Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
This will be our year!
Christians and Muslims lived generally peacefully and even amicably for many centuries. Christian-Muslim unity more or less survived the Crusades’ era and the creation of the Zionist state of Israel, especially the unlimited support and backing of that criminal entity by western Christian powers*
Christian Arabs must not embrace tyrannical anti-Islam regimes
By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Jerusalem
I know I have to exercise extreme caution when dealing with this sensitive issue of Christian citizens in the Arab world. The ugly head of sectarianism would always rise if we didn’t take the necessary precautions to keep buried underground. I say “keep it buried underground,” not crush it into oblivion because as long as there are religions and sects there will always be sectarianism. Hence, the best and utmost we can do and hope for is to seek common grounds and common denominators based on human rights, civil liberties as the concept of equal citizenship.
Unfortunately, efforts to keep the ugly head of the ghoul of sectarianism at bay are not always successful especially in states that utilize sectarianism to prevent democracy and perpetuate sectarian tyranny and despotism.
Unfortunately, there is a trend in the media, especially the secular media, to blame Islamists for tampering with the sectarian equation. Rarely have we heard criticisms directed at the Christian communities or their respective leaderships for generating negative anti-Christian impressions among the majority Muslim population.
Take Syria for an example. For sixty years, the country has been languishing under the murderous boots of the heretical Alawite sect, which used the Baath party as a ladder to reach the helm of power.
The Baathist fascism practiced and promoted by the Assad family penetrated every aspect of the Syrian state, government and society. I am sure Syrians know much more than I do about the evils of the Assad Dynasty rule, a rule that continues to dispatch Syrians to their graves by the hundreds per day.
Unfortunately, Christians in Syria, or most of them, sided decidedly with the terrorist regime of Bashar Assad against the vast majority of the Syrian people who rose up for freedom.
I believe Christians who decided to join the Assad boat must be treated like criminal terrorists, just like other people joining that nefarious regime, including “nominal Muslims.”
Christians joining the ranks of Bashar Assad are terrorists and criminals not because they are Christian, but rather because they are involved in crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Nazi-like regime against its own people.
As mentioned, the same descriptions apply to everyone joining ranks with the Assad regime.
Many Egyptian Christians have also been making the same historical blunder of siding with the coup-makers who usurped the collective will of the Egyptian people.
The Sisi junta has murdered thousands of innocent Egyptians. It has tortured and maltreated political opponents and rounded up tens of thousands of people.
Needless to say, this is the hallmark of fascism.
It is unacceptable that Christians in Egypt or elsewhere in the Arab world insist on imposing secularism on a predominantly Muslim people. Secularism may be part of Christianity, but it is not part of Islam.
Let me make this perfectly clear. Christians in the Arab world have every right to demand equality as citizens. But they don’t have the right to impose secularism as a new religion on Muslims. Similarly, Christians have no right to insist that belief in godless secularism is sine-qua-non for participation in political life.
Don’t tell me secularism is good. In the Arab world, especially in Egypt, Syria and Algeria, secularism means vehement hostility to Islam.
Muslims, like the followers of any other conceivable religion, have a full natural right to take part in political life and form political parties based on their Islamic convictions and ideals. It is unacceptable that, for example, Communists have a right to form political parties based on their Marxist-Leninist convictions and liberals have a similar right to do the same thing based on their liberal convictions while Muslims are denied that right. This is not only hostility to Islam; it is also hostility to democracy and human rights.
Some Christian pundits might argue that Communism and liberalism are political philosophies whereas Islam is a religion. Well, with all due respect, Christians have no right to define Islam for Muslims just as Muslims have no right to define Christianity for Christians.
This ought to be treated an axiomatic matter that shouldn’t be even raised in public were it not for the ongoing dark embrace between some influential Christian circles and the tyrannical gangs in Cairo and Damascus.
More to the point, there are Christian political parties ruling in many countries such as Germany, so why is it that of all peoples in the world, Muslims are barred from taking part in political life unless they are willing to effectively renounce their faith?
We won’t renounce our faith and we won’t renounce our right to participate in political life even if we have to shed our blood for it.
I am sure that Christians of good-will understand Muslim concerns in this regard. Unfortunately, not all Christians harbor good-will toward Muslims. These people include, inter alia, the Coptic Church of Egypt. In the past few years, especially ever since the ousting of Egyptian tyrant Husni Mubarak, this particular Church has lost no opportunity displaying its venomous vindictiveness and sullen hostility to Islam and the Islamists. The print and electronic media associated with the Church never stopped even for minute inciting hatred against Islamists. The declared target is the Muslim Brotherhood, but the real target is Islam, the Prophet of Islam and the holy scriptures of Islam.
Indeed, we would exaggerate very little if we said that the Coptic Church and many of its followers bear much of the moral responsibility for the genocidal massacres of the Islamists at the hands of the murderous Sisi gang. The Church actually never sought to distance itself from the perpetrators of the hideous crimes which should make condemnation of the Church acquire an added legitimacy.
Christians and Muslims lived generally peacefully and even amicably for many centuries. Christian-Muslim unity more or less survived the Crusades’ era and the creation of the Zionist state of Israel, especially the unlimited support and backing of that criminal entity by western Christian powers.
Now, there is a third formidable challenge waiting to test the tenacity and durability of Christian-Muslim relations. And that is the slow and arduous transformation into democracy in the Arab world. Unfortunately, the tidings don’t look very good.
Let me be clear. Christians, like all citizens, have the right to take part in political life. They have the right to form or join the political party of their choice. But they absolutely have no right to demand the exclusion of Islam-based parties from the political game.
Needless to say, that would be the ultimate game-changer that would rock the boat of coexistence between Muslims and Christians in this part of the world.
“I think western governments have inculcated people to accept that privacy does not really have much value,” said Greenwald, adding it was “to get populations accustomed to violations of their privacy.”
Greenwald testified before the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties and Home Affairs via a video link, contributing to an inquiry into the NSA’s surveillance on EU citizens.
“The NSA doesn’t need a specific reason to collect anybody’s communications,” said the journalist, reminding the panel that the agency’s ultimate goal was to “eliminate individual privacy worldwide.”
The collection of metadata is one of the “supreme priorities” for the NSA , said Greenwald, adding that the practice was more invasive than snooping on the content of electronic communications. Metadata refers to the time, date, duration and location of calls, allowing the NSA to effectively follow targets.
To demonstrate the fact that metadata is far more useful to security agencies than content, Greenwald gave the example of a woman deciding to have an abortion. If you listen in on the woman’s call you will get a very constricting interpretation of events, said Greenwald, a “generic-sounding” clinic name and an appointment time. With metadata, however, agencies can construct a much more detailed picture because it gives them access to phone numbers that in turn could be used to identify the clinic.
“If you’re someone who values privacy, it would almost be preferable at this point to have the NSA listening in on your phone calls and reading your emails than it is to have them collect all of your metadata over the course of many years and then analyze it in secret with virtually no restraint.”
Contradicting Washington’s claims that it does not engage in “economic espionage,” Greenwald said the NSA and the GCHQ’s activities were aimed towards “diplomatic manipulation and accumulation of power.”
“What a lot of this spying is about has nothing to do with terrorism and national security. That is the pretext. It is about diplomatic manipulation and economic advantage.”
The NSA also follows people who express “radical ideas,” Greenwald said. The spy agency collects data on their “visits to pornographic sites” and their “sexual chats online with people who they’re not married to” in order to later discredit them, Greenwald said.
Greenwald rejected accusations from the American government that Snowden and his associates have put the fight against terrorism in jeopardy by releasing classified data. He said that the only thing that has been harmed is the “perception of honesty and credibility” of the governments engaged in spying.
He also made the point that terrorists are fully aware their electronic communications are tracked and for that reason do not use e-mail or the internet.
The inquiry was set up to discuss ratcheting up the security of the internet and telephone networks in the European Union.
Whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the massive scale of the American spy agency’s espionage program in Europe earlier this year. He disseminated classified files to international media that showed the NSA had monitored a number of high-profile political figures, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Furthermore, it was revealed that the organization gathers metadata on millions of telephone calls across the European Union.
Snowden is also expected to testify before the Civil Liberties Committee in January as part of the inquiry.
Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
The very powers that ardently support Israel’s apartheid state are the ones shedding the most crocodile tears at the passing of Nelson Mandela. Where were their tears and support when he sat in prison for 27 years? Where are their tears for the thousands of Palestinians who perished under Israel’s occupation of their land?
Even The Royal Family …..
See THIS report to see who else
Their tears are literally dropping on the checks they are sending in support of Israeli apartheid …..
Hypocrisy at its greatest.
Don’t miss this post from last night
P.S. From The Jewish Voice For Peace …..
Last week, the Anti-Defamation League put JVP on its list of top ten “anti-Israel” organizations.
But their attack seriously backfired.
More than 250 JVP supporters raised over $12,000 to help us fund our new Campus Liaison – one of the projects the ADL fears most.
We promised we’d send ADL President Abe Foxman a thank you note, and wanted to give you one last chance to add your name to it.
If you are proud of our organizing to hold Israel accountable to international law, or the way our Rabbinical Council reclaims justice traditions within Jewish community and ritual, click here to make sure the ADL knows it.
Their complicity with Israeli human rights abuses puts the ADL on the wrong side of history.
Click here to give $18 or even $36 now and add your name to our thank you card.
They did get one thing right. They described JVP as an organization with national impact that recruits grassroots supporters and influences the mainstream public debate about Israel.
And that’s all because of our amazing supporters like you.
Grassroots Fundraising Coordinator
Photos © by Bud Korotzer
Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
P5+1 ~~ The latest threat to zion
Palestinians risking their lives for a job
West Bankers trying to find work in Israel face prison, injury, and even death.
As many as 70,000 Palestinians commute each day between the West Bank and Israel [Khalid Amayreh/Al Jazeera]
Every week, Muhammad Ibrahim Hantash puts his life at risk in order to find a day’s work. The 23-year-old from Khursa, a village in the West Bank about 15 kilometres south of Hebron, often crosses illegally into Israel in search of a job to sustain his family.
Because Hantash is unmarried, he is not eligible to obtain a work permit from the Israeli Civil Administration, the government department responsible for entry into Israel. Israeli security agencies believe that married Palestinian workers, especially those with children, are less likely to be involved in “acts of terror” inside Israel.
Unlawful border crossings into Israel are rife with peril, and often end in injury or even death. “Ours is a piece of bread soaked in blood,” said Hantash. “You leave your family shortly before dawn, but you never know for sure if you will return home at the end of the day. Nothing is certain and we live in a constant state of anxiety.”
He is just one of thousands of young Palestinians who endanger their lives in order to find work, helping them and their families withstand the bleak economic situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. As many as 70,000 Palestinians are thought to commute each day between the West Bank and Israel. According to the Palestinian Labour Ministry, between 35-40 percent of them are unlicensed workers.
Israeli authorities insist that the Palestinian Authority, not Israel, is responsible for providing jobs for Palestinians in the West Bank. But the PA has no sovereignty of its own, and no control over border crossings with Israel or the outside world.
The PA’s Labour Ministry does not have exact figures on how many unlicensed Palestinian workers have been shot by the Israeli army and border police as they attempt to enter Israel.
According to the Palestinian Labour Ministry’s Manpower Department, between five to ten workers lose their lives this way every year. Dozens of others are injured, some seriously, when the vehicles they travel in crash while trying to elude Israeli army jeeps.
This January, Uday Kamel Darawish, from the town of Dura, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers as he tried to enter through a small gap in the border barrier near the town of Dahirriya. Relatives said Darawish was shot in the chest with “dum-dum bullets” – ammunition designed to expand on impact in order to produce a wound of larger diameter. Fellow workers reportedly tried to save his life, but as they approached his body, Israeli soliders fired at them.
On October 21, eight Palestinian workers – also from Dura – were injured when an Israeli army vehicle rammed their car. Two days earlier, two other workers were seriously injured near Jerusalem after they fell into a pit during a chase.
Yousef Suleiman, 38, is an unlicensed Palestinian worker who says he has “been through it all”.
“Israel treats Palestinian workers as pieces of trash,” he said. “When they catch us, they beat us severely. Beating unlicensed workers is against the Israeli law. However, for the Israeli justice system, entering Israel illegally nullifies any complaints of mistreatment at the hands of the police or soldiers.”
“They often tell us: ‘Go to Abbas to feed you and cater for your families,’” he continued, referring to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. “We retort that Abbas himself and his authority are under the Israeli occupation. But, of course, the logic of power – not the power of logic – is what prevails at the end.”
According to Suleiman, caught workers are taken to an Israeli police station where they are forced to sign documents that allow the Israeli authorities to indict them if they enter Israel again without a valid entry permit. The document is reportedly only written in Hebrew, and very few workers understand what their signatures entail. Before the workers are released, they are given a suspended prison sentence from six months to three years if they are caught again in Israel.
Despite the security risk, Palestinian workers are often preferred over foreign workers, said Suleiman. He said they are more skilled, work harder and don’t cost the Israeli employer additional expenses such as airline tickets, housing arrangements and medical insurance. “Besides,” he said, “the Palestinian workers get their work done and return to their homes in the West Bank at the end of the day.”
The Israeli Civil Administration in Hebron did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the issue of unlicensed Palestinian workers in Israel.
However, Egal Palmor, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said Palestinian workers trying to enter Israel illegally were “infiltrators very much like foreign workers from Africa reaching Israel via the Egyptian borders”.
Palmor said Palestinians were able to enter Israel to work because Israel’s separation wall with the West Bank is not yet complete. “The barrier was not built to prevent Palestinian workers from entering Israel for work,” he emphasised. “It was built to prevent terrorist infiltration.” He also denied that Israeli soldiers were given instructions to shoot workers.
When asked whether a long-term solution to the problem exists, Palmor said only creating more jobs in the West Bank would significantly decrease the number of Palestinians seeking work in Israel.
October 29, New York, NY – Outside Manhattan’s normally staid Lincoln Center cultural complex tonight, 50 New Yorkers delivered a clear message rejecting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s (IPO) deliberate use of art to whitewash Israel’s systematic and brutal repression of the rights of the Palestinian people. The IPO, which was holding a fundraising concert, calls itself “Israel’s musical ambassador throughout the country and the world” and helps to project a positive image of Israel, diverting attention from Israel’s human rights abuses, as part of the Israeli government’s “Brand Israel” initiative.
Many of the well-dressed patrons, who had paid up to $5000 apiece for tickets to the IPO concert at the Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, looked disturbed to encounter a radical marching band, the Rude Mechanical Orchestra (RMO), and a crowd of protesters with chants that included, “Your orchestra is classy, your piano is so grand, we’d love to have you play for us when you stop stealing land;” and “Oboe, trumpet and bassoon, apartheid is out of tune.”
Other passers-by read the literature being distributed by protesters and, in some cases, took up signs and joined the demonstration. Eight dancers in a second floor Alice Tully Hall studio with floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking the protest, inspired by the RMO’s renditions of “Which Side Are You On?” and “We Shall Not Be Moved,” treated the crowd to an impromptu dance performance.
Daniel Strum of Adalah-NY explained, “Culture in the service of the Israeli government, that denies Palestinians basic rights, including their right to cultural expression, should be protested and boycotted.” American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra calls the IPO “Israel’s finest cultural emissary” and notes that “[t]he goodwill created by these tours…is of enormous value to the State of Israel.” An Israeli Foreign Ministry official explained the government efforts to rebrand Israel that the IPO supports to the New York Times in 2009 saying, “We will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theater companies, exhibits…This way you show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.”
Yasmine Megahed from Adalah-NY said, “The IPO’s use of classical music to support government militarization is wrong. More and more people are rejecting the Brand Israel strategy, and joining the growing movement to boycott Israel.” An October news report explained that the IPO receives 14 percent of its funding from the Israeli government. In the same piece, Julian Rachlin, the IPO’s conductor for tonight’s performance, lamented that there is not more government funding but simultaneously affirmed his support for Israel’s militarization, explaining that “most of the [government’s] money goes to the army, and rightly so.” While IPO conductor Zubin Mehta expressed concerns about some Israeli government policies in a 2012 interview, the IPO’s support for the Israeli government and military has not wavered since 1948. The IPO was also the target of lively NYC protests at performances in 2011 and 2012.
On October 27th, the same New York groups protested outside the performance of Israeli musician Idan Raichel at the Beacon Theatre. Raichel is another self-proclaimed propagandist for the Israeli government and its apartheid policies towards the Palestinian people. The peaceful, spirited protest of chanting and singing was met by hostility and racism from many concert-goers.
The groups organizing tonight’s protest are part of the growing international movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, to pressure Israel to end its human rights abuses. The Palestinian-led BDS movement is a nonviolent campaign for Palestinian rights inspired by the international boycott campaign that helped to abolish apartheid in South Africa.
For more photos of the protest: http://adalahny.org/photo-gallery/1094/pictures-israel-philharmonic-orchestra-protest-oct-29-2013