unnamed (6)

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

















Obviously some have not forgotten 

In a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron, the rabbis and cantors referenced the 10,000 Jewish children that the United Kingdom rescued from the Nazis between 1938 and 1940.

Once we were in the same boat

Once we were on the same boat

Citing Kindertransport, 100 British Rabbis Demand Open Door for Refugees

More than 100 British Jewish clergy signed a letter urging the United Kingdom to take in more Syrian refugees.

In a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron, the rabbis and cantors referenced the 10,000 Jewish children that the United Kingdom rescued from the Nazis between 1938 and 1940.

Two of the people delivering the letter Monday were themselves members of the Kindertransport rescue operation that brought Jewish children to the U.K, the British newspaper The Guardian reported.

Many of those who signed identified themselves as the children of Holocaust refugees.

“(W)e know that now it is our turn to open our gates to refugees who are fleeing from tyranny and evil, often with only the clothes on their backs, and their children in their arms,” the letter stated.

“We were heartened to hear that 20,000 refugees will be welcomed into the U.K. over the next five years,” the letter continued. “Yet we look again to World War II where we find that immediate action could have saved many more children’s lives. Let the Kindertransport be our inspiration. 10,000 legitimate refugees, at the very minimum, should be offered asylum in Great Britain in the next 6 months.”

The letter, which also urged the government to allow refugees to work in the U.K., said the British Jewish community is willing to find homes for refugees and raise money to feed, clothe and educate them. It was organized by Tzelem UK, an activist group that organizes Jewish clergy on social and economic justice issues

The letter also referenced the Exodus from Egypt: “As Rabbis and Cantors we regularly read the story of a band of refugees who escaped from a tyrant with only the clothes on their backs and a bit of flat bread. They crossed a sea, and they dreamed of a promised land. We call this the exodus, and it is our founding beacon for hope, and our constant reminder in every generation to open our hearts and our doors to the stranger at our gates.”


On this Eid al-Adha I present a poem that I wrote about 15 years ago  .. it is very fitting today as Palestinian families are divided both by an imposed closure and the wall itself.



© 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.


To all of our Jewish readers, family and friends

May you have an easy and meaningful fast this Yom Kippur.

May you be sealed in the Book of Life!


And to our Muslim readers, family and friends

Eid al-Adha Mubarak!

May both sides of the wall realise a true and lasting PEACE this year!


One Yom Kippur, when I was about seven years old, I was walking to the synagogue with my grandfather. Suddenly the elevated subway we were under roared by …. I was shocked. I thought the whole world came to a halt on Jewish Holidays ….


Apparently some people had that same reaction regarding the upcoming visit of the Pope to the White House on Yom Kippur …. such Chutzpah (sic). Looks like some minds stop developing at age seven.

Pope Francis’ visit to the White House will coincide with Yom Kippur, meaning that no rabbis likely will be in attendance at the arrival ceremony.

No mention of the fact that it will also be a Muslim Feast Day (Eid al-Adha) meaning there will be no representation of Muslim clerics as well. Obviously that does not matter to those who wrote the following;

Pope’s White House Visit Will Coincide with Yom Kippur

Pope Francis’ visit to the White House will coincide with Yom Kippur, meaning that no rabbis likely will be in attendance at the arrival ceremony.

More than 10,000 guests are expected at the ceremony, the Washington Post reported, adding that D.C.-area Jews on their way to synagogue will face traffic jams.

“The Holy Father has a very complicated schedule for this trip, so we worked with that schedule as best we could,” Melissa Rogers, executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, told reporters last week in a preview of the visit. “Other parts of the Washington, D.C., visit won’t overlap with Yom Kippur. And there are also going to be opportunities for people of different faiths to participate in events in the New York and Philadelphia legs of the pope’s visit.”

The pope’s schedule was driven in part by the Conference on the Family in Philadelphia and the U.N. session on the Sustainable Development Goals, which both fall around Yom Kippur, Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for Strategic Communications, said during the briefing.

“But I think the Vatican was very accommodating, and we were very focused on ensuring that the American Jewish community would be able to participate in important interfaith efforts to be a part of this visit of the pope,” Rhodes said.

Francis and President Barack Obama are scheduled to have a one-on-one meeting at the White House on Wednesday, and the pope will address a joint session of Congress the following day.


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


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



What if the Syrian refugees were Christian …. would the gates open for them?

Image by Carlos Latuff

Image by Carlos Latuff


Ms. Thomas’ words of “Go back to Poland” are echoing loud and clear!

Why is Israel attacking Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque?

On Wednesday, I appeared on Al Jazeera’s news magazine Inside Story to discuss Israel’s assault on Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound.

The other guests were Akiva Eldar, senior columnist at Al-Monitor, and Matthew Duss, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace.

Today, dozens of members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party entered the compound accompanied by occupation forces.

This provocation came after days of violent Israeli assaults on worshippers and journalists in and around the mosque.

Palestinians view these incursions as part of an increasingly aggressive strategy aimed at an eventual takeover of the compound by Israeli groups intent on bringing down the mosque and building a Jewish temple in its place.

Watch the video above.


The meeting was sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine and the NY Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace

The meeting was sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine and the NY Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace

On the evening of September 15th Bassem Tamimi spoke to a packed room at the New School University in NYC.  The meeting was sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine and the NY Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace.  Every seat was filled, people stood leaning on walls and sitting on every inch of floor space for 2 hours listening attentively to the story of resistance to Israeli occupation by the people of Nabi Saleh, a village of about 600 people living in occupied Palestinian territory on the West Bank.

Bassem Tamimi has been arrested 9 times and tortured while in Israeli prisons.  His wife was shot in the leg and has to use crutches to walk and his sister and brother-in-law were murdered.  The land belonging to the village has been stolen and their ancient olive trees, which many Palestinians are very attached to, have been stolen or destroyed.  Each week Israel gives them the equivalent of 24 hours worth of water which they must make last a week so it is stored in tanks on their roof.  When Israel sprays their land and inside their homes with ‘skunk water’, an extremely foul smelling liquid that is projected at high intensity from tanks on trucks, they also spray the water tanks which makes the water unusable.  This is done regularly and the odor remains 2-3 weeks.

The residents of Nabi Saleh have studied the non-violence taught by Gandhi and Martin Luther King as well as the South African model.  They do not want to maim or kill anybody but they do want to put an end to the occupation and the colonial project in Palestine.  They are focusing on the big picture.  They strongly support the freedom of women and consider the participation of women in the resistance to be very important.  Their only weapons are cameras.

After giving the audience an opportunity to answer questions Tamimi concluded by saying that their goal was having a country where there would be one-person, one-vote.  He doesn’t see the possibility of  a 2 state solution because of the theft of their land to build colonies.  Answering the question, what can we do to help, he said that the support of the international community was very important.  The US supports Israel to the tune of $10 million a day and an unlimited supply of weapons.  Americans should pressure their government and support BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions).  However, they should do so not with an attitude that they are helping the Palestinians but with the understand that they are doing this for themselves because they understand the importance of having a just world.

This was the first stop on a speaking tour for Mr. Tamimi.  He is a powerful speaker and has a lot to teach all of us.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee















Meet the Tamimi family in THIS post


Remember the days of ‘Show and Tell’ from your early school years? Bet you never saw anything like this …

'Show and Tell' is supposed to be fun ... not hell

‘Show and Tell’ is supposed to be fun … not hell

Fearmongering isn’t Christian. Apologize for Ahmed’s arrest.

When a Muslim 9th grader brought his homemade clock, a circuit board wired to a digital display, to school in Irving, Texas, he was led out in handcuffs for creating a “hoax bomb.” Ahmed Mohamed now says he’ll never bring one of his inventions to school again.

This story has gone viral over the last 24 hours, and people are pointing fingers at Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne — a right-wing extremist who gives speeches at churches about how Muslims are “infiltrating” her suburban Texas community.

Mayor Van Duyne has misused Christianity to create a climate of fear and Islamophobia, and now that climate has resulted in the arrest of a 14-year-old boy for the crime of using his God-given gifts of curiosity and inventiveness.

The mayor needs to hear that fellow Christians are ashamed of her Islamophobia. And both Ahmed and everyone who stands with him needs to see how many Christians will stand up when our faith is twisted to promote intolerance.

Sign the petition: (Click HERE)

Read THIS updated report from Mondoweiss

#IStandWithAhmed: Story of Muslim-American teenager arrested for bringing clock to school goes viral (Updated)


And see the Twitter Page HERE

#IStandWithAhmed shows America at its best, and worst



How Obama Can Save The Two-State Solution Before He Leaves Office

President Barack Obama listens as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, March 3, 2014. Seeking to keep a pair of delicate diplomatic efforts afloat, Obama will personally appeal to Netanyahu to move forward on peace talks with the Palestinians, while also trying to manage Israel's deep suspicion of his pursuit of a nuclear accord with Iran. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Barack Obama listens as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, March 3, 2014. Seeking to keep a pair of delicate diplomatic efforts afloat, Obama will personally appeal to Netanyahu to move forward on peace talks with the Palestinians, while also trying to manage Israel’s deep suspicion of his pursuit of a nuclear accord with Iran. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

By Sam Bahour

Palestine will never be a complete nation state if required to negotiate its statehood with its military occupier Israel. Without the immediate altering of the dynamics of the conflict, extremism is almost guaranteed to begin pouring into the Palestinian community and Israel. Any further deterioration of the situation on the ground could lead a future Republican president to send U.S. boots to protect Israel. That would be a colossal mistake.

Recognizing Palestine would not be such a groundbreaking move. In 2013, 138 countries recognized Palestine as a non-member state in the United Nations. Only the United States and eight others have not. Over 130 states have already bilaterally recognized Palestine, including the Vatican. The United States has been on the wrong side of history for so long on this issue it has lost strategic standing in the Middle East and across the globe. It will continue to do so unless it makes an abrupt about-face.

Obama started his presidency with a clear focus on reviving the peace process. One of his first acts as president was to appoint former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell as special envoy for the Middle East. Then Obama traveled to Cairo to deliver a policy speech where he said, “America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.” Next, Obama took on Israel’s non-stop illegal settlement building in the West Bank and in that debate he made clear that “to ensure that Israel is safe and secure” efforts must be made to “set the stage for a Palestinian state.”

All of these initial overtures to restart the peace process were noble ones, but they all failed. Mitchell resigned in utter frustration, America turned its back on Palestine and focused on Iran, and illegal Israeli settlement building picked up its pace.

More recently, in the fall of 2013, Obama deployed Secretary of State John Kerry to make one more attempt to salvage the failed peace process and gave him nine months to make progress. Kerry launched his mission with a bold assessment, stating, “I believe the window for a two-state solution is shutting, I think we have some period of time – a year to year-and-a-half to two years, or it’s over.” Well, we are now entering year three and Kerry was spot on. The two-state solution door is closing, if not already shut completely.

So in the limited time left in his presidency Obama can save his administration’s and his legacy in the Middle East by simply recognizing Palestine, an act in total alignment with the historic U.S. foreign policy principle of two states for two peoples.

Some may think this would be too risky a move for the Democratic Party, given the elections. I disagree.

For starters, and as Obama has repeated publicly, his administration has done more for Israel than any other president. Among other things, he increased financial aid; used the almighty U.S. veto power in the UN Security Council to protect Israel from a growing global frustration with its refusal to end its military occupation of Palestine; and armed Israel to the greatest extent possible. So when segments of the Jewish American establishment cry foul when the United States recognizes Palestine, Obama can make note of which side of the conflict he and the United States have consistently engaged. Other segments of the Jewish American community, possible the silent majority, will support such a move.

When Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu takes to the airwaves, as he surely will, to decry U.S. recognition of Palestine as tantamount to betrayal of Israel’s security, Obama can quote Netanyahu himself supporting the emergence of a Palestinian state to safeguard Israel’s existence.

Then when the Republican Party attempts to make the recognition of Palestine a partisan issue to better its hand in the presidential race, Democratic candidates can point to President George W. Bush as the first U.S. president to call Palestine by its name, for it was he who instilled in his administration’s policy calls for the state of Palestine to finally emerge in order to realize the two-state solution to the conflict.

Why is Obama ideal for this historic task?

First and foremost, as we witnessed in the P5+1 Iran nuclear deal debate, Obama has a gift of oration. A move to recognize Palestine would need a simple but emboldened argument to be undertaken in the public square and no one is better equipped for such a task.

Secondly, Obama’s administration has done serious damage in the Middle East. By focusing on Palestine, Obama would be taking a corrective step in the direction of getting America realigned with the region’s peoples, not the dictators the United States has propped up to date.

Thirdly, Obama was wronged by Israel so many times during his presidency, one would have to be naive not to think he is not itching to place Netanyahu in a checkmate position before he leaves office. However, he can’t do so haphazardly. Thus, recognizing Palestine would be the ideal game-changing move that would bring peace one step closer.

Every act of U.S. support to make the State of Palestine an actuality on the ground, one that will ultimately be free of Israeli occupation, would be a clarion show of support for those in the region and elsewhere who support freedom from oppression, occupation, and extremism. The United States could also leverage this political act by demanding better governance of Palestinians, too, an important ingredient to successful statehood.

There is a window of opportunity for Obama to complete his administration on a high note. If the opportunity for the United States to recognize Palestine is missed, no one should be surprised when the younger generation of Palestinians finally close the door on the two-state solution, once and for all. U.S. inaction now, when needed most, will only feed the breeding ground for regional extremism to continue to grow.

Written FOR


It is the time of year when observant Jews beg their Creator to forgive their sins of the past year …


But what are they to do when the transgressions are uglier than sin itself?

“An excuse that is uglier than a sin”

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Jerusalem

Israeli “Defense” Minister Moshe Yaalon has admitted that his country’s domestic security apparatus knows the identities and whereabouts of the Jewish terrorists who a few weeks ago burned a Palestinian family to death at a village in the northern West Bank.

The still-unidentified terrorists set the Dawabsheh family home, at the village of Doma, south of the City of Nablus, on fire, burning to death three members of the Palestinian family, the father, Saad, aged 34, the mother Reham, aged 27, and their 18-month-old toddler Ali.

The fourth and last member of the family, a male child, is fighting for his life in hospital. His conditions have been described as stable.

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Yaalon said the Israeli security authorities were reluctant to arrest the suspected murderers in order to protect the identity of their sources.

Yaalon refused to say why he thought the protection of the “security sources identity” was more important than arresting the murderers of three innocent human beings and the attempted murder of a fourth.

Yaalon’s remarks drew furious reactions from Palestinians as well as some Israeli commentators.

Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, a renowned advocate of human rights, described Yaalon’s remarks “as very strange coming from a strange minister.”

“These are strange statements coming from a strange minister,” Levy said in a telephone interview with this reporter Saturday.

Levy described Yaalon’s remarks as “beyond Chutzpah.”

“I don’t think he would behave this way if the suspects were Palestinians. He would move to get them arrested immediately.”

Levy described the murderers as “mentally sick people who have served time in mental hospitals, adding that it was very dangerous to keep these people at large.

“They could embark at a new crime at any moment.”

Another Israeli commentator, Danny Rubenstein, rejected Yaalon’s rationale for not arresting the suspected murderers of the Dawabsheh family.

“These are unacceptable excuses. This justification constitutes a real insult to the most elementary principles of justice.”

Rubenstein, who was speaking on the Aljazeera English channel, said the suspected killers would have to be arrested and prosecuted in order to prevent the recurrence of the heinous crime.

Palestinian condemnations

Palestinian spokespersons strongly condemned Yaalon’s remarks as “a clarion proof of the Israeli government’s complicity in terrorist crimes committed by Jewish terrorists against our people.”

“What Yaalon is effectively saying is that Jewish terrorists are having an open license to murder Palestinians and burning them to death,” said Ahmed Tamimi, a Hamas spokesman in al-Khalil (Hebron).

“I have no doubt that the Israeli army and intelligence connived and colluded with the murderous terrorists in carrying out the horrible crime”

Tamimi described Yaalon’s rationale for not arresting the suspected murderers as “a cheap excuse.”

“Just imagine how Yaalon would have behaved if Palestinians were the perpetrators and Jews were the victims. Would he have waited any time before arresting the suspects?”

Tamimi said Yaalon was behaving quite characteristically, given his “criminal record” as Chief of Staff for the Israeli army.

“Yaalon believes deep in his heart that a Palestinian is guilty and ought to be killed even if proven innocent, and that a Jewish murderer is innocent even if proven guilty.”

Muhammad Yousef, a Palestinian professor of science from Bethlehem, described Ya’alon’s statements as “an excuse that is uglier than a sin.”

“Imagine how Israeli and Zionist circles would react if a European minister of interior justified the failure to arrest a terrorist suspected of murdering a Jew on the ground that arresting the suspect would have exposed the identity of a police agent and compromised vital security information.

“I imagine Jewish circles everywhere would have left no stone unturned in order to demonize and vilify the European minister. Israel would also ask the government of that minister to immediately fire him for his anti-Semitic discourse.”

Earlier, PLO spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi strongly denounced Yaalon’s remarks, saying the remarks amounted to encouraging Jewish terrorists to carry out hideous crimes and atrocities against innocent and unprotected Palestinians.

The settlers who perpetrated the shocking crime are believed to be messianic Jews affiliated with an underground terrorist group that is devoted to driving non-Jews away from Israel-Palestine in order to establish a Talmudic Jewish kingdom ruled by Jewish religious rule, known as Halacha.

Some messianic Jews believe that the “age of redemption” and appearance of the Redeemer, or Jewish Messiah, must be preceded by worldwide tribulations and bloody violence in which numerous people would lose their lives.

Messianic Jews also believe that non-Jews living under Jewish law ought to be treated as “water carriers” or “wood hewers.”

In the past, leaders of the settler movement, known as Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful) wrote that non-Jews living in a “truly Jewish state ruled by Halacha” would have to be enslaved, expelled or physically exterminated.


Netanyahu wishes all Palestinian Muslims a Shana Tovah (Good Year) Image by Carlos Latuff

Netanyahu wishes all Palestinian Muslims a Shana Tovah (Good Year)
Image by Carlos Latuff


Israeli forces storm Aqsa Mosque in third day of clashes

Full report HERE

Israeli police use stun grenades to disperse Palestinian demonstrators in a street of the Muslim quarter in Jerusalem's Old City during scuffles with Israeli riot police on Sept. 15, 2015. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

Israeli police use stun grenades to disperse Palestinian demonstrators in a street of the Muslim quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City during scuffles with Israeli riot police on Sept. 15, 2015. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)



Photos © by Bud Korotzer





















The German ‘solution’ ….

Refugees housed in German concentration camp

A small German town has begun housing the refugees at the Buchenwald camp, where 56,000 Jews were killed in World War two.


Full report HERE


 May this Rosh HaShana usher in a year of peace and progress for all of humanity.
A year without wars or walls!
DesertPeace and Associates wishes all of our Jewish readers and friends the best for the New Year!
Shana Tova!
A Gut Yohr!!
                       Happy New Year!!!                           
Shana Metukah!
A Zis Yohr!!
                                  A Sweet Year!!!                                   
Shana Im Briyut!
A Gezint Yohr!!
A Healthy Year!!!
Shana Im Shalom!
A Yohr Mit Shalom!!
A Year of PEACE!!!




The above quote is the title of a book published in Canada in 1983.

The title is based on an anecdote recounted in the book. Early in 1945 an unidentified immigration agent was asked how many Jews would be allowed in Canada after the war. He replied “None is too many”.

Read about the book HERE

Read about the book HERE


And today in Israel …

PM: Israel not indifferent, but ‘too small’ to take in refugees

Netanyahu says Jewish state must protect itself from influx of ‘illegal immigrants and perpetrators of terrorism’


Full report HERE



All of the following images by Carlos Latuff

This is the first cartoon I made just after watching the WTC burning in September 11, 2001

This is the first cartoon I made just after watching the WTC burning in September 11, 2001


This is the cartoon I made 10 years after the WTC attacks in September 11, 2001

This is the cartoon I made 10 years after the WTC attacks in September 11, 2001


Muslims after the WTC attack in September 11, 2001

Muslims after the WTC attack in September 11, 2001


And a timely quote …

“In the 80’s they used to blame Russians for everything. Now they blame the Muslims. In the near future they will blame both”


The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution allowing what it officially recognizes as the “State of Palestine” and the Vatican to raise their flags outside the organization’s facilities.


UN Votes 119-8 To Allow Palestinian Flag To Fly

The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution allowing what it officially recognizes as the “State of Palestine” and the Vatican to raise their flags outside the organization’s facilities.

In a 119-8 vote on Thursday, with 45 abstentions, the General Assembly approved the move allowing the two entities, both nonmember observer states, to raise their flags following the flags of member states.

The resolution calls on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to implement it within 20 days, in time for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Sept. 30 arrival at the U.N. headquarters in New York, CNN reported.

On Friday, the Wafa news agency quoted Abbas as saying: “The struggle will continue until the Palestinian flag flies over our eternal capital, occupied Jerusalem.”

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian permanent observer at the United Nations, has previously said the action would be another step in solidifying the Palestinian government’s presence in the international arena.

The Palestinian Authority gained nonmember observer state status at the United Nations in November 2012.

Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, told the General Assembly before the vote that the United States is committed to achieving the peace between Palestinians and Israelis but “raising the Palestinian flag outside the U.N. Headquarters is not an alternative to negotiations and will not bring the parties closer to peace.”

Israel, the United States, Canada and Australia voted against the resolution, along with four Pacific island nations. Britain abstained, along with at least 10 E.U. members states including Germany and the Netherlands. France, Poland, Italy and Spain were among the E.U. states that voted in favor of the resolution.

According to Mansour, there are at least two open spots for flags to be posted outside U.N. Headquarters in New York.

Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, said in a speech before the General Assembly that allowing the flag to fly would be part and parcel of “Palestinians use and abuse [of] the United Nations.” He accused the Assembly of allowing the Palestinians “to get away with it.”


This graphic, “The Five Stages of Grief,” reflects on the shared experiences of grief of Americans and Palestinians in Gaza, while contrasting the stages of healing and recovery.


Click on image to enlarge



Ali Abunimah

The is the second graphic by Visualizing Palestine on the current situation in Gaza, following its infographic on who violates ceasefires.

As the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza escalated – today reaching 1,088 – the United States was the only country to vote against a UN Human Rights Council resolution calling for an investigation into Israel’s invasion.

This graphic, “The Five Stages of Grief,” reflects on the shared experiences of grief of Americans and Palestinians in Gaza, while contrasting the stages of healing and recovery.

The people of New York City mourned and memorialized their losses after the 11 September 2001 attacks, but their counterparts in Gaza are not allowed to recover.

They have had no respite either from Israel’s repeated military assaults, or from its ongoing siege on the territory.

Palestinians in Gaza are demanding a ceasefire that respects their basic humanitarian rights.

The 1.8 million people who live there, especially the 40 percent who are 14 years of age or younger, need more than just a ceasefire. They need to be allowed to heal.

For more, visit



That's not egg on his face ... Cartoon that Swiss envoy presented at presentation with Iranians, and later apologized for, in August 2015

That’s not egg on his face …
Cartoon that Swiss envoy presented at presentation with Iranians, and later apologized for, in August 2015

Chickenshit or Shithead?

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