The Hawks Who Want War With Iran Are Working Overtime

Iran Israel JCPOA

April 15th, 2021

By Ariel Gold & Medea Benjamin

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Israeli leaders, Christian fundamentalists, and hawkish Washington neocons are doing everything in their power to block a peaceful US return to the JCPOA.

WASHINGTON (Jacobin) — Just as talks between the United States and Iran were taking place last week in Vienna, a cyberattack was carried out on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. Reports are that the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, was behind the attack that blacked out the facility just one day after Tehran launched new advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges, and as US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was in Israel speaking about the United States’ “enduring and ironclad” commitment to the Jewish state.

This is the latest in a series of Israeli attacks on Iran designed to scuttle negotiations. Last summer, a number of explosions attributed to Israel broke out across Iran, including a fire at the Natanz site. These took place while US elections were in full swing and Biden was promising that if elected, he would return the United States to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) that Trump withdrew from in 2018. In November 2020, Israeli operatives assassinated Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran’s top nuclear scientist in the city of Absard outside Tehran. Had Iran responded, the United States might have been dragged into an all-out war.

Israeli officials have also directly lobbied the US Congress to quash the deal. In 2015, Netanyahu traveled to Washington, DC in 2015 to address a joint session of Congress in an attempt to uncut Obama’s original negotiations. This time, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen will be traveling to Washington to meet with top White House and US intelligence officials, and he hopes with Biden directly, to convince the administration that Iran has been concealing details about its nuclear program and therefore can’t be trusted. This is indeed ironic coming from a country that, unlike Iran, actually has nuclear weapons and refuses to disclose any information about its program.

Like Israel, the powerful US lobby American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is trying to convince Biden not to go back into the JCPOA. Last month, they organized bipartisan letters in the House and Senate, urging the Biden administration to insist on an expanded deal that included missiles, human rights, and Iran’s activities in the region. Since Tehran has been clear that an expanded or amended deal is a nonstarter, such “advice” was an attempt to quash talks.

The neoconservative think tank Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), which worked inside the Trump administration during and after Trump pulled out of the JCPOA, has been relentlessly pushing for war with Iran. After the United States recklessly assassinated Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, FDD CEO Mark Dubowitz gloatedtweeting that the death of Soleimani was “more consequential than the killing of [Osama] #BinLaden”; and on April 11, the same day as the Natanz blackout, former CIA officer and FDD fellow Reuel Marc Gerecht, speaking on CNN, voiced disappointment that Trump hadn’t taken the United States and Iran into an all-out war.

Another group against a deal with Iran is Christians United for Israel (CUFI), one of the most powerful pro-Israel voices in the United States. In March 2021, CUFI urged the Senate not to confirm Colin Kahl for a top policy position at the Pentagon, claiming, “Kahl is a serial Iran appeaser” who “helped advance the disastrous Iran nuclear accord.” In response to the blackout at Natanz, they cheered Netanyahu, tweeting “‘Battling Iran is a colossal mission,’ Netanyahu says following blackout at Iranian nuclear plant.”

The People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, which the United States had previously designated as a terrorist organization and is known for assassinations and bombings it has carried out, is virulently opposed to US-Iran diplomacy. In March 2021, a number of US Senators attended a virtual event organized by the MEK-aligned Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC) calling for continued US sanctions and “bringing down the regime.” Senator Bob Menendez, the powerful chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was among several Democrats in attendance.

The opponents of the Iran deal are trying to keep in place the draconian wall of sanctions that the Trump administration imposed precisely to make it more difficult for a future US administration to rejoin the JCPOA. But these sanctions are causing immense suffering for ordinary Iranians, including runaway inflation and skyrocketing food and medicine prices. According to the UN, they contributed to the government’s “inadequate and opaque” response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit Iran particularly hard.

While “successful” in inflicting harm on the Iranian people, the sanctions have failed to broaden the terms of the talks, led the nation to increase its uranium enrichment, negatively impacted the human rights situation, and put the United States and Iran on the brink of an all-out war on multiple occasions.

That’s why so many people in Iran, and those who care about them, have been encouraged by this new round of diplomatic engagement. But Israel, AIPAC, CUFI, FDD, MEK, Menendez, and the like are probably instead hoping that Iran carries out the revenge that Iranian officials have called for in response to the Natanz blackout. But as the saboteurs of diplomacy hope for a violent escalation, let’s keep in mind — and hope Iran agrees — that the best revenge would be a revived JCPOA.

What Just Happened In Jordan?

By Andrew Korybko

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What Just Happened In Jordan?

Last weekend’s arrest of several prominent people in Jordan, including the unofficial house arrest of former Crown Prince Hamzah, on suspicion of conspiring to destabilize the country in possible coordination with foreign intelligence agencies is more than likely a preemptive security operation aimed at thwarting a latent threat and not an urgent response to what some have feared was an imminent regime change attempt.

An Unexpected Conspiracy In The Heshemite Kingdom

Jordan is one of those few countries that’s friends with everyone and enemies with no one, which is why the world paid attention last weekend after the arrest of several prominent people on suspicion of conspiring to destabilize the country in possible coordination with foreign intelligence agencies. This included the unofficial house arrest of former Crown Prince Hamzah, who subsequently released footage of himself condemning alleged corruption in the monarchy that he claimed was responsible for worsening his citizens’ living standards, after which he pledged loyalty to King Abdullah II to de-escalate the crisis (presumably while under pressure). Former Crown Prince Hamzah had also reportedly met with some tribal leaders who’ve purportedly been unhappy with the stagnant – if not, according to some accounts, gradually deteriorating – socio-economic situation in the Kingdom. Amman has since banned all coverage of this palace scandal on traditional and social media in an attempt to quell the uncertainty that it provoked in this so-called “oasis of regional stability”.

A Saudi, “Israeli”, Or Joint Saudi-”Israeli” Coup Attempt?

These fast-moving developments prompted a lot of speculation about what might really be going on behind the scenes, especially concerning the possible role of foreign intelligence agencies. It can’t be known for sure, but it doesn’t seem like there was any imminent regime change attempt that was thwarted at the last possible minute by the security services. Rather, it appears to be the case that the government staged a preemptive security operation after finally obtaining enough indisputable evidence that something foul was afoot, hoping to nip this latent threat in the bud long before it blooms. Some have suggested that the connections that two of the detained individuals have with Saudi Arabia hints at Riyadh’s covert involvement in recent events. Others, meanwhile, saw a hidden “Israeli” hand behind everything due to the Mossad ties that the businessman who reportedly offered to fly former Crown Prince Hamzah out of the country is alleged to have. It’s unlikely, however, that those secretly allied governments played any significant role in what just happened in Jordan.

Interpreting The Reported Foreign Intelligence Connections

It’s an open secret that foreign intelligence agencies, especially those based and/or active in the Mideast, cultivate a broad network of agents, informants, and “useful idiots”. Neither Saudi Arabia nor “Israel” have any serious problems with Jordan that can’t be amicably resolved, and therefore wouldn’t benefit from a destabilizing regime change in the neighboring kingdom between them. It’s therefore likely the case that while both of their intelligence agencies probably at least have some indirect presence close to the Jordanian royal family, they each lack the strategic motivation whether unilaterally or jointly with one another to overthrow King Abdullah II. In all likelihood, they might have been aware of former Crown Prince Hamzah’s recent meetings with increasingly unhappy tribal leaders and perhaps even his speculative resentment at being passed over for the throne by the current King in favor of the latter’s son in 2004, but it’s doubtful that they sought to operationalize this in any way. They likely only observed and monitored it, that’s all.

A Possible Disruption To The “Phased Leadership Transition”?

This brings the analysis around to discussing the domestic situation in Jordan. Many people are reportedly unhappy with everything there, and have allegedly been so for quite a while already, but the majority of the population is also loyal to the royal family and doesn’t seem to harbor any serious aspirations of replacing it with a republican form of government or any other. Like all monarchies, Jordan will inevitably undergo a “phased leadership transition” one way or another when power is transferred from the current King to his successor at some point in the future, but it’s here where the security services might have feared that a speculatively resentful former Crown Prince Hamzah might try to make a last-ditch move in an attempt to reassert what he and his unclear network of supporters (likely a combination of civil society elements, tribal leaders, and perhaps even some members of the royal family) believe is his rightful claim to the throne. They therefore probably acted preemptively in order to thwart that scenario before it had a chance to materialize.

Concluding Thoughts

As it stands, Jordan’s stability doesn’t seem threatened. Palace intrigue is normal in any monarchy, just like intrigue between members of a democracy’s permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) is too, but it was nevertheless unexpected that something so dramatic took place in Jordan last weekend since few thought that such intrigue had became so intense to warrant such a high-profile security response. At the very least, former Crown Prince Hamzah’s reported closeness with increasingly frustrated but also supposedly influential tribal leaders was a cause of serious concern for the Kingdom’s security services since they feared that it represented a latent regime change threat which might materialize in the midst of the inevitable “phased leadership transition” from King Abdullah II to his son sometime in the future. There might even be a bit more to it than just that, but it’s extremely unlikely that any such speculation will ever be confirmed. For now, King Abdullah II doesn’t seem to have anything to worry about except for the economy.

Rethinking Israel’s Blank Check in Light of Palestinian Teen’s Death with US Weapon

Ali Abu Aliya
As Americans become increasingly critical of the Israeli government, foreign assistance is put under a new microscope.
by Jessica Buxbaum

By Jessica Buxbaum

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JERUSALEM — Last year, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian teenager with an American gun. Now human rights organizations, activists, and politicians are calling on the United States to investigate the killing and stop the flow of military support to Israel.

On Dec. 4, 2020, Israeli forces fatally shot Ali Abu Aliya in the stomach while he was watching a protest against the establishment of a new settlement in the West Bank. It was his fifteenth birthday. According to Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), Aliya wasn’t participating in the demonstration and did not pose a threat to Israeli soldiers.

“Under international law, intentional lethal force is only justified in circumstances where a direct threat to life or of serious injury is present,” DCIP said. “However, investigations and evidence collected by DCIP regularly suggest that Israeli forces use lethal force against Palestinian children in circumstances that do not appear to be warranted and may amount to extrajudicial or [willful] killings.”

Aliya’s death drew international condemnation and prompted the Israeli military police to launch a criminal investigation. In the U.S., calls are growing for President Joe Biden’s administration to investigate Aliya’s killing, given that he was shot with a weapon made on American soil.

American dollars fueling human rights abuses

Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. foreign assistance, acquiring an estimated $3.8 billion annually in aid. Roughly $800 million of the funds is dedicated to purchasing weaponry from inside Israel. In addition to American dollars maintaining Israel’s occupation of Palestine, American weapons are also being used in the deadly violence against Palestinians.

Aliya was shot with a Ruger rifle, a gun manufactured in the U.S. by Connecticut-based Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. This isn’t the first instance of the Ruger firearm being used by the Israel Defense Forces. The Ruger 10/22, the semiautomatic sniper rifle that killed Aliya, has been used by Israeli forces as far back as 1987 during the First Intifada (Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation). Despite Sturm, Ruger & Co.’s code of ethics, the company has a distribution partnership with Israel.

The Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 contain provisions barring the sale of American weaponry to countries engaging in gross violations of human rights. And under the nation’s Leahy Law, the U.S. government is prohibited from providing assistance to foreign security forces committing human rights violations, such as extrajudicial killing.

With these laws in mind, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) — along with 29 human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International USA, and DCIP — sent a letter to the State Department urging the agency investigate Aliya’s death “as a possible case of extrajudicial killing that is subject to sanctions under the Leahy Law.”

“The United States is obligated to investigate whether our tax dollars have contributed to gross violations of human rights,” AMP’s advocacy director, Raed Jarrar, told MintPress News. “Every year around 1,000 foreign units will get suspended,” Jarrar said. “It’s a very strong system that works very well in other parts of the world, but it has not been implemented a single time in Israel.”

The State Department responded to AMP’s letter addressing military training in the U.S. but not the larger issue of the U.S.’s yearly, billion-dollar military aid package to Israel. Currently, AMP is drafting a coalition response to the State Department. “What we are trying to do now is to say ‘enough is enough,’” Jarrar said. “It is time to hold Israel and all other foreign countries accountable. It’s time to hold all countries to the same standard.”

For Jarrar, the Biden administration’s decision on whether to follow through with the AMP letter’s requests is not just a matter of morality but a matter of law. “If the Biden administration chooses to break U.S. law and continue to equip and arm foreign units accused of gross violations of human rights, that will not only be a political issue, it’ll also be a legal violation,” Jarrar said.

A new administration, a new congress: greater accountability?

Human rights organizations aren’t the only ones pushing for an end to military support to Israel in light of Aliya’s killing. Just a few days after Aliya’s death, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) entered a statement into the Congressional Record, calling on the then “incoming administration of President-Elect Biden to investigate Israel’s killing of Ali Abu Aalya, as well as Israel’s ongoing pattern of using state sponsored military violence against Palestinian children.” McCollum explained:

 Members of Congress and the American people deserve to know whether U.S. taxpayer funding to Israel’s Ministry of Defense is being used directly or indirectly to facilitate or enable violence against Palestinian children. Committing human rights abuses with impunity and with U.S. taxpayer aid is intolerable and there must be accountability on the part of the U.S. Government.”

McCollum introduced a bill in 2019 and a bill in 2020, both of which focus on U.S. military funding to Israel. Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act bars foreign funds from being used for the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of children. The bill currently has 24 cosponsors. The Israeli Annexation Non-Recognition Act, currently with 11 cosponsors, bans certain funds from supporting activities in West Bank areas annexed by Israel and activities facilitating annexation.

Grassroots activists are pressuring congressional leaders to stop the flow of American weapons to Israel. The US Campaign for Palestinian Rights launched a call to action demanding Congress hold Israel accountable and cease arms sales. And, on a more local level, Massachusetts Peace Action released a similar direct-action initiative for Massachusetts residents to urge their representatives to support the aforementioned bills.

The U.S. has been a great ally to Israel since the state’s inception, with some experts even arguing that Israel can’t survive without American financial support. But as Americans become increasingly critical of the Israeli government, foreign assistance is put under a microscope.

Recent polls have shown that Americans—particularly Democrats, Millennials, and Gen-Z’ers—believe Israel has too much influence on American politics and support conditioning aid to Israel. This public shift is reflected in congressional support. “There’s been a really magnificent movement in Congress in the last two years.” AMP’s Jarrar said, continuing:

When I moved to Washington, D.C. 15 years ago, we used to have four or five members of Congress willing to step outside of the pro-Israel, hardcore line. And now sometimes we have 50 or 60 members of Congress who sign on to letters demanding accountability and justice in Israel and Palestine. So, the tide is definitely shifting and this administration feels the heat from Congress and change will come.”

Whether it’s Rep. McCollum, “the squad,” or Sen. Bernie Sanders, more and more of Congress’ progressive wing is speaking out against Israel’s actions. The majority of Americans and Congress are still largely supportive of Israel, but voices from the pro-Palestinian camp are getting louder.

With a slew of domestic problems spurred by the coronavirus, Americans want greater transparency when it comes to how their tax dollars are spent. And they appear less willing to tolerate their government’s complicity in human rights abuses in foreign nations.

“Public opinion has been shifting not only on Israel, but on the idea that the United States government can give its allies a blank check,” Jarrar said. “There’s a clear movement saying our government has to stop contributing to human rights abuses abroad. And Israel is no exception to that.”

Israel: How a Trifecta of Court Cases Could Cement King Bibi’s 12-Year Reign

Image result for Israel: How a Trifecta of Court Cases Could Cement King Bibi’s 12-Year Reign

By Miko Peled

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Three separate court cases have converged in Israel to provide Netanyahu the cover he needs to maintain power amid an endless stream of controversies.

Three judicial matters have been in Israeli headlines recently, all of them very serious in nature and all likely to serve Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the upcoming Israeli elections.

The first is the indicted prime minister’s court hearing in early February regarding his ongoing corruption case. The second is that the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that the territories Israel occupied in 1967 are within its jurisdiction, meaning that many Israelis may well be the subject of war-crimes investigations. The third is an Israeli court ruling from January 2021 banning the 2003 film “Jenin, Jenin,” made by Palestinian actor and director Mohammad Bakri. The film documents the atrocities committed by IDF forces in the Jenin refugee camp in the spring of 2002. All three are likely to raise serious concerns among the highest echelons of the Israeli government.

Yet even as these court cases loom over him, his government, and the Israeli military, and with national elections rapidly approaching, for Netanyahu these crises present opportunity. Taking the familiar pages from the Trump playbook, Netanyahu can turn every accusation of corruption into an attack by liberals, any claims of war crimes, or even misconduct by Israeli forces, into an attack on all Jews by antisemitic forces. Only in Netanyahu’s Israel could so many problems be a blessing.

Indeed, Netanyahu and his supporters claim that the corruption charges against him represent persecution of the prime minister by the liberal press and a biased judicial system. He is leading the charge to attack the ICC and has already stated that its decision is antisemitism raising its ugly head again. As for “Jenin, Jenin,” it is being universally condemned in Israel and is characterized as libelous and totally false.

When you are Benjamin Netanyahu, the best card player in the casino of Israeli politics — when you are the one who knows how to play everyone else in the room, possessing decades of experience — there’s nothing better than a good crisis. It helps to rally people around you. As a matter of fact, dealing with crises is what Netanyahu does best.

Indictment? No problem!

According to the Times of Israel, because Netanyahu’s corruption case has been in the news cycle for close to five years already, “[a]ny political fallout is already baked into the views, poll responses, and voting calculations on all sides.” In other words, nobody cares, and the election results will not be affected in any significant way.

Furthermore, the Times states that many of Netanyahu’s supporters “agree with Netanyahu that he is being unfairly targeted by a politicized prosecution.” Those who feel that the accusations of corruption against him have merit argue that “the advantages he brings as a leader far outstrip any possible malfeasance claimed in the indictment.” In fact, polls quoted in the Times show that “up to 54 percent of Israelis think he’s the best prime ministerial candidate.”

a politicized prosecution.” Those who feel that the accusations of corruption against him have merit argue that “the advantages he brings as a leader far outstrip any possible malfeasance claimed in the indictment.” In fact, polls quoted in the Times show that “up to 54 percent of Israelis think he’s the best prime ministerial candidate.”

Making a deal with the devil

When no crisis is available, Netanyahu creates his own. Tensions along the border with Syria, a threat from Iran, or an impending War on Gaza are the usual favorites and work very well.

In recent days Netanyahu and his Likud Party signed an agreement with the most right-wing elements in the Zionist political spectrum. The worst neo-fascist religious fanatics within Israel have always been his natural allies and he has now come to an official agreement with them on a vote-sharing deal called “surplus votes.” Under the agreement, “Likud promised that Netanyahu would include Religious Zionism MKs ‘in any government he forms.’” That means that after Knesset votes are counted and applied towards seats in the Israeli Parliament, any leftover votes must be shared with Israel’s militant, right-wing religious fanatics.

Surplus vote-sharing agreements are widely used in Israeli elections and allow parties to ensure that extra votes do not go to waste. Instead, the parties utilize them through special agreements with other parties.

While the vote-sharing agreement has irked many in the center and what is sometimes referred to as the center-left of Israeli politics, it shows once again that Netanyahu calls the shots as he sees fit. If other members of the Knesset and even of his own party are unhappy, well then, they are welcome to go elsewhere. However, with nowhere else to go, year after year and election after election, not only do members of his party come running to him, members of the other parties do too.

The parties with which Netanyahu’s Likud signed the vote-sharing agreement include the far-right Religious Zionism Party and the openly racist “Otzma Yehudit,” or Jewish Might. Members of these parties support an ideology that includes expelling Palestinians who refuse to declare loyalty to Israel and accept diminished status in an expanded Jewish state. Some party members also support LGBT conversion therapy. These fanatic religious-Zionist parties represent armed gangs that openly terrorize Palestinians across the country.

The International Criminal Court ruling

After lengthy deliberations that led to a landmark decision, the International Criminal Court ruled that it has jurisdiction over war crimes committed by Israel in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. This ruling opens the door to possible criminal charges against Israeli military personnel and potentially even against government officials.

Netanyahu called the international tribunal’s decision “pure antisemitism,” a meritless claim he failed to explain. The ruling addresses specific incidents in which the Israeli military was involved and has absolutely nothing to do with Jewish people.

After nearly 20 years, court ruling bans Jenin Jenin

Israel’s Central District Court has banned the screening of the 2003 documentary film “Jenin Jenin” and ordered the confiscation of all copies of the film in the country. In addition, the court ordered the film’s director, Mohammed Bakri, to pay Lt. Col. Nissim Magnagi, one of the reservist officers who was allegedly present during the assault on the Jenin refugee camp and was shown for a brief moment in the film, 175,000 shekels in damages on top of 50,000 shekels in legal expenses.

One has to question the merits of banning a film in 2021 when it was made in 2003. There are no public screenings of the film and the only viewers that watch it do so online — and that of course cannot be banned. The fine, however, is a blow and it has yet to be seen what will happen when the decision reaches a higher court for appeal.

Of the three judicial issues stated here, only one pertains to Netanyahu and is likely to have little or no effect on his chances to win the elections. The other two only confirm what the Israeli electorate already believes, that the International Criminal Court is antisemitic and that a film made by a Palestinian showing Israeli military crimes must be a vicious, libelous lie, and the common wisdom is that Netanyahu knows better than anyone how to deal with the anti-Semites.

The Israeli electorate is used to both crises and to the controversy surrounding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The results of the next election, just like the results of the three previous ones, are almost guaranteed to go in his favor.

Jon Ossoff Victory Proves That the Israel Lobby Still Has an Iron Grip on Democrats

Jon Ossoff Israel Lobby Feature photo

by Jessica Buxhaum

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An analysis by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs shows the pro-Israel lobby contributes significantly more money to Democrats than Republicans. And those campaign funds appear to be doing their job.

Jerusalem — Jon Ossoff’s historic win was presented as defying America’s far-right. His election to office helped flip the Senate blue and after six long years, changed Mitch McConnell’s title from majority to minority leader. He defeated Donald Trump ally Sen. David Perdue by teaming up with a Black reverend associated with the late civil rights icon, Rep. John Lewis. And he was the first Jew to win a Georgia Senate seat while a racist, anti-Semitic mob raided the U.S. Capitol.

Despite these progressive feats, Ossoff’s political experience and campaign donations reveal he’s more aligned with the Democratic establishment than meets the eye.

Ossoff’s undeniable love affair with the Israel lobby

Ossoff was one of the pro-Israel lobby’s top donation recipients for the 2019-2020 campaign cycle, ranking at number four with a total of $607,915. J Street, the Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI), New Israel Fund, and the Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs (JACPAC) all funded his campaign. Out of the Israel lobbying groups, JACPAC handed Ossoff the most money with a sum of $12,250. Pro-Israel groups J Street, DMFI, and the Jewish Democratic Council for America endorsed him as well.

Before becoming a senator, Ossoff didn’t have many political credentials to his name. According to The Forward, he handled foreign policy issues as a congressional aide for Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson. In the role, he “work[ed] on legislation improving military funding for Israel and mandating tougher inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities.”

While he supports the Iran Deal and opposes Israeli annexation of the West Bank, the senator has openly embraced Zionist views. He is opposed to the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, has supported Israeli attacks on Gaza, commended Israel’s normalization agreements with Arab countries, and supports a two-state solution. A two-state solution is a longtime Democratic Party position, but progressive public support for it is diminishing with the growing momentum for the One Democratic State Campaign.

Foreign policy wasn’t a large section of Ossoff’s campaign platform. As a state senate hopeful upholding a “Black-Jewish alliance,” he focused more on domestic race relations than geopolitics. However, Ossoff’s campaign did publish a document outlining his stance on Israel. In it, he pledged unwavering support for the state, specifically lauding his commitment to Israel’s security and his opposition to BDS as well as any legislation permitting the U.S. to divest from Israel.

Ossoff-Israel-PaperOssoff-Israel-Paper

“Israel’s security requires the Israel Defense Forces to maintain a Qualitative Military Edge (QME) in the region. U.S. foreign assistance ensures that Israel has the military and intelligence capabilities necessary to maintain that QME, to defend itself against missile and rocket threats, and to prevent terrorist attacks within Israel,” the statement read.

“In the Senate, I will push for strong, mutually beneficial, and mutually respectful U.S.-Israel relations, whose strength can sustain Congressional support for the appropriation of U.S. foreign assistance vital to Israel’s security,” Ossoff said.

This excerpt suggests Ossoff supports continuing U.S. military aid to Israel—an issue that received nationwide condemnation after Congress voted to give $600 to Americans amid a pandemic-spurred recession yet handed $500 million in aid to Israel.

In addition to the pro-Israel endorsements Ossoff snagged, he often touts his connections to pro-Israel politicians. His June, 2020 position paper cited his relationship to Michael Oren, the far-right Israeli ambassador he studied under at Georgetown University. Ossoff also credits his historic rise in politics to Rep. Lewis. While Lewis is remembered as a prominent civil rights activist, he was also staunchly pro-Israel. Like Ossoff, he opposed the BDS movement and was considered a friend to Israel.

The Democratic Party toeing the line with pro-Israel funds

Along with Ossoff being the first Jew elected to Georgia’s senate, Rev. Raphael Warnock also made history as the first African-American elected to Georgia’s senate. Together the Democratic pair attributed their success to having fostered a strong Black-Jewish alliance.

Despite his win, Warnock’s campaign was marred with controversy prior to the state’s highly-publicized runoff election in January. Warnock’s Republican opponent, Kelly Loeffler, targeted the reverend’s past criticism of Israel in an attack ad. Warnock signed a letter in 2019 comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa. He also criticized Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and slammed Israel for shooting Gazan protesters.

Loeffler’s smears worked. His campaign was losing public support and funding was drying up. Two days after Loeffler’s attacks, Rev. Warnock immediately backtracked and released a statement “condemning” the BDS movement and declaring his support for Israel. His quick reversal earned him an endorsement from the Israel lobby group DMFI. Similar to Ossoff, Warnock was also part of the Israel lobby’s top 10 campaign donation recipients, securing funding from J Street, DMFI, and the New Israel Fund. Warnock may not have been as successful with fundraising if he had maintained his previous position on Israel.

Sut Jhally, documentary filmmaker and communications professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, was surprised at how easily Warnock caved to pro-Israel pressure.

“He was persuaded by the mainstream Democrats to win the Georgia election, so he had to make this horrible statement about Israel and BDS,” Jhally told MintPress News.

Warnock and Ossoff ran for Senate on a civil-rights-branded agenda. But for Jhally, you can’t call yourself a progressive if you ignore Palestine.

“The test of whether you’re a true progressive is your position on Israel,” Jhally said. “Because you can’t be progressive about everything else and espouse human rights for everyone else and not espouse human rights for the Palestinians.”

Warnock’s swift 180 on Palestine-Israel demonstrates just how strong of a grip the Israel lobby has on the Democratic Party. While the Trump administration’s policies favorited Israel, the Democratic Party is largely kept in check with pro-Israel funding.

An analysis by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs shows the pro-Israel lobby contributes significantly more money to Democrats than Republicans. And those campaign funds appear to be doing their job in scratching both the Democrats’ and the lobby’s backs. The top recipient of Israel lobby donations in 2020, President Joe Biden, has made it clear he’s willing to reverse every Trump-era policy except those related to Israel.

Keeping with the status quo

Criticism of Israel is growing louder in the Democratic Party with remarks from more progressive politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Ilhan Omar, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib. And while Professor Jhally agrees there’s an unprecedented divide emerging in the party over Israel, that will only generate discussion and not substantial policy reform.

“The Israel lobby is still very powerful within both the Republican and Democratic parties and their role right now is to make sure policy does not change,” Jhally said. “And that is about putting pressure on progressives and making sure BDS becomes delegitimized.”

With BDS—arguably the best international strategy available to end Israel’s occupation of Palestine—still seen as a dirty word in American politics, Democrats will likely adhere to the Israel lobby’s agenda rather than risk losing money or being perceived as anti-Israel. And that means sticking with the status quo in the Democratic establishment: condemning BDS, promising U.S. aid to Israel, and supporting Israel’s right to defend itself against “terrorists.” Just like the self-proclaimed progressive Ossoff did in cementing his election win.

Apartheid from the Sea to the River

By Jeremy Salt

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BTselem apartheid Israel Palestine Latuff 46b11

B’Tselem’s description of Israel an apartheid state is valuable because B’Tselem, Israel’s leading human rights organization, is saying it.  Otherwise, the reaction should be of course it is. B’Tselem applies the word to all of Palestine and not just the remaining territories seized in 1967.  Again, of course it should.  Structural discrimination against the Palestinians is built into every level of government except elections,  which allows Israel repeatedly to tell the world that it is the only democracy in the Middle East, as if the ballot box is the only measure of democracy, blurring the reality unless people take a close look.

Israel and the policy of apartheid were born in the same year, 1948,  Israel as a colonial-settler declared unilaterally over occupied Palestine on May 15 and apartheid as the election-winning policy of South Africa’s National Party on May 26. On December 9 the same year, the UN General Assemby adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.  

The convention describes genocide as acts intended to destroy “in whole or part” a national,  ethnical, racial or religious group.   There is no other way to describe Israel’s intentions in 1948.  Hundreds of Palestinian villages were razed and about 800,000 people driven out of their native land to make way for European settlers.   As for why they had to go there are two reasons:   they were not Jews,  and they were living in a land the zionists wanted to turn into a Jewish state.   

The occupation of the rest of Palestine in 1967 and the military, economic and pseudo-legal weapons used to suffocate the Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem ever since are no more than an extension of what began in 1948.

B’tselem’s declaration revives the debate over whether zionism is a ‘racist’ ideology.  For the victims of racism in other colonized countries,  of course it is. Only in the imperial ‘west,’ with its own long history of racism, occupation and massacre, could the question even arise. 

In fact, racism has been in zionism’s DNA ever since Herzl talked of “spiriting” the Palestians out of their land to make way for a Jewish state.   How to get rid of them was the central consideration of the Zionist planners who followed him.

Everything evil committed against the Palestinians since 1948 speaks to the historical racism of the zionist enterprise.  You don’t treat people with the brutality that has accompanied the zionist march through history if you think they have the same rights as you do. Your soldiers, police and settlers do not kill or massacre people if they think they have the same right to life as they do.

Your state doesn’t create different laws and different rights if it thinks all people should have the same rights and live under the same laws. The state does not give a false right of return to Jews wherever they live and deny the genuine right of return of Palestinians. The state does not declare that the state is the state of the Jewish people and not the state of  its citizens,  Jewish or not.  

On November 10, 1975, the UN General Assembly passed resolution 3379,  describing zionism “as a form of racism and racial discrimination.” The word ‘race’ has no basis in science but everyone knows what it means in practice:   discrimination against specific groups on the basis of religion, ethnicity or skin color.  The Israeli ambassador,  Chaim Herzog,  was so enraged when the resolution was passed (72-35 with 32 abstentions) that he tore up his printout.

The passage of this resolution led to an immediate counter-attack by Israel, supported by the US and other governments.   As always, the bludgeon used was anti-semitism, with the US, from behind the scenes, prodding governments that had voted for the resolution to change their minds.  The tactics worked. On December 16,1991, the General Assembly revoked the resolution in resolution 46/86, passed 111-25 with 13 abstentions and 15 absentees.

Daniel Moynihan, the US ambassador at the UN and a zionist diehard, commented before 3379 was revoked that the UN “is about to make anti-semitism international law.” Of course, the resolution had nothing to do with anti-semitism but was born of the growing need to expose the ideology of a state which even by then had wrought massive destruction in the Middle East.

On the basis of  the commitments it had made to respect UN principles,   Israel was accepted as a UN member (Resolution 273, May 11, 1949), the General Assembly having resolved  that Israel “is a peace-loving State which accepts the obligations contained in the charter and is able and willing to carry  out those obligations.”  The next day it signed a protocol accepting resolution 194 (III) of 1948, setting out the basic rights of the Palestinians, including the right of return to their homeland, and the preservation of their property.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Even at the time Israel was not “peace loving”: in hindsight the phrase is grotesque.  Neither did Israel have any intention of abiding by the commitments it had made to the Palestinians whom it had ethnically cleansed.  They would never be allowed to return. 

As for their property,  Israel was asked to suspend its ‘’Emergency Applications on Absentee Property’’ until a final peace settlement could be reached.  It responded that the so-called “custodian of absentee property” was acting only as a trustee for the owners,  “whose property is being administered in their interests.” 

This was a blatant lie. The “absentee property” was already being distributed among settlers old and new. It included village and town houses and a mass of agricultural land which had Chaim Weizmann, the state’s first president, in absolute raptures.  So much of it, and all of it acquired at absolutely no cost:

“ … about five million dunums of land [1.235 million acres] at least which could be taken under the plough almost at once,  but we have not yet got the people. In the district between Ramleh and Latrun there are about two milion dunums of the best land in Palestine for which, if we had to buy it, we would have to pay at least LP [Palestine pounds] per dunum and as you know, one could never buy land between Ramleh and Latrun. Now it is all free, overgrown with weeds and it is very doubtful whether the Arabs will ever come back to work it. Eveybody seems to think they have gone for good.”

This master dissembler knew perfectly well that Israel had no intention of allowing  ‘the Arabs’ back,  and as for a land “overgrown with weeds,” it was fertile and intensively worked by Palestinian farmers.

Everything the owners of “absentee property” had left behind was destroyed or stolen, down to furniture and small household items. The houses left standing were handed over to settlers,  senior zionist figures taking some of the best for themselves. 

An additional category was added to the list of absentees. These were the “present absentees” who fled from one part of Palestine to another during the fighting.   They were not allowed back to their original place of residence and their property was stolen too.

The lies told by Israel to secure UN membership were followed by the serial violations of Palestinian rights and international law along the spectrum of human rights which have continued to the present day. 

This being the case,  the rules of the club should surely prevail.  Anyone who joins a club and refuses to abide by the rules is usually warned once, warned twice,  suspended on the third offence and then thrown out if it still ignores the conditions of membership.  

Israel was admitted to the club on the basis of a false application.  It then refused to obey the rules, not once, twice or thrice but thousands of times but is still allowed to remain a member. 

Without the protection of the US, the UN General Assembly almost certainly would have voted for suspension of Israel decades ago and then ejection if it still refused to comply.   Thanks to the US, however, not only does  Israel remain a member but it is never punished for its crimes.

Noam Chomsky has described Israeli apartheid as “much worse” than South African apartheid. On the basis of the number of people who have died as a result of Israel’s racist policies, there is actually no comparison.

Under an apartheid government,  South African police, soldiers and white settlers beat, tortured and killed Africans.  Israeli police, soldiers and settlers do the same to Palestinians but whereas the worst state massacres in apartheid South Africa were Sharpeville (March 21, 1960), when police killed 69 people and wounded 180 others demonstrating against the pass laws,  and Soweto (June 16, 1976),  when at least 176 students (estimates are as high as 700) demonstrating against having to learn Afrikaans were killed,  the victims of Israel’s massacres run into the tens of thousands. 

This state of affairs will continue as long as the “international community” refuses to punish Israel for violation of the laws it has passed to protect human rights and preserve global peace.  Such punishment would be imposed through suspension from the UN and the suspension by governments of diplomatic and trade relations with Israel, but as long as it does not have to pay for its crimes and its contempt for international law it will see no reason to change.   As long as it refuses to change, it will remain a threat to Middle Eastern regional and global peace.

Israel’s Diabolical Agenda

Stephen Lendman. US Waging Wars on Multiple Fronts...Majority In Favor of  War

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Like the US and other Western states, Israels self-proclaimed “democracy” is pure fantasy — a notion these nations abhor and tolerate nowhere.

The Jewish state’s 2018 Nation State Law is its version of Nazi Germany’s oppressive Nuremberg Laws.

Israel terrorizes Palestinians the way Hitler persecuted Jews.

Both regime’s earlier terrorized and repeat the practice today against unwanted people considered subhumans, forcing them to endure virtually every type indignity, degradation and crime against humanity.

Illegal Israeli occupation, colonization and apartheid breach core legal principles and values.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) affirmed self-determination as an inviolable right.

The 1960 Declaration on Colonialism, condemns it “in all its forms and manifestations.”

The 1973 Apartheid Convention calls this practice state-sanctioned discriminatory racism that’s “committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any (an)other…and systematically oppressing” its people.

Apartheid is an international crime.

The 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court calls it a crime under the Court’s jurisdiction.

Despite decades of flagrant Israeli guilt, accountability was never forthcoming.

Occupied Palestinians are illegally governed by oppressive military law.

Israel’s High Court affirmed a bifurcated system that discriminates between Jews and others, notably long abused Palestinians.

They’re denied virtually all rights afforded Jews.

Hardline Israeli regimes permit murder, extermination, enslavement, torture, arbitrary arrests, illegal imprisonments, denial of the right to life and liberty, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and other abusive acts on Palestinians.

Former UN Special Human Rights Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine, Richard Falk, earlier said “Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid in relation to the Palestine people should be taken with the utmost seriousness by all those who affirm human solidarity and care about making visible the long ordeal of a suffering and vulnerable people.”

Days earlier, B’Tselem called Israel “(a) regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”

“This is (the ugly face) of apartheid,” it stressed, adding:

Israel and the Occupied Territories are controlled by its ruling regimes “under a single principle: advancing and cementing the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians.”

“Divide, separate, (and) rule” define Israeli apartheid as control over virtually all aspects of Palestinian lives — enforced by ruthless state terror.

Short of formal West Bank annexation, it’s proceeding by stealing Palestinian land dunam by dunam and dispossessing its lawful owners and residents.

Jews worldwide can freely emigrate to Israel and be granted citizenship.

Palestinians are forced to live in  isolated bantustans where they’re denied free movement and virtually all other human and civil rights.

Over 90% of what Israel illegally considers its sovereign territory is stolen and state controlled.

It’s used for exclusive Jewish development and use, displaced Palestinians prevented from returning to what’s rightfully theirs. 

Land once owned by Palestinians for millennia is off-limits to them now.

Jews alone enjoy rights affirmed under international law — denied to Palestinians for praying to the wrong God.

Gaza is the world’s largest open-air prison — terror-bombed and invaded at Israel’s discretion with impunity.

The world community and world body systematically turn a blind eye to its high crimes of war and against humanity.

Israelis have free movement internally and cross-border for foreign travel, their right to return protected by Israeli law.

Internal Palestinian movements are greatly constrained. If cross into the territory of a neighboring state, their right of return home can be denied.

Movement in and out of Gaza is strictly prohibited. 

In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, it’s greatly restricted for Palestinians by checkpoints and other apartheid practices.

They cannot participate in virtually everything that governs and controls their lives and well-being.

“A regime that uses laws, practices and organized violence to cement the supremacy of one group over another is…apartheid” ruthlessness B’Tselem stressed, adding:

“The harsh reality (of what’s gone on for decades) may deteriorate further” ahead.

“Fighting for a future based on human rights, liberty and justice is especially crucial now.” 

“There are various political paths to a just future here, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, but all of us must first choose to say no to apartheid.”

#STANDWITHISSA: Issa Amro Stood Against Israel’s Settler State and is About to Pay a Heavy Price

By Miko Peled

Source

Anyone familiar with the Israeli occupation and the violence of the settlers would find the following story impossible and unthinkable, however, Issa Amro was able to pull it off.

Occupied Hebron — “Israel wants to steal our history. They want to focus only on one small part of the history and ignore all the rest,” Issa Amro told me in an interview for the “Miko Peled Podcast,” (also available at Mikoeled.com). Issa was talking about why Israeli settlers are so keen to take over Tel Rumeida, a hill overlooking the city of Hebron. It is a hill that contains an archaeological and historical gold mine. Not because it contains actual gold, but because along with the ancient olive trees that have been alive and have sustained people who lived in Hebron for thousands of years, it contains proof of an ancient civilization and continuous life that goes back thousands of years.

Violent extremist take over

The city of Hebron has the misfortune of having been invaded by extreme religious Zionist settlers. These are settlers who have a very particular reading of Biblical stories and are extremely violent and uncompromising. Their hate for Palestinians knows no bounds and like other Zionists, these settlers have no regard for the actual historical significance of the city of Hebron, but only see it in terms of their narrow, fanatic reading of the Old Testament.

Zionists in general, and the Zionist settlers in Hebron, in particular, feel that Old Testament stories represent history and completely disregard the fact that archaeological evidence points in a different direction. They interpret the archaeology in a way that satisfies their greed, their bigotry, and their desire to take the city away from its rightful inhabitants, the Palestinians of Hebron.

These fanatic settlers serve an important role within the larger Zionist takeover of Palestine. The method that Zionists have always used in order to take over land, even before the state of Israel was established, was to send young ideological zealots who are willing to use violence to forcibly take over Palestinian land. Then, they send in the military and claim that the area is a military base or is required for military use. Then the military leaves and invites settlers back to create a permanent settlement.

A portion of Tel Rumeida has already been taken over by settlers, but they will not be content until the entire Hill is in their hands. One man has made it his mission in life to make sure that this does not happen. This man, Issa Amro, was recently convicted by an Israeli military court of a list of charges that read like a textbook of civil disobedience. While he is yet to be sentenced, sentencing is expected to take place on February 8, 2021. There is reason to believe he will be serving time in an Israeli military prison. His only crime is that he dared to stand up to the vicious violence of fanatic Zionist settlers and the Israeli Army which is at their service using the tool of civil disobedience and non-violent resistance.

“I’m going to murder you Issa Amro!”

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to take a few friends to visit Hebron. We met with Issa and he was kind enough to give us a tour of the city, the city in which he was born and now can only walk along roads in which he, as a non-Jew, is permitted to walk. It just so happens that the house in which he was born has been closed off by the Israeli army and Issa cannot access it.

As we reached a point in the city where non-jews (or rather Palestinians) are not permitted to walk, we saw a soldier standing and next to him a young settler who could not have been more than 14 years old. The boy looked at Issa and said to him in Hebrew, “Issa,  I am going to come and murder you one of these days.” He repeated this statement and then turned to the soldier and they gave each other a high-five. That is the environment in which Issa and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have to live because of the Zionist occupation of Hebron.

Saving a house in Hebron

Anyone familiar with the Israeli occupation in Palestine and the violence of the settlers and the Israeli military would find the following story impossible and unthinkable, however, Issa Amro was able to pull it off.

One house that was strategically placed on Tel Rumeida, and from which one can see the entire Old City of Hebron, was about to be taken over by settlers. It had gone through the process of the military takeover and was then handed over to settlers. Issa managed to find the Palestinian owner of the house and rent it from him legally. It had cost Issa agony, arrest, detention, endless interrogations, and required the intervention of hundreds of activists from around the world, but in the end, Issa was able to salvage the house from the settlers and establish a center from which he runs one of the most effective grassroots operations in Palestine, Youth Against Settlements (YAS).

Tel Rumeida Hebron
Miko Peled, left, with Issa Amro at YAS Center in Tel-Rumeida, Hebron. Photo | Miko Peled

The work of Issa Amro and Youth Against Settlements includes documenting human rights violations by the army and settlers. Their work also includes organizing creative nonviolent actions, establishing and renovating community spaces such as a community center, kindergarten, woman empowerment center, and the beginnings of a cinema for which Issa may go to jail. Palestinians in Hebron are constantly at risk of forced displacement, and empowering this community in the most vulnerable areas through home repair, protective presence, and distributing charity is a crucial part of the local grassroots activism of Issa and the YAS.

Sentenced for civil disobedience

After a trial that has lasted several years and finally ended late in 2020, a military judge, Lt. Colonel Menahem Lieberman, himself is a religious Zionist settler who emigrated from the United States and has close ties to the settler community in Hebron, found Issa guilty of six out of the 18 counts of which he was charged. The indictment with 18 charges was presented in summer 2016, roughly three weeks after a campaign to establish a cinema in Hebron began.

THE CHARGES – CONVICTED:

  • First count – assaulting a public servant
  • Fifth count – participating in a rally without a permit
  • Eight count – participating in a march without a permit
  • Tenth count – obstructing a soldier
  • Seventeenth count – participating in a march without a permit
  • Eighteenth count – participating in a march without a permit

Between the time that this is published and February 8, at which time the judge will rule regarding sentencing, there is still time to act in order to help Issa Amro.

For information regarding the campaign please visit the Friends of Hebron where you can publish photos of yourself holding a sign in support of Issa, publish a video statement telling why you believe Issa Amro should go free. You can also call or email elected officials and reach out to your community centers, activist groups, local charities, religious organizations, and churches to request they release statements in support of Issa and contact your local elected and unelected officials.

Anyone wanting to help out is also encouraged to reach out to writers, journalists, celebrities, professors, and notable community members and ask them to make public statements or write editorials about the case. Friends of Hebron is also circulating a petition you can sign and send to others.

The risk of losing invaluable historical monuments and forgetting the rich history of Palestine is real. Doing what we can to prevent that is our responsibility as people of conscience for future generations. The first step is to stand with Palestinians like Issa Amro.

Revealed: Israeli Settler Groups With Ties To the US Are Evicting Palestinians in Mass

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

Jessica Buxbaum investigates the slew of Israeli settler groups working to evict Palestinian families from their East Jerusalem homes with the aid of millions of dollars from American donors.

Occupied East Jerusalem — Nearly 20 Palestinian families face homelessness amid a raging pandemic and cold, wet winter in occupied East Jerusalem because of eviction lawsuits from Israeli settler groups backed by wealthy American donors.

Over the last few months, Israeli courts upheld the eviction orders of 16 Palestinian families in the East Jerusalem districts of Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah. The evictions are carried out through lawsuits by Israeli company Nachalat Shimon and settler associations Ateret Cohanim and Elad. These three organizations argue the land the families’ homes are on belongs to them because Yemeni Jews owned the land before 1948. Israel’s discriminatory Legal and Administrative Matters Law allows Jews to claim ownership of property they lost during the 1948 War but doesn’t guarantee that same right to Palestinians.

Nachalat Shimon operates in Sheikh Jarrah and is responsible for the evictions of 11 Palestinian families in the neighborhood since 2008. Ateret Cohanim and Elad work to displace Palestinian residents in Silwan and have evicted 14 families in the area since 2015. Silwan is part of Jerusalem’s “Holy Basin,” an area coveted by Jewish settlers because of its proximity to the Old City and purported connections to King David. While 16 families are under threat of imminent eviction, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that over 800 Palestinians are at risk of forced eviction, chiefly as a result of Israeli settlers.

The planned annexation of Greater Jerusalem. Areas in blue are, or soon will be, under Israeli control. Credit | Ir Amim

While Ateret Cohanim and Elad receive Israeli donations, the majority of their money comes from abroad. Ateret Cohanim received nearly 5 million shekels (roughly $1 million U.S. dollars) in foreign donations in 2018 but only 100,000 shekels or $3,000 domestically. Elad, also known as the Ir David Foundation, secured significantly more foreign monies with over 60,000 shekels or $20 million coming from abroad in 2019 and just 760,000 shekels or about $230,000 from Israel.

Public information is limited on where exactly these entities receive their donations from. According to the Israeli settlement watchdog group, Peace Now, Elad has not disclosed a donor list to Israel’s Registrar of Associations since 2005. However, it’s well-documented that Ateret Cohanim receives money from its sister nonprofit American Friends of Ateret Cohanim and Elad receives funds from its American wing, Friends of Ir David.

American money behind the settlements 

The United States’ Internal Revenue Service doesn’t require nonprofits to disclose their donors, allowing American Friends of Ateret Cohanim and Friends of Ir David haven’t to avoid publishing this information in their tax filings. Despite this, Friends of Ir David reported providing grants of $20 million to organizations in the Middle East in 2018. On its tax forms, the group writes its stated purpose is “to provide assistance to organizations in the Old City of Jerusalem and the Ancient City of David.” 

Elad is currently working with the Israel Antiquities Authority to excavate a nearly 300-foot-long tunnel under the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood of Silwan in hopes of unearthing the First and Second Jewish Temples. This archaeological dig is part of Israel’s recent efforts to “Judaize” Jerusalem and erase any Palestinian heritage from the city.

American Friends of Ateret Cohanim reported close to $550,000 in 2016 (the most recent filing available). The organization, also known as the Jerusalem Reclamation Project, states that part of its mission is to “provide aid for security equipment in support of the safety and protection of community residents, and provide funds to needy families for housing renovations and repairs.”  

Israeli Settler US dollars
US Ambassador David Friedman, left, talks to casino magnate Sheldon Adelson at an event in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan. Tsafrir Abayov | AP

Close analysis of IRS reports from 2014-2019 by MintPress News reveals American philanthropists gave large sums to these organizations.

The Hertog Foundation, Irving I Moskowitz Foundation, Adelson Family Foundation, Mindel Foundation, Samueli Foundation, Jay and Jeannie Schottenstein Foundation, and the Jewish Communal Fund all donated to Friends of Ir David. The biggest contributors came from the foundations belonging to American billionaires Roger Hertog, Irving Moskowitz, and Sheldon Adelson. The Adelson Family Foundation gifted Friends of Ir David around $3 million in 2018. The Irving I Moskowitz Foundation contributed $1.5 million, and the Hertog Foundation gave around $600,000 during the five-year period.

The Cherna Moskowitz Foundation, the Jewish Communal Fund, and the Mermelstein Foundation have all donated to the American Friends of Ateret Cohanim. During the five years examined, the charity belonging to Irving Moskowitz’s wife, Cherna, gave the most with a total of $775,000.

These foundations, along with American Friends of Ateret Cohanim and Friends of Ir David, are tax-exempt entities. The organizations whose contact information is available did not respond to requests for comment.

Nachalat Shimon is even less transparent than Ateret Cohanim and Elad. According to documents obtained by Peace Now, Shimon Hazadik Holdings LTD is registered in the Israeli Corporation Authority as the owner of Nachalat Shimon.

Peace Now’s investigation also discovered that Shimon Hazadik is registered in Delaware’s Division of Corporations and another company with a similar name—Shimon Hazadik Partners—is also registered in Delaware. Both companies’ statuses have been canceled due to failure to pay taxes. Nachalat Shimon did not respond to a request for comment.

The Jewish National Fund’s hand in advancing settlements

While Nachalat Shimon, Ateret Cohanim, and Elad are the primary entities behind the current evictions, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) has also been involved in evicting Palestinian families, specifically by collaborating with Elad.

The JNF markets itself as an environmental organization helping to green Israel’s landscape. In reality, JNF has uprooted Palestinian communities since before Israel became a state.

+972 Magazine investigation found that JNF has cooperated with Elad lawyers for decades to evict Palestinian families in Silwan. Historical documents indicate that the JNF purchased Palestinian properties in Silwan through its subsidiary, Hemnutah. Hemnutah then works with Elad on eviction proceedings. In coordination with the JNF, Elad is attempting to evict the Sumarin family from their home in Silwan.

The US-Israel connection 

Since Israel’s inception, the state has overwhelmingly relied on American dollars to maintain its occupation of Palestine and the Syrian Golan—whether that’s through military aid or donations to Jewish settlements. Brian Reeves, Peace Now’s director of Development and External Relations, attributes this to the U.S. having the world’s largest Jewish population outside of Israel.

“Israel would not be a country today—100%— if it did not come from foreign funding from the United States,” Reeves said.

“And the United States has continued to invest billions of dollars per year in philanthropic work in Israel,” Reeves added.” “While a lot of that money might sound like it’s going toward archeology and things we all support, it’s actually going to right-wing organizations that are exploiting the archaeology for ideological reasons at the expense of the local Palestinian population.”

While Israeli organizations on the right and the left obtain financial support from the U.S., Reeves pointed out that conservative causes secure substantially more.

“For right-wing people, Israel is their pet project so they’ll put a disproportionate amount of their allocations and philanthropic work toward Israel,” Reeves said.

As an Israeli, though, Reeves’ main concern is how the influx of foreign wealth is subsequently driving the nation’s priorities.

“Coming from an Israeli perspective, how do we feel about the fact that our own politics, media, and country’s agenda is largely influenced by both right-wing Jewish and evangelical funding?” Reeves said. “Imagine if [President Joe] Biden was funded for the most part by outside private donors in foreign countries. It would just be absurd.”

“It’s infringing on our sovereignty and we’re letting it happen.”

Court Rules Palestinian Filmmaker Must Pay Damages To Israeli Soldier Who Took Part in Massacre

Miko Peled – Author. Writer. Speaker. Human Rights Activist.

By Miko Peled

Source

“Jenin, Jenin” documents a deadly Israeli assault on a Palestinian refugee camp that left hundreds of civilians dead and over fifteen hundred wounded, and its release has caused an uproar in Israeli society.

In a particularly draconian decision, an Israeli court has ruled that the documentary film “Jenin, Jenin” will be banned from screening in Israel. Additionally, all copies of the film must be collected and destroyed. The court went even further and ordered producer, director, and actor Mohammad Bakri, the man behind the film which documents the Israeli assault on the Jenin refugee camp, must pay damages to an Israeli officer who participated in the massacre and appears in the film for about five seconds. 

Israel’s military invasion of the Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin and the slaughter which followed took place in March of 2002. The army entered the camp with tanks, special forces, commando units, and several reservist brigades. The camp was bombarded from the air and from the ground. Several hundred Palestinian fighters fought heroically, armed with nothing but semiautomatic rifles and rudimentary guerrilla warfare skills. Twenty-five Israeli soldiers lost their lives in the camp and countless Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed.

Silencing the survivors’ point of view

Jenin, Jenin” includes testimony from people of all ages who lived through the Israeli assault on the camp. There is no question that hearing the descriptions and experiences of the survivors of that awful trauma is heart-wrenching. But Bakri himself never makes any direct accusations in the film. He shows footage of Israeli soldiers, tanks, and armored personnel carriers, and of Palestinians being arrested, but at no point in the movie is an actual accusation made and it is clear that the only perspectives offered in the film are from those who live in the camp.

Protests erupted in Israel as soon as the movie was shown. Bakri was called a Nazi and slandered by the press and the public for daring to show what Palestinians had experienced at the hands of the Israeli soldiers who entered the camp. Soldiers who had participated in what is known as “The Battle of Jenin” demanded that Israeli authorities censor the movie and not allow theaters to show it, and they eventually got their way.

Jenin Refugee Camp
Palestinian rescue workers search for human remains in the rubble of the Hawashin district. No heavy equipment was available during the first days after the fighting had ended, and rescue workers had to dig through the rubble with their hands. Jenin Refugee Camp, 2002. Peter Bouckaert | Human Rights Watch
Jenin Refugee Camp
A young boy is treated at the Jenin hospital moments after he and his friend were wounded in an explosion in the Jenin refugee camp. His friend died the next morning. The Jenin refugee camp was strewn with leftover Palestinian explosives and unexploded Israeli ordinance after the attack, causing additional injuries and deaths. Jenin Refugee Camp, 2002. Peter Bouckaert | Human Rights Watch

The film was banned by the Israeli Film Ratings Board on the premise that it was libelous and might offend the public. Bakri appealed the decision and the case went all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court, which ultimately overturned the board’s decision. Since then, those who have participated in the assault have been looking for ways to challenge the film. 

In November 2016, Nissim Meghnagi, a reserve officer who took part in Operation Defensive Shield, also known as the massacre at the Jenin refugee camp, sued Bakri for 2.6 million shekels, the equivalent of around 745,000 U.S. dollars. In his suit, Meghnagi claimed that he appears in, and was named in the film and that it libeled Israeli soldiers by presenting them as war criminals. 

Bakri argued, correctly, that the purpose of the lawsuit was persecution and political silencing, and that the movie makes no accusation against Meghnagi specifically. It only shows, Bakri continuously yet fruitlessly claimed, the point of view of the Palestinians who experienced the onslaught on the camp. Still, the District Court in the Israeli-occupied city of Lyd ruled in Meghnagi’s favor and ordered Bakri to pay Meghnagi the equivalent of $55,000. Now the case is expected to go back to the Supreme Court.

A History of War Crimes

Israeli forces did not allow the Red Cross or any other international observers to enter the camp for many days after the assault was over. This allowed them to clean up the camp before anyone from the outside was able to witness what had been done.

Israeli authorities, courts, media, and public opinion tend to view Palestinian claims regarding human rights abuses, violence, and massacres committed by military units as lies. Internal investigations by the military and other Israeli government agencies rarely find Israeli forces guilty of any crimes.

The reason that “Jenin, Jenin” created such a strong reaction in Israel is that the people involved, and even those who were not directly involved, know that Israel has a history of atrocities and war crimes. Israel claims that the IDF is the “most moral army in the world,” yet almost every single Israeli has either been witness to or knows someone who has witnessed – or even committed – atrocities. 

Committing war crimes of all kinds is a deeply rooted tradition in the Israeli military. It goes back to the earliest days of the pre-state era when Zionist militias operated before an actual Israeli Army was formed. These militias were turned into an organized army in the middle of the 1948 ethnic cleansing campaign of Palestine. They were in the midst of committing a horrendous crime for which no one has yet been brought to justice when they became an official army and when Jewish Zionist settlers in Palestine became citizens of a newly established Apartheid State, a state whose very establishment was a war crime.

This is why there is such opposition to the movie and to Mohammad Bakri himself amongst Israelis. Bakri touched an open nerve and because as a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, he also happens to be a household name among Israelis, Israelis are furious at him. Bakri dared to enter the camp and to talk to its residents without showing what is commonly known as “the other side.”  Furthermore, as is made very clear throughout the movie, the spirit of the people in the camp remains undefeated. 

Over and over again throughout the movie, we hear survivors of the assault, even as they sit on the rubble of their own homes, repeat that they will rebuild the camp house by house and that they will never surrender. This is hardly the message that Israelis – who only a short time before had voted for the notorious Ariel Sharon to be their prime minister – want to hear.

The Driver of a D9

On May 31, 2002, Israeli journalist Tsadok Yehazkeli, working for the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, published an article in Hebrew about the driver of a D9 bulldozer who went by the moniker, “Bear the Kurd.” “Bear” made a name for himself during the assault on the Jenin refugee camp, when for 72 hours straight he drove his bulldozer into countess houses and destroyed everything in his path, ramming into homes regardless of whether or not they were inhabited. 

He was quoted as saying “I made them a football stadium,” and “I have no regrets. I’m proud of my work,” and, “I never gave the people a chance to run out of the houses before I ran over them and ruined the houses with my bulldozer.” None of this is shown or mentioned in Bakri’s film yet it provides a picture of the atmosphere among the Israeli troops that entered the camp.

The army unit in which the D9 driver operated went on to receive a medal for its actions during the assault, and the man known as “Bear the Kurd” became a hero to the troops. Because so many were buried under the rubble, to this day no one knows how many Palestinians were killed in 2002 at the Jenin refugee camp.

It is hard to anticipate what the Israeli Supreme Court will rule when it hears the Bakri case. However, in a state that was built on war crimes and atrocities, one may expect that all branches of government will work together to keep the truth from coming out. Either way, few Israeli war crimes are as documented as this one, and so “Jenin, Jenin” must be viewed and shared widely.

Social Media Giants Ban Trump, but the Real Censorship is of Palestinians

Facebook censorship

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

“Israel is using this for its political aim to silence Palestinians. They’re using hate speech as a political tool.” —  Alison Ramer, 7amleh 

In the wake of the Capitol Hill insurrection, Facebook and Twitter finally took a principled stand against President Donald Trump by suspending his accounts. While Trump lashed out at the tech giants, media analysts condoned the move—noting stronger moderation of his and other inflammatory posts are long overdue.

Facebook, Twitter, and other social media behemoths have faced criticism over the years for allowing misinformation and dangerous incitement to run rampant on their platforms. Yet while these companies seem to fail at controlling right-wing propaganda, they’ve had no problem suppressing content on Palestine.

Palestinian Facebook pages see 50% drop in reach

According to Palestinian non-governmental organization Sada Social Center, Palestinian Facebook pages saw their content’s reach dip by more than 50%, and in some cases, by more than 80%. Sada Social attributes the steep decline to coverage of Arab countries’ normalization agreements with Israel.

“Most of the pages that brought complaints to us are followed by millions of users through Facebook,” Sada Social wrote in their report. “These pages actively participated in covering the issue of Arab normalization with the Israeli occupation recently.”

The Global Campaign to Return to Palestine and Muslim Scholars were just two of the numerous Facebook pages to have their content blocked or restricted in the last month.

When pressed for an explanation about the recent removals, a Facebook company spokesperson told MintPress News:

We do our utmost to ensure that only content in violation of our Community Standards is removed. Where mistakes are made, due to human or technical error, the content is restored. The Global Campaign for Return to Palestine page was unfortunately removed due to an error – it has now been restored. We were not trying to limit anyone’s ability to post or express themselves.”

In response to the increasing censorship, The Palestinian Content Protection Initiative—a group of media outlets, activists, and journalists working to defend Palestinian content online—called for a two-hour boycott of Facebook on Jan. 9.

“The administrations of social media websites have been pursuing, targeting, and restricting the publishing and access of Palestinian pages and accounts, and in full coordination with the Israeli occupation government,” the Initiative said in a statement. “As a result, Palestinian media have been restricted, and were unable to convey their national message.”

Facebook working with Israel to suppress content

Facebook’s targeting of Palestinian content isn’t new. The social media titan has a long history of working with Israeli authorities to remove Palestinian information.

Under the guise of hate speech, Facebook cracks down on content often related to certain keywords such as “Hamas” or “Zionism,” Alison Ramer, International Relations Manager at 7amleh – The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, explained.

“A lot of times this is done through artificial intelligence, which the companies are really being pushed to use under increasing pressure from governments and the public to respond to hate speech,” Ramer said.

But it’s not just automatic processes that are determining what’s permitted on social media. According to a 2020 7amleh report, the Israeli government has orchestrated a systematic campaign through Facebook to ensure content related to the Palestinian cause is removed.

“The Israeli Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked stated that ‘Facebook, Google, and YouTube are complying with up to 95% of Israel’s requests to delete content that the Israeli government says incites Palestinian violence.’ This shows a significant focus on Palestinian content and efforts to label Palestinian political speech as incitement to violence,” 7amleh wrote.   

These requests are done through the Ministry of Justice’s Cyber Unit, which was established in 2015. Even Facebook’s own personnel appear to be in bed with Israel. Currently, Emi Palmor, Israel’s former Justice Ministry director-general, sits on Facebook and Instagram’s Oversight Board — a committee responsible for content moderation.

Additionally, governmental and non-governmental organizations are urging citizens to report Palestinian content. “Several of these organizations — dubbed “GONGOs” (government-operated NGOs) — are working to conflate criticism of Israel and anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and hate speech and have designed strategies to manipulate social media algorithms with the support of online trolls,” 7amleh wrote.

These efforts not only remove Palestinian content but elevate smear campaigns against Palestinians. As Facebook works diligently to remove white supremacist content, Ramer acknowledged that it leaves hate speech directed toward Palestinians on its site.

“7amleh has documented hate speech directed toward Palestinians in Hebrew, which we have seen left online for many years, while legitimate political speech critical of Israel is being flagged as hate speech and censored,” Ramer said. “We know that the Israeli government and government-supporting NGOs are pushing for tech companies to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, which is leading to increasing censorship of Palestinians and human rights defenders.”

According to Ramer, pressure from the Israeli Lobby is the motivating factor in restricting Palestinian content.  

“There’s pressure on Facebook to expand the definition of anti-Semitism, and we know that the intention of this is to censor those critical of Israel, Palestinians and human rights supporters. And this, obviously, can have a large impact on the development of many other tech companies’ policies,” Ramer said.

Not just Facebook

Facebook is the most popular social media platform for Palestinians, but it’s not the only one restricting their content.

TikTok recently removed the account belonging to Palestinian news organization, Quds News Network (QNN). The account manager, Hamzah al-Shobaki, said it was deleted after sharing 1,200 posts about Arab countries’ normalization with Israel. TikTok has since reinstated the account, claiming a violation error led to the account’s removal.

This isn’t QNN’s first experience with social media censorship, however. In 2019, the news outlet had four of its Twitter accounts deactivated without warning. QNN editors also had their personal Facebook accounts suspended in 2016, reportedly by mistake. Other Palestinian media sources have also had their Twitter and Facebook accounts removed over the years.

YouTube has been accused of violating Palestinian digital rights as well. Research from 7amleh details that the video-sharing platform uses hyper-surveillance tactics referred to as “locative discrimination” to monitor content coming from Palestine.

According to their findings, Palestinian YouTube user Ahmad conducted an online experiment to see if the removal of his content was due to his location:

“I sent the same video which has been deleted from my YouTube account to my friend’s YouTube account in Europe…and YouTube was fine with the video being published from a European country.”

“This simple test showed that content that’s being uploaded in the Palestinian Territories is being treated differently than the content uploaded by Western countries,” 7amleh’s Ramer said. “These policies are discriminatory and overly surveying and censoring Palestinians.”

Ramer emphasized that tech companies should not be the decision-makers regarding freedom of expression. Yet because they control these communication channels, they are ultimately tasked with monitoring what is shared—and Israel is taking full advantage of that.

“Israel is using this for its political aim to silence Palestinians. They’re using hate speech as a political tool,” Ramer said, clarifying that what’s happening not only blacks out Palestinian issues but the global conversation on human rights as a whole.

“This won’t just silence Palestinians, but it’ll silence human rights defenders, and it will show other governments how to use hate speech to silence and censor people.”

Facts on the Ground – The Trial of Issa Amro, Palestinian Resistance, the Death of the Two-States Myth — Miko Peled

Facts on the Ground invite Miko to discuss the ongoing trial and persecution of Palestinian activist, Issa Amro, as well as the greater context of Palestinian resistance and a whole lot more.

Facts on the Ground – The Trial of Issa Amro, Palestinian Resistance, the Death of the Two-States Myth — Miko Peled

These Are Russia’s Five Most Important Tasks For Surviving World War C

By Andrew Korybko

Source

These Are Russia

The full-spectrum paradigm-changing processes brought about over the past year by the world’s uncoordinated efforts to contain COVID-19 can best be described as World War C, and Russia will need to prioritize five tasks in order to survive it in 2021 and beyond: continue practicing “vaccine diplomacy”; lead the “Great Reset”/”Fourth Industrial Revolution”; adjust to the “Great Socio-Civilizational Reset”; defend itself from Western aggression in the New Cold War; and perfect its geostrategic “balancing” act.

Welcome To World War C

The past year saw the opening of Pandora’s box after the world’s uncoordinated efforts to contain COVID-19 unleashed full-spectrum paradigm-changing processes that can best be described as World War C. This struggle for the future of the world is unprecedented in literally every single way, influencing everything from how people interact with one another and their governments to relationships between states. Nothing will ever be the same after 2020, something that Russia is keenly aware of. It’s therefore doing its utmost to get ahead of these trends in order to avoid falling into its historical pattern of “lagging” behind its peer competitors. In the worst-case scenario, Russia might never “catch up” like it always has a knack for doing at what usually seems to be the very last minute, which is why the five following tasks are of the highest priority in order for it to survive World War C in 2021 and beyond:

1. Continue Practicing “Vaccine Diplomacy”

As the author realized in late November, “Russia’s ‘Vaccine DIplomacy’ Is The Basis Of Its New Global Outreach Campaign”. What’s meant by this is that its sudden rise as a vaccine superpower can be cleverly leveraged to expand influence within its growing number of partner states for the purpose of clinching more comprehensive deals with them in other fields such as the political, military, and especially economic ones. Vaccine cooperation is probably the most intimate form of state-to-state ties because the recipient is literally putting their citizens’ lives in the hands of their partners, who will then inject them with what’s regarded as a life-saving inoculation in order to help their countries return to as much of the pre-World War C domestic status quo as possible with time. By continuing to practice its “vaccine diplomacy” and retaining its superpower status in this sphere, Russia might actually manage to “jump ahead” of its peer competitors and “make up for lost time” by restoring its global influence that was lost after the 1991 dissolution of the USSR. Even more importantly, Russia also has a credible chance of more powerfully shaping the emerging world order if it can succeed with this crucial task.

2. Lead The “Great Reset”/”Fourth Industrial Revolution”

Unlike what the many Non-Russian Pro-Russians (NRPR) in the Alt-Media Community wrongly believe, Russia isn’t against the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) “Great Reset”/”Fourth Industrial Revolution” (GR/4IR), but is keenly aware of these plans and actually intends to play a leading role in actualizing them. President Putin attended the WEF’s 2003 meeting in Moscow, while former President Medvedev attended the one in Davos in 2011. President Putin also met with WEF founder Klaus Schwab in St. Petersburg in 2007 and 2008. His most recent meeting with the GR/4IR mastermind took place in November 2019, during which time the Russian leader proudly said that “we have always supported and will continue to support our relations with the forum you founded.” It can’t be known for certain, but it might very well be that Schwab’s 2016 book on the 4IR influenced President Putin’s prediction a year later that “whoever leads in AI will rule the world”, after which he committed his country to becoming the global leader in this sphere. To that end, Russia’s state-run Sberbank is now pioneering Russia’s technological future in the new global conditions of the GR/4IR.

3. Adjust To The “Great Socio-Civilizational Reset”

Socio-cultural and civilizational factors aren’t immune from the full-spectrum paradigm-changing processes catalyzed by World War C. The author wrote back in October that a “Great Socio-Civilizational Reset” has begun whereby cultures across the world will become increasingly assertive of their identity, but that this doesn’t inevitably mean that they’ll clash since cooperation between them is still possible on shared interests such as trade. Similar changes are also taking place within civilizations and states as well, such as the growing contradiction between liberal and conservative viewpoints. “President Assad Slaughtered Neoliberalism’s Four Sacred Cows” last month, though, showing that it’s possible to be both anti-liberal and against religious fundamentalism like secular Syria is. Regarding the Eurasian Great Power, “Be It From Birthrates Or Migration, Russia’s About To Greatly Increase Its Muslim Population” since its top mufti predicted that 30% of its people will be Muslim by 2030. In order to best adjust to all these far-reaching changes, President Putin unveiled a new governing policy last October that the author described as “populist statism”, which holds enormous promise.

4. Defend Itself From Western Aggression In The New Cold War

The socio-economic changes that were earlier described have naturally been accompanied by geopolitical ones as well, the latter of which accelerated the ongoing New Cold War between the West and non-Western Great Powers like Russia and China which first became most noticeable in 2014. The US is seeking to “contain” its two top rivals, having piled immense pressure upon Russia in the years since such as by imposing an ever-increasing sanctions regime, moving massive amounts of military equipment towards its borders, destabilizing the states in its so-called “sphere of influence”, and pulling out of strategic arms control pacts. Its parallel moves to “contain” China also pose a threat to Russian interests since the Eurasian Great Power’s security is partially dependent on that of its East Asian strategic partner as well. In addition, the US is also trying to push back against Russia’s growing influence in the “Global South”, particularly in Muslim-majority countries and Africa. As they say, however, “the best defense is a good offense”, so Russia will need to proactively confront these challenges by redoubling its global outreach efforts and prioritizing its characteristic asymmetric responses.

5. Perfect Its Geostrategic “Balancing” Act

The trickiest of Russia’s five most important tasks for surviving World War C in 2021 and beyond is to perfect its geostrategic “balancing” act, which the author constructively critiqued over the summer with the intent of suggesting realistic solutions for fixing its main shortcomings. The most challenging fulcrums in this respect nowadays are between China & India and Iran & “Israel”. The first was most recently addressed in the author’s analysis about how “Russia’s Unofficial Response To India Did Everything Right” (which cites two prior related analyses early on in the text that should be reviewed by the reader for background context) and “Russian & Iranian Experts Finally Discussed Their Differences Over Syria”. The first one also relies heavily on his September 2020 analysis asking “Is Russia ‘Abandoning’ Or ‘Recalibrating’ Its ‘Balancing’ Act Between China & India?” while the second one was similarly influenced by his September 2019 piece titled “Russia’s Middle East Strategy: ‘Balance’ vs. ‘Betrayal’?” The overarching trend is that “Russia’s Foreign Policy Progressives Have Trumped The Traditionalists”, as the author first observed in September 2017, which will continue to unfold into the future.

——————–

Looking forward, Russia has plenty of reasons to be cautiously optimistic about 2021. The past year saw the Eurasian Great Power suddenly emerge as the global vaccine superpower that’s actively practicing “vaccine diplomacy” in every corner of the world. It also saw Russia make tangible progress on attempting to lead the “Great Reset”/”Fourth Industrial Revolution” following the implementation of state-run Sberbank’s visionary plans to become a global technological player. In addition, Russia is rapidly adapting to the “Great Socio-Civilizational Reset” and other related challenges through President Putin’s unofficial unveiling of a new model of governance that can best be described as “populist statism”. The greatest challenges, however, are the need to defend itself from Western aggression in the New Cold War and perfect its increasingly complex “balancing” act. Nevertheless, with President Putin still at the helm, Russia’s prospects of success remain very promising.

Israel’s Genocide in Gaza Goes Uninterrupted, But Is Europe Finally Taking Notice?

By Miko Peled

Source

A long and cruel siege, constant Israeli attacks resulting in the killing of countless civilians, destruction of homes and infrastructure, extreme poverty, and trauma remain the daily bread of Palestinians in Gaza.

Areport published by the United Nations in 2018 stated that by the year 2020 the Gaza Strip would be uninhabitable. It said specifically that, “the United Nations has stated that Gaza may well be unlivable by 2020.” The report emphasized also that “Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967, drew attention to Israel’s persistent non-cooperation with the Special Rapporteur’s mandate. As with his two predecessors, Israel has not granted him entry to visit the country, nor the Occupied Palestinian territory.” Anyone who thinks that the Gaza Strip was liveable prior to 2020 is out of their mind.

The Gaza Strip has been a humanitarian disaster since it was artificially created in the aftermath of the 1948 Zionist campaign of ethnic cleansing. It was created primarily as a holding place for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians driven off of their lands by Zionist terrorists in southern Palestine. Impoverished and homeless, these refugees were forced to survive on handouts, and today they make up more than half of the Gaza Strip’s 2.2 million inhabitants. Considering the high standard of living Jewish citizens of Israel in that part of the country enjoy, living as they do on the very lands from which the Palestinians were exiled, the “Strip” was never “liveable.”

Now 2020 has come and gone, the United Nations report is shelved, and not a thing has changed. Over two million people remain imprisoned by Israel in the Gaza Strip. They suffer from a lack of the most basic needs like drinkable water, electricity, medicine, and nutrition. Israel also denies them basic human rights while Israeli Jews living minutes away enjoy a standard of living that is, by any measure, enviable with full access to the finest health care, nutrition, and clean water.

A European delegation comes to visit

A delegation of European representatives recently visited Gaza, yet Europeans have not used their influence, political or otherwise, to end Israeli violations of human rights and international law.

It would not have taken much for EU representatives to see the devastation, poverty, and severe shortages experienced by the people of Gaza. All one needs to do is drive through the Gaza Strip to see the evidence, and yet no change seems to be forthcoming from the Europeans.

Gaza Europe
A family prepares tea in a slum on the outskirts of Khan Younis Refugee Camp, in the southern Gaza Strip, Nov. 25, 2020. Khalil Hamra | AP

In fact, according to the Israeli press, Germany just announced that in order to provide Israel with a European made vaccine for Covid-19, “Germany used its influence in the EU to bend the rule that a European-produced vaccination would be given to European countries first. Germany justified the decision in part through its “historical commitment to supporting Israel.” Knowing full well that millions of Palestinians are denied health care and that the spread of Covid-19 among Palestinians is alarming, no such commitment was made to assist the Palestinians in their fight against the deadly disease..

Complicity

The comfort that Europeans display as they cooperate with the State of Israel, even as they claim to be champions of human rights, amounts to complicity. According to the Geneva Convention, particularly the Rome Statute, European cooperation with Israel constitutes complicity in genocide. When one looks at the definition of genocide and compares it with the actions of Israel in Gaza, it is quite clear that the Zionist State is engaged in genocide.


Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

Article II

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  1. Killing members of the group;
  2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group;

Three of the five examples given here are constantly committed by Israel in Gaza. Furthermore, Article II of the Genocide Convention “contains a narrow definition of the crime of genocide, which includes two main elements,” one of which is the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.” Israeli attacks on Gaza for over seven decades  clearly demonstrate that they are part of a larger strategy and that there is clear intent to bring about the destruction of a people.

According to a report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW), the issue of complicity with genocide is quite clear. “Prior jurisprudence has defined the term complicity as aiding and abetting, instigating, and procuring […] Complicity to commit genocide in Article 2(3)(e) refers to all acts of assistance or encouragement that have substantially contributed to, or have had a substantial effect on, the completion of the crime of genocide.”

The report defined the following as elements of complicity in genocide:

  • “complicity by procuring means, such as weapons, instruments or any other means, used to commit genocide, with the accomplice knowing that such means would be used for such a purpose;
  • complicity by knowingly aiding or abetting a perpetrator of a genocide in the planning or enabling acts thereof;

According to that definition, both the EU states and the United States are complicit in the crime of genocide.

Human Rights Watch maintains that Israel has, “entrenched discriminatory systems that treat Palestinians unequally.”  It “involves systematic rights abuses, including collective punishment, routine use of excessive lethal force against protesters, and prolonged administrative detention without charge or trial for hundreds.”

It continues to state that Israel, “builds and supports illegal settlements […]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.”

Regarding the Gaza Strip, HRW writes that “Israel’s more than decade-long closure of Gaza severely restricts the movement of people and goods, with devastating humanitarian impact.”

What constitutes aid?

The first order of business needs to be the immediate and unconditional lifting of the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007. A no-fly zone monitored by UN or European naval forces must be imposed on all Israeli aircraft. In addition to these measures, humanitarian relief must be made available to the people of Gaza without delay.

Israel must be sanctioned and all military and economic cooperation with Israel must be stopped until such time that it complies with international law and ends all its violations of human rights. This should be followed by setting a date for free and fair one person, one vote elections in all of historic Palestine. Then processes must be put in place for the repatriation of Palestinian refugees, and funding must be set aside for payment of reparations and restitution.

A girl walks next to a donkey carte loaded with rocks on the outskirts of Khan Younis Refugee Camp, in the southern Gaza, Nov. 25, 2020. Khalil Hamra |AP

Israel must also be held accountable for its violations of international law since 1948 and Israeli politicians, as well as military commanders, must be investigated and charged with war crimes.

European countries are fully aware of the reality that exists in Gaza. A long and cruel siege, constant Israeli attacks resulting in the killing of countless civilians, destruction of homes and infrastructure, extreme poverty, and trauma are the daily bread of Palestinians in Gaza.

The reality in Gaza is no secret and Israeli violations of international law are well known. However, European governments are in the habit of seeing colonized and formerly colonized people as needing aid and doing little to provide the aid. The aid they provide is sometimes monetary and sometimes humanitarian in the form of food items, but rarely is it sufficient. In the case of the Gaza Strip, real political action is called for, but it is not clear if and when the EU will be willing to act.

Western Sahara Is Extremely Important For The Anti-Imperialist Cause

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Western Sahara Is Extremely Important For The Anti-Imperialist Cause
Most folks never heard about Western Sahara until Trump unilaterally recognized Morocco’s claims to this disputed region of the Maghreb last week in exchange for it agreeing to a peace deal with “Israel”, but it’s actually extremely important for the anti-imperialist cause since its standing is similar to Palestine and Kashmir’s in the eyes of international law.

Trump’s unilateral recognition of Morocco’s claims to the disputed Maghreb region of Western Sahara in exchange for Rabat formalizing its long-held and not-so-secret ties with Tel Aviv caught many observers by surprise who previously weren’t familiar with this unresolved conflict. Palestine and Kashmir are much more globally prominent because of the involvement of nuclear powers and the efforts of some to focus more on the inter-religious optics of these conflicts than their international legal origins. Western Sahara satisfies neither of those two “exciting” criteria, hence why it’s largely been forgotten about by most of the world since the issue first came to the fore of international politics in the mid-1970s.

Francoist Spain’s “decolonization” process saw the totalitarian country refuse to grant independence to the Western Sahara, instead dividing it between neighboring Morocco and Mauritania against the wishes of the indigenous Sahrawi people as represented by the Polisario Front. This group in turn proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic with the support of neighboring Algeria, which has an historic rivalry with Morocco and was also sympathetic to socialist causes such as this one during the Old Cold War. Mauritania eventually abandoned its claims to the disputed region, and after over a decades’ worth of fighting, Morocco and the Western Sahara reached a UN-backed agreement in 1991 to hold a referendum on the region’s political status.

The vote never took place since the two warring sides couldn’t agree on who’s eligible to vote, with the primary problem being Morocco’s insistence on letting settlers participate. Western Sahara is also de-facto divided by a sand wall that the occupying army built to solidify its control over approximately 80% of the territory. With Trump’s unilateral recognition of Rabat’s claim to the entire region (which might eventually be followed by others such as “Israel”), as well as his government’s subsequent decision to move forward with a $1 billion arms deal, it’s extremely unlikely that last month’s end of the 29-year ceasefire will result in any serious gains being made by the Polisario Front.

Russia denounced the US’ political decision as illegal under international law, which is an entirely accurate assessment, but this isn’t expected to have any tangible effect on altering the conflict’s dynamics. Only Algeria could potentially have an impact, but its ongoing domestic political problems over nearly the past two years have forced it to suddenly look inward instead of continue with its traditional policy of presenting itself as a regional leader. Moreover, the US’ planned arms deal might ultimately shift the regional balance of power in a decisive way, especially if “Israel” gets involved too, or at the very least spark a new arms race between Morocco and Algeria as the latter looks to Russia and China for more military support in response.

Amidst all of this, anti-imperialists shouldn’t ever forget the international legal importance of the Western Saharan cause. However one feels about the legitimacy of either side’s claims in the conflict, it’s nevertheless a UNSC-recognized dispute that’s supposed to be resolved by a referendum. The precedent of the US unilaterally abandoning its international legal obligations is disturbing and arguably also destabilizing, though it’s obviously doing this in pursuit of its own national interests as it subjectively understands them. The problem, however, is that this might embolden other claimants over different UNSC-recognized disputed territories across the world to double down on their maximalist positions, thus making it much more difficult to resolve those issues.

Another important point is that international law exists not solely for “moral” reasons like its most passionate supporters claim (since it’s obviously imperfect), but for practical ones related to the necessity of having predictable means to resolve international disputes in order to avoid unintentional escalations that could quickly evolve into larger and more uncontrollable conflicts. Unilateral maximalist claims by one party are troublesome, but they become even worse when they’re supported by self-interested external actors who might also have an ulterior motive to divide and rule the region in question like the US clearly does in the Maghreb, Mideast, and South Asia regarding Western Sahara, Palestine, and Kashmir.

The Western Saharan cause is therefore inextricable from the Palestinian and Kashmiri ones in the eyes of international law, which is why supporters of those two should stand in solidarity with their Sahrawi counterparts. The issue can only legally be settled by a referendum according to the UNSC regardless of one’s personal views towards the conflict, but since that has yet to happen and might very well never occur after Trump’s combined diplomatic-military support for Morocco’s claims gives Rabat no incentive to comply, observers can’t help but be concerned. The only way to remain consistent with supporting Palestine and Kashmir is to support Western Sahara’s UNSC-recognized right to a referendum.

Under Guise of Green Energy, Israel Entrenches Itself in Syria’s Golan Heights

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

If Israeli energy firm Energix is successful, a sprawling complex of wind turbines will soon cover up to a quarter of the agricultural land still under the control of Syria’s indigenous Golan residents.

Jerusalem — On December 9, Israeli police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at hundreds of Syrians peacefully demonstrating against the development of a wind farm in the occupied Golan Heights.

Ten protesters were injured and eight arrested. According toAl-Marsad, the sole human rights organization in the occupied Golan, the Golan Association for the Development of Arab Villages’ medical clinic received 12 cases of protesters with rubber bullet wounds—some on the upper body and face. Dozens of demonstrators suffered from gas inhalation. According to the police, officers responded with “non-lethal weapons” and four officers were injured from stones being thrown.

The violent confrontation capped off a week of heavy police presence in the Golan Heights. Officers were there to escort employees from Israeli company Energix Renewable Energies as they took soil samples using drilling machines for their wind turbine project being built on Syrian land.

Police road closures prevented 1,000 Syrian farmers from accessing their land. Demonstrators say the excavation work damages agriculture.

Israeli police block farmers from accessing agricultural roads. Photo | Emil Masood

Syrian Druze say the wind farm will disrupt their way of life

The December 9 protest was part of a general strike in the Syrian Druze communities against Energix and the police. But the Syrian struggle against Energix stems as far back as 2018 when Energix was in the final stages of getting its wind turbine project approved.

Now, the wind farm is underway after being approved by Israel’s National Committee of Infrastructure (NIC) and all government ministries despite strong opposition to it from the local residents.

“[This project] will have bad effects for our land, our environment and for us as farmers and human beings,” Emil Masood, an activist and cherry farmer who is organizing against the wind farm, said.

Dubbed the ARAN Wind Project, the plan will install 23 wind turbines onnearly a quarter of Syrian agricultural land. The originalproposal requested 52 wind turbines, but the project was scaled back as it went through the government stages.

Energix denies the project will harm the local economy, environment, and health, arguing, “it will lead to a significant improvement in the quality of life of the residents” and “occupy less than 2 percent of the margins of the agricultural space of the Druze community.” According to the approved project map, the wind farm will span a little more than 3,500 dunams (nearly 870 acres).

Energix-map
A map published by Al-Marsad shows proposed turbine locations in the midst of farmland nestled between Syrian villages

Energix boasts the project will create hundreds of jobs while meeting Israel’s renewable energy goals.Israel entered the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 and agreed to have 10 percent of its energy produced through renewable sources by 2020 and 17 percent by 2030.

But according to expert testimonies filed as part of ajoint objection to the wind farm, the project will significantly harm Syrians’ health, housing, and livelihoods.

Dr. Hagit Ulanovsky, who provided an expert opinion for the community appeal, explained that because of the region’s mountainous topography, residents are going to feel the infrasound from the wind turbines more intensely in their bodies. And these noise disturbances will ultimately prevent Syrian farmers from cultivating their land.

“The noise is going to be impossible. Nobody will be able to stand 200 to 300 meters [about 650 to 980 feet] from each turbine, which is half of the area that’s covered,” Ulanovsky said. “And during the construction phase, thousands of trees will be taken out and basically be dead forever.”

“At least 500 to maybe 5,000 years of Druze people living in the same place and growing the same trees for several generations is going to stop,” Ulanovsky added.

A forgotten occupation

Israel occupied the Syrian Golan during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.Hundreds of thousands of Syrians were forcibly displaced and now roughly 22,000 Syrians remain in the four villages of Majdal Shams, Masada, Buqata, and Ein Qiniyye. In 1981, Israel annexed the Syrian Golan and tried to impose Israeli citizenship on the Jawlani, theSyrian residents of the occupied Golan Heights. Many Jawlani continue to this day to reject Israeli citizenship, with only 20% of the population having acquired it.

Druze farmer Noraldeen Masoud makes coffee on his farm in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Ariel Schalit | AP

Dr. Muna Dajani from the London School of Economics, who also provided expert testimony, explained that because of this refusal to take Israeli citizenship, the Jawlani’s travel documents state they don’t have a nationality. Instead, the Israeli government has labeled them as “undefined.”

“The Jawlani have started relating more and more to the land as their source of identity and their source of belonging to a community because of that exclusion from being Syrian, and that meant they started valuing the land beyond its physical economic value,” Dajani said.

“Constructing these wind turbines in the middle of the land not only undermines the economic viability of their agriculture but also has a detrimental psychological effect on their community well-being, their sense of purpose and sense of belonging,” Dajani continued. “People feel without land they have nowhere, they don’t have an identity left.”

Expert opinions also emphasized the wind farm will restrict the expansion of at least three surrounding Syrian villages, thereby exacerbating the housing crisis in these communities. The collective appeal wassubmitted by Al-Marsad to the NIC in June 2019 on behalf of Syrian agricultural cooperatives, civil society groups, and thousands of civilians. By August of that same year, the NIC rejected all objections and approved the project in September.

Golan Heights wind
Druze farmer Noraldeen Masoud works his orchard where towering wind turbines could soon jut up from the picturesque farmland. Ariel Schalit | AP

Energix plans to connect the wind farm to the electricity grid by the end of 2022. Nizar Ayoub, Al-Marsad’s director, told MintPress News that the organization is collaborating with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Planners for Planning Rights (Bimkom) to utilize every legal tool to stop the wind turbine project. Al-Marsad alleges the project violates international humanitarian law whereby an occupying power is prohibited from exploiting the natural resources of the occupied territory or using their land for economic benefit.

However, the organization is currently embroiled in a lawsuit against them from Energix. In 2019, the energy company sued Al-Marsad, claiming the human rights center defamed them and violated Israel’s Anti-Boycott Law. In addition to the lawsuit against Al-Marsad, Energix also filed five cases against activists.

“There’s no basis in their arguments,” Ayoub said. “They’re just using this strategy to silence the local communities and Al-Marsad.”

The resistance continues

Following this month’s confrontation between Israel police and activists, thelocal committee for planning and construction – Ma’ale Hermon – issued a restraining order to Energix to cease all work. The order was issued after the local village councils filed an appeal to the committee. Energix is aware of the order but said it will not impact their wind turbine project and has no legal grounds.

For activist and farmer Masood, any attempts by local authorities to stop the project are merely a sham.

farmers peacefully protest against Energix
Syrian civilians and farmers peacefully protest against Energix and Israeli police. Photo | Emil Masood

“The municipality doesn’t represent Syrian Arab citizens in the Golan because they’re appointed by the Israeli authorities,” Masood said. “In this conflict, they didn’t invest a lot of effort to stop it. So, all the effort was from social, public, and private initiatives and dependent on us farmers and citizens of the four villages—not the municipalities.” The village councils weren’t available for comment.

The Syrian activists’ next steps rely on how Energix proceeds, Masood said, “if they want to force this project on us, we will react.” Activists are currently working with an engineer to measure the amount of land damage caused and submit it to their lawyer in Tel Aviv for court procedures.

“But in the field, whenever the company will come back,” Masood said. “We will stand and confront it.”

A Killing in Iran: Who Gains From Yet Another Assassination?

By Philip Giraldi

Source

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Assassination ae4bb

It is not often that one can agree with the pronouncements made by former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan, but his tweeted comment on the killing of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh suggesting that the incident “…was a criminal act & highly reckless. It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict. Iranian leaders would be wise to wait for the return of responsible American leadership on the global stage & to resist the urge to respond against perceived culprits” was both restrained and reasonable. Or it was at least so until sentence two, which was clearly intended to attack Donald Trump and praise the incoming Joe Biden administration, which Brennan just might be seeking to join.

Bearing in mind that John Brennan was the guiding hand behind President Barack Obama’s kill lists of Americans who were marked for death by drone it is difficult to understand what moral high ground he seeks to occupy in the slaying of Fakhrizadeh. Brennan, who was a leading critic of Trump and who may have led the clandestine effort to undermine his election and term in office, subsequently found himself in an exchange of tweets with Republican Senator from Texas Ted Cruz which degenerated into a trading of insults. Cruz responded “It’s bizarre to see a former head of the CIA consistently side with Iranian zealots who chant ‘Death to America.’ And reflexively condemn Israel. Does Joe Biden agree?” This produced a riposte by Brennan that “It is typical for you to mischaracterize my comment. Your lawless attitude & simple-minded approach to serious national security matters demonstrate that you are unworthy to represent the good people of Texas.”

The assassination of Fakhrizadeh, the “father of Iran’s nuclear program,” took place on a road near the town of Absard to the east of Tehran. According to initial accounts, the Iranian scientist, who has long been targeted by name and in public fora by Israel, was traveling in an SUV together with his wife plus bodyguards and a driver. Initial reports suggested that there was a Nissan truck parked on the opposite side of the road loaded with what appeared to be wood, though it may have turned out that the wood was concealing a bomb which may have been triggered by a signal from a surveillance satellite. The bomb was detonated to disable Fakhrizadeh’s vehicle before an attack on the car by five or six gunmen with automatic weapons who had emerged from a vehicle following the SUV began, again according to initial reports, including reporting by eye witnesses. The Iranian official news agency FARS is now claiming, however, that the attack was carried out by a remote controlled machine gun concealed on the truck, which subsequently exploded, and no human attackers were involved. It is presumed that the bodyguards and driver were killed in the exchange. Fakhrizadeh was badly wounded and died in hospital shortly thereafter. Photos of the SUV reveal shattered windows, blood streaks, and numerous bullet holes as well as other damage from what may have been the bomb.

Iranian news agencies are now reporting that at least one of the attackers has been arrested, and if that is true he will surely be made to talk regarding what he knows. They are also reporting that two of the assailants were killed in the exchange with the bodyguards, which, if true, means they will possibly be identified. Clearly, the attack was well planned, was able to employ considerable resources, and was based on intelligence that would be very hard to obtain, particularly as the Iranian government was taking steps to protect Fakhrizadeh, to include details of his travels.

The killing comes just two weeks after intelligence officials confirmed that Al Qaeda’s second-highest leader Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah was shot dead together with his daughter by alleged Israeli supplied assassins on a motorcycle on August 7th. The hit was reportedly carried out at the request of the United States based on Abdullah’s claimed involvement in the 1998 deadly attacks on two U.S. Embassies in East Africa. The claim that Iran has been harboring al-Qaeda is already being used by the Trump White House to justify increased pressure on Iran and it might possibly even serve as part of a casus belli.

The two assassinations are not linked except perhaps in terms of sending a message to high level Iranians that they are not safe even in their own country even when they are given bodyguards. The claim that Fakhrizadeh was in charge of a secret Iranian weapons program, made regularly by Israel and the U.S., is not generally believed by most authorities. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which nuclear armed Israel is not, and its facilities are subject to regular unannounced inspections.

Likewise, the killing of Qods Force commander General Qassem Soleimani in January in a U.S. drone attack was intended more regarding sending a message concerning possible consequences of reckless behavior than it was about actually killing one man. Whatever programs Fakrizadeh and Soleimani were involved in will continue without them. Nevertheless, assassination of Iranians linked to the country’s former and current nuclear program has been Israeli policy since 2010. As many as a dozen Iranian scientists and technicians reportedly have been killed. So-called “targeted killings” have been a regular feature of Israel’s “national defense” strategy. In addition to the Iranians, at least seventy Palestinians have been assassinated.

Though Israel has clearly ordered the assassinations, it is generally believed that the actual preparation for the attacks have been carried out by Mojahedin e Khalq or MEK, a Marxist cult that came into prominence at the time of the Iranian revolution against the Shah. It is generally regarded as a terrorist group that once was virulently anti-American and killed a number of U.S. officials. MEK is a curious hybrid creature in any event in that it pretends to be an alternative government option for Iran even though it is despised by nearly all Iranians. At the same time, it is greatly loved by the Washington Establishment which would like to see the Mullahs deposed and replaced by something more amenable to western and Israeli worldviews.

MEK is run like a cult by its leader Maryam Rajavi, with a number of rules that restrict and control the behavior of its members. One commentary likens membership in MEK to a modern-day equivalent of slavery. The group currently operates out of a secretive, heavily guarded 84-acre compound in Albania that is covertly supported by the United States, as well as through a “political wing” front office in Paris, where it refers to itself as the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

MEK, which is financially supported by Saudi Arabia, stages events in the United States in Europe where it generously pays politicians like John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani and Elaine Chao to make fifteen-minute speeches praising the organization and everything it does. It’s paying of inside the Beltway power brokers proved so successful that it was removed from the State Department terrorist list in 2012 by Hillary Clinton even though it had killed Americans in the 1970s. MEK also finds favor in Washington because it is used by Israel as a resource for anti-Iranian terrorism acts currently, including assassinations carried out in Tehran. Israel, in fact, directs most terrorist acts carried out by MEK inside Iran.

So those are the players and, at first glance, one might reasonably come to the Ockham’s razor conclusion, i.e. that Israel ordered MEK to kill Fakhrizadeh, an order which was then executed. But that would be to ignore some of the politics currently playing out in Washington. First of all, Israel would not have carried out the high-level assassination without the consent of the White House. Indeed, U.S. intelligence resources might well have played a key role in locating the Iranian scientist. Second, the Trump Administration has clearly adopted a policy of “maximum pressure” against Iran, which has included strangling the country’s economy through sanctions, condoning Israeli attacks in Syria and elsewhere, and destabilizing moves, to include assassinations, designed to make the nation’s leadership both vulnerable and nervous. It is the application of an Israeli strategic doctrine referred to as “Campaigns Between Wars,” meaning constant aggression to erode an enemy’s ability to fight without actually crossing a line that would start a shooting war.

A direct role by the Trump Administration in the assassination should not be ruled out as it is clearly seeking to harden Iranian antipathy towards any new comprehensive arms control or nuclear agreement with the incoming Biden team. Trump himself reportedly raised the possibility of bombing Iran earlier this month, though he was talked out of it by his national security team, but the Israeli Army meanwhile is on alert in case of an American attack. There are confirmed reports that B-52 bombers, capable of deploying the 30,000 pound penetrator bombs that can destroy targets deep underground, have been sent to the Middle East, presumably to Qatar where the U.S. has its principal airbase in the region. They would presumably be used against Iran’s main nuclear development site at Natanz.

Israel is in a strong position right now. Iran has significant military resources to respond to the killing, including the drones and missiles it developed and used in September 2019 to devastate the state-owned Saudi Aramco oil processing facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais in eastern Saudi Arabia. But if it does react robustly to the assassination and sparks a conflict that inevitably would include the United States, it would be a war that Bibi Netanyahu has long sought, destroying Iran at what he hopes would be minimal cost to Israel. If Iran does not respond, Israel will no doubt push the White House to be even more aggressive in its remaining time in office while hardliners within Iran will also demand an end to any agreements with western powers. Taken together, that would make sure that any attempt by the Biden administration to engage diplomatically with Iran would fail. The ultimate provocation by the United States would, of course, be to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. Unthinkable? Perhaps, but perhaps not. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz is already reporting that “U.S. President Donald Trump has more than a month before he leaves the White House, and on his way out he could set the world on fire. In starting this conflagration, it seems as though he plans to strike every match in the box. Standing beside him, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be more than happy to lend him a lighter.”

From Myth to Reality: Zionist Archaeologists Are Using the Bible to Rewrite History

By Miko Peled

Source

of Jarndyce Booksellers. Jarndyce specializes in first editions, rare books, and wonderful collectors’ editions of the complete works of Shakespeare, Dickens, and countless others. Also displayed in the store are enormous antique illustrated copies of the Bible. These mammoth books are beautifully adorned with illustrations that bring Biblical characters and stories to life.

I remember sitting as a child, leafing through an old, illustrated copy of a Bible that was part of my father’s book collection. It too had wonderful illustrations, and I would sit there and look at the pictures of the great men and women, and experience the great moments that are described in the Bible. The angel who stopped Abraham as he was about to sacrifice his son; Moses coming down from Mount Sinai; the young David slaying the giant Goliath, and so many more. They all came alive in front of my very eyes and it was as clear to me as a child as it is today and to so many others, that those stories describe real historic events.

These lovely renditions were intended to create the impression that the Bible tells stories that are historically true. They lead readers and even those who do not read but hear the stories and look at the illustrations, to believe that these were real people and real events that took place.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman speaks at the opening of an “ancient road” that cuts into the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan. Tsafrir Abayov | AP

It is easy enough to point to an ancient city in Palestine, say Bethlehem or Jerusalem or some corner of the desert near Bi’r Saba, and claim that a particular Biblical event took place there. This literal reading of the Bible, and particularly of the Old Testament, has given and continues to give Zionism enormous impetus.

Zionists rely on millions of people across the world who have been misled to believe that there is historical truth to the Bible, who think that today’s Israel is the true and rightful successor of Biblical Israel and who allow Zionists to claim the Bible as their actual history book.

Mythology religion and history

The Greeks and the Nordic people replaced their ancient indigenous mythologies with Christianity, retaining their mythology as a part of their cultural history. In India, ancient mythology is very much alive and ancient gods are still worshiped in temples throughout the country, yet that is never confused with India’s actual history. Vishnu is never confused with Ashoka or Buddha with Akbar. Each has its respective place within the rich Indian culture.

Neither the people of Greece, the Nordic people, or even those who practice various faiths in India regard their mythology as history. You will not find Greek archaeologists digging to find the home of Zeus. There are no signs that the Nordic people are searching for the ancient city where Odin and Thor resided, and even in India, where the ancient gods are very much part of life, there is no expectation that the city of Shiva will be dug up by archaeologists.

his is because the separation between myth and religion and history is clear, except in the case of Zionism. Zionists, both Christian and Jewish, firmly hold to their demand that the Bible is history. Archeologists working in the name of Zionists have been digging up Palestine for two centuries, often ignoring or even destroying valuable artifacts that do not serve their purpose.

This is because Zionist archeologists are motivated not by scientific curiosity, but by a political agenda. They ignore the wealth of history and archeology that exist in Palestine and search for proof of their own theories.

Destruction of monuments

The need to validate Zionist claims that connect current day Israel with the ancient Hebrews and the glorified mythology as it is presented in parts of the Old Testament often comes at the expense of important historical sites and monuments. In fact, is not uncommon to see invaluable historical sites destroyed by design at the hands of Zionist institutions.

The Mamilla Cemetery is one such example. It is an ancient Muslim burial ground and holy site in the center of Jerusalem believed to date back to the seventh century. Numerous saints of the Sufi faith and thousands of officials, scholars, notables, and Jerusalem families have been buried in the cemetery over the past 1,000 years.

Companions of the Prophet Muhammad were said to be buried there, but since the Zionist conquest of West Jerusalem, the cemetery has fallen into disrepair, with ancient tombstones destroyed and desecrated. Over the last decade, a significant portion of the cemetery has been razed and human remains have been desecrated so that the Simon Wiesenthal Center can build a facility, shamelessly called the Museum of Tolerance.

The Mamilla Cemetery, shown here in a 1951 aerial photo, sat undistributed for centuries until the Israeli government paved the way for the construction of the Museum of Tolerance atop its historic ruins

Since 2010, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Campaign to Preserve Mamilla Cemetery have worked to halt the construction of the new facility and preserve what remains of the ancient site. To this end, petitions have been filed with various UN bodies, including UNESCO, to protect the sacred site.

The “Museum of Tolerance,” as it is called, has resulted in the disinterment of hundreds of graves, and the whereabouts of the countless human remains that have been disposed of are unknown. Recognized as one of the most prominent Muslim cemeteries in the world, where seventy thousand warriors of Saladin’s armies are interred, is now all but gone.

Bab al-Rahmeh is yet another famous Islamic cemetery in Jerusalem. It extends from Lions Gate to the end of the wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque near the Umayyad palaces in the south. The Israeli government is in the process of confiscating parts of the cemetery to implement a settlement project. Plans include creating, “paths of biblical gardens,” once again erasing historical sites in order to build monuments to commemorate a history that never was.

Another classic example of the destruction of real history for the sake of mythology is the opening of the so-called “Temple’s Baptism station” on the historic land of the Umayyad palaces in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Temple in question is the Jewish Temple and the Umayyad palaces on which it is to be built date back nearly 1,400 years, built in the early stage of the Islamic period, and used to house the Islamic Caliphs and institutions that managed the affairs of Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Monuments in disrepair

Zionist authorities have not only destroyed precious historical sites in search of mythical ones, they have also allowed invaluable historical sites to fall into disrepair. There are countless such sites throughout Palestine, such as the mosque of Dhaher Al-Umar in Tabariya, which now stands alone, in ruins, a solitary witness to the glorious Arab past of the city.

Daher al-Umar was a Palestinian leader who ruled most of Palestine and shaped its history throughout the entire 18th century. Not only has his memory been erased, but the monuments that carry his name and still exist now lay in ruins.

The mythology of the Old Testament was turned into history through a successful attempt to make the stories and the figures in these stories, mythical as they may have been, into actual historical events and figures. At the same time, the real history of Palestine, a glorious history of culture and religion, politics, commerce, and unmatched art and architecture, has all but been lost so that Zionists can claim that they are the true successors of Joshua and King David.

There is no harm in enjoying the wonderful illustrations that adorn the Bible, the likes of which one finds at Jarndyce Bookseller. In fact, I intend to continue to visit that store whenever I can and enjoy those wonderful renditions of Old and the New Testament stories. However, we must be careful not to confuse those stories and the illustrations with the actual history of Palestine.

“Sin Begets Sin:” The Fall of Jeremy Corbyn Will be Felt Around the World

By Miko Peled

Source

Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party have finally succumbed to pressure from Zionist organizations in the UK in a move with enormous international ramifications.

There can be little doubt that the ousting of Jeremy Corbyn from the UK Labour Party was the result of a well-planned strategy by a coalition of Zionist organizations, which includes the state of Israel’s own Ministry of Strategic Affairs. And while Corbyn is undoubtedly not anti-semitic, nor racist in way shape, or form, he made one colossal strategic mistake. He did not fight the Zionist propaganda levied against him nor did he fight the outrageous accusations of anti-semitism that were laid upon him and so many other good hard-working anti-racist members of his Party.

The IHRA

Israel is a racist, violent state that peddles enormous amounts of sophisticated weapons to the darkest regimes on earth. It holds thousands of political prisoners, denies people water, medical care, food, and even the basic most freedoms, simply because they are Palestinian.

In order to shield the country from those who would expose that racism and violence, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, or IHRA, created what it calls a working definition of anti-semitism. It is a new definition that exists to protect Israel from its critics.

The question that immediately comes to mind is what was wrong with the “old” definition of anti-semitism which defined anti-semitism as racism against Jews. The answer: It was not broad enough to include Israel or Zionism. Since Israel is a major violator of international law and human rights and has been so from its inception in 1948, it needed some sort of blanket protection that would shield it and paint its crimes as protection of Jews. It also needed a tool that would allow it to attack its critics by weaponizing the term anti-semitism.

In an attempt to conflate anti-semitism (or racism) with criticism and rejection of Zionism, which itself is a racist ideology, the IHRA released its “working definition of antisemitism.” That definition is a rather sophisticated mechanism that provides blanket protection for Israeli government crimes. If rejecting Zionism is anti-semitism, as the new definition claims, then all of Israel’s critics can be labeled racists, and the so-called “Jewish state,” can claim to be a victim of racism.

How to silence a conversation

The following portions of the IHRA’s new definition touch on the state of Israel itself. They are written in a way that places anyone who rejects their premise on the “wrong” side of the issue. The problem is never the issue, but rather pointing it out. Here are a few examples.

Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.“

This definition does not actually address Holocaust denial as one might think. The issue here is that Israel partisans have their own version of what took place during the Holocaust and do not want it to be challenged.

According to the Zionist version of events, the creation of the state of Israel was the answer to the Holocaust, even though the majority of Holocaust survivors initially chose not to go to the nascent state and many rejected Zionist ideology altogether. Israel’s backers also want to associate Palestinian resistance with Nazis and to conflate Palestinians rejection of its right to exist on their land with the Nazi desire to eliminate the Jewish people.

Israel’s apologists also want to silence any conversation about the Holocaust that they are not comfortable with. Rescue efforts attempted by non-Zionist Jewish organizations in the wake of the Holocaust were ultimately foiled by Zionist groups and discussing the topic often sparks accusations of anti-semitism. Interestingly, most, if not all of the Jewish people I have spoken to whose families perished in the Holocaust see no problem debating these issues. During a conversation I had with Rabbi Dovid Feldman of Monsey, New York, the Rabbi asked, “why would we not want to discuss these issues?”

Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.”

According to strict Jewish law, Jews must be loyal citizens to whatever countries they reside in, and because of the racist and violent nature of the state of Israel, supporting it is a violation of international law and in some countries, contravenes the laws of the land. Providing the Israeli government with weapons and funds even contravenes U.S. law due of its use of weapons against unarmed civilians,

Zionist organizations that lobby their governments, elected representatives, and civic organizations to support Israel are, in fact, placing the Israeli government above the interests – and indeed the laws – of the countries they live in.

Jewish citizens from Western countries even volunteer to serve in the Israeli army, an army whose de facto purpose is the oppression, dispossession, and killing (or in other words, the terrorizing) of the Palestinian people. It is, therefore, not about Jewish people in general, but about Zionists in particular.

Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”

To begin with, Israel is not an expression of Jewish self-determination, it is an expression of Zionist and Israeli self-determination. Jewish people have historically rejected Zionism and there are still large communities and countless individuals who do so today. The IHRA’s attempts to conflate Zionism and Judaism are obvious.

As for Israel being a racist endeavor, immediately upon its creation, Israel brutally forced Palestinians out of their country and replaced them with Jewish migrants from around the world. Israel took the land, homes, private and common property, cultivated fields, crops, machinery, livestock, and even the bank accounts of displaced Palestinians. They then banned their return.

Palestinians became stateless practically overnight while the new state enriched its coffers with stolen property, money, and goods. Israel then defined citizenship in the newly created state as almost exclusively for Jews. This definition is meant to shield Israel by criminalizing those dare claim that it is a racist endeavor.

Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

This accusation is little more than an attempt to silence critics of Israel by asking, “why don’t you also criticize Saudi Arabia?” The idea that one must list every country that is a violator of human rights when discussing some other regime accused of violating them is absurd. It is an attempt to shift the conversation away from the issue of Israeli crimes and Zionist racism.

In short, the IHRA’s new definition of anti-semitism includes almost everything that Zionists have been accused of doing and defines even pointing out that fact as anti-semitism.

“Sin Begets Sin”

One thing leads to another, or as Jews say, “Sin Begets Sin.” The sin here is not anti-semitism, but the capitulation of progressive anti-racist forces in the face of an obvious smear campaign by a racist state and the institutions that represent it in the United Kingdom.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews claims to represent all Jews in the UK, in reality though, it only represents Zionist Jews. It is a Zionist organization that places Israeli interests above all else. How else can one explain its support for the smear campaign against Corbyn and other public servants on one hand, and its silence in the face of Israeli crimes on the other?

The fall of Jeremy Corbyn at the hands of Zionist organizations is not an issue exclusive to the UK, and its international ramifications are enormous. There can be no doubt that the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the Israeli Embassy in London, the Jewish Labour Movement, and other Zionists groups that were behind the smear of Corbyn were popping champagne when they heard that he had been suspended from the Labour Party.

The capitulation of Labour was, in fact, an act of suicide. Under Corbyn’s leadership, the party had reached an unprecedented number of members and enjoyed tremendous support. The creation of the IHRA’s new definition of anti-semitism, followed by demands that it be accepted by the Labour Party, and the defamation of Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s top echelon (people like Ken Livingston and Chris Williamson), were all part of a well-planned strategy to punish those who oppose Zionist crimes in Palestine.

The Military-Industrial Complex, Israeli-Style. New Docuseries Touts Virtues of “Iron Dome”

By Kathryn Shihadah

Source

A new documentary series produced in Israel tells the story of the Iron Dome missile system, but as Kathryn Shihadah reports, it leaves out crucial details about how the weapon is used and who funded it.

Anew docuseries produced in Israel chronicles the development and use of Israel’s multi-billion dollar, U.S.-subsidized Iron Dome missile defense system. The mechanism, an extension of America’s own military-industrial complex, is designed to intercept primitive rockets from Gaza and epitomizes Israel’s approach to Palestinian resistance: denial and disproportionality.

These factors also play a part in Israel’s defense industry as a whole – an enterprise that profits from the suffering of Palestinians who are forced to live under the thumb of modern-day colonialism and occupation by Israel’s structure of institutionalized apartheid. Palestinians oppose their systemic oppression in a David vs. Goliath scenario, resisting their occupier with homemade rockets; while Israel, one of the largest militaries in the world, uses the most modern and sophisticated weaponry on the planet to terrorize its victims.

Israel is both joining and competing with the U.S. domination of the global weapons industry. The three-hour series entitled “Iron Dome” premiered around the world last month in Hebrew on Izzy, a platform that calls itself “the new way to experience Israel.”

Denial of facts

The series features Israelis from the town of Sderot, near the Gaza border, as they look back on the past twenty years or so and discuss their two primary enemies: rockets, and an Israeli government that for a long time didn’t seem to care about them.

The first rocket came from Gaza in 2001 and the first rocket fatality in 2004. By 2007, 10 Israelis had been killed – all but one in Sderot – and the Israeli government, at last, got behind the development of a missile defense system: the Iron Dome.

Israel came down hard on Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009 in hopes of bringing an end to the rockets that had by then taken 12 Israeli lives. The incursion, which featured Israel’s latest weaponry at the time, killed 1,400 Palestinians, over 450 of them women and children, and nine Israelis.

The “Iron Dome” series does not mention these statistics, nor does it divulge the source of Palestinian anger and resentment: being kept illegally in exile in Gaza, and under occupation since 1967. Gaza is the world’s largest open-air prison, with a dense population of nearly two million people with no ability to leave. Israel retains complete control of its border and not even humanitarian supplies, human rights monitors, or journalists are allowed to enter.

This brutal Israeli blockade has been in place since 2007, severely limiting Gazans’ access to food, medicine, and other staples, and earning the enclave the nickname “world’s largest open-air prison” and the designation “unlivable.” Its two million residents grapple with malnutrition, a severe shortage of drinking water, electricity – and hope. Suicide rates have been increasing at an alarming rate.

Israelis interviewed in the series appear unaware of these realities – and indeed, Jewish Israeli citizens, on the whole, are in the dark about the realities of occupation as the Israeli government keeps Palestinians behind walls and out of sight.

The “Iron Dome” docuseries is a continuation of this invisibility, and by extension, the invisibility of oppressed people under the fist of the U.S. military-industrial complex as well.

The Dahiya Doctrine

The Israeli DahiyaDoctrine of “wielding disproportionate force,” as evidenced in the 2008 incursion, and again in 2012 and 2014, has been part and parcel of the country’s wartime strategy since its birth.

Dahiya has resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians, as well as the destruction of schools, hospitals, United Nations buildings, critical infrastructure, and entire neighborhoods.

Human rights organizations have documented and criticized the unlawful practice for years, including UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur Richard Falk, who called this ongoing strategy no less than “state terrorism.”

Both Israel and the U.S. have been vehemently resisting – with support from Congress – global attempts to hold them accountable for war crimes in the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Donald Trump has threatened to cut aid to countries that resist American and Israeli impunity.

Israeli disproportionality is conspicuous not just in wartime, but also in times of relative calm. The “Hamas is a terrorist organization” trope is just one example.

Israel uses the label “terrorist” to blame Hamas for Israeli airstrikes (which have become so frequent that most media rarely reports on them anymore), and then for Israel’s refusal to allow parts and materials to enter Gaza for repairs to infrastructure and buildings.

The characterization ignores the political and social welfare arms of the group, denies the legal claims to resistance against oppression – and justifies Israel’s many gratuitous human rights abuses.

Near the end of the “Iron Dome.” the mayor of Sderot points out:

The Iron Dome is a device. In order to solve the problem with Gaza, we need a policy. Either use all our might in a military operation and uproot the problem, or strive for peace with all our might.”

Israel chose the former.

But Israel has bigger fish to fry than “just” the Palestinian territories. Its defense industry – of which Iron Dome is the tip of the iceberg – has global ramifications.

Free money

Economy-minded Americans should know that Israel is not only front-end unloading their tax dollars as military aid (circa $10 million a day – weekends and holidays included), but also poaching us from the back end, costing the U.S. in both revenue and jobs.

Standard operating procedure requires military aid from the U.S. to be spent in the U.S., but Congress devised special rules allowing Israel to spend about a quarter of our military aid inside its own country. Of the $3.8 billion per year that should cycle back into our economy in the form of weapon purchases, only about $2.6 billion makes it – an amount that still contributes generously to both the U.S. military-industrial complex and its Israeli counterpart.

Since 1948, the U.S. has given Israel $6.9 billion for various missile defense systems – in addition to over $100 billion in other military aid and $34 billion in economic aid (in current, non-inflation adjusted dollars).

Playing dirty

Israel has been encroaching on U.S. defense customers – especially since Trump bought Israel some new Arab allies who may now prefer to shop locally.

Not only is Israel undercutting U.S. arms sales, but it doesn’t always play by the rules. In 2018, Israel refurbished and tried to resell American made equipment to Croatia, without U.S. permission.

That sale was quashed, but Israel’s Defense Ministry and defense industry operate secretively, rarely revealing who their customers are. They reportedly have customers in Canada and several European countries, as well as in Africa and Latin America.

Israel is playing fast and loose with its most generous ally in yet another way.

Since 2010, the United States has sunk $5.5 billion of taxpayer money into the Iron Dome project. As reported by Breaking Defense, in 2019 Congress “effectively compelled a reluctant [US] Army” to buy two Iron Domes at a cost of $373 million. After filling the order, however, Israel refused to share critical proprietary information, severely limiting the usefulness of the equipment for Americans. (Ironically, in 2016, the U.S. was willing to disclose F-35 source codes to Israel – and no other countries.)

For those more interested in peace and justice than economics, there is much more to object to. Israel is profiting not only at American expense, but also (and more so) at Palestinian expense – as well as exporting oppression around the world.

“Overkill”

While Palestinians have been essentially unarmed since 1993, the Israeli military (IDF) has built a massive arsenal of weapons for use against them – thanks in great part to U.S. aid. Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation consists almost entirely of homemade rockets and incendiary balloons from Gaza, and the occasional individual knife attack by a frustrated resident of the West Bank.

The narrator of the “Iron Dome” docuseries describes Gaza’s rockets as “made from stolen metal street poles…a pipe as wide as a Coca-Cola bottle…just a piece of flying metal” stuffed with fertilizer that Gazan Palestinians dried on their roofs.

While the rockets may cost $100 each to manufacture (and incendiary balloons much less), an anti-rocket missile has a price tag of $50,000, and the launcher itself around $50 million. (A new product, the Light Blade, was developed specifically to shoot down the balloons.)

The documentary depicts Israelis running for bomb shelters when an incoming rocket is detected but omits footage of Palestinians who have nowhere to hide during an airstrike.

Military-Industrial Complex, Israeli-style

The billions in research and development, and the expense of manufacturing and operating military equipment like Iron Dome, only makes sense in the context of global arms sales.

The Israeli defense sector develops technologically advanced weaponry, spyware, and missile defense equipment – and manufactures about five times more than it needs. Israeli export deals in 2019 alone totaled over $7 billion, making it one of the top defense exporters in the world.

As a floor model, the Iron Dome’s capabilities are showcased for potential customers every time a rocket launched from Gaza is intercepted by a $50,000 anti-rocket missile.

An Israeli defense contractor confirmed that following IDF attacks on Gaza, his industry “[sees] a big leap in the number of foreign customers. We market aggressively abroad as it is, but the IDF’s actions definitely affect our work.” The link between the military and the weapons industry couldn’t be clearer.

Profile of a customer

Because rockets from Gaza are rarely lethal, some experts use words like “asymmetrical warfare” and “repression of protests” to describe the Israeli product line.

Economic researcher Shir Hever points out that demand for Israeli arms is “highest among governments facing high inequality and social unrest…”

“In fact,” Hever says, “the Gaza Strip becomes more than a laboratory for Israeli explosives. It is a laboratory for a social experiment in which an entire population is incarcerated and isolated, controlled from the land, the sea and the air, and sustained with the assistance of international aid (for which Israel doesn’t have to pay).”

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, who has studied Israeli military weapon use in Palestinian neighborhoods, adds, “Palestinian spaces are laboratories [where] products and services of state-sponsored security corporations” are tested and then showcased for the consumption of the global arms market.

The Great March of Return – Gaza’s 20-month0long weekly protest in 2018 and 2019 that drew tens of thousands of participants – was, for Israel, yet another “opportunity to develop new means to put down demonstrations,” to create yet more high-tech solutions to low-tech issues.

Television shows like “Iron Dome” serve to perpetuate myths and obfuscate truths. Meanwhile, Israel creates new forms of oppression, tests them out on Palestinians, and exports them to those with the money and the will to oppress others.

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