That’s an ironic headline. Considering it came in a fold-over card weight flyer in the weekend Globe and Mail for State of Israel bonds. Evidently, militarism, belligerence and bad faith negotiating, not to mention illegal settlements, human right violations, and other factors can be somehow turned into a profit in hawking government obligations. The pitch, or the shtick with the advert is to play on the moral issue, the ten commandments for a sound financial return. It plays on the “promise kept” since the first bond was floated in 1951 of sixty years of no defaults.Moral defaults no doubt. The 32 billion raised in sixty years is not enormous, given crises like Greek debt, but it is symbolic.
Within the larger issue of the peace process is the movement to seek divestment from Israel , it connection with America, and Christianity seeking to reclaim the Holy Land as well as the complicated land ownership, of which much appears to be held by outside interests making Israel a more complex case than say, South Africa, though similarities cannot be denied:
…I was convinced that while, ironically, having provided perhaps the most extensive documentation of Israeli crimes, he had, at the same time immobilized, if not sabotaged, the development of any serious effort to halt those crimes and to build an effective movement in behalf of the Palestinian cause.
An exaggeration? Hardly. A number of statements made by Chomsky have demonstrated his determination to keep Israel and Israelis from being punished or inconvenienced for the very monumental transgressions of decent human behavior that he himself has passionately documented over the years. This is one of the glaring contradictions in Chomsky’s work. He would have us believe that Israel’s occupation and harsh actions against the Palestinians, its invasions and undeclared 40 years war on Lebanon, and its arming of murderous regimes in Central America and Africa during the Cold War, has been done as a client state in the service of US interests. In Chomsky’s world view, that absolves Israel of responsibility and has become standard Chomsky doctrine….
And back to that complex issue of land ownership: The project’s approval in September did not raise any red flags since the land for the project has many different owners, including the Spanish government and the Latin Patriarchate, said Margalit. Determining and reorganizing the ownership for building purposes is a complicated legal process called “reparcelization” that can take years, leading activists and politicians to focus their energies elsewhere.
The reparcelization plan was deposited for public review on Tuesday, which began a 60-day period for review during which members of the public can file objections to the project. With the deposit, the project is close to the end of the complicated approval process, and construction could begin as early as a year and a half from now. Read More:http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=241764
…Following through with a critique of his work seemed essential after reading an interview he had given last May to Christopher J. Lee of Safundi: the Journal of South African and American Comparative Studies and circulated on Znet….
Anyone familiar with Chomsky’s work will recognize that he is no stranger to inflammatory terms and that comparing one historical situation with another has long been part of his modus operandi. His response in this instance was troubling. Many Israeli academics and journalists, such as Ilan Pappe, Tanya Reinhart and Amira Hass, have described the situation of the Palestinians as one of apartheid. Bishop Tutu has done the same and last year Ha’aretz reported that South African law professor John Dugard, the special rapporteur for the United Nations on the situation of human rights in Occupied Palestine and a former member of his country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, had written in a report to the UN General Assembly that there is “an apartheid regime” in the territories “worse than the one that existed in South Africa.”…
Chomsky explained his disagreement:
Apartheid was one particular system and a particularly ugly situation… It’s just to wave a red flag, when it’s perfectly well to simply describe the situation… His reluctance to label Israel’s control of the Palestinians as “apartheid” out of concern that it be seen as a “red flag,” like describing it as “inflammatory,” was a red flag itself and raised questions that should have been asked by the interviewer, such as who would be inflamed by the reference to ‘apartheid’ as a “red flag” in Israel’s case and what objections would Chomsky have to that?…
…A more disturbing exchange occurred later in the interview when Chomsky was asked if sanctions should be applied against Israel as they were against South Africa. He responded:
In fact, I’ve been strongly against it in the case of Israel. For a number of reasons. For one thing, even in the case of South Africa, I think sanctions are a very questionable tactic. In the case of South Africa, I think they were [ultimately] legitimate because it was clear that the large majority of the population of South Africa was in favor of it. Sanctions hurt the population. You don’t impose them unless the population is asking for them. That’s the moral issue. So, the first point in the case of Israel is that: Is the population asking for it? Well, obviously not.
Obviously not. But is it acceptable to make such a decision on the basis of what the majority of Israelis want? Israel, after all, is not a dictatorship in which the people are held in check by fear and, therefore, cannot be held responsible for their government’s actions. Israel has a largely unregulated, lively press and a “people’s army” in which all Israeli Jews, other than the ultra-orthodox, are expected to serve and that is viewed by the Israeli public with almost religious reverence. Over the years, in their own democratic fashion, the overwhelming majority of Israelis have consistently supported and participated in actions of their government against the Palestinians and Lebanese that are not only racist, but in violation of the Geneva Conventions….
…Chomsky made his position clear:
So calling for sanctions here, when the majority of the population doesn’t understand what you are doing, is tactically absurd-even if it were morally correct, which I don’t think it is. The country against which the sanctions are being imposed is not calling for it.
…That response also disturbed Palestinian political analyst, Omar Barghouti, who, while tactfully acknowledging Chomsky as “a distinguished supporter of the Palestinian cause,” addressed the issue squarely:
Of all the anti-boycott arguments, this one reflects either surprising naiveté or deliberate intellectual dishonesty. Are we to judge whether to apply sanctions on a colonial power based on the opinion of the majority in the oppressors community? Does the oppressed community count at all?
For Chomsky, apparently not. But there were more absurdities to come:
Furthermore, there is no need for it. We ought to call for sanctions against the United States! If the US were to stop its massive support for this, it’s over. So, you don’t have to have sanctions on Israel. It’s like putting sanctions on Poland under the Russians because of what the Poles are doing. It doesn’t make sense. Here, we’re the Russians.
First, what does Chomsky mean by saying “there is no need of it?” He was certainly aware, at the time of the interview that Israel, with its construction of a 25-foot high wall and fence, appropriately described by its critics as the “Apartheid Wall” was accelerating the confiscation of yet more Palestinian land and continuing the ethnic cleansing that began well before 1947 and there was nothing other than the weight of public opinion that might stop it.Read More:http://www.leftcurve.org/LC29WebPages/Chomsky.html
…In an exchange with Washington Post readers, Chomsky was asked by a caller:
Why did you sign an MIT petition calling for MIT to boycott Israeli investments, and then give an interview in which you state that you opposed such investment boycotts? What was or is your position on the proposal by some MIT faculty that MIT should boycott Israeli investments?
As is well known in Cambridge, of anyone involved, I was the most outspoken opponent of the petition calling for divestment, and in fact refused to sign until it was substantially changed, along lines that you can read if you are interested. The “divestment” part was reduced to three entirely meaningless words, which had nothing to do with the main thrust of the petition. I thought that the three meaningless words should also be deleted… On your last question, as noted, I was and remain strongly opposed, without exception — at least if I understand what the question means. How does one “boycott Israeli investments”? (Emphasis added).
I will assume that Chomsky understood very well what the caller meant: investing in Israeli companies and in State of Israel Bonds of which US labor union pension funds, and many states and universities have purchased hundreds of millions of dollars worth. These purchases clearly obligate those institutions to lobby Congress to insure that the Israeli economy stays afloat. This isn’t something that Chomsky talks or writes about.
The caller was referring to a speech that Chomsky had made to the Harvard Anthropology Dept. shortly after the MIT and Harvard faculties issued a joint statement on divestment. It was gleefully reported in the Harvard Crimson by pro-Israel activist, David Weinfeld, under the headline “Chomsky’s Gift”:
MIT Institute Professor of Linguistics Noam Chomsky recently gave the greatest Hanukkah gift of all to opponents of the divestment campaign against Israel. By signing the Harvard-MIT divestment petition several months ago—and then denouncing divestment on Nov. 25 at Harvard—Chomsky has completely undercut the petition.
At his recent talk for the Harvard anthropology department, Chomsky stated: “I am opposed and have been opposed for many years, in fact, I’ve probably been the leading opponent for years of the campaign for divestment from Israel and of the campaign about academic boycotts.”
He argued that a call for divestment is “a very welcome gift to the most extreme supporters of US-Israeli violence… It removes from the agenda the primary issues and it allows them to turn the discussion to irrelevant issues, which are here irrelevant, anti-Semitism and academic freedom and so on and so forth.”
…When contacted by the Cornell Daily Sun which was preparing an article on the MIT-Harvard divestment movement, Chomsky repeated his objections, and “despite acknowledging the existence of this petition,” the reporter wrote, Chomsky said, ‘I’m aware of no divestment movement. I had almost nothing to do with the ‘movement’ except to insist that it not be a divestment movement.’”  (Emphasis added)
A least, he cannot be accused of inconsistency. After speaking at the First Annual Maryse Mikhail Lecture at the University of Toledo, on March 4, 2001, Chomsky was asked: Do you think it’s is a good idea to push the idea of divestment from Israel the same way that we used to push for it in white South Africa?
I regard the United States as the primary guilty party here, for the past 30 years. And for us to push for divestment from the United States doesn’t really mean anything. What we ought to do is push for changes in US policy. Now it makes good sense to press for not sending attack helicopters to Israel, for example. In fact it makes very good sense to try to get some newspaper in the United States to report the fact that it’s happening. That would be a start. And then to stop sending military weapons that are being used for repression. And you can take steps like that. But I don’t think divestment from Israel would make much sense, even if such a policy were imaginable (and it’s not).
Our primary concern, I think, should be change in fundamental US policy, which has been driving this thing for decades. And that should be within our range. That’s what we’re supposed to be able to do: change US policy. (Emphasis added) Read More:http://www.leftcurve.org/LC29WebPages/Chomsky.html
The Greek Orthodox Church is the biggest private owner of land in Jerusalem and owns most of the land in the West Bank on which the Christian religious sites, including the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem where Christians believe Jesus was born, are built. Much of this land was donated to it by Orthodox Christian Palestinians in the late 1800s. Over the last few decades the church has increased land sales to the Israeli authorities or leased land to them for a period of 999 years.
This has enabled Israel to build a number of large Israeli settlements in the East Jerusalem area, creating a corridor with other West Bank settlements and effectively cutting off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. But the church’s land sales have come against a background of corruption allegations. Nicholas Papadimas, a previous church treasurer in Jerusalem, was behind some of the sales before he fled the country and was charged in Greece with stealing church funds in a separate case.
Theophilos, on being appointed the patriarch in 2005, replacing his discredited predecessor Patriarch Ireneos, had promised to stop selling Palestinian land. Ireneos was accused of being behind secret land deals with two international Jewish investor groups. An Israeli court ruled that his 2001 election was illegal as it was helped by a convicted drug trafficker who discredited his rivals by using homoerotic pictures.
But Israeli authorities have used the church’s corruption and financial difficulties to their political advantage and applied additional political pressure to ensure that the choice of patriarchs is beneficial to Israel’s land acquisition policies. According to the Israeli daily ‘Haaretz,’ several years ago when Theophilos was awaiting Israeli recognition the state demanded that the Greek Orthodox patriarchy conduct a census of all church property in Israel and the Palestinian territories, and give Israel the first right of refusal on property up for sale or lease….
…Israel also demanded that some properties in the area of Jerusalem’s Jaffa Gate “remain in the hands of the Israeli lessees.” Theophilos’ lawyers were told Israel’s recognition of the patriarch was dependent on those clauses being met. One of the church’s Jerusalem properties was purchased with the involvement of the Ateret Cohanim association which is dedicated to buying Arab property in Jerusalem and settling Jews there….
…But controversy surrounds the Ateret Cohanim organization. Friends of Ateret Cohanim, which is registered in the U.S. as an educational entity, sends millions of dollars of tax-free donations to Israel every year for political purposes, particularly buying Palestinian property in East Jerusalem. Read More:http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/international/israel-buying-east-jerusalem-land-causing-tension-among-greek-orthodox-palestinians