Monday, August 18, 2014

Siding with an aggressor or its victims?

Nasir Khan, August 18, 2014

The latest Israeli war on Gaza and its incredible atrocities on a besieged people have deeply stirred many people around the world. While such barbarous destructions and massacres were taking place many powerful governments in the West have openly sided with the aggressor. One reason for their doing so is to follow the lead of the United States on Israel-Palestine issue. Therefore all talk of 'Israel has the right to defend itself' simply means that Israel can do do whatever it wants with the captive people of Gaza. That means if it wants to kill those resisting the occupation then it has a free hand to do so. The United States and its allies will make sure to protect the Israeli leaders and war criminals against any charges of crimes and crimes against humanity.

If we don't want to become victims of our own verbal confusion then we need to distinguish between Judaism and Zionism. Those who follow Judaism can broadly be said to be Jews. This broad category also includes some Jews who don’t follow Judaism but still are regarded as Jews. Zionism on the other hand is a political ideology that has used the religious identity of Jews to enlist their support for the Zionist cause and objectives. As a result many Jews have been drawn to the Zionist project and politics. But again this should not lead us to the mistaken belief that all Jews are Zionists. It is not difficult to see that all Jews are not Zionists. There are many Jews who are against Zionism and its hijacking of the majority of world Jewry to its political objectives by misleading propaganda and falsification of political realities.

While discussing Zionists, we know there are many Christian Zionists as well as some Zionists from Islamic and Hindu communities whose love for Israel and Zionism is because of their myopic outlook and hatred directed against Islam and its followers.

As far as my own understanding of the theologies and the mainstream religious traditions of the Abrahamic faiths is concerned, I find nowhere any tradition that exhorts believers to side with an aggressor or obey the criminal diktat of an occupier. Instead, all people with human conscience who can see right from wrong have to struggle against an aggressor and be on the side of the victims.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Yazidis and Christians in Iraq and Syria need urgent protection

Nasir Khan, August 14, 2014

The man-made disasters in the Middle Eastern region are bringing only death, destruction, pain and suffering to millions. Now more and more people are being devoured by the senseless violence and carnage in the name of some religion (Islam), sect (Shia, Sunni, etc.), some superior 'chosen people' or territorial expansion (Israel).

What is happening to Yazidis and Christians in Iraq and Syria at the hands of the fighters of Islamic State is pure savagery, the same sort of incredible savagery that Israel has shown on its recent war on Gaza, by killing Palestinians and destroying the infrastructure of an enclave under Israel's military siege. It is incumbent upon every person with goodwill and concern for other human beings to oppose the obnoxious terror and brutalities on the Yazidis and Christians.

In this regard many writers, journalists and columnists, bloggers and Facebook users can help to highlight the plight of these victims and appeal in the name of common humanity to these Muslim fanatics who are misled by ignorant people, to stop what they are doing against the innocent people in the name of Islam.

The Qur'anic message is clear on this. The Qur'an says: “There is no compulsion in the matter of religion.” If the holy book forbids the use of force in the matter of religion then all Muslims are under a religious duty to follow this essential advice.

What the fanatics and ignorant people are doing in the name of Islam is contrary to the teachings of Islam. All this should stop and let the people of all faiths and views live in peace and places where they have lived for thousands or hundreds of years.

[Those who agree with this please SHARE this piece and publicise the message further. Thanks.]

Monday, August 11, 2014

US Leaders Aid and Abet Israeli War Crimes, Genocide & Crimes against Humanity

By Marjorie Cohn, Information Clearing House, August 10, 2014

 By sending vast amounts of military aid to Israel, members of the US Congress, President George W. Bush, President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have aided and abetted the commission of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity by Israeli officials and commanders in Gaza. An individual can be convicted of a war crime, genocide or a crime against humanity [PDF] in the International Criminal Court (ICC) if he or she "aids, abets or otherwise assists" in the commission or attempted commission of the crime, "including providing the means for its commission."

There is growing evidence that Israeli leaders and commanders have committed the following war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity as defined in the Rome Statute for the ICC. US military aid has aided, abetted and assisted the commission of these crimes by providing Israel with the military means to commit them.

During Operation Protective Edge, Israeli forces again used the Dahiye Doctrine, which, according to the UN Human Rights Council [Goldstone] Report [PDF], involves "the application of disproportionate force and causing of great damage and destruction to civilian property and infrastructure, and suffering to civilian populations."

A summary of Israeli leaders' extensive crimes is presented below.

Continues >>

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Who Can Be A Zionist?

Nasir Khan,  August 10, 2014

US Vice President Joe Biden is right when he says that you don't have to be a Jew to be a Zionist. There are so many Christians in the United States who are firm Zionists. They occupy positions of power and enormous influence in Washington, US Congress, in academia, media and in society in general.

 So is the case in many European countries where many non-Jewish people, especially Christians, are Zionists and dedicated supporters of Israel no matter what it does to the colonised Palestinians or in the occupied territories.

Besides there are also some people from Hindu and Islamic communities who support Israel and Zionism and are against the national aspirations of the Palestinians. On the other hand, there are many Jews who are not Zionists; they oppose Zionism, the policies of Israeli state and show solidarity with the Palestinian people's struggle for national liberation and their right to self- determination.

Some orthodox Jews reject the Israeli claim to a 'Jewish state' on the basis of their religious beliefs. In brief, no one has to be a Jew to be a Zionist in the same way as no one had to be a German or Italian to be a Nazi or Fascist in the last century or even now. There are fascists in many countries and even in the former Soviet Union some Russians, for instance, have become vociferous fascists.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Why the Gazans made tunnels in Gaza

Nasir Khan, August 8, 2014

A commentator has asked me in reply to one of my articles: What were the tunnels [in Gaza] used for?

Israel as a colonial occupier had encapsulated and isolated Gaza as an open air prison for the last eight years. For Gazans to have any contact with the outside world was to dig tunnels in their own territory to gain access to some essential things from outside. They used the tunnels leading to the Egyptian territory to buy and bring back some livestock, such as goats, medicines and food stuff in a terribly difficult way. The Gazans had no other alternative.

The joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza has made things extremely difficult for them. Again, they made tunnels in their own territory towards Israel as a defensive measure against any Israeli ground offensive on Gaza. For them these proved useful in fighting back the IDF in July but with little resources they were not able to stop the Israeli advance and the destruction in Gaza.

Of course, Israelis did not want any such obstacles in their way against their war on Gaza. Therefore they destroyed these tunnels. Again, these tunnels were on the Gazan territory and Israel had no right to destroy them or the infrastructure, buildings, places of public utility, mosques, homes, etc. within Gaza.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Disarming: Gaza or Israel?

Nasir Khan, August 7, 2014

Palestinians have been under Israeli occupation; they have been frequent targets of destructive Israeli wars and massacres. If common sense can be our guide in this situation than the solution is to disarm Israel and prosecute its war criminals for war crimes and crimes against humanity in ICC. Disarming Hamas? Hamas has no army, no air force, no missiles, no navy, no naval gunships, no tanks, no anti-aircraft missiles. If Israel has played havoc with the homes and buildings of the Gazans and killed people then the main reason for the Gazan tragedy lies in their inability to defend themselves.

Ideally, for Gazans to defend themselves against Israel’s military might they need a matching military power and weapons. It is obvious that without this they have no chance to defend themselves and their homes. We have seen this what Israel is capable of doing in the 29-day war on Gaza. The Gazans have been at the mercy of Israeli missiles and powerful bombs that pulverised their homes and other structures. Unless Israel lifts the blockade, ends the occupation and develops a new approach towards the people of Palestine the conflict will not disappear.

But how can the Gazans under Hamas do that, to defend themselves militarily, remains an open question. The leaders of the ‘New World Order’ especially the United States will not allow that. There is no major country that is ready to give substantive material support to the Palestinians. Therefore the prevailing conditions will remain intact.

We need to keep in mind that Gaza is beleaguered by Israel from all sides including its air space. It is the largest open-air prison in the world. Now Israel by intentional destruction of the infrastructure of Gaza has made sure that its people would not raise their heads again against the ongoing occupation and blockade for years to come. But if they did at some stage then they would have Israeli war-machine on their heads again. It is as simple as that if we want to understand the Israeli position.

No doubt, this is an undefendable situation. To my mind the only explanation lies in the fact that it is military might that decides the fate of a subjugated people, not their rights according to international law or humane considerations. Yet the struggle of the Palestinians for their national liberation from the Zionist yoke needs universal support. The public demonstrations in many countries around the world denouncing the Israeli genocide and carnage in Gaza have been positive. They show a growing awareness among the people of the world about the plight of the colonised Palestinians.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Jimmy Carter: US must recognise Hamas as a political force

Former US president, Jimmy Carter called on the United States and the European Union to recognise that Hamas is not only a military organisation, but also a political force
Former US President Jimmy Carter called on the United States government to recognise Hamas, who Washington deem a “terrorist” organisation.In an article published in the Foreign Policy journal, Carter stressed the massacres committed by Israel against the Palestinian people in Gaza caused a “humanitarian catastrophe”.

Carter added: “There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defence Forces are conducting this war. Israeli bombs, missiles, and artillery have pulverized large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools, and hospitals.”

Carter stressed that attacks targeting civilians constitute war crimes, and the perpetrators of these crimes should be questioned about their actions and punished for them. He called on the United States and the European Union to recognise that Hamas is not only a military organisation, but also a political force.

“Only by recognising its legitimacy as a political actor – one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people – can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons,” he explained.