1. “South Africa: Label West Bank Squatter Products; Israel: You Apartheid State!
The whole rest of the world, virtually without exception, considers Israel’s aggressive settlement of the Occupied Palestinian Territories illegal. Many consumers, even ones generally supportive of Israel proper, don’t want to abet the squatters’ land theft and expropriation of the Palestinians, and would not knowingly buy something made at a squatter settlement. But Israeli authorities (who are actively promoting and funding the squatters) label what they make as ‘made in Israel.’
Israeli liberals, appalled at the squatter policy, have started calling it worse than Apartheid.
All South Africa did was demand that West Bank settlers’ produce be labelled as such. In the Apartheid era, whites in South Frica carved out Bantustans to marginalize black Africans, just as Israel is doing to Palestinians on the West Bank. And, African property rights were never secure under Apartheid. In a way, South African blacks were stateless in their own country, just as West Bank Pelestinians are. So it is natural that the government of South African, now dominated by elements of the African National Congress that fought Apartheid, should take a dim view of Israeli actions on the West Bank. There is also lingering resentment among many South Africans at the ways Israel supported and enabled the Apartheid government, with which it had close economic and political ties. Israel has never acknowledged or come to terms with that shameful episode, which may account for its inability to accept criticism from the new Pretoria.”
2. “The Grind of Greece’s Austerity: Sadness and Hope
I am aware that much of the Left elsewhere in the world seems to be full of admiration for the radical currents that run through Greek society and urge their own publics to be inspired by the Greek resistance. Maybe if I lived in Athens I might share some of this optimism.
But for Samos and the vast rural reaches of Greece I am not so convinced and feel that too often sympathetic observers of Greek society confuse austerity consciousness and survival with something more grand and progressive. When your income is cut or simply evaporates; when the tax burden cripples the poor and working class; when you see on a daily basis that the rich and wealthy are left free to plunder with impunity; when you see the much vaunted bail outs for Greece providing nothing for the people but everything for the banks… it is hardly surprising that vast numbers here come to see that they live under a social and economic system which is only for the few.
We often use words carelessly so that it can be hard to capture the sheer depth and breadth of despair and above all the relentlessness of this humanitarian disaster which from the standpoint of Ambelos, a Greek village on the island of Samos gets worse month by month.
Every aspect of your life is affected, physically and emotionally. If I was compelled to choose just one word to describe the atmosphere in the village in August 2012 it would be depression. There is a deep and tangible sadness here.
We are by no means defeated. The people here, like everywhere else have enormous talents and capacity and we know that we could achieve so much together. But for there to be action we need the ‘food’ which inspires and energises.”
3. “MSNBC host mimics Fox News’ bullying jingoism
Out-Foxing Fox for phony patriotism, a senior journalist at the liberal network has outlawed any criticism of military officials”