Facts related to Questions 5 and 6


Text of ballot questions in the 27th District (inside Somerville, MA) :

Question #5

Shall the State Representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of a nonbinding resolution calling on the federal government to support the right of all refugees, including Palestinian refugees, to return to their land of origin?

Question #6:

Shall the State Representative from this district be instructed to vote for resolutions calling on all governmental entities of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to sell any investments they hold either in Israel Bonds or in companies that supply military equipment to Israel?







Foreign Aid: An Introductory Overview of U.S. Programs and Policy: CRS Report for Congress [See page CRS-13]










Alfred Lilienthal tells the story of FDR’s failed plan to resolve the war refugee problem in his important and effectively buried book What Price Israel.





President Roosevelt was deeply concerned with the plight of the European refugees and thought that all the free nations of the world ought to accept a certain number of immigrants, irrespective of race, creed, color or political belief. The President hoped that the rescue of 500,000 Displaced Persons could be achieved by such a generous grant of a worldwide political asylum. In line with this humanitarian idea, Morris Ernst, New York attorney and close friend of the President went to London in the middle of the war to see if the British would take in 100,000 or 200,000 uprooted people. The President had reasons to assume that Canada, Australia and the South American countries would gladly open their doors. And if such good examples were set by other nations, Mr. Roosevelt felt that the American Congress could be "educated to go back to our traditional position of asylum." The key was in London. Would Morris Ernst succeed there? Mr. Ernst came home to report, and this is what took place in the White House (as related by Mr. Ernst to a Cincinnati audience in 1950):


Ernst: "We are at home plate. That little island [and it was during the second Blitz that he visited England] on a properly representative program of a World Immigration Budget, will match the United States up to 150,000.


Roosevelt: "150,000 to England—150,000 to match that in the United States—pick up 200,000 or 300,000 elsewhere, and we can start with half a million of these oppressed people."


A week later, or so, Mr. Ernst and his wife again visited the President.


Roosevelt (turning to Mrs. Ernst): "Margaret, can't you get me a Jewish Pope? I cannot stand it any more. I have got to be careful that when Stevie Wise leaves the White House he doesn't see Joe Proskauer on the way in." Then, to Mr. Ernst: "Nothing doing on the program. We can't put it over because the dominant vocal Jewish leadership of America won't stand for it."


"It's impossible! Why?" asked Ernst.


Roosevelt: "They are right from their point of view. The Zionist movement knows that Palestine is, and will be for some time, a remittance society. They know that they can raise vast sums for Palestine by saying to donors, 'There is no other place this poor Jew can go.' But if there is a world political asylum for all people irrespective of race, creed or color, they cannot raise their money. Then the people who do not want to give the money will have an excuse to say 'What do you mean, there is no place they can go but Palestine? They are the preferred wards of the world."


Morris Ernst, shocked, first refused to believe his leader and friend. He began to lobby among his influential Jewish friends for this world program of rescue, without mentioning the President's or the British reaction. As he himself has put it: "I was thrown out of parlors of friends of mine who very frankly said 'Morris, this is treason. You are undermining the Zionist movement.' "  He ran into the same reaction amongst all Jewish groups and their leaders. Everywhere he found "a deep, genuine, often fanatically emotional vested interest in putting over the Palestinian movement" in men "who are little concerned about human blood if it is not their own."


This response of Zionism ended the remarkable Roosevelt effort to rescue Europe's Displaced Persons.






The public wants more equality in health care:

(from http://www.motherjones.com/commentary/columns/2005/09/universal_healthcare.html )

2. The public wants the government to play a leading role in providing health care for all. For example, in an October, 2003 Washington Post/ABC poll, by almost a two-to-one margin (62 percent to 33 percent), Americans said that they preferred a universal system that would provide coverage to everyone under a government program, as opposed to the current employer-based system. Similarly, in Kaiser polls from 1992 to 2000, a large majority of the public agreed that the federal government should guarantee medical care for people who don’t have health insurance. In a slightly different question asked more recently by Kaiser in June 2003, more than seven in ten adults (72 percent) agreed that the government should guarantee health insurance for all citizens, even if it means repealing most of the tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush, while less than one-quarter (24 percent) disagreed with this statement. Finally, the last time Gallup asked whether the federal government should make sure all Americans have health coverage, they agreed that was a federal government responsibility by 62 percent to 35 percent (November 2002).

3. American overwhelmingly agree that access to health care should be a right. In 2000 just as in 1993, eight in ten agreed that health care should be provided equally to everyone, and over half agreed “strongly” or “completely.” In addition, in 2004, about three-quarters (76 percent) agreed strongly or somewhat that access health care should be a right.

4. The public says it is willing to pay more in taxes to provide every American with health care coverage. In August 2003, Pew found Americans favoring, by 67 percent to 26 percent, the U.S. government guaranteeing “health insurance for all citizens,” even if that meant repealing most of “recent tax cuts.” And the majority was scarcely diminished (67 percent to 29 percent) by referring not to repealing tax cuts but more directly to “raising taxes.” Similarly, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner/Public Opinion Strategies (GQR/POS) found, in January 2004, a 69 percent to 28 percent majority saying that they would be willing to pay more per year in federal taxes to assure every American citizen received health care coverage.


The public wants more equality in the distribution of money and wealth:

(from http://www.demos.org/pubs/What%20Do%20Americans%20Think,%206.3.04.pdf, page 10)

When asked in 2003 (the last year available), "Do you feel that the distribution of money and wealth in this country today is fair or do you feel that it should be more evenly distributed among a larger percentage of the people?" 63% of Americans said it should be more even versus 30% who said it is fair today.





[from http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html ]

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories."


Article 13.




Below is one instance of Israel formally refusing to grant Palestinians their right of return. It is paragraph B-6 of the "Statement from Prime Minister's Bureau Government of Israel Press Office" which begins, "A. The Government of Israel, today (Sunday), 25.5.03, considered the Prime Minister's statement on the Roadmap, as well as Israel's comments on its implementation. Following its deliberations, the Government, by a majority vote, resolved:"

"B-6. In connection to both the introductory statements and the final settlement, declared references must be made to Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state and to the waiver of any right of return for Palestinian refugees to the State of Israel."






Ruling Palestine: A History of the Legally Sanctioned Jewish-Israeli Seizure of Land and Housing in Palestine (11th May 2005 - COHRE launches Ruling Palestine report - Full Report / Excerpt / Media Release / Media release In Arabic)




Benny Morris, in a famous interview with Ha’aretz newspaper, discusses how David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, deliberately "transferred" the Arab population out of Israel's new borders:

    BM: "Of course. Ben-Gurion was a transferist. He understood that there could be no Jewish state with a large and hostile Arab minority in its midst. There would be no such state. It would not be able to exist."

    Ha'aretz: "I don't hear you condemning him."

    BM: "Ben-Gurion was right. If he had not done what he did, a state would not have come into being. That has to be clear. It is impossible to evade it. Without the uprooting of the Palestinians, a Jewish state would not have arisen here."




Here are examples of how, behind the scene (and sometimes even in front) the American elite and Islamic "Fundamentalist" leaders work together against the masses:

#1. This is an excerpt from

Today's 'Islamic Fascists' Were Yesterday's Friends
by Brendan O'Neill

...Duplicitous Western support for Islamist movements has a long and dishonorable history. In the early and middle 20th century, both British and U.S. intelligence supported the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which so many of today's radical Islamic sects – including Hamas and even al-Qaeda – have sprung. Indeed, in the 1920s, the British, then the colonial rulers of Egypt, helped to set up the Muslim Brotherhood as a means of keeping Egyptian nationalism and anti-colonialism in check. The immediate precursor to the Muslim Brotherhood was an organization called the Society of Propaganda and Guidance, which was funded and backed by British colonialists. In return, the Society provided Islamist backing to British rule in Egypt. It published a journal called The Lighthouse, which attacked Egyptian nationalists – who wanted British forces out of Egypt – as "atheists and infidels." Under British patronage, the Society set up the Institute of Propaganda and Guidance, which brought Islamists from across the Muslim world to Egypt so they could be trained in political agitation, and then take such anti-anti-colonialism back to their own homelands.


#2. Here the the Concluding Remarks from

Who Is Osama Bin Laden?

by Michel Chossudovsky
Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa

...Since the Cold War era, Washington has consciously supported Osama bin Laden, while at same time placing him on the FBI's "most wanted list" as the World's foremost terrorist.

While the Mujahideen are busy fighting America's war in the Balkans and the former Soviet Union, the FBI --operating as a US based Police Force- is waging a domestic war against terrorism, operating in some respects independently of the CIA which has --since the Soviet-Afghan war-- supported international terrorism through its covert operations.

In a cruel irony, while the Islamic jihad --featured by the Bush Adminstration as "a threat to America"-- is blamed for the terrorist assaults on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, these same Islamic organisations constitute a key instrument of US military-intelligence operations in the Balkans and the former Soviet Union.

#3. Here is an excerpt from

An Analysis of Class In the Gulf by Mitchel Cohen

In 1978 and 1979 the Iranian revolution had bubbled up from the grassroots and ejected the Shah — the main supporter of Israel in the region and the U.S. government’s military strongman in the Arab and Western Asian oil-producing world. One of the key features of the Iranian revolution — one not shown on American TV, which focused solely on the student takeovers in Iran’s capital city, Teheran, and the taking of 52 hostages — was the rebellion of the oil workers, some 80,000 strong.

With the involvement of two million people living in oil towns, striking workers shut down the massive Iranian petroleum industry. “The U.S. engineered an attempt to get oil flowing again by staffing the fields and refineries with 10,000 naval cadets trained for this purpose. The strikebreaking effort failed. The striking workers refused to send oil to Israel and South Africa. Yet through a strong and intricate network of peoples’ committees called Shura in Pharsi, oil products were distributed throughout Iran, though not to the Shah’s military.” (Terisa Turner in “The 1991 Gulf War and Popular Struggles.”)

The Iranian oilworkers were irreplaceable in the dangerous and highly technical operations of the oil system. They immediately coordinated amongst themselves a national operation, using the organization and communications technology of the industry itself.

Iranian society during the revolutionary period was democratically run from the grassroots by decentralized popular committees (Komitehs or Shuraá) for approximately two years. These Shura formed in late 1978 in all sectors of society: the schools, the military and media, the oil industry, among the rural Kurds and in the civil service as well as in local neighborhoods. Garbage collection, bread baking and distribution, education and publishing, munitions manufacture and international relations were some of the social activities that these radical democratic committees carried out. (Turner)

The Ayatollah Khomeini’s aim in returning to Iran after the upsurge from his exile in Paris, was to reassert the power of the bazaari, the mullahs and the national bourgeoisie in Iran — the basis for his authority. In this way, the situation in Iran 24 years ago is very similar to that in Afghanistan under the Taliban. Even while declaring the United States to be “the Great Satan,” the Islamic fundamentalist Khomeini crushed the neighborhood and workers’ councils that were serving to democratize the society as well as the oil industry (to the consternation of the oil companies) by reactivating the Shah’s SAVAK — the savage secret police that had been trained a generation earlier by Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf’s father. To gain the upper hand over the Shura, Khomeini needed a means for galvanizing the country. This was accomplished by the war with neighboring Iraq which lasted for 8 long years, killing more than 1 million Iranian and Iraqi people.

From Khomeini’s position, the war between Iran and Iraq served as a means to defeat an insurgent working class movement at home. It enabled Khomeini to concentrate the power of the State in the hands of ultra-religious fanatics (an outcome welcomed by the U.S. government as the lesser of two evils, representing the longterm interests of the oilgarchy); and, from Saddam Hussein’s position, the war served as a means to reap the material benefits of doing the U.S.’s bidding in the region and, similarly, to crush rising working class movements in Iraq, particularly around Basra, Nasria and Hilah where, for decades, there had been strong Stalinist as well as council communist movements, and among the Kurds in the North. The ruling clique in Iraq used U.S. aid to consolidate the power of Iraq’s fascist state through the terror of Saddam’s brownshirts — the Republican Guards.

#4. WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- The Iraqi government will continue to work with Muqtada Sadr, the main force behind one of Iraq's largest Shiite militias, a top Iraqi official said Friday....U.S. forces raided an office of the controversial cleric in Baghdad on Aug. 18 and found an improvised explosive device, mortars, rockets, loaded assault rifles, and zip ties


Saturday, August 26, 2006 - FreeMarketNews.com


Was Ayatollah-Ruhollah Khomeini an English asset – and was his return to Iran intended to rachet up Middle Eastern tension? That’s one of the questions asked in the long-awaited book “High Alert” from High Alert publishing. [full text continued at http://www.freemarketnews.com/WorldNews.asp?nid=19038


#6. Excerpt from Religious Fundamentalist Regimes: A Lesson from the Iranian Revolution 1978-1979
by Michael Schmidt - Bikisha Media Collective Friday, Mar 4 2005

Iran is an important test case firstly because until the revolution, Iran was one of three key pro-Western strongholds in the Middle East necessary for suppressing local worker demands and keeping oil production cheap (the others being Israel and Saudi Arabia: having lost Iran and later Iraq, the US clearly now wants Afghanistan as its third satellite). Secondly because the revolution - or more correctly, the Muslim clerical counter-revolution that destroyed it - was to the Arab, Kurdish and Persian world what the Russian Revolution was to the European world and has provided the "model revolution" debated amongst anti-imperialist and revolutionary Muslim workers ever since. Iran developed great strategic importance for the imperialist powers (especially Britain and Russia, then later the USA) following the discovery of massive reserves of oil there in 1908.

The Iranian oil industry concentrated more workers together than any other industry in the Middle East, with 31 500 working in oil production by 1940 - but most of the profits went to Britain. The following year, Russia and Britain invaded Iran and installed a puppet shah (ruler), but worker militancy was on the rise. The Communist Party of Iran had collapsed in the 1920s, but new leftist and nationalist forces came into being and organised industrially: the communist-inspired Masses organization and the National Front. A crackdown by the British-backed shah's forces in the late 1940s drove the movement underground.

But despite the intensive activities of the secret police, militant cells of workers - and, operating in parallel, religious fundamentalist scholars allied to the exiled Ayatollah Khomeini - re-emerged to agitate for change, especially during the 1963 revolt, and starting again in the early 1970s.

Increasingly, the extravagance of the shah's Pahlavi dynasty provoked resentment in all parts of Iranian society, even among the middle classes which were traditionally strong supporters of the regime. In August 1977, 50 000 poor slum-dwellers successfully resisted their forced removal by police, then in December, police massacred 40 religious protestors and the resentment boiled over into open anger. Strikes and sabotage were on the rise while wages dropped due to an economic downturn. The shah imposed martial law and on "Black Friday", September 8, 1978, troops gunned down thousands of protestors. In response, infuriated workers launched a strike-wave that spread across the country like wildfire. Oil workers struck for 33 days straight, bringing the economy to a dead halt, despite fruitless attempts to send troops into the oilfields. On December 11, 2-million protestors marched in the capital, Tehran, demanding the ousting of the shah, an end to American imperialism and the arming of the people. Soldiers began to desert. On January 16, 1979, the shah fled to Egypt. In mid-February, there was an insurrection, with air force cadets joining with guerrilla forces - the leftist Organisation of Iranian Peoples' Fedai Guerrillas, or Fedayeen, and the nationalist Mujahedeen - in over-running the military academy, army bases, the parliament, factories, armouries and the TV station. The Pahlavi regime collapsed and Khomeini, who had returned from exile, cobbled together a multi-party provisional government, but the people wanted more.

Women's organisations flourished, peasants started seizing the land and in some places, established communal cultivation councils, strikes were rampant and workers seized control of their workplaces, arranging raw materials, sourcing and sales themselves, even setting prices in the oil industry. A system of grassroots soviets - called "shoras" in Iranian and based on the old factory council idea - sprang up in fields, factories, neighbourhoods, educational institutions and the armed forces. Armed neighbourhood committees - called "komitehs" - based on the old Muslim scholar networks - patrolled residential areas, arrested collaborators, ran people's courts and prisons, and organized demonstrations. It was a true workers' revolution with secular revolutionaries and Muslim workers overthrowing the capitalist state side by side. A May Day march in Tehran drew 1,5-million demonstrators.

The former headquarters of the secret police-controlled official trade union federation was occupied by the unemployed and renamed the Workers' House. The new workerist federation, that replaced the old state one, the All-Iran Workers' Union, declared that its aim was an Iran "free of class oppression" and called for shoras to be "formed by the workers of each factory for their own political and economic needs". But the religious fundamentalist clerics lead by Khomeini were terrified of the power of the working class and haunted by the spectre of the imminent collapse of Iranian capitalism. If it collapsed, they could not reconstitute themselves as the ruling elite in place of the shah and there would be no profits for them to steal from the workers. Three days after the insurrection, the provisional government ordered workers back to work, but the strike, shora and komiteh movements just spread. 

A month later, the government declared the shoras to be "counter-revolutionary", claiming that their minority bourgeois regime was "the genuine Islamic Revolution". Still the shoras spread, so the regime introduced a law aimed at undermining worker self-management by banning shora involvement in management affairs - while at the same time trying to force class collaboration by insisting that management must be allowed to participate in the shoras. The shora movement peaked in July but then the government offensive, combined with the inexperience of the left, began to take its toll. The National Front, Masses, Fedayeen and both the leftist and Muslim wings of the Mujahedeen all backed the provisional government mistakenly believing that an Iranian clerical-dominated bourgeoisie was better than the imperialist-backed Pahlavi dynasty.

Khomeini founded the fundamentalist Iranian Republican Party (IRP) to squeeze opposition parties out of the provisional government and at the same time established the Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran), a political police force to marginalise the secular left within the komitehs which it wanted to mobilise as a supporter bloc. The Pasdaran were soon forcibly liquidating shoras, purging komitehs and repressing ethnic Kurdish separatists and women's organisations, while the Party of God (Hezbollah) was created as a strike-breaking force of thugs. The IRP also created a public works project to divert the energies of the most militant shoras - replacing them with fundamentalist shoras and Islamic Societies - and to rebuild the exploitative capitalist economy (all the while spouting populist and anti-capitalist slogans in the manner of all fascist dictatorships). The true workers' revolution was destroyed and for the Iranian working class, whether secular or Muslim, a long night of living under a new autocratic regime had begun.

The fundamentalist clerical regime had not set them free: it had only produced new forms of capitalist exploitation and police state repression. The lesson of Iran is a basic anarchist one: workers can never trust groups, religious or not, who chant the right revolutionary slogans but whose real aim is class rule.


Iran: Tehran bus workers rally against Hezbollah attacks

Report by Campaign in defence of Bus company workers
Published: 16/05/05


May 13, 2005

Workers of Tehran Public Transit rallied in front of their Union office to support their Union.

Workers and drivers of Tehran Public Transit demonstrated in front of their newly organized Union today to support their Union and the leaders and organizers of the Union who were attacked and beaten by Hezbollah and Islamic Labour Councils’ thugs last week. They demanded organizing of their general assembly to condemn the Hezbollah’s attacks on their representatives. They also demanded permanent establishment of their Union which has been joined by 4000 transit workers so far, in spite of intimidations and restrictions imposed by the Islamic Authorities.

One of the Public Transit Union’s leaders recited article 87 of the International Labour Organization’s Convention (ILO) in which all signing countries, including Iran, recognized labours’ organizations; then, he on behalf of the Union complained and condemned the recent events in which the leaders and organizers were beaten and their Union was attacked and sabotaged by Hezbollah from the Islamic Labour Councils and the Labour House (official state organizations to control the labours’ movement).

According to Ilna Press, Police and the Islamic authorities, who were attended the rally, did not let the workers to organize their general assembly. One of the organizers told Ilna Press that they were supposed to organize their general assembly today to pass the articles of establishment of their organization and to vote for the board of directors and elect public accountants. He said: the organizers of Tehran Public Transit Union will try to get legitimate guaranties for organizing the general assembly without being harassed or attacked by thugs.

According to Ilna Press, Police intruded and negotiated with one of the organizers to finish the rally; then workers ended their demonstration.

Mahmood Ghazvini
Spokesperson of the Campaign in defence of Bus company workers
51603121 0045

Mahmoud Ghazvini
Campaign in defence of Bus company workers
Griffenfeldsgade 41, 2200 kbh. N

Campaign in defence of Bus company workers in Iran


Support Bus Workers in Iran

On Monday May 9, 2005, a mob of about 300 thugs of Labour House and Islamic Councils raided the meeting place of the newly formed Union of Bus Workers of Sherkat Vahed in Tehran. They smashed windows and doors, tore up documents and attacked Union members. The raid took place in presence of the Islamic Republic’s Security Forces. During this attack, Mr Mansoor Osanlo was hit so badly that he needed stitches to his tongue and neck at the hospital, before being taken away for questioning by the Security Forces.

Although they had taken a more covered-up approach in the recent years, the Labour House and Islamic Councils thugs are well known in Iran for their role in suppression of workers. This time again with the formation of an organisation, the thugs attacked workers with batons and knives.

Among the mob there were such people as Hasan Sadeghi (Head of Co-ordinating committee of Islamic Councils of the County), Akbar Eyvazi (Labour House), Hasan Bahrami, Eskandar Nasiri, Mahdavi Khah, Alireza Ahmadi, Sarvandi and Jalal Saeed Manesh (from the Islamic Council of Sherkat Vahed bus company) and Amani (Security of Sherkat Vahed).

The thugs of Islamic Councils and Labour House were widely used in early years of the Islamic Republic’s rule whenever the Islamic Republic considered them more appropriate than Security Forces to confront workers. The use of thugs so openly, indicates that the regime does not see direct confrontation with workers in its benefit.

The Campaign in Defence of Union of Sherkat Vahed Bus Company intends to gather wide scale support for the bus workers. We urge all Trade Unions, Human Rights and workers’ organisations to support bus workers, and put pressure on the ILO to enlist the Labour House and the Islamic Councils as anti-worker organisations.

Mahmood Ghazvini
Spokesperson of the Campaign in defence of Bus company workers
51603121 0045

Mahmoud Ghazvini
Campaign in defence of Bus company workers
Griffenfeldsgade 41, 2200 kbh. N

Please send your protest letters to:

Mr. Seyed Mohammad Khatami
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: 98-21-648. 06. 65
Email: khatami@president.ir

Please send a copy of your protest letters to:

The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)
5 Boulevard du Roi Albert II, Bte 1
1210 Brussels
Fax: +32 (0) 2 201 5815
E-mail: turights@icftu.org

International Labour Organization (ILO)
International Labour Office
4, route des Morillons
CH-1211 Geneva 22
Email: ilo@ilo.org

More information

Iran, May 10, 2005 - In an attack on the weekly meeting of the Founding Committee for Reviving the Syndicate of the Workers of Tehran Bus Company“ (Sandikaye kargarane sherkate vahed), the office of Bakery Workers Syndicate- the meeting place- was subject to heavy destructions. The Founding Committee for Reviving the Syndicate of the Workers of Tehran Bus Company, one of the largest employers in Iran, have been meeting every Monday morning and Friday afternoon in the building of the bakery workers union, located in Hassanabad circle, Imam Khomeini Avenue, Khayyam Alley.

On the morning of May 9, 2005, having heard the rumors concerning an attack on the syndicate’s weekly meeting, the leaders had notified the local police station, and the police were present there until thirty minutes past noon. Around 2:00 p. m., several well-known figures of the Workers House and Islamic Labour Councils, including Hassan Sadeghi (Secretary of the High Centre of Islamic Labour Councils), Ahmadi Panjaki (member of the High Centre of Islamic Councils), Hamze’I (a high ranking member of the Worker’s House), and Eyvazi (responsible for Worker’s House-Tehran East and member of the Islamic Labour Council of Sherkate Vahed), Mahdavikhah and several others who were all members of the various regional Islamic labour Councils, accompanied by members of Basij (the paramilitary group funded by the Iranian government) and the security section of the Sherkate Vahed attacked the union meeting.

At this time there were only a few plain clothes police men remaining there, who did nothing to stop the attackers, whose numbers were about 300. They had been brought up to the scene by over 12 buses. The attackers carried placards saying unions are devilish and anti-labour. The leaders and members of the union tried to call the police for help when Mr. Panjaki threw the phone out of the window and into the street, and several members were severely beaten.

During the attack, a member of the syndicate, Mr. Mansoor Ossanloo (employee of the Tehran Bus Company in area 7 with 20 years seniority- In March has received suspension order because of his union activities and he is facing expulsion) was badly wounded and taken to the hospital.

He was attacked by a knife by Jalal Saidmanesh (member of the Islamic Labour Council of Shekate Vahed) while had been hold by Hassan Sadeghi. He has been hospitalized with many stitches in his tongue and neck. Mr. Ebrahim Madadi (Technical worker, area 2 who is also facing disciplinary actions and compulsory transfers) and several other union activists were also beaten. Meanwhile a motorbike and a number of the workers’ personal belongings, including one wallet and some clothing have gone missing.

The member of the Syndicate have filed a complaint with the police. The police has said to investigate the matter but at the same time they had confiscated the cameras of reporters at the scene.

It is absolutely crucial for the international labour movement to strongly condemn this assault into the office of the bakers’ syndicates and the beating and injuring of the Tehran Bus Company’s workers. The international labour movement should not in any way condone this action or to keep quiet about it. This could just the beginning of more of these kinds of attacks by violent government agents such as the Workers House and the paramilitary groups such as the Basij.

Background information: The Founding Committee for Reviving the Syndicate of the Workers of Tehran Bus Company“ has been formed in recent years to revive the union’s activities. This union was active until 1985. During the early to mid 1980s all independent labour organizations were violently attacked and shut down by the government and the current leadership of Workers’ House and Islamic labour council (such as Aliereza Mahjoub, the head of Workers House and Hassan Sadeghi the head of the High Centre). The Iranian government does not recognize the fundamental rights of workers to organize themselves into organizations of their choice. As we have been emphasizing for many years, The Workers House and the Islamic labour councils are anti-workers puppets of the Iranian government.

The Islamic Labour Council of Vahed Bus Company in Tehran, who is not supported by workers and independent labour activists, has been campaigning against the syndicate. The syndicate has been recruiting membership and it currently has over 1000 members. The Syndicate had also requested that the Labour Ministry acknowledge its formation but their demands had been ignored and recently got denied by the Labour Ministry. Following is more related news, which gives detailed information about the events that led to this attack.

Member of the Islamic Council of Vahed Bus Company in Tehran:

The activity of the Syndicate of Vahed Company is illegal and should be banned. This grouplet is using the workers for political aims.

Tehran - ILNA News Agency, 10/2. 1384 (April 30, 2005)

According to the Labour Legislation, in every industrial/service unit, only one form of organisation can operate and given the existence of the Islamic council, any other organisation is illegal.

According to ILNA’s Labour reporter, Ali Akbar Ayvazi, member of the Islamic Shora in Vahed Bus Company Tehran said: “recently, under the influence of people who have no interest in gaining workers rights, but who follow political aims, some of the workers in Tehran Bus Company has left the correct path of trade union activities.

By stressing that the pretenders of setting up a syndicate aim to divide the workers, he added: “for this reason, in correspondence with worker/management committee of the Ministry of labour, he has emphasised that as long as the Islamic Shora exists, the activities of any other workers organisation in Vahed Bus Company will be illegal.

The executive secretary of Workers House (Khaneh Kargar), Tehran East then went on to analyse the activities of those aiming to set up a syndicate and said: “the person who claims leading these efforts has a history of political activity and was then expelled from Vahed Bus company and his record exists and now he wants to poison the work environment in the country and by raising extremist slogans against the authorities he wants to set up a workers organisation in support of his political aims.

He added: A review of the meetings of this organisation show that trade union activities have been put aside and in his speeches he criticises government organisations, legal authorities and other state organs. He added, in the current sensitive situation, raising slogans deviating from issues, encouraging employees to stop work, do go slows… will cost the country dearly. If these people are after workers demands, why don’t they follow the rational, legal routes of raising these trade union demands instead of reviving irrational political issues and demands?

Pointing out that it costs 4000 tomans to join this syndicate and then a monthly payment of 2000 tomans, he said: “it isn’t clear why they need workers to pay form their pockets for their trade union activity. If this grouplet wants to do something effective for workers why can’t they point out one case when their activities have achieved something for workers?

Eyvazi added: it is better that this toiling layer does not get involved in questionable political activities and does not divert from trade activities, because by raising political issues, they enter the arena of illegal activity and they face legal consequences of such meddling.

Calling the slogans of this group as deceitful he said workers wanting their rights should follow the legal route and address legal workers organisations. Eiwazi stressed a the end of his talk that: according to the law, the activity of any individual under the word ‘syndicate’ is clearly illegal (according to the Ministry of Labour’s legislation) and it is better of individuals violating this law, give up before problems arise for this illegal grouplet.

#8. See Why won't Hamas tell the world why there should not be a Jewish state in Palestine?





Examples of how discrimination against non-Jews is carried out in Israel:


This is how the ultra-pro-Israel U.S. State Department describes discrimination linked to service in the Israeli military, and discrimination against Bedouin Arabs in the Negev part of Israel.

U.S. State Department: [http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41723.htm ]

Israeli Arabs were not required to perform mandatory military service and, in practice, only a small percentage of Israeli Arabs served in the military. Those who did not serve in the army had less access than other citizens to social and economic benefits for which military service was a prerequisite or an advantage, such as housing, new-household subsidies, and employment, especially government or security-related industrial employment. Regarding the latter, for security reasons, Israeli Arabs generally were restricted from working in companies with defense contracts or in security-related fields.


During the year, the Government began to implement a plan to relocate Bedouin living in unrecognized villages to seven new townships. Nearly two-thirds of the plan's $225 million (1 billion NIS) allocation is earmarked for "environmental law enforcement in the Negev," which included resources for crop-spraying and home demolitions.

Government planners noted that funds to complete the seven new townships were far from sufficient, and that the average Bedouin family did not have adequate funds to purchase a home there. Clashes between authorities and residents of unrecognized villages have escalated over the past year, resulting in one Bedouin resident of the village of Atir killed during a clash with a government home-demolition unit.



This is based on facts provided by the ultra-pro-Israel organization called CAMERA [ http://www.meforum.org/article/370 ]:

The U.N. Conciliation Commission estimated that about 80 percent of the land in what is today Israel is property formerly owned by Palestinians that was confiscated by Jewish organizations like the Jewish Agency.[*] Palestinians are forbidden by Israeli law from owning it. Of all the land that may be legally sold in Israel, 67% of it may not legally be sold to Arabs, while none of it is barred from being sold to Jews. [**]

    * Donna E. Arzt, professor of law, Syracuse University, presentation at the December 7, 1999, meeting of the Sadat Forum at Brookings, cohosted by Richard Haass, vice-president and director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, and Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland. http://www.bsos.umd.edu/sadat/publications/Forum/12-7-99.htm

     ** Alexander Safian, associate director and research director of the pro-Israel Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), a Boston-based media-watch organization, Can Arabs Buy Land in Israel? [ http://www.meforum.org/article/370 ]

Note: "67%" above comes from dividing: 13.1% / (100%-80.4%), where these numbers are from CAMERA (**).



Even Arabs who never left Israel, but who only stayed for a few days in a nearby village with relatives to wait for the fighting in 1948 to end, are now categorized in Israel as "present absentees," a category in which they remain forever, and in consequence of which their homes and property remain in the possession of the Custodian of Absentee Property, who puts the property at the disposal of Jews. ~ Tom Segev, 1949: The First Israelis, Free Press; ISBN: 0029291801; (February 1986)



From The Case for Palestine: An International Law Perspective, by John Quigley, Presidents’ Club Professor of Law, Ohio State University:

a) "The ministry of housing built two major new towns in the Galilee – Upper Nazareth (adjoining the original Nazareth) and Carmiel. By its regulations the ministry refused to sell housing in these towns to Arabs [9], unless they had served in the Israel Defense Force, police, or prison service [10]. As a result, few Arabs qualified. [11] The ministry of defense does not draft Arabs, except for Druze Arabs, and does not accept them as volunteers. [12] " --pg. 138

b) "To encourage births, the ministry of labor and social welfare makes child support payments to parents, under the National Insurance Law. The 1949 Discharged Soldiers (Reinstatement in Employment) Law was amended in 1970 to authorize the ministry, through the National Insurance Authority, to make an additional child support payment to ‘soldiers.’ The amendment defined ‘soldier’ as ‘a person who is serving or has served in the Defence Army of Israel, the Police or the Prison Service,’ or who served in one of the Zionist military formations (Haganah, Irgun, or LEHI) prior to the establishment of Israel. Avnery objected in the Knesset that the aim was not to reward for IDF service but to ‘encourage births among one part of the population of Israel and to effect the opposite among the other part.’ In 1970 the minister issued regulations under the amendment. He adopted the Regulations on Grants for Soldiers and Their Families, which provided grants for the third child and any additional children at a level approximately equal to the amount payable under the National Insurance Law. Thus, a qualifying person receives double the ordinary amount. The minister’s 1970 Regulation broadened the 1970 amendment’s definition of soldier to include the ‘spouse, children, or parents of a soldier.’ Eligibility thus defined does not depend on actual military service. The ministerial committee on the interior and services, acting without statutory authorization, provides this supplementary child support payment to parents who have not served in the IDF but are students in Jewish seminaries. The result of the 1970 amendment, the 1977 Regulation, and the committee decision for seminarians was that nearly all Jews qualified for the additional payment, while almost no Arabs did.

"Universities in Israel are private. They are forbidden by government regulation to discriminate in the admission of students on the basis of ‘race, sex religion, national origin, or social status.’ But on security grounds, the universities do not admit Arab applicants to certain faculties. Scholarships are given by the Office of Absorption of the Jewish Agency; Arabs are not eligible to compete for them, as they are available to persons immigrating under the Law of Return. Certain privately funded scholarships are open only to students with IDF service.

"For higher education the government provides tuition loans and grants to ‘veterans,’ and to persons who reside in a ‘development town’ or ‘renewal neighborhood." Guidelines for distribution of these loans and grants were adopted by a commission appointed in 1982 by the minister of education and culture and chaired by Moshe Katzav, deputy minister of housing. The commission defined ‘veteran’ to include the parent or sibling of a person who served in the IDF. A student from a family of four or more children and who was eligible as a veteran for a supplemental allowance for a child was made eligible for a grant covering half tuition.

"With minor exceptions, ‘development towns’ and ‘renewal neighborhoods’ are inhabited by Jews only. The guidelines made a resident of either one eligible for a loan for one-third of university tuition. The loan was to be forgiven if the student resides in the development town or renewal neighborhood after graduation for a period equal to the period of study. The criterion of development town or renewal neighborhood residence and the expansive definition of ‘veteran’ made most Jews, but few Arabs, eligible for preferences in university tuition.

"In 1987 the government decided to establish a dual tuition system–a lower rate for those who have served in the IDF, a substantially higher rate for others. While in theory each university sets its own fees, the universities in fact set fees as decided upon by the government because of the substantial government subsidies they receive. The decision was criticized in the press as ‘apartheid policy.’

"In elementary education the Knesset legislated in 1953 that the purpose of elementary education was to teach ‘the values of Jewish culture’ and ‘loyalty to the State and the Jewish people.’ This purpose covered even ‘non-Jewish educational institutions,’ whose curriculum is prescribed by the minister of education. The state funds an Orthodox Jewish private school system but does not fund schools for other religions." -- p 141-2

c) "The Jewish Religious Services Budgets Law of 1949 and the Jewish Religious Services Law of 1971 called for local religious councils to submit budgets to the minister of religious affairs. The budgets are financed one-third by the central government and two-thirds by the local government. There are no such statutes for other religions. The Jewish religion thus was given preferential treatment. The government allocates funds for Muslim and Christian religious services, but at a level far less than their proportion in the population, and without a legislative mandate. By statute, the Knesset gave legal status to the chief rabbinate and empowered and obligated it to undertake ‘activities aimed at bringing the public closer to the values of tora (religious learning) and mitzvot (religious duties).’ No other religion has a body with similar legal status, empowerment, or obligations." --pp 143-44

d) "By the Specified Goods Tax and Luxury Tax Law, the Knesset authorized the minister of finance to designate classes of persons for favorable treatment when they bring goods into Israel after residence abroad. Under this authorization, the minister issued the Purchase Tax Order (Exemption), which called for a lower import duty to be collected from a returning national than from a returning resident. The order defined ‘returning national’ to include only a person who, ‘if the person were not an Israeli national the Law of Return would apply to him.’ Thus, only a Jewish citizen of Israel is a returning national. An Arab citizen of Israel is a returning resident and pays higher customs duty. By making eligibility under the Law of Return the criterion, the minister used an explicitly ethnic basis of distinction." --p 144.




w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m
Last update -
09:26 30/08/2006

    Can you really not see?

By Amira Hass <mailto:amira@haaretz.co.il>

Let us leave aside those Israelis whose ideology supports the dispossession of the Palestinian people because "God chose us." Leave aside the judges who whitewash every military policy of killing and destruction. Leave aside the military commanders who knowingly jail an entire nation in pens surrounded by walls, fortified observation towers, machine guns, barbed wire and blinding projectors. Leave aside the ministers. All of these are not counted among the collaborators. These are the architects, the planners, the designers, the executioners.

But there are others. Historians and mathematicians, senior editors, media stars, psychologists and family doctors, lawyers who do not support Gush Emunim and Kadima, teachers and educators, lovers of hiking trails and sing-alongs, high-tech wizards. Where are you? And what about  you, researchers of Nazism, the Holocaust and Soviet gulags? Could you  all be in favor of systematic discriminating laws? Laws stating that the  Arabs of the Galilee will not even be compensated for
the damages of the  war by the same sums their Jewish neighbors are entitled to (Aryeh  Dayan, Haaretz , August 21).

Could it be that you are all in favor of a racist Citizenship Law that forbids an Israeli Arab from living with his family in his own home? That you side with further expropriation of lands and the demolishing of additional orchards, for another settler neighborhood and another exclusively Jewish road? That you all back the shelling and missile fire killing the old and the young in the Gaza Strip?

Could it be that you all agree that a third of the West Bank (the Jordan Valley) should be off limits to Palestinians? That you all side with an Israeli policy that prevents tens of thousands of Palestinians who have obtained foreign citizenship from returning to their families in the occupied territories?

Could your mind really be so washed with the security excuse, used to forbid Gaza students from studying occupational therapy at Bethlehem and medicine at Abu Dis, and preventing sick people from Rafah from receiving medical treatment in Ramallah? Will also you find it easy to hide behind the explanation "we had no idea": we had no idea that the discrimination practiced in the distribution of water - which is solely controlled by Israel - leaves thousands of Palestinian households
without water during the hot summer months; we had no idea that when the IDF blocks the entrance to villages, it also blocks their access to springs or water tanks.

But it cannot be that you don't see the iron gates along route 344 in the West Bank, blocking access to it from the Palestinian villages it passes by. It cannot be that you support preventing the access of thousands of farmers to their land and plantations, that you support the quarantine on Gaza which prevents the entry of medicine for hospitals, the disruption of electricity and water supply to 1.4 million human beings, closing their only outlet to the world for months.

Could it be that you do not know what is happening 15 minutes from your faculties and offices? Is it plausible that you support the system in which Hebrew soldiers, at checkpoints in the heart of the West Bank, are letting tens of thousands of people wait everyday for hours upon hours under the blazing sun, while selecting: residents of Nablus and Tul Karm are not allowed through, 35-year-olds and under - yallah, back to Jenin,  residents of the Salem village are not even allowed to be here, a sick  woman who skipped the line must learn a lesson and will be purposefully  detained for hours. Machsom Watch's site is available for all; in it are  countless such testimonies and worse, a day by day routine. But it  cannot be that those who are appalled over every swastika painted on a  Jewish grave in France and over every anti-Semitic headline in a Spanish  local newspaper will not know how to
reach this information, and will  not be appalled and outraged.

As Jews we all enjoy the privilege Israel gives us, what makes us all collaborators. The question is what does every one of us do in an active and direct daily manner to minimize cooperation with a dispossessing, suppressing regime that never has its fill. Signing a petition and tutting will not do. Israel is a democracy for its Jews. We are not in danger of our lives, we will not be jailed in concentration camps, our livelihood will not be damaged and recreation in the countryside or abroad will not be denied to us. Therefore, the burden of collaboration and direct responsibility is immeasurably heavy.




Last update - 22:54 30/08/2006

Business owners in north can't get special loans because they aren't Jews

By Jack Khoury

A business development center that works under the auspices of the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry has offered special loans for small businesses in the north, but it is making the special offer only to those businesses that are owned by Jews and former soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces.

The ministry said that the criteria for eligibility was determined by the owners of a private foundation that is funding the project.

At the end of the
Lebanon war, the MATI organization announced it was offering special loans to residents of northern towns, which had suffered great damage when Hezbollah rockets hit homes and businesses.

A few Israeli Arab business owners who checked the loans for businesses in the Galilee happened upon a great deal: MATI was offering a NIS 45,000 loan, which will be paid back with no interest over a reasonable amount of time.

But the businessmen checked the criteria for eligibility for the loan and saw that it was intended only for Jews and ex-IDF troops.

The Musawa legal center has filed a complaint with the ministry several business owners complained over the criteria for the loan. The center's legal councilor has demanded to give business owners equal opportunities to take out the loans.

The head of the center has said the criteria are discriminatory and are in violation of laws against discrimination in public services and High Court rulings that state a body being funded by the government must not discriminate on the basis of nationality, religion, race or sex

He says, if MATI does not change the criteria for the loan, the center will file civil law suits in the name of several businesses in the north.

#7. See Israel's Supreme Court rules for Racism


#8. See the Ha'aretz article at http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/766787.html or read it here. It illustrates the fact that the villages where many non-Jews live are denied official recognition and then denied basic needs, like clean drinking water in this example.

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Unrecognized Bedouin village in the Negev. (Alberto Denkberg)
Last update - 16:24 25/09/2006
Court rejects Bedouin villages' request for clean water connection
By Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondent

Haifa district court last week rejected a petition to connect the unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev to clean water sources, citing the larger underlying issue of village regularization.

In its session as a water court, the court ruled that the water commissioner has no authority over considerations pertaining to town regularization in Israel, and therefore rejected to appeal by the Adalah Legal Center on behalf of over 100 Negev families.

The Adalah Center plans on appealing the decision with the Supreme Court. They said there is no connection between realizing the basic right all state residents to clean water and the legal standing of the Negev towns.


In the appeal filed by the organization against the water commissioner, it claimed that the right for a guarantee of minimal sustenance conditions is anchored in Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, as well as in international law.

Even so, Judge Ron Shapira stated in his decision that behind the appeal lies a larger issue of the regularization of "Bedouin settlements," and added that a public interest exists "not to encourage additional illegal settlement."

The court ruled that it does not ignore the problem of discrimination against the Bedouin residents, but that in the court's opinion, the problem of unrecognized villages cannot be resolved in this manner.

The Adalah Center said the ruling meant that the court decided the right to water is not absolute and can therefore be limited.

"The court's decision in effect makes the water commissioner a tool in the hands of the government, which works to expel Arab-Bedouin citizens, residents of unrecognized villages in the Negev, through the non-provision of basic services, such as the right to clean drinking water," the center said.

The appeal against the commissioner's decision was submitted in April 2005, and the ruling on the matter was delivered to the Adalah Center offices last Thursday.






Section 7A(1) of the Basic Law of Israel explicitly prevents Israeli citizens -- Arab or Jewish -- from using the "democratic" system of Israeli elections to challenge the inferior status of Arabs under the law; it restricts who can run for political office with this language: "A candidates' list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset if among its goals or deeds, either expressly or impliedly, are one of the following: (1) The negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the State of the Jewish People." In a 1989 Israeli Supreme Court ruling (reported in the 1991 Israel Law Review, Vol. 25, p. 219, published by the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) Justice S. Levine, speaking for the majority, ruled that this law meant that a political party could not run candidates if it intended to achieve the cancellation of one of the fundamental tenets of the State – namely "the existence of a Jewish majority, the granting of preference to Jews in matters of immigration, and the existence of close and reciprocal relations between the State and the Jews of the Diaspora."







"Joseph Weitz, director of the JNF’s [Jewish National Fund --JS] Lands Department and a key land-purchasing and settlement executive, was characteristic if somewhat more articulate and blunt than most: "it must be clear that there is no room in the country for both peoples," he confided to his diary on 20 December 1940, "If the Arabs leave it, the country will become wide and spacious for us . . . The only solution is a Land of Israel, at least a western land of Israel (i.e. Palestine since Transjordan is the eastern portion), without Arabs. There is no room here for compromises . . . There is no way but to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, to transfer all of them, save perhaps for Bethlehem, Nazareth, and the old Jerusalem. Not one village must be left, not one tribe. The transfer must be directed at Iraq, Syria, and even Transjordan. For this goal funds will be found . . . And only after this transfer will the country be able to absorb millions of our brothers and the Jewish problem will cease to exist. There is no other solution."

Benny Morris (an ardent pro-Zionist historian) concludes his study of the birth of the Palestinian refugee problem with::

 "But if a measure of ambivalence and confusion attended Haganah/IDF [Jewish military force--J.S.] treatment of Arab communities during and immediately after conquest, there was nothing ambiguous about Israeli policy, from summer 1948, toward those who were yet to be displaced, in future operations: generally applied with resolution and, often, with brutality, the policy was to prevent a refugee return at all costs. And if, somehow, refugees succeeded in infiltrating back, they were routinely rounded up and expelled (though tens of thousands of 'infiltrators' ultimately succeeded in resettling and becoming Israeli citizens0. In this sense, it may fairly be said that all 700,000 or so who ended up as refugees were compulsorily displaced or 'expelled.'"

The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited (Cambridge Middle East Studies)
by Benny Morris, pg. 589.








The massacre at Deir Yassin, the killing of scores of Arab civilians at the village of Deir Yassin near Jerusalem in the British Mandate of Palestine by Jewish irregular forces between April 9 and 11, 1948. This occurred during a period of increasing local Arab-Jewish fighting about one month prior to the regional outbreak of the much larger 1948 Middle East war.

The fighting was over at about 11:00 am. The fighters begin to clean up the houses to secure them. Irgun's commander Ben-Zion Cohen noted: "[We] felt a desire for revenge." One villager has stated that the attackers appeared to have been set off by an Irgun commander's death, still others reported that upon discovering an armed man disguised as a woman, one guerrilla began shooting everyone around, followed by his comrades joining in. In the afternoon prisoners were taken on the village trucks to a victory parade in the Jewish neighbourhoods in Jerusalem before they were released in Arab East Jerusalem. Fahimi Zeidan testified that they "put us in trucks and drove us around the Jewish quarters, all while cursing us." Harry Levin, a Haganah broadcaster, reported seeing "three trucks driving slowly up and down King George V Avenue bearing men, women, and children, their hand above their heads, guarded by Jews armed with sten-guns and rifles." (Sources: Statement of Ben-Zion Cohen, file 1/10 4-K, Jabotinsky Archives; "Out of Crisis Comes Decision", p.276, Milstein; "Deir Yassin", Monograph No. 4, p.56, Kanani and Zitawi; "Jerusalem Embattled", p.5 Levin.)


Photographs of the bodies

Meir Pa'il who was at the scene during the massacre brought with him a photographer who took pictures of the dead bodies. These photos have never been published and are to this date still kept secret in the IDF archives, not even academic researchers being allowed to gain access to them.


Meir Pa'il's eyewitness account

Meir Pa'il's eyewitness account is one of the most detailed single eye witness accounts of the massacre, as he was at the scene while it happened. Pa'il was a spy for the mainstream Jewish organizations in Palestine monitoring the activities of the right-wing or "dissident" groups:

Meir Pa'il stated that he "started hearing shooting in the village. The fighting was over, yet there was the sound of firing of all kinds from different houses ... Sporadic firing, not like you would [normally] hear when they clean a house.". He also stated that no commanders directed the actions, just groups of guerillas running about "full of lust for murder".".

(Information from Meir Pa'il's Eyewitness Account, Pa'il and Isseroff)

His more contemporary report and on-scene photographs remain classified.


Mordechai Gihon's eyewitness account

Mordechai Gihon was a Haganah intelligence officer in Jerusalem. He was in the village at the afternoon of April 9. He reported:-

"Before we got to the village we saw people carrying bodies to the quarry east of Deir Yassin. We entered the village around 3:00 in the afternoon . . . In the village there were tens of bodies. The dissidents got them out of the roads. I told them not to throw the bodies into cisterns and caves, because that was the first place that would be checked..."

"I didn't count the dead. I estimated that there were four pits full of bodies, and in each pit there were 20 bodies, and several tens more in the quarry. I throw out a number, 150."

(Information from Uri Milstein, "Out of Crisis came decision", p. 274, Yitzhak Levi, Nine Measures, p. 343)


Eliahu Arbel's eyewitness account

Eliahu Arbel arrived at the scene April 10. He was an Operations Officer B of the Haganah's Etzioni Brigade. He reported:-

"I saw the horrors that the fighters had created. I saw bodies of women and children, who were murdered in their houses in cold blood by gunfire, with no signs of battle and not as the result of blowing up the houses. From my experience I know well, that there is no war without killing, and that not only combatants get killed. I have seen a great deal of war, but I never saw a sight like Deir Yassin."

(Information from Yediot Ahronot, 1972-02-05)


Jacques de Reynier's eyewitness accout

Jacques de Reynier was a French-Swiss Representative of the International Red Cross. He came to the village on April 11. He reported: "... a total of more than 200 dead, men, women, and children. About 150 cadavers have not been preserved inside the village in view of the danger represented by the bodies' decomposition. They have been gathered, transported some distance, and placed in a large trough (I have not been able to establish if this is a pit, a grain silo, or a large natural excavation). ... [One body was] a woman who must have been eight months pregnant, hit in the stomach, with powder burns on her dress indicating she'd been shot point-blank.".

(Information from Jacques de Reynier, "A Jerusalem un drapeau flottait sur la ligne de feu" p. 74, Larry Collins & Dominique Lapierre, O Jerusalem! p. 278)


Dr. Alfred Engel's eyewitness account

Alfred Engel went to Deir Yassin with Jacques de Reynier, his conclusion is similar to de Reynier's. He reported: "In the houses there were dead, in all about a hundred men, women and children. It was terrible. ... It was clear that they (the attackers) had gone from house to house and shot the people at close range. I was a doctor in the German army for 5 years, in World War I, but I had not seen such a horrifying spectacle.".

(Information from Uri Milstein, Out of Crisis came Decision, p. 279)


Yeshurun Schiff's eyewitness account

Yeshurun Shiff was an adjutant to David Shaltiel. He was in Deir Yassin April 9 and April 12. He reported: "[The attackers chose] to kill anybody they found alive as though every living thing in the village was the enemy and they could only think 'kill them all.'...It was a lovely spring day, the almond trees were in bloom, the flowers were out and everywhere there was the stench of the dead, the thick smell of blood, and the terrible odor of the corpses burning in the quarry.".

(Information from Larry Collins & Dominique Lapierre, "O Jerusalem!", p. 280)


Yair Tsaban's eyewitness accout

Yair Tsaban was one of several youths in the burial team at Deir Yassin April 12. He reported: "What we saw were [dead] women, young children, and old men. What shocked us was at least two or three cases of old men dressed in women's clothes. I remember entering the living room of a certain house. In the far corner was a small woman with her back towards the door, sitting dead. When we reached the body we saw an old man with a beard. My conclusion was that what happened in the village so terrorized these old men that they knew being old men would not save them. They hoped that if they were seen as old women that would save them.".

(Information from Eric Silver, "Begin", p. 93, 95)


Some villagers' eyewitness accounts

According to the Daily Telegraph, April 8, 1998, Ayish Zeidan, a resident of the village and a survivor of the fighting there, stated: "The Arab radio talked of women being killed and raped, but this is not true... I believe that most of those who were killed were among the fighters and the women and children who helped the fighters. The Arab leaders committed a big mistake. By exaggerating the atrocities they thought they would encourage people to fight back harder. Instead they created panic and people ran away.".

Jerusalem Report dated April 2, 1998 described a BBC program in which Abu Mahmud resident of Dir Yassin in 1948 stated: "... the villagers protested against the atrocity claims: We said, "There was no rape." [Khalidi] said, "We have to say this, so the Arab armies will come to liberate Palestine from the Jews.".".

Khalidi was a prominent Palestinian Arab leader who pushed the editor of the Palestine Broadcasting Service's Arabic news in 1948, Hazem Nusseibeh, to make the most use of alleged atrocities in Dir Yassin.

Mohammed Jaber, a village boy, observed the guerillas "break in, drive everybody outside, put them against the wall and shoot them."

(Information from Statement of Mohammed Jaber, dossier 179/110/17 GS, "Secret," Police Investigator Team reports dated 13, 15, and 16 April 1948)

Zeinab Akkel, a woman, offered money (about $400) to protect her brother. One guerilla took the money and "then he just knocked my brother over and shot him in the head with five bullets.".

(Information from "Meir Pa'il's Eyewitness Account", Pa'il and Isseroff)

Fahimi Zeidan stated that she and her wounded siblings encounted a captured pair of village males and "When they reached us, the soldiers [guarding us] shot them.". When the mother of one of the killed started hitting the fighters, "one of them stabbed her with a knife a few times."

(Information from "Deir Yassin", Monograph No. 4, p.56, Kanani and Zitawi)

"When one of his daughters screamed, they shot her too. They then called my brother Mahmoud and shot him in our presence, and when my mother screamed and bent over my brother (she was carrying my little sister Khadra who was still being breast fed) they shot my mother too.".

"(Information from Fahimi Zeidan, quoted by Kanani and Zitawi, "Deir Yassin, Monograph No. 4," 55.)

Haleem Eid, a woman, saw "a man shoot a bullet into the neck of my sister Salhiyeh who was nine months pregnant.". "(Information from Kanani and Zitawi, "Deir Yassin, Monograph No. 4," 55.)


Irgun & Lehi member's eyewitness accounts

Irgunist Yehoshua Gorodentchik said that "Male Arabs dressed as Arab women were found, and so they started shooting the [surrendering] women also."

(Information from Statement of Yehoshua Gorodentchik, file 1/10 4-K, Jabotinsky Archives)

Irgun commander Mordechai Raanan recalled:-

"A young fighter [from our side] holding a Bren machine gun in his hands took up a position, ... Having seen what happened to the inhabitants of the other houses, [the residents of the house] came out to us with their hands up. There were nine people there, including a woman and a boy. The chap holding the Bren suddenly squeezed the trigger and held it. A round of shots hit the group of Arabs. While he was shooting he yelled 'This is for Yiftach!'".

(Information from Yediot Ahronot, 1972-04-04)

Ben Zion-Cohen (an Irgun commander) reported to the Jabotinsky archives that at some point in Deir Yassin "We eliminated every Arab that came our way".

(Information from Amos Perlmutter, The Life and Times of Menachem Begin, p. 216)

The Jewish Agency and the Haganah leadership immediately condemned the massacre.











"In other countries this process might be described as ethnic cleansing but political correctness forbids such language where Israel is concerned" -- U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory John Dugard, quoted at the end of the Reuters article ( http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060926/wl_nm/rights_palestinians_dc  ) copied below:

U.N. envoy says Gaza a prison for Palestinians

By Richard Waddington Tue Sep 26, 2:13 PM ET

GENEVA (Reuters) -

Israel has turned the

Gaza Strip into a prison for Palestinians where life is "intolerable, appalling, tragic" and the Jewish state appears to have thrown away the key, a U.N. human rights envoy said on Tuesday.

U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory John Dugard said that the suffering of the Palestinians was a test of the readiness of the international community to protect human rights.

"If ... the international community cannot ... take some action, (it) must not be surprised if the people ... disbelieve that they are seriously committed to the promotion of human rights," he told the

United Nations' Human Rights Council.


Israel hit back saying there was an "alarming disconnect" between the rapporteur's report to the U.N.'s human rights watchdog and the experience of Israelis who continued to "face the daily threat of Palestinian terrorism."

The South African lawyer, who has been a special U.N. investigator since 2001, repeated earlier accusations that Israel is breaking international humanitarian law with security measures which amount to "collective punishment."

Israel says its security restrictions, which include the construction of a steel and concrete barrier in the

West Bank, are designed to stop suicide bombers entering Israel. Bombings have declined since the barrier was built.


It also maintains tight restrictions on the movement of goods and people into and out of Gaza, a coastal strip that it pulled out of last year after 38 years of occupation.


Dugard also attacked the United States, the

European Union and Canada for withdrawing funding for the

Palestinian Authority in protest at the governing party Hamas's refusal to accept Israel's right to exist.


"Israel violates international law as expounded by the Security Council and the International Court of Justice and goes unpunished. But the Palestinian people are punished for having democratically elected a regime unacceptable to Israel, the U.S. and the EU," Dugard said.

But Israel's ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva Itzhak Levanon said that by putting the "entire blame" on Israel the report "absolves the terrorists that have taken Palestinian society hostage from even the most minimal responsibility."

Dugard said that three-quarters of Gaza's 1.4 million people were dependent on food aid. Bombing raids by Israel since the June 25 capture of an army corporal by Palestinian militants had destroyed houses and the territory's only power plant.

"Gaza is a prison and Israel seems to have thrown away the key," he said.

The West Bank also faced a humanitarian crisis, albeit not as extreme as Gaza, in part due to the barrier, which Dugard alleged was no longer being justified by Israel on security grounds but was part of a move to annex more land.

Palestinians living between the barrier and the Green Line, the frontier at the end of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, could no longer freely access schools and places of work and many had abandoned local farms, he said.

"In other countries this process might be described as ethnic cleansing but political correctness forbids such language where Israel is concerned," Dugard said.









Israel's Law Of Return Giving Every Jew The Right To Automatically Acquire Citizenship

LAW OF RETURN, 5710-1950

1. Every Jew has the right to come to this country as an oleh**.

2. (a) Aliyah** shall be by oleh's visa.

(b) An oleh's visa shall be granted to every Jew who has expressed his

desire to settle in Israel, unless the Minister of Immigration is

satisfied that the applicant

(1) is engaged in an activity directed against the Jewish people; or

(2) is likely to endanger public health or the security of the State.

3. (a) A Jew who has come to Israel and subsequent to his arrival has expressed his desire to settle in Israel may, while still in Israel, receive an oleh's certificate.

(b) The restrictions specified in section 2(b) shall apply also to the grant of an oleh's certificate, but a person shall not be regarded as endangering public health on account of an illness contracted after his

arrival in Israel.

4. Every Jew who has immigrated into this country before the coming into force of this Law, and every Jew who was born in this country, whether before or after the coming into force of this Law, shall be deemed to be a person who has come to this country as an oleh under this Law.

5. The Minister of Immigration is charged with the implementation of this Law and may make regulations as to any matter relating to such implementation and also as to the grant of oleh's visas and oleh's certificates to minors up to the age of 18 years.

DAVID BEN-GURION - Prime Minister

MOSHE SHAPIRA - Minister of Immigration

YOSEF SPRINZAK - Acting President of the State / Chairman of the Knesset

* Passed by the Knesset July 5th, 1950

** Aliyah means immigration of Jews, and oleh (plural: olim) means a Jew

immigrating, into Israel.












Israel's ABSENTEES' PROPERTY LAW, 5710-1950*

Interpretation. 1. In this Law -

o (a) "property" includes immovable and movable property, moneys, a vested or contingent right in property, goodwill and any right in a body of persons or in its management;

o (b) "absentee" means -

# (1) a person who, at any time during the period between the 16th Kislev, 5708 (29th November, 1947) and the day on which a declaration is published, under section 9(d) of the Law and Administration Ordinance, 5708-1948(1), that the state of emergency declared by the Provisional Council of State on the 10th Iyar, 5708 (19th May, 1948)(2) has ceased to exist, was a legal owner of any property situated in the area of Israel or enjoyed or held it, whether by himself or through another, and who, at any time during the said period -

o (i) was a national or citizen of the Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, SaudiArabia, Trans-Jordan, Iraq or the Yemen, or

o (ii) was in one of these countries or in any part of Palestine outside the area of Israel, or

o (iii) was a Palestinian citizen and left his ordinary place of residence in Palestine

# (a) for a place outside Palestine before the 27th Av, 5708 (1st September, 1948); or

# (b) for a place in Palestine held at the time by forces which sought to prevent the establishment of the State of Israel or which fought against it after its establishment; ...

(a) The Minister of Finance shall appoint, by order published in Reshumot, a Custodianship Council for Absentees' Property, and shall designate one of its members to be the chairman of the Council. The chairman of the Council shall be called the Custodian. ...

# (a) Subject to the provisions of this Law -

o (1) all absentees' property is hereby vested in the Custodian as from the day of publication of his appointment or the day on which it became absentees' property, whichever is the later date;

o (2), every right an absentee had in any property shall pass automatically to the Custodian at the time of the vesting of the property; and the status of the Custodian shall be the same as was that of the owner of the property. ...

[Way near the end, #27]

. 27.

o (a) If the Custodian is of opinion that a particular person whom it is possible to define as an absentee under section 1(b)(1) (iii) left his place of residence -

# (1) for fear that the enemies of Israel might cause him harm, or

# (2) otherwise than by reason or for fear of military operations, the Custodian shall give that person, on his application, a written confirmation that he is not an absentee.









Here are examples of how even the Boston Globe, one of the most liberal newspapers in the United States, censors the fact of ethnic cleansing in their discussion of the Israel/Palestine conflict.


#1 On Sunday, August 13, 2006, the Boston Globe ran a full page article on the back page of its "Ideas" section, titled, "Jabotinsky's Ghost" with the subtitle: "Beyond the war in Lebanon lies the ultimate question of Israel's coexistence with a Palestinian state. To confront it, Ehud Olmert knows he must break with the political tradition into which he was born." The large print insert read, "It will be a supreme irony if the ultimate compromise with the Palestinians--and the final abandonment of Jabotinsky's ideal--is made by his direct ideological heirs."

The article had not a single mention of the fact that Israeli leaders carried out large scale ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948. Given the focus of this article, that omission amounts to overt censorship of the central fact of the narrative.

The article was about the "big picture" of the Israel/Palestine conflict. It connected the early years of the 1930's, when Jabotinsky, who died in 1940, was a famous Zionist leader, to the present day. Jabotinsky was famous because he frankly asserted that force would have to be used against the Arabs in Palestine. Jabotinsky, however, opposed forced transfer of Arabs out of Palestine because he thought that was simply impossible; he spoke of force not as a means of removing Arabs but rather as a means of making them accept their land (all of Palestine) becoming a purely Jewish sovereignty with a majority Jewish population. It is hard to imagine an honest article with this focus not mentioning the fact that  Israeli leaders, despite Jabotinsky's belief that it would be impossible, carried out ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Palestine in 1948.

Yet the author of the article, Geoffrey Wheatcroft, managed to avoid mentioning the key fact of ethnic cleansing. Instead,  the article frames the discussion in a way that paints the most extreme Zionist view as the one that Jabotinsky held: Use force to make the Arabs accept "a Jewish majority outweighing the Arab population" (the article doesn't mention that this Jewish population was also to be the exclusive sovereign authority in the new Jewish state.)  The article then discusses how ironic it is that the current Israeli rulers, who are considered the ideological heirs of Jabotinsky, may reject his vision of all of Palestine becoming a Jewish state because they see the need to let part of Palestine be a "Palestinian state."

The reader is left with the idea that the current Israeli rulers are reasonable "realistic" Zionists who accept the idea of a Palestinian state, and that the "extremist" Zionists were extreme only in advocating force to make Arabs accept Jewish immigration. Arabs, according to this censored account, are simply anti-Semites whose only objection to Zionism is their not wanting to have Jews live among them.


#2. This is a letter (one of many I've sent them) that the Boston Globe refused to print.

Dear editor of the Boston Globe,

Andrea Levin's letter ("Wrong on Israel's role in 1948" Aug 5 [2005]) denies that Israel "ethnically cleansed hundreds of thousands of Palestinian villagers from western Palestine in 1948" and argues instead that they "fled at the insistence of Arab leaders." Israel uses this argument to justify its refusal to permit re-entry into Israel of the millions of Palestinians who fled (or whose parents fled) what is now Israel, and who are now forced to live in refugee camps. There are two things wrong with this Israeli argument. First, even if the factual premise (that Palestinians fled because their leaders told them to) were true, the logic by which the conclusion (that Palestinians should not be allowed to return to their homes inside Israel) is drawn is patently racist. Consider that people like myself and Andrea Levin routinely leave ("flee") our country voluntarily for travel or business or even to live abroad for a period of time, but we enjoy the right to return. This is a fundamental human right, possessed by every individual regardless of any issues of national sovereignty. It is spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Article 13: "everyone has the right to return to his country." Israel's refusal to let Palestinians return to their country, simply because they supposedly left voluntarily, is racist against Palestinians. The racism is made even more obvious since Israel grants every Jew the right to move to Israel and be an Israeli citizen.

Secondly, Levin's factual premise is false. Since she chose to focus on Haifa in April 1948, I will too. She cites a Haifa British police report on April 26, 1948 that "Every effort is being made by the Jews to persuade the Arab populace to stay...," in order to make her claim that there were only "isolated cases of Jews driving Arabs out." The pro-Zionist historian, Benny Morris, in his 600 page book "The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited" puts this in a much-needed perspective. He writes of this time and place: "The local Jewish civilian leadership initially sincerely wanted the Arabs to stay (and made a point of letting the British see this.) But the offensive of 21-22 April had delivered the Arab neighborhoods into Haganah [i.e. the Jewish military] hands, relegating the civil leaders to the sidelines and for almost a fortnight rendering them relatively ineffectual in all that concerned the treatment of the Arab population. At the same time, the attitude of some of these local leaders radically changed as they took stock of the historic opportunity afforded by the exodus -- to turn Haifa permanently into a Jewish city. As one knowledgeable Jewish observer put it a month later, 'a different wind [began to] blow. It was good without Arabs. It was easier. Everything changed within a week.' At the same time, the Haganah commanders from the first understood that an Arab evacuation would greatly ease their strategic situation and workload." [pg. 202-3]

One reason Arabs fled Haifa was a rumor which, if true, would also explain why some Jewish leaders wanted them to stay: As reported by a British intelligence unit at the time, "Most widespread was a rumour that Arabs remaining in Haifa would be taken as hostages by the Jews in the event of future Arab attacks on other Jewish areas." [pg. 198] It was certainly not kindness towards the Arabs which motivated the Jewish military. Here is how a British intelligence officer described the acts of the Jewish Haganah in Haifa April 22: "During the morning [the Jews] were continually shooting down on all Arabs who moved both in Wadi Nisnas and the Old City. This included completely indiscriminate and revolting machingun fire, mortar fire and sniping on women and children sheltering in churches and attempting to get out...through the gates into the docks...The 40 RM. CDO. [i.e. Royal Marine Commando] who control the docks...sent the Arabs through in batches but there was considerable congestion outside the East Gate of hysterical and terrified Arab women and children and old people on whom the Jews opened up mercilessly with fire. Two [Royal Marine] officers were seriously wounded." [pg. 191] It was thus Arabs, not Jews, who were "driven into the sea."

Haiffa was only one town. Summarizing the events over all of Palestine during this period, Morris, an avowed Zionist who gave an interview recently in which he criticized the Israeli leaders at this time for not expelling more Arabs, concludes: "During April-June, neither the political nor military leaderships took a decision to expel 'the Arabs.' As far as the available evidence shows, the matter was never discussed in the supreme decision-making bodies. But it was understood by all concerned that, militarily, in the struggle to survive, the fewer Arabs remaining behind and along the front lines, the better and, politically, the fewer Arabs remaining in the Jewish State, the better. At each level of command and execution, Haganah officers, in those April-June days when the fate of the State hung in the balance, simiply 'understood' what was required in order to survive." [pg. 593]

John Spritzler







18 wealthiest families earn 32% of Israel's revenues

By Ora Coren and Lilach Weissman, Haaretz Correspondents

The income of the 18 wealthiest families in Israel is equivalent to 77 percent of Israel's national budget, which is NIS 256 billion a year, and constitutes 32 percent of the country's revenues, according to a survey conducted by the Business Data Israel company published Monday.

The BDI index does not measure wealth per se, but influence over Israelis' lives. Nor does it factor in Israeli companies operating outside the country.

According to the index, Nochi Dankner, the controlling shareholder of the IDB group is the most powerful businessman in Israel.

The Labor party responded to the statistics, saying they were proof Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, both former finance ministers, parcelled the state off to cronies during their pushes for privatization.

"It's no coincidence that of the 18 families, at least seven [including Dankner] are considered Olmert's close friends," the party said in a statement.

"The connection between wealth and power makes it hard to have equal opportunities, and threatens Israeli society," Labor representatives said.

The most powerful families include the Dankners; Sami and Yuli Ofer; Shari Arison; Izzy and Dedi Borovich; Zadik Bino; Yair Hamburger; Avi Wertheim; Stef Wertheimer; Zohar, Yehuda and Roy Zisapel; Lev Leviev; Mickey Federmann; Eliezer Fishman; Jacob Shachar; Israel Kass; Ofra Strauss; Reuven Shmeltzer; and Yitzhak Tshuv.

The 500 strongest companies made combined revenues of NIS 620 billion a year, BDI says, and have more than 150,000 employees.

Nochi Dankner owns 15.1% of the revenues of the 500 leading companies. The Ofers own 13.7 percent of the revenue; Saban, 9.1 percent; Wiessman, 8.9 percent; Arison, 8.7 percent; Tshuva, 6.8 percent and the Boroviches, 6.2 percent.



Israel's richest families control 34 percent of top income
Nineteen businessmen and their families control more than third of income of Israel's 500 leading companies

Published: 07.19.07, 16:56 / Israel Money
Nineteen businessmen and their families control 34 percent of the income of Israel's 500 leading companies, figures released Thursday by Business Data Israel show.

According to the figures, Israel's rich shared an income of NIS 248 billion ($57.4 billion) of a total of NIS 722 billion ($172 billion) in income generated by Israel's top 500 companies. The figure is equal to 88 percent of last year's state budget.

The Dankner, Tshuva, Azrieli, Weisman, Saban, Arison, Bino, Federman, Borovich, Leviev, Hamburger, Fishman, Strauss, Wertheim, and Alovich families are among the 19 families who control the bulk of Israeli business.

The Azrieli family joined the club of powerful business lords last year with its purchase of stakes in Granite Ha-Carmel Investments Ltd, acquiring controlling shares in Tambour, Sonol and Supergas.

The Alovich family purchased Zahav lines from Eliezer Fishman and joined the top-19 club.

The Wertheimer family exited the club, which numbered 18 in 2005, with the sale of 80 percent of Iscar to American investment mogul Warren Buffet.

The Dankner family increased its stake in the income generated by Israel's leading companies to 18.7 percent through the purchase of Koor Industries, higher than any other family.



Report: 19 Israeli families control one-third of the economy

By Ora Coren, Haaretz Correspondent

The total income of the nineteen richest families in Israel was NIS 248 billion for 2006, or one third of the revenues of the 500 leading Israeli companies, according to the Concentration Index published Thursday.

The annual income of the 19 families is equal to 88 percent of the state budget or 54 percent of the business sector's share of GDP.

Cellcom mogul Nohi Dankner topped the list for the second consecutive year, increasing his revenues by 15 percent over 2005.

According to the Concentration Index, Dankner now takes in 18.7 percent of the revenues of the 19 families who exercise the greatest control over the Israeli economy. In comparison, Sami and Yuli Ofer, who follow Dankner on the list, "only" make 12.8 percent of the total revenues of these families.

The top five families on the list, including Yitzhak Tshuva, David Weissman and Haim Saban, control 61 percent of the income of these 19 families - up from 54 percent in 2005.

Others on the list include Shari Arison, Zadik Bino, Lev Leviev, David Azrieli and Eliezer Fishman.

The Concentration Index measures the wealth of families who control companies that affect all aspects of the lives of regular citizens. The index does not only measure wealth, but the effect of these companies on those lives. The index also does not take into account the family's share of ownership in the companies, but only the total income of the firms.

Compared to 2005, only five families increased their income. Tshuva almost doubled his after buying the Phoenix insurance company from the Shachar and Kaz families, while Bino saw his income grow 46 percent by buying the Ashdod Oil Refineries.

The Shachar-Kaz families saw the greatest drop in influence, 66 percent, after selling off the Phoenix.

The new additions to the list in 2006 were real estate magnate David Azrieli and Shaul Elovitch. The surprise is that the Wertheimer family, Stef and Eitan, dropped off the list after the sale of Iscar to Warren Buffett.



Nineteen families: poverty, inequality and who rules the roost in Israel
20 May, 2008

Roni Ben Efrat illuminates inequality in today’s Israel in the current edition of Challenge Magazine (Issue 109). The following is an excerpt in which boldface emphasis is editorial:

Zionists claim that Israel arose in order to provide the Jewish people with a national home. But decade by decade, it has become ever clearer that Israel is not a state of, by and for the Jewish people. It is rather a state of, by and for a sprinkling of families, 19 in all, whose income amounts to $70 billion—88% of the national budget.

This budget is a stumbling block to the poor. All levels of education have been devastated. On the books there is universal health care, but many can’t afford to buy medicines. Israel’s socio-economic inequality, as measured by the UN Development Program’s Gini Index (0.0 = perfect equality), has worsened steadily from 0.222 in 1982 to 0.392 in 2005, making it the most unequal of Western democracies with one exception: the United States (Gini = 0.408).

Poverty is no longer confined to the jobless. The government has lowered the unemployment rate, indeed, to 7.6%, but there is a trade-off: working people make up 37% of the nation’s poor. The country’s much vaunted economic growth is way off kilter. It is high in high-tech, which supports very few, but scarce in traditional industries and services, where most people work.

This steady impoverishment of the population has not just “happened.” It has happened because of laws and decisions that sold the country’s assets to the 19 families at bargain-basement prices, all in the name of the free market. As Weinroth said to Weitz: “Power is no longer a separate entity. Money is power. Money rules all, it flows through every hidden vein of the society.”

But that’s not all. For Marx also taught us that capital has no sense of obligation. When the state gets a bit too small for it, it seeks foreign outlets. The 19 families used the state to get rich, buying up its privatized firms, and now they go cosmopolitan. Between 2001 and 2006, foreign investment in Israel grew by a factor of six, but Israeli investments abroad increased by a factor of eight. The Adva Center—whose reports are the source for all figures here unless stated otherwise—cites Nohi Dankner, whose family is among the favored 19: “I believe very much in Israel, and I believe greatly in the Israeli economy. Notwithstanding, it is clear that our development must be overseas.” Who is the “our” in “our development”? Not the unemployed, the poor, the people on the dole. What does the “our” care about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Or the rockets of Hamas? The “our” are invested elsewhere.

For 60 years, the 19 families stayed beneath the camouflage of Zionism, but now it’s launch time. True, in 1993 they tried to bind the Oslo Accords to a narrative about peace called the “New Middle East.” Ten years ago, in an article called “The Hidden Economic Logic of Oslo” (Challenges 51-52) we explained the Oslo initiative this way: Israel understood that unless it normalized relations with the Arab world, it would not fit into the global economy. But the 19 families no longer need a thriving Israel. Reality faced the Oslo process with difficulties. It isn’t their task to solve them. Their task is to make profits, fast and big.

… The leadership that sold itself to the 19 families—always the same leadership, whether it goes by the name of Likud or Labor or Kadima—is as deceitful as it is cruel. With one hand it impoverishes its citizens, with the other it squeezes the Palestinians.

Last June Israel celebrated 40 years of conquest. For two-thirds of its lifetime, it has occupied 3.5 million Palestinians. (Gaza must still be included: Israel hems it in by land, sea and air.) Its leaders hesitate to travel abroad, fearing arrest for war crimes. There have been innumerable opportunities to reach a fair peace with the Palestinian people, but there is neither the wisdom nor the largeness of spirit to make the needed concessions. Israel prides itself ad nauseam on the “Zionist vision,” but the moment it glimpses a chance for peace, that vision gives way to spins and gimmicks aimed at maintaining the general fraud.

The day is not far off, therefore, when the Palestinians will say, “Why, after all, should we part from you? In any case there’s not enough left to build a viable state. Forget about that, just give us our civil rights.” Then the conflict will enter a new phase. The citizens of Israel will be forced to decide: apartheid or democracy. If the Jewish population opts for apartheid, the leadership will continue to defraud, exploit and impoverish at the service of the millionaires—until catastrophe comes. The only other option would be democracy—a single democracy west of the Jordan, including reconciliation with the Palestinians. That would exorcize Mammon, along with his Zionist camouflage.









In 1988 close to 40 per cent of the foreign-born ashkenazim were in the three top occupational categories (professionals, managers and technicians) compared to 20 per cent of the foreign-born mizrahim. The gap between the Israel-born members of the two groups was even wider: 50 to 21 per cent. In 1995 72 per cent of second-generation ashkenazim worked in white-collar occupations, and 28 per cent were blue-collar workers; among second-generation mizrahim the figures were 46 per cent and 54 per cent, respectively. Unemployment among second-generation ashkenazim in 1993 was 4.9 per cent, and among mizrahim 13.2 per cent. In 1988 the average mizrahi head of household earned 80 per cent of the income of an ashkenazi one, but only 64 per cent per capita. And at least among wage-earners the income gap has been widening: an Israel-born mizrahi wage-earner earned 79 per cent of the income of an ashkenazi wage-earner in 1975, 70 per cent in 1982 and 68 per cent in 1992 (Smooha 1993a, 317; Swirski 1995; Cohen and Haberfeld 1998). This earning gap continued to increase between 1992 and 1996, reflecting the growing inequality of income distribution in the society (CBS 1997, p. 44). 









 Islamic "Fundamentalists" aim to establish Islam-only states, essentially a mirror-image of the Israeli Jewish state.

Hamas, in its 1988 Covenant, asserts that, "It is the duty of the followers of other religions to stop disputing the sovereignty of Islam in this region... " This is the mirror image of the Zionist assertion that the sovereign authority in Israel is "the Jewish people." Both ideologies deny the basic democratic principle that all of the people in a country, regardless of their religious beliefs or ethnicity, should have an equal say in its governance.

Hezbollah, in its 1985 Program, states that one of its objectives is:

(c) to permit all the sons of our people to determine their future and to choose in all the liberty the form of government they desire. We call upon all of them to pick the option of Islamic government which, alone, is capable of guaranteeing justice and liberty for all. Only an Islamic regime can stop any further tentative attempts of imperialistic infiltration into our country.

For more discussion, see:

#1. Hezbollah An Emerging Political Force by Dahr Jamail
Tuesday, July 18 2006 @ 05:05 PM PDT (View web-friendly version here

#2. Why won't Hamas tell the world why there should not be a Jewish state in Palestine?
by John Spritzler

#3. Here (scroll down or go to http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/C68DF0B8-23C4-4CC6-9A6C-F724A71F27E3.htm ) Aljazeera reports that a Hezbollah politician admitted to targeting civilians in Israeli cities, employing the anti-working-class logic that it is right to kill non-combatants in retaliation for the crimes of their ruling class:


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Hezbollah rejects war crimes claims



Nearly 4,000 Hezbollah rockets were fired into northern Israel

Nasrallah criticises Lebanese leaders
UN: Israeli cluster bombs 'immoral'
Nasrallah says he did not want war
AI: Israel committed war crimes


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Hezbollah has dismissed a report from human rights group Amnesty International which accuses it of war crimes during the war with Israel.

Hassan Fadlallah, a Hezbollah politician, said on Thursday the group targeted civilians in Israeli cities in response to Israeli attacks that killed hundreds of Lebanese civilians.

"We do not deny that we have bombarded Israeli cities, settlements and infrastructure. But this was always a reaction," he told Aljazeera. "It was a natural reaction. When a state is invaded, it must defend itself."

Nearly 4,000 rockets were fired into northern Israel by Hezbollah during July and August, killing at least 39 civilians.

Firing rockets into urban areas in Israel violated international laws that call for distinction between civilian and military targets, Amnesty International (AI) said.

No grey area

"Targeting civilians is a war crime. There's no grey area," said Larry Cox, AI's executive director in the US.

Fadlallah said that AI had probably come under US and Israeli pressure to criticise Hezbollah's actions during the after issuing a similar report against Israel last month.

The human rights group has called for the UN to begin an inquiry into possible atrocities committed by both sides during the 34 days of fighting.

Hezbollah fired inaccurate rockets packed with thousands of metal ball bearings that sprayed out to maximise harm to civilians, the report said.

Israeli aggression

"The act was begun by Israel," Fadlallah said. "How could we confront the Israeli aggression? With roses? The resistance [Hezbollah] said that the bombardment of Haifa was in response to the bombardment of Dahiya [Beirut's southern suburbs]."

The human rights group had previously called on the Lebanese militia to release two kidnapped Israeli soldiers and abstain from firing at civilians.

At least 39 Israeli civilians were
killed by Hezbollah rockets 

The report is Amnesty's most extensive criticism of Hezbollah since the conflict began, and comes after it accused Israel of violating international law with indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on civilian targets in Lebanon.


The London-based organisation said in a report issued last month that Israel's attacks on civilian infrastructure during the recent war in Lebanon constituted war crimes, and that Israeli assertions that such attacks were lawful were "manifestly wrong".

Cross-border raid

Fighting between Israel and Hezbollah began after fighters seized two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12.

The conflict left more than 1,000 people dead, mostly Lebanese civilians - about a third of them children, Unicef said.

AI is preparing another report studying whether Hezbollah contributed to civilian deaths in Lebanon by hiding among civilians, Nicole Choueiry, a spokesman for AI in Britain, said.

It remains to be seen whether either side will face war crimes charges.

Israel and Lebanon both reject the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, making prosecution there unlikely.







In their "The Economic Costs of the Iraq War," Joseph E. Stiglitz (winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics and former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to President Clinton and Chief Economist and Senior Vice President at the World Bank) and Linda Bilmes (Kennedy School, Harvard University)  estimate that the total economic costs of the war, including direct costs and macroeconomic costs, lie between $1 and $2 trillion. [see exact wording following their Figure 5]

(A trillion is a thousand billion, by the way. Think of it this way: 1 billion seconds equals 32 years; 1 trillion seconds equals 320 centuries.)




Study: The concentration of wealth in just a few families bodes ill for Israeli democracy

(The Haaretz article reporting on this study is copied below, in case the link above has become broken.)

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Study: The concentration of wealth in just a few families bodes ill for Israeli democracy
By Hila Raz
Tags: Israel news

"The control of the business sector by a relatively small number of families, by means of control pyramids, jeopardizes investors from within the general public, economic development and even the nature of the government and democracy. Accordingly, the State of Israel must formulate a comprehensive policy on the question of whether the concentration of control over the economy is a desirable phenomenon. Assuming that the answer is that the state has an interest in restricting this concentration, a variety of legal and organizational measures must be consistently applied in various spheres to advance this objective." This is the finding of a new study of the concentration of corporate control in Israel, conducted by Prof. Assaf Hamdani, a Hebrew University of Jerusalem expert in corporate law.

Hamdani is an external adviser to the Hodek Committee, appointed to find ways to protect the public's retirement income in the wake of the global economic crisis. The committee, whose official name is the Committee for Establishing Parameters for Institutional Bodies Investments in Nongovernmental Bonds, is chaired by David Hodek and is slated to submit its final report within a few weeks. Its goal was to draft guidelines for institutional investors when extending credit to companies through bond offerings.

The necessity for these guidelines was precipitated by the crisis in the corporate bond market that occurred in recent years when institutional investors failed to ensure the issuer's ability to repay its debt. In many cases, as can be seen in the recent wave of loan rescheduling, as in the case of Africa Israel, the institutionals lacked means to collect their debts and are thus forced to agree to arrangements that are highly problematic from the investors' perspective.

The study, which was published by the Israeli Democracy Institute and appeared in the media for the first time in The Marker, was completed in 2008, before Hamdani was appointed to the Hudak Committee. Some of its policy recommendations were adopted by the committee.

Hamdani examined whether the Israeli legal system was coping adequately with the concentration of power in publicly held corporations. His depressing and unequivocal conclusion: There is a wide gap between the economic reality - in which majority shareholders steer the corporation - and the legal requirement that the official corporate bodies and in particular the board of directors should perform that function, and that the dominant status of the controlling shareholders should not be the decisive factor. This gap, he states, "leads to two problematic results: First, the supervision over the true hubs of power, namely the controlling shareholders, is only partial; and second, there is a prevailing uncertainty regarding everything to do with the behavioral norms of these factors, the limits of what is permitted and what is forbidden, their duties and their rights with respect to the corporations that they control."

Control pyramids

Israel's capital market is dominated by a small number of families. In most public companies there is a controlling shareholder who retains the ability to steer the corporation. When several public companies are controlled in this manner, through control pyramids, these individuals' standing in the capital market is bolstered still further.

The outstanding examples are the Dankner, Ofer, Tshuva, Arison, Leviev and Strauss families. Of the 100 public companies in the TA-100 index, 52% are controlled by only a few families. In the TA-25 index, which represents 75 percent of the market value of all the companies traded in Israel, this concentration is even greater.

If we ignore Teva Pharmaceuticals, whose disproportionate share in the country?s capital distorts the results, we find that the control clusters represented about 50 percent of the market value of publicly traded companies in recent years, and that 10 families controlled 30 percent of the public companies in Israel (by market value).

Hamdani believes that in the absence of effective market mechanisms for monitoring controlling shareholders there is a need for more regulation.
"The judicial system overlooks both the fact that the dominant factor in most corporations in Israel is not management but the controlling shareholders and its implications for the effectiveness of corporate auditing and monitoring," Hamdani says. He argues that the existing supervisory arrangements for corporate directors are inadequate to cope with the high degree of centralization in Israel.

"On the legal plane, there is a lack of clarity as to how directors are expected to function as supervisors of the controlling shareholders in respect of their obligations to investors from the general public; on the market plane, the procedures for appointing directors make the entire board dependent on the controlling interests and do not provide for appointing minority shareholders to the board."

Hamdani calls for reducing judicial intervention in "ordinary" business decisions and increasing it when the controlling shareholders face a conflict of interest, in order to protect the investing public. He believes such supervision is also essential to ensure democracy and good government: "Such a concentration of economic power is problematic in itself, and it magnifies fears that economic power will be translated into political influence," adding "Effective corporate supervision mechanisms will make it difficult to use economic power for illegitimate purposes, and would therefore yield advantages that exceed the protection of investors' money."

The study describes the interaction of capital and government, stating that "Corporations can wield political influence to bring about regulation that will be to the corporation's advantage, to ease its tax burden, to prevent the entry of new competitors into the market or to make things harder for existing competitors." Hamdani adds that a comprehensive comparative study of 47 countries showed that the existence of a link between holders of controlling interests in companies or senior corporate office holders and government officials or bodies increases the value of the corporation.

The danger: damage to minority shareholders

The lower the rate of capital ownership, the smaller the controlling interest's incentive to act to the company's benefit, Hamdani argues. That generates the fear that the controlling interests "will use their power to yield personal profits at the expense of the corporation and the minority shareholders. This includes the transfer of assets to other companies in which the controlling interest has a greater interest. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, including deals between companies within the group, the sale of assets or services at below market value or inflated payments for managerial services."
Hamdani does not it, but there are recent examples of this. The Ofer family has signed multimillion dollar deals for the purchase or lease of ships from private companies they own for Zim Integrated Shipping Services, which they control.

Nochi Dankner sold Israir Airlines, after it accumulated large losses, to IDB Development, which he controls. Dankner was exposed to NIS 100 million in losses from a shareholder loan and personal guarantees against Israir's financial liabilities. The sale to the public company made it easier for Dankner to handle the personal guarantees.

Hamdani further warns that the control pyramids impinge on transparency. "The reports of corporations belonging to control pyramids are liable to be of inferior quality. Studies also show that the degree of credibility that the capital market ascribes to corporate reports is in inverse proportion to the degree of domination by the controlling interests, and the quality of the information drops as the gap grows between ownership of capital and the power of control in a company." Hamdani cites IDB as an example: "For a long period, there were no analysts reviewing the activities of the IDB holding company," the report states.

'Control pyramids avoid taxes'

The IDB group is among the most strenuous opponents of the Hodek Committee's interim recommendations. In a position paper formulated by IDB, it accused the committee of ignor[ing] basic concepts of the market economy and with a stroke of the pen is could damage super-principles that are the pillars of modern economics."

In a chapter of his study titled "Democracy and quality of government," Hamdani foresaw, in what now seems ironic, IDB's response to the committee's recommendations: "The wielders of the controlling interest, for example, will seek legislation that will reinforce their position of power or ensure their ability to create private profits from their control at the expense of minority shareholders. They are also likely to oppose reforms aimed at increasing the transparency of the capital market or to bolster the protection given to minority shareholders from the domination of the controlling interests," Hamdani wrote.

Another issue raised by the study is tax evasion by the control pyramids. The camouflage method employed by the controlling interests to transfer corporate assets to themselves without sharing with the minority shareholders also enable them ultimately to avoid paying taxes, the report says.

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