NO SCHOOL FOR GIRLS OF SEPHARDIC ORIGIN IN ISRAEL

They can stay in the kitchen, learn to cook, go barefoot and get pregnant!
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Who said Israel was the only Democracy in the Middle East?

Obviously someone that never read the following two reports …

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Haredi school admits only 5 Sephardic girls 

Education Ministry cancels registration of girls to New Beit Yaakov seminary in ultra-Orthodox city of Elad after learning that 83% of students accepted for next school year are Ashkenazi.

Read the full report HERE

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Even worse is the fact that Sephardic leaders endorse this madness

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Rabbi’s ban on women’s studies embarrasses Shas 

After haredi movement’s new spiritual leader rules that women must not pursue academic degree, members present three letters in which late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef encouraged women to study.

Full report HERE

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First they didn’t allow Arab kids in Israeli schools

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Then they removed Ethiopian kids from their schools in Israel

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Now it’s girls of Sephardic origin …

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And some of us DID SPEAK OUT!

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OCCUPYING THE PRISONS

Cecily McMillan Sentenced to Three Months in Jail

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer (Reports follow)

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Cecily McMillan Sentenced to Three Months in Jail

By Jon Swaine, Guardian UK (Via)

McMillan to also serve five years’ probation for deliberately elbowing a New York police officer at a protest in 2012

 

n Occupy Wall Street activist has been sentenced to three months in jail for assaulting a New York police officer as he led her out of a protest.

Cecily McMillan, who had been facing a maximum sentence of seven years, was told on Monday morning by Judge Ronald Zweibel that she “must take responsibility for her conduct”.

“A civilised society must not allow an assault to be committed under the guise of civil disobedience,” said Zweibel at Manhattan criminal court. However, he added: “The court finds that a lengthy sentence would not serve the interests of justice in this case.”

McMillan, 25, received a three-month jail sentence to be followed by community service and five years of probation. Her lawyers expect her to serve two-thirds of the sentence. She will also receive credit for the two weeks she has been remanded at Rikers Island jail since being convicted.

McMillan was earlier this month found guilty of deliberately elbowing officer Grantley Bovell in the face at a demonstration in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park in March 2012. He suffered a black eye and spent two weeks off work with headaches and sensitivity to light. McMillan insisted throughout her trial that she swung her arm instinctively after having one of her breasts grabbed from behind.

Wearing a fuschia dress, the New School graduate student was on Monday led, handcuffed, into a courtroom lined by about 50 police officers. Reading a prepared speech, she told the judge that she lived by the “law of love”. She said: “Violence is not permitted. This being the law that I live by, I can say with certainty that I am innocent of the crime I have been convicted of”. She apologised for what she called “this accident”.

However, in a sharply critical statement to the judge, assistant district attorney Shanda Strain said that McMillan had “not only physically assaulted the police officer but also falsely accused this police officer’s character both inside and outside of this courtroom”.

Accusing McMillan of using the court as a “grandstand for her political opinions,” Strain baldly stated that the 25-year-old had committed perjury by accusing Bovell of grabbing her breast. “Through her lies, she has undermined the claims of genuine sexual assault victims who seek justice in this system,” she said. However, Strain said that a sentence of 90 days would be sufficient to “serve the interests of society”.

After being pushed to the ground during her arrest, McMillan suffered further bruising and said that she had a seizure or anxiety attack. She previously said that she underwent treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. McMillan’s attorney, Martin Stolar, told Zweibel: “I urge the court to take into account the injuries that Miss McMillan suffered subsequent to her arrest … which will last probably the rest of her life.”

Stolar told the Guardian outside court that the sentence was “less worse than it could have been”. He said: “The punishment, and whatever deterrent effect a punishment can have, was already delivered to Cecily the night she was arrested. As far as the police were concerned, she punched a cop and she got punched back, so street justice was delivered.”

McMillan’s felony conviction for second-degree assault is believed to be the most serious against any of the hundreds of members of Occupy who were prosecuted for offences around protests after the movement began in 2011. She had previously turned down an offer from prosecutors to plead guilty to the felony charge in exchange for a recommendation that she not receive a prison sentence.

Following the sentencing, Erin Duggan Kramer, Vance’s deputy chief of staff, said in a statement that the district attorney’s office recognised the freedoms of speech and assembly as “bedrocks of our personal liberties” that were “deeply entrenched in our city’s culture”. Claiming that “great leniency” had been shown to Occupy members charged with minor offences, Duggan Kramer said: “This defendant chose to take her case to trial, and was convicted by a jury of her peers for a violent felony.”

Stolar pointed out to the judge that following McMillan’s conviction, nine of the 12 jurors in her trialwrote to Zweibel, asking him not to send her to prison and to show her leniency. Their letter was followed by similar requests from members of the New York city council and prominent pop musicians. Two members of Pussy Riot, the Russian punk activist group, visited McMillan at Rikers and also wrote to the judge.

McMillan’s support team also delivered a petition to Zweibel and Cyrus Vance, the district attorney, bearing what they said were 43,000 names of other people asking that she not be sent to prison. While acknowledging that the courts should not be dictated by public opinion, Stolar urged Zweibel to note that “so many people have spoken up and that they believe leniency is in order for Miss McMillan”.

Singling out by name contributions from Kim Gordon, formerly of Sonic Youth, and Lauren Mayberry, of the Scottish group Chvrches, Stolar told Zweibel: “These are people that neither you nor I would recognise, but among this generation are fairly important”.

Zweibel said: “The court agrees with many of Miss McMillan’s supporters that Miss McMillan is capable of making a positive contribution to society. However, as I stated before, a sentence must take into account the fact that Miss McMillan was convicted of assaulting a police officer.” He then delivered his order on her sentence.

Several people in the public gallery began quietly singing ‘We Shall Not Be Moved’, adding “Cecily is innocent” to the lyrics. However, they stopped after being ordered to be quiet by a senior police officer.

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Related Report

ENFORCING APARTHEID VIA THE ISRAELI ID CARD SYSTEM

The type of ID one has determines how much of historic Palestine one is allowed to access. Israeli Jewish citizens are free to move and live in virtually the whole country, while at the bottom end Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza are restricted to tiny enclaves.

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Infographic: How the Israeli ID card system enforces apartheid

ISRAEL WINS THE ‘TORTURE THE CHILDREN’ AWARD

The following video is so revolting that viewer discretion is advised by the producers …

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Last December, the advocacy group the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) revealed that Israeli authorities had locked Palestinian children in outdoor cages during a severe winter storm.

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Children describe torture in Israeli solitary confinement

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Israeli occupation forces try to arrest a Palestinian during a demonstration against the separation wall built in the West Bank village of al-Maasara, 9 November 2012.   (Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)
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A rising proportion of Palestinian children arrested by Israeli occupation forces are subjected to solitary confinement, harsh interrogations and ill-treatment amounting to torture, according to a report published today by Defence for Children International-Palestine Section (DCI-Palestine).

“In 21.4 percent of cases recorded by DCI-Palestine in 2013, children detained in the Israeli military detention system reported undergoing solitary confinement as part of the interrogation process. This represents an increase of two percent from 2012,” a press release accompanying the report states.

DCI-Palestine collected 98 sworn affidavits from Palestinian children aged 12 to 17 in 2013. The disturbing findings in the report are based on 40 solitary confinement cases documented in 2013.

Night arrests

In the vast majority of cases (34 out of 40), children are arrested from their beds. “Children report that heavily armed Israeli soldiers arrest them in violent circumstances during night raids on their family homes,” the report says.

The children “are often woken up by the sound of Israeli soldiers banging on the front door before a family member opens the door or the soldiers force their way in, storming the home.”

Then, the occupation soldiers “gather all the occupants of the house, regardless of their age, in one room or outside and then demand identification. Generally, the entire home will be searched during the raid. Once a child’s identity has been verified from his identification card, his family will be informed that he must accompany the soldiers.”

Blindfolded

Children or their parents are almost never informed of the accusations and, the report says, this moment “is most likely the last time the family will see their child until he appears in a military court following an unknown period of solitary confinement and interrogation.”

“Once the soldiers have identified the child, his hands will be tied with plastic cords, most likely behind his back, and he will be blindfolded and led to a military vehicle.”

More than half of the children reported some form of physical violence during the arrest and transfer to interrogation facilities, including Petah Tikva detention center, Kishon detention center (also known as Al-Jalame) near Haifa, or Shikma prison near Ashkelon.

These facilities are under control of the Israel Prison Service and/or the Shin Bet secret police. Al-Jalame is among several Israeli facilities equipped by the international incarceration profiteering firm G4S.

“Foul smelling”

On average, children spent 10 days in solitary confinement, but children have been held for up to 29 days in isolation. Children held at Kishon described being locked in a small, windowless cell lit 24 hours a day by a dim bulb.

There they slept on a concrete bed, on the floor, or on a thin mattress they often described as “dirty” and “foul smelling.” Cell walls are grey “with sharp or rough protrusions that are painful to lean against.”

Forcing confessions

While being deprived of legal counsel, family contact and almost never being informed of their rights, including the right to remain silent, children are subjected to prolonged interrogations, abuse and violence amounting to torture.

Most children are accused of stone-throwing, “an offense that can potentially lead to a sentence of up to 20 years depending on a child’s age.” But the accusation may be a pretext to coerce children into providing information useful in Israel’s effort to suppress any form of resistance to occupation.

“The interrogation techniques are generally mentally and physically coercive, frequently incorporating a mix of intimidation, threats and physical violence with a clear purpose of obtaining a confession,” DCI-Palestine states. “Shouting and intimidation are regularly used to elicit confessions, incriminating statements, and information on neighbors or family members.”

During interrogations, “children report being forced to sit in a low metal chair secured to the floor with their hands and feet cuffed to the chair, often for several hours.” In 31 out of 40 cases, children reported being subjected to such “position abuse,” the most frequent form being that the child is shackled to a chair in a painful position for long periods of time.

Role of informants

After experiencing horrifying abuses and days of solitary confinement, children are psychologically vulnerable. Israeli interrogators take advantage of this by the use of informants. DCI-Palestine describes the technique Israel uses, based on the children’s accounts:

Following many days held in isolation and subject to prolonged interrogation sessions, a child will be informed that the interrogation is over and that they will be transferred to a prison cell.

Once the child arrives in a typical prison cell, an adult prisoner warmly welcomes him, often bringing warm food, a pack of cigarettes, or other items. The adult prisoner attempts to gain the child’s trust by sharing information about the child’s family or members of his community. Children report being warned not to talk to anyone but this specific individual regarding their interrogation. Often, the adult prisoner will either ask a child about the interrogation and what questions were asked, or offer to alert others on the outside if he shares information.

After a day or two, the child is ushered back to interrogation where he is often confronted with an audio recording or statements he made to the adult prisoner informant. During interrogation, the child realizes for the first time that the adult prisoner is an informant collaborating with Israeli intelligence officers, and the child’s interaction with this individual was part of the interrogation process.

After being confronted with this reality, children generally provide a confession without access to counsel to allegations made against them during the interrogation.

Impunity

DCI-Palestine’s report was submitted to a number of UN bodies and includes an analysis of how Israel’s mistreatment of children and increasing use of solitary confinement amount to grave violations of international law, including conventions on torture.

“The practice of using solitary confinement on children in Israeli detention facilities must be recognized as a form of torture and be stopped immediately,” the report states.

But it also notes the total impunity that has ensured that Israel’s abuses have continued unchecked.

During 2013, DCI-Palestine reports that it filed 15 complaints with Israeli authorities concerning ill-treatment and torture of ten children while in Israeli military detention.

But, the report states, “not a single indictment has been issued against a perpetrator, and in many cases it is unclear if an investigation has been initiated.”

Mounting evidence

The latest report from DCI-Palestine adds to a mountain of evidence about Israel’s systematic abuse and killings of Palestinian children, including earlier reports from DCI-PalestineB’TselemHuman Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

Last December, the advocacy group the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) revealed that Israeli authorities had locked Palestinian children in outdoor cages during a severe winter storm.

KERRY MIGHT BE RIGHT .. IT’S NOT APARTHEID, IT’S WORSE THAN THAT!

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. It has demolished at least 27,000 Palestinian homes and structures since occupying the West Bank in 1967, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
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Israeli bulldozers demolish mosque, 3 houses near Nablus
(MaanImages/File)
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli bulldozers on Tuesday demolished a mosque and three houses in a Palestinian village south of Nablus, an official said.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement-related activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that over 20 Israeli military vehicles entered Khirbet al-Tawil near the town of Aqraba early Tuesday morning.

Bulldozers immediately began demolishing a mosque and three houses belonging to Osama Anas, Anwar Sidqi Hani, and Muhammad Hani.

The structures were demolished under the pretext that they were built without permits, Daghlas said.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. It has demolished at least 27,000 Palestinian homes and structures since occupying the West Bank in 1967, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

Israel destroyed more than 663 Palestinian properties in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2013, displacing 1,101 people, according to UNOCHA. Some 250 people have been displaced since the beginning of 2014.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

THE RESURRECTION OF THE disHONOURABLE JOSEPH McCARTHY … Full length movie

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It started with THIS ….


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And Continues with THIS …

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The New McCarthyism

By Michael Rivero FROM

Back in the year 1947, the House Select Committee began an investigation into the Motion Picture Industry. Ostensibly the goal was to ferret out communists working in the film industry. But in actuality the US Government was concerned that Hollywood was no longer as blindly supportive of government policy as it had been only a few years earlier at the height of WW2. In particular, J. Edgar Hoover had long held the opinion that the entertainment industry should be the propaganda arm for the government in peace time as well as war.

However, as WW2 had ended, the defense establishment had lobbied for the creation of a “Cold” war against the Soviet Union, a war not actually to be fought, but constantly to be prepared for at huge cost to the taxpayers. This cost was the visible manifestation of the “Military Industrial Complex” President Eisenhower referred to in his farewell address, and many in Hollywood openly wondered just why so much more money had to be thrown into the war machine during a time of peace, and more to the point, just why we were supposed to be so afraid of the communists.

Hoover’s desire to remake Hollywood into a gigantic propaganda machine had started at the end of WW1 when Hoover tried to persuade Charlie Chaplin to cease making films that portrayed authority figures as oafish buffoons. Chaplin refused, laughed at Hoover. Years later, as head of the FBI, Hoover was instrumental in having Charlie Chaplin’s citizenship revoked in retaliation.

Hoover’s mania with Hollywood was a seldom reported but constant factor in show business. The 1959 film, “The FBI Story” starring Air Force General Jimmy Stewart was reportedly directed by Mervyn LeRoy, but in actuality J. Edgar Hoover was personally supervising the film (and briefly appears in it, shown only from the back) to make certain the “correct” image of the FBI was shown.

In later years, FBI informants became permanent fixtures at movie studios, and spied for the FBI. When Disney Studios made “That Darned Cat”, a pre-production copy of the screenplay “somehow” made its way to the FBI, which promptly sent Disney a memo expressing concern at how the FBI was to be portrayed.

[That Darned Cat]Click for full sized page. [That Darned Cat]Click for full sized page.

Likewise, when Paramount Pictures produced,”Skidoo”, starring Jackie Gleason, it featured a single scene in which Gleason’s character is seen fleeing a building marked,”FBI” carrying a file cabinet on his back. That one single scene prompted the following four page memo.

[Skidoo page 1]Click for full sized page. [Skidoo page 2]Click for full sized page.
[Skidoo page 3]Click for full sized page. [Skidoo page 4]Click for full sized page.

Along with “nudging” the film studios to portray certain things certain ways, the FBI did not hesitate to wreck the careers of those people it felt posed a dangerous threat to the government’s public image. During the height of the FBI’s COINTELPRO program, the FBI destroyed the career of actress Jean Seberg

Jean Seberg was considered a threat to the US Government because of her public support for civil rights at a time when the Civil Rights movement was starting to point out the racial bias in the draft system that placed a disproportionate percentage of black kids on the front lines of Vietnam. Seberg was also a supporter of the Black Panthers in their pre-militant days when their agenda was breakfasts for the ghetto kids, local control of school curriculum, and ending the draft.
Jean Seberg, a well known actress in the 60s, became pregnant and the FBI sent out letters to the gossip columnists identifying the baby’s father as a Black Panther, in order to cheapen Seberg’s image. Keep in mind that the 60s was an era in which sexual relations between blacks and whites was still considered taboo by most Americans.

The scans below are of the official FBI letter from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. asking permission for the scam.

[Seberg Letter Page 1]letter requesting permission for the smearing of Jean Seberg.

[Seberg Letter Page 2]page two of request for permission to smear of Jean Seberg

The text of the letter:

“Bureau permission is requested to publicize the pregnancy of Jean Seberg, well-known movie actress by (name deleted) Black Panther (BPP) (deleted) by advising Hollywood “Gossip-Columnists” in the Los Angeles area of the situation. It is felt that the possible publication of Seberg’s plight could cause her embarrassment and serve to cheapen her image with the general public.
” ‘It is proposed that the following letter from a fictitious person be sent to local columnists:
“I was just thinking about you and remembered I still owe you a favor. So —- I was in Paris last week and ran into Jean Seberg, who was heavy with baby. I thought she and Romaine [sic] had gotten together again, but she confided the child belonged to (deleted) of the Black Panthers, one (deleted). The dear girl is getting around!
” ‘Anyway, I thought you might get a scoop on the others. Be good and I’ll see you soon.
‘Love,
” ‘Sol.,
“Usual precautions would be taken by the Los Angeles Division to preclude identification of the Bureau as the source of the letter if approval is granted.”

Permission to use the fake letter was granted, but with the suggestion that the smear be delayed until Jean Seberg’s pregnancy was in a very obvious condition.

[Seberg Letter Page 1] letter granting permission for the smearing of Jean Seberg.

The story was then run by Los Angeles Times propagandist Joyce Haber.

[Seberg Letter Page 2]Click for full size picture of the Haber Article that launched the smear.

The story was picked up by Newsweek and the international press. The shock of the story was so severe that Jean Seberg suffered a miscarriage. The funeral for the child was held with an open casket, so that the lie stood revealed in its most tragic form. Jean Seberg, her baby dead and her career shattered by this outright lie, attempted suicide several times, finally succeeding in a French Hotel.

[Seberg Letter Page 1] memo that accompanied copy of the Haber story sent to FBI files.

(The name which was redacted from the memo during the FOIA process is thought by many to have been Raymond Hewit, a Black Panther leader. His “outright lie” was far more direct. The FBI typed up a letter on official FBI stationary identifying Hewit as an informant and planted it where other Black Panthers would find it in the hopes that Hewit would then be killed.)

Following Seberg’s death, the Los Angeles Times, the key instrument of her torment, issued a statement by the FBI.

“The days when the FBI used derogatory information to combat advocates of unpopular causes have long since passed. We are out of that business forever.”

The Senate committee that looked into COINTELPRO disagreed, however.

“Cointelpro activities may continue today under the rubric of ‘investigation.’

Finally, no single celebrity filled the government with more fear than did ex-Beatle John Lennon. Lennon’s popularity, and hence his ability to influence popular opinion, coupled with his strong anti-war stance, made him a real threat in the event the United States decided it had to go to war. For this reason, Lennon was one of the most watched celebrities, and according to Lennon’s youngest son, the victim of a government assassination plot.

[Lennon 1]Click for full sized page. [Lennon 2]Click for full sized page.
[Lennon 3]Click for full sized page. [Lennon 4]Click for full sized page.
[Lennon 5]Click for full sized page. [Lennon 6]Click for full sized page.
[Lennon 7]Click for full sized page. [Lennon 8]Click for full sized page.
[Lennon 9]Click for full sized page. [Lennon 10]Click for full sized page.

Having documented the FBI’s willingness to destroy anyone they feel represents a threat to the government, let us return to the days of the House Select Committee on UnAmerican Activities.

While Senator Joseph McCarthy grabbed headlines with his shouts of “Communist”, Hoover set about his self-appointed task of purging Hollywood of any he viewed as “disloyal” to the United States, which meant anyone unwilling to make the movies they were told to make, when and how they were told to make them. Senator McCarthy’s screed of “Communist” provided Hoover with a bludgeon he could and did use with impunity on Hollywood’s creative talents. Careers were ruined. Some 400 people, mostly innocent of any actual wrongdoing, were destroyed. Some, like Jean Seberg would later do, committed suicide. Ten men (the famous Hollywood Ten), Alvah Bessie, Herbert Biberman, Lester Cole, Ring Lardner jr., John Howard Lawson, Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, Adrian Scott, Dalton Trumbo, and eminent director Edward Dmytryk were jailed for contempt of Congress.

Others punished for refusing to cooperate included Larry Adler, Stella Adler, Leonard Bernstein, Marc Blitzstein, Joseph Bromberg, Charlie Chaplin, Aaron Copland, Hanns Eisler, Carl Foreman, John Garfield, Howard Da Silva, Dashiell Hammett, E. Y. Harburg, Lillian Hellman, Burl Ives, Arthur Miller, Dorothy Parker, Philip Loeb, Joseph Losey, Anne Revere, Pete Seeger, Gale Sondergaard, Louis Untermeyer, Josh White, Clifford Odets, Michael Wilson, Paul Jarrico, Jeff Corey, John Randolph, Canada Lee, Orson Welles, Paul Green, Sidney Kingsley, Paul Robeson, Richard Wright and Abraham Polonsky. Lee Grant was registered on the black list because she refused to give evidence against her husband Arnold Manoff.

Stars such as Larry Parks were destroyed because they refused to “name names” of other actors who were party members. Actor Philip Loeb committed suicide. Edward G. Robinson, never a communist, was put on a “grey list,” and spent the rest of his life making B movies (except for his final role opposite Charlton Heston in “Soylent Green”). Sam Jaffe, formerly a well-known actor and Oscar winner in 1950 was registered on the black list because he refused to cooperate with the committee. He spent the next 6 years working as a math teacher and living at his sister’s until he was able to return to films in 1957.

Of course, what was really involved was money. War is good for business. Business had been great during WW2 and the newly created “Cold War” was just a way to keep business good. The Military Industrial Complex NEEDED Hollywood to demonize the Soviets. Otherwise, too many people were going to ask why we were being told to be so afraid of them, and few in the government had a really convincing answer for that question. So, in order to perpetuate the Cold War, those in Hollywood who might sympathize with the designated villains had to be removed; their ruined lives a small price to pay for unending access to the taxpayers’ wallets.

But that was then and this is now.

Once again vast sums of money are being spent on a war, this time a hot one and getting hotter. Once again parties with a vested interest are out to smear and destroy anyone who dares ask if the wars are worth the sacrifice of our young people (not to mention the money), indeed if there really is any point at all to the wars aside from justifying the flow of money to defense contractors.

But the Soviet Union has gone out of business. The word “communist” doesn’t carry the same psychological impact it used to, so the war hawk smear squad has come up with a new one, “Anti-Semite.” Like “Communist”, “Anti-Semite” is used to ruin the lives of people who have not actually done anything wrong other than to challenge the war profiteers. It is a new word for an old trick, and I am amazed that they are still playing the same old game, but I guess the FBI can always find some dumb-assed idiot to fall for it and do their dirty work of wrecking a career for them.

Of course, it really isn’t that new a word. Oddly enough, Charles Lindbergh the famous aviator commented in a speech in Des Moines in 1941…

Our theaters soon became filled with plays portraying the glory of war. Newsreels lost all semblance of objectivity. Newspapers and magazines began to lose advertising if they carried anti-war articles. A smear campaign was instituted against individuals who opposed intervention. The terms “fifth columnist,” “traitor,” “Nazi,” “anti-Semitic” were thrown ceaselessly at any one who dared to suggest that it was not to the best interests of the United States to enter the war. Men lost their jobs if they were frankly anti-war. Many others dared no longer speak.

Today we are seeing once again the heavy hand of the war profiteers trying to reshape the film industry into a tool to propagandize the public into a high war-fever such that they will gladly trade their own blood for gold to line the pockets of the defense establishment. And those individuals who have the courage to speak out are attacked, and once again they are smeared to silence them. In the 1940s it was “Communist”, today it is “Anti-Semite”, but aside from the particular label used, the methods, goals, and morality are little changed from the days of Joseph McCarthy.

If there is a difference today it is that the American people are better educated. No longer dependent on the state schools, or controlled media, the public understands the tactics used to silence those who speak out. As a result, those who speak out are more and more not only accorded the sympathetic ear that their message deserves, but the effects of the smearing are far less ruinous than in times past.

Thus, when we see people like Willie Nelson, Sean Penn, and Marion Cotillard speak out and survive, or when people like Tom Shadyac (or myself) voluntarily walk away from Hollywood because speaking the truth matters more to them, it sends a message that it is now permissible, indeed imperative to speak out. This is not to say that there are not risks. Rosie O’Donnell lost her spot on “The View”, but the majority of Americans understand exactly why, and understand that Rosie sacrificed a great deal trying to get the truth out. Rosie is and will be remembered as a hero for truth long after her co-hosts on “The View” are properly forgotten.

In contrast, of course, we look back at those who aided the “Commie” witch-hunts of the 1940s with deserved contempt. No doubt many aided Hoover purely to rid themselves of competition, and then tried to lull themselves to sleep with the idea that in some way they had actually done something good for the nation by wrecking their neighbors’ careers. I have no doubt strong liquor played a role in this grossest of self-deception. But if the informants and smear artists of the 1940s are remembered in a poor light, that should serve as a reminder to the informants and smear artists of today. It does not matter what you do with the rest of your life, aiding the new version of McCarthyism is how history will remember you. While people like Charlie Sheen, Willie Nelson, Sean Penn, and Marion Cotillard (and to step out of entertainment, former President Jimmy Carter) will be remembered and honored for their courage, history will lump the smear artists together with Stalin’s “Useful idiots”, little more than no-talent opportunists for whom ratting out someone was the fastest path to advancement.

They say that history repeats itself, and indeed that is the major thing wrong with history. We are seeing history repeat itself again. We have been down this path before, in the 1940s. Whether the word is “Communist” or “Anti-Semite”, Hollywood is making the same mistake all over again. And Hollywood will have to live with that image in the coming decades.

HOW ISRAEL PROFITS FROM AMERICA’S ‘BORDER POGROMS’

Israeli companies, specialists and top military brass have become an increasingly visible presence at border and “homeland security” trade shows in the years since the 11 September 2001 attacks.

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How Israel’s war industry profits from violent US immigration “reform”

Gabriel Schivone *

Bill approved by Senate and stalled in the House guarantees more deaths along the US-Mexico border and huge payouts to Israeli contractors whose military technology has been “battle-proven” on Palestinians living under occupation.

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The militarization of the US-Mexico border is a lethal and lucrative business. (sarah-ji/Flickr)

Im/migrant rights advocates in the US organized a national day of action on 5 April, the day they expected President Barack Obama’s record-breaking rate of deportations to reach a total of 2 million during his administration.

But scant attention has been paid to the list of global benefactors awaiting the profits from legislation escalating border militarization.

Israel, America’s closest ally, tops the lineup of patrons eager for rewards while advocates demanding a meaningful overhaul of US immigration and border enforcement continue their defiant battle in the streets. In this setting, rights supporters must know which global partners stand beside the US in repressing undocumented im/migrant communities.

But how does the situation in Palestine — thousands of miles away — affect US immigration reform and vice versa? What does one have to do with the other?

Quite a lot, actually.

“Border security on steroids”

Take the recent news that Israeli arms manufacturing giant Elbit Systems won a USDepartment of Homeland Security (DHS) contract to provide surveillance technology along the southern divide with Mexico, initially in Arizona.

Specifically, Elbit will provide its sensor-based Peregrine surveillance system for Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Integrated Fixed Tower project, which consists of ground radar and camera technology mounted on towers strewn throughout the borderlands. Congress approved the plan earlier this year.

A Bloomberg trade analyst estimated that Elbit’s $145 million award “may eventually reach $1 billion if legislation to rewrite US immigration laws passes Congress and helps fund the project’s expansion in the Southwest” (“Israel’s Elbit wins US border work after Boeing dumped,” 27 February 2014).

The little-discussed Corker-Hoeven amendment attached to the 2013 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) is the key legislation referenced by the Bloomberg analyst. The Senate passed the bill last June; the House of Representatives has stalled on voting on the package in any form.

Promoted as “border security on steroids” by the bill’s co-author, Republican Senator from Tennessee Bob Corker, the measure sets aside $46 billion for security “triggers” that must be in place in areas including Arizona before a pathway to citizenship can be opened for an estimated 11 million people living undocumented in the US today.

No wonder that DHS’s $145 million payment to Elbit could skyrocket by 700 percent. And that’s just one bid by one Israeli company. There could be many more to come.

Israel and the “homeland security” industry

Journalist Todd Miller, author of the book Border Patrol Nation (City Lights Books), interviewed numerous corporate leaders and scoured boundary-enforcement security fairs and expos across the Southwest.

Miller described to The Electronic Intifada his constant encounters with Israeli security peddlers in the borderlands.

During his research for the book, Miller wasn’t looking for Israel anywhere. Yet the state’s agents kept surfacing at every turn, he said.

Israeli companies, specialists and top military brass have become an increasingly visible presence at border and “homeland security” trade shows in the years since the 11 September 2001 attacks.

The US has spent $100 billion on immigration enforcement in the decade since then.

In that time, Israel became the world’s sixth-largest defense exporter and a leading supplier and consumer in the budding border-security industrial complex (“Israel ranks as the world’s sixth largest arms exporter in 2012,” Haaretz, 25 June 2013).

Companies large and small such as Elta Systems, Elbit Systems and NICE Systems have provided technologies including radar, virtual fencing and CCTV surveillance for Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Phoenix, Arizona department, as Jimmy Johnson has reported (“A Palestine-Mexico Border,” North American Congress on Latin America, 29 June 2012).

The Golan Group (founded by former Israeli special forces officers) provided training sessions for the US Border Patrol, as Naomi Klein notes in her 2007 book The Shock Doctrine.

Israel aids deadly “deterrence” strategy

Elta Systems got a boost in late 2012 when, Haaretz reported, the US Border Patrol hired the company to provide radar along the border “to protect the US-Mexico border against illegal migrant infiltration.” US Border Patrol’s deal offered the company “a potential market worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The US partnership with Israel is reciprocal: where the US has the finances, Israel has the expertise.

On the company’s end, according to Raanan Horowitz, CEO of Elbit Systems of America, the Peregrine system “will meet the demanding mission requirements of the Customs Border Protection (CPB) while enhancing its agents’ safety” (“Elbit Systems of America awarded contract for US Customs Border Protection integrated fixed towers project,” Elbit Systems, 8 March 2014).

But what does this situation look like in terms of human consequences? In CBP’s statedmission of “keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the US,” under the pretext of personal safety, Border Patrol agents have killed at least 19 persons in recent years, often under the alleged threat of rock-throwing (“Border Patrol’s use of deadly force criticized in new report,” Los Angeles Times, 27 February 2014).

In this deadly equation, the reform legislation’s amendment calls for a “military-style surge” of 700 more miles of “border fencing” and doubles the current number of Border Patrol agents to 40,000 (“Border security: Boost for Senate immigration bill,” Associated Press, 20 June 2013).

Two decades of border militarization

Increased deployment of military-style resources to strategic areas along the border has mushroomed since the early 1990s, as Joseph Nevins documents in his book Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the “Illegal Alien” and the Making of the US-Mexico Boundary.

President Bill Clinton, expanding on past boundary security-enforcement trends under his predecessors Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, instituted a new “deterrence” strategy designed to “reroute” migrants away from urban areas and into “geographically harsher,” more “remote and hazardous border regions” where the treacherous terrain would potentially kill them (“656 Weeks on the Killing Fields of Arizona,” The Huffington Post, 12 November 2012).

In such a way, planners devised, the “mortal danger” of the “geography would be an ally to us.”

This aggressive shift came less than a decade after the last immigration overhaul. In 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act opened the door to citizenship for three million people of extra-legal status and increased border controls for those continuing to come, but without addressing the US-based economic and political policies driving migration.

Predictably, within a decade of the “deterrence” policy’s onset, “Arizona had become a killing field,” Tucson-based journalist Margaret Regan describes in her book The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona Borderlands.

Israel continues to reap the benefits from US border militarization as the levels of death and suffering grow in line with an enriching investment climate.

Border death rate doubles

A June 2013 study by scholars and forensics specialists at the University of Arizona’s Binational Migration Institute and the local county medical examiner’s office found that the rate of migrant deaths had nearly doubled in the previous two years (“A continued humanitarian crisis at the border: undocumented border crosser deaths recorded by the Pima County office of the medical examiner, 1990-2012” [PDF]).

As more and more bodies are recovered, government and media continue to report all-time lows in apprehensions by the Border Patrol. Yet the simultaneous increase in border deaths remains enormously underreported.

But this is all good news to Senator Corker, who urged those concerned with border security not to worry because the bill is so tough that it’s “almost overkill.”

In fact, the package “is not only sufficient, it is well over sufficient,” Arizona Republican Senator John McCain concurred. “We’ll be the most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall,” McCain boasted.

More drones

One provision in S. 744 would add 18 more unmanned aerial vehicles (also known asdrones or UAVs) to the already ballooning fleet operated by Customs and Border Protection.

Israeli-built “Hermes” drones were the first deployed along the southern border with Mexico as early as 2004. Currently, the fleet buzzing throughout the borderlands skies is wholly comprised of US-made Predator B drones, according to a CBP spokesperson.

Rivaling the US as the world’s leader in such technology, Israel can still view immigration reform as a hefty bounty for its “battle-proven” military technology that is “tried and tested on the West Bank and Gaza.”

As proposed in the legislation, the path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people in the US would take at least 13 years. Even then, the measures would benefit only those who are able to afford the mounting fees associated with the process, according to an analysis by Coalición de Derechos Humanos.

Though it won overwhelming approval in the Democrat-controlled Senate, the bill has stalled for nine months in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Many House members are hostile to any pathway to citizenship for undocumented people. Worse, House Republicans, like their Senate counterparts, have shown a penchant for fueling the fantasy of border security as a sound solution to US immigration issues.

A new military occupation

The US and Israel both continue to dispossess indigenous people of their lands, and even of their existence.

In the US, Native peoples are left out of the “immigration reform” discourse altogether. Even though some are US-born, they are “undocumented” in every sense of the term, since they were born at home and lack a birth certificate.

The ancestral lands of the Tohono O’odham people span from modern-day Sonora, Mexico into southern Arizona — bisected by the Mexico-US border wall. Some were born on one side of the divide but grew up or spend most of their time on the other side and are therefore considered suspect by Border Patrol.

Miller writes in Border Patrol Nation: “While it may seem that the days of killing or corralling Native Americans and annexing their territories are an ancient and forgotten chapter in US history, the experience of the Tohono O’odham Nation show us that nothing can be further from the truth.” O’odham people regularly face abuse, harassment and even death at the hands of US Border Patrol.

Some of the country’s largest Border Patrol stations (and at least one US military outpost in a remote location, known as a “forward-operating base”) surround the Tohono O’odham Nation as the second-largest reservation in the US, and military-style checkpoints control all movement entering and leaving the nation. According to Miller, this presence of federal forces occupying permanent positions on Tohono O’odham lands is the largest in US history.

The extra layers of militarized infrastructure isolates the nation while still in Arizona, Miller observes, “as if the nation itself were a foreign country under a new, post-9/11 form of military occupation.”

Israel benefits either way

Whether or not Congress passes the reform bill, Israel will benefit from any security legislation subsidized through the emerging border-security complex. Even without anticipated reform boosts in funding, for instance, Congress passed its 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act earmarking some $351 million for “border security fencing, infrastructure and technology” through 2016 — nearly half of which DHS dished out right away for Elbit’s Peregrine contract.

The first time Elbit won a major border enforcement contract was in 2006, subcontracted by leading US firm Boeing for “virtual fence” technology. The contract was part of theGeorge W. Bush administration’s “Secure Border Initiative.” Security-based programs continue to be funded, and appear likely to increase, so long as US policy remains fixed on border militarization.

More broadly, Israeli access to the gargantuan US defense industry is mutually serving. Grateful for its own piece of the pie, the Arizona state legislature observed in a unanimous 2012 resolution: “Israel receives vital military and security assistance from the United States, much of which, in turn, is spent here in Arizona with its defense contractors” (“Arizona-Israel bill raises some unsettling questions,” The Arizona Republic, 25 March 2012).

Israel’s security merchants eagerly hope US immigration reform passes; if not, they’ll look out for the next gravy train.

“Not 1 More” deportation

On 11 October 2013, I and others in Tucson, Arizona kicked off the first of many efforts to shut down Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The actions have been cropping up across the country, known as the “Ni Uno Mas/Not 1 More” campaign.

Early that October morning, a group of us stopped two deportation buses — run by British security giant G4S, a major Israeli contractor in the occupied Palestinian territories — off the I-10 freeway and locked our arms into devices around the buses’ front tires.

The prison vehicles were on their way to the downtown federal courthouse (around whose front gates a group of six others locked their arms) to dump their newly captured “human cargo” into a mass prosecution program called Operation Streamline.

But the buses never made it to their destination that day, sparing 72 detainees from a ghastly show trial that epitomizes the inhumanity of current US immigration and border enforcement policies.

Every day, Operation Streamline takes approximately seventy apprehended migrants and gives them criminal records and often lengthy jail sentences. The US government does this instead of processing undocumented migrants’ cases through civil or administrative immigration courts, a long-established legal practice in such situations.

Thanks to such industrial-scale prosecutions, Latin@s now represent more than half of all those sentenced to federal prisons.

As of 2012, more than 200,000 people have been prosecuted through Streamline-related enforcement throughout the Southwest and US interior since the program’s onset in 2005 — with 74,000 prosecutions in Tucson alone since January 2008.

The “triggers” contained in S. 744 would expand Streamline by 300 percent.

Since October, civil disobedience actions — many of them nationally-coordinated, involving both non-citizen and citizen activists alike — have spread all over the United States. Tactics range from blocking deportation buses to shutting down ICE offices, facilities and jails.

Immigrant youth climbed up on ladders in Fresno, California, to block deportations from the city jail.

In New Jersey, snow fell on activists as they lay on their backs, locked together, blockingthe entrance of a detention center in Elizabeth.

There have been similar efforts in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Tacoma, Austin and Washington, DC, among other cities.

In Arizona on 17 February, outside Eloy Detention Center, family members of detainees — some imprisoned for years — began a two-week hunger strike.

The longer the possibility of immigration reform is delayed, the greater the levels of social indignation may escalate.

With these actions, im/migrant justice advocates have created a “left flank” to dramatize the human voices and stories left out of “immigration reform” debates. Such efforts can potentially pull the liberal-rightist agenda, crystallized in S. 744, away from the current path of more mass death in the deserts and higher family separations in the cities.

As Israeli war profiteers and their US paymasters act as the syringe for the deadly “steroids” injection into efforts at immigration reform, im/migrant and Palestinian justice advocates can and must strengthen their resistance to these injustices — from Palestine to Arizona.

*Gabriel M. Schivone is a youth organizer with UNIDOS indigenous ethnic studies group in Tucson, Arizona and an ad hoc steering committee member of National Students for Justice in Palestine.

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TURKEY’S FAKE DEMOCRACY EXPOSED

Looks like the number of Democracies in the Middle East is dwindling …

Twitter went dark in Turkey, just hours after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to “wipe out” the social network which, along with others, was highlighting corruption allegations against his inner circle.

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Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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Turkey blocks Twitter after PM’s threat to ‘wipe out’ service 

After recordings published on social media network reveal illegal schemes between Erdogan and his son, authorities ‘technically blocked access to Twitter’.

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Twitter went dark in Turkey, just hours after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to “wipe out” the social network which, along with others, was highlighting corruption allegations against his inner circle.

The state-run Anatolia news agency said authorities “technically blocked access to Twitter” because the service had ignored various Turkish court orders to remove some links deemed illegal.

Twitter responded by saying on its official @policy feed that Turks could get around the block by tweeting through mobile telephone text services.

In early reaction, the EU commissioner for digital agenda, Neelie Kroes, tweeted that the block in Turkey “is groundless, pointless, cowardly”.

She added that the “Turkish people and international community will see this as censorship. It is.”

The restriction of access to Twitter came after Erdogan told a rally drumming up support for March 30 local elections that he would eradicate Twitter access in the country.

“We will wipe out Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says,” he said.

Turkish PM Erdogan (Photo: AP)
Turkish PM Erdogan (Photo: AP)

Erdogan’s office said in a statement that Twitter had remained “indifferent” to Turkish court rulings demanding “some links” be removed, and that the premier therefore had turned his attention to the matter.

The website for the country’s telecommunications authority (TIB) turned up four separate court rulings referencing “twitter.com”.

One of them said: “The protection measure has been taken for this website (twitter.com) according to the decision… of the Istanbul chief public prosecutor’s office and has been implemented by the TIB.”

Anatolia ran a report saying a Twitter block was the only solution to “address the unjust treatment of our citizens”.

Graft allegations tweeted

Erdogan, Turkey’s charismatic and increasingly autocratic leader since 2003, has come under mounting pressure since audio recordings spread across social media that appeared to put him at the heart of a major corruption scandal.

Recordings include an apparent discussion between Erdogan and his son about hiding money, as well as others in which he appears to be interfering in business deals, court cases and media coverage.

Some of the most damaging information has come from a Twitter account under the name Haramzadeler (“Sons of Thieves”), which appears to have access to a huge trove of secret documents and police wiretaps linked to the investigation.

Erdogan has dismissed most of the recordings as “vile” fakes concocted by his rivals, and threatened to ban YouTube and Facebook after crucial local elections on March 30.

“This has nothing to do with freedoms. Freedom does not mean the right to intrude on someone’s privacy, or to pass the state’s secrets to the international arena,” Erdogan said on Thursday.

The prime minister is openly suspicious of the Internet, and last year called Twitter a “menace” for helping organize mass anti-government protests.

A vast corruption probe launched in December saw dozens of people rounded up, including close business and political allies of the prime minister.

The Turkish strongman has accused associates of a former staunch ally – US-exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen – of being behind the graft probe that claimed the scalps of four ministers.

Gulen has denied any involvement.

Turkey recently tightened government control of the Internet and the judiciary, generating criticism from rights groups.

The country, which has more than 10 million Twitter users, has seen access to thousands of sites blocked in recent years.

YouTube was banned for two years up to 2010 because of material deemed insulting to the country’s revered founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

The Internet Publishers Association, a body representing online and media companies, said the move to block Twitter was an attempt to “destroy freedom of expression”.

“The prime minister having the power to shut down Twitter will be the confirmation of dictatorship,” it said in a statement published by local media.

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‘HELL NO! WE WON’T GO!!’

Reminiscent  of the protests during the Vietnam War, Israeli youth are now refusing induction into the Israeli Army.

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The teenagers said in their letter that they will not join the army in protest of “the ongoing occupation and the army’s invasion of civil life that deepens the notions chauvinism, militarism, violence, inequality and racism in society.” 

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In the US it started with just a few who put their personal freedom on the line for what they believed …

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Teenagers write to PM: We won’t join an army that commits war crimes 

Dozens of teens sign letter to Netanyahu declaring their intention to refuse to enlist to the IDF for moral reasons.

Dozens of teenagers sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday declaring their intention to refuse to enlist to the IDF for moral reasons.

The teenagers said in their letter that they will not join the army in protest of “the ongoing occupation and the army’s invasion of civil life that deepens the notions chauvinism, militarism, violence, inequality and racism in society.”

The letter’s authors urge Israeli youth nearing the age of 18 to reconsider “the meaning of army service.”

“The Palestinians in the occupied territories live under the Israeli government’s rule, even though they did not choose this government and they cannot influence its decision-making in any legal way. This situation is unequal and unjust,” the letter said.

The letter’s authors bemoaned the ongoing “human rights violations” and “acts that are considered war crimes according to international law” that happen in the West Bank, such as “executions without trial, settlement construction on occupied territory, administrative arrests, torture, collective punishments and unequal division of resources like water and electricity.”

According to them, the army service perpetuates the current situation, which is why “following our conscience, we cannot take part in a system that commits the aforementioned acts.”

The letter’s authors noted the problems in the military also seep into civilian life, shaping education, job opportunities, and “lead to racism and violence within society and to discrimination based on ethnicity, nationality and gender.”

“The army’s actions distance us from finding a solution and reaching peace, justice and security,” Mandy Kretner from Tel Aviv, one of the letter’s authors, said in a press release.

“The army serves the powerful people in society and not the citizens, who are only a tool. Me and my friends refuse to be cannon fodder,” Shaked Harari from Bat Yam, another signatory, said.

 

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THERE WILL NOT BE PEACE IN ISRAEL UNTIL …

There can be no talk of peace in the current climate. The struggle faced by the Palestinians in Israel is for full civil rights and an end to discrimination, as the struggle faced by their brethren in the Palestinian territory is to end the 46-year-long occupation. Both will continue to fight for these human rights, because they can’t be trampled on forever.

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Palestinians in Israel The Struggle for Rights

By Fida Jiryis *


“In fact, in the ‘sovereign state of the Jewish people’ there is little hope that Arab citizens will gain equal rights. For the Jewish majority, Israel is comparable in its civil liberties and inequities to Western democracies. But Arabs have no place in the Jewish state, except as a tolerated but essentially foreign element […] There is no substantial segment of Israeli society that opposes or seriously questions the fundamental principle of discrimination.”i
Few situations are as complex or riddled with contradiction as that of the Palestinian citizens of Israel. While many other minorities in the world suffer from discrimination and animosity, few are seen so blatantly as an enemy who must be treated with systematic oppression, with the hope that it would somehow disappear. A ludicrous notion, yes, but one that is deeply entrenched in the Israeli psyche and that will take a long process of understanding to reverse.Sadly, that process has not begun. Israel’s Palestinian minority is treated with mounting animosity and suspicion, targeted by a system of institutionalised, state-condoned discrimination and racist laws. In the “only democracy in the Middle East,” it has become commonplace to speak of a Jewish-only state, oaths of allegiance to such a state, and the threat of revoking citizenship from any dissidents – which is unparalleled worldwide and is against human rights – whose “crimes” may amount to no more than speaking out against injustice. In fact, the state goes far beyond this: it refers to its Palestinian citizens as a “demographic problem,” and its politicians frequently speak on policies of “transferring” them to the Palestinian territories, as though these “citizens” are pawns to be moved at will. In short, Israel defines itself as a Jewish state, and those Palestinians who live in it – about 1.5 million people, or a fifth of its population – are a thorn in its side. It wants to be rid of them to fully practice being its exclusionist self.

While these Palestinians are, on paper, free and equal citizens of the state, in reality, this citizenship is far from equal. I have only to travel through Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, for example, to be reminded of this. The infamous search process there has been described by many, and I’ve met one or two foreigners who, after having experienced it, have sworn never to come back. As soon as I line up at the check-in, an army of security personnel pounces. They see my passport, recognise me as Palestinian, and immediately give me a sticker that indicates that I must be searched. I’m then subjected to long, detailed questioning about where I’m going and for what purpose, and an equally harrowing baggage search, which is done slowly and manually, as though the x-ray machines wouldn’t pick up objects of suspicion. People’s reaction to this treatment is varied; some are frightened and intimidated, but most are humiliated and furious; many a voice rises in these halls.

Well, one does not travel every day. More pressing are the questions of daily life and work. For Palestinians to actually get jobs in the Israeli system is an exercise in itself. When I arrived in the Galilee in 1995, fresh out of Lancaster University in England with a BSc in computer science and some work experience, numerous interviewers in Israeli hi-tech companies demanded my army number. I was unable to provide it. Palestinians are exempt from serving in the Israeli army that oppresses their fellow Palestinians in the occupied territories. I was thanked and told that the companies would “call me.” No such calls came. In fact, as I discovered, this is the state’s way of discriminating against Palestinians in employment without appearing to do so outright. In the few instances when I found a job, it was in smaller companies with less rigid hiring procedures that were usually desperate for someone who knew English, since neither Arabs nor Jews in Israel are especially fluent in English. Twice, I found myself the only Arab among thirty or more Israeli employees.

The state has put in place an almost mind-boggling array of discrimination tools, such that one almost wonders at the ingenuity with which a people can practice systematic oppression of another.

In every Arab community, and in the five mixed cities where both Jews and Arabs live, de facto discrimination is readily apparent. Israel’s 1.37 million Arab citizens vote, pay taxes, and speak Hebrew, yet they suffer pervasive discrimination, unequal allocation of resources and violation of their legal rights. Housing, education, and income all substantially lag behind those of the Jewish majority. Only 3 percent of the land in Israel proper is owned by Arabs; permits are rarely granted to Arab families to expand their housing; and most Jewish towns and neighbourhoods remain off-limits.ii

Even more alarming, Israeli society is tending more towards right-wing ideology and racism. A 2012 surveyiii found that most Israelis believe that the state practices “apartheid” against Palestinians, and they are in favour of this. One-third to one-half of Jewish Israelis, according to the survey results, want to live in a state that practices formal, open discrimination against its Arab citizens.

The majority of the Jewish public, 59 percent, wants preference for Jews over Arabs in admission to jobs in government ministries. Almost half the Jews, 49 percent, want the state to treat Jewish citizens better than Arab citizens; 42 percent don’t want to live in the same building with Arabs and 42 percent don’t want their children in the same class with Arab children.

A third of the Jewish public wants a law barring Israeli Arabs from voting for the Knesset and a large majority of 69 percent objects to giving 2.5 million Palestinians the right to vote if Israel annexes the West Bank.

A sweeping 74 percent majority is in favour of separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank.

The findings “reflect the widespread notion that Israel, as a Jewish State, should be a state that favours Jews,” wrote Noam Sheizaf, an Israeli journalist and blogger. “They are also the result of the occupation … After almost half a century of dominating another people, it’s no surprise that most Israelis don’t think Arabs deserve the same rights.”

Far from building bridges and attempting to negotiate a peaceful reconciliation, we live at the opposite end of the spectrum.

What do people do? Well, what they do everywhere else: they get up, send their children to school, and go out to battle the odds for survival every day. Some attend Israeli universities, get degrees, then usually find themselves in lower paying jobs that they’re just glad to have. Others finish school and, with difficult financial conditions being prevalent among the Arab population and their not being eligible for any government student loans, find themselves out of education and in the workforce. A large number of Israel’s Palestinians thus work in construction, factories, and other forms of manual labour simply because of lack of opportunity. Many university graduates also join these ranks after spending years looking for a professional job to no avail.

But Palestinians are highly resilient, because they’ve simply had to be. So they keep their culture, speak their language, albeit with a lot of Hebrew influence, and practice their customs. They protect as much as they can of their heritage and push forth for a decent life in this state that was forced on them. And, at the end of the day, they’re not going anywhere.

In recent years, also, youth have become fed up with the system and are more forthcoming in voicing their dissent. Their parents and grandparents grew up in a culture of military rule; today’s generation is far from being intimidated. It is getting more education and is realising, as it sees itself within the world and looks at other countries, that it is living in a system of apartheid. There is increasing awareness among Palestinians, even the poorest and least educated, that they are not being treated fairly and that discrimination is a yoke on their backs.

There can be no talk of peace in the current climate. The struggle faced by the Palestinians in Israel is for full civil rights and an end to discrimination, as the struggle faced by their brethren in the Palestinian territory is to end the 46-year-long occupation. Both will continue to fight for these human rights, because they can’t be trampled on forever.

*Fida Jiryis is a Palestinian writer, editor, and author of Hayatuna Elsagheera (Our Small Life), 2011, and Al-Khawaja, 2013, two collections of Arabic short stories depicting village life in the Galilee. 


i The Arabs in Israel, Sabri Jiryis, Monthly Review Press, USA, 1976, p. xi.
ii The Paradox of Ethnicity and Citizenship, New Israel Fund, 2011, http://www.nif.org/issue-areas/israeli-arabs/
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iii The new Israeli apartheid: Poll reveals widespread Jewish support for policy of discrimination against Arab minority, Catrina Stewart, The Independent, Tuesday October 23, 2012; Survey: Most Israeli Jews wouldn’t give Palestinians vote if West Bank was annexed, Gideon Levy, Haaretz, October 23, 2012.

Written FOR

INTERNET ‘WHISTLEBLOWER’S’ STORY MAKES IT TO THE BIG SCREEN

A year after Internet activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide, a new documentary brings to light the young computer prodigy’s earnest battle to bring online freedom of access to information for everyone.

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Aaron Swartz Story Comes to Sundance

By Piya Sinha-Roy

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(Reuters) — A year after Internet activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide, a new documentary brings to light the young computer prodigy’s earnest battle to bring online freedom of access to information for everyone.

“The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Monday and director Brian Knappenberger was joined by Swartz’s father Robert and two brothers, Noah and Ben, all of whom received a standing ovation.

“It’s unbelievably hard for us, but Aaron is dead, there’s nothing we can do about that,” Swartz’s father told the audience, saying he hoped the film would raise awareness of Aaron’s activism and encourage others to fight on his behalf.

Swartz died aged 26 in his Brooklyn, New York apartment on January 11, 2013, after facing felony charges brought by a federal grand jury that included theft, wire fraud and computer fraud.

The federal indictment said Swartz, a fellow at Harvard University, had downloaded millions of articles and journals from digital archive JSTOR through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology servers. Swartz, who pleaded not guilty to all counts, faced 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted.

In the film, which is a contender in Sundance’s U.S. documentary competition, Knappenberger focuses on Swartz’s intellect and growing political ambitions, with interviews that shed insight into his personality from Swartz’s family, friends and colleagues.

This is the second film by Knappenberger exploring those on the fringes of the Internet. His first film, “We Are the Legion,” about the online Anonymous hacktivist group, premiered at the underground Slamdance film festival that runs alongside Sundance, in 2012.

“The Internet’s Own Boy,” financed by crowd-sourced funding website Kickstarter, where more than 1,500 backers raised $93,000, will be released under a Creative Commons license allowing others to build off Knappenberger’s work, in the spirit of Swartz’s desire for free, open and accessible content for all.

The film begins with family footage of a young and mischievous Swartz, playing with his two brothers, reading books and expressing curiosity in the world around him.

Swartz’s early life was dominated by his superior intellect and his love of computers. His brotherBen explained Swartz was drawn to coding as he felt like it was “magic, and could be used to solve anything.”

Soon, a young Swartz was attending meetings and panels for computer programming, setting up an online crowd-sourced encyclopedia, and co-authoring the Web feed RSS 1.0, which would help users collate summaries of the latest headlines from their favorite websites onto one page.

Much of the film focuses on Swartz’s political activism after he parted ways in 2007 with Reddit, a user-submitted news and entertainment social platform that he co-founded, and became engrossed with copyright laws.

Swartz’s efforts to bring what he felt were public access documents to the mass public for free, including approximately 19 million court documents from the PACER case-law website, made him an online icon.

Swartz was also instrumental in campaigning against the Stop Online Piracy Act, a controversial U.S. bill that would have allowed court orders to curb access to certain websites deemed to be engaging in illegal sharing of intellectual property. The bill was later withdrawn.

Many of Swartz’s friends and collaborators, including Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig, and Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, criticized the charges brought against Swartz, blaming the prosecutors for trying to make Swartz an example case for hackers.

Lessig teared up when talking about Swartz’s death, saying he had “never lost anybody in this way before.”

“The movie brings out the fact that the criminal justice system is broken, and that one needs criminal justice reform,” Swartz’s father passionately told the audience.

“The fact that over 90 percent of people indicted plead guilty, and over 90 percent who go to trial are convicted, means that the presumption of innocence no longer exists in our system,” he said.

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EDWARD SNOWDEN’S ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

http://www.newsyaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Edward-Snowden.png

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“Asking is always cheaper than spying”.
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Edward Snowden’s alternative Christmas message

NSA whistelblower Edward Snowden has broadcast a Christmas message to the world. This is the first time he has made a public statement and it was aired as the ‘Alternative Christmas Message’ on the UK’s Channel 4 network. In the 1 minute 43 second video, Snowden spoke about the erosion of privacy in the world and that there was a “concert of governments” that has created a worldwide surveillance network. He goes on to state that a child born in today’s society will never know anything about privacy and that this was what writer George Orwell warned us about. He calls for both the public and government to work together in order to restore privacy, end mass surveillance, and find that perfect balance: “Asking is always cheaper than spying”.

DON’T LET BAD SANTA GET HIS CLAWS ON YOU

More on NSA’S latest attempt to destroy America …

 

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Click HERE to see more and to do something about it. The bad Santa must be stopped in his tracks!

WHISTLEBLOWER’S TOON ~~ BLOWING THE WHISTLE TO SAVE THE NATION

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
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NSA’s goal is elimination of individual privacy worldwide – Greenwald to EU
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* The NSA’s ultimate goal is to destroy individual privacy worldwide, working with its UK sidekick GCHQ, journalist Glenn Greenwald warned an EU inquiry, adding that they were far ahead of their rivals in their “ability to destroy privacy.”Greenwald, the former Guardian journalist renowned for publishing Edward Snowden’s leaks, criticized EU governments’ muted response to the revelations about the NSA’s mass espionage. Most governments reacted with “apathy and indifference” to reports that ordinary citizens were being spied upon, Greenwald said, pointing out that EU politicians only took action when they discovered that they themselves were being targeted.

“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.

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“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.”

‘Diplomatic manipulation and the accumulation of power’

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.

MAKE SURE IT’S THE REAL SANTA CLAUS

nsa-santa

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‘THE NSA IS COMING TO TOWN’

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TAKE ACTION NOW WHILE YOU STILL CAN!

CLICK HERE

CRITICISM OF ISRAEL WILL NOW COST DEARLY

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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The bill proposes a 45% tax charged on nonprofit foundations and organizations that receive foreign donations and that take part in the following activities:

  • Advocating the boycott, divestment, or sanctioning of Israel or its citizens.
  • Calling for the trial of IDF soldiers in international courts.
  • Denying Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state.
  • Inciting to racism.
  • Supporting armed struggle against the State of Israel by an enemy state or terror organization.
NGO bill approved by ministers despite controversy

Habayit Hayehudi proposal to heavily tax foreign donations to NGOs that are critical of government passes ministerial committee. Opposition response: Dangerous, dictatorial decree

Ministers approved the controversial NGO bill proposed by Knesset members Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) and Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beiteinu) on Sunday. The bill passed a vote of the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs, with the support of ministers from Shaked’s party and from Likud-Beiteinu.

Representatives of the left slammed the proposal, calling it “dangerous and dictatorial,” noting the bill was intended to silence any one who dares to criticize the administration and think differently. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said she intended to appeal the proposed legislation.

The bill proposes a 45% tax charged on nonprofit foundations and organizations that receive foreign donations and that take part in the following activities:

  • Advocating the boycott, divestment, or sanctioning ofIsrael or its citizens.
  • Calling for the trial of IDF soldiers in international courts.
  • Denying Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state.
  • Inciting to racism.
  • Supporting armed struggle against the State of Israel by an enemy state or terror organization.

Habayit Hayehudi welcomed the approval of the bill, saying: “The bill will help defend IDF soldiers from perverse lawsuits funded by foreign actors. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s appeal against the bill is an irresponsible move.”

The statement added: “Every day in which the bill does not become law, IDF soldiers are in danger and their operational ability is damaged. Minister Livni would do well do put aside political considerations and stop delaying this bill.”

‘Narrow-minded, anti-democratic decision’

Minister Livni said during the discussion that being patriotic means not passing anti-democratic legislation: “The State of Israel wants to protect IDF soldiers in international tribunals and the rule of law in Israel affects the decisions of these tribunals.”

She added that “Habayit Hayehudi’s proposal will harm IDF soldiers, not protect them. This is a populist proposal under the guise of patriotism, which will hurts Israel’s ability to defend IDF soldiers.”

Yesh Atid ministers joined Livni in opposing the bill.

Chairman of the opposition, Isaac Herzog said: “The decision of the ministerial committee in the name of the Israeli government is narrow-minded, anti-democratic and shuts down any one who dares not emulate her thinking. The next stage of this bill’s implementation is forming a thought police that will determine who pays fines for an opinions and who doesn’t, who is blacklisted politically and who isn’t.”

According to Herzog, “Israel is becoming less and less democratic. Everyone who loves the country and holds it dear must oppose this law with all their might. It is up to the prime minister and the Knesset plenum to cancel the decision of the ministerial committee.”

The left said the proposal is a witch hunt of those who dare oppose the government. Before the committee’s discussion,Meretz chairwoman, Zahava Gal-On said: “Woe to the administration that supports it.”

On Friday, the Justice Ministry announced that Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein opposed the proposal. In the opinion presented to the committee it was noted that Weinstein thinks the bill is unconstitutional and is meant as a means of punishment to foundations, which will thwart donations to them and hurt the public dialogue in Israel.

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Related Report

ESSAY OF IMAGES ~~ WHAT DEMOCRACY IS (NOT)

As Thanksgiving approaches, we reflect on what we were once thankful for …

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‘ARE YOU NOW OR HAVE YOU EVER BEEN’ …. A PALESTINIAN?

are you or have you ever been

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“Where was your father born?”

“Where was your grandfather born?”

“What is your father’s name?

“What is your grandfather’s name?”

“What is your great grandfather’s name?”

“Which part of Israel are you from?”

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Palestinian Brit trying to volunteer in Bethlehem interrogated for five hours at Ben Gurion airport
 Anonymous

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Anonymous, 18, is a Greek-Palestinian British student who lives in London. The author usually goes to Jordan every 2 years, but never had the chance to go to Palestine and hoped to this year as part of a volunteering program. Knowing there would be difficulties at the airport, but never expected what happened. Anonymous says, “What shocked me that even though I had a British passport they still gave me a hard time, I felt like I was a criminal.”

I’m an 18 year old student, born and raised in London. Throughout my whole life my parents have brought me up to be proud of my Palestinian roots, I was brought up listening to stories from my father and grandparents about Ain Karem, my village.  It has always been a dream of mine to be able to visit my homeland, Palestine, and this year in October I had the opportunity to finally go, I was going to go to the Palestinian territories to volunteer in a school in Bethlehem. I was told to not tell the Israeli authority the real purpose of my visit to Palestine, activists and volunteers are usually not allowed to enter Israel. I knew that I was going to face many problems at Ben Gurion airport, due to my Palestinian background.

I arrived at Ben Gurion airport, I showed my passport to the lady at border control, she looked at my name on my British passport and immediately she called border security. I was escorted by two security men to a waiting room. After 30 minutes a man called me to his office, the questions he asked were:

“Where was your father born?”

“Where was your grandfather born?”

“What is your father’s name?

“What is your grandfather’s name?”

“What is your great grandfather’s name?”

“Which part of Israel are you from?”

Then they asked me what the purpose of my trip to Israel was, I told them that I was visiting Israel for tourism. The first part of the interrogation had finished. My legs and arms were shaking, but I made sure that I didn’t show them that I was frightened.

Two hours had gone by and I was still waiting, a second man called me in to another room for questioning, this time I could sense that they were going to be really tough. I walked into the room and there was also another man sitting in the background. Again the man asked me the same questions. However this time they wanted all the details of my stay. I was prepared for these questions, at this point the Israeli authority still thought that I was in Israel for tourism. They asked me: “where are you going to stay?” I told them that I was planning to stay at a hotel in Jerusalem. They also asked me why me parents didn’t come with me, how much money I had on me. They also wanted contact details of my family in Jordan. I refused to give them such details.

The man then told me, write my e-mail address on a piece of paper. “Can you write your email address and password for us?” I simply replied, “No mate, I don’t think so, that’s illegal.” He just laughed and took my email address only (they still managed to hack into my personal email either way).

The interrogation stopped for 45 minutes and a different man came into the room to ask me further questions. He sat down, looked at me in the eyes and said “You’re a liar.” At this point I knew that they had hacked into my email account and seen my emails to the Palestinian volunteering organisation. The man then said to me:

“I know you lied, see the man at the back, he’s a psychologist and he was examining your body language throughout the whole process… why did you lie about your volunteering placement?”

My reply: “It’s not really my fault to be honest, you people give the impression that you want to kill any Palestinian activist or volunteer, this is why all people lie to you. I’m not stupid I know that you detained me because of my Arabic name.” His eyes turned red from anger. He banged his hand on the table and told me to be careful or I will be on the blacklist.

He quickly left the room and after an hour two women came in and asked me the same questions but in different ways. At this point I wasn’t scared, it just turned into a joke for me. They asked me:

“Why did your mum marry your dad? She’s non-Arab.”

I replied, “erm because she fancied him.” I could tell that they were getting agitated.

Then they asked me “Why did your dad move to London?”

I replied “because he wanted to be closer to the London eye,” and they looked at each other and said something in Hebrew.

They then asked me specific questions about my family in Jordan. “Which exact area was your dad born in?” My reply was, “Look guys I don’t know, I know you know the answer to that because you have my whole family history in your computer system so why waste my time in asking me these questions, just check in your computer, so I can find out myself.” They looked at me and just laughed, they then left.

I was in that room for at least 3 hours, I was not allowed to contact anyone, I was more worried with the fact that the taxi driver waiting for me might have left. After an hour another two men took me in for questioning, again, same questions were asked, we were just going around in circles, the Israeli authorities aim to make you nervous, but I didn’t care. At that point it was all a joke for me.

After five hours I finally got my Israeli Visa. As I walked out of the departures area, I started to panic because I could not see the taxi driver, I went to customer services and I told them that if I don’t find the taxi driver they will have to book me a hotel in Jerusalem so I could stay the night and then travel to Bethlehem the next day. As I was talking to them I saw my name, the taxi driver was there, a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. The taxi driver waited for 5 hours, he was a Palestinian man named Mohammad. Every 20 minutes he would call border control to tell them to release me, he told them to tell me that he would be waiting for me until I got out, but they did not tell me, they knew that the only thing that was making me panic was the thought of the taxi driver not being there.

On my way back to London I was held for 4 hours, I was strip searched, all my bags were searched, every single item was taken out, even all my underwear were put through the x-ray scanner.

The Israelis use these intense interrogation methods to try and put off Palestinians from visiting the West Bank. However this makes people even more determined to go back to Palestine. I resisted because I was in the right.

All Palestinians should try to visit Palestinian territories, to see for themselves the daily struggle that the people have to face such as checkpoints everywhere, the IDF dehumanizing people every day, how people live in constant fear. Even though I was only there for 1 week I felt that I as surrounded by a military machine. We all need to remember that “To exist is to resist”.

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The author at the Herodium, where you can see Jericho, Hebron, Bethlehem and the Dead Sea.

Written FOR

WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE IF ALL PALESTINIANS EXERCISED THEIR RIGHT OF RETURN? ~~ VIDEO

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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As Amal Obeidi, a young woman from the ethnically-cleansed Palestinian village of Lifta says, “borders are sometimes psychological, imposed on us by the occupation as if we will never return.”

The first step on the road is to shatter those psychological borders. This thought-provoking video helps to do just that.

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Turning the Palestinian right of return into a practical reality – video

 Ali Abunimah
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Palestinians have fiercely defended their right to return to the lands and villages they were forced to leave between 1947 and 1949 as Israel was created.

This video by refugee rights group BadilIntroduction to Practicalities of Return features interviews with refugees and experts and scenes of the lands from which Palestinians are exiled.

In the video, Eitan Bronstein of Zochrot – an Israeli group that supports the right of return for Palestinians – observes that expulsion was only one part of the Nakba – the ongoing violent dispossession of the Palestinians. The other key element has been Israel’s prevention of return.

Therefore ending the Nakba requires creative and practical thinking and planning for return.

Attempts to return

In the early years after their expulsion Palestinian refugees made many attempts to return home, often just to recover personal property. Many were shot and killed by Israeli forces.

In May 2011, thousands of Palestinian refugees marched toward the borders of their homeland from Lebanon and Syria in a dramatic reassertion of their commitment to return. Then, too, they were met with lethal Israeli fire.

Today, Palestinian refugees and their descendants number 7 million. Israel continues to deny their right to go home solely on the racist basis that these Palestinians are not Jews and thus constitute a “demographic threat” to Jewish political and numerical domination of the country.

But the right of return is recognized by international law.

New movement

Palestinian youths within present-day Israel are leading a renewed movement for return to their parents’ and grandparents’ villages in the Galilee, including Iqrit and Kufr Birim.

A number of Palestinians have now set up permanent camps in the villages.

In the video Nahida Zahra talks about the history of this movement and explains, “The idea was supported by all the families of Kufr Birim, many of us believed in it.

“The idea was that we would return to our village and we didn’t need to wait for a legal decision or political agreement.”

Israel has reacted to this action, handing a demolition order to the return camp.

“This time we are not leaving here,” Zahra says, recalling earlier temporary attempts to come back to the village.

Make return real

To make return a reality for many more people, there’s a need to create and disseminate practical ideas. Part of this process is joint planning between refugees and architects to imagine what rebuilt communities towns would look like.

This is already happening, says BADIL’s Terry Rempel, and it is vital to challenge the idea that return is impossible because homes have been destroyed.

Rempel points to the double standards of international organizations and governments that have actively promoted the right of return for refugees from other countries such as Bosnia, while arguing that it is impractical only in the case of Palestinians.

Yet the approaches taken in Bosnia can also offer practical solutions for restoring Palestinian refugee rights while protecting all stakeholders, Rempel says.

Thinking about return, several speakers argue, must go hand in hand with a process decolonization and de-Zionization.

This, they say, lays the ground for a just and inclusive political solution based on equality and nondiscrimination for all who live in historic Palestine.

As Amal Obeidi, a young woman from the ethnically-cleansed Palestinian village of Lifta says, “borders are sometimes psychological, imposed on us by the occupation as if we will never return.”

The first step on the road is to shatter those psychological borders. This thought-provoking video helps to do just that.

For more information from Badil, visit their website: badil.org

Written FOR

STILL HOPING FOR CHANGE IN EGYPT

We can only hope that the Egyptian people will wake up sooner rather than later in order to save their country from the worst possible scenarios. For sure, no one would want Egypt to morph into another Somalia or another Syria.
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Prosperity and fascism are oxymoron
By Khalid Amayreh
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According to the latest reports from Cairo, Egypt’s ranking in the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum has fallen for the 4th consecutive year.

The fall reportedly became more pronounced and more acute especially since the bloody military coup in July, carried out by Abdul Fattah Sisis, in collusion with secular and anti-Islamic elements, against the democratically elected President Muhammed Mursi.

In the 2013-2014 Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), the country slid to 118th position from 107 last year, falling from 3.7 to 3.63 points, to be placed in the lowest quartile of 148 countries included in the report.

The report pointed out that Egypt’s competitiveness was compromised due to deteriorating security circumstances and the consequent instability besetting the country.

“The deteriorating security situation and tenacious political instability are undermining the country’s competitiveness and its potential for growth,” according to the authors of the report.

The report defines competitiveness by the institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country.

Fascism could ruin Egypt

The latest reports from Egypt should not raise the eyebrows of observers following up Egyptian affair. The present military junta simply doesn’t have the ability and necessary skills to run the country and efficiently manage its already shaky economy.

The military leadership may well be able to murder peaceful protesters at will at Rab’a and shut down non-conformist media outlets. It can also round up political opponents and incarcerate elected officials on concocted charges leveled against the Islamists by a notoriously corrupt justice system utilized as a rubber stamp by the fascist-minded ruling junta.

But the military can’t really do what should be done to revive the economy, create jobs for millions of unemployed Egyptians, create social peace and harmony among Egyptians and heal the wounds and scars of the catastrophic coup. Yes, it can kill, maim and incarcerate, but it can’t heal. It can destroy, but it can’t build. It can bully, but it can not reconcile.

It is really difficult to pin any real hopes on the military junta to stop Egypt’s slide to the unknown. That is because the fate of the country is being entrusted to an ignorant junta that thinks, behaves and acts like Third World coup makers did during the cold war between the West and the Soviet Union especially in the 1950s and 1960s.

What really makes things look even worse is the scandalous utilization of Egyptian courts to give the fascist junta a thin façade of legitimacy and legality.

But then, what are we to expect from a “justice system” that keeps a democratically elected president in captivity while setting free a vicious dictator who utterly ruined Egypt morally, politically and economically for more than 30 years?

Didn’t the same justice system abruptly cancel all parliamentary and other elections in Egypt for the purpose of depriving the Islamists of their victories, as the infamous Judge Tahani Jabali of the Constitutional Court told the New York Times in 2012?

Clearly, these are the hallmarks of fascism, pure and simple.

Indeed, with the Egyptian army effectively morphing into a full-fledged repressive police force, murdering and terrorizing its own people, it is hard to expect the occurrence of any economic improvement in the county.

This is why bankruptcy will become more rampant, foreign investors will flee Egypt and millions of Egyptian will lose the impetus to rebuild their country, given the depressive atmosphere overwhelming the country as a result of the usurpation of the Egyptian people’s will by a group of ignorant military officers, devoid of any morality.

To be sure, Egypt doesn’t lack the brain power to transform itself from a wretched, poor country into a modern state where the rule of law is respected and human rights and civil liberties are observed and upheld. But in order to reach this point, the right people ought to be in the driver’s seat.

The democratically-elected Islamists tried their best to rescue Egypt from a hopeless situation brought about thanks to decades of failed management, political tyranny and secular fascism.

They may not have succeeded in solving all Egypt’s problems, especially in light of the monumental conspiracies to thwart their efforts at the hands of a virulent clique of conspirers, including the despotic-minded armed forces, a notoriously dishonest and vehemently anti-Islamic media, and a vindictive Coptic Church that is hell-bent on de-Islamizing a country where Muslims constitute about 95% of the population.

But the Islamists tried despite the paucity of resources and the rampant conspiracies devised by the “deep state” and Mubarak’s supporters who were hell-bent on aborting the “Islamic experiment.”

None the less, Egypt and its great people will pay the price for the perfidy and treason of the military junta. To be sure, Egypt is already paying the price for the criminal vagaries of its armed forces which, we are told, are trying to rebuild democracy by decapitating it.

We can only hope that the Egyptian people will wake up sooner rather than later in order to save their country from the worst possible scenarios. For sure, no one would want Egypt to morph into another Somalia or another Syria.

However, even the unthinkable could happen if this ignorant and stupid military junta remains at the helm.

 

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