MORE FAKE MEDIA NEWS AND SOME DOWNRIGHT LIES

Again we were witnesses to a notorious staged farce last weekend in Paris with ringing declarations about the so called “Middle East Peace Conference”.

Pack of Trump-Lies!

By Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, English Translation by Milena Rampoldi

More than 72 statesmen, diplomats, and representatives of different organisations met to debate the two-state solution, a solution which has never been feasible because nobody really wanted it and because of the non-existent peace process.

Neither Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu nor Palestinian President Abbas or a Trump representative sat at the table, so in practise people debated in their own circle. Although President Hollande praised the two-state solution as the objective of the international community, in the end he was left empty-handed, and as the final communiqué was written only with considerable difficulty, it was not worth the paper it is written on. They were embarrassingly intent on not upsetting the new Trump administration thereby confirming our worst fears. (1)

And as has been the case for decades, again Israelis and Palestinians were invited to renew their engagement for a “two-state solution” and to renounce unilateral steps which would prejudice the result of direct negotiations.

“Unilateral steps” are the uninhibited Israeli settlement activity on the occupied Palestinian land with its land grab to judaizise Palestine. The whole world wants the “two-state solution” as emphasized by French Foreign Minister Ayrault, and confirmed by German Foreign Minister Steinmeier who even warned against the possible consequences which in the end would even endanger Israel’s security! However, the “international community” failed to implement its “will” because its whole interest is only concerned with the “Jewish State” and its security which serves to strengthen the occupation regime. It is no secret that the Israelis do not want peace, but all of Palestine without a Palestinian population.

The constantly repeated assertion that only the two parties concerned can find a peaceful solution is also a false conclusion. However, there have been ongoing negotiations for decades, and what did they achieve? On one hand, the “Jewish occupation state” is stronger than ever and spreading like an octopus. The economic contacts which should be extended refer to Palestinians and Israelis, but ultimately only helps the “Jewish State” which becomes more and more powerful, while the occupied Palestinians without rights become weaker and weaker. In fact, Netanyahu was right when he said that the conference was useless. He has even won because the Conference in Paris was not a platform for new UN resolutions, and this was what the Netanyahu regime was afraid of before the conference.

This final communiqué lacked bite and proposals for a solution so that the only alternative is the continuation of the wide-ranging boycott against the “Jewish State”, as long as this does not stop the illegal occupation of Palestine and does not withdraw behind the frontiers of 1967 and it does not become a state with internationally recognised frontiers and does not violate the legal right of return of the expelled Palestinians to their homeland, as recognised by international law.

Nothing of all this can and could be expected, therefore Netanyahu, awaiting for Trump, speaks of the last gasp of the conference and even puts it at one and the same level with the Islamist terrorism by comparing the statesmen having gathered there with its motivation. His conclusion is that they would destroy all hopes for peace.

Although the whole community of states gathered in Paris denounces the construction of settlements as the main conflict point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it does not renounce to the criticism towards the Palestinian “terrorist” attacks. This is so mendacious, because again people try to put the two parties at one level and so the cause is confused with the effect. The cause of the Palestinian resistance is the illegal occupation and dispossession, and the effect is the legitimate resistance against that. Of course, Netanyahu and his regime have a completely different perspective. They defame this legitimate resistance against the permanent construction of settlements on the stolen land, the decades-long occupation, the daily reprisals and the hopelessness as Palestinian “terrorism”.

Netanyahu, who feels strengthened by Trump, Kushner, and Friedman, is feverishly awaiting for the inauguration of Trump on 20 January, because he thinks that with the new president a new era will begin, which will be a calendar of the superlatives.  Already an unexpected boom of settlement construction, as we can already notice, involves the “Jewish State”, looking forward to a new chapter in the “eternally undivided capital Jerusalem” after a possible relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump did not only personally invite Netanyahu to this ceremony, but he also invited twenty of the most infamous settlers’ leaders. What a sign and what a provocation! As you can imagine, all this was organised by the Trump whisperers Kushner and Friedman. In his inaugural speech, Trump will also explicitly talk about Israel. So it will be really interesting. However, we should not be afraid of “tomorrow, which will be different from today and is very near”, and of which Netanyahu spins yarns.

There have been enough negotiations, and again without any tangible results. The collective responsibility Ayrault talks about and which should promote negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians is no more than a useless sentence. Netanyahu’s refusal to come to Paris was symbolic, but why were the Palestinians denied participation at the conference? Why was the hypocritical community of states not able to recognise that there is a Palestine which must finally become a free and independent state and this is the collective responsibility towards Palestinians.

However, it is not the two-state solution which has been obsolete since a long time. Since decades, Palestine has been judaized without any restriction, and this was possible thanks to this hypocritical community of states. It has been done absolutely nothing against the Zionist ideology that requires a Jewish state: Eretz Israel. As a consequence, the occupied Palestinians have been living until now under the illegal occupation, in a region full of settlements, without any chance to get a viable, connected state on their territory.

All of this was not even mentioned. The Jewish occupiers were simply allowed to carry on as they please. What do submissive reproaches against the settlement politics help, if Israel gets more and more military aid in absurd amounts and the “Jewish State” continues its aggression wars and the Gaza genocide by always presenting them as “self-defence”, so that Western politicians from Merkel to Obama show solidarity with the Jewish State again and again. And what an eyewash when we always talk about the “moderate” Palestinians, if it is about the collaborateur Abbas, while the democratically elected Hamas government in the Gaza Strip is demonised as terrorist. Under these conditions there will never be peace. And probably this peace is also not desired. The “Jewish State” is an important ally of the so called alliance against terrorism. German ministers and politicians of the Social, Green, and Christian-Democratic Party are zealously trying to imitate Israeli methods. They talk without any restrictions about the uninhibited administrative detention for suspects and “endangerers” according to the Israel model where this method has been applied for a long time against innocent Palestinians. Did we not have this in the past? At that time it was called protective detention to protect us from these agitators! So I cannot agree with the goodwill of some left-wing people who evaluate Trump only from Putin’s point of view although even in this direction there are only contradictions. (2)

Trump and Co. will learn us to fear, from the beginning commercial war, racism, wall construction, and Israel politics, and also by his “out of the Nato”, since this does not concern the Nato itself but only wants that the defence costs we have to carry have to amount at least 2% of the GDP. And all this is in the sense of Merkel, the eulogized “leader”. (3)

Between lies and Trump the world seems to hover between shock and euphoria.

 

Written FOR

TODAY’S TOON ~~ DOUBLE STANDARDS FOR SYRIA AND YEMEN

Image by Carlos Latuff

    So It Goes Double Standards


So It Goes
Double Standards

 

THE TWO -STATE SOLUTION’S SILVER BULLET

If the international community cannot come to recognize the State of Palestine before Trump takes office, the State of Palestine may ultimately be reconstituted from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.

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The Two-State Solution’s Silver Bullet

By Sam Bahour

If the international community, led by the U.S., is serious about preserving the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the upcoming French-hosted international peace conference is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reframe the way forward. Recognizing the State of Palestine would politically contribute to ending Israel’s nearly 50-year military occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. This single act may be the silver bullet to save the two-state solution.

Such an act would acknowledge the asymmetric balance of power on the ground and finally acknowledge in law—prior to a peace agreement—that the international community envisions the end-game ultimately being two states. This could serve as a platform for future actions to engage both parties to act in their internationally-aligned strategic interests. Anything less, or muddying the waters by including this move in a basket of other issues, would likely further delay a real Middle East Peace Process.

In Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent remarks on Middle East Peace he took pride that “The United States recognized Israel seven minutes after its creation” in 1948. This recognition of Israel happened without Israel having a defined eastern border, a supposed prerequisite for statehood. Is it too much to ask the U.S. to support the recognition of the State of Palestine in the same fashion, without a defined western border?” This is exactly what the Palestinian’s request for full UN membership to the UN Security Council in 2011 stated, recognition with Palestine’s western border being “on the basis of the pre-1967 borders,” which is “in accordance with the relevant [UN] resolutions,” along with the need to “resume and accelerate” negotiations of our shared border with Israel.

When the U.S. threatened to veto the 2011 application for full UN membership, the Palestinians, in a strategic move, requested that it be sent to a UN Security Council committee for further deliberations pending a more opportune timing. The following year, on 29 November 2012, a General Assembly resolution was passed that “Decide[d] to accord to Palestine non-member observer State status” and “Expresse[d] the hope that the Security Council will consider favourably the application submitted on 23 September 2011 by the State of Palestine for admission to full membership in the United Nations.” The majority of the world’s countries have unilaterally recognized the State of Palestine and 138 countries upgraded Palestine’s UN status when they voted in favor of Resolution 67/19.

Despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s total rejection of the international community’s efforts to attempt to save the two-state solution, France is preparing to receive some 70 countries on January 15 to convene an international Middle East Peace Conference which aims to preserve the two-state paradigm. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has welcomed France’s effort, but for the average Palestinian the news of yet another conference on Middle East peace is like making a groundbreaking announcement that Starbucks sells coffee.

Those living under the daily brunt of Israeli military occupation are right to be skeptical. There is a long list of failed peace efforts all the way from UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine (November 29, 1947), Count Folke Bernadotte proposals (1947-1948), UN Security Council Resolution 242 (November 22, 1967), the Rogers Plan (1969), UN Security Council Resolution 338 (October 22, 1973), the Reagan Plan (Sept. 1, 1982), the Oslo Accords (1993), Wye River Memorandum (October 23, 1998), Camp David 2000 Summit (2000), The Clinton Parameters (December 23, 2000), the Taba summit (January 2001), the Tenet Plan (June 13, 2001), the Arab Peace Initiative (March 28, 2002), the Road Map for Peace (April 30, 2003), the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit of 2005 (February 8, 2005), the Kerry Principles for Middle East Peace (December 29, 2016) to name just the main efforts and, sadly, the list seems likely to grow.

To avoid being added to the above list, the upcoming international conference should collectively take the single act of backing a UN Security Council resolution recognizing Palestine. Once Palestine and Israel are both recognized, the countries of the world could start to apply international conventions, treaties and understandings—just as they apply to all bordering states around the world—to the daily hurdles (from movement and trade to the use of airspace and electromagnetic spectrum) facing Palestinian existence under Israeli military occupation—as well as differentiating their own dealings with pre-1967 Israel and its illegal settlement enterprise.

The President of the Arab American Institute, James J. Zogby, recently wrote of Kerry’s end of year speech, “To some, especially Palestinians, this may seem like ‘too little, too late.’ But as someone who has been a part of the effort to create an American debate on Israeli policies, Kerry’s intervention is welcome, validating, and empowering. He laid down markers that should help liberals and progressives define a policy agenda on the Israel-Palestine conflict—exactly what we need as we enter the challenges of the Trump era.”

Given the upcoming “Trump era,” the recognition by the international community of the State of Palestine before it is too late could do much more than “laying down markers.” Such a move could be used to finally hold Israel accountable and levy serious costs—political, economic and otherwise—on Israel to bring it in line with international law and UN resolutions, not to mention common sense.

If the two-state paradigm fails, Palestinians and Israelis will not vanish into thin air. While Secretary Kerry’s 2014 nine-month thrust to restart negotiations was collapsing, the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue in Vienna undertook a serious intellectual exercise with Palestinian, Israeli Jewish and European intellectuals, politicians and activists, to contribute to re-examining the current strategies and paradigms, proposing and exploring new perspectives, visionary discourses and alternatives to partition. A volume was produced along with the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament, titled, Rethinking the Politics of Israel/Palestine – Partition and its Alternatives, which proposes out-of-the-box thinking on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In politics no vacuums exist and this effort reflected just that fact.

If the upcoming January gathering of states fails, the French could just sing C’est la vie as Netanyahu laughs all the way to the next settlement in the West Bank, but yet another generation of Palestinians and Israelis on the ground will pay the ultimate price for their failure.

Originally written FOR

A version of this article was first published in French at Le Monde.fr.

HARD TO STAY HUMAN IN A SEA OF HATE

An international world order that does not see the centrality or
urgency for the Palestinian issue and is complicit in the crime.

humans_respect_humans_by_rbeloniojr-d4y9ceu

SAY HUMAN/MENSCH BLIEBEN!

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

11 homes were demolished by the Israeli occupation authorities in one day
in the village of Qalanswe (occupied in 1948). The pace of home demolitions 
accelerated recently and are expected to accelerate more as Israel 
violates human rights and international law with
international impunity. Donald Trump will follow on the heels of Obama in
giving a green light for further ethnic cleansing. The conditions for
revolution are there just like they were in 1936 and 1987:

1) Political factional leadership disconnected from the people’s needs or
thoughts and the natives who dislike the existing political factions and
want serious change.

2) Most people have given up on political structures and the so called
“peace process” (an industry of talk and profit for elites).

3) A colonizer-occupier so self-assured that they have things under
“control” they actually do things like killing unarmed demonstrators or
demoliting homes or collective punishment. Israel just decided to deport
from Jerusalem 12 family members of a Palestinians who killed four soldiers
who illegally occupy East Jerusalem (International law recognizes such acts
as legitimate forms of resistance). This cockiness can accelerate the
arrival of uprisings.

4)  An international world order that does not see the centrality or
urgency for the Palestinian issue and is complicit in the crime (even
projecting Israeli flags on state buildings in Europe last week and
instituting laws that attack freedom of speech).

These conditions were present before every one of the uprisings (1881,
1904, 1912, 1921, 1929, 1936, etc). In South Africa under apartheid there
was also 14 or 15 uprisings before apartheid ended. Let us hope that this
coming one in Palestine will be the last. Netanyahu just sent his jets
attacking Syria (a violation of International law). Obama dropped 26,000
bombs in 2016 on seven countries.  We do not expect Trump to do any better!
Local leaders also do not give us chance for optimism. Abbas believes in
talking and the King of “Saudi Arabia” believes in bombing hospitals and
schools in Yemen to serve Israeli interests and keep his throne.  And as
JFK once said: once you make a peaceful revolution impossible you make a
violent revolution inevitable. It is time to think globally and act locally.

Aِِcting locally, we at the Palestine Museum of Natural History and
Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability are working hard. 
It has been another busy and productive week for us
locally. Two manuscripts were accepted for publication. We received good
news on one grant and submitted two more grant proposals. Israel gave a
permission to Prof. Zuhair Amr from Jordan to come spend two weeks with us
in Bethlehem  working on research (on land snails, shrews, geckos and
,more). The video of my denial of entry to Jerusalem revceived 5000 views
on facebook and over 2000 views on youtube (https://youtu.be/r0IIvCaxaKo).
We attended a workshop on Palestine Future (trends to 2030) and agreed to
take some action plans. We formed a committee to prepare for a national
network of museums. We received and rejected two offers of large funding
that required us to collaborate with Israeli institutions (violating BDS
rules). Even though our financial situation is difficult, our motto in the
museum continues to be RESPECT (for one self, for others, for nature).

The coming week promises even more: we are expecting more volunteers (local
and internationals), we expect three international delegations (visitors),
we expect to make two field trips, and to finish two more research
manuscripts. Please join us because we are the people we have been waiting
for! In other words change comes from us working together.
A poem about life by Mazin Qumsiyeh in English and German

‘James Bond’ of Philanthropy gives away the last of his fortune. “His name
does not appear in gilded letters, chiseled marble or other forms of
writing anywhere on the 1,000 buildings across five continents that $2.7
billion of his money paid for”

Stay Human/ Mensch Bleiben

ZIONIST OCCUPATION TAKES ITS TOLLS

When  an occupation becomes an Israeli right, Palestinian resistance becomes an essential obligation! 

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Zionist Occupation and Expulsion Take Their Tolls!

by Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, translated by Milena Rampoldi,  edited by author William Hanna
*
Netanyahu and his regime reacted with customary “outrage” to the attack in Jerusalem where Netanyahu with immediate instinctiveness appeared centre stage to invent a connection between the Islamic State and the Palestinian perpetrator, Fadi al Hanbar, a 28-year-old father from Dschaba, an illegally occupied part of East Jerusalem. It is absolutely mysterious how Netanyahu arrived at this conclusion without any apparent evidence: especially since the Israeli-Palestinian problem is not due to the Islamic State, but to the decades-long illegal occupation of Palestine and the expulsion of Palestinians.
*
Was this young Palestinian “attacker” not himself a victim? He had been just released from an Israeli prison, where – of course – he was detained as a “terrorist suspect” rather than a brave “resistance fighter” as was the case for those Europeans who during the Second World War fought against Nazi occupations. Currently more than 6,000 Palestinians are detained indefinitely and without trial in Israeli prisons under Administrative Detention Orders. Almost all Palestinian families at one time or another had family members who were detained or are still being detained without knowing when or if they will ever be released. Men and women, old and young, are brutally tortured and kept in unacceptable, inhumane conditions that contravene the Geneva Convention. The Apartheid regime illegally occupying Palestine does not hesitate to use its infamous secret services Shin Bet and Mossad – along with their renowned superpower ally – perpetrate murderous crimes on a global scale. Extra-judicial executions by the “Jewish Defence Forces”; barbaric attacks by illegal Jewish settlers; and targeted killings by Mossad are carried out with impunity everywhere because the “Jewish State” has granted itself the licence to kill.
*
Should there be astonishment at such attacks and explicitly against soldiers who were ironically on a bus tour through Jerusalem. Furthermore, these officer cadets have been trained to go to places where they are particularly needed, and where they have to execute reprisals and operations against Palestinians. In the occupied East Jerusalem the atmosphere is tense with Palestinians fearing that after January 20 – when Trump is inaugurated as U.S. President – matters will only get worse. Will Trump for example make good on his statement that under his presidency – with help of David Friedman, the orthodox Jew, right-wing settlement supporter, and the future U.S. ambassador to the “Jewish State” – the U.S. embassy would be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem thereby violating international law? This would be a provocation of the worst kind, cemented by the illegitimate claim of Jewish Zionist-fascist hardliners and their illusion of an “eternal and undivided Jerusalem” as capital of the “Jewish State”.  
*
How can the Palestinians be blamed? They have for decades been forced to live under brutal conditions and are now faced with the threat of extremist Jews with Netanyahu regime support of having a new Jewish Temple built on Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount), the Islamic holy site (“the Noble Sanctuary”) where the al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock have stood for over 1,300 years. Directly after the recent attack, the Netanyahu regime decided to arrest the IS followers in the “Jewish State” without due legal process under the notorious Administrative Detention Orders that had for decades been routinely used against “troublesome” Palestinians whose illegal detention without trial has been condemned by human rights organisations such as Amnesty International, B`Tselem, and Human Rights Watch to no avail while the international community with its core “values” maintained a cowardly silence!
*
Five family members of the attacker have already been arrested, his house scheduled for destruction, and his body due to be buried in secret without being returned to his family whose applications for reunification with the inhabitants in the Gaza Strip have been refused by the Security Cabinet.
*
Ethnic detention and illegal house demolitions – injustices tolerated by Western state communities – with even Germany always insisting on responsibility for remembrance of the past as justification for a “Jewish State,” failing to meet the responsibilities of the present for universal justice and human rights.
*
Rather than continually promoting the illegal Jewish occupation of Palestine, Merkel and Steinmeier should instead denounce the fascist crimes against humanity and stop the colonial terrorist zeal of their “Jewish friends”. There are no protests from Germany, the U.S. or the EU, who while expressing condolences for the attack on Israel, regard justified Palestinian resistance to persecution as being acts of terrorism.
*
Because of this blatant double standard injustice there will never be peace. Only when the hypocritical “community of values” under “Christian-Jewish” leadership begins to perceive the illegal occupation as the main cause of legitimate Palestinian resistance, will there be tranquillity.
*
Why should this resistance against the illegal occupation of Palestine be considered as an act of terrorism as compared with resistance to Nazi Germany’s terror! The application of double standards is always inadvisable because it will only fail at a political level. While Netanyahu – who is bogged down in the quagmire of a brutal occupation – is constantly looking for any opportunity to divert responsibility away from himself, the community of states should resist participation in, and support for this denigrating game.  
*
This is a Zionist regime of a country drowning in a moral swamp – where a soldier’s cold- blood murder of an injured Palestinian lying on the ground – is celebrated by the majority of the population with even Netanyahu recognising him as a hero and brave opponent of terrorism. By reacting in this manner, Israel’s Zionist regime has forfeited any right to claims of being a democracy. Incomprehensibly, the military court has just condemned the soldier to only Second Degree murder and not to assassination. A further outrageous injustice would be if this murderer-soldier Azaria, was to be pardoned!
*
Despite what Netanyahu and Western politicians want us to believe, this attack had absolutely nothing to do with Paris, Nice, Berlin, or anywhere else. The fact is that in the decades-long illegally occupied Palestinian Territories the injustice of the occupation has created a fertile ground for such resistance attacks by a hapless, denigrated, and desperate people, who have absolutely nothing to lose.  
*
Meanwhile Netanyahu simply pursues self-serving policies that retain his power base by directing attention towards Iran, the Hezbollah, and Hamas. Furthermore he stokes the fire in Syria by supporting the terrorists of al-Nusra and taking the opportunity to reconnect with ISIS – which does not even operate in the “Jewish State” – so as to delegitimise the Palestinians and portray himself as the hero supporting the war against terrorism.
*
This infamous conduct becomes even more so when Western politicians like French Prime Minister Hollande officially authorise targeted killings with drone attacks in Africa and the Middle East since 2013. On the list containing 17 names of those to be killed, 13 are still pending! Welcome to the club of those who have the licence to kill! With such policies, conscientiously supported by Germany and other Western alliance partners who promote such bombing, the real reason behind the “War on Terror” becomes apparent.
*
This is not a Clash of Civilizations between the saviour “Judaeo-Christian values” and extremist Islamic terror, as they would have us believe, but a deliberate attempt to “Zionise” Western democracies into accepting the illegal occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. To this end, the Brandenberg Gate was illuminated in the flag colours of the Star of David which is a symbol of Israel’s illegal occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine!

*

When such an occupation becomes an Israeli right, Palestinian resistance becomes an essential obligation! 
*
Originally written FOR
*
Image by Carlos Latuff
In the first week of 2017 Israel demolished the homes of 151 Palestinians

In the first week of 2017 Israel demolished the homes of 151 Palestinians

WHAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT ELECTION MEDDLING

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Meddling in Elections
By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

"For many years I have felt that the situation in the Middle East was very
nearly hopeless.  The fundamental problem for us is that we have lost our
freedom of action in the Middle East and are committed to policies that
promote neither our own national interest nor the cause of peace.  AIPAC
(the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee) and its allied
organizations have effective working control of the electoral process.
They can elect or defeat nearly any congressman or senator that they wish,
with their money and coordinated organization" Senator William Fulbright

Just so that we do not forget who really meddles in US elections and US
politics all the time

AIPAC role in US elections


AIPAC is not the only group though it is the most visible that influences
US elections to serve Israeli (not American interests). Here is a partial
listing

We have to remember that it was Israel which pushed for the war on Iraq and
damaged US Politicians who opposed the war (e.g. the Israel lobby boasts of
its influence to get rid of US congress people like Paul Findley and
Cynthia McKinney). See

 And look at The Israel Lobby by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt

And then there are the billionaire Zionists like Sheldon Adelson who all
contending republicans for president court.

And who can forget that a Jewish lawyer by the name of Harry Katz talked to
head of AIPAC in 1991 and that the head of AIPAC boasted about theiur
negotiations” with Bill Clinton for support but only if the Zionists get
key cabinet positions (secretary of state and as his national security
adviser)

And can we forget that Prime Minister Netanyahu discarded protocol, snubbed
President Obama and addressed AIPAC’s US Congress in March 2015 interfering
directly in US Policy that was interested in best deal for the US (with
Iran). Thankfully, they did not succeed then to change Obama’s discourse so
they now ensured to have a successor who will annul the deal


Just last week, an Israeli diplomat was caught on tape boasting about
meddling in British elections and politics.


For more on politics, elections etc, see this chapter from my book “Sharing
the Land of Canaan” 

And this is only the tip of the iceberg. So please share these links to
show who really meddles in democratic elections. (Someone ought to write a
book)

Stay human
 

“NO CHRISTMAS IN JERUSALEM FOR YOU!”

Here is what happened  in video and why even this short encounter reveals at least six violations of International law.

NO CHRISTMAS IN JERUSALEM FOR YOU

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

January 7th is Christmas for my family (Eastern Christian traditions). After we had our large gathering of a few hundred members of the Qumsiyeh clan, and paying visits to my sisters and the older people in my family, I tried unsuccessfully to visit Jerusalem (both with my US passport and with my Palestinian ID). The idea was to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and have dinner in Jerusalem.

I used to be a high school teacher in Jerusalem. Bethlehem is only 4 miles away and is a suburb of Jerusalem. The economies were/are inter-dependent and for five thousand years were inseparable. That is until Israel decided to separate us after they signed the Oslo agreements in 1994 (one of many reasons why these sell-out agreements entrenched apartheid and colonization). I am not allowed to enter Jerusalem on my American passport because I am a Palestinian who does not get a visitor visa on my US passport (I hold green card resident ID in my own country). Most Palestinians are not allowed to their own city of Jerusalem except with special permits. On occasions (like Muslim and Christian holidays, Palestinians above a certain age (males over 55) are allowed. In this case they claimed that Shabak (Israel Internal Security) said that even if I was above 55 I am not allowed and that if I try to come through again I would be jailed (lack of due process not withstanding). While I was questioned, the bus from Bethlehem had left and we were forced to then walk back in the cold weather.

The Israeli policies of separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem and denying us entry are violations of International law and many are considered war crimes. Here are the violations that these soldiers and the Israeli government are guilty of based on International law:

1) Israel’s changes to borders of the municipality of Jerusalem to include parts of Bethlehem (illegal for occupiers, several UN resolutions),

2) Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem (both West Jerusalem and East Jerusalem are not Israeli per the UN resolutions that Israel itself agreed to implement when they became members of the UN),

3) Israel’s establishment of 23 Jewish only settlements/colonies in Bethlehem is a war crime and the fact that such Jewish settlers cross over without requiring tasrih (permit) is racist,

4) Israel cannot prevent freedom of movement between one occupied town (Bethlehem) and another occupied town (Jerusalem),

5) Building walls and fences inside the 1967 occupied areas is also illegal (International Criminal Court Ruling 2004),

6) That the “shabak” can give direction to prevent people like me from crossing simply because we advocate non-violent resistance (I wrote a book on the subject) is contrary to both local law (supposed freedom of speech, due process) and International law (e.g. violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

These colonization tactics are nothing short of state terrorism. This indignity was a disappointment in Christmas but we have the peace of Christmas in our hearts and the silver lining is that this provides another motivation for us to redouble our efforts to end the ongoing crimes against humanity. Others suffer and even get injured, jailed or tortured so we are still grateful. May 2017 bring us closer to ending this nightmare of apartheid, close to return of Palestinian refugees, closer to justice, and closer to peace.

Stay Human!

original

THE FÜHRER’S BELL TOLLS FOR THEE

Has it not been a long time since Palestine disappeared from the agenda of the international community of states which always gives so much importance to compliance with the international law? What did Kerry achieve in the end with his embittered speech? Like all its predecessors, the Obama Administration is facing the ruins of mistaken politics towards its precious favourite ally Israel.

Image by Carlos Latuff

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When the Führer’s bell tolls!

By Evelyn Hecht-Galinski,  English translation by Milena Rampoldi, edited by author William Hanna.
*
The sad reality of many of my articles over the years seems to have become a definitive, sad certainty. The mantra of the two-state-solution and the slogan “two states for two peoples” now appear to be an impossibility. Following the last speech by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on the Middle-East,  Netanyahu’s distant echo from Jerusalem could be heard: “Israel does not need instructions from outside for peace.”  And the right-wing minister of education Bennet of the Settler Party said: “On 20 January Palestine will be taken off the agenda.” Trump sent his regards to the Jewish Führer who was already wishfully waiting for them. Netanyahu was even personally invited to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Trump as U.S. President in Washington. Following Trump’s election, Netanyahu work towards the the final stage of the Zionist land grab, but will he pursue Bennett’s proposal and start annexation of all the occupied West Bank?
*
Has it not been a long time since Palestine disappeared from the agenda of the international community of states which always gives so much importance to compliance with the international law? What did Kerry achieve in the end with his embittered speech? Like all its predecessors, the Obama Administration is facing the ruins of mistaken politics towards its precious favourite ally Israel.
*
In his speech, Kerry passionately advocated the two-state solution by criticising Israel heavily, but this last appeal seems more than helpless, after years of failed attempts to stop the illegal Jewish occupation in Palestine. Neither his statement that “Israel is driven by an extremist element,” nor that Israel does not want peace, but the land, is new, because Zionism’s main aim — grabbing land for “Eretz Israel” — has been known since the foundation of the state. And who made all this possible? Among others, the billions of U.S. dollars in aid have made the “Jewish State” what it is today. Kerry’s proposals for the demarcation and separation of Jerusalem are old hat, but were never accepted by Israeli governments. So this “Kerry Ketchup” speech has come too late and will ultimately remain inconsequential.
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The “Jewish State” was fed to a right-wing fascist regime which presents itself as the “only Democracy in the Middle East” and Western stronghold against Muslim terrorists (the Arabic world), so that it can go on violating international law with its illegal occupation of Palestine. Time and and again we are faced with the deception of a “Jewish State” that is Jewish and democratic. A“Jewish State” based on Judaic Torah Laws, a “Great Israel” belonging to the “elected Jewish people” and having an indestructible pact with God until eternity. With such a “divine” argument, they feel they are without competitors and  immune to all political arguments.
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The infamous Likud (UN) culture minister Miri Regev has already proposed that Kerry divides Washington instead of Jerusalem and stressed that “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and has been the capital of Israel for 3000 years, and it will remain so for the next 3000 years.” This is the minister who tries to bring Israeli artists to their senses by a quasi-ban on employment if they refuse to perform in illegal settlements, and carries out the kind of cultural censorship that is known only in dictatorships. Regev shows us precisely the way of this ominous politics that rushes a free Palestine into disaster. In the meantime, the Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked and the Minister for Public Security, Gilad Erdan, would like to introduce a new law to be able to delete “rabble-rousing” posts on Facebook, youtube and other social media to silence negative criticism. The implication being that it is not the illegal occupation of Palestine — which does not exist according to Israeli politicians — and the hopelessness and denigration of the Palestinian youth that is responsible for the resistance movement of the Palestinians, but the “murderous incitement” on the internet. And the Zionist world view is exactly that simple. In the end, Shaked is the expert for hate-based posts on Facebook with a recent claim to  not only kill the Palestinian “terrorists,” but also their mothers so as to prevent them having more small snakes!
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And despite such a horrible statement, the German Minister of Justice Maas (of the German Socialist Party) organises a conference in a cosy agreement with Shaked on the  the subject of “Democracy and Constitutional State!”
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Apart from many such racist statements, Shaked’s sentiments were shared by the settler rabbis whose spokesmen designated Kerry as the “worst” ever U.S. Secretary of State, and accused the Obama Administration of “having planted a knife into the back” of Israel, its closest ally. However, there is no need to discuss that, because it is the “Jewish dog” that bites the U.S. master’s hand. The Obama administration has again increased arms and financial support to the Jewish State!
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By its ultra-religious nationalism the “Jewish State” became a “God State”: outbraving all “enemies” in the world; being always right when it says that human rights violations and the illegal occupation of Palestine do not exist;  and justifying its crimes against humanity with beliefs in being the elected people and the holocaust, which means that all divine and earthly values are on its side.
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With decades of illegal occupation in Palestine, these Jewish fundamentalists have maintained the denial of a two-state solution which is already buried. Netanyahu and many of his predecessors were helped by the time-factor and the more than reticent critics of the “community of values” who were easy to cope with. They always knew that those critics were worthless because Germany has always repeated its solidarity with the Jewish State because of its “particular” relationship. So if the German Minister for Foreign Affairs Steinmeier, in agreement with Chancellor Merkel, had positively judged Kerry’s speech and criticised settlement policies, we could only shake our head in the face of such hypocrisy.
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How long will Netanyahu despite of all these disputes be able to pride himself in relying upon Merkel and Berlin as the most important European partner? In fact, in Germany we have experienced the replacement of anti-Semitism by a  wave of philo-Semitism  led by Merkel and politicians of virtually all parties. United in the struggle against “Islamic terrorism” which causes a racist atmosphere never experienced before, as was witnessed in the New Year’s Eve in Cologne. This new kind of precautionary attempt to avoid crimes should make us more than concerned. Today it is the term “Nafri” used by German police officers to talk about Northern-African chronic offenders, showing a “basic aggressiveness,” tomorrow it will be the enemy of the state, like for example critics of Israel. So if Merkel in her New Year speech speaks about a new German Führung (leadership) in Europe, we will have to ask ourselves where it will lead? The orations peppered with increasing racist aggressiveness of right-wing politicians from CDU/CSU to AfD should be of serious  concern for us.
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Do we want to take the leadership in military operations and in the so called war on terror and renounce our freedom to get so called security? Is this our desired result of our “Christian-Jewish guiding culture”? No, thanks! It is enough with the German reason of state for the security of Israel, it is enough with political sermons from Gauck to Merkel, among others. Yes, we will not renounce to our freedom. And it is worth fighting for this in 2017, if the bell of the Führer tolls.
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Written FOR

A SPEECH ON PALESTINE/ISRAEL AWAITING PRESIDENT OBAMA

SECRETARY KERRY: “There are other countries in the UN who believe it is our job to dictate the terms of a solution in the Security Council. Others want us to simply recognize a Palestinian state, absent an agreement. But I want to make clear today, these are not the choices that we will make.”

QUESTION: Will the U.S. allow others to make these choices?

OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY PETE SOUZA President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office, Oct 1, 2014.

OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY PETE SOUZA
President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office, Oct 1, 2014.

A speech on Palestine-Israel awaiting President Obama

By Sam Bahour FOR

I hesitated before weighing in on the flurry of activity taking place around Israel and Palestine after the U.S. seems to have finally decided to act. I felt that all that needs to be said has been written and rewritten ad infinitum, including by me. That now at the eleventh hour the U.S. seems to be waking up to the reality Israel has created on the ground with unfettered U.S. support over seven decades, struck me at first as anticlimactic. But on deeper reflection and seeing the continuous flow of commentary, I notice that no one has yet mentioned one important and potentially game-changing way of framing this latest development.

During the past two years, U.S. government officials have been meeting with everyone willing to meet with them to explore what the Obama Administration can do, given the dangerous state of affairs in the Israeli militarily occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip. Jerusalem-based U.S. Consulate staff, Washington D.C.-based State Department staff, researchers with the Congressional Research Service, numerous Inside the Beltway think tank experts, and many more were dispatched to Palestine and Israel to gain insights on possible ways forward.

Three possible options were floated: having the Administration take UN action at the Security Council against Israeli settlement building; making a policy speech which lays outs the Administration’s understanding of the parameters for a resolution of the conflict; or recognizing the State of Palestine, as over 130 countries have already done. I repeatedly made the case for the recognition of Palestine, which I believe is the only policy action possible at this late hour that would have irrevocably binding legal ramifications, not to mention being a real step forward to preserve the two-state solution.

I want to believe—with zero expectations—that President Obama did not choose one of these options, but rather all three. What we have witnessed thus far with the unanimous passing of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 against Israeli settlements and Secretary of State John Kerry’s policy speech about preserving the two-state scenario may be only two acts of a three-act Greek tragedy playing out on the global political theater. The only remaining act is that of recognizing the State of Palestine, something Secretary Kerry explicitly stated was not a choice that the U.S. would make. The question that begs for an answer is, will the U.S. allow the international community collectively to make such a decision, as they allowed it to unanimously stand against Israel’s settlement enterprise?

Given the uproar Secretary Kerry’s rather mundane but still bold and courageous speech has generated, I’d like to suggest that President Obama deliver the following sequel, much more concise and honest, before January 15, when France will host over 70 counties in a conference to discuss Palestine and Israel.

Ladies and Gentleman,

I stand before you today, only a few days after I instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to present my Administration’s outright disgust concerning the Palestine-Israel conflict. I had hoped that Secretary Kerry’s personal commitment, exhaustive experience, mastery of the diplomatic lexicon, and utter frustration would serve to clear the air about exactly where the U.S. stands on this issue. Evidently, we failed to achieve the desired clarity. So, please allow me to present my Administration’s outgoing message, unfettered by diplomatic jargon. Prime Minister Netanyahu, please take notes.

Secretary Kerry said we needed to engage in an “honest, clear-eyed conversation about the uncomfortable truths and difficult choices.” He was absolutely correct, but then tactfully went on to present known truths and choices we already know Israel refuses. That was misleading. Let me explain, point by point:

“The two-state solution is now in serious jeopardy.” Of course it is! You did not need Secretary Kerry to tell you that, we have been saying it from day one of my Administration, not to mention it being said by every single prior Administration. As the U.S. has been talking the talk of two states, however, we have continued to fund, arm and diplomatically cover Israeli actions which brought us to where we are today. The U.S. is part of the problem. All the while, Israeli leaders have said over and over again that they have zero appetite for a Palestinian state to emerge between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Even the Israeli Prime Minister’s Likud party platform rejects a two-state solution. Thank God the media is not giving attention to theCNN interview by Jake Tapper with prominent settler Minister Naftali Bennett immediately following Secretary Kerry’s speech. The U.S. can no longer pretend to be deaf, dumb and blind as the region collapses into utter mayhem.

“The truth is that trends on the ground […] are combining to destroy hopes for peace on both sides and increasingly cementing an irreversible one-state reality…” Although this is totally true, what we avoided saying outright was that the Palestinians, albeit weak from the standpoint of their internal political affairs, are making tremendous strides on creating their state. The majority of the world’s countries have recognized the State of Palestine and 138 countries upgraded the Palestinians status at the UN with a UN General Assembly resolution that passed on November 29, 2012. I’ve read this UN resolution a thousand times; it is 100% aligned with long-standing U.S. policy: two states based on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem being the capital of both Israel and Palestine. When the U.S. voted “No” to this resolution we found ourselves in the company of only eight other countries: Israel, Czech Republic, Canada, Panama and the tiny states of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Micronesia. For the world’s superpower to stand under the spotlight of world attention alongside these microscopic Pacific Island states is insane and cannot continue. To persist in blocking Palestine from its rightful place among the community of nations is becoming extremely embarrassing. In a local paper in D.C. over a year ago, the case for recognition was made jointly by an Israeli Jew, an American Jew and a Palestinian American. The State of Palestine has become a positive, forward-looking rallying call and I feel we are missing the boat by acquiescing to Israeli intransigence.

“No one thinking seriously about peace can ignore the reality of what the settlements pose to that peace.” We tried to shift all the attention to the settlements, but it’s not working. The international community is seeing right through us. Israel is a colonial project, par excellence, and no screaming about illegal settlements is going to change that. Israel, I’ve always assumed we’ve supported you for this long because our own history is just like yours, but your native Palestinian population refuses to buckle in the face of your brute force. Native Americans being regulated to impoverished reservations worked for us once upon a time, but your modern day equivalent in the form of Palestinian Bantustans, infamously called Areas A in the Oslo Accords, is clearly failing.

Israel, Secretary Kerry lied. It’s not a choice about Israel being “Jewish” or “democratic,” because you are neither and never have been. This is about your sheer existence, plain and simple. You definitely do not operate on central virtues and principles in Jewish ethics, such as “What is hateful to you, do not do unto others.” (Talmud) or what Rabbi Simeon ben Gamaliel taught: “The world rests on three things: justice, truth, and peace” (Avot 1:18) or the three passages in the Book of Genesis telling us that all people are made “B’tzelem Elohim” (in the divine image) and hence the humanity in all people—including Palestinians—must be valued equally.

Likewise, your democracy is highly flawed. One only needs to read our annual State Department Human Rights Reports to see that we have already acknowledged, on the record, your institutional and structured discrimination against your Christian, Muslim, and Druze citizens who make up nearly 20% of your population.

So what Secretary Kerry said in his speech, and our abstention to the UN Security Council resolution against settlements, are not outgoing expressions of frustration, but a last-ditch effort to save Israel from itself. I hope that Secretary Kerry’s and my words here become inputs to the upcoming French-sponsored international conference to be held in January. We had to state our opinions now, Israel, because thanks to your pro-Israel lobby in the U.S., our domestic political system has been hijacked on this issue, so in this case we can’t act in our strategic interests in the proper venues.

Lastly, Israel, we do not appreciate your ferocious attacks after we have stood by you more thoroughly and reliably than any other Administration in the history of your existence. As Henry Siegman, the former head of the American Jewish Congress and the Synagogue Council of America, so pointedly wrote, “If there has been a betrayal in this latest chapter of America’s relations with Israel, it is [you] Netanyahu who has betrayed [me].”

God bless the United States for Israel, oops, I mean, of America.

Back to reality. The Palestinian leadership first submitted their bid for full membership in the UN to the Security Council in 2011. When the U.S. threatened to veto the request if it came to a vote, the Palestinians strategically requested that it be sent to a UN Security Council committee for further deliberations pending a more opportune timing. This is where it currently resides. If the international conference planned for mid-January in France can acknowledge that there is nothing further to be gained by making yet another statement about the threat of losing the two-state paradigm or the risk posed by illegal Israeli settlements, the only serious political act would be to produce a second UN Security Council resolution to recognize the State of Palestine. This one is easy since it’s already in committee. The U.S. can abstain, or better yet vote in the affirmative. This is what would preserve the two-state solution; otherwise, we can fasten our seatbelts as Maestro Trump steps onto to the stage, picks up the baton, and perhaps unrolls a version of Zionism in its rawest form.

IMAGES FOR THE END OF THE YEAR

Images by Carlos Latuff

A world in flames ...

A world in flames …

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Farewell Carrie Fisher :(

Farewell Carrie Fisher 😦

MOTHER PALESTINE ~~ THE INSPIRATION

More often than not, Latuff’s cartoons feature a women called Mother Palestine.

Here she is in 1948 …

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And yet again in 1948 leading her Nation to the wilderness …

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And here, the real Mother …. The Inspiration

Mrs. Zarefa the woman that inspired me to create Mother Palestine. Expelled from Zakaria village by Israel in 1948 and after 1967 to Jordan

Mrs. Zarefa the woman that inspired me to create Mother Palestine. Expelled from Zakaria village by Israel in 1948 and after 1967 to Jordan

Today she is leading her Nation back to their rightful Homeland!

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

Image by Carlos Latuff

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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

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

IN PHOTOS ~~ IMMIGRANT SOLIDARITY DAY

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On IMMIGRANT SOLIDARITY DAY, 11/13, thousands of New York City’s citizens poured into the  street in front of Trump’s International Hotel singing and chanting with an anger and a militancy that resounded off the walls of the hotel.

“ No hate, no fear, everyone is welcome here”

“Muslim rights are human rights”

“F**k white supremacy”

“This is what democracy looks like”

“Black lives matter”

“Queer and proud”

“Women’s rights are human rights”

 

 They marched through the streets on route to Trump Towers on 5th Avenue.   Thousands of people filled the street from curb to curb. All traffic was stopped. The demonstrators turned on 5th Avenue to  pass Trump Towers where they would inform Trump of their resistance to his bigotry.   Police barricades were set up to prevent the thousands from reaching Trump Towers.  The demonstration was organized by immigrant rights groups. Nonimmigrant allies joined them in solidarity. This demonstration was one of many, involving thousands of people throughout the United States on a daily basis .

Photos and commentary © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ TRUMP SUCCEEDS IN UNITING THE COUNTRY — AGAINST HIMSELF

‘Not Our President’: Protests Spread After Donald Trump’s Election

Thousands of people across the country marched, shut down highways, burned effigies and shouted angry slogans on Wednesday night to protest the election of Donald J. Trump as president. (Full article HERE)

Here are photos from the protest in New York

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS (THAT THE MEDIA DOES NOT WANT YOU TO SEE) ~~ STILL STANDING WITH STANDING ROCK

Demos continue in New York City in support of Standing Rock Sioux … here are photos from the latest ones that the mass media deemed unfit to cover

 

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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TOON AND PHOTO OF THE HOUR ~~TRUMP’S VICTORY

Image by Carlos Latuff

Trump shocks the world. What comes next?

Trump shocks the world. What comes next?

Meanwhile, from cell block 101 …

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SOLIDARITY WITH STANDING ROCK GOING VIRAL ~~ NY DEMO IN PHOTOS

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“Street by street, block by block, New York stands with Standing Rock.”

 

Early this morning a group of about 200 people, most youngish, gathered at Grand Central Station in NYC to express solidarity with the Native American people and their allies who are fighting against a pipeline being installed on their ancestral land.  Not only are sacred sites being destroyed but a rupture in the line threatens their only source of clean water.  Thousands of Native Americans and those allied with them, which includes aboriginal people from all over the globe, have been non-violently resisting for several weeks now.  They have been attacked and bitten by guard dogs, shot with rubber bullets and other projectiles, maced, gassed, tased, hit and arrested.  Still, more people arrive at their encampment.  In honor of their ancestors and their children they are standing their ground.

The demonstrators remained at Grand Central Station for about an hour with their chants, signs,  banners, and a simulated flowing stream made of blue fabric.  Then they walked along 42nd St. to the huge Bank of America Tower where they filled the lobby and spoke of the role of the banks which are funding the pipeline for financial gain but are jeopardizing the lives of the people living along it’s path as well as the ecology of the whole earth.

Everyday groups are announcing their support for the Sioux Nation and their stand at Standing Rock.  Support is coming from many human rights groups and aboriginal groups.  The Palestinian flag is flying among the tents and teepees at the encampment.  Now labor groups have joined in.  Black Lives Matter and the Dream Defenders have made strong statements of solidarity, as has Jewish Voice for Peace.   Environmental groups are joining in also.  While this struggle is being led by Native Americans many have come to realize that all of humanity has a stake in this fight and working together we are strong.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer ~~ Commentary by Chippy Dee

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‘THE FROZEN CHOSEN’ ~~ A JEWISH STATE IN ALASKA

The novel The Yiddish Policemen’s Union should come with a large, bold warning label affixed to the outside cover, like those labels on cigarette packs. WARNING: READ WITH CAUTION IF YOU ACTUALLY LIVE UNDER A JEWISH ISRAELI MILITARY OCCUPATION.

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“THE FROZEN CHOSEN”

SAM BAHOUR
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A Jewish state in Alaska (still) results in the burning of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem
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Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon should have known better than to gift me his novel. Michael visited our home in Palestine this past summer and after spending the day giving him a tour of the Palestinian cities of Al-Bireh and Ramallah (central West Bank) and Nablus (northern West Bank) we settled down, along with Palestinian writer Fida Jiryis, for dinner at Darna Restaurant, located in the heart of historic Ramallah. By the time dinner was over, not only had we learned about this author’s amazing professional career and life journey, but he casually mentioned a note about this novel that he wrote back in 2007 that was based on a real historic fact in U.S. politics related to the issue of Palestine and Israel. I was puzzled and asked if he was joking. He wasn’t. I’m sure it showed that I was embarrassed to have never heard of this fact, given I’m rather well read on the topic. Before parting, he passed me a copy of the novel as a thank you gift.
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I must make a confession here. Reading fiction does not come easy for me. I guess, while living under a military occupation, there is too much non-fiction pounding at our lives to allow us to get happily lost in fiction. Reading The Yiddish Policemen’s Union may have changed that. No wonder this novel received a ton of awards; it takes fiction to new levels. Not only does Michael have a truly amazing command of the English language (proof being that my dictionary accompanied me in turning each of the 414 pages), but it turns out his Yiddish is not so bad too. Add to that a true historic premise to base his plot on, and linking the story to a few themes that are alive and well, albeit repulsive (think murder, racism, substance abuse, and more) in today’s real world, and what comes to life is something that you’ll be reflecting on long after the book takes its well-earned place on your bookshelf.
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When I was about half way through the novel, a New York Times article came across my desk that made me burst out laughing. The article was titled, How Do You Say ‘Email’ in Yiddish?, by Joseph Berger (Oct. 4, 2016). It was about a new 826-page Comprehensive English-Yiddish Dictionary published in June by Indiana University Press. How’s that for synchronicity? Given every other word in Chabon’s novel that I was looking up was not in my English dictionary—because it was Yiddish—I almost wrote the New York Times to tell them that they missed mentioning a major contributor to keeping Yiddish alive, the novel I was reading.
I must say Michael is a bold writer. If The Yiddish Policemen’s Union was written by a non-Jew, it could well have marked the end of the author’s career, if not worse. But coming from a Jewish-American, a member of the tribe, if you will, he can take readers where others would not dream of going. He does this with an all-so-delicate balancing act that would afford him a lifetime membership with the Palestinian Circus School.
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The historic U.S. political fact that took me off balance was, as I have come to learn, the very real 1940 Slattery Report, officially titled The Problem of Alaskan Development, which was produced by the United States Department of the Interior under Secretary Harold L. Ickes in 1939–40. It was named after Undersecretary of the Interior, Harry A. Slattery. The report recommended the provision of land in Alaska for the temporary refugee settlement of European Jews who were being persecuted by the Nazis during World War II.
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Ickes proposed the use of Alaska as a “haven for Jewish refugees from Germany and other areas in Europe where the Jews are subjected to oppressive restrictions.” The plan was introduced as a bill by Senator William King (Utah) and Democratic Representative Franck Havenner (California), both Democrats. The Alaska bill won the support of theologian Paul Tillich, widely regarded as one of the most influential theologians of the twentieth century, the Federal Council of Churches, and the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers). The plan was dealt a severe blow when Franklin Roosevelt told Ickes that he insisted on limiting the number of refugees to 10,000 a year for five years, and with a further restriction that Jews make up not more than 10% of the refugees. Roosevelt never mentioned the Alaska proposal in public, and without his support the plan died. (Reference Jewish Standard)
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This is where Michael leaves reality behind.
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A Wikipedia entry summaries the setting concisely, “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union is set in an alternative history version of the present day. The premise is that, contrary to real history, the United States voted to implement the 1940 Slattery Report […]. The novel’s divergence point from real history is revealed in the first dozen chapters to be the death of Anthony Dimond, Alaska Territory delegate to the U.S. Congress, in a car accident; Dimond was one of the congressmen responsible for preventing a vote on the report. It imagines a temporary independent Jewish settlement being created on the Alaskan coast.”
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The New York Times published a book review of the novel titled, The Frozen Chosen, by Patricia Cohen (April 29, 2007). You will understand why the New York Times and I both use this same title (although my use of capitalization is more accurate) after you read the book and if you have any knowledge of the real Israel. Cohen writes that Chabon attempts to answer the questions, “What if Jews had poured into a frigid island instead of the Middle Eastern desert, and the state of Israel had never been created? What if the small settlement of Sitka had grown into a teeming Jewish homeland, a land not of milk and honey but of salmon and lumber?”
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The Jews in the novel who settled in the Alaskan city, Sitka, are anxious throughout the novel because the “Reversion” is nearing. The “Reversion” is the date when the orderly return of Sitka back to the State of Alaska is supposed to take place.
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The Wikipedia entry continues, “In the novel, the State of Israel is founded in 1948, but is destroyed after only three months in an alternative version of the Arab-Israeli War. Without Israel, Palestine is described as a mosaic of contending religious and secular nationalist groups locked in internecine conflict; Jerusalem is described as “a city of blood and slogans painted on the wall, severed heads on telephone poles.” The United States president believes in “divine sanction” for neo-Zionism, a movement seeking for Jews to reclaim Israel once again.”
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All this while the main character, Yiddish policeman Meyer Landsman, seeks to resolve several murder investigations, and he and his partner stumble upon a paramilitary group that wants to build a new Temple in Jerusalem after destroying the Dome of the Rock, hoping to speed the birth of the Messiah. An evangelical Christian Zionist American government supports the group. As the novel nears the end, news reports are heard of the Dome of the Rock being bombed.
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Chabon writes these words which made me stop to rethink if I was reading fiction or the daily news, “…they [U.S. Government] think the idea of a bunch of crazy yids running around Arab Palestine, blowing up shrines and following Messiahs and starting World War Three is a really good idea.” Elsewhere, Meyer Landsman contemplates the meaning of a “promised land” by saying, “I don’t care what is written. I don’t care what supposedly got promised to some sandal-wearing idiot whose claim to fame is that he was ready to cut his own son’s throat for the sake of a hare-brained idea.”
Now, why should this novel come with a warning label? Because between the seriousness of the political premise, the gut-wrenching humor, the community involved, the concept of a collective return of land as even being imaginable, the real, day to day stories—love, death, addiction, work, relationships, etc.—interspersed, and the burning of the Dome of Rock, which already happened once in reality and is being threatened again these days, it’s just too much for a person living under an actual Jewish (or so believed)-inspired military occupation to handle.
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After coming away from the book feeling that my mind had just come out of a washing machine, I recalled this poster that I found a while back:
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Thanks, Michael! I truly enjoyed this read. We are all looking forward to your and Ayelet Waldman’s upcoming book, Kingdom of Olives and Ash, from Harper Collins Publishing, addressing 50 years of the very real Israeli military occupation of Palestinians. The dozen or so award-winning, world-class authors contributing to this upcoming book will offer a sincere cry from the mountain top for this human-made tragedy called the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to come to an end. Unlike in your novel, we Palestinians do not seek Reversion; we seek peace based on justice and equality for all, in a land not divided by walls, fences and checkpoints, but whose people are joined in harmony.
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Written FOR

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