A MUST READ FOR ANYONE DONATING MONEY TO ISRAEL

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Have a good look where your dollars are going, actually where they are not going …

You MUST ask yourself, who do you think you are helping by helping Israel?

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An elderly symbol of Israeli poverty, living on NIS 2,732 a month

73-year-old Yelena Elimelech, mentioned in Herzog’s Knesset speech Wednesday, has no pension, lives in a tiny state-owned apartment and barely buys food

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Yelena Elimelech, 73, has emerged as the real Riki Cohen of 2014. In a charged speech at the Knesset on Wednesday, Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog named her to Israel’s citizens, detailing the circumstances of her life and the grim economic reality she, like tens of thousands of other elderly Israelis, is forced to deal with.

“The truth is that I am very lucky because I have heating in my apartment. Other elderly people don’t even have that,” Elimelech says.

Asked how she can live on NIS 2,732 (about $775) a month, she says: “Live? That’s not a life.”

Herzog cited Elimelech as he slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a social-economic debate at the Knesset. “Yelena Elimelech is a real woman,” he said. “Unlike Riki Cohen, she has a name and a face and an age. She lives off a pension of NIS 2,723 a month.”

After paying her rent, electricity and other bills, Elimelech is left with just NIS 700, Herzog said. “Mr. Prime Minister, do you know how difficult it is to live off NIS 25 a day? This is the life of an elderly person living on a pension.”

Herzog’s speech did not come as a complete surprise to Elimelech, who had communicated with his aide earlier this week. She spoke to Ynet from her tiny (27 meters-squared) apartment in Jerusalem that is provided by the state. It includes a joint living room and kitchen, and a tiny bedroom.

“Every day I calculate what to buy, how to buy and where to save,” she says. “After the payments and the medication, I don’t have enough money left for food. I don’t buy in the supermarket, for example. I go there like I would go to a museum – just to look. I do my shopping at the market at the end of the day. The fruit and vegetables are not as good, but they cost less. I don’t buy meat because I can’t afford it. Sometimes I buy chicken.”

‘We are treated like second-class citizens’

Elimelech is part of a large group of Israelis who can’t make ends meet. According to the National Insurance Institute’s Poverty Report, released in December, a total of 439,000 poor families lived in Israel in 2012. The number includes 1,754,700 people, 817,200 of them children.

 

Elimelech. 'I want to buy my granddaughters cake' (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Elimelech. ‘I want to buy my granddaughters cake’ (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

 

Within this group, the elderly population is even more vulnerable. The percentage of poor senior citizens has gone up to 22.7%, according to the report: From 156,000 (in 2011) to 186,000 (in 2012).

And what is Israel’s government doing to deal with these alarming figures? A Taub Center report published in October revealed that before taxes and welfare, Israel’s elderly are in an excellent situation on a global level. But after those payments, the situation is completely reversed. According to the report, one-fifth of Israel’s senior citizens live below the poverty line, seven times more than most countries in the developed world.

Like many other elderly people who immigrated to Israel in the 1990s from the former Soviet Union, Elimelech worked in temporary jobs which did not provide her with pension rights. She made aliyah in 1991 from Belarus, where she was a civil engineer, but here she could not work in that profession.

“When I came here I didn’t know a word of Hebrew and there was no chance of finding a job as an engineer,” she recalls. “So I worked in everything else: Cleaning, kitchen work, caring for elderly people, everything I could find to make a living.

“I expect the state to help me. My two granddaughters have gone into the army and contributed to the country. My daughter is 100 percent disabled after being injured in a terror attack. I am not asking for luxury, but I am also a human being and I want to live, not just to breathe and sleep. I want to be able to host my granddaughters and buy them cake. I want to have money to travel on the bus and go to a concert once a month.”

Without a pension, her entire income amounts to the allowance she receives from the National Insurance Institute, which she says is comprised of an old age pension and income support.

“We are being treated like second-class citizens,” she charges. “I would like the finance minister or prime minister to step into my shoes for a day so that they can understand my situation. They don’t even see me and my friends.”

Lack of food security

A program presented by the National Council for Nutritional Security, which was established in 2011 by then-Social Services Minister Moshe Kahlon, suggests granting some NIS 320 in monthly aid to about 100,000 needy families. The money would be received through food packages or vouchers.

Ynet has learned that the plan will last two years, and that in the first stage, the food will be handed over to the needy through associations. The state, the voluntary sector and the business sector will take part in the initiative.

The Council for Nutritional Security, headed by Prof. Dov Chernichovsky, says that according to a National Insurance Institute (NII) assessment that there are some 330,00 families living in Israel that suffer from “lack of food security.”

The term refers to two related phenomena: Shortage of food in the household and bad nutrition. According to the National Insurance Institute report, 18.3 percent of families in Israel feel a lack of food security and 10.5 percent suffer from serious lack of security, which may be accompanied by hunger.

Meanwhile, an International Monetary Fund report on Israel’s economy released Wednesday notes that despite a relatively high growth level, Israel’s poverty rate is still one of the highest among developed countries (members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development or OECD).

Stating that many of the poor were Arabs and haredim, the report’s authors warned that if Israel failed to integrate these two populations into the labor market, its growth would suffer in the long run, especially when taking the Israeli demographic profile into account – within 20 years these two populations will make up 40% of the country’s citizens. The report calls for increased educational efforts among these populations in order to integrate them into the labor market.

 

Source

WAIVER BILL ALLOWING ISRAEL TO DISCRIMINATE

Preferential treatment of Israel has, sadly, come to be expected in the United States. Too often, the United States turns a blind eye as Israel discriminates against American citizens, then rewards Israel for this unacceptable behavior.

The so-called visa waiver bill would reward Israel by allowing Israelis to travel to the United States without a visa — a privilege that is supposed to hinge on Israel reciprocating the gesture.

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Israel’s waiver to discriminate

By Sam Bahour

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MIDEAST_ISRAEL_16062041.JPG
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. Sam Bahour writes that Israel’s inclusion in the visa waiver program with “special ally” privileges and exemptions to the rules of entry to the program, the US would give Israel the green light to continue to mistreat American citizens legally under the pretense of “security.” (Ronen Zvulun, Associated Press )
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Preferential treatment of Israel has, sadly, come to be expected in the United States. Too often, the United States turns a blind eye as Israel discriminates against American citizens, then rewards Israel for this unacceptable behavior.

The so-called visa waiver bill would reward Israel by allowing Israelis to travel to the United States without a visa — a privilege that is supposed to hinge on Israel reciprocating the gesture.

The bill’s main co-sponsor, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, has defended a key provision of the bill that would allow Israel to continue discriminating against U.S. citizens. The provision, absent from the agreements that the United States has with all 37 other countries participating in the visa waiver system, gives Israel a green light to deny entry — on its own terms and for its own reasons — to any Americans whom it deems as “jeopardizing the security of the state of Israel.” No need to justify why. No need to explain. Just blanket U.S. capitulation to Israel’s discriminatory policies.In other words, being American will count for nothing at Israel’s borders, and Israel will be free to continue discriminating against Americans it unilaterally deems unacceptable.Mostly Arab-Americans are affected, many of them born in the United States and tracing their roots to historic Palestine. But when they try to visit the land of their ancestors, these American citizens are humiliated at Israel’s ports of entry, and many are turned away (or given abbreviated visas) by Israel, our “closest ally” in the Middle East.

I am an Ohio-born, American citizen, and for 45 years, each time I’ve traveled to visit my family in the West Bank, I’ve cringed at the possibility of being turned away. But even as I’ve dreaded this challenge, I am more disturbed by the prospect that the United States could extend special travel privileges to Israeli citizens — all while overlooking the discrimination Palestinians and Palestinian-Americans face.

Thousands of travelers to Israel have endured invasive email searching, strip searching and detention in a facility for “security threats” at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport. (In fact, the estimated number of harassment cases is 120,000, according to a July 2006 report by the Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem.)

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice responded to this Israeli practice byvowing in 2006 “to do everything in my power . . . to ensure that all American travelers receive fair and equal treatment.” Yet instead of making good on that promise, my government is giving tacit approval to Israel’s unfair and unequal treatment of Americans whose last names and skin complexions resemble my own.

Make no mistake: By including Israel in the visa waiver program with “special ally” privileges and exemptions to the rules of entry to the program, the United States would give Israel the green light to continue to mistreat American citizens legally under the pretense of “security.” This would send the wrong message to Arab-Americans — not to mention all Americans — and effectively invite other countries to discriminate against U.S. citizens.

The only country in the world that refuses to recognize me as an American, my only citizenship, is Israel. Once Israel defines you as a Palestinian, by way of issuing you residency status to live under their military occupation, no other paperwork matters to them, and your fate, American citizen or otherwise, becomes lumped together with all other Palestinians living under military occupation: that of collective punishment.

With America signaling its concern over human rights abuses in Syria and even threatening military action there, standing on the wrong side of Israel’s abuses would send yet another wrong message to the world. American credibility in the Arab world and beyond continues to suffer, thanks to consecutive U.S. governments’ stance toward Israel.

While the Israel visa waiver bill might seem like an innocuous piece of legislation, it exposes a double standard in American foreign policy that our government should not espouse. It is simply unconscionable to reward Israel’s discrimination against American citizens with even more unwarranted privileges. The Obama administration should know better, and American citizens who are bankrolling Israel to the tune of over $4 billion annually deserve better.

Written as an Op-Ed FOR

LATUFF’S LATEST ANTI DEMOCRATIC SPOOFS

Images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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Switzerland’s new immigration policy …

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Switzerland has voted 50.3 percent in favor of limiting annual migration from the EU, thus ending the policy of free movement within the bloc that was established in 2002.

Full report HERE

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Turkey’s new Internet restrictions ….

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Turkey Internet censorship

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Turkey’s Family and Social Policy Ministry submitted a bill to parliament this week that would allow authorities to block specific websites and keep a record of users’ Internet activities for up to two years. This represents the latest attempt of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to curb web freedoms.

Full report HERE

JEWS SAY NO TO NEW YORK’S MAYOR

BE OPEN TO ANOTHER VIEW FROM THE JEWISH COMMUNITY
  • Petitioning Bill de Blasio

BE OPEN TO ANOTHER VIEW FROM THE JEWISH COMMUNITY

Jews Say No!

Dear Mayor de Blasio:

 

We are New York Jews who are dismayed by your speech to AIPAC and the unqualified support you offered them, especially since you ran your campaign as a progressive. There is nothing remotely progressive about AIPAC. We do not believe that AIPAC’s unconditional support for the Israeli occupation is consistent in any way with the values of fairness and justice that you articulated during your campaign—values that led to your receiving an overwhelming election mandate.

 

AIPAC is a right-wing organization that strong-arms elected and other government officials to support brutal Israeli government policies and actions that are dangerous for Palestine/Israel, the Middle East, and the United States.  These policies are also in violation of international law, including of the Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying country from moving its citizens into the occupied area as residents.

 

As a result, more and more Jews are questioning and opposing AIPAC and Israeli government policies. Indeed, many Jewish groups in New York City, across the U.S.A., and in Israel have organized with Palestinian and other groups–through such non-violent means as Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS)–to forge a more just, equitable, and yes, progressive future for Israel and Palestine. This would also mean a very different kind of relationship between Israel and the United States, which now funds Israel and its military occupation to the tune of at least $3.1 billion a year.

 

Many of us have crossed the Israeli borders into the areas of military occupation and have seen with our own eyes the conditions of Palestinians living there. We have met parents in Gaza and the West Bank who have faced attacks by the Israeli military, which uses missiles, drones, tanks, helicopters, tear gas grenades, “stink” bombs, and sound bombs.

 

•Do you know that Israel holds nearly five thousand Palestinian prisoners, many not charged with any crime and without access to legal assistance?

 

•Do you know that Israel has created hundreds of checkpoints, where Palestinians are routinely harassed and humiliated?

 

•Do you know that the Israeli government’s occupation policies, involving roughly half-a-million settlers, have involved extensive expropriation of Palestinian land, demolition of Palestinians’ homes, and uprooting of their olive trees?

 

•Do you know that roads exist that only settlers and other Jewish Israelis—but not Palestinians—can use?

 

•Do you know that many Palestinian children are arrested in their homes in the middle of the night by armed Israeli soldiers, typically without being told where they are being taken or for how long?

 

Further, AIPAC’s support of virulent Islamophobia does not represent those of us who work for a city and country in which members of the Muslim, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities can be safe and respected. We support your announced plan to stop the NYPD program that has long engaged in secret surveillance, including the use of informants in mosques, that target people because of their religion, ethnicity, or native language. Do you know that AIPAC supports such anti-Muslim programs? AIPAC has, for example, repeatedly included anti-Muslim speakers at its annual Policy Conferences, including one who claims that Islam “sanctions genocide, planned genocide, as part of its religious doctrine.”  These views are totally inconsistent with the values expressed by your administration.

 

Do you also know that veterans of the Civil Rights Movement in this country have condemned Israeli policies that make such legal disparities possible and have likened them to the conditions that African Americans in the South experienced for many generations? The story of Israel and Palestine is, without question, a tale of two different realities—with its inequalities fully supported by the power of the Israeli government, the disproportionate political influence of AIPAC, and the U.S. government.  We believe these fundamental inequalities should resonate with you, who campaigned against the idea that NYC should no longer be “a tale of two cities.”

 

We look forward to the opportunity to meet with you and discuss the issues raised by your statements about Israel and AIPAC.

 

To:
BE OPEN TO ANOTHER VIEW FROM THE JEWISH COMMUNITY

Sincerely,
[Your name]

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NEW YORK IS NOT THE CAPITOL OF ISRAEL!

 

Please send out far and wide….  

 

  “You have a friend and an ally at City Hall.

That City Hall will always be open to AIPAC.

When you need me to stand by you in

Washington or anywhere, I will answer the call and

I will answer it happily, because that’s my job.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

Meeting with AIPAC, January 23, 2014

 

 

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s promise to defend Israel, made to AIPAC behind closed doors,

is inflammatory and an affront to all people who defend the human rights of the Palestinian people. 

 

Many New Yorkers are speaking out

in response to what is deemed an unacceptable, pandering relationship to AIPAC. Read one letter from New York Jews

 

 

We will let Bill de Blasio know

he is on the wrong side of history…

 

Stand together in NYC…

   Wednesday, February 5, 2014

City Hall, NYC

Broadway and Chambers Street

3:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Signs will be provided.

Facebook Event Page

“Part of my job description is to be

a defender of Israel…”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

Meeting with AIPAC, January 23, 2014

WE WILL NOT BE SILENT is an artist/activist collective that has been in existence since 2006. Through the creative use of language embodied on shirts and emboldened on signs held up in public spaces, we respond to current social justice issues, encouraging creative, direct public-actions where many people can participate. 

 

 

ZION TRIUMPHS IN NEW YORK STATE

See Immediate ACTION ALERT ….. HERE

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The new legislation would prevent New York higher-ed institutions from paying membership fees to academic groups that boycott Israel and will no longer reimburse students or scholars for their travel expenses to conventions of groups that have voted to boycott the Jewish State.

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Another great blow to Democracy and Academic Freedom …

In line with the policies of New York City, the State itself is now backing the occupation of Palestine with the following legislation …

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New York State passes anti-boycott legislation

Bill proposed by Democratic state senator passes chamber, if signed into law will prohibit New York universities and colleges from paying dues to ASA and other academic organizations that boycott Israel

By Yitzhak Benhorin FOR

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WASHINGTON - New York State Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that directly addressed the controversy surrounding the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israeli universities.

The bill, to become law if signed by the governor, would prohibit the state’s massive higher education system from funding organizations that “have undertaken an official action boycotting certain countries or their higher education institutions” according to the language of the legislation.

The bill was sponsored by Democratic Senator Jeff Klein, and it passed with a wide margin of 56-4.

The senator’s office released a statement: “This legislation sends a very simple message, which is that we should never ask taxpayers to support religious, ethnic, or racial discrimination.”

The statement stressed the New York legislator’s relationship with the Jewish State: “I will not allow the enemies of Israel or the Jewish people to gain an inch in New York.”

The new legislation would prevent New York higher-ed institutions from paying membership fees to academic groups that boycott Israel and will no longer reimburse students or scholars for their travel expenses to conventions of groups that have voted to boycott the Jewish State.

Violators of the new bill would be cut off from state aid for the academic years in which the violation occurred.

The president-elect of the ASA, Lisa Duggan, told Al Jazeera that the New York Senate legislation is intended to cover Israel’s “ongoing violations of international law and human rights.”

In an emailed statement to Al Jazeera, Duggan said: “This law’s supporters claim to oppose discriminatory boycotts, but they have designed their legislation to let Israel off the hook for restricting the academic and other freedoms of Palestinians, while punishing those who protest those injustices.”

OPEN LETTER FROM NEW YORK JEWS TO MAYOR ~~ ‘AIPAC DOES NOT SPEAK FOR US’

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An Open Letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio:

We are Jewish residents of New York who read, in the leaked transcript of your private speech to a meeting of AIPAC leaders, the following:

“City Hall will always be open to AIPAC. When you need me to stand by you in Washington or anywhere, I will answer the call and I’ll answer it happily ’cause that’s my job.”

We understand that the job of mayor of New York is a complex one that often calls for your participation on the international stage, and we would not presume to define your job for you. But we do know that the needs and concerns of many of your constituents–U.S. Jews like us among them–are not aligned with those of AIPAC, and that no, your job is not to do AIPAC’s bidding when they call you to do so. AIPAC speaks for Israel’s hard-line government and its right-wing supporters, and for them alone; it does not speak for us.

Sincerely yours,

Ruth J. Abram
Karen R. Adler
Arlene Alda
Anita Altman
Esther Ann-Asch
Emanuel Ax
Peter Beinart
Andrew Berger
Loren Bevans
Martin I. Bresler
Kenneth David Burrows
Howard Clyman
Rabbi Rachel Cowan
Barbara Deinhardt
Barbara Dobkin
Eugene Eisner
Laurel W. Eisner
Daniel Engelstein
Eve Ensler
Danny Goldberg
Sally Gottesman
Linda Gottlieb
Laurence Greenwald
Jane Hirschmann
Erica Jong
Peter A. Joseph
Alice Kessler-Harris
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum
Gil Kulick
Martha Weinman Lear
Bobbie Leigh
Jonathan Leigh
Alan H. Levine
Rabbi Ellen Lippmann
Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon
Marilyn Kleinberg Neimark
Donna Nevel
Kathleen Peratis
Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Bertrand B. Pogrebin
Michael Ratner
Anne Roiphe
Betty Rollin
Al Ruben
Marlene Sanders
James Schamus
Dan Silverman
Beverly Solochek
Carla Singer
Rabbi Felicia Sol
Alisa Solomon
Gloria Steinem
Herbert Teitelbaum
Rebecca Vilkomerson
Rabbi Burton Visotzky
Peter Weiss
Jack Willis
Eugenia Zukerman

Originally posted AT

MISREMBERING ARIEL SHARON

Winging his way to the depths of hell …

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It is just over a week since the earthly remains of this most despicable being were handed over to the worms to devour. There is no doubt that his satanic soul is now burning with the others who dedicated their lives to the destruction of humanity.

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Below are two not-so fond misrememberances by others who share my disdain for the ‘Butcher of Beirut’.

MAY HE ROT IN HELL FOR ETERNITY!

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Uri Avnery        

 

                                                The Imperator

 

IN THE middle of the 70s, Ariel Sharon asked me to arrange something for him – a meeting with Yasser Arafat. 

A few days before, the Israeli media had discovered that I was in regular contact with the leadership of the PLO, which was listed at the time as a terrorist organization. 

I told Sharon that my PLO contacts would probably ask what he intended to propose to the Palestinians. He told me that his plan was to help the Palestinians to overthrow the Jordanian monarchy, and turn Jordan into a Palestinian state, with Arafat as its president. 

What about the West Bank?” I asked. 

Once Jordan becomes Palestine, there will no longer be a conflict between two peoples, but between two states. That will be much easier to resolve. We shall find some form of partition, territorial or functional, or we shall rule the territory together.”  

My friends submitted the request to Arafat, who laughed it off. But he did not miss the opportunity to tell King Hussein about it. Hussein disclosed the story to a Kuwaiti newspaper, Alrai, and that’s how it came back to me. 

SHARON’S PLAN was revolutionary at the time. Almost the entire Israeli establishment – including Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Defense Minister Shimon Peres – believed in the so-called “Jordanian option”: the idea that we must make peace with King Hussein. The Palestinians were either ignored or considered arch-enemies, or both. 

Five years earlier, when the Palestinians in Jordan were battling the Hashemite regime there, Israel came to the aid of the king at the request of Henry Kissinger. I proposed the opposite in my magazine: to aid the Palestinians. Sharon later told me that he, a general at the time, had asked the General Staff to do the same, though for a different end. My idea was to create a Palestinian state in the West Bank, his was to create it in the East Bank. 

(The idea of turning Jordan into Palestine has a generally unknown linguistic background. In Hebrew usage, “Eretz Israel” is the land on both sides of the Jordan River, where the ancient Hebrew tribes settled according to the Biblical myth. In Palestinian usage, “Filastin” is only the land on the West side of the river. Therefore is quite natural for ignorant Israelis to ask the Palestinians to set up their state beyond the Jordan. For Palestinians, that means setting up their state abroad.) 

AT THE time, Sharon was in political exile. 

In 1973 he left the army, after realizing that he had no chance of becoming Chief of Staff. This may seem odd, since he was already recognized as an outstanding battlefield commander. The trouble was that he was also known as an insubordinate officer, who despised his superiors and his peers (as well as everybody else.) Also, his relationship with the truth was problematical. David Ben-Gurion wrote in his diary that Sharon could be an exemplary military officer, if only he could abstain from lying. 

When he left the army, Sharon almost single-handedly created the Likud by unifying all the right-wing parties. That’s when I chose him the first time as Haolam Hazeh’s Man of the Year and wrote a large biographical article about him. A few days later, the Yom Kippur War broke out, and Sharon was drafted back into the army. His part in it is considered by many as pure genius, by others as a story of insubordination and luck. A photo of him with his head bandaged became his trademark, though it was only a slight wound caused by hitting his head on his command vehicle. (To be fair, he was really wounded in battle, like me, in 1948.) 

After the Yom Kippur war, the argument about his part in that war became the center of “the battle of the generals”. He started to visit me at my home to explain his moves, and we became quite friendly. 

He left the Likud when he realized that he could not become its leader as long as Menachem Begin was around. He started to chart his own course. That’s when he asked for the meeting with Arafat. 

He was thinking about creating a new party, neither right nor left, but led by him and “outstanding personalities” from all over the political landscape. He invited me to join, and we had long conversations at his home. 

I must explain here that for a long time I had been looking for a person with military credentials to lead a large united peace camp. A leader with such a background would make it much easier for us to gain public support for our aims. Sharon fitted the recipe. (As Yitzhak Rabin did later.) Yet during our conversations it became clear to me that he had basically remained a right-winger. 

In the end Sharon set up a new party called Shlomtzion (“Peace of Zion”), which was a dismal failure on election day. The next day, he rejoined the Likud. 

The Likud had won the elections and Begin became Prime Minister. If Sharon had hoped to be appointed Minister of Defense, he was soon disabused. Begin did not trust him. Sharon looked like a general who might organize a coup. The powerful new Finance Minister said that if Sharon became commander-in-chief, he would “send his tanks to surround the Knesset.” 

(There was a joke making the rounds at the time:  Defense Minister Sharon would call for a meeting of the General Staff and announce: “Comrades, tomorrow morning at 06.00 we take over the government!” For a moment the audience was dumfounded, and then it broke out into riotous laughter.) 

However, when Begin’s preferred Defense Minister, the former Air Force chief Ezer Weizman, resigned, Begin was compelled to appoint Sharon as his successor. For the second time I chose Sharon as Haolam Hazeh’s Man of the Year. He took this very seriously and sat with me for many hours, in several meetings at his home and office, in order to explain his ideas. 

One of them, which he expounded at the same time to the US strategic planners, was to conquer Iran. When Ayatollah Khomeini dies, he said, there will begin a race between the Soviet Union and the US to determine who will arrive first on the scene and take over. The US is far away, but Israel can do the job. With the help of heavy arms that the US will store in Israel well before, our army will be in full possession before the Soviets move. He showed me the detailed maps of the advance, hour by hour and day by day. 

This was typical Sharon, His vision was wide and all-embracing. His listener was left breathless, comparing him to the ordinary little politicians, devoid of vision and breadth. But his ideas were generally based on abysmal ignorance of the other side, and therefore came to naught. 

AT THE same time, nine months before the Lebanon War, he disclosed to me his Grand Plan for a new Middle East of his making. He allowed me to publish it, provided I did not mention him as the source. He trusted me. 

Basically it was the same as the one he wanted to propose to Arafat. 

The army would invade Lebanon and drive the Palestinians from there to Syria, from whence the Syrians would drive them into Jordan. There the Palestinians would overthrow the king and establish the State of Palestine. 

The army would also drive the Syrians out of Lebanon. In Lebanon Sharon would choose a Christian officer and install him as dictator. Lebanon would make official peace with Israel and in effect become a vassal state. 

I duly published all this, and nine months later Sharon invaded Lebanon, after lying to Begin and the cabinet about his aims. But the war was a catastrophe, both militarily and politically. 

Militarily it was a demonstration of “the Peter principle” – the brilliant battle commander was a miserable strategist. No unit of the Israeli army reached its objective on time, if at all. The Israeli-installed dictator, Bachir Gemayel, was assassinated. His brother and successor signed a peace treaty with Israel, which has been completely forgotten by now. The Syrians remained in Lebanon for many years to come. The Israeli army extricated itself after a guerrilla war that lasted 18 full years, during which the despised and downtrodden Shiites in Israeli-occupied South Lebanon became the dominant political force in the country. 

And, worst of all, in order to induce the Palestinians to flee, Sharon let the barbarous Christian Phalangists into the Palestinian refugee camps Sabra and Shatila, where they committed a terrible massacre. Hundreds of thousands of outraged Israelis protested in Tel Aviv, and Sharon was dismissed from the defense ministry. 

At the height of the Battle of Beirut I crossed the lines and met with Yasser Arafat, who had become Sharon’s Nemesis. Since then, Sharon and I did not exchange a single word, not even greeting each other. 

IT LOOKED like the end of Sharon’s career. But for Sharon, every end was a new beginning. 

One of his media vassals, Uri Dan (who had started his career in Haolam Hazeh) once coined a prophetic phrase: “Those who don’t want him as Chief of Staff, will get him as Minister of Defense. Those who don’t want him as Minister of Defense, will get him as Prime Minister.” Today one could add: “Those who did not want him as Prime Minister, are getting him as a national icon.”   

An ex-general, Yitzhak Ben-Israel, told me yesterday: “He was an Imperator!” I find this a very apt description. 

Like a Roman imperator, Sharon was a supreme being, admired and feared, generous and cruel, genial and treacherous, hedonistic and corrupt, a victorious general and a war criminal, quick to make decisions and unwavering once he had made them, overcoming all obstacles by sheer force of personality. 

One could not meet him without being struck by the sense of power he emanated. Power was his element. 

He believed that destiny had chosen him to lead Israel. He did not think so – he knew. For him, his personal career and the fate of Israel were one and the same. Therefore, anyone who tried to block him was a traitor to Israel. He despised everyone around him – from Begin down to the last politician and general. 

His character was formed in his early childhood in Kfar Malal, a communal village which belonged to the Labor party. His mother, Vera, managed the family farm with an iron will, quarreling with all the neighbors, the village institutions and the party. When little Arik was injured in a fall on a pitchfork, she did not take him to the village clinic, which she hated, but put him on a donkey and led him for several kilometers to a doctor in Kfar Saba. 

When rumor had it that the Arabs in neighboring villages were planning an attack, little Arik was hidden in a haystack. 

Later in life, when his mother (who still managed the farm) visited his new ranch and saw a low wall with holes for irrigation, she exclaimed: “Ah, you have embrasures! Very good, you can shoot through them at the Arabs!” 

How could a poor army officer acquire the largest ranch in the country? Simple: he got it as a gift from an Israeli-American billionaire, with the help of the finance minister. Several dubious large deals with other billionaires followed. 

SHARON WAS the most typical Israeli one could imagine, embodying the saying (to which I modestly claim authorship): “If force does not work, try more force.” 

I was therefore very surprised when he came out in favor of the law dispensing with the military service of tens of thousands of orthodox youngsters. “How can you?” I asked him. His answer: “I am first of all a Jew, and only after that an Israeli!” I told him that for me it was the other way round. 

Ideologically, he was the pupil and successor of David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Dayan, leaders who believed in military force and in expanding the territory of Israel without limit. His military career started for real in the 1950s when Moshe Dayan put him in charge of an unofficial outfit called Unit 101, which was sent across the border to kill and destroy, in retaliation for similar actions committed by Arabs. His most famous exploit was the massacre of Qibya village in 1953, when 49 innocent villagers were buried under the houses which he blew up. 

Later, when requested to put an end to “terrorism” in Gaza, he killed every Arab who was caught with arms. When I later asked him about killing prisoners, he answered: “I did not kill prisoners. I did not take prisoners!” 

At the beginning of his career as commander he was a bad general. But from war to war he improved. Unusual for a general, he learned from his mistakes. In the 1973 war he was already considered the equal of Erwin Rommel and George Patton. It also became known that between the battles he gorged himself on seafood, which is not kosher. 

THE MAIN endeavor of his life was the settlement enterprise. As army officer, politician and successively chief of half a dozen different ministries, his central effort was always to plan and set up settlements in the occupied territories. 

He did not care whether they were legal or illegal under Israeli law (all of them, of course, are illegal under international law, for which he did not give a damn). 

He planned their location, with the aim of cutting the West Bank into ribbons which would make a Palestinian state impossible. Then he rammed it through the cabinet and the ministries. Not for nothing was he nicknamed “the Bulldozer”. 

The “Israel Defense Army” (its official Hebrew name) turned into the “Settlers Defense Army”, sinking slowly in the morass of the occupation. 

However, when settlements obstructed his plans, he had no compunction about destroying them. When he was in favor of peace with Egypt, in order to concentrate on the war with the Palestinians, he destroyed the entire town of Yamit in North Sinai and the adjacent settlements. Later he did the same to the settlements in the Gaza Strip, attracting the enduring hatred of the settlers, his erstwhile proteges. He acted like a general who is ready to sacrifice a brigade to improve his overall strategic position.  

WHEN HE died last week, after lying in a coma for eight years, he was eulogized by the very people he despised, and turned into a shallow folk hero. The Ministry of Education compared him to Moses. 

In real life he was a very complex person, as complex as Israel. His personal history is interwoven with the history of Israel. 

His main legacy was catastrophic: the scores of settlements which he implanted all over the West Bank – each of them a landmine which will have to be removed at great risk when the time comes.

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The Whitewashing of Ariel Sharon

By Yousef  (From)

It was inevitable, I suppose. The legacy of Ariel Sharon, the former Israeli Prime Minister who died recently after years in a coma, was the subject of much debate and conversation in the Israel/Palestine discourse this week. Some mainstream American media outlets did a particularly poor job, however, in characterizing the life of the man.

My thoughts on Ariel Sharon, for those who might not have already guessed, are here. It is fair to say that in general, Palestinians view Ariel Sharon negatively and, frankly, as a war criminal. But it would be unfair to say that only Palestinians view him in this way, as if Ariel Sharon’s legacy was just some other endless point of debate between irreconcilable Israeli and Palestinian narratives. In fact, anyone characterizing points of debate in this way is probably just to afraid to take an objective stance.

In reality, those authoring critical pieces of Sharon’s legacy have come from a variety of different backgrounds. The New Yorker carried a post by Raja Shahada and another byBernard Avishai. Max Blumenthal’s piece in the Nation was also stellar, as was Rashid Khalidi’s piece for Foreign Policy and Daniel Levy’s piece for Al Jazeera America. Sara Leah Whitson fromHuman Rights Watch made an important contribution as well. There were many more that got it right. The bottom line is Sharon was responsible for some pretty heinous things in his life that included massacres of civilians and the massacre of the peace process through settlement expansion.

Unfortunately, many others failed to get the story right and among them are some of the most mainstream outlets for what is considered serious conversation in the United States. Two particularly egregious examples are The New York Times and The Charlie Rose Show.

The New York Times ran an obituary on Ariel Sharon and a number of opinion pieces all by Israelis (as of now I am not aware that they have run a Palestinian voice on Sharon). Here are a few key gems from the obituary and some notes:

“he stunned Israel and the world in 2005 with a Nixon-to-China reversal and withdrew all Israeli settlers and troops from Gaza. He then abandoned his Likud Party and formed a centrist movement called Kadima focused on further territorial withdrawal and a Palestinian state next door.”

The problem with this narrative is that there is no objective evidence proving that Sharon’s intention with the unilateral disengagement of Gaza was benevolent. We do however, thanks to the very same New York Times, have this tidbit that Mr. Bronner chose not to include in his obituary from Mr. Sharon’s key aide:

”The significance of our disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process,” Mr. Weisglass was quoted as saying in Haaretz, a liberal daily often critical of Mr. Sharon’s government. ”It supplies the formaldehyde necessary so there is no political process with Palestinians.”

 ”When you freeze the process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state,” Mr. Weisglass added. ”Effectively, this whole package called a Palestinian state, with all it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda.”

Why wouldn’t Bronner include that? Also, there is that other inconvenient truth for Bronner’s narrative. Sharon was perhaps the most pro-colonization Israeli leader ever. I am not only talking about the 1970s and 1980s but all the way through Sharon’s premiership. He presided over the single largest period of expansion in the Israeli settler population, some 75,000, since the Menachem Begin era. That bit of info also didn’t make it into Bronner’s obit. Of course, if it did, it would be hard to reconcile with the unsubstantiated claim that Sharon intended to leave the West Bank to create a Palestinian state.  It gets worse in the obit (emphasis added):

 “The massacre provoked international outrage, and many Israelis, already despondent that the “48-hour” Lebanon incursion had turned into a lengthy military and geopolitical adventure, were outraged. There were furious calls for Mr. Sharon’s resignation.

Mr. Sharon and Mr. Begin said this was intolerable slander. As Mr. Begin said, using the Hebrew word for non-Jews, “Goyim kill goyim, and they blame the Jews.” Nonetheless, even Mr. Begin started to distance himself from Mr. Sharon, whose political demise began to seem inevitable.

The government established an official investigation of the massacre, led by Israel’s chief justice, Yitzhak Kahan. The investigating committee absolved Mr. Sharon of direct responsibility, but said he should have anticipated that sending enraged militiamen of the Phalange into Palestinian neighborhoods right after the assassination of the group’s leader amounted to an invitation to carnage. The committee recommended his resignation.

Time magazine reported that Mr. Sharon had actually urged the Gemayel family to have its troops take revenge on the Palestinians for the death of Mr. Gemayel. The magazine said Mr. Sharon made this point during his condolence visit to the family. It claimed further that a secret appendix to the Kahan Commission report made this clear.

Mr. Sharon sued Time for libel and won a partial victory in Federal District Court in New York. The court found that the secret appendix, which contained names of Israeli intelligence officers, included no assertion by Mr. Sharon of the need for Phalangist revenge. But it ruled that Mr. Sharon had not been libeled because he could not prove “malice” on the magazine’s part.”

Bronner tells us about Sabra and Shatila toward the very end of a 4,000+ word piece. He presents it in a way where the facts, and Sharon’s role in the events are disputed. He sets up a dichotomy between an official Israeli Government investigation and a US libel lawsuit, as if those two could ever be on equal standing as authorities on actions taken by the Israeli military. He also says that “the investigating committee absolved Mr. Sharon of direct responsibility”, which is very odd since the actual committee’s report says (emphasis added):

We have found, as has been detailed in this report, that the Minister of Defense [Sharon] bears personal responsibility. In our opinion, it is fitting that the Minister of Defense draw the appropriate personal conclusions arising out of the defects revealed with regard to the manner in which he discharged the duties of his office – and if necessary, that the Prime Minister consider whether he should exercise his authority under Section 21-A(a) of the Basic Law: the Government, according to which “the Prime Minister may, after informing the Cabinet of his intention to do so, remove a minister from office.

Why does Bronner tell us that the committee report says one thing when it fact it said the opposite? The entire treatment of Ariel Sharon’s history of war crimes in his obituary in theNew York Times is poorly done, to say the least, and there are several signs suggesting that the reporter intentionally downplays Sharon’s war crimes.

It is important to remember that many questions have been raised about Bronner’s objectivity, in part because his son was serving in the Israeli military as he was reporting about it. That and the public editor of the New York Times saw fit to argue that this conflict of interest should have led editors to take Bronner off the Israel beat. Why editors today saw fit to have him write the obituary is another question all together.

Still another question is what is going through the minds of the bookers and producers at the Charlie Rose show when they were putting together their “appreciation of Ariel Sharon“? Of course, who does Charlie Rose have on to discuss Sharon’s legacy? Ethan Bronner. Who else? Jeffrey Goldberg, the journalist who left for Israel after college in the US to volunteer in the Israeli military as a prison guard during the first intifada.

Is there no one out there without connections to the Israeli military, the very same military that Ariel Sharon committed war crimes while working for, that can objectively discuss the man’s legacy? ANYONE?

The discussion that ensues is everything you’d expect and less. Our helpful interns havetranscribed the segment from last night.

Goldberg calls Sharon “Israel’s greatest warrior hero” , “the sort of tank commander that any Prime Minister would want to have in his corner at a really stressful moment”, “the greatest reckless general Israel had” , “the boldest” , “he was all energy and that energy was always moved forward” , “he wanted to make sure that you were comfortable, that you were happy” . Then, and this is the kicker,in the rare moment of describing Sharon’s barbarism, Goldberg descends into some orientalist drivel. “Ariel Sharon was very Middle Eastern” Goldberg said as he likened the trait of ruthlessness to region, “and I don’t mean that in sort of an enlightened way. “

Yeah, no kidding.

Bronner, for his part, calls Sharon “ruthlessly pragmatic” , “Charming certainly, but a difficult guy who wanted to do it his way” and “a funny guy”.

Funny? I’m sure the victims at Sabra and Shatila didn’t find him funny. Of course Sabra and Shatila was not mentioned at all in the discussion around Charlie Rose’s table. And, even though Bronner mentioned Sharon’s involvement in the Commando Unit 101, whose members he described as “very bright, very capable young people doing these very daring acts” , he never mentions Sharon’s likely earliest war crime as a leader of that unit, the massacre at Qibya. After the Goldberg & Bronner Sharon love fest, the rest of the show featured old interviews with Sharon himself.

What kind of war criminals get this lionizing treatment? The kind, it seems, that get away with it.

NEW YORK’S ‘LIBERAL’ MAYOR SPEAKS ~~ AT AIPAC

Another one that promised ‘change’ …..

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New York “City Hall will always be open to AIPAC. When you need me to stand by you in Washington or anywhere, I will answer the call and I’ll answer it happily ’cause that’s my job.”

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Sounds just like Bloomberg …. where’s the ‘change’?

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Especially if they are zionists …

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De Blasio’s AIPAC speech causes row 

Newly elected NY Mayor de Blasio tells AIPAC the ‘his door is always open,’ because of his obligation to ‘defend Israel,’ but causes storm for hiding events from press

Ynet

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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio caused a furor Friday after failing to inform the press of his attendance in a conference with AIPAC.

According to Capital New York, which first broke the story, “at the event hosted by the powerful lobbying organization, de Blasio gave a pro-Israel speech entirely devoid of his usual rhetoric about income inequality.”

Capital questioned De Blasio about his failure to disclosure the comments after it obtained a recording of his AIPAC speech, leading De Blasio to promise to provide a “clearer understanding” of his schedule and speeches.

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He noted that AIPAC wanted the dinner to be closed to the press, yet said he should have informed the press regardless, Capital reported.

According to the recording, de Blasio gave an impassioned speech in which he said: “There is a philosophical grounding to my belief in Israel and it is my belief, it is our obligation, to defend Israel, but it is also something that is elemental to being an American because there is no greater ally on earth, and that’s something we can say proudly.”

De Blasio took things one step forward and said that New York “City Hall will always be open to AIPAC. When you need me to stand by you in Washington or anywhere, I will answer the call and I’ll answer it happily ’cause that’s my job.”

“There is no deeper connection across boundaries than this connection we share,” the New York mayor also said.

OBAMA FINALLY PLAYS THE RACE CARD AS A DEFENSE FOR HIS POLICIES

President Barack Obama says some people “really dislike me” because they don’t like the idea of a black man occupying the Oval Office.  But, he admits, that’s not the whole story.

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Obama: Some People ‘Really Dislike Me’ Because I’m Black

Image: Obama: Some People 'Really Dislike Me' Because I'm Black

By Greg Richter

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President Barack Obama says some people “really dislike me” because they don’t like the idea of a black man occupying the Oval Office.  But, he admits, that’s not the whole story.

“Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black president,” Obama told The New Yorker in an interview published Sunday.

Obama’s election in 2008 was heralded by some as ending the racial divide in the United States, but the country has become even more divided during his presidency. Though he won re-election in 2012, his margin of white support was the worst of any presidential victor in U.S. history, The New Yorker noted.

“The popular opposition to the administration comes largely from older whites who feel threatened, underemployed, overlooked, and disdained in a globalized economy and in an increasingly diverse country,” the article said.

Obama said in the interview that opposition to large federal powers does not make make one racist, but he said supporters of states’ rights should also acknowledge the history tied to that philosophy, which was key to southern thinking during the Civil War and the civil rights movement.

Conservatives should understand, he said, that his not wanting to leave Medicare in states’ hands “may not simply be because I am this power-hungry guy in Washington who wants to crush states’ rights,” but because he wants to ensure everyone is treated the same.

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Brings to mind a song from yesteryear …

CANADA’S HARPER NEEDS A LESSON IN WHAT ZIONISM REALLY IS

AntiZionism (1)
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Despite the 30 Billion a year that the US taxpayers send to Israel, Netanyahu considers Harper his best, perhaps only, friend among today’s world leaders, and to be a wholehearted supporter of his government’s policy.
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Neither seem aware of the Canadian Government’s policy …
On the eve of Harper’s visit to Israel, the Foreign Ministry in Ottawa issued an updated policy paper on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although many on the right believe the Harper government to be a full-fledged supporter of Israeli policy on the Palestinian issue, the policy paper states that Canada believes the settlements are illegal and an obstacle to peace.
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Harper tells Knesset: Anti-Zionism is the new face of anti-Semitism

Stephen Harper is first Canadian PM to address the Knesset; ‘Canada won’t tolerate delegitimization of Israel’.

By Barak Ravid
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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper addresses the Knesset. Photo by AFP
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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday became the first leader of his country to address the Knesset, telling parliamentarians that Canada supported Israel’s right to statehood and would not tolerate efforts to delegitimize it within the international community.

Speaking in both French and English, Canada’s national languages, Harper opened his address by telling members of Knesset that “Canada and Israel are friends in a natural way.”

“To truly understand the ties between Canada and Israel one must go beyond the institutions and look at the ties between peoples,” Harper said. “Jews have been present in Canada for more than 250 years… 350,000 Canadians share with you their heritage. They are immensely proud of what was accomplished here.”

“Canada supports Israel fundamentally because it is right to do so,” he added. “We stand up for a free and democratic Jewish state.”

But, Harper said, Canada also supports the creation of a Palestinian state. “Just as we support Israel we support peace for the Palestinians,” Harper said, later adding: “I believe that a Palestinian state will come when the people will realize that peace is the way.”

Canada will not accept the delegitimization of Israel, Harper declared. “Canada finds it horrible that there are those in the international community who challenge Israel’s legitimate right to exist,” he said. “That with one solitary Jewish state among many others, it is all too easy to isolate Israel.”

The Canadian prime minister also told MKs that he believed expression of anti-Zionism to be on par with anti-Semitism. “Anti-Semitism still exists in its traditional form based on ignorance in some of the dark corners of the world,” he said. “In the Western world it takes on a more sophisticated form. With some intellectualized arguments on some campuses.This is the new face of anti-Semitism.”

Harper also turned his attention to the issue of Iran, which dominated headlines on Monday after the Islamic Republic began halting uranium enrichment and prompted the U.S. to suspend some its sanctions. “Canada’s sanctions against Iran will stay in place,” Harper vowed.

While Harper’s speech was welcomed by most parliamentarians, he was heckled by two Arab lawmakers: MK Ahmad Tibi screamed “settlements,” and MK Talab Abu Arar then shouted and stormed out of the hall. After the outburst, Harper received a standing ovation from other parliamentarians.

A royal welcome

Harper arrived in Israel for his first visit on Sunday night, greeted with a royal welcome by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu considers Harper his best, perhaps only, friend among today’s world leaders, and to be a wholehearted supporter of his government’s policy.

In introducing Harper to the Knesset, Netanyahu told his Canadian counterpart: “The people of Israel appreciate your steadfast support and sincere friendship. Welcome to Israel, dear friend.”

“There are those in the international community know the true facts, but you have the bravery to stick to the truth and to say the truth,” Netanyahu added. “Canada under your leadership is a moral compass and a lighthouse of honesty in the age of hypocrisy we live in.”

Throwing in some Canadian humor, Netanyahu told Harper: “There are streets in Toronto that are longer than the distance between Jerusalem and Ramallah,” referring to Yonge Street, which feeds into the TransCanada Highway. “This is why security is crucial.”

Netanyahu also praised Canada for standing with Israel against those who would delegitimize it, for backing it in the war on terror and against anti-Semitism, and for supporting a real peace with has “at its roots the Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish national state.”

Changing subject to Iran, Netanyahu said, “The international community must take the Iranian nuclear train off the tracks in a permanent agreement… it is about time the international community stop legitimizing Iran while it is still calling for the destruction of Israel,” he said.

During a press conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah earlier on Monday, Harper dodged a question about the Israeli settlements. “I will not single out Israel on this trip,” he said. “Our position on this is known.”

This is Harper’s first visit since his election in 2006, and he is the first Canadian prime minister to ever address the Knesset. He will also receive an honorary degree from Tel Aviv University.

On the eve of Harper’s visit to Israel, the Foreign Ministry in Ottawa issued an updated policy paper on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although many on the right believe the Harper government to be a full-fledged supporter of Israeli policy on the Palestinian issue, the policy paper states that Canada believes the settlements are illegal and an obstacle to peace.

The policy statement, published on January 13, six days before Harper’s arrival in Jerusalem, points out that Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over territories conquered in 1967 and says the settlements constitute a violation of UN Security Council resolutions. “Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The settlements also constitute a serious obstacle to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace,” it reads.

The policy paper reveals that the Canadian government also does not support Israeli policy on Jerusalem, for Netanyahu’s demand for recognition of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people, nor Netanyahu’s position that not a single Palestinian refugee will return to Israel.

Canada’s stated support, however, for Israel touches on several issues – security arrangements, Israel’s right to self-defense, and opposition to anti-Israel discrimination at the UN.

The policy statement says that Canada recognizes Israel’s right to ensure its security: “Israel has a right under international law to take the necessary measures, in accordance with human rights and international humanitarian law, to protect the security of its citizens from attacks by terrorist groups.”

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MARTIN LUTHER KING JR’s DREAM HAS BECOME OUR NIGHTMARE

SPECIAL IMAGES IN HONOUR OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. 

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This is what it all really boils down to …
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OBSESSION WITH ISRAEL IS LIFE THREATENING

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The source of the term “obsession” is from the Latin word obsessionem – for an unceasing attack and being held captive. Obsession is an irrational idea that causes the person to take actions out of a sense of coercion. Those who ask for treatment report that they are exhausted and get no rest. Usually, the obsession is accompanied by feelings of anxiety and guilt. The mental anguish damages their functioning and starts with an event of fixation. Among types of obsession there is also, of course, obsessive love – destructive, like all obsessions.
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The life-threatening obsession with the Jewish state

Israel is exhibiting classic signs of obsessive-compulsive behavior with its incessant demands to be recognized as the ‘Jewish state’ by Palestinians.

By Gideon Levy
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She was our neighbor, her apartment next to my childhood home. I would look at her from the peephole in our door, standing for a long time and checking to see whether she had locked her door. She would bang the door, shaking the stairwell until her door was battered from the blows. After that, she would go down the stairs – and immediately return to check once again.

This strange ceremony was conducted every day. Mrs. Plenner was all alone. We knew she was a “Holocaust survivor” and they explained to us children that her behavior was “obsessive.” A word we didn’t understand then.

I think about Mrs. Plenner when I think about a different obsession: that of Israel to be a “Jewish state.” The pattern of behavior is the same, according to explanations from the mental-health field. The disease is defined as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which is categorized as an anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted and repetitive thoughts and the carrying out of ritual behaviors. It has few cures.

The source of the term “obsession” is from the Latin word obsessionem – for an unceasing attack and being held captive. Obsession is an irrational idea that causes the person to take actions out of a sense of coercion. Those who ask for treatment report that they are exhausted and get no rest. Usually, the obsession is accompanied by feelings of anxiety and guilt. The mental anguish damages their functioning and starts with an event of fixation. Among types of obsession there is also, of course, obsessive love – destructive, like all obsessions.

It’s hard to know how much love there is in the yearning of the state to be Jewish at any price. Certainly there is obsession, in sick amounts. A strong and prosperous country, most of whose citizens are Jewish, checks time after time if its door is locked, just like Mrs. Plenner from my childhood. No one knows how to define exactly what a “Jewish state” is, what its “Jewish character” is, how it will look and how it must act. But everything is directed to achieve the goal that was reached long ago. The door is locked, Mrs. Plenner.

The prime minister invents demands that the Palestinians recognize a locked door (the Jewish state). The foreign minister proposes population exchanges, for the same purpose. The justice minister and the peace negotiations testify that what motivates them is preserving the “Jewish character.” The “Judaization” of both the Negev and Galilee remains a legitimate value, as racist as it is. And the war against tens of thousands of African asylum seekersis also fed by the same obsessive motive.

There is no other country that’s so motivated by an obsession. Norway does not say it wants to be the “Norwegian state”; nor, likewise, does the United States. These countries have clear immigration policies, and their character is set by their citizens and governments. The aspiration for a Jewish majority is legitimate, but not when it turns into an obsession.

Once, also during my childhood, we would ask in the youth movement, “Who do you feel closer to, a Druze soldier from Isfiya or a yeshiva student from Brooklyn?” The majority said the Druze soldier. It is possible to assume today, after all the waves of brainwashing, that the answer is different.

A country that does not know exactly whether Judaism is a religious nationality, and how exactly a “Jewish state” looks, cannot answer the question. A country that checks the origin of the blood of its potential residents – not long ago they conducted a DNA test on a girl who wanted to participate in the propaganda initiative called Taglit-Birthright – is an obsessive country.

At first Israel wanted to be a “Jewish state in the Land of Israel,” as is stated in Israel’s Declaration of Independence. This aspiration reached the law books only 44 years after the founding of the state (Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom (1992)). Since then, obsession.

It’s not important if it is right; it’s less important if it is democratic – the main thing is that it will be Jewish. In the reality in which there are no other countries of pure origin, Israel wants to be such a state. It is undermining its Jewish majority through the act of occupation, and it is actually those screaming for a Jewish state who are also screaming for the occupation’s continuation.

Is there any way to explain this behavior other than the reason we received for the strange behavior of the unfortunate Mrs. Plenner, who passed on a long time ago?

 

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FBI EXPANDS ITS SCOPE TO ISRAEL

Finally!! Even the FBI woke up to the fact that Israel is a criminal state!

fbi in israel

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In the last 24 hours, an FBI representative landed in Israel together with recordings, documents, copies of emails, and other materials that allegedly confirm the claims of Rabbi Pinto in regards to his link to the senior police officers.

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FBI probe uncovers suspected graft at Israel’s top levels

Gag order lifted: FBI wiretap exposed suspected misconduct by senior policemen, politicians; FBI had bugged Rabbi Pinto as part of investigation into GOP congressman.

Aviel Magnezi

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Israel Police is investigating senior officers on suspicion of accepting bribes from an influential Israeli rabbi, in a scandal involving the police, a former cabinet minister and even the FBI. The details of the investigation were released Thursday, after a sweeping gag order on the affair was lifted.

The case includes claims that the wife of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto handed a suitcase containing hundreds of thousands of shekels to the wife of senior Israel Police Brigadier General Ephraim Bracha, in return for information regarding an investigation into an association with which Pinto was involved.

Pinto is one of Israel’s most influential rabbis, acting as a spiritual adviser to numerous politicians and tycoons, and heads many education and welfare organizations.

Bracha, then head of investigations and currently the head of the national unit for fraud investigation, informed his superiors of the delivery over of the suitcase, noting that it was a bribe. The rabbi, however, insisted that he was only supporting Bracha, who had been in need of help.

Bracha’s complaint prompted police to summon Pinto and draft an indictment, but proceedings were suspended due to new information.

In Wednesday’s issue of a newsletter the rabbi releases periodically to his supporters, he wrote: “I will reveal my emotions before you. Dear brothers, this dark time forced upon us haunts us without us having committed any crime, and only due to narrow-minded and cruel considerations of those who use scare tactics.”

The only senior police officer whose name is actually mentioned in a statement issued by the Justice Ministry regarding the investigation is Commander Menashe Arviv.

The Israel Police department of internal affairs stated that, “a probe was recently launched regarding officer Menashe Arviv, following information handed several weeks ago to the attorney general and the state prosecutor, attributing bribery felonies to sources affiliated with Rabbi Pinto. At this stage, Arviv has yet to be questioned.”

The Justice Ministry also stressed that, “in investigating Rabbi Pinto, there is no basis for suspicion of criminal misconduct by Ephraim Bracha, and that remains to be true.”

After meeting with Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, Arviv also denied any wrongdoing, claiming that he is being unjustly accused.

“This is a false accusation and damaging to my reputation,” Arviv said. “I believe that the investigation will be carried out quickly and effectively, and that at its conclusion my good name will be restored.”

Following the publication of the investigation, Arviv decided to suspend himself until conclusion of legal proceedings. Danino himself has called for caution in condemning Arviv.

“It would be wise to let the authorities do their utmost before sentencing a man,” the police chief said. “As we have proven in the past, the police do not compromise on values and principles, but we must keep in mind that this is an early stage of the investigation, and the police officer is entitled to the presumption of innocence.”

Some of the new information that changed the nature of the probe suggested that Arviv had received bribes from Pinto when the former was working in the US. Arviv denied the allegations, insisting that none of the actions attributed to him had taken place, and that it was “the gossip of narrow-minded individuals.”

FBI investigation

The affair came to light due to an FBI wiretap agreed to by Pinto as part of a settlement with the bureau, after a blackmail complaint filed by Pinto forced the rabbi to testify against Michael Grimm, a New York Republican Congressman and a former FBI agent.

Grimm was under investigation by the FBI for illegal donations to his 2010 election campaign. Some of the donations reportedly came from sources affiliated with Rabbi Pinto.

Pinto’s agreement with the FBI required the rabbi’s phone to be wiretapped, and for him to divulge any information regarding financial transactions associated with his Hazon Yeshaya non-profit organization.

Pinto says the FBI was informed of the suitcase with money that was given to Bracha, as part of the bureau’s surveillance. Further investigation apparently yielded information regarding other senior Israeli police officers who had visited the rabbi and received benefits from him.

According to Pinto’s associates, one of the FBI’s recordings has led to a religious figure closely affiliated to several police officials, who had approached Pinto himself, offering to “dissolve” the investigation against him in exchange for money.

In the last 24 hours, an FBI representative landed in Israel together with recordings, documents, copies of emails, and other materials that allegedly confirm the claims of Rabbi Pinto in regards to his link to the senior police officers.

However, it appears that the FBI is furious with the Israeli police, insisting there are officers who compromised the investigation against Grimm by tarnishing Pinto. It is at this stage that a former senior Israeli cabinet minister becomes involved, who Pinto claims was one of those who asked the rabbi to “lay off” his testimony against Grimm. It is unclear to what extent the investigators will focus on this claim, but sources familiar with Pinto’s businesses dealings have stated in the past that, “If this can of worms is opened, many Israeli officials will be embarrassed by the results.”

The entire sequence of events has been under a gag order in recent weeks, which was lifted by Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Thursday morning upon the request of Ynet and other media outlets. On Wednesday, it was announced that the case is to be discussed by a Knesset subcommittee that oversees the Israel Police. Senior police officers are expected to be summoned, including, according to reports, Danino himself.

The Israel Police issued a statement Wednesday urging media to avoid from insinuating that police officials had been involved any criminal misconduct, warning “vague publications maneuvering the limitation of gag orders produce unrealistic generalizations.” 

“The Israeli police comprises some 30,000 policemen and women who are devoted, determined and loyal in serving the public.

“Israel Police would like to clarify to the public that no specific incident, as we have proven in the past, can tarnish an entire organization… It would be best if authorities could issue statements when the time comes, and avoid unnecessary rumor-mongering.”

Source

FINALLY ~~ AN HONEST APPRAISAL OF SHARON’S LEGACY

The Guardian’s Comment is Free is one of the first in the corporate media to offer an honest account of the legacy left behind by Ariel Sharon…
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His enduring legacy has been to empower and embolden some of the most racist, xenophobic, expansionist, and intransigent elements in Israel’s dysfunctional political system. 

Andrzej Krauze illustration for Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon was ‘essentially a fighting machine’. Illustration: Andrzej Krauze

 

‘Man of peace’? Ariel Sharon was the champion of violent solutions

Avi Shlaim
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Sharon’s legacy is the empowerment of some of the worst elements in Israel’s dysfunctional politics
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Ariel Sharon, who died on Saturday after eight years in a coma, was one of Israel’s most iconic and controversial figures. His long and chequered career as a soldier and politician largely revolved around one issue: the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbours. As a soldier he was involved at the sharp end of this bitter conflict. As a politician he became known as “the Bulldozer” on account of his contempt for his critics and his ruthless drive to get things done. Sharon was a deeply flawed character, renowned for his brutality, mendacity, and corruption. Yetdespite these flaws he holds a special place in the annals of his country’s history.

Sharon was an ardent Jewish nationalist, a dyed-in-the-wool hardliner, and a ferocious rightwing hawk. He also displayed a consistent preference for force over diplomacy in dealing with the Arabs. ReversingClausewitz‘s famous dictum, he treated diplomacy as the extension of war by other means.

The title he chose for his biography aptly summed him up in one word – Warrior. Like Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, Sharon was essentially a fighting machine. His critics denounced him as a practitioner of “gun Zionism”, as a perversion of the Zionist idea of the strong, fair-minded, and fearless Jew. To the Palestinians Sharon represented the cold, cruel, militaristic face of the Zionist occupation.

In 1953 Major Sharon committed his first war crime: the massacre of 69 civilians in the Jordanian village of Qibya. In 1982, as minister of defence, he led Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in a war of deception that failed to achieve any of its grandiose geopolitical objectives. A commission of inquiry found Sharon responsible for failing to prevent the massacre by Christian Phalangists of Palestinian refugees in Beirut’sSabra and Shatila camps. This verdict was etched on his forehead like a mark of Cain. But who foresaw that the man who was declared unfit to be minister of defence would bounce back as prime minister?

During the 2001 elections campaign Sharon tried to reinvent himself as a man of peace. His spin doctors cultivated the notion that old age was accompanied by a personal transformation from a sanguinary soldier into a genuine peace-seeker. President George W Bush famously described Sharon as “a man of peace”. For the last 40 years the Arab-Israeli conflict has been my main research interest, and I have not come across a scintilla of evidence to support this view. Sharon was a man of war through and through, an Arab-hater, and a pugnacious proponent of the doctrine of permanent conflict. Following his rise to power Sharon therefore remained what he had always been – the champion of violent solutions.

The dominant preoccupation of Sharon’s premiership was the “war on terror” against militant Palestinian groups. No peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority took place between 2001 and 2006, and Sharon regarded this as something to be proud of. To his way of thinking negotiations necessarily involve compromise, and he consequently avoided them like the plague.

For this reason he also rejected all international plans aimed at a two-state solution. One was the 2002 Arab peace initiative, which offered Israel peace and normalisation with all 22 members of the Arab League in return for agreeing to an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza, with a capital city in East Jerusalem. Another was the 2003 Quartet road map, which envisaged the emergence of a Palestinian state alongside Israel by the end of 2005.

Sharon was the unilateralist par excellence. His ultimate aim was to redraw unilaterally Israel’s borders, incorporating large swaths of occupied territory. Stage one was to build on the West Bank the so-called security barrier which the Palestinians call the apartheid wall. The international court of justice condemned this wall as illegal. It is three times as long as the pre-1967 border, and its primary purpose is not security but land-grabbing. Good fences may make good neighbours, but not when they are erected in the neighbour’s garden.

Stage two consisted of the unilateral disengagement of Gaza in August 2005. This involved the uprooting of 8,000 Jews and the dismantling of many settlements − a shocking turnaround by a man who used to be called the godfather of the settlers. Withdrawal from Gaza was presented as a contribution to the Quartet’s road map but it was nothing of the sort. The road map called for negotiations; Sharon refused to negotiate. His unilateral move was designed to freeze the political process, thereby preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state and maintaining the geopolitical status quo in the West Bank.

The legal term “depraved indifference” refers to conduct that is so wanton, so callous, so reckless, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant criminal liability. Sharon personified this kind of indifference in his approach to the Palestinians.

Towards the very end of his active life he bolted from the Likud to create the centrist party Kadima, but Kadima did not survive his demise. Today it has only two seats in the 120-member Knesset. So Sharon’s last-minute attempt to bring about a realignment in Israeli politics ended in failure.

His enduring legacy has been to empower and embolden some of the most racist, xenophobic, expansionist, and intransigent elements in Israel’s dysfunctional political system.

REMEMBERING ARIEL SHARON AS A MASS MURDERER OR A HERO?

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He will be remembered by the survivors for the massacres at Qibya in October 1953, at Sabra and Shatila in 1982, and Jenin in 2002.

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On the UN Secretary-General’s praise for mass killer Ariel Sharon as a “hero”

 Ali Abunimah

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A civil defense worker inspects a child’s body among victims at of the September 1982 massacre at Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut, during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.  (Jamal SaidiReuters)

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The tributes and praise from various world leaders, including US President Barack Obama and Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt, for Israeli war criminal Ariel Sharon who died on Saturday, are vile but sadly predictable.

But probably the most distasteful of all comes from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who declared himself “saddened by the death of Ariel Sharon.”

A UN insider with links to the Department of Political Affairs in New York – who asked not to be named in order to speak freely about the matter – told me that Ban’s statement “brings the UN’s obsequiousness towards Israel to a new high and the UN’s standing in the Middle East to a new low.”

Ban offered his “condolences to the bereaved family and to the Government and people of Israel.” Ban called Sharon “a hero to his people, first as a soldier and then a statesman.”

Finally, says Ban, “Prime Minister Sharon will be remembered for his political courage and determination to carry through with the painful and historic decision to withdraw Israeli settlers and troops from the Gaza Strip.”

Re-writing history

Ban does not acknowledge that Sharon’s “disengagement” aimed at isolating Gaza for “demographic” reasons and inaugurated a crushing siege that continues relentlessly.

But most striking, he does not acknowledge that Sharon will be most remembered by Palestinians, Lebanese and indeed quite a few Israelis, as the architect of Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon in which tens of thousands of people were slaughtered.

He will be remembered by the survivors for the massacres at Qibya in October 1953, at Sabra and Shatila in 1982, and Jenin in 2002.

To me, Ban’s tribute to Sharon is the most jarring because in many minds the United Nations is still supposed to stand for the post-World War II ideal of protecting the innocent against the violence of states and statesmen.

Through the complicity of states, Sharon escaped justice.

The UN insider added that the statement’s “deliberate lack of historical awareness yet again illustrates the extent to which UN ‘job seekers’ such as UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry, whose office signed off on it, have bought into the Zionist narrative.”

“Ill-judged”

My UN contact adds: “Palestinians, particularly those who suffered because of Sharon’s war crimes, deserve an apology, though Ban’s silence would have sufficed. Outside Israel Sharon is a war criminal, inside he is a hero. It would have been better for Ban’s credibility and his effectiveness as an ‘honest broker’ in the Middle East, had he chosen not to illustrate to the world in this ill-judged statement where he stood.”

I’m not sure I agree Ban’s silence would have been preferable. At least now Ban is shorn of the mask of neutrality and there can be no doubt that he stands in full, enthusiastic complicity with Israel’s crimes against humanity.

We live in times with few moral moorings, where one day an utter mediocrity like Ban can praise Nelson Mandela, and a few weeks later call Ariel Sharon, an unrepentant mass-murder, a “hero.”

Written FOR

ABBAS: PEACE PARTNER OR COLLABORATOR?

This photo was taken in 2003 … 21 years after the massacre of Palestinians in Sabra and Shatilla. If you were a Palestinian would you trust him to speak about Peace on your behalf?

Photo by Reuters

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698509_b

AT LEAST ONE PA OFFICIAL FINALLY SEES THE LIGHT

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

netanyahu-abbas-peace-talks*

 
Eirekat lashed out at Israel for deciding on Sunday to annex large parts of the Jordan valley, (which makes up 25% of the West Bank), calling the Israeli measure “the ultimate antithesis of peace.”
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Eirekat’s belated admission
From Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine
 

With frustration and anger clear in the tone of his voice, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Eirekat admitted on Monday that “peace talks” with Israel were going nowhere due to  “Israel’s recalcitrant  refusal” to end her military occupation that started in 1967.  Speaking in Ramallah, a visibly disillusioned Eirekat said the Palestinian Authority (PA) should immediately resume efforts to join international organizations and obtain recognition of a Palestinian state based on the 1967-borders. 

Under American pressure, the PA leadership agreed in September to suspend a diplomatic drive to gain recognition and obtain membership at various world bodies.

Eirekat lashed out at Israel for deciding on Sunday to annex large parts of the Jordan valley, (which makes up 25% of the West Bank), calling the Israeli measure “the ultimate antithesis of peace.”

“Israel is proving to everyone that it is absolutely unconcerned for reaching the two-state solution. Moreover, this government of Binyamin Netanyahu is simply transforming its repulsive occupation into annexation”

Israel, under the rubric of peace talks with the PA, seized large parts of the West Bank. 

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Similarly, Israel has been speeding up construction of Jewish colonies, which most pundits believe has effectively decapitated any remaining chance for the establishment of a viable and territorially-contiguous Palestinian state worthy of the name.

Hamas and other Palestinian political factions as well as non-conformist Fatah leaders had warned the PA leadership against entering in open-ended talks with Israel in the absence of real guarantees, especially from Israel’s guardian-ally, the United States.

However, the PA, which depends for its financial survival on politically-driven aid by western powers and oil-rich Arab sheikhdoms in the Arabian Gulf, refused to say “No” to the Americans.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to arrive in Occupied Palestine later this week to push the seemingly futile talks forward.

However, with the extreme right-wing government of Benyamin Netanyahu in power, and with the Israeli Jewish society drifting to religious fanaticism and national jingoism, it seems the American official has a little chance of making any real breakthrough.

Added to this is the ever-dwindling American ability to exert any meaningful pressure on Israel due to the powerful influence of the American Jewish lobby on American political life and institutions, especially Congress.

The increasingly apparent failure and possible collapse of the peace process in Palestine is likely to force many Palestinians to demand the “one-state solution” whereby they conceivably would acquire citizenship in a bi-national state extending from the Mediterranean to the River Jordan.

However, Israel is utterly unlikely to accept this scenario as its Jewish Zionist identity would be seriously compromised with the inclusion of more than five million non-Jews to Israel’s population.

It is widely believed that the Arab population west of the river Jordan already exceeds the number of Jews, although Israeli officials wouldn’t admit that. 
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to arrive in Occupied Palestine later this week to push the seemingly futile talks forward.

However, with the extreme right-wing government of Benyamin Netanyahu in power, and with the Israeli Jewish society drifting to religious fanaticism and national jingoism, it seems the American official has a little chance of making any real breakthrough.

Added to this is the ever-dwindling American ability to exert any meaningful pressure on Israel due to the powerful influence of the American Jewish lobby on American political life and institutions, especially Congress.

The increasingly apparent failure and possible collapse of the peace process in Palestine is likely to force many Palestinians to demand the “one-state solution” whereby they conceivably would acquire citizenship in a bi-national state extending from the Mediterranean to the River Jordan.

However, Israel is utterly unlikely to accept this scenario as its Jewish Zionist identity would be seriously compromised with the inclusion of more than five million non-Jews to Israel’s population.

It is widely believed that the Arab population west of the river Jordan already exceeds the number of Jews, although Israeli officials wouldn’t admit that.

EDWARD SNOWDEN’S ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

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

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

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

EVEN THE US CALLS ISRAEL’S MOTIVES ‘CHUTZPAH’ IN THE POLLARD AFFAIR

chutzpah
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First read THIS ….
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Former US official: Demand to free Pollard is Israeli ‘chutzpah’

Israel is hypocritical asking to stop US spying on country but to release its own spy, says former US Homeland Security officer Stewart Baker*

Officials: Pollard release to be part of peace negotiations

PM Netanyahu will include release of Israeli spy from American prison as part of talks with Palestinians, according to Israeli officials. Ministers push for spy’s release after disclosure of US tapping on Israel

Following the exposure of US surveillance on top Israeli leaders, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  is expected to demand the release of Jonathan Pollard, who has been jailed in US prison for nearly three decades, from American prison as part of negotiation efforts with the Palestinians, Israeli officials estimated.

“With regard to things published in the past few days, I have asked for an examination of the matter,” Netanyahu said in broadcast remarks, in a clear reference to the alleged espionage.

According to undisclosed Israeli officials, Netanyahu’s demand for the release of the Israeli spy through the platform of peace talks with the Palestinians could be executed in one of two ways: A release of the Israeli spy as part of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement pushed by the Americans for next month, or through a deal aimed at releasing Arab-Israeli prisoners.

PM Netanyahu meets with Israeli spy’s wife Esther Pollard (Video: PMO)

Documents leaked on Friday by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden showed the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ had in 2009 targeted an email address listed as belonging to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and monitored emails of senior defense officials.

“In the close ties between Israel  and the United States, there are things that must not be done and that are not acceptable to us,” Netanyahu said, speaking during a Likud party faction meeting.

On Sunday, several Israeli cabinet members and lawmakers said disclosure of US spying on Israel was an opportunity to press Washington to free jailed Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard. Netanyahu informed Likud party members on Monday that he had met with Pollard’s wife Ester “and updated her on our unceasing efforts to free Jonathan.”

Pollard was sentenced to a life term in 1987 in the United States for spying for Israel. A succession of US presidents have spurned Israeli calls for his pardon.

Source

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See my post from yesterday dealing with this HERE

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