Steve Amsel: Peace is the only alternative for Israelis and Palestinians

The video about our interview with Steve Amsel of Desert Peace about peace as the only alternative for Palestine and Israel. Anti-Zionism means opposition to apartheid and oppression, not Anti-Semitism.

The interview can be seen HERE in German ….


And HERE in English


The Nobel ‘Peace’ Prize has become an annual joke …. now the Prize for Literature joins the frenzy …


A post from 5 years ago by Nima Shirazi

The Call Bob Dylan Won’t Heed:
BDS, Bullies, and Blowing Wind

A recent letter by the Israeli peace and justice group “Boycott From Within” (BfW) implores legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan to heed the Palestinian call for BDS and therefore not perform in Israel. The letter follows reports of Dylan’s 2011 summer tour, during which he will perform at Ramat Gan Stadium on June 20th.

The BfW letter hits all the right notes and speaks truth. It asks Dylan “not to perform in Israel until it respects Palestinian human rights,” explaining that “a performance in Israel, today, is a vote of support for its policies of oppression.” The letter speaks of ethnic cleansing, land theft, martial law, air strikes, and massacres. It beseeches the folk legend, who has “been part of a civil rights movement,” to stand with the oppressed against the aggressor. BfW writes that “BDS is a powerful and united civil initiative in the face of a brutal military occupation and apartheid. It’s a nonviolent alternative to a waning armed struggle and it has reaped many successes and instilled much hope, in the past six years.”

A Ha’aretz article proudly notes that the Dylan concert will be held “where Leonard Cohen and Elton John recently performed,” and is being promoted by “Marcel Avraham, the promoter who organized the Leonard Cohen and Elton John concerts – as well as the upcoming Justin Bieber concert that will be held over Passover.”

So, will Bob Dylan – the man who wrote “Masters of War” and “The Times They Are A-Changin’” in 1963 – heed the call? Of course not. Although Dylan would appear to be the perfect political ally, his human and civil rights bona fides have faded over time – to the point of non-existence.

In 1971, Time Magazine reported that Dylan was “returning to his Jewishness” and “getting into this ethnic Jewish thing.” A friend of his told the magazine, “He’s reading all kinds of books on Judaism, books about the Jewish resistance like the Warsaw ghetto. He took a trip to Israel last year that no one was supposed to know about and even, it is rumored, gave a large donation to the Israeli government.” The article continues:

Dylan denied giving money to Israel or to the fanatical Jewish Defense League, but he confesses great admiration for that “Never again” action group and its reckless leader Rabbi Meir Kahane. “He’s a really sincere guy,” says Bob. “He’s really put it all together.”

Yes, you read that right. Bob Dylan said Meir Kahane, who favored the forced expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland and whose racist Kach party has since been banned from Israeli politics, is “a really sincere guy” who’s “really put it all together.”

Over the past couple decades, Dylan has become a supporter of the Chabad Lubavitch movement, which holds a firm Eretz Israel line regarding the ongoing occupation of the West Bank.

In 1983, twenty years after he sang, “you don’t count the dead” and “you never ask questions, when God’s on your side,” Dylan penned a song in response to the international outrage over the devastating Israeli assault on Lebanon in 1982, which took the lives of nearly 18,000 Lebanese civilians and wounded about 30,000 others. The song did not mention the Sabra and Shatila Massacre, in which between 800 and 2,000Palestinian and Lebanese civilians were murdered. The Israeli Kahan Commission, published in February 1983, found that Israel bore “indirect responsibility” and Defense Minister Ariel Sharon “bears personal responsibility” for the massacre.

Rather, Dylan’s song, entitled “Neighborhood Bully” and featured on his Infidelsalbum (which incidentally also contains the songs “Man of Peace” and “License to Kill“), is a bitter and indignant defense of Israel’s actions, an exercise in Zionist mythology, eternal victimization, and bogus “right to self-defensehasbara, that sounds like it was written collectively by Alan Dershowitz, Abe Foxman, Benjamin Netanyahu, Anthony Weiner, and Golda Meir.

Dylan sings of a nameless (though obvious) “neighborhood bully,” labeled such by “his enemies” who “say he’s on their land” and have him “outnumbered about a million to one” with “no place to escape to, no place to run.” And that’s just the first verse.

The hasbara escalates as the song continues. Dylan sings of exile (“The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land”) and bigotry (“He’s always on trial for just being born”), of lonely survival and attempts at delegitization (“He’s criticized and condemned for being alive”), of the Osirak bombing, of deserts blooming. The only way to believe how thick the Zionist talking points are laid on is to listen to the whole song, or read the complete lyrics (here).

Unfortunately for the BDS community and the courageous activists of BfW, Bob Dylan will not be an ally in the fight for justice or international law. He made his choice decades ago. It is Dylan who can apparently no longer see “where the people are many and their hands are all empty, where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters, where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison, where the executioner’s face is always well hidden, where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten, where black is the color, where none is the number.”

And, although Dylan once claimed that he’d “tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it, and reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,” he has decided to stand with those who aggress and oppress, with those who starve and deprive, with those who surround and fly-over and bomb hospitals and deny, with those who steal land and resources, with those who reinvent and erase history, with those who criminalize memory and prioritize ethnicity and religion. He stands with those who erect walls and watchtowers. He seems not to care that he has been talking falsely for some time now and that the hour has never been more late. Dylan seems to have become tangled up in tribalism.

By ignoring the call to boycott and by performing in Israel this summer, Dylan is solidifying his reputation as one who – when it counted most – didn’t stand for morality and humanity. Dylan once asked, “how many years can some people exist, before they’re allowed to be free?” It seems that Dylan’s own answer to the Palestinians would be, “A while longer and don’t ask me to help.” He has become his own rhetorical character: the man who turns his head, pretending he just doesn’t see.

So, the questions remain. “How many ears must one man have, before he can hear people cry? How many deaths will it take ’til he knows that too many people have died?” The answers are no longer simply blowing in the wind, however. They are in discourse and education, flash mobs and rallies, sit-ins and walk-outs. The answers are international law and humanitarian justice. The answer is promoting basic morality and common decency. The answer is raising public awareness. The answer is opposing settler-colonialism, military aggression, collective punishment, air strikes and assassinations, drone attacks and white phosphorous, tear gas and torture, ethnic cleansing, diplomatic immunity, war crime impunity, ethnocentrism and supremacism, racism and discrimination, apartheid and occupation. The answer is BDS.

And, as Bob Dylan told us himself, the times they are a-changing‘.

Sadly, this time around, however, it seems Dylan does need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.


Neighborhood Bully

Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man
His enemies say he’s on their land
They got him outnumbered about a million to one
He got no place to escape to, no place to run
He’s the neighborhood bully

The neighborhood bully just lives to survive
He’s criticized and condemned for being alive
He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin
He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in
He’s the neighborhood bully

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land
He’s wandered the earth an exiled man
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn
He’s always on trial for just being born
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad
The bombs were meant for him. He was supposed to feel bad
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him
’Cause there’s a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac
He’s the neighborhood bully

He got no allies to really speak of
What he gets he must pay for, he don’t get it out of love
He buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, he’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease
Now, they wouldn’t hurt a fly. To hurt one they would weep
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep
He’s the neighborhood bully

Every empire that’s enslaved him is gone
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon
He’s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand
In bed with nobody, under no one’s command
He’s the neighborhood bully

Now his holiest books have been trampled upon
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health
He’s the neighborhood bully

What’s anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin’, they say. He just likes to cause war
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed
He’s the neighborhood bully

What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers? Does he pollute the moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill
Running out the clock, time standing still
Neighborhood bully


This article originally appeared on Mondoweiss under the headline “No Surprise Dylan is Visiting the Neighborhood Bully.”


“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.”


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


WATCH: In 120 seconds, this video will change the way you see the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

An Arab and a Jew asking for hugs on the streets of East Jerusalem and Tel Aviv – and the results will surprise you.


There IS hope …. It’s up to us to make it a reality! Don’t wait for Bibi’s or Abbas’ OK … Just do it!


Peres was a liar and cheater, he had no part in Operation Entebbe.’

For this he got the Nobel ‘Peace’ Prize …

Shimon Peres’ contributions to the Zionist project in Palestine and the sufferings of the Palestinians and Arabs have not stopped once since the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1947-1949.

Shimon Peres’ contributions to the zionist project in Palestine and the sufferings of the Palestinians and Arabs have not stopped once since the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1947-1949.

Senior commando unit officer: Peres was a liar

Reserve Major-General Amiram Levin, who was responsible for IDF elite commando unit Sayeret Matkal’s operational planning during Operation Entebbe, attacked the late former president Shimon Peres on television this weekend.

Peres was Defense Minister in 1976, when the Israeli army carried out one of its greatest feats, the famed July 4th rescue known as Operation Entebbe that freed 102 Jewish hostages whose plane was hijacked to Uganda by Arab terrorists. The prime minister’s older brother Yoni Netanyahu, who commanded the unit that carried out the operation was killed by a sniper’s bullet.

“He never met Yoni Netanyahu. His only part in the operation was that he served as Defense Minister. Peres never met Yoni Netanyahu, he’s a liar and he had no part in Operation Entebbe,” Levin told Ayala Sasson in an interview on Israel’s TV program Shishi.

“I’ve known him for years, as both Prime Minister and Defense Minister, and as a person, too. The story with Yoni, he never met him and never spoke to him, yet he said that Yoni ‘gave him confidence.'”

Levin attacked Peres for blaming then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for opposing the operation, when in fact he had supported it.

“I was present during that conversation, that critical government discussion. [Peres] is a trickster, he played no part in the operation. His only connection is that he was serving as Defense Minister, but in fact he did absolutely nothing,” Levin emphasized.

“Peres was just a pipeline, [then-IAF Commander} Benny Peled was absolutely terrific – but Peres wrote the history and he was a liar,” concluded Levin, decrying what he called the “industry” of praising Peres after his passing.

Peres’ funeral was attended by thousands, including President Obama, Prince Charles of England and other important diplomatic and international figures.




Now that Israel’s last ‘Man of Peace’ has been buried, the actual dream of Peace was buried with him
Two sides of the coin …
Sderot By Latuff

Sderot By Latuff

The Palestinian side …

Israeli forces shell targets in northern Gaza after rocket falls in Sderot

It is the latest such incident to occur since Israeli forces carried out several airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip mid September after a rocket was launched from Gaza and exploded in an open area in southern Israel. No injuries were reported.
September’s airstrikes came as the second wave of Israeli shelling to strike the besieged Gaza Strip in the span of a month, while a few weeks earlier the Israeli army fired missiles into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun that left at least five Palestinians injured in late August, after a rocket fired from Gaza fell inside Sderot, with no injuries or damage reported by the Israeli army.
More AT
The Israeli version …

Gaza rocket lands in Sderot

A rocket fired from Gaza has hit the city of Sderot; two are being treated for shock; no damage have been reported; rocket landed next to an elementary school; IDF tanks have fired at Hamas positions in Gaza; Sderot Mayor; ‘if we don’t have quiet, they won’t have quiet.’
More AT

Introducing S.T.F.U.

Katie Miranda

Originally appeared at Mondoweiss



 U.S. Donors Gave Settlements More Than $220 Million in Tax-exempt Funds Over Five Years

U.S. Donors Gave Settlements More Than $220 Million in Tax-exempt Funds Over Five Years

T’ruah’s new campaign asks the Jewish National Fund to be fully transparent about where American Jewish donations are being spent, and to stop using these donations on projects in the settlements.

“People who are putting their dollar bills in a JNF (box), or writing a check to buy a tree, might want to know that instead of buying a tree in Israel … that their money might be going to developments in the settlements which block peace,” said Rabbi Jill Jacobs, T’ruah’s executive director.

Jewish National Fund Gives $530K From American Donors to West Bank Settlement

The Jewish National Fund’s American fundraising arm gave $530,000 to a visitor’s center in a West Bank settlement, according to a new disclosure by the JNF, which has been under pressure from the left-wing rabbis’ group T’ruah to list its donations to the West Bank.

The $530,000 grant to a museum and visitor’s center in Kfar Etzion is the only West Bank project listed in the new disclosures. While JNF’s American arm has long acknowledged funding the center, the size of the grant has not before been publicly available.

T’ruah, a rabbinic human rights group, has for years campaigned to demand details from the JNF on funds it sends to the West Bank, creating a a series of web videos and a write-in campaign demanding a full accounting of JNF spending.

“People who are putting their dollar bills in a JNF (box), or writing a check to buy a tree, might want to know that instead of buying a tree in Israel … that their money might be going to developments in the settlements which block peace,” said Rabbi Jill Jacobs, T’ruah’s executive director.

JNF has said in the past that it makes grants to the occupied West Bank. But since 2008, American charities have not been required to reveal the recipients of their overseas grants, and in recent years the JNF’s public tax returns have not spelled out how its money is spent in Israel.

The charity behind the iconic blue donation boxes that litter Hebrew schools and synagogues across the United States, the JNF in Israel played a key role in the creation of the Jewish state, and still owns a large share of all Israeli land. The American fundraising arm’s reputation as a centrist Israel development charity, however, has taken a hit in recent years, amid attention to the Israeli organization’s role in the displacement of unrecognized Bedioun villages, and questions about its involvement with the West Bank settlement project.

T’ruah’s campaign has sought to quantify how much of the American fundraising arm’s money has gone to West Bank settlements.

Now, in recently-released tax returns for the fiscal year ending last September, the American group has listed the recipients of nearly all of the $29.7 million in grants that group sent to Israel that year.

Nothing in the new documents appears to directly contradict the JNF’s earlier accounting of its West Bank activities. Aside from the grant to the visitor’s center, called the Gush Etzion Foundation, no other projects listed explicitly and directly benefit West Bank settlements.

In a press statement, T’ruah raised questions about $290,000 attributed in JNF’s the tax documents to “general afforestation,” noting that the group doesn’t say whether those trees were planted in Israel or in the West Bank.

T’ruah also pointed to $250,000 that went to a group called Face of Israel, which doesn’t have a functioning website. And T’ruah noted that JNF reported giving $33,000 to a U.S.-based group called Friends of Ir David, which funds the Israeli organization Elad, which is engaged in settlement activity in East Jerusalem.

A spokesman for JNF did not respond to a request for comment. In a statement to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, a JNF spokesman said that the organization “will not be intimidated by those who claim to have a higher moral authority while dismissing and belittling the good work that U.S. Jewry performs for the land and people of Israel.”




Photos © by Bud Korotzer




















Avi Mayer, spokesman for the Jewish Agency for Israel and a prolific tweeter, called the ad “awesomewashing.” He was playing on the term “pinkwashing,” an accusation often levied against Israel that the government uses its record on gay rights to hide its crimes against Palestinians.

Full-page ad featuring a family with two dads in the weekend edition of Israel's most-read newspaper, Israel Hayom.

Full-page ad featuring a family with two dads in the weekend edition of Israel’s most-read newspaper, Israel Hayom.

Israel’s Right Wing-Paper Features Ad With Gay Dads

Israel Hayom, Israel’s right-wing newspaper affiliated with the ruling Likud party, surprised some by printing a full-page ad for a Nissan Sentra with two gay fathers this week.

The ad depicted a family of four with two young fathers and their school-age son and daughter with the phrase “Put your family in the Sentra.”

Avi Mayer, spokesman for the Jewish Agency for Israel and a prolific tweeter, called the ad “awesomewashing.” He was playing on the term “pinkwashing,” an accusation often levied against Israel that the government uses its record on gay rights to hide its crimes against Palestinians.

Another Twitter user, @ledoorpink, replied, “The issue is not two dads, that’s natural, but a $34,000 for a Nissan Sentara, that’s very unnatural.”

Israel Hayom is funded by Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire Las Vegas casino magnate who donates to many pro-Israel causes, and is widely seen as a mouthpiece for the Likud Party.

Individual politicians in Likud have supported LGBT rights, but the party was lambasted earlier this year when the government coalition torpedoed a series of pro-LGBT bills.


Whenever a US president prepares to leave office, diplomats and Middle East specialists in think tanks urge him to make a final push for an Israeli-Palestinian “peace” deal.

I predicted more than once that Obama would be a disastrous president for the Palestinians and that the hopes so many invested in him were delusional. Sadly, I was right and the think tankers were wrong.

Image by Carlos Latuff


Will Obama’s final act be the liquidation of Palestinian rights?

Whenever a US president prepares to leave office, diplomats and Middle East specialists in think tanks urge him to make a final push for an Israeli-Palestinian “peace” deal.

It is a time-honored Washington ritual.

Given his passing reference to Palestinians and Israelis in his final speech to the UN General Assembly, however, it might seem like there is not much chance of that with Barack Obama.

“Surely, Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel but Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land,” Obama told world leaders gathered in New York on Tuesday.

It was classic Obama: tricky and deceptive language that seeks balance where there is none – equating alleged Palestinian “incitement” with real Israeli colonialism and occupation – and floating lofty goals belied by his actions.

The most glaring of these, of course, is Obama signing off on the record 10-year, $38 billion dollar military giveaway to Israel.

This weapons windfall caps a term during which Obama aided and abetted two devastating Israeli assaults in Gaza, as well as the ongoing siege, and offered Israel every diplomatic protection as it built more settlements on occupied Palestinian land, exceeding even the frenetic pace of colonization during the Bush administration.

Obama is due to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the General Assembly on Wednesday, where he will reportedly push Israel to make progress towards the so-called two-state solution.

All Netanyahu will need to do is smile and nod politely for the cameras, knowing that the president has already given away any potential leverage by signing the massive military deal.

But make no mistake: Obama still poses a continuing danger to Palestinian rights as long as he remains in the White House.

Canceling Palestinian rights

In recent weeks, think tankers belonging to the peace process industry have launched a new campaign urging Obama to support a UN Security Council resolution before he leaves office that would enshrine the two-state solution.

But what it would actually do is write into international law an abrogation of Palestinian rights, offering Palestinians no more than a pale bantustan. It would renege on the right to return of Palestinian refugees, a right that the UN has guaranteed. It would, moreover, recognize Israel’s claimed “right” to discriminate against the indigenous Palestinians solely because they are not Jews.

France floated a similar initiative last year, which, as I explained at the time, would have fatally undermined Palestinian rights, but thankfully it went nowhere because the US would not support it.

The most thorough elaboration of this approach now comes from Nathan Thrall of the International Crisis Group.

In a New York Review of Books article this month, Thrall calls a UN resolution laying out the parameters for the partition of historic Palestine into ethnically segregated Palestinian and Jewish states a “last chance” for Obama to “salvage his legacy.”

Thrall claims that “many in the administration” are hoping that this will indeed be Obama’s final act.

“Any resolution the US supports will contain clauses that are difficult for each side to accept,” Thrall writes. “The most troublesome issues for Israel are that the borders will be based on the pre-1967 lines and that the Palestinian capital will be in Jerusalem. The most onerous clauses for the Palestinians relate to recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, the absence of a timeline for Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank and a resolution of the refugee problem that would rule out anything but symbolic return to Israel.”

He affirms that the resolution would need to “offer some sort of recognition of Israel as a Jewish state,” in effect granting Israel a legal license to be racist.

It would also force on Palestinians what Thrall calls “entirely new concessions to Israel.”

“Settlements that existing Security Council resolutions call to dismantle would gain legitimacy as parts of a potential land swap,” Thrall writes.

Thrall, who enthusiastically supports this approach, is clear about the political realities: “It is a safe bet that on the majority of … issues, a US-supported resolution would favor Israeli positions over Palestinian ones.”

Abrogating UN resolutions

Another figure pushing for a UN resolution is Carl Bildt, the former Swedish foreign minister and high representative – diplomatic speak for unelected ruler – of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Obama, Bildt writes, “should push for a UN Security Council resolution that establishes new parameters for a future peace accord and replaces UN Security Council Resolution 242, which dates back to the 1967 Six-Day War between Israel and Egypt, Jordan and Syria.”

In other words, Bildt and Thrall want UN resolution 242 – which for all its shortcomings and omissions is at least clear on the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” – replaced by a new resolution that actually blesses Israel’s decades of ethnic cleansing and land theft under the banner of “peace” and a “two-state solution.”

Israel’s certain resistance to such an approach should not be taken as evidence that a resolution would somehow be good for Palestinians. Its rejectionism is simply based on long-standing policy that Israel should never be bound by any international rules no matter how ineffectual or favorable they are.

As Thrall acknowledges – and this is also where the grave danger lies for Palestinians – the Palestinian Authorityleadership would probably welcome such a resolution, dedicated as Mahmoud Abbas has been to abrogating Palestinian rights when it comes both to refugees and settlements.

Dennis Ross, that stalwart of the Israel lobby who has – absurdly – served as peace envoy for several presidents including Obama, has also weighed in on the potential impact of November’s presidential election on the prospects for such a resolution.

“I suspect that if [Donald] Trump wins, the president would be more inclined to go for a Security Council resolution to try to do something that binds, creates standards for the future that the next president couldn’t undo,” Ross said at a Zionist conference in California last week. “If [Hillary] Clinton wins, I suspect he [Obama] would be more sensitive to her concerns as to whether this helps or hurts her.”

But either way, Ross said, Obama “would like to do something, leave some kind of legacy.”

No friend of Palestinians

Thrall kicks off his New York Review of Books piece by revisiting Obama’s early connections to the Palestinian community, particularly in Chicago: “He had met, dined with, and attended the lectures of such figures as Edward Said, the most famous and eloquent Palestinian critic of the Oslo accords, and he had offered words of encouragement to Ali Abunimah, the Palestinian activist, writer, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and leading advocate of a one-state solution.”

On the strength of this, Thrall asserts that when the president came to office, “Palestinians looked to Obama as a potentially historic figure capable of ending their occupation.”

That was certainly true for wishful thinkers and the ill-informed. But let me set the record straight. Thrall’s knowledge of Obama’s dining with Said, and his “encouragement” to me, comes from an article I wrote in 2007, when the then senator from Illinois was in the early stages of his presidential primary campaign, titled “How Barack Obama learned to love Israel.”

The point of the article was not to offer hope, but to warn that despite Obama’s connections to the Palestinian community, he had already eagerly adopted the hardline positions of the Israel lobby as he became more politically ambitious.

“Palestinian Americans are in the same position as civil libertarians who watched with dismay as Obama voted to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act, or immigrant rights advocates who were horrified as he voted in favor of a Republican bill to authorize the construction of a 700-mile fence on the border with Mexico,” I wrote about Obama’s ditching of anything resembling a just and principled position on Palestine.

I predicted more than once that Obama would be a disastrous president for the Palestinians and that the hopes so many invested in him were delusional. Sadly, I was right and the think tankers were wrong.

Instead, as I wrote days after Obama’s election in November 2008, Palestinians should invest their efforts in building up their own power and broadening their movement – particularly through boycott, divestment and sanctions – because no US administration would ever support their rights unless compelled to do so.

The best we can hope for now is that in his final months in office Obama will do no more damage to add to his poisoned legacy on Palestine.


The clearest message from Israel’s new aid package is one delivered to the Palestinians: Washington sees no pressing strategic interest in ending the occupation. It stood up to Netanyahu over the Iran deal but will not risk a damaging clash with Israel and its loyalists in Congress over Palestinian statehood.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Clearest message from new Israel aid package is that US sees no pressing strategic interest in ending the occupation

Clearest message from new Israel aid package is that US sees no pressing strategic interest in ending the occupation

US aid deal gives green light to Israel’s erasure of Palestine

The announcement last week by the United States of the largest military aid package in its history – to Israel – was a win for both sides.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could boast that his lobbying had boosted aid from $3.1 billion to $3.8bn a year – a 22 per cent increase – for a decade starting in 2019.

Netanyahu has presented this as a rebuff to those who accuse him of jeopardising Israeli security interests with his government’s repeated affronts to the White House.

In the past weeks alone, defence minister Avigdor Lieberman has compared last year’s nuclear deal between Washington and Iran with the 1938 Munich pact, which bolstered Hitler; and Netanyahu has implied that US opposition to settlement expansion is the same as support for the “ethnic cleansing” of Jews.

American president Barack Obama, meanwhile, hopes to stifle his own critics who insinuate that he is anti-Israel. The deal should serve as a fillip too for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party’s candidate to succeed Obama in November’s election.

In reality, however, the Obama administration has quietly punished Netanyahu for his misbehaviour. Israeli expectations of a $4.5bn-a-year deal were whittled down after Netanyahu stalled negotiations last year as he sought to recruit Congress to his battle against the Iran deal.

In fact, Israel already receives roughly $3.8bn – if Congress’s assistance on developing missile defence programmes is factored in. Notably, Israel has been forced to promise not to approach Congress for extra funds.

Netanyahu’s agreement to such terms has incensed Israeli loyalists in Congress such as Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who had been fighting Netanyahu’s corner to win an even larger aid handout from US taxpayers. He accused the Israeli prime minister on Friday of having “pulled the rug from under us”.

As Ehud Barak, Netanyahu’s former defence minister, also pointed out in a series of TV interviews in Israel, the deal fails to take into account either inflation or the dollar’s depreciation against the shekel.

A bigger blow still is the White House’s demand to phase out a special exemption that allowed Israel to spend nearly 40 per cent of aid locally on weapon and fuel purchases. Israel will soon have to buy all its armaments from the US, ending what amounted to a subsidy to its own arms industry.

Netanyahu preferred to sign the deal now rather than wait till the next president is installed, even though Clinton and her Republican challenger, Donald Trump, are expected to be even more craven towards Israel. That appears to reflect Netanyahu’s fear that the US political environment will be more uncertain after the election and could lead to long delays in an agreement, and apprehension about the implications for Israel of Trump’s general opposition to foreign aid.

Nonetheless, Washington’s renewed military largesse – in the face of almost continual insults – inevitably fuels claims that the Israeli tail is wagging the US dog. Even the New York Times has described the aid package as “too big”.

Since the 1973 war, Israel has received at least $100bn in military aid, with more assistance hidden from view. Back in the 1970s, Washington paid half of Israel’s military budget. Today it still foots a fifth of the bill, despite Israel’s economic success.

But the US expects a return on its massive investment. As the late Israeli politician-general Ariel Sharon once observed, Israel has been a US “aircraft carrier” in the Middle East, acting as the regional bully and carrying out operations that benefit Washington.

Almost no one implicates the US in Israeli attacks that wiped out Iraq and Syria’s nuclear programmes. A nuclear-armed Iraq or Syria, however, would have deterred later US-backed moves at regime overthrow, as well as countering the strategic advantage Israel derives from its own large nuclear arsenal.

In addition, Israel’s US-sponsored military prowess is a triple boon to the US weapons industry, the country’s most powerful lobby. Public funds are siphoned off to let Israel buy goodies from American arms makers. That, in turn, serves as a shop window for other customers and spurs an endless and lucrative game of catch-up in the rest of the Middle East.

The first F-35 fighter jets to arrive in Israel in December – their various components produced in 46 US states – will increase the clamour for the cutting-edge warplane.

Israel is also a “front-line laboratory”, as former Israeli army negotiator Eival Gilady admitted at the weekend, that develops and field-tests new technology Washington can later use itself.

The US is planning to buy back the missile interception system Iron Dome – which neutralises battlefield threats of retaliation – it largely paid for. Israel works closely too with the US in developing cyber­warfare, such as the Stuxnet worm that damaged Iran’s civilian nuclear programme.

But the clearest message from Israel’s new aid package is one delivered to the Palestinians: Washington sees no pressing strategic interest in ending the occupation. It stood up to Netanyahu over the Iran deal but will not risk a damaging clash with Israel and its loyalists in Congress over Palestinian statehood.

Some believe that Obama signed the aid agreement to win the credibility necessary to overcome his domestic Israel lobby and pull a rabbit from the hat: an initiative, unveiled shortly before he leaves office, that corners Netanyahu into making peace.

Hopes have been raised by an expected meeting at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday. But their first talks in 10 months are planned only to demonstrate the unity necessary to confound critics of the aid deal.

If Obama really wanted to pressure Netanyahu, he would have used the aid agreement as leverage. Now Netanyahu need not fear US financial retaliation, even as he intensifies effective annexation of the West Bank.

Netanyahu has drawn the right lesson from the aid deal – he can act again the Palestinians with continuing impunity and lots of US military hardware.


What was still is ....

What was still is ….

Be sure not to miss this post from yesterday (Click on link)



Photos  © by Bud Korotzer





























According to the ‘logic’ of the present day elders of zion I have always been a ‘self hating Jew’. This was merely because I refuse to hate anyone else … does that make any sense to you?

It seems that times have changed and new definitions have been added to the zio-dictionary … Now I am a terrorist. The reason being that I am a part of and supporter of the BDS Movement. Have you ever heard of a terrorist that refuses to kill? Have you heard of one that refuses to support those who do?? Now you have!

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) participated on Sunday in a conference held by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in New York.

Speaking during the event, Shaked slammed the BDS movement, calling it “a new extension of terrorism.”

One of Bendib's finest

One of Bendib’s finest


Justice Minister: BDS movement is a terror organization

‘BDS is the new face of terrorism,’ Ayelet Shaked says during JNF conference in New York.

Full zioreport HERE

And here you can see why we boycott terrorism!


As if 30 Billion a year was not enough …..

“This is the single largest pledge of military assistance to any country in U.S. history.”


$38B Israel Aid Deal Is Political Boon for Benjamin Netanyahu — and Barack Obama

When Yaakov Nagel, Israel’s acting national security adviser, was tasked with heading the team negotiating a new 10-year military aid package with the United States, Prime Minister Netanyahu set forth the guidelines: “If you reach $3.5 billion a year, you’ll get a gold medal,” Nagel recalled Wednesday, hours before signing the agreement in Washington. “If you get $3.3 billion you’ll get a silver medal; and if you get $3.1 billion you’ll get the bronze.”

Nagel brought home something in between silver and gold, finalizing a $38 billion 10-year agreement, made up of $3.3 billion a year in military aid and another $500 million a year for missile defense systems, which was previously handled separately.

But this Olympics-style competition was more than about money. It was also about two world leaders seeking vindication.

One, in Jerusalem, wanted to disprove the notion that he harmed bilateral relations with his country’s greatest ally by picking a fight with its leader.

And the other, soon to leave the White House, was looking for the ultimate seal of approval for his support to the Jewish State. Both ended the race legitimately claiming victory.

“This deal illustrates a simple truth,” Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video message hours after the agreement was signed. “The relationship between Israel and the United States is solid and powerful. It does not mean that we don’t have disputes now and then, but these are disputes you have between family.”

National Security Adviser Susan Rice, the Obama administration’s highest ranking official at the signing ceremony, noted the historic nature of the deal.

“This is the single largest pledge of military assistance to any country in U.S. history,” Rice said. “And that’s not an accident. It’s a reminder of the United States’ unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Obama and Netanyahu, reaching the final stretch of their troubled 8-year marriage, now have a document proving that years of personal tensions and deep distrust have not infected the bilateral relationship.

And just like in any Olympic competition, it took a lot of sacrifice to get to the winner’s podium.

For Netanyahu, it meant to some extent turning his back on Republicans in Congress, the Israeli leader’s willing partner in battling the Democratic administration. For Obama, reaching the finish line required bending over backwards in an effort to convince Israel to agree to accept his $38 billion gift.

At the State Department’s Treaty Room on Wednesday afternoon, it was the working-level officials’ moment in the limelight.

Israeli and American national security experts who have been engaged in three years of negotiations trying to iron out the details of the massive aid package, were all on hand to see the deal come to life. Secretary of State John Kerry popped in after the signing for a quick photo op with negotiators. Israel’s ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer, once a political lightening rod for Obama administration officials, sat in the front row, as did his American counterpart Dan Shapiro. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle came to show their support, alongside several Jewish organizational leaders.

The deal, which will go into effect in 2019, is aimed at helping Israel deal with regional threats by using the American aid to purchase advanced U.S. defense equipment. It will replace the current 10-year $30 billion deal, which did not include the missile defense component, funded each year separately by Congress.

The new deals folds missile defense aid into the larger military assistance package, thus assuring Israel a predictable funding source for the program, but at the same time stripping Jerusalem from its ability to use Congress for extra funding beyond the agree upon amount. It also does away with a unique arrangement Israel enjoyed which allowed it to spend a quarter of the American assistance money on purchases within Israel. This benefit will be phased out gradually ending completely in the last year of the agreement.

Israel’s starting point, according to officials involved in the talks, was set at $45 billion, a sum representing Israel’s needs and hopes, rather than a realistically achievable goal. Throughout the lengthy talks, in which, according to Nagel, thousands of slides were presented and every single piece of equipment was discussed, “from the most advanced jets to the last truck,” the final subtotal began to emerge – higher than the previous deal, but less than Israel had wanted.

As negotiations entered the final stretch, it became clear that lack of trust still exists between the Obama administration and Netanyahu’s government. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham offered Israel to push in Congress an extra $300 million in aid, a move seen as unacceptable by the Obama administration which feared the reemergence of the Netanyahu-Congress nexus in attempt to bypass the president.

The administration demanded that Israel make clear it will not seek any further funding from Congress, except for special emergency needs a result of an armed conflict. Netanyahu had to promise Secretary Kerry, in writing, that Israel will adhere to this commitment, and to further commit that if Congress, on its own volition, decides to increase aid to Israel in the next two years, Israel will give back the money. According to Nagel, Netanyahu told Graham, one of his top supporters on Capitol Hill, that given the choice between getting another $300 million from Congress now and securing a deal with Obama for the next decade, he will chose the latter.

But even after having to concede to limiting Congress’s role in aid to Israel and to giving up the possibility of spending aid money in Israel, Netanyahu still had plenty reason for celebration.

Critics of the Israeli prime minister have argued that his insistence on fighting Obama on the Iranian nuclear deal rather than using the moment to leverage Israel’s bargaining power to reach a better aid deal, has cost Israel billions in military assistance. By the time Netanyahu was ready to finalize the deal, they argued, it was already clear that Congress cannot block the agreement and Israel’s position became politically irrelevant. Dermer insists this is not the case. At no point, he said, even at the height of the nuclear deal dispute, did the U.S. indicate it would be willing to be more generous in its aid offer in return for an Israeli retreat.

Netanyahu now gets to show his critics at home that his insistence to fight Obama on the Iranian nuclear deal did not cost Israel its future relationship with America. A $3.8 billion annual check from Uncle Sam will help embolden Netanyahu’s message, as will the symbolic fact that Dermer, the architect of Netanyahu’s 2015 Congress speech, was posing for pictures with Secretary Kerry after the signing ceremony.

Obama has also gained significantly from finalizing the deal before leaving office.

The administration made every effort to drive home the notion that the new Memorandum of Understanding represents a historic measure. Rice called it an “unprecedented commitment to the security of Israel.” Obama, in a statement, said the agreement was “just the most recent reflection of my steadfast commitment to the security of the State of Israel.” Just like Netanyahu, Obama has critics too, accusing him of being unfriendly to Israel in his years in the White House. Now, his legacy is cemented by a signed agreement and a hefty dollar amount he can use to dispel these claims.


Image by Carlos Latuff

Here we go with just another lie from Netanyahu ... "Ethnic cleansing of Jews" in Palestine

Here we go with just another lie from Netanyahu …
“Ethnic cleansing of Jews” in Palestine


This appears to be a new spin-strategy by Netanyahu’s office: taking the term “ethnic cleansing”, which the world has increasingly become aware that Israel enacts, and turning it against its victims.



Israeli government projects ‘ethnic cleansing’ on Palestinians

On his official Facebook page yesterday, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu posted a speech in English. The concept here is so novel, that the text merits full presentation:

“I’m sure many of you have heard the claim that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, are an obstacle to peace. I’ve always been perplexed by this notion. Because no one would seriously claim that the nearly two million Arabs living inside Israel, that they are an obstacle to peace. That’s because they aren’t. On the contrary. Israel’s diversity shows its openness and readiness for peace.

Yet the Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with ONE precondition: No Jews.

There’s a phrase for that: it’s called ethnic cleansing. And this demand is OUTRAGEOUS. It’s even more outrageous, that the world doesn’t find this outrageous. Some otherwise enlightened countries even promote this outrage. Ask yourself this: would you accept ethnic cleansing in your state? A territory without Jews, without Hispanics, without blacks?

Since when is bigotry a foundation for peace? At This moment, Jewish school children in Judea and Samaria are playing in sandboxes with their friends. Does their presence make peace impossible? I don’t think so. I think what makes peace impossible is intolerance of others. Societies that respect all the people are the ones that pursue peace. Societies that demand ethnic cleansing don’t pursue peace.

I envision a middle east where young Arabs and young Jews learn together, work together, live together, side by side, in peace. Our region needs more tolerance, not less. So the next time you hear someone say that Jews can’t live somewhere, let alone in their ancestral homeland, take a moment to think of the implications. Ethnic cleansing for peace is absurd. It’s about time somebody said it. I just did.”

Netanyahu is apparently discussing a claim that is not new, but three years old, and that does not mention Jews as such. In 2013, Palestinians President Abbas said, following a meeting with interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour in Cairo, that “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli — civilian or soldier — on our lands”.

Abbas is thus referring to Israelis and soldiers of the occupying power. This is completely uncontroversial by international law, where the Fourth Geneva Convention (article 49) clearly states that “the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”.

But Netanyahu turns this potential realization of international law, into an intent of “ethnic cleansing” by the Palestinians.

This is especially perplexing considering Israel’s history of ethnic cleansing, a history which continues today, where the rate of Israeli demolitions in occupied territory have doubled this year. Netanyahu further refers to Israel’s Palestinian citizens (the “nearly two million Arabs living inside Israel”), who are incidentally also subject to discrimination by some 50 laws  and recurring displacement (particularly the Bedouin community). Those Palestinians are the roughly 15% of the Palestinian population that managed to survive the first large-scale ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948. He regards their presence, and Israel’s ‘tolerance’ of them, as a proof for Israel’s moral magnanimity.

Netanyahu states that “Jewish school children in Judea and Samaria are playing in sandboxes with their friends”, rebuffing a supposed claim that their “presence makes peace impossible”. Disregarding the fact that these children play in segregated sandboxes, in segregated communities connected by segregated roads and sometimes throw stones at Palestinians with an impunity not experienced by Palestinian children, the usage of the emotional appeal of “children” is hardly relevant, nor tasteful, to say the least, in this context.

This appears to be a new spin-strategy by Netanyahu’s office: taking the term “ethnic cleansing”, which the world has increasingly become aware that Israel enacts, and turning it against its victims.

Yesterday, I happened to read Isabelle Kershner’s article in the New York Times (dated August 30th), concerning the settlements. Allow me first to note, that Kershner’s article has a main flaw, in that she cites only 350,000 settlers in West Bank. This appears to be an outdated 2013 number, and excluding East Jerusalem. The number today excluding East Jerusalem is about 400,000, and the East Jerusalem settlers by some counts nearly double that number, which justifies citing the settler figures as high as journalist Gideon Levy recently did: 800,000 settlers. The citing of settlers in the West Bank excluding East Jerusalem is a common practice, which effectively endorses Israel’s illegal and unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem by 1980 Basic Law: Jerusalem.

Nonetheless, Kershner’s article brings us some interesting information.

“Asked about the legalization of outposts — and the international criticism — Mr. Netanyahu’s spokesman, David Keyes, did not respond directly, but instead turned the question to the Palestinian leaders’ stance that no settlements could remain in the West Bank under a future deal. “The frequently echoed Palestinian demand to ethnically cleanse their future state of Jews,” Mr. Keyes said via email, “is outrageous, immoral and antithetical to peace,” she notes.

This is a spin that is thus being repeated by the Israeli government over the last ten days. The demand to evacuate settlers and settler infrastructure from a future Palestinian state is regarded as “ethnic cleansing”, based upon racist notions.

The whole world is being admonished by Netanyahu for being “intolerant” in entertaining such notions at all.

Related report from HaAretz (Click on link)

U.S. Slams Netanyahu’s ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Video, Calling It ‘Inappropriate and Unhelpful’


Everywhere I turn these days, many of my peers have left, are leaving, are planning to leave or are talking about leaving.

For thousands of years the Jews dreamed of reclaiming their country. The left had another dream.

For thousands of years the Jews dreamed of reclaiming their country. The left had another dream.

Should I Give Up On Changing Israel from Within — and Take a Stand by Leaving?

A debate has been raging in the Israeli left over the past few weeks — primarily in the opinion pages of Haaretz and on my Facebook feed — about Israelis who are choosing to move away from Israel as a political statement.

Although these leftists make up only a tiny percentage of Israelis, their departure has hit a nerve. The veteran Israeli left-wing activist and founder of Gush Shalom, Uri Avnery, has called on them to return, arguing that leaving is a cop-out, that they are needed here. This has sparked a back and forth, with several younger Israelis writing that they are no longer willing to sacrifice their children’s lives for what they see as a dead-end country — and so, yes, they’re opting out.

Everywhere I turn these days, many of my peers have left, are leaving, are planning to leave or are talking about leaving. My family and I included. The reasons for leaving are always personal, and it’s hard to point to a specific political trend. But the discourse around leaving is indicative of a real crisis in the Israeli left regarding the inability to effect change, and the increasing sense that our ideals are unwanted and that we are outnumbered. Not just at the polls, but at the family dinner table, too. For me, this is not just about the normalization of racism and violence in the public sphere that goes along with the occupation, but about the fact that so many Israelis who identify as liberals are either ignorant of the state’s actions or complicit in them.

When I became active in the West Bank nearly a decade ago with the direct-action Arab-Jewish cooperative Ta’ayush, I witnessed and experienced many Israeli human rights violations and absurdities that profoundly changed my working assumptions and shaped my politics, instantly setting me apart from most Israelis. Whereas other Israelis spent their Saturdays resting at home or going to family gatherings, I spent them escorting Palestinians to their wells or their grazing fields while being confronted by settlers and soldiers. I would come back to the comforts of my life in Tel Aviv outraged that people could just sit in cafes with no clue what was being done in their name just a few miles away — or worse, that they just didn’t care. The sharp dissonance affected all aspects of my life and my interaction with friends, family members, everyone. It breeds a constant sense of despair and resentment.

A decade later, and five years since the “tent protests” that saw hundreds of thousands of Israelis out in the streets protesting the high cost of living without any mention of the disenfranchised Palestinian population in our midst, this sense of alienation has only intensified. Instead of gaining legitimacy in Israeli society, activist groups like Ta’ayush, Anarchists Against the Wall and Breaking the Silence, which came of age during the second intifada with the goal of exposing and opposing human rights violations, are now targets of state-sanctioned incitement; they are marginalized even more than they already were, and delegitimized.

Israel currently has the most right-wing government in its history, and “leftist” is a bona fide bad word whose definition just keeps broadening. An Israeli who never set foot across the Green Line but who protested in central Tel Aviv against Israel’s past two wars in Gaza is considered radical. A soldier who has fulfilled his military service and then speaks out against the actions he carried out is a traitor. A 2016 poll shows that 72% of Jewish Israelis believe Israel’s control over the Palestinian territories does not even constitute an “occupation.”

Under these circumstances, how can the left possibly hope to shift the discourse, much less end the occupation?

This is the question I am constantly grappling with, and it is the million-dollar question facing the Israeli left today. In 2005, Palestinians answered this question by calling for international pressure through boycott, and some Jews in Israel and abroad have joined them, believing that change is simply not coming from within. It shouldn’t be any surprise, then, that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, not local activism, has taken center stage in this era when it comes to opposing Israeli policies. The Israelis emigrating from the country are inadvertently part of the spirit of the boycott movement in the sense that they, too, have given up on the idea that change will come from within.

Although I feel a constant and growing sense of alienation from the majority of Jewish Israeli society, and this makes leaving seem more appealing, I also live a comfortable life here and am invested in this place. It’s home. But every time I walk from my house in Jaffa to the beach and dip my limbs into the open sea, I am sorely aware of all the Palestinians in the West Bank who don’t have this luxury, who have never seen the Mediterranean, or for whom the chance to visit is an extraordinary, one-time opportunity entirely dependent on the whims of the Israeli establishment. Every time I experience fear or anxiety about the increasingly violent, herd-mentality society my 2-year old is growing up in, I consider the Palestinian children who are stateless and roofless in Gaza.

We can’t live in a constant state of guilt. But even as Israeli leftists are increasingly persecuted, we have to recognize that we also enjoy a lot of privileges. And it’s precisely because of the privileges I enjoy here that I feel compelled to fight for those who lack them.

There are many ways to fight that fight, though. The question, then, is not whether to stay or to go. That choice is personal and will always be personal. The real question for me is how to have an impact and how to live a life that is true to my ideals.


Read a commentary from Mondoweiss HERE




Gearing up to face BDS as if it were a military challenge

This report from Israel’s state broadcaster, subtitled in English by activist Ronnie Barkan, shows Vaknin-Gil vowing to defeat the BDS movement in her testimony to the Knesset committee. It also shows the committee’s chair, Stav Shaffir, complaining that the government is revealing almost nothing about how it is spending the huge sums allocated to the anti-BDS effort.


Full report by Ali Abunimah HERE




For Julian …. One of the few who cared …. here are his words

This is the result of fear, intolerance and  hatred of life… is easier kill and forget .. than to take care and keep .. a home for 5 souls that possibly no one will remember .. if somebody kills an innocent life .. what can we hope for? This was an act of our protectors, the police and agents. but They prefer a world with out compromise and a comfort zone .. and live there rather than go out and see that it’s our responsibility. They prefer to erase than give our time our life our love .. this way I think that it is better to empty this earth of human beings … especially this class of people .. peace to our baby’s!
What remains of a loving family / Photo by Julian

What remains of a loving family / Photo by Julian


Victims of fear and hate

Victims of fear and hate

My community of French Hill is the greatest example in Israel of what can be. Israelis of every background, both religious and secular, Palestinians and new immigrants have lived here in harmony for years.

This week we observe the start of the new month of Elul on the Hebrew calendar. A time for reflection and forgiveness … but some things cannot be forgiven.

A few weeks ago a pregnant dog was abandoned on my street and wound up having her six puppies in the bushes on my hill. As all puppies, they were absolutely adorable. But no one wanted them. The Pound is full to capacity with dogs waiting for adoption, but this family was destined to live in the street. They were fed and cared for by neighbours  who cared … that is until this morning when ‘animal control’ came with guns and shot them all to death.

Can this be forgiven? How can people be so cruel to creatures of the same God that created them?

French Hill is in mourning today for this family. 

Special thanks to those who cared and tried to help.




The lack of adequate sewage treatment poses a serious risk to public health. During the winter rains, wastewater overflows its containment pipes, creating a higher risk of contaminating groundwater.

A Palestinian woman walks next to sewage water flowing from Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Kafr Thulth, near Qalqilya, December 2012. (Ahmad Al-Bazz ActiveStills)

A Palestinian woman walks next to sewage water flowing from Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Kafr Thulth, near Qalqilya, December 2012. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/ ActiveStills)

West Bank villagers suffer from sewer politics

Abu Mazen Square has become a bit of a joke for Palestinian residents in the occupied West Bank town of Bruqin.

To understand why, it is imperative to delve into recent history.

Two years ago, the site of what is now a public square was an open cesspool. Wastewater pumped out of the nearby Israeli settlement Ariel, one of the largest in the West Bank. This wastewater mingled with overflow from nearby Salfit.

Salfit, a town of some 9,000 Palestinians, has spent the past 22 years trying to update its sewage management system, according to chief municipal engineer Saleh Afaneh, but has not been able to get the necessary permits from the Israeli military authorities. Consequently, wastewater has been flowing down freely, joining the natural stream that runs through Bruqin village.

The Salfit government has little power to reduce the amount of sewage entering Bruqin and the neighboring Palestinian village Kufr al-Dik, but it has supplied a few kilometers of pipeline to keep the mess underground in the most densely populated parts of the two towns.

While only four out of 15 planned kilometers of pipeline have been built so far, the Palestinian Authority took the opportunity to build a lavishly decorated new town square, dedicated to Mahmoud Abbas, the PA president, directly over the line, giving Bruqin’s local residents Abu Mazen Square. A kilometer away, the sewage continues to flow openly.

The story of Abu Mazen Square is an execrable reminder for many in Bruqin that their problems are being glossed over by the Palestinian Authority. While sewage leaks have plagued the village for years, the PA and its Ministry of Health have offered a minimal amount of relief, and have abandoned attempts to advocate for rural communities suffering from wastewater mismanagement.

The PA might claim that all is well, but beneath the surface the situation stinks.

Sewer politics

Wastewater management is a problem in the West Bank.

Approximately half of Israel’s environmental regulations do not apply in the occupied territory. With such lax legislation, companies producing metals, chemicals and plastics flock to settlement industrial zones, such as West Ariel and Barkan. Both Israeli and international companies are drawn to areas where they can pollute more freely, often at the expense of surrounding Palestinian communities.

The Oslo accords signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in the mid-1990s saw the West Bank carved up into areas A, B and C with the Palestinian Authority exercising a diminishing level of control over the internal affairs of Palestinian communities in those areas.

For project approval in Area C — the some 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli civilian and military control — Palestinian towns and villages must apply to the Israeli body which oversees civilian affairs in occupied territory.

It is the Israeli military that ultimately decides whether Palestinians can build new sewage infrastructure and wastewater treatment plants in places like Salfit where, according to Afaneh, there is no available land in areas A and B, where the Palestinian Authority exercises civilian control, for such projects.

But the Israeli authorities refuse the vast majority of applications. Making matters worse, since the beginning of 2016, the Israeli military has demolished more than 50 water and sanitation structures in Area C.

The lack of adequate sewage treatment poses a serious risk to public health. During the winter rains, wastewater overflows its containment pipes, creating a higher risk of contaminating groundwater.

In the summer, when the West Bank faces massive water cuts imposed by Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, Palestinians are forced to turn to polluted water sources to meet needs.

Farmers and herders in the area also report that free-flowing sewage damages crops and can poison animals, undermining livelihoods and negatively affecting the quality of food available in rural communities.

Crisis? What crisis?

One wouldn’t know any of this, however, from talking to Palestinian Authority officials.

Haytham Mansour is director of the Ministry of Health in the Salfit region. Mansour refused to be drawn out on whether there is a water crisis in the area. While he acknowledged both water cuts and sewage leaks, he was adamant that both were under control and did not cause undue suffering in the Salfit region.

He insisted that his department tests local water on a weekly or monthly basis. Yet he would not share the findings of those reports or even confirm that the ministry kept records on water quality.

Mansour did concede that the overflow of sewage, combined with the lack of access to potable water, could hypothetically put communities at risk from anything from scabies to Hepatitis A, but maintained that the Salfit region had not seen any significant increase in those maladies.

But his denials, and those of his deputies, seem to fly in the face of evidence collected independently.

Mohammad Bishr, a doctor with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society’s Salfit branch, is concerned. As a participant in a mobile clinic program, he regularly visits both Kufr al-Dik and Bruqin to offer free consultation and primary health care services to underserved communities.

In an interview with The Electronic Intifada, Bishr said that since the beginning of June, the nongovernmental organization has noted an increase in the number of patients with scabies, gastroenteritis and gastrointestinal amebiasis, a miniature epidemic that repeats itself every summer. He attributed this pattern to a lack of proper sanitation and the domestic use of polluted drinking water.

Bishr also noted that patients were concerned over the size and frequency of mosquito bites they sustained in recent years. Small pools of sewage provide optimal breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

“We’ve started to see this every time the water goes [out],” noted Bishr. “Every summer, it gets worse.”

Bassam Madi, another doctor with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society mobile clinic program, worries that if the sewage crisis is not adequately addressed, there will be further increases in communicable diseases.

Crucial evidence

But to address a problem, it first needs to be acknowledged.

With no access to water quality reports from the Ministry of Health, local clinicians and public health officials are at a disadvantage. The Palestinian Medical Relief Society and local government officials have access to just a single independent report, obtained after an Israeli activist sent samples of water from polluted streams outside the Ariel settlement and the Barkan Industrial Zone to Aminolab in Israel.

Some samples showed high levels of organic waste, consistent with untreated industrial waste. Others showed waste consistent with unrestricted dumping. Additional samples showed evidence of intermittent filtration.

Aminolab noted in its report, seen by The Electronic Intifada, that this level of contamination in certain areas deviates from the Inbar standards, the Israeli regulations on water quality. While the report is not comprehensive, it includes enough detail to confirm that industrial pollutants from settlements are entering water used for agricultural and household purposes by thousands of Palestinians in the Salfit district.

The mayors of Bruqin and Kufr al-Dik have been equally dependent on the lone water quality report from Aminolab and confirmed to The Electronic Intifada that the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health had taken almost no measures to address the wastewater problem in their towns.

Jamal al-Dik, the mayor of Kufr al-Dik, said that in 30 months of construction, the PA had only completed a little more than a quarter of the planned 15 kilometers of the sewage diversion pipeline that gave rise to Abu Mazen Square. Currently, this pipeline is only keeping sewage at bay in the most heavily populated areas.

The mayor did say that the ministry this year had supplied Kufr al-Dik with a small shipment of mosquito spray, though not enough to supply every household. The health ministry, he said, had been ignoring the escalating public health threat for years.

“This is an old story, but also our future,” the mayor added.

After years of trying to hold a public health crisis at bay with minimal assistance from the ministry, local residents and health workers are losing confidence in finding a solution to the sewage crisis, and losing confidence in their government.

Politics of water

The politicization of water in the West Bank is nothing new.

Under the Oslo accords, a Joint Water Committee, with equal numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, was established to oversee water and sanitation issues in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. While representation within the committee was hypothetically equal, Israel’s military control over Area C gave Israel effective veto power over the committee’s decisions. As a result, almost no Palestinian proposals to the joint committee ever came to fruition.

In 2010, Palestinian Authority representatives stopped giving their approval to Israeli proposals at the joint committee in protest. The Palestinian delegation failed, however, to combine their protest with any strategy to mitigate the effects of stressed water infrastructure for the Palestinian population.

The Israeli military occupation puts a burden on the Palestinian Authority’s health ministry as well. The World Health Organization estimates that in 2015 the ministry was unable to procure an estimated 30 percent of essential medicines, and 25 to 30 percent of medical equipment and laboratory supplies, due to budget shortfalls as well as Israeli restrictions on movement, which limit the flow of medical goods and personnel.

In addition to restricting access to medical supplies, the violence of the military occupation mean hospital beds are filled with those who have been injured by Israeli soldiers and settlers. The restricted access to potable water simply adds more pressure on already overstressed Palestinian public health institutions.

The Ministry of Health could face political consequences for protesting the causes of the sewage crisis. The ministry’s budget for 2015 was some $323 million, according to the World Health Organization. During the same year, the US government agency USAID donated $7.6 million to the Palestinian Authority for basic health projects and $45 million for water and sanitation.

The health ministry remains caught between acknowledging the overtly political causes of a public health crisis, and the political risk of taking concrete action against the occupation.The US government has previously set a precedent in using aid as a bargaining chip against the PA as possible punishment for state-building activities.

The Palestinian Medical Relief Society’s Bassam Madi believes that the problem of a lack of access to potable water will be solved when the PA, and its donors, are ready to address the matter as a public health crisis, not as a political issue.

“Let’s address the human issue, let’s address the environmental issue,” he said during a break from his work with the mobile clinic.

But, if Abu Mazen Square is any indication, the PA seems more interested in keeping up political appearances, whatever the underlying reality. The needs of vulnerable villagers in the Salfit district do not compete with this priority.

At present, the Palestinian Authority is addressing neither the “human issue” described by Madi nor the underlying political reality of Israeli control and abuse of the environment.


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

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

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

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

By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

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

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

Quislings and propaganda

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

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

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

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

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

Sticks and carrots

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

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

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

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

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

Failed old policy

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

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

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

Disorganised resistance

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

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

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

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

Grassroots rage

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

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

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

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

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

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