ISRAELIS CHEER AS PALESTINIAN VILLAGE GETS DEMOLISHED

Witnesses told CNN that the Israeli forces arrived at the village accompanied by busloads of civilians who cheered as the dwellings were demolished. They said armed police deployed with tear gas, water cannon, two helicopters and bulldozers.

Bedouin women and children sleep in the shade after being escorted from their village.

Bedouins evicted from village in southern Israel

Jerusalem  — Police evicted 200 Bedouins from their homes in a southern Israeli village on Tuesday and demolished their dwellings, an act decried by residents who said they are on ancestral land.

The move occurred five miles north of Beer Sheva in a village called Al-Araqeeb, an enclave not recognized by the state of Israel.

Witnesses told CNN that the Israeli forces arrived at the village accompanied by busloads of civilians who cheered as the dwellings were demolished. They said armed police deployed with tear gas, water cannon, two helicopters and bulldozers.

But Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said there were no disturbances and the operation went according to plan.

He said the move was in response to a court order and people had been settling there illegally. Rosenfeld said there were about 30 shacks and 200 people removed.

Villagers said they’ve lived in the region for years back to the Ottoman days before Israel was founded, and have original deeds to the land.

After the Israeli forces left the scene, some villagers immediately started rebuilding their dwellings.

“The state of Israel is treating us like cockroaches,” said Sulaiman Abu Mdian, 29, a father of four who works as a chicken farmer.

Bedouins are Arabs who live in the desert regions of the Middle East. Some are nomadic and others are sedentary and remain in one location.

Source

INTERNATIONAL BOYCOTT ACTION UPDATES

Supporters of the Olympia Food Co-op’s boycott of Israeli goods stand outside one of its stores. (Olympia BDS)

Boycott Song:

To help the people of Palestine
we won’t buy grapefruit or Israeli wine
And if you’re wondering
what you can do:
please join the boycott
and help them too!

Don’t buy dates
Don’t buy Jaffa fruit
Don’t buy Israeli wine
There’s a boycott going on!
There’s a boycott going on


Victories as N. American boycott movement gains momentum

BOYCOTT BACKLASH

Anti Israel Protest Works Every Where – Here is An Example



Click HERE for Boycott product Updates

IT IS PERMITTED TO KILL NON JEWS AFTER ALL

Ziojustice had been served. Yesterday it was reported that a certain settler ‘rabbi’ was arrested for inciting murder against non Jews…. that was the good news. Well, hours later he was released with not even a slap on his wrist by the the authorities.

The arrest angered many, including some on the ‘left’ claiming that “Incitement for racist violence seriously undermines human rights and it should not be ignored. However, it is not entirely clear whether the arrest was justified in this case.”

Just when is it justified? When some nazisettler acts on the ‘encouragement’ put forward in the book?
With ‘leftists’ with such opinions does Israel even need a ‘right’?

According to Shapira, it is permissible to kill a non-Jew who threatens Israel even if the person is classified as a Righteous Gentile. His book says that any gentile who supports war against Israel can also be killed.

Killing the children of a leader in order to pressure him, the rabbi continues, is also permissible. In general, according to the book, it is okay to kill children if they “stand in the way – children are often doing this.” “They stand in the way of rescue in their presence and they are doing this without wanting to,” he writes. “Nonetheless, killing them is allowed because their presence supports murder.

There is justification in harming infants if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us. Under such circumstances the blow can be directed at them and not only by targeting adults.”

To me, the above in parenthesis sounds like an incitement for murder….. I guess screaming ‘fire’ in a crowded movie theatre is OK as well….. after all, we wouldn’t want to upset any ‘left wing lawyers’.

Police release rabbi arrested for inciting to kill non-Jews

Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, head of the Od Yosef Hai Yeshiva, released from police custody hours after being arrested for encouraging the killing of non-Jews.

Police released the head rabbi of a prominent yeshiva yesterday hours after arresting him for encouraging to kill non-Jews.

Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, head of the Od Yosef Hai Yeshiva and author of “The King’s Torah,” was arrested early yesterday morning at his home in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar. His book describes how it is possible to kill non-Jews according to halakha (Jewish religious law ).

Detectives first carried out a search at the yeshiva, where they confiscated 30 copies of the book. The investigation and arrest were carried out on the orders of Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan.

The preface of the book, which was published in November, states that it is forbidden to kill non-Jews – but the book then apparently describes the context in which it is permitted to do so.

Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira in court on January 20, 2010. Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira in court on January 20, 2010.
Photo by: Olivier Fitoussi

According to Shapira, it is permissible to kill a non-Jew who threatens Israel even if the person is classified as a Righteous Gentile. His book says that any gentile who supports war against Israel can also be killed.

Killing the children of a leader in order to pressure him, the rabbi continues, is also permissible. In general, according to the book, it is okay to kill children if they “stand in the way – children are often doing this.” “They stand in the way of rescue in their presence and they are doing this without wanting to,” he writes. “Nonetheless, killing them is allowed because their presence supports murder. There is justification in harming infants if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us. Under such circumstances the blow can be directed at them and not only by targeting adults.”

The daily Maariv’s report on the book was immediately followed by calls for Shapira’s arrest and a petition was filed with the High Court of Justice for a ban on the book’s distribution. The petition was rejected as premature.

The rabbi’s arrest has stirred angry responses on both the left and right. “The police did well to initiate an investigation,” attorney Lila Margalit of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel said. “Incitement for racist violence seriously undermines human rights and it should not be ignored. However, it is not entirely clear whether the arrest was justified in this case.”

She added that the tendency in Israel is to “overuse” arrests, and in cases where there is no justification for it.

A spokesman for Yitzhar said: “Once more we are seeing rabbis being gagged and serious damage inflicted to their honor, along with the razing of homes in the settlements.”

Source

GUILTY …. BUT NOT CHARGED! (PHOTOS NOT MEANT FOR GENERAL VIEWING)

The photos presented below are not meant to be viewed by anyone weak of heart… they are indictments of a system that allows the following to happen according to the logic of the post that follows this one….

Let’s start with the guilty parties… the settler in the Occupied West Bank. We hear of the crimes committed in Gaza, but these often go unreported….

They hunt Arabs for sport….

~~~

They are joined by soldiers and other dogs….

They teach their children….

~~~

The ‘enemy’ in action….

Settlers cut off his arm for throwing stones….

Roses Where Al Laddi Used To Sit … She was raped and killed by the settler gang….


IDF Soldiers Executed A Rock Thrower In Front Of A Classroom Of Kids….

When you support the illegal settlements, you support the above. It’s not merely the land that they steal, it’s the very lives of our children.

things could be different indeed….

‘DEMOCRATIC HARASSMENT’

“In a democratic country, every person is allowed to participate in protests and political activities as he sees fit …. He does not owe anyone an explanation on his political positions or beliefs, and it is not possible to ‘call him to attention’ or take any kind of steps to give him the feeling that his political activity could be to his detriment.”

Unless that country happens to be Israel…..

When a person has contravened the law in the framework of protest activity, he can be summoned for a criminal interrogation and taking steps against him can be considered.

Just what is the Shin Bet? THIS should give you a pretty good picture…..

Just what have they been up to lately?? The following report should give you  pretty good picture of that too…..

What does it mean when the Shin Bet calls you up for a ‘chat’?

The Shin Bet’s tendency to call in citizens to discuss their political activity has ACRI concerned. The Attorney General’s office says the service wants to keep innocent people from being exploited.

Following last week’s report that conscientious objector Yonatan Shapira had been summoned by the Shin Bet – for what the security service described as a “chat,” but his lawyers termed a “political interrogation” – the Association for Civil Rights in Israel called our attention to its own correspondence with the authorities regarding similar summonses in the past. The legal nonprofit is concerned that the very summons to the Shin Bet classifies the political activist as someone “harming state security.” The last letter from ACRI to the attorney general’s office on this matter was sent in December 2009, but a response arrived only this June.

At that time, attorney Lila Margalit wrote: “As we have already warned in the past, we have been witness in the last few years to the most worrisome phenomenon whereby citizens are called in for a ‘warning’ interrogation at the Shin Bet which appears to be directed at dissuading them from participating in protests or other political activity, and to obtain information from them concerning the political activities of others. This phenomenon deeply harms the legal rights of the individual and threatens, no less, to smash the delicate principles on which Israeli democracy is based.

Conscientious objector Yonatan Shapiro Conscientious objector Yonatan Shapiro
Photo by: Archive

“In a democratic country, every person is allowed to participate in protests and political activities as he sees fit,” the letter continued. “He does not owe anyone an explanation on his political positions or beliefs, and it is not possible to ‘call him to attention’ or take any kind of steps to give him the feeling that his political activity could be to his detriment. In extraordinary and exceptional cases, when a person has contravened the law in the framework of protest activity, he can be summoned for a criminal interrogation and taking steps against him can be considered. But the attempt to use investigative authority to ‘deter’ political activists, or to cause them to think twice before going out to [protest in] the streets, is completely wrong.”

Margalit’s letter came as a direct result of an incident involving Wajih Siddawi who is active in Tarabut-Hithabrut, the Arab-Jewish movement for social and political change. Though summoned to an official police investigation at the Hadera police station, he was interrogated there by a man in civilian garb who introduced himself as “Yuval from the Shin Bet.” Siddawi was not interrogated as a suspect.

Shapira, on the other hand, was summoned from the start by “Ronah from the Shin Bet.” But in terms of content – the attempt to discuss the invitee’s political activity – there was similarity. Similarities can also be seen with other interrogations/investigations/inquiries/chats the Shin Bet has held with other left-wing activists, Arabs and Jews over the past few years.

In her letter to Menachem Mazuz, then attorney general, Margalit wrote: “Only in questionable regimes are citizens called in for ‘warning’ talks with the security forces to explain their political activities and positions. Especially in the sensitive arena of freedom of expression and protest, one must be doubly careful to make sure interrogations do not lead to a cooling of the public discourse.

“Criminal procedures should be instigated only in extraordinary and extreme cases and ‘warning’ talks of the kind described should be avoided at all costs. In addition to what is written above, it is not clear to us what authority the Shin Bet actually has in this regard. (After all, the Shin Bet is not the authority responsible for granting demonstration permits in Israel. )”

On behalf of ACRI, Margalit requested that a thorough examination be conducted to ensure citizens would not be summoned to the Shin Bet for interrogation in this way in the future.

The AG’s office responds

Attorney Raz Nizri, a senior assistant to the attorney general, answered Margalit’s letter on June 9 (and apologized for the delay, saying it was due to a bureaucratic hitch ). Based on conversations with the Shin Bet, Nizri denied that Siddawi’s political activities had been discussed during his “inquiry.” Therefore, he wrote, “there is no basis to the claim that the inquiry was aimed at showing Siddawi that we had noticed him or to deter him from social and political involvement.”

As for the issue of the legal basis on which the Shin Bet was acting, Nizri wrote: “Paragraph 7 of the Shin Bet law from 2002 states that the security service is responsible, as part of its designation, for maintaining state security and [protecting] the democratic regime and its institutions from threats of terror, damage and subversion. In order to fulfill its role, the service has been made responsible for thwarting and preventing any illegal activity whose aim is to harm state security, the democratic regime or its institutions.

“At the basis of any inquiry carried out by the service vis-a-vis Israeli citizens, there generally lies some intelligence information that requires explanation or a matter that requires study or reference within the designation of the service,” Nizri continued. “When intelligence information is received, its credibility is examined and an attempt is made to extend it as far as possible via additional tools of intelligence gathering at the Shin Bet’s disposal and in accordance with the severity of the suspicions and their basis…

“There are also times when the Shin Bet wishes to achieve additional aims through inquiries – including the transfer of a message, in relevant cases, about the possibility the citizen in question may be involved with, or exploited by, terrorist elements taking advantage of his innocence. “Conducting an inquiry is a reasonable tool that causes minimal damage to the rights of the person investigated… The Shin Bet does not have a policy or practice of trying to deter citizens from participating in protest activity or other political activity.”

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel commented that the attorney general’s response is not acceptable, and says it plans to take further legal action on this issue.

Source

ISRAEL’S UNIFORMED CRIMINALS GET A TASTE OF PRISON LIFE

“The reality today is that the police can kill an Arab citizen in any circumstances and know that there is almost no chance they will pay a price. The safeguards are being stripped away.”


Israeli police outraged as impunity ends

Jonathan Cook


26jc92913.jpg
A decision by Israel’s Supreme Court to double a 15-month jail term for a policeman who shot dead an unarmed Palestinian driver suspected of stealing a car has provoked denunciations from police commanders and government officials.

Yitzhak Aharonovitch, the internal security minister, condemned the judges for “sending a terrible message to police officers.”

On the advice of police lawyers, the accused policeman, Shahar Mizrahi, had appealed his conviction last year in the expectation that the ruling would be overturned by the Supreme Court.

Aharonovitch and Dudi Cohen, the police commissioner, said they would immediately seek a presidential pardon for Mizrahi. “I won’t merely support a pardon bid, I’ll lead it,” Aharonovitch said.

But groups representing Israel’s large Palestinian minority said the outrage at the doubling of the 15-month sentence for Mizrahi reflected the reality that the police force expected impunity when it used violence against Israel’s Palestinian citizens, who comprise a fifth of the population.

At Mizrahi’s original trial last year, the district court judge, Menachem Finkelstein, ruled that the policeman had acted “recklessly” during an operation to stop car thefts in the Jewish town of Pardes Hanna in 2006.

Despite his life never being in danger, Mizrahi had used the butt of his gun to smash the window of a car in which Mahmoud Ghanaim, 24, was seated and shot him in the head from close range. The court also noted that Mizrahi had changed his testimony several times during the investigations.

According to Mossawa, an advocacy group, 40 Palestinian citizens have been killed in suspicious circumstances by the security forces over the past decade. Mizrahi is the first policeman to be convicted in such a case.

As of yesterday, an online petition calling on the Israeli president, Shimon Peres, to pardon Mizrahi had attracted more than 5,000 signatures in a few days, and a Facebook page supporting the policeman had 1,300 fans.

Gideon Levy, a columnist with the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz, warned yesterday that those “siding with Mizrahi are eager to have a police force that kills — but just Arabs, of course.”

Jafar Farah, the director of Mossawa, said: “The atmosphere of racism in Israel is being used to destroy the legal system from the inside, using the justification that Arabs are being killed.

“The reality today is that the police can kill an Arab citizen in any circumstances and know that there is almost no chance they will pay a price. The safeguards are being stripped away.”

Relations between Israel’s Palestinian minority and the police have been marked by profound distrust since late 2000, when police shot dead 13 protesters and wounded hundreds more during largely non-violent demonstrations in the Galilee at the start of the second intifada.

A subsequent state commission of inquiry found that the police had a long-standing policy of treating the country’s 1.3 million Palestinian citizens “as an enemy” and recommended that several officers be prosecuted for their role in the 13 deaths.

After a long delay, state prosecutors announced in 2008 that no one would be charged.

In several speeches since he took over as security minister last year, Aharonovitch has promised measures to restore the minority’s faith in the police, including recruiting more police officers from the Palestinian population and fighting high rates of crime in Arab communities.

According to a police report submitted to the parliament earlier this year, only 382 of more than 21,000 police officers are Muslim — or less than two percent.

At the appeal hearing last week, the Supreme Court increased Mizrahi’s jail sentence after ruling that Judge Finkelstein had not given enough weight to the victim’s life and the value of deterring similar police behavior in the future. Under police regulations, Mizrahi was entitled only to shoot out the car’s tires or fire at Ghanaim’s legs.

Immediately after the ruling, Mr Aharonovitch reported that he had called Mizrahi to tell him: “Your fight has become all of our fight.”

He was backed by several retired police commanders and a Likud MP, Danny Danon, who said he would submit a bill barring the indictment of police officers who open fire when they believe they are in danger.

In a sign of the mounting pressure from police groups on the Supreme Court, it issued a rare “clarification” statement of its judgment, pointing out that Ghanaim’s car was travelling too slowly to have ever put Mizrahi in any danger.

Farah added that Mossawa’s investigations had revealed that, despite police claims, Ghanaim was the documented owner of the car he was driving.

The police, Farah added, had supported Mizrahi throughout the case and had continued paying his police salary after his conviction.

The court’s decision to increase Mizrahi’s sentence came in the wake of strong suspicions that police officers executed a Palestinian driver in East Jerusalem last month, shooting him twice in the head from close range as he lay on the ground.

Moments earlier, Ziad Jilani, who was married with three children, had fled on foot after driving into a detail of police, injuring several officers, in the Wadi Joz neighborhood. Witnesses said a stone had smashed his windscreen seconds before he swerved.

In one of the few other recent prosecutions of a policeman for killing a Palestinian citizen, Rubi Gai was acquitted last year of the manslaughter of Nadim Milham, who was shot in the back during a police search of his home for weapons. Witnesses testified that police had beaten Milham and that he was shot as he fled.

A survey published last month by Haifa University found that only one in five Palestinian citizens expressed faith in the police.

Aharonovitch upset the Palestinian minority last year during an inspection of undercover narcotics agents in Tel Aviv. He was caught on camera telling one detective dressed as a drug addict he looked like “a real Araboosh,” a derogatory Hebrew term for Arabs.

The minister, who is a member of Avigdor Lieberman’s far-right party Yisrael Beiteinu, apologised but added that the comment was a “moment of banter.”

Mahash, the justice ministry’s police investigations unit, has been harshly criticized for the small proportion of complaints against the police it agrees to investigate. It rarely prosecutes officers.

The police have also refused to cooperate in imposing official sanctions on wayward officers, with critics saying that officers found to have acted negligently or violently towards Palestinian citizens are often rewarded with promotion.

The state commission of inquiry into the killing by police of 13 Palestinian protesters in October 2000 recommended that several officers be dismissed from service or denied promotion. The recommendations were disregarded.

In one notorious case, the commission found that Benzi Sau, a northern Border Police commander, had acted with gross negligence in allowing snipers to shoot at stone-throwing demonstrators. Despite suggesting a ban on his promotion for four years, he rapidly rose through the ranks, becoming head of the Border Police in Jerusalem in 2001 and national head of the Border Police in 2004.

Posted at Uruknet

FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS CUBA!

Fifty one years ago the biggest whorehouse and gambling casino in the Carribean closed its doors permanently. Fifty one years ago the United States was faced with the greatest challenge in its entire history…. a challenge that came from a mere ’90 miles from home’.

Cuba was free! Despite every possible attempt to turn the clocks backwards, Cuba remains free!!

Embargoes, blockades, attacks, invasions …. nothing worked!

Cuba has been the inspiration of the downtrodden nations throughout the world and continues to be.

Palestinians rejoice on this glorious day as one day their land will be free as well…..


FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS CUBA!
On the 48th anniversary of the Revolution Fidel Castro wrote the following…..
By: Fidel Castro  

On the 48th anniversary of the revolution

Dear Compatriots:

Please accept my warmest congratulations on the 48th anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution.

We have concluded a year of tireless efforts and very encouraging results in the Battle of Ideas that we are all waging and the programs associated with the ongoing Energy Revolution and our nation’s economic and social development. We hosted the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement and we carry on with our determination to confront and overcome the U.S. blockade and constant aggressions. Nothing has been able to make us abandon our path.

I wish to acknowledge the serenity and maturity with which our people have acted and the good work done by our glorious Communist Party, the Revolutionary Government, our youth and grassroots organizations, the members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) and the Interior Ministry (MININT) and our National Assembly of People’s Power.

I truly appreciate your affection and support. Regarding my recovery, I always said it would be a long-term process, but certainly we are not losing this battle. I collaborate as a good and disciplined patient with the devoted team of doctors that is treating me.

I keep up to date with the main news and everything that is going on in the world today. I exchange with my closest collaborators whenever it is necessary, regarding issues of great importance.

Humanity is going through very difficult times, with wars and threats emerging everywhere and the unrestricted consumerism that is typical of the globalized imperialist system, which leads to the exhausting of major natural resources and the polluting of the environment. That, alone, justifies our heroic struggle.

Every success we achieve demands from us greater efforts to preserve it and further develop it. We need our people’s full cooperation and discipline.

It is my most ardent desire that the year 2007 constitute a dawning of hope for our entire people.

Long live our Revolution on its 48th anniversary!

Fidel Castro Ruz



ILLEGAL TO KILL NON JEWS?

Police began investigating Shapira after an advertisement for the book in a Hebrew newspaper created a public uproar.

Or perhaps the ‘Christian’ zionists lodged a complaint? Can Israel afford to lose the millions of dollars that pour in annually from them?

Shapira was arrested this past January for his alleged involvement in the torching of a Palestinian mosque in the village of Yasuf, but was later released.

That’s not a crime?

Top settler rabbi arrested for allegedly inciting to kill non-Jews

Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira is the alleged author of a book which deems as legal, according to ‘Jewish law,’ the killing of non-Jews.

The head rabbi of a prominent yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar was arrested Monday for writing a book that allegedly encourages the killing of non-Jews.

Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira is the alleged author of the book “The King’s Torah,” which deems as legal, according to “Jewish law,” the killing of non-Jews.

Police began investigating Shapira after an advertisement for the book in a Hebrew newspaper created a public uproar.

Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira in court on January 20, 2010. Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira in court on January 20, 2010.
Photo by: Olivier Fitoussi

Deputy Attorney General Shai Nitzan encouraged the investigation as he believed the book contained an incitement to violence.

On Monday morning, police detectives arrived at the settlement of Yitzhar, arrested Shapira and confiscated 30 copies of his book.

Shapira is head of a yeshiva (a type of center for Jewish study) which supports replacing the government with a religious monarchy.

Shapira was arrested this past January for his alleged involvement in the torching of a Palestinian mosque in the village of Yasuf, but was later released.

HOLOCAUSTABATION

Unfortunately,   Israel has tremendously cheapened and trivialized the issues of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust by lumping them with criticisms of Israeli criminality and with raising questions about the legitimacy of the Israeli entity.

Holocaustabation

Image Copyleft by Carlos Latuff
By Khalid Amayreh

Once again, Israel is resorting to psychological blackmail tactics by invoking  “anti-Semitism and the holocaust” to enhance its ugly image in the eyes of the peoples of the world.

This week, the Israeli press reported that dozens of countries, mainly those  orbiting  the United States , which itself revolves in the Israeli orbit, agreed to cooperate in fighting “anti-Semitism” an “Holocaust denial.” The effort is apparently part of the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s effort to improve Israel ‘s image, badly tarnished following Israel ‘s Nazi-like onslaught on the Gaza Strip more than a year and a half ago.

Israel, a constantly nervous country that is taking a defensive posture against foreign criticisms of its manifestly barbarian crimes against defenseless Arab civilians, vociferously rejects any Nazi-comparisons, accusing critics of harboring anti-Semitism.

Even Jewish academics voicing such criticisms are hounded, vilified and even refused entry into Israel.

None the less, any honest comparison between Israel and Nazi Germany should vindicate the Nazi-comparisons.

The way Israel views and especially treats non-Jews, especially the Palestinian community, leaves no doubt as to the brutal ugliness and nefarious racism characterizing the Israeli mentality.

The heinous crushing  by heavy bulldozers of peace activists, the deliberate murder of solidarity group members, the adamant refusal to prosecute and punish murderers and child killers whose victims didn’t have “the proper holy blood,” look very much as if borrowed from the catalogues of the Gestapo, SS and the Wehrmacht.

In truth, Israel is a bona fide Nazi state. However, both of its shamefulness and shamelessness are made to appear more benign and less malignant than they really are  thanks to a huge machine of lies extending from Occupied Jerusalem to California that turns the black into white and the big lie into a “truth” glorified by thousands of pathologically twisted “tribesmen and women,”  indoctrinated in Jewish superiority over the rest of mankind.

Sometime, though, the huge hasbara machine proves inadequate or insufficient to do the job properly, mainly market the big lie and make it palatable and digestible as much as required.  This in turn leads to many people discovering the truth about the gangsterly state as happened recently when the Judeo-Nazi entity rained death on innocent, helpless and defenseless civilians in Gaza whose main crime was their refusal to succumb to Jewish supremacy and refusal to settle for the status of slave vis-à-vis the chosen class, the chosen  ubermenschen.

Now the most troublesome and most aggressive pariah country in the world is trying to give the impression that it is under threat that its victims are devising another holocaust against it.

The diabolic entity is also trying to sell the lie that Palestinians and their supporters hate Israel not because of its evil and Nazi-like practices, e.g. dropping 2-3 million cluster  bomblets on southern Lebanon in 2006, but rather because they have deep-rooted hatred for Jews.

The truth, However, is that Israel is the main producer and generator of anti-Semitism since the Third Reich.

When millions of people around the world watch the phantasmagoric images of Israeli brutality on their TV screens, they are bound to hate everything Jewish, especially when Israel claims to act and behave in the name of the Jewish people and when it uses Jewish symbols, such as the Israeli flag.

Indeed, it was this very same flag, the Star of David, that Israeli criminality in Gaza and Southern Lebanon made it look like the swastika of Nazism. In any case, this description is not mine, it is rather the coinage of a member of the British Parliament who happened to be Jewish.

This shows that Israel can’t behave and act like the Nazis behaved and acted and at the same time expect the peoples of the world to love Zionist Jews. Just as Muslims are paying the price for acts of terror committed in the name of Islam and in their own name, Jews, too, are bound to pay the price for Nazi-like acts perpetrated in their own name. I know that a decisive majority of Muslims view al Qaida atrocities as abhorrent whereas a decisive majority of Jews support Israel right or wrong for historical, psychological and religious reasons. None the less, everything has a price which even the innocent are bound to pay. This may not be fair, but it seems inevitable.

Unfortunately,   Israel has tremendously cheapened and trivialized the issues of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust by lumping them with criticisms of Israeli criminality and with raising questions about the legitimacy of the Israeli entity.

Well, there are many Jews who don’t accept Israel for religious, theological and moral reasons. And there are numerous non-Jews like this writer who reject Israel for moral and ethical reasons.

In the final analysis, a country that is based on mass murder, mass terror, ethnic cleansing and land theft has no legitimacy, no matter what the United Nations or the New York Times say. An act of rape will never ever be morphed into an honorable matrimony.

Needless to say, Israel ‘s occupation of Palestine was an act of rape from day-1, is an act of rape now , and will always be an act of rape. As such, Israel will have no legitimacy, neither today nor tomorrow, nor after a thousand years. This is not anti-Semitism, this is not holocaust denial, this is a mere acknowledgment of historical truth which the professional liars of Zionism are trying to obliterate, using all arts of mendacity and deception.

Hence, our response to Zionist trickery should take the form of separating Zionism from Jews. In the end, Israel is a nation-state while Jews are followers of a legitimate religion that enjoys historical and religious legitimacy. But Zionism is a poisoned  political ideology and its brat child, Israel , is a stark expression of racism and criminality just as Nazism was a stark  poisoned expression of German nationalism more than six decades ago.

We must clarify ourselves loudly that we are against Israel because Israel is evil and criminal, not because it is Jewish. This is not a propaganda  message on our part, this is the truth, first  because this is the right thing to do, and second, because fighting racism with racism is a lost cause.

As to the issue of the holocaust, it is immensely harmful to make it an issue in the context of our confrontation with Zionism. Israel and her supporters are trying hard to make the holocaust a perpetually relevant issue where it is not. I call this willful addiction holocaustabation. The holocaust took place in a distant land, perpetrated by Western Europeans, and Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims had nothing to do with it.

Hence, we must resist any attempt by Zionism to introduce this red herring into the conflict, and in case they insist on doing so, as they have been doing, we must counter their manifestly bankrupt arguments by pointing out that European Jews expelled from Europe due to the rampancy of German nationalism must find a solution for their problem in Europe itself, not in Palestine and the Middle East.

It is none of our business to be on the side of the holocaust deniers just as we must not allow ourselves to be duped by the Zionist holocaustabators. Our business is to fight, resist, and expose  the Nazis of our time, namely evil Israel . For if we sided with the deniers, then we would be accused of anti-Semitism, and if we  allowed ourselves to be duped or mesmerized  by the Zionist liars, we would be demanded to pay at least part of the price for the attempted liquidation of European Jewry, a price we have already been forced to pay a thousand fold.

FASCISM ON DISPLAY IN TEL AVIV

State-wide censorship of sexually explicit material on the internet. Laws prohibiting driving vehicles on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. Women allowed to bathe in the Mediterranean only a few hours a week. The face of Baruch Goldstein on the 20 shekel bill. A national holiday celebrating our spiritual founding father, Rabbi Meir Kahane.

Tel Aviv exhibit paints Israel’s fascist future

In a new art exhibit in Tel Aviv, viewers become witness to a future Israel where right-wing religious extremists have ousted opponents and democracy. Creator Even Kama says the world he depicts is not just science-fiction.

Flag of the outlawed Kahanist party. In Kama’s dystopian imaginings, ultra-nationalist Rabbi Meir Kahane is the “spiritual founding father.” [Wikimedia Commons]

Haaretz reported Friday:

State-wide censorship of sexually explicit material on the internet. Laws prohibiting driving vehicles on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. Women allowed to bathe in the Mediterranean only a few hours a week. The face of Baruch Goldstein on the 20 shekel bill. A national holiday celebrating our spiritual founding father, Rabbi Meir Kahane.

Sound ludicrous? It’s the nightmare scenario of art school graduate Yosi Even Kama – and the subject of his 4th-year thesis project. Any Israeli can step into his dystopia, on exhibit at the Shenkar College of Engineering & Design in Ramat Gan until the end of July.

“I read the most recent survey of Israeli society and I was shocked,” Even Kama recalled. That report, commissioned by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University, found that most Israelis believe that “there is too much freedom of expression” in Israel.

The project consists of… snapshots in time from the streets of Tel Aviv, between the years 2020 to 2023. In this twisted parallel universe, the government of Israel finally signs a peace deal with the Palestinians, in which it agrees to withdraw from the West Bank and share control over Jerusalem.

Incensed by what they believe to be high treason, Jewish supremacists manage to mobilize tens of thousands of Israeli citizens and successfully carry out a coup d’etat. In the newly-established State of Judea, there is no freedom, no feminism, and no fun. Only fascism.

So this is what will come to pass in only ten years’ time? “It won’t happen exactly like that. But it’s already happening right now, bit by bit: the loyalty oath law, the religious conversion law, the ban on commemorating the naqba, the ban on demonstrating at the homes of high-ranking army officers… When you break down the basic building blocks of democracy, fascism will fill that void.”

Kama’s exhibit has seen a maelstrom of condemnation as well as support. On the site srugim.com, a website outlet for nationalist-religious voices in Israel, many have posted vilifications of both his work and Shenkar for supporting it, Haaretz reported. But other exhibit visitors have expressed support. “I would use different colors,” said one Israeli, “but this is basically what I believe.”

Source

CONSENSUAL RAPE or UNCONSENSUAL RACEMIXING … WHICH IS THE CRIME UNDER APARTHEID?

Sabar Kashour. Convicted of rape  Photo: Gil Yohanan

There has been much ado in the Israeli press about a Palestinian man being charged with rape after the Jewish woman involved found out he was an Arab.

There was less ado about the fact that the man is married …. a fact that makes this incident quite ugly in my opinion. Does the sanctity of marriage mean nothing today? Are the vows one takes merely words?

This raises just one question: What would the court decide had a Jewish, married man falsely presented himself to a woman in order to get her into bed? For example, what if someone like that told a woman that he is a wealthy single man, while he was in fact poor and married? Would he too be convicted of rape?

The entire incident indicates the complete deterioration of morals in a most immoral country, one run by criminals and murderers.

He knew that he had no chance with the Jews, so he adopted another name for himself, Dudu. He didn’t have curly hair, but he went by Dudu just the same. That’s how everyone knew him. That’s how you know a few other Arabs too: the car-wash guy you call Rafi, the stairwell cleaner who goes by Yossi, the supermarket deliveryman you know as Moshe.

Granted, this entire incident stinks of racial profiling, it would most likely never had hit the courts or the press if an Arab wasn’t involved. But, that is not the only thing that is is wrong with this very sick society of ours, the fact that the man is married is not considered a crime in itself. Regardless of his race. It should be!


And if he were Jewish?

Arab man’s rape conviction raises disturbing questions about our legal system

Sima Kadmon

This past week, the Jerusalem District Court slapped an 18-month prison sentence on an Arab man who impersonated a Jew and had consensual sex with a Jewish girl.

The 30-year-old Arab man, Sabar Kashour, was convicted of rape because he falsely presented himself as Jewish and single, while he was in fact Arab and married.

In the framework of a plea bargain agreement, Kashour was convicted of a rape offense as well as a charge of performing an indecent act. In addition to the prison term, he was also slapped with a 30-month conditional sentence and a NIS 10,000 (roughly $2,800) fine to be paid as compensation to the complainant.

Notably, the judges did argue that this was not a “classic case of rape,” as the sexual relations were consensual. So what was this act all about then? According to the judges, the sexual act was elicited via fraudulent means and reliance on false information.

Or in other words: This is about sex elicited through lies. Had the girl known the man was not a Jewish single interested in a meaningful romantic relationship, she would not have cooperated with the accused, the judges ruled.

Hello? Are we getting this straight? If any married man who has ever lied in order to get sex would be charged with rape, there would be no room in our prisons. It appears that the court had a problem with Kashour being Arab, rather than with him being married.

This raises just one question: What would the court decide had a Jewish, married man falsely presented himself to a woman in order to get her into bed? For example, what if someone like that told a woman that he is a wealthy single man, while he was in fact poor and married? Would he too be convicted of rape?

Source

Gideon Levy wrote about this as well…..

He impersonated a human


Sabbar Kashur wanted to be a person, a person like everybody else. But as luck would have it, he was born Palestinian.

By Gideon Levy

Sabbar Kashur wanted to be a person, a person like everybody else. But as luck would have it, he was born Palestinian. It happens. His chances of being accepted as a human being in Israel are nil. Married and a father of two, he wanted to work in Jerusalem, his city, and maybe also have an affair or a quickie on the side. That happens too.

He knew that he had no chance with the Jews, so he adopted another name for himself, Dudu. He didn’t have curly hair, but he went by Dudu just the same. That’s how everyone knew him. That’s how you know a few other Arabs too: the car-wash guy you call Rafi, the stairwell cleaner who goes by Yossi, the supermarket deliveryman you know as Moshe.

What’s wrong? Is it only fearsome Shin Bet interrogators like “Capt. George” and “Abu Faraj” who are allowed to adopt names from other peoples? Are only Israelis who emigrate allowed to invent new identities? Only the Yossi from Hadera who became Joe in Miami, the Avraham from Bat Yam who became Abe in Los Angeles?

No longer a youth, Sabbar/Dudu worked as a deliveryman for a lawyer’s office, rode his scooter around Jerusalem and delivered documents, affidavits and sworn testimonies, swearing to everyone that he was Dudu. Two years ago he met a woman by chance. Nice to meet you, my name is Dudu. He claims that she came on to him, but let’s leave the details aside. Soon enough they went where they went and what happened happened, all by consent of the parties concerned. One fine day, a month and a half after an afternoon quickie, he was summoned to the police on suspicion of rape.

His temporary lover discovered that her Dudu wasn’t a Dudu after all, that the Jew is (gasp! ) an Arab, and so she filed a complaint against the impostor. Her body was violated by an Arab. From then on Kashur was placed under house arrest for two years, an electronic cuff on his ankle. This week his sentence was pronounced: 18 months in jail.

Judge Zvi Segal waxed dramatic to the point of absurdity: “It is incumbent on the court to protect the public interest from sophisticated, smooth, sweet-talking offenders who can mislead naive victims into paying an unbearable price: the sanctity of their bodies and souls.” Sophisticated offenders? It is doubtful that Dudu even knew he was one. Sweet talk? He says that even his wife calls him Dudu.

The court relied, as usual, on precedents: the man who posed as a senior Housing Ministry official and promised his lover an apartment and an increased National Insurance pension, and the man who posed as a wealthy neurosurgeon who promised free medical care and other perks. Dudu had nothing to offer but his good name, Dudu, and still his fate was sealed, just like those who promise apartments and perks. Not only fraud, but rape, almost like the convicted serial rapist Benny Sela.

Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein had, after all, defined the test of conviction for rape on “false pretenses”: “if in the view of an ordinary person this woman would have agreed to have sexual relations with a man who did not have the identity he invented.”

In tune with the public, Kashur’s judges assumed, rightly, that the woman would not have gotten into bed with Dudu were it not for the identity he invented. She also might not have gotten into bed with him if he had told her in vain that he was available, that he was younger than he really is or even that he is madly in love with her. But people are not prosecuted for that, certainly not on rape charges.

Now the respected judges have to be asked: If the man was really Dudu posing as Sabbar, a Jew pretending to be an Arab so he could sleep with an Arab woman, would he then be convicted of rape? And do the eminent judges understand the social and racist meaning of their florid verdict? Don’t they realize that their verdict has the uncomfortable smell of racial purity, of “don’t touch our daughters”? That it expresses the yearning of the extensive segments of society that would like to ban sexual relations between Arabs and Jews?

It was no coincidence that this verdict attracted the attention of foreign correspondents in Israel, temporary visitors who see every blemish. Yes, in German or Afrikaans this disgraceful verdict would have sounded much worse.

Source

‘CHRISTIANS’ UNITED AGAINST HUMANITY

That’s the only one way to describe the group known as ‘Christians United For Israel’

JEWISH McCARTHYISM ON PARADE


Regular readers of this Blog should have a pretty good idea of where I stand on certain issues. In case you missed my views of the organisation known as J Street, they can be read HERE.

Today there was a piece posted at the Jerusalem Post, a piece written by zionism’s most prolific McCarthyite, denouncing McCarthyism. It’s funny to see how a twisted mind like Dershowitz’s operates. HERE you can find some of his latest McCarthyite tactics, and below is his tirade from today’s JP.

(My comments appear in RED)

J Street’s McCarthyism

Alan M. Dershowitz

J Street, the leftist lobbying organization that claims to be pro-Israel, is currently running a television ad that divides the world into two groups: The good guys who support the two-state solution, the end of the occupation and peace; and the bad guys who oppose these results and instead favor a continuation of violence. Pictured as representing the pro-peace position are President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton and General Petraeus. Pictured as representing the anti-peace, anti two-state, pro expansion of settlements and pro violence position are Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Senator Lieberman, Malcolm Hoenlein (Director of the Conference of Major Jewish organizations), and – you guessed it – me!


Truth be known, those named as the ‘good guys’ are the ones that have been sending the funds necessary for Israel to carry out its genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.  You should know Dershi…. that’s all that really matters.

Now Jeremy Ben-Ami, who runs J Street and who is responsible for the ad, knows full well that I support the two-state solution and peace, and have opposed Israeli settlements since he was in diapers. (I began publicly supporting the two-state solution in 1970 and began opposing settlements in 1973). Ben-Ami knows this because we debated each other at the 92nd Street Y and he publicly acknowledged that I support these positions. He knows that I wrote a book called The Case For Peace, advocating precisely these positions, which was praised by President Clinton (“the blueprint for stability presented in this book is among the best in recent years”), Amos Oz (Dershowitz’s The Case For Peace is an “enthusiastic voice for peace”) and other advocates of a peaceful resolution.


Dershowitz wrote a book ‘The Case For Peace’, Obama was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize…. methinks Peace has more than one meaning.

Why then would he falsely lump me with Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin when he knows that I fundamentally disagree with their positions? Why would Ben-Ami knowingly put out an ad containing such defamatory McCarthyism? (Joe McCarthy infamously lumped together liberals with communists, and progressives with Stalinists.) There are several possible reasons.


Perhaps he is ‘lumped in’ with them because he’s as much an idiot as they are, just perhaps.


First, Ben Ami cannot tolerate the idea that there are liberals, like me and Professor Irwin Cotler of Canada, who support the two-state solution, the end of the occupation and peace, while fundamentally disagreeing with J Street’s general negativity toward Israel. As I argued during the debate and on other occasions, J Street and I tend to agree on many substantive issues, but I publicly focus on the 80% of issues on which there is broad consensus within the pro-Israel community; whereas J Street focuses on the 20% of issues on which there is disagreement, such as the policy toward Iran, the Goldstone report and nuclear policy. It would have been fair for J Street to have an ad putting me on the other side of those issues. But for Ben-Ami to try to persuade the public that I oppose the two-state solution (as Rush Limbaugh does), favor expansion of the settlements (as Palin does) and oppose peace is simply a lie, and a deliberate one at that. No softer word will suffice.


If Dershowitz is a Liberal, than colour me a fascist….


The second reason why J Street decided to include me in their insidious ad is to appeal to hard left elements such as Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein and others who pay lip service to supporting Israel while condemning everything the Jewish state stands for. Ben-Ami is trying to build a large organization and in order to attract the hard left, he finds it useful to demonize me, because the hard left hates my liberal support for Israel. That also explains why J Street rarely if ever praises Israel, even when the Jewish state takes risks for peace. To praise Israel is to risk losing the support and membership of the hard anti-Israel left – and Ben Ami is not prepared to lower his numbers, even if he is required to distort the truth, in order to increase contributions and pad his membership list.


Finkelstein pays lip service to supporting Israel? Then why did you get him fired?

The J Street ad is fraudulent in yet another way. It suggests that I am saying certain words, but the voice is not mine. Thousands of my words, in my actual voice, are available on YouTube, but none of them have me opposing the two-state solution, favoring expansion of the settlements or opposing peace. So they just make it up by including a video of me with my lips moving and a dubbed voiceover, suggesting that they have me (along with the others) on videotape opposing the two-state solution. (All the videos have moving lips, but some include words actually spoken by the person in the video while others could be attributable to any of the people in the video whose lips are moving – watch it and judge for yourself!) If this were a political campaign ad, J Street would be in deep trouble. But this is even worse, because it is an attempt to deceive the public into thinking that mainstream supporters of Israel all favor the expansion of settlements and oppose the two-state solution and peace.


Snakes like Dershowitz have many voices….. depending on the phase of the moon.

J Street continues to destroy its credibility by posting deceptive and divisive ads of this kind. If they are willing to mislead the public in this manner, they should not be trusted to tell the truth about anything relating to Israel. They are more interested in increasing their own power and contributions than they are in supporting Israel or promoting truthful dialogue. If they want to have any chance at restoring their credibility, they must begin to tell the truth. A good first step would be to remove this ad and admit that it was fraudulent. Otherwise, everyone will begin to understand what the J in J Street stands for: Joe McCarthy.


J Street  shows its true colours as an integral part of the zionist lobby by posting ads such as these.


FROM

‘DON’T TELL THE WORLD WHAT REALLY HAPPENED HERE’

Slowly but surely, the ‘only Democracy in the Middle East’ is turning into the only fascist state in the Middle East.

Israeli soldiers confronting the media at a protest in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh. Credit:Mel Frykberg/IPS

Israel Gets Brutal With Media

By Mel Frykberg


NABI SALAH, Occupied West Bank,  Palestinian activists are being jailed, Israeli activists are under surveillance, and the Israeli military is increasingly targeting journalists who cover West Bank protests.

The Foreign Press Association (FPA) in Israel issued a statement recently condemning what it sees as a change in Israel Defence Forces (IDF) policy in their treatment of journalists covering the growing number of West Bank protests against Israel’s separation barrier, illegal settlements and land expropriation.

“We would appreciate it were the authorities to remind the various forces involved, that open, unhindered coverage of news events is a widely acknowledged part of the essence of democracy.

“Generally speaking this would not include smashing the face of a clearly marked photographer working for a known and accredited news organisation with a stick, or for that matter aiming a stun grenade at the head of a clearly marked news photographer or summarily arresting cameramen, photographers and/or journalists,” said the FPA.

The release of the statement followed an attack on three journalists as they covered a protest march near an Israeli settlement built illegally on land belonging to the Palestinian village Beir Ummar in the southern West Bank.

Several weeks ago in the village Nabi Salah, north of Ramallah, two Israeli activists were roughed up and arrested after criticising Israeli soldiers for shooting at Palestinian boys throwing stones.

One of the Israelis, Yonatan Shapira, 38, an ex-Israeli Air Force (AIF) pilot and member of Combatants for Peace, (a group comprising former Palestinian and Israeli fighters) earned the wrath of the Israeli authorities when he authored a “pilot’s letter” in 2003 signed by 27 AIF pilots.

The pilots refused to fly over the Palestinian occupied territories and take part in the deliberate targeting of Palestinian civilians, particularly in Gaza.

Shapira was recently interrogated by Israel’s domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet over his participation in anti-occupation protests and his support for the BDS movement.

In what appeared to be a veiled threat the Israeli activist was warned that his presence at anti-wall demonstrations was in defiance of the areas being declared closed military-zones on Fridays.

Shapira believes his phone has been tapped. “Nothing we are doing is illegal and I’m not afraid, but I’m uncomfortable about my country turning into a fascist state,” said Shapira.

“The Israeli authorities are trying to intimidate Israelis who engage in political dissent. We present no security threat. But the line between political activism and security is becoming increasingly blurred by the authorities who are trying to criminalise dissent,” Shapira told IPS.

“Sometimes when we come to demonstrations we have been stopped en route by the IDF who have taken down our details and appear to have prior knowledge of our movements,” Israeli activist Shy Halatzi, 23, a physics and astronomy student at Tel Aviv University who served in the Israeli military told IPS.

Israel has become alarmed at growing international support for a boycott campaign against the country as its right-wing government increasingly tramples on civil liberties. Hundreds of Israeli college professors signed a petition recently denouncing the threat by Israeli education minister Gideon Saar (a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party) to punish any lecturer or institution which supports a boycott of Israel.

Saar supports Im Tirtzu, a right-wing nationalist movement, which demands that Israeli education professionals be required to prove their commitment to Zionism.

Neve Gordon, professor of politics at Ben Gurion University in Beersheva, received death threats after he wrote an editorial last year in the Los Angeles Times explaining why he supported a boycott on Israel.

Meanwhile, Palestinian grassroots activists involved in non-military popular committees, which organise non-violent activity against the occupation, continue to be arrested and jailed on what they say are trumped-up charges involving forced confessions under duress.

The IDF carries out nightly raids in West Bank villages where demonstrations take place regularly on a Friday and where villagers have been particularly active.

Wael Al-Faqia from Nablus in the northern West Bank was recently sentenced to a year’s prison for “belonging to an illegal organization.” Al-Faqia was arrested with eight other activists in December last year.

Musa Salama, an activist with the Labour Committee of Medical Relief Workers and associate of Al-Faqia, was sentenced last December to a year’s imprisonment on identical charges.

Abdullah Abu Rahme from the head of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bili’in village near Ramallah continues to languish in detention following his arrest in December last year.

Some of the allegations against him include incitement for planning the peaceful protests and “being in possession of arms.” The latter referred to his collection of used teargas canisters and spent bullet cartridges, fired by Israeli troops at unarmed protestors, into a peace sign.

“What we as Israeli activists endure is a fraction of what Palestinians are subjected to. They are subjected to harsher and much more brutal treatment than we are,” Shapira told IPS.

Source via Uruknet

THE INVISIBLE HOLOCAUST

Dead children. Thousands of dead children. Tens of thousands of dead children, Hundreds of thousands of dead children. Mountains of dead children. Vast pestiferous slagheaps of dead children. This is what the world’s greatest democracy created, deliberately, coldly, as a matter of carefully considered national policy.

Invisible Holocaust: Mountains of Dead Children and “the World’s Greatest Democracy”

Chris Floyd

In the last decade of the 20th century, a nation often hailed (not least by itself) as the “world’s greatest democracy” directed a program of savage economic warfare against a broken, defenseless country. This blockade, carried out with an exacting bureaucratic coldness, killed, by very conservative estimate, at least one million innocent people. More than half of these victims were young children.

Dead children. Thousands of dead children. Tens of thousands of dead children, Hundreds of thousands of dead children. Mountains of dead children. Vast pestiferous slagheaps of dead children. This is what the world’s greatest democracy created, deliberately, coldly, as a matter of carefully considered national policy.

The blockade was carried out for one reason only: to force out the broken country’s recalcitrant leader, who had once been an ally and client of the world’s greatest democracy but was no longer considered acquiescent enough to be allowed to govern his strategically placed land and its vast energy resources. The leadership of both of the dominant power factions in the world’s greatest democracy agreed that the deliberate murder of innocent people — more people than were killed in the coterminous genocide in Rwanda — was an acceptable price to pay for this geopolitical objective. To them, the game — that is, the augmentation of their already stupendous, world-shadowing wealth and power — was worth the candle — that is, the death spasms of a child in the final agonies of gastroenteritis, or cholera, or some other easily preventable affliction.

It is, by any measure, one of the most remarkable — and horrific — stories of the last half of the 20th century, outstripped in that period only by China’s ‘Great Leap Forward’ and by the millions killed in the conflicts in Indochina in which the world’s greatest democracy played such an instrumental role. Yet it remains an “invisible war,” as Joy Gordon calls it in the title of

her new book on the United States and the Iraq sanctions. Not only that, the perpetrators of this Rwanda-surpassing genocide walk among us today, safely, serenely, in honor, comfort and privilege. Some of them still hold powerful positions in government. If their savage war was invisible, then so is the innocent blood that smears them from head to foot.

Andrew Cockburn has written an excellent — and greatly detailed —

review of Gordon’s work in the latest London Review of Books, drawing upon his own extensive experience in Iraq as well as the extensive evidence of the book. The review is worth excerpting at length, although there is still much more in the original piece, which you should read as well.

Cockburn writes:

… The multiple disasters inflicted on Iraq since the 2003 Anglo-American invasion have tended to overshadow the lethally effective ‘invisible war’ waged against Iraqi civilians between August 1990 and May 2003 with the full authority of the United Nations and the tireless attention of the US and British governments. …Even at the time, the sanctions against Iraq drew only sporadic public comment, and even less attention was paid to the bureaucratic manoeuvres in Washington, always with the dutiful assistance of London, which ensured the deaths of half a million children, among other consequences. In her excellent book Joy Gordon charts these in horrifying detail….

The sanctions were originally imposed on Iraq after Saddam — who had been given the famous “green light” by the envoy of the American president — invaded Kuwait. The sanctions were said to be a measure short of war, to force him to withdraw; later they became a tool of war when the fighting started. And afterward they became an extension of the war by other means. But in all cases, as Gordon and Cockburn note, they were above all a weapon to destroy the civilian infrastructure and economy of Iraq. Cockburn writes:

… The war, when it came, was directed as much against Iraq’s economy as against its army in Kuwait. Key features of the bombing campaign were designed – as its principal planner, Colonel John Warden of the US air force, explained to me afterwards – to destroy the ‘critical nodes’ that enabled Iraq to function as a modern industrial society. The air force had dreamed of being able to do this sort of thing since before the Second World War, and Warden thought the introduction of precision-guided ‘smart bombs’ now made it a practical proposition. Iraq’s electrical power plants, telecommunications centres, oil refineries, sewage plants and other key infrastructure were destroyed or badly damaged. Warden, I recall, was piqued that bombing in addition to his original scheme had obscured the impact of his surgical assault on the pillars supporting modern Iraqi society….

…The first intimation that the blockade would continue even though Iraq had been evicted from Kuwait came in an offhand remark by Bush at a press briefing on 16 April 1991. There would be no normal relations with Iraq, he said, until ‘Saddam Hussein is out of there’: ‘We will continue the economic sanctions.’ Officially, the US was on record as pledging that sanctions would be lifted once Kuwait had been compensated for the damage wrought during six months of occupation and once it was confirmed that Iraq no longer possessed ‘weapons of mass destruction’ or the capacity to make them. A special UN inspection organisation, Unscom, was created, headed by the Swedish diplomat Rolf Ekeus, a veteran of arms control negotiations. But in case anyone had missed the point of Bush’s statement, his deputy national security adviser, Robert Gates (now Obama’s secretary of defence), spelled it out a few weeks later: ‘Saddam is discredited and cannot be redeemed. His leadership will never be accepted by the world community. Therefore,’ Gates continued, ‘Iraqis will pay the price while he remains in power. All possible sanctions will be maintained until he is gone.’

This is the blood-and-iron voice of the man retained by the Progressive Peace Laureate in the White House to run his war machine as it churns through human bodies around the world, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Colombia and dozens of other countries: a war machine of official armies, secret militias, death squads, robots and mercenaries. Back to Cockburn:

Despite this explicit confirmation that the official justification for sanctions was irrelevant, Saddam’s supposed refusal to turn over his deadly arsenal would be brandished by the sanctioneers whenever the price being paid by Iraqis attracted attention from the outside world. And although Bush and Gates claimed that Saddam, not his weapons, was the real object of the sanctions, I was assured at the time by officials at CIA headquarters in Langley that an overthrow of the dictator by a population rendered desperate by sanctions was ‘the least likely alternative’. The impoverishment of Iraq – not to mention the exclusion of its oil from the global market to the benefit of oil prices – was not a means to an end: it was the end.

We are of course seeing this same dynamic at work today, as Gates and a new temporary emperor work the same scheme, with the same aim, on yet another recalcitrant nation unfortunately possessed of a strategic location and vast energy resources. Even the same sham justification is being used: the non-existent threat of non-existent weapons of mass destruction. But why not? As long as the rubes keep falling for this shtick, the masters of war will keep using it. Cockburn continues:

Visiting Iraq in that first summer of postwar sanctions I found a population stunned by the disaster that was reducing them to a Third World standard of living. … Doctors, most of them trained in Britain, displayed their empty dispensaries. Everywhere, people asked when sanctions would be lifted, assuming that it could only be a matter of months at the most (a belief initially shared by Saddam). The notion that they would still be in force a decade later was unimaginable.

The doctors should not have had anything to worry about. Resolution 661 prohibited the sale or supply of any goods to Iraq … with the explicit exception of ‘supplies intended strictly for medical purposes, and, in humanitarian circumstances, foodstuffs’. However, every single item Iraq sought to import, including food and medicine, had to be approved by the ‘661 Committee’, created for this purpose and staffed by diplomats from the 15 members of the Security Council. The committee met in secret and published scarcely any record of its proceedings. Thanks to the demise of the Soviet Union, the US now dominated the UN, using it to provide a cloak of legitimacy for its unilateral actions.

The 661 Committee’s stated purpose was to review and authorise exceptions to the sanctions, but as Gordon explains, its actual function was to deny the import of even the most innocuous items on the grounds that they might, conceivably, be used in the production of weapons of mass destruction. An ingenious provision allowed any committee member to put any item for which clearance had been requested on hold. So, while other members, even a majority, might wish to speed goods to Iraq, the US and its ever willing British partner could and did block whatever they chose on the flimsiest of excuses. … Thus in the early 1990s the United States blocked, among other items, salt, water pipes, children’s bikes, materials used to make nappies, equipment to process powdered milk and fabric to make clothes. The list would later be expanded to include switches, sockets, window frames, ceramic tiles and paint.

In 1991 American representatives forcefully argued against permitting Iraq to import powdered milk on the grounds that it did not fulfil a humanitarian need. Later, the diplomats dutifully argued that an order for child vaccines, deemed ‘suspicious’ by weapons experts in Washington, should be denied.

Throughout the period of sanctions, the United States frustrated Iraq’s attempts to import pumps needed in the plants treating water from the Tigris, which had become an open sewer thanks to the destruction of treatment plants. Chlorine, vital for treating a contaminated water supply, was banned on the grounds that it could be used as a chemical weapon. The consequences of all this were visible in paediatric wards. Every year the number of children who died before they reached their first birthday rose, from one in 30 in 1990 to one in eight seven years later. Health specialists agreed that contaminated water was responsible: children were especially susceptible to the gastroenteritis and cholera caused by dirty water.

All very terrible, of course. But what about the UN “Oil for  Food” program that was eventually set up to provide a trickle of goods into Iraq in exchange for some of those coveted energy resources? As Cockburn notes, while the “invisible war” of sanctions that killed half a million children is now simply a non-event in the American consciousness, the Oil for Food “scandal” — Saddam gaming the system to enrich himself while his people suffered — still looms large for the apologists for the 2003 war of aggression. This, they say, was the real scandal, not all those dead babies. Cockburn:

Under the terms of the programme, much of the money was immediately siphoned off [by the US-led blockaders] to settle what critics called Kuwait’s ‘implausibly high’ claims for compensation for damage from the 1990 invasion and to pay for the Unscom inspections and other UN administrative costs in Iraq. Although the arrangement did permit some improvement in living standards, there was no fundamental change: the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan reported in November 1997 that despite the programme, 31 per cent of children under five still suffered from malnutrition, supplies of safe water and medicine were ‘grossly inadequate’ and the health infrastructure suffered from ‘exceptionally serious deterioration’.

It was possible for the Iraqis to wring some pecuniary advantage from the Oil for Food programme by extracting kickbacks from the oil traders whom it favoured with allocations, as well as from companies, such as wheat traders, from which it bought supplies. In 2004, as Iraq disintegrated, the ‘Oil for Food scandal’ was ballyhooed in the US press as ‘the largest rip-off in history’. Congress, which had maintained a near total silence during the years of sanctions, now erupted with denunciations of the fallen dictator’s fraud and deception, which, with alleged UN complicity, had supposedly been the direct cause of so many deaths.

Gordon puts all this in context. ‘Under the Oil for Food programme, the Iraqi government skimmed about 10 per cent from import contracts and for a brief time received illicit payments from oil sales. The two combined amounted to about $2 billion … By contrast, in [the first] 14 months of occupation [after the 2003 invasion], the US-led occupation authority depleted $18 billion in funds’ – money earned from the sale of oil, most of which disappeared with little or no accounting and no discernible return to the Iraqi people. Saddam may have lavished millions on marble palaces (largely jerry-built, as their subsequent US military occupants discovered) but his greed paled in comparison to that of his successors.

As we have noted here often before, the Americans and British leaders who imposed the killing sanctions knew very well, for many years, that Iraq had no WMD at all — or even any WMD development programs. They knew that by the time of the 2003 invasion, these WMD programmes (which had once been supported with secret cash, credits and “dual-use technology” by none other than George Herbert Walker Bush) had been mothballed for 12 years. I was talking about this, in print, back in 2003 — even Newsweek was reporting on it, just weeks before the war! — but, merely being the truth, there was really no place for the story in the American political mind, or the national memory. So Cockburn and Gordon do us good service by detailing the story again. They also add one of the most damning aspects of the story: the frantic efforts by Bill Clinton — yes, the good old “Big Dawg” of our modern progressives — to suppress the truth and keep the murderous sanctions, and the drive toward war, going strong:

The economic strangulation of Iraq was justified on the basis of Saddam’s supposed possession of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. Year after year, UN inspectors combed Iraq in search of evidence that these WMD existed. But after 1991, the first year of inspections, when the infrastructure of Iraq’s nuclear weapons programme was detected and destroyed, along with missiles and an extensive arsenal of chemical weapons, nothing more was ever found. Given Saddam’s record of denying the existence of his nuclear project (his chemical arsenal was well known; he had used it extensively in the Iran-Iraq war, with US approval) the inspectors had strong grounds for suspicion, at least until August 1995. That was when Hussein Kamel, Saddam’s son-in-law and the former overseer of his weapons programmes, suddenly defected to Jordan, where he was debriefed by the CIA, MI6 and Unscom. In those interviews he made it perfectly clear that the entire stock of WMD had been destroyed in 1991, a confession that his interlocutors, including the UN inspectors, took great pains to conceal from the outside world.

Nevertheless, by early 1997 Rolf Ekeus had concluded, as he told me many years later, that he must report to the Security Council that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and was therefore in compliance with the Council’s resolutions, barring a few points. He felt bound to recommend that the sanctions should be lifted. Reports of his intentions threw the Clinton administration into a panic. The end of sanctions would lay Clinton open to Republican attacks for letting Saddam off the hook. The problem was solved, Ekeus explained to me, by getting Madeleine Albright, newly installed as secretary of state, to declare in a public address on 26 March 1997 that ‘we do not agree with the nations who argue that, if Iraq complies with its obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be lifted.’ The predictable result was that Saddam saw little further point in co-operating with the inspectors. This provoked an escalating series of confrontations between the Unscom team and Iraqi security officials, ending in the expulsion of the inspectors, claims that Saddam was ‘refusing to disarm’, and, ultimately, war.

There you have it. Clinton did not want the sanctions to end; he did not want to stop throwing the bodies of dead children on the stinking slagheap. As always, when one supposed “benchmark” has been met — in this case, the elimination of WMD and WMD programs — the rules are simply changed. We see this too with Iran. Obama puts forth what is purported to be a major “diplomatic” solution to have Iran ship its nuclear fuel to Brazil and Turkey for processing. This was, of course, a hollow gesture, meant to show how intransigent and untrustworthy  Iran really is; the nuke-hungry mullahs would naturally reject the deal. But when Iran made an agreement with Brazil to do exactly what Obama requested, this was immediately denounced — by Obama — as …. a demonstration of how intransigent and untrustworthy Iran really is. Meet a benchmark, and the masters simply change the rules. That’s how it works until they get what they want: regime change in strategic lands laden with natural resources.

Cockburn points out another effect of sanctions that is almost always overlooked:

Denis Halliday, the UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Iraq who resigned in 1998 in protest at what he called the ‘genocidal’ sanctions regime, described at that time its more insidious effects on Iraqi society. An entire generation of young people had grown up in isolation from the outside world. He compared them, ominously, to the orphans of the Russian war in Afghanistan who later formed the Taliban. ‘What should be of concern is the possibility at least of more fundamentalist Islamic thinking developing,’ Halliday warned. ‘It is not well understood as a possible spin-off of the sanctions regime. We are pushing people to take extreme positions.’ This was the society US and British armies confronted in 2003: impoverished, extremist and angry. As they count the losses they have sustained from roadside bombs and suicide attacks, the West should think carefully before once again deploying the ‘perfect instrument’ of a blockade.

But of course, as we’ve often noted here, this seems to be exactly what they want: a steady supply of extremists who can be relied upon to keep stoking the profitable fires of Terror War: flames which in turn feed the monstrous engines of the War Machine and its Security offshoot – both of which long ago devoured the remnants of the American republic, and are now metastasizing with dizzying speed, almost beyond human comprehension.

Dead children. Thousands of dead children. The mountain, the slagheap gets higher and higher. And still the people sleep ….

This article originally appeared on Empire Burlesque.


Posted at Uruknet

BOYCOTT BACKLASH

Just last week the Board of Directors of the Olympia Food Co-op took the courageous step of instituting a boycott of Israeli goods, the first grocery boycott of Israel in the US. Already, there is a movement afoot to condemn the Co-op for taking this important stand. Board and staff are receiving aggressive emails and phone calls, and we need to show them that there is support for the boycott.


The Backlash Begins on Olympia Food Co-op Boycott of Israeli Goods

The Associated Press has picked up the boycott story and is reporting “Olympia Food Co-op says it has received hundreds of phone calls and e-mails from all over the world.” The Israeli government is getting involved with Ha’aretz reporting: “An Israeli diplomatic source told Haaretz that the boycott issue is being checked, and although it seems like a marginal incident. The source added that ‘we are concerned about every attempt to delegitimize Israel.’ ” The Olympian reports: “Rabbi Seth Goldstein of Olympia, whose wife, Rabbi Yohanna Kinberg, contacted the paper by e-mail, won’t shop at the co-op as result of the board’s decision, and the couple are considering ‘resigning’ as co-op members. They had shopped at the store for about eight years, he said.” Goldstein is also quoted claiming the co-op “membership was not informed in the decision process.” I’m sure the August 11 “meeting to discuss the Olympia Food Co-op’s participation in a boycott of Israeli products” will be heated and well-attended. A similar grocery co-op boycott of Israeli goods by Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco in 2002 was rolled back was after intense Jewish Zionist pressure.

Friends,
Here is an updated Action Alert for support of the Olympia Food Co-op’s boycott of Israeli goods.  In previous message, the email address for board@olympiafood.coop copied incorrectly into the “To” line of the email to send.  In this version of the alert, the correct email address will come up in the
email you send.  Sorry for the inconvenience.
Please forward.

Action Alert: Support the Olympia Food Co-op Now! We Need Your Support Urgently!

Just last week the Board of Directors of the Olympia Food Co-op took the courageous step of instituting a boycott of Israeli goods, the first grocery boycott of Israel in the US. Already, there is a movement afoot to condemn the Co-op for taking this important stand. Board and staff are receiving aggressive emails and phone calls, and we need to show them that there is support for the boycott. Please, thank the Olympia Food Co-op and its board of directors for supporting human rights in Palestine:

If you live locally in Olympia, WA, here are additional things that you can do to support the Co-op and the boycott:

  • Go to the Co-op, write a thankful comment card and drop it in the box, and be sure to thank any staff members and volunteers that you see!
  • On Aug 4, 7pm-9pm, come to our teach-in Why boycott? Why divest? to learn more about the boycott, and the BDS movement as a whole!

Olympia BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) is a grassroots network of community members in Olympia, WA, joining the call by Palestinian civil society for a non-violent, global movement of boycott, divestment, and sanctions of Israel, until it meets the requirements of human rights and international law.

Thanks for listening!

Olympia BDS
www.olympiabds.org
contact@olympiabds.org


Meanwhile….. on the East Coast, actions continue and grow.


For updates on products to boycott click HERE

PROPHETIC IDEALISM

Through prophetic idealism, the handwriting is already on the wall, and walls cannot and do not last for eternity. And since prophetic idealism (or at least idealism) has not yet been declared a crime, in place of a wall there will only be wholeness and healing, restitution and truth, love and forgiveness, economic and political security, and unity and strength. “I have seen the future and it runs through here,” that is, the Israeli-Gaza/West Bank Walls and a new era of peace with justice.

Wall Graffiti by Banksy


‘I Have Seen The Future And It Runs Through Here’



Prophetic idealism not only confronts ethnocentric, violent and warring societies that depreciate memory and ridicule hope, but it challenges a world view and mindset that is against historical progress, says Dallas Darling.

At first, I thought about titling this article “Walls, Political Graffiti, and Prophetic Idealism.” But the phrase: “I Have Seen The Future And It Runs Through Here,” essentially means the same thing. The words were actually scrawled on the Berlin Wall, and when the wall was being dismantled by tens of thousands of East German protesters and citizens, along with uniting with those living in West Germany, the words on the wall were often visible and became extremely significant. To this day, “I Have Seen The Future And It Runs Through Here” is still momentous.

The reason I mention the Berlin Wall and “I Have Seen The Future And It Runs Through Here,” is because walls can either serve a useful purpose, or they can be a detriment. In some situations, walls can even become dehumanizing, destructive and deadly, especially in regards to humanity. I was reminded of this principle again when Yonatan Shapira, a former Israel Air Force pilot, wrote “Free Gaza and Palestine” on the remains of the Warsaw Ghetto Wall in Poland. In truth, his actions and words consisted of prophetic idealism.

Prophetic idealism not only confronts ethnocentric, violent and warring societies that depreciate memory and ridicule hope, but it challenges a world view and mindset that is against historical progress. Prophetic idealism is concerned with a future in which peace with justice and equality with mercy are practiced. Such a future, however, is lived and spoken in the present. Prophetic idealism is a “now” hope-filled, radical and revolutionary reality that seeks to transform unjust political, economic and social structures, not to mention decades of psychological and emotional violence.

This is what Shapira meant, and while traveling through Poland, when he said that many of his relatives were killed in death camps during the Holocaust. In his grief, he could not help but think too of the residents of Gaza, who, and according to Shapira, “are locked in a giant open-air prison and bombed by fighter jets and assault helicopters flown by people who I have served with in the past.” Behind the Israeli-Gaza/West Bank Wall (and many concrete barriers), there is malnutrition, night time raids, false arrests and imprisonments, the destruction of homes and farmland, limited access to food, medicines and healthcare, and repeated Israeli military incursions.

From the Warsaw Ghetto Wall to the Berlin and Israeli-Gaza/West Bank Walls-and hundreds of other walls, where behind these barriers and hidden from sight were/are millions of people who suffered and died because of self-serving and nationalistic, unjust and militarized political and economic systems; and in front of such walls were/are armed guards, tanks, machine gun bunkers, mines, barbwire, and checkpoints-Shapira was right in that Israel and its supporters have a responsibility to liberate the people of Gaza and to end the occupation.

This is what prophetic idealism does, it assaults and shatters imperial and national myths. It challenges manufactured, commodified and momentary realities, by imagining a better future for the marginalized and the oppressed of the world, including those who have been unjustly injured and killed. I have seen the future and it runs through here-or this wall-dreams of a different side, an alternative reality, a place where land, justice and equality are realized, a place where concealed suffering and death ceases to exist.

When Germany was liberated, the future ran through the Warsaw Ghetto Wall, at least for those who survived the atrocities and massive killings. The future ran through the Berlin Wall, as thousands of peaceful demonstrators defied an empire and a state and its military machine and security forces. Belief in a better future, or prophetic idealism, eliminated the deadly walls, along with their destructive divisiveness and the confinement of millions. It will only be a matter of time before the future runs through the Israeli-Gaza/West Bank Wall too.

More and more individuals around the world are understanding just how walled-in the people of Gaza have become. Many are witnessing the political violence and economic injustices committed against the women and children of Gaza. Someday soon, those who practice prophetic idealism will shatter the now, that has been established and maintained by sacrificing and slaughtering the many. Instead of one state, there will be two. Instead of militarism, there will be mercy. Instead of division, there will be devotion to the cause of justice with peace.

Through prophetic idealism, the handwriting is already on the wall, and walls cannot and do not last for eternity. And since prophetic idealism (or at least idealism) has not yet been declared a crime, in place of a wall there will only be wholeness and healing, restitution and truth, love and forgiveness, economic and political security, and unity and strength. “I have seen the future and it runs through here,” that is, the Israeli-Gaza/West Bank Walls and a new era of peace with justice.

Dallas Darling is the author of Politics 501: An A-Z Reading on Conscientious Political Thought and Action, Some Nations Above God: 52 Weekly Reflections On Modern-Day Imperialism, Militarism, And Consumerism in the Context of John‘s Apocalyptic Vision, and The Other Side Of Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, Spirituality, History, and Peace. He is a correspondent for http://www.worldnews.com. You can read more of Dallas’ writings at http://www.beverlydarling.com and wn.com//dallasdarling.

(Note: I am deeply indebted to Walther Brueggermann’s book “The Prophetic Imagination for the idea of Prophetic Idealism. It was published by Fortress Press in 1978.)

Source

DAY OF JOY IN OCCUPIED PALESTINE

A day of celebration in the occupied Palestinian territories

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

Nearly 86,000 Palestinian students sat this year for the final high school unified matriculation exam (called Tawjihi) in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.  Today the results of the exams were released and they were phenomenal.  It is a noisy day of celebration for thousands of people who worked very hard and achieved good results. There was no divisions here, the unified examinations were given in Gaza and the West Bank with cooperation of the ministry of education employees in both places and without political considerations.  Considering the slaughter of Gaza last year, the results from Gaza were remarkable (and equivalent to the West Bank).  The highest six students (4 females, 2 males) in the science section got the score of 99.5% and they represent refugees, villagers, and city dwellers, from Asira Al-Shjamaliya (near Nablus), Khan Younis (Gaza), Nablus City,  West Gaza, Shufat (Jerusalem), and Beni Nuaim (Hebron area).  In the humanities section, the top ten come from Tulkarem, Rafah, Nablus, Khan Younis, Qabatiya, and Jenin. My own nephew got 93.6% even though his father died in the middle of these exam (I had shared the story of Hazem with you earlier). This remarkable result by our young people shows the possibilities of the people of Palestine.  Of course, the colonial apartheid system limits the options open to our high school graduates but ultimately nothing can stand in the way of determined individuals.


I participated in teaching summer camps at two locations to younger students during the past few days.  I have been focusing on teaching and interactions with young Palestinians since I returned to Palestine two years ago.  In all these interactions I see the incredible opportunities.  Palestine has no oil or other major natural resources except its people.  If only our leaders understood the potential of mobilizing our people to liberate themselves.  We do not need to rely on endless negotiations or on irrational rhetoric or acts. Three young high school students built an electronic walking stick for the blind (I shared that story two months ago with you). Palestinian students at the Polytechnic University in Hebron just built a solar powered car from scratch .  What we need is a belief in the human potential.  We need a denial of the negativism that is fed by corruption, lies, and distortions; I will write more on this in my next message.  Meanwhile congratulations

Here is a must read article for all Palestinians: Towards a Palestinian Political Agenda by Dr. Salman Abu Sitta (two parts)

Israeli army destroys a Palestinian village in the Jordan valley

17 Year old arrested in night raid in Bil’in



Action: As received from Janan Abdu-Makhoul: Free Ameer Makhoul


Model Action: BDS activists do a musical tour in New York against Israeli apartheid


Mark Braverman’s report on the victory at the Presbyterian Assembly and lays out the nature of the Zionist tactics to thwart Christian action for peace and justice


Health in the occupied Palestinian territories


Action: Join the campaign to get TIAA-CREF to divest from Israeli apartheid (at the meeting held results were good and there was no opposition but this is expected to change so the organizers of the action want more signatures)


You are always welcome to visit us in Palestine

THE ‘CHANGE’ MUST COME FROM US…NOT THE GOVERNMENT; INTERVIEW WITH ANTONY LOEWENSTEIN

With “peace talks” between the Palestinian Authority and Israel seeming more and more like a dead end, many people around the world, including dissident Jewish voices, are turning to grassroots activism to pressure Israel to end the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories.

‘Governments Are Not Going to Change This. We Have To’: Antony Loewenstein on Israel/Palestine, the Internet and more

By Alex Kane

With “peace talks” between the Palestinian Authority and Israel seeming more and more like a dead end, many people around the world, including dissident Jewish voices, are turning to grassroots activism to pressure Israel to end the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Recently, Jewish Voice for Peace launched a campaign to pressure TIAA-CREF, one of the largest financial services in the U.S., to divest from companies that profit off of the Israeli occupation.  Yesterday, the Olympia Food Co-Op, located in the hometown of Rachel Corrie, the American peace activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer, announced a decision to boycott Israeli goods at their two locations.

Journalist, activist and blogger Antony Loewenstein, a Jewish Australian, has become a must-read voice on Israel/Palestine.   Loewenstein, the author of the bestselling book My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution, is currently in New York City, where he will be speaking at Revolution Books in Manhattan this Sunday, alongside author Michael Otterman, whose new book is titled Erasing Iraq: The Human Costs of Carnage. The event, which begins at 1 PM, will center on the occupations of Iraq and Palestine.

Loewenstein, who yesterday appeared on Laura Flanders’ Grit TV show with Ali Abunimah, is currently working on a project that examines privatization in Australia, as well as a book about Israel/Palestine.  I recently reached Loewenstein by phone while he was still in Australia, and had a wide-ranging discussion on Israel/Palestine, the role of the Internet and blogs, and the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) targeting Israel.

Alex Kane:  How did you get so involved in writing about Israel and Palestine?

Antony Loewenstein:  Well, many years ago when I was growing up—I grew up in Australia, in a very liberal, Jewish home—Israel was never a central part of my family but it was something, as most Jews will understand, that was important to support.  My grandparents escaped Nazi Germany, my family were killed in the Holocaust, so the idea of Israel being a homeland for the Jews was sort of seen as a given.  My grandparents have never been to Israel, my father’s only been once, my mother has never been, and I remember when I was a teenager, well before the Web, talking about something that happened that week, a suicide bombing or something in Israel, and I would sometimes express disdain or criticism of the official Israeli line, and it was met with unbelievable anger and ferocity by my family, by my parents, my other family, and there was a real, clear racism that was existing back then.  Two things:  one, that we can’t expect Arabs to behave any better because, after all, that’s what Arabs do, i.e., be violent against Jews, it’s sort of inherent in their system, and secondly, that whatever Israel was doing was always defensive.

Fast-forward twenty years in Australia, about seven years ago, Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian politician came out to Australia, she was awarded the peace prize, a prominent peace prize out here, and the Jewish community establishment reacted with apoplexy.  She was a “Holocaust denier,” a “terrorist,” all the usual kind of things, and Ashrawi then and now is very moderate.  And the argument I said at the time was that if the Jewish community can’t accept someone like her—in fact then she was talking about a two-state solution, she’s hardly a radical—if the Jewish community can’t accept her, then there’s a serious problem.  I felt, as a Jew, and I had never written about this publicly, but I felt as a Jew, as a journalist, it was important to put my position strongly, to say that there are some Jews who are critical of Israel, who believe in open and free debate.  I wrote about that, got a lot of coverage down here in Australia, was then picked up by Robert Fisk in the Independent in London, and as you could imagine, that caused this issue to go global.  He came out and said that it’s important that there are dissenting views.

So, over the years, I spent time in the Middle East, in Israel, in Palestine, I was in the West Bank and Gaza again last year, I’ve spent time in most of the Middle East, in Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc., and feel, I suppose, in many ways that it is important, although I see myself as a human being first and a Jew second, that it’s vital to articulate an alternative Jewish perspective.  I mean, years ago, my position was fairly conventional:  I believed in the two-state solution, and I believed that because when I was in Israel, many years ago, the people I was speaking to, the one-state solution, people often forget this now, but the debate about this has moved so fast, that there’s obviously a tactical question and a moral question, but certainly, practically five years ago a two-state solution was arguably impossible anyway.  Putting aside the moral question of whether there should be a two-state solution, my position about that has changed, and in my latest edition of My Israel Question, my book, I sort of articulate why that is.  In its simplest form, it’s because, practically, the colonization process is so far advanced, and its continuing, even during the recent so-called “settlement freeze”–in fact there wasn’t a “freeze” at all, there was settlement building happening, as many journalists, including Max Blumenthal, documented in the last month.  And secondly, as a moral question, the issue of a Jewish state existing I think is fundamentally problematic because it inherently discriminates against those who are non-Jewish, which is 20 percent of the population within Israel.  I should also say this, finally, that my point is not just being opposed to a Jewish state, I have equal issues with religious states, and I’ve spent a lot of time writing about Iran, Saudi Arabia, Muslim states that inherently discriminate against non-Muslims.  Now clearly, they’re not democracies, they don’t claim to be a democracy, and Israel does.  I’m not comparing Israel to Iran or Israel to Saudi Arabia, I’m simply saying that my opposition to the concept of a religious state, and Israel is undoubtedly based inherently on an interpreted Jewish history, I think the problem is far bigger than just a Jewish state, I think it’s also the question of religious states oppressing minorities, and we see that across the Middle East.

AK:  A lot of the discussion about Israel/Palestine, in the U.S. press obviously, but also in the Palestinian press, the Israeli press and the European press, it centers on the very big role that the United States plays, and that’s obviously true for good reason, but I’m curious to know what Australia’s role is in Israel/Palestine, because we don’t hear much about that.  And how are Australian activists tackling that role?

AL:  Australia is, in many ways, one of the largest economies in the world, so it’s not a small player, it’s smaller than America or China, of course, and much of Europe, but it certainly is a relatively major economy.  So, Australia is a so-called “important country.”  But when you talk about Israel/Palestine, when Israel was formed in 1948, Australia was one of the first countries to come out to support Israel in the United Nations, and since then, 50 years since, keep in mind a shift here or there, Australian governments have been incredibly supportive of Israel.  What I mean by supportive of Israel is that they’re very uncritical towards Israeli policy.

During the Bush years, we had a prime minister here called John Howard, who supported Bush in the Iraq War, Afghan War, rendition, and that was a period where, in the UN, Australia shifted some of its key votes to line up alongside a tiny handful of others, and Norman Finkelstein has talked about this in a disparaging way and he’s right, that in many of the key votes, and Australia is still sometimes on this side, you have America, Israel, Australia, Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands, talking about occupation, expansion of settlements, etc.  And clearly, Palau and Micronesia and the Marshall Islands are doing it because they are client states of the U.S. and they need the cash.  In some ways, that’s more understandable.  It’s regrettable, but understandable.

So my question is, what’s Australia’s excuse? Now, Australia is very close to the U.S., we have troops in Afghanistan despite the fact that most people are opposed to it here.  We’ve had successive prime ministers who have been to Israel, the last prime minister, Kevin Rudd, said that Israel was “in his DNA.”  Our current prime minister, Julia Gillard, who is Australia’s first female prime minister, recently came out and said one of the key points of her foreign policy will be support of Israel.

But I think what is shifting is public opinion in Australia, and indeed, in much of the West.  We’re seeing in the last six, twelve months, particularly since “Operation Cast Lead” and even more so since the flotilla massacre, a growing awareness in civil society that governments are not going to change this.  We have to.  And in the last six months, some of the key unions down here have put forward motions to divest and boycott Israel, which is significant, and there is a campaign to try and increase that.  In fact, recently, Diana Buttu, who is a Palestinian from Canada but living in Ramallah, who is very involved these days in speaking to unions globally about instituting an effective BDS campaign, she was brought out here to speak.  So she spoke to two unions about the role they can play, comparing it of course to the campaign against South Africa.  A recent study found that support for Israel in the general public is declining.  After the Gaza conflict a year and a half ago, the majority of Australians who were polled were opposed to the Israeli position and supported the Palestinians.

But of course, like in America or many other states, there’s a disconnect between what the political leaders and mainstream corporate media talk about and what the public thinks.  And I’ve noticed, even since I’ve been writing about this issue for the last seven years, that although the corporate media here is still slavishly following a U.S. line, there are cracks appearing.  So, for example, you do read, not often, but more often, Arab people in the press, Palestinians, dissidents, and not just the usual Zionist spokespeople, who until recently were the only ones you heard.  Something happens about the Middle East, and who are the first people you turn to?  If Mark Regev is not available, who’s actually Australian by the way, the key Israeli spokesman from the Prime Minister’s office in Israel and who was born and bred and taught in Melbourne, unfortunately, you go to the Israel lobby.  Although their voices are still there, and they’re clearly powerful, I’m not going to deny that, they have less power than they once did, publicly at least, and that’s significant, and you see that in many countries around the world.

So, Australia is not, on the one hand, massively influential in the Middle East—that would be a lie.  But for example, you can look at New Zealand, which is even smaller than us, and four years ago, you may remember, they caught a number of Mossad agents forging passports, which is reminiscent of what happened recently, and they basically severed diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Israel for a number of years.  Now again, that didn’t bring down apartheid Israel, but it’s significant and I think that countries that are smaller can often lead by example, and the Australian government doesn’t seem to be doing it anytime soon, but I think civil society certainly is becoming far more vocal, to say why is Australia, as a democracy, backing a brutal occupation and apartheid in Palestine, and still talking about the shared values we have with the Jewish State.

AK:  You’ve also written a lot about the Internet and blogs and how it can be a very powerful tool in fighting oppression.  Generally speaking, can you talk about that and more specifically, how you see that being played out with Israel and Palestine.

AL:  I think one of the things that is really clear about the rise of Web activism, or whatever we’d like to call it, is that it has fundamentally shifted how many of us engage in political issues via the world.  I mean, one of the things that became very clear about the uprising in Iran last year, was, although it was fascinating and traumatic and Iran has become even more mired in dictatorship than it was before, one very quickly realizes, although mostly the American press chose to ignore this, is that it was framed as a “Twitter revolution”—I’m sure you remember it from last year—the truth is that the majority of people in Iran a) don’t Twitter, and secondly, most of those Twitter accounts that were talking about the streets in Tehran were coming from the U.S.  Now, I use that as an example because I don’t argue that the Internet is about to bring democracy.  There are undoubtedly many in the neo-conservative movement who talk actively about empowering Web activists in Iran, China, Saudi Arabia to become more pro-U.S., to believe in the overthrow of a dictatorship, and install a more pro-US government—that’s not what I’m saying at all.  What I’m saying is that there has undoubtedly been a shift in the abilities of citizens in most countries to articulate their views on gender issues, political issues, issues about their personal lives, how they feel about foreign policy, frivolous things, whatever it may be.

When it comes to Israel/Palestine, what happened in the past, I suppose, five years particularly, and I’ve often used many of these sources, there’s been an explosion of two things:  one, dissident Jewish bloggers in Israel proper, and I’m talking about people like the blog the Promised Land, Joseph Dana, amongst others, interesting people who are actually fed up with what they generally see as the pro-government line that they see in the Israeli corporate press. Ha’aretz, to some extent, is an exception to that, although it obviously has a left, Zionist line as an editorial position, but it certainly publishes a lot of wonderful journalism, there’s no doubt about that, alongside some pretty, not-so-good journalism as well.  So those bloggers are important, and I think they’re being funneled into a wider context because of blogs like Mondoweiss, which give it a more global platform.

And of course, there are also Palestinian bloggers, and we shouldn’t forget about those.  It often takes more effort, sometimes, for those who don’t write in English to be read, and so a blog like Global Voices often does translation, other websites did translation during the course of the Gaza conflict a year and a half ago, some of the only voices, in fact, we were hearing were Palestinians or Gazans who could blog.  That’s significant because it provides a more nuanced view of what occupation means, what invasion means, what the dropping of white phosphorus means on civilian areas, what does that mean.  Photographing it, videoing it, detailing it, and of course making it far more difficult, then, for Israel and its supporters internationally to deny what the evidence shows very clearly.  If you simply rely on corporate media to get your information on the Israel/Palestine conflict, as has been documented time and time again, the sad problem is that virtually every single one of those corporate journalists live in one city, or two cities:  Jerusalem, or Tel Aviv.  And they’re very interesting cities, although I’ve yet to understand why, although I do, particularly Western outlets, don’t base people in the West Bank and Gaza.  And the argument is often made that it’s not safe, but that’s not a good enough reason.

AK:  Nor is it really true.  The notion that Western journalists being based in the West Bank or Gaza is dangerous is a very overblown notion.  Many Western journalists, if they were based there, would be completely fine.

AL:  I agree completely.  The truth is, it’s sort of funny in a way isn’t it, because journalists, or some corporate journalists go into Iraq or Afghanistan, which are war zones and are dangerous places and journalists risk their lives, and often they do wonderful work in the line of duty.  But the West Bank, for example, is pretty safe, and Gaza is actually very safe, they’re both very safe areas.  There still seems to be, with exceptions, a journalist from the New York Times, Ethan Bronner, others, will go there for a few days and come back.  And I spent time with Ethan Bronner last year when I was in Israel, interviewed him I should say, and he’s a very friendly guy, he’s obviously the bureau chief for the New York Times, he’s friendly enough, but I think one of the things that comes out very clearly when you speak to someone like that is a failure to understand that one cannot simply primarily have Jewish, Zionist voices reporting the conflict.  Let me just explain, for the record, I would be equally against if every reporter for the New York Times was an anti-Zionist Palestinian.  There needs to be different perspectives in there.  This is not a question of saying it should be all one side or the other.  And I don’t want to use the term balance, because that’s a bad term as well.  I’m saying there needs to be a diversity of views, and this is where, of course, the Web becomes central.  We often joke in Australia and elsewhere, that to find out what goes on in the halls of the Pentagon, one reads the New York Times.  But if you actually want to find out what goes on on-the-ground in many countries, you rarely would read the New York Times.  You would read blogs, or whatever it may be.

I think with Israel/Palestine, there is in fact a responsibility, I would argue, that if the mainstream press was more honest about listening to different views, on the opinion pages, for example, they would regularly publish bloggers from different countries.  And I’m astounded, although I use that term very loosely—I’m not very surprised that the mainstream press, who constantly whines about the fact that they have no money to pay for content, aren’t more often utilizing the role of bloggers in many countries.  In Iran, in Palestine, in countries where journalists for whatever reason choose not to go.  The content is there; I think that really shows that there is a tendency often, and a desire, to want to avoid seeing the real effects of U.S. foreign policy on civilians, whether it’s in Palestine, in Iraq or Afghanistan.  To this day, I read the New York Times most days, Washington Post, I look at most of these papers online, and they rarely publish articles by Iraqis or Afghans or Palestinians.  It’s as if you need to be a white person, and go to Palestine, or Iraq, or Afghanistan, and say this is what I’m seeing.  I’m not dismissing that—I’m a white person too.  But I’m saying is that it seems that there is a complete inability or unwillingness to actually publish people in their own voices, and bloggers, I think, can obviously provide that.

AK:  I really only have one more question.  It’s sort of a broad question, but what are your thoughts about the future prospects for justice in Palestine?

AL: Oh, the big question, Alex.  Well, I think only a fool could say that the short-term is going to be pretty.  I presume that you would agree with that.  It’s always difficult to predict this sort of thing, and I get asked this question a lot.

One of the things that I fear during the Obama administration, whether it’s three more years or seven more years, is an imposition of a two-state solution.  I worried about this, in fact, during the Bush years, believe it or not.  I thought it was conceivable that George W. Bush would simply say, “here’s a Palestinian state.”  I mean, the truth is, with the power of the U.S. and the international community, nothing stops them from declaring a Palestinian state tomorrow.  It wouldn’t be viable; I’m not suggesting it would be a good thing, but nothing stops them from actually doing it.  You have a complicit Palestinian Authority who are more than willing to accept the largesse and the support of the U.S. and Israel.  They are being built up as wonderfully effective colonial masters.  I just read a few days ago in Ha’aretz that Israel’s top security officer increasingly spends time with West Bank security forces, the way in which the PA and Israel works together, i.e. silencing dissent from Hamas and others.  So the fear that I have, potentially, is a two-state solution is declared, and it would not be viable, and it would not be a pleasant thing for Palestinians, it would not be with East Jerusalem as its capital.  It would not be anything that honest Palestinians would want, in the diaspora or in Palestine itself.  So that’s something I think which is possible, and I worry about it, and I think that it needs to be more talked about, Ali Abunimah in particular has talked about that and I praise him for that, the fear that this may be happening.

I think the reality is that the one-state solution is not going to happen tomorrow, or next week, but it’s certainly gaining traction, certainly in the diaspora.  In Palestine itself, the figures are hard to see, but it appears that within Israel proper, the Jewish population’s support, as you know, let’s just say is very slim.  It’s very, very slim, there’s no way to get around that.  In the Palestinian communities, both in Israel proper and in the West Bank and Gaza, it’s much higher and growing.  In fact, in the last studies I’ve seen, it’s close to fifty percent, which is quite high, considering that two years ago when I saw other results it was about thirty percent.  So it’s growing, and there’s no doubt, because people are disillusioned with the possibility of a two-state solution.

I think what is also happening, which I am more encouraged by, is the fact that there is a growing awareness in the diaspora about what is going on.  And I just saw, and I’m using this as one example, there was a five-minute report on Fox News about the virtual impossibility of Palestinians being able to obtain land in Jerusalem.  Now again, Fox News is very pro-Israel, and I’m not suggesting that suddenly changed, and they’ve become in love with Palestine, obviously not.  But those sort of stories are increasingly appearing in the corporate press, and the effects of those is causing, which I am pleased about, the growing disillusion within American Jewry towards Israel.  This is something that of course Mondoweiss and I write a lot about too.  The Israel lobby in the U.S. realizes that its so-called fan-base is shrinking.  One of the things that I did agree with in Peter Beinart’s recent article, despite much of it being not to my liking, was when he talked about the future of the Israel lobby in America being made up particularly of Orthodox Jews whose views on Israel are more extreme than those who are in charge now.  And you could argue, in a cynical way, that’s in fact very good for Palestine, because that will show to more Americans that if that’s what is required to be pro-Israel, is to hate Arabs, I don’t want to be a part of that.  And I’m encouraged by that trend, if you get my drift, rather than the status quo continuing.

I think hoping and praying for Obama to bring change—nothing’s impossible—but he’s moving towards a situation, as I said, where some kind of Palestinian state, a truncated state, a complicit Palestinian state, is on the cards, and I think the task of all of us, particularly in the diaspora, and within Israel and Palestine, is to support a BDS campaign.

A BDS campaign is important because, as Neve Gordon wrote a few days ago in the Observer, the BDS campaign doesn’t have a particular platform.  It doesn’t say two-states, one-state.  Admittedly, many of the people I know have a one-state view, but there’s no official position.  What he says is that it’s to try and make Israeli Jews realize that the occupation must come with a price.  You cannot simply continue to occupy and expand settlements, colonizing the West Bank and blockading Gaza, and expect the world to treat you as friends.  And although the BDS campaign, one can hardly say that at this stage it has changed the political situation over there, because it hasn’t, what it has done is increasingly change the conversation in the diaspora.  And the fear of BDS in Israel, as we see in the Knesset, growing numbers of legislation moving through there to try and ban people who advocate for it, such as Neve Gordon, I think is an indication of how much they do fear it.

And let me just finish on this point.  A lot of people have been writing about the World Cup in South Africa, and I only bring this up as an example because of two things:  one, that the end of apartheid there, in many ways, was sort of a false end to that hideous regime.  Anyone who reads about that country realizes that the truth is that, although politically apartheid is over, economically it’s actually continued.  But if one looks at the studies of how blacks and whites view the other, it’s actually quite remarkable how many, a majority in fact, there is an ability to be forgiving or have a desire to move on.  That would not have happened unless there was some justice for the crimes that happened.  I use that as an example to say that for anyone who claims that Israel/Palestine is intractable, and it’s never going to be solved, and there’s no way to move forward and it’s always going to stay the same, that South Africa—which is an incredibly imperfect society, poverty is rampant, as I said I’m not idealizing it for a second—but what there has been is at least a beginning, a beginning of racial reconciliation.  And I think without Israeli Jews and the Israeli state and the Jewish, Zionist diaspora realizing that they cannot continue with the way things are, and in the U.S., which is a key country and I’m encouraged by what’s happening on university campuses, etc.  So, although politically I’m quite disillusioned, I’ll be honest, as an activist, as well as a journalist, I’m more encouraged by what I’m seeing.

Source

THE PLAIN AND SIMPLE TRUTH ABOUT APARTHEID

A declaration of loyalty to “a Jewish state” is not just a procedural matter. It implies, for Arabs or others, recognition of one’s inferiority vis-à-vis Jewish citizens of the state. Indeed, the ramifications of such recognition are enormous and far-reaching.


Palestinian women paint ships on a wall to show support for attempts to break the Israeli naval blockade on Gaza, at the sea port in Gaza City

Apartheid plain and simple

Israel is reinventing the ancient punishment of banishment, though only for Arabs, writes Khalid Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem


As if the preponderance of discriminatory laws already swelling the Israeli legal system were not enough, the Israeli parliament — the Knesset — is slated to debate a fresh instalment of anti-Arab draft laws aimed at “reasserting the Jewish nature of Israel”.

One of these draft laws, tabled by a pro- settler party called Habayt ha Yahudi, or the Jewish Home, would force all citizens and would-be citizens of Israel to declare their loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state. The draft law specifically targets Palestinians married or wishing to marry other Palestinians who are already Israeli citizens — ie Palestinians living in Israel proper.

A declaration of loyalty to “a Jewish state” is not just a procedural matter. It implies, for Arabs or others, recognition of one’s inferiority vis-à-vis Jewish citizens of the state. Indeed, the ramifications of such recognition are enormous and far-reaching.

Israel usually claims to be both a Jewish and democratic state. However, it is widely known that the “democratic” epithet is preserved for Jews, not Arabs, and that the state can’t be both “Talmudic”, as demanded by the growing Jewish religious sector, and democratic, as asserted by secular segments, given the intrinsic contradictions between the two concepts.

Democratic dismissed, the “Jewish” epithet leaves non-Jews living in Israel as a Jewish state, even if they happen to be indigenous inhabitants, estranged and unwanted, by virtue of being non-Jews. Their status as “citizens” is not owed to the laws of the land, but mainly to Jewish magnanimity and/or charity.

“This legislation [is] organised racism whereby citizenship is granted in exchange for recognition by a citizen of his inferior status as a second or third class citizen,” said Arab Knesset member Ahmad Tibi.

Tibi, who denounced the new draft laws as “products of a depraved mentality,” said the camp that holds power in Israel is trying to communicate a message to more than 1.5 million Arabs in Israel proper that “if you want to have your rights guaranteed and if you want to live freely and happily, then you will have to leave this country.”

Tibi responds: “But we won’t leave this country, because this country is our country. We were born here, our forefathers were born and are buried here.”

Another Arab Knesset member, Hanin Zubi, scoffed at Israel’s notion of democracy, calling it “a joke”. “How can democracy be practised or even survive in a fascist environment?” The Knesset, Zubi said, “is becoming a fascist Jewish club, which is why it is difficult for free voices to be heard.”

Two weeks ago, Israeli Jewish MPs ganged up on Zubi while speaking at the rostrum of the Knesset, with some extremist Jewish lawmakers calling her obscene names and even trying to drag her to the ground for defending her participation in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. The Israeli navy brutally attacked the flotilla on 31 May, killing at least nine aid activists and injuring many, drawing angry reactions around the world.

Zubi’s family has been living in the city of Nazareth since time immemorial. The Jewish MP who assaulted Zubi is a recent immigrant from the former Soviet Union who doesn’t even speak fluent Hebrew.

But if the Knesset is a reflection of the state of affairs permeating Israel, and if the Israeli parliament is succumbing to an extremist onslaught, Israel itself — government and society alike — is embracing what is widely now deemed “fascism” in a most cordial manner.

This week, an Israeli court in Jerusalem decided to keep Sheikh Mohamed Abu Tir in jail for refusing to leave the city of his birth. Sheikh Abu Tir, who spent more than 25 years in jail for his opposition to the Israeli occupation, was elected in 2006 as a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council representing East Jerusalem. However, an Israeli judge recently issued a decree banishing Abu Tir from East Jerusalem for affiliation with a “terrorist organisation” — in reference to the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc, an arm of Hamas.

Abu Tir denied that he was a member of Hamas, saying he was representing the people of Jerusalem who elected him and that he took part in an election that was okayed by Israel and closely monitored by the United States and the rest of the international community. His argument was rejected by the Israeli judge. Abu Tir was then asked to pay $95,000 in bail. He refused, prompting the Israeli authorities to return him to jail.

Abu Tir, like dozens of other Islamic lawmakers, had just spent 48 months in jail for taking part in the 2006 elections. Following his release, the Israeli domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, demanded that he leave his hometown within one month. He refused to heed the order, arguing that Jerusalem was his hometown and the city of his birth, and that nothing would make him leave his hometown.

Abu Tir’s lawyer Osama Al-Saadi described the trial of his client as “political and ideological from A to Z.” “This is part of the battle over Jerusalem. They are trying to convince themselves that the Palestinians of Jerusalem are only temporary citizens who can be expelled at any time.” Al-Saadi underscored the stark discrimination against the Arab community in a state that doesn’t stop claiming to be democratic.

“Imagine a Jew who is affiliated with a terrorist organisation, or who belongs to an outlawed Jewish political party. Would he ever be banished from Israel, irrespective of the enormity of his crime?” “You see the mendacity of this slogan, that Israel is a ‘democracy’? Do democratic states expel citizens because they adhere to a different religion?”

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