Psy Group: Mossad Spy Tool

 

By The Newyorker

Hatem Bazian, a veteran pro-Palestinian activist in his fifties, lives with his family on a quiet street in North Berkeley, near the campus of the University of California, where he lectures. Early on the morning of May 10, 2017, as Bazian was about to drive his teen-age daughter to school, he noticed fliers on the windshields of cars parked on his block. At first, Bazian assumed that they were advertisements for a new movie or restaurant. When he looked more closely at the flier that had been left on his BMW sedan, he realized that it featured a photograph of his face, below a tagline that read, “He supports terror.” Bazian quickly folded up the flier so his daughter wouldn’t see it.

Born in Jordan to a father from the West Bank city of Nablus and a mother from al-Quds, Bazian has long been an outspoken champion of Palestinian causes. For decades, staunch supporters of ‘Israel’ have criticized Bazian’s activism. The incident with the fliers, though, was particularly unnerving, he told me. He rented his house and did not publicize the address. His opponents, he thought, must be following him. Later that day, Bazian, who describes himself as a proponent of nonviolent protest, reported what happened to the Berkeley police. He said that officers told him they could do nothing about the harassment.

Although it is unclear who left the fliers, internal documents from a private ‘Israeli’ intelligence firm called Psy-Group show that, at the time of the incident, the company, and possibly other private investigators, were targeting Bazian because of his leadership role in promoting the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, known as BDS Supporters of BDS urge corporations, universities, and local governments to impose economic, academic, and cultural boycotts on ‘Israel’ to protest its treatment of the Palestinians. Opponents say that the BDS movement aims to delegitimize ‘Israel’ and hobble its economy. On its Web site, the movement states that it does not advocate for or against a resolution in which ‘Israel’ continues to exist.

Psy-Group’s intelligence and influence operations, which included a failed attempt in the summer of 2017 to sway a local election in central California, were detailed in a New Yorker investigation that I co-wrote earlier this month. Before it went out of business, last year, Psy-Group was part of a new wave of private-intelligence firms that recruited from the ranks of ‘Israel’s’ secret services and described themselves as “private Mossads.” Psy-Group initially stood out among its rivals because it didn’t just gather intelligence; its operatives used false identities, or avatars, to covertly spread messages in an attempt to influence what people believed and how they behaved. In 2016, Psy-Group held discussions with the Trump campaign and others about conducting covert “influence” operations to benefit the candidate. Psy-Group’s founder and C.E.O., Royi Burstien, a veteran ‘Israeli’ intelligence officer who established the firm in 2014, told me that his talks with the Trump campaign went nowhere. The company’s posturing, however, attracted the attention of Robert Mueller, the special counsel, who has been investigating interference in the 2016 Presidential race.

Psy-Group’s operations against BDS activists on US college campuses began in February, 2016, according to internal documents describing the campaign. The company raised money in New York from Jewish-American donors and pro-‘Israel’ groups, and assured them that their identities would be kept secret. Psy-Group told them that its goal was to make it appear as though the donors were not involved in any way.

The campaign, code-named Project Butterfly, initially targeted BDS activists on college campuses in “a single US state,” which former Psy-Group employees have told me was New York. The company said that its operatives drew up lists of individuals and organizations to target. The operatives then gathered derogatory information on them from social media and the “deep” Web, areas of the Internet that are not indexed by search engines such as Google. In some cases, Psy-Group operatives conducted on-the-ground covert human-intelligence, or HUMINT, operations against their targets. ‘Israeli’ intelligence officials insist that they do not spy on Americans, a claim that is disputed by their US counterparts. ‘Israeli’ officials said, however, that this prohibition does not apply to private companies such as Psy-Group, which use discharged ‘Israel’ Occupation Forces soldiers and former members of elite intelligence units, rather than active-duty members, in operations targeting Americans.

Project Butterfly called for Psy-Group operatives to disseminate negative information about BDS activists in ways that could not be traced back to the company or its donors. The goal, according to a Psy-Group summary of the campaign, from May, 2017, was to create “a new reality in which anti-‘Israeli’ activists are exposed and forced to confront the consequences of their actions.” The campaign’s messages were designed to convince Americans that “anti-‘Israeli’ activity” equated to “terrorism,” the company told donors. A former Psy-Group employee said these so-called name-and-shame tactics were often effective at silencing individual BDS activists. “They would disappear,” the employee told me, claiming that some activists appeared to become less engaged after derogatory information about them was publicized. If an activist claimed to be a pious Muslim, operatives would look for evidence that he had behaved in ways unacceptable to many observant Muslims, such as drinking alcohol or having an affair, a former employee said. BDS leaders, however, seemed to recruit new activists quickly. The former employee likened Psy-Group’s campaign to the war on terrorism, saying, “It’s never-ending.”

During the period when Psy-Group mounted its anti-BDS campaign, several Web sites, including the now-defunct outlawbds.com, published information on the movement’s leaders and supporters. Definitively determining who was behind the sites is difficult because Psy-Group and other organizations involved in anti-BDS work used avatars and other tactics to disguise their involvement.

In an example of the deceptive practices employed by operatives involved in the campaign, an avatar who identified himself as “Alex Walker” sent an unsolicited e-mail on August 15, 2017, to an advertising-sales broker who represented several New York-based national Jewish publications. Walker claimed that a friend referred him to the broker and said that he was impressed with his services. When the broker asked for the friend’s name, Walker dodged the question. At that point, the broker, who asked not to be named, said he suspected that Walker wasn’t who he claimed to be. Walker said that he was upset about BDS and wanted the broker to place advertisements promoting outlawbds.com in the New York area. Walker said that his assistant would pay the eight-hundred-dollar fee via PayPal. The broker told me that he placed the ads and took the money despite his suspicions about Walker. “In my mind, I’m not doing anything wrong,” he said.

The outlawbds.com Web site featured short profiles of BDS activists, one of whom was Peter Moskowitz, a Jewish-American supporter of the movement. His profile contained misspellings, and, at one point, referred to him as “she.” But the site contained a piece of information that surprised Moskowitz: outlawbds.com had somehow uncovered his membership in a left-wing Jewish organization critical of ‘Israeli’ treatment of Palestinians, even though Moskowitz had not disclosed his involvement online or to many friends.

Project Butterfly was overseen by an advisory board composed of “senior ex-officials and experts from the government, security and legal sectors,” according to Psy-Group documents. The most senior of those ex-officials was Yaakov Amidror, who became Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s national-security adviser after leading a military-intelligence analysis division within the Amidror told me that before joining the board he spoke to Daniel Reisner, one of ‘Israel’s’ most prominent lawyers, and a partner at Herzog Fox & Neeman, which was Psy-Group’s outside counsel. He said that Reisner told him Psy-Group’s operations in the US against BDS activists were legal. Amidror said that he advised Psy-Group executives to insure that their operatives didn’t breach any US laws or norms while targeting American activists. “Don’t beat them. Don’t go into their houses,” Amidror said.

Amidror said that he supported the central goal of the Psy-Group operation: to “expose” BDS leaders on American university campuses and collect intelligence about any connections they might have to Palestinian organizations and other groups. “The ‘Israeli’ government was not there, and I thought that, if private people are ready to do it, it can be helped,” Amidror said. “It should be known who is behind them. It’s not known. We don’t know where the money is coming from, how far it is connected to Ramallah or Hamas.” He defended the propriety of a private ‘Israeli’ intelligence firm collecting and disseminating information on American citizens who supported BDS “If it is in the public domain, why not? I don’t see any problem,” he told me. “If someone doesn’t want it to be leaked publicly, he shouldn’t put it” on the Internet or on social media, Amidror said.

After Amidror joined the effort, Psy-Group recruited Ram Ben-Barak, who stepped down as the deputy director of Mossad in late 2011, to help as a paid strategic adviser on Project Butterfly. He worked one day a week out of Psy-Group’s offices near Tel Aviv. Ben-Barak said he believed that supporters of ‘Israel’ had no choice but to counter BDS forces in the United States. “You need to do it,” he told me. “They’re fighting against us, so we need to fight against them.”

In 2017, Psy-Group planned to expand Project Butterfly to target up to ten college campuses and other “venues,” according to the documents. In addition, the company said that its operatives would focus on between fifteen and twenty “national level individual targets.” Donors were told that Psy-Group had “mapped anti-‘Israel’ hubs” across the entity and had “executed 5 rapid-response operations nationwide,” without explaining what those operations entailed and whom they targeted.

The names of Psy-Group’s targets weren’t included in the May, 2017, summary of Project Butterfly, which was marked “confidential.” But a few days after the incident outside Bazian’s home, Burstien, Psy-Group’s founder and C.E.O, provided a report to researchers at a Washington think tank called the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, or F.D.D., which included the names of some of the BDS activists whom the ‘Israeli’ firm had targeted or planned to target. According to the Psy-Group report, the company had prepared “dossiers” on Bazian and eight other individuals. Psy-Group told the foundation that Bazian “got our full attention,” and that his dossier included “criminal background records” and other documents “obtained via HUMINT capabilities,” using the abbreviation for human-intelligence gathering. (When asked about the report, Bazian said he wasn’t sure what “criminal background records” Psy-Group was referring to. He said that he had received speeding tickets on occasion over the years, and was arrested in San Francisco, in 1991, for helping organize a student protest.)

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Psy-Group appeared to share a particular interest in the role of a pro-BDS organization that Bazian had founded, American Muslims for Palestine, or A.M.P. At a congressional hearing in 2016, F.D.D.’s vice-president for research, Jonathan Schanzer, alleged that Bazian and others working for or on behalf of A.M.P. had ties to organizations that Schanzer said have been accused of providing money to Hamas. (Bazian said that the foundation’s accusations were part of “a smear campaign that attempts to discredit anyone that deals with Palestine.” He added, “I have no ties whatsoever to any Palestinian group, faction, or organization inside occupied Palestine.”)

Psy-Group told the foundation that it planned to investigate “organizations and companies” that sponsor A.M.P.’s conferences, and singled out a Wisconsin-based Palestinian activist named Salah Sarsour, who has been in charge of organizing the conferences since 2015, as a planned target. Psy-Group alleged that Sarsour had “involvement with Hamas.” (Sarsour said that he had no relationship with the group.) Sarsour, who moved to the US from the West Bank in 1993, told me about two incidents since the summer of 2017 that made him suspect people were spying on him—although, he acknowledged, he had no hard evidence.

An F.D.D. official confirmed that the think tank met with Psy-Group, but she said the foundation “did not end up contracting with them, and their research did little to advance our own.” Psy-Group went out of business in February, 2018, as F.B.I. agents began to investigate its work. Other counter-BDS organizations have continued to operate against activists. Bazian’s page at CanaryMission.org accuses him of spreading “classic anti-Semitism,” and features several videos, including one titled “The Most Dangerous Professor in America?” “I am concerned and do take stock of the intimidation tactics,” Bazian told me. “But I am not deterred.”

Protesters confront Israel envoy at Queen’s University in Belfast

Rebel Voice

Students have long been to the fore of movements for social change across our world, and Ireland is no different. As an ambassador for the rogue state of Israel recently visited Queen’s University in Belfast, in the Irish Occupied Six Counties, he was met with strong protest by both students and their supporters. The Israeli politico and his Unionist acolytes were left in no doubt that the students in this part of Ireland will not stand quietly by when representatives from a state guilty of multiple crimes against humanity waltz brazenly into Belfast. Maith sibh to all those who demonstrated.

There were reports of “angry scenes” at Queen’s University in Belfast yesterday, as protesters “confronted” the Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev. According to the Belfast Telegraph, some 70 pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside the university, as the Israeli envoy gave a guest lecture to postgraduate students. Earlier in…

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Smear and Shekels

October 04, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Gilad Atzmon

Haaretz reveals today that Canary Mission a Hasbara defamation outlet that was established to  “spread fear among undergraduate activists, posting more than a thousand political dossiers on student supporters of Palestinian rights,” is funded by one of the largest Jewish charities in the U.S.

According to Haaretz; the Forward, an American Jewish outlet,  “has definitively identified a major donor to Canary Mission. It is a foundation controlled by the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, a major Jewish charity with an annual budget of over $100 million.” We could have guessed the funding was from such an organisation. We somehow knew that it wasn’t the Iranian government or Hamas who sent shekels to the Zionist smear factory.  Haaretz continues, “for three years, a website called Canary Mission has spread fear among undergraduate activists, posting more than a thousand political dossiers on student supporters of Palestinian rights. The dossiers are meant to harm students’ job prospects, and have been used in interrogations by Israeli security officials.”

Canary Mission is indeed a nasty operation and far from unique. We have seen similar efforts within the Jewish institutional universe for some time. It might be reasonable to opine that smear has become a new Jewish industry. Consistent with the rules of economics, many new Jewish bodies have entered the profitable business, and these outlets have competed mercilessly with each other for donations and funds.

This is precisely a variation on the battle we have seen in Britain in the last few years. Almost every British Jewish institution joined the ‘Corbyn defamation’ contest, competing over who could toss the most dirt on the Labour party and its leader. The outcome was magnificent. Last week at Labour’s annual conference, the party unanimously expressed its firm opposition to Israel and took the Palestinian’s side.

Badmouthing is not really a ‘Zionist symptom.’ Unfortunately, it is a Jewish political obsession. In between its fund raisers, it seems that Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) invests a lot of energy in smearing some of the more dedicated truth tellers. Mondoweiss, another Jewish outlet, practices this game as well.

I, myself, have been subjected to hundreds of such smear campaigns by so called ‘anti’ Zionist Jews who were desperate to stop the circulation of my work on Jewish ID politics. But these frantic efforts only served to support my thesis that the issues to do with Israel and Palestine extend far beyond the Zionist/anti debate. We had better dig into the meaning of Jewishness and its contemporary political implications.

Once again the question is, why do self-identified Jewish activists use these ugly tactics? Why do they insist upon smearing and terrorising instead of engaging in a proper scholarly and/or political debate?

Choseness is one possible answer. People who are convinced of their own exceptional nature often lack an understanding of the ‘other.’ This deficiency may well interfere with the ability to evolve a code of universal ethics.

The other answer may have something to do with the battle for funds. As we learned from Haaretz, the Canary Mission is funded by one of the richest Jewish American funds. Badmouthing has value. ‘You defame, we send money.’  Unfortunately this holds for Zionists and ‘anti’ alike.

Crucially, in this battle, Jews often oppose each other.  Haaretz writes that the Canary Mission “has been controversial since it appeared in mid-2015, drawing comparisons to a McCarthyite blacklist.” And it seems that some Zionist Jews eventually gathered that the Canary smear factory gives Jews a bad name.

Tilly Shames, who runs the campus Hillel at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, told the Forward that  “the tactics of the organisation are troubling, both from a moral standpoint, but have also proven to be ineffective and counterproductive,”

Shames said that Canary Mission’s publication of dossiers on students on her campus had led to greater support for the targeted students and their beliefs, and had spread mistrust of pro-Israel students, who were suspected of spying for Canary Mission.

This dynamic can be explained. My study of Jewish controlled opposition postulates that self-identified Jewish activists always attempt to dominate both poles of any debate that is relevant to Jewish interests. Once it was accepted that Palestine was becoming a ‘Jewish problem,’ a number of Jewish bodies became increasingly involved in steering the Palestinian solidarity movement. We then saw that they diluted the call for the Palestinian Right of Return and replaced it with watery notions that, de facto, legitimise Israel.

When it was evident that the Neocon school was, in practice, a Ziocon war machine, we saw bodies on the Jewish Left steer the anti-war call. When some British Jews realised that the Jewish campaign against Corbyn might backfire, they were astonishingly quick to form Jews for Jeremy that rapidly evolved into Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL). The battle over the next British PM became an internal Jewish debate. The rule is simple: every public dispute that is somehow relevant to Jewish interests will quickly become an exclusive internal Jewish debate.

Hillel activists see that Canary Mission is starting to backfire. Together with Forward and Haaretz, they have quickly positioned themselves at the forefront of the opposition.

Palestine, Israel & Alison Weir

 

Now Biggest Donor in all of US Politics,Sheldon Adelson Brings an israel (apartheid state) First Agenda to Washington

Source: Mint Press

WASHINGTON – According to publicly available campaign finance data, Sheldon Adelson – the conservative, Zionist, casino billionaire –is now the biggest spender on federal elections in all of American politics. Adelson, who was the top donor to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Republican Party in 2016, has cemented his role as the top political donor in the country after giving $55 million in recent months to Republicans in an effort to help the party keep its majority in both houses of Congress.

Adelson’s willingness to help the GOP stay in power is likely born out of his desire to protect the massive investment he placed in the party last election cycle. In 2016, the Republican mega-donor gave heavily to the Trump campaign and Republicans, donating $35 million to the former and $55 million to the top two Republican Super PACs — the Congressional Leadership Fund and the Senate Leadership Fund — during that election cycle.

Adelson’s decision to again donate tens of millions of dollars to Republican efforts to stay in power is a direct consequence of how successfully Adelson has been able to influence U.S. policy since Trump and the GOP rode to victory in the last election cycle.

New York Times article on Adelson, titled “Sheldon Adelson Sees a Lot to Like in Trump’s Washington,” notes that Adelson “enjoys a direct line to the president.” Furthermore, Adelson and Trump regularly meet once a month “in private in-person meetings and phone conversations” that Adelson has used to push major changes to U.S. policy that Trump has made reality — such as moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and cutting aid to Palestinian refugees, among others.

Adelson’s new title as the top spender in all U.S. elections shows that he, along with his wife, is willing to spend big to keep that direct line open in the months and years ahead. Citing sources close to the Adelsons, the Times writes that the Adelsons’ massive expenditures in federal elections this cycle are being made because he and his wife believe that “Republican control of the House and the Senate is so vital to maintaining these [right-wing and pro-Zionist] policies” and their influence in Washington and at the White House.

 

“Pleased as punch”

Sheldon Adelson Donald Trump

Sheldon Adelson arrives prior to US President Donald Trump’s speech at the Israel museum in Jerusalem, May 23, 2017. Sebastian Scheiner | AP

The fact that Adelson is “pleased-as-punch” with Trump’s performance as president should hardly come as a surprise, given that the president has fulfilled his campaign promises that were of prime importance to Adelson, while many of his other campaign promises – namely those that were populist or anti-war in nature – have rung hollow.

These Adelson-promoted policies include the moving of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which Adelson had aggressively promoted and even helped to finance, as well as removing the U.S. from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal. Another recent policy move bearing Adelson’s fingerprints is the U.S. decision to withdraw its funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), as Adelson once infamously stated that “there’s no such thing as a Palestinian.”

As previously mentioned, The New York Times recently noted that the cutting of aid to Palestinians, the U.S.’ removal from JCPOA, and the Jerusalem embassy move all resulted from private in-person meetings and phone conversations between Adelson and Trump.

Adelson has also been successful in stocking the Trump administration with politicians he has long supported as well as his confidantes. Adelson-supported appointees include Nikki Haley, long-time recipient of Adelson campaign funds who now serves as U.S. ambassador to the UN; Mike Pompeo, former CIA director who has advocated for bombing Iran and now serves as secretary of state; and John Bolton, a close confidante of Adelson, who is now national security adviser.

Adelson was also instrumental in removing Pompeo and Bolton’s predecessors, Rex Tillerson and H.R. McMaster, from their respective posts, owing to their support for JCPOA and their alleged “anti-Israel” positions. Speculation has recently grown that Secretary of Defense James Mattis may share their fate for similarly opposing Adelson’s positions.

Yet, upon closer examination, these Adelson-driven personnel and policy moves enacted by Trump seem to merely be the foundation for the so-called “Adelson agenda,” a set of convergent goals that could potentially result in thousands of deaths in the Middle East and embroil the U.S. in yet another regime-change war.

 

To show that “we mean business”

Sheldon Adelson Donor

U.S. billionaire Sheldon Adelson speaks during a press conference for the opening of Parisian Macao in Macau, Sept. 13, 2016. Kin Cheung | AP

While Adelson’s top-donor status has allowed him unprecedented access to the Trump administration and has resulted in dramatic changes to U.S. policy, there is every indication that the worst is yet to come. This is because, while the Adelson’s past efforts to influence Trump administration policy have had undeniably negative effects, they have yet to embroil the U.S. in another regime-change war or lead to the destruction of entire nations.

Yet, the current path the administration is treading at Adelson’s behest — particularly regarding Iran, Syria and Palestine — has the potential to unleash havoc in the Middle East and beyond, in a way not yet seen during Trump’s young presidency.

Indeed, one need only look at Adelson’s past statements on Iran to understand just how dangerous this man’s influence is to any prospect of peace in the Middle East.

As an example, during the negotiations that eventually led to the Iran nuclear deal, Adelson publicly advocated for a U.S. nuclear attack on Iran without provocation, so the U.S. could “impose its demands [on Iran] from a position of strength.”

More specifically, Adelson’s “negotiation” plan involved the U.S. dropping a nuclear bomb in the middle of the Iranian desert and then threatening to drop “the next one […] in the middle of Tehran” to show that “we mean business.” Tehran, Iran’s capital, is home to nearly 9 million people with 15 million more in its suburbs. Were Tehran to be attacked with nuclear weapons, an estimated 7 million would die within moments.

Furthermore, any sort of diplomatic engagement with Iran, according to Adelson, is “the worst negotiating tactic I could ever imagine.”

In other words, Adelson’s vision for engaging Iran considers the dropping of nuclear weapons on a country, including its heavily populated capital city — for no reason other than to show that the U.S. “means business” — a reasonable tactic.

With the Trump administration now applying “maximum pressure” to Iran, Adelson’s vision for engaging the Islamic Republic is of critical importance. For instance, if this “maximum pressure” campaign — currently a combination of draconian sanctions, bullying Iran’s trading partners, and covert CIA-driven regime-change operations — ultimately fails, Adelson is likely to push Trump towards more drastic “negotiation” tactics in order to force Iran into a “new treaty” designed by and for pro-Israel interests that seek to eliminate Iran as a regional player. Given that many entities– including Europe, China and Turkey — are rejecting U.S. calls to isolate Iran, this is a likely scenario that must be considered.

As his past statements make clear, Adelson — in such a case — is likely to pressure Trump to use military tactics, such as preemptive bombings, to force Iran to yield. Even though such a move would likely embroil Iran, the U.S. and potentially other important nations in a major war, Trump has shown that he has so far been willing to take Adelson’s “advice” regardless of consequences, including international backlash or even war.

 

Meet your new overlord: Adelson driving both US and Israeli policy behind the scenes

Sheldon Adelson | Jared Kushner

Sheldon Adelson, left, is helped by President Donald Trump’s White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, right, to walk across the Oval Office, July 31, 2018. Andrew Harnik | AP

Beyond the fact that Adelson’s unprecedented influence on U.S. politics is set to create much more instability than past policies he has promoted, lies another unsettling truth: for less than $150 million — pocket change for such a plutocrat — Adelson has effectively bought the presidency and Congress. His role as top political donor has given him a “direct line” to the president and unprecedented access to the Republican party, who are beholden to his desires and whims as their paymaster.

Indeed, crossing Adelson — as shown by the high-profile firings of McMaster and Tillerson — has its steep price, and obeying Adelson now seems to be the most essential step that Trump and other Republicans must follow to stay in power.

Furthermore, Adelson is also the primary driver behind Israeli policy, given his role as a key donor to and long-time backer of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his role as owner and funder of Israel’s most widely circulated Hebrew-language newspaper, Israel Hayom. Thus, when considering critiques of U.S. politics as unduly influenced by Israel, Adelson’s role is again clear as day. If Israel is driving the U.S.’s foreign policy, it is not only because Adelson wills it but because Adelson is personally driving the policies of both the U.S. and Israel.

In 2014, a Princeton University study demonstrated that — beyond any doubt — the U.S. is an oligarchy, beholden to the interests of the rich and the powerful, not the interests of the majority of its citizens. Though the presence and power of the oligarchy is nothing new, what is notable is that a massive chunk of it is now under the control of a single individual — a man who has repeatedly shown that he has no empathy or respect for human life and is entirely on board  with totalitarianism. Indeed, Adelson has made it clear time and again that he is no fan of democracy.

Americans, meet your new, unelected overlord — Sheldon Adelson — because, as long as the U.S. political system is “hostage to his fortune,” he’s not going anywhere.

Top Photo | Sheldon Adelson listens as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition, March 29, 2014, in Las Vegas. Several possible GOP presidential candidates gathered in Las Vegas as Adelson, a billionaire casino magnate, looks for a new favorite to help on the 2016 race for the White House. Julie Jacobson | AP

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

French-U.S. Professor Released From Israeli Detention

This French-American professor has just been released after he was detained by Israel for being part of the effort to block the demolition of the Bedouin village in Khan al-Ahmar in the Occupied West Bank of Palestine

Frank Roimano is eating breakfast in the West Bank community of Khan al-Ahmar after being released from Israeli police custody. (AP)

ON RT TO DISCUSS TERROR ATTACKS ON VILLAGES NEAR IDLIB, ESP #MHARDEH, ALSO WHITE HELMETS PENDING FALSE FLAG CHEMICAL HOAX

Eva Bartlett

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In studio in Damascus yesterday, discussing the tragic attack on Mhardeh on September 7, an attack with at least 9 Grad missiles, according to the local defense forces (NDF), 6 of which contained cluster sub munitions.

11 killed, over 20 injured, including critically. I interviewed Shadi Yousef Shehda, a father whose three young children were murdered, along with his wife and mother. His pain was beyond heartbreaking, while speaking to me and showing his children’s clothing and toys.

This was not the first attack on his house, but the third. Attacks on Mhardeh and other villages nearby have been incessant over the years. 117 civilian martyrs, 52 Syrian soldiers killed, according to the NDF commander.

More on that soon.

The interview:

Please also see my interview with Shadi Shahda:

 

Transcending ‘Chosenness’: Journey of an ‘ex-Jew’

September 11, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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GA: TRT published yesterday this extensive interview. Those who struggle with my ideas or fail to understand where I come from, may want to read this article. It clarifies where I stand on most relevant issues.

Transcending ‘Chosenness’: Journey of an ‘ex-Jew’

An interview By Nafees Mahmud

How a former Israeli citizen Gilad Atzmon left Israel and how becoming a musician helped him understand Palestinian suffering.

 

LONDON — If you are despised by both conservative Zionists and liberal anti-Zionists, it can only mean one thing: you are Gilad Atzmon.

Born in Israel in 1963 into a Zionist household, he saw his birthplace as the Jewish promised land and says he was expected to serve and cement the Israeli ideology of Jewish supremacy.

However, at age 17, he was mesmerised by the sounds of African American jazz musician Charlie Parker. As a passionate Israeli, this challenged what he’d believed up until that point: only Jews produce greatness.

Serving as a paramedic and musician in the Israeli military during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, he witnessed the immense suffering of Arabs.

At this point, he says, he began to view life “from an ethical, rather than a Zionist point of view.”

Years later he moved to Britain to study philosophy and launched his career as a jazz musician. Today, he attempts to enlighten and unite people through his art.

Yet his work as a writer examining Jewish identity has seen him described as a peddler of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. He argues that this is an attempt to censor honest analysis of, and reflection upon, Jewishness’ immense impact on mass culture, politics and global economics through the likes of The Frankfurt School and Milton Friedman.

As Israel increasingly meets international criticism and boycott, Atzmon believes his former homeland can only be seriously challenged for its injustices, if it is understood in the wider context of Jewish identity politics – a context he is trying to remove himself from. TRT World spoke to him to find out why.

 

TRT WORLD: As a musician, how do you feel about Lana Del Ray and many others cancelling their performances at the Meteor Festival in Israel following pleas from the BDS campaign?

Gilad Atzmon: It’s a beautiful thing.

I don’t support BDS mounting pressure on artists, but I think it is well appreciated when artists refuse to perform in states where there are so many crimes against humanity. I myself decided to boycott Israel a long time before the BDS movement was born. Since 1996, I haven’t visited my home country.

There have been major stories in the news this year regarding Israel. One of the most significant was the Jewish nation-state bill. What do you make of that?

GA: It confirms what we’ve known for more than a while: Israel is the Jewish state and everything that is happening in Israel should be understood within the context of its Jewishness. It confirms what I’ve been saying for many years. We must dig into the notions of Jews, Jewishness and Judaism to understand the difference between these three and the relationship between them.

Break that down for us.

GA: I make a clear differentiation between Jews, the people, which I regard as an innocent category; Jewishness, the ideology; and Judaism, the religion.

I argue that both Jews and Judaism are innocent categories. The fact you are born a Jew doesn’t make you a war criminal or a supremacist. Also, Judaism is a relatively innocent notion. We know the only genuine Jewish collective who really operate actively for Palestine are Torah Jews, Orthodox Jews.

When it comes to Jewishness, this is complicated.  I had a debate about this with a supremacist Jew yesterday and his argument was there is no such thing as Jewishness – it changes along the years. I couldn’t agree more, elasticity is inherent to Jewishness.  One thing that remains constant is the exceptionalism. Jewishness is different explorations of the notion of “chosenness.

” Some Jews feel they are chosen because they are elected by God, some Jews feel they are chosen because they are Bolsheviks, and a week later they can feel chosen because they are supporting a free market – like Milton Friedman. They can feel chosen because they are religious, and they can feel chosen because they are secular. It is this exceptionalism that is the core of “chosenness,” that is racially driven, that I believe is the common ground for all Jewish cultures.

This is why I have never in my life referred to Jews biologically, nor as a race, nor ethnicity. But I believe supremacy is something that is essential to Jewishness. This is why instead of talking about “Jews” I talk about the people who identify “politically” as Jews.

Gilad Atzmon (Tali Atzmon/)

You’ve made a 180 degree turn from what Israel represents, but tell us about your childhood during which you say you were heavily influenced by your Zionist grandfather.

GA: I don’t think you can talk in my case about 180, 45 or even 360 degree turns. I see my role as a philosopher, and as a philosopher, my job is to refine questions rather than subscribe to or recycle slogans. I’m working now on Zionism, and I find – this is interesting – you’ll be the first one I explore this idea with. I grew up in a society that saw itself as a revolutionary society. I was subject to an ultranationalist upbringing driven by complete contempt towards the diaspora Jew, something I didn’t understand because I was growing up in Israel and I didn’t know any diaspora Jews. But the diaspora Jews were seen by us as a bunch of capitalists, unsocial abusers of the universe, and we were born to become ordinary people – workers. My father was a hard-working man, my mother was a hard-working woman and I was raised to be a hard-working Israeli.

Unlike the diaspora Jews who went like lambs to the slaughter in Auschwitz, we were raised to fight and, accordingly, I was happy and looking forward to dying in a war. This was my upbringing. Let me tell you: when the war came, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to die for Israel. I started to understand that something wasn’t right.

Now, I never understood what the problem was with the diaspora Jews. All I knew was that when you immigrate to Israel, we called it aliyah. Aliyah means ascending. If you leave Israel and become a diaspora Jew, it is called yerida descending. So here, you already see within Zionism an internal concept of “chosenness;” so the Israelis are the “uber-chosen.”  What I do understand, nowadays, looking at the shift that happened in Israel after 1967, Israel gradually stopped seeing itself as the Israeli state and more and more as the Jewish state. The dichotomy between “us” the special emancipated Israelites and the diaspora Jews started to disappear.

As we became a Jewish state, we started to adopt more and more Jewish symptoms. We became victims, we started to cry about the Holocaust. When I was young, we looked at the Holocaust with contempt. We looked at the Jews who went like lambs to the slaughter with contempt. If you don’t believe me, read Tom Sergev: The Seventh Million. It’s about the million who survived the Holocaust, how badly they were treated in Israel. There are films about it. My parents tell me, and you can hear it from a lot of people, that they were not allowed to play with or bring home young survivors of the Holocaust. They were looked upon by the Israelis at the time as sub-humans. There is a film about it: Aviya’s Summer.

What I understood recently is that I was initially very enthusiastic about this Israeli revolution. I agreed with it.

I just wanted to be an ordinary human being. But as Israel was transforming into a Jewish state, I had to leave the country.

What were you taught at school about the creation of Israel?

GA: We were misled. We were told the Palestinians left willingly. I didn’t hear the word nakba until the late nineties. However, when I was in Lebanon in 1982, I started to see all the refugee camps. I started to dig into it and I realised the scale of the ethnic cleansing.

Can you share some of the things you saw?

GA: I don’t like to talk about it. But when I saw the Israeli army in Lebanon, I understood that we were not as righteous as we claim to be and this was the beginning of my transition in the early 1980s. My journey really started there.

What was the tipping point that made you leave?

GA: Very simple – the Oslo Agreement of 1993. Until that point, there was a common belief that we, the Israelis, wanted peace. When I look at the peace deal that was imposed on the Palestinians, I realised by then the Palestinians were the ones expelled from the country that I believed to be mine. I understood then that we don’t mean peace, that what Israel means by peace is security for the Jews.

This is why I am not hopeful. You will not hear me talking about resolution. Israel will be defeated into a solution by the facts on the ground.

How did music change you? It’s part of your journey away from Israel, isn’t it?

GA: It was the first time I understood that I can join a discourse that is universal – aiming at beauty – rather than being a part of an ultranationalist tribal ethos. If jazz was the music of the oppressed, I gladly joined the oppressed and learned their language and I made it into quite a successful career.

How does being a jazz musician aid your philosophical work?

GA: In my thirties, I tried to integrate Arabic music into my jazz. By then I could pretty much play any kind of music, but I realised how difficult it is for me to play Arabic music which is surprising because I grew up with Umm Kulthum, the Egyptian singer, all around me.

I found it really difficult. But then I realised that in Arab music it’s all about the primacy of the ear, as opposed to Western musical education where they put you in front of notes and you have to learn to translate the primacy of the eye. The West is obsessed with the primacy of the eye but humanity is all about the primacy of the ear.  Primacy of the ear is where ethics starts. We have to listen to each other. I made a huge effort to listen to the Palestinians and understand their plight. If you were a Jewish journalist you would say: “What about listening to the Jews?” I say listening to the Jews is not necessary because you get it all over – from the media to the Holocaust museums. But Gaza, Syria, Iraq, Libya is the holocaust that is most relevant for us now.

Tell us about some of the thinkers, philosophers and activists who have influenced you?

GA: I am disgusted by most forms of activism and I think activists have very little to contribute to our understanding. This is why they achieve nothing.  They are part of the controlled opposition. I ended up learning German philosophy. I started with Immanuel Kant and what I took from him is the ability to refine questions. Then Hegel, Nietzsche and most important, Heidegger who is the ultimate master in refining questions, and this is what I do. By refining questions, I can see the answers are flexible. They are changing as the questions are shifting.

Heidegger was about “being,” right?

GA: Obviously, but being is the goal. How do you reach the understanding of “being,” if ever? Through questioning. What is “being?” What is that thing that is unique, most fundamental to us human beings? What he called dasein. This “Being,” with a capital B, that we can never touch.

So, what were you told “Being” was when you were growing up in Israel?

GA: I guess that being an Israeli meant, at the early stage of my upbringing, being forceful, being determined, fighting for what you believe in and the willingness to sacrifice for that goal. Believe it or not, in that sense, I am 100 percent Israeli and I had to leave Israel because Israel was not Israel anymore. It stopped being Israeli. It became Jewish, and Jewishness is celebrating victimhood which is something that I would never do. I prefer to die than be a victim.

How do you describe yourself now?

GA: I aim at a universal understanding of humanism. To be a universal humanist is a challenge for everyone, it’s a task rather than a state of being. It is being inspired by the ability to see yourself as an ordinary creature. To remove yourself from any sense of privilege.

Universal humanism is not the human rights declaration, not a set of commandments. It’s an organic thing that is changing all the time and is finding itself to be more and more inclusive, and this is why you can only aspire to become one and work on it twenty-four seven rather than declare yourself to be one.

Is universal humanism not part of the cultural Marxist doctrine, which you find impedes human flourishing?

GA: On paper, yes. But in reality, definitely not. The new left, cultural Marxists – the Frankfurt School – are all people in the open who define who is in and who is out.  They invented no platforming. How can people who adhere to no platforming be universalists?

Aren’t you still seeing the world from a Jewish perspective despite trying to move beyond this?

GA: I hope not, you know. Some people would argue they see some Jewish traits in my thinking, and I accept that. The one thing that I would admit to you is that the one thing I learnt from Otto Weininger – he’s one of the people who inspired me – is that in art, self-realisation is the realisation of the world. So while a scientist looks at the world and tells us something about the world, artists close their eyes and write a poem, and through this poem we understand the world, or through a symphony – and this is the most important thing. So when I look at myself, I occasionally deconstruct the Jew that is left in me. It’s not a privilege, it’s an instrument towards developing a better understanding and a better world.

This interview has been edited for clarity

Don’t be Deluded – Our Saudi ‘Partners’ are Masters of Repression

Kenan Malik

Five Saudi activists face possible execution. Their crimes? “Participating in protests”, “chanting slogans hostile to the regime” and “filming protests and publishing on social media”.

The five, including women’s rights campaigner Israa al-Ghomgham, come from the Shia-majority Eastern Province. They have spent more than two years in prison. Now the prosecution has demanded their deaths.

Their plight reveals the vacuity of claims that Saudi Arabia is “liberalizing”. The death in 2015 of King Abdullah and his replacement by Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has led to much gushing in the west about the new reforming regime and, in particular, about the “vision” of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, heir apparent and driving force behind the “modernization” moves. The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote a fawning piece about the Saudi “Arab spring”. “It’s been a long, long time,” he wrote, “since any Arab leader wore me out with a fire hose of new ideas about transforming his country.” Even the fierce critic of Islam Ayaan Hirsi Ali has suggested that if the crown prince “succeeds in his modernisation efforts, Saudis will benefit from new opportunities and freedoms”.

Yes, Salman has allowed women to drive, to run their own businesses and to attend sports events. Cinemas have opened and rock concerts been staged. But the king remains the absolute ruler of a kingdom that practices torture, beheads dissidents and exports a barbarous foreign policy, including prosecuting one of the most brutal wars of modern times in Yemen.

Over the past year, dozens of activists, clerics, journalists and intellectuals have been detained in what the United Nations, an organization usually wary of criticizing the kingdom, has called a “worrying pattern of widespread and systematic arbitrary arrests and detention”. Few countries execute people at a higher rate. Under the current “reforming” regime, at least 154 people were executed in 2016 and 146 in 2017. Many were for political dissent, which the Saudi authorities rebrand as “terrorism”. A regime that permits women to drive but executes them for speaking out of turn is “reforming” only in a columnist’s fantasy.

For all the paeans, what really attracts western commentators and leaders to Saudi Arabia is that the regime’s refusal to countenance any dissent has until now created a relatively stable state that is also pro-western. Precisely because the Saudi royal family is deeply reactionary, it has long been seen as a bulwark against “radicalism”, whether that of the Soviet Union, Iran or local democratic movements.

Last week, in the wake of a Saudi bombing of a school bus in Yemen that left 33 children dead, Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, defended Britain’s relations with Riyadh on the grounds that the two countries were “partners in fighting Islamist extremism” and that the Saudis have helped to stop “bombs going off in the streets of Britain”. In fact, Saudi Arabia bears more responsibility for the rise of ‘Islamist’ terror than any other nation.

From the 1970s onwards, flush with oil money, the Saudis exported across the world Wahhabism, a vicious, austere form of Islam that the Saud clan has used to establish loyalty to its rule after creating Saudi Arabia in 1932. Riyadh has funded myriad madrasas and mosques. It has funded, too, ‘jihadist’ movements from Afghanistan to Syria. Osama bin Laden was a Saudi. So were most of the 9/11 bombers. A 2009 internal US government memo described Saudi Arabia as “the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide”. The Saudis have leveraged their knowledge of such groups to win influence with the west.

The viciousness of the Saudi regime is matched only by the cynicism of western leaders. The price is being paid by the children in that school bus and by the five activists facing possible beheading for peaceful protests; by the million of Yemenis on the verge of starvation and by thousands of Saudis imprisoned, flogged and executed for wanting basic rights. But what’s all that when set against the value of a “friendly” regime?

Who is Israa al-Ghomgham?

Who is Israa al-Ghomgham?

WHO IS EVA BARTLETT? A PARTIAL BIO BY A NON-WIKIPEDIA SITE AND WITHOUT #PHILIPCROSS EDITS (THANK YOU!)

eva-bartlett__37065_100x100

Good (far better than Wikipedia, of Philip Cross mal-edits) entry on me here. I’ll add a few corrections/clarifications, in [brackets].

*

“Eva Bartlett (born 14 June 1977) is an independent Canadian-American​ writer​, journalist​ and human rights activist​ from Ontario​ who covers the Middle East​ region, particularly Palestine​ and Syria​.​ She has a weblog​ called InGaza and has made numerous visits to Syria and Palestine since 2008, including to the Gaza Strip

[ADDITION: I lived a cumulative 3 years in Gaza, from Nov 2008 to March 2013, and 8 months in the west bank as an activist with the ISM. More on that here: https://ingaza.wordpress.com/about-me/]​.

Since 2014, Bartlett has also written about the Gaza Strip​.

[Since 2008]

Early life and education

Bartlett has dual nationality, being born in Michigan​ but raised in Canada

[Dawson Creek, Winnipeg, Fergus].

Between 1991 and 1996 Bartlett studied a the Centre Wellington District High School​ in Fergus, Ontario ​and was awarded an Honours grade 13 (OAC), Ontario Scholar

[I was also a bench warmer on the basketball team :p  Good shot, lousy at dribbling].

Between 1997 and 2002 she attended Mount Allison University​, New Brunswick​, Canada earning a 1st Class Honours with Distinction with Honours in Music​ and a Minor in French.

[Classical piano, Rachmaninov, Brahms, Beethoven and Bach among my favourites].

Between 1999 and 2000 Bartlett spent a year as an exchange student at the Université Marc Bloch​ in  Strasbourg​, France​ and was awarded a French language immersion diploma​.

[Excellent opportunity for travel in Europe. Also landed me an unpaid summer job in Tunisia in 2011, for my then French speaking skills: a “house manager” for my archaeology prof, which entailed driving teams to dig site, walking to markets and doing the food shopping, helping w meal prep. Dream job.]

Career

[I really wouldn’t call what I do a “career”. It’s a compulsion, “career” be damned. That said, scary accuracy. Yep, I worked many jobs during Uni, also took student loans and had a music scholarship. Still graduated with a 20K+ debt, which I paid off when teaching English in South Korea.]

Between September 1998 and May 2001 Bartlett worked as a student librarian​ in the music library of Mount Allison University providing customer service​, information assistance and resource maintenance. She also worked during this period as a caterer at the home of the University president​, planning & cooking​ for social functions.

[Best job ever. Many leftovers to take home.]

Between May and July 2001 she worked as a French interpreter​ and House Manager for Professor Van der Leest in his archaeology​ department in Carthage​, Tunisia​. She also worked as a research aide to Professor Edwards in the French Department transcribing French texts.

[How I taught myself to type 🙂 ]

Between October and December 2002 she worked at Finer English in Kassel​, Germany​ as an English Language instructor, tutoring advanced adult businessmen and women. [Great job, really enjoyed it but felt I’d failed at first attempt before this in South Korea, so I went back to challenge my culture shock, and loved it there.]

From June 2003 until January 2004 Bartlett worked at Daewoo​ Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. Ltd on Geoje Island​ in South Korea​, teaching English to adult employees where she created her own material to accompany a textbook. From September 2004 until June 2005 Bartlett worked at TBM-SISA, English Language ​and TOEIC preparation academy in Busan​, South Korea as an English Language Instructor, teaching grammar​ and conversational English to various ages of students.

[Walked to work and saved the gas allowance each teacher was given to instead explore Korea’s south on weekends, driving and hiking.]

[*Some photos, most are not digital and archived in albums. https://get.google.com/albumarchive/106862188263818711969/album/AF1QipOKdp4I3Nn2mLprgG3P6LDaDY5hwlMnfXX5F9CN]

[*Some of my other travels, such a wonder: https://get.google.com/albumarchive/106862188263818711969?source=pwa]

Volunteer Activities

Between August and December 1996 Bartlett worked and travelled independently in Ireland​, including the Aran Islands​, volunteering on organic farms​ around the country.

[First independent travel foray.]

Between February 2004 and April 2004 Bartlettt worked as a Willing Worker on Organic Farms (WWOOF) during her travels in northern Thailand​, tending plants and vegetables, as well as painting and building adobe​ constructions. [Some photos: https://get.google.com/albumarchive/106862188263818711969/album/AF1QipPx8DqLQ9kd3Tapf5W06qxMtc0SOPwesLW6IcQo]

She joined a Buddhist commune, helping to construct a mud-brick school in central Thailand.

[No, I didn’t “join”, I spent enjoyable some time there volunteering.]

From July until December 2005 she was an independent, volunteer English teacher during travels in India​. From May 2007 she has been a volunteer editor of the Zahel Youth Exchange Program in the Public Relations Departmetn of An-Najah National University​ in Nablus​, Palestine​. [Yes, I was an editor for a period, doing whatever I could to help out. Bless those people in Nablus, and all of occupied Palestine.]

[What should be included in the Volunteer section is 8 months in the occupied West Bank volunteering with the ISM, documenting some of the daily horrors and crimes Israeli soldiers and colonists inflict on Palestinians:

https://opt2007.wordpress.com/category/my-entries-from-occupied-palestine-apr-dec-2007/

*Just some photos:

https://get.google.com/albumarchive/106862188263818711969/album/AF1QipNQ1f961-oxOtc43xLvyvtgOzMLZH_WTG0pSXmz

And also my years volunteering with the ISM in Gaza, documenting Israeli war crimes, the brutal Israeli siege on Gaza, Israeli soldiers maiming Palestinian farmers and fishers, and more:

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/category/farming-under-fire/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/category/fishing-under-fire/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/category/zionists-wars-on-gaza/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/category/water-and-sanitation/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/category/manufactured-poverty-gaza/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2008/11/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2008/12/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/02/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/03/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/04/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/05/

…More in drop-down archives on right hand side of blog.

Journalism

Bartlett documented the 2008-2009 and 2012 Israeli attacks on Gaza while riding in ambulances​ and reporting from hospitals​.

[See:

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2008/12/28/widespread-attacks-on-gaza-leave-at-least-227-dead-hundreds-seriously-injured/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2008/12/28/shifa-icu-a-glimpse-of-hospital-critical-injuries/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2008/12/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/01/day-6-israeli-war-on-gaza-endless-drones-endless-bombings/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/02/why-we-are-staying/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/03/what-the-medics-see-do-and-are-subjected-to-uncensored/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/04/they-know-no-limits-now-a-new-nakba/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/04/panicked-residents-unable-to-flee/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/04/medic-murdered-by-targeted-israeli-shelling/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/05/israeli-army-kills-palestinian-medic-with-dart-bomb/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/05/gaza-walks-shells-of-buildings-rubble-filled-streets/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/05/death-fills-the-air-the-streets-in-gaza-updates-from-gazas-north/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/06/bombing-the-news-building-i-was-in/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/08/no-room-for-the-dead-no-room-for-the-living/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/10/they-will-not-finish-until-the-martyrs-reach-1000-gaza-nurse/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/11/injured-denied-access-israeli-soldiers-shoot-woman-in-stomach-and-keep-elderly-hostages/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/12/israeli-sniper-targets-uniformed-medics-what-i-witnessed-in-gaza/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/13/day-18-of-israeli-war-on-gaza-surreality/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/14/immense-grief-updates-from-runs-with-medics/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/15/7-minutes-before-the-2nd-bombing/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/16/another-funeral-bombed/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/16/documenting-israels-use-of-white-phosphorous-and-widespread-destruction/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/16/long-burning-fires-white-phosphorous-on-sheikh-rajleen/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/17/white-phosphorous-mutilated-and-murdered-family-members/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/17/burning-al-quds-one-of-gazas-remaining-functional-hospitals-destroyed-in-israels-war-on-gaza/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/20/a-few-short-updates-continued-israeli-shelling-f-16s-and-drones-after-the-ceasefire/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/01/24/its-a-ceasefirejust-not-on-the-beach-not-in-your-home/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/all-weve-got-left-of-him/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/02/04/next-time-it-will-hurt-more-israeli-threat-against-surviving-family-members-of-white-phosphorous-attack/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/02/07/ezbet-abed-rabbo-they-make-like-art-here/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/02/14/while-eating-chips-and-chocolate-israeli-soldiers-murder-2-and-7-year-old/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/they-killed-me-three-times/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2012/11/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2012/12/%5D

Since April 2014, Bartlett has visited, made videos​ and taken interviews in various areas of Syria​ following their liberation, including Aleppo​, Homs​, Madaya, and Damascus​.

[See:

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/liberated-homs-residents-challenge-notion-of-revolution/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/devastation-and-inspiration-recalling-liberated-maloula/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2016/10/20/overcoming-savagery-and-treachery-maaloulas-heroic-defenders-fight-for-the-future/

https://www.mintpressnews.com/mintpress-meets-father-iconic-aleppo-boy-says-media-lied-son/228722/

https://www.mintpressnews.com/syria-war-diary-what-life-is-like-under-moderate-rebel-rule/231201/

https://www.mintpressnews.com/order-returns-to-western-syria-civilians-recount-horrors-rebel-rule/232380/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2017/10/08/syria-war-diary-order-returns-to-western-cities-civilians-recount-horrors-of-rebel-rule/

-men from Madaya speak on terrorists hoarding food, starving civilians

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-Ktf7UkHx8

-Madaya Bomb Factory

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xl54mHshbs

-Madaya prison and torture room

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXW2Dkk_1Bg

-Wounded Buqayn employee, Madaya

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikgV0O9i36g

…More here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCDWiSkeu-CK2oklDt7YgyA

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/syria/syria-my-published-articles-from-and-on-syria-2014-2017/]

Bartlett has also given talks on topics of Imperialism​ and North Korea​.

[Imperialism on Trial videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tR5hjJzyN1Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpMK7FK1yCM&list=PLqtiZC-4QZC2fxRv0-Vo2mxmTrvVRwp2H&index=1]

[North Korea, DPRK videos and article:

https://www.mintpressnews.com/north-korea-neither-trump-nor-western-media-wants-world-see/233355/

https://www.mintpressnews.com/north-korea-neither-trump-nor-western-media-wants-world-see/233355/]

She has been interviewed widely by George Galloway​, RT News, 21st Century Wire​, etc.

[https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/report-back-on-douma-and-other-eastern-ghouta-areas-also-on-aleppo-and-daraa-interview-on-21st-century-wire/

https://21stcenturywire.com/2016/09/04/episode-151-sunday-wire-war-by-ngo-with-guests-dady-chery-eva-bartlett-vanessa-beeley/

https://21stcenturywire.com/2016/07/24/episode-145-sunday-wire-live-from-glastonbury-with-guests-eva-bartlett-chris-pothecary-basil-valentine/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/talking-syria-media-lies-on-sputnik-orbiting-the-world/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/syria/my-interviews-on-syria/

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/interviews-and-talks-on-palestine/]

On 9 December 2016, Bartlett gave a press conference as part of the Permanent Mission of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations.

[Correction: I asked to hold a press conference as the US Peace Council had done in summer 2016. See: https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2018/01/20/a-personal-reply-to-the-fact-challenged-smears-of-terrorist-whitewashing-channel-4-snopes-and-la-presse/]

A clip of the video went viral and was viewed over 3,000,000 times.

[Correction: One of the first clips, Scoop Whoop, has over 13 million views.

https://www.facebook.com/ScoopWhoopUnscripted/videos/580686822128516/?hc_ref=ARRe1CBSXTTCoKcrBaSjQVSc-DPo0BeVbXxWw6esxMsUTm5bRLjbS7J3Y5sGCzOZf_8]

In March 2017, Mexico City​, Bartlett was granted the “International Journalism Award for International Reporting” by the Mexican Press Club​. Co-recipients included John Pilger​ and political analyst Thierry Meyssan​, among others.

[https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1495044577172198.1073741901.100000000104830&type=1&l=7a57272b5f]

Bartlett has been the victim of a smear campaign​ by various supporters of the White Helmets, which she thoroughly exposed and debunked​ in a YouTube​ interview.

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ah_tDPV1yc]

[https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2018/04/17/recent-interview-eva-bartlett-on-syria-smear-campaign/]

[Also written rebuttals:

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2018/01/20/a-personal-reply-to-the-fact-challenged-smears-of-terrorist-whitewashing-channel-4-snopes-and-la-presse/

https://www.globalresearch.ca/how-the-mainstream-media-whitewashed-al-qaeda-and-the-white-helmets-in-syria/5624930]

Interests and achievments

Bartlett maintainted a four year music scholarship and Dean’s List at Mount Allison University. She is a certified scuba diver​, First Dan Black Belt in Tae kwan do​ and certified Grade 10 in classical piano​ by the Royal Conservatory of Music​. She has made years of independent travel around the world including many European, North African​ and Asian countries.

[More photos (but most non-digital and in photo albums) here:

https://get.google.com/albumarchive/106862188263818711969/album/AF1QipOKdp4I3Nn2mLprgG3P6LDaDY5hwlMnfXX5F9CN]

https://get.google.com/albumarchive/106862188263818711969?source=pwa]

DECISION TO BRING WHITE HELMETS TO CANADA DANGEROUS AND CRIMINAL

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August 10, 2018, RT.com

by Eva Bartlett

Did Canadians get to vote on whether or not to bring potential terrorists or supporters of terrorists to Canada? No. Will Canadians get a say in where these potentially dangerous men will be settled? Highly unlikely.

Ninety-eight members of the White Helmets, and a few hundred of their families, were evacuated by Israel and allies to Jordan late in evening of July 21. They will seemingly be shipped off to a few Western nations for resettlement: Canada, the UK, and Germany. So far, Canada has pledged to take 50 White Helmets and around 200 family members.

Wrongly dubbed the “Syrian Civil Defense” (the actual Syrian Civil Defense has existed since 1953), the White Helmets narrative is flawed in every conceivable manner.

Packaged as neutral, heroic, volunteer rescuers, who have “saved 115,000 lives”, according toWhite Helmets leader Raed Al Saleh, they are in reality a massively Western-funded organization with salaried volunteers, and have no documentation of those 115,000 saved. They contain numerous members who have participated in or supported criminal acts in Syria, includingtorture, assassinations, beheading, and kidnapping of civilians, as well as inciting Western military intervention in Syria.

James LeMesurier, a former member of the British military who founded the White Helmets, did so in countries neighbouring Syria: in Turkey and Jordan. They have since worked solely in terrorist-held areas of Syria, and according to Syrian civilians in eastern Ghouta, they worked directly with, or were themselves, extremists of Jaysh al-Islam or other extremist groups. Civilians in east Aleppo said that White Helmets worked with al-Qaeda in Syria (the Nusra Front).

The fact that White Helmets centres are frequently, if not always, found near or next to headquarters of al-Qaeda and other terrorist factions further supports the accusations that they collaborate with terrorists—even with ISIS, as noted by ISIS hostage John Cantlie. He described the White helmets as an “ISIS fire brigade“.

White Helmets have also been at the scene of executions; filmed standing over dead Syrian soldiers; cheering on and cleaning up after an execution in Daraa Governorate, and disposing ofthe bodies of assassinated Syrian soldiers (including decapitated bodies) in Daraa Governorate.

White Helmets members were present to welcome Saudi terrorist Abdullah al-Muhaysini, leader of al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria) who the US government designated a terrorist for “acting for or on behalf of” al-Nusra, and helping to finance them.

Over sixty White Helmets members have clear ties to terrorist and extremist groups, as shown bytheir own social media accounts and videos. In many of their own photos they hold weapons. Some White Helmets members have called for the murders of Shia villagers in Idlib governorate, and were instrumental in the massacre and injury of over 300 villagers, including 116 children in April 2017.

Not exactly neutral and members of the Daraa batch of White Helmets could very possibly be among those soon to be en route to Western nations.

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Not Russian propaganda: Canadian, American, British journalists first exposed the White Helmets

In September 2014, independent Canadian journalist Cory Morningstar wrote about the New York City PR firm, Purpose Inc, and its propaganda role regarding the White Helmets. In March andApril 2015, independent US journalist Rick Sterling, further scrutinized the White Helmets and related “humanitarian” groups serving to call for a no-fly-zone in Syria.

Since then, and for years now, concerned journalists and commentators have written or posed questions on the entity known as the White Helmets. In addition to the years-long investigations by Vanessa Beeley, commentators – from former British ambassador to Syria Peter Ford, award-winning US journalist Gareth Porter, award-winning journalist John Pilger, and even rock legendRoger Waters, have noted that the White Helmets are a dangerous and fraudulent group, or asPilger put it, a propaganda construct.

I have already outlined this chronology of investigations, refuting corporate media claims that voices critical of the White Helmets stem from Russian influence. Yet, slavish supporters of the White Helmets, continue to demonize anyone posing critical and needed questions on this group, generally labelling such people as “Russian bots”, “influenced by Russia”, or some variation of that, in an attempt to insist only people under the influence of Russia have been critical of the White Helmets.

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In the case of the Atlantic Council’s Ben Nimmo, his tweet on the lack of or scant mention by RT or Sputnik in 2014, 2015, to mid 2016 of the White Helmets supports my argument: those are precisely the times when the above-mentioned independent journalists were investigating the group.

White Helmets next to terrorists’ headquarters

In Syria, I saw two different White Helmets centres in close proximity to terrorists’ headquarters: one in eastern Aleppo, and one in Saqba, eastern Ghouta. The Saqba centre was two hundred metres from a factory extremists used to manufacture mortars and missiles, quite possibly those used to bomb civilians in Damascus.

It contained a fire-truck stolen from the real Syrian Civil Defense, as well as ambulances and vehicles all torched when the White Helmets left Ghouta with terrorists of Jaysh al-Islam and Faylaq al-Rahman, among others. They were all safely transported to Idlib as per the deal with the Syrian government.

The other White Helmets centre I saw was in the Ansari district of Aleppo’s east. Formerly a school (and now returned to this status), this centre was a half minute’s walk to the headquarters of al-Qaeda in Syria, as well as the Abu Amara Brigades, and other extremists.

Vanessa Beeley, who had previously been to Ansari, wrote a detailed article additionally noting that just 200 metres from that same White Helmets centre was Al Mashad Square, where 12-year-old Palestinian youth, Abdullah Issa, was savagely tortured and then slowly beheaded.

In the Old City, next to Aleppo’s citadel last May, I spoke with an older man who had remained in Aleppo during the terrorists’ rule. He told me: “The Civil Defence is supposed to rescue people, but they used to steal women’s earrings from their dead bodies. If she was wearing gold, they’d cut her hand to steal it. They are thieves, not rescuers. We saw them murdering people, many times.

In Douma and Kafr Batna, I spoke with civilians who told me they saw Jaysh al-Islam extremists wearing White Helmets uniforms, and White Helmets working with Jaysh al-Islam. Another eastern Ghouta resident, Marwan Qreisheh, said the early White Helmets members who came to Ghouta weren’t Syrian, didn’t speak Arabic, and used their money to attract “volunteers”.

He spoke of them staging rescue scenes: “They’d start filming and claiming that SAA hit this area, it was in front of our eyes, and we knew it was all staged, but we didn’t dare to stand against them because they would kill us, they would empty their gun in you immediately.

Who killed the civilians in White Helmets Douma videos?

It was the White Helmets who released (WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC) videos and photosalleging a chemical attack in Douma in April 2018. Yet, no civilian among the many I met in Douma believed there had been a chemical attack and medical staff didn’t see patients exposed to a chemical agent. More recently, the OPCW ruled out the use of a nerve agent used in Douma, finding only traces of “chlorinated organic chemicals”.

So, who and what killed the women and children shown in the White Helmets-distributed video from Douma? Did the White Helmets take part in their murder, or merely film their bodies (somearranged) after the fact?

Corporate media has diligently avoided asking a single honest question of the propaganda group they laud, and has for years attacked those of us who do ask questions and take testimonies of Syrian civilians on this matter.

Canadian cover for White Helmets

Canada has been assisting the White Helmets for some years now, under the pretext of aiding humanitarians. While the full extent of Canadian financial support to the White Helmets has yet to be revealed, at least Can$7.5 million (US$5.7mn) was given to the group, helping with “the development and expansion of early warning air raid systems.

Following the Israeli evacuation of White Helmets and their families from southern Syria, Global Affairs Canada released a statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, on the “courageous volunteers”, regurgitating the White Helmets “save the innocent and the wounded” unsubstantiated claim.

Unsubstantiated because, in spite of the fancy videos, neither the White Helmets nor its UK backers can provide a list of the supposed over 115,000 civilians rescued.

While the media has lauded Canada’s role in the evacuation of the White Helmets members, it’s worth noting the person, Robin Wettlaufer, behind this evacuation effort. Wettlaufer met withWhite Helmet leader Raed Saleh (once denied entry to the US due to his potential ties to extremists, according to Mark Toner) in late June, as the Syrian army was regaining territory in Daraa governorate.

Wettlaufer has held the Istanbul-based position of Special Representative for Syria, under  Global Affairs Canada, from March 2014 to present, according to her LinkedIn page.

In fact, she is the Special Representative to the Syrian Opposition, something noted in a December 2016 Global Affairs Canada video featuring Wettlaufer.

Given that Wettlaufer is thus Canada’s Representative to extremists in Syria, her key role in instigating the evacuation of the White Helmets is hardly surprising, let alone praise-worthy. But it should be worrying to Canadians. Did Canadians get to vote on whether or not to bring potential terrorists or supporters of terrorists to Canada? No. No vote in the Parliament, no public discussion. Will Canadians get a say in where these potentially dangerous men will be settled? No sign of that so far, and indeed highly unlikely.

Why did the Canadian government refuse the entry of 100 injured Palestinian children from Gaza in 2014, a truly humanitarian effort, and yet will fast-track the entry of potentially dangerous men with potential ties to terrorists?

As for the claims of danger to the White Helmets in southern Syria, their comrades in eastern Aleppo and in eastern Ghouta were safely transported out of those areas, along with their families and with extremists who refused to take amnesty, while Aleppo and eastern Ghouta had peace restored. The White Helmets are potential security threats to citizens in the Western nations planning on hosting them.

As citizens privy to all this information and all the questions on the White Helmets, we must demand our governments reverse this plan, or at least provide us with confirmation that the immigrants in question have been fully investigated and have not been involved in terrorist activities in Syria in any way.

RELATED LINKS:

SYRIA: AVAAZ, PURPOSE & THE ART OF SELLING HATE FOR EMPIRE, September 17, 2014, Cory Morningstar, Wrong Kind of Green

Seven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators: White Helmets, Avaaz, Nicholas Kristof and Syria No Fly Zone, April 9, 2015, Rick Sterling, Dissident Voice

Humanitarians for War on Syria, March 31, 2015, Rick Sterling, Counter Punch

EXCLUSIVE: The REAL Syria Civil Defence Exposes Fake ‘White Helmets’ as Terrorist-Linked Imposters, September 23, 2016, Vanessa Beeley, 21st Century Wire

The White Helmets Files, variety of articles including especially the investigations of Vanessa Beeley, 21st Century Wire

A Flawed UN Investigation on Syria, March 11, 2017, Gareth Porter, Consortium News

JOHN PILGER: “WHITE HELMETS ARE A COMPLETE PROPAGANDA CONSTRUCT IN SYRIA”, May 24, 2017, RT.com, (exact clip here)

How the Mainstream Media Whitewashed Al-Qaeda and the White Helmets in Syria, January 6, 2018, Eva Bartlett, Global Research

LAST MEN IN ALEPPO: Al Qaeda Presented as ‘White Helmets’ for the Annual Terrorist ‘Oscar’ Nomination, January 28, 2018, Vanessa Beeley, 21st Century Wire

Ex-Pink Floyd singer denounces White Helmets as propaganda tool during Barcelona concert (VIDEO), April 16, 2018, RT.com

Torture, starvation, executions: Eastern Ghouta civilians talk of life under terrorist rule,  June 10, 2018, Eva Bartlett, RT.com

‘Propaganda organization’: White Helmets ‘engage in anti-Assad activities’ – author Sy Hersh to RT, June 30, 2018, RT.com

Whitewashing the White Helmets – Peter Ford, Former UK Ambassador to Syria Responds to UK Government Statement, July 23, 2018, 21st Century Wire

White Helmets coming ‘home’: West & Israel provide ‘exceptional’ rescue strategy for NATO’s ghosts, July 26, 2018, Vanessa Beeley, RT.com

Canada Condemns Saudi Arabia’s Planned Beheading of Female Activist

Local Editor

 

Human Rights advocates said Israa al-Ghomgham, along with five other activists, are being tried by the country’s terrorism tribunal on charges “solely related to their peaceful activism”.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland inflamed tensions with a single tweet last month, in which she expressed concern surrounding the imprisonment of activists in Saudi Arabia.

The dispute escalated and Saudi Arabia cancelled all flights to Canada on the state airline, recalled students studying in the North American nation, cut investment and issued threats.

Following the news of the planned beheading of Israa al-Ghomgham, a Foreign Affairs Department spokesman renewed Canada’s concerns in a statement.

They said: “As Minister Freeland has previously stated, Canada is extremely concerned by the arrests of women’s rights activists.

“These concerns have been raised with the Saudi government.

“Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, including women’s rights and freedom of expression around the world.”

Ghomgham’s trial started earlier this month, almost three years after her arrest in late 2015.

The Shia female activist was part of a political movement which continued until 2014.

The European-Saudi Organization for Human Rights commented on Ghomgham’s activism, saying: “She called for fundamental and basic civil and political rights, such as peaceful assembly and expression, for the release of prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders, and expressed her peaceful opinions on social media platforms.”

State prosecutors are seeking to sentence Ghomgham with the death penalty, and if delivered, it will mark the first time a female activist is executed in Saudi Arabia for their political activities.

According to the Human Rights Watch, Saudi authorities have also been holding five other activists, who are facing the death penalty, in pre-trial detention without legal representation for over two years.

The next court date is scheduled for October 28, 2018.

146 people were executed in Saudi Arabia last year, according to Amnesty International.

Beheading is the most common method of execution in Saudi Arabia.

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said: “Any execution is appalling, but seeking the death penalty for activists like Israa al-Ghomgham, who are not even accused of violent behaviour, is monstrous.

“Every day, the Saudi monarchy’s unrestrained despotism makes it harder for its public relations teams to spin the fairy tale of ‘reform’ to allies and international business.”

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

 

See Also

Canada slams Saudi Arabia for potential execution of femal human rights activist

The Canadian government has poured salt in an already-open wound by renewing its criticism of Saudi Arabian human rights violations following a row earlier this month on the issue. This time, the subject is Israa al-Ghomgham, a female Shiite activist who faces the death penalty.

Incorrect pictures have been circulated also. In this regard, many have asked why there is no current photo of Israa. The answer is simple, Israa is from a conservative part of the kingdom where women many choose not to show their face in the public domain. Therefore, the only picture that exists of Israa in the public domain is one of her in her childhood.

Ghomgham’s trial began earlier this month, 32 months after her arrest in late 2015 in connection with her political activism, Sputnik previously reported.

Along with five other activists, state prosecutors at the specialized criminal court in Riyadh are reportedly seeking the death penalty, which if delivered would make Ghomgham the first female activist to be executed by the Saudi state for her political activities.

Following the Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and other Arab countries in early 2011, a wave of protests and civil disobedience swept across Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, where most of the country’s oppressed Shiite minority lives, including Ghomgham.

As part of that movement, which persisted until 2014, Ghomgham “called for fundamental and basic civil and political rights such as peaceful assembly and expression, called for the release of prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders and expressed her peaceful opinions on social media platforms,” the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights (ESOHR) noted.

On August 21, the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on Ghomgham’s arrest and trial.

“As Minister [Chrystia] Freeland has previously stated, Canada is extremely concerned by the arrests of women’s rights activists,” spokesperson Adam Austen said, according to Globe and Mail. “These concerns have been raised with the Saudi government. Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, including women’s rights and freedom of expression around the world.”

The Foreign Affairs Ministry notably skirted the landmine it stepped on at the beginning of the month when Freeland demanded the Saudi kingdom “immediately release” activist Samar Badawi and other female activists being held in detention, Sputnik reported.

In response to the Canadian rebuke, the Saudi government took explicit affront to the statement’s phrasing, calling it a “reprehensible and unacceptable use of language” and prompting the tit-for-tat in which neither side has backed down. The two nations have frozen each others’ assets, recalled or dismissed diplomats and employed a host of other measures.

Perhaps the most shocking reaction in that spat has been a now-deleted Tweet made on August 6 by an account linked to the Saudi government which seemed to many to be a thinly veiled threat of terrorism, making reference to the September 11, 2001 attacks. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers who carried out those attacks were Saudi citizens.

​International human rights lawyer Christopher Black told Radio Sputnik earlier this month that the Saudis’ sharp response to Canadian criticism came from sour milk years in the making.

The Canadian government “could’ve done this by discreet message through the ambassadors or exerted pressure that way, but to do it this openly seems to have really gotten to the Saudis,” he told Sputnik Radio’s Loud & Clear.

“But what’s behind it may be friction developing over the last couple of years about the big arms deal that was made between Canada and Saudi Arabia, the $15 billion for selling armored cars to Saudi Arabia. The deal was that it was to be kept secret, but when Trudeau came to power a couple of years ago, details were leaked about what was going on, and then stories about these armored cars being used to attack people in Yemen and crush internal dissent and so on, it caused the Saudis a lot of problems and really angered them, and they felt they were being betrayed. Canada was taking their money but making them look bad at the same time,” Black said.

The Globe and Mail reported in July 2017 that videos showing Gurkha RPVs, produced by Terradyne Armored Vehicles outside Toronto, were filmed in 2015 in the eastern Saudi port city of Qatif — Ghomgham’s hometown. The “serious violations of human rights” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government began investigating were connected to the repression of the dissident Shiite movement in which Ghomgham had taken part.

 

Source: Sputnik

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Save Israa Al-Ghomgham, the Female Activist Saudi is Demanding to Execute!

Incorrect pictures have been circulated also. In this regard, many have asked why there is no current photo of Israa. The answer is simple, Israa is from a conservative part of the kingdom where women many choose not to show their face in the public domain. Therefore, the only picture that exists of Israa in the public domain is one of her in her childhood.

Huma? Rights

Israa al-Ghomgham, a female human rights defender from Qatif, is about to be sentenced to death under the watchful eye of the world.

In a first move of its kind by the Saudi prosecution, Israa was hauled before the notorious Saudi counter-terrorism court in Riyadh (Specialized criminal court), where the public prosecutor demanded that Israa be punished with the maximum punishment of the death penalty.

This would be the first time that the Saudi prosecution have EVER called for capital punishment against a FEMALE activist.

Israa’s trial and her charges

Israa is being prosecuted as part of a mass trial, along with 5 other men, including her husband.

Her trial commenced in August 2018, and followed 32 months of arbitrary detention. Israa faced her first court session without any legal representation. Following pleas for help by her father on social after being asked to pay extortionate amounts for a lawyer, many honorable Saudi lawyers came forward to offer their services pro bono.  Israa’s second court session is scheduled for 28th October 2018. During this second court hearing her sentence may or may not be announced.

Despite being a peaceful activist Israa is being prosecuted under 2017 anti-terrorism laws. The charges levelled against her include:

‘Participation in congregations and protests, creating an account on YouTube called ‘Qatifyah’ and sharing video clips of individuals who were killed in security clashes and fleeing to Iran out of fear of being arrested’.

These are amongst many other trumped up charges. All of the charges against Israa are non-violent in nature and despite this, the prosecution are still pushing for her to be executed. This goes against international law criteria on the death penalty which assert that the death penalty can only be applied for the ‘most serious of crimes’ (which usually means intentional killing).

Israa’s Background, her arrest and her detention

Israa is a brave human rights defender, who actively participated in the Arab spring joining peaceful pro-democracy protests and calling for the release of prisoners of conscience. She was also very active on social media sites reporting on the Arab spring and expressing her peaceful opinions.

Israa was arbitrarily arrested along with her husband, Musa Al-Hashim, during a violent raid on their home on the 8th December 2015. She was detain at GDI prison in Dammam, a facility notorious for torture.

Little is known of her treatment during here detention at the GDI prison, but in late 2017 her family indicated a deterioration in her health and psychological condition during her time in detention.

False reports of execution and sentencing

Unfortunately, a lot of false reports have been circulating on social media stating that Israa has already been executed or has already been sentenced. Please do not circulate these reports, as Israa’s family have already indicated that such false reports cause great distress to the family who are already under pressure.

Incorrect pictures have been circulated also. In this regard, many have asked why there is no current photo of Israa. The answer is simple, Israa is from a conservative part of the kingdom where women many choose not to show their face in the public domain. Therefore, the only picture that exists of Israa in the public domain is one of her in her childhood.

What now?

In a bid to avert the issuing of the death penalty, activist have rallied round and created a twitter account @IsraaAlGhomgham to help raise support and ensure accurate information is being disseminated about her. Please follow the account to help raise her profile.

What can you do? Share #IsraaAlGhomgham story far and wide.

It is important for the international community to rally around and pressure Saudi Arabia to halt this new and violent terrifying trend toward female activists within Saudi Arabia.

Related 

 

MASS CASUALTIES PUTTING HEALTH WORKERS IN GAZA UNDER EVEN GREATER STRAIN

Gaza/PNN/

Amid further mass casualties on the third consecutive Friday of the “Great Return March” protests, health workers were put under yet further considerable strain and a number of them were injured.

Today, a Palestine Red Crescent Society medic in Rafah was shot in the knee with live ammunition, and a further 10 paramedics had to evacuate their medical point near Khan Younis after inhaling tear gas.

Even before Israel’s violent response the protests, health workers in Gaza were under huge strain due to the cumulative effects of a decade of blockade, which has degraded health and other essential services as well as the economy and living conditions, in addition to previous mass casualty events. Burnout and emotional exhaustion was already a significant feature among Palestine’s medical workforce. Now, they are once again experiencing the most difficult conditions, working long hours in tense situations and assisting casualties with often horrifying and life-changing injuries.

Last Friday, the World Health Organisation reported that five ambulances were damaged in attacks, three paramedics were injured by direct fire to the lower limbs, one by a tear gas cartridge to the head and that 29 healthcare staff suffered from tear gas inhalation.

Attacks on Palestinian health workers, facilities and ambulances by Israeli forces have been a painfully regular and repeated feature of the past decade, as MAP has emphasised in its publications and advocacy.

“Regretfully, no one has been held to account for any of the multiple attacks on protected medical personnel and facilities, and this impunity makes recurrence much more likely,” added Aimee Shalan.

“The prolonged and often traumatic stressors endured by health workers in Gaza are almost inconceivable for people not trapped there. On an almost daily level, they see and suffer what many of us won’t in a lifetime,” said Aimee Shalan, CEO of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

Today, at least 969 injuries have been reported by the Ministry of Health. More than 1,200 were reported to have been shot in the last fortnight. At least 26 protesters are reported to have been killed.

A medic treating severely injured protesters in a hospital in Gaza told MAP that the types and numbers of injuries “would overwhelm any European hospital and be classified as a “major incident”, let alone a local hospital in Gaza with a shortage of disposables and man power for this kind of injury. This is happening every Friday.”

With the sheer number of casualties threatening to overwhelm available services, communities in Gaza are stepping up to support them. In Khan Younis in the south of Gaza, for example, MAP has learned of groups of students of healthcare subjects banding together to form “rescue teams” to offer treatment and support the work of professional responders.

Those inside hospitals and clinics are working long hours to keep essential services running alongside caring for thousands of new patients. The physical health of unarmed protesters is clearly under threat in Gaza, but so too is the mental wellbeing of those who are once again bravely striving to save lives and limbs.

As we celebrate the steadfastness and resolve of Gaza’s medics, we are also outraged that their safety is once again endangered as they carry out their vital humanitarian functions.

MAP repeats its call on the UK government and the international community to support the demand of UN Secretary General for there to be independent investigations into the violence at the Gaza perimeter protests.

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AJAMU BARAKA ON CAMPAIGN TO SHUT DOWN US FOREIGN MILITARY BASES

In Gaza

On January 22, 2018, I had the opportunity to speak with the well-respected, highly-informed, longtime rights activist and writer, Ajamu Baraka.

A human rights defender whose experience spans four decades of domestic and international education and activism, Ajamu Baraka is a veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles. Please see his extended bio on his website.

He was the 2016 Green Party vice presidential candidate, and is a lead organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace. Mr. Baraka is an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report, and also publishes at Black Commentator, Commondreams, Pambazuka, and Dissident Voice.

Related Links

http://noforeignbases.org
https://blackagendareport.com/peace-requires-social-transformation
https://twitter.com/i/web/status/954098699189346305
https://blackagendareport.com/peace-requires-social-transformation
https://twitter.com/ajamubaraka/status/955471891019550720
https://twitter.com/ajamubaraka/status/953314222775169025
https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2018/01/20/a-personal-reply-to-the-fact-challenged-smears-of-terrorist-whitewashing-channel-4-snopes-and-la-presse/

TALKING SYRIA & MEDIA LIES, ON SPUTNIK ORBITING THE WORLD

In Gaza

With hosts George & Gayatri Galloway. Photo via Sputnik on RT Twitter account.

While in the UK giving talks on Syria (and the DPRK/North Korea) last week, I was invited to speak on Sputnik Orbiting the World, the program hosted by George & Gayatri Galloway.

The program description:

Speaking truth to power ought to be the duty of journalism but it is not. Speaking the power’s “truth” is the way to get and keep the gig in today’s media – and if you do so, you’ll be richly rewarded with money and flattery. One of our frequent guests, Patrick Cockburn, had a great journalist father, Claud Cockburn, who said that the relationship of the journalist to power should be that of the dog to the lamp-post. Nothing is true, he’d say, until it has been officially denied. Fortunately, every now and then a journalist emerges who goes where few dare, who speaks what few will speak, without fear or favor. One such journalist is Eva Bartlett, so we invited her into the Sputnik studio to speak truth to power.

Clip:

Extended Interview:

Related Links:

How I startedAbout Me

Writings and videos from/on SyriaIn Gaza

A Personal Reply to the Fact-Challenged Smears of Terrorist-Whitewashing Channel 4, Snopes and La Presse, Jan 20, 2018, In Gaza, *republished at: The Indicter, (in Spanish)

Exploitation of Bana al-Abed: Parents use child to whitewash terrorists in Aleppo, Jul 24, 2017, RT.com

Absurdities of Syrian war propaganda, Nov 2, 2017, RT.com

The REAL Syria Civil Defence, Saving Real Syrians, Not Oscar Winning White Helmets, Saving Al Qaeda, Vanessa Beeley, Apr 2, 2017, 21st Century Wire

Aleppo: How US & Saudi-Backed Rebels Target ‘Every Syrian’, Nov 29, 2016, MintPress News[Excerpt: On the afternoon of Nov. 3, after meeting with Dr. Mohammed Batikh, director of Al-Razi Hospital, the victims of terror attacks which had begun a few hours prior began to arrive one after another, maimed and critically injured. The vehicle bombings and bombardment of Grad missiles, among other attacks, left 18 people dead and more than 200 injured, according to Dr. Zaher Hajo, the head of forensic medicine at Al-Razi Hospital. …According to the hospital’s head forensic medicine, Dr. Hajo, in the last five years, 10,750 civilians have been killed in Aleppo, 40 percent of whom were women and children. In the past year alone, 328 children have been killed by terrorist shelling in Aleppo, and 45 children were killed by terrorist snipers.]

US-Backed Terrorism in Syria: A First-Hand Account of the Use of Mortars Against Civilians, Sep 12, 2014, Global Research

Western corporate media ‘disappears’ over 1.5 million Syrians and 4,000 doctors (Aleppo), Aug 14, 2016, SOTT.net

Syria Dispatch: Most Syrians Support Assad, Reject Phony Foreign ‘Revolution’, Mar 7, 2016, SOTT.net

Syrians Flock to Vote in Lebanon… But Not in The West, May 30, 2014, Inter Press Services

Liberated Homs Residents Challenge Notion of “Revolution”, Jul 8, 2014, Inter Press Services

“Freedom”: Homs resident speaks of the early days of the “crisis”(with video), Jun 24, 2014, In Gaza

Homs: “We wanted to protect our house”, Jun 13, 2014, In Gaza

Morning conversation with a Sunni Damascene woman, Apr 19, 2014, In Gaza [Excerpt: One of my relatives lived in Hama. The “rebels” would knock on the doors of homes there and force them to participate in demonstrations against the “regime.” My relative is an old woman, she said “I don’t want to participate. My legs are weak, I’m an old woman” but the “rebels” said she had to join the demonstration. They would threaten her, “we’ll kill your son, your husband.” They fled Hama soon after, to Lebanon.

Our former housekeeper was from Zamalka, near Jobar (one area where the “rebels” are, and from where they fire mortar shells towards Damascus). Just before the “rebels” took over Zamalka, she fled, but her husband and 30 year old son stayed, to protect their home. Two months after fleeing, she saw on the news that the “rebels” had killed her husband and son by cutting their heads off.

My cousin had a car accident, two of his children died. This was on a Friday. One child died immediately, the second the following day. While they were praying in the mosque, “rebels” came and filmed the caskets and produced a video with the title, “Damascus prayer on the field of freedom of the child martyr Abdul Salam Musa”. My aunt in Germany saw the video and commented “This is a lie, these kids are my relatives and they died in a car accident.”  Here is the video she referred to. As we sit and watch it, she points out her relatives.]

Syrians from Hassaka Speak of the Peaceful Life They Knew, Nov 9, 2014, In Gaza [Excerpt: “We never thought we’d leave Syria, life was good. Everything was cheap, we had security. But we eventually had to…. not because of the government or the Syrian Army, because of the terrorists, mostly al-Nusra then. Now Daesh are there too, but they’re the same anyway.

Before we left, it had gotten to the point where we scarcely had access to water, had little electricity… The terrorists destroyed the power lines. The municipality would repair things and the terrorists would return and destroy them.

Two weeks before we left, they blew up a car belonging to an important person in the government in our area. He lived down the street, between our house and the school. My daughter was at school, I was so afraid that she had been hurt.

When we left, we thought it would would only be temporarily, but every day since it has gotten worse.

We went back six months ago, to see if it was possible to return for good. Everything different, many shops were closed down and the water and electricity were even worse. Everything was worse than ever. As soon as it got dark, the streets were empty. Those of our neighbours who had remained were different too, gaunt, faces drawn.”

He spoke of the faux-revolution. “’We want freedom,’ they said. What freedom do they want? We had education, health care, security. This is the ‘freedom’ they want, these terrorists destroying our towns, our culture?”

Even though they have left and feel that they cannot go back, they are patriots, are proud of their country and culture, and its voices like theirs we need to be hearing: the people who know what’s happening on the ground, who are not being fed soundbites by corporate media or funded by the various thinktank incarnations of Soros’ foundations but who live/lived in Syria and suffered the draconian takeover of foreign terrorists; the people who support the Syrian army and President Assad because they choose to, who enacted the democracy they choose, not that which the death squads of the west attempt to deliver.”]

Meeting Syrians in Lebanon, May 27, 2014, In Gaza [Excerpts: “At breakfast one morning, still waiting for my visa application to be processed, I sit working on my laptop.  A man keeps glancing my way, and finally comes over to say he likes the Syrian bracelet I wear. We get talking. He’s Syrian, from Aleppo. At the end of our talk, he says again how happy it made him to see me wearing this bracelet… and adds, “I can’t wear my Syrian flag here because there are so many stupid people, they might kidnap me or worse. I’m not afraid of my government, but I am afraid of these thugs.” (Listen to his testimony on witnessing video being staged in Syria, and more.)

*

I visit Jeita Grotto, Jbeil (Byblos), and the cable-car leading up to the hilltop where –in the Middle East–the largest statue of Mary resides. I’m more interested in the scenery, and lovely scenery it is. Coming down from the hill, a thin older man with a pleasant face stops my car and opens the door. We chat a bit. He is also from Haleb (Aleppo), has been working here for years, not because of the manufactured war. But because of the situation, he’s recently brought his wife and kids here. I ask my usual simple questions: “What’s the problem? What do you think of the President?”

He replies–noting that he is speaking his mind, isn’t afraid to do so–that he will vote for President Assad . “I’m with him. Before all of this we were safe and had few problems.”  I ask the taboo question again, for the sake of clarity, and he replies “I’m Sunni Muslim, but in Syria it’s not important what religion you are.”

He’s Sunni. Bashar al-Assad is Alawi. The Western media has made MUCH of the so-called Alawi devotees to President Assad. But in my experience, in Syria and out, Syrians across the board support Assad.  It just depends if they’ve been corrupted by NED/Soros or other funds or whether they’ve been seduced by the Wahabi, Takfiri notion of raping, desecrating, destroying Syria for greater pleasures in a promised hereafter.

*

In a village near the Chouf Cedar Reserve, I come across another Syrian who has left because of the armed gangs in Aleppo. He’s a talented woodworker, and one evening stops by the hotel to have a cup of warm milk. I’ve already had a coffee (he saw me in the street earlier and invited me to his employer’s house for coffee), and a instant-coffee-milk mixture (everyone calls it Nescafe, whether its Nestle or not) with the guesthouse manager while talking Syria, but “Ibrahim” keeps insisting he buy me a coffee, something.

He shows me photos of his handiwork–lovely wood furniture, cupboards, intricate ceiling decor. I ask if this is what he did for work in Syria. “I had my own shop, but its been destroyed. Our house was destroyed, too.”  I ask when he’ll go back. “I can’t go back, the ‘rebels’ are there, I can’t get back.”

Haleb helua, ahlan mekkan. Aleppo is beautiful, the most beautiful place,” he says.

We look at online photos of Aleppo.

“See how beautiful it is!” He points out the landmarks, repeating himself, Haleb helua.

The Umayyad mosque, a castle, a hotel which he says is one of the oldest in the world…

Bas kharaboo.  But they’ve destroyed it all. Here, our house is here…. but it’s destroyed. The most beautiful place n the world.”

All this is said in the same soft voice, not a trace of anger or bitterness, just sadness, longing.”]

*

 

Gilad Atzmon is listed amongst “100 Peace & Justice Leaders and Models”

January 31, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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GA: I am honoured  to find my name  listed amongst this international list of incredible peace loving people.  

https://www.transcend.org/tms/2018/01/in-pursuit-of-peace-and-justice-100-peace-justice-leaders-and-models/

In Pursuit Of Peace And Justice: 100 Peace & Justice Leaders And Models

BY TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 29 Jan 2018

Anthony J. Marsella and Kathleen Malley-Morrison – TRANSCEND Media Service

Introduction

26 Jan 2018 – The annual memorial holiday on January 15, 2018, celebrating Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s enduring contributions to peace and justice, has passed.

The events of the day linger in our minds, eternally grateful for Reverend King’s efforts to free people and nations from the brutal oppressions imposed by governments, nations, societies, organizations, and individuals, who willfully continue to support and sustain the evils of racism, prejudice, violence, and war.

Reverend King’s commitment to freedom from oppression and abuse compel us to continue his efforts far beyond the words, songs, and promises of his day.

To this end, we, (i.e., Kathy Malley-Morrison & Anthony J. Marsella), the authors of this article, have chosen to demonstrate our responsibilities to continuing the work of Reverend King, by identifying 100 living peace and social justice leaders and models.

The number is arbitrary for there are tens of thousands more who deserve citation. Many are not listed, but will be listed in future efforts. Do not be dismayed! Patience! We believed it essential to create a dynamic list of living peace and justice activists and advocates to encourage peace and justice work.

The individuals included on our list are from all genders, ages, roles.  They are from many nations, ethnocultural groups, and “races.”  We sense a rising tide of commitment to peace and justice, and an intolerance of the corruption, cronyism, and asymmetric power sustaining current abuses.

We consider our efforts a beginning, and we will continue to publish new lists. This is because the struggle for peace and justice is endless, and each day new people are rising to the call.

This is as it should be, and must be, until such time the forces of oppression yield to the forces of good; evil will continue, but human virtue, endowed in conscience will triumph! While the work of many included will be recognized, some of those listed may not be apparent. We have attached website information after each name to offer insight into their efforts.

Before sharing our list, however, we wish to include two charts offering graphic displays of essential material for understanding and appreciating living leaders.

CHART 1: PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF PEACE AND JUSTICE LEADERS AND MODELS

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The Banality of Good (part 1)

Clara S & Gilad Atzmon

The following is the first segment of fearless eight parts exchange between German Left voice Clara S and ex Israeli Jazz artist Gilad Atzmon. We spoke about  Israel, Palestine, the Holocaust, peace and delusion, Left and Right, the meaning of the past and the prospect of a future within the context of the current identitarian dystopia. 

Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding (Albert Einstein)

In cases of doubt – stay coherent! (Kurt Flasch, German philosopher and historian) 

 Growing up

German: https://opablog.net

Clara:   What does the Holocaust mean to you?

Gilad: This is pretty loaded question. The answer is undoubtedly a multilayered one.

Clara:   So let’s have a look at the layers and loads in this conversation. How did the Holocaust come into your life?

Gilad: I grew up in Israel, I was surrounded by people with tattooed forearms; some of them were members of my family.

Clara:   So the Holocaust was part of your reality from the day you were born?

Gilad: That is hard for me to say although it was clearly there. But I do not think that we, Israelis born in the 1960s, were that concerned about the Holocaust.  Both my parents were born in Palestine. On my father’s side, my great great grandfather was buried on Mount Olive.  My wife probably sees it differently. Both her parents lived in Europe during the war and suffered a lot.

Still the Israeli society in which I grew up looked down on Holocaust survivors. They were seen as weak diaspora characters, people who weren’t quick enough to respond to the Jewish Nationalist call and paid heavily.

Clara:  Are you really telling me that Israelis had no sympathy for the victims of the Holocaust!?

Gilad: I guess that here I happen to be the messenger.  Until the late 1960s there was an element of dismissal, repression and concealment of the Holocaust in Israel.  But there is more that helps to explain this. In Israel in the 1960s, the 70s and even the 80s I can not remember Holocaust survivors asking for sympathy or even empathy. It seemed to us as if most of them wanted to put the Holocaust behind them. To move on, to forget. I tend to believe, and I am not alone, that it was the so-called 2nd generation that politicised the Holocaust. It was the 2nd generation that made this chapter into a contemporary pillar of Israeli identity. The 2nd generation found it difficult or perhaps impossible to deal with their parents’ plight. In ‘The Wandering Who,’ I elaborated on this topic.  As you may know, many of Israeli thinkers have been concerned by this topic. I would recommend watching Yoav Shamir’s film, ‘Defamation’ in order to understand the subtlety of the Israeli debate.

Clara:   Now this is extremely interesting. Listen to this description of post-World-War-II Germans taken from the book ‘The inability to mourn’:

“Denial of the past has replaced work of mourning along the Freudian formula ‚remember, repeat, work through‘.  ‚The manic cleaning of the slate through the Wirtschaftswunder – Germany’s magical economic recovery –‚ has made it possible to regard Nazism ‚as an intermezzo of childhood disease‘ on Germany’s path to democracy (p.25). The result of this ‚autistic attitude‘ was a ‚conspicuously emotional rigidness‘ of the Germans. This emotional rigidness could be perceived everywhere in our society “(p.38)

In Western Germany, by the way, the first generation didn’t talk, the second generation was the angry one, the third generation (if not ‘right-wing revisionist’ or ‘antifa’) tries to understand. I don’t really know about the situation in Eastern Germany. 

Does that seem similar to your experience?

G:   I contend that this results from a systematic and institutional repression mechanism that verges on complete denial. I suppose that for the Germans the Holocaust chapter created cognitive dissonance that has never matured into a universal lesson. Maybe the time is ripe to look at the Holocaust as an integral part of your past and understand it within the context of an historical continuum. Such an approach may prevent the next global disaster.

Clara:   You might be right; what you are saying here provides a lot of food for thought. I think it is necessary to have a look at the reasons for the denial, both the wish to look only forward and the repression of the past. And of course, its place within German history.
But let us explore this one step at a time and have a look at the personal experience first. In my family we grew up with fathers who didn’t talk about the war and mothers who talked about the war as if it had been a fate that had come upon them: the husband killed, the waiting for the fiancé who was a prisoner of war in the Sowjetunion, the bombs, the hunger, the tearing apart of families, the sticking together as a family, the partition of Germany and the tearing apart of families again.  I learned very early that war is something terrible and this became a basic premise for me. Warmongers are wrong and it is essential to stand up against them. 

Gilad: I am pretty aware of that response to history and I am fully aware of German suffering. But what was the role of the Holocaust in all of that?

Clara:   It wasn’t really mentioned in my family. But when I was sixteen I saw the original films about concentration camps and industrially-organized murder and I was profoundly shocked. And this was not fiction! The Nazis had made these films themselves and had seemed to be proud of what they were doing.

I took part in a youth exchange in Israel, I saw the names and portraits of people who had been killed and I spoke to survivors. The word ‘ramp’ has never been a normal word for me again. A ramp is a place where people were selected to live or die by doctors whose duty was to preserve human lives! This was reality. And it would not go away if I looked into another direction.

So the Holocaust, too, became part of my moral compass, to prevent something like the Holocaust from happening again a kind of a mission in my life.

At some stage the Holocaust did become important in your life, when was that?

Gilad: Hard to say exactly. But it is clear that there was a shift in Israeli society in the 1970s. Some believe that it had something to do with the great victory in 1967. Others believe that it was actually the traumatic defeat in 73. And a few believe that it had something to do with Menachem Begin’s victory in 77. Begin was a right wing Polish Jew who was not a part of the ‘sabra’ narrative. Begin peppered his speeches with Holocaust anecdotes. In truth, the shift was probably occasioned by a combination of these factors.  I grew in the midst of that cultural shift in the treatment of the Holocaust.

Clara: What about guilt? Did you learn in Israel that Germans were cruel and guilty? My experience in Israel was that people didn’t blame me, personally. But the question of guilt was always in the room.

Gilad:  This is a fascinating topic. Zionism was and still is a nationalist, racist and expansionist  ideology. It didn’t just resemble Nazi ideology, it actually predated Nazism by almost three decades (the first Zionist Congress took place in Basel in 1897). Some political elements within the Israeli right were proto-fascist (Menachem Begin’s Herut Party for instance).  And it was actually the Israeli ‘Left’ that ethnically cleansed the Palestinians and prevented their return to their land through discriminatory race laws that were far too similar to the Nuremberg race Laws. The young Israeli Army pretty much copied the Blitzkrieg military doctrine, a military strategy that led to the 1967 miracle victory. So at least in its early days, the Israeli attitude to Germany and Nazism was somehow mixed.  No one loved Nazis but admiration for Germans and German culture was deeply embedded in some segments of the still young Israeli society. We are dealing with a love/hate relationship. We have, once again, stumbled upon a cognitive dissonance at the heart of Israeli/Zionist culture. I can try to explain this. For Israelis in the post Holocaust years, the Shoah was a shameful event. It made Diaspora Jews look hopeless. ‘Lambs to the slaughter’ is how they were described in Israel. Young Israelis preferred not to associate  themselves with that disastrous Jewish chapter. They regarded themselves as the healthy alternative. In my immediate family there was always a fascination with Germans and their culture. I even allow myself to think that my peers didn’t see Germans as enemies. Within my immediate circle the big war belonged to the past.

Clara:   That was also my experience with my Israeli peers during the youth exchange.

Gilad:  But it is also true that my right wing grandfather, a veteran terrorist who had settled in Palestine in 1936, deeply hated Germany, he vowed never to visit Germany or to own a German car. In short, the interaction among Israelis, Germans and the Holocaust is not as simple a topic as some want it to be. More interesting for me is to hear how the question of German guilt become part of your life, after all you were born almost a decade after the end of the war.

Clara: It was very early.   As a kid of eight I was in Tansania as a missionary’s daughter at an American boarding school. The year the Berlin Wall was built my American school-mates blamed me for being a Nazi and a communist at the same time. So yes, I learned that it was ‘the’ Germans who had been responsible, in the case of the Berlin wall in cahoots with the Russians.

Mercifully I didn’t bring my parents‘ and relatives‘ guilt into the picture until later. Then I found that this was a very wide field indeed, which could hurt a lot. There was the whole range from a grandfather awarded the title ‘acknowledged antifascist’ in the former GDR, family members being silently critical of what was going on over collaboration to enthusiastic support and even committing war crimes. There were quite a lot of secrets to discover for the 2nd generation.
But back to you. Obviously the Holocaust shaped your life a great deal. How was that?

Gilad: I can’t really say it did. As I mentioned before it wasn’t a pillar of my identity. But I guess that it was true that the Holocaust was there to deliver us as Israelis, a clear hawkish message–we were raised to fight to death and were traumatised by phantasmic future attempts in our lives ‘as a collective’ (Arabs, anti-Semites, USSR, PLO, Iran etc.) I guess that it was this deep sense of PRE-TSD that contributed to the incredible Israeli victory in 1967. In their minds, my father and his peers were preventing a Holocaust by means of a Jewish made blitzkrieg.

Clara:   PRE TSD?

Gilad: PRE TSD  (Pre Traumatic Stress Disorder) as opposed to POST TSD refers to the idea of one being traumatised by a future phantasmic event. I can provide many examples of PRE TSD manifestations that have shaped Jewish history and actually led to total disasters.

Clara:   But the danger was real. Israel was surrounded by hostile neighbours.

Gilad: You have to ask yourself, why is the ‘danger real’? Didn’t Zionism promise to civilize diaspora Jews by means of a ‘homecoming’, making them people like all other people, a collective of people bonded with the soil and living in peace and harmony with their neighbours? At some point we will have to ask ourselves, why did Zionism fail? Where did it go wrong?  Why didn’t Israel managed to love its neighbours and to be loved in return? I believe that the answers to these questions extend far beyond Israeli politics and Zionist ideology. We are digging once again into the so called ‘Jewish Question.’

In my teens it began to occur to me that we were living on someone else’s land. I realised that Israel was a State but Palestine was the land.  While in the army and especially at the time of the 1st Lebanon War (1982), it became clear to me that we, the Israelis were on the wrong side of history. As I mentioned in a few of my writings, when I visited Ansar, and witnessed Palestinians and Lebanese locked behind barbed wire, guarded by towers and machine guns, for the first time I understood that in this battle, I was the Nazi.

It was actually the internalisation of the meaning of the Holocaust that transformed me into a strong opponent of Israel and Jewish-ness. It was the Holocaust that made me a devoted supporter of Palestinian rights, resistance and the Palestinian right of return.

Clara:   So the Holocaust holds a universal message for you and you had to realize that it was not seen like that in Israel?

Gilad: Exactly. I knew that my days in Israel were numbered.

Clara: It was similar for me. During the Israel exchange even as a 17-year-old teenager I wondered about how my German „father generation“ could be full of admiration for the Israelis who had just won the 6-days war and how no Israeli complained about applause from the wrong side. The former victims and the former perpetrators joined into the celebration of the victory together. When I asked them about the fate of the Palestinians the answer was: „The Arabs want to throw us/them into the sea”.

I picked apples together with 200 young people in a Kibbutz. A great peace project. Some Arab youths from Nazareth made friends with us. I was invited to one of their homes. And strictly reprimanded by the Kibbutz people because „those Arabs are dangerous“.

So that is when I learned that you cannot always call a spade a spade. There seem to be good and bad spades. This made me critical of Israel’s politics, but of course also of the American war in Vietnam and the unconditional support Germany gave to our ‘big brother’. It made me take part in the big German peace movement in the 1980s and turned me into a staunch supporter of the German ‘Entspannungspolitik’, the policy of détente in Europe, which led to the fall of the wall in 1989.

And you weren’t content with being a Jazz musician in Britain. You also became a political activist. 

Gilad:    I am really not a political activist, I have never been part of any political organisation and, in general, I stay away from activists.  For one reason or another, activists always know the answers. They follow commandments, jargons, regimes of correctness. I am instead a philosopher, my task is to refine the questions. I am pretty good in opening the discourse, offering alternative perspectives. I have been subject to some intensive  defamation and smear campaigns, however, it is now clear beyond doubt that my work on identity politics in general and Jewish identity politics in particular was simply  ahead of its time. I may not sound modest, but I believe that even my bitterest detractors would  admit by now that this has been the case.

If they want to burn it, you want to read it …

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Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto, 

Amazon.co.uk  ,  Amazon.com  and   here  (gilad.co.uk). 

Next:

2.    Blaming the Victim?

3.    Revising History

4.    Antisemitism, Racism and Cultural Identity

5.    Pretraumatic Stress Disorder (Pre TSD), Zionism and Empire

6.    Jewish Power and Identity Politics

7.    Global Tribes and National Hypes

8.    Finding the Way Home

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