December 31, 2013

Israeli Embassy places barrier between itself and Bethlehem Unwrapped

This has really caught me on the back foot.  There's been quite a remarkable series of events taking place in London from the opening of a replica apartheid wall at St James's Church in Piccadilly, London on 23rd December just gone and continuing up to, I suppose, the last day of Christmas.  Well, the last actual event is on 5th January 2014 and I'm guessing the wall comes down the next day.

See this youtube video about the whole thing:






 And here's how the Bethlehem Unwrapped website announces the panel discussion:

PANEL – Jan 4th 8pm: ‘Both sides of the Barrier – Separation or Security?’ – speakers include Jeff Halper, founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD),  Leila Sansour, Bethlehem resident, filmaker and founder of Open BethlehemYiftah Curiel, public affairs spokesman at Embassy of Israel, London and Alan Johnson, Britain Israel Communications and Research CentreChaired by David Loyn, BBC foreign correspondent.


Now, as you can guess, zionists weren't happy with the whole thing and many made their displeasure known on Richard Millett's blog.  Here's the man himself:

I understand that there are due to be a couple of last minute voices putting Israel’s case at the panel debate with Halper “Both sides of the Barrier: Separation or Security?” on January 4th but it is a drop in the ocean when compared to what is taking place over the entirety of the festival.

"Last minute voices"?  Now I'm not sure of Dan Judelson's status with Bethlehem Unwrapped but here is his response to Millett's post:
Richard, good to see you at the launch last night. A couple of important corrections to your piece. Far from being a last minute addition, the Israeli Embassy were one of the first people, in the person of the ambassador, to be invited to join the panel. In fact, although neither could make it, Ambassador Taub was invited before I wrote to Ambassador Hassassian. You may recall I emailed you at the beginning of December to ask for Chas Newkey-Burden’s contact details as I was very keen for him to speak.

In terms of corrections, the other point to make is that it is Lucy Winkett rather than Julie. The rain did not make for good acoustics last night I guess.

People are welcome to write whatever they like on the wall, ask whatever questions they like at the panel discussion and Q&A after the film screening. We’ve made that clear in all our invitations and discussions with, among others the Board of Deputies (though this is not to suggest they were content). I hope people will take part and listen to one another, rather than retreat into fixed positions that brook no challenge as so many of the respondents here appear to have done.
He made a couple more comments in the same thread which is well worth a look at but with 247 comments so far I won't reproduce it all here. Well, whatever it was that led to the invitation to the Israeli Embassy and whenever it was sent and accepted, the Israeli embassy has now decided to withdraw. They made their new position known by way of a tweet with a twitpic of a letter:

The letter is hardly legible in the twitpic and googling some of the words I could only find one website with the letter in a copyable format and that's the Jews Down Under website which I'd never heard of before.

Here's their intro:
The Israeli Embassy had been invited to attend a ‘debate’ on Saturday night by the organisers of ‘Bethlehem Unwrapped’ 

They were only invited after much pressure by the Board of Deputies and The Jewish Leadership Council.. Please find letter from Embassy explaining their decision to not attend, says it all really…
So the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the UK's Jewish Leadership Council got on the case to pressure Bethlehem Unwrapped to invite the Israeli embassy in London to attend a discussion?  Is that right?  Well that doesn't quite tally with what Dan Judelson said above.  Also it seems strange that the BoD, which often seems to double as an Israeli embassy in London would press an organisation into inviting the Israeli embassy only to have the Israeli embassy eventually decline but here's the Israeli embassy's letter.  See what you can make of it:
I’m writing to inform you that our embassy’s representative will not be able to participate in Saturday’s panel on the security barrier. As you know, our intention has always been to conduct an open dialogue with Church institutions, and it is rare that we turn down an invitation to participate in a church event, especially when it concerns Israel.

However, we have closely followed the unfolding of the ‘Bethlehem Unwrapped’ event this past week, and have been brought to the inescapable conclusion that this is not an event which is intended to deepen understanding, or promote reconciliation but rather is a transparent attempt to incite against Israel and Israelis.

A prominent quote on the homepage of the event states
“The most unhelpful thing you can do is be pro one side; it just adds to the  conflict”
This week’s event has proven to be exactly that, a one-sided affair that unfortunately does nothing to bring the sides together.  One of your event speakers, Jeff Halper, spoke in front of the replica will stating  it had nothing to do with security, while much of the writing on the wall, contrary to our previous understanding, is clearly political and divisive in nature

Where we feel that there is an openness to genuine discussion, we are committed to participating and engaging in genuine debate. However, to participate in an event of this nature would in our view be a disservice to the hundreds of Israelis. Jews and Christians alike, murdered in acts of suicide terrorism, which the barrier was established to prevent.

We believe that today, as Christians are being persecuted on an unprecedented scale across the Middle East, churches burned and whole communities forced to flee, to focus on a temporary defensive barrier built to prevent terror, is to do an injustice not only to Israel but to Christian communities across our region.

For these reasons, we will not be able to participate in Saturday's panel.  We will be glad to co-operate with the Church in the future on activities that truly promote understanding and foster peace building.

So all that Board of Deputies pressure came to nothing.  The main thing I don't understand is why the Israeli embassy withdrawal from the event is low key.  Israel advocates are usually quite a noisy bunch.

Aha, that reminds me. I did hear rumours that zionists are planning a picket of St James's Church in 4th Jan.  Someone told me that emails were coming out from these people, Sussex Friends of Israel summoning the faithful.  Maybe Israel's embassy staff would be embarrassed by some of the people who turn up at these things.

Anyway, happy new year to anyone reading this....

Tony Greenstein: An Apology or Mr Elf Regrets...

Tony Greenstein had a birthday bash last night. He was four bar mitzvahs and then some. Rounding up to the nearest ten that makes 60. My spies tell me that the do was well attended but unfortunately one of the invitees couldn't make it and that was me. Still, I've cleared my diary and I should make it for three score and ten.

Many happy returns Tony.


Regards

Mark Elf



PS: Here are the lyrics to a birthday song written by Deborah Maccoby and arranged and performed at the party by Deborah Fink:


THE BALLAD OF TONY GREENSTEIN
 
1ST VERSE
 
Tony Greenstein is a leftie
And one of Marx's lads;
He's fought the fascists all his life,
Those counter-revolutionary cads.
 
CHORUS
 
Those counter-revolutionary cads,
Those counter-revolutionary cads,
He's fought the fascists all his life,
Those counter-revolutionary cads.
 
2ND VERSE
 
His father was a rabbi
Who wanted him to be
A pillar of the Liverpool
Jewish community.
 
CHORUS
 
Jewish community,
Jewish community,
A pillar of the Liverpool
Jewish community.
 
3RD VERSE
 
But little Tony said:
"This plan I will resist;,
I'm an atheist, a Marxist
And an anti-Zionist."
 
CHORUS
 
An anti-Zionist,
An anti-Zionist.
He's an atheist, a Marxist
And an anti-Zionist.
 
4TH VERSE
 
With the fervour of his father
Towards the Jewish law,
Young Tony went to demonstrate
Against the Springboks' tour.
 
CHORUS
 
Against the Springboks' tour,
Against the Springboks' tour,
Young Tony went to demonstrate
Against the Springboks' tour.

5TH VERSE

But it wasn't only fascists
And fans of apartheid;
The British left found Tony
A thorn within their side.

CHORUS

A thorn within their side,
A thorn within their side;
The British left found Tony
A thorn within their side.

6TH VERSE
 
The exiled Palestinians
The left did not discern,
So Tony helped to edit
The magazine "Return".
 
CHORUS
 
The magazine "Return",
The magazine "Return",
So Tony helped to edit
The magazine "Return".

7TH VERSE

When the left regarded Israel
As a socialist country,
Young Tony with a few comrades
Co-founded PSC.
 
CHORUS
 
Co-founded PSC,
Co-founded PSC.
Young Tony and a few comrades
Co-founded PSC.
 
8TH VERSE
 
When PSC supported
The process called Oslo,
Then Tony and a few comrades
Said it was time to go.
 
CHORUS
 
Yes, it was time to go,
Yes, it was time to go,
Then Tony and a few comrades
Said it was time to go.
 
9TH VERSE
 
But later he rejoined it,
When he had been proved right;
Against the anti-Semites
He set himself to fight.
 
CHORUS
 
He set himself to fight,
He set himself to fight,
Against the anti-Semites
He set himself to fight.
 
10TH VERSE
 
Against those anti-Semites
He spoke out clear and strong;
They crawled back in the woodwork
Where all of them belong.
 
CHORUS
 
Where all of them belong,
Where all of them belong,
They crawled back in the woodwork
Where all of them belong.
 
11TH VERSE
 
For JfJfP
He didn't care a fig;
He called for total BDS
And signed up to J-BIG
 
CHORUS
 
And signed up to J-BIG,
And signed up to J-BIG;
He called for total BDS
And signed up to J-BIG
 
12TH VERSE
 
So - three cheers for Tony Greenstein!
He's sixty on this day;
May he win all his battles,
The first among the fray!
 
CHORUS
 
The first among the fray,
The first among the fray,
May he win all his battles,
The first among the fray! 
 
-----------------
The song is to the tune of Harry Pollitt by The Limeliters.

December 29, 2013

Peace of Ass?

I found this Avital Raz song on Youtube rather disturbing:




We, she and I, had a little natter about it on Twitter. Avital Raz's website is here.

I should have pointed out without prompting that the proceeds from the song are going to StopTheWall.Org as Avital Raz herself says:

Glad to see this song is shared.
A lot of the press contacted either ignored it on the grounds of it not being politically correct or Not being black & white. I think its important to support art on the subject to help make sense out of what's going on. Just wanted to add that all the earnings from the download of this song are going to Stopthewall.org an anti apartheid Palestinian organization. And I'd like to make a point that I'm an Israeli (living in the UK now) trying to raise money to stop the wall. Download here: https://avita lraz.ban dcamp.com...
Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, Avital, for sharing...

December 24, 2013

The Pixies herald "better days" in Gaza

I dunno, maybe they're drawn to the raw sewage I keep hearing about in the news from Gaza these days but The Pixies cancelled an Israel gig in 2010 saying "We can only hope for better days, in which we will finally present the long awaited visit of the Pixies in Israel".  That was Ha'aretz in 2010.

This is Ha'aretz now:
Bloomfield Stadium will be hosting a new international music festival next June that will feature the first appearances in Israel of the Pixies and of Soundgarden, two 1990s bands which are very popular among Israelis.

The festival, produced by Shuki Weiss, has yet to be named.

Bringing the two bands to Israel is a dream come true, Weiss said. He promised that further details about the festival will be released early next month, but did elaborate that the festival, which will take place on June 17 and 18, will include nightly joint performances by local and international bands.

So what's improved?  What's made The Pixies change their minds?  Don't they understand that normalising dealings with the racist war criminals of The State of Israel puts "better days" on the back burner?

December 12, 2013

Sleepless in Gaza?

Who can sleep in Gaza?!

Art exhibition by the Palestinian artist Laila Kassab
!من يستطيع النوم في غزة؟ 

The Exhibition will be at:

 The INCA Italian Advice Centre

124 Canonbury Road, London N1 2UT, nearest tube, Highbury & Islington 

This weekend, Saturday 14th; Sunday 15th December, both from 10am - 10pm


Admission Free

Exhibition facebook: www.facebook.com/events/257382647752813/ 

The artist Laila Kassab created harmony, beauty, imagery and symbolism to express the harsh reality in besieged Gaza. The vivid colours of her paintings are in stark contrast to the brutal blockade imposed by Israel. But her choice of colours are also symbolic. For Kassab blue expresses loss, deep secrets, hidden feelings, weirdness and dislocation. 

The latest works Islington Friends of Yibna managed to get smuggled out of Gaza are characterised by visual metamorphosis and a flow of merging and evolving forms and structures often mixed with symbolist motifs.

Despite being locked in the tiny Gaza Strip and subjected to the savage Israeli bombardment, Laila's artwork conveys love, music, hope and motherhood, but the longing for being free of fear is an underlying thread. The tunnels which brought life saving food are intertwine with womanhood. Though Jerusalem is forbidden by the Israeli occupation it is often referred to both explicitly and implicitly. Hidden keys and keyholes symbolise the yearning to return to the homes from which Palestinians had been ethnically cleansed. 



Here are 4 photos of Laila Kassab paintings, smuggled out of Gaza for this exhibition by Islington Friends of Yibna. 











December 08, 2013

Zionists use Crystal Meth to Bust the Boycott

It's true, Zionists in the UK are trying to use the Co-Op Bank's former CEO's alleged drug abuse to get the bank to call off its boycott of goods from Jewish only settlements in Palestine.  Admittedly Marcus Dysch of the Jewish Chronicle isn't the most reliable of journos but here he is anyway:

The Co-operative movement has confirmed there are no plans to alter its policy of boycotting companies which source produce from Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Israel supporters have appealed to the organisation to revisit the issue following the resignation of Co-op chairman Len Wardle, who quit the business after revelations about the conduct of its former banking chair, Reverend Paul Flowers.

The Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council this week requested a meeting with the Co-op’s new leaders to discuss the issue.

Rev Flowers, who was believed to be a key supporter of the boycott campaign, is being investigated by police over claims he bought, sold and used Class A drugs, including crystal meth and crack cocaine.

In May last year the Co-op implemented a full ban on engagement with any Israeli suppliers known to work with the settlements.

A campaign led by the We Believe group has also seen Israel supporters write to the movement’s new chair, Ursula Lidbetter, asking her to reconsider the boycott.
They seem to be suggesting that there is a link between using crack cocaine and crystal meth and supporting a boycott of the State of Israel.  Maybe they'll end up making the boycott look cool.  That's what the "just say no" campaign did for drugs.  Or maybe they're on drugs themselves.

November 29, 2013

See the Light This Saturday!

Here's an event this Saturday 30 November 2013
Jewish Socialist Group Event
Saturday 30th Nov, 7.15pm, Harry Rice Hall, 72-74 Hargrave Park, N19 5JN
Light up your life and celebrate Chanukah with the JSG and friends. Magical time guaranteed as our special guest is socialist conjuror Ian Saville who will take the lid off the mysteries of high finance when he performs his “Free Money Magic Show” that was a roaring success at Edinburgh this year. Chanukah gelt with a difference!
Please bring some vegetarian food to share(and some drink if you can)
All welcome – entrance by donation.


Not sure if smoked salmon counts as vegetarian food. Probably safest to assume it doesn't.

I got a whole load of other info in the JSG mailout.  See these:
 
Saturday 30th November: Left Unity Founding Conference 10am-5pm. Details: http://leftunity.org/category/foundingconference/

Saturday 30th November: International Anti War Conference, 10am-5pm. Organised by STWC. Details: http://www.stopwar.org.uk/events/international-antiwar-conference#.UpMQvYW6-cM

Sunday 1st December: “The Radical Jewish East End”. Last guided walk of the year led by JSG member David Rosenberg. From 11am-1pm. Fee: £8/5. Book online: www.eastendwalks.com

Tuesday 24th December: Traditional Jewish Xmas Eve at Hampstead Comedy Club compered by JSG member Ivor Dembina with Sol Bernstein, Lewis Schaffer and Mark Maier. Early show 7.30pm/late show 9.30pm. Details and booking: http://www.hampsteadcomedy.co.uk/?page_id=6

Saturday 18th January, 12 noon – 2pm Protest Vigil: Cast lead Five years On: We will not forget. Opposite the Israeli Embassy, Kensington High Street, W8 5NP. Called by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Palestinian Forum in Britain, British Muslim Initiative, Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

 This is the Jewish Socialist Group website but it could do with a bit of an update.

November 28, 2013

BBC aims weapon of mass destraction at the Prawer Plan

I was amazed yesterday when I heard a BBC Radio 4 announcer announce an interview with Amal Elsana Alh’jooj.  I'm not sure how long the recording will be on the net but you can hear it certainly for a while here

Obviously the big news for many of us regarding the Negev, the Bedouin and the State of Israel is the Prawer Plan so my amazement was based on the fact that the beeb was going to give its listeners a Bedouin perspective on the plan to ethnically cleanse between 40 k and 70 k Bedouin Arabs from their land in the Negev.

Here is Adalah.Org on the plan:
On 24 June 2013, the Israeli Knesset approved the discriminatory Prawer-Begin Bill, with 43 votes for and 40 votes against, for the mass expulsion of the Arab Bedouin community in the Naqab (Negev) desert in the south of Israel. If fully implemented, the Prawer-Begin Plan will result in the destruction of 35 "unrecognized"Arab Bedouin villages, the forced displacement of up to 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel, and the dispossession of their historical lands in the Naqab. Despite the Arab Bedouin community's complete rejection of the plan and strong disapproval from the international community and human rights groups, the Prawer Plan is happening now.
The Prawer-Begin Bill is an unacceptable proposition that entrenches the state’s historic injustice against its Bedouin citizens. Adalah and our NGO partners have been challenging the Prawer Plan before courts, government authorities and the international community, but we need your help to stop what would be the largest single act of forced displacement of Arab citizens of Israel since the 1950s!
Now this is big news for most of us but alas, not for the BBC.  Amal Elsana Alh'jooj spoke about inequality, exclusion, segregation, expulsion but all on a personal level with regard to her own dealings with her own community or the informal, rather than formal, segregation between Jews and Arabs.

Oh I'm sure her work is valuable and important but the BBC here seems to have deliberately distracted attention from a core issue regarding the State of Israel and its native non-Jewish population.  They are under a permanent threat of ethnic cleansing and of course the reason Arabs are a minority within Israel's pre-1967 borders is because of a recent, current and, as we see, on-going ethnic cleansing campaign.  And of course one of the reasons they get away with it is because of the help and encouragement they get from mainstream media organisations like the BBC.

Anyway, give the BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour programme a listen and see what I mean.

November 27, 2013

Jewish woman pays $140 a day for Israel's Theocracy

Here's a bizarre story that highlights something I hadn't known about "the only democracy in the Middle East".  Here's Ha'aretz:
An Israeli rabbinical court has handed down a precedent-setting ruling that requires a mother to circumcise her son, against her will, or pay a fine of NIS 500 ($140) for every day he remains uncircumcised.

“The baby was born with a medical problem, so we couldn’t circumcise him on the eighth day as is customary,” said Elinor, the boy’s mother. “As time went on, I started reading about what actually happens in circumcision, and I realized that I couldn’t do that to my son. He’s perfect just as he is.”

The mother said that the baby’s father had a part in the decision, but when the couple began to discuss their divorce in the rabbinical court, he unexpectedly decided to insist that their son be circumcised.

Israel's rabbinical courts are part of the country's justice system and have legal jurisdiction over matters of religion, including marriage and divorce, when it comes to the country's Jewish citizens. [My emphasis]
Good for Jews? I don't think so but I wonder if Israel grants the same powers to the clergy of other religions.

Check this out on Ha'aretz's paywall.

November 26, 2013

When Norman Geras met David Ward MP

I know I keep referring back to that Flying Rodent post, A Requiem for a Blog but some of the comments have been so worth a read they are worth posting in their own right.

Here's a chap called Phil drawing attention to Norman Geras condemning David Ward MP over that business about Auschwitz and Israel.
Phil said...
For anyone still checking back here, here's a "deliberate calumny against the Jews" (in Norm's words) from 2013:

"Having visited Auschwitz twice - once with my family and once with local schools - I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza."

And here's Norm from 2002:

"It is a tragedy of its own kind that from the people which had suffered so much in Nazi Europe, and during a long history of persecution before that, should have emerged what is today an oppressor state. To guard against misunderstanding: I am not talking of the separate tragedy of the Palestinians which is a consequence of this fact ... I am referring specifically to the Jewish dimension: that out of this people, with all its own historical experience of injustice, should have come so grave an injustice towards another people."

Funny old world.

 What a difference 11 years made....

November 25, 2013

A Doctor Writes on Alliance for Workers Liberty on "Antisemitism"

I've just revisited this racist article by the Alliance for Workers Liberty's leader, Sean Matgamna as re-presented on the Shiraz Socialist blog of Jim DenhamIn my post before last I highlighted a gem of a comment from a Harry's Place regular accusing Denham of using marxism to justify racism in the same way as some use the same pseudo-intellectual kit to support Atzmon.  Well revisiting the SS post I followed through to another leftist turned zionist, Andrew Coates and found another comment which lays the above the line post to waste.  This one is from Dr Paul, (Paul Flewers not to be confused with Crystal Methodist, Paul Flowers)
The AWL is quite inconsistent in respect of Islamism. It did indeed warn against the dangers of Islamism in Tunisia and Egypt, yet cheered on the opposition to Gadaffi in Libya, despite the fact that there were quite a few Islamists prominent in the opposition, and al Qaeda elements to boot, and they are now in the government, including a certain Mr Belhadj, not so long ago a leader of the jihadist Libyan Islamist Fighting Group. Why the silence? Similarly, in the Yugoslav collapse, the AWL said nothing about the presence of jihadists in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Kosovo. As for Afghanistan, it’s often stated that the AWL (or whatever it called itself then) supported the jihadists against the Soviet Union, but as I don’t have proof to hand, I’ll wait for others to clarify this.
As for anti-Semitism, I have been personally accused of that by an AWL member; not, as might be expected, by an inexperienced young cadre over-enthusiastically projecting the party line in an exaggerated, ill-learnt manner, but by the ganzer-macher himself, Sean Matgamna. Why? Because I feel that the best solution to the Israel/Palestine crisis is a single state in which all the inhabitants have full and equal rights, that one can be ethnically and/or religiously a Jew, a Christian or Muslim or Arab, or whatever. This, he mumbled to me in his inimitable manner, was ‘an anti-Semitic position’.
This — a call for racial and religious equality and genuine democracy — might be considered a little unlikely to occur in the near future (but then so is socialism, and the AWL doesn’t stop promoting it on those grounds), but only by the most abstruse logic — or the most tortuous form of ‘dialectics’ — could it be considered as based upon racial discrimination, particularly as it is predicated upon the demand for national/ethnical equality between Arabs and Jews. Moreover, this casual throwing around of accusations of anti-Semitism — that is, hatred of Jews — in response to a political position such as this makes it less easy to combat real anti-Semitism whenever it raises its head, as it trivialises a very serious question.
As for the AWL’s presence in the labour movement, it has broadly speaking been the most positive aspect of its activities over the years. It was its trade-union work which attracted me to the group 35 years back; other aspects, in particular its attitude towards the Labour Party, put me off it. It is in respect of other issues, less directly connected to the working class, where the less positive aspects of its politics are evident.
This comment was followed with another little gem attacking Coates's assertion that the AWL has "real roots in the Labour movement":
“with real roots in the labour movement”
On what fucking planet? This noxious cult doesn’t even exist outside of London and Yorkshire, so its real roots are by definition somewhat truncated. The AWL ex-member interviewed in the WW had been a member for 3 years, not a couple of months, and the story he tells together with the evidence of the email exchanges will be familiar to anyone who has encountered this sect – bullying, suppression of any real dissent and an appeal to sect loyalist groupthink, and crude scatological insults. And talk about a few words being taken out of context is pretty rich from a group which has been doing precisely that in order to smear people as anti-semites for years (with AWLers of the Denham stripe, even words taken out of context are not necessary, since he is capable of divining what people are “secretly” or “objectively” thinking, often the very opposite of what they actually say).,
 Yup, that's certainly the Jim Denham I know.  I'll have to dig some old stuff if only for its entertainment value.

But, in fairness, less look at Andrew Coates's less than ingenuous response to Dr Paul:
Well, for what it’s worth, I did not agree with them at all on the Yugoslav collapse, and while I agree with the ‘two-state’ solution to Palestine I would not go into detail about the Israel-Palestinian dispute because it is like walking into a burning pit.
If you tot up every political dispute, all you get (as with us all on the left) plenty of disagreements/agreements on a host of issues.
More fundamentally personally I do not come from, to say the least, their strand of Canon-Trotskyism.
Sean Matgamna is, as they say, “controversial”, but then there’s plenty of people in that category.
But on this one I was impressed by Solidarity’s coverage of the Arab Spring and a serious approach to Islamism.

Marko Attila Hoare has a more detailed recollection of where Andrew Coates stood on the "Yugoslav collapse" and my recollection of Andrew Coates playing fast and loose with allegations of antisemitism hardly distances him from the "burning pit" of discussions of Palestine.

Anyway, it's mostly gossip but Dr Paul's comment was the kind of gem that leaves you wondering what the AWL actually exists for.

November 23, 2013

Stop the Jewish National Fund

From the BDS Movement Website

stopprawerplan


On 24th of June, the Israeli Knesset approved the Prawer-Begin plan, which if implemented will result in the destruction of more than 35 unrecognized villages in Al-Naqab and the forced expulsion and confinement of more than 70,000 Palestinian Bedouins. The Prawer plan is the largest Israeli land-grab since 1948. It epitomizes the nature of Israel’s policy; Israeli-Jewish demographic expansion and Palestinian-Arab demographic containment.

The International community has repeatedly called on Israel to halt the implementation of the Prawer Plan due to its discriminatory nature and the severe infringement it causes on the rights of Palestinian Bedouins in Al-Naqab. The UN committee on the elimination of Racial Discrimination called on Israel to withdraw the proposed legislation of the Prawer Plan. Also, in 2012, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on Israel to stop the Prawer plan and its policies of forced displacement and dispossession.

Injustice, humiliation and forced displacement are a recurring theme in Palestine’s history. This is lesson that we as a group of youth take to the heart. We will oppose, resist and work against the continuous assault that our communities, across Palestine face. Therefore, we launched the “Prawer will not pass” campaign with an eye to preventing this plan to be yet another chapter in Palestine’s long and tragic history.

Opposing the Prawer Plan is to oppose ethnic cleansing, displacement and confinement in the 21st century.
Join us by organizing marches, protests, sending letters to those with positions of influence in your country or community, by doing whatever you can, in order to force Israel to stop the Prawer plan.
Join us on the 30th of Nov. in saying “Prawer shall not Pass”.

For more information, please contact us on:
Email: PrawerWontPass@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/prawershallnotpass

This call is available in other languages from https://www.oximity.com/article/Stop-Prawer-Plan-Call-to-action-on-Nov-1

Check PDF Fact Sheet: https://d23ya87silh7sb.cloudfront.net/pdf/000/000/144/940_425926177.pdf

- See more at: http://www.bdsmovement.net/2013/stop-prawer-plan-nov-30-11385#sthash.Dtc4lokY.dpuf

November 20, 2013

Harry's Placer Calls AWL on Guru's Racism

Here's a remarkable comment from Sarah Annes Brown of Harry's Place and a few other zionist sites.  She's criticising Sean Matgamna for a racist screed from 2002 reposted recently on the Shiraz Socialist blog of Jim Denham.

Denham doesn't actually post the most explicitly racist part of Matgamna's piece, which is here, but Sarah, who did a bit of digging, quotes it in her comment:

Sarah AB said,
Jim – some of the analysis may be reasonable, whether or not one agrees with it. But this seems different:
“Like desert tribes of primitive Muslim simplicity and purity enviously eyeing a rich and decadent walled city and sharpening their knives, or country folk in former Yugoslavia eyeing a city like Dubrovnik, so, now, much of the Islamic world looks with envy, covetousness, religious self-righteousness and active hostility on the rich, decadent, infidel-ridden, sexually sinful advanced capitalist societies.
Neither covert Western encouragement, nor neo-con manipulation, is the fundamental root of the luxuriantly thriving Islamic fundamentalism.
The existence of large Muslim minorities in Europe is making political Islam a force well beyond the traditionally Muslim world: the Islam which failed outside the walls of Vienna over 300 years ago is now a force in the great cities of Europe.”
There’s a nasty snark in the first sentence which implies a low view of Muslims generally, appearing to imply almost praise for the ‘simplicity’ of these tribes and then making it clear they are bloodthirsty savages (unlike other people in the Dark Ages/Middle Ages). There are problems with political Islam, sure, but this language is tendentious. Also in the last sentence the enemy is not ‘political Islam’ – just Islam – and this becomes a continuation of a clash which notes dates back to at least 1683, an existential clash with Islam, rather than a clash between one particular manifestation of Islam which has arisen due to a range of social and political factors as Matgamna seemed at first to be arguing.
Now that is good.  But it gets better when Jim tries to pull rank on the non-Marxist Sarah:
Jim Denham said,
I honestly don’t see any “nasty snark” there, Sarah. I realise you don’t share all the “leftist” criticisms of Sean’s piece, and also that you’re not a Marxist (so, for instance the fact that much of Sean’s terminology derives from Engels, won’t cut any ice with you),but the following strikes me as a pretty devastating riposte to “leftist” critics of Sean’s piece:
http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2013/11/18/reply-yassamine-mather
Now Sarah responds in a way that would get a regular opponent banned:

Sarah AB said,

Hi Jim – don’t you think there’s a disjunct between ‘simplicity and purity’ and ‘sharpening their knives’? I can’t say I find that article deals satisfactorily with my first objection or, I think, at all with my second (the Vienna one). I do indeed find the invocation of Engels a perverse kind of appeal to authority. A bit like citing Marx to excuse Atzmon.
 Wow!  What's that rule again?  I think Sarah just bravely broke Godwin's Law but there's nothing wrong with that.

Of course there's a quick reversion to type when Jim denies invoking Engels as an authority and Sarah denies having accused Jim of that anyway.  But those old one-two comments were well worth posting.  Now she's made me late for the gym but at least she's confirmed I'm not too old to like surprises.

November 19, 2013

November 18, 2013

Denis MacShane does the Decent Thing and Pleads Guilty





Denis MacShameless has done the decent thing and pleaded guilty to being the dodgiest character ever.  Hmm, maybe not quite that.  Let's have a look at The Guardian:


The former Labour minister Denis MacShane has pleaded guilty to making nearly £13,000 of bogus expenses claims.

The ex-MP admitted false accounting by putting in fake receipts for £12,900 for "research and translation" services.

He used the money to fund trips to Europe, including one to judge a literary competition in Paris.
Sentencing was adjourned until 19 December and he was granted unconditional bail
Mr Justice Sweeney told MacShane "all sentencing options remain open".
I ought to say here that as much as I don't like Denis MacShane, it is very cruel to leave him stewing over whether or not he'll go to prison but then, as a zionist he approves of far greater cruelties.

BTW, I got that pic from google.



November 16, 2013

A bit of Brecht...

I did enjoy that Between the Hammer and the Anvil post on thread about Norman Geras's passing or more specifically on the passing of his blog, Normblog.  Someone, Chris Y left the following comment:
chris y said...
Back in the early 80s, when I (and Bertram) first knew Geras, he was an important revolutionary intellectual - yeah, OK, big fish, small pond - who was instrumental in mainstreaming the work of Rosa Luxemburg among the British left, but was also active in any number of more immediate areas. Definitely one of the good guys.

What happened to him between his leaving NLR and the Iraq war, I have no idea. It came as a real shock to many people who had admired his work and seemed like a complete change of character. I at least found it deeply distressing, although of course there were no excuses to be made for his later positions.

Brecht:
I saw many friends
And the friend I loved most
Among them helplessly sunk
Into the swamp
I pass by daily.
And a drowning was not over in a single morning.
This made it more terrible.
And the memory of our long talks about the swamp
Which already held so many powerless.
Now I watched him leaning back
Covered with leeches in the shimmering,
Softly moving slime,
Upon the sinking face
The ghastly blissful smile.

It could well be a lament for a friend with similar ideals to yourself who then goes on to embrace precisely what you both used to oppose, ie, the swamp.  Apparently it's actually a lament for the self-destructive lifestyle of the actor, Peter Lorre.

Fathom This! Addressing the Hasbara Shortage

See this banner ad:

http://engageonline.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/fathom.jpg

"Fathom fills a real gap"!? I didn't know there was a hasbara shortage. Obviously I was wrong...again.

November 15, 2013

I was right, Zionists are using the Recuse Excuse for their FUCU Disaster

No sooner had I predicted that the zionists wold use the original FUCU judges absenting themselves from the costs decision as an excuse to make out that the whole FUCU judgment was wrong, we see two examples of zionists doing just that.

Now, to be honest, Dr David Hirsh of the zionist Engage website gave me the tip-off in this post.  He started factually enough:
Fraser’s lawyers argued that the tribunal should recuse itself from hearing the case relating to costs because the tribunal had already expressed a clear opinion in its judgment not only on the substantive issue of harassment, but also on the issue of costs; for this reason, it had prejudiced its ability to be seen to be impartial in the hearing over costs....

The tribunal decided to recuse itself in this case.  The judge said that he did not accept that their judgment had already articulated a view on the question of costs, but he admitted that a reasonable outside observer may come to the conclusion that it had.
So, it's all about costs and whether or not the Tribunal had made it known where it stood on the ussue.

Now Hirsh gets a bit slippery:
In this sense at least, the tribunal admitted that it had over-reached itself in its substantive judgment.

If UCU continues its bid to punish Ronnie Fraser, its case for costs may now be heard by a fresh tribunal.  However, it is not clear what evidence the UCU can adduce to show that Fraser’s claim was vexatious, since the evidence upon which it is relying is the relevant section from the judgment in which the tribunal appeared to prejudice the hearing on costs.

Now let's look at the parts of the judgment where the costs award against Fraser (and co) might be applicable:
177 The result is that the proceedings are dismissed in their totality. The Claimant has put before us one claim which, on initial examination, appeared arguable on its merits. Closer scrutiny, however, showed it to be clearly unsustainable. And, being hopelessly out of time, it is outside our jurisdiction in any event. The other nine claims are wholly unfounded and many are also defeated by the jurisdic tional time bar.
Now the Tribunal did agree to the hearing so that could be a point in Fraser's favour but then again on hearing the case it found one of its ten claims was out of time and out of its jurisdiction and the other nine are "wholly unfounded".

Now the bits that could be said to touch on costs:
180 What makes this litigation doubly regrettable is its gargantuan scale. Given the case management history, the preparations of the parties and the sensitivity of the subject-matter, we thought (rightly or wrongly) that it was proper to permit the evidence to take the course mapped out for it, provided that the hearing did not overrun its allocation. But we reminded ourselves frequently that, despite appearances, we were not conducting a public inquiry into anti-Semitism but considering a legal claim for unlawful harassment. Viewed in that way, a hearing with a host of witnesses, a 20-day allocation and a trial bundle of 23 volumes can only be seen as manifestly excessive and disproportionate. The Employment Tribunals are a hard-pressed public service and it is not right that their limited resources should be squandered as they have been in this case. Nor, if (contrary to our view) it was proper to face them with any claim at all, should the Respondents have been put to the trouble and expense of defending proceedings of this order or any thing like it.
Now they seem to be complaining more about the cost to the Tribunal than to the UCU but there is a little word of sympathy for the union having to go to the "trouble and expense of defending proceedings".

Now, it could be that whoever hears the costs issue will not want to dissuade future complainants from er, complaining but clearly the only issue the original Tribunal can be challenged on and is being challenged on is the word or two it uttered touching on costs.

And yet here's Sarah Annes Brown of Harry's Place (who sensibly remove their wacky comments after a week):

Avatar
SarahAB Mod  Discredited Andrew


I have no confidence in their findings. This is not because they ruled against Ronnie but because of the way they did so.

I won't replicate the whole thread here but here's Discredited Andrew helping you guess what other comments looked like:
Avatar
Discredited Andrew  SarahAB


Are you really going to clutch at that straw?
Another of the findings was that the claim that Jews were booed and jeered at in conferences was false. They spent a whole day listening to recordings of conference debates. You're into some weird conspiratorial territory if you are going to deny that any dishonest accusations were made.
Well now the Jewish Chronicle have put a marker down on the Recuse ExcuseHere's the JC's Simon Rocker from this morning's print edition (also on line, see link):
A battle over the legal costs relating to a defeated claim of antisemitic harassment is set to continue after a tribunal withdrew from deciding the issue.
The University College Union is trying to recover costs — understood to be around £600,000 — following the action brought against it by the director of the Academic Friends of Israel, Ronnie Fraser, who said its policy on Israel amounted to harassment.
The same tribunal, headed by Judge Anthony Snelson, which had rejected Mr Fraser’s claim in April was due to hear the case for costs.
But lawyers for Mr Fraser and for the solicitors who represented him in the harassment case, Mishcon de Reya, argued that the tribunal had been so scathing in their original ruling that they could not fairly settle the question.
The tribunal had dismissed Mr Fraser’s claim as “a sorry saga” and “an impermissible attempt to achieve a political end by litigious means”.

The UCU will now have to go to a new tribunal. Judge Snelson said: “We must recuse ourselves and a cost application should be listed before another tribunal.”
I think Simon Rocker must be deliberately missing the point here.  It wasn't the scathing nature of the FUCU judgment that was problematic for a costs hearing but the fact that the judgment could be perceived as having touched on costs.  Rocker doesn't even mention that.

So the FUCUps are using the Recuse Excuse. Remember you heard it here first.




November 11, 2013

Enrage Online?

We just picked up another follower on Twitter. They're called @Enrage_Online and they self-describe thus:
A non-Zionist, anti-racist force within the labour movement, we oppose
the oppression of Palestinians nearly as much
as we oppose doing anything about it.
And here's their first tweet:

Seeing that was a nice start to my working day.

November 10, 2013

Disgraced former MP Denis MacShane's Islamist Lobby Thesis

I've just seen from this Electronic Intifada post by Ben White that shamed former MP, Denis MacShameless has joined the zionist cacophony over the EU Fundamental Rights Agency's ditching of the so-called Working Definition of Antisemitism.  Here's MacShameless:

This is interesting because I remember the BBC Trust writing the following explanation to me:
the so-called “working definition of anti-semitism” referred to in the finding and cited by the complainant was published on the website of the EU Monitoring Committee for Racism and Xenophobia in 2005. This body was replaced by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (the FRA) in 2007. A press officer at the FRA has explained that this was a discussion paper and was never adopted by the EU as a working definition, although it has been on the FRA website until recently when it was removed during a clear out of “non-official” documents. The link to the FRA site provided by the complainant in his appeal no longer works.
So is the discredited former MP saying that the FRA spokesperson is lying?  I think we should be told but I'm guessing we won't be.  I know what I'll do, I'll ask MacShameless for his evidence.  Don't bother watching this space because, unless he's drunk, he won't answer.

November 09, 2013

Does Recuse offer Excuse?

Another day another FUCU post.

I've reported before that the University and College Union is seeking costs from the complainant in the case of Fraser v UCU.  According to Dr David Hirsh of the zionist Engage site, the costs are £580,000.

Lawyers for complainant, Ronnie Fraser, argued that the tribunal itself should not hear the costs claim because they so indicated their disapproval of the complaints in their judgment that they had already prejudiced the outcome should they hear the case.  The original trio who heard the case agreed to recuse, ie, absent themselves from the case.

Here's Hirsh:

The tribunal decided to recuse itself in this case.  The judge said that he did not accept that their judgment had already articulated a view on the question of costs, but he admitted that a reasonable outside observer may come to the conclusion that it had.

In this sense at least, the tribunal admitted that it had over-reached itself in its substantive judgment.
I know how hasbaristas work.  In future all the facts of the case will be cast to the wind in favour of the idea that "the tribunal admitted that it had over-reached itself in its substantive judgment".  This will be their excuse no matter what eventually is decided on costs.

The section of the judgment the complainants are relying on is as follows:

180 What makes this litigation doubly regrettable is its gargantuan scale. Given the case management history, the preparations of the parties and the sensitivity of the subject-matter, we thought (rightly or wrongly) that it was proper to permit the evidence to take the course mapped out for it, provided that the hearing did not overrun its allocation. But we reminded ourselves frequently that, despite appearances, we were not conducting a public inquiry into anti-Semitism but considering a legal claim for unlawful harassment. Viewed in that way, a hearing with a host of witnesses, a 20-day allocation and a trial bundle of 23 volumes can only be seen as manifestly excessive and disproportionate. The Employment Tribunals are a hard-pressed public service and it is not right that their limited resources should be squandered as they have been in this case. Nor, if (contrary to our view) it was proper to face them with any claim at all, should the Respondents have been put to the trouble and expense of defending proceedings of this order or any thing like it.
Read it over.  Hirsh says,
it is not clear what evidence the UCU can adduce to show that Fraser’s claim was vexatious, since the evidence upon which it is relying is the relevant section from the judgment in which the tribunal appeared to prejudice the hearing on costs.
 Now I don't want to leave a hostage to fortune (and what a fortune?) here but isn't that the whole point?  A tremendous amount of expense has been gone to in order to hear and defend a case that was wholly without merit.  Doesn't that in itself make the case vexatious?

But the zionists are in this for a reason.  If the UCU are saddled with the costs they will have still won the case, in spite of what Hirsh says, on the substantive points.  But that, as Asa Winstanly of Electronic Intifada has said, could deter other unions from taking a stance of international solidarity for the Palestinians.  If, on the other hand, the UCU wins its claim, then the zionists will still try to claim some kind of victory on the grounds of the nonsense Hirsh had come out with, that the tribunal somehow, over-reached itself.

Oh by the way, still no sign of Anthony Julius unless anyone knows otherwise...

The Strange Case of Mario Offenberg

A friend of mine had heard about a film made by an Israeli chap called Mario Offenberg which had won an award from the Palestine Liberation Organisation back  in the 1970s.  Offenberg had been involved with the Israeli trotskyist group, Matzpen and had penned an article against zionism with veteran marxist academic, Moshe Machover.  But the more my friend looked for this guy the more weird the details were that emerged.  His old muckers from Matzpen knew nothing of him and there were some lurid tales swirling around cyberspace.

Here's what I have found on line (well actually in a book) by a Ruth Gay called Safe Among the Germans: Liberated Jews After World War II.  I can't figure out how to copy and paste from google books so I found the extract I'm looking for here.

Now at some point in the late seventies Mario Offenberg fell off of the leftist radar and re-emerged ten years later reinvented as a religious Jew.  It is at this point that his story overlaps in a big way with the resurrection of an East German Jewish community, Adass Israel (Jisroel).  Now here's the extract:
In 1939 all the Adass Israel property was confiscated by the Nazi government, and then after 1945 these holdings became the property of the successor government, the German Democratic Republic. In time the GDR turned the synagogue's property over to the Berlin Jew­ish Gemeinde (East), though this was largely a paper transaction, be­cause the community had no use for what remained ofthese facilities. In fact, the old Adass Israel synagogue was remodeled into offices for a variety of GDR businesses, and the hospital was converted for use as the headquarters of the Deutsche Reichsbahn—the German railroad.

For four decades after the end of the war the community seemed to be extinguished, remembered only by its widely dispersed former members. The reemergence of a legally recognized Adass Israel in the last years before the collapse of the gdr owed its existence to the will of two men with wildly divergent purposes: Erich Honecker, the head of the state, and Mario Offenberg, a descendant of an Adass Israel family, who had grown up in Israel but moved to West Berlin to complete his education. How Offenberg became the beneficiary of Honecker's ambitions, assuming the leadership of a phantom Gemeinde, richly supported by the GDR, still remains in many ways unexplained.

In 1975 Offenberg completed his studies at the Free University in Berlin and presented his doctoral dissertation, titled "Communism in Palestine: Nation and Class in the Anticolonial Revolution." The anti-Zionist thesis proposed a union of Arabs and Jews against imperial­ism. For the next three years, Offenberg worked as a documentary filmmaker, screening his films about the conflict between Arabs and Jews in Israel at Leipzig film festivals. In 1977 the Palestine Liberation Organization gave him an award for his documentary The Struggle for Land, or Palestine in Israel.6"

A decade later a very different Mario Offenberg appeared in East Berlin, now intent on reviving Adass Israel. Whatever old Adassian-ers still survived in East Berlin were well hidden. The result was that Mario Offenberg and his father, Ari, constituted the entire resident Gemeinde. But this was a crucial moment, for a portion of the old Adass Israel cemetery in Wittlicher Strasse was in danger of being used for a new building for the STASI. Although the cemetery was nominally in the hands of the Jewish Gemeinde (East), it had been neglected since 1974, when its single caretaker retired.

Because the rear portion of the cemetery was not fenced in and the rest of the walls were crumbling, it had become easy prey for vandals. It was this seemingly unused rear portion that the Gemeinde in December 1982 sold to the Ministry for State Security, which planned to build offices and apartments there.

In November 1985 Mario Offenberg claimed that during the war this area had been used for illegal Jewish burials and was therefore hallowed ground. His trump card in approaching Honecker, however, was the news that he had invited Adassianers from all over the world to come to a reunion in Berlin in June 1986. What Honecker did not want at this point was the report abroad of a neglected and vandalized Jewish cemetery.

What happened next was astonishing. In January 1986, by Honecker's order, the best resources in Berlin were galvanized to work on the cemetery. During a hard winter the craftsmen even brought in special warming devices to make possible the fine restoration work on the stone. By June the walls had been rebuilt, the gravestones righted, the brush cleared. When one hundred Adassianers arrived from abroad to visit their family graves, they saw only a well-tended ceme­tery, which was solemnly rededicated in their presence.7

68 During this visit the surviving Adassianers and their descendants formed a new Society for the Advancement of Adass Israel in Berlin, whose pur­pose was the reestablishment of the Gemeinde and the reclamation of all its property.69 They also gave Mario Offenberg their proxies au­thorizing him to continue his work.

But neither the West Berlin city government nor the Gemeinde in the West was willing to recognize the legitimacy of the Offenbergs or to acknowledge that their Adass Israel was the successor to the Gemeinde extinguished by the Nazis in 1939. After Offenberg's first brilliant coup in restoring the Wittlicher Strasse cemetery, the East German regime became more cautious about offering support. The Offenbergs retained a lawyer, Lothar de Maziere, to present their cause to the government. There was division, however, at the highest levels. While State Secretary Klaus Gysi wanted to recognize the new Adass Israel as the successor to the prewar Gemeinde, the Central Committee of the Party was unwilling to restore the "People's" prop­erty to private hands. In addition, the heads of the established Gemeinden, both East and West—Peter Kirchner and Heinz Galin-ski, respectively—made no secret of their view that Offenberg was an interloper and that the property of the old Adass Israel should not be turned over to his committee.

 But all the principals were overtaken by history. On November 9, 1989, the Berlin wall fell and a new provisional government came into power in East Germany. By a great stroke of fortune, the new minister for religious affairs was none other than Lothar de Maziere. With a friend in a high place in the government, things began to go rather better for the Offenbergs.

On December 14,1989 the Council of Min­isters of the newly formed government voted to restore all rights to the Adass Israel Gemeinde and offered it all necessary government help.70  The following March, the council voted to support the Adass Israel Gemeinde with a budget of 810,000 marks for the year, including salaries for fifteen employees—among them three caretakers for the cemetery, a librarian, a Hebrew teacher, a rabbi, and a kosher slaugh­terer.  Mario Offenberg retained the position of executive director.

At this point two of the rooms in the old Artilleriestrasse com­plex (renamed Tucholskystrasse by the GDR) had been cleared and placed at the disposal of the new Gemeinde.  Eventually the entire building was returned to Adass Israel, which reestablished the syna­gogue, restored the ritual bath, and began to build its communal life, hoping to attract Orthodox Jews from both East and West. The most significant source of new members were the Russian Jews who began arriving in increasing numbers as a consequence of the rising anti-Semitism and governmental chaos at home.

When the East German government in the spring of1990 passed a resolution "to offer asylum to persecuted Jews," it encouraged them to pack up and leave. By February 1991 some four thousand had taken advantage of this offer.71

72 Actively seeking out the newcomers, by the end of 1990 Adass Israel claimed two hundred members, most of them Russian immigrants.73 As newcomers to the West, they needed an introduction into two cul­tures: the new German world in which they hoped to live and the old Jewish tradition, which many were discovering for the first time. Whether they would remain with the rigors of Orthodoxy as prac­ticed by Adass Israel once they were established in Germany was something that would be resolved in the future.

Whether the current Adass Israel is finally determined to be the legal successor to the institution founded in 1869, there is no doubt that the modern congregation is of a very different order from the original, which was composed of scholars and those committed to the wholehearted practice of Orthodox Judaism; the new congrega­tion is largely made up of those trying to find their way, and of new­comers to Judaism, learning its basic precepts.

The strained relations of Adass Israel with the Gemeinde of Berlin were resolved only in 1997......
Apologies for the haphazard footnote numbers.  I've no idea where the actual footnotes are but by all means follow the link above or check out the actual book.

Now that book was first published in 2002 but the plot seems to have thickened some time after 1997.  See this article on the FringeGroups website about "what amounts to a sham synagogue":
In the meantime, this new Adass Jisroel continues to exist, at least on paper.  No rabbi is mentioned on its website.  It runs what it calls a kosher restaurant, but when I visited this establishment last month there was no Jewish personnel to be found in it.  All inquiries are to be directed to its office, I was told.  But this office, when I tried to visit it, just happened to be closed, as it also happened to be closed when others tried to visit it.  AJ is said to have a synagogue, but attendance there is allowed only by appointment.  The large AJ cemetery, which was given to Offenberg by the GDR government, cannot be visited except by appointment;  people I know tried to make such appointment but were told that 6:30 in the morning is the one and only time for which an appointment can be considered.

Last year there were press stories that the Berlin government is demanding proper accounting of the funds that it has channelled to Offenberg, as required by law, but apparently refused by Dr. O.  Then the story was quietly dropped.  When I was in Berlin now, I met with a reporter from one of the Jewish papers (who, of course, was not Jewish himself).  I was interviewed most courteously, and a most courteous account of my visit was published.  But there was not a word about the main interest that I expressed in the interview, viz. Adass Jisroel.  The reporter later told me why this was red-pencilled by his editor:  let sleeping dogs lie.

UPDATE, March 26, 2012:  It now seems that a new court judgment has recognized the fraudulent nature of Offenberg's operation, and that this so-called synagogue may well be forced to shut down.
Following the last link to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency site we find:
An investigation found that the congregation had claimed government subsidies for nonexistent personnel and for a fleet of cars without submitting a drivers’ log. Synagogue director Mario Offenberg and his wife also reportedly charged the state for their annual business-class flight to Spain, claiming they were visiting the local Jewish community.

Tagesspiegel reported that the Berlin Senate told the court it doubted that Adass Yisroel actually had any members other than Offenberg.

So Israeli becomes Trot, Trot gets religion, religious ex-Trot is accused of fraud on a super-chutzpahdich scale of which you can also read more in Ha'aretz and presumably elsewhere.

I suppose I could have simply said that at the outset and spared you the details so I know I got completely carried away there with what I found to be a fascinating story which has been available on line for a long time. 

All I really wanted to know is what happened to the movie, The Struggle for Land, or Palestine in Israel?  Are there any surviving copies?  Is it on video, DVD or what?  Ok, I wouldn't mind knowing what happened to Mario Offenberg but I really would like to locate the documentary.  Any offers?  Let me know.

Thanks!