VETERANS STAND FOR STANDING ROCK

As many as 2,000 veterans planned to gather next week at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to serve as “human shields” for protesters who have for months clashed with the police over the construction of an oil pipeline, organizers said.

Veterans join Standing Rock water protectors

Veterans join Standing Rock water protectors

Veterans Serve as Human Shields for Dakota Pipeline  

Christopher Mele

As many as 2,000 veterans planned to gather next week at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to serve as “human shields” for protesters who have for months clashed with the police over the construction of an oil pipeline, organizers said.

The effort, called Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, is planned as a nonviolent intervention to defend the demonstrators from what the group calls “assault and intimidation at the hands of the militarized police force.”

The veterans’ plan coincides with an announcement on Tuesday by law enforcement officials that they may begin imposing fines to block supplies from entering the main protest camp after a mandatory evacuation order from the governor. Officials had warned earlier of a physical blockade, but the governor’s office later backed away from that, Reuters said.

Protesters have vowed to stay put. Opponents of the 1,170-mile Dakota Access Pipeline have gathered for months at the Oceti Sakowin camp, about 40 miles south of Bismarck. The Standing Rock Sioux and other Native American tribes fear the pipeline could pollute the Missouri River and harm sacred cultural lands and tribal burial grounds.

The evacuation order issued on Monday by Gov. Jack Dalrymple cited “anticipated harsh weather conditions.” It came before a winter storm dumped about six inches of snow and brought strong winds to the area on Monday, making roads “roads nearly impassable at the camp sites,” according to Doualy Xaykaothao of Minnesota Public Radio, who was cited by NPR.

The governor’s statement said, “Any person who chooses to enter, re-enter or stay in the evacuation does so at their own risk.” The order was effective immediately and was to remain in place indefinitely.

The veterans’ effort will also run up against a plan by the Army Corps of Engineers to close off access to the protesters’ campsite and create a “free speech zone.” Federal officials said anyone found on the land after Dec. 5 could be charged with trespassing.

“Yeah, good luck with that,” Michael A. Wood Jr., a founder of the veterans’ event, said in an interview.

Mr. Wood, who served in the Marine Corps, organized the event with Wesley Clark Jr., a screenwriter, activist and son of Wesley K. Clark, the retired Army general and onetime supreme allied commander in Europe for NATO.

Mr. Wood said he had initially hoped to attract about 500 veterans; he had to stop sign-ups when they reached 2,000. He said volunteers are from diverse backgrounds: “We have every age, we have every war.”

An online fund-raiser has drawn over $570,000 in pledges as of Tuesday afternoon to pay for food, transportation and supplies for the veterans’ “muster,” which was planned for Dec. 4-7.

One veteran, Loreal Black Shawl, said the mission to support the protesters was intensely personal.

Ms. Black Shawl, 39, of Rio Rancho, N.M., is a descendant of two Native American tribes, the Oglala Lakota and Northern Arapaho. She served in the Army for nearly eight years, finishing her career as a sergeant.

“O.K., are you going to treat us veterans who have served our country in the same way as you have those water protectors?” Ms. Black Shawl said, referring to the protesters. “We’re not there to create chaos. We are there because we are tired of seeing the water protectors being treated as non-humans.”

The authorities have used rubber bullets, pepper spray and water cannons against demonstrators, hundreds of whom have been injured, according to protest organizers. The clashes have been highly contentious, with the police and demonstrators leveling accusations of violence at each other.

Some protesters filed a class-action lawsuit on Monday against the Morton County police and others, alleging excessive use of force and seeking a court injunction to prevent the authorities from using rubber bullets, explosive grenades and water cannons, according to The Atlantic. One woman was injured and in danger of losing her arm after an explosion at the protest site this month.

By spotlighting issues such as the use of force by the police, national energy policies and the treatment of Native Americans, the protests have garnered national headlines and widespread attention on social media.

Ms. Black Shawl acknowledged that the operation could prove problematic because the veterans and the police both have military or tactical training. She said she had a “huge, huge nervousness and anxiety” about possibly being injured and what could happen to other veterans.

An “operations order” for participants outlined the logistics with military precision and language, referring to opposing forces, friendly forces and supporting units. Organizers encouraged attendees to wear their old uniforms.

Mr. Wood said they were discouraging active-duty service members from attending. “There’s no reason for them to get into hot water,” he said.

In a break from military custom, the gathering will have a “chain of responsibility” instead of a chain of command, he said. There are no ranks, and participants will refer to one another by their given names.

Mr. Wood said the early stages of the event will be logistical: setting up tents and organizing food supplies. The first arrivals are expected on Wednesday.

The premise is for the veterans to be fully self-sufficient, he said. “There will be civilian and tribe members watching us from behind but nobody supporting us,” the operations order said. “We are the cavalry.”

A spokesman for the North Dakota State Highway Patrol, Lt. Thomas O. Iverson, said in an email on Monday, “Law enforcement is aware of the upcoming event planned for December 4-7.” He added, “If the group remains lawful and refrains from blocking the roadway, there will be no issues.”

Some officials expressed the hope that the demonstrators would move on.

“The well-being and property of ranchers, farmers and everyone else living in the region should not be threatened by protesters who are willing to commit acts of violence,” Senator John Hoeven, a Republican, said in a statement on Friday, The Associated Press reported.

The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Dave Archambault II, said in an email that he had no concerns that tensions could escalate.

“Everyone that comes knows our intent — to remain in peace and prayer,” he said.

MUCH ADO ABOUT WHO’S A JEW

Most Jews do not want rabbis to determine who is Jewish, and the Israeli government may need to consider changes to the Law of Return, a new study has found.

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Most Jews Say Rabbis Shouldn’t Decide Who Is Jewish

Most Jews do not want rabbis to determine who is Jewish, and the Israeli government may need to consider changes to the Law of Return, a new study has found.

The report issued this week by the Jewish People Policy Institute recommends strengthening the sense of “Jewish peoplehood” among mixed families, partial Jews and non-Jews affiliated with Judaism.

It is the Jerusalem-based institute’s third report on the Structured Jewish World Dialogue, a systematic discourse that took place in 49 seminars worldwide on issues that are at the core of the collective interests of the Jewish people globally.

Dialogue participants said they believe that culture and peoplehood are the most significant aspects of Judaism, more than religion and ancestry, and thus they value caring for other Jews more than keeping the laws of the Torah.

While recognizing that religious denominations will continue to set their own standards for life cycle and other events, leadership seminars strongly endorsed the general posture of being welcoming to all who seek to participate in Jewish life. The more than 600 leaders also affirmed the desire to maintain selective communal norms that would affirm the more traditional standards. For example, the leadership almost universally wanted the professional head of North American federations to continue to be Jewish according to halachah, or Jewish law.

The report also suggests, in the wake of cultural and demographic developments in the Jewish world, whether Israel might consider changes in the criteria governing the Law of Return, which guarantees every Jew a place in Israel, to determine eligibility.

In addition, fewer than 25 percent of the participants believe that rabbis should decide “Who is a Jew,” saying that self-definition and community were better determinants.

The 129-page report considers other topics researched within the scope of the Jewish People Policy Institute’s project such as intermarriage, Israel’s role in defining Judaism, and the Jewishness of leaders and material resources.

IMAGE OF THE DAY ~~ MOURNING WITH THE FANS OF BRAZIL

Image by Carlos Latuff

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#InPalestine ~~ ALARM CLOCKS AND PHONE APPS CAN REPLACE THE CALL TO PRAYER

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his support this month for the so-called “muezzin bill”, claiming it was urgently needed to stop the dawn call to prayer from mosques ruining the Israeli public’s sleep. A vote in the parliament is due this week. The use of loudspeakers by muezzins was unnecessarily disruptive, Mr Netanyahu argued, in an age of alarm clocks and phone apps. 

Image by Carlos Latuff

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The link between Israel’s forest fires and the ‘muezzin bill’

Jonathan Cook

Israeli legislation ostensibly intended to tackle noise pollution from Muslim houses of worship has, paradoxically, served chiefly to provoke a cacophony of indignation across much of the Middle East.

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his support this month for the so-called “muezzin bill”, claiming it was urgently needed to stop the dawn call to prayer from mosques ruining the Israeli public’s sleep. A vote in the parliament is due this week. The use of loudspeakers by muezzins was unnecessarily disruptive, Mr Netanyahu argued, in an age of alarm clocks and phone apps.

But the one in five of Israel’s population who are Palestinian, most of them Muslim, and a further 300,000 living under occupation in East Jerusalem, say the legislation is grossly discriminatory. The bill’s environmental rationale is bogus, they note. Moti Yogev, a settler leader who drafted the bill, originally wanted the loudspeaker ban to curb the broadcasting of sermons supposedly full of “incitement” against Israel.

And last week, after the Jewish ultra-Orthodox lobby began to fear the bill might also apply to sirens welcoming in the Sabbath, the government hurriedly introduced an exemption for synagogues.

The “muezzin bill” does not arrive in a politically neutral context. The extremist wing of the settler movement championing it has been vandalizing and torching mosques in Israel and the occupied territories for years.

The new bill follows hot on the heels of a government-sponsored expulsion law that allows Jewish legislators to oust from the parliament the Palestinian minority’s representatives if they voice unpopular views.

Palestinian leaders in Israel are rarely invited on TV, unless it is to defend themselves against accusations of treasonous behavior.

And this month a branch of a major restaurant chain in the northern city of Haifa, where many Palestinian citizens live, banned staff from speaking Arabic to avoid Jewish customers’ suspicions that they were being covertly derided.

Incrementally, Israel’s Palestinian minority has found itself squeezed out of the public sphere. The “muezzin bill” is just the latest step in making them inaudible as well as invisible.

Notably, Basel Ghattas, a Palestinian Christian legislator from the Galilee, denounced the bill too. Churches in Nazareth, Jerusalem, and Haifa, he vowed, would broadcast the muezzin’s call to prayer if mosques were muzzled.

For Ghattas and others, the bill is as much an assault on the community’s beleaguered Palestinian identity as it is on its Muslim character. Netanyahu, on the other hand, has dismissed criticism by comparing the proposed restrictions to measures adopted in countries like France and Switzerland. What is good for Europe, he argues, is good for Israel.

Except Israel, it hardly needs pointing out, is not in Europe. And its Palestinians are the native population, not immigrants.

Haneen Zoabi, another lawmaker, observed that the legislation was not about “the noise in [Israeli Jews’] ears but the noise in their minds”. Their colonial fears, she said, were evoked by the Palestinians’ continuing vibrant presence in Israel – a presence that was supposed to have been extinguished in 1948 with the Nakba, the creation of a Jewish state on the ruins of the Palestinians’ homeland.

That point was illustrated inadvertently over the weekend by dozens of fires that ravaged pine forests and neighboring homes across Israel, fuelled by high winds and months of drought.

Some posting on social media relished the fires as God’s punishment for the “muezzin bill”.

With almost as little evidence, Netanyahu accused Palestinians of setting “terrorist” fires to burn down the Israeli state. The Israeli prime minister needs to distract attention from his failure to heed warnings six years ago, when similar blazes struck, that Israel’s densely packed forests pose a fire hazard.

If it turns out that some of the fires were set on purpose, Netanyahu will have no interest in explaining why.

Many of the forests were planted decades ago by Israel to conceal the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian villages, after 80 percent of the Palestinian population – some 750,000 – were expelled outside Israel’s new borders in 1948. Today they live in refugee camps, including in the West Bank and Gaza.

According to Israeli scholars, the country’s European founders turned the pine tree into a “weapon of war”, using it to erase any trace of the Palestinians. The Israeli historian Ilan Pappe calls this policy “memoricide”.

Olive trees and other native species like carob, pomegranate and citrus were also uprooted in favor of the pine. Importing the landscape of Europe was a way to ensure Jewish immigrants would not feel homesick.

Today, for many Israeli Jews, only the muezzin threatens this contrived idyll. His intermittent call to prayer emanates from the dozens of Palestinian communities that survived 1948’s mass expulsions and were not replaced with pine trees.

Like an unwelcome ghost, the sound now haunts neighboring Jewish towns.

The “muezzin bill” aims to eradicate the aural remnants of Palestine as completely as Israel’s forests obliterated its visible parts – and reassure Israelis that they live in Europe rather than the Middle East.

A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

BREAKING THE SILENCE ON ISRAELI RACISM

Where are the outcrys against this injustice?

When a government removes its Bedouin citizens from their home in order to settle its own Jewish citizens in their stead, this is racist dealing. Dispossessing people of their land in order to plant a forest on that same land is inhuman. Had these Bedouins been Jewish settlers, the government certainly would not evict them before finding an alternative dwelling for them that would suit their demands.

By its own acts the government of Israel proves that the UN’s outrageous ruling was not erroneous. Citizens of Israel who do not protest this extreme injustice in fact support the government in its racist policy.

Bedouins hold placards during a protest against a plan to uproot Umm Al-Hiran Village

Bedouins hold placards during a protest against a plan to uproot Umm Al-Hiran Village

Racism

By Amos Gvirtz

Anxiety is fierce. Israeli citizens are in their homes, demolition orders hovering that may be acted upon any day now. What will happen to them? Where will they go? Where will they live? No one offers them any alternatives. They are not, after all, settlers who settled lands that are not theirs, violating Israeli and international law. They are citizens of Israel. Their sole “crime” is to have been born Bedouins in the State of the Jews. They were evicted of their land – of which they were dispossessed – in 1949. The Israeli government transferred them twice until it finally settled them, sixty years ago, in Umm Al Hiran and Attir. Now this government claims they are invaders! Invading the localities where the government itself settled them sixty years ago…

Why is it so important for the government to remove them from the localities it had settled them in? Anyone visiting Umm Al Hiran will see a vast, empty area all around. But apparently the government of Israel has decided to create a Jewish settlement, named Hiran, right where it once settled the Bedouin inhabitants of Umm Al Hiran. And plant a forest right where the government of Israel once settled the inhabitants of Attir!

The question is why does the government of Israel do this. Unfortunately, the simple answer is because it can. Because there are not enough citizens who oppose such racist policies.

The UN General Assembly once came out with an outrageous declaration, ruling that Zionism is racism. The insult was severe. How could once accuse the State of the Jewish Peoplel – who had suffered so long from racism – of racism? Indeed, a few years later the UN General Assembly revoked its own outrageous ruling.

In the 1980s the Isrsaeli Knesset (parliament) legislated a law against racism. I fear that this law is actually against racist incitement, not against racist deeds. The law in fact protects all the racist deeds committed by the government. No one may demand to outlaw the Israeli government because of its own racist acts.

When a government removes its Bedouin citizens from their home in order to settle its own Jewish citizens in their stead, this is racist dealing. Dispossessing people of their land in order to plant a forest on that same land is inhuman. Had these Bedouins been Jewish settlers, the government certainly would not evict them before finding an alternative dwelling for them that would suit their demands.

By its own acts the government of Israel proves that the UN’s outrageous ruling was not erroneous. Citizens of Israel who do not protest this extreme injustice in fact support the government in its racist policy.

BLACK FRIDAY PROTEST AT HP

Reaching out to Best Buy shoppers on Black Friday with materials and information about HP’s role in human rights violations, protesters faced the rain for several hours to spread the word about Hewlett Packard’s involvement in the oppression of Palestinians.

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NYC Black Friday protest draws dozens to protest HP involvement in oppression of Palestinians

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On the busiest shopping day of the year, protesters in New York City – hailing from Manhattan to Gaza – joined in the Black Friday kick-off of the International Week of Action against HP’s complicity with Israeli attacks on Palestinian rights, protesting outside Best Buy in Union Square.

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Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network organized the protest, which highlighted HP’s role in providing servers and management systems to the Israel Prison Service that imprisons over 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners. Hewlett Packard is also involved in providing imaging equipment for Israeli checkpoints and ID cards, enabling the siege of Gaza, providing services to Israeli settlements, and supporting other occupation infrastructure. The New York City event is one of over 99 protests around the world between 25 November and 3 December demanding a boycott of HP and an end to HP’s involvement in deportations, incarceration and oppression in Palestine, the United States and around the world. These protests were organized in response to a call from the International Boycott HP Coalition and the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC).

nyc-hp-demo2

Reaching out to Best Buy shoppers on Black Friday with materials and information about HP’s role in human rights violations, protesters faced the rain for several hours to spread the word about Hewlett Packard’s involvement in the oppression of Palestinians.

nyc-hp-bds2

Several Zionist counter-protesters, including one person dressed in an Israeli military uniform, repeatedly heckled the protesters and attempted, yet failed, to provoke confrontations. Throughout the protest, demonstrators chanted loudly against HP and its complicity in the occupation of Palestine, urging shoppers to boycott Hewlett Packard technology products. A wide range of activists, groups and writers concerned with Palestine participated in the demonstration, while a group of youth from a video training class organized by Picture the Struggle interviewed participants. Picture the Struggle works to document justice movements, including the Black movement, in New York City, through video, photography and audio recording.

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Samidoun is planning to join and encourages all to attend the protest on Monday, 28 November in New York City in solidarity with Rasmea Odeh, former Palestinian prisoner and torture survivor facing persecution in the United States. A major hearing in her case to determine the entry of evidence relating to her PTSD after torture will take place on 29 November in Detroit, which is also the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The Rasmea Defense Committee is organizing protests and buses to Detroit to support Odeh, while protests are taking place in Tampa, Tucson, Fort Lauderdale, Salt Lake City and elsewhere to demand justice for Rasmea. In New York City, protesters will gather at Zuccotti Park at Liberty Street and Broadway at 3:30 pm on Monday.

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Photos 1, 3 by Bud Korotzer/Desertpeace

Photos 2, 4, 6 by Joe Catron

Photo 5 by Anne Pruden

 

WRITTEN FOR

FIDEL’S PALESTINIAN CONNECTION

The deceased Cuban leader and PLO chief Yasser Arafat enjoyed close relations and shared anti-imperialist ideology.

Cuban President Fidel Castro greets Palestine leader Yasser Arafat, right, at a dinner reception.

Cuban President Fidel Castro greets Palestine leader Yasser Arafat, right, at a dinner reception.

Fidel Castro: The Palestinian connection

Dalia Hatuqa

 It’s November 1974, and Yasser Arafat, sporting his signature Ray-Ban sunglasses and checkered black-and-white headscarf, is waving to a cheering crowd on the tarmac of Jose Marti International Airport outside Havana.

He descended from the Algerian Airlines plane that took him from New York City to the Cuban capital, where he was greeted and embraced by Fidel Castro, who was at that time prime minister and had been in power for 15 years.

Castro died late on Friday at the age of 90, according to the Cuban government.

The moment in Havana wasn’t the first time the two men had met – their initial encounter happened just over a year earlier at the 4th Summit of Non-Aligned Countries in Algeria. However, it was the first time they met on Cuban soil.

Despite not being a head of state, Arafat was given a presidential welcome in Havana: Cuban Communist Party officials, ministers and others warmly welcomed the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader that day.

Later on, he was awarded one of the country’s highest decorations, the Orden Nacional Playa Giron, or Bay of Pigs Medal, which, according to Cuba’s government radio, is “awarded to Cuban citizens or foreigners who have excelled in the struggle against imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism, or who have done great deeds for peace and progress of mankind”.

The iconic picture of Arafat and Castro walking on the tarmac – housed at the Yasser Arafat Foundation in Ramallah – tells the tale of how an unlikely relationship between the two men, and the PLO and Cuba, were forged.

And while Cuban-Palestinian relations can be traced as far back as the 1966 Tricontinental Conference in Havana, it was Arafat’s November 1974 trip that “cemented the official Palestinian relationship with Cuba”, said Hosni Abdel Wahad, the Palestinian Authority’s assistant foreign minister for the Americas.

“It was during that visit that the official PLO-Cuban ties were forged and the first [PLO] representative office was opened in Havana thereafter.”

Cuba recognises the PLO

It is believed that unofficial ties were made between Cuba and the Palestinians during a first-of-its-kind trip by Fidel’s brother, Raul Castro, and Che Guevara to the Gaza Strip in late 1959.

Events in the 1950s set the stage for this trip: during that time, all Latin American countries, with the exception of Cuba, consistently supported the Israeli position over that of the Palestinians in international forums.

Che Guevara, who was not Cuban but was an instrumental figure in the country’s revolution, spoke in support of the Palestinians in the coastal enclave and elsewhere.

This culminated in Cuba’s recognition of the PLO when it was founded in 1964, making it one of the first countries to do so.

The Cubans trained Palestinian cadres, and Fidel himself was a staunch advocate of the Palestinian quest for freedom and independence.

– Mansour Tahboub, former acting director of the Arafat Foundation

Many of Arafat’s pictures at the Yasser Arafat Foundation, which traces and commemorates the life of the late Palestinian leader, attest to a close relationship with Fidel Castro and Cuba.

The mostly black-and-white images document a series of visits by Arafat to the Latin American country – by some accounts, as many as eight; and these are just the official ones, said Mohammad Odeh, who heads Fatah’s Latin America department.

“That’s a significant number considering Cuba is such a geographically distant country.

“It was, at best, a 12-hour plane ride from any European country, yet Arafat made the trip on numerous occasions. Castro always welcomed him like he was a head of state.”

Mansour Tahboub, former acting director of the Arafat Foundation, said such visits were also a testament to the close historical ties.

“Cuba has always been a strong supporter of Palestinians in all realms: political, military, vocational training,” Tahboub said.

“The Cubans trained Palestinian cadres, and Fidel himself was a staunch advocate of the Palestinian quest for freedom and independence.”

The rare archival footage at the foundation provides a window into many milestones of Cuban-Palestinian relations, such as Arafat pictured on stage – with former Syrian president, Hafez al-Assad, in the background – condemning Egypt for signing the 1978 Camp David Accords with Israel, during the 6th Non-Aligned Summit in Havana in September 1979.

During that time, Egypt was suspended as a member of the Non-Aligned Movement after its agreement with Israel was criticised as “an act of complicity with the continued occupation of Arab territories”.

But these pictures show only a portion of the decades-long relationship between the two men. The PLO and Cuba were natural allies, as both championed what their leaders saw as a struggle against imperial and colonial powers.

Quest for independence

Indeed, Castro conflated Cuba’s “strife to fight imperialism” with the Palestinian quest for independence from Israel’s occupation.

“Cuba’s backing of the Palestinians wasn’t exceptional,” explained Abdel Wahad, who studied journalism in Cuba.

“It was part of the Cuban support system to all people struggling for freedom and fighting against colonialism.”

Castro reaffirmed this belief on numerous occasions, including during an interview with the French weekly Afrique-Asie in 1977.

“The Palestinian movements have shown their ability to resist imperialist … aggression … [The Palestinian cause] will prevail sooner or later in spite of the betrayal by Arab reactionaries, imperialist manoeuvres and Israeli aggression.”

In almost every one of Castro’s many speeches, he voiced support for the Palestinians alongside condemnations of US “imperialist plots”.

Following the end of the Six-Day War, Cuba condemned Israel for the first time at the UN. And of all the Latin American countries that had PLO representative offices at the time, only Cuba and Nicaragua granted the PLO full diplomatic status.

Yet despite its close relationship with the PLO, Cuba continued to maintain relations with Israel until 1973. It was during the Non-Aligned Movement summit of that year in Algeria that Cuba announced it would break off relations with Tel Aviv.

Several historical accounts refer to a dramatic scene unfolding at the event after Castro was reportedly convinced to cut ties with Israel.

Tales were told of an embrace between Castro and former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, and some claimed that “Arafat ran across [the hall] to embrace Fidel, and the applause lasted for minutes”.

During the Non-Aligned Movement’s heyday, before the end of the Cold War, Cuba also gave much-needed political support to the Palestinians in international fora, such as the UN.

Around that time, Cuba co-sponsored the UN General Assembly resolution that equated Zionism with racism.

Even when the UN later repealed the resolution in 1991, Cuba stood in opposition.

Quid pro quo?

Some argued that the prominence Cubans gave to the Palestinian cause was a quid pro quo for helping the Castro government secure influence among “Third World nations”.

“The symbiotic relationship between the two … enabled Castro, despite his role in Latin America and Africa as a Soviet client and surrogate, to assume a leadership position in the Third World and within the Non-Aligned Movement,” wrote David J Kopilow, a former consultant for the Hudson Institute in Washington specialising in Central America.

Cuba assisted the PLO – especially left-leaning factions like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) – in forging ties with neighbouring states.

The Cubans had a huge role in us seeking the status of non-member observer state, and we still liaise with them on all high-level international matters.

– Mohammad Odeh, head of Fatah’s Latin America department

“The Cubans played a vital role in facilitating our interactions on the Latin American scene,” said Hisham Abu Ghosh, a member of the DFLP’s political bureau.

The DFLP had an especially close relationship with the Cuban regime; the party’s leader Nayef Hawatmeh made dozens of trips to the island, the most recent of which was made in November 2013.

The PLO also found fertile ground in Cuba for political training and support, giving “logistical and professional guidance for Palestinian factions”, according to Abdel Majeed Sweilim, professor of political science at Al Quds University.

The Latin American state also took a special interest in providing educational support to Palestinians.

“Despite Cuba’s economic woes, the government would give more than 150 Palestinians annually opportunities to study medicine, engineering and other disciplines,” said Odeh, who studied dentistry on the island in 1970 under a full scholarship granted by the Cuban government.

Close relations have been maintained between the Palestinians and Cuba, but “the nature of the relationship has differed”, explained the PA’s Abdel Wahad. “There is an official relationship with the state of Palestine.”

Cuba was even consulted in the lead-up to the UN’s recognition of Palestine as a “non-member observer state”.

“I was in Cuba two years ago to consult with officials about the UN bid,” Fatah’s Odeh said.

“Not many people know this, but the Cubans had a huge role in us seeking the status of non-member observer state, and we still liaise with them on all high-level international matters.”

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More from MA’AN HERE

From Palestine to Cuba: Palestinian leaders remember the late Fidel Castro

BELLA CIAO FIDEL

Images by Carlos Latuff

Comandante Fidel Castro

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Remember these?

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Bella Ciao with much love and admiration

IMAGE OF THE DAY ~~ BLACK FRIDAY SUPER SALE

Black Friday Super Sale!

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ANTI SEMITISM IS GOOD FOR ISRAEL

“It would be good to have some anti-Semitism in America. Not serious anti-Semitism, not pogroms, not persecutions that will empty America from its Jews, as we need them there, but just a taste of this pungent stuff, so that we can restore our faith in Zionism.”

Image by Carlos Latuff

Anti Semitism - created and maintained by the Lobby and the ADL

Anti Semitism – created and maintained by the Lobby and the ADL

Why Israeli leaders are welcoming rise of anti-Semitism in US

One of Israel’s most prominent broadcasters says Israeli leaders are welcoming the resurgence of white nationalism and anti-Semitism in the United States that has accompanied Donald Trump’s winning presidential campaign.

In a column for Israel’s Ynet, Yaron London, long a prime-time host on Israel’s Channel 10, wrote that “a worldview which supports white supremacy matches our government’s interests.”

London elaborates on why the rise of white nationalism, a political movement many of whose adherents openly identify with the Ku Klux Klan and even Nazism, would be seen as beneficial to Israel.

“To do the Netanyahu government justice, let me qualify my statement by saying that all forms of Zionism hold the perception that a certain extent of anti-Semitism benefits the Zionist enterprise,” London writes.

“If Trump’s people are more disgusted by Arabs than they are by Jews … we have struck quite a good deal,” he adds, noting that “Trump and his friends see Israel as a forefront against the barbarians.”

“To put it more sharply, anti-Semitism is the generator and ally of Zionism,” London states.

No Zionism without anti-Semitism

As a practical matter, London observes, Israel would not be viable without hatred of Jews: “Masses of Jews are shoved to this country rather than being attracted to it. The yearning for the land of Zion and Jerusalem is not strong enough to drive millions of Jews to the country they love and make them hold on to its clods.”

This is something Israeli leaders understand well, which is why they have exploited recent mass atrocities in France to urge Jews to emigrate from Europe.

London concludes that “it would be good to have some anti-Semitism in America. Not serious anti-Semitism, not pogroms, not persecutions that will empty America from its Jews, as we need them there, but just a taste of this pungent stuff, so that we can restore our faith in Zionism.”

Such views will shock anyone who does not know the long history of collusion between Zionism and anti-Semitism, which Columbia University professor Joseph Massad explains in a 2013 article for Al Jazeera English.

“Jewish opponents of Zionism understood the movement since its early age as one that shared the precepts of anti-Semitism in its diagnosis of what gentile Europeans called the ‘Jewish Question,’” Massad writes. “What galled anti-Zionist Jews the most, however, was that Zionism also shared the ‘solution’ to the Jewish Question that anti-Semites had always advocated, namely the expulsion of Jews from Europe.”

After Al Jazeera published Massad’s accurate account of history, former Israeli prison guard and current editor of The Atlantic Jeffrey Goldberg, denounced the network for allegedly publishing “one of the most anti-Jewish screeds in recent memory.”

Al Jazeera promptly took the article down, later restoring it, after an uproar over its blatant act of censorship.

It remains to be seen whether Goldberg will denounce Yaron London for actually welcoming anti-Semitism.

Israeli enthusiasm for Trump

Indeed, such has been the enthusiasm of Israeli ministers for the incoming Trump administration that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had to issue a directive ordering his cabinet colleagues to stop trying to make contact with the president-elect’s team.

This came after education minister Naftali Bennett spoke at a New York gala of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) on Sunday, which Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon was expected to attend.

Bannon was chairman of Breitbart News, the website he described as the “the platform for the alt-right.”

The alt-right, or alternative right, is an avowedly white supremacist movement, whose leading figure Richard Spencer has called his quest for a white “ethno-state” a form of “white Zionism.”

Spencer has also hailed Trump’s presidential campaign as a vehicle that has helped usher his fringe movement increasingly into the mainstream.

Despite the reports about Bannon’s promotion of anti-Semitism, the Trump adviser has been embraced by Israeli leaders, including the head of a West Bank settler council, as well as by agriculture minister Uri Ariel.

In a letter published at Breitbart News, Ariel thanks Bannon “for your friendship with Israel.”

“While we do not know each other personally, dear friends of mine including Rabbi Shmuley Boteach have shared with me your strong opposition to the Iran nuclear agreement, which threatens Israel’s survival, your opposition to BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] and your opening of a Jerusalem bureau in Israel while head of Breitbart in order to promote Israeli point of view [sic] in the media,” Ariel adds.

Shared bigotry

Boteach is a right-wing celebrity rabbi who, as Rob Bryan reported for AlterNet’s Grayzone Project earlier this year, “appointed himself Trump’s top Jewish surrogate.”

Bryan predicted that Boteach’s job for the Trump campaign would consist of “applying the kosher stamp to a candidate who enjoys enthusiastic support from leading neo-Nazis.”

In a similar vein, Fox News commentator and self-identified “Ivy League-educated Jewish kid from New York” Wayne Allyn Root, is insisting that Trump be hailed as “America’s first Jewish president.”

Why? Because Trump “made his fortune in real estate,” has a home in South Florida and because “he could be the most pro-Israel president in history.”

Root also asserts that Trump’s promises to stop “the mass importation of Muslim refugees should be welcomed and enthusiastically embraced by every American Jew.”

As for Uri Ariel, he is a leading supporter of extremist Jewish settler groups who, with support from the Israeli government, aim to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and replace it with a Jewish temple.

Resistance

Zionist Organization of America leader Morton Klein told the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz that Bannon had been expected at his organization’s gala on Sunday, and that Trump himself might have shown up.

But Klein said that the hundreds of protesters outside, many young progressive Jews from groups including IfNotNow, had deterred Bannon from showing up.

The gala was nonetheless a who’s who of pro-Israel extremism in the US.

Participants included former Harvard law professor and Bannon defender Alan Dershowitz as well as Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire funder of anti-Palestinian causes.

Klein gave a measure of his organization’s anti-Palestinian fanaticism, declaring to Haaretz that “it is a myth that Jerusalem is holy to Muslims” and asserting that “there is no occupation.”

Meanwhile, journalist Dan Cohen noted that “the Jewish generational divide” was clearly visible in the difference between the predominantly older attendees at the ZOA event, and the youthful protesters outside.

 What is also apparent is the growing political divide. On one side there are those who are willing to support Israel and Zionism at any cost, even if it means openly allying with Islamophobes, white supremacists and anti-Semites.On the other side, are all those, including Palestinians and Jews, united against this open embrace of the most poisonous forms of racism.

In a Facebook post, IfNotNow called its protest in New York a promising victory:

“If 700 Jews can keep Stephen Bannon from speaking at ZOA Gala, building the #JewishResistance can keep him from the White House and stop the violent policies of the Trump administration: racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, queerphobia and all forms of oppression.”

GIVING THANKS FOR THE ORIGINAL SIN

“I suppose I should be ashamed to say that I take the western view of the Indian. I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indian is the dead Indian, but I believe nine out of every ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.”

Teddy Roosevelt

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Thanks Giving

 © By Tom Karlson

That original sin

Our original sin

Not a talking snake sin

No Adam or Eve sin

 

This original sin

This first holocaust sin

This First Nation

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Double helixed

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Long gone sin

200 languages silenced sin

This good, drunk, dead, jailed, Indian sin

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310 million All-Americans

Sit at the table eating

Corn, sweet potatoes, turkey

Watching football

Giving thanks

TRUMP ~~ UNIFIER EXTRAORDINAIRE

What you are about to witness is historic; it is the will of the people to act collectively and in the service of the public good.

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Thank you Mr. Trump, the unifier

ZION REDEFINES ANTI SEMITISM ~~ AND A PHOTO ESSAY TOO

I don’t think anybody should be called or accused of being anti-Semitic unless the evidence is overwhelming.

An anti-Semite is acceptable if he supports the Zionist State of Israel.

Image by Carlos Latuff

According to AlanDershowitz antisemitic racists are friends but people demanding equal rights are nazis

According to AlanDershowitz antisemitic racists are friends but people demanding equal rights are nazis

After years of careless accusation, Dershowitz says anti-Semitism charges must be ‘very careful’

It must have been tough, but Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and investigative reporter tracked Alan Dershowitz down in Tel Aviv for comment on the Steve Bannon controversy. And longtime Dershowitz followers may be surprised to learn that he is defending the man who could become the most highly-placed American official accused of anti-Semitism in many decades, in this interview with Aaron Klein:

I think we have to be very careful before we accuse any particular individual of being an anti-Semite . . .  And I think one has to be very careful about using the term anti-Semitic.

But “care” about using the words anti-Semite has never been the hallmark of Dershowitz’s long career as a polemicist.

Was he being “careful” when he said that Black Lives Matter was guilty of an anti-Semitic “blood libel” in charging Israel with genocide against Palestinians?

Was he “careful” when he likened Judge Richard Goldstone to Nazi Dr. Mengele after Goldstone put out a report highly critical of Israel in 2009, which Dershowitz termed a “blood libel”?

Was he practicing “care” when he flatly described the late Harvard President Nathan Pusey as an anti-Semite in his book Chutzpah, and accused the entire American legal profession of anti-Semitism?

“Upon learning of the way law was practiced in American firms, I resolved never to become part of that system.”

More from the Breitbart interview:

I don’t think anybody should be called or accused of being anti-Semitic unless the evidence is overwhelming.

Was the evidence “overwhelming” with Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu — when Dershowitz accused them of mainstreaming anti-Semitism because they were critical of Israel? And said that Carter had the “blood of thousands” on his hands?

Dershowitz says that Bannon is a friend of Jews:

The evidence certainly suggests that Mr. Bannon has very good relationships with individual Jews. My former researcher, Joel Pollak, is an Orthodox Jew who takes off the Jewish holidays, who is a committed Jew and a committed Zionist, and he has worked closely with him. He has been supportive of Israel.

Is that the one and only criterion of whether someone is an anti-Semite or not? Being supportive of Israel?  I think it might be.

So, I haven’t seen any evidence of personal anti-Semitism on the part of Bannon. I think the [Breitbart] headline about a Conservative Republican being a renegade Jew was ill-advised. But it doesn’t suggest to me anti-Semitism. It suggests to me a degree of carelessness.

“Ill-advised.” So who “advised” Stephen Bannon to make that nasty crack about Bill Kristol? Why weren’t Walt and Mearsheimer only “ill-advised” and “careless,” instead of, as Dershowitz said, guilty of writing a “hate-filled screed against Jewish participation in American politics.”

Dershowitz goes on to apologize for Trump.

I think the larger problem – and it’s a very complicated one today – is how you assess a person who himself might not have negative characteristics, but who has widespread appeal to people who do. And I think that problem exists on the right and the left. I think there are left-wing candidates who appeal to some of the worst bigots on the hard left. Anti-Semites on the hard left. Anti-Israel people on the hard left. And I think the same thing is probably true of some very right-wing conservatives who appeal advertently or inadvertently to people whose values they probably themselves don’t agree with.

He is obviously worried that Trump may not be pro-Israel, and so he is sucking up to him.

But it is not legitimate to call somebody an anti-Semite because you might disagree with their policies.  Or because in one instance, like in the Bannon case, an aggrieved wife in a divorce may have said something which he himself has denied having said. I think you always have to have a presumption of innocence and of good faith.

“Innocence” and “good faith?” Doesn’t that describe Students for Justice in Palestine, who Dershowitz has not hesitated to call anti-Semites? And what about anyone who supports Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel — Dershowitz has accused them too of anti-Semitism.

Meanwhile, on the streets of New York ….

On Sunday night, 11/20/16, many hundreds of people gathered in  front of NYC’s main library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd St. to protest the Zionist Organization Of America (ZOA) invitation to Steve Bannon, an anti-Semitic white nationalist and a current member of Trump’s incoming administration,  to speak at their annual awards dinner.

The principle of the ZOA appears to be  that an anti-Semite is acceptable if he supports the Zionist State of Israel.

The hundreds of protesters came from a  wide variety of Jewish  organizations as well  as individual participants. There were secular Jews, religious Jews, civil rights activists, youth and older citizens.

After the speeches at the library the protesters began a march to the  Grand Hyatt Hotel where the dinner was taking place. As they walked they shouted for the firing of Bannon chanted against Trump.  At the hotel the streets were jammed by the protesters with their chanting:   “When Muslim communities are under attack

                               What do we do? Stand up, Fight back.”

                               “2 4 6 8: No to Trump, No to Hate.”

                               “GOP (Trump) you can’t hide, we can see                                   Your racist side!”

Photos and commentary © by Bud Korotzer

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Related report (Click on link)

Bannon a no-show at ZOA gala as protesters gather outside

EVEN THE DEAD SUFFER FROM CORPORATE GREED

See the similarities …..

In North Dakota

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And in Occupied Jerusalem …..

Mamilla cemetery does not exist anymore. What exists now is a hotel, a school, a parking lot, a public garden, a nightclub and the US consulate. Also a museum to celebrate tolerance. But the meaning of tolerance in West Jerusalem, a few steps away from the Old City, is surreal — to build the story of a new Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities are erasing its past.

Mamilla cemetery does not exist anymore. What exists now is a hotel, a school, a parking lot, a public garden, a nightclub and the US consulate. Also a museum to celebrate tolerance. But the meaning of tolerance in West Jerusalem, a few steps away from the Old City, is surreal — to build the story of a new Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities are erasing its past.

Therefore, Palestinians stand in solidarity with the Souix 

Image by Carlos Latuff

Palestinians and Dakota People together

Palestinians and Dakota People together

SUPPORT FOR BDS CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. The company is issuing this recall out of an abundance of caution.

Boycotting this company's products can save your life

Boycotting this company’s products can save your life (About Sabra)

Sabra Recalls Hummus in Listeria Worry

The Sabra Dipping Company has issued a voluntary recall of some of its hummus and other Middle Eastern spreads over a possible listeria contamination.

The Virginia-based company posted the recall on its website, and on social media on Sunday, saying it was issuing the product recall “out of an abundance of caution.”

The notice said: “We are disappointed to share the news of a voluntary recall with the Sabra community today. We’re recalling this product out of an abundance of caution after finding Listeria Monocytognes at the manufacturing facility, but not in tested finished product.”

“We want to reassure our consumers that our procedures include extensive finished product testing, and no products tested positive for contaminants. We are taking action because consumer safety is a top priority,” the notice also said.

The company we conducted what it called “a thorough and extensive factory-wide cleaning and sanitation procedure,” and has been inspected by the  U.S. Food and Drug Administration .

A full list of the affected products, with  a “Best Before” date up through January 23, 2017, is available on the recall page of the company website.

Although no illnesses caused by the hummus have been reported, Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

In April 2015 the company issued a voluntary recall of 30,000 cases of its classic hummus due to a possible listeria contamination.

MIXED BAG OF NEW TOONS

Happy Holiday!

Happy Holiday!

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The Latest From Latuff

Learning long division from Israel

Learning long division from Israel

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Will Donald Trump Require Muslims To Enter National Registry?

Will Donald Trump Require Muslims To Enter National Registry?

And finally, the latest interview with Carlos

Exclusive interview with Carlos Latuff, world renowned political cartoonist

A LETTER FROM GAZA TO STANDING ROCK ~~ ‘YOUR STORY IS OUR STORY’

As a Palestinian in Gaza, I have grown up feeling detached from the rest of the world as Israel tightens its decade-long blockade. I am sure many of you feel the same way. But we are not isolated. We are “soulmates” in the way that counts.

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Gaza writes to Standing Rock: Your story is our story

Israa Suliman

Dear Native Americans:

Although we are of different color, religion, culture and place, I have learned, as I read about the protests at Standing Rock, that we have much more in common than differences. When I read your history, I can see myself and my people reflected in yours. I feel in my core that your fight is my fight, and that I am not alone in the battle against injustice.

My ancestors were not the only ones who lived in Palestine. Jews, Christians and Arabs all lived side by side in my country. But my ancestors—including my grandparents and great-grandparents—were the indigenous people, just like you. And they suffered the same fate as your people. America’s policy of occupation and displacement through forced marches like the Trail of Tears, and the gradual transfer of so many of your people to massive, impoverished reservations, hurts me deeply because it is so similar to the ethnic cleansing of my ancestors by the Israeli military occupation in what we call “al-Nakba” (the catastrophe). We know what you know: that our land is sacred.

In 1948, my ancestors—along with nearly a million other Palestinians—were frightened away or forced off their lands, in some cases at gunpoint. More than 10,000 others were massacred. Hundreds of our villages and cities were completely destroyed in a systemic plan to erase our identity—just as yours has been under continuing assault.

Palestine today is just 22 percent of our original homeland. Like you, some of my people (an estimated 1.5 million) must live in degrading “camps” (our word for reservations), where living conditions are “comparable to the Third World.” Like your reservations, they are characterized by high rates of unemployment, poverty and suicide.

Many other Palestinians (about 6 million)—now including descendants of the original residents—are scattered elsewhere around the world, just as yours are around the United States. Today, not only has the military occupation taken over our land and declared it “the state of Israel,” but it continues to carry on a policy of expulsion, demolishing Palestinian houses in the little bit of land we retain, building illegal settlements and preventing free movement with a network of “security checkpoints.”

Like you, we don’t control our natural resources. Just as you were not consulted about the Dakota Access Pipeline that will traverse your land and contaminate your water supply if installed, we are not consulted by Israel, which wants to mine the gas supply in our harbor for its own use and monopolizes the water supply in the West Bank for the green lawns of its own residents—leaving Palestinians parched and dry. In Gaza, where I live, only 10 percent of our water supply is drinkable due to the conditions in which we must live. We too know that “water is life.”

When I was young, I saw how the media portrays negative images of you, especially in Hollywood films—depicting you as uncivilized, savage, racist and drug abusers. Likewise, my people are portrayed as terrorists, “backward,” misogynists and anti-Semitic. And yet no one regards whites as all the same.

Like yours, our resistance has been labeled as acts of terrorism and violence rather than as a fight for survival and dignity. That’s not surprising, since this is the policy of every oppressor who seeks to criminalize others to justify its acts. It is the oppressor’s way to create its own version of reality to rationalize its behavior and brainwash the masses. And it is the oppressor’s plan to make the colonized feel weak and alone. But you are proving they won’t succeed and I want you to know that my people are with you.

Seeing your women, elders and youth stand together to protest the pipeline and your exclusion from decision making is so inspiring! It gives us strength to go on with our own struggle.

As a Palestinian in Gaza, I have grown up feeling detached from the rest of the world as Israel tightens its decade-long blockade. I am sure many of you feel the same way. But we are not isolated. We are “soulmates” in the way that counts.

Sincerely,

Israa Suliman
We Are Not Numbers

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Image by Latuff

Palestinians and Dakota People together

Palestinians and Dakota People together

BILL’S LATEST ‘CHEER UP’ MESSAGE TO HILLARY

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And here’s the situation two years from now ….

THE LATEST POTUS ELECT POLITICALLY INCORRECT POTPOURRI

Views from Right Field

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The following are FROM

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ISLAMIC ‘NOISE’ WILL CONTINUE THROUGHOUT ISRAEL!

Read about the proposed ‘Law’ HERE

“I call on all my people to disobey this law until it reaches the third reading and is approved”, said the Arab MK. We are also disturbed by the Friday and Saturday sirens (announcing the Shabbat), we too cannot travel on Yom Kippur and festivals because of you, but we don’t speak about it, we don’t protest.”

If it upsets Netanyahu it must be something good!

If it upsets Netanyahu it must be something good!

MK Tibi calls on Arabs to disobey ‘muezzin law’

MK Ahmed Tibi of the Arab Joint List calls on Arabs to disobey ‘muezzin law’ preventing loud amplifying systems in mosques.

MK Ahmed Tibi (Arab Joint List) was interviewed by the Al-Miadin news network and referred to the “muezzin law” which would put an end to the incessant loud noise from muezzins around the country.

“I would tell Palestinians to rebel against this law and the one behind it- Prime Minister Netanyahu. The goal is Jerusalem”, said Tibi, adding that “from here, Al-Miadin, I once again say that there will be insubordination and rebellion against this law, nobody will obey it.”

“I call on all my people to disobey this law until it reaches the third reading and is approved”, said the Arab MK. We are also disturbed by the Friday and Saturday sirens (announcing the Shabbat), we too cannot travel on Yom Kippur and festivals because of you, but we don’t speak about it, we don’t protest.”

Tibi’s office said after the interview that “MK Tibi called on the public not to obey the law, to rebel against it even if it entails a prison sentence. The reference was only to this particular law.”

Source

Ultra Orthodox in Knesset save the day ….. Click on link

Ultra-Orthodox block bill to muffle Muslim prayer call, fearing Shabbat siren is next

Controversial legislation to ban mosque loudspeakers goes back to the drawing board

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