Haaretz editor declares war on Zionism “Zionism is ‘inherently racist’”

Haaretz editor declares war on Zionism

David Rosenberg — Israel National News July 18, 2017

Haaretz editor declares war on zionism

An editor of the left-wing Haaretz daily chastised French President Emmanuel Macron for calling anti-Zionism a form of anti-Semitism, praising anti-Zionism as “resistance” against racism and apartheid.

Asaf Ronel, the world news editor for Haaretz, criticized Macron’s recent statement that anti-Zionism was a ‘reinvention’ of anti-Semitism.

“We will never surrender to the messages of hate; we will not surrender to anti-Zionism because it is a reinvention of anti-Semitism,” said Macron on Sunday.

Responding to Macron’s comments via Twitter, Ronel rejected the comparison, and denounced Zionism as being ‘inherently racist’. Ronel also praised anti-Zionism for ‘resisting’ the evils of modern Zionism.

“Dear president Emmanuel Macron, you are wrong – anti-Zionism is resisting the racism inherent in today’s Zionism. It’s not antisemitism.”

In a back and forth with French-Israeli foreign policy expert Emmanuel Navon, Ronel later accused Zionism of apartheid.

Do you know “what is the difference btwn blaming Zionism 4 oppression&apartheid & believing the protocols of the elders of Zion,” Ronel asked rhetorically, later answering his own question by writing that as opposed to the mythical Protocols, Zionist ‘apartheid’ was “reality”.

But unlike many radical left-wing critics of Israel, Ronel did not cite Israel’s 1967 liberation of Judea and Samaria as an example of the alleged ‘apartheid’, instead denouncing the very establishment of the Jewish state in 1948.

“& the apartheid refers to 48, not 67.”

On Monday, Ronel took to Twitter again to complain about criticism of his comments after Honest Reporting documented his aforementioned tweets.

“Pro-Israel activists attack my newspaper for something I wrote. Explains a lot about their understanding of free media & freedom of speech.”

Ronel raised the issue again with a tweet Tuesday morning, attacking the “conflating” of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, while accusing Israel of “whitewashing Zionist anti-Semites”.

“Conflating antiSemitism w antiZionism only hurts the fight against antiSemitism. Also true for Israel’s whitewashing of Zionist anti-Semites.”

 

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62% rise in israel’s arrests of Palestinian children

62% rise in Israel’s arrests of Palestinian children

MEMO | July 19, 2017

Palestinian children are often beaten and strip searched at arrest

Some 331 Palestinian minors were arrested by Israel between January and May this year, a 62 per cent increase on figures from 2012 to 2015, NGO Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) revealed yesterday.

According to a report released by the human rights group, Israeli forces regularly abuse Palestinian children, depriving them of food, subjecting them to beatings and preventing them from accessing legal counsel.

Accountability Programme Director at DCIP, Ayed Abu Eqtaish, stated: “For over a decade, ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system has been widespread and systematic.”

From the persistent and institutionalised ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children, to the systematic denial of their due process rights, emerges a system of control far removed from justice.

DCIP records of cases between January and June also show that 81 per cent of Palestinian children were strip searched upon detention, two thirds were denied legal counsel prior to interrogation and only three had a parent present during proceedings.

Read: Palestinian boy, 13, loses eye after Israeli forces shoot him

The report details that one of the youngest children to be detained was 12-year-old Suheib from a refugee camp in the occupied Ramallah-area. He was allegedly throwing stones when he was knocked to the ground by Israeli officers and then restrained, beaten and blindfolded. He was subsequently held overnight at a police station where he was interrogated and denied food for 24 hours.

In another case, a 13-year-old boy known only as Anas M. was tortured as an Israeli soldier grabbed his neck and attempted to strangle him.

Israel prosecutes up to 700 children each year in military courts. Last month DCIP held a congressional meeting on the situation of Palestinian children over 50 years of illegal occupation, concluding that Israel’s actions against minors outdoes all security rationale

 

The Brutal Realities of israel’s Iron-fisted Occupation

The Brutal Realities of Israel’s Iron-fisted Occupation

By Dennis J Bernstein and John Pilger

Israel is well-known for having a potent U.S. lobby that not only influences Congress and the mainstream media but intimidates Americans who dare criticize its policies toward the Palestinians, as Dennis J Bernstein describes.

The Price for Criticizing Israel

There are very few journalist in the U.S. or Europe who have the courage to report fairly on Israel’s seemingly endless illegal occupation of Palestinian lands. Personally, as a Jewish-American, and the grandson of a revered Rabbi, I have been roundly denounced by pro-Israeli representatives and their Zionist lobbyists in the U.S.

I’ve stopped counting the number of vicious personal attacks that have labeled me a self-hating Jewish anti-Semite. Here’s one that got my attention and the attention of journalist Robert Fisk of the Independent of London, who I introduced one night for a lecture in Berkeley, California, and who then wrote an article about the plight of Jewish journalists and activists in the U.S. who dare to write or speak honestly about Israel’s brutal and illegal occupation of the Palestinians:

“You mother-fucking-asshole-self-hating Jewish piece of shit. Hitler killed the wrong Jews. He should have killed your parents, so a piece of Jewish shit like you would not have been born. God willing, Arab terrorists will cut you to pieces Daniel Pearl-style, AMEN!!!” The latter reference to the late Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and  decapitated in Pakistan.

And at another level, the Israeli consulate in San Francisco has complained to my managers at KPFA/ Pacifica Radio repeatedly about my “pro-Palestinian terrorist” and “anti-semitic” reporting, and my apparent “hatred” for the Jewish State.

Emmy award-winning filmmaker and investigative reporter John Pilger is one of the rare exceptions who has plowed head-first into this crucial story of our time. Pilger has made two documentaries 25 years apart about Palestine, with almost the same name, Palestine is the Issue and then Palestine is Still the Issue.

I spoke recently with Pilger about Palestine and the brutality of the continuing occupation, and also about the responsibility for empowering and sustaining the occupation that falls at the feet of the Western press, based on its misreporting and, in some cases, not reporting at all the brutal realities of Israel’s iron-fisted occupation of Palestinians, which many critics, as well as several UN officials, have labeled as a form of ethnic cleansing that borders on genocide.

I also spoke with Pilger about the recent G-20 meetings in Germany, where President Trump held his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid the Russia-gate frenzy. John Pilger’s latest film is The Coming War on China. He recently gave a moving talk at the Palestine Expo in London on the ongoing battle for the liberation of Palestine, excerpts of which have been published by Consortiumnews.

Dennis Bernstein: Let’s start with some current events. We just had the G20 meeting in Europe with a big deal made about the meeting between Trump and Putin and a lot of action in the streets. Your thoughts on what happened there and some of the goings-on?

Click below to listen to full interview with John Pilger

 

The discussion was appropriated by the meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Putting aside all the grotesque, cartoon qualities of Trump, the one thing that he has been consistent about is doing some deal with Russia. This has gotten him in a lot of trouble because the Democratic Party and, in fact most of the beltway institutions in Washington, don’t want this to happen. They would like Russia to remain a perennial enemy.

Without Moscow there as the demon, it is very difficult to justify a lot of the infrastructure of power in the United States, particularly the massive armament and military industries. Trump openly challenged this, virtually from the beginning. Although he seemed to have to prove himself to the pillars of power in Washington by firing missiles at Syria, this element in his presidency has remained pretty much constant.

This was of course the first meeting between Trump and Putin. They spoke for two hours and twenty minutes and, by all accounts, some kind of rapport was developed. In previous times that would be good news. It used to be called “detente.” These days this is not good news, either in the US political establishment and corporate media or, to a large degree, here in Britain.

The ridiculous allegations that the Russians helped to elect Trump by directly interfering in the great American democratic process have converged with the news that Trump and Putin may well have struck some kind of deal. Whether Trump is allowed to pursue whatever arrangements he has made toward normalizing relations with Russia, given the institutions of power in the United States, is rather doubtful.

DB: Of course, the corporate press is not at all interested in detente in Syria. Their main story ever since Trump’s meeting with Putin has been that his son may be guilty of treason.

JP: I’ve never heard something so absurd in my life, especially as the United States has intervened so aggressively in post-Soviet Russia. All through the 1990’s the open and quite successful intervention was blatant. And for these powerful forces in the United States to obsess with Russian meddling in our election process demonstrates a kind of double standard that is difficult to comprehend.

DB: In light of your new film, The Coming War on China, this is a time when detente at all levels is crucial because the dangers of staying the course are so huge. It is interesting to see that right-wing hawks in Washington are helping to foster a new relationship between Russia and China. But detente is the only answer at this point, isn’t it?

JP: Yes, it is. What’s needed is a diplomatic settlement. Unfortunately, the United States doesn’t do that anymore. It doesn’t have “diplomats” in the real sense of the word. To now see the presidents of two of the major nuclear-armed powers in the world seemingly forging some kind of political arrangement–agreeing, apparently, that they shouldn’t go to war with nuclear weapons. This is a throwback to a time before George W. Bush abolished the START treaties and others that were put together so painstakingly over so many years between the Soviet Union and the United States. It demonstrates how far the world–at the level of its political elite–has regressed. The United States is a very frightening vision for most of us because nuclear weapons are in the background all the time. The chance of a mistaken launch of nuclear weapons is high.

Consider the case of Korea, where the United States has installed its very aggressive THAAD so-called “defense” system which threatens China. No one believes for a minute that these missiles are pointed at North Korea, which could be dealt with in many other ways by the United States. The long-term strategy of an ascendant Pentagon is the balkanization of the Russian Federation and the intimidation of China. And if there is any glint of some kind of pullback from that position, as there might have been in the meeting between Trump and Putin, then that is good news.

DB: And of course it is so bizarre that you have America talking about the role that China should be playing and how we are so disappointed that they are not doing all they can to facilitate THAAD, which is part of a strategy to surround their country in what we know is shaping up to be “the Chinese century.”

John, I’d like you to talk about how you first began to report on Palestine and then I’d like to fast forward to current issues.

JP: I first went to Palestine in the 1960’s and stayed on a kibbutz. I probably came with the popular assumption that Israel’s myths about itself were true, that Israel was a good idea. I conflated the horror of the Holocaust with the new Jewish state. The people on the kibbutz regarded themselves as both socialists and Zionists.

I came to understand the doublespeak or the contemporary amnesia that is so pervasive in Israel. We had some very lively discussions but rarely mentioned the majority people. I saw them one evening and they were referred to as “them,” as silhouettes beyond the limits of the kibbutz. I asked about them and was told, well, they’re the Arabs. One man called them nomads. By just asking the question I was crossing a line, and a disturbed silence followed. I was with good people on the kibbutz, they had principles, many had memories of the horrors in Europe. They knew, of course, that they were on stolen land.

The word “Palestinian” was almost never used, rather echoing Golda Meir’s later remark that “there’s no such thing as Palestinians.” Because once the term “Palestinian” was recognized, the state of Palestine had to be recognized. For me it was a very interesting introduction to the extraordinary situation in Palestine. I learned a lot from a wonderful photographer named Dan Hidani who lost all his family in Germany during the War. We talked out this subject of the so-called Arabs and I learned a lot from him about the guilt of the colonizers that can never quite be covered up. These early experiences really alerted me to the huge injustice the Palestinians were suffering and of course still suffer today.

DB: Could I ask you to tell the story of the novelist Liana Badr, because it really does speak to what has happened to many Palestinians and the way they have been treated?

JP: In 2002, when Ariel Sharon was prime minister and several times sent the Israeli army and tanks into the West Bank, I arrived in Ramallah just when the Israeli army was withdrawing. Ramallah was devastated and one of the places I visited was the Palestinian Cultural Center. There I met the center’s director, the renowned Palestinian novelist Liana Badr, who teaches at Columbia University now. Her manuscripts were torn and scattered across the floor. The hard drive containing her fiction and a whole library of plays and poetry had been stolen by the Israeli soldiers. Not a single book had survived. Master tapes of one of the best collections of Palestinian cinema were lost.

This was an assault on a people’s culture. The soldiers had urinated and defecated on the floors and on the desks and smeared feces on children’s paintings. It was the most vivid and telling symbol of what a colonial power does to the people whose country it occupies

It was an attempt to dehumanize, that is what this assault on the Palestinian Cultural Center represented. What struck me, as well, was the determination of the Palestinians in this situation not to comply with what was expected of them as victims. That is the most astonishing thing about the Palestinians. As you walk through the rubble of Gaza, where the Israelis have attacked so many times, all of a sudden you see in the distance a group of school girls beautifully turned out in their starched and pressed uniforms and their hair done. It is a vision of defiance and determination to keep going. So the occupation may have worked physically but it hasn’t worked spiritually. And perhaps in the near future it may not work politically.

Jaffa oranges are famous around the world. Actually, Jaffa is a Palestinian town taken by Israel. Jaffa oranges form part of the mythical history of modern Israel, the idea that the desert of Palestine would be made green by the arriving Jews, who would make the desert bloom. But the oranges and grapes were in fact grown by Palestinian farmers and the oranges had been exported to Europe since the eighteenth century. At one time, a rather melancholy name for the town of Jaffa used by its former inhabitants was “the place of sad oranges.”

DB: I want to talk to you about Palestine and journalism. Maybe we could compare and contrast Mohammed Omer, on the one hand–who is dodging bombs and trying to get food for his family as the drones are flying past his window, trying to get as best he can the truth from the ground–compare Mohammed Omer with the people at CNBC and the BBC.

JP: Well, we know that most of mainstream journalism is simply an extension of the state. We’ve talked about the extraordinary McCarthy-like propaganda campaign that wants to blame everything including the weather on Russia. That happens because the media is the propaganda wing of the institutions that form power in the West.

The one that produces the most refined propaganda is the BBC. CNN and the others are just cruder versions. Any truth about Israel/Palestine or, more generally, the Middle East is not going to come from the mainstream media. Those of us who know this should rather stop beating our heads against a brick wall, asking why they don’t tell the truth. That’s not what they’re there for.

Fortunately, there are now many independent sources, such as your program. You mentioned Mohammed Omer. We saw how brilliant and objective his reporting was from Gaza during the last terrible attack in 2014. His own family was under attack, they had very little food and water and so on, but every day he would produce these concise reports of no more than maybe 800 words, together with his photographs that would tell you what was happening as he witnessed it. It was about how people were still leading their lives in the most extraordinary ways, despite all the grief and suffering.

In other words, he did what the official media in the West rarely does: He put faces and names on people, he described their lives. He has collected those pieces together in a book. And there have been other journalists, particularly Palestinian photographers and camera people, who have done similar work. They make me proud to be a journalist.

DB: I only bring up the corporate journalists because they sustain these kinds of conditions by not reporting them or misreporting them.

JP: From my own point of view, I find it unwatchable, unless I am either monitoring it or deconstructing it. It is their censorship by omission, by distortion, by demonology. General Petraeus once said he spent most of his time with the media because that mattered more than trying to defeat the Taliban.

The good news is that a lot of people don’t believe it anymore. One of the elements in the rebellion rolling across Western societies is an anger with the media. This is certainly true in Britain. I’ve never known the media to be so popular a subject for debate. And it’s being discussed with a great deal of resentment. Reporters find themselves now having to account for their actions. That’s a new development.

Yesterday, The Guardian ran a rather defensive front-page article about journalists being called to account by the survivors of the terrible Grenfell Tower fire here in London. Well, that was emblematic of the media being called to account over a wide range of issues. People are becoming aware, they understand now. They’re no longer simply consumers of this sort of nonsense.

Certainly, the power of the media remains. But one of my favorite stories is that, on the night that Jeremy Corbyn almost won the election here, there was a party at the Times newspaper, which of course is run by Rupert Murdoch. When the first results came in and it became clear that Labor was doing so well, Murdoch stormed out. That was a very symbolic moment because it meant that his media and the media like his no longer had the power to ensure that certain politicians were elected. Two days before the election, The Daily Mail devoted thirteen pages to an attempted character assassination of Corbyn. It had no effect whatsoever.

DB: We just had on our show Arab Barghouti, the son of Mustafa Barghouti, who hasn’t touched his father for two years. Mustafa Barghouti has been in prison for fifteen years and just led a major hunger strike. Strong, articulate, he can’t be silenced. Or you mentioned Dr. Mona El-Farra, a medical director on the ground who had a good part of her extended family wiped out in 2014. She is still ministering to the people and telling the truth to anyone who will listen. It’s amazing.

JP: Yes, these are amazing people and it’s quite inspiring to be in their company. Even amidst all the carnage in the world, they make you feel good about being human.

DB: Why do you think Nelson Mandela said Palestine is the greatest moral issue of our time?

JP: There is a lot to criticize about Mandela but one of the things that was interesting and admirable about Mandela was that he was loyal to those who had supported and given solidarity to the people in South Africa struggling for their freedom. Certainly, right through his time in prison he always stressed the importance of that solidarity. In other words, of people standing together. It was a rather old-fashioned internationalist view of struggle.

He associated the struggle of the majority people of South Africa against the apartheid regime with the plight of the Palestinians who were struggling with their own form of apartheid. In the same way, Desmond Tutu has been to the West Bank and has been very outspoken in echoing what Mandela said. Tutu is on the record as saying that he regards the structures of apartheid in Israel/Palestine as in some respects even worse than those in South Africa.

I suppose Mandela considered Palestine the greatest moral issue because it was about a people wronged. The Palestinians were not the Germans, they didn’t do terrible things to the Jewish people. In fact, they had lived peacefully with the Jewish people for a very long time. They were the majority people in their country. Jews, Muslims, Christians lived together in peace, generally speaking, until the state of Israel was imposed on them.

As Mustafa Barghouti put it, “The Zionists wanted a state at the expense of the Palestinians.” That’s what Mandela meant. Palestine is a classic colonial injustice. [Israel] is the fourth largest military power in the world backed by the largest military power, the European Union and other Western countries, taking away the freedom and imposing oppression on the people of Palestine.

DB: And the idea of a free Palestinian people is one that is very troubling to the Arab world that is aligned with the United States. It seems nobody wants to think about the liberation of Palestine because then they have to think about their own corrupt and vicious dictatorships. Palestine really is the issue of war and peace. Whether there will ever be peace depends on whether these people will ever have a place to call their home again.

JP: Certainly, until the Palestinians have justice–in a way that they recognize it–there will be no peace in the region. In a sense, all roads of conflict in this troubled region lead back to Palestine. If the Palestine issue were resolved, that would mean that Israel would be a normal country. Not armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons and intimidating and oppressing the indigenous people, but a normal country living with equality within its own sphere. If that happened, if that were resolved, I’m not saying that peace would suddenly break out all over the Middle East, but it would be the beginning.

DB: Do you see the boycott/divestment movement as a hopeful light? Clearly, people who have supported it in the US, students and teachers, have suffered great repression. But do you see this as a viable movement? In some ways it is modeled on the South African anti-apartheid movement.

JP: All you have to do is look at the reaction in Israel. They are terrified of it. They have brought all kinds of pressure to bear on governments, particularly the British government, to stop the BDS movement having an influence. Just the other day, a court judgment found that local councils in Britain could indeed boycott, dis-invest and sanction whoever they please. The British government had told them they couldn’t. Well, they can.

The BDS movement really worries the Israeli regime because it’s popular. In Norway, the biggest trade union has endorsed it. Student bodies in the United States are going along with it. People have had their say and they have voted for it. It represents a kind of local democracy. It’s much more widespread in the United States than people realize and it certainly is across Europe.

BDS on its own is not going to bring about freedom for the Palestinians. In South Africa, the sanctions did undoubtedly have an effect. But White South Africa managed to get around the sanctions. It was when it lost a powerful friend, when the Reagan administration decided that South Africa was causing more trouble than it was worth and finally withdrew its support, that the system fell.

I’m afraid that that is the way power works. But there is no doubt that power is always influenced by popular movements such as BDS. Ultimately, I believe that the solution is in the United States. Without US backing in all its forms, Israel would have no choice but to become a normal country.

DB: It is interesting to see how strong the reaction has been to the boycott/divestment movement. Professors have lost their jobs, kids have been beaten up. Below the corporate media surface, it has really been reverberating out there in the grassroots.

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of “Flashpoints” on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom. You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net.

John Pilgers website is http://johnpilger.com/

 

Netanyahu, israel, pushing Trump towards wider wars

Netanyahu Pushes Trump Toward Wider Wars

Exclusive: Russia-gate is empowering Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to strong-arm President Trump into escalating the Syrian war by abandoning a recent cease-fire and challenging Iran and Russia, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

A weakened, even desperate President Donald Trump must decide whether to stand up to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or to repudiate the Syrian partial ceasefire, which Trump hammered out with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 7.

President Donald Trump places a prayer in-between the stone blocks of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017. (Official White House Photo by Dan Hansen)

Whether intentionally or not, this crossroads is where the months of Russia-gate hysteria have led the United States, making Trump even more vulnerable to Israeli and neoconservative pressure and making any cooperation with Russia more dangerous for him politically.

After meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Sunday, Netanyahu declared that Israel was totally opposed to the Trump-Putin cease-fire deal in southern Syria because it perpetuates Iranian presence in Syria in support of the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Netanyahu’s position increases pressure on Trump to escalate U.S. military involvement in Syria and possibly move toward war against Iran and even Russia. The American neocons, who generally move in sync with Netanyahu’s wishes, already have as their list of current goals “regime changes” in Damascus, Tehran and Moscow – regardless of the dangers to the Middle East and indeed the world.

At the G-20 summit on July 7, Trump met for several hours with Putin coming away with an agreed-upon cease-fire for southwestern Syria, an accord that has proven more successful than previous efforts to reduce the violence that has torn the country apart since 2011.

But that limited peace could mean failure for the proxy war that Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other regional players helped launch six years ago with the goal of removing Assad from power and shattering the so-called “Shiite crescent” from Tehran through Damascus to Beirut. Instead, that “crescent” appears more firmly in place, with Assad’s military bolstered by Shiite militia forces from Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

In other words, the “regime change” gambit against Assad’s government would have backfired, with Iranian and Hezbollah forces arrayed along Israel’s border with Syria. And instead of accepting that reversal and seeking some modus vivendi with Iran, Netanyahu and his Sunni-Arab allies (most notably the Saudi monarchy) have decided to go in the other direction (a wider war) and to bring President Trump along with them.

Neophyte Trump

Trump – a relative neophyte in global intrigue – has been slow to comprehend how his outreach to Netanyahu and Saudi King Salman runs counter to his collaboration with Putin on efforts to defeat the Sunni jihadist groups, including Al Qaeda and Islamic State, which have served as the point of the spear in the war to overthrow Assad.

President Donald Trump touches lighted globe with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi King Salman and Donald Trump at the opening of Saudi Arabia’s Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology on May 21, 2017. (Photo from Saudi TV)

Al Qaeda and Islamic State have received direct and indirect support from Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Turkey, Israel and even the Obama administration, albeit sometimes unwittingly. To block Assad’s overthrow – and the likely victory by these terror groups – Russia, Iran and Hezbollah came to Assad’s defense, helping to turn the tide of the war since 2015.

In his nearly half year in office, Trump has maintained an open hostility toward Iran – sharing a position held by Washington’s neocons as well as Netanyahu and Salman – but the U.S. President also has advocated cooperation with Russia to crush Islamic State and Al Qaeda inside Syria.

Collaboration with Russia – and indirectly with Iran and the Syrian military – makes sense for most U.S. interests, i.e., stabilizing Syria, reversing the refugee flow that has destabilized Europe, and denying Al Qaeda and Islamic State a base for launching terror strikes against Western targets.

But the same collaboration would be a bitter defeat for Netanyahu and Salman who have invested heavily in this and other “regime change” projects that require major U.S. investments in terms of diplomacy, money and military manpower.

So, in last weekend’s trip to Paris, Netanyahu chose to raise the stakes on Trump at a time when Democrats and the U.S. mainstream media are pounding him daily with the Russia-gate scandal, even raising the possibility that his son, Donald Trump Jr., might be prosecuted and imprisoned for having a meeting in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer.

If Trump wants the Russia-gate pain to lessen, he will be tempted to give Netanyahu what he wants and count on the savvy Israeli leader to intervene with the influential neocons of Official Washington to pull back on the scandal-mongering.

The problem, however, would be that Netanyahu really wants the U.S. military to complete the “regime change” project in Syria – much as it did in Iraq and Libya – meaning more American dead, more American treasure expended and a likely wider war, extending to Iran and possibly nuclear-armed Russia.

That might fulfill the neocon current menu of “regime change” schemes but it runs the risk of unleashing a nuclear conflagration on the world. In that way, liberals and even some progressives – who have embraced Russia-gate as a way to remove the hated Donald Trump from office – may end up contributing to the end of human civilization as well.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s

While Attacks in Israel Make Headlines, Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza Ignored

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 Girl in Gaza (photo: UNICEF)

A Palestinian girl in Gaza looks out the window of her partially destroyed home. (photo: UNICEF)

The recent acute humanitarian crisis in Gaza—on top of the routine humanitarian crisis that defines everyday existence there—has gotten sparse coverage in US media over the past three weeks.

Israeli officials have cut off electricity to almost 2 million Gazans for all but three or four hours a day—in conjunction with nominal Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who has cut funding for Gaza’s electricity in an effort to punish his political rivals in Hamas. The Gaza Strip, which remains under effective Israeli control despite the 2005 withdrawal of Israeli troops, requires 450 megawatts daily, but since June has received only around 150 megawatts per day. The power cuts, according to UN humanitarian coordinator Robert Piper, severely undermine “critical functions in the health, water and sanitation sectors,” and have created a “looming humanitarian catastrophe.”

The vast majority of US media also ignored a devastating UN report published Tuesday, documenting the humanitarian conditions in Gaza over the past ten years.

Neither the electrical crisis nor the UN report has been covered by the New York Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC or Fox News—though the Times and ABC did run AP reports on the former.

The Washington Post  (6/22/17) reported on the electricity cuts just over three weeks ago, but made sure to note in their headline “it’s not all Israel’s fault.” The Post (7/12/17) also mentioned the Gaza electricity cuts in a broader piece, told from Israel’s perspective, about that country’s fears that “Hamas will go to war.”  NPR did not report on the electricity crisis, but unlike the Post, it did have a piece (7/11/17) on the UN report.

In stark contrast, an attack on two Israeli police officers in Jerusalem Thursday was reported by all the above outlets except MSNBC. The New York Times (7/14/17), ABC News (7/14/17), CBS News (7/14/17), NBC News (7/14/17), CNN (7/14/17), Fox News (7/14/17), all dedicated airtime and/or column inches to the shooting in the Old City.

Attacks on Israeli forces—even ones that occur, like this week’s strike, in illegally occupied territory—are framed as random acts of hate with no political context. None of the above reports on the Jerusalem attack made any mention of the increasingly dire situation in Gaza. Nor, even more conspicuously, was there any mention of Israel’s killing of two Palestinians in a West Bank refugee camp less than a day before.

The routine, “factored-in” suffering of Palestinians—even when ramped up to hellish levels—is barely worth a mention by US media. It just is. And when it is touched on, it’s generally framed as Hamas or the Palestinian Authority’s fault, with the broader role played by Israel’s devastating, 50-year-occupation downplayed or omitted

Opposing Zionism is not racism, rules Scottish court (Apartheid is) #BDS

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By Yvonne Ridley | MEMO | July 14, 2017

In yet another landmark legal victory, members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign emerged from court victorious today after being accused of racism. Their “crime”? Standing up to Zionism.

The trial ended three years of speculation and pressure for SPSC members whose robust defence of their actions won the day in Glasgow Sherriff’s Court when the verdict was announced on Friday.

Four days of evidence and cross-examinations earlier this month focussed on the actions of two SPSC members who faced charges of racism and aggravated trespass for a protest against Israeli company Jericho cosmetics, which operates around the Dead Sea in the occupied West Bank. The protest was held in the wake of Israel’s 2014 military offensive against Palestinian civilians besieged in the Gaza Strip. More than 2,200 Palestinians were killed by the Israelis during the offensive, including 550 children, before in the war ended on 26 August. During the demonstration on 13 September 2014, the SPSC protesters denounced the killings.

Police were called to the shopping centre where the protest was being held, leading to the arrest of the two SPSC members accused of racism. “In other words,” explained Mick Napier, one of those arrested, “we were accused of being motivated by hatred of Israelis rather than opposition to Israel’s repeated massacres, apartheid across the whole of Palestine and genocidal violence in Gaza.”

During the Glasgow trial, the SPSC was buoyed by a High Court ruling in London that the Conservative government in Westminster acted unlawfully when it tried to prevent local councils in Britain from divesting from companies involved in Israel’s military occupation. The successful legal challenge for the right to boycott was brought by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in London, supported by War on Want, the Campaign Against the Arms Trade and the Quakers.

However, Napier wasn’t convinced that the result of the latest trial was a foregone conclusion. “Given their past record, we felt it was unlikely that even this High Court ruling in favour of BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] would stop Scottish prosecutors’ related efforts to criminalise the campaign in support of Palestinian freedom.”

The prosecutor — called the Procurator Fiscal in the Scottish legal system — claimed in open court that the two accused in the Glasgow case were recycling an ancient anti-Semitic “Jewish blood libel” by speaking about Israeli mass murder of Palestinians. The Procurator Fiscal’s office made these claims, said Napier, while the violated people of Gaza “were still looking for ice-cream freezers and vegetable refrigerators in which to store the bodies of children killed by Israel’s military.”

In their testimony last month, Napier and his co-accused Jim Watson both rejected the claims made by prosecution witnesses, a Chief Inspector of police, the manager of the Jericho stall and two local Zionist activists. The prosecution claim was that staff were intimidated by “racist” placards and the shouting of “racist abuse”; this was the description of the SPSC’s criticism of the pro-Israel counter-demonstrators for supporting Israel’s most recent massacre of Palestinians.

The “racist” placard with which the Procurator Fiscal and Zionist witnesses took particular issue was a symbolic but graphic image of blood dripping under the name “Dead Sea cosmetics”. Napier pointed out that at the time of their protest, the UN Secretary-General was describing Israel’s massacre of thousands of Palestinians as a “moral outrage and criminal act” and a “gross violation of humanitarian law.”

“When the Scottish government joined in by denouncing the ‘deep inhumanity’ of the Israeli massacre,” noted Napier, “the Scottish procurators fiscal were working hand in glove with pro-Israel lobby groups to silence voices of Palestine solidarity.”

The SPSC has faced repeated efforts by pro-Israel lobbyists and Scottish prosecutors to criminalise the group’s pro-Palestine activities. The Zionist record to-date is one of almost total failure; legal action has failed to secure any convictions of pro-Palestine activists. “There was, however, a consolation prize [for the Zionists] when we were both found guilty of refusing to leave the shopping centre when asked to do so by the police,” said Napier. “I was also convicted of aggravated trespass for protesting inside the shopping centre. We will be appealing against both convictions so any celebrations by the Zionists will, I suggest, be a bit premature.”

In February last year, two employees of the pro-Israel Community Security Trust made allegations against SPSC members but that was also thrown out by Kilmarnock Sheriff Court when the Sheriff ruled that the crime as alleged had not taken place. “Had we not had the benefit of an Al-Jazeera Arabic language broadcast of the protest where the CST tried to secure an assault conviction there might have been a different outcome,” added Mick Napier.

Anyone wanting to help the legal fund for this latest appeal can donate on the SPSC website here: http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk

israel’s Endless Fake Victimhood

by Uri Avnery

The whole thing could have been a huge practical joke, if it had not been real.

All of Israel was taken in. Left, right and center. All the newspapers and TV networks, without exception.

There it was: UNESCO has declared that the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron is a Palestinian heritage site.

I admit that I was taken in, too. The news was so clear and so simple, its acceptance so uniform, that I too accepted it unthinkingly. True, it was a bit strange, but stranger things happen.

The “Cave of Machpelah” is no cave at all. It is a large building, which the Arabs call al-Haram al-Ibrahim, the Mosque of Ibrahim, in the center of Hebron, the town the Arabs call al-Khalil, the Friend of God (meaning Abraham).

According to the Bible, Abraham, the forefather of the Jews, bought the place from its local owner as a burial plot for his wife, Sarah. When his time came, he was also buried there, as were his son Isaac with his wife Rivka and his grandson, Jacob, with his wife Leah. (His other wife, Rachel, is supposed to be buried on the way to Bethlehem.)

And here comes UNESCO, the anti-Semitic cultural branch of the anti-Semitic UN, and declares that this is a Palestinian holy site!

Is there no limit to Jew-baiting?

A tsunami of emotions surged over Israel. Jews were united in protest. Everybody vented their anger as loudly as possible. Rarely was such unanimity seen here.

If I had stopped to think for a moment, I would have realized that the whole thing was nonsense. UNESCO does not assign places to nations. World Heritage sites are – well – the heritage of the entire world. As a detail, these declarations mention in which country each World Heritage site is located.

The holy church in Nazareth is located in Israel, but it does not “belong” to Israel. The graves of holy Jewish rabbis in Russia or Egypt do not belong to Israel. UNESCO did not say that the Machpelah-al-Haram al-Ibrahim site belongs to the Palestinians. It said that it is located in Palestine.

Why Palestine? Because, according to international law, the town of Hebron is part of Palestine, which was recognized by the UN as a state under occupation. Under Israeli law, too, Hebron is not a part of Israel proper but under military occupation.

I am grateful to an ex-Israeli called Idan Landau who lives in the US. He took the trouble to read the original text and sent us emails to correct our impression. The moment I read it, I hit myself on the brow. How could I have been so stupid!

The UNESCO resolution is fair and correct. It remarks that the site is holy to the three monotheistic religions, as indeed it is. Because of this, a Jewish fanatic – a settler from America – once murdered dozens of praying Muslims there. Jewish fanatics have settled nearby.

Is the place really holy? That is a silly question. A place is as holy as people believe it to be.

Are Abraham and his progeny really buried there?

Even that is irrelevant. Many people – myself included – believe that the entire first part of the Bible, up to the Assyrian era, is fictitious. That does not make the Bible less wonderful. It is the most beautiful work of literature on earth. At least the (original) Hebrew version.

If one believes that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were real persons, it would still be doubtful that they are buried there. An entire school of archaeologists believes that the burial place is somewhere else in Hebron, not the building now known as the Cave of Machpelah. The graves there are those of Muslim sheikhs.

Be that as it may, millions believe that the Biblical forefathers are buried in the Cave. For them, the place is holy, and it is located in occupied Palestine.

But if you take the Bible so literally, you should also read verse 9 of chapter 25 of Genesis: “And Abraham gave up the ghost and died in a good old age… And his sons, Isaac and Ishmael, buried him in the cave of Machpelah.”

When I pointed this out to people who had attended Israeli schools, they were deeply shocked. Because this verse is never mentioned in any Israeli school. It does not exist.

Why? Because Ishmael is the forefather of the Arabs, as Isaac is the forefather of the Jews. We learned that Sarah, our foremother, who is described in the Bible as a real bitch, induced her obedient spouse, Abraham, to send his concubine Hagar and their son, Ishmael, into the desert, there to die of thirst. But an angel saved them, and they disappeared, though the Bible gives a long list of his progeny.

The revelation that the Bible in fact says the opposite is shocking. So Ishmael did not disappear, but somewhere along the line made his peace with Isaac. The two sons buried their father together.

This changes the story completely. It means that the Bible makes the Arabs, too, rightful heirs of the Cave of Machpelah, side by side with the Jews and the Christians.

I do not believe that Binyamin Netanyahu ever read this verse. He knows only what every Israeli pupil knows. The strict Orthodox line.

This week, at the height of the UNESCO hysteria, Netanyahu did something bizarre: in the middle of a formal cabinet meeting he pulled a kippah from his pocket, put it on and started to read from the Bible (not the aforementioned verse, of course). He looked positively happy. He was showing the bloody Goyim up for what they are: anti-Semites all.

Does Netanyahu really believe (as I think he does) that this part of Biblical legend is history? If so, he has the mind of a 10 year old. If he does not, he is a cheat. In any case, he is a very able demagogue.

But he is not alone. Far from it. The President of Israel, a very nice gentleman, reiterated Netanyahu’s accusations against UNESCO. So did the speaker of the Knesset, an immigrant from the Soviet Union.

It took about four days for some Israeli commentators to cite the true text of the UNESCO resolution. They did not apologize, of course, but at least they started to quote the actual text. Shyly and quietly some other commentators joined them. Most of their colleagues did not.

Special mention is due to Carmel Shama Hacohen, Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO. He is not known as a pillar of wisdom. Indeed, he was only sent to UNESCO in order to allow a protégé of the foreign minister to take over his place in the Knesset.

During the UNESCO meeting, Shama-Hacohen – (his real name was just Shama, but that sounds too Arab, so he added the very Jewish Hacohen) – got very excited. He started a shouting match with the Palestinian ambassador, rushed to the dais and shouted at the chairman, too.

William Shakespeare might have called all this “much ado about nothing”, except for two points.

One is that it shows how easy it is to send all of (Jewish) Israel – all without exception! – into a holy rage. Politicians and commentators from left and right, east and west, religious and secular, unite into one raging mass, even when the pretext is false.

Such an eruption can have very serious consequences. It disables all inner brakes.

The other aspect is even more dangerous.

At the height of the tsunami, it suddenly hit me that everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves hugely. And then I realized why.

For hundreds of years, Jews in Europe were persecuted, deported, tortured and killed. It was a part of reality. They were used to it. Anti-Semitism of all kinds, including the murderous one, was a part of reality. The sadism of the goyim was met with the masochism of the Jews.

(As I have suggested in the past, this is a part of Western Christian culture, emanating from the crucifixion story in the New Testament. It does not exist as such in Islam, since the prophet admonished his believers to protect the two other “peoples of the book” – Jews and Christians.)

Since World War II and the Holocaust, the old vicious European anti-Semitism has disappeared, or gone underground. But Jews have not got used to that. They are sure that it is lurking somewhere, that it can return any minute. When it does, or when it seems to, Jews are apt to feel “I told you so!”

In Israel, this is even more complex. Zionism hoped to rid Jews of their “exilic” complexes. To turn us into a normal people, “a people like other peoples”.

It seems that this has not been quite successful. Or that the success is receding under the stewardship of Netanyahu and his ilk.

This episode has made many Jews happy. They say to themselves: “We were right! All the Goyim are anti-Semites!”

Uri Avnery is a peace activist, journalist, writer, and former member of the Israeli Knesset

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