Israel: A utopian image or merely a mirage?

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May 13, 2020 – 21:53

TEHRAN – While the founders of Israel had envisioned a utopia for Israeli settlers, now after 72 years, it has brought no freedom or justice to anyone except for some Zionist Jews and been involved in genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians an Israeli-American activist and author tells the Tehran Times.

‘Genocide and ethnic cleansing is the practice of Israel’ 

On promises by the founders of Israel, including Ben Gurion, who had envisioned a utopia for settlers in Israel based on freedom, justice, and peace,  Miko Peled says “Israel is an apartheid regime” which “has been involved in genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.”

He says Israel is “providing Jewish citizens who are Zionist with all the rights of liberal democracy.” 

He also says it “is true” that some Israelis are returning to their original countries as they are fed with governance.

‘Corrupt Netanyahu main reason behind Israeli political crisis’

Israel has been in a political crisis after three inconclusive elections and it is facing the growing prospect of an unprecedented fourth election.

Peled says it is mainly because “Israeli politics is controlled by the corrupt Prime Minister Netanyahu and his racist, violent allies.”

The deadlock ended now that Netanyahu got an agreement that he accepted and protects him and allows him to continue to serve as prime minister, he says, adding there was even social disobedience “about the fact that the man they voted for, Benny Gantz, who promised to unseat Netanyahu, lied to his voters and is now sitting with Netanyahu.”

‘Israel not a democracy but an apartheid’

On claims by Tel Aviv and its allies in the West that Israel is the only democratic country in the West Asia region, Peled says, “Israel is not and has never been a democracy. It an apartheid regime.”
 
He goes on to note that “the problem with West perspective is that it is a Zionist perspective which recognizing the legitimacy of Zionism and does not recognize the rights of Palestinians.”
 
 Israel sees Trump’s reckless policies toward Iran ‘a great thing’ 

Actually, in over a year that Israel has been holding three elections, each time Donald Trump has taken a step to promote chances of Netanyahu in elections. His administration moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, recognized the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory, and recently Mike Pompeo claimed that annexation of lands in the West Bank does not violate international law. However, each time Netanyahu’s party failed to win enough seats in Knesset to form a government.

“Israelis are actually very happy with Trump. His support for the Israeli regime and his reckless policies regarding Iran and the Palestinians is seen as a great thing,” Peled points out.

‘Racism in Israel comes even at expenses of public health’

Despite the coronavirus epidemic, Israel is refusing to release Palestinians who are held in crowded prisons, he said, noting, “Israel never respected Palestinian rights, even now that the spread of the Coronavirus is dangerous to all people.” 
“Racism in Israel is so strong that it comes even at the expense of public health,” the activist regrets.

 ‘2 million people of Gaza are heroes’

Gaza Strip is considered the greatest open prison on the earth.

Peled calls two million residents of Gaza “heroes” who are victims of “Zionist racism and violence”.

He also notes that except Iran, no country in the world cares about the miseries of the Gazans.

“They are victims of Zionist racism and violence and of the fact that the rest of the world, with the exception of Iran, do not care about them.”

RELATED NEWS

The Last White Helmet Of Idlib

ٍSouth Front

05.02.2020 

Israeli media are celebrating.

Asghar Bashpour, a top commander in Iran’s Quds Force who was close to its assassinated leader, Qassem Soleimani, has reportedly died in battle in Syria. Bashpour, who was overseeing Iranian operations in Aleppo, was killed at the forefront of clashes against “opposition forces” on February 3, reports said.

Israel has long been on the side of ISIS and al-Qaeda freedom fighters battling the oppressive Assad regime and Iran. At the end of the day, Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly said that Iranian entrenchment inside Syria is ultimately aimed at harming Israeli security and interests, while, it must be noted, the ISIS offshoot, that has for years existed just meters away from the Israeli-controlled Golan Height, hasn’t fired a single bullet at Israeli troops. Now that ISIS is defeated, the sole democracy of the Middle East is in danger.

However, there are even more clouds hanging over the region.

Late on February 4, Assad forces broke through the defenses of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Turkistan Islamic Party and their colleagues southeast of Saraqib and captured over 110km2, including the villages of Sheikh Edris, Balisah and Kafr Amim. Nearby Turkish observation posts observed this with tears in their eyes. Ankara just declared that its military had delivered a devastating blow to the regime with dozens of strikes. Turkish troops just did not expect such a cowardly attack from the defeated pro-government forces.

Fortunately, Mr. Recep Erdogan promised that his country would not allow the regime to gain more territory in Idlib. He is probably planning to flood the Saraqib-Tal Toqan road, Afs, Resafa and Sarmin with Turkish troops who will thus gain the opportunity to sacrifice their health and even their lives protecting innocent al-Qaeda members hiding in Saraqib from Assad’s aggression. A minor flaw in this approach is that the Syrian Army, supported by the Russians, can advance from more than one direction, and the danger may come from the north. What a cunning plan!

So, forces of law and order should unite to protect Idlib rebels and their leaders, and they are doing so. The United States, France and the United Kingdom called for a United Nations Security Council session to condemn the unreasonable aggression perpetrated against the al-Qaeda book club in Idlib. On top of that, the United States employed its most powerful weapon. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus, which incidentally is located outside of Syria, changed its cover photo to demonstrate a strong determination to oppose “the continued, unjustifiable, and ruthless assaults on the people of Idlib by the Assad regime, Russia, Iran, and Hizballah”.

But that’s not going far enough. To demonstrate solidarity with the Idlib peace activists, US diplomats, including Mike Pompeo and Kelly Craft, should wear white helmets and carry little black flags during all briefings and events related to the conflict in Syria. Mr. Pompeo himself could visit the city of freedom, Idlib, where he could take the opportunity to drink a cup of tea with leaders of all these groups and organizations which the State Department supports so fiercely. For sure, members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham will be glad to hear Pompeo’s explanations for the nebulosity of the US approach towards them. It is a bit unclear why the US officially recognizes them as terrorists, when its diplomacy is aimed at supporting them.

Last but not least, the US, France and the UK can accept as refugees all these Idlib freedom fighters whom they support so that they will no longer be oppressed by the Assad regime but can enjoy real democracy.

انكشاف المرشّحين العرب في انتخابات «الكنيست»: طلب المقاعد ولو بـ«الأسرلة»!

 

انكشاف المرشّحين العرب في انتخابات «الكنيست»: طلب المقاعد ولو بـ«الأسرلة»!

انكشاف المرشّحين العرب في انتخابات «الكنيست»: طلب المقاعد ولو بـ«الأسرلة»!

لم يدرك قادة الأحزاب العربية أن ما خسروه إنما هو ثقة فلسطينيّي الـ48 بهم، وبنتائج «نضالهم السياسي» في البرلمان (أ ف ب )

دخلت إسرائيل، منذ يوم أمس، مرحلة الصمت الانتخابي قبيل انتخابات «الكنيست الـ22» التي تجري غداً. صمتٌ تبدو فائدته الوحيدة في أنه لجم ألسنة المرشحين العرب الذين دأبوا على إطلاق تصريحات معيبة، بدءاً من إبدائهم استعدادهم للتحالف مع جنرالات الحرب وجزّاريها، وصولاً إلى دعوتهم مَن يرفضون «اللعبة الديمقراطية» من الفلسطينيين إلى أن «يهجّوا من البلاد»! كلّ هذا في كفّة، والحملات الدعائية التي تقودها جمعيات مدعومة من اللوبيات الأميركية في كفّة ثانية.

«نحن أبناء الأقلية العربية، المواطنين في هذه الدولة، علينا ممارسة حقنا في الاقتراع وإسقاط الفاشي بيبي (رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي بنيامين نتنياهو)، وأن نمنح الثقة للقائمة العربية المشتركة التي ستعرض قضايانا في الكنيست، صارخةً بأعلى الصوت لاستحصال حقوقنا وحمايتنا ضد جرائم العنف، ولتحسين الأحوال الاقتصادية الصعبة، ولمنع هدم بيوتنا…». ما سبق هو خلاصة التنظير الذي مارسه دعاة التصويت في انتخابات «الكنيست الـ22». تنظير يعودٌ بالذاكرة إلى مرحلة (في العقد الأول بعد النكبة) كان فيها كوادر الأحزاب «الحريدية» يتجولون في قرى الجليل، وخاصة في معاقل «الحزب الشيوعي»، داعين الأهالي إلى عدم التصويت للأخير الذي هو في نظرهم «مجموعة كفّار وملحدين»، فيما الأحزاب الدينية اليهودية «تؤمن بالله، وذلك سبب كافٍ لتستحق أصوات العرب»، وفق ما يروي كبار السن.

العبرة من تلك الرواية أن النظام الاستعماري العنصري عامل فلسطينيي الـ48، ولا يزال، على أساس نظرة دونية تُصنّفهم كمتخلّفين ومحدودي الإدراك وفاقدي القدرة على تحديد مصيرهم. المفارقة اليوم أن مَن ينتهجون هذا النهج قيادات «القائمة العربية المشتركة» التي يقف على رأسها مَن يدعو صراحة إلى التحالف مع «جزّار الحرب في غزة» (بني غانتس) بذريعة إسقاط نتنياهو، فيما تكاد الفروقات تكون معدومة بين المتنافسَين. أما ما قاله المرشح منصور عباس، قبل أيام، خلال اجتماع انتخابي موثق بالصوت والصورة، من أنه «يؤيد المقاطعين ويكنّ لهم الاحترام، ولكن في هذه المرحلة من لا يريد المشاركة في اللعبة الديمقراطية عليه أن يسلّم هويته ويرحل»، فيُذكّر بشعار حملة «إسرائيل بيتنا»: «لا انتماء لا مواطنة». هكذا، ينسف عباس، الذي اعترف قبل بضعة أشهر بتلقي «المشتركة» المال السياسي من «الشرق والغرب»، هو وعودة وغيرهما، الخطاب الوطني الذي أخذ منحىً تطبيقياً منذ أواخر الستينيات، ليبلغ أسمى مرحلة له في بداية الألفية الثانية، قبل أن يتهاوى تدريجاً ليأتي اليوم من يحمل خطاب «الأسرلة»، ويحثّ على تقبّلها كـ«قدر حتمي».

الجمعيات المشبوهة: يدٌ يمنى للأحزاب

منذ فشل نتنياهو في تشكيل الحكومة عقب الانتخابات الأخيرة، ومن ثم حلّ «الكنيست» والتوجه إلى جولة إعادة، وجدت «المشتركة» التي كانت قد تفتّتت وخسرت ثلاثة مقاعد برلمانية فرصة جديدة لإعادة توحيد صفوفها، علّها تستعيد ما خسرته. لم يدرك قادة هذه الأحزاب أن ما خسروه إنما هو ثقة فلسطينيّي الـ48 بهم، وبنتائج «نضالهم السياسي» في البرلمان، الذي ثبت أنه بلا تأثير يذكر؛ إذ إنه لم يفلح في الحدّ من جرائم العنف التي راح ضحيتها منذ عام 2000 إلى الآن أكثر من 1170 قتيلاً، كذلك فإنه لم يستطع إيقاف هدم بيت واحد من بين 50 ألف بيت عربي مهدّدة بالهدم، أو إحقاق المساواة غير المشروطة، بل إنه في عهد «المشتركة» سُنّت عشرات القوانين العنصرية، وعلى رأسها «قانون القومية».
على هذه الخلفية، يبدو واضحاً، منذ ما لا يقلّ عن شهرين، أن فلسطينيّي الـ48 يميلون إلى خيار مقاطعة الانتخابات. خيارٌ، إن لم يكن الدافع إليه تأييد أصل المقاطعة، فهو الرغبة في معاقبة الأحزاب العربية، أو اليأس من الحالة السياسية العامة. ولذلك، سارعت الأحزاب العربية إلى إعادة تحالفها، مستنفرةً ما بقي من كوادرها لعقد مهرجانات انتخابية داخل البلدات والمدن، من دون أن ينجح كل هذا الجهد في تغيير استطلاعات الرأي التي كانت تشير في معظمها إلى أن «المشتركة» ستحافظ على مقاعدها الـ10، أو في أحسن الأحوال ستزيدها واحداً.

اللافت أن «المشتركة» لم ترتدع عن استخدام أيّ أسلوب في محاولتها تعبئة الناخبين. نموذجٌ من ذلك أنها نشرت لافتاتها على أساس مناطقي وطائفي. ففي مدينة أم الفحم مثلاً، ارتفعت صور المرشح الإسلامي منصور عباس، أما في حيفا، فبرزت صور المرشحَين المسيحيَّين عايدة توما – سليمان وإمطانس شحادة. اللافت أيضاً، أن عشرات الجمعيات الداعية إلى «العيش المشترك» بين العرب واليهود ضخّت، على مدى الشهرين الماضيين، كمية هائلة من الإعلانات الموجّهة والمدفوعة الثمن على وسائل الإعلام ووسائل التواصل الاجتماعي، بهدف تضليل الرأي العام ودفع العرب إلى التصويت، على قاعدة أنه «مش مهم لمين تصوّت. المهم تصوّت». ويقف على رأس تلك الحملات أشخاص محسوبون على أحزاب «المشتركة» أو أعضاء فيها، وآخرون مقربون من أحزاب اليسار ويسار الوسط الإسرائيليَّين. ولم يقتصر عمل هؤلاء على وسائل الإعلام، بل إنهم نزلوا إلى الأرض، حيث تجوّلوا بلباس حملاتهم لجمع أكبر قدر من «التعهدات» بالتصويت. حتى إن الممثل هشام سليمان ظهر في شريط إعلاني، واضعاً سبّابته على فمه وقائلاً لمن لا يريد المشاركة في التصويت: «هُش»! علماً أن سليمان، الذي شارك في مسلسل «فوضى» الصهيوني مؤدّياً دور «أبو أحمد» (القيادي الأسير في حماس إبراهيم حامد)، هو من مؤيّدي تجنّد شباب الـ48 في جيش الاحتلال.

تفتقر الحملات إلى الخطاب الوطني، وتعكس حجم المأزق الذي تعيشه «المشتركة»

يُضاف إلى سليمان «نشطاء» آخرون لم يمانعوا «قبول تمويل من بعض الأحزاب الصهيونية، ومن الجاليات اليهودية في أميركا، بهدف إنقاذ ديمقراطية إسرائيل، وتعزيز حظوظ حزب أزرق أبيض، بعدما خرّب نتنياهو علاقة يهود إسرائيل بيهود الولايات المتحدة»، وفق ما يقول مصدر مطلع لـ«الأخبار»، وهو ما اعترف به منسّق حملة «17/9 هاي المرّة مصوّتين»، رئيس جمعية «التخطيط البديل» سامر سويد، في مقابلة مع «راديو مكان» الإسرائيلي. الحملة المذكورة، التي تقف خلفها سبع جمعيات، تعرّف نفسها بـ«التزام الحياد»، و«عدم الانحياز لرأي»، و«الالتزام بالأنظمة وفق قانون الجمعيات»، إلا أن مدير «المؤسسة العربية لحقوق الإنسان»، التي أدارت «حركة حق الشبابية» التي خُنقَت ومُنع التمويل عنها بسبب تأييدها حركة المقاطعة العالمية، محمد زيدان، يرى أن السبب الأهم لعدم كشف «17/9 هاي المرّة مصوّتين» (التي سرقت نشيد «إضرب والريح تصيح» للمنشد اللبناني علي العطار وأسقطت عليه كلمات «صوّت والريح تصيح») مصادر تمويلها (الذي بلغ ملايين الشواكل) «أنهم يعملون وفق قواعد وضرورات قانون مصدر التمويل السري حتى الآن». وترفض الجمعيات والمنظمات العربية الكشف عن مصادر تمويلها في الوقت الحالي، على رغم أنه بحسب القانون يجب عليها تقديم الكشوفات المالية لمسجّل الجمعيات في إسرائيل.

فضلاً عما تقدم، انتشرت، منذ أسبوع، لافتات في عدة مدن فلسطينية أساسية، تدعو الأهالي إلى المشاركة في استفتاءات رأي تُنظَّم عند مداخل المدارس ومراكز الاقتراع. وتقف وراء تلك اللافتات جمعيات مموّلة من المصادر نفسها، تستخدم الأسلوب الذي استُخدم في الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية الأخيرة، المعروف بـ«المصيدة»، الذي يستهدف الواقفين على الحياد وغير الراغبين في التصويت. وتستغلّ الجمعيات، في أسلوبها هذا مواضيع تشغل الناس، كـ«الهوائيات المسببة للسرطان، والبنى التحتية، والخدمات الصحية والاجتماعية…»، من أجل جذبهم إلى أماكن الاستفتاءات حيث يجري «اصطيادهم» لإقناعهم بالتصويت.

بالنتيجة، تعكس حملات الأحزاب العربية الضحالة الفكرية لمن يقفون خلفها، وافتقارهم إلى الخطاب الوطني في حدّه الأدنى. كذلك فإنها تعكس حجم المأزق الذي تعيشه «المشتركة»، التي ربما رفعت بأساليبها عدد المصوّتين الفلسطينيين للأحزاب الصهيونية من 130 ألفاً إلى أكثر من 150 ألفاً.

«سيدي الرئيس… أنا جندي تعيس»

استخدم حزب «أزرق أبيض»، النائبة المرشحة عن الدروز ضمن قائمته غدير مريح، للتوجه إلى الناخبين العرب عموماً والدروز خصوصاً. إذ أنتجت الماكينة الإعلامية للحزب شريط فيديو يبدأ بتوجيه العتب إلى رئيس الوزراء، بنيامين نتنياهو، وفق نمط أغنية «سيدي الرئيس» التي أنتجتها شركة «زين» الكويتية في رمضان الماضي، وينتهي بظهور مريح وكأنها المخلّص أو المنقذ الذي سيحقق العدل والمساواة، ويعيد للخادم العربي في جيش الاحتلال «إسرائيليّته»، علماً بأن الخادمين في الجيش (من الدروز وغيرهم) عانوا من السياسات العنصرية عينها التي عاناها أقرانهم غير الخادمين ورافضو خطاب الأسرلة. وأثارت الأغنية، التي حملت عنوان «لأننا إسرائيليون»، ردود فعل كثيرة؛ لعلّ أبرزها ما نُشر في صفحة الدروز الرافضين لقانون القومية، حيث كتب أحدهم: «كان بإمكان حزب أزرق أبيض أن يمنع قانون القومية، غير أن مسؤوليه كانوا أول من خطّوا النص». وأضاف: «لا اختلاف بين الفرق الكشفية، لا أريد إرسال ابني للكشاف ولا للجيش ليحرس إيتمار بن جفير (النائب اليميني في حزب «قوة يهودية») يوم السبت، بينما يدرّب أبناؤه المستوطنين».

حتى «الأرزّ»… وسيلةً للدعاية!

من بين الحملات المشاركة في الدعاية «العربية» في الانتخابات الإسرائيلية، حملة «معاً للأبحاث» التي تقول إنها تضمّ «مجموعة غير سياسية وغير حزبية من الباحثين»، علماً بأن صفحتها على «فايسبوك» لا تحتوي أثراً لتلك الأبحاث، بقدر ما تبثّ دعوات متواصلة للعرب إلى التصويت. إلى جانبها حملة «صوتك مستقبلك» التي تتلقى الدعم المادي من المصادر المشبوهة نفسها التي اعترف بها سويد وعباس، والهدف منها هو «دعم الجهود الوطنية لزيادة التصويت عند العرب». هناك أيضاً حملة «نقف معاً»، التي تعرّف عن نفسها بالقول: «شركاء وشريكات من كل أنحاء البلاد ــــ شباباً وشيباً، يهوداً وعرباً، نساءً ورجالاً، من المركز ومن الأرياف ــــ انتظموا معاً بإرادتهم الحرة لكي يعملوا معاً بشراكة»، وهي تدعو إلى التصويت على قاعدة «المهم تصوّت». أما حملة «أنا امرأة… أنا أنتخب» فتقف من خلفها بحسب الرصد الذي أجراه زيدان «جمعية نسوية» مجهولة الهوية، وتستبطن شعاراتها استغلالاً واضحاً لقضية العنف ضد النساء من أجل دفعهنّ إلى التصويت، وكأن من «لا تصوّت حتماً ستقتل». وإلى جانب ما تقدم، يشار إلى «حملة بدنا نصوّت» المدعومة من شركة إعلامية وتجارية تحمل صور ممثلين وشخصيات، وتدعو الناس إلى التصويت بحجة أنه «اجتك كمان فرصة، المهم تصوّت، مش مهم لمين». حتى مصنع «أرز تلس» انضمّ إلى تلك الجوقة، إذ بثّ إعلاناً عبر الإذاعات المحلية، تخبر فيه امرأة زوجها أنها مدعوّة إلى تناول المنسف المصنوع من «أرز تلس»، ليجيب الزوج بالقول: «ما دمت معزومة ع منسف من أرز التلس، باجي معك وبصوت لجماعة أهلك».

 

Israel’s Hands Spread Wide and Dig Deep

Image result for Israel’s Hands Spread Wide and Dig Deep
Brian Cloughley
August 6, 2019
© Photo: Flickr / Official Photo by Caleb Smith

In the US House of Representatives on 23 July there was an overwhelming vote condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement which has the objective of encouraging the government of Israel to meet “its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully comply with the precepts of international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”

There is nothing morally or legally questionable in any of these aims.  But the United States Congress does not concern itself with morality or legality if these are inconsistent with its policy concerning Israel, which, as enunciated by Representative Lee Zeldin of New York, is based on the conviction that “Israel is our best ally in the Mid East; a beacon of hope, freedom & liberty, surrounded by existential threats.”  Fox News reported that the condemnatory resolution “has been pushed by AIPAC, the influential Israel lobby in Washington,” which explains a great deal, as AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is a very powerful organisation, with deep pockets and wide-spreading hands.

In February 2019 The Intercept noted  that “AIPAC, on its own website, recruits members to join its ‘Congressional Club,’ and commit to give at least $5,000 per election cycle.” In a film called The Lobby “Eric Gallagher, a top official at AIPAC from 2010 to 2015, tells an Al Jazeera reporter that AIPAC gets results.”  A secret recording revealed that “Getting $38 billion in security aid to Israel matters, which is what AIPAC just did. Everything AIPAC does is focused on influencing Congress.”

And AIPAC influences Congress and other agencies extremely efficiently, even to the extent of managing to have Al Jazeera refrain from broadcasting the US-focused version of The Lobby.The Director of Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, Clayton Swisher, said that pressure included “pro-Israel lobbyists in Washington threatening to convince Congress to register the network as ‘foreign agents,’ and false accusations of anti-Semitism against the producers of the documentary.”  That’s all you need:  the mere mention of anti-Semitism makes everyone suck their teeth, roll their eyes, and leap out of the way.

It so happened that the day before Congress condemned an initiative aimed at having Israel recognise the rights of Palestinians and abide by international law, the Israelis carried out an operation of destruction that was specifically aimed against the rights of Palestinians and was contrary to international law.  As the BBC reported, it involved 200 Israeli soldiers and 700 police, weapons at the ready, deploying to the Palestinian village of Wadi Hummus at 4 in the morning of July 22, along with bulldozers and excavators that proceeded to destroy Palestinian homes.

There wasn’t a word of objection from the US Administration whose Tweeter-in-Chief had made his views on Israel crystal-clear on 16 July when he announced that the four non-white female Members of Congress whom he loathes to the point of psychosis are “a bunch of Communists [who] hate Israel.”  Moreover, they “talk about Israel like they’re a bunch of   thugs, not victims of the entire region.”  On the other hand, the European Union stated that “Israel’s settlement policy, including actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes, is illegal under international law. In line with the EU’s long-standing position, we expect the Israeli authorities to immediately halt the ongoing demolitions.”  Fat chance of that — just as there is no possibility that the United states or the United Kingdom will support pursuit of international law when it is violated by Israel.

Britain is on its way out of the European Union, so has no say in EU policy, but in any case it wouldn’t agree about criticism of Israel because the governing Conservative Party fosters an organisation called ‘Conservative Friends of Israel’ (CFI) whose members constitute some eighty per cent of Conservative Members of Parliament.

Boris Johnson, Britain’s Trump-loving new prime minister, is a fervid supporter of CFI which supported him in his bid to be head of the Conservative party. On 23 July, after his selection to be leader and thus prime minister, the CFI’s Chairmen, Stephen Crabb MP and Lord Pickles, and Honorary President Lord Polak declared that “From his refusal to boycott Israeli goods in his time as Mayor of London through to his instrumental role as Foreign Secretary…  Boris has a long history of standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel and the Jewish community. Mr Johnson continued to display his resolute support… reiterating his deep support for Israel and pledging to be a champion for Jews in Britain and around the world.”

One of Johnson’s first ministerial appointments was of Ms Priti Patel to be Home Secretary. She had resigned from the Cabinet of PM Theresa May in November 2017 because it had been discovered that she had been telling lies, which wasn’t in itself unusual, but the circumstances were intriguing.  As the BBC headlined about the then head of International Development :  “Priti Patel quits cabinet over Israel meetings row” which involved her apologising to the prime minister “after unauthorised meetings in August with Israeli politicians — including prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu — came to light. But it later emerged she had two further meetings without government officials present in September.”  Not only that, but in a media interview “she gave the false impression that the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and the Foreign Office knew about her meetings in Israel.”

It’s one of these irregular verbs which were met with much laughter during the marvellous BBC series ‘Yes Minister’ and ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ — ‘I make a misstatement;  she gives a false impression;  he is in prison for telling lies.’

And it was decidedly strange that the egregious Lord Polak, he of the statement that Boris Johnson stands “shoulder to shoulder with Israel” accompanied Patel at 13 of her 14 meetings with Israeli officials during August and September. What on earth could have been going on?

Of course she had no reason to worry about having to resign for telling lies, because at the time of her disgrace Boris Johnson told the BBC that “Priti Patel has been a very good colleague and friend for a long time and a first class secretary of state for international development. It’s been a real pleasure working with her and I’m sure she has a great future ahead of her.”  The man has the gift of prophecy.

Then Johnson appointed Michael Gove to his Cabinet as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, which is a weird appointment that gives a lot of power and very little responsibility. Gove had been demonstrably disloyal to Johnson during the first leadership struggle, in what the Daily Telegraph called a “spectacular act of treachery” but all was forgiven because, as recorded approvingly by the Conservative Friends of Israel he believes that anti-Zionism and antisemitism are “two sides of the same coin”, which means that anybody who criticises Israel’s nationalistic persecution of Palestinians is an anti-Semite. He believes that “the test for any civilised society is whether it stands with the Jewish people, and whether it stands with Israel. It is a pleasure to stand with the Jewish people. It is a duty to stand with Israel.”

The Palestinians are not going to get one tiny bit of support from either the United States or Britain when their houses are bulldozed to rubble.  They can expect no criticism from Washington or London when their children are killed in Gaza by Israeli soldiers.

The West Bank of the Jordan River, between Israel and Jordan, was captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. Then it annexed East Jerusalem. Both areas are defined in international law as occupied territory.  Although this is ignored by the US and Britain it was intriguing that in a minor but telling legal finding in Canada on 30 July, a judge ruled that wines made in Jewish settlements in the West Bank should not carry labels that say “Product of Israel” because of course the settlements are built on Palestinian land.

But there’s no point in telling that to the Israeli-supporting wine connoisseur Donald Trump or the US Congress or any member of Britain’s governing Conservative party, because international law means nothing when there are other priorities.

Are Democracy and Despotic Racism Compatible

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Are Democracy and Despotic Racism Compatible? An Analysis (12 April 2019) by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—The Israeli Model and Its American Supporters

On 25 February 2019, the Jewish American publication Forward, printed a remarkable opinion piece by Joshua Leifer. Leifer, who had worked in Israel for the anti-establishment +972 Magazine, is currently an associate editor ofDissent. His piece in the Forward was entitled “Wake Up, American Jews: You’ve Enabled Israel’s Racism for Years.”

Leifer begins by saying that the Israeli rightwing political parties have always been racist, though there was a time, back in the 1980s, when they objected to being too upfront about this. Thus, for the sake of public relations, they held their violent and despotic fringe—the Kahanists—at arm’s length. As Leifer puts it, what was frowned upon was the style rather than the substance of “explicit, violent racism.” That objection is now gone. The goal of a “Jewish supremacist state” is out in the open—an explicit political goal. And the Palestinians, including those who are Israeli citizens, are to be condemned to “forever live subjugated under military occupation, confined to isolated Bantustans, or … expelled.” Those Jews, both Israelis and diaspora Jews, who object to this process will be labeled as “traitors.”

Having established these facts on the ground, Leifer asks “how has the American Jewish establishment responded?” His answer is, they have either been silent or, more often, have actively sought to enable the power of Israel’s despotic racism. They have cooperated with, lobbied for, and raised money to underpin Israel’s racist policies. Of course, a Zionist is sure to assert that the lobbying and money are pursued for the sake of Israeli security. Yet, today’s Israeli leaders don’t define security, with the possible exceptions of Gaza and the Lebanese frontier, in terms of borders. Instead security is defined in terms of achieving and maintaining Jewish supremacy in all territory under Zionist control. This is why all of Israel’s Zionist parties have pledged never to include the token number of Arabs in the Knesset in a governing coalition.

In their effort to support Zionist Israel, America’s establishment Jewish leaders have proven themselves willing to undermine the constitutional freedoms of their own native country, as has been the case with their relentless attacks on the right of free speech as practiced in the boycott Israel movement—BDS. In the end, there can be no more convincing proof that these organizations serve as de facto agents of a foreign power, than to see how their leadership willingly discards the modern principles of civil and human rights found in the U.S. Constitution—to say nothing of international law—in order to support a state that openly pursues apartheid ends.

Leifer offers two possible reasons for why establishment Jewish organizations in the U.S. have chosen this path. The first possibility is “willful ignorance,” that is, a psychological inability to face the truth about a state that they, as American Jewish leaders, have always seen as an ultimate haven if a new Holocaust threat arises. The second possibility is that the leadership of the American Jewish organizations are themselves conscious racists when it comes to a Jewish supremacist state. According to Leifer, “No one exemplifies this better than Ambassador David Friedman, whose rhetoric—calling JStreet “worse than kapos”—mirrors the kind of rhetoric popular on the Israeli right.”

Part II—Racism Beyond the Israeli Right

This is a strong, and quite searing, condemnation of Israeli society and its American Jewish allies. Still, things can and do get worse. On 4 April 2019 the British anti-Zionist Jewish writer Tony Greenstein posted an essay entitled “There Is Nothing That Netanyahu Has Done That Labour Zionism Didn’t Do Before Him.” Greenstein begins by citing an 11 March 2019 piecein Haaretz written by Amira Haas, one of the few prominent non-Zionist Jewish journalists still working in Israel. Haas draws attention to the fact that “when Israeli governments in the 1960s and 1970s worked hard to steal Palestinian land while quoting God’s promises to atheists, they paved the way for parties promoting Jewish supremacy.” Thus, as Greenstein puts it: “It is often forgotten that it wasn’t Likud but the Israeli Labour Alignment which helped to launch the settler movement.” The remorseless absorption of Palestinian land and the oppressive treatment of its native population is not the work solely of the Israeli right wing. From the beginning, all of the major Zionist political parties, left and right, supported these policies as a way of fulfilling Zionist destiny.

Haas is unflinching in her characterization of their actions. For her, this “racist messianism” smacks of the policy of “Lebensraum” or “the urge to create living space.” Haas goes on to lament the fact that “we thought that in the end, the heads of the Labour movement would learn from the expansionist impulses of other nations. After all, they were the sons and brothers of the victims of Lebensraum.” In other words, at least in this policy of expansion and expulsion, all Israeli governing coalitions have adopted behaviors toward the Palestinians reminiscent of those practiced by the persecutors of Europe’s Jews.

Part III—The Question Answered

Considering that Israel and its supporters often proclaim that it is a Western-style democracy, and given the bit of history laid out above, we can ask if democracy and racist despotism can in fact be compatible. And, while the example of Israel serves as our backdrop for this query, we can consider the question generically. Can any democracy prove compatible with racist despotism?

Historically, the answer is an obvious yes. All that needs to happen is that a powerful group within the nation identifies itself as a privileged elite and reserves democratic procedures and privileges for itself, while condemning others to discrimination, segregation, or worse. Again, this posture has nothing to do with Jewishness. Any ethnicity or self-identified group can adopt it—based on color, religion, gender, or something else. The much-idealized ancient democracy of Athens did it based on gender and citizenship linked to birth.The United States ran as a selective democracy/racist despotism that practiced slavery until the middle of the 19th century while statutory discrimination persisted until the 1960s. Recent events indicate a revival of virulent white supremacism.

If there is a remedy to this it is in the rule of law functioning as an enforced regulatory process—one linked to a tenets of human rights. The U.S. Bill of Rights and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights are good, if incomplete models. Politics, including democratic politics, has to be constitutionally regulated to assure equity (much like economies), and the regulations have to be applied consistently until they become ingrained as natural expectations within the consciousness of the citizenry. This probably requires generations of equalitarian practice. And, even then, what you achieve is the minimizing of the infiltration of corruptive bias, and other such variants corrosive of genuine democracy, into the system. The truth is that you probably cannot eliminate the threat altogether.

Getting back to Israel: under the present circumstances, there is no reason to believe that the outcome of the recent 9 April 2019 Israeli elections would have changed the fate of either the the country’s Jews or the Palestinians. And, now that we know that Benjamin Netanyahu and his rightwing Likud Party will lead the next coalition government, it is certain that the illegal Zionist colonization of the West Bank, and its accompanying oppression, will continue apace. This, by the way, is simply the maintenance of a long-standing status quo—a conscious policy in its own right. And, it is a policy that reflects the fact that “for years, most Israelis have passively or actively allowed values of equality, justice, and yes, peace, to go by the wayside.”

So what is the legacy of Zionism? Is it the establishment of a genuine democracy in the Middle East? Is it even the realization of a haven for the world’s Jews against the next Holocaust? No, it is neither of these. It is rather the melding of an elitist pseudo-democracy with racist despotism—the realization of an elitist fortress from which Israel maintains distinctly undemocratic control of a hinterland full of conquered people. To paraphrase the odious Israeli Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked, this whole setup smells nothing like democracy. It smells to me like fascism.

About Lawrence Davidson

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

Palestine Report: Israeli Elections 2019

April 09, 2019

by Lynda Burstein Brayer for The Saker Blog

In Israel today, April 9, 2019, out of a population of approximately 8,452,841 million people, 6.3 million people have the right to vote at one of the 10,000 voting stations prepared for their convenience. The voting is executed with paper votes with voting slips and envelopes already prepared in the private voting booths. After exiting the booth the envelope is slid into a sealed box. Several people from different parties man each voting station and the possibility of cheating at this level is nil unless a box is lost or destroyed. This year voting cards were not distributed to the population but rather the information regarding the voting station for each person was to be found on line after entering one’s ID number. All Israelis carry identity cards which are used to access any and all information that the authorities or they themselves might need, particularly services provided by the state, such as national insurance, health insurance, driving licenses and any and all sundry services provided within the private sector, particularly subscriptions, and credit card services, and voting stations! In America the obligatory carrying of an ID card is a hugely controversial issue concerning freedom and privacy discussed under the rubric of “big brother is watching you,” but after Snowden it surely must have less traction. Be that as it may, ID’s are a matter of course in Israel and for many services provides a short cut towards availability. In addition, and probably not surprisingly, seeing as Israel is at the forefront of this field and the fact that its army is totally dependent on such services, the digital networks and services available in Israel are not only extensive but extremely efficient, providing instant information the access to which can be made by individuals without having to go to government offices or any other public office. There is also no discrimination whatsoever in these services.

The Israeli electoral system is proportional in practice to reflect proportional representation. There are no constituencies nor is there division of the country into separate voting areas. It is national and unified in its scope. The problem with this system is that it gives rise to a multiplicity of parties because there is never a clear-cut winner, such as in the two-party system. In the past there were sometimes more than twelve parties sitting in the Knesset at one time and governments have always had to be formed through coalitions, a situation which continues to prevail today, often giving the smallest party enormous power over a much larger party, enabling it to extract power quite out of proportion to its actual representation of the general public. Therefore, once again, a new law was passed which qualifies this carte blanche freedom. The law provides a caveat in the form of a proportional threshold which each party has to overcome in order to enter the Knesset. After the counting of the votes and the registration of invalid votes, the percentage of the votes can be calculated, that is, the minimum number of votes required for the party to enter the Knesset. The electoral threshold in the elections to the 21st Knesset stands at 3.25% of the valid votes, and ensures that parties with less than four seats will not be seated in the Knesset.

This latest caveat was introduced originally in order to block the smaller Arab parties from entering the Knesset, but then the Arabs wised up and formed a “Joint List” combining different parties into one party and received thirteen mandates. Ironically today the new Jewish Rightest parties are threatened with extinction by this very law. The Right has undergone several splits in this election, one of the reason for this being the multiplication of ultra-right parties gunning for the annexation of the West Bank and the prevention of the creation of a Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state. Another reason lies in the religious-secular divide: the “national religious” sector of the religious Jewish population believing in a Greater Israel as the original gift of God to Jews as per the Torah even until the Tigris and Euphrates River, whilst the secular Jews tend to support the Jewish claim to a Greater Israel as far as the Jordan river on pragmatic grounds, i.e. the Arabs will never accept the Jewish state, so what we can conquer and keep through force we will maintain through force. We cannot expect them to give up their claims. In other words, it is the “might is right” assertion.

I would like to interject a personal opinion at this point. Israel, the Jewish state, has been mired in a situation of political stasis for decades now with regard to the issue of Palestine and the Palestinians. The Palestinians of Israel constitute that native Arab population living in Greater Syria and then Palestine before the Jews took over part of Palestine. The Israelis refer to Palestinians living in Israel as “Israeli Arabs” but they refer to themselves as “Palestinians living in Israel.” The Israelis distinguish between the Palestinians living in Israel, the Palestinians in Gaza, who are not allowed to travel to Israel nor the West bank, the Palestinians living in the West Bank, the Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, Palestinians living abroad and the Druze who are Palestinians or Syrians living in the Golan Heights. Before the conquest of Palestine by the Jews, the Druze were merely a heretical Islamic sect located in Greater Syria whose language and traditions were purely Arab although their religion was of an eclecticism such that many did not consider it a legitimate sect of Islam. Israel chose to separate them off from the local Palestinian population and has imposed obligatory military service upon them, an obligation which was not imposed upon the general Palestinian Christian and Moslem populations, but which was actually nixed in the 1950’s because of the enthusiasm of Palestinians to serve in the Israeli army!! This is a system of divide and rule in order to weaken the population – a classical colonial approach refined by the British! As a result of this stasis the Palestinian issue not even appeared on the billboards or in the electoral campaigns except very, very sotto voce– it is the elephant in the room which no Jewish party wishes to tackle. The Meretz party which originally began as a Zionist Leftist party and therefore not so nationalistically inclined, has now “declined” into a real, authentic Jewish Palestinian party which does not shy away from the Palestinian issue although its solution of the conflict via a two-state solution is no longer viable, if it ever was.

Be that as it may this brings me to the electoral campaign as such. I confess that I do not have a television set and have therefore been protected from the uncouth, unchivalrous campaigning in which Netanyahu specializes. He has accused the head of the new Blue-White party (the colors of the Israeli flag and therefore oh, so Zionist Jewish) of being mentally ill – and this despite the man, Bennie Gantz, being a former Chief of Staff under Netanyahu with whom Netanyahu has an excellent working relationship. This accusation probably comes against the background that Netanyahu’s wife, Sarah, is actually mentally disturbed but who nevertheless interferes in all and sundry political affairs despite her total lack of qualifications. The background to this interference was the exposure of an extra-marital affair in the 1990’s of Netanyahu, who, rather than allow the tape recording of the information to go public, took the pre-emptive action of informing the public of the tape, its potential blackmailing capacity, apologizing to his wife, “saving” his marriage and probably, far more importantly for him, saving his political career. It seems to be common knowledge that an agreement was signed between the pair giving her total control of his movements, which we see in the public relations concerning her accompanying him to each and every trip abroad, a habit not common at all with former Israeli prime ministers.

The lack of chivalry in human relations and particularly between rivals is one of the unchanging features of Jewish life everywhere and is accompanied by a lack of the concept of honor, both notions characteristic of European mediaeval culture and of course, the laws of war. What this behavioral and moral lack accomplishes in the relations between Jew and non-Jew, or goy, is to be found in Jewish history, Zionist politics and much else which may be left to the imagination, but naturally nothing positive can be attributed to it. In Israeli politics, the Jew-goy divide materializes in the to-date iron law that no Jewish party, right, left or center, will ever take an Arab party into a coalition.

This lack of chivalry has occurred in other campaigns. On a poster of the Identity party, a new ultra-Right party, displaying a picture of its leader, Moshe Feiglin, a former member of the Likud party, the following was the accompanying text:

Why do more than half of National Insurance Institute expenditures go to the sector responsible for most of the murders, fatal accidents, car thefts, agricultural theft and illegal construction?

This announcement obviously refers to the Palestinians living in Israel. However it is presented tabula rasa of course, with no reference to the reality of lives of these people who constitute twenty percent of the overall population of Israel, being the descendants of the rump population left in the Jewish state following the expulsion of 800,000 Palestinians during the War of Liberation [sic] or War of Independence [sic] in 1947-1949. The poster does not mention the police distribution of weapons into this population for the deliberate purpose of causing such problems, nor does he add the qualifying rider that the police are not available in the Palestinian population to serve them. In fact, in the Palestinian area in which I live, known as the little Triangle, the only official police station where one can lodge a criminal complaint is located in an island of territory surrounded by high fences between Palestinian villages and is not accessible from both sides of the inter-city highway. My own two complaints lodged there were closed with the laconic “no interest to the public” and “a neighbor’s conflict”, in other words, not worthy of public interference nor protection. The question of unlicensed house building derives directly, and as a result of the politically-informed lack of town planning in Palestinian villages, leading to a near total freeze on housing. Homes are then built under duress without a license to take care of what the Jews call “natural growth” but which does not, under any circumstances apply to Palestinians. Home demolition is one of the leading administrative characteristics of compassionate Zionism. Also not mentioned, naturally, is the theft of over 85% of the land from its rightful owners and its transference to Jewish ownership, private and public, and the clear and absolute discriminatory government budgets which have never ever allocated a proportional amount of the budget towards its development and needs. What is interesting in this announcement is that it is characteristic of most Zionist Jewish discourse about Palestinians – it has no historical or material context and is completely one-sided. The Jewish component contributing to situations is totally absent as always and the slice of reality is always and unfailingly partial!

What the poster does not mention is that the leading aspiration of this party is the rebuilding of the Temple of Sacrifice, the Temple of Zion, on what is known as Temple Mount by the Jews and Haram al-Sheriff by the Moslems, the sanctuary in which is located the Dome of the Rock, originally completed in 691-692 CE the al-Aqsa Mosque built in 984 CE both of which are obviously part of World Heritage landmarks, besides their religious significance. The el-Aqsa mosque – meaning the “furthest mosque” is the place from which the Prophet Mohammed, pbuh, ascended into heaven, an event remembered as the Night Journey, which is taken to be his experience of Tawhid, or the Oneness of God, or Unity with God, very much like the experience of theosis as described in Christian Orthodoxy by the Saints. In other words, after Makkah and Medina, this is the third holiest sanctuary for Islam with connections to the most fundamental of Islamic beliefs. Anyone with even only a capsule of common sense must understand that any deliberate damage done to this site could have, and probably would have, unforeseeable but enormous violent consequences. Feiglin has stressed his demand for the legalization of marijuana rather than the rebuilding of the Temple, but only for secular consumption, a demand the irony of which is highlighted both by his stance vis-à-vis the Muslim holy sites and the fact that drugs are haram or absolutely prohibited for Moslems as is alcohol, the reason being the Islamic belief that the human brain and human consciousness are God-given gifts which we have the absolute duty to protect. Intoxication is precisely that – the poisoning of these gifts and therefore an act rejecting God. It is expected that this party will enter the Knesset with five or more mandates.

But the heart of these elections is to be found in the person of the prime minister himself, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu. He is an unlovable person, rather cold and superior and considered to be very intelligent and well-read. On more than one occasion people have pointed out that he is a psychopath, without feelings and without a moral compass. I consider this to be quite an accurate description of him. He comes from a revisionist family, that is a family who supported the philosophy of Ze’ev Jabotinsky and then Menahem Begin, the first revisionist prime minister, who made peace with Egypt. This is a Rightist political program based on power, believing that the Jews have a right to Palestine if only the basis of need and power. The religious co-efficient of the bible plays the rôle of nostalgia, or of a so-called collective memory or collective dream “Next year in Jerusalem” recited each New Year in the Jewish calendar.

However, I believe that Netanyahu has one great virtue! He is, thank God, a coward! While he calls for the destruction of Iran and wars here, there and everywhere, he is very hesitant when it comes to the actual opening up of full-blown warfare. His politics are racist, divisionary, based on continually sowing the seeds of hatred and disdain in the midst of the Israeli population and using covert actions all his perceived enemies of Israel. In other words, whilst he is a coward, he is in no wise a man of peace. Quite the contrary!

However, it is important to note that he called these elections prior to the full term of governance awarded by law after elections, a period of four years. Netanyahu is suspected of bribery and corruption and breach of faith and three charge sheets based upon solid evidence are being prepared against him. He was hoping that the elections would stall this process, but he was wrong! He will be given a hearing with his lawyers present as his opportunity to deflect those charges, but the chances of his succeeding are nil. The Attorney-General once served as the secretary of the Government, that is of Netanyahu himself, and has been more than cautious in compiling the evidence. Therefore it is obvious that he would never have come this far in terms of the accusations against Netanyahu had they not been fully corroborated by documentary evidence, material evidence and the evidence of witnesses. Now it seems that Netanyahu, if he wins the election and is called to form a coalition government and well he might, is hoping to pass the “French law” which apparently states that a serving prime minister cannot be placed on trial, although I personally do not know of this law.

However, since the calling of elections, a much worse scandal might be unfolding with regard to Netanyahu which concerns bribery, corruption and possible treason with respect to the purchase of nuclear war ships from Germany in contradiction of the findings of the Defense establishment, together with his secret agreement given to the Germans to the selling of such vessels to Egypt without telling the Chief of Staff and others of the Defense Establishment. This latter issue will definitely have very wide repercussions and as a result, all the opposition parties have banded together under the rubric “Bibi must go!” leaving very little time and space for serious social issues during the campaigns.

The results of the elections will be fascinating partly because Netanyahu’s alleged crimes do not seem to have affected his electoral base. The other interesting aspect is how the Blue-White party will fare, being led by three former Chiefs-of-Staff, supported by others, and sporting a leader, Bennie Gantz, who is far more personable than Netanyahu with absolutely no intimations of greed or corruption attached to his person. If there has been one complaint against Gantz, it is that he lacks a “killer instinct”, although as the Chief-of-Staff during the hideous 2014 Gaza war called Zuk Eitan, or Invincible Rock, such a description seems to fall rather short!

But then this is Israel, and we are still attending the Mad Hatter’s tea party!

Lynda Burstein Brayer was born in South Africa to a Jewish family, attended Jewish school and came to Israel to study at the Hebrew University, where she obtained two degrees – in the humanities and in law. She began life as a nice Jewish girl, became a wife and then mother to three children who have great problems with her as she has become a not nice old Muslim woman living in a Palestinian village in Palestine/Israel. She is extremely grateful for the twenty five years she lived and prayed as a Christian and the thirteen years as a human rights lawyer representing Palestinians in the Israeli courts but is even more grateful that she has found refuge in tawhid – the ONENESS of God as understood in Islam. Needless to say, many have deserted her for her breaches of community, but at least she feels she can sleep at night without nightmares.

 

Netanyahu Rival Speaks of Possible West Bank Withdrawal

Benny Gantz

 February 6, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival in an April election has raised the possibility of pulling back from the occupied West Bank, in remarks published Wednesday that drew right-wing criticism.

Benny Gantz, the former armed forces chief of staff, spoke positively of IsraelI pullout from the Gaza Strip in 2005, in his first interview since launching his election campaign last week.

The Gaza withdrawal had been “approved by the Israeli government and implemented by the army and settlers in a painful but good way”, he told the Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

“(One should) learn from it and apply it to other places,” he said.

Gantz did not explicitly mention the West Bank in his remarks and refrained from outlining the conditions for any pullback from the Palestinian territory.

The 59-year-old launched his campaign on January 29 in a speech promising to keep the strategic Jordan Valley area of the occupied West Bank under Israeli rule, along with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and east Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Although he did not say so in the interview, Gantz could support a withdrawal from wildcat outposts that are not approved by the Israeli occupation authorities.

Gantz’s comments drew criticism from right-wing parties.

“We told you Benny Gantz would form a leftist government with the help of” MPs of the Arab-led Joint List who hold 13 seats in parliament, said a spokesman for Likud.

His remarks were also attacked by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads a newly founded ultra-nationalist formation that favors the partial annexation of the West Bank.

“Gantz has thrown off the mask and overtaken Avi Gabbay (of the centre-left Labour party)… and wants to expel Jews from their homes through a unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria (the West Bank),” Bennett said.

Since founding his party, Gantz has emerged as the most serious challenger to Netanyahu, who has been prime minister since 2009 as well as between 1996-1999.

Source: AFP

So much for the ridiculous claim that israel is a democracy: israeli Supreme Court Refuses to Allow Discussion of Full Equal Rights & ‘State of All Its Citizens’ Bill in Knesset

Israeli Supreme Court Refuses to Allow Discussion of Full Equal Rights & ‘State of All Its Citizens’ Bill in Knesset

By Adalah,

The Israeli Supreme Court early this afternoon, Sunday, 30 December 2018, dismissed the petition filed by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel on behalf of Knesset Members Jamal Zahalka, Hanin Zoabi, and Joumah Azbarga (Joint List) against the Knesset Presidium’s decision to reject their proposed bill Basic Law: State of all its Citizens. In doing so, the Supreme Court refused to even allow a discussion of equal rights and a state for all of its citizens in the Knesset.

The Knesset Presidium refused to allow the submission of the bill – which declares Israel a “state of all its citizens” – based on the claim that Israel is a Jewish state.  This bill was initiated by Zahalka, Zoabi, and Azbarga in response to the new Basic Law – The Nation State of the Jewish People, passed by the Knesset in mid-July 2018.

The judgment follows a hearing on the petition last week, Monday, 24 December 2018, during which the justices received an announcement of early elections, and the decision to dissolve the 20th Knesset.

Adalah General Director Hassan Jabareen (center with hat) speaks to journalists together with Arab members of Knesset on Monday, 24 December 2018, prior to the hearing on their petition at the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem. (Photo by Mati Milstein)

Chief Justice Hayut, who headed the three-justice panel hearing the case, hinted then that the court would consider the MKs’ petition, filed six months ago and not heard to date, as theoretical. Today, the petition was indeed dismissed for these reasons.

As the petition also attacks the constitutionality of the very bylaws used to disqualify the bill, there is no justification for the court’s decision to consider the petition as purely theoretical in nature, in Adalah’s view.

The court today chose to uphold the Knesset Presidium’s decision to prevent its own Palestinian Arab minority members from initiating a bill and a debate to promote democratic values on the basis of equality for all.

Adalah responded immediately to the court’s decision:

“This decision violates the basic right to full equality for Palestinian Arab citizens of the state. This judgment is the second in six years that the Israeli Supreme Court has decided to uphold the Knesset Presidium’s authority to prevent Arab MKs from submitting bills and initiating debate that challenges Israel’s character as a state of the Jewish people only. In both of these cases, the court exploited the announcement of early elections as a justification to dismiss these cases.

“This petition confronts a matter of principle – the right to equality and a state for all its citizens – that will certainly remain in the public discourse and as a key political platform of Arab MKs, and it is not expected to change.”

Adalah’s General Director Hassan Jabareen and Adalah Attorney Fady Khoury represented the Arab MKs in this case.

The original source of this article is Adalah

Palestinian Bedouin Village Braces for Forcible Transfer as israel (Apartheid State) Seeks to Split West Bank in Half

Palestinian Bedouin XXX washes dishes at her home in the village of Al-Khan Al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018
Photo: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

A Palestinian Bedouin Village Braces for Forcible Transfer as Israel Seeks to Split the West Bank in Half

Photo: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

Rayyah has lived in Khan al-Ahmar all of her 47 years. She raised nine children there, and 24 grandchildren; one more is on the way. Her family and neighbors, members of a Bedouin community known as the Jahalin, found refuge on this scorched patch of rocks and dust in the 1950s, after they were expelled from the land they had inhabited for generations, in the Negev desert, following the establishment of the Israeli state. The land Khan al-Ahmar stands on was under Jordanian control when the Jahalin arrived. Today, this smatter of tin roofs and tarps sits on the side of a highway in the occupied West Bank, surrounded by a fast-growing ring of Israeli settlements, which — while illegal — have become de facto suburbs of Jerusalem.

The village, which is home to less than 200 people and where the only building with walls is a school made of mud and old tires, has become the latest front line in a conflict over land that for decades has determined the fates of Palestinians like the Jahalin. Israel wants the village razed, its residents evicted, and their land annexed to its ever-expanding settlements. Khan al-Ahmar residents say they are not going anywhere and have been able to rally remarkable international support around their cause, delaying demolition through a yearslong legal battle that remains nonetheless stacked against them.

While Khan al-Ahmar’s plight is hardly unique, what is exceptional about the embattled community — which is surrounded by the illegal settlements of Kfar Adumim, Ma’ale Adumim, Alon, and Nofei Prat — is its position as one of the last-standing obstacles in the way of a decadesold plan to establish a contiguous Jewish presence between the West Bank and Jerusalem.

A picture shows the interior of a house at the Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018
A picture shows the interior of a house at the Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018

A picture shows the interior of a house at the Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018

The interiors of homes in Khan al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018.

Photo: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

On August 1, Israel’s Supreme Court confirmed an earlier ruling authorizing the village’s razing but temporarily delayed demolition, giving the Israeli government five days to come up with more suitable relocation plans than those it had previously offered — near a dump, and without any land the Bedouins could use to graze their animals.A day after the deadline, on August 7, the government proposed moving Khan al-Ahmar residents to temporary tents before relocating them again to a new site south of Jericho along with other Bedouin communities facing demolition — but only on the condition that they would leave Khan al-Ahmar voluntarily. Israel forcibly removed other Jahalin Bedouin communities in the late 1990s, and while violent evictions of individual Palestinian families have continued since then, Israeli officials have tried to steer clear of large forcible transfers — an ugly spectacle, as well as a war crime.

In a statement, Tawfiq Jabareen, an attorney representing Khan al-Ahmar, rejected the proposal, which he said proved that “the plan of the state of Israel is to evacuate all Palestinian Bedouin and move them near Area A,” closer to areas under the Palestinian Authority, “in order to expand the Jewish settlements in places that will be emptied of Palestinians.” Khan al-Ahmar residents have made clear that they have no plans to leave their homes, making forcible eviction a likely outcome.

“The Bedouins are used to being in the sun, they have lived their whole life in the sun. If Israel demolishes their homes, they’ll stay here anyway,” Eid Abu Khamis, Khan al-Ahmar’s leader, told The Intercept. “If they put up a boundary — a meter away from it, this is where all the women and all the children of the community will stay.”

“If the children die from the heat, I didn’t demolish their homes, they did.”

A picture shows a the outside of a Palestinian Bedouin house at the Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018

The outside of a Palestinian Bedouin house in Khan al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018.

Photo: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

A Strategic Wedge

Israeli authorities routinely demolish homes built without permits — which are nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain — and often use demolitions as collective punishment against the families of Palestinians who attempt attacks against Israelis. In July, Israel demolished a daycare and a women’s community center in Jabal al Baba, another Bedouin community outside Jerusalem, as well as several homes in the village of Abu Nawwar, near the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, leaving 64 people, mostly children, homeless.

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Map: Soohee Cho

But Khan al-Ahmar sits in a uniquely strategic position close to what Israel refers to as “E1” — an area it intends to expand to create spatial continuity between the West Bank settlements and Jerusalem. So far, those plans have mostly stalled following international pressure, but advocates fear Khan-al Ahmar’s demolition will be the first step toward implementing that plan, which would further fragment Palestinian areas, isolating Palestinian-majority East Jerusalem and splitting the occupied West Bank in half.

In the 1970s, when Israel expropriated the area surrounding Khan al-Ahmar, Uri Ariel, a founder of the Kfar Adumim settlement and today the country’s minister of agriculture and rural development, made no secret the move was part of a plan to establish “a Jewish corridor from the sea, through Jerusalem, to the Jordan river, which will put a wedge in the territorial continuity of Arab inhabitation between Judea and Samaria” — the names used by Israel to refer to the occupied West Bank.

“This is a particularly strategic wedge because it’s in the narrowest part of the West Bank, and because it will complete the process of isolating East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank,” said Amit Gilutz, a spokesperson for the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, pointing to Khan al-Ahmar on a map dissected by an intricate pattern of current and planned separation barriers and settlements, and Palestinian areas under various forms of Israeli control.

“It’s fragmenting the society itself,” he added, noting that Israel can easily control isolated Palestinian enclaves by blocking access to their entrance and cutting them off entirely. “From a control perspective, that is very efficient, because if you want to disconnect their access, all you need is a military jeep. You put the thing on the road and that’s it.”

Israeli workers place container houses near the town of Al-Eizariyah in the occupied West Bank near East Jerusalem on July 9, 2018, to absorb residents of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar who are set to be evicted from their homes. - Khan al-Ahmar, which Israeli authorities say was illegally constructed and the supreme court in May rejected a final appeal against its demolition, is located near several Israeli settlements along a road leading to the Dead Sea. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP) (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli workers place container houses near the town of Al-Eizariyah in the occupied West Bank on July 9, 2018, to absorb residents of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, who are set to be evicted.

Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images

The plan to force the Bedouins out so the settlements can expand is hardly a secret: In May, days after a court largely made up of settlers upheld demolition orders against Khan al-Ahmar, the Israeli government approved the construction of a new neighborhood in Kfar Adumim, “reaching 500 meters from my home,” Abu Khamis told The Intercept.Israel argues that Khan al-Ahmar’s school and homes are illegal because they were built without permits or an approved zoning plan — hiding behind a façade of legality the reality that Palestinians have virtually no access to either, and that what is illegal is the Israeli occupation of their land. Since it occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967, Israel has declared 347,000 acres of occupied territory — nearly a quarter of the West Bank — as state land. But 99.7 percent of the state land Israel has allocated for public use so far — some 167,000 acres — has gone toward the development of illegal Israeli settlements, the watchdog group Peace Now recently learned through a public records request. A meager 0.24 percent of that land was allocated to Palestinians.

After the Oslo Agreements, in the 1990s, the West Bank was divided into Areas A and B, which are under the limited control of the Palestinian Authority, and Area C, under exclusive Israeli military control. While the arrangement was supposed to be temporary, Israel has effectively treated Area C as its expansion grounds — and some 400,000 Israelis live in illegal settlements there, protected by the military. With Palestinian chances of obtaining building permits in Area C “slim to none,” according to analysis by B’Tselem, most have given up on the process altogether.

There are more than 150 Palestinian communities in Area C without zoning plans and therefore at constant risk of expulsion, including 12 — some 1,400 people — around Khan al-Ahmar, according to B’Tselem. But while Bedouins living in the area around Jerusalem are particularly vulnerable, similar efforts to cut off Palestinian areas of the West Bank are also underway in the Jordan Valley and the South Hebron Hills. “What Israel wants and has been striving toward very consistently is maximum land under its control, minimum Palestinians on it,” said Gilutz. “For the most part, Israel has been creating this coercive environment, trying to force people off of their land as if by their wish, while avoiding the textbook example of a forcible transfer, which is clearly a war crime.”

Palestinian Bedouin men sit together at the Al-Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018.

Palestinian Bedouin men sit together in Khan al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018.

Photo: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

“They Want to Scare Us”

Israeli efforts to make life in Khan al-Ahmar so difficult that its residents leave of their own volition started when the nearby settlement of Kfar Adumim was built in the early 1980s. The settlers took over areas the Bedouins had used to graze their animals. If sheep or donkeys wandered into the settlement, settlers would take them and sell them back to the Bedouins, Rayya said last month, surrounded by some of her daughters and grandchildren. “If we went too close, they started shooting.”

Rayyah spoke to The Intercept from her home — three shacks of tin, tarps, and scrap wood she shares with her large family. Like many Palestinians in Area C, Khan al-Ahmar residents are not allowed to put up new structures or bring in construction material, so when Rayyah’s sons got married or new children were born, everyone squeezed into the structures they had already built, even though they, too, are subject to demolition. “If I put something up, they’ll come and destroy it,” she said, adding that a drone flies over the village every day, photographing anything new that residents may have built.

Recently, Israeli officials came into the village and confiscated solar panels that an aid organization had donated. Then last month, they came in with bulldozers and leveled the areas between tents and huts into a dusty road that residents speculate will be used by the army when it comes to drag them away. Tensions flared that day, and several residents, including an 18-year-old girl, were arrested. Since then, the Israeli military has kept a close eye on the village. “We can’t sleep. Maybe they’re not doing anything, but their presence there, it’s creating tension,” said Rayyah. “They come because they want to make us leave, they want to scare us.”

Palestinian Bedouin children are seen at the school in the Al-Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018.
Palestinian Bedouin children are seen at the school in the Al-Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018.

Palestinian Bedouin children at the school in Khan al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018.Photos: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

Rayyah was particularly worried about the school, which a group of Italian volunteers built in 2009 with the help of kids from the village, who painted their classrooms with hand prints and drawings of books and flowers. Before the school was built, children from Khan al-Ahmar would leave at 6 a.m. and walk on the highway waiting for rides, or trek to schools in Jericho. “It was very difficult for them,” said Rayyah. “They’d have to wait in the sun for a long time.”

Israeli authorities have destroyed or confiscated at least 12 Palestinian school buildings since 2016, and 44 Palestinian schools, including Khan al-Ahmar’s, are currently at risk of demolition, Human Rights Watch found. Over a third of Palestinians living in Area C don’t have access to primary schools and are not allowed by Israeli authorities to build any — leaving 10,000 children to attend schools in tents or other temporary structures with no heat or air conditioning.

But the mud walls of the school in Khan al-Ahmar — a sign of permanence — bothered neighboring settlers, and shortly after it was built, representatives of Kfar Adumim and the pro-settlement group Regavim petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court to enforce earlier demolition orders against the village. As the Supreme Court first upheld and then froze authorization to demolish Khan al-Ahmar, life in the small community carried on between hope and fear, while delegations of activists and Palestinian and foreign officials made trips to visit.

Abu Khamees (C) speaks during a press conference at the Al-Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018.

Eid Abu Khamis, center, speaks during a press conference in Khan al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018.

Photo: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

In July, addressing several foreign diplomats under a large tent in Khan al-Ahmar, Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, called Israel’s plans to demolish the village and evict its residents “ethnic cleansing.” “You begin with evicting and demolishing the community of Khan al-Ahmar, and one day you may destroy Dura, Jericho, parts of Ramallah,” he added, referring to some of the West Bank’s most populous cities.Bedouins live largely removed from the rest of Palestinian society, and it took some time for Palestinian leaders to take on Khan-al Ahmar’s cause. “Lately they have woken up,” said Abu Khamis, adding that Israel’s plan to dissect the West Bank would effectively put a nail in the coffin of Palestinian plans to build a state there. “They understand that if this corridor is built, then their government is over.”

To Rayyah, talk of a Palestinian state in the West Bank seems far removed from the reality at hand — the only home she has ever known slated for demolition, and her 24 grandchildren facing displacement.

“We have faith. Without faith we can’t go on,” she said. “We’re going to pray. And we’ll stay.”

Top photo: Rayyah washes dishes at her home in the village of Khan al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018.

Jewish Nation-State Law: Why israel (Apartheid State) Was Never a Democracy

Jewish Nation-State Law: Why Israel Was Never a Democracy

Jewish Nation-State Law: Why Israel Was Never a Democracy

There is no escaping the moral imperative now. Those who insist on supporting Israel must know that they are supporting an unabashed Apartheid regime.

The head of the Arab Joint List Alliance at the Israeli Knesset (Parliament), Aymen Odeh, described the passing of the racist Jewish Nation-State Law as “the death of our democracy.”

Did Odeh truly believe that, prior to this law, he had lived in a true democracy? Seventy years of Israeli Jewish supremacy, genocide, ethnic cleansing, wars, sieges, mass incarceration, numerous discriminatory laws, all aimed at the very destruction of the Palestinian people should have given enough clues that Israel was never a democracy, to begin with.

The Jewish Nation-State Law is merely the icing on the cake. It simply gave those who argued, all along, that Israel’s attempt at combining democracy with ethnic supremacy was racism masquerading as democracy, the munition they needed to further illustrate the point.

There is no escaping the moral imperative now. Those who insist on supporting Israel must know that they are supporting an unabashed Apartheid regime.

The new law, which was passed after some wrangling on January 19, has divorced Israel from any claim, however untrue, to being a democratic state.

In fact, the law does not mention the word ‘democracy’ in its wording, not even once. Reference to the Jewish identity of the state, however are ample and dominant, with the clear exclusion of the Palestinian people from their rights in their historic homeland

The state of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people …

  • “The actualization of the right of national self-determination in the state of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.
  • “The state will labor to ensure the safety of sons of the Jewish people …
  • “The state will act to preserve the cultural, historical and religious legacy of the Jewish people among the Jewish diaspora,” and so on.

 

But most dangerous of all is the stipulation that “the state views Jewish settlement as a national value and will labor to encourage and promote its establishment and development.”

True, illegal Jewish settlements already dot the Palestinian land in the West Bank and Jerusalem; and a de facto segregation already exists in Israel itself. In fact, segregation is so deep and entrenched, even maternity wards in Israeli hospitals separate between mothers, based on their race.

The above stipulation, however, will further accelerate segregation and cement Apartheid, making the harm not merely intellectual and political, but physical as well.

The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Adalah, has documented in its ‘Discriminatory Laws Database’ a list of over 65 Israeli laws that “discriminate directly or indirectly against Palestinian citizens in Israel and/or Palestinian residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) on the basis of their national belonging.”

According to Adalah, “These laws limit the rights of Palestinians in all areas of life, from citizenship rights to the right to political participation, land and housing rights, education rights, cultural and language rights, religious rights, and due process rights during detention.”

While it would be accurate to argue that the Jewish Nations-state bill is the officiation of Apartheid in Israel, this realization should not dismiss the previous reality upon which Israel was founded 70 years ago.

Apartheid is not a single law, but a slow, agonizing build-up of an intricate legal regime that is motivated by the belief that one racial group is superior to all others.

Not only does the new law elevate Israel’s Jewish identity and erase any commitment to democracy, it also downgrades the status of all others. Palestinian Arabs, the natives of the land of historic Palestine upon which Israel was established, did not feature prominently in the new law at all. There was a mere stipulation made to the Arabic language, but only to downgrade it from being an official language, to a ‘special one.’

Israel’s decision to refrain from formulating a written constitution when it was founded in 1948 was not a haphazard one. Since then, it has been following a predicable model where it would alter reality on the ground to the advantage of Jews at the expense of Palestinian Arabs.

Instead of a constitution, Israel resorted to what it termed ‘Basic Laws’, which allowed for the constant formulation of new laws guided by the ‘Jewish State’s’ commitment to racial supremacy than to democracy, international law, human rights or any other ethnical value.

The Jewish Nation-State Law is itself a ‘Basic Law.’ And with that law, Israel has dropped the meaningless claim to being both Jewish and democratic. This impossible task was often left to the Supreme Court which tried, but failed, to strike any convincing balance.

This new reality should, once and for all, end the protracted debate on the supposed uniqueness of Israel’s political system.

And since Israel has chosen racial supremacy over any claim, however faint, to real democracy, western countries that have often shielded Israel must also make a choice on whether they wish to support an Apartheid regime or fight against it.

The initial statement by EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini was lackluster and feeble. “We are concerned, we have expressed this concern and we will continue to engage with Israeli authorities in this context,” she said, while renewing her commitment to the ‘two-state solution.’

This is hardly the proper statement in response to a country that had just announced its membership in the Apartheid club.

The EU must end its wishy-washy political discourse and disengage from Apartheid Israel, or it has to accept the moral, ethical and legal consequences of being an accomplice in Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

Israel has made its choice and it is, unmistakably, the wrong one. The rest of the world must now make its choice as well, hopefully the right one: standing on the right side of history—against Israeli Jewish Apartheid and for Palestinian rights.

This article was originally published at RamzyBaroud.net on July 25, 2018.

The Holocaust and its Deniers

August 02, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 18.13.01.png

By Gilad Atzmon

In the aftermath of the Holocaust, some Jewish intellectuals and humanists expressed the thought that ‘after Auschwitz Jews have to locate themselves at the forefront of the battle for humanity and against all forms of oppression.’

This is a principled and heroic ideal, but the reality on the ground has been somewhat different. Just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz, the Jewish state ethnically cleansed the vast majority of indigenous Palestinians. Two years later, in 1950, Israel’s Knesset passed the Law of Return, a racist law that distinguishes between Jews who have the right to ‘return’ to someone else’s land and the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees that were expelled by force from their villages and cities.

In the seven decades since, the Jewish State has committed every possible human rights abuse. It made Gaza into the biggest open-air prison in human history and has repeatedly dropped bombs on the most overpopulated place on earth. Recently the Jewish State deployed hundreds of snipers against unarmed Gazans who were protesting at the border. Israel killed dozens and wounded more than 13,000 Palestinians, the majority severely, with over 1,400 struck by three to five bullets.

If the Holocaust left Jews with a mission to fix the world, the Jewish State has done the opposite. Its crimes against humanity can be seen as a complete denial of the Holocaust’s message.

Some Jews who survived the Holocaust did dedicate their lives to a universal battle for a better world. Among these heroes was Hajo Meyer, a Dutch Auschwitz survivor who, for the obvious reasons, saw the similarities between his own suffering and the Palestinian plight.

In 2003 Meyer wrote The End of Judaism, accusing Israel of usurping the Holocaust to justify crimes against the Arabs. He participated in the 2011 “Never Again – For Anyone” tour. He correctly argued that Zionism predated fascism, and he also reiterated that Zionists and Fascists had a history of collaboration.

Meyer exemplified the Jewish post-Shoah humanist promise. After Auschwitz he located himself at the forefront of the fight against oppression. He fought Israel.

On Holocaust Memorial Day 2010, Meyer was invited to an event at the British Parliament which included MP Jeremy Corbyn. At the event Meyer compared Israeli racial policy to the Nuremberg laws. At the same event, Haidar Eid, a Palestinian academic from Gaza, pointed out that “the world was absolutely wrong to think that Nazism was defeated in 1945. Nazism has won because it has finally managed to Nazify the consciousness of its own victims.”

Eid didn’t ‘compare’ Zionism with Nazism, he described an ideological continuum between Nazi ideology and Israeli policy. He maintained that the racial discriminatory ideology of the Nazis was picked up by the Jewish state and has been rife in the Jewish State since then.

Yesterday MP Jeremy Corbyn was attacked by the Jewish lobby for being present at that meeting that explored these universal ethical positions. Our Labour candidate for prime minister anemically recalled that at the event in question views were expressed which he did not “accept or condone.” Corbyn even apologized “for the concerns and anxiety that this has caused.” I wonder why my preferred candidate has to express regret for being in the presence of a humanist exchange. I wonder why our next PM feels the need to disassociate himself from people who advocate ‘for the many, not the few.’

The message for the rest of us is devastating. The battle for a better world can’t be left to Corbyn alone. Needless to say, the Jewish State and its Lobby haven’t located themselves at the forefront of humanity. It is actually the Palestinians who have been pushed to the front of that frustrating struggle. Not to see that is to deny their holocaust.

 

If Israel were a State

May 17, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Background:  Yesterday I was  in San Diego having fun at the beach. For a while I sat on the shore with my feet in the water reading The Diary of a Young Girl. Then a miracle happened. A score of  little bottles reached land  and assembled in between my bare feet. I could see that each was sealed and contained a short note. I picked up the bottles carefully and moved them to safety. I collected the notes and tried to assemble the lines into a cohesive  message. I understand that this text, as put together by me, may be  offensive to some. If you can think of a different arrangement of the messages that offers an alternative meaning, please share it with me and I will consider publishing it.

san diego.jpg

If Israel were a State

A poem assembled by Gilad Atzmon

If Israel were a state (and Jews a people like all other people) it would have deployed policemen at the Gaza border instead of snipers with live ammunition.

If Israel were a state (and Jews a people like all other people) it would invite the indigenous people of Palestine to return to their land.

If Israel were a state (and Jews a people like all other people) it would apologize for making Gaza into the biggest open-air prison known to man.

If Israel were a state (and Jews a people like all other people) it would, by now, live in peace under the sun.

But Israel is a Jewish Ghetto (and Jews are somehow different…)

If they want to burn it, you want to read it!

Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto,

Amazon.co.uk , Amazon.com and  here (gilad.co.uk).

Stephen Pollard and Freedom of Speech

February 04, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Maybe in Pollard’s universe, freedom of speech is an exclusive realm. 

Maybe in Pollard’s universe, freedom of speech is an exclusive realm.

 

February 04, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Maybe in Pollard’s universe, freedom of speech is an exclusive realm.

By Gilad Atzmon

Stephen Pollard, the caricature of an editor for the rabid Zionist Jewish Chronicle, an outlet that operates as an Israeli mouthpiece and has openly waged intense campaigns against freedom of speech, has once again expressed his support for elementary rights including the right to offend. In today’s Daily Mail Pollard writes: “Snowflakes? They’re today’s fascists!” Pollard often champions ‘freedom of speech.’ This time he probably tries to gain credit with the PM office following the attack on Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg as he attempted to give a talk to students at Bristol University.  I need not mention that I didn’t see Pollard or the JC denouncing Zionist hooligans who interfered with my right to play Jazz. Nor did I see the JC or Pollard fight for Alison Chabloz‘s right to perform her cabaret. Maybe in Pollard’s universe, freedom of speech is an exclusive realm.

And when Pollard writes “through editing the newspaper (JC), I am confronted daily with the legacy of that unique evil, including the suppression of debate, the distortion of truth and even the burning of books at the heart of that terrible chapter in our history,” it is hard to figure out whether he describes the “Third Reich’s totalitarian impulse” as he calls it, or his own editorial decisions. After all, before my literature event at Reading International Festival two months ago, Pollard’s Jewish Chronicle published the following headline: “ ‘Horror’ over appearance of Gilad Atzmon at Reading International Festival”

Pollard’s JC  wrote,  “Berkshire Jews  are ‘horrified’ over the scheduled appearance of an antisemitic author at the Reading International Festival.”  Is this how Pollard defines ‘welcoming debate’? In my universe the above line fits nicely within ‘suppression of debate’ and is an extreme form of book burning! I can see a clear contradiction between Stephen Pollard ‘the advocate of freedom of speech’ and the outlet which he edits that employs every trick in the Hasbara book to close debate on Israel, Zionism, Jewish ID politics, Jewish lobbying and the Holocaust.

Pollard, writing today in the Daily Mail, makes a surprising pivot and repeats the arguments I raised in my recent book Being in Time.  “We are now witnessing our own version of Newspeak, in which a form of cultural fascism masquerades as caring concern.” In November Pollard’s paper campaigned to suppress a proposed debate on my book and now he repeats the message of that book almost word for word. But, in my opinion, Pollard makes an error in his use of terminology. It is not ‘cultural fascism’ that introduced the current tyranny of correctness. It was cultural Marxism, a bunch of post Marxist tribal ideologists who thought and still think that it is down to them and only to them to decide who deserves a platform and what are the boundaries of freedom

Listen to Stephen Pollard in advocacy of ‘freedom of speech.’ His point seems to be; ‘You can say whatever you see the need to say as long as I can denounce you as an anti-Semite, a racist and a bigot.’

 

Video: Pence Smirks as Palestinian MKs are Removed During His Knesset Speach

While you watch the video above pay particular attention as the camera zooms back into Mike Pence’s face following the altercation. The crucial segment you want to scrutinize starts at about 50 seconds in. Notice what appears to be the faint trace of a smile on the vice president’s face. I don’t think I’m exaggerating by describing it as a “smirk.”

What you’re looking at is a portion of Pence’s speech before the Israeli Knesset on Monday, January 22. As the US vice president begins his remarks, Palestinian members of the Knesset attempt to protest, but are forcibly removed from the chamber. According to a report at Al Jazeera, they were shouting “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine” and attempting to hold up pictures of Al Aqsa Mosque.

“We oppose the policies of Mr Trump. He is not only the enemy of Palestinians, he is the enemy of peace,” said Jamal Zahalka, one of the protesting MKs.

Just like the Jewish Knesset members clapping their hands, Pence seems to have been very happy to see the Palestinians thrown out.

Some of Pence’s remarks before the Knesset are quoted in a Jerusalem Post report here. They make for a study in Orwellian doublethink.

“We stand with Israel, because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny,” he said.

The vice president is in essence saying that Palestinians are evil, while Israel is the embodiment of all that is good in the world. There are not many other ways you can interpret this. After all, we’re talking about a conflict between two people that has been going on for most of the past century. The side that has launched missiles into hospitals and schools is the “good” side. The side that has resisted the theft of its land is “evil.” Or at least this is the way Pence sees it. The side that locks people up indefinitely in administrative detention and operates the world’s largest open-air prison represents “liberty,” while the side that has protested encirclement by an apartheid wall is viewed by the vice president as “tyrannical.”

No wonder people have little respect for America when we have leaders who utter such nonsense.

During his speech, Pence of course also talked about moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, saying he anticipated the move will be completed sometime in 2019.

The speech naturally was lauded by Israeli leaders.

“Pence will head back to America on Tuesday having gotten at least one thing he came for: affirmation that the Israeli government is delighted with the Trump administration,” reports The Atlantic.

Of course, one way of evaluating a nation’s propensity for good or evil is by examining how it treats children.

Pence doesn’t strike me as particularly bright or informed, but I’m reasonably certain that he must have heard something, somewhere, regarding Israel’s treatment of Palestinian child prisoners, for the issue has gotten a huge amount of attention, and has even been criticized by the UN among others.

Last year, a member of the British Parliament got a sobering, eye-opening epiphany on this issue during a trip to the West Bank. Sarah Champion is a member of the British Labour Party who spent a day observing proceedings in an Israeli military court as Palestinian child detainees were brought in one-by-one before a judge. Her account of the experience was published by the Huffington Post, and reading it today adds something of a new light to the words of our smirking vice president. Here in part is what she writes:

In the cramped confines, I almost didn’t notice the two little boys, little in age and in stature. At first sight I thought they were disabled as they both appeared to have a similar facial palsy and were sitting in an awkward manner. A side door was thrown open and a man in jeans and a sweatshirt entered, which seemed odd as everyone else I had seen was in uniform. As he strode in, to shake hands with the judge and slap the clerks on the back, the two little boys instinctively flinched away from him. As they cowered, they turned in my direction and I got a proper look at their faces; they didn’t have a palsy, they had been beaten.

“That man is the interrogator” whispered my chaperone as the judge fixed his gaze on us, got up and then left the room.

A charming, uniformed woman walked over to us.

“The judge has decided that we will try this case tomorrow” she said.

As the children were led out, I just sat there, staring ahead, simply trying to process what I had seen.

What on earth is going on in this country, and how is the world just letting it happen?

The answer to that should be abundantly clear to anyone that can ascertain the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, and liberty and tyranny…but of course a sizeable number of humans lack that capability. And as is the case in other areas, Jews seem to be disproportionately represented in this category as well.

In the Occupied Territory, Two Kinds of Justice

Originally published in CounterPunch Magazine December 25, 2017

In the Occupied Territory, Two Kinds of Justice

Many take their liberty for granted even as they have endless time to rail on and on about how “they” are coming for us. Be it the “coup”, apparently now underway, or the spread of domestic McCarthyism that seeks to cower us into silence, or the baffling, sudden, corrupt reach of the Department of Justice, for most white men here we enjoy a privilege that says not us. Typically, it works.

A world away, liberty is less a race-based edge than it is the benefits you gain by the day of the week you celebrate your faith. For those who get directions from god on Saturdays, there appear to be no limits to the dispensation to which you are entitled; be it the execution of an unconscious prisoner, the mass arrest of a family with the temerity to fight for their land or a Prime Minister protected by legislative fiat empowered well beyond the reach of mere mortal law.

Israel has long preached justice and equality to the world. How often have we heard its mantra about democratic ideals and traditions as so much a unique historical tenet of its travel… a journey for the chosen that get to choose who the beneficiaries are… and are not.

For those of us in the US, either schooled in the classic process of the law or victimized by its aim, we’ve grown spoiled by its safeguards even though they remain but abstract and elusive for those many in the prisoner dock of  “wrong” color, with but coins in their pocket or militant politics in their gait.

Yet, despite the betrayal of equal hope for all, the march from investigation to arrest to trial and result knows no formal de jure distinction along the way. Of course, one would be so much a fool to argue that justice is blind, or little more than a commodity for purchase, or the skill of one’s advocate, or the luck of one’s judicial draw. Yet these damning imperfections leave hope along the way that justice may, on occasion, just slip and fall into ones lap despite a long and tarred drop.

That is not the case in Israel. Israel has two systems of justice… one for Jews and the other for Palestinians be they Muslim, Christian or atheist. Nowhere is that more apparent or destructive than it is in the Occupied Territory.

The Detention of Children

Several days ago, 16 year old Ahed Tamimi was arrested, by heavily armed Israeli soldiers, during a violent pre-dawn raid on her home. It followed a video, since gone viral, of her slapping a soldier on the face and arm and pushing another soldier, standing nearby, who she was ushering away from the family home… this, after her 14-year-old cousin, Mohammed,  had been shot by an Israeli rubber coated bullet that entered through his mouth and lodged in his brain.

For Ahed, it was not the first time that her challenge to the occupation received international attention and acclaim.  As an 11 year old, she was video recorded confronting soldiers with clenched fist. She did not back down.  At 13, she helped to wrestle her 11 year old brother, his arm in a cast, from the clutches of an Israeli soldier who was physically assaulting him during a standoff near her family home. For that, she was the recipient of the Handala Courage award in Turkey.

Not long after Ahed’s current arrest, Nariman Tamimi was seized when she went to the local police station to check on her daughter. After attending his daughter’s initial military court appearance, Bassem Tamimi, a prominent land defender and non-violent organizer in the village of Nabi Saleh, was also taken into custody. He has been arrested numerous times by Israeli forces. In 2012, he was termed a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International during one of his several detentions in an Israeli prison.

Later that night, soldiers seized a family cousin, Nour Tamimi, a 21 year old journalism student, from her own family home.

Mother, father, daughter, and cousin arrested after another cousin shot… all within a matter of a few days.  Welcome to Palestine. Welcome to the Occupation.

Liberty means more than the freedom to walk in and out of your home with the approval of those who occupy the streets that lead to it. 

Though the arrest of Ahed has captured the attention of many, it is as much the force of her charisma as it is the call of justice that has produced it. Since 2000, over 8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested and prosecuted in an Israeli military system devoid of any meaningful protection for the most vulnerable and traumatized among those that have known nothing but the bark of occupation their entire lives.  It is a military justice process notorious for the systematic ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children.

The majority of these children have been seized in middle of the night raids by heavily armed Israeli soldiers. By now, military kidnappings have become so much the expected norm that Palestinian teens sleep with their clothes on to maintain their modesty when the doors to their bedroom are kicked in with the shouts of “get up get up” by heavily armed soldiers.

Dragged out the door to the screams of their powerless parents, for most, it will be the last they will hear from them without the watch and eavesdrop of prison guards for the many months of detention to follow.

Several hours after their arrest, children arrive at an interrogation and detention center alone, tired, and frightened.

All Interrogations, by their very nature, are inherently coercive no matter the age or experience of its target.  None are more so than for an often bruised and scared child forced to go through the process without the benefit of counsel or the presence of parents who are never permitted to participate.

Israeli law provides that all military interrogations must be undertaken in a prisoner’s native language and that any statement made by them must be reduced to writing in that language. Despite this prohibition, detainees are typically coerced into signing statements, through verbal abuse, threats, and physical violence, that are written by police in Hebrew… which most cannot understand. These statements usually provide the main evidence against these children in Israeli military courts.

By virtue of the military court process, as of the end of this past summer there were 331 Palestinian minors held in Israeli prisons as security detainees and prisoners, including 2 administrative detainees.

The Military Court Process

The military courts, themselves, are held inside military bases and closed to the public… and usually family members of the accused.  Within these courts, military orders supersede clear Israeli and international law.  The court proceedings reduce the prospect of any justice to little more than a military dress parade where soldiers exhibit their uniform without any independence or skill attached to it whatsoever.

In military courts, all parties to the proceeding… the judge, prosecutor and translators… are members of the Israeli armed forces. The judges are military officers with minimal judicial training and, by-in- large, served as military prosecutors before assuming the bench

The prosecutors are Israeli soldiers appointed to the position by the Area Commander.  Some of them are not yet certified as attorneys under the Israeli Bar Association.

Under the rules of occupation, all defendants in military courts are Palestinian… with the jurisdiction of the Israeli military court never extended to some eight hundred thousand Jewish settlers living in the West Bank.  They are accorded the full benefit and safeguard of Israeli civil law.

Under Israeli military orders, a Palestinian can be held without charge, for the purpose of interrogation, for a total period of 90 days during which he or she is denied the benefit of counsel. These detention periods can be extended without limit and require but an ex parte request of military prosecutors.  By comparison, an Israeli citizen accused of a security offense, within the Occupied Territory, can be held without indictment within the civil process for a period of 64 days during which time counsel is available at all times.

Though Palestinian detainees are entitled to trials in military proceedings which must be completed within eighteen months, if the trials have not concluded within that time frame, a judge from the Military Court of Appeals can extend the detention of a Palestinian by multiple six-month increments… indefinitely. It is this process which has left thousands of Palestinian political detainees imprisoned for years on end without the benefit of counsel, formal charges, or trial. The comparable time limit for detainees before Israeli civilian courts is nine months.

While criminal liability begins at age 12 for Palestinians and Israelis alike, under the military system Palestinians can be tried as adults at age 16. For Israelis, the age of majority for trial as an adult in a civilian court is 18.  This two year difference, without physical distinction of consequence, can mean the difference of many years in sentence should a conviction ensue.  In some cases, it can literally mean a variance between a few years in prison versus decades upon conviction.

For those Palestinian detainees who have been accorded a military trial in the Occupied Territory, the conviction rate is but a bit short of 100%. All military trials are undertaken by a judge and not a jury.

Although the United Nations has repeatedly held that the military justice system in the Occupied Territory violates international law, it has done nothing to ensure equal protection to hundreds of thousands denied justice by virtue of being Palestinian and nothing else.

Detention as a Political Weapon

For fifty years, the justice system in the Occupied Territory has been the exclusive domain of the Israeli army… completely removed from any oversight by civilian laws, courts, and safeguards. It’s been estimated that, during this time, several hundred thousand Palestinians have been sentenced for a wide range of “security violations” as defined by arbitrary military fiat on a case by case basis. It has been reported that 20% of the Palestinian population have been swept up and detained by the military during this time.

While Israel has tried to portray its exercise of judicial authority in the Occupied Territory as one largely concerned with traditional criminal offenses or serious acts of “violence”, in point of fact, most of those seized have been detained for little more than non-violent political activity.

Designated as “Hostile Terrorist Activity,” these offenses often target speech, association, cultural expression, “unauthorized” assembly and movement, non-violent protest, and political activity carried out by elected representatives of local Palestinian government entities.

Others have been detained for “incitement” or membership in “illegal associations” as determined by the local Israeli military commander… or for “leaving the area without permission.”

Journalists have been arrested because of their critical coverage of the military at demonstrations or for reporting about the occupation in general. One was arrested for making a Facebook comment on another arrested Palestinian’s mugshot: “your smile will end the occupation.”

Troops have raided and shut down several broadcast outlets for six months on the grounds of incitement including the Manbar al-Hurriya radio station and eight local outlets operated by PalMedia, Ram Sat and Trans Media.

Documentation of almost two dozen Palestinians, in the West Bank, detained by the Israeli military for nothing more than Facebook posts or exchanges is claimed by 7amleh, the Arab Centre for Social Media Advancement. Additionally, Israel’s security system handed over a list of 400 other Palestinians, having posted to Facebook, to the security of the Palestinian Authority, who arrested them.

Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) have been arrested and detained for carrying out a population census in occupied East Jerusalem which the military deemed as “illegal work” with the Palestinian Authority.

Although International law prohibits interference with the free exercise of one’s political opinions, the Israeli military has sought to suppress the Palestinian political process, as a whole, for decades. Palestinian political leaders and activists are routinely arrested and detained.

In July of 2014, a high of 38 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council were detained for political activity. As of November 2017, the current number is 11 members.    Others have been prevented from travelling outside the Occupied Territories.  A number of Legislative Council members had their residencies in Jerusalem revoked and were forcibly deported to other parts of the Occupied West Bank.

70 lawmakers from the Palestinian Legislative Council have been arrested since 2002 for political activity and little else, including a number that have been detained on multiple occasions.

Among the current members of the PLC in Israeli detention is 55-year-old Khalida Jarrar, a female legislator and senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Head of the Prisoners’ Commission of the PLC and vice-chairperson of the board of directors of Palestinian Prisoners’ Rights Group, Jarrar, who was last released from Israeli detention a year ago, was accused of “promoting terror activities”.

For seventy years, Israel has held itself out as a nation under siege.  It has used this talisman to evade and avoid the clear mandate of international law. Nowhere is that more readily apparent and painful than in the Occupied Territory which, with the passage of time, has become illegally annexed and policed by military force of law.

Jails do not break the back of resistance. They firm it with the price expected for the cost of freedom. In Palestine, it is a price willingly embraced by both the young and those who have aged with the slam of the prison gate.

Perhaps one day, Israel will awaken to the truth that the siege it fights is the very one it promotes. Until then, neither the military nor its sham courts will quell the taste of freedom or the natural beckon for it.

Two Twats: Trump and Netanyahu Made A Complete Fool of Themselves in Front of World Leaders

Trump and Netanyahu Made A Complete Fool of Themselves in Front of World Leaders

Netanyahu Trump 2413c

Donald Trump’s speech to the UN General Assembly of September 19th 2017 will surely go down in history as marking the final collapse of a terminally corrupt regime, where any pretence of cooperative co-existence with the world has given way to the logic of the battlefield.

And while it is too soon to decide if the Western World will follow America into this dark space, the early signs are not good. Some US allies have already given their support to Trump’s psychopathic threat to “totally destroy North Korea”, simply by supporting the corollaries to this threat and by failing to condemn it.

 But this is only to be expected, particularly from countries already up to the neck in America’s crimes around the world, like the UK and Australia.

More worrying is the response from Western media commentators, who have already sent the wrong signals to the US regime on what behaviour is acceptable and good. Most notably of course Trump’s violent missile attack on Syria following the Al Qaeda-mediated “Sarin attack” on Khan Shaikoun drew their praise instead of condemnation, and now acts as a stepping stone to further delusionary cheer-leading.

Like a dog that has just killed a sheep, yet seeks only to please its owner, this new dog in the White House needed to be sent a strong and unambiguous message so it wouldn’t kill again. Not much chance of that, when that owner – the neo-con friendly media – couldn’t conceal its appetite for roast lamb.

Amongst the world leaders supporting and even praising Trump for “saying it like it is” (though it isn’t actually..) there was one who has slaughtered a few sheep in his time, and who delivered an address to the UN almost exceeding Donald Trump’s in its mendacity and malignancy. Netanyahu has a reputation for such performances however, so making conciliatory speeches about former targets isn’t his style; each one has to be a bit worse than the last.

Echoing Trump, who had already delivered his tirade including some outlandish and ridiculous claims about Iran, most of Netanyahu’s speech described the threat “to the whole world” from a “Nuclear-armed Iran”, and how the Iran deal agreed to by Obama must be rescinded. Failure to act would see an “Iranian-Islamist curtain stretching from Tehran to Tartus” that could target anywhere in the world with its “massive nuclear arsenal”.

While Donald Trump undoubtedly believed the aggressive and abusive nonsense he talked about Iran, he clearly doesn’t know much about the country or its nuclear program. Perhaps the US intelligence services don’t like to tell him Iran gave up its plans for a nuclear weapon back in 2003, because he would ask them, Trump-like, “well why the hell are we spending all that money on missile defence systems against Iran?”

Too hard to explain that Obama’s THAAD systems were actually never against Iran, and hope he doesn’t ask why we still installed them after the Iran deal was signed. The Dog in the White House seems to have quite a nose for odd stuff like that, and he might even start to wonder if South Korea also needs so many THAAD missiles against the DPRK. Could it really be such a great threat, with its handful of unproven nuclear weapons and a few dodgy missiles?

We can’t quite forgive Trump for talking such incoherent and dangerous rubbish, making a complete fool of himself in front of rational and sensible world leaders. (notably including France’s Emmanuel Macron, who was scathing in his criticism). He is the “Leader of the Free World” after all, which carries some responsibilities. But neither can we honestly call him liar, as to lie you need to know you lie. Unlike his new best friend Bibi Netanyahu.

For Israel’s leader, lying has become a creed; his vision is built on it. As Mossad’s motto reads: “by way of deception though shall wage war”. Illustrating this in a sickening paean to Israel in his speech was the boast that Israel had given hospital treatment to Syrian ‘refugees’ in the Golan Heights. It’s true of course – partly – treating Al Qaeda ‘refugees’ from the Syrian Army was part of Israel’s covert war on Syria.  But nowhere is this deception so clear as in the issue of nuclear weapons, and Israel’s massive but covert arsenal of them.

Back in 1986, a worker in Israel’s nuclear weapons research program in the Negev desert, Mordechai Vanunu, revealed some of its secrets to the UK’s Sunday Times, including the likely possession of at least 100 nuclear warheads. It is witness to Israel’s stranglehold over information and influence in the West that this strategic arsenal remains both unacknowledged and free from international oversight. As both its certain existence and Israel’s willingness to use it in “aggressive self-defence” are known to Israel’s enemies, this significant strategic advantage is gained at the expense of Israel’s legitimacy.

That Israel’s leader should parade himself at the UN as a “peacemaker”, cautioning the world on the nuclear threat from Iran or the DPRK is an obscene spectacle. In both countries the possession of a nuclear deterrent could be seen as necessary defence against brutal imperial aggressors like Israel and the US. In the case of Iran, which never even had a nuclear bomb, these countries and their slavish allies should be now making amends for years of punitive sanctions based on fabrications and false claims. How could we forget the abuse suffered by Iran’s President Ahmedinejad speaking at the UNGA, and endless accusations that Iran sought to “wipe Israel off the map”? Oh the irony!

And in the case of North Korea, which makes no bones about its desire and perceived need for a nuclear-based defence against attack by the US and its local allies, we are being brought to the brink of a nuclear conflict entirely because America will not abandon its demands for “full spectrum dominance”, and is prepared to destroy anything or anyone that stands in its way. Whether we can be reassured by the slightly more rational statements coming from US defence chiefs is a moot question. This recent discussion on the possible use of “tactical” nuclear weapons sounds reasonable until you realise that much of America’s strategic nuclear arsenal is now carried in submarines, whose location and intent is even more obscure than that of Israel’s

Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate

JUNE 27, 2017

Several articles have been published about the “legal limbo” in which Palestinian Jerusalemites exist and proposals as to what Israel ought to do about this 50-year old travesty, among them being righting “the wrong” of denying Palestinian Arabs in East Jerusalem Israeli citizenship.

In my view, such articles both define the injustice done to Palestinians deceptively and are meant simply to normalize the idea of Palestinian Jerusalemites becoming Israeli citizens, in the same way I might normalize the poll that American Jews are increasingly losing their connection to Israel by writing about it, especially if I were to headline my article “Breaking Taboo”, as Maayan Lubell does, or make the title echo a classified ad for the lovelorn, or question “Jewish identity” by “layering it with complexity” – i.e., by tying it to Israel.

Lubell’s article (Haaretz, Aug 5, 2015) is titled “Breaking Taboo, East Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship: In East Jerusalem, which Israel captured during the 1967 war, issues of Palestinian identity are layered with complexity.” It begins with this:

“I declare I will be a loyal citizen of the state of Israel,” reads the oath that must be sworn by all naturalized Israeli citizens. Increasingly, they are words being uttered by Palestinians. In East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan during the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed, a move not recognized internationally, issues of Palestinian identity are layered with complexity.

While Israel regards the east of the city as part of Israel, the estimated 300,000 Palestinians that live there do not. They are not Israeli citizens, instead holding Israeli-issued blue IDs that grant them permanent resident status. While they can seek citizenship if they wish, the vast majority reject it, not wanting to renounce their own history or be seen to buy into Israel’s 48-year occupation. And yet over the past decade, an increasing number of East Jerusalem Palestinians have gone through the lengthy process of becoming Israeli citizens, researchers and lawyers say.

So what is the reader to conclude from the “and yet” at the end of the quotation above? One way of looking at it is to see “the increasing number” of Palestinian Jerusalemites seeking Israeli citizenship as finally surrendering to the imperative of power and brutal facts on the ground, impelled by an otherwise unlivable life.

Another is to regard these Palestinians as traitors to the Palestinian cause, normalizing and legitimizing their enemy’s power, as there is often the implication in references to Palestinians seeking Israeli citizenship that Jerusalemites, through their applications for such citizenship, are signaling approval for the Israeli state, when in fact they seem to be doing it for practical reasons- so they can acquire some basic rights that Israel otherwise denies them.

A third is to see it from the point of view of Palestinian cartographer Khalil Tafakji – as yet another defeat for the Palestinian Authority in the context of Oslo’s so-called “peace process”.

Tafakji is quoted in this Haaretz report as saying,

“If this continues, what will the Palestinians negotiate about? They want to negotiate on the land – they have already lost the land. They want to negotiate for the population and the population is being lost.”

In other words the Palestinian view that Tafakji expresses is a lose/lose situation, not the win/win one espoused by another Haaretz article on the subject like the following.

Nir Hasson’s article (Haaretz, June 20, 2017) also has clues as to the function of such articles in the Israeli “liberal” media and co-dependent publications like the New York Times. These are often embedded right in the title or subheading – in this case:

“50 Years After Six-Day War, East Jerusalem’s Palestinians Remain Prisoners in Their City: Study shows how ambivalent Israeli policies and denial of the problem have created a status that doesn’t exist anywhere else on earth: Native-born residents who are not citizens of the state in whose capital they live.”

One glance at the word “capital” in the subheading frames it all for us, hasbara style. What may lull the suspicions of the unwary reader is that the piece does, in fact, highlight the severe problems created for Palestinians by Israeli policies of judaization in the expanded municipality of Jerusalem. But in the end, this kind of article is Israeli “self-criticism” of the worst kind, meant to play games with one’s head.

The subtext you may miss is that, similar to the past and ongoing judaization of Israel proper, the goal behind Israel’s policies in Jerusalem is to create, expand and preserve the Zionist Jewish state.
Hasson describes Israeli policy in 1967 in East Jerusalem, when the population was 60,000, as follows:

The [Israeli] ministers assumed that, as in 1948, when a large number of Arabs likewise didn’t get automatic citizenship, over time the East Jerusalemites would request citizenship – an option granted only to them and not to other West Bank residents – and integrate into Israeli society. The ministers did not take into account the strong ties these Arabs had to the West Bank and Jordan, and the unwillingness of Israeli society to absorb a large Palestinian population …. After the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel recognized the ties East Jerusalemites had to the West Bank and allowed them to vote for the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah. This made their legal status even more complicated: permanent residents of the State of Israel with Jordanian travel papers and the right to vote in Palestinian Authority elections.

Notice the telling phrase in the above that is the blind spot of Zionism: “The ministers did not take into account the strong ties these Arabs had to the West Bank and Jordan.” It totally disregards the strong ties of Palestinian Arabs to an Arab Jerusalem, to an Arab Palestine, ties Israel has not succeeded in breaking seventy years after its establishment on a territory of Palestine as a settler-colonial Zionist Jewish state against the wishes of its native inhabitants.

Hasson goes on to say:

Another expression of the relatively enlightened policy of the early years was a law, finally passed in 1973, that enabled East Jerusalemites to be compensated for property they abandoned in western Jerusalem during the 1948 War of Independence, similar to the rights of Jews to get back the property they had to abandon in East Jerusalem during that same war. In the end, the compensation offered was paltry and very few Palestinians tried to claim it. But the debates on the law at least demonstrated an effort to right the wrong…. In recent years there has been considerable talk about the “Israelization” of East Jerusalemites, as reflected in the labor market, the desire to study the Israeli curriculum, and the increased number of requests to get full Israeli citizenship.

Again, notice the Israeli-centric formulation and framing. Palestinians are described as having “abandoned” their property in West Jerusalem, when, in fact, they were denied their right of return to their property by Israel.
Palestinians “abandoned” their property; but the reference to Jews is a reference to their “rights.”

Palestinians turned down “compensation” for no other reason than its paltry size, when, in fact, the Palestinian view on this issue is as Canadian professor Michael Lynk describes it in The Right to Compensation in International Law and the Displaced Palestinians”

“Palestinians advance the compensation issue as a right recognized in international law that would obligate Israel to return, or pay for, the refugee properties expropriated or destroyed in 1948 and afterwards. As well, they argue that Israel must pay damages for pain and suffering, and for its use of Palestinian properties over the past five decades

The dominance of Jewish companies in the labor market in East Jerusalem where many Palestinians are employed (See The Palestinian Economy in East Jerusalem: Enduring annexation, isolation and disintegration), the agonizing choice some Palestinians make in accepting a school curriculum for their children that denies Palestinian heritage and identity but allows them to get ahead at Israeli universities, and the application for Israeli citizenship (mostly denied by Israel) of a minority of Palestinians are all deceptively framed as “a desire” for “Izraelization” and a path to “correcting the injustice”.

Quoting Amnon Ramon of the Jerusalem Institute for Israeli [not for Palestinian] Studies, Hasson’s article also details the problems that Israel faces as a result of the “limbo” residency arrangement imposed on Palestinian Arabs by the Israeli Government – a “hollow sovereignty”, contributing to “instability and violent outbursts, as well as the international community’s refusal to recognize Israel’s legitimacy in Jerusalem.”

But ostensibly, the article is concerned with Israel “righting a wrong” by removing the “legal limbo” under which Palestinian Jerusalemites live, claiming that such a path, will not only relieve Israel’s problems, but is also a path to “justice” – justice as defined by Israel, the oppressor, not by the Palestinians themselves, Israel’s victims.

This brings us to the immediate present. On June 25, 2017, the New York Times published a piece by Isabel Kershner titled “50 Years After War, East Jerusalem Palestinians Confront a Life Divided.”

Again, we have to ask: What is Kershner’s point in this one? Is it really a concern for Palestinians whose lives have been “divided” by Israel or is it another deflection from the illegitimate existence of Israel as a Zionist Jewish entity in Palestine?

Even as Israelis mark the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem in the June 1967 war, the Palestinians and most of the world consider the eastern half under occupation, and the city remains deeply divided. But after five decades, dealing with Israel has become unavoidable for residents of East Jerusalem.

The deflection in the quotation above is blatant. Dealing with Israel did not “become unavoidable after five decades.” For Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem and all other Palestinian Arabs who want to visit or do business there and for Palestinian Arabs denied return to their property there, or those whose property was seized and/or demolished, dealing with Israel became unavoidable the minute Israel occupied and annexed East Jerusalem.

It is true Palestinian culture and day-to-day life has been under severe assault by Israel for a long time – since 1948 to be exact. The 50-year anniversary of Israel’s brutal occupation and annexation of East Jerusalem (see Living Under Israeli Policies of Colonization in Jerusalem) is an occasion to extol and marvel at Palestinian resilience and sumoud (an Arabic word meaning “steadfastness” that has entered the English language, just as the word “intifada” has). It is not an occasion to normalize and indirectly extol “the reunification of Jerusalem,” whose Palestinian Arab population now accounts for 18% of the Palestinian Arab population of Israel.

More articles by:

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

Tulsi Gabbard and the Litmus Test

By Richard Edmondson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barcelona Votes to End «Israeli» Occupation & Illegal Settlements

Local Editor

Barcelona City Council passed a historic declaration on Wednesday upholding the right to boycott the “Israeli” entity over its violations of Palestinian rights.

Boycott "Israeli" apartheid protest in Spain

The motion condemns the apartheid entity’s occupation of Palestinian land, calls for the immediate end to the decade-long Gaza blockade and ensures that the city’s public procurement policies exclude companies that profit from “Israel’s” human rights abuses.

It also admonishes the “Israeli” entity for its intransigence in the face of repeated warnings from the international community to stop its illegal colonization of Palestinian land, according to the Catalan daily Ara.

The council recognizes “nonviolent campaigns promoted by Palestinian and international civil society for defending international and human rights law in Palestine” – a clear nod to the BDS movement.

The city joins dozens of Spanish municipalities which have declared themselves “free of ‘Israeli’ apartheid.”

A coalition of Spanish and Catalan boycott, divestment and sanctions [BDS] groups welcomed the vote.

“We celebrate this victory because we believe it to be a great step forward in raising the awareness of the role of local government in the defense of human rights and in breaking the complicity that inherently bolsters apartheid and the occupation of Palestine,” the groups state.

“This resolution is an institutional recognition of civil society demands for an end to complicity in violations of international law through nonviolent struggle, as practiced by the BDS movement,” the groups add.

The city’s recognition of the right to engage in “Israel” boycott activism, at a time when more European governments move to protect such activism, “is a triumph for free speech and democratic rights in Europe,” said Rafeef Ziadah of the Palestinian BDS National Committee.

“It gives further recognition to BDS as an inclusive, inspiring, anti-racist movement rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that upholds the basic principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity,” Ziadah added.

For years, Spanish and Catalan activists had engaged in direct action against academic and cultural partnerships with “Israeli”-backed institutions.

In 2014, dozens of activists occupied the offices of Catalan government representatives to protest a wave of newly signed academic collaboration deals between the autonomous region and the “Israeli” entity.

The action forced the representatives to agree to examine proposals aimed at ensuring the new deals do not benefit institutions and companies that participate in the entity’s occupation.

More than 350 Catalan academics and university staff backed the action, calling for the boycott of “Israeli” academic institutions.

The “Israeli” regime, meanwhile, has expressed worry over the growing popularity of BDS activism in Spain, especially as larger cities such as Barcelona, led by left-wing mayor Ada Colau, vote to support Palestinian rights.

A 2016 cable from the “Israeli” embassy in Spain described “the phenomenon of anti-‘Israeli’ activity in Spain” as “bothersome and worrisome, but in the past was centered in small cities.”

But the cable warned that Barcelona city council members were considering canceling a sister-city agreement with Tel Aviv, according to The Jerusalem Post.

After Wednesday’s city Council Vote, David Bondia Garcia, a professor of international law and president of the Institut de Drets Humans de Catalunya, a human rights organization, asserted in the newspaper el Periódico that a break in the twinning agreement with Tel Aviv would be the next logical step.

The Barcelona motion comes just two months after pro-“Israel” groups in Spain filed charges against Palestine solidarity activists for calling on a music festival two years ago to cancel a performer who had used his celebrity to fundraise for the “Israeli” army and to support anti-Palestinian causes.

Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian human rights activist and co-founder of the BDS movement, called the charges “legal intimidation.”

israel | barcelona | bds | spain | israeli apartheid

Source: EI, Edited by website team

21-04-2017 | 13:02

“Israel maintains a regime of apartheid over Palestinians” 

“Israel maintains a regime of apartheid over Palestinians” — UN report

Report by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) 2017
Palestine and the Israeli Occupation, Issue №1
Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid

UN group cowers to Israeli & US complaints – takes down report finding Israel guilty of apartheid

United Nations

“The report concludes that the weight of the evidence supports beyond a reasonable doubt the proposition that Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people, which amounts to the commission of a crime against humanity, the prohibition of which is considered jus cogens in international customary law.”

This report was commissioned by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) from authors Mr Richard Falk and Ms Virginia Tiley.

This report examines, based on key instruments of international law, whether Israel has established an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole. Having established that the crime of apartheid has universal application, that the question of the status of the Palestinians as a people is settled in law, and that the crime of apartheid should be considered at the level of the State, the report sets out to demonstrate how Israel has imposed such a system on the Palestinians in order to maintain the domination of one racial group over others.

A history of war, annexation and expulsions, as well as a series of practices, has left the Palestinian people fragmented into four distinct population groups, three of them (citizens of Israel, residents of East Jerusalem and the populace under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza) living under direct Israeli rule and the remainder, refugees and involuntary exiles, living beyond. This fragmentation, coupled with the application of discrete bodies of law to those groups, lie at the heart of the apartheid regime. They serve to enfeeble opposition to it and to veil its very existence. This report concludes, on the basis of overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid, and urges swift action to oppose and end it.


Executive Summary

This report concludes that Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole. Aware of the seriousness of this allegation, the authors of the report conclude that available evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid as legally defined in instruments of international law.

The analysis in this report rests on the same body of international human rights law and principles that reject anti-Semitism and other racially discriminatory ideologies, including: the Charter of the United Nations (1945), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965). The report relies for its definition of apartheid primarily on article II of the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1973, hereinafter the Apartheid Convention):

The term “the crime of apartheid”, which shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa, shall apply to… inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.

Although the term “apartheid” was originally associated with the specific instance of South Africa, it now represents a species of crime against humanity under customary international law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, according to which:

“The crime of apartheid” means inhumane acts… committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.

Against that background, this report reflects the expert consensus that the prohibition of apartheid is universally applicable and was not rendered moot by the collapse of apartheid in South Africa and South West Africa (Namibia).

The legal approach to the matter of apartheid adopted by this report should not be confused with usage of the term in popular discourse as an expression of opprobrium. Seeing apartheid as discrete acts and practices (such as the “apartheid wall”), a phenomenon generated by anonymous structural conditions like capitalism (“economic apartheid”), or private social behaviour on the part of certain racial groups towards others (social racism) may have its place in certain contexts. However, this report anchors its definition of apartheid in international law, which carries with it responsibilities for States, as specified in international instruments.

The choice of evidence is guided by the Apartheid Convention, which sets forth that the crime of apartheid consists of discrete inhuman acts, but that such acts acquire the status of crimes against humanity only if they intentionally serve the core purpose of racial domination. The Rome Statute specifies in its definition the presence of an “institutionalized regime” serving the “intention” of racial domination. Since “purpose” and “intention” lie at the core of both definitions, this report examines factors ostensibly separate from the Palestinian dimension — especially, the doctrine of Jewish statehood as expressed in law and the design of Israeli State institutions — to establish beyond doubt the presence of such a core purpose.

That the Israeli regime is designed for this core purpose was found to be evident in the body of laws, only some of which are discussed in the report for reasons of scope. One prominent example is land policy. The Israeli Basic Law (Constitution) mandates that land held by the State of Israel, the Israeli Development Authority or the Jewish National Fund shall not be transferred in any manner, placing its management permanently under their authority. The State Property Law of 1951 provides for the reversion of property (including land) to the State in any area “in which the law of the State of Israel applies”. The Israel Lands Authority (ILA) manages State land, which accounts for 93 per cent of the land within the internationally recognized borders of Israel and is by law closed to use, development or ownership by non-Jews. Those laws reflect the concept of “public purpose” as expressed in the Basic Law. Such laws may be changed by Knesset vote, but the Basic Law: Knesset prohibits any political party from challenging that public purpose. Effectively, Israeli law renders opposition to racial domination illegal.

Demographic engineering is another area of policy serving the purpose of maintaining Israel as a Jewish State. Most well known is Israeli law conferring on Jews worldwide the right to enter Israel and obtain Israeli citizenship regardless of their countries of origin and whether or not they can show links to Israel-Palestine, while withholding any comparable right from Palestinians, including those with documented ancestral homes in the country. The World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency are vested with legal authority as agencies of the State of Israel to facilitate Jewish immigration and preferentially serve the interests of Jewish citizens in matters ranging from land use to public development planning and other matters deemed vital to Jewish statehood. Some laws involving demographic engineering are expressed in coded language, such as those that allow Jewish councils to reject applications for residence from Palestinian citizens. Israeli law normally allows spouses of Israeli citizens to relocate to Israel but uniquely prohibits this option in the case of Palestinians from the occupied territory or beyond. On a far larger scale, it is a matter of Israeli policy to reject the return of any Palestinian refugees and exiles (totalling some six million people) to territory under Israeli control.

Two additional attributes of a systematic regime of racial domination must be present to qualify the regime as an instance of apartheid. The first involves the identification of the oppressed persons as belonging to a specific “racial group”. This report accepts the definition of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of “racial discrimination” as “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life”. On that basis, this report argues that in the geopolitical context of Palestine, Jews and Palestinians can be considered “racial groups”. Furthermore, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination is cited expressly in the Apartheid Convention.

The second attribute is the boundary and character of the group or groups involved. The status of the Palestinians as a people entitled to exercise the right of self determination has been legally settled, most authoritatively by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its 2004 advisory opinion on Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. On that basis, the report examines the treatment by Israel of the Palestinian people as a whole, considering the distinct circumstances of geographic and juridical fragmentation of the Palestinian people as a condition imposed by Israel. (Annex II addresses the issue of a proper identification of the “country” responsible for the denial of Palestinian rights under international law.)

This report finds that the strategic fragmentation of the Palestinian people is the principal method by which Israel imposes an apartheid regime. It first examines how the history of war, partition, de jure and de facto annexation and prolonged occupation in Palestine has led to the Palestinian people being divided into different geographic regions administered by distinct sets of law. This fragmentation operates to stabilize the Israeli regime of racial domination over the Palestinians and to weaken the will and capacity of the Palestinian people to mount a unified and effective resistance. Different methods are deployed depending on where Palestinians live. This is the core means by which Israel enforces apartheid and at the same time impedes international recognition of how the system works as a complementary whole to comprise an apartheid regime.

Since 1967, Palestinians as a people have lived in what the report refers to as four “domains”, in which the fragments of the Palestinian population are ostensibly treated differently but share in common the racial oppression that results from the apartheid regime. Those domains are:

1. Civil law, with special restrictions, governing Palestinians who live as citizens of Israel;

2. Permanent residency law governing Palestinians living in the city of Jerusalem;

3. Military law governing Palestinians, including those in refugee camps, living since 1967 under conditions of belligerent occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip;

4. Policy to preclude the return of Palestinians, whether refugees or exiles, living outside territory under Israel’s control.

Domain 1 embraces about 1.7 million Palestinians who are citizens of Israel. For the first 20 years of the country’s existence, they lived under martial law and to this day are subjected to oppression on the basis of not being Jewish. That policy of domination manifests itself in inferior services, restrictive zoning laws and limited budget allocations made to Palestinian communities; in restrictions on jobs and professional opportunities; and in the mostly segregated landscape in which Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel live. Palestinian political parties can campaign for minor reforms and better budgets, but are legally prohibited by the Basic Law from challenging legislation maintaining the racial regime. The policy is reinforced by the implications of the distinction made in Israel between “citizenship” (ezrahut) and “nationality” (le’um): all Israeli citizens enjoy the former, but only Jews enjoy the latter. “National” rights in Israeli law signify Jewish-national rights. The struggle of Palestinian citizens of Israel for equality and civil reforms under Israeli law is thus isolated by the regime from that of Palestinians elsewhere.

Domain 2 covers the approximately 300,000 Palestinians who live in East Jerusalem, who experience discrimination in access to education, health care, employment, residency and building rights. They also suffer from expulsions and home demolitions, which serve the Israeli policy of “demographic balance” in favour of Jewish residents. East Jerusalem Palestinians are classified as permanent residents, which places them in a separate category designed to prevent their demographic and, importantly, electoral weight being added to that of Palestinians citizens in Israel. As permanent residents, they have no legal standing to challenge Israeli law. Moreover, openly identifying with Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory politically carries the risk of expulsion to the West Bank and loss of the right even to visit Jerusalem. Thus, the urban epicentre of Palestinian political life is caught inside a legal bubble that curtails its inhabitants’ capacity to oppose the apartheid regime lawfully.

Domain 3 is the system of military law imposed on approximately 6.6 million Palestinians who live in the occupied Palestinian territory, 4.7 million of them in the West Bank and 1.9 million in the Gaza Strip. The territory is administered in a manner that fully meets the definition of apartheid under the Apartheid Convention: except for the provision on genocide, every illustrative “inhuman act” listed in the Convention is routinely and systematically practiced by Israel in the West Bank. Palestinians are governed by military law, while the approximately 350,000 Jewish settlers are governed by Israeli civil law. The racial character of this situation is further confirmed by the fact that all West Bank Jewish settlers enjoy the protections of Israeli civil law on the basis of being Jewish, whether they are Israeli citizens or not. This dual legal system, problematic in itself, is indicative of an apartheid regime when coupled with the racially discriminatory management of land and development administered by Jewish-national institutions, which are charged with administering “State land” in the interest of the Jewish population. In support of the overall findings of this report, annex I sets out in more detail the policies and practices of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory that constitute violations of article II of the Apartheid Convention.

Domain 4 refers to the millions of Palestinian refugees and involuntary exiles, most of whom live in neighbouring countries. They are prohibited from returning to their homes in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. Israel defends its rejection of the Palestinians’ return in frankly racist language: it is alleged that Palestinians constitute a “demographic threat” and that their return would alter the demographic character of Israel to the point of eliminating it as a Jewish State. The refusal of the right of return plays an essential role in the apartheid regime by ensuring that the Palestinian population in Mandate Palestine does not grow to a point that would threaten Israeli military control of the territory and/or provide the demographic leverage for Palestinian citizens of Israel to demand (and obtain) full democratic rights, thereby eliminating the Jewish character of the State of Israel. Although domain 4 is confined to policies denying Palestinians their right of repatriation under international law, it is treated in this report as integral to the system of oppression and domination of the Palestinian people as a whole, given its crucial role in demographic terms in maintaining the apartheid regime.

This report finds that, taken together, the four domains constitute one comprehensive regime developed for the purpose of ensuring the enduring domination over non-Jews in all land exclusively under Israeli control in whatever category. To some degree, the differences in treatment accorded to Palestinians have been provisionally treated as valid by the United Nations, in the absence of an assessment of whether they constitute a form of apartheid. In the light of this report’s findings, this long-standing fragmented international approach may require review.

In the interests of fairness and completeness, the report examines several counterarguments advanced by Israel and supporters of its policies denying the applicability of the Apartheid Convention to the case of Israel-Palestine. They include claims that: the determination of Israel to remain a Jewish State is consistent with practices of other States, such as France; Israel does not owe Palestinian non-citizens equal treatment with Jews precisely because they are not citizens; and Israeli treatment of the Palestinians reflects no “purpose” or “intent” to dominate, but rather is a temporary state of affairs imposed on Israel by the realities of ongoing conflict and security requirements. The report shows that none of those arguments stands up to examination. A further claim that Israel cannot be considered culpable for crimes of apartheid because Palestinian citizens of Israel have voting rights rests on two errors of legal interpretation: an overly literal comparison with South African apartheid policy and detachment of the question of voting rights from other laws, especially provisions of the Basic Law that prohibit political parties from challenging the Jewish, and hence racial, character of the State.

The report concludes that the weight of the evidence supports beyond a reasonable doubt the proposition that Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people, which amounts to the commission of a crime against humanity, the prohibition of which is considered jus cogens in international customary law. The international community, especially the United Nations and its agencies, and Member States, have a legal obligation to act within the limits of their capabilities to prevent and punish instances of apartheid that are responsibly brought to their attention. More specifically, States have a collective duty: (a) not to recognize an apartheid regime as lawful; (b) not to aid or assist a State in maintaining an apartheid regime; and © to cooperate with the United Nations and other States in bringing apartheid regimes to an end. Civil society institutions and individuals also have a moral and political duty to use the instruments at their disposal to raise awareness of this ongoing criminal enterprise, and to exert pressure on Israel in order to persuade it to dismantle apartheid structures in compliance with international law. The report ends with general and specific recommendations to the United Nations, national Governments, and civil society and private actors on actions they should take in view of the finding that Israel maintains a regime of apartheid in its exercise of control over the Palestinian people.


The original report was deleted from the UN website. Alternative source here

The full report: (download pdf here)

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