israel’s IDF Snipers: Choosing Who to Shoot

Israel’s IDF Snipers: Choosing Who to Shoot

By Stephen Shenfield,

Snipers (sharpshooters) constitute about a quarter of all soldiers in the IDF’s combat units. The standard course for the training of snipers lasts five weeks. The best snipers, however, are Russian immigrants who fought in Chechnya.

Snipers are organized in teams that form part of infantry battalions. Snipers are equipped with special rifles of various makes. Since 2010 the best rifle at their disposal has been the HTR 2000, which has a range of over 1,000 meters. Older makes have somewhat shorter ranges — several hundred meters.

 

The locator

Each team of snipers contains a specialist called the locator, who plays a key role in choosing targets. On April 10 a former locator by the name of Nadav Weiman talked on Israeli television to Channel 10 about his experience in a sniper team of the Nahal Reconnaissance Platoon on the Gaza border. (He now works for the organization Breaking the Silence as head of its education department.)

Here is how Weiman describes his work as a locator:

“I would sit with binoculars and an electro-optic lens during the day and a thermal lens at night. I would identify a figure, see if he was armed, then I would measure the distance with a laser meter and check the wind with an electronic weather vane. Then I would give the snipers correction data and count down 3, 2, 1, fire!”

It is of interest to compare this account of the pre-firing procedure with that given on April 1 by Major General Haim Cohen, commander of the Shaked Battalion near the southern end of the Gaza Strip, on the Galatz military radio station. Cohen omits the technical detail provided by Weiman but emphasizes two steps that Weiman fails to mention: (1) obtaining authorization to fire from a commander; and (2) warning the targeted individual by means of a PA system. According to Cohen, there was a commander next to each sniper team and it was he who gave the order to fire. But Weiman says that when he was in the army it was he, the locator of the team, who gave the order.

The open fire regulations

Both Weiman and Cohen say that the choice of targets is in principle guided by the open fire regulations. These are the regulations that Israeli human rights NGOs tried but failed to challenge before the Supreme Court on April 30. The precise regulations are classified, yet the Israeli network i24 reports they are “widely known in a country where most Israelis perform compulsory military service.”

The open fire regulations, especially in their current form, mandate the shooting not only of armed but also of unarmed individuals who have been assigned to certain categories. One such category is the “main inciter” who “inflames” those around him.

How do you identify a “main inciter”? That, says Weiman, is “the million dollar question.” It is left to the judgment of the locator or commander on the spot. It cannot be based on what the suspect is saying because the decision maker cannot hear him (and is also unlikely to understand Arabic). He can only observe him visually. In practice an “inciter” is probably just someone who stands out in some way.

Another category mentioned by Weiman — albeit in a different context, namely, that of Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip in 2014 — is the “scout”. Weiman and his fellow soldiers were ordered to shoot any Palestinian, even if unarmed, carrying an object — it could be a cell phone or binoculars — that he might be using to direct or assist combatants.

The radio interviewer asks Cohen about the relationship between permission to shoot and distance from the fence. Is there a forbidden zone and how far does it extend? Cohen’s answer is not very clear but he does refer to a 100-meter-wide “perimeter zone”. However, many demonstrators in his sector were at distances of 70–80 meters, i.e., well within the perimeter zone, and were not shot solely for that reason — unlike those who approached very close.

Weiman concludes that the open fire regulations impose no effective constraints. Category definitions are so vague that they can be used to justify practically any target. This makes it very difficult to prove that a specific shooting violated the regulations. At the same time, IDF spokesmen constantly cite the existence of the regulations — their content, as you will recall, is a military secret — as a reliable safeguard against abuses. Catch 22.

Gaza — a free fire zone 

However, perhaps Weiman exaggerates a little. Permissive as the regulations may be, it is doubtful whether, for instance, they allow the shooting of medical personnel wearing distinctive uniforms and holding their hands up like the nurse Razan al-Najjar. Another factor must be at work.

That factor is the perception of the Gaza Strip as a free fire zone where anyone can be shot and killed with impunity. This perception has developed within the IDF over the years in the course of successive punitive operations. At an earlier stage in the process some kinds of target were still off limits, such as women and people holding a white flag. But in recent years the situation has reached a point where soldiers are permitted to shoot at anyone they see.

As a result, many killings lack even the most tenuous security rationale. In Operation Protective Edge, for example, one tank gunner was told by his commander to fire a tank shell at any target as commemoration for a fellow soldier who was killed. As a sort of game, he and his buddies tried to hit cars moving along one of the Gaza Strip’s main north-south roads. It may therefore be presumed that many of the Gaza demonstrators who have been maimed or killed were shot just for fun, to alleviate boredom, or to express hatred of the “enemy population”.

*

Stephen Shenfield is a British-born writer. After several years as a government statistician, he entered the field of Soviet Studies. He was active in the nuclear disarmament movement. Later he came to the U.S. and taught International Relations at Brown University. He is the author of Russian Fascism: Traditions, Tendencies, Movements (M.E. Sharpe, 2001).

Featured image is from the author.

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israel’s “making the deserts bloom” myth

The Real Story Behind Israel’s “Blooming Desert”

A Palestinian farmer looks at Israeli army soldiers after he planted an olive trees near the West Bank town of Tubas in the Jordan valley, during a protest against the closure of land to Palestinians by the army and Jewish settlers, Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Dozens of Palestinians protested in the Jordan valley where Palestinian sources said that Israel has closed land for the army to use for the military training. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)

A Palestinian farmer looks at Israeli army soldiers after he planted an olive trees near the West Bank town of Tubas in the Jordan valley, during a protest against the closure of land to Palestinians by the army and Jewish settlers, Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Dozens of Palestinians protested in the Jordan valley where Palestinian sources said that Israel has closed land for the army to use for the military training. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas) Click to enlarge

It has often been said that Israel, since its establishment in 1948, has presided over the “miracle” of making the country’s “desert bloom.” That heavily promoted narrative — which asserts that the Palestinians have long lacked the capacity, knowledge or desire to properly develop agriculture in the region — has often been used as a legitimizing factor in Israel’s establishment. As former Israel Prime Minister Shimon Peres once said, “The country [Palestine] was mostly an empty desert, with only a few islands of Arab settlement; and Israel’s [cultivated] land today was indeed redeemed from swamp and wilderness.”

Were it not for Israel, the desert would have remained unproductive and fallow – or so the story goes.

There is, however, another side to this story, one that shows that the “blooming desert” of Israel is a convenient disguise for the degradation and destruction of Palestine’s natural resources, a means of obfuscating the worst of occupation by wrapping it in the cloak of Zionist mythology. While a central theme of Zionist mythology has long been the need for the Jewish Diaspora community to re-establish itself by returning to agricultural labor, the truth of Israel’s agricultural “success” involves the unsustainable use of occupied resources and the deliberate destruction of the land and water still used by Palestinians today.

Erasing a rich history

Though the official narrative of the state of Israel claims that it has turned the land it occupies from an empty desert into a lush, agricultural wonder, the actual fate of the land following Israel’s establishment in 1948 tells a very different story. Indeed, prior to 1948, the historical record demonstrates that Palestinian farms were very productive and that both Palestinian Arabs and Jewish settlers were successful farmers. For example, a UN report on agriculture in Palestine between 1945 and 1946 recorded that Palestinian-grown crops accounted for nearly 80 percent of Palestine’s total agricultural yield that season, with Palestinian farms producing over 244,000 tons of vegetables, 73,000 tons of fruit, 78,000 tons of olives, and 5 million liters of wine.

Villagers of Sidna Ali drawing water from a communal well. Click to enlarge

Villagers of Sidna Ali drawing water from a communal well. Click to enlarge

Two years later, when the majority of Palestinians were forced from their land during the “Nakba” that founded the state of Israel, the farms and orchards that had previously been tended by Palestinians were left abandoned, as their owners fled under the threat of death at the hands of Zionist militias.

As Israeli historian and journalist Meron Benvenisti detailed in his book Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948:

By April 1948 Jewish farmers had already begun harvesting the crops that had ripened in the abandoned fields and picking the citrus fruit in Arab groves. […] by mid-1949 two-thirds of all land sown with grain in Israel was abandoned Arab land.”

Thus, it was land theft that was largely responsible for Israel’s initial agricultural production, not the labor or agricultural expertise of Zionist settlers.

In addition, the claim that Israel turned an undeveloped desert into an agricultural wonder seems to be – in part – projection on the part of the Israeli state. Indeed, as Benvenisti noted, following the removal of Palestinians, the vast majority of centuries-old fruit orchards that had long been maintained by the native inhabitants of the land were untended, neglected and, in some cases, bulldozed to make room for ever-expanding settlements.

According to Benvenisti’s research, that neglect led to a situation in which “entire tracts of productive citrus trees, especially in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa area, were earmarked for the construction of housing developments,” as was the case for Palestine olive groves and pomegranate orchards that the land’s new occupants considered “an annoyance.” Part of the reason for the destruction of the land was that it would weaken Palestinian claims to return to the land, as keeping agricultural infrastructure intact “might have made possible the absorption of the returning refugees.”

Current Israeli government policy, particularly its support for the construction of illegal settlements on Palestinian land, is the continuation of this effort to erase Palestine’s history by targeting its agricultural heritage as well as its natural wonders. Indeed, Israeli newspaper Haaretz noted back in 2011 that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s steady push for Israeli expansion into Palestinian territory had been coupled with “his insistence on seeing nature and landscape as no more than an obstacle to the realization of his settlement vision.”

Covering a crime with water-sucking pines

Israeli President Shimon Peres, right, and French President Francois Hollande, plant a Cedar tree during a welcome ceremony for Hollande at the president's residence in Jerusalem, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Abir Sultan, Pool) Click to enlarge

Israeli President Shimon Peres, right, and French President Francois Hollande, plant a Cedar tree during a welcome ceremony for Hollande at the president’s residence in Jerusalem, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Abir Sultan, Pool) Click to enlarge

Another project central to the “desert bloom” mythology is Israel’s “afforestation” of the desert, which has helped “turn the desert green” through the planting of non-native pine trees. These forests, largely planted by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), have been touted as a “miracle.” Yet, the pine stands, much like Israel’s treatment of Palestine’s agricultural legacy, have been motivated by a need to cover up the events that led to the creation of the Israeli state.

Indeed, more than two-thirds of all JNF forests and sites lie on top of the ruins of Palestinian villages demolished during and after the founding of Israel, and the group’s continuing afforestation efforts are aimed at acquiring land in the occupied West Bank to prevent “trespassing” and “conceal” Palestinian villages in order to prevent the return of Palestinian refugees.

Moreover, the effort to maintain a forest of non-native trees – regardless of whether its chief aim is to cover up the true history of Palestine or “green” a desert — has come at a great cost to the natural environment. As journalist Max Blumenthal has noted:

Most of the saplings the JNF plants at a site near Jerusalem simply do not survive, and require frequent replanting. Elsewhere, needles from the pine trees have killed native plant species and wreaked havoc on the ecosystem.”

They also become fodder for forest fires that have caused major damage and mass evacuations throughout Israel over the years.

Another ecological consequence of JNF forests is their likely effect on Israel’s horrendous drought, considered to be the worst the region has faced in over 900 years. As studies have shown in other countries where non-native pine plantations have been introduced in vast numbers, pines consume a significant amount of water – leading to droughts and even the disappearance of entire rivers – as well as fundamentally alter and degrade the soil. While these forests have been presented as an ecological miracle, they are instead destroying the environment and degrading the land’s resources, suggesting that the main driver behind the long-standing project is aimed at covering up the ruins of Palestine.

Continuing the attack on Palestinian agriculture

A Palestinian elderly woman collects olives from broken olive tree branches in the village of Qusra, northern West Bank, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Palestinian farmers say Jewish settlers from the nearby settlement of Eli cut more than 70 olive trees overnight. Olives are the backbone of Palestinian agriculture. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

A Palestinian elderly woman collects olives from broken olive tree branches in the village of Qusra, northern West Bank, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Palestinian farmers say Jewish settlers from the nearby settlement of Eli cut more than 70 olive trees overnight. Olives are the backbone of Palestinian agriculture. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh) Click to enlarge

Today, the stark difference in agricultural development in the land tended by Israelis and Palestinians derives from policies that often receive little coverage in the media and are largely absent from the “desert bloom” narrative. Indeed, much of the coverage the issue has received paints Palestinian agricultural successes as either the work of foreigners offering aid or resulting from the “theft” of Israeli-settlement agricultural infrastructure.

Such reports fail to acknowledge the realities of the issue, such as the illegal blockade of Gaza that has crippled its economy and agricultural sector, as well as Israel’s destruction of agricultural infrastructure in Gaza and the West Bank. Gazan agricultural infrastructure was ravaged by Israel in times of war and, in the West Bank, Israeli soldiers regularly demolish rain cisterns, pipelines and irrigation systems installed by Palestinians, citing as a reason that such structures lacked the “proper authorization” from Israel. Farmers themselves, mainly in Gaza, are often targeted directly by Israeli soldiers if they come too close to the border fence.

The Israeli government has also targeted Palestinian agriculture through chemical warfare. The use of white phosphorus as a weapon against Gaza, for example, has had major consequences for the area’s farmers. In addition to the chemical weapon’s often deadly effects on the human body, it has destructive effects on the environment and plants, as its incendiary nature often leads to the spontaneous ignition and burning of trees, forests and farmland. It also lingers in the environment for several years.

Beyond the use of chemical weapons, Israel has also directly targeted Gazan farmland with herbicide. In 2015, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) admitted to using herbicides and germination inhibitors to kill off vegetation along the Palestinian side of the border, damaging over 420 acres of land. A year later, tactic was repeated, this time destroying around 400 acres of farmland. The IDF has stated that it sprays the chemicals over the vaguely defined “no-go zone” it has established along the border “in order to enable optimal and continuous security operations.” However, the area accounts for a third of Gaza’s arable land and 17 percent of the entire territory.

Furthermore, the herbicides, like white phosphorus, have consequences for the environment long after they are sprayed. As Anwar Abu Assi, manager of the chemical laboratory at Gaza’s Ministry of Agriculture told Al Jazeera in 2016:

Herbicides are sprayed in high concentrations. Thus, they remain embedded in the soil, and then find their way to the water basin. This constitutes a real hazard for the population.”

The targeting of Palestinian agriculture in the present and its treatment by the Israeli and American press suggest another and nefarious way in which Israel’s “desert bloom” mythology has manifested. In order for Israel’s agricultural “superiority” to remain unchallenged, Palestinian agriculture must also be suppressed. Were Palestinian agriculture able to develop unimpeded and flourish, it would call into question the idea that the land was barren before the Zionists, threatening the latter’s legitimacy.

The cover-story for all conquerors and colonizers

The myth of Israel “making the desert bloom” has its basis in neo-colonial narratives that have long been used in other settler states such as Canada, New Zealand, the United States and Australia. In the cases of the latter countries, the native inhabitants and their culture have also inaccurately been depicted as “primitive” and incompetent, a narrative that suggests that the land would have remained “wild” and undeveloped were it not for the “fortunate” appearance of European settlers. Such narratives cast the settlers as both superior and normal while the natives become inferior and abnormal, thus obfuscating the settler’s status as foreigner and conqueror.

AMERICAN PROGRESS EAST GOING WEST USA 1872 BY JOHN GAST LARGE PRINT REPRO

American Progress East Going West USA 1872 by John Gast

Zionist mythology reinforces similar themes. For example, as in the United States, Native Americans were considered as uncivilized and wild as the natural environment, Zionist mythology reinforces the idea that all Arabs are “sons of the desert” while the desert similarly represents a barbaric obstacle to “progress” and development.

Another historical analogue is the 19th-century concept of “manifest destiny” — the idea that the expansion of the United States had been preordained by God himself, which led the U.S. to break many of its numerous treaties with indigenous tribes and even go to war with Mexico in order to acquire the land it coveted. The Israeli government similarly sees its expansion and control of all of Palestine as a matter of fulfilling prophecy and “redeeming” the Holy Land. This effort of redemption continues to feed Israel’s expansion. As Netanyahu has said, Israel is “obligated to develop all parts of the country – the Galilee and the Negev [the West Bank].”

Living the myth and the lie

Yet, no matter how much evidence exists to the contrary, Israel will never tell the real story behind the “miracle” of making “the desert bloom.” It will never tell the real story precisely because it can’t – to do so would mean demolishing the neo-colonial narrative at the center of the settler state, a narrative that is the pillar of its legitimacy.

Indeed, if Israel has not actually improved the land by making “the desert bloom” but instead degraded the land, the legitimacy of the state of Israel itself becomes questionable, as it suggests that its native inhabitants – the Palestinians – were better caretakers of the land than the current occupiers. For this reason, Israel must continue to propagate the myth regardless of the facts, and continue to deny Palestine’s rich cultural history and agricultural legacy.

With Israel now facing the consequences of its mistreatment of the land and its resources, the historical revisionism once used to sell the disparity between Israeli and Palestinian agricultural prowess has become ineffective. For that reason, Israel must now use other tactics — chemical warfare through toxic agrochemicals, the physical destruction of Palestinian agricultural infrastructure, and illegal blockades – in order to keep the artificial narrative alive, creating the illusion of primitivism and scarcity where none exists.

Top Photo | A Palestinian farmer looks at Israeli army soldiers after he was arrested for planting olive trees near the West Bank town of Tubas in the Jordan valley, during a protest against the closure of land to Palestinians by the army and Jewish settlers, April 8, 2014. Mohammed Ballas | AP

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

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Seems some Jews actually believe they are superior & “chosen people”. Superior in what, deceit, lies, greed?

Israeli MP invokes the supremacy of ‘Jewish race’ in bizarre pro-Netanyahu tirade

Israeli MP invokes the supremacy of ‘Jewish race’ in bizarre pro-Netanyahu tirade

Religious extremism is at the heart of US support for israel

Christian Zionist pastors Robert Jeffress and John Hagee led prayers at the opening ceremony of the US embassy to Israel in Jerusalem last month. (White House/YouTube)

One of the most important elements of the Israel lobby in the United States is right-wing Evangelical backing – or Christian Zionism.

The fanatically anti-Palestinian group Christians United For Israel, CUFI, claims to have more than 4 million members. It was founded in 2006 by a Texas mega-church televangelist, Pastor John Hagee. It now has smaller branches in the UK and Canada.

Hagee has a profitable line in supposedly prophetic books which promote extremist apocalyptic visions about the “end times.”

With attention-grabbing titles like Four Blood Moons, the books have a sci-fi or fantasy quality to them. Indeed, they are of course mostly fictional, even if their author would claim otherwise.

His upcoming book explicitly appeals to the lucrative fantasy blockbuster audience, titled as it is: Earth’s Last Empire: The Final Game of Thrones.

He also cashes in on the modern “prosperity gospel” trend among those Evangelicals who purport to show how Biblical prophecies and principles can lead to actual, literal wealth for his readers and congregants, in titles like “Decisions that Produce Wealth” and “The Power to Get Wealth.”

Hagee, then, is a modern-day snake oil salesman. As such, he is an appropriate fit for the state of Israel.

Hagee’s CUFI plays an important role in rallying Evangelical support for Israel in the US. It also claims that one of its aims is to fight anti-Semitism across the world.

Anti-Semitic creed

But in fact Hagee’s doctrine is one of the most fanatically anti-Semitic religious creeds in the world today.

Leading Palestinian intellectual Joseph Massad has made a convincing argument that Zionism’s origins actually lay in evangelical Protestant millenarianism rather than in any Jewish tradition.

At its heart is an anti-Semitic theology which aims to rid Europe of its Jewish communities and “gather” them in Palestine in anticipation of the End Times. There – so this eschatology has it – when the Messiah, Jesus, returns, the majority will convert to Christianity before the final judgement of God. The rest will be doomed to hell.

Christian Zionism sought to bring about this “return” to the “Land of Israel” in very practical terms. In reality, most Jews opposed Zionism as a fringe movement, and never sought to live in Palestine. European Jewish communities are just that – Europeans mostly descended from converts to Judaism.

The dangerous and racist mythology which drives groups like CUFI is therefore a useful tool of the Israel lobby in the eyes of cynical Israeli politicians and their Zionist supporters in the West.

Because despite its empty claims to be fighting anti-Semitism, CUFI’s theology is very much based in anti-Semitic ideas. Hagee himself infamously preached that Hitler was “a hunter” sent by God to drive Jews “back” to Palestine so that the divine plan to “return” the Jews to the Land of Israel could be played out.

Such demented ideology is a major driver of anti-Semitic hatred against Jews.

But it causes little problem for Israel and its supporters. While the re-emergence of Hagee’s Hitler sermon during the 2008 presidential race embarrassed John McCain into renouncing Hagee’s endorsement, the pastor continues to be courted and indulged by both Israeli and US politicians.

Racist logic

At the opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem in May, Hagee gave the closing benediction, praying in front of a who’s-who of Israeli and American politicians.

The crowd included Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog (of the so-called “Labor” party), Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner, former US presidential candidate Ted Cruz, and former senator Joe Lieberman.

During his prayer, Hagee claimed that Jerusalem is “the eternal capital of the Jewish people”. This description – a common claim by such Zionist fanatics – is worth thinking about: while superficially philosemitic, it is, in effect, anti-Semitic.

As the Palestinian intellectual Omar Bargouhti – the co-founder of the BDS movement – puts it: neo-Nazis claim that Jews are sub-human while Zionists claim that Jews are super-human – both agree that Jews are, somehow, not human.

The philosemitism of Christian Zionism is actually a subtle form of anti-Semitism.

The obvious implication of Netanyahu’s baseless claim to be not just the prime minister of Israel but the “representative of the entire Jewish people” and of Hagee’s claim that Jerusalem is the “eternal” capital not just of Israel but of “the Jewish people” is that “the Jews” do not really belong to the many various countries in which they were actually born and brought up, but “really belong” – on some sort of mystical, metaphysical level – in Israel and Israel alone.

The long term aim is to drive Jews out of their ancestral homelands and into Palestine where they are compelled into the role of settlers in the apartheid colony of Israel. It is a racist, anti-Semitic logic.

This is something that Zionism has had a degree of success in achieving over the last 70 years. But the project has been a failure in that most Jews do not live in Israel, and show little interest in ever doing so – especially American Jews.

Fiery pits of hell

Another extremist American pastor to attend the embassy opening ceremony was Robert Jeffress. The Evangelical gave a prayer in front of the assembled politicians and embassy staff in which he described Jerusalem as “the city that you [God] named as the capital of Israel 3,000 years ago.”

He went into full-throated political-religion mode, gushing over Trump, and thanking God “every day that you have given us a president who boldly stands on the right side of history, but more importantly stands on the right side of you, oh God, when it comes to Israel.”

But Jeffress is also an extremist anti-Semite Christian Zionist.

As reported by the New York Times, he once said during an interview on a Christian TV channel that Jews, Muslims and Mormons are all going to hell.

“Islam is wrong. It is a heresy from the pit of hell,” he said. “Mormonism is wrong. It is a heresy from the pit of hell.” He continued: “Judaism – you can’t be saved being a Jew. You know who said that, by the way? The three greatest Jews in the New Testament: Peter, Paul and Jesus Christ. They all said Judaism won’t do it. It’s faith in Jesus Christ.”

In a 2008 sermon, he was more direct: “Not only do religions like Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism – not only do they lead people away from the true God, they lead people to an eternity of separation from God in hell … Hell is going to be filled with good religious people who have rejected the truth of Christ.”

Israeli politicians like Netanyahu are no doubt aware of the hateful ideology of such allies. But as long as these allies are committed to political support for the state of Israel and defending its crimes, they do not care.

On the surface, this should make little sense. After all, in the fever dreams of Hagee and Jeffress, would Netanyahu – a Jew – not end up in the fiery pits of hell should he refuse to convert to faith in Jesus during the last days of judgement?

A settler-colonial movement

It makes more sense when you consider another historical fact: Zionism is not a movement for Jewish self defence, it is a movement for settler-colonialism.

If the global Zionist movement deems it useful to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories (as Israeli intelligence services admit to having deliberately done) and hateful, anti-Jewish Christian theologies, then so be it, goes their thinking.

After all, the goal of Israel is to bring Jews to the land of Palestine and turn them into settlers – human fodder that can be used to displace the indigenous people. Zionism has never had as one of its real goals the protection of Jewish communities outside of Israel.

If anything, the opposite is true. Israeli leaders constantly sensationalize threats to Jewish life in Europe, to encourage migration to Israel. Many Iraqi Jews claim that attacks on their community were actually a plot by Israeli agents to drive them out of the country and head for Israel. Before the rise of Zionism, and the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948, Jewish citizens of Iraq lived in relative prosperity and harmony with their fellow citizens of other religions.

Despite the warm words of Christian Zionists about Jews being “God’s chosen people,” there is no escaping the feeling that behind this veneer of philosemitism, there is a distinctly anti-Semitic core at work.

In the final analysis, the effect of Christian Zionism is anti-Semitic – it is bad for Jewish communities as well as bad for the indigenous people of Palestine

 

Finding the truth amid israel’s lies

Finding the truth amid Israel’s lies

Ilan Pappe The Electronic Intifada

Illustration by Nidal El-Khairy

Great sadness and suffering flooded the roads – convoy upon convoy of refugees making their way [to the Lebanese border]. They leave the villages of their homeland and the homeland of their ancestors and move to an alien, unknown new land, full of troubles. Women, children, babies, donkeys – everyone is on the move, quietly and sadly, to the north, without looking left or right.

A woman cannot find her husband, a child cannot find his father … Everything that can walk is moving, running away not knowing what to do, not knowing where they are going. Many of their belongings are spread on the sideways; the more they walk the more exhausted they become, they nearly cannot walk anymore – shedding from the bodies everything they tried to salvage when they are on their way to exile …

I met an 8-year-old boy going north and leading before him two donkeys. His father and brother died in the fighting and he lost his mother … I passed through the way between Sasa and Tarbiha and I saw a tall man, bent, scratching with his hands something on the tough rocky terrain. I stopped. I noticed a small dent in the land that was dug by bare hands, with nails, under the olive tree. The man laid in it a body of a baby who died in the arms of his mother and buried it with dirt and [covered it with] small stones. Then he went back to the road and continued to move north, his bent wife walking a few steps behind him, without looking back. I ran into an old man, who fainted on a rock on the sideway and nobody among the refugees dares to help him … When we went into Birim, everyone fled in their fright in the direction of the wadi facing north, taking their little kids and as much cloth as they could. The next day, they came back as the Lebanese did not allow them to enter. Seven babies died of hypothermia.

This moving description was not written by a human rights activist, a UN observer or a caring journalist. It was written by Moshe Carmel and appears in his book Northern Campaigns – first published in 1949.

He toured the Galilee at the end of October 1948, after commanding Operation Hiram, in which Israeli forces committed some of the worst atrocities in the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The crimes were so serious that some leading Zionists described them as Nazi actions.

Carmel’s book and dozens like it – brigade books, memoirs and military histories – could be found on the shelves of Israeli Jewish homes from 1948 onwards. Revisiting them, 70 years on, reveals an elementary truth: it would have been possible to write the “new history” of 1948 without a single new declassified document, but only if these open sources, as I call them, had been read with non-Zionist lenses.

The famous – and by now overused – expression that history is written by the victors can be countered in many ways. One way is by unpacking the victors’ publications in order to expose the lies, fabrications and misrepresentations, as well as their less conscious actions.

A rereading of these open sources about the Nakba, mostly written by Israelis themselves, unlocks fresh historiographical perspectives on the big picture of that period – while declassified documents allow us to see that picture in a higher resolution.

This reprise could have been done at any moment between 1948 and today – as long as historians were willing to employ the critical lens needed for such an examination.

Rereading these open sources, especially in tandem with the numerous oral histories of the Nakba, reveals the barbarism and dehumanization that accompanied the catastrophe. The barbarism is common to settler communities in the formative years of their colonization projects and can sometimes be obscured by the dry and evasive language of military and political documents.

I do not mean to belittle the importance of archival documents. They are important for telling us what happened. However, the open sources and oral histories are crucial for understanding the meaning of what happened.

Such a rereading exposes the settler-colonial DNA of the Zionist project and the place of the 1948 ethnic cleansing within it.

Dehumanization on a massive scale

Take the Carmel quotation, for instance. How could someone overseeing such atrocities write so compassionately?

The clue is in another sentence in the same quotation that appears almost as a digression: “And then I noticed a 16-year-old boy, totally naked smiling at us, when we passed him (funny, when I passed him I did not tell because of his nakedness to which people he belonged and I only saw him as a human being).”

For one very exceptional short moment, that Palestinian kid was humanized (within the parentheses in the text). But dehumanization occurred on a scale we witness only in massive crimes such as ethnic cleansing and genocide.

The rule was that children were considered as part of the enemy, who had to be cleansed for the sake of a Jewish state or as Carmel put it – a day after he finished his Galilee tour – for the sake of liberation.

He published this message to his troops: “The whole Galilee, the ancient Israeli Galilee, was liberated by the powerful and devastating force of the IDF [Israel’s military] … We eliminated the enemy, we destroyed it and caused it to flee … We [conquered] Meiron [Mayrun], Gush Halav [Jish], Sasa and Malkiya … We destroyed the enemies’ nests of Tarshiha, Eilabun, Mghar and Rami … The castles of the enemy fell one after the other.”

Seventy years after the Nakba, the Hebrew language is as important a tool as access to the closed Israeli archives. The Hebrew text clearly tells you who the enemy was – the enemy that fled, was eliminated and expelled from its “castles.”

They are the people Carmel met. And for a moment, he was moved by their suffering.

Redemption?

The most important discursive elements in these kinds of reports are the concepts of liberation and elimination (shihrur and hisul). What this meant, in reality, was an attempt to indigenize the occupiers of Palestine through the de-indigenization of the Palestinians.

This is the essence of a settler-colonial project and Carmel’s book – and those by others – reveal it in full. Carmel saw the 1948 occupation as a redemption of the Roman Galilee.

These violent acts against the Palestinians had very little to do with finding a haven from anti-Semitism.

The Zionist project was, and still is, a project of de-indigenizing the Palestinian population and replacing it with one comprised of Jewish settlers. It was in many ways the implementation of a romantic nationalist ideology, the like of which fed fanatic Italian and German nationalism in the late 19th century and beyond.

This link is clear in books about the brigades in the Israeli army. One such book, The Alexandroni Brigade and The War of Independence, is a case in point.

The Alexandroni Brigade was entrusted with the occupation of much of Palestine’s coast, north of Jaffa, about 60 villages in total. Before occupation of the villages, the troops were taught about the historical context of their operations. The narrative provided by the commanders is repeated in the book in two chapters. The first is titled “The Military Past of the Alexandroni Space” and it begins by saying “the front in which the Alexandroni Brigade faced in the war of Independence is unique in the military history of the region and of Eretz Israel [Greater Israel] in particular.”

This was the Sharon – the coast of Palestine in the Zionist narrative – which is an invented term with no roots in history. The Sharon, the book on the Alexandroni Brigade tells us, was “a rich and quite fertile land” that “attracted” armies during their “occupation journeys” into the land of Israel. This historical chapter is full of tales of heroism, claiming, for example, “this is where [the people of] Israel under [the prophet] Shmuel confronted the Philistines.”

The Hebrews were always disadvantaged in the battle against their enemies but “then as today, it was the superior spirit that tipped the balance in favor of Israel.”

Under Baibars, the Mamluk sultan, the Sharon was destroyed as an agricultural land and “from then on the Sharon would regain its economic vitality until its resettlement with the Zionist immigration [aliya],” the book states. Baibars, by the way, had been there in 1260. So the book on the Alexandroni Brigade tells its readers that the Sharon had been without people for more than 600 years, which is Zionist fabrication of history at its best.

During the Ottoman period the Sharon “was in total devastation, saturated with swamps and malaria,” the book adds. “Only with the Jewish aliya and settlement in the end of the 19th century a new period of prosperity [in the Sharon’s history] began.”

The Zionists “returned” the Sharon to its former glory and it became one of the most Jewish areas in the “Mandatory Eretz Israel” – as the book calls Palestine when it was administered by a British mandate.

“Villages must be destroyed”

The ethnic cleansing of the Hebrew coast began while Palestine was under British control. Britain was, in many respects, a vital ally of the Zionist movement. Yet it did not facilitate the colonization of Palestine as quickly as some Zionists wanted. The book on the Alexandroni Brigade even depicts Britain as being a sometimes inhuman obstacle to Jewish “redemption.”

So the Sharon clearly still had Arabs in it. The book describes the region as the lifeline for the Jewish community, yet suggests that Jewish life was disrupted by the many surrounding Arab villages.

It was mainly the eastern part of the Sharon that was “purely Arab and constituted the main threat towards the Jewish settlements; a threat that had to be taken into account in any military planning.”

The “threat” was “taken into account” first by isolated attacks on villages. The book says that up to 29 November 1947 the relationship between Jews and Palestinians was good and continued to be so after that date. And yet a sentence later the books tells us that “in the beginning of 1948, the process of abandoning isolated Arab villages began. One can see the early signs for this in the abandonment of Sidan Ali (al-Haram) by its 220 Arab inhabitants and Qaisriya by its 1,100 Arab inhabitants in mid-February 1948.” There were two massive expulsions that took place while the British forces who were responsible for law and order, watched on and did not interfere. Then “in March with the escalation of the fighting, the process of abandonment intensified.”

The “escalation” came with the implementation of Plan Dalet – a blueprint for destroying Palestinian villages. The book on the Alexandroni Brigade brings a summary of the orders emanating from the plan. The orders include the task of “determining the Arab villages that must be seized or destroyed.”

There were 55 villages, according to the book, in the area occupied according to Plan Dalet. The Hebrew Sharon was almost completely “liberated” in March 1948 when the coast “was cleansed” from Arab villages apart from four. In the language of the book: “Most of the areas near the coast were cleansed from Arab villages, apart from … a ‘small triangle’ and in it the Arab villages of Jaba, Ein Ghazal and Ijzim – which stuck out like a sore thumb, overlooking the Tel Aviv-Haifa road; there were also Arabs in Tantura on the beach.”

A deeper analysis of these texts and other open sources would shed light on the structural nature of the ongoing settler colonial project in Palestine, the ongoing Nakba.

The history of the Nakba is thus not only a chronicle of the past, but an examination of a historical moment that is continuing in the historian’s time. Social scientists are far more equipped to deal with “moving targets” – namely analyzing contemporary phenomena – but historians, so we are told, need distance to reflect on and see the full picture.

On the face it, 70 years should provide enough distance, but on the other hand, this is like an attempt to understand the Soviet Union, or for that matter the Crusades, by contemporaries, and not by historians.

Sites of memory, to use Pierre Nora’s concept, as well as the scholarly leaps of recent years are triggered not by declassification per se, but by their relevance to contemporary struggles.

Oral history projects, as well as the brigade books, are all crucial and accessible sources that penetrate the genuine and cynical Zionist, and later Israeli, shields of deception. They help understand why the concept of a democratic or enlightened settler state is an oxymoron.

Israel’s approved history

A deconstruction of Israel’s approved history is the best way to challenge a word laundrette that turns ethnic cleansing into self-defense, land robbery into redemption and apartheid practices into “security” concerns.

There is a sense, on the one hand, that after years of denial, the historiographical picture has been revealed worldwide with clear contours and colors. The Israeli narrative has been challenged successfully both in the academic world and in the public domain.

And yet there is a sense of frustration, given the limited access to declassified documents in Israel to scholars, even Israeli ones, while Palestinian scholars can hardly hope in the current political climate to have any access at all.

Going beyond the archival documents about the Nakba is, therefore, necessary not only for a better understanding of the event. It may also be a solution for researchers in the future, given the new Israeli policy on declassification.

Israel has closed most of the 1948 documents.

The alternative sources and approaches suggested in this piece highlight several points. A knowledge of Hebrew is helpful and the need to continue with oral history projects is essential.

The settler colonial paradigm also remains relevant for analyzing afresh both the Zionist project and resistance to it. Yet there are still issues with the adaptability of the paradigm – such as whether it can be applied to Jews from Arab countries who moved to Palestine – and these should be further explored.

But more than anything else we should insist that commitment to Palestine is not an obstacle for good scholarship but an enhancer of it. As Edward Said wrote: “But where are facts if not embedded in history, and then reconstituted and recovered by human agents stirred by some perceived or desired or hoped-for historical narrative whose future aim is to restore justice to the dispossessed?”

Justice and facts, moral positions, professional acumen and scholarly accuracy should not be juxtaposed one against the other but rather seen as all contributing to a wholesome historiographical enterprise. Very few historiographical projects are in need of such an integrative approach as the research on the ongoing Nakba.

The author of numerous books, Ilan Pappe is professor of history and director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter.

Zionist terrorism against the Jews in Iraq

The Abused Jews of Iraq

Sheldon Richman on Zionist terror campaigns

From April 1950, nearly two years after the Zionists in Palestine unilaterally declared independence for the state of Israel, to March 1951, three bombs exploded among Jews in Baghdad, Iraq: one each outside a cafe on Abu Nawwas Street; at the US Information Centre, a popular reading place for young Jewish Iraqis; and outside the Mas’uda Shemtov synagogue, where Kurdish Jews worshiped. Fortunately, only one person was killed and one injured. Suspicion was immediately directed at “an extremist Iraqi organization,” David Hirst writes in The Gun and the Olive Branch: The Roots of Violence in the Middle East. In fear for their security, many members of the old Jewish community prepared to emigrate to the new state of Israel. The Iraqi government did not forbid this, but “the Iraqi parliament passed a law confiscating the property of all Jews who renounced their citizenship. No one was allowed to take more than £70 out of the country.” (This immoral act of parliament carried a revealing message: we don’t want you to go.)

Those acts of terrorism, however, “were the work not of Arab extremists,” Hirst continues, “but the very people who sought to rescue [the Jewish Iraqis]” – that is, “a clandestine [pro-Israel] organization called ‘The Movement.’” In fact, “the bombs which terrorized the Jewish community had been Zionist bombs.”

The startling revelation came from Yehudah Tajjar, an Israeli agent, whose arrest in Baghdad made possible the arrest of 15 members of a covert Zionist organization in Iraq. “Shalom Salih, a youngster in charge of Haganah arms caches, broke down during interrogation and took the police from synagogue to synagogue, showing them where weapons, smuggled in since World War II, were hidden,” Hirst writes. “During the trial, the prosecution charged that the accused were members of the Zionist underground. Their primary aim – to which the throwing of three bombs had so devastatingly contributed – was to frighten the Jews into emigrating [to Israel] as soon as possible. Two were sentenced to death, the rest to long prison terms.” (Tajjar faced life in prison, but was freed 10 years later and returned to Israel.)

Over a decade later, a detailed account of the operation began to make its way into Israeli magazines. “Then on 9 November 1972,” Hirst writes, “the Black Panther, the militant voice of Israel’s Oriental Jews, published the full story. The Black Panther account includes the testimony of two Israeli citizens who were in Baghdad at the time.”

Comments Hirst:

It is often forgotten that the “safeguard” clause of the Balfour Declaration – “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country” – was designed to cover Diaspora Jews as well as native Arabs. But the uprooting of a million “Oriental” Jews showed that, for the Zionists, it was a clause to be ignored in both its parts. Everywhere they applied the same essential techniques, but nowhere, perhaps, with such thoroughness as they did in Iraq. “Cruel Zionism,” someone called it. [Emphasis added.]

Why? Hirst supplies an answer direct from a writer in the Israeli labor movement’s publication, Davar:

I shall not be ashamed to confess that if I had the power, as I have the will, I would select a score of efficient young men – intelligent, decent, devoted to our ideal and burning with the desire to help redeem the Jews – and I would send them to the countries where Jews are absorbed in sinful self-satisfaction. The task of these young men would be to disguise themselves as non-Jews and plague Jews with anti-Semitic slogans such as “Bloody Jew,” “Jews go to Palestine” and similar intimacies. I can vouch that the results in terms of a considerable immigration to Israel from these countries would be ten thousand times larger than the results brought by thousands of emissaries who have been preaching for decades to deaf ears. [Emphasis added.]

Hirst adds the crucial context:

Zionism had much less appeal to Oriental than it did to European Jews. In the pre-State period only 10.4 per cent of Jewish immigrants came from “Africa and Asia.” In their vast majority, the Oriental Jews were actually Arab Jews, and the reason for their indifference was simply that, historically, they had not suffered anything like the persecution and discrimination of their brethren in European Christendom. Prejudice did exist, but their lives were on the whole comfortable, and their roots were deep [going back to the Babylonian exile]. They were nowhere more at home than in Iraq, and a government official conceded – tongue in cheek – that their Mesopotamian pedigree was much superior to that the Moslem majority….

Zionist agitation in the Arab world outside Palestine began long before the declaration of Israeli independence:

Zionist activities in Iraq and other Arab countries date from the beginning of the [20th] century…. At first, it was the British, rather than local Jews, who bore the brunt of Arab animosity. In 1928, there were riots when British Zionist Sir Alfred Mond visited Baghdad. The following year demonstrations in mosques and streets, a two-minute silence in Parliament, black-edged newspapers and telegrams to London marked “Iraqi disapproval of the pro-Jewish policy of Great Britain.” It was not until the mid-thirties, when the troubles of Palestine were reverberating round the world, that Arab Jews began to excite suspicion and resentment. In Iraq these emotions came to a head in 1941 when, in a two-day rampage, the mob killed some 170 to 180 Jews and injured several hundred more. It was terrible But it was the first pogrom in Iraqi history….

There was no more such violence.

The Iraqi Jews were to be “ingathered,” to use the Zionist lingo. “‘Ingathered’ for what?” Hirst asks.

The Iraqi Jews soon learned; those of them, that is, who actually went to Israel, or, having gone, remained there. For by no means all of uprooted Oriental Jewry did so. A great many of them – particularly the ones with money, connections, education and initiative – succeeded in making their way to Europe or America. But what the irretrievably “ingathered’ learned was the cruelest and most enduring irony of all: Oriental Jewry was no more than despised cannon-fodder for the European creed of Zionism.

So much for the much-believed tale of how Iraq uprooted its ancient Jewish community and drove the Jews to Israel.

Sheldon Richman is the executive editor of The Libertarian Institute, senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society, and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. He is the former senior editor at the Cato Institute and Institute for Humane Studies, former editor of The Freeman, published by the Foundation for Economic Education, and former vice president at the Future of Freedom Foundation. His latest book is America’s Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited.

The Ugly History of the Christian Zionist Movement, Starting in 1909

Source

Mike King

It seems highly likely that the founder of the movement was backed by wealthy Jewish interests intent on building popular support for Zionism.

Though Sugar and I, er, “The Editorial Board” of The Anti-New York Times take great delight in bitch-slapping libtards and pointy-headed intellectuals, it is important to emphasize that not all of America’s insane people are found on the political “Left.”

Though “Christian Zionists” are much closer to our views on social, political and economic matters, their dangerous lunacy when it comes to blindly supporting “the chosen people” and Greater Israel as “end times” requirements calls for an equal-opportunity beat down of these irrational maniacs.

The size and power of the Christian Zionist hordes (aka Evangelicals and Baptists) are no secret to anyone who understands anything about American politics. What is not commonly understood, even among these crazies, is how exactly they got to be so ziotarded in the first place.

Sugar, fire up the Time Machine and set the dial to 1909, please.

   
Some estimates put the numbers of Evangelical Christian Zionists as high as 40 million. These misguided fanatics are even more zealous in their love of Israel that the Jewish Israel Lobby!Cyrus Scofield was a small time politician and career criminal. In 1873, he was forced to resign his position as a District Attorney because of crooked financial transactions which included accepting bribes, stealing political contributions, and securing bank notes by forging signatures. He served jail time for forgery charges.

A heavy drinker, Scofield later abandoned his wife and two daughters. His wife finally divorced the drunken crook in 1883. As so many con-men do, Scofield.soon claimedto have “found Jesus. He later claimed to have obtained a Doctor of Divinity degree, but “Minister” Scofield’s degree has never been verified.

In 1909, after several mysterious trips to Europe and New York, Scofield published the notated reference Bible that still bears his name. The added side notes in “the Scofield Bible” inject a very weird “End Times” prophecy into Christianity. Because of Scofield’s altered Bible, today’s Christian Ziotards believe that Jesus will return to save his followers (The Rapture), but only after Israel is established and that “God will bless those who bless Israel.”

This biblical alteration, at the hands of a known criminal, marks the beginning of this powerful force in American politics that has mentally infected many millions of otherwise decent people with Scofield’s poison. Yes indeed — the Scofield Bible was very good for Zionism!.The question remains: who did the con-man Scofield meet with while in New York and Europe?

 
Jew agent / ex-con Cyrus Scofield and his “study bible” led many millions of Christians to turn a blind eye to Palestinian suffering and actually worship the people who hate Christianity.These Old Testament fanatics who call themselves “Baptists” really need to read what the original “baptist,” John the Baptist, and Jesus Christ are actually quoted as saying, in the New Testament, about the chosenites that they love so much:

Matthew 3:7 — John the Baptist calls out Jewish high priests (Pharisees and Sadducees) as “vipers”

But when John saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his place of baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?

Matthew 3:9 — John the Baptist to Jewish priests, refuting the “chosen people” concept:

Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones.

Matthew 23:15 — Jesus to Jewish priests, on converting gentiles to Judaism:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You traverse land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hellas you are.

John 8:44 — — Jesus to the Jewish priests on their ungodliness

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

And there are plenty more gems like those in the New Testament, as well as the famous incident in which Jesus made a whip and chased the money lenders out of the temple. Yes, it’s true, Christo-Ziotards. According to the contemporary definition of the term, your lord and savior, Jesus Christ, was quite the “anti-Semite” TM — which is why those very same Pharisees “lobbied” the Roman Governor of Judea to torture and crucify him.

How’s that for irony?!

   
THE CHRISTIAN ZIONISTS NEED A BIBLE LESSON! 1. Jesus Christ was always ripping on and contradicting the Jewish bosses. 2&3. The Pharisees then pressured the Romans to kill him.


Boobus Americanus 1: I read in the New York Times today that the alliance between Evangelicals and Israel is growing stronger.

Boobus Americanus 2: These Christian Zionists are really crazy. They want end times to come and need Israel to be blessed so they can be zapped into the rapture.


Edward Gibbon said it best: History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind.”


Source: TomatoBubble

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