All governments lie, as I.F. Stone pointed out, including Israel and Hamas. But Israel engages in the kinds of jaw-dropping lies that characterize despotic and totalitarian regimes. It does not deform the truth; it inverts it. It routinely paints a picture for the outside world that is diametrically opposed to reality. And all of us reporters who have covered the occupied territories have run into Israel’s Alice-in-Wonderland narratives, which we dutifully insert into our stories—required under the rules of American journalism—although we know they are untrue.

Why Israel Lies

By Chris Hedges IN

  Palestinians evacuate a survivor of an Israeli airstrike that hit a family building Sunday in Rafah, in southern Gaza. AP/Eyad Baba


All governments lie, as I.F. Stone pointed out, including Israel and Hamas. But Israel engages in the kinds of jaw-dropping lies that characterize despotic and totalitarian regimes. It does not deform the truth; it inverts it. It routinely paints a picture for the outside world that is diametrically opposed to reality. And all of us reporters who have covered the occupied territories have run into Israel’s Alice-in-Wonderland narratives, which we dutifully insert into our stories—required under the rules of American journalism—although we know they are untrue.

I saw small boys baited and killed by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza refugee camp of Khan Younis. The soldiers swore at the boys in Arabic over the loudspeakers of their armored jeep. The boys, about 10 years old, then threw stones at an Israeli vehicle and the soldiers opened fire, killing some, wounding others. I was present more than once as Israeli troops drew out and shot Palestinian children in this way. Such incidents, in the Israeli lexicon, become children caught in crossfire. I was in Gaza when F-16 attack jets dropped 1,000-pound iron fragmentation bombs on overcrowded hovels in Gaza City. I saw the corpses of the victims, including children. This became a surgical strike on a bomb-making factory. I have watched Israel demolish homes and entire apartment blocks to create wide buffer zones between the Palestinians and the Israeli troops that ring Gaza. I have interviewed the destitute and homeless families, some camped out in crude shelters erected in the rubble. The destruction becomes the demolition of the homes of terrorists. I have stood in the remains of schools—Israel struck two United Nations schools in the last six days, causing at least 10 fatalities at one in Rafah on Sunday and at least 19 at one in the Jebaliya refugee camp Wednesday—as well as medical clinics and mosques. I have heard Israel claim that errant rockets or mortar fire from the Palestinians caused these and other deaths, or that the attacked spots were being used as arms depots or launching sites. I, along with every other reporter I know who has worked in Gaza, have never seen any evidence that Hamas uses civilians as “human shields.”

There is a perverted logic to Israel’s repeated use of the Big Lie—Große Lüge—the lie favored by tyrants from Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin to Saddam Hussein. The Big Lie feeds the two reactions Israel seeks to elicit—racism among its supporters and terror among its victims.

By painting a picture of an army that never attacks civilians, that indeed goes out of its way to protect them, the Big Lie says Israelis are civilized and humane, and their Palestinian opponents are inhuman monsters. The Big Lie serves the idea that the slaughter in Gaza is a clash of civilizations, a war between democracy, decency and honor on one side and Islamic barbarism on the other. And in the uncommon cases when news of atrocities penetrates to the wider public, Israel blames the destruction and casualties on Hamas.George Orwell in his novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” called this form of propaganda doublethink. Doublethink uses “logic against logic” and “repudiate[s] morality while laying claim to it.” The Big Lie does not allow for the nuances and contradictions that can plague conscience. It is a state-orchestrated response to the dilemma of cognitive dissonance. The Big Lie permits no gray zones. The world is black and white, good and evil, righteous and unrighteous. The Big Lie allows believers to take comfort—a comfort they are desperately seeking—in their own moral superiority at the very moment they have abrogated all morality.

The Big Lie, as the father of American public relations, Edward Bernays, wrote, is limited only by the propagandist’s capacity to fathom and harness the undercurrents of individual and mass psychology. And since most supporters of Israel do not have a desire to know the truth, a truth that would force them to examine their own racism and self-delusions about Zionist and Western moral superiority, like packs of famished dogs they lap up the lies fed to them by the Israeli government. The Big Lie always finds fertile soil in what Bernays called the “logic-proof compartment of dogmatic adherence.” All effective propaganda, Bernays wrote, targets and builds upon these irrational “psychological habits.”

This is the world Franz Kafka envisioned, a world where the irrational becomes rational. It is one where, as Gustave Le Bon noted in “The Crowd: A Study of the Public Mind,” those who supply the masses with the illusions they crave become their master, and “whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim.” This irrationality explains why the reaction of Israeli supporters to those who have the courage to speak the truth—Uri Avnery, Max Blumenthal, Noam Chomsky, Jonathan Cook, Norman Finkelstein, Amira Hass, Gideon Levy, Ilan Pappé, Henry Siegman and Philip Weiss—is so rabid. That so many of these voices are Jewish, and therefore have more credibility than non-Jews who are among Israel’s cheerleaders, only ratchets up the level of hate.

But the Big Lie is also consciously designed to send a chilling message to Gaza’s Palestinians, who have lost large numbers of their dwellings, clinics, mosques, and power, water and sewage facilities, along with schools and hospitals, who have suffered some 1,650 deaths since this assault began—most of the victims women and children—and who have seen 400,000 people displaced from their homes. The Big Lie makes it clear to the Palestinians that Israel will continue to wage a campaign of state terror and will never admit its atrocities or its intentions. The vast disparity between what Israel says and what Israel does tells the Palestinians that there is no hope. Israel will do and say whatever it wants. International law, like the truth, will always be irrelevant. There will never, the Palestinians understand from the Big Lie, be an acknowledgement of reality by the Israeli leadership.

The Israel Defense Forces website is replete with this black propaganda. “Hamas exploits the IDF’s sensitivity towards protecting civilian structures, particularly holy sites, by hiding command centers, weapons caches and tunnel entrances in mosques,” the IDF site reads. “In Hamas’ world, hospitals are command centers, ambulances are transport vehicles, and medics are human shields,” the site insists.

“… [Israeli] officers are tasked with an enormous responsibility: to protect Palestinian civilians on the ground, no matter how difficult that may be,” the site assures its viewers. And the IDF site provides this quote from a drone operator identified as Lt. Or. “I have personally seen rockets fired at Israel from hospitals and schools, but we couldn’t strike back because of civilians nearby. In one instance, we acquired a target but we saw that there were children in the area. We waited around, and when they didn’t leave we were forced to abort a strike on an important target.”

Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, in a Big Lie of his own, said last month at a conference of Christians United for Israel that the Israeli army should be given the “Nobel Peace Prize …  a Nobel Peace Prize for fighting with unimaginable restraint.”

The Big Lie destroys any possibility of history and therefore any hope for a dialogue between antagonistic parties that can be grounded in truth and reality. While, as Hannah Arendtpointed out, the ancient and modern sophists sought to win an argument at the expense of the truth, those who wield the Big Lie “want a more lasting victory at the expense of reality.” The old sophists, she said, “destroyed the dignity of human thought.” Those who resort to the Big Lie “destroy the dignity of human action.” The result, Arendt warned, is that “history itself is destroyed, and its comprehensibility.” And when facts no longer matter, when there is no shared history grounded in the truth, when people foolishly believe their own lies, there can be no useful exchange of information. The Big Lie, used like a bludgeon by Israel, as perhaps it is designed to be, ultimately reduces all problems in the world to the brutish language of violence. And when oppressed people are addressed only through violence they will answer only through violence.


It took 28 days of killing innocent civilians to finally get the USA to speak out against it …. don’t forget it was THEY that supplied the bombs and bullets. 


“The United States is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons, in which at least ten more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed.”




U.S. ‘Appalled’ By ‘Disgraceful Shelling’ On U.N. School in Gaza

Urges Israel to Avoid Civilian Casulties

By Reuters VIA


The United States criticized the “disgraceful shelling” at a U.N. school in Gaza on Sunday and urged Israel to do more to prevent civilian casualties in its war against Hamas militants.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki also called for an investigation into attacks on U.N. schools in densely populated Gaza.

“The United States is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons, in which at least ten more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed,” Psaki said in a statement.

Psaki urged Israel again to live up to its own standards of avoiding civilian casualties as the conflict in the Hamas-controlled Gaza stretched into its 27th day.

On Wednesday, at least 15 Palestinians who sought refuge in a U.N.-run school in Jabalya refugee camp were killed during fighting, and the United Nations said Israeli artillery had apparently hit the building. The Israeli military said gunmen had fired mortar bombs from near the school and it shot back in response.

Psaki said U.N. facilities should not be used as bases from which to launch attacks.

“The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians,” she added.

The fighting on Sunday pushed the Gaza death toll given by Palestinian officials to 1,775, most of them civilians. Israel has confirmed that 64 soldiers have died in combat, while Palestinian rockets have killed three civilians in Israel.


The Pentagon confirmed the Israeli military had requested additional ammunition to restock its dwindling supplies on July 20, with the US Defense Department approving the sale just three days later.

SALE ????

 Did anyone see a receipt??

This might explain why you didn’t … the weapons were already in Israel.

Two of the requested munitions came from a little-known stockpile of ammunition stored by the US military on the ground in Israel for emergency use. The War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel is estimated to be worth $1 billion.


US resupplies Israel with weapons as Gaza death toll hits 1384


Members of Code Pink hold a vigil of civil disobedience and conduct a “die-in”
in front of the Israeli Embassy July 30, 2014 (AFP Paul J. Richards)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The United States confirmed it had restocked Israel’s supplies of ammunition, hours after finally sharpening its tone to condemn an attack on a United Nations school in Gaza that killed 16 people sheltering there.Israeli airstrikes and shelling continued overnight and into the morning leaving 21 Gazans dead and dozens injured, bringing the 24-day death toll to 1,384 with 8,000 injured, according to the Ministry of Health. The Israeli military confirmed that 20 “sites” had been hit overnight.

The dead included six people, including Majdi Fseifis, 22, killed in a bombing that hit a crowd of civilians near a mosque in the Abasan area east of Khan Younis.

Also in Khan Younis, one Palestinian was killed and four were wounded in a strike that hit a motorcycle in the Ma’an area south of the city.

Mahdiya Suleiman Omar Abu Luli, 58, was killed in an Israeli strike on Khan Younis as well.

Maha Abd al-Nabi Salim Abu Hilal was killed in a strike on her home that also “seriously” injured her husband and three children. She was brought to Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital.

Suleiman Baraka, 31, and Aref Baraka, 58, were also killed in a strike, and their bodies were both brought to the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Hospital in Deir al-Balah.

At least 55 were wounded after the al-Hamoud house in Beit Lahiya was hit at dawn. Injuries were also reported during an Israeli strike on the home of the al-Haw family as well as against Block 7 in Jabaliya.

Israeli aircraft also targeted a house east of al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip belonging to Abu Abdullah Abu Huwayshal, destroying it completely.

Violent clashes broke out between Palestinian fighters and Israelis forces in the Nabahin field east of al-Bureij.

The dead overnight included Yusuf Ibrahim, 19, son of the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs who died of wounds sustained in an Israeli attack on Nuseirat refugee camp the day before. Ahmad al-Luh died early Thursday in al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Hospital as a result of injuries as well.

The deaths in the besieged Gaza Strip come on the 24th day of an Israeli assault which has nearly topped the death toll from the 2008-9 Cast Lead, the bloodiest attack on the area in memory when Israel killed 1,400 in 22 days.

Israel launched the current assault — called Operation Protective Edge — in early July as part of what it said was an effort to combat rockets, but has since changed the focus to destroying what it say are tunnels dug from Gaza into Israel.

Rocket fire into Israel increased in late June and early July after Israel launched a sweeping assault on Hamas across the West Bank, killing nearly a dozen, injuring more than 100, and leading to more than 1,000 arrests, along with nightly airstrikes on Gaza.

Hamas has insisted that any ceasefire include an end to the eight-year Israeli blockade, which has severely crippled the tiny coastal enclave’s economy and led to recurring shortages of basic goods.

Israeli authorities, meanwhile, have signaled their refusal to end the assault without inflicting heavy damage on Palestinian military capabilities.

Palestinian paramedics move a victim of an Israeli air strike on a market to an
ambulance in Shujaiyya on Wednesday (AFP Mahmud Hams)

No blame for Israel

While both the White House and the State Department condemned the shelling of the UN-run school in the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza on Wednesday in which at least 16 Palestinians were killed, neither would assign blame to staunch US ally Israel.

“Obviously nothing justifies the killing of innocent civilians seeking shelter in a UN facility,” deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf acknowledged, in some of the toughest US comments since the start of the 23-day fighting in the Gaza Strip.

“Innocent Palestinians seeking refuge in these schools should not have shells dropped on them, should not come under attack.”

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA said Israeli forces had hit the school, which had been sheltering some 3,300 Gazans.

But despite heated exchanges with reporters, Harf stressed that “we don’t know for certain who shelled this school, we need to get all the facts.”

National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan also condemned “those responsible for hiding weapons in United Nations facilities in Gaza” and warned of rising fears that thousands of Palestinians who have been told by Israel to leave their homes increasingly had nowhere to go in the blockaded narrow coastal strip.

US officials also warned that patience with “crazy” Israeli criticism of would-be-peacemaker John Kerry had snapped.

New ammunition for IsraelThe Pentagon confirmed the Israeli military had requested additional ammunition to restock its dwindling supplies on July 20, with the US Defense Department approving the sale just three days later.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.

“This defense sale is consistent with those objectives.”

Two of the requested munitions came from a little-known stockpile of ammunition stored by the US military on the ground in Israel for emergency use. The War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel is estimated to be worth $1 billion.

The decision to provide ammunition to Israel could fuel controversy, coming just as Washington expresses growing concern about the deaths of more than 1,300 Palestinians, most of them civilians, since the Israeli operation began on July 8.

Kirby said Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel told his Israeli counterpart that the United States was concerned about the deadly consequences of the spiraling conflict, including a “worsening humanitarian situation” in Gaza, and called for a ceasefire and end to hostilities.

He also renewed calls for the disarmament of Gaza’s Hamas rulers and “all terrorist groups.”

Relations between Israel and its staunch ally the United States have plunged in recent days after Kerry returned from a mission to the Middle East to try to broker a ceasefire between the Israelis and Hamas militants.

Anonymous Israeli officials have hit out at Kerry’s truce proposal, calling it “a strategic terrorist attack” and criticizing it for being a “Hamas wish-list” including moves to lift a long-standing Israeli blockade of Gaza while failing to address Israel’s security concerns, such as Hamas rocket fire and a network of underground tunnels.

And on Tuesday a fabricated transcript of a call between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went viral on social media.

Out to hurt ties?

Stressing the “unprecedented” US support for Israel, Harf hit out at Israeli elites’ “offensive and absurd” claims that Kerry backs Hamas.

She rubbished the fake transcript as “complete crap,” adding “there’s clearly people … who are putting out false and defamatory and absurd information.”

“I don’t know what else you can assume about the intentions except that they’re designed to hurt our relationship,” she added.

Washington, which has provided billions in military aid to Israel, including funding the Iron Dome shield protecting the country from Hamas rockets, was “very committed” to Israel’s security, which is “why these vicious attacks on the secretary are just crazy,” she added.

And US lawmakers are working on a package of additional military support from Washington to commit $225 million for the Iron Dome missile defense shield.

More than 100 people died in Israeli strikes across Gaza Wednesday, medics said, including 17 at a crowded marketplace, sending the Palestinian toll from the 23 days of fighting to 1,363.

On the Israeli side, the conflict has cost the lives of 56 Israeli soldiers, and two civilians, as well as that of a Thai national.

AFP contributed to this report.


Clintonism is worse than just Reaganism for Democrats.   It is Reaganite malware, directed at Democrats.  Once it enters the system, it spreads like a virus; and all it does is corrupt.

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Hillary as Reaganite Malware

What is Clintonism?


There are no American politicians whose views on politics merit serious consideration for any reason other than the power they wield.  With only minor exceptions (from long ago), it has been this way since the founders’ generation passed.

From genuine (though often mindless) conviction or to enhance their electoral prospects or to further their pecuniary interests, politicians sometimes do wax “ideological.”  But they don’t work with ideas or fashion theories or practices on their basis.  They wouldn’t know how.

This is one reason why “Reaganism” is a misnomer.  It is a convenient and frequently used term, but it gives too much credit to a maleficent actor who could barely keep more than one idea in his head at a time.

“Neoliberalism” would be a better name, except that it suggests too narrow a focus on economic policy issues.  Reaganism is not just about economics; it is a retrograde political phenomenon as well.

The term denotes a theory and practice that a few currently celebrated but vastly overrated economists and political theorists concocted by reviving long dormant strains of classical liberal thought.  It is a lackluster confection, void of intellectual cogency and moral appeal.

But thanks mainly to the vicissitudes of late capitalism, it has won the day.

In the 1970s, as capitalism’s post-War reconstruction and growth phase ground to a halt under the weight of excessive productive capacity, it became obvious – especially to capitalists searching for investment opportunities – that the bad old ways had to change.

The result was a rise in the political influence of the financial sector, and a decline in the power of organized labor.

These developments paved the way for the so-called Reagan Revolution.a

No more would capitalist development, for all the harm it did, at least make most people better off materially; and no more would there be any semblance of fairness in the distribution of the benefits and burdens that come with economic growth.

Reaganism initiated a new “social contract” – according to which the handful at the top benefit egregiously, while everybody else works more and gets less.

Rising personal debt and the ready availability of shoddy goods made abroad, along with other palliative measures, masked the new reality for a while; and a series of economic bubbles kept the economy afloat.

But there is no denying the sad fact that the economic condition of most people has been stagnating or deteriorating, and that the public sphere, starved of funds, is declining even more rapidly.  This is what Reaganism does.

And because the idea that government is the problem, not the solution, is a core Reaganite doctrine, Reaganism also militates against ameliorative public programs and welfare state remedies.  In their stead, it offers the snares and delusions of free market theology.

As societies become wealthier, most people therefore become worse off – relative not just to the hyper-rich or to how they could be in a more rational economic order, but relative even to how they used to be.

It is not all Reagan’s fault; he had far less to do with Reaganism than is widely supposed.  His presidency was more an effect than a cause.

He did little, if anything, to fashion Reaganite doctrine, and he was not even good at implementing it.  At most, he believed in it, and he put his communication skills to work promoting it.

Reaganism took hold almost immediately upon the turn in capitalism’s trajectory.  Thus Jimmy Carter was America’s first Reaganite president.  But Carter only got on the track half-heartedly, and not before the final years of his presidency.

Reagan was not even the most important Reaganite leader in the early days.  That dubious honor falls to Margaret Thatcher.  It was within the government she led in Great Britain that Reaganite theory and practice fully took shape.

This is why, in the Anglophone world outside the United States, Reaganism is called “Thatcherism.”

Americans are too provincial to follow suit, but this isn’t the only reason for naming the phenomenon after the Gipper.  Since the end of the Second World War, Britain has been America’s junior partner — unable, on its own, to lead a change in the course of world events.  Even the Iron Lady could not have done all the harm she did had we Yankees not helped her out.

And so, Reaganism it is.

At first, the affliction was confined mainly to Great Britain and the United States.  Too bad for the rest of the world that this soon changed.  Capitalist politicians are all Reaganites now.

American politicians still lead the way.  Our presidents occupy a special circle of Hell.

Because these presidents are cut from the same Reaganite cloth, attaching any other “ism” after any of their names makes little sense.

The Bush family squatted in the White House longer than the Reagans, but nobody talks of “Bushism.”   Why would they?

Bush the Father was a “kinder, gentler” Reaganite; he told us so himself.  And, except for Carter, he was the best (least bad) president we have had since Reaganism emerged.  If nothing more, his presidency was the last in which foreign affairs were conducted with even a minimal degree of competence.

But he was dull, predictable, and uninspired.  He had the most trouble with what he called “the vision thing.”  He was president when Communism fell and when the Soviet Union imploded, yet his “new world order” was just the old world order with the Soviet Union missing.  There was no there, there – nothing that would leave a lasting mark.

Bush the Son left plenty of lasting marks.  But no right-minded person would want to lay claim to his legacy.

The neocons he let run the show unleashed catastrophes that are still unfolding.  And the man himself was so beyond his depth that it seems almost unfair to blame him for any of it.  But, of course, we must; he was nominally in charge.  Even so, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were at least as culpable.

In a just world, George W. Bush and his retainers would be doing hard time.  In our world, thanks to the magnanimity of his successor and his successor’s Attorney General, they have all gotten away with murder – indeed, with much worse than murder.  There is no “ism” in that.

“Bushism” is therefore a non-starter, no matter which Bush one has in mind.  “Clintonism,” however, is something else.

The term has been in circulation for some time.  People know how to use it because, as Justice Potter Stewart said of obscenity, you know it when you see it.

But what exactly does it mean?  This is far from clear – mainly because its relation to Reaganism is complicated and subtle.

With Hillary Clinton on course to run for President in 2016 – and almost certain to win if she runs, inasmuch as the national GOP will be unable to field a credible candidate – it is not even clear whether the term refers to the husband or the wife.

It hardly matters.  As an only slightly facetious metaphysician might say: “Clinton” names a supra-individual entity that takes two interdependent but analytically distinct forms.

Bill is by far the more colorful of the two because he is a horndog and a rascal who exudes meretricious charm.  For people of a certain age, it is hard not to think of him as a grown-up, unchaste, version of the Eddie Haskell character on “Leave It To Beaver.”

If that show had been revived a decade or two later, it is a good bet that many a plot would have revolved around Eddie’s dalliances with hot princesses of the trailer park and Jewish American varieties; and that his consorting with the rich and famous for fun and profit would be a recurrent theme.

Meanwhile, Hillary wears pantsuits and says dumb things – dumb even by Joe Biden’s standards.  When it comes to saying dumb things, Biden is a past master.

She is not even villainous in an interesting way; her character lacks depth.  No wonder that the creators of the Golden Age of television never bothered with a character that calls to mind anyone like her.

Character issues aside, Bill Clinton was the best Reaganite president ever – not the most visionary, not the one with the most competent subordinates, but the most effective.  No one, certainly not Reagan himself, did more to privatize and deregulate, and to undo government programs that perform worthwhile functions.

Reagan famously proposed “starving the monster.”  This is what Bill Clinton did.

Meanwhile, the real monster flourished under his rule, just as it did under Reagan’s.  The military and the already burgeoning national security state made out like bandits.

Clinton’s heart was probably never into putting Reaganism into practice; he was – and is — an opportunist, not a true believer.   But as a Democrat, he was able to neutralize the opposition and even to bring it on board.   He could therefore accomplish what Reagan and the people around him could only dream of.

This is one reason why it is hard to pin down what Clintonism is.  It seems too close to Reaganism to count as an “ism” in its own right.

Clintonism eludes easy characterization too because the Clintons, along with other right-wing Democrats, effectively purged their party of its left wing.  It is therefore difficult to distinguish Clintonite politics from Democratic politics generally.

Nevertheless, Clintonism is a useful concept – something Bushism is not.

Neither, for that matter, is Obamaism.

It is still possible, of course, that Obama will mess up so egregiously that “Obamaism,” or some related expression, will enter the political lexicon.  However, if this happens, the term will not designate a distinctive political departure.  It will be short hand for blundering incompetence.

Or for making mistakes even more disastrous than those of George W. Bush.  This could happen, for example, if the Clintonites who have taken charge of American foreign policy concoct a new Cold War.  They are working on it.

However, in the normal course of events – where “normal” includes enabling a brutal and lawless Israeli government to massacre Palestinians in Gaza – there will be no Obamaism.

As Reaganism took shape, Bertram Gross wrote about what he called “friendly fascism.”  By calling it “fascism,” his point was that Reaganism embraced a paramount fascist objective – suppressing the labor movement and then reconfiguring the relation between Big Business and the State in ways that secure the interests of both.

By “friendly,” he meant that it did this without the blatant illiberalism and organized violence associated with the fascist movements of the inter-war period (and their successors).  It helped that Ronald Reagan seemed warm and amiable, but this was not the main point.

Obama carries on in the friendly fascist tradition.  And building on the work of George Bush and Dick Cheney, he presides over a related turn in American politics.  An apt name for it would be “friendly totalitarianism.”

Bush and Cheney got it going, but Obama will be remembered for turning America into a 24/7 surveillance state, and for shredding privacy and due process rights.  He will also be remembered for continuing old wars and initiating new ones.   These things go together; perpetual war is indispensible in a totalitarian state.

He did these things and others like them without jettisoning the legitimacy-conferring friendliness Gross identified in the larger Reaganite project.  We are more thoroughly policed than ever before, but not, we think, by a police state; and we have a military as capacious as any the world has ever known, but we are unencumbered with militaristic attitudes and institutions.

Putting together such a friendly totalitarian order is an achievement on a par with realizing fascism’s aims in the ostensibly benign Reaganite way.

However even this doesn’t warrant putting an “ism” after Obama’s name.  As in Bush’s case, bad decisions and rank ineptitude don’t add up to a new kind of politics.

It might be different if there were significant positive accomplishments for which Obama could take credit.  But apart from breaking the color line, there aren’t any.   Inspiring and then dashing “hope” for “change” hardly counts.

It is different with the Clintons.  They can take credit for developing a distinctive form of Reaganism, a particularly deleterious kind.

What they concocted is hard to define, but easy enough to recognize – and oppose.

Opposition to Clintonism is not the same as antipathy towards the Clintons.  The latter is rampant throughout the land, according to the former First Lady; “a vast right-wing conspiracy” has it in for them.

To the extent that she is right, the question is: why?  There is no remotely satisfactory political answer.   On the right, Reagan is worshipped, and though Reagan’s connections with Reaganism may not be as direct as is commonly supposed, it is surely relevant that Clintonism is Reaganism in practice.

A better question is why isn’t there more antipathy towards the Clintons in liberal quarters?  They certainly deserve it.

What matters more, though, is antipathy towards Clintonism.  There is almost none of that within the ranks of the Democratic Party itself.  But Democratic voters have a different view.  Anti-Clintonism surely played a role, a significant one, in Obama’s victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primaries.

The hope of some Obama voters back then was that an Obama victory would de-Clintonize the Democratic Party.  For anyone closely following the campaign, this was a pipe dream.  Obama got mileage out of it anyway.

Not surprisingly, the illusion quickly faded.  Disillusionment got underway even before Inauguration Day, as news of the President-elect’s selections for key positions began to filter in.  Arguably, it started even before that – when Obama picked Joe Biden for a running mate.

By the time he called on Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State – a post for which she was manifestly unsuited, as would soon become abundantly clear – the shape of things to come was unmistakable.

A full-fledged Clintonite Restoration followed.  In the foreign policy field, the only sign of a fresh departure came later – with the empowerment of “humanitarian” imperialists like Susan Rice and Samantha Powers.  Even in this, though, the foul hand of Hillary was at work.

Whether or not the impulse to revive the Cold War is coming directly from her, it is surely coming from her protégés and retainers; and she is cheering them on.

Who knows why she and the others want to embark on such a risky business.  Could it be that they feel that the “war on terror,” or whatever its name in Obama-speak now is, isn’t delivering enough anymore for the military-national security state complex?

Or perhaps they realize that they’ve messed up so profoundly in the Middle East that there is nothing to do but move on — into other adventures.  This would make sense, but it is unlikely that they are thinking along these lines.  That would require a level of self-understanding beyond their grasp.

It is remarkable how little they do understand.  Can they really not realize how dangerous a Cold War with Russia – and China too – can be?   How can they not know?

This is ultimately a psychological question; the answer is therefore different from person to person.  But at a political level, the broad contours of an answer are clear enough.

It is that this is what happens when the spirit of Reaganism takes hold of the ideological descendants of Cold War anti-Communists.

For nearly four decades after the end of World War II, there were liberals who were drawn by sympathy and conviction, to support the labor movement and other like-minded popular forces that put a break on capitalism’s inherent and unrelenting drive to enrich capitalists at everyone else’s expense.

These liberals were as devoted to capitalism as any other sector of the political class, but they were less inclined than the others to advance the interests of capitalism’s principal beneficiaries.

That sensibility began to wither away as the Reaganite turn took hold; soon, it all but disappeared.  At the same time, social liberalism continued and even advanced as societal attitudes evolved.

In reaction, social illiberalism hardened on the right.  Before long, disagreements about values, not material interests, constituted the main dividing line in American politics.

This is what Clintonism is about.

It is Reaganized liberalism; Cold War anti-Communist liberalism, without its progressive economic dimension.

Clintonites are still committed to tolerance and other non-economic liberal values, but on economic issues, there is no light between them and their Republican opponents.

This describes Hillary Clinton to a tee.  Dissect her public persona and it is all there: the social liberalism, but also the economic neoliberalism and, above all, the reflexive animosity towards Russia – and China – inherited from the Cold War past.

No one could accuse Bill Clinton of being a “transformative” President in the sense that Obama thinks Ronald Reagan was.  But he, along with his wife, did transform the Democratic Party – to such an extent that it may now be beyond redemption.

Richard Nixon was able to bring Republicans and right-wing Democrats along when he opened up relations with China – because he was a man of the Right who had proven his credentials many times over.

But the people he brought along remained essentially unchanged.  They were viciously anti-Communist before, and they were viciously anti-Communist after Nixon had gotten his way.  It was all about forging a strategic choice; not changing hearts and minds.

Bill Clinton, on the other hand, didn’t just bring his fellow Democrats along as he set about promoting Reaganism.  He changed them fundamentally; causing them to make the Reagan agenda their own.

This is what Hillary Clinton will do, what she has already begun to do; and it is why the prospect that she will lead the Democratic Party is so appalling.

Turning Democrats rightward was bad enough when her husband led the way a generation ago.  Imagine the consequences now, after decades of rightward drift and eight years of Barack Obama!

Clintonism is worse than just Reaganism for Democrats.   It is Reaganite malware, directed at Democrats.  Once it enters the system, it spreads like a virus; and all it does is corrupt.

As with any other virus, the best way to deal with it is to keep away from it.  When that proves impossible, Plan B is to salvage – and restore — as much as one can.

It may already be too late; having taken a Clintonite turn, the Democratic Party, never much good anyway, may by now be too damaged to save.

By this time next year, with the 2016 Presidential campaign already underway, we will know for sure.

ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What’s Wrong With the Opium of the People. He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park.  He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).




Anyone would be better than Hillary …



Lieberman accused the Qatar-based channel of being a mouthpiece for Hamas, and said the foreign ministry was taking steps to prevent it from broadcasting from Gaza, according to Israel’s Channel 2 TV.

Here are the steps taken ….. as seen by Carlos Latuff



Al-Jazeera Gaza offices evacuated after direct hit by Israeli fire

Israel denies deliberate targeting of TV station, but staff claim that ‘two very precise shots’ were fired
Al-Jazeera journalists evacuate their building in Gaza

Al-Jazeera journalists evacuate their building after it came under fire in Gaza. Photograph: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto/Rex Features

Israel‘s army has denied targeting the Gaza offices of al-Jazeera TV after the network’s correspondents reported that the building had come under fire on Tuesday.

Staff in Gaza said their 11th floor bureau was hit by two Israeli bullets as a crew was preparing to broadcast live from the balcony. “Two very precise shots were fired straight into our building,” said Stefanie Dekker. “We are high up in the building so we had a very strong vantage point over the area. But we have evacuated.” Al-Jazeera aired footage of their staff standing outside the building.

A spokesman for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said no warning shots had been fired but could not confirm or deny whether there had been indirect damage to the building from firing at nearby military targets, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The incident came a day after Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, called for al-Jazeera to be banned.

Lieberman accused the Qatar-based channel of being a mouthpiece for Hamas, and said the foreign ministry was taking steps to prevent it from broadcasting from Gaza, according to Israel’s Channel 2 TV.

Al-Jazeera “has abandoned even the perception of being a reliable news organisation and broadcasts from Gaza and to the world anti-Israel incitement, lies, and encouragement to the terrorists,” he said.

“All the big networks operate in Israel, some of them are not exactly pro-Zionist, and yet as a democratic state we allow them to operate here. In the case of al-Jazeera it is not an issue of freedom of the media but of a terrorist wing that currently fights against Israel.”

A statement posted on the al-Jazeera website said: “Al-Jazeera network considers statements made against it by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman a direct incitement. (It) considers (his) comments as a very serious matter. Israel is accountable for the safety of al-Jazeera teams working in Israel and the Palestinian territories.”

Al-Jazeera also reported that Israel’s communications minister, Gilad Erdan, has asked Israeli cable and satellite providers to stop airing al-Jazeera, calling it an “enemy” broadcaster. The request is not mandatory.

Al-Jazeera said: “Our journalists have been doing an outstanding job in reporting to our mass audience in the region what is happening on the ground. A threat to one is a threat to all, and this is a dark sign for all journalists operating in the territory. Journalists must be protected while doing their job of giving the public information they have the right to know, helping them understand what is going on. Journalism is not a crime!”

Al-Jazeera has often come under fire in war zones and been banned, at different times, from almost every country in the Middle East. Its most recent troubles have been in Egypt, where three journalists working for al-Jazeera English were sentenced to between seven and 10 years in jail on charges of aiding terrorists and endangering national security.


France became the first country in the world to ban pro Palestinian demonstrations …. does this make them ‘The Only Democracy In Europe?’ (sic)


Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff



Israel-Gaza conflict: French minister Bernard Cazeneuve backs ban on pro-Palestinian protests in Paris


 The French Interior Minister argued the protest could threaten public order

Thousands of protesters were expected to march in Paris over the weekend and call for an end to the violence in Gaza, as it emerged on Friday that the Israeli military had killed 296 Palestinians in the renewed conflict – including a baby, four children and a 70-year-old woman since Thursday.  One Israeli civilian and one IDF soldier have died in the 11-day conflict.

Citing a “threat to public order”, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve backed the police ban on the widely-advertised mass demonstrations, after members of the Jewish Defence League (LDJ) and pro-Palestinian groups clashed last Sunday.

He also advised other police prefects to consider banning planned rallies on a “case by case” basis.

Videos from rallies last week reportedly showed armed LDJ vigilantes attempting to tempt pro-Palestinian demonstrators into fights.

“I consider that the conditions are not right to guarantee security,” Mr Cazeneuve said regarding the main Paris march, according to theMail Online.

On Friday evening, lawyers for a number of groups responded by lodging an appeal against the ban in a Paris court.

Attending an illegal demonstration is punishable by a year in prison, and a €15,000 fine – a penalty which rises to a three year sentence and a €45,000 fine if a demonstrator covers their face to avoid being identified.

Meanwhile, publicising an illegal demonstration on social media can lead to a year-long prison sentence, and a €15,000 fine. This increases to seven years and a 100,000 fine if the post sparks violence.


French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve at the National Assembly in Paris (Getty)

French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve at the National Assembly in Paris (Getty)


Youssef Boussoumah, of the Party of the Indigenous of the Republic (PIR), told the website: “France is criminalising any show of solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

“This is an absolute outrage, it is a continuation of attempts to muzzle the Palestinian people and to get them and their supporters in France to surrender absolutely to Israel’s oppression,” he added.

False reports following last week’s protests claimed that pro-Palestinian demonstrators had damaged synagogues during the rally, but it later emerged none of the religious buildings had been targeted.

A judicial inquiry is to be launched into the false allegations.




Did you wonder why there was hardly a word in the Western Press about the kidnappings until the three bodies were found? The following will explain why …


The entire propaganda campaign was set into high gear despite Netanyahu and his inner circle’s knowledge that the teens were almost certainly dead. And it was enabled by the Shin Bet’s gag order, which even foreign correspondents like The New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren honored. The Israeli government refused to allow the facts from interfering with what seemed like a political opportunity.


Netanyahu government knew teens were dead as it whipped up racist frenzy

Max Blumenthal Writing FOR

At a right-wing protest in Jerusalem a sign reads “May God avenge their blood” and a youth wears a sticker stating “Kahane was right,” referring to the Brooklyn-born violent settler movement leader, 1 July.  (Tali Mayer / ActiveStills)


“Cursed be he who says, ‘Avenge!‘ “ 
—Chaim Bialik, from “On The Slaughter”

From the moment three Israeli teens were reported missing last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country’s military-intelligence apparatus suppressed the flow of information to the general public. Through a toxic blend of propaganda, subterfuge and incitement, they inflamed a precarious situation, manipulating Israelis into supporting their agenda until they made an utterly avoidable nightmare inevitable.

Israeli police, intelligence officials and Netanyahu knew within hours of the kidnapping and murder of the three teens that they had been killed. And they knew who the prime suspects were less than a day after the kidnapping was reported.

Rather than reveal these details to the public, Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency imposed a gag order on the national media, barring news outlets from reporting that the teens had almost certainly been killed, and forbidding them from revealing the identities of their suspected killers. The Shin Bet even lied to the parents of the kidnapped teens, deceiving them into believing their sons were alive.

Instead of mounting a limited action to capture the suspected perpetrators and retrieve the teens’ bodies, Netanyahu staged an aggressive international public relations campaign, demanding sympathy and outrage from world leaders, who were also given the impression that the missing teens were still alive.

Meanwhile, Israel’s armed forces rampaged throughout the occupied West Bank and bombarded the Gaza Strip in a campaign of collective punishment deceptively marketed to Israelis and the world as a rescue mission.

Critical details that were known all along by Netanyahu and the military-intelligence apparatus were relayed to the Israeli public only after the abduction of more than 560 Palestinians, including at least 200 still held without charges; after the raiding of Palestinian universities and ransacking of countless homes; after six Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli forces; after American-trained Palestinian Authority police assisted Israeli soldiers attacking Palestinian youths in the center of Ramallah; after the alleged theft by Israeli troops of $3 million in US dollars; and after Israel’s international public relations extravaganza had run its course.

The assault on the West Bank arrived on the heels of the collapse of the US-led framework negotiations, for which the US blamed Netanyahu, and immediately after Hamas’ratification of a unity deal with the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority. Netanyahu was still smarting from the US recognition of the unity government when news of the kidnapping reached him. Never one to miss an opportunity to undermine the Palestinians, he and his inner circle resolved to milk the kidnapping for maximum propaganda value.

Weeks after the incident, it is now clear that the Israeli government, intelligence services and army engaged in a cover-up to provide themselves with the political space they required for a military campaign that had little to do with rescuing any kidnapped teens.

The disinformation campaign they waged sent a heavily indoctrinated, comprehensively militarized population into a tribalistic frenzy, provoking a wave of high-level incitement, the shocking revenge killing of an innocent Palestinian teen and rioting across East Jerusalem.

Where the chaos will end and how far it will spread is unknown. But its origins are increasingly clear.

Gagging the media, lying to teens’ parents

On 12 June, three Jewish Israeli youths, Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, went missing while hitchhiking from Kfar Etzion, an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank. At 10:25pm, Shaar placed a panicked call to Israeli police.

During the eerie call lasting two minutes and nine seconds, the supposed kidnappers can be heard ordering the youths to keep their heads down. Israel Radio plays in the background as Shaar repeatedly appeals for help. Then several gunshots can be heard followed by celebratory singing as the kidnappers remark, “We got three.” The teens had been killed.

It took until the next morning for the police to connect the call to a missing persons report filed by the youths’ parents. In a meeting with Shin Bet officials that day, the teens’ parents listened to a recording of the phone call.

Bat Galim Shaar, the mother of Gilad Shaar, demanded investigators explain to her why gunshots can be heard in the background, and if this meant that her son was dead.

According to Bat Galim Shaar, police claimed the bullets were “blanks.” When the car used by the alleged kidnappers was discovered burned by a roadside, the Shin Bet told her no DNA was found. In fact, bullets and blood were present throughout the interior of the car. The Shin Bet had lied to the parents of the missing teens in order to stoke false hopes that their sons were alive.


Israeli soldiers secure the area around a burnt car near the West Bank city of Hebron on 13 June after three Israeli teens went missing the day before.  (Mamoun Wazwaz / APA images)


“When [the Shin Bet] told me finally at 6:00am Friday that the army was on the job, I felt better — as if we were in good hands,” Bat Galim Shaar told Israel’s Channel 10. “I was naïve, I told everyone Gilad would be home before Shabbat.”

Having deceived the victims’ parents, Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus moved to conceal the truth from the general public, imposing a gag order that barred the country’s media from reporting on the sound of gunshots in the recorded call to police.

According to the text of the gag order, which was first published in English at Mondoweiss, the military had forbidden Israeli reporters from publicizing “All the details of the investigation” and “All details that might identify the suspect.”

Not only did all involved in the investigation — Netanyahu, the Shin Bet, the military — know right away that the three missing teens were almost certainly dead, they had identified the two men they believed were responsible for the crime little more than a day after it occurred.

To legitimize the military’s wider goals, they withheld this information as well.

Hiding the suspects

On 17 June, Arabic-language news site Rai Al Youm reported that Israeli police and Shin Bet agents had raided the homes of Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Eishe, the main suspects, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron. As a Palestinian news outlet based in London, Rai Al Youm was not subject to the Israeli military’s gag order and was therefore free to publish the names of the two accused kidnappers.

Citing a report in the Israeli online news outlet Walla! which was either scrubbed due to the gag order or otherwise rendered inaccessible, Rai Al Youm summarized an account by the father of Abu Eishe as follows: “On Saturday at dawn [two days after the alleged kidnapping was reported], special forces of the Israeli army stormed into the house and interrogated sons of the family trying to find any information that could lead them to his whereabouts but they were unsuccessful.”

Abu Eishe’s father added that the Shin Bet had also arrested his son’s wife to interrogate her about his whereabouts. An uncle of Qawasmeh remarked that four of his nephew’s brothers and his wife were arrested the day after the alleged kidnapping and interrogated.

Rai Al Youm added: “several of the military correspondents in the Hebrew media have reported last Friday on a statement attributed to a Palestinian security official in which he said that the PA [Palestinian Authority] is tracking two Hamas personnel who disappeared last Thursday [the day of the kidnapping] and that the security forces of the PA have given the information they have to Israel. And now it’s clear that this story was true and that Israel is looking for them and has charged them with being behind the kidnapping.”

Allison Deger, a correspondent for Mondoweissvisited the Qawasmeh home and confirmed that the army and Shin Bet brought several male members of the families in for interrogation on 14 June.


The damaged family home of Amer Abu Eishe, one of two Palestinians identified by Israel as suspects in the killing of three Israeli teenagers, after it was destroyed by the Israeli army in the West Bank city of Hebron, 1 July.  (Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)


In a normal high-profile criminal investigation, the names of fugitive suspects are widely publicized. Investigators prominently display posters of the wanted criminals in public spaces while police officials stage press conferences appealing for help from the public. In this case, however, Israel’s intelligence services chose to keep their suspects’ identities a closely-held secret for two weeks.

While Netanyahu and his top deputies blamed the entire membership of Hamas for the kidnapping, the Shin Bet gag order suppressed all information relating to the identities of the suspects until 26 June. As far as the Israeli public knew, the kidnappers could have been anywhere in the West Bank, in any schoolhouse or coffee house or hen house where anyone remotely affiliated with Hamas congregated.

Having manipulated an exceptionally suggestible population through the careful management of information, the military had all the political latitude it needed to rampage through cities far from the scene of the crime.

During a raid of Birzeit University near Ramallah, Israeli troops seized hundreds of Hamas flags, carting them away in trucks as though they had obtained valuable evidence. When the army bombarded the Gaza Strip, the only justification it needed was that the besieged coastal territory was governed by Hamas.

A poll released on 2 July revealed that 76 percent of Jewish Israelis approved of the army’s actions and expressed overwhelming support for the Shin Bet.

In the near term, the gag order had produced its intended result.

Rogue element

Though Qawasmeh and Abu Eishe were widely identified as veteran members of Hamas’ military wing, they comprised a rogue element that likely acted without the knowledge and against the wishes of Hamas leadership.

According to Israeli journalist Shlomi Eldar, members of the Qawasmeh clan of Hebron have earned a reputation for attacking Israeli civilian targets during ceasefires between Hamas and Israel.

While an extended family of over 10,000 can hardly be blamed for the actions of some of its members, it is notable that attacks carried out by fighters from the family were privately criticized by top Hamas leaders, as Eldar explains. Hamas leadership regarded the operations as self-destructive acts of freebooting and often paid for them in the form of Israeli assassinations. In each case, the violence shattered ceasefires and inspired renewed bouts of bloodshed.

“The same is true now,” Eldar writes. “Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Eishe have taken Hamas to a place where its leadership never intended to go.”

Hamas leadership has yet to take responsibility for the kidnapping and likely had no knowledge of its planning. As Haaretz military correspondent Amos Harel notes, “So far, there is no evidence that Hamas’ leadership either in Gaza or abroad was involved in the kidnapping.” Harel adds that the fallout of the kidnapping “effectively froze the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation.”

Why would Hamas leadership have authorized an operation that so clearly threatened to unravel the movement’s political achievements, wrecking the vaunted unity deal and leaving Abbas without rival in the West Bank?

The Israeli government’s propaganda blitz drowned out sobering questions like these. In turn, the gag order obstructed the flow of information that would have complicated the propaganda.

Determined to reframe the international media’s narrative around Israel’s plight at the hands of Palestinian terrorism, Netanyahu went on the offensive.


On 17 June, the same day the Israeli army forcibly confiscated CCTV cameras in Beituniathat captured footage of its soldiers killing two unarmed Palestinian boys during a Nakba Day protest, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor appeared behind a lectern at the UN Mission in New York City.

“It has been five days since our boys went missing,” Prosor thundered, “and I ask the international community, where are you? Where are you?!”

Referring to the Fatah-Hamas unity government, Prosor added: “All those in the international community who rushed to bless this marriage should look into the eyes of the heartbroken parents and have the courage to take responsibility by condemning the kidnapping. The international community bought in to a bad deal and Israel is paying for it.”

Beside Prosor stood a large placard displaying the smiling faces of the three missing teens beneath a hashtag reading #BringBackOurBoys. Israel’s propaganda blitz was approaching its apex.

For days, leaders of Israel’s trained online propaganda brigades — from the Israeli army spokesperson’s unit, to the Jewish Agency, to the Prime Minister’s Office — flooded social media with the #BringBackOurBoys hashtag. Mimicking Michelle Obama’s promotion of the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag that aimed to raise awareness of the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls by Islamist militants, the Israeli prime minister’s frowning wife, Sara, posted a portrait of herself on Facebook holding a card that read, #BringBackOurBoys.


Right-wing protesters shout anti-Palestinian slogans during a rally outside the Israeli prime minster’s residence in Jerusalem, 5 July. Demonstrators hold up posters depicting the three murdered Israeli teens which read “United to bring them home.”  (Faiz Abu Rmeleh / ActiveStills)


The social media campaign reverberated throughout Jewish communities across the US, as synagogues around the country displayed yellow ribbons in a carefully coordinated show of solidarity with the missing teens. In New York City, local politicians appeared at pro-Israel rallies, while American diplomats from US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power to Ambassador Susan Rice competed with one another to deliver the most emotional tribute to the kidnapped teens.

Rachel Frenkel, the mother of the kidnapped Naftali Frenkel, was junketed by the Israeli government to the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva, Switzerland to plead for international help in rescuing her son.

The entire propaganda campaign was set into high gear despite Netanyahu and his inner circle’s knowledge that the teens were almost certainly dead. And it was enabled by the Shin Bet’s gag order, which even foreign correspondents like The New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren honored. The Israeli government refused to allow the facts from interfering with what seemed like a political opportunity.

Behind the pitiable image it affected before the world, Israeli society seethed with bloodlust. A spontaneously-created Facebook page calling for the execution of one Palestinian prisoner for each day the teens remained missing garnered more than 35,000 “likes” from mostly young Israelis in just a few days. It was called “The People of Israel Demand Revenge.”

Manipulated by a high-level campaign of deception and disinformation into believing that “their boys” were still alive, the Israeli public was about to receive shocking news.

A shallow grave

At 6am on 30 June, the bodies of Frenkel, Shaar and Yifrach were found in Halhoul at the northern entrance to Hebron in the occupied West Bank. They lay in a shallow grave on property owned by Marwan Qawasmeh, one of the two men suspected in their kidnapping and killing.

The bodies were discovered not by the Shin Bet, but by a team of volunteers from the Kfar Etzion Field School who led soldiers to the location. For its part, the army had been too busy invading Palestinian homes in areas as far away as Nablus to effectively comb the property of a suspect less than 10 kilometers from the site of the kidnapping.

Hours after the discovery, Israeli forces detonated explosive charges inside the Qawasmeh and Abu Eishe family homes. The destruction followed an announcement that the army was re-instituting its policy of punitive home demolitions against the families of Palestinians accused of terrorism.

That afternoon, Netanyahu set the tone for the national response, publishing remarks on his personal Twitter account that he had just delivered in a cabinet meeting:

Netanyahu’s comments perplexed outsiders, but for those embedded inside the tight confines of Jewish Israeli life, they carried a familiar resonance.

From Kishinev to Jerusalem

Netanyahu’s statement alludes to the final stanza of a poem by the Hebrew writer Chaim Bialik titled “On The Slaughter”:

Cursed be he who says: “Avenge!”
Vengeance such as this, vengeance for the blood of a small boy,
Satan himself has not devised-
Let that blood pierce the abyss!
Let that blood pierce the depths of darkness,
Let it eat away the darkness and there undermine
All the rotted foundations of the earth.

In Bialik’s verse, a searing lament anchored in Biblical language, the poet dramatized a brutal 1903 pogrom incited by the Russian Tsar that left scores of Jews dead in the town of Kishinev.

Bialik followed his first account of Kishinev with “The City of Slaughter,” an incendiary work admonishing the victims of the pogrom for their supposed passivity in the face of armed marauders. (Reports of ferocious resistance by the locals was conveniently overlooked.) The poem helped radicalize thousands of young Jews across Eastern Europe, inspiring the formation of self-defense committees and winning waves of adherents to the militant philosophy of Zionism. Among those most influenced by Bialik was Vladimir Jabotinsky, the right-wing Zionist activist who would later become a political benefactor to Netanyahu’s father, Benzion.

In his crude appropriation of Bialik’s verse, Benjamin Netanyahu recast the Russian pogromist as a Palestinian militant, drawing a seamless line between the Jewish nightmare of pre-war Europe and the present-day Israeli experience. In Netanyahu’s view, the “human animals” of Palestine had inherited the genocidal spirit of the Tsar’s mobs and would repeat their crimes unless Jews were prepared to fight.

Of course, Israeli Jews are the exact opposite of turn-of-the-century shtetl dwellers girding themselves against pogroms and ethnic cleansing. Unlike the persecuted outclass of Eastern Europe, Israeli Jews comprise a nuclearized, high-powered military that lord over an outcasted, largely defenseless Palestinian population with full support from the world’s lone superpower.

For his part, Netanyahu shares more in common with the Russian Tsar who incited against religious minorities to deflect from his political problems than he does with Bialik, the itinerant scribe who channeled the pain of his society’s weakest members.

The exploitation of historical Jewish persecution has been a constant feature of Netanyahu’s rhetoric, on bold display during a nationally televised speech last October when he baselessly accused the Palestinian national movement of a direct role in the Holocaust.

This time, amidst a dangerously pressurized atmosphere, his demagogy helped set in motion a wave of vigilante violence that threatened to engulf the whole of Israeli society. Then he shrank from public view, maintaining a conspicuous silence for several days while the extremist elements he emboldened took control of the streets.

“Murder, riots, incitement, vigilantism”

As mobs of Jewish youths fanned out across central Jerusalem to chant “Death to Arabs!” and search for Palestinians to assault, active duty Israeli soldiers took to Facebook to demand revenge, posting photos of themselves with the weapons they were aching to use.

With an Israeli public opinion poll taken after the Israeli teens’ funeral showing the far-rightJewish Home party gaining ground on the right-wing Likud, Israeli political upstarts rushed to issue calls for blood vengeance and the “annihilation” of Hamas. Ayelet Shaked, a rising star of the right-wing Jewish Home party, published a call for the genocide of Palestinians on Facebook that earned thousands of “likes” from Israelis.

Rabbi Noam Perel, the secretary general of Bnei Akiva, the world’s largest religious Zionist youth movement, upped the ante on fanaticism when he called for turning the Israeli military into an army of avengers “which will not stop at 300 Philistine foreskins.” Akiva’s appeal alludes to the first book of Samuel, in which the biblical character David kills two hundred Philistines and brings back their foreskins as evidence that he had done so.

Against the backdrop of fever-pitched incitement, a small car entered the back streets ofShuafat, a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem, on 2 July. Behind its darkened windows were angry young men hunting for Arab boys.

Following a botched kidnapping of a ten-year-old boy in the same neighborhood the day before, a group of men grabbed a 16-year-old named Muhammad Abu Khudair, threw him in their car and sped away. Abu Khudair was found dead the next morning in the woods of Givat Shaul just west of Jerusalem with burns over 90 percent of his body.


Protesters in the Palestinian city of Arara in the north of present-day Israel throw stones at Israeli police during a demonstration following the murder of Muhammad Abu Khudair, 5 July.  (Yotam Ronen /ActiveStills)


As they did after the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens, the Shin Bet imposed a gag order on the investigation, seemingly hoping to delay the news that Abu Khudair was the victim of Jewish extremism. And as before, the police flooded Israeli media with disinformation, this time by insinuating the murdered teen had been killed by members of his own family for being gay.

The Electronic Intifada has obtained CCTV footage showing the faces of the alleged killers of Abu Khudair just as they abducted him. The video was concealed for several days from the Israeli public under a new Shin Bet gag order. When the police finally arrested the suspected killers of Abu Khudair, they curiously staged a simultaneous press conference about an unrelated killing a young Jewish woman, suggesting without any clear evidence that she had been the victim of a Palestinian terrorist.

On 4 July, an autopsy revealed that Abu Khudair’s killers had burned him alive. Protest and rioting spread from Shuafat across East Jerusalem and into areas of northern Israel. Meanwhile, Jewish nationalists took to Facebook to organize more lynch mobs.

Netanyahu surfaced briefly the day before at an Independence Day ceremony at the US consulate in Jerusalem. With US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro seated by his side, the Prime Minister was forced to confront the binge of racism that he helped inspire.

Speaking in English for the consumption of his American hosts, Netanyahu declared, “Murder, riots, incitement, vigilantism — they have no place in our democracy. And it is these democratic values that differentiate us from our neighbors and unite us with the United States.”

Outside, the chaos showed no sign of ebbing.

Max Blumenthal is an award winning journalist and bestselling author. His latest book isGoliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel (2013, Nation Books).


July 4th should be a day of celebration… a day of joy. Today, it is merely another day on the calendar. The United States is no longer the proud independent country it was meant to be. Even worse, it has become the country that has been instrumental in the denial of independence to other nations, just to name a few….
There are more….. many more.
What once was the example that the world looked to for guidance has become one of the most feared entities among the nations…. feared both from the outside and from within.
We have watched with great pain the withering away of constitutional rights guaranteed to its citizens. We have watched with the same pain its citizens stripped of health care and education so billions can be spent on illegal wars and support to illegal nations.
What happened to the America that we all once loved and admired?
Is there anyone there who can promise CHANGE and actually mean it??
Celebrate what was…… and hopefully what will be again soon….


Spider of Zionism


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led the pack, calling the killers of the youths “human animals” and stating “Hamas is responsible. Hamas will pay.” Netanyahu specifically used the word “revenge” hinting at what he may have in store. But many went even further.


Israelis demand blood after youths’ bodies found


All of Palestinian society is a kidnapped society. Like many of the Israelis who performed “significant service” in the army, many of the readers of this column, or their children, entered the home of a Palestinian family in the middle of the night by surprise, with violence, and simply took away the father, brother or uncle, with determination and insensitivity. That is kidnapping, and it happens every day. And what about their administrative detainees?



Separation barrier in Jerusalem with Dome of the Rock in background Photo by Alex Levac


The Palestinians: A kidnapped society

We are incapable of understanding the suffering of a society, its cry, and the future of an entire nation that has been kidnapped by us.

By Avraham Burg (FOR)

Our hearts are in pain over those three teenage boys whose identities we did not even know a moment ago, but who now belong to all of us. Each of them looks like my own son, the son of every one of my friends and their friends.

Like many people, I hope with all my heart that the moment will come when we see them alive among us, and that all this tension dissipates into blissful relief. I hope, with real trembling, but I cannot and do not want to ignore the silenced truth that surrounds their kidnapping.

Those three boys are truly unfortunate. They are unfortunate because of the trap of fear in which they have been captured, the uncertainty and the fact that their lives are in great danger. Our hearts are in pain, and go out to them and their families because of how, in a single moment, they had to step into the glare of publicity. And these teenagers are unfortunate because of the lie in which they have lived their lives — lives of supposed normalcy that were built upon the foundations of that greatest of Israeli injustices: the occupation.

Now let us turn from their wretchedness to our own. For us, a dramatic or traumatic event is always a very clear, refined and transparent moment. All the plans and failures, the fears and hopes, burst out.

Here are Israel’s shallow prime minister and the bumbling police, the masses who cling to futile prayers and not to a moment of human peace. Here are the country’s hypocritical chief rabbis, who just a month ago demanded promises from the pope regarding the future of the Jewish people, but in their daily lives remain silent about the fate of the people who are our neighbors, trampled beneath the pressure of occupation and racism under the leadership of rabbis who receive exorbitant salaries and benefits.

Suddenly everything erupts, is expressed in its very essence, emerging from the darkness into the sunlight. This is precisely the moment to examine intentions — because, as said, everything is out in the open.

First, Netanyahu’s hollowness. Not much needs to be said about it. After all, he is the one who guided all the Israeli-Palestinians talks into the tight corner of the prisoner release issue. He is also the one who, with his own words, violated Israel’s commitment to release the last group of Palestinian prisoners. He is also the one who maneuvered the Palestinian Authority into the corner of unifying with Hamas.

So what exactly is he complaining about, with his dramatic and schmaltzy comments and gestures? His immediate, conditioned, unconsidered response shows that he was just waiting for this moment, if only to say “I told you so.” And now that he has, the real question surfaces: What exactly is he telling us? The painful answer: Nothing at all.

Israel’s left wing, too, which is supposedly dignified, has become the gaping mouth of the carp stuffed with some sort of gray substance, lying on the Passover seder plate of the gluttonous right wing. The latter, too, are embroiled in a disgraceful fight over a piece of the pie of legitimacy that belongs to the sticky consensus.

How can it be that not one of them has gotten up and said: Everyone who is on the other side of this black line bears the responsibility. It is not pleasant, but it is the truth. And it is never pleasant, after all.

Before there is a kidnapping — why talk? Nobody is listening anyway because things are quiet. And the moment they kidnap, we must not talk (as the executive director of Peace Now said), since our kidnapped ones are gone. And once it all ends (in what could be, God forbid, a personal tragedy or a collective tragedy that nobody cares about), why should we talk? Everybody is busy once again with Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli, the FIFA World Cup or the next scandal.

So this is also a pure moment of insulation. Not the insulation of homes which we are used to, but the insulation of hearts. Few people on the right and the left – except for Gideon LevyUri Misgav and a few other cautious and frightened commentators – are trying to grasp the deep roots of the kidnapping.

We absolve ourselves by saying, “They handed out sweets” after hearing about the kidnapping. Their happiness makes us glad, since the happier they are over our suffering, the more exempt we are from taking an interest in them and their suffering. But there is no way around it: This is a sort of happiness that demands deeper study and understanding.

All of Palestinian society is a kidnapped society. Like many of the Israelis who performed “significant service” in the army, many of the readers of this column, or their children, entered the home of a Palestinian family in the middle of the night by surprise, with violence, and simply took away the father, brother or uncle, with determination and insensitivity. That is kidnapping, and it happens every day. And what about their administrative detainees?

What is all this if not one big official, evil and unjust kidnapping that we all participate in and never pay the price for? That is the fate of tens of thousands of detainees and others under arrest, who stayed, or are staying, in Israel’s prisons – quite a few of them for no good reason, falsely imprisoned on false pretexts. The vast majority of them have been exposed to the appendages of military justice, and none of us cares a whit.

All these things have turned the topic of the prisoners into the main subject in the lives of the occupied society. There is not a single household without a detainee or prisoner. So why is it so difficult to understand their joy and our pain, fears and worry notwithstanding? It was, and can still be, otherwise.

However, as long as the Israeli government shuts all the gates of freedom, flees from all real negotiations that could solve the conflict, refuses to make good-will gestures, lies and blatantly violates its own commitments – violence is all that remains for them.

It has already been proven any number of times that kidnapping sets one free. It seems once again that Israel understands nothing but violence. What does that say about us? This response of ours — which ranges between “They deserve it” and “They are all terrorists,” to “I am following orders” and “I did not know what was going on” — says more about us than it does about them.

Despite the enormous and inspiring success of Breaking the Silence (an NGO that collects testimony from soldiers who’ve served in the West Bank), our own total silence is still the loudest thing around us. We are willing to go out of our minds over one odd and troublesome Pollard, a lone kidnap victim or three kidnap victims, but we are incapable of understanding the suffering of a whole society, its cry, and the future of an entire nation that has been kidnapped by us.

This, too, needs to be said and heard during this moment of clarity — and as loudly as possible.


 The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.


Last week Mahmoud Abbas’ defunct Palestinian Authority signed a conciliation agreement with Hamas. This week he joined his fellow zionist Shimon Peres at the Vatican so the two athiests could pray for Peace in the presence of Pope Francis. 

Later in the week Palestinian journalists who oppose his leadership were savagely attacked while covering a demonstration in the Occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

And the attacks on the journalists are part of a wider crackdown by Palestinian Authority de facto leader Mahmoud Abbas against Palestinians who oppose his rule or mobilize for Palestinian rights.




Video: Journalists “savagely” beaten by Palestinian Authority forces


Short documentary about life in Jerusalem on the other side of the wall




The short documentary ‘3 Houses’ was filmed in Ras Khamis and Ras Shahada, Jerusalem neighborhoods that were cut off from the rest of the city when the Separation Barrier was built in 2002. Since then, these neighborhoods and the tens of thousands of people who live there have been utterly neglected by the Jerusalem municipality. In 2013, the desperate situation in this no-man’s-land was even further exacerbated when the municipality announced its intent to demolish the homes of thousands of residents.

Directed and Edited by Omri Shenhar
Producers Ronit Sela and Marc Grey
Cinematographers Hanna Abu Saada and Issa Qumsiya
Sound recording by Shiraz Rashmawi
Sound design by Yuval Shenhar
Music by Yehezkel Raz
Additional instrumentation Gilad Weiss
Online editor Ron Lindenbaum
Finished at Edit Post Production Studios, Tel Aviv
Produced by The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
Produced with the support of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Tel Aviv

For further information about ACRI and its work in East Jerusalem, visit us online at

Donate to help ACRI support Human Rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories:


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s worst nightmare became reality on Tuesday when his hated faction rival Reuven (Rubi) Rivlin was elected to be Israel’s 10th president. Netanyahu pulled out all the stops to avoid a Rivlin presidency, including attempting to do away with the position all together and offering the job to Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel who doesn’t even have Israeli citizenship.

In wake of the elections, it has become clearer than ever that a feeling of disappointment is slowly gathering influence within the coalition. Individuals and parties within the coalition are fearlessly daring to take stances against Netanyahu and the Likud with increasing frequency.




Rivlin victory could spell the end for Netanyahu

President elect’s close relationship with Sa’ar and poor connection to prime minister may collapse coalition.

Attila Somfalvi FOR

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s worst nightmare became reality on Tuesday when his hated faction rival Reuven (Rubi) Rivlin was elected to be Israel’s 10th president. Netanyahu pulled out all the stops to avoid a Rivlin presidency, including attempting to do away with the position all together and offering the job to Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel who doesn’t even have Israeli citizenship.

Netanyahu’s worst fear would have been an axis formed by Rivlin and Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar that could have mustered enough political strength to replace the prime minister. Sa’ar, a main architect of Rivlin’s victory on Tuesday, will now be the front-man in the Likud party.

Rivlin (center) backed by Sa'ar (right). (Photo: Gil Yochanon)
Rivlin (center) backed by Sa’ar (right). (Photo: Gil Yochanon)

Along with MK Haim Katz, Sa’ar provided Rivlin with steady behind-the-scenes political support in the elections acting as the head of his campaign. When Netanyahu pushed to cave the Presidency erased from Israeli policy to prevent Rivlin from winning the post, it was Sa’ar who thwarted the initiative.

At the moment, whispers are running through the political crowd that Sa’ar could stand as Netanyahu’s eventual successor as prime minister. Since the president holds the power to pick who will have the chance to build a coalition during elections (considering of course that no party wins a majority of Knesset seats), the close connection between Rivlin and Sa’ar does, and should motivate Netanyahu to fear for his job.

This will, of course, be a difficult and complex process, one that Sa’ar and Rivlin may not decide to act on, but sources around Netanyahu are taking the threat seriously.

Tensions between Netanyahu and the president elect were obvious even in Rivlin’s body language during the Prime Minister’s congratulatory speech. Rivlin barely took a moment to turn his head to look at Netanyahu. At the same time, Netanyahu’s wife Sara was absent from the ceremony and some are guessing that this was a silent, but purposeful protest.

Even members of Netanyahu’s own Likud party were insulted by his moves to exclude Rivlin from politics as he is seen as a uniting figure in a divided coalition. Lead by Naftali Bennett, Bayit Yehudi (generally considered to be one of Netanyahu’s closest allies) supported Rivlin.

In wake of the elections, it has become clearer than ever that a feeling of disappointment is slowly gathering influence within the coalition. Individuals and parties within the coalition are fearlessly daring to take stances against Netanyahu and the Likud with increasing frequency.

Senior members of Likud are opening discussing the days after Netanyahu and the lack of his ability to lead and make decisions. It appears, someone said, that politicians are already dismissive of Netanyahu and when that becomes a reality in action by MKs, Sa’ar needs to prepare for future battles against others who will also try to force their way into Netanyahu’s position including current Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.


How most Israelis view the election



Earlier in the week I more or less endorsed Mahmoud Abbas to be the new President of Israel. It is an esteemed honour for any old, lifelong zionist like himself.

Much more fitting than those that are actually in the race, making a mockery out of what they refer to as a Democracy …


The disrespect we have seen here in the past few months towards the presidency is unbelievable. The current race has evoked an unbelievable sense of disgust. The Israeli public, which wakes up to a new scandal every morning, feels frustrated, ridiculed and even insulted. 


Can the presidential race get any uglier? 

Op-ed: Israeli public, which wakes up to a new scandal every morning, feels frustrated, ridiculed and even insulted by its elected representatives


If we thought that the Katsav affair was a one-time low point and if we hoped that Shimon Peres’ term had restored the presidency’s honor, the current presidential race came along and created low points which we never even imagined. Definitely not such low points which could be associated with those who see themselves as esteemed and worthy of the title “the No. 1 citizen of the State of Israel.”

The new affair, the one which forced the Labor Party candidate to quit the race, appears to be just another arm of the corruption octopus being investigated these days by the Israel Police, and we are all very familiar with its key figures. If all this turns out to be true, it will be a new record in governmental filth.

Under the current circumstances, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer made the necessary move when he announced that he was ending his bid without waiting for the results of the investigation.

The disrespect we have seen here in the past few months towards the presidency is unbelievable. The current race has evoked an unbelievable sense of disgust. The Israeli public, which wakes up to a new scandal every morning, feels frustrated, ridiculed and even insulted.

Without harming the current suspect’s presumption of innocence, we feel like shouting: We’re sick of these corrupt people! It seems that these words were never as accurate as they are these days, when those who saw themselves as candidates are forced to quit the race one after the other over suspicions of criminal offenses, whether in the area of alleged sex crimes or in the area of morality.

Are there no politicians whose hands are clean? Is there such a small number of politicians whose nomination will not open a can of worms and generate a criminal investigation? And how is it that people who live in glass houses dare throw stones? Is it a moral cultural degeneration on their part, or perhaps a normative and ethical decline of the entire Israeli society, which breeds such candidates.

Otherwise, it’s impossible to explain what has been going on here in the past few months, from the Silvan Shalom affair to theFouad affair, and who knows what is still in store and what we are in for until Election Day on Tuesday. In other words, what other scandal involving one of the candidates will blow up in our face?

Nothing is over till it’s over. And yet, it seems that now that Fouad has quit the race, the chances of Meir Sheetrit and Dalia Itzik to make it to the second round have increased, unless Rivlin surprisingly receives enough votes to get elected in the first round.

Rivlin’s situation in the second round has actually worsened – if he would be running against Fouad, he would definitely receive Yair Lapid’s votes, after the latter announced that his party would not support Fouad in any event because he failed to vote in favor of the IDF draft law.

If we had a normal parliament and more attractive external candidates, the public loathing may have had an influence. But the president’s face reflects the face of the Knesset, and that is not good news.

And if it’s the available candidates, perhaps the prime minister was right when he suggested – although not for these reasons – to cancel the presidency altogether. That may also be the reason why the Labor Party deliberated Saturday evening whether it should support Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein’s initiative to postpone the elections by two weeks, in order to try to find a worthy alternative candidate its members would be able to unite around.

And yet, there is a bright side to what is going on now: Despite the sense of embarrassment and shame evoked by the process of electing the person who is about to represent the state’s beautiful face, it’s a good thing that this selection process is taking place before the elections. This appears to be the main lesson learned from the Katsav affair.



Despite the fact that the two defacto Presidents of Israel and Palestine head off to the Vatican together early next week, the government of Israel is doing everything in its power to sabotage the new Unity Government scheduled to be sworn in by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority today …




The reconciliation pact, intended to repair a fierce seven-year rift between Hamas and Mr. Abbas’s Fatah faction and to reunite the Palestinian geographic territories under one rule, prompted Israel to halt the stalemated American-brokered peace negotiations on April 24. Now the focus turns to whether the new government can deliver overdue Palestinian elections after six months as promised — and, in the shorter term, whether it can persuade Egypt to reopen Gaza’s southern Rafah crossing and address the fuel shortages and skyrocketing unemployment that have plagued the coastal strip for months.


Israel Warns Against Embracing Newly Reconciled Palestinian Government




At the same time, the entire approach to Israel must be changed. As long as it does not pay the price of the occupation and its citizens go unpunished, they will have no reason to end it, or even to deal with it. The occupation is deep inside the Israeli closet. There is no one to out it, the overwhelming majority want it to remain inside. For this reason, only punitive measures will remind us of its existence. Yes, I mean boycotts and sanctions, which are greatly preferable to bloodshed.

This is the truth, even if it’s bitter. America and Europe have kowtowed to Israel enough. Unfortunately, to no effect. From now on, the world must speak a different language and perhaps it will be understood. After all, Israel has proved, more than once, that the language of power and punishment is its main language.


International kowtowing to Israel must end now

The Americans and Europeans have tried being the voice of reason and failed. Now they must speak to Israel in the language it understands best (hint: it’s not Hebrew.)

By Gideon Levy (FOR)
Israeli settlers of Yitzhar in confrontation with Palestinians

Israeli settlers of Yitzhar take position during a confrontation with Palestinians over an area in Burin village in the West Bank, January 14, 2014. Photo by AP

If there is a world, let it appear immediately. For now, there’s the sense of an ending of the international intervention in Israel. The Americans folded, the Europeans gave up, the Israelis rejoice and the Palestinians are lost. “Sleep now high road / ending comes, Sleep thou king / here comes the clown” (“Shir Eres” [Lullaby], by Natan Alterman, translated by Avigail Caspi-Lebovic).

Occasionally some pope or foreign minister makes a visit (Norway’s FM was here last week), pays loose lip service in favor of peace and against terror and the settlements, and then disappears again. On the high road ending comes, and the king has been replaced by the clown. But even this waning is a statement, and idleness is action: They leave the conflict to the sighs of the Palestinians and the occupation in the hands of Israel, which is sure to perpetuate it and to ground it even more firmly. For that reason, the world’s withdrawal is unacceptable: The international community does not have the option to leave the status quo as is, even if that is Israel’s most fervent wish.

The current situation is not acceptable in the 21st century. It is easy to empathize with the United States for giving up, with Europe for tiring. How much longer can the same road be trodden? How many times can the same futile proposals be read out to deaf ears.

After a brief recovery from the American failure, the time has come for a new way, one that has never been tried before. Both the message and the medium must change, to a message of civil rights and the medium of punishment. The previous route included sycophancy toward Israel, one carrot after another in order to please it. It was a resounding failure. It only gave Israel an incentive to further entrench its policy of disinheritance.

The message also failed spectacularly: The two-state solution has given up the ghost. The world tried to bring it to life using charm. The proposals came thick and fast, amazing in their resemblance to each other – from the Rogers Plan to the shuttle diplomacy of John Kerry – and each one only collected dust in some drawer. Israel always said no, only its excuses and conditions changing: an end to terror here, recognition of its being a Jewish state there.

In the meantime, the number of settlements in the West Bank grew threefold and fourfold, and the brutality of the occupation increased to the point where soldiers now shoot demonstrators out of nothing but boredom.

The world cannot lend its hand to this. It is unacceptable, in the 21st century, for a state that purports to be a permanent member of the free world to keep another nation deprived of rights. It is unthinkable, simply unthinkable, for millions of Palestinians to continue to live in these conditions. It is unthinkable for a democratic state to continue to oppress them in this way. It is unthinkable that the world stands by and allows it to happen.

The two-state discussion must now become a discussion of rights: Dear Israelis, you wanted an occupation and the settlements – knock yourselves out! Remain in Yitzhar, dig yourselves into the mountainside and build to your hearts’ desire in Itamar. But you absolutely must grant full rights to the Palestinians living alongside, exactly the same rights that you enjoy.

Equal rights for all; one person, one vote – that should be the message of the international community. After all, what could Israel say to this new message? That there cannot be equal rights because the Jews are the chosen people? That it would endanger security? The excuses would quickly run out, and the naked truth would come to light: that in this land, only Jews have rights. Such a message cannot go unchallenged.

At the same time, the entire approach to Israel must be changed. As long as it does not pay the price of the occupation and its citizens go unpunished, they will have no reason to end it, or even to deal with it. The occupation is deep inside the Israeli closet. There is no one to out it, the overwhelming majority want it to remain inside. For this reason, only punitive measures will remind us of its existence. Yes, I mean boycotts and sanctions, which are greatly preferable to bloodshed.

This is the truth, even if it’s bitter. America and Europe have kowtowed to Israel enough. Unfortunately, to no effect. From now on, the world must speak a different language and perhaps it will be understood. After all, Israel has proved, more than once, that the language of power and punishment is its main language.


Latuff’s spoof of the Pope at the Warsaw Bethlehem Ghetto Wall …



Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD, adds the following from Bethlehem …


The Pope at the Wall

The children of Al-Rowwad from Aida Refugee Camp delivered a message to the Pope when he stopped to pray at the apartheid and annexation wall. They emphasized prisoners plight and the right to return home. This impromptu stop was in my opinion the most memorable part of the Pontiff’s visit to Bethlehem. The Pope recognized “The State of Palestine” (Google just did it too!) and also met with refugee children at Dheisheh and shared food with some family members who each had a story to tell him about horrific suffering under Israel’s colonial occupation. Christians and Muslims here were all genuinely touched by the visit of this more humble Pope and his gestures of understanding and solidarity. But most said they wished he would use his influence more to pressure the Zionist regime. The Western Zionist dominated media tried to hide things including the Pope’s gestures of solidarity with us but social media was prominent and the story could not be ignored. See pictures here
The Pope later went on to Tel Aviv to be was sandwiched between two Zionist Polish liars who continue to build walls of hate and destruction: Persky (aka Peres) and Mileikowsky (aka Netanyahu). The Pope had to listen as both atheists said that God gave this land to the Jews and that Israel was “the land of the Jewish people” and is a “democracy that guarantees freedom of religion”! Unfortunately, the Pope is also forced to lay a wreath at the tomb of Theodore Herzl (in addition to the obligatory stops at “Yad Vashem” and Herod’s retaining wall). Herzl is another atheist who is “credited” with organizing a world-wide Zionist movement that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths (not counting those crimes committed by its subservient armies like the US army killing Iraqis etc). It is a movement that has created millions of refugees and continues to commit crimes against humanity as it consolidates an apartheid system here while money laundering billions of illicit financial gains money. Israel continues to demolish homes and lands.  Just to welcome the Pope: Israel murdered Palestinian youth, imprisoned many, destroyed over 1500 trees in the Land of the Nassar family (called Tent of Nations) and more. Israeli Jewish “activists” even distributed flyers calling for destruction of Churches (claiming Christians worship idols according to Jewish law), and some sprayed graffiti on Churches that “Mary is a Cow” and “Jesus: a son of a Whore”!
Who are these Zionist leaders that brilliantly brainwashed Jews to support racist Zionism and pressured some Gentiles to do the same?
Shimon Peres was born as Shimon Perski in Vishniva, Poland (now Belarus). He and his parents came to Palestine in 1934 (under British rule). He joined the underground terrorist group the Haganah, and served as a chief of its manpower division in the 1940s and participated in the ethnic cleansing of 1948-1949. He is the architect of Israel’s nuclear program. Appointed in 1953 as director general of the ministry of defense, he immediately started exploring the nuclear development.  In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Israel developed its nuclear program primarily with the help of France while maintaining the Peres doctrine of “ambiguity.”  The US and Britain and other countries looked the other way. He is known as a slick politician able to lie with ease claiming wanting peace but rejecting any responsibility for his ethnic cleansing of Palestine and rejecting the rights of refugees to return to their homes and lands. He was awarded (with Rabin and Arafat) the Nobel Peace Prize for their disastrous Oslo accords. Many Nobel committee members later signed a letter regretting their awarding Perski the Nobel Peace Prize (based on his actions as member of the Sharon government during its war crimes spree).
Benyamin Mileikowsky (aka Netanyahu) was born to Benzion Mileikowsky (later changed names to Netanyahu), a polish immigrant. His Americanized father became secretary to terrorist leader Vladimir Yevgenyevich Zhabotinsky (aka Zeev Jabotinsky) founder of “revisionist” Zionism and supported groups like Irgun terrorist organization during the mandate in Palestine. His son continues to idolize these early Jewish terrorists. Both Benjamin and his brother served in units of the Israeli forces responsible for assassinations on foreign lands (in violations of international law) and committed war crimes. Benjamin Miliekowsky (Netanyahu) is known both among Israelis and globally as a consummate liar who refused to accept the Oslo accords (even though they were partial to Israel) and has gotten rich off of his political activities. Here is a video of him thinking the camera was off explaining his true contributions during his first stint as Israeli prime minister in the 1990s.


see also this
This is after all the same terrorist who gave a speech to dozens of
Likud Party members in Eilat in which he admitted this is his strategy. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (15 July 2001): “…giving his audience a bit of advice on how to deal with foreign interviewers (Netanyahu said):’Always, irrespective of whether you’re right or not, you must always present your side as right.’ In 2011, the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, described Netanyahu as a liar in a private exchange with US President Barack Obama at the G20 summit (it was inadvertently broadcast to journalists). “I cannot stand him. He’s a liar,” Sarkozy told Obama. The US president Obama responded by saying: “You’re fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day.”

Other Zionist leaders have even more interesting backgrounds. See
But in very good news, and inspite of sending in legions of professional
propaganda men to DePaul University, the students there voted to support Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions.
The BDS campaign must grow. Other forms of resistance must grow. Injustice must end. Join the struggle.








Photos © by Bud Korotzer (Report follows)














Related Report FROM


Palestinian activists condemn lethal attack on “Zapatista brothers and sisters”

Subcomandante Marcos in La Realidad, Chiapas in 1999.  (Cesar Bojorquez / Flickr)

A group of Palestinian activists, writers and educators issued a statement last week condemning a lethal attack on a Zapatista community in Chiapas, southern Mexico.

The paramilitary attack on the village of La Realidad left one teacher dead, an autonomous school and clinic destroyed and fifteen Zapatista activists wounded, the statement says.

Sent to The Electronic Intifada, the statement draws an explicit parallel between Palestinian and Mexican indigenous struggles: “we understand that our brothers and sisters in Chiapas are struggling against a Nakba in a fight not just for themselves, but for all of humanity.”

The Nakba is the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948, which began when Zionist militias expelled some 750,000 Palestinians from their land.

Chiapas state is home to the Zapatistas (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional), a mostly indigenous Maya liberation movement that has enjoyed global grassroots support since it rose up against the Mexican government in 1994.

The movement became iconic within the global anti-capitalist movement of the late 1990s, with the masked image of spokesperson Subcomandante Marcos smoking his pipe becoming famous the world over.

As Jimmy Johnson and Linda Quiquivix reported for The Electronic Intifada last year, the Mexican state and Israel have worked together on security coordination at the level of police, prisons and technology. Mexico has also bought Israeli weaponry.

Israeli personnel were sent into Chiapas in response to the 1994 Zapatista uprising for the purpose of “providing training to Mexican military and police forces.”


The statement characterizes the attack as “only the latest orchestration by the Mexican government at the service of neoliberalism, continuing the further theft of Mexico and the final expulsion of the country’s indigenous people from their land.”

It draws parallels to the European colonization of the Americas with the European Zionist colonization of Palestine, stating: “the world that began to be built on October 12, 1492 is the one that made possible May 15, 1948, and it has all been catastrophic for humanity.”

The Zapatistas are “a dignified threat to this new face of colonialism” and so “we call on all dignified Palestinian organizations, communities, collectives, and individuals in struggle to denounce these attacks against the Zapatistas as an attack on us all.”

The statement concludes by quoting words of solidarity that Subcomandante Marcos issued in 2009 during Israel’s brutal “Cast Lead” massacre in the Gaza Strip, which left over 1,400 Palestinians dead.

The full statement is published below in English for the first time, and has also been published in Spanish and in Arabic.

Full statement

“The Nakba in Chiapas: Words from afar in the black room of death”

Not far from here
in a place called Gaza
in Palestine, in the Middle East
right here next to us,
the Israeli government’s
heavily trained and armed military
continues its march
of death and destruction.

– Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos Chiapas, Mexico

May 15, 2014

To the family of Compañero Galeano
To all the wounded
To the Junta de Buen Gobierno in La Realidad
To the Juntas de Buen Gobierno
To the Sixth
To Palestinians in Palestine and the shatat

Over the past several days, we have been hearing the news coming out of Chiapas, Mexico, and our hearts are heavy. It reports on a recent paramilitary attack against our indigenous Zapatista brothers and sisters on May 2nd in the community of La Realidad. The attack left their autonomous school and clinic destroyed, fifteen Zapatista compañeros wounded, and Galeano, a teacher in the Zapatistas’ Little School, brutally murdered.

We understand that this was not a confrontation between two armed groups, but an attack by armed paramilitaries against unarmed Zapatista civilians. We also understand that the attack was only the latest orchestration by the Mexican government at the service of neoliberalism, continuing the further theft of Mexico and the final expulsion of the country’s indigenous people from their land once and for all. The Zapatistas are a dignified threat to this new face of colonialism, and those ruling from above know it.

The tactic has become one of the Mexican government’s favorite over the past twenty years: arm, fund, and organize paramilitary groups whose members come from other indigenous communities in Chiapas to then fabricate the lie that these are intra-community conflicts. The mainstream media then doesn’t have to work too hard in its manipulations. In this case, the paramilitary group the government sent in to attack our Zapatista brothers and sisters goes by the name of CIOAC-Histórica, and it was assisted by the Green Ecological Party (PVE) and the National Action Party (PAN) – two political bodies in Mexico currently helping manage the further plunder and destruction of the country.

So in listening to the news coming out of Chiapas, what we understand above all, is that while the names may change, the death and destruction remains the same.

“The underground rivers that crisscross the world can change their geography, but they sing the same song.”

Neoliberalism, colonialism, occupation…

We did not have the honor of knowing Compañero Galeano, but we think that maybe we did not need to. We are hearing that he lived for us, and that he fell while fighting for us. What else is left to know? Galeano was our brother, our father, our friend… Galeano was our teacher.

What Galeano taught is what Zapatista men, women, youth, and elderly teach every day: That the world that began to be built on October 12, 1492 is the one that made possible May 15, 1948, and it has all been catastrophic for humanity. This is a world that requires the annihilation of those of us who refuse to live by its designs, and the only way for us to win this fight, the Zapatistas teach us, is by creating the world anew and together. The world anew, as they say, “where many worlds fit.”

So today, on this May 15, on this 66th year of our catastrophe, of our “Nakba” as we call it in Arabic, we understand that our brothers and sisters in Chiapas are struggling against a Nakba in a fight not just for themselves, but for all of humanity. And so we stand with them in dignified rage, reflecting on how the crime against us in Palestine is one that many more around the world continue to experience 500 years on.

We gather our voices today in strong condemnation of the murder of Compañero Galeano, the attack on La Realidad, and all aggressions against our Zapatista brothers and sisters in Chiapas. And we call on all dignified Palestinian organizations, communities, collectives, and individuals in struggle to denounce these attacks against the Zapatistas as an attack on us all.  While we know that our words cannot bring back Galeano’s body, and that they may not heal the wounds of the injured, what we do know, what we can in fact say is true, is what Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos once took the time to say to us:

words from afar
might not stop a bomb
but it is as if a crack
were opened
in the black room of death
and a tiny ray of light
slips in

From Palestine and the shatat, from below and to the left:


  • Palestinian alumni of the Little School’s first grade course, “Freedom according to the Zapatistas”
  • Palestinian Youth Movement – U.S. Branch


  • Amal Eqeiq
  • Shadi Rohana
  • Ahmad Nimer
  • Salma AbuAyyash
  • Hazem AlNamla
  • Hazem Jamjoum
  • Ahmad Lahham
  • Faris Giacaman-Taraki
  • Yara Kayyali Abbas
  • Nada Elia
  • Remi Kanazi
  • Murad Odeh
  • Boikutt
  • Randa Wahbe
  • Wassim
  • Thayer Hastings
  • Isshaq AlBarbary
  • Mezna Qato
  • Natasha Aruri
  • Dena Qaddumi
  • Budour Hassan
  • Shireen Akram-Boshar
  • Linah Alsaafin
  • Vivien Sansour
  • Nura Alkhalili
  • Deema Alsaafin
  • Omar Jabary Salamanca
  • Annemarie Jacir
  • Will Youmans
  • Raya Ziada
  • Alaa Hijaz
  • Lucy Garbett
  • Hala Turjman


A United States government call on Israel to investigate the cold-blooded videotaped killing of two Palestinian boys falls far short of a real demand for accountability and amounts to complicity in covering up the crime.

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US is complicit in Israel’s videotaped murder of Palestinian boys


Indyk can take comfort in the fact that his name joins a very respectable list of American Jews who stood by Israel courageously and devotedly.




For Martin Indyk, it’s hard being a Jewish American official 

Op-ed: Netanyahu’s associates are accusing Martin Indyk of hypocritical behavior and reminding him of his Jewishness, simply because he tried to help advance agreement between Israel and Palestinians.


Our prime ministers and their close associates never liked negotiating with senior officials in the American administration who are of Jewish descent. “Never liked” is a polite definition. Quite a few times they despised the officials sitting in front of them as authorized representatives of the United States.

Many years ago, I quoted then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s political advisor, who referred to the closest assistants of US Secretary of State James Baker with the derogatory term “Jewboys.”

Yossi Ben-Aharon, who went on to become the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, was angry that “Baker’s Jewboys” did not support the idea of a Greater Israel, and sided with the formula of territories for peace. We could argue about whether the outlines for the agreement they offered were indeed valid, but using such a derogatory term against them is inexcusable.

I admit that I did not realize at the time that even if you quote something that someone else said, the filth comes back at you and you become a partner in crime. Extreme right-wing organizations of America’s Jews used the things I wrote and distributed them in the communities and synagogues of the libeled officials.

Former American Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, who tried to help US Secretary of State John Kerry advance an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, has been “enjoying” a similar treatment from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s associates in recent days. They are accusing him of hypocritical behavior, reminding him of his Jewishness and are speaking evil of him, using inappropriate language.

All Indyk said was that the talks failed because every time it seemed something was about to happen, a statement was released on further construction in the territories.

As a matter of fact, Indyk’s diagnosis wasn’t an original one. Every observer and every minister from the right and from the left has mentioned this fact – some gladly and some sadly.

Indyk can take comfort in the fact that his name joins a very respectable list of American Jews who stood by Israel courageously and devotedly. I’ll only mention Eddie Jacobson, a friend of President Harry Truman, who convinced him to support the establishment of the State of Israel against the State Department’s firm stance; or Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who during the Yom Kippur War organized the airlift of supplies which enabled us to defend ourselves against the Egyptian and Syrian armies, and later brokered the talks for a ceasefire.

Indyk will be remembered as the person who helped us reach an agreement with Jordan and shaped President Bill Clinton’s empathetic and positive attitude towards Israel. A peek at Indyk’s biography illustrates that his connection to the Israeli issue has been deeply rooted since his adolescence.

By the way, think about an Arab leader like Hafez Assad sitting in front of an American secretary of state whose advisors are all Jews. What did he and the heads of the Saudi royal family think about these Jews? Yet they were careful not to offend them – and we’re not. In the Prime Minister’s Office it is okay to mock them and use derogatory names against them. Indeed, it’s hard being a Jew.

I covered Jonathan Pollard‘s trial. I witnessed the harsh consequences of the disastrous decision to operate him to survey the daily life of some of my friends in the administration. I will not reveal any names here. All I will say is that I was asked not to telephone them at the time. We Israelis, in outrageous behavior, targeted them and questioned their loyalty.

We must not forget that Martin Indyk, Dov Zakheim – who as the American deputy undersecretary of defense intercepted the Aerospace Industries’ plan to manufacture the Lavi fighter jet – and many others who I met during the years I worked in the American capital, are first of all loyal American citizens and only then supporters of Israel.

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