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Posts Tagged ‘Robert Fantina

The Other Side of the Wall

The Other Side of the Wall is my new book that recounts my experiences with the International Solidarity Movement in Palestine. It has recently been published by Cune Press and is now available at Amazon and Cune Press.

You can find a free sample from the book here.

Reviews:

Robert FantinaMiddle East Eye.

Jim Miles, Palestine Chronicle.

Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor.

Paul LarudeeInternational Solidarity Movement.

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Testimonials:

  • “A brave, poignant, and invaluable exposure to the daily suffering and dangers endured by the Palestinian people living under a cruel occupation that has lasted for 50 years with no end in sight.
  • Richard Hardigan is no spectator of this ordeal, writing as one who has for some months stood shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with the Palestinians, inspired by their extraordinary resolve, resilience, and above all by their loving hospitality.  Every American should be forced to read this illuminating book!”

Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. Professor Falk has written 20 books, the latest of which is Palestine’s Horizon: Towards a Just Peace.

  • “The Other Side of the Wall is a wrenching and revealing account that can only be conveyed by someone who has lived its exasperating and at times heartbreaking details. Richard Hardigan tells the story of the occupation of Palestine with utmost integrity. It is a powerful experience that is neither intended to be ‘balanced nor neutral’ but dauntingly real and unapologetically honest. A strongly recommended read.”

– Ramzy Baroud, scholar and author of several books, the latest of which is My Father was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story.

  • “In The Other Side of the Wall, Richard Hardigan not only takes you onto the ground in occupied Palestine, but into his shoes as a member of the International Solidarity Movement operating in the West Bank to try to bring the world’s attention to the suffering the Israeli occupation regime is inflicting upon the Palestinians. As the words flow off the page, candidly laying bare the thoughts and emotions that accompanied him on his journey, you feel the fear of confronting armed Israeli soldiers at demonstrations against the occupation.
  • You feel the sense of surrealism as you watch Palestinian youths get shot and carried away, bleeding. You feel the anticipation of wanting to do something to make a difference, followed by the sense of helplessness that comes with the realization that, even if the outside world, beyond that wall, was aware of the reality of life under Israeli occupation, too few would care enough to do anything about it.
  • You struggle with the sense of guilt knowing that, in the end, you, too, will be returning to a life of relative luxury and comfort, while the Palestinians you’ve gotten to know, who’ve opened their homes to you, will remain trapped in that nightmarish existence.
  • The Other Side of the Wall is the next closest thing to doing what he has done and actually traveling into the West Bank to enter that reality for oneself. Hardigan does a tremendous job of bringing that reality to you and, in doing so, conveying the message that, for the sake of our own humanity, we must not avert our eyes and look away, but each in our own capacity join in solidarity with the oppressed.”

Jeremy Hammond, award-winning political analyst, author and founding editor of Foreign Policy Journal. His latest book is Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

  • This is an important book. As Palestine has become a human rights cause, and large segments of the land turned into virtual prisons, a call has gone out to foreigners of conscience to help Palestinians and many have responded. Richard Hardigan is one and he has written what we have been waiting for for years: a measured, you-are-there account of volunteering for the International Solidarity Movement, a vivid journal that takes us past slogans and ideologies.
  • Hardigan is a fine, mature writer. He tells us only what he saw and how he felt when he saw it, in a supreme effort to compensate those who gave him great hospitality with the only thing they sought from him in return: recognition in the eyes of the world.
  • Hardigan’s record is marked by endless imprisonments, tear gassings, shootings, but also moments of comedy and weakness that show Palestinians to be human beings very much like others in political stories that last. The moral questions that haunt Hardigan will haunt his readers. What made one group of humans do this to another group of humans? How can these people go on like this?

Philip Weiss, journalist and author. He co-edited The GoldStone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict, and he is the founder of Mondoweiss.

  • “In this informative and disturbing book, Richard Hardigan brings the reader into the stark, brutal reality of Palestinian suffering. From personal accounts of the suffering of people who quickly became close friends, to the biased reporting in the western media, the reader is brought face-to-face with the harsh truths of the Israeli occupation. A must-read for anyone wanting to be fully informed about this timely issue.”

– Robert Fantina, activist, journalist and author of numerous books. His latest is Empire, Racism and Genocide: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy.

  • “In this searing first-person account, Hardigan describes the murder, theft, desecration and destruction regularly visited on Palestinians by their Israeli tormentors with near-perfect impunity. He also chronicles systemic injustices such as the Wall that swallows land, water, and hope and a ‘justice’ system that regularly beats, incarcerates, and interrogates childen as young as twelve without due process. Any human who reads this account and is not furious enough to be spurred into action should check his or her pulse.”

– Pamela Olson, author of  Fast Times in Palestine.

  • “Following his experiences of the Tahrir Square uprising, in the summer of 2014 Richard Hardigan volunteered with the International Solidarity Movement to join in and to document the resistance to the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine.
  • THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL reveals his own personal awakening to the realities of the apartheid wall, the deadly struggles in Palestinian villages, and the level of violence of Israeli forces and right wing settlers. Set in a backdrop culminating in the devastating seven week assault on Gaza, Hardigan’s voice moves from innocence to a deep seated rage as he bears witness to the brutality of Israeli policies, politicians, and the soldiers tasked with committing a long list of atrocities. 
  • In the tradition of Rachel Corrie, this book joins a growing collection of voices from the ground, calling out the endless grief and loss, and making it more difficult for anyone to say they didn’t know.”

 – Alice Rothchild, physician, author, filmmaker and social justice activist. Her films include the award-winning documentary Voices Across the Divide. Her latest book is Condition Critical: Life and Death in Israel/Palestine.

The Facade of Israel is Cracking

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For many more years than any intelligent person would want to count, Israel was the sacred cow of the United States. (How about since the 60’s? Israel relied on the funds of the US Jews since 1940)

From its violent, bloody, genocidal inception that involved the ethnic cleansing of at least 750,000 Palestinians, and the murder of another 10,000, right through to the illegal, immoral occupation of the West Bank and blockade (aka occupation) of the Gaza Strip, Israel, in the view of U.S. governance and politics, could do no wrong.

Anyone who dared to criticize Israel’s many crimes was accused of anti-Semitism;

As Dr. Norman Finkelstein said, “whenever Israel faces a public relations debacle, its apologists sound the alarm that a ‘new anti-Semitism’ is upon us”.

In the past, if a Jew, such as Dr. Finkelstein, was critical of Israel, Zionists raised the cry that he was ‘a self-hating Jew’, and U.S. politicians bought that ridiculous line.

As a result, Israel became the beneficiary of the bulk of U.S. foreign aid, and has relied on the U.S. for years for protection from international accountability for its crimes, with the U.S always happy to veto any United Nations resolution condemning Israeli violations of human rights and international law.

Oh, but what a difference a 51-day, genocidal onslaught can make!

This refers to the invasion and carpet-bombing of the Gaza Strip during the summer of 2014.

Israel had previously been able to ‘mow the grass’, as it refers to these periodic bombing episodes, with complete impunity. But thanks largely to social media, the world stopped believing that vulnerable, little Israel, with the fourth largest military in the world, and supplied and backed by the largest, was in grave danger from Big Bad Palestine, a nation it illegally occupies, and which has no army, navy or air force.

On-going settlement activity by apartheid Israel, along with Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu’s declaration that Palestinians would never have an independent state while he is prime murderer, and a conflicted relationship with his favorite check-writer, President Barack Obama, seem to have soured the whole thing for Israel.

(Obama lost confidence in Netanyahu because he could deliver on the 2 States and stop further settlement, but Israel internal politics refused to go ahead with even a minor arrangement)

How is this manifesting itself? Well, in a variety of ways.

Mr. Obama has ordered that goods produced by Israel in the occupied West Bank must clearly state that that is the case; they cannot say ‘manufactured in Israel’ anymore. This has brought down the wrath of Zionists everywhere.

Against Israeli wishes, the U.S., along with European Union, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, France and Germany entered into an agreement with Iran that regulates that nation’s nuclear program.

Various Israeli lobbies spent around $40 million opposing this agreement, to no avail.

And Mr. Netanyahu has been saying for decades that Iran is only months away from nuclear weapons. Time must be measured somewhat differently in Israel than it is in the rest of the world. (Before Iran, Israel has been proclaiming that Iraq is the most powerful enemy to Israel existence, and the region is paying the heavy price from Iraq invasion in 2003)

Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate hopeful Bernie Sanders did the unthinkable this year: he skipped the AIPAC (Apartheid Israel Political Affairs Committee) convention this month. He did, however, send a letter, in which he added insult to injury, when he not only recognized the existence of the Palestinians, but also acknowledged that they have legitimate rights to self-determination! Absolutely inconceivable for a U.S. politician!

But it gets worse (for Zionists).

On March 29, the other senator from Vermont, Patrick Leahy, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry (aka, Israel’s whipping boy), signed by himself and ten members of the House of Representatives, requesting that the State Department investigate possible human rights violations by Israel, saying that if Israel is so guilty, U.S. law requires that aid to it is adjusted.  (The US has funded Israel with more than $200 billion so far, from US tax payers)

Such aid to any country is conditioned upon that country’s adherence to international law in the area of human rights, and Mr. Leahy has received credible word (which the rest of the world has been privy to for years), that Israel is, perhaps, in violation.

The international scene is not boding much better for Israel.

The European Union, like the U.S. (and leading the way, of course; one must not expect leadership in human rights to emanate from the United States), now requires that Israeli products from the occupied West Bank be clearly stated as such. And much to the horror of FOX News, the United Nations named Israel the top human rights violator in the world, due to its killing of women and children in Palestine.

Now, the news is not all bad. It is likely that either wind-bag businessman Donald Trump, or Miss 1% herself, Hillary Clinton, will be the next president of the United States, and there is no Israeli hoop through which they are not willing to jump.

Zionists were treated to more butt-kissing at the AIPAC convention from each of the candidates, with desperate and despicable Senator Ted Cruz (R – TX) going so far as to deny the very existence of Palestine! (That is what Golda Meyer PM said in the 70’s)

Such a proclamation may have soothed the hurt their feelings sustained by the words of Mr. Sanders. But outside the convention hall, pro-Palestinian demonstrators (including this writer), detracted perhaps just a little bit from the fun of the Zionist bacchanal going on inside the convention hall.

And let us not lose sight of the fact that the U.S. is fomenting all kinds of wars and uprisings in the Middle East, mainly to prevent any other country from challenging Israeli superiority in the area.

This is an old model; as early as 1961, the U.S. opposed its previously hand-picked Iraqi leader, Abdel Karim Kassem, when he began to build up armaments, and talked of challenging Israeli dominance.

So, since such a thing was unheard of, he was overthrown by the CIA, which installed his successor, one Saddam Hussein. We won’t consider now how well that all turned out.

But it does seem that poor little Israel is finally beginning to get the short end of the stick with which it has been bashing Palestinians for decades. Yes, a new president will pucker-up sufficiently, but the narrative has changed; things cannot return to the status quo once that obnoxious concept – facts – that the U.S. has no use for, has been let out of the box.

What will it mean? It is too early to tell how it will play out; AIPAC will do everything in its considerable power to assure that Congress remains firmly under its thumb.

But as it unsuccessfully unleashed its power to defeat the Iran nuclear agreement, even sending Mr. Netanyahu to address Congress about it, it will be unsuccessful in seizing back the narrative.

So we can all expect to hear more cries of anti-Semitism, anytime anyone condemns Israeli crimes. We will hear more about how the Israeli army is the most moral in the world, as more and more videos show Israeli soldiers shooting unarmed and unthreatening men, women and children. We will hear how Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, as its apartheid laws cause untold suffering for non-Israelis, and non-Jewish Israelis.

But the light is now clearly visible at the end of the tunnel; the train of justice is barreling down, and Israel will only be a minor impediment, slowing it, possibly, but unable to stop it. When it reaches the station, Palestine will be free.

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).


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