IS IT TOO LATE FOR A JUST PEACE IN PALESTINE?

Expecting Netanyahu to work for peace would be very much like expecting a ship to sail on land. This is because Netanyahu and peace are an eternal oxymoron.

Is it too late for just peace in Palestine?

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine
 *
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu continues to adopt brazen mendacity and dishonesty as his modus operandi vis-à-vis the rest of the world.

In fact, one would exaggerate very little by saying that Netanyahu is probably the most dishonest political figure in Israel ever since the racist Jewish entity came into being in Palestine 67 years ago.

In the past two weeks, Netanyahu made a plethora of statements voicing his desire for the resumption of the moribund peace process with the weak Palestinian Authority.

This is of course not the first time Netanyahu makes such statements.

Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have been making all sorts of mendacious statements expressing an ostensible desire for peace with the Palestinians.

However, these statements were always proven to be utterly false, which shows that Netanyahu is not just an ordinary liar, but rather a malicious one par excellence.

Just ask any European leader who has dealt with Netanyahu how he views the Israeli premier and if he thinks he has any credibility. The answer would be a clarion “No.”

Indeed, how can we possibly trust a man who voices a desire for peace with the Palestinians while doing everything in his ability to kill any remaining prospects for peace?

In fact, expecting Netanyahu to work for peace would be very much like expecting a ship to sail on land. This is because Netanyahu and peace are an eternal oxymoron.

There is no doubt that a country that has built hundreds of colonies on land that belongs to another people and transferred hundreds of thousands of its citizens to live on land that belongs not to them doesn’t have genuine peace on its agenda.

This is the truth Netanyahu is trying to conceal or blur by way of making all sorts of theatrical statements especially when meeting with visiting foreign dignitaries.

Unfortunately, many or most of these dignitaries, especially from Europe and North America, lack the moral courage to tell Netanyahu “you are a liar” either explicitly or implicitly.

But Netanyahu is a big liar in his own right.  What else can be said of a leader who claims to be working for peace while actually killing it with all strength and determination?

Red herrings

In his firewall of defense against  growing international awareness that Netanyahu and peace contradict each other, the Israeli premier, a visionless politician who thinks a more aggressive hasbara discourse can make up for  political wisdom, Netanyahu has been claiming that the international BDS (Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanctions) against Israel is actually making peace more distant.

Given Netanyahu’s malicious character, I have no doubt whatsoever that the Israeli prime minister knows deep in his mind that he is lying and that the BDS campaign and other forms of protest against Israel are mere reactions to Israeli recalcitrance and criminal persecution and oppression of  the largely unprotected Palestinians under Israel’s military occupation.

Yes, he knows it, but, since he views malicious dishonesty as an expression of political skill and cleverness, he just goes on and on, lying and lying and lying.

The fanatics in his quarter, who are undoubtedly numerous, would rather innately hail him and praise his genius in defense of Israel. But this is a shortsighted perception, utterly devoid of wisdom.

This is because, Netanyahu’s impetuousness, recklessness and recalcitrance, which also reflect the collective mindset of many Israelis, probably a majority, is what will eventually take Israel to the abyss.

But by then, it would be too late. It is very much like a heavily intoxicated driver making a fatal traffic accident under the influence of alcohol.

As a Palestinian, I am ambivalent about the course Netanyahu and his equally self-absorbed colleagues in government are taking.

And just as the proverbial drunk driver who would refuse to heed warnings against driving under the influence of alcohol, Netanyahu, Bennett, Shaked, etc., are in no mood to listen to a word of advice and reproach.

In the final analysis, megalomaniac arrogance has more or less the same influence on mental sanity. It often leads to fatal consequences.

I don’t know for sure if there is still any real chance for a dignified and lasting peace in Palestine/Israel. But whatever chances there may still be are vanishing very rapidly before our eyes.

In light of the grim realities on the ground, this view should actually be considered an overly auspicious perception rather than an expression of doom and gloom because otherwise the vast majority of serious observers and experts would  strongly deny the existence of any real chance for peace in this part of the word. Is it too late? I hope not.

But my hope may be proven too illusive to be realistic.

 

ISRAELI ATTEMPTS TO SILENCE THE TRUTH

The truth has become the greatest enemy of Israel ….

truth-hate-speach

Legislation being proposed by Israel’s new right-wing government threatens to severely limit the work of B’Tselem and scores of other Israeli NGOs that receive millions of dollars each year in donations from foreign governments and foundations.

Human Rights Groups Feel Heat From New Israel Government

 

On a backstreet in Jerusalem sit the sparse offices of B’Tselem, an Israeli organization that has long been a bane of successive governments, tirelessly flagging military abuses in occupied Palestinian territory.

Set up by a group of academics, lawyers and politicians more than 25 years ago, the NGO – whose name means “in the image of” and is a synonym in Hebrew for human dignity – has at times portrayed itself as the conscience of the nation.

But legislation being proposed by Israel’s new right-wing government threatens to severely limit the work of B’Tselem and scores of other Israeli NGOs that receive millions of dollars each year in donations from foreign governments and foundations.

While the legislation is in draft form, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party says she is determined to crack down on those who take foreign money and then criticize Israel, accusing the NGOs of “eroding the legitimacy of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state.”

An earlier legislative draft she submitted before rising to cabinet rank after a March election proposed a tax of up to 45 percent on foreign donations unless otherwise approved by a committee of defense and foreign ministry officials.

From the point of view of advocacy groups, the proposals are a dangerous step that would put Israel in a category with the likes of Russia, Turkey and neighboring Egypt, which often struggle to accept internal criticism and have banned some NGOs.

“A super-enormous battle is being waged for the future of our society,” said Sarit Michaeli, B’Tselem’s spokeswoman and a veteran activist who has spent years gathering evidence of alleged transgressions in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

“What we have here are many years of intense efforts to discredit Israel’s human rights community, primarily related to our work exposing human rights violations.”

“ATTACK ON SOVEREIGNTY”

Showing the government is determined to penalize those it believes are tarnishing Israel, Culture Minister Miri Regev said on Wednesday she will cut state funds for artists who are deemed to be overtly sympathetic to the Palestinian struggle.

“Whoever delegitimises the State of Israel will not get budgets from the state,” Regev told Army Radio, promising to withdraw funds from an Israeli Arab actor who had refused to perform in a Jewish settlement built in occupied territory.

Amongst the projects to be hit are a mixed-race children’s theater that the actor, Norman Issa, runs near Tel Aviv. Issa said he felt he was being “extorted” over his political views.

Joshua Sobol, an Israeli playwright, denounced the move. “(Regev) is acting contrary to the policy of generations of Israeli governments,” he told Walla news site.

There are more than 30,000 NGOs registered in Israel, about half of them active. But the focus of frustration for Shaked and her supporters are around 70 whose work focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and which receive funds either from the European Union as a whole, or individual governments, including Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and Norway.

NGO Monitor, an Israeli group set up to track the sector, and in its words make it more accountable, maintains a database of foreign funding to NGOs, using figures the organizations themselves are obliged to provide under Israeli law.

The figures show that just over 100 million shekels ($26 million) was donated to 24 of the most active NGOs during 2012-2014, including Breaking the Silence, which collects anonymous testimony from Israeli soldiers; and Adalah, a legal rights organization focused on the Palestinians.

B’Tselem, one of the main recipients, says it was given 13.3 million shekels from U.S. and European donors in that period, accounting for about two thirds of its entire funding.

If Shaked’s bill were to pass, Michaeli reckons B’Tselem could keep operating, albeit with a much reduced budget. Other, smaller NGOs might be forced to shut down.

But it is not so much the potential loss of funding that has NGO advocates alarmed, as the message that such legislation sends, even if it doesn’t secure parliamentary backing.

In a country that has traditionally taken dissent on the chin, the move to clamp down reveals a new, thinner skin, one less accepting of opposing opinion, especially from those regarded as having a left-wing agenda.

“There’s a sense on the Israeli right that progressive or liberal viewpoints are a danger and that something has to be done about it,” said Matt Duss, the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace in Washington, DC.

“It creates a hostile environment for those who express legitimate criticism and would put Israel in some very bad company.”

It remains unclear how much backing Shaked will get for her bill, but she looks determined to test the waters.

NGO Monitor, which has questioned the accuracy of data gathered by groups like B’Tselem, says it does not support any legislation that would punish the NGO community.

But its head, Gerald Steinberg, accuses B’Tselem and others of waging “a very dangerous form of warfare” against Israel and says legislation is needed to combat “the destructive European policy of funding political NGOs.”

Others see a different objective.

“Members of the government are out to settle scores,” said Duss, mentioning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election-day criticism of unspecified left-wing groups that he accused of helping to take Israeli-Arab voters to the polls.

“It’s part of a broader effort to limit the political space, to constrict the freedom of opposing views,” said Duss.—Reuters

NEW CRISIS IN GAZA ~~ ISRAEL’S LATEST BEX ALERT

Israel seems to be losing its ‘battle’ against the BDS Movement, so it is once again whining about the world’s response to alleged attacks from Gaza. Anything to keep those bucks coming ….

And that's a FACT!

And that’s a FACT!

Just one example of how Israel lies …

Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip. It didn’t want a blockade. The blockade is against the residents of the Strip; it’s against the supreme effort on the part of Hamas to acquire weapons. A flourishing and prosperous Gaza Strip is in Israel’s interests. The BDS movement and Hamas have other interests at heart.

(FROM)

The world is slowing waking up to the fact as to who the real enemy is

The world is slowing waking up to the fact as to who the real enemy is

Netanyahu: Hypocrisy spreading, as world ignores rocket fire from Gaza

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the international community on Sunday for not calling out the extremist groups behind a recent uptick in rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

During his opening remarks at the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, the prime minister said Israel held Hamas responsible for every rocket fired into Israel. “I have not heard a single international figure condemn the violence,” he said, “not even at the United Nations.”

The hypocrisy spreading across the world will not tie our hands, Netanyahu added, saying Israel “will continue, as we have in the past, to protect the citizens of Israel.”

Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni, in an interview with Kol Berama, a haredi radio station, on Sunday said Israel must adapt to a “hypocritical” world.

“We cannot remain silent in the face of violence from extremist elements,” Livni said, adding that Israel had to send a clear message about the consequences of firing rockets at the Jewish state.

Source

HERE’S WHY BDS HAS REPLACED IRAN AS ISRAEL’S BIGGEST ‘EXISTENTIAL THREAT’

But now that Obama has bought Netanyahu’s silence on Iran, the Israeli leader needs another bogeyman to replace the supposed existential threat from Tehran that proved so useful to whip up the Israeli public and distract world attention from Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

Israeli occupation forces surround Palestinian protestors near the village of Jabaa in the southern West Bank on 14 March. (Abed Al Hashlamoun / EPA)

Israeli occupation forces surround Palestinian protestors near the village of Jabaa in the southern West Bank on 14 March. (Abed Al Hashlamoun / EPA)

Why BDS is replacing Iran as Israel’s biggest “existential threat”

Last month US President Barack Obama made a deal with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In exchange for $1.9 billion in US high-tech weaponry that will likely be used to kill more Palestinians, Netanyahu will shut up about Obama’s deal with Iran over its nuclear energy program.

The cosmetic disagreements over Iran caused a lot of noise among pundits, but never any meaningful rift between Obama and his close Israeli ally.

But now that Obama has bought Netanyahu’s silence on Iran, the Israeli leader needs another bogeyman to replace the supposed existential threat from Tehran that proved so useful to whip up the Israeli public and distract world attention from Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

Netanyahu has declared, in effect, that BDS – the Palestinian-led movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions – is the new Iran.

In doing so, he is hastening Israel’s transformation in the eyes of the world into the old South Africa.

Speaking on Sunday, after successfully fending off a botched Palestinian Authority effort to have Israel suspended from the football governing body FIFA, Netanyahu warned that his country is facing an “international campaign to blacken its name.”

“It is not connected to our actions; it is connected to our very existence,” Netanyahu claimed, adding that Israel was being singled out and held to unfair standards.

Israeli media go to war

Israeli media, often a willing conscript in Israel’s wars, rallied to his battle cry.

The mass circulation daily Yediot Ahronot splashed the headline “We are combating the boycott” on its front page.

batshit crazy @bdy222 in an article that actually makes sense! is a threat to ethnic supremacy & his ‘newspaper’ http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4663436,00.html 

CGY36O_WQAAFyrX

It prominently featured an op-ed by Ben-Dror Yemini headlined “BDS is a threat to Israel’s very existence.”

Yemini laments that the “influence” of Palestinian rights campaigners “has invaded the Hillel groups on campuses.”

He warns of the dangers of exposing impressionable Jewish minds to facts about theNakba, the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Yemini says that BDS is “invading politics” – via “venomous” author Max Blumethal, whose father, he notes, was a senior advisor to former President Bill Clinton.

“This isn’t what happens in every Jewish family. Far from it,” Yemini writes, “But that’s the trend.”

Yemini attacks me and Omar Barghouti as “the leaders of the campaign” and contends that “almost everything the Nazis said about the Jews is said today by BDS supporters.”

In light of all these alleged horrors, Yemini states, my emphasis: “Yediot Ahronoth newspaper is also mobilizing for war.”

It followed up today with an op-ed by Noah Klieger demanding that Israel mount “an organized and coordinated counterattack and try to convince the world that the Palestinians’ arguments on most issues, if not on all, are nothing but a blatant lie rooted in [Nazi propagandist] Goebbels’ school.”

The New York Times enlisted too, with an article by Jodi Rudoren amplifying Netanyahu’s attack.

In another example of the newspaper’s typically biased coverage of BDS, it features quotations from five Israeli politicians but not one person actively involved in BDS campaigning to answer the lurid charges.

Rudoren, moreover, adopts as her own the racist Israeli rhetoric that the Palestinian BDS call’s inclusion of refugee rights amounts to a “demographic death warrant” for the “Jewish state.”

This ugly language – echoing frequent Israeli warnings about the supposed “demographic threat” from too many Palestinian babies – mirrors racist claims in the 1980s that giving votes to Black people would amount to “national suicide” for whites in South Africa.

Doubling down

There is nothing entirely new about Israel’s renewed attack on BDS. Indeed, Netanyahu used his speech to the Israel lobby group AIPAC in Washington, DC more than a year agoto sound the alarm over the growing campaign.

Nonetheless there is a new flurry of activity to try to slow its growth. Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire financier of Netanyahu’s political career and kingmaker for the US Republican Party, has summoned “Jewish mega-donors” for what the The Jewish Daily Forward terms a “secret anti-BDS summit.”

Sheldon Adelson abhors BDS. Which means you should support it.

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY

Interesting to see an extreme right winger, Elyakim Haetzni, attack the leader of the Israeli right …..  making it obvious that the occupation is in serious need of therapy.

From an Op-ed in today’s Ynet

Benjamin Netanyahu did it again: A “zig” in the election campaign (there will be no Palestinian state) and a “zag” in front of the European Union’s foreign minister, Federica Mogherini (two states). In other countries, such a conduct by a misleading prime minister would have led to a governmental crisis, or at least a public row. Here, it didn’t even raise an eyebrow.

The silence of the deceived

The secret of Netanyahu’s charm is that while he systematically lies to all sides, his lies neutralize each other: Arabs don’t believe him even when he talks in favor of a Palestinian state, and the right doesn’t believe him even when he denies ‘two states.’

Benjamin Netanyahu did it again: A “zig” in the election campaign (there will be no Palestinian state) and a “zag” in front of the European Union’s foreign minister, Federica Mogherini (two states). In other countries, such a conduct by a misleading prime minister would have led to a governmental crisis, or at least a public row. Here, it didn’t even raise an eyebrow.

It’s true that former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir declared that “it is permitted to lie for the Land of Israel,” but he was never caught lying against the Land of Israel.

The secret of Netanyahu’s charm is that while he systematically lies to all sides, the lies neutralize each other: The Arabs don’t believe him even when he talks in favor of a Palestinian state, and the right doesn’t believe him even when he denies the “two states.” That’s the reason why no one gets excited anymore.

But imagine the face of the deceived side, when one day the die is actually cast and Netanyahu, with superior innocence, will ask: “Didn’t I tell you?” And he did tell, but he also said the opposite.

When that happens, the settlers, who are meant to be the victims of this trick, will only have themselves to blame. Why it was them and their supporters who gave Netanyahu the “miracle” of 30 Knesset seats in the elections, thanks to which he feels he has the public’s trust – despite the unreliability and lack of integrity, which he barely hides.

And just like they ignored Ariel Sharon’s faulty methods when he advanced a goal they cared about, they are telling themselves today that Netanyahu is lying to the Arabs, not to them. And just like they paid dearly for handling Sharon with kid gloves (yes, the right knows how to treat people with kid gloves too), they will pay for handling Netanyahu’s corrupt methods with kid gloves.

The “blocs,” for example. Leaving them in our hands and building in them, as opposed to freezing the “isolated communities,” is at the heart of his doctrine. And Jerusalem is at the top of the “bloc doctrine.” In Israel and in the world, this message has been received with consent, and no one is asking why there are parts of Jerusalem, which was “joined together,” in which the construction is almost completely frozen, at Netanyahu’s personal order? How can this contradiction be settled?

Moreover, in his latest meeting with Mogherini, Netanyahu suggested what the Arabs had demanded from the very first moment and what Netanyahu has always firmly rejected: To start the negotiations with a discussion on the borders. Suddenly, without any discussion or decision in any body, Netanyahu is offering to “discuss the borders of the blocs” – a sophisticated wording which is an insult to his people’s intelligence. Isn’t it clear that that is the exact Arab-American proposal to discuss the 1967 borders minus the “blocs”? And as an advance payment, he added an immediate concession: That way, it will be clear in which parts of the West Bank Israel will be able to continue building.

According to the media, Netanyahu also offered an interim agreement, under which in return for letting Israel build in the “blocs” – the Arabs will be permitted to build in the rest of the area. This basically means giving up on the majority of Area C. But even after this was published, no one was shocked.

This radical change in Israel’s stance, the adoption of Meretz’s platform by the Likud leader – while the fools are celebrating the alleged “victory of the right” – was received with complete silence in the communities of the eastern Samaria hills, which include at least 100,000 inhabitants who are sentenced to degeneration and then expulsion in the Yesha Council, which is supposed to represent them, in the Bayit Yehudi party, which pretends to be their parliamentary emissary, and in the national core of the Likud – from Zeev Elkin southward – which control the party today.

Even the very last right-wing MK, who has the power to bring down the 61-member government on his own, is keeping silent.

The silence of the deceived? No, the silence of those who want to be deceived.

ISIS TOONS OF THE DAY

Iranian cartoon features Netanyahu leading Islamic State

New exhibition asked cartoonists to mock ISIS; among the works are cartoons criticizing US and Israel’s ‘help’ in ISIS rise to power.

Netanyahu riding ISIS ‘monster’

 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shown riding an ISIS "monster," holding a bloody sword - this in criticism of Israel's alleged contribution to the strengthening of the terror organization.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shown riding an ISIS “monster,” holding a bloody sword – this in criticism of Israel’s alleged contribution to the strengthening of the terror organization.

Israeli hands give an ISIS fighter a massage

Another cartoon shows hands with a Star of David give a massage to the back of an Islamic State fighter lying on top of an American flag.

Another cartoon shows hands with a Star of David give a massage to the back of an Islamic State fighter lying on top of an American flag.

Report and more cartoons HERE

SPOOF ON BLAIR’S ‘MISSION ACCOMPLISHED’

Image 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Related post FROM

Tony Blair Steps Down as Mideast Mediator

Reuters

Former British prime minister Tony Blair will step down as representative of the Quartet of Middle East powerbrokers at the end of June, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday.

Blair wrote to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday that he would step down from the role he has held since 2007. “(His) decision …will come into effect at the end of next month,” a source close to the Quartet said.

No comment was immediately available from Blair’s office in London.

NAKED FACTS OF NETANYAHU’S ‘PEACE PROCESS’

The killing by Israel of the peace process and whatever hopes for peace that process may have entailed is a damning proof that Israel doesn’t want peace.
Peace or pieces?

Peace or pieces?

The futility of counting on Netanyahu for peace

By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine
It is really hard to give renewed European efforts to revive the moribund peace process between Israel and the Palestinians the benefit of the doubt.

But, even if we did, these efforts would hardly be proven more than just a mere regurgitation of past failed efforts.

The naked facts on the ground in Occupied Palestine underscore a completely grim outlook. Israel has more or less killed any remaining chances for a viable Palestinian state, the centerpiece of the proposed two-state solution.

Israel is relentlessly continuing to make facts on the ground, ensuring the irreversibility of present realities. But the irreversibility of present realities also means that Israel, whether we like it or not, is becoming a bi-national state de fact, at least, with as many as 50% of the population between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean (an area ruled or controlled by Israel) being non-Jews.

This non-Jewish population is expected to grow even further in proportion to the number of Jews in years and decades to come. This is a matter of science, not rhetoric or propaganda.

For its part, the Palestinian Authority (PA) continues to make little “victories” on the international arena. But we all know these symbolic achievements won’t make any difference in the final analysis.

This is because the two-state strategy has effectively expired thanks to the ubiquitous Jewish settlement expansion.

Which means it is now too late for the establishment of a viable and territorially contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israel, with a combination of pressure and inducements,  is likely to try to bully or cajole the weak PA to content itself with a diminutive “state” encompassing truncated Bantustans, cut off from each other by Jewish settlements, and isolated from the rest of the world.

However, such an imposed “solution” wouldn’t be utterly rejected by the bulk of Palestinians, and its advocates would probably be shot like stray dogs in the streets of the West Bank for their perceived treason and perfidy.

Moreover, the exclusion of the paramount right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees uprooted from their ancestral homeland in 1948, along with the religiously sensitive subject Jerusalem, from such a settlement would likely make it doomed from day one.

Furthermore, the phenomenon of Mahmoud Abbas is unlikely to repeat itself on the Palestinian arena for many years to come.

Fascist government

Israel today has probably the most extremist right-wing government ever since the creation of the Jewish state in Palestine in 1948.

This government is made up of the gurus of Jewish fascism, who reject the principle of peace with utter contempt. Indeed, for these fanatics, peace is a sign of weakness and tantamount to the destruction the Jewish people.

Just listen to the shockingly recalcitrant remarks made by Israeli cabinet ministers these days and compare these remarks with the Nazi discourse prior and during the Second World War.

This is more than nationalist extremism. This is odious fascism, pure and simple.

This should sound alarm bells everywhere. The collective mindset permeating in Israel today more or less resembles the collective mindset which prevailed in Nazi Germany in the few years preceding the Second World War.

Don’t tell me Jews are not capable of doing the unthinkable. You bet they are.

In the final analysis, when Jews, or anyone else, think, behave and act like the Nazi thought, behaved and acted, they become Nazi, pure and simple.

Similarly, we have to remind ourselves and others that the holocaust actually started long before Auschwitz, Bergen Belsen and Dachau.

It started much earlier with Mein Kamph, the anti-Jewish laws, and then Kristalnacht, the sort of stuff we hear morning and evening these days from the mouths of the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the holocaust.

No peace strategy

The truth of the matter is that Israel has no peace strategy.  Israel only has a strategy for aborting peace not making it.

The killing by Israel of the peace process and whatever hopes for peace that process may have entailed is a damning proof that Israel doesn’t want peace.

I know and the world knows that the international community knows this fact too well, but this international community is either too cowardly or too dishonest to call the spade a spade, especially when the matter concerns Israel, the world’s most spoilt child.

Yes, Israeli officials and spokesmen, along with the shipyard dogs of Israeli hasbara, would fill the ether with all sorts of arguments justifying Israeli policies, including the Lebensraum policy in the West Bank.

But any person with a modicum or honesty and rectitude knows deep in the bottom of his or heart that these arguments are dishonest, malicious and mendacious.

More to the point, Israel has been given a thousand chances and a thousand opportunities to walk in the path of peace but to no avail.

In fact, the PA reduced  itself into a Palestinian judenrat in the service of Israeli whims as Palestinian security agencies did everything imaginable to persecute, suppress, repress and torment Palestinian voices raised against the enduring Israeli occupation, all in order to receive a certificate of good conduct from Israel.

But Israel wouldn’t reciprocate and instead continued to relate to the PA with utter disregard and utter contempt.

When the number-2 figure in the new Israeli government, Naftali Bennett was asked a few weeks ago what he would tell PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas if he met him, Bennett, with characteristic Jewish arrogance, said: “I would ask him to make me a cup of coffee.”

Bennett’s remark is by no means an unrepresentative anecdote. It actually encapsulates mainstream thinking within the Israeli political-military establishment, which makes the realization of peace virtually impossible.

A MOST DISTURBING INFOGRAPHIC ABOUT THE CRIMINAL SYSTEM

The United States has the most prisons in the world in order to house the highest number of incarcerated people in the world. 707 per every 100,000 people can be found in a prison. Out of every 100 citizens, 3 work in the justice system. 1 in 9 State employees works in corrections. How this vast prison system evolved is examined by looking back at what there was before modern prisons existed.

History-of-Prisons

Original Source

IF AMERICANS ONLY KNEW ABOUT THE NEW US ARMS DEAL WITH ISRAEL

title

Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II, the United States providing Israel $121 billion as of April 2014, according to a report prepared for the US Congress by the Congressional Research Service, the majority in military assistance.

The Pentagon released documents in February 2015 confirming Israel as a nuclear power, believed to be the the only country in the Middle East holding nuclear weapons.

YET …

The United States said Wednesday it plans to sell thousands of bombs and munitions to Israel in a $1.9 bn deal, officials said Wednesday.

(Sell actually means GIVE when dealing with Israel)

Image by Zapiro in The Times

Image by Zapiro in The Times

US to sell $1.9 bn in bombs and munitions to Israel

The United States said Wednesday it plans to sell thousands of bombs and munitions to Israel in a $1.9 bn deal, officials said Wednesday.

The US State Department informed Congress of the proposed arms sales to Israel, as well as deal with Saudi Arabia, US two allies wary of Washington’s negotiations with Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program.

The planned weapons deal with Israel includes 14,500 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), a guidance system attached to bombs allowing Air Force fighter jets direct targetting with GPS assistance, as well as 3,000 Hellfire missiles, 250 medium-range air-to-air missiles, 4,100 glide bombs and 50 BLU-113 “super penetrator” bombs designed to reach underground sites.

The notification to lawmakers of the planned arms sales came after a report in the Israeli daily Haaretz suggested Washington might expand its military aid to Israel as compensation for a possible agreement between Iran and major powers to curtail Tehran’s nuclear work.

Israel, which has sharply criticized US diplomacy with Iran, has reserved the right to take unilateral military action against Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons and the bunker buster munitions could be used to strike at buried nuclear sites.

The Pentagon released documents in February 2015 confirming Israel as a nuclear power, believed to be the the only country in the Middle East holding nuclear weapons.

Israel but has never publicly acknowledged the fact and is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

In Wednesday’s announcement, US officials said the planned sale would “replenish” existing stocks in Israel’s arsenal and would not provide the country with new types of weapons.

“The proposed sale of this equipment will provide Israel the ability to support its self-defense needs,” according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

The main contractors in the arms deal are Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Ellwood National Forge Company and Raytheon Missile Systems.

The deal comes weeks after Israeli army veterans NGO Breaking the Silence slammed Israel’s last summer’s offense on the Gaza Strip, as members of Israeli forces gave testimony that the military acted excessively with complete disregard for civilian casualties.

Partially in response to Israeli military operations in Gaza, the US put the brakes on a missile transfer to Israel in August 2014. A senior U.S. official told the Wall Street Journal at the time that the decision came in effort to improve oversight over arms shipments to Israel, and was intended to demonstrate that the White House would not give the Israeli military a “blank check” for its operations in Gaza.

The 50 day war between Israel and Palestinian militants in July and August of last year left over 2,200 Palestinians dead, the majority of whom were civilians, and thousands more injured.

In a similar deal, the US also plans to sell around $1.9 billion in weaponry to Saudi Arabia, officials announced jointly with Israel’s arms deal.

The equal value of the Israeli and Saudi arms sales reflected Washington’s commitment to ensure Israel’s “qualitative military edge” in the region, officials added.

The United States has agreed $90 billion in arms deals with Saudi Arabia between 2010 and 2014, the main defense firms for the Saudi sale being Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin.

Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II, the United States providing Israel $121 billion as of April 2014, according to a report prepared for the US Congress by the Congressional Research Service, the majority in military assistance.

Congress must be informed 30 days before the administration can take final steps on a military sale to a foreign government. The sale can go ahead unless lawmakers vote to block or amend the deal.

Source

41

THE ‘OTHER’ DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Israel shares its ‘special status’ with Egypt

El-Sisi's Scales of Justice by Latuff

El-Sisi’s Scales of Justice by Latuff

 

Related ….

US ‘deeply concerned’ by Morsi death sentence in Egypt

The United States expressed “deep concern” Sunday after an Egyptian court sentenced deposed president Muhammad Morsi and more than 100 others to death for their role in a mass jailbreak during the 2011 uprising.

“We have consistently spoken out against the practice of mass trials and sentences, which are conducted in a manner that is inconsistent with Egypt’s international obligations and the rule of law,” a State Department official said.

Noting that they were preliminary sentences, the official added: “We continue to stress the need for due process and individualized judicial processes for all Egyptians in the interests of justice.

“Many of those sentenced on Saturday were tried in absentia. The court will pronounce its final decision on June 2, since under Egyptian law, death sentences are referred to the mufti, the government’s interpreter of Islamic law, who plays an advisory role.

Defendants can still appeal even after the mufti’s recommendation.

Morsi, elected president in 2012, ruled for only a year before mass protests spurred the military to overthrow him in July 2013.

He was among dozens of Muslim Brotherhood leaders detained amid a crackdown that left hundreds of Morsi supporters dead.

Morsi, sitting in a caged dock in the blue uniform of convicts having already been sentenced to 20 years for inciting violence, raised his fists defiantly when the verdict was read.

Hours after the ruling, gunmen shot dead two judges, a prosecutor and their driver in the strife-torn Sinai Peninsula, in the first such attack on the judiciary in the region.

The US State Department official said they had been “senselessly murdered.”

“We reiterate our steadfast commitment to Egypt’s security,” the official added.

 

From

More from Latuff

Collective death sentence

Collective death sentence

*

Sisi's Way: on Egypt's prisons

Sisi’s Way: on Egypt’s prisons

ISRAEL IS THE BIG WINNER IN BRITISH ELECTION

George Galloway should have learned one thing from the recent election campaign in Israel; people want to hear issues, not attacks on fellow candidates.

He didn’t and it cost him his seat in Parliament …

Worse yet, Palestine lost one of its most outspoken supporters.

The victory will be particularly sweet for Shah, who Galloway accused of lying about the details of her forced marriage and troubled childhood in an open letter she wrote earlier this year.

George Galloway blames ‘racists and Zionists’ for defeat to Naz Shah in Bradford West

The Respect MP’s departing general election speech was colourful

The Respect MP’s departing general election speech was colourful

 George Galloway delivered a typically eccentric speech after he suffered a stunning defeat at the hands of Labour’s Naz Shah.

The Respect party MP, who lost his Bradford West seat with 8,557 votes to Shah’s 19,977 said he feared the “racists and Zionists” would be celebrating long into the night upon hearing the news.

“I don’t begrudge the Labour members here their moment of celebration of course,” he said.

“But there will be others who are already celebrating: the venal, the vile, the racists and the Zionists will all be celebrating. The hyena can bounce on the lion’s grave but it can never be a lion and in any case, I’m not in my grave. As a matter of fact I’m going off now to plan the next campaign.”

The victory will be particularly sweet for Shah, who Galloway accused of lying about the details of her forced marriage and troubled childhood in an open letter she wrote earlier this year.

This is how Twitter reacted to the news he would no longer be in the Houses of Parliament.

Source

Also see …. (Click on link)

Naz Shah interview: Labour’s new MP for Bradford West on beating rival George Galloway – and considering legal action against him

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Meanwhile, zion rejoices in his defeat … as reported in UK Media Watch

Galloway gone! Ward ousted! Liberal Democrats demolished! Labour decimated! SNP in.

The country knew by 10pm on Thursday night that there had been a political bloodbath.

Contrary to all the opinion polls putting Labour and the Conservatives level the Exit Poll published at 10pm told a different story; the Conservatives had won a crushing general election victory. Labour had lost many seats and the Liberal Democrats had virtually disappeared.

An Exit Poll is pretty trustworthy and within minutes of its announcement the British Pound was surging on the financial bourses. The United Kingdom had voted for stability.

All that was left to be decided was the scale of Cameron’s victory (the Conservatives finally ended up with 331 MPs, Labour 232, the Liberal Democrats just 8) and which MPs had lost their seats. Famous names were about to disappear from the political scene.

The Liberal Democrats won 56 seats in 2010 but were heavily punished due to Nick Clegg’s pre-2010 election promise that he would abolish tuition fees for university students. He reneged once he was in coalition with the Conservatives.

For those supportive of Israel the demise of the Lib Dems is sweet. If the Israeli army was called on to defend Israelis from Hamas’ rockets Nick Clegg would call for an arms embargo on Israel.

And one has to question how Clegg can lay claim to any morals after not sacking David Ward who suggested that Jews had not learned the lessons of the Holocaust.

After minimal admonition from his party leader Ward was free to continue as a Liberal Democrat. Pleased to report that Ward has now been swept away politically by the good people of Bradford East.

And the good people of Bradford West swept away the Respect Party’s  George Galloway. Maybe they felt that Galloway was far more concerned with Tehran West than Bradford West.

It would be nice to think that Bradfordians also felt uncomfortable with his venomous anti-Zionist rhetoric (he declaredBradford an Israel-free zone) and were concerned for Bradford’s small Jewish population.

It was also goodbye to Simon Hughes and Bob Russell, two more anti-Israel Liberal Democrats swept away in the political tsunami.

Meanwhile, Labour lost 24 seats from last time! Much of Labour’s Parliamentary party is still anti-Israel and Labour’s main anti-Israel firebrands survived, including the likes of Gerald Kaufman, Andy Slaughter and Richard Burden who has metwith Hamas. Labour also added Rupa Huq to their anti-Israel numbers.

For five years Labour has been isolationist on the foreign policy front. It voted not to assist the Syrian people being slaughtered by Assad.

There was, however, one country on which Labour was not isolationist: Israel. Precious parliamentary time was wasted by Labour MPs these last five years smearing Israel as evil and debating, and voting for, a future Palestinian state.

But despite the election results there is no room for complacency for British Jews. The Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) have virtually swept away Labour in Scotland. They grew from six to an astonishing 56 MPs!

The SNP like to paint themselves as supportive of multiculturalism but there is, again, one country they are not too accepting of: Israel.

These are SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s words to the ‘Ending Scottish Arms Trade with Israel’ conference only yesterday:

“As you may be aware, during the recent conflict in Gaza the Scottish Government wrote to the UK Government urging an embargo on arms sales to Israel. The Scottish Government is a firm friend of Palestine and we will continue to press this issue after the election.”

An SNP council also once voted to ban Israeli books in its libraries.

No doubt the SNP will soon be joining forces with Labour, what’s left of the Liberal Democrats and Caroline Lucas of the Green Party to attack Israel.

In the meantime the average hard-working grassroots pro-Israel activist can enjoy some well-earned schadenfreude at the demise of Galloway and Ward.

ETHIOPIAN DIARY ~~ PART TWO ~~ WHY WE PROTEST

See Part One HERE

I was in the army four years ago, and when I was released, my wife and I went to rent an apartment — and we were told they don’t want Ethiopians.” 

wo2

Are You Really Stunned That Ethiopian Anger Has Reached Tel Aviv?

I was in the army four years ago, and when I was released, my wife and I went to rent an apartment — and we were told they don’t want Ethiopians,” said one young protester to a newscast on Sunday night. He was standing in a crowd of mostly Ethiopian Jewish protesters in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, the site of many protests over the years.

Scenes like that, of the press talking with activists, were mixed with those that looked ripped from the West Bank, with the Israeli army confronting Palestinian demonstrators. Legions of policemen with truncheons waded into crowds of black men and women; police hurled stun grenades by the dozens; mounted officers charged down the streets lined with posh cafés. Lumbering white armored vehicles sprayed the protesters with water cannons.

Was this Tel Aviv? The high-tech metropolis where everything is relaxed and people sit on the beach for hours on end? How, some wondered, could such violence reach all the way into this bubble?

But the real question is: How could it not?

What happened on Sunday night was the culmination of a week of anger over a video that surfaced showing two policemen assaulting an Ethiopian IDF soldier named Damas Pakada in Holon. This followed a year of incidents that had Ethiopian Jews feeling they had become targets of police brutality. On March 1, 2014, Yosef Salamseh was approached by police in a park in Binyamina. According to reports, police accused him of breaking into a house, tasered him, beat and handcuffed him and then took him to a station where family members found him left unconscious in a parking lot. Never charged with a crime, he filed a complaint about the assault, but instead of it being addressed his family was harassed and he was found dead in July, allegedly a suicide.

Racism against Ethiopians pervades Israeli society in more subtle ways, too. My wife, who is Ethiopian, was asked last week if she wants a job cleaning, when she has an MA and works as a senior civil servant. Israeli historian Anita Shapira claimed in her recent book that Ethiopians had to “transition…to an industrialized achievement-oriented society.” Such hidden prejudices — the assumption that Ethiopians don’t understand “achievement” — lead to long-term marginalization.

Image: Getty Images

Image: Getty Images

“We are tired of being nice,” was the response heard over and over last week. Young activists in their twenties and early thirties organized a protest in Jerusalem last Thursday outside the national police headquarters to demand the police prosecute the policemen filmed beating the soldier. For several hours they blocked Route 1, Israel’s main boulevard leading to northern suburbs, as well as the Jerusalem Light Rail. Police showed restraint and did not disperse the crowds. But the young people, many of them referencing their army service, seemed to feel their voice was not being heard. When they marched to the Prime Minister’s house, police fired tear gas at them. The momentary violence brought out Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat, who spent two hours trying to listen to their complaints over the din of chants.

The irony of the current protests is that they appeared to come amidst a lot of support for the Ethiopian community. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the beaten soldier on Monday. President Reuven Rivlin expressed shock at the video last week, as did Natan Sharansky of the Jewish Agency. Still, there was anger that no Members of Knesset came out in Jerusalem. Pnina Tamano-Shata, an Ethiopian MK who lost her seat in the last elections, asked crowds in Jerusalem: “Why are 40% of Ethiopian men in the army sent to military prison during their service? Where are the MKs?”

By the time Joint List leader Ayman Odeh, Naftali Bennet and a few other MKs met with protesters in Tel Aviv, it was too late: the anger of years of discrimination had built up. When 30% of people in one juvenile detention center are Ethiopian, while Ethiopians make up only 2% of the general population, you’ve got a problem. When 40% of Ethiopian men in the army are sent to prison, often for economic reasons, you’ve got a problem.

During Thursday and Sunday’s mass protests, many other minorities, including Arabs, ultra-Orthodox, national-religious Jews and Mizrachi Jews expressed sympathy. “They did it to us Moroccans too,” said an elderly bearded man named Avraham on French Hill Thursday.

Ethiopians join a long list of groups seen as an “other” in Israeli society. These are the people who have for years presented their “integration” as a success story. The protesters time and again stressed that they are “the most Israeli.” But the press and politicians still call them “immigrants,” even though most are born in Israel.

The problem, of course, is that the protesters don’t want to be a permanent underclass, or remain in a situation where so many are being incarcerated. The community feels totally abandoned by a state to which they have given everything. When the state drafts a person from a poor Ethiopian community for three years and pays them $100 a month, and then that person cannot find a job, cannot rent an apartment, cannot afford a car or go to university, they want answers. Their immigrant parents’ generation accepted the poverty they found in Israel. But this generation has said enough.

THE ISRAELI ROAD TO THE ABYSS

I am not a prophet of doom and gloom and I don’t see into the future. However, from the intensive experience of 50 years of closely observing Israeli behavior, I honestly believe that such scenarios are not outside the realm of possibility. They could happen. History does repeat itself, if only because most men don’t learn from their blunders. And Israeli leaders are not driven by wisdom or morality, but rather by arrogance and evil millenarianism, very much like Hitler was. We know the rest of the story.

Israel heading to the abyss

By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine

Group photo of the 'Elders' from May, 2010

Group photo of the ‘Elders’ from May, 2010

 

As a member of the independent Elders Group of global leaders, former US president Jimmy Carter made some interesting remarks during a brief visit to the West Bank this week.

The group, founded by former South African President Nelson Mandela in 2007 and  includes former presidents from several countries, was barred by Israel from visiting the Gaza Strip, thoroughly devastated by a sustained Israeli bombing campaign last summer, which lasted for 53 days.

Much of what Carter said was actually regurgitation of past platitudes repeated ad nauseam by the former American president.

He urged Palestinians to hold elections in order to end the de facto division between the West Bank and Gaza, as if holding elections in occupied Palestine or even ending the rift between Fatah and Hamas were the mother of all problems.

Likewise, Carter didn’t comment on the likelihood that Israel (and probably the PA as well) wouldn’t accept the outcome of any elections in case Hamas, the Islamic liberation group, emerged as the main winner.

Not malicious, but naïve

I am not accusing the man from Georgia of ill-will or harboring any malicious intentions. But I do think that the former president is being overly naïve, too trusting and probably a little misinformed.

I believe it is imperative that Carter and his colleagues ought to have an accurate prognosis of the situation on the ground. They ought to understand that Israel has effectively killed any remaining chances for the two-state solution. The ubiquitous proliferation of Jewish settlements in every part of the West Bank, especially in East Jerusalem, has irreversibly eradicated any remaining possibility for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

It is really mind-boggling that this outstanding fact is being ignored or belittled by people who are supposed to be intelligent and wise.

Is this a conscious or subconscious effort to retain a semblance of hope for peace lest people suddenly find themselves face to face with a reality they never wanted to see?

No Room left for Palestinian state

Well, the world at large, including Muslims and Jews, ought to be courageous enough to come to terms with reality, namely that there is no room left for a Palestinian state and that alternative solutions need to be sought.

But, unfortunately, there are not many alternatives to be sought for resolving the seemingly perpetual conflict.

Indeed, with the two-state solution practically eliminated, there are only two alternatives left.

First, the establishment of a unitary state between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean in which Jews and Arabs live together in peace and equality. But such an idea is anathema for Zionism as it constitutes its ultimate antithesis.

A unitary state, irrespective of the name, would effectively put an end to Israel as it has been since its creation in Palestine 67 years ago. Moreover, the clear Arab demographic advantage over Jews in mandatory Palestine (Israel and the occupied territories) would eventually lead to a state with a clear if not overwhelming Arab Muslim majority in a matter of few decades.

Zionist strategists are aware of these prospects, but they seriously lack the means (or ideas) to defer or circumvent these prospects.

They propose perpetual apartheid, application of more repression against the Palestinians, narrowing their horizons, economic pressure, even forced emigration, as “suggestions” to save the Zionist enterprise.

But these suggestions, which express frustration on the part of the Zionist movement, could cause Israel to face even more existential perils endangering Israel’s very survival. Apartheid is not easy to sustain, and ethnic cleansing on a wide scale would be tantamount to genocide. Would the Jews, the victims of Nazi Germany, seek to emulate their former tormentors and grave-diggers in order to achieve goals that differ little from those of the Third Reich, namely maintaining an ethnically and religiously pure state?

I have no doubt that Zionist leaders will miss no opportunity to trigger wars, hunt for “opportunities,” create alibis, spread chaos and turbulence in the region and beyond in order to seize the chance to expel the Palestinians, or most of them, using a combination of  mass murder and  mass terror.

But that would be the ultimate Holocaust. It would also be an act of suicide as well for Israel and Jews alike.  Indeed, Israel, already a pariah state, would become the object of intense hatred and vilification by the rest of the world and Jews everywhere in the world would suffer the consequences of their state’s folly.

Similarly, millions of Muslims around the world would become suicide bombers targeting Jews and their supporters. IS would grow and expand a thousand fold, with governments and security agencies utterly unable to stem the tide of millions of youths joining its ranks.

I am not a prophet of doom and gloom and I don’t see into the future. However, from the intensive experience of 50 years of closely observing Israeli behavior, I honestly believe that such scenarios are not outside the realm of possibility. They could happen. History does repeat itself, if only because most men don’t learn from their blunders. And Israeli leaders are not driven by wisdom or morality, but rather by arrogance and evil millenarianism, very much like Hitler was. We know the rest of the story.

Open-ended conflict

The alternative to establishing a unitary state in Palestine/Israel is open-ended conflict. I think this is what will eventually be the case. This is sad, but inevitable. But it does mean that Israel will have to live by the sword for eternity. Israel is not a small isolated state living by itself in a remote region. Israel is in the heart of the Arab world, and within a few decades, will be surrounded by 600 million hostile Muslims, seething with hatred and indignation for everything Zionist.

In short, all future scenarios facing Israel are negative if not nightmarish, which means that Netanyahu, Bennet, et al, are taking Israel to the abyss. 

ZIOLOGIC ~~ ‘YOUR RACISM IS WORSE THAN OURS’

Image 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

So say some apologetic zionists …. who had the same to say about South African Apartheid …. ‘their’s was worse than ours is …’

Twisted ziologic!

“What we’re doing now has nothing to do with what’s going on in Baltimore,” Maya Tzagay, a 19-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli protester and soldier told Haaretz. “They have their issues. We have ours. But we understand them — we both suffer from racism. There, it’s more extreme.”

Another protester, 46-year old Zemene Melesse, also told Haaretz, “What’s happening here today has nothing to do with what’s happening in Baltimore, but as a black man, I identify with them.”

Stop Comparing the Tel Aviv Protests to Baltimore

The comparison is irresistible.

In Tel Aviv — just like in Baltimore and Ferguson — thousands of black citizens took to the streets to protest racism and police brutality. And in Tel Aviv — just like in Baltimore and Ferguson — the urban streets became akin to a war zone, with water cannons and stun grenades, police cars with windows smashed, dozens of arrests and injured protesters and officers.

And just like in cities around America, the Israeli demonstrations were sparked by a video showing senseless police violence against a black man, Damas Pakado, an Ethiopian-Israeli who also happened to be a soldier in uniform.

Yet, despite the shocking scenes of chaos in typically pleasant Tel Aviv, both protesters and police are generally rejecting the readily available American analogy.

“What we’re doing now has nothing to do with what’s going on in Baltimore,” Maya Tzagay, a 19-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli protester and soldier told Haaretz. “They have their issues. We have ours. But we understand them — we both suffer from racism. There, it’s more extreme.”

Another protester, 46-year old Zemene Melesse, also told Haaretz, “What’s happening here today has nothing to do with what’s happening in Baltimore, but as a black man, I identify with them.”

Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the Israel Police, also downplayed the similarities to Baltimore and Ferguson in comments to the New York Times, arguing that while the protests were sparked by a video showing Israeli cops beating up an Ethiopian-Israeli soldier, the underlying complaints were “not a police issue” but rather “social and economic issues.”

All of this raises the question: What is the difference, really, between what’s going on in Tel Aviv and in Baltimore? And why are the Israeli protesters and police both reluctant to conflate the two?

Image: Getty Images

Image: Getty Images

The answer, I think, lies in the fundamentally different postures of the American authorities and their Israeli counterparts.

Mike Brown was shot. Eric Garner was strangled. Walter Scott was gunned down from behind. Freddie Gray was left bound and bouncing around in a police van until his body literally snapped.

Yet after each of these cases of black men being killed by officers, both police and elected officials refused to immediately condemn the officers and admit that there is a significant problem of police brutality against blacks. Instead, they urged everyone to await the outcomes of various internal investigations and potential courtroom trials. Some of those cases, outrageously, never even lead to indictments. And when the officers do get charged with murder, as occurred belatedly in the Freddie Gray case, the police are stunned.

The contrast to the reactions of Israeli officials is stark, and is chiefly this: they are willing to listen.

After the video surfaced showing the beating of the Ethiopian soldier, the Israeli chief of police, Yohanan Danino, announced promptly that the officers would be fired. Danino also met with representatives of the Ethiopian-Israeli community, as did Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and president, Reuven Rivlin.

All of the officials immediately acknowledged that there is a deep-rooted problem of racism and that profound social change is needed.

President Rivlin was particularly forthright.

“Protesters in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv revealed an open and bloody wound in the heart of Israeli society,” he said today, in his latest remarks on the issue. “This is a wound of a community sounding the alarm at what they feel is discrimination, racism and disregard of their needs. We must take a good hard look at this wound.”

Of course, rhetoric is one thing and actions quite another. But the swift and sweeping recognition of the problem by top Israeli officials — including at police HQ — opens the door for hope. And, the recent violence notwithstanding, this basic attitude stands a far better chance of convincing the protesters that their voices are heard than the shameful stalling and pussyfooting of American officials.

“We’ve erred,” President Rivlin continued. “We have failed to see and listen enough. Among those protesting in the streets, there can be found the best of our boys and girls, excellent students and former soldiers. We must give them answers.”

And that is why Tel Aviv is not Baltimore.

 

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

JEWHAD AGAINST JEWS

A few days ago I posted THIS about Israel’s ‘war’ against Diaspora Jewry.

Usually when an Op-Ed appears in the Press it is published for one day only …. Ynet has kept THIS in their headlines for at least 3 days.

This might be the reason why …. as reported in +972

Diaspora Jews, it’s time to step up

For years there have been calls for on-the-ground opposition to the occupation. Now there are a growing number of Jewish platforms — and voices — seeking to make it happen.

By A. Daniel Roth*

Members of the ‘All That’s Left’ collective at a direct action protesting segregation in Hebron, West Bank, October 25, 2013. Seven of the Jewish activists were arrested and later released. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Members of the ‘All That’s Left’ collective at a direct action protesting segregation in Hebron, West Bank, October 25, 2013. Seven of the Jewish activists were arrested and later released. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The way the world is talking about the Israeli occupation is changing. Alongside that change, opportunity is knocking for those of us standing in opposition: calls for diaspora Jews to be present on the ground in Israel and Palestine are increasing. An important shift is beginning to take place — right now.

The writing is on the wall. Since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was re-elected, U.S. President Obama and his staff have been speaking differentlyabout the once-incontrovertible two-state solution. One campus Hillel changed its name instead of changing it’s programming to adhere to Hillel International’s rules. If Not Now stormed onto the scene last summer in response to the violence in Gaza. Boycotts and BDS campaigns are sprouting up on campuses and at supermarkets all over the world.

The writing is on the wall. Since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was re-elected, U.S. President Obama and his staff have been speaking differentlyabout the once-incontrovertible two-state solution. One campus Hillel changed its name instead of changing it’s programming to adhere to Hillel International’s rules. If Not Now stormed onto the scene last summer in response to the violence in Gaza. Boycotts and BDS campaigns are sprouting up on campuses and at supermarkets all over the world.

That was on display for anyone to see last week in Washington D.C. The J Street conference, which brought together over 3,000 people, saw a series of fired up conversations that put shone a spotlight on the American-Jewish relationship with Israel. During a panel on liberal Zionism, Israeli journalist (and +972 blogger) Noam Sheizaf made a clear plea for a collective refocusing from “state solutions” to the urgency of ending the inequality that exists for millions under occupation, who lack freedom of movement or access to civilian courts.

Peter Beinart also took a step forward on stage, calling on young Jews from North America and around the world to stand physically in Israel and Palestine, and to take part in Palestinian non-violent resistance to the occupation.

For years there have been calls for on-the-ground participation from a variety of communities. Recently, there has been a surge in Jewish platforms for those communities to take part in peace and justice work.

A Jerusalem-based volunteer program for young American Jews (which I co-founded) called Solidarity of Nations-Achvat Amim engages in human rights work and learning based on the core value of self-determination for all peoples. All That’s Left (of which I am a member) is a collective aimed at engaging the diaspora in anti-occupation learning, organizing, and on-the-ground actions. The new Center for Jewish Nonviolence has already brought a delegation to help Palestinian farmers to replant trees the IDF uprooted last spring.

It is important that Jewish communities with connections to Israel take part in this movement. Whether they have a personal, communal, religious or cultural relationship with this land, diaspora communities should be on the forefront, stepping up to take responsibility for a peaceful and just future here.

The groups and initiatives I mentioned above are working on engaging even more people in this work: bringing dozens of diaspora Jews — who are already living and learning in Israel — to do solidarity work with Palestinians. In the coming months, they hope to bring hundreds more from around the world for direct actions and educational initiatives in the West Bank.

There are important roles for people from all over the world, of various backgrounds, in organizing opposition to the occupation. Right now, at this very moment, there is a growing call for diaspora Jews to to find their way here and stand up for equality. It’s time to answer that call.

*A. Daniel Roth is a journalist and educator based in South Tel Aviv.

VANUNU STILL BLOWING HIS NUCLEAR WHISTLE

Image by Bendib

Image by Bendib

Mordechai Vanunu, who is under strict restrictions following his release from prison nine years ago, was held by police for hours over Independence Day incident.

Israel’s nuclear whistleblower detained over ‘long conversation’ with foreigners

By Uri Misgav IN

Mordechai Vanunu being arrested by police in Jerusalem, April 23, 2015.

Mordechai Vanunu being arrested by police in Jerusalem, April 23, 2015.

Almost 30 years after Mordechai Vanunu exposed Israel’s alleged nuclear secrets, it seems he remains a hot target for the police and intelligence services. Vanunu disappeared last Thursday, on Israel’s Independence Day. A small group of his friends and acquaintances searched for him, but he did not answer his cell phone or respond to messages.

The mystery was only solved the next morning. Michael Sfard, a lawyer and human rights activist, revealed Wednesday that Vanunu spent many hours that evening at the police station in the Russian Compound in Jerusalem. In a post on his Facebook page, Sfard said Vanunu was arrested by a group of seven Border Police officers and a female police officer, on suspicions he had violated the conditions governing his release from prison – when by chance he held a conversation in public with foreigners for more than half an hour.

Vanunu was sentenced in 1986 to 18 years in prison for treason and espionage, and was released in 2004 with harsh restrictions on his rights, including the requirement to report on his movements, a ban on his leaving Israel or approaching its borders, as well as a ban on speaking to foreigners.

Five years ago, Vanunu was imprisoned for three months for violating these restrictions. Last December, after Vanunu filed a petition, the head of the Home Front Command, Maj. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg, signed an order that somewhat eased these conditions. Under the new conditions, Vanunu is still not allowed to speak with foreigners, but he is allowed to “hold a chance conversation in person with foreign citizens or foreign residents, as long as it is a one-time conversation that is held face-to-face, not planned in advance, takes place in a public space open to the general public and which lasts for a period of no more than 30 minutes.”

Sfard said that on Independence Day, Vanunu sat in the international book store at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem. While he was there, he spoke with two tourists who happened to enter the store. At some point the police entered the bookstore and arrested Vanunu and one of the people involved in the conversation. During his questioning at the Russian Compound police station, there was a long discussion over the question of how long the conversation in the bookstore went on, whether it lasted more than 30 minutes and how the calculation should be made because Vanunu spoke to two people at the same time.

Vanunu was released that evening after hours of questioning. Sfard included in his post two responses Vanunu sent from his Facebook account, which include photographs of the arrest. Vanunu can be seen being lead by two police officers, and he added captions to the pictures. Since his release, Vanunu has avoided contact with the Israeli media, and says he will continue to do so until he is allowed to speak to the foreign press too.

ISRAEL’S ‘WAR’ AGAINST DIASPORA JEWRY

It’s time for the State of Israel to reassess its relationship with Diaspora Jews who have embraced anti-Israel views and initiatives.

jews against

Jews in the service of Israel’s enemies

Elyakim Haetzni FOR

According to the polls, England’s Jews will vote in the upcoming elections for British Prime Minister David Cameron, a gentile who is less hostile towards Israel than the Jewish Ed Miliband, the chairman of the Labour Party. A significant part of the Unites States’ Jews embrace President Barack Obama although he favors the enemies of the Jewish state.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s appeal to France’s Jews, who are suffering from anti-Semitism and terror, that they have a warm home to return to, was met alongside the applause by objections from Jews seeking to remove any doubt from their pure Frenchness.

Jews in the world, especially in the media and academia, are attacking us and even calling for a boycott of Israel. They are led by J Street, a powerful American organization which serves as a mirror image of AIPAC, the great Jewish lobby. While AIPAC stands by Israel, J Street stands by the American administration and its anti-Israel views and initiatives.

And so the question of the Jewish state’s relationship with the Diaspora Jewry is back on Israel’s agenda. Here’s a reminder: The Land of Israel’s birthright position was only recognized by the Jewish people following the Holocaust. A smaller catastrophe was not enough to convince the majority of Jewish people that Zionism was the solution to the “Jews’ troubles.”

Theodor Herzl wanted to convene the first Zionist Congress in Munich, but faced the strong objection of the city’s rabbi, who was afraid that it would cast a doubt on the Jews’ loyalty to Germany. Many thought that more than Zionism solves anti-Semitism, it creates it. Vienna’s chief rabbi even suggested that Herzl should be hospitalized. He was forced to hold the Congress in Basel – at a casino.

The discovery of the horrors of the Holocaust silenced the anti-Semitism in the world for a few years of grace, and harmony prevailed among the Jewish people as well, first around the struggle over the Jewish state and then over its establishment. A sort of consensus was created that the state would take in the Jews of the distressed countries and leave the Jews of the welfare countries alone. The latter will provide the donations for the absorption of the “refugees.”

Gentiles in the European battlefield, including quite a few Israel haters, developed a perverted phenomenon of admiring the State of Israel precisely because of its alleged “non-Jewish” aggression.

All that ended after the Six-Day War. The Western world accepted a tiny Jewish sovereignty in the Holy Land, but not real Jewish strength, and especially not a Jewish Jerusalem. This is how the distinction between being anti-Israel and anti-Semitic was born for a while: The Israelis, the occupiers and settlers, became the “bad guys,” and the Jews – especially the “enlightened” ones, who fight the “occupation” – remained the good guys.

Jews who participated in this celebration and thought that the call “hit the Israelis!” would make people to forget the old call “hit the Jews!” were quickly proven wrong: The hatred was always against the Jews.

It’s true that for a while, the “political correctness” allowed people to express animosity only against the Jewish Israelis, but the real intention was understood by every gentile. Only the Jews, as usual, refused to understand. Now it is being clearly explained it to them. The violent and terrorist anti-Semitism has reverted to its evil ways: Jews or Israelis, it’s the same thing.

It’s time for the State of Israel to reassess its stance. The Zionist Movement engaged in active fighting to deny the Diaspora. Should the state, its offspring, step into its shoes or stand aloof? And to what extent is the state allowed, as a state, to call on the citizens of another state to emigrate from their country to its country, even when they are Jewish?

In two cases, the answer appears to be clear: The desire of a Jew who has drawn away and doesn’t want to be linked to his Jewishness, for good or for bad, should be respected and he should be treated as a foreigner. On the other hand, a person who lets Israel’s enemies use the fact that he is Jewish and serves as their king’s evidence, he should be treated according to the paragraph in the Eighteen Benedictions, which begins with the words, “And informers shall have no hope.”

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

WHY HAS TURKEY BEEN PROTECTED FOR 100 YEARS AGAINST ITS EVIL DEED

The first holocaust deniers

The first holocaust deniers

If you Google the words ‘Define Holocaust’ You will get one link after another from various dictionaries defining ‘The Holocaust’. One gets the impression from this that there was only one in the past century …. but what about the ‘other one’? It took 100 years for a Catholic Pope to call the slaughter of a million and a half Armenians as the ‘first genocide’ of the 20th century …. but the term ‘holocaust’ was not used.

WHY?

How many millions have to die to get the recognition??

Pope Francis calls Armenian slaughter ‘first genocide of the 20th century’

Pope Francis sparked a diplomatic incident with Turkey on Sunday by calling the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks “the first genocide of the 20th century” and urging the international community to recognize it as such. (Read more HERE)

President Obama even refuses to call this mass slaughter of innocents a genocide …

Obama won’t call it Armenian ‘genocide’ on 100th anniversary of atrocity

President Barack Obama, wary of damaging relations with Turkey amid growing unrest in the Middle East, won’t use the 100th anniversary of the massacre of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire to declare the brutal episode a genocide. (Full report HERE)

The Prime Minister of Turkey offered condolences this week to Armenians, again without using the term holocaust …

Turkish Prime Minister Offers Condolences to Armenians for Genocide

Today April 24th is considered Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day by Armenians throughout the world. Yesterday for the very first time in history on the eve of the 99th year anniversary of the Armenian genocide, the Turkish government abandoned its century long official wall of denial when  the Turkish Prime Minister Recap Tayyip Erdogan expressed his condolences to Armenians around the world who lost ancestors at the hands of Ottoman Turks. It was a historic gesture welcomed by many including a handful of prominent and outspoken Turkish historians who have been encouraging the government to change its longstanding policy of denying that Turks ever killed Armenians at all. After reading his conciliatory message before the Turkish parliament, Erdogan received a warm reception from his ministers and legislators. (Full report HERE)

Ironically, Israel has been instrumental in this particular holocaust’s denial.

Again WHY?

Israel, the denier of another nation’s holocaust

But Israel hasn’t been willing to forgo its monopoly on victimhood or share its exclusive right to be the persecuted. It always has its cost-benefit analyses and global interests to consider — whether with apartheid South Africa or the juntas of Argentina and Chile. (Full report HERE)

The above, despite the fact that thousands of Armenian live in the Old City of Jerusalem …

Urging recognition, Jerusalem Armenians mark 100th anniversary of genocide

On Thursday evening at 6:15 p.m., as barbecue smoke wafts over the entire length of Israel as Independence Day ceremonies draw to a close, church bells will peal over the Old City of Jerusalem, echoing through its ancient stone alleyways. The bells from 18 churches will ring 100 times in succession, one toll for each year since the Armenian Genocide, which started on April 24, 1915. (Report HERE)

Again, WHY HAS TURKEY BEEN PROTECTED FOR 100 YEARS AGAINST ITS EVIL DEED? How long does the nation of Armenia have to wait for the recognition this horror deserves??

Just as Israel ‘cashed in’ on its holocaust, Armenians deserve reparations as well. An apology is far from enough!

A young Armenian shows her arm tattooed with the land of Armenia, on April 12, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

A young Armenian shows her arm tattooed with the land of Armenia, on April 12, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

THE DRONE ‘MARTYRS’ OF THE WEST

“The reason for the unusually intense, largely critical coverage of drone killings yesterday is obvious: the victims of this strike were Western and non-Muslim, and therefore were seen as actually human.”

Nabila Rehman, 9, holds up a picture she drew depicting the U.S. drone strike on her Pakistan village (which killed her grandmother Mammana Bibi) at a news conference on Capitol Hill. (photo: Jason Reed/Reuters)

Nabila Rehman, 9, holds up a picture she drew depicting the U.S. drone strike on her Pakistan village (which killed her grandmother Mammana Bibi) at a news conference on Capitol Hill. (photo: Jason Reed/Reuters)

The Key War on Terror Propaganda Tool: Only Western Victims Are Acknowledged

By Glenn Greenwald

n all the years I’ve been writing about Obama’s drone killings, yesterday featured by far the most widespread critical discussion in U.S. establishment journalism circles. This long-suppressed but crucial fact about drones was actually trumpeted as the lead headline on the front page of The New York Timesyesterday:

A featured headline from The New York Times. (photo: The Intercept)*

The reason for the unusually intense, largely critical coverage of drone killings yesterday is obvious: the victims of this strike were Western and non-Muslim, and therefore were seen as actually human.

Pakistani lawyer Shahzad Akbar, who represents 150 victims of American drones and was twice denied entry to the U.S. to speak about them, told my Intercept colleague Ryan Devereaux how two of his child clients would likely react to Obama’s “apology” yesterday:

“Today, if Nabila or Zubair or many of the civilian victims, if they are watching on TV the president being so remorseful over the killing of a Westerner, what message is that taking?” The answer, he argued, is “that you do not matter, you are children of a lesser God, and I’m only going to mourn if a Westerner is killed.”

The British-Yemeni journalist Abubakr Al-Shamahi put it succinctly: “It makes me angry that non-Western civilian victims of drone strikes are not given the same recognition by the US administration.” The independent journalist Naheed Mustafa said she was “hugely irritated by the ‘drone strikes have killed good Westerners so now we know there are issues with drones’ stories.” The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson this morning observed: “It is all too easy to ignore … the dubious morality of the whole enterprise — until the unfortunate victims happen to be Westerners. Only then does ‘collateral damage’ become big news and an occasion for public sorrow.”

This highlights the ugliest propaganda tactic on which the War on Terror centrally depends, one in which the U.S. media is fully complicit: American and Western victims of violence by Muslims are endlessly mourned, while Muslim victims of American and Western violence are completely disappeared.

When there is an attack by a Muslim on Westerners in Paris, Sydney, Ottawa, Fort Hood or Boston, we are deluged with grief-inducing accounts of the victims. We learn their names and their extinguished life aspirations, see their pictures, hear from their grieving relatives, watch ceremonies honoring their lives and mourning their deaths, launch campaigns to memorialize them. Our side’s victims aren’t just humanized by our media, but are publicly grieved as martyrs.

I happened to be in Canada the week of the shooting at the Parliament in Ottawa, as well as a random attack on two Canadian soldiers days earlier in a parking lot in Southern Quebec, and there was non-stop media coverage of the victims, their families, their lives:

Thousands of mourners packed a church and lined adjacent streets in industrial Hamilton, Ontario, on Tuesday for the funeral of the soldier shot dead in last week’s attack on the nation’s seat of government. … Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told mourners at the church that [Corporal Nathan] Cirillo had inspired and united Canadians. He choked back tears in a rare public display of emotion when addressing Cirillo’s five-year-old son.

But as I noted in a speech I gave in Ottawa two days after the Parliament shooting, the victims of Canada’s own violence — in Afghanistan and Iraq — and of its sustained cooperation in the U.S. War on Terror campaign, are completely ignored. While all of Canada knew the name of Corporal Nathan Cirillo, only the most minute fraction of Canadians could name even a single one of the many innocent victims killed by their own government and military. They simply don’t exist.

This is the toxic tribalism that repeats itself over and over throughout the West. Western victims are mourned and humanized, while victims of Western violence are invisible and thus dehumanized. Aside from being repugnant in its own right, this formula, by design, is deeply deceptive as propaganda: It creates the impression among Western populations that we are the victims but not the perpetrators of heinous violence, that terrorism is something done to us but that we never commit ourselves, that “primitive, radical and inhumanely violent” describes the enemy tribe but not our own. (It’s the same tactic that explains why we hear so much about American journalists imprisoned in adversary nations such as Iran and North Korea, but almost nothing about Muslim journalists imprisoned for years without charges by the U.S. government, thus deliberately creating the false impression that only those Bad Countries, but not us, do this.)

To see how systematically the U.S. dehumanizes foreign Muslims, just think about that above-postedNew York Times drone headline. The full headline is even more descriptive:

A featured headline from The New York Times. (photo: The Intercept)

A featured headline from The New York Times. (photo: The Intercept)

This “uncomfortable truth” has been obvious for so long. So often, the U.S. government shoots missiles at buildings, cars and homes outside of “battlefields” without having any idea who it will kill. Despite this fact — that not even the government itself knows who it is killing — the U.S. media routinely and reflexively describes victims of U.S. drone strikes as “militants.” Democrats and progressives, who to their eternal disgrace overwhelmingly support Obama’s drone killing program, will declare “we are killing The Terrorists!” to justify all of this even though the Obama administration itself, let alone these cheering progressives, have no idea who their government just killed.

How can people killed by the U.S. government regularly be described as “militants” or “terrorists” when nobody has any idea who they are? Part of it is classic authoritarianism: My government says the people they are killing are Terrorists, so therefore, they are Terrorists.

But the deeper, more troubling answer is equally clear: Foreign Muslims are so dehumanized, so invisible, that they are just equated with Evil Threats even when nothing is known about them. Indeed, Obama officially re-defined the term “combatant” to mean “all military-age males in a strike zone.” In other words, as The New York Times reported in 2011, all males between 18 and (roughly) 54 killed by U.S. drones are presumed to be combatants — terrorists — “unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.” That mentality is the ultimate in dehumanization.

There are so many heinous stories of U.S. drones blowing up children and innocent adults. Obamaused cruise missiles and cluster bombs to kill 14 children and 21 women in a Yemeni village (weeks after winning the Nobel Peace Prize), while a 2012 drone strike attacked a Yemeni wedding convoy and “killed 12 passengers in the vehicle, including three children and a pregnant woman.” Except for those who watch shows like Democracy Now or certain Al Jazeera shows, virtually no Americans ever learn the name of any of those victims, or even hear that they exist at all.

It shouldn’t take the drone-killing of an American citizen to enable a mainstream discussion of how much deceit and recklessness drives these killings. But it does. And that fact, by itself, should cause a serious examination of the mindset behind all of this.

Written For

« Older entries Newer entries »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,225 other followers