While in Cairo: Norman Finkelstein Joined a March on Israeli Embassy


 

“Norman Finkelstein joined some Egyptian youth activists in their most daring and adventurous attempt to breach the heavy security cordon around the Israeli embassy in Cairo, break into the embassy and take down the Israeli flag”

“Some argue that Egypt has other priorities at the moment than to get into trouble with the restless Zionists in Tel Aviv, only Dr. Finkelstein didn’t think so”

 

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

 

Poster of Dr. Finkelstein's lecture at the American University in Cairo

If you’ve been trying lately to contact Dr. Norman Finkelstein via email only you kept getting this reply “I will be out of town until 20 May 2011. I will not have access to internet so I will not be able to check my email”  .. Then you must have wondered where Dr. Finkelstein was and what could that seemingly urgent matter, that kept him from checking his email, be?

Well, to spare you the time and a wrong guess, Dr. Finkelstein was not on some Caribbean island vacation, he was in Egypt joining some youth activists in their most daring and adventurous attempt to breach the heavy security cordon around the Israeli embassy in Cairo, break into the embassy and take down the Israeli flag.

Nevertheless and before he left Egypt he somehow managed to keep his prefixed schedule and gave a memorable lecture at the American university in Cairo – AUC.

63 years of Nakba

 

Every year and on May 15, the Palestinians and the whole Arabs mark the Nakba day - the day Israel was established and declared a state by a controversial UN decree back in 1948.

Nakba is the Arabic for catastrophe. And indeed it has been, at least for the Palestinians who were expelled in a mass exodus as 750000 Palestinians were forced to flee their home land and make way for the new Jewish settlers.

This year marks the 63rd anniversary of this catastrophic event which proved after all these years of land grab that it’s not just some kind of brutal occupation or apartheid regime but an imminent danger to world peace altogether if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remained unresolved

Palestinian protesters on the Lebanese side of the border near Maroun al-Ras take cover from Israeli gunfire on Nakba Day

The 63rd anniversary of Nakba day comes amidst extraordinary events the Arab world is currently witnessing as the wind of change and revolutionary tide is sweeping across the Arab world.

Emboldened by the powerful Arab uprisings Palestinians living in Diaspora in scattered refugee camps along the borders with Israel in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestinians from the west bank and Gaza decided to rally in hundreds and head for the land where their ancestors once lived. They all decided to march to Palestine on the 63rd Nakba day.

In commemorating the day they simply crossed the barbed wires and the fortified Israeli check points jeopardizing their lives for the sake of a few moments where they could walk through the fields and actually touch the trees their fathers planted ages ago.

For the Palestinians it was a day of remembrance, mourning their uprooting, embracing the past and keeping the hope to return home alive in the heart of new generations.
For the Israelis it was also a day to remember, not as their day of independence but rather as the day Israel’s borders were practically breached on 4 fronts; the Syrian, Lebanese, Jordan and Palestinian.

One cannot go far as some Zionist analysts who, in their bid for more American and European funds to Israel’s security, came out and said that on Nakba day Israel had been invaded on all fronts. But I would certainly point out that this has been more like a psychological blow to the Zionist myth of living secure and isolated behind some high wall or impregnable iron dome.

The 760 km concrete barrier has given the Israelis the false perception that their world stopped where the high fence stood and that nobody existed on the other side.

The Israelis have been deluded by this wall myth and on the Nakba day they found out how vulnerable they are.

 

While segregation walls are being demolished all over the world, Israel stands on the wrong side of history and embrace this dying wall culture.

It has been years since Israel witnessed this kind of pan-Arabic public display of rejection to the Zionist scheme for the transfer or rather the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

Protest like an Egyptian

 

Dr. Finkelstein joining the anti-Israeli rallies outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo on May 15

In Egypt the Nakba day scenario has been completely different as thousands of pro-Palestinian activists planned to commemorate the day by marching toward Rafah, the border crossing point with Gaza, where they would express their solidarity to the Palestinians and denounce the continuing occupation of their land.

Also in the commemoration program came the invitation by al-Quds studenty club for Dr. Norman Finkelstein, the political scientist and the world acclaimed pro-Palestinian activist to give a lecture at AUC.

Since they were banned from reaching the border terminal of Rafah for security reasons, the activists made a tactical change in their plan and headed for the Israeli embassy in Cairo instead. They rallied there on Sunday as they called for the embassy to be closed and the Israeli flag to be taken down.

The protests started peacefully in front of the embassy in the morning but at 11 pm things began to turn violent as the protesters managed to breach the heavy security cordon around the embassy and actually reached the main entrance of the multi-story building at the top of which the Israeli embassy lies.

At that point, and minutes before the protesters were to get inside the embassy building, military and security reinforcements were called upon and on arrival to the protests site they began to warn the protesters not to proceed any further.

Failing to heed the warning, the military began to disperse the rally by shooting tear gas canisters and rubber bullets that hit one protester in the head and another one in the abdomen.

Egyptian protesters in front of the embassy calling for Israeli flag to be taken down.

Dr. finkelstein joined the rally and actually took part at the beginning of the protests which lasted for hours into the night leaving 353 wounded and 168 arrested and waiting to be interrogated by a military prosecutor.

A military spokesman declared that the violent crackdown on protesters came after they had violated the peaceful terms for rallying as they actually set out to break into the embassy and commit an international violation by trespassing the premises of the embassy of a foreign sovereign country and forcibly taking down its flag.

As a matter of fact, a great sector of the Egyptian people, especially those who have witnessed the long history of Egyptian military confrontation with Israel in 1956, 1967 and 1973 are not at ease with these enthusiastic anti-Israeli embassy protests for they know too well that Israel tends to get foolishly aggressive whenever she gets nervous, and they think Egypt has other priorities at the moment than to get into trouble with the restless Zionists in Tel Aviv. But Dr. Finkelstein didn’t think so.

And when asked, on an Egyptian TV show the following evening, if now was the right time for post-Mubarak fragile Egypt to provoke Israel by closing down its embassy or taking down its flag, Dr.Finkelstein responded

“the Israeli embassy is the real provocation, and I think the Israeli flag should be taken down and the embassy should be closed as long as the Palestinian issue remains unresolved” …

and he added “the Egyptians will not lose their lives if Egypt lowered down the flag. It’s the Palestinians who are losing lives; around 15 were killed yesterday as they marked the Nakba day”

 

In his lecture that focused on the effects of the January 25 Revolution on the Arab-Israeli conflict Finkelstein said ..

“Egypt’s first civilian government is unlikely to attack Israel or renounce its 1979 peace treaty with the country. Instead, Israel is sweating simply because Egypt has become a force to reckon with rather than a pawn to be played. The biggest threat to Israel, he said, is that Egyptians will enter the modern world, continue to reclaim their dignity, and demand a central role in the region”

 

Dr. Norman Finkelstein during his lecture in Cairo

Finkelstein managed to win his AUC audience over, exactly as he did with most of the viewers of his TV interview. And he wrapped up his talk on TV by calling for the Egyptian military not to do Israel’s dirty work, and to release all 168 arrested protesters whom he viewed as true heroes who couldn’t stay silent over the Israeli crimes in Palestine and the whole Middle East.

In the few days Finkelstein stayed in Cairo, which lacked any mainstream media coverage, he did not only walk like an Egyptian but he talked and protested like one.

Though it was the first lecture for Dr. Finkelstein in Egypt but the chemistry between him and the Egyptian audience has been remarkable.

Finkelstein is a man who never does anything against his conscience and who dares to go to the end of his thought and that is the kind of voices people want to hear not only in Egypt but the whole world.

THIRD PALESTINIAN INTIFADA: All Arabs to March on Israel on May 15th


“With those powerful political storms rolling up the Middle East, and with this unstoppable and unpredictable domino effect of popular uprisings, how long before we watch the Israeli domino piece fall down”

“And if dictatorships are not tolerated in the Arab world anymore, why the Israeli quasi-dictatorship over the Palestinians should be any exception”

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

All of The popular uprisings that swept through the Arab world have been preplanned and officially launched on facebook pages weeks in advance.

Pro-Israel lobbying. An Israeli Cabinet minister, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and a massive American-Zionist campaign have succeeded in pressuring Facebook into removing the“third Intifada” page, which clearly calls for an all-Arab uprising against Israel.
According to the facebook “cause” page, the plan for the intifada would go as follows;

Friday, May 13th
 In Egypt, the epicenter of the Arab world, the biggest Arab country and from Tahrir square at the heart of Cairo where the whole Arab spring has sprung and gained fervent momentum, this massive Arab intifada will be launched.
Millions will gather once again in Tahrir square at the heart of Cairo but this time to call for all Arab-march toward Israel.

This mass protest will come two days prior to the actual march, as a clear message to Israel and the rest of the world that liberating Palestine is the core cause for every Arab in the Middle East. And that restoring Jerusalem is all Arab’s sacred mission
 

Sunday, May 15th
 To commemorate the Palestinian exodus day 1948 ( Nakba) when well over 750000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled out of their home land by Israel, similar number of Thousands angry Arab protesters from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon along with their Palestinian brothers from Gaza and the occupied west bank will advance toward Israel in what they call, the third intifada

 

Profile photo of third intifada facebook page

In their march they will be denouncing the ongoing Zionist occupation of the Arabic land of Palestine and calling for internationally recognized independent Palestinian state over its legitimate pre-1967 borders with Eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

Those fair Palestinian demands have been begged for by all ways known to diplomacy over the last 60 years. But since diplomacy has utterly failed the Arabs of Palestine and since politicians have granted them nothing except despair and Diaspora, they thought it was time they put their life into their own hands.

And what could be more timely than this Arab spring, which a lot of Arabs could not see or rather imagine approaching its full bloom without Palestine included.

This revolutionary plan that has been publicly posted on a facebook “cause” page and given the daring title “the third Palestinian Intifada” as there has been two Palestinian Intifada- uprisings- before. The first was sparked in 1987 and the second or what is known as the Aq’sa intifada in 2000, during both uprisings, Israel had to live through years of domestic unrest and worldwide condemnation of its apartheid and oppressive policy toward the Palestinians.

But as this “cause” page managed to attract almost 300000 fans and incredibly growing number of visitors in just few days Israel grew restlessly nervous about it. And nervously restless Israel acted in response.
What was worrying Tel Aviv is the fact that, so far, all Arab uprisings have been kicked off on facebook pages. So, under the boiling situation in the Arab world this facebook call couldn’t be underrated nor neglected.

Bullying facebook

With the unbelievably growing traffic to the facebook page and the spread of the call for a third intifada Israel couldn’t just stand watching underneath its big sign that reads “The only democracy in the Middle East”
Quickly switching signs, Israel grabbed the “Israel-hating and anti-Semitism” sign and put on its despotic mask, and before the administrators of the third intifada knew it, Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s Minister of Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, on the last week of March wrote Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder and told him ..

“the social network site has great potential to rally the masses around good causes, and we are all thankful for that. However, such potential comes hand in hand with the ability to cause great harm, such as in the case of the wild incitement displayed on the Third Palestinian Intifada page”

 

Third Inifada

A facebook statement said on Monday of the first week of April that

whiles the “third Intifada” page “may be upsetting for someone, criticism of a certain culture, country, religion, lifestyle, or political ideology, for example — that alone is not a reason to remove the discussion.”

At that point it was clear to Israel that this Zuckerberg is not getting the message, Israel didn’t not seek his eloquent definition of the site’s terms for freedom of speech, removing the page that what Israel wanted. So Israel, with its Zionist lobbies and pro-Israel campaigns began to pull some strings and show some muscles and it did not take long before Mr. Mark Zuckerberg came to his senses and reevaluated the page as inciting violence against Israel.

And to make sure this will always be a lesson, learned the hard way, less than a week after facebook removed the intifada page; Zuckerberg was hit by a law suit seeking more than $ 1 billion in damages, for doing too little too late. The law suit has been filed by one of the American Zionist puppets- let off the leash- by the name of Larry Klayman.

After the page was no longer available on Tuesday, ADL director Abraham Foxman commented ..

“By taking this action, Facebook has now recognized an important standard to be applied when evaluating issues of non-compliance with its terms of service involving distinctions between incitement to violence and legitimate calls for collective expressions of opinion and action. We hope that they will continue to vigilantly monitor their pages for other groups that call for violence or terrorism against Jews and Israel.

 
Mark Zukerberg, facebook co-founder

Mark Zukerberg, facebook co-founder

But that will be mission impossible, for how could facebook go after thousands of Arab users who replaced their profile photos with the poster photo of the third intifada. Will facebook be able to pull down the other pages that began to play the same intifada tune?
Why can’t Israel face the truth, it is crystal clear, it needs no terrorizing of Zuckerberg or Goldstone. Arabs will never accept Israel as a neighbor state as long as Palestine is being systematically wiped off the map by the Zionist military dictatorship.

Israel could intimidate facebook but not the millions of awakening Arabs.
If facebook to block any page or any account that speaks unfavorably of Israel that will mean that Mr. Zuckerberg is going to sacrifice the hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims who are already using facebook worldwide.

Could facebook, contrary to its previous role in boosting the Arab uprisings, save the Israeli domino piece from falling?
That is yet to be seen.

 

 

Muslim Brotherhood Breaking Free of Nasser’s Long Ban on the Group


Muslim Brotherhood Breaking Free of Nasser’s Long Ban on the Group.

Decades of political repression of dissent in Egypt has created an iceberg out of  the Muslim Brotherhood group -MB- with seven-eighths of its actual size under the surface.

ARAB UPRISINGS: Time to Quit Playing al Qaeda’s Card


ARAB UPRISINGS: Time to Quit Playing al Qaeda’s Card.

As Arabs are willing to start over with freedom and dignity there is no reason why the west cannot do the same and start dealing with Arabs in a more dignified way.

ARAB UPRISINGS: Time-Out For Israel Is Over


ARAB UPRISINGS: Time-Out For Israel Is Over.

History is taking a new turn in the Middle East and so is the Arab-Israeli conflict.