BEX ALERT ~~ HOW GREAT THE OCCUPATION IS FOR GAZA’S CHILDREN

“A few minutes ago, a group of 23 children from Gaza crossed through ‎Erez Crossing to have a day of fun in Israel,” the Tuesday post stated.

COGAT said the children “went for a walk through the #‎naturereserve Gan HaShlosha (Sahne) in the north of the country,” and wished them “a day full of fun and adventure.”

mage of Gaza children taken for a day out at a nature reserve by Israel’s COGAT occupation authority. COGAT posted the image on its Facebook page.

Image of Gaza children taken for a day out at a nature reserve by Israel’s COGAT occupation authority. COGAT posted the image on its Facebook page.

Israeli propaganda stunt exploits Gaza children

During the most brutal days of apartheid in South Africa, the racist regime produced reams of propaganda, including glossy magazines that “featured images of wonderful wild animals, sunsets and happy Black people on the beach.”

As South African author Ron Nixon documents in two books, Operation Blackwash and Selling Apartheid, such propaganda was often generated under the guidance of the regime’s intelligence agencies, with the aim of counteracting growing international criticism and pressure.

“Operation Heartbreak”

One scheme, part of a campaign backed by the racist government in the late 1980s, was cynically dubbed “Operation Heartbreak.” It involved a Black US pastor bringing a group of American children to deliver dolls to members of Congress.

“Each doll represented a child who would be harmed by the sanctions Congress had imposed on South Africa,”Nixon writes. “Organizers of the event also said the dolls represented children harmed by the tactics of the African National Congress and its all-out war against the apartheid government.”

These propaganda messages failed to stop the growing momentum for boycott, divestment and sanctions on South Africa – pressure that eventually helped bring down the white supremacist regime and usher in a non-racial democracy.

But similar tactics are now being revived by the apartheid government of Israel, as part of its all-out assault against the BDS movement.

Nowadays, the same type of bogus grassroots campaigns make the same type of claims that BDS hurts Palestinians more than it helps them.

These claims aim to distract from the devastating economic impact and human rights abuses directly caused by Israel’s occupation and illegal colonization of the West Bank.

Israel’s propaganda

The manipulative South African propaganda came to mind when I saw a Facebook post by COGAT, the Israeli military authority that rules the lives of millions of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“A few minutes ago, a group of 23 children from Gaza crossed through ‎Erez Crossing to have a day of fun in Israel,” the Tuesday post stated.

COGAT said the children “went for a walk through the #‎naturereserve Gan HaShlosha (Sahne) in the north of the country,” and wished them “a day full of fun and adventure.”

LIVE: A few minutes ago, a group of 23 children from #Gaza crossed #Erez Crossing to have a day of fun in #Israel pic.twitter.com/KsYncAERE0

— COGAT (@cogat_israel) April 26, 2016

The occupation authority posted photos of the children, including the one at the top of this article, with their faces blurred, on Facebook and Twitter.

“Cool,” commented Gaza writer Refaat Alareer sarcastically, “Now we Palestinians feel OK about the thousands of kids Israel has murdered and the seven decades of occupation, oppression and humiliation.”

It should be noted that this is the same COGAT that routinely blocks patients from Gaza, including children, from leaving the besieged territory for lifesaving treatment.

In the first 10 months of 2015, COGAT denied 1,035 Palestinians in Gaza exit permits to receive necessary treatment in the occupied West Bank, present-day Israel or Jordan. That represents almost twice as many denials as were issued the entire previous year.

And yet when it is helpful to Israeli propaganda, COGAT allows a few children out of Gaza for a single day.

Destroying children’s lives

Israel has tried to pull off a propaganda stunt with Gaza children for a while – an effort to use orphans from Gaza in a similar manner was foiled in 2014 when Hamas put a stop to it.

Palestinian media, citing Israeli media, reported that this time the trip was given the go-ahead by Hamas after the intervention of Qatar.

The defenders of such cynical gimmicks will undoubtedly claim that critics like myself, or Alareer, are against Palestinian children having fun; of course we are not.

I am against Israel imposing conditions that historian Ilan Pappe has termed “incremental genocide” against 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza, about half of whom are aged 18 or under.

I am against Israel massacring 551 children as part of its most recent war in Gaza and then claiming this as “self-defense.”

I am against Israel destroying vast swathes of Gaza then blocking reconstruction by maintaining a siege, which although devastating to Palestinians is very lucrative for Israeli companies.

According to a recent survey by the UN monitoring group OCHA, 44,000 Gaza children whose homes were destroyed in the 2014 Israeli attack are still displaced.

“Around 225,000 children in Gaza require psychosocial support and child protection services,” the report adds.

Will Israel allow them all to visit a nature reserve?

I am against Israel’s systematic abuses of Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, including routine killings with no accountability and the fact that Israel is the only country in the world to annually prosecute hundreds of children (Palestinians only) in military courts.

I am against all this and I am also against Israel then using a very tiny number of children from Gaza in a photo-op to falsely portray itself as benevolent and caring.

Ironically, the propaganda – or hasbara – appears to have backfired, at least with many of the Israelis who reacted with outrage to COGAT’s post.

“Shame on you,” wrote Leat Bodenheimer in a typical comment, “There are lots of Jewish children who would have liked this and instead you went and took a murderous enemy in the hope that they will love you.”

Such pervasive attitudes toward Palestinians underscore that the children of Gaza are not victims of a natural disaster who just need a nice day out to forget their woes.

They are victims of Israel, its brutal wars, racism, occupation, settler-colonialism and siege. They need an end to Israel’s oppression and they need justice for what Israel has done and is doing to them.

Israel’s cynical exploitation of these children should cut no more ice with anyone who cares about Palestinian rights than the crude South African propaganda did with those committed to ending apartheid.

Update

Shortly after this article was published, COGAT appears to have deleted the Facebook post. Perhaps even they figured out that this propaganda would not fly.

#InIsrael ~~ APARTHEID SANCTIONED BY THE COURT

Dozens of Arab families who were planning to build homes in the Jewish city of Afula have lost their leases to the land after an Israeli judge said that they illegally coordinated their bids.

“It’s so unjust,”  “If this is not racism, so what is?”

telavivap

Israeli Judge Says No to Arabs Building in Jewish Town — Cites Bidding Woes

Dozens of Arab families who were planning to build homes in the Jewish city of Afula have lost their leases to the land after an Israeli judge said that they illegally coordinated their bids.

Last November, hundreds of Jewish residents of Afula protested the prospect of Arab neighbors after Arab families won tenders to build 47 houses in the northern Israeli city. Demonstrators demanded Afula mayor Yitzhak Meron revoke the tenders, calling him a “traitor” and a “terrorist.”

A group of Jewish families who bid and lost tenders for the land first complained to the Israel Land Authority, contending that the Arab bidders had been in coordination with one another. The ILA rejected the complaint saying that it was natural for bidders with personal connections to exchange information, said Haaretz.

The Jewish families then took their petition to a Nazareth court.

On Sunday April 24, a Nazareth judge ruled in favor of the Jewish families. He said that the Arab families had organized their bids so they weren’t competing against each other and coordinated prices in a manner that “upset the market’s natural balance,” according to Israel’s Ma’ariv newspaper.

Their coordination “seriously harmed the principle of equality, a principle that is at the foundation of tender law,” the judge said.

Itai Cohen, a representative of the Jewish families told Maariv: “This is a day of celebration for Afula, and particularly for those who were concerned about the the fate of the city’s Jewish makeup.”

According to Abdullah Zoabi, a lawyer representing four Arab families, the judge did not rule that the Arab families were disqualified from trying to bid on the land again. Abdullah said he was waiting to learn whether the state would intervene and limit the bidding to Afula’s Jewish residents.

Arab lawmakers are calling foul on the Nazareth court, saying the decision was driven by racism. Knesset Member Basel Ghattas told Maariv that the court’s decision reflected the “spirit of racism that has been sweeping the country. These state institutions have always used planning and construction laws to deprive Arabs of their lands and rights, and the Nazareth District Court’s decision gave a seal of approval to a petition that was lodged exclusively out of racist motives.”

The Nazareth judge invalidated the entire group of tenders, saying that the entire bidding process was “defective” and there was no way to exempt those who did not coordinate. Zoabi’s four clients were found not to have coordinated, but they lost their right to build anyway. He said he that the four families will appeal the decision to the Israeli High Court.

Iman Sharary told the Forward she was extremely disappointed to learn that the Nazareth judge disqualified her family building in Afula. She wanted to lease the land in Afula for her sons and their families, since land is at a premium in Yafia, the village where they grew up. She believes that the judge’s decision was racially motivated.

“It’s so unjust,” she said. “If this is not racism, so what is?”

She said that she and her husband, Riad Sharary, did not coordinate their bid and that she had no idea who the other Arab bidders were. Now, she is looking for a new place for her sons to settle down.

“I’ll find other places. It’s not Afula or nothing,” she said. “There are other places that are much less aggressive and much less humiliating and much less threatening.”

TOOSDAY’S TOONS ~~ A LOOK AT ISRAEL TODAY

Images by Carlos Latuff

Who’s REALLY inciting hatred?

As right-wing incitement spreads in israel, Bibi looks to extinguish fire he stoked for years

As right-wing incitement spreads in Israel, Bibi looks to extinguish fire he stoked for years

“Justice” Denied Access to Records on Arms Sales to Rwanda During Genocide

Cg5cQV1XEAAnR6z

IT’S A MAD, MAD WORLD

It's a Mad, Mad World … and Getting Madder

It’s a Mad, Mad World … and Getting Madder


We have a choice of trains: greed and self-interest train
taking us over the cliff OR the train of collective work towards a
sustainable future.

               TRAINS AND MADNESS
               By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

When we watch the way the world currently works, we can get extremely
depressed. Just the last few days we saw Israelis in their thousands
celebrate the release of a murdering occupation soldier who was videotaped
executing a wounded Palestinian. While 12-year old Dima Al-Wawi was
just released from 3 months of Israeli gulags, hundreds of Palestinian
children are still imprisoned unjustly by an occupation that has gone on
far too long. We noted the vote rigging and rigged “election process” that
will ensure Americans have a choice between apartheid-supporting,
war-mongering and corporate-backed liar (Hillary Clinton) and an
apartheid-supporting, war-mongering, women-bashing, racist cheater (Donald
Trump). Both of those very wealthy individuals would tighten the noose on
Americans and Palestinians as they lick the boots of the Israel lobby. Both
would continue the wrecking process of the US economy that ensures the
elimination of the Middle Class and making the rich richer and the poor
poorer.

As I am in Italy now, I noted many people speaking out about the murder of
Giolio Regeni and the hypocritical western backing of genocidal governments
of Egypt, “Saudi Arabia”, and “Israel”. But the train of oppression
continues thanks in part to “mental occupation” of many people’s minds who
refuse to see the reality. Thousands are still drowning as they try to flee
the conflicts that are generated by Western Governments (it turn in
compliance with their Zionist lobbies). The American-Israeli- Wahhabi/Saudi
alliance is still hoping to “win” against local resistance in places like
Yemen and Syria. A whole generation of young people are lost and even if
peace would come soon (unlikely considering the array of greedy
billionaires getting enriched and the pervasive apathy of millions), it
will take many decades to recover from the devastation. Seven million of us
Palestinians are still refugees or displaced people and the number rises
weekly as Israel commits more ethnic cleansing. Our history of the past
seven decades is a history of accumulating atrocities by a racist genocidal
entity relentlessly focusing on transforming Palestine from a
multi-religious and multicultural society to a “Jewish state of Israel”.

As those elites divert energy of people towards fear of the other, endless
“manageable conflicts”, and basically begging for jobs that are essentially
slavery, the rich get richer while the earth is being pillaged at an
accelerated pace. I am reminded of the latter on earth day (April 22). On
April 22, 1970 over 20 million demonstrated in the US for a healthy,
sustainable environment. For 46 years, the people held events marking
“earth day”. However, greenhouse gas emissions have increased
uncontrollably and the Paris summit on Climate Change recently acted as a
feel good for governments that wanted to relieve the pressure via PR
efforts.  Occasionally lazy politicians utter words. Mahmoud Abbas for
example said that settlements damage the Palestinian environment. He was
challenged on it and his office seems reluctant to find environmentalists
and ask their opinions. His is actually an understatement of colonial
settlement impact on our environment.

Madness could come to any who contemplate this Orwellian world we came to
live in. Madness did come to many people we know and others decided to take
action. Some decided to take their own lives in striking back at the system
(in the 1960s it used to be “sticking it to the man”). Others took more
modest symbolic actions. Nearly five years ago, we were arrested as we
engaged in riding the bus: Palestine freedom riders. Push back is
coming in many shapes and forms against the neo-liberal, no-colonial world
order. Literary stars learned what is going on and are now writing more on
the occupation. Truth is coming out as more and more books are written
that expose Israeli crimes against humanity (even by Israeli authors)[8].
The BDS (boycotts, divestment, sanctions) movement is picking up steam even
as Israeli apologists and lobbyists try to stifle it in Western Countries 
British Doctors Demand Israel’s Expulsion From World Medical
Association.  Truth is coming out even in unexpected corners like
Israel’s use of LGBT communities to pink-wash the occupation/colonization.

I guess one can summarize many things by saying that there is some pushback
from humans against the unfeeling and powerful machine that is grinding
humans and bringing humanity to the brink of collapse. Yes this struggle
(between greed and humanity, war and peace etc) has existed since the dawn
of human civilization. But never in our history were the stakes so high:
our own continued existence on this planet. That is why the pressure is
building and it stretches our resources and our abilities. Yet, humanity
must rise to this existential challenge. Indeed “you can’t be neutral on a
moving train” (Zinn). Many people are joining the struggle, millions more
are needed. The sane action we can do is to join the larger struggle. The
insane thing to do would be to be so focused on our own immediate needs
that we become like “consumerist robot slaves” while the elites lead us
like lemmings to the edge of the cliff.

BTW, my trip to Siena was very productive developing new partnerships for
peace and justice. As I prepare to go back to Palestine (last talk I give
is Tuesday), I am more determined than ever to pursue the course of
speaking truth to power and thinking globally while acting locally. While
we occasionally have pressures, occasionally see the betrayal of
individuals who decide to go over to that dark side (greed, selfish
interest etc), we are sustained by those who stay the course and the many
who join it. I see this even in the small scale projects that we do like
the Palestine Museum of Natural History and the Botanical garden. Rare
people come and go thinking they need to watch their own interests
(actually damaging their long term interests) but more and more people
commit to join a bigger cause that actually helps all have a sustainable
future. Thus we have a choice of trains: greed and self-interest train
taking us over the cliff OR the train of collective work towards a
sustainable future. The choice has never been clearer and never been more
consequential. Please email us if you would like to switch trains. All
aboard!

				

ISRAEL NEEDS A GOOD CLEANSING

Not this kind ….
Image by Carlos Latuff
latuff-deportation
Jewish mothers used to go into a cleaning frenzy a week or so before the Festival of Passover. All traces of leaven (chametz) had to be removed from the home before the onset of the holiday.
*
Modern folk have determined that dust is not chametz, so there is less madness involved in the cleaning process, but Israel has added a new dimension to the situation; Arabs must be removed as well as the leaven.
*
CLEANSING THE LAND OF BREAD AND ARABS

My maternal grandmother was a simple Shtetel Jew. She came from a place not much different than the small town portrayed in Fiddler on The Roof.
 *
Traditionally the womenfolk from those areas were uneducated in matters of anything other than home making and child raising, while the menfolk studied their Holy Books for hours on end. Life was simple for them, and they themselves were basically a very simple folk.
*
I remember my grandmother going through the frenzie of cleaning the house this time of year…. the traditional Passover cleaning. All traces of leaven had to be removed from the home before the start of the Holiday. To her, that process included the removal of any trace of dust or smears on the window panes. The house sparkled when she was finished. Most of our non Jewish neighbours were going through the same process, but simply called it ’spring cleaning’, ridding the house of all unwanted matter, including broken furniture and junk.
 *
I remember asking my grandmother why she was going through such a frenzie…. her answer was simple and to the point…. “If a Jew eats bread during Passover he will die!” That was what she was taught, that’s what she taught us….
 *
In Israel today, things are not much different than life in the Shtetel when it comes to Passover preparations. But today there is a growing number of non observant Jews as well as a growing number of non Jews. This is a threat to the lifestyle of the self imposed Shtetel Jew living here today.
 *
Christian Pilgrims from abroad, as well as local Christians are denied access to their Holy Sites. Where is the uproar against this?
 *
Where is the uproar against the Neanderthal rabbis that have recently called for the expulsion or the genocide of the Palestinians? WHERE??? As in previous years, the Palestinians living on the ‘other side’ of the great wall of apartheid will be sealed in for the duration of the Holiday (8 days), literally making the State of Israel Arabrein for that period of time. Where is the uproar against this? WHERE???
Israel does need a cleansing… a good one; not only of bread during the Holiday season but also of hatred. Both are violations of the Holy Teachings.
The above is a repost from the archives

GOING BEYOND CHUTZPAH

 chutzpah_1

Does Israel want the Palestinians to thank her for not exterminating them once and for all? 

Needless to say, this is a classical example of “going beyond Chutzpah” 

By Khalid Amayreh in Jerusalem

Khalid Amayreh challenges Jews to abide by the tenets of their religion:

 

Like apartheid South Africa did to Justify its repulsive approach toward its majority black citizens, Israel is making all sorts of similarly despicable arguments to justify its decades-old evil occupation  and systematic persecution of Palestinians. 

As some of us remember, the apartheid South African regime had argued that black South Africans ought to be grateful to the White regime for giving them employment and enabling them to have a semblance of decent life. 

The White regime’s PR machine would shamelessly argue that “Our black citizens have a higher standard of living than other fellow black people anywhere in the continent.” 

When I was studying in the states in the 1980s, I remember a visiting high ranking official from the apartheid regime boasting about the high living conditions enjoyed by blacks in South Africa in comparison to the rest of the continent. 

“Ask them (South African black majority): would they prefer to live in South Africa or in Zimbabwe,” the official said. 

What is wrong with this argument is that it doesn’t really distinguish between humans and animals. In the final analysis, humans, unlike animals, don’t live by bread alone. They are also entitled to freedom and dignity. This is the crux of the matter which fascist and racist regimes love to ignore. 

Today, apartheid Israel is making virtually the same arguments to justify and defend its manifestly criminal treatment of the Palestinians. 

Thus, whenever Israel’s sinister occupation is criticized, we see that big-mouthed Israeli officials and professional hasbara liars try to make black look white and the white look black by claiming that Palestinians are better off than most other Arabs. 

Now, as the BDS movement is gaining momentum to the chagrin of the Israeli establishment, Israeli officials and other hasbara mouthpieces are becoming more brazen in their defensive but mendacious discourse. 

And, yes, as usual, lying is their modus operandi. 

They are saying the Palestinians ought to be thankful to Israel for not treating them like Bashar Assad or Abdul Fattah Sissi are treating their own peoples. 

One Zionist pundit wrote recently that were Israel to follow Arab rules, all Palestinians would have been expelled from “the Land of Israel along time ago.” 

Needless to say, this is a classical example of “going beyond Chutzpah” 

After all, since when the Hitler of Damascus, who murdered half a million of his own people, and the virulent tyrant of Cairo, who usurped power from the only truly democratically elected regime in Egypt’s history, were role models for the world to be followed or emulated? 

So, Israel, “the purported light upon humanity” wants the Palestinians to thank Israel for murdering their children on the spot in the West Bank, and not burning them alive by way of dropping barrel bombs on their homes and schools as Assad is doing in Syria. 

Yes, Israel would like to see the Palestinians “thank” her for conducting slow-motion genocide whereas “human-rights unfriendly states” would pursue fast-motion genocide” and get rid of the problem once and for all. 

But it is only sick and depraved minds that are capable of making such nefarious   arguments. 

Otherwise, we should thank the Iberians Catholics for not playing by the rules of Old Testament and exterminating every Jewish man, woman and child during the inquisition!! (Israelis are embarrassed when explaining the Tsfarad Geroush” (the Spanish inquisition” because it reminds them of something they don’t like to remember, namely the golden age Jews had undergone in Islamic Spain!!! 

According to the morbid logic we hear from some Israeli officials, we should also thank the Nazis for building the concentration camps relatively later in the course of the Second World War, because had these death camps been established earlier, a greater number of Jews would have perished. 

Yes, sickening arguments are only the product of sick minds. 

Today, in its rabid reaction to the non-violent BDS movement, Israel and its hasbara shipyard dogs, from Sydney to California, are arguing that it is the BDS campaign, not the malignant occupation, that is hurting the Palestinians. That it is the BDS movement that is impeding the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, not the ubiquitous proliferation of settlements, inhabited by fanatic cutthroats who believe spilling more innocent blood would expedite and accelerate redemption and salvation!! 

I don’t what sort of Torah are those people reading and following: The Torah of Moses or the Torah of Satan? 

Well, in the Torah of Moses, Jeremiah 7:6, the God of Israel equated oppressing strangers living amongst Israelites with the greatest sin ever in Judaism, namely the unforgivable sin associating gods with God. 

And in Exodus 22:21: The Almighty commands the Israelites, telling them in straightforward manner” Do not mistreat or oppress a stranger, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” 

Don’t tell me I am being selective or quoting things out of context. For even the Talmud, who Orthodox Jews consider the verbal Torah, states that true Jews are not supposed to oppress non-Jews living in their midst: 

Let us consider the following Talmudic story which sums up the point I am trying to make: A heathen came to Shammai with the request to be accepted as a convert to Judaism on condition that he would be taught the whole of the Torah while he stood on one foot. The Rabbi drove him away with a yard-stick he was holding. The heathen then went to Hillel with the same request. Hillel said to the man what is hateful to yourself, don’t do to your fellow man. That is the whole of the Torah and the remainder is but commentary. “Go, learn it.” 

VIDEO ~~ SANDERS A NO GO IN ISRAEL

Israelis are not feeling the Bern in Jerusalem

By Dan Cohen For Mondoweiss

On Monday, April 11, 2016, I went to Jerusalem’s Zion Square to ask Israelis for their thoughts on Bernie Sanders, the Jewish-American presidential candidate.

No anti-Zionist himself, Sanders said this week that he would take a “more balanced position” while guaranteeing Israel’s security. Last week, he called Israel’s use of force in the 2014 assault on Gaza “disproportionate” and said that “a lot of innocent people were killed who should not have been killed.”

Last week, Sanders confused the number of Palestinians injured with those killed in Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza, saying, “I happen to believe … anybody help me out here, because I don’t remember the figures, but my recollection is over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza. Does that sound right?”

Despite qualifying his estimate, which was quickly corrected by his interviewer, Sanders was attacked by prominent Israel supporters and Hillary Clinton. Israeli Member of Knesset and former American accused Sanders Michael Oren of advancing a “blood libel,” and by MK Yair Lapid said he is promoting Hamas “propaganda and deception.” The Anti-Defamation League demanded that Sanders correct his misstatement.

Nearly all of the Israelis I spoke to had strong dislike for Sanders, and many disparaged him, even disqualifying him as a Jew.

Interestingly, that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton had less support than Sanders, despite her pandering to American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) where she pledged to take the US-Israel relationship to the “next level.” Still polls show that Israelis prefer Clinton to Sanders and that Clinton and Donald Trump are tied in the race for president.

*

Yet they they feel the love for Trump …

On Monday, April 11, 2016, Dan Cohen went to Jerusalem’s Zion Square to ask Israelis for their thoughts on the US presidential race and most Israelis he spoke to spoke fondly of Donald Trump. Trump’s brash speaking style resonated with them, and few seemed phased by his statements that he would be neutral on Israel/Palestine. Those who did preferred Ted Cruz, the Texas senator who has promised to be more pro-Israel than any other candidate.

FRIDAY’S TOON ~~ ISRAELI ARMS SALES DURING RWANDAN GENOCIDE TO REMAIN SEALED

Image by Carlos Latuff

Israeli "Justice" Denied Access to Records on Arms Sales to Rwanda During Genocide

Israeli “Justice” Denied Access to Records on Arms Sales to Rwanda During Genocide

*

Click on link to read related post

Records of Israeli arms sales during Rwandan genocide to remain sealed

Supreme Court denies attorney’s petition to reveal defense exports to the African country, citing risk to national security, foreign relations

UPDATED POST ~~ VIDEO ~~ A JEW AND AN ARAB WALK INTO A BAR … AND THE REALITY IN ISRAEL TODAY

(See report below for today’s update)

From yesterday …..

We went out dressed in an Arab/Muslim and Jewish traditional outfit, walked hand to hand in public to see how people react.

The results are telling.

a_t_up05

Four ways Jews and Arabs live apart in Israeli society

The two communities have separate societies, attending different schools, living in different cities and espousing different political ideals

*
Bezalel Smotrich, perhaps the most right-wing member of the current Knesset, caused a storm when he endorsed the idea that Arabs and Jew should be segregated in Israel’s maternity rooms.
*
Smotrich was responding to a report on the Israel Broadcast Authority that several hospitals practice de facto segregation of maternity rooms — placing Jews with Jews and Arabs with Arabs. Such segregation is prohibited by law.

“There are mental gaps, and it’s more comfortable for both sides to be with themselves,” Smotrich, a member of the religious Zionist Jewish Home party, tweeted on April 5. “It’s really not racism.”

In a subsequent tweet he wrote that it’s “natural that my wife wouldn’t want to lie next to someone who just gave birth to a baby, who may want to kill her baby 20 years from now.”

Smotrich’s remarks were panned by lawmakers from left and right, including Naftali Bennett, the leader of Jewish Home. Responding to Smotrich, Bennett tweeted a rabbinic passage about man being created in God’s image, adding, “Every man. Jew or Arab.”

Jews and Arabs are afforded equal rights under Israeli law. But in many ways, the two sectors live in separate societies — attending different schools, living in different cities, reading different newspapers and espousing different political ideals.

Unlike the prescribed, top-down segregation supported by Smotrich, much of this separation stems from longstanding structural factors like language, culture and religion.

“In most places, there’s no problem. The Arab population lives in totally Arab villages,” said Nachum Blass, a senior researcher at the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies.

But the divisions between Israeli Jews and Arabs, who represent 20 percent of the population, have also contributed to economic disparities between them. And despite laws meant to prevent discrimination, Arabs point to studies showing persistent disparities in education, social services, income and political participation.

“There’s definitely discrimination in every aspect” of Israel’s education system, Taub said.

Nongovernmental organizations and government bodies have worked to promote a “shared society” in economic development, higher education and the labor market.

Here are four ways Jews and Arabs live apart in Israeli society.

Jews and Arabs attend separate schools.

Israel’s schools are separated by both religion and race. Jewish students attend either secular, religious or ultra-Orthodox schools, while the Arabs attend separate Muslim, Christian and Druze systems taught in Arabic. Of the 1.6 million total students in grades 1 through 12 last year, fewer than 2,000 attended the handful of joint Jewish-Arab schools.

The split education system, where students are taught in their own language and according to their own cultural norms, according to Blass, “answers the [Arab] community’s needs.” But it has also led to lower educational achievement among Arab Israelis.

In 2012, two-thirds of non ultra-Orthodox Jews qualified for university, as opposed to less than half of Arab students. Israel’s universities are more integrated, but Arabs make up a low proportion of students. In 2012, Arabs made up only 12 percent of bachelor’s degree students, and 4 percent of doctoral students, according to Sikkuy, an organization that aims to foster Jewish-Arab coexistence.

Jews and Arabs live in separate towns.

In addition to studying separately, Israeli Jews and Arabs mostly live in separate cities. Two of the country’s largest cities, Jerusalem and Haifa, have substantial Arab populations, but even those cities are often separated by neighborhood. Nearly all of Jerusalem’s Arab residents live in the eastern half of the city.

Aside from a handful of other mixed Israeli towns, most of the country’s cities are more than 90 percent Jewish or Arab. Though Arabs make up nearly 20 percent of Israel’s citizenry, the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, Israel’s largest, is nearly 95 percent Jewish.

The Jewish-Arab division is also marked by economic gaps. Arab cities have higher poverty rates and, in general, worse municipal services than their Jewish counterparts. Eight of Israel’s 10 poorest towns are Arab. The richest 30 are Jewish.

“It’s not a problem in principle to live in different places,” said Rawnak Natour, co-director of Sikkuy. “There needs to be a possibility to live together, that there will be [cultural] symbols and the ability to encompass the different cultures.”

Their political leaders rarely work together.

Israel often points to its Arab-Israeli lawmakers as proof of the country’s democratic chops. Arabs hold 16 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, and the body’s third-largest party, the Joint List, is Arab. Arabs have also risen to the top of other branches of government, including sitting on Israel’s Supreme Court.

But Israeli Arabs’ political leadership perpetually sits in the Knesset’s opposition, and few politicians in the government are Arab, such that the two communities’ agendas rarely align. The only Arab in Israel’s political leadership is the deputy minister of regional cooperation, Ayoub Kara, who is part of the Druze minority.

Arabs are barely present in Israel’s mainstream media.

Lucy Aharish, the young Arab co-host of a morning show on a leading Israeli TV station, speaks accent-less Hebrew, has gained admirers for her forthrightness and was even honored with a role at the country’s official torch-lighting ceremony on Independence Day.

But she’s one of the few Arab faces and voices Israelis will see and hear on their TVs and radios. Israeli Arabs have their own active press, but they are vastly underrepresented in mainstream Israeli media, comprising fewer than 3 percent of total interviews on leading Israel stations in January and February, according to a study by Sikkuy and the Seventh Eye, a media watchdog.

The number drops even lower when it comes to news segments not directly related to Israeli Arabs. Aharish’s Channel 2, for example, spoke to only 11 Arabs out of more than 5,500 total such interviews in January.

“You have low representation, and the moment you have it, it’s about specific topics and a very specific framing, which is crime and the conflict,” Natour said. “The way they’re interviewed is a negative framework that perpetuates the stigmas about the Arab population in the state.”

THURSDAY’S TOON ~~ GOLDMAN SACHS FUNDS HEBRON SETTLERS

Image by Carlos Latuff

Haaretz reports that Goldman Sachs has a "clear pattern" of giving to Israeli settler and rightwing groups through their Charitable Gift Fund. And Hillary Clinton hasn't criticized the banking firm that helped propel the 2007 collapse.

Haaretz reports that Goldman Sachs has a “clear pattern” of giving to Israeli settler and rightwing groups through their Charitable Gift Fund. And Hillary Clinton hasn’t criticized the banking firm that helped propel the 2007 collapse.

Goldman Sachs is funding Hebron settlers

Phil Weiss and Annie Robbins FOR

For years American taxpayers have been bankrolling Jewish-only illegal settlements in the West Bank with hundreds of millions of dollars funneled through tax-exempt non-profit organizations (we’ve covered the issue on Mondoweiss since 2009). One of the organizations which is a frequent recipient of these donations is the Brooklyn-based Hebron Fund which supports Hebron’s settler community.

Haaretz reports that Goldman Sachs has a “clear pattern” of giving to Israeli rightwing groups through their Charitable Gift Fund, including the notorious Jewish zealots in Hebron. 

From the article “Why Is Goldman Sachs Funding the Violent, Racist Jewish Settlers of Hebron?“:

So why did Goldman Sachs Charitable Gift Fund, a foundation connected to the world’s most powerful investment bank and run by Goldman Sachs’ top executives, donate $18,000 to the Brooklyn-based Hebron Fund that bankrolls this humanitarian nightmare?

On their IRS tax records, Goldman Sachs Charitable Gift Fund declared the purpose of the gift was “International Humanitarian Program” to needy Hebron families. With revenues of $2,250,000 the Hebron Fund can deliver from hunger quite a few of the 700 Jewish settlers of the city.

Grants to the Hebron Fund are not an isolated occurrence. There is a clear pattern in the Fund’s giving to Israel rightwing groups or their American fronts. In 2012-2013 they gave $708,000 to the American-Israel Education Foundation, AIPAC’s educational arm; $15,000 to the American Jewish International Relations Institute, a right wing organization which “monitors, tracks, and combats anti-Israel voting patterns at the United Nations”; and $6,100 to the American Friends of the Likud Party.

Though the case of granting money to the Jewish community of Hebron is particularly striking, we should see the funding of the Hebron settlement as only one example in the context of hundreds of millions of dollars backing the full range of West Bank settlements.

Of course, Hebron settlers aren’t the only ones experiencing Goldman largesse. Bernie Sanders has made an issue of the $675,000 Clinton received in speaking fees from the investment house just in 2013. And no wonder. Simon Head writes at the New York Review of Books that the connection raises important questions about potential corruption:

These long-running ties with Goldman have paid off for the Clintons. According to a July 2014 analysis in the Wall Street Journal, from 1992 to the present Goldman has been the Clintons’ number one Wall Street contributor, based on speaking fees, charitable donations, and campaign contributions, the three pillars of what I’ve called the Clinton System. As early as 2000, Goldman was the second most generous funder—after Citigroup—of Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, with a contribution of $711,000. In the early 2000s, Bill Clinton was also a Goldman beneficiary, receiving $650,000 from Goldman for four speeches delivered between December 2004 and June 2005. (The transcripts of these speeches do not appear to be currently available.)

By the winter of 2006–2007, however, Goldman and its CEO Lloyd Blankfein were becoming deeply involved in the collapsing housing bubble—and engaging in the practices that have since resulted in years of investigations and lawsuits….

As long as Clinton refuses to reveal the content of her Goldman speeches, the suspicion will remain that she has cast a blind eye on Goldman’s dark years and that her campaign pledge to “rein in Wall Street” cannot be taken seriously.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: IN DEFENSE OF BDS

Amnesty International is urging the Israeli government to end its threats and attacks against Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders, including leaders of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

A European coalition is campaigning to protect the right to speak out in support of Palestinian rights. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler) / ActiveStills

A European coalition is campaigning to protect the right to speak out in support of Palestinian rights. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler) / ActiveStills

Amnesty condemns Israel’s threats against BDS activists

Amnesty International is urging the Israeli government to end its threats and attacks against Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders, including leaders of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

Meanwhile, European civil society groups are launching a new campaign to defend freedom of speech from efforts to curtail it by Israel and European leaders allied with it.

“An escalation of acts of intimidation by the government and attacks and threats by settlers and other non-state actors have created an increasingly dangerous environment” for human rights defenders in Israel and the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, Amnesty said on Tuesday.

The group expressed particular concern for the “safety and liberty of Palestinian human rights defender Omar Barghouti, and other boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists, following calls alluding to threats, including of physical harm and deprivation of basic rights, made by Israeli ministers.”

The threats were made at the “Stop the Boycott” conference held in Jerusalem on 28 March and attended by Israeli leaders as well as by EU and US diplomats.

“An especially alarming statement came from Israeli Minister of Transport, Intelligence and Atomic Energy Yisrael Katz who called on Israel to engage in ‘targeted civil eliminations’ of BDS leaders with the help of Israeli intelligence,” Amnesty stated.

It noted that the term Katz employed “alludes to ‘targeted assassinations’ which is used to describe Israel’s policy of targeting members of Palestinian armed groups.”

Amnesty also condemned statements by Israel’s public security minister Gilad Erdan that activists including Barghouti should “pay the price” for their work, although Erdan denied he was calling for physical harm.

Similarly, interior minister Aryeh Deri threatened to revoke Barghouti’s residency permit.

“Slightly safer”

Amnesty described these statements as the most serious examples of “threats and intimidation” to date, and called on Israeli ministers to uphold human rights and avoid “inflammatory public remarks” against Barghouti and other human rights defenders.

Israel should also “withdraw [the] threat to arbitrarily restrict his freedom of movement and cancel his permanent residency in Israel,” Amnesty added.

Barghouti has welcomed Amnesty’s public intervention.

“I already feel slightly safer, having received this clear position by Amnesty International,” Barghouti told The Electronic Intifada.

“It not only criticizes the Israeli government’s intimidation and violent threats against me and my BDS colleagues, it defends our right to engage in the nonviolent BDS movement to defend the rights of the Palestinian people under international law,” Barghouti added.

Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS movement, also renewed his call for Israel to be isolated.

“The UN and all states must strongly reject Israel’s well-oiled attempts to delegitimize the BDS movement and support our right to BDS,” he said. “The most effective way for them to hold Israel’s regime of oppression accountable for its grave crimes against the Palestinian people is through imposing sweeping sanctions on it similar to those adopted against apartheid South Africa.”

In contrast to Amnesty’s stance, Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the top EU envoy in Tel Aviv who participated in the Stop the Boycott conference, has refused to condemn the Israeli threats.

Legislating silence

Amnesty noted that the threats against BDS activists come in the context of a broad assault on Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders by government and non-state actors aimed at suppressing freedom of expression and assembly.

Incidents mentioned by Amnesty include the death threats against Imad Abu Shamsiyeh, the Palestinian whofilmed the point-blank execution of a Hebron youth by an Israeli soldier on 24 March; the series of death threatsagainst the staff of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq; the arrests of Hebron anti-settlement activistsIssa Amro and Farid al-Atrash; the imprisonment of Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar and “vicious” invective and threats directed at Breaking the Silence, an Israeli group that collects and publishes anonymized confessions of abuses by Israeli soldiers.

Amnesty also pointed out that in recent years, “the Israeli authorities have passed a number of laws that restrict the space for opposition to Israeli government policies and actions.”

Currently making their way through parliament are additional laws “that appear to be aimed at curtailing freedom of expression and freedom of association,” Amnesty stated.

These include the so-called transparency bill, a measure seen as an attack on groups critical of Israel’s human rights record.

Another is the “Loyalty in Culture” bill which would give the government the power to retroactively withdraw funding from cultural activities that “contravene the principles of the state.”

The right to BDS

This week a coalition of European civil society groups launched a new campaign to support freedom of speech and political action for Palestinian rights.

The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP) is calling on human rights organizations, civil liberties groups, social movements, trade unions and political parties to sign a petition to the European Union “opposing government-led attacks on free speech and civil liberties that are being implemented in order to undermine civil society’s human rights initiatives in support of the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom, justice and equality.”

“As Israel is increasingly unable to defend its regime of apartheid and settler colonialism over the Palestinian people and its regular massacres of Palestinians in Gaza, it is seeking supportive governments in Europe and the US to undermine free speech as a way of shielding it from criticism and measures aimed at holding it to account for its gross violations of international law,” ECCP states, citing recent repressive acts by authorities in the UKand France, as well as the threats by Israeli ministers.

“Regardless of their position on BDS, human rights organizations and citizens of the world who care about civil rights and human rights have to take a clear stand to defend the right to advocate for BDS as a matter of conscience and free speech and a nonviolent means of civil society to advocate the fundamental rights of the Palestinians,” ECCP adds.

#IsraelToday ~~ THE NEXT GENERATION — THE MIGHT OF THE RIGHT

A new poll has found that youth in Israel are increasingly right-wing in their political opinions, and are overwhelmingly Zionist and loyal to their country.

 Right climbs to 70+ seats in new Knesset

Right climbs to 70+ seats in new Knesset

Poll: 59% of Israeli youth are right-wing

Survey finds 82% of high-schoolers say there’s no chance of a deal with Palestinians, half oppose having Arab MKs.

A new poll has found that youth in Israel are increasingly right-wing in their political opinions, and are overwhelmingly Zionist and loyal to their country.

The survey, conducted by the New Wave Research institute for Israel Hayom and published in part on Wednesday, asked 11th and 12th graders to define their political position.

A full 59% defined themselves as right-wing, while another 23% said they were centrist, and only 13% identified as leftist. Another 5% said they have no position.

A whopping 82% said there is no chance of reaching a deal of some sort with the Palestinian Arabs, indicating their disillusionment with the peace process that has regularly led to waves of Arab terrorism.

When asked if Arab citizens of Israel need representation in the Knesset, 48% said they do not, while 52% said they do.

In a question relating to the recent case of a soldier who shot a wounded Arab terrorist, the students were asked if they thought a soldier should be put on trial for shooting a neutralized terrorist.

A resounding 60% said such a soldier should not be tried, while 30% supported the trial and 10% said they did not know.

Zionism appears to be strong according to the poll, which found that 89% said they see their future in Israel, and 85% said they love the state.

Of the high-schoolers 88% said they are preparing to enlist in the IDF, with over half saying there is no more ethical army in the world, and 65% believe in the sentence “it is good to die for our country,” which is a quote from Joseph Trumpeldor.

Another finding was that 75% of the students appreciate or greatly appreciate their teachers.

FROM

SAVE OUR CHILDREN BY SUPPORTING BDS

Don’t buy Israeli products.

Don’t allow Israeli firms to operate in your respective country.

Don’t invest in Israel. 

This is the very least you could do to save the Palestinian people from the clutches of diabolical Zionism.

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To the Peoples of the world: Please don’t kill our children 

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine

In the past few months, especially since the beginning of the current wave of Palestinian resistance against Israel’s enduring brutal military occupation, about six months ago, the Israeli army and other security forces adopted a decidedly murderous policy against Palestinians, especially children. 

A shoot-to-kill policy was adopted by the Israeli political and military leadership, apparently for the purpose of terrorizing and “deterring” the Palestinian populace.   Consequently, dozens of young Palestinians were needlessly murdered on the streets of the West Bank on the pretext that some of the victims may have put the life of Israeli soldiers at risk. 

In some incidents, soldiers fired additional bullets at the heads of the already completely “neutralized” Victims. 

In the Israeli army lexicon, this is done for the purpose of verifying their death. 

The gruesome killings leave no doubt as to the nefarious behavior of the murderous soldiers. 

Israel has no credible justice system when it comes to dealing with the Palestinians. 

Jewish religious laws don’t ascribe real humanity to non-Jews in general. This disgusting mindset is applied to the fullest when dealing with the Palestinians. 

Occasionally, Israel does some PR work to mitigate anger wit regard to a specific crime that had its way to the world media, especial the social media. 

Israeli Hasbara would cite alleged extenuating circumstances such as claiming the murdering soldiers were under mental pressure, thought they were about to get killed or didn’t really intend to murder the Palestinian victim!! 

However, when protests get quieter and the specific crime fades away from memory, the specific murderer is shamelessly exonerated of any wrong-doing, celebrated as a hero, and given citations for valor. 

This shows that that Israel effectively encourages its soldiers to murder innocent Palestinians on the spot if there is the slightest suspicion that they might be planning to hurl a stone toward the soldiers or stab them with a small and virtually innocuous kitchen knife. 

In many verified instances, the murderous soldiers hastened to place a knife they carry with them, near the already murdered Palestinian lying on the ground. 

The purpose of this criminal behavior is to give the impression that the victim had sought to stab and kill Israelis. 

More to the point, Soldiers patrolling the streets of the West Bank receive hair-raising instructions, illustrating the evilness and brutal ugliness of the Israeli mentality. 

They are commanded to shoot first and ask questions later. . Of course we can all imagine how a young soldier would behave vis-à-vis the Palestinians, having been indoctrinated in school and synagogue that the life of a non-Jew in general and a Palestinian in particular has no sanctity because, according to the Talmud, he is not a bona fide human being.” 

Such soldiers are raised to be “Born to kill murderers.” That is why they murder children and innocent civilians without the slightest compunctions. They even would celebrate the murder with their comrades and superiors! 

As to the victim, he or she is treated as another number rather than a human being. 

Not only that, his home is often demolished in the quiet hours before dawn, relatives arrested and harassed. Israel has even threatened to deport families of Palestinians involved in the current mini-intifada to the Gaza Strip or elsewhere. The timeless principle of “innocent until proven guilty” has no existence in Israel, especially as far as Palestinians are concerned. 

Today, Israel is having a free season on helpless and unprotected Palestinians. Israel is ganging up on the Palestinians in what seems to be slow-motion annihilation. 

I am not saying that Israel is carrying a holocaust similar to the German holocaust 70 years ago. 

But even the German holocaust lasted for 3 years whereas the Palestinian plight has been going on for nearly 70 years. 

By the end of the Second World War, the West rose up to help the Jews by establishing a state for them at the expense of the native Palestinians. 

However, the international community is effectively abandoning the Palestinian people, granting evil Zionism a carte blanch to further torment the Palestinians and uproot them from their own ancestral homeland. 

This is why the peoples of the world must intensify their boycott and sanctions against the apartheid entity. 

So, we say to the peoples of the world, in all solemnity and seriousness: 

Don’t buy Israeli products.

Don’t allow Israeli firms to operate in your respective country.

Don’t invest in Israel. 

This is the very least you could do to save the Palestinian people from the clutches of diabolical Zionism. 

We are not making this outcry because we are anti-Jewish, God forbid. 

We are making these modest demands because buying Israeli products and doing business with Israel enable the apartheid entity to have more bullets to kill our children. 

Please, don’t kill our children.

#IsraeliApartheid ~~ FROM CRADLE TO GRAVE

“It’s natural that my wife wouldn’t want to lie next to someone whose baby son might want to murder my son.”

*
GLEN_ApartheidIsrael

Far-Right Israeli Lawmaker Openly Backs Maternity Ward Apartheid

A far-right Israeli politician has been admonished by his party and roundly condemned by commentators after suggesting Jewish and Arab women should be separated in maternity wards in apartheid-style segregation.

Betzalel Smotrich, a 36-year-old member of parliament from the Jewish Home party, which is part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition, is an ultra-nationalist settler who is frequently outspoken on issues of religion and the Palestinians.

However, his comments on Monday went further than in the past, putting him at the fringe of the fringe and drawing censure from a wide spectrum of commentators as well as the head of his own party. He also received messages of support.

“My wife really isn’t a racist, but after giving birth she wants to rest and doesn’t want those mass parties that are the norm among the families of Arab women after birth,” Smotrich said on Twitter, joining a debate about hospital practices.

“It’s natural that my wife wouldn’t want to lie next to someone whose baby son might want to murder my son,” he added.

Israel is in the midst of a fevered discussion over religion and identity that ultimately boils down to whether it can remain Jewish and democratic in the long-run.

At the same time, the failure of decades of effort to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord and a months-long campaign of violence targeting Jews has provoked anger and frustration on both sides, with more incendiary, racist language.

A survey by the Pew Research Center last month underlined the growing divisions, both among Jews and between Jews and Israel’s 20 percent Arab population. Nearly half of the Israeli Jews surveyed said they were in favor of expelling Arabs from Israel.

Smotrich has in the past referred to the need to separate from the Palestinians, a view shared by those in the ultra-nationalist-religious camp represented by Jewish Home.

But the party leader, Naftali Bennett, said Smotrich had gone too far, overstepping the boundaries in a country that sees itself as pluralistic and democratic, even if Jews and Arabs live very separate lives and Arabs complain of discrimination.

“The national camp is not hatred of Arabs,” Bennett said at a party conference, going on to quote from the Talmud, rabbinical writings that interpret the bible, about how all human beings – Jews and Arabs – are created equal.

“Everyone has a unique soul, a family, a desire to live in dignity,” he said. “We are opposed to divisive discourse among the people and hatred of the other.”

“BLATANT RACISM”

While Bennett’s words were largely emollient, perhaps in an effort to hold together his party, which has eight members in the Knesset but with different ideological streams, commentators of the left and the right were far less restrained.

Ben Caspit, writing in the popular Ma’ariv paper, said Smotrich and his supporters were akin to “Judeo-Nazis.”

“No, Smotrich is not a Nazi, but he is a Jew who has come as close as possible to this questionable title,” he wrote.

“A hair’s breadth away. He does not demand to set up concentration camps and to build gas chambers, but he does have a racist ideology.”

Politicians from the right, the center-right and the left offered similar condemnations, although Netanyahu stayed silent. Ahmed Tibi, an Arab member of the Israeli parliament and a gynecologist, expressed his outrage.

“It is a blatant racist comment… and many Israelis are angry at Smotrich for holding the mirror of racism in front of them,” he told the Israeli news site Ynet.

“As a doctor, if Smotrich or his wife needed medical help from me, I would give it without hesitation. I have treated many racists in the past.”

On social media, Smotrich received support from those in the ultra-nationalist-religious camp who share his views. But his wife, Revital, gave him the clearest backing.

“It isn’t pleasant for me to lie next to Arab women,” she told Israel’s Channel 10 television, referring to her experiences giving birth in hospital. Asked if she would have a problem if an Arab doctor delivered her baby, she replied: “The moment of birth is a sacred moment, a pure moment. It’s a moment that is very Jewish. I’d be very pleased if Jewish hands were to touch my baby the moment it enters the world.”

#BDS ~~ WHY THE CULTURAL BOYCOTT IS GROWING

Israeli government is no “Champion” of freedom of expression

Over 100 Writers, Including Pulitzer Winners Junot Díaz, Richard Ford, and Alice Walker, and Award-Winning Author Louise Erdrich, Call on PEN American Center to Reject Israeli Government Sponsorship

PEN Refusing to Drop Sponsorship, According to a
Letter to its Members

New York, NY, April 5, 2016 – In a letter made public today over 100 writers, including Pulitzer Prize winners Junot Díaz, Richard Ford, and Alice Walker, and award-winning author Louise Erdrich, have called on the PEN American Center “to reject support from the Embassy of Israel” for PEN’s annual World Voices Festival. The seven-day Festival takes place from April 25 to May 1 in New York City. In promotional materials, PEN lists the Israeli Embassy as among the “Champions” of the Festival, and as a sponsor of one of the Festival’s panels.

The letter asserts, “It is deeply regrettable that the Festival has chosen to accept sponsorship from the Israeli government, even as it intensifies its decades-long denial of basic rights to the Palestinian people, including the frequent targeting of Palestinian writers and journalists.” The letter was sent to PEN privately on March 29 by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, with 62 individual and 11 organizational signatories. The list of signers has since grown to more than 100 individuals.

In addition to Díaz, Erdrich, Ford and Walker, other prominent writers who have signed the letter include Palestinian writer Dr. Ahmad Qatamesh, whose imprisonment without charge by the Israeli government was criticized by PEN International; writer and activistAngela Davis; American writers Russell Banks, Deborah Eisenberg and poet Eileen Myles; Palestinian-American novelists Susan Abulhawa and Randa Jarrar; former President and Vice President of English PEN Gillian Slovo and Kamila Shamsie; Egyptian British author Ahdaf Soueif; and South African writers Dr. Don Materra,Ronnie Kasrils and Breyten Breytenbach. Thirteen participants at the World Voices Festival have signed the letter, including Laura Flanders, Saleem Haddad, Laila Lalami, Solmaz Sharif, Yuri Herrera, Jordan Camp, Christina Heatherton, Arun Kundnani, Maaza Mengiste, Burhan Sönmez, Francisco Goldman, Jennif(f)er Tamayo, andLinh Dinh. Two other participants signed the letter and withdrew from the Festival.

Author Alice Walker commented, ”I signed the letter because, as a PEN member, I want this organization that is supposed to be a champion of writers’ rights to stand up for Palestinian writers, academics, and students who are suffering under a repressive Israeli regime that denies their right to freedom of expression. The last thing PEN should be doing is partnering with and promoting a government that denies Palestinians basic human rights.”

The letter is the latest effort to expose Brand Israel, a government public relations initiative launched in 2005 that uses cultural productions to distract from Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinian rights. Following a major Israeli attack on Gaza in 2009, the deputy director general for cultural affairs at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairsexplained to The New York Times, “We will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theater companies, exhibits… This way you show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.”

A few hours after the letter was sent to PEN American Center, the organization emailedsome of its members, justifying its decision to maintain Israeli government funding by citing a policy against subscribing “to cultural boycotts of any kind” and the need to “promote dialogue.”

“Even if PEN opposes all forms of boycotts, PEN should have policies and ethical standards in place forbidding partnerships with significant human rights abusers,” saidMarilyn Hacker, Recipient of PEN Voelcker Award for Poetry and PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. “On that basis alone, PEN should rule out a partnership with the Israeli government.”

Omar Barghouti, a founder of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality, added, “We are disappointed and concerned that PEN is choosing to stand with Israel’s repressive government rather than with a civil society initiative for freedom and human rights. PEN’s response avoided the issues we raised. We focused on PEN’s partnership with the Israeli government and explicitly said we are not calling to boycott or deny the freedom of expression of individual Israeli writers. For years, Palestinians have been told to engage in ‘dialogue,’ but the stronger party, Israel, has used ‘dialogue’ as a smoke screen behind which it ramps up repression and denies Palestinians’ their fundamental rights.”

Novelist Ru Freeman, editor of an anthology on Palestine, Extraordinary Rendition: (American) Writers on Palestine, commented, “PEN American Center’s leadership has repeatedly tarnished the World Voices Festival by accepting the sponsorship of an occupying force that oppresses our Palestinian peers, and refused to speak out against that oppression. The board of PEN should recognize that this violates the foundational principles of the organization. PEN has the resources to fund the participation of Israeli writers—which we support—without compromising its principles by associating with an apartheid government.”

PEN American Center, the Festival organizer, is a US branch of the writers’ freedom of expression organization PEN International. In 2015, over 200 writers wrote to PEN American Center criticizing the organization’s decision to give a freedom of expression award to the magazine Charlie Hebdodue to its racist content. Controversy has also arisen in past years over Israeli government sponsorship of PEN’s World Voices Festival.

CRITICISM OF ISRAEL ~~ WHAT’S ALLOWED? — WHAT’S NOT??

When Palestinians fight against occupying troops on their soil, they are denounced — and often killed — as “terrorists.” Meanwhile, nonviolent campaigns to end the occupation through a South Africa-style boycott are demonized as “anti-Semitism” and officially barred — censored — in all sorts of ways, in numerous countries around the world.

SO …

timetable

Fighting Israeli Occupying Forces Is “Terrorism.” Boycotting Is “Anti-Semitism.” What’s Allowed?

By Glenn Greenwald FOR

THAT “TERRORISM” IS a malleable term of propaganda, with no fixed meaning or consistent application, is now quite well-established. Still, its recent application to a spate of violence targeting Israel’s occupying soldiers in the West Bank is so manipulative and extreme that it’s well worth highlighting.

Israel has militarily occupied the West Bank for decades (it’s also still functionally occupying Gaza, as this two-minute video proves). The West Bank “occupation is illegal under international law and the United Nations has repeatedly told the country’s government to vacate Palestinian territory.” Even ardent defenders of Israel admit that “the West Bank is under a legal regime of belligerent occupation” and “Israel’s settlement enterprise is, and has always been, grossly illegal under international law.” Despite this world consensus, Israeli settlements continue to grow rapidly. Israel is not engaged in any meaningful efforts to negotiate an agreement to end the occupation, and leading Israeli ministers now openly oppose such efforts.

In response to this, there has been a series of attacks over the past year by Palestinians on Israeli occupying soldiers in the West Bank. In the Israeli and American press, the Palestinians attacking these occupying soldiers areinvariably calledterrorists” and their attacks are denounced as “terrorism” (“The two soldiers were stabbed while at a guard post at the Har Bracha settlement, located in the northern West Bank. … Troops were searching for the terrorists”).

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For those (such as myself) who have long contended that the term “terrorism” now has little meaning beyond “violence by Muslims against the West and its allies,” and no purpose other than to delegitimize violence by one side while legitimizing the other side’s, can there be any better proof than this?

There have been Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians of course (while far more Palestinian civilians have died at the hands of the Israeli army), but inthese specific cases, these Palestinians are attacking purely military targets, not civilians. Those military targets are soldiers deployed to their soil as part of an illegal occupying army. In what conceivable sense can that be “terrorism”? If fighting an occupying army is now “terrorism” simply because the army belongs to Israel and the attackers are Palestinian, is it not incredibly obvious how this term is exploited?

The U.S. has frequently done the same: invade and occupy countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan and then label anyone who fights their occupying armies as “terrorists,” even putting some in Guantánamo for that. Similarly,attacks against military bases of the U.S., U.K., and other Western countries are routinely labeled “terrorism.

Needless to say, both Americans and Israelis (along with most others in the world) reserve for themselves the absolute right to fight against any foreign army that occupies their land. Indeed, Hollywood, in the 1980s, produced a film called Red Dawn, which imagined an occupation of the U.S. by the Soviet Union and its Nicaraguan and Cuban allies. It told the story of the heroic U.S. citizens, led by high school students, who waged a guerrilla war against the occupying troops, killing dozens upon dozens of them. Imagine the widespread confusion, and outrage, that would have resulted if someone accused the filmmakers of glorifying “terrorism” by demonizing the fictional American resisters as “terrorists”:

The film was updated in 2012 with a sequel depicting “one group of unlikely [American] heroes” who waged guerrilla warfare against North Korean forces who had invaded and occupied the U.S. (the film originally depicted these American heroes attacking and killing an occupying army from China, but, in post-production, the producers changed the identity of the occupiers to North Korean in order to preserve access to Chinese theaters):

When Americans resist military occupation by fighting against occupying troops on their soil, they are noble heroes. But when Palestinians do this, they are “terrorists.” This discourse, by design, equates Palestinians resisting occupation by fighting against an occupying army with al Qaeda and ISIS, and thus posits that any use of force by Palestinians to resist Israeli occupation — even when done on Palestinian soil, aimed exclusively at Israeli military targets there — is illegitimate.

So if violent resistance is illegitimate “terrorism,” what about other alternatives for resisting the decades-old, still-expanding illegal Israeli occupation? The nonviolent route embraced by Palestinian activists and their anti-occupation allies around the world is a campaign of boycott, sanctions, and divestment (BDS) aimed at Israel, modeled after the campaign that helped end South Africa’s apartheid regime in the 1980s (a regime that, just by the way, was a close ally of both the U.S. and Israel).

But there is a highly successful campaign by Israel and its U.S. allies not only to decree this nonviolent boycott campaign illegitimate, but literally tooutlaw it. Official bodies are enacting rules to censor and officially suppress it by equating the campaign with “anti-Semitism” even though, as fervent Israel supporter Eric Alterman wrote in the New York Times this week, “it is filled with young Jews.”

The Intercept and other outlets have repeatedly reported on official governmental and university actions to ban BDS activism by equating it with “anti-Semitism.” In California, the regents of the nation’s largest university system just enacted a resolution strongly implying that BDS activism is anti-Semitic and thus in violation of university rules. In New York last week, dozens of state legislators, from both parties, have demanded the de-funding of a pro-Palestinian group at CUNY, a move denounced by the campus free speech group FIRE. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, when running for office, announced that BDS “has no place on Canadian campuses.” In France, people are literally arrested as criminals under “hate speech” laws for wearing T-shirts advocating BDS. Measures in the U.K. have been enacted to legally bar support for such boycott movements. Laws and proposed bills in Israel ban advocacy of the movement and bar supporters from entering Israel.

So look at what has happened here. When Palestinians fight against occupying troops on their soil, they are denounced — and often killed — as “terrorists.” Meanwhile, nonviolent campaigns to end the occupation through a South Africa-style boycott are demonized as “anti-Semitism” and officially barred — censored — in all sorts of ways, in numerous countries around the world.

If fighting Israeli occupying forces is barred as “terrorism,” and nonviolent boycotts against Israel are barred as “anti-Semitism,” then what is considered a legitimate means for Palestinians and their allies to resist and end the decadeslong, illegal Israeli occupation? The answer is: nothing. Palestinians are obliged to submit to Israeli occupation in a way that none of the people demanding that would ever themselves submit to occupation of their land. All forms of resistance to Israeli occupation are deemed illegitimate. That, manifestly, is the whole point of all of this.

ZIONISM IS NOT A LAUGHING MATTER

Definitely not a laughing matter

Definitely not a laughing matter

Yesterday I reposted a piece from Mondoweiss thinking it was real and true …. (Click on link)

NO MORE ‘FREEBIE’ TRIPS TO ISRAEL

Apparently it seems it was meant as an April Fool’s joke. This was the opinion of most of the comments to the post, but I was sure it was the real thing. Turns out I was the fool for believing it.

For this I apologize to my readers … zionism is definitely not a laughing matter and I hope the usually honest site it came from will issue the same apology that I am posting here.

NO MORE ‘FREEBIE’ TRIPS TO ISRAEL

Racism in Israel has been on the rise and Mark said it was hurting the program. “Truth be told, Israelis have always been kind of dicks,” Mark explained. “Birthright participants were so taken with the trip there were able to see past the dickishness. But I guess Israelis have just become even bigger dicks.” 

Birthright ends trips to Israel — ‘American Jews are better off imagining Israel than seeing it’ 

By Adam Horowitz FOR

Left to right, is of Gidi Mark, CEO of Taglit-Birthright Israel; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Netanyahu's wife, Sara Netanyahu; and Ohio State University student Ryan Hunter of Syosset, NY, at a Birthright Israel Mega Event on June 24, 2014, in Caesarea, Israel. (Photo is courtesy of Steinreich Communications).

Left to right, is of Gidi Mark, CEO of Taglit-Birthright Israel; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Netanyahu’s wife, Sara Netanyahu; and Ohio State University student Ryan Hunter of Syosset, NY, at a Birthright Israel Mega Event on June 24, 2014, in Caesarea, Israel. (Photo is courtesy of Steinreich Communications).

In a shocking move, Birthright Israel announced today, April 1, that the well known travel-program-cum-dating-service will no longer be offering trips to Israel for Jewish young people. In an exclusive interview with Mondoweiss Birthright CEO Gidi Mark explained, “Given the rightward, and frankly racist, turn in Israel we could no longer conduct a trip that would present the country in the most flattering light. We determined that in order to build support for Israel, young people are best off leaving it to their imagination.”

Even though trips will not be continuing, Birthright Israel plans to continue going strong. A new New York City-based program will offer participants an immersive exploration of Israeli history, politics and culture through screenings of the films Exodus and You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.

Mark said the change was a stroke of genius. “We found that many young Jewish Americans had a better opinion of Israel before coming to the country. Years of exposure to Jewish educational programs led them to believe Israel was one thing, but time and time again we found participants were turned off by actually seeing the country.”

Mark says the idea for the change first came to him while watching the US presidential race. “I just kept thinking to myself as I watched the debates, why can’t we show people the Israel these politicians seem to see?” The Birthright head soon determined that the reason US politicians laud Israel is because they know so little about it. So, rather than giving participants a firsthand experience with Israel itself, he figures it’s more important to give them a firsthand experience with the idea of Israel.

Mark described the ah-ha moment, “We finally figured it out, the best way to build support for Israel is to have as little contact with Israel as possible.”

What went wrong?

Mark described how itineraries had been curtailed in the past several years due to Jewish violence. “First we stopped going to Jerusalem, given the tension and violence of the Jewish community there. Then we stopped going to the Galilee as Jews stepped up attacks there as well. Soon, we were left with about a three block radius in Tel Aviv that was worth seeing. Most participants just stayed in the hotel.”

Racism in Israel has been on the rise and Mark said it was hurting the program. “Truth be told, Israelis have always been kind of dicks,” Mark explained. “Birthright participants were so taken with the trip there were able to see past the dickishness. But I guess Israelis have just become even bigger dicks.”

Birthright, coming to a theater near you?

Mark says the program already has the AMC Empire 25 near Times Square reserved for the next Birthright trip, and he’s clearly excited. “I think we’ll have a great lineup for the new Birthright, Schindler’s List and World War Z are already on the schedule.” And while it won’t be the same as the old trip, Mark hopes some things will stay the same. “Sure, we will no longer have the Bedouin tent, but trust me, there will still be plenty of handjobs in the new Birthright as well.”

NO STATE NECESSARY IN PALESTINE AS THINGS STAND

In light, this writer recommends that the PA leadership abandon once and for all the illusive quest for Palestinian statehood and opt for a the creation of a democratic and unitary state (between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean) where Jews and Arabs live together in peace and equality irrespective of religion and ethnicity.

A-man-stands-on-the-wall--011

Dear Palestinians: We don’t need a state under existing circumstances 

By Khalid Amayreh

 

I have no doubt in my mind that the establishment of a diminutive Palestinian state under existing circumstances would be a major historical disaster befalling the Palestinian people and their enduring just cause.

 

Such a disaster would be greater in its magnitude than the Nakba of 1948, when Israel was created and the bulk of Palestinians were forced into exile.

 

There are numerous convincing reasons showing that the appearance of a Palestinian state (or statelet, or entity, or a confederate of Bantustans) would be more of a solution to Zionism’s problems than a solution for the Palestinian problem.

 

Indeed, if we internalize the meaning of politics as the “art of the possible,” we must accept in our minds that a Palestinian state established under present global geopolitical realities would have to be a state devoid of statehood, a deformed entity without a real substance, without sovereignty and without a future.

 

It would be a state without Jerusalem, without the repatriation of the refugees to the places from which they were expelled at gunpoint in 1948, without economic viability, and even without sufficient water resourced.

 

Today Israel is at its Zenith in terms of political, economic and especially military power. Israel is a nuclear power and more or less in control of the politics and policies of the United States. On the contrary, the Palestinians are at their nadir politically and economically. Indeed, the Palestinians in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip are virtually hostage to the Israeli mood. Our water supplies come from Israel. Our electricity comes from Israel. Our fuel supplies come from Israel.

 

Yes, we are hostage to Israeli criminality and depravity which Israel calls “good will.”

 

Israel views our very survival as an expression its “magnanimity.” Hence, any Palestinian state born out of the present circumstances would be inherently deformed, inherently precarious and almost totally dependent for its very survival and continuity on Israel.

 

We all Know that Israel wants the PA to be a kind of a Palestinian Judenrat” responsible and answerable to Israel, first and foremost. This is what is euphemistically referred to as “security coordination” between the PA and Israel. In short, any would-be Palestinian state under existing conditions would a vessel state that is completely subservient to Israel.

 

Indeed, we would exaggerate very little if we argued that the relationship between Ramalla and Tel Aviv has more in common with the relationship between Berlin and the various Judenrates (Jewish councils under the Nazis) than it does with the relationship between two normal entities, e.g. states.

 

Hence, it would be a great historical foolishness on the Palestinians’ part to pursue statehood under the current circumstances.

 

The PA continues to cling to a faint glimmer of hope called international legitimacy. But we all know deep in our hearts that international power politics, not legitimacy or international law, is what counts in the final analysis. The ongoing Syrian holocaust should serve as a striking example illustrating the moral bankruptcy of the world.

 

Nor would, or even could the US, let alone Europe be able or willing to force Israel to come to terms with even the very minimum of Palestinian rights acceptable to the majority of our people at home and in the Diaspora.

 

After all, the US and Europe have always been part of the problem, not part of the solution.

 

Indeed, Israel wouldn’t have reached this level of arrogance, insolence and intransigence had it not been for America’s unlimited supplies of advanced weaponry to the rebellious entity.

 

Palestinian advantage: Today, the Palestinians do have a clear demographic advantage over Israel.  Israel knows this fact too well but chooses to ignore it for political and psychological reasons as recognizing it openly would be an implied admission of the failure of Zionism.

In fact, we can safely claim that Israel is an apartheid state, par excellance, whereby a Jewish minority is ruling over and systematically persecuting a non-Jewish majority.

Let no one raise his or her eyebrow. Facts are facts.

In 2005, a US government report revealed that Palestinian population in Israel and the occupied territories exceeded the Jewish population. The following table shows the basic demographic data until the year 2004.

https://electronicintifada.net/content/ei-exclusive-palestinian-population-exceeds-jewish-population-says-us-government/5491

 

 

2004 Jewish, Palestinian and Other Minorities’ Populations of Israel/Palestine, according to the U.S. State Department’s Country 2004
Population Percentage*
Jewish 5,200,000 48%
Palestinian 5,337,185 49.3%
Other Minorities 290,000 2.7%
Total 10,827,185 100%
* Rounded to 1 significant figure.

 

Today (2016), and assuming the accuracy of the data mentioned, it would be safe to argue that the Palestinian population between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean (Israel proper, West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem) exceeds the Jewish population by at least 300,000 people.

 

We could also deduce from the data that the Palestinians would have a clear and   uncontestable majority within mandatory Palestine between two to three decades.

 

In light, this writer recommends that the PA leadership abandon once and for all the illusive quest for Palestinian statehood and opt for a the creation of a democratic and unitary state (between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean) where Jews and Arabs live together in peace and equality irrespective of religion and ethnicity.

 

ISRAEL RESPONDS WITH ITS OWN VERSION OF BDS

Israel informed the companies on Wednesday that their products were banned from entering Jerusalem through the Beitunia commercial crossing.

You can beat this ban by buying Palestinian products …. Click HERE and HERE

Image by Latuff

giftfrompalestine-campaign-opboycottisrael

Palestinian companies protest Israeli decision to ban their products

Israeli troops used tear gas to suppress a march held by five Palestinian food production companies on Sunday near the Israeli Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank.The companies protested by parking their trucks near the prison, after Israeli authorities banned their products from entering Jerusalem and Israel.

An Israeli army spokesman did not immediately respond for request for information about the protest.Israel informed the companies on Wednesday that their products were banned from entering Jerusalem through the Beitunia commercial crossing.The director of marketing for the Hamoda company, Fadi Abu Hilweh, told Ma’an on Saturday evening that Israeli troops at the crossing have been turning back trucks of the five companies since Wednesday.

*

Hamoda head Ameer Haddad told Ma’an that Hamoda — along with the companies al-Juneidi Dairy and Food products, al-Rayyan Dairies, Salwa Foods, and Siniora Food Industries — all parked their trucks near the prison to protest the ban and “the horrible consequences of this decision.”Haddad added that the companies export their products to Jerusalem under agreements with Israel and that there was no grounds for the ban.
*
He said the companies would continue protesting until Israeli authorities canceled the decision.Abu Hilweh said the companies were not officially notified of any decisions to ban their products in Israel and were “surprised” when Israeli soldiers at Beitunia commercial crossing denied their products entry to Israel on Wednesday.
*
He added that about 50 percent of the five companies’ production goes to Palestinian consumers in occupied East Jerusalem and Palestinian communities in Israel.
*
If this ban continues, he said, the companies could lose some 1.2 billion shekels ($309.5 million) a year.Hamoda has already notified its milk providers to halt supplies until the ban is resolved. Abu Hilweh said the five companies would have to discharge large numbers of workers if the ban continued.
*
He added that he was surprised when Israeli authorities informed the companies that the decision to ban products was a “political” decision and “the Palestinian Authority was notified of the decision six months ago.”
*
An official in the Palestinian Ministry of Economy, who requested anonymity, told Ma’an that the ministry was not notified of any such decision.“
*
The ministry is looking into the case, which is a flagrant breach of Paris Protocols,” the official said, referring to an agreement signed in 1995 between the PLO and Israel, that set procedures and regulations governing economic relations between the occupied West Bank and Israel.
*
Palestinian lawmaker and Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Barghouthi said the Palestinian Authority should respond to the Israeli decision by banning Israeli products from entering the Palestinian market.
*
According to the protocols, bilateral trade agreements between Israel and other parties are considered valid in the occupied West Bank, however Israel prevents the import of many Palestinian products to the Israeli market.
*
A poll by the the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research conducted in June 2015 reported that the overwhelming majority of those interviewed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip — 86 percent — said they supported the campaign to boycott Israeli products.
*
SOURCE

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