HAMMERING NAILS IN THE COFFIN OF FREEDOM

The latest Zionist nail to be hammered into the coffin for freedom of expression occurred last week when the disingenuous U.S. ambassador to the UN — the Indian American Sikh Nikki Haley —  hypocritically expressed superpower outrage and condemnation while calling for the withdrawal of a UN report that quite justifiably accused Israel of establishing an “apartheid regime.”

The Powerful Pro-Israel Lobby’s Denial Of The Inalienable Right To Freedom Of Expression Must Be Met With Obdurate Resistance For The Sake Of All Humanity

by William Hanna
“. . . recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world . . . ” and “ . . . the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people . . . ”
Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.
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The latest Zionist nail to be hammered into the coffin for freedom of expression occurred last week when the disingenuous U.S. ambassador to the UN — the Indian American Sikh Nikki Haley —  hypocritically expressed superpower outrage and condemnation while calling for the withdrawal of a UN report that quite justifiably accused Israel of establishing an “apartheid regime.” This abysmal denial of an irrefutable reality was followed by the resignation of Rima Khalaf — the head of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) — who had refused the subservient secretary-general’s demand that she withdraw the report. Needless to say, Israel’s resolve to censor the unpalatable truth of its criminal violations prevailed and the following report was disgracefully removed from the UN website:
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In January of last year Makarim Wibisono, the UN investigator for human rights violations in the Palestinian territories resigned because Israel had reneged on its pledge to grant him permission to enter the West Bank and Gaza with all his repeated oral and written requests for access over a period of 18 months being completely ignored. In a statement announcing his resignation, Wibisono, who reported to the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC), voiced “deep concern at the lack of effective protection of Palestinian victims of continuing human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law.” Israel had long rejected the post of the independent investigator for the territories, accusing the 47-member state forum of bias against the Jewish state, a position supported by its pro-Israel politically shackled and totally unprincipled so-called government of the United States of America.
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In June 2013, after Richard Falk — Special rapporteur for Palestinian territories whose annual report on Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights was due to be presented to the HRC — said the NGO UN Watch should be investigated to ensure it was not not controlled by Israel, the ever obliging U.S representative to the Human Rights Council, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, called for his resignation. In his annual report, Falk condemned what he called Israel’s continued occupation of the Palestinians: “Israel continues to annex Palestinian territory; Israel persists in demolishing Palestinians’ homes and populating Palestine with Israeli citizens; Israel maintains a policy of collectively punishing 1.75 million Palestinians through its imposition of a blockade on the Gaza Strip; and Israel prosecutes its occupation with impunity, refusing to accept the world’s calls to respect international law.” Falk also repeated his previous calls for a boycott of companies conducting business with Israel or Israelis in the West Bank.
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The global extent and and well financed power of insidious Pro-Israel lobby networks, mainstream media watchdog organisations, and paid for social media activism to combat the so-called “New anti-Semitism” and the “delegitimisation of Israel” — otherwise known as stating the true facts with regards to Israeli violations — represents a zealously relentless effort to stifle any criticism of the crimes committed by an Apartheid Jewish state with blatant and unashamed impunity.
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Such unrelenting vigilance ensures that the mainstream media self-censors reports which are consequently written from the Israeli perspective; that even some of the supposed “independent” media organisations are inhibited by the fear of causing offence to Jewish sensibilities; that most Western political leaders and politicians routinely proclaim Israel’s “right to defend itself” as the “most moral” and “only democracy” in the Middle East; that pro-Palestinian events — especially on college and university campuses — are viciously besmirched or forced to cancel; that teaching professors critical of Israeli polices are either intimidated into silence or fired; and that the public’s right to freedom of expression does not extend to criticism of Israel which would be tantamount to that historic hatred for Jews on which the unprincipled ideology of Zionism is so dependent and exploits with ruthless precision.
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Apart from U.S. Congressional and White House subservience to every Israeli wish and whim, other Western governments are equally obliging in ceaselessly promoting the false premise that any pro-Palestinian activism by human rights organisations or individuals constitutes anti-Semitism. So while Apartheid Israelis continue to stand knee-deep in the blood of ethnically cleansed Palestinians, spineless bought and paid for Western leaders such Britain’s Theresa May who — despite the secretly filmed claim by an Israeli embassy official that he had persuaded the British government to adopt procurement guidelines that prevent local authorities and the NHS from boycotting Israeli goods — has continued to hypocritically regard Israel as “remarkable” and “tolerant”; Germany’s Angela Merkel whose Christian Democratic Union decried the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel as “coarse anti-Semitism”; and Canada’s Justin Trudeau who in March 2015 — in an effort to muster Jewish support — attacked student organisers and questioned their right to free speech by expressing the view that “the BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement, like Israeli Apartheid Week, has no place on Canadian campuses.” The suppression of free speech on Canadian campuses is no different to that being rigorously  implemented on U.S. colleges and universities.
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Israel’s global propaganda — otherwise known as hasbara, or “explanation” — combined with the tenacious lobbying of pro-Israel groups has been so successful that Israeli government ministers no longer feel the need to feign interest in meaningless peace negotiations for a two-state solution as a means of playing for more time to facilitate illegal Jewish settlement expansion. Many of them have now publicly proclaimed that “there will never be a Palestinian state,” with their defiance stemming from the knowledge that irrespective of what they say or do, the rest of the world will neither care nor dare to do anything about it.
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By firmly implanting and exploiting the fear of being labelled an “anti-Semite” or “Holocaust denier” within the minds of most citizens in the Western world so as to preclude any criticism of Israel, pro-Israel activism has successfully maintained an unprecedented assault against freedom of expression on three fronts — official censorship, unofficial censorship, and self-censorship — which if not opposed are all undeniable forms of contemptible complicity in Israel’s barbaric crimes against humanity in general, and the Palestinian people in particular.
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“If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.”
                                               Albert Einstein
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Originally published AT

IT’S OFFICIAL ~~ ISRAEL IS ON THE ROAD TO FASCISM

First a flashback to the 60’s …. There was a joke circulating that went something like this … An American and a Soviet were having a discussion. The American said “I live in a Democracy, I can call President Kennedy a bastard and nothing will happen to me”. The Soviet responded, “I too live in a Democracy, I can also call President Kennedy a bastard and nothing will happen to me”.

Now, a look at ‘The Only Democracy in the Middle East” ….

U.S.-born Jeff Halper, cofounder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, was held after leading a tour of the E1 area across the road from the Israeli settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim.

Police Detain Prominent Israeli Activist for Alleged Possession of BDS Material
Yotam Berger

Police detained prominent left-wing activist Jeff Halper last Wednesday at the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement, for suspected incitement, saying they acted on a complaint he had “materials related to BDS” in his possession.

Halper, who moved to Israel from the United States in 1973, was picked up after leading a tour of foreigners to the E1 site across the road from the settlement and transported by police van to a nearby station then released without being placed under arrest.

Police officers photographed the posters and maps he was holding before freeing him. Halper denies handing out any material related to BDS during the tour, or even discussing the boycott movement.

Handing out such materials would not have been in violation of the law, even a 2011 anti-boycott law according to which a person or an organization calling for the boycott of Israel, including the settlements, can be sued by the boycott’s targets without them having to prove that they sustained any damage.

The law also denies a person or a company that declares a boycott of Israel or the settlements eligibility to bid for government tenders. A separate law passed this month entitles Israel to deny entry to pro-BDS activists.

Halper, cofounder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, told Haaretz he was on a tour with foreign visitors in the territories last Wednesday. He took the group of 15 to a lookout over Area E1, near Ma’aleh Adumim.

“It’s a good place to show them this context of where Ma’aleh Adumim is located relative to Jerusalem. It’s a regular stop on our tours, this wasn’t the first time I was taking a group to this spot,” Halper said.

After the tour the tourists boarded a bus headed north and he headed to catch a bus to Jerusalem, but “as I ran toward a bus, I saw police in the area, and I saw them talking and contacting the group. I called the Palestinian driver (of the bus transporting the tourists) and he said he had heard a rumor that we were distributing BDS material.”

“Suddenly the bus came to a stop in the Middle of Maaleh Adumim, after two stops, the police boarded the bus and told me, you are being detained, and they took me off the bus,” Halper said.

Halper was questioned about the material he had.

“They didn’t tell me why I was being detained; they said something about BDS, but no details. They put me into a van, which is unpleasant as it is. They drove me in the direction of the police station. Just when we got to the station they stopped and asked me a few questions about what I had in my bag and whether I had any BDS material in the bag.

“We got out of the vehicle and they threw my maps on the van, the maps were of Jerusalem and the greater Jerusalem area. There was also something on which it was written BDS for BDS, it’s something that I use. I say that we have no solution to offer and I propose a binational democratic state, so I have the slogan that goes BDS for BDS. It’s not a sticker or flyer, but just a map with those words on it.

“They found it and took it, wrote up a summons or something like that, and released me,” Halper said.

Halper said the police refused to give him a copy of the ticket or explain what he was suspected of.

In response to a query from Haaretz, the Samaria regional police said:
“There is no investigation into this matter. There was information checked by a patrol once it became clear he committed no violations, he was freed.”
Police spokespeople said the suspicion against him is “incitement” but he was released after questioning, and no further investigation was expected to take place.

Jeff Halper from his Facebook page. Credit Facebook

Also this weekend ….

British pro-BDS activist barred from entering Israel

Week after Knesset passes law banning foreign nationals who call for boycotts, ex-chair of Palestine Solidarity Campaign Hugh Lanning denied entry

Full report HERE

Israel is quickly getting there …

ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION AS A TOOL OF REPRESSION

Administrative Detention is widely used by the Israeli occupation regime to suppress political activity and social organizations in the West Bank. It is less known that the same (or a similar) anti-democratic law holds also inside those territories that Israel occupied and ethnically cleaned in 1948 and is used against Palestinian there, which are formally citizens of “democratic” Israel.

In a new post in Free Haifa I bring in detail the case of Muhammad Ibrahim, a 20 year old computer technician from Kabul in the Galilee, whose administrative detention was prolonged on December 2016 for a second 6 months period. The original post was published in Hebrew in January.

Israeli occupation keeps 540 Palestinians under administrative detention

Israeli occupation keeps 540 Palestinians under administrative detention

Free Muhammad Ibrahim – Administrative Detainee from Kabul in the Galilee!

Posted @ Free Haifa

When the news about the administrative detention of Muhammad Ibrahim were first published in December 2016, after he was already more than half a year in prison, it was written in some papers that this is the first case of such detention against Palestinians inside the 1948 occupied territories, who are formally citizens of Israel. But it was less than a year since Asmaa Hamdan, a woman from Nazareth, spent 3 months in administrative detention which started at the turmoil of “the third intifada” of October 2015. At the heights of the first intifada, in 1988, some ten leading members of Abna Al-Balad and related Palestinian movements were held in the same way. Several Palestinian activists inside ’48 spent times in administrative detention before and after these days…muhammad-ibrahim-with-al-aqsa

In the 1967 occupied West Bank (and previously also in Gaza) Israel is using administrative detention en-mass as a tool for political oppression. The use of administrative detention also against Palestinian in ’48 is another proof that it is basically the same occupation and the same oppressive system that is used all over occupied Palestine.

The Administrative Detention of Muhammad Ibrahim

[The following article was published in Hebrew on 23/01/2017 in “Local Call” and Haifa Hahofshit]

They say that if the police would look hard enough at the past of any person they would find a legal reason to arrest and put him or her on trial. It turns out that this rule has exceptions. One of them is the case of Muhammad Ibrahim, a 20-year-old computer technician from the Western Galilee town of Kabul. Not only the police, the Shin Bet (Israel’s notoriously harsh “internal security services”) also made every effort to bring him to trial, but they didn’t find any legal reason for this. So he was subjected to administrative detention, without indictment and without trial.

Muhammad gets into troubles

Muhammad’s troubles probably stems from his love to the Al-Aqsa mosque… He was not a political activist but used to travel frequently to Jerusalem to pray at this mosque. This mosque is the third holiest site for Islam, but some of Israel’s leaders seek to destroy it in order to build “The Third Temple” in its place.

Muhammad’s first encounter with the law was when Israeli police wanted to arrest a woman in the mosque’s yard and he threw himself before her and was arrested instead. He spent the night in custody in the “Moskubiya” (a Russian Church’s compound in the middle of Jerusalem used as a detention center). On the following day he was released by the judge in the absence of any offense.

After the first detention cops already knew Muhammad and when they saw him in the mosque’s yard they used to arrest him. He was arrested five times, and was released five times, without being accused of any offence. Occasionally he was required to sign a pledge to stay away from Jerusalem for a while as a condition for his release.

On May 11, 2016, at 3 o’clock in the morning, a police force from Nazareth, including riot squad, accompanied by a Shin Bet operative, surrounded Muhammad’s house and awakened his family. The Sin Bet agent in charge of the region did not even know the young Muhammad whom he came to arrest. He turned to Muhammad’s father and asked him “who is Muhammad?”… This is just another piece of evidence proving that the reason for the arrest belongs to a different place – to Jerusalem.

Harsh Interrogation

After searching Muhammad’s room and some other rooms in the house, the police took with them Muhammad himself and also all the computers that they found, including computers of customers who brought them for repair.muhammad-ibrahim-sitting

The terrified family spent the next day running around between police stations and detention centers to find their son. Finally, they were informed that he was detained by the Shin Bet in a special interrogation center in Petah Tikva.

During the interrogation Muhammad was not allowed to see a lawyer. He was questioned in difficult conditions and was subjected to the harsh “special interrogation methods” of the Shin Bet, including sleep prevention. Later he told how he was interrogated for 22 hours non-stop while tethered to a chair.

25 days of intensive interrogation did not produce anything; the mountain did not give birth even to a mouse. Finally came the court session in which Muhammad was supposed to be released. But then the Shin Bet people informed the judge that they are going to put Muhammad under administrative detention. The judge delayed his release for a day until the defence minister will sign the decree, which was signed by Avigdor Lieberman on June 5, 2016, for a period of six months.

The other likely reason for issuing the administrative detention order is revenge of the Shin Bet’s failure to extort a confession from Muhammad and prosecute him. It constitutes a threatening message to all detainees: if you do not confess you can be arrested anyway, so you should better confess even if you never violated any law.

Significantly, although the investigation was concluded long time ago, and although no indictment was filed, the confiscated computers, including those of Muhammad’s customers, were not returned until this day.

Administrative Detention as a tool of the Military Regime

“Judicial supervision” on the procedure of administrative detention against Muhammad Ibrahim is being held at the Haifa District Court. At the first hearings in this procedure he was represented by the “Adalah” legal center. In fact this is not a proper judicial proceeding that allows any viable legal defence but a meaningless formal procedure. The contents of the “charges” or “suspicions” were not disclosed to Muhammad until this day, neither to his lawyer. All the Shin Bet’s claims are “secret material” submitted to the judge without the presence of the suspect or his representative. Once, when Aram Mahameed, Adalah’s lawyer, was order to leave the courtroom when confidential materials were submitted, he left behind his briefcase. State officials rushed to distance the briefcase also.

Not only that Muhammad’s lawyers are not present when secret materials are submitted, family members are not allowed at all to be in the courtroom, not even to hear the arguments of the defence. At the same time a blanket GAG order was issued to prevent the press from covering the case. Only on January 2017, following an appeal by journalist Jacky Khoury (from Radio Al-Shams and Haaretz), the military censorship confirmed that there is no reason to prevent reporting. In any case, there is nothing to report except the fact that there is nothing as there was nothing, and that this nothingness is a state secret.

On December 5, Muhammad’s six months detention was due to expire, but then the family was informed that the detention order was renewed for another six months period. This time he was represented by lawyer Omar Khamaisi from “Mizan”. The judge himself found it difficult to understand the justification for the continued detention without indictment and asked the Shin Bet representative whether, in their view, administrative detention is life imprisonment… But eventually the usual ritual was repeated: The detainee and his lawyer were ordered to leave the courtroom and the Shin Bet operatives stayed alone with the judge who finally reaffirmed the detention. The next hearing of this judicial farce, which takes place every three months, of “legally supervising” this unlawful detention, is set for March 15.

I sat with lawyer Khamaisi who explained to me the legal basis for administrative detention. The practice of detention without trial was inherited from the colonialist laws used by the British Mandate (see Wikipedia: Defence Emergency Regulations 1945). When Zionist leaders were subject to these laws they severely criticized them as draconian, but later Israel continued to use the same draconian British laws against its Palestinian Arab citizens.

Now Israel has a wholly “Blue and White” Made in Israel detention without trial, under the “state of emergency laws” from 1979, in full accordance to the Jewish and “democratic” character of the state. (The law is so new, only 38 years, that it still doesn’t have an entry in Wikipedia). The authority to issue administrative detention order is given by the Minister of Defence, stressing the fact that this is basically a military act against the “enemies of the state”. It should remind us that beneath the thin camouflage of democracy we are all subject to a regime of military occupation.

Abusive Conditions at the Families’ Visits

Although not indicted for anything, Muhammad is held in harsh conditions with “security prisoners” in the desert Ketziot prison in Nizzana sands, near the Egyptian border.

Khaled Ibrahim, Muhammad’s father, told me in detail about his harsh experiences while visiting his son in this remote prison.

khaled-ibrahim-abu-muhammad

Khaled Ibrahim, Abu Muhammad

The Israeli prisons’ authority requires that the family will register in advance for visiting, but Ketziot prison guards are not answering the telephone number designed for coordination. He only learns about the dates of the visits from families of prisoners from the West Bank which are coming in pre-arranged transportation.

Travelling from Kabul to Ketziot, almost 300 kilometers, can take three and a half hours in each direction when the road is free, so it is by itself a torture for the body and the soul. When he arrived at Ketziot he was imprisoned with his car in the parking lot of the prison and had to wait about an hour and a half to the arrival of the buses from the West Bank. The guards forbade him to extricate himself by walking in the parking lot and ordered him to stay in the car. When the buses arrived all visitors were guided to an internal courtyard and had to wait there another two hours until visits actually began. At the time of the visit, which lasted three-quarter of an hour, they were separated from their beloved ones by a glass wall and could talk only through a phone.  Later they had to wait closed in the yard until the second round of visits finished and they were allowed to return to the parking lot… Why should the guards make an extra effort and open the door twice?

The three-quarters of an hour visit lasted in total over fourteen and a half hours, from six in the morning until eight thirty at night. This systematic abuse against the families of prisoners and detainees causes many of them to reduce their visits.

Popular Struggle

The family expected that the six-month administrative detention will pass just as the 25 days of the interrogations and that Muhammad will be released… After all, he was not accused of anything. The secrecy of the hearings and prevention of media reports created an atmosphere of fear and they did not know what to do or who to contact. This secrecy has allowed the authorities to keep the entire subject far from the public awareness. The oppressive apparatus like to abuse their victims in the darkness under the cover of media blackout. However, one of the most difficult problems with administrative detention is that it has no time limit.

The extension of Muhammad’s detention for another six months resulted in breaking the isolation and silence. Over the last several years, a “popular committee” was formed and is operating in Kabul, as part of the policy of “the follow-up committee” of the Arab population inside the 48 occupied territories for the construction of the organs of popular struggle in every community. The popular committee undertook to publicize the case of Muhammad’s administrative detention and to coordinate the struggle for his release.

The activists of the “popular committee” organized protest, invited the Follow-Up Committee and Arab Knesset Members from “The Joint List” and turned to the media. They opened a special Facebook page called “Free the administrative detainee Mohammed Ibrahim from Kabul” (in Arabic). At the last hearing in the Haifa District Court there were already about 30 people who were not allowed in… My visit to Muhammad’s family in Kabul and this article are my modest contribution to this campaign.

Now the family’s sole hope is that the public struggle will expose the severe unjustified abuse caused to Muhammad by the administrative detention and will embarrass the authorities and bring about his release. At the end of our conversation the representative of the Popular Committee expressed his hope that until the next hearing, on March 15, the protest will expands, and maybe there will be a demonstration in front of the court. I expressed my wish that, even before, due to the exposure of the case, the public pressure will bring to Muhammad’s release and we’ll come to congratulate him for that. We never lose hope, but in the current public atmosphere to speak of “a danger to democracy” rings like a hollow mockery while we face a regime which prides itself for abusing democratic rights.

 

ANTI-TRUMP DEMOS COME TO ISRAEL ~~ IN VIDEO AND PHOTOS

Scores of  left-wing demonstrators in Israel gathered outside of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv and the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem to protest against President Donald Trump’s executive action ordering a temporarily halt to the entry of asylum seekers into the United States.

Photos by Tomer Neuberg & Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90

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#NotMyPresident ~~ NO BAN, NO WALL! ~~ IN PHOTOS

Image by Latuff

Trump's Muslim ban

Trump’s Muslim ban

 

   NO BAN, NO WALL,  NEW YORK IS FOR ALL

          SAY IT LOUD, SAY IT CLEAR, REFUGEES ARE WELCOME HERE

          DON’T GIVE IN TO RACIST FEAR, IMMIGRANTS ARE WELCOME HERE

 

These words were chanted frequently the evening of January 25th at a rally organized by CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) in Washington Square Park in NYC and attended by many thousands.  This was a response to Trump’s executive orders that called for a wall to keep out Mexicans, closing our doors to Syrian refugees, and a suspension of visitors from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Sudan & Somilia.  People spoke from many organizations, all expressing outrage.  One said his family was on a ship filled with Jews escaping Hitler and they were not allowed to enter the US.  The ship went from port-to-port never being allowed in anywhere.  It had to return to Germany where many perished.

Several speakers were part of the NYC government.  They all urged resistance and said that they would not allow anything to happen to the population here.  NYC has been declared a “Sanctuary City” meaning that they will not allow  families to be torn apart or children to be left without parents.  City personnel will not arrest or detain residents for Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).  The only thing the federal government can do is retaliate by withholding federal funds from the city.

It was a beautiful clear, balmy winter night.  The park was filled to capacity with a very mixed group of people.  The podium was placed under the iconic arch and the voices of the speakers sometimes echoed.  The speeches were both emphatic and militant.  Immigrants are on the firing line in this administration.  At one point everyone raised their arm and made a pledge to support their foreign born friends and neighbors.  It is hoped that some went home feeling less alone, less vulnerable.

On his Facebook page Steven Goldstein, Executive Director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect wrote,

“As President Trump prepares orders to wall out Mexicans and shut out refugees from America, today marks one of the most hateful days in our nation’s history, Donald Trump is retracting the promise of freedom to an extent we have not seen from a president since Franklin Roosevelt forced Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II.   Today the Statue of Liberty weeps over President Trump’s discrimination.”

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

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Finally some Judicial Justice

Total madness going on here.  Thousands are demonstrating at airports all over the country and people who were cleared to come into the US are being put on planes to go back to where they came from.  And the vicious moron says it is working “nicely”.  A judge in Brooklyn just signed an order to stop the deportations.  Demo tomorrow @ Battery Park, where it should be freezing by the water, and then a march to border control offices at the new WTC. Everyone’s adrenaline is pumping non-stop.

(Click on link to see NYT Report)

Judge Blocks Trump Order on Refugees Amid Chaos and Outcry Worldwide

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S MIXED FAREWELL LEGACY

The good news …..

President Obama commutes Chelsea Manning’s sentence

The commutation was part of Obama’s Tuesday announcement of 209 commutations and 64 pardons.

Full Report HERE

BUT …. Clemency denied for Leonard Peltier

Now, we urge you to write to Leonard and help to keep his spirits up. Tell him you won’t give up, that you’ll walk the rest of the way with him.

Now, we urge you to write to Leonard and help to keep his spirits up. Tell him you won’t give up, that you’ll walk the rest of the way with him.

 

Our hearts are heavy today. President Obama has denied Leonard’s application for a commutation. His name appears on the January 18 list of commutations denied by Obama as issued by the Office of the Pardon Attorney. Leonard’s attorney Martin Garbus was also notified. (Pardon Attorney’s Letter)

Today, in an email, Leonard said, “If I should not [receive clemency] then after we are locked in for the day I will have a good cry and then pick myself up and get myself ready for another round of battles until I cannot fight [any] more. So, don’t worry. I can handle anything after over 40 years.”

It’s hard to bear such a blow, though. And make no mistake — Leonard has been hit hardest of all. But let’s not mourn so very long. Instead, let’s move ever forward. Channel your grief and anger in a positive way. Remember that Leonard still needs our help. He needs quality health care and a transfer to a medium security facility, among other things. We’ll always work towards freedom for Leonard, but these actions may help to make his life more bearable until freedom is won.

Now, we urge you to write to Leonard and help to keep his spirits up. Tell him you won’t give up, that you’ll walk the rest of the way with him. Send cards and letters to:

Leonard Peltier #89637-132
USP Coleman I
PO Box 1033
Coleman, FL 33521

Thank you for your hard work and determination. Blessings to all of you.

Please stay tuned.

In solidarity,

International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

WORDPRESS BOWS TO ERDOGAN’S DEMANDS

At the request of Erdogan, WordPress censors a critical Turkish blog that collects Turkey-related cartoons.

Here is a sampling of what was censored … (From the banned Blog)

Jaume Capdevila: “Erdoğan”

Jaume Capdevila: “Erdoğan”

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Joep Bertrams: “Üstün güç”

Joep Bertrams: “Üstün güç”

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Rainer Hachfeld: “Erdoğan’dan günün emri”

Rainer Hachfeld: “Erdoğan’dan günün emri”

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Christo Komarnitski: “Erdoğan’ın Facebook profili”

Christo Komarnitski: “Erdoğan’ın Facebook profili”

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Tom Janssen: “Türkiye’den diyalog manzaraları”

Tom Janssen: “Türkiye’den diyalog manzaraları”

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Olle Johansson: “Kaldıraç”

Olle Johansson: “Kaldıraç”

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Taylor Jones: “Dini bütün Erdoğan”

Taylor Jones: “Dini bütün Erdoğan”

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Marian Kamensky: “Erdoğan”

Marian Kamensky: “Erdoğan”

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Hassan Bleibel: “Erdoğan’ın gücü”

Hassan Bleibel: “Erdoğan’ın gücü”

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Arend van Dam: “Erdoğan basına karşı”

Arend van Dam: “Erdoğan basına karşı”

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Patrick Chappatte: “Türkiye’deki eylemler”

Patrick Chappatte: “Türkiye’deki eylemler”

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Marian Kamensky: “Erdoğan’ın piyanosu”

Marian Kamensky: “Erdoğan’ın piyanosu”

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Tom Janssen: “Sarhoş Erdoğan”

Tom Janssen: “Sarhoş Erdoğan”

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Daryl Cagle: “Erdoğan”

Daryl Cagle: “Erdoğan”

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Hassan Bleibel: “Suriye’ye yardım”

Hassan Bleibel: “Suriye’ye yardım”

WordPress’ censorship follows a trend started by Twitter and FaceBook, where our very own Carlos Latuff was the main target …. (Click on links)

#CensorshipInTurkey ~~ CARLOS LATUFF’S TOONS BLOCKED

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FACEBOOK JOINS THE CENSORSHIP WAR AGAINST LATUFF

#RacismInIsrael~~ FIRST THEY SILENCED THE MOSQUES, THEN THEY SILENCED THE BUSES

The Israeli Ministry of Transportation ordered that an Israeli bus company stop broadcasting announcements in Arabic in the city of Beersheba.

'They never announced my stop so I fell asleep :( )

They never announced my stop so I fell asleep 😦 

The Israeli Ministry of Transportation ordered that an Israeli bus company stop broadcasting announcements in Arabic in the city of Beersheba, a spokesperson for Dan Bus Company told Ma’an on Thursday.

The spokesperson said to Ma’an that the company had been asked by the Israeli Ministry of Transportation to cease broadcasting announcements in Arabic on Tuesday, only four days after opening its new bus line in Beersheba.

They said that “many, many people complained to the municipality,” which in turn took the matter to the Ministry of Transportation.

The Dan spokesman stated that the company was “not comfortable” with the request to stop the Arabic announcements, adding that “40 percent of our drivers are Muslim,” but that it would comply with directives from the Ministry.

They went on to add that this was the first time that the company was broadcasting these announcements in both Arabic and Hebrew, but that signs remained written in both languages.

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Transportation did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Ma’an on the legality of the decision given Arabic’s status as one of Israel’s official languages.

The director of the Coalition Against Racism in Israel, Nidal Othman, said that the ban was symbolic of Israeli authorities submitting to racism which it should stop at every level, adding that the bus company’s response was unacceptable and showed an agreement on racism between governmental and public institutions.

Othman went on to call the decision a “very dangerous escalation” which could prove to become a slippery slope from racist political statements to racist actions.

“A minority of society refuses coexistence (between Israeli Jews and Palestinians with Israeli citizenship), but they have loud voices, while the majority is silent,” Othman said.

He added that the continued presence of the Arabic language in Israel was the product of efforts conducted by human right organizations, and must be protected from the “racist minority” in Beersheba which seeks to make Arabic disappear from the public sphere.

Palestinians with Israeli citizenship constitute 20 percent of the population of Israel, and have long been targeted by discriminatory Israeli policies, whether through fewer resources allocated to Palestinian-majority communities in Israel, “divide and conquer” tactics, attempts at forcibly displacing Bedouin communities, and what have been denounced as policies of “Judaization” at the expense of other religious communities.

The bus announcement ban also comes right as the Israeli Knesset is discussing a bill which would ban the use of loudspeakers to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer (adhan) from mosques in Israel.

Despite the bill not yet being voted into law, a mosque in the town of al-Ludd was fined in late November for broadcasting the adhan, sparking uproar.

 

 

FROM

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

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

Image by Carlos Latuff

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

Jonathan Cook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 (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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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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LETTER AND PETITION FROM THE STANDING ROCK SIOUX TRIBE

If you want to make America great again you MUST sign the petition at the end of this letter

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From: Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II

Hi,

I am the Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which has long opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline project. The pipeline presents a threat to our lands, our sacred sites, and our water.

Now, thousands of American Indians, from more than 300 tribes spanning the continent, have joined with us to stand against this violation of our tribe’s rights under federal laws and regulations. Twenty-one city and county governments have also joined us to stand in opposition to this pipeline.

We demand that construction of this pipeline be stopped before any further damage is done.

While we engage in the long legal process to curtail construction of the pipeline, Dakota Access is still poised to begin construction. Halting the construction was an unprecedented step in response to our powerful movement—and now President Obama must reject the pipeline’s permit outright.

Current and future generations depend on our rivers and aquifer to live. The Dakota Access pipeline jeopardizes the heath of our water and could affect our people, as well as countless communities who live downstream, as the pipeline would cross four states. The pipeline, as designed, would destroy ancient burial grounds, which is a violation of federal law.

On Saturday, September 5, Dakota Access bulldozed two miles of burial grounds. The company’s private security sicced dogs on and pepper-sprayed those who tried to protect the site. This company cannot be trusted. Urgent action is needed to prevent Dakota Access from continuing to violate federal laws.

Over the past year, I have spent a great deal of time addressing the Tribe’s concerns about this pipeline. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has failed to follow the law and has failed to consider the impacts of the pipeline on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and neighboring communities.

We demand to be heard, and we will continue to stand together for our nation and for all who live with and by the Missouri River, until justice is done.

That’s why I signed a petition to President Barack Obama, which says:

“Reject the Dakota Access Pipeline pipeline and declare this land a cultural district, eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, to ensure its protection.”

Will you sign the petition too? Click here to add your name:

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/no-dapl?source=s.fwd&r_by=437677

Thanks!

LABEL ME A PROUD TERRORIST

DesertPeace is proud to identify and support the groups named in this post. I guess that makes me a terrorist as well.

A notorious anti-Black and Islamophobic group has launched a national offensive against students and professors associated with the movement for Palestinian rights.

Beginning earlier this month, posters placed by the David Horowitz Freedom Center appeared at San Francisco State University, the University of Tennessee, Tufts University, Vassar College, the University of Chicago, the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College, San Diego State University and the University of California’s Irvine, Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses.

Posters have appeared on campuses nationwide smearing students and teachers as terrorists.

Posters have appeared on campuses nationwide smearing students and teachers as terrorists.

Racist group launches national offensive on US campuses

A notorious anti-Black and Islamophobic group has launched a national offensive against students and professors associated with the movement for Palestinian rights.

Beginning earlier this month, posters placed by the David Horowitz Freedom Center appeared at San Francisco State University, the University of Tennessee, Tufts University, Vassar College, the University of Chicago, the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College, San Diego State University and the University of California’s Irvine, Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses.

The posters feature cartoon portraits of the named students or professors they’re targeting, next to a list of allegations, followed by the hashtag “#JewHatred.”

Though they include some innocuous labels, such as “BDS activist” or “SJP activist,” the posters also include defamatory charges.

For example, Professor Rabab Abdulhadi of San Francisco State University is called “a leader of the Hamas BDS campaign” and a “collaborator with terrorists.”

Hatem Bazian who teaches at UC Berkeley is called a “supporter of Hamas terrorists” and an “Islamophobia alarmist.”

Among the campaign’s unsupported claims is that American Muslims for Palestine, a group founded by Bazian, has been funneling “terrorist dollars” to Students for Justice in Palestine groups to support the “Hamas-sponsored” BDS movement.

Spreading fear and hate

The David Horowitz Freedom Center has claimed credit for the campaign.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups and extremism, says that since the 1980s the group’s founder, David Horowitz, has “become a driving force of the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-Black movements.”

Horowitz’s organization has also “become the premier financier of anti-Muslim voices and radical ideologies, as well as acting as an exporter of misinformation that seeks to increase popular appeal for Horowitz’s fears and phobias,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Horowitz’s posters credit Canary Mission, a website that blacklists students and teachers who criticize Israel, for information.

Horowitz appears to have piloted his campaign in April when similar posters turned up on the UCLAcampus.

At the time, UCLA vice chancellor Jerry Kangsharply denounced the posters as “a serious escalation” and promised that the university would “deploy all lawful resources to counter any harassment or intimidation.”

Kang has now become a target in Horowitz’s renewed poster campaign.

“Vandalism”

San Francisco State University president Leslie Wong condemned Horowitz’ posters on 14 October, the day they appeared on campus, but some students and faculty say he has not gone far enough.

Wong said he was “angered” by the “vandalism” on campus, calling the posters a “hateful attack.” He blamed “an outside extremist group,” but did not name Horowitz.

“This is not an issue of free speech; this is bullying behavior that is unacceptable and will not be tolerated on our campus,” Wong added.

Campus police have opened an investigation.

“We do not endorse the message, and consistent with principles of free speech, we believe that the most powerful response to speech that divides or degrades people is more speech which promotes inclusion, advances human dignity, and encourages mutually respectful actions and communications,” San Francisco State University spokesperson Elizabeth Smith told The Electronic Intifada.

She said the investigation would review how widespread the activity was and whether any school policies were violated.

But Joanne Barker, a professor of American Indian Studies, believes Wong should have named the Horowitz organization and exposed the racist intentions of the campaign.

“In moments like what happened last week where you have non-response response, it doesn’t make me feel safe as a university employee,” Barker said.

She noted that the FBI defines vandalism as a hate crime when it contains the added element of bias.

Barker said that the university “should be contacting federal and state authorities to investigate this incident as a hate crime.”

After the posters went up, the General Union of Palestine Students called an emergency meeting on campus, attended by representatives of other student organizations and communities.

Rex Halafihi was the first student to see the posters when he arrived on campus at 7:30am on Friday morning.

“It’s funny how media is congratulating Wong. His email is so vague and doesn’t actually condemn David Horowitz or Canary Mission or talk about how they’re anti-Muslim organizations,” Halafihi said. “It’s just so ridiculous.”

Silence at Irvine

The legal defense group Palestine Legal urged UC Irvine chancellor Howard Gillman to publicly condemn the posters.

But administrators have yet to do so. UC Irvine spokesperson Cathy Lawhon told The Electronic Intifada that the posters were removed within two hours of being put up and as a result the school received no complaints from students.

Palestine Legal reminded Gillman that, in contrast to his silence now, he has been quick to propagate what turned out to be false accusations against student activists for Palestinian rights.

“Terrorist campaign”

“Our universities are anti-free speech and they support terrorists,” Horowitz told The Electronic Intifada. “I want people to know that you guys – The Electronic Intifada included – are part of a terrorist campaign to destroy the State of Israel and kill the Jews – and Americans as well.”

When asked for evidence that Students for Justice in Palestine groups were funded by Hamas or “terrorist” groups, Horowitz pointed to a document on his website that purports to connect the dots from SJP to “terrorists” and Hamas.

But the only loose connection Horowitz draws is between American Muslims for Palestine and individuals formerly involved in the Holy Land Foundation.

In a highly politicized trial, the US prosecuted five men who worked for the charity on charges of “material support for terrorism,” even though the US had provided funding to the same organizations in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip as the Holy Land Foundation.

Horowitz told The Electronic Intifada that Students for Justice in Palestine tells “huge lies,” like “Israel occupies Arab lands.”

“Palestinians are a completely invented nationalism,” he added. “It’s ridiculous. Israel is the only state in the Middle East that’s not apartheid.”

Emboldening harassers?

Abdulhadi, the main target of the posters at San Francisco State University, says that it is past time for Wong’s administration to stand squarely behind those who have been subjected to a long harassment campaign.

“Well-funded groups are trying to undermine us because they know if the discussion happens more and more people are more likely to join the world community in supporting Palestine,” Abdulhadi told The Electronic Intifada.

Two years ago, anti-Palestinian organizations AMCHA, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, StandWithUs, the Zionist Organization of America and Scholars for Peace in the Middle East accused Abdulhadi of meeting with “terrorists” and asked the university to investigate her.

The university found the allegations had no merit, and that the alleged activity was part of her scholarship.

Nonetheless, Abdulhadi believes the administration’s weak responses have emboldened the groups to escalate their attacks.

Zionist groups are currently targeting the partnership Abdulhadi recently brokered between San Francisco State University and An-Najah National University in Nablus in the occupied West Bank.

For Abdulhadi, the dearth of support amid the mounting intimidation campaign is compounded by what she says is the university’s failure to fulfill its commitments to Muslim and Arab ethnic studies programs.

Following a student hunger strike last spring in response to proposed cuts to the budget for ethnic studies, the administration renewed its promises to hire two more professors.

The ‘real terrorist’ himself ….

David Horowitz has been a driving force of the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-Black movements since the 1980s. (Gage Skidmore)

David Horowitz has been a driving force of the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-Black movements since the 1980s. (Gage Skidmore)

IN PHOTOS ~~ DEMO AT G4S ~~ GET OUT OF PALESTINE AND STANDING ROCK!

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On September 16, people gathered at the NYC office of G4S demanding G4S get out of Palestine and Standing Rock North Dakota USA-where recently G4S security guards released some dogs on the “PROTECTERS” of their Native historic lands against the attempt to lay  an oil pipeline(the Dakota Access Pipeline)  through their lands.

At the end of the protest the protesters marched through the public access of the building loudly chanting “G4S out of Palestine and Standing Rock” much to the consternation of the building’s security guards.

Photos and commentary © by Bud Korotzer

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COLOUR CODED PALESTINIANS

Defense Ministry will produce a map of the West Bank marking in green and red the areas where, respectively, “good” and “bad” Palestinians live.

Portrait of a boy with the flag of Palestine painted on his face

Portrait of a boy with the flag of Palestine painted on his face

Israel to colour-code “good” and “bad” Palestinians

By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

Launched this month, as much of the world was on holiday, Avigdor Lieberman’s plan for the Palestinians – retooling Israel’s occupation – received less attention than it should.

Defence minister since May, Lieberman has been itching to accelerate Israel’s annexation by stealth of the West Bank.

Quislings and propaganda

His “carrot and stick” plan has three components. First, he intends to sideline the Palestinian Authority (PA) in favour of a new local leadership of “notables” hand-picked by Israel.

Preferring to “cut out the middle man”, in his words, he will open a dialogue with supposedly more responsible Palestinians – business people, academics and mayors.

Next, he has established a new communications unit that will speak in Arabic over the heads of the PA in the West Bank and its Hamas rivals in Gaza directly to ordinary Palestinians.

An online campaign – budgeted at USD 2.6 million – will seek to convince them of Israel’s good intentions. The Palestinians’ problems, according to Lieberman, derive from corrupt and inciteful national leaderships, not the occupation.

And finally, his Defence Ministry will produce a map of the West Bank marking in green and red the areas where, respectively, “good” and “bad” Palestinians live.

Sticks and carrots

Collective punishment will be stepped up in towns and villages in red areas, from which Palestinian attacks have been launched. Presumably night raids and house demolitions will increase, while closures will further curtail freedom of movement.

Palestinians in green areas will reap economic rewards for their good behaviour. They will be given work permits in Israel and the settlements, and benefit from development projects, including the creation of Israeli-controlled industrial zones.

This week the Haaretz daily reported that Lieberman is convinced that all the Palestinians can be attributed to Abbas’s “reign of corruption”. In briefings he has stated that the Palestinian leader “doesn’t want to deal with problems of economics and employment. The entire system of management there has failed.”

It sounds like the musings of a 19th century colonial official on how best to prevent the natives turning restless. Ahmed Majdalani, an adviser to Mahmoud Abbas, told the Israeli media the new arrangements assumed Palestinians were “stupid and lacking self-respect” and could be “bought with economic perks”.

Lieberman’s longer-term goal is to persuade Palestinians – and the international community – that their aspirations for self-determination are unattainable and counter-productive

Failed old policy

Israel has tried that approach before, as Palestinian officials pointed out. Decades ago, Israel sought to manage the occupation by imposing on the local population Palestinian collaborators, termed “Village Leagues”. Armed by the Israeli military, they were supposed to stamp out political activism and support for the PLO.

By the early 1980s the experiment had to be abandoned, as Palestinians refused to accept the leagues’ corrupt and self-serving rule. An uprising, the firstintifada, followed a short time later.

Israel’s agreement to the PA’s creation under the Oslo accords in the mid-1990s was, in part, an acceptance that the occupied territories needed a more credible security contractor, this time in the form of the Palestinian national leadership.

Disorganised resistance

Whatever Lieberman and others claim, the Palestinian leaderships in the West Bank and Gaza are the last parties to blame for the recent wave of Palestinian unrest. The attacks have been mostly carried out spontaneously by “lone wolves”, not organised groups. Many occur in Jerusalem, from which all political activity is barred.

Abbas has described the “security coordination” with Israel as “sacred”, aware that his PA will not survive long if it does not demonstrate its usefulness to Israel. His security services have subdued Palestinian resistance more effectively than the Israeli army.

Bereft of regional allies and a credible strategy, even Hamas has chosen quiet since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, its lethal wrecking spree in Gaza in 2014. It has kept the tiny coastal enclave locked down. Rocket fire – one of the few remaining, if largely symbolic, ways to confront Israel – all but ceased long ago.

The silence from Gaza was briefly disturbed a week ago by a rocket fired by a small group linked to the self-styled Islamic State. Despite Hamas’s disavowal of the attack, Lieberman demonstrated his new big stick by bombarding government sites in Gaza in a show of force unseen over the past two years.

Grassroots rage

The futility of this approach – blaming the official leaderships for the roiling frustration and resentment of those they formally lead – should be self-evident.

Ordinary Palestinians, not officials, endure the endless expansion of settlements and the resulting takeover of their agricultural lands. Ordinary Palestinians, not their leaders, face daily abuses at checkpoints and in military raids. Reports at the weekend suggested soldiers were deliberately kneecapping youths at protests to permanently disable them.

Round-ups, torture, military courts that always find the accused guilty – these are the rites of passage for Palestinians in the West Bank. For Palestinians in Gaza, it is slow starvation, homelessness and a random missile rain of death.

An Israeli strategy that failed decades ago – before the PA even existed – is not going to succeed now. Social media campaigns and paltry handouts will not persuade Palestinians they are nothing more than a humanitarian problem.

They are not about to shelve their dreams of liberation just because Lieberman colour-codes them in red and green.

FRANCE’S NEW DEMOCRACY ~~ #BurkiniBan

If it is OK for a man to wear it, why is it illegal for a woman to wear it?

If it is OK for a man to wear it, why is it illegal for a woman to wear it?

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This is what it used to be like ...

This is what it used to be like …

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This is what it is like today ...

This is what it is like today … (By Latuff)

Related (Click on link)

#BurkiniBan

Meanwhile in Canada ….

Justin Trudeau rules out burkini ban in Canada

Canadian PM defends individual freedoms and says Canadians value ‘acceptance, openness, friendship, understanding’

Justin Trudeau bemoaned instances where governments preach tolerance but act to undermine individual rights. Photograph: Canadian Press/REX/Shutterstock

Justin Trudeau bemoaned instances where governments preach tolerance but act to undermine individual rights. Photograph: Canadian Press/REX/Shutterstock

Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, has defended individual rights and freedoms when asked about a controversy in France over a burkini ban.

“We should be past tolerance in Canada,” Trudeau said after meeting with his ministers to plan the government’s legislative agenda.

The prime minister dismissed the idea of a burkini ban in Canada.

“In Canada, can we speak of acceptance, openness, friendship, understanding? It is about where we are going and what we are going through every day in our diverse and rich communities,” he said.

Some lawmakers in Canada’s Quebec province have called for outlawing “burkinis” – body-concealing Islamic swimsuits – following bans in at least 15 towns in France’s southeast.

They include the French Riviera resort town of Nice, the target of a jihadist attack on July 14, with the proponents citing the need to prevent public disorder.

Trudeau called for “the respect of individual rights and choices.”

This, he said, should be “at the top of public discourse and debate”.

Trudeau bemoaned instances where governments preached tolerance but acted to undermine individual rights, saying with irony: “Tolerating someone means accepting their right to exist on the condition that they don’t disturb us too, too much.”

FROM

THE REAL MEANING OF ISRAELI ‘COUNTERTERRORISM’

THE REAL VICTIMS

Every year, the Israeli military arrests and prosecutes around 700 Palestinian children. For 25 Years, our lawyers have defended thousands of these children in the Israeli military court system. This is Osama’s story.

Israeli “counterterrorism” means abuse and torture of children

This brief video illustrates the fear instilled in young Palestinians, mostly boys, arrested by Israeli occupation forces, often during night raids.

Produced by Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), it features 14-year-old Osama, who was taken from his home in the West Bank during a raid at 3am one night.

“It was the worst feeling to be far away from family and friends,” Osama says. He spent four months in an Israeli prison for allegedly throwing stones.

In a report released at the end of July, Human Rights Watch lists Israel among six countries that have adopted far-reaching “counterterrorism” policies that have led to sweeping arrests of children.

Israel joins Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Nigeria and Syria as governments Human Rights Watch describes as “trampling on children’s rights in a misguided and counterproductive response to conflict-related violence.”

“The indefinite detention and torture of children needs to stop,” said Jo Becker, the organization’s director of children rights advocacy.

Not a week goes by when about a dozen to as many as 38 Palestinian children from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are arrested.

In June, Israel extended administrative detention orders for seven children.

Solitary confinement as coercion

Israel appear to be increasing the use of solitary confinement against Palestinian child detainees to pressure them during interrogations. One 16-year-old boy spent 22 days in isolation.

“The practice of using solitary confinement on children, for any duration, is a clear violation of international law, as it amounts to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and in some cases, torture,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP.

Israel doesn’t use solitary confinement for disciplinary, protective or medical reasons, according to DCIP’s documentation, but as an interrogation tool.

Children are confined in cells that barely fit a mattress while they undergo lengthy interrogations during which Israeli authorities attempt to extract confessions or more information on other people, according to DCIP.

“The cell was closed tightly and had no windows, except two ventilations gaps,” 17-year-old Rami K. told DCIP.

“The walls were gray, which hurt my eyes, and the surface was coarse, so I could not lean on them. The cell had a sink and a toilet, but the toilet had a nasty smell. The lights were on the entire time.”

Rami was held for 16 days in isolation while being interrogated. The interrogation was drawn out over hours, during which his wrists and ankles were bound to a metal chair.

Blaming Palestinian culture

Israel defended its treatment of children earlier this month, following criticism by several countries at the United Nations Security Council.

Amit Heumann, the legal adviser to Israel’s UN mission, blamed Palestinians for Israel’s treatment of them.

“It is the responsibility of leaders everywhere to protect children at all costs, to protect them from the ravages of war and to shelter them in a protective environment, where children can thrive,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the Palestinians are failing at this most critical responsibility.”

“Instead of nourishing their youth with the dreams of a bright future, Palestinian children are fed a steady diet of hatred for Israel and glorification of violence in the lessons they learn in school, in the sermons they hear in the mosque and in the streets that are named after terrorists.”

Such debunked claims that “incitement” – rather than the reality of Israel’s military occupation – are to blame for violence, have long been a staple of Israeli government propaganda.

In its report, Human Rights Watch criticizes Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children under its occupation regime in the West Bank, where 500 to 700 children are brought before military tribunals annually, and an average of 220 children are held in prison each month.

But the line between Israeli civil and military law regarding children has become increasingly difficult to discern since violent confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli forces escalated in October 2015.

Last week, the Israeli parliament passed a new law allowing the imprisonment of children as young as 12.

Israel’s military regime in the occupied West Bank has always allowed the detention of 12-year-old Palestinians.

According to DCIP’s statistics, of the 440 Palestinian children in Israeli prison in February, 104 were between the ages of 12 and 15. This represents a four-fold increase from the number of young teens in prison prior to October 2015.

And though the law ostensibly applies to Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel alike, it was explicitly created to target Palestinians.

Imprisoning 12 and 13-year-olds will be permitted in cases where the child is convicted of so-called terrorism, a charge that almost exclusively applies to Palestinians.

“This law was born of necessity,” said Likud lawmaker Anat Berko, who proposed the measure. “We have been experiencing a wave of terror for quite some time. A society is allowed to protect itself. To those who are murdered with a knife in the heart it does not matter if the child is 12 or 15.”

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel warns that the Israeli parliament may soon allow life sentences for children under 14.

This is the latest amendment to Israel’s penal code that expands the criminal culpability of Palestinian children in order to allow harsher penalties.

Last year, the Israeli parliament imposed mandatory minimum sentencing and extended the maximum sentence on people who throw stones at traffic.

Israel also revived administrative detention against Palestinian children ostensibly living under Israeli civil law in the last year.

ISRAELI APARTHEID CAUGHT ON VIDEO

For those who still might have doubts ……

Israeli soldier assaults child playing on Jews-only road

In September 2012, Israeli security forces put up a chain-link fence along al-Ibrahimi Street in Hebron, separating the paved road from a narrow, rough walkway. Since then, B’Tselem has twice documented security forces denying Palestinians access to the paved road, despite official claims that there is no such prohibition. On 25 July 2016, B’Tselem volunteer Raed Abu Ramileh filmed a Border Police officer seizing the bicycle of 8-year-old Anwar Burqan and throwing it in the bushes for riding it down the paved road, which is reserved for settlers.

 

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The separation and discrimination between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank does not involve public transport only. This video features footage of Border Police officers stating that one side of a newly erected fence is for Jews, the other for Arabs.

The separation principle is an official policy of the Israeli military separating Jews and Moslems in the city of Hebron. The policy is implemented primarily through severe restrictions on Palestinian travel and movement in downtown Hebron, where most Israeli settlement outposts are located. Some of the main roads in the area are completely off limits to Palestinians, and many roads bar any and all Palestinian vehicles. Israel’s strict restrictions have made the lives of Palestinians in downtown Hebron intolerable, forcing many to leave their homes and jobs.

On 23 September 2012 Israeli security forces laid out a chain-link fence, dividing the road lengthwise. On one side of the fence is a paved road and on the other, a narrow pedestrian passageway. Since the fence was erected, Israeli security forces have not allowed Palestinians to walk on the road. Instead they direct Palestinians to the narrow passageway, which is unpaved, rough and ends in a small staircase. The passage is completely impassible by wheelchair and is very difficult to navigate with a baby carriage, pushcart or bicycle.

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The military resumed its segregation on the main street of a-Salaimeh neighborhood, in force from Sep. 2012 to Mar. 2013 when it was abandoned following to the airing of footage by B’Tselem. The military again bans Palestinians from the main part of the street, directing them to a narrow side road. This is part of the military’s overall policy of severe restrictions on Palestinian movement in downtown Hebron, implemented ever since the 1994 massacre of Muslim worshippers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs perpetrated by settler Baruch Goldstein.

 

 

Full report by Ali Abunimah HERE

IN PHOTOS ~~ NEW YORK LIVES MATTER

stop-the-hate-because-all-lives-matter

On August 1st several hundred New Yorkers, Black and white, occupied New York’s City Hall Park. They demanded an end to police brutality and killings and an end to police occupation of Black communities. Among the many speakers two were Palestinians who represented Students For Justice In Palestine. They spoke of the unity between the Black freedom struggle and the struggle of the Palestinians to end the occupation of their homeland. They reminded the people there that with the killing in Ferguson the Palestinians sent a message of unity and instructions on how to deal with the tear gas being used against the Black protesters by the police.

   Photos and commentary © by Bud Korotzer

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