Chief Rabbi Vs. Labour Party

July 17, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

labour rabbi.jpg

Reported by Gilad Atzmon

The BBC reports this morning that Britan’s chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has said Labour will be “on the wrong side” of the fight against racism unless it toughens up its anti-Semitism code of conduct.

Rabbi Mirvis said Labour’s new anti-Semitism definition sent “an unprecedented message of contempt to the Jewish community”.

Apparently the Chief Rabbi is not alone. The J Post reports this morning that “Sixty-eight British rabbis signed an open letter decrying antisemitism in the country’s labor Party and calling on the party to accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism.”

Labour has defended its new code as the most “comprehensive” of any party.

But one may wonder, why do we need a special definition for antisemitsm? Is a general and universal denouncement of racism, bigotry and discrimination of all kinds not sufficient?  Are Jews somehow special?

The new Labour code does endorse the IHRA’s working definition of anti-Semitism and includes behaviours it lists as likely to be regarded as anti-Semitic – yet Jewish critics point out that it leaves out four examples from that definition:

*  Accusing Jewish people of being more loyal to Israel than their home country

*  Claiming that Israel’s existence as a state is a racist endeavour

*  Requiring higher standards of behaviour from Israel than other nations

*  Comparing contemporary Israeli policies to those of the Nazis

Far from being surprising, Corbyn’s Labour see Israeli criminality as a problem and insists upon the right to criticise the actions of the Jewish State and its lobbies in political, cultural and historical contexts.

Rabbi Mirvis attacked the omission of these examples by the Labour and said it was “astonishing that the Labour Party presumes it is more qualified” to define anti-Semitism than the Jewish community.

The Rabbi could be slightly confused here.  Jews are more than welcome to define antisemitsm, as they like, but the labour party has the duty to define what it regards as an anti Jewish bigotry in accordance to its own alleged universal values.

Mirvis said Labour risked being on the “wrong side of the fight” against racism and intolerance

I would argue however that the Labour party, Rabbi Mirvis and most British Jewish institutions are on the wrong side of history here. If racism and Bigotry are defined as the discrimination of X for being X (X=woman, Jew, Black, Muslim, Gay, White etc.), then for Britain to move forward and to sustain the spirit of the common law, it must oppose all forms of racism and bigotry all together and equally.  

To fight racism we need to follow one simple universal guideline rather than looking for the specific demands of one group or another.

 

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israeli Crimes Against Humanity: Remembering the Sabra and Shatila Massacre

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By Institute for Middle East Understanding,

The Gaza massacre is part of longstanding process of Israeli crimes against humanity. This article describes one of the worst atrocities in modern Middle Eastern history committed against the people of Palestine. This article was first posted on Global Research in 2016.

On September 16, 1982, Christian Lebanese militiamen allied to Israel entered the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila and the adjacent neighborhood of Sabra in Beirut under the watch of the Israeli army and began a slaughter that caused outrage around the world. Over the next day and a half, up to 3500 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, mostly women, children, and the elderly, were murdered in one of the worst atrocities in modern Middle Eastern history. The New York Times recently published an op-ed containing new details of discussions held between Israeli and American officials before and during the massacre. They reveal how Israeli officials, led by then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, misled and bullied American diplomats, rebuffing their concerns about the safety of the inhabitants of Sabra and Shatila.

Lead Up

  • On June 6, 1982, Israel launched a massive invasion of Lebanon. It had been long planned by Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, who wanted to destroy or severely diminish the Palestine Liberation Organization, which was based in Lebanon at the time. Sharon also planned to install a puppet government headed by Israel’s right-wing Lebanese Christian Maronite allies, the Phalangist Party.
  • Israeli forces advanced all the way to the capital of Beirut, besieging and bombarding the western part of city, where the PLO was headquartered and the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila and the adjacent neighborhood of Sabra are located.
  • Israel’s bloody weeklong assault on West Beirut in August prompted harsh international criticism, including from the administration of US President Ronald Reagan, who many accused of giving a “green light” to Israel to launch the invasion. Under a US-brokered ceasefire agreement, PLO leaders and more than 14,000 fighters were to be evacuated from the country, with the US providing written assurances for the safety of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians left behind. US Marines were deployed as part of a multinational force to oversee and provide security for the evacuation.
  • On August 30, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat left Beirut along with the remainder of the Palestinian fighters based in the city.
  • On September 10, the Marines left Beirut. Four days later, on September 14, the leader of Israel’s Phalangist allies, Bashir Gemayel, was assassinated. Gemayel had just been elected president of Lebanon by the Lebanese parliament, under the supervision of the occupying Israeli army. His death was a severe blow to Israel’s designs for the country. The following day, Israeli forces violated the ceasefire agreement, moving into and occupying West Beirut.

The Massacre

  • On Wednesday, September 15, the Israeli army surrounded the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila and the adjacent neighborhood of Sabra in West Beirut. The next day, September 16, Israeli soldiers allowed about 150 Phalangist militiamen into Sabra and Shatila.
  • The Phalange, known for their brutality and a history of atrocities against Palestinian civilians, were bitter enemies of the PLO and its leftist and Muslim Lebanese allies during the preceding years of Lebanon’s civil war. The enraged Phalangist militiamen believed, erroneously, that Phalange leader Gemayel had been assassinated by Palestinians. He was actually killed by a Syrian agent.
  • Over the next day and a half, the Phalangists committed unspeakable atrocities, raping, mutilating, and murdering as many as 3500 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, most of them women, children, and the elderly. Sharon would later claim that he could have had no way of knowing that the Phalange would harm civilians, however when US diplomats demanded to know why Israel had broken the ceasefire and entered West Beirut, Israeli army Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan justified the move saying it was “to prevent a Phalangist frenzy of revenge.” On September 15, the day before the massacre began, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin told US envoy Morris Draper that the Israelis had to occupy West Beirut, “Otherwise, there could be pogroms.”
  • Almost immediately after the killing started, Israeli soldiers surrounding Sabra and Shatila became aware that civilians were being murdered, but did nothing to stop it. Instead, Israeli forces fired flares into the night sky to illuminate the darkness for the Phalangists, allowed reinforcements to enter the area on the second day of the massacre, and provided bulldozers that were used to dispose of the bodies of many of the victims.
  • On the second day, Friday, September 17, an Israeli journalist in Lebanon called Defense Minister Sharon to inform him of reports that a massacre was taking place in Sabra and Shatila. The journalist, Ron Ben-Yishai, later recalled:

    ‘I found [Sharon] at home sleeping. He woke up and I told him “Listen, there are stories about killings and massacres in the camps. A lot of our officers know about it and tell me about it, and if they know it, the whole world will know about it. You can still stop it.” I didn’t know that the massacre actually started 24 hours earlier. I thought it started only then and I said to him “Look, we still have time to stop it. Do something about it.” He didn’t react.”‘

  • On Friday afternoon, almost 24 hours after the killing began, Eitan met with Phalangist representatives. According to notestaken by an Israeli intelligence officer present: “[Eitan] expressed his positive impression received from the statement by the Phalangist forces and their behavior in the field,” telling them to continue “mopping up the empty camps south of Fakahani until tomorrow at 5:00 a.m., at which time they must stop their action due to American pressure.”
  • On Saturday, American Envoy Morris Draper, sent a furious message to Sharon stating:

    ‘You must stop the massacres. They are obscene. I have an officer in the camp counting the bodies. You ought to be ashamed. The situation is rotten and terrible. They are killing children. You are in absolute control of the area, and therefore responsible for the area.’

  • The Phalangists finally left the area at around 8 o’clock Saturday morning, taking many of the surviving men with them for interrogation at a soccer stadium. The interrogations were carried out with Israeli intelligence agents, who handed many of the captives back to the Phalange. Some of the men returned to the Phalange were later found executed.
  • About an hour after the Phalangists departed Sabra and Shatila, the first journalists arrived on the scene and the first reports of what transpired began to reach the outside world.

Casualty Figures

  • Thirty years later, there is still no accurate total for the number of people killed in the massacre. Many of the victims were buried in mass graves by the Phalange and there has been no political will on the part of Lebanese authorities to investigate.
  • An official Israeli investigation, the Kahan Commission, concluded that between 700 and 800 people were killed, based on the assessment of Israeli military intelligence.
  • An investigation by Beirut-based British journalist Robert Fisk, who was one of the first people on the scene after the massacre ended, concluded that The Palestinian Red Crescent put the number of dead at more than 2000.
  • In his book, Sabra & Shatila: Inquiry into a Massacre, Israeli journalist Amnon Kapeliouk reached a maximum figure of 3000 to 3500.

Aftermath

Israel

  • Following international outrage, the Israeli government established a committee of inquiry, the Kahan Commission. Its investigation found that Defense Minister Sharon bore “personal responsibility” for the massacre, and recommended that he be removed from office. Although Prime Minister Begin removed him from his post as defense minister, Sharon remained in cabinet as a minister without portfolio. He would go on to hold numerous other cabinet positions in subsequent Israeli governments, including foreign minister during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s first term in office. Nearly 20 years later, in March 2001, Sharon was elected prime minister of Israel.
  • In June 2001, lawyers for 23 survivors of the massacre initiated legal proceedings against Sharon in a Belgian court, under a law allowing people to be prosecuted for war crimes committed anywhere in the world.
  • In January 2002, Phalangist leader and chief liaison to Israel during the 1982 invasion, Elie Hobeika, was killed by a car bomb in Beirut. Hobeika led the Phalangist militiamen responsible for the massacre, and had announced that he was prepared to testify against Sharon, who was then prime minister of Israel, at a possible war crimes trial in Belgium. Hobeika’s killers were never found.
  • In June 2002, a panel of Belgian judges dismissed war crimes charges against Sharon because he wasn’t present in the country to stand trial.
  • In January 2006, Sharon suffered a massive stroke. He remains in a coma on life support.

The United States

  • For the United States, which had guaranteed the safety of civilians left behind after the PLO departed, the massacre was a deep embarrassment, causing immense damage to its reputation in the region. The fact that US Secretary of State Alexander Haig was believed by many to have given Israel a “green light” to invade Lebanon compounded the damage.
  • In the wake of the massacre, President Reagan sent the Marines back to Lebanon. Just over a year later, 241 American servicemen would be killed when two massive truck bombs destroyed their barracks in Beirut, leading Reagan to withdraw US forces for good.

The Palestinians

  • For Palestinians, the Sabra and Shatila massacre was and remains a traumatic event, commemorated annually. Many survivors continue to live in Sabra and Shatila, struggling to eke out a living and haunted by their memories of the slaughter. To this day, no one has faced justice for the crimes that took place.
  • For Palestinians, the Sabra and Shatila massacre serves as a powerful and tragic reminder of the vulnerable situation of millions of stateless Palestinians, and the dangers that they continue to face across the region, and around the world.

BBC finds Andrew Marr guilty of Telling the Truth

June 25, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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Reported by Gilad Atzmon

 Fake news is so deeply entrenched in the British media that telling the truth can get you into real trouble.  The Daily Mail reported yesterday that Andrew Marr was found “guilty of a breach of rules over a ‘misleading’ claim that Israel killed ‘lots of Palestinian kids’”

During the 8 April Sunday news programme, Marr concluded a discussion of the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons attack on civilians by saying: “And the Middle East is aflame again. ‘I mean there’s lots of Palestinian kids being killed further south as well by Israeli forces.”

Antisemitism campaigner Jonathan Sacerdoti lodged a complaint, saying that: “when talking about a story on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Andrew Marr for some reason decided to talk about Israel (which was unrelated anyway). He stated ‘there’s a lot of Palestinian kids being killed further south by Israeli forces’.”

It seems that Andrew Marr had failed to grasp that Britain is no longer a free space. Thoughts, ideas, associations and the like cannot be shared or explored in the open unless approved by one specific foreign lobby.

Sacerdoti  wrote to the BBC that the reference to Gaza is “completely incorrect and is made up. This was irrelevant to the conversation on Syria… and also actually completely false.”

In a free world, journalists, especially leading national broadcaster presenters, are encouraged to make relevant associations, use metaphorical language and re-define the boundaries of the discussion. But 2018 Britain has drifted away from the free world. It has managed to fulfil Orwell’s prophecy. Within the context of the emerging conflict at Gaza’s border, Marr’s comment wasn’t just accurate, it was prescient, capturing the essence of  the evolving massacre and the scale of violence to come. Marr could see that Israel deploying hundreds of snipers against unarmed protestors is a slaughter in the making. Marr grasped the meaning of the event before it made it into the ‘news.’

Last Saturday the Health Ministry in Gaza unveiled detailed official statistics on Palestinians killed and wounded by Israeli soldiers’ gunfire since the start of rallies and protests in the Gaza Strip on March 30. According to the report, 131 Palestinians were killed, 14,811 were wounded, including 7,975 treated in hospitals. 54 had to have either their upper or lower limbs amputated. By 8 April, Marr, like many other journalists and commentators, saw it coming: “the Middle East is aflame again-lots of Palestinian kids being killed’ was an insightful warning.

One would expect the BBC to be sophisticated enough to point out that in hindsight, Marr was proved both astute and correct. The events Marr observed did result in disastrous bloodshed.

BBC producers initially tried to defend Marr’s comments by pointing out that five ‘younger people’ had been killed between the beginning of the year and the date of the programme. They also said several Palestinian children and younger people were killed in the week following the broadcast, but Mr Sacerdoti, didn’t give up on his complaint, arguing that later events could not be used to justify Mr Marr’s comments.

Fraser Steel, head of executive complaints at the BBC, wrote to Mr Sacerdoti saying: ‘The BBC’s guidelines require that output is “well sourced” and “based on sound evidence… In the absence of any evidence to support the reference to “lots” of children being killed at the time of transmission, it seems to us to have risked misleading audiences on a material point. ‘We therefore propose to uphold this part of your complaint.”

Rising anti-semitism cannot be tackled without addressing israel’s crimes

John Elder

Surely ‘mainstream’ Jewish organisations protesting about growing anti-semitism must see that, by failing to condemn Israeli brutality against Palestinians, they will be regarded by some as being indirectly complicit in that country’s actions.

Morning-Star-article-antisemitism

Screenshot of the article before it was removed. Click to enlarge

HERE is one especially striking feature surrounding the recent demonstrations in London against apparent anti-semitism within Labour Party ranks and emerging in the population at large.
It is the total lack of censure by the three organisers of the London rallies, or by individuals from the mainstream British Jewish community they broadly represent, of the simultaneous and ongoing atrocities that were being committed by Israel at its border with Gaza.
There, on March 30, the territory’s Palestinians were staging their pre-announced “great march of return” series of protests calling for the return of ancestral lands occupied by Israel.
What they received in response from the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) on its side of the border fence was gratuitous and sustained lethal live fire and aerial tear gas attacks.
On March 26, four days before the ill-fated Gaza border confrontation had begun, a demonstration arranged jointly by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and Jewish Leadership Alliance was held outside Parliament in London.
The protesters were gathered together to denounce what they considered to be anti-semitic conduct by some of Labour’s members.
Among other associated issues in their sights, they had accused the party hierarchy of consistently turning a blind eye to the problem.
Another demonstration, this one apparently more noisy but with a similar agenda, took place in front of Labour headquarters in Westminster on April 8. It was organised by the Campaign Against Anti-semitism, a fairly new and seemingly aggressive pro-Israel pressure group.
The two London demonstrations were part of already ongoing campaigns to put pressure on the Labour Party and its leadership to stamp out anti-semitism within its ranks and take action against the perpetrators. These moves were to continue sporadically on a broader front over the following weeks.
While the anti-semitism campaigns progressed, the burgeoning toll of Palestinian dead and wounded in Gaza had really started to make the news. Yet this shameful event of six weeks’ duration may as well have not been taking place at all, if the lack of any kind of disapproval of it by mainstream British Jews and their leadership was anything to go by.
Their attention remained focused on Labour and, also, on what they believed to be rising anti-semitism in Britain itself. To have also censured Israel in any way for its ongoing and deadly onslaught on the people of Gaza was not on their agenda.
Akin, probably, to its counterparts elsewhere in the Jewish diaspora, Britain’s mainstream Jewish community has always given its unconditional support to Israel.
It was not until the atrocities at the hands of the IDF had all but ended, that representatives of the community decided to comment on the issue.
On Tuesday May 15, the final day of the Gaza Palestinians’ border protest — and only following Israel’s especially bloody assault on them the day before — statements from Jewish organisations and individuals finally began to emerge.
By this time the Israeli army had wantonly shot dead a total of around 117 Palestinian civilians, including women and children, and wounded many thousands more. Not a single Israeli soldier had been killed or wounded in this stunningly one-sided episode.
On that day, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the leadership of Britain’s “mainstream” Jewish community, said: “We are profoundly anguished at the violent scenes and loss of life at the Gaza border.”
The rest of its message was, as near as dammit, identical to the words that had come out of the mouths of Israeli government spokespersons.
Effectively, the board placed the blame for the large-scale Palestinian dead and wounded squarely on the shoulders of Hamas.
However, Mark Regev, erstwhile arch-spin doctor for the Israeli government and presently its ambassador to Britain, was on top form — and clinically colourful — in his response.
On May 15 he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We use live fire only in a very measured way, in a very surgical way and only when there is no alternative.”
On May 18, Sir Mick Davis, a former chair of the Jewish Leadership Council, was only obliquely critical of Israeli conduct in its handling of the protests in Gaza.
He reportedly questioned the lack of “empathy” on the part of Israel and its supporters for the “innocents” among the dead.
So hardly an unambiguous condemnation of the indiscriminate, mass killing and maiming of many thousands of protesting Palestinian civilians by the IDF in Gaza.
By contrast, on the same day, apparently more than 750 British Jews probably mainly — perhaps entirely — from worthy though sidelined minority groups who are critical of Israel were not impressed by the Board of Deputies announcement.
On May 18 they reportedly signed an open letter criticising the latter’s one-sided statement on IDF violence and the mass casualties suffered by Palestinian civilians as a result.
It was further reported that a group opposed to Israel’s aggressive policy towards the Palestinians had held a small demonstration in London to protest against Israel’s six-week offensive on Gaza civilians.
But, perhaps predictably, there seemed to be no reported statements of any kind from the various “friends of Israel” groups — parliamentary or otherwise — on the issue.
Nonetheless, there was a message from Downing Street on May 16 about this latest example of overwhelmingly deadly force on the thousands of unarmed Gaza citizens protesting for their legal rights to be reinstated.
It was that the government was “deeply saddened” by the casualties “during peaceful protests being exploited by extremists.”
And then, as if the rest of the world didn’t already guess, the news from Israel was that its political class and a majority of the population had supported the IDF’s premeditated lethal assault on demonstrating Palestinian civilians on the Gaza border.
Just as they had backed Israel’s far more bloody military offensive against Gaza in 2014, when a poll by Tel Aviv University showed that 95 per cent of Israeli Jews approved of the action.
Is it any wonder, then, that many have characterised Israel’s long history of tyranny towards its immeasurably weaker neighbour as a case of the once oppressed becoming the oppressor?
Similarly, it can be no accident that international polling over the years has consistently shown Israel to be among the most disapproved-of countries on the planet.
For example, the BBC World Service Annual Poll between 2013 and 2017 revealed that only Iran, North Korea and Pakistan had a lower approval rating than Israel.
Unfortunately, mainstream Jewish communities everywhere — and their supporters — appear unwilling to accept the connection between developing international anti-semitism (or anti-Israel sentiment) and Israel’s decades-long, yet still ongoing, acts of barbarism against Palestinians, and its illegal occupation and annexation of their land.
It could be because of their perpetual backing of a nation that cocks a snook at worldwide excoriation of its repeated military atrocities in Gaza, and seemingly endless UN resolutions opposed to its general conduct towards the Palestinians.
So surely the Jewish organisations and individuals who lately were protesting about growing anti-semitism in Britain must see that, as advocates of Israel’s historical and still unremitting brutality against Palestinians, they will inevitably be regarded by some other British nationals as being indirectly complicit in that country’s actions.
What is clear, though, no amount of protestations about the symptoms of rising anti-semitism or anti-Israel sentiment in Britain and elsewhere will end the problem until its root cause — Israel’s criminal behaviour — is dealt with.
Only a radical change to the UN security council voting system may bring that about. But that seems unlikely in even the unforeseeable future.
Although it is possible that, if the Palestinian Authority’s referral of Israel to the International Criminal Court goes anywhere, a verdict against Israel help the Palestinians’ cause. However, it will be a long wait, whatever the outcome.

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Netanyahu Uncensored – must watch!

June 11, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Pingpong: Richard Forer vs. Gilad Atzmon

June 04, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

In this talk Richard Forer and Gilad Atzmon engage in a lively back and forth discussion about identity politics, truth and  truthfulness in the context of Israel and Palestine.

This talk was recorded on May 12, 2018.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buT9msHzIgM

To Support Gilad’s Legal Defence Fund

’Israel’ Rejects Ahed Tamimi’s Request for Release, Murders Relative

06-06-2018 | 23:26

 
“Israel” Prison Service’ on Wednesday rejected a request by Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi, to cut a third of her sentence.
 
Ahed Tamimi
 
In its decision, “Israel” claimed a “lack of regret, the severity of the offenses and an assessment of the danger she poses.”


Ahed Tamimi, arrested since December 19, is well-known for targeting an “Israeli” officer and soldier, who were attacking her family and home.
Meanwhile, “Israeli” forces have shot and killed a 21-year-old Palestinian during a raid in a village near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The incident took place in the village of Nabi Salih on Wednesday. Clashes erupted after “Israeli” troops stormed a number of houses there.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the victim as Izza Abdul-Hafiz al-Tamimi, adding that Zionist forces had directly fired three bullets at him.

Palestinian activist Bilal Tamimi told the official Wafa news agency that “Israeli” soldiers had prevented Palestinian medical teams from attending the youth.

Another Palestinian was also injured in the clashes.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team 

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