10 April, 2010 — The Only Democracy
As the New York Times long-standing Jerusalem bureau chief, with primary responsibility for reporting on the Israel-Palestine conflict, Ethan Bronner has endured bruising criticism for pro-Israeli bias, recently exacerbated by charges of conflict of interest upon the revelation that his son has been inducted into the Israeli army.
So Bronner craned his journalistic neck to peek at things from another perspective with a front-page story called “Palestinians Try a Less Violent Path to Resistance,” and you know right away from that headline that he’s got it wrong.
Bronner makes several big mistakes. First, he ignores the long history of Palestinian nonviolent struggle against colonization, beginning in the 1930’s, and characterizes current nonviolent protest against the Occupation in the West Bank as a “new approach.” And second, he credits the movement entirely to the efforts of Fatah political leadership and the business community:
Something is stirring in the West Bank. With both diplomacy and armed struggle out of favor for having failed to end the Israeli occupation, the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, joined by the business community, is trying to forge a third way: to rouse popular passions while avoiding violence. The idea, as Fatah struggles to revitalize its leadership, is to build a virtual state and body politic through acts of popular resistance
The facts are the opposite–Fatah officials are Johnny-come-latelies to the grassroots nonviolent movement in the West Bank that began with construction of the Wall in 2002, led not by politicians but by popular committees.
Finally, Bronner declares:
Nonviolence has never caught on here, and Israel’s military says the new approach is hardly nonviolent.
Now Bronner is back in known territory — where Israel’s military gets to define what violent is, and Bronner gets to make pronouncements about Palestinian intransigence, without attribution or analysis or any other basis for his conclusions.
In his post in Mondoweiss on Bronner’s article, Alex Kane makes reference to several books that could have educated Bronner about the facts of nonviolent resistance in Palestine, including Rashid Khalidi’s “The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood”, and Neve Gordon’s “Israel’s Occupation.” To this I would add Mary Elizabeth King’s “A Quiet Revolution,” and Professor Joel Beinin’s article in The Nation, ”Building a Different Middle East”, for an overview of the expanding nonviolent movement in villages throughout the West Bank, and the participation of Israeli and International activists in that struggle.
Here’s hoping Mr. Bronner continues down the path of telling the Palestinian side of the story to the American people, this time armed with facts and a more open mind.
9 April, 2010 — The Guardian
If you don’t support our toothless plan, we won’t help clean up the damage we caused. Obama administration cancels adaptation aid for Bolivia and Ecuador
The US State Department is denying climate change assistance to countries opposing the Copenhagen accord, it emerged today.
The new policy, first reported by The Washington Post, suggests the Obama administration is ready to play hardball, using aid as well as diplomacy, to bring developing countries into conformity with its efforts to reach an international deal to tackle global warming.
The Post reported today that Bolivia and Ecuador would now be denied aid after both countries opposed the accord. The accord is the short document that emerged from the chaos of the Copenhagen climate change summit and is now supported by 110 of the 192 nations that are members of the UN climate change convention.
Katyn Between the Past and the Future
“Katyn, a village 18 km west of Smolensk, Russia became known across the world as the site of mass execution of Polish officers by Stalin’s secret police in April-May, 1940… Oddly enough, Stalin was the first to publicly and officially apologize to Poland for the massacre… Other leaders of the USSR and post-Soviet Russia later did the same… Vladimir Putin invited Donald Tusk to visit Katyn on April 7, 2010 to attend the commemoration of the 70-th anniversary of the tragedy…”
Sergei LUNEV (Ukraine)
On Ukraine’s History
“The Ukrainian project was a priori anti-Russian… In 1917 the Ukrainian separatists de facto sided with Austria-Hungary in World War II and thus helped the Bolsheviks to seize power in Russia… The Ukrainian separatists continued pinching Poland in the 1920ies-1930ies, this time in the interests of Germany. Separatists from Western Ukraine fought together with Germany against the USSR in World War II, but their activity was centered around raids against the civilian population which Poles, Jews, Russians, and no less Ukrainians would never forgive them for…”
M.K. BHADRAKUMAR (India)
The limits to Sino-Indian understanding
“India and China are both intensely conscious that they face a highly volatile regional environment. The United States has established a military presence in the Central Asian region on a long-term footing. Indeed, the “reset” of US-Russia ties is under way while tensions have appeared in Sino-American relations and, clearly, the talk about a G-2 has been far too premature. In South Asia, too, the US intends to keep a long-term military presence…”
Obama’s Nuclear Surprise
“In essence, the new US nuclear doctrine is an element of the novel US security strategy that would be more adequately described as the strategy of total impunity. The US is boosting its military budget, unleashing NATO as the global gendarme, and planning real-life exercise in Iran to test the efficiency of the Prompt Global Strike initiative in practice. At the same time, Washington is talking about the completely nuclear-free world…”
No alternative to nuclear weapons in Russia so far
“As long as Russia fails to catch up with the leading countries in terms of conventional weapons, it can only focus on nukes. ‘Nuclear umbrella’ is becoming even a more meaningful notion for Russia: as nuclear weapons ensure protection of national interests, they remain the most economic means of defense…”