Are Democracy and Despotic Racism Compatible

 | Posted by

Are Democracy and Despotic Racism Compatible? An Analysis (12 April 2019) by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—The Israeli Model and Its American Supporters

On 25 February 2019, the Jewish American publication Forward, printed a remarkable opinion piece by Joshua Leifer. Leifer, who had worked in Israel for the anti-establishment +972 Magazine, is currently an associate editor ofDissent. His piece in the Forward was entitled “Wake Up, American Jews: You’ve Enabled Israel’s Racism for Years.”

Leifer begins by saying that the Israeli rightwing political parties have always been racist, though there was a time, back in the 1980s, when they objected to being too upfront about this. Thus, for the sake of public relations, they held their violent and despotic fringe—the Kahanists—at arm’s length. As Leifer puts it, what was frowned upon was the style rather than the substance of “explicit, violent racism.” That objection is now gone. The goal of a “Jewish supremacist state” is out in the open—an explicit political goal. And the Palestinians, including those who are Israeli citizens, are to be condemned to “forever live subjugated under military occupation, confined to isolated Bantustans, or … expelled.” Those Jews, both Israelis and diaspora Jews, who object to this process will be labeled as “traitors.”

Having established these facts on the ground, Leifer asks “how has the American Jewish establishment responded?” His answer is, they have either been silent or, more often, have actively sought to enable the power of Israel’s despotic racism. They have cooperated with, lobbied for, and raised money to underpin Israel’s racist policies. Of course, a Zionist is sure to assert that the lobbying and money are pursued for the sake of Israeli security. Yet, today’s Israeli leaders don’t define security, with the possible exceptions of Gaza and the Lebanese frontier, in terms of borders. Instead security is defined in terms of achieving and maintaining Jewish supremacy in all territory under Zionist control. This is why all of Israel’s Zionist parties have pledged never to include the token number of Arabs in the Knesset in a governing coalition.

In their effort to support Zionist Israel, America’s establishment Jewish leaders have proven themselves willing to undermine the constitutional freedoms of their own native country, as has been the case with their relentless attacks on the right of free speech as practiced in the boycott Israel movement—BDS. In the end, there can be no more convincing proof that these organizations serve as de facto agents of a foreign power, than to see how their leadership willingly discards the modern principles of civil and human rights found in the U.S. Constitution—to say nothing of international law—in order to support a state that openly pursues apartheid ends.

Leifer offers two possible reasons for why establishment Jewish organizations in the U.S. have chosen this path. The first possibility is “willful ignorance,” that is, a psychological inability to face the truth about a state that they, as American Jewish leaders, have always seen as an ultimate haven if a new Holocaust threat arises. The second possibility is that the leadership of the American Jewish organizations are themselves conscious racists when it comes to a Jewish supremacist state. According to Leifer, “No one exemplifies this better than Ambassador David Friedman, whose rhetoric—calling JStreet “worse than kapos”—mirrors the kind of rhetoric popular on the Israeli right.”

Part II—Racism Beyond the Israeli Right

This is a strong, and quite searing, condemnation of Israeli society and its American Jewish allies. Still, things can and do get worse. On 4 April 2019 the British anti-Zionist Jewish writer Tony Greenstein posted an essay entitled “There Is Nothing That Netanyahu Has Done That Labour Zionism Didn’t Do Before Him.” Greenstein begins by citing an 11 March 2019 piecein Haaretz written by Amira Haas, one of the few prominent non-Zionist Jewish journalists still working in Israel. Haas draws attention to the fact that “when Israeli governments in the 1960s and 1970s worked hard to steal Palestinian land while quoting God’s promises to atheists, they paved the way for parties promoting Jewish supremacy.” Thus, as Greenstein puts it: “It is often forgotten that it wasn’t Likud but the Israeli Labour Alignment which helped to launch the settler movement.” The remorseless absorption of Palestinian land and the oppressive treatment of its native population is not the work solely of the Israeli right wing. From the beginning, all of the major Zionist political parties, left and right, supported these policies as a way of fulfilling Zionist destiny.

Haas is unflinching in her characterization of their actions. For her, this “racist messianism” smacks of the policy of “Lebensraum” or “the urge to create living space.” Haas goes on to lament the fact that “we thought that in the end, the heads of the Labour movement would learn from the expansionist impulses of other nations. After all, they were the sons and brothers of the victims of Lebensraum.” In other words, at least in this policy of expansion and expulsion, all Israeli governing coalitions have adopted behaviors toward the Palestinians reminiscent of those practiced by the persecutors of Europe’s Jews.

Part III—The Question Answered

Considering that Israel and its supporters often proclaim that it is a Western-style democracy, and given the bit of history laid out above, we can ask if democracy and racist despotism can in fact be compatible. And, while the example of Israel serves as our backdrop for this query, we can consider the question generically. Can any democracy prove compatible with racist despotism?

Historically, the answer is an obvious yes. All that needs to happen is that a powerful group within the nation identifies itself as a privileged elite and reserves democratic procedures and privileges for itself, while condemning others to discrimination, segregation, or worse. Again, this posture has nothing to do with Jewishness. Any ethnicity or self-identified group can adopt it—based on color, religion, gender, or something else. The much-idealized ancient democracy of Athens did it based on gender and citizenship linked to birth.The United States ran as a selective democracy/racist despotism that practiced slavery until the middle of the 19th century while statutory discrimination persisted until the 1960s. Recent events indicate a revival of virulent white supremacism.

If there is a remedy to this it is in the rule of law functioning as an enforced regulatory process—one linked to a tenets of human rights. The U.S. Bill of Rights and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights are good, if incomplete models. Politics, including democratic politics, has to be constitutionally regulated to assure equity (much like economies), and the regulations have to be applied consistently until they become ingrained as natural expectations within the consciousness of the citizenry. This probably requires generations of equalitarian practice. And, even then, what you achieve is the minimizing of the infiltration of corruptive bias, and other such variants corrosive of genuine democracy, into the system. The truth is that you probably cannot eliminate the threat altogether.

Getting back to Israel: under the present circumstances, there is no reason to believe that the outcome of the recent 9 April 2019 Israeli elections would have changed the fate of either the the country’s Jews or the Palestinians. And, now that we know that Benjamin Netanyahu and his rightwing Likud Party will lead the next coalition government, it is certain that the illegal Zionist colonization of the West Bank, and its accompanying oppression, will continue apace. This, by the way, is simply the maintenance of a long-standing status quo—a conscious policy in its own right. And, it is a policy that reflects the fact that “for years, most Israelis have passively or actively allowed values of equality, justice, and yes, peace, to go by the wayside.”

So what is the legacy of Zionism? Is it the establishment of a genuine democracy in the Middle East? Is it even the realization of a haven for the world’s Jews against the next Holocaust? No, it is neither of these. It is rather the melding of an elitist pseudo-democracy with racist despotism—the realization of an elitist fortress from which Israel maintains distinctly undemocratic control of a hinterland full of conquered people. To paraphrase the odious Israeli Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked, this whole setup smells nothing like democracy. It smells to me like fascism.

About Lawrence Davidson

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

Advertisements

Palestine Report: Israeli Elections 2019

April 09, 2019

by Lynda Burstein Brayer for The Saker Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Netanyahu Rival Speaks of Possible West Bank Withdrawal

Benny Gantz

 February 6, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival in an April election has raised the possibility of pulling back from the occupied West Bank, in remarks published Wednesday that drew right-wing criticism.

Benny Gantz, the former armed forces chief of staff, spoke positively of IsraelI pullout from the Gaza Strip in 2005, in his first interview since launching his election campaign last week.

The Gaza withdrawal had been “approved by the Israeli government and implemented by the army and settlers in a painful but good way”, he told the Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

“(One should) learn from it and apply it to other places,” he said.

Gantz did not explicitly mention the West Bank in his remarks and refrained from outlining the conditions for any pullback from the Palestinian territory.

The 59-year-old launched his campaign on January 29 in a speech promising to keep the strategic Jordan Valley area of the occupied West Bank under Israeli rule, along with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and east Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Although he did not say so in the interview, Gantz could support a withdrawal from wildcat outposts that are not approved by the Israeli occupation authorities.

Gantz’s comments drew criticism from right-wing parties.

“We told you Benny Gantz would form a leftist government with the help of” MPs of the Arab-led Joint List who hold 13 seats in parliament, said a spokesman for Likud.

His remarks were also attacked by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads a newly founded ultra-nationalist formation that favors the partial annexation of the West Bank.

“Gantz has thrown off the mask and overtaken Avi Gabbay (of the centre-left Labour party)… and wants to expel Jews from their homes through a unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria (the West Bank),” Bennett said.

Since founding his party, Gantz has emerged as the most serious challenger to Netanyahu, who has been prime minister since 2009 as well as between 1996-1999.

Source: AFP

So much for the ridiculous claim that israel is a democracy: israeli Supreme Court Refuses to Allow Discussion of Full Equal Rights & ‘State of All Its Citizens’ Bill in Knesset

Israeli Supreme Court Refuses to Allow Discussion of Full Equal Rights & ‘State of All Its Citizens’ Bill in Knesset

By Adalah,

The Israeli Supreme Court early this afternoon, Sunday, 30 December 2018, dismissed the petition filed by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel on behalf of Knesset Members Jamal Zahalka, Hanin Zoabi, and Joumah Azbarga (Joint List) against the Knesset Presidium’s decision to reject their proposed bill Basic Law: State of all its Citizens. In doing so, the Supreme Court refused to even allow a discussion of equal rights and a state for all of its citizens in the Knesset.

The Knesset Presidium refused to allow the submission of the bill – which declares Israel a “state of all its citizens” – based on the claim that Israel is a Jewish state.  This bill was initiated by Zahalka, Zoabi, and Azbarga in response to the new Basic Law – The Nation State of the Jewish People, passed by the Knesset in mid-July 2018.

The judgment follows a hearing on the petition last week, Monday, 24 December 2018, during which the justices received an announcement of early elections, and the decision to dissolve the 20th Knesset.

Adalah General Director Hassan Jabareen (center with hat) speaks to journalists together with Arab members of Knesset on Monday, 24 December 2018, prior to the hearing on their petition at the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem. (Photo by Mati Milstein)

Chief Justice Hayut, who headed the three-justice panel hearing the case, hinted then that the court would consider the MKs’ petition, filed six months ago and not heard to date, as theoretical. Today, the petition was indeed dismissed for these reasons.

As the petition also attacks the constitutionality of the very bylaws used to disqualify the bill, there is no justification for the court’s decision to consider the petition as purely theoretical in nature, in Adalah’s view.

The court today chose to uphold the Knesset Presidium’s decision to prevent its own Palestinian Arab minority members from initiating a bill and a debate to promote democratic values on the basis of equality for all.

Adalah responded immediately to the court’s decision:

“This decision violates the basic right to full equality for Palestinian Arab citizens of the state. This judgment is the second in six years that the Israeli Supreme Court has decided to uphold the Knesset Presidium’s authority to prevent Arab MKs from submitting bills and initiating debate that challenges Israel’s character as a state of the Jewish people only. In both of these cases, the court exploited the announcement of early elections as a justification to dismiss these cases.

“This petition confronts a matter of principle – the right to equality and a state for all its citizens – that will certainly remain in the public discourse and as a key political platform of Arab MKs, and it is not expected to change.”

Adalah’s General Director Hassan Jabareen and Adalah Attorney Fady Khoury represented the Arab MKs in this case.

The original source of this article is Adalah

Palestinian Bedouin Village Braces for Forcible Transfer as israel (Apartheid State) Seeks to Split West Bank in Half

Palestinian Bedouin XXX washes dishes at her home in the village of Al-Khan Al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018
Photo: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

A Palestinian Bedouin Village Braces for Forcible Transfer as Israel Seeks to Split the West Bank in Half

Photo: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

Rayyah has lived in Khan al-Ahmar all of her 47 years. She raised nine children there, and 24 grandchildren; one more is on the way. Her family and neighbors, members of a Bedouin community known as the Jahalin, found refuge on this scorched patch of rocks and dust in the 1950s, after they were expelled from the land they had inhabited for generations, in the Negev desert, following the establishment of the Israeli state. The land Khan al-Ahmar stands on was under Jordanian control when the Jahalin arrived. Today, this smatter of tin roofs and tarps sits on the side of a highway in the occupied West Bank, surrounded by a fast-growing ring of Israeli settlements, which — while illegal — have become de facto suburbs of Jerusalem.

The village, which is home to less than 200 people and where the only building with walls is a school made of mud and old tires, has become the latest front line in a conflict over land that for decades has determined the fates of Palestinians like the Jahalin. Israel wants the village razed, its residents evicted, and their land annexed to its ever-expanding settlements. Khan al-Ahmar residents say they are not going anywhere and have been able to rally remarkable international support around their cause, delaying demolition through a yearslong legal battle that remains nonetheless stacked against them.

While Khan al-Ahmar’s plight is hardly unique, what is exceptional about the embattled community — which is surrounded by the illegal settlements of Kfar Adumim, Ma’ale Adumim, Alon, and Nofei Prat — is its position as one of the last-standing obstacles in the way of a decadesold plan to establish a contiguous Jewish presence between the West Bank and Jerusalem.

A picture shows the interior of a house at the Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018
A picture shows the interior of a house at the Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018

A picture shows the interior of a house at the Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018

The interiors of homes in Khan al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018.

Photo: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

On August 1, Israel’s Supreme Court confirmed an earlier ruling authorizing the village’s razing but temporarily delayed demolition, giving the Israeli government five days to come up with more suitable relocation plans than those it had previously offered — near a dump, and without any land the Bedouins could use to graze their animals.A day after the deadline, on August 7, the government proposed moving Khan al-Ahmar residents to temporary tents before relocating them again to a new site south of Jericho along with other Bedouin communities facing demolition — but only on the condition that they would leave Khan al-Ahmar voluntarily. Israel forcibly removed other Jahalin Bedouin communities in the late 1990s, and while violent evictions of individual Palestinian families have continued since then, Israeli officials have tried to steer clear of large forcible transfers — an ugly spectacle, as well as a war crime.

In a statement, Tawfiq Jabareen, an attorney representing Khan al-Ahmar, rejected the proposal, which he said proved that “the plan of the state of Israel is to evacuate all Palestinian Bedouin and move them near Area A,” closer to areas under the Palestinian Authority, “in order to expand the Jewish settlements in places that will be emptied of Palestinians.” Khan al-Ahmar residents have made clear that they have no plans to leave their homes, making forcible eviction a likely outcome.

“The Bedouins are used to being in the sun, they have lived their whole life in the sun. If Israel demolishes their homes, they’ll stay here anyway,” Eid Abu Khamis, Khan al-Ahmar’s leader, told The Intercept. “If they put up a boundary — a meter away from it, this is where all the women and all the children of the community will stay.”

“If the children die from the heat, I didn’t demolish their homes, they did.”

A picture shows a the outside of a Palestinian Bedouin house at the Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018

The outside of a Palestinian Bedouin house in Khan al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018.

Photo: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

A Strategic Wedge

Israeli authorities routinely demolish homes built without permits — which are nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain — and often use demolitions as collective punishment against the families of Palestinians who attempt attacks against Israelis. In July, Israel demolished a daycare and a women’s community center in Jabal al Baba, another Bedouin community outside Jerusalem, as well as several homes in the village of Abu Nawwar, near the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, leaving 64 people, mostly children, homeless.

map-2-03-1534001372

Map: Soohee Cho

But Khan al-Ahmar sits in a uniquely strategic position close to what Israel refers to as “E1” — an area it intends to expand to create spatial continuity between the West Bank settlements and Jerusalem. So far, those plans have mostly stalled following international pressure, but advocates fear Khan-al Ahmar’s demolition will be the first step toward implementing that plan, which would further fragment Palestinian areas, isolating Palestinian-majority East Jerusalem and splitting the occupied West Bank in half.

In the 1970s, when Israel expropriated the area surrounding Khan al-Ahmar, Uri Ariel, a founder of the Kfar Adumim settlement and today the country’s minister of agriculture and rural development, made no secret the move was part of a plan to establish “a Jewish corridor from the sea, through Jerusalem, to the Jordan river, which will put a wedge in the territorial continuity of Arab inhabitation between Judea and Samaria” — the names used by Israel to refer to the occupied West Bank.

“This is a particularly strategic wedge because it’s in the narrowest part of the West Bank, and because it will complete the process of isolating East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank,” said Amit Gilutz, a spokesperson for the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, pointing to Khan al-Ahmar on a map dissected by an intricate pattern of current and planned separation barriers and settlements, and Palestinian areas under various forms of Israeli control.

“It’s fragmenting the society itself,” he added, noting that Israel can easily control isolated Palestinian enclaves by blocking access to their entrance and cutting them off entirely. “From a control perspective, that is very efficient, because if you want to disconnect their access, all you need is a military jeep. You put the thing on the road and that’s it.”

Israeli workers place container houses near the town of Al-Eizariyah in the occupied West Bank near East Jerusalem on July 9, 2018, to absorb residents of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar who are set to be evicted from their homes. - Khan al-Ahmar, which Israeli authorities say was illegally constructed and the supreme court in May rejected a final appeal against its demolition, is located near several Israeli settlements along a road leading to the Dead Sea. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP) (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli workers place container houses near the town of Al-Eizariyah in the occupied West Bank on July 9, 2018, to absorb residents of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, who are set to be evicted.

Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images

The plan to force the Bedouins out so the settlements can expand is hardly a secret: In May, days after a court largely made up of settlers upheld demolition orders against Khan al-Ahmar, the Israeli government approved the construction of a new neighborhood in Kfar Adumim, “reaching 500 meters from my home,” Abu Khamis told The Intercept.Israel argues that Khan al-Ahmar’s school and homes are illegal because they were built without permits or an approved zoning plan — hiding behind a façade of legality the reality that Palestinians have virtually no access to either, and that what is illegal is the Israeli occupation of their land. Since it occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967, Israel has declared 347,000 acres of occupied territory — nearly a quarter of the West Bank — as state land. But 99.7 percent of the state land Israel has allocated for public use so far — some 167,000 acres — has gone toward the development of illegal Israeli settlements, the watchdog group Peace Now recently learned through a public records request. A meager 0.24 percent of that land was allocated to Palestinians.

After the Oslo Agreements, in the 1990s, the West Bank was divided into Areas A and B, which are under the limited control of the Palestinian Authority, and Area C, under exclusive Israeli military control. While the arrangement was supposed to be temporary, Israel has effectively treated Area C as its expansion grounds — and some 400,000 Israelis live in illegal settlements there, protected by the military. With Palestinian chances of obtaining building permits in Area C “slim to none,” according to analysis by B’Tselem, most have given up on the process altogether.

There are more than 150 Palestinian communities in Area C without zoning plans and therefore at constant risk of expulsion, including 12 — some 1,400 people — around Khan al-Ahmar, according to B’Tselem. But while Bedouins living in the area around Jerusalem are particularly vulnerable, similar efforts to cut off Palestinian areas of the West Bank are also underway in the Jordan Valley and the South Hebron Hills. “What Israel wants and has been striving toward very consistently is maximum land under its control, minimum Palestinians on it,” said Gilutz. “For the most part, Israel has been creating this coercive environment, trying to force people off of their land as if by their wish, while avoiding the textbook example of a forcible transfer, which is clearly a war crime.”

Palestinian Bedouin men sit together at the Al-Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018.

Palestinian Bedouin men sit together in Khan al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018.

Photo: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

“They Want to Scare Us”

Israeli efforts to make life in Khan al-Ahmar so difficult that its residents leave of their own volition started when the nearby settlement of Kfar Adumim was built in the early 1980s. The settlers took over areas the Bedouins had used to graze their animals. If sheep or donkeys wandered into the settlement, settlers would take them and sell them back to the Bedouins, Rayya said last month, surrounded by some of her daughters and grandchildren. “If we went too close, they started shooting.”

Rayyah spoke to The Intercept from her home — three shacks of tin, tarps, and scrap wood she shares with her large family. Like many Palestinians in Area C, Khan al-Ahmar residents are not allowed to put up new structures or bring in construction material, so when Rayyah’s sons got married or new children were born, everyone squeezed into the structures they had already built, even though they, too, are subject to demolition. “If I put something up, they’ll come and destroy it,” she said, adding that a drone flies over the village every day, photographing anything new that residents may have built.

Recently, Israeli officials came into the village and confiscated solar panels that an aid organization had donated. Then last month, they came in with bulldozers and leveled the areas between tents and huts into a dusty road that residents speculate will be used by the army when it comes to drag them away. Tensions flared that day, and several residents, including an 18-year-old girl, were arrested. Since then, the Israeli military has kept a close eye on the village. “We can’t sleep. Maybe they’re not doing anything, but their presence there, it’s creating tension,” said Rayyah. “They come because they want to make us leave, they want to scare us.”

Palestinian Bedouin children are seen at the school in the Al-Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018.
Palestinian Bedouin children are seen at the school in the Al-Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018.

Palestinian Bedouin children at the school in Khan al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018.Photos: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

Rayyah was particularly worried about the school, which a group of Italian volunteers built in 2009 with the help of kids from the village, who painted their classrooms with hand prints and drawings of books and flowers. Before the school was built, children from Khan al-Ahmar would leave at 6 a.m. and walk on the highway waiting for rides, or trek to schools in Jericho. “It was very difficult for them,” said Rayyah. “They’d have to wait in the sun for a long time.”

Israeli authorities have destroyed or confiscated at least 12 Palestinian school buildings since 2016, and 44 Palestinian schools, including Khan al-Ahmar’s, are currently at risk of demolition, Human Rights Watch found. Over a third of Palestinians living in Area C don’t have access to primary schools and are not allowed by Israeli authorities to build any — leaving 10,000 children to attend schools in tents or other temporary structures with no heat or air conditioning.

But the mud walls of the school in Khan al-Ahmar — a sign of permanence — bothered neighboring settlers, and shortly after it was built, representatives of Kfar Adumim and the pro-settlement group Regavim petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court to enforce earlier demolition orders against the village. As the Supreme Court first upheld and then froze authorization to demolish Khan al-Ahmar, life in the small community carried on between hope and fear, while delegations of activists and Palestinian and foreign officials made trips to visit.

Abu Khamees (C) speaks during a press conference at the Al-Khan Al-Ahmar village on July 26, 2018.

Eid Abu Khamis, center, speaks during a press conference in Khan al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018.

Photo: Samar Hazboun for The Intercept

In July, addressing several foreign diplomats under a large tent in Khan al-Ahmar, Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, called Israel’s plans to demolish the village and evict its residents “ethnic cleansing.” “You begin with evicting and demolishing the community of Khan al-Ahmar, and one day you may destroy Dura, Jericho, parts of Ramallah,” he added, referring to some of the West Bank’s most populous cities.Bedouins live largely removed from the rest of Palestinian society, and it took some time for Palestinian leaders to take on Khan-al Ahmar’s cause. “Lately they have woken up,” said Abu Khamis, adding that Israel’s plan to dissect the West Bank would effectively put a nail in the coffin of Palestinian plans to build a state there. “They understand that if this corridor is built, then their government is over.”

To Rayyah, talk of a Palestinian state in the West Bank seems far removed from the reality at hand — the only home she has ever known slated for demolition, and her 24 grandchildren facing displacement.

“We have faith. Without faith we can’t go on,” she said. “We’re going to pray. And we’ll stay.”

Top photo: Rayyah washes dishes at her home in the village of Khan al-Ahmar on July 26, 2018.

Jewish Nation-State Law: Why israel (Apartheid State) Was Never a Democracy

Jewish Nation-State Law: Why Israel Was Never a Democracy

Jewish Nation-State Law: Why Israel Was Never a Democracy

There is no escaping the moral imperative now. Those who insist on supporting Israel must know that they are supporting an unabashed Apartheid regime.

The head of the Arab Joint List Alliance at the Israeli Knesset (Parliament), Aymen Odeh, described the passing of the racist Jewish Nation-State Law as “the death of our democracy.”

Did Odeh truly believe that, prior to this law, he had lived in a true democracy? Seventy years of Israeli Jewish supremacy, genocide, ethnic cleansing, wars, sieges, mass incarceration, numerous discriminatory laws, all aimed at the very destruction of the Palestinian people should have given enough clues that Israel was never a democracy, to begin with.

The Jewish Nation-State Law is merely the icing on the cake. It simply gave those who argued, all along, that Israel’s attempt at combining democracy with ethnic supremacy was racism masquerading as democracy, the munition they needed to further illustrate the point.

There is no escaping the moral imperative now. Those who insist on supporting Israel must know that they are supporting an unabashed Apartheid regime.

The new law, which was passed after some wrangling on January 19, has divorced Israel from any claim, however untrue, to being a democratic state.

In fact, the law does not mention the word ‘democracy’ in its wording, not even once. Reference to the Jewish identity of the state, however are ample and dominant, with the clear exclusion of the Palestinian people from their rights in their historic homeland

The state of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people …

  • “The actualization of the right of national self-determination in the state of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.
  • “The state will labor to ensure the safety of sons of the Jewish people …
  • “The state will act to preserve the cultural, historical and religious legacy of the Jewish people among the Jewish diaspora,” and so on.

 

But most dangerous of all is the stipulation that “the state views Jewish settlement as a national value and will labor to encourage and promote its establishment and development.”

True, illegal Jewish settlements already dot the Palestinian land in the West Bank and Jerusalem; and a de facto segregation already exists in Israel itself. In fact, segregation is so deep and entrenched, even maternity wards in Israeli hospitals separate between mothers, based on their race.

The above stipulation, however, will further accelerate segregation and cement Apartheid, making the harm not merely intellectual and political, but physical as well.

The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Adalah, has documented in its ‘Discriminatory Laws Database’ a list of over 65 Israeli laws that “discriminate directly or indirectly against Palestinian citizens in Israel and/or Palestinian residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) on the basis of their national belonging.”

According to Adalah, “These laws limit the rights of Palestinians in all areas of life, from citizenship rights to the right to political participation, land and housing rights, education rights, cultural and language rights, religious rights, and due process rights during detention.”

While it would be accurate to argue that the Jewish Nations-state bill is the officiation of Apartheid in Israel, this realization should not dismiss the previous reality upon which Israel was founded 70 years ago.

Apartheid is not a single law, but a slow, agonizing build-up of an intricate legal regime that is motivated by the belief that one racial group is superior to all others.

Not only does the new law elevate Israel’s Jewish identity and erase any commitment to democracy, it also downgrades the status of all others. Palestinian Arabs, the natives of the land of historic Palestine upon which Israel was established, did not feature prominently in the new law at all. There was a mere stipulation made to the Arabic language, but only to downgrade it from being an official language, to a ‘special one.’

Israel’s decision to refrain from formulating a written constitution when it was founded in 1948 was not a haphazard one. Since then, it has been following a predicable model where it would alter reality on the ground to the advantage of Jews at the expense of Palestinian Arabs.

Instead of a constitution, Israel resorted to what it termed ‘Basic Laws’, which allowed for the constant formulation of new laws guided by the ‘Jewish State’s’ commitment to racial supremacy than to democracy, international law, human rights or any other ethnical value.

The Jewish Nation-State Law is itself a ‘Basic Law.’ And with that law, Israel has dropped the meaningless claim to being both Jewish and democratic. This impossible task was often left to the Supreme Court which tried, but failed, to strike any convincing balance.

This new reality should, once and for all, end the protracted debate on the supposed uniqueness of Israel’s political system.

And since Israel has chosen racial supremacy over any claim, however faint, to real democracy, western countries that have often shielded Israel must also make a choice on whether they wish to support an Apartheid regime or fight against it.

The initial statement by EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini was lackluster and feeble. “We are concerned, we have expressed this concern and we will continue to engage with Israeli authorities in this context,” she said, while renewing her commitment to the ‘two-state solution.’

This is hardly the proper statement in response to a country that had just announced its membership in the Apartheid club.

The EU must end its wishy-washy political discourse and disengage from Apartheid Israel, or it has to accept the moral, ethical and legal consequences of being an accomplice in Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

Israel has made its choice and it is, unmistakably, the wrong one. The rest of the world must now make its choice as well, hopefully the right one: standing on the right side of history—against Israeli Jewish Apartheid and for Palestinian rights.

This article was originally published at RamzyBaroud.net on July 25, 2018.

The Holocaust and its Deniers

August 02, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 18.13.01.png

By Gilad Atzmon

In the aftermath of the Holocaust, some Jewish intellectuals and humanists expressed the thought that ‘after Auschwitz Jews have to locate themselves at the forefront of the battle for humanity and against all forms of oppression.’

This is a principled and heroic ideal, but the reality on the ground has been somewhat different. Just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz, the Jewish state ethnically cleansed the vast majority of indigenous Palestinians. Two years later, in 1950, Israel’s Knesset passed the Law of Return, a racist law that distinguishes between Jews who have the right to ‘return’ to someone else’s land and the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees that were expelled by force from their villages and cities.

In the seven decades since, the Jewish State has committed every possible human rights abuse. It made Gaza into the biggest open-air prison in human history and has repeatedly dropped bombs on the most overpopulated place on earth. Recently the Jewish State deployed hundreds of snipers against unarmed Gazans who were protesting at the border. Israel killed dozens and wounded more than 13,000 Palestinians, the majority severely, with over 1,400 struck by three to five bullets.

If the Holocaust left Jews with a mission to fix the world, the Jewish State has done the opposite. Its crimes against humanity can be seen as a complete denial of the Holocaust’s message.

Some Jews who survived the Holocaust did dedicate their lives to a universal battle for a better world. Among these heroes was Hajo Meyer, a Dutch Auschwitz survivor who, for the obvious reasons, saw the similarities between his own suffering and the Palestinian plight.

In 2003 Meyer wrote The End of Judaism, accusing Israel of usurping the Holocaust to justify crimes against the Arabs. He participated in the 2011 “Never Again – For Anyone” tour. He correctly argued that Zionism predated fascism, and he also reiterated that Zionists and Fascists had a history of collaboration.

Meyer exemplified the Jewish post-Shoah humanist promise. After Auschwitz he located himself at the forefront of the fight against oppression. He fought Israel.

On Holocaust Memorial Day 2010, Meyer was invited to an event at the British Parliament which included MP Jeremy Corbyn. At the event Meyer compared Israeli racial policy to the Nuremberg laws. At the same event, Haidar Eid, a Palestinian academic from Gaza, pointed out that “the world was absolutely wrong to think that Nazism was defeated in 1945. Nazism has won because it has finally managed to Nazify the consciousness of its own victims.”

Eid didn’t ‘compare’ Zionism with Nazism, he described an ideological continuum between Nazi ideology and Israeli policy. He maintained that the racial discriminatory ideology of the Nazis was picked up by the Jewish state and has been rife in the Jewish State since then.

Yesterday MP Jeremy Corbyn was attacked by the Jewish lobby for being present at that meeting that explored these universal ethical positions. Our Labour candidate for prime minister anemically recalled that at the event in question views were expressed which he did not “accept or condone.” Corbyn even apologized “for the concerns and anxiety that this has caused.” I wonder why my preferred candidate has to express regret for being in the presence of a humanist exchange. I wonder why our next PM feels the need to disassociate himself from people who advocate ‘for the many, not the few.’

The message for the rest of us is devastating. The battle for a better world can’t be left to Corbyn alone. Needless to say, the Jewish State and its Lobby haven’t located themselves at the forefront of humanity. It is actually the Palestinians who have been pushed to the front of that frustrating struggle. Not to see that is to deny their holocaust.

 

%d bloggers like this: