Weekly report on israel’s terrorism against the State of Palestine (03– 09 August 2017)

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Ten Palestinian were wounded, including 9 civilians, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

  • Five of them were wounded in the West Bank and 5 others in the Gaza Strip.
  • Israeli warplanes targeted two military sites in the northern Gaza Strip.
  • Israeli forces conducted 64 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one in the Gaza Strip.
  • 106 civilians, including 21 children and 4 women, were arrested.
  • Thirty-six of them, including 8 children and a woman, were arrested in Jerusalem
  • Israeli forces continued efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied Palestinian Jerusalem.
  • A house was demolished in al-Mukaber Mount village, south of the city in addition to an under-construction room in Beit Hanina, north of the city.
  • Israeli forces continued settlement activities in the West Bank.
  • Israeli forces issued 14 demolition notices against facilities, including a private school, in Silwad village, east of Ramallah.
  • Dozens of settlers attacked Palestinian houses in Jaber neighbourhood in Hebron.
  • Israeli forces continued to target the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea.
  • Israeli navy forces opened fire 6 times at fishing boats in the northern Gaza Strip. Neither casualties nor material damage were reported.
  • Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 10th
  • Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians.
  • Three Palestinian civilians were arrested at the military checkpoints in the West Bank.

 

 

Summary

Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (03 -09 August 2017).

 

Shooting:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 10 Palestinian civilians, including 9 civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Five of them were in the West Bank while the 5 others were wounded in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip continued to chase the Palestinian fishermen in the sea.  Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes against military training sites belonging to the Palestinian armed groups.

 

In the West Bank, on 28 July 2017, Israeli forces wounded 5 Palestinian civilians. Three of them were hit with metal bullets during Kafr Qaddoum weekly demonstration, northeast of Qalqilya, in protest against the closure of the eastern entrance to the village with an iron gate.  The 2 others were hit with bullets when the Israeli forces raided Dheisheh refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, to arrest them.

 

In the Gaza Strip, border areas witnessed protests against the continued and unjust closures imposed on the Gaza population.  The Israeli forces used force against the participants.  Due to the shooting used to disperse the protestors, 4 Palestinian civilians were wounded; 2 of them with live bullets while the other 2 with tear gas canisters and sound bombs that directly hit them.

In the context of airstrikes, on 09 august 2017, Israeli warplanes targeted in separate air strikes a military training site and checkpoint belonging to Al-Qassam Brigades (the military wing of Hamas Movement) in the northern Gaza Strip.  The first airstrike resulted in the injury of a Member of Palestinian armed groups with shrapnel to the head.  The 2 airstrikes caused damage to the site and checkpoint.

Concerning attacks on fishermen, on 04 August 2017, Israeli gunboats sporadically opened fire at the Palestinian fishermen, northwest of Beit Lahia village, north of the Gaza Strip, and chased them. Similar attacks recurred against the Palestinian fishing boats in the same area on 05, 07 and 08 August 2017.

 

Incursions:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 64 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and 710 ones in Jerusalem. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 106 Palestinian civilians, including 21 children and 4 women. Thirty-six of them, including 8 children and a woman, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs.

In the Gaza Strip, on 03 August 2017, Israeli forces moved into east of Khuza’ah village, northeast of Khan Younis.  They levelled lands along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Efforts to create Jewish Majority

 

In the context of house demolitions, on 08 August 2017, Israeli municipality bulldozers demolished a house belonging to Hamzah al-Shaloudi in al-Rabay’ah neighbourhood in al-Mukaber Mount village, south of occupied Jerusalem, under the pretext of no licensing.  The wife of the house’s owner said that she lived with her husband and 2 children for 3 months in the 65-square-meter house.  She added that the Israeli Municipality demolished the house without any prior warning.  When the Municipality staff arrived to demolish the house, she called the lawyer who headed to the Municipality and managed to get a decision to delay the demolition.  However, the bulldozers had already demolished the house.

On 09 August 2017, Israeli municipality bulldozers demolished an under-construction room belonging to Siyam family in Beit Hanina neighbourhood, north of occupied Jerusalem, under the pretext of no licensing.  The family said that the 45-square-meter room was built of wood as the family started building it 2 months ago.

 

Settlement activities and settler attacks

 

In the context of demolition notices and house demolitions, the Israeli authorities notified 14 residential, commercial and industrial facilities in Silwad village, east of Ramallah, to be demolished under the pretext of no licensing although the facilities are located within Area B according to Oslo Accords.  The Head of the municipality said that among those notified facilities is a private school located within Silwad Municipality.  This school was built 10 years ago and is the only private school in the eastern Ramallah villages.

Concerning settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property, on 04 August 2017, dozens of settlers from “Karayat Arba’” settlement, east of Hebron, attacked Palestinian houses in Jaber neighbourhood to the east of al-Ibrahimi Mosque with stones.  They also attacked Palestinian civilians under the protection of the Israeli police and forces, who did not lift a finger to prevent them.  As a result, Tariq Rebi’ie Tamimi (40) was wounded to the left hand and sustained fracture in the palm of his hand.  Moreover, Menwer Jaber (40) was wounded to the head and transferred to Hebron Governmental Hospital to receive medical treatment.

 

Restrictions on movement:

 

Israel continued to impose a tight closure of the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

The illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has been steadily tightened since June 2007 has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.  The Israeli authorities impose measures to undermine the freedom of trade, including the basic needs for the Gaza Strip population and the agricultural and industrial products to be exported. For 9 consecutive years, Israel has tightened the land and naval closure to isolate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, and other countries around the world. This resulted in grave violations of the economic, social and cultural rights and a deterioration of living conditions for 2 million people.  The Israeli authorities have established Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shaloum) as the sole crossing for imports and exports in order to exercise its control over the Gaza Strip’s economy.  They also aim at imposing a complete ban on the Gaza Strip’s exports. The Israeli closure raised the rate of poverty to 65%. Moreover, the rate of unemployment increased up to 47% and youth constitutes 65% of the unemployed persons.  Moreover, 80% of the Gaza Strip population depends on international aid to secure their minimum daily needs. These rates indicate the unprecedented economic deterioration in the Gaza Strip.

In the West Bank, Israeli forces continued to suffocate the Palestinian cities and village by imposing military checkpoints around and/or between them. This created “cantons” isolated from each other that hinders the movement of civilians. Moreover, the Palestinian civilians suffering aggravated because of the annexation wall and checkpoints erected on daily basis to catch Palestinians.

 

 

Details

 

  1. Incursions into Palestinian Areas, and Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

 

Thursday, 03 August 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Fawar refugee camp, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Anan ‘Ali Zaquot (18) and then arrested him.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Bethlehem and stationed in al-Jabal Street in the center of the city. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Rebhi al-Rafati and then arrested him. Following that, the Israeli forces moved to al-Saf Street. They raided and searched a house belonging to Riyad Ibrahim Abu ‘Aahour (36). They handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Gush Etzion“, south of the city.
  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Kuber village, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched a number of houses after which they arrested 2 civilians namely Qusai As’ad Fahel (19) and Nawras Mohammed al-Barguthi (19).
  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into ‘Ein Beit al-Maa’ refugee camp, west of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Nidal Mohammed Shattawi (26) and then arrested him.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Taqou’ village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested Soheib Mohammed al-‘Amour (15)

 

  • At approximately 02:45, Israeli forces moved into Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Salem Abu Shehab as they were looking for his son Eyad (14). After the Israeli forces did not found him, they handed his parents a notice to turn him into “Kadomim” settlement, north of the city. Meanwhile, another Israeli force raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed ‘Othman Ahmed Da’as  (37) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Emrees village, south of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Saqer Mahmoud al-Sha’arawi (25) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 06:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Fare’ah refugee camp, south of Tubas. They raided and searched a house belonging to Yusuf Hasan Mahmoud Tayeh (30) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 07:30, Israeli forces accompanied with heavy military vehicles moved about 80 meters into the east of Khuza’ah village, northeast of Khan Yunis. They leveled and combed the lands along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The incursion continued for several hours after which the Israeli forces redeployed along the abovementioned border fence.
  • At approximately 13:30, Israeli forces moved into Qalqiliyah for the second time. They raided and searched a house belonging to Do’aa Fares Zamawi (24) and confiscated a PC and a cell phone and then arrested Doaa’

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (8) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Yatta, al-Samou’ and al-Thaheriyah villages; Kharsa and al-Surrah in Hebron; al-Ma’ajeen neighbourhood, northeast of Nablus; ‘Asker al-Jaeed refugee camp, northeast of the city and Rujeeb village, east of Hebron.

 

Friday, 04 August  2017

 

  • At approximately 14:00, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at and chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 2 nautical miles. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported.

 

Saturday, 05 August  2017

 

  • At approximately 14:20, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at and chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Beit Ummer, Sa’ir, Bani Na’im and Beit Marsam villages in Hebron.

 

Sunday, 06 August  2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched a number of houses after which they arrested 3 civilians namely Ibrahim Abu Kharmah, Mohammed Ramadan ‘Elyan and Karam Makhlouf Nakhlah. The Israeli forces claimed that they arrested the cell that opened fire yesterday at a military checkpoint at the entrance to “Beit Eil” settlement, north of Ramallah. They added that one of the arrested civilians handed over the weapon used in the attack.
  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed ‘Ali Suleiman Abu ‘Ayash and then arrested his grandchild ‘Alaa’ Anwar al-Bal’awi (22) from al-Dheisheh refugee camp, west of Bethlehem. It should be noted that ‘Alaa’ was visiting his grandfather’s house when he was arrested.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed ‘Ali ‘Essa (19) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces move into Nahalin, southwest of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Mousa Gayathah (25) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 13:30, Israeli forces moved into Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Aminah ‘Ali Abtali (24), the wife of prisoner Adeeb al-Ghalban, who was arrested few weeks ago. They then arrested her and took her to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 19:30, Israeli forces moved into the northern entrance to ‘Aydah refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, and stationed in al-Muftah area in the camp. They arrested 3 children namely Mohammed Rami ‘Ouwais (10), Abdul Hamid Hamam Abu Surour (10) and ‘Amr Ahmed Abu Surour (11)

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Sebastia, northwest of Nablus; Dura and al-Shyoukh village in Hebron.

 

Monday, 07 August  2017

 

  • At approximately 00:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Dawhah village, west of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Nader ‘Essa al-Khatib (28) and then handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Gush Eztion” settlement complex, south of the city.
  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Taqou’ village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses after which they arrested 4 children namely Marwan Kamal al-‘Amour (15), Mohyee Ahmed al-‘Amour (15), Moayad Abdullah al-‘Amour (15) and Ma’moun Ibrahim al-‘Amour (15).
  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Kafel Hares village, north of Salfit. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested 2 civilians, including a child, namely Nour Abdul ‘Aziz al-As’aad (20) and Mohammed Abdullah Husni Shaqour (17).
  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Sa’ir village, east of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Baraa’ Mousa al-Kawaziyah (22) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 14:20, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at and chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported. The shooting recurred at approximately 16:20 and 22:20 on the same day and in the same area.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: al-Shyoukh and al-Majd villages in Hebron, and Howarah village, south of Nablus.

 

Tuesday, 08 August  2017

  • At approximately 01:45, Israeli forces moved into Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ibrahim Mohammed Mahmoud Balashmeh (27) and then arrested him. They also raided and searched a house belonging to Muhsen Mahmoud Shraim (53) and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service. No more incidents were reported.
  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Maithaloun village, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Na’im Rabay’ah and then arrested him.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Kafer Raa’i village, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched a house belonging to Shadi Nasser Sawalheh and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:15, Israeli forces moved into Nablus. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested Thaer Mohammed al-Aghbar (26) and Abdul Rahim Mohammed Radi al-Hanbali (77).
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Howarah village, south of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and then arrested Mohammed Ghassan ‘Oudah (20).
  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Jenin refugee camp, west of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested 7 civilians, including 3 brothers namely Anwar, his brothers Amir and Ahmed Mohammed Yusuf Salamah; Qais al-Ghoul, Qusai al-‘Orsan, ‘Alaa’ al-Fayed and Hamoudah Frehat.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Qablan village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses, arrested 6 civilians, took them to al-Amir Hall and questioned them on the spot. The arrested civilians were identified as Jehad Saleh Nashatah, Saleh Netham, Mahmoud Qasem Joudah, ‘Obadah Mahmoud, Walid Yusuf Zeyadah and Ahmed Sultan Aqraa’.
  • At approximately 03:40, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at ad chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported.
  • At approximately 11:00, Israeli forces moved into the southern area in Hebron, and stationed in front of Hebron Governorate’s Inspection Building, which is a security department established by the governorate to follow up the public life in the area that is not under the Palestinian security control. The building was searched and its contents were confiscated. The Israeli forces also arrested 4 employees namely Rabah Abu Suneinah, Mohammed Ghazi Abu Suneinah , ‘Aziz Abu ‘Afifah and ‘Obaidah Abu Suneinah.

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: al-Koum and Ethna villages  in Hebron and Beta village, southeast of Nablus.

 

Wednesday, 09 August 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Kuber village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses and then arrested Abdul Jalil al-‘Abed, attacker of “Halmish” attack, and his uncle Ibrahim al-‘Abed.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Madama village, south of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Wajih Qut (28) and then arrested him.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Sebastia village, northwest of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Qatibah Abdul Karim ‘Azem (26) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 01:15, Israeli warplanes fired 4 missiles at a military site of al-Qassam Brigades (the Armed Wing of Hamas Movement). The site is located to the southwest of Jabalia village in the northern Gaza Strip. As a result, a member of a Palestinian armed group sustained a shrapnel wound to the head. He was transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza to receive medical treatment. Dr. Ayman al-Sahbani, Director of Emergency Department in al-Shifa Hospital, classified his injury as moderate. The shelling also resulted in a serious material damage in the site and left huge crater in it. Moreover, The airstrikes caused strong explosions that rocked large areas in the north of Gaza city and in Gaza city too, so civilians, especially women and children, were terrified.
  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Taqou’ village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched dozens of houses after which they arrested 5 civilians, including 4 children, namely Theeb Mahmoud al-‘Amour (43), his son Mahmoud (15), Nezar Khalil al-‘Amour (16), Mahmoud Zeyad al-‘Amour (15) and Amir Wahid al-‘Amour (15).
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Farsh al-Hawa area, west of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Badran Bader Jaber (70) Leader at the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP) in Hebron. They then arrested him.
  • At approximately 01:35, Israeli warplanes fired a missile at a military checkpoint of al-Qassam Brigades (the Armed Wing of Hamas Movement). The checkpoint is located in the northeast of Um al-Nasser village in the northern Gaza Strip and about 250 meters to the west of the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The shelling resulted in serious material damage in the checkpoint, but no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Tulkarm refugee camp. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested 2 civilians namely Ahmed Mohammed Bashir al-Jyousi (26) and Baker Mohammed Saleem Kharbush (27).
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Ektaba Suburb in Tulkarm. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ashraf Abdul Hafeth Khaled Thaher (26) and then arrested him.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Ektaba Suburb in Tulkarm. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ashraf Abdul Hafeth Khaled Thaher (26) and then arrested him.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Yatta, south of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ibrahim Mousa Makhamrah (37) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Ya’bud village, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed ‘Adnan Shukri Abu Baker (26) and then arrested him. They also raided and searched “Masaia” Library and confiscated fireworks.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Sa’ir village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Eslam Ahmed Shalaldah (23) and then arrested him.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Sa’ir village, east of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Yusuf Hamdan Halaiqah (40) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:30, Israeli forces move into al-Mughir Valley, south of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Amjad Ahmed Fathallah Salhab (21) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Dheisheh refugee camp, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Sa’ad Ibrahim al-Salhi in order to arrest his son Ra’ed (22). When the soldiers raided the house, Ra’ed immediately left the house via a balcony and jumped over the fence surrounding their house. The soldiers opened fire at him and wounded him to the back, so he fell on the ground. Ra’ed’s brother Bassam rushed to help him, but the soldiers opened fire at him. However, he was able to reach his brother and carried him to a yard of a house that was near the camp entrance. After that, the soldiers headed to the house where Bassam and Ra’ed were present. They moved Bassam away and took Ra’ed out of the house. The soldiers left him on the ground for 20 minutes without offering him first aid. They later took him to a military vehicle and moved him to an unknown destination. Meanwhile, another Israeli force opened fire at Abdul ‘Aziz Ahmed ‘Arafah (22) from the abovementioned camp after he attempted to run away from his house for the soldiers attempted to arrest him. When he left the house towards the street, a soldier opened fire at him. Abdul ‘Aziz was wounded to the feet and then arrested. Later, the Israeli forces withdrew from the camp taking the arrested civilians to an unknown destination.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Dura and al-Hadab villages in Hebron, an Zabuba village in Jenin.

 

Demonstrations Against Israeli Measures in al-Aqsa Mosque:

 

West Bank:

  •  Following Friday prayers on 04 August 2017, dozens of Palestinian civilians from Dura organized a protest and made their way to Muthalath Kharsa area, south of the city, southwest of Hebron, in rejection to the Israeli policy of confiscating a 500-square-meter land belonging to al-Shahatit family as the soldiers transferred it to a military watchtower. The land is located in area (A) that is under the Palestinian control according to 1993 Oslo Accords near the bypass road (60) and “Negohot” settlement. At the end of the prayer, the protestors raised the Palestinian flags and chanted national slogans condemning the Israeli policy of confiscating lands. Large Israeli forces patrolled the area and fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, many civilians sustained tear gas inhalation. A number of young men threw stones and empty bottles at the soldiers and set fire to tires. Meanwhile, a wastewater pumping vehicle arrived to the area and sprayed the main road and shops with wastewater. Clashes continued until the evening hours, but neither injuries nor arrests were reported.

 

  • At approximately 13:45 on Friday afternoon, Palestinian civilians and International activists organized a protest in the center of Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah. They made their way to the eastern entrance to the village in protest against closing that entrance since the beginning of al-Aqsa Intifada with an iron gate. When the protesters approached the entrance, the Israeli forces fired metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them. As a result, a 36-year-old civilian sustained a metal bullet wound to the Back.

 

  • At approximately 13:45 on Saturday afternoon, 05 August 2017, Palestinian civilians and international activists organized a protest in the center of Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah. They made their way to the eastern entrance to the village in protest against closing that entrance since the beginning of al-Aqsa Intifada with an iron gate. When the protesters approached the entrance, the Israeli forces fired metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them. As a result, a 26-year-old civilian sustained a metal bullet wound to the right hand and a 39-year-old civilian sustained a metal bullet wound to the back.

 

Gaza Strip:

 

  • At approximately 16:00 on Friday, 04 August 2017, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered few meters away from the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, in response to calls for protests in the border area against the Israeli measures in occupied Jerusalem. A number of the young men set fire to tires and threw stones at the Israeli forces stationed along the abovementioned border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets, tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets at them. The clashes continued until approximately 20:00 on the same day. As a result, 4 civilians were wounded. Two civilians sustained live bullet wounds while the 2 others were hit with tear gas canisters.

 

  1. Continued closure of the oPt

 

Israel continued to impose a tight closure on the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

 

Gaza Strip

 

Israeli forces continuously tighten the closure of the Gaza Strip and close all commercial crossings, making the Karm Abu Salem crossing the sole commercial crossing of the Gaza Strip, although it is not suitable for commercial purposes in terms of its operational capacity and distance from markets.

Israeli forces have continued to apply the policy, which is aimed to tighten the closure on all commercial crossings, by imposing total control over the flow of imports and exports.

Israeli forces have continued to impose a total ban on the delivery of raw materials to the Gaza Strip, except for very limited items and quantities. The limited quantities of raw materials allowed into Gaza do not meet the minimal needs of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

Israeli forces also continued to impose an almost total ban on the Gaza Strip exports, including agricultural and industrial products, except for light-weighted products such as flowers, strawberries, and spices. However, they lately allowed the exportation of some vegetables such as cucumber and tomatoes, furniture and fish.

Israel has continued to close the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for the majority of Palestinian citizens from the Gaza Strip. Israel only allows the movement of a limited number of groups, with many hours of waiting in the majority of cases. Israel has continued to adopt a policy aimed at reducing the number of Palestinian patients allowed to move via the Beit Hanoun crossing to receive medical treatment in hospitals in Israel or in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel also continued applying the policy of making certain civilian traveling via the crossing interviewed by the Israeli intelligence service to be questioned, blackmailed or arrested

 

israeli kingpins behind ‘monstrous’ international financial scam ‘binary options’

Israeli kingpins behind ‘monstrous’ international financial scam ‘binary options’

2017

Israeli kingpins behind ‘monstrous’ international financial scam ‘binary options’

A top Israeli security official said: “The overseas regulators tell us, ‘You have to do something, it’s like you’re turning a blind eye to this.’ I’m telling you, these binary options are a greater cause of anti-Semitism than any other factor.”

The widely fraudulent binary options industry generates $5 billion to $10 billion a year and largely emanates from Israel. It has been estimated to number well over 100 companies, and to employ between 5,000 and tens of thousands of employees.

While many within Israel are trying to reign it in, the Knesset’s current watered-down bill would allow binary options fraudsters to re-brand their product and continue to defraud customers abroad with impunity. An analyst writes: “Israel is so corrupt that these borderline criminals actually run the country.”

Below are five articles from the Times of Israel and elsewhere about a criminal industry that has scammed hundreds of thousands of victims worldwide out of billions of dollars with little to no intervention from Israeli law enforcement: 

Police: Binary options is run by crime bosses, has grown ‘monstrous’ in size

By Simona Weinglass, Times of Israel

In a bombshell speech, a senior Israel Police officer told a Knesset panel on Wednesday that Israeli crime kingpins are behind the binary options industry and that organized crime in the country has been massively enriched and strengthened as a result of law enforcement’s failure for many years to grasp the vastness of the problem.

“Our eyes have been opened,” said Superintendent Gabi Biton, who investigates financial fraud and money laundering. “What we’re seeing here is a massive organized criminal enterprise. We are talking about criminals at various levels of crime organizations, up to the very top.”

The widely fraudulent binary options industry is estimated to generate between $5 billion and $10 billion a year and to largely emanate from Israel. It has been estimated to number well over 100 companies, and to employ between 5,000 and tens of thousands of employees.

The Times of Israel began exposing the industry in a March 2016 article entitled “The wolves of Tel Aviv: Israel’s vast, amoral binary options scam exposed.” The fraudulent firms ostensibly offer customers worldwide a potentially profitable short-term investment. But in reality — through rigged trading platforms, refusal to pay out, and other ruses — these companies fleece the vast majority of customers of most or all of their money. The fraudulent salespeople routinely conceal where they are located, misrepresent what they are selling and use false identities.

Because binary options is such a lucrative scam, established organized crime groups gravitated toward it, said Biton. “They saw the huge economic potential in binary options,” he added, explaining that these organized crime bosses then hired professionals, foreign language speakers and payments experts to help them carry out their fraud.

“It has grown to monstrous proportions,” he added. “I can say that we are discovering new paths of money laundering through this crime that we were not aware of.”

Biton was speaking at the second of three meetings of the Knesset Reforms Committee devoted to deliberating a proposed law to ban the Israeli binary options industry. At the previous meeting, held Monday, several of those in attendance were shocked to discover that the draft legislation unveiled in February had been substantively weakened. The original text, which was drafted by the Israel Securities Authority together with the Justice Ministry and the attorney general’s office, banned the entire binary options industry, but also, significantly, would have prohibited Israeli forex, CFD (Contracts for Differences) and other online trading companies from offering their wares to customers abroad without a license. The February draft law stipulated that online trading companies operating from Israel and targeting customers abroad must do so with a license from the country where they operate.

But in the ensuing months the text was changed, and in its current version — which was approved by the cabinet last month — the ban on binary options stands but the additional clauses, covering other financial instruments, have been deleted. This new version of the proposed law was formally published by the Knesset on June 20 but not publicized, and many critics of the industry only discovered the change in recent days or at Monday’s session.

During Wednesday’s committee meeting, some of those in attendance argued that the watered-down bill would allow binary options fraudsters to re-brand their product, offering forex or CFDs instead, and continue to defraud customers abroad with impunity.

A source involved in the legislation told The Times of Israel, “The expanded bill would have been ideal but I do not think it would be able to pass a final Knesset vote, even if the committee approved it. You cannot imagine the amount of pressure being exerted on Knesset members to weaken this bill. The industry has vast amounts of money and is exerting massive pressure.”

An August 2, 2017 meeting of the Knesset Reforms Committee devoted to the topic of banning Israel's binary options industry (Simona Weinglass/Times of Israel)
An August 2, 2017 meeting of the Knesset Reforms Committee devoted to the topic of banning Israel’s binary options industry (Simona Weinglass/Times of Israel)

The committee is set to vote on the bill next Monday. If it passes, it will then go to the Knesset for its second and third (final) readings.

Biton, the police superintendent, assured those in attendance Wednesday that the bill in its current state is sufficient because it allows the finance minister to extend the ban to other financial products in the future in consultation with the Israel Securities Authority and the Knesset Finance Committee. Biton added that police are now aware of the severity of Israel’s fraud problem and are conducting multiple investigations into key figures in the industry.

Staring directly across the room at several lobbyists and representatives of the binary options industry, Biton said pointedly, “We have names: We have names of companies, we have names of people, we have names of crime organizations and we have the names of soldiers in crime organizations.”

He told the panel that binary options fraudsters are part of a sophisticated network of criminals that has been carrying out internet scams over the past decade. Some of these criminals, he said, carried out the carbon-VAT scam, which was dubbed the “crime of the century” in France. Later, some moved on to other types of internet fraud, including the CEO scam, while others made their way into binary options.

“Binary options caused Israel’s crime organizations to become significantly stronger,” said Biton. “We have received reports from various enforcement agencies in Israel outlining the meteoric enrichment of the perpetrators.”

He said Israeli police have begun to follow the binary options money trail and to identify the true owners of the websites registered to shell companies in places like Belize and the British Virgin Islands.

Biton said that as North American and European regulators and law enforcement have caught on to binary options fraud, companies are shifting their activity to Arab countries and the Far East.

At the committee meeting, several representatives from the industry argued against banning binary options technology providers from Israel. Speakers appearing on behalf of platform provider SpotOption, for instance, firmly rejected any notion that the firm was involved in fraudulent behavior and said it ought not to be impacted by the law, as it will be if the current draft is approved.

David Ripstein, the former CEO of SpotOption, told the committee, “At SpotOption I developed a program that was fair and had 50 percent wins/losses.”

But Biton, speaking of binary options trading platforms in general, argued, “I have no problem with companies that merely provide technology. But when you ask for a commission of over 10 percent, that’s weird for a company that merely provides a platform and payment processing systems.” (SpotOption did not specify in the meeting whether it took a commission on each transaction.)

Ordinarily, “when you transfer money you pay a 0.5% commission,” continued Biton. “I know from the money laundering world that when you transfer money of criminal organizations it costs 14%. That gives us an indication that something here is not right.”

An illustrative photo of the Ramat Gan diamond center, where many binary options firms are located, June 23, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
An illustrative photo of Israel’s Ramat Gan diamond center, where many binary options firms have been located, June 23, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Biton added that in many binary options companies, clients’ money never even reaches the investment platform. “It stays with the payment processor for 30 days. So what [money] are you investing?” he asked, looking toward the binary options representatives. “What are you working with?”

Binary options companies make heavy use of high-tech systems for processing payments, he added.

“There is a very robust system of payment processors, secondary payment processors and aggregators whose purpose is to hide the nature of their activity from the acquiring banks.” (The Times of Israel has written in detail about these payment processing systems here.)

Biton said he is currently investigating several cases of binary options fraud and that victims around the world were welcome to submit their complaints.

“We’re focusing on the big cases. But we received a directive from the head of the [police] intelligence and investigations division that every complaint that reaches us will be investigated.”

Former employees of the industry, he added, are increasingly willing to speak to police: “We’ve spoken to programmers of trading platforms, salespeople, even team leaders.”

Still, he said, it is difficult to gather enough evidence to bring indictments against the fraudsters.

“We are talking about companies that are registered in countries where their shareholders are two other companies. The servers are not in Israel. We have to ask other countries for help. It takes time.”

But in the end, Biton vowed to stop the fraud.

“Like drugs, gambling and prostitution, it won’t go away entirely. But we will use all the tools at our disposal to uproot this phenomenon.”


Israel’s long-awaited ban on binary options is absolute hogwash and smacks of corruption

By Andrew Saks-McLeod, FinanceFeeds

Israel reveals its innate corruption as the Knesset deletes important parts of the proposed ban on binary options at the last minute, allowing the underworld to prevail, much to the damage of the online business globally. We investigate in detail

Governments of highly corrupt nations are often prone to spending an absolute fortune from the public purse to drag out a potential legislation which would, if implemented, put a stop to very damaging and nefarious business practices which are running amok, and then giving up at the last moment due to bowing to the leaders of such businesses.

Israel, which is widely renowned for being a developer of high technology, ranging from advanced medical systems to avionics, and has been credited with the invention of several everyday devices that nobody in the modern world could live without, such as the mobile phone and the Intel microprocessor, fits this exact description, unfortunately.

Israel’s binary options industry rose to prominence very very quickly in the middle of the last decade, and has during the past two years become the bete noire of financial markets regulators, mainstream news entities and consumer protection groups, largely because it is about as far removed from a genuine financial product as is humanly imaginable.

The vast binary options business, which bears absolutely no resemblance to genuine electronic trading whatsoever, is indeed a weighted gambling platform masquerading as a retail trading environment, which the operators, most of whom come from adult entertainment, online poker, lead buying (and stealing in some cases) and affiliate marketing backgrounds rather than financial services, use to pocket the deposits of unsuspecting customers worldwide.

Binary options is reviled on a global scale, with France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, the United States, and Holland having outlawed it, and Britain making a clear point never to regulate it as a financial product.

Mainstream news sources have made large investigations into the activities of these brands and their respective platform providers which are also market makers, as absolutely no binary options business has any connectivity to a live market.

No doubt, mention the word ‘prime brokerage’ or ‘aggregated price feed’ to any of the owners of brands or binary options platform providers and it is unlikely that they will have any idea what either vital component’s teminology means.

Just as binary options firms are beginning to find that the gravy train is inevitably coming to a halt as the doors are closing around the world and the Israel Securities Authority chief Professor Shmuel Hauser has made extensive efforts to extinguish this fraudulent business that is casting a shadow over the genuine electronic trading sector from existence by requesting powers from the Attorney General to ban all of them from conducting any activity whatsoever from Israel, a loophole has appeared.

Thus far, binary options firms have been able to continue their odious activities by creating layers of different entities with registered companies in offshore jurisdictions and client bases in others, whilst only maintaining a service and marketing entity in Israel, which is structured as a separate company, thus circumventing national regulatory laws of every nation that they attract clients in, as well as the law of the State of Israel which stipulates that binary options is illegal.

Indeed, former US secret agent and Israeli intelligence officer Haggai Carmon, who has so far helped victims recover $2 million from binary options fraudsters, likened the way that binary options firms layer their corporate structure to “structures seen only in espionage organizations or among world-class money launderers or terrorist organizations.”

“A top professional tailored the layering,” he said, referring to the practice among money launderers to distance money from its criminal origins by hiding it behind layers of financial transactions. Binary options companies, 90 percent of which, Mr Carmon estimates, operate from Israel, similarly hide behind layers of false identities.

Now, as the Knesset (Israeli parliament) has concluded its Knesset Committee hearings on the instigation of the new laws against binary options, and some companies are closing down their operations, as well as the general consensus being not at all favorable, it looks as though the end appeared to be nigh.

The thing is, the companies concerned have not been actually closing down their operations at all, but simply sitting tight, whilst operating their lobby groups with the government, until the legislation is passed, at which point they will simply run the same system, doing absolutely the same thing, but call it something else.

Very likely, it will be called something much worse than binary options, and will be ‘simplified FX’ or ‘simplified CFDs’ which makes an even more close – and invalid – comparison with our industry of which they bear absolutely no relation whatsoever.

The sheer arrogance of the operators of these Israeli binary options firms is testimony to their understanding that Israel is so corrupt that these borderline criminals actually run the country.

The vast majority of the owners of binary options brands and the ‘platform’ companies and market makers that empower them are not educated, but are extremely forceful and have a dubious past.

They are as far removed from the leaders of the genuine financial services industry globally as cheese is from thermonuclear fission, however they clearly understand that they live and operate from a region in which pretty much anything goes.

No other OECD nation on the planet has allowed a fraudulent business to mimic the genuine financial services business, employ thousands of people and rise to prominence in this way, and then steal tens of millions from unsuspecting members of the public globally, raising its profile to international news and international government level, with no recourse, and when those who challenge the perpetrators do so, they are met with threats of physical violence.

The Knesset (Israeli parliament) has been making attempts to ban the entire binary options sector from operating anywhere globally in any form, whether it be call centers in Israel or marketing divisions, or layered companies with British Virgin Islands registration targeting overseas leads.

In essence, had this gone ahead properly, it would have put a complete stop to any Israel-based entity doing any binary options business anywhere in the world, from anywhere in the world.

The calmness displayed by the operators of these entities – all of whom are not known for their calmness, quite the opposite in fact – demonstrates that they know exactly how Israel operates as a nation.

The same country that allows cartels to block the import of competing goods to the supermarket sector, allows families to run national banks, and maintains a criminal family which operates the country’s national port authority, taking imported goods, impounding them and then selling them via a network of equally disreputable individuals is the same country that is allowing semi-literate binary options fraudsters to have their cake and eat it.

The Knesset Reforms Committee convened two days ago, on Monday, for the first of three sessions this week intended to finalize legislation to ban Israel’s largely fraudulent binary options industry, several of those in attendance were shocked to discover that the draft legislation, unveiled in February, had already been substantively weakened.

The original proposed legislation, which was drafted by the Israel Securities Authority together with the Justice Ministry and the attorney general’s office, would have, if implemented, banned the entire binary options industry, but also, significantly, would have prohibited Israeli forex, CFD (Contracts for Differences) and other online ‘trading’ companies from offering their wares to customers abroad without a license.

It is FinanceFeeds perspective that this should be the case in all regions and that only licenced firms providing genuine products should be in operation, even in the genuine CFD and FX industry, which these binary firms are not, even though they may plan to rename themselves to give the impression of providing access to retail financial markets trading.

The February 2017 draft law stipulated that online trading companies operating from Israel and targeting customers abroad must do so with a licence from the country where they operate, however in the ensuing months, the text was changed, and in its current version — which was approved by the cabinet last month — the ban on binary options stands, but the additional clauses, covering other financial instruments, have been deleted.

This new version of the proposed law was formally published by the Knesset on June 20, but not publicized, and many critics of the industry only discovered the change in the last few days or at Monday’s session.

Professor Shmuel Hauser, Chairman of the Israel Securities Authority has made some headway in forging a path toward banning the entire business globally, and FinanceFeeds had a conversation with his office six months ago during the forging of the new laws, which, when wrote about, we were forced by the Israeli authorities to remove the article, demonstrating once again what has been clear for many years, that Israel does not have free media and allows into public channels only what has been screened by the government.

It continues to stand that the genuine FX and CFD industry is based in Britain, Australia, North America, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, with their respective FCA, ASIC, NFA, MAS and JFSA licenses being cornerstones of the retail and institutional OTC electronic trading business. There are also some good quality firms in Cyprus too.

Whilst this level of government pandering by the Knesset to the odious characters, many of whom have done time for other crimes, whose entire binary options business has been condemned worldwide and is potentially damaging to the genuine FX industry is disappointing to say the least, when looking at Israel’s credentials as a business environment, is perhaps hardly surprising.


Victims of Israel-based investment scammers find relief

By Eric Berger, STL Jewish Light

In 2015, Steve, a retired Presbyterian minister in Kansas City, sold a small farm and emptied a mutual fund and an investment fund. That left him with about $250,000 to invest elsewhere.

“We pretty much have what we want. We buy a new car now and then and have a nice house and live relatively modestly,” said Steve, 81, who added that he and his wife had started to think about taking a more “flamboyant” vacation.

After the farm sale, Steve — who asked that his real name not be used — discovered Binary Book on the internet. Binary Book is a company promoting significant returns on binary options, in which a person chooses whether or not a certain asset — be it a stock, commodity, currency — will be above or below a set price, in a certain amount of time. Essentially, the person bets on this prediction.

Steve said he now wishes he had invested his money more conservatively. That’s because it’s all gone.
He didn’t know it at the time, but Binary Book was based in Israel, as are many binary-options companies. Many, too, are under criminal investigations and facing increased regulation.

Lawyers such as Tami Hamm and some former binary-options insiders are trying to help people like Steve recover the money they lost. Hamm, who is Jewish and was born in Israel, now splits her time between University City and Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem.

Having seen reports in American and Israeli media about the scale of the problem, Tamm said she longs “to have a part in clearing (Israel’s) name because it’s such a small percentage of Israel that is involved — yet it makes a lot of news.”

Hamm says she cares deeply about Israel and its reputation. Her clients, meanwhile, care deeply about getting back the hundreds of thousands of dollars they lost.

A high-stakes guessing game

Binary options is a type of contract in which the payout depends entirely on the outcome of a yes or no proposition, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. It could be “something as straightforward as whether the stock price of XYZ company will be above $9.36 per share at 2:30 p.m. on a particular day, or whether the price of silver will be above $33.40 per ounce at 11:17 a.m. on a particular day,” according to an SEC investor alert.In simplest terms, it’s a guessing game with an all-or-nothing payout.

Binary options companies continually prod clients like Steve to invest greater sums of money on a gamble. Then once clients appear to have “won,” these companies will often either prevent them from accessing their money, or manipulate the terms of the option until it becomes a loss.

Hamm, who is Orthodox and belongs to U. City Shul, said almost all binary options companies are based in Israel. Last month, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission lodged a civil complaint against an Israeli-American binary-options operator alleging that he stole more than $16 million from at least 8,000 victims, the majority of them in the United States, according to The Times of Israel.

Why are binary-options companies based in Israel?

Hamm said she attended a consumer-fraud convention in Florida and spoke with a former Department of Homeland Security official who worked in Israel and loved it. He told her that in Israel, however, “if no one is getting killed, it’s just not a priority. They deal with real problems, so to speak, like terrorism. And money loss is just not as big an issue until there is a lull in the attacks.” [In reality, it is Israel that almost always initiates the resumption of violence.]

A former binary-options scammer also told the Jewish Light that many of the digital platforms used for trading were created in Israel, a technology hub.

The Israeli government, which has faced increasing international criticism, is trying to push out the binary-options companies. Last month, the Knesset gave initial approval to a bill that would ban trading of the options, in addition to other regulations that have already been approved.

“I think it may be effective in making sure the companies do not operate on Israeli soil,” Hamm said.

A Times of Israel story last month quoted an Israeli state prosecutoras saying that at least 12 options companies and traders were under criminal investigation.

Shmuel Hauser, chairman of the Israel Securities Authority, said on an Israeli news show: “The [overseas] regulators tell us, ‘You have to do something, it’s like you’re turning a blind eye to this.’ I’m telling you, these binary options are a greater cause of anti-Semitism than any other factor. This is stoking anti-Semitism.”

Worse than a casino

Austin Smith made aliyah from New York in 2014 and studied at the Aish HaTorah yeshiva in Jerusalem for a couple of months. But the “yeshivish lifestyle wasn’t so much for me,” he said.

He moved to Tel Aviv and loved life in Israel, he said, but couldn’t find a job, in part because he didn’t speak Hebrew. A binary-options company hired him because he could speak English and would be able to lure customers from other parts of the world. He said people warned him that it was like working in a casino, but he took the job. He said he soon learned that it was worse than working in a gambling hall.

“The money comes in, but it never goes out,” Smith said.

Smith said he worked long hours and was lonely.In an interview with the Light, he said he changed his ways after a trip with a few friends to Tiberias in the northern part of Israel. He said he visited the grave of a 16th century kabbalist. He started crying and got a ride home from a haredi man who Smith said gave him a blessing: “You are going to do something special for the Jewish people.”

“A light bulb goes off, and I decided that I should go and help the people that have been defrauded,” said Smith, 33, the founder of Wealth Recovery International.

He and others at his company gather information about binary-options companies, which they present to lawyers and ask, “Here is what we’re able to provide, do you want to work with a client?”

Wealth Recovery offers attorneys information on clients who has been scammed and then charges the lawyers for its investigative work, Smith said. The attorneys then “work out their own deals with the clients.”

Hamm, who works as an in-house counsel for Wealth Recovery and also has a private practice in U. City,has helped negotiate settlements for 120 clients, said Smith. He first went by the name “Mitch Williams” when he started working in recovery because “we do get threats” from people he suspects are connected to binary-options companies.

Smith said he is now taking a salary of $15,000 a month from his company. As a binary-options trader, he made about $5,000 monthly, he said.

He has heard the accusation that he is a profiteer, but says, “I’m entitled to make a living.” He argues that he fights for clients despite the threats.

Hamm said Wealth Recovery reached out to her because of her Midwest connections and experience in dealing with fraud. In addition, she also speaks Hebrew.

“The [binary-options] companies are Israeli,” Hamm said by phone from Israel. “I walk in and negotiate with opposing counsel, for example, and I have to speak Hebrew to do that.”

Bait and switch

Steve Koel, 52, is a single father of two. He needed extra money two years ago because his son had started to have severe medical problems.

“We didn’t know if he was going to need multiple surgeries or long-term care,” said Koel, who lives in northern California. “I wasn’t necessarily prepared financially to deal with that, so I decided to explore some methods of possibly increasing my capital.”

He said he located Binary Book while surfing the web. After reviewing its site, he thought it looked “very legitimate.”

First, in September 2015, he made a $250 trade on the site. Then he received a call from a Binary Book employee who advised him to invest $2,500. He then learned that he had tripled his money bybuying binary options on stocks.

“I got my accounts credited for that amount,” said Koel, who owns a couple of franchise businesses.

The person Koel initially dealt with told him that he was sending him to more of a “VIP client’s broker.”

“The psychology behind it is, ‘You are now going to run with the big dogs. You are going to be my small fish, but I’m going to help you because of your son, and I’m going to bring you into this network of high rollers,’ ” Koel said.

The $5,000 profit he made became $10,000 and then $17,000. Binary Book told him he should invest an additional $25,000 because the company had “inside information about this, that and the other,” he recalled. “This all seemed very real to me. That’s how it escalates.”
Koel ultimately invested $1.5 million. He said he initially did just want to make extra money for his son’s care but then “greed took over.”

“A rational mind goes, ‘What are you thinking? How did this happen’? But there is no Cinderella story. It’s a process,” he said. “You are seeing results on a web portal that is very thorough and very robust. They are very good at keeping in touch with you, putting you through training classes and talking with their compliance department about when you want to make withdrawals.”

Koel said he believes that none of his money was actually invested. He told a “VIP manager” that at the expiration of trades, he wanted $1 million returned to his bank account.

That never happened. He noticed an irregularity in his Binary Book account and called to find out what had happened with some of the options he had purchased. He was told that “the Chinese were going to buy Yahoo and that was going to send the markets crashing, so we decided to exit your positions.”

Koel said he concluded that it would have been impossible for the markets to crash in such a scenario.

“It finally dawned on me that all the red flags I was seeing before were now real,” he said, noting that he never received a monthly financial statement like you would from a reputable brokerage firm. “I am thinking, ‘Oh my God. What did I just get involved with? What have I done to my family?’”

Koel said he received a call from Wealth Recovery informing him that he had been scammed. (They had a list of Binary Book’s clients, Koel said.)

He first thought Wealth Recovery also was a scam. And, indeed, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to regulate brokerage firms and exchange markets, issued an investor alert in March urging binary-options investors to be wary of fraudulent pitches to help recoup losses.

But he decided to pay $100,000 to outside lawyers connected to him via Wealth Recovery.It turned out that Wealth Recovery was legitimate. After attorney’s fees and money that could not be recovered, he got back $1 million of his $1.5 million.

Earlier this year, Steve, the Kansas City minister, realized he had been part of a scam. He had tried to set up a meeting with a broker who said he was in New York but once Steve stopped sending money, the broker stopped responding.

Steve is now working with Wealth Recovery and lawyers to get his money back but hasn’t recovered any of it yet.


Israeli Watchdog Head: “Binary Options are Like Blood Diamonds”

by Dan Magen, Finance Magnates June 13, 2017

Israeli Securities Head Samuel Hauser: “Binary options are like those blood diamonds, in that the mining process in Africa has exploited and harmed so many people. We must expand our enforcement capabilities in order to eliminate binary options trading. The common belief of tens of countries around the globe is that the Israeli authorities are turning a blind eye towards binary options and are reluctant to solve the problem.”

“Binary options in my view are like those blood diamonds, in that the mining process in Africa has exploited and harmed so many people,” Hauser stated. “We must expand our enforcement capabilities in order to eliminate binary options trading. The common belief of tens of countries around the globe is that the Israeli authorities are turning a blind eye towards binary options and are reluctant to solve the problem.”

He then declared that the legislative procedure taking place in the Israeli parliament against binary options brokers “will be moving forward in the near future”. As reported by Finance Magnates, the Israeli parliament’s State Control Committee (government oversight) is working on a new law aimed at banning the marketing of binary options to foreign citizens by Israeli providers.

The latest discussion on the drafted law took place last February. Finance Magnates has sent an inquiry to the Israeli Ministry of Justice, which is responsible for the legislative procedure, regarding the current status of the law, but the office declined to comment.

The ISA declared open war against the binary options industry over a year ago. The first dramatic step it took was to ban the offering of binary options to Israeli citizens back in March 2016. Last year at the same conference, Prof. Hauser made some extreme remarks against binary options, saying that it is a fraudulent industry that “burns the money of orphans, widows and pensioners”.

The moves against the Israeli binary options industry have taken their toll on both brokers and technology providers over the past year. The last six months alone saw the complete closure of Banc De Binary, the closure of the local call centers of 24Options and Anyoption, and dozens of unregulated binary option providers have shut down their businesses.


Fleeced by Israeli binary options firm, Canadian man dies by suicide

By Simona Weinglass, Times of Israel, Jan 19, 2017

Fred Turbide of Edmonton, Alberta, was a devoted husband and father of four who was looking forward to enjoying his retirement with his family. Then the ‘brokers’ of 23Traders got hold of him.

A 61-year-old Canadian man has taken his own life after losing over 200,000 Canadian dollars (US$152,000) to an Israeli-run binary options firm, a Canadian law-enforcement official told The Times of Israel.

On December 21, 2016, Frederick Felix Turbide of Edmonton, Alberta, shot himself in the chest after losing his savings and additional money he borrowed, totaling over C$300,000 (US$228,000), to several binary options trading websites. He lost some two-thirds of this sum on the 23Traders.com platform, which operates from Israel.

The largely fraudulent binary options industry has flourished in Israel for the past nine years, scamming hundreds of thousands of victims worldwide out of billions of dollars with little to no intervention from Israeli law enforcement. Fraudulent binary options firms lure their victims into making what they are duped into believing will be profitable short-term investments, encouraging them to “invest” more and more money. But by employing a variety of ruses, the firms ensure that in the overwhelming majority of cases their clients wind up losing all or almost all of their money. Victims frequently lose tens of thousands of dollars or more.

Turbide had been urged by his broker at 23Traders, who went by the name of “Julian Wellington,” to gradually invest his entire life savings as well as credit for his home and business into binary options, with reassurances that he would make significant revenue.

“G-OD is with us,” the purported Julian Wellington messaged him on Skype on December 12, 2016. “I’m taking you to 250k 🙂 When you expand your enterprise, send me a warm post card,” he texted with a handshake emoji.

Wellington told Turbide he was calling from the UK, or Toronto, Turbide’s family believes, as Turbide once referred to him playfully as “my UK boss,” and the phone number he used had a Toronto area code. 

 

Initially Turbide was told he was making profits, and encouraged to put in more and more money.

When Turbide told Wellington he had persuaded his wife to let him use $20,000 in credit from equity on their home, the broker congratulated him. “You are the master of charisma arts!” he wrote on December 12.

Turbide told him that he would be at the end of his rope financially after putting in the last $20,000, but Julian reassured him the same day. “I’m with you, not 100%..,1000% ! and beyond. Plain English = I got you brother. I know how bad you want to amass wealth and cover every expenses.”

Lengthy transcripts of their Skype exchanges, made available by Turbide’s grieving family to The Times of Israel, show that “Julian Wellington” and Turbide began communicating on December 6, 2016. The family believe Turbide had been trading with the company for several months before “Wellington” became his broker.

By December 19, there were signs of trouble. Turbide complained about not being able to get into his account. The next day, December 20, the broker wrote, “Tragic news, disaster in the heart of the EURO, Germany Berlin, We’ve been shorting EUR/USD all day long.”

The following day, December 21, Wellington called Turbide at 8:47 a.m. The conversation lasted over an hour. Apparently Julian informed Turbide in that call that he had “lost” most or all of his money: Shortly after they got off the phone, Turbide texted, “I am at your mercy right now Julian. Never in my life have I undergone such stress as this before. Oh my God, Julian tell me this is not true.”

Wellington replied, “Everything will be ok, dear Fred. Faith will lead us to victory. I want to apply the insurance bonus, and recover losses.”

But Turbide appeared to no longer believe him. At 11:58 a.m. he sent Wellington a copy of a suicide note he planned to leave for his wife, in which he told his family he loved them and blamed 23Traders for pushing him to suicide. “Here is letter that will be on my desk at the end of the day,” Turbide wrote to Wellington.

At 12:02 p.m., Wellington attempted to call. Turbide said he could not answer because his wife was at home. Turbide then asked repeatedly on Skype whether Wellington would return his money, with no response from the broker. At 3:52 p.m., Turbide sent Wellington a final plea:

“I’ve lost my house, my retirement money and my business, damn you. It is now 3:52 PM my time. I am going to take a shower then go to my garage to finish myself off. I am giving you one hour to call me with positive results to put back the money I lost.”

Frederick Turbide (Courtesy of the family)

Frederick Turbide (Courtesy of the family)

Turbide’s wife of 21 years, Maria Chaves-Turbide, arrived home later that day, followed by her four children, to find him dead in the garage of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“I believe when he realized he had been betrayed by the binary options broker, he couldn’t bear the thought of losing what he had built for the future of our family,” Turbide’s son, Tomas Ferreira, told The Times of Israel.

“He most certainly felt a combination of betrayal, despair, and shame.”

Canadian fraud investigator Jason Roy of the Manitoba Securities Commission, who heads Canada’s binary options task force, told The Times of Israel several months ago that “binary options fraud appears to be the current greatest threat to Canadian investors.”

Alison Trollope, director of communications for the Alberta Securities Commission, said that “the ASC and our colleagues in the Canadian Securities Administrators are aware of multiple websites promoting binary options trading platforms that are soliciting Canadians. Unfortunately, not only are these sites not registered to sell securities in Canada, but generally they are fraudulent. We have and will continue to advise Canadian investors to avoid investing in such schemes, which are often located offshore.”

A third Canadian law enforcement official who spoke to Turbide’s family, and who alerted The Times of Israel to his suicide, said 23Traders somehow managed to charge more money to Turbide’s credit card even after his death and even after his family had put a hold on the card.

23Traders.com is not licensed to operate in Canada, the regulators said, and was violating the law by transacting with Frederick Turbide.

According to documents seen by The Times of Israel, and sources with knowledge of the company, 23Traders.com operates from a call center in Israel that goes by the name of “Market Giants Ltd,” whose company address is listed in Israel’s corporate registry as 9 Barkat Street, Petah Tikva.

A 23Traders job advertisement, with small Market Giants logo on the blue bar at top right

A 23Traders job advertisement, with small Market Giants logo on the blue bar at top right

According to Israel’s corporate registry, Market Giant’s director is Eran Schindler, whose LinkedIn profile describes him as the founder and owner of “Schindler CFO Financial Services.” Also according to Israel’s corporate registry, Market Giants is owned by a company called “CFO Outsourcing Services Ltd,” which is owned by Eran Schindler together with a third company called I-TLD Management Ltd. According to the Israeli corporate registry, I-TLD Management Ltd is owned by Tal Dayagi, whose LinkedIn profile describes him as a partner in the same Schindler CFO Financial Services.

 

No time for shallow diplomacy, Christians, in the religious war on churches in the Holy Land

No time for shallow diplomacy, Christians, in the religious war on churches in the Holy Land

 

Palestinian Christians cry for help

By Stuart Littlewood

A month ago, after reading a desperate cry for help from the National Coalition of Christian Organisations in Palestine (NCCOP) addressed to the World Council of Churches, I emailed eight churches in my locality asking whether that heart-rending appeal had trickled down to them at parish level.

If not, I hoped to find out where the break in communications occurred, as this wasn’t the first time churches in the Holy Land had sought support from Western Christendom. Previous appeals were largely ignored and left to civil society for action.

Now, say the Palestinians, the situation is “beyond urgent”. So, had the NCCOP’s latest plea actually arrived on the desks of parish priests in my neighbourhood? And if so, how were grassroots Christians responding?

If this local bunch are representative of the Christian community in the UK, they don’t give a four-X for their brothers and sisters in the occupied Palestinian territories. And they are utterly indifferent to the fact that the place where Christianity was born is being stolen from under their noses.

I included a link to the actual crisis document, which should have made every churchman sit up, and a gentle reminder that their faith and their job of work are rooted in the Holy Land. “So what are the chances, I wonder, of seeing concerted action from Western churches before it’s too late? And what part can local parishes play?”

The key point was this: it’s beyond urgent. So are our spiritual leaders, those upstanding “men of the cloth”, mobilising their troops?

Only one of the eight replied – the local Catholic vicar-general – who dismissed the subject in two sentences. So, there you have it. If this local bunch are representative of the Christian community in the UK, they don’t give a four-X for their brothers and sisters in the occupied Palestinian territories. And they are utterly indifferent to the fact that the place where Christianity was born is being stolen from under their noses.

If that’s a wrong interpretation, and Christians in the West do actually wish to help, the issue is straightforward enough. Churches in Palestine are asking churches here to call things as they are: to recognise Israel as an apartheid state in terms of international law and the United Nations report which says so. They are concerned that states and churches are still dealing with Israel on a business-as-usual basis, as if the situation were normal, and ignoring the criminal reality of military occupation.

Churches came together in opposition to apartheid in South Africa and helped end it. Why haven’t they done the same in Palestine?

They ask us to unequivocally condemn the Balfour Declaration as unjust, and they rightly demand that the UK asks forgiveness and compensates the Palestinian people for their losses. Theresa May’s government, however, plans to celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration “with pride” and has invited Netanyahu to the fun.

Clearly, May, God-fearing churchgoer that she is, needs to feel the heat of His wrath. The woman is so arrogant that her government intends to appeal against the recent decision by the Royal Courts of Justice defending our right to boycott Israel.

End the “Ecumenical Deal”, put interfaith dialogue through the wringer

The Palestinians want us to take the strongest possible stand against any theology or group that seeks to justify the occupation. That means, of course, challenging our religious dialogue partners and withdrawing from those partnerships if they won’t condemn Israel’s brutal occupation.

But I can hear our canting clerics muttering: “Oh dear, no, no, no. We mustn’t upset our interfaith colleagues. That would never do.”

Churches that sell their holdings or otherwise divest from companies that profit from the occupation of Palestinian lands often take years of agonising confab to reach such a common-sense position. But they needn’t think just moving their money is enough. A recent example is the Mennonite Church in the USA, where it took (they say) a three-person writing team and a 10-member reference group working intensely during the past two years and consulting widely across the church and with Palestinian and Jewish partners, to come up with a modest proposal. And to sugar the divestment pill they declared that “the legacy of Jewish suffering is intertwined with the suffering of Palestinians”. What the Palestinians had to do with Jewish suffering or ever did to deserve having their lands and homes confiscated, isn’t explained. But it is used to provide an excuse to call on Mennonites to strengthen relationships with Jewish communities.

Why? Can they not understand that you have to be consistent in boycotting Israel? It involves boycotting the people who also support and advocate for Israel, including those who fail to condemn the Zionist regime’s vile policies that hurt our Palestinian friends. As George Galloway has said, you simply don’t engage with them.

Christians who cannot grasp what is really going on out there, and don’t see what is needed to stop it, might find Robert Cohen’s excellent article “Brace Yourselves for Costly Palestinian Solidarity helpful in pointing towards proper, meaningful action.

He explains why the Christian-Jewish dialogue needs resetting. Central to the problem is the so-called Ecumenical Deal, a reluctance to question Jewish support for Israel for fear of unpicking decades of interfaith reconciliation following the holocaust. We appear to have cast ourselves in the self-defeating role of repenting for age-old Christian anti-Jewishness. Breaking out of it and criticising Israel would be seen as a re-emergence of that anti-Jewishness.

I’m not aware of Christian anti-Jewishness, although continuing failure on the part of Jewish leaders to condemn the cruel policies of the Israeli regime, aka “the Jewish state”, is surely asking for it. Does anyone inside or outside the bubble of the Church seriously buy into this repentance stuff? From outside, among people who would never set foot in a church again but still call themselves Christians because they were brought up according to the Christian code, it looks pathetic.

Christians in Palestine, says Cohen, despair of our Church leaders’ endless hiding behind the cover of political neutrality and their unwillingness to offend their religious dialogue partners. Consequently, he predicts, Jewish-Christian dialogue “is about to go through the wringer”.

Time for some “really uncomfortable conversations”

Pressing the reset button means “refusing to allow your local Jewish communal leadership to set the boundaries of permissible debate on Israel”. It also means “listening to the Christian voice under occupation before the Jewish voice living comfortably, with full equal rights, many thousands of miles from that same occupation”.

Operating the wringer, of course, will be followed by a distinct chill in relationships, forcing Church leaders, local ministers and their congregations, as well as the Jewish leaders they have dialogue with, out of their comfort zone. Good. As Rebecca Vilkomerson, Jewish Voice for Peace, recently wrote in Haaretz, after 70 years of dispossessing and expelling Palestinians, 50 years of Israeli military occupation and 10 years of blockading Gaza, it is time for Jewish communities “to have some really uncomfortable conversations”.

Palestinians say no to “shallow diplomacy” but it’s all they’re likely to get

How does the World Council of Churches (WCC) react to those urgent pleas from Palestine?

They will study and analyse. “As we at the WCC consider our plans for 2018 and beyond, we want churches in Palestine to know that their perspective is heard and it is vitally important,” said the WCC’s general secretary. “We will continue with the same passionate spirit to work on specific objectives, strategies and partners for advocacy to end the occupation and to work for just peace in Palestine and Israel.”

The WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs has been asked to contribute a thorough analysis of the changing political landscapes and dynamics in the Holy Land with an eye towards developing a more specific advocacy strategy that works through nations and organisations with significant influence.

The WCC has also started an online campaign, Seek #JusticeAndPeace in the Holy Land, which features profiles of peacemakers and various cries for justice.

The WCC also plans to “explore theological reflections, studies and projects that will bring a perspective on just peace in the Holy Land from all parts of the world”, and strengthen communication about the situation in Palestine so that it can “help churches and other ecumenical partners address their constituencies and governments in a more systematic way”. This includes developing a set of principles and practices of responsible pilgrimages of justice and peace to the Holy Land.

Will the Palestinian churches be impressed? Their cry for help stated specifically: “We stand in front of an impasse and we have reached a deadlock. Despite all the promises, endless summits, UN resolutions, religious and lay leader’s callings, Palestinians are still yearning for their freedom and independence, and seeking justice and equality.”

They stressed that religious extremism is on the rise, with religious minorities paying a heavy price. “We need brave women and men who are willing to stand in the forefront. This is no time for shallow diplomacy Christians.”

When I called the Church of England press office yesterday they didn’t think any response had been made. Such concern, then. And when I ran through the members of the WCC’s Central Committee I noticed the two representatives from the Church of England were both based in Europe. How helpful is that?

The power of hope

Christianity sometimes has great trouble telling right from wrong and doing something about it. The Holy Land is a case in point. Evil reigns there. Christianity across the world cowers. What would Christ say to that?

I know what Michel Sabbah says. He is a former Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem, a courageous man of the front line and one of the great heroes of the struggle.

The current situation is hopeless. In reality, there are no signs of hope at all for the Palestinian people. In spite of that, we hope.

We hope because we are Christians, and God is present.

We hope because we believe in the fundamental goodness of the human being, Israeli and Palestinian. Human goodness will prevail at the end upon the human power of evil.

We hope because Palestinians are persevering in claiming their rights.

It is a source of hope that we never gave up…

We hope because among Israelis, there are people who are trying to work with Palestinians for what is right. And there are an increasing number of movements for peace, strong in will…

If we had no hope we would not live. Hope is life, and history gives us hope. What is right will prevail.

Michel Sabbah
Catholic Patriarch Emeritus

I fear that if he pins any hopes on the wets of the Western churches he’ll be disappointed. But he already knows that, surely.

Zion Declares War on British Jazz

August 01, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

by Gilad Atzmon

Back in the day, my detractors at least attempted to encounter my arguments and debate me. They didn’t get too far. Since the publication of my new book Being in Time: a Post-Political Manifesto, they have changed their tactics: they insist on obliterating my international jazz career.

Earlier today, a book shop  in Oxford that regularly hosts my concerts posted the attached letter (see below) to my Facebook page. The Oxford venue received the letter from the ultra-Zionist Campaign Against Antisemitsm (CAA). The CAA letter  is blatantly and intentionally defamatory and duplicitous.

The CAA and other Zionist institutions have been busy subjecting every British jazz venue that features my music to intense harassment. It is no secret that Zionism has been destroying Palestine, its people and its culture for decades. However, eradicating British culture and British jazz in particular may be taking this carnage one step too far.

A number of the British promoters, venues and festivals who received a copy of this defamatory letter against me attempted to investigate the CAA’s accusations and have found the allegations to be baseless, delusional and duplicitous. By way of illustration, the band I am touring with at the moment is led by a NY Jewish musician and the bass player is an ex- Israeli: not exactly a ‘Neo-Nazi’ quartet.

My best selling book, The Wandering Who, which has been translated into 14 languages and was endorsed by a huge list of academics and humanists worldwide, is denounced in the CAA’s letter as “probably the most anti-Semitic book published in this country in recent years.” But the CAA possesses the legal means to stop the distribution of ‘antisemitic literature.’  In my case they face a real problem; my writings may be controversial, but they are ethically driven, call for a humanist introspective examination, and are well within the boundaries of the law in every country including Israel.

It is noticeable that the CAA’s letter doesn’t provide links to my words. This is not a coincidence. My work is careful and measured. I never refer critically to Jews as a people, race, biology or a collective. I instead scrutinise the meaning of Jewish identity politics and ideology. I do believe that in a free society every ideology and politics must be subject to criticism.

This is the only link the CAA provides to my work: http://linkis.com/bit.ly/nrHBo . Read my words and decide for yourself whether you agree or not.

I define Jewish power as the power to silence criticism of Jewish power. At the moment the CAA and other Jewish organisations are mounting a campaign to suppress any form of legitimate criticism of Israel, Zionism and Jewish political lobbying in the West. Perhaps inadvertently, the CAA has affirmed my definition of Jewish power. They are desperate to suppress any possible criticism related to Jewish politics and ideology. Roger WatersVicar Stephen Sizer, David Icke, Ken Livingstone and many others have been subjected to similar vile campaigns that are determined to eliminate basic freedom of speech in the UK.

I do accept that the CAA and other Zionist organisations insist upon remaking Britain into their banana republic- a place deprived of freedom of expression, a country where dissenters are subject to constant threats and harassment. I suppose I could go along with the CAA’s vision of Britain so long as the CAA and its Zionist allies can also improve the weather and make the price of tropical fruits drop significantly.

Gilad Atzmon’s book Being In Time: A Post Political Manifesto is available now on: Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com and gilad.co.uk.   

 

Stephen Sizer on the Zionist ‘Hasbara handbook’

July 31, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

Former vicar Stephen Sizer tells it like it is. When Israel supporters identify a critical voice they will do the following:

1) Persuade, ingratiate and befriend the Zionist critic
2) Private written & spoken attacks, often anonymous
3) Smear character to friends, colleagues, bosses and/or in press/publicly
4) Report criminal ‘hate crime’ allegations to police

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Israel has been busy for years destroying real Middle Eastern history to replace with their own Old Testament fake myths

From a comment by Mike Rivero, at his website whatreallyhappened.com. The lies and deception will never dissipate in the ongoing jewish narrative to elevate israhell from a stolen land to a legitimate land. It never will stop either, until we stop them

#BDS, Human Rights and the Jews

BDS, Human Rights and the Jews

 

BDS

BDS at Twelve

As of July 2017, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israeli racism and apartheid is 12 years old. This means that over the last dozen years, a worldwide grassroots movement has grown up – a movement of civil society – that has organized active opposition to Zionist racism and Israeli oppression. While the vast majority of governments have either ignored or assisted Israel’s violations of international law and the basic principles of human rights, millions of “civilians” have refused to follow their leaders on this issue.

The BDS movement is now far ranging. It presses for divestment from companies that support or do business with Israel, particularly those that operate in the Occupied Territories. It urges the boycott of all Israeli products, from foodstuffs to cosmetics. It protests the appearance of Israeli cultural organizations outside of Israel. It urges the boycott of Israeli academic institutions that lend support to the state (an effort that, in 2015, Israeli president Reuven Rivlin called a “strategic threat of the first order”). And, it discourages tourist and artist visits to Israel, particularly by well-known celebrities. For more information about specific BDS achievements over the last 12 years, go to website of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

In all these efforts the movement has proved increasingly successful. Some surveys have suggested that as many as one-third of Americans and eighty percent of Canadians support BDS. The movement is also strong in Western Europe and growing in Australia and Latin America. Thus, no one should sell this ongoing campaign short. Certainly, the Israeli government does not. Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy devotes a lot of time and money to “push back” against the BDS movement. Israel’s attempt to counter this growing popularity is grounded on a simplistic, libelous campaign that seeks to identify the BDS movement as a new form of anti-Semitism. 

The Zionism ideology demands an identification of Israel with the Jewish people – all of whom are virtual Israeli citizens whether they want to be or not. This means that the Zionists insist that the Jewish people as a whole be identified with Israel’s practices and policies – including the disregard for human rights and implementation of “ongoing state terror.”

At least among the general population, there are two things that make this a very hard sell: (1) a lot of BDS supporters are Jewish, underlining the fact that the Zionist state and Judaism are not the same thing, and (2) the State of Israel continues to reinforce the BDS characterization of it as a racist state by public acts of discrimination against Palestinians

As more people come to support BDS, fewer people support Israel.  A survey released in mid-June 2017 by an organization known as The Brand Israel Group, “a coalition of volunteer advertising and marketing specialists” who consult for pro-Israel organizations, indicated that “approval of Israel among American college students dropped 27% between the group’s 2010 and 2016 surveys” while “Israel’s approval among all Americans dropped 14 points.” Brand Israel’s conclusion: “the future of America no longer believe that Israel shares their values.” This is the case not because of any big increase in anti-Semitism, but due to ever-growing evidence of Israeli racism.

Political Roadblocks

Unfortunately, Israel’s inability to keep a favorable public image does not necessarily mean its near-term defeat. Here in the U.S. there are two reasons for this: (1) as obnoxious as Israeli behavior is, and also as obscenely massive the U.S. aid package that helps to sustain that behavior, neither the behavior nor the aid package is yet a prime voting issue for most American citizens, and (2) due to the resulting lack of political pressure from the voters, American Zionists still have a clear field to use money and other forms of patronage to pressure both the U.S. Congress and the political parties to ignore the blatant racism and continue to strongly support the Zionist state.

That support can extend to becoming Israel’s ally in the effort to defame and then try to destroy BDS. The argument that BDS is a modern form of anti-Semitism has become the backbone of an effort to make it illegal. As noted above, the BDS movement is not anti-Semitic. It is anti-Zionist, which in fact makes it anti-racist. There is plenty of evidence that the Zionists do indeed practice racism in Israel and its Occupied Territories, and therefore, in truth, the Zionist charge against BDS creates a paradox. It requires you to accept that a supporter of BDS can simultaneously be anti-Semitic and anti-racist. Alas, in the absence of voter pressure, this absurdity does not matter to most U.S. politicians. Nor does the fact that outlawing BDS constitutes an obvious violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

BDS, Human Rights and Jewish Morality

On a wider field, two things are simultaneously at stake: the future viability of human rights and the moral status of the Jewish people. First, consider the threat to human rights as an international principle. The Zionists seem to believe that what weakens the viability of human rights is that one country – Israel – is being “picked on” for misbehaving, while other countries, allegedly doing the same things or worse, are not similarly censured. Despite the fact that there happens to be good reasons for “picking on Israel,” this Zionist complaint is an exaggeration used to deflect legitimate criticism. It also misses the point.

The threat to human rights does not come from individuals overly blaming one country for what others also do. It comes from people – in the form of governments, lobbyists, and a sadly misled element of the Jewish community – actually championing Israel (or any other racist country for that matter) while it pursues overtly discriminatory policies based on, in this case, religion. This precedent, persisting over decades, must end up deadening the ability of governments, as well as the United Nations, to take human rights seriously and develop mechanisms for their promotion and protection.

The same situation that threatens the integrity of human rights standards threatens the moral character of the Jewish people. In a recent article entitled “Israel’s Irrational Rationality,David Shulman, professor emeritus at Hebrew University, confesses that it is Israeli government policy to maintain “a steady level of state terror directed against a large civilian population [Palestinians] …. All of it stains the character of the state and has, in my experience, horrific effects on the minds and hearts of young soldiers who have to carry out the orders they are given.” However, Shulman knows it does not stop there. He observes that what we have here is an “ongoing moral failure of the country as a whole.”

Yet who constitutes “the country as a whole”? The Zionism ideology demands an identification of Israel with the Jewish people – all of whom are virtual Israeli citizens whether they want to be or not. This means that the Zionists insist that the Jewish people as a whole be identified with Israel’s practices and policies – including the disregard for human rights and implementation of “ongoing state terror.”

Conclusion

Despite this Zionist contention that Israel and the Jews are equivalent, we know that this cannot be literally true. Israel’s sins cannot be the sins of the Jewish people as a whole. At the beginning of this essay I indicated that increasing number of Jews are actively supporting Palestinian rights and thus opposing both Israel’s undermining of the principle of human rights and its erosive effect on the moral status of the Jewish people.

However, the logic of the situation does make one thing literally true, and that is that the Zionist ideology, as it has evolved in practice, is a dangerous enemy of Jewish morality. As long as Zionism stands against human rights while at the same time insisting that Israel stands in for the Jews, it must be the enemy. Ignorance of this logic is also an enemy. Therefore, it is time to heed the call of Rebecca Vilkomerson, head of Jewish Voice for Peace: “Seventy years into the ongoing dispossession and displacement of Palestinians, fifty years into Israel’s military occupation, and ten years into the siege of Gaza, we think it is time for American Jewish communities [and those in the rest of the world as well] to have some really uncomfortable conversations.”

 

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