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October 7, 2010

Support Palestine: come to Jazza Music Festival

Dear Friends of Palestine,

Musicians Sarah Gillespie, Gilad Atzmon and at least 40 other leading artists from UK and Palestine will try to achieve the impossible in London next week. 

They will play together in a massive music festival for Palestine. They are flying musicians to London for the event, mixing jazz with folk, hip hop and roots music. They believe in one thing: that artists who support Palestine must say so loudly and proudly using their music and their voices.

The Jazza Music Festival is serious but is also a  big fun party – and we want you to join in!

Jazza Music Festival
12 & 13 October 2010
275 Pentonville Road, London

For the line up, click here.

The funds raised in the two nights of the Jazza Music Festival will help the Free Palestine Movement deliver more and more humanitarian aid to Palestine.

We are also proud and delighted to announce that Shadia Mansour, the Palestinian hip hop queen, has also joined the Jazza Festival line up.

You can listen to the amazing Shadia and the mind blowing Stormtrap (ex- Ramallah Underground) singing together on a track produced recently by Gilad Atzmon together with Robert Wyatt and Ros Stephen: “Where are They Now” (Wyatt, Atzmon, Mansur, Stormtrap).

Book tickets online for Tuesday 12 October here.

Book Tickets online for Wednesday 13 October here.

You can also send in donations here.

Please circulate this message as far as you can.

Palestine needs your support.

Music against oppression.

‘When history speaks’ for Israel in the Times it leaves out the Palestinians

by Remi Brulin on October 6, 2010

Rémi Brulin, an adjunct professor at New York University who is completing his dissertation entitled “The US Discourse on Terrorism Since 1945, and how The New York Times has Covered the Issue of Terrorism” (more here), sent us the following in response an article that ran in the New York Times Travel section last Sunday – When History Speaks in Israel:

The article in question is “When History Speaks in Israel,” and is one of the starkest examples of a complete erasure of the Palestinian from the history of the region that I have seen in a long time. I actually did a word search of the article and the word “Palestinian” doesn’t appear once! It is very much reminiscent of old claims that the Palestinian people “don’t exist,” that Israel was ” a land without a people for a people without a land”, etc…

Just read the lede:

CHAIM KAHANOVICH, an 18-year-old Polish Jew, caught his first brown glimpse of the Holy Land from the deck of a steamer in November 1924. He would never leave. Dark-haired, short and solid, Chaim brought with him a teenager’s blazing passion and an ideologue’s stubborn commitment to a cause. The long, slow journey had taken him from Warsaw by train to the Black Sea port of Constanta, then by ship through the Bosporus Straits and across the Mediterranean to Palestine. There at last, rising like the back of an ox from the blue water of Haifa Bay, was the sere ridge of Mount Carmel — the Promised Land.

From his boyhood study of Torah, Chaim would have known that Carmel was the place where the prophet Elijah faced down the pagan priests of Baal and fled the wrath of Queen Jezebel. But he had not come to Palestine to study Torah. He and his comrades were called halutzim — pioneers — and they had made aliyah (literally the ascent) to the Holy Land to plow the soil, plant grapevines and citrus groves, raise chickens, tomatoes and children, and to found a new nation.

I know the details of Chaim’s life and circumstances because he and his wife, Sonia, were relatives of mine (my maternal grandfather was their first cousin), and I recently went to Israel with my oldest daughter, Emily, for the first time to retrace their journeys and uncover what I could about our family’s story — a story of immigration shared by thousands of others. What made this trip especially inspiring was that I was able to cover so much of Israeli history: in this ancient but recently conceived nation, the founders lived just a generation ago. It’s as if the children and grandchildren of Washington, Jefferson and Adams were around to give interviews and point out historical sights.

I am usually quite critical of the New York Times in its coverage of many issues that have to do with foreign policy, but even for the Times this is particularly obscene.

I was shocked by this article especially because, with my class at NYU, I am currently using Sandy Tolan’s The Lemon Tree, the premise of which is precisely that so many Israelis ignore everything about their past, and especially about the fact that Palestinians lived for generations in those villages that became Israeli villages in 1948.

I was shocked also by this article because I had just read Johann Hari’s great interview of Gideon Levy in the Independent. The following passage especially stood out:

He was fourteen during the Six Day War, and soon after his parents took him to see the newly conquered Occupied Territories. “We were so proud going to see Rachel’s Tomb [in Bethlehem] and we just didn’t see the Palestinians. We looked right through them, like they were invisible,” he says. “It had always been like that. We were passing as children so many ruins [of Palestinian villages that had been ethnically cleansed in 1948]. We never asked: ‘Who lived in this house? Where is he now? He must be alive. He must be somewhere.’ It was part of the landscape, like a tree, like a river.


How did the U.S. government lead its people to war?

This website, in conjunction with the 72-minute documentary film LEADING TO WAR, details how the Bush administration made its case to the American people for military action against Saddam Hussein’s regime, leading to the Iraq War which began in 2003.


On each page of the main part of the website is a menu of seven topics.  These topics analyze the wide-ranging strategies and rhetorical techniques used by the administration in marketing the idea of a war with Iraq, in addition to examining the pre-war claims made by the Bush administration as presented in the film.

The core of the analysis is presented in six topics that provide a comprehensive examination of how the Bush administration led the United States to war:

A Mechanism for War – how the Bush administration constructed an elaborate mechanism to propel the nation to war

Rhetoric and Spin – the skillful manipulation of language and facts

War Through Rose-Colored Glasses – the assurances made to the public about how the war would unfold

Abuses and Misuses of Intelligence – the cherry-picking and misrepresenting of intelligence

A Mythic Reality – the creation and promotion of a ‘mythic reality’ in order to persuade the public to support a war against Iraq

Items of Note – other points of interest

The seventh topic explores the statements made in the epilogue of the film:

Bush Administration Claims vs. The Facts directly examines the important pre-war claims made by the administration: that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, that Iraq sought to acquire yellowcake uranium from Africa, that there was a collaborative relationship between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, and others.

Relying on numerous government and press reports, this section shows how President Bush and his administration publicly presented intelligence as reliable and solid – even though behind the scenes they knew this intelligence to be disputed, or even false.

The final part of this section, The Costs of War, provides a partial summary of the tragic toll of the Iraq War: in terms of lives lost, the mentally and physically injured, the millions of refugees, and the financial cost.


You can watch LEADING TO WAR for free on this website, via streaming or download, or you can purchase a DVD of the film, which can be shipped anywhere in the world.  The film is subtitled in 19 languages in order to reach a wide audience, and is formatted to play on any DVD player (Region 0).

The film consists entirely of archival news footage – without commentary, without voice-over – beginning with President Bush’s State of the Union address in January, 2002 (the “axis of evil” speech), and continuing up to the announcement of formal U.S. military action in Iraq on March 19, 2003.  Covering these 14 months, the film presents selected interviews, speeches, and press conferences given by President Bush and his administration.


To verify the facts presented on this website, most of the original information sources are either linked externally or have been copied into a file which is accessible by clicking ” [link to source] ” which appears next to all cited text.

In addition, the website includes the original and unedited source news transcripts from which the film material was chosen – so that the words spoken can be viewed in their broader context.


The content of each web page is downloadable as a PDF. A link “[link to a PDF of this page]” can be found at the bottom of most pages of this web site. To download the PDF, right-click on the link and choose “Save Target As…” to begin downloading the file to your computer.

[link to a PDF of this page]

Palestinian Prisoners of Freedom


Speaker criticizes lies behind U.S. helping Israel

By Pauline Kennedy



Matt Binter

Kenneth O’Keefe, former U.S. Marine, Gulf War veteran, and prominent organizer of the Free Gaza Movement, speaks in Forum Hall on Tuesday evening. O’Keefe criticized American support of Israel.

Tear gas filled the air, Israeli militants fired off rounds from snipers and percussion grenades went off all around. A 19-year-old American photographer holding his camera up to catch the moment was shot dead from helicopters above.

This was the scene aboard the MV Mavi Marmara, painted by Kenneth O’Keefe, ex-U.S. Marine and activist, in his speech at K-State on Tuesday night.

A flotilla of six ships, raided by Israeli militants on May 31, was en route to a blockade of the Gaza Strip while bringing humanitarian aid and supplies to the region.

Nine passengers aboard MV Mavi Marmara were killed in the raid. O’Keefe and others on the flotilla were arrested and detained by Israeli security, where O’Keefe said they were left without food and water and beaten.

As an activist, O’Keefe speaks out against American imperialism and its support of Israel in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Although an American-born citizen, he is now a resident of London and a citizen of Ireland.

“The power of indoctrination is not something to be overstated. It is very dangerous and it allows us to be manipulated, to be ignorant enough to support things that don’t benefit us.”

This was O’Keefe’s message as he spoke in Forum Hall in the K-State Student Union on Tuesday night.

O’Keefe said the ability of the media and government to use propaganda to further their agenda is one of the most dangerous parts of the world today. He said many events in history, like U.S. involvement in WWII and the Vietnam War, have been direct results of false information given to the American people.

He said the situation is no different for the war in Iraq.

“The fact is we invaded on a pack of lies, and those lies were well-known to those of us who had our eyes open and looked beyond the mass media, the propaganda machine,” he said. “That invasion, that occupation has led to an amount of suffering that can be hard to fathom for us.”

O’Keefe said the real reason for the invasion of Iraq was not because of weapons of mass destruction, but rather to establish permanent military bases in the region and to take control of the oil reserves.

O’Keefe became a U.S. Marine at the age of 19 and served in the Gulf War. He said he saw the abuse of power firsthand in the military and has dedicated his life to fighting crimes against humanity.

One topic he has spoken about and fought for is the rights of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and the right the Palestinians have to what is present-day Israel.

After WWII and the harsh treatment Jews faced, the United Nations designated land in Palestinian territory for them to settle. This U.N. partition allocated more than half the territory to the 15 percent of Jews in the area, and left the 83-percent Palestinian population to live in the rest of the region, now present-day Israel. Over the last six decades, the Palestinians have continued to lose land and have been forced into smaller and smaller portions of the region.

“One of the many lies that is being told over and over again is that this is a conflict that has been around for thousands of years, it’s about religion and it’s about the terrorists that want to drive all the Jews out to sea. That is a lie,” O’Keefe said. “The real problem is the theft of land and denial of human rights and killing of innocent people.”

O’Keefe denounced the support the American government gives to Israel, and said by supporting them and giving them weapons, the American government is aiding the problem.

“Can we believe that those people who are defending themselves in their homeland are the terrorists and we somehow are innocent?” he said. “It is exactly the opposite. We are the terrorists and we are funding state-sponsored terrorism.”

O’Keefe said the American people and those around the world are being withheld the truth about the conflict. He said the truth is the Palestinian people are simply defending the land that is rightly theirs, but they are portrayed in the media as the enemy.

“If you believe the narrative, if you believe the propaganda, basically the Palestinians are a bunch of radical fundamentalist, Islamic freaks that want to kill all the Jews and hate us for our freedom, and that’s who they are,” he said. “The Palestinian people are much more patient, much more compassionate, much more humane than we are by any stretch.”

O’Keefe said the Palestinians treat Americans with open arms. He said they will share everything they own, treat Americans as honored guests, and all they ask for is a basic amount of respect in return.

He said the one solution for the conflict would be one state, with equal rights for every person.

“I would argue that one of the most important things that we as people need to do is expand our circle of compassion and to see people all around the world as our family,” he said.

Those in the audience gave O’Keefe a standing ovation after his speech, and many students in the audience said they were glad they took the time to come and listen to the speech.

Maxwell Gabel, junior in psychology, history and political science, said O’Keefe’s openness and bluntness about the topic was refreshing.

“It was a lot more interesting than I expected,” he said. “It was definitely worth my time.”

O’Keefe’s straight-forward approach was appreciated by many in the audience, but some felt his biased approach created problems as well.

“I think there’s a bigger picture than the side he presents,” said Amanda Perser, freshman in open option. “He also is relying on the very tactic that he condemns. I think it’s a good way to deliver his viewpoint – it’s also a good way to get people riled up when they don’t believe the same thing.”


Letter to the Guardian : Miliband’s values on foreign policy

We welcome Ed Miliband’s statement that Labour‘s foreign policy should be “based on values, not just alliances” (Leader’s speech, 29 September). For too long Britain has blindly followed the US in supporting Israel, right or wrong. There is one, immediate decision Ed Miliband can make which will show that these are not empty words. Both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were patrons of the Jewish National Fund. We urge Ed Miliband to break from this tradition.

The JNF is actively complicit in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. For example, it established the Canada Park in the West Bank on the ruins of the villages of Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba. Today in Israel’s Negev region it plays a major role in the establishment of exclusively Jewish settlements and the demolition of “unrecognised” Arab villages.

The JNF was founded in 1901 with the aim of purchasing land “for the purpose of settling Jews on such lands and properties”. To this day it refuses to lease or rent land to anyone who is not Jewish. In 1953 and 1961, Israeli legislation made the JNF responsible for the land allocation policies of the state itself. In 1995 the Israeli supreme court, in the Ka’adan case, ruled that the JNF’s partner, the Israeli Lands Administration, could no longer discriminate against Israeli Arabs by refusing to lease or rent state lands to them. This was held to be equally applicable to the JNF. The response of the JNF was that Israel was first and foremost a Jewish state not a state of its own citizens. Ed Miliband stood as the candidate of change in the Labour party. Now is the time to show that these weren’t just words of spin.

Tony Greenstein

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi

Emeritus Professor Moshe Machover

Michael Mansfield QC

Dr Chris Burns Cox

Professor David Pegg,

Leon Rosselson

Dr Sue Blackwell

Pete Firmin,

Abe Hayeem

Professor Myriam Salama-Carr,

Dr Rumy Hasan

Roland Rance

Dr Monica Wusterman

Deborah Fink

Jackie Alsaid

Ken Baker St Jerome Publishing

Professor Mona Baker

David Bangs

Dr Judith Brown

Ruth Clark

Adam Darwish

James Dickins

Greg Dropkin

Jackie Fearnley

Alf Filer

Naomi Foyle Brighton Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Kenny Fryde

Terry Gallogly

Anne Gray

Cliff Hanley

Rosamine Hayeem

Bob Jarrett

Ros Levy

Kevin Moore

Beryl Maizells

Zoe Mars Chair, Brighton & Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign

John Metson

Safiya O’Donnell

Nicola Ostreicher

Ernesto Paramo

Dinah Rahman

Roger Reeve

Professor Dee Reynolds

Michael Sackin

Miriam Scharf East London NUT

Michael Shanahan

Ruth Tenne Israeli Human Rights Activist

Yvette Vanson

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