31 May 2010


I saw this pup in Spain, there were 2 of them, got to play with them for half hour. I dont know what happened on May 31, and am too lazy to find out. Sorry.


  1. Omar Khayyám, Persian poet, astronomer, mathematician, and philosopher (b: May 31, 1048; d: December 4, 1123),
    Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII of England (b: May 31, 1443 ; d: June 29, 1509)
    Marin Marais, French composer and viol player (b: May 31, 1656 ; d: August 15, 1728)
    Walt Whitman, American poet (b: May 31, 1819 ; d: March 26, 1892)
    Walter Sickert, English painter (b: May 31, 1860)
    Denholm Elliott, English actor (b: May 31, 1922 ; d: October 6, 1992)
    Clint Eastwood, American actor, director, and producer (b: May 31, 1930)
    Jay Miner, American microchip designer (b: May 31, 1932)
    Jim Bolger, Prime Minister of New Zealand (b: May 31, 1935)
    John Prescott, ex-Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b: May 31, 1938)
    Terry Waite, British humanitarian (b: May 31, 1939)
    Rainer Werner Fassbinder, German film director (b: May 31, 1945 ; d: June 10, 1982)
    John Bonham, British musician (Led Zeppelin) (b: May 31, 1948 ; d: September 25, 1980)
    Brooke Shields, American model and actress (b: May 31, 1965)
    Colin Farrell, Irish actor (b: May 31, 1976)

  2. Thanks Shaz!

    I cannot believe what the Israelis have done to the flotilla, even by their standards this really is shocking. This state of affairs just cant go on, something is gonna give.

  3. And so the neo-liberal/neo-con restructuring of UK schools continues as Niall Ferguson is asked to rewrite the History curriculum


    Hank's going to go mad with that cute puppy picture, he's a cat man himself ;)

    I have 0.00001% interest in I/P affairs but waht the Israelis have done is grotesque on every level.

  4. Jay - +1 re Israel. Apparently Netanyahu is considering cancelling his meeting with Barack Obama tomorrow & going home early. I'll be interested to hear his justification for attacking a humanitarian aid convoy in international waters.

  5. I dunno. Stumble from bed to see what the new days brings. Too depressing. Going back to bed before I start shouting at Israel. Their internet ops room is in full swing over on the Guardian. Wankers.

  6. During the last Conservative party conference I posted on CiF taking the piss out of Michael Gove's education speech:

    Michael Gove received a standing ovation today after his keynote education speech. The speech entitled ‘Education was so much better during the zenith of the British Empire. set out the Conservative Education plans when they become the new Government.

    Speaking in front of a map with lots of countries and colonies coloured pink, Mr Gove said, "Its clear Education in Britain today is not working, too many working class and poor children are led to believe that tertiary education is a serious option. We simply must put a stop to this."

    Mr Goves plans include: Government funding for education to end at the age of 10 for lower income families. From ages 10-16, children from lower decile families will have the opportunity to train as matchstick girls, hand loom weavers or join the Army.

    "Its no coincidence that when Empire was at its zenith in the 1870s we had an education system as outlined above."

    In order to persuade lower riff raff urchins to join the Army, special Sandhurst educated Officers will join the Teaching professions.

    For those Sandhurst officers sent to the North, all will be equipped with a Catherine Cookson novel, 2 DVDs of popular Liverpool sitcom 'Bread'and the first six series of ‘When the Boat comes in.' "It's important that we do not condescend our Northern citizens, Mr Gove said, "After all theyre the ones who'll have their a*ses shot off behind a garden wall in Faluja."

    However, its not just riff raff wholl feel the force of the new Education plans. Grammar and Public school children will have a new curriculum and discipline procedures. Failure to name Queen Victoria's umpteen children or to guess correctly how many natives Michael Caine killed in 'Zulu' will see the offender given six of the best on the bare arse using a leatherbound copy of Rudyard Kiplings collected poems.

    The education package got a warm reception from the conference: "If Kaiser Bill thinks he can bully the British Lion, he has another thing coming, I can tell you." One delegate was heard to battily mutter.

    And fuck me, if it hasn't come true with Empire apologist Ferguson at the History helm.

    I should start doing the lottery.....

  7. 13th Duke - so we can't even place the blame squarely on Gove & Ferguson, it's your fault for creating a self-fulfilling prophecy?

  8. Just seen news from Gaza - Piracy on the high seas used to punished by hanging . Now it's just an incident.

    Dare not post on Cif - might it just might be worth a banning to say what I think.

  9. "Hank's going to go mad with that cute puppy picture, he's a cat man himself ;)"

    I cant stand cats, we'll have to have a 3 hour row about dogs vs cats. The young Orwell said of cat lovers "identity obssessed, soft left, muesli munching wankers!"

    Has there been any UK response yet?

  10. Well - shit.

    apparently there was cement and wood on the ships - banned by Israel. So that's alright then. Case closed.

  11. This is depressing newsm the problem is history cabbot be said to be taught ptoperly at the moment.

    No time line just bits and pieces as the article says.

    What we need is a history syllabus that tells the story of empire from the point of view of both european and the colonial working classes.

    Some hopes! time to restart socialist sunday schools!

  12. William Hague has apparently 'deplored the loss of life'.

  13. "apparently there was cement and wood on the ships"

    The vicious bastards. Israel clearly had little choice but to send commandos in guns blazing. I checked BBC, still cant see any news of a UK response of any kind, or even comment.

  14. More from Hague:

    "I call on the government of Israel to open the crossings to allow unfettered access for aid to Gaza, and address the serious concerns about the deterioration in the humanitarian and economic situation and about the effect on a generation of young Palestinians."

  15. Jay

    Orwell was wrong - about cat lovers being soft left anyway - Ted Grant of Militant loved cats, so do I come to that! (sorry!)

  16. Shaz,

    I knew the Tories were struggling to find any policies whatsoever but for them to trawl BTL on CiF and adopt them.....


    why the hell is cement and wood banned?

  17. 13th Duke - they must have found your suggestion of new curriculum & discipline for public & grammar schools irresistible - not to mention the pink map. Just goes to show, as they say on CiF, you really can't be too careful...

  18. Building materials, Duke - the Isaelis have banned building materials. None of that crafty reconstruction of schools, hospitals etc

  19. Duke

    Building materials are banned - apparently Hamas may use them to attack Israel. Thousands still living in tents as they can't rebuild.
    I am so angry - against Israel , agaiunst the lack of response from the rest of the world.

    There is no excuse for the continued suffering in Gaza - or WB.

  20. I was just trying to wind Hank up, Annetan, i'm sure Orwell had every respect for our inferior feline friends ;)

  21. Israeli reports say that the commandos were attacked 'by violent activists'!!!

    The commandos of course have guns the activists did not so who's violent?

    Meanwhile the west will sit on its arse and do nothing!

    This was in

    I'm very upset by this - anger doesn't cover it.

  22. Jay,

    I've just come across this from the Orwell archives. It's a passage from 'Animal Farm' that was eventually ommitted:

    "All that year the cats worked like slaves. But they were happy in their work; they grudged no effort or sacrifice, well aware that everything they did was for the benefit of themselves and those of their kind who would come after them, and not for a pack of idle, thieving mangy dogs. The bastards"

    annetan/Leni et al,

    everyone will condemn Israel and then it will be quietly and conveniently forgotten by the west.

  23. "The European Union's foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, said the bloc was deeply concerned and she called on Israel to carry out an inquiry."

    so that's going to be fair and balanced isn't it...

    maybe it could be retaliation for this

  24. i am so upset and angry I am turning off all communications. What happened in the med this morning is just one small act in a murderous world. How long can we sit on our hands.

    When the long suppressed anger finally breaks out i hope the right targets are attacked.

  25. @Anne

    Those 'activists' were not all humanitarian rights workers. They're the same ones who attacked Egyptian border guards during the last convoy, killing one, and the same ones who were chanting 'intifada, intifada' and anti-semitic 'khaybar' chants as the convoy set off.

    Israel was wrong in attacking the way it did, but this was a confrontation waiting to happen.

  26. It'll be interesting to hear Nick Clegg's opinion on the attack.

  27. Morning all,

    What you all seem to be missing, is that this is the new NWO/Anti-Terrorist/Pre-emptive/Neo-Conservative doctrine writ small, innit!?.

    If some people in boats try and defy something that's in violation of International law, and you stop them by further defying International Law, but then find some weapons on the offenders, (even if you brought them on-board yourselves), it's all OK, and justifies everything that went before.


    It could be worse though, folks!
    The people who play this kind of self-justification game could have nuclear weapons!!

    Oh, hang on a minute.....

  28. Shaz

    indeed let's see how deals with this being deputy pm........


    the fact that this convoy was in international waters means that the Israeli government had no right to order an attack on the ship. there are many news reports that say before boarding the ships that the Israeli military hurled grenades and teargas. After the first civilian was killed the organisers raised a white flag, the israeli army then boarded the ship opening fire.
    Where did you get the "news" that they were the same people that attacked eygptian border guards I haven't seen anything of that nature...

  29. @Shaz

    We can guess what Jenny Tonge would say...

  30. @Gandolfo

    I didn't mean literally the same people; I meant the same groups. Check out the Turkish IHH, for example. I must dig out the blog written by rather bewildered genuine peace activist on the last Viva Palestina convoy who found himself in some unsavoury company.

  31. Just back from demo - no sign of the "we are all hezbollah now" faction thankfully. Very dignified silent protest with people from all communities and quite a few Palestinians. People seemed angry but subdued and very worried about how it's all going to play out.


    You obviously know more than me about the IHH (I tried to have a look at their website earlier but couldn't get it up), but there were people from all over the world on those boats, nobel peace prize holders, Swedish writers, MP's from various countries, a holocaust survivor etc. They are a very eclectic group.

    In all the campaigns I've been involved in there have been people who's views and objectives I've strenuously disagreed with and you do sometimes end up with some strange bedfellows - but that's often the nature of campaigning.

  32. Unbeliveable!

    "Y'all don' talk too gud, so we is gettin' rid of youse..." Oh, the ironing...

  33. Turminder,


    Stand by for the proposed addendum to the statue of liberty:

    "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
    (but only as long as they speaky the lingo proper and that...)"

  34. The best thing is James there are more Spanish as 1st language speakers, hip-hop out sells rock, the boat has already sailed, aw, poor rednecks...

  35. Yeah, Turminder, but the mullet is making a bit of a comeback though.....

  36. Really James? I thought stocks were still low...

    Priceless, for posterity...

    From Graun 'Farmworkers' thread tday..

    31 May 2010, 4:17PM
    This newspaper loves immigrants with a passion. They are always noble becuase they have brown skin, and we are always in the wrong becuase we have white skin.

    These left wing intellectuals, and their free market capitalist allies hate their own people so much that they want immigration to continue for ever, which will of course lead to the extinction of white people as a spearate people.

    In this country the old goverment let in millions of immigrants (maybe up to 10 million) because they thought they would all vote for the labour party. They were rightly kicked out of office, but their support incrased in high immigration areas. They could be back in power soon, on the back of the ethnic vote, and they will continue their war against the natives.

  37. Well, with that kind of calm and considered opinion, I can't see why we don't get anywhere with the immigration debate....

  38. I'm back... without any vengeance.

    So pissed off with today's headlines, I thought I would swallow my pride and come back on here.

    FFS- Good to see our old 'friends' Avital Leibovitch and Mark Regev shit stirring again.

    Does Israel not realise that it is acting counterproductively?

    Secondly Duke, Niall Ferguson is a fellow Scotsman. Have you no pride. I fon't agree with much he says, but,

    1) He is correct to say the history of the world is Eurocentric.

    2) There is a serious problem when kids know who Martin Luther King is but not who Martin Luther is, as Ferguson says.
    Indeed the inclusion of the US civil rights movment on the history syllabus is curious at best. Did we not have a UT2 article on left wing politics and the English civil war, surely that would be far more apropriate for a British history studies course, and just as radical.

    I may drop in from time to time, but not often as I am incredibly busy anyway. No hard feelings about the 'incident', agreed?

  39. Good to see you back, Nap.

  40. Outrageous is not a strong enough word for this act of piracy. Also saw Mark Regev going through his stages of spin cycles on the CBC. Prime Minister Harper has repeated Washington's statement on this despicable act. How statesmanlike. Worldwide condemnation is quite strong other than the usual suspects, of which the Canadian government, to it's shame, is now part. How well the GIYUS group can justify this remains to be seen. Have sent a message to my MP but don't expect much in the way of a reply as he is a Tory/Reform winger. Had to say something.

  41. I did history at school and A level, and one of the main problems with it is the lack of threading and overview, its just bits and pieces learnt in quite a lot of depth. The trouble is, there's only so much depth you can learn something in if you dont know the wider causes and currents surrounding it.

    So when we did Magna Carta, briefly, there was little sense of its importance. There was no discussion of its global importance, the precedents it set, or later developments it would lead to, and no sense of its current day effects.

    Civil rights - did that. But again, no tracing of the development of rights and equality that had gone before it, the widening of the circle as to who is fully human and politically represented.

    Slavery - did that. There was not a word about the prevalence of slavery *globally* at that time, and all times preceding it. You could have been forgiven for thinking slavery was a British invention.

    And there was only a cursory look at the arguments and events that brought it to an end - which is central.

    The historical and moral context was largely absent, really an examination of just the trade itself.

    There was not an awful lot on british history, civil war, political structure, etc. It is, as others have said, just chunks taken from here and then and taught without placing them in context or explaining their relevance - which is really the most interesting part of history.

    World history may, to a degree, be Eurocentric, but a stronger argument for a Eurocentric curriculum is that we are Europeans - you would expect the curriculum to be weighted in that fashion.

  42. Welcome back Nap


    1) He is correct to say the history of the world is Eurocentric

    History is neither eurocentric nor not eurocentric.
    Eurocentric implies a view of history and implies European history is the only history that matters and is in danger of implying that our dominance of the world stage in the last few centuries implies our superiority.

    I would agree that we should all have a working knowlege of the history of the bit of the world we come from and so should know of Martin Luther as well as Martin Luther King.

    But it is important that we see our own history not only from our point of view but from the point of view of other peoples especially those we colonised. The history this guy proposes won't even teach people a history that expresses the view of ordinary working class people of this country. I would like to see that.

    It will be a history from the point of the white upper class male and I don't want my grandchildren taught history from such a narrow viewpoint.

    The view expressed by Jared Diamond in Guns Germs and Steel

    I think Duke has the right criticise his fellow countrymen isn't he? I disagree with lots of Welsh people and I am Welsh!

  43. Sorry - the view expressed in Jared Diamond's "Guns Germs and Steel" is more to my liking.

  44. Yes Nap my article on the English Civil war is precisely the sort of thing I would include as 'history from the pov of the British working class'

    I'd also like something similar from Indians (for example) when discussing 'British India'.

    History is usually defined as the History of the victor. I would like us also to hear from the vanquished.

  45. Shocking news to wake up to this morning.

    Anne excellent post above.

    Sheff read yesterdays thread - is their a meet up this weekend?

  46. Sheff ignore above just read your email and sent a reply.

  47. Yes, Jared Diamond is a very good writer.

    Also, Duke was yesterday talking about the Trgedy of the Commons.

    Jared Diamond actually agrees with the theory, as I read in his book 'collapse'. In a political/economic situation, perhaps it is not very nice, but in an environmental/ecological setting T.O.T.C. rings true, at least according to him.

    What I am trying to say is that Diamond is expousing a supposedly 'left wing' viewpoint about European domination, but is supposedly 'right wing' with his regard to agreeing with the T.O.T.C. You cannot pigeonhole people into left or right, or even liberal or conservative.

    I'm busy now but I will look over my notes for 'Collapse'. I'm pissed off, I need to get away from the news.

  48. Napoleon, nice to see you back.

    I have a major problem with Ferguson’s appointment to overhaul the History curriculum for a number of reasons.

    It’s another anti-intellectual, populist appointment driven by a natural distrust of academia.

    Why go through the consultation process and draw up a panel of academic experts to rewrite the History curriculum when you can appoint a populist right wing Historian with an upcoming book and series to promote. Is that really the best we can do for our children? The Tories would appear to think so.

    Now this could be overlooked as just a populist move until you look at the links between Gove and Ferguson. Gove is a leading light and supporter of the extreme right Young Britons Foundation. Ferguson has been actively involved with the American Enterprise Institute, making speeches and writing papers for as well as his relationship with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The YBF has extremely close links with the AEI and other neo-con groups. Do anyone think for one second this has had nothing to do with Ferguson’s appointment.

    I haven’t seen the full report, but it appears that Ferguson is rewriting it himself. History is possibly the most subjective subject on the curriculum. Are you happy that an apologist for the Iraq war, Afghanistan and the Bush project of the 2000’s is almost solely in charge of rewriting a History curriculum?

    We have an education secretary who spouted the following nonsense about Eric Hobsbawm:

    "only when Hobsbawm weeps hot tears for a life spent serving an ideology of wickedness will he ever be worth listening to."

    This absolutely idiotic anti-intellectual statement about one of Britain’s foremost Historians of the last century speaks volumes of a man for whom himself ideology is his driving force. The appointment is the blatant politicisation of the school curriculum.

  49. On the plus side, if we're going to go with the Neo-Con approach to history, it officially finished in 1990, so, you know, it makes things a bit easier going forward....

  50. This latest Israeli atrocity has surely, surely, got to provoke even the US into sanctioning them properly?

    Have not seen any news since first thing this morning so don't know of any updates.

    Re history: was talking some years ago to an Indian friend and mentioned something about the Sepoy Mutiny. She'd never heard of it, much to my surprise. When I elaborated a little she said, "oh yes, we call it the Glorious Revolution Against the Imperial Oppressors" (or something like that). Made me stop and think!

  51. 'This latest Israeli atrocity has surely, surely, got to provoke even the US into sanctioning them properly?'

    You'd think so, Thaumaturge - but I for one have long since given up on the US doing the right thing. They'll find a way to justify the Israeli action.

  52. Thauma
    I doubt that the US will do anything their modus operandi is to serve and protect the state of Israel.....yet despite having made severe cuts in education and the critical state of the economy the US government seems to feel that it's still ok to give billions every year to Israel effectively funding these abuses of human rights

  53. Well, it seems like this is already being heavily spun as 'poor Israeli soldiers were attacked by violent lynch mobs' type situation, so my money's on the 'self-defence' cop-out......

  54. James--Yes,Regev has been on tv all day exolaining that Israel is only protecting it's borders. In international waters. Hamas must have secret bluprints for building rockets with cement and lumber. I'm interested in the results.

  55. Boudican,

    Yeah, I'm interested too.

    Problem is, I suspect by the time any other footage, accounts or witnesses are 'processed' and released, the 'official' story will already be embedded as a matter of record.....

  56. Nap I agree a lot of things popularly described as 'left wing ' and 'right wing' aren't.

    A classic example is being in favour of immigration control - although as a Marxist I ultimately favour the 'free movement of labour', I can see sense in immigration controls where immigration is being used to drive down the living standards of local working class people.

    The 'left' view of 'blaming nasty european imperialists' is another example. Some of the racism awareness courses that went on in the 70's were appalling - sort of you are white so you must be racist kinda thing. This is an insult to all the white people in the Us and in apartheid S Africa who risked their lives (and in some cases were killed) fighting for racial equality.

    What I like about Diamond is his explanatioin for the hegomony of Europe - namely an acident of geography and culture not racial superiority.

    The empire was the work of the British ruling class, my ancestors at the time the Empire began were farm labourers, miners and cockle fishermen they did not exploit anything. I do not share the guilt of the ruling class but I do share the anger of the working classes of the former BE. (who are of course being royally shafted by their own ruling classes as I 'speak'.

    Workers of all nations unite!

  57. Mr. Benny Begin

    'Our soldiers were practically barefooted'...


  58. Boudican, James.

    It beggars belief really and demonstrates just how bankrupt the system is. How can anyone claim that attacking an unarmed civilian vessel in international waters is 'self defence' I just don't know!

    The 'violent activists' had iron bars and knives apparently! Whst were they expected to do - just stand there and wait to shot?

    Some Aljazeera reports are claiming that a white flag was raised quite early on and apparently ignored.

    This will I expect be denied.

    When will the government of Israel learn that their response to the undoubted attacks by Hammas is extreme overkill and makes a bad situation worse for the Israeli people.

  59. Anne,

    Yeah. Like I said earlier, it's a little bit rich, to say the least.
    I especially like the 'they took our guns off us so clearly they had murderous intentions' defence.
    It's a cracker.

    --BBC World has just suggested that the US is refusing to support the SC's calls for an international investigation, and also to even 'strongly condemn' the actions.....

    Well, there's a surprise....

  60. Anne--Seems that Israel gets away with these atrocities with the not so explicit approval of certain western states. I would guess they take the lack of condemnation of my and your governments as an acquiescence to continue these policies. They have, of course, the right to defend themselves, but, to me, no one with a bit of understanding could look on this as defence. It angers people greatly because we seem to see no justice, nevermind punishment.

  61. Good piece by Craig Murray ...

    "A word on the legal position, which is very plain. To attack a foreign flagged vessel in international waters is illegal. It is not piracy, as the Israeli vessels carried a military commission. It is rather an act of illegal warfare.

    "Because the incident took place on the high seas does not mean however that international law is the only applicable law. The Law of the Sea is quite plain that, when an incident takes place on a ship on the high seas (outside anybody's territorial waters) the applicable law is that of the flag state of the ship on which the incident occurred. In legal terms, the Turkish ship was Turkish territory.

    "There are therefore two clear legal possibilities. Possibility one is that the Israeli commandos were acting on behalf of the government of Israel in killing the activists on the ships. In that case Israel is in a position of war with Turkey, and the act falls under international jurisdiction as a war crime.

    "Possibility two is that, if the killings were not authorised Israeli military action, they were acts of murder under Turkish jurisdiction. If Israel does not consider itself in a position of war with Turkey, then it must hand over the commandos involved for trial in Turkey under Turkish law.

    "In brief, if Israel and Turkey are not at war, then it is Turkish law which is applicable to what happened on the ship. It is for Turkey, not Israel, to carry out any inquiry or investigation into events and to initiate any prosecutions. Israel is obliged to hand over indicted personnel for prosecution."


  62. Evening all! Ah, what a day. I'm not an angry person by nature - really I'm not, it usually takes a direct statement to me to get me genuinely mad - but I've been listening to the radio all day and every time the IDF officer starts talking about 'lynching' (WTF?) of IDF soldiers, I'm just... just...

    so, one thing from Nap (hello!)
    "Does Israel not realise that it is acting counterproductively?"

    This is what I end up yelling at the news source every fucking time...just when things seem to be on the verge of going OK-ish, something happens. and there is absolutely no sense of any accommodation of an alternative viewpoint, any sense that someone else might think differently, might be different, might...

    It just... just...


    Is it just me or does anyone else think that Israel isn't interested in peace, they're happy with the shitstorm currently characterised as a 'country', and actually enjoy being a 'victim'?

    On a lighter note, have just listened to Wole Soyinka's piece on Radio 4 on South Africa's March to Freedom - really beautiful stuff, including some good remarks on identity politics in general that have a much wider remit than SA.

    Have been quiet as have been beavering away (mildly ineffectually) preparing for new job starting tomorrow.


    also, wrote a great comment on the 'coming out' thread that got 404'd and so went 'bah!' at the internet. may try to work it up into a blogpiece. like i haven't got enough on my usually utterly empty plate...

  63. Leni--Thanks for that. Interesting and educational piece. One wonders what the Turks will make of it.

  64. Exactly Boudican, why would they stop doing whatever they want when there seems to be no real consequences.

    What will it actually take for the world to take action?

  65. hi

    spent the day on a hillside - avoiding the regevs et al.

    This will not improve matters for the Israeli people or for the Palestinians.

    israeli Arab citizens already talking of national strike.

    I am hoping that something good just might come out of it - the raising of the siege of Gaza.

    Hi Nap.

  66. Hi Philippa--I thought you ladies were adept at multitasking? " Endeavor to persevere "----Chief Dan George in 'The Outlaw Josey Wales'. Dunno, it just seemed to be appropo.

  67. "Does Israel not realise that it is acting counterproductively?"

    for israel it's productive to act like this and frankly being very cynical its productive for the west to some extent. The anti arab extremist line reinforces and legitimises further the state of Israel, for the west israel has to exist because (simplistically speaking)
    a) they created it and it needs to "succeed"
    b) Israel is the geo-political and ideological buffer between the west and the middle east

    what would "peace" mean for Israel?
    This is what you have to ask yourself:
    what benefits would peace bring for Israel?
    and then ask yourself
    what are the negatives that peace would bring for Israel?

  68. gandolfo

    I don't like the politics of despair but fear that 'peace' would result in Israel being torn apart internally - so many competing factions for the 'soul' of the country - being held together by the external threat.

    This is the root reason for the constant reiteration of the 'security' song - keep them afraid, keep them united.

  69. Leni--Hope you are right, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to be optimistic about damn near any thing in the ME. Who knows, maybe pressure could be brought to bear on Israel to at least try to lift the blockade, but I fail to see any courageous politicos in the west willing to stand up to them.

  70. Boudican - I can smoke, drink coffee, and listen to the radio while checking CIF. That's as far as it goes. Give me anything important to do, and I'm fairly hopeless...

    gandolfo - fair point, I'm biased towards change, I know - is just that the status quo appears to be agreed, in public at least, to be unacceptable, but any moves towards changing that seem to be followed fairly swiftly by Israel doing something that seems designed in part to push the patience of their allies...so maybe it's not 'reaching peace' that's the problem, as Israel also is considering those issues, it's the fact that they seem to have got to a state where they've got a situation where it might not be perfect but it works (for them) so they don't want to risk trying anything different...

    Turkey are calling it 'state terrorism', btw - good piece from murray...

  71. plus - this has been bugging me all day - 'Israeli commandos' are scary fuckers, right?

    some cabin hand with a wrench really shouldn't have been a sodding problem, no?

    just... just...

    gah. new bulletin = rising blood pressure (again)

  72. Leni

    definitely..fear is a great unifier..both regarding the internal politics as well as the external politics of Israel.
    I've met loads of young Israelis just out f their draft in the army and I'd say 99% of them spout the same rhetoric....there are generations brainwashed into believing that Palestinians are all terrorists and everyone is out to get them...

  73. and another question - BP's tactics so far:
    1) park a lorry over it
    2) throw mud at it
    3) golf balls
    4) underwater robots

    is it just me, or does anyone else think that the risk assessment wonks have brought their under-fives into work to help out in the brainstorming sessions?

  74. Off to walk dog, which lowers blood pressure, thankfully. Back later.

  75. bloody hell Blair is the middle east envoy if peace, which I doubt, was ever an option in the ME is a defo no no with Blair there...
    this is what he said today the man entrusted with brokering a mutual agreement in the ME:

    "He expressed "regret for the tragic loss of life on the Gaza flotilla." He called for a "full investigation" of the Israeli raid.
    He reiterated his position that "there must be a different and better way to help the residents of Gaza and avoid the tragedies that are occurring in the current situation."

    says it all really...

    Israel IMO more or less has a carte blanche from its allies to do anything it likes...a slapped wrist and a little threat as Hillary Clinton did about the settlements seems to satisfy the world's needs to see that Israel is "put in its place" temporarily and then it's business as usual........again

  76. Philippa,

    (\0/ - hey)

    "plus - this has been bugging me all day - 'Israeli commandos' are scary fuckers, right?"

    Apparently not.

    Apparently, they were 'practically barefooted'(?), and quite scared as they abseiled from attack helicopters, surrounded by armed navy vessels wearing full on body armour, to find themselves faced with, wait for it, some people with iron bars and life-jackets.

  77. Evening all

    Nap-good to see you posting again.

    I,ve always tried to see both sides in the Israeli-
    Palestinian conflict.People should remember that both
    Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in South Lebanon have
    blood on their hands as well.

    But todays events make me despair at Israeli
    stupidity.WTF were they thinking in attacking
    that Turkish ship going to Gaza.Couldn,t they just have stopped and searched it then let it on it,s

    On a bit of a downer about a lot of the stuff that
    is going on right now.And this awful sense of powerlessness which i hate.Sometimes it,s best
    not to think too much.And naively hope that things
    will simply sort themselves out.

  78. PS - Kudos on the smoking, el pipsterinha.

  79. Scathing Monbiot piece, worth a read:


  80. Ron Prosor (Israeli Ambassador to the UK),

    'What we saw today was the actions of some extremists trying to provoke confrontation'

    Oh, OK then.
    So it was all their fault, obviously...........

  81. Paul - my genetic disposition towards even-handedness means that I agree with you - but however much I try to ignore 'weight of numbers' (tis a thing) the relative damage done by individual terrorists (albeit tacitly supported by the alleged 'ruling group') versus state action just gets me. Also the qualitative difference, although I don't know as much about Hamas as I should (apart from anything else, avoid I/P threads like the plague - they make the climate change ones look like tea parties...)

    I'm with you. cross fingers and hope.

    (or pray, if you are that way inclined)

    Because Israel knows that, while there may be condemnation, there may be a UN report, there may be bad press, but no fucker will do anything about it...

    hey, James - once asked one of my military clients (boozy lunch, needed to distract them from discussing 'women on the fron tline' before I stabbed someone) "so, in a trad, non-nuclear state v state war - like in the World Cup or something - who would you not want to meet? who would be Brazil?"

    the answer, unanimously, was Israel. thought it would be the US, but no.

    "scary fuckers, dirty fuckers", as one of them said...

  82. James

    There does seem to be something quite warped in the
    Israeli psyche.Like everyone else is forever out to
    get them and they are never wrong.Possibly a legacy
    of both the Holocaust and being surrounded by
    neighbours who historically wanted to destroy them.
    Who knows!

  83. James

    ol' ron prosor pulled out of the Hay Festival....no surprise there..

    I wonder if Clegg will still participate and say something having declared in the graun last year his thoughts on gaza...could be a tricky one for nicky boy...can't wait!

  84. Of course their are two sides.
    The Hamas/Hezbollah-ites are repulsive swine.
    And of course the 'apartheid' state does not wash, there are Israeli arabs in parliament, unlike SA. (Of course there are still many anti arab aspects in Israeli society though)

    Plus the Nabka. People think of Israel as being full of former holocaust survivors and their descendants, when many more Jews come from the middle east and north Africa. Over a million Palestinian arabs were kicked off their land in 1948, just as over one million Jews were kicked out of the arab countries. However, the Nabka is always mentioned, the Jewish exodus from arab lands less so- they were both equally horrible of course.

    Israel has the highest number of researchers and scientistst per capita in the world. For a country of 7 million it is a sci/tech superpower. A huge variety of technologies originate in Israel, the London Oyster card I believe uses Israli technology for example.

    Israel will be the first country in the world to have a complete network of electric cars in a few years, all powered by green energy.

    Which raises the question if they are such an educated populace why do they do things like this?

    At least admit a 'Mea Culpa', instead of all this spinning going on. Ok, they stopped Hamas getting their 'cement of death' but Israel has perhaps permanently and irrecovably lost their only Muslim ally. Not to mention the worldwide reaction. That people were out on the streets less than 12 hours after reminds us we are in a connected world. Israel should have known better. Of course Israel = Nazis placards are repulsive.

    My dad actaully visited Israel for a time in the 80s, before I was born. I don't know how long, perhaps it was just a few weeks or a few months, but the point is that he did not have any emnity. I will have to ask him more on this, but he seemed to see it as a fairly positive place.

    After all Israel was the land of the Kibbutzs. Any of you 'old socialists', Sheff, Annetan etc, are you familiar with or had friends in the Kibbutz movement?

  85. The Israeli politicians - and some of their religious leaders - have led them to a very dark place.

    for as long as US protects them thay are able to ignore the movements in geopolitics. their leaders are so out of touch not only with the growing power of influence of nations outside the old western alliance but also with the surge of public opinion which supports the Palestinians.

    Israeli are living pre 67 - brave little Israel etc.

    The occupation, the Gaza seige and the complete disregard for the Palestiniann's rights is moving opinion against Israel.

    am often shocked, not only by the brutality of the IDF but the callousness with which so many Israelis support them.

    However - there are many Israelis who still represent the tolerance and universalism which enlightened Judaism stands for. they are, broadly speaking on the left politically. They are silenced and marginalised by the R wingers and some of the religios who are gainibg more power and influence.

    Israel could exist quite safely within the 67 borders - with the support of UN forces during the transition period.

  86. Philippa and Paul

    (that totally sounds like a progressive folk/christian soft-rock duo, btw..),

    I too tried to be neutral for ages on I/P and I/P related issues, as I've 'worked' with people from both sides on various things, but it's really become increasingly difficult to maintain such a position.

    Although, I can, to some extent, understand the fear and isolation of Israel, I think we passed the point, along time ago, where that can legitimately be used as a reason or excuse for their actions, or official position!!

    This whole thing today just offends me....

  87. NapK and Leni

    (That sounds less like any kind of musical group)

    I have friends in Israel who are very critical of official policy, and often outraged by Israeli acts, but like you say Leni, they have become increasingly marginalised.

    Not least by the odious 'self-hating jew' accusation that they are often subjected to.

  88. From the wikipedia article on the event.

    After the flotilla activists ignored repeated calls to turn back, Israeli soldiers armed with paintball rifles and handguns[10] boarded the ships.[4][11]The IDF troops were armed with paintball rifles and handguns(which they were told to use only in life threatening situations). As soon as the IDF troops landed the activists beat them, two activists opened fire on the IDF. IDF troops were stabbed and beaten and the activists reportedly tried to bring down the Israeli helicopter. Reporters reported that the IDF was reluctant to use live fire "When they came down from the chopper, they kept on shouting to each other “don’t shoot, don’t shoot,” even though they sustained numerous blows."

    Fucking paintball rifles.
    The pictures show amongst other things what appear to be fully tooled up military assualt rifles. They may have had a few token paintball riflemen for PR purposes like this though. Plus, I would guess every other Israeli soldier had a camcorder, ready to upload to youtube selected footage of their humanity.

    I need to go out now. My blood pressure is not good.

    How did the 9 die- through a lethal pummeling by IDF paintpall marksmen? I think not.

  89. Gandolfo

    I strongly suspect Nicky will be 'otherwise engaged' over the coming days....

  90. PS
    Good on Craig Murray.

  91. Nap

    The Israelis are slipping in the education stakes - universities understaffed and funded.

    The highest rate of child poverty in the developed worls - more than 10% of the population suffering PTSD.

    There are feeding staions in Israel for children - mainly US funded.

    There are seperate Haredi towns, some bus services insist on women sitting apart from men ans some rabbis are trying to introduce a system whereby men and women work on seperate sides of the street.

    The longer this conflict goes on the more these ideas - from ancient Judaism - are taking hold.

    Everything that was good about Israel is under threat. I hope they wake up befopre it is too late.

  92. paintball?

    i thought the repeated references to 'lynching' were fucking offensive, but there you go...

  93. the other thing that pisses me off (yes, next in a long series) is the solicitous tone of the BBC reporters talking to the Israeli pols - right now, Israeli Defence Minister on World Tonight - interviewer sounds like Mary fucking Poppins.

    I know they have to tread careful. I know this can be spun. I know thart if anyone said 'oi, shitehawk, you're out of order' would probably kick off a horrible international incident. but please God, why so gentle?

    mind, they are now interviewing andy mcnab, so i suppose i should be drafting a stern letter to the editor...

    under the circs, I'm not sure mcnab's references to being 'on the ground' makes him sound less of a cretin...

  94. Philippa

    i think we can assume that hasbarah will win the day.

    Turkey is the great unknown - how they will respond is as yet unclear. They have cancelled some military exercises but with bereaved families demanding action and crowds on the streets they may make bolder moves.

    It is potentially very dangerous.

    However angry we may feel - and impotent - we recognise that any ramping up of violence could lead to disaster for thousands.

  95. mcnab thinks that this was all just a horrible mitake, btw - the israelis just didn't realise what they were going to meet when they hit the deck.

    i am so glad that man is no longer a member of our armed forces...

  96. I'm afraid I don't do the victim thang...and I find it impossible to be neutral with a government that terrorises part of its population and denies its basic needs and rights.
    The progressive secular left in israel has been drowned out by the active efforts of the israeli right to encourage immigration from the US and eastern europe, immigrants that are often orthodox supporters of Yisrael Beiteinu who are actively against the peace process and the presence of Arab israelis on what they consider to be their land and they are determined to provoke hatred and conflict.

  97. james
    can't imagine what Nicky's spinning right now.....something like don't wanna lose my new job how am I going to get out of this shit now...?

  98. Hague saying we must find out if anything could have been done without causing deaths blah - blah.

    Obviously the 'thing to be done ' is to stop attacking people, stop sending in hyped up guys armed to the teeth against civilians and foreign nationals.

  99. Paul--You are correct that we must consider both sides views. (Though who was it that said? " there is combatant 1's view, combatant 2's view, and 3, the truth.) And I do not for a second condone sending rockets into civilian areas, but, (there's always a but) Israel is dealing from a far more powerful position in this never ending conflict. They also have more powerful allies who actively support them by various means. Meanwhile, the Palestinian leadership has let their people down for decades, splintered and aimlessly incompetent in the main.

  100. Gandolpho (and Pip, coz you're good at numbers):

    Here's my top 5 potential 'reasons' for his non-comment over the next few days (You can do the odds Philippa):

    -Otherwise engaged in his job as Deputy Prime Minister, giving it his 'undivided attention'

    -Checking in with Constituency matters, and phones not working in t'Yorkshire....

    -Attending to family matters (One of the kids put a waffle in the VCR?)

    -Deferring to the wisdom of William Hague, who's the spokesperson, and speaks for all ConDems

    -Can't appear in public cause the zippers broken and he can't get the gimp outfit off that Cameron makes him wear at number 10!

  101. Leni - God yes, now that any ramping up would be horrific - but, with if there is nothing else that will be done (and we know nothing else will be done) then - if Turkey say, 'fuck this, let's go'...?

    they won't - they can't (realpolitik) - but they could (int law)

    Israel rely on the 'can't', i think.

  102. Aww nuts, t'internetz is broken again!!

  103. Have just seen a video of what happened on the BBC
    news.And certainly the Israeli commandos were met
    with violent resistance.There are clear shots of
    activists throwing a commando overboard whilst
    others savagely beat another commando with weapons.

    The Gaza blockade is morally wrong and those
    activists were clearly taking their lives in their hands by taking on the IDF.They must have known the chances of getting their flotilla through the blockade were minimal.But did the IDF fire on the
    activists because they genuinely felt the activists
    were killing the commandos.Or was it a heavy-handed
    response by the IDF who don,t seemed to have planned
    for the fact that they might meet resistance.

    @Philippa/James-A progressive folk/christian soft
    rock duo? How very dare you. Dunno about you Phillipa but i much prefer the abbreviation PAP.:-)

  104. This comment has been removed by the author.

  105. Philippa
    Lynched is associated with a hate filled mob - thus suggesting antisemites out to get the Jews.

    The Israelis are not likely to say "When the passengers and crew realised they were about to be boarded by paratroopers, heavily armed and wearing protective gear, they panicked. Fearing they were about to be brutally attacked they armed themselves with anything to hand in an attempt at self defence "

  106. Philippa and James

    Meant to say PaP instead of PAP.Although it seems
    my post didn,t make it anyway.

  107. james - think the waffle is probably the strongest response possible...

    night all...

  108. james:
    gastro enteritis.....or summer flu....a panacea for all politicos

  109. Philippa,

    Hadn't thought about that!!

    Am now though....

  110. It's all gone a bit daft with the posts hasn't it!?

  111. Paul,

    Without wanting to sound like a conspiracy nut, it's going to be difficult to understand exactly what happened until we know, among other things, the chronology of when that video was shot, and after other accounts emerge.

    (If it was filmed after it was known that the IDF were shooting live rounds, for example, I'd argue it's only evidence of legitimate self-defence...)

    Even if not, I was thinking about whether I'd stand passively as I was boarded by armed soldiers, or if I'd fight back while the odds were in my favour, and I honestly can't say which I'd choose....

    (Also, how about we split the difference and instead of PaP, go with P 'n' P !?)


    Forgot about sickness. Will probably be that.

  112. Paul

    frankly I think I would have reacted in a similar way if I was confronted by soldiers abseiling from helicopters, jumping off super fast boats with f...off guns in their hands in the early hours of the morning...

  113. gandolfo

    i think the simple fact is that when attacked people defend themselves.

    The people on the convoy probably did not anticipate an attack at all - certainly not in international water - probably expected to be confronted as they got nearer to Gaza - probably didn't expect to be boarded in this way.

    mind - there have been an increasing number of armed attacks on Gazan fishermen who are now confined by the blockade to a 2 mile fishing limit.

    Israel has to be stopped . They are fuelling anger, giving legitimacy to Hamas and basically making a lot of people very angry.

  114. Other news - I see the queen is overspent by 6 million - wants more money. She already gets 7.5 million from us.

    What does she spend it all on ?

  115. Leni

    yes of course that's what I was saying its human instinct fight or flee some will fight some will flee......so using this footage to justify killing people is really an own goal to degree for israel...

    I'm not so sure that they didn't expect an attack... I heard an interview this am from a lawyer for the flotilla that said the people had been prepared for non violent blockades of the engine rooms and the steering rooms but i imagine that they didn't expect a commando assault......

    I really hope that this right wing government in Israel finds opposition from within as well as from outside its boundaries...there was a spontaneous demo in Nazareth today against the attacks.......there are many decent israelis that despise this government and see through their brutality

  116. What does she spend it all on ?

    corgis...1,000s of the buggers......!

  117. Gandolfo

    the internal opposition in Israel will have to regroup.Around whom is the question. Serious political leaders are lacking - several L academics who would gain support and who have the courage to speak out.

    the R - secular and religios - could be split I think. There is a lot of feeling against the Yeshiva movement and its privileges and many oppose the control te Haredim have over J'Salem. There are other fissures too - the Russian Orthodox settlers are a powrful and dangerous group.

    The L could split the right and encourage the non committed and the fearful.

    left to itself without sensible, coherent and moderate intervention from within Israel will founder.

    Now is the time for te L to assert itself and point towards other ways - start talking, listening, stop settlement building and open up Gaza.

    Challenge the fear mongers on the R. Reassert humanity.

    It won't be easy but the inevitable outcome if things don't change soon will be even harder for the Israelis..

    They can't play hardman for ever and go unchallenged.

  118. Gaza thread up now on Cif - Many MaMs is there in full illinformed voice.

    They must have brought extra mods in .

  119. This comment has been removed by the author.

  120. gnadolfo.
    immigration from the US and eastern europe, immigrants that are often orthodox supporters of Yisrael Beiteinu......

    Not true. The Israeli immigrants from the former USSR are the most non religious. They happily eat pork. Most of them are not even fully Jewish, (the Soviet Union had a very high rate of inter ethnic marriage), so far I heard the going rate for a ex USSR 'Jew' to get into Israel is one Jewish grandparent. Obviously they would like to escape their eastern bloc hellholes and they jump at the oppurtunity.

    A few years ago they even found a Russian Jewish skinhead neonazi organisation in Israel going round daubing swastikas and attacking religious Jews.

    Most of these ex soviet and non religious 'Jews' voted for Avigdor Lieberman 'He is the founder and leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, whose electoral base are the immigrants from the former Soviet Union.[2]' sayeth Wiki.

  121. Nap

    There around 3000,000 Russiam immigrants in Israel - most living in the settlements. You are right to say most are not Jewish. The Rabbinate has refused to recognise them as Jewish - rate of conversion is slow, so slow in fact that estimates suggest only around a thousand a year manage it !

    The Russian army now has rabbis serving as padres to Jewish troops and are asking for a Russian Orthodox priest to perform same service in Israeli army.

    The Russians are as you and Gandolfo said Leiberman's constituents. The Russians - as nonjews cannot get married in Israel - the reason for Leiberman's pre-election promise to introduce secular weddings - he has failed to do this - Russians have to go to Cyprus to get married, this increases support for RO church.

    The whole project is a mess. Some are returning the the Jewish Autonomous region on the Russian-Chinese border. Their story is interesting and in part tragic - particularly under Stalin.

  122. Nap

    That should read 300,000 not 3 million !

  123. Leni: if the Queen is short of dosh she can always sign on at the Job Centre at witness what life is like for rest of us at the "coalface".

  124. hi chekhov

    i was thinking that - as a pensioner she should get something I think.

    She could write a piece for Cif about her changed circumstances - and blame it on the condems.

  125. Leni/Nap

    I,m now hearing that the ship was boarded by the
    IDF in International waters.If that is the case
    Israel doesn,t have a leg to stand on.

    @James and gandolfo-fair points earlier.

    Nite all.

  126. checkov

    What,s the betting HRH will make damn sure she gets
    her winter fuel allowance and free TV licence this


  127. Read and weep.


    Random quote
    "1. Fight the silly “international waters” issue vigorously."

    I'm going to bed.

  128. Jesus H...

    If people want to keep their blood pressure within safe limits, tis probably best not to follow NapK's html...


  129. James

    Cifwatch - standard fare !The International Waters thing is the big one. Puts the ball firmly in Turkey's court.

    Akus is intelligent and knowledgeable to know that could be construed as an act of war.

    The sovereignty of a ship in international waters is a well known fact - 'cept to Israeli gvt. it seems.

    Various merchant ships have refused to pick up refugees from the water cos of it - once aboard refugees become responsibility of flag nation.

  130. Leni,

    yeah, between cifwatch and the comments on the editorial up on the guardian, it seems like a lot of Israel supporters are actually hoping for some kind of escalation.

    I'm certainly not seeing much in the way of apology, or even regret.

    I do despair at 'humanity' sometimes.

    Anyway, on that positive note, it's goodnight from me.

    Godspeed all....

  131. Hi All --Just back from the local, so bear with me.

    Leni--Akus is an intelligent poster, but his heart and religion/cultural mores seemed to trump other issues. SydK (sp?) was another sharp guy, but always an Israel firster, to me at least. Who was the poster from Australia that battled and gave reems of references for his points? Talknic or some such? Very determined he/she was. Read many of those threads but never entered, as I thought that there were concerted movements afoot. I still do. My point was that you were one of the most considered, diplomatic and welcoming of all views contributors on those threads, which were a mine field. Anyway, I like your humanitarian , diplomatic style. Well done.

    Statesmen and politicians of real stern stuff are required for this mess.

  132. Boudican

    learned a lot from the I'P threads. They were the first I went to when I joined Cif - not realising how frightening they could be.

    Akus - very intelligent but as you say ideologically driven. On other subjects rather left wing and compassionate. Syd also - gets blinded.

    Yes talknic - very patient and reasonable - irritated the pro Israelis.

    I don't do I'P very often now - not many posters offer thoughtful comments - just insults. The Gaza war changed a lot - many Israelis seemed to know what they were saying was wrong but kept up a front - became more strident.

    The whole situation there is horrible. Israel must be an unhappy place to live. The gvt and IDF bungle everything they do - seem to think its all just about PR - can't understand why the world is getting very angry.

    Anyway - hope to wake up in mornng to some good news from somewhere - anywhere. Today has been very depressing.

    So I'll say goodnight. x

  133. Leni--Depressing indeed. You keep well. Good night.

  134. Nap - enough of the 'old'!! OK am in denial LOL!

    Seriously though I had some Jewish friends as a kid in the 50's but Israel really didn't come up. At the time I think most people were in a state of shock over the holocaust and only saw the rationale presented - that Jews needed a homeland to be 'safe'. Of course the powers that be forgot to mention that the piece of land they chose already had people living in it but hey...

    I recently saw a documentary on Sky Arts 2 about the work of Daniel Barenboim and the late Edward Said and the foundation of the West Eastern Divan Orchestra (consisting of Israeli and Palestinian muscicians playing together).

    One scene sticks in my mind that, apart from scenes from the liberation of Belson shown on TV when I was 12 (parents had to turn it off), was the most shocking thing I have ever seen on Television.

    Barenboim was receiving an award from the Knessett and had made a speech which just quoted from the Israeli constitution (about seeking good relations with neighbours as I recall). The Education minister acused him of 'attacking the state of Israel' quelle suprise!

    In the audjence was an elderly man disributing leaflets they consisted of a print showing the wording over the gate to Auswich - 'Arbeit Macht Frei'. Only the word 'Arbeit' had been replaced with 'Musik'.

    He just kept repeating 'They are all trying to kill us'.

    I wanted to be sick, feel queasy just re-telling this.

    Now the Holocaust survivors maybe a minority but I suspect that they are a powerful one. I think, have often thought, that for this minority the issues resulting from that ghastly nightmare are still very much alive.

    Israel's actions are not rational she seems to be behaving in the same irrational way my daughter did when she had depression - hitting out at everything justifying everything they do however dreadful it is.

    Its the only way I can make sense of this nightmare.

    But how do you put a country into therapy?

    I have never put these thoughts down before and I'm sorry for Godwinning - unavoidable in this context I fear.

  135. Anne-- Just on and caught that. Don't be sorry for your thoughts. The fact that you feel a bit queasy and guilty tells me that you have thought deeply and long. No easy fix or panacea for this problem, many people all over the world will be trying to reconcile this episode with reason. Hard to do. Powerless and inept as we are. It's very frustrating and makes me angry. Take care.