REMOVAL OF CONFEDERATE STATUES IS NOT A WHITEWASH OF HISTORY

Columbia University Prof. Eric Foner says Confederate statues only celebrate one side of Southern history — and taking them down does not amount to a whitewash of history as President Trump has suggested.

Statue of Robert E. Lee being removed from Lee Circle in New Orleans this May. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Eric Foner: Confederate Statues Celebrate Only One Side Of History

In a New York Times op-ed, the noted scholar of American history addresses the tweet by Trump that removing Confederate statues tears apart “the history and culture of our great country.”

Foner, who is Jewish, notes that most Confederate statues were erected during times of rampant racism and white supremacist fever like the 1890s, which followed the end of Reconstruction and the 1920s, which was the height of a Ku Klux Klan revival.

To bolster his claim, Foner points out the absence of statues to commemorate James Longstreet, one of General Robert E. Lee’s key lieutenants who later endorsed black male suffrage and fought white supremacists.

 Ultimately, there is a clearly racist rationale and context for the construction of these statues, he says:

 

NY TIMES ASSERTS THAT JEWS ARE SAFER IN ISRAEL THAN IN AMERICA … CAUSE THEY CAN KILL PALESTINIANS THERE

When will the New York Times publish anti-Zionist or even non-Zionist Jewish views of our society?

Israeli soldiers photographed beating Palestinian in West Bank … when they are not shooting, they are beating.

Jews are safer in Israel than U.S. because our kids drop their M-16s on the sofa — NYT op-ed

The New York Times once again has offered a platform to a militant American-Israeli Zionist to argue that Jews are only safe when they oppress Palestinians.

The subject is Charlottesville, and the rise of neo-Nazis. Israel-promoter Daniel Gordis is granted an op-ed to say that Jews are safer in Israel than America, because in America, Jewish kids don’t know how to play with guns. Here’s the heart of the piece:

Israel has a military draft, and all of our kids served. Those years of service, of coming home on weekends with M-16s that we had to remind them not to leave on the sofas, inculcated in them a confidence about the world that I never had at their age.

Of course Gordis doesn’t tell us where those kids served. The occupied territories, surely, making certain that Palestinians who are resisting their lack of rights for 50 years stay fairly quiet.

Gordis doesn’t care about Palestinians. The word doesn’t appear in this homily. He cares about Jews, and about how Israel has “cured” Jews of their weaknesses. He tells a (questionable) anecdote about how Israel has turned mice into men:

I had the students — a highly knowledgeable group of undergraduates — watch video footage of Charlottesville. They sat stunned as they watched the parade of the torches, an image they understood. When I explained that the men with flak jackets, helmets and semiautomatic weapons were the protesters, not the police, they were incredulous. When the Nazi flags appeared, the room was silent except for the sounds of the protesters onscreen.

Then the video cut to one of the marchers, who explained their “republican principles.” The first was the supremacy of “white culture.” The students listened, disgusted. The second was free-market capitalism. Still, they were quiet. Then, the third principle, the protester said, was “killing Jews.” The entire class burst into laughter.

Stunned, I paused the video. Even with the video stilled, they were chuckling. I asked them what they found so amusing. Finally, one student said: “What, does this guy believe that in today’s world you can just go out and kill Jews? It’s funny, that’s all.”…

The conclusion of the article hammers home the point about Israel being safer for Jews than the U.S. He quotes his son wondering whether the day has arrived when America will not “be there” for Jews, as it was during the Holocaust:

Has it? I pray not, though it is too early to tell. But here is what we do know. The tiny, embattled country our family now calls home has raised a generation of young people to understand that ultimately, the only people who can be fully trusted to safeguard the safety of the Jews are the Jews. For having afforded our children a chance to grow up with no sense of the vulnerability that we knew growing up in America, we owe Israel and its founders a profound debt of gratitude.

Gordis and I grew up in the same Baltimore academic Jewish community (I attended a seder or two at his parents’ house) and from my standpoint, this view of America is bullshit. I am a few years older than Gordis; yet I never felt unsafe, I never felt vulnerable. I felt welcome and included. My high school had fewer than ten Jews in it, out of a couple thousand students. I was proudly Jewish, bar mitzvah’d at the old Chizuk Amuno in the inner city, I rode public buses everywhere in the city, worked nights at the stadium, enjoyed a great diversity of friendships, and had pleasures and challenges and setbacks, the proportions of which had no connection to my religion.

Gordis’s dark view of America is of a piece with Michael Oren’s fantasy of a pogrom in West Orange, NJ, 1971; and I believe it is a product of indoctrination.

When will the New York Times publish anti-Zionist or even non-Zionist Jewish views of our society?

PS. More about those M-16s. Why can’t the New York Times publish what Tony Klug wrote about the guns in 1977 and repeated last March at J Street:

While Israel continues to rule over the West Bank, there are bound to be ever more frequent and more intensive acts of resistance by a population that is feeling encroached upon by a spreading pattern of Jewish colonization and whose yearning for independence is no less than was that of the Palestinian Jews in the early months of 1948. As long as Israel continues to govern that territory, she will have little choice but to retaliate in an increasingly oppressive fashion just to keep order. The moral appeal of Israel’s case will consequently suffer and this will further erode her level of international support, although probably not among organized opinion within the Jewish Diaspora.

AN UNBELIEVABLE VIDEO THAT MUST BE WATCHED BY ALL AMERICANS

When President Trump claimed in an unhinged, angry press conference on Aug. 15th that there were “very fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville, he endorsed a group of neo-Nazis and white supremacists whose stated goal is to create an ethnically cleansed, white-only state.

Latuff adds the following 3 new images

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NYT JUSTIFIES APARTHEID IN ISRAEL ~~ ‘WALLS ARE US!’

Omitted is a racist quote early last year from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding his determination to build walls all around Israel, though some of this construction would clearly be on occupied Palestinian territory.

Likening Palestinians to animals, Netanyahu stated, “In our neighborhood, we need to protect ourselves from wild beasts.”

The Times is just echoing the sentiments of Trump who has called Israel’s separation barrier a success while discussing his plan to erect a wall across the US-Mexico border.

New York Times distorts reality of Israel’s walls

Isabel Kershner, writing in The New York Times, recently misrepresented the reality of Israeli-built walls and the fact that it is Palestinians enclosed by them and not Israelis.

Establishing that she spends far too much time in an Israeli milieu and too little in occupied Palestinian territory, she flips reality by penning, “Challenged by hostile forces on most of its fronts, Israel is already pretty much walled in.”

Yet it is Israel itself which has chosen to build walls. The people to describe as “walled in” are Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinians are the ones being forcibly enclosed within bantustans as part of a comprehensive system of apartheid – not Israelis.

Throughout the article, Kershner repeatedly omits vital information about an underground wall Israel is building to further obstruct Palestinian egress from the tightly blockaded Gaza Strip.

Omissions

Israel has peace agreements with both Egypt and Jordan – and security arrangements with the Palestinian Authority to police its own people under Israeli occupation.

Even on its frontline in the occupied Golan Heights with Syria, where a devastating civil war has killed hundreds of thousands of people, Israel funds Syrian armed opposition groups to maintain a buffer zone controlled by “friendly forces.”

Yet these facts are excluded in Kershner’s decision to present a tough neighborhood spin with Israel “challenged by hostile forces on most of its fronts.”

Most of those fronts – beyond those where the Israeli government has signed peace agreements with other states – are occupied territory held by Israel for over 50 years.

Treating occupied people as “hostile” is akin to the moral equivalency offered by US President Donald Trump in equating anti-fascists and anti-racists with Nazis and white supremacists.

How else are people under an oppressive military occupation that deprives them of their most basic rights, while systematically colonizing their land, supposed to feel about their occupiers?

Yet Kershner dismissively employs the term “hostile forces,” undercutting millions of occupied people calling for equal rights and a return to stolen homes and properties.

Also omitted is a racist quote early last year from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding his determination to build walls all around Israel, though some of this construction would clearly be on occupied Palestinian territory.

Likening Palestinians to animals, Netanyahu stated, “In our neighborhood, we need to protect ourselves from wild beasts.”

Israel’s wall with Egypt, though readers won’t learn it in this article from Kershner, was built in significant partto keep out African migrants and refugees, principally from Eritrea and Sudan, fleeing war and other perils.

Netanyahu himself admitted as much.

President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea 🇮🇱🇺🇸

NEVER TOO LATE TO STOP THE HATE ~~ IN PROSE

Stop the racism, stop the hate Start with your heart ­ never too late —————

Image by Enrique Lavin

Trump’s total eclipse of decency in cartoons

Stop the Hate by Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh
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 Stop the racism, stop the hate Start with your heart ­ never too late At a world in turmoil we sadly wonder Our duty and responsibility we ponder Through experience we know Life is the energy good or bad that flow Until our death when we are no more And only our deeds tell our lore Some of us were taught at schools To remember the golden rules Not only that we do to others what we hope for ourselves But that there is a price or a prize for acts themselves That everything we do we get back A good or a bad deed even a smile or a crack “God give them what they wish for me” actually, what I do comes back to me what I did yesterday comes back to me today You cannot make war for peace and security Any more than you can have sex for virginity Stop the racism, stop the hate Start with your heart ­ never too late Positive energy begets positive Selfish thought begets negative Choose Justice, kindness, and humanism not Cruelty, greed, and racism You can’t take money to your grave Only bad deeds and good deeds left to save Let this simple fact not get blurred Save a child, a plant, a friend, or a bird Worry about your spirit, Of all pollution do clear it The tranquil is not the hawk but the dove You cannot conquer the hate except by the love Take a deep breath in and gently breathe out Meditate and you will find that winning route Ponder how the soft conquers the hard And why the evil deeds are marred The roads of the wise like the water steams Low and soft but stones dissipate in the way like dreams The key is time which is patience realized The door is kindness we must have utilized Stop the racism, stop the hate Start with your heart ­ never too late —————

FED UP WITH GERMAN SILENCE

During this election campaign in Germany, a question is not addressed: How do these parties and their top candidates deal with violations against international law and human rights?Why is Russia subject to sanctions while the “Jewish State” remains unpunished? Why does the annexation of Crimea allegedly oppose to international law, while the illegal occupation of Palestine is not just accepted, but even financially supported?

We are fed up of the silence of the German Election Campaigners about Palestine!

by Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, Sicht vom Hochblauen, English translation by Milena Rampoldi

International law and human rights are indivisible and apply to all states. And the “Jewish State” always says to be the “only” democracy in the Middle East. If this is true, international law and human rights shall be the basic foundations of the Jewish State. While the Jewish regime based on State terrorism occupies, oppresses, and expropriates a whole people, after a referendum the population of Crimea decided to remain with Russia, because the Western “community of values”, led by the USA, spent many million Dollar in the name of Eastern NATO expansion for the coup in Ukraine by forcing Russia to act.

Our German political landscape is characterised by a lord of the manor approach when it is about prohibiting the Nakba exhibition or Israel-critical conferences, or when it is about refusing conference rooms. And this is exactly the behaviour of philosemite parties linked to the Israel lobby in our country. If this is the situation, we have to ask these parties (SPD, CDU/CSU, FDP, Grünen and Linke) to make a statement about it.

If you remember the Holocaust, the genocide in the name of Germany and the crimes of the century, then you should also remember and put the Nakba, the forced displacement of the Palestinian people, and its consequences in an indivisible context.

In particular for German citizens, independently from the outcome, displacement and occupation are important subjects. There we have to ask ourselves: Why does this propaganda lie –  according which there has never been a Zionist displacement during and before the Nakba and all has been done “on a voluntary basis” – fall on good soil in Germany? Same thing can be said about the “Jewish occupiers’ regime” which always avoids speaking about the occupation.

In the case of the “Jewish State”, the uncritical lobby work of the parties promotes the distrust against Jewish officials and citizens, who quickly accuse others of anti-Semitism to distract from this lobby work, who refuses the rights of the oppressed, because it expresses its solidarity with the “Jewish Occupiers’ State”, a state characterised by colonialism and historical revisionism, by asking for our unconditional solidarity with these criminals.

The air has become suffocating in the German-speaking countries and in the political circles; and this is not only due to the Diesel fine particulate, but also to the stuffy German politics. If after the end of the war there were the last Nazi officials diffusing this right-wing stuffy politics, today their descendants prefer addressing their hate against Russia. The sanctions against Russia  are strengthened, while justified and peaceful BDS initiatives shall be damned as criminal. Whole cities, from Munich to Frankfort, participate in this undemocratic rally.

The double standards when it is about the “Jewish State” are incredible and incompatible with the German Constitution. Although after a referendum the majority of Crimean citizens decided to remain with Russia, German and European politicians speak about a criminal situation violating international law. And since the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948 these same politicians and the “world community” of the “Jewish State” have been permitting the violation against international law, human rights, and all values, and since decades Israel has been leaving scorched earth in its wake in occupied Palestine.

At the moment, in front of the EU office in Vienna, activists of the “Women in Black” are protesting against the support of the “Jewish Apartheid State”. Protest actions of this kind are important in the struggle for a free Palestine. (1)

At the end of August, in Berlin a Pop culture festival will be held; it will be financed by the Embassy of the “Jewish State”, the European Union, and the Municipality of Berlin. As soon as threes bands and artists,  Mohammad Abu Hayar of the Syrian Rap Band Mazzaj, the Egyptian band Islam Chipsy, and the Syrian DJ and producer Samer Salem knew about it, they refused their participation, because they did not want to participate in an event pinkwashing Apartheid and racism. Unfortunately, this moral courage cannot be found in German artists, when it is about Palestine! (2)

In the next “Springer” morning Press, the Berlin Senator of Culture, Klaus Lederer, spoke about a “horrifying boycott”. From my point of view, left-wing politicians are absolutely horrifying when they uncritically accept the Illegal occupation of Palestine and criticize Israel critics because they are engaged  for a free Palestine. Lederer added that by sponsoring the artists’ travel expenses the Israeli Embassy even contributed to the “success” of the festival. Can and should you still vote such politicians? For what concerns myself, my answer is “NO”, because I always check whom and what to vote! In 2014, in the newspaper TAZ ,Pascal Beucker called me an “unacceptable Israel hater” because I had written by comment  „Der Tag des Zorns wird kommen“ (The Day of Rage will Come); this comment was uncritically accepted by Lederer. And I felt in the best of company, because Lederer polemicized even Sarah Wagenknecht and called people to dissociate from Ken Jebsen, the alleged “ideologist” of the “new right”. But I prefer dissociating from left-wing politicians and politicians of all parties like Klaus Lederer!  (3) (4)

I deal with this subject and its consequences every week. Sometimes, I am asking myself for which purpose and why I do it. My concern is that the political parties’ landscape has been dissociating more and more from Palestine, by exclusively focussing on the “Jewish State”. The security of Israel, its right to exist, the particular relationship: all these words are always repeated like a litany. However, they do not become true, but remain mendacious lies of the whole political society and their supporters  in the media.

The deep attunement with the “Jewish Occupiers’ State” is an unbearable legal violation and is incompatible with the German constitution; the same applies to the “particular” relation developed over years because of a traumatised sense of guilt, since it created  the new “guilt” of our grand-children’s generation. The real problem is that philosemitism replaced Anti-Semitism, and became a contagious epidemic, infecting all parties and many media. Is there a vaccination against Philosemitism? Indeed, a clear and logic reasoning and a sense of justice should suffice. However, this is not the case because the propaganda brainwashing, promoted by the “Springer” lobby, seems to be part of German education. That adaptation has already replaced moral courage; and this is not astonishing if you think about the so numerous attempts of intimidation.

I have been trying to wake up people for years now, and to ask them to engage for Palestine and the Palestinians. And they attacked me because I used words like Israel lobby, Judaization, ghetto or concentration camp. However, I am gaining more and more supporters on blogs and in newspapers, and I feel confirmed and happy that my engagement is worth the trouble. And I never tried to make money at the expense of Palestinian solidarity, to earn with it, or to make business at the expense of a humiliated and occupied people.

From where do German politicians take their right to criticize the Palestinian people, which – after 69 years of resistance asks for the end of illegal occupation. How can they deny to them the legitimate right for resistance against illegal occupation, while Jewish occupiers are not just given the right to “defend themselves”, but even the occupation right! What can we expect from such politicians who speak about the “Jewish-Christian community of values”, while if it is about Palestinians they talk about terror and crimes, which have nothing to do with their community of values. Muslims become foreign bodies and the concept of an enemy, and this in particular during election campaigns. Let us do the mental experiment of replacing the word Jews with the word Muslims, or Judaism with Islam. This reminds me terrible days of our recent history. This dangerous development should be limited and stopped.

With our vote, we can decide what and who will rule. The voting right is one of the few rights we still have, in this epoch of apathy and lack of perspective.

We should not ignore how parties deal with human rights and regimes. The State terrorism of the Jewish occupiers’ regime to continue with the Judaization of Palestine must be talked about, as it is not a taboo, but should become one of the main election campaign subjects.

Chancellor Merkel has succeeded in brainwashing Germans so to believe in the unconditioned solidarity with the “Jewish State” as German reason of state because of our “particular obligations”. However, this reason of state does not mean that we should not engage to ask to add justice and freedom of the Palestinian people to this German reason of state.

We – and I think also the majority of the other German citizens – ask for information and an open discussion of all democratic parties about how the candidates to be voted will deal with this subject. Also this will be an important criterion of our voting behaviour.

 

Originally posted AT

TOONS (AND PHOTOS) ~~ THE LATEST IN WMD’s AND ‘SELECTIVE RACISM’

CharlottesvilleParis,London and now Barcelona. Sad days when cars, trucks, vans became weapons of mass destruction.

Images by Carlos Latuff

The hate and violence continues …..

When it comes to challenging racist ideology, US politicians make an exception for Zionism

IN PHOTOS ~~ NEW YORKERS MARCH AGAINST HATE

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Surely there IS enough love to go around!

PALESTINIAN CHILDREN CAUGHT IN ISRAEL’S ‘CAT AND MOUSE’ GAME

It is  commonly said that the all worst nightmares move silently in the dark and wear military uniforms and escaping with light steps along the asphalt street. This night in the village not even the engine sound of the armoured vehicle distracts. The vehicle remains there, without moving, in the night, and next to it there is a street light with a faint light. The man is watching, and with each movement he seems to be counting  steps, three forward, one to the side, and again three paces backwards, without taking his eyes off the houses, with his rifle under his arm, and the barrel kept at eye level, ready to interrupt the silence. It is totally silent, and the silence seems almost begging to be interrupted by a roar, a scream, or a lament, while from behind a curtain a child, one of the numerous children, records the scene with his cell phone.

Palestine, the cat and the mouse, and the trapped children

By Antonietta Chiodo, Translated by Milena Rampoldi and edited by John Catalinotto, Tlaxcala.

He is careful to cause not the least noise, to keep his hand steady, hoping that nobody will see him. This child is afraid, it is afraid of what it will document unconsciously. The soldier lowers his mitre and approaches the gate by opening it easily without causing the least noise.

From the dark of a street disappearing behind the corner of a big, white house another two soldiers appear suddenly, walking speedily. Under their arms they hold a handcuffed boy who is trying to keep up with them. They push him into a vehicle, lowering his head with the palm of the hand, and a couple of seconds later the car’s tailgate closes violently.

Like cats in the night they move lightly, with the gesture of an arm. One of them makes a gesture to a second patrol next there, that everything is OK. The silence is interrupted by the roar of the engines, and the cars disappear along the asphalted streets and then vanish, taking with them another fragment of freedom, a splinter of life who has just become 13 years old.

In the West Bank, what seems to be the plot of an action movie is every day realityd. Here children are the first ones being arrested by Israeli soldiers without any official trail and without any logical reasoning.

Tonight it was his turn, tomorrow it could be mine, everyone thinks here. The project “Pace dei Bimbi” (Peace for Children) has chosen to care about a village between Bethlehem and Hebron, where the incursions and abductions of children are part of their all day lives.

For two months we have written stories invented by us by considering the initial limitations of these children who do not feel free and are afraid of being put on trial. In the context, the mediation offered by their teacher Omar revealed itself to be fundamental. Being in front of a journalist was difficult for them at the beginning, because on one hand they wanted to trust me, and on the other hand they did not think this trust was possible. The days passed by, and their smiles started to take shape, and so did the smile of the small and thin Raiyed, arrested a couple of days ago without charges, dragged from his home, and wrenched away from the arms of his family.

Like many other children, Rayied spent 24 hours in jail, only because his family name is connected to a tradition of resistance against Israeli occupation. I remember that during my encounters the child who is only 13 years old talked about stars. For me, his smile is unforgettable, while he imagined a fabulous story talking about an azure light taking him to another planet. A planet full of peace and magic animals.

Raiyed knows very well that this will not be his only trip to jail, and many other visits like this will follow during his life. However, we perfectly know that psychologically destroying a child by obligating him to live in fear is much more lethal than any bullet. During my stay the moments were not rare where the teacher Omar and I were forced to use makeshift roads because of the blocks around the village because stones had been thrown from under the shadow of the olive trees surrounding the houses. Here people live like trapped mice, while deceitful cats, protected from their own violations of human rights, play dice with these lives and the fear of their victims fuels their thirst for power and injustice.

Shraeh, a Palestinian man, tells us that during the last three days three children between 11 and 13 years were arrested at their homes and also about his brother. He has been in Israeli jail for 16 years now, without authorisation for family visits. And being visited in jail is an undeniable right. It is just the right to look at his eyes, the right to smile at him, and to check his health situation, as we usually do in a so-called “democratic” country.

There are places in this world more oppressed than others, but sometimes here young boys are labelled inattentive. They are said to play with their lives. However, here it is completely normal to imagine a soldier shooting into the chest of a young boy because he threw a stone and to hear words of support for the soldiers. And all this is a sign of the tragic end of human rights. Our world has chosen globalisation, thus replacing the real value of life and innocence with money.

IMAGES OF THE DAY ~~ THE FACES OF TERRORISM

Need a reminder about fascist politicians in Israel?


And some from the past …


And here is what the future holds ….

Israeli Prime Minster Netanyahu’s son: Yair Netanyahu says leftists are more dangerous than neo-Nazis

Echoing Trump, PM’s son claims ‘thugs of Antifa and Black Lives Matter are getting stronger’ while Nazis are a thing of the past

SOME QUESTIONS FOR U.S. CITIZENS

Many readers asked me (also as a US citizen) to comment in this blog on what is going on in race relations in the USA.

Questions to US citizens

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

Many readers asked me (also as a US citizen) to comment in this blog on what is going on in race relations in the USA. I will briefly say that the politicians who criticize Trump (both republicans and democrats) are hypocritical. These same politicians who criticize Trump and his racist minions never challenged hate directed at Muslims and Arabs in general. The white nationalists and supremacists who are calling for ethnic cleansing and for hate are no different than the Zionists that they adore and fund and who do far more violence and atrocities. The hypocrisy in the US is more blatant and sickening than the thugs that caused the mayhem in Charlottesville. But what worries us more is that the distractions can allow us to slide more into a nuclear world war (please watch news related to Iran and North Korea).

There are also credible reports of Zionist thugs infiltrating both camps (‘left’ and ‘right’) to entice violence. I remember how Zionists tried to infiltrate one of our demonstrations in Connecticut posing as neo-Nazis to incite violence and mayhem. And we all know now how FBI agents infiltrated civil rights groups doing the same things in the 1960s. If US citizens do not wake-up to where the real danger comes from (the elites profiting from all of this), the society will be torn apart by petty hatreds that only serve the policies of ‘divide and conquer’ that are being implemented in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. Arabs in those countries are waking up to that but after much destruction. I hope fellow US citizens wake up to this early on.

The daughter of US ‘Ambassador’ to Israel (the “Jewish State”) has moved here to Palestine as a new colonial settler. Like any Jew in the world she and her father were considered nationals of the state even though born in the US with no connection to this land other than religious [mythologies]. They can become citizens upon demand. Colonial Zionists call those new colonists ‘olim’ referring to ‘those rising up’ as if being a Jew in Poland or America is being in the gutters. For committed Zionists moving here it this is just a formality because their betrayal of their own countries and allegiance to a foreign power is their trademark. Just observe the rhetoric of those in the US who support the billions of tax-payer money going to support the largest terrorist organization in the world called the Israeli army. Watch their rhetoric on Iran!

Friedman and his daughter supported and will continue to support ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and endless wars. The question for Jews around the world: until when will you allow Zionists to tar your community and your religion? When is the price of racism/‘Jewish nationalism’ considered too high? (today 7 million of us Palestinians are refugees or displaced people thanks to Zionists like Friedman and his daughter). The questions for all US citizens: how will you challenge ALL racism and bigotry? What will you do to work for justice, human rights, and equality? How would you justify working against ‘white nationalism’ or ‘pan-Islamic nationalism’ (ISIS) but not against ‘Jewish nationalism’?

IN PHOTOS ~~ ONLY IN AMERIKA ARE TERRORISTS PROTECTED BY THE POLICE

The OUTLAWED JDL freely demonstrates in NY with police protection

On Monday, 8/14, there was a massive demonstration at Trump Towers – thousands participated. It was in protest of his policy on N. Korea as well as his statement which equated the anti-fascists in Charlottesville with the Nazi, white supremist, Klu Klux Klan and anti-Semitic marchers.  At the same time a demonstration was taking place at Union Sq. organized by Samidoun in solidarity with Rosmea Udeh.   When Samidoun arrived they were met by an equal number of JDL who came to counter-protest the Samidoun demonstration.

The two opposing lines moved closer and closer yelling and shouting at each other until they were virtually nose-to-nose. The NYC police acted quickly and moved in separating the two lines and kept a constant presence there. Samidoun  then began marching in a circle shouting, “From Charlottesville to Palestine, racist murder is a crime.”

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

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ARMED TO KILL WITH ‘NON-LETHAL’ WEAPONS

While Palestinian protesters are generally armed with rocks and a few sporadic Molotov cocktails, Israeli forces are armed with some of the world’s leading crowd control weapons.

Live bullets larger than .22 caliber are the only ammunitions used during clashes that are considered lethal by Israeli standards, but the classifications of tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, sponge rounds and .22 caliber live bullets as non-lethal, is, according to medical professionals, misleading.

Palestinians try to avoid tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes which erupted after the funeral of Palestinian Mustafa Tamimi in the West Bank town of Nabi Saleh, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011. Tamimi, 28, was hurling rocks at an Israeli military vehicle on Friday in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh when a soldier inside opened the rear door and fired a tear gas canister at him from just a few yards away, witnesses said. He was taken to an Israeli hospital, where he died of his injuries on Saturday. Photo by Issam Rimawi

Sponge rounds, rubber bullets, and tear gas — how Israel’s non-lethal munitions can kill

It was the middle of a cold October night in 2015 when an Israeli army jeep came driving through Aida refugee camp blaring a message through its loudspeaker.

“People of Aida refugee camp, we are the occupation forces,” the message began in Arabic. “If you throw stones, we will hit you with gas until you all die. The children, the youth, the old people – you will all die. We won’t leave any of you alive … Go home or we will gas you until you die. Your families, your children, everyone – we will kill you.”

The Israeli government condemned the message as the act of a single soldier, but Palestinians in Aida, knowing the lethal potential of tear gas, took the threat seriously.

The next day an eight-month-old baby was killed by tear gas inhalation during clashes in a neighboring village.

While Palestinian protesters are generally armed with rocks and a few sporadic Molotov cocktails, Israeli forces are armed with some of the world’s leading crowd control weapons.

Live bullets larger than .22 caliber are the only ammunitions used during clashes that are considered lethal by Israeli standards, but the classifications of tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, sponge rounds and .22 caliber live bullets as non-lethal, is, according to medical professionals, misleading.

Mondoweiss spoke with Doctor Nasser al-Jaberi, the Director of the Emergency Room Department at the West Bank’s Arab Society Hospital, to get a better idea of what these weapons are capable of.

“[They] can absolutely kill,” al-Jaberi said. “Rocks are no real threat against an armed military. When you ask if a rock could injure or kill a soldier wearing a helmet, a bullet proof vest, and army-grade clothing, it is hard to imagine, but a protester dying of tear gas inhalation is very common.”

al-Jaberi told Mondoweiss that in certain circumstances nearly every non-lethal weapon used by Israel can, and at some point has, killed.

We asked al-Jaberi to break it down for us, munition-by-munition.

Sponge rounds

Sponge rounds, also called sponge grenades or sponge-tipped bullets, are used often by Israeli forces when clashes are happening near Israeli Jewish communities, or when the wind is too strong for tear gas to work well.

At clashes it is easy to tell when Israeli forces are using the rounds.

Youth in the streets are more careful about coming out in the open. They hide behind concrete blocks on the side of the road. In the middle of street wooden boards and other barriers are perched up on light poles and metal dumpsters are pushed out into the road, with youth popping up from behind them just long enough to pop off a rock from their slingshots.

The barriers just get in the way if there is a lot of tear gas being fired and are not sufficient to stop live bullets.

Sponge rounds are designed to be shot over a long distance (the required distance changes depending on the precise version of the ammunition), and only at the lower extremities. When used from a proper distance the harmless-looking rounds cause massive black and blue bruises — when shot at a close distance they can easily stop a heart or crack a skull.

Two types of sponge rounds are used by Israeli forces. The blue-tipped rounds are made up of an aluminum base, plastic base and dense sponge. They can cause serious damage on their own, but in 2015 a new black-tipped sponge round was introduced. The black-tipped rounds are heavier, with more dangerous tips created from synthetic rubber.

“If shot at a very close distance, either sponge round can cause fractures to the skull, which could lead to death,” al-Jaberi said. “They can also be deadly if shot at the chest, eye or neck in some cases. They are certainly less deadly than rubber-coated bullets or tear gas, but that does not mean they cannot cause death or serious injury.”

Sixteen-year-old Muhammad Abdelmajid Sunukrut was shot in the head from around 30 feet away with a sponge round in August 2014. After struggling for a week in the hospital Sunukrut succumbed to his wounds. In July 2016, 10-year-old Muhyee al-Din Tabakhi was hit in the chest with a sponge round, causing internal bleeding that led to the child’s death.

Still, the rounds are considered non-lethal.

Rubber-coated steel bullets

Rubber-coated steel bullets are another form of what is, according to al-Jaberi, wrongly considered a non-lethal method of crowd control used by Israeli forces during clashes.

In Arabic sponge rounds and rubber-coated steel bullets go by the same name: “matahta.” While the word and the defense against them (makeshift barriers in the streets) are the same, youth take rubber-coated steel bullets much more seriously when being used in the field by Israeli forces.

“A rubber-coated bullet is actually just a metallic bullet covered in a small layer of plastic or rubber, so it is still a bullet,” al-Jaberi said. “We have seen many skull fractures here at the ER from these so-called rubber bullets, and a skull fracture can cause internal bleeding, as well as contusions to the brain. If it is from a close distance in the head, eye, neck or chest these ammunitions have every likelihood of being deadly.”

Al-Jaberi explained that while a real bullet is more likely to make a clean entry and exit, the nature of a rubber-bullet means the entry point is much more likely to be torn open jaggedly, and if shot at a close distance, the bullet more likely to embed itself into the body.

These days Mohammed al-Azza, an award-winning Palestinian photojournalist from the occupied West Bank, never ventures to cover clashes without a bulletproof vest and helmet. In 2013 doctors told the young journalist he could have died if the rubber-coated steel bullet shot at his face while covering clashes had hit him just a centimeter closer to his eye.

He was shot from the second floor balcony, by soldiers positioned on the street just in front of him — much too close to be within protocol of any use of the munition.

The bullet fractured his upper cheek bone. It had to be surgically removed and the journalist has had to undergo multiple other surgeries to reconstruct his face and eye socket. Today there is only a small scar left on his upper cheekbone, but a quarter of his facial skeleton is made up of metal and plastic.

A myriad of other cases documented by rights groups illustrate just how dangerous the ammunition can be, including the 2016 incident in which 12-year-old Mohiyeh al-Tabakhi was shot and killed by Israeli forces after a rubber-coated steel bullet hit the child in the chest, causing him to go into cardiac arrest and die.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem has documented dozens of other Palestinians killed by rubber-coated steel bullets. According to B’Tselem, the Israeli State Attorney’s Office has stated these deaths are “unavoidable mistakes.”

Countless others, like 10-year-old Yahiya al-Amudi, have been shot in the eyes by the ammunition, leaving them partially blinded.

.22 Caliber Bullets

There is no question that a .22 caliber bullet, also known as a tu-tu bullet, is considered live fire — it is — but Israeli forces still consider the ammunition a “non-lethal” crowd control method.

The small bullets are less powerful than larger cartridges, but they carry a deadly punch, just like any other bullet, particularly when the .22 calibers are hollow-tip bullets, also known as expanding, dum-dum, exploding or fragmented bullets.

According to al-Jaberi, the majority of the bullet wounds he treats are from these types of expanding bullets — the use of which is considered a war crime under international law.

“Most of the bullet wounds we treat here contain fragmented bullets. When they enter the skin they explode into many fragments. If this reaches the bones we call it comminuted fractures,” he said, explaining that these kind of fractures mean the bone was hit at high velocity and fractured into more than two pieces. “We have had some of these cases where the bullet fragments sliced arteries and that is a very serious injury that could definitely kill in certain circumstances.”

In 1981 John Hinckley Jr. shot then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan with a .22 caliber loaded with expanding bullets. While Reagan spent two weeks in the hospital recovering, the former president’s White House Press Secretary James Brady was shot in the head and suffered permanent brain damage that left him partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Israeli authorities deny the use of expanding bullets in their arsenal.

After the first year of the Second Palestinian Intifada, the head of the security department in the Operations Directorate of the Israeli military announced that the .22 bullet was too deadly to use as a form of crowd control and discontinued its use between the years of 2001 and 2008, according to B’Tselem.

The .22’s were eventually brought back into use, and by 2015 B’Tselem found that there was “a steady erosion in the restrictions on firing… leading to ever greater use of this weapon,” which it said was “misleadingly portrayed as a non-lethal measure.”

“The indisputable facts are that we are dealing with a lethal weapon, which the Israeli authorities falsely present as a reasonable tool to employ in dealing with demonstrations,” the report added.

In the first ten months of 2015, four Palestinians were shot and killed by .22 calibers, including 13-year-old Abdelrahman Obeidallah, who was shot with a .22 caliber bullet straight to the heart right after school let out.

Israeli forces said the shooter had not breached protocol in using the .22 as a non-lethal munition at the time of the 13-year-old’s death. According to Israeli officials, the soldier was shooting for the legs of another youth, when the bullet ricocheted up and hit Abdelrahman, showing that even when used according to Israel’s protocol, the bullets can be deadly.

Tear gas

More than 1,000 Palestinians were injured during the two weeks of daily clashes that followed the al-Aqsa mosque crisis last month, according to the Red Crescent. Most of those injuries were caused by severe tear gas inhalation.

Tear gas is actually not a gas at all, it is a powder mixed with a liquid substance that when released as an arsenal, resembles gaseous clouds. It also affects much more than just the eyes and tear ducts. Tear gas works by irritating mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, mouth and lungs. Touching your face, eyes, or trying to use water to wash it off only intensifies the symptoms.

The fact that it is a solid means the “gas” eventually settles on surfaces around the area it was administered. In the occupied West Bank, some areas are tear gassed nearly daily, meaning surfaces like balconies and window ledges, for instance can become caked in the substance. If someone unknowingly touches a railing, then wipes their face or other sensitive areas of the skin, the concentrated powder causes chemical burns.

“I have had many patients come in with serious respiratory distress from tear gas,” al-Jaberi said. “In particular circumstances tear gas can easily kill someone — for example if someone has a pre-existing condition, or if the patient is a small child, a very old person, and even in some cases, healthy people.”

Earlier this year 18-month-old Abdelrahman Barghouti died from asphyxiation after tear gas was shot by Israeli forces into the child’s family home.

Al-Jaberi’s most recent serious patient suffering from tear gas exposure had to be hospitalized for a week before being released because of respiratory damage triggered by the gas.

Even among healthy individuals, concentrated exposure to tear gas causes sharp pain in the chest and the sensation of suffocation.

Palestinian doctors, medics and nurses, as well as the general populace, know very well how to deal with the immediate effects of tear gas exposure, but al-Jaberi is concerned with the unknown effects it could trigger over time.

“I can’t give any specific evidence on the long term effects of the gas until there are serious research studies done about it,” he said. “Unfortunately there have not been many studies on the case, but we should be monitoring the people who are exposed to this gas on a daily basis, like those who live in the refugee camps, because I think it is logical to say that these people would have a much higher likelihood of having serious respiratory problems when compared to people not frequently exposed to the gas. We can feel certain there are side effects, but without studies it is hard to say for sure.”

Tear gas canisters

In addition to the gas itself, the canisters used to administer tear gas are shot at high velocity and can do serious damage if the canister hits vulnerable parts of the body.

“I’ve had many patients injured from the canisters. One of my patients was hit in the head with a gas canister at short range and it caused a fracture to the skull and damage to the bone around the eye,” al-Jaberi said.

The cases of tear gas killing, both from the gas itself and direct contact from the canisters, is well documented.

While Israeli military regulations prohibit firing tear gas directly at people, B’Tselem has extensively documented cases of the practice.

In March 2009 U.S. citizen Tristan Anderson was shot in the head with a tear gas canister and to this day suffers from severe brain damage. A month later, Bassem Abu-Rahmah, from the village of Bil’in, was hit in the chest by a tear gas canister and killed. Bassem’s death was made famous after his killing was featured in the Oscar-nominated film Five Broken Cameras.

The death of Bassem, a beloved and well-known Palestinian activist, was covered by media internationally, but it did not help to mitigate Israel’s use of tear gas against Palestinian protesters.

Two years after Bassem was killed, his sister died due to respiratory failure caused by tear gas inhalation. Eleven months after that Mustafa Tamimi was killed after being hit with a tear gas canister during clashes in Nabi Saleh.

Israeli forces closed both Abu-Rahmah’s and Tamimi’s case files without indictment. B’Tselem condemned the decision, stating that it gave “Israeli soldiers and officers the unequivocal message that, should they kill unarmed civilians, they will not be held accountable.”

“Given this state of affairs, it is hardly surprising that soldiers and Border Police officers continue to shoot tear-gas canisters directly at Palestinians, endangering their lives. Under such circumstances, it is only a matter of time before yet another unarmed Palestinian civilian is killed in this way,” the group said in a 2013 report.

Four years later, injuries and deaths caused by direct contact with tear gas canisters are still common occurrences.

More photos at the SOURCE

CHALLENGING THE BLACKLIST ~~ BDS FIGHTBACK

Human rights activists are challenging Israeli blacklists of supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights, or BDS.

How is Israel compiling its BDS blacklists?

Human rights activists are challenging Israeli blacklists of supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights, or BDS.

Lawyer Eitay Mack and several other Israeli activists last week filed a freedom of information petition with the Jerusalem district court demanding that two government departments disclose how they create the blacklists.

The lists are used to prevent overseas BDS activists from entering territories controlled by Israel, including the occupied West Bank.

The court action comes after a freedom of information request, filed by Mack last month, was rebuffed by the ministries.

Astonishingly, they justified the refusal based on the “privacy” of the BDS activists. In an email sent to The Electronic Intifada, Mack called this “a new world record in cynicism and hypocrisy.”

He explained that unless Israeli authorities admit to “illegally compiling personal non-public data on international activists and groups, while using, for example, invasive monitoring and spying software” then disclosure would lead to no privacy violation.

The freedom of information request was sent to the interior ministry and the Population and Immigration Authority last month, after press reports that five members of a US interfaith delegation had been banned from entering Israel because of their support for BDS.

Rabbi Alissa Wise told The Electronic Intifada that Lufthansa airline staff had read out a blacklist of people on their delegation who would not be allowed to fly to Tel Aviv.

Hacking emails

An airline employee told Wise and four others that the Israeli government had insisted they not be allowed onboard.

Israel has previously banned individuals it accuses of supporting BDS from entering.

But in March, it formalized the policy with a new law, which it soon began to implement.

Wise, deputy director of pro-BDS group Jewish Voice for Peace, also told The Electronic Intifada that the blacklist Lufthansa read to them included two individuals who had canceled their participation in the delegation months prior, and who had never bought tickets for the flight.

Wise thinks the only way Israel could have got hold of those two names was through illicit means, such as hacking or intercepting the group’s emails.

In an email sent to The Electronic Intifada, Mack said his freedom of information request asks the Israeli ministries to disclose “the criteria and procedures” they use to add people to these blacklists, as well as how they transfer these lists to authorities outside Israel.

You can read the full request in Hebrew here, and the full court petition here.

Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz reported the day after the ban on Wise and her colleagues that the interior ministry and the strategic affairs ministry issued a statement confirming they had been behind the ban.

“These were prominent activists who continuously advocate for a boycott,” the ministries said.

Strategic affairs is the ministry charged with leading Israel’s “war” against BDS.

“Battlefront”

In September 2016, Mack and his colleagues filed a similar freedom of information request asking the strategic affairs ministry and the foreign ministry to reveal which overseas groups and individuals they were supporting in the effort to thwart the BDS movement.

But in June they replied claiming that they had no working relations with such foreign entities – an assertion Mack considers not to be credible and which appears to be contradicted by other statements.

In July, the Israeli parliament passed the first reading of a new law drafted by the strategic affairs ministry, which will exempt it from freedom of information laws, on the basis that BDS is a “battlefront like any other.”

The banning of Wise and her colleagues marks the first known occasion an Israeli blacklist has been passed onto another country based on the new anti-BDS law. It also marks the first known occasion a Jewish person has been banned from entering under the new law.

The delegation had been planning to fly to Tel Aviv, after a layover in Germany. But the Lufthansa staff at Dulles International Airport near Washington, DC, had been given the blacklist by Israel in advance.

According to Mack, although this case involved US citizens and a German company, “there is a risk that the state of Israel has also delivered ‘blacklists’ to non-democratic states that persecute human rights and opposition activists.”

Mack cites Israel’s past support for oppressive regimes in Latin America and Africa as precedents.

Rivalries

The Ministry of Strategic Affairs was founded in 2006, and was initially focused on Iran, leading Israel’s sometimes-covert campaign against that country’s nuclear energy program.

In October 2015, now led by Gilad Erdan, a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, the ministry’s focus was shifted to fighting BDS.

This reallocation of authority and funds has led to tensions with other government departments, who are reportedly jealous of being sidelined by Netanyahu. Erdan is a long-standing ally of Netanyahu, having served him as an advisor in the prime minister’s office in the 1990s.

According to Haaretz investigative journalist Uri Blau, Israel’s “security cabinet” gave the strategic affairs ministry responsibility to “guide, coordinate and integrate” activities of ministers, government and “civil entities in Israel and abroad” as part of “the struggle against attempts to delegitimize Israel and the boycott movement.”

In May 2016, an Israeli governmental report criticized Netanyahu’s transfer of anti-BDS powers and funding away from the foreign ministry.

Strategic affairs “lacks the foreign ministry’s inherent advantages, including … [its] unmediated access to the battlefield and to collaboration with sympathetic groups and organizations abroad,” the report said.

Exposure could “harm the battle”

In September 2016, a leak to Haaretz exposed the depths of the feud between the two ministries.

A cable from the Israeli embassy in London to the foreign ministry reportedly complained about Erdan’s ministry.

It accused them of “operating” British Jewish organizations behind the embassy’s back in a way that could put them in violation of UK law.

Justifying the new law exempting his ministry from freedom of information, Erdan last month made reference to “bodies around the world” fighting BDS who “do not want to expose their connection with the state.”

He explained that “most of the ministry’s actions are not of the ministry” directly, but via such front groups. “We must protect the information whose exposure could harm the battle,” he insisted.

Israel is known to operate around the world via front organizations which claim to be grassroots “civil rights” or political groups.

Examples include the Mossad-linked “lawfare” organization Shurat HaDin, which attacks Palestine solidarity groups with egregious litigation. In the UK, the Israeli embassy maintains close ties to Labour Friends of Israeland the Jewish Labour Movement. The Union of Jewish Students has also received funding from the embassy, according to Al Jazeera’s undercover investigation of the Israel lobby earlier this year.

According to Blau, “the ministry spends tens of millions of shekels on cooperative efforts with the Histadrut labor federation, the Jewish Agency and various nongovernmental organizations in training representatives of the ‘true pluralistic face’ of Israel in various forums.”

This strategy of using apparently liberal or progressive organizations as a way to improve Israel’s image is in line with a secret report which was obtained by The Electronic Intifada in April.

Front groups

The report, by leading Israeli think tank the Reut Institute and the Israel lobby group the Anti-Defamation League, called for a “broad tent” approach in which “liberal and progressive pro-Israel groups” are deployed to engage with “soft critics of Israel.”

It argued that “the pro-Israel community must be united in this fight” and “benefits from its diversity.”

The report carried an endorsement from the director general of Erdan’s anti-BDS ministry.

In August 2015 Israel’s military intelligence agency Aman revealed to Haaretz that it had established a “delegitimization department” to spy on BDS activists overseas.

Was it this agency which furnished the information leading to Rabbi Wise and her friends being barred from Palestine by Israeli occupation authorities?

According to Mack, compilation of the blacklists of international activists could “be used for the covert compilation of ‘blacklists’ of Israeli human rights activists who are in touch” with them.

When Aman revealed to Haaretz it was “monitoring” BDS activists around the world, it emphasized “that it does not collect information on Israeli citizens. That is the job of the Shin Bet” – Israel’s secret police.

In March, it was revealed that Erdan wanted to start compiling a “database” of Israeli citizens who support BDS. But the attorney general and other Israeli officials accused his ministry of overstepping its legal authority.

If Erdan’s ministry is using these blacklists to covertly “monitor” Israeli activists too, it seems he may be in violation even of Israeli law.

JERUSALEM POST FEATURES CARLOS LATUFF TODAY

Image by Carlos Latuff

Thank you Jerusalem Post

No haters at all . (photo credit:CARLOS LATUFF / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

It is illegal to display symbols of Nazism in Germany. Tourists appear to be unaware of the law, according to local reports.

AMERICAN TOURIST IN GERMANY BEATEN FOR PERFORMING NAZI SALUTE

BY JTA

An American tourist was beaten by a local man after he made a Nazi salute in Dresden, Germany.

The American man, 41, was heavily intoxicated at the time of the incident on Saturday, with a blood alcohol level of .276 percent, the German news service Deutsch Welle reported.

The man was lightly injured, according to reports. His assailant ran away after the attack and is wanted by police.

The incident comes a week after two Chinese tourists were arrested in Germany for making the Nazi salute in front of the Reichstag German parliament building.

Those men were arrested for “using symbols of illegal organizations,” according to police. They were released after each posted bail of 500 euros, or nearly $600. If convicted, the men face a fine or prison sentence of up to three years.

It is illegal to display symbols of Nazism in Germany. Tourists appear to be unaware of the law, according to local reports.

ECHOS OF McCARTHYISM IN THE ANTI BDS CAMP

Image by Carlos Latuff

“All human beings deserve human and civil rights, including the Palestinians,” Waters said. “And we’re winning it. This is why they want to silence me, this is why they call me an anti-Semite and this why they don’t want me on Charlie Rose or Stephen Colbert, speaking.” (FROM)

Also see the following post by Michael Rivero (Click on link)

THE NEW McCARTHYISM

 

SPOTLIGHT ON SAM BAHOUR IN THE JERUSALEM POST

Sam Bahour is eager to open up the discussion concerning the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. But is there anyone to engage in the conversation?

Sam Bahour. (photo credit:TOMER ZMORA)

LISTENING
CLOSELY
Sam Bahour is eager to open up the
discussion concerning the IsraeliPalestinian
conflict. But is there anyone to
engage in the conversation? And why do
some members of the younger Palestinian
generation prefer talking of civil rights
rather than statehood?

NATAN ODENHEIMER  .. From Jerusalem Post Magazine

‘Why do you think Israelis want to hear you speak?”
I ask American-born Palestinian businessman
Sam Bahour in a Ramallah cafe.
“I’m a public figure, so when people come
to hear me, they know what’s on the menu,”
he replies. “There are all kinds of audiences. Some want to hear me
firsthand, others to challenge me, which many do, or to reinforce how
they argue against me outside, so they could say ‘I tried. I heard the
other side but I cannot change my opinion.’”
MANY SEE Bahour as a controversial figure. Perhaps this is because
alongside his business commitments he spends much time and energy
in “narrating,” as he puts it, to Israelis and American Jews the Palestinian
angle of the history and present of the conflict.
Bahour was born to a “very nationalistic family” in Youngstown, Ohio.
His parents, both originally from El-Bireh, raised him to know the
names and histories of their neighbors in Palestine better than that of
those living next door. During his college years, he became involved
with the Palestinian student movement, which was the PLO’s student
organ, and became a leader in the movement. After the Oslo Accords
were signed, he followed his wife back to Ramallah to work in business
development, hoping that the agreement would open the door for new
opportunities.
In the past 24 years Bahour co-founded Paltel, a telecommunication
company and the largest private-sector employer in the West Bank, served
on the board and as the treasure of Bir Zeit university, was a director of The
Arab Islamic Bank, and published opinion pieces in the Washington Post,
the Guardian and +972. Currently, he runs his own company, Applied
Information Management (AIM), specializing in business development
and focusing on information technology and start-ups.
In 2013, J Street U chapter at Brandeis University invited him to speak,
which some students found offensive since Bahour is a supporter of the
BDS movement and criticizes Israeli policy harshly.
Following the Brandeis event, a Committee for Accuracy in Middle
East Reporting in America (CAMERA) contributor, Ariella Charny,
published a blogpost titled “The Failures of Sam Bahour,” discrediting
him as an anti-peace activist.
But despite the many online descriptions of Bahour as a peace opposer
and Israel smearer, he didn’t blink before agreeing to an interview with
The Jerusalem Post, something that isn’t trivial in the current political
atmosphere. He believes that these sort of conversations – the kind that
is difficult to engage in – are key for moving forward.
“We as Palestinians,” he said, “failed in history in addressing Israelis
directly. We always thought that as long as we have an open door to the
US, an open door to Russia or the European Union, we can resolve the
conflict through a third party. I think it’s important but it’s impossible to
[resolve the conflict] without addressing the Israelis directly. I encourage
my people to do that in Hebrew as often as possible. Ultimately, this
dispute is no longer about Israel-Palestine. It’s about Israel itself.”
TWO EVENTS shaped Bahour’s political consciousness and fixated him
on what he sees as the Palestinian cause. The first was learning about the
Sabra and Shatilla massacre committed by Lebanese Christian militias
following the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. When the photos started
coming out, Bahour, who was a college student at the time, organized a
demonstration against Israel on campus.
“I’m aware of the fact that more than one party was responsible.
However, without Israel’s invasion of Lebanon it probably would not
have happened. I blame Israel and all else who were involved.
“I asked myself then,” he says, “how could that take place? That was
before Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria – these were supposed to be tragic events
that stop the world from spinning, but they didn’t.”
The second event was the eruption of the First Intifada. “I was about
to exit university in the year 1987-8 and already politically engaged. I
couldn’t just sit still at home. I visited Palestine many times before, but
my main activity on those visits mainly involved sitting on my aunt’s
balcony stuffing myself with food. That year was the first time I came
on a political tour. Understanding where the United States sits in this
reality, a superpower supporting Israel, made this conflict doubly
personal as an American and a Palestinian.”
Bahour returned to Youngstown to work in software development,
but made room in his schedule for leading group visits to Palestine.
Slowly, the intifada was fading, and around this time Bahour married
Abeer Barghouty from Deir Ghassana, who followed him to Ohio. “In 1993,” Bahour recalls, “the Oslo Accords were signed – no one expected
it. I read the agreement, and I became furious. I was against it.
“What kindled my anger was that the Palestinian side started the
process by recognizing Israel, and in return Israel recognized the
Palestinian Liberation Organization. This lopsidedness didn’t make
sense. It’s like the US would recognize the People’s Republic of China
and in response the PRC would recognize the Republican Party. It was a
bad agreement, but at least it was dated. That was the good thing about
it. We thought, ‘We have already been under occupation for 30-35 years,
what’s five more years?’
“I advocated – spoke and wrote – against the agreement. Then, one
time, I came back home and my wife told me, ‘What’s wrong with you?
The whole world is applauding this agreement through history. You are
the only person disliking it.’ She convinced me to reread the agreement
with a business eye, not a political one. She had a hidden agenda, of
course. She wanted to go back home. We just had our first child and this
Ohio thing didn’t work for her.”
Bahour gave the agreement another chance.
“There was an annex about every part of life, land, Areas A, B and C,
water, patrols, police – you name it, it was there. I came across Annex
No. 36, the Telecommunication annex, and the first paragraph was
great. I couldn’t have written it better myself. It said that Palestinians
have the right to build, operate and maintain separate and independent
networks. Long story short – this brought me back to Palestine. My
wife came back home, I relocated and got hired by a group of investors
that were negotiating with the Palestinian Authority to create the first
telecommunication company, Paltel.”
Life back home
However, when Bahour started working on Paltel, he read the rest
of the annex, and discovered clauses that limited the operation of the
telecommunication company taking its baby steps. “The annex said
that if we want frequencies and wavelengths allocated to us, we should
come back to the Israeli side and they alone will decide if it’s allowed.
Or, for instance, when we wanted to connect two Area As together, we
need to cross Area C, which is 62% of the West Bank, and every time we
wanted to do that we needed to get Israeli approval.
“You want to import equipment? You must jump through three Israeli
hoops, a hoop of customs, a hoop of standards and a hoop of security.
This slowed down our development process a great deal. So ultimately
the conclusion I reached over that year or so is that the political
lopsidedness of the agreement was translated into all of the sectors
setting them up for failure. It’s similar to me telling you you are welcome
to leave this cafe any time you want but I don’t tell you I sealed all the
doors and windows, and that there is no actual way,” he explains.
“Having said that, we did the best we could do within these limitations.
We built the largest private-sector company in Palestine, providing a
fixed-line network, a mobile network, and a telecommunication network.
It’s not separate and independent in the full sense of the word, but it’s
the best we could do. It also became very successful financially. Even too
successful financially, and that’s why I left. I felt like they [the directors
of Paltel] were making too much profit from an occupied people. Then
again, when I think back, I’m not sure the private sector, anywhere,
should be expected to [do] more than what it’s expected to do, which is
to hire people, create value and profit. I came with an illusion that the
private sector is part and parcel of the National Liberation Movement. It
was a mistake on my part.”
BAHOUR LEFT and opened his own consulting firm. The next year, he
was hired to put up the first shopping center in the Palestinian territories
(in Ramallah) called the Plaza Shopping Center.
During the Second Intifada, a lot of the clashes were very close to
the construction site and building the shopping center didn’t take 18
months as planned, but turned into a five-year challenge. Despite the
hardships, today the shopping center chain already has nine branches.
Bahour argues that the pace of the Palestinian economy’s growth is
limited by Israel and that if Israel eased restrictions on the economy,
even without solving the political crisis, the economy could grow
much more. “When my Israeli friends, especially those who are in the
supermarket business, visit, they are surprised by what we did here. I tell
them yes, it’s a ‘wow,’ but if it wasn’t for the boot of occupation on our
neck, we would have had branch number 50 by now.”
What do you mean?
“For instance, we aren’t able to have the frequencies we want, to be
able to put 3G on your smartphones. So every Palestinian smartphone is a dumb phone. It’s 2017 and Israel still refuses to
release the 3G frequencies. I’m almost embarrassed to
talk about it. I was in Denmark the other month and
they have signs there for 5G ‘coming soon,’ and we are
still begging for 3G.
“Israel, in my opinion, has full responsibility, not
over everything, but over the strategic economic
resources: water, frequencies, air spaces and borders.
For example, the Oslo Accords said we can make
bilateral agreements with any country as long as the
country has trade relations with Israel. Yet, we also
need to bring it to the Israeli side, not for approval,
but for acknowledging it, because they control the
border. We made nine agreements, and not one of
these agreements was recognized by Israel. Another
example is that Israel allows private companies to dig
marble on Palestinian land, which could have been a
resource used for stimulating Palestinian economy.”
You say that you spend almost 20% of your
time in speaking and engaging with American
Jews and Israelis. What’s the most important
thing for you to tell American Jews?
“Many of those I speak with are rabbinical students
that are here for studies or work in mainstream
organizations, and I show them what I know and
allow them to make the calculations of what that
means. Our people have a tendency to exaggerate the
reality to make their point. So if there are six soldiers
outside my house I put on that there are 600 to make
an impression, but at that point I lose my confidence
with my audience, so for me it’s important to lay out
the reality as we experience it,” he explains frankly.
“I do that comfortably because I know enough
about Judaism to understand that social justice is
a pillar of the religion and I think that this pillar
can be invoked if people would be better educated.
What I have seen in the last 15 years is that people
open their eyes and minds as I’m speaking to them.
It doesn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t happen at
once, but I can see a process taking place, and given
the number of people who come after the talks or the
engagements asking how to get involved, I know it’s
ringing somewhere.”
These discussions mostly take place in the West
Bank; among them are independent groups visiting,
some are organized thorough J Street, Encounter
Programs, Extend and other organizations.
Asked about the reactions he’s been getting in his
discussion, he replies: “At first, many American Jews
think that what I tell them accounts only for my
experiences or my opinion and that it doesn’t reflect
a broader community. So they try to limit my added value as a personal opinion, not of a community at
large. The second reaction is becoming pissed off at
their own establishment. These are grown people,
leaders in their community, and they are shocked.
They ask themselves, ‘How come I do not know the
entire story taking place on the other side of the
wall?’ Then comes the hard process of observing what
they learned without becoming ostracized in their
community. I think it’s a tiptoe act and I don’t envy
them for having to do it, because I know how hard it
is when you know something and want to act, but you
also don’t want to lose your roots and ability to work
within your community, and I think this gives people
a lot of pain.”
When did you find yourself in such a situation?
“There is a romanticism about Palestine that the
Palestinians over time created which has little to do
with the reality here. Let’s take, for example, the PLO
and PLO leadership. It was revered and upheld over the
years. But when you sit face to face with PLO operatives
and PA representatives and ministers and so forth you
start to see them for what they are. Some good, some
bad, like every government. Some competent, some
not. But definitely not an institutional body ready to
engage in the big struggle facing us. That was a wakeup
call for me. I encourage people not to romanticize
it, but also not to lose hope, to understand the reality,
each in its own way.”
What is your take on your Israeli audience?
“They are always the hardest ones. They come with
a very predefined notion of right and wrong. They
come with a possibly inherent racism or superiority
over Palestinians. They come rattling off very expired
thoughts, talking points that are 15 and 20 years old.”
Like what?
“They ask, ‘Who are you as a Palestinian?’ I thought
we were past that. That people understood we exist.
They go back to ‘God gave me this land’ so they put me
in a corner. What am I supposed to do? Defend God?…
The terrorism blocks them from seeing anything. To
evaluate anything. Two Israelis die, and suddenly the
entire 50 years of struggle becomes unthinkable.”
What is it that Palestinians want and Israelis
don’t understand?
“We desire the exact same things that every single
Israeli citizen desires when he wakes up: work, safety,
marriage, love, having a house, a car, a mobile phone,
tech, education for his children – Palestinians are no
better and no less than other people.“ What I don’t get is how the Israeli Knesset can both
tell its people that Gaza has nothing to do with Israel,
that it is not occupied, and at the same time maintain
the population registry; they register every newborn
child and issue them ID numbers.”
You think that Israelis are stuck in Oslo?
“I think the Israelis are stuck in Zionism. Zionism
was meant to create a state. That state was created,
and it turned out to be a very strong state. What they
should have done is put this ideology in the museum
and cherish it. Instead they took Zionism and rolled it
into all the institutions of the state.
“Fast forward to 2017, when Israel looks in the mirror
it doesn’t see Israel. They see a reflection of Zionism
and it’s very difficult for them to decide now – Are they
a state for their citizens? Are they a state among the
member states of the world (which means that there
are rules of how to act; having an occupation is not
one of those)? Or do they want to remain true to their
ideology which is exclusive by definition, and they
have to face that fall-out if they do.
“The current government doesn’t recognize this as
occupation. So I ask every Israeli I come across, if it’s
not occupation, then what is it? If it’s occupation,
it must end. Fifty years is far too long for temporary
occupation. If it’s not occupation, then I’m a subject,
in Ramallah, of the Israeli jurisdiction between the
Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River… I think
that they need to be wary: the next generation of
Palestinians may not beat their head against the wall
of statehood. My daughter may say, ‘You know what,
Israel? Congratulations. You win. You get it all. You get
the West Bank, west Jerusalem, east Jerusalem, you get
the water, we will throw in Gaza for free, and you know
what else you get? Us. And you know what more? We
heard there is free health care in Israel. Where do we
pick up our medical cards?’ If the next generation
drops the bid for statehood, what they will convert it
into is a bid for civil rights.”
This approach is becoming popular?
“There is a whole generation that speaks in this
language. I would encourage them not to do that.
Not because I don’t want civil rights, but because this
will force us into a one-state reality, but it’s not going
to be like Ohio and Pennsylvania, but like white and
black South Africa. We have 138 countries that said
yes to Palestine, nine that said no, of them, the only
two important ones are Israel and the US. We are
close to statehood. If we fail, we will not disappear or
vanish. We will convert our struggle into a civil rights
movement. If we do that, the game is over.”

ROGER WATERS EXPLAINS WHY BDS MOVEMENT IS VITAL

Roger Waters calls on fellow musicians to boycott Israel & explains why the BDS movement is vital

RABBIS IN SUPPORT OF LIFTING BDS TRAVEL BAN

“Boycotts are a legitimate nonviolent tactic that have been used both in our own country and around the world in order to create justice for marginalized and oppressed communities. Whether we support boycott is a controversy for the sake of heaven. It endures because we struggle together and debate how we can create peace, justice, and equality for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

Illustrative image of demonstrators outside the offices of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo protesting his executive order calling for New York companies to divest from organizations that support the BDS movement, June 9, 2016. (Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images)

After Jewish Voice of Peace activist barred from boarding flight to Ben Gurion, liberal clergy decry ‘anti-democratic’ law

More than 200 liberal US rabbis want Israel to lift travel ban on BDS leaders

JTA

More than 200 rabbis from the liberal movements of American Judaism signed a letter opposing Israel’s travel ban on leaders of the boycott movement against Israel.

The rabbis signing Wednesday’s letter were responding to an incident last month in which Rabbi Alissa Wise of Jewish Voice for Peace, which supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, was prevented from boarding an Israel-bound airplane leaving Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C.

Four other people traveling to Israel as part of an interfaith delegation, including two other Jews, a Christian and a Muslim, were also prevented from boarding the flight at the request of the Israeli government.

“We hold diverse opinions on BDS. Even though many of us have substantive differences with Rabbi Wise and other rabbinic colleagues who support the BDS movement in some or all of its forms, we believe that the decision to bar Rabbi Wise from visiting Israel is anti-democratic and desecrates our vision of a diverse Jewish community that holds multiple perspectives,” read the letter, which had been signed by 212 rabbis as of late Wednesday morning.

“Boycotts are a legitimate nonviolent tactic that have been used both in our own country and around the world in order to create justice for marginalized and oppressed communities. Whether we support boycott is a controversy for the sake of heaven. It endures because we struggle together and debate how we can create peace, justice, and equality for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” the letter said.

The signers included Rabbi Sharon Brous, of the independent IKAR congregation in  Los Angeles; Rabbi Amy Eilberg of Los Altos, California, the first women ordained by the Conservative movement; and Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights.

In March, the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, amended the Law of Entry to prevent leaders of the BDS movement from being allowed into Israel. The amendment applies to organizations, as well as the leadership and senior activists of those groups, that take consistent and significant action against Israel through BDS and threaten it with material harm.

JVP said at the time of the incident that it was the first time the amendment had been enforced before passengers boarded their flights to Israel and the first time that Israel has denied entry to Jews, including a rabbi, for their support of BDS.

An anti-BDS bill making its way through Congress would expand existing law that bans boycotts imposed by foreign governments to include those imposed by international organizations like the European Union and the United Nations.

POEM ~~ THE CANCER OF GENOCIDE

Genocide

By Tom Karlson

no war is the good war
not Afghanistan
not Iraq
Syria
not Yemen
or Palestine
genocide

shock and awe and fire and fury,
genocide’s alias
900 bases, genocide’s cancer
blockade and embargo, genocide’s handmaiden
the president’s pentagon, genocide’s fist
the president, genocide’s mouth

HISTORY OF WESTERN TERROR IN TOONS

REMEMBERING HIROSHIMA, NAGASAKI AND PALESTINE

Images by Carlos Latuff

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Hiroshima  before the U.S. destroyed it

Palestine before the US/Israel destroyed it

 

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