PROUD TO BE A CANADIAN …… HERE IS JUST ONE REASON WHY

Canada steps up aid for UN agency for Palestinian refugees following US cut.

The easiest way to shut down UNRWA is to let the refugees return home

UNRWA and Palestinian refugees are being treated unfairly – Cartoon [AlArabi21News/Twitter]

Canada pledges $50m to UNRWA

Canada has announced that it is contributing $50 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

Some $40 million would be allocated over two years to assist the health and education efforts of the refugee agency, a statement said.

Another $10 million is aimed at helping 460,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria and Lebanon.

International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said Canada’s new contribution would improve lives and “protect the human dignity” of millions of Palestinian refugees.

“This new funding to UNRWA is urgently needed, and it will bring some predictability to the agency as the needs on the ground are increasing,” Bibeau added.

UNRWA has been suffering from a budget deficit resulting from the ending of US funding.

The easiest way to shut down UNRWA is to let the refugees return home

ISRAEL’S ILLEGAL NUMBERS GAME

I never really understood the ‘numbers game‘ in the States, but the following one is pretty easy to understand ….

GOODBYE COLUMBUS!

Once again this year many schools will pause to commemorate Christopher Columbus. Given everything we know about who Columbus was and what he launched in the Americas, this needs to stop.

First landing of Columbus on the shores of the New World, at San Salvador, W.I., Oct. 12th 1492. ( Painting : Dióscoro Teófilo Puebla Tolín. Publisher : Currier and Ives)

Here’s why it’s time to abolish Columbus Day

 

Once again this year many schools will pause to commemorate Christopher Columbus. Given everything we know about who Columbus was and what he launched in the Americas, this needs to stop.

Columbus initiated the trans-Atlantic slave trade, in early February 1494, first sending several dozen enslaved Taínos to Spain. Columbus described those he enslaved as “well made and of very good intelligence,” and recommended to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella that taxing slave shipments could help pay for supplies needed in the Indies. A year later, Columbus intensified his efforts to enslave Indigenous people in the Caribbean. He ordered 1,600 Taínos rounded up—people whom Columbus had earlier described as “so full of love and without greed”—and had 550 of the “best males and females,” according to one witness, Michele de Cuneo, chained and sent as slaves to Spain. “Of the rest who were left,” de Cuneo writes, “the announcement went around that whoever wanted them could take as many as he pleased; and this was done.”

Taíno slavery in Spain turned out to be unprofitable, but Columbus later wrote, “Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.”

The eminent historian of Africa, Basil Davidson, also assigns responsibility to Columbus for initiating the African slave trade to the Americas. According to Davidson, the first license granted to send enslaved Africans to the Caribbean was issued by the king and queen in 1501, during Columbus’s rule in the Indies, leading Davidson to dub Columbus the “father of the slave trade.”

From the very beginning, Columbus was not on a mission of discovery but of conquest and exploitation—he called his expedition la empresa, the enterprise. When slavery did not pay off, Columbus turned to a tribute system, forcing every Taíno, 14 or older, to fill a hawk’s bell with gold every three months. If successful, they were safe for another three months. If not, Columbus ordered that Taínos be “punished,” by having their hands chopped off, or they were chased down by attack dogs. As the Spanish priest Bartolomé de las Casas wrote, this tribute system was “impossible and intolerable.”

And Columbus deserves to be remembered as the first terrorist in the Americas. When resistance mounted to the Spaniards’ violence, Columbus sent an armed force to “spread terror among the Indians to show them how strong and powerful the Christians were,” according to the Spanish priest Bartolomé de las Casas. In his book Conquest of Paradise, Kirkpatrick Sale describes what happened when Columbus’s men encountered a force of Taínos in March of 1495 in a valley on the island of Hispañiola:

The soldiers mowed down dozens with point-blank volleys, loosed the dogs to rip open limbs and bellies, chased fleeing Indians into the bush to skewer them on sword and pike, and [according to Columbus’s biographer, his son Fernando] “with God’s aid soon gained a complete victory, killing many Indians and capturing others who were also killed.”

All this and much more has long been known and documented. As early as 1942 in his Pulitzer Prize winning biography, Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Samuel Eliot Morison wrote that Columbus’s policies in the Caribbean led to “complete genocide”—and Morison was a writer who admired Columbus.

If Indigenous peoples’ lives mattered in our society, and if Black people’s lives mattered in our society, it would be inconceivable that we would honor the father of the slave trade with a national holiday. The fact that we have this holiday legitimates a curriculum that is contemptuous of the lives of peoples of color. Elementary school libraries still feature books like Follow the Dream: The Story of Christopher Columbus, by Peter Sis, which praise Columbus and say nothing of the lives destroyed by Spanish colonialism in the Americas.

No doubt, the movement launched 25 years ago in the buildup to the Columbus Quincentenary has made huge strides in introducing a more truthful and critical history about the arrival of Europeans in the Americas. Teachers throughout the country put Columbus and the system of empire on trial, and write stories of the so-called discovery of America from the standpoint of the people who were here first.

But most textbooks still tip-toe around the truth. Houghton Mifflin’s United States History: Early Years attributes Taíno deaths to “epidemics,” and concludes its section on Columbus: “The Columbian Exchange benefited people all over the world.” The section’s only review question erases Taíno and African humanity: “How did the Columbian Exchange change the diet of Europeans?”

Too often, even in 2015, the Columbus story is still young children’s first curricular introduction to the meeting of different ethnicities, different cultures, different nationalities. In school-based literature on Columbus, they see him plant the flag, and name and claim “San Salvador” for an empire thousands of miles away; they’re taught that white people have the right to rule over peoples of color, that stronger nations can bully weaker nations, and that the only voices they need to listen to throughout history are those of powerful white guys like Columbus. Is this said explicitly? No, it doesn’t have to be. It’s the silences that speak.

For example, here’s how Peter Sis describes the encounter in his widely used book: “On October 12, 1492, just after midday, Christopher Columbus landed on a beach of white coral, claimed the land for the King and Queen of Spain, knelt and gave thanks to God…” The Taínos on the beach who greet Columbus are nameless and voiceless. What else can children conclude but that their lives don’t matter?

Enough already. Especially now, when the Black Lives Matter movement prompts us to look deeply into each nook and cranny of social life to ask whether our practices affirm the worth of every human being, it’s time to rethink Columbus, and to abandon the holiday that celebrates his crimes.

More cities—and school districts—ought to follow the example of Berkeley, Minneapolis, and Seattle, which have scrapped Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples Day—a day to commemorate the resistance and resilience of Indigenous peoples throughout the Americas, and not just in a long-ago past, but today. Or what about studying and honoring the people Columbus enslaved and terrorized: the Taínos. Columbus said that they were gentle, generous, and intelligent, but how many students today even know the name Taíno, let alone know anything of who they were and how they lived?

Last year, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant put it well when she explained Seattle’s decision to abandon Columbus Day: “Learning about the history of Columbus and transforming this day into a celebration of Indigenous people and a celebration of social justice … allows us to make a connection between this painful history and the ongoing marginalization, discrimination, and poverty that Indigenous communities face to this day.”

We don’t have to wait for the federal government to transform Columbus Day into something more decent. Just as the climate justice movement is doing with fossil fuels, we can organize our communities and our schools to divest from Columbus. And that would be something to celebrate.

NEW IMAGE ~~ ISRAEL GOT NO TALENT

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got low scores at the UN for his speech attacking Iran and pointing to secret nuclear sites. When will he get voted off the show?

Image by Carlos Latuff

Last year’s ‘entry’ …

This year’s ‘entry’ (same old, same old)

RELATED …

Trump channels Netanyahu at the U.N., as his top policy-makers meet with Iran-war-mongers

As you surely know, Donald Trump channeled Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly. He mentioned Iran 14 times (compared to 0 for Russia and 4 for Israel) and all but called for regime change. Iran’s “brutal regime” was financing the destruction of Syria, its leaders “sow chaos, death and destruction,” its “corrupt dictatorship” should be isolated by the world.

This sly appeal was right out of the Netanyahu script:

[W]e ask all nations to support Iran’s people as they struggle to reclaim their religious and righteous destiny.

The media made a lot of Trump’s sovereignty doctrine–  nationalism and “patriotism” over “globalism” and multilateralism–  but even those remarks had a pro-Israel cast. Trump was talking about the US rejection of two Israel-bugaboos, the UN Human Rights Council and International Criminal Court.

As far as America is concerned, the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy, and no authority…. We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy….America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism…

There is an obvious reason Trump is parroting Netanyahu. Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam are the largest funders of Republicans, ponying up $55 million for the midterm elections. Trump needs Sheldon Adelson now more than ever, and Adelson has a simple agenda, Israel. Adelson backs Netanyahu, pushed the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, opposes negotiations with Palestinians, and called on President Obama to nuke Iran. Adelson wanted Trump to tear up the Iran deal, and he did.

The New York Times ran a good piece on Adelson’s influence last week, saying Sheldon and wife Miriam “have emerged as the biggest and potentially most influential contributors to Republicans in the midterm season,” and that the Adelsons have gotten “their most cherished priorities” from the “unflinchingly pro-Israel” Trump administration. The Times even ran a letter saying the Adelsons bought the presidency.

But it is disappointing that no one in the mainstream press is connecting the Trump administration’s theatrical anti-Iran push in New York yesterday with the rightwing Israel lobby, which seeks a war with Iran.

The agenda is clear. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, addressed an Adelson shop, the organization United Against Nuclear Iran, in NY yesterday, and it was a war party at the Westin Grand Central Hotel. Bolton issued a bellicose warning to Iran to great applause: “If you cross us, our allies, or our partners; if you harm our citizens; if you continue to lie, cheat and deceive, yes, there will indeed be hell to pay.” As Eli Clifton and Derek Davison reported ahead of time:

According to the organization’s guest list, in attendance will be virtually every prominent official both in the United States and overseas who has pushed for a military confrontation with Iran—a veritable who’s who of warmongers…

Those guests included leading officials from countries that want a war with Iran: Yossi Cohen, director of the Israeli Mossad; ambassadors from Bahrain and the UAE; and the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia. Not to mention American hawks Dennis Ross and Joe Lieberman (the UANI chair), and a French one, Bernard Henri-Levy.

Bolton and Pompeo address warmongers at the Westin Grand Central Hotel, UANI conference.

Like Trump and the Republicans, UANI has been funded by Adelson. “Sheldon and Miriam Adelson… contributed $500,000 in 2013,” Clifton reports–  the same year Adelson called on Obama to nuke Iran.

UANI’s biggest funder is Thomas Kaplan, a billionaire investor who supports liberal and Jewish causes, such as wildlife conservation and the 92d Street Y. Five years ago, Kaplan introduced Benjamin Netanyahu at the 92d Street Y in fulsome terms –hailing the prime minister as the leader of “our people.”

It is… with great humility that we welcome the prime minister of Israel. On his shoulders rests the heavy decisions of  not only making a just peace, but confronting a fanatical regime that threatens his people, our people. We are inspired by your leadership, sustained by your faith, and truly honored by your presence.

UANI is closely aligned with Israel. Its board includes Tamir Pardo, a former Mossad director, and Irwin Cotler, the Canadian parliamentarian who is obsessed with BDS. Its contracts include $700,000 to Israeli consulting groups.

And you wonder why the media can’t touch the Israel lobby story; they’d have to talk about national interest, dual loyalty, whatever you want to call it. Sheldon Adelson once said he wished he’d served in the Israeli army, not the American one. Or as Obama said when he was trying to get the Iran deal through, only one country in the world was against it, Israel, and he’d be abrogating his constitutional duty if he didn’t work for the deal.

I recognize that Prime Minister Netanyahu disagrees — disagrees strongly… I believe he is wrong.  I believe the facts support this deal.  I believe they are in America’s interest and Israel’s interest.  And as President of the United States, it would be an abrogation of my constitutional duty to act against my best judgment simply because it causes temporary friction with a dear friend and ally.  I do not believe that would be the right thing to do for the United States.  I do not believe it would be the right thing to do for Israel.

Obama said the only alternative to the deal was war.

And Trump owes war-mongering Adelson everything; and he tore up the Iran deal. And the media “has largely supported Trump’s fictitious view” of the deal.

That’s the real issue here. Trump has surrounded himself with warmongers. Though yesterday he tweeted that he is sure that Iranian president Hasan Rouhani is an “absolutely lovely man,” his militant speech at the U.N. was scripted; and the script is what we all have to worry about. Once again neoconservatives are scheming for the invasion of a sovereign country in the Middle East, and it would be helpful if the press described the agenda.

IMAGE OF THE DAY ~~ STANDING UP TO EVIL IN GAZA (INFLUENCED BY KING DAVID)

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Image by Carlos Latuff

The bravest of all Mothers!

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PRINCIPLED ANTI ZIONISM ~~ A GUIDE

What does principled anti-Zionism look like?  And what might it accomplish?

At its best, a principled anti-Zionism understands that freedom isn’t merely an optimal byproduct of struggle, but its only acceptable outcome.

A guide to principled anti-Zionism

An optimal anti-Zionism supersedes Palestine’s geography.  It likewise transcends ethnocentric interests. Anti-Zionism is a politics and a discourse, sometimes a vocation, but at its best it is also a sensibility, one attuned to disorder and upheaval.  It is a commitment to unimaginable possibilities—that is, to realizing what arbiters of common sense like to call “impossible.”

What, then, does a principled anti-Zionism look like?  And what might it accomplish? Here are some suggestions:

  • It is internationalist in the classic Marxist sense of the term; as such, it informs and absorbs liberation movements around the world.
  • It is anti-capitalist because Palestine will be free only when nobody within its borders is exploited.  (You can agitate for something less perfect, yes, but the language should reflect the limitations of that approach.)
  • It recognizes that mass extinction is earth’s immediate forecast.  Israel has destroyed Palestine’s environment with an array of bulldozers, munitions, and chemical weapons, along with overdevelopment to accommodate settlers.  It is, in short, an ecological catastrophe requiring what Anthony Galluzzo terms a “decelerationist socialism” to avert or at least mitigate our “literal gothic nightmare.”
  • It moves beyond opposition to military occupation.  Decolonization is key. The difference may appear semantic, but it’s actually significant.  In addition to disrupting the colonizer’s physical and political control, decolonization aims to abolish the settler’s psychic influence.
  • It is feminist in both theory and practice.  There’s no pre-patriarchal history in Palestine to satisfy our nostalgia, but this shouldn’t prevent us from pursuing a post-patriarchal future.  It’s critical to decouple visions of this pursuit from Western orthodoxies around sex and gender.
  • It opposes all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism.  This principle on its own decisively rebukes Zionism.
  • It is anti-imperialist.  While anti-Zionism and anti-imperialism are coterminous, some elements of the pro-Palestine crowd yearn for a world the USA can dominate without Israeli interference.  Other elements of the crowd have a bad habit of supporting US interventions that either benefit or directly involve Israel (as in Syria). Imperialism executes colonial fantasies of redemption; it has no place in any serious political community.
  • It doesn’t reduce Palestine to a branding device that can be invoked or ignored depending on the mood of editors and prize committees, or an instrument of celebrity to be calibrated according to market fluctuations in the pundit economy.
  • It doesn’t give progressive politicians a pass when they suck up to the Israel lobby.

These suggestions, I realize, risk transforming Palestine into a utopian tableau, perhaps a search for some kind of “Palestinian Wakanda,” as a prominent activist put it at a recent event I attended.  There’s much to be said about the benefits that would come from basic freedoms (travel, medical care, civil rights, housing, and so forth). I see no appreciable conflict between efforts at short-term relief and long-term emancipation.  Upholding principles that maintain the dignity of struggle foregrounds an effective material politics. We oughtn’t surrender notions of possibility to people who adore a stunted imagination.

Moreover, the suggestions don’t simply appeal to Palestine solidarity activists; they also demand that progressive formations take up anti-Zionism.  We’re well past the point where it’s acceptable to dispose of Palestine as a matter of choice or necessity. There’s significant opposition to Israeli brutality on the US left, but hardly any consequence in electoral culture for cosigning or ignoring that brutality.

Done without care, opposition to Israeli brutality can reify other forms of oppression, or it can conceptualize Israel as an aberration from honorable American values.  Israel doesn’t corrupt the United States—nor does the United States corrupt Israel. Both states originated through corruption—as paragons of foreign settlement, land theft, environmental degradation, racial inequality, and labor exploitation—a condition they mutually reproduce within and beyond their borders.  Israel doesn’t distract the United States from its otherwise noble mission in the world; it helps the United States manage a world order beneficial to its ruling class.

Disrupting those benefits is easier than it might seem.  We shouldn’t voluntarily concede to the oppressor, first of all.  The needs of power aren’t our guidepost for liberation; our notions of justice aren’t derivative of colonial logic.  At its best, a principled anti-Zionism understands that freedom isn’t merely an optimal byproduct of struggle, but its only acceptable outcome.

NEW IMAGES SHOWING THE SCREWING OF PALESTINE

Images by Carlos Latuff

The Israeli blockade is a form of collective punishment that prevents Gazans from being able to support themselves and restrict access to food, medical care and education.

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Donald J. Trump directly ordered the $200 million dollar cut in much needed aid to Palestinians.

 

 

 

ISRAEL LOBBY LEAKS

First see THIS post for background info …..

New leaked excerpts from censored Al Jazeera film reveal The Israel Project’s secretive Facebook influence campaign.

Leaked Clips from Censored Documentary on Israel Lobby Reveal Attacks on US Activists

Excerpts of the censored Al Jazeera undercover film on the Israel lobby in the US have started to be leaked. The Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah and the Grayzone Project’s Max Blumenthal explain how these clips show the Israeli government backing attacks on American pro-Palestinian activists and Black Lives Matter.

TOON FOR TODAY ~~ WHO’S NEXT?

Who’s next on Netanyahu’s & Donald Trump’s list of targets to undermine Palestine’s struggle for freedom?

Image by Carlos Latuff

ZION USES FACEBOOK TO TARGET THE POETRY OF FREEDOM

 Facebook campaigns were run by professional Washington D.C. political operatives who work for a group called the Israel on Campus Coalition, according to promotional materials obtained by ProPublica and the Forward.

 

Pro-Israel Group Secretly Ran Misleading Facebook Ads To Target Palestinian-American Poet

This story was co-published with ProPublica, the investigative journalism organization.

 

In 2016, as Palestinian-American poet Remi Kanazi performed at college campuses around the United States, his appearances seemed to spark student protests.

Before his visit to John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, a page called “John Jay Students Against Hate” appeared on Facebook with Kanazi’s face next to a uniformed cop, painting Kanazi as anti-police. When Kanazi crossed the country a few days later to visit San Jose State, a nearly-identical Facebook page popped up, this one called “SJSU Students Against Hate,” with Kanazi’s face superimposed over an image of military graves. Paid Facebook campaigns promoted both pages.

Despite their names, the Facebook campaigns were run by professional Washington D.C. political operatives who work for a group called the Israel on Campus Coalition, according to promotional materials obtained by ProPublica and the Forward.

In the materials, which the ICC distributed to its donors, the group describes each of the Facebook pages as an “anonymous digital campaign.” The group says it paid to promote the campaign, which reached tens of thousands of people.

The social media campaigns provide another example of how well-funded advocacy organizations are using deceptive strategies to promote their cause online. The ICC launched these campaigns during the 2016 election season, at the same time that entities linked to the Russian government bought misleading Facebook ads on a range of political issues.

The ICC didn’t respond to requests for comment. The group had a budget of $9 million in its fiscal year ending in June 2017, according to federal tax filings. Its funders include the foundations of billionaire Republican donor Paul Singer and philanthropist Lynn Schusterman.

Asked about the Israel on Campus Coalition pages, a Facebook spokesman said they “violate our policies against misrepresentation and they have been removed.”

In response to criticism of Russia-linked ads, Facebook recently created new rules requiring disclosure of who is paying for political ads on the site. How the company defines what is political remains murky.

Anonymous digital campaigns appear to be a central part of the ICC’s efforts to combat pro-Palestinian activism on U.S. campuses. This past spring, the ICC appears to have set up at least one anonymous website to oppose a George Washington University student government resolution that called on the school to divest its endowment from certain companies that students said were profiting from Israeli violations of Palestinian rights, the Forward reported.

The ICC’s leaders discussed their covert social media tactics in an unaired Al Jazeera documentary featuring hidden camera footage of Washington, D.C. pro-Israel advocacy officials.

“With the anti-Israel people, what’s most effective, what we found at least in the last year, is you do the opposition research, put up some anonymous website, and then put up targeted Facebook ads,” said the ICC’s executive director, Jacob Baime, in the Al Jazeera documentary, which was filmed in 2016. The film was viewed by ProPublica and the Forward.

Baime also said in the documentary that his organization’s work is based on a doctrine used to fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban. “It’s modeled on General Stanley McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy,” Baime said. “We’ve copied a lot from that strategy that has been working really well for us, actually.”

McChrystal, who led the U.S. military’s special forces and the NATO war effort in Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010, emphasized so-called “offensive information operations” to embarrass and discredit violent insurgents.

The Al Jazeera documentary, in which a journalist went undercover as an intern for a pro-Israel advocacy group in Washington, has been the subject of months of international intrigue and has never been aired by the network. Decrying the undercover tactics, pro-Israel groups and members of Congress have pushed back against the documentary series and Qatar, which funds Al Jazeera. The network, which has faced public criticism from its own journalists for not airing the documentary, said in April it did not buckle under pressure from a pro-Israel group in deciding not to broadcast the program. A spokesman didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Footage in the documentary also shows ICC officials describing their working relationship with the Israeli government.

Baime says in the documentary that ICC officials “coordinate” or “communicate” with Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, an Israeli government department that has become the hub of the Israeli government’s overt and covert efforts against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement in the U.S. and around the world. A spokesman for the agency didn’t respond to requests for comment.

In the same hidden camera footage, Ian Hersh, the ICC’s director of operations, said that the Ministry of Strategic Affairs participates in the group’s “Operations and Intelligence Brief,” a regular strategy meeting.

In recent days, some aspects of the Al Jazeera documentary as well as a short clip have been posted on the website Electronic Intifada, a pro-Palestinian news site whose executive director, Ali Abunimah, appears as an interviewee in the film.

Baime and Hersh didn’t respond to requests for comment about the footage of them in the documentary.

The ICC’s online efforts against Kanazi, the Palestinian-American poet, began in November 2016 while he was touring college campuses to promote his book, “Before the Next Bomb Drops: Rising Up From Brooklyn to Palestine.”

According to the ICC’s donor materials, the group identified and worked with a non-Jewish military veteran and San Jose State University student to write a blog post critical of Kanazi. The precise nature of the group’s work with the student is unclear from the donor materials, and the student did not respond to requests for comment.

The ICC then created and paid to promote the “SJSU Students Against Hate” page, which linked to the blog post.

“Kanazi preaches hate on the campuses he visits,” the student wrote in the post, which appeared on the website Medium and has since been deleted.

Kanazi said that he does not recall being aware of the anonymous Facebook pages at the time. “These insidious tactics are part of a larger campaign to smear students, professors, and anyone who dares speak up for Palestinian human rights at universities,” he said in an email.

Here is but one example of Remi’s ‘threat to zion’

Remi Kanazi – Normalize This!

FROM A PLACE WHERE NEW YEAR’S COMES BEFORE CHRISTMAS

We wish all of our Jewish friends, family and readers a wonderful and happy New Year filled with good health, happiness and PEACE!

Shana Tova Metuka!!

Image may contain: food and text

NETANYAHU WELCOMES THE UNWELCOME

“The president of the Philippines isn’t a wanted guest here, and his visit is a shameful diplomatic stain.”

Duterte in Israel: Holocaust, Rape Excuses and Weapons

Duterte in Israel: Holocaust, Rape Excuses and Weapons

Everything the Phillipines’ president has done in his Israel visit so far – and he still has one day to go

Haaretz

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Israel sparked headlines before it even began, and those expecting him to keep causing commotion during the trip were not disappointed.

Here are five highlights – or what some would call lowpoints – of the controversial leader’s four days in Israel, plus Haaretz’s must-read Editorial and a bonus at the end.

1. Defending rape

After landing in Israel on Sunday, Duterte addressed an audience of Filipinos at an event in Jerusalem, where he defended remarks about rape he made a week earlier.

According to a foreign reporter who was at the event, the president listed “democracy and freedom of expression” as justifications for his statement that “if there are many beautiful women, there will be many rape cases as well.”

2. ‘Passion for peace’

The next day, Duterte met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “May we continue to be blessed with a strong relationship,” Duterte said after the meeting.

“We share the same passion for peace. We share the same passion for human beings. But we also share the same passion of not allowing a family to be destroyed by those who [have] corrupt ideologies… In this sense, Israel can expect any help that the Philippines can extend.”

Later that day, Duterte layed a wreath at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum – a visit that some criticized as inappropriate given that in 2016, Duterte compared his crackdown on drug dealers and users to the Holocaust.

“Critics compare me to Hitler’s cousin,” he said two years ago. “Hitler massacred 3 million Jews… there’s 3 million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”

4. ‘The devil himself’

On Tuesday, Duterte met President Reuven Rivlin and told him that he was encouraging his military to purchase Israeli equipment.

While protesters outside called Duterte a dictator and a criminal, Rivlin brought up his counterpart’s visit to Yad Vashem. “I have to emphasize that the whole of humanity, not just the Jewish world and the free world, felt that Hitler represents the devil himself,” Rivlin said, without mentioning the 2016 incident.

5. Secret stops

Duterte’s public schedule contains no mention of events related to arms transactions, despite the fact that several such events are expected to be on the president’s itinerary, including the display of advanced weapons and equipment.

The sale of Israeli-made weapons to the Duterte regime has come up against public criticism as a result of the human rights violations in the Philippines, and as a result of comments by Duterte that have sparked outrage.

6. A Hitler admirer at Yad Vashem

“The president of the Philippines isn’t a wanted guest here, and his visit is a shameful diplomatic stain.”

‘LORD’ JONATHAN CONTINUES THE SMEARING OF JEREMY CORBYN

Earlier this week Rabbi Jonathan Sacks made himself look foolish, tarnishing his worldwide reputation as a man of considerable Jewish learning and wisdom by making outlandish criticism of the Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“Anti-Semitism is a virus that survives by mutating. In the Middle Ages, Jews were hated because of their religion. In the 19th and 20th centuries they were hated because of their race. Today they are hated because of their nation state, Israel. Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism.”

The smearing of Jeremy Corbyn, by Katie Miranda

Rabbi Sacks’ attack on Corbyn damages the standing of the British Jewish community

Earlier this week Rabbi Jonathan Sacks made himself look foolish, tarnishing his worldwide reputation as a man of considerable Jewish learning and wisdom by making outlandish criticism of the Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn.

This morning, on the BBC Andrew Marr Show, he did it again:

“He [Corbyn] implies the majority of British Jews are essentially alien to British culture…he is as great a danger as Enoch Powell.”

For younger readers and those less familiar with U.K. political history, Enoch Powell was a Conservative Member of Parliament from the 1950s through to the early 70s who Andrew Marr explained to his viewers is “probably the most reviled British figure of the 20th century”.

The former Chief Rabbi of Britain has chosen to storm into the issue that’s dominated U.K. politics over the summer (far more so than Brexit) – the accusations of antisemitism against Jeremy Corbyn.

As the Jewish establishment’s war against Corbyn goes on, I’ve become more convinced by the day of the damage it’s doing to the standing of the Jewish community and our ability to challenge antisemitism and confront racism more broadly by making common cause with other minority groups.

Every spin, twist and distortion applied Corbyn’s meetings, comments and speeches confuses and undermines public understanding of antisemitism. It’s coming to the point where the very word ‘antisemitism’ will lose all meaning and allegations of antisemitism will become discounted as mere political lobbying or dismissed as inconsequential.

The latest example of phoney Corbyn antisemitism, and the one which prompted Sacks to make his Enoch Powell comparison, centred on the news that Corbyn had accused British Zionists of failing to understand English irony despite living in this country for many years. The mainstream media ran with the story, happy to promote the idea that Corbyn was speaking in code and actually meant all British Jews, and not some British Zionists, were not truly British. It took online commentators, such as the Jewish Studies professor Jerry Haber, to examine the proper context of what Corbyn had said, go back to the text of the speech by Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian Authority representative to the UK, which Corbyn was referencing, and reveal the obvious and deliberate distortion that had taken place.

[Jerry Haber, Facebook post Saturday 25 August 5pm]

— Did you hear that Jeremy Corbyn, in a speech in 2013, said that British Jews weren’t really British even if they were born there?

— Really? He said that?

— Well, he intimated that British Jews couldn’t grasp English irony and didn’t understand history.”

— Really? He was referring to Jews?

— Well, he didn’t SAY Jews, but he said that about UK Zionists, which is a leftwing code term for British Jews.

— Hang on, he made a reference to UK Zionists as a group?

— Well, not exactly. Actually, he was referring to some pro-Israel members of the audience who came up and started arguing with the Palestinian ambassador who had presented the history of Palestine and used irony when he said, “You know I’m reaching the conclusion that the Jews are the children of God, the only children of God and the Promised Land is being paid by God! I have started to believe this because nobody is stopping Israel building its messianic dream of Eretz Israel to the point I believe that maybe God is on their side. Maybe God is partial on this issue.”” which apparently some of the Zionists thought he meant without irony (We do not have a transcript of what they said) . And Corbyn referred to “the Zionists in the audience.”

— So, you mean to say he did not refer to British Zionists as a whole, but he was saying that the Palestinian ambassador, who is Armenian Palestinian, had a greater grasp of English irony, than these Brits who had lived in England all their lives?

— Yes, that’s about it.

— So, in effect, he accused pro-Israeli members of the audience, whom he referred to as “Zionists”, which they are, and who argued with the Palestinian ambassador, with being humorless and misunderstanding history, compared with the Palestinian ambassador.

— Yep.

— Well, that makes the man clearly an anti-Semite, doesn’t it?

Content to believe the national media’s shoddy journalism, Rabbi Sacks gave his interview to the New Statesman magazine saying Corbyn’s comments about British Zionists were: “the most offensive statement made by a senior British politician since Enoch Powell’s 1968 ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech”.

Here’s what I wrote on Facebook as the news of Sacks’ comments were being picked up by the national media allowing ‘Labour’s ‘antisemitism crisis’ to continue to dominate the daily news cycle:

[Robert Cohen, Facebook post Tuesday 28 August 11.23pm]

Every time a Jewish leader (this time Rabbi Jonathan Sacks) makes a preposterous statement about Jeremy Corbyn and antisemitism, it weakens the Jewish community’s ability to make common cause with other minorities facing prejudice and discrimination in the U.K.

By comparing Jeremy Corbyn to Enoch Powell it gives the appearance that Lord Sacks has no understanding of the contrasting experience of the Jewish community here (largely privileged, empowered, economically successful) and that of the immigrant communities from the British Commonwealth – the target of Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech 50 years ago – still experiencing institutional prejudice and economic discrimination linked to class and skin colour. Look at Grenfell. Look at the Windrush scandal.

Just because the Jewish community is now a largely privileged minority does not mean it does not suffer from racial prejudice. It does. Antisemitism remains in our society. And our current position of security could easily be reversed just as it was for the privileged and successful Jews of Germany who in the 1920s thought only further progress would lay ahead.

But by having nothing to say about Israel’s daily persecution and dispossession of Palestinians and by dismissing the global criticism of the new Nation State Law, Jonathan Sacks calls into question his moral authority and his right to criticise Corbyn. Antisemitism undoubtedly exists on the left in the U.K. And far more so on the right. But, as things currently stand, we are a minority that suffers little compared to the minorities around us.

If I were a Muslim or from an African Caribbean heritage and knew something of what has happened to the Palestinian people, I would be thoroughly confused by the stand Sacks is taking and his deployment of Enoch Powell as a point of reference for Jewish U.K. experience. It’s just wildly inappropriate. And indeed, insensitive to the lived experience of non-white minorities in this country.

The only explanation that makes any sense to me is the fact that Israel has become merged with modern Jewish identity in a way that now skews our moral compass. How to untangle this mess is the Jewish challenge of our Age, along with the need to find new ways to ensure Jewish security not dependent on the oppression of others.

In the U.K. (and around the world) it would be better to use our current success and privilege to demand greater attention to the racism and discrimination other groups experience every day, whether it be job opportunities, housing, health or gaining a prominent voice in mainstream media. Our Jewish experience of institutional and cultural oppression makes us well suited to build bridges with those suffering from this today.

As it happens I’m currently reading Sacks’ book ‘Lessons in Leadership’ in which he takes biblical figures and draws ethical conclusions from the Torah about what good leadership should look like. This extract (about Noah) makes me wonder (once again) why Sacks never applies his thinking to Israel and the suffering of the Palestinian people:

“It is not enough to be righteous if that means turning our backs on a society that is guilty of wrongdoing. We must take a stand. We must protest. We must register dissent even if the probability of changing minds is small. This is because the moral life is the life we share with others.”

These words inspire me to take the position I do as a U.K. Jew in solidarity with the Palestinian people and desperate for justice to come to the Holy Land – for all who call it home. I wish Rabbi Sacks would feel the same way when he reads his own writing.

Within 48 hours this Facebook commentary had been shared more than 2,500 times.

The ‘mutation’ argument

Rabbi Sacks chooses to make his Corbyn/Powell comparison because he’s determined to argue that anti-Zionism – Zionism being the thinking that underpins support for the State of Israel as it’s currently constituted – is nothing more than the latest mutation of antisemitism. As he wrote in 2016

“Anti-Semitism is a virus that survives by mutating. In the Middle Ages, Jews were hated because of their religion. In the 19th and 20th centuries they were hated because of their race. Today they are hated because of their nation state, Israel. Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism.”

It’s an idea Sacks was keen to repeat to Andrew Marr this morning and it’s a conflation encouraged and reinforced by Israel’s leaders and by the Jewish communal and religious establishment around the world. As a theory it has traction because it’s a presentation of antisemitism, and indeed Jewish history and Judaism itself, that’s unchallenged by most Jews. In great part, the Jewish embrace of the conflation is an understandable response to the Holocaust. Jewish long-term global security is seen as absolutely contingent on the safety and security of the Jewish State of Israel. So to attack Israel, or question the logic or reality of Zionism in any way, is to attack and question all Jews.

The constant assertion that anti-Zionism is no more than a mutation of antisemitism and Zionism has been no more than a noble endeavour with a religious and historically necessary validation, enables the shutdown of legitimate criticism. The whole debate about Israel’s behaviour becomes a discussion (or row) about antisemitism that allows no room for talking about international law, or human rights or the undeniable Palestinian experience of racism that would not have taken place without Zionism.

IHRA definition

The Israel related illustrations in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism are an example of the conflation/mutation argument being used as a political lobby tool rather than a code to help the understanding of antisemitism.

This is the case even with the IHRA use of caveat words like “might” which attempt to recognise the need for context. The document leaves the onus on the critic of Israel and Zionism to prove they are innocent of antisemitism. Even the author of the illustrations, Kenneth Stern, has voiced his concern that the code works against freedom of speech.

It’s important to recognise that the left is not entirely innocent in all of this. But the behaviour of some is clearly part of the problem caused by the conflation itself.

Some left wing critics of Israel (a tiny but visible minority mostly confined to social media) feed off, or are fooled by, the conflation theory themselves. They draw on traditional antisemitic tropes (such as Jewish control of the media or international finance) to express an ignorant and deeply misguided analysis of the Middle East. It’s clumsy, stupid and racist and needs to be constantly called out and firmly corrected. It also does enormous damage to the cause of Palestinian freedom. But Jewish leaders like Sacks need to recognise that this is the ugly flip side of their insistence that all things Israel are all things Jewish.

While leaders like Jonathan Sacks continue to speak as if Zionism is, was, and forever will be, an innocent and holy endeavour, we will be stuck with a devalued and discounted understanding of antisemitism. And the muddle, confusion and politicisation of antisemitism will continue to undermine our ability to challenge it or understand the suffering of the Palestinian people.

LABOUR DAY … MORE THAN JUST A PICNIC!

Have a great day and enjoy the following

ANOTHER RACIST MOVING TO ISRAEL

Roseanne Barr coming to Israel

Fresh off racism controversy, the comedian says she will move to Israel for a few months in order to study with a Rabbi.

Roseanne Barr

Watch this short video to see the rabbi in question’s own racism ….

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach tells crowd: Down with the Palestinians

*

Fresh off a racism controversy that got her fired from hr award-winning television show, comedian Roseanne Barr says that she will travel to Israel in order to study with a Rabbi.

‘I have an opportunity to go to Israel for a few months and study with my favorite teachers over there, and that’s where I’m going to go and probably move somewhere there and study with my favorite teachers,’ Roseanne, 65, said on a recent podcast with celebrity Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.

HOORAY FOR LANA DEL REY

Lana Del Rey cancels Israel concert

After pressure from BDS, American singer and songwriter announces she will postpone Israel concert until she can also visit “Palestine”.

Lana Del Rey

American singer and songwriter Lana Del Rey on Friday announced she would be postponing a planned concert in Israel, following calls on her not to perform in the Jewish state.

Del Rey had been scheduled to perform in Israel as part of the Meteor Festival which will take place at Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan, outside of Tiberias in the upper Galilee, from September 6 through 8.

On Friday, however, she announced, “It’s important to me to perform in both Palestine and Israel and treat all my fans equally. Unfortunately it hasn’t been possible to line up both visits with such short notice and therefore I’m postponing my appearance at the Meteor Festival until a time when I can schedule visits for both my Israeli and Palestinian fans, as well as hopefully other countries in the region.”

SWAN SONG OF McCAIN

 

Image by Latuff

John McCain proved on several occasions that he was always willing to stoop to new lows in his support of US militarism and empire, whether it was standing on stage with Neo-Nazis in Ukraine or taking candid photos with terrorists in Syria.

Swan Song of McCain

By Thomas Karlson

                               I

when the son of US royalty kicks the bucket

they pull out all the stops

honeyed words to ease him into the ground

sanctimonious phrases to sanitize the stench

of four score and one going south

 

“McCnasty”plows through high school

finishing at the bottom

off to the Academy, the Naval Academy

the admirals, grandpa and daddy, grease his way

graduates fifth from class bottom

 

off to pilot school

riding high on a Skyhawk in that great illegal war

flying 23 missions, bombing farms and factories

shot down, rescued, imprisoned six years

 

next, marriage, adultery, remarriage and Congress

a Ragan man all the way

war, tax relief all the way

Keating’s boy he’s one of the 5

                             II

Goldwater retires and in steps the man

no King remembrance is his stand

backs the contras and Pinochet too

bomb Yugoslavia right on cue

 

to end discrimination for gays, he votes nay

same sex marriage, no he did say

billions for Israel that Palestinian paradise

bombs for the Saudis was his sage advice

Libya, Syria he schemed to destroy

terror and Isis for this he deployed

voting against torture, he praises Guantanamo Bay

keep it open forever the American way

 

and for the presidency he did run

with reality show Sarah, that Alaskan bum

bomb, bomb, bomb Iran he sings at a rally

looses to Obama at the final tally

 

and then the Trump years began

he votes with 45 again and again

but flies from the hospital for the deciding vote

finally “the maverick” gives us hope

that even McCain has a little soul

 

55 YEARS OF DREAMING

WE HAD A BEAUTIFUL DREAM …

… BUT IT TURNED INTO AN UGLY NIGHTMARE

It was 55 years ago today that Martin Luther King delivered his famous ‘I Have A Dream Speech’ at the Great March on Washington for Peace and Freedom. 

I was there along with a quarter of a million fellow Americans. It was the most gratifying day of my life as I was on the organising committee for that March the entire summer. To witness such a success was most rewarding. To hear the words of the great Dr. King, spoken live, were most encouraging. The last paragraph of his speech is the part that has stayed with me every day of my life since then…

“And when this happens, When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

‘DEEP IN MY HEART, I DO BELIEVE, WE SHALL OVERCOME ONE DAY.’

(From Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday Concert (Clearwater Concert), Madison Square Garden, 5/3/09. Featuring: Pete Seeger, Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, Toshi Reagon, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, Billy Bragg, Keller Williams, Ani DiFranco, Ruby Dee, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, New York City Labor Choir.)

IF DERSHOWITZ SAYS THIS, THEN IT’S REALLY THAT!

Image by Carlos Latuff

Netanyahu and the Israel Lobby try to take down Jeremy Corbyn

Now we know the truth!

Jeremy Corbyn is NOT an anti Semite!

Dershowitz: Corbyn a virulent anti-Semite

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz tells British journalists not to lecture Americans on politics while Jeremy Corbyn leads Labour party.

THE TAMIMI FAMILY SAGA CONTINUES

Ahed Tamimi’s brother Waed to be jailed for over a year for throwing stones. He joins countless young Palestinians jailed for misdemeanors by the Israeli authorities.

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