Several minutes passed before the manager came over, leaned over the counter and said, “We don’t serve niggers!” Turning to me, he added, “And we don’t serve nigger-lovers! Now, git!” more…

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Israel, Iran & I’m-a-Geddon Outta Here…

Since before I crossed over the River Jordan into Occupied Palestine in the summer of ’69, I’ve been an interested witness to Israel’s march into history. I’ve found that there are two Israels:

(Click on image to enlarge...)

One is a normal state of secular and religious Jews, Christians, Palestinians and other assorted folk. The second is a colonial-settler state ruled by fanatics hell-bent on an aparthied state of Eretz Yisrael. more…

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Israel & Obama…

One of the people I wanted to meet when I was a journalist in Israel in ’69 was Uri Avnery. He refused to see me, or so I was told. I couldn’t blame him, after all, who was I?

A 27-yr-old American college student, managing editor of the student newspaper, a guest of the Jewish Agency and probably being handled by Israel’s counter-intelligence agency, the Mossad.

Helmut Ostermann is a German Jew who escaped to Palestine from Hitler’s Holocaust in 1933, adopting the name of Uri Avnery. In 1938 at 15 he joined the ultra-right organization, the Irgun.

He left the Irgun in 1942 because, as he stated, “I didn’t like the methods of terror [they] applied….” more…

Category: AvneryUri, Israel  2 Comments
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Palestine & Georgia…

On one occasion, I recall strolling up the walk and hearing guys shouting from both wings of the prison housing unit. It was pretty intense, so I curiously raised my head.

President Obama at the UN...

Clearly they were hollering and waving at me but I didn’t know why. In any event, I didn’t get to be an Old Head by expressing too much curiosity.

I usually pace cracks in the sidewalk as I walk along minding my own business. But as I looked up in front of me, I almost stepped on a skunk. more…

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Cowboys & Indians…

Maybe it started with Cowboys & Indians. In the children’s game I always found myself playing the Indian side and rooting for the underdog. In some respects, I guess I just never “grew up.”

Bill Fletcher Jr., of the Black Commentator.com, published an interesting article of his recent trip with a labor delegation to North Africa and Palestine.

Routine press contact...

It brought back some poignant memories of my own time in the Middle East and East Africa back in 1969-74.

As a photog-journalist, I was credentialed with both Yassir Arafat’s Al Fatah armed-struggle organization in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, and the Jewish Agency in Israel-Palestine, 1969. more…

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Method to Their Madness…

When I began writing this article in the aftermath of last Friday’s terror massacre of 77 souls in Norway (22JUL), my initial focus was on the widespread nearly universal racist and Islamophobic reaction of the corporate news…led by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.  Madness does not prevail in a vacuum.

Another Murdoch pooper-scooper...

I couldn’t help but be reminded of the first 3 days after the April 19th, 1995 bombing of the federal bldg in Oklahoma City. Watching from our prison TV, we witnessed a parade of the usual suspects–Islam and Al Qaida–identified as almost certainly the culprits. more…

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Israel-Palestine & the Future?

Amos and Andy were young Israeli and Palestinian prisoners at FCI McKean, PA, for a time when I served there.  They were inseparable.

Nature vs. Prohibition…

They lived in the same unit, ate together, and worked together at the prison factory, UNICOR.  Whenever you saw one, the other wasn’t far away.  They spoke each other’s languages.  They had met in prison and soon found that they had a lot more in common than differences.

They had each been involved in the drug trade back home—one of the more ubiquitous enterprises (thanks to the profits generated by prohibition) available to all.  That is, assuming one has the cajones to engage in illicit business.  (Not a stretch at all when one looks at the banks and Wall Street today…) more…

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Jim Crow & Freedom Riders…

At (now 73) I’ve traveled much of the Americas—North, South and Central—the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  And for my class and political tenacity (or as some prefer: stubbornness), I’ve spent more than a total of 23-yrs in jails and prisons around the planet.

If you support the establishment of Constitutional Democratic Socialism and actively participate in that future…you will do time … assuming you survive.

In all of that travel and circumstances, I’ve encountered two horrific and systemic examples of racist hate and violence: the American Old South and Colonial-Settler Israel.

(One might reasonably opine, especially given that many of the leaders and emigrants to Israel are American and American-educated, that our early colonial history of native genocide and African slavery is the running template for Zionist Eretz Yisrael since before it’s establishment in 1948.)

(When I originally wrote this in 2011, it was) the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides.  Well over half of the US and the world today were not even born yet back in 1961. For them, I suppose it’s all just ancient history.  For me, it was yesterday.

more…

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Israel & Palestine: Facts & Pieces…

Imagine if you can a period in colonial America where millions of indigenous “savages” populated the land and threatened the lives and freedoms of Europeans fleeing from oppression in their home lands.

False accusations & far worse is often the fate of those who resist Zionist terror...

False accusations & worse is often the fate of those who resist Zionist terror…

Many arriving at the doorstep to where today stands the “Mother of Exiles” beckoning “the tired, the poor, the wretched refuse yearning to breathe free...”  Or so the story of victims-turned-oppressors goes … still taught to our young.

Israel today is living that history. This is part of what I learned as a journalist-guest of that state when it was a mere 21-yrs-old, 1969. It was one of their first “lectures” to me; “Why do you blame us for only doing what you already succeeded yourselves at?”

A history they largely create to grease the skids of colonial-settlerism and salve the conscience of those who choose to become active in its oppression of the native populations.

Then, of course, there are those who resist, often at great personal sacrifice…

I am encouraged when I witness Jewish-Americans struggling for peace and justice in the Levant.  They’re fighting for a progressive cause on two major fronts:  Here, of course, in the American homeland and in Israel/Palestine, which includes the no-small-matter of peace as well.

In one of my own experiences:  As I crossed over the bridge on the Jordan River into Occupied Palestine, I was bracketed by Israeli IDF soldiers in front, manning a machine-gun behind a sandbagged emplacement and Jordanian soldiers behind ratcheting their weapons—all barking orders for me to stop.

I held my hands high with cameras dangling around my neck along with my gear bag (today, given suicide bombers, they’d simply shoot me).  It was 1969, two yrs after the Six-Day War.  I was 27.  The border was closed for the previous 2-yrs to all foreigners, especially journalists.

I worked as a photog-journalist to a number of different publications, including the Detroit and London (Ontario) Free Press, the Fifth Estate, the Militant, and other newspapers.  Later (1970-71), I was also an occasional combat-stringer for NBC News, Beirut, Lebanon.

Leading up to the bridge incident, I was a guest and interviewer of the Palestinian guerilla chieftain, Yassir Arafat and his Al Fatah organization in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.  In Israel, I was a guest of the Jewish Agency.

No one expected me to walk across the border unannounced (one usually flies to Cyprus first).  Being young and immortal (that is, painfully ignorant), I tended to just do things (like in ’74 flying into Entebbe, Uganda, at the height of Idi Amin’s power; but that’s another story).

The Israelis were not amused.  I was roughed up a bit at first, but once they got it in their heads that I was, in fact, a crazy American (as were a number of them) and a guest of the Jewish Agency, they contacted the number I gave them in Jerusalem. For a hot minute I was a bit of a celebrity … being informed that I was the first journalist/whatever to cross over like that.

IDFthugs-001While I awaited the arrival of my hosts, I was treated to a cold Coke in the shade and a front row seat to their “customs” practices.  Given that about 60% of the Jordanian population were Palestinians, mostly from the West Bank, women, children and old men were occasionally allowed to visit family and shop on the Jordanian side.

However, it was deliberately a humiliating process.  As I watched a long line of these people, having to drag all their possessions with them, young Israeli soldiers walked up and down the line with tree switches, painfully swatting them on their legs while shouting orders point-blank in their faces.

Several soldiers came over to me (assuming that I too was Jewish-American and therefore amused by their behavior), and try to engage me in conversation.  When I asked them why they were behaving like that, they openly replied, “They’re filthy Arabs–‘sand-niggers’–they don’t belong here.  They should learn their place.”

I don’t know exactly what I expected, but it sure wasn’t that.  I was astonished.  I come from the South Bronx, NYC, and worked in Civil Rights in the South and the antiwar movements for a number of years.

A significant number of my comrades in the movement were Jewish. I had never experienced racist-nationalist (Zionist) Jews.  To me, it was a totally alien concept, especially given their own history of victimhood.

At one point I witnessed two old women being dragged, screaming all the way, to the bridge and forced back over.  The officer, American, explained to me proudly the reason, that they were insolent and had questioned procedures. The “open border,” I learned, was in fact a sort of valve to evict as much of the population as they could get away with.

IsraelTank-001These procedures were simply arbitrary confiscation and destruction of property.  Unlike on the Arab side, I noticed that all of the people kept their eyes lowered … totally unlike their normal behavior of open curiosity.

Looking directly at a soldier—much like my experiences with Blacks in the South and in prison—was taken as insolence and defiance.

No matter what Palestinians do, fight, sacrifice, comply or die, it’s never enough.  There remains only one consistent Israeli policy:  Occupation and annexation; Eretz Yisrael.

That was my first hour in Israel.  It got worse…far worse.  And continues so…

Dr. Publico (Nick Medvecky, PsyD), February 2011…