Israel Is Bad for America

By Philip Giraldi
Source

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American journalism has become in its mainstream exponents a compendium of half-truths and out-and-out lies. The public, though poorly informed on most issues as a result, has generally figured out that it is being hoodwinked and trust in the Fourth Estate has plummeted over the past twenty years. The skepticism about what is being reported has enabled President Donald Trump and other politicians to evade serious questions about policy by claiming that what is being reported is little more than “fake news.”

No news is more fake than the reporting in the U.S. media that relates to the state of Israel. Former Illinois congressman Paul Findley in his seminal book They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby observed that nearly all the foreign press correspondents working out of Israel are Jewish while most of the editors that they report to at news desks are also Jews, guaranteeing that the articles that eventually surface in the newspapers will be carefully constructed to minimize any criticism of the Jewish state. The same goes for television news, particularly on cable news stations like CNN.

A particularly galling aspect of the sanitization of news reports regarding Israel is the underlying assumption that Israelis share American values and interests, to include freedom and democracy. This leads to the perception that Israelis are just like Americans with Israel’s enemies being America’s enemies. Given that, it is natural to believe that the United States and Israel are permanent allies and friends and that it is in the U.S. interest to do whatever is necessary to support Israel, including providing billions of dollars in aid to a country that is already wealthy as well as unlimited political cover in international bodies like the United Nations.

That bogus but nevertheless seemingly eternal bond is essentially the point from which a December 26th op-ed in The New York Times departs. The piece is by one of the Times’ resident opinion writers Bret Stephens and is entitled Donald Trump is Bad for Israel.

Stephens gets to the point rather quickly, claiming that “The president has abruptly undermined Israel’s security following a phone call with an Islamist strongman in Turkey. So much for the idea, common on the right, that this is the most pro-Israel administration ever. I write this as someone who supported Trump moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and who praised his decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal as courageous and correct. I also would have opposed the president’s decision to remove U.S. forces from Syria under nearly any circumstances. Contrary to the invidious myth that neoconservatives always put Israel first, the reasons for staying in Syria have everything to do with core U.S. interests. Among them: Keeping ISIS beaten, keeping faith with the Kurds, maintaining leverage in Syria and preventing Russia and Iran from consolidating their grip on the Levant.”

The beauty of Stephens overwrought prose is that the careful reader might realize from the git-go that the argument being promoted makes no sense. Bret has a big heart for the Kurds but the Palestinians are invisible in his piece while his knowledge of other developments in the Middle East is superficial. First of all, the phone call with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had nothing to do with “undermining Israel’s security.” It concerned the northern border of Syria, which Turkey shares, and arrangements for working with the Kurds, which is a vital interest for both Ankara and Washington. And it might be added that from a U.S. national security point of view Turkey is an essential partner for the United States in the region while Israel is not, no matter what it pretends to be.

Stephens then goes on to demonstrate what he claims to be a libel, that for him and other neocons Israel always comes first, an odd assertion given the fact that he spends 80% of his article discussing what is or isn’t good for Israel. He supports the U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem, the end of the nuclear agreement with Iran, both of which were applauded in Israel but which are extremely damaging to American interests. He attacks the planned withdrawal from Syria because it is a “core interest” for the U.S., which is complete nonsense.

Contrary to Stephens’ no evidence assertion, Russia and Iran have neither the resources nor the desire to “consolidate[e] their grip on the Levant” while it is the United States has no right and no real interest to “maintain leverage” on Syria by invading and occupying the country. But, of course, invading and occupying are practices that Israel is good at, so Stephens’ brain fart on the issue can perhaps be attributed to confusion over whose bad policies he was defending. Stephens also demonstrate confusion over his insistence that the U.S. must “resist foreign aggressors…the Russians and Iranians in Syria in this decade,” suggesting that he is unaware that both nations are providing assistance at the request of the legitimate government in Damascus. It is the U.S. and Israel that are the aggressors in Syria.

Stephens then looks at the situation from the “Israeli standpoint,” which is presumably is easy for him to do as that is how he looks at everything given the fact that he is far more concerned about Israel’s interests than those of the United States. Indeed, all of his opinions are based on the assumption that U.S. policy should be supportive of a rightwing Israeli government, that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has recently been indicted for corruption and has called for an early election to subvert the process.

Bret finally comes to the point, writing that “What Israel most needs from the U.S. today is what it needed at its birth in 1948: an America committed to defending the liberal-international order against totalitarian enemies, as opposed to one that conducts a purely transactional foreign policy based on the needs of the moment or the whims of a president.”

Stephens then expands on what it means to be liberal-international: “It means we should oppose militant religious fundamentalism, whether it is Wahhabis in Riyadh or Khomeinists in Tehran or Muslim Brothers in Cairo and Ankara. It means we should advocate human rights, civil liberties, and democratic institutions, in that order.”

Bret also throws America’s two most recent presidents under the bus in his jeremiad, saying “During the eight years of the Obama presidency, I thought U.S. policy toward Israel — the hectoringthe incompetent diplomatic interventionsthe moral equivocationsthe Iran dealthe backstabbing at the U.N. — couldn’t get worse. As with so much else, Donald Trump succeeds in making his predecessors look good.” He then asks “Is any of this good for Israel?” and he answers “no.”

Bret Stephens in his complaining reveals himself to be undeniably all about Israel, but consider what he is actually saying. He claims to be against “militant religious fundamentalism,” but isn’t that what Israeli Zionism is all about, with more than a dash of racism and fanaticism thrown in for good measure? One Israeli Chief Rabbi has called black people “monkeys” while another has declared that gentiles cannot live in Israel. Right-wing religious fundamentalist parties currently are in power with Netanyahu and are policy making for the Israeli Government: Shas, Jewish Home, and United Torah Judaism. None of them could be regarded as a moderating influence on their thuggish serial financial lawbreaker Prime Minister.

And isn’t Israel’s record on human rights and civil liberties among the worst in the world? Here is the Human Rights Watch’s assessment of Israel:

“Israel maintains entrenched discriminatory systems that treat Palestinians unequally. Its 50-year occupation of the West Bank and Gaza involves systematic rights abuses, including collective punishment, routine use of excessive lethal force, and prolonged administrative detention without charge or trial for hundreds. It builds and supports illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, expropriating Palestinian land and imposing burdens on Palestinians but not on settlers, restricting their access to basic services and making it nearly impossible for them to build in much of the West Bank without risking demolition. Israel’s decade-long closure of Gaza, supported by Egypt, severely restricts the movement of people and goods, with devastating humanitarian impact.”

Israel, if one is considering the entire population under its rule, is among the most undemocratic states that chooses to call itself democratic. Much of the population living in lands that Israel claims cannot vote, they have no freedom of movement in their homeland, and they have no right of return to homes that they were forced to abandon. Israeli army snipers blithely shoot unarmed demonstrators while Netanyahu’s government kills, beats and imprisons children. And the Jewish state does not even operate very democratically even inside Israel itself, with special rights for Jewish citizens and areas and whole towns where Muslims or Christians are not allowed to buy property or reside.

It is time for American Jews like Bret Stephens to come to the realization that not everything that is good for Israel is good for the U.S. The strategic interests of the two countries, if they were openly discussed in either the media or in congress, would be seen to be often in direct conflict. Somehow in Stephens’ twisted mind the 1948 theft of Palestinian lands and the imposition of an apartheid system to control the people is in some way representative of a liberal world order.

If one were to suggest that Stephens should move to Israel since his primary loyalty clearly lies there, there would be accusations of anti-Semitism, but in a sense, it is far better to have him stick around blathering from the pulpit of The New York Times. When he writes so ineptly about how Donald Trump Is Bad for Israel the real message that comes through loud and clear is how bad Israel is for America.

 

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2018 – The Year of Lying Dangerously

By David Macilwain
Source

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Amongst the many things that may be said about 2018 in the echo-chambers of Western media, you can be sure that an admission of the lies that were told will not be one of them. Yet of all the things that characterize this year of fracture and dissonance, the litany of lies told by Western leaders and media stands out – a veritable juggernaut of mendacity about almost every aspect of the political and strategic battles fought against internal and external enemies over the last year.

These lies, from casual half-truths to carefully constructed false narratives, have been mostly told to and used against Western states’ own populations, to create popular support or submission to policies and actions chosen by those wielding power. But they have also been told extensively to deceive and manipulate foreign antagonists in current conflict zones – Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan.

Most disturbingly perhaps, lies have also been told to militaries and security forces by their own government leaders and intelligence agencies, and to a degree that is only now becoming apparent. The possibility that the most recent revelations on disinformation networks in Europe and the US could crack open the West’s “bodyguard of lies” makes 2018 what we might call the “Year of Lying Dangerously”.

Perhaps it’s a little personal tunnel vision that makes me focus on two of the most notable “lies” of 2018 – the Salisbury poisoning and the “Chemical attack” on Douma in Syria. But in one way or another, both of these –intimately connected – events have been central to so much else that has happened this year.

Whether it’s the “Iranian connection” – between the Iranian nuclear deal, Iran’s support for Syria against foreign-backed terrorists, joint Saudi-US-Israeli propaganda warfare over Yemen and Hezbollah – or the “Russian connection” – conflict over oil and gas markets, pipelines to Turkey and Germany, political and military support for Syria, information warfare with the US over Trump and the UK over “Novichok” – or simply the Tweets of Trump, – the Chemical Weapon disinformation war has been central to 2018.

It’s hard for those of us not seduced by the West’s Orwellian news machine to understand just how pervasively effective its mind-bending disinformation operations have become. The individuals and organizations leading these campaigns have evidently also been seduced by their own power to mislead millions, effected with a few mouse clicks or a single video clip.

And in their absolute disdain for their audience, they may be caught out pushing too far. Such was the case with the memorable “Mannequin Challenge” performed live on set by a couple of White Helmet actors. They got away with that crass self-promotion amongst social media followers, but for their opponents and victims seeing these NATO “heroes” playing at rescue-selfies was the last straw.

In fact, this over-honest self-revelation to their supporters became the start of efforts to expose the White Helmets as a criminal enterprise of the UK and US governments, whose members we now know to have been closely involved in some of the worst atrocities carried out by the foreign-backed terrorist groups with whom they worked.

The dreadful truth about the “Oscar-nominated” White Helmets began to emerge seriously in December 2016 following the liberation of East Aleppo, when independent journalists – Pierre le Corf, Vanessa Beeley and RT’s Lizzie Phelan and Murad Gazdiev amongst others – were able to see just where these “civil defense volunteers” had been operating; cheek by jowl with the chief terrorist groups holding the east of the city under siege.

Those researches have clearly continued in the two years since, establishing more solid incriminating evidence against the group, but this effort has evidently intensified in recent months following the joint UN-Israeli rescue operation of White Helmets and terrorist leaders from the Golan Heights in July, and their effective disbanding in most areas of Syria.

The results of these researches were presented by the director of the Foundation for the Study of Democracy, Maxim Grigoriev, at a special meeting at the UN HQ in New York just before Christmas. Grigoriev presented videos of interviews he himself conducted with former White Helmets members in Aleppo and Ghouta, along with the extensive findings on the true nature of the White Helmets’ activities, as revealed by Syrian citizens from “rebel-occupied” areas.

The UN meeting, made to a collection of journalists, included personal testimony from Vanessa Beeley, as well as direct and demanding presentations from Syria’s UN rep Bashar al Jaafari, and Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzia. Independent journalist Eva Bartlett, who has also played a lead role in researching and exposing the White Helmets operation, has written already on the meeting, and particularly noting the complete failure of the Western corporate media to report it or attempt to answer the criticisms and claims made against the group.

Despite the presence of a CBS reporter, who asked a question about the threat from foreign extremists following the “US withdrawal from Syria”, media support for the White Helmets continues without a hiccup, with this horrific contribution from the Guardian’s Kareem Shaheen.

What Grigoriev presented was truly shocking, and categorical evidence that the White Helmets is a criminal organization and should be on the UN’s list of designated terrorist organizations – as stated clearly by Vassily Nebenzia. The video presentation lasts over an hour, but is really essential viewing; the atrocities carried out by the many members of the White Helmets, with the full knowledge and support of the UK and US governments, make their continued feting and lionizing by Western governments and media a crime against humanity.

Quite simply, these men are guilty of the most brutal and barbaric crimes against innocent people – women and children in particular – that we can possibly imagine. Unlike so many dreadful atrocities committed in the past – the Crusaders’ slaughter of Jerusalem’s population might spring to mind – these modern-day barbarians acted in cold blood, calculated and sadistic; even in their fake rescue operations –

A former White Helmet interviewed in Aleppo by Grigoriev describes how, in the filming of one such “rescue” following an alleged Syrian airstrike, bodies were brought from the morgue and wounded people brought from a nearby hospital just for the propaganda video. Children were also often used in these stunt-videos, as well as dummies, confirming the long-held suspicions of impartial analysts.

As has been observed before, including by myself, the treatment of children by White Helmets members in their propaganda videos actually constitutes serious child abuse or even torture – their filming of “treatment for gas exposure” in Douma hospital, or simple brutalisation – as with the use of Omran Daqneesh, turns instantly from humanitarian act to inhuman one when seen in its true light.

Omran Daqneesh, and Hassan Diab – the White Helmets’ Douma victim who went to the Hague to testify, were however reunited with their parents physically intact; they were the lucky ones. As Omar al Mustafa testified when interviewed by Maxim Grigoriev –

 “People evacuated by the White Helmets often did not come back alive. For example, a person receives a minor injury, is rescued, evacuated, and then brought back with their stomach cut open and with their internal organs missing. I heard that a little girl was injured. They took her to Turkey and brought her back in three days, dead and with no internal organs.”

Grigoriev heard similar stories from a great many people including White Helmets members, leading him to state that:

A large body of evidence allows for a clear conclusion that the White Helmets centres were a key element in the system of forced removal of human organs.

We need to just let that sink in a bit. The forced removal of human organs; from children “rescued” by our own countries’ mercenaries. And even if the likes of the Guardian and the NYT and CBS prefer to put this reality in the too hard basket, have no doubt that the White Helmets’ backup teams will be taking Russia’s evidence very seriously.

Seriously enough to consider cutting and running even? As Nebenzia says – “the sponsors share responsibility for their crimes.” And their liars’ luck might be about to run out; we can only hope!

Firestorm Over Trump’s Announcement on Syria

By Stephen Lendman
Source

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted: “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, the only reason for being there during the Trump presidency.”

“After historic victories against ISIS, it’s time to bring our great young people home!”

A same-day article discusses his announcement. Earlier ones explained that US forces came to Syria to stay – notably continuation of Pentagon aerial operations, conducted from bases in the country and elsewhere regionally.

Obama launched war on Syria for regime change. Trump escalated what he began. Washington’s involvement in the country won’t end as long as Bashar al-Assad remains in power. 

US-led operations have nothing to do with combating ISIS. Republicans and undemocratic Dems support the scourge they pretend to oppose. The same goes for NATO, Israel, the Saudis UAE, and Turkey.

US involvement in Syria and everywhere else is all about advancing its imperium regionally and globally. 

A same-day article said it’s unclear what will follow Trump’s Wednesday announcement. It’s very clear that Washington’s rage for regional and global dominance remains unchanged. 

There’s no ambiguity about it. Endless US wars of aggression and other global hostile actions speak for themselves.

Trump’s announcement on Syria ignited a firestorm against it by Republicans, Dems, and major media – cheerleaders for all US wars of aggression and others planned.

NYT editors notoriously deplore world peace, equity, and justice for all. They’re on the wrong side of major issues mattering most, notably geopolitical ones, in lockstep with US belligerence instead of responsibly denouncing it.

They called Trump’s announcement on Syria “alarming.” They lied claiming US forces in Syria are all about “defeating the Islamic State.”

They failed to explain that Washington created and supports the terrorist group, as well as others regionally, using them as proxy troops, aided by US-led terror-bombing, massacring countless tens of thousands of civilians, destroying vital infrastructure in Syria, the same thing going on in all US war theaters.

Times editors also falsely claimed US operations aim to “ensur(e) that Iranian forces leave the country” – failing to explain only military advisers, invited by Damascus, are there, no combat troops as the Times implied.

Instead of denouncing US aggression in Syria and other war theaters, Times editors called Trump’s announcement “abrupt and dangerous…detached from any broader strategic context or any public rationale.”

It “sow(s) new uncertainty about America’s commitment to the Middle East, its willingness to be a global leader and Mr. Trump’s role as commander in chief,” adding:

Trump’s announced move “not only hampers morale and undermines allied forces like the Syrian Kurds, it could also risk getting American soldiers killed or wounded for objectives their commanders had already abandoned.”

Fact: US forces in Syria are uninvited. They’re hostile invaders, flagrantly breaching international, constitutional and US statute laws. 

They’re waging aggressive war on sovereign Syria and its legitimate government, the highest of high crimes the Times and other major media never explain – the same thing ongoing in other US war theaters.

If US troops weren’t illegally deployed to wage naked aggression against other nations, no threats to their safety, welfare and lives would exist. 

By supporting US imperial wars, the Times and other major media share blame for what’s going on – accessories in naked aggression.

US Legal defines an accessory as anyone involved in the commission of criminal offenses – even when not directly involved, yet is “aware that the crime is going to be committed or has been committed.”

The Times and other major media endorse, cheerlead, and help promote US wars of aggression. They’re guilty as accessories before, during, and after the fact.

The Times: Trump’s announcement is “a gift to Vladimir Putin…who has been working hard to supplant American influence in the region, as well as to Iran, which has also expanded its regional footprint.” 

“It would certainly make it harder for (the US) to implement its policy of ratcheting up what it calls ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran.”

Russia and Iran are peacemakers, not belligerent warrior states like America, its NATO partners and Israel. US sanctions and other hostile actions against both countries are flagrantly illegal.

The Times lied about what it falsely called “Iran’s robust military presence in Syria and Jordan” – true about the US and its imperial partners, not the Islamic Republic.

Major Western media suppress what’s most important to report, the Times a notorious offender. Its reports are polar opposite what journalism the way it’s supposed to be is all about, notably on geopolitical issues.

Its editors disgracefully claimed Trump’s announcement betrays his responsibility as “commander in chief sworn to protect the nation and to honor the men and women who serve in uniform.”

First and foremost, the responsibility of all leaders is to serve all his or her people equitably, wage peace, not war, and pursue cooperative relations with all other nations.

America’s agenda is polar opposite all of the above. US media consistently endorse high crimes of war and against humanity committed by Washington at home and abroad – an agenda risking humanity-destroying nuclear war.

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Fanning the Flames of Dissent: The Ruling Class Is Having Trouble with Its Israel-Palestine Narrative

By Jason Hirthlet
Source

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Recently, the White House hosed two Hanukkah celebrations attended by the president, first lady, and vice president. One can imagine the general bonhomie as the Trumps rubbed elbows with fellow billionaire Sheldon Adelson and other luminaries of the ‘special relationship’. Trump was cheered for his provocative move of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, something many observers call a sea change in U.S. foreign policy. Of course, almost every recent president has publicly stated that Jerusalem is Israel’s proper capital. Trump was simply the first president to actually follow through on the implications of that position.

In its coverage of the events, Trump was assailed by the Times of Israel for telling American Jews that Israel was “your country”, as if they were not American citizens. The paper noted that if Barack Obama had made such a rhetorical misstep, he would’ve been savaged by conservative media. As it was, Trump’s language was generally passed over in silence in the mainstream press. Despite that, the president and his coterie of Zionist comrades are likely becoming an ever more isolated pack of wolves on the American scene, their inflexible ideology and its brutal manifestations alienating them from popular opinion in the U.S.

The Scourge of Self-Deception

In his excellent book The Folly of Fools, evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers expounded his theory of deceit and self-deception among humans, including his concept of false historical narratives. A false historical narrative is essentially when a nation or tribe or people collectively believe a false version of their history. Trivers’ particular example? Israel. The author unpacks the country’s long-standing denial of Palestinian agency in its zealous Zionist pursuit of Greater Israel as a form of collective self-delusion. One that has had considerable influence in the United States where AIPAC wields outsized influence on Capitol Hill.

One wonders if false historical narratives are more likely to befall colonial settler nations. After all, the United States itself is beholden to any number of false historical narratives: the belief that America promotes and defends freedom around the world; the belief that it won World War Two; the lack of acknowledgement of the Native American genocide in its historical narrative; and that it has served as an impartial mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This latter belief has been lately exploded by several excellent books, among them Rashid Khalidi’s Brokers of Deceit. Thanks in large part to such works, the rise of social media, and the militancy and visibility of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the general tenor of debate in the United States, at least, has changed. This is deeply troubling for Tel Aviv and Washington, who have long depended on a tightly controlled, topdown narrative to manage opinion on Palestinian issues, a storyline dutifully disseminated by sycophantic corporate media. But a false narrative cannot survive or thrive amid a digital space of unbridled debate, much of it agitated unmediated wrangling with a tendency to devolve into ad hominem attacks, but also a space with plenty of powerful non-mainstream journalism bringing fresh perspectives to the topic.

Damming the Flood

Only heavy-handed censorship can hope to stem the tide of dissident voices. Left unaddressed, they will chop the legs out from beneath the mainstream fairy tale of Israeli rectitude and Arab savagery. And that is, of course, precisely what is happening in the social space.

Facebook has purged some 400 pro-Palestinian voices from its platform for violating “community standards,” an ironic phrase given that real community standards would necessarily have to be created by the community, rather than its ‘owner’, presently being advised by the neoliberal, neocon Atlantic Council. Facebook labeled the banned commentary as “hate speech”, a term unsupported by the Supreme Court but happily flung about by the Israeli lobby–alongside the stalwart ‘anti-Semitism’–in efforts to shutter dissent. Twitter, too, has fallen in line with the pro-Israel position of both the government and its mainstream media lapdogs. It has shutteredattempts to out IDF commando unit soldiers who raided Gaza last month. The censorship aligns with Israeli military censors in Tel Aviv.

CNN wasted no time firing Marc Lamont Hill after a fairly normal speech at the United Nations during its commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Board members at Temple University, where he teaches, rumbled about punitive measures. The treatment of Hill falls in line with a long history of attacks on African-Americans who disagree with American foreign policy, from Paul Robeson during the McCarthy era to the many victims of the FBI’s COINTELPRO effort to destroy black solidarity movements. Even Andrew Young, serving as Jimmy Carter’s UN Ambassador, was forced to resign when he took the bold step of actually talking to the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). An alliance of oppressed peoples across national borders is a true existential nightmare for imperialists, explaining in part why so many African-American leftists have been swiftly and energetically besieged by establishment agencies.

A Leaky Vessel

But it may be too little too late. Holes are being ripped in the Zionist false narrative, and it is leaking hard truths like a sieve. At last, Americans are beginning to recognize the cruelty of the Israeli occupation. For years the international community has angrily brandished UN resolutions against the occupation, about the right of return, and others declaring Zionism as a form of racism. To little avail. Some sixty resolutions have been widely ignored in the west. With this occupation more than any other conflict in the geopolitical arena, it is as if international law does not exist.

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt punctured a gaping hole in the side of stealthy Zionist influence with their landmark work The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. But the social media response to the brutal Israeli siege of Gaza in 2014 was likely the watershed moment. Progressives like Max Blumenthal assiduously documented the assault, while the glib Obama administration’s willingness to sell arms to Israel in the midst of its crushing attack struck many Americans as almost unconscionably blasé. So too the international response to the recently passed Basic Law, in which Israel is confirmed as a Jewish-ethnic state, with all mention of democracy stripped from the language. In one recent step by a major company, Airbnb recused itself from doing business in occupied territories, a move lauded by Palestinian supporters and naturally deplored by Zionists.

The perceptual gap between the views of the American populace and the Israeli citizenry appears to be widening. A recent polling result in Israel uncovered widespread racism targeting Arabs and Palestinians. Israelis were uncomfortable in large numbers to a variety of hypothetical interactions with Palestinians: if their children made friends with Palestinian children, if their neighbors were Palestinian, if people near them spoke in Arabic, and so on. Likewise, many said they’d be unlikely to rent to Palestinians and felt Israelis deserved job placement consideration over Arabs. As a comparison with a comparable European poll showed, Israeli discomfort with Arabs was more widespread than European discomfort with Jews, undermining the MSM discussion of rising anti-Semitism, a phenomenon that Foreign Policy argued was not tied to rising criticism of Israel.

A University of Maryland poll of Americans showed growing support for a one-state solution, as more observers have come to believe that rampant Israeli settlement-building in occupied territory have made a two-state solution completely unrealistic. That is, apart from some construction that posited a Palestinian state composed of tiny isolated cantons vigilantly policed by the IDF on the least arable land available (the rest having been annexed by entitled settlers).

A one-state solution is an anathema to Zionists. Israel has long harbored a fear of one day being outnumbered by Arabs in its own ‘homeland’. One hears the occasional trumpeting of a demographic ‘time bomb’ (and sometimes arguments that give lie to the concept). Israelis havecited the ‘security situation’ as an incentive to reproduce. In any event, settlements continue apace. It is instructive to note that inside Israel, there is vigorous debate on this issue: not about the validity of settlements, but the pace at which they are constructed.

Americans also increasingly support sanctions on Israel for its continued settlement activity. This undoubtedly partly owing the aforementioned thaw in commentary, particularly of the non-professional variety, but also perhaps has to do with the fact that Washington has leveled sanctions against so many perceived foes in recent years: Venezuela, Nicaragua, Russia, China, Syria, Iran, and on and on. Why, the public must wonder, is Israel left out of this seemingly indiscriminate use of economic leverage?

Zionists have mounted vigorous resistance to BDS, and have persuaded Congress to put forward the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which would criminalize any kind of voluntary boycotting of Israel and its settlements. This last argument reflects the threadbare smear that pro-Israeli hawks like Alan Dershowtiz and other informally appointed paladins of the cause have long used to defend criticism of Israel: that any criticism of Israel or Zionism is a de facto attack on Jews and therefore anti-Semitic. This attempt to conflate Israel with all Jewry is not unlike the facile use of the “hate speech” to encompass all varieties of criticism.

The Race to Narrative Hegemony

Yet dire reports surface almost daily, as Israel clamors to bar and ban and liquidate resistance. Among the recent stories that must have Israeli PR groups a furor: the expelling of Human Rights Watch officials from the country, the shooting of unarmed protestors during the ‘Great March of Return’ border protests, remorseless extrajudicial killings, the expansion of “admissions committees” to restrict Palestinian access to housing, the rationing of electricity and medicines to desperate Gazans, the forcible exile of Bedouins from historic villages. The list is interminable.

Perhaps for these reasons rather in spite of them, some 38 percent of Americans, including 37 percent of Jewish Americans polled, think Israel has too much influence in the American political system. Democrats in particular are increasingly favorable to actually neutral policies toward Israelis and Palestinians, not least because of Obama’s chilly relationship with Tel Aviv, and Benjamin Netanyahu’s undermining of the former president’s JCPOA with Iran.

It is critical to note the yawning abyss between the corporate state and corporate media positions on Israeli-Palestinian issues and those of the American public. While the MSM continues its pro-Israel stance, the ideological ground beneath it is shifting like sand, as Americans have engaged in online debates that have in some cases broadened their perspectives and in others deepened their partisanship. It is forever ironic that efforts to suppress a particular viewpoint tend to exacerbate it. As the mainstream become ever more strident in their response to heterodox opinions, the objections only grow louder. As one might expect, the historical narrative around Israel is now freighted with heretical objections, its propositions subject to relentless dissection in the digital sphere.

It is no surprise then, that Trump’s friends at those White House Hanukkah parties have grown shrill and heavy-handed in their attempts to shout down a rising chorus of resistance to the party line. The question is, can they push Washington and America’s social media giants hard enough to foreclose the numberless avenues of dissent fast enough to salvage what’s left of a tawdry argument for apartheid.

 

Time’s Person of the Year Hypocrisy

By Stephen Lendman
Source

On Tuesday, Time magazine announced its annual Person of the Year Award, honoring what it called “Guardians…who have taken great risks in pursuit of greater truths.”

Time’s editors ignored the most highly deserving investigative, muckraking, truth-telling journalists of our time, focusing on major issues mattering most – polar opposite establishment reporting Time and other major Western media feature exclusively, suppressing what’s most important to report.

The late William Blum was excluded from consideration. His books, Empire Report, and other writings documented US high crimes throughout the post WW II period – hard truths Time and other establishment media suppress. 

Nor was WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange a candidate for person of the year. He’s a virtual prisoner inside Ecuador’s London embassy, unable to leave its confines for over six years, fearing arrest and extradition to the US for the crime of truth-telling journalism the way it’s supposed to be, taking an enormous risk “in pursuit of greater truths,” not risk enough for Time’s editors.

Two Reuters journalists were honored for running afoul of Myanmar’s despotic regime, sentenced to seven years imprisonment for allegedly revealing state secrets.

The suburban Washington-based Gazette Journal was honored for the killing of five of its staffers in a mass shooting last June. 

Former CNN bureau chief Maria Ressa was an honoree over her struggle to prevent Philippine President Duterte from shuttering her online Rappler news website.

Jamal Khashoggi was a posthumous honoree, a longtime Saudi insider/turned critic, a neocon/CIA-connected Washington Post columnist – recognized solely for the international turmoil over his murder, not for journalism the way it’s supposed to be.

In announcing this year’s award, Time’s editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said “(a)s we looked at the choices, it became clear that the manipulation and abuse of truth is really the common thread in so many of this year’s major stories ― from Russia to Riyadh to Silicon Valley.”

War on truth-telling journalism begins at home. Time magazine, along with other major print and electronic media, are part of the problem, operating as press agents for wealth, power and privilege.

Digital democracy is largely all that remains of journalism the way it’s supposed to be. Free and open societies are threatened. State-sponsored censorship is the new normal.

Fiction substitutes for vital facts in the mainstream, news carefully filtered, dissent marginalized. Supporting powerful interests substitutes for full and accurate reporting on issues mattering most.

Wars of aggression are called liberating ones. Social justice, human and civil rights are eroding for our own good. Patriotism means going along with government lawlessness – internally and abroad.

Journalist/author AJ Liebling once said “(t)he press is free only to those who one one.” Before the age of television, he warned that “(p)eople everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers (and magazines like Time) with news.”

Establishment print and electronic media support what demands condemnation – notably endless US-led wars of aggression, neoliberal harshness, and police state laws against nonbelievers.

Trump was Time’s runner-up for this year’s Person of the Year award. Russiagate witch hunt special council Robert Mueller was third.

Person of the Year, Nobel prizes, US Presidential Medal of Freedom awards, and other establishment ones most often honor the least deserving – ignoring the most worthy in societies worldwide.

The Largest Conspiracy Theory Peddlers Are MSM And The US State Department

By Caitlin Johnstone
Source

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The US State Department has issued a statement accusing the Syrian government of having carried out a false flag chemical weapons attack in northwestern Aleppo with the intent to blame it on the jihadist factions in the region, citing “credible info” that the public has not been permitted to see. Never mind the known fact that there are actual, literal Al Qaeda affiliateswho have admitted to using chemical weapons in Aleppo, and who are known to have used chemical weapons throughout Syria even by the State Department’s own admission: the Official Narrative is that only the Syrian government uses chemical weapons, so the chemical weapons usage must necessarily be a false flag staged by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

Except they didn’t use the words “false flag”. Despite the accusation being the exact definition of the thing that a false flag attack is, you won’t see the US government using that term, nor will you ever see it used in this instance by any of the authorized mainstream narrative-framing institutions like CNN or Fox News. This is because the term “false flag” is reserved solely for mention when referring to crazy, kooky Kremlin propaganda, as in the insane, unhinged, tinfoil hat belief that terrorists in Syria might possibly have some kind of motive to stage a false flag chemical attack in order to get the US, UK and France to act as their air force in a retaliatory strike against the Syrian government. That kind of false flag would be completely inconceivable to any right-minded empire loyalist, and is forbidden to even think about.

At the same time we are seeing a push from the mass media to advance a narrative that the Yellow Vests protests in France are due to Russian influence, with Iraq-raping neocon Max Boot publishing a column today in the Washington Post that is based entirely around the talking point that two trending Russian topics on social media have been “giletsjaune” and “France,” and Bloomberg putting out an article blatantly titled “Pro-Russia Social Media Takes Aim at Macron as Yellow Vests Rage”. Their entire theory is that since there are people in Russia talking about a major event that everyone else in the world is also talking about, the protests against Macron’s unpopular centrist policies are therefore the result of a conspiracy seeded by Russia.

But you’ll never hear this theory about a Russian conspiracy referred to as a “conspiracy theory” by the mainstream press. The theory that Russian elites have conspired to infiltrate the highest levels of the US government has been given serious treatment at the top echelons of media and political influence, despite its lacking any discernible evidence whatsoever, but when they talk about these alleged conspiracies they always make a point of using the word “collusion” instead. There is no actual difference between the words collude and conspire when used in this way, but the former is used because a deliberate effort has been made to stigmatize the word “conspiracy” while the word “collude” remains effectively neutral in the public eye.

But the fact of the matter is that conspiracy theories have gone mainstream, and there is no legitimate reason to call the authorized, power-manufactured conspiracy theories by a different name than the grassroots narratives like those about 9/11 or the JFK assassination. Indeed, due to the nature of populist folk narratives there is a lot more publicly available evidence contradicting the official 9/11 and JFK assassination stories than there is for the establishment Russia conspiracy theories, because those narratives often boil down to nothing more than secretive intelligence agencies saying “This is true because we said so.” Since grassroots conspiracy theories are unable to rely on empty assertions from authority, they tend to be built upon information that is publicly available.

Some people get annoyed with me for using the term conspiracy theory at all, but I insist that the phrase is itself intrinsically neutral: a theory about a conspiracy. The problem is not the phrase, it is the stigma that has been attached to that phrase by establishment media and establishment politicians; shifting to a different phrase to describe theories about conspiracies would only ensure that that phrase becomes stigmatized in the exact same way by the same sort of campaign. This would only ensure the survival of the tactic of regurgitating a pre-stigmatized label in the war of ideas instead of advancing actual arguments. The fact of the matter is that powerful people do indeed conspire, those conspiracies do indeed need to be talked about, and the largest promulgators of conspiracy theories are not Infowars or RT, but mainstream media and the US State Department.

Those who dismiss an idea by calling it a “conspiracy theory” without providing further argumentation are simply admitting to you that they have no argument, and it is right to point this out when they do it, because something being a conspiracy theory doesn’t mean it’s not grounded in facts. Some conspiracy theories are good and are backed by solid evidence, some are stupid and are circulated for intellectually dishonest reasons. Once upon a time you would be called a conspiracy theorist for saying the west is arming terrorists in Syria or the DNC is conspiring to ensure the primary victory of Hillary Clinton; those things are now conspiracy facts, as history has vindicated the solid theories which predicted them. Other conspiracy theories are promulgated by dim-witted partisan loyalists for no other reason than dim-witted partisan loyalty, like the aforementioned Russiagate conspiracy theory, or the QAnon conspiracy theory which claims Donald Trump is leading a rebellion against the Deep State as cryptically reported by an anonymous user on 8chan.

Other conspiracy theories are subscribed to simply because they help people escape the cognitive dissonance of conflicting beliefs. For example, a strong believer in capitalism who sees the undeniable signs that a plutocratic class has control of their government, but who cannot accept that this plutocratic takeover was facilitated by a rampant capitalist system which ensures that the greediest sociopaths rise to the top, may avoid cognitive dissonance by explaining the existence of the corrupt dominator class with conspiracy theories about Jews or pedovore cults. A liberal who cannot accept that neoliberal empire loyalists like Macron have failed to “make centrism cool” as Max Boot predicted will avoid cognitive dissonance by explaining the failures of the Church of the Status Quo with conspiracy theories about Russian social media campaigns.

Conspiracy theories, in reality, are nothing more than people’s attempts to explain what is going on in their world. Why Trump got elected. Why things stay shitty despite our perfectly rational attempts to change them. Why voting doesn’t seem to make much difference in the actual behaviors of one’s government. Why we keep marching into stupid wars, Orwellian dystopia and climate collapse despite having every incentive not to. Why the wealthiest of the wealthy keep getting wealthier while everyone else gets poorer and poorer. Some attempts to explain these things will come from a well-informed and intellectually honest place, and some will come from a myopic and intellectually dishonest place. Their individual merits can only be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

And in my opinion the conspiracy theories coming from the world’s most powerful institutions are the most dishonest by far. I saw a recent post by the WikiLeaks Twitter account which referred to the corporate media as “the narrative business pretending to be in the news business,” which is in my opinion a perfect way to phrase it. The real currency of the world is not gold, nor is it bureaucratic fiat, nor even raw military force; it’s narrative control. The ability to control the stories people tell about what’s going on in their world means the ability to control how they think, how they vote, how they behave, and how they all agree money and power itself operates within our society. Since society is made of narrative, controlling the narrative is controlling that society.

Conspiracy theories are a way for those in power to manipulate the narrative without actually giving the public any hard facts and evidence, and the world’s most powerful institutions are increasingly relying on conspiracy theories because they don’t have facts and evidence on their side. And why would they? The same power establishment which deceived the world into destroying Iraq is obviously far too depraved to be able to justify its global hegemony with factual evidence. All they have is narrative control, and they’re starting to lose even that.

University of Sydney Unwilling to Tolerate Freedom of Political Expression

By Marwa Osma
Source

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Australian professor, Dr. Tim Anderson, was suspended from the University of Sydney after showing his students during a lecture a picture of an Israeli flag partially covered by a swastika accompanied by a text, which compared Israeli and Palestinian attacks and deaths.

Tim Anderson, a senior lecturer in the department of political economy, replied to the suspension saying the university has violated his right to “intellectual freedom”.

The decision by the University’s Provost Stephen Garton was without any doubt essentially motivated by Professor Anderson’s research and public statements on Syria, Iraq, and Palestine including Anderson’s carefully documented book entitled “The Dirty War on Syria”. In his book, Dr. Anderson reveals the “unspoken truth” through careful analysis concluding that the “war on terrorism” is fake and that the United States is a “state sponsor of terrorism” involved in a criminal undertaking.

The provost also reprimanded Anderson for sharing the same image online from his personal Twitter and Facebook accounts, and for making it available for download on the online learning platform Canvas. As per, he proposed that the professor’s employment be terminated.

Sydney University academics had a different opinion than that of the university’s provost though. By the afternoon of Friday, December 7, 30 academics, including several emeritus professors, had signed an open letter arguing that academic freedom was “meaningless if it is suspended when its exercise is deemed offensive.”

The university academics criticized the suspension of an academic who merely showed students material featuring the Nazi swastika imposed over Israel’s flag, saying it was a body blow to academic freedom.

It was not the first time that Dr. Tim Anderson’s solidarity with anti-imperialist states was causing controversy. Federal ministers also criticized Dr. Anderson for visiting Syria and North Korea, where he expressed solidarity with their incumbent leaders and operating governments. Amid a media barrage to try to drum up public support for US-led military attacks on Syria and North Korea, the corporate media launched an extraordinary vilification campaign against academics seeking to expose the lies behind the US cruise missile strike on Syria in the 1st week of April 2017.

When asked about the reasons behind the University of Sydney’s decision, Dr. Anderson implied that it was because of his criticism of the war propaganda in the western media including the lies that the corporate media has told at different times. There are also some Zionist lobbyists, who have also pushed to get him suspended, according to Dr. Anderson.

On his Facebook page, Dr. Tim Anderson wrote a text explaining that his suspension is the “culmination of a series of failed attempts by management to restrict” his public comments. Dr. Anderson then explained that these “petty and absurd” complaints have been ongoing for the last 18 months. Concluding that in his view, they represent an unusually aggressive regime of political censorship, in which no decent university should be involved.

What has been happening with Dr. Tim Anderson is clearly a witch-hunt and an open attack on basic democratic rights, above all free speech.

The clear logic of this suspension is that anyone who questions any aspect of the colonial states’ foreign and military policy is guilty of challenging the western mainstream narrative and should therefore be sacked.

However, academics like Dr. Tim Anderson have a responsibility to educate the public, especially in face of the constant misinformation from the West’s corporate and state media. Likewise, it is our duty as academics, journalists, and students to unconditionally defend his right, and the right of all academics, political activists, workers, and students, to oppose the drive to war and to exercise freedom of political expression whether we agree with their political views or not.

And as Dr. Anderson asked of us all in his Facebook post I ask you all again, examine the graphic below and decide for yourself whether or how this infographic might be ‘offensive’.

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