From time to time I send copies of and links to news and opinion pieces from the internet as email.   These go to long term friends, family, and others I know only from the net who have expressed an interest, and who I consider my new spiritual and intellectual friends.   It is a good way to discover who my friends truly are, in fact.

I began doing this more than a year before September 11, 2001, to share information about plight of women in Afghanistan and the need to liberate the Afghan people from the oppression of the Taliban.   After the 9-11 attack  my focus  shifted to the progress and problems of the military action to rid Afghanistan of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, then to efforts to establish a democratic government and rebuild the economy and civil society.   I wanted to go on from there to learn about, and share information about all of the Indo-Caspian region, its peoples and their struggle toward social, religious, and economic freedom and equality.

Unfortunately I, as the rest of the world, have been forced to shift my attention.   Now the need is to  liberate us all from the fate in mind for us by the  Shrubbyist predators in Washington and the terrorist Sharon and his gang in Tel Aviv, and their fundamentalist and medievalist co-conspirators.

My occasional emailings are intended to provide my friends with information they might not otherwise have access to, related to that new battle.   This mailing is going to a wider circle of names than is usual, so that you can look at the kinds of information I send (see below), and let me know if you would like to receive more like it.

Some of the materials I email, or links to them, are posted to my website,, especially in the "Pages" and "Weblog" sections (esp. "Armageddon" and "Betraying Adam Smith").  I hope you will visit the site and look  at those postings to get a better idea, picture, feeling about what I am reading and sending.

I generally send from 3 to 6 pieces a week.  Rarely, I may send as many as three items on the same day.  I would usually send only one or two items in a single mailing, and those not from a single source.  The "Guardian" Special report from which these come seems a valuable resource however,  so I made an exception this time.

Please let me know if you would like to be included in my emailings on a regular basis.  If you know of anyone who may be interested in these materials, please forward this mail to them.

If you have recieved email from me in the past, and would like to be removed from my address book, please let me know that, as well.

With all love and hope for our common future,

Jim Pivonka
PO Box 751
La Crosse, KS  67548

The following materials are from the "Guardian Unlimited" Special report: Israel and the Middle East,2759,377264,00.html

Israel needs a fresh start,2763,872063,00.html

It is a time for honesty and realism

Leader Friday January 10, 2003 The Guardian

If ever a country was in need of a fresh start, it is Israel. From almost every perspective, Ariel Sharon's premiership has been a disaster. On January 28, Israeli voters have the chance to sack him. They should do so. But if a change of government is to make a real difference, Israelis also need to be honest with themselves.

All Israelis, and not just Mr Sharon, should stop blaming others for their misfortunes. The country's chronic state of insecurity is not primarily the result of Palestinian violence. It stems fundamentally from the present policy of oppressive, expanding and illegal occupation of another's land. The lack of any diplomatic momentum towards a settlement with Palestine, let alone with Syria and others, cannot ultimately be blamed on the US, Europe, the UN or Arab leaders, although all may be severely faulted. It is principally a product of Mr Sharon's destructive mix of political dissembling and military aggression at which far too many Israelis shrug or wink.

Despite fears to the contrary, Israel's Jews are not targets of a suddenly rising European anti-semitism. Rather it is the Israeli state that - even allowing for the unacceptable use of terror against its civilians - stands accused of ignoring humanitarian norms and basic human rights that most people in modern Europe take for granted. The sense of crisis that led to Israel's now defunct national unity government is not externally imposed. Nor is it entirely real or unwished but to a degree self-created and self-perpetuating. It has been used to allow some Israelis, and Israel's leader, to duck the hard questions, to delay a difficult, honourable reckoning, to ignore causation while pleading emergency, to deny the uncomfortable truth that without a just peace, there is just no security.

A fresh start requires honesty and realism about other threats to the integrity and cohesion of Israeli society. The recent attempt to bar leading Israeli Arab politicians from contesting the elections, now rightly overturned in court, was symbolic of the polarising, divisive impact of the Sharon era. But one legal ruling hardly means that the insupportable discrimination faced by Arab citizens is at an end, nor that a mass poll boycott by Arab voters as in 2001 will be avoided.

From a different perspective, the current spate of sleaze scandals involving allegations of internal Likud vote-buying and illegal funding represents a similarly injurious challenge to Israel's democratic tradition. Whether Mr Sharon, who is personally implicated, can brazen it out again is in a sense immaterial. If re-elected, he will be dogged by debilitating police and judicial investigations. But while Likud's standing has already been hurt, the damage done to the political process may be more lasting. Meanwhile, Mr Sharon's gross economic mismanagement threatens the very fabric of the state he claims uniquely to defend. While military spending has risen, about 20% of Israelis now live below the official poverty line, including 531,000 children; 1.1m people are on welfare and many more "in distress". Foreign investment has fallen; tourism has collapsed; unemployment is over 10%; and the begging bowl is once again extended to Washington. In all honesty, who would re-elect a man with such a record?

The answer, until recently at least, was Israel's voters.  But the opinion polls are now shifting unpredictably; a Sharon victory is suddenly in doubt. Here is a real chance for Labour's Amram Mitzna.  More to the point, here is a chance for all of Israel to banish delusion, to vanquish the fear on which Mr Sharon thrives, and link arms to demand a new beginning.

On Being Dealt the Anti-Semitic Card,10551,870572,00.html

Tom Paulin -  Wednesday January 8, 2003  - The Guardian
This poem first appeared in the London Review of Books

The first answer is Beckett's
in another context
to "Mr Beckett they say that you are English?"
he answered "au contraire"
- he didn't say "I am not dot dot"
which plays their game
- in this case the ones who play the a-s card -
of death threats hate mail talking tough
the usual cynical Goebbels stuff
so I say the same
and say that peace it must be talked
re Palestine and re Iraq
- Israel has got the bomb
but that's not why
no one in their right mind
says Israel should be swept into the sea
- historic guilt
is and must be always with us
- it knows the railway line to Auschwitz
went unbombed
it counts the refugees turned back
and sees that Nacht und Nebel track
they called the Himmelfahrt
the long unthinkable - must be always thought -
- go back
see England and Ireland
force the Jews out
watch the Crusaders
those mailclad terrorist invaders
making rivers of blood
in Palestine
(not Virgil via Enoch Powell)
recall the Dreyfus case
anti-semites packed
in Austria-Hungary and Poland
Croatia, the Ukraine
- the list is endless
it turns one's bowels
and must be made in every generation
as we count the sinister 15+ per cent
of Le Pen French
- but they hate black people Arabs
and constantly attack them
the Battle of Algiers they're still fighting
they want the guillotine brought back
in a culture built on comme il faut
and quite unwilling
to admit its faults
- so taste the deep uneasy darkness
in our Enlightenment
savants and philosophes going down the rungs
of that tight unsteady Aufklärung
back into that bony stinking ragshop
whence they sprung
(we mustn't though be mastered by De Maistre
who in his manner sees what's wrong)
as Berlin - Isaiah - shows
who dying called
for fairness to all those
- those Palestinians
he never named them
who suffered Nakba
(catastrophe in 48)
and still suffer it
- the refugees it's now their turn
to have that human right - return
sold at Oslo down the river
by Arafat that double-ditherer
- artless arkless Arafat
but all this guilt
- guilt that stings
is now fitted to a programme
- Christian fundamentalist
born again into that Zion
we all are touched by
- are spitted on
(when Israel went out of Egypt
the House of Jacob from a people
of strange language - the hills
saw this and leapt
they leapt like lambs
- I harken to it
to that liberation text
Milton set in Greek and English verse
before it got twisted)
the programme though
of saying Israel's critics
are tout court anti-semitic
is designed daily by some schmuck
to make you shut the fuck up
- so keep your head down
in the sands
or police the Index
of what can and cannot be said
and don't utter a word
or a single sound
and if you do you won't be heard
authors take sides on spain
Beckett answered Auden's question
with ¡Up the Republic!
and went on to fight the Occupation
- no talk of Beckett's Croix de Guerre
only cricket scores and mouldy Wisdens
authors take sides on palestine
where was that piece?
where do we stand?
on a career path
where darlings pass from job to job
ignoring who's been robbed
ignoring what the British did
decades back in Palestine
we must create
who was it in the 20s said
another little Ulster*
now watch those darlings as they glide
over shifting sands
lost in the dark
or bowing their heads
below those guilt-inducing wands
waved like flags
above the Shankill Road
so the Palestinians they're forgotten
- robbed dying wrecked
the victims of the victims
out on a severed a dying limb
waiting for the next Nakba
when they'll be pushed out into Jordan
- this is Sharon's plan
soon as Bush and Blair they hit Iraq
- now as the reed sea bends
- collusive sensitive in two minds
granting the settlers squatters' rights -
it parts to let yet more soldiers through

* Sir Ronald Storrs, the first British governor of Jerusalem, wrote of British support for Zionism that Palestine would be "for England a 'little loyal Jewish Ulster' in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism".

See also:  "Theatre of war"

 "In a municipal theatre in the suburbs of Tel Aviv, Mythos, Rina Yerushalmi's three-hour adaptation of the story of the House of Atreus and the Trojan war,  sums up the bloody cycle of violence and revenge, which is tearing Israelis and Palestinians apart. Yerushalmi is working at the very front line of conflict.   Inevitably, her version of the agonies of Electra and Orestes is more implacable and heart-breaking than versions made in the safe capital cities of the world.  It is also more female, and more ravishingly beautiful."

TV humiliation as Sharon fails to stem voter exodus,2763,872042,00.html

Chris McGreal in Jerusalem Friday January 10, 2003 The Guardian

An Israeli judge pulled the plug on his prime minister Ariel Sharon mid-way through an angry and rambling television address last night which was meant to deny corruption allegations and win back voters who are fleeing his party in droves.

With opinion polls showing a rapid collapse in public trust and his rightwing bloc perilously close to losing its majority in this month's general election, Mr Sharon was forced to make a public statement about $1.5m given to his family last year by a British businessman.

Before the address, commentators agreed that Mr Sharon is "no longer the Teflon prime minister" and that he needed a masterful performance to regain public trust.

But after about 20 minutes of avoiding specifics in favour of vitriolic denunciations of his opponents whom he accused of "despicable slander... with one purpose, to bring down the government of Israel", he was abruptly taken off the air for violating another law.

Israel's election commission obtained a court order because Mr Sharon's speech amounted to "electioneering" which is illegal on television. Mr Sharon failed to explain convincingly the circumstances of the $1.5m (£934,000) loan.

The broadcast may even have fuelled the decline of Likud which has lost about one-third of its backing over the past month, according to the latest polls. In addition, 31% of voters said they no longer believe Mr Sharon is fit to be prime minister.

Supporters of the prime minister's arch-rival for the Likud leadership, the foreign minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, are already beginning to agitate for his resignation.

The fraud squad is investigating whether the loan to one of Mr Sharon's sons from Cyril Kern, a wealthy former textile manufacturer in Cape Town, was indirectly used to repay illegal campaign funds.

If so, Mr Sharon could face charges of deception, fraud and lying to the police over the source of the funds. There is no suggestion that Mr Kern did anything illegal.

Last night the prime minister told the Israeli public he had been "horrified" to learn of the original illegal campaign funds even though the front company used to launder the funds was set up by his then lawyer, Dov Weisglass, who now heads the prime minister's office.

He said he did not know where the money came from to repay the campaign funds after the state comptroller concluded they were illegal. The fraud squad alleges that the prime minister told the police and state comptroller that the money came from a mortgage on his ranch. But his bank had turned down the mortgage because Mr Sharon does not own the ranch.

To win back the voters, they will have to believe that Mr Sharon knew nothing of the loan to his son.

Last night, the prime minister tried to say that recent revelations of vote buying and organised crime infiltration of his Likud party were groundless and the work of his Labour opponent, Amram Mitzna, who was in London to meet Tony Blair. But that is unlikely to satisfy sceptical voters given that the police have already made several arrests and Mr Sharon was forced to fire one of his deputy ministers implicated in the scandal.

The prime minister's friend and special envoy to the White House, Aryeh Ganger, refused to answer questions from fraud squad detectives last week about his role in funnelling illegal funds to Mr Sharon's 1999 campaign.

To add to the prime minister's woes, the supreme court yesterday overturned a ban on two leading Arab-Israeli politicians from seeking re-election to the knesset.

Likud is haemorrhaging support not only to its allies on the right but, crucially, to a centrist party, Shinui, that looks likely to triple its seats and emerge as the third largest party in the knesset.

Shinui is led by a populist rabble rouser, Yosef Lapid, who has won support by virulently opposing religious parties and demanding a secular state.