ISRAELI GOVERNMENT TO SILENCE THE TRUTH

THE WITHERING OF ‘THE ONLY DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST’

New legislation, said to be pushed by Netanyahu, would allow for closure of groups critical of IDF or that advocate Israel boycotts

Government advancing bill to ban Breaking the Silence — report

The government is reportedly advancing a new bill that would allow it to shutter left-wing NGOs critical of the Israel Defense Forces, like Breaking the Silence, which has long been in the government crosshairs.

The bill, which would also target groups that advocate boycotts of Israel, is being backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who instructed Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) to craft the legislation, Channel 2 reported Monday.

While the Knesset passed legislation last July that dramatically ups transparency requirements for Israeli NGOs that get most of their funding from foreign governments, the new bill would go significantly further by allowing for the government to ban these groups.

The report said the bill will soon undergo a legal review before being presented to Netanyahu for approval ahead of voting.

Following the publication of the report, Breaking the Silence, which collects and publicizes anonymous testimony of alleged IDF wrongdoing against Palestinians, said the bill was an effort to distract from the legal woes of the prime minister, who is currently under investigation in a pair of corruption cases.

“Every time the prime minister sinks deeper into the mud of the criminal investigations, he searches for enemies and uses IDF soldiers that broke their silence and oppose the [use of] the occupation as a human shield against the public consequences of his criminal entanglements,” the group’s head Avner Gravyahu said in a statement.

In addition to cracking down on NGOs by way of the new bill, Netanyahu on Sunday said he intends to establish a parliamentary committee to investigate the funding NGOs receive from foreign governments.

Netanyahu told a gathering of Christian journalists at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem that the committee will probe “organizations that operate against” Israeli soldiers.

According to a report from the Haaretz daily, the decision to set up the committee was taken earlier in the day at a meeting of coalition party chiefs.

Netanyahu has in the past pressed foreign governments to end funding for left-wing NGOs and refused to meet with visiting dignitaries who meet with these groups. In particular, he has singled out Breaking the Silence, an organization that collects testimonies from former Israel Defense Forces soldiers about alleged human rights violations they witness in the Palestinian territories during their military service.

Breaking the Silence has been a frequent target of ire for right-wing parties in Israel.

Last year, Israeli lawmakers passed into law the controversial Transparency Bill, which dramatically increases transparency requirements for fewer than two dozen Israeli NGOs — Breaking the Silence among them — that get most of their funding from foreign governments.

A Justice Ministry analysis of the legislation showed that nearly all the existing Israeli organizations set to be affected by the law’s new requirements were groups that oppose Israel’s presence in the West Bank.

During the discussion Sunday, Education Minister Naftali Bennett reportedly asked Netanyahu if there is a precedent for government involvement in the matter of NGOs and if there is a precedent of an investigative committee into such an issue. Netanyahu responded by giving the example of the ongoing US congressional committee investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections.

Such parliamentary committees in Israel mostly serve as a way to shed light on a pressing public issue and tend not to have much bite.

The NGO law was opposed by the US, and condemned by various European countries.

 

 

FROM

VIDEO OF THE DAY ~~ ‘GOOD RIDDANCE ISRAEL!’

The U.S. and Israel are pulling out of UNESCO over what they call an ‘anti-Israel bias,’ but the move may actually underscore their bias towards basic Palestinian rights. Meanwhile, Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have reached a new unity deal.

Why UN should say “good riddance” to Israel

Related post (Click on link)

Trump puts Israel first with UNESCO withdrawal

MINI KRISTALLNACHT IN JERUSALEM

WHAT THE WESTERN PRESS DEEMS NOT WORTHY TO REPORT

Read about Kristallnacht HERE

My grandfather owned and operated a small shoe repair shop in Slovakia before the nazi invasion. One night nazi thugs came and destroyed the shop as well as beating the old man almost to death.

A few weeks later he and the rest of his Jewish community were shipped off to Auschwitz, where most perished….

Now THIS, right here in Jerusalem.

Never Again???? (or only sometimes to some?)

“Yesterday they came and started throwing objects at Ibrahim the worker and the three costumers sitting there. They started hitting them, broke everything and shouted death to all Arabs,” he said. “I don’t know why, but for some reason the police did not interfere and did not do anything.”

A vandalized shop in the Old City of Jerusalem, October 2017. (photo credit:Courtesy)

JEWISH WORSHIPPERS IN JERUSALEM ATTACK ARAB-OWNED SHOP

BY UDI SHAHAM

A shop located adjacent to Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City was vandalized, and its worker attacked late overnight on Wednesday by Jewish worshipers who were returning from the Western Wall.

It was reported that hundreds of individuals stormed the shop – the only one that was left open that night – and attacked the local worker, Ibrahim Hashelmon, who was lightly wounded and was subsequently taken to a hospital.

Talking to Channel 10 News, Hashelmon said that the police, which has a permanent post right next to the shop, did not approach and arrived at the scene only after the damage was done.

“They threw an ice-cream refrigerator at me… They hit me in the head… The broke the whole place, and spilled soft drinks all over the floor. They took a fire fire extinguisher and hit with it on my head,” he said.

“I became dizzy and then puked. Only at the very end some policemen came and said that they will call an ambulance. It took them a while before they started pushing people away,” he said.

Police addressed the incident as a “quarrel between young people.”

“During the night it was reported that a fight broke between young people on Gai Street in the Old City, in which stones were thrown,” a police statement reads.

“[During which] damage was done to a store, a motorcycle and a car parking nearby. The police intervened and separated between the two sides. An investigation was launched.”

Police told the Jerusalem Post that no arrests were carried out in this case so far.

Hatem Abu al-Daba’at, the owner of the shop told the Post that the place was completely ruined by the rioters.

“All of my equipment, and all the refrigerators were ruined, and the place needs a full restoration,” he said.

Abu al-Daba’at said that it was the first time that his shop suffers this kind of harsh violence and vandalism.

“It was that first time that such thing happened for us. We know that usually when prayer-goers come back from the Kotel during holidays, they shout and curse, but normally the police stop them before they do anything,” he said.

“Yesterday they came and started throwing objects at Ibrahim the worker and the three costumers sitting there. They started hitting them, broke everything and shouted death to all Arabs,” he said. “I don’t know why, but for some reason the police did not interfere and did not do anything.”

Left-wing organization Ir Amim criticized the police for not taking action.

“This is not the first time that the police is not doing its job to protect the Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem,” the NGO said in a statement. “If that is not enough, it added another wrongdoing by hurrying to put out a statement that hides they truth from the public about the assaulting of Palestinians.”

The vandalized car of an Arab shop-owner in Jerusalem’s Old City, October 2017 (credit: courtesy)

WOMEN OFFER HOPE FOR PEACE IN THE DESERT

The march by Israeli and Palestinian women, demanding that both peoples’ leaders do more for peace, was set to culminate with a protest outside Netanyahu’s residence.

Women from the ‘Women Wage Peace’ movement and Palestinians take part in a march near the Jordan River, in the West Bank on Oct 8, 2017. The peace journey was created in order to pressure decision makers to work towards reaching a viable peace agreement. Photo by Flash90

Thousands of Israeli, Palestinian women ‘wage peace’ in the desert

Thousands of Israeli and Palestinian women marched through the West Bank along the Dead Sea on Sunday, part of more than two weeks of a “Journey to Peace” by an organization called Women Wage Peace.

The march, which was held under the banner, “We’re not stopping without an agreement,” was meant to culminate with a protest outside the Israeli Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem later Sunday evening.

Smaller events have been taking place throughout Israel and Palestine for the past two weeks.

Last year a similar march was held in the same area near Jericho. In 2015, Women Wage Peace fasted (in shifts) outside the Israeli Prime Minister’s Residence for 50 days, to mark one year since the 2014 Gaza war.

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More photos at SOURCE

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Reuters also reports …..

(Click on link)

Women march through desert for Israeli-Palestinian peace

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Culminating in this

(Click on link)

Giant women’s peace rally calls for ending conflict

30,000 people attend Women Wage Peace rally in J’lem; sidestepping specifics, they call for end to hostilities through any mutual political accord; bereaved father and former MK Shnaan: ‘Stop terrorism and stop occupation. Let’s live for memory of our fallen and children that still remain.’

AMERICAN LEGISLATION IS PROPELLED BY UNFOUNDED ANTI PALESTINIAN PROPAGANDA

The Taylor Force Act is based on smoke and mirrors. I would not lose any sleep if Congress totally stopped funding the Palestinian Authority. It would not make daily life easier under occupation, but maybe it would wake up enough American leaders to see the absurdity of their being dragged around like a flock of sheep by their Israeli herder.

Israeli police officers and Palestinians scuffle during clashes in an east Jerusalem neighborhood in this Sept. 8 file photo after Israeli officials evicted a Palestinian family from their home to make way for Jewish tenants, according to the Associated Press.(Mahmoud Illean, Associated Press)

The sadly misnamed Taylor Force Act is being propelled by unfounded anti-Palestinian propaganda

By Sam Bahour

On March 9, 2016, a 29-year-old American graduate student, Taylor Force, was tragically murdered in the Israeli city of Jaffa. Mr. Force was killed by a 22-year-old Palestinian named Bashar Masalha. There is no way for anyone to know what this crime’s motivation was because Israeli security personnel shot dead the perpetrator on the scene.

In any other place on earth, the victim would be mourned, the perpetrator condemned, prayers would be sent to both families, and life would go on. But not in Israel, where in minutes Israeli leaders blamed the Palestinian leadership for the incident, which took place under total Israeli security, legal and national jurisdiction.

More than a year and a half later, new U.S. legislation is in Congress. The legislation aims to cut U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority if it does not stop paying annual stipends to the families of those either killed by Israeli security forces or imprisoned in Israel.

With so much happening stateside, one would think that the U.S. Congress had its hands full this fall, and could, just for a moment, leave the Palestinians alone. We could only be so lucky. Rather, Congress is at it again, attempting to punish the people who have been struggling under Israeli military occupation for 50 years and counting.

The new piece of legislation, sadly named The Taylor Force Act, advanced through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this summer. Additionally, it has just been included in the U.S. foreign operations budget measure slated for a vote in December. Embedding the measure into a broader legislative package is aimed at giving it a second path to passage.

By naming the bill The Taylor Force Act, the presumption is that Congress has bought–hook, line and sinker–the Israeli propaganda that the Palestinian Authority was somehow responsible for the death of Mr. Force, albeit the substance of the bill is about something totally different. Such a presumption is not only utterly false, but after being made so many times by Congress, it smells like the witch hunt against Palestinians that it is.

U.S. legislators will not hear both sides of this story. No mention will be made in the argument on the Hill about this murder taking place inside Israel, where Israel is 100 percent responsible for security. The Palestinian Authority has no jurisdiction, whatsoever, in Jaffa. Additionally, no hint will be made of Israel’s 50-year military occupation of neighboring Palestinians.

Although the specific Act addresses a single Palestinian Authority financial line item whose amount is unclear in general, the magnitude of U.S. tax dollars being dumped into the conflicting parties is many times ignored.

Israel has been receiving U.S. financial assistance since its founding in 1948.

“Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II,” according to a 2016 Congressional Research Service report. The total military and financial aid to Israel exceeds $3 billion annually, the largest recipient in the planned $25.4 billion U.S. foreign assistance budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

On the other hand, the Palestinian Authority came into existence in 1994. It, too, has received U.S. financial assistance since its inception, today receiving less than $400 million annually, excluding U.S. funds going to support the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which is not part of the Palestinian Authority’s jurisdiction.

Inside the Washington, D.C., beltway, Palestinians can’t win no matter what they do. They simply don’t have the funds, political clout, organizing ability, leadership and lobbying savvy to make a dent in the U.S. Congress.

As an American, born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, I wish to ask the Palestinian leadership a simple question. Do you really need the U.S. funds? Of course, having more funds is always desirable, but in this case the funds are so small in the bigger picture, wouldn’t it make more sense to kindly ask the U.S. Congress to keep its money, all of it?

Given the blind battering of the Palestinian Authority by both sides of the congressional aisle, and given the fact that U.S. funds to Palestinians come with so many strings attached, wouldn’t it make sound political and public relations sense to relieve yourselves from all the negative publicity every few years?

The Taylor Force Act is based on smoke and mirrors. I would not lose any sleep if Congress totally stopped funding the Palestinian Authority. It would not make daily life easier under occupation, but maybe it would wake up enough American leaders to see the absurdity of their being dragged around like a flock of sheep by their Israeli herder.

Sadly, this legislation is carrying Mr. Taylor Force’s name. Instead of him resting in peace, there are those who are taking joy in being able to drag his memory through this political debate. I don’t.

Originally written FOR

WHAT JEWISH HOLIDAYS MEAN TO PALESTINIANS

Closures for Jewish and Israeli holidays are a routine procedure.

Israeli security forces at the Qalandiya checkpoint near Ramallah (Flash90)

Israel set to put West Bank, Gaza under 11-day closure for Sukkot

Exceptionally long closure comes after Har Adar attack; defense minister dismisses as ‘nonsense’ TV report he overruled army’s recommendation

In a rare move, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman approved a plan to shut off the West Bank and Gaza Strip for 11 days for the Sukkot holiday and the following Shabbat, his office said Sunday.

An IDF spokesperson confirmed that this was the current decision. However, she stressed that the closure was subject to further assessments ahead of the holiday and could change.

Closures for Jewish and Israeli holidays are a routine procedure. However, in the past, Israel has shut down the West Bank and Gaza only at the start and end of week-long festivals like Sukkot, rather than for the entire holiday.

As the holiday ends on the evening of October 11 — a Wednesday — the closure is scheduled to last through the weekend, until midnight on October 14, for a total of 11 days.

Channel 2 news reported that Liberman’s decision went against a recommendation by the army and was due to pressure by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, following the deadly stabbing attack at the Har Adar settlement last week in which a Palestinian terrorist shot and killed three security officers and wounded a fourth.

The defense minister’s office dismissed the unsourced report as “nonsense,” and the army similarly denied the claim.

According to both the minister’s and an army spokesperson, since the Har Adar attack, the IDF’s stance has been in favor of a closure for the entire holiday.

The military said that prior to the Har Adar terror attack, it did advocate closing the West Bank and Gaza for only the first and last days of the holiday, but that assessment changed after the attack.

Liberman’s spokesperson said that the new “recommendation was accepted by the defense minister.”

In general, the Jewish high holiday season, which began last week with Rosh Hashanah, is seen by defense officials as a time period of increased tension in the region, when the risk of terror attacks is higher.

Ordinarily, tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank enter Israel and Israeli settlements for work each day. A far smaller number of Gaza residents also travel to Israel, mostly to receive medical treatment.

The IDF makes exceptions to the closures for humanitarian and other outstanding cases, based on assessments by the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration.

West Bank and Gaza closures for holidays are intended both to prevent attempts at terror attacks in Israel during the holiday period and to allow the Israeli security officials who operate the crossings to celebrate the festival.

A similar closure was imposed on Friday and Saturday for Yom Kippur and last week, for Rosh Hashanah.

The above brings to mind a poem that I wrote 13 years ago ….

MY FAMILY IS DIVIDED  

By Steve Amsel 

 

A wall has been built,

I cannot see my neighbor

I know not when he needs my help

I know not when he is hungry.

 

My brother’s child cannot come for an afternoon snack

I cannot bring it to him

The wall is in the way

Dividing families and loved ones.

 

“They” told us the wall is for protection.

From what?

Must our children go hungry?

Must we be jobless?

 

“They” say we are the enemy.

Is going to work a crime?

Is going to school a crime?

Try to tell a child that hunger is a good thing.

 

If the wall stays up

There will be an enemy

Uneducation and hunger leads to resentment

Resentment will lead to revolt.

 

Learn from your history my friends

Learn that walls are not the solution

Learn that unity is strength

And learn that justice triumphs over evil always.

 

DERSHOWITZ GETS A TASTE OF HIS OWN MEDICINE

Dershowitz seems to think it was OK to block Dr. Norman Finkelstein from obtaining tenure at DePaul University, but he gets upset when he himself is blocked from speaking at a University.

As we say in Brooklyn, ‘TUFF NUGGIES!’

Harvard Law School prof. says he’s being deprived of free speech rights, charges university of being unfair to pro-Israel speakers

And evil he is!

UC Berkeley blocks pro-Israel talk by Dershowitz, citing rules on advance notice

A speech by Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz at the University of California, Berkeley, may be blocked because organizers did not give campus police the required eight-week notice for the event.

Dershowitz’s lecture, tentatively titled “The Liberal Case for Israel,” is planned for Oct. 10. But Rabbi Gil Yosef Leeds, director of the Chabad Jewish Student Center, which is sponsoring the lecture along with the pro-Israel student club Tikvah, said Thursday that an initially approved 500-seat classroom was pulled because of the advance notice requirement.

“As of last night, Berkeley had reserved a large campus lecture hall for us, but because of a newly instituted policy requiring [giving] UCPD 8 weeks advance notice, so far they have denied on-campus space,” Leeds said in an email. “The semester isn’t even eight weeks old.”

Dershowitz, who could not be reached for comment, said on TV’s “Fox & Friends” Thursday morning that he was being deprived of his free speech rights and accused UC Berkeley of being unfair to pro-Israel speakers.

UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof pointed to the school’s Major Events Hosted by Non-Departmental Users interim policy statement announced on Aug. 14, which states that a request form must be submitted to campus police “at least eight weeks prior to the event” for audiences of more than 200 people.

“If they wish to host Mr. Dershowitz 12 days from now on Oct. 10, we have offered the students a number of venues that can accommodate an audience of 199 people,” Mogulof said in an email. “If, however, having a larger audience is more important to the hosting student organization than holding the event on the date they initially proposed, we would be happy to work with them to reschedule the event for a day at least eight weeks from now so that we can maintain compliance with policy.”

Mogulof said the policy applies only to nondepartmental applicants. That means a speaker hosted by a UC Berkeley department would not have to follow the guidelines. Leeds said among his follow-up strategies is to seek a UC Berkeley department to sponsor the lecture.

Dershowitz, an emeritus professor of law at Harvard, wrote “The Case for Israel” in 2003 and often addresses the issue on college campuses, including an event on Wednesday night at Columbia University in New York.

His bid to speak at UC Berkeley is the latest in a series of recent free-speech disputes on campus. Several right-wing speakers, including Ben Shapiro, editor of DailyWire.com, have visited the campus amid high security, student protests and accusations that the campus was shutting out right-leaning speakers.

Leeds is confident the Dershowitz lecture will take place.

“I’m sure it’s on,” he said. “It’s just a matter of how this will play out.”

A CONTINUING LOVE FEST IN ISRAEL

Won’t you be my neighbour?

I have written about the neighbourhood I live in many times … It is truly an oasis of peace, literally surrounded by hatred and walls. Hopefully, one day it will become the norm in Israel …

NEVER SAY NEVER!

The following appeared in The Times of Israel yesterday …. it’s really a must read and very inspirational.

French Hill is a community of like-minded dwellers — a collection of people who want to live together in cookie-cutter Israeli apartment buildings surrounding a simple shopping center that includes a supermarket, bank, pizza parlor, hummus joint and café.

A view over French Hill, a Jerusalem neighborhood that’s attracted a mix of residents (Courtesy Lagur)

From Arab to Orthodox, Chinese to Korean, it’s love thy neighbor in French Hill

The northern Jerusalem neighborhood is home to a spectacularly diverse community, living in even more remarkable harmony

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When Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat made a deal recently with ultra-Orthodox politicians to funnel Haredi growth to certain parts of the city, French Hill was not mentioned.

The decision to keep ultra-Orthodox institutions out of French Hill, a staunchly secular area just a stone’s throw from some of the city’s most religious enclaves, was no accident.

Situated next to Mount Scopus at the northern end of the city, the neighborhood has long been a secular Jewish stronghold, as well as home to a thriving Masorti Conservative synagogue, a Modern Orthodox contingent, a Christian Korean community, and, in recent years, Arab Israeli and Druze families who relocated from Israel’s north to Jerusalem for professional reasons. There is a small ultra-Orthodox community too — “ultra-Orthodox who work,” said one of its members — but no major ultra-Orthodox institutions, schools or synagogues.

Walking distance to Hebrew University’s hilltop campus and one of the city’s two Hadassah hospitals, the area has been a prime residential choice for decades for native and transplanted Jerusalemites alike.

Still, the mix of residents in this quiet, unassuming neighborhood is nothing short of remarkable, given the tense, often explosive interactions between people of all sorts in the tinderbox that is Jerusalem.

French Hill isn’t removed from the intensity evident elsewhere in the city. The neighborhood, built in 1967 following the Six Day War, is flanked by several Arab villages and abuts a major traffic intersection that connects northern Jerusalem with roads to Maale Adumim in the West Bank and the Dead Sea, as well as the Palestinian neighborhood of Shuafat.

The intersection has been the site of 11 terror attacks in the last 15 years.

The ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of Ramat Shlomo, Ma’alot Dafna and Ramat Eshkol are also just across that intersection.

And yet, say residents, French Hill is a community of like-minded dwellers — a collection of people who want to live together in cookie-cutter Israeli apartment buildings surrounding a simple shopping center that includes a supermarket, bank, pizza parlor, hummus joint and café.

“It’s a kibbutz around here,” said Merav Elbaz, who grew up in French Hill and now serves on the local community council. “It’s a neighborhood in every sense of the word.”

The Conservative congregation is strong, and so is the Arab community, said Rabbi Haya Baker, who has headed French Hill’s 25-year-old Ramot Zion Conservative synagogue for the last decade.

“It’s mixed in ways that I can’t even describe,” said Baker, whose synagogue welcomes nonreligious families to take part in the life of the congregation.

It’s that amalgam of people from different backgrounds that drew Suzanne Shihadih and her husband, originally from the northern Arab town of Sakhnin, when they were looking for a Jerusalem neighborhood in which to raise their young family.

“There were others who came before us, and that made it easier,” she said. “We always thought we’d go back to Sakhnin, but it’s more comfortable for us here.”

Shihadih is a teacher, her husband is an attorney, and they felt instantly comfortable in French Hill, surrounded by young families, both Arab and Jewish, who were a lot like them.

“We’re not Jewish and we’re not East Jerusalemites,” said Shihadih. “We feel like we belong here.”

It’s uncommon for Arabic speakers to live in a primarily Jewish Jerusalem neighborhood, commented Adam Shay, a Jewish resident of the neighborhood who is also a transplant from the country’s center. But it works in French Hill.

“They’re a very upwardly mobile crowd,” said Shay, referring to his Arab friends. “They’re lawyers and accountants, academics. Some are Druze, some are Christian or Muslim, and I’m not always sure who’s what. They want to live in a bilingual society, and they’re not East Jerusalemites, either,” referring to Arab residents from East Jerusalem, whose complicated residency status in the state of Israel sets them apart from their fellow Palestinians and from Arab citizens of Israel.

Better together

The various French Hill populations lived peacefully but separately alongside one another for years, until November 2014, when a fire was set in one of the classrooms of Hand in Hand, the bilingual Arabic-Hebrew school in Pat, a neighborhood on the other side of Jerusalem.

That night, a group of French Hill neighbors sat together at a local café feeling utterly depressed at the latest turn of events.

“We were all horrified,” said Shay. “Burning a school has nothing to do with politics, and that was something we all agreed upon at the table, even though we are a mix of people from different backgrounds and beliefs.”

They began discussing various kinds of efforts that could refute what had just taken place. Arabic classes for the kids were one idea, given that the local Arab population of children attended the local Jewish public school, but had little access to any kind of Arab curriculum.

In the end the group decided to organize an event that December at the local community center, combining Chanukah and Christmas with a menorah and tree, with one of the dads dressed as Santa Claus.

The activity was all about the kids, with zero religious debate or discussion, said Shay. “We have shared interests, we want a good education and for our kids to be happy.”

In the midst of the festivities, however, four men from Im Tirtzu, the right-wing Zionist organization, burst in, filming the event and announcing that everyone in the room supported terror.

Shay, thinking quickly, told the kids, “Hey kids, we love to live in the light,” referring to the words of the classic Chanukah song, “We Came to Drive Away the Darkness,” which all the kids joined in singing, drowning out the Im Tirtzu “yobs,” he said.

“It was beautiful and it was at that exact moment that we decided we exist, there’s a reason why we exist, and at the very least, let’s educate our kids to enjoy each other’s presence,” he said.

Following the incident, the committed residents started to call themselves Maan Yahad, a Hebrew and Arabic name meaning “better together.” Nearly three years later, the group is going strong, with close to 200 people, fairly evenly divided between Jews and Arabs. Their events don’t revolve around religious holidays, and if held on Saturdays, they try to exclude any use of music, money or electricity so that the religiously observant Jewish members can still take part.

It’s a mix that works, said Shay. No one needs to be registered in order to participate and anyone can join.

“Our motivation is our kids, and now we’re friends, we’re all there together,” said Shay. “We had 100 people at iftar, the post-Ramadan fast dinner in July, so we said, yalla, let’s get 200 next time.”

This school year, Maan Yahad received a budget from a small foundation, which they’re hoping will allow them to arrange an Arabic course for Hebrew speakers during the daily afterschool program, as well as enrichment classes for the native Arabic speakers, given that language barriers often create the greatest lack of understanding.

“Education is important to us, you need a framework for the kids,” said Shihadih, who sent her elder son to the private American School until third grade, when they switched him to one of the local French Hill public schools. “Without playmates and friends, you can’t do it.”

It feels different now, said Shihadih and Shay, referring to their children’s classes in the same school.

“In my elder daughter’s class, there’s a girl who’s Chinese, one who is French with two mommies, two Arab kids, a Druze kid and a few from Anatot, a Jewish community in the West Bank. Yes, the majority are Israeli Jews, but it’s diverse and it’s beautiful and the first thing you learn as a parent is that kids just don’t care,” he said.

Won’t you be my neighbor?

There has been an influx of some ultra-Orthodox Israelis to the mostly secular neighborhood. And that supposed growth led to a Kan television report in June about how that influx was ostensibly changing the neighborhood.

But the report, said locals, skewed the realities of the neighborhood, purporting to show that the ultra-Orthodox were taking over, jacking up real estate prices, and pushing for better, bigger preschools for their children.

The figures weren’t correct, said Rabbi Baker.

“I don’t know where they were from,” she said. “There isn’t the same amount of ultra-Orthodox kids and non-ultra-Orthodox kids. It’s not even close. There are three times the number of regular preschools in the area.”

According to Nelly Ephrati Artom, a real estate agent with ReMax Vision, there are young Haredi couples buying smaller apartments at the entrance of the neighborhood, given its walking distance to Ramat Eshkol and Givat Hamivtar, two nearby, heavily ultra-Orthodox areas.

“French Hill is a lot cheaper than Ramat Eshkol,” said Artom. “If you get an apartment for NIS 3 million ($852,000) in French Hill, the same size apartment would cost more in Ramat Eshkol.”

French Hill has always been less expensive than Ramat Eshkol, said Artom, given that the latter neighborhood has less available real estate, and fewer buildings overall.

But prices have been rising in French Hill, particularly since the arrival of the light rail that allowed young couples to live there without having to rely on private transportation.

There are also several small, ultra-Orthodox synagogues in the area, held in private homes, said Ephrati, as well as small daycare programs for ultra-Orthodox children, that are also run out of peoples’ private homes.

It isn’t surprising that French Hill caught on with a different crowd, said Artom.

“The population of French Hill has always been highly intellectual, not rich, a lot of professors and Hadassah staff,” she said. “It’s very clean, it’s old-fashioned, and it’s special, it’s like a kibbutz socially, a place where people say “Hi” in the streets.”

It was those characteristics, along with the staunchly secular character, that drew Shulamit Ansbacher and her husband to the area, making them one of the new, young ultra-Orthodox families. Ansbacher is a lawyer who wears a wig for religious reasons, and calls herself a more modern Haredi woman. Her husband is originally from the beach town of Netanya, and it was important to him that they live in a mixed community.

“It was important to us that we teach that to our kids,” she said. “Not everything has to be the way you live. In order to live in the world, you have to learn how to deal with others.”

The Hill, as the locals call it, is an unusual place, said Ansbacher.

“It’s interesting here,” she said. “It even has a reform synagogue,” referring to the Masorti congregation Ramot Zion, and using the incorrect but typical Hebrew slang term for any non-Orthodox synagogue. “But while there’s this discussion about the ultra-Orthodox taking over the neighborhood, that’s not what we talk about around here.”

Her family has changed the balance in their building, as a family with young children, and it’s been a positive shift for the neighbors, said Ansbacher. Yet she doesn’t want French Hill to become Ramat Eshkol, the nearby neighborhood that did become completely ultra-Orthodox.

“I think Haredim won’t come here if we’re this kind of ultra-Orthodox here,” said Ansbacher. “We’re ultra-Orthodox who work, like everyone else. We don’t threaten anyone. I don’t feel antagonism from anyone here,” she said.

She would love to have an ultra-Orthodox school in the neighborhood. Her daughters go to school in Rehavia, a 20-30 minute drive in morning traffic and her sons are in Neve Yaakov, another Jewish settlement just north of the city.

“A Haredi school would be great, but it would freak people out,” she noted. “There are nuances among Haredi schools that the secular don’t know about, they think it’s just one type of Haredi, so it’s threatening. But I think I’d also feel threatened.”

The religious people who live in French Hill don’t want to live in a shtetl, said Shay, referring to the small villages where Jews lived in Eastern Europe before the Holocaust.

“When I barbecue on Shabbat, I let my religious neighbor know that I’m going to be turning on the grill,” he said. “It probably bothers him, but he wouldn’t say anything because that’s French Hill.”

If French Hill residents were to get scared by a relatively small influx of ultra-Orthodox residents, and started to believe the secular dwellers will leave, then that would create a reason to leave, added Elbaz.

“Everyone who’s here wants to be part of what’s happening here,” she said. “The haredization of the city worries us all, but my kids get a lot by living here. There’s an openness here that doesn’t exist in other places.”

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More photos and video (in Hebrew) at the source

 

ANOTHER MIXED BAG OF TOONS AND IMAGES FOR A MIXED UP WORLD

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Jeff Koterba, Omaha World Herald

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Kneeling for LIBERTY

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Today in American sports… We salute the athletes who took a knee.
Reminiscent of prayer, like in this photo of MLK and Ralph Abernathy, prior to going to jail in Selma, Alabama. Much more will be asked of us in the coming months.

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Latuff added the following …

With 40 years of soft war against Iran, will Trump finally be the president to send Americans to die in an Israeli war?

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Waterboarding Liberty

Where your tax dollars go …

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Bottom line is …

Whatever you allow the Government to do to others 🤔 it will eventually do to you DUMBASS

MUST SEE VIDEO ~~ THE OCCUPATION OF THE AMERICAN MIND

Documentary Looks at Israel’s PR War in the United States

 

ICE CREAM AS A ROAD TO PEACE

Five years after teaming up to produce ice cream, Adam Ziv from Kibbutz Sasa and Alaa Sweitat of Galilee village of Tarshiha are now proud owners of successful chain with five stores in northern Israel and Tel Aviv, becoming first Israeli business to win prestigious UN prize.

Adam Ziv (R) and Alaa Sweitat. ‘Reality is reality is the connection between people the way it is created in our stores’ (Photo: Yuval Chen)

Jewish-Arab ice cream business a sweet symbol of coexistence

Shirley Golan

It happened many years ago, but Adam Ziv will never forget how impressed he was by one scoop of caramel ice cream. He was a little boy from a kibbutz who had come to an amusement park as part of his summer camp, and at the end of the visit the children were taken to a hidden ice cream parlor near the park.

“I didn’t even know what caramel was,” he says. “There was no such thing in Kibbutz Sasa, but the name sounded enchanting, and every child was allowed to pick one flavor. So I tried it out, and I fell in love.”

This scoop of ice cream he tasted more than 20 years ago became the first step in a long journey, which recently reached an important milestone: a prize on behalf of the United Nations for helping promote peace. Ziv’s faith in the power of ice cream to bring people closer together apparently convinced the international organization too. It’s what happens when your ice cream is part of a vision of co-existence—a joint Jewish-Arab business.

The prestigious Flourish Prizes were handed out in Cleveland to 17 businesses from all over the world. Ziv, 31, accepted the award together with his business partner over the past five years, 34-year-old Alaa Sweitat, who was born in the Galilee village of Tarshiha and is the owner and chef of the Aluma restaurant.

Sweitat confirms he didn’t hesitate, although ice cream is not part of the Arab street he grew up on. “It doesn’t exist here. There are no ice cream parlors in the villages, and both personally and professionally, I was raised on gourmet food, on a meticulous kitchen,” he says. “But an enthusiastic person arrive, and I decided I felt like doing something new.”

Officially, Sweitat’s partner in the ice cream business is Kibbutz Sasa, which approved Ziv’s financial plan in a vote, and he finds it completely natural too. “At Aluma, I also began as a worker and was promoted to partner with the restaurant’s Jewish owner until I became its owner myself, so a partnership with Jews is nothing unusual as far as I’m concerned. Moreover, it was clear to me that it would provide added value to the village and to the Galilee. I’m delighted every day when Jewish tourists come here and feel at home, because that’s the reception they get here.”

In Buza, like in any other ice cream parlor, the most popular flavor is of course vanilla. But here people can try out unique flavors, according to the available local raw materials.

“Let’s assume that a friend has a lemon tree that bears a lot of fruit on a certain season and he comes over with a box. We’ll make lemon ice cream,” says Ziv, who is responsible for the ice cream production and preparation. “If there’s suddenly a lot of pecan from Sasa’s fields, we’ll make all kinds of flavors with pecan, or with special honey that someone brought over. We also investigate what is happening in the world in this field and renew our flavors accordingly. We enter collaborations with leading chefs like Yonatan Roshfeld, Meir Adoni and Omer Miller, as well as with commercial companies occasionally.

“Personally, my favorite flavor is the roasted pecan with salt and organic maple and our cashew flavor. Alaa prefers the sorbet, for example with lychee from the Galilee and the sabra fruit.”

An ice cream parlor and an investment fund

Two flavors which have been tried out but did not appeal to the Israeli audience are apple sorbet (“most people didn’t even want to taste it, and those who did said it resembled baby fruit puree”) and white chocolate ice cream with ginger and orange zest (“a flavor I was introduced to in the Canary Islands, where it’s very popular,” Ziv says. “I fell in love with it too, but here people wouldn’t even taste it”). On the other hand, the most popular flavor after vanilla is the chocolate and hazelnut ice cream, which is called “Buza cream.”

Unlike Ziv, Sweitat had never dreamed of owning an ice cream business. He connected, however, to Ziv’s vision and spirit of adventurousness, and Buza (the Arabic word for ice cream) was born—ice cream that is produced from the finest products and sold in five locations in northern Israel and in Tel Aviv. And regardless of the wonderful taste of this ice cream, it’s the first Israeli business to win a UN prize.

“When I embarked on my post-army trip, I bought a one-way ticket to Milan with a very clear plan: To play music on the streets, to go from one place to another in Europe and to eat ice cream,” Ziv says. “Six months into the trip, my mother told me she had heard about a project in the Canary Islands—an elderly man who had decided to cross the ocean on a raft and was looking for help. I went there to help him build the raft, and every evening I would have ice cream.

“After several visits to the local ice cream parlor, the owner offered to teach me how to make ice cream and suggested I work there in the evenings. I began doing just that and felt I was in heaven: Next to the sea, playing my music in the evening to people around a bonfire, eating fresh ice cream and feeling good. Shortly afterwards, it suddenly dawned on me and I began asking myself, inspired by that elderly man, how I planned to cross my ocean, what should I do and what do I want to do. I realized that my real dream was not to return to Israel and study music and psychology in order to earn a living, but to open an ice cream parlor with an Arab partner, in an Arab village, in a bid to strengthen the connection between the two people.”

That’s kind of naïve, isn’t it?

“Imagine a summer afternoon, Jewish and Arab parents arriving with their children, nice music playing in the background, the air conditioner is on and the sun is pleasant, and there’s of course good ice cream. What happens? They all sit down and lick their ice cream together. Shortly afterwards, the children start running wild and playing together, the parents look at each other and start talking and getting to know each other, and a sort of natural ‘together’ is created.

“That’s the picture I had in my head, and that’s what’s happening in our store in Tarshiha for five years now. Not to mention the ties created between the employees, who suddenly realize that although they’re members of different religions, they have the same iPhones and the same interests and dreams and plans. It’s beautiful.”

‘Alaa prefers sorbet’

To fulfill his dream, Ziv traveled to Italy to learn about ice cream, its preparation methods and the required machinery for the huge project ahead. He was mostly attracted to gelato, ice cream made of milk and a bit of cream, and dreamed about a transparent kitchen which would allow people visiting the ice cream parlor to experience the preparation process and catch a glimpse of the local and fresh raw materials the ice cream is made of. In the display refrigerator, Ziv wanted to cover the deep ice cream trays with stainless steel lids, to store the products in the finest conditions and offer curious people a surprise experience.

Next, he returned to Israel and began touring Galilee villages in search of the perfect location to fulfill his dream. Following a recommendation from acquaintances, he arrived at the Aluma restaurant and met Sweitat. “Alaa thought about it for a moment and told me it was a good idea and that he had a place for us. We visited it together, and since then—for the past five years—it has been our store, in the center of the village.”

Now with five stores—including a visitors’ center offering tours and workshops in Sasa—50 employees and one important prize, their new dream is to raise money and create a foundation to support other joint businesses.

“We’re doing something which we see as a good thing,” says Ziv. “As far as I’m concerned, reality is the connection between people the way it is created in our stores, and I would like to expand the circle, to be able to offer business support, legal counseling and a financial push for businesses with a similar goal, in a bid to change reality on a wider scale.

“The only way to change attitudes is to communicate. In order to light up the darkness, one must turn on a flashlight. The light we are creating with Buza is probably dim, but it’s a light nonetheless. You come to Tarshiha, stop for ice cream and then enter the supermarket, buy something, meet people, understand that you’re not afraid of them and that you don’t have to be afraid of them. It’s a start.”

 

WAS THE FATHER OF ZIONISM AN ANTI SEMITE?

Jewish History professor addresses Zionist visionary and accusations that Theodor Herzl made anti-Semitic statements.

Herzl – Anti-Semite?

This year marks the 120th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress. Many events have been held to commemorate and discuss the legacy of the congress, which was held in Basel, Switzerland in 1897.

In recent decades there have been a number of attempts to undermine the legacy of Theodor Herzl, who led the congress and is considered the grandfather of the Zionist movement. Some have gone as far as to accuse Herzl of anti-Semitism.

Arutz Sheva discussed these accusations against Herzl with Dr. Udi Manor of the Department of Jewish Heritage at Ariel University, an expert on Israeli history, Zionism and politics.

Dr. Manor was asked at the beginning of the discussion whether there is any truth to the assertion that without Herzl none of the great events which befell the Jewish people would have happened, including the establishment of a Jewish state. “”On the one hand there is an accepted saying among historians: ‘don’t ask ‘what if?” The fact is that Herzl existed, and our work is to examine what he did. On the other hand, we try to ask ‘what was’ in order to filter out [nonessential information] and to understand a thing’s uniqueness.”

“Herzl wrote a lot, and he did not think that he had done everything. It is hard to know if all this would not have happened without him, but everything that happened in the first half of the twentieth century made a tremendous contribution to the establishment of the State of Israel,” Dr. Manor said. He emphasized that “without the actions of the Zionists who came and established settlements with blood and sweat this would not have happened.”

When asked to summarize summarize Herzl’s work, Dr. Manor said that his contribution was decisive in establishing the politicization and democratization of Zionism. This was done through the establishment and very existence of the Congress, which became a focal point where Jews could concentrate their efforts in the directions they saw fit. This direction was the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel in accordance to international law. This is what the Jews did at the congress, and, he said, it was done in a very democratic manner.

In his opinion, it was not the Dreyfus Affair which led Herzl to Zionism, even though he himself wrote it was. “This is a big question that I could not find a convincing answer to – what caused Herzl to choose this path and dedicate the last nine years of his life to Zionism? What made him a Zionist?”

“He writes in 1899 that it was the Dreyfus trial that motivated him, but it was a bluff intended to enlist the support of American Jews at a time when everyone knew about the Dreyfus Affair. After that, he hardly ever wrote about it. As a student in Vienna, he understood the anti-Semitic threat to society in Europe, and not only to Jewish society.

And what about the rise of nationalism and national consciousness which had occurred at that time, Dr. Manor was asked. Did that contribute to Herzl’s actions in the area of Jewish nationalism? According to Dr. Manor, the answer is definitely ‘yes.’

“The issue of national consciousness throughout Europe certainly influenced him, but it should be said that, contrary to the words of [certain] Israeli intellectuals, Zionism did not invent the Jewish people. There was a national consciousness long before that. The roots of early Jewishness are not in the 19th century. It was organized then, but it existed way before that.

Dr. Manor was presumably referring to radical Israeli intellectual Shlomo Sand, who has accused the Zionist movement of ‘inventing’ the Jewish people whereas before that, Judaism had only been a religion.

On the atmosphere and reality that enabled Herzl’s activities, Dr. Manor said that Herzl could only have acted and established the congress because he belonged to the minority of Jews who had civil rights. “Most of the world’s Jews had no rights. Jews in Russia had no civil rights. Nor did the Jews of Morocco or the Middle East. The only ones [in those regions] who had civil rights were about ten thousand Algerian Jews who became citizens of France.”

“The creation of a congress can only be carried out by someone who has citizenship and enjoys civil rights. Herzl’s book was translated into 15 languages ​​and became the talk of the day. Herzl used his civil rights to create a political instrument that would serve the Jews to establish a state which would grant them civil rights in the future.

In contrast to other historians, Dr. Manor does not belittle Herzl’s meeting with the Kaiser, which he believes is the most dramatic event in establishing international political recognition for the Jewish people and its needs. He compared it to an ordinary US citizen meeting the president in the White House.

Today, we are in a country whose prime minister is invited to every place in the world and continues Herzl’s endeavor to achieve recognition for the Jewish State. But 120 years ago, the important factors in the Jewish people, including the Rothschild family, were hostile to the Zionist enterprise. Everyone appreciated the Rothschild family and saw them as leaders of the Jewish people, and suddenly a journalist comes along who produced a revolution on this issue. In his eyes, it was the public, not the leaders of that time, whom he had to convince.

“More and more Jews were convinced, and after eight or nine years he was gaining esteem in European politics. He was meeting the emperor, and holding meetings with the most significant world leaders. The importance of such meetings cannot be underestimated.”

Dr. Manor was also asked about a number of statements written by Herzl which have been accused of being anti-Semitic in nature, including a statement in which Herzl said that that “the priests of the Christians are at the top of the scale and the simple Christians are better than the Jews.”

Elsewhere, Herzl seems to claim that the Jews rule the world, provoke nations, and that it is on their orders that governments make peace. Some statements seem as if they were ripped from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ the notorious anti-Semitic forgery which claims to reveal a Jewish conspiracy to control the world. In other statements Herzl seems to praise honest anti-Semites and favor mass conversion of Jews to Christianity.

In order to properly understand those statements, Dr. Manor said that it is important to understand the context in which they were said or written. “It is necessary to understand who is meant by what can be defined as auto-anti-Semitism. The question of the context is the true complexity of a historian’s work. People say a lot of things which have to be left in context.”

“It is true that Herzl had a very creative mind, and in the early stages of his life he thought of being a playwright. I one of his diary writings he dealt with the type of uniform that the members of the orchestra would wear on a ship leaving Europe and other anecdotes which are perhaps nonsense.

“Herzl’s criticism of Jews is not about the Jews themselves, but rather about the group which he called until he died the ‘protest rabbis.’ Local rabbis, a coalition of Orthodox and Reform, opposed him when he wanted to hold a congress in Munich. They believed that a Jew was first and foremost a German. Suddenly, a Jew from the German culture comes and wants to define the Jews as a national group and not only as a religious group, and writes one of the most difficult to read articles with a headline that was an [anti-Semitic] title hurled at Jews by their enemies.

“His thesis is that a Jew living in a reality of emancipation can assimilate if he wants to, and that the community cannot do anything to stop him. Many Jews had erased their identity, the most famous of whom is the family of [Karl] Marx. Herzl understood this, and stated that when there is liberalism, a person has the right to choose his future.

According to Manor, in this reality in which there is a fear of assimilation, Herzl sought to offer Jewish nationalism as another solution for those who did not want to or could not assimilate, and as he ironically put it, “to establish a state in which Jews can proudly turn around with their crooked nose.” Manor is convinced that such a statement reveals the tone in which it is said, a tone of absurdity that uses what Jews were accused of as a tool for the Jewish reaction, a form of Jewish humor.

As for the proposal to convert to Christianity, Dr. Manor believes that if the words are read in their full context, it is clear that Herzl took the words of the opponents of the Jewish state and showed them where their position would lead, and was not advocating mass conversions.

“The extreme solution is absurd, and therefore I direct you to my solution, even if it is currently hard to imagine the existence of a Jewish state with urban settlements and roads,” Dr. Manor explained.

“The right thing to do with Herzl is not to look for embarrassing quotes, although that is permissible, but instead to take his two most important books, ‘The Jewish State’ and ‘Altneuland,’ and see in them a sincere response to Herzl’s conception. In ‘The Jewish State’, he explains the problem of Jews who do not want to assimilate or be German or American members of the Mosaic religion, and in ‘Altneuland,’ e describes the establishment of the Jewish state, which would be established with accelerated technological development, and would be a place of private initiative without trampling on social values.”

Dr. Manor ends with the quote he considers to be Herzl’s most important: “Zionism is first and foremost a return to Judaism.” He said that this quote shows that Herzl did not see any disconnect between his vision and Judaism.

 

Source

REVERSING ISRAEL’S DIVIDE AND CONQUER TACTICS

Palestinians are 12 million in number, and stuck in institutional paralysis. The nearly 25-year-old Oslo Peace Process successfully, and sadly, facilitated Israel’s strategic desire to utilize the age-old divide and conquer strategy to reduce Palestinians to disparate fragments, each with their own challenge to merely survive.

Palestinian youths force open a gate in the Israeli separation wall, built on land belonging to the village of Bil’in, which leads to the Israeli settlement of Modi’in Ilit, also built on village land, February 17, 2017. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

How Palestinians can reverse Israel’s divide and conquer tactics

Oslo allowed Israel to reduce Palestinians to disparate fragments, each with their own challenge to merely survive. It’s time to reset that reality and view the Palestinians for what they are — physically fragmented, politically divided, but a whole people.

By Sam Bahour

Most veteran observers, including Israeli security authorities and Palestinian leadership, were dumbfounded by recent events in Jerusalem, where tens of thousands of Palestinians mobilized non-violently in response to the Israeli closure of the Old City and placement of metal detectors at the entrance of the Dome of Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. What was the secret ingredient that made such a mass action take place and be a successful example in Palestinian non-violent resistance to the 50 years of Israeli military occupation? How did it happen so spontaneously, non-violently and with seemingly no leadership?

A new report by the group, titled, Relations Between Palestinians Across the Green Line (Arabic here, English translation forthcoming), in the works for over two years, may hold the answer to some of these questions. For months, a group of dedicated Palestinian analysts, activists, intellectuals and politicians working with the Palestine Strategy Group (PSG) have been meeting to explore an angle of the Palestinians reality that is many times ignored—the relationship between the Palestinians living inside Israel, today coined as Palestinian citizens of Israel, and Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

Transcending artificial boundaries

The report identifies Jerusalem as a place where, paradoxically, the boundaries of Israel and Palestine collapse — a site for joint work, cooperation and struggle against Israel’s colonial policies. Many political leaders (Palestinian members of Knesset, as well as Jerusalemites, Fatah members, Hamas-affiliated academics, etc.) who were part of the group that produced the report testified to the existing, nascent cooperation and possibility and need to further develop it.

Even beyond the recent developments in Jerusalem, there are also indications of grassroots and bottom-up engagements transcending conventional and formal realms of political engagement elsewhere. The cross-border mobilization and cooperation to address the Prawer Plan, for instance, a 2011 Israeli government plan to forcibly relocate some 40,000 Bedouin citizens living in dozens of villages in Israel’s Negev desert, was identified as additional proof to this growing phenomenon of Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line finding common ground.

The PSG report starts with stating an obvious, but no less bold, fact that “Fifty years after the Israeli occupation and forced annexation of Palestinians under Israel’s discriminatory ruling regime, political projects associated with ending the occupation and attaining full citizenship have ended in stalemate.”

That statement is not groundbreaking in and of itself. When coupled with the following realization, however, it provides more than just food for thought — it also sheds light on this rather invisible phenomenon which has the potential to rejuvenate the entire Palestinian national liberation movement. The report continues: “In light of different political projects, national cohesion among the Palestinian people on both sides of the Green Line is a key tool to create a unified, collective umbrella that allows networking, empowerment and development. While it does not abolish political specificities, this umbrella will seek to integrate political projects. Every component of these projects will support the other with a view to realizing respective demands, including ending the occupation of the 1967 territory, return of the refugees, full citizenship, and individual and collective equality inside the Green Line.”

A new Palestinian agency?

The strategy presented is premised on two hypotheses. First, is the need to maintain a clear distinction between the national and the political realms. That means an inclusive Palestinian national project that brings together all Palestinian people — those under occupation in the (New) State of Palestine, those in Israel, and those refugees and diaspora abroad. Secondly, discrepant political interests and perceptions of Palestinian groups need to be viewed as complementary, rather than contradictory to one another. Doing so means embracing diversity, transforming it from a source of divisions into a foundation for rebuilding a national project.

It is important to emphasize that support, networking and joint action of Palestinians across the Green Line have always been in place. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Palestinian party leaders inside Israel have acted in concert and coordinated with and supported each other on innumerable occasions. However, coordination always took place beyond any institutional frameworks. Oftentimes, the report notes, “collaboration was arbitrary, individual [and not] bona fide.” Today, this cross-border cooperation is not only targeted, collective and authentic, but has within it the seeds of a new type of Palestinian leadership.

In this context, namely the lack of institutional networking, PSG discussants proposed several potential options to institutionalize relations between Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line. A major thrust of the report entertains the “creating an inclusive, apolitical framework for all Palestinians.”

Palestinians are 12 million in number, and stuck in institutional paralysis. The nearly 25-year-old Oslo Peace Process successfully, and sadly, facilitated Israel’s strategic desire to utilize the age-old divide and conquer strategy to reduce Palestinians to disparate fragments, each with their own challenge to merely survive. It’s time to reset that reality and view the Palestinians for what they are, physically fragmented, politically divided, but a whole people nonetheless, from Ramallah to Santiago.

Sam Bahour is a Secretariat member of the Palestine Strategy Groupand policy adviser to Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. He blogs at www.epalestine.com. @SamBahour. The PSG report was implemented in cooperation with the Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies (MADAR) and the Oxford Research Group (ORG). It was supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Representative Office of Norway to the Palestinian Authority (2015-2017) and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (2016-2017).  This latest report is the most recent of a series of important and influential documents the PSG has issued since its founding in 2008.

 

Originally appeared AT

ZIONISM HAS BECOME ISRAEL’S FUNDAMENTAL, RACIST RELIGION

Zionism is Israel’s fundamentalist religion, and as in any religion, its denial is prohibited. In Israel, “non-Zionist” or “anti-Zionist” aren’t insults, they are social expulsion orders. There’s nothing like it in any free society.

Image by Carlos Latuff

ISRAEL’S  MINISTER OF TRUTH

Israel Justice Minister Shaked said the truth loud and clear: Zionism contradicts human rights, and thus is indeed an ultranationalist, colonialist and perhaps racist movement

By Gideon Levy

Thank you, Ayelet Shaked, for telling the truth. Thank you for speaking honestly. The justice minister has proved once again that Israel’s extreme right is better than the deceivers of the center-left: It speaks honestly.

If in 1975, Chaim Herzog dramatically tore up a copy of UN General Assembly Resolution 3379, equating Zionism with racism, the justice minister has now admitted the truthfulness of the resolution (which was later revoked). Shaked said, loud and clear: Zionism contradicts human rights, and thus is indeed an ultranationalist, colonialist and perhaps even racist movement, as proponents of justice worldwide maintain.

Shaked prefers Zionism to human rights, the ultimate universal justice. She believes that we have a different kind of justice, superior to universal justice. Zionism above all. It’s been said before, in other languages and other nationalist movements.

Had Shaked not pitted these two principles against each other, we would have continued to believe what has been drilled into us since childhood: Zionism is a just, morally unflawed movement. It sanctifies equality and justice: Just look at our Declaration of Independence. We memorized “the only democracy in the Middle East,” “a land without a people for a people without a land,” “everyone is equal in the Jewish state”; we learned about the Arab Supreme Court justice and the Druze cabinet minister. What more could we ask? It’s so just, so equal, you could cry.

If this were all true, Shaked would have no reason to come to the defense of Zionism in the face of human rights. For Shaked and the right, the debate on human and civil rights is anti-Zionist, even anti-Semitic. It seeks to undermine and destroy the Jewish state.

Thus Shaked believes, as do so many around the world, that Israel is built on foundations of injustice and therefore must be defended from the hostile talk of justice. How else can the repulsion to discussing rights be explained? Individual rights are important, she said, but not when they are disconnected from “the Zionist challenges.” Right again: The Zionist challenges indeed stand in contradiction to human rights.

What are today’s Zionist challenges? To “Judaize” the Negev and Galilee, remove the “infiltrators,” cultivate Israel’s Jewish character and preserve its Jewish majority. The occupation, the settlements, the cult of security, the army — which is primarily an occupation army — that is Zionism circa 2017. All its components are contrary to justice. After we were told that Zionism and justice were identical twins, that no national movement is more just than Zionism, Shaked came to say: just the opposite. Zionism is not just, it contradicts justice, but we shall cleave to it and prefer it to justice, because it’s our identity, our history and our national mission. No activist for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement would say it more sharply. But no nation has the right to spurn universal principles and invent its principles that call day night, the occupation just and discrimination equality.

Zionism is Israel’s fundamentalist religion, and as in any religion, its denial is prohibited. In Israel, “non-Zionist” or “anti-Zionist” aren’t insults, they are social expulsion orders. There’s nothing like it in any free society. But now that Shaked has exposed Zionism, put her hand to the flame and admitted the truth, we can finally think about Zionism more freely. We can admit that the Jews’ right to a state contradicted the Palestinians’ right to their land, and that righteous Zionism gave birth to a terrible national wrong that has never been righted; that there are ways to resolve and atone for this contradiction, but the Zionist Israelis won’t agree to them.

Now, then, is the time for a new division, braver and more honest, between those Israelis who agree with Shaked’s statement and those disagree. Between supporters of Zionism and supporters of justice. Between Zionists and the just. Shaked did not provide for a third option.

FRIDAY’S TOON ~~ THE OCCUPATION IS FOREVER!

Or Not!!!

Image by Carlos Latuff

Netanyahu promises West Bank will be occupied Israel “forever”

NY TIMES ASSERTS THAT JEWS ARE SAFER IN ISRAEL THAN IN AMERICA … CAUSE THEY CAN KILL PALESTINIANS THERE

When will the New York Times publish anti-Zionist or even non-Zionist Jewish views of our society?

Israeli soldiers photographed beating Palestinian in West Bank … when they are not shooting, they are beating.

Jews are safer in Israel than U.S. because our kids drop their M-16s on the sofa — NYT op-ed

The New York Times once again has offered a platform to a militant American-Israeli Zionist to argue that Jews are only safe when they oppress Palestinians.

The subject is Charlottesville, and the rise of neo-Nazis. Israel-promoter Daniel Gordis is granted an op-ed to say that Jews are safer in Israel than America, because in America, Jewish kids don’t know how to play with guns. Here’s the heart of the piece:

Israel has a military draft, and all of our kids served. Those years of service, of coming home on weekends with M-16s that we had to remind them not to leave on the sofas, inculcated in them a confidence about the world that I never had at their age.

Of course Gordis doesn’t tell us where those kids served. The occupied territories, surely, making certain that Palestinians who are resisting their lack of rights for 50 years stay fairly quiet.

Gordis doesn’t care about Palestinians. The word doesn’t appear in this homily. He cares about Jews, and about how Israel has “cured” Jews of their weaknesses. He tells a (questionable) anecdote about how Israel has turned mice into men:

I had the students — a highly knowledgeable group of undergraduates — watch video footage of Charlottesville. They sat stunned as they watched the parade of the torches, an image they understood. When I explained that the men with flak jackets, helmets and semiautomatic weapons were the protesters, not the police, they were incredulous. When the Nazi flags appeared, the room was silent except for the sounds of the protesters onscreen.

Then the video cut to one of the marchers, who explained their “republican principles.” The first was the supremacy of “white culture.” The students listened, disgusted. The second was free-market capitalism. Still, they were quiet. Then, the third principle, the protester said, was “killing Jews.” The entire class burst into laughter.

Stunned, I paused the video. Even with the video stilled, they were chuckling. I asked them what they found so amusing. Finally, one student said: “What, does this guy believe that in today’s world you can just go out and kill Jews? It’s funny, that’s all.”…

The conclusion of the article hammers home the point about Israel being safer for Jews than the U.S. He quotes his son wondering whether the day has arrived when America will not “be there” for Jews, as it was during the Holocaust:

Has it? I pray not, though it is too early to tell. But here is what we do know. The tiny, embattled country our family now calls home has raised a generation of young people to understand that ultimately, the only people who can be fully trusted to safeguard the safety of the Jews are the Jews. For having afforded our children a chance to grow up with no sense of the vulnerability that we knew growing up in America, we owe Israel and its founders a profound debt of gratitude.

Gordis and I grew up in the same Baltimore academic Jewish community (I attended a seder or two at his parents’ house) and from my standpoint, this view of America is bullshit. I am a few years older than Gordis; yet I never felt unsafe, I never felt vulnerable. I felt welcome and included. My high school had fewer than ten Jews in it, out of a couple thousand students. I was proudly Jewish, bar mitzvah’d at the old Chizuk Amuno in the inner city, I rode public buses everywhere in the city, worked nights at the stadium, enjoyed a great diversity of friendships, and had pleasures and challenges and setbacks, the proportions of which had no connection to my religion.

Gordis’s dark view of America is of a piece with Michael Oren’s fantasy of a pogrom in West Orange, NJ, 1971; and I believe it is a product of indoctrination.

When will the New York Times publish anti-Zionist or even non-Zionist Jewish views of our society?

PS. More about those M-16s. Why can’t the New York Times publish what Tony Klug wrote about the guns in 1977 and repeated last March at J Street:

While Israel continues to rule over the West Bank, there are bound to be ever more frequent and more intensive acts of resistance by a population that is feeling encroached upon by a spreading pattern of Jewish colonization and whose yearning for independence is no less than was that of the Palestinian Jews in the early months of 1948. As long as Israel continues to govern that territory, she will have little choice but to retaliate in an increasingly oppressive fashion just to keep order. The moral appeal of Israel’s case will consequently suffer and this will further erode her level of international support, although probably not among organized opinion within the Jewish Diaspora.

NYT JUSTIFIES APARTHEID IN ISRAEL ~~ ‘WALLS ARE US!’

Omitted is a racist quote early last year from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding his determination to build walls all around Israel, though some of this construction would clearly be on occupied Palestinian territory.

Likening Palestinians to animals, Netanyahu stated, “In our neighborhood, we need to protect ourselves from wild beasts.”

The Times is just echoing the sentiments of Trump who has called Israel’s separation barrier a success while discussing his plan to erect a wall across the US-Mexico border.

New York Times distorts reality of Israel’s walls

Isabel Kershner, writing in The New York Times, recently misrepresented the reality of Israeli-built walls and the fact that it is Palestinians enclosed by them and not Israelis.

Establishing that she spends far too much time in an Israeli milieu and too little in occupied Palestinian territory, she flips reality by penning, “Challenged by hostile forces on most of its fronts, Israel is already pretty much walled in.”

Yet it is Israel itself which has chosen to build walls. The people to describe as “walled in” are Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinians are the ones being forcibly enclosed within bantustans as part of a comprehensive system of apartheid – not Israelis.

Throughout the article, Kershner repeatedly omits vital information about an underground wall Israel is building to further obstruct Palestinian egress from the tightly blockaded Gaza Strip.

Omissions

Israel has peace agreements with both Egypt and Jordan – and security arrangements with the Palestinian Authority to police its own people under Israeli occupation.

Even on its frontline in the occupied Golan Heights with Syria, where a devastating civil war has killed hundreds of thousands of people, Israel funds Syrian armed opposition groups to maintain a buffer zone controlled by “friendly forces.”

Yet these facts are excluded in Kershner’s decision to present a tough neighborhood spin with Israel “challenged by hostile forces on most of its fronts.”

Most of those fronts – beyond those where the Israeli government has signed peace agreements with other states – are occupied territory held by Israel for over 50 years.

Treating occupied people as “hostile” is akin to the moral equivalency offered by US President Donald Trump in equating anti-fascists and anti-racists with Nazis and white supremacists.

How else are people under an oppressive military occupation that deprives them of their most basic rights, while systematically colonizing their land, supposed to feel about their occupiers?

Yet Kershner dismissively employs the term “hostile forces,” undercutting millions of occupied people calling for equal rights and a return to stolen homes and properties.

Also omitted is a racist quote early last year from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding his determination to build walls all around Israel, though some of this construction would clearly be on occupied Palestinian territory.

Likening Palestinians to animals, Netanyahu stated, “In our neighborhood, we need to protect ourselves from wild beasts.”

Israel’s wall with Egypt, though readers won’t learn it in this article from Kershner, was built in significant partto keep out African migrants and refugees, principally from Eritrea and Sudan, fleeing war and other perils.

Netanyahu himself admitted as much.

President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea 🇮🇱🇺🇸

PALESTINIAN CHILDREN CAUGHT IN ISRAEL’S ‘CAT AND MOUSE’ GAME

It is  commonly said that the all worst nightmares move silently in the dark and wear military uniforms and escaping with light steps along the asphalt street. This night in the village not even the engine sound of the armoured vehicle distracts. The vehicle remains there, without moving, in the night, and next to it there is a street light with a faint light. The man is watching, and with each movement he seems to be counting  steps, three forward, one to the side, and again three paces backwards, without taking his eyes off the houses, with his rifle under his arm, and the barrel kept at eye level, ready to interrupt the silence. It is totally silent, and the silence seems almost begging to be interrupted by a roar, a scream, or a lament, while from behind a curtain a child, one of the numerous children, records the scene with his cell phone.

Palestine, the cat and the mouse, and the trapped children

By Antonietta Chiodo, Translated by Milena Rampoldi and edited by John Catalinotto, Tlaxcala.

He is careful to cause not the least noise, to keep his hand steady, hoping that nobody will see him. This child is afraid, it is afraid of what it will document unconsciously. The soldier lowers his mitre and approaches the gate by opening it easily without causing the least noise.

From the dark of a street disappearing behind the corner of a big, white house another two soldiers appear suddenly, walking speedily. Under their arms they hold a handcuffed boy who is trying to keep up with them. They push him into a vehicle, lowering his head with the palm of the hand, and a couple of seconds later the car’s tailgate closes violently.

Like cats in the night they move lightly, with the gesture of an arm. One of them makes a gesture to a second patrol next there, that everything is OK. The silence is interrupted by the roar of the engines, and the cars disappear along the asphalted streets and then vanish, taking with them another fragment of freedom, a splinter of life who has just become 13 years old.

In the West Bank, what seems to be the plot of an action movie is every day realityd. Here children are the first ones being arrested by Israeli soldiers without any official trail and without any logical reasoning.

Tonight it was his turn, tomorrow it could be mine, everyone thinks here. The project “Pace dei Bimbi” (Peace for Children) has chosen to care about a village between Bethlehem and Hebron, where the incursions and abductions of children are part of their all day lives.

For two months we have written stories invented by us by considering the initial limitations of these children who do not feel free and are afraid of being put on trial. In the context, the mediation offered by their teacher Omar revealed itself to be fundamental. Being in front of a journalist was difficult for them at the beginning, because on one hand they wanted to trust me, and on the other hand they did not think this trust was possible. The days passed by, and their smiles started to take shape, and so did the smile of the small and thin Raiyed, arrested a couple of days ago without charges, dragged from his home, and wrenched away from the arms of his family.

Like many other children, Rayied spent 24 hours in jail, only because his family name is connected to a tradition of resistance against Israeli occupation. I remember that during my encounters the child who is only 13 years old talked about stars. For me, his smile is unforgettable, while he imagined a fabulous story talking about an azure light taking him to another planet. A planet full of peace and magic animals.

Raiyed knows very well that this will not be his only trip to jail, and many other visits like this will follow during his life. However, we perfectly know that psychologically destroying a child by obligating him to live in fear is much more lethal than any bullet. During my stay the moments were not rare where the teacher Omar and I were forced to use makeshift roads because of the blocks around the village because stones had been thrown from under the shadow of the olive trees surrounding the houses. Here people live like trapped mice, while deceitful cats, protected from their own violations of human rights, play dice with these lives and the fear of their victims fuels their thirst for power and injustice.

Shraeh, a Palestinian man, tells us that during the last three days three children between 11 and 13 years were arrested at their homes and also about his brother. He has been in Israeli jail for 16 years now, without authorisation for family visits. And being visited in jail is an undeniable right. It is just the right to look at his eyes, the right to smile at him, and to check his health situation, as we usually do in a so-called “democratic” country.

There are places in this world more oppressed than others, but sometimes here young boys are labelled inattentive. They are said to play with their lives. However, here it is completely normal to imagine a soldier shooting into the chest of a young boy because he threw a stone and to hear words of support for the soldiers. And all this is a sign of the tragic end of human rights. Our world has chosen globalisation, thus replacing the real value of life and innocence with money.

IMAGES OF THE DAY ~~ THE FACES OF TERRORISM

Need a reminder about fascist politicians in Israel?


And some from the past …


And here is what the future holds ….

Israeli Prime Minster Netanyahu’s son: Yair Netanyahu says leftists are more dangerous than neo-Nazis

Echoing Trump, PM’s son claims ‘thugs of Antifa and Black Lives Matter are getting stronger’ while Nazis are a thing of the past

SOME QUESTIONS FOR U.S. CITIZENS

Many readers asked me (also as a US citizen) to comment in this blog on what is going on in race relations in the USA.

Questions to US citizens

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

Many readers asked me (also as a US citizen) to comment in this blog on what is going on in race relations in the USA. I will briefly say that the politicians who criticize Trump (both republicans and democrats) are hypocritical. These same politicians who criticize Trump and his racist minions never challenged hate directed at Muslims and Arabs in general. The white nationalists and supremacists who are calling for ethnic cleansing and for hate are no different than the Zionists that they adore and fund and who do far more violence and atrocities. The hypocrisy in the US is more blatant and sickening than the thugs that caused the mayhem in Charlottesville. But what worries us more is that the distractions can allow us to slide more into a nuclear world war (please watch news related to Iran and North Korea).

There are also credible reports of Zionist thugs infiltrating both camps (‘left’ and ‘right’) to entice violence. I remember how Zionists tried to infiltrate one of our demonstrations in Connecticut posing as neo-Nazis to incite violence and mayhem. And we all know now how FBI agents infiltrated civil rights groups doing the same things in the 1960s. If US citizens do not wake-up to where the real danger comes from (the elites profiting from all of this), the society will be torn apart by petty hatreds that only serve the policies of ‘divide and conquer’ that are being implemented in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. Arabs in those countries are waking up to that but after much destruction. I hope fellow US citizens wake up to this early on.

The daughter of US ‘Ambassador’ to Israel (the “Jewish State”) has moved here to Palestine as a new colonial settler. Like any Jew in the world she and her father were considered nationals of the state even though born in the US with no connection to this land other than religious [mythologies]. They can become citizens upon demand. Colonial Zionists call those new colonists ‘olim’ referring to ‘those rising up’ as if being a Jew in Poland or America is being in the gutters. For committed Zionists moving here it this is just a formality because their betrayal of their own countries and allegiance to a foreign power is their trademark. Just observe the rhetoric of those in the US who support the billions of tax-payer money going to support the largest terrorist organization in the world called the Israeli army. Watch their rhetoric on Iran!

Friedman and his daughter supported and will continue to support ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and endless wars. The question for Jews around the world: until when will you allow Zionists to tar your community and your religion? When is the price of racism/‘Jewish nationalism’ considered too high? (today 7 million of us Palestinians are refugees or displaced people thanks to Zionists like Friedman and his daughter). The questions for all US citizens: how will you challenge ALL racism and bigotry? What will you do to work for justice, human rights, and equality? How would you justify working against ‘white nationalism’ or ‘pan-Islamic nationalism’ (ISIS) but not against ‘Jewish nationalism’?

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