AN OPTIMISTIC 2017

Optimism is not a mood but a systematic studied approach. If we want to make the world better, we must concentrate on those processes that show the Human potential for improvement. And when you start looking for reasons to be optimist you can find plenty. Here are some to cheer you up as you go to celebrate a new 2017.

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12 reasons for optimism about 2017 and beyond

Yoav Haifawi AT

There are many reasons to be pessimist today. Everybody is talking about it. There is a world economic crisis for already 10 years and it is not going anywhere. The rich continue to buy influence, corrupt politics, set the rules, exploit and rob working people and the poor. It seems that the poor working people, instead of uniting to fight for their rights, are turning against each other, as we see from the rise of the Populist Right demagogy against minorities and immigrants in the West and from sectarian civil wars in the Middle East.  And when people are fighting for their rights they are confronted with bloody oppression and nobody will come to their rescue, as the people of Halab (Aleppo) have just learned.

But for me Optimism is not a mood but a systematic studied approach. If we want to make the world better, we must concentrate on those processes that show the Human potential for improvement. And when you start looking for reasons to be optimist you can find plenty. Here are some to cheer you up as you go to celebrate a new 2017.

Health

My grandma told me that she didn’t know anyone from her family that lived more than 60 years. So she naturally expected to die as she became 60. She was surprised when it didn’t happen. Finally she lived to 93, most of it a healthy life.

Today we see a great tragedy in every family that lost a child. It was not a long time ago when most families suffered the death of babies and children. Actually, historically what kept the balance of the human population was the natural death of most children. When early death stopped to be natural, the world’s human population inflated. Only now we are approaching a new balance based on the conscious choice to have fewer children.

Similarly the main problem that was daunting humanity till recently was the search for food. My mom used to tell me: We are farmers, so we will never go hungry. As a child I was advised: Eat bread with every meal to fill your stomach. Now if anybody goes hungry it is not because the lack of food but because the failure of the distribution system or the greed of merchants and speculators. The problem of excess eating is now becoming a major health hazard around the world – until we will find a new balance in a world with plenty of food.

Bringing decent healthcare to everybody around the world is not a dream – it is something that is technologically possible and economically affordable.

Education and Knowledge

It is not so long ago that even the most basic education was the privilege of the few. The spread of general basic education is an ongoing revolution around the world. Now we witness a second wave of the education revolution where high education is becoming available to ever more people.

But formal education is only a technical detail. The real issue is the availability of knowledge and the ability to use it. Today as we chat at the family reunion my kids check online for historical and scientific facts. As we stroll in the forest we take a picture of a flower and can reach its botanical file… And the knowledge revolution is only at its beginnings.

I’m not sure at all whether Trump is more disgraceful or ignorant than previous US presidents. But what is sure is that now the news about his every fallacy is more ubiquitous and spreading faster than ever before. The same go for the facts (and some false news) about the corruption and servitude to big business of his nominees as those of Hillary Clinton. Part of our disgust at current politics is a result of being more enlightened. It should be a force for good in the longer run.

Speaking Up

The reading revolution is centuries old, but just recently less than 1% of us ever wrote anything that other people would read. Actually it was Facebook (launched on 2004) that gave everyone a wall to write on.

I still remember the times when an intelligent person would read one and the same paper every day. When speaking with a person you would typically find that he holds the views of the paper that he reads, and knows the set of facts that the paper supplies to support these views.

Now that everybody have a voice we see all kinds of nonsense, insults and prejudice coming out – but they were there in peoples’ minds much before. The fact that people speak up their mind and the lively discussion that ensues will make people think better, as now what they think makes a difference and they get much more feedback.

It is a new process that can hardly be evaluated. Just think about the development of a child, how much time and experience is required between she starts speaking and until she can express herself clearly or present a case about complicated issues. Now remember that it is only a few years since hundreds of millions of people started to speak up and try to figure out how to make sense out of the ensuing noise.

Democracy

After a period of enthusiasm about the rise of social movements and leftist governments in Latin America, we see a backlash with the election victories of conservatives and rightists and some suspicious power-grabs. Yet, comparing with previous rightists onslaughts just a few decades ago, this time governments are changing mostly peacefully and it is just possible that leftist governments will come back peacefully in some next elections. The same trend of changing governments peacefully is taking root also in much of Africa and other parts of the world.

The benefit of changing governments by elections is not only the avoidance of violence and destructive wars. After repression everywhere, and after a leftist wave almost everywhere in Latin America, now those government that succeeded more in fulfilling their promises, like Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador, may keep their leftist regimes. The left in other countries will have to reorganize to regain public trust and work harder to give their voters what they really want.

Democracy is not only about changing governments by elections. Actually we are still looking for the real thing: How to enable people take control of their destiny. Bottom-up democracy is the more promising model, as people may be involved on a daily basis with the essentials of their lives as they see and understand them, and improve with experience.

In many places around the world, people are experimenting with new types of popular involvement and control. Some of the most amazing experiments of self-rule come amid the harshest conditions. In Greece, as the traditional economy stopped functioning, people were building democratic cooperatives. In Syria people experiment with popular democracy in Kurdish Rojava as well as in some liberated cities and villages in other parts of the country.

Travel and Immigration

Just where progress faces the harshest resistance – we may be making a real breakthrough. The technological progress that drives travel and communication is a one-way process that interconnects our world and transforms it into one global village. The national state is an anachronism that runs counter to the direction of the economy, our culture and the spirit of the time. Whoever will try to resist it will do it at his own peril.

We can celebrate as more people travel around the world, choose their place to live by what is better for them and not by where they were born, and mix together into one beautiful human race.

Gender equality and Personal Freedom

Some of the greatest achievements of the last decades were the progress in women’s rights. We also experienced some breakthroughs with the social recognition of different sexual choices and gender identities. Of course, there are battles ahead before we would be able to declare full victory over misogyny, patriarchy, homophobia and bigotry.

Every achievement on this road is a relief and blessing to all humanity as there is less social oppression, violence, prejudice and hatred. It expands the limits of what one can do and what you can be. With every obstacle that is removed, there will be more options to explore new ways of life and social interaction.

Technology

Unlike political and social development, which goes through conflict, ups and downs and upheavals, technological progress is mostly a one way process. Many of our problems can simply be solved by the right technical solutions. Energy can be produced from renewable sources like sun and wind without much pollution. Food can be produced using much smaller land and without harming animals. Water can be desalinated. Self-driving cars can prevent most road accidents. Biotechnology may prevent or cure most diseases.

The knowledge that all these technologies are here ready to serve us should make us wake up and remove the current obstacles that stand in their way.

Less Work More Life

One danger that scares many people is the disappearance of jobs. As most people’s work life is only slightly better than slavery, we would expect people to celebrate the falling of their chains. Really, it should be the best of news that all humanity’s needs may be supplied with a fraction of the work that was required previously. This is the inevitable result of technological progress.

Looking at the current economy, much work that is done is actually a burden and not a benefit for society. Armies around the world are getting huge budgets that are more likely to cause war than to protect the people. The police, courts and prisons are doing more to perpetuate crime than to prevent it. A single political decision to legalize drugs may abolish at once most of the criminality around the world. Bureaucracy is a burden over the real economy and constant stress over ordinary peoples’ lives. Much of the white collar tasks can be replaced by computers just as blue-collar tasks were replaced by machines.

The economists that portray the current capitalist order as the law of nature say that people are becoming redundant and are destined to poverty because they are no more required for the economy. It is a simple question of political power: who serves whom. If the economy is ours to serve people, it is our time to take control of it.

The recent experiments, in several places around the world, giving basic wages to all people without connection to work, is an overdue first step to break the yoke of wage slavery.

China and Vietnam

International bodies agreed about the millennium goals of reducing poverty and

improving human conditions in essential fields like health and education. The greatest contributions toward fulfilling these goals are due to two countries: China and Vietnam. Over the last half century they demonstrated an unprecedented spell of economic development, starting from the harshest levels of poverty and mostly working against hostile obstacles from the dominant world powers.

China started by leading the world in the production of most goods. Cheap Chinese products improved the standard of living of consumers all over the world.

Now China also leads the efforts to develop clean energy, stop climate change, bring high quality education to wide masses, develop fast trains and electric cars and much more. Within 15 years China built new modern cities (no slums there) for 300 million people that had to leave under-productive village life and became part of the modern economy – building the equivalent of a whole new USA or Western Europe all at once.

Just 15 years ago most third world countries were subject to different kinds of sanctions by Western powers that were supposed to “educate” them but actually served to subdue their economies to the interest of imperialist multinational companies. Now China builds a new world economic order, based on unconditional cooperation and mutual development.

It is mostly due to China’s role that the balance of world economic power started to change, over the last 15 years, to the benefit of the third world.

The rebellious human spirit

In the development of Human society there are always measures and counter measures. There are long term consistent trends like technological progress, the spread of knowledge and the interconnection of the world. But politics are working in many different ways, many times producing the reverse of what their initiators wanted. One force that is constantly working is the rebellious human spirit inspiring billions of people to try new ways to improve their lives…

The two world wars, the biggest clashes between imperialist powers in their quest to control the world, brought immense misery. But they ended with two big waves of decolonization and the formation of alternative socialist regimes. Today, as the Western powers are becoming hostile to immigrants, more people from the 3rd world will try to build their future in their (or other 3rd world) countries – and the decline of the western powers will accelerate. Iran, which tried to force strict religious behavior over its people, is now probably the Middle Eastern country with the most free-wheeling population.

Fast Changes

They say: “If it is not broken, don’t fix it”. But now it clearly is!

As fragile human beings we look for security and are afraid of change. Those who are most disadvantaged by the current order are the most vulnerable to any disturbances. But they also have the most to gain from fundamental change. And the majority of humanity is disadvantaged by the current world order. Palestinians in particular are denied basic Human Rights or any decent place in the current order and their plight is not going to change until there will be major changes to the rules of the game, at least in our region.

Change may come faster in our age than ever before. Almost a hundred years ago Britain occupied Iraq and faced stiff popular resistance – the Iraqi Revolt (1920). With air bombardment and the systematic burning of villages they succeeded to consolidate their rule over a nation that was mostly composed of illiterate peasants. The US occupation of Iraq in 2003 had even bigger military advantage, but the cultural gap almost disappeared. It ended up with the US spending a devastating one trillion dollar on the military adventure, with no political gains to show for its money.

The Arab spring is a social and political movement on the scale of the democratization of Europe that started with the French revolution in 1789, or the fall of the Soviet Union and its East European block in 1989-1991. But it is the first great revolutionary wave that uses social networks and new media. Till now it proved, at least, that no amount of force and no level of cruelty can assure the forces of the old order the suppression of the will of the people.

Respect All Lives

I was raised as a vegetarian, a relic of my grandma’s Tolstoyan tradition. I still remember the times when most ordinary people didn’t eat meat on a regular basis, simply because they couldn’t afford to buy it. I remember old people in the neighborhood saying how lucky they are – they eat meat on every holiday… (It was a cynical refrain to Islam having only two holidays a year). Later it became harder to be a vegetarian as people started to eat meat every day. Friends from the new generation would wonder: what do you eat at all if you don’t eat meat?

But now people everywhere are starting to reassess their behavior out of conscious and not out of necessity. When we invited our friends to a vegetarian wedding party, we heard everywhere stories about people trying to be vegetarian or thinking about it.

I must admit that when we decided, just a year ago, to make another step toward healthier and more moral life as vegans, one consideration was that it is easy to do it these days. Now, even in the most commercial supermarkets, there is a lot of choice of vegan alternatives for people that don’t want to give up spoiled tastes.

Technological progress and consciousness help us all make the moral choice and respect all lives.

ZIONIST ENDANGERS AND DANGERS

While the “Jewish State” violates international law and continues grabbing Palestinian land; destroying houses; making whole families homeless; and  imposing travel bans and sanctions, the hypocritical  community of states is unable to stand up and unanimously support a free Palestine.

Image by Carlos Latuff

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In Times of Zionist Endangers and Dangers!

By Evelyn Hecht-Galinski,  English Translation by Milena Rampoldi, edited by William Hanna
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What a rebellion around the toothless UN Resolution as Zaid Jilani brought it to the point in The Intercept. (1)
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Obama had decided not to block the illegal Jewish occupation of Palestinian Land with a veto at the UN, so what? How does the reinforcement of the condemnation of the settlement building de facto help?  It will certainly change nothing about the Zionist occupation power which has been violating international law for decades.
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Furthermore, the resolution is neither binding for the Jewish occupiers‘ regime, nor does it require any basic changes to the illegal Jewish occupation of Palestine or the dismantling of the settlements. It is a pathetic farce that the most powerful body of the UN, the Security Council, after eight years of silence, for the first time decided just to request a halt to settlement building. For almost 50 years the “Jewish State” has been continuously committed  to grabbing land for settlement construction — the raison d’être for a Zionist state — with an almost seamless transition from the Nakba in 1948 to the subsequent ethnic cleansing of Palestine up to the present time. So the Resolution 2334 is not even worth the paper its written on, if it remains without consequences. This resolution undermines Palestinian rights and in reality damages Palestine. (2) (3)
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What does halting settlement construction actually mean without one word being said about the legal right of return for Palestinians; without a world being said about the miserable strip overlooking the sea; and without a word about the blockaded concentration camp in Gaza. In the meantime, the illegally occupied Palestine is so full of settlements, that the idea of “halting the settlements” is just a sick joke. Already this week, the Netanyahu regime authorised other 300 illegal Jewish settlement units. The Fata Morgana mirage of a two-state-solution has for a long time deserved to be archived in the realm of fairy tales. What did Obama hope to achieve with this half-hearted decision of abstention from a veto? Did Obama not gift the Netanyahu regime with the biggest military aid package in history of more than $38 billion while cementing  cooperation in security matters even further?
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So it is more than derisory if diverse media outlets continuously suggest that the relationship between Obama and Netanyahu is bad because  this distorts the reality of the situation. This is not a question of feelings. Here only naked facts count which  prove  unconditional US-support for the “Jewish State.” If Netanyahu is already looking forward to January  20 with Trump’s “US threat” to fulfil  all of Netanyahu’s desires — including the freedom to build more settlements and to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — then there is nothing and nobody standing in the way of the illegal Zionist Paradise in Palestine. Trump has already promised not to recognise this resolution in keeping with Netanyahu’s viewpoint, and also to question the Nuclear Deal with Iran. It seems that 2017 will be a good year for the Netanyahu regime.
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Also the nomination of the orthodox Over-Zionist David Friedman as future US-ambassador to the “Jewish State” has awakened the worst fears. David Friedman is an active supporter of the illegal Jewish settlements, an enemy of the Palestinians who like Trump and the Israeli UN-ambassador Ron Derner is pressing for the rapid realisation of the U.S. embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem. And this is an unparalleled affront not just against the Palestinians, but also against international law. (4)
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So Netanyahu has once again succeeded in creating a storm in a teacup by foaming at the mouth and introducing sanctions against UN organisations; by stopping payments, and in summoning ambassadors to protest against the “infamous Israel hostility”; and by the “betrayal of Jewish people.” Yes, this “elected” Jewish occupiers‘ regime always likes to enjoy special rules and a special status for itself. In fact, up to now Israel has just recognised one UN resolution – the one concerning its foundation!
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While the “Jewish State” violates international law and continues grabbing Palestinian land; destroying houses; making whole families homeless; and  imposing travel bans and sanctions, the hypocritical  community of states is unable to stand up and unanimously support a free Palestine.
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Consequently it is only by the active support of the U.S., the EU and in particular Germany, that the “Jewish State” is able to maintain its illegal occupation of Palestine. It is true that the German Foreign Minister and future President of Germany Steinmeier welcomed the UN decision, but his past silence for years contributed to the injustice and permitted the ongoing illegal Jewish settlements in Palestine and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
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The hypocritical “special relationship” with the “Jewish State,” also justified by the Holocaust, is a political crime. Our future as supporters of a free Palestine looks bleak, because the Zentralrat der Juden, other pro-Israeli lobby groups and the sayanim, in particular in Germany, but also all over the world, gain more and more influence and mobilise all to muzzle critics of the Israeli occupation policies among others by cancellations of conference rooms compelled by allegations of Anti-Semitism – a de facto ban on speaking – at Universities, schools, by the cancellation of bank accounts and the de-legitimation of the non-violent BDS campaign to perpetuate the occupation of Palestine.
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Next year will be particularly rancorous, not just for the Palestinian people, because it has to recollect the 50-years‘ illegal Jewish occupation, but also for German politics which because of its coward silencing gets more and more entangled in a second guilt. The “Jewish State” armed to the teeth is not a victim, but an aggressive threat to world politics because it does not stop at nothing and represents a serious danger. Israel feels surrounded by enemies and represents itself as peaceful! What a story time. Even asylum seekers in Germany have to recognise the right of existence of the “Jewish State” to get asylum. How can democratic people claim for the recognition of a “Jewish State” – without defined borders! – which has lost any moral existence and legitimation, as long as its existence is based on occupation, colonisation, land grab to build illegal settlements and the oppression of another people.
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We cannot continue to support the Jewish occupiers’s claim for all Palestine and an undivided Jerusalem for their capitol. As long as the hypocritical community of values does not stop this injustice by sanctions and by applying pressure, the Jewish State/Palestine will be a thorn and a continuous flashpoint threatening world peace. The reasons stated for the security of the “Jewish State” are violations against any democratic value.
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It is a scandalous injustice that we can only oppose with BDS measures. I invite  German citizens, Jews, Christians, Muslims, and other religious people, not to keep silent anymore in 2017, despite the danger of being defamed as being Anti-Semite and instead  to bravely oppose these Zionist threats. The security for the Jewish State always means occupation and ethnic cleansing, and represents a threat against other peoples. The bellicose “Jewish State” does not serve peace and does not help as a model for a solution of the refugee problem, but is a deterrent example of a wrong politics producing terrorism. And up to now we are facing this terrorism. This becomes clear in particular in the case of the recommendation of Israeli “terror experts” and politicians who say: “Forget human rights!” In fact, human rights do not count at all for the “Jewish State”. They even do not count for all Jews, because critical Jews are also opposed to such rights.
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2017 should be the  year of conversion in the field of foreign politics. Stop with the inhuman drone and bombs politics we have applied all together with the so called Western “alliance of values”. The effects of such aggressive actions are visible in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, not to forget Syria where jihadists are strongly armed. Now we see the result of it, like in Mali and other African countries. Everywhere the hypocritical community of values will sell war and terrorism as democratic values. Terrorism will fight back, this is the horrible result of a completely wrong Western colonial and hegemonic politics which if we do not pay attention will take us into the abyss of terrorism. The refugees are not responsible for this terrorism, but the Western financing and arming of terrorists. Miss Merkel should recognise her own barbarity which cost the lives of many innocent victims. Muslim victims complain they are forgotten by the “Christian-Jewish community of values” since the West does only cries for  its own victims. The threat by the hypocrisy of Western governments, the so called alliance of values must be ended in 2017.
In this sense, Happy New Year 2017, by hoping it will be a more peaceful one!
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Originally appeared AT
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Evelyn Hecht-Galinski interviews Milena Rampoldi about her book about Ellen Rohlfs
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In this video the most important statements by Milena Rampoldi about her book about Ellen Rohlfs and her poems for the peace in Palestine.
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A SPEECH ON PALESTINE/ISRAEL AWAITING PRESIDENT OBAMA

SECRETARY KERRY: “There are other countries in the UN who believe it is our job to dictate the terms of a solution in the Security Council. Others want us to simply recognize a Palestinian state, absent an agreement. But I want to make clear today, these are not the choices that we will make.”

QUESTION: Will the U.S. allow others to make these choices?

OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY PETE SOUZA President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office, Oct 1, 2014.

OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY PETE SOUZA
President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office, Oct 1, 2014.

A speech on Palestine-Israel awaiting President Obama

By Sam Bahour FOR

I hesitated before weighing in on the flurry of activity taking place around Israel and Palestine after the U.S. seems to have finally decided to act. I felt that all that needs to be said has been written and rewritten ad infinitum, including by me. That now at the eleventh hour the U.S. seems to be waking up to the reality Israel has created on the ground with unfettered U.S. support over seven decades, struck me at first as anticlimactic. But on deeper reflection and seeing the continuous flow of commentary, I notice that no one has yet mentioned one important and potentially game-changing way of framing this latest development.

During the past two years, U.S. government officials have been meeting with everyone willing to meet with them to explore what the Obama Administration can do, given the dangerous state of affairs in the Israeli militarily occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip. Jerusalem-based U.S. Consulate staff, Washington D.C.-based State Department staff, researchers with the Congressional Research Service, numerous Inside the Beltway think tank experts, and many more were dispatched to Palestine and Israel to gain insights on possible ways forward.

Three possible options were floated: having the Administration take UN action at the Security Council against Israeli settlement building; making a policy speech which lays outs the Administration’s understanding of the parameters for a resolution of the conflict; or recognizing the State of Palestine, as over 130 countries have already done. I repeatedly made the case for the recognition of Palestine, which I believe is the only policy action possible at this late hour that would have irrevocably binding legal ramifications, not to mention being a real step forward to preserve the two-state solution.

I want to believe—with zero expectations—that President Obama did not choose one of these options, but rather all three. What we have witnessed thus far with the unanimous passing of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 against Israeli settlements and Secretary of State John Kerry’s policy speech about preserving the two-state scenario may be only two acts of a three-act Greek tragedy playing out on the global political theater. The only remaining act is that of recognizing the State of Palestine, something Secretary Kerry explicitly stated was not a choice that the U.S. would make. The question that begs for an answer is, will the U.S. allow the international community collectively to make such a decision, as they allowed it to unanimously stand against Israel’s settlement enterprise?

Given the uproar Secretary Kerry’s rather mundane but still bold and courageous speech has generated, I’d like to suggest that President Obama deliver the following sequel, much more concise and honest, before January 15, when France will host over 70 counties in a conference to discuss Palestine and Israel.

Ladies and Gentleman,

I stand before you today, only a few days after I instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to present my Administration’s outright disgust concerning the Palestine-Israel conflict. I had hoped that Secretary Kerry’s personal commitment, exhaustive experience, mastery of the diplomatic lexicon, and utter frustration would serve to clear the air about exactly where the U.S. stands on this issue. Evidently, we failed to achieve the desired clarity. So, please allow me to present my Administration’s outgoing message, unfettered by diplomatic jargon. Prime Minister Netanyahu, please take notes.

Secretary Kerry said we needed to engage in an “honest, clear-eyed conversation about the uncomfortable truths and difficult choices.” He was absolutely correct, but then tactfully went on to present known truths and choices we already know Israel refuses. That was misleading. Let me explain, point by point:

“The two-state solution is now in serious jeopardy.” Of course it is! You did not need Secretary Kerry to tell you that, we have been saying it from day one of my Administration, not to mention it being said by every single prior Administration. As the U.S. has been talking the talk of two states, however, we have continued to fund, arm and diplomatically cover Israeli actions which brought us to where we are today. The U.S. is part of the problem. All the while, Israeli leaders have said over and over again that they have zero appetite for a Palestinian state to emerge between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Even the Israeli Prime Minister’s Likud party platform rejects a two-state solution. Thank God the media is not giving attention to theCNN interview by Jake Tapper with prominent settler Minister Naftali Bennett immediately following Secretary Kerry’s speech. The U.S. can no longer pretend to be deaf, dumb and blind as the region collapses into utter mayhem.

“The truth is that trends on the ground […] are combining to destroy hopes for peace on both sides and increasingly cementing an irreversible one-state reality…” Although this is totally true, what we avoided saying outright was that the Palestinians, albeit weak from the standpoint of their internal political affairs, are making tremendous strides on creating their state. The majority of the world’s countries have recognized the State of Palestine and 138 countries upgraded the Palestinians status at the UN with a UN General Assembly resolution that passed on November 29, 2012. I’ve read this UN resolution a thousand times; it is 100% aligned with long-standing U.S. policy: two states based on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem being the capital of both Israel and Palestine. When the U.S. voted “No” to this resolution we found ourselves in the company of only eight other countries: Israel, Czech Republic, Canada, Panama and the tiny states of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Micronesia. For the world’s superpower to stand under the spotlight of world attention alongside these microscopic Pacific Island states is insane and cannot continue. To persist in blocking Palestine from its rightful place among the community of nations is becoming extremely embarrassing. In a local paper in D.C. over a year ago, the case for recognition was made jointly by an Israeli Jew, an American Jew and a Palestinian American. The State of Palestine has become a positive, forward-looking rallying call and I feel we are missing the boat by acquiescing to Israeli intransigence.

“No one thinking seriously about peace can ignore the reality of what the settlements pose to that peace.” We tried to shift all the attention to the settlements, but it’s not working. The international community is seeing right through us. Israel is a colonial project, par excellence, and no screaming about illegal settlements is going to change that. Israel, I’ve always assumed we’ve supported you for this long because our own history is just like yours, but your native Palestinian population refuses to buckle in the face of your brute force. Native Americans being regulated to impoverished reservations worked for us once upon a time, but your modern day equivalent in the form of Palestinian Bantustans, infamously called Areas A in the Oslo Accords, is clearly failing.

Israel, Secretary Kerry lied. It’s not a choice about Israel being “Jewish” or “democratic,” because you are neither and never have been. This is about your sheer existence, plain and simple. You definitely do not operate on central virtues and principles in Jewish ethics, such as “What is hateful to you, do not do unto others.” (Talmud) or what Rabbi Simeon ben Gamaliel taught: “The world rests on three things: justice, truth, and peace” (Avot 1:18) or the three passages in the Book of Genesis telling us that all people are made “B’tzelem Elohim” (in the divine image) and hence the humanity in all people—including Palestinians—must be valued equally.

Likewise, your democracy is highly flawed. One only needs to read our annual State Department Human Rights Reports to see that we have already acknowledged, on the record, your institutional and structured discrimination against your Christian, Muslim, and Druze citizens who make up nearly 20% of your population.

So what Secretary Kerry said in his speech, and our abstention to the UN Security Council resolution against settlements, are not outgoing expressions of frustration, but a last-ditch effort to save Israel from itself. I hope that Secretary Kerry’s and my words here become inputs to the upcoming French-sponsored international conference to be held in January. We had to state our opinions now, Israel, because thanks to your pro-Israel lobby in the U.S., our domestic political system has been hijacked on this issue, so in this case we can’t act in our strategic interests in the proper venues.

Lastly, Israel, we do not appreciate your ferocious attacks after we have stood by you more thoroughly and reliably than any other Administration in the history of your existence. As Henry Siegman, the former head of the American Jewish Congress and the Synagogue Council of America, so pointedly wrote, “If there has been a betrayal in this latest chapter of America’s relations with Israel, it is [you] Netanyahu who has betrayed [me].”

God bless the United States for Israel, oops, I mean, of America.

Back to reality. The Palestinian leadership first submitted their bid for full membership in the UN to the Security Council in 2011. When the U.S. threatened to veto the request if it came to a vote, the Palestinians strategically requested that it be sent to a UN Security Council committee for further deliberations pending a more opportune timing. This is where it currently resides. If the international conference planned for mid-January in France can acknowledge that there is nothing further to be gained by making yet another statement about the threat of losing the two-state paradigm or the risk posed by illegal Israeli settlements, the only serious political act would be to produce a second UN Security Council resolution to recognize the State of Palestine. This one is easy since it’s already in committee. The U.S. can abstain, or better yet vote in the affirmative. This is what would preserve the two-state solution; otherwise, we can fasten our seatbelts as Maestro Trump steps onto to the stage, picks up the baton, and perhaps unrolls a version of Zionism in its rawest form.

NETANYAHU SH-TS ON THE WORLD (AGAIN)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also holds the foreign ministry portfolio, has ordered that “working ties” be limited with 12 of the 14 countries on the Security Council that backed the resolution – the two others, Malaysia and Venezuela, have no diplomatic ties with Israel.

Image By Carlos Latuff

Israel responds to UNSC Resolution2334

Israel responds to UNSC Resolution 2334

Israel punishes the world after UN vote

Resolution 2334, passed by a vote of 14-0 with the United States abstaining, reaffirmed that Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem, are illegal.

While I previously expressed strong reservations about the resolution – because it does not go far enough and could undermine some key Palestinian positions – I told Al Jazeera that Israel’s panicked reaction is significant.

It is a sign that Israel interprets the UN move as a severe blow to its unrestrained colonialism on Palestinian land and as an indication that it is becoming seriously isolated.

I also argued that Israel’s attacks on President Barack Obama, and its open alignment with President-elect Donald Trump, are evidence of the fracturing of the pro-Israel bipartisan consensus in the United States.

Boosting BDS?

The resolution demands that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem,” but it imposes no specific consequences if Israel fails to do so. In that sense it is as toothless as all its predecessors.

But without the fig leaf of a peace process to hide behind, Israel clearly fears that patience is running out and that this resolution will boost Palestinian-led efforts to hold Israel accountable – particularly the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, told CNN that the resolution “encourages boycotts and sanctions against Israel.”

But Israel, already in a weak position internationally, seems determined to antagonize the world as much as possible.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also holds the foreign ministry portfolio, has ordered that “working ties” be limited with 12 of the 14 countries on the Security Council that backed the resolution – the two others, Malaysia and Venezuela, have no diplomatic ties with Israel.

This means, in effect, that Israel is imposing diplomatic sanctions on the likes of China, Russia, the United Kingdom and France.

Israel has already canceled a visit by the prime minister of Ukraine, prompting Kiev to summon the Israeli ambassador for a dressing down.

Test for new UN chief

Netanyahu also ordered the foreign ministry to “reevaluate” ties with the UN and has reportedly cut a total of about $8 million in funding to five UN institutions “that are particularly hostile towards Israel.” It is considering withholding another $48 million in membership dues.

Israel is also reportedly considering halting visas for employees of UN agencies and expelling Chris Gunness, the spokesperson for UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees.

It would be an unprecedented step for Israel to expel the spokesperson of a UN agency.

“We’ve heard nothing official and therefore I have no substantive comment,” Gunness told The Electronic Intifada.

Gunness has long been a thorn in Israel’s side – he has been one of the few international officials willing to speak forthrightly about Israel’s violations of international law and to call for accountability.

If Israel expels Gunness and is met with impunity and silence by the UN and world governments, it would be the first clear sign that the resolution passed on Friday is indeed toothless.

Outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed the resolution, but standing up to Israel’s bullying will likely be the first major test for his successor António Guterres, who takes over the helm at UN headquarters on 1 January.

The spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon did not immediately return a request for comment.

Vitriolic

Israel is also threatening to punish the world by withholding its supposedly superior technologies.

“The era is over in which countries benefit from Israeli know-how in high-tech, in security and so on, and from the prestige of a visit to Israel and involvement in the Middle East without providing diplomatic repayment,” Dani Dayan, Israel’s consul-general in New York and a former leader in the West Bank settler movement tweeted.

Sami Peretz, a commentator for the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz ridiculed Dayan’s statement, warning that limiting exports “would be much, much worse than any harm ever caused by the BDS movement.”

Israel has been particularly vindictive toward New Zealand and Senegal, which co-sponsored the resolution along with Malaysia and Venezuela.

Haaretz reported that New Zealand acted with strong backing from the UK, and despite Netanyahu’s threats to its foreign minister Murray McCully that advancing the resolution would be tantamount to a “declaration of war.”

Netanyahu ordered the cancellation of aid projects in Senegal, including a drip-irrigation project that Israel marketed as part of the “fight against poverty in Africa” – a fight that is apparently only worth engaging in if it suits Israel’s propaganda priorities.

But the most vitriolic response has been reserved for Israel’s closest allies and benefactors.

Echoing Netanyahu himself, Ambassador Dermer has been touring television studios personally accusing President Obama of being behind the “ganging up” on Israel at the UN – something the US administration vehemently denies.

Notably, however, Israel has not shown the courage of its convictions by refusing the record-breaking $38-billion military aid package Obama recently agreed to give it.

Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman likened France’s efforts to hold an international conference in coming weeks to build on the UN resolution to the Dreyfus Affair, the notorious 19th century trial and persecution of a French military officer that is seen as a seminal example of modern European anti-Semitism.

“Ridiculous”

Netanyahu is defending his measures as “a wise, aggressive and responsible reaction, a natural response that makes it clear to the nations of the world that what took place at the UN is unacceptable to us.”

But his reaction is causing disquiet even among hardline supporters of Israel’s anti-Palestinian policies.

Dov Weisglass, a former senior advisor to the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is notorious for saying a decade ago that Israel would restrict food to Gaza “to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”

Now Weisglass is calling Netanyahu’s reaction to the UN resolution “ridiculous.”

“The attempt to create symmetry between us and the rest of the world and to punish the 14 countries that voted against us is actually making the Palestinian dream of isolating Israel internationally into reality,” Weisglass said.

Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, also expressed misgivings. She argued that rather than canceling diplomatic visits, Israel would be better off trying to explain its position to the world.

“We need to get rid of this false term, the phrase ‘occupied territory.’ This is Israel’s territory — the Land of Israel,” Hotovely said in reference to the West Bank.

Hotovely may not have noticed that Israel has been trying to do that for decades, with elaborate marketing and propaganda schemes. The vote in the UN showed that all Israel’s efforts to convince the world that it has the right to steal as much Palestinian land as it pleases have come to nought.

Experience shows, however, that it is Palestinians who will feel the real brunt of Israel’s revenge: Israel is already vowing to build thousands more settler homes on Palestinian land in direct defiance of international law.

The question is whether world governments, having provoked Israel’s rage, will have the courage at last to hold it accountable.

 

TOUCHING TRIBUTES TO CARRIE FISHER FROM INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS

She was not only an iconic female figure in media, one of the earliest strong female characters that young girls everywhere looked up to, she was also an advocate for mental health, sharing her own story of dealing with depression and addictions and in doing so, giving a voice to those struggling with these issues.

Monika Report

Monika 

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darthfar

darthfar

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charamath

charamath

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Kmtaylor62

Kmtaylor62

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daekazu

daekazu

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Chris 'ROY' Taylor

Chris ‘ROY’ Taylor

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Carlos Latuff

Carlos Latuff

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nicrobertson23

nicrobertson23

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MJHiblenART

MJHiblenART

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BrzS

BrzS

All FROM

IMAGES FOR THE END OF THE YEAR

Images by Carlos Latuff

A world in flames ...

A world in flames …

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Farewell Carrie Fisher :(

Farewell Carrie Fisher 😦

IMAGE OF THE DAY ~~ XMAS HERE AND THERE

Merry Christmas world! Do you know that around 1,000 Children in Gaza were left Disabled in 2014

Merry Christmas world! Do you know that around 1,000 Children in Gaza were left Disabled in 2014

Feliz Navidad!

JOY TO THE WORLD!

Now that the last check of the year sent by President Obama to Israel has been cashed, it’s easy for Netanyahu to mouth off against all who have supported him and his policies over the years.

Shameful indeed!

NOT the UN Resolution but the continued expansion of illegal settlements!!

Despite the outrage of the American zionist community, this resolution just might be what the civilized world has been waiting for.

Joy To The World!

Image by Carlos Latuff

So nice to watch Bibi squirm like a worm

"And then they said we have to stop stealing other people's land & obey international law. Waaaaaaaa!!!

“And then they said we have to stop stealing other people’s land & obey international law. Waaaaaaaa!!!

FROM ALL OF US TO ALL OF YOU …

It’s not every year that the calendar twains meet … this year is special. DesertPeace and Associates hope that it will really be a special year finally bringing Peace to Earth …. We can hope!

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Wishing all of our readers, friends and families the Happiest, Merriest Chrismakah!

 

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Enjoy

O HORRIBLE, ILLEGAL OCCUPATION TIME

To all Christian friends and readers I would like to wish a peaceful and contemplative Christmas, also thinking about the freedom of Palestine. Merry Christmas!

I also would like to encourage all Jewish friends engaging in the struggle for a Free Palestine by wishing them a Happy Hanukkah!

Image by Carlos Latuff

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O horrible, illegal Jewish occupation time!

By Evelyn Hecht-Galinski,English Translation by Milena Rampoldi, ProMosaik.

Last year, I wrote down my thoughts on Jesus in illegally occupied Palestine. (1) However, today I will formulate my sentence about the Palestinian Jesus in a different way by saying that today as a Palestinian under occupation he would certainly resist the illegal Jewish occupiers, and his apostles would probably have not established a new religion but a Palestinian resistance movement as a consequence of the illegal Jewish occupation of Palestine.

Palestinian Christians have a daily first-hand experience of what occupation means with the Jewish settlements that surround them making life intolerable. Yes, the misery and injustice of the illegal Jewish occupation of Palestine doesn’t stop even in front of Christians! The Christian and Muslim Palestinians have been sitting together in an occupation boat since decades now, with the only change being that conditions are getting worse from year to year. Together they endure endless humiliation,  countless checkpoints and other forms of illegal settlers’ subterfuge designed to expel the indigenous people from their homeland. Of some million Palestinian Christians only 20% remain in the illegally occupied Palestine and in the “Jewish State”. Desperate conditions and the unemployment force many young people to emigrate with the consequence that both Christians and Muslims are victims of Palestine’s ethnic cleansing. (2)

Despite that, neither the Pope nor German politicians – especially the ones starting with a big C, as for example the President of the CDU/CSU fraction Kauder who is in the frontline when “persecutions of Christians” in Arab countries occur – have condemned this screaming injustice being perpetrated against their Palestinian brethren in faith. When Palestinians are concerned, Mr Kauder keeps silent! Also the pastor’s daughter and Christian Zionist Merkel expresses her solidarity with the Jewish occupiers and land predators rather than with the Christian Palestinians and the Christians in Palestine/Israel suffering from the occupation. Why did Kauder, Merkel and Co. and all the Christian dignitaries up to now only speak at pro-Israeli rallies but never at rallies organized by Palestinians against the illegal occupation of Palestine? Is this a Christian attitude? (3) (4)

Nonetheless, there are still many Christians who do not close their eyes towards the injustice of Palestine’s occupation, like Christoph Reuhs who wrote a very informative field report from Palestine. (5)

What did change this year for the illegally occupied Palestine? A lot, but nothing positive, only that there are more right-wing Jews ruling the “Jewish State” and more and more settlements threatening the existence of Palestine. The strategic Israeli land grabbing of Palestinian land, the occupation of the hills is used by the “Jewish Defence Army” to guarantee its military predominance, and the settlers apply this way of thinking. It is a farce, when Amona, a so called illegal external outpost founded 20 years ago, now should be evacuated according to the court decision of 25 December because it was built on “private” Palestinian property. This is just to show to the world that the “Jewish State” is a functioning democracy.

However, is not the whole illegally occupied Palestine a Palestinian property? Why does the international world community not act if all Israeli settlements are illegal according to international law? Why does this community of hypocrites accept this violation of international law of the worst kind, without imposing sanctions and without stopping any financial support to the Jewish occupiers?

Amona is one of the most untruthful symbols of the legalization of illegal settlements by all Jewish governments to date. Were these accommodation containers not always supplied by the near settlement of Ofra deep in the illegally occupied West Bank? Exactly Ofra was one of the first illegal settlements, built in 1975 on conquered land. Only by the intervention of President Peres, who died some time ago, and was eulogised all over the world as the “Angle of Peace”, this settlement could be built. In 1977 the ex Likud Prime Minister Begin recognised the settlement as legal. So the uninhibited settling on stolen Palestinian land goes on. Sharon, the slaughterer of Lebanon, Construction Minister in the 90ies, and then Prime Minister, allowed the building of asphalt roads, of the installation of sewage systems, and electricity and encouraged the settler of Ofra during a visit to build outposts. And those right-wing Jewish settlers accepted such encouragement with pleasure. Today Ofra is a small city of 3.500 inhabitants, with embellished houses with red roofs, kindergartens, a school, a petrol station, and a perfect infrastructure the illegally occupied Palestinians can just dream about. These Jewish settlers feel strong thanks to politicians and rabbis, they are paid court to by the Netanyahu regime, like the right-wing rabbi Shmuel Elijahu, who had encouraged Israeli citizens not to sell any land to Palestinians and had claimed to totally destroy the Gaza Strip by an area bombing and had called for the execution of Palestinians to guarantee the security of the “Jewish State”. And these are just a couple of samples of this “Judaic Humanism”. (6)

So this Judaic thought, on which the whole jurisprudence of the “Jewish State” and the Zionist ideology are based, became all-day reality before the beginning of the Six-Day War in 1967 with the notorious questions made by the right-wing rabbi Zwi Yehuda Kook, a spiritual and religious mentor of the settlers‘ movement Gus Emunim. He said: “Where is our Nablus? Where is out Jericho? Where is our Kingdom of Israel? Where is the House of God?” It took only one month for the “Jewish Defence Forces” to conquer and occupy the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and East Jerusalem. Zwi Yehuda’s father, Rabbi Abraham Yitzhak Kook, had already been one of the main enablers of religious Zionism in Palestine giving rise to the future crimes of the settlers movement Gush Emunim. He had affirmed: “First we will bring the salvation of the country, then the salvation of the people, and in the end the salvation of the world!” (7)

Such horrifying examples of right-wing rabbis would fill pages: from the infamous sheriff of Hebron, Moshe Levinger, to the racist Dov Lior and the rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder of the infamous Kach Party, and of the murderous Jewish Defence League. The Biblical Racism has become a mass movement in the “Jewish State” and also struggles against Christians in the “Holy Land”. (8)

In fact, by this illegal biblical-Zionist occupation politics, up to now there are more than 120 legalized settlements (which are de facto illegal!) and approximately 100 non-legalised outposts in the illegally occupied West Bank, where in the meantime, with a rising trend, more than 400.000 Jewish settlers live among approximately 2,5 million Palestinians, the legal owner of the stolen Palestine. This condition has only become possible because the hypocrite international community does not really act, apart from showing its reluctant disapproval. So occupation is perpetuated. This illegal and unique Jewish occupation would have been ended a long time ago, if we had wanted. Since, as a German proverb pointedly says: When there is a will, there is a way!

After the unspeakable Trump election as the future US president the forecast or Palestine and the Middle East are significantly bleaker when compared to Israel, the State where the sun rises. With Trump the illegal Jewish occupiers  have found their champion and they sing in harmony: “We are the Champions!” (10)

This Judaic zealotry is overwhelmingly financially supported by Trump, the Jewish fundamentalist US-citizens, and Christian Zionists. This becomes particularly evident if you consider the financial support of this clan to settlements in the illegally occupied West Bank, and in particular to the settlement Bet El. A fund of the future US ambassador David Friedman and of Trump’s daughter’s Ivanka parents-in-law (Ivanka converted to Judaism and is married to Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and political whispering advisor). If we look at this Trump team, the worst nightmares become true. One among many other affronts from Trump towards the Palestinians and all people who engage for freedom and the end of the illegal occupation, is the appointment of such a right-wing orthodox Jews and settlers‘ supporter like Friedman. Friedman is the one always opposed to the two-state-solution and authorising Jews in Israel to settle wherever. Friedman is the one who claims for Jerusalem as the eternally unseparated capital of the “Jewish State”. And Friedman is the one who wants to move the US-embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in cooperation with Trump. According to Netanyahu’s will, Trump is also the one boycotting the nuclear deal with Iran which I hope will not be cancelled. In 2011, Trump was the one who wanted to take the whole Iraqi oil, according to his actual credo “US First”! Let us beware of this “great America”! (11) (12)

This year too Palestine will live again a colonized Christmas under the illegal Jewish occupation. About it I would like to recommend a wonderful text of my friend and highly respected peace struggler Ellen Rohlfs. Her new book is something I would like to recommend warmly to all my readers. It should not be missed under any Christmas tree or as Christmas present. In addition this book is for all people who engage for the end of occupation in Palestine and for the freedom and justice, a wonderful proof of a strong woman always engaging for human rights and for true humanism combatively and poetically! (13)

I do not know if we will ever see the end of the illegal occupation of Palestine. The Palestinian poet and writer Mahmoud Darwish, the lover from Palestine was not allowed to see this longed-for dream become reality. With his impressing poem I would like to say hello to all Palestinians suffering from the illegal Jewish occupation.

PASSPORT

They did not recognize me in the shadows
That suck away my colour in this Passport
And to them my wound was an exhibit
For a tourist Who loves to collect photographs
They did not recognize me,
Ah… Don’t leave
The palm of my hand without the sun
Because the trees recognize me
Don’t leave me pale like the moon!

All the birds that followed my palm
To the door of the distant airport
All the wheat fields
All the prisons
All the white tombstones
All the barbed Boundaries
All the waving handkerchiefs
All the eyes
were with me,
But they dropped them from my passport

Stripped of my name and identity?
On soil I nourished with my own hands?
Today Job cried out
Filling the sky:
Don’t make an example of me again!
Oh, gentlemen, Prophets,
Don’t ask the trees for their names
Don’t ask the valleys who their mother is
From my forehead bursts the sward of light
And from my hand springs the water of the river
All the hearts of the people are my identity
So take away my passport!

To all Christian friends and readers I would like to wish a peaceful and contemplative Christmas, also thinking about the freedom of Palestine. Merry Christmas!

I also would like to encourage all Jewish friends engaging in the struggle for a Free Palestine by wishing them a Happy Hanukkah!

CLINTONS BLAME ‘ANGRY WHITE MEN’ FOR THEIR LOSS

Former US President Bill Clinton blames Comey, Russia, and ‘angry, white men’ for wife Hillary’s presidential loss.

It had nothing to do with the lies, the murders or the corruptness

angry-white-men

Bill Clinton: ‘Angry white men’ caused Hillary loss

Former President and one-time would-be “First Man” Bill Clinton placed the blame for his wife Hillary’s loss in the recent US presidential election squarely on FBI Director James Comey – and “angry, white men.”

According to Politico, Bill Clinton, responding at a spontaneous question-and-answer session at a New York bookstore to the question of whether President-elect Trump was smart, replied that “he doesn’t know much.”

However, “one thing he does know is how to get angry, white men to vote for him.” Analysis of election results has shown that blue-collar and middle class white men voted for Trump in large numbers, but also 40% of eligible women voters.

In addition, Clinton blamed Hillary’s loss on FBI Director James Comey, who had reopened an investigation into Hillary’s secret email server 11 days before the elections.

“James Comey cost her the election,” he said bluntly.

Clinton also accused the Russians of interfering in the election by hacking into the Clinton campaign’s emails.

“You would need to have a single-digit IQ not to recognize what was going on,” he claimed.

On Monday, the electoral college officially confirmed Donald Trump’s presidential victory.

 

 

Source

#InIsrael ~~ DON’T YOU DARE QUESTION APARTHEID

Israel jails Palestinian journalists and threatens to revoke permits of international journalists, including Australia’s Antony Loewenstein, pictured in 2014, over unfavorable coverage. (Claudio Accheri)

antony-loewenstein

Israel threatens to expel reporter who asked apartheid question

Israel is threatening to expel an Australian journalist in Jerusalem, accusing him of being a supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

The threat against Antony Loewenstein comes after the freelance journalist asked a question about Israeli apartheid at a press conference given by former government minister Yair Lapid, and after a campaign against him by the anti-Palestinian group HonestReporting.

“We are leaning toward recommending that his work permit not be renewed due to suspected BDS activity,” Nitzan Chen, director of the Government Press Office, told The Jerusalem Post. “We are checking the incident because unfortunately, the journalist did not give enough information to our staff. We will learn to check better so there won’t be such incidents in the future.”

Speaking to The Electronic Intifada, Loewenstein, who has won recognition for his reporting from South Sudan and Afghanistan, dismissed any suggestion he had misrepresented himself.

“I am an accredited freelance journalist which is how I presented my work to the Israeli government in March, which they accepted,” Loewenstein said. “I’m not here associated with any organization. I’m here as a freelancer, officially, so there’s been no misrepresentation by me, ever.”

Loewenstein has written about the region for more than a decade, including the bestselling book My Israel Question.

Growing crackdown

The effective threat to expel Loewenstein comes a week after the Committee to Protect Journalists revealed that this year Israel remained among the world’s worst jailers of reporters – all of those in its cells are Palestinians.

And earlier this month, Israel detained and expelled Isabel Phiri, associate general secretary of the World Council of Churches, claiming she too supports BDS.

Last week, Israel’s Shin Bet secret police barred entry to two leaders of a British Muslim humanitarian aid group, citing “security reasons.” The two officials from Muslim Hands were invited to the country by the Abraham Fund Initiatives, which the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz describes as “a nonprofit group that promotes coexistence, cooperation and equality between Jews and Muslims.”

In August, Israel’s public security and interior ministries set up a joint task force to deny entry to or expel foreign activists allegedly affiliated with organizations that support BDS.

This is part of a broader crackdown, whose primary targets are Palestinians.

On Friday, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that it has been receiving a “worryingly high number of complaints” about Israel violating basic rights of Palestinian human rights activists.

It said that human rights defenders living under Israeli occupation “face daily violations of some of the most fundamental protections afforded by international human rights and humanitarian laws.”

The UN said peaceful protest and opposition to the occupation is effectively outlawed.

Anatomy of a smear

Loewenstein became a target after he asked a challenging question at a press conference last week to Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party that was formerly part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government.

“You talked before about the idea that since Oslo, Israel has done little or nothing wrong, but the truth is that 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the occupation,” Loewenstein began, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Pointing to the large number of Israeli settlers now in the occupied West Bank, Loewenstein continued: “Is there not a deluded idea here that many Israeli politicians, including yourself, continue to believe that one can talk to the world about democracy, freedom and human rights while denying that to millions of Palestinians, and will there not come a time soon, in a year, five years, 10 years, where you and other politicians will be treated like South African politicians during apartheid?”

In response, Lapid attacked The Guardian, claiming that it and other publications are encouraging Palestinians to be intransigent.

From there, HonestReporting, a pro-Israel group whose managing editor once worked in the Israeli army spokesperson’s unit, launched a campaign against Loewenstein.

It called him “an anti-Israel activist” and implied he had obtained his official Israeli press card and membership in the Foreign Press Association under false pretenses.

“Loewenstein is clearly incapable of reporting on Israel in a fair and objective manner,” HonestReporting asserted.

“Did Loewenstein gain his official press card by claiming to be a Guardian writer?” the group asked, effectively making an allegation without any basis.

HonestReporting took its campaign to The Guardian directly, complaining to the newspaper that “hiring Loewenstein was the equivalent of hiring a corporate lobbyist to be the newspaper’s business correspondent.”

This apparently elicited the desired response: The Guardian threw Loewenstein under the bus – presumably without speaking to him first.

According to The Jerusalem Post, The Guardian’s head of international news, Jamie Wilson, said that Loewenstein was contracted to write comment pieces for Guardian Australia and remains an occasional comment contributor but he “is not a news correspondent for The Guardian in Israel.”

And The Guardian’s correspondent in Jerusalem, Peter Beaumont, emailed HonestReporting that he had never heard of Loewenstein.

The Guardian’s distancing itself from Loewenstein is a welcome development,” HonestReporting’s managing editor Simon Plosker said, adding that the Foreign Press Association should revoke Loewenstein’s membership and the Israeli Government Press Office should cancel his accreditation.

Loewenstein told The Electronic Intifada that he identifies himself accurately as a freelancer and author of several books, who contributes to many publications, including The Guardian, The New York Times and Newsweek Middle East.

Loewenstein noted that in the tight-knit world of foreign correspondents in Israel, it would be impossible to get away with misrepresentation: “It’s a pretty small place.”

But the smear did its job and now Loewenstein is a target for government expulsion for asking a challenging question of an Israeli leader.

In February, the Committee to Protect Journalists condemned Israel’s intimidation of the international media, including threats to revoke the credentials of reporters who published headlines it didn’t like.

“It is virtually impossible to work as a reporter in Israel and the occupied territories without a press card,” the group’s executive director Robert Mahoney said. “The threat of withdrawing accreditation is a heavy handed approach at stifling unwelcome coverage.”

WORSE THAN A KAPO?

In my many years of pro Palestinian activism I have personally been called an anti Semite and a self hating Jew. Considering the anti zionist implications of these labels, they are both worn proudly.

BUT

When a new label, ‘kapo‘ is added, that is truly a hit below the belt. Not being a fan of J Street, I still find this term offensive and stand with them as they are smeared in such a way.

“They are far worse than kapos – Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps.” 

Image by Carlos Latuff

David Friedman, a fierce Zionist, is Trump's choice for US ambassador to Israel

David Friedman, a fierce Zionist, is Trump’s choice for US ambassador to Israel

Trump pick for ambassador to Israel supports Israeli annexation of West Bank and calls liberal Jews ‘kapos

Donald Trump has nominated 57-year-old Long Island native David Friedman to serve as U.S ambassador to Israel. Friedman served as Trump’s Israel adviser during the election campaign and has worked as Trump’s bankruptcy lawyer. He is a vociferous pro-settler advocate who openly advocates for the annexation of the West Bank, and serves as president of American Friends of Bet El Institutions, a settlement advocacy group. Friedman will join an administration that has continually promised to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and has made clear its opposition to the two-state solution. In announcing the pick Trump called Friedman “a longtime friend and trusted adviser.”

Friedman is a writer for the Israeli settler news service Arutz Sheva, and his columns demonstrate strong right wing views concerning the occupation, U.S. politicians, and the Middle East. Friedman has called for ending “the two-state narrative”, describing it as “an illusion that serves the worst intentions of both the United States and the Palestinian Arabs.” Friedman has also referred to the recognition of Jerusalem as “the indisputable capital of the Jewish people” as a holy battle, one that will be won by those who acknowledge Jerusalem as being “the holy capital of the Jewish people—and only the Jewish people”.

In 2015, Friedman wrote an article praising the pre-war sentiment expressed by Mike Huckabee, evangelical Trump-supporter and former Governor of Arkansas, who “referred to war as “killing people and breaking things” until the loser gives up or is destroyed.” Friedman writes that the Obama administration, which is waging countless military operations around the world, has been too docile and light-headed when it comes to “terrorists”.

“The United States has the largest and most powerful military in the world. Under the Obama Doctrine, however, it is no longer in the business of fighting to win,” he argues.

In another stunning column for Arutz Sheva, Friedman accuses Obama of being an anti-Semite, and characterized the centrist Zionist organization J Street as being “worse than kapos”.

“They are far worse than kapos – Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps,” he wrote.

Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, tells Mondoweiss that the appointment of David Friedman as Ambassador to Israel “is but the latest suggestion of what a Trump administration’s policy toward Palestine/Israel will be and that is a full, unapologetic embrace of Israeli Apartheid. Trump has railed against political correctness throughout his campaign and in many ways he seems to be doing the same thing with shaping his policy on this issue.”

Munayyer explains that “for decades the US has done a sort of “politically correct” dance where they have consistently supported Israel as it colonizes what is left of Palestinian territory while saying they support a Palestinian state.” The nomination of Friedman signals that the U.S. will do away with this farce, and  “just own what they have done for years which is support the apartheid reality on the ground.” Munayyer contends that a Trump administration will treat Israel with light-headedness, which means that “the civil society effort to impose costs on Israel through boycott, divestment and sanctions tactics [BDS] has never been more important.”

Mouin Rabbani, co-editor of Jadaliyya, was straightforward in his reaction to Friedman’s nomination, telling Mondoweiss that he “hopes the appointment of such an avowed extremist to the position of US Ambassador to Israel, selected precisely because of his extremist positions, will disabuse Palestinians of any remaining illusions the the United States has anything positive to contribute to their struggle for self-determination.”

Jewish Voice For Peace released a statement from executive director Rebecca Vilkomerson condemning Friedman’s nomination as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, arguing that it “indicates that the Trump Administration has aligned itself with the farthest right elements of the Israeli government”, and warning that this signals that the incoming administration will give the Israeli government a free pass to further its abusive control of Palestinian land, and to continue infringing upon Palestinian rights.

Writing on Twitter, London Review of Books writer Adam Shatz put it succinctly: “Let’s call the Friedman appointment by its name: a declaration of war on the Palestinian people.”

Both Trump and Friedman share the intention of rejecting the two-state solution and abiding by the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which calls for recognizing Jerusalem and Israel’s capital and moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The bill was passed in 1995 but left unsigned under Bill Clinton and subsequently suspended on 22 occasions—thanks to the presidential waiver authority—mostly due to alleged national security concerns. Israeli education minister Naftali Bennett was euphoric after Donald Trump’s electoral win, calling his election an “opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the center of the country”. He said, “The era of a Palestinian state is over.”

For this reason, advocates of the two-state solution are troubled by Friedman’s nomination. A press release from the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) president Rabbi Rick Jacobs notes that while URJ supports Friedman’s goal of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and its designation as Israel’s capital, the organization is “greatly concerned” that Friedman is against a two-state solution. The Reform group maintains “that only a two-state solution will allow Israel to remain both Jewish and democratic while also addressing the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians.”

Americans for Peace Now also announced its opposition to Friedman saying, “Friedman opposes the very essence of APN’s values and mission.” The organization added, “Trump repeatedly declared that he would like to broker a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, but coupled with the President-elect’s statements about his intention to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, Friedman’s nomination is a destabilizing move, which only adds fuel to the Israeli-Palestinian fire.”

Chemi Shalev, U.S. editor and correspondent for Haaretz, recently published an article arguing that due to Friedman’s right-wing inclinations, “[h]e makes Benjamin Netanyahu seem like a left-wing defeatist”. Shalev contends that Friedman will satisfy Evangelicals, Jewish settlers “and bring pleasure to Land of Israel zealots far and wide”. While the Obama administration may have offered Palestinians some semblance of even-handedness, Shalev writes, Friedman and the Trump administration will likely offer them no such thing.

TRUMP CONSIDERING MOVING EMBASSY TO PALESTINE

Stolen land that is ….

Relocating the embassy means endorsing the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem, and predetermining the fate of Jerusalem in a final status solution. This endorsement includes acceptance of Israel’s illegally built settlements and the wholesale confiscation of Palestinian refugee property. 

The Jerusalem site formerly known as the Allenby Barracks, a possible location of the US Embassy (Photo: Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)

The Jerusalem site formerly known as the Allenby Barracks, a possible location of the US Embassy (Photo: Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)

Site being considered for US embassy in Jerusalem is stolen Palestinian private property

Institute for Palestine Studies

Kellyanne Conway, President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign manager, has stated that relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a “a big priority” for the incoming administration. She added: “It is something that our friend in Israel, a great friend in the Middle East, would appreciate and something that a lot of Jewish-Americans have expressed their preference for.”

Meanwhile, in a passage that has since been removed from the online article, the Times of Israel has reported that the Trump transition team “has begun exploring the logistics of moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv, and checking into sites for its intended new location,” adding that the site being considered was formerly the location of the Allenby Barracks, the site of the British army’s Jerusalem garrison during the Mandate.

However, as is revealed by Walid Khalidi’s special report on the subject, originally published in the Journal of Palestine Studies, the site being considered is Palestinian private property stolen from its owners, including the waqf property of several families. He points out that the move would recklessly violate U.S. and international law and have the following impact:

  • The law of belligerent occupation applies to Jerusalem. Neither Israeli nor American laws have a bearing on the status of Jerusalem as an occupied city. Moving the embassy will not change the fact that Israel is the occupier, would contradict the stand taken by every US administration since 1967, and would violate international law and UN resolutions. These include 1980 UN Security Council resolution 478, which declared Israel’s announcement of Jerusalem as its capital “null and void.”
  • On 18 January 1989 a Land Lease and Purchase Agreement was signed between the Israel and U.S., for land serving as a US embassy site in what was known as the Allenby Barracks. Much of the land in this area belongs to Palestinian refugees, including privately owned and Waqf land. He notes: “with all that Jerusalem connotes, it is, to say the least, unbecoming for the United States’ future embassy in that city to be built on land that is stolen property.”
  • On 21 July 1989, Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois wrote a memorandum on the legal implications of the lease agreement, arguing that the expropriation of waqf or private property in Jerusalem was illegal; that the lease agreement itself was illegal; and that Congress is legally barred from providing funds for the implementation of the agreement.
  • Relocating the embassy means endorsing the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem, and predetermining the fate of Jerusalem in a final status solution. This endorsement includes acceptance of Israel’s illegally built settlements and the wholesale confiscation of Palestinian refugee property.

For these reasons, moving the embassy would gravely undermine the American role in the Middle East, especially since it contradicts and repudiates the commitments and assurances of all previous U.S. administrations since 1967. The implications of such a move for the position of the United States in the Middle East will be grave, including its adverse impact on the numerous Arab regimes that turn a blind eye to all the US does in support of Israel.

The impact inside Palestine and on Palestinians elsewhere is also likely to be great, whether in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or among the 1.2 million Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel.  Finally, given how important the issue of Jerusalem is for Muslims around the world, and especially at a time when radical Islamist groups systematically exploit the Palestine issue, moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem will constitute a potentially explosive provocation.

Read the full Walid Khalidi Special Report here.

KOSHER RAPE

“Is it allowed nowadays for an IDF [Israeli army] soldier, for example, to rape girls during battle, or is such a thing forbidden?”

“Even though fraternizing with a gentile woman is a very serious matter, it was permitted during wartime … the Torah permitted the individual to satisfy the evil urge.”

A protest against violence against women in Tel Aviv, March 2014. (Yotam Ronen/ ActiveStills)

A protest against violence against women in Tel Aviv, March 2014. (Yotam Ronen/ ActiveStills)

Israeli leadership’s sex crime problem

David Sheen

The Israeli army officially inaugurated its new chief rabbi at the beginning of this month – but not before he issued a sworn statement apologizing for past religious rulings that have been roundly criticized as sexist.

Eyal Krim, who has served as the army’s second-highest-ranking religious official for the last four years, was elevated to the rank of brigadier general after Israel’s high court ruled that the appointment could be allowed.

Krim was to have taken up his post a week previous, but his inauguration was delayed by the court. The order to delay was made after parliamentarians from Meretz, a left-leaning Zionist party, petitioned the high court against his appointment. The petition focused on how Krim had sanctioned the rape of non-Jewish women by Jewish soldiers in 2002.

“Every rabbi, educator or public figure is required to have the ability to retract and to admit a mistake. I do not hesitate to say I erred,” Krim wrote in his affidavit.

Krim made the controversial religious rulings when he was a civilian, publishing them on Kipa.co.il, a Hebrew-language web forum popular with Orthodox Jews.

Yair Ettinger, religion reporter for Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz, wrote recently that although he was not in active service at the time, “Krim became in civilian clothes the leading address to turn to for religious soldiers, especially ones in combat units, with questions and dilemmas regarding halakha, or Jewish religious law. His popularity among religious soldiers overshadowed that of the rabbis of the military rabbinate and annoyed them very much.”

“Evil urge”

Krim’s most misogynistic ruling was in response to the following question by an anonymous man: “Is it allowed nowadays for an IDF [Israeli army] soldier, for example, to rape girls during battle, or is such a thing forbidden?”

In response, Krim ruled: “Even though fraternizing with a gentile woman is a very serious matter, it was permitted during wartime … the Torah permitted the individual to satisfy the evil urge.”

In the days that followed the November court decision to delay Krim’s appointment, many of Israel’s political and religious leaders issued statements of support for Krim, urging him not to retract his earlier religious rulings. Hundreds of rabbis on the government payroll publicly expressed their support for Krim, including more than 150 military rabbis and Israel’s national chief rabbi Yitzhak Yosef.

Even Tzohar, a group of ostensibly liberal Orthodox rabbis, spoke out in Krim’s defense, as did several ministers, including justice minister Ayelet Shaked and religious services minister David Azoulay.

Last month, Haaretz reported that sexual harassment complaints in the military nearly doubled between 2010 and 2015.

Ironically, the army official to sound the alarm over the steady increase in sex crime complaints, its head of human resources, Major General Hagai Topolanski, is also the very official to have approved Krim for the position of chief rabbi, despite his previously reported comments about raping non-Jewish women.

In recent days, it has emerged that a retired Israeli army brigadier general charged with 16 sex crimes, including three counts of rape, would likely receive a suspended sentence and avoid any prison time. The officer, Ofek Buchris, is expected to draw his entire pension, since he resigned from the army immediately after the rape indictments and before his guilt was established.

Light sentencing

Israel’s aversion to aggressively prosecuting soldiers for rape also extends to crimes committed before they are inducted into the army.

In August, the news website Walla reported that a 24-year-old man who had just been charged with rape, had also been charged with attempted rape four years earlier.

In that 2012 incident, however, the presiding judge chose not to jail him for the crime, instead putting him on probation and only fining him the equivalent of $1,300, so that his police record would not be tarred by a felony conviction, as this could have torpedoed his then-impending army enlistment.

Many more disturbing cases of sex crimes, and institutional efforts to downplay them, have come to the fore in Israel over the past few months.

On 4 December, a retired Israeli judge confessed to sexually harassing a female employee. Yitzhak Cohen, who served as the president of a Nazareth district court, is likely to duck a criminal conviction, and receive only a light sentence of community service and a $650 fine.

In September, Nissim Mor was convicted on charges of sexual harassment, committed while he was Israel’s deputy police chief. Although the former top cop has confessed to the crimes, his punishment may amount to only a few months of community service, and the presiding judge may yet decide to annul the guilty conviction altogether, according to Haaretz.

Mor’s abuse of his police powers to commit sex attacks on a woman who had come to him asking for aid would seem to be symptomatic of a wider phenomenon. In August, Walla reported on a perceptible pattern of women approaching the Israeli police to complain about crimes, including sexual harassment, and being in turn sexually harassed by those very policemen.

Since he was sworn in as Israel’s police chief a year ago, Roni Alsheikh has done little to assuage concerns that the force does not take sex crimes seriously. A report released last month revealed that 87 percent of alleged sex crimes are not prosecuted by the police.

At an event marking International Women’s Day in March, Alsheikh announced that the police would no longer investigate anonymous allegations of sex crimes.

The announcement was made even though Israeli law compels all employers to investigate any suspicion of sex crimes, even if the allegations are made anonymously. Alsheikh had previously said that he regarded allegations made anonymously to be as bad as sexual harassment itself.

In August, Haaretz reported that Alsheikh and his direct boss, public security minister Gilad Erdan, had ordered police spokespersons to refrain from speaking to the media about rape and other sex crimes in order to improve the public image of the force. Instead, they were instructed to focus media attention on crimes allegedly committed by Palestinians – both those who have, and those who do not have, Israeli citizenship.

The following month, Haaretz reported that Alsheikh formed a committee to consider setting up a legal aid fundfor police officers accused of sex crimes and other infractions.

Plague

Outside of the army, rape culture continues to plague Israeli society.

Last month, it emerged that Israel’s biggest bank, Bank Hapoalim, paid $1.6 million to an employee who accused the bank’s CEO, Zion Kenan, of sexually assaulting her. Hapoalim is currently under investigation by the Bank of Israel for not reporting the incident.

Also last month, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev decided not to suspend or levy any fine against David Newman, dean of the faculty of humanities and social sciences, for sexually harassing a female student in his department. The university tried to prevent news of the decision from reaching the public.

In the past few days, a court convicted David Yosef of 11 sex crimes, including indecent acts, sexual harassment and sexual assault, all committed while he served as mayor of the Tel Aviv suburb of Or Yehuda. During Israel’s large-scale attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014, the Or Yehuda municipality hung a large banner in public urging Israeli soldiers to strike Palestinians forcefully, using a Hebrew-language double entendre that alluded to raping Palestinian mothers. Yosef was mayor at the time.

A popular religious leader accused of raping and sexually assaulting women and minors was convicted of lesser crimes recently. Eliezer Berland, the rabbi in question, was sentenced to just a year and a half in jail and a $6,500 fine. When Berland was first arraigned in July, after evading arrest for three years, a thousand of his followers protested outside the Israeli court, holding signs bearing the slogan: “The people are with the saint.”

Of late, there has been a string of sex crime allegations against lawmakers from Israel’s national religious camp and its political party, the far-right Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home).

In September, it emerged that Davidi Perl, the regional council chair of a cluster of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, agreed to pay a large sum of money (reportedly more than $50,000) to a young woman who accused him of sexual assault. The council voted to retain Perl as its chair. Perl resigned two week later for, in his words, the “good of my family.”

An unnamed elected representative with Habayit Hayehudi has been accused by a party member of numerous sex attacks.

Meanwhile, Yinon Magal, a former Habayit Hayehudi lawmaker who resigned from Israel’s parliament a year ago after numerous women accused him of sex crimes, was hired by Israel Channel 10 last month to co-host a popular late-night television show.

Natasha Roth, a blogger with +972 Magazine, observed that Magal’s fate contrasted with that of Billy Bush.

Bush, a cousin of George W. Bush, the former US president, was ousted in October from his job as host of the NBC television show Today after a video of him entertaining Donald Trump’s boasts about sexually assaulting women was made public during the US presidential election campaign.

While Trump’s misogynistic comments were widely condemned, Tzvika Brot, his election campaign manager in Israel, tried to whitewash his violent sexism. Brot noted – somewhat ironically in light of the controversy surrounding Krim’s appointment – that Trump “isn’t running for chief rabbi.”

Prime minister’s office

Israel’s highest political office also appears to be no safe space for women.

In April, David Keyes, spokesperson to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in 2013.

In a separate case, last month, after a woman working in the prime minister’s office complained to her direct boss that another office employee had sexually harassed her, the boss fired her on the spot.

Netanyahu’s close friend and former chief of staff, diplomat Gil Sheffer, was this month placed under house arrest after a woman accused him of confining and sexually assaulting her. Sheffer has faced similar accusations from other women in the recent past.

Another previous chief of staff to Netanyahu, Natan Eshel, also quit his post after a colleague accused him of sex crimes.

In September, Netanyahu’s former chauffeur, Ilan Shmuel, was convicted of raping six girls between the ages of nine and 16 over the course of a decade.

When the head of Israel’s government fails to adequately protect women from sex criminals even in his own inner circle, it is sad but not surprising when Israeli children, even pre-pubescent ones, fall victim to sexual predators, such as in the Shmuel case.

That liberal Zionist lawmakers successfully forced the army’s chief rabbi to express contrition for his past sanctioning of rape can be counted as a narrow victory for feminist activists. But Krim’s elevation to such a powerful post to begin with, and the strong support he continues to receive from Israeli leaders, are testaments to the power of patriarchy in Israeli society.

REDEFINING ANTISEMITISM IN GERMANY

It is infuriating how Jews are made victims again in Germany, and how philosemitism has substituted anti-Semitism. On the other hand, Germans who engage for the end of the illegal occupation of Palestine, are  defamed and excluded. The bad conscience of the perpetrators‘ progeny is not entitled to label the victims‘ progeny with a kosher stamp for human rights and international law violations. Since Germans know what a system based on injustice was and is able of doing. 

bds-promosaik-evelyn-hecht-galinski

Do not buy from Jewish Occupiers!

by Evelyn Hecht-Galinski,  English translation by Milena Rampoldi

A Party Congress Resolution of the CDU has taken over the invented equalisation of the well-thought-out propaganda machinery of the Israel lobby and its sayanim (willing helpers) acting all over the world, according to which the global BDS campaign non-violently engaged for Palestinian rights and against occupation should be equivalent with the Nazi concept “Do not buy from Jews”!

However, it is a fact that the “Jewish State”, since its foundation, has been denying the occupied Palestinians their elementary rights, without no qualms, and that expulsion and land grabbing are part of the Zionist reason of state. What’s more is a system of racist laws, “streets just for Jews” for the illegal Jewish settlements, a settlement colonialism subsidised by the State with the final aim to possess whole Palestine, and the continuous ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

According to the 29th Party Congress Resolution of the CDU in Essen, Germany, the BDS movement was denigrated as anti-Semite; this way the victims of the illegal Jewish occupation of Palestine become perpetuators, a historical distortion of facts which cannot be accepted without protest. In addition, this Resolution takes over the fascist-racist politics of the “Jewish State” of the “good Jews” supporting this state and its politics, while the “bad Jews” criticising the politics of occupation and supporting the BDS campaign, are labelled as anti-Semite. Did the same not happen under the Nazi Regime where Reichsmarschall Göring said “I decide who is a Jew!” And today again German politicians decide who is anti-Semite and who is not, and as a consequence there is a new anti-Semitism defaming unapproved Jews.

It is not significant that the same CDU members, in the future election campaign, bring into play always more questionable subjects like the prohibition of double citizenship and the maximum limit for refugees, or submit main proposals affirming the unilateral “Christian-Jewish Community of Values” against Muslim citizens. And in the end, these proposals just support the right-wing parties and collect their votes. Based on the motto: CDU printed on packaging means that the right-wing German party AfD is inside. However, we notice exactly the same phenomenon in other right-wing populists, from Wilders to Le Pen and from Hofer to Orban, when it is the case of the “Jewish State” and the illegal occupation of Palestine. All keep silent about Palestinian oppression, or stand in solidarity with the Jewish Regime of Occupiers!

It is also anti-Semite, if German Banks like the Bank für Sozialwirtschaft (Bank for Social Economy) cancel the account of the association „Jüdische Stimme“ (Jewish Voice) because of its support to the BDS movement. According to the statement of Jewish Voice the reason for cancellation was explicitly mentioned as being related to “political opinions and activities”.(1)

This outrageous procedure is inconsistent with ethical values, anti-Semite, and part of a sad tradition in Germany. As you can remember, German Banks and their CEO, from Dresdner Bank, today Commerzbank, to the Deutsche Bank, were in first position to cancel Jewish accounts and to actively support the Nazi Regime in its politics of aryanization. A fatal repetition of historical events! If at that time it was the Nazi ideology, which emarginated, dispossessed, expelled, and murdered Jews, today there is the ideology of philo-semitism, infected by the pro-Israel lobby, using the same methods against unaccepted Israel critics and BDS supporters. However, desperate diseases need desperate remedies. If peace organisations or people engaging for the end of the illegal occupation of Palestine get their accounts cancelled, this should set alarm bells ringing. We have to react immediately. For all customers, there is only one reaction and consequence in solidarity with the emarginated Jews: they should immediately cancel their account for protest!

The aimed aggressions against the freedom of speech of organisations, universities, and private people, engaging for a free Palestine, are only possible because the Merkel Government, the UE and the USA still financially, mentally and commercially support the Jewish State by armaments sales, and cowardly silence about the injustice!

The outrageous suggestions of German politicians cooperating with the Israel lobby to pretend from refugees to recognize the existence right of Israel as a requirement for their integration, has no justification at all, as long as this State which has not even defined its own borders, continues its illegal settlement policy by violating international law and carrying out the total ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Also the reception of the empty phrase of the reason of state for the security of Israel by Chancellor Merkel, although the concentration camp in Gaza remains blocked by violating human dignity and international law, the genocide is unatoned, and the illegally occupied West Bank, the illegally annexed East-Jerusalem and the illegally occupied Golan Heights are still judaized by the aggressive land grabbing of the Netanyahu regime. A “Jewish State” basing its existence, at the expense of an illegally occupied people, on crimes against international law and human rights, has no existence right to be supported!

Just recently Prime Minister Netanyahu praised future US-president Trump for his unbreakable friendship with Israel as confirmed on several occasions by his closest consultant, his Jewish son-in-law Kushner and for the announcement of the planned transfer of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as eternally “undivided” capital of the “Jewish State”. And now Netanyahu will try to tip the Nuclear Agreement with Iran during his announced visit to Washington for a meeting with Trump. (2) (3) (4)

There is a new, horrifying initiative: under the auspices of Andreas Casdorff, editor-in-chief of the Berliner Tagesspiegel and Bild publisher Kai Dieckmann started a cooperation, in the guise of the promotion of a Holocaust memory culture in cooperation with the Israeli Holocaust memorial place Yad Vashem in order to send young editors under 30 to targeted seminars at companies and to events, in which also the Israeli Prime Minister, the President of the State of Israel, and the international high officials will participate. So in the end, they will be „enthusiastic for Israel“ and expose all according to the people inviting them. The results are visible today, if these journalists, as requested, write for the interests of the “Jewish State” and defend them. In this context, an incredible propaganda machinery of the Israel lobby comes into roll. So we have to ask ourselves about the newspaper, supporting this initiative – Berliner Morgenpost, DPA, Handelsblatt, Hufftington Post, JDB Media, Kölner Stadtanzeiger, Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, Rheinische Post, Rhein Zeitung, Sächsische Zeitung, stern.de, Südwest- Presse and Bild am Sonntag – if we can read them without prejudice by taking their information for granted without criticising them. I would like that the answer to this question is “no”! (5)(6)(7)

However, this is exactly the problem, in particular of German media; who can take them seriously with this nepotism and the connection with politics and stakeholders! A sad and dangerous political cartel aiming at all democratic habits.

We should never forget the Holocaust, and the same applies to the Nakba, the catastrophe of the displacement and dispossession by the Jewish State, also a consequence of the Holocaust!

This is a particular incentive to engage more than ever for the liberation of the illegally occupied Palestine. And this is precisely the meaning of “Do not buy from Jewish Occupiers”!

Hanns Eisler, the famous Austrian composer born in Leipzig, also created a sensation with his political works. I think that his “Ernste Gesänge” are as great as this wonderful sentence I would like to conclude my commentary with:

“I think we have to rethink the past. Who wants to have a future, has to cope with the past. He must purify himself from the past to be able to brightly move into the future”.

 

Originally appeared AT

IMAGE OF THE DAY ~~ DAMN YOU AMERICA!

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MOTHER PALESTINE ~~ THE INSPIRATION

More often than not, Latuff’s cartoons feature a women called Mother Palestine.

Here she is in 1948 …

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And yet again in 1948 leading her Nation to the wilderness …

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And here, the real Mother …. The Inspiration

Mrs. Zarefa the woman that inspired me to create Mother Palestine. Expelled from Zakaria village by Israel in 1948 and after 1967 to Jordan

Mrs. Zarefa the woman that inspired me to create Mother Palestine. Expelled from Zakaria village by Israel in 1948 and after 1967 to Jordan

Today she is leading her Nation back to their rightful Homeland!

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THE CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE AGAINST PALESTINE

The Palestinian Conflict has almost disappeared from the headlines with the added tragedy that it is regarded in media and political circles as being “unsolvable” and consequently something to be ignored.

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The Conspiracy of Silence must be broken!

By Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, English Translation by Milena Rampoldi, edited by William Hanna

The Palestinian Conflict has almost disappeared from the headlines with the added tragedy that it is regarded in media and political circles as being “unsolvable” and consequently something to be ignored. Occasionally a not too critical article – almost apologetic – will appear with careful avoidance of anything that may offend the Jewish lobby and its friends. Meanwhile in the illegally occupied Palestinian Territories the Palestinian people’s hope for freedom and a state of their own remains an unachievable dream.

While the daily expansion of new settlements is facilitated by Apartheid legislation whose brutal oppression violates all democratic principles, the Netanyahu regime can more than ever before safely relax with its Zionist smugness.

This is because the world community is too occupied in disguising the provision of arms and participation in illegal wars as being necessary and a blessing for humanity. While the EU is fast crumbling and becoming a populist time bomb fused with differences, Merkel and her colleagues have lost all sense of reality. This Chancellor – who always holds her “values” like a shield – has made no effort, not even a token gesture, to justly solve the Palestinian conflict. Such shameful inaction is also shared by party colleagues from the German Social Party (SPD), the Green Party and the Left who routinely submit to the interests of the Israel Lobby.

While Merkel presents herself as alternative-less leader of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and chancellor, the Middle East with its debris and ash is abandoned by a German Government intent on avoiding its obligation to support Palestine in its struggle against the injustice of the occupation.

Anti-Semitism has long since been replaced by philo-Semitism which is a more than dangerous phenomenon. A recent example of this occurred in Greece where the German Minister for Foreign Affairs, Steinmeier — choking with emotion — was made an Honoured Member of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki. In fact, there have been numerous “Jewish” awards and honours for German politicians. This is the way Israel buys “friends” who then remain silent as gutless and complicit observers of the Jewish state’s crimes against humanity.

Even worse, is the fact that any criticism of Israel is labelled as “anti-Semitic” so that Germany has become a paradise of philo-Semitism. There is, however, a ray of hope because Volker Beck – having a sense of mission as “main philo-Semite” – was penalised by his colleagues in the Green Party who refused to give him a place on the list for the German Parliament despite his having the support of prominent Jews including Dieter Graumann, the ex-President of the Central Council of German Jews, the current President Josef Schuster, and Andreas Nachama of the Foundation Topographie des Terrors (Topography of Terror). Before the “Leo Baeck” prize winner and Talmud devoted Beck discovered the usefulness of  philo-Semitism, he wrote an essay published in an anthology published in 1988 that called for the “de-criminalisation of paedophilia.” This fact, however, was of no consequence for the supporters of this VIP. The same applied to his drug story which was shelved after he paid a 7000 Euro fine. Beck is currently sitting on his morally high throne while not shrinking from defamation against my dead friend Walter Herrmann and the Kölner Klagemauer.

It is shameful how German politicians go out of their way to provide support for the Jewish state of occupation; how the German media is complicit by not reporting the occupation crimes committed daily; and how the conspiracy of silence, continuous in the face of the Jewish state’s repression which includes measures against women, children, young people, and even journalists! There is no sense in arguing about this because in Germany this grave situation will not change as has been repeatedly confirmed by my friend Ilan Pappe.

During this Advent season it should perhaps be an incentive for “Zionist Christians” such as Merkel and Co. to think about the Christians and Muslims in Palestine who are denied their religious freedom by the Jewish occupiers.

Time is running and as the “Jewish State” – which has never intended having a “Two-State-Solution” other than as an illusion – continues with the ethnic cleansing so as create conditions that will make the illegal settlements permanent. This also concerns the illegally occupied Golan Heights, conquered by the “Jewish Defence Army” in 1967 and which Israel declared a closed military zone thereby preventing some 100.000 displaced former inhabitants from returning to their native villages.

Even the Syrian Civil War has proved to be advantageous for the Jewish occupiers who feel free to indulge themselves with occasional air strikes because the perception persists that anything Israel does is acceptable, while token Palestinian resistance against an unjust and barbarous persecution is regarded as terrorism.

It is therefore understandable that they try to hide both the expulsion of more than 700.000 indigenous Palestinians during the Nakba which led to the establishment “Jewish State,” and the subsequent displacements in the Golan Heights because there is nothing that the “Jewish State” fears more than the truth. Consequently, it is of vital importance the Nakba is publicised throughout Germany as an important contemporary historical document!

Since 2011, the so-called “Palestinian Papers” have revealed that the Palestinian Leadership, the “Vichy Abbas” Authority, was ready to make extensive scandalous concessions such as for example wanting to renounce East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian State and the legal right of Palestinians to return.

Those secret protocols definitively proved that Israel has never wanted a peace that would require giving back the illegally occupied territories to the indigenous population and the self-abasing the Palestinian Authority. The “Jewish State“ will not be satisfied until it has all of it which will happen as the illegal settlement is extended and made permanent with courtesy of financial support for the illegal occupation, and reduced pressure from the U.S. and the EU for an end to settlement expansion.

As a consequence, there is no reason why the “Jewish State” should start the peace process while the Abbas System can be maintained in a “Utopian State,” wooed by the world community as “moderate leadership.” There is nothing that is better suited for the Jewish occupation power. We recently witnessed the Abbas show, when 1400 representatives re-elected him without there being any democratic elections, either under the Jewish occupation power or under the Abbas Regime because both know that the “twilight of the Gods” would then come. The young people who have been for decades rebelling against the betrayal of this old guard and the lethargy of their parents, are unfortunately the main victims

Consequently the only realistic option available is resistance against the all-powerful occupation, condemnation of Israel by all responsible citizens, and support for the BDS movement.

While here in Germany and Europe everyone warns against right-wing populists, in the Jewish State right-wing fascists are left undisturbed to complete the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in accordance with the “Christian-Jewish” values of this alliance of mendacious hypocrites. The conspiracy of silence over the illegal occupation of Palestine is a complicit violation of international law that must be broken. Have courage! Let us be indignant in the struggle against the illegal occupation and for a Free Palestine!

 

FROM

WORDPRESS BOWS TO ERDOGAN’S DEMANDS

At the request of Erdogan, WordPress censors a critical Turkish blog that collects Turkey-related cartoons.

Here is a sampling of what was censored … (From the banned Blog)

Jaume Capdevila: “Erdoğan”

Jaume Capdevila: “Erdoğan”

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Joep Bertrams: “Üstün güç”

Joep Bertrams: “Üstün güç”

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Rainer Hachfeld: “Erdoğan’dan günün emri”

Rainer Hachfeld: “Erdoğan’dan günün emri”

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Christo Komarnitski: “Erdoğan’ın Facebook profili”

Christo Komarnitski: “Erdoğan’ın Facebook profili”

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Tom Janssen: “Türkiye’den diyalog manzaraları”

Tom Janssen: “Türkiye’den diyalog manzaraları”

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Olle Johansson: “Kaldıraç”

Olle Johansson: “Kaldıraç”

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Taylor Jones: “Dini bütün Erdoğan”

Taylor Jones: “Dini bütün Erdoğan”

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Marian Kamensky: “Erdoğan”

Marian Kamensky: “Erdoğan”

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Hassan Bleibel: “Erdoğan’ın gücü”

Hassan Bleibel: “Erdoğan’ın gücü”

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Arend van Dam: “Erdoğan basına karşı”

Arend van Dam: “Erdoğan basına karşı”

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Patrick Chappatte: “Türkiye’deki eylemler”

Patrick Chappatte: “Türkiye’deki eylemler”

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Marian Kamensky: “Erdoğan’ın piyanosu”

Marian Kamensky: “Erdoğan’ın piyanosu”

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Tom Janssen: “Sarhoş Erdoğan”

Tom Janssen: “Sarhoş Erdoğan”

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Daryl Cagle: “Erdoğan”

Daryl Cagle: “Erdoğan”

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Hassan Bleibel: “Suriye’ye yardım”

Hassan Bleibel: “Suriye’ye yardım”

WordPress’ censorship follows a trend started by Twitter and FaceBook, where our very own Carlos Latuff was the main target …. (Click on links)

#CensorshipInTurkey ~~ CARLOS LATUFF’S TOONS BLOCKED

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FACEBOOK JOINS THE CENSORSHIP WAR AGAINST LATUFF

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