Christian Zionist Movie Debuts…As Jewish Writer Debunks Myths About Six-Day War

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[ Ed. note – A movie produced by CBN, the Christian Zionist broadcast outlet, has just debuted in theaters. Entitled “In Our Hands: The Battle for Jerusalem,” it is touted as a “docudrama” and purports to relate the history of the 1967 Six-Day War, particularly with regard to the capture of East Jerusalem. Christian Zionists, of course, view this as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy, and the photo above is a scene from the film portraying Israeli soldiers praying at the Western Wall following the capture.

The movie’s release obviously was timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War. Here is the official trailer:

I have not seen the entire film. My biggest question is whether it makes any mention at all of the Israeli attack upon the USS Liberty. (Rotten Tomatoes has not yet posted a review, at least as of this writing.) Maybe I’ll go see the film just to find out the answer. The assault upon the Liberty occurred June 8, 1967 and resulted in the deaths of 34 US sailors. You can go here to see a list of their names along with their photos and bios. In addition to those killed, 174 were wounded. Israel has always claimed the attack was an accident. Many others, including the survivors, say it was deliberate. If the CBN has made a movie glorifying Israel’s capers in the Six-Day War, without even mentioning the Liberty attack and the deaths of 34 US servicemen that occurred in the same conflict, that would be unfortunate–although “unfortunate” is perhaps not nearly a strong enough word.

In any event, glorifying Israel does appear very much the purpose behind the film. “A story of impossible odds,” the trailer describes it. The official website offers the following elaboration:

For centuries, their nation had been in exile. For a generation, they had been without access to their ancestral city. For six days, surrounded by enemies, Israel stood alone … and changed history.

A considerably less mythical, and more reality-based, perspective on the Six-Day War is offered by Michael Lesher, who says the conquest of East Jerusalem is not something Jews should be proud of. On the contrary, Lesher views the Western Wall as a “place of shame.” Another question: Does the CBN “docudrama” mention that after East Jerusalem was seized, the Israeli Army demolished the homes of some 600 Palestinians in order to clear space next to the Western Wall for a plaza to accommodate tourists? I’m guessing probably not on that one either. But this is discussed by Lesher, who calls the wall and the plaza next to it a “crime scene.”

He also explodes the myth about Israel being “surrounded by enemies” and facing “impossible odds” at the outset of the war. The reality is that “Egypt was not ready for a war, and Nasser did not want a war.” This, at any rate, was the assessment of former Mossad Chief Meir Amit, who Lesher quotes. The additional reality, again getting beyond the myth, is that the Six-Day war was not a case of Israel “defending itself”; it was a war of aggression waged by Israel against its neighbors. Yet “popular mythology dies hard,” as the writer puts it. Indeed. In order to help perpetuate the myth, “Jerusalem Day” has been established as a national holiday in Israel and is now celebrated each year…and now CBN, for its own religious reasons, seems to be trying to further that cause.

Lesher’s article was posted a few days ago at Mondoweiss. ]

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Wall of Shame

By Michael Lesher

It’s not easy for a religious Jew to feel civilized these days. On the streets near occupied Nablus, an Orthodox Jewish settler, earlocks waving, has just been seen handing out candy to celebrate the fatal shooting of an unarmed 23-year-old Palestinian last Thursday–whose apparent crime was getting in the way of another settler’s car. Meanwhile, one of Israel’s top politicians is publicly blaming the young Palestinian for the bullet that killed him: “Any one of us, as a parent, as a citizen, would have acted” as the gunman did, said Education Minister Naftali Bennett, another yarmulke-wearing Jew, while the Orthodox rabbinate looked on in approving silence.

After all, it’s almost “Jerusalem Day”–Israel’s annual orgy of self-congratulation over its seizure of East Jerusalem, and the West Bank, 50 years ago–and in the spirit of the day, “religious” Jews seem determined to prove Bennett’s point. Occupation? No problem. Ethnic cleansing? Fine with us. We’re all settlers now. Savagery has gone mainstream.

So please do not expect any kind words from me over the latest attempt to distract newspaper readers from the advancing flood of Israeli apartheid–I mean, the spat over whether or not Donald Trump thinks the Western Wall is in Israel. Not that The Donald–who has referred to Belgium as “a beautiful city”–is anyone’s idea of an authority on geography. The real question is why anyone would think the retaining wall of the Second Temple complex, built by Herod (not Solomon) as part of an urban renewal project meant to broadcast his own glory, was worth a war.

For that matter, who could imagine that this pile of stones, or anything like it, would ever justify 50 years of military occupation?

I know, I know. I’ve seen and heard all the kitsch there is about that spot–including the impromptu consecration of a war zone by Rabbi Shlomo Goren on June 7, 1967. Is this really supposed to be impressive? Heavily armed Israeli soldiers recited a blessing of thanksgiving when they reached the Western Wall, having just seized another piece of Palestinian property for the Jewish State. Yet the Talmud rules that a Jew who sees that site must tear his clothes in mourning for the ruined Temple–hardly a triumphal gesture. The breathless sentimentality with which Israeli propaganda has invested this bit of stolen architecture is as untraditional as it is vulgar.

Nor did anyone, before the advent of Zionism, consider the Wall a proper place for communal Jewish worship. To quote Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo, “The Kotel was never a synagogue; nor should it ever become one.”

In fact, wondering aloud whether “we Jews” have “gone mad,” that honest Orthodox scholar has argued that we “must free the Western Wall of all denominations and abolish all synagogue services at the site, including bar and bat mitzva celebrations” so that the site can be reserved “solely for individual prayer and meditation, just as our ancestors treated it throughout our long history.”

I say amen; I would only add that, first and foremost, the property should be restored to its rightful owners–the indigenous Palestinian population–honoring the ethical principles that animated those same Jewish ancestors.

Yet popular mythology dies hard. When I wrote a column a year ago critical of “Jerusalem Day” festivities, the Jewish periodical the Forward was kind enough to publish it–for which I am grateful. But without my knowledge the editors rewrote a sentence, softening my insistence that the conquest of East Jerusalem shouldn’t be granted any sort of religious status. “Access to the holy sites is worth celebrating,” the revised passage reads, “but it wasn’t a miracle.”

Indeed it wasn’t. But allow me to add–for this is my actual opinion — that “access to the holy sites” isn’t worth celebrating either, if “access” means military conquest. (As early as April 1949, Jordan agreed to grant access to the religious Jewish sites in East Jerusalem, refusing to implement the agreement only when it became clear that Israel would not repatriate any of the refugees it had driven into Jordan during the war.)

I’m also repelled by the implication that “access to the holy sites” means only Jewish sites, and only access by Jews. Israel’s arbitrary and often brutal curtailment of Palestinian worship at the mosque on the same ground is a matter of record, but evidently this is not supposed to figure in the public discourse about the “reunification of Jerusalem,” as Israel’s continued occupation is typically described in Jewish media.

Speaking of Jewish media, I cannot discuss Jerusalem Day without mentioning the outright fraud that gets recycled at this time each year. In 2015, in honor of the occasion,Times of Israel blog contained this litany of myths-as-facts:

“Forty eight years ago…Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon amassed forces on their borders, getting ready to storm the Jewish State and destroy her for good. Radio broadcasts in Israel and abroad were full of the same grim tidings – cries by Arab leaders for the Jews to be driven into the Mediterranean Sea…and the especially terrifying declaration by Israeli rabanim [rabbis] that every public park in the country would be a graveyard, in an effort to prepare for the bloody onslaught.”

In fact, as scholars like Norman Finkelstein have decisively shown, the two Egyptian divisions in the Sinai (the only ones seriously in question) remained in a defensive posture, as Israel’s Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin reported at the time, and in any case “would not have been enough to unleash an offensive.” Mossad chief Meir Amit similarly concluded weeks before Israel’s attack that “Egypt was not ready for a war, and Nasser did not want a war.” Besides, both Israeli and U.S. intelligence experts predicted that even in the unlikely event that several Arab countries attacked in concert, Israel would easily defeat them all within ten days. Israel’s claim that it faced serious danger in 1967 was “a bluff,” according to General Mattityahu Peled, one of the architects of the Israeli assault.

Knowing all this, how can any decent Jew celebrate Jerusalem Day, the anniversary of that violent “bluff”? Or exult at its tragic epicenter, the Western Wall?

For the record, I visited the famous Wall on the first night of my one visit to Israel some years ago. I was unsettled by the theme-park look of the place – the beaming floodlights, the polished stone “plaza” built to accommodate crowds of tourists – and by the proximity of the elevated parapet marking off the Al-Aqsa mosque, where in 1990 Israeli soldiers massacred some 18 unarmed worshipers. Only afterward did I realize that I had literally been standing on a crime scene…

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Israel Tutors Children in Fear and Loathing

Nazareth

A display of Israeli-style community policing before an audience of hundreds of young schoolchildren was captured on video last week. Were the 10-year-olds offered road safety tips, advice on what to do if they got lost, or how to report someone suspicion hanging around the school?

No. In Israel, they do things differently. The video shows four officers staging a mock anti-terror operation in a park close to Tel Aviv. The team roar in on motorbikes, firing their rifles at the “terrorist”.

As he lies badly wounded, the officers empty their magazines into him from close range. In Israel it is known as “confirming the kill”. Everywhere else it is called an extrajudicial execution or murder. The children can be heard clapping.

It was an uncomfortable reminder of a near-identical execution captured on film last year. A young army medic, Elor Azaria, is seen shooting a bullet into the head of an incapacitated Palestinian in Hebron. A military court sentenced him to 18 months for manslaughter in February.

There has been little sign of soul-searching since. Most Israelis, including government officials, call Azaria a hero. In the recent religious festival of Purim, dressing up as Azaria was a favourite among children.

There is plenty of evidence that Israel’s security services are still regularly executing real Palestinians.

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem denounced the killing last week of a 16-year-old Jerusalem schoolgirl, Fatima Hjeiji, in a hail of bullets. She had frozen to the spot after pulling out a knife some distance from a police checkpoint. She posed no threat, concluded B’Tselem, and did not need to be killed.

The police were unrepentant about their staged execution, calling it “a positive, empowering” demonstration for the youngsters. The event was hardly exceptional.

In communities across Israel this month, the army celebrated Israel’s Independence Day by bringing along its usual “attractions” – tanks, guns and grenades – for children to play with, while families watched army dogs sicking yet more “terrorists”.

In a West Bank settlement, meanwhile, the army painted youngsters’ arms and legs with shrapnel wounds. Blood-like liquid dripped convincingly from dummies with amputated limbs. The army said the event was a standard one that “many families enjoyed”.

The purpose of exposing children at an impressionable age to so much gore and killing is not hard to divine. It creates traumatised children, distrustful and fearful of anyone outside their tribe. That way they become more pliant soldiers, trigger-happy as they rule over Palestinians in the occupied territories.

A few educators have started to sense they are complicit in this emotional and mental abuse.

Holocaust Memorial Day, marked in Israeli schools last month, largely avoids universal messages, such as that we must recognise the humanity of others and stand up for the oppressed. Instead, pupils as young as three are told the Holocaust serves as a warning to be eternally vigilant – that Israel and its strong army are the only things preventing another genocide by non-Jews.

Last year Zeev Degani, principal of one Israel’s most prestigious schools, caused a furore when he announced his school would no longer send pupils on annual trips to Auschwitz. This is a rite of passage for Israeli pupils. He called the misuse of the Holocaust “pathological” and intended to “generate fear and hatred” to inculcate extreme nationalism.

It is not by accident that these trips – imparting the message that a strong army is vital to Israel’s survival – take place just before teenagers begin a three-year military draft.

Increasingly, they receive no alternative messages in school. Degani was among the few principals who had been inviting Breaking the Silence, a group of whistle-blowing soldiers, to discuss their part in committing war crimes.

In response, the education minister, Naftali Bennett, leader of the settlers’ party, has barred dissident groups like Breaking the Silence. He has also banned books and theatre trips that might encourage greater empathy with those outside the tribe.

Polls show this is paying off. Schoolchildren are even more ultra-nationalist than their parents. More than four-fifths think there is no hope of peace with the Palestinians.

But these cultivated attitudes don’t just sabotage peacemaking. They also damage any chance of Israeli Jews living peacefully with the large minority of Palestinian citizens in their midst.

Half of Jewish schoolchildren believe these Palestinians, one in five of the population, should not be allowed to vote in elections. This month the defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman, called the minority’s representatives in parliament “Nazis” and suggested they should share a similar fate.

This extreme chauvinism was translated last week into legislation that defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people around the world, not its citizens. The Palestinian minority are effectively turned into little more than resident aliens in their own homeland.

Degani and others are losing the battle to educate for peace and reconciliation. If a society’s future lies with its children, the outlook for Israelis and Palestinians is bleak indeed.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.

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Israeli Police Kills A Jordanian Man After An Alleged Stabbing Attack In Jerusalem

Source

May 13, 2017

Israeli police officers killed, on Saturday afternoon, a Jordanian citizen in the Chains Gate area, in Jerusalem’s Old city, after he reportedly stabbed and wounded a police officer.

The Israeli Police said the man approached police officers and stabbed one in the upper-part of his body, moderately wounding him.

Israeli daily Haaretz said an officer, in his late thirties, was injured and was evacuated to Shaare Zedek Medical Center, after suffering moderate wounds, but remained fully conscious and in a stable condition, and later confirmed his death.

It added that the Police “neutralized the assailant,” a term largely used by various Israeli media agencies, to indicate that the person was killed, or seriously wounded.

A video from the scene shows the slain person’s body on the ground, and a wounded Israeli police officer, with his gun drawn, standing nearby.

The Maan News Agency quoted Israeli Police spokeswoman Luba Samri, stating that the “attacker approached officers and stabbed a one.”

Samri added that the attacker is a 57 year old Jordanian man who entered the country a week ago on a tourist Visa, and added that the police is still investigating his background, including the reason of his visit.

The slain Jordanian man was later identified as Mohammad Abdullah al-Kasaji.

Following the incident, the police and soldiers closed Bab al-Amoud and Bab As-Sahera, leading to the Old City, and pushed dozens of officers into the area.

The soldiers also assaulted many Palestinians, and abducted one, before moving him to a nearby police station.

The abducted man, identified as Omran Rajabi, works as a guard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and was taken prisoner after the fatal shooting, when he started filming soldiers who were attacking a Palestinian woman, trying to enter the mosque.

Palestine news

‘Israel’ to Upgrade Fence on Part of Lebanese Border

Local Editor

After a Lebanese civilian managed to cross unnoticed into the ‘Israeli’-occupied territories last week, the Zionist War Ministry is set to begin installing a new fence along two stretches and a number of kilometers of the Lebanese border.

 

‘Israel' to Upgrade Fence on Part of Lebanese Border


The fence will be similar to what the occupation entity has on Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian frontiers.

One area is near settlement of Rosh Hanikra on the Mediterranean coast, and the other is near Metula. The two areas in the $28 million project have been deemed a top priority by the Zionist Northern Command.

The barrier is to be built in two segments of the Palestine-Lebanon border, the Zionist army and ministerial sources told Haaretz.

The plans call for a six-meter-high fence to be built in some sections, similar to what has been installed on the ‘Israeli’-Egyptian border, the Golan border and over 30 kilometers of the Jordanian border.

The fence is to be made of steel and barbed wire, and to be topped with razor wire, along with other technological solutions. In some areas, concrete walls will also be installed.

One officer who served near the Lebanese border called the existing border fencing “junk,” adding that the plans for the new fence were a key response to developments such as the establishment of the Hezbollah Radwan commandos, which will be able to fight in the occupied territories, not only in Lebanon.

Following last week’s infiltration, the army said a deputy company commander had been dismissed and disciplinary action had been taken against the sector’s company commander.

This came after an investigation revealed deficiencies in the performance of the forces in the area.

Four other soldiers will face disciplinary proceedings, though the enemy’s army did not give further details.

Source: Haaretz, Edited by website team

08-05-2017 | 13:16
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Israeli War Planes Launch Missile Attack on Syrian Army in Quneitra

Sputnik

Israeli aviation launched a missile attack on Syrian army’s positions in the province of Quneitra bordering Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, a Syrian military source told Sputnik.

“Enemy warplanes of Israel launched two missiles from the occupied territory [Golan Heights] at 18:45 [local time] on one of the positions of our army. It caused material damage,” the source told Sputnik.

According to the source, the strike was carried out when the Syrian army was repelling terrorists’ attack in Quneitra.

“These actions will not stop the fight of our Armed Forces against terrorist groups which are close to Israel,” the source added.

Earlier, the IDF said that a projectile was launched from the Syrian territory and fell on the Israeli-controlled part of the Golan Heights, causing no injuries. The Israeli military did not specify whether or not the shelling from the Syrian territory was deliberate or there was an accidental overflight of a projectile or mines through a dividing line. The troops have been searching the area.

In November, the IDF said a missile believed to be launched from Syria, hit the Israeli-controlled northern Golan Heights without causing any casualties. The IDF responded with retaliatory fire.

Israel occupied the Golan Heights in the 1967 Six-Day War with Syria and annexed the territory in 1981. The international community has not recognized the Israeli annexation

‘Israel’ Announces Murder of Former Navy Commandos Chief in Thailand

Gadi Shefi

April 18, 2017

The Zionist authorities gave permission for publishing the story of murdering the former navy commandos chief who was missed 10 days ago at a hotel in Thailand.

The former commander of the Zionist naval commando “Sheetit 13” Gadi Shefi, 76, died last week in a hotel in Thailand, Israeli websites mentioned without mentioning the circumstances of the incident.

Shapir had a main military role in the Zionist warfare activities in Egypt and Lebanon, Ynet said.

Israeli Settler Makes Chicken Noises…plus Hebron Under Lockdown

Came across this on Twitter and couldn’t resist posting it. Quite a performance by an Israeli settler in the West Bank. A “flower” indeed.

Meet one of the flowers that grew up in the Illegal Colonizers outpost in the Occupied West Bank..

Also, the West Bank city of Hebron has basically been under lockdown for the entire week as the city’s Jewish population celebrates Passover. Here are a couple of articles.

In Pictures…Al-Khalil on Lockdown as Israeli Settlers and Tourists Celebrate Pesach

Since the evening of April 10th, 2017, Israeli forces have imposed increased restrictions on the Palestinians of al-Khalil as colonial settlers and Israeli tourists celebrate Pesach – or Passover – across the city. So far, homes have been occupied, checkpoints closed, and Palestinian children attacked with teargas during the week-long holiday. Preparations for the festival began early in the week as an increasing number of Israeli soldiers and military vehicles arrived in Hebron.

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Israeli Soldiers Occupy Home of Palestinian Family During Pesach, Al-Khalil

A Palestinian family living in the Old City of al-Khalil were subject to nightly home intrusions by Israeli forces throughout the week leading up to Pesach, or Passover. On Wednesday 12th April, ISM activists visited the home on Shalallah Street before staying with the family overnight to monitor the situation.

The father of the family told ISM activists how six soldiers would arrive at the house at roughly 2 am, banging aggressively on the door with their M16 rifles before forcibly making their way up to the roof of the family home. These incursions occurred several times throughout the week as the same soldiers would arrive in the middle of the night to access and occupy the roof where they would sit for just one hour before leaving again through the family home.

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