The Goods, the Bad and the Ugly

August 08, 2019

by Jimmie Moglia (and Patrizia Cecconi) for The Saker Blog

The Goods, the Bad and the Ugly

In the instance, the goods are those boycotted by the BDS measure (Boycott-Divest-Sanctions), proposed in the American Congress .

The bad are the US congressmen and politicians who sold their soul to the Jews for thirty pieces of silver, and rejected even the symbolic and extremely platonic ‘non-binding’ initiative of boycotting goods tainted by crime, theft, barbarities of all sorts, and by the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

Actually, there is a better word for ‘soul’ as in ‘politicians who sold their soul’, but I will forbear to mention it out of my inviolable respect for the ladies. Even Tulsie Gabbard, who has made a name for herself as an enemy of the status-quo, chose to oppose the measure, demonstrating the type of caution that cowards borrow from fear and attribute to policy.

Finally, the ugly are the criminals who killed and stole – and continue to kill, maim, imprison, humiliate and steal from the dispossessed Palestinians and rightful owners of Palestine.

If we were not living in a world upside down, the considerations that follow would be unnecessary.

The term ‘Jews’ excludes those (few or many, it is difficult to say), who reject the ‘chosen people’ philosophy of their sect – a philosophy known to many, but not many enough – for its meaning, history and implications.

For the voice of their dissenters is irrelevant, considering that the Jews, as a political-social entity, are a monolith, practicing a cultural-political hegemony that only blindness can deny. Hence, to edulcorate the truth by a quasi-synonym (Zionists) will not, in my view, do justice to the real dissenters.

In fact, many suspect, with cause, that some fake ‘dissenters’ are planted in the right places to ‘cover all bases’ – the metaphor of ‘gate-keepers’ being most appropriate. For hegemony to appear not overly conspicuous it must simulate some kind of antithesis or opposition. Why? So that hegemony may seem a choice and not an imposition.

Quoting from a Jewish writer about Jews in the Middle Ages.

“Without in any way minimizing the force of these factors (earlier referred to by the author as “a sense of frustration and exasperation aroused by Jews at large”), we believe nevertheless that they do not tell the whole story or even the essential part of the story. The most vivid impression to be gained from a reading of medieval allusions to the Jew is of hatred so vast and abysmal, so intense, that it leaves one gasping for comprehension. The unending piling up of violent epithets and accusations and curses, the consistent representation of the Jew as the epitome of everything evil and abominable, for whom in particular the unbounded scorn and contumely of the Christian world are reserved, must convince the most casual student that we are dealing here with a fanaticism altogether subjective and irrational.” (Joshua Trachtenberg, “The Devil and the Jews”)

Yes, it is irrational, but the position regarding the issue was clearly first stated by Pope Callistus II in 1120 AD, with his Bull “Sicut Judaeis Non.” And I quote from the Encyclopedia Judaica,

“It was a general Bull of Protection for the Jews, who had suffered at the hands of participants in the First Crusade (1095–96) and were being maltreated by their Christian neighbors. It forbade killing them, using force to convert them, and otherwise molesting them, their synagogues and cemeteries.”

And it is a position – we may all agree – that all rational people continue to maintain 900 years later. But it was expected from the Jews, at the time and in return, that they would not corrupt the Christian world.

The idea of corruption arose clearly when Nicholas Donin, a Jewish convert to Christianity, translated the Talmud into Latin in the twelfth century. Here I quote from Wikipedia,

“Donin translated statements by Talmudic sages and pressed various charges against the Talmud by quoting a series of ‘allegedly blasphemous’ passages about Christianity. He also selected what he claimed were injunctions of Talmudic sages permitting Jews to kill non-Jews, to deceive Christians, and to break promises made to them without scruples.”

Note the inverted commas I added around ‘allegedly blasphemous,’ in view of what comes next.

The Catholic Church had shown little interest in the Talmud until Donin presented his translation. The Pope (now Gregory II) was surprised that the Jews relied on texts other than the Torah; texts that contained alleged blasphemies against Christianity. Equally surprised, we may add, are or would be many Americans today.

This lack of interest also affected, until then, the French monarchy that profited by the Jews’ money-making skills.

Given the astonishment generated by the translated Talmud, a debate was organized in Paris – it began on June 12, 1240. Donin represented the Christians. Four distinguished Rabbis represented the Jews, namely Yechiel of Paris, Moses of Coucy, Judah of Melun, and Samuel ben Solomon of Château-Thierry.

The four rabbis’ objective was to defend the Talmud against Donin’s accusations that it contained obscenities and blasphemies against the Christian religion and God. In one Talmudic passage, for example, reference is made to someone named Jesus, dispatched to hell to be boiled in excrement for eternity. The Rabbis denied that this is the Jesus of the New Testament, stating as a kind of proof that “not every Louis born in France is king.”

Interesting argument, contradicted by another contemporary Jewish scholar– more on this later.

Among the obscene folklore, there is a story that Adam copulated with each of the animals before finding Eve. And Noah, according to the Talmudic script, was castrated by his son Ham. Furthermore, by now and thanks to the diffusion of knowledge via the web, most readers are aware of what the Talmud considers ‘acceptable’ sex, for example, lowering the age of consent to a 3-year old girl.

I don’t know why, but the recent resurrection of the already well-known criminal porno-ring of underage girls in Epstein’s ‘Lolita Island’, comes to mind.

Until the debate of 1240, Christians associated the Jewish religion with the Mosaic faith of the Old Testament. Hence the Church, suddenly and officially, realized that the Talmud was the Jews’ equivalent of the New Testament.

It is usually believed that the crucifixion of Christ is the historical trigger of the inherent conflict between Jews and everyone else. Some prominent Catholic thinkers have advanced the thesis that by rejecting Christ, the Jews have rejected Reason, (also referred to as Logos), as the underlying principle on which Greek-inspired Western civilization was built. Lack of Reason leads to continual upheaval, as in Trotsky’s “permanent revolution.”

Maybe, but the issue precedes the birth of Christ. For example, in 59 BC Lelius, a Pompey’s lieutenant, brought a suit against Flacco, a pro-consul in Asia Minor. The suit had to do with the transport (or lack thereof) of Jewish gold to Jerusalem. Flacco chose Cicero as his defender.

Here are Cicero’s words in his related writing, “Pro Flacco.”

“Now as to the accusation regarding the Jewish gold – which is why this trial is held not very far from the Aurelian square (the Jewish quarter). Yes, for this accusation you (Lelius), have chosen this place and this assembly of people, because you know how great is their number, how great their unanimity of purpose and how much is their power in the assemblies. I will speak softly so as to be heard only by the judges. For individuals are not wanting, ready to incite these people (the Jews) against me and against any other respectable citizen. I don’t want to give them reason to facilitate their attacks.”

Advance the clock by 2060 years, and Cicero’s words could be applied almost verbatim to the US Congress, to the neo-cons, and to the objectively unbelievable proposition that any criticism of Jews amounts to ‘hate-crime,’ as does any reference to their history, or confutation of their documentably fantastic inventions of inexistent or unproven facts.

History is silent as to which seed was sowed, and to where, how, why and what created certain destructive characteristics of Jewish ideology. For all seed-sowings a mysterious thing, whether the seeds fall into the earth or into souls.

Maybe it was a little thing. For what we call little things are merely the causes of great things; they are the beginning, they are the embryos. It is the point of departure that may decide the whole future of an existence of a race or ethnic group. One single black speck may be the beginning of a decomposition, of a storm, of a revolution. From one insignificant misunderstanding hatred and separation may finally issue. An enormous avalanche begins by the displacement of one snow-crystal, and the conflagration of a town by the fall of a match. Almost everything comes from almost nothing. For accident plays a vast part in human affairs. Calculation has its uses but chance mocks it, and the result of a planned calculation is in no wise proportional to its merit.

It is a mystery. For it is in the origin of things that the great secret of destiny lies hidden, although the breathless sequence of after-events has often many surprises for us all. So that at first sight history seems to us accident and confusion; looked at for the second time, it seems to us logical and necessary; looked at for the third time, it appears to us a mixture of necessity and liberty; on the fourth examination we scarcely know what to think of it. For if force is the source of right, and chance the origin of the force, we come back to the first explanation, only with a heavier heart than when we began.

And equally, with a heavy heart, we observe that any effort at understanding the inner mechanisms of time and mind, whereby the US has become the secular arm of Israel, taints the researchers with anti-Semitism.

If the patient reader who read so far will catch his breath, I will now introduce Ms. Patrizia Cecconi, an Italian writer, a botanist and a strenuous defender of the cause of Gaza’s citizens and of Palestine at large.

In what amounts to a guerrilla of tactics, Patrizia has managed so far to reach Gaza and provide what help and support her organization makes possible. Among other things, she has published a very interesting and very well-written book titled “Vagando di erba in erba” (Roaming from herb to herb). In which Patrizia details an extended visit to the West Bank, using as a conductive theme, the description of Palestine’s natural flora, and the characteristic and beneficial uses of various wild plants. While, simultaneously, telling the reader of the life of the Palestinians she met, spoke with or was the guest of. I hope that the book may be available in English in the near future.

I will now translate the text of one of her recent articles published in Italy. The reported event – the destruction of Palestinian houses and apartment buildings in East Jerusalem, accompanied by the laughter of Israeli troops – almost coincided in time with the rejection by the US Congress of the BDS non-binding proposal.

The witness-reported Israeli laughter is not the first example of the lawless confidence of successful robbers. Some readers may remember the picnic tables and picnic chairs positioned above the wall dividing Gaza from the rest of Palestine. From where Israeli onlookers and tourists could watch Israeli soldiers gun down unarmed Palestinians, including women and children, as if they were pins in a bowling alley at a recreation center.

A Specter roams around… but it is not Communism

A specter roams around the Middle East, and from there, crossing seas and mountains, reaches everywhere, demonstrating the absolute inanity of the Universal Humanitarian Law and nullifying every rule of international legality, starting from the Geneva Conventions.

A specter that, with actual incontrovertible facts under our eyes, shows the useless foolishness of the United Nations Organization itself – reduced to be but a glass-palace shown to visiting school-children. Explaining to them how the dream of a “magnificent and progressive future” envisaged in those proud halls, was broken after three short years, thanks to self-declared birth of the Israeli State. A structure that, since its foundation, would ignore, dismiss, discard, disregard and trample-on all the United Nations’ principles and resolutions.

It would be reductive and factious to classify this statement as anti–Semitic. While not realizing, instead, the weight and danger – for the world at large – of Zionism’s long tentacles, obliterating universal humanitarian principles and every rule of international law. Any honest thinker, even minimally aware of reality, cannot but bitterly agree on the consequences of continuing to shelter Israel from the legal sanctions deserved by its criminal actions. Sanctions equally necessary to make that entity comply with the accepted standards of humanity, and to limit the horrendous damage, human and political it has produced for over a century.

For about 80 years, what occurred and occurs in 2000-year old Palestine, is an unrestrained use of power, applied in the name of Zionism. An ideology developed at the end of the 19th century by Austrian-born Theodor Herzl and later implemented in the establishment of the Israeli state, not respecting the UN Resolution 181, but through self-proclamation by Ben Gurion. This occurred shortly before the expiration of the British mandate, therefore outside the terms of the UN Resolution. Showing and declaring to the world that Israel stands above and beyond any human law, international or super-national. And making the only basis for the state’s existence a biblical tale that would entail or allow a “return to the Promised Land.”

What said above is not intended as a historical summary, but the not-to-be-forgotten basis for understanding Israel’s latest violation of international law and of the rights of the Palestinian people. Namely the recent demolition of large apartment blocks in Jerusalem, as part of the continuous, illegal and brutal confiscations of Palestinian property.

The Jewish state is carrying out the project of the “greater Israel,” envisaged prior to the establishment of the state and consisting in the step-by-step annexation of all historic Palestine from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, on the ground that God had decreed and promised to Jewish men and women the right to occupy this land. [My note, as clearly stated in the 1982 Odet-Yinon Plan, Israel is supposed to extend from the Nile to the Euphrates. When, thanks to the efforts of President Jimmy Carter, Israel had to give up the illegally occupied Sinai, a day of mourning was declared in Israel. Israeli president Rabin paid with his life for that ‘mistake.’]

In Israel, religion and politics blend as required, ever since 1897, when Theodor Herzl, though an atheist, found the biblical narrative useful for the establishment of a racist state, so that the religious aura would become the trump card, having the force of all founding myths.

Of course, without the interest of the then great powers of having a ‘Western reference point’ at the gates of the Middle East, no Sykes-Picot agreement (1916), nor the Balfour declaration (1917) would have been possible. And without the Shoa of WW2 perhaps we would not witness the Shoa of the Palestinians.

We use the term shoah, meaning a “devastating storm,” leading to the elimination of a population. With Nazism, the population was defined by race and was identified with its religion. The intention was to physically remove every individual associated with the race. In Israel and with the ongoing massacres of Palestinians the intent is not based on race or religion, but rather on the goal of driving them out, and to fully occupy the ground on which they have lived for centuries, even before the emergence of Islam.

Some call it the “ethnic cleansing of Palestine,” tracing it back to the Nakba, the catastrophe of 1948. Others call it the ‘shoa,’ a Hebrew term, to make better understand the similarity between the Nazi-led and the Israeli-led ‘shoas’.

Yet all this does not disturb states that do business with Israel, even though they call themselves democratic, nor international and supranational organizations, even though their institutional representatives replenish their speeches with concepts such as ‘human rights,’ ‘justice’ and ‘peace.’

Israel benefits from a halo of false legality that, along with the tragedy of the (1972-born) Holocaust narrative, protects it as an unassailable armor. This is the will of the Israeli government, well supported by almost the entire population of approximately 9 million inhabitants. With the exception of twenty or so young activists plus a few journalists such as Gideon Levy or Amira Hass, who denounced the Israeli decision to destroy a dozen Palestinians apartment buildings, thus proceeding further on the path of destruction that has already affected tens of thousands of Palestinian buildings and homes.

It was an escalation beyond any possible justification, for the demolition affected even apartment buildings located in zone A – an area that, even according the Oslo agreements of 1993 (actually a trap to advance Jewish interests), should be under total Palestinian jurisdiction.

By so doing Israel, through Netanyahu, delivered a further kick to the law and to the already frayed Palestinian National Authority. Demonstrating once more, in the style of the “Iron Chancellor”, that agreements are but pieces of paper.

Israeli bulldozers and some 700 star-of-David-attired soldiers were ready to carry out the crime immediately after the Israeli Supreme Court, in total mockery of international legality, issued the predicted sentence of demolition. For in an act of foolish confidence the Palestinians had appealed to the (mock) Supreme Court.

In sum, like the Italian Jews, expelled from schools and jobs after November 1938, the Palestinians – in a tragic mockery that amuses the Israelis and is justified by sundry lackeys – saw their homes ‘legally’ demolished. This heinous abuse is repeated and recurrent. Between 1967 and 1973 Israel destroyed 9,000 homes, leaving thousands of Palestinian homeless, as documented by Jewish writer Felicia Langer in her book, “With My Eyes.” Then she left Israel because her action rarely had an effect on the rigged Israeli courts, though she unwillingly helped, by her legal attempts, to give a coat of legality to plain illegality, as the most recent case shows, with the Supreme Court deciding that it was legal to destroy the homes in East Jerusalem.

Did the (Italian) mass media adequately cover this umpteenth violation practiced on the Palestinians? – Did it note that by ridiculing international institutions, Israel removes from all citizens of the world the right to be protected by a Universal Law made mockery of? No the mass media was silent but for one ‘niche’ newspaper, “Il Manifesto,” that dedicated its first page to the event.

Therefore ‘mass-opinion,’ driven by the usual suspects concludes that the Palestinians built illegally, and that Israel, through its Supreme Court, has righted an illegality. We may wonder as to how many (Italians) may have thought that if we had an (Italian) Netaniahu there would not be so many building abuses (a plague in Italy).

While Israel will continue to do business with Italy and with other democratic Countries, the UN will issue a lamentation – it has already done so – and the European Union will issue their concern. In the end, the Palestinians will grow more desperate and understandably hateful of an entity that, for more than 70 years, humiliates them, stops them, injures them, kills them, expels them, and is even called democratic.

We saw the soldiers of the occupying army taking selfies and videos as they blew up the buildings, laughing and complimenting themselves. The Palestinians saw them too and we can imagine their feelings.

No one calls those soldiers terrorists, but according to Israel, terrorist is he who will rebel, perhaps with a stone or a kitchen knife, to this destruction of lives and rights.

Felicia Langer, the Israeli lawyer who left Israel shortly before she died, wrote, “The day will come when Israel will be forced to change its policy.” Perhaps it was an affirmation of faith, perhaps the desire to see justice triumph. But what we can see is only the multiplication of Israeli power and the contamination – as if it were a bacterium without an antibody– of every aspect of cultural, scientific, agricultural and industrial life everywhere in the world. With all this creating a kind of awe and discomfort that muzzles and prevents criticism. The fear refers to the anathema that condemns to isolation, anti-Semitism!

I wrote this before. Only independent newspapers can run the risk of an anathema without renouncing their function of making the truth known.

Here the truth is clear. Israel knows only abuse, and out of systematic abuse, only two results are possible, either resignation and flight, or resistance by all possible means, however right or wrong they may appear to our eyes as Western observers.

Meanwhile, while we write, the ten-story buildings with apartments adorned with velvet cushions, with curtains often bought in installments, with the tea glasses, the small cups for the ever-hot coffee, the dishes for the maqluba and the mussaqan, the rooms for the children , their games, their books, their clothes… all is now a pile of rubble. This is what the chosen people’s government wanted … except for twenty generous but impotent dissenters.

As for the rabbis of 13th century Paris, according to whom the Talmudic Jesus boiling in eternity in excrement is not the Christian Jesus, here are the thoughts of a Jewish scholar, Israel Shahak, a survivor of a WW2 concentration camp, who settled in Israel after WW2.

“Judaism is imbued with a very deep hatred towards Christianity, combined with ignorance about it. This attitude was clearly related to the Christian persecution of Jews, but is largely independent of them.

The deeply negative attitude is based on two main elements. First, on hatred and malicious slanders against Jesus. … The notion of collective and inherited guilt is both wicked and absurd. However, what is at issue here is not the actual fact about the Jesus, but the inaccurate and even slanderous reports in the Talmud and post Talmudic literature – which is what Jews believed until the 19th century and many, especially in Israel, still believe.

According to the Talmud, Jesus was executed by a proper rabbinical court for idolatry, inciting other Jews to idolatry, and contempt for rabbinical authority. All classical Jewish sources that mention his execution are quite happy to take responsibility for it; in the Talmudic account the Romans are not even mentioned.

… In addition to the above crimes they accuse him of witchcraft. The very name ‘Jesus’ was for Jews a symbol of all that is abominable, and this popular tradition still persists. The Gospels are equally detested, and they are not allowed to be quoted (let alone taught) even in modern Israeli Jewish schools.”

But even before Christ – we may add – some historians interpret the celebration of Hanukah, for example, as a reminder of the rejection by the Jews of any Greek influence (and therefore Greek thought and values) into their midst – that is the rejection of Reason. It is the same Greek influence that, along with Christianity, molded Western thought and civilization at large – now under attack.

Israel Shahak titled his book, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion – The Weight of Three Thousand Years.” I doubt whether any of the US politicians who voted down the non-binding BDS proposal knows that the book exists.

Though even if they did, gold trumps justice, especially among the rich. For many, a Congressional seat, with all its emoluments, benefits, guaranteed luxurious life and dream-like pension, is well worth the sale of their soul. As Romeo said to the struggling pharmacist who sold him the poison Romeo wanted,

“There is thy gold, worse poison to men’s souls,

Doing more murders in this loathsome world,

Than these poor compounds that thou mayst not sell.”

 

“Global Coalition of the Willing,” Ordinary Iranians’ Style: Resistance multiplied by Ethics plus Justice minus Oppression divided by Aggression

August 02, 2019

“Global Coalition of the Willing,” Ordinary Iranians’ Style: Resistance multiplied by Ethics plusJustice minus Oppression divided by Aggression

by Mansoureh Tajik for The Saker Blog

“Global Coalition of the Willing,” Ordinary Iranians’ Style: Resistance multiplied by Ethics plus Justice minus Oppression divided by Aggression

For a brief moment in human history, or what feels like only a fraction of a second now, the United States of America experienced a mirage of a position, dubbed a “superpower,” self-appointed1. Those who lacked ethical and moral imagination went along with that coronation2. Or, perhaps they were just humoring it until a better replacement came along3.

Internally and externally, the United States maintained its illusion of superpower status through the application of diverse tools, some hard and harsh, some soft, and some gray in nature. On the economic front, it mass produced an industrial-scale fiat currency4 as a trading tool and adopted games of chance, fundamentals of speculation5 and gambling as its “genius” economic principles. It manufactured large bubbles of debt6, mimicking a toddler’s birthday party, then divided and sold the airs within as investment bonds. The illusion of trust in an untrustworthy entity was the collateral. No worries though. Whenever the time got ripe and the bubbles burst, sophisticated air-capturing devices and adjustment tools were customized, nicely packaged, and were readied for retail. The hamster on the wheel of finance kept on running but never arriving; alas, the chicanery of economic progress was kept alive.

On the military front, the United States dropped two atomic bombs killing and genetically maiming hundreds of thousands of people for generations to come. In the Eyewitness Account of Hiroshima, August 6th, 1945, Father John A. Siemes, then a professor of modern philosophy at Tokyo’s Catholic University, concluded his remarks by saying:

“We have discussed among ourselves the ethics of the use of the bomb. Some consider it in the same category as poison gas and were against its use on a civil population. Others were of the view that in total war, as carried on in Japan, there was no difference between civilians and soldiers, and that the bomb itself was an effective force tending to end the bloodshed, warning Japan to surrender and thus to avoid total destruction. It seems logical to me that he who supports total war in principle cannot complain of war against civilians. The crux of the matter is whether total war in its present form is justifiable, even when it serves a just purpose. Does it not have material and spiritual evil as its consequences which far exceed whatever good that might result? When will our moralists give us a clear answer to this question?”7

While the “moralists” on whom Father Siemes pinned his hopes seventy four years ago were too busy theorizing about their own slumber, the United States of America stockpiled thousands of ready-to-be-deployed nuclear bombs, as fear-inducing threat tools. It deviated enormous amounts of world’s precious resources into the development of military hardware and software gadgets, using “defense” and “American interest” as its rationale8. It then created chaos and mayhem all over the planet9 as its pressure lever to sell death toys to teeny-weeny boys10—expensive batteries not included and costly -900- numbers for instructions on operations and maintenance11.

On the public relations and propaganda front, it used industrial-scale colorful media forms12 as its tool to lie, to cheat, and to fool. It is useful to remember that the United States of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, freely burnt alive and made melted charcoals13 of tens of its own defenseless and unarmed mothers, fathers, and children in Mt. Carmel, Waco, Texas14. It bravely broadcasted, live, the entire event on several television networks for days to nip it in the bud for its own agitated population exactly how low it is capable of sinking to maintain its clutch and subdue dissent. For sure, that trick alone silenced many for a few years, Timothy McVeigh15 and his disloyal company excluded, while it worked on another script for another terror-inducing spectacular performance. Too many tricks to remember and too many tools to recount in this short essay; but at last, the jig is up.

Internally, the house has fallen on moral, ethical, justice, and economic grounds, but has forgotten to collapse. Those who cannot see this need corrective lenses or the right standards to evaluate and measure things. Externally, and more relevant to our topic here, the structure of the world’s power relations and alignments are changing rapidly in a tangible and measureable way away from the United States’16 autocratic clutch. While the self-absorbed and the infatuated speak of dangers of a power vacuum, others are quite busy realigning themselves. Let us remind ourselves of Saxon White Kissinger’s poem about delusions of indispensability,

“Sometime when you feel that your going
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions
And see how they humble your soul;

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining
Is a measure of how you’ll be missed.”17

Coalitions, partnerships, and algebraically aligned groups of countries around the globe, some with hybrid letter-number titles of “this plus that minus the other,” are emerging left, right, and center. Even multi-billioners, themselves cheerleaders and enablers of the Empire of Illusions, are busy, like rats, circling the globe door to door to release their poisonous capital in the hope of infesting another Titanic, another morality-free sinking ship into making. There is a buzz that George Soros is trying to establish his own anti-war ‘Code Pink’ group (should name it Code Navy Blue, perhaps). No doubt, the irony would not have been lost to George Orwell had he lived to see it.

Enough eulogizing. What do all these mean, or should mean, to ordinary people and local community groups around the world? That is, for what, where, when, why, and how should the very people who often shoulder the brunt of all the dregs that roll downhill prepare themselves? For the rest of us, too, no matter what positions we hold and what relationships we have with the rest of the world, the same questions apply. I and the local community groups with and within which I work are grappling with these questions on a daily basis. We are doing what we can to ensure that our short and borrowed lives on this earth is worth the breaths we take. Many of us find ourselves feeling increasingly fortunate to live in Iran where doing so many things in so many ways is possible. More fortunately for us, the general frameworks within which we ask questions, analyze situations, design solutions, and implement them are all intertwined and enmeshed in our culture and belief system: Quran, Our Prophet’s and Imams’ teachings, and an important element called “Al-Hekmah” or the Wisdom. So, how do we evaluate the current transformations in the world around us and how do we try to choose the correct position and make a difference? Here, I present a brief and simple snapshot of our local-universal eye-view.

Firstly, Quran’s ethical teachings, as exemplified through the words and deeds of our Prophet, Imams, and pious scholars, tell us that there is no separation of religion and politics in Islam. As Allammeh Seyyed Hassan Modarres (1249 – 1316 HS, parallel in date with 1870-1937 AD), a religious sage and one of the champions of Iranian Constitutional movement, said in one of his most famous speeches, and Imam Khomeini, the Founder of the Revolution, quoted, “Siasat-e ma eyn_e dianat_e ma, va Dianat_e ma eyn_e Sia’sat_e mast.” (“Our politics is exactly our religion and our religion is exactly our politics.”) The paragraph from which the line is borrowed reads,

“The source of our politics is our religion. We are on friendly terms with the entire world so long as they have not aggressed against us. But, if anyone aggresses against us, we will respond. Our politics is exactly our religion and our religion is exactly our politics.”18

Notwithstanding a particular religious belief and appealing simply to human logic, how would it even be possible for someone to have an authentic personal and private ethical and religious belief about, for instance, “thou shall not kill the innocent,” and live, work, and play within the rules and regulations of countries and political systems that kill innocent people to generate revenues and to maintain their national economic lifestyles of choice? Or, appealing to a more rudimentary level of human thought, how could we possibly afford not to be political, when the concentration of the very oxygen in the air we breathe, the amount of poisons with which our waters and foods are laced, the diseases we suffer, the so-called cures we are allowed to access, our fertility, our sexuality, our freedom to move from point A to point B are all determined by politics? Are we living with our heads buried in the sand?

Given these realities, for our people and local community groups here, being political is not a matter of choice but a religious obligation, a human necessity, and a critical survival instinct. Since we cannot avoid this, we do our utmost and take great deal of care to be well informed in order to be able to choose the right (as in correct) politics. People here take the trouble of going that extra kilometer so that, God forbids, they do not end up assuming they are on the right side and the followers of Imam Ali (the first Imam of Shi’a belief) and Imam Hussein (the third Imam of Shi’a belief) but, in fact, do things that are tantamount to carrying water for the turbines of Mo’avieh and Yazeed (Father and Son corrupt tyrants in Ummayyad dynasty against whose policies the Shi’a imams stood, resisted, and eventually got martyred).

Secondly, our religion and our pious religious scholars teach us that we should neither oppress others nor submit to oppression by others. So, our resistance has at least three dimensions: one, we must resist our own urges to oppress others, while at the same time, resist being sucked into siding with oppressors. Two, we must resist oppression against ourselves by anyone. Three, whenever and wherever we hear the cry for help of the oppressed people (Muslim and/or non-Muslim), we are obligated to respond and help, within our means and capacity to do so, and in a sound and appropriate way. Standing silently on the sideline and keeping quiet out of fear or greed is not an option for us. People here commemorate Imam Ali as the epitome of excellence in justice and in “qist” (particular form of justice). They commemorate Imam Hussein as the epitome of resistance against oppression and injustice. When you hear the chants of “Kullu Yau’men Ashura, Kullu Arzen Karbala” -Every day is Ashura, Every place is Karbala, it is useful to remember that today’s Karbala extends from Afghanistan to Yemen to Syria to Palestine to Nigeria to Sudan to Caracas and to any other place on the globe that people are fighting injustice, resisting oppression, and asking for help.

This stance is not just an isolated religious belief of some uninformed local community groups. It is written clearly into our constitution, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran19. In Article 2, Section 6.c, and in Article 3, Section 5,6,15, and 16, it reads:

2:6.c – the negation of all kinds of oppression, authoritarianism, or the acceptance of domination, which secures justice, political and economic, social, and cultural independence and national unity.

3:5 – the complete rejection of colonialism and the prevention of foreign influence.

3:6 – the eradication of all kinds of tyranny, autocracy, and monopolization of power.

3:15 – the cultivation and strengthening of Islamic brotherhood and general cooperation among the people.

3:16 – the organization of the nation’s foreign policy based on Islamic criteria, fraternal commitment to all Muslims, and unrestrained support for the impoverished people of the world.

Any of our elected and/or appointed officials who would tell you otherwise, is either ignorant of the very law he must uphold (in which case, shame on him) or he has gotten to his position by lying, cheating, and swearing to uphold the very laws he is deliberately breaking (in which case, he is a hypocrite and double shame on him). On a bright note though, the ordinary people in the trenches feel extremely blessed that the most senior person in their land, the Leader, is also the most steadfast champion and the flag bearer of the constitution. To put him on a sanction list means to put the Iranian constitution and millions of ordinary people in local communities on a sanction list. Of course, had the US done differently, we would have questioned our own authenticity.

More generally though, as the current situation in the world unfolds, it is useful to remember some basic facts. No imperialist, no arrogant power, no superpower wannabe operates in a vacuum. There are always cheerleaders, enablers, junior and senior accomplices, profiteers, and conspirators. Regardless of what their mouth says, their action speaks louder. Let’s consider a simple example. The Unites States was able to spend trillions in military adventures killing millions of innocent people around the world and expropriating their resources in two fundamental ways: 1) It shortchanged its own tax-paying population, the young, the retired, and even the unborn in all sorts of social and public rights and amenities. 2) It kept on issuing treasury bonds on its accumulated debt, currently about 22.5 trillion dollars20, with People’s Bank of China, Central Bank of Japan, and naïve citizens21 as its most devoted purchasers.

To speak inside a parenthesis and to be totally candid, the ordinary people here find Japan’s “I’ve-fallen-and-I-can’t-get-up!” attitude which has lasted nearly 74 years quite puzzling. Once upon a time, they lost a war. Who doesn’t at one point or another? Now that it happened, shouldn’t they stand up, dust off, and shake off this subdued and subservient house servant role and assume an independent position with dignity and self-respect? I am told. As Imam Hussein said, “If you do not have any religion and are not fearful of the Day of Judgment, at least be protective of your liberty and autonomy in your life in this world.22 People hope and pray to God that hardworking and noble people of Japan will rise up and will one day free themselves of the US occupation. Again, regular, ordinary people here are genuinely willing to provide support, if the Japanese themselves are willing to fight for their independence.

We will assume being under occupation by the US is Japan’s excuse. But, what has been China’s excuse? China has been buying the US debt as an export-led strategy to ensure its economic growth23. Therefore, to the extent that China, out of self-interest, has acted as an enabler of the United States aggressions and wars, it, too, is responsible. Its development, too, is contaminated with the crime and injustice against, and the blood of innocent people proportionate to the amount of advantage it had gained through its indirect support of those acts. We will not even address its voting record, until just a couple of years ago, as the UN’s Security Council permanent member. Now that it, too, is a target, its change in behavior is not trustworthy enough because it does not appear to be based on ethical and moral principles. It would not be illogical to assume that the moment the direction of winds changes, it is likely that China’s current stance would change, too.

Therefore, for ordinary people in local communities here, that is, the very same people who are active, and who willingly volunteer their own lives and their children and spouses to go and fight alongside those who resist oppressions and hegemony by the US and the West, these and other critical points and lessons will not go unchallenged and unlearned. Only those who have a proven record of being honest and trustworthy, of acting on principles, and steadfast in their resolve fighting against oppression are worthy of trust and long-term partnership, regardless of their race, nationality, and religious affiliation. Others must work much harder, regardless of what they profess to be.

As the entire world is moving on, and as partnerships and coalitions are constantly dissolving and forming, and as the nuclear strike buzzes & hypes are being heard again, I would like link back to the beginning of the essay and re-insert, again, the quoted parts of Father Siemes’ remark, but this time, I complement the segment with a new twist in interpretation and prediction. He recounted,

“We have discussed among ourselves the ethics of the use of the bomb. Some consider it in the same category as poison gas and were against its use on a civil population. Others were of the view that in total war, as carried on in Japan, there was no difference between civilians and soldiers, and that the bomb itself was an effective force tending to end the bloodshed, warning Japan to surrender and thus to avoid total destruction. It seems logical to me that he who supports total war in principle cannot complain of war against civilians. The crux of the matter is whether total war in its present form is justifiable, even when it serves a just purpose. Does it not have material and spiritual evil as its consequences which far exceed whatever good that might result? When will our moralists give us a clear answer to this question?”7

I can guarantee anyone who reads these lines that ordinary people in local communities here in Iran are fully aware that what is currently going on is, in fact, a total war against their very existence. They also know there is no difference between civilians, soldiers, and [they add] our Commander in Chief (Seyyed Ali Khamenei). Should one, two, or more nuclear bombs be added to the United States’ repertoire of its pressure levers in its ongoing total war against Iran, unlike the Japanese, the ordinary devout Shi’as in Iran (who are quite significant in number), from all levels of the society, are not going to be sitting around philosophizing, musing, and theorizing about whether or not the total war against them was justified, where all the moralists have gone, or play the role of an obedient house servant. Furthermore, they are not going to enter into a shock & awe state, not knowing what to do. Bihawl’lallah wa Quwwatah (By God’s Power and Might), they will, however, make sure that will not end the bloodshed; rather, it will begin a very effective and exact bloodshed. From my reading of the population here, I can bet my life on that. Can the US, holding tight and fast to its nuclear Trump card, be equally sure of its own bet? If yes, Bismillah.

Mansoureh Tajik lives in Alborz Province in Iran. She has a background in teaching and research in the areas of community and environmental health, environmental justice, and media literacy. She collaborates with various local community members, groups, and organizations to provide support in addressing health and environmental problems, sustainable agriculture, and in design, implementation, and evaluation of relevant improvement projects.

References

1. Thomas Donnelly, Donald Kagan, and Gary Schmitt (2000). “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New American Century,” A Report of The Project for the New American Century, September 2000. Accessed on 7/9/2019; Available online at: https://archive.org/details/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.

2. Fotios Moustakis & Rudra Chaudhuri (2006). “Counting the Cost of an American Unilateralist Policy: a Superpower at Risk?” Published By: Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Conflict Studies Research Centre, Special Series, 06/43. ISBN 1-905058-88-8, August 2006, UK.

3. Jan Nijman (1992). “The Limits of Superpower: The United States and the Soviet Union since World War II.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 82, No. 4 (Dec., 1992), Pages 681-695. Published by Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of the Association of American Geographers.

4. Steven Russell (1991). “The US Currency System: A Historical Perspective.” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, September/October 1991. Accessed on 7/9/2019; Available Online at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/c909/a844511a78720c5d2800170c06109d797fde.pdf

5. Ricardo J. Caballero, Emmanuel Farhi, and Mohamad L. Hammour (2006). “Speculative Growth: Hints from the U.S. Economy.” The American Economic Review,” Vol. 96, No. 4, Pages 1159-1192.

6. Nathan Perry (2014). Debt and Deficits: Economic and Political Issues. A GDAE Teaching Module on Social and Environmental Issues in Economics. Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University, Medford, MA.

7. The Manhattan Engineer District Report (1946). The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Manhattan Engineer District of the United States Army under the direction of Major General Leslie R. Groves on June 29, 1946. Accessed on 7/25/2019; Available Online at: https://www.abomb1.org/hiroshim/hiro_med.pdf

8. Office of Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) Chief Financial Officer (Feb. 2018). Defense Budget Overview, Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request. Generated on 2018Feb02. Ref. ID: A-6E677F4. Accessed on 7/25/2019; Available Online at: https://dod.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/FY2019-Budget-Request-Overview-Book.pdf

9. Sarah N Pedigo (2016). “United States Interventions: Power Vacuums and the Rise of Extremist Groups.” Master of Arts (MA) Thesis, Sociology/Criminal Justice, Old Dominion University, DOI: 10.25777/86pc-ex82 Available Online at: https://digitalcommons.odu.edu/sociology_criminaljustice_etds/6

10. Zahra Aghamohammadi1 and Ali Omidi (2018). The Prospect of the United States and Saudi Arabia’s Relations In Light of the Khashoggi Murder. Journal of World Sociopolitical Studies, Vol. 2, No. 4, October 2018, Pages 605-632.

11. Congressional Research Service (2019). “The U.S. Export Control System and the Export Control Reform Initiative,” Updated April 5, 2019. R41916· VERSION 49.

12. Sebastian Kaempf (2019). “A relationship of mutual exploitation’: the evolving ties between the Pentagon, Hollywood, and the commercial gaming sector.” Journal of Social Identities, Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, 25:4, 542-558, DOI: 10.1080/13504630.2018.1514151.

13. Official Death Reports, Autopsies and Other Reports of the Davidian Dead. Accessed on 7/26/2019; Available Online at: http://www.holocausts.org/waco/death/reports/county-list.html

14. Timoty Lynch (2001). “No Confidence: An Unofficial Account of the Waco Incident”. Policy Analysis, No. 395, April 9, 2001, Pages 1-18.

15. Linder, Douglas (2007). The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Trial of Timothy McVeigh, University of Missouri at Kansas City – School of Law, Posted on Nov. 17, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1030565 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1030565.

16. Robbert Kappel (2015). “Global Power Shifts and Challenges for the Global Order.” German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, Policy Paper 2/2015.

17. Saxon White Kessinger (1959). “Indispensable Man.” Available Online at: http://www.appleseeds.org/indispen-man_saxon.htm.

18. Hossein Razmjoo (1366 H.S.). “Modarres and His Principle Non-Equilibrium in Politics.” Meshkaat, The Center for Computerized Research in Islamic Sciences, Dr. Shariati College of Literature and Humanities. Original in Farsi, Translated by the author.

19. The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran (English Version). Available Online at: https://www.wipo.int/edocs/lexdocs/laws/en/ir/ir001en.pdf

20. US Debt Clock. Accessed on 7/26/2019; Available Online at: https://www.usdebtclock.org/

21. Kimberly Amadeo (2019). “Who Owns the US National Debt? The Biggest Owner is You!” The Balance. Accessed 7/26/2019; Available Online at: https://www.thebalance.com/who-owns-the-u-s-national-debt-3306124

22. Muhammad Baqer Majlisi (1403 HQ). Translation, by the author, of a portion of Narration (Hadith):

ان لَم یَکُن لَکُم دینٌ و کُنتُم لاتَخافونَ المَعادَ فَکونوا اَحراراً فِی دُنیاکُم

from Bihar ul-Anwar, 2nd Edition, Vol. 45, Page 51.

23. Ingvild Borgen Gjerde, DNB Markets (2019). “Why China will not sell its US Treasuries.” The Note, Market Matters, 15.05.2019. DNB Markets, a division of DNB Bank ASA. DNB Bank ASA is a part of the DNB Group.

When God is reduced into an Arsonist

April 22, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

arsonist god.jpg

 

By Gilad Atzmon

We learned last Wednesday that Shlomo Aviner, a prominent Zionist rabbi and Yeshiva leader, suggested the fire that gutted Notre-Dame may have been divine retribution for the burning of Jewish manuscripts in 1242.

In the eyes of His followers, the Jewish almighty is an elastic substance. He morphs occasionally to fit with the needs of His favourite sons and daughters. Early Zionists, for instance, demoted God into an ‘estate agent’ as they reduced the Torah into a ‘title deed’. The early Zionists were secular Jews, they didn’t believe in God but were happy to expel the indigenous Palestinians in ‘His name’ and on ‘His behalf.’  But Rabbi Aviner takes us one step further. He made the Jewish God into a lazy but revengeful arsonist. The rabbi practically makes the Jewish God into a church burner who takes eight centuries to ‘hit back.’

Shlomo Aviner is the rabbi of the Beit El settlement and head of the Ateret Yerushalayim yeshiva. He provides the ‘rational’ behind the divine retribution. “Christianity,” he says, “is our number one enemy throughout history. [They] tried to convert us by arguments and by force, carried out an inquisition against us, burned the Talmud, expulsions, pogroms. Western anti-Semitism draws from Christianity’s hatred of the ‘murderers of God.’ It also had a role in the Holocaust.”

It is needless to mention that many Israelis and Jews were appalled by Rabbi Aviner’s statement. Some Israeli politicians condemned the Rabbi and yet his blatant hatred towards Christianity is unfortunately engraved in both Jewish and Judaic thought.

Back in 2009, the Jerusalem Post reported on the growing tendency of Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem to spit on their Christian neighbours. Father Samuel Aghoyan, a senior Armenian Orthodox cleric in Jerusalem’s Old City, told the JPost “that he’s been spat at by young Haredi and Orthodox Jews ‘about 15 to 20 times’ in the past decade”. Similarly, Father Athanasius, a Texas-born Franciscan monk who heads the Christian Information Centre in Jerusalem’s Old City, said he’s been spat at by Orthodox Jews “about 15 times in the last six months”.

The Israeli professor Israel Shahak commented on Jewish hatred towards Christianity and its symbolism, suggesting that “dishonouring Christian religious symbols is an old religious duty in Judaism.” According to Shahak, “spitting on the cross, and especially on the Crucifix, and spitting when a Jew passes a church, have been obligatory from around AD 200 for pious Jews.”

As I am currently in Prague, I am obliged to add that church spitting has had an impact on the landscape of the city. The following can be read in a ‘Travel Guide for Jewish Europe’:

“In Prague’s Charles Bridge, the visitor will observe a great crucifix surrounded by huge gilded Hebrew letters that spell the traditional Hebrew sanctification Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh Adonai Tzvaot, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts.” According to various commentators, this piece, degrading to Jews, came about because in 1609 a Jew was accused of desecrating the crucifix. The Jewish community was forced to pay for putting up the Hebrew words in gold letters…”   (To read more: Travel Guide for Jewish Europe, pg 497)

Charles Bridge, Prague

Charles Bridge, Prague

Shahak maintains that “in the past, when the danger of anti-Semitic hostility was a real one, the pious Jews were commanded by their rabbis either to spit so that the reason for doing so would be unknown, or to spit onto their chests, not actually on a cross or openly before a church.”

But the anger towards the church extends well beyond the rabbinical realm. Some traces of it can be found in most secularised Jewish so-called ‘progressive’ circles. In a letter to his mother dated November 25 1937, Chaim Katz, a combatant within the Yiddish speaking Spanish International Brigade, writes “I took up arms against the persecutors of my people–the Jews–and my class–the Oppressed. I am fighting against those who establish an inquisition like that of their ideological ancestors several centuries ago, in Spain.” As we can see, Katz defines himself in the letter “as a Jew and a progressive” and sees the deadly civil war in Spain as a possible platform for Jewish retribution against the Catholic Church. It is hardly a secret that the battle in Spain escalated quickly into an orgy of burning churches.*

A week ago, we learned that the Jewish world was outraged by pro Israel Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s suggestion that the crimes of the Holocaust can be forgiven, though not forgotten. While Bolsonaro expressed the most basic Christian belief, both Yad Vashem and the Israeli president were quick to clarify that Jewish forgiveness is not an option. President Rivlin announced that “no one will enjoin the forgiveness of the Jewish people, and no interest will buy it.” Yad Vashem spokeswoman Dana Weiler-Polak said nobody can decide “if it is possible to forgive the crimes of the Holocaust.”

 If Christianity is all about forgiveness, Jewishness can be seen as an accumulative project of ‘Amalek’ characters. If Christianity is all about compassion, the ability to defy gravity by means of harmony and reconciliation, Judaism and Jewishness can be described metaphorically as gravitational forces. They are there to unite the tribe around the constant fear of an emerging enemy. I guess that those who insist on pushing the phantasmic notion of ‘Judeo-Christian values’ should bear in mind the clear ideological, spiritual, metaphysical contrast between the two distinct religious precepts that in fact have very little in common.

*Rather than taking Franco’s side I am dealing here with Jewish means of identifications.

My battle for truth and freedom involves some expensive legal services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me.

Donate

 

Deal of the Century: The Zionist-American Religion Trading

 

By Ihab Shawqi – Egypt

The Arab media chose to ignore the details of a recent visit to occupied Palestine by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo despite their unprecedented scope and gravity. These details include a tour by Pompeo and “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of occupied al-Quds and the tunnels located underneath the Old City’s Muslim quarter. In an underground center tasked with preparing for the construction of the supposed Jewish temple over the ruins of al-Aqsa, the two men watched a virtual reality recreation of the structure. The videos of the visit are available and can be seen by everyone. Pompeo was seen signing papers that were said to be an agreement on the establishment of the temple. However, this cannot be confirmed since he may have been merely signing the so-called guest book. Still, the actual visit and his inspection of the structure model are documented and confirmed.

In a sit-down with the Christian Broadcasting Network during the visit, the interviewer Chris Mitchell noted that “Israel” was celebrating the Purim holiday.

“Esther, 2,500 years ago, saved the Jewish people with God’s help from Haman,” he said, in reference to the Persian Empire. Mitchell then asked Pompeo “could it be that President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people?” Pompeo replied that “as a Christian I certainly believe that’s possible.” He then went on to say “I am confident that the Lord is at work here.”

Here, we are not discussing the matter from a religious point of view, but rather from a political standpoint – perhaps from the standpoint of “trading with religion” in politics. David Ben-Gurion has said “‘Israel’ has no meaning without Jerusalem [al-Quds] and Jerusalem [al-Quds] has no meaning without the Temple.”

Al-Quds and its religious centrality is a strategic treasure for any occupying force to legitimize the occupation. However, annexing al-Quds without the temple does not give justification to the Zionist occupier. Besieging and fighting Iran do not seem convincing enough without conjuring up the Purim holiday and saving the Jewish people from the Persians. This as the American bias transcending all international laws and customs cannot be justified without conjuring up religion and Queen Esther “the messenger of the Lord to the Jews”!

Here, we can discuss the so-called deal of the century and try to analyze its background and objectives. According to all the leaks, there are disparities that can only be relevant for two reasons. The first is its frequent occurrence in the leaks, and the second is its uniformity with the evidence, practices and statements. We can monitor the common aspects between these leaks then try to deduce and analyze the links between them as well as the hidden objectives. As for the common aspects between these leaks, they can be outlined as follows:

  1. The two-state solution and possibly preparations for a long-term solution under certain conditions have taken a back seat.
  2. Resolving the issue of al-Quds as the capital of the “Israeli” enemy. There may be a discussions regarding the status of the Islamic holy sites and placing them under the supervision of a joint Palestinian-Jordanian body.
  3. Resolving the issue of control over the West Bank in general by securing the entrances and exits for the “Israeli” enemy, as well as the issue of “Israeli” control over settlements and villages inhabited by the Zionists, with a kind of autonomy given to the rest of the West Bank, but under Zionist control.
  4. Linking the West Bank to Gaza via a land route, while putting Gaza under the rule of the Palestinian authority when it is retrieved from Hamas.
  5. The talk about financial aid packages instead of US preemptive measures to stop UNRWA funding for the Palestinians.
  6. The talk about recognition of the “Israeli” entity by the Arab states.

These are perhaps the more common aspects between the many leaks. Some of which are related to land exchanges with neighboring countries such as Jordan and Egypt. There are other details that are exaggerated and unreasonable, despite all the official Arab mistakes, weaknesses and the sheer slacking off. The full picture will be revealed once the deal is officially announced.

As for the links between these common aspects, they can be outlined as follows:

First: Washington’s preemption policy. It is a kind of coercive diplomacy characterizing the Trump administration. This preemption policy is represented in the transfer of the US Embassy to occupied al-Quds, the cessation of UNRWA funding and the recognition of the annexation of the occupied Golan to the Zionist enemy. Thus, the move is the preemptive closure of the debate over the situation of the Golan and al-Quds. It is also a kind of starvation, creating a carrot for the Palestinians represented in aid packages when the deal is accepted.

Second: Most of what has been leaked regarding the deal is a practical reality. The enemy controls the security situation in the West Bank and al-Quds. The intention, however, is to legitimize this reality and cut the road of the resistance. Thus, resisting this situation would be considered contrary to agreements and an illegal rebellion.

Third: This point is perhaps most important and the main purpose of the deal. The official recognition of the Zionist state. Simply, this recognition puts any opposing state, here specifically Iran and the axis of resistance, in an odd political situation. The axis would appear to be opposing international legitimacy after all the Arabs, whose central cause over the past century has been Palestine, recognized the legitimacy of “Israel”. This introduces us indeed to a new and different century where the Zionists are being recognized while those who are not recognized are considered illegitimate. Perhaps this is the secret behind naming this suspicious deal as the Deal of the Century.

Therefore, we are heading towards a process of legitimizing difficult and practical situations. This is a new attempt to isolate the resistance in a way that it appears to be violating international legitimacy as well as new situations on the ground threatening al-Aqsa Mosque in order to resolve the dispute over al-Quds since the existence of Islamic holy places is a pretext for the Palestinians to fight for “Israel’s” eternal capital.

This is a very serious matter. This deal may follow the method of gradualism and imposing the reality step-by-step. It all depends on time, more humiliating Arab concessions, and weakening the resistance due to the siege and political isolation.

Perhaps these are the Zionist-American calculations. But the resistance has its own calculations and responses. The Palestinian people also have their appropriate response. Meanwhile, absent from the scene is the role of the rest of the Arab and Islamic peoples. We hope that this role returns before the reclaiming of rights becomes more costly.

France’s ‘Holy Secular Empire’ slurs Yellow Vests as anti-Semitic, bans anti-Zionism

Source

February 20, 2019

France’s ‘Holy Secular Empire’ slurs Yellow Vests as anti-Semitic, bans anti-Zionism

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

Back in November 2008, Rahm Emmanuel, then president-elect Barack Obama’s chief of staff and later the detested mayor of Chicago, famously told The Wall Street Journal, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. … This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not before.” A wave of “socialise the losses” right-wing capitalism followed; millions lost their homes, pensions, jobs, sanity, neighbourhood cohesion, etc.

France is using the anti-establishment crisis of the Yellow Vests in a way that Zionist-supporter Emmanuel certainly approves of: they are using it to criminalise anti-Zionism.

Backtracking from just a day earlier, President Emmanuel Macron threw French liberty under the bus and said that France will now define “anti-Zionism as a modern-day form of anti-Semitism”.

Well I guess I better totally rewrite this article! LOL, not a chance.

France had an atrocious 74% leap in anti-Jewish acts in 2018, which caused nationwide demonstrations against anti-Semitism on February 19.

More against anti-Jew acts… I could not be.

But the demonstrations were a clear manipulation of righteous anti-racism sentiment, because they were orchestrated right alongside an effort to slander the anti-government Yellow Vest movement as a basket of racist, anti-Jewish, hillbilly, intolerant, uncultured deplorables. Now we see they had a second goal, just as I had openly suggested.

Domestic things first: France’s Holy Secular Empire rallies to attack tolerance & democracy

Given that they are calling for the resignation of the president and his cadres, from the very beginning of the Yellow Vest movement the government has obviously done everything they could to portray the Yellow Vests as such… and also as radicals, rioters and rejects of society – anything but legitimate.

But the marches show that (what I refer to as) France’s “Holy Secular Empire” has sprung back into action. The Holy Secular Empire is characterised by pro-French jingoism, intolerance for those who are deemed not tolerant enough of the “correct” things (no matter how morally repugnant and intellectually incorrect said things may be), and a hypocritical subversion of France’s constitutionally mandated and culturally revered laïcité (political secularism) towards all things regarding race and religion only when certain cultural groups are targeted.

The apex of the Holy Secular Empire was the Je Suis Charlie marches in 2015, when fake-leftists worldwide wept for the right to draw a picture of Prophet Mohammad with his butt cheeks spread open and star covering his anus and also Mohammad directing a pornography movie. (Yes, those are among the cartoons they published.)

The arrival of the anti-austerity, anti-neoliberal, anti-EU, anti-Eurozone, anti-1% Yellow Vest movement has forced the HSE’s fake-leftist ideals back to the fore. The last week has seen a massive media and political blitz which aims to instrumentalise the fight against racism as a way to turn public opinion against the Yellow Vests, and eventually put a stop to their marches.

The slur campaign went into overdrive when the atrociously right-wing and pro-Zionist writer Alain Finkielkraut was filmed at the Yellow Vest demonstration on February 16th being insulted (being correctly labelled) with the phrase “dirty Zionist”. Finkielkraut is a former leftist who renounced his leftist ideals for reactionary ones, and such sellouts – those who can perhaps best critique the left because they understood it at one time – are always adored by the 1% and the Mainstream Media.

Firstly, what is Alain Finkielkraut doing at a Yellow Vest march? Of course they hate him – he was similarly booed and shooed away at the leftist, Occupy-inspired Nuit Debout protests in 2016. The French say “once does not make a custom”, but it seems as if every leftist movement can now count on Finkielkraut getting back in the spotlight by annoying them with his presence. Of course, just like in 2016, Finkielkraut wants people to believe in 2019 it’s just anti-Jew hatred, but he clearly refuses to accept that people legitimately resent and detest him for being one of the French’s 1%’s leading intellectual toadies.

I saw Finkielkraut being interviewed on right-wing BFM TV just after the incident: he was doing his usual rear end-kissing of the average Frenchman’s bygone culture. He was going on and on about how the Roman Catholic French Church is a natural ally with the Jews, begging for their support and fraternity… and never mentioning Islam as their third Abrahamic brother. That’s odd, considering that much of the Koran’s very first chapter calls for unity with Jews and Christians, declares that Islam does not discriminate against their apostles and embraces them, how the children of Israel are exalted above other nations, and on and on and on. I asked a Middle Eastern Christian colleague why Finkielkraut didn’t include Islam, considering these obvious facts?

“Ramin,” he said, “why do you think Alain Finkielkraut would commit career suicide?”

LOL, good point. But this is why people on the left hate Finkielkraut – he makes bad things worse by insisting that la belle France réactionnaire doesn’t have to change.

The Finkielkraut episode, combined with a couple recent typical pro-Nazi graffiti taggings, allowed the Mainstream Media to point the finger at the Yellow Vests. Ever obliging, and you cannot make this up: French Parliamentarians rushed to try and ban anti-Zionist speech!

Surprised – why? In 2014, during Israel’s latest war on Gaza, France became the first country to ban pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

Foreign things second: Since when do French politicians care about the French?

Banning anti-Zionism is – without a doubt – truly dangerous for the safety of the French, ruinous for France’s international image, ruinous to France’s cultural values…but since when do French politicians care about France?

The Parliamentarians said the ban debate was on the grounds that “anti-Zionism” is the same as “anti-Semitism”.” For several days this falsity was relayed by every major news organisation with zero comment or a question. Cleary, the Holy Secular Empire is a mighty force, but not an enlightened one.

I am an anti-Zionist Jew

Such a conflation staggers the mind! “Zionism” is an imperialist project based on earthly political ideas – (the inherently racist idea that Jews need to be segregated into their own country); “Judaism” is a religion, based on faith. It has been truly sad to see what a poor job the average journalist, commentator, politician, editor and publisher did by conflating the two over the past week. This is why Yellow Vests hate us journalists, guys and gals.

One can be 100% anti-Zionist and 100% pro-Jew. Indeed, we all must be.

However, the reality is that – for fake-leftists and the Holy Secular Empire – one cannot be both pro-Jew and anti-Zionist… not even if you are a Jew.

Paris-based journalist George Kazolias emailed me this photo from the huge “Hipsters Against Anti-Jews” march at Place de la République in Paris on February 19. His sign reads, “I am Jewish and anti-Zionist”. Kazolias, who has decades of experience and whose integrity is unquestionable, told me that this intelligent young man was roughed up and forced to take his sign down.

That is the Holy Secular Empire at its finest: they claim to be anti-racist, but only when certain races are involved. “The Palestinians – not today, pal: you need to take a backseat to the Zionists right now. Frankly, let’s just ban anti-Zionism altogether.” They claim to be politically modern, and yet they support an imperialist project for which there is no doubt about who is in the wrong and who is in the right. They claim to be tolerant and demand that you be tolerant for their preferred groups, but they are willing to rough up a brave dissenter who dares to express a contrarian opinion (even when that dissenter is a member of the group being affected).

Surprised that France’s Holy Secular Empire is neither Holy (it is anti-Holy), nor Secular (it is incredibly partisan), but, like all Empires, based on illegitimate, anti-democratic force?

The surprise comes from the false, mainstream idea that France is what they say they are: a beacon of free speech, the world’s greatest adherents of the right to open debate on political issues, a fighter for truth, tolerance and other human rights… but it’s mostly for human rights which do very little to advance socioeconomic & political equality but which certainly allow the rich to express themselves unfettered in West European / Liberal Democratic / bourgeois systems.

Why the backtracking by Macron? I thought he was pro-Nazi? Let’s not forget that last November Macron was forced to call off his planned tribute to Vichy France leader and Nazi collaborator Marshall Petain – that makes him more responsible for the recent spike in anti-Jewish acts than anyone, no? People follow the lead of the leader, and he praised Nazi-era France.

From the beginning I openly said on social media that the timing of the marches made their legitimacy even more suspect: they were the night before the French President’s annual genuflecting before CRIF, the umbrella of Jewish groups which serves as France’s influential Jewish lobby. I felt bad for France’s Jews – the timing of these marches already seemed more like political manipulations which aimed to culminate in the criminalisation of anti-Zionism, but the timing helped perpetuate the idea that Jews are overly powerful among the French elite.

The annual genuflecting also shows that, while individual and anecdotal violence against Jews needs far steeper penalties in France, on the institutional level France’s Jews are not just well-represented but punching above their weight: there is no similar annual genuflecting by the French president at an French Muslim organisation, even though Muslims are 10 times the number of Jews in France. Each new French president even has the gall to create their own, preferred “new, improved, Franco-Muslim group”, which no Muslim takes remotely seriously but which the Mainstream Media takes as, LOL, legitimate.

Macron made his backtracking at the CRIF dinner. Ugh…bad for Jews, bad for France, bad for Palestinians, bad for those who oppose terrorism in France (i.e everyone) and on and on.

Global things third: we still have the Yellow Vests, at least. Also: I hate Zionism

Call the cops on me….

The reality is that mainstream journalists simply won’t stand up for the difference between Zionism and anti-Semitism – even if brave Jews like that one in the photo do – and even if such inaccuracies hurt the image of the everyday Jew.

But such is the effectiveness of Israeli hasbara, counter-information propaganda aimed at Western audiences, that even the word “Jew” cannot be broached. The Western concept that the word “Jew” is somehow a racial slur was hilariously lampooned by the US TV show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

And it affected this article, too: I thought the title should be, “France’s ‘Holy Secular Empire’ slurs Yellow Vests as anti-Jew, bans anti-Zionism” – and why not? It’s shorter, and I like to pretend that column inches still matter in digital media. It’s also more accurate: “Semitic” is a language – meaning the branch which includes Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic – yet it has been appropriated/given to the adherents of Judaism, regardless of national origin, for so long that the average person now associates “Semite” solely with Jews.

For example, I just had a fine English colleague proofread my upcoming book, Socialism’s Ignored Success Story: Iranian Islamic Socialism, and in one part I discussed out how the “non-Semitic Iranians” might have been predisposed to disagree with certain early Islamic leaders who pushed pro-Arab, and thus ethnically sectarian, policies. This intelligent journalist noted in red next to “the non-Semitic Iranians” the following: “?”. LOL, I changed it, because this is even more of a lost cause than my effort to use “Southwest Asian” instead of the Eurocentric “Middle East”. And I changed the headline because I thought that many half-hearted anti-racists would see “anti-Jew” and hysterically think, “I am too turned off to click on this link – the language is too harsh. The writer must be a nut.”

The mistake made by that young anti-Zionist Jew – who is my brother from another mother – is that he went to the wrong demonstration that night: he went to the fake-leftist / hipster / bobo (bourgeois bohémien) / politician photo-op / pro-Zionist / anti-Yellow Vest demonstration at Place de la République, when he should have been with me at Ménilmontant in the Arab part of town.

I covered that demonstration for PressTV. It was organised by the Union of French Jews for Peace, a wonderful group I have interviewed for years. Heck, some of the very best pro-Palestinian activists in France are Jewish! That is where this young man belonged. The protest was expressly against all racism and expressly against the attempt to slur the Yellow Vests as anti-Semitic.

We numbered about 700 people, with plenty of Yellow Vests, and we garnered far less media coverage (in FrenchAt Ménilmontant, a demonstration of real anti-racists’ against anti-Semitism), but plenty of Israeli hasbara. The Times of Israel headline read, “At Ménilmontant a man yelled ‘Netanyahu licks the (rear end) of Hitler”. If this is how they treat those who are protesting against anti-Semitism, imagine how they treat Palestinians, LOL….

As usual, the people I interviewed there put it better than I could, even though that’s my job:

The Yellow Vests are not ethnic nor religious – they are social, political and fiscal. These are workers who work yet still can’t pay their bills at the end of the month, even though France is such a rich country. If there are anti-Jews in the Yellow Vests, well, 58% of the country supports the Yellow Vests, which equates to 39 million people: out of 39 million people you will find some jerks, and also some racists, but the slurring of the Yellow Vests as anti-Jew is only because the establishment and their toadies will do anything to stop the Yellow Vest movement… which will absolutely not stop.

It won’t stop because, as I wrote at the very beginning of the movement: there is simply no political pathway for the Yellow Vests’ political ideas to be implemented. Therefore, they have no choice but to continue because political demands aren’t whims, but are almost implacably formed over time – in this case, eight years of far-right economic austerity. Yellow Vests can only turn to other Yellow Vests.

At the big demonstration at Place de la République there were 20,000 people – this is a very rare instance of a demonstration in France not being obviously undercounted by authorities; many put the official numbers of the Saturday Yellow Vests at 1/3rd the official total.

But I wasn’t going to to République to celebrate the fake-leftist idea of anti-racism, even though most everyone else did. You had Catholic bishops there, even though they are supposed to not get involved in political demonstrations; you had Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy; you had plenty of attractive, young, hip people in the very heart of hipster Paris. What’s certain is that everyone was breaking their arms patting each other (and themselves) on the back for being so very progressive, tolerant, modern and leftist.

That made it really quite similar to the largest ever gatherings of the Holy Secular Empire: the 4-million person marches after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, which was at Place de la République too. I was there doing my usual dissident thing in very unwelcoming environment, LOL, and back then what all those fake-leftists hemmed and hawed about was the answer to this simple question: “How is drawing a cartoon of Prophet Mohammad bent over, with his butt cheeks spread, and a star over his anus, or a cartoon of Mohammad filming a porn movie not inflammatory / impolite/ dangerous / racist / Islamophobic / yelling “fire “in a crowded theater?” Fake-leftists still have no answer for that, of course, but they marched just the same and got teary over the sacred glories of French “liberty”.

Real leftists said, “Well, political science ain’t science, so like can attract like here: that stuff is dangerous and reactionary so I’m not surprised who they ran into….”

Another iteration of the media wing of the HSE was on the very day of the 2017 presidential election: French fake-leftist newspaper nonpareil Libération knowingly broke a law insisting on media neutrality just prior to elections by printing a cover which read, “Do what you want but vote Macron”.

This is way I imagined the paper’s budget meeting that day: the hysterical female journalists and the namby-pamby male journalist at Libé (or the namby-pamby female journalists and the hysterical male journalists – that’s fine by me) were sitting around their meeting room table and swearing before their atheistic god that they simply could not risk democracy taking place without fetters; their technocratic creed and noblesse oblige forced them – Gandhi-like – to flout the law in order to save the establishment from the far-right Marine Le Pen… even if that meant putting in the far-right (economically) Macron (who is also now a far-right imperialist, too). If history judged their efforts not the equal of Gandhi’s, Libération had but one choice: to formalise and protect a caste system, also like Gandhi.

The Yellow Vests do not believe that “Jews are secretly in charge” – what they oppose is the continuation of this caste culture, which allows high finance, careerist politicians and hipster Parisians to be the only ones writing public policy.

The Yellow Vests, I’m sure, are majority pro-Palestinian, but I’m even more sure that they view this banning of Zionism as a truly dangerous distraction which will not keep them from relying on food banks at the end of the month.

Those slurs won’t stick, but the Yellow Vests will – more marches are certain. Jews welcome… but only if they are Yellow Vest sympathisers – this is a class-based political movement, of course! Practitioners of identity politics will never be welcome.

As far as Macron… ugh. You have not failed to disappoint, and I openly expected you to be worse than Marine Le Pen, who is terrible. Macron proves, once again, that capitalism-imperialism is far worse than (and is the cause of) racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, sectarianism, etc.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

With Regard to War, Trump Doesn’t Talk the Talk or Walk the Walk

With Regard to War, Trump Doesn’t Talk the Talk or Walk the Walk

WAYNE MADSEN | 18.11.2018 |

With Regard to War, Trump Doesn’t Talk the Talk or Walk the Walk

Last week, Donald Trump disgraced himself before his French hosts, US and Allied military veterans, and the entire world by remaining inside the residence of the US ambassador to France and snubbing a memorial service for US dead in World War I.

Donald Trump, who is undoubtedly the least intelligent man to ever occupy the White House, failed to understand the importance of the 100th centenary observations in France held to mark the armistice that concluded World War I. At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the guns along the Western front in France fell silent. The war was entirely preventable but had been spurred on by nationalist fervor whipped up by kings, emperors, prime ministers, and foreign ministers who sent armies into battle to fight for the “honor” of their nations.

It was unbridled nationalism that led to World War I and it was nationalist feelings bent on revenge for being vanquished in World War I that ultimately led to World War II. Left unchecked, similar nationalist feelings being fanned today may lead to World War III.

The irony of World War I was that the monarchs of warring parties Britain, Russia, and Germany were all related. King George V of the United Kingdom was the first cousin of German Kaiser Wilhelm. King George and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia were also first cousins. And the Tsar and Kaiser were third cousins. Nevertheless, the nationalistic passions between Germany and its ally, the Austro-Hungarian Empire of the Habsburgs; Serbia and its protectors Russia and France; and the Ottoman Empire, allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary; and the United Kingdom, later allied with the United States led to the first modern world war.

In 1914, the ground was set for a conflagration. All that was needed to set off the tinderbox was a flame. That match was struck in 1914 when Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the heir to the Habsburg throne, and his wife, Duchess Sophie of Hohenberg, were assassinated in Sarajevo, in Austrian-ruled Bosnia, by a Serbian nationalist named Gavrilo Princip. Austria-Hungary not only blamed Serbia and a Serb terrorist group, the Black Hand, for carrying out the assassination but also implicated the Russian military attaché’s office in Belgrade, Serbia. Accusations that Serbia and Russia were behind the assassinations of the Archduke and Duchess were unfounded. Nevertheless, this “conspiracy theory” of 1914 eventually led to the direct deaths of almost 20 million people around the world. Add the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, which is believed to have been spread by troops returning home from the war fronts, and the indirect war dead count climbs to an additional 100 million.

Compare the Sarajevo conspiracy theory of 1914 to several that exist today, including accusations that Russia perpetrated biological warfare attacks on individuals in England and that Russian forces shot down Malaysian Airlines flight 17 over Ukraine, and we see the same irresponsible allegations about state-sponsored acts of violence that triggered World War I. In 1914, warfare led to the use of chemical and, quite possibly, biological weapons. World War II, the cause of which is nested in World War I’s aftermath, led to the use of nuclear weapons. It is unthinkable what a World War III might lead to.

Since Russia was Serbia’s patron, the Austro-Hungarians believed Serbia’s protector, Russia, and even Romania were behind the assassination plot. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Since Russia and France were pledged to defend Serbia, they declared war on Austria-Hungary, prompting Germany to honor its alliance with the Habsburgs and declare war on Serbia, Russia, and France. Eventually, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Greece, and Britain entered the war in an alliance with Russia and France. The Ottoman Empire backed the Central Powers of Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Bulgaria. The United States entered the war in 1917 on the side of Britain and France.

For all the warring parties, “the other” meant their “nefarious” enemies. Extreme nationalism took an ugly turn. For the Austrians and Germans, “the other” was the “barbaric” Slavs. For the British, French, Russians, Italians, and, eventually, the Americans, “the other” was the “beastly” Germanic “Huns.” For the Ottoman Turks, “the other” was the nomadic, “uncivilized,” and “cruel” Arabs. The Greeks and Serbs, “the other” was the Ottomans Muslim “hordes” ready to re-occupy the Balkans and eradicate Christianity. And, so it went, until over 18 million military and civilian personnel were killed. World War I was the result of blaming “the other” for whatever atrocity could be conjured up by the propaganda machinery of the era. It was a case of extreme nationalism running rampant. At the end of the conflict, the royal houses of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire fell, but the nationalistic blame game continued.

Aspirant peoples, with nationalism as their trumpet, rose from the battlefields of World War I to demand independence. Some of these nations, including Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia), were recognized at Versailles. Others, like Kurdistan, the Emirate of Darfur, the Dervish State of Somaliland, Tuareg Confederation, Zayan Confederation of the Berbers, the Emirate of Jabal Shammar (moderate rivals of the Saudis), Balochistan, and Vietnam, were not granted independence, a decision that would lead to war outbreaks later in the 20th century.

At the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, statesmen, including US President Woodrow Wilson, gathered to draw new borders, grant aspirant nations their independence, and establish an international body – the League of Nations – to serve as a place for dialogue to prevent war. However, the Treaty of Versailles also, inadvertently, laid the ground for World War II. Wilson could never convince the isolationist “America Firsters” in the Republican Party to commit the United States to membership of the League of Nations. America’s absence from the League denied the organization the universality it desired. Today, President Donald Trump is ripping up treaty after treaty, withdrawing from various United Nations agencies and agreements, and sending troops to the US southern border to meet a bogus threat that Central American asylum seekers are planning an “invasion” of the United States. Trump, who fancies himself as an American “nationalist,” has seen “the other” in women and children escaping political violence and economic stagnation in countries where dictators and death squads are propped up by the Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency.

Brutal reparations demanded from Germany by the victorious Allies at Versailles, as well as German disarmament, gave rise to someone who would blame “the other” for Germany’s miseries, which were accentuated by the economic depression of the 1920s.

For Adolf Hitler, a wounded veteran of the “war to end all wars,” “the other” was the “Jews,” aided and abetted by Bolsheviks and “international bankers.” Hitler blamed them all for Germany’s surrender in World War I and its subsequent economic collapse. The world failed to learn the lessons of World War I.

At a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris to mark the 1918 armistice, French President Emmanuel Macron told the collected world leaders, including an uncomfortable Trump, that “patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.” Macron hosted a November 11-13 Paris Peace Forum for 84 world leaders in Paris for the World War I centenary. They included Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Moroccan King Mohammed VI, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The forum’s itinerary, including a keynote speech by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, touched on topics ranging from climate change and rising nationalism to abusive corporations and human rights.

In addition to skipping a ceremony at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery outside of Paris, where the remains of thousands of American soldiers who died at the Battle of Belleau Wood are buried, Trump boycotted the Paris Peace Forum.

Trump, like the doomed monarchs of early 20th century Europe, the fascist dictators who rose to power in the interbellum period, and the tyrants of today, blames “the other” for everything he can imagine.

Trump wanted nothing to do with the Paris Peace Forum. His former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is finalizing plans, along with Belgian, French, German, Austrian, Brazilian, British, white South African and Rhodesian, Hungarian, Serbian, Canadian, Australian, and fascisti Italian far-right wingers, to establish a Fascist International, called “The Movement,” in Brussels early next year. It is among these far-right wing politicians where Trump will feel most at home. One hundred years after the end of World War I, we should all have progressed to a point where we no longer pay heed to the Trumps, Bannons, and others who find always find blame in “the other.”

Whose Money Stoked Religious Strife in Ukraine – and Who Tried to Steal It?

Whose Money Stoked Religious Strife in Ukraine – and Who Tried to Steal It?

JAMES GEORGE JATRAS | 17.11.2018 |

Whose Money Stoked Religious Strife in Ukraine – and Who Tried to Steal It?

Was $25 million in American tax dollars allocated for a payoff to stir up religious turmoil and violence in Ukraine? Did Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (unsuccessfully) attempt to divert most of it into his own pocket?

Last month the worldwide Orthodox Christian communion was plunged into crisis by the decision of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in Constantinople to recognize as legitimate schismatic pseudo-bishops anathematized by the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is an autonomous part of the Russian Orthodox Church. In so doing not only has Patriarch Bartholomew besmirched the global witness of Orthodoxy’s two-millennia old Apostolic faith, he has set the stage for religious strife in Ukraine and fratricidal violence – which has already begun.

Starting in July, when few were paying attention, this analyst warned about the impending dispute and how it facilitated the anti-Christian moral agenda of certain marginal “Orthodox” voices like “Orthodoxy in Dialogue,” Fordham University’s “Orthodox Christian Studies Center,” and The Wheel. These “self-professed teachers presume to challenge the moral teachings of the faith” (in the words of Fr. John Parker) and “prowl around, wolves in sheep’s clothing, forming and shaping false ideas about the reality of our life in Christ.” Unsurprisingly such groups have embraced Constantinople’s neopapal self-aggrandizement and support for the Ukrainian schismatics.

No one – and certainly not this analyst – would accuse Patriarch Bartholomew, most Ukrainian politicians, or even the Ukrainian schismatics of sympathizing with advocacy of such anti-Orthodox values. And yet these advocates know they cannot advance their goals if the conciliar and traditional structure of Orthodoxy remains intact. Thus they welcome efforts by Constantinople to centralize power while throwing the Church into discord, especially the Russian Church, which is vilified in some Western circles precisely because it is a global beacon of traditional Christian moral witness.

This aspect points to another reason for Western governments to support Ukrainian autocephaly as a spiritual offensive against Russia and Orthodoxy. The post-Maidan leadership harp on the “European choice” the people of Ukraine supposedly made in 2014, but they soft-pedal the accompanying moral baggage the West demands, symbolized by “gay” marches organized over Christian objections in Orthodox cities like AthensBelgradeBucharestKievOdessaPodgoricaSofia, and Tbilisi. Even under the Trump administration, the US is in lockstep with our European Union friends in pressuring countries liberated from communism to adopt such nihilistic “democratic, European values.”

Perhaps even more important to its initiators, the row over Ukraine aims to break what they see as the “soft power” of the Russian Federation, of which the Orthodox Church is the spiritual heart and soul. As explained by Valeria Z. Nollan, professor emerita of Russian Studies at Rhodes College:

‘The real goal of the quest for autocephaly [i.e., complete self-governing status independent of the Moscow Patriarchate] of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a de facto coup: a political coup already took place in 2014, poisoning the relations between western Ukraine and Russia, and thus another type of coup – a religious one – similarly seeks to undermine the canonical relationship between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Moscow.’

In furthering these twin objectives (morally, the degrading of Orthodox Christianity; politically, undermining the Russian state as Orthodoxy’s powerful traditional protector) it is increasingly clear that the United States government – and specifically the Department of State – has become a hands-on fomenter of conflict. After a short period of appropriately declaring that “any decision on autocephaly is an internal [Orthodox] church matter,” the Department within days reversed its position and issued a formal statement (in the name of Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, but clearly drafted by the European bureau) that skirted a direct call for autocephaly but gave the unmistakable impression of such backing. This is exactly how it was reported in the media, for example, “US backs Ukrainian Church bid for autocephaly.” Finally, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo weighed in personally with his own endorsement as did the US Reichskommissar for UkraineKurt Volker.

The Threat…

There soon became reason to believe that the State Department’s involvement was not limited to exhortations. As reported by this analyst in October, according to an unconfirmed report originating with the members of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (an autonomous New York-based jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate), in July of this year State Department officials (possibly including Secretary Pompeo personally) warned the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (also based in New York but part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate) that the US government was aware of the misappropriation of a large amount of money, about $10 million, from estimated $37 million raised from believers for the construction of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine in New York. The State Department warning also reportedly noted that federal prosecutors have documentary evidence confirming the withdrawal of these funds abroad on the orders of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. It was suggested that Secretary Pompeo would “close his eyes” to this theft in exchange for movement by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in favor of Ukrainian autocephaly, which helped set Patriarch Bartholomew on his current course.

[Further details on the St. Nicholas scandal are available here, but in summary: Only one place of worship of any faith was destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attack in New York and only one building not part of the World Trade Center complex was completely destroyed. That was St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, a small urban parish church established at the end of World War I and dedicated to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, who is very popular with Greeks as the patron of sailors. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, and following a lengthy legal battle with the Port Authority, which opposed rebuilding the church, in 2011 the Greek Archdiocese launched an extensive campaign to raise funds for a brilliant innovative design by the renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava based on traditional Byzantine forms. Wealthy donors and those of modest means alike enthusiastically contributed millions to the effort. Then – poof! In December 2017, suddenly all construction was halted for lack of funds and remains stalled to this day. Resumption would require having an estimated $2 million on hand. Despite the Archdiocese’s calling in a major accounting firm to conduct an audit, there’s been no clear answer to what happened to the money. Both the US Attorney and New York state authorities are investigating.]

This is where things get back to Ukraine. If the State Department wanted to find the right button to push to spur Patriarch Bartholomew to move on the question of autocephaly, the Greek Archdiocese in the US is it. Let’s keep in mind that in his home country, Turkey, Patriarch Bartholomew has virtually no local flock – only a few hundred mostly elderly Greeks left huddled in Istanbul’s Phanar district. (Sometimes the Patriarchate is referred to simply as “the Phanar,” much as “the Vatican” is shorthand for the Roman Catholic papacy.) Whatever funds the Patriarchate derives from other sources (the Greek government, the Roman Catholic Church, the World Council of Churches), the Phanar’s financial lifeline is the ethnic Greek community (including this analyst) in what is still quaintly called the “Diaspora” in places like America, Australia, and New Zealand. And of these, the biggest cash cow is the Greek-Americans.

That’s why, when Patriarch Bartholomew issued a call in 2016 for what was billed as an Orthodox “Eighth Ecumenical Council” (the first one since the year 787!), the funds largely came from America, to the tune of up to $8 million according to the same confidential source as will be noted below. Intended by some as a modernizing Orthodox “Vatican II,” the event was doomed to failure by a boycott organized by Moscow over what the latter saw as Patriarch Bartholomew’s adopting papal or even imperial prerogatives – now sadly coming to bear in Ukraine.

…and the Payoff

On top of the foregoing, it now appears that the State Department’s direct hand in this sordid business may not have consisted solely of wielding the “stick” of legal threat: there’s reason to believe there was a “carrot” too. It very recently came to the attention of this analyst, via an unsolicited, confidential source in the Greek Archdiocese in New York, that a payment of $25 million in US government money was made to Constantinople to encourage Patriarch Bartholomew to move forward on Ukraine.

The source for this confidential report was unaware of earlier media reports that the same figure – $25 million – was paid by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to the Phanar as an incentive for Patriarch Bartholomew to move forward on creating an independent Ukrainian church. Moreover, Poroshenko evidently tried to shortchange the payment:

‘Peter [Petro] Poroshenko — the president of Ukraine — was obligated to return $15 million US dollars to the Patriarch of Constantinople, which he had appropriated for himself.

‘As reported by Izvestia, this occurred after the story about Bartholomew’s bribe and a “vanishing” large sum designated for the creation of a Unified Local Orthodox Church in Ukraine surfaced in the mass media.

‘As reported, on the eve of Poroshenko’s visit in Istanbul, a few wealthy people of Ukraine “chipped in” in order to hasten the process of creating a Unified Local Orthodox Church. About $25 million was collected. They were supposed to go to the award ceremony for Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople for the issuing of a tomos of autocephaly. [A tomos is a small book containing a formal announcement.] However, in the words of people close to the backer, during the visit on April 9, Poroshenko handed over only $10 million.

‘As a result, having learned of the deal, Bartholomew cancelled the participation of the delegation of the Phanar – the residence of the Patriarch of Constantinople, in the celebration of the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia on July 27 in Kiev.

‘”Such a decision from Bartholomew’s side was nothing other than a strong ultimatum to Poroshenko to return the stolen money. Of course, in order to not lose his face in light of the stark revelations of the creation of the tomos of autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Peter Alexeevich [Poroshenko] had to just return those $15 million for the needs of Constantinople,” a trusted source explained to reporters.

‘For preliminary information, only after receiving the remaining sum, did Bartholomew finally give his consent to sending a delegation of the Phanar to Kiev … ‘

Now, it’s possible that the two identical figures of $25 million refer to two different pots of money (a cool $50 million!) but that seems unlikely. It’s more probable the reports refer to the same sum as viewed from the sending side (the State Department, the Greek Archdiocese) and the delivery side (Poroshenko, Constantinople).

Lending credibility to the confidential information from New York and pointing to the probability that it refers to the same payment that Poroshenko reportedly sought to raid for himself are the following observations:

  • When Poroshenko generously offered Patriarch Bartholomew $10 million, the latter was aware that the full amount was $25 million and demanded the $15 million Poroshenko had held back. How did the Patriarch know that, unless he was informed via New York of the full sum?
  • If the earlier-reported $25 million was really collected from “a few wealthy people of Ukraine” who “chipped in,” given the cutthroat nature of disputes among Ukrainian oligarchs would Poroshenko (an oligarch in his own right) have risked trying to shortchange the payment? Why has not even one such Ukrainian donor been identified?
  • Without going into all the details, the Phanar and the Greek Archdiocese have a long relationship with US administrations of both parties going back at least to the Truman administration, encompassing some decidedly unattractive episodes. In such a history, a mere bribe for a geopolitical shot against Moscow would hardly be a first instance or the worst.

As one of this analyst’s Greek-American connections puts it: “It’s easy to comprehend the Patriarchate bowing to the pressure of State Dept. blackmail… not overly savory, but understandable. However, it’s another thing altogether if Kiev truly “purchased” their autocephalous status from an all too willing Patriarchate … which would relegate the Patriarch to ‘salesman’ status and leave the faithful wondering what else might be offered to the highest bidder the next time it became convenient to hold a Patriarchal ‘fire sale’ at the Phanar?!”

To add insult to injury, you’d think Constantinople at least could pay back some of the $7-8 million wasted on the Crete 2016 debacle to restart the St. Nicholas project in New York. Evidently the Phanar has better things to spend it on, like the demonstrative environmentalism of “the Green Patriarch” and, together with Pope Francis, welcoming Muslim migrants to Europe through Greece. Of course maybe there’s no need to worry, as the Ukraine “sale” was consistent with Constantinople’s papal ambitions, an uncanonical claim to “universal” status, and misuse of incarnational language and adoption of a breathtakingly arrogant tone that would cause even the most ultramontane proponent of the Rome’s supremacy to blush.

Finally, it seems that, for the time being at least, Constantinople doesn’t intend to create an independent Ukrainian church but rather an autonomous church under its own authority. It’s unclear whether or not Poroshenko or the State Department, in such event, would believe they had gotten their money’s worth. Perhaps they would. After all, the issue here is less what is appropriate for Ukraine than what strikes at Russia and injures the worldwide Christian witness of the Orthodox Church. To that end, it doesn’t matter whether the new illegal body is Constantinopolitan or Kievan, just so long as it isn’t a “Moskal church” linked to Russia.

%d bloggers like this: