GAY PRIDE IN IMAGES ~~ INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA

Today, and every day, I stand with our LGBT community to stop discrimination around the world

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Live and let live.

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Canada leads the way … “Privileged to be part of a generation living in a country where I can be open about who I am, marry who I love.”

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Latuff adds the following ….

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Bottom line is …

Today, I ask all of you to fight hatred, honour love, and defend LGBTQ2 rights as human rights.

DAY 30 OF HUNGER STRIKE FOR DIGNITY AND JUSTICE

Hunger-striking prisoners are calling for an end to the denial of family visits, the right to pursue higher education, appropriate medical care and treatment, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention — imprisonment without charge or trial — among other demands for basic rights.

Image by Latuff

Day 30 .. more than 1700 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, be with them!

Barghouthi to stop drinking water as Israel fails to respond to hunger strike’s demands

As the mass “Freedom and Dignity” hunger strike in Israeli prisons entered its 30th day on Tuesday, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs announced that leader of the strike Marwan Barghouthi will stop drinking water in response to Israel’s continued refusal to respond to the hunger strikers’ demands.

Participants in the strike, now involving some 1,300 Palestinian prisoners, have been refusing food and vitamins since the strike began on April 17, drinking only a mixture of salt and water as sustenance.

Hunger-striking prisoners are calling for an end to the denial of family visits, the right to pursue higher education, appropriate medical care and treatment, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention — imprisonment without charge or trial — among other demands for basic rights.

The committee’s statement quoted lawyer Khader Shqeirat as saying that Barghouthi’s decision to escalate measures by refusing water would be “a new turning point in the ongoing open-ended hunger strike.”*

The Israeli government, the statement said, is responsible for leading the prisoners’ along a “tragic and disastrous road” and putting hunger strikers in imminent danger, by taking “a criminal stance regarding the just demands of prisoners.”
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According to the committee, Barghouthi insists on transparently achieving all of the demands made by the hunger-striking prisoners under his leadership, without bargaining or making compromises.
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The committee also called upon the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly to hold an emergency meeting regarding the prisoners’ strike, to oblige the Israeli government to respect prisoners’ rights enshrined under international law, and to call on Israel to end its policy of inflicting a “slow death” on the Palestinian detainees.
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On Monday, reports emerged in Israeli media that Palestinian security officials and officials of Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, were attempting to reach an agreement that would end the hunger strike.
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As Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has previously said the demands would only be addressed once the strike was ended, Palestinian officials warned their Israeli counterparts that such an approach would spark an escalation of popular protests that have been staged daily since the strike began — many of which have erupted into violent clashes.
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Meanwhile, hunger-striking prisoner Karim Yunis, the longest serving Palestinian prisoner, insisted that any legitimate negotiations must include leaders of the strike such as Barghouthi, and rejected reported attempts by Israeli intelligence as “false and futile negotiations aimed at breaking the hunger strike in exchange for empty promises.”
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A statement released Tuesday by the media committee established to support the strike warned that striking detainees have “entered a critical health condition,” marked by chronic vomiting, vision impairment, fainting, and an average weight loss of 20 kilograms.
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“In spite of this, (hunger strikers) sent many messages confirming that they will continue the strike until their demands are achieved,” the statement affirmed.
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The media committee said that the Israel Prison Service (IPS) has continued to isolate strike participants from the outside world through the use of solitary confinement and restricting lawyer visits for the majority of detainees — in spite of a recent Israeli Supreme Court decision compelling IPS to lift the ban on lawyer visits, which was imposed since the first day of the strike.
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Hunger-striking prisoners have also been prohibited from receiving family visits outright, and face continuous arbitrary prison transfers in an IPS attempt to break up the strike.
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On Monday, IPS moved 36 hunger-striking prisoners from Ofer prison to a so-called field hospital at Hadarim prison, according to the media committee.
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The committee reiterated concerns about the field clinics — set up by Israel in anticipation of the mass hunger strike to avoid transferring the prisoners civilian hospitals.
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“In these clinics, the role of doctors resembles the role of jailers who offer all kinds of food to the sick detainees and bargain them to provide medical treatment in return for ending the strike,” the statement declared, denouncing the field hospitals as unfit and ill-equipped to provide medical care, and merely just another section for holding and pressuring the detainees to break their strikes.
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The hunger strike’s media committee also reported that the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has called the group working on the cause of Palestine, during its meeting in Jeddah, to launch campaigns to support the Palestinian striking detainees and put pressure on Israel to respond to their demands.
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Meanwhile, Palestinian prisoners’ solidarity network Samiduon highlighted that Palestinian circus performer Muhammed Abu Sakha, has been participating in the strike since its first day.
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Abu Sakha has been held without trial or charges since December 2015, which has inspired an international campaign demanding his immediate release.
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Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer reported on Thursday that following the expiration of Abu Sakha’s detention on June 11, the Israel’s Supreme Court decided to limit the extension of his detention to three months, following a successful petition by his lawyer.
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Abu Sakha is among 500 of the 6,300 Palestinian prisoners held under administrative detention, according to Addameer.
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THE DEMANDS …

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The Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs reiterated the list of demands of the strike, which were issued by Marwan Barghouthi, who is serving a life sentence in Israeli prison:
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1. Install a public telephone for Palestinian detainees in all prisons and sections in order to communicate with their families.
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2. Visits:
• Resume the second monthly visits for Palestinian prisoners that were halted by the International Committee of the Red Cross last year.
• Ensure the regularity of visits every two weeks without being prevented by any side.
• First- and second-degree relatives shall not be prevented from visiting the detainee.
• Increase the duration of the visit from 45 minutes to an hour and a half.
• Allow the detainees to take pictures with their families every three months.
• Establish facilities to comfort the families of detainees.
• Allow children and grandchildren under the age of 16 to visit detainees.
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3. Health care:
• Shut down the so-called Ramla Prison Hospital, because it does not provide the adequate treatment.
• Terminate Israel’s policy of deliberate medical negligence.
• Carry out periodic medical examinations.
• Perform surgeries to a high medical standard.
• Permit specialized physicians from outside the Israeli Prison Service to treat prisoners.
• Release sick detainees, especially those who have disabilities and incurable diseases.
• Medical treatment should not be at the expense of the detainee.
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4. Respond to the needs and demands of Palestinian women detainees, namely the issue of being transported for long hours between Israeli courts and prisons.
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5. Transportation:
• Treat detainees humanely when transporting them.
• Return detainees to prisons after the visiting clinics or courts and not further detain them at crossings.
• Prepare the crossings for human use and provide meals for detainees.
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6. Add satellites channels that suit the needs of detainees.
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7. Install air conditioners in prisons, especially in the Megiddo and Gilboa prisons.
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8. Restore kitchens in all prisons and place them under the supervision of Palestinian detainees.
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9. Allow detainees to have books, newspapers, clothes and food.
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10. End the policy of solitary confinement.
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11. End the policy of administrative detention.
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12. Allow detainees to study at Hebrew Open University.
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13. Allow detainees to have end of high school (tawjihi) exams in an official and agreed manner.
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STARVING FOR JUSTICE ~~ THE LATEST IN TOONS

Images by Carlos Latuff

Netanyahu can use all methods; torture, solitary confinement,propaganda & fake videos, but will NEVER break the will of a free Palestinian

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Also in Turkey

International support for the strikers growing daily

Xristoforos Triantafillos II holding my toon in a protest in Athens calling for Pizza Hut boycott after mocking Palestinian hunger strikers

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“We are not in search of death. We are looking for real life.”
.Free Palestine from Israeli terrorism.

SUPPORT THE HUNGER STRIKE BY BOYCOTTING PIZZA HUT

An image shared by Palestinians on Facebook to promote the boycott of Pizza Hut for its alleged Facebook post, with imagery of a prisoner and an Israeli watchtower emblazoned on the chain’s famous logo.

Pizza Hut runs ad mocking hunger strike leader Barghouti

Pizza Hut’s franchise in Israel on Monday released an ad poking fun at Palestinian hunger strike leader Marwan Barghouti following the recent release of video footage showing him secretly eating a candy bar and cookies in his prison cell.

The ad drew widespread criticism from Palestinians and a call to boycott the chain, which issued a quick apology.

In the ad, which it posted on its Facebook page and later deleted, the pizza chain put a banner in Hebrew over a screenshot from a clip released by the Israel Prisons Service on Sunday of Barghouti eating. It read, “Barghouti, if you are already going to break the hunger strike, isn’t pizza better?”

The ad also included a photoshopped Pizza Hut box on the floor of the prison cell, as well as a piece of pizza in the sink.

In response to the ad, a large number of Palestinians called for a boycott of the pizza chain on social media.

From

Click HERE to see related video

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I hope you’re now aware that the Boycott Pizza Hut campaign isn’t as “funny” as your advertisement!

 

ISRAEL’S NATION-STATE BILL IS A CORNERSTONE FOR APARTHEID

The nation-state law is the constitutional cornerstone for apartheid in the entire Land of Israel.

The nation-state bill must not be allowed to pass.


Israeli ministers back nation-state bill delisting Arabic as official language

A Cornerstone of Apartheid

Israel’s ‘nation-state’ law must be stopped – the only way to preserve a democratic Israel is to enshrine equality among all its citizens in law

The nation-state bill, which the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved unanimously on Sunday, is a bad bill. Nobody denies that Israel, as the bill says, “is the national home of the Jewish people,” or that “the right to the realization of national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”

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The Jewish people’s right to national revival in the Land of Israel was recognized back in the 1917 Balfour Declaration and approved by the League of Nations Mandate in 1922. On November 29, 1947, this right was reaffirmed and recognized by the UN General Assembly as well.

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“We … hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, to be known as the State of Israel,” reads the Declaration of Independence. Similarly, the state’s Basic Laws define Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. And aside from all this, just last week, Israel celebrated the 69th anniversary of its independence.

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Nevertheless, this bill is bad, because the only legitimate way to ensure the state’s Jewishness is for Israel to be a democracy that grants full equality to all its citizens, but which also has a Jewish majority. Any situation in which Jews were a minority in Israel, and the state’s Jewishness was maintained solely via discriminatory laws and a regime that enforced them against the majority’s will, would be undemocratic, and in any event would certainly not be viable over the long run.
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The only explanation for why Israel is advancing this bill is the millions of Palestinians whom it keeps under its control in territories that it fantasizes about annexing. Because Israel is interested in applying its sovereignty to the land but isn’t interested in annexing the Palestinians who live there as equal citizens in a single state, it is forced to create the legal infrastructure for segregating Jews from Arabs and preserving the Jews’ legal supremacy. The nation-state law is the constitutional cornerstone for apartheid in the entire Land of Israel.
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The nation-state law is fundamentally antithetical to democracy, as it seeks to enshrine the rule of a Jewish minority over an imagined Arab majority. This is a fearful and aggressive move by a people that sees itself as a minority and is preparing to maintain control over an apartheid state that contains a Palestinian majority living under its rule. Yet even before that point is reached, the law discriminates against members of Israel’s Arab minority and legally labels them as second-class citizens.

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The nation-state bill must not be allowed to pass. The only way to preserve the national home of the Jewish people is to separate peacefully from the occupied territories and liberate the Palestinian people. And the only way to preserve a democratic Israel is to enshrine equality among its citizens in law, in line with the promise of the Declaration of Independence: “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.”
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The above is the lead EDITORIAL in today’s HaAretz.

GOOD MORNING FROM A HUNGRY PALESTINE

Today all of Palestine is on strike in solidarity with the fasting prisoners and tomorrow is a day of indignation, demonstrations, and confrontations with the occupiers. Bethlehem is a ghost town and all shops and public transportation are closed and Israeli helicopters are in the skies. [Volunteers came to museum and we are taking a group on tour of the wall and impact of settlements n the environment because this is not work but resistance]. Tomorrow is a day of demonstrations and confrontations. In this message I just want to reflect on why this is very important.

More than 1800 of our freedom fighters are on their 11th day of Hunger Strike inside Israeli occupation jails.

 Salt and water is all they will take until their just and rightful demands are met

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

Every day we encounter greedy people focused on their own needs and unhealthy desires. How many cheated us? How many come around us because they want some material interest? How many corrupt politicians we know? How many people we know turned out to be kinder and gentler and more self sacrificing than we thought? How many turned out more mean, more selfish, more sadistic? Looking at the world in this fashion (some would claim it is seeing reality) can be truly dispiriting. It can remove any remaining humanity in many people. But then comes a prisoner hunger strike! It sounds small but it touches a cord in human beings bigger than any other and I will argue it is the way to reclaim our humanity.

Today, Palestinians and their friends around the world show solidarity with over 1800 Palestinian political prisoners who are on their 11th day of hunger strike. Salt and water is all they will take until their just and rightful demands are met (basic decent treatment in prison based on international law). It sounds simple but this is a profound even in Palestinian and human history. The price one pays for resistance is injury, death or imprisonment. It is the antithesis of selfishness and greed.

800,000 Palestinians tasted life in prison and today almost 7000 are there in the colonial apartheid Israeli prisons. While everyone knows this, the hunger strike brought the prisoners’ message home to all – rich and poor, greedy and self-sacrificing, honest and liar. This message is nothing short of that we humans must reconnect to our humanity and that caring for others is the way to save humanity. In this 21st century with weapons of mass destruction and climate change, we cannot afford as a species to do otherwise. Prisoners show us the way like many decent human beings showed us the way before (think of Jesus and prophets and revolutionaries like Che Guevera). But the alarm bells for us are now alarm bells for a dying species unless we act. It is more urgent than ever in our short history on earth. We really have a choice to make and it is both an individual and a collective choice. That choice is to either accept war and greed as “natural” and follow the other human lemmings over the cliff OR resist and give of ourselves as a way to save humanity.  Mahatma Gandhi used hunger strike to refocus people away from greed and selfishness to caring for each other. Hunger is painful and people will die sooner or later unless we all act. What is at stake is very high: our own self-respect (dignity) as human beings. But as the world changed, the danger is that we can also go extinct as a species unless we manage to collectively transcend a huge baggage of greed, colonialism, and  capitalism that cannot be sustained in the 21st century. Palestinian prisoners by their silent deeds of self-sacrifice have shown us the way. As did martyrs like Basil Al-Araj who simply noted that in his extremely short last words on paper: there is no more eloquant speech than the deed of the Martyr.

Kkalil Gibran wrote in “The Prophet” 1923: “You give but little when you give of your possessions; it is when you give of yourself that you truly give.  For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?  And what is fear of need but need itself.” The prisoners and the martyrs gave silently of themselves. For the rest of us, where we stand today and tomorrow will say a lot about who we are.

Here is a relevant article I wrote seven years ago “The Savior in Each of Us”

ASSORTMENT OF TOONS ~~ FROM A HUNGRY PALESTINE

Collection is FROM

Organizations and individuals which side with Palestine are welcome to reproduce the following cartoons on hunger strikers!

1500 of our freedom fighters are on their 7th day of Hunger Strike inside Israeli occupation jails.

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For the 7th day, Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails continue their open hunger strike.

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Good morning from Palestine .. !

From Latuff

Why we strike ….

Statics you SHOULD know about the miserable conditions at the Israeli jails..

FAKE NEWS IN DEFENSE OF ZIONISM

Now, almost every day inflationary targeted pro-Israel articles are published in different German media. They voluntarily hide the word “occupation” and Zionist crimes. Apparently, the more than 45 million US-Dollar spent by the Israeli ministries for the Hasbara propaganda are worth it. It is understandable that a right-wing regime like the Netanyahu regime makes use of these methods as there is nothing Zionists fear more than the truth.

Facts, instead of the diffusion of political fake news!

by Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, English translation by Milena Rampoldi

Again these days, where the Jewish Passover celebration almost coincides with the Christian Easter, the international values hypocrites use fake news to hide their mistakes and the bombs violating international law.

In this case it is useful for politicians, churches, and media to have an enemy image they can work on together. And this enemy image is “Islam” and the “Muslims” against whom prejudices and fears are created. And all the time it is “Islam” and the Muslims who are regularly connected to “terrorism”. Who wonders if in the German/European population hatred against Muslims increases?

What the Jews were in the past, today Muslims and Islam are.

Can this kind of politics where Western values politicians whitewash the state terrorism against Muslims, masked as “defence from terrorism”, last for a long time? All is authorised, because we are the “good ones” defending “our” values, while “Islam” and Muslims murder barbarically!

What a horrible “order of values” turning all upside down what makes up real values. Since a long time German politics have abandoned peaceful values. However, these values are always indicated by politics when it is about the implementation of more than questionable objectives suggesting us that only “our” way of life is the ONLY  right one.

This kind of colonization of the “Christian-Jewish community of values” has already caused so much sorrow to mankind. It does not distinguish itself from the previous crusades but it is technically more elaborated and more efficient and adapted to the contemporary epoch.

Hypocritical “Christian” German politicians, from Merkel to von der Leyen, try to justify and legalize the US aggression against Syria violating international law. Our minister of war put herself in the frontline by supporting the US propaganda which grants itself the right to bomb another country, without research and proofs concerning the alleged poison gas attack. She supports the NATO and Trump. In the Anne Will program of last Sunday, 9th of April, the minister praised the US strikes and called this brazen violation of international law a necessary “warning” against Assad. Fortunately, the former biological weapon experts and foreign politics spokesperson of the left party Die Linke van Aken was appalled because the minister applauded this aggression against international law, even if there are no proofs that Assad committed the offence. This TV program is another example of the decline of German television culture and its presenters.

What Miss Will did on that occasion, was to oppose to ANY kind of clean journalism, when she tried to discredit Michael Lüders, one of the few competent Middle East experts, by de-qualifying him as a paid “lobbyist”. However, the “steel helmet Jew” and former Bundeswehr Professor Michael Wolffsohn, a well-known lobbyist of Israel and among others a member of the advisory board of Deutsche Bank, the former US ambassador in Germany, John Kornblum, also a lobbyist for Israel and consultant of financial economists, law offices, and banks. Politics. (1) (2)

Do we deserve such politicians and presenters who lie to us in more than controversial talk shows? If German President Steinmeier attacks the brutalization of the language on the net, he should care about the brutalization of the language of politicians of all parties telling us fake news and dismissing us as conspiracy theoretics if we do not accept them as the truth!

Of course, we still have the opportunity to go to the elections. However, also this “agony of choice” is getting more and more difficult because the parties are increasingly resembling each other. And all resembles the great coalition when also SPD foreign minister Gabriel and the defence expert Arnold speak up for the US aggression against Syria, violating international law. From the left to the right, from red to green: there is not so much the party landscape can offer. Only the brave “old Green” politician Ströbele condemns the US aggression. (3) (4)

At the moment, German politics offer very few essential contents, like the woolly statement of the “SPD Shooting Star” Schulz, who even wants to be congratulated on doing it. Even SPD Federal President Steinmeier begins to flutter by asking for more German responsibility, also in the military field. While the Green Party, from Cem Özdemir to Rebecca Harms, wallow in the anti-Erdogan and anti-Putin smear campaign, Göring-Eckardt has specialised in waste separation and the elimination of the yellow bag. (5)

Under Trump, the “father of all bombs”, for the first time in Afghanistan the “mother of all bombs” was dropped. Perhaps, the Netanyahu regime has already ordered this “mother” at the US Pentagon to quickly implement the final solution of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, and its Judaization. The Minister of Education and the “Settlements King” Naftali Bennett has already threatened to commit genocide in Lebanon, and this without the so loud outcry of the Western world value community staying silent about it! (6) (7)

Trump seems to have reached  the point to be supported by official politics; now  “Kosher Nostra” guided by his daughter Ivanka, the converted wife of Jarred Kushner, the Jewish son-in-law and main consultant of Trump has taken over the White House. (8)

In this situation the Netanyahu regime can relax, and praise further US aggressions against Syria or other countries of the Arabic-Islamic world. This is the only way for the Jewish regime to further exacerbate the eternal illegal occupation of Palestine and the Syrian Golan Hills; and in addition, shortly the US embassy guided by the hard-core Zionist Friedman will reside in Jerusalem as the official “eternally undivided“ capital of the “Jewish State”.

Again, this year, which will be the fiftieth year of the illegal occupation of Palestine, the Federal Government will celebrate the Independence Day, the “Birthday of the Jewish State”, together with the officials of the Central Council of Jews and the representatives of the “Jewish State”. This proofs the repeated total failure of democracy in Germany, since up to now all German governments and politicians of all parties have only supported the legalization of internationally condemned international law violations committed by the Zionist occupiers.

72 years after the liberation of Auschwitz this is really a shame.

If the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, Lau, misuses the holocaust to distract from his own crimes, this is a crime all survivors of the Holocaust and their descendants should oppose to, instead of defending these crimes of the “Jewish State”! As long as Jewish citizens do not take their distance from the Zionist occupation crimes, they will never been considered as trustful. We need same rights for all: what we pretend from Muslims, should apply to ALL religions! (9)

While German politicians and the group media bash Putin and Erdogan, regimes like the ones of al-Sisi, the Saudi Kingdom or Netanyahu can continue committing their crimes against humanity and putting all “our” values upside down!

The hypocrisy has taken such incredible forms, in particular for BDS activists and their supporters, that we have to ask ourselves how this will go on and end.

Philo-Semite politicians set the tone. And a special emphasis should be put on the “Philo-Semite Anti-Semite” Volker Beck, who really seems to smell Jewish hatred and as tracking dog of the Green Party opposes to all kind of Israel critics. However, this is only possible because there is no real opposition. Like in the Nazi regime, fear, moral cowardice, and limitless gutlessness dominate when it is about critics against Israeli politics!

Would it not be adequate to take Mr Beck to the court on the basis of the article 5 of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany because of his unjustified attacks against the freedom of opinion?

However, in the meantime it seems to be part of the political tone to silence all honest Israel critics and to try to intimidate them by defamation.

Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany, Article 5

(1)   Every person shall have the right freely to express and disseminate his opinions in speech, writing and pictures, and to inform himself without hindrance from generally accessible sources. Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by means of broadcasts and films shall be guaranteed. There shall be no censorship. (…)
Of course this right also applies to supporters of the BDS campaign and to Israel critics!
More than six thousand Palestinian prisoners are in arbitrary and unjust detention. Many of them are in administrative detention without accusation. On Easter Monday, after a call by Marwan Barghouti, the Palestinian “Nelson Mandela”, 1300 of them started a hunger strike to struggle for better detention conditions and their liberation. This Palestinian new hope would be the right candidate for the Presidential Office in a free Palestine! However, the Jewish occupiers and the “moderate” collaborators and the PA and Abbas would like to stop him because he would question and challenge their status quo. Therefore Barghouti must remain in Judaistic detention. For Barghouti unfortunately there is no lobby and no German politicians or media engaging for him as they do it for the prisoners in Turkey … and in a particularly media-effective way for the reporter of the newspaper “Die Welt” Deniz Yücel – no wonder if we read his fervent article supporting the Israel lobby opposing to the Germans‘ right to criticize Israel, and as a consequence the right for freedom of opinion! For his work, Yücel got the Theodor Wolff Prize for Press Freedom. Remember: If you are supported by a lobby, prizes are distributed like counterfeit money. However, the numerous Palestinian journalists in Israeli detention rot down, without any award! (10) (11) (12) (13) (14)

Now, almost every day inflationarily targeted pro-Israel articles are published in different German media. They voluntarily hide the word “occupation” and Zionist crimes. Apparently, the more than 45 million US-Dollar spent by the Israeli ministries for the Hasbara propaganda are worth it. It is understandable that a right-wing regime like the Netanyahu regime makes use of these methods as there is nothing Zionists fear more than the truth.

The power of images is enormous in our time. While fake images of small, probably Syrian children are diffused all around the world, the murdered Palestinian children never get a place on the cover page of our brave media. Walter Herrmann, this unforgotten Kölner Klagemauer fighter for the justice in Palestine, who wanted to remember photos of the Gaza genocide of barbarically murdered children in Gaza, was brought to justice!

Do not let us permit to substitute the power of facts with the diffusion of political fake news!

Unfortunately, all is repeated, and about this matter the poem by Erich Fried Nicaragua is everywhere says it all.

(In German)

Wo liegt Nicaragua?

by Erich Fried

Wo liegt Nicaragua?

Dort wo Reagan seine bezahlten
Mörder hinschickt
oder seine Agenten.
Es liegt also in Angola,
wo er mit seinen weißen
politisch verlässlichen südafrikanischen Freunden
die Banden der Unita
bewaffnet und unterstützt.

Wo liegt Nicaragua?

Am Horn von Afrika,

wo er zahlt für seinen Stützpunkt
in Mogadischu.

Wo liegt Nicaragua?
Es liegt in Palästina,
es liegt im Staat Israel
dem er Geld gibt und Waffen
für den Kampf
gegen die Palästinenser
und den er zu seinem Sprungbrett
im Nahen Osten gemacht hat.

Wo liegt Nicaragua?
Nicaragua liegt in Europa
das aussätzig ist
von seinen Atomraketen
und das Kriegsschauplatz sein soll
im nächsten Krieg.

Wo liegt Nicaragua?
Nicaragua liegt in England,
aus dem er Flugzeuge
aus dem er Flugzeuge aufsteigen ließ
gegen Libyen?
Wo liegt Nicaragua?
Es liegt in Libyen,
in Tripolis und Benghazi
auf die seine Bomben fielen.

Wo liegt Nicaragua?
Es liegt überall dort,
wo die Vereinigten Staaten Geheimdienstleute einschleusen
zur Verteidigung der Freiheit der freien Welt.
Und weil Nicaragua überall ist, darum muß man
endlich etwas von Nicaragua wissen:
Daß es in Nicaragua um alle Welt geht,
und dass man Nicaragua überall helfen muß
gegen Reagen und Weinberger und ihre Agenten und Söldner
und nicht vergessen soll, dass der Internationale Gerichtshof
im Haag die Vereinigten Staaten verurteilt hat
als Angreifer und als Verletzer des Völkerrechts,
als das, was man Kriegsverbrecher genannt hätte und
Friedensverbrecher, wenn die Vereinigten Staaten
etwas kleiner wären und nicht so mächtig.

Und weil Nicaragua überall ist, darum stehen die Menschen
überall, wo sie für Nicaragua stehen,
auch für sich selbst und ihre eigenen Kinder,
für ihr Leben und gegen ihren Tod.

Und wer in Deutschland am Leben bleiben will,
soll bedenken:
Nicaragua liegt in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland,
die alle Hilfe für Nicaragua gesperrt hat,
die aber Geld schickt an die Mörderbanden der Contras.
Nicaragua liegt in Deutschland, das Asylanten
In ihrer Herkunftsländern abschiebt zu Tod und Folter
Als wären noch nicht genug Todestransporte gerollt

über deutsche Geleise
zur Erledigung jenseits der Grenzen.

Erich Fried

Zur Zeit der Verleumder

Sie nennen mich
Verräter an meinem Volk
Sie nennen mich
Jüdischer Antisemit
weil ich spreche von dem
was sie tun in Israels Namen
gegen Palästinenser
gegen Araber anderer Länder
und auch gegen Juden
die totgeschwiegen werden

Später einmal
werden Juden die übrigbleiben
wenn dieser Wahnsinn vorbei ist
zu suchen beginnen
nach Spuren von Juden
die nicht mittaten
sondern warnten

So haben Deutsche gezeigt
nach dem Untergang Hitlers
auf Deutsche die tags zuvor
noch verfolgt wurden oder getötet
Die sollten nun Zeugen sein
daß Deutsche auch anders waren

Ob dann ein Wort
noch nachlebt
von meiner Warnung
Wichtiger aber:
ob dann in Palästina noch Juden leben
entronnene jener Vernichtung
die sie selbst herbeiführen halfen
durch ihr Unrecht
zu meiner Zeit?

 

Originally appeared AT

INTERVIEW ~~ SUPPORT FOR PALESTINIAN HUNGER STRIKERS CONTINUES TO GROW

A couple of days ago, the leader of al Fatah, Marwan Barghouti, published his shocking article on New York Times. He had just started a legendary protest, called the “struggle of the empty stomachs”. Marwan has been able to start an extended non-violent struggle of at least 1.300 prisoners in Israeli prisons, a hunger strike. The objective is to show their reality to the rest of the world, and to make people understand what is going on in this land of denied rights. In his article published by New York Times Marwan attacks the Israeli military forces by using very hard words. The Zionist regime is responsible for the total absence and/or the daily violation of human rights, for daily physical and psychological torture, and also for bad food. 

Image by Carlos Latuff

Day 5 of 1,500 Palestinian detainees’ hunger strike in Israeli occupation jails!

Interview with Khaled, during a rally to support Palestinian prisoners

by Antonietta Chiodo, ProMosaik, English translation by Milena Rampoldi

In these hours, the population wants the competent authorities to take their responsibility to sanction a state whose law is based on the exercise of violence and power against a helpless population. However, as we can see today, this population has not stopped resisting. The President of the Palestinian Authority Abu Mazen declared his unconditioned solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners. The groups next to Hamas and the Islamic Party have not made a clear decision about whether they will participate to the hunger strike by involving their own members in Israeli prisons or not.

The day after the publication of Barghouti’s article and the extended participation to the hunger strike by prisoners, the Knesset put the leader Marwan Barghouti and other three main organizers of the protest in solitary confinement in the high-security prison in the Northern West Bank next to the city of Jenin. Since the beginning of the protests, the clashes and arrests are increasing, in particular around Nablus, Hebron, and Bethlehem.

Today I went into the streets and talked to a group of people during a solidarity rally for the Palestinian prisoners in hunger strike. Among them there was also an about eight years old handicapped child. Some of them wore gas masks. An ambulance was ready to intervene in case of clashes.

Everywhere the shapes of Israeli soldiers. In sight the separation wall. There are upset garbage containers which make me think about a day full of tensions. During the rally, I talked to Khaled, one of the guys participating to the protests, to ask him a couple of questions about them.

Have there been news from the prisons during these last hours?

No, since the beginning of the hunger strike, Israel has not been giving any information… we have only heard that the leaders of the protest were put into solitary confinement and that many prisoners are not even allowed to talk to their own lawyer.

Do you feel supported by the Palestinian Authority these days?

I cannot answer to this question… I cannot say anything about it… I am just a man who decided to take to the streets these days… as many women and children did… we would like to tell the world what has been happening in this land since seventy years now….  However, politics are the heart of Palestine… the whole world turns around politics, we do not want to know if one is on our part or not… since this is our life, and our freedom, and we will continue our resistance against the occupation, day after day… If you want to know if we trust Abu Mazen …. Then I can answer you: No, Palestine has stopped trusting him since a long time now.

Were there many clashes during these rallies? Do you think others will follow today?

We protest the whole day, also in the evening. They usually attack us in the afternoon or after sunset. As you can see, we have no arms. We just have flags… but we resist. Because resisting is the thing we can do best…. And it is not a coincidence that the majority of people participating to these rallies comes from the refugee camps, in particular from the Dheisheh Refugee Camp.

Do you think that Marwan Barghouti’s initiative will be really helpful?

Yes, I am absolutely convinced that it is a light, an open window so that the world can look into here… so that all can see how strong we the Palestinians are… we prefer dying than continuing to be oppressed and tortured. Our situation has been unchanged for seventy years now… So our fellows have started this struggle, and we have to support them because they are brave men and true examples for us.

 

Written FOR

MUCH ADO ABOUT THE PALESTINIAN HUNGER STRIKE

Why We Are on Hunger Strike in Israel’s Prisons

Carlos Latuff shows his solidarity with Palestinian prisoners who launched a mass hunger strike in Israeli jails, yesterday.

Palestinians in Israeli prisons begin hunger strike!

Israel, the mother of terrorism has called this article an act of terror. Please read and distribute as far and wide as possible.

Op-Ed in the New York Times

By

Photos of prisoners during a demonstration demanding the release of the Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, in Ramallah, West Bank, this month. Credit Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency, via Getty Images

HADARIM PRISON, Israel — Having spent the last 15 years in an Israeli prison, I have been both a witness to and a victim of Israel’s illegal system of mass arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners. After exhausting all other options, I decided there was no choice but to resist these abuses by going on a hunger strike.

Some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners have decided to take part in this hunger strike, which begins today, the day we observe here as Prisoners’ Day. Hunger striking is the most peaceful form of resistance available. It inflicts pain solely on those who participate and on their loved ones, in the hopes that their empty stomachs and their sacrifice will help the message resonate beyond the confines of their dark cells.

Decades of experience have proved that Israel’s inhumane system of colonial and military occupation aims to break the spirit of prisoners and the nation to which they belong, by inflicting suffering on their bodies, separating them from their families and communities, using humiliating measures to compel subjugation. In spite of such treatment, we will not surrender to it.

Israel, the occupying power, has violated international law in multiple ways for nearly 70 years, and yet has been granted impunity for its actions. It has committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions against the Palestinian people; the prisoners, including men, women and children, are no exception.

I was only 15 when I was first imprisoned. I was barely 18 when an Israeli interrogator forced me to spread my legs while I stood naked in the interrogation room, before hitting my genitals. I passed out from the pain, and the resulting fall left an everlasting scar on my forehead. The interrogator mocked me afterward, saying that I would never procreate because people like me give birth only to terrorists and murderers.

A few years later, I was again in an Israeli prison, leading a hunger strike, when my first son was born. Instead of the sweets we usually distribute to celebrate such news, I handed out salt to the other prisoners. When he was barely 18, he in turn was arrested and spent four years in Israeli prisons.

The eldest of my four children is now a man of 31. Yet here I still am, pursuing this struggle for freedom along with thousands of prisoners, millions of Palestinians and the support of so many around the world. What is it with the arrogance of the occupier and the oppressor and their backers that makes them deaf to this simple truth: Our chains will be broken before we are, because it is human nature to heed the call for freedom regardless of the cost.

Israel has built nearly all of its prisons inside Israel rather than in the occupied territory. In doing so, it has unlawfully and forcibly transferred Palestinian civilians into captivity, and has used this situation to restrict family visits and to inflict suffering on prisoners through long transports under cruel conditions. It turned basic rights that should be guaranteed under international law — including some painfully secured through previous hunger strikes — into privileges its prison service decides to grant us or deprive us of.

Palestinian prisoners and detainees have suffered from torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, and medical negligence. Some have been killed while in detention. According to the latest count from the Palestinian Prisoners Club, about 200 Palestinian prisoners have died since 1967 because of such actions. Palestinian prisoners and their families also remain a primary target of Israel’s policy of imposing collective punishments.

Through our hunger strike, we seek an end to these abuses.

Over the past five decades, according to the human rights group Addameer, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned or detained by Israel — equivalent to about 40 percent of the Palestinian territory’s male population. Today, about 6,500 are still imprisoned, among them some who have the dismal distinction of holding world records for the longest periods in detention of political prisoners. There is hardly a single family in Palestine that has not endured the suffering caused by the imprisonment of one or several of its members.

How to account for this unbelievable state of affairs?

Israel has established a dual legal regime, a form of judicial apartheid, that provides virtual impunity for Israelis who commit crimes against Palestinians, while criminalizing Palestinian presence and resistance. Israel’s courts are a charade of justice, clearly instruments of colonial, military occupation. According to the State Department, the conviction rate for Palestinians in the military courts is nearly 90 percent.

Among the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians whom Israel has taken captive are children, women, parliamentarians, activists, journalists, human rights defenders, academics, political figures, militants, bystanders, family members of prisoners. And all with one aim: to bury the legitimate aspirations of an entire nation.

Instead, though, Israel’s prisons have become the cradle of a lasting movement for Palestinian self-determination. This new hunger strike will demonstrate once more that the prisoners’ movement is the compass that guides our struggle, the struggle for Freedom and Dignity, the name we have chosen for this new step in our long walk to freedom.

Israel has tried to brand us all as terrorists to legitimize its violations, including mass arbitrary arrests, torture, punitive measures and severe restrictions. As part of Israel’s effort to undermine the Palestinian struggle for freedom, an Israeli court sentenced me to five life sentences and 40 years in prison in a political show trial that was denounced by international observers.

Israel is not the first occupying or colonial power to resort to such expedients. Every national liberation movement in history can recall similar practices. This is why so many people who have fought against oppression, colonialism and apartheid stand with us. The International Campaign to Free Marwan Barghouti and All Palestinian Prisoners that the anti-apartheid icon Ahmed Kathrada and my wife, Fadwa, inaugurated in 2013 from Nelson Mandela’s former cell on Robben Island has enjoyed the support of eight Nobel Peace Prize laureates, 120 governments and hundreds of leaders, parliamentarians, artists and academics around the world.

Their solidarity exposes Israel’s moral and political failure. Rights are not bestowed by an oppressor. Freedom and dignity are universal rights that are inherent in humanity, to be enjoyed by every nation and all human beings. Palestinians will not be an exception. Only ending occupation will end this injustice and mark the birth of peace.

HUMAN RIGHTS UPDATES ~~ 1500 PALESTINIAN PRISONERS ON HUNGER STRIKE

Today 17 April 2017, nearly 1500 political prisoners in Israeli jails went
on an open-ended hunger strike until their demands of basic humane
treatment in prison are met. 

Image by Carlos Latufff

 

HUMAN RIGHTS UPDATES

Compiled by Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD


Today 17 April 2017, nearly 1500 political prisoners in Israeli jails went
on an open-ended hunger strike until their demands of basic humane
treatment in prison are met. This includes family visits, stopping abuse,
availability of medical treatment, knowing their sentence (administrative
detainees held for months and sometimes years without charge or trial),
etc.  There were many activities to honor them and show solidarity. For
example we in Al-Rowwad Culture and Art Society held the festival of return
(3aidoun) in their honor, there were demonstrations at the wall (inhaled
much tear gas) and we have a candle-light vigil later tonight in
Bethlehem’s manger square. Please keep prisoners issues alive so that they
stay alive and are treated with dignity they deserve. These events happen
in between our usual work at the museum (research, education,
conservation). 15 elementary school children visited as did several local
people. Our team of international volunteers (seven today) continue and are
working hard. Look for us on facebook under Palestine Museum of Natural
History.

Why we are on hunger strike in Israel's prisons (more)


U.S. Drops Its Biggest Non-Nuclear Bomb on Afghans, Already Traumatized by
Decades of War. In Afghanistan on Thursday, the United States military
dropped its most powerful non-nuclear bomb ever—the Massive Ordnance Air
Blast, or MOAB, nicknamed "The Mother of All Bombs." The 21,600-pound bomb
reportedly unleashed an explosion equivalent to 11 tons of TNT with a
mile-wide blast radius…..

[They keep telling us it is “non-nuclear” (why not non-biological,
non-chemical?). It was described the Afhani officials as devastating to
people and the environment. This came after Trump refused independent
investigations and claimed he knows Syrian government used chemical weapons
and bombed Syria. He is now the typical neocon….]

American police are now regularly getting training from Israeli apartheid
officers. Is it any wonder then they drag people out of airplanes and shoot
blacks in the street? Here is an interesting opinion piece in the
Washington Post. Crucified man had prior run in with authorities:

I guess this is how we are writing up the victims of crimes now. I did not
realize that when you boarded a plane you gave away the right to have your
past remain your past, but a theme of life these days is that only people
who have never done anything wrong, or are in some way related to Donald
Trump, deserve to go through their lives unmolested. In accordance with
this new house style I am writing up an incident whose anniversary some
people are celebrating this week.  The gentleman arrested Thursday and
tried before Pontius Pilate had a troubled background.


Open Secrets: The UAE’s Deals With Israel

 

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.
*
 
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:
*
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.
*
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.
*
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.
*
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.
*
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.
*
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.
*
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.
*
“If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.”
                                               Albert Einstein
*
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.

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