TIMELY HALLOWEEN TOONS

And tricked we were 😦

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PHOTO ESSAY ~~ BOYCOTTING THE SOUNDS OF APARTHEID

See report at bottom …
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Photos © by Bud Korotzer
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Israel Philharmonic patrons perturbed by musical protest at NY fundraiser

 

October 29, New York, NY – Outside Manhattan’s normally staid Lincoln Center cultural complex tonight, 50 New Yorkers delivered a clear message rejecting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s (IPO) deliberate use of art to whitewash Israel’s systematic and brutal repression of the rights of the Palestinian people. The IPO, which was holding a fundraising concert, calls itself “Israel’s musical ambassador throughout the country and the world” and helps to project a positive image of Israel, diverting attention from Israel’s human rights abuses, as part of the Israeli government’s “Brand Israel” initiative.

Many of the well-dressed patrons, who had paid up to $5000 apiece for tickets to the IPO concert at the Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, looked disturbed to encounter a radical marching band, the Rude Mechanical Orchestra (RMO), and a crowd of protesters with chants that included, “Your orchestra is classy, your piano is so grand, we’d love to have you play for us when you stop stealing land;” and “Oboe, trumpet and bassoon, apartheid is out of tune.”

Other passers-by read the literature being distributed by protesters and, in some cases, took up signs and joined the demonstration. Eight dancers in a second floor Alice Tully Hall studio with floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking the protest, inspired by the RMO’s renditions of “Which Side Are You On?” and “We Shall Not Be Moved,” treated the crowd to an impromptu dance performance.

Daniel Strum of Adalah-NY explained, “Culture in the service of the Israeli government, that denies Palestinians basic rights, including their right to cultural expression, should be protested and boycotted.” American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra calls the IPO “Israel’s finest cultural emissary” and notes that “[t]he goodwill created by these tours…is of enormous value to the State of Israel.” An Israeli Foreign Ministry official explained the government efforts to rebrand Israel that the IPO supports to the New York Times in 2009 saying, “We will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theater companies, exhibits…This way you show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.”

Yasmine Megahed from Adalah-NY said, “The IPO’s use of classical music to support government militarization is wrong. More and more people are rejecting the Brand Israel strategy, and joining the growing movement to boycott Israel.” An October news report explained that the IPO receives 14 percent of its funding from the Israeli government. In the same piece, Julian Rachlin, the IPO’s conductor for tonight’s performance, lamented that there is not more government funding but simultaneously affirmed his support for Israel’s militarization, explaining that “most of the [government’s] money goes to the army, and rightly so.” While IPO conductor Zubin Mehta expressed concerns about some Israeli government policies in a 2012 interview, the IPO’s support for the Israeli government and military has not wavered since 1948. The IPO was also the target of lively NYC protests at performances in 2011 and 2012.

On October 27th, the same New York groups protested outside the performance of Israeli musician Idan Raichel at the Beacon Theatre. Raichel is another self-proclaimed propagandist for the Israeli government and its apartheid policies towards the Palestinian people. The peaceful, spirited protest of chanting and singing was met by hostility and racism from many concert-goers.

The groups organizing tonight’s protest are part of the growing international movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, to pressure Israel to end its human rights abuses. The Palestinian-led BDS movement is a nonviolent campaign for Palestinian rights inspired by the international boycott campaign that helped to abolish apartheid in South Africa.

For more photos of the protest: http://adalahny.org/photo-gallery/1094/pictures-israel-philharmonic-orchestra-protest-oct-29-2013

HAPPY HALLOWEEN ~~ TWO VIEWS

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

AS THE PRISON GATES OPEN THE SETTLEMENTS EXPAND

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Israel announced plans on Wednesday to build hundreds of new settlement homes, hours after it released a group of Palestinian prisoners from its jails.
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Who is the criminal??
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Israel pushes for additional 1,500 units in Ramat Shlomo

Hours after Palestinian prisoners’ release, Interior Ministry announces plans to add housing units in Jerusalem neighborhood, establish national park in Mount Scopus

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Palestinians celebrate prisoner release in Ramallah (Photo: Reuters)


Palestinians celebrate prisoner release in Ramallah (Photo: Reuters)

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Israel announced plans on Wednesday to build hundreds of new settlement homes, hours after it released a group of Palestinian prisoners from its jails.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar recently agreed to advance four construction plans in different parts of Jerusalem. One of the plans will see an additional 1,500 housing units built in the city’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood.

It was also agreed to advance the establishment of a tourist and archeological center near the City of David and a national park on the eastern side of the Hebrew University campus in Mount Scopus.

The Housing Ministry, however, said it was not aware of these specific plans.

On Tuesday night, Israel released 26 Palestinian prisoners and moved them to the West Bank and Gaza, as part of peace talks.

The prisoners who arrived in Ramallah were welcomed by some 2,000 people, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who vowed to continue his efforts to ensure that all prisoners are released, and that he will not sign any agreement with Israel until all prisoners are released.

“There will not be an agreement with Israel even if one prisoner remains behind bars,” he said.

Source

DISSENT IN THE RANKS AGAINST APARTHEID

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Supporting Palestinian state-bid – in Tel Aviv Nov.29 – Uri Avnery spoke as veteran of the two states idea
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If everyone agreed on everything there would be results rather than continued discussions. For 0ver 65 years pro Palestinian activists have been discussing the various issues facing the ultimate solution of statehood. These discussions take place on both sides of the wall. To date, the solution has not been found.
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This week, one of the most prolific writers and activists, Uri Avnery, penned an essay regarding apartheid …. Israeli Apartheid …. is it or isn’t it an apartheid state?
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Jonathan Cook, a Nazareth based journalist responds …. both pieces are worth reading.
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But before I continue, I must wish Brother Avnery a Happy 90th Birthday which he celebrated this week. We all wish him many more years of good health and activism despite whatever disagreements we might have with him.
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Mazal Tov! Ad Mea v’Esrim!!
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Is Israel an apartheid state? Well, first one must settle the question: which Israel? Israel proper, within the Green Line, or the Israeli occupation regime in the occupied Palestinian territories, or both together?
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Taking Apartheid Apart 
By Uri Avnery
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IS ISRAEL an apartheid state? This question is not going away. It raises its head every few months.

The term “apartheid” is often used purely for propaganda purposes. Apartheid, like racism and fascism, is a rhetorical term one uses to denigrate one’s opponent.

But apartheid is also a term with a precise content. It applies to a specific regime. Equating another regime to it may be accurate, partly correct or just wrong. So, necessarily, will be the conclusions drawn from the comparison.

RECENTLY I had the opportunity to discuss this subject with an expert, who had lived in South Africa throughout the apartheid era. I learned a lot from this.

Is Israel an apartheid state? Well, first one must settle the question: which Israel? Israel proper, within the Green Line, or the Israeli occupation regime in the occupied Palestinian territories, or both together?

Let’s come back to that later.

THE DIFFERENCES between the two cases are obvious.

First, the SA regime was based, as with their Nazi mentors, on the theory of racial superiority. Racism was its official creed. The Zionist ideology of Israel is not racist, in this sense, but rather based on a mixture of nationalism and religion, though the early Zionists were mostly atheists.

The founders of Zionism always rejected accusations of racism as absurd. It’s the anti-Semites who are racist. Zionists were liberal, socialist, progressive. (As far as I know, only one Zionist leader had openly endorsed racism: Arthur Ruppin, the German Jew who was the father of the Zionist settlements in the early 20th century.)

Then there are the numbers. In SA there was a huge black majority. Whites were about a fifth of the population.

In Israel proper, the Arab citizens constitute a minority of about 20%. In the total territory under Israeli rule between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, the numbers of Jews and Arabs are roughly equal. The Arabs may by now constitute a small majority – precise numbers are hard to come by. This Arab majority is bound to grow slowly larger as time passes.

Furthermore, the white economy in SA was totally dependent on black labor. At the beginning of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza strip in 1967, the Zionist insistence on “Jewish Labor” came to an end and cheap Arab labor from the “territories” flooded Israel. However, with the beginning of the first intifada this development was stopped with surprising speed. Large numbers of foreign workers were imported: Eastern Europeans and Chinese for the building trade, Thais for agriculture, Philippinos for personal care, etc.

It is now one of the main jobs of the Israeli army to prevent Palestinians from illegally crossing the de facto border” into Israel to seek work.

This is a fundamental difference between the two cases, one that has a profound impact on the possible solutions.

Sadly, in the West Bank, the Palestinians are widely employed in the building of the settlements and work in the enterprises there, which my friends and I have called to boycott. The economic misery of the population drives them to this perverse situation.

In Israel proper, Arab citizens complain about discrimination, which limits their employment in Jewish enterprises and government offices. The authorities regularly promise to do something about this kind of discrimination.

On the whole, the situation of the Arab minority inside Israel proper is much like that of many national minorities in Europe and elsewhere. They enjoy equality under the law, vote for parliament, are represented by very lively parties of their own, but in practice suffer discrimination in many areas. To call this apartheid would be grossly misleading.

I ALWAYS thought that one of the major differences was that the Israeli regime in the occupied territories expropriates Palestinian lands for Jewish settlements. This includes private property and so-called “government lands”.

In Ottoman times, the land reserves of the towns and villages were registered in the name of the Sultan. Under the British, these lands became government property, and they remained so under the Jordanian regime. When Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, these lands were taken over by the occupation regime and turned over to the settlers, depriving the Palestinian towns and villages of the land reserves they need for natural increase.

By the way, after the 1948 war, huge stretches of Arab land in Israel were expropriated and a wide array of laws enacted for this purpose – not only the “absentee” property of the refugees, but also lands of Arabs who were declared “present absentees”’ – an absurd term meaning people who had not left Israel during the war but had left their villages. And the “government lands” in the part of Palestine that had become Israel also served to settle the masses of new Jewish immigrants who streamed into the country.

I always thought that in this respect we were worse than SA. Not so, said my friend, the apartheid government did exactly the same, deporting Blacks to certain areas and grabbing their land for Whites Only.

I ALWAYS thought that in SA all the Whites were engaged in the fight against all the Blacks. However, it appears that both sides were profoundly divided.

On the white side, there were the Afrikaners, the descendents of Dutch settlers, speaking a Dutch dialect called Afrikaans, and the British who spoke English. These were two communities of roughly equal size who disliked each other intensely. The British despised the unsophisticated Afrikaners, the Afrikaners hated the effete British. Indeed, the apartheid party called itself “nationalist” mainly because it considered itself a nation born in the country, while the British were attached to their homeland. (I am told that the Afrikaners called the British “salty penis”, because they stood with one foot in SA and with the other in Britain, so that their sexual organ dipped into the ocean.)

The black population was also divided into many communities and tribes who did not like each other, making it difficult for them to unite for the liberation struggle.

THE SITUATION in the West Bank is in many ways similar to the apartheid regime.

Since Oslo, the West Bank is divided into areas A, B and C, in which Israeli rule is exercised in different ways. In SA, there were many different Bantustans (“homelands”) with different regimes. Some were officially fully autonomous, others were partly so. All were enclaves surrounded by white territories.

In certain respects, the situation in SA was at least officially better than in the West Bank. Under SA law, the Blacks were at least officially “separate but equal”. The general law applied to all. This is not the case in our occupied territories, where the local population is subject to military law, which is quite arbitrary, while their settler neighbors are subject to Israeli civil law.

ONE CONTENTIOUS question: how far – if at all – did the international boycott contribute to the downfall of the apartheid regime?

When I asked Archbishop Desmond Tutu, he answered that the effect was mainly moral. It raised the morale of the black community. My new friend said the same – but applied it to the Whites. Their morale was undermined.

How much did this contribute to the victory? My friend estimated: about 30%.

The economic effect was minor. The psychological effect was far more important. The Whites considered themselves the vanguard of the West in the fight against communism. The ungratefulness of the West stunned them. (They would have wholeheartedly subscribed to the promise of Theodor Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement, that the future Jewish state would be the vanguard of Europe and a wall against Asiatic – viz. Arab – barbarism.)

It was no accident that apartheid broke down a few years after the collapse of the Soviet empire. The US lost interest. Can this happen in our relations with the US, too?

(By the way, young South African blacks who were sent by the African National Congress to the Soviet Union to study were shocked by the racism they met there. “They are worse than our Whites,” they commented.)

THE AREA where the boycott hit the apartheid people the most was sports. Cricket is a national obsession in SA. When they could no longer take part in international competitions, they felt the blow. Their self-confidence was broken.

Their international isolation forced them to think more deeply about the morality of apartheid. There was more and more self-questioning. In the final elections after the agreement, many Whites, including many Afrikaners, voted for the end of apartheid.

Will a boycott of Israel have the same effect? I doubt it. Jews are used to being isolated. “The whole world against us” is, for them, a natural situation. Indeed, I sometimes have the feeling that many Jews feel uncomfortable when the situation is different.

One huge difference between the two cases is that all South Africans – black, white, “coloured” or Indian – wanted one state. There were no takers for partition. (David Ben-Gurion, a great advocate of Palestine-style partition, once proposed concentrating all the Whites in SA in the Cape region and establishing there an Israel-style white state. No one was interested. A similar proposal by Ben-Gurion for Algeria met the same fate.)

In our case, a large majority on each side wants to live in a state of their own. The idea of a unified country, in which Hebrew-speaking Jewish Israelis and Arabic-speaking Palestinians will live side-by-side as equals, serving in the same army and paying the same taxes does not appeal to them at all.

APARTHEID WAS brought down by the Blacks themselves. No crypto-colonialist condescension can obscure this fact.

The mass strikes of African workers, on whom the white economy depended, made the position of the ruling Whites impossible. The mass uprising of the Blacks, who displayed immense physical courage, was decisive. In the end, the Blacks liberated themselves.

And another difference: in SA there was a Nelson Mandela and a Frederik de Klerk.

 

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And the response ….

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Does Uri Avnery know so little about Israel?

By Jonathan Cook
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One of my concerns about Uri Avnery is that, whatever the good work he has done as a journalist and peace activist, especially in regard to the occupied territories, he still has an ability to write utter nonsense when it comes to what is happening inside Israel. It is difficult to know whether this is simple ignorance or a bad case of ideological blinkers. But it is also hard to believe a man who has studied his own society for so long can really know so little about what is going on there.

There is a lot to challenge in his latest piece, on the comparison between Israel and apartheid South Africa, but the following paragraph really assaults the intellect:

On the whole, the situation of the Arab minority inside Israel proper is much like that of many national minorities in Europe and elsewhere. They enjoy equality under the law, vote for parliament, are represented by very lively parties of their own, but in practice suffer discrimination in many areas. To call this apartheid would be grossly misleading.

I’d love Avnery to point out the European state where, like Israel, 93 per cent of the land has been nationalised for one ethnic group (Jews) to the exclusion of another ethnic group (Palestinian Arabs). Or where vetting committees operate by law in hundreds of communities precisely to prevent one ethnic group (Palestinian Arabs) from living in these communities.

Or the European state, like Israel, where two separate citizenship laws exist – the Law of Return (1950) and the Citizenship Law (1952) – which are designed to confer rights on members of an ethnic group (Jews) who are not actually yet citizens or present in the state, privileging them over a group (Palestinian Arabs) who do have citizenship and are present in the state.

Or a European state that has 55 laws that explicitly discriminate based on which ethnic group you belong to.

Or a European state that, like Israel, defers some of what should be its sovereign powers to extra-territorial bodies such as the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund whose charters obligate them to discriminate based on ethnic belonging.

Or the European state that denies its citizens access to any civil institutions on personal status matters such as marriage, divorce and burial, requiring all citizens to submit to the whims and prejudices of religious leaders.

Or a European state which does not recognise its own nationality, and where the only way to join the dominant national group (Jews) or to immigrate is through conversion.

I’d be surprised if he could find one European state that has a single one of these characteristics. Even if he could, it would not have more than one of those characteristics. Israel has them all and many more.

Now tell me Israel discriminates against Palestinian Arab citizens the way European states do against their minorities.

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PHOTO ESSAY ~~ PRO PALESTINIAN DEMO MEETS WITH HOSTILITY AND RACISM ON THE STREETS OF NEW YORK

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Over 30 New York human rights advocates protested outside the performance of Israeli musician Idan Raichel at the Beacon Theatre this evening, calling Raichel “a self-proclaimed propagandist for the Israeli government” and its brutal, apartheid policies towards the Palestinian people. The peaceful, spirited protest of chanting and singing was met by hostility and racism from many concert-goers.

A number of Raichel’s fans began shouting obscenities and making vulgar gestures at the protesters, in two cases mocking the religious garb (video) some Muslim women wear (the headscarf, or hijab). One aggressive male fan repeatedly told a female protest chant leader, “You should die!” Another went out of his way to walk up to two female protesters and toss a lit cigarette between them. In contrast, one passer-by read an explanatory flier and then joined the protesters, adding her voice to chants such as, “Voice of peace? That’s a lie! Idan plays while people die,” and “Musicians must take a stand, no excuse for stealing land.”

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Reason for the protest … (click on images to enlarge)

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The Protestors …

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE IF ALL PALESTINIANS EXERCISED THEIR RIGHT OF RETURN? ~~ VIDEO

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

right-of-return

 

As Amal Obeidi, a young woman from the ethnically-cleansed Palestinian village of Lifta says, “borders are sometimes psychological, imposed on us by the occupation as if we will never return.”

The first step on the road is to shatter those psychological borders. This thought-provoking video helps to do just that.

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Turning the Palestinian right of return into a practical reality – video

 Ali Abunimah
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Palestinians have fiercely defended their right to return to the lands and villages they were forced to leave between 1947 and 1949 as Israel was created.

This video by refugee rights group BadilIntroduction to Practicalities of Return features interviews with refugees and experts and scenes of the lands from which Palestinians are exiled.

In the video, Eitan Bronstein of Zochrot – an Israeli group that supports the right of return for Palestinians – observes that expulsion was only one part of the Nakba – the ongoing violent dispossession of the Palestinians. The other key element has been Israel’s prevention of return.

Therefore ending the Nakba requires creative and practical thinking and planning for return.

Attempts to return

In the early years after their expulsion Palestinian refugees made many attempts to return home, often just to recover personal property. Many were shot and killed by Israeli forces.

In May 2011, thousands of Palestinian refugees marched toward the borders of their homeland from Lebanon and Syria in a dramatic reassertion of their commitment to return. Then, too, they were met with lethal Israeli fire.

Today, Palestinian refugees and their descendants number 7 million. Israel continues to deny their right to go home solely on the racist basis that these Palestinians are not Jews and thus constitute a “demographic threat” to Jewish political and numerical domination of the country.

But the right of return is recognized by international law.

New movement

Palestinian youths within present-day Israel are leading a renewed movement for return to their parents’ and grandparents’ villages in the Galilee, including Iqrit and Kufr Birim.

A number of Palestinians have now set up permanent camps in the villages.

In the video Nahida Zahra talks about the history of this movement and explains, “The idea was supported by all the families of Kufr Birim, many of us believed in it.

“The idea was that we would return to our village and we didn’t need to wait for a legal decision or political agreement.”

Israel has reacted to this action, handing a demolition order to the return camp.

“This time we are not leaving here,” Zahra says, recalling earlier temporary attempts to come back to the village.

Make return real

To make return a reality for many more people, there’s a need to create and disseminate practical ideas. Part of this process is joint planning between refugees and architects to imagine what rebuilt communities towns would look like.

This is already happening, says BADIL’s Terry Rempel, and it is vital to challenge the idea that return is impossible because homes have been destroyed.

Rempel points to the double standards of international organizations and governments that have actively promoted the right of return for refugees from other countries such as Bosnia, while arguing that it is impractical only in the case of Palestinians.

Yet the approaches taken in Bosnia can also offer practical solutions for restoring Palestinian refugee rights while protecting all stakeholders, Rempel says.

Thinking about return, several speakers argue, must go hand in hand with a process decolonization and de-Zionization.

This, they say, lays the ground for a just and inclusive political solution based on equality and nondiscrimination for all who live in historic Palestine.

As Amal Obeidi, a young woman from the ethnically-cleansed Palestinian village of Lifta says, “borders are sometimes psychological, imposed on us by the occupation as if we will never return.”

The first step on the road is to shatter those psychological borders. This thought-provoking video helps to do just that.

For more information from Badil, visit their website: badil.org

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HAS JONATHAN POLLARD BEEN HOLDING SECRET CLASSES FROM HIS CELL?

At one time, Big Brother used to watch you …. Now he’s listening in as well.
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Israeli super-spy Jonathan Pollard is glowing with pride these days …. seems he’s been giving classes to his captors on new ‘how to’ techniques in the international spy business …. Could this be the reason they refuse to release him?
Here’s the latest;
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The NSA first eavesdropped on Merkel’s predecessor Gerhard Schroeder after he refused to support President George W. Bush‘s war in Iraq and was extended when Merkel took over in 2005, the paper said.
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US officials admit: NSA spied on world leaders, Obama ended program

American officials tell WSJ that NSA ended program that involved surveillance of Merkel, 35 other world leaders after operation was uncovered in Obama administration review that began this summer. German paper says Obama knew US was monitoring Merkel as early as 2010, but failed to put stop to program

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The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that the National Security Agency (NSA) ended the program that involved bugging German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s private mobile phone after the operation was uncovered in an Obama administration review that began this summer. But a German report claims that Obama knew of the surveillance beforehand.

The program also involved as many as 35 other world leaders, some of whom were still being monitored, according to the report, which was attributed to US officials.

In response to the WSJ report, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden noted in a statement that Obama had ordered a review of US surveillance capabilities.

“Through this review, led by the White House, the United States is reviewing the way that we gather intelligence to ensure that we properly account for the security concerns of our citizens and allies and the privacy concerns that all people share,” Hayden said, adding that she was not in a position to discuss the details.

Citing a source in Merkel’s office, some German media have reported that Obama apologized to Merkel when she called him on Wednesday, and told her that he would have stopped the bugging happening had he known about it.

But Bild am Sonntag, citing a “US intelligence worker involved in the NSA operation against Merkel”, said NSA chief General Keith Alexander informed Obama in person about it in 2010.

Obama didn’t trust Germans

“Obama didn’t stop the operation back then but let it continue,” the mass-market paper quoted the source as saying.

The NSA said, however, that Alexander had never discussed any intelligence operations involving Merkel with Obama.

“(General) Alexander did not discuss with President Obama in 2010 an alleged foreign intelligence operation involving German Chancellor Merkel, nor has he ever discussed alleged operations involving Chancellor Merkel”, NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said in an emailed statement.

“News reports claiming otherwise are not true.”

Bild am Sonntag said Obama in fact wanted more material on Merkel, and ordered the NSA to compile a “comprehensive dossier” on her. “Obama, according to the NSA man, did not trust Merkel and wanted to know everything about the German,” the paper said.

White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden declined to comment and reiterated the standard policy line that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.

Bild said the NSA had increased its surveillance, including the contents of Merkel’s text messages and phone calls, on Obama’s initiative and had started tapping a new, supposedly bug-proof mobile she acquired this summer, a sign the spying continued into the “recent past”.

The NSA first eavesdropped on Merkel’s predecessor Gerhard Schroeder after he refused to support President George W. Bush‘s war in Iraq and was extended when Merkel took over in 2005, the paper said.

Eighteen NSA staff working in the US embassy, some 800 metres (yards) from Merkel’s office, sent their findings straight to the White House, rather than to NSA headquarters, the paper said. Only Merkel’s encrypted landline in her office in the Chancellery had not been tapped, it added.

Bild said some NSA officials were becoming annoyed with the White House for creating the impression that US spies had gone beyond what they had been ordered to do.

Merkel has said she uses one mobile phone and that all state-related calls are made from encrypted lines.

The rift over US surveillance activities first emerged this year with reports that Washington had bugged European Union offices and tapped half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany in a typical month.

Merkel’s government said in August – just weeks before a German election – that the United States had given sufficient assurances it was complying with German law.

This week’s news has reignited criticism of the U.S. surveillance. Volker Kauder, head of Merkel’s party in parliament, called it a “grave breach of trust” and said the United States should drop its “global power demeanor”.

Kauder said, however, that he was against halting negotiations on a European free trade agreement with the United States, a call made by Social Democrats and some of Merkel’s Bavarian allies.

Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told Bild am Sonntag: “Bugging is a crime and those responsible for it must be held to account.”

The Social Democrats, with whom Merkel is holding talks to form a new government, have joined calls from two smaller opposition parties for a parliamentary investigation into the U.S. surveillance, but Kauder has rejected the idea.

SPD parliamentary whip Thomas Oppermann said former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked many of the sensitive documents, could be called as a witness. Snowden is living in Russia, out of reach of US attempts to arrest him.

Source

FOXMAN OVERLOOKED THE FACT THAT ISRAEL DEMONIZES ITSELF …. WHY ISN’T IT ON HIS S H I T LIST?

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Abe Foxman has been preoccupied listing the enemies of his precious Israel, but he overlooked it’s biggest enemy …
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I’m thinking maybe it’s time Israel had a list of its own.
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Demonizers of Israel: De-legitimization begins at home

What if Israel’s worst enemy is right here, part of the family, abusive and ill-willed, immune and shielded, destructive and pleased with the fact?

By Bradley Burston
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What if your worst enemy is the one you can do nothing about?

What if your worst enemy is right here at home, part of the family, abusive and ill-willed, immune and shielded, destructive and pleased with the fact?

What if you were Israel and you had myriad layers of defense, among the most sophisticated in the world, against aircraft, missiles, suicide bombers, cyber warfare – but there were still a hole in the fence nobody seems to be able to find a way to fix?

What if you were Israel and there were people in your midst whose words and actions posed genuine threats to your vital interests, your image in the eyes of allies, to your international standing, yet year by year, these people only gained more power, grew in visibility, were named to posts of greater and greater responsibility?

Why do I ask?

The Anti-Defamation League this week released its 2013 list of what it determined were the top 10 most influential and active anti-Israel groups in the United States.

According to ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman, “The groups are fixated on delegitimizing Israel and convincing the American public that Israel is an international villain that deserves to be ostracized and isolated.”

Ever since the list came out, I’ve been seeing the news here in Israel a little differently. Without debating his choices, let’s say that Foxman is right in characterizing what does signal harm to Israel, that most significantly delegitimizes and demonizes it in words and actions.

I’m thinking maybe it’s time Israel had a list of its own. Here’s the beginning of mine. Just the beginning:

THE ACCUSATION: Israel is, at root, a dictatorship dominated by a far-right core minority opposed to any and all compromise with the Palestinians, and opposed to any and all democratic processes which could allow for such a peace process to go forward.

THE DEMONIZERS: The cabinet’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation, which gave a green light Sunday to a bill which would make even the onset of any negotiations over the future of Jerusalem subject to the approval of 80 members of the 120-strong Knesset – to all observers, an impossible majority to achieve.

To those who asked, in sarcasm, why the bill did not require a unanimous vote, there was this reply by Naftali Bennett of the settler-anchored coalition partner party Habayit Hayehudi:”Even 120 Knesset members cannot transfer [parts of Jerusalem], because it belongs to the Jewish people throughout the generations.”

THE ACCUSATION: From its very inception, Israel has been a racist state, practicing institutionalized segregation, favoring the ruling minority, and hewing to what is in essence a form of apartheid even within its pre-1967 borders.

THE DEMONIZERS: Deposed Nazareth mayor and current mayoral candidate Shimon Gapso

[“Upper Nazareth is a Jewish city and it’s important that it remain so. If that makes me a racist, then I’m a proud offshoot of a glorious dynasty of ‘racists’ including ‘the racist Theodore Herzl,’ ‘the racist Ben-Gurion’ and the ‘racially pure kibbutzim without a single Arab member and an army which protects a certain racial strain.’]

Likud MK Miri Regev, who endorsed Gapso at a weekend re-election rally [she hoped Gapso “would be elected big-time, despite the detractors.”] Last year, Regev called African migrants to Israel “a cancer in our body,” later apologizing – but only to cancer sufferers.

THE ACCUSATION: Israel is a tattered, sham democracy, and the government is determined to excise what is left of it.

THE DEMONIZERS: Ruling coalition whip Yariv Levin (Likud) and MK Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), for promoting a series of bills aimed at limiting the independence and influence of the judiciary, the one branch of government still viewed as adhering to the concept of separation of powers. “Naturally, the media is in a hurry to depict us as fascists who go against the rule of law,” Shaked said this week. “I suggest we be judged based on our actions.”

Good idea.

I recognize that these actions and provocations were not undertaken to harm Israel. For the politicians, their purpose was to make headlines, to spur hefty contributions by far-right donors abroad, and to gain key support of the extremists who have hijacked key institutions like the Likud Central Committee.

I recognize, also, that there has never been a Knesset like this one. There has never been an Israeli ruling coalition like this one. Never before has there been more legitimacy conferred on opponents of democracy, proponents of theocracy, apologists for racism, proponents of racism.

For that reason, perhaps, the list goes on and on – take, for example, the settlers unimpeded as they take chain saws to Palestinian-owned olive groves just as the harvest begins. Or the ways the government seems to confirm the accusation that peace talks are just a smokescreen to allow more and more and more settlement.

Perhaps for the same reason, the government has made huge investments in what it calls “Israel branding” – according to one study, in 2010 the Foreign Ministry budget for “marketing and hasbara” – Israel branding – went from NIS 10 million to NIS 100 million.

However it invests its money, though, the lesson being taught by the current government remains a different one: For good or ill, the only branding that matters will stem directly from what Israel does, what Israel is, and the direction its leaders – and voters – choose to take us – toward a better future, or a cliff.

Source

ZIONISTS UNHAPPY WHEN THE SHOE IS ON THE OTHER FOOT

For over 65 years zionists have stifled any opposition to their policies within the Jewish community …. but when the tables are turned they reach for their favourite bottle of whine. 😉
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The recent decision by the Jewish Student Union at the University of California, Berkeley to reject an application for membership from J Street U points to a deep problem in the American Jewish community.
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J Street Students Speak Out On Being Shut Out of Jewish Debate at Berkeley

Student Union Bars Dovish Group at California Campus

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Not Going Quietly: J Street U’s Berkeley group wants to be part of the conversation.

GETTY IMAGES
Not Going Quietly: J Street U’s Berkeley group wants to be part of the conversation.

By Shayna Howitt and Elon Rov

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The recent decision by the Jewish Student Union at the University of California, Berkeley to reject an application for membership from J Street U points to a deep problem in the American Jewish community.

As leaders of J Street U at Berkeley who love Israel but worry about its future, we found this decision strange and disturbing. The clear message was that merely because we are concerned enough and intellectually curious enough to question some of Israel’s policies and practices, our group has no place under the pro-Israel tent. It forced us to question the limits our community has set on acceptable pro-Israel discourse.

We are both the product of years of Jewish education from Jewish Day School to summer camps where we were taught that Jewish values are inexplicably linked to concepts of human equality and social justice — indeed that concern for justice was one of the gifts Judaism has given the world.

During many trips to Israel, we have explored every corner of the country. Unlike some of our peers who stick to the regular tourist spots, we have also visited the West Bank and East Jerusalem, where we were challenged by our Israeli and Palestinian peers to examine the meaning and the daily reality of the occupation. We believe that speaking honestly about these experiences makes a serious contribution to the conversation around Israel at UC Berkeley.

Our experiences inspired us to become leaders in J Street U, the campus arm of J Street which promotes a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a goal which is the official policy of the Israeli government and supported by a majority of both Israelis and Palestinians as well as American Jews.

The JSU, a Hillel supported umbrella organization, is supposed to unify all Jewish students. How then can it reject a vibrant, growing, enthusiastic movement like J Street U? Are our views so threatening, so radical? No, they are shared by the vast majority of American Jews and by a wide consensus of opinion in Israel itself. JSU’s rejection of J Street U’s membership is designed to drive students away — and is already doing so.

At a time when attachment to Israel among younger members of our community is weakening, as demonstrated by the recent Pew Research Center poll of American Jews, one would think that J Street U would be welcomed into the pro-Israel fold at Berkeley. Do they have so many friends, so many supporters that they can afford to turn us away?

Since the founding of our chapter, we have hosted many events aimed at educating Jewish students about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and encouraging them to advocate for peace. Some of these students were first introduced to Berkeley Hillel, the center for Jewish life on campus, by attending a J Street U meeting.

Unfortunately, the leaders of the JSU are merely copying many of their elders, the so-called leaders of our community, so many of whom insist on a similar standard of ideological purity and discourage honest discussion about Israel. As Jews, we are raised and educated to question and discuss, but then are told that Israel is off-limits.

Who loses from this? Everyone. Israel loses the dedicated and critical supporters it so desperately needs. The Jewish community loses a generation of future leaders, alienated by the code of silence imposed on them. The JSU loses, too. Its withdrawal into its own narrow shell leaves campus discussions on Israel to be dominated by extremists.

Berkeley Hillel understands what’s at stake and we will work with our Hillel leaders to transform the JSU into a place of pluralism and we will continue to engage with Jewish students. We will host coffee talks, movie screenings, and challenging discussions. We will continue to advocate for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We will demonstrate that Berkeley’s Jewish community is strong enough to welcome a diverse range of voices. Eventually, even JSU will get the message.

Shayna Howitt is national co-chair for communications of J Street U. Elon Rov ‘14 is co-chair of J Street U at Berkeley.

Source

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

‘DISAPPEARING PALESTINE’ AD DISAPPEARS IN TORONTO

The ads are both fair and accurate. Israel’s building of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories indeed does clearly violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and UN Security Council Resolution 465 (1980). All of these laws forbid occupying powers, such as Israel, to transfer their civilians to the territories that they militarily occupy. Why are TTC staff denying that this is the case?
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poster_image_-_schoolgirl_and_rubble

“Disappearing Palestine” ad banned by Toronto Transit Commission.

 (CJPME)

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Toronto transit bans “Disappearing Palestine” ad claiming risk of anti-Jewish violence

 Ali Abunimah
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The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has rejected a group’s bus ad showing Israel’s expropriation of Palestinian land over time, claiming the ad could incite anti-Jewish discrimination and violence.

The ad, sponsored by Canadians for a Just Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), is similar to others that have appeared in cities all over North America – including Vancouver.

CJPME has said it is ready to appeal the censorship of the ad all the way to Canada’s Supreme Court.

The centerpiece is a series of four maps that show the loss of control of Palestinian land to the Zionist movement and Israel between 1946 and the present.

The ad also states: “This is unfair. It is also illegal under international law.”

It includes an image of a Palestinian schoolgirl standing amid rubble resulting from an Israeli air attack in Gaza.

The copy of the ad shown above was provided to The Electronic Intifada by CJPME.

“Could advocate for violence.”

But TTC spokesman Brad Ross said that the transit body did not accept that Israel’s confiscation of Palestinian land was either “unfair” or “illegal.”

“Making that statement may cause some … to then target Israelis and/or Jewish people. Some may view it as discriminatory, [and] could advocate for violence or hatred against Israel or the Jewish people,” Ross told The Toronto Star.

“There is no finding in our legal opinion of illegality around loss of land under international law … no court, no tribunal has ruled on loss of land being illegal,” Ross added.

Censors rejoice

B’Nai Brith, one of Canada’s most prominent anti-Palestinian organizations, issued a statement “congratulating” TTC for banning the ad.

Echoing the language used by the TTC itself, B’Nai Brith claimed that the ad was “misleading and inaccurate and could lead to hatred or violence against supporters of Israel and the Jewish community in particular.”

By conflating criticism of Israel and its policies with criticism of Jews, TTC seems perhaps unwittingly to be promoting anti-Semitic canards that Jews are collectively responsible for Israel’s actions.

B’Nai Brith has a history of censorship and supporting intolerance.

Last summer, Canada’s leading LGBTQ publication Daily Xtra revealed that B’Nai Brith had teamed up with Charles McVety, one of Canada’s most outspoken anti-LGBTQ campaigners, in an effort to persuade the city to defund Toronto Pride.

B’Nai Brith was incensed that Toronto Pride had not banned Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from marching in the parade.

CJPME responds

CJPME has issued an action alert saying that the group “is ready to appeal this decision to the highest levels – including the Supreme Court.”

It urged the public to contact the TTC and send a message protesting the ban of the “Disappearing Palestine” ad:

The ads are both fair and accurate. Israel’s building of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories indeed does clearly violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and UN Security Council Resolution 465 (1980). All of these laws forbid occupying powers, such as Israel, to transfer their civilians to the territories that they militarily occupy. Why are TTC staff denying that this is the case?

Ads “lost”

CJPME also alleged that it has faced obstruction and discrmination in trying to place the ads.

According to its website, it sent proposed designs of the ads to two transit authorities in June.

“Sadly, through various strategies over the summer, the transit companies and ad agencies have tried to prevent the ads from being posted. Designs were ‘lost,’ employees told to ‘drop the ads,’ emails and calls ignored.” 

CJPME said that in September its lawyer “sent a letter to the TTC demanding that the transit authority respect CJPME’s constitutional rights to post the ads,” but instead it was notified on 21 October that the ad was rejected.

Illegal and ongoing land confiscation

TTC’s extraordinary finding runs wholly against international law, and even the nominal policies of Canada’s extremely pro-Israel Conservative government.

It also seems to go far beyond the organization’s remit of providing public transport to Toronto.

Numerous UN Security Council Resolutions, including, for example, Resolution 465, state clearly that Israel’s annexation and colonization of Palestinian land occupied since 1967 is illegal.

In 2004, the International Court of Justice in the Hague found that the wall Israel has built in the occupied West Bank and its associated regime of land confiscation, is illegal and must be removed.

Moreover, when Israel was established in 1948, it conquered about twice the amount of land allocated to a putative Jewish state under UN resolution 181, a resolution which was never lawfully implemented.

The property rights and right of return of Palestinian refugees who were expelled or fled in 1948, and their descendants, have been reaffirmed by overwhelming majorities in the UN General Assembly annually.

The Canadian government states that “Canada does not recognize Israel’s unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem.”

The government also reaffirms its support for Resolution 465, among others, confirming the illegality of Israeli colonization and settlement.

Forced displacement

Recently, more than ninety Canadian writers took a public position against Israel’s ongoing evictions of Bedouins from their lands in the south of present-day Israel.

In August, Human Rights Watch called on Israel to halt the forced displacement of Bedouins which is carried out “based on discriminatory laws and rules, and without respect for the Bedouins’ dignity or the country’s human rights obligations.”

Some 40,000 more Bedouins, nominally citizens of Israel, currently face expulsion under Israel’s Prawer Plan to ethnically cleanse and “Judaize” their traditional lands.

These are facts, but they are ones Toronto’s transit authorities do not want riders to know.

 

Written FOR

ADL ISSUES NEW S H I T LIST

Abe Foxman is watching you…. BEWARE!
I just want to know why the list is so short….. C’mon…. WAKE UP AMERICA!
Why aren’t YOU in this photo?
Photo © by Bud Korotzer
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The Top Ten…..
  • ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)
  • American Muslims for Palestine
  • CODEPINK
  • Friends of Sabeel-North America
  • If Americans Knew/Council for the National Interest
  • Jewish Voice for Peace
  • Muslim Public Affairs Council
  • Neturei Karta
  • Students for Justice in Palestine
  • U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
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  • ADL’s Statement …..
  • ADL Lists Top 10 Anti-Israel Groups in America in 2013

    New York, NY, October 21, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today issued a list of the Top 10 most influential and active anti-Israel groups in the United States. Each of the selected groups, according to ADL’s research, is “fixated with delegitimizing Israel” and has demonstrated the ability to reach new segments of the American public with a hostile and misleading narrative about Israel.

    “The Top 10 anti-Israel groups are the most significant players in the domestic anti-Israel movement today,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “The groups are fixated on delegitimizing Israel and convincing the American public that Israel is an international villain that deserves to be ostracized and isolated.”

    The Top 10 Anti-Israel Groups, as identified by ADL, are:

    • ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)
    • American Muslims for Palestine
    • CODEPINK
    • Friends of Sabeel-North America
    • If Americans Knew/Council for the National Interest
    • Jewish Voice for Peace
    • Muslim Public Affairs Council
    • Neturei Karta
    • Students for Justice in Palestine
    • U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

    In compiling the list, ADL considered various criteria, including the groups’ ability to organize, sponsor and endorse Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel; their sponsorship of and participation in anti-Israel rallies, panel discussions or conferences; and their ability to pursue anti-Israel policy initiatives and lobbying efforts against Israel. Information on each of the groups, as well as a description of their tactics, is available in the full report on the League’s web site.

    In addition to their national impact and influence, many of the groups included in the list are known to employ rhetoric that is extremely hostile to Israel, Zionists and/or Jews.  Examples of this include:

    • Allegations that Israel or Jews control the U.S. government or the media;
    • Offensive parallels to the Holocaust by comparing Israeli leaders to Nazis or describing Gaza as the “new Auschwitz;”
    • Calls for the dismantlement of the state of Israel;
    • Expressions of support for terrorist groups that seek Israel’s destruction.

    “The list represents the worst of the worst anti-Israel groups,” said Mr. Foxman. “They lob any and every accusation against Israel, including charges of Nazi-like crimes, ‘apartheid’ policies, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and genocide. Their accusations are rarely, if ever, balanced with an acknowledgement of Israel’s repeated efforts to make peace with the Palestinians, or the legitimate terrorism concerns faced by Israeli citizens.”

    ADL issued its first list of Top 10 Anti-Israel Groups in 2010 in the wake of the 2008-2009 war in Gaza. Since then, major shifts in the Middle East, as well as more aggressive efforts to delegitimize Israel through the BDS campaign, have resulted in a significantly altered domestic anti-Israel movement.

    New to ADL’s list of the Top 10 Anti-Israel Groups are American Muslims for Palestine, CODEPINK, Neturei Karta and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). Despite MPAC’s positive role in the civil rights, counterterrorism and interfaith communities, the group’s involvement in anti-Israel campaigns and its leadership’s consistent use of anti-Israel rhetoric is extremely troubling.

    Once again, the Jewish anti-Israel group “Jewish Voice for Peace” (JVP) made the ADL list.  The group’s leaders and members of its Rabbinical Council are regularly invited to major anti-Israel events and conferences, and the group claims that its Jewish nature gives it a “particular legitimacy in voicing an alternative view.”  ADL further noted in its report that JVP “intentionally exploits Jewish culture and rituals” in an effort to convince other Jews that opposition to Israel does not contradict, but is consistent with, Jewish values.

    Anti-Israel groups no longer ranking in the Top 10 have, for various reasons, scaled down the type of activity that merited their inclusion in the original report. They include The International Solidarity Movement, Al-Awda, the Muslim American Society, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

 

Mondoweiss adds …..

Liberal Zionists call on ADL to cease publishing ‘anti-Israel’ sh*tlist because it will alienate U.S. Jews
 Philip Weiss

Two days ago the Anti-Defamation League, which is dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, issued a list of the top ten “anti-Israel” organizations in the U.S. This shocking sh*t-list (PDF here) includes Jewish Voice for Peace, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and CODEPINK and suggests that the groups are anti-Semitic.

In addition to their national impact and influence, many of the groups included in the list are known to employ rhetoric that is extremely hostile to Israel, Zionists and/or Jews.  Examples of this include:

Allegations that Israel or Jews control the U.S. government or the media; Offensive parallels to the Holocaust by comparing Israeli leaders to Nazis or describing Gaza as the “new Auschwitz;” Calls for the dismantlement of the state of Israel; Expressions of support for terrorist groups that seek Israel’s destruction.

Now the New Israel Fund and J Street issued a statement deploring the list as “shortsighted and unproductive” for “lumping organizations which truly oppose Israel’s right to exist with others that harshly criticize Israeli government policy.”

Note that the recent Pew findings, which have rocked the Jewish world, figure in the liberal Zionist groups’ appeal for dialogue with, not denunciation of, those supporting BDS.

However, examining the individual reports on the 10 groups, it becomes clear that the “sin” of several does not go much beyond support for the BDS movement or partnering with those who do. For instance, the indictment of “CODEPINK” reads: “CODEPINK’s objective is to reduce U.S. support for Israel and end U.S.-led wars and military campaigns in the Middle East and elsewhere. Though some of its initiatives have little to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (e.g. opposition to U.S. drone strikes, the closing of Guantanamo Bay), four of the 12 “Issues” listed on its website are about Israel, including a call for BDS against Israel and advocacy on ending U.S. aid to Israel.”

Meanwhile, the ADL admits that the Muslim Public Affairs Council explicitly recognizes Israel and supports a two-state solution, but partners with groups in the BDS movement. This is guilt by association and an unfair indictment of an organization that seeks dialogue with our community.

Issuing such blanket denunciations is ultimately self-defeating. Indeed, such condemnations have been issued, and are occasionally still issued, against our own organizations by various self-appointed guardians of ideological purity, who often turn out to be fronting an ultra-nationalist, pro-settlement agenda in Israel. That’s why we believe so strongly in open debate, why we do not launch guerrilla media campaigns against those who oppose our progressive values and why we must speak out when other organizations, including those with whom we profoundly disagree, are smeared with the same tactics.

We have the deepest respect for the ADL and the important role it has played in combatting anti-Semitism and racism in the United States. It should continue to do this by cataloging and drawing attention to specific cases wherever they occur. It should however be wary of devaluing the reality of anti-Semitism by applying the charge broadly against political organizations whose aims and tactics it disagrees with or suggesting that vigorous criticism of Israeli policy equates to anti-Semitism. And it should be careful not to further alienate the majority of American Jews who, as the recent Pew survey demonstrates, care deeply about Israel, but are no longer convinced that Israel or the Palestinians are sincerely searching for peace.

There is room for an important debate about BDS, a debate we believe we can win and are winning. We can and should discuss the contours of a final negotiated settlement, Israel’s future as a democracy and the complexities of Israel-Diaspora relations.

This list makes no contribution to those debates. We hope that 2013 is the last year it is issued.

RAPPIN TO APARTHEID

We need a new ‘I ain’t gonna play Sun City’ tune

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Artists United Against Apartheid – Sun City

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Not long after Band Aid and We Are The World focused musical attention on poverty and famine, a collection of artists took a similar approach in the struggle against apartheid. The initiator was Steven van Zandt – erstwhile guitarist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band – who whipped up dozens of musicians to work on the project. They included Peter Gabriel, members of U2, Springsteen himself, Hall and Oates, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Run DMC, Lou Reed, Jackson Browne and Keith Richards. Van Zandt wrote and produced the song and it reached the top 40 in several European nations, though not in the US.

Sun City is a large casino resort in the north-west of South Africa. During the apartheid years it was located in ‘independent’ state of Bophuthatswana, a phoney political entity that enabled white South Africans to visit a casino, gamble and attend strip shows, even though these activities were illegal within South Africa itself. The United Nations placed a cultural ban on artists touring or performing in South Africa – however many notable American and European acts ignored this and received large sums to perform at Sun City’s massive auditorium. Amongst those to defy the ban included Linda Ronstadt, Queen, Laura Branigan, Rod Stewart, Julio Iglesias – and, ironically, black singers like Ray Charles, Dionne Warwick and Boney M. As a result, Van Zandt’s song continually insists that “I ain’t gonna play Sun City”:

Twenty-three million can’t vote ’cause they’re black
We’re stabbing our brothers and sisters in the back
I wanna say I, I, I ain’t gonna play Sun City
I, I, I ain’t gonna play Sun City

Boputhuswana is so far away
But we know it’s in South Africa
No matter what they say
You can’t buy me, I don’t care what you pay
Don’t ask me Sun City because I ain’t gonna play 

h/t Lokis

ANIMATED VIDEO ~~ THE HORRORS OF GUANTANAMO

dachau_guantanamo

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Guantánamo Bay: The Hunger Strikes – video animation

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In March 2013, reports of a hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay, the US detention camp in Cuba, began to surface. Details were sketchy and were contradicted by statements from the US military. Now, using testimony from five detainees, this animated film reveals the daily brutality of life inside Guantánamo. Today there are 17 prisoners still on hunger strike, 16 of whom are being force-fed. Two are in hospital.
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 Warning: contains scenes some viewers might find disturbing
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From The Guardian

HOLLYWOOD STRIKES BACK AT BDS

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Boycott-of-Israel-BDS-2

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‘Creative Community for Peace’ is a strange name for a group whose website offers a view of Israel aimed at pop artists and their followers, showcasing Israel’s cultural diversity and technology. But it touches only briefly on issues relating to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians, the topic at the core of the boycott campaign.
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Hollywood Insiders Form Group To Counter Celebrity BDS Campaigns

Creative Community for Peace Lines Up Showbiz Execs

By Nathan Guttman

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For activists on both sides of the battle over boycotting Israel, there’s no business quite like show business.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which aims to isolate Israel because of its occupation of the West Bank, has often had trouble gaining traction on other fronts. But the performing arts have emerged as the one field in which calls to boycott the Jewish state have yielded some response. Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Annie Lennox and Stevie Wonder, among others, have responded to calls from grassroots activists by canceling dates in Israel or declining to play there, or at Israel-related events, even as other performers, including Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Bob Dylan and Madonna, have pointedly ignored such calls.

But lately, a group opposed to BDS has been taking a notably different approach. Unlike its opponents, who focus on building grassroots pressure by fans, from the bottom up, the Creative Community for Peace has assembled an impressive roster of top entertainment executives supportive of Israel who are seeking to influence artists from the top down to perform there.

“Because our members work within the industry, we are able to use our personal contacts to proactively reach out to artists and their representatives to provide balanced information about Israel,” said Lana Melman, CCFP’s director. “We prepare them for the possibility of a boycott campaign, educate them about Israel and the artistic freedom there, and work to arrest potential cancellations.”

CCFP, which formed in 2011, does not yet have its status as a tax-exempt charity recognized by the Internal Revenue Service. But while awaiting the processing of its application, it has partnered with StandWithUs, a group widely perceived as being on the far right of the pro-Israel spectrum. Pending acceptance of CCFP’s application, donors to the organization send their contributions to StandWithUs, an already recognized public charity. StandWithUs channels these donations to the newer group. This enables CCFP supporters to claim their donations as tax deductions. CCFP also currently shares office space with StandWithUs.

These are legal and commonly used practices for new groups in the not-for-profit world, according to tax experts. But CCFP’s choice to partner with StandWithUs — a group that has co-produced videos with Israel’s foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, rejecting the notion that the West Bank is occupied — has moved critics to question its real agenda.

“Why not align themselves with an organization that is closer to their projected position as apolitical?” asked Andrew Kadi of the pro-boycott U.S. Campaign to End Israeli Occupation.

CCFP’s founding member David Renzer, in an email to the Forward, said his organization has “always operated independently” of StandWithUs and that “there is no day-to-day relationship” with the group.”

The criticism has not stopped CCFP from bringing together an impressive roster of Hollywood heavies behind its banner. They include, among others, Ben Silverman, a former co-chair of NBC Entertainment; Jody Gerson, co-president of Sony/ATV Music Publishing; Gary Ginsberg, executive vice president of Time Warner; Samuel Schwartz, co-founder of the music talent agency Gorfaine/Schwartz, and Ron Fair, chief creative officer and executive vice president of Virgin Records and former chairman of Gefen Productions. Fair has also produced albums for acts such as the Black Eyed Peas and Christina Aguilera, and these high profile connections underline the kind of personal and professional relationships the group can bring into play.

The latest show business clash over Israel involved Grammy award winner Keys, who performed in Tel Aviv on July 4 despite a massive mobilization of critics that organized a petition signed by 16,000 people, calling on Keys not to “play apartheid Israel.” The protest was joined by Pink Floyd musician Waters and by author Alice Walker, who wrote a series of personal open letters to Keys appealing to her to boycott Israel.

In response, the music industry executives on CCFP’s advisory board contested Walker’s comparison of Israel to apartheid-era South Africa. The group also organized a counter petition in which more than 18,000 signatories called on all artists to proceed with their plans to perform in Israel and to allow “the power of your music to help bring hope and peace to the region.”

At the end of the day, it was the pro-Israel activists who won this battle when Keys went ahead with her July 4 performance.

Renzer, former head of Universal Music Publishing Group; Steve Schnur, a top executive at the leading video game producer EA, and Ran Geffen-Lifshitz, an Israel-based music producer, are the founders of CCFP.

The group’s website offers a view of Israel aimed at pop artists and their followers, showcasing Israel’s cultural diversity and technology. But it touches only briefly on issues relating to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians, the topic at the core of the boycott campaign.

The website describes CCFP as a group composed of members with diverse political views about how Israel can attain peace. But it also takes positions that appear to be held by only a narrow spectrum among Jews who support Israel. Among other things, it argues against the notion that settlements are an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians though Secretary of State John Kerry recently stated that “the United States of America views all the settlements as illegitimate.” A recent survey of American Jews by the Pew Research Center found only 17% of American Jews believe that settlements help Israel’s security.

As does StandWithUs, CCFP also disputes the use of the term “occupation” — a description that even right-wing Israeli leaders such as Ariel Sharon have acknowledged as accurate — to describe Israel’s hold over the West Bank.

The website also strongly challenges the pro-boycott activists’ claims of Israeli apartheid practices as a “false description.”

The group’s success is hard to measure. Its website is packed with photos of internationally acclaimed artists performing in Israel and posing on the streets of Tel Aviv or at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. It also boasts testimonials and videos of artists that have visited Israel, from Dylan to Justin Bieber.

Still, it is not clear how many artists have been swayed by CCFP’s pro-Israel campaign, or what role CCFP or other activists played in ensuring that artists include Israel in their world tours.

David Siegel, Israel’s consul general in Los Angeles, has no doubts. “They are effective because they work from inside the industry,” he said. “They have gained a lot of resonance, and they are, essentially, the only organization focused on the cultural boycott.”

In terms of assets inside the entertainment community, groups on the other side of the battle can mainly deploy Waters, the former frontman for Pink Floyd. Waters not only supports the boycott, but has also taken it upon himself to reach out to fellow performing artists to convince them to scratch their Israel concert plans.

Last December, it was Waters who wrote to Wonder, calling on him to reconsider his performance at an event hosted by Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, in Los Angeles. Wonder canceled the planned gig. BDS supporters also took pride in convincing Costello to call off](http://forward.com/articles/128185/boycott-targets-stars-from-elvis-to-elton/#ixzz2gmK4OfMQ) his performance in Tel Aviv.

But while the public battle has focused on artists already scheduled to perform in Israel, a music industry insider who has been involved in bringing top-of-the-line artists to Israel noted that the greater concern rests with those who have not yet scheduled their concert tours.

“It is difficult to bring artists to Israel as it is,” the industry executive said, noting the relatively small market Israel represents. “But politics makes it even more complicated. These people don’t like to get involved in it.”

Siegel, Israel’s top diplomat involved in reaching out to the entertainment industry, underscored this point. “We’re talking about artists that are used to having everyone love them, and now they are getting hate mail and petitions,” he said. “That’s why the best way to talk with them is from within the industry.”

Source

LATUFF’S TAKE ON FACEBOOK’S GLOBAL BUG

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
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Related

FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL ~~ A PALESTINIAN TEEN LOOKS AT THE SETTLEMENTS (VIDEO)

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Today, Municipal Elections are being held in Jerusalem. None of the players vow to change the present situation …. a situation that
 Americans refuse to see ….
What the EU and the rest of the world refuses to see ….
Perhaps these videos of a Palestinian teenager will open some of their eyes ….
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My Neighbourhood: a Palestinian boy’s view of Israeli settlements – video

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My Neighbourhood (directed by Julia Bacha and Rebekah Wingert-Jabi) tells the story of Mohammed El Kurd, a Palestinian teenager growing up in the heart of East Jerusalem. When Mohammed’s family is forced to give up a part of their home to Israeli settlers, local residents begin peaceful protests, and in a surprising turn, are quickly joined by scores of Israeli supporters. Mohammed comes of age in the face of unrelenting tension with his neighbours and unexpected co-operation with Israeli allies in his backyard. My Neighbourhood is latest short film by Just Vision, an organisation that uses film and media to increase the power and legitimacy of Palestinians and Israelis working to end the occupation and resolve the conflict nonviolently. Learn more about Just Vision at www.justvision.org
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The same lad a few months earlier ….
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CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR ASKS WHAT ‘INQUIRING MINDS NEED TO KNOW’ ABOUT ISRAELI SETTLEMENT EXPANSION

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Christian Science Monitor asks, ‘Why do Israeli settlements expand during peace talks?’
 Annie Robbins

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Why do Israeli settlements expand during peace talks? Image 1  (The Christian Science Monitor, Research: Allison Terry, Christa Case Bryant; Graphic: Jake Turcotte)

Why do Israeli settlements expand during peace talks? is an impressive 10 page series of info-graphics published by The Christian Science Monitor. While they never actually answer the question why Israel settlements expand more during peace talks, the series walks the viewer, step by step, through Israel’s settlement expansion during Oslo, Camp David, Sharm el Sheikh, Annapolis, right up to present day…and then some. We’ve compiled just a few from the series here and recommend checking out the rest. Impressive and disturbing.

Research by Allison Terry and Christa Case Bryant, and graphics by Jake Turcotte.

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Why do Israeli settlements expand during peace talks? Image 2                                               (The Christian Science Monitor, Research: Allison Terry, Christa Case Bryant; Graphic: Jake Turcotte)

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4 of 10

See the entire series here.

(Hat tip Karen Platt)   and Mondoweiss

PITY THE POOR CREATURE WE KNOW AS ZION

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Poor little Israel …. being picked on again. To avoid being labeled a ‘you-know-what’ you must pity this poor creature 😉 
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Today’s battle is BDS – the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign being waged against Israel. Significant efforts are being invested by the government and pro-Israel organizations to fend off BDS. This week I discovered that in the Israeli embassy in London alone, there are two people (one diplomat and a local employee) whose full-time brief is to monitor and counter BDS attempts.

Israel beefs up embassies with dedicated boycott fighters

Ali Abunimah
Israel is ramping up its efforts to fight the growing campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

Anshel Pfeffer reveals in Haaretz this weekend:

Today’s battle is BDS – the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign being waged against Israel. Significant efforts are being invested by the government and pro-Israel organizations to fend off BDS. This week I discovered that in the Israeli embassy in London alone, there are two people (one diplomat and a local employee) whose full-time brief is to monitor and counter BDS attempts. Apparently the Foreign Ministry with its diplomatic corps is not enough and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has added fighting BDS to the responsibilities of Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz.

This revelation follows a decision by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this year to hand responsibility for fighting BDS to the ministry of strategic affairs.

Netanyahu said the ministry would coordinate “efforts with NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] in Israel and all over the world,” a role which would include “the establishment of a professional special staff for countering delegitimization.”

Could this be the first indication of these increased efforts?

Monitoring, sabotaging BDS efforts

Haaretz’s Pfeffer does not reveal the names or specific duties of the anti-boycott embassy staff, but in 2010, Israel’s Reut Institute identified London as one of the major “hubs” in a so-called “delegitimization network.”

The Reut report, which was embraced by the Israeli government and Israel lobby groups around the world, called on Israel to “sabotage” and “attack” members of the Palestinian solidarity movement.

Early this year, Haaretz revealed that after Israel’s attack on the Gaza flotilla and the Mavi Marmara in May 2010, “Israeli intelligence began to concentrate on monitoring the social networks of Islamic organizations and foreign left-wing activists.”

Is BDS working?

Pfeffer himself downplays the importance of the Palestinian campaign, asserting with bravado that “BDS has failed to create any form of pressure on Israel to change its policies” and has done nothing to dent Israel’s economy.

But he acknowledges that BDS has had a deep psychological impact on Israelis from “generals and politicians who feel an unease landing in some countries” where they could face arrest, to “academics looking for a university for their post-doctorate year and business people trying to drum up interest in professional conferences.”

Pfeffer claims that as a result of these pressures “Israelis have made themselves prisoners in their own minds” and urged them to “break the siege.”

This is an ironic phrase since it is, in part, Israel’s brutal and ongoing siege of Gaza, that Palestinian solidarity campaigns aim to draw attention to and help end.

Pfeffer misses the point that it is precisely this kind of pressure Israelis are feeling that successful boycotts generate.

Many Israelis are starting to understand that there is a price to be paid for imposing an intolerable injustice on millions of Palestinians.

It is indeed this kind of pressure and growing isolation – especially the sporting and cultural boycott – that helped convince white supporters and beneficiaries of apartheid in South Africa that they had to radically change direction.

 

Written FOR

THE CLOSET ZIONISTS IN OUR MIDST

I like to know those things about writers. I think they’re important. It’s something I admire about Eric Alterman and Jeffrey Goldberg, they’ve always been out front about their Zionism. As I’ve been out front about my opposition to Zionism.

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Journalists should tell their readers if they’re Zionists
 Philip Weiss

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I take Roger Cohen seriously and so I’ve read a lot of his columns over the years, bought his book on the Balkans and read it. I leaped at the chance to debate the peace process with him in Qatar four years ago, and helped arrange his moderation of a debate over Israel with two congressmen in 2011.

But just a few months ago I learned something important about him. He’s a liberal Zionist. “I am one,” he said in confessing his “deep despondency” over Israel’s failure to end the occupation.

Shouldn’t I have known that before? I wondered. I regard Zionism as a core attachment, an intellectual/emotional/spiritual commitment that can be deeply binding. Back when Cohen was advocating the war in Iraq, for instance: Was his concern for Israel’s security part of his thinking?

I had the same feeling about Peter Beinart. He wrote a whole book about the need to liberate Iraq. The Good Fight: Why Liberals –and Only Liberals–Can Win the War On Terror and Make America Great Again. It doesn’t mention Israel once, per the index, and at the start, Beinart says he supported the war because it would

“help open a democratic third way in the Middle East between secular autocrats and their theocratic opponents–a third way that offered the best long-term hope for protecting the United States.”

Was that a sincere statement? We now know that Beinart cares deeply and passionately about Israel. He thinks about Israel almost as much as I do. He runs Open Zion, he has published a book called The Crisis of Zionism, he puts the Israeli flag on his boy’s wall, and he has published important pieces in the New York Review of Books on the failure of Jewish organizations in their support of Israel. So was he concerned about Israel when he was pushing the Iraq war? I think he was; and that he should have told his readers that.

Ian Lustick is someone else who’s declared lately. He wrote that he was once “spectacularly hopeful” about Zionism and it’s with “profound sadness” that he confronts the failure of the two-state solution. Lustick is an honest man and a realist, but I wish I’d known before now that he had such a profound attachment to the Zionist dream when I was reading all his excellent pieces.

Lustick himself pointed  out in Philadelphia the other day that writers and scholars are moved by passions, and have the duty to advance arguments that transcend those passions. Good point.

But I like to know about those passions.

I always felt that Ethan Bronner, the former Jerusalem bureau chief of the Times who had a son in the Israeli army, was a Zionist, but he never said so openly, and this created justifiable outrage in my community. In Philadelphia the other day, Max Blumenthal critiqued the claimed “objectivity” of the New York Times. He said that the present bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren, is married to an artist, Gary Rudoren, who’s “deeply immersed in Jewish Israeli society,” and she gets translation services from Myra Noveck, who works in the Times bureau, has two children in the Israeli army and is the wife of liberal Zionist Gershom Gorenberg. Blumenthal said:

“The idea that these people are objective is completely absurd to me but they’re operating under the veneer of objectivity when I’m completely out in the open with [my] quotidian beliefs… in a multicultural society where everyone has a fair shot regardless of ethnicity.”

I wonder about Rudoren. She comes out of the mainstream Jewish community, and I have found her to be culturally-bound, but is she a Zionist? She declined to answer that question a year back and then tweeted, “the only ist I use to describe self is journalist.” But I don’t think she’s being forthcoming. Rudoren also wrote proudly that she and her husband combined their last names because she refused to adopt a principle of the “patriarchy.” Surely that makes her a feminist.

I like to know those things about writers. I think they’re important. It’s something I admire about Eric Alterman and Jeffrey Goldberg, they’ve always been out front about their Zionism. As I’ve been out front about my opposition to Zionism.

Cohen, Lustick, and Beinart’s confessions are good. I want more journalists who write about the Middle East to declare on this question, in an acknowledgment of the public’s right to know. Zionism is a core component of the American Jewish relationship to Israel. It is a nationalist ideology involving religious identity, tribal concerns, and belief in the insecurity of Jews in the west. We all need to debate its premises and principles, Jews and non-Jews alike. It would help if those who subscribe to it told us so.

 

From Mondoweiss

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