Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Greens side with Ayatollah on Human Rights

Jan Logie of the New Zealand Greens blogged about Burma

This week the Islamic Human Rights Commission put out a media release alerting the world to what they fear is an escalation of tensions against the Muslim minority Rohingya people, who are not recognised by the ruling Government.
It is not yet time to treat this Government as an equal trading partner. We cannot put our trade interests before the lives those ethnic minorities living in war and fear.

Checking the Site they have linked to (Islamic Human Rights Commission of the UK), also has this doozy - What is Al Quds day - Quoting Ayatollah Khomeini, who took power in Iran, enforcing a brutal rule and re-using the Shah's torture chamber.

Looking around the site, you will see that the majority of the pages are to vilify Israel, but completely ignore places like Syria and Iran.  In some cases they appear to  justify extremists, in places such as Afghanistan and Mali.

Now I'm not sure whether the issue in Jan Logie's post is legitimate or not, but I think it is pretty clumsy of her to put a citation from this site.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Is Ahmadinejad trying to hide his Jewish Past

From Haaretz - Is Ahmadinejad trying to hide his Jewish past

ranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's scathing attacks against Israel and his repeated denials of the Nazi Holocaust could be motivated by a desire to conceal his own Jewish roots, an Iran expert told The Daily Telegraph on Saturday.
The British newspaper examined the Iranian leader's identity card which he displayed in public during his country's elections in March 2008.
The ID card bears his family's original surname, Sabourjian, which is a Jewish name that means cloth weaver, according to The Daily Telegraph.
The Sabourjians have historically been concentrated in the same region of Iran where Ahmadinejad was born, according to the report.
Ahmadinejad's identity papers indicate that his family changed its name and converted to Islam after he was born, the British newspaper said.
Iranian observers suggested that the president's constant verbal assault against Israel and Jews may be an attempt to prove his loyalty to Shia Islam while making every effort to hide his Jewish past.
"This aspect of Mr Ahmadinejad's background explains a lot about him," Iranian studies expert Ali Nourizadeh told The Telegraph. "Every family that converts into a different religion takes a new identity by condemning their old faith."
"By making anti-Israeli statements he is trying to shed any suspicions about his Jewish connections," Nourizadeh said. "He feels vulnerable in a radical Shia society."
This could be very interesting.  After reading Kooshyar Karimi's book, it is clear that Jewish converts to Islam in Iran are still considered Jews and mistrusted.  This could actually clear up some of Ahmadinejad's behaviour.

What the BDS organisers should have told us

Good post on JPost Blogs - What the BDS Organisers should have told us

.But did you know that BDS leaders oppose the Palestinian Authority?
Well-intentioned supporters of BDS will be shocked to learn the real attitude of BDS organizers to the Palestinian Authority. Omar Barghouti is a founder and leader of BDS and this is how he described the PA in a 2004 article in The Electronic Intifada 
 “In the West Bank you have a largely quisling [traitor] government that is completely supporting Israel in anything it wants to do. They get immediate support from the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah, which is an unelected authority imposed by an American general
 On October 2009 he wrote in Electronic intifada 
"The PA government there has illegally appropriated the PLO’s authority to conduct Palestinian diplomacy and set foreign policy, conceding Palestinian rights and acting against Palestinian national interests, without worrying about accountability to any elected representatives of the Palestinian people".   
And did you know that BDS opposes the two-state solution 
Many well-intentioned people believe the BDS movement is worthy of support because they mistakenly believe that BDS advocates the common goal to which the UN, the US, the EU and Russia as well as Israel all subscribe, namely two states, Israel and Palestine, existing side by side within agreed borders. But these supporters will be shocked to learn that in reality the BDS organizers actually oppose the two state solution.
Omar Barghouti disclosed in an article in The Electronic Intifada in 2004, that the true aim of BDS in his words is “euthanasia” for Israel. The objective of BDS, he said, is one state to which all Palestinian refugees and their descendants will “return”.
Barghouti is not referring to the original number of approximately 700,000 to whom the word “return” may apply but to the estimated 4.7 million presently defined by UNRWA as Palestinian refugees so as to kill the two-state solution. In his words 
 “The two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is really dead. Good riddance
While most well-intentioned BDS supporters consider calls to end the occupation as meaning adjustment of the 1967 lines in terms of resolution 242, Barghouti rejects this concept outright. He doesn’t recognize Israel’s right even to the pre-‘67 borders.
It is evident that well-meaning members of the public deserve to know a lot more about organizations and popular movements before giving them full support.
BDS use of the apartheid weapon
 The word “apartheid” is widely used as a pejorative propaganda epithet in the full knowledge that the description is unjustified.  As with every country in the world, there is much about Israel that justifies criticism, but apartheid is not among its warts.
Even Omar Barghouti, the most vocal critic of Israel admits that the apartheid description is inaccurate. In an interview with Electronic Intifada on May 31, 2009, he said, 
 ” We don’t have to prove that Israel is identical to apartheid South Africa in order to justify the label “apartheid.” 
Labeling Israel as an apartheid state comparable with the old South Africa is the most potent weapon in the armory of BDS promoters.  The argument goes like this. Sanctions were justified against South Africa because of apartheid. Therefore if we merely associate Israel with apartheid, no matter that the appellation is unjustified, the world will simplistically support sanctions against apartheid Israel.
In fact, real apartheid enforced by legislation is currently practiced in many countries including Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, but not in Israel.
Even the new South Africa has been criticized for apartheid by none other than Al Jazeera.  In a TV program titled   "South Africa's new apartheid" Riz Khan asked
 “Is class-based discrimination South Africa's new apartheid?” 
In the Guardian of June 24, 2010, American Palestinian writer Ahmed Moor wrote that the vast majority of the 400,000 Palestinian refugees born and raised in Lebanon don’t have anything approaching the privilege that he enjoys in the US. He said Lebanon is the most hostile country to Palestinian refugees after Israel. 
 “They are second-class citizens here. Racism is so widespread that African and Asian guest workers are openly barred from attending the beaches where Lebanese people frolic. And that's saying nothing of the often inhumane working conditions they are subjected to on a daily basis”.
Former US Ambassador to the UN, Daniel Patrick Moynihan declared categorically that the situation in Israel is not apartheid. He added that racism under apartheid was skin color. “Applied to Israel that's a joke: for proof just look at a crowd of Israeli Jews and their gradations in skin-color from the blackest to the whitest”.
In “The apartheid analogy: Lessons for Israel” (Jerusalem Post Feb. 20, 2011), Professor Gideon Shimoni, an acknowledged expert on the subject, wrote 
 “While Israel's democratic constitution is certainly flawed, only hostile prejudice explains the ever-growing trend of comparing it with apartheid South Africa the propaganda war against Israel an equation is fabricated insidiously between the present State of Israel and the former apartheid state of South Africa. This must be exposed as a malicious slander, and utterly refuted”.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hamas urges collaborators to hand themselves in

Hamas has put out a threat to "collaborators" with Israel - Hand yourself in.

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Hamas-run Interior Ministry in Gaza has a list of collaborators who will be detained if they do not turn themselves in, a security official said Tuesday. 

"Collaborators must contact dignitaries to help them turn themselves over to security services," said Muhammad Lafi, of the Internal Security Service. 

Informers who give themselves up by April 11 will not be detained or sent to interrogation centers, Lafi told reporters in Gaza City.
No, they will be killed.

The Ministry of Interior and the Social Affairs Ministry will allocate a monthly salary to the families of collaborators who surrender, he added. 
Yes, to make up for their family being killed

"This campaign against collaborators isn't purely a security campaign, as it also has a social element. We do not discriminate between them according to their political affiliation, and we will provide them with information to make sure they can make right their mistakes and thus protect resistance fighters," Lafi said. 

Interior Ministry spokesman Islam Shahwan said the campaign aimed to "reinforce society" against Israeli enlistment efforts.
Not "security", but "society".  People are classified "collaborators" if they do anything that insults the fundamentalist regime.

Get ready for more killings and torture by Hamas of their own people.

Massey Student lies at Israeli Immigration

The Herald "reports", Massey Student, Amy Thomson tries to enter Israel, and lies on her immigration.

A peace activist was detained for 48 hours before being sent back to New Zealand for trying to enter Israel on a tourist visa.
What qualifications does she have to call herself a "Peace Activist"?  None I can see.  She is a Palestinian advocate.  Not looking for peace, except on her terms
Amy Thomson, 26, was held at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv on February 26. She tried to enter the country for a three-month voluntary internship at a non-government organisation promoting peace.
Thomson said the Israel Palestinian Centre for Research and Information told her she should claim to be a tourist.
Suspicions were raised when Israeli immigration authorities saw she had recently visited Lebanon, which is in ongoing conflict with Israel.
Duh, like its not hard to Google her and see these for yourself.
The Palmerston North student was ordered to hand over her mobile phone. After refusing to give up her Hotmail account password, she believed her email account may have been hacked.
Thomson was questioned for eight hours about her visit to Israel, who she knew, and her intentions.
She said they asked if she knew Arabic because of her Lebanon visit.
"I said there hadn't been enough time to learn it, given I was there for only three weeks.
"A couple of hours later I was summoned by a new guy who said I think something about being security and intelligence. He asked me a lot of the same questions and grilled me about who I know there.
"He demanded that I tell him about everyone I knew in Israel. It was awful knowing that I may have compromised others working for the peace organisation."
Why?  Is it a secret?  This sounds like the organisation is not so principled after all.
One interrogator mockingly congratulated her for winning a $500 prize for an essay she had written on Iranian politics which appeared on the Massey University website.
She is a student of Nigel Parsons at Massey University.  He is not a peace advocate.  He has a picture of Arafat on his wall, and states that Arafat was a hero for breaking off the peace process.  
"I felt humiliated and ashamed. Eventually it seemed to me that he had found something out and knew that I had lied about something."
Well you are pretty dumb, so you should be ashamed of that.
Exhausted, after a 24 hour flight and 12 hours questioning, Thomson admitted that she was to work for a non-governmental organisation.
She was transferred to a detention centre and held with other detainees for 36 hours.
Her belongings were confiscated except for an electronic book reader. She was allowed one phone call to the nearest embassy in Turkey.
She said she regretted not being honest but it was a valuable experience.
"I know what it's like for the Palestinians to deal with what they deal with every single day."
This is a secret code, stating that Israel has no right to protect itself against Terrorism.
The centre said it advised interns to travel on tourist visas as they could not get volunteer visas from Israel.
Thomson said the organisation was very apologetic. They said their interns had never been detained.
Thomson was banned from Israel for 10 years.
Seriously, she got off lightly.  See what it's like for Jews traveling in Saudi Arabia, or Iran.  Perhaps she should see what it's like for Jews to live in Iran, with a constant threat that they could be dragged from the street, tortured or shot without trial.  She acknowledges this in her online essay, with almost clinical bypass.  None of the emotion that she likes to display here for Palestinians.

Clarkson says New Zealand is the real holy land

Motoring programs are not usually something I follow that much.  However something that links Israel and New Zealand needs a mention.

Jeremy Clarkson, of Top Gear has written to say that New Zealand is the real holy land

With characteristic humility, Clarkson uses his newspaper column to advise God that he made a mistake when choosing the Middle East as his religious base.

"If you were God and you were all-powerful, you wouldn't select Bethlehem as a suitable birthplace for your only child because it's a horrible place.
"And you certainly wouldn't let him grow up anywhere in the Holy Land.
"What you'd actually do is choose New Zealand."
You know, in some ways I actually agree.  Israel is a rugged place.  Nobody else but the Jews want to live there, really.
If God really were all-knowing, continues Clarkson, "children at Christmas time today would be singing 'Oh little town of Wellington' and people would not cease from mental fight until Jerusalem had been built in Auckland's green and pleasant land."
Perhaps the most startling compliment, however, is Clarkson's claim that if God had got it right, "Jesus would have been from Palmerston North", a stark deviation from the verdict of his countryman John Cleese, who once said the North Island city should be renamed "suicide capital of New Zealand" because "if you wish to kill yourself but lack the courage to, I think a visit to Palmerston North will do the trick".
I actually think Clarksons comments could be related to the high number of Born again Christians in Palmerston North, including those that have been predicting the second coming for a while now :-)

Clarkson is better known for mean-minded and borderline racist insults than glowing compliments.
In 2007 he attracted flak for not only calling the Malaysian-manufactured Perodua Kelisa the "worst car in the world", but suggesting that it had been built by "jungle people who wear leaves as shoes".
In 2005 he gave a Nazi salute while reviewing a car from the German company BMW, and said the vehicle's satellite-navigation "only goes to Poland".
My feeling is that you can't take any of these comments too seriously...

Monday, March 11, 2013

When the UN exonerates Israel, the media ignores

Remember Operation Pillar of Defense, and the immediate show of children killed by "Israeli fire".

Well, it turns out the Palestinian children were actually killed by errant Hamas fire.

The other images Hamas used were either of the Syrian conflict, or sometimes even of Israeli children they had murdered themselves during the Intifada.

Unsurprisingly, there has been no retraction in the media.  This needs wider attention.

Thanks to Honest Reporting for this story

UN Envoy's work to end Palestinian Refugee claims

This is interesting - there are UN envoys working to address the real obstacle to peace - Palestinian Refugee Status

NEW YORK – At a small conference at the Harvard Club in Manhattan on Thursday, a host of dignitaries and experts, including Israel’s envoy to the UN Ron Prosor, addressed the UN’s classification of Palestinian refugees as the principal stumbling block to a peace agreement between Israel and the PLO.
The conference was the opening salvo in the direction of drafting of US legislation meant to end the automatic transmission of refugee status to the descendents of Palestinians that has been taking place since 1948, just as Filippo Grandi, commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), prepared to hold a press conference on Monday on Palestinian refugees becoming a “forgotten population” in an increasingly turbulent region.
Dr. Daniel Pipes, a leading international expert on the Middle East, opened the conference, declaring that the Palestinian refugee situation is broken, sick, and detrimental to all involved. The current approach by UNRWA “creates a narrative of victimhood and leads to extremism,” said Pipes.
Sadly, true.
The Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia-based think tank where Pipes serves as president, organized the conference, titled Changing US Policy on UNRWA and the “Palestine Refugees.”
“No one will admit it... the real obstacle [to a two-state solution] is the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees,” Prosor said. The “refugees problem is the main obstacle to peace, not settlements.”
The return of Palestinian refugees “would cause Israel’s destruction,” Prosor said.
In 1950, there were some 700,000 Palestinian refugees. The current figure stands at more than 5.1 million, though that depends on who is counting.
Historically, refugees who become citizens of another country lose their status as refugees; a large percentage of Palestinians live in Jordan or Syria, though those in Syria are now experiencing an entirely new refugee crisis.
Many participants at the event asserted that double standards applied to Palestinian refugees, in sharp contrast to this general rule of thumb.
Prosor sees UNRWA policy to allow Palestinians to “transfer their refugee mileage to their children” as misguided. “Israel deeply opposes UNRWA’s political agenda, but supports its humanitarian agenda,” he said, adding that “not one Arab country appears on the top-10 list of UNRWA’s donor,” and that its funding comes mainly from Western countries.
This is absolutely an issue.  The Arab nations want to use (or is that abuse) the Palestinian refugees as a political football.
Although Arab countries are “saturated with petro-dollars,” they are not donating adequately to UNRWA, he charged.
According to Prosor, the ration of staff to refugees at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which covers non-Palestinian refugees, is 1 to 4,400. UNRWA has a ratio of 1 to 172.
This is not just a tragedy, it is a travesty.
Former Labor and Independence MK Einat Wilf said it is important to debunk the widespread image of Palestinian refugees “huddled in tents."
She cited an EU diplomat who told her: “Do not tell anyone – I know middle class families in Ramallah.”
She said the “EU says Palestinians know they won’t return to Israel” but urged to the EU “to start telling them that.”
Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, discussed the “manufactured refugee crisis” among the Palestinians and raised the question of whether UNRWA is a “pro- Palestinian organization,” because the organization is pushing back against reforms in Washington. He asked what a Palestinian state would look like, and whether Palestinians could sustain it.
Unfortunately, we know that their efforts are futile.  There is no way the UN will vote for this agenda.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I Confess - Revelations in Exile by Kooshyar Karimi

I am reading the most incredible book right now - "I Confess - Revelations in Exile" by Kooshyar Karimi

Kooshyar Karimi was born in December 1968 in the slums of Tehran, Iran, to a family living in abject poverty. His mother, Homa, was an orphaned Jew who married out of desperation to Khalil, his Moslim father, a bus driver with three wives and six other children to feed. At the age of six, Kooshyar was compelled to work in order to contribute to the paltry income of his family. He was only eleven years old when the Iranian Islamic Revolution ended the oldest lasting monarchy in the world.

Amidst this post‐revolutionary chaos, and the bloodshed of the Iran‐Iraq war, Kooshyar pursued his education through to medical school with the determination to avoid war, stay alive, and support his mother. It is from here that he went on to become a published author, award‐winning translator, doctor, husband and father by the age of twenty six. After over two years of military service, Kooshyar began to successfully practice medicine and began the research for his book, A History of Iranian Jews. It is due partly to this dangerous project that Kooshyar, walking down the paved footpath to his home, was kidnapped by the Islamic Intelligence Service in the winter of 1998. Tortured, burnt, and whipped over 62 days, Kooshyar found himself faced with an unimaginable decision ... to spy for MOIS against his own people or to be tortured slowly to death. His forced cooperation was a significant factor in the arrest of thirteen Iranian Jews in March 1999, a case that caused an international outcry.

Later, knowing that his value to the intelligence service had expired, Kooshyar realised that if he did not escape, he would soon be executed. Using the survival instincts he had acquired in childhood, and a fateful connection from the past, Kooshyar manages to make his escape from Iran. Finally, after 13 long months of dread and secrecy hiding with his wife and children in a tiny basement deep below an apartment block in Istanbul, he and his family were granted a political refugee visa to Australia by the UNHCR. He is now an Australian citizen, fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, a member of the Australian Society of Cosmetic Medicine, and member of the Skin Cancer Society of Australia and New Zealand. He practises medicine full‐time in New South Wales, and writes in his spare time.
The book tells the inside story of many aspects of life in Iran under different regimes.  Jews are free to live, but are feared and hated.  Persecution takes many forms - such as forced conversion to Islam, firebombing businesses, arrests, and executions.  Kooshyar is secretly brought up my his mother as a Jew - a secret he must keep hidden if he is to survive.

When the Islamic revolution comes, there is a celebration of freedom, but it is shortlived.  The brutal and hated Shah is replaced with something worse.  The torturers remain, but have a new boss, which seems to like their work even more.  Massive Propaganda murals spring up, and gangs of state sponsored thugs can give you a beating for looking at them the wrong way. The Ministry of Interior Security are kidnapping a thousand people a week off the streets.  Rape victims must keep quiet - if they speak up the onus of proof is on them - if they fail to prove, then they will be hung.

The general population of Iran are not much better off.  Boys are sent to the front of the Iran-Iraq war to die in horrific circumstances.  Young men are forced to walk through minefields with blankets wrapped around themselves.  The blanket is not for protection, but to keep their bones together when they inevitably step on a mine.  Fanaticism is used to whip them into a fervour for martyrdom.

This book was indeed a rare find, and one that has truly opened up my understanding of Iran.  As well as the grim aspects of the regime, we also get a down to earth feeling of day to day life amongst the normal population.  Aspects of multiple marriages, affairs, pets are all beautifully described in this amazing book.

I can't recommend this book highly enough.  If you are going to do yourself one favour this year, read this book.

Keith Locke on Chavez

Hardly surprising, but ex-Green MP Keith Locke is upset because John Key is not attending the funeral of Hugo Chavez.

I guess its not surprising that Mr Locke would want us to honour a Human Rights abuser who gave himself indefinite ruling power.  I mean he likes Hamas, Ahmadinejad, North Korea and Pol Pot too.

It's just surprising that this is news.  Actually it's not, but even Fairfax New Zealand like stirring.  The New Zealand Greens themselves kept quiet.  Also unsurprising - it would be embarrassing if New Zealanders found out their true opinions.