SUPPORT FOR HUNGER STRIKERS CONTINUES TO GROW

While Trump‘s visit attempted to revive the illusions of “peace in the framework of Pax Americana of the region, the ongoing hunger strike of the Palestinian prisoners reminds us that the Israeli occupation regime denies the Palestinians even the most basic human rights.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Day 38: 200 prisoners in Israeli jails join Palestinian hunger strike

Haifa: A demo supporting Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike closed central streets

by in Herak Haifa

(The following article was published in Hebrew on May 23, 2017, in “Local Call” and Haifa ha-Hofshit)

While Trump‘s visit attempted to revive the illusions of “peace” in the framework of Pax Americana of the region, the ongoing hunger strike of the Palestinian prisoners reminds us that the Israeli occupation regime denies the Palestinians even the most basic human rights.

A communiqué issued by “the captive movement” (al-Harakah al-Asira), as the prisoners call their resistance movement inside the occupation prisons, on the 20th day of the strike, called for the unification of the struggle on both sides of the Green Line and in the Palestinian Diaspora by a unified action of all the Palestinian patriotic forces, including the follow-up committee that represents Arab citizens of Israel. In a historic precedent, the leaders responded to the prisoners’ initiative, met in Ramallah and declared a general strike by the entire Palestinian people in all areas of the homeland and in exile, set for Monday, May 22, the 36th day of the strike. Indeed, throughout the West Bank, there was great response to the call yesterday, and streets were lined with closed shops and businesses. The strike was also felt, to a lesser extent, in East Jerusalem and Palestinian cities within the Green Line.

The Prisoner’s Square, Haifa

Haifa continues to be a focal point for Palestinian protest activity, in which an expanding stratum of activists emphasizes the unity of the Palestinian struggle beyond the borders dividing the territories occupied since 1967 and those occupied since 1948. However, the struggle also exposes the leadership crisis and the difficulty of giving effective expressing to the frustration, the anger and the desire to struggle. This difficulty is exacerbated because, according to the rules of the game of the “Jewish democracy”, Palestinian public opinion is not a factor to be considered.

The first protest vigil in support of the prisoners’ hunger strike took place in Haifa on the second day of the strike, April 18. It took place in the German Colony, the tourist center of the city, in the square named “The Prisoner’s Square” since October 2011, when a group of activist staged a hunger striker there, under the slogan “Hungry to Freedom”, in solidarity with a previous prisoners’ strike.

The vigil was also meant to mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, April 17, which was chosen not coincidentally as the appropriate date to launch the strike. It should be noted here that when we speak in Arabic we don’t use the term “sajeen” (prisoner) but “aseer” that means “captive”. It conveys the view of Palestinian prisoners as prisoners of war – those held by the enemy as a result of their struggle for freedom. Compromising the correct translation is another concession that we inadvertently do to Israeli and Western public opinion, which have difficulty digesting the Palestinian narrative.

The next two protest vigils were held on April 29 and May 9 at the initiative of Herak Haifa. The site chosen by the Herak was a little up the German Colony, on the corner of Allenby Street and HaCarmel Avenue (Ben Gurion), a smaller space at the intersection where more traffic passes. When, a few months ago, Bassel al-A’araj, activist and theoretician of al-Herak al-Shababi in the West Bank, was assassinated by the occupation forces, Herak Haifa decided to name the junction after him. The holding of protest vigils at the junction is also intended to establish the name in the public consciousness.

On Friday, May 19, the Communist youth held another solidarity activity with the prisoners, slightly higher at the German Colony, in the Bahai Circle. They brought water, salt and glasses and offered passers-by to drink salt water as a symbolic show of solidarity with the strikers. The youth movement’s orchestra created another attraction to draw attention to the event.

Taking to the Streets

In the meantime, young activists began to organize, in the spirit of the movement that had halted the Prawer plan, aiming to initiate more united and militant activity. They called for a demonstration on Monday, May 22, even before the Palestinian leaderships on both sides of the Green Line declared the general strike on this day in support of the prisoners’ struggle.

They published an invitation to a Facebook event entitled “Ash-Shaware’a” (to the streets), hosted by 8 activists from different movements, and many activists worked intensely to invite and prepare. There were 254 “attendees” at the FB event and on Monday, before the scheduled hour, “The Prisoner’s Square” was already filled with young people, as well as many veteran activists, from Haifa and the region.

The police also made their preparations, bringing reinforcements, including special anti-riot units, some attack dogs and a special police van to carry potential detainees. In practice, however, the police preferred not to intervene, even when the demonstrators, after about half an hour of shouting slogans in the square, went down to Carmel Avenue, blocked the street and began marching.

Some 200 demonstrators marched on the main street of the German Colony in the direction of Allenby Street, between the crowded cafes and restaurants, providing the iconic images of Haifa with Palestinian flags waving and the Bahai Gardens and the golden Shrine of the Bab in the background. From there the protesters continued on Allenby Street in the direction of Wadi Nisnas, where the police blocked traffic on both sides. The demonstrators marched up al-Jabal Street (“ha-Ziyonut Avenue”), turned to Khuri Street and finally poured into al-Wadi Street, the narrow main street of Wadi Nisnas.

When the demonstrators reached the last intersection inside the Wadi (the valley), they made a small meeting in the middle of the street. The organizers thanked everybody for taking part and asked for their active participation in a pre-determined plan for the continuation of the struggle, including demonstrations, leaflets distribution and a “Day of Rage” on Thursday, June 1.

EYE ON THE WEST BANK ~~ SUPPORT GROWS FOR PRISONERS’ HUNGER STRIKE

As envisaged during the last days, at this very moment the daily clashes during the rallies to support Palestinian prisoners increased in the West Bank. The population feels very close to the protest of the empty stomachs, even if there are no hopeful news. The number of arrested minors is also increasing, in particular in the refugee camps. In this article, I am trying to tell you my impressions on-site. 

Broad support for Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike

 

Rallies in the West Bank

By Antonietta Chiodo,  from the West Bank. English Translation by Milena Rampoldi

I am here in the West Bank, close to the Palestinian population to describe daily life and to show that a child is forced to live a completely different life than the life we could imagine in a normal Western country, even if the latter is often rather boring.

In my previous articles, I have talked about what is happening here these weeks, after the participation of almost 2.000 prisoners detained in Israeli prisons in the hunger strike proclaimed by al Fatah leader Marwan Bargouthi.

On April 27, 2017, next to the Aida refugee Camp where there is the “famous” separation wall, embellished by the artists’ murals, early in the morning the rally in support of the prisoners starts. Many bins were reversed and burned to avoid the approach of the Israeli military forces to the main road leading to Jerusalem.

Many children carry stones, and are ready to escape at the start-up of their friends. In the distance, the emptiness, suffocatingly waiting for the Israeli soldiers. On the earth, hundreds of tear gas cartridges used to stun the population.

A moment later I try to take some photos. Then a military car at high speed moves in our direction. The tear gas makes our eyes water, and the confused voices of the children stun us.

On the day Abu Mazen called a general strike, all protesters hope to find a place of refuge. We are happy to see a small shop which has left the roller shutter open so that we can enter. Inside wet wipes and water are distributed to clear our throat and to blot the swollen eye lids.

In the end when I am able to open my eyes, among the shelves I see people bent to the ground with the head between their hands. Others run along the streets, and hide their face in the pullovers trying to get away as fast as possible from the main road. We stop for an hour, outside the air has become unbreathable.

At last, we come back to the street. In the meantime the boys have become tired, and some of them has taken the bicycle from home to run faster than the gas. In the distance, we can see three silhouettes of Israeli soldiers; directly in front of us there is an ambulance of the international Red Cross. At least 15 people have been rescued since this morning, among them also a couple of American tourists.

The children always stand in readiness, while from the roofs somebody with the face covered by a kefia throws stones towards the wall. The alarm restarts again, and the ambulance reverses to park behind a partition. We hear children crying, while they are running towards us… to make us understand that the time has come… again we have to find a place of refuge.

They run as swift as the wind, all of them scream, the gun-shots are blown in the sky, and the general escape starts again. A Palestinian photojournalist is hunched over his legs because he is without gas mask. He tightens his eyes between his hands. Then he stands up suddenly, and starts to escape to avoid the toxic powders. The smell is indescribable.

In the meantime, my companion sprays perfume on paper handkerchiefs and distributes them among the people. As a good Palestinian, he has gained experience over all these years.

A child runs towards us and tells us that a 17-year-old guy was arrested. He was kicked to the ground by four Israeli soldiers and then dragged on the asphalt like a lamb to the  slaughter. We cannot intervene, because we understand how quickly they would arrest us. And if arrested, we could not tell the latest in a long string of stories of ordinary  guerrilla where children play the role of disarmed, small heroes, like David played against Goliath.

So this is the result of today, April 27, next to Bethlehem: 4 minors arrested, at least fifteen people rescued because of the damages caused by toxic gas, and among them a couple of tourists.

The Israeli military forces did not just attack the rally, but also prepared an invasion into the near village arresting 7 people, the majority of which were minors.

In the  village of Betunia two people, one adult and one child, were arrested.

 

Written FOR

AMERICA’S GLOBAL DECLINE

With its “exaggerated sense of power” and “imaginary sense of mission,” America has with delusional self-righteousness embarked on a series of invasions, interventions, regime changes, and “Wars on Terror” whose imperial overreach is inevitably accelerating its own global decline.

America’s Arrogant, Apocalyptic Assaults Against The Rest Of Humanity Are Self-Destructive

by William Hanna
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“. . . The causes of the malady are not entirely clear but its recurrence is one of the uniformities of history: power tends to confuse itself with virtue and a great nation is peculiarly susceptible to the idea that its power is a sign of God’s favour, conferring upon it a special responsibility for other nations — to make them richer and happier and wiser, to remake them, that is, in its own shining image. Power confuses itself with virtue and tends also to take itself for omnipotence. Once imbued with the idea of a mission, a great nation easily assumes that it has the means as well as the duty to do God’s work. The Lord, after all, surely would not choose you as His agent and then deny you the sword with which to work His will. German soldiers in the First World War wore belt buckles imprinted with the words ‘Gott mit uns’ [‘God with us’]. It was approximately under this kind of infatuation — an exaggerated sense of power and an imaginary sense of mission — that the Athenians attacked Syracuse and Napoleon and that Hitler invaded Russia. In plain words, they overextended their commitments and they came to grief.”
Senator J. William Fulbright (1905-1995) in The Arrogance of Power, 1966.
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As a result of being obsessively preoccupied with the dangerous delusion of “American exceptionalism” that  maintains the U.S. is qualitatively different, arguably superior to all other nations, and deserving of being the dominant world power — a hegemonic tendency that has caused untold death and destruction starting with the 1893 overthrow of the constitutional government of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands  — the American people have consequently failed to notice the gradual apocalyptic erosion of their own accursed society: a society whose precariously perched position on the edge of a crumbling precipice was recently confirmed by the inauguration of President Donald “Make America Great Again” Trump: a barely literate, bigot, sexist, racist, and con artist whom psychologists and psychiatrists have diagnosed as having all the classic symptoms of mental illness.
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With its “exaggerated sense of power” and “imaginary sense of mission,” America has with delusional self-righteousness embarked on a series of invasions, interventions, regime changes, and “Wars on Terror” whose imperial overreach is inevitably accelerating its own global decline. Despite a brief hiatus of soul-searching and aversion to overseas military incursions following the humiliating and costly debacle in Vietnam, America soon resumed — egged on by Jewish “American” neocons — its contemptuous military adventurism including a more recent unilateral decision to “take out” seven predominantly Muslim countries in five years, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rz5fZziMWEE) a decision which incidentally happened to be in line with Israel’s “Yinon Plan” of causing the target countries to “fall apart along sectarian and ethnic lines” with the  resulting fragmentation compelling each one to be “hostile” to its “neighbours.”
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In the still ongoing process of “taking out” oil-rich Iraq, the U.S. has dehumanised millions of civilians and according to a report from Physicians For Social Responsibility (PSR), a U.S.-based medical and public health organisation, the U.S. military has between 1991 and 2003 killed 1.9 million Iraqis and a further one million have been killed from 2003 to the present time by U.S.-led military interventions. The PSR study also found that four million Muslims have been killed in countries ranging from Iraq to Pakistan. Though the situation in Iraq had alone mobilised some anti-war activism, not enough people had been spurred into action because of the alleged global “War on Terror” which had the Bush administration, the British government, and other Western allies describing Muslim civilians casualties as “collateral damage” — and all armed factions fighting the U.S.-led occupation as barbarians — thereby denying Iraqis any semblance of humanity. This is not “collateral damage,” but premeditated murder akin to a deliberate and barbaric genocide.
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“We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the world — bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are whores for power and oil with hate and fear in our hearts.”
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Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005) American journalist and author.
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In order to facilitate its global warfare against those it perceives as being either enemies or simply obstacles to its hegemonic aspirations, the U.S. maintains some 200,000 active troops in 800 bases spread over 177 countries at an annual cost of $100 billion. (http://fiscalpost.com/2017/03/1168/) With some 54 percent (about $600 billion) of all U.S. discretionary spending being for the military, the U.S. has the capability of continuing to commit its historic crimes against humanity either as and when it pleases (https://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/interventions.html), or in accordance with the wishes of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) which exercises complete control over Congress. This is despite the fact that 46 percent of Americans in 2016 supported punitive action against Israel in response to its settlement policies, representing a nine percent increase over the previous year.
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The inherent nature of American “exceptionalism” — akin to the racist concepts of a Jewish “God Chosen People,” and the Nazi Lebensborn Program for the creation of a blond, blue-eyed “Master Race” — demands a diabolical disregard for the inalienable human rights of others as declared in Article 2 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the U.S. — along with its “greatest ally” and “only democracy in the Middle East,” Israel — has hypocritically signed and continues to violate with with arrogant impunity:
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“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”
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The U.S routinely violates international laws and treaties with no repercussions from international organisations including the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the UN which it bullies into tolerating and rubber stamping illegal U.S. interventions and wars that have undermined democracy and destroyed numerous countries refusing to capitulate to U.S. demands. In Latin America alone the U.S. has intervened more than 50 times while often overthrowing democratically elected leaders as was the case in Guatemala in 1954 when U.S.-backed dictators and death squads killed 200,000 Guatemalans; in the Dominican Republic in  the early 1960s; and in Chile in 1973 to overthrow the democratically elected President Salvador Allende.
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Racial and religious hatred along with gratuitous violence have also become fundamental features of the “land of the free and the home of the brave” where authoritarianism, militarism, state surveillance, police violence against citizens, corrupt capitalism, and extreme wealth inequality have divided and devastated communities. Apart from being lied to and betrayed by their elected political “representatives,” the American people have also been deceived by American news outlets — dominated by six Jewish owned or controlled corporations — that had long abandoned their sacred duty as the guardians of democracy whose candid reporting helped members of the public to become responsible citizens capable of making informed political decisions.
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“We are owned by propagandists against the Arabs. There’s no question about that. Congress, the White House, and Hollywood, Wall Street are owned by the Zionists. No question in my opinion. They put their money where their mouth is . . . We’re being pushed into a wrong direction in every way.”
Helen Thomas (1920-2013), journalist and author of Front Row at the White House.
“You cannot criticise Israel in this country (USA) and survive.”
                      Helen Thomas
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Comprehensive pro-Israel control of the American media has also meant that — according to an IRmep poll fielded by Google Consumer Surveys in 2016 — an astonishing 49.2 percent of Americans believe that Palestinians occupy Israeli land rather than the other way around.
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“ . . . in America, we have achieved the Orwellian prediction — enslaved, the people have been programmed to love their bondage and are left to clutch only mirage-like images of freedom, its fables and fictions.  The new slaves are linked together by vast electronic chains of television that imprison not their bodies but their minds. Their desires are programmed, their tastes manipulated, their values set for them.”
Gerry Spence, From Freedom to Slavery: The Rebirth of Tyranny in America.
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The harmful consequence of the American media’s failure to “Seek Truth and Report It” in accordance with the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, is further compounded by the fact that a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy has established that 32 million adults in the U.S. — 14 percent of the population — can’t read; 21 percent read below a 5th grade level; and 19 percent of high school graduates can’t read. Despite this reality the U.S. will allocate well over 50 percent of its Discretionary Spending on the military while allocating only six percent on education.
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“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”
Isaac Asimov, Newsweek, 21 January, 1980.
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So while U.S. governments continue spending hundreds of billions of dollars on the military — an amount President Trump wants to increase (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/03/15/us/politics/trump-budget-proposal.html) — along with billions more on aid to a brutal Apartheid Israeli state, the U.S. has become a country where more than 50 million Americans live below the poverty line; where 48 million of them receive food stamps; where more than one in five children is on food stamps and living in poverty; where an astounding 15% of senior citizens live in poverty; where ethnic poverty rates are 28% for Blacks, 24% for Hispanics, 10.5% for Asians, and 10% for Whites; were being Black lowers one’s credit score by 71 Points; where a new AFL-CIO study on corporate salaries found that CEOs made 335 times more than the average employee who earned $36,875 while the the big company CEOs got approximately $12,400,000; where according to a Forbes survey 56% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their combined cheque and savings bank accounts; and where an observation once made in April 4, 1967 by Martin Luther King Jr. is fast becoming a reality: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defence than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
*
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In the meantime, and according to the Institute for Policy Studies, the 20 wealthiest people in the U.S (the 0.000006 Percent) now own more wealth than the bottom half of the U.S. population combined which totals 152 million people in 57 million households. As a good deal of that wealth is secreted in offshore tax haven bank accounts, the reality is probably far worse. The Forbes 400 richest Americans now own about as much wealth as the nation’s entire African-American population and more than a third of the Latino population combined; more wealth combined than the bottom 61 percent of the U.S. population which is equivalent to an estimated 194 million people or 70 million households. Furthermore much of that wealth is Jewish money that controls most of what Americans read, hear, and watch. The perils of such control had been recognised some time ago in a report by the Commission On Freedom Of The Press which stated that “protection against government is now not enough to guarantee that a man who has something to say shall have a chance to say it. The owners and managers of the press determine which person, which facts, which version of the facts, and which ideas shall reach the public.”
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The consequence of this reality means that the media — either owned or controlled by those who benefit most from endless conflicts — plays a major role in brainwashing the cash-strapped majority into accepting the necessity for wars that have been contrived for the benefit of the extremely affluent minority. Such wars also serve to satisfy the media’s need for the kind of news that increases readership and the size of the TV viewing public; serve to increase the popularity of political leaders while providing them with an excuse for postponement of urgent domestic reforms; serve to maintain private military contractors (PMCs) who would otherwise go out of business; serve to indefinitely defer decisions to reduce the overall military budget including the closure of surplus overseas bases; and serve to sustain the requirement for supplies from the military industrial complex whose costs to the Pentagon are never questioned because they are for the alleged purpose “defending America.”
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“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address to the Nation, January 17, 1961.
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But while America’s military might has been gratuitously killing people and destroying cultures overseas, the American people have themselves begun to sense that something is very wrong with their own society and are concerned about rising socio-economic inequality, the erosion of national identity and purpose, increasing social polarisation, and a growing contempt around the world for their country which during the 1950s and 1960s was the richest and most envied nation on earth. Since then, America — the world’s premier creditor nation — has become the number one debtor nation whose ideology of denial, falsehood, wishful thinking, and self-deception has decayed its moral fibre so that 48 percent of American children are born to an unmarried mother while 43 percent of American children live in a home without a father.
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As a consequence of such entrenched denial and failure to face reality, there also exists a cowardly refusal — by those responsible for political leadership, for operating the mass media, and for maintaining the educational system — to confront, or even to simply acknowledge, the organised pro-Israel Jewish community’s wide-ranging powers which are enforced by the capacity to silence any criticism or challenge with unfounded but nevertheless zealous accusations of “anti-Semitism.” This fact alone is the single most important reason for the decline of American power, the decay of American society, and the death of the “American Dream.”
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“we supply all the wherewithal  — or a major part of the wherewithal — to finance or to pay for everything Israel does . . . The Senate is subservient to Israel, in my opinion much too much. We should be more concerned about the United States interest rather than doing the bidding of Israel. This is a most unusual development . . . The great majority of the Senate of the United States–somewhere around 80 percent–are completely in support of Israel, anything Israel wants. This has been demonstrated time and again and this has made it difficult for our government.”
Sen. J. William Fulbright claimed on CBS Face the Nation.

ZIONISM AS A BACKDROP TO HATRED AND VIOLENCE

I regard Zionism as being the antithesis of everything that is decent, humane and just. As for anti-Zionism, to me, it has no special meaning because I am opposed any individual or organisation — irrespective of ethnicity, religion, or political ideology — that in any way violates the rights of others.

“I regard Zionism as being the antithesis of everything that is decent, humane and just”: William Hanna

By Milena Rampoldi. In the following my interview with the author William Hanna about his new novel entitled Hiramic Brotherhood: Ezekiel’s Temple Prophecy. Set against a backdrop of hatred and violence in the Middle East,the novel delves into the issue of Israel’s ethnic cleansing and addresses racism in the Middle East.

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This novel follows journalist Conrad Banner who is intent on filming a documentary in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Inspired by his father — an author and foreign correspondent with numerous journalism awards for his coverage in the Middle East — Banner’s documentary presents a factually impartial account of the conflict.
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Hatred and violence was also being continually provoked by Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population which was whitewashed by a form of propaganda known as hasbara, or ‘explanation’. Such propaganda was aimed at an international audience to portray Israeli action and policies — past and present — in a positive light while providing a negative portrayal of Arabs in general, and Palestinians in particular.
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Along with Jewish activist Adam Peltz and Palestinian guide Sami Hadawi, Banner finds himself unwelcome, resulting in some hazardous and ultimately fatal consequences.
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Hiramic Brotherhood is motivated by the blatant denial of human rights to millions of people, and in particular children, by the double standard of Western democracies. Exploring the themes, of culture, racism, religion, and violence, Hanna brings to the fore a compelling story of struggle and divide.
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Milena Rampoldi: What is the main reason why you have been engaged for Palestine for years now?
William Hanna: Having grown up as member of a colonial family in Kenya, I recognised — despite being relatively young — the appalling injustice of a system wherein the indigenous population was economically marginalised, maligned, maltreated, and even massacred while white settlers gobbled up more of their land holdings. It was a situation that led to the Mau Mau uprising so that by October 1952 the British declared a state of emergency and sent army reinforcements to Kenya to fight an aggressive counter-insurgency against the rebels.
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After leaving school, and during what was then compulsory military training with the Kenya Regiment, I witnessed a more pronounced form of White settler racism towards the Black population — from the sons of White farmers including some Afrikaners — who were determined at any cost to hold onto their farms.
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Subsequent to my leaving Kenya, I followed current events including the international community’s boycott of Apartheid in Afrikaner South Africa which eventually caused its demise. That same international community of “humanitarians” — ridden with guilt and hypocrisy over the Holocaust — were being easily blackmailed, bribed, and bullied into ignoring the crimes of Apartheid Israel including its barbaric oppression and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian People.
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With time it also became apparent — as noted in my latest book — that while indigenous African people’s were between the 1870s and 1900 subject to European imperialist aggression, diplomatic pressures, military invasions, conquest, colonisation, and the exploitation of their natural resources, they were nonetheless eventually given their independence by the European colonisers. Jewish settlers in Palestine, on the other hand, have no such intention and their sole purpose is to ethnically cleanse and displace the Palestinian people whose land they are gradually but surely stealing. This policy of achieving a state for Jews only through barbaric oppression of the Palestinian people is what motivated me to take up the Palestinian cause.
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What happened between your first novel and this one? What changed in Palestine?
The only thing that has happened since my first novel is that I am a few years older and still none the wiser. As for Palestine, the status quo of an illegal Jewish settler land grabbing occupation remains unchanged with a regrettable and incessant escalation in the barbaric oppression and denial of all basic human rights to the Palestinian people by ruthless Jewish occupiers who insist they were “chosen by God” to live in the “Promised land.”
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The most harmful changes affecting the hapless Palestinian people are therefore not those occurring in Palestine, but in those taking place in the so-called Western democracies who in the past had staunchly opposed the heinous concept of Apartheid in South Africa. Such changes which have been selfishly instigated by Israel and its supporters include increased coercion — by means of blackmail, bribery, and bullying — of Western leaders and politicians into supporting Israel while ignoring its blatant violations of international law; the intensification of hateful traducement of any individual or organisation critical of Israeli crimes; the escalation of efforts by Israel and its supporters to suppress the right to freedom of expression; the heightening of hysterical accusations of “anti-Semitism” coupled with a dishonest Jewish failure to recognise that “in the struggle against anti-Semitism, the frontline begins in Israel; the surge in Western legislation that criminalises both the criticism and boycotting of Israel; the recent disgraceful withdrawal of a UN report that justifiably accused Israel of establishing an apartheid regime; and the recent U.S. opposition with unprecedented UK criticism of the adoption by the United Nations Human Rights Council of five resolutions critical of Israel. Such changes imposed by Israel and its supporters within the very core of Western “democracies” not only entrenches Israel’s ethnic cleansing in Palestine, but also undermines the universally declared and inalienable rights for all humanity.
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Give us a summary of the content of this new novel.
This question is perhaps best answered by the publisher’s intended Advance Information:
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Set against a backdrop of hatred and violence in the Middle East, Hiramic Brotherhood: Ezekiels Temple Prophesy delves into the issue of Israels ethnic cleansing and addresses racism in the Middle East.
*
This novel follows journalist Conrad Banner who is intent on filming a documentary in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Inspired by his father — an author and foreign correspondent with numerous journalism awards for his coverage in the Middle East — Banner’s documentary presents a factually impartial account of the conflict.
*
Hatred and violence was also being continually provoked by Israels ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population which was whitewashed by a form of propaganda known as hasbara, or ‘explanation. Such propaganda was aimed at an international audience to portray Israeli action and policies — past and present — in a positive light while providing a negative portrayal of Arabs in general, and Palestinians in particular.
*
Along with Jewish activist Adam Peltz and Palestinian guide Sami Hadawi, Banner finds himself unwelcome, resulting in some hazardous and ultimately fatal consequences.
*
 Hiramic Brotherhood; Ezekiel’s Temple Prophesy is motivated by the blatant denial of human rights to millions of people, and in particular children, by the double standard of Western democracies. Exploring the themes, of culture, racism, religion, and violence, Hanna brings to the fore a compelling story of struggle and divide.
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Which is the main objective you pursue with this new book?
The main objective is hopefully to help people — particularly those in the West — realise the catastrophic consequences of continually doing nothing and allowing their political and religious leaders to be corrupted and influenced by the well financed and globally organised pro-Israel lobby.
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In 2013, the professor of international law Francis Boyle testified that the Palestinians have been the victims of genocide as defined by the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide . .
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For over the past six and one-half decades, the Israeli government and its predecessors in law — the Zionist agencies, forces, and terrorist gangs — have ruthlessly implemented a systematic and comprehensive military, political, religious, economic, and cultural campaign with the intent to destroy in substantial part the national, ethnical, racial, and different religious group (Jews versus Muslims and Christians) constituting the Palestinian people.
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How can this book contribute to the discussion around human rights in Palestine?
By making as many people as possible understand that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights cannot be discriminatory or selective, but must be applicable to everyone without exception; to make them understand that Israel’s denial of human rights to the Palestinian people is not just a crime against Palestinians, but also a transgression against all humanity; to make them understand that their failure to act against Israel’s subversion of humanity’s moral values will ultimately result in the destruction of everything they hold dear including their own inalienable rights such as the right to freedom of expression; and to make them understand being pro-Palestinian is not anti-Semitic, but pro-human rights: the same human rights that hypocritical Jews demand for themselves. It is for that reason that I hope that theHiramic Brotherhood: Ezekiel’s Temple Prophesy will be translated into other languages because upholding human rights is the responsibility of all peoples.
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What does Zionism and Anti-Zionism mean to you personally?
I regard Zionism as being the antithesis of everything that is decent, humane and just. As for anti-Zionism, to me, it has no special meaning because I am opposed any individual or organisation — irrespective of ethnicity, religion, or political ideology — that in any way violates the rights of others.
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Further information at http://www.hiramicbrotherhood.com
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Originally posted AT

ISRAEL’S PROJECT OF COLONIALISM

In the following my interview with Jeremy R. Hammond of Foreign Policy Journal. I talked to him about Palestine, journalism, US foreign politics, and about Zionism as a colonialist project.

Jeremy R. Hammond – Israel was a colonialist project from the outset, and so remains today

By Milena Rampoldi

Do you believe the two-state solution is definitively buried?

Israel and the US certainly have been working hard for decades to bury it, but, no, I do not believe they have succeeded. On the contrary, I think right now there is a unique opportunity for the Palestinians to move forward and accomplishing an end to the Israeli occupation, which is essentially equivalent to implementing the two-state solution. The leadership should pursue legal remedy for the Occupying Power’s crimes against the Palestinian people through the international mechanisms that have been available to Palestine since the UN recognized it as a state in 2012; most specifically, through the International Criminal Court (ICC).

What do you believe the next moves of the Trump administration will be in Palestine/Israel and Middle East?

He’ll likely try to pick up the baton from the previous administration and make a feeble and vain effort to restore credibility to the US-led so-called “peace process”. He might, for example, try to persuade the Netanyahu government to implement some kind of limited scaling back of Israel’s illegal settlement activity in the West Bank. The good news is that with Trump in the Oval Office, it seems unlikely the “peace process” could regain any traction even among other governments of the world (it has long since ceased to have any credibility among the publics of the world).

This presents the Palestinian leadership with an opportunity. They must take advantage of the political leverage they gain so long as the “peace process” is dead on account of Israel’s refusal to even limit its illegal activities. If the Palestinian Authority (PA) won’t do what is necessary, the Palestinian people should rise up and dissolve that body – which the PLO has the authority to do – and find new leadership who will.

For me personally, Israel is a neo-colonialist project. What do you think about it?

It is certainly a neo-colonialist project. Going back to the Mandate era, the League of Nations’ Palestine Mandate was literally drafted by the organized Zionists, the aim being to implement an occupation regime that would accommodate their goal of displacing and dispossessing the Arab inhabitants with mass waves of Jewish immigration. The idea was that the right to self-determination of Palestine’s inhabitants wouldnot be respected until the Jews became a majority. This was in keeping with the British and Zionists’ concept of “the democratic ideal” (as discussed between Lord Arthur Balfour and Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann). It was a colonialist project from the outset, and so remains today.

Tell us about your books!

In late 2008, when Israel began its 22-day full-scale military assault on Gaza dubbed “Operation Cast Lead”, I watched with disgust how the US mainstream media waged a propaganda war against the public, a systematic campaign of deception that served the purpose of manufacturing consent for the US government’s support for Israel’s war crimes against the civilian population of Gaza. I became determined to write a book about it to set the record straight. (My coverage of the US’s support for Israel’s war crimes during that conflict resulted in me receiving a Project Censored Award.)

But I didn’t just want to write about that operation. I wanted to explain the whole conflict in context, to help others understand why this conflict has persisted for so long. Only by fully understanding what the greatest obstacles are can we determine how to move forward. What is required is a paradigm shift, a change in the way the public perceives this issue. We need to fight the propaganda and get the truth out. That is why I set out writing Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (2016)

But before I could explain contemporary events, I would need to provide the necessary historical background and explain what the root causes of this conflict are. That would require examining the period from the rise of the Zionist movement in the late 1800s through to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 via the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. So I ended up splintering my book idea and writing a short book titled The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination: The Struggle for Palestine and the Roots of the Israeli-Arab Conflict (2009).

Obstacle to Peace presents historical context as necessary in order to understand more recent events (it focuses primarily on the last decade), but readers will even get more out of it if they first read The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination as a primer to understanding how the conflict originated.Obstacle to Peace will then help readers understand why the conflict persists, how the mainstream media serve to help perpetuate it, and what needs to happen for peace and justice to finally be realized.

How to engage for Palestine today as human rights activists, writer and journalists?

Everyone has their own strengths in terms of knowledge and skills, and it’s up to the individual to determine how best to apply those skills toward achieving peace and justice. My own strengths include research, analysis, and writing, so that is where I’ve focused my energy. I can’t advise others how to focus their energy without knowing their individual strengths. Generally, however, we must continually educate ourselves and then share that knowledge with others until a tipping point is reached and the necessary paradigm shift occurs at which point it will become politically infeasible for the status quo to persist any longer.

Which are the main objectives of Foreign Policy Journal?

I established FPJ to serve as an antidote to the propagandistic reporting of the mainstream media, which serve the role of manufacturing consent for government policy. I’m borrowing this phrase from Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, from their book Manufacturing Consent; they were in turn borrowing the phrase from Walter Lipmann, who had written in the early 20th century about the need for the ruling elites to manufacture the consent of the ruled for the policies they wished to implement to pursue their own self-interests (as opposed to the interests of the public).

It’s my goal with FPJ to help others become better informed about the true nature of US foreign policy and international affairs, as this is a task at which the mainstream media have utterly failed us.

 

Originally written FOR

ILLUSIONS OF DEMOCRACY

More than 200 European legal scholars have signed a statement affirming that the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality represents “a lawful exercise of freedom of expression.” 

I see democracy hanging on by a mere thread in most places where democracy is claimed to be exercised.

I see democracy hanging on by a mere thread in most places where democracy is claimed to be exercised.

The West’s Comforting Illusions Of Democracy — But Without Any Significant Political Representation

by William Hanna
Despite legal recognition of that fact, however, the BDS movement as it gathers momentum and becomes more effective, is having its activities criminalised while being increasingly attacked — in order to discredit its lawful and peaceful support for the legal and human rights of the Palestinian people — for allegedly promoting discrimination and/or anti-Semitism.
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A recently released Ekos poll has, however, discovered that 46 percent of Canadians, including a majority of those supporting every party except the Conservatives, had a negative view of Israel. The Canadian government was regarded as having a pro-Israel bias by 61 per cent of respondents, while 91 percent did not think criticism of Israeli government policies was necessarily anti-semitic. The results suggest that Canada’s major political parties are out of step with the Canadian people on those issues. Furthermore, during almost 18 months in office, the Trudeau government had voted against no less than sixteen UN resolutions critical of Israel.
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The apparent discrepancy between how people view Israel’s Apartheid policies and the unconditional support provided for such policies by their elected representatives is not a conundrum requiring  exceptional powers of deduction: the answer is simply “blackmail, bribery, and bullying.”
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In his insightful book, They Dare to Speak Out, Paul Findley stated that during J.F. Kennedy’s campaign for president in 1960, he had a meeting with some prominent Jews. Kennedy was very insulted when one of the Jews said they knew Kennedy’s campaign was in financial difficulty and that he and his Jewish friends would “help and help significantly” John Kennedy’s campaign if, as president, Kennedy “would allow them to set the course of Middle East policy over the next four years.”
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That meeting convinced JFK that he should seek a law that would have the U.S. Treasury pay a set and equal amount for all politicians running for president who secured a to be determined percentage of signatures of the people supporting their campaign. In his 1991 book The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy, Seymour Hersh stated that Kennedy  “saw this as the only way to prevent the nightmare of today, which has not only the President, but the overwhelming majority of people in Congress bought and paid for by the very powerful Israeli lobby.”
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Such brazen subversion of American democracy by the Jewish lobby had already been ongoing long before the 1960s because shortly after his inauguration in March 1913 as the 28th President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson was visited in the White House by Ashkenazi Jew, Samuel Untermyer, of law firm, Guggenheim, Untermyer, and Marshall. Untermyer tried to blackmail Wilson for $40,000 with regards to an affair Wilson had with a fellow professor’s wife at Princeton University. As Wilson did not have the money, Untermyer offered to pay the $40,000 himself to the woman in question on condition that Wilson promised to appoint a nominee recommended by Untermyer to the first available vacancy on the United States Supreme Court which subsequently occurred when Louis Brandeis became the first Jewish Justice on the highest U.S. federal court.
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Brandeis then became active in the Federation of American Zionists thereby providing the nascent American Zionist movement with a most distinguished man in American life and a friend of the next president; devoted a great deal of his time, energy, and money to championing the Zionist cause; and was elected president of the Provisional Executive Committee for Zionist Affairs which was established after the outbreak of World War One in Europe when the divided allegiance of the World Zionist Organisation’s membership had made it impotent. As the leader and spokesperson of American Zionism from 1914 to 1918, Brandeis embarked on a speaking tour in the fall and winter of 1914–1915 to trump up support for the Zionist cause by emphasising the goal of self-determination and freedom for Jews through the development of a Jewish homeland. Similar self determination and freedom, however, are concepts forbidden to the American people with the ghost of Brandeis  — in the form of the Louis D. Brandeis Centre — actively supporting Apartheid Israel while working tirelessly to oppose the effectiveness of BDS.
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Unlike most American Jews at the time, Brandies felt that while the re-creation of a Jewish national homeland was one of the key solutions to antisemitism and the “Jewish problem” in Europe and Russia, it would also be a way to “revive the Jewish spirit.” He explained the importance of Zionism in a famous speech to a conference of Reform Rabbis in April 1915 in which he also felt obliged to mention that Zionism and patriotism were compatible concepts and should not lead to charges of “dual loyalty.” Nonetheless — it was felt by many Americans — that his first allegiance was not to “we the people” of American democracy.
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“The Zionists seek to establish this home in Palestine because they are convinced that the undying longing of Jews for Palestine is a fact of deepest significance; that it is a manifestation in the struggle for existence by an ancient people which has established its right to live, a people whose three thousand years of civilisation has produced a faith, culture and individuality which enable it to contribute largely in the future, as it has in the past, to the advance of civilisation; and that it is not a right merely but a duty of the Jewish nationality to survive and develop. They believe that only in Palestine can Jewish life be fully protected from the forces of disintegration; that there alone can the Jewish spirit reach its full and natural development; and that by securing for those Jews who wish to settle there the opportunity to do so, not only those Jews, but all other Jews will be benefited, and that the long perplexing Jewish Problem will, at last, find solution.”
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Finding the solution to that “long perplexing Jewish problem,” has unfortunately come at a colossal cost not only to U.S. taxpayers with hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars in aid to Israel, but also to the Palestinian people whose almost seven decades of ethnic cleansing has included the barbaric obliteration of their heritage, history, and human rights by a mighty military machine subsidised by the U.S. government on behalf of the American people despite the fact that 46 percent of them support imposing sanctions on Israel because its defiant settlement policies.
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It would appear America’s subjugation by the Jewish lobby was also a source of amazement to the Jewish lobbyists themselves who could not believe the ease with which the goyim were hoodwinked and manipulated. In a 1976 confidential and controversial interview, Harold Wallace Rosenthal — a Jewish administrative assistant to one of America’s ranking senators, Jacob Javits R-NY — after admitting Jewish dominance in all significant national programs, said “it is a marvel that the American people do not rise up and drive every Jew out of this country.” Rosenthal added that “we Jews continue to be amazed with the ease by which Christian Americans have fallen into our hands. While the naive Americans wait for Khrushchev to bury them, we have taught them to submit to our every demand.”
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When asked how a nation could be taken over without their knowing it, Rosenthal attributed success to the absolute control of the media. He boasted of Jewish control of all news with any newspaper refusing to submit to Jewish control of news being brought to its knees by withdrawal of advertising. Failing in that, “It’s a very simple matter,” the Jews wouldstop the supply of news print and ink. As to the question of men in high political office, Rosenthal replied that no one since 1976 had achieved any political power without Jewish approval. “Americans have not had a presidential choice since 1932. Roosevelt was our man; every president since Roosevelt has been our man.”
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Whether or not the current occupant of the White House is “Israel’s man” is of no real consequence because Donald Trump’s innate racism, deranged tendencies, and undisguised promotion of Islamophobia are in any case compatible with Israel’s arrogant and arbitrary policies of barbaric discrimination, displacement, and destruction. The one potentially positive aspect of Trump’s presidency, however, is that his self obsessed insanity might hopefully wake up the otherwise somnambulant American people; alert them to the dangers threatening their fundamental rights as prescribed in the U.S. Bill of Rights; and prompt them to rise up with a righteous indignation that forcefully demands Congressional removal of a dangerous and deluded demagogue.
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In the meantime European nationals must shed their fear of being stigmatised as anti-Semites and finally take responsibility for ensuring that their political leaders — who as “Friends of Israel” are invariably susceptible to pro-Israel lobby blackmail, bribery, and bullying — refrain from their usual mealy mouthed hypocrisy regarding the “only democracy in the Middle East” and its right to “defend itself” with the “most moral army in the world,” and instead start representing both the interests of their own countries and the sovereignty of the people who elected them.
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Sovereignty exists within and flows from the people of a country. Their collective right to choose their governmental, political and electoral systems is a vital aspect of their self-determination. The authority of government also derives from the will of the people who having chosen those systems have a right to participate in their government through genuine elections that determine who will legitimately occupy governmental offices.
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Such precepts are incorporated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in modern constitutions the world over where they formed the basis for the well known formulation that democratic government is “of the people, by the people and for the people.” In essence, that means that governments, governmental processes, and elections, all belong to the people. There can be no democracy without citizen participation which is consequently both a right and a responsibility of the citizens in establishing and developing a sustainable democracy wherein a free press must go hand in hand with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
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“Without an unfettered press, without liberty of speech, all of the outward forms and structures of free institutions are a sham, a pretence — the sheerest mockery. If the press is not free; if speech is not independent and untrammelled; if the mind is shackled or made impotent through fear, it makes no difference under what form of government you live, you are a subject and not a citizen.”
William E. Borah (1865 – 1940), prominent Republican attorney and longtime U.S. Senator known as “The Lion of Idaho.” 
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William Hanna is a freelance writer with published books the Hiramic Brotherhood of the Third Temple, The Tragedy of Palestine and its Children, and the forthcoming Hiramic Brotherhood: Ezekiel’s T.emple Prophesy Purchase information, sample chapters, other articles, and contact details at:
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CHILDREN OF PEACE ~~ A DIALOGUE

In the following our interview with Richard Martin, President and Founder of Children of Peace. The organisation struggles for children to be safe from criminality and terrorism in the Middle East, in particular in Palestine. Richard talked to us about the history of his organisation, about how to work for peace by challenging all kind of racism, discrimination of all monotheistic religions, by personal contact and dialogue. Dialogue is the magic word to promote peace. Richard told us: “Children of Peace is a UK based non-partisan, conflict resolution organisation, that aims to protect children and build friendship, trust and reconciliation between Israeli and Palestinian children, aged 4 -17 through arts, education, healthcare and sports projects and programmes, so that a future generation and their communities might live in peace, side-by-side.” 

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Richard Martin of Children of Peace – peace needs contact and face-to-face dialogue

By Denise Nanni and Milena Rampoldi

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How do you identify the organizations you cooperate with?
When I founded Children of Peace in 2004, we sent a delegation from the UK to Israel and Palestine on a fact find. We discovered – to our incredulity – that there were over 50,000 NGOs in Israel & Palestine. This is a huge industry and since the early 1950s we estimate that 7 trillion dollars has reached the region from world organisations and donors.

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Yet, despite all this funding, almost nothing has changed. Only six organisations actually made contact with each other. We wanted to change the culture and focus on dialogue – on making contact, of listening to each community’s narrative, respecting each other’s heritage and those things that we all share – a yearning to protect our children, to build a better life, to be in a safe and hopeful place.

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That’s why we established the Coalition of Peace.

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Essentially all groups – CBOs or NGOs – must apply to join us as affiliates or partners. Most groups approach us or are researched by our team. The application is scrutinised by our Compliance Committee to check the group’s track record and connections to protect the children and our work from criminal or terrorist fronts. If accepted, groups go through a monitoring process for two years before applying for funding.

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Today, the Coalition of Peace is now the single, largest peace network across the Middle East with affiliates in Bahrain, Egypt, Gaza, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Turkey and the West Bank.

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Since 2005 we have helped over 120,000 children in Israel and Palestine.

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How has civil society been responsive so far? 
Right from the get-go our position has been to welcome a diverse range of religious, secular and political supporters who shared our non-partisan position. As a conflict-resolution organisation we focus on reconciliation, simply refuse to take sides or bring our own agendas into the region. We take our cue from the communities themselves. We are proud of the support we receive from Christians, Jews and Muslims both in the region and worldwide.

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Taking sides says more about you. It does not advance peace one jot.
As part of our backstory – although we are not a religious organisation nor have any connection with faith based groups – we challenge Christianophobia, Antisemitism and Islamophobia – now on the rise throughout Europe right now – often used as a cover to take sides in this conflict.

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Across the region Children of Peace enjoys the respect of communities in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank. We are the go-to organisation if contacts need to be made. We act as a conduit or peace channel for groups or communities who wish to connect across the divide but cannot do so through direct means.

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Our projects and programmes focus on alleviating poverty within disadvantaged communities, bringing children together from Israel and Palestine through the arts, sports, healthcare and education.
Every year – with Israeli affiliate Humans Without Borders – we help bring dozens of sick or disadvantaged Palestinian children and their families to the seaside in Israel from towns and villages in the West Bank. This is one of the cherished dreams of many landlocked West Bank children – just to see the sea.

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We just funded the refurbishment of the Leir Peace Pre-School in Jerusalem where Christian, Jewish and Muslim children learn and play together. Through another affiliate Rabbis for Human Rights we have provided grants to assist the resource centre for the Negev Bedouin. In Gaza, we work with various groups funding clinics, hospitals and education facilities.

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A few months ago, for example Celtic FC contacted us days before playing a match in Israel. As part of their commitment to diversity in soccer they wanted our help in linking them up with Israeli and Palestinian youth sports groups and within hours the Chairman of Celtic FC Foundation met up with three groups in Israel and Palestine in Jerusalem to gift them football kit and other resources.

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None of this would be possible without the commitment of our extraordinary team at Children of Peace from the Board of Trustees to the Regional Representatives to the volunteers.

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This trust is reflected by the support we receive from world leaders including Pope Francis, former US Vice President Biden, French President Hollande, the Palestinian Envoys to the UK and Washington and the last four British Prime Ministers including Theresa May.

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What are, according your experience, the most effective strategies in order to promote tolerance and democratic values among children? 
It’s simple……contact, contact, contact. And dialogue. Meeting people face-to-face and developing a relationship with a real person from a “group” or “community” that you have been brought up to distrust or be suspicious of….changes everything.

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I recall a magic moment when some young Palestinians who were staying here in the UK as our guests were busy texting their Jewish friends in Israel, following an incident….concerned for their safety.
Once you break bread together, everything changes.

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Can you tell me more about the researches on children health issues? What were their findings and conclusions?
Richard: In 2007, Israeli-Palestinian Kassim Baddarni and myself completed a huge research study on the impact of conflict and the presence of violence on Israeli and Palestinian children. We looked at the effects of stress and tension on the physical and mental health of children – on their educational attainment, on family life, on relationships, on their own sense of well-being and adjustment. It is too complex to spell out here but the findings confirm that children from all communities are seriously and adversely affected by the dire situation.

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Israeli children have excellent healthcare but suffer from worrying levels of morbidity whilst Palestinian children have poorer healthcare – they have the highest levels of childhood diabetes, for instance – they too suffer from fear and anxiety. Too many children know of someone in their lives who has died or been injured or negatively affected by sudden and unexpected acts of violence.

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Do you cooperate with any local authority or institution? If yes, how?
Children of Peace is a UK based non-partisan, conflict resolution organisation, that aims to protect children and build friendship, trust and reconciliation between Israeli and Palestinian children, aged 4 -17 through arts, education, healthcare and sports projects and programmes, so that a future generation and their communities might live in peace, side-by-side.
As an entirely independent organisation we will cooperate with local government or national governments to further our aims in helping the children, promoting tolerance and building a better place for the next generation.

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Israeli and Palestinian supporters talk about the ‘Children of Peace family’. I like that.

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Original source and more photos HERE

ECO PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

EcoPeace Middle East is a unique organization that brings together Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli environmentalists. Our primary objective is the promotion of cooperative efforts to protect our shared environmental heritage. In so doing, we seek to advance both sustainable regional development and the creation of necessary conditions for lasting peace in our region. EcoPeace has offices in Amman, Bethlehem, and Tel-Aviv.

Big jump in the River Jordan

Big jump in the River Jordan

Eco Peace Middle East – environmentalists for peace in the region

By Denise Nanni and Milena Rampoldi

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How was Eco Peace Middle East founded and with which aims?
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“EcoPeace” was  founded on December 7, 1994 at an historic meeting held in Taba, Egypt.  We came about as environmental non-governmental organizations from the Middle East met with the common goal of furthering sustainable development and peace in their region. For the first time ever, Egyptian, Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian environmentalists agreed to join forces in an effort to promote the integration of environmental considerations into the regional development agenda.
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How do you advocate environmental issues at a political level?
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EcoPeace’s “top-down” (advocacy) programs are based on research, on the publication of policy briefs, and on the holding of events that highlight the national self-interest of each side in advancing our policy recommendations.  Mutual gain is the focus and goal of our advocacy work vis-a-vis decision makers at the regional and international levels.
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What  bottom-up strategies do you undertake?
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Our bottom-up approach is about educating local constituencies to call for, and lead, necessary cross-border solutions to regional water issues. Despite the ongoing conflict, bottom-up programing facilitates the advancement of community interests in cross-border environmental solutions

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How has civil society been responsive so far to your initiatives?
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Yes, very much so, and that is due to our “bottom up” approach, where we work with community members in our “Good Water Neighbors” (GWN) project.  This is what an external evaluator said about this project: “The GWN’s strategy of long-term deep work in the communities, sustaining a cross-border communication network, and insisting on addressing practical tangible results and interests, rather than just peace or cooperation in general, bears fruits.  It changes the discourse of those involved with the project and many have adopted the narrative of environmental peacebuilding / cross-border cooperation that the GWN project advances into their professional and personal lives.”

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Do you cooperate with local authorities and institutions? If yes, how?
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Yes.  Again, local authorities and institutions are all part of our community project “Good Water Neighbors”.  We convene meetings with mayors and municipal representatives from both sides of the border, Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian, to discuss shared environmental challenges and work with them to develop and propose solutions that would benefit them both (all).  Sometimes these meetings are small, if it’s about a more local (but still cross border) problem, but we also have annual regional meetings, much larger, that focus on the larger issue of water in the region.

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Written FOR

AN OPTIMISTIC 2017

Optimism is not a mood but a systematic studied approach. If we want to make the world better, we must concentrate on those processes that show the Human potential for improvement. And when you start looking for reasons to be optimist you can find plenty. Here are some to cheer you up as you go to celebrate a new 2017.

learned-optimism-helen-keller

12 reasons for optimism about 2017 and beyond

Yoav Haifawi AT

There are many reasons to be pessimist today. Everybody is talking about it. There is a world economic crisis for already 10 years and it is not going anywhere. The rich continue to buy influence, corrupt politics, set the rules, exploit and rob working people and the poor. It seems that the poor working people, instead of uniting to fight for their rights, are turning against each other, as we see from the rise of the Populist Right demagogy against minorities and immigrants in the West and from sectarian civil wars in the Middle East.  And when people are fighting for their rights they are confronted with bloody oppression and nobody will come to their rescue, as the people of Halab (Aleppo) have just learned.

But for me Optimism is not a mood but a systematic studied approach. If we want to make the world better, we must concentrate on those processes that show the Human potential for improvement. And when you start looking for reasons to be optimist you can find plenty. Here are some to cheer you up as you go to celebrate a new 2017.

Health

My grandma told me that she didn’t know anyone from her family that lived more than 60 years. So she naturally expected to die as she became 60. She was surprised when it didn’t happen. Finally she lived to 93, most of it a healthy life.

Today we see a great tragedy in every family that lost a child. It was not a long time ago when most families suffered the death of babies and children. Actually, historically what kept the balance of the human population was the natural death of most children. When early death stopped to be natural, the world’s human population inflated. Only now we are approaching a new balance based on the conscious choice to have fewer children.

Similarly the main problem that was daunting humanity till recently was the search for food. My mom used to tell me: We are farmers, so we will never go hungry. As a child I was advised: Eat bread with every meal to fill your stomach. Now if anybody goes hungry it is not because the lack of food but because the failure of the distribution system or the greed of merchants and speculators. The problem of excess eating is now becoming a major health hazard around the world – until we will find a new balance in a world with plenty of food.

Bringing decent healthcare to everybody around the world is not a dream – it is something that is technologically possible and economically affordable.

Education and Knowledge

It is not so long ago that even the most basic education was the privilege of the few. The spread of general basic education is an ongoing revolution around the world. Now we witness a second wave of the education revolution where high education is becoming available to ever more people.

But formal education is only a technical detail. The real issue is the availability of knowledge and the ability to use it. Today as we chat at the family reunion my kids check online for historical and scientific facts. As we stroll in the forest we take a picture of a flower and can reach its botanical file… And the knowledge revolution is only at its beginnings.

I’m not sure at all whether Trump is more disgraceful or ignorant than previous US presidents. But what is sure is that now the news about his every fallacy is more ubiquitous and spreading faster than ever before. The same go for the facts (and some false news) about the corruption and servitude to big business of his nominees as those of Hillary Clinton. Part of our disgust at current politics is a result of being more enlightened. It should be a force for good in the longer run.

Speaking Up

The reading revolution is centuries old, but just recently less than 1% of us ever wrote anything that other people would read. Actually it was Facebook (launched on 2004) that gave everyone a wall to write on.

I still remember the times when an intelligent person would read one and the same paper every day. When speaking with a person you would typically find that he holds the views of the paper that he reads, and knows the set of facts that the paper supplies to support these views.

Now that everybody have a voice we see all kinds of nonsense, insults and prejudice coming out – but they were there in peoples’ minds much before. The fact that people speak up their mind and the lively discussion that ensues will make people think better, as now what they think makes a difference and they get much more feedback.

It is a new process that can hardly be evaluated. Just think about the development of a child, how much time and experience is required between she starts speaking and until she can express herself clearly or present a case about complicated issues. Now remember that it is only a few years since hundreds of millions of people started to speak up and try to figure out how to make sense out of the ensuing noise.

Democracy

After a period of enthusiasm about the rise of social movements and leftist governments in Latin America, we see a backlash with the election victories of conservatives and rightists and some suspicious power-grabs. Yet, comparing with previous rightists onslaughts just a few decades ago, this time governments are changing mostly peacefully and it is just possible that leftist governments will come back peacefully in some next elections. The same trend of changing governments peacefully is taking root also in much of Africa and other parts of the world.

The benefit of changing governments by elections is not only the avoidance of violence and destructive wars. After repression everywhere, and after a leftist wave almost everywhere in Latin America, now those government that succeeded more in fulfilling their promises, like Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador, may keep their leftist regimes. The left in other countries will have to reorganize to regain public trust and work harder to give their voters what they really want.

Democracy is not only about changing governments by elections. Actually we are still looking for the real thing: How to enable people take control of their destiny. Bottom-up democracy is the more promising model, as people may be involved on a daily basis with the essentials of their lives as they see and understand them, and improve with experience.

In many places around the world, people are experimenting with new types of popular involvement and control. Some of the most amazing experiments of self-rule come amid the harshest conditions. In Greece, as the traditional economy stopped functioning, people were building democratic cooperatives. In Syria people experiment with popular democracy in Kurdish Rojava as well as in some liberated cities and villages in other parts of the country.

Travel and Immigration

Just where progress faces the harshest resistance – we may be making a real breakthrough. The technological progress that drives travel and communication is a one-way process that interconnects our world and transforms it into one global village. The national state is an anachronism that runs counter to the direction of the economy, our culture and the spirit of the time. Whoever will try to resist it will do it at his own peril.

We can celebrate as more people travel around the world, choose their place to live by what is better for them and not by where they were born, and mix together into one beautiful human race.

Gender equality and Personal Freedom

Some of the greatest achievements of the last decades were the progress in women’s rights. We also experienced some breakthroughs with the social recognition of different sexual choices and gender identities. Of course, there are battles ahead before we would be able to declare full victory over misogyny, patriarchy, homophobia and bigotry.

Every achievement on this road is a relief and blessing to all humanity as there is less social oppression, violence, prejudice and hatred. It expands the limits of what one can do and what you can be. With every obstacle that is removed, there will be more options to explore new ways of life and social interaction.

Technology

Unlike political and social development, which goes through conflict, ups and downs and upheavals, technological progress is mostly a one way process. Many of our problems can simply be solved by the right technical solutions. Energy can be produced from renewable sources like sun and wind without much pollution. Food can be produced using much smaller land and without harming animals. Water can be desalinated. Self-driving cars can prevent most road accidents. Biotechnology may prevent or cure most diseases.

The knowledge that all these technologies are here ready to serve us should make us wake up and remove the current obstacles that stand in their way.

Less Work More Life

One danger that scares many people is the disappearance of jobs. As most people’s work life is only slightly better than slavery, we would expect people to celebrate the falling of their chains. Really, it should be the best of news that all humanity’s needs may be supplied with a fraction of the work that was required previously. This is the inevitable result of technological progress.

Looking at the current economy, much work that is done is actually a burden and not a benefit for society. Armies around the world are getting huge budgets that are more likely to cause war than to protect the people. The police, courts and prisons are doing more to perpetuate crime than to prevent it. A single political decision to legalize drugs may abolish at once most of the criminality around the world. Bureaucracy is a burden over the real economy and constant stress over ordinary peoples’ lives. Much of the white collar tasks can be replaced by computers just as blue-collar tasks were replaced by machines.

The economists that portray the current capitalist order as the law of nature say that people are becoming redundant and are destined to poverty because they are no more required for the economy. It is a simple question of political power: who serves whom. If the economy is ours to serve people, it is our time to take control of it.

The recent experiments, in several places around the world, giving basic wages to all people without connection to work, is an overdue first step to break the yoke of wage slavery.

China and Vietnam

International bodies agreed about the millennium goals of reducing poverty and

improving human conditions in essential fields like health and education. The greatest contributions toward fulfilling these goals are due to two countries: China and Vietnam. Over the last half century they demonstrated an unprecedented spell of economic development, starting from the harshest levels of poverty and mostly working against hostile obstacles from the dominant world powers.

China started by leading the world in the production of most goods. Cheap Chinese products improved the standard of living of consumers all over the world.

Now China also leads the efforts to develop clean energy, stop climate change, bring high quality education to wide masses, develop fast trains and electric cars and much more. Within 15 years China built new modern cities (no slums there) for 300 million people that had to leave under-productive village life and became part of the modern economy – building the equivalent of a whole new USA or Western Europe all at once.

Just 15 years ago most third world countries were subject to different kinds of sanctions by Western powers that were supposed to “educate” them but actually served to subdue their economies to the interest of imperialist multinational companies. Now China builds a new world economic order, based on unconditional cooperation and mutual development.

It is mostly due to China’s role that the balance of world economic power started to change, over the last 15 years, to the benefit of the third world.

The rebellious human spirit

In the development of Human society there are always measures and counter measures. There are long term consistent trends like technological progress, the spread of knowledge and the interconnection of the world. But politics are working in many different ways, many times producing the reverse of what their initiators wanted. One force that is constantly working is the rebellious human spirit inspiring billions of people to try new ways to improve their lives…

The two world wars, the biggest clashes between imperialist powers in their quest to control the world, brought immense misery. But they ended with two big waves of decolonization and the formation of alternative socialist regimes. Today, as the Western powers are becoming hostile to immigrants, more people from the 3rd world will try to build their future in their (or other 3rd world) countries – and the decline of the western powers will accelerate. Iran, which tried to force strict religious behavior over its people, is now probably the Middle Eastern country with the most free-wheeling population.

Fast Changes

They say: “If it is not broken, don’t fix it”. But now it clearly is!

As fragile human beings we look for security and are afraid of change. Those who are most disadvantaged by the current order are the most vulnerable to any disturbances. But they also have the most to gain from fundamental change. And the majority of humanity is disadvantaged by the current world order. Palestinians in particular are denied basic Human Rights or any decent place in the current order and their plight is not going to change until there will be major changes to the rules of the game, at least in our region.

Change may come faster in our age than ever before. Almost a hundred years ago Britain occupied Iraq and faced stiff popular resistance – the Iraqi Revolt (1920). With air bombardment and the systematic burning of villages they succeeded to consolidate their rule over a nation that was mostly composed of illiterate peasants. The US occupation of Iraq in 2003 had even bigger military advantage, but the cultural gap almost disappeared. It ended up with the US spending a devastating one trillion dollar on the military adventure, with no political gains to show for its money.

The Arab spring is a social and political movement on the scale of the democratization of Europe that started with the French revolution in 1789, or the fall of the Soviet Union and its East European block in 1989-1991. But it is the first great revolutionary wave that uses social networks and new media. Till now it proved, at least, that no amount of force and no level of cruelty can assure the forces of the old order the suppression of the will of the people.

Respect All Lives

I was raised as a vegetarian, a relic of my grandma’s Tolstoyan tradition. I still remember the times when most ordinary people didn’t eat meat on a regular basis, simply because they couldn’t afford to buy it. I remember old people in the neighborhood saying how lucky they are – they eat meat on every holiday… (It was a cynical refrain to Islam having only two holidays a year). Later it became harder to be a vegetarian as people started to eat meat every day. Friends from the new generation would wonder: what do you eat at all if you don’t eat meat?

But now people everywhere are starting to reassess their behavior out of conscious and not out of necessity. When we invited our friends to a vegetarian wedding party, we heard everywhere stories about people trying to be vegetarian or thinking about it.

I must admit that when we decided, just a year ago, to make another step toward healthier and more moral life as vegans, one consideration was that it is easy to do it these days. Now, even in the most commercial supermarkets, there is a lot of choice of vegan alternatives for people that don’t want to give up spoiled tastes.

Technological progress and consciousness help us all make the moral choice and respect all lives.

ZIONIST ENDANGERS AND DANGERS

While the “Jewish State” violates international law and continues grabbing Palestinian land; destroying houses; making whole families homeless; and  imposing travel bans and sanctions, the hypocritical  community of states is unable to stand up and unanimously support a free Palestine.

Image by Carlos Latuff

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In Times of Zionist Endangers and Dangers!

By Evelyn Hecht-Galinski,  English Translation by Milena Rampoldi, edited by William Hanna
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What a rebellion around the toothless UN Resolution as Zaid Jilani brought it to the point in The Intercept. (1)
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Obama had decided not to block the illegal Jewish occupation of Palestinian Land with a veto at the UN, so what? How does the reinforcement of the condemnation of the settlement building de facto help?  It will certainly change nothing about the Zionist occupation power which has been violating international law for decades.
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Furthermore, the resolution is neither binding for the Jewish occupiers‘ regime, nor does it require any basic changes to the illegal Jewish occupation of Palestine or the dismantling of the settlements. It is a pathetic farce that the most powerful body of the UN, the Security Council, after eight years of silence, for the first time decided just to request a halt to settlement building. For almost 50 years the “Jewish State” has been continuously committed  to grabbing land for settlement construction — the raison d’être for a Zionist state — with an almost seamless transition from the Nakba in 1948 to the subsequent ethnic cleansing of Palestine up to the present time. So the Resolution 2334 is not even worth the paper its written on, if it remains without consequences. This resolution undermines Palestinian rights and in reality damages Palestine. (2) (3)
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What does halting settlement construction actually mean without one word being said about the legal right of return for Palestinians; without a world being said about the miserable strip overlooking the sea; and without a word about the blockaded concentration camp in Gaza. In the meantime, the illegally occupied Palestine is so full of settlements, that the idea of “halting the settlements” is just a sick joke. Already this week, the Netanyahu regime authorised other 300 illegal Jewish settlement units. The Fata Morgana mirage of a two-state-solution has for a long time deserved to be archived in the realm of fairy tales. What did Obama hope to achieve with this half-hearted decision of abstention from a veto? Did Obama not gift the Netanyahu regime with the biggest military aid package in history of more than $38 billion while cementing  cooperation in security matters even further?
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So it is more than derisory if diverse media outlets continuously suggest that the relationship between Obama and Netanyahu is bad because  this distorts the reality of the situation. This is not a question of feelings. Here only naked facts count which  prove  unconditional US-support for the “Jewish State.” If Netanyahu is already looking forward to January  20 with Trump’s “US threat” to fulfil  all of Netanyahu’s desires — including the freedom to build more settlements and to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — then there is nothing and nobody standing in the way of the illegal Zionist Paradise in Palestine. Trump has already promised not to recognise this resolution in keeping with Netanyahu’s viewpoint, and also to question the Nuclear Deal with Iran. It seems that 2017 will be a good year for the Netanyahu regime.
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Also the nomination of the orthodox Over-Zionist David Friedman as future US-ambassador to the “Jewish State” has awakened the worst fears. David Friedman is an active supporter of the illegal Jewish settlements, an enemy of the Palestinians who like Trump and the Israeli UN-ambassador Ron Derner is pressing for the rapid realisation of the U.S. embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem. And this is an unparalleled affront not just against the Palestinians, but also against international law. (4)
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So Netanyahu has once again succeeded in creating a storm in a teacup by foaming at the mouth and introducing sanctions against UN organisations; by stopping payments, and in summoning ambassadors to protest against the “infamous Israel hostility”; and by the “betrayal of Jewish people.” Yes, this “elected” Jewish occupiers‘ regime always likes to enjoy special rules and a special status for itself. In fact, up to now Israel has just recognised one UN resolution – the one concerning its foundation!
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While the “Jewish State” violates international law and continues grabbing Palestinian land; destroying houses; making whole families homeless; and  imposing travel bans and sanctions, the hypocritical  community of states is unable to stand up and unanimously support a free Palestine.
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Consequently it is only by the active support of the U.S., the EU and in particular Germany, that the “Jewish State” is able to maintain its illegal occupation of Palestine. It is true that the German Foreign Minister and future President of Germany Steinmeier welcomed the UN decision, but his past silence for years contributed to the injustice and permitted the ongoing illegal Jewish settlements in Palestine and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
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The hypocritical “special relationship” with the “Jewish State,” also justified by the Holocaust, is a political crime. Our future as supporters of a free Palestine looks bleak, because the Zentralrat der Juden, other pro-Israeli lobby groups and the sayanim, in particular in Germany, but also all over the world, gain more and more influence and mobilise all to muzzle critics of the Israeli occupation policies among others by cancellations of conference rooms compelled by allegations of Anti-Semitism – a de facto ban on speaking – at Universities, schools, by the cancellation of bank accounts and the de-legitimation of the non-violent BDS campaign to perpetuate the occupation of Palestine.
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Next year will be particularly rancorous, not just for the Palestinian people, because it has to recollect the 50-years‘ illegal Jewish occupation, but also for German politics which because of its coward silencing gets more and more entangled in a second guilt. The “Jewish State” armed to the teeth is not a victim, but an aggressive threat to world politics because it does not stop at nothing and represents a serious danger. Israel feels surrounded by enemies and represents itself as peaceful! What a story time. Even asylum seekers in Germany have to recognise the right of existence of the “Jewish State” to get asylum. How can democratic people claim for the recognition of a “Jewish State” – without defined borders! – which has lost any moral existence and legitimation, as long as its existence is based on occupation, colonisation, land grab to build illegal settlements and the oppression of another people.
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We cannot continue to support the Jewish occupiers’s claim for all Palestine and an undivided Jerusalem for their capitol. As long as the hypocritical community of values does not stop this injustice by sanctions and by applying pressure, the Jewish State/Palestine will be a thorn and a continuous flashpoint threatening world peace. The reasons stated for the security of the “Jewish State” are violations against any democratic value.
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It is a scandalous injustice that we can only oppose with BDS measures. I invite  German citizens, Jews, Christians, Muslims, and other religious people, not to keep silent anymore in 2017, despite the danger of being defamed as being Anti-Semite and instead  to bravely oppose these Zionist threats. The security for the Jewish State always means occupation and ethnic cleansing, and represents a threat against other peoples. The bellicose “Jewish State” does not serve peace and does not help as a model for a solution of the refugee problem, but is a deterrent example of a wrong politics producing terrorism. And up to now we are facing this terrorism. This becomes clear in particular in the case of the recommendation of Israeli “terror experts” and politicians who say: “Forget human rights!” In fact, human rights do not count at all for the “Jewish State”. They even do not count for all Jews, because critical Jews are also opposed to such rights.
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2017 should be the  year of conversion in the field of foreign politics. Stop with the inhuman drone and bombs politics we have applied all together with the so called Western “alliance of values”. The effects of such aggressive actions are visible in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, not to forget Syria where jihadists are strongly armed. Now we see the result of it, like in Mali and other African countries. Everywhere the hypocritical community of values will sell war and terrorism as democratic values. Terrorism will fight back, this is the horrible result of a completely wrong Western colonial and hegemonic politics which if we do not pay attention will take us into the abyss of terrorism. The refugees are not responsible for this terrorism, but the Western financing and arming of terrorists. Miss Merkel should recognise her own barbarity which cost the lives of many innocent victims. Muslim victims complain they are forgotten by the “Christian-Jewish community of values” since the West does only cries for  its own victims. The threat by the hypocrisy of Western governments, the so called alliance of values must be ended in 2017.
In this sense, Happy New Year 2017, by hoping it will be a more peaceful one!
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Originally appeared AT
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Evelyn Hecht-Galinski interviews Milena Rampoldi about her book about Ellen Rohlfs
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In this video the most important statements by Milena Rampoldi about her book about Ellen Rohlfs and her poems for the peace in Palestine.
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O HORRIBLE, ILLEGAL OCCUPATION TIME

To all Christian friends and readers I would like to wish a peaceful and contemplative Christmas, also thinking about the freedom of Palestine. Merry Christmas!

I also would like to encourage all Jewish friends engaging in the struggle for a Free Palestine by wishing them a Happy Hanukkah!

Image by Carlos Latuff

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O horrible, illegal Jewish occupation time!

By Evelyn Hecht-Galinski,English Translation by Milena Rampoldi, ProMosaik.

Last year, I wrote down my thoughts on Jesus in illegally occupied Palestine. (1) However, today I will formulate my sentence about the Palestinian Jesus in a different way by saying that today as a Palestinian under occupation he would certainly resist the illegal Jewish occupiers, and his apostles would probably have not established a new religion but a Palestinian resistance movement as a consequence of the illegal Jewish occupation of Palestine.

Palestinian Christians have a daily first-hand experience of what occupation means with the Jewish settlements that surround them making life intolerable. Yes, the misery and injustice of the illegal Jewish occupation of Palestine doesn’t stop even in front of Christians! The Christian and Muslim Palestinians have been sitting together in an occupation boat since decades now, with the only change being that conditions are getting worse from year to year. Together they endure endless humiliation,  countless checkpoints and other forms of illegal settlers’ subterfuge designed to expel the indigenous people from their homeland. Of some million Palestinian Christians only 20% remain in the illegally occupied Palestine and in the “Jewish State”. Desperate conditions and the unemployment force many young people to emigrate with the consequence that both Christians and Muslims are victims of Palestine’s ethnic cleansing. (2)

Despite that, neither the Pope nor German politicians – especially the ones starting with a big C, as for example the President of the CDU/CSU fraction Kauder who is in the frontline when “persecutions of Christians” in Arab countries occur – have condemned this screaming injustice being perpetrated against their Palestinian brethren in faith. When Palestinians are concerned, Mr Kauder keeps silent! Also the pastor’s daughter and Christian Zionist Merkel expresses her solidarity with the Jewish occupiers and land predators rather than with the Christian Palestinians and the Christians in Palestine/Israel suffering from the occupation. Why did Kauder, Merkel and Co. and all the Christian dignitaries up to now only speak at pro-Israeli rallies but never at rallies organized by Palestinians against the illegal occupation of Palestine? Is this a Christian attitude? (3) (4)

Nonetheless, there are still many Christians who do not close their eyes towards the injustice of Palestine’s occupation, like Christoph Reuhs who wrote a very informative field report from Palestine. (5)

What did change this year for the illegally occupied Palestine? A lot, but nothing positive, only that there are more right-wing Jews ruling the “Jewish State” and more and more settlements threatening the existence of Palestine. The strategic Israeli land grabbing of Palestinian land, the occupation of the hills is used by the “Jewish Defence Army” to guarantee its military predominance, and the settlers apply this way of thinking. It is a farce, when Amona, a so called illegal external outpost founded 20 years ago, now should be evacuated according to the court decision of 25 December because it was built on “private” Palestinian property. This is just to show to the world that the “Jewish State” is a functioning democracy.

However, is not the whole illegally occupied Palestine a Palestinian property? Why does the international world community not act if all Israeli settlements are illegal according to international law? Why does this community of hypocrites accept this violation of international law of the worst kind, without imposing sanctions and without stopping any financial support to the Jewish occupiers?

Amona is one of the most untruthful symbols of the legalization of illegal settlements by all Jewish governments to date. Were these accommodation containers not always supplied by the near settlement of Ofra deep in the illegally occupied West Bank? Exactly Ofra was one of the first illegal settlements, built in 1975 on conquered land. Only by the intervention of President Peres, who died some time ago, and was eulogised all over the world as the “Angle of Peace”, this settlement could be built. In 1977 the ex Likud Prime Minister Begin recognised the settlement as legal. So the uninhibited settling on stolen Palestinian land goes on. Sharon, the slaughterer of Lebanon, Construction Minister in the 90ies, and then Prime Minister, allowed the building of asphalt roads, of the installation of sewage systems, and electricity and encouraged the settler of Ofra during a visit to build outposts. And those right-wing Jewish settlers accepted such encouragement with pleasure. Today Ofra is a small city of 3.500 inhabitants, with embellished houses with red roofs, kindergartens, a school, a petrol station, and a perfect infrastructure the illegally occupied Palestinians can just dream about. These Jewish settlers feel strong thanks to politicians and rabbis, they are paid court to by the Netanyahu regime, like the right-wing rabbi Shmuel Elijahu, who had encouraged Israeli citizens not to sell any land to Palestinians and had claimed to totally destroy the Gaza Strip by an area bombing and had called for the execution of Palestinians to guarantee the security of the “Jewish State”. And these are just a couple of samples of this “Judaic Humanism”. (6)

So this Judaic thought, on which the whole jurisprudence of the “Jewish State” and the Zionist ideology are based, became all-day reality before the beginning of the Six-Day War in 1967 with the notorious questions made by the right-wing rabbi Zwi Yehuda Kook, a spiritual and religious mentor of the settlers‘ movement Gus Emunim. He said: “Where is our Nablus? Where is out Jericho? Where is our Kingdom of Israel? Where is the House of God?” It took only one month for the “Jewish Defence Forces” to conquer and occupy the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and East Jerusalem. Zwi Yehuda’s father, Rabbi Abraham Yitzhak Kook, had already been one of the main enablers of religious Zionism in Palestine giving rise to the future crimes of the settlers movement Gush Emunim. He had affirmed: “First we will bring the salvation of the country, then the salvation of the people, and in the end the salvation of the world!” (7)

Such horrifying examples of right-wing rabbis would fill pages: from the infamous sheriff of Hebron, Moshe Levinger, to the racist Dov Lior and the rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder of the infamous Kach Party, and of the murderous Jewish Defence League. The Biblical Racism has become a mass movement in the “Jewish State” and also struggles against Christians in the “Holy Land”. (8)

In fact, by this illegal biblical-Zionist occupation politics, up to now there are more than 120 legalized settlements (which are de facto illegal!) and approximately 100 non-legalised outposts in the illegally occupied West Bank, where in the meantime, with a rising trend, more than 400.000 Jewish settlers live among approximately 2,5 million Palestinians, the legal owner of the stolen Palestine. This condition has only become possible because the hypocrite international community does not really act, apart from showing its reluctant disapproval. So occupation is perpetuated. This illegal and unique Jewish occupation would have been ended a long time ago, if we had wanted. Since, as a German proverb pointedly says: When there is a will, there is a way!

After the unspeakable Trump election as the future US president the forecast or Palestine and the Middle East are significantly bleaker when compared to Israel, the State where the sun rises. With Trump the illegal Jewish occupiers  have found their champion and they sing in harmony: “We are the Champions!” (10)

This Judaic zealotry is overwhelmingly financially supported by Trump, the Jewish fundamentalist US-citizens, and Christian Zionists. This becomes particularly evident if you consider the financial support of this clan to settlements in the illegally occupied West Bank, and in particular to the settlement Bet El. A fund of the future US ambassador David Friedman and of Trump’s daughter’s Ivanka parents-in-law (Ivanka converted to Judaism and is married to Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and political whispering advisor). If we look at this Trump team, the worst nightmares become true. One among many other affronts from Trump towards the Palestinians and all people who engage for freedom and the end of the illegal occupation, is the appointment of such a right-wing orthodox Jews and settlers‘ supporter like Friedman. Friedman is the one always opposed to the two-state-solution and authorising Jews in Israel to settle wherever. Friedman is the one who claims for Jerusalem as the eternally unseparated capital of the “Jewish State”. And Friedman is the one who wants to move the US-embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in cooperation with Trump. According to Netanyahu’s will, Trump is also the one boycotting the nuclear deal with Iran which I hope will not be cancelled. In 2011, Trump was the one who wanted to take the whole Iraqi oil, according to his actual credo “US First”! Let us beware of this “great America”! (11) (12)

This year too Palestine will live again a colonized Christmas under the illegal Jewish occupation. About it I would like to recommend a wonderful text of my friend and highly respected peace struggler Ellen Rohlfs. Her new book is something I would like to recommend warmly to all my readers. It should not be missed under any Christmas tree or as Christmas present. In addition this book is for all people who engage for the end of occupation in Palestine and for the freedom and justice, a wonderful proof of a strong woman always engaging for human rights and for true humanism combatively and poetically! (13)

I do not know if we will ever see the end of the illegal occupation of Palestine. The Palestinian poet and writer Mahmoud Darwish, the lover from Palestine was not allowed to see this longed-for dream become reality. With his impressing poem I would like to say hello to all Palestinians suffering from the illegal Jewish occupation.

PASSPORT

They did not recognize me in the shadows
That suck away my colour in this Passport
And to them my wound was an exhibit
For a tourist Who loves to collect photographs
They did not recognize me,
Ah… Don’t leave
The palm of my hand without the sun
Because the trees recognize me
Don’t leave me pale like the moon!

All the birds that followed my palm
To the door of the distant airport
All the wheat fields
All the prisons
All the white tombstones
All the barbed Boundaries
All the waving handkerchiefs
All the eyes
were with me,
But they dropped them from my passport

Stripped of my name and identity?
On soil I nourished with my own hands?
Today Job cried out
Filling the sky:
Don’t make an example of me again!
Oh, gentlemen, Prophets,
Don’t ask the trees for their names
Don’t ask the valleys who their mother is
From my forehead bursts the sward of light
And from my hand springs the water of the river
All the hearts of the people are my identity
So take away my passport!

To all Christian friends and readers I would like to wish a peaceful and contemplative Christmas, also thinking about the freedom of Palestine. Merry Christmas!

I also would like to encourage all Jewish friends engaging in the struggle for a Free Palestine by wishing them a Happy Hanukkah!

REDEFINING ANTISEMITISM IN GERMANY

It is infuriating how Jews are made victims again in Germany, and how philosemitism has substituted anti-Semitism. On the other hand, Germans who engage for the end of the illegal occupation of Palestine, are  defamed and excluded. The bad conscience of the perpetrators‘ progeny is not entitled to label the victims‘ progeny with a kosher stamp for human rights and international law violations. Since Germans know what a system based on injustice was and is able of doing. 

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Do not buy from Jewish Occupiers!

by Evelyn Hecht-Galinski,  English translation by Milena Rampoldi

A Party Congress Resolution of the CDU has taken over the invented equalisation of the well-thought-out propaganda machinery of the Israel lobby and its sayanim (willing helpers) acting all over the world, according to which the global BDS campaign non-violently engaged for Palestinian rights and against occupation should be equivalent with the Nazi concept “Do not buy from Jews”!

However, it is a fact that the “Jewish State”, since its foundation, has been denying the occupied Palestinians their elementary rights, without no qualms, and that expulsion and land grabbing are part of the Zionist reason of state. What’s more is a system of racist laws, “streets just for Jews” for the illegal Jewish settlements, a settlement colonialism subsidised by the State with the final aim to possess whole Palestine, and the continuous ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

According to the 29th Party Congress Resolution of the CDU in Essen, Germany, the BDS movement was denigrated as anti-Semite; this way the victims of the illegal Jewish occupation of Palestine become perpetuators, a historical distortion of facts which cannot be accepted without protest. In addition, this Resolution takes over the fascist-racist politics of the “Jewish State” of the “good Jews” supporting this state and its politics, while the “bad Jews” criticising the politics of occupation and supporting the BDS campaign, are labelled as anti-Semite. Did the same not happen under the Nazi Regime where Reichsmarschall Göring said “I decide who is a Jew!” And today again German politicians decide who is anti-Semite and who is not, and as a consequence there is a new anti-Semitism defaming unapproved Jews.

It is not significant that the same CDU members, in the future election campaign, bring into play always more questionable subjects like the prohibition of double citizenship and the maximum limit for refugees, or submit main proposals affirming the unilateral “Christian-Jewish Community of Values” against Muslim citizens. And in the end, these proposals just support the right-wing parties and collect their votes. Based on the motto: CDU printed on packaging means that the right-wing German party AfD is inside. However, we notice exactly the same phenomenon in other right-wing populists, from Wilders to Le Pen and from Hofer to Orban, when it is the case of the “Jewish State” and the illegal occupation of Palestine. All keep silent about Palestinian oppression, or stand in solidarity with the Jewish Regime of Occupiers!

It is also anti-Semite, if German Banks like the Bank für Sozialwirtschaft (Bank for Social Economy) cancel the account of the association „Jüdische Stimme“ (Jewish Voice) because of its support to the BDS movement. According to the statement of Jewish Voice the reason for cancellation was explicitly mentioned as being related to “political opinions and activities”.(1)

This outrageous procedure is inconsistent with ethical values, anti-Semite, and part of a sad tradition in Germany. As you can remember, German Banks and their CEO, from Dresdner Bank, today Commerzbank, to the Deutsche Bank, were in first position to cancel Jewish accounts and to actively support the Nazi Regime in its politics of aryanization. A fatal repetition of historical events! If at that time it was the Nazi ideology, which emarginated, dispossessed, expelled, and murdered Jews, today there is the ideology of philo-semitism, infected by the pro-Israel lobby, using the same methods against unaccepted Israel critics and BDS supporters. However, desperate diseases need desperate remedies. If peace organisations or people engaging for the end of the illegal occupation of Palestine get their accounts cancelled, this should set alarm bells ringing. We have to react immediately. For all customers, there is only one reaction and consequence in solidarity with the emarginated Jews: they should immediately cancel their account for protest!

The aimed aggressions against the freedom of speech of organisations, universities, and private people, engaging for a free Palestine, are only possible because the Merkel Government, the UE and the USA still financially, mentally and commercially support the Jewish State by armaments sales, and cowardly silence about the injustice!

The outrageous suggestions of German politicians cooperating with the Israel lobby to pretend from refugees to recognize the existence right of Israel as a requirement for their integration, has no justification at all, as long as this State which has not even defined its own borders, continues its illegal settlement policy by violating international law and carrying out the total ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Also the reception of the empty phrase of the reason of state for the security of Israel by Chancellor Merkel, although the concentration camp in Gaza remains blocked by violating human dignity and international law, the genocide is unatoned, and the illegally occupied West Bank, the illegally annexed East-Jerusalem and the illegally occupied Golan Heights are still judaized by the aggressive land grabbing of the Netanyahu regime. A “Jewish State” basing its existence, at the expense of an illegally occupied people, on crimes against international law and human rights, has no existence right to be supported!

Just recently Prime Minister Netanyahu praised future US-president Trump for his unbreakable friendship with Israel as confirmed on several occasions by his closest consultant, his Jewish son-in-law Kushner and for the announcement of the planned transfer of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as eternally “undivided” capital of the “Jewish State”. And now Netanyahu will try to tip the Nuclear Agreement with Iran during his announced visit to Washington for a meeting with Trump. (2) (3) (4)

There is a new, horrifying initiative: under the auspices of Andreas Casdorff, editor-in-chief of the Berliner Tagesspiegel and Bild publisher Kai Dieckmann started a cooperation, in the guise of the promotion of a Holocaust memory culture in cooperation with the Israeli Holocaust memorial place Yad Vashem in order to send young editors under 30 to targeted seminars at companies and to events, in which also the Israeli Prime Minister, the President of the State of Israel, and the international high officials will participate. So in the end, they will be „enthusiastic for Israel“ and expose all according to the people inviting them. The results are visible today, if these journalists, as requested, write for the interests of the “Jewish State” and defend them. In this context, an incredible propaganda machinery of the Israel lobby comes into roll. So we have to ask ourselves about the newspaper, supporting this initiative – Berliner Morgenpost, DPA, Handelsblatt, Hufftington Post, JDB Media, Kölner Stadtanzeiger, Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, Rheinische Post, Rhein Zeitung, Sächsische Zeitung, stern.de, Südwest- Presse and Bild am Sonntag – if we can read them without prejudice by taking their information for granted without criticising them. I would like that the answer to this question is “no”! (5)(6)(7)

However, this is exactly the problem, in particular of German media; who can take them seriously with this nepotism and the connection with politics and stakeholders! A sad and dangerous political cartel aiming at all democratic habits.

We should never forget the Holocaust, and the same applies to the Nakba, the catastrophe of the displacement and dispossession by the Jewish State, also a consequence of the Holocaust!

This is a particular incentive to engage more than ever for the liberation of the illegally occupied Palestine. And this is precisely the meaning of “Do not buy from Jewish Occupiers”!

Hanns Eisler, the famous Austrian composer born in Leipzig, also created a sensation with his political works. I think that his “Ernste Gesänge” are as great as this wonderful sentence I would like to conclude my commentary with:

“I think we have to rethink the past. Who wants to have a future, has to cope with the past. He must purify himself from the past to be able to brightly move into the future”.

 

Originally appeared AT

THE CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE AGAINST PALESTINE

The Palestinian Conflict has almost disappeared from the headlines with the added tragedy that it is regarded in media and political circles as being “unsolvable” and consequently something to be ignored.

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The Conspiracy of Silence must be broken!

By Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, English Translation by Milena Rampoldi, edited by William Hanna

The Palestinian Conflict has almost disappeared from the headlines with the added tragedy that it is regarded in media and political circles as being “unsolvable” and consequently something to be ignored. Occasionally a not too critical article – almost apologetic – will appear with careful avoidance of anything that may offend the Jewish lobby and its friends. Meanwhile in the illegally occupied Palestinian Territories the Palestinian people’s hope for freedom and a state of their own remains an unachievable dream.

While the daily expansion of new settlements is facilitated by Apartheid legislation whose brutal oppression violates all democratic principles, the Netanyahu regime can more than ever before safely relax with its Zionist smugness.

This is because the world community is too occupied in disguising the provision of arms and participation in illegal wars as being necessary and a blessing for humanity. While the EU is fast crumbling and becoming a populist time bomb fused with differences, Merkel and her colleagues have lost all sense of reality. This Chancellor – who always holds her “values” like a shield – has made no effort, not even a token gesture, to justly solve the Palestinian conflict. Such shameful inaction is also shared by party colleagues from the German Social Party (SPD), the Green Party and the Left who routinely submit to the interests of the Israel Lobby.

While Merkel presents herself as alternative-less leader of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and chancellor, the Middle East with its debris and ash is abandoned by a German Government intent on avoiding its obligation to support Palestine in its struggle against the injustice of the occupation.

Anti-Semitism has long since been replaced by philo-Semitism which is a more than dangerous phenomenon. A recent example of this occurred in Greece where the German Minister for Foreign Affairs, Steinmeier — choking with emotion — was made an Honoured Member of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki. In fact, there have been numerous “Jewish” awards and honours for German politicians. This is the way Israel buys “friends” who then remain silent as gutless and complicit observers of the Jewish state’s crimes against humanity.

Even worse, is the fact that any criticism of Israel is labelled as “anti-Semitic” so that Germany has become a paradise of philo-Semitism. There is, however, a ray of hope because Volker Beck – having a sense of mission as “main philo-Semite” – was penalised by his colleagues in the Green Party who refused to give him a place on the list for the German Parliament despite his having the support of prominent Jews including Dieter Graumann, the ex-President of the Central Council of German Jews, the current President Josef Schuster, and Andreas Nachama of the Foundation Topographie des Terrors (Topography of Terror). Before the “Leo Baeck” prize winner and Talmud devoted Beck discovered the usefulness of  philo-Semitism, he wrote an essay published in an anthology published in 1988 that called for the “de-criminalisation of paedophilia.” This fact, however, was of no consequence for the supporters of this VIP. The same applied to his drug story which was shelved after he paid a 7000 Euro fine. Beck is currently sitting on his morally high throne while not shrinking from defamation against my dead friend Walter Herrmann and the Kölner Klagemauer.

It is shameful how German politicians go out of their way to provide support for the Jewish state of occupation; how the German media is complicit by not reporting the occupation crimes committed daily; and how the conspiracy of silence, continuous in the face of the Jewish state’s repression which includes measures against women, children, young people, and even journalists! There is no sense in arguing about this because in Germany this grave situation will not change as has been repeatedly confirmed by my friend Ilan Pappe.

During this Advent season it should perhaps be an incentive for “Zionist Christians” such as Merkel and Co. to think about the Christians and Muslims in Palestine who are denied their religious freedom by the Jewish occupiers.

Time is running and as the “Jewish State” – which has never intended having a “Two-State-Solution” other than as an illusion – continues with the ethnic cleansing so as create conditions that will make the illegal settlements permanent. This also concerns the illegally occupied Golan Heights, conquered by the “Jewish Defence Army” in 1967 and which Israel declared a closed military zone thereby preventing some 100.000 displaced former inhabitants from returning to their native villages.

Even the Syrian Civil War has proved to be advantageous for the Jewish occupiers who feel free to indulge themselves with occasional air strikes because the perception persists that anything Israel does is acceptable, while token Palestinian resistance against an unjust and barbarous persecution is regarded as terrorism.

It is therefore understandable that they try to hide both the expulsion of more than 700.000 indigenous Palestinians during the Nakba which led to the establishment “Jewish State,” and the subsequent displacements in the Golan Heights because there is nothing that the “Jewish State” fears more than the truth. Consequently, it is of vital importance the Nakba is publicised throughout Germany as an important contemporary historical document!

Since 2011, the so-called “Palestinian Papers” have revealed that the Palestinian Leadership, the “Vichy Abbas” Authority, was ready to make extensive scandalous concessions such as for example wanting to renounce East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian State and the legal right of Palestinians to return.

Those secret protocols definitively proved that Israel has never wanted a peace that would require giving back the illegally occupied territories to the indigenous population and the self-abasing the Palestinian Authority. The “Jewish State“ will not be satisfied until it has all of it which will happen as the illegal settlement is extended and made permanent with courtesy of financial support for the illegal occupation, and reduced pressure from the U.S. and the EU for an end to settlement expansion.

As a consequence, there is no reason why the “Jewish State” should start the peace process while the Abbas System can be maintained in a “Utopian State,” wooed by the world community as “moderate leadership.” There is nothing that is better suited for the Jewish occupation power. We recently witnessed the Abbas show, when 1400 representatives re-elected him without there being any democratic elections, either under the Jewish occupation power or under the Abbas Regime because both know that the “twilight of the Gods” would then come. The young people who have been for decades rebelling against the betrayal of this old guard and the lethargy of their parents, are unfortunately the main victims

Consequently the only realistic option available is resistance against the all-powerful occupation, condemnation of Israel by all responsible citizens, and support for the BDS movement.

While here in Germany and Europe everyone warns against right-wing populists, in the Jewish State right-wing fascists are left undisturbed to complete the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in accordance with the “Christian-Jewish” values of this alliance of mendacious hypocrites. The conspiracy of silence over the illegal occupation of Palestine is a complicit violation of international law that must be broken. Have courage! Let us be indignant in the struggle against the illegal occupation and for a Free Palestine!

 

FROM

ISRAEL IS BURNING ~~ THE VIDEO

Israel is burning – a brave article by Evelyn Hecht-Galinski

Text originally posted as (Click on link)

‘ONLY HE TO WHOM THE LAND DOESN’T BELONG TO IS CAPABLE OF BURNING IT’

‘ONLY HE TO WHOM THE LAND DOESN’T BELONG TO IS CAPABLE OF BURNING IT’

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Recently Israel was ablaze. The government was quick to declare the fires ‘arson’ set by Palestinians to destroy the land ….

But the reality is ….

“Only he to whom the land doesn’t belong is capable of burning it”.

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Only he to whom the land doesn’t belong is capable of burning it

by Evelyn Hecht-Galinski

English translation by Milena Rampoldi, , edited by William Hanna  

With regards to the recent fires in the “Jewish State” we can only agree with Naftali Bennett who tweeted: “Only he to whom the land doesn’t belong is capable of burning it”. He is the right-wing Minister of Education and the President of the Party “Jewish Home” and the “Settlers‘ King” who made of the racist settlers‘ party a powerful coalition partner within the Netanyahu regime. And it is him who dreams of  Eretz Israel, the Great Israel, from the Mediterranean to Jordan, and in addition wants to annex big parts of the illegally occupied West Bank.  

Who does the land belong to? Certainly not to the ethnic cleansing Jewish occupiers who have displaced the indigenous Palestinian people. As a consequence of the fires, Bennett and his right-wing colleague, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called for an expansion of Jewish settlements on occupied land and promptly authorized the building of 500 new settlement units! Also in this instance, the coward members of the German Government have remained silent because for them the existence of “a Jewish state” takes an important priority over human rights and international law.

This raises the question of “why is the Jewish state burning?” The majority of the hundreds of millions of trees planted since the Nakba by the Jewish National Fund, are conifers and particularly pines. The trees were planted for the benefit of the Jewish European immigrant ethnic cleansers so as to enable them to feel at home in a land for which they had no love, but simply wanted to possess.

Since Biblical times, trees planted in Palestine were suited for the dry land – such as olive trees – which were vital for the livelihood of Palestinian farmers and their families. Other trees included carob, mulberry, and low oaks which were all ecologically suitable vegetation. Such trees were and are still being systematically destroyed by the Zionist intruders to deprive the Palestinians of their livelihood.

This raises a further question of whether the current and previous fires – such as the 2010 Mount Carmel forest fire – were natural or cases of deliberate arson. The use of European monoculture to transform the “Jewish State” into a “Small Switzerland” is, however, doomed to failure. From the beginning, the Zionist intruders spoke about “Arabs” condescendingly with the Palestinians and their land being referred to as  “uncultured” and “uncultivated” as compared to the blossoming “Jewish” landscapes which alone were worthy of praise.

Consequently the effectiveness of this hasbara (propaganda) has deceived the whole world into overlooking the ethnic cleansing of Palestine while accepting Israel’s “green-wash” disinformation including that relating to the drainage of important lakes and water sources of the indigenous Palestinian inhabitants. The scarcity of water for Palestinians has been further exacerbated by decades of unrestricted theft by Israel of Palestinian water that is then used to supply the illegal settlements. The extensive damage caused by such water theft in the illegally occupied West Bank and the barbarically blockaded Gaza Strip is indescribable! So far,  the endless decades-long ethnic cleansing of Palestine has been tolerated by the hypocritical international community in general, and by the West and Germany in particular.

From the beginning, Zionism’s aim has been to erase the memory of the Nakba by rewriting history in favour of Israel and Judaising the map of Palestine. Such blatant “Nakba denial” must be also criminalized in line “Holocaust denial.” It is not without reason that the powerful Israel lobby repeatedly endeavours to prevent exhibitions that present the truth about the “Nakba” and the brutal forced expulsions that preceded and followed the Israeli Declaration of Independence.

Since its foundation in 1948, with its Zionist exclusive right to the stolen land, the “Jewish State” has not only systematically violated human rights and international law, but also all accepted ecological standards. The destruction of Palestinian fields and olive groves; the systematic poisoning of fields of Palestinian farmers; and the ethnic cleansing by the “Jewish State,” Jewish settlers, the Jewish National Fund JNF/KKL under the guise of green-washing and international sponsorship that only served the colonialism of an Apartheid Jewish State. In this regard, Germany stands guilty of always donating more woods in the name of German Federal Regions or with the name of politicians (Mißfelder!) for the JNF and Israel. While Palestinians are displaced and their trees destroyed, German politicians spectacularly plant trees in the “Jewish State” like German Foreign Minister Steinmeier!

It is frightening that to this day the false Zionist sound bite of “a land without people, for a people without land” continues to justify land expropriations despite international human rights laws prohibiting such practices. A particularly bad example in this context is the so called “Canada Park” grassed for millions of Dollars by the Himnuta Organisation, a 99% subsidiary company of JNF/KKL on the ruins of Palestinian villages, with secret financial sources and expenses. (1)

For these “green-washers” the future US-President Donald Trump comes just at the right time, having already supported Israel’s right to have Jerusalem as its capital! Under the guise of environmental protection — at the expense of the Palestinian people, and by means of the land dispossession supported by German-Israeli projects in forestry and irrigation — this will in time become possible through continual illegal occupation and by dispossession of the land and water resources of a people “thirsty for justice”.

Without the displacement of Palestinians there would be no “Jewish State.” It was the infamous Josef Weitz, President of the Jewish National Fund, and one of the most fanatic advocates of “transferring” the Palestinians who in 1940 noted in his diary that  “the transfer does not just pursue the aim to reduce the Arab population, but it also serves for the second objective which is not unimportant and consists of emptying the land cultivated by Arabs to make it free for Jewish settlement. The only solution is to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighbouring countries. We have not to omit neither one village nor one tribe.” All this and much more is cited by Ilan Pappe in his commendable book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

To this day, this “transfer” concept has been is the policy of both politicians in the “Jewish State” and of Jewish Saloon-Zionists in diaspora. That policy has included as its first priority the denial to Palestinian refugees their legitimate right of return to their homeland so as to conquer all of Palestine – in violation of international law – for a strictly “Jewish start.”

However, as long as the duplicitous Western “community of values” is complicit in this injustice, and as long as the blazing flames of the illegal occupation are not extinguished, the “Jewish State” will burn.

“Only he to whom the land doesn’t belong is capable of burning it” – what a truth!
From the River to the Sea Palestine will be free!

Written FOR

TEN DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD AND THE US ELECTIONS

On the 7th of November 1917 the Bolsheviks took power in Russia putting an end to the Tsarist dictatorship that ruled their country for decades …

On the 8th of November 2016 a different type of revolution will take place in the USA, this time putting an end to the America we once knew and loved.

Even if you believe in the principle of non-interference in other’s internal affairs, the US is interfering with all of us. Its elections are likely to influence us more they do to most US citizens…

Whichever candidate wins, the people of America and the rest of the world lose

Whichever candidate wins, the people of America and the rest of the world lose

My fellow Blogger Yoav Haifawi posted the following on his Site Free Haifa, It’s a MUST read.

Sorry America, It is not YOU, it is US (*) …

Lessons from the USA election campaign

The coming elections in the US supplied an extraordinary drama, watched with both enthusiasm and disdain almost all over the world. If this is the most important democratic election for the most influential leadership position in the world, the scarcity of the debate about the real issues at stake must make people ask substantial questions about democracy. The identity and performance of the candidates, especially Republican Donald Trump, and the fact that an enormous establishment, with millions of people and billions of dollars, couldn’t produce a more respectable candidate, must raise even more substantial soul searching questions about the human nature.

The Big Picture

Lenin once said that, while the yellow press floods us with lies about everything, the good serious capitalist press feeds us with plenty of facts and information in order to hide the big picture. In the rest of this post I will try to relate to some of the big issues that all this election campaign and all the serious fact-finding and analysis around it are either ignoring or trying to hide…

Trump promises to “make America great again”. Clinton is trying to out-perform Trump’s patriotism by claiming that mighty America is as great as ever and couldn’t be diminished. But the whole election campaign is only a small animated illustration to the fact that the USA is not what it used to be.

The people of the US are famous for their ignorance of the world outside their borders. But for the last hundred years the fate and meaning of the USA, call it “greatness” or “the big Satan” or “imperialism” or “leader of the free world”, was not about what happens inside these borders but developed around its role as the strongest and finally the only world superpower.

This time is over. And it is not over because America became any smaller. It is over because we, the rest of the world, succeeded somehow to grow.

China’s rise, USA’s decline

In 2012, in one of the first posts in this blog, I presented an optimistic view on China’s rise. Let me try to sketch here in raw lines an optimistic view about America’s decline, or rather the decline of the North American imperialism.

First ask yourself what is “America”? Talking about the United States as “America” already ignores and marginalizes most of the people living in the American continents from Canada in the north to Chile and Argentine in the south. The population of the US is hardly a third of the almost billion people that live in the Americas. This naming that ignores your neighbors is only a symbol of the disregard toward and tramping over the people of the rest of the world…

Second, how do you define greatness? No doubt, at least when we speak about the most capitalist nation, that the economy is playing a central role in it. What most readers of the mainstream media might have easily missed is the “small” fact that the US is no more the biggest economy in the world. According to “The World Factbook”, a site maintained by the CIA, in 2015 China’s GDP (measured by purchasing power parity) was 19.7 trillion dollar, almost 10% more than the US’s 18 trillion. In fact China has already become the biggest economy in the world in 2014.

But this raw measure is far from revealing the whole picture. China’s economy is in a positive momentum, while the US (and the rest of the imperialist powers in Western Europe and Japan) failed to get their economies back on their feet after the 2008 world financial crisis. To hide this we can read every day articles about the “slowdown” in the Chinese economy, which means that it is developing steadily at 6-7% yearly. In China’s planned economy they build modern cities (no shanty towns there) for 300 million people that will move from their villages to the cities over the next 15 years – that alone is like building a brand new USA or Western Europe.

The difference between a rising productive power and a declining parasitic empire is illustrated as we look at the relations of the two economies with the outside world. According to the same source, China’s exports at 2.1 trillion are 40% higher than the US’s 1.5, while its imports at 1.6 are only 70% of the US’s 2.3.

The good jobs that went to China, manufacturing everything from steel to trains to computers and smartphones, are not such good jobs any more. They don’t pay western salaries. It is just that people around the world can now buy all of these things much cheaper. This is another reason why we don’t cry with our USA brothers.

China is a different kind of world power. Its 1.3 billion people made all the way from being one of the poorest people on earth, just fifty years ago, to the top of the world economy by hard work and (relatively) good management. They are the first great world power that didn’t gain its place through occupation and exploitation of other nations. This in itself is a basic fact to think about and a major reason for optimism.

Imperialism is not working any more

The hegemony of the Western powers, and over the second half of the 20thcentury the hegemony of the USA, enabled them to dictate the world division of labor and the terms of trade to the benefit of the big multinational capitalist companies. This was the source of the “good jobs” that the US and European citizens are now longing for. 80% of humanity was forced to sell its resources for cheap and work for pennies in marginalized agriculture or industry and serve as an open market for the Western developed economies.

After direct colonialism and military occupations were not sustainable any more, neocolonialism and neoliberalism served the same hegemony very well. In the second half of the 20th century, almost any local leader in the 3rd world that tried to do something to develop his country was either deposed or assassinated by agents of the USA. Look for the fate of Patrice Lumumba in Congo, Mohammad Mossadegh of Iran, Sukarno from Indonesia, Salvador Allende of Chile and Omar Torrijos of Panama, to name just a few.

Bloody dictatorships, regional wars, civil wars, ethnic cleansing, bombing and occupation – no cruelty was too much to force the subjugation of the third world – the vast majority of humanity – to imperialist rule. In the nineties, after the fall of the Soviet Union, there seemed to be no challenge left to the imperialist rule. By that time most 3rd world countries were under some form of sanctions by the “international community” for this reason or that. Real commodities prices, representing the terms of trade of the 3rd world, reached unprecedented historic lows (see graph taken from a study by David Jacks in NBER). The global gap between the starving majority and the prosperous imperialist center seemed widening forever.

But every party has its hangover. There came the surge of noisy protests at trade conferences and summits of the world imperialist leaders. There were the world social forums, looking for alternatives. When neoliberalism drove Argentine into an economic wall, mass mobilization casted away one government after another and brought to power (in 2003) the leftist Peronists, which refused to pay Argentine’s international debt. When, out of the blue, crazy Arab militants kidnapped airplanes and flew them into the WTC in New York, some people in the USA started to ask “why do they hate us?”

The empire tried to strike back to re-establish its authority, but somehow the world was not responding as expected. In 2002 the army in Venezuela tried to repeat the CIA coup scenario that worked so well in Latin America before, but the masses took to the streets and reinstated Hugo Chavez. When the US army occupied Iraq in 2003, it found that defeating the Iraqi army was the easiest part of it. Popular resistance made the occupation unsustainable and the ensuing US-imposed government in Iraq ended up doing business with China and closer politically to Iran, which is supposed to be the strategic rival of the US in the region. The US ended up burning about one trillion dollar in Iraq for no obvious benefit, (killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and destroying the lives of millions is nothing to count in world politics). It was about the same one trillion that were missing in its coffers when it financial system collapsed in 2008.

From Argentine to Iran, from Cuba to Sudan and Zimbabwe, when the Western powers were trying to force economic blockade of undisciplined third world nations, we’ve seen the new China factor. There is almost nothing you can’t buy in China these days. Over the last fifteen years the gap between the imperialist centers and the 3rd world started to contract. For the first time talking about “developing countries” doesn’t sound so hollow.

Dangerous curves ahead

Being optimist doesn’t mean that you should ignore the dangers ahead. One fact that makes the next period combustive is that while the USA is a declining economic power it still holds the strongest military by far. An irresponsible US president may try to use this power to try to “make America great again”. I do not think that there is a real danger that the USA can make itself the top world power again, but in the process of trying it can easily destroy humanity.

We have seen president Obama declaring his pivot to East Asia, trying to build all kind of military alliances in the region to contain China. We have read the capitalist media writing endlessly with running tears about the danger to World Peace from China building some artificial islands, while they see no danger in the easily preventable death of thousands of refugees in the Mediterranean and have little problem with the continuing killing of hundreds of thousands of Arabs in civil wars in Syria and Yemen.

Some good friends that are fed up by US interventions in our (and other) region(s) are hoping for a Trump victory. They believe it will be such a disgrace that it will accelerate the process of diminishing US influence worldwide. It could happen. You can forgive them if they are ready to sacrifice the US itself for another period of internal racist tension and upheavals. But as I see that the decline of US power is irreversible, and the main danger today is from a desperate attempt to reverse it, I wouldn’t recommend taking the pill that may kill you.

It is us, the people

I would like to finish with one more optimistic note about democracy in the USA and in general. When we speak about democracy we should look for the substance, not any symbolic representation. How much power people really have to control their future?

First start with what comes up in mind in this election, the qualities of the candidates… It is my humble opinion that the candidates in this election are not basically morally different from most candidates over the last decades. I think the main difference is that now we know much more about everything, including about the candidates past, their connections and obligations to the capitalist class, etc. The other factor that comes up in this election is that most people are angrier and less tolerant to the behavior of the candidates – only that they differ about their priority target for anger. So, even as there is no positive alternative in sight, we see that the basic balance of power between the establishment and the people is changing as a result of technological progress, education and the crisis of the system.

Second the content of democracy is not the “consumerist” free choice between Coca Cola and Pepsi, as many US elections used to be. Till now voters in Iran had more diverse options (consider Ahmadinejad vs. Khatami) and more influence about the general direction of the regime than US voters used to have. In this election for the first time a more profound option, the vaguely socialist Bernie Sanders, came anywhere close to be counted.

The US is not ripe for true change, but in this election it already raised the glass ceiling that prevented women from contesting the presidency, and it may have its first Ms President. Not a small change if you remember that women are allowed to vote there only since 1920.

The greatness of US imperialism left its people weak and helpless. It deprived them of free education and health care that are taken for granted in many much poorer countries. It made them work longer hours and be thrown to the dogs if they are not useful to the machine. If they are Native Americans, Black, Muslims or Hispanic they may be terrorized or humiliated. The only statistic in which the US leadership is unchallenged worldwide is the rate of incarceration.

While the US multinationals had the power to rule and rob the world, ordinary people could only run endlessly along the predesigned competition for career and consumerism, with minimal control over their own lives and no say about the future of their country.

Now, as the system is disintegrating, it is the time that the people will take control of their lives. The American people (from Canada to Argentine, NY & Texas included), like all the people of the world, will be the winners from the demise of US imperialism.

(*) Comment about the title

I don’t know whether you share my associations – so I may explain.

It is a common saying in “relations”, when a guy leaves a girl (or vice versa), that he tries to be nice and says: “It is not you, it is me”. Meaning, don’t blame yourself. I’m “not built for a lengthy connection”. It is intended to be polite, but as it became an easy pattern it is thought to be nasty.

I wanted to start with “Dear America” to emphasis the romantic cord – but many of my readers are too angry at “America” and may have no patience with my literature niceties…

But my American readers are really dear to me, and I hope they will find this piece somewhat consoling in these hard days.

THE PSEUDO-ZIONISTS AND THEIR DIRTY WAR AGAINST TRUTH!

“Beware of anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism, but also beware of all what tries to make you silent and of those who want to put all people criticising the oppressing Israeli politics as anti-Semites into pigeonholes.”

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by Evelyn Hecht-Galinski

Who are the real anti-Semites and what do philo-Semites and anti-Semites have in common? Is it not anti-Semitism when Jewish organisation consultants and Sayanim, their covert political and media helpers, subject them to enforced censorship? Which raises the question of whether the Central Council of Jews in Germany is being anti-Semitic and racist when it does everything to prohibit all kinds of projects, conferences, and events including those with Jewish speakers or to deny them public financial support? All of which culminates in censorship and event cancellations which result in the general public being denied the right to have an informed opinion.

So by exploiting false and unjustified accusations of anti-Semitism — which are particularly sensitive in Germany — against upright people who refuse to be cowed, pseudo-Zionists nonetheless manage to get favourable media coverage while the critics of Israeli policies are pilloried and denied their democratic right for freedom of speech.  It is patently evident that the pro-Israel lobbies try to prohibit any conferences or events that engage in factual documentation of what Israel is really doing in the occupied Palestinian territories. Even in Germany, discourse within the media and politics has been restricted to an unimaginable level.

My old friend Walter Herrmann, who has since unfortunately passed away, and his unforgettable and groundbreaking Kölner Klagemauer (Cologne Wailing Wall) always felt the effect of this. While constantly criticising the injustice and criminality of the “Jewish State”, he was inundated with lawsuits and slanders. Even after his death, his legacy was still portrayed in a negative and hateful light by different lobbyists and Israel understanders such as the olive-green politician Volker Beck. While the photos of murdered children of the “Genocide in Gaza” which he displayed on the “Wailing Wall in Cologne” elicited outrage and demands that they should not be shown, politically driven prime time media broadcasts, showed photos of mutilated and starving children from Syria or Africa, thereby in effect censoring and selecting the news and images that are put before us!

In the meantime, the phenomenon of the selection of “good” and “bad“ Jews and “good” and “bad” Muslims is the measure of all things. All criticism against the racist, Apartheid state of Israel is immediately branded as “hate against Jews” and “Anti-Semitism.” And all that the “Jewish State” does for its “security” is presented to us as a shining example and model. The strategy of concepts, the war of words is alarming. The Zionist “word creators” have been a political project of enormous significance since the foundation of the “Jewish State” from which time propaganda had a most important role with a board which served as the department of the Prime Minister and worked to complete the ethnic cleansing of Palestine also on a linguistic level! (1)

In fact, for dictatorships and “ethnocentric systems” it is particularly important to hide their crimes with linguistic distortions and inventions of words. In the meantime this variant about how to make politics by language is sold to the citizens so that by complicated linguistic creations almost nobody understands the real facts of the case.

While politics in Germany become more and more “remote from citizens,” people are surprised if parties like the right-wing AfD attract certain voters and sympathisers with their “simple” words like rat catchers. While “ethnic pipe dreamers and race theorist” such as Thilo Sarrazin are positively reviewed in German over-regional media and can stay in the German Socialist Party without any consequences, critics of Israel are subject to completely different treatment. The powerful Israel lobby has ensured that they can neither talk in parties nor in feuillotons or talk shows. And while the self-appointed critics of Islam have enjoyed prosperity and become favoured amongst the “media Gods,” critics of the “Jewish State” have become outcasts whose voices are to be avoided.

While the secret war against the BDS movement and its activists was started on a global scale that was financed by U.S. $45 million from the Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs, critics of Israel encountered the implications directly (2).

In Germany, the government and its close media representatives do their best to make political concepts more and more incomprehensible. Did we not have a similar propaganda ministry in the past working almost in the same way? Already at that time there was fertile ground for many propaganda concepts. What is alarming in this context, is the constant level loss, beginning with the widely read newspaper Bildto which even governing politicians make reference to explain their political orientation. In fact, we are concerned with a dangerous political education programme. This is the shape of national dulling in Germany! Of course, in this context we have avoided mentioning that the newspaper Bild is in the frontline of this linguistic war for the “Jewish State” and extends the “long arm of Netanyahu” to Germany through the media.

So it is not surprising that the newspaper Bild pulls out of its hat a Jewish journalist by letting him compare Aleppo with the Holocaust … this relativization is left to certain Jews.

And what happens in Syria, is a war that was planned long ago with the aim of a “regime change,” an intriguing and proven method employed by USA and its henchmen. While jihadists are armed and supported by the Western Alliance, Russia comes to help Assad. And the well-known patterns are repeated: Russia is the mass murderer, while the upright USA just wants the best for the people (this is exactly what we can observe in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya).

In view of the fact that Israel supports the Nusra front, we should ask: Who benefits from this? The answer is of course the “Jewish State,” because a weakened Assad Regime helps to maintain the annexation of the Golan Heights with shameless violations of international law and crimes against humanity.

This is not just a case of a Holocaust and genocide of people, but also of a brutal proxy war shamelessly manipulated by an Israeli journalist who compared the Holocaust with Aleppo. Instead of such a heinous diversionary tactic, it would have been more appropriate and timely for an “Appeal from Israel“ to stop the illegal Judiazing and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. (3)

As soon as the hate campaigns of Springer and Bild started, the Sayanim occupied themselves by completely supporting this struggle. In Germany it is a shame that political parties and political leaders are more concerned with the dubious, inexistent “right of existence” of the “Jewish State” than with freedom of expression.

Jewish German or foreign citizens are not allowed to express their opinion. They are defamed as anti-Semites and denigrated only because they show civil courage and are opposed to Israel’s illegal occupation policies; support the BDS campaign; or openly identify themselves as “anti-Zionists.”

So who are the real Anti-Semites? The real anti-Semites are the political representatives who want to prevent Jewish citizens in Germany from speaking out or expressing their opinions. In this context it is interesting that in particular again and again German citizens whose parents or grandparents were deeply involved in the Nazi crimes persist in this deviation. Because of guilty feelings and their compensation, a philo-semitic exaggerated love towards Jews has become a very particular, second anti-Semitism.

The manipulation of the holocaust, shamelessly exploited by Jewish organisations and the “Jewish State”, is the most awful phenomenon after the shoah, which in the long run does not support either the murdered Jews or the “Jewish State.”

It is anti-Semitic if the suffering of the murdered Jews in Germany is misused to whitewash actual crimes of the Israeli State. It is totally immoral for Jewish officials to brand Jewish citizens as anti-Semites; and promote prejudice against Muslim immigrants and citizens by accusing them of anti-Semitic ideas and hate against Jews (like Charlotte Knobloch! does). But do Jewish officials not have a particular duty of care with concepts and language? In reality, it is exactly the opposite: they promote prejudice and make islamophobia socially acceptable and oppose freedom of speech. While DITIB is denigrated as anti-Semitic, and while Jewish critics of Israel have to endure hate speeches, Jewish organisations and the “Jewish State” – in spite of their international law violations against the Palestinian people – have been rewarded. While Amnesty International has just produced a well-documented accusatory report about the pattern of illegal murders and about the shocking disrespect for human lives, universities and conferences and their speakers who talk about these awful conditions are portrayed as “Jews‘ haters” which in Germany is like an employment ban. (4)

If we do not stop this trend, I am very pessimistic about the freedom of speech in Germany. All that is not suitable is hushed up. The fatal reality is that the German media has increasingly become an instrument of the U.S. whose continuous propaganda constitutes brainwashing. And it is a fact that by constant repetition the person gets more and more indifferent and memorises what should be questioned.

However, in the constant rabble-rousing against Russia, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon because the Germans – unlike most politicians and media pundits – are not stupid and want good relations with their Russian neighbours. Even more shocking is the behaviour of the Green and Conservative Parties with the infamous Marieluise Beck and Göring-Eckart constantly promoting the right-wing trend of the Green Party. While they kowtow to the “Jewish State” and U.S. war crimes, they oppose Putin, Erdogan and Assad. In future, these awful hawkish policies must defeated at the ballot box!

Therefore, I would like to conclude this article with the following quotation by Bishop Desmond Tutu which all democratic forces in Germany, the media, and political leaders should carefully consider:

“Beware of anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism, but also beware of all what tries to make you silent and of those who want to put all people criticising the oppressing Israeli politics as anti-Semites into pigeonholes.”

Originally appeared in German AT

English translation by Milena Rampoldi, ProMosaik, edited by William Hanna

HELEN KELLER; BLIND, DEAF, BUT FAR FROM DUMB

A childhood illness rendered this dear woman blind, deaf and dumb ….

Yet, in adulthood she saw more than most people, heard of the injustices facing humanity and spoke volumes about it all.

“What are you committed to,” an interviewer asked her in 1916, “education or revolution?” “Revolution,” Keller replied.

The following poem was written in honour of her 136th birthday on the 27th of June

teacher-by-helen-keller-3-728

THREE LIVES

© By Tom Karlson

born June 27th, 1880

partial death two years later

coffined by the fever

without sound, without light, without words

for six years

hot and cold, odors, winds, vibrations

tantrum without words

nightmare without sound

 

blind deaf mute

but wait

Anne Sullivan is coming

grave robber and miracle worker

teaching Helen

turning lips into words, thoughts, visions

teaching Helen Braille, finger spelling,

signs and speech

vibration into pitch

pitch into Beethoven

thought into books, speeches

 

thought into action

socialism, the IWW,

labor rights, women’s rights, civil rights anti war

joins Debs’ Socialist Party

when Debs was jailed

when the ACLU was founded

Helen carried the card

when communism was under fire

Helen joined the fray

 

our blind deaf Helen roars

sees, hears, talks and writes of evil

the evils of war

the evils of exploitation

the evils of capitalism

MUHAMMAD ALI WAS A POWERFUL, DANGEROUS POLITICAL FORCE

His life was one of polarization and reconciliation, anger and love, and a ferocious, uncompromising commitment to nonviolence, all delivered through the scandalously dirty vessel of corruption known as boxing. Few have ever walked so confidently and casually from man to myth, and that journey was well earned.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Image by Carlos Latuff

Don’t remember Muhammad Ali as a sanctified sports hero. He was a powerful, dangerous political force

by Dave Zirin


Muhammad Ali
‘s saga is without parallel: the champion boxer who was the most famous draft resister in history; a man whose phone was bugged by the Johnson and Nixon administrations yet who later was invited to the White House of Gerald Ford; a prodigal son whom his hometown city council in Louisville, Ky., condemned, but who a few years later had a main street renamed in his honor and today has a museum that bears his name.

His life was one of polarization and reconciliation, anger and love, and a ferocious, uncompromising commitment to nonviolence, all delivered through the scandalously dirty vessel of corruption known as boxing. Few have ever walked so confidently and casually from man to myth, and that journey was well earned.

As football great Jim Brown said to me last year: “It was unbelievable, the courage he had. He wasn’t just a championship athlete. He was a champion who fought for his people…. The man used his athletic ability as a platform to project himself right up there with world leaders … going after things that very few people have the courage to go after. From the standpoint of his ability to perform and his ability to be involved with the world, Ali was the most important sports figure in history.”

To this day it is awe-inspiring that he once bellowed ‘God damn the white man’s money’ at a time when such words were more than shocking — they were sacrilege.

Or, as Bill Russell said in 1967 in supporting Ali’s decision to risk five years in prison for resisting the draft: “I envy Muhammad Ali…. He has something I have never been able to attain and something very few people possess: He has absolute and sincere faith. I’m not worried about Muhammad Ali. He is better equipped than anyone I know to withstand the trials in store for him. What I’m worried about is the rest of us.”

Ali’s death, however, should be an opportunity to remember what made him so dangerous in the first place. The best place to start would be to recall the part of him that died decades ago: his voice. No athlete, no politician, no preacher ever had a voice quite like his or used it as effectively as he did. Ali’s voice was playful, lilting, with a rhythm that matched his otherworldly footwork in the boxing ring. It’s a voice that forced you to listen lest you miss a joke, a gibe or a flash of joy.

Retired New York Times sportswriter Robert Lipsyte said to me, “Before everything else, what I’ll remember about the young Ali was that he was so much fun.” And that his voice had a physical beauty that “beat you to death with his attractiveness.”

With that voice, face and body, the man Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. could have been Michael Jordan before Jordan: an icon of ungodly wealth and conspicuous consumption.

But Cassius Clay chose to be Muhammad Ali and do something different with that voice. He used it to speak out from a hyper-exalted sports platform to change the world. He joined the Nation of Islam in frustration with the pace and demands of the civil rights movement. He was willing to go to jail in opposition to the war in Vietnam. But one has to hear the voice, and read the words, to understand what exactly made it so dangerous and, by extension, made it all matter.

Imagine not only an athlete but a public figure telling these kinds of unvarnished truths. To this day it is awe-inspiring that he once bellowed “God damn the white man’s money” at a time when such words were more than shocking — they were sacrilege.

It is awe-inspiring that, when facing five years in prison, Ali said: “I strongly object to the fact that so many newspapers have given the American public and the world the impression that I have only two alternatives in this stand — either I go to jail or go to the Army. There is another alternative, and that alternative is justice. If justice prevails, if my constitutional rights are upheld, I will be forced to go neither to the Army nor jail. In the end, I am confident that justice will come my way, for the truth must eventually prevail.”

He was equally moving when he said on another occasion: “Boxing is nothing, just satisfying to some bloodthirsty people. I’m no longer a Cassius Clay, a Negro from Kentucky. I belong to the world, the black world. This is more than money.”

In 1967, long before it was obvious to most, Ali connected the black freedom struggle to the injustices of the war in Vietnam, saying: “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No, I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again: The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality…. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people, they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”

We haven’t heard Ali speak for himself in more than a generation, and it says something damning about this country that he was only truly embraced after he lost his power of speech, stripped of that beautiful voice. Ali may have seemed like he was from another world, but his greatest gift was that he gave us quite a simple road map to walk his path. It is not about being a world-class athlete or an impossibly beautiful and charismatic person. It is simply to stand up for what you believe in.

Political courage might seem to be in short supply, but it was inside a young boxer from Louisville who dreamed about being King of the World. Goodbye, Champ. Rest in power and peace.

 

Be sure to see YESTERDAY’S POST

REMEMBERING MUHAMMAD ALI’S ‘FIGHTS’ OUTSIDE THE RING

REMEMBERING MUHAMMAD ALI’S ‘FIGHTS’ OUTSIDE THE RING

Ali’s official time of death was 9.10pm MST on Friday, and the cause of death was septic shock due to unspecified natural causes. He did not suffer.

Bella Ciao dear Brother

How we remember the Champ

How we remember the Champ

 

‘I Just Wanted to Be Free’: The Radical Reverberations of Muhammad Ali

by Dave Zirin

The reverberations. Not the rumbles, the reverberations. The death of Muhammad Ali will undoubtedly move people’s minds to his epic boxing matches against Joe Frazier and George Foreman, or there will be retrospectives about his epic “rumbles” against racism and war. But it’s the reverberations that we have to understand in order to see Muhammad Ali as what he remains: the most important athlete to ever live. It’s the reverberations that are our best defense against real-time efforts to pull out his political teeth and turn him into a harmless icon suitable for mass consumption.

When Dr. Martin Luther King came out against the war in Vietnam in 1967, he was criticized by the mainstream press and his own advisors who told him to not focus on “foreign” policy. But Dr. King forged ahead and to justify his new stand, said publicly, “Like Muhammad Ali puts it, we are all—black and brown and poor—victims of the same system of oppression.”

When Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island, he said that Muhammad Ali gave him hope that the walls would some day come tumbling down.

When John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their fists on the medal stand in Mexico City, one of their demands was to “Restore Muhammad Ali’s title.” They called Ali “the warrior-saint of the Black Athlete’s Revolt.”

When Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) volunteers in Lowndes County, Alabama launched an independent political party in 1965, their new group was the first to use the symbol of a black panther. Beneath the jungle cat’s black silhouette was a slogan straight from the champ: “WE Are the Greatest.”

When Billie Jean King was aiming to win equal rights for women in sports, Muhammad Ali would say to her, “Billie Jean King! YOU ARE THE QUEEN!” She said that this made her feel brave in her own skin.

The question is why? Why was he able to create this kind of radical ripple throughout the culture and across the world?

What Muhammad Ali did—in a culture that worships sports and violence as well as a culture that idolizes black athletes while criminalizing black skin—was redefine what it meant to be tough and collectivize the very idea of courage. Through the Champ’s words on the streets and deeds in the ring, bravery was not only standing up to Sonny Liston. It was speaking truth to power, no matter the cost. He was a boxer whose very presence taught a simple and dangerous lesson fifty years ago: “real men” fight for peace and “real women” raise their voices and join the fray. Or as Bryant Gumbel said years ago,  “Muhammad Ali refused to be afraid. And being that way, he gave other people courage.”

My favorite Ali line is not him saying, “I hospitalized a rock. I beat up a brick. I’m so bad I make medicine sick” or anything of the sort. It was when he was suspended from boxing for refusing to be drafted into the Vietnam War. He was attending a rally for fair housing in Louisville when he said, “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality…. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d jointomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”

Damn. This is not only an assertion of black power, but a statement. It’s a statement of international solidarity: of oppressed people coming together in an act of collective resistance. It was a statement that connected wars abroad with attacks on the black, brown and poor at home, and it was said from the most hyper exalted platform our society offered at the time: the platform of being the Champ.

Please know that these views did not only earn him the hatred of the mainstream press and the right wing of this country. It also made him a target of liberals in the media as well as the mainstream civil rights movement, who did not like Ali for his membership in the Nation of Islam and opposition to what was Lyndon Johnson’s war.

But for an emerging movement that was demanding an end to racism by any means necessary and a very young, emerging anti-war struggle, he was a transformative figure. In the mid-1960s, the anti-war and anti-racist movements were on parallel tracks. Then you had the heavyweight champ. Or as poet Sonia Sanchez put it with aching beauty, “It’s hard now to relay the emotion of that time. This was still a time when hardly any well-known people were resisting the draft. It was a war that was disproportionately killing young Black brothers and here was this beautiful, funny poetical young man standing up and saying no! Imagine it for a moment! The heavyweight champion, a magical man, taking his fight out of the ring and into the arena of politics and standing firm. The message was sent.” We are still attempting to hear the full message that Muhammad Ali was attempting to relay: a message about the need to fight for peace.

Full articles can and should be written about his complexities: his fallout with Malcolm X, his depoliticization in the 1970s, the ways that warmongers attempted to use him like a prop as he suffered in failing health. But the most important part of his legacy is that time in the 1960s when he refused to be afraid. As he said years later, “Some people thought I was a hero. Some people said that what I did was wrong. But everything I did was according to my conscience. I wasn’t trying to be a leader. I just wanted to be free.” Not the fight, the reverberations. They are still being felt by a new generation of people. They ensure that the Champ’s name will outlive us all.

Bill Russell said it best in 1967. “I’m not worried about Muhammad Ali. I’m worried about the rest of us.” That is more true than ever.

A Real Champ!

In April 1967, Ali refused to be drafted and requested conscientious-objector status. He was immediately stripped of his title by boxing commissions around the country. Several months later he was convicted of draft evasion, a verdict he appealed. Credit Ed Kolenovsky/Associated Press

In April 1967, Ali refused to be drafted and requested conscientious-objector status. He was immediately stripped of his title by boxing commissions around the country. Several months later he was convicted of draft evasion, a verdict he appealed. Credit Ed Kolenovsky/Associated Press

Also see THIS post from the archives

MESSAGE TO OBAMA: YOU CAN’T HAVE MUHAMMAD ALI

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