Mar 13, 2019


Divina Levrini died last week; she was a friend and fellow traveler on the freedom flotilla. We are struck with grief. We will plant a tree in her name in our botanical garden [1]. Like our friend Reem Al-Banna she was a freedom singer who died young.

[skip the first two paragraphs if you are not interested in political/human rights issues and go to the third about positive actions]

Israel high court ruled with government to block release of archives that expose Israel's role i n the genocide in Bosnia. In a separate ruling he high court rejected human righs groups petition to make ot illegal for Israeli soldiers to shoot unarmed civilians. Meanwhile Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu (originally Miliekowsky) [2] responded to an instagram message that suggested Arabs are part of Israeli society by saying that Israel is not a state of its citizens but it is a Jewish state! He is right and to confirm the point, Israel election committee ruled against allowing the United Arab party to run in Knesset elections but allowed the terrorist Kahanists Jewish (ultra-right fascists) to run. While there is significant pressure on many western politicians who dare to criticize Israeli apartheid policies, this is back-firing [3] and the delusions about our part of the world are dissipating.  Empires do fall!

The world population is waking up: in France with the yellow vests, Haiti, Venezuela, Yemen, Palestine and elsewhere. Hundreds of thousands protested in Yemen after seeing the stooge self-declared Yemeni "foreign minister" (Saudi appointed and living there) seated between Netanyahu and Pompeo at the failed conference organized by a failing US administration to create yet another war for oil and for Israel (this time on Iran)! There will be other repercussions including bringing governments like China, Russia, Iran, Yemen, Syria, and Venezuela together against imperialism and Zionist colonialism. Soon other countries will follow (maybe even Britain and other European countries). Those who have bet on the maintenance of the US as a world imperial power (albeit guided in its foreign policy from Tel-Aviv) are beginning to realize they have bet on the wrong horse (even some Palestinian leaders). We must draw the right lessons but then also act responsibly.

We at Palestinian universities are under pressure [4]. We at the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability are grateful for the incredible support we are getting from so many people (volunteering, donating, collaborating), We are rising to the challenge: 1) We work with hundreds of school children for empowerment, 2) We work with university students on areas like research (e.g. theses), education, and empowerment, 3) We are supporting 80 farmer families in areas of organic and ecological agriculture and we are working with local communities on resilience through ecotourism, agricultural, and cultural tourism, 4) We have dozens of collaborations around the world and we just hosted  a workshop for 15 faculty from University of Notre Dame and another 20 Palestinians from various universities to expand collaborations, 5) We submit research papers almost weekly and two papers just got accepted (one is our first paper on fossils), 6) On Women's Day March 8, we took 65 people (mostly young women) on a hike through a world heritage site and they learned from women of Battir lots of information on cultural heritage, resilience, and more, 7) We have many international volunteers (this week from Ireland, UK, US, Israel) and continue building and growing our infrastructure of museum and garden (, 8) We will soon open the exhibit on ethnography (connecting people and the land) and will launch a database of Palestinian cultural heritage (tangible like old agricultural tools and intangible like knowledge of medicinal plants, proverbs etc.). Thus, stay tuned; continue to think globally but ACT LOCALLY. For daily positings of activities and action calls, visit our facebook page

[2] Here is a video of him thinking the camera was off explaining his true contributions during his first stint as Israeli prime minister in the 1990s
[3] The shameful attack that backfired
see also this video
Israel’s Stranglehold on American Politics By Chris Hedges
Israeli journalist Gideon Levy says: "What, after all, has Omar said? That pro-Israel activists demand “allegiance to a foreign country”; that U.S. politicians support Israel because of money they receive from the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC, and that “Israel hypnotized the world.” What is incorrect in these statements? Why is describing reality considered anti-Semitic?"
[4] Palestinian universities on the front line by Sam Bahour   

Feb 28, 2019

February Blog

In the news this week are interesting signs positive and engative. The largest empire in between the Roman empire and the US empire (ie. the British empire) shows signs of internal decay but positive actions abound. The foolish vote to resurrect nationalism under the so called Brexit seems to be fraying. If a new referendum is called, I am sure Brexit will fail. Further the Zionist interference in British politics with trying to split the labor party (because of Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt to speak of human rights for Palestinians) seem to be failing. While also investing heavily in social media with professional trolls [1], the truth can’t be hidden and certainly easier to expose than to hide. The US empire is having its own difficulties as shown by the failure of the Trump administration in achieving the Zionist goals vis a vis Syria, Iran, Venezuela and most recently North Korea. The “Democratic” Party (which is not democratic and is heavily serving corporate and Zionist interests) in the US saw an opportunity and circle around the injured Trump administration. There is a vacuum there for progressive voices which may come from people like Ilhan Omar [2], Ocasio-Coretez,[3] and Bernie Sanders. But the latter’s parroting of the administration lies about Venezuela does not give us confidence. In either case, the democrats can at best slow down the decline of empire (as Barak Obama’s administration did). The lessons of previous empires have not been learned. In the Arab world, the US appointed dictator in Egypt refused to give money to fix the crumpling railroads (he and his group is getting rich) and as a result a major railroad crash and fire ball incinerated to death dozens of people and seriously injured about a hundred. This is the same ruler who is executing innocent people after subjecting them to severe torture to extract “confessions”. Really sad what proud ancient Egyptian civilization has slid into.

What most worries us is that egotistical politicians facing decline of their influence and hence their own popularity turn to war thinking it can help their careers. And with nuclear weapons and other WPM around, it is inevitable that they would be used in future global wars. Thus we worry about India which used Israeli “Spice 2000” 100 kg guided missiles to bomb Pakistan which then retaliated by downing two Indian jets. Both are nuclear armed and the fascist Modi is indeed very dangerous as he seeks to stay in power. The same with Netanyahu who just bombed besieged and starved Gaza. He could be reckless enough to start a war with Lebanon and Syria. Trum facing impeachment may either resign or bomb Iran. The world is a dangerous place because of those greedy egotistical people. But good people are doing good things. A US peace delegation traveled to Iran and met leaders and common people [4]. The Venezuelan people exposed the conspiracy and challenged sanctions and imperialism. While US puppet Guido waves an Israeli flag, the people wave Palestinian flags. Columbian and Brazilian people are starting to stir against their US-backed puppet governments. Even in Palestinian politics, the US supported elites are struggling and have stooped to the point of spending so much money on large bill boards and other media campaigns to prop up their image. There are calls to both Hamas and Fatah to return to the people and end the charade of Oslo accords sponsored by the imperial powers.

Here in Palestine, life of suffering contimnues. The UN Human Rights Council issued a report this week that shows the extent of Israel’s violations of international law and human rights including on targeting children [5].  Yet, we continue to exist and to resist. We are not alone. Last two weeks for example I hosted five International delegations. The museum and institute ( hosts many volunteers, we are grateful for significant donations (financial and in-kind), we are appolying for more grants, and we have good actions on the ground that make a difference. We also continue to have significant activities in all three areas we focus on: research, education, conservation. In research we continue to make new discoveries, publish, and advance knowledge. In education, we are working with students aged 6 to 90! We have educational workshops that build human capacity (including Science Cafe every Friday 3-5); just in the last week on GIS, on leadership, on tourism promotion, and on agriculture. We do conservation both ex situ and in situ (but based on research and education first) for our cultural and natural heritage.

A section of the apartheid wall in Jerusalem collapsed thanks to the good rains we received. We are 100% confident the rest of the wall will fall. And the BDS movement continues to grow (see examples [6])

[1] An investigation published by the New Yorker  Magazine exposes how Mossad agents are  infiltrating our social media to “shape reality” … “to influence what people believed and how they behaved” …“to reach virtually anyone and to play with their minds” not to mention to influence elections and target Palestine solidarity activists.
[2] A Jewish man says from hospital what Ilhan Omar Said About AIPAC Was Right. I’m ashamed to admit that endorsing AIPAC positions was all about the Benjamins for me and my candidate. By Ady BarkanTwitter
[6], and the new newsletter from British academics for universities in palestine

(FASCINATING history) How Zionism helped create the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Jan 13, 2019


Factoid 1: in the 2003 US/Israel supported (but never implemented) “Road map to peace” consisting of 2172 word, we find NO (zero) mention of human rights or international law (missing!). We do find 29 mentions of ‘security’ (for the oppressor not the Palestinian victims) and ten mentions of terrorism or terror (never used for Israeli terrorism only supposed native Palestinian ‘terror’ (which is actually Palestinian resistance sanctioned by International law!). It was likely drafted by the lobby.

Factoid 2: US Secretary of state Pompeo gave a lengthy speech (3593 words) in Cairo. We find no mention of human rights or international law (missing). He mentioned Iran over 30 times (negatively), Israel 13 times (positively), Palestine zero times, and 11 mentions of terrorism or terror (never used for State terrorism). It was likely drafted by the lobby.

Factoid 3: Legal cases are beginning to be taken against unconstitutional laws and executive orders pushed by the Israel lobby to protect Israel from BDS campaigns in the USA. Below are four examples from MD, AK, AZ, and TX. We encourage others and we encourage federal lawsuits.

Factoid 4: Israeli and Israeli-Occupied US foreign policy in the Arab world are in disarray. Their puppets and tails are in retreat (including Al-Qaeda and ISIS and other terrorist groups). Dictators and fascists like Netanyahu and Sisi and Bin Salman and others are increasingly realizing that killing more innocent civilians in Gaza, Sinai, or Yemen will not help keep them in power. Gulf leaders who normalize with apartheid Israel are also coming to see that this is not more important than listening to their own people who reject colonialism and fascism. 2019 is already promising to be a bit better than 2018.

Supplementary factoid: US media dominated by Zionist forces ignore news like the above or that Israel culture minister said she supports fascism (and it is part of Israeli culture) or that Israel/Zionism has done 1000 more times than Russia in interference in US elections and getting people in power whose loyalty is more to Israel than their own country (so called Democrats and Republicans alike). They should be called out on it. But I still feel sorry for Zionists. Colonial Zionists suffer from pathology that needs treatment. Even if the world ignores (and it will not) the horrors of attacks on innocent people or on peaceful demonstrations (in 100 years of colonialism over 100,000 natives were killed so on average 1000/year) and all the ethnic cleansing of Palestine (7.5 million refugees or displaced people) or the 800,000 Palestinians who spent time as political prisoners or the 500 + Palestinian villages and town erased. A friend remarked that “if they [Zionists] knew how to use life they would not even rob it from others ….[and thus generate] serious and deep resentment.” Knowning many Zionists who are liberal on so many subjects and support human rights and international law and order in all areas EXCEPT Palestine tells us something about this pathology. It explains why Zionists destroyed millions of native Palestinian trees and yet planted a monoculture of European pine trees (environmentally devastating) or why they dverted te Jordan valley water and destroyed a great ecosystem for a propaganda project called “Israel National Water Carrier” and the myth of “making deserts green” Palestine has always been Green and part of the Fertile Crescent long before Zionists destroyed it), or bombing sewage treatment and electrical facilities in Gaza and allows sewage to be dumped into the Mediterranean.

Commonality and Hope

Responding to climate change, protecting the Amazon forest, helping refugee, having justice (a road to peace), fighting racism and greed, fighting a flu, finding meaning in life maybe connected more than we think.

Humans who disconnect themselves from nature may lose track of fundamental but simple facts of life and can get overwhelmed in teh age of information with these things and get paralyzed or worse yet be propellled o do horrible things. One of those facts of life is that life itself started on earth 3.5 billion years ago with basic process of mutation, change, selection, adaptation, and evolution and tat these same principles and laws STILL apply today even among us HUMANS. Understanding basics can also help us shape our actions. Even before resources were limiting (before competition or survival of the fittest), small micro-organisms acquired random mutations and some of these allowed better reproduction and growth sand some dissappeared. As life grew in volume and complexity, natural selection did become a survival of the fittest and, "nature, red in tooth and claw" (Tennyson 1850).

Evolution is a fundamental fact of science without which nothing in biology or medicine or even agriculture makes sense. No one denies that biology (my first field of formal education) and sociology (human affairs) are connected. But we jumans were to transcend biological evolution at least in social evolution (most people including Darwin would look negatively on ideas of "Social Darwinism"). Evolution of course does occur in human societies: we do know what the fate of many societies that failed to adapt and evolve to a constantly changing world/environment.

Social evolution is also limited by our biology (sex, reproduction, feding etc). Yet, humans have cooperative societies that can and does cover for and many times take care of the weak and vulnerable members of the society. Altruism indeed evolved by biological natural selection in our species because of the survival benefit of it. For example keeping the elderly who kept the stories of the techniques and locations and experiences that helped the new generation be more successful hunterers & gatherers. The "selfish genes" (in the words of Dawkins) did not get eliminated though and to this day that struggle between individualism/selfishness and community interests (both products of our evolution remained). Our varied cultural, religious and educational backgrounds (themselves products of long evolution) may spin these things in different words and concepts like ying and yang, bliss and carnal instincts, angels and devils, or heavens and hells. But what how are we to be guided in our actions?

Martin Luther King Jr once said "Those who organize for peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who organize for war".  But we should analyze and expand on a this a bit. Those two categories spoken of by MLK are just individuals and they do have variations and influences from peers and society. Those who work for peace (altruism, kindness, justice) are people who somehow  managed to suppress certain other evolved tendencies like competition and greed. The reverse is true. Mahatma Gandhi and Donald Trump are both members of the same species with similar genetic background but are products of different experiences and emphases.

The Gandhis of the world are a bit more numerous than the Trumps of the world (see my book for example on popular resistance in Palestine) but numbers are not everything. For example we do have to consider that greedy selfish people can accumulate significant wealth and control media and thus influence fate of millions of people (zionism is a good example). They even get elected as happened in the US, Brazil, or "Israel". Further, those of us pushing against the Trumps of the world are never as organized, never as smart, never have enough resources, never have enough forward looking positive plans and actions for the future. "Never have enough" is a perception (important to give us incentive to get more) not a recipe for giving up! Obviously we occasionally succeed: think improvements and sometimes revolutins in civil rights, women rights, children rights, economic/worker rights, ending wars and apartrtheid in many places etc just in the past 100 years.

So back to finding commonality (first sentence above). The Trumps of the world care about very, very limited things. The MLK's of the world have expanded vision and understand connectivity which is only partially touched upon above. That is why MLK Jr refused to focus just on civil rights but also worked n Vietnam and the economic injustice and the environmenment etc. Because we are all connected. In my book "Sharing the Land of Canaan" I quoted Joseph Campbell

Today, the walls and towers of the culture-world that then were in the building are dissolving ... But of course, on the other hand, for those who can still contrive to live within the fold of a traditional mythology of some kind, protection is still afforded against the dangers of an individual life; and for many the possibility of adhering in this way to established formulas is a birthright they rightly cherish, since it will contribute meaning and nobility to their unadventured lives, ... and to those for whom such protection seems a prospect worthy of all sacrifice, and orthodox mythology will afford both the patterns and the sentiments of a lifetime of good repute. However, by those to whom such living would be not life, but anticipated death, the circumvallating mountains that to others appear to be of stone are recognized as of the mist of dream, and precisely between their God and Devil, heaven and hell, white and black, the man of heart walks through. Out beyond those walls, in the uncharted forest night, where the terrible wind of God blows directly on the questing undefended soul, tangled ways may lead to madness. They may also lead, however, as one of the greatest poets of the Middle Ages tells, to 'all those things that go to make heaven and earth.'

In my December blog I discussed some additional changes that could happen and how to keep us on a track to sustainability but the comments were even more interesting. For example comment 13 posted underneath was from Jeff who wrote:
man's urge to dominate his fellow men, greed, power, colonialism, imperialism. these are the things that have led us astray. these are the things we are fighting to neutralize now. fascism is part of our human nature as is altruism. when we work together all things are possible. hitler, gandhi, trump, mandela. these men represented the good and bad in our natures. what we need is for people to step up and become leaders instead of listening to leaders. if learning enables people to lead there is hope. i am always inspired by you mazin.