One rule for all!

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Eve Mykytyn

Any Labour Party member bold or stupid enough to make or be associated with negative statements about Israel, the Zionist politics that support Israel or who questions any piece of the present Holocaust narrative has been disciplined by the Party. Ex, See or See.

England has Jewish citizens and Israel is a British ally, these two facts somehow get conflated. Israel is a separate sovereign state, has been so for seventy years, and is likely to remain a country, and a rich and powerful one at that, for the foreseeable future. Britain’s Jewish citizens, like all Brits, have rights to protection from discrimination, hate speech and the like that derive from their British citizenship and are wholly unrelated to Israel.

England and the US are also allies. When President Trump visited England he was met by huge protests and  signs calling Trump a racist, a warmonger (in that I see little difference between Trump and other recent US presidents) dangerous and unAmerican and by large balloons portraying Trump on a toilet, in a diaper and as a penis. I’m an American, not a fan of Trump’s and it is fine with me if the British choose to protest his presence, although as far as I can tell such protests have no effect. Trump blithely misinterpreted the demonstrations as crowds greeting him, brilliantly diverting the media into a discussion about how that was not so.

Now imagine if the British held up similar signs insulting Netanyahu or Israel. Could they call Netanyahu a racist or ‘unIsraeli?’ Would anyone dare hold blimps of Netanyahu as a penis? Who would be kicked out of the Labour Party? Who would be prosecuted for hate speech or defamation?  And what would this have to do with Britain’s Jewish citizens?

Why does Britain insist that there are certain ‘rules’ for criticizing Israel, as contained in the international holocaust definition of anti Semitism (the only racism that has its own special set of rules, apparently Blacks can go it on their own)  but not for critics of Americans? Sadly, the US is close on England’s heels in implementing similar free speech penalties. Is there to be one rule for Jews and another rule for the rest of humanity?

source: https://www.evemykytyn.com/writing/the-special-rules-

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Mohammed Bin Salman Is Making Muslims Boycott Mecca

By Ahmed Twaij, Foreign Policy

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has attempted to cast Saudi Arabia in a more positive light and mask the country’s more aggressive internal and foreign policies by undertaking so-called liberal reforms. But it has not been enough to silence those who continue to draw attention to his government’s human rights abuses.

The rising death toll of civilians killed by Saudi bombs in Yemen, the horrific slaughter of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, and Riyadh’s aggressive approach to Iran have led some of Saudi Arabia’s Sunni allies to reconsider their unwavering support for the kingdom.

In late April, Libya’s most prominent Muslim Sunni cleric, Grand Mufti Sadiq al-Ghariani, called for all Muslims to boycott the hajj – the obligatory pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca.

He went so far as to claim that anyone who embarked on a second pilgrimage was conducting “an act of sin rather than a good deed.” The reasoning behind the boycott is the suggestion that boosting Saudi Arabia’s economy through pilgrimage continues to fuel arms purchases and direct attacks on Yemen – and indirectly Syria, Libya, Tunisia, Sudan, and Algeria. Ghariani added that investment in the hajj would “help Saudi rulers to carry out crimes against our fellow Muslims.”

Ghariani is not the first prominent Muslim scholar to support a ban on the hajj. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, also a Sunni cleric and vocal critic of Saudi Arabia, announced a fatwa in August last year banning the pilgrimage, instead stating, “Seeing Muslims feeding the hungry, treating the sick, and sheltering the homeless are better viewed by Allah than spending money on the hajj.”

Saudi Arabia’s influence is not merely linked to its political and military capacity but also to its historical ties to Islam. As the home of both Mecca and Medina, Islam’s two holiest sites and the location of the Kaaba and burial place of Prophet Muhammad respectively, Saudi Arabia’s influence extends far beyond its Arab neighbors but to the Muslim world in general. More than 2.3 million Muslims from all sects flock to Mecca during the annual hajj pilgrimage and many more throughout the year, making visiting Saudi Arabia an aspiration for many Muslims around the world.

This relationship with Islam has instinctively led many from the Sunni Arab world to look to the kingdom for daily guidance on religious issues. In response to Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution and fear of it cascading throughout the region, Saudi Arabia has spent millions of dollars exporting its brand of Islam through the funding of mosques around the world, many of which have been linked to … extremism in the West, as it claims to be leader of the Muslim world.

For years, Saudi Arabia has been working toward becoming a regional hegemon in the Middle East, whose claim to power, in recent years, is threatened only by Iran. As one of the world’s largest oil exporters with close ties to the United States, Saudi Arabia found itself basking in the steadfast support of many of its neighboring states for decades.

Despite mounting evidence of the royal family’s role in the “premeditated execution” of Khashoggi, the Trump administration hastily discredited any indication of Saudi involvement in the killing, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently neglecting to mention the topic when meeting with Saudi King Salman. The White House and US State Department might be willing to turn a blind eye, but fellow Muslims have not been as forgiving.

Throughout the Middle East and in other Muslim-majority nations, there has been growing concern over the slaying of Khashoggi, as well as the rising death toll in Yemen, which is expected to reach 230,000 by 2020 through the often indiscriminate airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition –which has bombed hospitals, funerals, children’s school buses, and weddings – in what has been described as the “worst man-made humanitarian crisis of our time” by UN officials. Saudi Arabia’s truculent approach to the Yemen war has isolated itself within its own coalition; even the Emirati government has shown some discomfort toward the Saudi approach.

Saudi Arabia’s atrocities have provoked persistent global condemnation, with calls for banning weapons trade with the country. Both the US House of Representatives and Senate have recently pushed back on President Donald Trump’s arms deal with Saudi Arabia, and Germany has banned such trade with the country since last October. Adding to the list, Switzerland and Italy have also moved toward banning arms trade with Saudi Arabia, and a British court recently ruled that arms deals with Saudi Arabia may have been unlawful. Ghariani has gone one step further in calling for a boycott of the country from its largest annual contingent of tourists during the hajj.

Unlike past attempts to boycott Saudi Arabia, the current effort has crossed the sectarian divide.

In 2011, Riyadh violently repressed Bahrain’s popular uprising at the request of the Bahraini government. The protests were led by Shiite Muslims, who are a majority in the Sunni-ruled country, and Iraqi activists reacted by calling for a boycott of all Saudi products. Protests across Iraq were organized and attended by Shiite clerics, academics, and politicians alike. At the time, then-Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that if the Saudi-led violence were to continue, “the region may be drawn into a sectarian war.”

Today, calls for boycotting the kingdom have spiraled and they aren’t just coming from Shiites. The hashtag #boycotthajj has been trending on Twitter, amassing nearly 16,000 tweets. Sunni clerics around the world have also called for a boycott. The Tunisian Union of Imams said in June that

“the money [from the hajj] that goes to Saudi authorities is not used to help poor Muslims around the world. Instead it is used to kill and displace people as is the case currently in Yemen.”

Given that the hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, prescribed as obligatory for all Muslims, the call for a boycott indicates the genuine, acerbic concern toward Saudi behavior. Should this trend continue, Saudi Arabia’s claim to being the spiritual home of Islam would be at risk – and it could take an economic hit, too.

Pilgrimage is vital to the Saudi economy and worth $12 billion annually, amounting to 20 percent of non-oil GDP, and is expected to rise to $150 billion by 2022, given the investment in luxury hotels by the Saudi government. Such investment has caused profits to skyrocket, pricing many poorer Muslims out of trips to the kingdom.

The calls for boycotting the hajj are not the first time the religious pilgrimage has been politicized. Saudi Arabia itself has in recent years banned both Qatari and Iranian nationals from partaking due to growing political differences between the states. Saudi officials have also abused the sanctity of the city of Mecca to promote their political ideology.

During one prayer sermon in October last year, Sheikh Abdul-Rahman al-Sudais, the imam of the Great Mosque in Mecca, stated:

“The path of reform and modernization in this blessed land … through the care and attention from its young, ambitious, divinely inspired reformer crown prince, continues to blaze forward guided by his vision of innovation and insightful modernism, despite all the failed pressures and threats,”

implying that no Muslim should be questioning the Saudi political elite.

In an effort to flex its political might, and inevitably draw attention away from the Khashoggi killing and the country’s continued leading role in the war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia organized an emergency summit in late May in Mecca to put the focus back on Iran. During the summit, which brought together in separate meetings Arab leaders, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Islamic world, Saudis called for support from Arab countries to deal with the Iran crisis by “using all means to stop the Iranian regime from interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, harboring global and regional terrorist entities, and threatening international waterways.”

In defiance, and highlighting Saudi Arabia’s waning status as the regional power, Iraq fully opposed the closing statement, which was to denounce Iran, and instead pledged a message of support toward Iran and called on other countries to help stabilize the country. At the summit in Mecca, Iraqi President Barham Salih stated: “Honestly, the security and stability of a neighboring Islamic country is in the interest of Muslim and Arab states,” referring to Iran. Similarly, during the summit, Saudi Arabia failed in getting the Organization of Islamic Cooperation – an international organization with headquarters in Jeddah – to isolate and condemn Iran.

As the death toll in Yemen rises, countries around the world are now calling for an economic, religious, and political boycott of Saudi Arabia – not just the banning of arms trade. Riyadh is running out of friends in the West, and, now, its relationships with regional allies are starting to show cracks. Should the Trump administration fail to secure a second term, Saudi Arabia may be left with few international friends and its claim to leadership of the Muslim and Arab world will be severely damaged.

Yemen’s Armed Forces Put New Missile System in Service, Set Bank of Strategic Targets

By Staff, Al-Masirah

Spokesman of Yemen’s Armed Forces, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, stated that a new missile system has been put into service by the Yemeni Army, noting that it will be announced during the opening of the exhibition of Martyr President Saleh Al-Sammad for Yemeni military industries.

“The Bank of the targets of our forces includes vital targets that may outweigh the enemy’s strategic importance in Oil facilities and pipelines,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday.

“Our forces are capable of targeting a number of targets simultaneously and with different weapons,” General Saree said. “We are monitoring mobile and non-mobile targets that can become a priority in direct and qualitative targeting.”

“You are fighting a free people that can not in any way give up their freedom and our people have offered convoys of martyrs during the battles of historic liberation,” he stressed.

Saree said that the Yemeni people will not hesitate to offer more sacrifices until Yemen becomes as it should be.

 

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U.S. Rejectionist Policy Toward Palestinian Participation, Rights

Global Research, June 25, 2019

Upon hearing the news that Palestinian diplomat Dr. Hanan Ashrawihad been denied entry to the United States on a speaking engagement, my husband wrote an e-mail to Indiana Senator Mike Braun titled, ‘Tell State Dept & Trump to give Ashrawi a visa now!’

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His letter was brief and to the point:

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Dear Senator Braun:

The State Department under President Trump is denying widely respected Palestinian leader Hanan Ashrawi a visa to visit the U.S.

Ashrawi has visited the U.S. frequently ever since she studied for her PhD here several decades ago. She has met with every Secretary of State since George Schultz and every President since President George Bush Senior.

Ashrawi has been critical of the Trump administration.

US law does not authorize the refusal of visas based solely on political statements or views. A State Department spokesman says: ‘Visas may be denied only on grounds set out in US law.’

Tell Trump to stop denying her a visa!

Sincerely,

J. Merriman

It took Senator Braun over a month to respond. His e-mail reads, in part:

“In May of 2019, Hanan Ashrawi claimed she was denied a visa to the United States. Visas cannot be denied based on political statements but may be denied only on grounds established by U.S. law.” (Bolded text mine)

We understood his response to mean that Dr. Hanan Ashrawi was lying about the reasons for the U.S. denying her a visa, and that means she must be in violation of some U.S. law.

Here is a news item that includes what Dr. Hanan Ashrawi herself has to say about the matter:

The US denies PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi a visa. She says this represents the overall denigration of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Watch the full discussion:

Senator Braun’s allusion to “grounds established by U.S. law” made me wonder about relevant laws. I asked my niece, a human rights attorney practicing in Chicago, who sent me the following information:

The State Department says,

“If denied a visa, in most cases the applicant is notified of the section of law which applies.” Since Dr. Ashrawi was apparently not provided a reason, we are forced to speculate.

My own speculation goes along the following lines:  Could it be the State Department has labeled Dr. Ashrawi a “terrorist supporter” based on the Immigration and Nationality Act, which states:

(IV) is a representative (as defined in clause (v)) of — (bb) a political, social, or other group that endorses or espouses terrorist activity;

That can’t possibly be true — despite the New York based Zionist journal The Algemeiner’s blaring in a headline that ‘MESA Demands US Welcome Palestinian Terror Apologist Hanan Ashrawi.’

Dr Ashrawi, founder of the Independent Commission for Human Rights and the recipient of numerous awards from all over the world, including the distinguished French decoration, “d’Officier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur”, is not politically affiliated with the Palestinian group the U.S. has labeled terrorist (Hamas), and the Trump administration has yet to declare the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terror groups.

Another, more likely, reason for exclusion according to the Immigration and Nationality Act is:

© Foreign policy. — (i) In general. — An alien whose entry or proposed activities in the United States the Secretary of State has reasonable ground to believe would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States is inadmissible.

But how can Dr Ashrawi represent “serious adverse policy consequences” to U.S. foreign policy? Well, only if you understand the United States’ role in brokering a peace between Israel and the Palestinians to be so skewed in Israel’s favor, that it is reasonable for the State Department to prevent a well-spoken Palestinian representative from entering the United States and presenting the Palestinian cause to the American public.

And that is, indeed, the case. The U.S. has always been a “dishonest broker” when it came to its role in Israel/Palestine, as Naseer H. Aruri amply demonstrates in his 2003 book of that title.

Aruri writes:

Consequently, they have prolonged the occupation and obstructed the opportunity for peace with justice — the only peace that can promise an enduring coexistence between [Palestinian] Arabs and [Israeli] Jews, and the only peace capable of transforming the political landscape of the Middle East from a perpetual battleground to a terrain of dignity, reciprocity, mutuality, freedom, and self-determination.

What’s more, the Immigration and Nationality Act cites other provisions for exclusion from the United States that, in fact, apply to the Israeli government, and by extension, to its diplomatic corps, rather than to the Palestinian Authority or the PLO — and by extension to Dr. Ashrawi:

(E) PARTICIPANTS IN NAZI PERSECUTION, GENOCIDE, OR THE COMMISSION OF ANY ACT OF TORTURE OR EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLING

(iii) COMMISSION OF ACTS OF TORTURE OR EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS- Any alien who, outside the United States, has committed, ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the commission of —
(I) any act of torture, as defined in section 2340 of title 18, United States Code; or
(II) under color of law of any foreign nation, any extrajudicial killing, as defined in section 3(a) of the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991 (28 U.S.C. 1350 note), is inadmissible.

Genocide, acts of torture against Palestinian children as well as adults, and extrajudicial killings have all been documented against Israel. And yet, an Israeli prime minister is invited to address a joint meeting of Congress.

The outrageous attack on Palestinian freedom of expression that the United States has exercised in this case is only the latest assault on Palestinian rights carried out by the U.S. government — as well as by other similarly-minded governments — for example, in Germany, as Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network , an international network of organizers and activists working to build solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in their struggle for freedom, documents:

The repression of Palestinian rights advocacy in Germany continued last night, Saturday, 22 June, as Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat was banned by the Berlin authorities from delivering a speech on the so-called “deal of the century” spearheaded by Donald Trump and the Arab and Palestinian response. He was also banned from engaging in all political activities and events in Germany until 31 July, whether directly (in-person) or “indirectly” (over video.) This outrageous attack on freedom of expression is only the latest assault on Palestinian rights carried out by the German government.

The U.S. Department of State ought to be working closely with Palestinian leaders, legislators, activists, writers and scholars in order to fashion its foreign policy on Israel/Palestine. Instead, it is forcing “normalization” on Arab states without Palestine, something that will never, ever lead to justice and peace. The denial of a visa to Dr. Hanan Ashrawi simply highlights the outright U.S. rejectionist policy toward Palestinian participation and Palestinian rights.

By shutting down the much-needed debate on Zionist history and the nature of the Zionist state, the U.S. government and its allies continue to impose a Western imperial project on the Middle East.

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Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank. She is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Selling Arms to The Saudis Was Always Immoral. Now It Is Unlawful, Too

Source

By Andrew Smith, The Guardian

For four years, the people of Yemen have endured a Saudi Arabian-led bombing campaign. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the bombardment, with many more injured or displaced. The assault has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with more than 50,000 children dying of preventable causes. A recent UN report warned that if things continue as they are then by the end of this year 250,000 people will have died as a result of the war.

This is a war that has been armed and supported every step of the way by the UK government, which has licensed over £5bn of military aircraft and bomb sales to Saudi Arabia since the war began. In a damning court of appeal verdict this morning, which followed a case brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade, the master of the rolls, Sir Terence Etherton, Lord Justice Irwin and Lord Justice Singh concluded that the export licensing decisions were “irrational and therefore unlawful”.

Successive British governments have been far more interested in arms export promotion and industry profits than in the rights and lives of Yemeni people. No matter how desperate and appalling the situation has become, the daily atrocities have done nothing to stop the drive for ever-greater arms sales.

On the fourth anniversary of the war, the foreign secretary, and Tory leadership hopeful, Jeremy Hunt, claimed it would be “morally bankrupt” to stop selling arms to the Saudi regime. That same day, Saudi-led forces bombed a hospital killing eight people. Hunt’s wording was particularly crass, but he was following the same disgraceful policies as his predecessor, and Tory rival, Boris Johnson, who in 2016 signed off on new bomb sales only two days after Saudi forces destroyed a food factory, killing 12 people.

The assault on the factory was not an isolated event. Since the war began, weddings, funerals and school bus trips have all been turned into massacres. Schools, hospitals, homes and even a refugee camp have been bombed. The EU and national arms export licensing criteria, which govern UK arms exports, are very clear in saying that if there is a “clear risk” that a weapon “might” be used in a serious breach of international humanitarian law [IHL] then an arms sale should not go ahead. Despite repeated reports from reputable sources that Saudi-led forces have been responsible for consistent and serious IHL breaches, the government continued to offer its uncritical political and military support for the war.

Many of the killings have been painstakingly documented by organizations such as Mwatana for Human Rights, a Yemeni organization that this year published an exceptionally detailed report that linked UK-made bombs to specific attacks on civilian targets. The evidence of war crimes has been overwhelming, but the government has refused to listen.

This morning’s result is unprecedented, and will have international repercussions, but it is a case that should never have needed to be brought. It should not take a legal case brought by campaigners to force the government to follow its own rules. What must happen now is an immediate revocation of all arms sales to Saudi-led forces for use in Yemen, and an end to UK support for the war in Yemen. The human cost of this war is abhorrent, and it has been made immeasurably worse by decisions made by the UK government. Saudi-led forces have carried out the bombing, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the complicity and support of arms-dealing governments such as Britain’s.

This case proves that the government’s priority is arms export promotion, not arms export control. How can a government violate its own laws and arm one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world while it inflicts a catastrophic humanitarian crisis on another state? There has always been a moral imperative to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia, now there is a legal imperative as well. The court has done its job, now it’s time for the government to do the same.

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US Senators Look to Force 22 Votes Blocking Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

By Staff- NYT

A group of senators will try to force nearly two dozen votes rebuking the Trump administration’s decision to declare a national emergency to circumvent Congress and sell billions of dollars of munitions to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The legislation, led by Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Trump ally and once a staunch defender of the kingdom, underscores lawmakers’ fury at the administration’s support for the Saudis after the killing of the dissident Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. And it could grind business in the Senate to a crawl while allowing rare public criticism of Trump’s administration from members of his own party.

Trump circumvented Congress late last month by declaring an emergency over Iran and moving forward with arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan that had been blocked by Congress since last year, a decision that immediately drew criticism from lawmakers, who are also furious over the civilian death toll from the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen.

“We will not stand idly by and allow the president or the secretary of state to further erode congressional review and oversight of arm sales,” Menendez said in a statement. Referring to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he added: “Regrettably, Secretary Pompeo’s abuse of this emergency authority has broken the arms sales process. The best thing the secretary of state can do right now is withdraw his emergency certification, immediately submit these sales for the normal congressional review and engage with senators to address our concerns.”

The coalition of senators is hoping to leverage a provision in the Arms Export Control Act that allows lawmakers to introduce what is known as a privileged joint resolution of disapproval against a proposed sale of arms, in essence forcing a debate and a vote. Their plan is to introduce 22 such resolutions, one for each proposed arms sale. A simple majority of lawmakers would need to vote to allow the debate to proceed — and if the measures advanced, the group of senators could monopolize hours of floor time as soon as mid-June.

Winning such support from Republican lawmakers is not out of the question. Members of Congress from both parties were livid early this year when the White House missed a congressional deadline to submit a report detailing whether the administration found Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally responsible for Khashoggi’s death.

And the Senate voted 54 to 46 in March to end American military assistance for the kingdom’s war in Yemen and to curtail presidential war powers, with seven Republican senators breaking ranks to join the resolution and the Democratic conference united in support.

To actually block the arms sales, however, backers of the resolutions would almost certainly need a veto-proof majority, and whether the measures could muster that is another question.

Five other lawmakers joined Menendez in his drive, including three Republicans: Senator Todd Young of Indiana, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Graham. Graham said in a statement that he expected “strong bipartisan support” for the resolutions.

“While I understand that Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally, the behavior of Mohammed bin Salman cannot be ignored. Now is not the time to do business as usual with Saudi Arabia,” Graham said. “I am also very concerned about the precedent these arms sales would set by having the administration go around legitimate concerns of the Congress.”

Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, who first warned of the arms sales and is a sponsor of the legislation, said that “the US-Saudi relationship needs to change, and it’s clear that only Congress can make that happen.”

New outrage emerged Tuesday, when Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, a Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, disclosed that the Energy Department had approved nuclear technology transfers to the kingdom on two occasions after Khashoggi’s killing in October in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul — including one approved two weeks after his death.

Lawmakers had repeatedly pressed cabinet officials on whether the administration had approved transfers of nuclear expertise from American companies to Saudi Arabia, but it took months for them to receive an answer.

“The alarming realization that the Trump administration signed off on sharing our nuclear know-how with the Saudi regime after it brutally murdered an American resident adds to a disturbing pattern of behavior,” Kaine said in a statement. “President Trump’s eagerness to give the Saudis anything they want, over bipartisan congressional objection, harms American national security interests.”

 

Gilad Atzmon on The Public Space

June 01, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

I discussed with Jean-Francois Gariépy a wide range of issues to do with Israel, Jewish ID Politics, Nationalism and Race. Though JF and myself disagree on some fundamental matters, this one hour discussion is fascinating, enlightening and most important, open and tolerant.

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