Christian Zionist Movie Debuts…As Jewish Writer Debunks Myths About Six-Day War

 photo cbnmoviescene_zpsrvuoawtk.jpg

[ Ed. note – A movie produced by CBN, the Christian Zionist broadcast outlet, has just debuted in theaters. Entitled “In Our Hands: The Battle for Jerusalem,” it is touted as a “docudrama” and purports to relate the history of the 1967 Six-Day War, particularly with regard to the capture of East Jerusalem. Christian Zionists, of course, view this as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy, and the photo above is a scene from the film portraying Israeli soldiers praying at the Western Wall following the capture.

The movie’s release obviously was timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War. Here is the official trailer:

I have not seen the entire film. My biggest question is whether it makes any mention at all of the Israeli attack upon the USS Liberty. (Rotten Tomatoes has not yet posted a review, at least as of this writing.) Maybe I’ll go see the film just to find out the answer. The assault upon the Liberty occurred June 8, 1967 and resulted in the deaths of 34 US sailors. You can go here to see a list of their names along with their photos and bios. In addition to those killed, 174 were wounded. Israel has always claimed the attack was an accident. Many others, including the survivors, say it was deliberate. If the CBN has made a movie glorifying Israel’s capers in the Six-Day War, without even mentioning the Liberty attack and the deaths of 34 US servicemen that occurred in the same conflict, that would be unfortunate–although “unfortunate” is perhaps not nearly a strong enough word.

In any event, glorifying Israel does appear very much the purpose behind the film. “A story of impossible odds,” the trailer describes it. The official website offers the following elaboration:

For centuries, their nation had been in exile. For a generation, they had been without access to their ancestral city. For six days, surrounded by enemies, Israel stood alone … and changed history.

A considerably less mythical, and more reality-based, perspective on the Six-Day War is offered by Michael Lesher, who says the conquest of East Jerusalem is not something Jews should be proud of. On the contrary, Lesher views the Western Wall as a “place of shame.” Another question: Does the CBN “docudrama” mention that after East Jerusalem was seized, the Israeli Army demolished the homes of some 600 Palestinians in order to clear space next to the Western Wall for a plaza to accommodate tourists? I’m guessing probably not on that one either. But this is discussed by Lesher, who calls the wall and the plaza next to it a “crime scene.”

He also explodes the myth about Israel being “surrounded by enemies” and facing “impossible odds” at the outset of the war. The reality is that “Egypt was not ready for a war, and Nasser did not want a war.” This, at any rate, was the assessment of former Mossad Chief Meir Amit, who Lesher quotes. The additional reality, again getting beyond the myth, is that the Six-Day war was not a case of Israel “defending itself”; it was a war of aggression waged by Israel against its neighbors. Yet “popular mythology dies hard,” as the writer puts it. Indeed. In order to help perpetuate the myth, “Jerusalem Day” has been established as a national holiday in Israel and is now celebrated each year…and now CBN, for its own religious reasons, seems to be trying to further that cause.

Lesher’s article was posted a few days ago at Mondoweiss. ]

***

Wall of Shame

By Michael Lesher

It’s not easy for a religious Jew to feel civilized these days. On the streets near occupied Nablus, an Orthodox Jewish settler, earlocks waving, has just been seen handing out candy to celebrate the fatal shooting of an unarmed 23-year-old Palestinian last Thursday–whose apparent crime was getting in the way of another settler’s car. Meanwhile, one of Israel’s top politicians is publicly blaming the young Palestinian for the bullet that killed him: “Any one of us, as a parent, as a citizen, would have acted” as the gunman did, said Education Minister Naftali Bennett, another yarmulke-wearing Jew, while the Orthodox rabbinate looked on in approving silence.

After all, it’s almost “Jerusalem Day”–Israel’s annual orgy of self-congratulation over its seizure of East Jerusalem, and the West Bank, 50 years ago–and in the spirit of the day, “religious” Jews seem determined to prove Bennett’s point. Occupation? No problem. Ethnic cleansing? Fine with us. We’re all settlers now. Savagery has gone mainstream.

So please do not expect any kind words from me over the latest attempt to distract newspaper readers from the advancing flood of Israeli apartheid–I mean, the spat over whether or not Donald Trump thinks the Western Wall is in Israel. Not that The Donald–who has referred to Belgium as “a beautiful city”–is anyone’s idea of an authority on geography. The real question is why anyone would think the retaining wall of the Second Temple complex, built by Herod (not Solomon) as part of an urban renewal project meant to broadcast his own glory, was worth a war.

For that matter, who could imagine that this pile of stones, or anything like it, would ever justify 50 years of military occupation?

I know, I know. I’ve seen and heard all the kitsch there is about that spot–including the impromptu consecration of a war zone by Rabbi Shlomo Goren on June 7, 1967. Is this really supposed to be impressive? Heavily armed Israeli soldiers recited a blessing of thanksgiving when they reached the Western Wall, having just seized another piece of Palestinian property for the Jewish State. Yet the Talmud rules that a Jew who sees that site must tear his clothes in mourning for the ruined Temple–hardly a triumphal gesture. The breathless sentimentality with which Israeli propaganda has invested this bit of stolen architecture is as untraditional as it is vulgar.

Nor did anyone, before the advent of Zionism, consider the Wall a proper place for communal Jewish worship. To quote Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo, “The Kotel was never a synagogue; nor should it ever become one.”

In fact, wondering aloud whether “we Jews” have “gone mad,” that honest Orthodox scholar has argued that we “must free the Western Wall of all denominations and abolish all synagogue services at the site, including bar and bat mitzva celebrations” so that the site can be reserved “solely for individual prayer and meditation, just as our ancestors treated it throughout our long history.”

I say amen; I would only add that, first and foremost, the property should be restored to its rightful owners–the indigenous Palestinian population–honoring the ethical principles that animated those same Jewish ancestors.

Yet popular mythology dies hard. When I wrote a column a year ago critical of “Jerusalem Day” festivities, the Jewish periodical the Forward was kind enough to publish it–for which I am grateful. But without my knowledge the editors rewrote a sentence, softening my insistence that the conquest of East Jerusalem shouldn’t be granted any sort of religious status. “Access to the holy sites is worth celebrating,” the revised passage reads, “but it wasn’t a miracle.”

Indeed it wasn’t. But allow me to add–for this is my actual opinion — that “access to the holy sites” isn’t worth celebrating either, if “access” means military conquest. (As early as April 1949, Jordan agreed to grant access to the religious Jewish sites in East Jerusalem, refusing to implement the agreement only when it became clear that Israel would not repatriate any of the refugees it had driven into Jordan during the war.)

I’m also repelled by the implication that “access to the holy sites” means only Jewish sites, and only access by Jews. Israel’s arbitrary and often brutal curtailment of Palestinian worship at the mosque on the same ground is a matter of record, but evidently this is not supposed to figure in the public discourse about the “reunification of Jerusalem,” as Israel’s continued occupation is typically described in Jewish media.

Speaking of Jewish media, I cannot discuss Jerusalem Day without mentioning the outright fraud that gets recycled at this time each year. In 2015, in honor of the occasion,Times of Israel blog contained this litany of myths-as-facts:

“Forty eight years ago…Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon amassed forces on their borders, getting ready to storm the Jewish State and destroy her for good. Radio broadcasts in Israel and abroad were full of the same grim tidings – cries by Arab leaders for the Jews to be driven into the Mediterranean Sea…and the especially terrifying declaration by Israeli rabanim [rabbis] that every public park in the country would be a graveyard, in an effort to prepare for the bloody onslaught.”

In fact, as scholars like Norman Finkelstein have decisively shown, the two Egyptian divisions in the Sinai (the only ones seriously in question) remained in a defensive posture, as Israel’s Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin reported at the time, and in any case “would not have been enough to unleash an offensive.” Mossad chief Meir Amit similarly concluded weeks before Israel’s attack that “Egypt was not ready for a war, and Nasser did not want a war.” Besides, both Israeli and U.S. intelligence experts predicted that even in the unlikely event that several Arab countries attacked in concert, Israel would easily defeat them all within ten days. Israel’s claim that it faced serious danger in 1967 was “a bluff,” according to General Mattityahu Peled, one of the architects of the Israeli assault.

Knowing all this, how can any decent Jew celebrate Jerusalem Day, the anniversary of that violent “bluff”? Or exult at its tragic epicenter, the Western Wall?

For the record, I visited the famous Wall on the first night of my one visit to Israel some years ago. I was unsettled by the theme-park look of the place – the beaming floodlights, the polished stone “plaza” built to accommodate crowds of tourists – and by the proximity of the elevated parapet marking off the Al-Aqsa mosque, where in 1990 Israeli soldiers massacred some 18 unarmed worshipers. Only afterward did I realize that I had literally been standing on a crime scene…

Continued here

ISIS in the Philippines–Christians Taken Hostage

It seems ISIS-affiliated terror groups have launched a major attack in the Philippines, on the southern island of Mindanao. President Rodrigo Duterte has invoked martial law on the entire island and sent in government troops, and reports have been coming out of pitched battles, particularly in the city of Marawi.

“But the government troops were surprised when they encountered a 100-strong Maute force armed with high-powered weapons”–so reports the New York Times today. The Philippine Maute terror group, also known as the Islamic State of Lanao, is affiliated with ISIS. Coincidentally, it seems the group has now acquired high-powered weaponry it didn’t possess before.

The attack comes, coincidentally, as Duterte has moved to align the Philippines toward Russia and China, and even–also coincidentally–as Duterte was on a state visit to Russia, no less! A lot of coincidences there for a coincidence theorist, but if you are among those who still retain normal cognitive abilities, it would appear that the US has launched a regime change operation in the Philippines.

Coincidentally, the mainstream media have been attacking Duterte for his anti-drug campaign, and coincidentally also NGOs like Human Rights Watch have been chiming in, and coincidentally as well, the attack comes mere days after Duterte gave this interview with RT:

The US needs to quit trying to boss the rest of the world around, and above all else it needs to get out of the regime-change business. The National Endowment for Democracy should be de-funded and dismantled. But I don’t see any of this happening until some sort of radical change takes place in the United States–and it doesn’t look like we can expect any radical changes coming out of the Trump administration.

Not-so-coincidentally, the terrorists have reportedly taken a priest and several parishioners hostage. Father Chito Suganob and others were in the Cathedral of Our Lady Help of Christians when members of the Maute fighting group forced their way into the Cathedral, taking with them Father Chito and others as hostages,” a statement on the official website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said.

Undated photo of Catholic Church in the city of Marawi, Mindanao Island, in the Philippines.

According to a report here:

Marawi Bishop Edwin de la Peña said he received a call last night from one of the militants, who introduced himself as “a member of the ISIS”, and demanded for a “unilateral ceasefire”.

“They want a ceasefire and for the military to give them access out of Marawi. Otherwise, they will kill the hostages,” Marawi Bishop Edwin de la Peña said.

The prelate said the call was made shortly before 8pm on Tuesday using the phone of his secretary who is among the hostages.

Members of the Maute group forced their way into the church and the bishop’s residence yesterday, and took with them Fr. Chito Suganob, some staff of the cathedral and churchgoers.

Dela Peña said the hostages are being used as “human shield” by the militants.

Odd isn’t it–that the US, which once held at least the trappings of being a Christian nation, now supports terrorists who attack Christians.

While the fate of the Christians is unknown, RT is reporting that government troops have rescued 78 hostages from a hospital in Marawi, as well as 42 others from a school:

Government forces managed to rescue 78 civilians from the Amai Pakpak Medical Center where the terrorists tried to use them as human shields as the army moved in, Western Mindanao Command chief, Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., said according to the PhilStar daily.

The troops also secured 42 teachers who had taken refuge and got trapped at Dansalan College after the city was engulfed in violence.

In a report published today, the New York Times calls the battle on the southern island a “test for Duterte.” Not surprisingly, the article includes a quote from Human Rights Watch:

Mr. Duterte’s “casual reference to the late dictator should be especially alarming,” said James Ross of Human Rights Watch, which is based in New York.

And it also gives publicity to opposition politicians:

Already, several lawmakers have voiced concern, with the opposition leader Francis Pangilinan vowing to “vigorously oppose a nationwide martial law declaration.”

“While there may be isolated terrorist acts in these areas, there exists no Visayas-wide nor a Luzon-wide invasion or rebellion to merit a declaration of martial law,” Mr. Pangilinan said, referring to the president’s threat to expand military rule to the central and northern islands to cover the entire country.

It is a familiar playbook, and it seems to be in play now in the Philippines.

Interview with Parents of Venezuelan Man Set on Fire by Anti-Government Mob

The US regime change effort in Venezuela seems to be going full steam. On Saturday, May 20, a government supporter, 21-year-old Orlando Jose Figuera, was set on fire by a mob, most likely of the protestor-for-hire variety. The video above features an interview with his parents.

An RT report posted today contains the following:

Horrifying images from the scene show Figuera running while nearly naked with flames on his back. “A person was set on fire, beaten up, stabbed… They nearly lynched him, just because he shouted out that he was a ‘Chavista,’” said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, referring to supporters of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela established by late leader Hugo Chavez.

Speaking on state TV, Maduro described the torching as “a hate crime and a crime against humanity.” The 21-year-old victim, who sustained heavy injuries, severe burns, and stab wounds, was taken to intense care.

Amazingly Figuera survived, or at least he’s still alive for the moment.

The Washington Post seems to be doing its faithful best to promote the regime-change effort. An article published today, headlined “Venezuela is Sliding into Anarchy,” says  Figuera was attacked by a “lynch mob,” but not until much further down in the story (a total of 13 paragraphs) do the writers finally get around to mentioning that the victim was a supporter of the government–and then the information is given in such a back-handed manner it is almost as if they are seeking to provide moral justification for what happened to him:

He was suspected of being a pro-government spy, according to some versions. Others alleged he was a thief.

The story also portrays anti-government protest leaders as nonviolent, while including the customary comments on the situation from a Western think tank–in this case the International Crisis Group

Gunson, of the International Crisis Group, said he did not think Venezuela’s opposition leaders could control the spreading turmoil or turn down the temperature. “Only a decision by the government to de-escalate would do it, and there is no sign of that,” he said. “Quite the contrary.”

“I think we will start to see curfews, mass arrests, a higher daily death rate and even worse violations of human rights,” said Gunson.

In other words, if the protests grow even more violent, it’s the government’s fault. The International Crisis Group, by the way, was co-founded by George Soros, who is today listed as a member of the Board of Trustees, according to Wikipedia. Other Jews on the board include former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, and Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea. And if all thls isn’t enough, the Wikipedia article also includes the following tidbit which would strongly suggest the International Crisis Group cannot possibly be an objective observer of events in Venezuela:

Moisés Naím, a member of the board of directors of the International Crisis Group served as the Venezuelan Minister for Development for the centrist government of Carlos Andrés Pérez. In 2011 the International Crisis Group released a report intimating that the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chavez might suffer “unpredictable, possibly violent consequences” if it did not audit the election results in which Chávez won.[15] The election results have been recognized as valid by 170 neutral international observers with the exception of the United States government, who along with allied governments, provides half of the funding for the International Crisis Group. (emphasis added)

None of this, of course, is mentioned in the Washington Post story.

By the way, former Venezuelan President Carlos Andrés Pérez survived a coup attempt by Hugo Chavez in 1992, but later was ousted after the Venezuelan Supreme Court found him guilty of embezzling 250 million bolivars.

Of this past Saturday’s events, Venezuela Analysis is reporting as follows:

The incident occurred during another day of anti-government protest that saw opposition supporters attempt to march on the Ministry of the Interior in downtown Caracas, despite lacking a permit for the route.

The march was preceded by a speech by Miranda Governor and former opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles in which he called Maduro the “the biggest m—–f–cker in the country”.

“We will remain firm until this corrupt narco-dictatorship leaves Venezuela, until we have the change we want… If we have to risk our skin, we will risk it!” he told the crowds.

Although the march began peacefully, the mobilization later devolved into violent clashes as demonstrators tried to penetrate police lines around the western Caracas municipality of El Libertador.

It seems the Trump administration is fully on board with the regime change effort, and apparently Exxon-Mobil, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s former employer, has a particular interest at stake. This at any rate is the assessment in an article published several days ago by Eric Draitser:

There is a misconception spreading through the Beltway like an airborne virus, infectious in its obliviousness to reality: the idea that the administration of President Donald Trump is so bogged down by scandal and controversy that it cannot achieve any geopolitical and strategic objectives. In fact, the opposite is true. Like a cornered animal, Trump and his team are exceedingly dangerous, both in their unpredictability and, strangely enough, also in their predictability.

And when it comes to Venezuela, their strategy is transparent.

Oil reigns supreme in the minds of Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the rest of the administration. In the case of Venezuela, oil remains the lifeblood of its economy.  So in a very real sense, the White House and State Department’s interests converge with the economic imperatives of corporate America in the Bolivarian Republic.

Tillerson represents perhaps the perfect embodiment of U.S. government attitudes toward Venezuela. A slick oil man through and through, Tillerson has long sought to destabilize Venezuela in an attempt to reassert ExxonMobil’s supremacy in the country.

Venezuela’s recent rocky history begins with Chavez’s nationalization of the oil sector under the state oil company PDVSA in 2007. The Chavez government offered ExxonMobil book value for assets that it intended to assume control over, while the Tillerson-led company demanded market value, which they priced at roughly $15 billion.  Eventually, the World Bank’s arbitration court ordered Venezuela to pay $1.6 billion to ExxonMobil.

But ExxonMobil’s anger at Caracas was certainly not assuaged with that settlement agreement. In fact, the following decade saw ExxonMobil step up efforts to destabilize Venezuela’s socialist government using a variety of tactics.

Related

Undercover in Idlib

May 24, 2017

Interview with Parents of Venezuelan Man Set on Fire by Anti-Government Mob

The US regime change effort in Venezuela seems to be going full steam. On Saturday, May 20, a government supporter, 21-year-old Orlando Jose Figuera, was set on fire by a mob, most likely of the protestor-for-hire variety. The video above features an interview with his parents.

An RT report posted today contains the following:

Horrifying images from the scene show Figuera running while nearly naked with flames on his back. “A person was set on fire, beaten up, stabbed… They nearly lynched him, just because he shouted out that he was a ‘Chavista,’” said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, referring to supporters of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela established by late leader Hugo Chavez.

Speaking on state TV, Maduro described the torching as “a hate crime and a crime against humanity.” The 21-year-old victim, who sustained heavy injuries, severe burns, and stab wounds, was taken to intense care.

Amazingly Figuera survived, or at least he’s still alive for the moment.

The Washington Post seems to be doing its faithful best to promote the regime-change effort. An article published today, headlined “Venezuela is Sliding into Anarchy,” says  Figuera was attacked by a “lynch mob,” but not until much further down in the story (a total of 13 paragraphs) do the writers finally get around to mentioning that the victim was a supporter of the government–and then the information is given in such a back-handed manner it is almost as if they are seeking to provide moral justification for what happened to him:

He was suspected of being a pro-government spy, according to some versions. Others alleged he was a thief.

The story also portrays anti-government protest leaders as nonviolent, while including the customary comments on the situation from a Western think tank–in this case the International Crisis Group

Gunson, of the International Crisis Group, said he did not think Venezuela’s opposition leaders could control the spreading turmoil or turn down the temperature. “Only a decision by the government to de-escalate would do it, and there is no sign of that,” he said. “Quite the contrary.”

“I think we will start to see curfews, mass arrests, a higher daily death rate and even worse violations of human rights,” said Gunson.

In other words, if the protests grow even more violent, it’s the government’s fault. The International Crisis Group, by the way, was co-founded by George Soros, who is today listed as a member of the Board of Trustees, according to Wikipedia. Other Jews on the board include former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, and Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea. And if all thls isn’t enough, the Wikipedia article also includes the following tidbit which would strongly suggest the International Crisis Group cannot possibly be an objective observer of events in Venezuela:

Moisés Naím, a member of the board of directors of the International Crisis Group served as the Venezuelan Minister for Development for the centrist government of Carlos Andrés Pérez. In 2011 the International Crisis Group released a report intimating that the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chavez might suffer “unpredictable, possibly violent consequences” if it did not audit the election results in which Chávez won.[15] The election results have been recognized as valid by 170 neutral international observers with the exception of the United States government, who along with allied governments, provides half of the funding for the International Crisis Group. (emphasis added)

None of this, of course, is mentioned in the Washington Post story.

By the way, former Venezuelan President Carlos Andrés Pérez survived a coup attempt by Hugo Chavez in 1992, but later was ousted after the Venezuelan Supreme Court found him guilty of embezzling 250 million bolivars.

Of this past Saturday’s events, Venezuela Analysis is reporting as follows:

The incident occurred during another day of anti-government protest that saw opposition supporters attempt to march on the Ministry of the Interior in downtown Caracas, despite lacking a permit for the route.

The march was preceded by a speech by Miranda Governor and former opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles in which he called Maduro the “the biggest m—–f–cker in the country”.

“We will remain firm until this corrupt narco-dictatorship leaves Venezuela, until we have the change we want… If we have to risk our skin, we will risk it!” he told the crowds.

Although the march began peacefully, the mobilization later devolved into violent clashes as demonstrators tried to penetrate police lines around the western Caracas municipality of El Libertador.

It seems the Trump administration is fully on board with the regime change effort, and apparently Exxon-Mobil, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s former employer, has a particular interest at stake. This at any rate is the assessment in an article published several days ago by Eric Draitser:

There is a misconception spreading through the Beltway like an airborne virus, infectious in its obliviousness to reality: the idea that the administration of President Donald Trump is so bogged down by scandal and controversy that it cannot achieve any geopolitical and strategic objectives. In fact, the opposite is true. Like a cornered animal, Trump and his team are exceedingly dangerous, both in their unpredictability and, strangely enough, also in their predictability.

And when it comes to Venezuela, their strategy is transparent.

Oil reigns supreme in the minds of Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the rest of the administration. In the case of Venezuela, oil remains the lifeblood of its economy.  So in a very real sense, the White House and State Department’s interests converge with the economic imperatives of corporate America in the Bolivarian Republic.

Tillerson represents perhaps the perfect embodiment of U.S. government attitudes toward Venezuela. A slick oil man through and through, Tillerson has long sought to destabilize Venezuela in an attempt to reassert ExxonMobil’s supremacy in the country.

Venezuela’s recent rocky history begins with Chavez’s nationalization of the oil sector under the state oil company PDVSA in 2007. The Chavez government offered ExxonMobil book value for assets that it intended to assume control over, while the Tillerson-led company demanded market value, which they priced at roughly $15 billion.  Eventually, the World Bank’s arbitration court ordered Venezuela to pay $1.6 billion to ExxonMobil.

But ExxonMobil’s anger at Caracas was certainly not assuaged with that settlement agreement. In fact, the following decade saw ExxonMobil step up efforts to destabilize Venezuela’s socialist government using a variety of tactics.

General Strike in Palestine as Yarmulke-Wearing Trump Visits Western Wall

 

Trump, along with his wife and daughter, have visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem, with the president sporting a Jewish yarmulke–this as Palestinians prisoners are on day 36 of a hunger strike and as people throughout the occupied territories held a general strike in solidarity with the prisoners.

Mothers refusing food in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners. “I cannot eat while my sons are starving,”

In Manger Square in Bethlehem, protestors gathered to protest Trump, who is scheduled to make a stop there tomorrow.

“We came to tell you that the one who decides the fate of Palestinian people are the Palestinian refugee camps and not the Americans, the cause of the camps is the cause of all Palestinians,” said one protestor.  “The fate of Jerusalem can’t be decided by Trump, for Jerusalem is Arab; Jerusalem is Palestinian, and we decide its fate, not the Americans. The only ones who supported Palestinian people are the heroic prisoners, they are strugglers, fighting with only their bodies.”

Meanwhile, US and Israeli companies are reportedly working together to siphon off natural gas from Gaza’s territorial waters, while a 16-year-old Palestinian boy has been shot and killed after allegedly attempting to carrying out a stabbing of Israeli forces at a check point near Bethlehem. Additionally, some Some 20 other people were shot and injured as protestors attempted to march from the West Bank city of Ramallah to Israel’s Qalandiya checkpoint. Witnesses said Israeli soldiers fired at the demonstrators, using live ammunition as well as rubber coated steel bullets, from rooftops overlooking the main street .

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu greeted Trump and then told reporters that he and the president share a “commitment to peace.” Palestinians have called for a second “day of rage” to coincide with Trump’s visit to the West Bank on Tuesday.

So are these unruly Palestinians just illogical, irrational anti-Semites who simply hate Jews for no reason–or are their protests, hunger strikes, and days of rage motivated in some manner by Jewish behavior? I wonder if Trump, Ivanka, or Melania pondered that question in their visit to the Western Wall? Probably not.

Tulsi Gabbard and the Litmus Test

By Richard Edmondson

Tulsi Gabbard, the US congresswoman from Hawaii who introduced the “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” earlier this year, has been winning a lot of accolades (including on this blog) for her opposition to the war in Syria and US efforts to overthrow the country’s president, Bashar Assad. But of course in America, the real measuring stick of any politician, the litmus test if you will, is where they stand on Israel.

Last month I put up a post entitled Blessed Are the Peacemakers that included a video of a Gabbard town hall meeting in her home state as well as a commentary on the situation in Syria. The writer of the commentary, Yvonne Lorenzo, praised Gabbard for publicly condemning Trump’s April 6 missile attack on Syria, an attack which killed at least 14 people. But in response to the article, one of our readers, Robert Stiver, posted a comment about Gabbard’s position, or perhaps more precisely lack of a position, on the ongoing crimes being committed by Israel against the Palestinian people.

Robert lives in Hawaii and says he has contacted Gabbard’s office on a number of occasions–partly to express his support for the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, but also to discuss the Palestine-Israel conflict. With regard to his concerns over the latter, however, the congresswoman has failed to respond in any kind of meaningful manner, he says.

His comment led me to consider reaching out to Gabbard myself. And so I did. Here is the email I sent. You can click on the image to expand it.

I sent the above email to Gabbard on April 20–just over a month ago. I have yet to receive a response.

Ending US aid to Israel might not completely solve the problem in Occupied Palestine, but it would go a long way. There are presently more than 120 Israeli settlements (and countless other “outposts”) on occupied Palestinian land. No logical justification can be mounted for maintaining a program of sending billions of US tax dollars a year to support the Zionist state while these settlements continue to exist. They are all illegal. They have actually been formally declared illegal by the UN Security Council–in a resolution that was adopted in December of last year and that was not vetoed by the Obama administration.

So the justification for ending US aid is there–morally and now, with the passage of the Security Council resolution, even legally–and Gabbard should grab it. But she isn’t. In fact, she is doing almost exactly the opposite.

Not long after Robert posted his comment, another one of our readers, Rene, also posted a comment on Gabbard. In Rene’s view, the House member from Hawaii is not a “peacemaker,” but rather “just another ‘controlled opposition’ member” whose job is to confuse an already confused public. To support this thesis, Rene included a number of links, including to the video below in which Gabbard can be seen speaking at a 2016 event sponsored by the World Values Network. The mission of the World Values Network, according to its website, is “to disseminate universal Jewish values in politics, culture, and media, making the Jewish people a light unto the nations.”

In her comments, Gabbard talks about wanting to “stand strong with our ally and partner, Israel,” and then in the same sentence goes on to say she opposes “oppression, persecution, and genocide.” Voicing support for Israel while claiming to have humanitarian concerns of this nature is a shameful and disgraceful display of hypocrisy. As I have pointed out in previous posts, Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians probably meets the legal definition of genocide.

On January 5 of this year, the US House of Representatives, by way of response to the Security Council’s declaration of the settlements as illegal, passed House Res. 11 condemning the vote and accusing the UN of being “one-sided and anti-Israel.” Gabbard voted against that measure. However, she has supported an alternate bill, House Res. 23, and even signed on to it as a co-sponsor.

H.R. 23–you can go here to read the text of it–lauds the US-Israel “special relationship” and asserts that the US “remains unwavering” in its commitment to stand by the Zionist state as it meets its “myriad challenges.” These include terrorism as well as “civil conflict in neighboring states and the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.” The measure also talks about “shared values of democracy and the rule of law” that supposedly are enjoyed by peoples of the two countries forming the “special relationship,” which leads us to ask: what exactly are these Washington politicians talking about? What commitment to “democracy and the rule of law” can Israel be said to be pursuing when it imposes a blockade/occupation upon some 4.5 million people–people who have no right to vote in Israeli elections? The blockade of Gaza has been going on for 10 years and the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem enters its 50th year this year. With no end in sight. And this is what they refer to as “democracy and the rule of law”?

When Gabbard and the other Congress members who support H.R. 23 talk about “shared values,” are they trying to imply that Americans support apartheid? That we condone bulldozing people’s homes as a form of punishment? H.R. 23 also criticizes the “delegitimization” of Israel. Are these people living on another planet? The answer to that in a way may be yes. For that in a sense is what life in Israeli-occupied Washington is: it’s like living on another planet–in which all the lies of the mainstream media are believed, those who try to tell the truth are labeled as purveyors of fake news, and where boycotting Israel is “anti-Semitic.” Whenever you set foot on this planet you mind becomes automatically enslaved. Gabbard doesn’t seem to be immune from this process.

You can also go here to read about Gabbard’s alleged ties to Bharatiya Janata, or the BJP, the Hindu nationalist party of India. I don’t know enough about the politics of the BJP to comment one way or the other on it, but the article is at least worth reading, and it does discuss Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a BJP member, who has long been said to be intent on forging a closer bond with Israel (maybe he’s jealous of the “special relationship”). The writer also discusses the Hawaii congresswoman’s reputed ties to casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson–something that is also mentioned as well in a second article here. About all I can say to any of this is to repeat what my mother told me when I was growing up: you are known by the company you keep.

A bit more about the World Values Network (WVN) in closing. Each year the group sponsors a “Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala.” The video above shows Gabbard speaking at last year’s event. An article about that event can be found here. The article is written by Shmuley Boteach, the so-called “America’s rabbi” who has authored numerous books and is a familiar face on American television. Boteach seems to be affiliated with the WVN in some manner, at least he is featured prominently on the group’s website. At any rate, his article is devoted to giving a full report on last year’s awards gala, offering a summation of remarks made by the different speakers, including Gabbard’s. The congresswoman is spoken of highly, including her service in the US military. Interestingly, it seems Sheldon Adelson was also present at the event. Boteach refers to it overall as an “unforgettable evening” attended by “a who’s who of Jewish philanthropists and defenders of Israel.”

That was last year–the “4th Annual Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala.” This year’s event–the 5th Annual Gala–is scheduled to take place tonight, May 21, in New York. I could not ascertain whether Gabbard is returning as a speaker this year, but perhaps not surprisingly Boteach has a new article up. The piece, posted Friday at The Hill, seems to have a two-fold purpose: plugging the event and demonizing Syrian President Bashar Assad at the same time (perhaps the author is hoping to achieve a synergistic effect). At any rate, Boteach seems fixated upon the latest propaganda stew over a “crematorium” supposedly being operated by the Syrian government.

“If the phrase ‘Never again’ is to have any meaning, the United States, Israel, or some other power that stands for morality and against the evils of genocide, must immediately bomb the Syrian crematoria,” he writes.

This is quite ironic given that it seems to be at cross purposes with everything Gabbard was trying to accomplish with her “Stop Arming Terrorists” bill.  Which kind of brings us in a roundabout way back to the subject of the litmus test. How is the congresswoman stacking up? The answer seems to be not too well.

%d bloggers like this: