Parasites Which Take Over Their Hosts

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The fact that Israel receives billions each year from the US taxpayer as our politicians in Washington endlessly pledge their devotion to the “special relationship,”  has led many observers to liken the pro-Israel lobby in America to a parasite that has invaded a host.

It’s a powerful analogy, so much so that even books have been published expounding at length upon the idea.

Most of us, when we hear the word “parasite,” think of such creatures as ticks, tapeworms, or giardia, which, upon gaining a foothold, may feed upon a host’s blood or gastrointestinal microbiota.

But within the world of parasitology, we come across the phenomenon of parasites that literally take over the host, compelling it into certain acts and behaviors that it otherwise would not exhibit. In many cases these actions can be quite pronouncedly detrimental to the host’s own interests.

In other words, there are certain parasites that can, strictly speaking, literally take control of the host’s mind.

Examples of this in the biological world can be found herehere, and here.

One such example is a microbial creature known as Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that infects rats and mice. Upon ingestion, it produces a condition known as toxoplasmosis, the main symptom of which is that the rodent is drawn to cats, losing its natural fear of them. This occurs because the rodent, under the influence of the parasite, becomes sexually attracted to a pheromone in cat urine.

In inducing this effect, the Toxoplasma gondii is clearly acting in its own interests rather than the mouse’s. The parasite’s goal is to get inside a cat’s stomach–because cats are the only medium in which the parasite can sexually reproduce. But of course it produces a pattern of behavior in the rodent that eventually leads to the latter’s own destruction.

Another example is the Glyptapanteles, a genus of wasp that is classified as a parasitoid, a parasite that kills its own host. This wasp will single out a baby caterpillar and lay its eggs upon the rather hapless creature, and as the caterpillar grows, so do the eggs–inside the caterpillar.

When the eggs, or larvae, reach a certain stage of development, they will emerge from the caterpillar, literally boring through its skin, to reach the outside, and once out of the caterpillar they then settle nearby and begin pupation, i.e. the metamorphic transformation from a pupa to an adult insect.

It is at this point that the caterpillar becomes the protector of the wasp pupae. It covers them with silk in order to protect them until they reach maturity. It refuses to eat until they hatch, and if another insect approaches it will fight it away with violent head swings. Eventually, after the adult wasps emerge from their pupae, it dies.

The photo I’ve posted above shows such an enslaved caterpillar–one that has become obsessed with protecting the wasp pupae. The video below shows a similarly-situated caterpillar in action–basically fighting wars on the wasp’s behalf:

It’s of course one way of looking at America’s endless wars on behalf of Israel, particularly the war now taking place in Syria.

In a post yesterday I included a video which featured an edition of the RT program “Cross Talk.” One of the guests on the program is Mohammed Marandi, a professor at the University of Tehran.  I usually find Marandi’s commentaries interesting, and his February 15 appearance on Cross Talk was no exception. In one segment of the show, he commented how “everything that the United States does in this region is about Israel.”

In a later segment in the same show, Marandi commented that “one wonders who is in charge in the United States.” He could perhaps just as easily have contemplated the question of who is in charge–the host or the parasite:

A bit earlier I alluded to a type of parasite known as a “parasitoid.” This is a parasitic organism that kills its own host. If we think of Israel and its lobby as a parasite, the question might leave us wondering, then, if the calamitous effects we are seeing in our country today are a result of the deleterious actions of a parasitoid.

Or maybe to put it another way: will the fighting of needless wars abroad and the seemingly endless attacks on the First Amendment here at home eventually do us in completely–much like the mice running up to befriend the cats or the caterpillars banging their heads on behalf of the Glyptapanteles wasp?

If you look at the caterpillars infected with the Glyptapanteles, the mice infected with the Toxoplasma gondii, or numerous other animals vitiated and contaminated by parasitoids, it is, as Marandi puts it, hard to know “who is in charge.”

This is something all Americans need to think about. Our own survival could be at stake.

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Eva Bartlett Speaks on North Korea and Syria

This is a presentation by independent journalist Eva Bartlett given in the city of Derry, in Northern Ireland, on January 30.

Syria update, February 1, 2018:

Militant Shelling Kills 7 Civilians in Damascus District

 

Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin, Calls for Irish Government to Recognize Palestine

Gerry Adams, president of the Irish Republican political party Sinn Féin, has called upon the Irish government in Dublin to recognize the state of Palestine.

 Adams has served as Sinn Féin president since 1983, and has been a member of the Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Irish parliament, since 2010. He plans to step down as Sinn Féin leader next month to make way for a new generation of leadership. He will be replaced by Mary Lou McDonald.

On a related note, it is reported that Israel is planning to close down its embassy in Dublin, this apparently in response to Ireland’s vote against Trump’s embassy move at the UN.

Video: Pence Smirks as Palestinian MKs are Removed During His Knesset Speach

While you watch the video above pay particular attention as the camera zooms back into Mike Pence’s face following the altercation. The crucial segment you want to scrutinize starts at about 50 seconds in. Notice what appears to be the faint trace of a smile on the vice president’s face. I don’t think I’m exaggerating by describing it as a “smirk.”

What you’re looking at is a portion of Pence’s speech before the Israeli Knesset on Monday, January 22. As the US vice president begins his remarks, Palestinian members of the Knesset attempt to protest, but are forcibly removed from the chamber. According to a report at Al Jazeera, they were shouting “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine” and attempting to hold up pictures of Al Aqsa Mosque.

“We oppose the policies of Mr Trump. He is not only the enemy of Palestinians, he is the enemy of peace,” said Jamal Zahalka, one of the protesting MKs.

Just like the Jewish Knesset members clapping their hands, Pence seems to have been very happy to see the Palestinians thrown out.

Some of Pence’s remarks before the Knesset are quoted in a Jerusalem Post report here. They make for a study in Orwellian doublethink.

“We stand with Israel, because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny,” he said.

The vice president is in essence saying that Palestinians are evil, while Israel is the embodiment of all that is good in the world. There are not many other ways you can interpret this. After all, we’re talking about a conflict between two people that has been going on for most of the past century. The side that has launched missiles into hospitals and schools is the “good” side. The side that has resisted the theft of its land is “evil.” Or at least this is the way Pence sees it. The side that locks people up indefinitely in administrative detention and operates the world’s largest open-air prison represents “liberty,” while the side that has protested encirclement by an apartheid wall is viewed by the vice president as “tyrannical.”

No wonder people have little respect for America when we have leaders who utter such nonsense.

During his speech, Pence of course also talked about moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, saying he anticipated the move will be completed sometime in 2019.

The speech naturally was lauded by Israeli leaders.

“Pence will head back to America on Tuesday having gotten at least one thing he came for: affirmation that the Israeli government is delighted with the Trump administration,” reports The Atlantic.

Of course, one way of evaluating a nation’s propensity for good or evil is by examining how it treats children.

Pence doesn’t strike me as particularly bright or informed, but I’m reasonably certain that he must have heard something, somewhere, regarding Israel’s treatment of Palestinian child prisoners, for the issue has gotten a huge amount of attention, and has even been criticized by the UN among others.

Last year, a member of the British Parliament got a sobering, eye-opening epiphany on this issue during a trip to the West Bank. Sarah Champion is a member of the British Labour Party who spent a day observing proceedings in an Israeli military court as Palestinian child detainees were brought in one-by-one before a judge. Her account of the experience was published by the Huffington Post, and reading it today adds something of a new light to the words of our smirking vice president. Here in part is what she writes:

In the cramped confines, I almost didn’t notice the two little boys, little in age and in stature. At first sight I thought they were disabled as they both appeared to have a similar facial palsy and were sitting in an awkward manner. A side door was thrown open and a man in jeans and a sweatshirt entered, which seemed odd as everyone else I had seen was in uniform. As he strode in, to shake hands with the judge and slap the clerks on the back, the two little boys instinctively flinched away from him. As they cowered, they turned in my direction and I got a proper look at their faces; they didn’t have a palsy, they had been beaten.

“That man is the interrogator” whispered my chaperone as the judge fixed his gaze on us, got up and then left the room.

A charming, uniformed woman walked over to us.

“The judge has decided that we will try this case tomorrow” she said.

As the children were led out, I just sat there, staring ahead, simply trying to process what I had seen.

What on earth is going on in this country, and how is the world just letting it happen?

The answer to that should be abundantly clear to anyone that can ascertain the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, and liberty and tyranny…but of course a sizeable number of humans lack that capability. And as is the case in other areas, Jews seem to be disproportionately represented in this category as well.

Israelis Deface Poster of Killed Tamimi Family Member

On January 3 Musab Tamimi became the first Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces in the year 2018. Musab was the 16-year-old cousin of Ahed Tamimi, who remains imprisoned for slapping an Israeli soldier.

It is customary in Palestinian society to make posters of those killed by Israeli forces. For bereaved family members, it is a way of paying tribute to lost loved ones. Yesterday, on January 18, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, in an article by Gideon Levy and Alex Levac, reported that Israeli soldiers defaced a poster of Musab with stars of David and filthy graffiti.

The photo above shows Musab’s father, Firas, holding the defiled picture of his son. In their article, the two writers report:

Here’s what soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces scrawled on a mourning notice for 16-year-old Musab Tamimi, who was killed by a sniper’s shot to the throat: “Son of a bitch, slut, dead.” For good measure, they drew a Star of David.

Two days after they killed the teen, IDF troops again invaded his village, Deir Nizam, north of Ramallah. In a late-night raid, they arrested four young residents and left behind as a souvenir the memorial notice they violated. Neatly folded, the notice is now in the possession of the bereaved father, Firas Tamimi. An expression of pain crosses his face when he shows it to us. He was the one who carried his bleeding son two weeks ago to the car and rushed him to a hospital, where the teen was pronounced dead.

Readers can access the full article here.

The story also relates previously-unknown circumstances regarding Musab’s death. The youth was shot in the neck by an Israeli sniper. Israeli officials justified the shooting on the grounds that he was armed with a rifle. However, Musab’s younger brother told Haaretz there was no gun. Also it seems an Israeli official, apparently worried that information might get out, issued a warning to the family against talking to the media:

This week, before our visit to Deir Nizam, a villager was summoned for a talk with “Captain Malek” from the Shin Bet security service. Through him, Firas relates, the agent conveyed a message to Musab’s family not to talk to the media and to ensure quiet in the village.

Musab lived in the village of Deir Nizam, not far from Nabi Saleh, where Ahed Tamimi slapped the soldier on December 19. Earlier this week an Israeli military court denied bail to Ahed, ruling that she must remain incarcerated until she stands trial.

Another manifestation of off-the-rails Israeli insanity to make the news recently is the story of Abdullah Eyad Ghanayem, who was crushed to death by an Israeli military jeep in 2015. According to a report here, the Israeli army has filed suit against Ghanayem’s family, as well as his entire village of Kafr Malik, located in the central West Bank near the city of Ramallah.

The suit reportedly seeks 95,260 Israeli shekels (about $28,000) for damages to the jeep. The story was brought to my attention by one of our readers, Siljan.

Russia heeds ‘the Inner Voice of Conscience’–Patriarch Kirill

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Several days ago I posted a video of an interview with Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church conducted over Russian TV. The interview aired live on January 7–Russian Orthodox Christmas Day. What I posted was only a four and a half minute segment that had been translated into English–this of an interview which ran on for more than half and hour–but in that segment Kirill expressed the view that “evil is not viable,” and that “systems where the evil is dominant cannot survive.”

“If evil drives away good from human society, then the end will come,” he added.

The video I am posting above is an additional segment from the same interview and that has now also been translated into English. In it Kirill talks about how Russia “is a country which pays heed to the inner voice of conscience.”

And Speaking of Banned and Challenged Books…

A few days ago I posted an article about children’s books by Jewish authors, a disproportionately high number of which were found by Andrew Joyce, the writer of the article, to have been included on a list of “banned and challenged books” that is yearly maintained by the American Library Association (ALA).

Not long after I posted the article, a friend sent me an email about the children’s book you see above.

P is for Palestine has not, at least as of yet, made the ALA’s list, although that could be because it was only published this past November. Yet assuredly the book has been challenged (rather persistently), and may possibly have been banned in certain places as well. It is not currently available, for instance, at either Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The only online retailer that appears to be carrying it is Etsy.

According to Joyce, the books published by Jewish authors and which made the ALA’s list were found to have been objectionable by parents and school officials mainly due to their sexual content. For instance, one of the books he talks about, It’s Perfectly Normal, contains graphic illustrations of people engaging in sex acts. The book, which has been made available to ten-year-olds, has a section explaining that sexual intercourse “can involve the penis and the vagina, or the mouth and the genitals, or the penis and the anus.” Not surprisingly, the inclusion of the book in public school curricula has sparked considerable protest.

P is for Palestine has also sparked protests–but for an entirely different reason.

In November of 2017, shortly after the book’s release, a number of New York City Jews launched a campaign against a local bookstore after it scheduled an event featuring a reading and book signing by the author. The following was reported by the website Palestine Legal:

Last week, a popular independent book store in New York’s Upper West Side, Book Culture, received calls to censor and denounce a children’s book, P is for Palestine, after the book’s author, Professor Golbarg Bashi, publicized an event at the store on an Upper East Side mother’s blog.

I haven’t actually seen a copy of the book, but apparently it does not include any graphic depiction of the human anatomy or sex acts. On the contrary, like many children’s books, it attempts to expand children’s vocabularies by presenting them with words beginning with different letters of the alphabet (this I do know from reading the reviews). And the chief complaint from Jews who have gone ballistic over the issue is the “I” word–intifada.

“I is for Intifada, Intifada is Arabic for rising up for what is right, if you are a kid or a grownup!” reads one section of the book.

Additionally, there is a section reading, “J is for Jesus,” which probably also doesn’t sit too well with the kosher critics.

“We forcefully reject Palestinian efforts to persuade us that ‘intifada’ has a peaceful connotation,” wrote three rabbis in an open letter posted on the website of a local synagogue after the controversy erupted. “These are apologetics, at best, and more likely, attempts to confuse, whitewash, and distort. It is easy to philosophize from afar about the Arabic origins of the word ‘intifada’ if you have never experienced its murderous wrath or lived under its constant violent threats.”

Besides all the venom-spitting over the book, the article in Palestine Legal goes on to report on threats to block the store, Book Culture, from participating in an upcoming book fair sponsored by a local synagogue. The piece was published November 29, but on December 4, an update was posted noting that the store’s owners had been “forced to put out a statement which says that they do not endorse boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns for Palestinian rights, that they support Israel’s right to exist, and that they oppose terrorism.”

The statement issued by the store reads as follows:

  1. We regret that we did not fully appreciate the political or communal ramifications of the children’s book P is for Palestine by Dr. Golbarg Bashi, nor did we anticipate the pain and distress it has caused in our community. We now understand these much better.
  2. We oppose terrorism or other forms of violence perpetrated against Israeli civilians during the intifada or thereafter. Any impression from the book to the contrary is not our view.
  3. We support Israel’s right to exist.
  4. We do not endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).

In addition to the above written statement, one of the store’s owners, Chris Doeblin, produced an outpouring of contrition in an interview with a local media outlet–in an article headlined, “Rabbis and Bookstore Owner Break Bread After Split Over Palestine Book.”

The store, we are told by Palestine Legal, was finally allowed to participate in the book fair.

The author of P is for Palestine is Goldbarg Bashi, an Iranian-Swedish woman who formerly taught at Rutgers University. You can visit her website here. In a Facebook post in late November she talks about death threats and other hostile communications she has received since the release of her book. Here is an excerpt:

A small but very loud minority have accused my book of very serious but false charges. It is important for me to note, once again, that their disproportionate backlash against my book and my person (resulting in death threats, devaluing of my social-impact business) was initially to the mere title of the bookPalestine they claimed does not exist, even though the UN and scores of legitimate nation states on our globe recognize Palestine as a country, and how dare I (read an Iranian, or Muslim, or Arab, or Palestinian woman) publish such a book in “their” city New York.

There are 26 letters in the English alphabet, and in the Palestinian context the letter I most certainly stands for Intifada, as does B for BethlehemC for ChristmasJ for JesusF for FalafelK for KuffiyaN for Nazareth and so on.

Intifada means resistance and resilience against the global and the UN condemnation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine—it is a daily component of Palestinian life that is manifested in carrying the signs and symbols of Palestinian life with pride—carrying a Palestinian flag, wearing a Palestinian dress, cooking a Palestinian dish, protecting a Palestinian olive tree from being bulldozed etc are all examples of Intifada.

It would be irresponsible of an author of a book for Palestinian children (or e.g. Native American children) to ignore or whitewash the fact that their people have a resistance movement, most of which is manifested in peaceful protest—I have written a loving book for real Palestinian children with some of whom I grew up in a Swedish refugee camp—along with many other refugee children from around the world. My sense of moral responsibility emerged in those refugee camps not among the self-proclaimed powerful neighborhoods of New York City who racially-profile me, incite hatred and violence against my person and my social-impact start-up, and issue edicts to boycott and shut down bookstores for having dared to sell world’s first English language alphabet book on Palestine.

I wonder how many of the Jews who have gotten so upset over P is for Palestine, became equally as worked up over It’s Perfectly Natural.

Something tells me probably not many.

And I wonder how many of those who take such offense at the word “intifada” have ever bothered to go out and protest against any of  Israel’s murderous campaigns in Gaza?

Again, something tells me probably not many.

Whether the book P is for Palestine has specifically been banned from Amazon and Barnes and Noble I can’t say. All I know for sure is that as of this posting it is not available at either (unlike It’s Perfectly Natural, which is available at both). Certainly it’s possible that the author, for whatever strange reason, chose not to sell it through these two major online dealers.

But a question very much worth pondering at this point is whether any of this will be mentioned by the American Library Association when it publishes its next list of the most “banned and challenged books.”

And once again…though I hope I’m wrong…I have a feeling I know the answer to that as well.

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