WHAT DO ISRAELIS REALLY KNOW ABOUT THE NAKBA?

What do Israelis really know about the Nakba? What do they think about the right of return of the Palestinian refugees?
De-Colonizer went out to meet and asked them…

Mazin Qumsiyah, PhD adds the following ….

On the eve of the 67th year anniversary of the Nakba (the catastrophic
ethnic cleansing of Palestine), Benjamin Netanyahu finally formed a
“coalition government” a group of ministers who are honest about their
racist and genocidal tendencies (see article by Gideon Levy below). It
includes a “Justice” who called for murdering Palestinian mothers so that
they do not bring out more “snakes”. It includes the head of “civil
administration” who openly supports ethnic cleansing and genocide. A
government more right wing in its composition than Germany was in 1933-1939
or South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s but an honest one indeed without
double talk or hypocrisy. What is disappointing is not the make-up of the
government but the hypocritical response to it. Words from the “Palestinian
Authority” wining about the new government were accompanied by continuing
security coordination with Israel and the PA arrest of dozens of
Palestinians simply for having different political affiliation (e.g.
students who against all odds were voted to student councils at Palestinian
Universities). Geopolitically, there are now two choices: US/Israel that
attempt to dominate the Arab World and Western Asia through a class of
puppet dictators (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Egypt) and the axis of Russia,
China, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon (led by Hizbollah) and large segments of
Iraqi society. It would be nice to have a third axis (like the non-aligned
movement led by Egypt and India in the 1960s) but it does not currently
seem possible.

Yasser Arafat managed to steer the PLO leadership to semi-neutrality or at
least flexibility in building alliances as need arose. But even acting as a
good honest broker to solve some regional disputes many times by asking
people to put the interests of their people ahead of their superpower
sponsors (then it was Soviet Union and the USA/NATO). In the time of Abu
Mazen, we see more a definitive side-taking (e.g. with Saudi Arabia against
Yemen) in a fashion that actually weakened the Palestinian cause
dramatically. The black and white attitude was applied in a way that is
like George Bush “you are either with us (USA right wing government) or
with the terrorists. In this case you are either with us (Fatah) or with
the terrorist Hamas.  There seems no room left for nuances or indeed for
diplomacy. From the agreement with Hamas, there is only the part about
holding elections for the PA that Abbas wants to implement. Other parts of
the agreement (holding elections for the PLO, economic issues etc) were
supposed to happen synchronously but they are now off the table. Meanwhile
Gaza was devastated and is still under siege (civil society is responding
and a flotilla of ships is moving to break the siege). Last time this
happened, there were martyrs and some high level PA officials ridiculed the
Free Gaza movement. Instead, it would have been nice to see PA officials
join Haneen Zoabi and Raed Salah on the boats. Alas wishful thinking for
change.

The old definition of madness still apply: repeating the same (failed)
tasks and expecting different results. And we live in a mad, very mad
world. US/Israel still fund terrorists, support dictators, and support
ethnic cleansing. Those who bet on them to help them achieve “independence”
still do not understand and still hope somehow magically, things will
change. They would be wise to listen to Russian President Putin. He was
speaking at the 70th anniversary of the win over Nazi Germany (26 million
Russian lives were lost) and was flanked by other world leaders including
China (though noticeably absent where key NATO leaders). He said, the
attempt at creating a unipolar world is failing and that we should look
towards a new system. Iran, China, most of Latin America and other
countries which long suffered from Western Colonialism agreed. President
Abbas was there but had no comment. I was reminded of Naji Al-Ali 1964. I
was reminded of Orwell 1984. I was reminded of the book Majanin Beit Lahmem
(the crazy people of Bethlehem) published 2014.

Life goes on in occupied Palestine. A Palestinian community (Susya) is
about to be uprooted. Colonial settlers and soldiers still attack native
Palestinians with impunity. Corruption and heroism happen, poverty and
greed happen, cooperation and collaboration happen, resistance and
normalization happen. Poor people struggle and rich get richer. It is hard
to cope sometimes but we keep going against all odds.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the wall….*

Stop whining. Long live Israel’s new and honest government

Israel’s new government won’t spout hollow slogans about peace, human rights, and justice. The truth will be thrust in the faces of Israelis – and the world.

*
The 34th government will deserve Israel; Israel will deserve the 34th government. This is an authentic and representative government, the true manifestation of the spirit of the times and the deepest feelings of most Israelis. It will be a true government, without pretense, without makeup and without self-justification. What we’ll see is what we’ll get. Welcome to the fourth Benjamin Netanyahu government.

They won’t talk haughtily and they won’t spout hollow slogans. Not about peace and not about human rights; not about two states and not about negotiations; not about international law, justice or equality. The truth will be thrust in the faces of Israelis and the world. And the truth is this: The two-state solution is dead (it was never born), the Palestinian state will not arise, international law does not apply to Israel, the occupation will continue to crawl quickly toward annexation, annexation will continue to crawl quickly toward an apartheid state; “Jewish” supersedes “democratic,” nationalism and racism will get the government stamp of approval, but they’re already here and have been for a long time.

Neither Netanyahu, nor Habayit Hayehudi’s chairman MK Naftali Bennett nor that party’s faction members MK Ayelet Shaked and MK Eli Ben-Dahan, started this whole thing. They only expedited things. And there should be no shock or outrage, no bewailing the bitterness of fate. This government is a government of continuation, not a government of change.

True, some of its members are more extreme than their predecessors, but that is mainly about rhetorical differences. Even the most inflammatory appointment, of Shaked as justice minister, which reverberated throughout the world over the weekend, is less revolutionary than it seems. Shaked is blunt and violent, whereas Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni, her predecessor, was delicate and proper. But Justice Minister Shaked will not have to work hard to break open cracks in our democracy; they opened a long time ago.

The best test of the nature of the regime in Israel is the test of the occupation and the war crimes: the foundations of apartheid are already deep and the war crimes remain uninvestigated. From her office in the heart of occupied Jerusalem, Livni has not made Israel more just in that respect. True, Shaked’s ideas are more nationalistic and her understanding of the essence of democracy is nil. True, many in the world were shocked that a person who identified with one of the most violent articles ever written here against the Palestinian people (by Uri Elitzur), was appointed minister of Israeli justice. But there’s no place for such sanctimoniousness. Elitzur expressed what many people are thinking.

The appointment of another racist, Eli Ben-Dahan, as deputy defense minister, responsible for the Civil Administration, should not be earth-shattering either. True, Ben-Dahan said that “the Palestinians are animals, they are not human, they are not entitled to live” – but don’t these statements reflect the true attitude of many Israelis? Ben-Dahan will speak for them. That is how Israel has been treating the Palestinians for almost 50 years; Ben-Dahan is only saying things overtly. Now he will be responsible for the Civil Administration and the whole system of “humanitarian gestures” will be torn up. Ben-Dahan is the right man in the right place at the right time. An excellent appointment.

A person who proudly says “I killed masses of Arabs” and calls them “shrapnel in the buttocks” will be education minister – and who in Israel doesn’t think that? The general of Operation Cast Lead, with its crimes, the man who contravened building restrictions, Yoav Galant, will be construction minister. Is that not a fine appointment? MK Uri Maklev of United Torah Judaism is to head the Knesset Science Committee? Does that not correctly reflect the attitude of some Israelis to science?

Stop whining. Maybe Israel’s shadow government should be more enlightened, but not its real government. It is what the Israelis chose, it reflects their true stands. And so, long live the new government.

ISRAEL AND PALESTINE AGREE: KEEP POLITICS OUT OF SOCCER

“Keep sports and politics separate” morphs into code for ‘just shut up and play.”

Palestinian national soccer team players. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

Palestinian national soccer team players. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

Israel and Palestine Agree: Keep Politics Out of Soccer

Dave Zirin

We have before us a point of agreement between Netanyahu’s Israel and the militarily vivisected area of land at times referred to as the Palestinian territories: the idea that sports and politics should not mix. Tragically—not unlike words such as “life,” “liberty,” and that whole “pursuing happiness” thing—the phrase means far less as it journeys from abstraction to reality. Israeli Football Association Chairman Ofer Eini and Chief Executive Rotem Kamer traveled to Zurich, Switzerland, last week to meet with reptilian FIFA chief (and self-described women’s soccer “godfather”) Sepp Blatter. Their mission? To change a meeting agenda item. The Palestinian Football Authority is scheduled to propose having Israel banned as a FIFA member country at the May 29 meeting of the organization’s global congress. Eini and Kamer want to get that proposal and all debate on the subject removed, with Eini describing the vote as “a flagrant move that seeks to mix politics with sport—something that is completely contrary to FIFA’s vision.” (For brevity’s sake, we will leave aside unpacking how “not mixing politics with sport” has about as much in common with “FIFA’s vision” as a KFC bucket of extra crispy has with “PETA’s vision.”)

Then there is Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian Football Authority. Rajoub says that he is pushing this proposal for the same reason that Israel is trying to prevent it from coming forward. “What I am trying to do is separate completely football and politics,” said Rajoub in an interview with Middle East Eye. “Sport is a tool to bridge gaps, to build bridges with all people all over the world.”

Rajoub wants Israel sanctioned because he believes that the travel restrictions and checkpoints, imposed by the Israeli government on the Palestinian Territories—not to mention the militarized separation of the West Bank and Gaza—has made the development of Palestinian soccer nearly impossible (this despite theirrecent historic qualification for the 2015 Asian Cup). Rajoub also plans on citing the detention and mistreatment of Palestinian national players by the Israeli Defense Forces, as well as the recent comments by Beitar Jerusalem coach Guy Levi, who said on the radio last month that their team would “never” sign an Arab player.

“The Israelis are enjoying the status afforded by being part of FIFA, while depriving a neighbouring administration of their rights to play football,” said Rajoub. “For years we have asked confederations in Asia and Europe to interfere and stop the suffering of Palestinian footballers…. When that didn’t work, we decided to go directly to FIFA’s general assembly.”

The PA would need 75 percent of the 209 global associations, which is unlikely, but if it passes, Israel, in the words of Kamer, would see “all its international activities…come to a halt,” It would also be an isolating public relations nightmare for Netanyahu’s already beleaguered government. Just as the prime minister has been trying to get the stink of a highly racialized re-election campaign off his body, he has been under fire for the treatment by Israeli troops of Ethiopian Jews staging their own unprecedented #BlackLivesMatter protests against state violence. Israel and Netanyahu have also been waging a furious public relations campaign against the accusations of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement that they are an apartheid country not unlike South Africa. If FIFA suspends Israel, it would become the first country banned by the soccer federation since—yikes!—apartheid South Africa.

Both sides want to keep sports and politics separate, which makes this a fascinating look at what people mean when they make that kind of a plea. In sports it is very common to hear this sentiment from owners, media, and fans but it is rarely if ever used to critique the hyper-militarization of sporting events or the use of public funds to build stadiums (or, in a recently exposed synthesis, the use of public funds to celebrate the military). In other words, it is not sports and politics that they want to keep separate but sports and a certain kind of politics. “Keep sports and politics separate” morphs into code for ‘just shut up and play.'”

In this case, the Israeli Football Association is saying, “Do not use sports as a way to argue for statehood. Sports is not the place for that kind of rhetoric.” The Palestinian FA is saying, “We can’t compete because the politics of the Israeli occupation makes developing soccer a near-impossibility.” This is a very tough argument for the Israeli FA to win. If sports and politics were truly kept separate, then the Palestinian Football Authority would be able to travel freely, receive foreign visitors, and enter international tournaments without the fear of not being able to show up. As I’ve argued here many times, attacking the ability of Palestinian soccer to develop is also about attacking fun, play, and hope. While the Palestinian FA has facts on their side, no observer expects them to win 75 percent of the vote. But if Blatter even prevents this from even being raised on May 29, it would be an ugly gesture from an ugly individual. FIFA is hardly a moral force in this world, but soccer certainly can be. It is the closest thing we have to a united global obsession that links every country. FIFA’s sole organizational obligation is to make sure that everyone has a chance to play. What worries Netanyahu is that discussing this issue in soccer then becomes like pulling a thread on a sweater. If soccer is warped by occupation, then what about education, healthcare, or basic staples of civil society? That’s a question the Israeli FA is now scrambling to see unasked.

 

Written FOR

IN PHOTOS ~~ 10 YEARS OF BDS ~~ A JOINT CELEBRATION

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer Commentary by Chippy Dee

On the evening of May 6th in NYC at Alwan for the Arts the space was filled to capacity with people gathered to hear Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the BDS campaign against Israel, and Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, discuss the BDS campaign as it reaches its’ 10th anniversary.  The meeting was organized by Haymarket Books.

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Barghouti began by explaining the philosophy behind boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).  It is about building awareness of the ethicality of resistance.  How does an oppressed people resist oppression without unduly harming the oppressor.  Both communities have to be humanized and the trap of collective responsibility is to be avoided.  An Us vs. Them mindset is not productive – Israelis should be encouraged to join the movement.

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The minds of Palestinians have to be decolonized.  Realizing there would be enormous resistance Zionists knew very early on that they would have to colonize the minds of Palestinians, building an iron wall there by removing all hope.  If hope is taken away the Palestinians would be defeated.  This was recognized as early as 1923 when the Zionist Vladimir Jabotinski wrote his political allies about destroying the will of the Palestinian people, “A living people make such enormous concessions…only when there is no hope left.  Only when not a single breach is visible in the iron wall, only then do extreme groups… lose their sway….”

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Last, people have to be mobilized for goal oriented action, one with a considerable chance of success.

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Only 38% of the Palestinian people live on the West Bank and in Gaza.  12% are Israeli citizens and 50% are in the diaspora.  It is not enough to say end the occupation.  Israel has divided the Palestinians, leaving them scattered all over the world.  The 3 goals of BDS: end the occupation, full and equal rights for the Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the right of return will reunite the people of Palestine.  Our goal is freedom, justice and equality.  We must have consistent pressure to achieve these goals.  That means resisting/opposing the regime that stands against this.

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Israel is feeling very threatened because the economic and cultural boycott is growing and Jewish support for BDS is also growing.  People are coming to realize that either they support a colonial venture or they don’t.  The “Brand Israel” campaign has failed.  Now the Israeli fight-back is based on propaganda and ‘lawfare’, legal challenges to BDS.  They seem not to know how to deal with this non-violent principled resistance which is demanding basic rights for the Palestinian people under international law.

Vilkomerson said that JVP fully endorses all elements of the Palestinian call for BDS and believes that it provides the best tactics to bring justice to Palestine.  JVP also wants to bring pressure on the US government not to be complicit in this struggle. There have been many victories here in this country – 60 members of congress did not go to hear Netanyahu’s speech.  JVP stands with the divestment of the Presbyterian church and with SodaStream closing their West Bank factory.  JVP also supports the many Students for Justice in Palestine chapters that have been fighting for divestment, often winning, on their campuses.

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But the closer we come to winning this fight, the stronger the push-back will be.  Big money is going into this fight against the BDS campaign from the Jewish community, including on campuses.  There are constant accusations of anti-Semitism which, unfortunately, dilutes real anti-Semitism.

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Blacks, Latinos, and young people are most likely to support Palestine and over the past year there has been an enormous growth of solidarity between the Palestinian struggle and the fight against the oppression of Black people in this country.  JVP fully supports, with feet in the streets, the Black Lives Matter fight.  JVP is an anti-racist organization that sees the Palestinian and the Black struggle as the same fight for justice and will be there in solidarity because it is a joint struggle.  BDS is a tool of anti-racist ideology.

JVP is now 3 times the size it was before the Israeli attack on Gaza last summer.  They now have 200,000 on line supporters because people are coming to recognize that the Palestinian struggle is the world’s great moral issue of our time.

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I remember when people used the phrase ‘PEPs’, Progressive Except Palestine, to describe those who were generally progressive on most issues but would not or could not support Palestinians.  It is becoming increasingly clear to me that there is no such thing.  If you don’t understand and support the Palestinian struggle for human rights you  cannot call yourself progressive.

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AN OPEN LETTER TO PAMELA GELLER (ASSUMING SHE CAN READ)

Seeing as she enjoys cartoons so much, this is done in a style she can easily identify with …. but one where lives are not at risk (which she also enjoys).

By Katie Miranda AT

By Katie Miranda AT

 

‘KOSHER’ CYBER- WARFARE

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Hesder is an Israeli yeshiva program which combines advanced Talmudic studies with military service in the Israel Defense Forces. Hesder is usually a program for the National Religious, but the new intiative focuses on the Haredim. Derech Chayim combines Torah studies and military service, as in all hesder yeshivot, but in addition, the students engage in technological studies, with an emphasis on cyber-warfare.

Courtesy of IDF spokesperson unity

Courtesy of IDF spokesperson unity

First Haredi Hesder Yeshiva Teaches Cyber-Warfare

Amidst coalition agreements that work towards cancelling out the laws that force Haredim to serve in the IDF, more initiatives are appearing in which Haredim are filling essential  roles in the Israeli military. Nahal Haredi, the Netzach Yehuda Battalion, was founded in 1999, and is a combat unit like any other, now numbering well over 1,000 soldiers. JP Updates recently reported on the new commander of the Givati Battalion’s Haredi Brigade.

But the success of the IDF is not solely dependent on the combat units. Israel’s survival is dependent on maintaining a technological edge over its enemies, and for this, the Haredim are ideally suited, due to their lifetime of dedication to intensive study. It is known that a volunteer all-Haredi computer unit has also been created within the Israeli Air Force, but it was recently revealed that within the IDF’s Hesder program, is a Haredi yeshiva called Derech Hayim. Hesder is an Israeli yeshiva program which combines advanced Talmudic studies with military service in the Israel Defense Forces. Hesder is usually a program for the National Religious, but the new intiative focuses on the Haredim. Derech Chayim combines Torah studies and military service, as in all hesder yeshivot, but in addition, the students engage in technological studies, with an emphasis on cyber-warfare.

Derekh Chaim was initiated by the Defense Ministry’s Security-Sociological Wing and the IDF’s Manpower and Chief Rabbinate Departments, for the purpose of enabling young Haredi men the opportunity for “meaningful IDF service.”

The program’s success led them to move from Jerusalem, where it was located at and under the auspices of Machon Lev, to their present location in Moshav Nachalim near Petach Tikva.

The Haredi program is structured differently than other Hesder programs, which are usually National Religious. The program is in stages. The first stage is intense religious studies for two years.  While continuing their religious studies, students will attend classes about defense in the evenings provided by Machon Lev and developed by the Cyber Defense Unit of the IDF, providing approximately one thousand hours of study over the two-year period.

The Haredi recruits will then complete a two-year period of military service in the army’s Cyber Defense Unit. They do not live on an IDF base and are be able to remain in their college residences, similar to soldiers filling other non-combat positions in the military. This allows them to continue their religious studies and in the evenings.

In addition to allowing Haredi men to maintain their religious commitment at a very high level, it also teaches them one of the most highly sought after skills in the technology job market.

 

Source

 

More HERE

ISRAEL’S NEW COALYNCHIA*

*UNITED TO LYNCH PALESTINE

The government will include explicitly murderous elements, including Ayelet Shaked, who openly called for murdering innocent civilians, including children.

The Emperor's New Clothes by Latuff

The Emperor’s New Clothes by Latuff … Preparing to feed Palestine to the lions

*

Israel’s new government: Fascist par excellence

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine

The new Israeli coalition government is likely to be the most extremist since Israel’s creation in Palestine 67 years ago. The composition of the government leaves no doubt as to the direction it will take and policies it will adopt at the domestic front, toward the Palestinians and internationally.

The Israeli opposition leader, Isaac Herzog, has labeled the new government “the weakest, the most extortionist, and narrowest government in Israel’s history.” Writing on his Facebook page, Herzog described the new coalition as one “of no responsibility, no governance and no stability.” These epithets and descriptions can be viewed as controversial, coming from the leadership of a political party that lost the recent elections.

However, from a third-party perspective, e.g. a Palestinian view point, and in light of the composition of the new coalition, we can assume that the next Israeli government will be the most fascist, most extremist, most pugnacious and most anti-peace government in the Jewish state’s history.

The government will include explicitly murderous elements, including Ayelet Shaked, who openly called for murdering innocent civilians, including children.

The new government will be a government of settlers, for the settlers and by the settlers. Indeed, with a fanatical settler leader the aforementioned Shaked becoming “Justice Minister,” it is expected that the entire justice system in Israel will be manipulated in the service of the fascist-minded settlers and their crazy ambitions, namely the seizure of more Palestinian land and property as well as the possible expulsion of many Palestinians from their ancestral homeland.

Needless to say, the settlers’ strategy is to establish a racist Jewish state, “unspoiled and uncontaminated by goyem.”

The new government is also expected to complete the process of killing and burying the already moribund peace process.

Given the clear-cut fascist mindset of the bulk of its coalition partners, the new government will strongly resist any potential international pressure coming from the West, including Israel’s guardian-ally the United States.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and right-wing allies already view U.S. President Barak Obama with utter contempt. Netanyahu’s obvious disrespect of the man in the White House was brazenly illustrated shortly before the Israeli elections, when the Israeli premier flew in the face of the White House by delivering a speech in Congress, against the wishes of Obama.

One Israeli commentator intimated that Netanyahu’s unspoken words then sounded like this:  ‘I, not Obama, call the shots, in Washington.”

Now, with the Republican Party sheepishly groveling at Netanyahu’s feet, the self-absorbed Israeli premier is likely to display more arrogance and recalcitrance, not only vis-à-vis the helpless Palestinians but also in his approach to the rest of the world.

Open war on the Palestinians

The new Israeli government is likely to seek to further narrow Palestinian horizons as never before. This might include a number of draconian repressive measures against Palestinians including a marked escalation in land seizure, a marked escalation in house-demolition and a marked escalation in the especially cruel policy of detaining Palestinian activists for prolonged periods without charge or trial.

In the Gaza Strip, Israel under the new government would probably perfect the already hermetic blockade of the coastal enclave. Moreover, Israel may be allured to carry out another war of aggression on Gaza, if only to appease the sadistic urges of various coalition partners.

This week, Israeli “defense” minister Moshe Yaalon, who will retain the post in the new government, on Tuesday said Israel would attack entire civilian neighborhoods during any future assault on Gaza or Lebanon.

“We are going to hurt Lebanese civilians to include kids of the family. We went through a very long deep discussion … we did it then, we did it in [the] Gaza Strip, we are going to do it in any round of hostilities in the future,” Yaalon was quoted as saying at a conference in Jerusalem this week.

The next government is also likely to give the manifestly fascist settlers a free rein to harass, torment, dispossess and even murder innocent Palestinians. The unbridled settler violence could eventually lead to a bloody showdown between Israel and the Palestinian people as the weak Palestinian Authority (PA) would find itself in an unviable situation, being utterly unable to protect its own citizens from the unrestrained ghoul, while having to rely on Israel for its very survival.

More provocations at al-Masjidul Aqsa

In addition to settler violence, it is widely expected that the new Israeli government will give Messianic Jewish extremists a carte blanch to carry out more provocations against Muslims at the Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest shrine in Islam.

This could trigger a huge conflagration in the region as no other issue has the potential of galvanizing Arabs and Muslims against Israel. This in turn would create real problems for neighboring states, such as Jordan and Egypt, which have peace treaties with Israel.

All in all, a brazen Israeli insolence, met with official Arab impotence, would probably make extremist groups, such as al-Qaeda and IS, ever more appealing to the disillusioned masses. Even relatively moderate political groups like Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic liberation movement, could lose some of its luster in favor of the more radical groups. Moreover, in countries such as Jordan, popular indignation and rage would reach unprecedented levels.

This situation might induce certain regional powers to “fish in troubled water” by creating, financing and even arming “Houthis-like cells” for the purpose of destabilizing certain Arab countries. This would be more than just “creative anarchy and chaos.” It would be a nightmare coming true.

Coupled with the inevitable collapse of the  peace process, or whatever has remained of it, a heightened tension over al-Masjidul Aqsa, accompanied with various levels of violence and bloodshed, would make this summer distinctively “hot,” as the region might witness  paradoxical forces moving in opposition directions, including millions of people boiling with anger, regimes struggling  rather desperately to survive in the face of simmering discontent in the Main Street, and, of course, a recalcitrant Israel hell-bent on fulfilling its Messianic aspirations

From my vantage point here in the West Bank, will continue to hope and pray for peace. However, the looming portents don’t seem auspicious at all. They look rather very very gloomy.

#JeSuisPamelaGeller (NOT)

For and Against…

Probably the most hated woman in America today …. making Hilary Clinton a mere second ….

Probably the most hated woman in America today …. making Hilary Clinton a mere second ….

Against…

Art Spiegelman Blasts ‘Racist’ Pamela Geller Group

 Cover of the graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman.  Description of book HERE from Wikipedia

Cover of the graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman.
Description of book HERE from Wikipedia

Art Spiegelman, the cartoonist best known for his “Maus” graphic novel about the Holocaust, called the group that sponsored a contest in Texas for cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed a “racist organization.”

Two gunmen attempted to shoot participants at the suburban Dallas cartoon contest Sunday, but police stopped them, killing the assailants in the process. Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the Sunday attack.

In an interview with Time about an award the PEN writers’ group gave France’s Charlie Hebdo magazine in defiance of protests by some PEN members, Spiegelman said the American Freedom Defense Initiative, founded and led by New York-based blogger Pamela Geller, is “exactly the nightmare version that the writers who were protesting the PEN award thought Charlie was.”

In January, two gunmen stormed Charlie Hebdo’s Paris office, killing 11 people and injuring 11 others. The Charlie Hebdo shooting occurred three days before another gunman held shoppers hostage at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket, killing four.

Geller, Spiegelman said, “is intentionally trying to start war of culture with Islam by saying that all Muslims are terrorists under the surface, and we’re going to prove it.”

In addition to the cartoon contest, Geller’s group has also put out controversial anti-Muslim ads on public transportation in several U.S. cities.

While noting that Geller and her organization deserve free-speech protection, it does not, unlike Charlie Hebdo, deserve a “courage award.”

Spiegelman’s “Maus” was recently pulled from Russian booksellers because it features a swastika on the cover.

From JTA

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 For…

Meet Robert Shillman, the Tech Mogul Who Funds Pamela Geller’s Anti-Islam Push

Robert Shillman heads a publicly traded American technology company called Cognex Corp with a market value of $4 billion. He also says he is a big supporter of last Sunday’s Prophet Mohammad cartoon contest in Texas that was attacked by two gunmen who opened fire before being shot dead by police.

In a telephone interview with Reuters from his home near San Diego, California, Shillman said America’s free speech is under threat. He added that violent attacks on such events are making people fearful and prone to self censorship. Many Muslims regard depictions of the prophet – such as the caricatures displayed at the event – as offensive and against the religion’s teachings.

“It was a terrorist attack on the American way of life,” says Shillman, who says he isn’t anti-Muslim.

Shillman said he remains a director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, whose Jihad Watch website helped organize the cartoon event in a Dallas suburb with activist Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks what it describes as extremist groups, has called the Freedom Center’s founder, the right-wing commentator David Horowitz, “the godfather of the anti-Muslim Movement.” The Freedom Center says it “combats the efforts of the radical left and its Islamist allies to destroy American values.”

The SPLC also calls Geller’s AFDI a hate group because of the way it talks about and depicts Muslims.

Horowitz, in an email, called Shillman “an American hero” who is entirely transparent in his agenda. Horowitz also said the SPLC couldn’t produce one statement of his own that was anti-Muslim.

Geller did not return messages seeking comment.

PARIS ATTACK

Sunday’s attack had some echoes of the January assault on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that left 12 dead in what was said to be revenge for its cartoons of the prophet.

As founder of Natick, Massachusetts-based Cognex, which makes machine vision products that help automate manufacturing, Shillman says he is more outspoken than a typical U.S. corporate leader. “Most CEOs are hired guns and their future depends on what their boards think of them. I don’t give a f—-.”

The Freedom Center, whose P.O. Box address is in Sherman Oaks, California, runs several blogs and websites, including the online FrontPage Magazine and Jihad Watch. Shillman has funded four fellowships for journalists who have have worked on the FrontPage, which is the center’s online journal for news and political commentary. He declined to comment when asked if he helped pay for the cartoon contest.

Shillman, who grew up in Boston, says he is an admirer of Geller for her defense of free speech and American democracy. “Blaming Pamela Geller for inciting violence is like blaming a victim of rape for wearing high heels,” he said.

Dr. Bob, as he calls himself, has the additional title of chief culture officer at Cognex, whose stock has produced a 373 percent return over the past five years. Shillman calls Cognex’s 1,300 employees Cognoids and rewards those who reach certain long-service milestones with trips to any one of the Wonders of the World. On their birthdays, U.S. employees get a cake delivered to their homes.

For years, Shillman – who owns about 5 percent of the company’s shares – has foregone millions of dollars in salary, bonus and stock options. Cognex donates the money to charity.

Anthony Sun, lead director on the Cognex board, could not be reached for comment.

FUNDS PRO-ISRAEL GROUPS

Shillman has in the past withdrawn support from organizations whose behavior he disagrees with. In 2002, he pulled funding from WBUR, a National Public Radio station in Boston, for what he perceived as anti-Israel sentiment.

His Shillman Foundation has funded a number of conservative and pro-Israeli groups, including the Zionist Organization of America. The ZOA has targeted both academics it perceives have been teaching anti-Israel doctrine and Palestine student groups accused of intimidating Jewish students on U.S. campuses, including a campaign at Shillman’s alma mater, Northeastern University in Boston.

Shillman is an emeritus trustee at the university and has given it substantial amounts of money, including $3 million for a classroom building that was then named after him.

From Reuters

ISRAEL IS THE BIG WINNER IN BRITISH ELECTION

George Galloway should have learned one thing from the recent election campaign in Israel; people want to hear issues, not attacks on fellow candidates.

He didn’t and it cost him his seat in Parliament …

Worse yet, Palestine lost one of its most outspoken supporters.

The victory will be particularly sweet for Shah, who Galloway accused of lying about the details of her forced marriage and troubled childhood in an open letter she wrote earlier this year.

George Galloway blames ‘racists and Zionists’ for defeat to Naz Shah in Bradford West

The Respect MP’s departing general election speech was colourful

The Respect MP’s departing general election speech was colourful

 George Galloway delivered a typically eccentric speech after he suffered a stunning defeat at the hands of Labour’s Naz Shah.

The Respect party MP, who lost his Bradford West seat with 8,557 votes to Shah’s 19,977 said he feared the “racists and Zionists” would be celebrating long into the night upon hearing the news.

“I don’t begrudge the Labour members here their moment of celebration of course,” he said.

“But there will be others who are already celebrating: the venal, the vile, the racists and the Zionists will all be celebrating. The hyena can bounce on the lion’s grave but it can never be a lion and in any case, I’m not in my grave. As a matter of fact I’m going off now to plan the next campaign.”

The victory will be particularly sweet for Shah, who Galloway accused of lying about the details of her forced marriage and troubled childhood in an open letter she wrote earlier this year.

This is how Twitter reacted to the news he would no longer be in the Houses of Parliament.

Source

Also see …. (Click on link)

Naz Shah interview: Labour’s new MP for Bradford West on beating rival George Galloway – and considering legal action against him

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Meanwhile, zion rejoices in his defeat … as reported in UK Media Watch

Galloway gone! Ward ousted! Liberal Democrats demolished! Labour decimated! SNP in.

The country knew by 10pm on Thursday night that there had been a political bloodbath.

Contrary to all the opinion polls putting Labour and the Conservatives level the Exit Poll published at 10pm told a different story; the Conservatives had won a crushing general election victory. Labour had lost many seats and the Liberal Democrats had virtually disappeared.

An Exit Poll is pretty trustworthy and within minutes of its announcement the British Pound was surging on the financial bourses. The United Kingdom had voted for stability.

All that was left to be decided was the scale of Cameron’s victory (the Conservatives finally ended up with 331 MPs, Labour 232, the Liberal Democrats just 8) and which MPs had lost their seats. Famous names were about to disappear from the political scene.

The Liberal Democrats won 56 seats in 2010 but were heavily punished due to Nick Clegg’s pre-2010 election promise that he would abolish tuition fees for university students. He reneged once he was in coalition with the Conservatives.

For those supportive of Israel the demise of the Lib Dems is sweet. If the Israeli army was called on to defend Israelis from Hamas’ rockets Nick Clegg would call for an arms embargo on Israel.

And one has to question how Clegg can lay claim to any morals after not sacking David Ward who suggested that Jews had not learned the lessons of the Holocaust.

After minimal admonition from his party leader Ward was free to continue as a Liberal Democrat. Pleased to report that Ward has now been swept away politically by the good people of Bradford East.

And the good people of Bradford West swept away the Respect Party’s  George Galloway. Maybe they felt that Galloway was far more concerned with Tehran West than Bradford West.

It would be nice to think that Bradfordians also felt uncomfortable with his venomous anti-Zionist rhetoric (he declaredBradford an Israel-free zone) and were concerned for Bradford’s small Jewish population.

It was also goodbye to Simon Hughes and Bob Russell, two more anti-Israel Liberal Democrats swept away in the political tsunami.

Meanwhile, Labour lost 24 seats from last time! Much of Labour’s Parliamentary party is still anti-Israel and Labour’s main anti-Israel firebrands survived, including the likes of Gerald Kaufman, Andy Slaughter and Richard Burden who has metwith Hamas. Labour also added Rupa Huq to their anti-Israel numbers.

For five years Labour has been isolationist on the foreign policy front. It voted not to assist the Syrian people being slaughtered by Assad.

There was, however, one country on which Labour was not isolationist: Israel. Precious parliamentary time was wasted by Labour MPs these last five years smearing Israel as evil and debating, and voting for, a future Palestinian state.

But despite the election results there is no room for complacency for British Jews. The Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) have virtually swept away Labour in Scotland. They grew from six to an astonishing 56 MPs!

The SNP like to paint themselves as supportive of multiculturalism but there is, again, one country they are not too accepting of: Israel.

These are SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s words to the ‘Ending Scottish Arms Trade with Israel’ conference only yesterday:

“As you may be aware, during the recent conflict in Gaza the Scottish Government wrote to the UK Government urging an embargo on arms sales to Israel. The Scottish Government is a firm friend of Palestine and we will continue to press this issue after the election.”

An SNP council also once voted to ban Israeli books in its libraries.

No doubt the SNP will soon be joining forces with Labour, what’s left of the Liberal Democrats and Caroline Lucas of the Green Party to attack Israel.

In the meantime the average hard-working grassroots pro-Israel activist can enjoy some well-earned schadenfreude at the demise of Galloway and Ward.

MOTHER’S DAY ~~ THEN AND NOW

Mother’s Day

© By Tom Karlson 

Julia Ward Howe calls out

Peace and Reconciliation this day, Mother’s Day

No more war-remember-

620,000 sent to the Promised Land,

600,000 armless, eyeless, legless Jonny’s

Dancing days are done

Mother’s day a day for peace

In this new millennium

In America

The United States of North America

Howe is forgotten

Peace is terrorism

Reconciliation is a tool of the fool

The newly dead and near dead

Invisible

Camping on sunless streets

With plastic bowls filled with spare change

Here Hallmark runs this show

3 billion on flowers

100 million for cards

2 billion on gifts

4 billion on meals

Capitalism can sell

Yes capitalism must sell

peace next year?

IMAGE OF THE DAY ~~ JESUS AS A YOUNG BOY

See end of this post for a more accurate picture …

Detectives used a computer program to reverse the ageing process on an image from the Turin Shroud . (photo credit:ROME POLICE)

Detectives used a computer program to reverse the ageing process on an image from the Turin Shroud . (photo credit:ROME POLICE)

Police detectives in Italy claim that they have revealed how Jesus looked as a child based on forensics from his supposed burial cloth.

The Turin Shroud, one of the most famous Christian relics to date, provided the scientists with an approximate image of Jesus’ face on the material. From there, scientists created an image, and reversed the aging process using cutting edge technology to reveal what Christ may have looked like as a young boy.

The scientists used the same technique often employed to capture Italian mafioso who have been on the run for decades. By reducing the size of the jaw, raising the chin and straightening the nose, the replica of Jesus as a boy became clear.

The 14-foot-long Turin Shroud that supposedly covered Jesus’ body at his death bears the impression of a bearded man with long hair, with numerous injuries that are consistent with a crucifixion. The cloth also shows a side wound, just like the lance-wound Jesus is said to have suffered.

Despite these signs, many scientists have disputed the validity of the Turin Shroud. Carbon dating tests from 1998 concluded that the image on the shroud was made up to 1900 years after Jesus’ death. Believers counter claims by stating the researchers tested more modern elements of the Shroud and that other tests show the linen cloth conclusively derives from the Holy Land.

The digital image was created to go along with the displaying of the Turin Shroud’s two month public display which began this week at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin. Pope Francis is even expected to stop and pray before the cloth on June 21st.

Source

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A much more accurate image from What Really Happened

Read report HERE

Using methods similar to those police have developed to solve crimes, British scientists, assisted by Israeli archeologists, have re-created what they believe is the most accurate image (above) of what the historical Jesus looked like.

Using methods similar to those police have developed to solve crimes, British scientists, assisted by Israeli archeologists, have re-created what they believe is the most accurate image (above) of what the historical Jesus looked like.

 

ETHIOPIAN DIARY ~~ PART THREE ~~ WHY WE WILL CONTINUE TO PROTEST

“We will demonstrate against police brutality and in solidarity with all the members of the community who are not treated fairly by the authorities.”

“We’ve been silent for 30 years and now we’re making our cry heard. I call on everyone to join and not to remain apathetic.”

See Part One HERE

See Part Two HERE

Ethiopian protest in Jerusalem

Ethiopian protest in Jerusalem

Ethiopians Plan New Israel Racism Protests

Ethiopian-Israelis have set new protests against police brutality with the theme “No to violence, yes to dialogue.”

One rally is scheduled for Thursday in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, Haaretz reported, and simultaneous demonstrations are planned for Saturday night throughout the country.

A demonstration by Ethiopian-Israelis and their supporters on Sunday in Tel Aviv turned violent, with dozens injured and four indicted for assaulting police officers. Rioting also broke out at a rally in Jerusalem several days earlier. The protests were spurred by the beating of an Ethiopian-Israeli soldier in uniform by Israeli police.

“We will demonstrate against police brutality and in solidarity with all the members of the community who are not treated fairly by the authorities,” Gavriel Tigabo, a protest organizer, told Haaretz. “We’ve been silent for 30 years and now we’re making our cry heard. I call on everyone to join and not to remain apathetic.”

A Facebook announcement of the Saturday protests said that “the entire Ethiopian community will demonstrate against its local authority to demand that the social injustices be remedied. You decide what the protest will look like, you lead it. No singers, no speeches.”

From JTA

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ethiopian Protests Sign of Stubborn Racism in Israeli Society

Images of Israeli police firing stun grenades are usually set in the West Bank and involve Palestinian protesters. But on Sunday the situation was quite different – riot police battling thousands of Ethiopian Jews in the center of Tel Aviv.

The spark was a week old video showing two Israeli policemen punching, beating and trying to arrest an Israeli soldier of Ethiopian descent in what appeared to be an unprovoked attack.

The two-minute video is the latest in a string of incidents that have raised uncomfortable questions about Israel’s treatment of ethnic minorities and its struggle to integrate newcomers into broader society, whether Jews or non-Jews.

Some commentators have highlighted latent racism in a country that has absorbed millions of migrants over the past 60 years but still agonizes over differences between East European and Middle Eastern Jews, relations with its large Arab minority, and how to handle more recent arrivals from Africa.

“There is a problem, there are discrimination issues, there is racism in Israel,” said Fentahun Assefa-Dawit, the director of Tebeka, an advocacy group for Ethiopian Israelis, who number around 130,000, many of them born in Israel.

“We want the prime minister to take this matter into his hands,” he said moments before he was due to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss police behavior and the demonstrations that have ensued. “We urge him, we demand of him, to bring these issues to an end.”

DEEP SEATED PROBLEMS

In the run up to Israel’s election in March and in the weeks since there have been a series of violent incidents, comments by politicians and policy proposals that have fueled concerns the country has a race problem – not just when it comes to the 20 percent Arab population but to minority Jewish groups too.

Last week, an Ethiopian Jew said he was beaten by inspectors from Israel’s population and immigration authority because they thought he was a migrant from Sudan or Eritrea. The immigration authority said the man attacked the inspectors first.

On the day of the election on March 17, fearing he could lose, Netanyahu said “Arab voters are coming out in droves,” comments that offended the Arab-Israeli population and drew accusations of racism. The prime minister later apologized.

For months, Israel has been threatening to imprison thousands of illegal African migrants if they do not agree to be deported to third countries in Africa, despite the Supreme Court expressing deep reservations about the policy.

And rights groups have raised alarm about childcare for asylum seekers and migrant laborers after the death of half a dozen babies at a “warehouse” in Tel Aviv where the children were left while their parents went to find work.

Racism in Israeli society is “far more commonplace and far more toxic than we dare tell ourselves,” leading political commentator Nahum Barnea wrote in Yediot Ahronoth on Monday.

“It doesn’t begin with the Ethiopian Israelis and it doesn’t end with them,” he said. “Hatred of the other, or of anyone perceived as being the other, is not only deeply rooted here, but it also receives encouragement from politicians on the eve of elections.”

Ben Caspit, a columnist with Maariv newspaper, said it was not up to Netanyahu to resolve how the Ethiopian community is treated but for Israelis to wake up and address it.

“The people who are to blame for the terrible things that the members of this lovely community have been forced to undergo on a daily basis is us,” he said.

“Those among us who turn up their noses when an Ethiopian family enters the neighborhood, those among us who are not happy to see Ethiopian children in their children’s classroom.”

Around 20,000 Ethiopian Jews were brought to Israel on secret flights in the mid 1980s and early 199os, with the evacuations dubbed Operation Moses and Operation Solomon.

The offspring of those early arrivals have worked hard to integrate, many serving in elite units of the army with distinction. An Ethiopian woman won a recent Miss Israel beauty contest. But after mandatory military service, acceptance in the workplace has proved much more of a struggle.

“When an Ethiopian applies for a job, as qualified and impressive as he might be, he is not going to be invited for an interview because he has an Ethiopian name on his CV,” said Assefa-Dawit of Tebeka, the advocacy group.

“Israel is our country, there’s no ‘us and them’. This is our home. The community is crying out for the government to resolve this.”

 

From Reuters

ETHIOPIAN DIARY ~~ PART TWO ~~ WHY WE PROTEST

See Part One HERE

I was in the army four years ago, and when I was released, my wife and I went to rent an apartment — and we were told they don’t want Ethiopians.” 

wo2

Are You Really Stunned That Ethiopian Anger Has Reached Tel Aviv?

I was in the army four years ago, and when I was released, my wife and I went to rent an apartment — and we were told they don’t want Ethiopians,” said one young protester to a newscast on Sunday night. He was standing in a crowd of mostly Ethiopian Jewish protesters in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, the site of many protests over the years.

Scenes like that, of the press talking with activists, were mixed with those that looked ripped from the West Bank, with the Israeli army confronting Palestinian demonstrators. Legions of policemen with truncheons waded into crowds of black men and women; police hurled stun grenades by the dozens; mounted officers charged down the streets lined with posh cafés. Lumbering white armored vehicles sprayed the protesters with water cannons.

Was this Tel Aviv? The high-tech metropolis where everything is relaxed and people sit on the beach for hours on end? How, some wondered, could such violence reach all the way into this bubble?

But the real question is: How could it not?

What happened on Sunday night was the culmination of a week of anger over a video that surfaced showing two policemen assaulting an Ethiopian IDF soldier named Damas Pakada in Holon. This followed a year of incidents that had Ethiopian Jews feeling they had become targets of police brutality. On March 1, 2014, Yosef Salamseh was approached by police in a park in Binyamina. According to reports, police accused him of breaking into a house, tasered him, beat and handcuffed him and then took him to a station where family members found him left unconscious in a parking lot. Never charged with a crime, he filed a complaint about the assault, but instead of it being addressed his family was harassed and he was found dead in July, allegedly a suicide.

Racism against Ethiopians pervades Israeli society in more subtle ways, too. My wife, who is Ethiopian, was asked last week if she wants a job cleaning, when she has an MA and works as a senior civil servant. Israeli historian Anita Shapira claimed in her recent book that Ethiopians had to “transition…to an industrialized achievement-oriented society.” Such hidden prejudices — the assumption that Ethiopians don’t understand “achievement” — lead to long-term marginalization.

Image: Getty Images

Image: Getty Images

“We are tired of being nice,” was the response heard over and over last week. Young activists in their twenties and early thirties organized a protest in Jerusalem last Thursday outside the national police headquarters to demand the police prosecute the policemen filmed beating the soldier. For several hours they blocked Route 1, Israel’s main boulevard leading to northern suburbs, as well as the Jerusalem Light Rail. Police showed restraint and did not disperse the crowds. But the young people, many of them referencing their army service, seemed to feel their voice was not being heard. When they marched to the Prime Minister’s house, police fired tear gas at them. The momentary violence brought out Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat, who spent two hours trying to listen to their complaints over the din of chants.

The irony of the current protests is that they appeared to come amidst a lot of support for the Ethiopian community. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the beaten soldier on Monday. President Reuven Rivlin expressed shock at the video last week, as did Natan Sharansky of the Jewish Agency. Still, there was anger that no Members of Knesset came out in Jerusalem. Pnina Tamano-Shata, an Ethiopian MK who lost her seat in the last elections, asked crowds in Jerusalem: “Why are 40% of Ethiopian men in the army sent to military prison during their service? Where are the MKs?”

By the time Joint List leader Ayman Odeh, Naftali Bennet and a few other MKs met with protesters in Tel Aviv, it was too late: the anger of years of discrimination had built up. When 30% of people in one juvenile detention center are Ethiopian, while Ethiopians make up only 2% of the general population, you’ve got a problem. When 40% of Ethiopian men in the army are sent to prison, often for economic reasons, you’ve got a problem.

During Thursday and Sunday’s mass protests, many other minorities, including Arabs, ultra-Orthodox, national-religious Jews and Mizrachi Jews expressed sympathy. “They did it to us Moroccans too,” said an elderly bearded man named Avraham on French Hill Thursday.

Ethiopians join a long list of groups seen as an “other” in Israeli society. These are the people who have for years presented their “integration” as a success story. The protesters time and again stressed that they are “the most Israeli.” But the press and politicians still call them “immigrants,” even though most are born in Israel.

The problem, of course, is that the protesters don’t want to be a permanent underclass, or remain in a situation where so many are being incarcerated. The community feels totally abandoned by a state to which they have given everything. When the state drafts a person from a poor Ethiopian community for three years and pays them $100 a month, and then that person cannot find a job, cannot rent an apartment, cannot afford a car or go to university, they want answers. Their immigrant parents’ generation accepted the poverty they found in Israel. But this generation has said enough.

POETIC BALTIMORE ~~ ‘TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME’

Two poems that say it all …..

296326_5_

The Yards

© By Tom Karlson 

it was the first retro ball park

built on the public dime in 1992

in downtown Baltimore

by that crab and fish paradise

 

today 45,971 seats have been emptied

for public safety

baseball loving gulls are here

and when the organ plays

“Take Me Out To the Ball Game”

all join in

 

gulls fly while fifty players stand stiff

at the Star’s Spangled Banner

later God Bless America is ignored

by all

 

Eddie Murray and Carl Rifkin smile

outside young women and men

march

chanting Black lives matter

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FIELD BOX 54

© by Alejandro Escudé

Its come down to this: empty
major league baseball stands
while the game goes on below,

except for the one skeleton
sitting in Field Box 54, wolfing
down a hot dog whole, tossing peanuts
into its open jaw.

The hot dog bun perfectly preserved
and the pristine peanut shells
scattering past the skeleton’s severed
spinal chord.

The lonely announcer
can’t believe his eyes. “It appears
to be enjoying the game!” he says.

And why not? The whole stadium
to itself, Orioles against
the White Sox, nothing to worry about,

though it still remembers
the gelid badge pressed to its ear

and the godforsaken fear.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Related Blog Post

An empty baseball stadium and social inequality: Reflections and lessons on Baltimore

Read it HERE

THE ISRAELI ROAD TO THE ABYSS

I am not a prophet of doom and gloom and I don’t see into the future. However, from the intensive experience of 50 years of closely observing Israeli behavior, I honestly believe that such scenarios are not outside the realm of possibility. They could happen. History does repeat itself, if only because most men don’t learn from their blunders. And Israeli leaders are not driven by wisdom or morality, but rather by arrogance and evil millenarianism, very much like Hitler was. We know the rest of the story.

Israel heading to the abyss

By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine

Group photo of the 'Elders' from May, 2010

Group photo of the ‘Elders’ from May, 2010

 

As a member of the independent Elders Group of global leaders, former US president Jimmy Carter made some interesting remarks during a brief visit to the West Bank this week.

The group, founded by former South African President Nelson Mandela in 2007 and  includes former presidents from several countries, was barred by Israel from visiting the Gaza Strip, thoroughly devastated by a sustained Israeli bombing campaign last summer, which lasted for 53 days.

Much of what Carter said was actually regurgitation of past platitudes repeated ad nauseam by the former American president.

He urged Palestinians to hold elections in order to end the de facto division between the West Bank and Gaza, as if holding elections in occupied Palestine or even ending the rift between Fatah and Hamas were the mother of all problems.

Likewise, Carter didn’t comment on the likelihood that Israel (and probably the PA as well) wouldn’t accept the outcome of any elections in case Hamas, the Islamic liberation group, emerged as the main winner.

Not malicious, but naïve

I am not accusing the man from Georgia of ill-will or harboring any malicious intentions. But I do think that the former president is being overly naïve, too trusting and probably a little misinformed.

I believe it is imperative that Carter and his colleagues ought to have an accurate prognosis of the situation on the ground. They ought to understand that Israel has effectively killed any remaining chances for the two-state solution. The ubiquitous proliferation of Jewish settlements in every part of the West Bank, especially in East Jerusalem, has irreversibly eradicated any remaining possibility for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

It is really mind-boggling that this outstanding fact is being ignored or belittled by people who are supposed to be intelligent and wise.

Is this a conscious or subconscious effort to retain a semblance of hope for peace lest people suddenly find themselves face to face with a reality they never wanted to see?

No Room left for Palestinian state

Well, the world at large, including Muslims and Jews, ought to be courageous enough to come to terms with reality, namely that there is no room left for a Palestinian state and that alternative solutions need to be sought.

But, unfortunately, there are not many alternatives to be sought for resolving the seemingly perpetual conflict.

Indeed, with the two-state solution practically eliminated, there are only two alternatives left.

First, the establishment of a unitary state between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean in which Jews and Arabs live together in peace and equality. But such an idea is anathema for Zionism as it constitutes its ultimate antithesis.

A unitary state, irrespective of the name, would effectively put an end to Israel as it has been since its creation in Palestine 67 years ago. Moreover, the clear Arab demographic advantage over Jews in mandatory Palestine (Israel and the occupied territories) would eventually lead to a state with a clear if not overwhelming Arab Muslim majority in a matter of few decades.

Zionist strategists are aware of these prospects, but they seriously lack the means (or ideas) to defer or circumvent these prospects.

They propose perpetual apartheid, application of more repression against the Palestinians, narrowing their horizons, economic pressure, even forced emigration, as “suggestions” to save the Zionist enterprise.

But these suggestions, which express frustration on the part of the Zionist movement, could cause Israel to face even more existential perils endangering Israel’s very survival. Apartheid is not easy to sustain, and ethnic cleansing on a wide scale would be tantamount to genocide. Would the Jews, the victims of Nazi Germany, seek to emulate their former tormentors and grave-diggers in order to achieve goals that differ little from those of the Third Reich, namely maintaining an ethnically and religiously pure state?

I have no doubt that Zionist leaders will miss no opportunity to trigger wars, hunt for “opportunities,” create alibis, spread chaos and turbulence in the region and beyond in order to seize the chance to expel the Palestinians, or most of them, using a combination of  mass murder and  mass terror.

But that would be the ultimate Holocaust. It would also be an act of suicide as well for Israel and Jews alike.  Indeed, Israel, already a pariah state, would become the object of intense hatred and vilification by the rest of the world and Jews everywhere in the world would suffer the consequences of their state’s folly.

Similarly, millions of Muslims around the world would become suicide bombers targeting Jews and their supporters. IS would grow and expand a thousand fold, with governments and security agencies utterly unable to stem the tide of millions of youths joining its ranks.

I am not a prophet of doom and gloom and I don’t see into the future. However, from the intensive experience of 50 years of closely observing Israeli behavior, I honestly believe that such scenarios are not outside the realm of possibility. They could happen. History does repeat itself, if only because most men don’t learn from their blunders. And Israeli leaders are not driven by wisdom or morality, but rather by arrogance and evil millenarianism, very much like Hitler was. We know the rest of the story.

Open-ended conflict

The alternative to establishing a unitary state in Palestine/Israel is open-ended conflict. I think this is what will eventually be the case. This is sad, but inevitable. But it does mean that Israel will have to live by the sword for eternity. Israel is not a small isolated state living by itself in a remote region. Israel is in the heart of the Arab world, and within a few decades, will be surrounded by 600 million hostile Muslims, seething with hatred and indignation for everything Zionist.

In short, all future scenarios facing Israel are negative if not nightmarish, which means that Netanyahu, Bennet, et al, are taking Israel to the abyss. 

ZIOLOGIC ~~ ‘YOUR RACISM IS WORSE THAN OURS’

Image 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

So say some apologetic zionists …. who had the same to say about South African Apartheid …. ‘their’s was worse than ours is …’

Twisted ziologic!

“What we’re doing now has nothing to do with what’s going on in Baltimore,” Maya Tzagay, a 19-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli protester and soldier told Haaretz. “They have their issues. We have ours. But we understand them — we both suffer from racism. There, it’s more extreme.”

Another protester, 46-year old Zemene Melesse, also told Haaretz, “What’s happening here today has nothing to do with what’s happening in Baltimore, but as a black man, I identify with them.”

Stop Comparing the Tel Aviv Protests to Baltimore

The comparison is irresistible.

In Tel Aviv — just like in Baltimore and Ferguson — thousands of black citizens took to the streets to protest racism and police brutality. And in Tel Aviv — just like in Baltimore and Ferguson — the urban streets became akin to a war zone, with water cannons and stun grenades, police cars with windows smashed, dozens of arrests and injured protesters and officers.

And just like in cities around America, the Israeli demonstrations were sparked by a video showing senseless police violence against a black man, Damas Pakado, an Ethiopian-Israeli who also happened to be a soldier in uniform.

Yet, despite the shocking scenes of chaos in typically pleasant Tel Aviv, both protesters and police are generally rejecting the readily available American analogy.

“What we’re doing now has nothing to do with what’s going on in Baltimore,” Maya Tzagay, a 19-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli protester and soldier told Haaretz. “They have their issues. We have ours. But we understand them — we both suffer from racism. There, it’s more extreme.”

Another protester, 46-year old Zemene Melesse, also told Haaretz, “What’s happening here today has nothing to do with what’s happening in Baltimore, but as a black man, I identify with them.”

Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the Israel Police, also downplayed the similarities to Baltimore and Ferguson in comments to the New York Times, arguing that while the protests were sparked by a video showing Israeli cops beating up an Ethiopian-Israeli soldier, the underlying complaints were “not a police issue” but rather “social and economic issues.”

All of this raises the question: What is the difference, really, between what’s going on in Tel Aviv and in Baltimore? And why are the Israeli protesters and police both reluctant to conflate the two?

Image: Getty Images

Image: Getty Images

The answer, I think, lies in the fundamentally different postures of the American authorities and their Israeli counterparts.

Mike Brown was shot. Eric Garner was strangled. Walter Scott was gunned down from behind. Freddie Gray was left bound and bouncing around in a police van until his body literally snapped.

Yet after each of these cases of black men being killed by officers, both police and elected officials refused to immediately condemn the officers and admit that there is a significant problem of police brutality against blacks. Instead, they urged everyone to await the outcomes of various internal investigations and potential courtroom trials. Some of those cases, outrageously, never even lead to indictments. And when the officers do get charged with murder, as occurred belatedly in the Freddie Gray case, the police are stunned.

The contrast to the reactions of Israeli officials is stark, and is chiefly this: they are willing to listen.

After the video surfaced showing the beating of the Ethiopian soldier, the Israeli chief of police, Yohanan Danino, announced promptly that the officers would be fired. Danino also met with representatives of the Ethiopian-Israeli community, as did Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and president, Reuven Rivlin.

All of the officials immediately acknowledged that there is a deep-rooted problem of racism and that profound social change is needed.

President Rivlin was particularly forthright.

“Protesters in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv revealed an open and bloody wound in the heart of Israeli society,” he said today, in his latest remarks on the issue. “This is a wound of a community sounding the alarm at what they feel is discrimination, racism and disregard of their needs. We must take a good hard look at this wound.”

Of course, rhetoric is one thing and actions quite another. But the swift and sweeping recognition of the problem by top Israeli officials — including at police HQ — opens the door for hope. And, the recent violence notwithstanding, this basic attitude stands a far better chance of convincing the protesters that their voices are heard than the shameful stalling and pussyfooting of American officials.

“We’ve erred,” President Rivlin continued. “We have failed to see and listen enough. Among those protesting in the streets, there can be found the best of our boys and girls, excellent students and former soldiers. We must give them answers.”

And that is why Tel Aviv is not Baltimore.

 

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

ETHIOPIAN DIARY ~~ WHY WE PROTEST

Thousands of Ethiopian Israelis turned out to the mass demonstration in Tel Aviv on Sunday to release some of the immense pain they have shouldered over the years.

ethiopiajews

Personal testimony: Why we came to protest

Sahlo was humiliated by officers and arrested; Zerviv claims Education Ministry only lets her work with youths of Ethiopian descent; and Adla, first arrested at 13, had a German Shepherd unleashed on him.’

Thousands of Ethiopian Israelis turned out to the mass demonstration in Tel Aviv on Sunday to release some of the immense pain they have shouldered over the years.

Here are the stories of four protesters, who say they want to feel equal but are faced with discrimination due to the color of their skin.

Rabin Square protest (Photo: Yaron Brener)

Rabin Square protest (Photo: Yaron Brener)

‘He told us our women were sluts’

Addis Sahlo, a 29-year-old Israeli of Ethiopian descent, clearly recalled the humiliation he underwent a decade ago, when he sat with his friends on a major street in south Tel Aviv. “Me and three other friends arrived at a club and took a seat nearby to drink. Cops who arrived in the area asked us what we were doing.”

He told them they were at the club for a night out. “While we were talking, there was a brawl not far from us which involved some guys of Ethiopian descent. The cops ran over but they managed to escape. The police officers, who were probably pissed off, came back in our direction, kicked out bottle and began cursing at us.”

Ethiopian being arrested during the protest (Photo: Yaron Brener)

Ethiopian being arrested during the protest (Photo: Yaron Brener)

Sahlo says the police officers then blamed the brawl on the group, calling them “stinking Sudanese.” The Ethiopian Israeli was shocked by the officers’ conduct, who continued to hurl insults as they arrested him. “They claimed out ethnicity is responsible for all the problems and that our women were sluts. And they started to beat us.”

The police brutality victim recounted the horrific encounter. “I found myself begging the cops to stop, after which they took us under arrest and sprayed us with tear gas. At the police station they charged us with assaulting an officer and throwing bottles at police – which never happened.”

Israeli of Ethiopian descent at Rabin Square (Photo: Yaron Brener)

Israeli of Ethiopian descent at Rabin Square (Photo: Yaron Brener)

Sahlo said the judge released him at a court hearing. “That moment I understood that – no matter what – you cannot change your skin color. No matter where you go and what you do, you will be arrested. It’s insulting. Cops allow themselves to disrespect us and talk to us with their hands.”

‘I want to be everyone’s counselor’

Esthi Zerviv, a special education teacher and counselor, made aliyah to Israel at the age of six. She says she tried for years to get promoted in the Education Ministry, but claims her ethnicity held her back. “They claim that we are all equal – ‘the other is me’ – that’s one of the phrases waving atop the Education Ministry. But in the field, that is hardly implemented – many times I tried to be accepted as an education counselor and yet each time I was redirected to work with youths of Ethiopian descent.”

Ethiopian Israeli protesting police brutality (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

Ethiopian Israeli protesting police brutality (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

She pushed back against the employment discrimination. “With all due respect, I did not study to become a counselor or a special education teacher to only serve a certain segment of the population. I want to be a counselor to everyone – period.”

‘I want to be able to choose where I go out’

Menash, 25, of Ramla, said he regularly encounters discrimination at clubs, where he and his friends frequently find themselves outside for no apparent reason. “A third of the times I go out, I’m left outside or they make faces.

“Last Friday four of us, three of whom were Ethiopian, went out to a club in the south Tel Aviv area. The bouncer said there was no entry. When we asked why, he said it was closed and there was no room. But while you’re waiting in line, you see lots of people leaving the club, but they don’t let you in. After half an hour of waiting in line, you realize that you have to leave. It’s true that there are clubs that mostly cater to an Ethiopian crowd, but I want to have the ability to choose.”

‘They sent a German Shepherd after me’

Gatune Adla, 26, was arrested for the first time at the age of 13. “I returned from camp and was accused of attacking a policeman,” he said. “They arrested and beat me up. The officer pushed me up against the police car and whooped me, punching me with his firsts. I was a little kid, I cried, but nothing helped.”

His second encounter with law enforcement was a year and a half ago. “My friends and I were sitting in a grove and drinking. The police arrived and dispersed us. I had a scooter in the grove and I was carrying it home… I walked by the policemen, and I wasn’t afraid because unconsciously I knew I hadn’t done anything. I must have not heard the policeman telling me to stop, and they set a dog on me. I turned around and saw a German Shepherd with a muzzle jumping on me and grabbing my shirt. The policemen ran at me, stepped on me, and sprayed me with tear gas from a centimeter away. It’s very frustrating when you know you didn’t do anything. Now I understand people who say they’ve experienced it and are frustrated. I understand people like Yosef Salamsa.”

 

Source

FROM BALTIMORE TO JERUSALEM ~~ #BlackLivesMatter

Image 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Related report from Mondoweiss

Baltimore Is Here': Ethiopian Israelis protest police brutality in Jerusalem

Ben Norton*

Police clamp down on an Ethiopian Israeli protest against police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Lior Mizrahi

Police clamp down on an Ethiopian Israeli protest against police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Lior Mizrahi

Ethiopian Israelis took to the streets of Jerusalem on the evening of April 30 to protest police brutality and systemic racism. Haaretz reports that approximately 1,000 protesters gathered, principally from the Ethiopian Jewish community.

The citizens condemned racism and police brutality toward the Ethiopian Jewish community, calling for the end of impunity for cops who harass them.

A video released of a white Israeli police officer attacking a black Israeli soldier in Tel Aviv on April 26 angered many in the Ethiopian Israeli community, which is disproportionately targeted by Israeli police. The video shows officers pushing Demas Fekadeh, an Ethiopian Israeli soldier, to the ground and beating him.

Zionist Union Member of Knesset Shelly Yachimovich remarked in a Facebook post “It wouldn’t be far-fetched to expect that if [Demas Fekadeh], the soldier who was hit, was a light-skin soldier, preferably with an Ashkenazi appearance, he would not have sustained harsh blows without consideration from police.”

Ethiopian Israelis protest police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Haaretz)

Ethiopian Israelis protest police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Haaretz)

This is by no means an isolated incident. In March 2014, an Ethiopian Israeli by the name of Yosef Salamseh was in a public park with his friends when police approached him. They accused him of breaking into a house, a claim he adamantly denied. The cops then attacked him with a Taser gun, kicked him, handcuffed him, shackled his legs, threw him in a police car, and detained him in a nearby police station. His family later found him unconscious and tied-up. A few months later, he died. Police claimed it was a suicide.

In the wake of the incident, Salamseh came to be known by many as “Israel’s Michael Brown,” referring to an 18-year-old black American man who was walking down the street with a friend in Ferguson, Missouri when white police officer Darren Wilson shot him nine times, three times in the head.

An Ethiopian Israeli blocking a police vehicle in a protest against police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Lior Mizrahi)

An Ethiopian Israeli blocking a police vehicle in a protest against police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Lior Mizrahi)

Numerous journalists reported that the Ethiopian Jewish protesters in Jerusalem were chanting “Baltimore is here!”, connecting their struggle against racist brutality in Israel to the struggle of black Americans against racist brutality in the US.

Civil unrest emerged in Baltimore on April 25, in response to the police killing of Freddie Gray, an innocent, unarmed black man who was arrested for looking at a police officer in the face and then running away. While in police custody, Gray’s voice box was crushed and his spine was 80% severed. Baltimore police later accused him of injuring himself, although video footage was released of cops pummeling Gray. In the video, Gray can be heard asking for his inhaler, as he had trouble breathing, and appears to be incapable of walking, because of the brutal beating he suffered. (Police also harassed and later arrested the man who captured the attack on camera.) A medical expert revealed that it is virtually impossible that Gray injured himself.

Black Israelis have tied their own struggle to that of the Black Lives Matter movement in the US—a civil and human rights movement that emerged in response to the constant police murders of unarmed, innocent black Americans at the hands of white police—not just by drawing connections between Baltimore and Jerusalem, but furthermore by launching an Israeli offshoot of the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” campaign.

Ethiopian Israelis protesting police brutality outside of Netanyahu’s house, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Keren Simons)

Ethiopian Israelis protesting police brutality outside of Netanyahu’s house, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Keren Simons)

Thousands of Ethiopian Jews reportedly also gathered outside of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s house, in protest of racist police violence.

Israeli police sprayed protesters with “skunk water” to break up the protests. Israeli forces do the same to peaceful Palestinian protesters in the occupied West Bank. There are also numerous recorded instances of occupation forces spraying skunk water into Palestinian homes.

According to police, some Ethiopian Israeli protesters in the largely peaceful demonstrations were also throwing stones—a protest tactic in which Palestinians living under military occupation in the occupied territories also engage.

The intense racism people of African descent face in Israel is well-documented. Many journalists have written of “Israel’s Disgustingly Racist Behavior Towards Ethiopian Jews.” The self-proclaimed Jewish state has forcibly sterilized Ethiopian Jews,refused to take blood donations from Ethiopian Members of Knesset (referring to it as “the special kind of Jewish-Ethiopian blood” they avoid), and even refused to wed Ethiopian Jews, expressing doubts that they are “truly” Jewish.

An Israeli police officer uses his baton to attack a protester lying on the ground at a demonstration against police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30, 2015. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

An Israeli police officer uses his baton to attack a protester lying on the ground at a demonstration against police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30, 2015. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

2/3rds of Ethiopian Jewish children in Israel live in poverty. Many Ethiopian Jews are forced to live either in ghettos or illegal settlements. These gaping disparities and this structural racism have led to critics calling Israel an Ashkenazi-supremacist state and Zionism a white-supremacist movement, one that is itself anti-Semitic in its oppression of non-Ashkenazi Jews.

Scholar Hanan Chehata describes Israel as the “promised land for Jews… as long as they’re not black.”

Jews of African descent are not the only ones to suffer from the Ashkenazi supremacy of Zionism. Since its earliest days, Mizrahi Jews (those of Middle Eastern descent) have faced systematic discrimination in Israeli society. In the 1950s, Israel forced Mizrahi Jews to live in poverty in tents in shantytown-like transit camps while Ashkenazim were given hotels.

In the decades since, Mizrahim have continued to endure systemic racism. This intense oppression led to the creation of the Israeli Black Panthers, in parallel to the revolutionary socialist Black Panther Party in the US. Former Israeli Black Panthers still protest Israeli racism against Mizrahi Jews today.

* About Ben Norton Ben is a freelance writer and journalist. His work has been published in CounterPunch, Electronic Intifada, Common Dreams, ThinkProgress, and ZNet, among other publications.

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Photos from solidarity demo in New York

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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MAY DAY IN PHOTOS

The Worker’s Song

Union Square, New York City

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ SIT-IN AND ARRESTS FOR NUCLEAR SANITY

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Ready and waiting to 'serve and protect'

Ready and waiting to ‘serve and protect’

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MAY DAY ~~ MAY DAY ~~ MAY DAY!

To all of our readers and friends ….
HAPPY MAY DAY!
Allegory of Peace and Victory
Image by Hugo Gellert

Image by Hugo Gellert

Hugo Gellert’s original silkcreen, Allegory of Peace and Victory is a trial or working proof published between 1940 and 1950. Gellert almost exclusively uses two screens of red and black. Obviously, Hugo Gellert used the red screen as his base and then applied his outline blacks — note the inadvertent spots of black ink appearing on the baby’s legs and stomach. He then completed the design in pencil by drawing the outside dimensions and lengthening the flame above the baby’s left hand. This original silkscreen is printed upon thick, laid paper and with large, full margins, as described. Allegory of Peace and Victory is a fine example of the graphic art created by the Hungarian/American artist, Hugo Gellert.

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