Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Subject: Umm Kulhum highlighted on NPR
Date: Tue, 27 May 2008 14:07:19 +0000
The highly-acclaimed Documentary, Umm Kulthum:
A Voice Like Egypt was highlighted on NPR's
Weekend Edition program of Sunday 11 May 2008.

You can view the program rundown on NPR's website:

The story link provides further details, including the full audio
of the shows broadcast and clips from the film.

Umm Kulthum: A Voice Like Egypt

"Umm Kulthum: A Voice Like Egypt grows more revealing
as it proceeds, helped enormously by the rich legacy of
films and recordings."
- The New York Times

"The voice of Umm Kulthum lives on in Goldman's film."
- The Boston Herald

She had the musicality of Ella Fitzgerald, the public presence of
Eleanor Roosevelt and the audience of Elvis Presley.

Born a peasant at the turn of the last century, legendary Egyptian
singer Umm Kulthum earned a position of great wealth and influence.
She was a powerful symbol, first of the aspirations of her country,
and then of the entire Arab world. Four million people filled the
streets of Cairo for her funeral in 1975, and to this day her songs
outsell those of many contemporary Arab female vocalists.

Narrated by Omar Sharif, Umm Kulthum: A Voice Like Egypt takes
viewers into her home village and to the streets and cafes of Cairo
where she lived and worked. Featuring concert footage, film clips and
interviews with the famed singer’s friends and colleagues, Goldma's
documentary places the life and career of Umm Kulthum in the context
of the epic story of 20th century Egypt.

DVD Features:
* Limited edition 20 page booklet of rare photographs of Umm Kulthum
* Insightful new commentary by director Michal Goldman
* Umm Kulthum filmography
* Production photo gallery
* Theatrical trailer for Umm Kulthum's 1947 film, Fatma

Directed by Michal Goldman | U.S.A. / Egypt | 67 minutes | 1996
In Arabic & English with English subtitles

The DVD is available at Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Special Guest Columnist
Palestine before and after

May 4, 2008

http://www.washingt ontimes.com/ apps/pbcs. dll/article? AID=/20080504/ COMMENTARY/ 569743177&template=printart

By Sherri Muzher - People are tired of hearing about it," a friend once told me matter-of-factly about the Middle East conflict. Tell me about it.

As a first-generation American of Palestinian descent, I can vouch that nobody is more tired of this conflict than Palestinians. But many of us don't have the luxury of flipping the channel or ignoring what is happening to our relatives and friends.

Palestinians with serious illnesses in Gaza are denied access to medical care. More than 150 have died and children are being stoned on their way to school by Jewish settlers.

We do what we can but it never feels sufficient. And though we're 100 percent Semitic, the usual tiring label of "anti-Semite" is thrown at us for speaking out against the injustices.

This month marks the 60th anniversary of Israel's creation and the dispossession of the Palestinians from their land. I'll save the history lessons because the realities have even been acknowledged by Israeli historians, most recently by Professor Ilan Pappe in 2006 with his book, "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine."

Instead, I'd like to focus on the Palestinian people.

Denying their humanity has taken on many forms in the Israeli PR arsenal — from employing pop culture to paint Palestinians as terrorists at conception to the media's glorification of Israel's birth.

In recent years, pro-Israeli commentaries claim our parents don't love us. Apparently, my parents' years of love and sacrifice illustrate they never read the Palestinian manual for parents.

Sarcasm aside, it all makes strategic sense: Dehumanize Palestinians or deny their heritage long enough that any action against them doesn't seem so outrageous, even if they are expulsions at gunpoint.

Consider that Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir said in 1969 in an oft-repeated statement, "There is no such thing as a Palestinian. " Too bad she didn't read up on history because there has been a collective consciousness of their unique identity for millennia. The ancient Canaanites weren't called Palestinians, but neither were the Mesopotamians called Iraqis or the Celts called Irish or British. Still, the roots are unquestionable and run eternally deep, from archeological finds to folktales.

Another example of whiting out the Palestinian heritage is using the term "Israeli Arab." I've never heard of a generic Arab race — every Arab has a specific heritage, be it Palestinian, Lebanese, Algerian, etc. Think of Latin America, where they all speak the same language (Spanish, except in Portuguese-speaking Brazil) and most share the same religion (Roman Catholic). In the Arab world, they all speak Arabic and most are Muslim. Nonetheless, each country has its own dialect, foods and customs. Mexicans and Argentines differ, as do Palestinians and Egyptians.

And within each Arab nation, there is even more diversity — from distinguishable dialects and expressions, to being able to identify the region a Palestinian woman came from by the intricate embroidery on her traditional dress. Palestinians have always had a rich and vibrant culture that is all their own, before and after Israel's creation.

There is no question that Palestinians have taken a bruising with poorly made leadership decisions and factional fighting in recent years. But what has remained steadfast is their fierce embrace of identity and their resilience. This is true not only of Palestinians in Palestine but those of Palestinian descent in the diaspora.

Whether it was the election of Tony Saca to the presidency in El Salvador or respected fiscal conservative U.S. Sen. John Sununu being singled out for praise by Time magazine or Dr. Motia Khaled Al-Asir being awarded the British Empire Medal by Queen Elizabeth II, those of Palestinian descent continue to make their mark around the world.

It is worth repeating that the Jewish Torah teaches us that man was created in God's image. The Palestinians have never been absent from this equation.

Sherri Muzher is director of the Michigan Media Watch in Woodhaven, Mich.

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From: My son, Rashid
Subject: New York Times: Endless War
Date: Mon, 5 May 2008 01:13:08 +0000


I'm plan on reading the book, but first I will write a letter to the editor. Morris' telling of what occured in '48 according to this review is incorrect. Jamal

May 4, 2008
Endless War
Skip to next paragraph

A History of the First Arab-Israeli War.

By Benny Morris.

Illustrated. 524 pp. Yale University Press. $32.50.

It was not one of the celebrated moments of what the Israelis call the War of Independence and the Palestinians call Al Nakba, the Catastrophe. But it is one of the more arresting ones.
In late August 1948, during a United Nations-sanctioned truce, Israeli soldiers conducting what they called Mivtza Nikayon — Operation Cleaning — encountered some Palestinian refugees just north of the Egyptian lines. The Palestinians had returned to their village, now in Israeli hands, because their animals were there, and because there were crops to harvest and because they were hungry. But to the Israelis, they were potential fighters, or fifth columnists in the brand new Jewish state. The Israelis killed them, then burned their homes.
As much as in any other scene in this meticulous, disturbing and frustrating book, the ineffable tragedy of Israelis and Palestinians resides in that brutal, heartbreaking image. On the one hand, the Jews were fighting for a safe haven three years after six million of them had been murdered. Undoubtedly some of those soldiers on patrol that day were survivors themselves, who’d lost their entire families in Europe and been handed rifles after washing ashore in Haifa or Tel Aviv.
And then there were the Palestinians, who had watched in horror over the past 75 years as these aliens first trickled, then poured, into their homeland. Were he an Arab leader, David Ben-Gurion once confessed to the Zionist official Nahum Goldmann, he, too, would wage perpetual war with Israel. “Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them?” he asked. “There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: We have come here and stolen their country.”
The history of the 1948 war desperately needs to be told, since it’s so barely understood or remembered and since so many of the issues that plague us today had their roots in that struggle. Much of that history is military: how the dramatically outnumbered Jews managed to defeat first the Arabs of Palestine, then the combined armies of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Syria, along with a smattering of Sudanese, Yemenites, Moroccans, Saudis, Lebanese and others. But arguably even more important than the soldiers are the civilians, specifically the 700,000 Palestinians who fled as the war raged. To understand the Palestinians who now fire rockets from Gaza or become suicide bombers from Nablus, it helps to know how their fathers and grandfathers wound up in Gaza or Nablus in the first place.
No one is better suited to the task than Benny Morris, the Israeli historian who, in previous works, has cast an original and skeptical eye on his country’s founding myths. Whatever controversy he has stirred in the past, Morris relates the story of his new book soberly and somberly, evenhandedly and exhaustively. Definitely exhaustively, for “1948” can feel like 1948: that is, hard slogging. Some books can be both very important and very hard to read.
On Nov. 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly approved a plan to split Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. The as yet unnamed Jewish state — or, as they say in Arabic, “Zionist entity” — would be tiny and divided: nearly half its citizens would be Arabs. Still, the Jews danced the hora that day on the streets of Tel Aviv. Ben-Gurion, who’d spent 40 years working toward that end, didn’t join. “I could only think that they were all going to war,” he said.
Within hours, he was right. Through the following May, when the British Mandate expired, civil war raged in Palestine. On paper and on the ground, the Palestinians had the edge: there were twice as many of them, they occupied the higher altitudes and they had friendly regimes next door. But isolated and outnumbered as they were, the Jews were far better organized, motivated, financed, equipped and trained than their adversaries, who were so fragmented — by geography and tradition and clan — that the term “Palestinian” was either unwarranted or at least premature. The war became a rout once the Jews took the offensive, and the Palestinian refugee crisis began (if “crisis” can be used to describe anything so chronic). On all this, Morris excels.
Transfer — or expulsion or ethnic cleansing — was never an explicit part of the Zionist program, even among its more extreme elements, Morris observes. The first Arabs who left their homes did so on their own, expecting to return once the Jews lost or the fighting stopped. The Jewish mayor of Haifa begged Arab residents to stay; Golda Meir, then head of the Jewish Agency Political Department, called the exodus “dreadful” and even likened it to what had befallen the Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe. While Jewish atrocities — notably, the infamous massacre at Deir Yassin — were very real, apocalyptic Arab broadcasts induced further flight and depicted as traitors those who chose to stay behind.
But once the Palestinian exodus began, Jewish leaders, struck by their good fortune, first encouraged it, then coerced it, then sought to make it stick. After all, the country needed room for Hitler’s victims, as well as for those Jews fleeing Arab countries. And it also had to protect itself against insurrectionists in its midst. The Arabs, it was said, had only themselves to blame for the upheaval: they’d started it. And, Morris notes, the Jews were only emulating the Arabs, who’d always envisioned a virtually Judenrein Palestine.
Matters took another turn in May 1948, when the British left, Israel declared statehood and the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq marched in. Again, for all their numerical superiority, the Arabs were ill-equipped, inexperienced, unprepared. Some Arab leaders knew they were in over their heads. But given the anger over the Jewish state on their streets and their own tenuous hold on power, not to invade was even more perilous.
Within five and a half months, they were crushed, militarily and psychologically. But for international intervention, their defeat would have been still worse; the Egyptian army would have been annihilated. Only King Abdullah of Jordan, with the best (British-trained) army and limited objectives (not to destroy the Jewish state, but to annex the West Bank), got what he wanted. Meanwhile, Israel grew beyond the partition lines, gained more defensible borders and — by destroying Arab villages — further reduced the Palestinian population.
The Israelis, Morris says, committed far more atrocities than the Arabs, but this was partly a function of success: they had far more opportunities. But had the Israelis committed systematic ethnic cleansing, he argues, there would not be 1.4 million Arabs in Israel today. Of course, by promptly driving out their own Jews, the vanquished Arab leaders became the greatest Zionist recruiters of all.
Deep inside Morris’s book is an authoritative and fair-minded account of an epochal and volatile event. He has reconstructed that event with scrupulous exactitude. But despite its prodigious research and keen analysis, “1948” can be exasperatingly tedious. The battlefield accounts, dense with obscure place names and weapons inventories, are so unrelenting, and unrelentingly dry, that you are grateful for the full-page maps (which themselves are hard to follow). The narrative cries out for air and anecdote and color.
Even Ben-Gurion himself isn’t much illuminated, apart from occasional parenthetical potshots. (It seems the guy was megalomaniacal and hyperbolic.) But Morris shares Ben-Gurion’s bleak outlook on the Israeli-Palestinian future. If anything, in fact, his views are even darker. “Whether 1948 was a passing fancy or has permanently etched the region remains to be seen,” he concludes. In other words, by whatever name you call it, the 1948 war has yet to end — and the winner is still not clear.

David Margolick is a contributing editor at Portfolio magazine.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

PALESTINE REMEMBERED ~~ 60 YEARS LATER ~~ TEN FACTS ABOUT THE NAKBASixty years ago, more than 700,000 Palestinians lost their homes and belongings, their farms and businesses, their towns and cities. Jewish militias seeking to create a state with a Jewish majority in Palestine, and later, the Israeli army, drove them out. Israel rapidly moved Jews into the newly-emptied Palestinian homes. Nakba means "catastrophe" in Arabic, and Palestinians refer to the destruction of their society and the takeover of their homeland as an-Nakba, "The Catastrophe."
Posted May 1, 2008 07:46 AM PST

"The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more".... Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel at the time - August 28, 2000. Reported in the Jerusalem Post August 30, 2000
" [The Palestinians are] beasts walking on two legs." Menahim Begin, speech to the Knesset, quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, "Begin and the Beasts". New Statesman, 25 June 1982.

"The Palestinians" would be crushed like grasshoppers ... heads smashed against the boulders and walls." " Isreali Prime Minister (at the time) in a speech to Jewish settlers New York Times April 1, 1988

"When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle." Raphael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Forces, New York Times, 14 April 1983.

"How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to." Golda Maier, March 8, 1969.

"There was no such thing as Palestinians, they never existed." Golda Maier Israeli Prime Minister June 15, 1969

"The thesis that the danger of genocide was hanging over us in June 1967 and that Israel was fighting for its physical existence is only bluff, which was born and developed after the war." Israeli General Matityahu Peled, Ha'aretz, 19 March 1972.

David Ben Gurion (the first Israeli Prime Minister): "If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti - Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault ? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?" Quoted by Nahum Goldmann in Le Paraddoxe Juif (The Jewish Paradox), pp121.

Ben Gurion also warned in 1948 : "We must do everything to insure they ( the Palestinians) never do return." Assuring his fellow Zionists that Palestinians will never come back to their homes. "The old will die and the young will forget."

"We have to kill all the Palestinians unless they are resigned to live here as slaves." Chairman Heilbrun of the Committee for the Re-election of General Shlomo Lahat, the mayor of Tel Aviv, October 1983.

"Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don't worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it." - Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001, to Shimon Peres, as reported on Kol Yisrael radio. (Certainly the FBI's cover-up of the Israeli spy ring/phone tap scandal suggests that Mr. Sharon may not have been joking.)

"We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel... Force is all they do or ever will understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours." Rafael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces - Gad Becker, Yediot Ahronot 13 April 1983, New York Times 14 April 1983.

"We must do everything to ensure they [the Palestinian refugees] never do return" David Ben-Gurion, in his diary, 18 July 1948, quoted in Michael Bar Zohar's Ben-Gurion: the Armed Prophet, Prentice-Hall, 1967, p. 157.

"We should prepare to go over to the offensive. Our aim is to smash Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, and Syria. The weak point is Lebanon, for the Moslem regime is artificial and easy for us to undermine. We shall establish a Christian state there, and then we will smash the Arab Legion, eliminate Trans-Jordan; Syria will fall to us. We then bomb and move on and take Port Said, Alexandria and Sinai." David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978.

"We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population." Israel Koenig, "The Koenig Memorandum"

"Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population." Moshe Dayan, address to the Technion, Haifa, reported in Haaretz, April 4, 1969.

"We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Allon repeated his question, What is to be done with the Palestinian population?' Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture which said 'Drive them out!'" Yitzhak Rabin, leaked censored version of Rabin memoirs, published in the New York Times, 23 October 1979.

Rabin's description of the conquest of Lydda, after the completion of Plan Dalet. "We shall reduce the Arab population to a community of woodcutters and waiters" Uri Lubrani, PM Ben-Gurion's special adviser on Arab Affairs, 1960. From "The Arabs in Israel" by Sabri Jiryas.

"Everybody has to move, run and grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements because everything we take now will stay ours... Everything we don't grab will go to them." Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of militants from the extreme right-wing Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, November 15, 1998.

"It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism,colonialization or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands." Yoram Bar Porath, Yediot Aahronot, of 14 July 1972.

"Spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it employment... Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly." Theodore Herzl, founder of the World Zionist Organization, speaking of the Arabs of Palestine,Complete Diaries, June 12, 1895 entry.

"One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail." -- Rabbi Yaacov Perrin, Feb. 27, 1994 [Source: N.Y. Times, Feb. 28, 1994, p. 1]

"We Jews, we are the destroyers and will remain the destroyers. Nothing you can do will meet our demands and needs. We will forever destroy because we want a world of our own." (You Gentiles, by Jewish Author Maurice Samuels, p. 155).

"We will have a world government whether you like it or not. The only question is whether that government will be achieved by conquest or consent." (Jewish Banker Paul Warburg, February 17, 1950, as he testified before the U.S. Senate).

"We will establish ourselves in Palestine whether you like it or not...You can hasten our arrival or you can equally retard it. It is however better for you to help us so as to avoid our constructive powers being turned into a destructive power which will overthrow the world." (Chaim Weizmann, Published in "Judische Rundschau," No. 4, 1920)

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