Saturday, January 31, 2009

Madrid: nice city but lousy meetings

For context, see my previous post: repacking


Final declaration of farmers and civil society organisations



As representatives of peasant farmers and other small scale food producers, together with organisations that support them(*), we want to express the following:

  1. We gathered in Madrid with low expectations. We were extremely unhappy with the process and the contents of this conference. Although WE are the ones who produce most of the world’s food, we had not been offered a serious space to give our opinion on what should be done, either in the preparatory process or in the conference programme itself.

  1. As a consequence, the meeting was not focussed on the crucial question of how to solve the dramatic food crisis that we are facing, but rather on a discussion by donors about how to spend their money. Without serious questioning the real structural causes behind the food crisis, any discussion about more or less aid money targets symptoms rather than addressing the real issues.

  1. This explains the simplistic `more of the same' recipes to solve the crisis presented in Madrid: more fertilizer, more hybrid seeds and more agrochemicals for small farmers. This approach has already been a total failure in the past, and has been the source of elimination and suffering of millions of small producers, environmental destruction and climate change.

  1. It is also clear that none of the actors here were prepared to deal with the crucial and conflictual issue of how local food producers are being denied access to land and territories , which constitutes the single most important threat to local food production. Many of the communally held land territories are now under threat from privatisation and land grabbing by transnational corporations to plant agrofuels or other commodities for the international markets. We need fundamental agrarian and aquatic reforms to keep land in the hands of local communities to be able to produce food.

  1. But several factors combined to squash the organizers’ hope of ending the conference with the triumphal proclamation of an ethereal Global Partnership for Agricultural and Food Security crafted by the G8 with agribusiness corporations panting to take up residence. One factor was the fact that many developing country governments rejected a proposal on which no one had bothered to consult them. Another was the strong stand taken by FAO to keep global governance of food and agriculture centred in the Rome-based UN agencies. And our participation – both within the conference and in actions outside – helped to remind delegates that there can be no successful approach to the food crisis that does not build on the alternatives that millions of small food producers are developing day by day.

  1. The solution to the food crisis exists, and is being fought for in many communities. It is called food sovereignty. An approach oriented towards peasant-based agriculture and artisanal fisheries, prioritizing local markets and sustainable production methods and based on the right to food and the right of peoples to define their own agricultural policies. To be able to achieve this, we need to:

  • Reinstate the right of governments to intervene and regulate in the food and agricultural sector. The right to food, as already accepted by the UN, should be the central cornerstone on the basis of which the solutions to the food crisis are to be constructed.

  • Dominate the disastrous volatility of food prices in domestic markets. National governments should take full control over the import and export of food in order to stabilize local markets.

  • Reject Green Revolution models. Industrialized agriculture and fisheries are no solution.

  • Set up policies to actively support peasant-based food production and artisanal fishing, local markets and the implementation of agrarian and aquatic reform.

  • Stop corporate land grabbing for industrial agrofuels and commodity production.

  1. We need one single space in the UN system that acts in total independence of the international financial and trade institutions, with a clear mandate from governments, decisive participation by peasant, fisher-folk and other small scale food producers, and a transparent and democratic process of decision making. This has to be the unique space where food and agriculture issues are discussed, where policies and rules are set..

  1. We see the proposed Global Partnership as just another move to give the big corporations and their foundations a formal place at the table, despite all the rhetoric about the 'inclusiveness' of this initiative. Furthermore it legitimates the participation of WTO, World Bank and IFM and other neoliberalism-promoting institutions in the solution of the very problems they have caused. This undermines any possibility for civil society or governments from the Global South to play any significant role. We do not need this Global Partnership or any other structure outside the UN system.

The battle was won in Madrid, but we have no illusions that the promoters of the Global Partnership have given up the fight, and we will continue to engage them.

(*) These include Via Campesina, COAG, and many NGOs. The organisations present at the Madrid meeting presented a detailed statement with our assessment and proposals “Accelerating into disaster – When banks manage the food crisis”. It can be downloaded from the website of the IPC, which has facilitated our participation in this conference: (The statement is also available in English, French and Spanish on

Chicken a la rocket

"Since the ceasefire was enacted, I have toured throughout Gaza to document some stories and accounts. Although I wrote many articles, I decided to focus on the untold stories of the war: the brutal massacre of thousands of chickens." (Thanks Marcy)


"In addition to direct help for small farms, donors should provide more help for the research and development needed to identify new high-yielding seed varieties, especially to breed plants that can withstand temporary flooding, excess nitrogen, salty soils, crop pests, and other challenges to sustainable food production. Helping the poor with today's technologies, while investing in future improved technologies, is the optimum division of labour.

This investment pays off wonderfully, with research centres such as the International Rice Research Institute and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre providing the high-yield seeds and innovative farming strategies that together triggered the Asian green revolution. These centres are not household names, but they deserve to be. Their scientific breakthroughs have helped to feed the world, and we'll need more of them."

I'm all for science and technology to support vulnerable livelihoods, but I'd really like to see an impact assessment study carried out by the target population. Especially on how these institutions and their technological solutions have helped alleviate poverty. Also, how come they call this a "new initiative"? This is the same 1960's solution repackaged.

Sea Slaves

"Forced to fish: Cambodia's sea slaves

Forced to fish: Cambodia's sea slaves

Friday January 30th 2009

Promised better-paid jobs across the border in Thailand, Cambodian men are being kidnapped by gangs of traffickers and sold onto illegal fishing boats that trawl the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea. For two years Chorn Theang Ly was kept at sea under armed guard. He describes how his quest for a better life turned into a nightmare

Friday January 30th 2009

Lead article photo

A fisherman mends a net. Photograph: Brian Harris

I live in the village of Anlong Khran in Cambodia. One day a man came to the village and said we should go to Thailand as we would have a much easier life there. Here, we work in rice fields, growing our own rice and vegetables. We make up to $200 a year. The man said we would make a lot more than that in Thailand.

He took a dozen of us over the border. We paid him 7,000 Thai baht for this – 3,000 for the transport plus a month’s worth of our pay. He said we would work on the riverbank, in factories, and have a much better life.

When we got to Thailand he took us to a house. Suddenly we were locked up inside it, all of us together in one room. It was only then that I realised that we had been sold. We tried different ways of escaping, all of us, but we had no money, passports or papers; there was nowhere for us to go.

We stayed there all night. Then, at about 4am, we got a wake-up call. Some men took us to a fishing boat, and that's when I realised what would happen to us. We had been trafficked. It was too late to do anything. We were powerless.

At sea, we all got seasick. I remember it got so bad for me that I was vomiting blood. As a group we decided we would stick at it for one month, earn our wages and then somehow get back to Cambodia.

The boat's owner told me we would have to work for him for at least three years. I found out that there is a whole system at work: a good employer lets you go ashore after eight or 10 months and pays you off, but a bad one will keep you at sea for three years and not pay you anything, or just a token amount.

Conditions on board were very hard for us. We worked all hours of the day, and there was little food or fresh water, just one small bucket. If we got a big catch we’d have to work day and night, slicing and gutting fish. If there was a torn net we would have to work for two or three nights without sleep to repair it. Another boat would sometimes meet us to take the catch and give us more food and water. We scarcely saw land.

I saw killings too, with my own eyes. There were three Thai crew on board and they were all armed. The captain would physically abuse us. In the early days he beat me nearly unconscious. He would beat us with the tentacle of a squid or sometimes a large shell. The man I saw killed was beaten and then thrown overboard. Another time, a man was shot and his body thrown into the sea.

We were constantly plotting to kill the captain and take the boat ashore. But the crew had guns and we knew we couldn't do it.

I was transferred to other boats after that first one. In the end I was at sea for two years. Finally, when a boat I was on put ashore in Thailand I persuaded them to let me go. They took me back to the border in a truck and left me there. With the help of one of the traffickers I got back across the border into Cambodia.

There are many people from my area who still want to go to Thailand. I tell them about the cruelty and the lies, but they are determined. The problem is there is so little to do here. We used to make money from charcoal, cutting and burning trees, but the government stopped that for environmental reasons. How else are we supposed to make a living?

• Chorn Theang Ly was talking to Jonathan Gorvett in Cambodia."

I had to blog this in full. This is from the Guardian, and here's the link.

You know something: I don't think there is a more vapid and cruel statement that this one, which silly people keep throwing at me: "If you are not a leftist at 20, you have no heart, and if you are still a leftist at 30 you have no brains". This is the kind of statement that I consider to be as bad as inciting racial or religious hatred. It incites class exploitation by making it a mere fact of life.

Crash course

"We were lulled into complacency by the expensive public relations companies and big corporate social responsibility programmes that promoted the nonsense of corporate citizenship. Politicians were wooed and tax coffers filled. This is an abject lesson in how groupthink can take hold of even developed societies that pride themselves on their freedom of thought, debate and lack of deference; even the highly educated can be seduced into the tyranny of a fashionable orthodoxy. A whole culture became so obsessed with making money through gambling that it lost an understanding of the kind of restraining principles needed to ensure stability in an economic system vastly more fragile than that of Keynes's day because of its complexity and globalisation. It was like putting kids at the wheels of Ferraris: how can we be surprised at the monumental pile-up?"

Madeleine Bunting, one of my favorite writers, on the economic pile-up.

On kindness and altruism

"Kindness has gone out of fashion. In the age of the rampant free market and the selfish gene, compassion is seen as either narcissism or weakness. So why have we become so suspicious of one of our most basic - and pleasurable - human qualities, ask Adam Phillips and Barbara Taylor"

Friday, January 30, 2009


We, Palestinian non-governmental organizations declare our complete rejection of any aid coming from USAID due to the United States' constant military and financial support to Israel, or from any other parties whose support to Israel facilitated Israel's military aggression in the Gaza Strip. (Thanks Marcy)


"Fruit growers in Israel have reported delays and reductions in orders from abroad since the military operation in Gaza was launched, due to various boycotts against Israeli produce.
Ilan Eshel, director of the Organization of Fruit Growers in Israel , said Scandinavian countries have also been canceling orders. "It's mostly Sweden , Norway , and Denmark ," he said. "In Scandinavia the tendency is general, and it may come to include all of the chains." "

First time I'm not sorry for farmers. Zionist farmers produce food on land that they have forcibly taken and using stolen water. All this while they burn the farmers of Gaza.

Gaza farmers

"The scale of the damage caused by Israel's war on Gaza continues to emerge. Palestinian agriculture officials estimate the cost to the strip's farming sector will be more than 200 million dollars. Al Jazeera's Mike Kirsch reports from Gaza, where many farmers are devastated at having to start again from scratch."

A new farm bill

"For 50 or 60 years, we have let ourselves believe that as long as we have money we will have food. That is a mistake. If we continue our offenses against the land and the labor by which we are fed, the food supply will decline, and we will have a problem far more complex than the failure of our paper economy. The government will bring forth no food by providing hundreds of billons of dollars to the agribusiness corporations."

and elsewhere...

"RJ: How would a farm bill that you and Wendell might write differ from what we see today?

WJ: The farm bills we’ve had largely address exports, commodity problems, subsidies and food programs. They all involve here-and-now concerns. A 50-year farm bill represents a vision that stresses the need to protect soil from erosion, cut the wastefulness of water, cut fossil-fuel dependence, eliminate toxins in soil and water, manage carefully the nitrogen of the soil, reduce dead zones, restore an agrarian way of life, and preserve farmland from development. The best way to accomplish most of these goals is to gradually increase the number of acres with perennial vegetation, first of all through rotations and an increase in the number of grass-fed dairies sprinkled about the countryside and secondly, through progress toward perennializing the major crops. A good bill could help farmers accomplish those things."


Badael in Al Akhbar: My editorial on Street Markets, Hani Naim on the life of Maurice, the bee keeper (I do not endorse any of the healing properties attributed to honey in this article), and Rana Hahek on the newest street market in Lebanon: Mercati della Hamra.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Foot poisoning

"After winning the match 2-0, one of the Syrian football officials went on Lebanese television to complain about the hosts.

"We were treated with intentional carelessness by our hosts.

"There is no excuse for it, and brotherly countries should not be dealt in that way," Bahaa al-Omary later told the BBC.

Mr Omary said that on the eve of the game eight Syrian footballers got food poisoning and were taken to hospital.

The Syrian team doctor found the poisoning "highly suspicious".

Lebanese officials were quick to promise an investigation, but whether in politics or football, the essence of the Syrian-Lebanese relations still lies in a deep and all-pervasive lack of trust. "

Starbucks down

"The Seattle-based chain tonight revealed a 70% slump in quarterly profits to $64.3m and announced that it intends to shed 6,700 employees this year. It is closing 300 stores, two thirds of which will be in the US, on top of 660 shutdowns last year." (Thanks Marcy)


"THE BBC is right. If they broadcast that appeal for aid to be sent to Gaza it would be taking sides. The Israeli Defence force could legitimately say "We've gone to enormous lengths to kill people, then you go and help keep them alive. How do you square that with your remit to be neutral?""

Mark Steel in the Independent.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Madagascar deal collapses

"We are in big trouble with the government of Madagascar," said Shin Dong-hyun, the general manager of planning and finance at Daewoo Logistics Corporation. "The process was ongoing, but it has suddenly been stopped because of media reports. Those reports have made Madagascan people very angry because it makes them ashamed for being a part of what they say is a neo-colonial system."


"Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park (DuBiotech)Biotechnology and Research Park (DuBiotech) will be able to accommodate all 50 research and biotechnology companies that have leased space in it by the end of this year, as work on its headquarters nears completion, its management said.
"We have not seen any impact of the global economic slowdown so far. We are getting a good response from the industry. We focus on both the agricultural biotechnology and industrial biotechnology areas," Abdulaziz said."

Farmland grab

Check this blog about the global land grab

Still at it

"The Agriculture Minister in the Gaza Strip noted today that the Israeli military continues to target farmers on their lands near the boundary lines. Many people are unable to reach the fields. He added on Saturday that in the Mediterranean just off the Gaza coast Israeli naval ships continue to open fire on fishermen, preventing them from working."

The forgotten ones

"Arsenault drew attention to forgotten emergencies, such as in the West African republic of Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR). "They seem to have slipped off everyone's radar, and fund raising can be difficult at times."

Armed conflict and increased banditry since 2005 have displaced great numbers of people both inside and outside CAR - around 108,000 Central African refugees now live in neighbouring countries, mainly Cameroon and Chad, affecting the humanitarian situation in the region.

Since the conflict only one-third of CAR's children go to school. UNICEF has been involved in providing nutritional interventions and efforts to bring 150,000 children back to school.

Chad has been overwhelmed by a massive influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Darfur and CAR. UNICEF has asked for more than $34 million for its interventions in Chad in 2009 to help meet the needs of approximately 750,000 people, including 360,000 children living in eastern and southern Chad.

The money will be used to assist 310,000 refugees, over 180,000 internally displaced persons, and about 250,000 of the host population, as well as to tackle Chad's national acute malnutrition rate of 15 percent, which includes some regions where levels reach 20 percent."

The forgotten ones

"Arsenault drew attention to forgotten emergencies, such as in the West African republic of Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR). "They seem to have slipped off everyone's radar, and fund raising can be difficult at times."

Armed conflict and increased banditry since 2005 have displaced great numbers of people both inside and outside CAR - around 108,000 Central African refugees now live in neighbouring countries, mainly Cameroon and Chad, affecting the humanitarian situation in the region.

Since the conflict only one-third of CAR's children go to school. UNICEF has been involved in providing nutritional interventions and efforts to bring 150,000 children back to school.

Chad has been overwhelmed by a massive influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Darfur and CAR. UNICEF has asked for more than $34 million for its interventions in Chad in 2009 to help meet the needs of approximately 750,000 people, including 360,000 children living in eastern and southern Chad.

The money will be used to assist 310,000 refugees, over 180,000 internally displaced persons, and about 250,000 of the host population, as well as to tackle Chad's national acute malnutrition rate of 15 percent, which includes some regions where levels reach 20 percent. "


Cedar Island, or how Beirut wants to be Dubai. (There is already a "we don't want Cedar Island" facebook group). (Thanks Philippe).

Monday, January 26, 2009

Southern Sudan

"As the global credit crunch and higher risk profile constrict capital investment from Europe and North America, capital may come from a region that was historically closely allied to Sudan’s north: The Arab world is expressing keen interest in Sudan’s potential as an agriculture production centre. With large swaths of land and underground water reserves, the region is ideally suited to grow a variety of crops. In 2007, Libya and Jordan created dedicated agro funds to explore the region’s potential. These efforts could soon be mirrored by the Emirates and Qatar, both keen on securing new supplies of agricultural products – and the latter is currently engaging in a large-scale land deal for agricultural production in neighbouring Kenya. Like the Arab states, China is also refocusing its attention southward eager to expand an already existing investment of USD8bn in Sudan’s oil production."

2008 Syria round-up

"But it wasn’t all plain sailing for Syria in 2008, as drought hit the agriculture sector hard. As of mid-August, towards the end of the main harvesting season, just 962,000 tons of wheat had been brought in, well under half of Syria’s domestic consumption requirements. The drought also hurt one of Syria’s main revenue earning crop, cotton. This year, just 180,000 hectares were planted, down from the 220,000 of 2007, as the state encouraged farmers to shift to wheat production.

Shortages of grain, which pushed up meat prices due to a lack of stock feed, combined with government cuts in some subsidies, contributed to rising inflation. According to official statistics, inflation was running at 5.5% at the beginning of 2008, whilst recent estimates by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) put inflation at 8%. The true figure is believed to be much higher, with the price of some commodities having risen by as much as 60% during the year. "


I'm in the Bekaa tonight, like every Monday night. The weather is too warm. It is grey, but it hasn't rained nearly enough this year: Only 177mm so far. Last year was a drought year and we had 240mm by the end of January. The long term average is around 280mm. This year could be a disaster year.


"Israeli American real estate developer Shaya Boymelgreen and Israeli businessman Lev Leviev are building destructive projects in New York City and in the Occupied West Bank in Palestine. Leviev and Boymelgreen are building strategic settlements in the Occupied West Bank which violate international law and aim to ensure Israeli control over key areas in the West Bank, rendering peace between Israelis and Palestinians impossible. In Palestine and in New York City they are committing similar abuses: expelling low-income, local residents from their communities, violating laws, and exploiting laborers"(Thanks Marcy)

One state

"The following segment appeared on CBS' 60 Minutes this evening. The segment brings to light the fact that Israeli settlement activity has made a two-state solution impossible. It details the choices left to Israel today – ethnic cleansing of the remainder of Palestinians, a democratic state where all people enjoy freedom and equal rights, or apartheid where an Israeli minority rules over a Palestinian majority. The segment makes clear that apartheid already exists -- with Israeli settlers driving on better roads, using more water resources and enjoying freedom of movement." (Thanks Annie)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Poetry and peace after Gaza

Palestinian poet `Ezzeddeen Manasira wrote an important piece in today's Al Hayat on the role of the Arab intellectuals (I hate this term, and in Arabic it sounds even worse, al muthaqqafun, "the cultured", as if the rest of the people had no culture).

Below is my approximate translation of part of the article:

"The Gaza massacre has demonstrated that the Arab intellectuals have to reevaluate their ideas towards the Resistance and towards Negotiations. They should not be to the right of their leadership, but should play a leadership role in their relationship with authority. As Edward Said said: "the role of the intellectual is to tell the truth to the authority". This was not the case before the massacre, as most of the consciences had been bought at the lowest prices, and we have lots of evidence of that. And the worse intellectual dictatorship was the one that was exerted by the conventional "liberal national current" who was panting behind the most monstrous form of Globalization, believing that it had become a partner in it when it is merely a lazy consumer.

The Gaza massacre and the ensuing protests have also shown that the popular sentiment and the popular resistance have surpassed in their thinking all the conventional ideas that were current before the massacre. The protests in Palestine and in the rest of the world have brought Palestine back to the international scene, after it has almost vanished in the shadow of the "negotiations for the sake of negotiations, and the negotiations forever" of the Oslo team and of the "Peace current" who abused the rightful term "Peace" in order to impose their wrongdoing.

I once criticized, during a TV program, the visit of some Arab intellectual to (Israel). One Arab intellectual in favor of normalization came on the air and accused me of praticing "the culture of squabbles". Has normalization become just a matter of opinion? And has the Culture of Besistance become an unforgivable crime? This is what I told this intellectual.

Once, after I returned from the International Poetry Festival in Holland in 2003, after I avoided a trap laid by the organizers to get me to share a platform with an Israeli poet, I got a phone call from the late Mahmoud Darwish from his house in Amman, asking me about the noise that had been raised in the Dutch newspapers about this matter. After telling him what had happened, I asked him: "Mahmoud, you know that I am personally opposed to dialogue with them, and I want you to answer frankly: do you believe that dialogue with them is useful for our common cause?" He answered literally: "You know that I was forced to talk to them, because of my special case. I am personally against the visit of Arab intellectuals to Israel because I am against gratuitous normalization. The outcome of dialogue with them was depressing, they are all racists and liars."

Darwish listed the names of some famous Israeli authors, and recounted some of his dialogues with them. I say that because some Arab intellectuals have crossed the red line in their oppression of the resisting Palestinian Intellectual, to the extent that Arab newspapers and magazines publish article by Israeli authors who are against the Palestinian people and its culture, while it represses any opposite view point from a Palestinian intellectual. This went as far as obscuring our texts and our names! We still hold a feeling of injustice and in spite of that we try to convince them of the futility of the dialogue with the Intellectuals of Occupation.

In 2003, I told the director of the International Poetry Festival in Holland: When Nazi Germany was occupying your country, would you have agreed to share an open platform with an intellectual of the occupation? She answered: Of course not! I told her that I was ready to appear with a Jewish poet who supports my cause. She told me that she fully understood me. Those who did not understand my position were Arab poets who did not tell the truth when they came back to their newspapers. This is when I sadly realized that many Arab poets understood the condition of the Palestinians, but that they felt it was in their interest to show that they did not, in order not to lose the invitations to the European festivals.

And here I say: What was before the massacre does not resemble what is after the massacre. No Arab intellectual can visit (Israel) with a with a political or intellectual cover by the Palestinians, because the "democratic oasis" in the Middle East has proven to be a lie and a fake, and because Occupation is the opposite of Democracy, and because there cannot be any dialogue with Israeli intellectuals because they are against true modernity."

ثانياً: أظهرت مذبحة غزة، أن على المثقفين العرب أن يُراجعوا أفكارهم، سواء تيار المقاومة، أو تيار المفاوضات، وعليهم ألا يكونوا على يمين زعمائهم، بل أن يلعبوا دور الطليعة في علاقتهم بالسلطة، أي كما قال إدوارد سعيد: «وظيفة المثقف، هي قول الحقيقة للسلطة، وهذا لم يحدث قبل المذبحة، فقد تمّت عملية شراء ضمائر المثقفين، إلا ما ندر، بثمن بخس، ولدينا الكثير من الأدلة على ذلك. واسوأ ممارسة ثقافية ديكتاتورية، هي تلك التي مارسها للأسف، ما أُسميه «تيار التبعية الليبرالي»، تمييزاً له عن «التيار الليبرالي الوطني» التقليدي، وذلك بفعل لهاثه وراء العولمة المتوحشة، متوهماً أنه قد أصبح شريكاً، وليس مجرد مُستهلك كسول.
ثالثاً: أظهرت مذبحة غزة، أن الحساسية الشعبية، والمقاومة الشعبية، تجاوزتا في تفكيرهما المصرّح به في التظاهرات، كل الأفكار التقليدية السائدة قبل المذبحة، وبالتالي، فالمقاومة الشعبية في غزة، والتظاهرات في معظم البلدان العربية والأجنبية، وصمود غزة وأهلها، في مواجهة دولة الاحتلال النووية، كل ذلك، هو الذي أعاد قضية فلسطين الى الواجهة العالمية، بعد أن كادت تُنسى في ظل المفاوضات من أجل المفاوضات، والمفاوضات الى الأبد! التي مارستها شريحة أوسلو، وتيار ثقافة السلام، التي هي كلمة حق، أُريد بها باطل.
رابعاً: ذات مرة، اعترضتُ، في حوار تلفزيوني، على زيارة بعض المثقفين العرب إسرائيل، وكان على الخط مثقف عربي يؤيد التطبيع الثقافي، حيث اتهمني بأنني أمارس «ثقافة المهاترات»، فهل أصبح التطبيع، مجرد وجهة نظر؟! وأصبحت ثقافة المقاومة جريمة لا تغتفر؟!
ذلك ما قلته لذلك المثقف. وذات مرة، عندما عُدت من مهرجان الشعر العالمي في هولندا (2003)، بعد أن كانت إدارة المهرجان، قد نصبتْ لي فخاً، نجوتُ منه، وذلك بمحاولة إقناعي بالمشاركة مع شاعرة إسرائيلية في ندوة ثقافية، حينذاك، اتصل بي المرحوم محمود درويش من منزله في عمّان، يسألني عن الضجة التي أثيرت، في الصحف الهولندية، فذهبت إليه في بيته، (حين كان البعض يحاول تعكير صفو صداقة العمر بيني وبين درويش)، ودار بيننا حوار، بعد أن رويتُ له بأمانة ما حدث، فسألته السؤال الآتي: أنت تعرف يا محمود أنني شخصياً ضد الحوار معهم، ولا أزال، وأريد منك أن تجيبني بصراحة: هل تعتقد أن الحوار معهم، مفيد لقضيتنا المشتركة، فأجابني بالحرف: أنت تعرف أنني كنت مجبراً على الحوار معهم، بسبب الظروف الخاصة بي، وأنا شخصياً ضد زيارة المثقفين العرب الى إسرائيل، لأنني ضد التطبيع المجاني، أما نتيجة الحوار معهم، فكانت محبطة. كلهم عنصريون، ويكذبون.
وسمّى محمود لي بعض الكتّاب الإسرائيليين من مشاهيرهم، وحكى لي بعضاً من حواراته معهم. أقول ذلك، لأن بعض المثقفين العرب، تجاوزوا الخط الأحمر في تعذيبهم للمثقف الفلسطيني المقاوم، بل إن مجلات وصُحفاً عربية، تنشر مقالات الكتّاب الإسرائيليين ضد الشعب الفلسطيني وثقافته، وتمنع أي وجهة نظر معارضة لمثقف فلسطيني، بل وصل الأمر الى حد التعتيم على نصوصنا، وأسمائنا! وما زلنا نكظم شعورنا بالقهر، ونحاول على رغم ذلك، إقناعهم بأن لا جدوى من الحوار مع مثقفي الاحتلال. قلت (عام 2003)، لمديرة مهرجان الشعر العالمي في هولندا: عندما كانت ألمانيا الهتلرية، تحتلُّ بلادكم، هل كنت توافقين على الظهور جنباً الى جنب مع مثقف الاحتلال، فأجابتني: بطبيعة الحال لا. قلت لها إنني مستعد للظهور مع شاعر هولندي يهودي، يقف مع قضيتي، على المسرح غداً. فأجابت، بأنها تتفهم موقفي تماماً، أما الذين لم يتفهموا موقفي آنذاك، فهم بعض الشعراء العرب، الذين لم يقولوا الحقيقة عندما عادوا الى صحفهم... وشعرت آنذاك، بالحزن، إذ تأكد لي أن بعض المثقفين، لا يريد أن يفهم مشاعر الفلسطيني، أو أنه يفهمها جيداً، لكن مصلحته أن يتظاهر بعدم الفهم، لئلا يخسر الدعوات الى مهرجانات أوروبا. وهنا أقول: ما قبل المذبحة، لا يشبه ما بعد المذبحة، حيث لا يستطيع أي مثقف عربي أن يزور (إسرائيل)، بغطاء من سياسي فلسطيني، أو مثقف فلسطيني، لأن «الواحة الديموقراطية» في الشرق الأوسط، ثبت كذبها، وزيفها، ولأن الاحتلال هو نقيض الديموقراطية، ولا حوار مع مثقفي الاحتلال، لأنهم ضد الحداثة الحقيقية.


"Israeli goods are being boycotted by one hundred families affiliated with the Palestine People’s Party (PPP) in Biet Dajan, in the northern West Bank.

The group organized in response to the Israeli war against Gaza, and decided to replace all Israeli goods with local Palestinian products where at all possible. The final decision came at a senior party leadership meeting this week.

The leadership has also begun a campaign demanding the Palestinian National leadership, NGOs ad civil society institutions get on board with the boycott. The campaign hopes to begin with an economic boycott and move on from there."

Virtual Gaza

Excellent, creative and ingenious: Virtual Gaza breaks the information blockade. (Thanks Marcy)

"For years, Israel has been gradually tightening its strangehold on the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, sealing its borders and cutting off adequate food, fuel, and medical supplies, bringing the economy and infrastructure to the point of collapse.

Israel has also sought to control how Gaza's story is told to the outside -- from its sophisticated 'public relations' campaigns to blocking the entry of foreign journalists.

Virtual Gaza is a space where ordinary Palestinians under siege can describe their experiences in their own words, and where the destruction of the Gaza strip can be documented by those experiencing it directly. The diary entries, photographs, and video material gathered here have been contributed by residents of Gaza. For safety reasons, authors are located in neighborhoods, but their precise location has been randomized.

Virtual Gaza invites you to help break the information blockade.

A collaboration between the Alliance for Justice in the Middle East at Harvard University and the MIT Center for Future Civic Media"

Ghassan Kanafani's Letter From Gaza (1956)

From the always excellent Kabobfest

Dear Mustafa

I have now received your letter, in which you tell me that you've done everything necessary to enable me to stay with you in
Sacramento. I've also received news that I have been accepted in the department of Civil Engineering in the University of California. I must thank you for everything, my friend. But it'll strike you as rather odd when I proclaim this news to you -- and make no doubt about it, I feel no hesitation at all, in fact I am pretty well positive that I have never seen things so clearly as I do now. No, my friend, I have changed my mind. I won't follow you to "the land where there is greenery, water and lovely faces" as you wrote. No, I'll stay here, and I won't ever leave.

I am really upset that our lives won't continue to follow the same course, Mustafa. For I can almost hear you reminding me of our vow to go on together, and of the way we used to shout: "We'll get rich!" But there's nothing I can do, my friend. Yes, I still remember the day when I stood in the hall of Cairo airport, p
ressing your hand and staring at the frenzied motor. At that moment everything was rotating in time with the ear-splitting motor, and you stood in front of me, your round face silent.

Your face hadn't changed from the way it used to be when you were growing up in the Shajiya quarter of
Gaza, apart from those slight wrinkes. We grew up together, understanding each other completely and we promised to go on together till the end. But...

"There's a quarter of an hour left before the plane takes off. Don't look into space like that. Listen! You'll go to
Kuwait next year, and you'll save enough from your salary to uproot you from Gaza and transplant you to California. We started off together and we must carry on. . ."

At that moment I was watching your rapidly moving lips. That was always your manner of speaking, without commas or full stops. But in an obscure way I felt that you were not completely happy with your flight. You couldn't give three good reasons for it. I too suffered from this wrench, but the clea
rest thought was: why don't we abandon this Gaza and flee? Why don't we? Your situation had begun to improve, however. The ministry of Education in Kuwait had given you a contract though it hadn't given me one. In the trough of misery where I existed you sent me small sums of money. You wanted me to consider them as loans. because you feared that I would feel slighted. You knew my family circumstances in and out; you knew that my meagre salary in the UNRWA schools was inadequate to support my mother, my brother's widow and her four children.

"Listen carefully. Write to me every day... every hour... every minute! The plane's just leaving. Farewell! Or rather, till we meet again!"

Your cold lips brushed my cheek, you turned your face away from me towards the plane, and when you looked at me again I could see your tears.

Later the Ministry of Education in
Kuwait gave me a contract. There's no need to repeat to you how my life there went in detail. I always wrote to you about everything. My life there had a gluey, vacuous quality as though I were a small oyster, lost in oppressive loneliness, slowly struggling with a future as dark as the beginning of the night, caught in a rotten routine, a spewed-out combat with time. Everything was hot and sticky. There was a slipperiness to my whole life, it was all a hankering for the end of the month.

In the middle of the year, that year, the Jews bombarded the central district of Sabha and attacked
Gaza, our Gaza, with bombs and flame-throwers. That event might have made some change in my routine, but there was nothing for me to take much notice of; I was going to leave. this Gaza behind me and go to California where I would live for myself, my own self which had suffered so long. I hated Gaza and its inhabitants. Everything in the amputated town reminded me of failed pictures painted in grey by a sick man. Yes, I would send my mother and my brother's widow and her children a meagre sum to help them to live, but I would liberate myself from this last tie too, there in green California, far from the reek of defeat which for seven years had filled my nostrils. The sympathy which bound me to my brother's children, their mother and mine would never be enough to justify my tragedy in taking this perpendicular dive. It mustn't drag me any further down than it already had. I must flee!

You know these feelings, Mustafa, because you've really experienced them. What is this ill-defined tie we had with
Gaza which blunted our enthusiasm for flight? Why didn't we analyse the matter in such away as to give it a clear meaning? Why didn't we leave this defeat with its wounds behind us and move on to a brighter future which would give us deeper consolation? Why? We didn't exactly know.

When I went on holiday in June and assembled all my possessions, longing for the sweet departure, the start towards those little things which give life a nice, bright meaning, I found Gaza just as I had known it, closed like the introverted lining of a rusted snail-shell thrown up by the waves on the sticky, sandy shore by the slaughter-house. This Gaza was more cramped than the mind of a sleeper in the throes of a fearful nightmare, with its narrow streets which had their bulging balconies...this Gaza! But what are the obscure causes that draw a man to his family, his house, his memories, as a spring draws a small flock of mountain goats? I don't know. All I know is that I went to my mother in our house that morning. When I arrived my late brother's wife met me there and asked me,weeping, if I would do as her wounded daughter, Nadia, in Gaza hospital wished and visit her that evening. Do you know Nadia, my brother's beautiful thirteen-year-old daughter?

That evening I bought a pound of apples and set out for the hospital to visit Nadia. I knew that there was something about it that my mother and my sister-in-law were hiding from me, something which their tongues could not utter, something strange which I could not put my finger on. I loved Nadia from habit, the same habit that made me love all that generation which had been so brought up on defeat and displacement that it had come to think that a happy life was a kind of social deviation.

What happened at that moment? I don't know. I entered the white room very calm. Ill children have something of saintliness, and how much more so if the child is ill as
result of cruel, painful wounds. Nadia was lying on her bed, her back propped up on a big pillow over which her hair was spread like a thick pelt. There was profound silence in her wide eyes and a tear always shining in the depths of her black pupils. Her face was calm and still but eloquent as the face of a tortured prophet might be. Nadia was still a child, but she seemed more than a child, much more, and older than a child, much older.


I've no idea whether I was the one who said it, or whether it was someone else behind me. But she raised her eyes to me and I felt them dissolve me like a piece of sugar that had fallen into a hot cup of tea. '

Together with her slight smile I heard her voice. "Uncle! Have you just come from

Her voice broke in her throat, and she raised herself with the help of her hands and stretched out her neck towards me. I patted her back and sat down near her.

"Nadia! I've brought you p
resents from Kuwait, lots of presents. I'll wait till you can leave your bed, completely well and healed, and you'll come to my house and I'll give them to you. I've bought you the red trousers you wrote and asked me for. Yes, I've bought them."

It was a lie, born of the tense situation, but as I uttered it I felt that I was speaking the truth for the first time. Nadia trembled as though she had an electric shock and lowered her head in a terrible silence. I felt her tears wetting the back of my hand.

"Say something, Nadia! Don't you want the red trousers?" She lifted her gaze to me and made as if to speak, but then she stopped, gritted her teeth and I heard her voice again, coming from faraway.


She stretched out her hand, lifted the white coverlet with her fingers and pointed to her leg, amputated from the top of the thigh.

My friend ... Never shall I forget Nadia's leg, amputated from the top of the thigh. No! Nor shall I forget the grief which had moulded her face and merged into its traits for ever. I went out of the hospital in
Gaza that day, my hand clutched in silent derision on the two pounds I had brought with me to give Nadia. The blazing sun filled the streets with the colour of blood. And Gaza was brand new, Mustafa! You and I never saw it like this. The stone piled up at the beginning of the Shajiya quarter where we lived had a meaning, and they seemed to have been put there for no other reason but to explain it. This Gaza in which we had lived and with whose good people we had spent seven years of defeat was something new. It seemed to me just a beginning. I don't know why I thought it was just a beginning. I imagined that the main street that I walked along on the way back home was only the beginning of a long, long road leading to Safad. Everything in this Gaza throbbed with sadness which was not confined to weeping. It was a challenge: more than that it was something like reclamation of the amputated leg!

I went out into the streets of
Gaza, streets filled with blinding sunlight. They told me that Nadia had lost her leg when she threw herself on top of her little brothers and sisters to protect them from the bombs and flames that had fastened their claws into the house. Nadia could have saved herself, she could have run away, rescued her leg. But she didn't.


No, my friend, I won't come to
Sacramento, and I've no regrets. No, and nor will I finish what we began together in childhood. This obscure feeling that you had as you left Gaza, this small feeling must grow into a giant deep within you. It must expand, you must seek it in order to find yourself, here among the ugly debris of defeat.

I won't come to you. But you, return to us! Come back, to learn from Nadia's leg, amputated from the top of the thigh, what life is and what existence is worth.

Come back, my friend! We are all waiting for you.

Ghassan Kanafani was born in Acre (northern Palestine) in 1936, and became a major spokesperson for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and founding editor of its weekly magazine Al-Hadaf. His novels, short stories, and plays have been published in sixteen languages. He was assassinated by Israeli agents in a car-bomb explosion in Beirut in 1972.

(Thanks Mayssun)

Saturday, January 24, 2009


"By refusing to buy Israeli produce, ethically-minded consumers can be part of the wider Boycott Israeli Goods campaign (BIG) and add to the international condemnation of Israel's tactics in Palestine. The reasons for a boycott precede the most recent open conflict and are ever-more important. Even if the current shaky ceasefire holds, Gaza will still be an open prison and Palestine will still be a country whose food economy is actively sabotaged by its powerful neighbour. Just at the moment, many people don't have any appetite for Israeli produce. A boycott gives us something to do about it."

Joanna Blythman: Why I'm Boycotting Israeli Produce.


"Falk: I think that my life’s work in a sense has been associated with helping or identifying with those who are victims of injustice. If we look at the world today, there are many victims of injustice. But I think the Palestinians stand out as the most victimized people in the world. And symbolically, their struggle is one that engages people of conscience everywhere in the world in a manner that resembles the way the anti-apartheid movement worked effectively to undermine South Africa’s claims of sovereignty and legitimacy. And I hope that this small role that I play contributes to that kind of process on behalf of the Palestinians."

Important interview of Richard Falk Special rapporteur to the UN.


"At 10am this morning, January 23rd, 2009, approximately 20 local
residents entered and sought to occupy the Minnesota Trade Office in
downtown Saint Paul demanding an immediate end to all trade between
Minnesotan companies and the State of Israel. They have issued the
following statement signed by some of the participants and their supporters:" (Thanks Marcy)

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Declaration

Dear Razan who is fearless organized this petition during the IPC meeting in Rome last week.

Stop the Genocide and Ecocide in Palestine

We , representatives of civil society and non-governmental organizations, fisher and farmer movements, indigenous peoples and activists gathered here in Rome on the occasion of the Annual Meeting of the International NGO/CSO Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC) express our deepest condemnation of the atrocities and genocidal actions committed by the Israeli Government against Palestinian civilians, their environment and sources of livelihood under the so called “war against terror”. The excessive use of power is by no means a justification for any action or reaction. Every day, tens of people of all age groups are being slaughtered, mutilated and butchered while hundreds are wounded, most of whom can never resume their lives as they did before.

We observe with great concern the systematic destruction of farms, crops, water systems, wells, stables etc… which are the main source of livelihood for the majority of Palestinians in living in Gaza.

In view of this, we demand the following:

  • An Immediate ceasefire,
  • Lifting of all forms of siege and the restrictions of movement of people and supplies to
  • the civilian population in Gaza and the West Bank,
  • Insist on Palestinian Food Rights and Food Sovereignty
  • Boycott and obtain sanctions against Israel
  • Initiate a campaign asking the UN to claim compensation for damages caused by the State of Israel – as obtained by Kuwait after the 1990 Irak war
  • Establish immediately an International Mechanism to assess and report technically the aggressions against human and natural environment in Gaza
  • Initiate an international process for the prosecution of the political and military leader in Israel responsible for the mass murder of innocent civilian population of Gaza.
  • Launch a worldwide solidarity campaign with the devastated Palestinian people.

You can see it in Arabic and English here.

Highway to hell

The Arab Highway linking Lebanon to Syria and to the rest of the Arab World passes through the rangelands of the Central Bekaa. It split the traditional pastures in half. Now the shepherds have to walk 6 km each way to cross to the other side to graze their flocks. They will soon stop keeping herds, and join the ranks of the poor. But hey, who cares in Lebanon? We want our highway.


Badael in Al Akhbar: Rana Hayek writes about the damages to Agriculture in Gaza. My editorial on the boycott law in Lebanon, and an article on the nutritional value of refugee rations.

Warlords and land

"A US businessman backed by former CIA and state department officials says he has secured a vast tract of fertile land in south Sudan from the family of a notorious warlord, in post-colonial Africa’s biggest private land deal.

Philippe Heilberg, a former Wall Street banker and chairman of New York-based Jarch Capital, told the Financial Times he had gained leasehold rights to 400,000 hectares of land – an area the size of Dubai – by taking a majority stake in a company controlled by the son of Paulino Matip."

From the Financial Times. After war diamonds, war bananas?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: they work!

"Today the Stockholm community council in Sweden announced that the French company Veolia who has been the current operator at the Subway's in Stockholm County for 10 years lost the contract to the MTR-cooperation.

The contracts for the coming 8 years is worth 3,5 Billion EURO and has been the biggest ongoing public contract procurement process in Europe.

Although the board for county's public transportation ensured the decision was based on commercial factors the debate about Veolias involvement in a controversial tramway project in Jerusalem (Jerusalem light railway) has been intense in Swedish media.

The tramway connecting the Israeli west Jerusalem with illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory has triggered discussions about Veolia's ethical policy. Public protests against Veolia has brought the attention to the dilemma of operating public services when you at he same time are involved in politically controversial activities." (Thanks Marcy)

Concert for Gaza

I just came back from a concert for Gaza. There was a choir-band from the Beddawi camp in North Lebanon who sand revolutionary songs from the 1970's and traditional Palestinian songs. There was also a female musician and singer called May Nasr, who has a beautiful Fairuz-like voice. She also sang lots of stuff from the 70's and earlier. She got an encore for Umm Kulthum's 40 years old song: "I have now a rifle, take me with you to Palestine". I have not seen an audience like this one since the late seventies. I can assure you that the peace process is dead and buried.

Guess who's coming to dinner?

"According to reports in Bloomberg, claims were made in the Lebanese parliament today that part of the huge gas find announced yesterday in the Tamar-1 field off Haifa is really in Lebanese territorial waters.

The Tamar-1 well, located in 5,500 feet of water 90 kilometers west of Haifa, was drilled to a total depth of 16,076 (4,900 meters) feet to test a subsalt, lower-Miocene structure in the Levantine basin. Preliminary indications show 88 billion cubic meters of natural gas at the Tamar prospect worth an estimated $15 billion. Israeli government revenue alone from the find could amount to NIS 11 billion." (Thanks Philippe)

Greetings from Gaza

My friend Ahmed sent me this (I post with his permission)

Greetings from Gaza

Dear Friends

Thanks much for your messages and good words in solidarity with Gaza and peace in our region. At the moment we have a seize fire in Gaza and people are moving and visiting each others we are all astonished and shocked by what we have seen on the ground after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza lands. Today's morning I wend with my family to see our little fruitful orchard (one dunum), east of Gaza city we found it totally destroyed with no one green branch, many of the trees planted there by the little hands of my children , we saw the orchard's borders are disappeared too. So many palestinian small scale farmers have same situation. I and many others still believe that such situation and destruction should motivate all of us to continue our entire struggle to pave the way for real and good change ... a struggle for just peace and fare development in Palestine and the whole area. Part of this struggle is to continue our work and mission jointly with Palestinian agricultural grassroots organizations and other international partners in Gaza in the weeks and months to come.

Finest Regards from here

Ahmed Sourani
Director of Projects & Cooperation
Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


"In 1998, Mr Shultz was awarded the "Israeli 50th Anniversary Tribute Award" from the Jerusalem Fund of Aish Ha-Torah, which is strongly critical of Yasser Arafat and insists that the occupied Palestinian territories should be described only as "disputed".

In a speech to Jewish Americans in Seattle earlier this year – at the height of the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon's, reoccupation of West Bank towns – Starbucks' top man condemned Palestinian "inaction" and announced that "the Palestinians aren't doing their job – they're not stopping terrorism". Gideon Meir, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, complimented Mr Shultz for helping American students to hear "Israeli presentations on the Middle East crisis".

Starbucks operates in six other Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – but the boycott protesters, who include both Palestinians and Muslim groups at Ein Shams University in Egypt and the American University of Cairo, have a much wider list of companies they wish to punishfor allegedly supporting Israel, not only in the Middle East but in the United States itself.

They include AOL Time Warner, Disney, Estée Lauder, Nokia, Revlon, Marks & Spencer, Selfridges and IBM. Students at Dubai University and in the Syrian capital, Damascus, are now also liaising over their boycott plans."

Fisk on Boycott

International Thief Thief (remember Fela?)

"The so-called international community, Does it exist?

Is it anything more than a club of merchants, bankers and war-makers? Is it anything more than an artistic name that the United States attaches when it engages in theatre?

Before the tragedy of Gaza, the worldwide hypocrisy shows up once again. As ever, the indifference, the vacuous discourses, the empty declarations, the high sounding declamations, the ambiguous postures are a tribute to sacred impunity.

Before the tragedy of Gaza, the Arab countries wash their hands off. As always. And, as ever, the European countries wring their hands.

Old Europe, so capable of war and malignancy, sheds a tear or so, while secretly celebrating this master move. Because hunting the Jews was always a European custom, but since half a century that historical debt is being paid for by the Palestinians who also are Semites and who never were, nor are, anti-Semites. They are paying, in blood money, the price of others."

Eduardo Galeano

A few brave ones

The Guardian, Saturday 17 January 2009

The leaders of the western world are wringing their hands in despair at the sight of the horrors inflicted on Gaza (Gaza crisis, 16 January). The UN general secretary, the French president and others are holding intensive discussions with some of the leaders of the Middle East in an attempt to put an end to the carnage in Gaza. Word, words, words.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Palestinian civilians get killed, thousands are bleeding to death, tens of thousands are uprooted and wandering in vain in search of some shelter to protect them. The Israeli army bombs hospitals and Unrwa relief centres, and, defying international convention, it uses white phosphorus bombs against civilians. "What else can we do?" these leaders keep asking. Well, here is what you can do: move from words to deeds. Only immediate, decisive and strict sanctions against the state of Israel and its limitless aggression will make it realise that there's a limit.

We, as Israeli citizens, raise our voices to call on EU leaders: use sanctions against Israel's brutal policies and join the active protests of Bolivia and Venezuela. We appeal to the citizens of Europe: please attend to the Palestinian Human Rights Organisation's call, supported by more than 540 Israeli citizens ( boycott Israeli goods and Israeli institutions; follow resolutions such as those made by the cities of Athens, Birmingham and Cambridge (US). This is the only road left. Help us all, please!

Signatories (provided by authors -- onlay partial list appeared in the Guardian)

Gish Amit
Adv. Abeer Baker
Iris Bar
Yoram Bar Haim
Prof. Daphna Carmeli (Haifa University)
Prof. Yoram Carmeli (Haifa University)
Keren Dotan
Ronit Dovrat
Dr. Judith Druks (City University, London)
Rona Even
Dr. Ovadia Ezra (Tel Aviv University)
Prof. Rachel Giora (Tel Aviv University)
Neta Golan
Tamar Goldschmidt
Adar Grayevsky
Dalia Hager
Haim Hanegbi
Rosamine Hayeem
Ala Hlehel
Aya Kaniuk
Lana Khaskia
Prof. Vered Kraus (Haifa University)
Yael Lerer
Dr. Aim Deuel Luski (Tel Aviv University)
Eilat Maoz
Moshe Machover
Prof. Charles Manekin (University of Maryland)
Dr. Ruchama Marton
Dr. Anat Matar (Tel Aviv University)
Rela Mazali
Prof. Yitzhak Y. Melamed (John Hopkins University)
Dorothy Naor
Dr. David Nir
Annie Ohayon
Noam Paiola
Michal Peer
Sigal Perelman
Amit Perelson
Jonathan Pollak
Prof. Yehuda Shenhav (Tel Aviv University)
Dr. Kobi Snitz (Technion – Israel Institute of Technology)
Ruth Tenne
Adv. Lea Tsemel
Michael Varshavsky
Oded Wolkstein
Sergio Yahni