US AIRSTRIKE IN SYRIA HAS KILLED MORE CIVILIANS THAN THE SUPPOSED GAS ATTACKS

Syrian sources claim the US attack Wednesday on ISIS targets struck poison gas supplies and released toxins which ‘killed hundreds’.

Chemical warfare (IDF spokesman’s unit)

Syria: US hit ISIS chemical weapons depot, killing hundreds

The Syrian army claimed that an air strike late yesterday by the US-led coalition hit poison gas supplies belonging to ISIS , and released a toxic substance that killed “hundreds including many civilians”.

The incident in the eastern Deir al-Zor province proved that ISIS and al-Qaeda-linked militants “possess chemical weapons”, a statement by the army publicized on Syrian state TV claimed, adding that these weapons had been obtained from “countries in the region which are well known.”

The report could not immediately be independently verified and the US has denied that it attacked any ISIS chemical weapons site.

Last week the US launched cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase , in response to a deadly poison gas attack in the west of the country that Washington blamed on President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

Syria and its ally Russia deny that Damascus carried out any such chemical attack. Assad even claims that the US ‘fabricated’ the chemical attack, while Moscow has said the poison gas in that incident last week in Idlib province belonged to rebels.

The US strike on the Syrian air base last Thursday was the first time Washington has deliberately and directly targeted the Syrian government.

 

Source

 

Don’t forget for one moment who ISIS is …

SWOONING OVER WAR IN SYRIA

Image by Carlos Latuff

More HERE

Not everyone is swooning ……

HANDS OFF SYRIA DEMONSTRATION @ UNION SQ. NYC

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Mazin Qumsiyeh PhD, adds the following from Palestine …..

The attack on Syria by the United States while illegal per international
law (not sanctioned by the UN Security Council and opposed by Russia and
China) comes to remind as all of four basic facts of geopolitics:

1-US Presidents no matter how “unconventional” must always obey the rules
set for them. Trump came to office opposing intervention in Syria and is
now directly siding with the “rebels” and has accepted the 1990s neocon
strategy of regime changes across Western Asia that are supposed to benefit
"Israel".

2-As Henry Kissinger said: “all foreign policy is domestic policy”. With a
strong Zionist lobby in the US and absence of any counter lobby that
watches over US (let alone world) interests, we have a push for wars
supposed to help apartheid Israel whether in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, or Syria.

3-Modern warfare kills far more civilians than military (the ratio now is
>10 to 1). War is immoral, illogical, and criminal and has no “good side”
or “bad side”. The only positive thing now is that countries that use wars
as their main tools (Israel, US being the key ones) will lose because wars
have now become also illogical in terms of achievement of policy. Just take
as examples in the past 20 years: the US attack on Iraq and Israel’s attack
on Gaza and Lebanon. It is now almost a given like the Newtonian laws of
physics.

4-People still have the power to change things. Governments regularly lie
to their own people (all governments). But their biggest tools are to a)
create fear, b) create apathy (powerlessness). Getting people to be good
consumers (of propaganda and products) is key to government “success”
(short term as it may be and to enrich politicians and their backers). Key
to human rights advocate success is getting people to be good involved and
informed citizens. The conflict between the two (governments and people) is
the real consequential conflict we face. It is between short term greed and
long term planetary interests. It is an existential conflict for humanity.

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FRIDAY’S TOONS ~~ A BELATED APRIL FOOLS

Images by Carlos Latuff

WMDs in Syria? Wanna be fooled again?

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Guess who’s celebrating the U.S. attacks against Syria

THE LATEST FROM SYRIA IN TOONS

Images by Carlos Latuff

After gas attack, what’s next? U.S. invasion of Syria for “humanitarian purposes”?

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Syrians caught between a merciless dictator and Gulf-backed mercenaries paid to overthrow him.

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Boots on the ground in Syria?

 

TODAY’S TOON ~~ DOUBLE STANDARDS FOR SYRIA AND YEMEN

Image by Carlos Latuff

    So It Goes Double Standards


So It Goes
Double Standards

 

CARTOONS OF THE DAY ~~ COLD WAR IN SYRIA AND DEMOCRACY IN TURKEY

Images by Carlos Latuff

The "Cold War" in Syria

The “Cold War” in Syria

 

Meanwhile in Turkey ….

Democracy? InTurkey? Turkish govt threats Twitter with legal actions due one of my cartoons about Erdogan and ISIS, published in 2015.

Democracy? InTurkey?
Turkish govt threats Twitter with legal actions due one of my cartoons about Erdogan and ISIS, published in 2015.

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The cartoon in question

This is the cartoon that Sultan Erdogan doesn't want you to see, making pressure onTwitter to remove it from social media.

This is the cartoon that Sultan Erdogan doesn’t want you to see, making pressure on Twitter to remove it from social media.

THE LATEST IN TOONS ~~ PUTTING THE SCREWS TO SYRIA AND PALESTINE

Images by Carlos Latuff

Erdogan's First Day of School at Kremlin Related report HERE

Erdogan’s First Day of School at Kremlin … Related report HERE

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Google blames bug for removing ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza’ from Israel/Palestine map -

Google blames bug for removing ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza’ from Israel/Palestine map –

Google blames a malfunction for removing the terms “West Bank” and “Gaza Strip” from its map of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.

“There has never been a ‘Palestine’ label on Google Maps, however we discovered a bug that removed the labels for ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza Strip’. We’re working quickly to bring these labels back to the area,” said a Google spokesperson in an email to Mondoweiss.

The bug Google blames for the erasure of the labels set off a wave of outraged Tweets and Facebook posts in the last several days, although the deletion reportedly occurred as early as July 25th. The Palestinian Journalists Forum issued a widely circulated denouncement of the removal.

“The move is also designed to falsify history, and geography as well as the Palestinian people’s right to their homeland, and a failed attempt to tamper with the memory of Palestinians and Arabs as well as the world,” the PJF said, according to Turkish Radio Television (TRT).

Andrew Kadi, a co-chair of the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, told Mondoweiss that he feels Google is part of the problem when it comes to recognizing the occupation. Although the United States and United Nations have repeatedly in the past declared Israel’s military to be an occupying force in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, that obvious declaration has fallen out of style. Google’s omission of the word makes this amnesia possible.

“I just searched Palestine on Google Maps and it brings up Israel basically. Israel is labelled like Israel, like lots of different parts of what is now recognized as Israel, but you do not have a label that clearly states that the Golan Heights is occupied. You don’t have anything that clearly states that the West Bank is occupied. Although you have the Green Line you have nothing that indicates that East Jerusalem is militarily occupied. And these aren’t my definitions, these are the international definitions, recognized by every country including the U.S. So it’s odd,” Kadi said.

The debate over Google’s alleged bug “overlooks that Google has not been correctly labelling these areas correctly anyway.”

Kadi said that for someone unfamiliar with the history of the region, then these dashed lines, labelled in fine print “1949 Armistice Line,” don’t mean anything. If you wanted to fact check whether the Palestinian territories are occupied or not, Google’s map wouldn’t tell you much.

“If they want to be treated as a geographical information resource, then they have to take that more seriously. At a minimum, of meeting the international community’s definition of the Occupied West Bank, Occupied East Jerusalem and the Occupied Golan Heights,” he added.

Kadi also expects that Google’s investment in Israel, and its purchasing of Israeli navigation app Waze, might have inspired the “bug” to happen.

Bug or not, “Google is benefiting from the country that’s erased us,” said Kadi, who is Palestinian-American.

Waze, and human error, was at least partially to blame for a deadly incident this winter, when two Israeli soldiers wandered their vehicle into the Qalandia refugee camp, between Ramallah and Jerusalem, and ended up pinned down by a firebomb, Newsweek reported. In rescuing the wayward soldiers, Israeli forces killed a 22-year-old Palestinian man Iyad Amr Sajdiyeh. Citing a report in Haaretz, the March, 1 Newsweek article details how the Israeli military put in force “Hannibal” orders that allow for commanders to place Palestinian civilians in danger to prevent the capture of Israeli troops. Waze said the soldiers were not using the feature that prevents accidental navigation into Palestinian areas.

“Waze has and is continuing to work directly with the relevant authorities to decrease such mishaps from occurring, but unfortunately there is no ability to prevent them altogether as ultimately some prudence is in the driver’s hands,” Julie Mossler, a representative for the company, told the magazine.

The blindness of the tech industry to the mortal danger of occupation can endanger Palestinian and Israeli lives in other ways, the Daily Dot reports. Some roads are restricted to settlers solely. The author, Jonathan Brown, explains:

“If you’re Palestinian, to travel on Google-endorsed roads, you’ll need to secure a series of permits and agreements, which the Israeli authority now hands out less frequently with each passing year,” Brown wrote in 2014. “Exceptions might be made for a journey to Jerusalem, for prayers at Al Aqsa, but probably only during Ramadan. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) calls some roads in this network ‘sterile roads.’ For Palestinians, use [of] these are prohibited entirely.”

Imagine taking your Google Maps app back in time, to Mississippi in the 1960s, and driving as an African American person through a “sun down town,” where police would arrest people of color if discovered outside after dark. Unless Google wrote the grim reality of Jim Crow into your phone, you could be driving into a lynching. The same thing applies in for Palestinians under Israeli occupation, and living near settler neighbors who threaten them.

As Google labors to fix the bug, some observers of Israel/Palestine have noted that the erasure of the words “West Bank” and “Gaza” inadvertently reflect a reality that hardly gets mentioned in American discussions of the region: the huge degree of control Israel exerts over the West Bank and Gaza. The fact of military domination renders talk of a “two-state solution” divorced from the fact that Israel and its Occupied Palestinian Territories operate as an effectively single but deeply dysfunctional and unequal political entity.

Kadi said that one of his first reactions to seeing the words removed was how much it made Palestine/Israel look like a single country. The Oslo-mandated Palestinian Authority failing to coalesce under military occupation into a sovereign government, quelle surprise, has lead to a the popularity of a “rights-based” approach becoming more popular, Kadi said.

One prominent social media figure appeared to endorse a single, equitable state as the solution to Israel/Palestine’s woes.

Dena Takruri, a correspondent for AJ+, Al Jazeera’s digital first, Facebook news reel, reshared a previous video piece about the immensity of the Separation/Security/Apartheid Fence/Barrier/Wall, with this telling take:

“If only it was one state with equal rights for all, as Google’s maps suggest…” Takruri wrote.

FROM

Hey Google it's called Palestine not Israel ! you can remove it from the maps,but can't remove it from our hearts!

Hey Google it’s called Palestine not Israel ! You can remove it from the maps,but can’t remove it from our hearts!!

TOOSDAY’S TOON ~~ THE REAL CHAMPIONS OF THIS YEAR’S OLYMPICS

Image by Carlos Latuff

Syrian Refugees, Champions of the Olympics of Survival

Syrian Refugees, Champions of the Olympics of Survival

IN TOONS ~~ TURKEY WELCOMES SYRIAN REFUGEES

Images by Carlos Latuff

ClibFrCVEAAw3bs

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CleRBytWkAEH_eF

Related Report (Click on link)

Turkish border guards ‘kill 11 Syrian refugees’ in indiscriminate shooting

DEFINING TERRORISM

Why is this not being reported as an act of terrorism?

Turkish border guards ‘kill 11 Syrian refugees’ in indiscriminate shooting

Turkish guards watch over Syrian refugees at the border AFP/Getty Images

Turkish guards watch over Syrian refugees at the border AFP/Getty Images

Turkish border guards have killed at least eight Syrian refugees, including several children, as families were “fired on indiscriminately” after attempting to cross into the country, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said.

At least eight others were injured, according to the UK-based violence monitor, with the death toll likely to rise due to the number of people in “critical” condition.

Full report HERE

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Why was this not called an act of terrorism?

Gaza flotilla raid

The Gaza flotilla raid was a military operation by Israel against six civilian ships of the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” on 31 May 2010 in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea. Nine activists were killed in the raid. The flotilla, organized by the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH), was carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials, with the intention of breaking the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Full report HERE

The victims

The victims

zionists even had the chutzpah to joke about this incident

So where do we draw the line and call it terrorism when that’s what it obviously is?

WEEK’S END IN TOONS ~~ SYRIAN CEASE FARCE

Images by Carlos Latuff

US and Russia talk peace, make war, in Syria

US and Russia talk peace, make war, in Syria

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US, Russia and the Syria cease-fire

US, Russia and the Syria cease-fire

CNN: “U.S. announces ceasefire for Aleppo after talks with Russia” –

A ceasefire is in effect in one of the most war-torn cities in Syria, the U.S. State Department said Wednesday. The United States and Russia concluded arrangements for a cessation of violence in Aleppo and surrounding areas, according to a department statement.

The two countries ended talks Tuesday and are closely monitoring whether the ceasefire sticks. Violence has decreased but continues, according to State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner.

Foreign Policy: “MSF Blasts U.S., Russia, Syria, and Saudi for Hospital Strikes” –

In a stinging rebuke, the president of French medical relief agency Medecins Sans Frontieres on Tuesday accused several governments, including the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, of either directly attacking medical workers or participating in coalitions that have done so.

Speaking in a special session of the U.N. Security Council on the protection of health care workers, MSF leader Joanne Liu said four of the council’s five permanent members — Britain, France, Russia, and the United States — “have, to varying degrees, been associated with coalitions responsible for attacks on health structures over the last year.”

Those coalitions, Liu said, were responsible for strikes on medical targets in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria. But the attacks on medical workers reach far beyond those countries, endangering health workers in Iraq, South Sudan, and Somalia. The world, Liu warned, is “facing an epidemic of attacks on health facilities, impeding our ability to do our core work.”

“Stop these attacks!” she urged the council’s big powers. “You … must live up to your extraordinary responsibilities and set an example for all states.”

The council’s meeting took place as medical workers have come under renewed attack in Syria, where [Russian-backed] government aircraft last week bombed a hospital in Aleppo, killing [55] people, including three children and one of the city’s few remaining pediatricians. On Tuesday, [US-backed] rebel rocket fire again struck a hospital and maternity clinic, killing three women, according to the official Syrian Arab News Agency.

FROM

NEW TOON FOR THE NEW COLD WAR

Where is Global Warming when we need it most?

Image by Carlos Latuff

Cartoon of the Day: Obama, Putin and the "New" Cold War

Cartoon of the Day: Obama, Putin and the “New” Cold War

 

WEEK’S END TOONS ~~ THE NEW AXIS OF EVIL AND …

Images by Carlos Latuff

Obama, Putin Agree on Syria truce. Do You Trust Them?

Obama, Putin Agree on Syria truce. Do You Trust Them?

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Zika and @WHO, Who Will Win This Olympic Marathon?

Zika and WHO, Who Will Win This Olympic Marathon?

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Matariya Hospital On Strike Protesting Police Brutality Against Doctors.

Matariya Hospital On Strike Protesting Police Brutality Against Doctors.

TOON FOR CHRISTMAS ~~ WORLD’S JEKYLL AND HYDE POLICY FOR SYRIA

Images by Carlos Latuff

 Cartoon of Christmas: World's Jekyll & Hyde Policy for Syria


Cartoon for Christmas: World’s Jekyll & Hyde Policy for Syria

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And a ‘blast from the past’ …

No Hillary, you're Not My Abuela. My Grandmother didn't back the shattering of Syria

No Hillary, you’re Not My Abuela. My Grandmother didn’t back the shattering of Syria

SPOOF OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON ~~ CHRISTMAS IN SYRIA

Image by Carlos Latuff

‘Gifts’ from around the world …

CW1B1jYW4AArWjx

PROUD TO BE A CANUK

While Donald Trump continues his anti-Muslim incitement in the US, the first group of Syrian refugees lands in Canada, the first of 25,000 expected to arrive by February; PM Trudeau came to greet them: ‘They step off the plane as refugees, but they walk out of this terminal as permanent residents of Canada.’

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Canada prime minister welcomes wave of Syrian refugees

The first military plane carrying Syrian refugees to be resettled in Canada has arrived in the country.

Welcoming the 163 refugees, new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country was “showing the world how to open our hearts”.

The newly elected Liberal government has pledged to take in 25,000 refugees by the end of February.

Canada’s stance on the issue differs sharply to that of the US, which has been reluctant to take in migrants.

Another plane is due in Montreal on Saturday.

Immigration Minister John McCallum said all 10 provinces in Canada are in favour of accepting the refugees.

“This is a great moment for Canada,” he said. “This shows the way we really are. It truly is a non-partisan, national project.”

Since early November, hundreds of Syrians have already arrived in Canada via commercial aircraft.

A total of about 300 Syrians will arrive this week.

The Toronto Star, the country’s largest-circulation daily newspaper, ran a cover story on Thursday welcoming the refugees.

The US administration has said it will take in 10,000 refugees over the next year. Some Republican governors have unsuccessfully tried to keep them from coming to their states after deadly terrorist attacks in France and California.

Leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said after the California attacks that all Muslims should be blocked from coming to the US, drawing condemnation across the globe.

Global News reporter Mike Armstrong has been taking photos of refugees at Canada’s refugee processing centre in Amman, Jordan.

Some families have been told they may move in weeks, he tweeted.

About 800 refugees are going through screening tests in Lebanon and Jordan daily, Mr McCallum said.

Mr Trudeau, who swept the 19 October Canadian elections, has a different stance on refugees from that of his predecessor, the conservative Stephen Harper, who did not wish to resettle more people.

Unaccompanied men will be excluded from the resettlement programme but officials said this had nothing to do with national security concerns.

“We want them to have a roof over their head, and the right support,” said Mr McCallum.

“It takes a bit of time to put that all in place. We’re happy to take a little more time than originally planned to bring our new friends into the country.”

Those who will be considered refugees include families, women deemed to be at risk, and gay men and women.

 

Source

TOON OF THE HOUR ~~ GUESS WHO’S CELEBRATING THE DOWNING OF THE RUSSIAN PLANE

Image by Carlos Latuff

CUl6H4dWoAAUzkM

A Russian Su-24 fighter has been shot down in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said, adding the plane hadn’t violated Turkish airspace and was flying at an altitude of 6,000 meters.

SPOOF OF THE DAY ~~ THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING

Image by Carlos Latuff

Image by Carlos Latuff

 

THANKSGIVING IN SYRIA ~~ SPOOF OF THE DAY

Image by Carlos Latuff

Image by Carlos Latuff

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From WRH

From WRH

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The Double Standard by Latuff

The Double Standard by Latuff

 

#JeSuisSyrian ~~ IT’S NOT JUST THE EU, NOBODY GIVES A DAMN!

Image by Carlos Latuff

Image by Carlos Latuff

I was not aware of the following but was truly revolted when I read this;

Syrians flee while Saudi tents sit empty

Saudi Arabia has 100,000 empty, air-conditioned tents sitting unused while thousands of Syrian refugees continue to bake in overcrowded camps, but refuses to make them available. The news site TeleSur reports that the 20-square-km tent city of Mina is used just a few days a year to provide beds for Hajj pilgrims and sits empty the rest of the year. It says the tents are laid out neatly, measure eight metres square, are fireproof, include a kitchen and bathroom, and could house three million people. According to the Brookings Institute, the wealthy Arab states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and UAE have not taken a single refugee, while European countries struggle to deal with a flood in the hundreds of thousands.

AFP/GettyTent city in Saudi Arabia: air conditioned tents could hold three million refugees.

AFP/Getty  Tent city in Saudi Arabia: air conditioned tents could hold three million refugees.

Source of above

Israel has a history of contempt for refugees as can be seen in THIS report by Sam Bahour

The Sabra and Shatila massacre is personal

time-1982-cover-sabra-and-shatila

Israeli contempt continues towards the plight of the Syrian refugees;

Israeli leaders delight in Europe’s cruelty toward refugees

As most of the world looks on in horror at Europe’s atrocious response to refugees escaping war and persecution in the Middle East and Africa, some Israeli officials are quietly reveling in the chaos.

Dore Gold, director general of the Israeli foreign ministry, expressed optimism that the refugee influx will shift Europe to the right, making it more sympathetic to Israel’s “security” justification for its ongoing colonization of Palestine.

“Israel always faced the problem in the past that its national security perspective was completely out of sync with how Europeans were viewing the emergence of the European community and the borderless world that was emerging,” the American-born hardliner toldThe Jerusalem Post.

“In the European models that existed 25 or 30 years ago, it is kind of difficult to hear an Israeli argument. But now things may be beginning to change a little,” posited Gold.

“The European perspective is beginning to sound a little bit more like Israel’s perspective on security issues, compared to what it was in the past.”

Echoes of the Holocaust

Images of refugees being corralled in trains, tracked with numbers on their forearms, locked away and fed like zoo animals in overcrowded camps and blocked with razor wire fences from entering Hungary have recalled memories of Europe’s darkest chapter.

All the while, refugees continue to die en masse on perilous journeys to Europe, sometimes drowning on rickety boats by sea and other times suffocating in trucks on the side of highways.

Frequently overlooked is the fact that these deaths are a direct consequence of European border policiesdesigned to make migration as unsafe as possible.

The only thing less acknowledged is the root catalyst.

Rapacious policies advanced by wealthy nations in the increasingly gated Global North have destabilized and fueled the very unrest that has produced the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War.

It’s no coincidence that many of the refugees at Europe’s doorstep are fleeing unrest in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan — all countries the US and its allies have directly and indirectly pillaged and destabilized.

Keeping Europe Christian

While there is plenty of blame to go around for the current crisis, Hungary’s actions — coupled with the jingoistic rhetoric of its right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban — have provoked the most widespread revulsion.

Muslim refugees must be kept out of Europe “to keep Europe Christian,” said Orban in an opinion piece urging Germans not to welcome Muslim refugees.

“We shouldn’t forget that the people who are coming here grew up in a different religion and represent a completely different culture,” he insisted. “Most are not Christian, but Muslim. … That is an important question, because Europe and European culture have Christian roots.”

A statement from Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN’s high commissioner for human rights, attributed Hungary’s “callous” and “illegal” treatment of refugees to “the xenophobic and anti-Muslim views that appear to lie at the heart of current Hungarian government policy.”

As it turns out, Orban’s ruling party, Fidesz, is smitten with Israel, particularly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party. During a visit to Israel in 2005, Orban reportedly declared, “Likud is our natural ideological partner.”

He has since adopted several Israeli practices.

Inspired by Birthright, a program that sends young American Jews on free trips to Israel in hopes they will immigrate, Orban launched a Hungarian Birthright program for North Americans of Hungarian descent.

Orban also tapped Netanyahu’s former political advisor, Arthur Finkelstein, to help him consolidate power.

Finkelstein is a mud-slinging Republican strategist from the United States who has advised countless rightwing candidates both domestically and abroad. They include the failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney and more recently Avigdor Lieberman, leader of Israel’s proto-fascist party Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home).

In recent years Fidesz has deepened ties with the far right and openly anti-Semitic Jobbik party.

Hungary is joined by Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic in refusing to take non-Christian refugees.

Leaders in Poland are said to be appealing to widespread anti-Muslim sentiment among the populace as election season approaches.

More than half of those polled earlier this month agreed that allowing Arabs and Turks into Poland would be “detrimental” to the country. Some people have even suggested reopening Auschwitz and sending the refugees there, prompting an investigation by Poland’s prosecutor general.

In Warsaw last weekend, thousands of right-wing protesters took to the streets, chanting, “Today refugees, tomorrow terrorists!“ and “Poland, free of Islam!”

To make their point, the rightwing demonstrators used a cartoon originally crafted by pro-Israel propagandists to portray Israeli soldiers as morally superior to Palestinians, who are shown using civilians as human shields. In reality it is Israel that uses Palestinians, including children, as human shields.

(Click HERE to see Twitter links)

Back in Israel, fans of the Maccabi Tel Aviv football team unfurled a giant banner that read, “Refugees not welcome!

Keeping Israel Jewish

As Hungary was making headlines for its racist pledge to build an anti-refugee fence, Netanyahu announced the construction of a wall along the Jordanian border to block a potential influx of Syrian refugees. Once the barrier is completed by the end of 2015, Israel will be entirely walled off.

Israeli officials claim they are helping Syrians by providing them with medical treatment instead of asylum. But this has only involved around 1,500 people, most of them fighters linked to al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria. In any case, patching up the wounded, fighters or not, and then sending them back into a war zone, as Israel has done, does not qualify as asylum.

Of the five states that border Syria, Israel is the only one that has not taken in any Syrian refugees for reasons identical to Hungary’s.

“Israel is a very small country. It has no demographic depth and has no geographic breadth,” Netanyahu has told his cabinet. “We must protect our borders against illegal immigrants and against the perpetrators of terrorism. We cannot allow Israel to be flooded with infiltrators.”

“Demographic depth” refers to Israel’s ideological imperative to maintain its Jewish majority, which was engineered by the premeditated mass expulsion of more than 750,000 indigenous Palestinians by Zionist militias in 1948. In turn, Israel barred Palestinian refugees from returning and labeled those who tried to come back as “infiltrators.”

That is why millions of Palestinians continue to languish in squalid refugee camps scattered across the Middle East nearly 70 years later, making it the longest running refugee crisis in modern history.

As “proud Zionist” Noah Arbit argued in The Jerusalem Post that “absorbing any amount of Syrian refugees will only increase this demographic threat.”

Israel’s refusal to grant asylum to non-Jewish refugees from African states is rooted in the same exclusivist logic.

Openly referred to as “infiltrators” by Israeli government officials, African refugees have, like Palestinians, been labeled a threat because they are not Jewish.

Israel not only denies them asylum, it imprisons and deports them back to the horrors they escaped, where some have since been tortured and even killed.

In 2013, Israel completed construction of a wall along its border with Egypt to block African refugees from entering the country. Hungary and Bulgaria have reportedly expressed interest in buying Israeli equipment for their own borders.

Slamming Netanyahu’s embarrassingly open indifference, Isaac Herzog, leader of the opposition Zionist Union, wrote on his Facebook page, “You’ve forgotten what it means to be Jews. Refugees. Persecuted. The prime minister of the Jewish people does not close his heart and the gate when people are fleeing for their lives from persecution, with their babies in their hands.”

It is difficult to take Herzog seriously given his party’s indifference towards Israel’s cruel treatment of African refugees, not to mention its refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to return, a policy Herzog’s Labor Party (part of the Zionist Union) instituted.

Zeev Elkin, Israel’s immigration minister, slammed Herzog’s appeal as an “attempt to bring the [Palestinian] ‘right of return’ through the back door. That is not responsible, and it is forbidden that it should happen.”

In the case of Palestinian refugees, the Israeli response is arguably more absurd. Israel is not denying Palestinian refugees asylum but rather their right to return to land from which they were violently expelled.

It’s hard to imagine anyone arguing against the right of Syrians to return to Syria should they choose to do so when the country is no longer engulfed in war. Yet the idea that Palestinians should have the right to return to their homeland is considered by many to be preposterous, even anti-Semitic.

Meanwhile, under Israel’s discriminatory Law of Return, the purpose of which is to boost the Jewish majority, a Jew from anywhere in the world with no connection to the land can immigrate to Israel.

In June, Elkin beseeched French Jews to “come home,” insisting “Anti-Semitism is growing, terrorism is running rampant, and according to reports, ISIS is committing murder in broad daylight.”

“We are prepared to open our arms to the Jews of France,” he said, adding, “This is a national mission of the highest priority.”

A month later, Elkin greeted 221 new Jewish immigrants who left comfortable lives in the United States and Canada to settle in historic Palestine. A total of 4,000 North American Jews are expected in Israel by the end of 2015.

The similarities between European far right and Israeli government policies were best distilled by Arnon Soffer, an Israeli demographer nicknamed the Arab counter due to his compulsive fixation on the “demographic threat” posed by Palestinian babies.

Bizarre paradox

Rejecting calls to accept Syrian refugees, Soffer explained, “We are a very small country … please leave me some space for additional Jews to come.”

He went on to relate Israel’s anti-refugee imperative with Europe’s.

“Europe potentially can open its doors and accept more and more refugees, but if Europe says no, I can understand because they are afraid [of] the Muslims,” said Soffer. “This is a clash of civilizations and it will not happen in Africa or Asia. It will happen in France, Hungary and will eventually reach England and Germany.”

Orban and Netanyahu share a clear affinity for jingoistic saber rattling against Muslims, but the same cannot be said for the response their behavior elicits.

While Orban has been likened to a Nazi, Israeli leaders have been granted special immunity from abiding by the most basic standards of equality, not in spite of the Holocaust but rather because of it. The US State Department has gone so far as to classify as a form of anti-Semitism “comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

This has created a bizarre paradox where the Holocaust is invoked to demand inclusiveness and sympathy for refugees in Europe, while being simultaneously deployed to excuse racist Israeli practices. Indeed, Israel’s existence as an exclusionary settler state is deceptively justified as a necessary response to the world’s indifference to the Nazi genocide of European Jews.

Consequently, language that is being condemned when spoken by European leaders is routinely excused when uttered in reference to Israel and Palestine. When the subject matter is Palestinian refugees, liberal rhetoric on both sides of the Atlantic becomes indistinguishable from sentiments typically relegated to the far right.

Warning about the threat posed by “higher Palestinian population growth and fertility rates,” as Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank did in February, is perfectly acceptable mainstream discourse.

The same goes for describing Palestinian refugees as a “demographic death warrant,” as New York TimesJerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren did this past summer.

Hungary’s Orban would certainly approve.

A scene from Budapest earlier this month; Hungary has responded in a brutal manner to refugees fleeing war. (Michael Gubi/Flickr)

A scene from Budapest earlier this month; Hungary has responded in a brutal manner to refugees fleeing war. (Michael Gubi/Flickr)

My post from last week is a must read …. click on link

REFUGEE CRISIS ISRAELI STYLE ~~ “NONE IS TOO MANY”

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