Outlaws openly running in israel’s (apartheid state) election

OUTLAWS OPENLY RUNNING IN ISRAEL’S ELECTION

Former MK Michael Ben-Ari, who heads Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) and could return to Knesset thanks to a Netanyahu-blessed union with Jewish Home, has ties to non-governmental organizations linked to Meir Kahane’s Kach Movement, outlawed in Israel and on US Treasury and State Department blacklists; to make matters worse, some of these NGOs get their funding from US Jews.

The Otzma Yehudit Party, including (L-R): Itamar Ben-Gvir, Michael Ben-Ari, Benzi Gopstein and Baruch Marzel (Photo: Avi Mualem)

The tangled web of Israel’s extreme right, American Jewry and the US terror blacklist

Yehuda Shohat

There were quite a few smiles in the Jewish Home party, the most moderate of the right-wing religious-Zionist factions, after most of its members voted in favor of teaming up with Ozma Yehudit (Jewish Power) in the upcoming April 9 elections. And thus in an almost off-hand manner, these politicians de facto joined forces with former members of Kach—a racist movement outlawed in Israel and featured on the list of terror organizations at both the US State Department and the US Treasury.

US Jews were quick to express their shock and outrage over the union and the involvement of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who put a lot of pressure on both sides and even made concessions of his own to make it happen.

Over the weekend, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and American Jewish Committee (AJC) issued harsh condemnation of the move, perhaps unaware that some of the funding for the organizations that succeeded Kach — with former members now directly linked to Otzma Yehudit —comes from US Jews, seemingly in violation of American anti-terror laws.

The Kach Movement, which was established by Rabbi Meir Kahane, and its younger sister organization Kahane Chai (Kahane Lives), which was founded after Kahane’s murder, were both outlawed in Israel following a terror attack carried out by Kach member Baruch Goldstein exactly 25 years ago, when he murdered 29 Palestinians at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.

But since then, members of Kach have continued operating in different NGOs and organizations, in seemingly legitimate ways, and recently also returned to the political field in the form of Otzma Yehudit.

One of the key players in this story is Ben-Zion “Benzi” Gopstein, the head of the anti-assimilation Lehava organization (which is not a registered organization). Behind Lehava hides a network of other organizations, in which Gopstein allegedly has or had direct involvement.

Under Gopstein’s leadership, Lahava leads a racist and inciting line against Israeli minorities. Four years ago, when he was serving as defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon considered declaring Lehava a terror organization. In November 2017, the State Prosecutor’s Office recommended charging Gopstein with incitement, and the case is now awaiting a decision by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.

The first organization with which Gopstein’s name is linked is “Hemla” (Compassion)—an NGO that purports to aid young women from broken homes who are “at risk of assimilation,” a euphemism for marrying Arab men. Shortly after Gopstein became involved with the organization, it started receiving a regular budget of hundreds of thousands of shekels from the Welfare Ministry, which the NGO uses to operate a hostel in Jerusalem for “at-risk” women and teenage girls.

A 2014 investigative report already found many connections between Hemla and former Kahane activists. For example, Baruch Ben-Yosef, who founded an association seeking to remove Kach from the terror organizations list, received funding from Hemla. A member of Hemla’s committee, Elyakim Neiman, also serves as the chairman of Yeshiva HaRaayon HaYehudi, a Jerusalem seminary founded by Meir Kahane that is still considered a terror organization by the United States. Neiman is also among the founders of The Fund to Save the People of Israel, and when we sought to donate to Lehava, we were directed by Gopstein himself to The Fund to Save the People of Israel.

Gopstein was a paid employee of Hemla, working as a “lead PR in Israel”; he was also an authorized signatory at the NGO, alongside Elyakim Neiman. According to the NGO’s records, Gopstein was fired (although he says he quit), but it was nevertheless decided to “continue employing him for his assistance in raising funds for a probationary period,” which has since ended.

Who funds Hemla? Other than the Welfare Ministry, which in 2016 transferred over NIS 1 million to the NGO, we were able to uncover several other financers, such as the estate of the late Miriam Orin, the Love of Israel Fund, the “Your People’s Poor Fund,” and the Central Fund of Israel—an American fund headed by Jay Marcus.

The Central Fund of Israel, which doesn’t make its list of beneficiaries public, donated almost NIS 100,000 to Hemla in 2015, and tens of thousands of shekels in 2014. Many of the Americans who donated to the fund—both directly and indirectly—don’t know where the money eventually goes.

Another American organization that gives money to Hemla is the Traditional Fund, which also donates to a variety of right-wing organizations in Israel.

The Jewish idea

The second organization in the massive network is Yeshiva HaRaayon HaYehudi (the Jewish Idea Yeshiva), which is listed as an NGO and was founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1987 to spread his teachings. In addition to Kahane himself, other founders include Moshe Neiman, Michael Ben-Ari, Tiran Pollack, Gad Struman, Yekutiel (Mike) Ben-Yaakov and Baruch Marzel. The president of the yeshiva is Yehuda Kroizer and the CEO is Elyakim Neiman.

According to records from June 2018, Ben-Ari was a member of the audit committee of the NGO, which to this day remains on the US terror organizations list. In other words, it is illegal to donate to the organization, and Michael Ben-Ari, who could become a member of Israel’s parliament, is allegedly a member of an NGO on the US terror list.

From 2002 to 2005, the NGO reported the grants it gave out, with one of the main beneficiaries being Benzi Gopstein, whose wife Anat was a paid employee of the organization. In 2002, Gopstein got NIS 24,000 from the NGO, in 2004 the sum went up to NIS 26,000 and in 2005 it went back to NIS 24,000.

According to official records, Yeshiva HaRaayon HaYehudi is funded by different American donors, among them two US organizations. The first is Charity of Light, a tax-exempt NGO that was first registered in New Jersey in 2001. Five years later, it became the Charity of Light – Hemla Fund. At the time, the NGO’s chairman was Levi Hazan, a known Kahanist who was sentenced to prison for his part in a 1984 shooting of a bus north of Ramallah, which left six Palestinians wounded.

The very same Hazan also appeared in the Israeli NGO Hemla’s records as a PR employee working abroad. Among the donors who gave money to this charity over the years is the Charitable Foundation of the IDT Corporation, an American telecommunications company founded by known Likud and Netanyahu donor Howard Jonas.

The second US donor organization is the American Friends of Yeshivat HaRaayon, an NGO registered in 1991 in Skokie, Illinois, which raises funds for Yeshiva HaRaayon HaYehudi, despite the fact that the latter is on the US terror list. A possible loophole allowing donations is the NGO’s use of the yeshiva’s Hebrew name, rather than the English translation that appears in the US terror lists.

As of 2015, Levi Hazan was this NGO’s director as well. According to the NGO’s records, from 2011 the organization donated to Yeshiva HaRaayon HaYehudi sums ranging between $44,000 and $136,000 every year. This too is seemingly a criminal offense violating three different prohibitions on funding for terror organizations.

“There are different definitions within the State Department’s list of terror organizations,” says David Saperstein, a former senior State Department official. “The leaders of the organizations on the list are subject to all of the limitations of the law. Donors to these organizations are breaking the law and are subject to criminal sanctions, even if they don’t know where the money they donated went to.”

‘Price tag’ situation room

The next organization is Chasdei Meir, which is headed by Gopstein himself, according to different reports. Our investigation found no evidence the organization is registered in Israel, only in the United States. When we called the phone number the organization lists for donations, the woman who answered the phone gave us the bank account number and PO box belonging to the NGO “Hemla – Aid for the Needy.” Later, we learned we could also donate to the organization through Hemla’s donations center.

This isn’t a trivial matter. Unlike Hemla, which seemingly only aids needy women, Chasdei Meir is an organization that aids “residents of the hilltops.” According to past reports, Chasdei Meir was part of the “price tag” vandalism situation room, which was established in 2011 to avenge the demolition of structures in the illegal West Bank outpost of Havat Gilad. The organization’s activity includes fundraising for the Hilltop Youth organization of extremist settlers, as well as planting trees near settlements and hills in the West Bank.

In 2010, Gopstein himself was quoted by Haaretz, saying “We have a group called the Chasdei Meir Charity Fund, which helps the outposts.” In a video Gopstein posted online in the past, he called for donations for Chasdei Meir to benefit activities in the West Bank.

The Chasdei Meir website was registered by Levi Hazan, and an examination of the organization’s funding sources found it raises tax-exempt funds in the US through Charity of Light. Conversely, the PO box and fax number on Chasdei Meir’s website belong to the HaRaayon HaYehudi NGO. An older version of the site included an address in the US, which is the same as the address listed for HaRaayon HaYehudi and Charity of Light.

The next NGO, The Fund to Save the People of Israel, was registered in 2011. Its declared objectives include the “fight against the phenomenon of assimilation; activity to benefit the victims of infiltrators and illegal migrant workers; activity and humanitarian aid; strengthening the settlement enterprise and the hold on the Land of Israel; legal assistance.”

The NGO’s founders are Elyakim Neiman, Yaron Adler, Israel Diskind, Ayala Ben-Gvir (Itamar Ben-Gvir’s wife), Benzi Gopstein, Levi Hazan and Matilda Harutz. According to its general assembly’s records from May 2018, Gopstein is an authorized signatory in the organization and is defined as the “NGO’s operator,” grossing NIS 66,764 annually.

The NGO’s email address is the same one that appeared in Chasdei Meir’s website—Gopstein’s personal email. One of the fund’s audit committee members was Yitzhak Gabbai, who was convicted and imprisoned for three years for his part in the arson attack at the Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem.

As of 2016, the NGO’s incoming donations stood at some NIS 260,000 a year; among its donors over the years we found the Eretz Yisrael Shelanu Party (a far-right religious party founded by Baruch Marzel and Shalom Dov Wolpo), as well as the Segal Foundation for Israel, which was criticized by Israel’s Registrar of Associations for failing to do anything to reach its objectives.

‘Our fight is legal’

“Since the Kach Movement was outlawed, Kahane’s ideological successors have developed new systems to operate and get funding,” says Ran Cohen, one of the founders of the Democratic Bloc organization. “If they previously relied on political mechanisms, today they are using a network of NGOs that pose as charity and social organizations. In reality, they raise funds—both in Israel and abroad—to continue to incite and undermine the foundations of democracy. Money transferred from the state to such organizations is only one example of the way the government whitewashes Kahanism. The biggest example recently was the fact Netanyahu worked to ensure Gopstein and Marzel’s (Otzma Yehudit) party, which has Kahanist characteristics, gets into the Knesset.”

Benzi Gopstein offered the following response to the report: “These are lies. The goal of this report is to once again try to bring down the right-wing rule and prevent Otzma Yehudit from getting into the next Knesset. This won’t help; I will continue with the legal fight against assimilation in the Holy Land.”

Michael Ben-Ari offered the following response: “This is a collection of fabrications that have already been published and disproven years ago. But when the goal is to bring down the right-wing rule, journalistic ethics are being trampled.”

In an interesting coincidence, when we turned to the Hemla NGO for a response, we were directed to the Yeshiva HaRaayon HaYehudi call center.

Later, Hemla offered the following response: “For nearly 20 years, the NGO has been operating a hostel for at-risk Haredi teenage girls, who went through serious abuse (and you should know all about this topic), and with God’s help we are able to rehabilitate them and reintegrate them into society. The NGO deals with the social and rehabilitative field and has no ties to any political body.

“Benzi Gopstein finished working for the NGO in October 2014, and since then there have been no ties between him and Hemla – Aid for the Needy. Anat Gopstein finished working for the NGO in April 2015, and since then there have been no ties between her and the NGO. Unfortunately, the media has already slammed the holy work our dedicated staff does at the hostel several times, and we demand an end to dealing with this matter, which has been behind us for many years.”

The Welfare Ministry offered the following response: “Hemla won a tender to operate a hostel for at-risk teenage girls from the Haredi sector, who are directed to social services in local authorities. The funding given to the NGO is for the operation of the hostel only.”

Mairav Zonszein contributed to this story.

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Iran urges immediate action to stop ‘racist’ israeli (apartheid state) regime

Iran urges immediate action to stop ‘racist’ Israel

Israeli forces patrol near an entrance to the Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem al-Quds. (Photo by AFP)Israeli forces patrol near an entrance to the Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem al-Quds. (Photo by AFP)

Tehran has condemned Israel’s recent move to shut down al-Aqsa Mosque, calling on Muslim countries and the international community to take “immediate” action and stop the “racist” regime.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Thursday said Israel’s actions are a violation of the sanctity of al-Aqsa Mosque, which is the third holiest site to Muslims.

“The process of the massacre and ethnic-religious cleansing (of Palestinians) in al-Quds has been underway incessantly and in a systematic way since the occupation of Palestine (in 1948),” he added.

Qassemi further censured the “deadly silence” of the regional states in the face of such violations of Palestine’s historic and Islamic sites, calling on the international community, the UN in particular, to take “immediate” actions and stop the “racist” regime.

He hailed the Palestinian people’s resistance against the Israeli regime.

On Monday, Israeli soldiers placed locks and metal chains on the al-Rahma gate of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds and prevented hundreds of Palestinian worshipers from entering the site, while several were arrested inside the holy site.

Local sources, requesting not to be named, told the Arabic-language Palestine al-Aan news agency that 10 Palestinians sustained injuries on Tuesday evening after Israeli troops assaulted them at Bab al-Rahma (Gate of Mercy).

Qassemi also took a swipe at certain regional states for participating in a recent US-organized Warsaw conference, noting that their participation and attempts to normalize ties with Israel have emboldened the occupying regime to commit such acts of aggression and violations.

The international gathering took place in the Polish capital from February 13 to 14.

The Palestinians, who boycotted the conference, strongly denounced the summit and the participation of Arab ministers.

Nabil Shaath, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, wrote in a column published by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper that the Warsaw conference lacked credibility as aimed to “normalize” the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

“By fully siding with the Israeli government, (the Americans) have tried to normalize the Israeli occupation and the systematic denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination,” he said.

Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, called it “an attempt to bypass” the Arab Peace Initiative

israel (apartheid state) steps up attacks on Palestinian schools

Israel Steps Up Attacks on Palestinian Schools

Maureen Clare Murphy

Israeli forces shutter a school in the West Bank city of Nablus in October 2018.

Shadi Jarar’ah APA images

When Israeli occupation forces shot three secondary school students, critically injuring two of them, last week, it was hardly an isolated incident.

The students were injured after soldiers raided Tuqu village near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, surrounding a high school. The military fired tear gas and live ammunition after being confronted by youths.

The frequency of such violence in or near Palestinian schools in the West Bank has increased during the current academic year.

“Incidents of interference in schools by Israeli forces” include “threats of demolition, clashes on the way to school between students and security forces, teachers stopped at checkpoints, and the violent actions of Israeli forces and settlers on some occasions,” according to a statement by United Nations officials.

The bulk of the 111 “interferences to education” in the West Bank documented by the UN in 2018 took place in the last four months of the year.

“More than half of the verified incidents involved live ammunition, tear gas and stun grenades fired into or near schools by Israeli forces, impacting the delivery of education or injuring students,” according to the UN officials.

Israeli forces demolished or seized five Palestinian schools in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, last year, and 50 more are under threat of demolition.

“Orief secondary school for boys near Nablus has also been forced closed twice due to settler violence, and children from this school have been hospitalized with multiple injuries, including from gunshots,” the UN officials add.

Regular violence in Hebron

In the H2 area of Hebron, where Palestinians live in close proximity to hostile Israeli settlers, “tear gas is regularly used around schools, and new measures are being applied at checkpoints that expose students and teachers to violence – at one particularly affected H2 school, more than 20 such incidents were documented in 2018.”

Video published by the human rights group B’Tselem shows heavily armed Israeli Border Police forces apprehending students in Hebron’s city center as they were leaving school in December:

Two of the students detained by the Israeli officers were under the age of 12.

One of the boys, 13 years old, was taken to a police station, where he was “interrogated with no parent or other adult acting on his behalf present.”

He was held overnight without being given food or drink until the morning. He was released that afternoon after his father posted bail at a military court, deposited by the soldiers far away from his home.

Soldiers drove the boy to the entrance to al-Arroub refugee camp and removed his handcuffs. One of the soldiers punched the child on the head, causing him to fall to the ground, before they drove off.

Demolitions on permit pretext

Human Rights Watch also emphasizes Israel’s violations of Palestinian children’s right to education in its shadow report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights review of Israel.

Israeli forces have demolished or confiscated Palestinian school buildings or property in the West Bank at least 16 times since the beginning of this decade, according to the rights group.

“Israeli authorities have justified the destruction or damage to schools on the basis that they lacked building permits from the Israeli military, but the military almost never grants Palestinians building permits in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank where it exercises exclusive control,” Human Rights Watch states.

More than a third of Palestinian communities in Area C do not have primary schools and some 1,700 children are forced to walk five or more kilometers to school due to road closures and lack of infrastructure.

“The long distances and fear of harassment by settlers or the military lead some parents to take their children out of school,” Human Rights Watch adds.

Gaza schools attacked

The Israeli military also disrupts Palestinian children’s education in Gaza.

Schools in both Gaza and southern Israel were closed for at least one day during a three-day military escalation in the coastal enclave last November and some incurred severe damage.

More than half of Gaza’s schools were damaged during Israel’s 51-day assault on the territory in summer 2014.

“Israeli restrictions on the delivery of construction materials to Gaza and a lack of funding have impeded reconstruction of damaged or destroyed facilities,” Human Rights Watch notes.

During that military offensive, Israel hit three schools administered by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, being used as shelters, killing 45, including 17 children.

“The Israeli military alleged that Palestinian fighters were operating near the school, or had fired mortars ‘from the vicinity’ of it, but it has offered no information or evidence to support that claim,” Human Rights Watch adds.

One rocket fired from Gaza during that offensive hit a building used as a daycare in southern Israel, but caused no casualties.

 

OCHA: 10% increase in israeli (apartheid state) demolition of Palestinian structures in 2018

OSCHA: 10% increase in Israeli demolition of Palestinian structures in 2018

Ma’an – January 20, 2019

BETHLEHEM – During 2018, Israel demolished or seized 460 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank, a 10% increase compared to 2017, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory confirmed in a new report.

The OCHA report stated, “While in Area C, which makes over 60% of the area of the West Bank that is under full Israeli military control, the number of structures targeted in both years was approximately the same and stood at 270, occupied East Jerusalem recorded a 25% increase compared to 2017. Of all structures targeted during 2018, 56 were donor-funded humanitarian aid structures, representing a 46% decline, compared to 2017 figures.”

In December, said OCHA’s monthly report on West Bank demolitions and displacement, “39 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized by the Israeli authorities, the same as the 2018 monthly average, displacing 56 people and affecting over 270 others.”

OCHA added that two of this month’s demolitions were on punitive grounds and the rest were due to the lack of the difficult-to-obtain Israeli building permits.

The report confirmed that “about 70% of the structures targeted this month were in Area C. The largest incident took place on December 4th in the Beit Hanina – al-Marwaha neighborhood, a community on the ‘Jerusalem side’ of the wall barrier, where eight commercial structures were demolished and goods were confiscated.”

“Five families, who reported a financial loss of almost 1.5 million Israeli shekels (. $400,000), were affected. In another incident, the livelihoods of 70 people were affected by the demolition of a leather store on the margins of al-Bireh City near the Ramallah district.”

On December 5th, the Israeli authorities dismantled and seized two structures in the Hebron district to be used as a school for 45 students. Three tents erected subsequently by the Palestinian Ministry of Education to replace the targeted structures were also seized.

OCHA mentioned that this is the seventh case during 2018 where educational structures were targeted under the pretext of “lack of building permits.” It is estimated that 50 West Bank schools, 42 in Area C and eight in East Jerusalem, have pending demolition orders against all or part of their facilities, according to the Education Cluster.

“In East Jerusalem, nine structures were targeted during December, nearly half the monthly average during the rest of 2018.”

“In one incident, Palestinians were forced to demolish a 20 year-old building home to two families, comprising 14 people. The families reported that since the start of the legal proceedings, they have paid the municipality 160,000 shekels ($43,382) in fines, in addition to 25,000 shekels ($6,778) they spent on the demolition itself.”

“During the month, the Israeli military carried out two punitive demolitions, bringing the total in 2018 to six, compared to nine in 2017.”

In addition, the report mentioned that in al-Amari refugee camp in the Ramallah district, Israeli forces blew up and destroyed a four-story building and severely damaged two adjacent buildings, displacing 23 people, including six children. The targeted building was home to the family of a man who reportedly killed an Israeli soldier with a brick during a search operation in the camp in May 2018.

Campaign to revoke Jewish National Fund charitable status important

Source

By Yves Engler · January 11, 2019

Last week the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), under pressure from Palestine solidarity activists, began an audit of the Jewish National Fund.

The audit is significant. Beyond weakening the oldest Israel-focused charity in the country, it will put other Israeli charities in Canada on notice and reflects the growth of Palestine solidarity activism.

Fulfilling the time-consuming audit will be a bureaucratic headache for a group that has eleven offices across Canada and has raised $100 million over the past five years. Already, the credibility of the second most powerful Israel-oriented charity in Canada has taken a hit with the CBC exposé headlined “Canadian charity  used donations to fund projects linked to Israeli military” and related  stories. If the CRA revokes the JNF’s charitable status it would be devastating for fundraising and deter politicians/celebrities from attending their events.

Similar to the JNF, other registered charities support the Israeli military in direct contravention of CRA rules. Additionally, some of these organizations — like the JNF — fund projects supporting West Bank settlements, which Global Affairs Canada considers in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

At a broader level, critical attention on the JNF could lead to questioning of why Canadian taxpayers subsidize hundreds of millions of dollars in donations to a wealthy country. Despite a GDP per capita greater than Spain or Italy (and equal to Japan), hundreds of registered Canadian charities deliver hundreds of millions of dollars a year to Israel. How many Canadian charities funnel money to Spain or Japan?

If the CRA revoked JNF’s charitable status it would boost Stop the JNF campaigns elsewhere. In England they convinced former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron to withdraw as patron of the JNF (Theresa May seems to have also stayed away), and 68 members of parliament endorsed a bill to revoke the organization’s charitable status because “the JNF’s constitution is explicitly discriminatory by stating that land and property will never be rented, leased or sold to non-Jews.”

The CRA audit of a charity that’s found favour with numerous Canadian prime ministers is long in the making and reflects the growth of Palestinian solidarity consciousness. Born in a West Bank village demolished to make way for the JNF’s Canada Park, Ismail Zayid has been complaining to the CRA about its charitable status for 40 years. Lebanese Canadian Ron Saba “has been indefatigable over the years in writing to various Canadian government departments and officials, corporations, and media to rescind tax exemption status and endorsement of” what he calls the “racist JNF tax fraud”. During the Liberal party convention in 2006 Saba was widely smeared for drawing attention to leadership candidate Bob Rae’s ties to the JNF. Saba has put in multiple Access to Information requests regarding the JNF, demonstrating government spying of its critics and long-standing knowledge of the organization’s dubious practices. Under the headline “Event you may want to monitor,” Foreign Affairs spokesperson Caitlin Workman sent the CRA a communication about a 2011 Independent Jewish Voices event in Ottawa stating: “author of the Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy, Yves Engler, will give a talk on Canada and the Jewish National Fund.”

Former Independent Jewish Voices coordinator Tyler Levitan was smeared for working diligently on the issue. In addition to important organizing, he discovered that the Ottawa Citizen sponsored JNF galas they covered and, suggesting a formal financial relationship, ran an ad for the JNF’s 2013 Ottawa Gala the day after the event.

At the Green Party convention in 2016 Corey Levine pushed a resolution to revoke the JNF’s charitable status because it practices “institutional  discrimination against non-Jewish citizens of Israel.” The effort brought the issue into the mainstream though she, IJV and the entire Green  Party were smeared  as “hard core  Jew haters” for even considering the resolution.

Fifteen months ago IJV and four individuals filed a detailed complaint to the CRA and Minister of National Revenue over the JNF. For a number of years IJV has run a “Stop the JNF” campaign and for more than a decade activists across the country have picketed local JNF fundraising galas. These efforts have benefited from many in Palestine/Israel, notably the work of Uri Davies and Adalah.

As I have written before, the campaign to revoke the JNF’s charitable status is important beyond winning the specific demand. It draws attention to the racism intrinsic to Zionism and highlights Canada’s contribution to Palestinian dispossession.

The CRA is undoubtedly facing significant behind-the-scenes pressure to let the JNF off with little more than a slap on the wrists. So, it’s important that people send their MP  the CBC exposé and add their name to Independent Jewish Voices’ campaign  to revoke the Jewish National Fund’s charitable status.

israel (apartheid state) Seeks $250 Billion Compensation Related to Stealing Historic Palestine

Source

By Stephen Lendman,

The Jewish state gives chutzpah new meaning. It seeks $250 billion from seven Arab states and Iran in connection to its theft of historic Palestine – one of history’s great crimes.

It took 78% in 1948, the Palestinian Nakba, the remainder in June 1967, including the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem, the UN-declared international city, illegally occupied by Israel, illegally declared its exclusive capital.

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, set the tone during the Nakba for what followed, saying “(e)very attack has to end with occupation, destruction and expulsion” – forcefully eliminating resistance, assuring Israeli control over historic Palestine.

According to Israeli Hadashot TV news, Israel demands Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Syria Tunisia and Yemen correct what it calls a “historic injustice” – a colossal perversion of truth.

It’s reinventing history, blaming countries it attacked and other regional ones for its illegal 1948 and 1967 land grabs – demanding they compensate Jews for the loss of property, assets and other possessions they left behind in Arab countries because of war the Jewish state waged against neighboring ones.

What Ilan Pappe described as “the ethnic cleaning of Palestine in 1948,” Edward Said called its “holocaust,” saying:

“Every human calamity is different, but there is value in seeing analogies and perhaps hidden similarities.” He called Nazi extermination “the lowest point of (Jewish) collective existence.”

Occupied Palestinians “are as powerless as Jews were” under Hitler, devastated by “power used for evil purposes” subjugating them, denying their fundamental rights – compensation due to THEM from the Jewish state, NOT the other way around, NOT from countries harmed by Israeli high crimes, ongoing endlessly with full support and encouragement from the US and West.

Israel’s claim for $250 billion in compensation from other countries would be laughable if the high crimes leading to its creation and throughout its existence weren’t so serious – as pure evil as what Nazis did to Jews.

The Nakba was one of history’s great crimes, state terror on a massive scale against an entire population.

Israel’s 1948 war without mercy depopulated Palestinian cities, towns and villages, massacring innocent victims, raping their women, committing other atrocities – notably burning, bulldozing, blowing up, or stealing homes, property and other possessions, dispossessing around 800,000 Palestinians, preventing them from returning home.

Israel’s 1967 six-day war was planned “16 years in advance,” according to IDF general Mordechai Hod, saying “(w)e lived with the plan. We slept on the plan. We ate the plan. Constantly we perfected it.”

It was all about stealing the remaining 22% of historic Palestine not taken in 1948, including East Jerusalem.

It had nothing to do with self-defense to avoid annihilation, the falsified claim at the time – later debunked by PM Menachem Begin and IDF generals, admitting Israel faced no threats from Arab states.

General Haim Barlev later said

“(w)e were not threatened with genocide on the eve of the six-day war, and we had never thought of such a possibility.”

The world community did nothing to intervene against Israeli aggression, nor at any time throughout the Jewish state’s existence.

Militarism, institutionalized racism, and apartheid rule define the state of Israel, its young (male and female) children indoctrinated to be warriors.

Militarized education begins in kindergarten, at home, and in all other aspects of society – the line between military and civil society blurred.

Children are taught to believe Palestinians must be subjugated, violence against them is OK, along with destroying their property and killing them – notions ingrained in developing minds before they’re able to understand how they’re manipulated.

They’re taught to believe Arabs are inferior and Palestinians are enemies, military service essential, wars and other forms of violence natural, peace unattainable.

The history of the Jewish state isn’t pretty. Over half a century of illegal occupation continues. Israel aims to steal all valued parts of Judea and Samaria.

Its plan calls for confining Palestinians in isolated cantons on worthless scrubland, militarized rule controlling virtually all aspects of their lives, endless war against them continuing without declaring it.

The world community remains dismissive about what’s been going on for decades. The lives, rights and welfare of millions of Palestinians don’t matter.

Israeli law demands any no-peace/peace deal with Palestinians must compensate the Jewish exodus from Arab countries as explained above.

Palestinians are the aggrieved, not Jews. They warrant major compensation for Israel’s theft of their homeland, private property, and other possessions – along with damages for loss of their fundamental rights, illegal occupation, and brutalized treatment.

For over half a century, Palestinians have endured institutionalized Israeli persecution with no power over their daily lives, along with virtually every imaginable form of indignity.

Living under brutalizing occupation, they face daily state terror, economic strangulation, collective punishment, denial of their fundamental rights affirmed under international law, arrest and imprisonment without just cause, torture, assassinations, bulldozing of their home, crops and orchards, along with daily assaults on their dignity for being Arabs in a Jewish state.

With no power to resist, they’re denied redress in international tribunals dismissive of their rights. Endless misery defines their daily lives.

THEY deserve compensation for over half a century of conflict, illegal occupation, dispossession, and forever immiseration, no end of it in sight – no justice unless and until their suffering ends, their fundamental rights restored.

The history of Occupied Palestine is the triumph of wrong over right, a festering injustice, an entire people harmed, no end to their suffering in sight, no interest in their rights and welfare by the world community.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image: Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops during a protest to show solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, Nabi Saleh, West Bank, April 21, 2017. (Flash90)

Apartheid state continues to destroy real history, 1,200-year-old Islamic-period town found in israel, but you will never see it

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Nebi Zechariah once housed Christians and Muslims living together, and now it’s going to house a logistics center. Here’s why Israeli salvage digs almost always end in development

Ariel David
Ariel David

Archaeologists digging in central Israel have uncovered the remains of a prosperous rural town from the early Islamic period. They unearthed luxurious homes decorated with mosaics and arches, plastered water cisterns, and once-bustling oil presses and glass workshops from about a thousand years ago.

All of which most people will never get to see, as the area has already been handed over to developers, and the ruins will soon be covered or destroyed by the construction of a new logistics center for the nearby city of Modi’in.

The decision by the Israel Antiquities Authority to allow development on the site has caused consternation among some archaeologists and residents in Modi’in, who say regulators are too quick to greenlight projects even when important ancient remains have been found. The IAA counters that it must strike a balance between protecting antiquities and the needs of Israel’s economy; in this specific case, it says the excavation it conducted at the site documented and preserved knowledge of the early Islamic settlement.

The remains, located on a hill known as Nebi Zechariah or Chorvat Zechariah, emerged in early 2018 during a salvage dig – an archaeological excavation that precedes all building projects in Israel that break new land.

“In a salvage excavation, you never know what you are going to get,” says Avraham Tendler, the IAA archaeologist who led the dig. “I was expecting to find Hellenistic, Roman or Byzantine remains, so this [early Islamic town] was quite a surprise.”

Mainly Christian

Modi’in is a modern city built between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as a commuter town. It does not purport to be a reincarnation of the ancient town of Modiin, the precise location of which has been lost to time.

Nebi Zechariah, located northwest of the modern city, is surrounded by archaeological treasures, lining the ancient road connecting Jaffa to Jerusalem which ran by the site. Previous finds nearby include a Byzantine monastery, caves used by hermit monks from the same era, and an ornate burial from Roman times.

In this case, the archaeologists unearthed dozens of buildings in a well-planned town dated to the 9th-11th centuries, when the Abbasid and Fatimid caliphates ruled the region.

The find is unexpected because the area around the modern-day city of Modi’in was thought to have been sparsely populated during the early Islamic period, Tendler explains. The dig, which extended over around 4,000 square meters, uncovered only a part of what must have been a fairly large settlement, he adds.

Even more interestingly, Nebi Zechariah may have been home to both Christian and Muslim communities. The archaeologists found crosses chiseled into the stones of the town’s olive presses and fragmentary Greek inscriptions, the written language commonly used by Christians in the region.  In one of the homes they also found a clay pilgrimage token, a Christian souvenir that was probably brought back from Egypt, Tendler reports.

But the researchers also unearthed glass weights with Arabic inscriptions – which were used to weigh coins with great precision – and a partial Arabic inscription that may cite a koranic verse.

No signs of a church or mosque have been found, but there is enough evidence to suggest the town had a mixed religious identity.

The idea that Nebi Zechariah’s population may have been mainly Christian is consistent with what we know from the archaeological record and contemporary chroniclers, which tell us that, especially in the rural areas, Christian communities continued to exist well after the Islamic conquest of the Levant, Tendler says.

Missing signs of violence

There is a longstanding debate amongst scholars over how violent and destructive the early Islamic occupation of the Holy Land was, and how problematic the relations between the various communities were.

Finds like Nebi Zechariah point to a relatively peaceful transition after Muslim armies seized the region from the Byzantine Empire in the first half of the 7th century, says Uzi Dahari, an archaeologist and former deputy director of the IAA.

“When the Muslims arrived, power changed hands but not much else happened, except for a slow process of conversion to Islam by part of the population, especially Christian Arabs and some Jews as well,” says Dahari, who was not involved in the dig at Nebi Zechariah.

Whoever the locals were, they certainly achieved a modicum of prosperity, given that Tendler’s team also unearthed jewelry and large homes with mosaic floors and arched ceilings. The large number of warehouses and workshops that produced oil, glass, wine and other commodities suggests that Nebi Zechariah served as an important farming and industrial center for Jerusalem and nearby Ramle, which was the provincial capital during the Caliphate, Tendler concludes.

The town declined during the Crusades, and was briefly revived in the Mameluke period between the 13th and 14th centuries before being definitively abandoned.

The name Nebi Zechariah refers to the father of John the Baptist – who is mentioned in the Gospels and the Koran – rather than the biblical prophet of the same name. However, the name dates to the Mameluk period, after the town was abandoned, and was probably linked to a burial place attributed to this holy figure, so we don’t know how the inhabitants of the early Islamic period called the place, Tendler says.

A wide assortment of spaces

In the foreseeable future, any further study of the ancient town will be confined to the finds that the archaeologists were able to remove from the site during their hurried four-months excavation last year.

As of last week, a sign perched atop Nebi Zechariah announced the upcoming construction of the new industrial and logistics center, offering “a wide assortment of spaces for industry, storage and logistics.”

Modi’in takes its name from the ancient village traditionally believed to have been the place of origin of the Maccabees, who in the 2nd century B.C.E. led the revolt against the Greeks celebrated by Jews during Hanukkah.

“But after the Greeks and the Maccabees and the Romans, people still lived here, though not a lot of attention has been paid to them,” says Marion Stone, a local preservation activist.  “A lot of evidence has been found, and a lot of remains have been destroyed.”

Given the many archaeological sites already found nearby, the area should never have been zoned for development, says Stone, who urged authorities to stop the destruction of the early Islamic town and make it accessible to visitors instead.

“This is a special site, it’s an amazing place, and to destroy something like that is just criminal,” Stone says.

The salvage dig, and the planned construction, only cover a small part of the much larger site, which will remain not only untouched by private development – but unexcavated, says Doron Ben Ami, the IAA’s chief archaeologist for Israel’s central district.

“Every excavation is a destructive act,” Ben Ami says. “The moment you dig, even if you don’t release the land for development, the remains themselves begin to suffer from erosion processes, so the less we dig, the more antiquities are preserved.”

As for the area that was investigated, it was well documented to preserve as much knowledge of it as possible, Ben Ami says.

Most of the remains will be covered and built over so that, theoretically, they might be unearthed again by future generations once the planned logistics center is no longer in use, he says. “This is the balance we have to find between preserving archaeological sites while being aware of the development needs of the country,” says Ben Ami. “The easiest thing to do would be to say categorically: ‘No, everything is important, don’t touch anything.’ It’s more complicated is to find a way to say yes, with certain limitations.”

But archaeologists interviewed by Haaretz say cases like Nebi Zechariah have less to do with a delicate balancing act between the needs of the past and the present, and more to do with the underlying problems of the system governing salvage excavations in Israel.

The Israel Antiquities Authority is underfunded and would never be able to conduct digs at the myriad of building projects across the country on its meager state budget, explains Dahari, the former IAA deputy chief.

These excavations, including the one at Nebi Zechariah, are instead funded by the developer, creating an instant conflict of interest for the archaeological authorities.

While the IAA theoretically has the right to prevent works from going ahead, its financial dependence on the developers means there is pressure on it to release the land as quickly as possible, Dahari says.

Almost nothing gets saved

One might think that the Israeli authorities would favor preserving Jewish sites over Christian or Muslim ones. But when it comes to salvage excavations, there seems to be little room to save sites linked to any particular group or time period, says Yonatan Mizrahi, an archaeologist and CEO of Emek Shaveh, an NGO that works to protect cultural heritage. In almost all cases, the same fate awaits anything from prehistoric remains to coveted ruins from the time of the First or Second Temple.

“From the beginning, it is well understood by all parties that, after the excavations, the land will be released for development regardless to what is found at the site,” Mizrahi says.

It takes a really unique find to stop the bulldozers in their tracks. This happened, for example, when road works led to the discovery of a spectacular Roman-era mosaic in Lod in 1996.

But these exceptions are few and far between, says Mizrahi. “The IAA has no policy regarding what to save and what not to save, how to protect unique sites that are found,” he says. “Development is destroying antiquities and we haven’t prioritized any places to save.”

Where the cultural identity of a discovery does come into play is in mobilizing public pressure that can sometimes push authorities and developers to adapt their plans to the finds or give up on construction altogether, he notes. This may yet be the case with the First Temple remains that were recently uncovered in a huge salvage dig in Beit Shemesh ahead of a road expansion and which are now at the center of a roaring debate between scholars, residents and conservationists.

But there is much less interest in saving sites from the early Islamic period like Nebi Zechariah. “In Beit Shemesh they found a layer from the 7th century B.C.E., from the First Temple period, so people are now saying ‘this is part of our history.’” Mizrahi notes. “In cases like Nebi Zechariah there is much less pressure: no one says ‘it’s part of our history’ – but it is very much part of our history as well.”

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