Gaza in Context… Watch it!!!

July 27, 2016  /  Gilad Atzmon

Advertisements

Downing Street Protest Against Israel, Held Saturday, July 8

Londoners refusing to remain quiet in the face of Israeli war crimes and occupation. The protest is taking place on the second anniversary of the Israeli assault upon Gaza known as “Operation Protective Edge.” The 51-day attack, which began on July 8, 2014, resulted in the deaths of more than 2,100 Palestinians, including 448 children.

In the next video Chris Gunness, of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, discusses the Gaza blockade and its impact on the local population. Why, if Israel’s only concern is security, is the Jewish state imposing a blockade on Gaza exports?

Wounded, killed or left homeless–children of the 2014 conflict:

nema

massacre

gzmrg8

gzmrg5

gzmrg7

gzmrg1

gzmrg9

2014childrengaza

childkilledbeach

RT report from August 1, 2014–“It’s not a war, it’s a massacre”

Bernie Sanders Has Qualified As A Rabbi

April 21, 2016  /  Gilad Atzmon

image by jpupdates.com

By Gilad Atzmon

The Times of Israel  explained earlier this week “How Bernie Sanders just became the rabbi of the Jewish left.”

For most of his campaign, “Sanders had seemed to avoid talking about his Jewishness.” This changed radically last week ahead of the April 19 primary in his native New York, the most Jewish city in America.  In New York, the Israeli outlet reports, Sanders presented a “principled” stand “as a Jew” on anti-Semitism and his relationship with the Jewish community and Israel.  In the early stages of his campaign Bernie seemed to oppose identiterian politics. But last week in outreaching to NY Jews, Bernie employed the usual ID political maneuvers and Zionist tricks from the Hasbara book. The Times Of Israel and the Jewish press see a “Rabbi” in Bernie for good reason.

At a rally in Harlem on April 9, Sanders faced down what the Jewish press described as an “anti-Semitic questioner.” The so called ‘anti Semite’ asked Bernie,  “As you know, the Zionist Jews, they run the Federal Reserve, they run Wall Street….What is your affiliation to the Jewish community?”

I fail to see the anti Semitism. The question states established facts about powerful Jewish elites and raises a legitimate query regarding Bernie’s political and tribal affiliation.  Far more concerning was Bernie’s answer.

“That’s not what you’re asking,” Sanders retorted to applause. “I am proud to be Jewish.”

I wonder, is this really the case?  Do you follow Torah and Mitzvoth Mr. Sanders? What are you proud of exactly? Is it a set of ‘Jewish values,’ Jewish blood or is it your chicken soup recipe you are proud of?

Bernie provided his answer. By ‘Jewish pride’ he meant to say that he is “a strong defender of Israel” but he also “believes that we have got to pay attention to the needs of the Palestinian people.” This is apparently the sense of justice and impartiality conveyed by the new American socialist messiah: ’strong defense of the oppressor’ vs. ‘paying attention to the needs of the victim.’ Sadly, the position Sanders presented in Harlem is typical of the Jewish progressive approach to the Middle East. Total commitment to Israel peppered with some non-committal diluted verbal empathy towards the true people of the land i.e., the Palestinians.

“Jews are the 99 percent,” Bernie said to cheers from Harlem’s supportive crowd. Bernie cleverly failed to mention 99% of what. Did he mean 99% of the neocon club?  Because, truth better be said,  Jews are not well represented within America’s rapidly growing under class. Quite the opposite. Jews make up about 2% of the American population and they are among the most privileged ethnic groups in the US.

Sanders’ Middle East terminology could easily have been copied from a Likud pamphlet. In Sanders’ universe, freedom fighters are terrorists; the invaders and illegal setters are ‘peace seeking victims.’ “Of course Israel has a right not only to defend themselves, but to live in peace and security without fear of terrorist attack.” Sanders said in the last debate.

Sanders seems to be genuinely troubled by the massacre in Gaza where “some 10,000 civilians [who] were wounded and some 1,500 [who] were killed.” This is more critical of Israel than Mrs. Clinton is willing to be, but for those who may have forgotten, Bernie is parroting the Israeli Hsbara line. Israel, they always report, doesn’t want to kill women and children but is left with no other option. Sanders like Bibi, Regev and Lieberman basically blames the victims.

Unlike Clinton and Trump, Bernie didn’t join the groveling march to AIPAC’s recent gathering. Clinton and Trump had to compete for the attention of the Lobby that dominates American Foreign Policy so that it will crown one of them as its favourite Sabbos Goy. Bernie is no Sabbos Goy. Bernie is a ‘proud Jew’ by admission and a “Rabbi” according to The Times of Israel. The Times reports that he’s been “defending Israel to left-wing audiences, in his strident way. His closest friends in Vermont are Jewish. He’s handy with a Hebrew blessing.”

Bernie is apparently good for the Jews. But what about America? I guess we can hope for divine intervention.

Bernie Sanders’ Lackluster Speech on Middle East Issues

Bernie Sanders’ recent speech in Utah, in which he outlined his views on the Middle East in particular, and foreign affairs in general, was little short of delusional. Certainly it was lackluster. Sanders labeled ISIS as the ultimate evil in the world today, but regrettably he gave no indication of recognizing that ISIS has been backed by our putative allies, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and probably even by the Mossad and the CIA as well.

Instead, Sanders took his playbook from the mainstream media, calling Syrian President Bashar Assad “a brutal, brutal dictator” and advocating a political settlement “to get Assad out of power.” He also mistakenly referred to the Syrian conflict as a “civil war.” It is not. It is an invasion by foreign powers using terrorist mercenaries as proxies.

In 2014, the people of Syria voted overwhelmingly for Assad in the country’s presidential election. As I have said numerous times, the moderates in Syria are the people who support their government. This is not hard to understand, given the choices before them. But it is something US presidential candidates, including Sanders, either cannot or will not recognize. Assad is a capable leader who has exhibited considerable wisdom and insight in a number of his public comments. For instance, he once observed, “The West calls it ‘terrorism’ when it hits them, and ‘revolution, democracy, freedom, and human rights’ when it hits us.” He  alsostated that:

Western officials have lost their credibility. They no longer have double standards; they have triple and quadruple standards. They have all kinds of standards for every political situation. They have lost their credibility; they have sold their principles in return for interests, and therefore it is impossible to build a consistent policy with them. Tomorrow, they might do the exact opposite of what they are doing today.

Assad is correct. Western officials have lost their credibility. But all Sanders can do is parrot the US State Department line that Assad’s a dictator! Assad’s a dictator! Polly wanna cracker, ack! And of course we get no acknowledgement that the Syrian leader has afforded protection to his country’s Christian population.

Ironically, Sanders’ position on Syria doesn’t seem to be distinctly different from Hillary Clinton’s:

Sanders also asserted that, “Preventing Iran from getting the bomb will make the world a safe place,” but naturally he made no mention of Israel’s nuclear arsenal. I guess that’s something you simply don’t talk about on the US campaign trail, regardless of whether you’re Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. Trump soiled himself in his speech before AIPAC on Monday night, but Sanders really hasn’t done much better here.

I have been saying recently that we need a new political party in America, a party that will go by the name of the End Aid to Israel Party, or EAIP. There are crowdfunding sites out there where startup funding for such a party conceivably could be raised–enough money at least to fund a candidate for a congressional election somewhere in the country. Maybe in 2018. It’s something to be hoped for, at any rate, and it would be understood, of course, that candidates on the EAIP ticket would not be afraid to talk about Israel’s nuclear weapons and the huge, huge problem they pose for the world.

Sanders also got into the subject of the Israel-Palestine conflict–in fact it was probably the main point of his speech. And on this issue, just as with regard to Iran and Syria, he is equally lackluster and delusional. This is the point made by Steve Lendman in the article below. As Lendman puts it, Sanders’ “formula for peace isn’t reality based,” and he is absolutely correct in that assessment.

Given the deficiencies in all the major presidential contenders, it seems that sadly we are left, as usual, with “no one to vote for.” It’s down once again to a “lesser of two evils” election. This is why a new political party in America is so direly needed.

***

Sanders’ Written Remarks to AIPAC

By Steve Lendman

AIPAC is a rogue lobbying group with enormous influence in Washington, one-sidedly supporting Israel at the expense of regional peace and Palestinian rights.

Sanders addressed its annual conference in spirit, not in person, delivering his remarks in written form – expressing longstanding support for a ruthless apartheid state run by hate-mongering Zionist zealots.

“Israel is one of America’s closest allies,” he said, “and we – as a nation – are committed not just to guaranteeing (its survival), but also to its people’s right to live in peace and security.”

Fact: Both countries partner in each other’s high crimes, Sanders failed to explain.

Fact: Israel’s survival isn’t threatened. Its only threats are ones it creates. Sanders paid no heed to its longstanding reign of terror on defenseless Palestinians.

Fact: Calling their freedom fighters “terrorists” mocks their dignity, humanity, and “right to live in peace and security” Israel systematically denies them.

Claiming as president he’ll “work tirelessly to advance the cause of peace as a partner and as a friend to Israel” belies reality.

No peace process exists, not now or earlier going back decades. Israel rejects it out-of-hand, pretending otherwise, wanting historic Palestine for Jews only, its people denied their fundamental rights.

Sanders knows what he won’t explain, one-sidedly supporting Israel while pretending otherwise. His voting record belies his claim about being “a friend not only to Israel, but to the Palestinian people.” When did he ever introduce legislation supporting their rights? Never!

He backs naked Israeli aggression on the phony pretext of responding to Hamas rocket attacks, used only in self-defense.

Saying he “believe(s) that Israel, the Palestinians, and the international community can, must, and will rise to do what needs to be done to achieve a lasting peace” ignores what never happened before and won’t now.

Again, Sanders knows what he won’t say, maintaining the fiction of efforts for regional peace when none exist. Washington and Israel systematically undermine them.

His formula for peace isn’t reality based. After decades of Israeli state terror, slow-motion genocide affecting an entire population, punctuated by intermittent premeditated wars, apartheid worse than South Africa’s, and governance of, by and for hate-mongering Zionist zealots, how can anyone believe  it wants peace and stability.

Sanders is like all the rest, demanding “Hamas and Hezbollah renounce their efforts to undermine the security of Israel…Peace has to mean security for every Israeli from violence.”

Saying “attacks of all kinds against Israel” must end is code language for wanting Palestinians denied their international law guaranteed right of self-defense.

Adding “peace also means security (and well-being) for every Palestinian,” their right to “self-determination, (and) ending ‘what amounts’ (sic) to the occupation of Palestinian territory, establishing mutually agreed upon borders, and pulling back settlements in the West Bank (like earlier) in Gaza” ignores no possibility of achieving any of the above.

Sanders failed to explain Ariel Sharon’s so-called disengagement from Gaza transferred its settlers to stolen Palestinian West Bank land, displacing Palestinians from what’s rightfully theirs.

It put Jews out of harm’s way ahead of three Israeli wars of aggression on Gaza – in 2008-09, 2012 and 2014, along with frequent aerial and ground assaults, an entire population terrorized and besieged for nearly a decade with no prospect for relief.

Sanders saying “economic blockade of Gaza” must end ignores its political imposition, unrelated to security concerns.

Expressing rhetorical support for “a sustainable and equitable distribution of precious water resources so (both sides) can thrive as neighbors” ignores his one-sided support for Israel for 30 years.

He willfully lied, claiming Israel’s 2014 Gaza war followed “weeks of indiscriminate rocket fire into its territory and the kidnapping of (its) citizens.”

Operation Protective Edge was planned months in advance, naked Israeli aggression unrelated to Hamas rockets (launched only in self-defense after repeated Israeli provocations) and nonsensical kidnapping claims.

Sanders can’t get his facts straight, including false claims about Hamas “construct(ing) a network of tunnels for military purposes.”

They’re built as a vital lifeline, supplying goods essential to survive, restricted or prohibited by Israel’s suffocating blockade, one of many examples of its genocidal policy – what Sanders never explains.

His address featured numerous examples of misinformation and one-sided support for Israel. Rhetorically expressing concern for Palestinian rights rang hollow.

Throughout his political career, he never cared. Why should anyone believe he turned a new leaf.

Judge him and other politicians only by their voting record. Rhetoric is meaningless.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Anti-BDS Motion in Canada: Why Does Govt. Sanction Other Countries for Human Rights Violations, but not Israel?

tnet

“It is now worth taking a look at the countries against which Canada has placed sanctions and why, since all of them, without exception,pale in comparison to Israel’s bloody record…”

Anti-BDS Motion – Why Does Canada Sanction Other Countries for Human Rights Violations but Not Israel?

Global Research, February 26, 2016
BDS-Logo-Israel-Boycott

The international community, speaking through the United Nations, has identified three regimes as inimical to human rights – colonialism, apartheid and foreign occupation… Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem contains elements of all three of these regimes”. – John Dugard, UN’s former Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

This week, the Canadian Parliament overwhelmingly voted in favour of a motion condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

The motion, passed on February 22 by a 229-51 vote, states:

“That, given Canada and Israel share a long history of friendship as well as economic and diplomatic relations, the House reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which promotes the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel, and call upon the government to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad.”

First, there is no such thing as “friendship” between states. States have no friends, they have interests and nothing else.

Second, the BDS movement does not promote “the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel,” as the motion puts it, in a very unfactual and questionable manner. The BDS movement promotes international law and Palestinian rights and condemns Israel’s total lack of respect for both.

Despite its emotional and propagandist wording, the motion completely fails to hide the fact that it condemns criticism of human rights violations by Israel. This calls for some explanations.

By condemning a peaceful movement that tries to bring Israel to account, Canada expresses its total disregard for human rights and international law and its sheer hypocrisy when faced with human rights violations.

There are currently 22 states targeted by Canadian sanctions, several of them for human rights violations. And Israel, being Canada’s “friend”, is not one of them, even if the sanctioned countries’ misdeeds pale in comparison to the death and destruction Israel has imposed on Palestinians for decades.

While not one sanction has been imposed on Israel for its war crimes and crimes against humanity, some countries have been sanctioned by Canada simply for “misappropriating state funds.”

There are no words to describe the scale of this hypocrisy, but, we don’t need any since the facts speak for themselves. Before looking at the list of sanctioned countries and the reasons behind their sanctions, it is worth mentioning only a few facts about Israel.

As mentioned in the quote above, Israel’s policies and practices violate the most fundamental human rights of the Palestinians. The Hebrew state has been the subject of at least 77 UN resolutions since 1955, and has been criticized in at least 26 resolutions for its violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

In July 2015, a report by Amnesty International found “compelling evidence of serious violations of international humanitarian law by Israeli forces” as well as “strong evidence of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity” during Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza.” Evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity were also found during Operation Cast Lead in 2008.

Of course, most reports from the U.N. as well as the ones from human rights organizations mentioned below pretend to be “balanced” by equally blaming both sides, the Israeli army as well as Palestinian militias. If opinions can be “balanced”, facts, however, cannot, and the scale of death and destruction doesn’t lie. Most, if not all the damage and loss of life occurs on the Palestinian side. Every single time.

These few facts about Operations Cast Lead in 2008 and Protective Edge in 2014 prove it:

Cast Lead:

[B]etween 1,385 and 1,419 Palestinians were killed during Cast Lead, a majority of them civilians, including at least 308 minors under the age of 18. More than 5000 more were wounded. Thirteen Israelis were also killed, including 3 civilians.

According to the UN, 3,540 housing units were completely destroyed, with another 2,870 sustaining severe damage.

More than 20,000 people – many of them already refugees, some two or three times over – were made homeless.

Protective Edge:

At least 2,100 Palestinians were killed, of whom the United Nations identified more than 1,500 as civilians, and approximately 11,000 people, mostly civilians, were injured. The tens of thousands of Israeli attacks caused the vast majority of destruction during the fighting, which left uninhabitable 22,000 homes, displacing 108,000 people, and left hundreds of thousands without adequate water or electricity.

Attacks by Palestinian civilians injured 61 Israeli settlers in the West Bank as of October 31, the UN reported. In addition to the three Israeli teenagers who were killed in June, nine Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians.

How many dead Israeli civilians compared to Palestinian civilians? How many housing units destroyed in Israel? How many homeless Israelis? Let’s be honest. A truly balanced report would reflect the facts and not try to equally blame both sides. The forces in this conflict as well as the damage done are anything but equal. They are completely disproportionate.

That being said, Israel’s contempt for international law is legend and with this motion, Canadian Parliamentarians have just proven one more time they are bought and sold.

It is now worth taking a look at the countries against which Canada has placed sanctions and why, since all of them, without exception, pale in comparison to Israel’s bloody record.

The list clearly shows how Canada has no credibility whatsoever when it comes to condemning states for their lack of respect for human rights or people who protest against criminal states, for that matter.

Here is the list of the countries sanctioned for human rights reasons. It should be noted that several, if not all, background explanations provided on the Canadian Government web site (in brackets) are totally biased and simplistic, when not pure propaganda.

Belarus: “[D]eteriorating human rights situation.”

This includes “widespread harassment and detention of opposition party campaign workers, the physical assault of senior opposition figures, arbitrary use of state powers to support the incumbent president, pressure on state workers and students to support the President, restrictions on the ability of opposition campaigns to communicate with the electorate, and control of the state media to severely restrict access by opposition candidates.”

What happens it the Occupied Territories is much worse, yet no sanctions against Israel.

Burma: “[G]ravity of the human rights and humanitarian situation…, which threatened peace and security in the entire region.”

Libya: “[V]iolence and the use of force against civilians.”

Day-to-day in the Occupied Territories.

Russia: “Activists were beaten, kidnapped and tortured [in Ukraine]. The Russian government encouraged, and supported, these measures.”

Meanwhile, more and more “Palestinian children [are] beaten and tortured by Israeli security forces while in detention.” Read also Israeli NGO B’Tselem’s report Backed by the System: Abuse and Torture at the Shikma Interrogation Facility.

Sudan: “[H]umanitarian crisis and widespread human rights violations resulting from the conflict in Darfur region”

Syria: “The Syrian Government’s violent crackdown on peaceful protesters led to many civilian deaths and injuries. Thousands of civilians were detained arbitrarily and there were credible reports of summary executions and torture.”

Israel arbitrarily detains Palestinians on a regular basis, including children, and summary executions and torture and common.

According to B’Tselem: At the end of Dec. 2015, 422 Palestinian minors were held in Israeli prisons as security detainees and prisoners, including 6 administrative detainees.”

According to Human Rights Watch:

Israeli security forces continued to arrest children suspected of criminal offenses, usually stone-throwing, in their homes at night, at gunpoint; question them without a family member or lawyer present; and coerce them to sign confessions in Hebrew, which they do not understand… As of October 31, Israel held 457 Palestinian administrative detainees without charge or trial, based on secret evidence. Israeli prison authorities shackled hospitalized Palestinians to their hospital beds after they went on long-term hunger strikes to protest their administrative detention.”

Last year, Amnesty International has condemned “what it called a ‘clear pattern’ of… summary killings… as the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces this month [October 2015] rose to at least 61. )

Ukraine: “Activists were beaten, kidnapped and tortured.”

Zimbabwe: “marked escalation in human rights violations and violence directed at the political opposition, a stolen election, the denial of a peaceful democratic transition and a worsening humanitarian situation.”

Other reasons for which Canada has sanctioned countries include:

– “political crisis and conflict” (Yemen, Somalia);

– “violations of ceasefire and hostilities” (Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of the Congo);

– “misappropriated state funds” (Egypt, Tunisia);

– “heavy loss of human life and widespread material damage resulting from a conflict” (Eritrea, Somalia);

– “nuclear program” (Sanctions on Iran, which has a nonexistent nuclear program, but none on Israel, which is known to possess between 200 and 400 nuclear warheads.)

– “invasion” (Sanctions on Iraq for the invasion of Kuwait… but no sanctions for the U.S. which has illegally invaded Iraq, among other countries, and of course, no sanctions on Israel for decades of occupation);

– “continued escalation of hostilities” (Lebanon)

– “support for the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone” (Liberia)

– “violation of the constitution and international law” (Ukraine).

– “conducting a test of a nuclear weapon” (North Korea)

– “acts of violence and the increase in acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea against vessels” (Somalia)

– “engaging in violent conflict, much of it along ethnic lines” (South Sudan)

As you probably noticed, none of these countries has been accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity.

Canada imposes sanctions on countries for misappropriated state funds, but regards war criminal state Israel as a “friend” which deserves that it condemns its own citizens for protesting against its supreme crime.

Parliamentarians need to explain this nonsense.

As a member of the United Nations, Canada should, as stated in the U.N. Preamble, “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and… establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained.”

By voting in favour of this motion, Canadian Parliamentarians have failed to honor their obligations.Miserably.

 

The Zionist War on Free Speech in America

Posted on January 19, 2016

The young girl singing the song “Gaza Tonight” and holding up the “Free Palestine” sign (see post immediately below this one) could easily at some point find either herself, or possibly her parents, on the receiving end of threats and intimidation from Zionists. The latest wave of harassment is being aimed at Palestine solidarity activists at Oberlin College in Ohio…

Check out the article below published today by Fox News. It is not exactly objective reporting–I’m kind of surprised they even included a quote from the Palestine solidarity group, but they did toss in one–yet what comes through loud and clear is that criticism of Israel on the Oberlin campus is now being equated with “anti-Semitism.”

Apparently Jewish students at Oberlin find it distressing to have to walk past sidewalk chalk drawings reading “Apartheid Week,” and are demanding that such activities be stopped. And more than likely, as these things often seem to go, the school administration will cave into them.

Oberlin Alums Fight Back Against Purported Anti-Semitism on Campus

apartweek

Palestine solidarity activists at Oberlin organized “apartheid week”

By Perry Chiaramonte | Published January 19, 2016 | FoxNews.com

Angry alumni at a prestigious Ohio college have had enough of what they consider anti-Semitism on campus, and have demanded the school put a stop to it.

Some 200 Oberlin College graduates signed an open letter to the northern Ohio school, blasting what they called a hostile environment for Jewish students and faculty on campus. The critics charged that the Boycott, Divest from, and Sanction Israel movement on campus has morphed into raw racism.

“Several student organizations at Oberlin have assumed the role as the mouthpiece of the BDS movement, which claims to be a defender of Palestinian rights, but whose inflammatory language falsely portraying Israel as an illegitimate, colonialist and murderous regime demonstrates that its primary goal is to demonize the Jewish state,” reads part of the letter.

It goes on to state that the campus BDS advocates send an implicit message to Jewish classmates to “either forfeit your allegiance to Israel and join us, or we will brand you as an enemy of justice and complicit in the oppression of the Palestinian people.”

The drafting of the letter was spearheaded by Melissa Landa, an instructor at the University of Maryland and graduate of Oberlin. Landa told FoxNews.com her group wants a task force formed to address anti-Semitism on campus carried out under the guise of pro-Palestinian activism.

The school’s graduates include actor and writer Lena Dunham, conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, actor Ed Helms and novelist and playright Eric Bogosian.

“While current students can speak to the atmosphere on campus, alumni have an investment in the future of the college,” Landa said, adding that Oberlin President Marvin Krislov will meet with the group Jan. 26 to discuss the ongoing issue.

Members of Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine issued a statement rejecting the charge that members are anti-Semitic.

“We reject the idea that support for the Palestinian cause is anti-Semitic,” read the statement. “Criticism of Israel may challenge the political opinions of some students, but that is not a threat to their safety. We will continue to confront the realities of the occupation on our campus.”

Oberlin College officials did not immediately return requests for comment.

Over the past several years, Oberlin has had a slew of issues concerning Anti-Israel activism, according to legal blog, Legal Insurrection.

Most recently, there is even a belief among some that BDS activists have attempted to co-opt the Black Lives Matter movement on campus.

This past November, the Oberlin Black Student Union brought forth a petition regarding what they referred to as the “cultural appropriation of ethnic foods and cultural insensitivity” in the dining hall.

Among the list of 50 different demands was that the school divest from Israel. The 14-page list of demands was endorsed by Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine.

Anti-Semitism is on the rise on campuses across the country, often driven by BDS activists, said Brett Cohen, executive director of campus affairs for StandWithUs, an international education organization that attempts to ensure that the Israeli side of the debate is heard.

“There is a direct correlation between efforts to boycott and divest from Israel on campus and increased hate crimes against Jews, including swastikas painted on Jewish centers and fraternities, Jewish students being harassed and intimidated, and several cases of outright violence,” Cohen said.

“The pseudo-academic delegitimizaton of Israel fuels this fire, and has created a situation where some pro-Israel students are afraid to voice their opinions in the classroom.”


The following is an open letter  published by a group calling itself the “Oberlin Alumni Against Anti-Semitism.”

An Open Letter to College President Krislov, the Trustees, Faculty, Staff and Students of Oberlin College

source

January 3, 2016

Throughout the past few years, the movement to Boycott, Divest from, and Sanction Israel (BDS) has become increasingly active on American college campuses, and Oberlin has become the site of highly visible BDS activism. Several student organizations at Oberlin have assumed the role as the mouthpiece of the BDS movement, which claims to be a defender of Palestinian rights, but whose inflammatory language falsely portraying Israel as an illegitimate, colonialist and murderous regime demonstrates that its primary goal is to demonize the Jewish state. Because participation in these groups requires denouncing Israel, the message to Jewish students can be summed up as follows: Either forfeit your allegiance to Israel and join us, or we will brand you as an enemy of justice and complicit in the oppression of the Palestinian people.

As Oberlin students and alumni representing a diversity of views on Israel, we accept criticism of its leadership and policies. However, we do not believe Israel should be singled out for condemnation and we object to questioning its right to exist. We also abhor the tactics of Oberlin’s pro-BDS student organizations that intimidate, threaten, and coerce Jewish students, which we have seen and heard in numerous written and spoken reports.

According to The Jewish Exponent, an award-winning newspaper that serves the Jewish community of Philadelphia, one Oberlin student reported, “My fellow Obies and I were expected by our peers to join them in denouncing a plethora of social evils including…Israel.” That same student described an incident on campus when, “One speaker drew laughs when she said that Zionists should be burned at the stake.” In addition, the AMCHA campus monitor, which is published by a non profit organization that addresses anti-Semitism on college campuses, has documented numerous messages posted on line by the student group, Students for a Free Palestine, including, “Ohio is infested with Zionism,” and describing Israel as a “white supremacist,” “violent apartheid state.” As reported to The Oberlin Review, other incidents include the expulsion of the Kosher Halal co-op from the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association (OSCA) and an exhibition of black flags symbolizing the Palestinians killed in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge displayed on Rosh Hashanah, one of Judaism’s holiest days.

Jewish students have articulated the impact of these incidents on their lives. The Oberlin Review quoted one student who said, “I quickly learned that at Oberlin, love for my own nation (Israel) was not something I could freely express.” The student who was quoted in The Jewish Exponent, also explained that she transferred out of Oberlin due to its “toxic climate…around Israel.”

While we commend the decision of Oberlin’s Board of Trustees to reject calls for the college to endorse the BDS movement, and President Krislov’s statements against anti-Semitism on college campuses, we are deeply troubled by the continued intimidation of Jewish students and the many other forms of anti-Semitism occurring on campus. To echo a recent ruling by a French court of appeals, declaring BDS a blatant form of hate speech and anti-Semitism, we believe that pro-BDS individuals at Oberlin are exploiting the concept of free speech by promoting hate speech and by inciting acts of anti-Semitism. Thus, in an effort to see our alma mater reverse this unacceptable trend of aggression, we are calling on the administration to take the following steps:

1) A thorough investigation and documentation of all acts of anti-Semitism, including student rallies that voiced inflammatory language about Israel.

2) A forum for students and alumni who have experienced anti-Semitism at Oberlin in the past or who have been coerced by BDS proponents, to share and discuss the impact of those experiences on their psychological well-being and academic performance.

3) A task force comprised of President Krislov, Rabbi Shlomo Elkan, the interim or permanent Oberlin Hillel director, students, staff, faculty, and alumni to put into place an appropriate, clear and immediate plan of action to address this current crisis.

Oberlin College has a rich history of tolerance and peaceful political activism. As current students and alumni, we need to know that those values, which appealed to each of us when we chose to attend Oberlin, will still exist for Oberlin’s  future students, and that the current divisive and damaging environment will not continue. We hope and trust that you will do what is necessary to maintain our proud legacy.

Sincerely,

The letter seems to be long on accusations and short on documentation. If the person who made the comment about “burning Zionsts at the stake” was a faculty or staff member (assuming such a comment was even made), then disciplinary proceedings against that person would be warranted, but the party who allegedly made the statement isn’t even named. The worst charge that the Oberlin alumni group seems able to lay at the campus Palestine activists’ feet is that of making “inflammatory” statements that irked Jewish students by “portraying Israel as an illegitimate, colonialist and murderous regime.”

So if we reach a point in America where we’re not allowed to call apartheid apartheid, and we’re not allowed to make “inflammatory statements” about a regime that kills children, imposes embargoes and blockades, and locks people up behind walls, then where will that leave us? Will we any longer be able to claim we enjoy the right to free speech?

Israel supporters seem very much to be waging a war on the First Amendment.

UN Shields Israel from Accountability for Atrocities Against Children

childkilledbeach

One of four children killed on July 16, 2014, when an Israeli naval vessel fired upon a Gaza beach.

Defense for Children International-Palestine

Posted on 

Ramallah, June 8, 2015–Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP) is deeply troubled by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s decision not to include Israel’s armed forces in his annual list of groups that commit grave violations of children’s rights.

Each year, the UN Secretary-General submits a report on children and armed conflict to the UN Security Council that includes a “list of shame” of armed forces and groups. Israel’s armed forces were reportedly recommended by Ms. Leila Zerrougui, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG-CAAC), for inclusion in the list for killing and maiming children as well as carrying out attacks against schools. Recently, the United States reportedly pressured Ban Ki-moon, who holds sole discretion in the matter, against taking this action. This is believed to be the first time the Secretary-General has not accepted the recommendation of the SRSG-CAAC.

“By removing Israel’s armed forces from the children’s ‘list of shame’, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has provided tacit approval for Israeli forces to continue carrying out grave violations against children with impunity,” said Khaled Quzmar, DCIP’s general director. “It is deplorable that a proven and strong evidence-based accountability tool to protect children during armed conflict has been significantly undermined in an effort to shield Israel from accountability.”

The Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict, released today, states that 557 Palestinian children were killed in 2014, the third highest behind Afghanistan (710) and Iraq (679) and significantly more than in Syria (368). At least 543schools were damaged or destroyed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), which was the highest recorded number of all situations in 2014, according to the report.

Last week, DCIP called on Ban Ki-moon to resist political pressure against holding Israel accountable, and Human Rights Watch sent him a letter urging him to “apply consistent criteria when determining which parties to list, including all armed forces and non-state armed groups where there is credible evidence of a pattern of violations.” The draft list also included Palestinian armed groups, but the Secretary-General also removed them from the final version. Over the past 10 months, DCIP has led evidence-based advocacy effortsurging Israel’s inclusion in Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s annual “list of shame” for killing and maiming children and carrying out attacks on schools in Gaza.

The decision to remove Israel’s armed forces from the draft list comes despite a report released in late April by a UN Board of Inquiry established by the Secretary-General thatfound Israel responsible for strikes on UN schools and shelters in Gaza that killed at least 44 Palestinians, including children.

During Israel’s most recent military offensive, known as “Operation Protective Edge”, and as in previous offensives, Israeli armed forces carried out a significant number of direct attacks on civilian homes and other civilian buildings, including schools, killing over 500 Palestinian children and injuring another 3,374 children in attacks throughout Gaza in July and August 2014.

Since 2007, a monitoring group, led by the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, has reported on grave violations against children in Israel and the OPT. The group includes international, Israeli, and Palestinian nongovernmental organizations and UN agencies. The group’sbulletin on Israel’s military offensive in Gaza last summer includes extensive and detailed evidence of the killing and maiming of Palestinian children as well as attacks against their schools.

Detailed and comprehensive data and information on grave violations against children in the OPT has been included in each of the Secretary-General’s annual reports on children and armed conflict since 2006.

UN Security Council Resolution 1612, adopted in 2005, formally established a UN-led, evidence-based monitoring and reporting mechanism (MRM) on grave violations against children during armed conflict. The six grave violations against children, as defined by the Security Council, include killing and maiming, child recruitment, sexual violence, attacks on schools or hospitals, denial of humanitarian access for children, and abduction.

MRM working groups systematically gather information and submit documentation on the major child rights violations for inclusion in the UN Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict. Credible evidence of armed forces or groups committing these atrocities against children obligates the Secretary-General to list them in the annex of his annual report.

The significance of the MRM is that it provides a process for accountability when armed forces or armed groups violate universal and fundamental principles. Over the past decade, the global MRM has significantly increased protections for children during armed conflict. However, it has failed to foster the compliance of Israeli forces with international child protection standards.

 

%d bloggers like this: