Sunday, January 25, 2009



By Kevin Stoda, whose homeland spends billions every year on Israel

Let it be known--

The state of Israel has various obligations in response too the Holocaust. . . .

The state of Israel has various obligations under the Geneva Convention. . . .

The state of Israel has various obligations in recognition of international human rights. . . .

The state of Israel has various obligations under International human rights. . . .

The state of Israel has various obligations under U.S. law. . . .

And yet

My country of the United States, which sends 3 billion in military aid every year to Israel, fails to use any leverage to get the state o Israel to move away from Gestapo-like tactics since in the recent murder of many in and out of Gaza over the past month, including the siblings of Amar Sharrub, whose story is outlined as follows:

Two weeks ago Friday, Amar Sharrub’s “dad and two brothers were fleeing their village when their vehicle came under Israeli fire. His brother, twenty-eight-year-old Kassab, died in a hail of bullets trying to flee the vehicle. His other brother, eighteen years old, Ibrahim, survived the initial attack, but Israeli troops refused to allow an ambulance to reach him and his father until twenty hours later. By then, it was too late. Ibrahim had bled to death in front of his father.”

The entire detailed story can be heard on last Thursday’s DEMOCRACY NOW. As the father was contacted by Al-Jazeera by cell-phone just moments before the second son died, much of the Arab world has the story.

So, far no Israeli officer has been arrested although the events are nearly ten days old and despite both Palestinian and Israeli witnesses were on site.

Amar Sharrub, who is a member of Seeds for Peace , reported that he talked on the cellphone many times over the two days his second brother was allowed to die because the Israeli officer denied Israeli medics repeated please to go help the wounded as per international law and protocol mandates. (The officer also refused permission for an ambulance to enter the area.)

Here is exactly what Sharrub a recent U.S. college graduate from Vermont shared on DN: “They [Israeli troops across from his family’s farm] were shooting from a house that was about thirty or forty yards away from the car. He doesn’t know any one of them in person. But the soldiers took a group of the residents and other citizens. They took them as hostages or human shields in that house. And some of these hostages actually understood Hebrew. They spoke and understood Hebrew, and they overheard the conversation between the soldiers. The [Israeli] soldiers told the officer, when they saw the car, that this car, they [Israeli soldiers] know the car, and they know that the passengers are civilians, but the officer ordered them to shoot and shoot to kill. Later on, as part of this unit, there were two army medics, two army doctors, who asked the officer for permission to go help the victims, to go help the injured, but the officer refused, because he knew they were civilians, and he didn’t want to get exposed. He didn’t want the story to get out, because he thought he might get in trouble for that.”


On DN, Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies , commented on the numerous international violations and crimes against humanity involved in the death of Sharrub’s brothers—and sufferings of Amer Sharrub’s father, who died with his son in his arms.

Bennis noted that “according to US law, the Arms Export Control Act, it is prohibited for Israel or for any country receiving US military equipment—but in this case Israel—it is prohibited to use that equipment, that military equipment, that ammunition, those weapons, outside of very narrow constraints. All of this violates those narrow constraints.”

Moreover, Bennis remarked: “The Israelis have a very particular obligation in Gaza and the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem as the occupying power. Under the Geneva Conventions, as the occupying power, Israel has the obligation to protect the civilian population. And that has a whole range of specific obligations, starting with no collective punishment, no use of prohibited weapons. The whole range of attacks that we have seen during this period of the three-week war in Gaza constituted a whole host of violations of different articles of the Geneva Conventions, starting with Article 33, that prohibits as an absolute any collective punishment, meaning that the siege of Gaza, which was creating a humanitarian disaster in Gaza even before the military assault began, was itself a violation of the prohibition that says Israel cannot punish anyone in Gaza, let alone the entire population of a million-and-a-half people, half of whom are children under seventeen, cannot punish them for any act they were not personally responsible for.”

In the case of the Sharrub family members who were shot and died on the eve of Israel’s supposed unilateral cease-fire, Bennis summarizes the key points as follows: “So the notion that they could fire on a civilian car, in this case with a father and his two sons, knowing they were civilians who were guilty of nothing, who were accused of nothing, that they could fire on that car, because they felt threatened or for any other reason, is absolutely a violation. Then there’s another violation inherent in the refusal of allowing medical care, refusing to protect the wounded. So the fact that there were medics on the scene who asked, maybe begged, the Israeli commander to treat the wounded, as they are obligated to do under international law, those medics were trying to do what international law says they must do, and they were prevented from doing so by their commander. That makes their commander guilty of another separate war crime, a crime of the violation of international humanitarian law, that requires them to provide aid and medical help to the wounded. So there’s a host of violations here.”


I have been studying Modern Western European history for nearly four full decades.
I am currently in Germany and am surrounded by books, such as Tadeusz Sobolewicz’s BUT I SURVIVED ,

These books deal with memories of the Holocaust, occupation, and national socialism. As I review what has occurred and reoccurred in the occupied areas of Palestine in recent weeks, I believe the shoes of certain NAZI occupying acts fits what we have been witnessing.

This does not mean Hamas leadership and certain Palestinians have done bad or horrible things in the past years, but it does mean that Israel as a state is not living up neither its forefathers’ historical promises to not see the past repeated nor is it living up to bilateral U.S. nor international laws to which it purports to be a democratic and God-fearing member.

For example, in the aforementioned interview on DN by Phyllis Bennes, one hears these appropriate claims: “The kind of weapons that we’re seeing being used, the use of white phosphorus, for instance, which was used not only in civilian areas, which is all of the Gaza Strip, is one giant civilian area. There is nowhere to hide. That’s been the conclusion of Amnesty International, that when Israeli notifications to people in Gaza said, ‘You should flee, because we are going to bomb your home, we are going to attack your neighborhood, there is a Hamas person who lives next door,’ there is nowhere in Gaza to flee in this most densely populated area.”

In short, what if we in 1943, as Americans, had personally witnessed Jews being told to flee a compound or be threatened with certain death—only to see them shot in the back while they were fleeing.

We Americans in 1943 would have stated, “We must do something! Or something must be done!”

Moreover, after the war, we would have sought to see that such acts never happen again under any regime.

Now, it is January 2009!

What the hell our we Americans going to put up with before we use suasion to get Israel, the state, and others in the Middle East to stop the damnable war crimes??????

. . . . and I don’t want blindly unfair and unjust state of Israel supports or worshippers falling back on those weak words, “Oh, they shot at us first!!”


According to Robert Pastor, who is a senior adviser to the Carter Center and a professor at American University who met with exiled Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal in Damascus on Dec. 14, along with former President Jimmy Carter: “[B]oth sides violated the key elements of the ceasefire. The rockets never absolutely completely stopped, even though they went from about 250 a month to fewer than three a month. From the standpoint of Israel, that may not have been good enough. On the other hand, from the principal concern of Hamas, which was to open the barriers, Israel really never tried very hard to open them. The numbers of trucks, on average, that went in increased from 100 to 200, but the amount that was supposed to go in was roughly 750 a day. Israel never came close to that. I think, as I said, to make the ceasefire work, both sides need to comply.”

Most importantly, thousands of experts in negotiations around the globe who have observed the Israel Palestinian conflict over these past months agree with Pastor, who reports, “I think, with regard to the question of whether Israel had an alternative than to invade in Gaza, I think the answer is obvious, that it did, that an effective ceasefire, full compliance with the agreement, would have stopped the rockets without the terrible loss of life that occurred.”

If you don’t believe that many experts concur that Israel’s latest war a losing choice was, check out some of these articles and discussions:

Naturally, Hamas is responsible to a point, but it is Israel who has out-killed Hamas and others for years—if not decade within the borders it controls (and in neighboring lands).

The bottom line for U.S. taxpayers needs to be: Who is the Israeli state copying? The United States? Or Nazi Germany?

If the shoot fits, …..?


Ebbinghaus, Angelika, OPFER UND TAETERINNEN, Germany: Fischer Verlag, 1987.

Reichel, Peter, POLITIK MIT DER ERINNERUNG, Munich-Vienna: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1995.

Schwarz, Gudruen, DIE NATIONALSOZIALISTISCHEN LAGER, Germany: Fischer Verlag, 1990.

Sobolewicz, Tadeusz, AUS DEM JENSEITS ZURUECK, Poland: Auschwitz Museum, 1993.




By Kevin Stoda, Wiesbaden , Germany

Earlier in January 2009, in the United Kingdom a £140,000 campaign to advertize on behalf of atheists and agnostics across the country was permitted after the advertising review board approved the British Humanist Society’s ads earlier this month.

In an article last summer, Ariane Sherine, a comedian, had suggested the campaign to readers of THE GUARDIAN.

Sherine had explained how she had felt a bit too pressed and stressed-out after she had witnessed two successive buses pass her—with both stating: “When the son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8).

Sherine noted that a website had been provided by the writers of the bus advertisements and she later checked out the website.

The website warned her against her unbelief in Christ and noted, “’You will be condemned to everlasting separation from God and then you spend all eternity in torment in hell. Jesus spoke about this as a lake of fire which was prepared for the devil and all his angels (demonic spirits)’ (Matthew 25:41)”.

In her article, Sherine pondered, “Now, if I wanted to run a bus ad saying ‘Beware – there is a giant lion from London Zoo on the loose!’ or ‘The 'bits' in orange juice aren't orange but plastic – don't drink them or you'll die!’ I think I might be asked to show my working and back up my claims. But apparently you don't need evidence to run an ad suggesting we'll all face the ire of ‘the son of man’ when he comes, then link to a website advocating endless pain for atheists.”

NOTE: Not all drivers of buses in the UK agreed to drive such an advertisment. This was followed on Islamic websites: On the other hand, some churchmen, including the Methodists, appreciated the thought-provoking ads.,,3931029,00.html?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf


In her June 20, 2008 article, entitled ATHEISTS, GIMME FIVE, Sherine states that she had already been busy investigated advertising law in Britain and Europe after her run-in with what she perceived to be a jarring billboard claim about God and the apparent demand to turn from one’s ways.

For example, she had checked out the Advertising Standards Authority and Carlsberg Beer ads. Sherine soon thus discovered that by simply using the word “probably” whenever making one’s advertising claims, one could basically say whatever one wants and not get sued for it.

In this way the firm, Sherine noted, Carlsberg Beer could claim something like “their lager” is "probably the best lager in the world".

Therefore, Sherine in THE GUARDIAN article last June proposed a campaign for atheists and/or agnostics with a sign which states something about hope in it. This could be contrasted to evangelical advertisements which she considered might actually really lead a Just-Made Redundant someone to throw himself under a bus next time he loses his job or the next time the stock market crashes, i.e. with him losing his life’s savings.

NOTE: What Sherine really stated was: “Imagine you've had a really bad day, and it's only 8.30am. You've spilt killer orange juice all over your crucial work documents, you're pressed up in a tube train against a commuter whose armpit smells like a biological weapon, and you're late for work and your only excuse is ‘I glued my hand to a dog’. You stumble out of the tube, and are confronted with the number 168 bus. It tells you that, along with your boss, a man with a beardy face is going to be upset with you, for ever, because you've refused to acknowledge his existence, despite the fact that he's too antisocial to come down here and say hi. You promptly throw yourself under the number 168 bus.”

Later, in 2008, the British Humanist Association and hundreds (or even thousands) of donors got involved in a campaign to realize Sherine’s suggested advertising campaign.

One of the bus slogans chosen for the campaign is "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life".

According to a recent GUARDIAN article, the advertisements “can already be seen on buses in central London . A total of 200 bendy buses in London and 600 buses across England , Scotland and Wales will carry the slogan from today and tomorrow following a fundraising drive which raised more than £140,000.”


According to press reports across Europe, the atheist campaign has caught on and there will be similar advertisements on public transports in other cities, such as in Spain , France and Austria .,3500,Atheist-bus-ad-campaign-provokes-bitterness-in-Barcelona,Guardian

While this trend appears at first glance to be a big boon or success for humanists, agnostics and/or atheists in Europe--and their rights to free public expression--, I am not certain it will catch on nor will it be remembered for what campaigners, like UK’s Richard Dawkins anticipate.

For example, in the tiny bilingual Church I attended in Wiesbaden , Germany this weekend, the British advertising campaign by atheists became the focal point of the explicative sermon.

First, the German preacher displayed a slide of one of the red double-decker buses in London bearing the sign: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life".

That German-speaking minister then proceeded to tell the story of how the author, Ariane Sherine, had first gotten the idea for the campaign (i.e. as outlined above).

The German speaker then noted that Jesus Christ had been quite a reveler in his days on earth.

Jesus had not only made wine from water as guest at a friend of his mom’s wedding party, but this same Jesus of Galilee had been known to drink lots of wine and hang out gaily celebrating life with even the most disreputable folk.

NOTE: Many musicals have been written about this man’s life. One joyous one is called CELEBRATE LIFE.

Furthermore, the German preacher continued, citing verses related to Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” that life wasn’t only just about what food one eats or the clothes on one’s back. The message for this group of binational Christians was the same as what the agnostics in the UK were, in a way, expressing on their bus-bound sideboards, i.e.“Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”.

By the way, those “Sermon on the Mount” texts come from the book of Matthew and state something like, “The Lilly of the Field has not thought a moment about what it might wear, but in all its poverty, that flower is nonetheless dressed in finery.”

That message sounds a bit like “Don’t Worry. Be Happy.”—eh?

Similarly, that conclusion to Jesus’ “Sermon of the Mount” message also indicates that the millions of birds of the air don’t spend all their days wondering about their next bite to eat will come from as man too often does.

Again the message for believers and readers of the Gospel of Matthew seems to be from the founder Jesus to be simply put: “Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”.


Naturally, what that German pastor was trying to remind his small- and aging flock in this time of global political-economic-social and spiritual stress that the Christian Church is too often packaging itself in terms of doom and gloom.

Too many Christians are living out their lives with dour faces and stress.

This is certainly why humanists (of which I am one to a great degree) can say that the packaging of the Christian message is often wrong and distorting.

On the one hand, there is too little real radical hope in the Christian message and witness of the Christian right. On the other hand, there is too much acceptance of the status quo by others.

NOTE: The status quo in America for nearly half a century, for example, has been that social justice and religious renewal do not go hand in hand. BaHhh Humbug !!

That sort of dour survey of Christian roots and history needs a great modern moral revisionist shake-up, which the British Humanists, i.e. which the likes of Dawkins and Sherine, have recently provided through their campaign focusing on advancing their political space, exercising freedom of speech, and discussion of freedoms of religion.

The German-speaking minister of a bilingual bicultural church of Americans and Germans in Hessen , Germany simply changed a few letters on the now-famous British advertising sign as follows—leaving many monotheistic believers very clear about the approach we need to take when speaking about our beliefs in public acts, words, or deeds.

This was the final message of the sermon, thanks to the background provided by on-going humanist campaign across Europe : "There's probably a God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life".


Saturday, January 17, 2009

MONKEY BUSINESS 2008-2009 and ....Germany Joins In Just as Major Election Year begins

By Kevin Stoda in Wiesbaden, Germany

MONKEY BUSINESS 2008-2009 and ....Germany Joins In Just as Major Election Year Begins

My aunt sent me this article on MONKEY BUSINESS last week--the very week that the German government set a record for the bailout package for a single bank, namely the German Commerz(Commerce)Bank. The cost to German tax payers is 18,000,000,000 Euros.

Many Germans are not hapy with this fact, especially since many of the Commerz Bank actors are too cozy with the government--just like in the USA´s situation in October.

This article on the boondoggle of bank bailouts around the globe these two years (2008-2009) can be found here,

however, no known author is given. Here is the nursery tale:


Once upon a time a man appeared in a village and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for $10 each.

The villagers, knowing there were many monkeys, went to the forest and started catching them. The man bought thousands at $10 and, as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort.

He then announced that he would buy monkeys at $20 each. This renewed the villagers efforts and they started catching monkeys again.

Soon the supply diminished and people started going back to their farms. The offer increased to $25 each and the supply of monkeys became so scarce it was an effort to even find a monkey, let alone catch it!

The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at $50 each! However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would buy on his behalf.

The assistant told the villagers, "Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that my boss has already collected. I will sell them to you at $35 and when my boss returns, you can sell them to him for $50."

The villagers rounded up all their savings and bought all the monkeys for 700 billion dollars.

They never saw the man or his assistant again, only lots and lots of monkeys!

Now you have a better understanding of how the WALL STREET BAILOUT PLAN WORKS !!!

It doesn't get much clearer than this........


Tomorrow in Frankfurt, Wiesbaden and in the whole Bundesland (State of Hessen) in Germany voters will have there first chance to respond to the federal government in Germany´s largesse to the financial sector after spending years cutting spending on welfare--sounds like America.

I would bet money (the governments money of course) that both the Green Party and the Links Party do better than ever in Hessen in the elections tomorrow. Hessen on Januar 18, 2009 is the first of a series of major state elections in Germany which will later culminate in a national election (probably at the end of September 2009)

Here are what newspapers are saying about tomorrows vote--as over 40% of the voters remain undecided.


The following web links provide fairly up-to-date info on the five major parties: CDU/CSU, SPD, Die Linke (The Left), The Greens, and FDP.,german-spd-in-drastic-reshuffle-before-2009-elections--summary.html

When I predict that both The Greens and The Left (Die Linke)parties will do better than expected or better than in Hessens last elections, I am betting against what some media say here in Hessen and in German--but with what everyone on the streets seems to be saying to me over the past two weeks.

This is namely that what the grand coalition of CDU-CSU (Conservatives) and the SPD (The socialists) have done in recent years in Germany is to alienate both their fringe and their base voters.

There will be a large number of protest voters tomorrow. They, however, may vote for the FDP (Free Market Liberals)who would possibly have also put some breaks on the German governments bailing out of certain businesses and industries.

However, since many people are facing job and economic insecurities, many voters may vote for any number of tiny parties that have not yet been in the Hessen Parliament this decade--if ever.

Until now The Left Party in Hessen has never done well, but with its opposition to HARZ 4 Program, a federal program to reduce the welfare state in German over the past half decade,I believe 6 % or more in the election tomorrow would not be unanticipated.

Meanwhile, The Greens might poll 15%--a record for them in Hessen--this election.

On the other hand, with the likelihood that the Socialists (SPD) would only get 25 to 30 % of the vote on Sunday, there is certainly a good chance that the CDU (Conservatives) and the free market liberals might actually retain control of the Hessen Parliament after all.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Yesterday, I was sent an e-mail by a fellow educator entitled


I really believe it is important to let Israel know that the hearts and minds in the so-called Christian world are being lost each day--and with each death.

Here is the article on the TEACHERS AGAINST THE OCCUPATION website:

The letter was written less than two weeks ago by David Lloyd.

Dear President-Elect Obama
By David Lloyd

Once, in what was perhaps an unguarded moment, you stated that: "Nobody's suffering more than the Palestinian people". After days of relentless Israeli bombing in the Gaza strip that has already killed over seven hundred people, most of them civilians or policemen, and injured over three thousand, many of whom may yet die for lack of medical supplies and facilities, your words have never rung more true. And yet, so far, your signal response to this latest assault on the Palestinians, that the UN Secretary General diplomatically calls “disproportionate”, has been to defend Israel’s right to respond to rocket attacks that, while rightly condemned, are mere pinpricks in comparison to the horrific consequences of Israeli bombardment and of the ongoing blockade on Gaza.

Does this mean that on the long way to the White House you have trimmed your sails and, for the sake of securing the power you will soon assume, fear now to speak truth to power? Does this mean that, unlike Dr. King, your sense of justice is adjustable for the sake of political expedience? Those who supported you from the early days of your primary campaign did so not on account of your response to economic crisis, but because they believed in your sense of justice and your commitment to put an end to business-as-usual in Washington, and because they believed in your genuine desire to shape a new and different world order.

In 1981, while you were an undergraduate at Occidental College, you were among the first of a courageous group of students and faculty who, while the cause was still unpopular or unheard of, spoke out for divestment from the apartheid regime in South Africa. You knew then that it was imperative to place pressure on a racist regime which shamefully oppressed a black and coloured population that was discriminated against, subject to pass laws and control of its every movement, parceled into Bantustans, and subject to detention, torture and extra-judicial execution. When the black population protested, like the school children of Soweto, they could be summarily shot down by police or army. The ANC, under Nelson Mandela, was proscribed as a terrorist movement, its leaders were imprisoned, tortured or killed, its guerillas faced the overwhelming power of the South African army, equipped and trained in part by the United States and its European allies. A regime that was so unafraid to use violence in the defense of its discriminatory and racist regime, and so unashamed to do so in the face of international condemnation, could only understand the language of force. The divestment movement in which you so actively participated understood that the euphemistically and cynically named policy of “constructive engagement” was a moral and practical failure and that only the non-violent force of a financial boycott on the South African regime had any hope of bringing an end to apartheid without an horrific bloodbath.

Public figures as diverse as Bishop Desmond Tutu and President Jimmy Carter have recognized that Israel too maintains an apartheid regime, in practice if not in name. South Africa, now a functioning multi-racial democracy, was a white state for a white people. Israel is a Jewish state for a Jewish people. Its non-Jewish, mostly Palestinian Arab citizens are discriminated against in numerous ways, economically and civilly. The dispossessed and ethnically cleansed Palestinian populations, dispersed in the diaspora and in the refugee camps of Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon, are denied the internationally recognized right of return. They have had their lands and homes taken from them by armed and “legal” force, are subject to collective punishment, prolonged states of siege, the absolute and deliberately destructive control of their daily movements. Where South Africa instituted the pass laws, the checkpoints that have proliferated all over the West Bank and at the exits from Gaza prevent students from reaching their schools and hospitals, workers from reaching their places or work, keep farmers from their fields, the sick from the few hospitals that survive to serve them. The illegal settlements, that in contravention of all international laws regarding occupation have proliferated across the West Bank, are designed to be permanent “facts on the ground” and have divided recognized Palestinian territory into segmented islets, into besieged Bantustans, with the intent of preventing a contiguous Palestinian state. A so-called security wall, illegally built, as even the Israeli Supreme Court recognized, on Palestinian territory, has cut farmers from their lands and turned formerly prosperous villages into isolated prisons. Regular Israeli military incursions into Palestinian cities and refugee camps, and bombings from the air, have killed innumerable civilians, many of them children. Since the election of Hamas, in fair and open elections, Israel has subjected the civilian population of Gaza to a prolonged state of siege, designed to suffocate them into submission, depriving them at will of water and power, medical supplies and food, and of access to the outside world. The most recent, all-out assault on Gaza, the disproportionate and bloody use of excessive force, is no act of self-defense, but the dramatic extension of an insidious policy of extermination of a people that refuses to disappear.

Every one of these acts is a crime against humanity. In their ensemble, they constitute one of the most massive, ethnocidal atrocities of modern times. Almost alone among nations, Israel acts in flagrant violation of international law and UN resolutions and does so with impunity. That it can do so is in large part the consequence of the uncritical support offered to Israel by a succession of American administrations. Without the military and economic aid of the United States, which amounts to more than a third of all US foreign aid, Israel could not have mounted its violent offensives against the Palestinians or Lebanon, could not maintain its security apparatus, could not afford the illegal settlements that seek to expand Israel into what remains of Palestinian territory. The United States has supplied the F-16s that are bombarding the Palestinians, their schools, police stations and mosques, and the cluster bombs that continue to kill and maim children and farmers in southern Lebanon. America continues to support Israel to the tune of billions every year at the expense of US taxpayers and at the expense of its moral standing in the world.

You will continue to do so, according to your own web page, because “our first and incontrovertible commitment in the Middle East must be to the security of Israel, America's strongest ally in the region.” You and your Vice-President, Joe Biden, not only “defend and support the annual foreign aid package that involves both military and economic assistance to Israel”, but moreover “have advocated increased foreign aid budgets to ensure that these funding priorities are met.” In doing so, you lend your support, in the name of the United States, to a regime no less criminal in its acts and in its policies towards its own minority population and its dispossessed Palestinian neighbors than South Africa was in the 1980s. Then, it was argued, South Africa was our strongest ally in the region, a bulwark in the war against communism, a crucial supplier of uranium and other minerals, a prosperous Western-style democracy, if not the only democracy on the continent. To bring down the South African apartheid regime, it was argued, would be to create chaos in southern Africa, unleash a bloodbath in which whites and blacks alike would suffer, and pave the way for a communist or dictatorial postcolonial regime. The divestment movement, a non-violent coalition of students and academics, union members and churches, came together in the spirit of the Civil Rights movement to challenge those self-serving assumptions. It changed the direction of US foreign policy, disgracing its support of a racist regime, and placed effective pressure on the apartheid regime to begin serious negotiations with the ANC. Through a combination of diplomacy and divestment, we did end apartheid, making way for a functioning multi-racial democracy that confronts its challenges, indeed, but has not dissolved into chaos or tyranny.

It is time for the United States to place a similar pressure on Israel. That Israel has been America’s beneficiary, unchallenged in its war crimes and in its acts of terror, uncontested for its racist civil constitution and illegal occupations, has not been to the United States’ advantage. On the contrary, such unquestioning support of Israel has fuelled the legitimate anger of the Islamic world, supplied the justification for terrorism, and continually tarnished the United States’ reputation among the democracies of the world. That the United States has stood so often alone in defending Israel before the court of world opinion in the United Nations is not a sign of its virtue, but of the obstinacy and arrogance of its stance.

But it is not for the sake of the reputation or advantage of the United States that you should take a new path in relation to Israel. It is in the name of justice. It is not just to support the territorial ambitions, realized settlement by settlement, of a Zionist minority in the region. It is not just to continue to supply Israel with the most advanced weapons and the most deadly arms in order that it may murder civilians, children and policemen. It is not just that we should support Israel with all our diplomatic force and financial aid, while leaving Israel’s victims to die slowly for lack of food, medicine, water and power. It is not just that we should sacrifice a dispossessed people for the security of a state that discriminates and expropriates, continually and violently ignores UN resolutions and international appeals, collectively punishes those whose right to resist occupation is recognized in international law. There is no road to peace through such injustice.

It may be that the compromise in the end will be the establishment and security of two separate states. Almost certainly, the only hope of a lasting solution is a single state in Israel/Palestine, committed to the civil and human rights of all peoples within its boundaries, irrespective of religion or ethnicity. That is, after all, the standard to which we hold all other states in the world, Israel alone excepted. But no solution at all will be possible until we hold Israel accountable for its criminal violence and its illegal acts, until we cease to supply it with the means to pursue a course of domination and expansion, with arms and warplanes, with finance and diplomatic support. In wake of the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, your recent expression of "deep concern" is not enough. It is time for constructive disengagement from Israel, financial, diplomatic, military. What worked in the case of South Africa, divestment and pressure, may finally work in the Middle East.

Without such justice, there will be no peace.

David Lloyd
University of Southern California


Thursday, January 01, 2009

I'd like to Ask You to Take the Poll: Who has been the Most Unacceptable President of the USA ever?

I'd like to Ask You to Take the Poll: Who has been the Most Unacceptable President of the USA ever?

The poll can be found at this site:

Has George W. Bush been the most unacceptable President in U.S. History?

COUNTERSPIN authors on FAIR.ORG has noted : "December 2008 marks not just the conclusion of another calendar year, but the end of eight years of the George W. Bush administration—an era notable for, among other things, particular predations on civil liberties, the free flow of information and the public's right to know. Other administrations have been wary of the press corps, to be sure. But it was the Bush White House whose first attorney general instructed federal agencies to drag their feet on FOIA requests; whose Defense Department orchestrated the pulling down of a statue of Saddam Hussein—supposedly by joyous Iraqis—as part of a disinformation campaign on the war. Who pressured EPA officials to "clean up" public statements on air quality at Ground Zero after September 11, 2001. Whatever one thinks of the incoming administration, it's fair to say the departing one has left a very high hole to dig out of a number of fronts."

Has the Bush administration been the least acceptable president ever in terms of good governance, protecting liberties and Americans, the constitution, growth in the common weal?

Choose the U.S. President on your own least acceptable index and give the outgoing administration its grade card in American history.

NO THROWING SHOES ALLOWED--just vote and comment, ok?



January 1, 2009

Dear Blog Readers of the Teacher,

I would like to announce that after numerous hours wrangling with bureaucracy in the Kuwaiti Ministry of Justice, Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Filipino Embassy, USA Embassy, and the Kuwaiti Evangelical Church Compound, yesterday (December 31, 2008) at around 10am, Maria Victoria M.Baradero was married to me, Kevin Anthony Stoda, in a civil ceremony here in Kuwait City, Kuwait.

God Bless you readers who have been praying for us. We continue to need those prayers and warm wishes in 2009.


Kevin Stoda in q8

P.S. We pray to have a church wedding within 2 to 6 months.