THE ISRAEL FILES: WIKILEAKS DOCS SHOW TOP HOLLYWOOD PRODUCERS WORKING WITH ISRAEL TO DEFEND ITS WAR CRIMES

SEPTEMBER 23RD, 2022

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THE ISRAEL FILES IS A NEW MINTPRESS SERIES EXPLORING AND HIGHLIGHTING THE MANY REVELATIONS ABOUT THE ISRAELI OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE THAT WIKILEAKS DOCUMENTS DISCLOSED. IT HOPES TO SHED LIGHT ON MANY OF THE MOST IMPORTANT AND UNDERREPORTED REVELATIONS THE PUBLISHING GROUP EXPOSED. 

By Alan Macleod

As Israel was launching a deadly assault on Gaza, killing thousands of civilians and displacing more than 100,000 people, many of America’s top TV, music and film producers were organizing to protect the apartheid state’s reputation from widespread international condemnation.

Together, the Sony Archive – a cache of emails published by Wikileaks – prove that influential entertainment magnates attempted to whitewash Israeli crimes and present the situation as defending itself from an impending “genocide”, liaised with Israeli military and government officials in order to coordinate their message, attempted to cancel those who spoke out against the injustice, and put financial and social pressure on institutions who hosted artists criticizing the apartheid government’s actions.

AS ISRAEL ATTACKS, HOLLYWOOD PLAYS DEFENSE

“[Israel’s message] Must be repeated ad infinitum until the people get it,” wrote Hollywood lawyer and producer Glenn D. Feig, in an email chain to many of Tinsel Town’s most influential executives. This was in response to the unprovoked 2014 Israeli attack on Gaza, one of the bloodiest chapters in over half a century of occupation.

Named “Operation Protective Edge”, the Israeli military engaged in seven weeks of near-constant bombing of the densely populated coastal strip. According to the United Nations, over 2,000 people were killed – a quarter of them children. 18,000 houses were destroyed, leaving more than 100,000 people homeless.

The Israeli military deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure, knocking out Gaza’s only power plant and shutting down its water treatment plants, leading to economic, social and ecological devastation in an area Human Rights Watch has labeled the world’s largest “open air prison”.

Many in Hollywood expressed deep concern. “We must make sure that never happens again”, insisted producer Ron Rotholz. Rotholz, however, was not referring to the death and destruction Israel imposed on Gaza, but to the fact that many of the entertainment world’s biggest stars, including celebrity power couple, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, had condemned Israel’s actions, labeling them tantamount to “genocide.”

“Change must start from the top down. It should be unheard of and unacceptable for any Academy Award-winning actor to call the legitimate armed defense of one’s territory…genocide” he continued, worrying that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement – a worldwide campaign to put economic pressure on Israel in an attempt to push it to meet its obligations under international law – was gaining steam in the world of the arts. Israel’s legitimacy rests upon political and military support from the U.S. Therefore, maintaining support among the American public is crucial to the long term viability of its settler colonial project.

Rotholz then attempted to organize a silent, worldwide pressure campaign on arts venues and organizations, including the Motion Picture Academy in Hollywood and the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals, to stamp out BDS, writing,

What we can do is urge the leaders of major film, TV and theater organisations, festivals, markets and potentially the heads of media corporations to issue official statements condemning any form of cultural or economic boycotts against Israel.”

Others agreed that they had to develop a “game plan” for opposing BDS.

Of course, when influential producers, festivals and heads of media corporations release statements condemning a certain position or practice, this is, in effect, a threat: stop taking these positions or suffer the professional consequences.

LOACH ON THE BRAIN

The Sony emails also reveal a near obsession with British filmmaker and social activist Ken Loach. The celebrated director’s film, “Jimmy’s Hall” had recently been nominated for the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and in the wake of Israel’s assault on Gaza, he had publicly called for a cultural and sporting boycott of the apartheid state.

This outraged many in Hollywood. Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity Media, a film producing company responsible for financing more than 200 movies, demanded that not only Loach, but the whole Cannes Film Festival be cancelled. “The studios and networks alike must join together and boycott cannes,” he wrote. “If we don’t we are sending a message that another holocaust is fine with Hollywood as long as it is business as usual,” he added, framing the Israeli attack on a near-defenseless civilian population as a Palestinian genocide of Israelis.

Others agreed. Ben Silverman, former co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios and producer of shows such as “The Office”, “The Biggest Loser” and Ugly Betty” said that the industry should “boycott the boycotters”. Rotholz, meanwhile, wrote to the head of the Cannes Film Festival, demanding that he take action against Loach for his comments. “There is no place for [Loach’s intolerant and hateful remarks] in the global world of film and filmmakers”, he insisted.

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Others came up with another way of countering Loach. “How about we all club together and make a documentary about the rise of new anti-Semitism in Europe,” suggested British film producer Cassian Elwes, adding,

I would be willing to contribute and put time into it if others here would do the same. Between all of us I’m sure we could figure out a way to distribute it and get it into places like Cannes so we could have a response to guys like Loach. Perhaps we try to use it to rally support from film communities in Europe to help us distribute it there”.

“I love it,” replied publishing oligarch Jason Binn, “And I will promote it in a major way to all 3.2 million magazine subscribers across all on and offline platforms. I can even leverage Gilt’s 9 million members,” he added, referring to the shopping and lifestyle website he managed.

“Me too,” said Amy Pascal, the Co-Chairperson of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Meanwhile, Mark Canton, producer of movies such as “Get Carter”, “Immortals” and “300” busied himself drumming up more Hollywood support for the idea. “Adding Carmi Zlotnik to this growing list”, he replied, referencing the TV executive.

This whole correspondence was from an email chain of dozens of high-powered entertainment figures entitled “Happy New Year. Too bad Germany is now a no travel zone for Jews,” which ludicrously claimed that the European country had become a Muslim-controlled Islamic theocracy.

“It is horrible. But in the end, it is no surprise, because apologists for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians will go to any length to prevent the people opposing them,” Mr. Loach said, when asked for comment by MintPress. “We shouldn’t underestimate the hatred of those who cannot tolerate the idea that Palestinians have human rights, that Palestine is a state; and they have their country,” he added.

SHUTTING DOWN FREE EXPRESSION

The pro-Israel group in Hollywood also put serious pressure on American institutions to crack down on support for Palestinian human rights. Silverman revealed that he had written to Peter Gelb, the general manager of the New York Metropolitan Opera, in an effort to shut down a performance of “The Death of Klinghoffer”, an opera that tells the story of the 1985 hijacking of an airliner by the Palestine Liberation Front. “I suggest though that we each call him on Monday at his office at the Met and your point about the Met’s donors’ leverage is important,” he advised the other entertainment oligarchs, thereby shining a light on how the powerful move in secret to silence speech they do not approve of, and how they use their financial clout to coerce and strong-arm others into toeing their line. A lot of pressure was necessary, because, as Silverman explained, “as members of the artistic community it is very hard to be pro free speech only some of the time and not all of the time.”

Ultimately, the performance did go ahead, but not without a large and coordinated protest both inside and outside the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, as individuals attempted to shut down the performance, claiming it was “antisemitic.”

LIAISING WITH THE IDF

The email conversations of many of Hollywood’s most influential individuals show that they believe they are on the verge of a worldwide extermination of Jews, and that Israel – and themselves – are the only things standing in the way of this impending fate. As Kavanaugh wrote, “It’s our job to keep another Holocaust from happening. Many of you may think that can’t happen, that is extreme…[but] If you pull newspapers from pre Holocaust it seems eerily close to our world today.”

Rotholz was of a similar opinion, writing that,

It is imperative that leading figures in the LA/NY film, tv, media, digital and theater communities who support a strong and potent Jewish state develop a strategy for liasing with colleagues in London and Europe and also with the creative communities here and in Europe to promote and explain the Israeli cause.”

The Sony Archive emails also show that, not only were Tinsel Town’s top brass coordinating strategies to silence critics of Israel, but that they were also closely liaising with the Israeli government and its military.

Producer George Perez, for example, messaged his colleagues in the chain email to introduce them to an IDF colonel, stating (emphasis added),

Everyone please use this “reply all” list from here on.  I have included Kobi Marom a retired commander in the Israeli army. Kobi was kind enough to give my family and I a jeep tour of the Golan Heights during our June trip to Israel.  He also took us to visit an army base on the border of Israel and Syria, an area which has been in the news lately.  Hard to imagine that the “kids” that we met at the base are most likely engaged in combat with our enemies.”

Seeing as the large majority of those who died were Palestinian civilians, it is unclear whether he considers all Palestinians or just Hamas as enemies of Hollywood. Perez also noted that “Kobi works closely with the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (FIDF) who are in need of donations,” and advised that Hollywood needed to “dig deep to help in the constant struggle for the survival of Israel.”

Hollywood celebrities including famed producer Haim Saban and actress Fran Drescher, pose with IDF soldiers at the FIDF Western Region Gala

The group also attempted to recruit Israeli-American movie star Natalie Portman into their ranks. But the Academy Award-winning actress appeared more concerned that her personal details were being shared. “How did I get on this list? Also Ryan Seacrest?” she replied, before directly addressing Kavanaugh, writing,

[C]an you please remove me from this email list? you should not be copying me publicly so that 20 people i don’t know have my personal info. i will have to change my email address now.  thank you”.

While Portman’s open contempt for the group of rabidly pro-Israel producers is notable, more so was Kavanaugh’s response, which revealed how close the connection between the Israeli state and Hollywood is. Kavanaugh wrote back,

Sorry. You are right Jews being slaughtered for their beliefs and Cannes members calling for the boycott of anything Israel or Jewish is much much less important than your email address being shared with 20 of our peers who are trying to make a difference. my deepest apologies…I had lunch yesterday with Israel consulate general who brought J street up to me. He was so perplexed confused and concerned when he heard you supported them that he begged me to connect you two.”

Thus, the leaked emails prove beyond any doubt that both the Israeli government and the IDF liaise with some of the most powerful people in the entertainment world in order to push forward a pro-Israel message and stamp out any deviance from that line.

HIP HOPPERS FOR APARTHEID

While their efforts at recruiting Portman fell flat, one star who responded enthusiastically was hip hop mega producer Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam Records and the brother of Joseph “Rev.Run” Simmons, one third of Run DMC. Simmons has recently been the subject of controversy, after 20 women have come forward, charging him with rape or other sexual misconduct.

The emails reveal that promoting engagement with Israel within the African-American community is one of Simmons’ primary interests. When asked if he had any ideas how to improve Israel’s image, he said, “Simple messaging from non Jews specifically from Muslims promoting peace and Israel’s right to exist…We have resources and the desire to win rather than lose the hearts of young Muslims and Jews.”

What these resources were, he explained,

We have hundreds of collaboration programs between Imams Rabbis and their congregations We have many respected imams who would join former chief rabbi metzker (spelling) rabbi Schneier and non Jews in promoting the Saudi peace plan”.

“Through this campaign we will be helping Israel,” he concluded.

TURNING THE TIDE

Despite the best efforts of Simmons and others, however, American public opinion has, in recent years, begun to turn against Israel. Young Americans, in particular, are more likely to sympathize with the plight of the Palestinian people and support an independent Palestinian state.

Much of this has to do with the rise of social media and a new generation of activists breaking through the barriers to highlight injustices being carried out by their government. Today, Americans are more likely to see first-hand, unvarnished accounts of Israeli brutality on social media platforms. As veteran political scientist Noam Chomsky explained to MintPress last year, “The veil of intense propaganda [is] being lifted slowly, [and] crucial U.S. participation in Israeli crimes is also coming more clearly into view. With committed activism, that could have salutary effects.”

Despite the best efforts of Simmons and others, however, American public opinion has, in recent years, begun to turn against Israel. Young Americans, in particular, are more likely to sympathize with the plight of the Palestinian people and support an independent Palestinian state.

Much of this has to do with the rise of social media and a new generation of activists breaking through the barriers to highlight injustices being carried out by their government. Today, Americans are more likely to see first-hand, unvarnished accounts of Israeli brutality on social media platforms. As veteran political scientist Noam Chomsky explained to MintPress last year, “The veil of intense propaganda [is] being lifted slowly, [and] crucial U.S. participation in Israeli crimes is also coming more clearly into view. With committed activism, that could have salutary effects.”

Nevertheless, U.S. government support for Israel continues to rise. Between 2019 and 2028, it is scheduled to send nearly $40 billion in aid, almost all of it military, meaning that American taxpayer funds are contributing to Palestinian oppression and displacement.

Loach was even more upbeat on the issue, telling us that those who stand in the way of justice will be judged poorly by history, stating,

The denial of human rights of the Palestinians is one of the great crimes [of the modern era] and Palestinian rights is one of the great causes of last century and this century. We should all support the Palestinians. If you have any care for human rights, there is no question: the Palestinians have to be supported. And these people who oppose them, in the end, will fade away. Because history will show this was a terrible crime. Palestinians suffered ethnic cleansing of their homeland. We have to support the Palestinians, full stop.”

Those people, however, have no intention of “fading away”, and continue to organize on behalf of the Israeli government. Thanks to the leaked documents, those who care about Palestinian self-determination have a clearer understanding of how they operate.

Israel demands full impunity for killing Shireen Abu Akleh – and the Biden administration agrees

 SEPTEMBER 10, 2022 

ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER YAIR LAPID (RIGHT), US PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN, AND ISRAELI MINISTER OF DEFENSE BENNY GANTZ AT THE CEREMONY WELCOMING BIDEN TO ISRAEL ON JULY 13, 2022. (PHOTO: KOBI GIDEON/ISRAEL GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE)

By Mitchell Plitnick

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Despite the best efforts of the Israeli and American governments, the spirit of Shireen Abu Akleh simply won’t go away. 

Shireen’s family won’t let her memory fade into the background in Washington or Tel Aviv as the memories of so many thousands of Palestinians have in the past. Neither will the broader Palestinian and Palestine-advocacy communities. But perhaps the most crucial group that is keeping Shireen’s spirit hovering over the politics of Israel’s policies, especially in Washington, are her fellow journalists

Israel’s “report” on Shireen’s murder, as expected, admitted that one of its soldiers was responsible for her death, but duplicitously said that it was the result of an errant bullet during an exchange of fire with Palestinian “terrorists.” 

That this is nonsense has been clearly established. The exchange of fire at the time of Shireen’s killing was blocks away. The Israeli military unit involved in the murder was the elite Duvdevan unit, a highly-trained bunch who do not fire wildly, but at targets, generally Palestinian people. The bullet which killed Shireen penetrated a small opening between her helmet and bullet-proof vest, with word “PRESS” clearly written in both the front and back. All of this is substantial proof of, at the very least, an intentional killing. 

But in the wake of the report being published, we saw a very clear, and very disturbing, demonstration of where the Israeli government under Yair Lapid and the U.S. administration of Joe Biden stand, not only the issue of Shireen’s murder but of the entire relationship between Israel and its benefactor and protector in Washington. 

Israel had long since made it clear that it would not prosecute the soldier who murdered Shireen Abu Akleh. In response, the State Department and Secretary of State Antony Blinken modified their very humble request, reducing it to a simple review of Israel’s rules of engagement when their soldiers entered a Palestinian area under their iron-fisted occupation. 

But even this was too much to ask in Israel’s eyes. “I will not allow an IDF soldier that was protecting himself from terrorist fire to be prosecuted just to receive applause from abroad,” Lapid stated. “No one will dictate our rules of engagement to us, when we are the ones fighting for our lives. Our soldiers have the full backing of the government of Israel and the people of Israel.”

Lapid’s message had two intended audiences. The first was the Israeli public, which eagerly gobbles up any example of an Israeli leader defying what they see as the United States ordering them about. Most Israelis would draw the line at any action that might jeopardize the absolute and lock-step U.S. financial, military, and diplomatic support. But, to date, reactions from the Biden administration indicate Israel has not even approached such a line.

This is evidenced by the reaction of Lapid’s second audience, which is the Biden administration itself. State Department Spokesman Ned Price’s initial reaction to Israel’s initial report—an obvious whitewash that Israel, in its hubris, made no effort to disguise—made it clear that the U.S. was unwilling to press Israel about Shireen, but needed also to appease some in the Democratic Party who were unwilling to simply forget about her. 

“We welcome Israel’s review of this tragic incident, and again underscore the importance of accountability in this case, such as policies and procedures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future,” Price said. And when Israel made it clear they would not do this, Price’s understudy, Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel, repeated an embarrassing mantra: “To reiterate, we continue to underscore the importance of accountability in this case, and we’re going to continue to impress our Israeli partners to closely review its policies and practices on the rules of engagement, and consider additional steps that will mitigate risk in this circumstance.”

One could almost feel sorry for Patel, being hung out to dry in front of experienced foreign policy reporters with nothing but this tissue-thin line to offer. Under a series of questions from journalists, he could do nothing but continue to repeat himself, despite the fact that what he was describing was not only the opposite of accountability, but was the United States government once again choosing to shirk its responsibility to protect its citizens from a foreign government that has killed them with impunity. 

That was what Patel had to defend. Shireen Abu Akleh was only the latest American citizen to be killed by Israel. Nearly twenty years ago, it was activist Rachel Corrie, crushed under a U.S.-made and supplied, but Israeli-modified Caterpillar armored bulldozer. Twelve years ago, it was 18-year old Furkan Dogan, killed by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara as it tried to bring food and supplied to people being starved by Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Six year ago, Mahmoud Shaalan was gunned down while his hands were in the air at an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank. Earlier this very year, Israeli forces ripped 78-year old Omar Assad from his car, abused him, handcuffed and blindfolded him, causing such stress he died of a heart attack. 

Israel has never been held accountable, nor held anyone accountable, for the deaths of these American citizens. Lapid’s words made it clear they would not stand for anything less than total impunity regarding these murders. 

Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett clarified Israel’s stance. “At any given moment,” Bennett tweeted on Tuesday, “there are Palestinian terrorists trying to murder Israelis. Not the other way round. We are not trigger-happy, but our moral duty is to hit terrorists and thereby save lives.” The army, Bennett stated must be “detached from any pressure, internal or external.”

Sifting through the blatant racism and dishonesty of Bennett’s characterization of Israeli military innocence and Palestinian bloodthirstiness, he is plainly stating that an Israeli soldier can shoot any Palestinian any time she or he wishes, and the very nature of their respective identities as Israeli soldier and Palestinian “terrorist” places the Israelis above reproach. And above any kind of law. 

Lapid’s message got through to both the Israeli public and the Biden administration. But how well is that message playing more broadly in the United States? 

Democratic hawks like Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Menendez—who was in Israel earlier this week—have been remarkably quiet about Shireen lately, but even Menendez, earlier this year, expressed concern over her killing and called for a credible investigation of her death. The silence of pro-Israel Democrats is indicative of the difficult position Israel has put them in, and it has left a vacuum which is amplifying the more critical Democratic voices. 

Outgoing Rep. Marie Newman, for example, tweeted, “The @StateDept’s response to Israel’s statement refusing to prosecute the soldiers responsible for killing Palestinian American Shireen Abu Akleh is woefully inadequate. I expect nothing short of a US investigation that leads to accountability. It’s the least we can do.”

Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN), who earlier this year introduced the “Justice for Shireen Act,” said the Israeli report fails to “address the key questions around Shireen Abu Akleh’s death and falls short of what we expect when a U.S. citizen is killed on foreign soil.”

Rep. Raul Grijalva, said that Secretary of State Antony Blinken “has a responsibility to hold Israel accountable and demand justice for [Abu Akleh’s] death,” and that “the silence is damning and deafening. We need justice for Shireen.”

Perhaps most important was the statement of Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who, while at the progressive end of the Democratic Party is still closer to the center than the Representatives who spoke out and is up for re-election this November (albeit in a race that he is universally seen as safe for him). Van Hollen tweeted, “The crux of the “defense” in this IDF report is that a soldier was “returning fire” from militants. But investigations @NYTimes @AP @CNN @washingtonpost & @UN found no such firing at the time. This underscores need for independent US inquiry into this American journalist’s death.”

There is no factual argument that can refute what these Members of Congress have said, which is why Israel’s supporters on Capitol Hill are trying to avoid engaging with them. Indeed, if anything is to be critiqued it is the call for an impartial U.S. investigation. As unlikely as the investigation is, impartiality should it come about is even harder to imagine. 

It is crucial, however, that these calls be supported. Shireen’s murder must remain on the agenda past the November elections. Until then, even the hardiest Democrats are going to tone down criticism of their President and Secretary of State. 

But in two months, that pressure will be lifted. And the Biden administration must be taken to task for its behavior here. As hypocritical as it was for Biden to fist-bump Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, it’s important to recall that, as important a figure as Jamal Khashoggi was, he was a U.S. resident, not a citizen. 

Shireen Abu Akleh, like Rachel Corrie, Furkan Dogan, Mahmoud Shaalan, and Omar Assad before her, was an American citizen. Foreign countries are not supposed to be allowed to murder American citizens with impunity, especially when they are killed for doing their jobs as reporters. 

But Yair Lapid brazenly stated that Israel must be allowed to do just that. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken supported Lapid in that statement, in effect. That’s something that Shireen’s fellow citizens can’t allow. 

TOP RECRUITS REFUSE TO WORK FOR GOOGLE OR AMAZON OVER INVOLVEMENT IN ISRAELI WAR CRIMES

AUGUST 2ND, 2022

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By Jessica Buxbaum

As Google and Amazon employees fight back against the tech giants’ Israeli military contract, college graduates have also joined the resistance.

Amid Israel’s assault on Gaza and occupied East Jerusalem in May 2021, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google signed a $1.22 billion contract to provide cloud technology to Israel’s public sector and its military, known as Project Nimbus.

In response, Google and Amazon workers formed a coalition opposing Project Nimbus as well as strategizing against the technology’s implementation.

While just over a year old, Google and Amazon have not addressed the Workers Against Nimbus and #NoTechForApartheid campaigns publicly, but the activist network has had success in cutting the corporations’ power —  even if only slightly.

“The students who are graduating from university and who have applied to Amazon and Google are turning down all of these interview requests,” an anonymous Amazon employee told MintPress News, describing how it makes them hopeful to see that kind of community support. “They’re specifically telling Amazon and Google, ‘We’re not going to these interviews because of Project Nimbus.’’’

Earlier this month, activists disrupted the keynote speech at an AWS summit in New York City, drawing attention to the tech behemoth’s controversial contract with the Israeli government.

“By doing business with Israeli apartheid, Amazon and Google will make it easier for the Israeli government to surveil Palestinians and force them off their land,” a website for the #NoTechForApartheid campaign says.

Outside the summit’s venue, Google employee Gabriel Schubiner addressed protesters. “As tech workers we need to ask ourselves: do we want a world where militaries around the world are training AI [artificial intelligence] for surveillance and targeting on our hardware?” Schubiner said. “Do we want to give nationalist armies of the world our technology?”

Google and AWS beat out IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft for an Israeli government tender last year to jointly build and provide cloud-based regional data centers within Israel’s borders and under Israeli law. Project Nimbus will allow Israeli ministries and other public entities to transfer servers and services into the cloud. Local data centers are expected to be completed within two years. Until then, cloud services will be provided by Google and AWS data centers in Ireland, the Netherlands, and Germany.

The contract also includes a provision stipulating Amazon and Google cannot shut down operations and deny services to certain government entities, effectively barring the tech firms from engaging in a boycott of Israel or stopping the technology from being used to enact human rights abuses.

The Workers Against Project Nimbus campaign described how they felt during the Israeli 2021 attacks and why they were compelled to join together.

“[W]e had to face the fact that those of us Palestinian tech workers with family and loved ones in Gaza or the West Bank, those of us living in diaspora, would now be enabling violence and oppression against our own communities – all while professing the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,”  The Workers Against Project Nimbus said in a July 26 Tech Workers Coalition (TWC) newsletter.

Google and Amazon did not respond to requests for comment on Project Nimbus or the worker-led campaign against it.

BOLSTERING A DATA-DRIVEN OCCUPATION

Little is known about Project Nimbus as Google and Amazon employees have been kept in the dark about the project’s activities and what the Israeli government may use the technology for.

The Palestinian Amazon worker spoke to MintPress News under the condition of anonymity to avoid workplace retaliation that the corporations have not disclosed any details about Project Nimbus to employees. “We are completely alienated from what our labor bills and the effect it has, all while being the ones who are putting in the work for it,” they said.

However, newly-unveiled documents first reported by The Intercept showcase the tools provided to the Israeli government and may offer a glimpse into how Project Nimbus may be used.

According to training slides and videos accessed through a public educational portal for Nimbus users, Google is offering Israel its full suite of machine learning and advanced artificial intelligence tools on its Google Cloud Platform. These services include facial detection, computer vision, automated image categorization, object tracking, and sentiment detection, a controversial form of machine learning claiming to determine a person’s feelings through their face and statements.

“Even though these training materials are fairly standard, it shows that Google is actively trying to help the Israeli government, including Israeli Defense Forces, to train their own AI systems on top of Google’s Cloud systems,” Jack Poulson, executive director of watchdog group, Tech Inquiry, told MintPress News.

Poulson expressed concerns over training documents detailing an Edge model of Google’s Tensor Processing Unit, an AI application designed to accelerate machine learning workloads.

“Edge is often a codeword for when it’s deployed outside of a traditional location, usually in the field,” Poulson said. “That in many cases include drones, surveillance cameras, cell phones, and places where you would directly be performing measurements or surveillance.”

Poulson is also wary of speech-to-text and language translation capabilities mentioned in the training materials.

“Hypothetically speaking, suppose the Israeli government built a system that had access to the conversations with Palestinians or a lot of footage on Palestinians, then any sort of large collection of audio could be transcribed directly from speech-to-text,” Poulson said. “The text could be translated into another language if needed, and surveillance camera footage could be used to track people of interest.”

Microsoft Israel Feature photo
A Palestinian man uses a biometric gate at the Qalandia checkpoint in Jerusalem on July 11, 2019. Sebastian Scheiner | AP

The anonymous Amazon employee reiterated how the training materials appear harmless, but with Israel’s criminal track record, these resources can easily be turned into something nefarious.

“There’s a darker side to these things,” they said. “In the American reality, these tools are putting an end to privacy, but in occupied Palestine, it’s enabling the war crimes.”

In the TWC newsletter, workers described how the technology may be used to entrench Israel’s occupation of Palestine:

The cloud technology we build, market, and research would now be used to host an apartheid identification system – one that determines individuals’ freedom of movement and rights based on their identity and where they are born. Such tech would be used to store massive amounts of information collected about Palestinians – from capturing CCTV footage and taking photos at checkpoints and even biometric data – that could be used to surveil and criminalize civilians. 

The newsletter warned that:

Apartheid Israeli government ministries such as the Israeli Land Authority, which systematically segregates and confines Palestinians while allowing for illegal settlement expansion for Jewish Israelis, would use this tech.

Data-driven technology is the backbone of Israel’s military occupation of Palestine. Numerous reports have revealed how Israel is using digital surveillance tools to spy, monitor, and cement control over Palestinians. This technology is deployed on social media, at checkpoints, and through neighborhood CCTV footage. It comes in the form of data collection and analysis, call monitoring, and facial recognition. This mass system of surveillance gives Palestinians the perpetual feeling of being watched, erasing their privacy and autonomy.

NOT JUST PROJECT NIMBUS

While Project Nimbus is in the spotlight due to the worker-led campaign against it, other U.S. tech corporations are also supporting Israel’s occupation.

Israel’s Ministry of Defense adopted Palo-Alto-based Anjuna’s Confidential Cloud software that trains AI models so tech firm employees will not be able to access any of that data. Tech giant Cisco has been involved in growing Israel’s visual surveillance apparatus in Jerusalem. Motorola Solutions Israel, a subsidiary of the U.S.-based Motorola Solutions, has been providing the Israeli Defense Ministry with surveillance system technology for Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and the Apartheid Wall, the barrier separating the West Bank and 1948-occupied Palestine or modern-day Israel.

While there have been employee resignations over Project Nimbus, the anonymous worker told MintPress News that they remain with Amazon as a way to implement change from the inside, especially since most corporations are guilty of similar atrocities to Amazon and Google.

While there have been employee resignations over Project Nimbus, the anonymous worker told MintPress News that they remain with Amazon as a way to implement change from the inside, especially since most corporations are guilty of similar atrocities to Amazon and Google.

“It’s more important to try to change things instead of just running,” the employee said. “It’s similar to what the Palestinians are doing; they’re not running. They’re staying and fighting and resisting.”

WHO IS BIDEN WORKING FOR? ON ISRAEL VISIT, “ZIONIST” BIDEN WHITEWASHES ISRAEL’S CRIMES

JULY 15TH, 2022

By Miko Peled

Source

Upon his arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, which sits on the lands of the occupied Palestinian city of El-Lyd, President Joe Biden repeated his age-old mantra, “You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” Indeed you do not. To be a Zionist, you only need to be a racist, a supporter of the hate-filled, violent, intolerant apartheid regime that has been occupying Palestine since 1948. You need to believe that people who are not Palestinians have a right to Palestine and to its resources. To be a Zionist, you don’t need to be Jewish, you just need to repeat the absurd claim that the Bible gives all Jewish people around the world the right to kill people because they are Palestinians who want to return to their homes and their land.

In a nauseating show of hypocrisy, President Biden, Israeli President Yitzhak Hertzog, and Prime Minister Lapid spoke of peace, justice, and human rights as the shared values of the United States and the State of Israel. This was less than twenty-four hours after John Bolton admitted to orchestrating coup d’états in countries around the world. This is also after Israeli military, and political figures openly talked about assassinating Iranian scientists and officials.

The values shared by Israel and the United States are clearly represented in the fact that President Biden is visiting a country that only recently assassinated the American-Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu-Akleh and is keeping silent about it. The president of the United States is in Israel, meeting with heads of the Israeli state, and yet rather than using the full force of his position – which is considerable – to demand accountability, he says and does nothing.

American journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The murders of Khashoggi and that of Shireen Abu Akleh are not the only crimes committed by the two regimes for which Biden is showing love, but these two were well publicized and involve U.S. nationals, so one would think he would act or at least speak out.

A BAD DEAL

U.S. support for Israel is a bad deal for the American taxpayers. $3.8 billion dollars of American taxpayers’ money gets sent to Israel at the beginning of each year. And with the exception of the military-industrial complex, Americans get little out of this.

American citizens who wish to travel to Palestine, particularly if they have an Arab name or family there, are subjected to harassment by the Israeli authorities. This harassment takes place at Tel-Aviv airport, where the authorities are notoriously racist, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim. The harassment can last for many hours and often results in refusal of entry into the country. U.S. citizens are not protected from the inhumane interrogation process that takes place at the airport on the way in, and they are not protected by their U.S. citizenship when they leave the country.

A U.S. passport does not even protect Americans from being shot and killed by Israeli forces. Rachel Corrie and Shireen Abu-Akleh, both citizens of the United States, were killed in broad daylight. They were wearing safety equipment, they were well identified as non-combatant civilians, and they were both butchered in plain sight. Washington made no effort to bring the criminals to justice.

Joe Biden in Israel

Another U.S. citizen who died at the hand of IDF soldiers is Omar Abdalmajeed As’ad. He died on January 12 after he was arrested by IDF troops. According to a report in The Jerusalem Post, the seventy-eight-year-old As’ad “was arrested, handcuffed, blindfolded and gagged,” after which the soldiers left. Also, according to the Post report, “the soldiers did not call for medical assistance and left him there believing that he had fallen asleep.” Although several members of congress did issue statements, no real action was taken to hold Israel accountable.

Where was the U.S. government to protect him? Where was the demand to investigate and bring the culprits to justice? and where are the sanctions against the State of Israel, which shows no regard for the lives of Palestinians?

The Israeli human-rights organization B’Tselem commented that: “The army’s announcement regarding the death of Omar Assad is adorned with empty words about ‘moral failure’ – concluding, as expected, with the faintest of rebukes…In fact, the fundamental moral failure is that of Israel’s senior echelons, leading a regime of Jewish supremacy, one in which the human life of Palestinians has no value.”

NO DEMOCRACY, NO STABILITY

Contrary to what is said about Israel, it is neither a democracy nor an island of stability. It has been several years since Israel has been able to function as a state. This is due to the fact that there has not been a government with a stable majority in place. Elections are held over and over again, and even though the results are predictably the same, no stable government is formed. The election results have been consistent, clearly showing what Israeli voters want, namely, they are in favor of a strong, ultra-right-wing government led by racists like Benjamin Netanyahu, who was indicted for corruption, and war criminal generals like Benny Gantz.

Neither the corruption nor the war crimes seem to have any impact on the voters, and these people are elected over and over again. The only thing that changes are the partnerships between the politicians who rarely last very long and the new generals that join the political arena. The one thing that remains constant in Israeli politics is Benjamin Netanyahu. He and his loyal Likud Party followers are the only stable, consistent element in Israeli politics.

WHO IS JOE BIDEN WORKING FOR?

Judging by his performance, Joe Biden is working for AIPAC and not for the American people. He hit every note, shook every hand and repeated his mantras, clearly trying to please his donors back home. According to reports, he even made sure to tell Benjamin Netanyahu that he likes him. His interview on Israeli television included a commitment to keep the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on the list of terrorist organizations and even to attack Iran if that was what it took to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. That is not what his constituents in the U.S. want, but it is what Israel and AIPAC expect of him.

HOW AIPAC IS LEADING EFFORTS TO DISMANTLE THE UN INQUIRY ON PALESTINE

JULY 1ST, 2022

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

This month, the United Nations’ Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel found that the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine is the root cause of the decades-long conflict in the region. But as the probe gets underway, the Israel lobby’s flagship organization, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), is actively attempting to extinguish it.

In response to the inquiry led by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), members of Congress have initiated legislation to abolish the investigation in both the House and the Senate. On June 14, Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Nevada Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen introduced the COI Elimination Act S.4389. The bill is similar but not identical to H.R.7223, also called the COI Elimination Act, introduced by Representatives Gregory Steube, Vincente Gonzalez, and Joe Wilson in March.

Both bills seek to abolish the UN inquiry as well as other UN groups in order “to combat systemic anti-Israel bias at the United Nations Human Rights Council and other international fora.” The legislation also calls for restricting U.S. funding to the UNHRC by 25 percent of the amount budgeted. While the Senate bill only has three co-sponsors currently, the House version has nearly 70 signatories made up of mostly Republican representatives.

The UN inquiry came as a result of the Israeli attacks on Gaza and occupied East Jerusalem in May 2021, with the purpose of investigating human rights abuses that occurred during that period. The U.S., Israel, and 19 other countries have sharply condemned the inquiry following the release of its first report.

“We believe the nature of the COI established last May is further demonstration of long-standing, disproportionate attention given to Israel in the Council and must stop,” U.S. Ambassador to the UNHRC Michèle Taylor said during the 50th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, as the UN inquiry’s first report was being debated.

The State Department has also rebuked the UN inquiry, its spokesperson Ned Price remarking,

…[W]e firmly oppose the open-ended and vaguely defined nature of the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry on the situation in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, which represents a one-sided, biased approach that does nothing to advance the prospects for peace.”

The UNHCR did not respond to press queries on the congressional bills, instead reiterating the COI’s goals and that all member states must abide by its actions. However, a UNHCR spokesperson did tell MintPress News that,

The mandate of the Commission of Inquiry was supported by a majority of member states of the Council and the allocation of a budget was then approved by the General Assembly. All members of the Human Rights Council are expected to fully cooperate with its decisions, as reaffirmed in General Assembly resolution 50/251 of 2005.”

‘AIPAC-DRIVEN’

According to Jewish Insider, AIPAC has spent this month lobbying on Capitol Hill for more members of Congress to support the COI Elimination Act as part of its first in-person National Council meeting in Washington, D.C., since the start of the pandemic.

Their efforts appear to have succeeded as nearly 40 House Representatives signed onto the bill over the last two weeks.

“It’s simply another AIPAC-driven effort to demonize the UN in order to obfuscate the cruel and inhumane realities on the ground in Israel-Palestine and to deny the apartheid nature of the state,” historian Walter L. Hixson told MintPress News.

The author of “Israel’s Armor: The Israel Lobby and the First Generation of the Palestine Conflict”, Hixon explained that AIPAC activists don’t have a secret lobbying tactic but rather pressure members of Congress through their financial clout.

“It’s what they always do,” he said. “They let them know that people who support them can get support from AIPAC and people who oppose them can expect their next campaign opponents to be funded by AIPAC.”

“It’s pretty ruthless lobbying that exerts its influence, and unfortunately there are a lot of members of Congress who are very easily swayed, unprincipled, fearful and tow the AIPAC line,” Hixson added.

In addition to lobbying members of Congress directly, AIPAC is also encouraging Americans to urge their representatives to support the legislation.

Yet they are not the only Israel lobby organization tackling the COI. Richard Goldberg, senior advisor at the Israel lobby group Foundation for Defense of Democracies published an op-ed in the New York Post railing against the COI. Pro-Israel groups B’nai B’rith International, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and the National Jewish Advocacy Center have also come out against the COI.

AIPAC has also pressured Congress on other issues during their recent Capitol Hill tour, such as continuing military aid to Israel, supporting the Stop Iranian Drones Act, and rejecting a Senate letter urging the U.S. government to investigate the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Sent last week, a letter signed by nearly half of the Democrats serving in the Senate calls on President Joe Biden to directly involve the U.S. in probing Akleh’s killing.

AIPAC talking points sent to lawmakers ahead of the letter’s publication and seen by Israeli newspaper Haaretz said “the circumstances surrounding the death of Ms. Abu Akleh remain unclear despite the hasty conclusions of various media outlets,” whereas the letter “implies both Israeli culpability and inability to conduct an objective, thorough investigation of the incident.”

AIPAC STILL KING

While the COI Elimination Act has received significant backing, the bill’s stated purpose is far-fetched. The U.S. cannot — with a stroke of a pen — unilaterally eradicate a world agency investigation.

However, according to Hixson, the country does have considerable control over the UN and by withholding a quarter of funding (as promised within the bill) can prove detrimental to the UN’s efforts.

“The UN has always been — from its inception in 1945 — heavily influenced by the United States,” Hixson said, noting how its headquarters are in New York and the U.S. has been a longtime funder of the entity. “They can’t dictate to the UN to change a policy, but they can certainly hurt it financially and influence decision-making,” he added.

Whether the bill comes to fruition remains to be seen. But Hixson believes it has a chance, especially given that Democrats are signing onto it as well. Currently, nine Democrats have sponsored the House version and Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal has signed on to the Senate act.

Israel lobby experts have suggested that AIPAC’s influence on Capitol Hill is waning as more Democratic politicians and American Jews become increasingly critical of the Israeli government’s actions. For example, experts have speculated that AIPAC establishing political action committees last year is just a desperate attempt to cement its authority over Washington politics.

While Hixson agrees, he also asserts that AIPAC still remains quite influential. And with in-person lobbying again a feature of AIPAC’s work as pandemic restrictions dissipate, the organization may continue to see its influence balloon.

“AIPAC is very determined. They’ve increased their funding. They’ve increased their office space. They’ve increased their number of personnel,” he said. “It remains a very powerful lobby, not just for a foreign policy for a foreign country, but period. It’s as powerful as any lobby really in Washington, and probably more powerful than the gun lobby.”

Nevertheless, public support for Israel has waned substantially in the last decade, mirrored by an increasing sympathy for the Palestinian cause, especially among Democrats. According to a February Gallup poll, sympathy for Israelis has declined from 64% to 55% from 2013 to 2022 and climbed from 12% to 26% for Palestinians.

While Israel might be losing the battle for public opinion, in the realm of political influence in Washington, it is still winning the war.

As Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ Unravels, Congress Launches New Pro-Israel ‘Cheerleading’ Caucus

January 28th, 2022

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

In less than two years, former President Trump’s Middle East peace agreement is in shambles and the Israel lobby is desperate to revive it, no matter the cost.

WASHINGTON — Earlier this month, Congress launched the bicameral, bipartisan Abraham Accords Caucus to support normalization between Israel and Arab states. Backed by pro-Israel groups, this new political development can be interpreted as a way for the Israel lobby to regain its power over a U.S. Congress that is increasingly critical of Israel.

Described as a “cheerleading squad” in the Jewish Insider by its co-chair, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), the caucus’s stated goals include expanding the Abraham Accords agreements and fostering regional peace. The group’s other co-chairs are Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), David Trone (D-MD), Ann Wagner (R-MO), and Brad Schneider (D-IL).

The Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) speculated that one of the caucus’ top priorities may be passing the Israel Relations Normalization Act, a bill requiring the United States Department of State to promote normalization between Israel and Arab countries. The IMEU also outlined why the new caucus is particularly controversial, highlighting how the group could be used to crack down on criticism of the Israeli government.

IMEU said in its policy analysis:

In addition to the problematic nature of reifying Trump-administration deals with authoritarian regimes, this legislation is controversial for additional reasons, among which are: A statement of policy “to oppose efforts to delegitimize the state of Israel.” In other legislative initiatives, this vague phraseology has been used as coded language to propose the suppression and even criminalization of freedom of expression to criticize Israeli policies.

The idea that the Abraham Accords need a “cheerleading squad” is particularly fitting in this political climate in which traditional bipartisan support is waning, Zaha Hassan, a policy analyst at Palestinian think tank Al-Shabaka, explained to MintPress News, adding:

The folks that started the Abraham Accords Caucus decided to pursue this because they see that the U.S. administration isn’t being active enough in expanding and deepening the Abraham Accords.”

Hassan noted that the timing of the caucus’s debut is important to note as well, as politicians — specifically Democratic members of Congress — and the public have started questioning or even condemning Israel’s actions. She explained:

We have organizations like Human Rights Watch and various Israeli legal and human rights organizations talking about an apartheid situation in Israel-Palestine.

And just at that moment when we’re having that conversation, there’s all this uptick in activity around talking about peace, prosperity, regional economic integration, and expanding the Abraham Accords, and that’s now become the focus of attention.”

With a failed peace process and congressional members calling for greater accountability for Israel, Hassan said the conversation around Palestine-Israel is shifting, and  that’s where the new caucus steps in to act as a diversionary tactic:

It’s trying to find a new direction for the conversation to go in, recognizing the peace process can no longer be used as an excuse.

The idea is that since there isn’t a possibility in Israel or among Palestinians for a peace agreement, we should focus instead on bettering the economic situation of Palestinians and the region writ large.”

Deceptive praise

The announcement of the Abraham Accords Caucus was met with a flurry of enthusiasm in the press and among politicians, as noted by the founder and president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, Lara Friedman, in the organization’s Legislative Round-Up, where she wrote:

The announcement of the new caucus was accompanied by praise and welcome from the Biden Administration, from the Bahraini government (among others), and a burst of giddy articles/op-eds/editorials promoting the Abraham Accords and/or the caucus, and pressing the Biden Administration to do more to expand normalization.

Friedman emphasized in her analysis the clear congressional hypocrisy when it came to this ecstatic round of approval for the new caucus:

This bipartisan congressional enthusiasm for expanding Arab normalization with Israel stands in stark contrast to decades of Congress’ demonstrated apathy, timidity, antipathy, and outright obstructionism with respect to anything related to trying to secure normal rights for Palestinians.

She suggested that these various gestures of support were simply tactics to encourage the Biden administration — whose response to the Abraham Accords has been tepid — to warm up to the Accords.

Friedman said in her report:

This sudden burst of enthusiasm/support/pressure around the Abraham Accords all appears aimed at pressuring the Biden Administration not only to more strongly support the Accords but to follow in the footsteps of the Trump Administration in using U.S. sweeteners to achieve normalization deals — sweeteners that under Trump meant that the accords were paid for via U.S. arms deals and by the U.S. changing policy on a critical geopolitical/legal question (i.e., recognizing Morocco’s claims to the Western Sahara).

Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ unraveling

In less than two years, former President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace agreement is in shambles. The deal with the United Arab Emirates — the first country to normalize relations with Israel as part of the Accords — is at an impasse. The UAE decided to buy aircraft from France instead of purchasing American F-35 jet fighters, which purportedly was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

According to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, the Abraham Accords were a key legislative agenda item for the American Israel Public Relations Committee (AIPAC). With the F-35 sale now off the table, the Accords are proving to be a failure.

The Accords and its new caucus claim their objective is to foster regional stability, including achieving a peaceful solution for Palestine and Israel. From Hassan’s perspective, however, normalization with Israel is actually about normalizing and cementing Israeli settlements.

“Some of the first follow-on agreements [between Israel and the UAE] involved settler enterprises,” Hassan said, mentioning the established trade partnerships between businesses operating in illegal Israeli settlements and the UAE, and how delegations of settler councils visited the Gulf state following normalization. “So Israel’s incentive with the Abraham Accords is to really solidify its control over the West Bank.”

Backed by the Israel lobby

While the caucus boasted of its bipartisan representation, the groups backing it are anything but politically divided. FMEP’s Friedman wrote:

A serious investment of time and effort (and possibly funding) has clearly gone into establishing the caucus and getting its establishment/objectives maximum attention, …managing to pull together a caucus that is bipartisan and bicameral, and that enjoys support from an array of mainly center/right-wing pro-Israel groups (both Jewish and Christian), as well as one mainstream think tank.

According to a congressional press release, the caucus is supported by:

  • The Atlantic Council
  • The Abraham Accords Peace Institute
  • AIPAC
  • The Anti-Defamation League
  • The American Jewish Committee
  • Hadassah — The Women’s Zionist Organization of America
  • The US-Israel Education Association
  • The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
  • The Israel Policy Forum
  • Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Action
  • The Jewish Federations of North America
  • B’nai B’rith International

The money sources behind the group’s establishment and promotional materials are largely unknown. MintPress News reached out to the aforementioned organizations to determine if their organizational support translated to financial backing, but those requests haven’t been answered.

However, being supported by a majority of pro-Israel groups suggests the caucus’s goals may not be as peace-oriented as its PR suggests. Al-Shabaka’s Hassan explained:

The ones leading the caucus’ establishment aren’t necessarily the most actively supportive of a two-state solution. So it’s difficult to imagine this group is going to be prioritizing that as a part of their support for the Abraham Accords.”

Folks in this Abraham Accords Caucus are less interested in an Israeli-Palestinian political solution than in recognizing Israeli sovereignty. If you have organizations like CUFI backing this caucus, you get the idea of what kind of place Palestinian sovereignty or statehood is going to play in the work of the caucus.”

Biden Admin’s Reluctance to Spend Geopolitical Capital Greenlights Israeli Settlement Push

December 15th, 2021

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

“No U.S. administration wants to be perceived as picking 10 fights every day with Israel, even if Israel is engaging every day in 10 things that really demand a response from the U.S.” – Lara Friedman, Foundation for Middle East Peace.

OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM — Last week, Israel bowed to American pressure and scrapped the controversial Atarot settlement in the Palestinian neighborhood of Qalandiya just north of Jerusalem. But on the heels of that decision, the state advanced another Jewish settlement in Palestinian neighborhoods along Jerusalem’s southern tip, even as the residents there are grappling with a severe housing shortage.

The plan is to develop a new neighborhood called Givat HaShaked on land extending beyond the Green Line (Israel’s de facto border before the 1967 War, which saw it occupy East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) and adjacent to the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa in Occupied East Jerusalem.

On Wednesday, the Jerusalem municipality’s Planning and Building Committee recommended the development plan for deposit, meaning it will now head to the Jerusalem District Planning Committee, which will decide whether to deposit the plan for objections or public review. The project calls for the construction of 473 homes, schools and synagogues to be built on about nine acres of open land.

During Wednesday’s committee hearing, Israel’s Custodian General, the authority within the Justice Ministry overseeing properties whose owners are unknown, was represented by its economic unit director, Hananel Gurfinkel. Gurfinkel is a right-wing activist known for supporting Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem.

Givat HaShaked is not the only settlement in East Jerusalem being pushed by the Custodian General. Documentation obtained by Haaretz reveals Givat HaShaked is one of six Jewish neighborhoods Israel is currently advancing across East Jerusalem. These include one in Sheikh Jarrah, one near Damascus Gate, one in Sur Baher, one in Beit Hanina, and another in Beit Safafa.

Activists emphasized that Gurfinkel’s appointment is directly intertwined with the heightened settlement activity and displacement of Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

Amy Cohen, director of international relations and advocacy at the Jerusalem-focused Israeli human rights organization Ir Amim, said of Gurfinkel:

What we’ve seen is that since his appointment in 2017, there has been a substantial increase in eviction lawsuits against Palestinians and the expansion of Jewish settlement in Palestinian areas.”

Settlement expansion under the guise of helping Palestinians

According to Ir Amim, the acreage set for Givat HaShaked is actually on land that is undergoing formal land registration in the Sharafat area of Beit Safafa.

Israel’s 2018 Government Decision 3790 was marketed to the public as a means to push economic development in East Jerusalem and reduce socioeconomic inequality. The initiative reserved 50 million shekels (nearly $16 million) for the registration of land rights in East Jerusalem, an important prerequisite needed to secure building permits. Israeli authorities often use the absence of building permits as justification for demolishing Palestinian homes.

However, as uncovered by Ir Amim, land registration procedures are being used to advance Jewish settlement – as found in Sheikh Jarrah – rather than develop Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

Demolition East Jerusalem
sraeli authorities demolish an East Jerusalem Palestinian home for “being built without obtaining a permit” June, 2021. Photo | Activestills

“On one hand, [Government Decision 3790] is depicted as a tool to aid Palestinians,” Cohen told MintPress News. “And yet it’s being used to further the expansion of Jewish settlement and confiscation of Palestinian land and property.”

Land registration is supposed to be a transparent and publicized process, Sari Kronish, East Jerusalem planner at Israeli planning rights organization Bimkom, explained. “The state is supposed to publish a map of the areas of the plots and invite people to make claims. And if claims are made that contradict each other, then the registrar is supposed to send those claims to court to be clarified,” Kronish said. “But the way the state is actually doing it, we see that it’s being done quietly. People often don’t know that it’s happening.”

“We don’t know yet of a single case where the Palestinians will be able to benefit from it,” Kronish added.

East Jerusalem’s housing crisis

Like other areas of East Jerusalem, Beit Safafa is suffering from an extreme housing shortage.  This is a result of a bureaucratic labyrinth of building permits and a lack of zoning plans. While the Palestinian population has quadrupled to nearly 40% of Jerusalem’s total population since 1967, Israeli authorities have allowed Palestinians to develop only 9% of the land in East Jerusalem.

Abu Ghassan, chairman of the board of directors for Beit Safafa-Sharafat, dismissed the notion that the Israeli government is merely recommending the development of Givat HaShaked. “Israel is not promoting the plan,” Ghassan said. “It’s a reality that we are living and the plan is going to happen.” He said Beit Safafa residents are up in arms over the Givat HaShaked plan, given they have been requesting the city for more housing for young couples in Beit Safafa. But their demands have failed to be heard.

“What’s happening in Beit Safafa is a political situation. They’re doing the same thing in many other Arabic villages in Jerusalem.” Ghassan said. “Jerusalem’s government is just ignoring the Arabic community as if they don’t live here at all. They’re ignoring us while developing their own community.”

According to Ghassan, former Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who served until 2018, promised 400 homes to Beit Safafa but the current mayor, Moshe Lion, walked back this commitment.

Ghassan explained Beit Safafa’s housing shortage is the result of infrastructure and encroaching settlements. Beit Safafa is currently surrounded by three Israeli settlements – Gilo, Givat Hamatos, and East Talpiot – and the majority Jewish neighborhood of Pat, which has made it difficult for Beit Safafa residents to obtain construction permits. Beit Safafa was also split in two when the Begin Highway and HaRav Ovadia Yosef Road were built, leading to a lack of open space.

The Bennett doctrine

The area reserved for Givat HaShaked was once sought after for development by former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. In 1995, Rabin put forward a housing project for the land, sparking international outcry. The UN Security Council voted to have Israel halt the plan, with the United States vetoing the resolution. Rabin shelved his expropriation efforts days after the UN vote, in what has been speculated to be an exchange for the U.S.’ veto.

Now, the current Israeli government is going beyond what any previous leadership dared to do, Daniel Seidemann, founder and director of Israeli non-profit Terrestrial Jerusalem, emphasized.

“These [settlement] plans are now on the agenda,” Seidemann told MintPress News. “Relations between the United States and [Israeli Prime Minister Naftali] Bennett are charged at the moment,” Seidemann continued. “The Americans have made their concerns very clear about [the settlements of] E1 and Atarot, so why is Bennett having another poke-in-the-eye over something like this?”

Lara Friedman, president of the American non-profit Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP), agreed the new government is stepping into territory even Bennett’s predecessor wouldn’t touch. “They’re as bad as the [Benjamin] Netanyahu government and in many ways, they’re worse,” Friedman said. “These settlements are absolutely incompatible with any commitment to anything other than permanent Israeli control over the entire area,” Friedman added, highlighting the record number of home demolitions throughout Area C of the Occupied West Bank as another way Bennett’s government is pushing increased annexation.

Demolition East Jerusalem
Israeli police arrest a Palestinian boy during the demolition of a Palestinian shop in East Jerusalem. Photo | AP

From Ir Amim’s Cohen’s perspective, despite Bennett’s government being a politically diverse coalition, hardline voices are the ones in power. “Far-right members of the coalition are put in very strategic, high-level positions, like in the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Housing, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice,” Cohen said. “All of these portfolios are very senior and they have a lot of weight. And what we’ve seen is because of this, they are quietly able to advance this very far-right-wing agenda.”

Prominent right-wing politicians hold top spots in Israel’s government: Ayelet Shaked is Interior Minister; Ze’ev Elkin is the Minister of Housing and Construction; and Gideon Sa’ar serves as the Minister of Justice.

Biden versus Israel?

As settlement expansion becomes the defining feature of Bennett’s government, the other side of the Atlantic is becoming increasingly more vocal about Israeli occupation and land theft.

In November, 26 U.S. House Democrats penned a letter urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken to stop Israel from moving forward with the settlement plan in the E1 area of the West Bank.

The move was led by Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan, who recently toured a Palestinian village in the West Bank with New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman. And Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum has become a strong advocate for Palestinian rights in Congress. The Democrat has sponsored two bills related to U.S. military aid to Israel and said the state practices apartheid. On the Givat HaShaked proposal and ongoing settlement expansion in Palestine, McCollum told MintPress in a statement:

Israel’s state-sponsored expansion of settlements on Palestinian land – while the Israeli government’s bureaucrats deny Palestinians permits to even build homes and bulldoze existing Palestinian homes, schools, and businesses – is destroying the prospect of a Palestinian state and the prospects for peace.

The global community views Israeli settlement expansion as illegal and lethal to any future peace process, and the U.S. government should not be silent. This situation has reached a point in which the Palestinians are clearly a people denied even basic human rights while under Israeli government subjugation.

U.S. lawmakers are emerging as more and more critical of Israel, but that hasn’t stopped Israeli state violence. In fact, Israel appears almost fueled by the condemnation.

FMEP’s Friedman suggested President Joe Biden’s administration can’t keep up with the sheer number of controversial actions Israel has initiated this year, referring to increased settlement activity and Israel’s designation of six Palestinian organizations as terrorist entities.

“How much political capital does the Biden administration have to spend on any one of these things while it’s also working on Iran?” Friedman asked, arguing that the U.S. can’t expend all its political energy on Israel. So if a provocative move slips under the radar, Israel might view that as American approval. “If things like a new settlement in East Jerusalem are not on the agenda, it’s seen as a green light from Israel, that the U.S. is not opposing it,” Friedman said. “And if the U.S. does put it on the agenda, it means there’s that much less political capital that it can spend on other things.”

But at the end of the day, the U.S.-Israel alliance is a lot stronger than any notion of democracy or human rights.

“No U.S. administration wants to be perceived as picking 10 fights every day with Israel, even if Israel is engaging every day in 10 things that really demand a response from the U.S.,” Friedman observed.

Israel to Attack Iran? Washington Gives the Green Light to the ‘Military Option’

October 28, 2021

See the source image

By Philip Giraldi

Source

The U.S. will be seen as endorsing the crime, resulting in yet another foreign policy disaster in the Middle East, Philip Giraldi writes.

Some might recall candidate Joe Biden’s pledge to work to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which was a multilateral agreement intended to limit Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon. The JCPOA was signed by President Barack Obama in 2015, when Biden was Vice President, and was considered one of the only foreign policy successes of his eight years in office. Other signatories to it were Britain, China, Germany, France, and Russia and it was endorsed by the United Nations. The agreement included unannounced inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities by the IAEA and, by all accounts, it was working and was a non-proliferation success story. In return for its cooperation Iran was to receive its considerable assets frozen in banks in the United States and was also to be relieved of the sanctions that had been placed on it by Washington and other governments.

The JCPOA crashed and burned in 2018 when President Donald Trump ordered U.S. withdrawal from the agreement, claiming that Iran was cheating and would surely move to develop a nuclear weapon as soon as the first phase of the agreement was completed. Trump, whose ignorance on Iran and other international issues was profound, had surrounded himself with a totally Zionist foreign policy team, including members of his own family, and had bought fully into the arguments being made by Israel as well as by Israel Lobby predominantly Jewish groups to include the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Trump’s time in office was spent pandering to Israel in every conceivable way, to include recognizing Jerusalem as the country’s capital, granting Israel the green light for creating and expanding illegal settlements on the West Bank and recognizing the occupied Syrian Golan Heights as part of Israel.

Given Trump’s record, most particularly the senseless and against-American-interests abandonment of JCPOA, it almost seemed a breath of fresh air to hear Biden’s fractured English as he committed his administration to doing what he could to rejoin the other countries who were still trying to make the agreement work. After Biden was actually elected, more or less, he and his Secretary of State Tony Blinken clarified what the U.S. would seek to do to “fix” the agreement by making it stronger in some key areas that had not been part of the original document.

Iran for its part insisted that the agreement did not need any additional caveats and should be a return to the status quo ante, particularly when Blinken and his team made clear that they were thinking of a ban on Iranian ballistic missile development as well as negotiations to end Tehran’s alleged “interference” in the politics of the region. The interference presumably referred to Iranian support of the Palestinians as well as its role in Syria and Yemen, all of which had earned the hostility of American “friends” Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Israel inevitably stirred the pot by sending a stream of senior officials, to include Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to discuss “the Iranian threat” with Biden and his top officials. Lapid made clear that Israel “reserves the right to act at any given moment, in any way… We know there are moments when nations must use force to protect the world from evil.” And to be sure, Biden, like Trump, has also made his true sentiments clear by surrounding himself with Zionists. Blinken, Wendy Sherman and Victoria Nuland have filled the three top slots at State Department, all are Jewish and all strong on Israel. Nuland is a leading neocon. And pending is the appointment of Barbara Leaf, who has been nominated Assistant Secretary to head the State Department’s Near East region. She is currently the Ruth and Sid Lapidus Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), which is an AIPAC spin off and a major component in the Israel Lobby. That means that a member in good standing of the Israel Lobby would serve as the State Department official overseeing American policy in the Middle East.

At the Pentagon one finds a malleable General Mark Milley, always happy to meet his Israeli counterparts, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, an affirmative action promotion who likewise has become adept at parroting the line “Israel has a right to defend itself.” And need one mention ardent self-declared Zionists at the top level of the Democratic Party, to include Biden himself, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and, of course, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer?

So rejoining the JCPOA over Israel objections was a non-starter from the beginning and was probably only mooted to make Trump look bad. Indirect talks including both Iran and the U.S. technically have continued in Vienna, though they have been stalled since the end of June. Trita Parsi has recently learned that Iran sought to make a breakthrough for an agreement by seeking a White House commitment to stick with the plan as long as Biden remains in office. Biden and Blinken refused and Blinken has recently confirmed that a new deal is unlikely, saying “time is running out.”

And there have been some other new developments. Israeli officials have been warning for over twenty years that Iran is only one year away from having its own nukes and needs to be stopped, a claim that has begun to sound like a religious mantra repeated over and over, but now they are actually funding the armaments that will be needed to do the job. Israel Defense Force Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi has repeatedly said the IDF is “accelerating” plans to strike Iran, and Israeli politicians to include former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have regularly been threatening to do whatever must be done to deal with the threat from the Islamic Republic. Israeli media is reporting that $1.5 billion has been allocated in the current and upcoming budget to buy the American bunker buster bombs that will be needed to destroy the Iranian reactor at Bushehr and its underground research facilities at Natanz.

In the wake of the news about the war funding, there have also been reports that the Israeli Air Force is engaging in what is being described as “intense” drills to simulate attacking Iranian nuclear facilities. After Israel obtains the 5000 pound bunker buster bombs, it will also need to procure bombers to drop the ordnance, and one suspects that the U.S. Congress will somehow come up with the necessary “military aid” to make that happen. Tony Blinken has also made clear that the Administration knows what Israel is planning and approves. He met with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on October 13th and said if diplomacy with Iran fails, the U.S. will turn to “other options.” And yes, he followed that up with the venerable line that “Israel has the right to defend itself and we strongly support that proposition.”

Lapid confirmed that one of Blinken’s “options” was military action. “I would like to start by repeating what the Secretary of State just said.  Yes, other options are going to be on the table if diplomacy fails.  And by saying other options, I think everybody understands here … what is it that we mean.” It must be observed that in their discussion of Iran’s nuclear program, Lapid and Blinnken were endorsing an illegal and unprovoked attack to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon that it is apparently not seeking, but which it will surely turn to as a consequence if only to defend itself in the future.

In short, U.S. foreign policy is yet again being held hostage by Israel. The White House position is clearly and absurdly that an Israeli attack on Iran, considered a war crime by most, is an act of self-defense. However it turns out, the U.S. will be seen as endorsing the crime and will inevitably be implicated in it, undoubtedly resulting in yet another foreign policy disaster in the Middle East with nothing but grief for the American people.  The simple truth is that Iran has neither threatened nor attacked Israel. Given that, there is nothing defensive about the actions Israel has already taken in sabotaging Iranian facilities and assassinating scientists, and there would be nothing defensive about direct military attacks either with or without U.S. assistance on Iranian soil. If Israel chooses to play the fool it is on them and their leaders. The United States does not have a horse in this race and should butt out, but one doubts if a White House and Congress, firmly controlled by Zionist forces, have either the wisdom or the courage to cut the tie that binds with the Jewish state.

Who Will Stand Up for Palestinian Activists? The Brutal, Tragic Murder of Nizar Banat

Nizar Banat Feature photo

By Miko Peled

Source

Blaming the PA for the death of Nizar Banat is the same as blaming the finger of the person pulling the trigger, or blaming the poison rather than those who administered the poison.

OCCUPIED PALESTINE — The inexcusable, tragic murder of Palestinian activist Nizar Banat,– the fierce critic of the Palestinian Authority, or PA, whose “health deteriorated” mysteriously last week while he was in PA custody — shows us once again that Palestinians have no protection. No Palestinian is safe when they decide to stand up and demand rights, justice, or even life. All indicators now point to the PA, as responsible for this reprehensible killing. However, the PA was merely the finger that pulled the trigger.

The Palestinian Authority was created by Israel and it works for Israel — it is a tool in the hands of the apartheid regime. Israel is ultimately responsible for the death of Nizar, just as it is responsible for the death of countless Palestinians. The State of Israel is a violent, racist state that has plagued Palestine for more than seven decades and must be stopped before one more drop of Palestinian blood is shed.

The New York Times quickly published an article berating the corrupt Palestinian Authority and even the U.S. State Department issued a statement regarding Nizar Banat’s death. The State Department spokesman, Ned Price, said in a statement:

We are deeply disturbed by the death of Palestinian activist Nizar Banat and the information that has been reported regarding the circumstances of his death. We offer our sincere condolences to his family and community. We urge the Palestinian Authority to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation and to ensure full accountability in this case. We have serious concerns about Palestinian Authority restrictions on the exercise of freedom of expression by Palestinians and harassment of civil society activists and organizations.”

A staunch defender of Israel, the NYT was quick to denounce the PA's misdeeds
A staunch defender of Israel, the NYT was quick to denounce the PA’s misdeeds

While the family and friends of Nizar undoubtedly feel a deep sense of gratitude that the U.S. Department of State cares enough to issue a statement, one wonders how it is that they don’t issue such statements when Palestinians die in Israeli custody. Is it possible that the U.S. Department of State does not hear of the countless thousands of Palestinians who are arrested, beaten, tortured, and murdered by the Israeli authorities? Curiously, it is only when the executioner is a Palestinian that the U.S. Department of State awakens from its slumber (or perhaps it takes a break from spreading democracy around the world) and pays attention to Palestinians.

While people find great joy in criticizing the Palestinian Authority, they must not forget that it was created by Israel in order to serve Israel and its interests. Blaming the PA for the death of Nizar Banat is the same as blaming the finger of the person pulling the trigger, or blaming the poison rather than those who administered the poison.

Who will be next? Who will defend them?

Reports from media outlets highlight the anti-PA sentiment that is being expressed in large protests throughout Palestinian cities. This latest abuse by the Palestinian Authority may have been a bridge too far and the PA may have underestimated the backlash from the killing of Nizar. We may even see someone being fired from their job or arrested for this, but the fact remains that the Authority itself is an arm of the Israeli oppression.

Those of us who are deeply involved in and committed to the struggle for justice in Palestine are intimately acquainted with Palestinian activists. We should be clear that the world let Nizar Banat die. I personally did not have the honor of ever meeting Nizar, but I live in fear for the lives of the ones I do know. The protests after the fact will not bring Nizar back and, unless we act to prevent the next Palestinian death, we will have failed to stand up to our responsibility.

We neglected to protect Nizar and his family from the brutal injustice that plagues Palestine. Tragically, he is not the first nor will he be the last Palestinian victim of the injustice. This is an injustice that has a name and a face, and with which so many people and governments are happy to engage.

The question raised by the untimely death of Nizar is: Who will stand up for Palestinian activists? Progressive politicians in the West call on us to “tone down the rhetoric.” Bernie Sanders was asked the following question about the use of the word “Apartheid:” “Do you think those who share your view should not use that kind of language?” The senator replied, “I think we should tone down the rhetoric.” The follow-up question should have been “For how long?” How much longer should the rhetoric be “toned down?” How many more fine men and women and children need to be arrested, tortured, expelled, and-or killed before it is appropriate to tone up the rhetoric?

Sanders did introduce a resolution to temporarily block $735 million in U.S. weapons sales to Israel, and he did admit that the sales of weapons to Israel are only “fueling the conflict.” However, this is far from enough.

There is an urgent need to protect Palestinian human rights activists who dedicate their lives to freeing their land and their people from the Zionist oppression. These activists are constantly persecuted by Israel — and by Israel’s contracted enforcer, the Palestinian Authority.

These activists and their children are regularly targeted, arrested, harassed and tortured; and, as we saw in the case of Nizar Banat, killed. While we may see a Palestinian official fired for what must be seen as an embarrassment for the PA, we will not see an end to this persecution until real protection is given to these courageous activists.

The days of expressing solidarity by wearing “Free Palestine” T-shirts are over. People of conscience who want to see an end to the bloody injustice in Palestine need to roll up their sleeves and demand it. There can be no tolerance for Zionism. Zionists and the multitude of Zionist organizations around the world must be shut down and all elected officials, from members of school boards to those who hold national office, must condemn Zionism and the State of Israel or be voted out in shame.

Zionism is racism and it has brought death and suffering to Palestine and its people. It is up to us to see to it that the death of Nizar Banat will not have been in vain.

Revealed: The American Money Entwined with Israel’s Jewish Terrorist Groups

May 28th, 2021

Jewish terrorism Feature photo

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

The IRS states that terrorist activities are considered substantial means for disqualifying an organization’s tax-exempt status, yet money is still finding its way through a number of high-profile tax-exempt American charities to known terrorist groups inside Israel.

JERUSALEM — As Israel rained rockets down on Gaza in mid-May, inside 1948-occupied Palestine (Historic Palestine and modern-day Israel), another kind of Israeli terror emerged. Jewish supremacists stormed cities with high Palestinian populations chanting “Death to Arabs!,” attacking scores of Palestinians and vandalizing their properties.

The mob violence killed two Palestinian citizens of Israel, according to the Mossawa Center: the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens of Israel. And despite calls for calm, the attacks are ongoing. On Thursday, a Jewish mob dragged a Bedouin driver out of his car and beat him with glass bottles in northern Historic Palestine. Earlier, footage posted on social media showed Arab gas station workers lying on the ground after being surrounded and beaten by a Jewish mob in the town of Binyamina:

The American Jewish community condemned the wave of anti-Palestinian violence, under the assumption these attacks stem from the fringes of Jewish society. In reality, however, these Jewish supremacists receive financial support from a network of charities in the United States.

Jewish extremists organizing online

As the Israeli government orchestrated a bombing campaign on Gaza, right-wing Israeli activists were coordinating their own war-like operations online.

According to HaBloc, an Israeli nonprofit organization monitoring anti-democratic activity, tens of new groups have been created in the last two weeks on WhatsApp and Telegram. The number of participants in each group ranged from the tens, hundreds, and even thousands. About 22,00 people in total were active in these groups.

HaBloc’s observation of these ultra-right-wing groups reveals how they used social media to organize attacks in advance offline. The groups exchanged information, sold weapons like knives, bats, and pepper spray, used inflammatory rhetoric such as calling for revenge against Palestinian citizens of Israel and documented themselves rioting in the streets.

“This is far more than what’s happening on a daily basis within the far right in Israel,” Ran Cohen, co-founder of HaBloc, said of the extremist activity.

News media reported that the main groups behind the recent rampage were Lehava, a Jewish supremacist organization opposing assimilation and coexistence, and La Familia, a far-right group supporting the Israeli Premier League football club Beitar Jerusalem.

The Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), the public and legal advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel, has been monitoring Lehava’s activity for more than a decade.

“Lehava is an organization that claims to work against assimilation, but basically wants to create a Jewish-only space in Jerusalem and in Israel in general,” Rabbi Noa Sattath, IRAC’s director, told MintPress News. “In this last wave of violence, they were certainly instigators in several of the cases.”

Lehava
Lehava leader Ben-Zion Gopstein arrives in court after being charged with incitement and terrorism in 2014. Mahmoud Illean | AP

IRAC demanded Lehava be labeled a terrorist organization in a letter sent this week to Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, and Head of the Shabak (General Security Service) Nadav Argaman.

Researchers within HaBloc, cautioned, though, attaching the violence to specific organizations.

“The role of Lehava in what happened is not direct,” HaBloc said. “It’s not like there was a central command and they’re sending people into the streets. It was really something that sort of spread out in a more organic way.”

“But the infrastructure and the ideology of Lehava is present and it contributes to what happened in the past few weeks,” HaBloc added.

The American charities bankrolling Lehava

Ben-Zion Gopstein is the leader of Lehava (or “flame” in Hebrew) and founded the organization in 2005. He is a notorious right-wing activist and disciple of Rabbi Meir Kahane, an American-Israeli extremist who founded the Kach Party, a political movement espousing racist beliefs.

After a brief stint in the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in the 1980s, the Kach Party was banned from Israeli politics and deemed a terrorist organization by both Israel and the U.S.

Kahane called for the expulsion of Palestinians and Arabs from the Holy Land and advocated for the outlawing of marriage between Jews and non-Jews.

Four years after Kahane’s assassination in 1990, Baruch Goldstein, an ardent Kahane follower, opened fired at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron—killing 29 worshippers.

Kahane and Goldstein have become revered within the Israeli settler movement. Settlers have shared Kahane’s teachings on social media and have prayed at his grave.

Lehava is considered the successor to Kach, and Kahane’s racist ideology, Kahanism, runs deep within Lehava circles.

In addition to following right-wing interactions online, HaBloc’s research has also found a complex web of nonprofits in Israel and the U.S. connected to Lehava.

Lehava is not a registered charity in Israel so it can’t accept donations. Instead, money is funneled to Lehava through the Israeli nonprofit, the Foundation for the Salvation of the People of Israel, or Hakeren Lehazalat Am Israel in Hebrew. Israeli fund, Chemla or “mercy” in Hebrew has also been linked to Lehava until about 2014, according to HaBloc.

The Foundation for the Salvation of the People of Israel did not respond to requests for comment via email. The email address may be Gopstein’s as “benzion” is part of it. When contacted at the telephone number associated with the organization’s GuideStar (a nonprofit database) profile, the person said this was not the foundation and hung up. Contact information for Chemla is not publically available.

Two tax-exempt charities in the U.S. fund Kahanist activity in Israel: Charity of Light and the American Friends of Yeshivat HaRa’ayon HaYehudi.

Charity of Light funnels money to Chasdei Meir (which translates roughly into “charity which shines” in Hebrew). Chasdei Meir was named after Kahane, according to the fund’s website. As evidenced on Charity of Light’s tax returns, Chasdei Meir is related to the Chemla Fund. Charity of Light donated $72,000 to Chasdei Meir/Chemla Fund in 2018, according to its most recent tax filing.

Jewish terrorism
Armed members of Chasdei Meir are shown wearing jumpsuits emblazoned with portarts of Meir Kahane

The American Friends of Yeshivat HaRa’ayon HaYehudi directly supports Yeshivat HaRa’ayon HaYehudi or the Jewish Idea Yeshiva, a Jewish education institution founded by Kahane.

“This is sort of the place for indoctrination of Kahanist ideology,” HaBloc said. “It’s where Benzi Gopstein studied and other prominent Kahanist figures.”

The charity gave $154,000 to Yeshivat HaRa’ayon HaYehudi in 2018, according to the most recent tax report. The yeshiva is even classified as a terrorist organization by the United States. The yeshiva’s dean, Rabbi Yehuda Kroizer, is also part of Chasdei Meir. The yeshiva did not return a request for comment.

The nonprofits’ tax filings list Levi Chazan as the director of Charity of Light and American Friends of Yeshivat HaRa’ayon HaYehudi, and Steven Goldrich is listed as a director of Charity of Light and treasurer of American Friends of Yeshivat HaRa’ayon HaYehudi. Chazan was convicted in a 1984 bus shooting in the Occupied West Bank, which wounded seven Palestinians. Both did not respond to requests for comment.

HaBloc explained this entanglement of Israeli and American organizations is not directly supporting Lehava with monetary contributions, but rather aiding the network around it.

“The relationship between [Lehava] and groups that are funded with American money are two separate issues,” HaBloc’s Cohen said. “There are connections, of course, but we cannot say that these groups that were active in the last two weeks were funded with American dollars.”

Other financial players

The aforementioned charities are largely linked to Kahanism and Lehava, but other American foundations have also been tied to Israeli extremism.

The Traditional Fund gave $51,000 to American Friends of Yeshivat HaRa’ayon and $11,500 to American Friends of Chasdei Meir in 2018. The American Friends of Chasdei Meir is not listed in any available nonprofit database, however, Chasdei Meir’s website does name the American Friends of Chasdei Meir as its contact. The Traditional Fund did not respond to press inquiries.

According to T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, the Central Fund of Israel (CFI) funds Chemla and Yeshivat HaRa’ayon HaYehudi. The organization filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 2018 to revoke CFI and the American Friends of Yeshivat HaRa’ayon’s charitable status on the grounds these groups are funding terrorism.

IRS charity law states that terrorist activities are considered substantial means for disqualifying an organization’s tax-exempt status. This is in accordance with engaging in illegal acts contrary to standard U.S. policy.

A litany of private foundations supports the CFI. Most notably, the foundations belonging to the late American billionaires Sheldon Adelson and Irving Moskowitz. The Moskowitz family foundations have contributed more than $8 million to CFI since 2018 and Adelson’s foundation gave $50,000 to CFI in 2018.

Lehava

Jay Marcus of CFl said in a statement to MintPress News that, “The Central Fund of Israel absolutely rejects violence and does not support any organizations that promote violence. Furthermore, if an organization that we once supported ever started promoting violence, CFI would not support them in the future.”

Marcus claims that he hasn’t heard of Lehava, adding, “having had rockets indiscriminately showered down on my head, I would certainly disagree with your myth about which ‘groups start violence.’”

The Falic family, owners of the major retail chain Duty Free Americas, has supported The Fund for Saving the People of Israel in the past, providing a total of $60,000 to the association from 2007-2017. The money is wired through the Falic’s Israel-based foundation, the Segal Fund. The Falics could not be reached for comment.

Kahanism’s surge in Israel

Kahane’s Kach Party was banned from entering Israeli politics in 1988. But thanks to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Kahanists are now infiltrating the halls of the Knesset (Israeli parliament).

In the lead-up to Israel’s March election, Netanyahu pushed for a right-wing alliance with Itamar Ben-Gvir, a Kahanist, a defense lawyer for price tag campaigners, and leader of the far-right Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party. Otzma Yehudit partnered with the anti-LGBTQ Noam Party and the National Union-Tkuma faction to form the Religious Zionism bloc in the last election. The coalition allowed the electoral list to secure six seats in the Knesset and for a Kahanist to gain political power. Rabbi Sattath pins the blame squarely on Netanyahu for Jewish supremacists’ rise in government.

Jewish terrorism
A Jewish settler wears a T-shirt with the image of Meir Kahane near the city of Ramallah. Bernat Armangue | AP

“Because the prime minister was in such a dire situation and was desperate for every vote, he gave [Otzma Yehudit] the legitimacy,” Rabbi Sattath said. “What we’re seeing here in Israel and around the world is that one of the symptoms of democracies in decline is when the extreme right takes over the center right. The fact that the prime minister and some of the right-wing parties gave the Jewish Power Party legitimacy has then increased their power. And that’s what enabled them to use these methods they’ve used for over a decade on a large scale in the last wave of violence.”

Upon reflecting back to Kahane’s short time in the Knesset, Rabbi Sattath said he faced opposition from every politician and was immediately ostracized.

“When he got into the Knesset, he got the bare minimum [of votes] to get one seat. But what happened in the eighties was he was boycotted by every other Knesset member. Nobody would sit in the plenum when he was speaking,” Rabbi Sattath said. “Everybody from the left and the right understood that these ideas were dangerous and extreme and had to be restrained.”

Today, the political climate in Israeli politics is different.

“What we’re seeing now is that the restraint is completely over,” Rabbi Sattath continued. “And we’re hoping that by shedding light on the past weeks’ violence, we can return to the understanding that there needs to be a red line, that these violent militias and racist, Jewish supremacists have to be stopped.”

Zionism Is Genocide

May 23, 2021

By Stephen Lendman

Source

In 2018, Hadassah Magazine called Brooklyn, NY “the most Jewish spot on earth.” 

In the 1940s, its Jewish population numbered around 900,000. Now it’s around 600,000.

On Nakba Day, May 15, at a pro-Palestinian rally in densely Jewish Brooklyn, signs read:

“This Jew will not stand by” silently

“Another Jew for a Free Palestine”

Most striking was the image of a diminutive woman with a determined look in her eyes, holding a sign saying:

“This 90 year old Jew says ZIONISM is GENOCIDE”

Zionism is also racist tyranny by another name.

“Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is guided by a vision of justice, equality and freedom for all people,” the organization states.

Zionism abhors these values. It’s why JVP “unequivocally” opposes its scourge.

It’s polar opposite what peace, equity, justice, and compliance the rule of law are all about.

In Israel, it’s a racist, violent, apartheid “settler-colonial movement…where Jews have more rights than others,” said JVP.

Repugnant in all respects, it dispossesses Palestinians from their homes, land, well-being and lives for not being Jewish.

There’s nothing remotely anti-Semitic about Zionist critics. Everyone everywhere should unite with them against apartheid Israel.

Its slow-motion genocide elimination of long-suffering Palestinians makes it a moral and ethical duty for everyone to oppose —Jews and non-Jews alike.

Law Professor Francis Boyle stressed time and again that “Palestinians have been victims of genocide as defined by the 1948 Genocide Convention since the founding of the State of Israel” 73 years ago.

It’s Article II states the following:

Genocide is all about the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such: 

(a) killing members of the group;

(b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its destruction its physical destruction in whole or in part…”

Boyle: The above “is exactly” how Israel operates against Palestinians — especially besieged Gazans.

They’re victims of four Israeli genocidal wars in the last 13 years.

Since illegally blockading the Strip in 2007, its ruling authorities have waged slow-motion genocide against its two million people daily — along with speeding up the process by four bloody wars of aggression.

According to political economist Shir Hever, Israel is militarily superior to Palestinian resistance while strategically “losing international legitimacy” — including among Jews worldwide.

Despite 11 days of mass slaughter and destruction in Gaza, the Netanyahu regime lost the war.

So did Gazans — at least for years needed to rebuild physically and emotionally for countless numbers harmed by Israeli aggression.

Longer-term remains to be seen.

The struggle to end illegal blockade and for Palestinian liberation overall hopefully will come one day, but for now it’s nowhere in sight.

Friday, interventionist Blinkin’s deputy spokesman Jalina Porter was asked what the Biden regime is doing to condemn “Israeli aggression against Palestinian civilians.”

She ducked the question as expected, instead repeating a usual unacceptable response, saying:

The US is “working tirelessly to bring an end to this (sic),” adding:

It’ll “continue to remain engaged with senior Israeli officials, Palestinian leadership, as well as partners in the region (in) calling for sustainable calm (sic).”

Ignored by Porter were four Security Council draft statements, expressing mild criticism of Israel — blocked by the Biden White House.

She said nothing about its approval of a $735 million supply of US arms to Israel, including precision-guided missiles for further smashing Gaza and aggression against Syria at its discretion.

And, of course, she ignored longstanding US/Western one-sided support for the highest of Israeli high crimes, along with disdain and indifference toward Palestinian rights.

Its people have no high-level friends in Washington or other Western capitals.

The US notably supplies the Israeli war machine with state-of-the-art weapons and generous funding for its perpetual war on long-suffering Palestinians.

In 1920, industrialist Henry Ford called the “International Jew the world’s foremost problem.”

His remark was blatantly racist. Today as it applies to Israel, its hardcore supporters and enablers, it’s reality.

On Thursday, the Addameer Human Rights Group accused the Netanyahu regime of escalating violence against Palestinians throughout the Occupied Territories for the last month — in the run-up to and during its aggression against Gaza.

Hardline racist settlers are complicit, armed gangs attacking Palestinians viciously — while nearby security forces do nothing to intervene.

“Arbitrary arrests have been a key feature of the Israeli occupation’s attempts to repress the Palestinian people’s struggle for liberty all across the occupied Palestinian territory,” Addameer stressed.

Ceasefire on Friday changed nothing because the world community — especially the US-dominated West — does nothing to enforce the rule of law.

On Saturday, Al Jazeera reported that while days of devastating Israeli terror-bombing and shelling went on round-the-clock “terrified (Gazans) sa(id) their final goodbyes to family members and friends…fearing they would die in one of the heaviest Israeli attacks on the Palestinian enclave ever.”

In its aftermath, survivors face the daunting task of trying to rebuild and heal their emotional scars.

They’ll get little or no help from the US and West — their ruling regimes uncaring about their rights, well-being or lives.

US/Western Support for Israel Mass Slaughter and Destruction Throughout the Occupied Territories

May 16, 2021

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Support by the US-dominated West lets apartheid Israel reign terror on Occupied Palestinians with impunity — as it’s done from inception since its 1947-48 war of aggression.

An illegitimately created Jewish state in the Arab Middle East remains a prescription for endless conflict.

It’s ongoing perpetually by Israel against Palestinians its ruling regimes want dispossessed of their homes and land, against Syria for years and Lebanon at the Jewish state’s discretion.

As long as apartheid Israel exists, the Middle East will remain one of the world’s hot spots.  

What the Netanyahu regime named Operation Guardian of the Walls, Hamas calls Operation Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Sword.

A statement its leadership issued last week said the following:

“We warned the enemy not to insist on attacking our holy sites and our people.” 

“The enemy, however, continued its brutality, so it’s time now to pay a price.” 

“We have accumulated our military experience in a bid to defend our people, whom we will never abandon.” 

“Our weapon is the weapon of all our people.”

“The time when the coward enemy can attack Al-Aqsa and Al-Quds without being held accountable is over.”

Sunday marks day-seven of Israeli aggression on Gaza — and throughout the Occupied Territories perpetually — defenseless Palestinian civilians paying the biggest price.

Deaths, injuries and mass destruction increase by the hour, including by smashing residential buildings in the Strip and other non-military-related targets.

In all preemptive Israeli wars, inflicting maximum pain, suffering, deaths, destruction, and slow-motion genocide are key objectives — in flagrant breach of the UN Charter and other international law.

On Saturday, Netanyahu pledged to continue endless Israeli aggression on Gaza.

In response, Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyah vowed that “resistance” to Israeli state terror “will not give in.”

According to Gaza health officials Sunday morning, pre-dawn Israeli terror-bombing killed over two dozen more Palestinians in the Strip, including 8 more children.

As of early Sunday morning local time, at least 182 Palestinians were massacred by Israel in cold blood, including around 50 children — thousands injured in Gaza and throughout the Territories.

Whatever the death, injury, and destruction toll at any moment in time, carnage continues to increase hourly throughout one day after another — how it’s been since May 10.

On Sunday, the UN Security Council will hold a first-ever open discussion on the ongoing conflict — to include representatives from Occupied Palestine, Israel and other regional countries, notably Jordan and Egypt.

Two earlier closed-door sessions were held in the past week.

So far, Biden regime hardliners — in support of Israeli aggression — blocked issuance of a statement criticizing it.

Over the weekend, the Biden regime again defied reality by falsely blaming Hamas for Israel’s preemptive reign of terror on Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Netanyahu regime envoy to Washington Gilad Erdan thanked “POTUS” for its one-sided support.

In cities worldwide, large-scale pro-Palestinian rallies continue to be held.

Some participants carried banners and chanted: 

“Free Palestine.” 

“Israel is a terrorist state.” 

“Occupation No More.” 

“We demand change.”

“Not in my name.”

“Solidarity with Palestine.”

“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and other anti-Israeli slogans. 

Jewish state flags were burned.

In the US, thousands turned out in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Denver, and elsewhere nationwide, including downtown Chicago where I live — in solidarity with long-suffering Palestinians.

According to WGN TV Chicago:

“A massive group of protesters from The Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine filled Congress Plaza in downtown Chicago Wednesday to condemn…Israeli aggression.”

“Demonstrators (rallied along the city’s) Magnificent Mile,” including near Chicago’s landmark Water Tower.

CBS TV Chicago reported on a south side “Bridgeview (rally) in support of Palestinians.”

In Los Angeles on Saturday, one demonstrator likely spoke for many others nationwide, saying:

“I’m here because I want a Palestinian life to equal an Israeli life and today it doesn’t,” adding:

“When you have a nuclear-armed state and another state of villagers with rocks, it is clear who is to blame.”

May 15 marked the 73rd anniversary of Nakba Day — the catastrophe, reflecting mass-displacement of Palestinians and decades of endless suffering under suffocating occupation.

Earlier I quoted a violently displaced Palestinian saying the following:

“I cannot forget three horror-filled days in July of 1948.” 

“The pain sears my memory, and I cannot rid myself of it no matter how hard I try.”

“First, Israeli soldiers forced thousands of Palestinians from their homes near the Mediterranean coast, even though some families had lived in the same houses for centuries.”

“My family had been in the town of Lydda in Palestine at least 1,600 years.” 

“Then, without water, we stumbled into the hills and continued for three deadly days.”

“The Jewish soldiers followed, occasionally shooting over our heads to scare us and keep us moving.” 

“Terror filled my eleven-year-old mind as I wondered what would happen.”

“I remembered overhearing my father and his friends express alarm about recent massacres by Jewish terrorists. Would they kill us, too?”

“We did not know what to do, except to follow orders and stumble blindly up the rocky hills.” 

“I walked hand in hand with my grandfather, who carried our only remaining possessions-a small tin of sugar and some milk for my aunt’s two-year-old son, sick with typhoid.”

Palestinians are no match against Israeli brutality committed against them — how it’s always been.

Nakba survivors recall the horror they endured. 

Arabs were gunned down in cold blood, women raped.

Other atrocities were committed. Hundreds of thousands displaced hoped one day they’d return.

They and descendants are still waiting, enduring ruthless militarized occupation.

On Nakba Day 2021, the 

Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) explained “10 facts you need to know about the Palestinian Nakba:”

1. Zionist militia forcibly displaced from “750,000 and 1,000,000 Palestinians into exile, making them refugees.”

2. Around eight million Palestinian refugees are denied their legal “right to return to their homes, lands and other property by Israel, simply because they are not Jewish.”

3. The Nakba was well-planned forced displacement of indigenous Arabs to create a Jewish state in historic Palestine.

4. “Zionist militia begun its ethnic cleansing of Palestinian towns and villages months before the creation of the State of Israel.”

5. Jewish state Arab citizens are discriminated against for being non-Jews and treated like fifth column threats which they’re not.

6. In creating an illegitimate Jewish state by stealing historic Palestinian land, Zionist militia “destroyed about 530 Palestinian towns and villages to prevent refugees from returning.”

7. The Jewish National Fund (JNF)…holds…stolen (Palestinian) land as “the perpetual property of the Jewish People” — illegally.

8. “The Nakba did not end in 1948 and continues to this day, in the form of Israel’s ongoing theft of Palestinian land for settlements and for Jewish communities inside Israel, its destruction of Palestinian homes and agricultural land, revocation of residency rights , deportations, demographic engineering, periodic brutal military assaults, and forced displacement.”

9. “Many (East Jerusalem)Sheikh Jarrah…residents were ethnically cleansed from their homes during the Nakba.” 

“They currently face becoming refugees for the second or third time.”

Throughout the Occupied Territories, “(i)ndigenous Palestinians are being forced from their homes by state sponsored violence at the hands of Israeli soldiers, Israeli police, and armed Israeli” settlers.

10. Israeli law “prohibits Palestinians who are second-class citizens of the state from commemorating the Nakba on May 15.” 

“This does not stop Palestinians from remembering.”

According to the BNC, the most effective way to support justice for long-suffering Palestinians is by “(s)har(ing) stories of the Nakba from Palestinians and join(ing) BDS campaigns.”

When Will Israel Be Held Accountable for Genocide?

May 16, 2021

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Apartheid Israel gives new meaning to rogue state ruthlessness.

Since terror-bombing and shelling of Gaza communities began a week ago, their intensity increased from one day to the next.

Its overnight reign of terror massacred 26 Palestinian civilians in Gaza City, wounding at least 50 others.

At least two residential buildings in the city were turned to smoldering rubble.

Instead of condemning mass murder and vast destruction — along with demanding accountability for the highest of high crimes — the world community has done nothing to stop the carnage.

Biden regime hardliners support it.

Because of one-sided US/Western support — how it’s always been for the past 73 years — Israeli regimes know they can do whatever they please unaccountably.

Dem Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed the Biden regime for supporting “apartheid” Israel.

Via Twitter, she explained what everyone paying attention knows.

Israeli mass slaughter and destruction in Gaza “is happening with the support of the US,” adding:

“I don’t care how any spokesperson tries to spin this.” 

“The US vetoed the UN call for ceasefire.” 

“If the Biden (regime) can’t stand up to an ally, who can it stand up to?” 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi slammed the Biden regime for “standing on the opposite side of international justice.”

On Saturday, Blinken’s spokesman Price turned truth on its head by falsely claiming “unwavering (Biden regime) support for independent journalists and media organizations around the world (sic), and noted the indispensability of their reporting in conflict zones (sic).”

Silencing what conflicts with Washington’s official falsified narrative is “unwavering” policy by US dark forces and their press agent media.

Over the weekend, Netanyahu said his regime’s reign of terror on Palestinians “will continue as long as needed” — to serve his political aim to retain iron-fisted power.

Along with unrelenting Israeli inflicted carnage on Gaza, the Palestinian Wafa News agency said over a dozen Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, many hundreds wounded, scores by live fire.

Wafa also explained that days of Israeli terror-bombing and shelling of Gaza caused “massive destruction” and devastation to the Strip and its two million people.

Over the weekend, the White House again affirmed one-sided Biden regime support for Israeli mass slaughter and destruction throughout the Occupied Territories.

At the same time, it condemned Palestinian self-defense against Israeli aggression as “indiscriminate attacks (sic)” on the Jewish state.

Over the weekend, rescue workers continued pulling survivors and bodies from rubble caused by Israeli terror-bombing.

A statement by American Muslims for Palestine said the following:

Remarks by Biden, Blinken, Psaki, Price, and other regime officials “completely disregard the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, the Israeli assault on Al-Aqsa on worshippers during Ramadan, and the ongoing siege of Gaza that has already claimed the lives of hundreds,” adding:

“In a show of solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Palestine, the United States, and around the world, a coalition of Muslims nationwide is urging our Muslim community to boycott the White House event and join the ‘Eid with Palestine: A Protest of the White House Eid event.”

Remarks by the Council on American-Islamic Relations were similar.

Former PLO legal advisor/Law Professor Francis Boyle earlier urged Palestinians to “sue Israel for genocide before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).”

There’s no ambiguity about Jewish state guilt, Boyle adding:

“The purpose of this lawsuit would be to demonstrate that undeniable fact to the entire world.”  

“…World Court legal proceedings (would) prove to the entire world and to all of history that what the Nazis did to the Jews (in the 1930s and 40s) is legally similar to what the Israelis are currently doing to the Palestinian People today: genocide.”

In his earlier statement, Boyle explained required steps for Palestinians to bring the case before the World Court.

While the ICJ has no power to force compliance by the US and other nations to its rulings, finding Israel guilty of genocide would be an indelible stain to taint the Jewish state in perpetuity.

As long as Israeli-installed Quisling Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas remains in office — enjoying special benefits afforded him — it’s highly unlikely that he’ll bite the hand generously feeding him.

At age-85, he won’t be around forever. If a successor goes where he never dared by suing Israel for genocide at the ICJ, it would be an important step in pursuing long-denied Palestinian rights.

Boyle earlier said he “believe(d) (that) the World Court (would) rule in favor of the de jure

existence of the State of Palestine for the purpose of mounting this

lawsuit against Israel for genocide,” adding:

For sure, the US would “do everything possible to line up the votes of certain Judges against

Palestine.”  

“But it is no longer the case that the United States Government controls the World Court.”

In 1986, the ICJ’s ruling for Nicaragua was ignored by the US.

The Court ordered Washington to pay reparations to Nicaragua for contra war mass slaughter, destruction, and related high crimes against a sovereign state. 

If Palestinians one day sue Israel for genocide, a similar ICJ judgment would likely follow — even though the US, West and Israel no doubt would ignore it.

Boyle earlier added that “if necessary, (he) could the United States before the International Court of Justice for aiding and abetting Israeli genocide against the Palestinian People in violation of Article III(e) of the 1948 Genocide Convention that expressly criminalizes ‘complicity’ in genocide.”

I hope I’m around long enough to witness both the US and Israel sued for the crime of genocide — followed by ICJ rulings of guilty as charged.

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

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

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

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

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

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

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

American dollars fueling human rights abuses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A new administration, a new congress: greater accountability?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

American money behind the settlements 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Jewish National Fund’s hand in advancing settlements

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

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

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

The US-Israel connection 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The American Money Tree: The Untold Story of US Aid to Israel

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

Congress quietly wedged billions of dollars of aid to Israel even as it debated for months over a measly $600 to help Americans endure the COVID downturn.

On December 21, the United States Congress passed the COVID-19 Relief Package, as part of a larger $2.3 trillion bill meant to cover spending for the rest of the fiscal year. As usual, US representatives allocated a massive sum of money for Israel.

While unemployment, thus poverty, in the US is skyrocketing as a result of repeated lockdowns, the US found it essential to provide Israel with $3.3 billion in ‘security assistance’ and $500 million for US-Israel missile defense cooperation.

Although a meager $600 dollar payment to help struggling American families was the subject of several months of intense debate, there was little discussion among American politicians over the large funds handed out to Israel, for which there are no returns.

Support for Israel is considered a bipartisan priority and has, for decades, been perceived as the most stable item in the US foreign policy agenda.  The mere questioning of how Israel uses the funds – whether the military aid is being actively used to sustain Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine, finance Jewish settlements, fund annexation of Palestinian land or violate Palestinian human rights – is a major taboo.

One of the few members of Congress to demand that aid to Israel be conditioned on the latter’s respect for human rights is Democratic Senator, Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, who was also a leading presidential nominee for the Democratic Party. “We cannot give it carte blanche to the Israeli government … We have the right to demand respect for human rights and democracy”, Sanders had said in October 2019.

His Democratic rival, now President-elect, Joe Biden, soon countered: “The idea that I’d withdraw military aid, as others have suggested, from Israel, is bizarre,” he said.

It is no secret that Israel is the world’s leading recipient of US aid since World War II.  According to data provided by the US Congressional Research Service, Israel has received  $146 billion of US taxpayers’ money as of November 2020.

From 1971 up to 2007, a bulk of these funds proved fundamental in helping Israel establish a strong economic base. Since then, most of the money has been allotted for military purposes, including the security of Israel’s illegal Jewish settlement enterprise.

Despite the US financial crisis of 2008, American money continued to be channeled to Israel, whose economy survived the global recession, largely unscathed.

In 2016, the US promised even more money. The Democratic Barack Obama Administration, which is often – although mistakenly – seen as hostile to Israel, increased US funding to Israel by a significant margin. In a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding, Washington and Tel Aviv reached a deal whereby the US agreed to give Israel $38 billion in military aid covering the financial years 2019-2028. This is a whopping increase of $8 billion compared with the previous 10-year agreement, which concluded at the end of 2018.

The new American funds are divided into two categories: $33 billion in foreign military grants and an additional $5 billion in missile defense.

American generosity has long been attributed to the unmatched influence of pro-Israeli groups, lead among them American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The last four years, however, required little lobbying by these groups, as powerful agents within the administration itself became Israel’s top advocates.

Aside from the seemingly endless ‘political freebies’ that the Donald Trump Administration has given Israel in recent years, it is now considering ways to accelerate the timetable of delivering the remainder of US funds as determined by the last MOU, an amount that currently stands at $26.4 billion. According to official congressional documents, the US “also may approve additional sales of the F-35 to Israel and accelerate the delivery of KC-46A refueling and transport aircraft to Israel.”

These are not all the funds and perks that Israel receives. Much more goes unreported, as it is channeled either indirectly or simply promoted under the flexible title of ‘cooperation’.

For example, between 1973 and 1991, a massive sum of $460 million of US funds was allocated to resettling Jews in Israel. Many of these new immigrants are now the very Israeli militants that occupy the West Bank illegal settlements. In this particular case, the money is paid to a private charity known as the United Israel Appeal which, in turn, gives the money to the Jewish Agency. The latter has played a central role in the founding of Israel on top of the ruins of Palestinian towns and villages in 1948.

Under the guise of charitable donations, tens of millions of dollars are regularly sent to Israel in the form of “tax-deductible gifts for Jewish settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem,” the New York Times reported. Much of the money, falsely promoted as donations for educational and religious purposes, often finds its way to funding and purchasing housing for illegal settlers, “as well as guard dogs, bulletproof vests, rifle scopes and vehicles to secure (illegal Jewish) outposts deep in occupied (Palestinian) areas.”

Quite often, US money ends up in the Israeli government’s coffers under deceptive pretenses. For example, the latest Stimulus Package includes $50 million to fund the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Funds, supposedly to provide investments in “people-to-people exchanges and economic cooperation … between Israelis and Palestinians with the goal of supporting a negotiated and sustainable two-state solution.”

Actually, such money serves no particular purpose, since Washington and Tel Aviv endeavor to ensure the demise of a negotiated peace agreement and work hand-in-hand to kill the now defunct two-state solution.

The list is endless, though most of this money is not included in the official US aid packages to Israel, therefore receives little scrutiny, let alone media coverage.

As of February 2019, the US has withheld all funds to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, in addition to cutting aid to the UN Palestinian Refugees agency (UNRWA), the last lifeline of support needed to provide basic education and health services to millions of Palestinian refugees.

Judging by its legacy of continued support of the Israeli military machine and the ongoing colonial expansion in the West Bank, Washington insists on serving as Israel’s main benefactor – if not direct partner – while shunning Palestinians altogether. Expecting the US to play a constructive role in achieving a just peace in Palestine does not only reflect indefensible naivety but willful ignorance as well.

The Maxwells: Mossad’s First Family of Spies

By Philip Giraldi

Source

Who was running whom in the Epstein espionage ring?
Maxwell Family 55370

The story of the deceased pedophile and presumed Israeli spy Jeffrey Epstein continues to enthrall because so little of the truth regarding it has been revealed in spite of claims by the government that a thorough follow-up investigation has been initiated. The case is reportedly still open and it is to be presumed that Justice Department investigators have been able to examine certain aspects of what occurred more intensively. A major part of the investigation has been a review of actions taken by the four government prosecutors who were most directly involved with the negotiations with Epstein and his lawyers in 2007-8. The 22 month-long review, carried out by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), finally produced a 350 page report which was released on November 12th.

The DOJ has now picked out a scapegoat for what many now think was gross prosecutorial negligence, possibly including corruption of senior government officials. He is not surprisingly Alexander Acosta, who was the U.S. Attorney for Miami when the Epstein case came up. Relying substantially on internal government emails as well as communications between the prosecutors and Epstein’s team of high-profile lawyers to reach its conclusion, the OPR review concluded that Acosta exhibited “poor judgment” in his handling of the Epstein deal. He did not inform the victims or their attorneys of developments in the case, as required by law, and overruled the lead prosecutor and FBI agents who argued that Epstein should face serious jail time. He even cut a deal with Epstein before the investigation into his crimes was completed. The OPR investigators also determined that many emails that would have materially aided the plaintiffs were not made available to their attorneys, a shortcoming that the report attributed to a “technological error.”

The email gap covers the time span from May 2007, when the prosecutor’s office prepared a 53-page draft indictment of Epstein, to April 2008, shortly before Epstein’s guilty plea and slap-on-the-wrist sentence in state court ended the federal investigation. Epstein’s defense attorneys had during that time period been engaged in an aggressive lobbying campaign to persuade the federal prosecutors to rescind the indictment and shut down the federal case. Epstein’s “sweetheart deal” with the federal government negated a possible conviction of serious crimes against 19 alleged victims, most of whom were minors. Instead of a possible sentence of between 14 and 17 years in federal prison, Epstein was encouraged by federal prosecutors to plead guilty to two prostitution-related crimes in state court to resolve the case. He served 13 months of an 18-month sentence in a county jail on a liberal work release program, often sleeping in his own home, and the federal case was duly closed.

It is, of course, noticeable that neither Acosta, who has possibly now retired from public life, nor anyone else will be punished for what was clearly a gross miscarriage of justice. That is the way the government works these days. But there is also a much bigger problem with the report, which is that it essentially failed to follow up on an argument that Acosta made when the bungling of the Epstein case began to surface in the media last year.

There has, in fact, been a cover-up of a major element in the Epstein saga, namely his possible connection with Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad. Investigative reporter Whitney Webb has recently completed  of what we know about Epstein’s partner in crime, lover and accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, to include some consideration of the possible involvement of her sisters Isabel and Christine in activity initially directed by their father, known Mossad agent Robert Maxwell.

The evidence that Epstein was directly involved in intelligence work to include bribing or blackmailing prominent individuals to act on behalf of Israel, derives both from the statement made by Acosta in 2017 that “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone,” a comment that the Justice Department and FBI have apparently never sought to investigate further. It also derives from other external evidence. Epstein was found to be making videos of his guests having sex with his young girls, which is a version of a classic intelligence entrapment technique employed by every major spy agency worldwide and in his Manhattan mansion he had a large supply of diamonds, cash and an Austrian passport on hand if he should have to make a quick escape.

That Epstein would be linked to Israel rather than to some other intelligence service is inevitably due to his relationship with Robert Maxwell, which eventually included his daughter Ghislaine. Robert, a Czech Jew who became a naturalized British citizen, was believed by C.I.A. and other intelligence services to be a long-time agent of Mossad. After he died under mysterious circumstances, he was given a state funeral in Israel that was attended by every current and former head of the Jewish state’s intelligence service as well as by the country’s prime minister Yitzhak Shamir who eulogized: “He has done more for Israel than can today be said.” Ghislaine reportedly became the principal procurer of Epstein’s young girl victims.

Also corroborating the tale of espionage even if it appears to be of no interest to the FBI and Justice Department, is a book Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales written by a former Israeli intelligence officer who actually ran the “Robert Maxwell” operation, describing inter alia how Epstein and Maxwell were blackmailing prominent politicians on behalf of Mossad. According to Ari Ben-Menashe, the two had been working directly for the Israeli government since the 1980’s and their operation, which was funded by Mossad and also by prominent American Jews, was a classic “honey-trap” which used underage girls as bait to attract well-known politicians from around the world, a list that included Prince Andrew and Bill Clinton. The politicians would be photographed and video recorded when they were in bed with the girls.

But in spite of the evidence, the role of Ghislaine, currently in custody in a maximum-security Brooklyn prison, is less well known and is possibly being deliberately concealed by the Trump Administration, which is prone to do favors for Israel. Even less known is the possible roles of her two sisters. Webb details how Maxwell and his Israeli Mossad handlers compromised the top-secret information system then in use by the U.S. government. She observes that “While Ghislaine’s own ties to intelligence have…come to light in relation to her critical role in facilitating the Jeffrey Epstein sexual blackmail operation,…little, if any attention, has been paid to her siblings, particularly Christine and her twin sister Isabel, despite them having held senior roles at the Israeli intelligence front company that facilitated their father’s greatest act of espionage on Israel’s behalf, the sale of the bugged PROMIS software to the U.S. national laboratories at the heart of the country’s nuclear weapons system… Ghislaine herself also became involved in these [blackmail] affairs, as did Jeffrey Epstein following his first arrest, as they began courting the biggest names in the U.S. tech scene, from Silicon Valley’s most powerful venture capital firms to its most well-known titans. This also dovetailed with Epstein’s investments in Israeli intelligence-linked tech firms and his claims of having troves of blackmail on prominent tech company CEOs during this same period.”

Upon Robert Maxwell’s mysterious death in 1991, his sons Kevin and Ian took control of many of the interlocking companies that their father had used both to conceal assets and to obtain access and information while Ghislaine remained in the New York area and two other daughters Isabel and Christine opted to exploit the internet as an intelligence resource to build upon their father’s “legacy.”

Isabel, in particular, moved aggressively and eventually became recognized as the self-styled liaison between Israel’s government and Silicon Valley. Whitney Webb recounts in considerable detail how she “mov[ed] in ‘the same circles as her father’ and vow[ed] to ‘work only on things involving Israel’ … [to become] a pivotal liaison for the entry of Israeli intelligence-linked tech firms into Silicon Valley with the help of Microsoft’s two co-founders, Paul Allen and Bill Gates.”

One has to suspect that a tale of Mossad running a major spy ring in the U.S. using a pedophile and young girls might just be too much for some folks in power to tolerate and they have made sure that the true story will never see the light of day. But the tale of how the prominent ostensibly British Maxwell family, acting for Mossad, may have systematically spied on the United States over a number of years, often pretty much out in the open, and the FBI and Justice Department saw fit to look the other way, is bigger still. That is the real story. Israel yet again spies and Washington denies.

Are You Feeling Safer? ‘War of the Worlds’ Pits U.S. and Israel Against Everyone Else

By Philip Giraldi

Source

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The media being focused on an upcoming election, coronavirus, fires on the West Coast and burgeoning BLM and Antifa unrest, it is perhaps no surprise that some stories are not exactly making it through to the evening news. Last week an important vote in the United Nations General Assembly went heavily against the United States. It was regarding a non-binding resolution that sought to suspend all economic sanctions worldwide while the coronavirus cases continue to increase. It called for “intensified international cooperation and solidarity to contain, mitigate and overcome the pandemic and its consequences.” It was a humanitarian gesture to help overwhelmed governments and health care systems cope with the pandemic by having a free hand to import food and medicines.

The final tally was 169 to 2, with only Israel and the United States voting against. Both governments apparently viewed the U.N. resolution as problematical because they fully support the unilateral economic warfare that they have been waging to bring about regime change in countries like Iran, Syria and Venezuela. Sanctions imposed on those countries are designed to punish the people more than the governments in the expectation that there will be an uprising to bring about regime change. This, of course, has never actually happened as a consequence of sanctions and all that is really delivered is suffering. When they cast their ballots, some delegates at the U.N. might even have been recalling former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s claim that the death of 500,000 Iraqi children due to U.S. imposed sanctions had been “worth it.”

Clearly, a huge majority of the world’s governments, to include the closest U.S. allies, no longer buy the American big lie when it claims to be the leader of the free world, a promoter of liberal democracy and a force for good.  The vote prompted one observer, John Whitbeck, a former international lawyer based in Paris, to comment how “On almost every significant issue facing mankind and the planet, it is Israel and the United States against mankind and the planet.”

The United Nations was not the only venue where the U.S. was able to demonstrate what kind of nation it has become. Estimates of how many civilians have been killed directly or indirectly as a consequence of the so-called Global War on Terror initiated by George W. Bush are in the millions, with roughly 4 million being frequently cited. Nearly all of the dead have been Muslims. Now there is a new estimate of the number of civilians that have fled their homes as a result of the worldwide conflict initiated by Washington and its dwindling number of allies since 2001. The estimate comes from Brown University’s “Costs of War Project,” which has issued a report Creating Refugees: Displacement Caused by the United States Post-9/11 Wars that seeks to quantify those who have “fled their homes in the eight most violent wars the U.S. military has launched or participated in since 2001.”

The project tracks the number of refugees, asylum seekers applying for refugee status, and internally displaced people or persons (IDPs) in the countries that America and its allies have most targeted since 9/11: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria. All are predominantly Muslim countries with the sole exception of the Philippines, which has a large Muslim minority.

The estimate suggests that between 37 and 59 million civilians have become displaced, with an extremely sharp increase occurring in the past year when the total was calculated to be 21 million. The largest number of those displaced were from Iraq, where fighting against Islamic State has been intermittent, estimated at 9.2 million. Syria, which has seen fighting between the government and various foreign supported insurgencies, had the second-highest number of displacements at 7.1 million. Afghanistan, which has seen a resurgent Taliban, was third having an estimated 5.3 million people displaced.

The authors of the report observe that even the lower figure of 37 million is “almost as large as the population of Canada” and “more than those displaced by any other war or disaster since at least the start of the 20th century with the sole exception of World War II.” And it is also important to note what is not included in the study. The report has excluded sub-Saharan Africa as well as several Arab nations generally considered to be U.S. allies. These constitute “the millions more who have been displaced by other post-9/11 conflicts where U.S. forces have been involved in ‘counterterror’ activities in more limited yet significant ways, including in: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Niger, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia.”

Yemen should be added to that list given U.S. military materiel assistance that has enabled the Saudi Arabian bombing attacks on that country, also producing a wave of refugees. There are also reports that the White House is becoming concerned over the situation in Yemen as pressure is growing to initiate an international investigation of the Saudi war crimes in that civilian infrastructure targets to include hospitals and schools are being deliberately targeted.

And even the United States Congress has begun to notice that something bad is taking place as there is growing concern that both the Saudi and U.S. governments might be charged with war crimes over the civilian deaths. Reports are now suggesting that as early as 2016, when Barack Obama was still president, the State Department’s legal office concluded that “top American officials could be charged with war crimes for approving bomb sales to the Saudis and their partners” that have killed more than 125,000 including at least 13,400 targeted civilians.

That conclusion preceded the steps undertaken by the Donald Trump White House to make arms sales to the Saudis and their allies in the United Arab Emirates central to his foreign policy, a program that has become an integral part of the promotion of the “Deal of the Century” Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. Given that, current senior State Department officials have repressed the assessment made in 2016 and have also “gone to great lengths” to conceal the legal office finding. A State Department inspector general investigation earlier this year considered the Department’s failure to address the legal risks of selling offensive weapons to the Saudis, but the details were hidden by placing them in a classified part of the public report released in August, heavily redacted so that even Congressmen with high level access could not see them.

Democrats in Congress, which had previously blocked some arms sales in the conflict, are looking into the Saudi connection because it can do damage to Trump, but it would be far better if they were to look at what the United States and Israel have been up to more generally speaking. The U.S. benefits from the fact that even though international judges and tribunals are increasingly embracing the concept of holding Americans accountable for war crimes since the start of the GWOT, U.S. refusal to cooperate has been daunting. Last March, when the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague authorized its chief prosecutor to open an investigation into U.S. crimes in Afghanistan the White House reacted by imposing sanctions on the chief prosecutor and his staff lawyer. And Washington has also warned that any tribunal going after Israel will face the wrath of the United States.

Nevertheless, when you are on the losing side on a vote in a respected international body by 169 to 2 someone in Washington should at least be smart enough to discern that something is very, very wrong. But I wouldn’t count on anyone named Trump or Biden to work that out.

Who Buys This Phony ‘Anti-Semitism’ Smear Language?

By Stuart Littlewood

Source

If you support the genuine inheritors of the Holy Land you’re ‘pro-Semitic’.
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Semites are a language group not a religious group. They spoke (and still do) Semitic languages, especially the Canaanite and later Aramaic dialects of Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories. 

The Western world today is seething with accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’, a threatening term with nasty connotations. Before 1879 nobody had heard of ‘anti-Semitism’ although hard feelings towards Jews as a religious group had existed for many centuries. One thinks immediately of the atrocities of the first Crusades (1096), the massacre at York in 1190, and the expulsion of Jews from England by Edward I in 1290 (only to be allowed back in 1657 by Oliver Cromwell). But discrimination against Jews existed long before, in various countries and for various reasons.

Then along came a German agitator and journalist, Wilhelm Marr, who coined the expression ‘anti-Semitism’ knowing full well that it embraced all Semitic peoples including Hebrews, Arabs and Christians of the Holy Land. It wasn’t long before it was twisted to become a metaphor for hostility only toward Jews based on a belief that they sought national and even world power. More recently Holocaust denial and criticism of the state of Israel’s vile behaviour have been considered anti-Semitic. Anti-Zionism too is claimed to be anti-Semitic because it singles out Jewish national aspirations as illegitimate and a racist endeavour. Which of course they are, as Israel’s recently enacted nation state laws prove.

Indeed, some hardcore Israel flag wavers regard any pro-Palestinian, pro-Syrian or pro-Lebanese sentiments to be anti-Semitic even though those peoples are constantly victims of Israeli military aggression.

A catch-all smear weapon

The hijacking of the term anti-Semitism and its fraudulent conversion into a propaganda tool for defending the Zionist Project has enabled brazen attacks on our rights to free speech and attempts to shut down peaceful debate on Israel’s crimes. The word anti-Semitism, as now used, is a distortion of language and a deliberate misnomer larded with fear and trembling for those touched by it. This prompted Miko Peled, the Israeli general’s son, to warn a Labour Party conference that “they are going to pull all the stops, they are going to smear, they are going to try anything they can to stop Corbyn… the reason anti-Semitism is used is because they [the Israelis] have no argument…”

And so they did. Jeremy Corbyn, a genuine anti-racist, critic of Israel and champion of Palestinian rights, was soon gone. He was the only British leader who might have reduced Israel’s sinister influence on UK policy. But his Labour Party, like the cowards they are, surrendered to Israel lobby pressure and helped bring him down. Israel’s pimps at Westminster and in local parties across the country were able to chalk up a famous victory.

They even managed to force the Party to adopt the discredited International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism and incorporate it into the Party’s code of conduct. The new leader is their obedient stooge. He has publicly bent the knee, tugged the forelock.

 Who has the claim?

However, it has been shown that most Jews today are not descended from the ancient Israelites at all. For example, research by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, published by the Oxford University Press in 2012 on behalf of the Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution, found the Khazarian Hypothesis to be scientifically correct, meaning that most Jews are Khazars and confirming what some scholars had been saying. The Khazarians converted to Talmudic Judaism in the 8th Century and were never in ancient Israel.

No doubt these finding will be challenged by Zionist adherents till the end of time. But DNA research suggests that no more than 2 per cent of Jews in present-day Israel are actually Israelites. So, even if you believe the myth that God gave the land to the Israelites, He certainly didn’t give it to Netanyahu, Lieberman and the other East European thugs who infiltrated the Holy Land and now run the apartheid regime. It seems the Palestinians (Muslim and Christian) have more Israelite blood. They are the true Semites.

As for Zionists’ preposterous claim to exclusive sovereignty over Jerusalem, the city was at least 2000 years old and an established fortification when King David captured it. Jerusalem dates back some 5000 years and the name is likely derived from Uru-Shalem, meaning “founded by Shalem”, the Canaanite God of Dusk.

In its ‘City of David’ form Jerusalem lasted less than 80 years. In 928BC the Kingdom divided into Israel and Judah with Jerusalem the capital of Judah, and in 597BC the Babylonians conquered it. Ten years later in a second siege the city was largely destroyed including Solomon’s temple. The Jews recaptured it in 164BC but finally lost it to the Roman Empire in 63BC. A Christian (Crusader) kingdom of Jerusalem existed from 1099 to 1291 but held the city for only 101 of those years. Before the present-day shambles, cooked up by Balfour and stoked by the US, the Jews had controlled Jerusalem for around 500 years, say historians – small beer compared to the 1,277 years it was subsequently ruled by Muslims and the 2000 years, or thereabouts, it originally belonged to the Canaanites.

Counter-measure

Since the three main Semitic faiths – Judaism, Islam and Christianity – all have historical claims to Jerusalem and a presence there, and masses of non-Semitic believers around the world also wish to visit the holy places, the best solution seems to be the one recommended by United Nations General Assembly resolutions 181 and 194: that Jerusalem is made a corpus separatum, an open city administered by an international regime or the UN itself. Why this hasn’t been implemented isn’t clear. We’ve seen the abominable discrimination inflicted on Palestinian Muslims and Christians by Israel since seizing control of Jerusalem.

The other side could play word games too – and with more honesty. Anti-Semitism has been fashioned by the Zionists into a catch-all smear weapon. What if pro-Palestinian groups and the BDS movement declared themselves (in correct parlance) to be ‘pro-Semitic’, i.e. supportive of all those with genuine ancestral links to the ancient Holy Land and entitled to live there in freedom?

They could coin a new expression just like Marr and establish it through usage.

Hoping to Seize on UAE-Israel Deal, Pompeo and Kushner Head East in Search of New Allies for Israel

By Raul Diego

Source

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump adviser Jared Kushner are hitting the road in an attempt to strong-arm more Arab states into normalizing relations with Israel, turning their backs on Palestine and isolating Iran.

U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and unelected advisor to President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, are embarking on a tour of the Middle East beginning with a stop in Israel to discuss “regional security issues related to Iran’s malicious influence” with Prime Minister Netanyahu, followed by visits to Sudan, Bahrain and now official U.S. partner, the United Arab Emirates.

Spun as an effort to speed up a U.S.-brokered “normalization” between Arab countries and Israel, the trip comes just four days after the White House sent the Secretary of State to the U.N. Security Council with the message that all UN sanctions against Iran were to be restored; invoking a clause in the Iran nuclear deal “that allows participants to reimpose UN sanctions on Iran.”

Critics of the move have deemed it illegal, not only because the Trump administration itself withdrew from the deal it is now attempting to enforce, but also because the UN Security Council had previously voted to allow the arms embargo to expire in the fall.

As Pompeo and company land in Jerusalem, tensions are high in the region. Sudan, one of the countries on the itinerary, is in political disarray nearly two years after the ouster of longtime President Omar al-Bashir in 2018. In July, Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, replaced seven senior cabinet officials, including the ministers of finance, foreign, energy, and health. Five days ago, he sacked his official spokesperson for disclosing ongoing talks with Israel during a press conference in which spokesman Haider Badawi said he was “looking forward to concluding a peace agreement” with the apartheid state.

The Sudanese government immediately disavowed Badawi’s comments, asserting that “no one tasked [the spokesman] with making statements on this matter.” Meanwhile, Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen has reportedly confirmed talks with Sudan, adding that “Israel hopes to reach a peace agreement that includes the return of Sudanese refugees to their country,” according to the Al-Ittihad newspaper. Israeli officials have also claimed that Netanyahu himself met with the head of Sudan’s transitional government in Uganda last February for a top-secret meeting to discuss normalizing relations.

The long-time ally

Bahrain, a long-time Atlanticist client state, is also on Pompeo’s diplomatic schedule. The tiny Gulf state of fewer than two million people has played host to the U.S. Navy since 1947 and was the headquarters for the British protectorate of the lower Persian Gulf after World War II. The crown prince of Bahrain, Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa descends from a long line of Al-Khalifas to rule the nation under Britain’s neo-colonial eye and, later, as a sovereign country since 1971. Considered a “strong security partner” by the U.S. and host of the only operating American naval base in the region with 7,800 U.S. troops, the Trump administration recently lifted arms sales restrictions imposed by Obama. Another member of the Al-Kahlifa clan, Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid Al-Khalifa, sat down for an interview with The Times of Israel last summer in which he said he “hoped to visit Israel, when it’s all open, peaceful,” signaling Bahrain’s openness to facilitate normalization between Israel and Arab states.

report updated in June by the U.S. Congressional Research Service (CSR) titled “Bahrain: Unrest, Security, and U.S. Policy,” outlined the country’s human rights record and history of political repression, which should nevertheless be overlooked because the country “has long presented a policy dilemma for the United States because Bahrain is a longtime ally that is pivotal to maintaining Persian Gulf security.”

An easy dilemma

The policy dilemma is limited to whether or not Bahrain, Sudan or any other oil-rich countries wish to abide by Atlanticist dictates for their particular region, which has now shifted to a policy of exclusion of the Palestinian people living under the apartheid regime in Israel and an intensification of the campaign of isolation against Iran.

This is being called normalization and some, like Sudan’s former government spokesman, see nothing wrong with it. In what may be the most disingenuous statement ever made, Haider Badawi told Sky News Arabia that Sudan “shall be able to build an exemplary peace deal to all our neighboring countries in the region, so that they are able to follow our footsteps and do the same with Israel. I would like to note here that even Palestinians have had a long history of diplomatic ties with Israel. So, why should it be right for them and considered wrong for us.”

Pompeo will finalize his trip in the UAE, where he will meet with Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan to discuss the deal signed with Israel a few weeks ago. Jared Kushner’s itinerary, however, has not been made public. He will be accompanied on an ostensibly separate excursion by National Security adviser, Robert O’Brien and special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook in what is only being described as “talks with leaders in the region to encourage more Arab countries to follow in the UAE’s footsteps and move forward with full normalization of relations with Israel.”

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