Palestine Report: Israeli Elections 2019

April 09, 2019

by Lynda Burstein Brayer for The Saker Blog

In Israel today, April 9, 2019, out of a population of approximately 8,452,841 million people, 6.3 million people have the right to vote at one of the 10,000 voting stations prepared for their convenience. The voting is executed with paper votes with voting slips and envelopes already prepared in the private voting booths. After exiting the booth the envelope is slid into a sealed box. Several people from different parties man each voting station and the possibility of cheating at this level is nil unless a box is lost or destroyed. This year voting cards were not distributed to the population but rather the information regarding the voting station for each person was to be found on line after entering one’s ID number. All Israelis carry identity cards which are used to access any and all information that the authorities or they themselves might need, particularly services provided by the state, such as national insurance, health insurance, driving licenses and any and all sundry services provided within the private sector, particularly subscriptions, and credit card services, and voting stations! In America the obligatory carrying of an ID card is a hugely controversial issue concerning freedom and privacy discussed under the rubric of “big brother is watching you,” but after Snowden it surely must have less traction. Be that as it may, ID’s are a matter of course in Israel and for many services provides a short cut towards availability. In addition, and probably not surprisingly, seeing as Israel is at the forefront of this field and the fact that its army is totally dependent on such services, the digital networks and services available in Israel are not only extensive but extremely efficient, providing instant information the access to which can be made by individuals without having to go to government offices or any other public office. There is also no discrimination whatsoever in these services.

The Israeli electoral system is proportional in practice to reflect proportional representation. There are no constituencies nor is there division of the country into separate voting areas. It is national and unified in its scope. The problem with this system is that it gives rise to a multiplicity of parties because there is never a clear-cut winner, such as in the two-party system. In the past there were sometimes more than twelve parties sitting in the Knesset at one time and governments have always had to be formed through coalitions, a situation which continues to prevail today, often giving the smallest party enormous power over a much larger party, enabling it to extract power quite out of proportion to its actual representation of the general public. Therefore, once again, a new law was passed which qualifies this carte blanche freedom. The law provides a caveat in the form of a proportional threshold which each party has to overcome in order to enter the Knesset. After the counting of the votes and the registration of invalid votes, the percentage of the votes can be calculated, that is, the minimum number of votes required for the party to enter the Knesset. The electoral threshold in the elections to the 21st Knesset stands at 3.25% of the valid votes, and ensures that parties with less than four seats will not be seated in the Knesset.

This latest caveat was introduced originally in order to block the smaller Arab parties from entering the Knesset, but then the Arabs wised up and formed a “Joint List” combining different parties into one party and received thirteen mandates. Ironically today the new Jewish Rightest parties are threatened with extinction by this very law. The Right has undergone several splits in this election, one of the reason for this being the multiplication of ultra-right parties gunning for the annexation of the West Bank and the prevention of the creation of a Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state. Another reason lies in the religious-secular divide: the “national religious” sector of the religious Jewish population believing in a Greater Israel as the original gift of God to Jews as per the Torah even until the Tigris and Euphrates River, whilst the secular Jews tend to support the Jewish claim to a Greater Israel as far as the Jordan river on pragmatic grounds, i.e. the Arabs will never accept the Jewish state, so what we can conquer and keep through force we will maintain through force. We cannot expect them to give up their claims. In other words, it is the “might is right” assertion.

I would like to interject a personal opinion at this point. Israel, the Jewish state, has been mired in a situation of political stasis for decades now with regard to the issue of Palestine and the Palestinians. The Palestinians of Israel constitute that native Arab population living in Greater Syria and then Palestine before the Jews took over part of Palestine. The Israelis refer to Palestinians living in Israel as “Israeli Arabs” but they refer to themselves as “Palestinians living in Israel.” The Israelis distinguish between the Palestinians living in Israel, the Palestinians in Gaza, who are not allowed to travel to Israel nor the West bank, the Palestinians living in the West Bank, the Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, Palestinians living abroad and the Druze who are Palestinians or Syrians living in the Golan Heights. Before the conquest of Palestine by the Jews, the Druze were merely a heretical Islamic sect located in Greater Syria whose language and traditions were purely Arab although their religion was of an eclecticism such that many did not consider it a legitimate sect of Islam. Israel chose to separate them off from the local Palestinian population and has imposed obligatory military service upon them, an obligation which was not imposed upon the general Palestinian Christian and Moslem populations, but which was actually nixed in the 1950’s because of the enthusiasm of Palestinians to serve in the Israeli army!! This is a system of divide and rule in order to weaken the population – a classical colonial approach refined by the British! As a result of this stasis the Palestinian issue not even appeared on the billboards or in the electoral campaigns except very, very sotto voce– it is the elephant in the room which no Jewish party wishes to tackle. The Meretz party which originally began as a Zionist Leftist party and therefore not so nationalistically inclined, has now “declined” into a real, authentic Jewish Palestinian party which does not shy away from the Palestinian issue although its solution of the conflict via a two-state solution is no longer viable, if it ever was.

Be that as it may this brings me to the electoral campaign as such. I confess that I do not have a television set and have therefore been protected from the uncouth, unchivalrous campaigning in which Netanyahu specializes. He has accused the head of the new Blue-White party (the colors of the Israeli flag and therefore oh, so Zionist Jewish) of being mentally ill – and this despite the man, Bennie Gantz, being a former Chief of Staff under Netanyahu with whom Netanyahu has an excellent working relationship. This accusation probably comes against the background that Netanyahu’s wife, Sarah, is actually mentally disturbed but who nevertheless interferes in all and sundry political affairs despite her total lack of qualifications. The background to this interference was the exposure of an extra-marital affair in the 1990’s of Netanyahu, who, rather than allow the tape recording of the information to go public, took the pre-emptive action of informing the public of the tape, its potential blackmailing capacity, apologizing to his wife, “saving” his marriage and probably, far more importantly for him, saving his political career. It seems to be common knowledge that an agreement was signed between the pair giving her total control of his movements, which we see in the public relations concerning her accompanying him to each and every trip abroad, a habit not common at all with former Israeli prime ministers.

The lack of chivalry in human relations and particularly between rivals is one of the unchanging features of Jewish life everywhere and is accompanied by a lack of the concept of honor, both notions characteristic of European mediaeval culture and of course, the laws of war. What this behavioral and moral lack accomplishes in the relations between Jew and non-Jew, or goy, is to be found in Jewish history, Zionist politics and much else which may be left to the imagination, but naturally nothing positive can be attributed to it. In Israeli politics, the Jew-goy divide materializes in the to-date iron law that no Jewish party, right, left or center, will ever take an Arab party into a coalition.

This lack of chivalry has occurred in other campaigns. On a poster of the Identity party, a new ultra-Right party, displaying a picture of its leader, Moshe Feiglin, a former member of the Likud party, the following was the accompanying text:

Why do more than half of National Insurance Institute expenditures go to the sector responsible for most of the murders, fatal accidents, car thefts, agricultural theft and illegal construction?

This announcement obviously refers to the Palestinians living in Israel. However it is presented tabula rasa of course, with no reference to the reality of lives of these people who constitute twenty percent of the overall population of Israel, being the descendants of the rump population left in the Jewish state following the expulsion of 800,000 Palestinians during the War of Liberation [sic] or War of Independence [sic] in 1947-1949. The poster does not mention the police distribution of weapons into this population for the deliberate purpose of causing such problems, nor does he add the qualifying rider that the police are not available in the Palestinian population to serve them. In fact, in the Palestinian area in which I live, known as the little Triangle, the only official police station where one can lodge a criminal complaint is located in an island of territory surrounded by high fences between Palestinian villages and is not accessible from both sides of the inter-city highway. My own two complaints lodged there were closed with the laconic “no interest to the public” and “a neighbor’s conflict”, in other words, not worthy of public interference nor protection. The question of unlicensed house building derives directly, and as a result of the politically-informed lack of town planning in Palestinian villages, leading to a near total freeze on housing. Homes are then built under duress without a license to take care of what the Jews call “natural growth” but which does not, under any circumstances apply to Palestinians. Home demolition is one of the leading administrative characteristics of compassionate Zionism. Also not mentioned, naturally, is the theft of over 85% of the land from its rightful owners and its transference to Jewish ownership, private and public, and the clear and absolute discriminatory government budgets which have never ever allocated a proportional amount of the budget towards its development and needs. What is interesting in this announcement is that it is characteristic of most Zionist Jewish discourse about Palestinians – it has no historical or material context and is completely one-sided. The Jewish component contributing to situations is totally absent as always and the slice of reality is always and unfailingly partial!

What the poster does not mention is that the leading aspiration of this party is the rebuilding of the Temple of Sacrifice, the Temple of Zion, on what is known as Temple Mount by the Jews and Haram al-Sheriff by the Moslems, the sanctuary in which is located the Dome of the Rock, originally completed in 691-692 CE the al-Aqsa Mosque built in 984 CE both of which are obviously part of World Heritage landmarks, besides their religious significance. The el-Aqsa mosque – meaning the “furthest mosque” is the place from which the Prophet Mohammed, pbuh, ascended into heaven, an event remembered as the Night Journey, which is taken to be his experience of Tawhid, or the Oneness of God, or Unity with God, very much like the experience of theosis as described in Christian Orthodoxy by the Saints. In other words, after Makkah and Medina, this is the third holiest sanctuary for Islam with connections to the most fundamental of Islamic beliefs. Anyone with even only a capsule of common sense must understand that any deliberate damage done to this site could have, and probably would have, unforeseeable but enormous violent consequences. Feiglin has stressed his demand for the legalization of marijuana rather than the rebuilding of the Temple, but only for secular consumption, a demand the irony of which is highlighted both by his stance vis-à-vis the Muslim holy sites and the fact that drugs are haram or absolutely prohibited for Moslems as is alcohol, the reason being the Islamic belief that the human brain and human consciousness are God-given gifts which we have the absolute duty to protect. Intoxication is precisely that – the poisoning of these gifts and therefore an act rejecting God. It is expected that this party will enter the Knesset with five or more mandates.

But the heart of these elections is to be found in the person of the prime minister himself, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu. He is an unlovable person, rather cold and superior and considered to be very intelligent and well-read. On more than one occasion people have pointed out that he is a psychopath, without feelings and without a moral compass. I consider this to be quite an accurate description of him. He comes from a revisionist family, that is a family who supported the philosophy of Ze’ev Jabotinsky and then Menahem Begin, the first revisionist prime minister, who made peace with Egypt. This is a Rightist political program based on power, believing that the Jews have a right to Palestine if only the basis of need and power. The religious co-efficient of the bible plays the rôle of nostalgia, or of a so-called collective memory or collective dream “Next year in Jerusalem” recited each New Year in the Jewish calendar.

However, I believe that Netanyahu has one great virtue! He is, thank God, a coward! While he calls for the destruction of Iran and wars here, there and everywhere, he is very hesitant when it comes to the actual opening up of full-blown warfare. His politics are racist, divisionary, based on continually sowing the seeds of hatred and disdain in the midst of the Israeli population and using covert actions all his perceived enemies of Israel. In other words, whilst he is a coward, he is in no wise a man of peace. Quite the contrary!

However, it is important to note that he called these elections prior to the full term of governance awarded by law after elections, a period of four years. Netanyahu is suspected of bribery and corruption and breach of faith and three charge sheets based upon solid evidence are being prepared against him. He was hoping that the elections would stall this process, but he was wrong! He will be given a hearing with his lawyers present as his opportunity to deflect those charges, but the chances of his succeeding are nil. The Attorney-General once served as the secretary of the Government, that is of Netanyahu himself, and has been more than cautious in compiling the evidence. Therefore it is obvious that he would never have come this far in terms of the accusations against Netanyahu had they not been fully corroborated by documentary evidence, material evidence and the evidence of witnesses. Now it seems that Netanyahu, if he wins the election and is called to form a coalition government and well he might, is hoping to pass the “French law” which apparently states that a serving prime minister cannot be placed on trial, although I personally do not know of this law.

However, since the calling of elections, a much worse scandal might be unfolding with regard to Netanyahu which concerns bribery, corruption and possible treason with respect to the purchase of nuclear war ships from Germany in contradiction of the findings of the Defense establishment, together with his secret agreement given to the Germans to the selling of such vessels to Egypt without telling the Chief of Staff and others of the Defense Establishment. This latter issue will definitely have very wide repercussions and as a result, all the opposition parties have banded together under the rubric “Bibi must go!” leaving very little time and space for serious social issues during the campaigns.

The results of the elections will be fascinating partly because Netanyahu’s alleged crimes do not seem to have affected his electoral base. The other interesting aspect is how the Blue-White party will fare, being led by three former Chiefs-of-Staff, supported by others, and sporting a leader, Bennie Gantz, who is far more personable than Netanyahu with absolutely no intimations of greed or corruption attached to his person. If there has been one complaint against Gantz, it is that he lacks a “killer instinct”, although as the Chief-of-Staff during the hideous 2014 Gaza war called Zuk Eitan, or Invincible Rock, such a description seems to fall rather short!

But then this is Israel, and we are still attending the Mad Hatter’s tea party!

Lynda Burstein Brayer was born in South Africa to a Jewish family, attended Jewish school and came to Israel to study at the Hebrew University, where she obtained two degrees – in the humanities and in law. She began life as a nice Jewish girl, became a wife and then mother to three children who have great problems with her as she has become a not nice old Muslim woman living in a Palestinian village in Palestine/Israel. She is extremely grateful for the twenty five years she lived and prayed as a Christian and the thirteen years as a human rights lawyer representing Palestinians in the Israeli courts but is even more grateful that she has found refuge in tawhid – the ONENESS of God as understood in Islam. Needless to say, many have deserted her for her breaches of community, but at least she feels she can sleep at night without nightmares.

 

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Norman Finkelstein: Israel is An Apartheid State, Netanyahu is an Obnoxious, Racist, Jewish Supremacist

Norman Finkelstein Interview, March 20, 2019.
Transcript:
Jimmy Dore: Hi everybody! Welcome to the Jimmy Dore Show.
We have a special guest today. Norman Finkelstein is an American political scientist, activist, Professor and author. His primary fields of research are the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the politics of the Holocaust, an interest motivated by the experiences of his parents who were Jewish Holocaust survivors. He’s a graduate of Binghamton University and received his PhD in Political Science from Princeton University.

Welcome, Norman Finkelstein. Thanks for being our guest.

Norman Finkelstein: Thank you for having me.

Jimmy Dore: You know, you’re an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and I just wanted to… You know, most people don’t really know the cause of the conflict, they just know that there is a conflict and that the United States is friendly to Israel because they’re a democracy and they’re the only democracy in the Middle East, as people like to say.

So how would you explain this conflict to people who don’t really know much about it, which is most of the people in the United States, and they certainly don’t know much about it if they watch the TV news. So I don’t think your average person knows anything really about it. So how do you inform people about that conflict, well, how it started and what it’s about?

Norman Finkelstein: I think the most effective way to inform people is by way of analogy. Effectively, what happened to the Palestinian people over the past century is pretty close to what happened to the Native American population in the United States. If you take for example the fate of the Cherokee Indians, who originally resided in the Eastern coast of the United States, and they were gradually pushed, pushed, pushed, until they were ended up in Arkansas. And then they were pushed into a portion of Arkansas, which then, once all White settlers crowded in that portion, became Oklahoma. And so the Cherokee were effectively the victims of a policy of expulsion, “transfer” as you want to call it in the Israeli vernacular. And basically there are obviously differences, and one doesn’t want to pretend as if there are no differences, but to look at the big picture, the big picture I would say, it is not fundamentally different than what happened to the Native population in the US.

Jimmy Dore: Wow! I’ve never heard it described that way before. And you know, ironically, you know, most Americans aren’t too aware of how horrible that’s a chapter in our history either. So the United States gives aid and billions of dollars in funding to Israel every year, and people say that Israel is running an Apartheid State, and that Gaza is an open-air prison. Now are those two things true, and how could that be? How could that be if we’re supporting them?

Norman Finkelstein: Well, I think both are true. Israel both benefits from two facts. Number one: they benefit in the fact that there’s a convergence of interests between US ruling elites and Israel on many basic occasions. So for example, right now, there’s a convergence of interests between the US and Israel in strengthening Saudi Arabia, strengthening the Gulf and trying to contain Iran. That’s a fundamental convergence of interests, and that in part, probably in the most significant part, it explains US support for Israel.

But there is also another factor, and one shouldn’t pretend as if that other factor doesn’t exist, which is to say there’s a very powerful Israel lobby operating in the United States, not unlike the Gun lobby, the Cuba lobby, etc. The Israel lobby is another lobby, very effective, probably one of the most, if not the most effective lobbies operating in Washington. And its core component is a very powerful, articulate and organized American Jewish community, though even there you have to enter qualifications because among younger Jews, there’s certainly a diminishing of support for Israel. But the big picture is, both because of a convergence of interests and because of a powerful, articulate, organized, strategically placed lobby, a lobby that has a lot of influence in the media, a lot of influence in publishing, a lot of influence in journals of opinion, a lot of influence on Hollywood, that lobby has been a major factor in determining aspects of US policy towards Israel.

Now on the second point, I don’t really think it’s any longer controversial whether or not Israel is an Apartheid state. I don’t say this as a polemicist, I’m trying to be objective and dispassionate about the situation. Between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, now, you could say there are roughly about 12 or 13 million people, roughly. Now that includes the West Bank, it includes East Jerusalem, it includes Gaza. And Israel has controlled the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, it’s controlled it now for more than a half-century. And the Israeli government has made clear it has no intention whatsoever of returning to the borders from the June 1967 war, that is pre-controlling West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. So we can’t any longer talk about an occupation, we have to be talking about an annexation. The territories have been de facto annexed. After a half-century, that seems to me to be the reasonable conclusion, there has been a de facto annexation.

So of all that population that stretches from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, roughly, roughly speaking, about half has either second-class status or overwhelmingly no rights whatsoever within the State: no voting rights, and then from there down they don’t even have rights to property, property can be confiscated overnight and at whim, with the support of the  [Israeli] Courts. So it seems to me, again trying to be rational, trying to be objective and trying to be dispassionate, there’s no other term to describe a situation in which close to half the population, close to half the population either has second-class rights (that would be within Israel proper), or no rights whatsoever (which would be the West Bank and Gaza). That’s an Apartheid situation.

But again that shouldn’t shock us. You have to remember, I don’t know how old you are, but I have a vivid recollection during the last days of the [South African] Apartheid, Ronald Reagan supported the Apartheid regime, as did Margaret Thatcher. They were calling till the very end, you’re recalling, Nelson Mandela and the ANC, the African National Congress, a terrorist organization. So if our government was until the very end, the end of Apartheid, if our government was supporting South Africa, because it’s sort of a bastion of Western-called, you know, Western civilization, whatever you want to call it, in Africa, so for the same reason, they support Israel in the Middle East.

Jimmy Dore: So you think it’s without… Because I you know you say it’s without question that Israel is an Apartheid State, which I agree with. But there are people who question it, people very loudly push back against that and they quote the numbers of Palestinians… Well they say there’s an Arab political party, that’s the third largest party in Israel, and all day they quote numbers of Palestinians who are allowed to vote… What do you say to those arguments?

Norman Finkelstein: Well, first of all, I’m glad you asked the questions, because there’s no effective, no more effective way to have a discussion. And if someone of us has to play the devil’s advocate, in this case it should be you.

First of all, I tried to be clear, I said there’s a gradation of rights in the case of Israel. The Palestinians have second-class rights. Israel has now officially declared that it declared Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish people. So I for example am Jewish, and if the United States were declared the Nation-State of the Christian people, I would certainly experience that declaration, especially once it becomes enacted in laws, I would certainly experience that as me being a second-class citizen, that is to say I don’t belong here. It’s the State of the Christian people, it’s not my State.

But having said that, let’s keep in mind that it’s not only one component of the Palestinian population that’s under Israeli control or has been effectively annexed by Israel. The West Bank, people in the West Bank, they don’t vote in Israeli elections, they’re not represented in the Israeli Knesset. The people in Gaza, they don’t vote in Israeli  elections, they’re not represented in the Israeli Parliament, the Israeli Knesset. So far, the vast, the vast preponderance of Palestinians currently annexed to the Israeli State, they have no rights whatsoever.

Jimmy Dore: Okay, alright.

Norman Finkelstein: The only way you can get around that is by saying that well, there’s a peace process. But the Israeli government has already made clear, you’d have to be blinder than King Lear not to see that the Israeli government has said we’re not returning to the old Wars [pre-67 borders]. Once you’ve made that Statement, it’s a Declaration of annexation, and if it’s annexation, then you have to accept that when deciding whether or not Israel is an Apartheid State. It can’t be limited to Israel and its pre-67 border: it’s the whole area, including the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, including Gaza.

Jimmy Dore: You know, I’ve heard people say that the majority of the Jewish people don’t support the policy of the Israeli government when it comes to Palestine, Gaza and the West Bank. How could that be? And can you speak about the Likud party, which is like the extremist party, a right-wing party in Israel: what would you say is the percentage of support they actually have in the population inside of Israel and out?

Norman Finkelstein: Well, we should be clear that number one, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, he’s been the head of State now for about a decade, and he’s gone through many elections. And even though he’s surrounded by what scandal after another, none of these scandals have actually made a big dent in his popularity. And the reason for that, I think, is pretty straightforward, it’s pretty uncontroversial at any rate in my opinion. That is to say Benjamin Netanyahu is an obnoxious, racist, Jewish supremacist. And on all of those descriptives: obnoxious, racist, Jewish supremacist, he’s wholly representative of the Israeli population. And the reason they keep reelecting him despite the scandals, which are always said to be imminently going to bring him down, despite the scandals that never bring him down, it’s because when they look at Benjamin Netanyahu, most of the Israeli population, they see themselves. And they vote for him because in his mental outlook, I wouldn’t really call it values because I don’t think people like Mr. Netanyahu have any values per se, but in terms of mental outlook, contempt for Arabs, contempt for Muslims… Actually, with all due respect to you, Mr. Dore, and to all your listeners, unless they’re Jewish, he has contempt for all of you. These are Jewish supremacists.

But he also happens to be in a separate category a racist, and now even though I don’t like to use the terminology, because it’s too simple and too sloganeering, it happens to be, I think, in these particular circumstances, it’s illuminating. Why do Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Trump get along so well? Why is Mr. Netanyahu Mr. Trump’s biggest cheerleader in the world? Well, the answer is simple: they both like walls. Mr. Trump wants to build a wall to keep out Mexicans, Mr. Netanyahu wants to build a wall to keep out Arabs.

They both hate Black people. Mr. Netanyahu, when President Obama, the Head of State in the United States, Mr. Netanyahu, he didn’t see it at all amiss, he didn’t see it at all awry for him to come barging in the United States, barging into the Capitol building and instructing, telling Obama what American policy should be towards Iran. I dare say, and of course you’re free to contradict me, it’s inconceivable, it’s inconceivable, had there been a White Head of State, had it been George Bush or even a Jimmy Carter, had it been even a Jimmy Carter, Mr. Netanyahu would not have dared carry on the way he did with Obama. He’s a racist.

And just like Mr. Trump the racist loathes Muslims, so Mr. Netanyahu loathes Black people, which is why he made it a part of his policy to expel the Arab migrants [from Erythrea, Soudan…], about 30,000, who were fleeing a war situation, fleeing very serious, life challenging situations, and came as refugees to Israel. And he ruled it because you have to remember, Mr. Netanyahu he grew up, a large part of his life was spent in the United States. His father was a professor at Cornell University, and they hated Black people, the Schwartzs, the Schwartzs as it’s called, the Black people, they loathe them. And so now, for Mr. Netanyahu to have to face the prospect that the Schwartzs are invading Israel [is unbearable], so they have to go.

And so it’s that same mindset. It’s not values, it’s a mindset. You can choose what descriptive you want for that mindset: some people would say it’s a Nazi mindset, some people would say it’s a fascist mindset, some people would call it a right-wing racist White supremacist mindset, whatever you want to call it. And they have it, and that’s these ruling people.

It’s a sorry thing to have to say, but I’m not one of those people who in the name of political correctness recoil at generalizations. If you could say most White people in the American South, in the pre-Civil Rights era, if you could say most of them were mean, White racist supremacists, very few people would take issue with that quote-unquote “generalization”. But the moment you use exactly those same terms to describe Israel or Israelis, it suddenly becomes politically incorrect. I disagree. If you want to understand the Israeli mentality, these are the Palestinians or Arabs or Muslims, it’s very easy for an American to understand: just look at Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern States in the pre-Civil Rights era. That’s the mentality. That’s the Israeli mentality. And Mr. Netanyahu, in his mindset, he’s not very much different from a George Wallace or a Lester Maddox, with those who remember that era.

Jimmy Dore: So let me ask you: the Jewish people or the people of Israel, do they not see the tremendous irony that’s actually being played out right now, that the Israeli State was invented as a safe haven for the Jewish people because they’ve been persecuted, and now they turn around, and for the last couple of decades they’ve been doing the exact same thing or a very horrible thing, not the exact same thing, but a very similar thing to the Palestinian people, you know, making them be second-class citizens, stripping them of rights, controlling their movements in and out of wherever they go, and also having economic blockades and medical blockades… And you know, like we’ve said, it’s an open-air prison. Do they really miss the irony of that? Do they not see that?

Norman Finkelstein: Yes, I do think they don’t see it. I do think they miss the irony. First of all, remember that a large portion of Europeans who came to the United States, the Pilgrims, the Puritans, they were fleeing religious persecution. And then they proceeded to inflict a really quite grotesque crimes on the indigenous population when they came here. The fact of the matter is just as the European settlers, White settlers who came here, the Euro-Americans, they couldn’t conceive the domestic population, the indigenous population, they couldn’t conceive them as being human beings of the same order as themselves. They were savages. And in the same way, the Israeli people can’t conceive Arabs or Muslims as being on the same moral order as themselves. They’re terrorists or they’re savages. So I think it’s correct to say that they don’t see anything awry in the way they’re carrying on.

In fact, if you read most of the testimonies of Israelis on the situation there, most Israelis haven’t the slightest of interest in what goes on in the West Bank and Gaza. They live very good lives, they have a very high standard of living, they travel a lot, but for them, the West Bank and Gaza are far-off distant, almost exotic places for Israelis. I know that might come as a surprise, but remember, for example, when I was growing up living in New York City, it’s a compact city as I suppose you know, 99% of White New Yorkers talked about Harlem, were terrified of Harlem, but had never stepped foot in Harlem. They had never seen it, let alone physically placed themselves there. And there was a funny thing back then, when Europeans came over, visitors, you know, young people, you’d ask them where do you live, and they would all say “Harlem, of course”, [Laughter], yeah, because Harlem was exciting, you know, it was clubs, it was jazz… But for White New Yorkers, Harlem was some sight of terror. “Harlem?! You live in Harlem?! Oh my God!”

And I remember when I first went over to the Occupied Territories in 1988, I lived with some families in the West Bank, and when I told Israelis “You know, I went to the West Bank”, they’d say “You went to the West Bank?!” I mean their eyes buldged.  It’s a foreign place to them.

Jimmy Dore: That’s a fascinating… I mean it’s amazing these analogies you’re making, they’re very helpful actually.

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Palestinians behind «Israeli» Bars

Designed By Abeer Mrad

In the Occupied Palestinian territories, the “Israeli” entity has built 22 prisons in which it unjustly detains approximately 7000 Palestinians among those are men, women and children of all walks of life.

Palestinians behind «Israeli» Bars

 

 

Israel Migrates to the Right

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Israel’s Tragic But Predictable “Migration” to the Right—An Analysis (22 March 2019) by Lawrence Davidson

 

Part I—Israel’s Movement Right

An article published in the Israeli news blog +972 on 19 November 2018posed the question: Why does the right keep winning elections in Israel? The answer offered was “because Israelis are right wing.” Simple enough, and apparently, quite true. The article estimates that over half of Israeli Jews think of themselves as “right wing.” Self-defined centrists are about 25 percent, and those Israeli Jews who still cling to “leftist” ideals are now only about 15 percent of the population. The remainder are non-committal.

This movement to the right is often blamed on the Palestinians, but that is largely an evasion. As the story goes, it was the Second Intifada (occurring from late 2000 to early 2005) that so scared a majority of Israeli Jews that it “led to a migration of left-wingers to the … political center… [and] centrists [to the] right, causing the percentage of Jewish right-wingers to drift upward over the decade.” While the “migration to the right” has certainly taken place, it is better understood as follows: under Palestinian pressure for democratic reforms and justice, along with corresponding resistance to oppression, Israeli Jews who could not face the prospect of real democracy had nowhere politically to go than to the right—what should properly be described as the racist right. And, so they went. From this point on there was no more obfuscation—Israeli “security” is now clearly a stand-in phrase for the maintenance of Israeli Jewish domination over non-Jews.

Part II—Enter the Fascists

The present shifting about on Israel’s political landscape prior to its April 2019 elections confirms this basically rightwing racist scene. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed that Israel is “the national state, not of all its citizens, but only of the Jewish people.” A minority of Israeli Jews might denounce such racism, but Israel’s recently adopted nationality law states that the right of national self-determination in Israel is “unique to the Jewish people.” And

whether the “left” acknowledges the fact or not, this law is in perfect sync with Zionist ideology.

It should be noted that the prime minister’s personal preference is not for “the Jewish people” as a whole. Indeed, in his eyes, if you are an anti-Zionist Jew you are an anti-Semitic Jew—whatever that might mean. The prime minister is more comfortable with Jews of the fascist, racist right, with whom he has so much in common. This is the kind of Jew he has politically allied with. What in the world is a fascist Jew? Well, in this case, it is someone who uses violent methods to  realize the logical consequences of Zionism—if Israel is a “Jewish state,” then non-Jews must go. How they ultimately go has been left an open-ended question, though Israel is engaged in a continuous effort to destroy Palestinian infrastructure. Fascist Jews advocate expulsion of all Palestinians and sometimes engage in direct violence—akin to classic pogroms—in an effort to fulfill this goal.

You might shake your head in wonderment at the notion of Jewish fascists, but they have always been an important element in Zionist history. You can trace their activity from Vladimir Jabotinsky and his notion of an “iron wall” (1923) that would force the Palestinians to acquiesce in Zionist domination, right up to Meir Kahane, an advocate of expulsion, and his Kach Party (1971-1990). It is Kahane’s followers who now are political partners of Netanyahu. The “migration” of Israeli Jews to the right has narrowed the gap between the majority of “ordinary” citizens and the fascists. So, back into favor come the Kahanists.

Part III—What Is an Israeli Centrist?

Nor should we look for anti-racist activism among the 25 percent who see themselves as centrists. Presently, those who seek to capture the centrist vote are Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid. Gantz is former chief-of-staff and a man who is being sued for war crimes. He is leader of the Israeli Resilience Party (Hosen Israel). That party has allied with Yair Lapid, a former TV celebrity, and his There is a future Party (Yesh Atid).

Both of these politicians call themselves “new centrists” and concentrate their platforms on “socio-economic issues such as the cost of living.” However, when it comes to the Palestinians, neither of them are interested in a democratic Israel that would afford non-Jews equal rights—nothing particularly “new” here for “centrists.” Gantz is the classic military maven so prevalent in Israeli politics. Here is his view of where “resilience” should take Israel relative to the Palestinians: “The Jordan Valley will remain our eastern security border,” Gantz declared. “We will maintain security in the entire Land of Israel … we will not allow the millions of Palestinians living beyond the separation fence to endanger our security and our identity as a Jewish state.” For someone who is campaigning on the theme that, under its present government, “Israel has lost its way,” Gantz’s intentions in this regard are remarkably similar to those of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Yair Lapid’s position on the Palestinians is little different from that of Gantz. He says that “we need to separate from the Palestinians,” as if Israeli Jews haven’t been doing just that for the past 71 years. He goes on to demand that all issues of security have to “stay in Israel’s hands,” there is no such thing as a “right of return,” and Jerusalem will not be divided into two capitals.

On the Palestinian issue—the one that now divides Israel from increasing numbers of citizens in the democratic world—there is little difference between the Israeli rightists and the centrists except that the latter do not publicly talk about the forceful expulsion.

Part IV—Conclusion

That approximately 85 percent of Israeli Jews should end up unwilling to grant equal rights to the 20 percent of Palestinians who are their segregated neighbors; that they should support, or at best not act against the relentless, vicious process of illegal settlement in the Occupied Territories; and finally that they should react to Palestinian resistance to Zionist oppression by “migrating” to the right, is both tragic and predictable.

It must be realized that any country that allows racism to rule its public sphere cannot pass itself off as a democracy. It is simply a contradiction. The Zionist experiment looking toward a democratic Jewish state might have gone differently if it had been tried somewhere devoid of a non-Jewish population (like the moon), but then, in the end, the Zionists became obsessed with Palestine, fell in with the colonial mentality still prevalent during the first half of the twentieth  century, and have never progressed beyond it.

To this point, I beg the reader’s patience as I repeat an argument I have made more than once in past analyses: It is impossible to create a state exclusively for one people (call them people A) in a territory already populated by another people (call them people B) without the eventual adoption of racist policies by A and eventual resistance on the part of B. Under such circumstances, for A, there can be no real security, nor can there be anything like a healthy national culture.

Indeed, unless a majority of Israeli Jews are willing to go the route of South Africa and renounce their program of discriminatory dominion over millions of non-Jews, they have nowhere else to go but head-first into the hell that is the racist right. With 85 percent sharing, or at least acquiescing, in the views of Netanyahu, Gantz, and Lapid, the chances for redemption do not look good. In fact, it is probably the case that the “light unto the nations” has long since gone out.

About Lawrence DavidsonImage result for Lawrence Davidson

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

The Christchurch Shooting and the Normalization of Anti-Muslim Terrorism

The Christchurch Shooting and the Normalization of Anti-Muslim Terrorism

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 16.03.2019

The Christchurch Shooting and the Normalization of Anti-Muslim Terrorism

The real forces responsible for the destruction of many Muslim-majority countries and the current chaos present in many Western countries are not generated by civilian populations or religions but instead by the global oligarchy that engineers and profits from this chaos.

Whitney WEBB

What is without question the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history took place on Friday when shooters, 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant among them, opened fire at two Christchurch mosques. Four, including Tarrant, have been arrested for the heinous act, which claimed at least 49 innocent lives. Tarrant was responsible for killing more than 40 victims, among them several children, in a rampage he live-streamed on Facebook, sending chills throughout the Muslim community, particularly Muslims living in Western countries.

Tarrant’s motives and ideology, laid bare in a 74-page manifesto, show a concern over the fertility rates of non-white groups as well as the immigration of non-whites to countries like New Zealand and Australia, which he likened to an “invasion” that threatened the white majority in those countries. However, Tarrant — in his ignorance — failed to grasp that many of the Muslim immigrants he targeted had come to New Zealand after fleeing Western-backed invasions, occupations, or persecution in their home countries.

Notable among Tarrant’s views is the fact that he is a clear ethno-nationalist, promoting his view that different ethnic groups must be kept “separate, unique, undiluted in [sic] unrestrained in cultural or ethnic expression and autonomy.” Tarrant also claimed that he doesn’t necessarily hate Muslims and only targeted those Muslims {i.e., immigrants) that chose “to invade our lands, live on our soil and replace our people.”

He also stated that he chose to target Muslims because “Islamic nations, in particular, have high birth rates, regardless of race or ethnicity” and to satiate “a want for revenge against Islam for the 1,300 years of war and devastation that it has brought upon the people of the West and other peoples of the world.” His views are remarkably similar to those of Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik, which is unsurprising given that Tarrant named him as an inspiration for the shooting.

Though many — in the hours after the shooting — have sought to place blame and point fingers at notable demagogues like President Donald Trump or “counter-jihad” alt-right figures like Laura Loomer and Jacob Wohl, it is important to place Tarrant’s motivations in context.

Indeed, while Trump’s rise to political power has brought Islamophobic rhetoric into the public sphere in an undeniable way, it is a symptom of a much broader effort aimed at propagandizing the people of the United States and other Western countries to support wars in and military occupations of Muslim-majority countries. This manufactured Islamophobia, largely a product of Western governments and a compliant mass media, has sought to vilify all Muslims by maligning the religion itself as terrorism, in order to justify the plunder of their countries and deflect attention from their suffering.

It is a classic “divide and conquer” scam aimed at keeping Westerners divided from Muslims in their own countries and abroad. The horrific shooting in Christchurch is a testament to its unfortunate success and pervasiveness, as well as a potent reminder that it must be stopped. Indeed, this manufactured Islamophobia has made it so that Muslims in their home countries are in danger of dying from Western-backed wars and, if they flee to the “safer” West, they have targets on their backs painted by the very war propaganda used to justify Western military adventurism in Muslim-majority nations.

Islam, the media and “Forever Wars”: Who’s the “real” terrorist?

Since September 11th and the advent of the “War on Terror,” mass media reporting increasingly began to conflate Muslims and Muslim-majority nations with war, terrorism and violence in general. Indeed, 9 out of 10 mainstream news reports on Muslims, Islam, and Islamic organizations are related to violence and Muslims who are named on mainstream media are all-too-frequently warlords or terrorist leaders.

This near-constant association of Islam and violence has created the false perception that the religion of Islam, by its very nature, is violent and that Muslims too must then be violent and thus dangerous. This media-driven association has had very real and troubling consequences. For instance, a 2010 study by the University of Exeter found “empirical evidence to demonstrate that assailants of Muslims are invariably motivated by a negative view of Muslims they have acquired from either mainstream or extremist nationalist reports or commentaries in the media.” In other words, Islamophobic media reports are directly related to hate crimes targeting Muslims.

This is no accident, as such biased reporting on Muslim-majority nations also began as Western-backed wars in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan sought to put these countries’ natural resources, namely their oil and mineral wealth, into the hands of American corporations. It should be no surprise then that top funders of media outlets that have routinely promoted Islamophobic narratives are also those who have profited considerably from the “War on Terror” and Western-backed regime-change wars in other countries.

This concerted effort to vilify Muslims has had the potent effect, likely by design, of reducing empathy among Westerners for the largely Muslim victims of Western military adventurism in Muslim-majority countries. Indeed, while mainstream news outlets often trumpet the imminent dangers Americans face from “radical Islamic terror,” the death toll of innocent people — most of them Muslim — that have been killed by the U.S.-led “War on Terror” is several orders of magnitude greater than the number of Americans who have died from all terror attacks over that same period.

For instance, from 2001 to 2013, an estimated 3,380 Americans died from domestic and foreign terrorism, including the September 11 attacks as well as acts of domestic terrorism carried out by white nationalists and supremacists. If one excludes the September 11 death toll, the number of American deaths over that same period stands at around 400, most of them victims of mass-killers who were not Muslim.

By comparison, an estimated 8 million innocent people in Muslim-majority nations died as a result of U.S. policies and wars in the Middle East and North Africa from 2001 to 2015. Yet, the magnitude of this loss of life of these “unworthy victims” is minimized by media and government silence, and the creation of a climate of Islamophobia in the West has only served to deepen the ease with which mass murder is accepted by the aggressor countries’ populations.

Beyond the staggering disparity in the death tolls caused by terror groups and Western-backed imperialist wars is the fact that many of these very Western governments that purport to be so concerned with “radical Islamic terror” have often created and funded the most notorious terror groups of all. Indeed, the U.S. government helped to create Al Qaeda and continues to protectits Syrian branch — Hayat Tahrir al-Sham — in Syria’s Idlib province to this day. In addition, the CIA was just recently revealed to be helping the Islamic State regroup in Syrian refugee camps. Furthermore, the U.S. has long turned a blind eye to the funding of terror groups by allied states like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The role of Western money, arms and policy in the creation and maintenance of radical Wahhabi terrorist groups is often entirely ignored by Western media portrayals of Muslim-majority nations, thereby creating a false image that such violence is endemic to these nations when, in fact, it is often imported state-sponsored terror.

These nuances of the situation are rarely heard in the narratives parroted out on mainstream media and those who regularly consume mainstream news sources are more likely than not to support those narratives. For that reason, it is easy to see how someone like Donald Trump — who is said to watch television for eight hours every day, much of it Fox News — has espoused the views that he has. Thanks to the manufacturing of Islamophobia of mainstream media, racist policies like the so-called “Muslim ban” have found wide support, as this false narrative has conflated Islam with violence so often that many have come to believe that only by banning Islam can violence and terrorism in the U.S. be reduced.

However, the recent shooting in Christchurch, as well as the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting and other recent acts of domestic terrorism, should alert us to the fact that it is the hate manufactured by this false narrative that is itself endangering American lives while also covering up the mass murder that has been perpetrated by the U.S. and other governments around the world for decades.

Israel’s leading role in stoking ethnonationalism

While the realities of post-9/11 America, as well as the rise in visibility of white ethnonationalism during the Trump Era, have done much to normalize attacks on immigrants, the country that has done the most to normalize anti-Muslim terrorism over this same time frame has been the state of Israel.

Israel, from its founding days, has long been steeped in neocolonialist ideology that is remarkably similar to the ideological basis behind other settler states like the United States, Australia and New Zealand. This system of beliefs holds that the native inhabitants of the land — whether the Palestinians, the Sioux or the Maori — are “primitive” and incompetent and that the land would have remained “wild” and undeveloped were it not for the “fortunate” appearance of European settlers. As MintPressnoted in a previous report on the subject, such narratives cast these settlers as both superior and normal while the natives become inferior and abnormal, thus obfuscating the settler’s status as foreigner and conqueror.

In Israel’s case, this ideology has promoted the idea that all Arabs are “sons of the desert” while the desert simultaneously represents a barbaric obstacle to “progress” and development. However, the state of Israel, under the lengthy tenure of current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has seen these long-standing and somewhat hidden underpinnings of the Zionist state burst out into the open.

The result has been the overt expression of ethnonationalism in such a way that Israel has become an inspiration to white nationalists in the United States, like Richard Spencer, and far-right ethno-fascist leaders like Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and India’s Narendra Modi. The inspiration has been mutual, according to reports and testimonials published by Jewish newspaper The Forward.

For years, through its military occupation of Palestine, Israel’s government and military have sought to paint all Palestinians, including children, as “terrorists” or “terrorist sympathizers.” Take, for example, current Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who wrote in 2014, “This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people …”

A more recent example came from former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who asserted just last year that “no innocent people” live in the Gaza Strip and that every inhabitant in the enclave is somehow connected to Hamas, even though nearly half of Gaza’s population are children and teenagers. Such rhetoric has become par for the course and numerous examples show that Shaked and Lieberman’s views are increasingly accepted and “normal” in today’s Israel.

Yet, the clearest indication of anti-Muslim terror’s normalization in Israel is the recent rise of Otzma Yehudit, or the “Jewish Power” Party. This party, founded by devotees of radical American-born Rabbi Meir Kahane, has now merged — at Netanyahu’s urging — with the Jewish Home Party and stands to become part of Israel’s ruling coalition if Netanyahu manages to win in the country’s upcoming elections.

In the office of Itamar Ben Gvir, one of Otzma Yehudit’s leaders, is a framed picture of Baruch Goldstein. In an act that bears a striking similarity to the events in Christchurch, Goldstein — a long-time devotee of Kahane — entered a mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron in 1994 and opened fire, killing 29 and injuring more than 125 worshippers. After the act, Kahane’s Kach party — the predecessor of Otzma Yehudit — was labeled a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel.

Despite official condemnation, Goldstein’s atrocious act has been the subject of praise and inspiration for subsequent extremists who, under Netanyahu’s government, have become increasingly normalized. Goldstein’s gravestone reads “He gave his life for the people of Israel, its Torah and land” and continues to be used as a site of pilgrimage and homage by the very extremists that Netanyahu is openly courting for political gain.

While the followers of Kahane are making a comeback in Israel, several notable Arab political parties have been banned from participating Israel’s upcoming elections, with some being accused of “supporting terrorism” owing to their opposition to Israel’s decades-long military occupation of Palestine. Yet, by elevating clear terror supporters among the ranks of the Jewish Power Party, it has become increasingly clear that openly supporting and advocating anti-Muslim terrorism is no bar to legitimacy and political power in today’s Israel.

No ‘clash of civilizations,’ only manipulation and exploitation of differences

The tragic and barbaric shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand is yet another horrific and glaring reminder that the “divide and conquer” war propaganda that has sought to promote the so-called “clash of civilizations” between Christianity and Islam, West and East, has not only been monstrously effective but continues to be monstrously destructive to people on both sides.

However, the media’s manufacture of Islamophobia, in seeking to Wite-out Muslim suffering and reduce Western empathy for innocent Muslim civilians, has increasingly placed targets on the back of Muslims everywhere — in the West and the East — making it increasingly difficult for practitioners of the Islamic faith to feel safe regardless of where they live.

With most Muslim-majority countries now killing fields in Western-backed wars, ruled by oppressive, Western-backed dictatorships, or under threat of Western-backed regime change, even those Muslims who have sought a safer, quieter life in the “civilized” West have now found themselves targets thanks to the very war propaganda used to justify the destruction of their home countries.

While the murderer Tarrant had stated that he hoped his horrific crime would help stoke “civil war” in Western countries, this tragedy should and must serve as a wake up call for people everywhere that the real forces responsible for the destruction of many Muslim-majority countries and the current chaos present in many Western countries are not generated by civilian populations or religions but instead by the global oligarchy that engineers and profits from this chaos. These oligarchs loot from the people of the West just as they do from the people of the East and it is time to recognize that they are the real threats to a more peaceful world — not regular people praying, whether it be in a church, a synagogue or a mosque.

mintpressnews.com

Do You Care That israel (apartheid state) Controls US Politicians? #BDS

Do You Care That Israel Controls US Politicians?

Seriously, do you? Because if you do care about the independence of the US government from foreign control, you need to do your part to help bring the issue to light.

Israel and its powerful lobby control many US politicians. And this lobby uses very dirty tricks to shut down the opposition.

Learn more about AIPAC and the Israeli lobby and why YOU should support the #BDS movement!

Extremist Israeli Settlers (jewish terrorists) Attack High School Near Nablus

Extremist Israeli Settlers Attack High School Near Nablus

 

 

06 Mar
7:49 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

A group of extremist illegal Israeli colonialist settlers attacked, Tuesday, Palestinian High School students and teachers, in the northern occupied West Bank, according to WAFA.

The attack took place in Orif village, near the illegal Israeli Yitzar colony,  south of the West Bank city of Nablus.

Adel al-Amer, a member of Orif village council, told WAFA that scores of settlers attacked and stormed Orif Secondary School for Boys, and subsequently surrounded the school, trapping the school teachers inside.

The colonists hurled stones at homes in the village, which led to confrontations with the residents, before Israeli soldiers opened fire at the residents attempting to defend their homes.

Ghassan Daghlas, a local official told Maan that 50 extremist Israeli settlers attacked the school, stating that one student, injured by rocks thrown by the extremist settlers, was treated at the scene.

In addition to damaging school windows, the settlers damaged vehicles belonging to some of the teachers.

Locals told Maan that Israeli forces raided the village at the same time the settlers attacked, causing clashes with locals.

Military vehicles fired tear-gas bombs, and stun grenades at the villagers, with no further injuries reported.

It is important to note that this is the eleventh time this school has been raided since the beginning of the school year, disrupting the education of Palestinian youth.

Under International Law, all settlements built in the occupied territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, are illegal, as stated in the article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Therefore, as the occupying power, Israel is in violation of International Law, as 500,000 – 600,000 of its civilian population has colonized the Palestinian land which it occupies.

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