Al Mayadeen: Roth reveals the role of ‘Israel’ in Harvard decision

8 Jan 2023

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen English 

The former director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, speaks to Al Mayadeen about how he was declined a Harvard University position because of his criticism of “Israel,” and the pressures exerted on him to dissuade him from his positions.

Former HRW director Kenneth Roth at Al Mayadeen

The former director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), Kenneth Roth, revealed in an interview with Al Mayadeen how he was refused a fellowship in human rights at Harvard University because of his criticism of “Israel.”

Roth stated that the veto on him either came from one of the donors or from the dean of the university, who was afraid that someone would object to Roth’s positions on “Israel.”

He added that when Harvard University called him, they claimed that the position was granted to another person despite the fact that initially, he had been offered the position by the university.

The former HRW director also pointed out that when one of his colleagues inquired about the reasons behind his sidelining, the dean of the university told argued that he is an “observer,” but added that HRW is biased against “Israel,” and that the refusal also came as a result of Tweets in which Roth criticized “Israel.”

Roth stressed that what happened constituted a great shock, as this has never happened in the history of Harvard.

Punishing academics for criticizing ‘Israel’ is not new

Roth further revealed to Al Mayadeen that what happened to him was not a first, as there had been several instances where an academic who criticized “Israel” was punished. Roth warned that the danger lies in the fact that new academics may see what transpired and may become afraid of directing any criticism towards “Israel” for fear of punishment.

He added that what happened to him at Harvard University is not unique, as it had happened in other universities before. For example, Roth explained that a similar situation had taken place “at the University of Toronto, two years ago, where a person was hired to head a human rights center, then a tentative offer has been made, and then suddenly it was withdrawn due to her criticism of ‘Israel’.” 

In this case, Roth was referencing Dr. Valentina Azarova, an international law practitioner, and researcher. Azarova has described herself as an anti-oppression educator and had written several research pieces regarding Israeli practices in occupied Palestine, such as “The Pathology of a Legal System: Israel’s Military Justice System and International Law.” 

The former HRW director continued that the disappointing thing about what happened with him is that “if any institution can resist donor pressure, it is Harvard, as it is the richest university in the world,” adding that Harvard must have maintained that “we do not accept pressure from donors that tries to censor our scholars, that try to undermine academic freedom.”

He stressed that what happened pointed to a serious matter regarding new academics. Roth argued that these new academics will refrain from criticizing “Israel” out of fear of losing their career or getting canceled following what happened to him and how it affected his career.

Roth stated he is not worried about his career given that he had plenty of other options, however, he said “I fear about a young academic who sees what just happened to me and says: uh oh! I can’t touch ‘Israel’, if I criticize ‘Israel’ that’s going to end my career; I’m going to get canceled.”

Pressure exerted on Roth to refrain from ‘Israel’ criticism

Roth revealed to Al Mayadeen that donors and other parties pressured him during his time as HRW director and urged him not to criticize “Israel.” Roth stressed his resistance to all pressures and argued that Harvard’s decision to fold under donor pressure and cancel his fellowship did not change his position or perspective on how Human Rights must be applied across the world.

He said, “Harvard should not impose bans on its scholars. It should be upholding academic freedom.”

The academic further stressed that he has not changed his perspective on the fact that “human rights standards must be applied even-handedly” and expressed his hope that Harvard would change the way it treats this kind of pressure because the university should not censor its scholars. Moreover, Roth insisted, “I am not going to change what I do but I hope that Harvard changes the way it proceeds.”

Roth hoped that university officials would realize that what happened was wrong and that they would change their minds, take a different path, and rectify things. It is worth noting that Roth here referenced the need to reassess Harvard’s decision-making process with respect to donor pressure and not just the incident that took place with respect to his fellowship. Only that, the former director argued, will “send a message to scholars around the world that it is safe to criticize ‘Israel’, that they’re not going to be punished for it.”

What do the supporters of “Israel” rely on to defend it?

The former director general of HRW confirmed to Al Mayadeen that supporters of the Israeli government engaged in a campaign of “name-calling” against those who criticize “Israel.”

He added that those engaged in the name-calling campaign have no intention of discussing the facts of what “Israel” is doing because “it’s pretty disturbing,” adding that “Israel” is “committing the human rights crime of apartheid.”

Additionally, Roth explained that instead of discussing the substance itself, these supporters show a sign of weakness as they resort to name-calling and say “you’re biased; you’re anti-Semitic.”

In conclusion, Roth voiced, through Al Mayadeen, that his greatest concern is the paralleling that Israeli government supporters are committed to in labeling any criticism of “Israel” as anti-Semetic. 

In a letter sent by HRW to Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow, it was noted that “the Kennedy School’s decision to deny Mr. Roth the opportunity of joining the Carr Center because of his work will doubtlessly have repercussions for academic freedom throughout Harvard University,” adding that “unless addressed it could taint Harvard’s stellar reputation around the globe.”

The letter further urged the president “to review the decision and take the measures necessary to uphold the values of academic freedom.”

Read more: Harvard revokes former HRW head’s fellowship over “Israel” criticism

Related Stories

Do Not Apologize: Being Pro-Palestinian is Not a Crime

November 26, 2022

Canadian member of Ontario’s provincial parliament, Joel Harden. (Photo: via Wikipedia)
– Paul Salvatori is a Toronto-based journalist, community worker and artist. Much of his work on Palestine involves public education, such as through his recently created interview series, “Palestine in Perspective” (The Dark Room Podcast), where he speaks with writers, scholars and activists. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

By Paul Salvatori

This week Joel Harden, a Canadian member of Ontario’s provincial parliament, made this unnecessary apology:

“I would like to apologize unreservedly to the Jewish community for comments I made during an interview with the Ottawa Forum on Israel Palestine. I spoke in a way that perpetrated an antisemitic stereotype towards Jewish neighbours. I regret my choice of words and sincerely apologize to the Jewish community. You have my commitment that it won’t happen again and I will continue to work with Jewish leaders who can help me understand antisemitism.”

Specifically, the apology was made in reference to this statement he made in the interview, in August 2021

“If I were to name…the single greatest threat, the single greatest origin of violence in the Middle East, it is unquestionably the state of Israel and the way in which they feel absolutely no shame in defying international law, doing whatever they want.”

There’s nothing wrong with this since, first, it’s no secret that Israel has absolutely no reservations about and is routinely breaking international law (as confirmed by the United Nations, Amnesty International, other major human rights organizations the world over) and, second, whether Israel is in fact “the single greatest origin of violence in the Middle East” is at worst only debatable.

Given that Israel is constantly demolishing Palestinian properties, opening live fire and killing Palestinian civilians, illegally raiding Palestinian homes, physically and mentally (as through its military) harassing Palestinians, detaining them without any charge whatsoever, and holding them indefinitely behind bars (often referred to more nicely as “administrative detention”)—just to name a few of its crimes and in addition to its periodic bombing of Gaza (a densely open-air prison where Palestinians are wholly defenseless)—it is hardly a farfetched a view that Israel is the “single greatest origin of violence in the Middle East.” 

To go any further at this point in listing Israeli crimes is simply to repeat what’s already been public for long. Motasem A Dalloul, in a recent article published in Middle East Monitor, succinctly notes what ultimately needs to be stressed:

“For 70 years Israel has been the subject of numerous UN resolutions, statements of condemnation and rulings of the illegality of its policies against Palestinians and yet no sanctions have been imposed against it nor have Palestinians been given aid to combat its aggression.”

In fact, as in the cast of Harden, we see the opposite, namely politicians and others apologizing for truthfully speaking to the illegality in question. Aside from such apologies being unnecessary they reflect four problematic issues, concerning Israeli ideologues.

First, Israeli ideologues, including the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) that took exception to Harden’s statement, don’t want to be criticized about Israeli criminality. Ever. In their view, if you draw attention to any of the various modes in which they are engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, whether outside the head (e.g. bombing of Gaza and Israeli settlement displacement) or inside the head (e.g. erasing Palestine from our memory and concerns), is already to have gone too far. And we know where that leads: being called “antisemitic.” 

Stated bluntly, if you think that taking issue with what Israel is doing to Palestine is “antisemitic”, there’s something seriously amiss. Not with the person taking issue but with your thinking. It is so ludicrous to associate, at a very basic level, antisemitism with legit criticism of any state at all, let alone Israel, that the burden of proof is on you—not me—to explain the logic of that. Recalling, as I write, my time as a philosophy instructor, it would have admittedly made for an interesting assignment, where students would be challenged to demonstrate their argumentative abilities.

But should you have handed in, say, an essay where the constant refrain throughout is that criticism of Israel amounts to “antisemitism”, despite the criticism focused exclusively on its actions alone, you’d of course receive a failing grade. By the same token—and if we’re sincere about being “modern” (a word progressives and liberals love to apply to themselves) such that we accept that truth requires justifying what we say with material facts—equating criticism of Israel as antisemitic is empirically bankrupt. 

Second, Israeli ideologues lie about the Palestinian struggle for justice and history. And no one among them corrects them for doing so. One example that immediately comes to mind is how they do this with respect to the phrase “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” So often they, perfectly illustrated in this recent op-ed, attack it as a call to pro-Palestinian terrorism. Had Harden or any other Canadian politician done the same the ideologues would not come after them. It’s as if the Israeli ideologue cannot process the basic idea that the phrase refers to the rightful liberation of the Palestinian people, covering the geographic expanse of the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

What they’d like the world to falsely believe is that it means annihilating Israelis. No doubt this is a kind of fear-mongering to not only vilify Palestinians and their allies but also to drum up further support for the continuation of Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Sociopaths act similarly. They manipulate you to believe in certain lies so you, acting accordingly, advance some particular agenda. Even when doing so is to your own or others’ detriment. 

Third and finally, Israeli ideologues are selective about what they mean by “antisemitism.” Preposterous criticism of Israel, for them, amounts to such hatred but slandering or demeaning Jews as “self-hating” for supporting the Palestinian struggle for justice is not. An egregious incident where this happened, involving Palestinian solidarity expressed by Hasidic Jews in Toronto this year and detailed well by Montreal activist and writer Yves Engler, is a case in point. CIJA, among other Israeli ideologues, surely knows about this. They are, without fail, vigilant in documenting all antisemitic incidents that happen in Canada. They however do not respond to those where the targets of the incidents are pro-Palestinian. 

Ignoring antisemitism when it occurs against pro-Palestinian Jews while condemning all other forms of antisemitism (perceived, such as criticism against Israel, or real, such as denying a person entry somewhere because they are Jewish), is more than turning a blind eye. It’s outright deplorable. It means that the pro-Palestinian Jew is “less” a Jew. Conversely, and following this perverse logic, being “Jewish” entails supporting the Israeli oppression of Palestine. Should you challenge that you are a “traitor” to other “real” Jews who will not come to your aid or safety? 

Those publicly endorsing such thinking should be apologizing for offending being antisemitic. Those, however, fighting for Palestinian justice—Jews and non-Jews alike—have nothing to be sorry about. Remember this, dear Palestinian allies. As much as each of us is flawed, not perfect, and have things about ourselves that we have to work on, you do no harm when you oppose the unconscionable crimes that Israel—as a violent state and not the exclusive representative of worldwide Jewry—perpetrate daily against the Palestinian people. You will likely offend those who, lacking conscience, want it otherwise. But that is their failing. Not ours. 

Do not let it deter you from engaging in the Palestinian struggle. There is lots of good, however difficult, work left to be done. 

Roger Waters Fends Off ‘Antisemitism’ Smears in Germany Ahead of Live Shows

November 10, 2022

Pink Floyd rock legend Roger Waters. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Pink Floyd rock legend Roger Waters has reaffirmed his commitment to perform in Germany next year as part of his This Is Not a Drill world tour in spite of vicious smears against him from German politicians and media outlets accusing him of antisemitism.

On Friday, Waters wrote on Facebook to his fans saying The Mayor of Munich, some members of the Green and SDP political parties and others “have been slandering me, accusing me of being an anti-semite and also a Putin apologist. I am neither of those things. Never have been and never will be.”

Waters, known for his outspoken commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and as a proud supporter of rights for Palestinians, has been attacked by German officials attempting to have his upcoming shows canceled.

According to Berliner Zeitung, Samuel Salzborn, the anti-Semitism commissioner of the Social Democratic Party, called for the cancellation of his upcoming concert in Berlin in May 2023.

The German official recently described the musician as “one of the loudest voices in the music business, spreading anti-Israel anti-Semitism,” in the German newspaper B.Z, according to Tagesspiegel.

Salzborn has been criticized himself for his “deep intolerance against Palestinians” by Palestinian journalist Ali Abunimah in the Electronic Intifada, following a Tweet he made in October 2019 (now deleted) which said:

“When you’re sitting in the train and the people next to you start talking about ‘Palestine’ without any apparent reason, it means it is time to either get off the train, put on your headphones, or scream at them”.

Abunimah said the tweet appears to be “a pure expression of his disgust even at the thought of Palestine or Palestinians existing.”

An article published last week in Jüdische Allgemeine smears Waters even more viciously, the article titled “Jew hatred on tour” says the Bavarian anti-Semitism commissioner Ludwig Spaenle recently called on the city of Munich to cancel the contract for the planned concert in the Olympiahalle if Waters did not distance himself from the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement.

BDS is a Palestinian-led movement encouraging non-violent pressure on Israel until it complies with international law.

In the same article, Sigmount Königsberg, the anti-Semitism commissioner for Berlin’s Jewish community is quoted as saying Waters is “an anti-Semite, a hate preacher with music that demonizes Israel.”

Likewise, Uwe Becker, Spaenle’s Hessian counterpart says Waters is, “a bad example of aggressive, Israel-related anti-Semitism” and that he is not welcome in the state.

Waters is not unique in having weaponized allegations of antisemitism wielded against him in Germany. The Euromed Human Rights Monitor recently expressed  concern over the “anti-Arab purge in German media.”

Waters has become an outspoken critic of Israel’s apartheid and oppression of the Palestinian people since he first visited the West Bank in 2006 and was approached by the BDS movement to support the campaign.

Speaking on Joe Rogan’s Experience last month, considered the world’s most popular podcast, Waters exposed Israel’s ongoing apartheid against the Palestinians saying, “now it is very difficult for anyone to have a conversation about Israel and Palestine without using the word apartheid because it is in the lexicon, and the problem is far more in the light.”

This year Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch published reports asserting Israel is committing the crime of apartheid.

So far Waters’ tour has also illuminated Israel’s ongoing injustices against Palestinians, including the attacks made against Palestinian journalists. During his recent US shows, images of Israel’s apartheid wall were displayed as well as the name of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh who was shot dead by Israeli forces this year.

And it is not just adoring fans who listen to Waters’ informed perspective on Palestine, in 2012 he gave an extended address at the United Nations as part of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine and has written many letters encouraging fellow musicians not to perform in Israel.

Last year, distinguished Palestinian historian, Professor Rashid Khalidi (Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University) suggested that young Palestinians should, “stop listening to old people for advice” on their activism at an event held by Palestine Dee Dive, before quickly correcting himself saying, “actually there is one older person you should still listen to, of course, his name is Roger Waters.”

Waters rounded off his to address  fans in Germany on Facebook, saying:

“Your Ruling Class and your media want to ban me from bringing my message of love and peace and revolution to enrich your lives. WELL I’M COMING, and together we will raise the roof on this charade”.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

THE ISRAEL FILES: WIKILEAKS DOCS SHOW TOP HOLLYWOOD PRODUCERS WORKING WITH ISRAEL TO DEFEND ITS WAR CRIMES

SEPTEMBER 23RD, 2022

Source

THE ISRAEL FILES IS A NEW MINTPRESS SERIES EXPLORING AND HIGHLIGHTING THE MANY REVELATIONS ABOUT THE ISRAELI OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE THAT WIKILEAKS DOCUMENTS DISCLOSED. IT HOPES TO SHED LIGHT ON MANY OF THE MOST IMPORTANT AND UNDERREPORTED REVELATIONS THE PUBLISHING GROUP EXPOSED. 

By Alan Macleod

As Israel was launching a deadly assault on Gaza, killing thousands of civilians and displacing more than 100,000 people, many of America’s top TV, music and film producers were organizing to protect the apartheid state’s reputation from widespread international condemnation.

Together, the Sony Archive – a cache of emails published by Wikileaks – prove that influential entertainment magnates attempted to whitewash Israeli crimes and present the situation as defending itself from an impending “genocide”, liaised with Israeli military and government officials in order to coordinate their message, attempted to cancel those who spoke out against the injustice, and put financial and social pressure on institutions who hosted artists criticizing the apartheid government’s actions.

AS ISRAEL ATTACKS, HOLLYWOOD PLAYS DEFENSE

“[Israel’s message] Must be repeated ad infinitum until the people get it,” wrote Hollywood lawyer and producer Glenn D. Feig, in an email chain to many of Tinsel Town’s most influential executives. This was in response to the unprovoked 2014 Israeli attack on Gaza, one of the bloodiest chapters in over half a century of occupation.

Named “Operation Protective Edge”, the Israeli military engaged in seven weeks of near-constant bombing of the densely populated coastal strip. According to the United Nations, over 2,000 people were killed – a quarter of them children. 18,000 houses were destroyed, leaving more than 100,000 people homeless.

The Israeli military deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure, knocking out Gaza’s only power plant and shutting down its water treatment plants, leading to economic, social and ecological devastation in an area Human Rights Watch has labeled the world’s largest “open air prison”.

Many in Hollywood expressed deep concern. “We must make sure that never happens again”, insisted producer Ron Rotholz. Rotholz, however, was not referring to the death and destruction Israel imposed on Gaza, but to the fact that many of the entertainment world’s biggest stars, including celebrity power couple, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, had condemned Israel’s actions, labeling them tantamount to “genocide.”

“Change must start from the top down. It should be unheard of and unacceptable for any Academy Award-winning actor to call the legitimate armed defense of one’s territory…genocide” he continued, worrying that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement – a worldwide campaign to put economic pressure on Israel in an attempt to push it to meet its obligations under international law – was gaining steam in the world of the arts. Israel’s legitimacy rests upon political and military support from the U.S. Therefore, maintaining support among the American public is crucial to the long term viability of its settler colonial project.

Rotholz then attempted to organize a silent, worldwide pressure campaign on arts venues and organizations, including the Motion Picture Academy in Hollywood and the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals, to stamp out BDS, writing,

What we can do is urge the leaders of major film, TV and theater organisations, festivals, markets and potentially the heads of media corporations to issue official statements condemning any form of cultural or economic boycotts against Israel.”

Others agreed that they had to develop a “game plan” for opposing BDS.

Of course, when influential producers, festivals and heads of media corporations release statements condemning a certain position or practice, this is, in effect, a threat: stop taking these positions or suffer the professional consequences.

LOACH ON THE BRAIN

The Sony emails also reveal a near obsession with British filmmaker and social activist Ken Loach. The celebrated director’s film, “Jimmy’s Hall” had recently been nominated for the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and in the wake of Israel’s assault on Gaza, he had publicly called for a cultural and sporting boycott of the apartheid state.

This outraged many in Hollywood. Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity Media, a film producing company responsible for financing more than 200 movies, demanded that not only Loach, but the whole Cannes Film Festival be cancelled. “The studios and networks alike must join together and boycott cannes,” he wrote. “If we don’t we are sending a message that another holocaust is fine with Hollywood as long as it is business as usual,” he added, framing the Israeli attack on a near-defenseless civilian population as a Palestinian genocide of Israelis.

Others agreed. Ben Silverman, former co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios and producer of shows such as “The Office”, “The Biggest Loser” and Ugly Betty” said that the industry should “boycott the boycotters”. Rotholz, meanwhile, wrote to the head of the Cannes Film Festival, demanding that he take action against Loach for his comments. “There is no place for [Loach’s intolerant and hateful remarks] in the global world of film and filmmakers”, he insisted.

.

Others came up with another way of countering Loach. “How about we all club together and make a documentary about the rise of new anti-Semitism in Europe,” suggested British film producer Cassian Elwes, adding,

I would be willing to contribute and put time into it if others here would do the same. Between all of us I’m sure we could figure out a way to distribute it and get it into places like Cannes so we could have a response to guys like Loach. Perhaps we try to use it to rally support from film communities in Europe to help us distribute it there”.

“I love it,” replied publishing oligarch Jason Binn, “And I will promote it in a major way to all 3.2 million magazine subscribers across all on and offline platforms. I can even leverage Gilt’s 9 million members,” he added, referring to the shopping and lifestyle website he managed.

“Me too,” said Amy Pascal, the Co-Chairperson of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Meanwhile, Mark Canton, producer of movies such as “Get Carter”, “Immortals” and “300” busied himself drumming up more Hollywood support for the idea. “Adding Carmi Zlotnik to this growing list”, he replied, referencing the TV executive.

This whole correspondence was from an email chain of dozens of high-powered entertainment figures entitled “Happy New Year. Too bad Germany is now a no travel zone for Jews,” which ludicrously claimed that the European country had become a Muslim-controlled Islamic theocracy.

“It is horrible. But in the end, it is no surprise, because apologists for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians will go to any length to prevent the people opposing them,” Mr. Loach said, when asked for comment by MintPress. “We shouldn’t underestimate the hatred of those who cannot tolerate the idea that Palestinians have human rights, that Palestine is a state; and they have their country,” he added.

SHUTTING DOWN FREE EXPRESSION

The pro-Israel group in Hollywood also put serious pressure on American institutions to crack down on support for Palestinian human rights. Silverman revealed that he had written to Peter Gelb, the general manager of the New York Metropolitan Opera, in an effort to shut down a performance of “The Death of Klinghoffer”, an opera that tells the story of the 1985 hijacking of an airliner by the Palestine Liberation Front. “I suggest though that we each call him on Monday at his office at the Met and your point about the Met’s donors’ leverage is important,” he advised the other entertainment oligarchs, thereby shining a light on how the powerful move in secret to silence speech they do not approve of, and how they use their financial clout to coerce and strong-arm others into toeing their line. A lot of pressure was necessary, because, as Silverman explained, “as members of the artistic community it is very hard to be pro free speech only some of the time and not all of the time.”

Ultimately, the performance did go ahead, but not without a large and coordinated protest both inside and outside the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, as individuals attempted to shut down the performance, claiming it was “antisemitic.”

LIAISING WITH THE IDF

The email conversations of many of Hollywood’s most influential individuals show that they believe they are on the verge of a worldwide extermination of Jews, and that Israel – and themselves – are the only things standing in the way of this impending fate. As Kavanaugh wrote, “It’s our job to keep another Holocaust from happening. Many of you may think that can’t happen, that is extreme…[but] If you pull newspapers from pre Holocaust it seems eerily close to our world today.”

Rotholz was of a similar opinion, writing that,

It is imperative that leading figures in the LA/NY film, tv, media, digital and theater communities who support a strong and potent Jewish state develop a strategy for liasing with colleagues in London and Europe and also with the creative communities here and in Europe to promote and explain the Israeli cause.”

The Sony Archive emails also show that, not only were Tinsel Town’s top brass coordinating strategies to silence critics of Israel, but that they were also closely liaising with the Israeli government and its military.

Producer George Perez, for example, messaged his colleagues in the chain email to introduce them to an IDF colonel, stating (emphasis added),

Everyone please use this “reply all” list from here on.  I have included Kobi Marom a retired commander in the Israeli army. Kobi was kind enough to give my family and I a jeep tour of the Golan Heights during our June trip to Israel.  He also took us to visit an army base on the border of Israel and Syria, an area which has been in the news lately.  Hard to imagine that the “kids” that we met at the base are most likely engaged in combat with our enemies.”

Seeing as the large majority of those who died were Palestinian civilians, it is unclear whether he considers all Palestinians or just Hamas as enemies of Hollywood. Perez also noted that “Kobi works closely with the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (FIDF) who are in need of donations,” and advised that Hollywood needed to “dig deep to help in the constant struggle for the survival of Israel.”

Hollywood celebrities including famed producer Haim Saban and actress Fran Drescher, pose with IDF soldiers at the FIDF Western Region Gala

The group also attempted to recruit Israeli-American movie star Natalie Portman into their ranks. But the Academy Award-winning actress appeared more concerned that her personal details were being shared. “How did I get on this list? Also Ryan Seacrest?” she replied, before directly addressing Kavanaugh, writing,

[C]an you please remove me from this email list? you should not be copying me publicly so that 20 people i don’t know have my personal info. i will have to change my email address now.  thank you”.

While Portman’s open contempt for the group of rabidly pro-Israel producers is notable, more so was Kavanaugh’s response, which revealed how close the connection between the Israeli state and Hollywood is. Kavanaugh wrote back,

Sorry. You are right Jews being slaughtered for their beliefs and Cannes members calling for the boycott of anything Israel or Jewish is much much less important than your email address being shared with 20 of our peers who are trying to make a difference. my deepest apologies…I had lunch yesterday with Israel consulate general who brought J street up to me. He was so perplexed confused and concerned when he heard you supported them that he begged me to connect you two.”

Thus, the leaked emails prove beyond any doubt that both the Israeli government and the IDF liaise with some of the most powerful people in the entertainment world in order to push forward a pro-Israel message and stamp out any deviance from that line.

HIP HOPPERS FOR APARTHEID

While their efforts at recruiting Portman fell flat, one star who responded enthusiastically was hip hop mega producer Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam Records and the brother of Joseph “Rev.Run” Simmons, one third of Run DMC. Simmons has recently been the subject of controversy, after 20 women have come forward, charging him with rape or other sexual misconduct.

The emails reveal that promoting engagement with Israel within the African-American community is one of Simmons’ primary interests. When asked if he had any ideas how to improve Israel’s image, he said, “Simple messaging from non Jews specifically from Muslims promoting peace and Israel’s right to exist…We have resources and the desire to win rather than lose the hearts of young Muslims and Jews.”

What these resources were, he explained,

We have hundreds of collaboration programs between Imams Rabbis and their congregations We have many respected imams who would join former chief rabbi metzker (spelling) rabbi Schneier and non Jews in promoting the Saudi peace plan”.

“Through this campaign we will be helping Israel,” he concluded.

TURNING THE TIDE

Despite the best efforts of Simmons and others, however, American public opinion has, in recent years, begun to turn against Israel. Young Americans, in particular, are more likely to sympathize with the plight of the Palestinian people and support an independent Palestinian state.

Much of this has to do with the rise of social media and a new generation of activists breaking through the barriers to highlight injustices being carried out by their government. Today, Americans are more likely to see first-hand, unvarnished accounts of Israeli brutality on social media platforms. As veteran political scientist Noam Chomsky explained to MintPress last year, “The veil of intense propaganda [is] being lifted slowly, [and] crucial U.S. participation in Israeli crimes is also coming more clearly into view. With committed activism, that could have salutary effects.”

Despite the best efforts of Simmons and others, however, American public opinion has, in recent years, begun to turn against Israel. Young Americans, in particular, are more likely to sympathize with the plight of the Palestinian people and support an independent Palestinian state.

Much of this has to do with the rise of social media and a new generation of activists breaking through the barriers to highlight injustices being carried out by their government. Today, Americans are more likely to see first-hand, unvarnished accounts of Israeli brutality on social media platforms. As veteran political scientist Noam Chomsky explained to MintPress last year, “The veil of intense propaganda [is] being lifted slowly, [and] crucial U.S. participation in Israeli crimes is also coming more clearly into view. With committed activism, that could have salutary effects.”

Nevertheless, U.S. government support for Israel continues to rise. Between 2019 and 2028, it is scheduled to send nearly $40 billion in aid, almost all of it military, meaning that American taxpayer funds are contributing to Palestinian oppression and displacement.

Loach was even more upbeat on the issue, telling us that those who stand in the way of justice will be judged poorly by history, stating,

The denial of human rights of the Palestinians is one of the great crimes [of the modern era] and Palestinian rights is one of the great causes of last century and this century. We should all support the Palestinians. If you have any care for human rights, there is no question: the Palestinians have to be supported. And these people who oppose them, in the end, will fade away. Because history will show this was a terrible crime. Palestinians suffered ethnic cleansing of their homeland. We have to support the Palestinians, full stop.”

Those people, however, have no intention of “fading away”, and continue to organize on behalf of the Israeli government. Thanks to the leaked documents, those who care about Palestinian self-determination have a clearer understanding of how they operate.

Dismantling ‘Israel’

20 Sep 2022 23:52 

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Liberal Zionists, unhappy with the fascist brand, already working on a post-apartheid regime is clear proof that the dismantling of Apartheid “Israel” may come sooner than expected.

Tim Anderson 

Director of the Sydney-based Centre for Counter Hegemonic Studies.

The future of the Apartheid Israeli regime in Palestine is often seen as either (1) maintenance of the racist “state”, with more than half the population excluded and brutally repressed or (2) complete collapse of the regime and Palestinian liberation – a simple dichotomy. 

However, tensions among Zionist elites and the historic unraveling of previous racist regimes suggest that the dismantling of Apartheid “Israel” may come sooner than expected but in a more complicated manner. Racist states have often been dismantled with serious compromises. 

The combined forces of steadfast Palestinian Resistance and the plummeting “international legitimacy of Israel” are certainly powerful agents working toward a democratic Palestine. Yet, liberal Zionists, unhappy with the fascist brand, are already working on a post-apartheid regime. This group does not currently have the upper hand in occupied Palestine, but they do have greater say with the colony’s chief sponsor, the USA. 

Meanwhile, the disunity of Palestinian factions – actively encouraged by the Zionist regime – undermines their bargaining position. That leaves the door open for dirty deals.

Let’s remember that the ‘abolition’ of mass slavery in the USA was followed by another century of brutal ‘Jim Crow’ racial discrimination, a system which has often been called ‘slavery by another name’. This next stage racist system was given a legal blessing by the ‘separate but equal’ Supreme Court decision in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), a decision not overturned until Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision (1954). So ‘abolition’ did not mean emancipation.

Correctly pointing to parallels with the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa, Omar Barghouti calls for an increase in boycott and sanction initiatives against “Israel”. Yet, he does not refer to the compromises involved in the South African transitional process, which led to extreme economic inequality and post-apartheid South Africa becoming one of the most unequal countries on earth.

Perhaps even more relevant are the compromises made when the racial regime in Zimbabwe (formerly ‘Rhodesia’) was dismantled at the end of the 1970s. Talks hosted in Britain led to the ‘Lancaster House Accords’ with the following features.

First ‘equal citizenship’ was created, but it was accompanied by several protective provisions. A ‘white roll’ was created to maintain ten (of 40) ‘white’ senators and 20 (of 100) ‘white’ reps in the Assembly. There were then requirements for a 70% parliamentary agreement for constitutional changes. A unanimous requirement to change “the separate representation of the white minority in parliament” gave that group veto power. 

Second, under the “freedom from deprivation of property” provisions, the compulsory acquisition of property was banned and consensual compensation provisions were required. Protective provisions to privilege white minority representation and ban state acquisition of land could, for a period of ten years, only be carried out “by the unanimous vote of the House of Assembly”. That ‘froze’ white colonist control of most of the country’s arable land.

Nevertheless, the Lancaster House agreement went on to claim that “the question of majority rule … has been resolved”. Britain promised to provide capital for land buyouts but failed to do so. Twenty years after independence, as the Mugabe government attempted to ‘fast track’ land reforms, Britain and the USA imposed coercive ‘sanctions’ on the country. 

The land question is particularly important in Palestine, where steady land grabs, house thefts, and demolitions committed by “Israel” have economically marginalized the indigenous population, and in the process exposed the seven-decade-long myth of the ‘two states’. 

Yet, the cost of destroying that myth, for the Zionists, is the naked reality of apartheid, now recognized by six independent reports. Two former Israeli leaders, both of the ‘liberal zionist’ faction, have warned of the existential threat the apartheid brand poses to their dream of a ‘Jewish state’. In 2007, Ehud Olmert warned that “Israel” faces an “apartheid-like struggle” if the “two-state” myth collapses. Similarly, in 2017, Ehud Barak warned that his “state” was “on a slippery slope” toward apartheid.

This matter is of less concern for the more openly fascist Zionists, who dominate the regime these days. However liberal Zionists, with greater influence in the USA, have not been sitting on their hands. They are alarmed at the damage to the reputation of their ‘Jewish state’, by being labeled an apartheid regime and therefore, by the 1973 UN Convention, a crime against humanity and a regime that must be dismantled. 

For these reasons, we see influential former liberal Zionists openly agitating against the apartheid regime. They are not prepared to live with that “shame” and are looking for their own type of restructure. For example, former Israeli negotiator Daniel Levy, now President of the US-based Middle East Project, told the United Nations Security Council that the notion of an ‘Arab state’ was dead and that apartheid in Palestine was a reality. Similarly, Peter Beinart, an editor at Jewish Currents and contributor to The Atlantic and CNNwrote in the New York Times about fake Zionist claims of ‘anti-Semitism’. He said that Zionist groups were “abandoning a traditional commitment to human rights out of blind support for Israel”. 

These developments have important implications for the dismantling of the Zionist regime. The liberal Zionists will use their influence with Washington and London to get sponsorship for talks over a deal with compliant and property-owning elements of the Palestinian community. Almost certainly, the emerging deal will involve the protection of ‘settler rights’, Zionist privileges, and a freeze on property relations. The ‘right to return’ will also be subject to a deal.

Palestinian collaborators in this will not be the small-time agents who acted as informants and later sought refuge in “Tel Aviv” with temporary residence permits which do not allow them to work or get health benefits. Washington and “Tel Aviv” will abandon them.

The likely Palestinian collaborators for a ‘New Israel’ will be those linked to the Arab monarchies, with both property and embedded interests in the Palestinian Authority, which has long functioned as a municipality of the Apartheid “regime”. Religion will be no barrier, as secular collaborators will be joined by those who threw in their hands with the Muslim Brotherhood players, notably Qatar and Turkey, leading ‘false friends’ of the Palestinian cause. 

The Palestinian Resistance and its allies face new challenges. There is a real risk that a coalition of Washington, liberal Zionists, and Palestinian collaborators will begin to cut a deal behind closed doors, regardless of the legacy of Palestinian sacrifice and resistance. Such struggles are often betrayed at the last moment. 

That deal could include a last-minute grab for land, the freezing of property relations, and transitional provisions to protect the colonists. If deep divisions persist among Palestinian resistance factions, that deal will be easier to sell to an unsuspecting Palestinian and world audience. The dismantling of the ‘Old Israel’ will be so dramatic that few will pay attention to key details of the ‘New Israel’. But those details will be very important for the long-suffering Palestinian population.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Zelensky, NATO explain how Ukraine could become a ‘big Israel’

September 20, 2022 

Source: The Grayzone

NATO’s think tank, the Atlantic Council, exhibits “Israel’s” political model as an ideal model for the future of Ukraine – a model based on hyper-militarization and fascism.

Zelensky, NATO explain how Ukraine could become a ‘big Israel’

By Al Mayadeen English 

The Atlantic Council, a NATO-backed think tank, is openly proposing that Ukraine embody a more enhanced version of the Israeli political model, based on hyper-militarization, intelligence superiority, and technological innovation.

In other words, Ukraine is crystallizing into its most fascist form, a blow to the so-called claims of “democracy” that NATO and Western powers are marketing.

The paper, titled “Zelenskyy wants Ukraine to be ‘a big Israel.’ Here’s a road map.,” was published in early April, and is written by Daniel Shapiro, former US ambassador to “Israel,” who has worked for Israeli intelligence and enjoys close ties with Israeli think tanks. Shapiro is currently an Israeli spy-tech consultant.

This suggestion was not born from a vacuum. Within the same timeframe, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky divulged to reporters that in the future, he’d like Ukraine to be “a big Israel,” after which NATO released the article which roughly explains how the model could be executed.

Zelensky articulated that Ukraine would never be like Switzerland (as of February 24), which has remained neutral when it came to regional conflicts. Rather, he said: “we will definitely become a ‘big Israel’ with its own face.”

The Jewish president, who paid no heed to his neo-Nazi battalions (quite ironically), went on to explain what a “big Israel” would look like:

“We will not be surprised that we will have representatives of the Armed Forces or the National Guard in all institutions, supermarkets, cinemas — there will be people with weapons,” Ukraine’s president said, predicting a bleak existence for his citizens. “I am sure that our security issue will be number one in the next ten years.”

The future of Ukraine, according to Zelensky, will not be “absolutely liberal, European.”

Shapiro explained that the “two embattled countries share more than you might think.” The vision to create a ‘big Israel’ out of Ukraine, according to the former ambassador, would be to militarize Ukraine so much to push US interest in Eastern Europe against its rival, Russia.

Although in 2018, 40 human rights activists petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice to stop arming Ukraine after Azov Battalion members were caught brandishing Israeli-made weapons, the military entity has been sending mercenaries to Ukraine and providing weapons since February.

Zelensky has cried anti-Semitism in recent months, citing that “Putin’s war” is a war on Ukrainian Jews, although they make up less than 0.5% of the population. However, the Ukrainian president seems very much unfazed by the openly Nazi battalions in this country. Perhaps the two do, indeed, have very much in common.

Read more: Zelensky’s rallying cry for Jews: His last shot in a losing war

The ground-breaking model 

The proposed model, first and foremost, suggested increasing security – in other words, ramping up surveillance and intelligence – in Ukraine. He explains that the basis for security in “Israel” is that the entirety of the population participates.

“Civilians recognize their responsibility to follow security protocols and contribute to the cause,” Shapiro wrote of Israeli settlers. “Some even arm themselves (though under strict supervision) to do so. The widespread mobilization of Ukrainian society in collective defense suggests that the country has this potential.”

To draw the parallel, this idea aligns with Zelenksy’s vision: “People with weapons,” as the president explained, will be existent in every aspect of civilian life.

Shapiro furthermore seconded Israeli “high-tech innovation” in military and intelligence, which are highly assisted and backed by the US and citizens’ taxpayer money as Washington allocates billions for the settler-colonial regime on a yearly basis.

Read next: A secret Israeli unit trains Ukrainians to fight Russians: Yedioth Ahronoth

It is striking that Zelensky undermined the role of foreign aid in cementing “Israel’s” feet in settler-colonial activities, explaining – either naively or purposely – that “Israel will defend itself, by itself—and rely on no other country to fight its battles.” 

Ukraine, to become “Israel 2.0”, “will need to upgrade its intelligence services”, as “Tel Aviv” “has invested deeply in its intelligence capabilities to ensure that it has the means to detect and deter its enemies—and, when needed, act proactively to strike them.”

Shapiro would know. In 2017, the former ambassador joined the Israeli spy company NSO as an independent advisor, where he assisted clients with the evaluation of Pegasus packages. The clients include multiple European Union nations and the Saudi monarchy.

Read next: US defense company in talks over buying NSO’s Pegasus

Shapiro has also worked for WestExec Advisors, which is a consulting firm founded in 2017 by current Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Before Biden’s election, Shapiro did some media work after the Democratic Party’s platform removed language opposing land annexation in the occupied West Bank in Palestine.

NATO, furthermore, would benefit greatly from a hyper-militarized Ukraine. Major weapon corporations in the US are core donors to the alliance and their bodies, including the Atlantic Council. Companies include Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon. Gregory J. Hayes, the Raytheon Chairman, is on the Atlantic Council’s international advisors board.

Raytheon and Lockheed Martin’s anti-tank Javelin missiles have been called the “symbol of Ukraine’s resistance”, with Washington providing over 8,500 missiles to Ukraine since the beginning of the war.

Read next: Pentagon awards Raytheon, Lockheed $311mln to replenish Javelin stocks

If Zelensky were to really make his dream come true, there will need to be behemoth-size investments into Europe’s poorest country for the working class, with hysterical weapon and surveillance tech investments… just like “Israel.”

AHMAD MANASRA AND THE CRIME OF EXISTING WHILE PALESTINIAN

JULY 1ST, 2022

By Miko Peled

Source

Conversations with Palestinians both young and old almost always end with them saying to me, “you [a Jewish Israeli] can say these things, but if we were to say them we would be excluded from all spaces and we would be called anti-semitic.” A young Palestinian interning in Washington, D.C. told me she felt that she needed an Israeli beside her to give her legitimacy. Not in her own eyes, but in the eyes of the D.C. establishment. Sadly, she is probably correct; in the anti-Arab, and particularly anti-Palestinian atmosphere in Washington, this is very likely true.

About ten years ago my very good friend Bassem Tamimi from Nabi Saleh told me the following story: He was in the United States for a speaking tour and on a certain occasion, an American activist came up and warmly shook his hand. He said to Bassem that since he, Bassem, is a friend of mine, then he too welcomes him. This was the same kind of skewed reality whereby people feel an Israeli is the barometer by which a Palestinian is to be measured. Bassem proceeded to tell the man that although it is true that he and I are friends, and that I slept at his house many times, he does not accept that anyone will judge him on the basis of his friendship with me. That was the end of that conversation and Bassem walked away from this person.

Bassem mentioned this story many, many times during our years of friendship, and he continues to do so, particularly when there are people around who may be thinking the way the man in the story does. I told this young Palestinian the story about Bassem and said that had he not had that kind of integrity, he and I could never have become friends.

A CHASM

There exists a chasm between the reality in Palestine and the way that reality is perceived by the “establishment” in Washington, D.C. Palestinians’ existence in their own country is tantamount to a living hell. Certainly, there are Palestinians who managed to secure a relatively comfortable life within the parameters set for them by Israel, but that does not mean it is any less of a living hell.

The Amnesty International report on Apartheid in Palestine speaks to this issue as well. Just because there are Palestinians who do live well and can survive and work and raise their children somewhat normally within the system of oppression, does not make the system less oppressive or the crime of Apartheid less violent.

One example of this violence is Israel’s administrative detention and torture of Palestinians. Amnesty International published a report about child prisoner Ahmed Manasra, stating that,

Israel continues to perpetrate widespread as well as systematic human rights violations against Palestinians, including children, against a backdrop of decades of state-sponsored discrimination, segregation and persecution.

Had he not been a Palestinian held by Isreal, the entire world would have stood up for Ahmed. Mansara was arrested when he was only 13 years old and was interrogated with no lawyer or parent present. A disturbing video showing his arrest and interrogation went viral.

The Amnesty International report states in no uncertain terms that his arrest and the conditions in which he has been held are tantamount to, “a flagrant violation of international law.” Amnesty goes on to say, “There is evidence that the treatment of Ahmed Manasra fits a wider pattern of discrimination against Palestinian children in the Israeli criminal justice system.” Manasra is, “still in prison despite worsening mental health.”

Amnesty demanded that the Israeli authorities release Manasra and immediately provide him with the medical and mental health care that he needs. Much of the deterioration of his mental health care is directly related to the manner in which both prison authorities and the Shabak – Israel’s secret police – treated him. These include prolonged periods of solitary confinement.

Again, from the Amnesty report:

Ahmad Manasra has been held in prolonged solitary confinement since the beginning of November 2021, in violation of the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.

There is no surprise – much less an outcry – that Israel regularly uses solitary confinement, as does the United States, as a tool for punishing inmates. Amnesty goes on to report that,

The Israel Prison Service asked to renew Ahmad’s solitary confinement for a further six months on 17 April 2022. A hearing that was scheduled to be held on 15 June 2022 with regards to his solitary confinement was postponed to a later date.

Ahmad Manasra’s mental health worsened during his incarceration to a point where there is a concern for his life. In October 2021, an independent Israeli clinical psychologist working with Physicians for Human Rights diagnosed him with severe psychiatric conditions and stated these had developed since his incarceration.

AN ABSURD REALITY

The vicious crimes perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians are well documented by credible agencies with no affiliation to either Israel or the Palestinians, such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch. However, when Israel is mentioned in the halls of power in Washington, D.C., there seems to be a sense of awe and admiration. This is also true in many churches and other non-governmental organizations.

Palestinians are far less welcome and when they are invited, they need to be sponsored – if not physically accompanied by an organization that includes Israelis or at least the blessing of Israelis. As was mentioned earlier, while many Palestinians reject this reality, others feel they cannot otherwise have their voice heard.

Perhaps this is a good time to speak of Palestinian generosity. For nearly a century, Palestinians by and large have been trying to make peace with the fact their country was taken and they have been forced to live as refugees or second-class citizens. Palestine, a country that was widely known had all of a sudden become a footnote to Israel. Israelis who consider themselves “progressives” are willing to “give” Palestinians a small portion of Palestine in order to have their own state. However, the real generosity is that Palestinians (in general) agree to the creation of a single democracy with equal rights in all of historic Palestine. Not to confine the Jewish settler-colonizers in small areas within Palestine, but full equality with the very people who killed and tortured them, stole their homes, and deprived them of their land and their rights.

Indeed, it makes more sense that if representatives of Israel are ever welcome anywhere, it should be only when sanctioned by Palestinians. To that end, we must all adopt and demand that sanctions and boycotts be placed on Israel, and without delay.

A Forgotten Anniversary

June 12, 2022

Source

By Jimmie Moglia

It is a property of the past to sink into oblivion, and of unpleasant truths to fade into evanescence. To such past belongs the attack on the USS Liberty.

When to the session of sweet silent thought I summon up remembrance of things past, Israel’s 1967 war of Middle East invasion is/was for me but a negligible blip compared to other important personal events. Such as my getting ready to read the thesis for my degree in Electronic Engineering, in Genova, Italy.

Therefore, without particular consciousness I submitted to the sentences of the official media without examining the authority of the judge.

My first doubts arose not long later when I decided to visit the Eastern Orthodox Saint Catherine’s Monastery, located on the Sinai Peninsula at the very foot of Mt. Sinai. It could then only be reached from Tel Aviv via Sharm-el-Sheikh and a bus trip.

On welcoming the tourists on the bus the guide announced with pride that the Sinai was “now and forever an unalienable part of Israel.” I found the declaration irrelevant, if not odd, but I consider that moment as the beginning of my associated historical interest.

The official US line is that, on Jun 8, 1967, the Israelis mistakenly attacked by air, and torpedoed by sea, an unarmed US intelligence ship, killing 34 sailors and wounding 171 others. 2022 marks the 55th anniversary of that attack.

Following are some details of the ship, of the episode and of its aftermath. For, similar to occasions that perhaps we all have felt, a detail that uncalled-for returns to mind, rekindles fuller memories of a larger connected event, not otherwise spontaneously recalled. The detail is the inspired arrogance of the Israeli guide I mentioned. More in general, I think that the attack on the Liberty dramatically demonstrates the nature of who exercises actual power in the United States.

As in most cases involving Israel, any attempt to give a factual account of an event, fails in its promised impartiality. For in the corrupted currents of the world, the very terms ‘Jew’ or ‘Jewish,’ unless associated with praise or deference, taint their utterer with a halo of anti-Semitism.

That is, there is no neutral use of the words. The issue is very old and well explained, for example, by Jewish writer Joshua Trachtenberg in his book “The Devil and the Jews.” Where he documents how there has been a propensity at large, dating back to medieval times, to ascribe a legendary element of a biblical and obscure nature to the word ‘Jew’. That propensity has sunk into what Jung called “collective unconsciousness.”

I should also add that two men observing the same object will describe it differently, according to the point of view from which either beholds it. In the eyes of one it shall be a fair prospect, to the other a barren waste, and neither may see right. Wherefore, truth being the legitimate object of history, it is better that she should be sought-for by many than by few. Lest, for want of seekers, among the mists of prejudice and the false lights of interest, she is lost altogether.

The Liberty was first launched at the end of WW2 in Oregon and named then “Simmons Victor.” It belonged to a fleet of cargo carriers quickly built (one every 10 weeks), to replace the losses to submarine attacks during WW2.

Reconverted into a spy ship in 1964, she was renamed “Liberty”. On May 24, 1967, she was dispatched from the Ivory Coast to the Eastern Mediterranean, to monitor radio signals from both Egyptians and Israeli sources, as tensions grew between Israel and the Arab world.

While it is now acknowledged that Israel started the 1967 war, the only and univocal information channels of the time told the public that Egypt attacked and that Israel “had the right to defend itself” – a sentence now imprinted in the US collective mind, and repeated every time when Israel mounts an aggression, carpet bombs Gaza, demolishes Palestinian homes, builds Jewish “settlements” in Palestinian land, erects walls to keep the Palestinians out of the way, and kills Palestinians at large.

In May 1967, McNamara, the famous defense secretary, rendered infamous for his role in the Vietnam war, had informed Israel’s foreign minister that American intelligence showed Egypt did not plan to attack. And Johnson, then US president, had feebly called on Israel not to start a war. A call with as much effect as the “concern” of succeeding US presidents, whenever Palestinians are dispossessed of their lands and new massive Jewish colonial settlements are established on Palestinian land.

1967, in my view, is a historical milestone for the US and its vassalage to Zionist interests – for previous administrations were or seemed to be somewhat more reserved.

For example and for a time, the Jews hailed Roosevelt as a modern-day Moses, until some of his actions and unofficial records surfaced from the archives. Vice President Henry Wallace annotated in his diary a discussion between Roosevelt and Churchill (May 1943), on how to settle the “Jewish question.”

The notes say, “The President approved a plan to ‘spread the Jews thin’ all over the world. He said he had tried this experiment in the Meriweather County in Georgia (where he lived in the 1920s,) by adding only four or five Jewish families at each place. He claimed that the local population would have no objection if there were no more than that.” This was enough for the Jewish community at large to label Roosevelt a ‘traitor.’

In 1948 Truman recognized Israel but did not sell arms to the Jewish state. And in 1956, when Israel seized the Sinai Peninsula and the Suez Canal, Eisenhower threatened intervention and a halt to all foreign aid, if Israel did not withdraw.

But by 1960, President Kennedy had well understood Jewish power and its influence on domestic policies – he delivered sophisticated armaments and strengthened relations with Israel.

Johnson equaled or bettered Kennedy. After Kennedy’s assassination he said to an Israeli diplomat, “You have lost a very great friend, but you have found a better one.” And he chose and appointed a full cadre of Jewish and pro-Israel advisers to the White House.

On Jun 8, 1967, reconnaissance flights over the Liberty, sailing about 15 miles off the Egyptian coast, began at 5.15 AM, the next round at 8.50 AM and several other Israeli planes and jets circled the ship until 12.45 PM.

At 1.30 PM three Israeli Mirage jets began the attack. Completely taken by surprise, Liberty’s skipper William McGonagle ordered the only two 0.50 mm guns manned and fired – they were quickly taken out by the jets and the gunners pulverized before they could fire the first shots, however ineffective could the shots be anyway.

The attacks continued, one every 45 seconds, as the jets strafed the ship and circled back for another round. They hit with cannon and rockets. Then they aimed at the engine room below the smoke stack. Next came Napalm bombs that turned the deck into an inferno.

Six minutes into the attack, the Liberty, with whatever communication resources were left, radioed for help to the Sixth fleet located further west. “Any station, any station, this is Rockstar, we are under attack.” The operator on the aircraft carrier Saratoga could not understand the message. On the Liberty they changed transmitter. After some interminable minutes Saratoga replied “Roger” and Liberty screamed, “We are under attack and need immediate assistance.”

But now the Saratoga operator asked for the identification code. The Liberty’s operator, with cannon from three jets strafing the ship, had to retrieve the code from a book, and finally Saratoga replied reassuringly, “Authentication is correct. I am standing by for further traffic.”

Meanwhile, before the air attack began, the Liberty’s radar operator had spotted three unidentified ships approaching fast, and alerted the captain. In the confusion and carnage that followed, as the dead and wounded piled on deck, no one thought of the approaching ships. Now Captain McGonagle saw through his binoculars that the three boats, maneuvering in attack formation, were Israelis. Up to that moment he and everybody else thought that the attackers were Egyptians.

In the meantime the original mast with the US flag had been hit – and the Liberty sailors raised a new larger American flag.

The forward torpedo boat opened fire on the defenseless ship. This would provide cover for the attacking boats to get close and launch their torpedoes. Though crippled himself and with a crippled ship operating with one engine, McGonagle attempted evasive maneuvers. Of the 5 torpedoes launched by the Israelis, one hit – creating a gash 24 ft high and 39 ft wide. The Liberty listed by 8 degrees; the entire intelligence section was instantly flooded trapping and killing 20 people.

Now the torpedo boats halted fire while remaining at less than 800 yards from the Liberty. Still shocked, amazed and in disbelief, the Liberty signaled repeatedly with a hand-held Aldis lamp, “US Naval Ship.” “

Do you need any help?” signaled the Israelis. A response that, in the circumstances, was almost adding insult to injury. “No” signaled back the Liberty.

The torpedo boats had not yet departed when two oncoming Israeli helicopters circled the ship. Fearful of more attacks, McGonagle had the international flag hoisted signaling “Not Under Command.”

At 6.40 PM another Israeli helicopter arrived and dropped a bag containing a business card from the US Naval Attaché at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, Ernest Castle. On the back of the card there was a hand-written question, “Have you any casualties?” Which seemed another insult added to injury. The Liberty’s deck was a wreck, still strewn with blood and some dead sailors… impossible to miss.

How about the call for help from the Sixth Fleet? After the signal was authenticated, the Saratoga launched some fighter jets but, moments later they were unexpectedly and inexplicably recalled, waiting for the arrival of another aircraft carrier, the America.

Eventually, the planes from the America took off and the squadron leader, while reassuring the Liberty radio operator, asked a logical question, “We are on the way, who is the enemy?” Good question. For the sailors on the Liberty, as well as Captain McGonagle could not as yet believe their eyes that the enemies were the Israelis.

At that moment, 4.14 PM, both the Saratoga and the America received a message from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, as follows, “Israeli aircraft erroneously attacked US ship. Israel sends apologies and wants to know which other US ships are near the war zone.” The US carriers immediately recalled all air strikes.

The first US ship to reach the Liberty to carry away the dead and wounded arrived at 6.40 AM the next day. It took three days for the crippled vessel to arrive at Malta. 20 corpses had remained unreachable in the area hit by the torpedo, drenching the ship with a smell of death.

The plan was to repair the Liberty, enabling her return to the US. It was the beginning of a tortuous public relations battle.

While the ship was still en route to Malta, some White House advisers in Washington suggested sinking it, to avoid or minimize embarrassment.

In Malta, a large tarpaulin-looking cover hid the gash caused by the torpedoes. All crewmembers, injured and uninjured were ordered, under threat of punishment, not to answer any questions from the press.

Meantime in the US, the Administration struggled to find what to say or do. The US press was jubilant about Israel’s victory in the Six Day War. The Jews organized a rally in Washington to celebrate it. Placards said “Moses led us out of the land of Egypt, now Moshe Dayan has led us back.” Jewish White House aids Levinson and Wattenberg, in a memo to the President, suggested that he express his full support for Israel. David Ginsburg, a president’s friend and leader of the Jewish community even wrote the encomiastic speech that the President would later deliver at the rally.

In the jubilation for Israel’s victory, the Liberty affair appeared a minor incident. The press completely bought the idea that the Israeli attack was an error. Senator Jacob Javits, stated, “With Israel we know it was a mistake, a miscalculation could take place in any place in the world.” Incidentally, Jacob Javits is the same senator who pushed through immigration reforms intended to make Americans of European descent a minority. Today any restraint is gone. The message that Europeans and Americans of European descent should become a disposable minority has almost become mainstream.

In the meantime, Egypt had accepted the cease-fire, but Israel had opened another front in Syria, to occupy the Golan Heights. As for the Liberty, the main interest of the media was not the attack, the dead and the wounded, but why the Navy had a ship in the area. Which shows how often trifles excite an exuberance of interest, while the core of an event receives lesser or little attention.

The first official White House explanation said it was a scientific research ship doing its job, but this did not satisfy the press. If so, why not inform the Israelis of the ship’s presence?

The administration then concocted an even more unbelievable story. The Liberty was verifying if communications exchanged by bouncing signals off the moon were reliable. In scope and absurdity, the explanation parallels the answer given by the head of NIST (National Institute of Research and Technology), Shyam Sunder, while presenting the official NIST report on 9/11.

During the conference, a physics teacher, David Chandler, had clearly demonstrated with a video, that building 7 had fallen at the acceleration of gravity, the signature of a controlled demolition. Unable to challenge the basics of physics, the director said, “Gravity is the force that keeps the universe together.” (I am not making it up)

As the number of reported Liberty casualties mounted, one reporter, during a press meeting, asked what was the President’s reaction. The Whitehouse spokesman replied that the President was “deeply grieved.”

In the meantime, Israel claimed that the Liberty, when spotted, appeared to escape at high speed toward Egypt, flew no flag and looked like an Egyptian cargo ship, the “El Queseir”, which was actually half the size of the Liberty and designed to carry 400 men and 40 horses.

Though almost incredible today, the Liberty attack stirred little interest or controversy at the time. But we must remember the moment, filled with enthusiasm about Israel’s victory, which, thanks to the Jewish sponsored massive celebrations, made it almost appear as an American victory. And, more ominously, the moment was filled with concerns about the mounting problems in Vietnam.

Besides, the dead and wounded of the Liberty were less than the price paid in one day by America, in life and limb, to ‘defend democracy’ in Vietnam.

The New York Times called the attack one of the “many mistakes that invariably occur in war…. the Israeli, flushed with victory made an error in identification… accident rather than design snuffed out (sic) the lives of some and caused injuries to others of the Liberty’s crew.”

One other striking aspect of the aftermath was the almost total lack of concern for the victims, whose reported number increased each day, while many sailors faced catastrophic injuries and a life of disability, impairment and pain. Proving how everything, on this side of the grave, is regarded rather in consequence of the habit of valuing it, than from any opinion that it deserved value. For the relative indifference to the victims is proof of the relative indifference to their value.

The main objective (inside the White House and notably with Johnson and McNamara), was not to antagonize Israel, along with the fear of not appearing sufficiently pro-Israel with the cadre of Israeli-firsters that comprised advisers, consultants, aids and secretaries within the Administration.

There were multiple meetings and exchanges between Jewish members of White House and the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Cynically, some suggested that the attack on the Liberty could help weaken the accusations of American support for Israel, and gain some credibility with the Arabs.

It was now clear that the Administration had (or for that matter has) no leverage with the Jewish state. The US had urged Israel not to launch a war. Just 20 days before the attack, Johnson had affirmed America’s commitment to the “political independence and territorial integrity of all Middle Eastern nations.” Israel itself had claimed that it had no territorial ambitions. The reader can decide for himself on the value or worth of those words.

But in the fevered exchanges with the Israeli US embassy, the Administration achieved one ‘success.’ Namely, the Israeli embassy agreed to tone down and backdate an official statement, ready to be released, essentially accusing the US of being responsible for the attack on the Liberty.

The Israeli ambassador had suggested to Tel Aviv to at least hold responsible some of the attackers – suggestion fiercely rejected by Israel. The official Israeli court inquiry was, expectedly, a joke. So, for that matter, was the official inquiry conducted in the US, which mainly centered on discrepancies in the timing of the attacks as reported by the surviving sailors called to depose.

The final transcript mirrors the shallowness of the investigation. Many officers said the court seemed afraid of uncovering information that could prove that Israel deliberately attacked the Liberty. A sailor, Scott, photographed the first reconnaissance plane in the morning of the attack. He thought he had given the court a critical piece of information, but the court was uninterested. They dismissed his testimony stating that reconnaissance flights began much later. Declassified Israeli records show that the plane photographed by Scott, was indeed the first to conduct a reconnaissance flight. Nor the American government even asked Israel to let its pilots, torpedo boat skippers or commanders, testify in the US Court.

In the end, the “conspiracy theorists” of this tragic event are, officially, those who do not believe that the attack on the Liberty was a mistake. In this regard, it was almost a return to the future of 9/11 – when 19 fumbling Arabs scored a checkmate on America, and displayed unbelievable acrobatic maneuvering skills in piloting jumbo jets for the first time in their life.

In 1980 Israel paid 6 m$ to the families of the Liberty’s dead and wounded (in 3 yearly installments of 2 m$/each). This is a fraction of a fraction of what constitutes America’s yearly payments to Israel.

The final telling episode involves the wounded skipper of the Liberty, William McGonagle. He received the Medal of Honor for bravery, but Johnson refused to give it to him in person, which is the tradition – “so as not to offend the Jews”. An Admiral commented, “I am surprised they didn’t just hand it to him under the 14th Street Bridge.”

On June 8, 1997, McGonagle met the remaining survivors of the Liberty at the Arlington Cemetery. Through the years he had been publicly silent, though he did not believe in the error of identification. In what was to be his last and only related public address, he told the survivors, “It’s about time that the State of Israel and the US Government tell what happened to the crewmembers of the Liberty and the American people.” He died less than two years later.

The first terrorist attack and burning of a TWA plane on the ground occurred in 1970, when it became clear that Israel would not return the lands illegally occupied in the 1967 war.

That was the beginning of hijackings, terrorist attacks, murders, Intifadas, genocides in Gaza and Lebanon, wars and more wars. During the 1980s the new Israel’s Oded-Yinon Plan called for a greater Israel, from the Nile to the Euphrates. In the late 1990s came the call for a “New Pearl Harbor,” by the worthy husband of the equally worthy wife, Victoria Nudelman. In 2001 we had the “New Pearl Harbor”, followed by the destruction of Iraq, Libya, Syria, and countless other wars against sundry “terrorists.”

As far as we can know, the plan for a Greater Israel has not been canceled. During his administration, Obama declared that peace with the Palestinians should be achieved on the basis of returning to Palestine the lands occupied in 1967. Next day, uninvited, the Prime Minister of Israel, flew to Washington to deliver a counter-speech to the joint audience of Congress and the Senate. He received 29 standing ovations.

And how about Jewish influence? Here is a famous quote from the Los Angeles Times from Joel Stein, “I don’t care if Americans think we’re running the news media, Hollywood, Wall Street or the government. I just care that we get to keep running them.”

Jumping to current times, less known is the remarkable connection between Ukraine and the plans of Ihor Kolomoisky, governor (or now perhaps ex-governor of Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk province and citizen of Israel, Ukraine and Cyprus.) Allegedly he is currently in Israel.

Kolomoisky was a key in organizing the Odessa massacre on 2 May 2014, with his private army, the 1st Dnipro Battalion. He also hired the son of US Vice-President Joe Biden, R. Hunter Biden, plus Secretary of State John Kerry’s support committee chairman, Devon Archer, as board members of his gas holding companies.

Though some related information can be found online, Kolomoisky’s plan is/was to turn Ukraine into a ‘second Israel,’ based on alleged historic claims by Ashkenazi Jews and their more or less mythical Khazarian (Ukranian) kingdom. Allegedly, Kolomoisky has spent millions to recruit right-wing Ukrainian nationalists and neo-Nazis from other parts of Europe to fight against the Russian-speaking majority in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, and elsewhere.

Still a puzzle is the current paradoxical situation of a Ukrainian Jewish leadership linked, via an undeniable relationship, with allegedly the most militant and determined openly-Nazi section of the Ukrainian militias. Considering that Ukraine has a long history of anti-Semitism, dating at least from the treaty of Perejeslav of 1654 between the Cossacks of the legendary hetman Bohdan and the Tzar Alexis. Who, Khmelnytsky, masterminded rebellions against Jews, hated tax collectors and usurers for sundry landlords and peasant victims.

A more recent legacy of anti-Semitism is connected with the Great Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933 led by Lazar Kaganovich, one of the Jewish Bolshevik leaders of the revolution.

Not long ago I interviewed a Ukrainian Jewish family that immigrated to America during the last years of the Soviet Union. Although I could not distinguish or identify them as Jewish, they reported being negatively commented-on by sundry passers-by who recognized them as Jewish (in Kyev).

Without entering into refined speculation behind what can be found on various media, including Israeli media, it is interesting and perhaps meaningful that the Russian leadership has been recently less cautious than usual in airing related unconventional views on the subject. Such as Hitler having Jewish blood (Lavrov) or the historic Bolshevik leadership being 95% Jewish (Putin)

In the circumstances, that the Jewish Ukrainian administration has obvious close ties with a militia that historically embodies anti-Semitism defies – I think – any rational explanation.

All in all there is as much mystery in the current Ukrainian government-military arrangement as there still is in the events surrounding the attack on the USS Liberty.

To conclude, I attempted to relate the main events of the attack on the Liberty, the related opinions of some among the victims of the attack, and of some among the managers of its aftermath. To the best of my knowledge the information is correct.

I think that much injustice has been done, and much justice left undone by the parties involved after the attack on the Liberty. Just as the Western dome of power currently exerts equal and preposterous injustice in the treatment of Russia’s “Special Military Operation,” for the benefit and befuddling of those forming the base of the pyramid of subordination.

However, I am equally aware that when truth intrudes uncalled, and brings unpleasant memories in her train, the passes of the intellect are barred against her by prejudice and passion. If sometimes, she forces her way by undisputable evidence, she seldom keeps possession of her conquests, but is ejected by some favored enemy or, at best, obtains only a nominal sovereignty, without influence and without authority.

It’s Palestinian, not Israeli Flag, that Should Be Raised at Toronto’s City Hall

May 10, 2022

Toronto Mayor John Tory raises the Israeli flag on Israel’s ‘Independence Day’. (Photo: via Tory Twitter page)

By Paul Salvatori

Toronto Mayor, John Tory, is disingenuous. Honoring Israel’s ‘Independence Day’ at City Hall this week, he emphasized:

“There have been days, far too many of them where Jewish Torontonians felt insecure just walking down the street on the way to school. And that is not right. It should never be the case in this city or anywhere that people on their way to worship or just going about their lives should feel insecure or unsafe because of the faith that they have or because of their background in any way, shape or form.”

Is that what we really should be thinking about when we talk about Israel? Given all we know—confirmed by numerous and recent findings by United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other credible organizations—that Israel actually is: a criminal state, unrelenting in its violent oppression and colonization of the Palestinian people? What does that, at all, have to do with antisemitism? Why is Toronto still celebrating Israel?

What makes Tory’s statement all the worse is that a few days prior to it he singled out, on Twitter, the Al-Quds (pro-Palestinian) demonstration, suggesting its potential for violence:

This plays directly into the Zionist narrative that Palestinians are always suspect, a ‘terrorist’ risk that must be controlled, surveillanced, managed. If Tory were the “progressive” mayor he pretends to be, he would have expressed solidarity with the demonstrators, calling for an end to the current Israeli regime (never to be conflated with the Jewish people as the Israeli lobby does). That’s what someone who genuinely cares about human rights does. They support anyone, anywhere, being oppressed for who they are—in this case Palestinians for being Palestinian.

A Palestinian friend of mine in Toronto told me privately that whenever they see the Israeli flag they feel afraid, anxious, and automatically recall horrid stories told to them by their parents such as when the Israeli state illegally destroyed their mother’s home. As much as this saddens me it is not surprising.

Israel has traumatized the Palestinian people. Mayor Tory, as well as any principled public official, must reckon with and not turn away from this reality. They do so however every time they participate within the imaginary world of Zionists where Israel is an “exemplary” democracy, the perpetual victim of Palestinian attacks and have never been responsible for the slaughter and massacre of Palestinians. This is an outright lie that must be denounced, even if our so-called “leaders” won’t, be that out of fear of what Israeli supporters will do or contempt for the Palestinian people themselves.

Tory’s statement is also upsetting not because it is untrue. Antisemitism exists in Toronto and there’s absolutely no place for it. Rather, in foregrounding antisemitism (and saying nothing about Palestine) when talking about Israel, he misuses his power. Specifically, he impresses onto the public the message that when you think of Israel do not think of it as a colonial force or system of apartheid that disadvantages Palestinians. No. Think victims. A true friend of Israel would never frame it as the oppressor.

Where this kind of thinking gains currency it naturally creates an uninviting or even hostile situation for Palestinians, as well as their allies. Where they rightfully protest Israel’s criminality they’ll be slammed for it, silenced and called names like “antisemitic.” Writing this I’m reminded of a story by a friend and fellow Palestinian ally, Ted Schmidt. For wearing a Palestinian button someone on a Toronto elevator told him, “You should be killed.” Where is Tory, other Toronto politicians, speaking against such hostile anti-Palestinianism, all too common in the city? Why should Toronto be a safe place for only my Israeli brothers and sisters but not those of mine who are Palestinian? How can we, in good conscience, ever accept that?

If Tory is serious about honoring all Torontonians he will not shy away from, in addition to the Israeli flag this past Independence Day, raising the Palestinian one on May 15: Nakba Day. This will signal to Palestinians in Toronto and elsewhere that Toronto is serious about their receiving justice, remembering the Nakba catastrophe itself that—at the hands of violent Zionist forces—displaced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes. This was to make way for the establishment of Israel itself in 1948 while preventing Palestinians from ever being able to return to their homes again.

It is also a test of sincerity. Tory and the City of Toronto more generally are expressly committed to truth and reconciliation efforts with Canadian Indigenous peoples. This, on the surface, means they are aware of the atrocities inflicted by colonization and want to rectify that, best as possible. If they are sincere about this they will show the same regard to Toronto Palestinians, who either experienced the Nakba firsthand or are descendants of those who have. The anti-colonial spirit is not selective. It does not oppose colonization in certain circumstances but not in others. It is neither bound to geography, Canadian or otherwise.

I stand with you Mayor Tory in combatting antisemitism. Will you stand with myself and many other fellow Torontonians, to combat the ongoing colonization of Palestine?

If so, raise the Palestinian flag at City Hall too.

– Paul Salvatori is a Toronto-based journalist, community worker and artist. Much of his work on Palestine involves public education, such as through his recently created interview series, “Palestine in Perspective” (The Dark Room Podcast), where he speaks with writers, scholars and activists. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

Talking Reality Theories, With Airika Dollner, the Amazing Creative Mind of Art With Aim

 

Eva Bartlett

Some months ago, while chatting about world events, media lies, and how people who dare to think critically are often dismissed as “conspiracy theorists”, we joked about being “reality theorists”, and I liked the sound of that term. Our plans to have a conversation got delayed, but finally came about the other morning.

In our first conversation, Airika and I discussed a variety of things, from Palestine to Syria to Ukraine and more. Airika is a phenomenal researcher & very expressive, articulate, woman. We’ll be having these conversations a lot more frequently, on a wide range of issues, particularly things she has researched deeply.

Palestinians are fighting battles through their phones

23 Mar 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Aya Youssef 

Despite their battles on the ground and in the virtual world, Palestinians are still able to go viral.

Palestinians are fighting battles on their phones

“You are stealing my house!” yelled the Palestinian woman facing the illegal Israeli settler in Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood, in occupied Al-Quds. 

“If I don’t steal it someone else is gonna steal it,” the settler replied with no hesitation. 

Comment, retweet, share, like, repost, and download. The outcome?

 Palestine has gone viral. 

Starting from the inside

Raw video footage of Israeli occupation forces storming Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan in 2021 started to circulate all over social media platforms. The videos were showing Israeli soldiers storming through screaming crowds throwing grenades and shooting rubber bullets into them. 

European states, US lawmakers, and prominent figures started to condemn such brutal acts on their social media platforms, and it didn’t take months for this footage to become viral; it took seconds.

Israeli brutality has gone viral. 

Palestinians are fighting battles through their phones


Salhiyya family’s home

Mahmoud Salhiyya stood up against the Israeli forces and threatened to set himself on fire as a last resort to prevent them from taking his and his sister’s home. Palestinian activists held their phones and live-streamed, took photos, and published with the click of a button.

At dawn, Israeli occupation forces bulldozed Salhiyya family home, but Palestinians were wide awake to live stream, hashtag, take pictures, and tweet.

Israeli occupation authorities have been trying everything to uproot Sheikh Jarrah residents, from sending aleatory and unlawful court-mandated eviction orders to allowing settlers to attack Palestinians living in the neighborhood. 

But guess what? Israeli crimes have gone viral, too. 

Save Al-Naqab

The Israeli occupation forces arrested a 12-year-old Palestinian girl named Julian Al-Atrash. While she was being dragged and handcuffed, she didn’t hesitate to smile.

That smile made it through social media platforms. Pro-Palestine activists started to draw, illustrate, and post the moment that girl smiled. 

Occupation forces started to storm Al-Naqab villages to bulldoze the area as a part of a plan led by the “Jewish National Fund” to confiscate Palestinian lands. 

There are more than 30 villages in Al-Naqab dubbed as “unrecognized” villages under the Israeli occupation government, so there are no means of transportation, no roads, and no schools in the area. 

Despite all of this, during the Israeli storming, Al-Naqab was being recognized more than ever online, with people retweeting and sharing “#SaveNaqab”.

The greenwashing of Israeli crimes has gone viral.

What’s going on in Al-Naqab in Palestine?

Palestine is going viral from the outside

Palestinian refugees who were forcibly displaced from their lands have been facing the Israeli occupation every single day. They have been fighting battles on their own. 

Shahd Abusalma’s case

Shahd is a Palestinian refugee and a lecturer living in the UK. Sheffield Hallam University suspended her teaching duties due to anti-Semitic claims and decided to investigate her. Shahd has done nothing but retweeting, liking, and commenting on videos showing the Israeli occupation’s brutality.

Solidarity campaigns started to go viral, websites started to write about Shahd’s case, and “#InSupportOfShahd” started to circulate all over Twitter. 

How did all this start? As soon as Shahd announced that she was subject to these campaigns on her Twitter account, retweets skyrocketed. 

The university restrained Shahd’s teaching duties without dropping the investigations regarding her case. Shahd didn’t stop there because guess what? 

Shahd’s case has gone viral.

Shahd has walked her followers through her journey regarding any new update on her case. 

A few days later, the university dropped all of the investigations that were made against Shahd and offered her a more secure contract that will afford her employee status.

Rasmy Hassouna’s case

A Palestinian-American citizen who was about to renew his contract with the government before he noticed a legal clause that forbids him and his company A&R Engineering and Testing, Inc, from ever protesting “Israel” and its products.

Rasmy filed a lawsuit against the Texas state law, which bans government contractors from boycotting the Israeli occupation and won the case.

US District Court Judge blocked Texas from imposing its anti-boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) law against Hassouna because boycotting, any kind of boycott, was protected by the First Amendment, which is the right to participate in economic boycotts as a form of protest.

“It’s great, isn’t it?” Rasmy said to Al Mayadeen English as he received the news.   

Determined as ever, Rasmy said “Stand up for your rights, as expatriates, I believe we can do a lot for Palestine.” 

His victory made it through websites and social media platforms. 

And guess what? Rasmy’s victory has gone viral. 

Palestinians are fighting battles on their phones

Don’t let tech giants fool you: Al-Kurd siblings as an example 

23-year-old Palestinians had nothing to defend their land with except their phones. They had no idea that anyone would care enough to watch illegal Israeli settlers storming their house or brutally assaulting young Palestinians. They didn’t know that anyone would care enough about a neighborhood in occupied Palestine. 

With every video or live-streaming posted, their followers were piling up by day, people started to refer to their accounts for news or updates regarding Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood. 

And now? Muna Al Kurd has over 1.5 million followers on Instagram while her brother, Mohammad al Kurd, has +7K followers on the platform. 

“Instagram is preventing me from going live!” 

Mona Al-Kurd was one of many live-streaming the ongoing events in Sheikh Jarrah when her streaming cut off suddenly. Al Kurd explained that her live-streaming feature was blocked while she was documenting the moment Al Salhiyya’s family home was demolished.

This has exposed Instagram’s complicity and censorship of Palestinian content. 

Censorship of Palestinian content is not new to some of the giant tech companies. Toward the end of last year, activists and journalists have started a campaign against Meta’s policies, which have been targeting Palestinian content and the Palestinian narrative. 

It is important not to forget Human Rights Watch’s report that highlighted Facebook’s policy, and how the tech giant has wrongfully removed and suppressed content by Palestinians and their supporters, including content regarding human rights abuses committed by “Israel” against Palestinians during its 11 days aggression on Gaza in 2021.

EXPLAINER: Why does France Attack Palestine Solidarity Organizations?

February 26, 2022

France decided to ban to Palestine solidarity groups. (Photo: via Collectif Palestine Vaincra FB Page)

By Claude Zurbach

As a gift to the pro-Israeli lobby, the French government, through its Minister of the Interior Gérard Darmanin, has announced its intention to dissolve two Palestine solidarity organizations: the Collectif Palestine Vaincra and the Comité d’Action Palestine.

Long History of Harassment of the BDS Campaign

In line with the policies of most European Union countries, pressure groups and political authorities in France have never skimped on filing complaints and administrative bans. And this has been the case for more than 10 years, since the lawsuit brought against the BDS campaigners in Mulhouse, in the east of France. Since then, many collectives have been subjected to various forms of harassment, including those of Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Paris, Mulhouse, Colmar, Perpignan, and Montpellier (and the list is non-exhaustive).

 The alleged arguments developed in this defamatory campaign invoke an alleged anti-Semitism, which constitutes the main angle of the Israeli attack against the international movement of solidarity with Palestine.

Throughout the years, these initiatives, aimed at suppressing any form of organized criticism of Israel, have been met with strong reactions, from a legal point of view, but also through grassroots mobilization and were almost always defeated in court.

But these repeated attacks are financially costly, can be morally exhausting, and require a lot of energy, which is then diverted into time-consuming and complex legal procedures.

Why Does France Attack Solidarity Organizations?

The reason behind these attacks is the solidarity, or deep connivance, between all the economic and political powers throughout the world and Israel. Tel Aviv is both the advanced point of Western domination in the Middle East and a laboratory for the sophisticated repressive and lethal tools (tested on the Palestinian population), which are sold to Western powers.

In this system of international domination, Israel has a place of choice, which explains the exceptional tolerance it enjoys while it has been multiplying its international law violations throughout occupied Palestine.

On the other hand, the proximity of the presidential campaign in France explains the timing of this decision. Most potential candidates have reaffirmed their unwavering support for the Zionist project, with the notable exception of candidates considered to be part of the ‘radical left’.

One right-wing candidate, Valérie Precress, even chose an outspoken Zionist as her advisor on international issues.

Winning overt or implicit support from the Israel lobbies is becoming an important element in France’s election campaign, all against a backdrop of the rising Islamophobia

Israel is particularly worried about the discredit at an international level. In this context, Tel Aviv knows that any show of complicity with the apartheid regime imposed in Palestine is supposed to produce gains.

Reaction of the Solidarity Movement in France

The Association France-Palestine Solidarity, the main association of solidarity with Palestine, reacted with a first unambiguous statement, recalling that “solidarity is not a crime, it is a duty” and quite rightly that “support for the legitimate claims of the Palestinian people is in no way comparable to any call for hatred towards Israel or the Israelis, it is a call for justice and the application of international law”.

In addition to the two associations concerned by the decision, the Collectif Palestine Vaincra and the Comité d’Action Palestine, others such as the Union Juive Française pour la Paix and Europalestine have reacted quickly. A petition is online to show their refusal of the government’s liberticidal decisions.

 It would be important for other organizations, focused on the defense of individual and collective rights, to come forward to protest against these iniquitous decisions. Indeed, any breach of solidarity will be a loophole that can be exploited by the supporters of apartheid in Palestine to impose further bans and dissolutions.

– Claude Zurbach is the editor of Chronique de Palestine, the French version of the Palestine Chronicle website. A computer engineer by profession, he has been involved for many years in solidarity with the Palestinian national movement. His Twitter account is https://twitter.com/ClaudeZurbach

Suspension of Lebanese journalist proof of DW’s ‘free speech’ hypocrisy

February 8, 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Aya Youssef

In an interview with Al Mayadeen English, Daoud Ibrahim explains that DW’s allegations of “anti-Semitism” are based on “false and misleading news.”

“The western standard for freedom of expression is tailored to only restrict us,” said Lebanese journalist Daoud Ibrahim to Al Mayadeen English. 

Suspension of Lebanese journalist proof of DW’s ‘free speech’ hypocrisy

Ibrahim, along with other 4 other journalists, were suspended from their job in the German state media  Deutsche Welle (DW) based on false allegations of anti-Semitism.

Pulling the tweets out 

Daoud was contacted by a German journalist who asked him about a tweet he wrote 10 years ago regarding the Holocaust. Back then, the Lebanese journalist wrote, “The Holocaust is a lie. #FreedomOfSpeech.” 

The tweet was written back in 2012, “and I explained that I wrote this tweet after the publication of abusive and satirical cartoons that were mocking certain beliefs and promoting extremism.” 

Daoud explains that at that time, people started to defend such mockery under the pretext of “freedom of expression”.

“What the tweet meant to say was whether an opinion regarding the Holocaust can fall under the same category,” Daoud clarifies. 

The journalist defended his stance regarding the matter and said that he did believe that the holocaust did happen, but “I was resolving a certain issue from a certain perspective,” at a certain time. 

Despite the clarifications, the German journalist fragmented Daoud’s replies and published the report according to his views and beliefs. “He didn’t include all the clarifications,” the Lebanese journalist added. 

Daoud isn’t even a DW employee 

DW Akademie, which offers media training for future or specialized journalistscontacted Daoud who is a contract trainer in that academy after the article was published and requested to do an internal hearing session. 

“During the session, I defended my case, especially since I am a trainer in the field of conflict-sensitive journalism and ethical journalism, so this topic was highly important to clarify.” 

Daoud isn’t contractually obligated to go with DW’s political policy, especially since he is a contract trainer, “I’m not obliged to do anything except for training, I’m not an employee,” Daoud clarifies. 

He stated that he’s the only one who is working with the academy, meaning that everyone who got suspended works with the institution itself or the website, “but I am a trainer, and this was something unexpected for me.” 

The DW decided to form a commission of inquiry that includes former German Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and Palestinian psychiatrist Ahmad Mansour. 

Into the hearing session 

The committee requested a video call session, and Daoud did accept on condition that he brings his own lawyer and the session be recorded. 

“The committee rejected my conditions and wanted to communicate through emails,” adding that he accepted. 

They sent in their questions to the Lebanese journalist. 

“Most of these questions were regarding the conditions of my work and my job in the academy,” Daoud said.

And then the mood of the questions started to shift as they ask about “my stance regarding ‘Israel’s’ right to exist.” 

All of Daoud’s responses were based on “the Lebanese law, the decisions of the Arab League, the right of return, and the right to self-determination.” Noting that the contract with DW indicates to “respect the laws of the countries in which we operate.” 

Daoud made sure during the hearing session to clarify that the accusation of anti-Semitism cannot be applied to the Lebanese people because “we are originally Semites.” 

In addition to this, he made it clear that examining a 10-year-old tweet without putting it in its context and the circumstances that were going on back then can be considered as “false and misleading news.” 

Daoud contacted DW Akademie and was informed that they will most likely stop training sessions with him as per the committee’s recommendation.

The Lebanese journalist stated that he had no problem with the people he used to work with; however, he thinks that the main problem is the institution’s new policies, and “surely these policies do not represent me if they are taking this direction.”  

Deutsche Welle does not want to publish Israeli crimes 

DW has long been condemned for its biased reporting on Israeli violations against Palestinians. Media outlets in Germany have adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism, which equates criticism of “Israel” or its behavior to antisemitism.

According to HuMedia, during “Israel’s” deadly aggression on Gaza, DW distributed an internal two-page reporting guide to its journalists, forbidding them to make any connection between “Israel” and colonialism or to use the term apartheid.

Why “Israel” is really threatened by Amnesty’s apartheid report

Feb 04 2022

Why “Israel” is really threatened by Amnesty’s apartheid report

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Robert Inlakesh

Once again, when “Israel” is accused of something, it rushes to accuse others of “anti-Semitism”.

Prior to the release of Amnesty International’s near-300 page report supporting its position that “Israel” is committing the crime of Apartheid, the Israeli regime had already lashed out in order to delegitimize it as “anti-Semitic”. The reason for this is that “Israel’s” Jewish nature is now called into question.

Amnesty International’s lengthy report, which according to its Secretary-General, Agnes Callamard, was 4 years in the making, concludes that “massive seizures of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcible transfer, drastic movement restrictions, and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians are all components of a system which amounts to apartheid under international law. This system is maintained by violations which Amnesty International found to constitute apartheid as a crime against humanity, as defined in the Rome Statute and Apartheid Convention.”

Without addressing any of the report’s findings, Israeli Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, claimed that “instead of seeking facts, Amnesty quotes lies spread by terrorist organizations”, labeling Amnesty as “just another radical organization.” The Israeli Foreign Ministry itself directly accused Amnesty of anti-Semitism, as did pro-“Israel” organizations such as the ADL, AIPAC, and others, all claiming that the only reason for the report was because “Israel” is Jewish. What’s interesting is that the lengthy Amnesty report is directly citing the laws implemented by the Israeli regime and begins with quoting its former Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who said “Israel is not a state of all its citizens…[but rather] the nation-state of the Jewish people and only them.”

What’s interesting is that not a single Zionist organization, nor the Zionist regime itself, has attempted to go through the report and refute it, instead of attempting to obfuscate and mislead people into thinking that the world’s largest – renowned as liberal and moderate – human rights organization is in fact filled with anti-semitic terrorists. Yet, nobody is buying this, especially due to the fact that Amnesty is not alone in its conclusions.

Human Rights Watch (HRW), the second most influential human rights group, also released a 200 page report last year, entitled ‘A Threshold Crossed’, in which they concluded “Israel” was committing the crime of Apartheid. Additionally “Israel’s” top human rights group, B’Tselem, also released a position paper in which they accused “Tel Aviv” of operating “a regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.” Israeli human rights group Yesh Din also released a legal conclusion that the occupation of the West Bank is Apartheid. On top of this, the accusation of Apartheid being practiced by the Zionist regime has been argued by the likes of the late anti-apartheid icon, Desmond Tutu, as well as Palestinian groups. Palestinians have argued that Apartheid is what they are suffering from for decades, way pre-dating any human rights groups taking the position they do today.

So with such consensus from leading human rights groups internationally, that “Israel” is an Apartheid regime, there is now a major issue for “Israel” that has to be well understood in its context. “Israel” has always been a regime of Jewish supremacy, of Apartheid, it was built around the understanding that this is to be the case and continues to implement its policies until this day. For long, “Israel” has been able to shield itself from the accusation that it is fundamentally a racist regime. With the fall of the Soviet Union, no superpower emerged willing to take up the banner of the Palestinian cause, and the United States maintained complete domination over dealing with the Palestine-“Israel” conflict. When things got tough for “Israel” during the first Intifada, they ended that problem with the Oslo Agreement, and since 1993, were able to get away with presenting the illusion of peace whilst continuing to ethnically cleanse and colonize Palestine. However, the so-called two-state solution and “peace process” were essentially destroyed during the Trump administration once and for all, meaning that the internationally agreed-upon consensus for ending the conflict had fallen flat and the US was not even pushing for that anymore. 

The Arab reactionary regimes began normalizing ties with “Israel”, making no pre-condition of a Palestinian State before doing so, whilst the international community sat back and allowed the situation to play out as Palestinians fought against Trump’s “Deal of the Century” plan to rob them of the final 20% of their land. In this period, two very key things happened, one was that the final nail had been hammered into the two-state solution coffin, the other was that the Palestinian youth underwent a pivotal transformation and prepared themselves for waging resistance in order to liberate all of their lands. The latter mentioned point had of course progressed over a greater peroid of time, but with the Trump administrations recognition of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and illegal settlements as belonging to “Israel”, it contributed greatly to the mindset of the Palestinian youth today.

Being in Palestine to witness the reaction to Donald Trump’s “deal of the century”, I saw the desperation, interviewed countless Palestinians, and spoke to friends on their feelings toward how to proceed with their struggle for national liberation. I recall speaking to Palestinian friends of mine in the occupied West Bank who had been lifelong proponents of nonviolent struggle, one of which told me, “I don’t believe in non-violence anymore, we need to take our land back by force.” At that time however, most people felt desperate, even depressed, and did not see a light at the end of the tunnel. Following the uprising, leading to 11-days of war, last May, the energy and hope is now alive and well, especially in the Palestinian youth.

All of this must be kept in mind now, because if the two-state solution is now dead, then what comes next? The human rights organizations have just paved the way for the very next step, “Israel’s” entire system is now the target, not just its occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. The reports by Amnesty, HRW, and B’Tselem all demand that the Israeli regime drop its discriminatory policies everywhere in historic Palestine. If “Israel” is forced to do this, there can be no Jewish state, because in order for there to be one, “Israel” has to systematically oppress the Palestinian people.

This means that the only solutions left are the following; “Israel” kills every single Palestinian in a mass genocide, “Israel” is completely destroyed to be replaced by a new state structure, or the country is transformed into a democratic state under which the majority would be Palestinian and all citizens are treated equally. “Israel” knows that the latter two options mean the end of the Zionist dream and hence are not willing to accept any report telling it that it must change its racist settler colonial system. “Israel” has always been a racist endeavor, so to corrupt this is seen by its supporters as an existential threat. They know it’s Apartheid and that’s just the way they like it, but what they don’t like is being told they can no longer run an Apartheid regime.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

The Israeli Pogrom

1 February 2022)

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

by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Israel’s Violent Squatters

On 21 January 2022, an organized gang of over a dozen masked Zionist “settlers” from the Givat Ronen outpost on the Occupied West Bank attacked Palestinians planting trees near the village of Burin. There were seven Israeli Jewish supporters with the Palestinians. The “settlers” attacked them as well.

I place the term “settler” in quotation marks because what we are really talking about are not settlers but squatters. I will use the term squatter except where settler appears in a quotation.

As is normal in cases of Israeli squatter violence, the Israeli authorities were slow to arrive at the scene of the attack and, subsequently, made no arrests. The Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev explained that “until the army gets there it takes time. Until the [Israeli] police were sent it took time and therefore … the moment the [Israeli] police arrive at the site, the terrorists are no longer there.” The Palestinian police, for their part, could not respond because they are “forbidden from reacting to acts of violence by Israeli settlers.” One can just imagine the army and the police rate of response if it was the Palestinians attacking the squatters. The double standard is obvious.

However, there was something novel in Bar-Lev’s statement. He said that “in my view” the attackers constituted “a terror group.” This designation apparently had nothing to do with the attack on Palestinians, but rather was warranted because the attackers had “targeted and harmed Israeli citizens.”

This might well be something like a “false flag” statement on the part of the public security minister. It was meant to reassure the Europeans and Americans who are concerned by the violence of the Israeli squatter movement. The minister subsequently told a U.S. official that the Israeli government takes the problem seriously and “is taking steps to tackle the phenomenon.” This is almost certainly a lie. Prime Minister Bennett has called squatter violence “insignificant,” and several of Bar-Lev’s fellow ministers criticized him for promoting a “distorted narrative.”

Squatter violence goes back at least into the 1980s. In 1983, an 11-year-old girl from Nablus was murdered by Jewish squatters. “In their defense, the chief rabbi of the Sephardic community reportedly cited a Talmudic text justifying killing an enemy on occasions when one may see from a child’s perspective that he or she will grow up to become your enemy.” One can imagine that a similar logic could justify, in the eyes of some Palestinians, the killing of every Israeli Jewish child.

Subsequently, “in the 21st century, there has been a steady increase in violence and terror perpetrated by Jewish settlers against Palestinians.” In 2008, the Israeli army command in the West Bank acknowledged that “a hard core of a few hundred activists were involved in violence against the Palestinians.” Though the army said it planned to address the situation, the problem persisted and grew worse. In 2011, the Israeli government again acknowledged “a growing problem with extremists.” Again, little was done about it. The United Nations and organizations such as Human Rights Watch have repeatedly voiced concern that the number of attacks were growing. The latter noted that “In many cases, settlers abuse Palestinians in front of Israeli soldiers or police with little interference from the authorities.”

Here is suggested a reason for the lack of any crackdown on squatter violence. It goes on with the tacit consent of the government. To quote B’Tselem, Israel’s main human rights organization, “Israel has been using settler violence as a major informal tool to drive Palestinians from farming and pasture lands in the occupied West Bank.”

Part II—Pogrom

What is the appropriate historical term for “informal,” supposedly “unofficial,” violence nonetheless carried out with the tacit approval of a government? How about pogrom? In this case, we can also call it an obscene embarrassment for all Jews who value human rights.

Pogrom is originally a Russian word which means “to wreak havoc.” Traditionally, it was and continues to be a weapon of intergroup discord, where one group seeks to harm or evict an opposing group of different ethnic or religious makeup. The term came to characterize a government-approved tactic of czarist Russia of the 19th and early 20th centuries. In that case, the traditional victims were Jews.

It would seem that successive Israeli governments have used the same tactic to encourage squatter violence against the Palestinians on the West Bank. The endgame here is not difficult to understand. As B’Tselem explains it, the aim of the Israeli government is to clear Judea and Samaria (the biblical names for the West Bank) of non-Jews. The Israeli army has already confiscated around 42% of this territory, and over time, an informal acceptance at all government levels was reached to allow Israeli squatter violence to help force the Palestinians off of the remaining land. The dismissive reaction of Bar-Lev’s government colleagues to the attack described above is the latest example of this consent.

Part III—A Reversal of Roles

It is painful for progressive Jews to delve into and try to explain why other Jews actively or passively support such tactics. The Zionists have spent a lot of time and energy trying to convince the world that, despite the fact that Israel is ranked the eighth most powerful country in the world, they are the innocent victims of, and also mortally threatened by, Palestinian anti-Semitic violence and hatred. To the extent that they, and the rest of the world, accept this narrative, Israeli tactics can be accepted as both defensive and warranted. But this narrative does not ring true. In fact, there has been a reversal of roles.

Most Zionists see the Palestinians as clones of those who persecuted Jews over the past several hundred years. The Palestinians also stand in the way of the territorial ambitions of the “Jewish state”—territorial ambitions which, once fulfilled, will supposedly provide a secure sanctuary for all the world’s Jews. Anyone standing in the way of this goal becomes, ipso facto, an anti-Semite and, as such, they can be seen as enemies of the Jews. In the case of the Palestinians, they may appear as replicas of the East European and Russian anti-Semites who carried out pogroms—kept contained only by Israeli control.

The suggestion that the Israelis are reversing roles here is sacrilege for the Zionists. Yet the evidence bears this out. Starting in 1917, it was mostly East European Jews who, with British assistance, invaded Arab Palestine and took control of ever increasing amounts of that territory. It is Israeli Jews who now seek to purge the land of non-Jews. Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, harassed in their towns and villages, now play the role the Jews of Europe used to play—victims of pogroms. Some well-placed Israelis recognize the problem. In 2016, Yair Golan, deputy chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, told a public gathering in Israel, “If there is one thing that frightens me about the memory of the Holocaust, it is identifying the revolting trends that occurred in Europe as a whole 70 to 80 years ago … and finding evidence of those trends here, among us, in 2016.” Israeli Jews brave enough to recognize and speak of this reversal of roles have always been rare, and they are getting rarer still: progressive Israelis are emigrating and rightwing governments have become the norm.

Part IV—Conclusion

It must be over twenty years since I spoke to this issue at a public presentation at Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania. I had been invited to do so by a young untenured history professor. I had told him that it was a dangerous move, but for him, it was a matter of academic freedom and integrity. For me, it was part of a need to tell the truth about the Palestinian plight.

It was a full house, certainly over one hundred people. I gave a defense of Palestinian rights within a fact-based historical context. The real trouble came when someone in the audience suggested a comparison between Israeli behavior and that of the Nazis. I said that the comparison was false. The Israelis had neither set up concentration camps nor organized a technologically based slaughter of their enemies. However, what they had done was pushed Palestinians into ghettos and allowed for periodic pogroms. The shocked gasps of the Zionists in the audience were audible. They walked out en masse and my host never got tenure. Yet the pogroms have become more frequent and more dangerous, at once making life more miserable for the Palestinians and perverting the ethical standards Jews have endorsed particularly since the Holocaust. Learning bad habits from their past, the Zionists have made the tactic of pogrom their own.

“Israel’s” weapon of choice: Anti-Semitism

Jan 06 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Narjes El Zein

Once and for all, let us settle the debate and put things into perspective… What is anti-Semitism? And how is it used to criminalize any act of solidarity with the Palestinians?

  • Here is how any act of solidarity with Palestine is dubbed as anti-Semitic.

Between the corridors of political discourse in Hollywood, there is a reality that is seldom talked about and always intentionally ignored. It is a fact that is always whispered, spoken in secrecy, never fully vocalized, except by those who are brave enough to withstand the repercussions of supporting the Palestinian people. 

Careers have been ruined, sidetracked, and completely ravaged, all under the pretext of anti-Semitism. But in reality, all what those public figures have done was stand on the right side of history.

10 points for Gryffindor

Emma Watson is one of the latest Hollywood stars that has faced hatred and social media trolling as a result of her political stances and rightful support for the oppressed

Watson, an award-winning actress and activist, utilized her personal Instagram with over 64 million followers to post a message expressing solidarity with the Palestinian cause… However, her post seemed to upset and trigger pro-“Israel” online commentators, prompting them of course to accuse the British star of anti-Semitism.

What happened with Watson is one of the latest controversies that reignited questions over the link between advocating Palestinian rights and randomly accusing people of being racist or anti-Semitic.

Some of the other celebrities and public figures that had been subjected to hate due to their support of the Palestinian cause are: Sally RooneyBella HadidMark RuffaloSusan Sarandon, and many others.

So once and for all, let us settle the debate and put things into perspective… What is anti-Semitism? 

Anti-semitism

The term anti-Semitism refers to any kind of hostility, prejudice, or discrimination against Jews. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, anti-Semitism is defined as [an act of] hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group. 

However, in 2016, a new definition of anti-Semitism has been reintroduced by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which includes among its “contemporary examples” of anti-Semitism “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination.”

As such, it goes without saying that anti-Semitism should not be defined by Israelis. 

Such re-definitions and endeavors to plagiarize terminologies express a systematic attempt to impose anti-Zionism as Jew-hatred in order to vilify and assume that “Israel” hatred is equivalent to Jews hatred. 

But, is the criticism of “Israel” anti-Semitic?

To answer this question, we must first address the following: 

Is every Jew Israeli? 

Most Jews do not live in “Israel” and not every inhabitant of “Israel” is Jewish. Claiming the contrary is false and even insulting to a vast number of Jews, who neither are Israeli nor do they possess this “connection” or “attachment” to “Israel”.

And the best proof of that is the Jewish opposition to the Zionist movement long before the “state of Israel” was declared in 1948. 

Thus, being a Zionist and being Jewish are not the same thing.

What is Zionism?

Zionism is a political and colonial movement, supported by plenty of non-Jews, including Western governments. It emerged in 19th Century Europe and was aimed at establishing a Jewish “homeland” in historic Palestine by any means necessary. 

And what we mean by any means necessary includes, but is not limited to: waging wars and carrying out endless aggressions, killing Palestinians (the original rightful owners of the land), stealing properties from the original rightful owners of the land leading to their displacement, and the orphaning of thousands of children, as well as segregation and apartheid policies. 

Thus, the implementation of the Zionist project necessitates the violent ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population and the building of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. 

Thus, Zionism itself is a racist ideology, based on the horrific war crimes practiced each and every day against Palestinian people, and it can only be realized through a colonial-settler project. 

Deliberately confusing ideological terms, symbols, and images has long been a tactic of propagandists whereby they manipulate the term “Zionist” to become a code word for “Jew”. 

This is absolutely not a minor speech “slip-up”, rather it is a long-term systematic strategy that Zionists and “Israel” continue to deploy every day to this very day.

Ideological warfare

How can you win against your opponent in the ideological arena? 

Simple: Manipulate the masses to reinforce the idea that criticizing you or the institution that you belong to is a “swearword” and it is an extremely discriminatory and bigotry act. 

Year after year, Zionists understood that they could capitalize on anti-“Israel” sentiments and brand them as anti-Semitic, especially when addressing the Western public opinion. Thus, any call for the end of the Zionist colonization project would be confronted with the conjuring of the argument of anti-Semitism. 

They are deliberately confusing anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism to discredit all attempts to attack apartheid “Israel”. 

So let us make one thing clear: Just as anti-Zionism is in no way the equal of anti-Semitism, the legitimate opposition of the “existence” and actions of apartheid “Israel” in no way reflects anti-Jewish prejudice. 

A camouflage to silence opposition

But, if we dig deeper to understand the reasoning behind this terminology usage in contemporary speech and in the present conflict in interpretation, in addition to the observation of the loosely related group of attitudes… we understand the motives behind it. 

Defining anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism and using the two terms interchangeably reduces the threat of attacking and calling out Israeli policies, which leaves “Israel” free to entrench and impose its own agenda to further expand within historic Palestine and deny millions of Palestinians their most basic rights.

Accusations of anti-Semitism are deployed to establish an environment that intimidates all sorts of people and urges them to attack and delegitimize criticism of Israeli policies. 

Debunking the myth

The brutal policies of the Israeli government, such as the systematic killing of Palestiniansdenying Palestinians their basic rights, imprisonment of women and childrenneglect of prisoners’ rights, and the building of settlements… to name a few, reflect the indignant and corrosive measures of Zionism, and Zionism only. 

Anti-Semitism has become a means to intimidate individuals and prevent them from voicing their support and expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian people and standing against the many, many, many injustices the Palestinians are enduring each and every day. 

So to get to the bottom line, is Emma Watson (along with the other pro-Palestinian celebrities) an anti-Semite just for voicing her support for the Palestinians? 

No.

Is amplifying the voice of an oppressed nation anti-Semitic? 

No.

Quite the contrary.

Because at the heart of it and taking all the facts and stories happening every day into consideration, the rhetoric that does not speak of the sufferings of the indigenous Palestinian people emerges as one of the crudest forms of anti-HUMANITY! 

Let’s be honest, Zionist Israel is built on a tissue of lies

December 23, 2021

82-year-old, Diana Neslen [Youtube]
British journalist and author Yvonne Ridley provides political analysis on affairs related to the Middle East, Asia and the Global War on Terror. Her work has appeared in numerous publications around the world from East to West from titles as diverse as The Washington Post to the Tehran Times and the Tripoli Post earning recognition and awards in the USA and UK. Ten years working for major titles on Fleet Street she expanded her brief into the electronic and broadcast media producing a number of documentary films on Palestinian and other international issues from Guantanamo to Libya and the Arab Spring.

Yvonne Ridley 

Not all Jews are Zionists and not all Zionists are Jews, but say anything negative about the political ideology of Zionism or speak in favour of Palestine and the chances are, regardless of your religious beliefs or lack of them, you will end up being accused of anti-Semitism. In today’s world, posting negative tweets about Zionism or expressing the slightest criticism of Israel can land you in trouble. One 82-year-old woman in Britain, for example, could be expelled from the Labour Party having been accused of posting “anti-Semitic” views on social networks. Diana Neslen, though, is Jewish.

After three investigations by the party, Neslen has had enough and is fighting back. Her legal team has sent a warning letter to let Labour officials know that her anti-Zionist viewpoint is a protected philosophical belief under the Equality Act. Furthermore, the lawyers at Bindmans say that she has been “subjected by the party to discrimination and harassment related to her protected philosophical belief.”

This has the potential to be a hugely significant case that will put the political ideology of Zionism under the spotlight. Its supporters, especially millions of Christian evangelicals around the world, especially in the US, would have us believe that political Zionism is older than Methuselah himself who, according to the Bible, reached the grand old age of 969. However, compared with the ancient patriarch, the nationalist movement is still in its infancy, having originated in eastern and central Europe towards the back end of the 19th century.

READ: UK media and politicians ‘misled public’ with support for far-right Israeli ambassador

Not only is Zionism a relatively new kid on the ideological block, therefore, but it’s also only relatively recently that the movement has been supported by mainstream Jewry and non-Jews of every political hue. It has taken root among Jews following decades of propaganda and millions of dollars spent lobbying the US and other western governments for legislation to criminalise those who would dare to criticise it.

It wasn’t always like this. Back in December 1938, election results in Poland saw the Zionist political project struggling to take hold within one of Europe’s largest Jewish communities. Only one of the 20 seats allocated to Jews was won by a Zionist candidate; 17 went to the anti-Zionist socialist party, Bund. The evidence suggests that pre-World War Two, orthodox Jews were not generally attracted to Zionism or the concept of a Jewish state. Mike Marqusee made this point in his book If I am Not For Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew (Verso Books, 2008): “As long as there has been Zionism, there have been anti-Zionist Jews. Indeed, decades before it even came to the notice of non-Jews, anti-Zionism was a well-established Jewish ideology and until World War II commanded wide support in the diaspora.”

The Nazi Holocaust did indeed change things when it murdered millions of Jews and other minority groups, including the disabled, trade unionists, gypsies and homosexuals. “I remember thinking at the end of the war, ‘Why didn’t the Germans do anything?'” said Neslen. “When there’s injustice done in your name you cannot close your eyes to it. That’s why I feel very strongly.” Israel, remember, claims to act on behalf of all Jews, no matter where they live.

The truth remains, though, that Zionism is based on lies. There, I’ve said it, and will no doubt be refused a platform by universities for incurring the wrath of the more rabid elements of Israel’s extreme supporters in the Zionist lobby groups. Like Neslen, however, I too have reached breaking point, although I am not a Jew. So it is time for me to stand my ground, and also fight back.

One of the most enduring of Zionism’s lies was promoted by British author Israel Zangwill 120 years ago when he repeated the well-worn slogan that Palestine was “a land without people for a people without a land”. After realising that this was simply not true, Zangwill parted company with the founders of Zionism and in 1904 started talking about the 600,000 Palestinians who occupied the so-called “land without a people” at the time. He continued to speak out about the Palestinian elephant in the Zionist living room. Today, no doubt, he would be slandered as anti-Semitic; in 1913 Zionists simply called him a traitor.

Like Zangwill, Diana Neslen was also a “committed Zionist” until she visited Israel and saw the self-styled Jewish State at close quarters. And, just like Zangwill, she has been punished, insulted and persecuted since turning her back on the racist ideology. She is not the only person who appears to have been persecuted for her anti-Zionist beliefs, and the fact that she is Jewish appears to cut no ice with her detractors. They continue to insist that the Labour Party must investigate her “anti-Semitism”. What did she say or do to deserve what her lawyers describe as a totally “unjustified and disproportionate” response? In one tweet in 2017 she wrote, “The existence of the state of Israel is a racist endeavour and I am an antiracist Jew.”

Inside Israel itself, in response to accusations from Jews like Neslen that Zionism is colonialism, the goalposts are being moved yet again with new lie claiming that Jews are genetically “indigenous” to the land. It’s an argument that “swims in fascist waters” according to one Jewish writer who said that the blatant appropriation of anticolonial language changes the definition of Zionism. Far from being a Jewish nationalist movement founded in the 19th century, explained Abe Silberstein, these new zealots are trying to portray Zionism as “an indigenous rights movement, the implication being that virtually all Jews are indigenous to the land of Israel.”

OPINION: Overthrowing Israel’s bogus definition of anti-Semitism

As support for Israel among US Jews starts to fall, especially among the young, it seems as if Zionism is losing its mythical status as a benign ideology, even as the peaceful grassroots Boycott, Sanction and Divestment movement, BDS, rises in popularity. In 2015, a Yachad-Ipsos Mori survey conducted in British Jewish communities found that, while 90 per cent of Jews in the UK believe in Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, just 59 per cent identified themselves as Zionists, down from 72 per cent in 2010. It is no longer clear if “Zionist” means someone who supports Israel’s government, or simply the state’s right to exist.

In 2018, the Labour Party in Britain adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism. “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, eg by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour,” says the IHRA, is an example of anti-Semitism. Opponents of its use in this way argue that legitimate criticism of a government is certainly not the same as illegal anti-Jewish racism. Indeed, even the person responsible for drafting the definition — and it remains a draft document; it’s not set in stone — has said that “pro-Israel lobby groups have weaponised the definition in an attempt to silence critics of Zionism.”

Jewish Voice for Labour, of which Neslen is a member, says there are at least 42 Jews in the Labour Party who have faced or are facing disciplinary charges relating to allegations of anti-Semitism. Ironically, under self-proclaimed Zionist and leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer, Jewish members are five times more likely to have faced complaints about anti-Semitism than non-Jewish members. It remains to be seen if Labour does apologise to Neslen and undertake not to pursue further investigations against her in respect of her beliefs, but it is clear that her lawyers will not drop the legal action.

According to Neslen in the Guardian, “The Labour Party has no idea, in my opinion, of what anti-Semitism is. My son was attacked by a luminary of the [British National Party] who was jailed for three years. I remember picking up the phone and being subjected to death threats from the BNP. People who have never experienced anti-Semitism have no idea what it means, what it means for a Jew to be found guilty of anti-Semitism.”

Like the Labour Party, most other the other main political parties in Britain have adopted the controversial, “seriously flawed” IHRA definition of anti-Semitism apart from in Scotland. There, the Scottish Greens hold two ministerial positions in Nicola Sturgeon’s government. Both co-leaders, Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, still refuse to endorse the definition. The Greens have voted previously in favour of a motion that described Israel as a “racist state” based on “Jewish supremacy” and calls Zionism a racist endeavour. This is entirely consistent with the findings of Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem earlier this year.

READ: Jewish woman threatens to sue UK Labour over ‘anti-Semitism’ warnings

The far-right Israeli government is said to be increasingly concerned about the decline of support for Zionism. I wouldn’t be surprised if it has already instructed its embassies and lobby groups around the world to shore up support for the ideology in 2022. Indeed, as reported recently by MEMO, it seems that the pro-Israel lobbyists are going on the attack already; Sturgeon is facing mounting criticism over the Scottish National Party’s partnership with Scottish Greens. The First Minister has also been accused of Jew-hatred for discouraging “trade between Scotland and illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories”.

Such tactics make it no surprise, therefore, to hear that British MP Robert Jenrick has pledged to get the British government to outlaw BDS. Speaking at the Leadership Dialogue Institute (LDI), a think tank fostering closer cultural ties between Australia, the UK and Israel, he addressed BDS in a meeting under the inflammatory heading “Why Do So Many People Hate Jews?” Again, the attempt is to conflate legitimate criticism of a political ideology with totally illegitimate, abhorrent racism against Jews. As one leading pro-Palestine campaigner has said, “Anti-Zionism is a duty; anti-Semitism is a crime.”

When Zionists move the goalposts they unwittingly expose the tissue of lies on which the state of Israel has been built. The Jews in Europe pre-Holocaust saw Zionism for what it was and voted accordingly. It is time for the truth about the ideology to be told before any more Jews like Diana Neslen are persecuted for their wholly acceptable beliefs. Their right to freedom of thought and speech must not be curtailed as they seek justice for the people of occupied Palestine.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

“حماس” في قائمة الإرهاب البريطانية.. فلماذا الآن؟

السبت 27 تشرين ثاني 2021

المصدر: الميادين نت

عمرو علان

كاتب وباحث سياسي في العديد من المنافذ الإخبارية العربية ، ومنها جريدة الأخبار ، وقناة الميادين الإخبارية الفضائية ، وعربي 21 ، وراي اليوم

يُثبت الغرب أنه في تعاطيه مع المنظمات الفلسطينية ينطلق من ثابتة مفادها محاولة تجريد الفلسطينيين من أيّ أوراق قوةٍ يتيسّر لهم الحصول عليها في مواجهة الكيان الغاصب.

جاء إعلان الحكومة البريطانية عزمها على تصنيف حركة المقاومة الإسلامية “حماس” بكاملها “منظمةً إرهابيةً” أمراً مستغرباً وخارج السياق، في نظرة أوّلية. فرغم السياسات البريطانية المعادية عموماً للقضايا العربية، تاريخياً وحاضراً، ورغم كون بريطانيا قد صنّفت منذ حين الذراع العسكرية لحركة “حماس”، “منظمةً إرهابيةً”، جاء إعلان وزيرة الداخلية البريطانية، بريتي باتل، عن سعيها لصبغ حركة “حماس” بكاملها بصبغة الإرهاب من دون أيّ مقدمات، فماذا إذن وراء الأكمة؟ وكيف ينبغي لحركة “حماس” وسائر فصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية عموماً التعامل مع هذه المسألة وشبيهاتها؟ 

يُعَدّ الإجماع الذي تَشكَّل فلسطينياً على إدانة المسعى البريطاني أمراً مبشّراً 

لنستذكر بدايةً المسعى الذي قاده رئيس الوزراء البريطاني الأسبق – السيّئ الذكر – توني بلير أواسط العَقْد الماضي مع حركة “حماس”، ذاك المسعى الذي حاول من خلاله انتزاع تنازلاتٍ من حركة “حماس” في الثوابت الفلسطينية، وإقناعها بإدخال تغييرات في نهجها المقاوم، وكان ذلك من خلال تقديم مغرياتٍ للحركة على شاكلة وعودٍ بفتح قنوات تواصلٍ مع مؤسساتٍ وشخصياتٍ برلمانيةٍ أوروبيةٍ، تفضي إلى فتح قنوات تواصلٍ مع الحكومات الأوروبية وحصول الحركة على اعترافٍ غربيٍ بها. 

وعلى إثر مسعى بلير ذاك، كانت الحركة قد أصدرت ما بات يُعرف “بوثيقة حماس”، التي رغم تخفيف الحركة من حدّة لهجتها التقليدية فيها، واستخدامها في المقابل لغةً حمّالةَ أوجهٍ، لم تتضمن الوثيقة تعديلاً جوهرياً في مبادئ الحركة، وبهذا فشل مسعى بلير وجزَرتُه في تحقيق المراد الغربي والصهيوني منهما، ومن ثم عاد بعد ذلك الاحتلال إلى أسلوب العصا من أجل كسر شوكة المقاومة الفلسطينية، حتى جاءت معركة “سيف القدس” التي فاجأت فيها المقاومة الفلسطينية – وفي طليعتها كتائب الشهيد عز الدين القسام – العالم بمدى الاقتدار الذي وصلت إليه تسليحاً وتنظيماً وتكتيكاً، وحققت فيها المقاومة الفلسطينية بقيادة حركة “حماس” نقلةً نوعيةً في مسار مجابهة المحتل، وفرضت فيها حركة “حماس” نفسها لاعباً رئيساً في الساحة الفلسطينية – وحتى في الإقليم بقدرٍ ما – لكونها الفصيل المقاوم الأكبر والأكثر انتشاراً في الشارع الفلسطيني. 

ويضع البعض مسعى الحكومة البريطانية المستجد في سياق معاقبة حركة “حماس” على هذا الإنجاز، وفي سياق المحاولات الصهيونية لتفريغ الإنجاز الاستراتيجي الذي تحقق في “سيف القدس” من محتواه؛ فما رشح من مسار المباحثات الراهنة حول إعادة إعمار قطاع غزة المحاصر، يشي بزيادة الضغوط على حركة “حماس” من ناحية، وبتقديم المغريات المادية لها في إطار إعادة الإعمار من ناحية مقابِلة، وذلك بالتنسيق مع بريطانيا وأميركا وبعض الدول العربية بكل أسف. فالمطروح اليوم على الشعب الفلسطيني وفصائله المقاوِمة لا يعدو كونه مقايضة الأرض والحقوق الفلسطينية المغتصبة بالغذاء والمساعدات المادية، وهذا أمرٌ جُرِّب مع الفلسطينيين في الماضي ولم ينجح، فهل ينجح اليوم بعدما بات للفلسطينيين سيفٌ ودرعٌ، كما ثبت عملياً في معركة “سيف القدس”؟

لكن في العموم، سواء أكانت دوافع بريطانيا من وراء مسعاها تصنيف حركة “حماس” بكليتها “منظمةً إرهابيةً” الالتفاف على نتائج “سيف القدس” الاستراتيجية كما سلف، أم كانت دوافع أخرى بريطانيةً داخليةً محضةً، ففي كل الأحوال فإنّ الخُلاصات والنتائج سيّان. 

مع كل منعطفٍ، يُثبت الغرب أنه في تعاطيه مع المنظمات الفلسطينية ينطلق من ثابتة مفادها محاولة تجريد الفلسطينيين من أيّ أوراق قوةٍ يتيسّر لهم الحصول عليها في مواجهة الكيان الغاصب، وتأتي المقاومة المسلحة المشروعة في رأس قائمة أوراق القوة الناجعة التي يمكن أن تمتلكها الشعوب الواقعة تحت الاحتلال، ويجيء المسعى البريطاني المستجد ضمن هذه الثابتة، واستمراراً لمساعي توني بلير السابقة، لكن بطريقة التهويل ورفع العصا هذه المرة، لذلك ينبغي على أي فصيل فلسطيني أخذ العبرة، وإدراك حقيقة أن الاعتراف الغربي لن يكون إلا بالتخلي عن نهج المقاومة سبيلاً للتحرير، وأن أيّ أثمانٍ أخرى يعرضها الفلسطيني لن تؤدي إلى قبول الغرب به، وهذه تجربة “م.ت.ف.” الكارثية على القضية الفلسطينية شاخصة أمامنا.

وبناءً عليه، تصير زيادة مراكمة القوة – كما حصل في “سيف القدس” – الطريق المفيد الوحيد أمام حركة “حماس” وباقي فصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية لانتزاع حضورها في المعادلات الدولية، فمن يمسك بالأرض يفرض الشروط، بمعزل عن رضى الغرب عنه من عدمه، وهذه تجربة حركة طالبان التي حاربتها أميركا عقدين من الزمن، لتعود بعد ذلك إلى التفاوض معها بحسب معطيات الميدان، هذا بغض النظر عن تقييمنا لمسيرة حركة طالبان سلباً أو إيجاباً، وأيضاً أخذ العبرة ممّا جرى مع حركة المقاومة الإسلامية في لبنان، حزب الله، الذي يصنّفه الغرب “منظمةً إرهابيةً”، ولكن مع هذا وجدنا مبعوث الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون مرغماً على لقاء ممثل الحزب، حينما أرادت فرنسا التوسط في تأليف الحكومة اللبنانية، وجرى اللقاء داخل حرم السفارة الفرنسية ذاتها في لبنان.

يُعَدّ الإجماع الذي تَشكَّل فلسطينياً على إدانة المسعى البريطاني أمراً مبشّراً يمكن البناء عليه، ولا ضير في التحرك الدبلوماسي الموسع الذي أعلن عنه رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة “حماس” إسماعيل هنية من أجل الحد من مفاعيل هذا التوجه البريطاني، لكن الردّ الناجع كان في عملية “باب السلسلة” الأخيرة، التي نفّذها الشهيد فادي أبو شخيدم، القيادي في حركة “حماس”، والتي كانت استمراراً لمعركة “سيف القدس”، كما وصفتها فصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية.

حماس تنعى الشهيد فادي أبو شخيدم منفذ عملية القدس المسلحة | البوابة

صحيحٌ أن هذه العملية لم تكن رداً مباشراً على مساعي بريطانيا مؤخّراً، إلا أن تصعيد العمل المقاوم في القدس والضفة الغربية، وتعزيز مفاعيل “سيف القدس” والبناء عليها، حتى الوصول إلى إشعال الانتفاضة الثالثة، بهدف إجبار الاحتلال على الانسحاب من الأراضي المحتلة عام 1967 من دون قيدٍ أو شرطٍ، تُعَدّ الطريق الأقصر إلى استعادة بعض من الحقوق الفلسطينية المسلوبة، وإبطال مفاعيل مثل هذه المساعي، من بريطانيا وغيرها. 

هذا كان على صعيد الداخل الفلسطيني، أما على مستوى الخارج، فعلينا الإقرار بأنَّ هذه الخطوة البريطانية الجائرة ستضيف تعقيدات جديدة أمام التحركات الشعبية البريطانية المناصرة للحق الفلسطيني، على غرار التحركات التي شهدناها خلال معركة “سيف القدس”، وذلك إذا ما أخذنا في الحسبان التعقيدات القائمة فعلاً بسبب قوانين “معاداة السامية”، تلك القوانين التي يجري استغلالها بصورة فاضحة لحماية كيان الاحتلال من أيّ انتقادات أو محاسبة عن جرائمه ضد الفلسطينيين. فهل يُعقَل التفريق بين أيّ دعمٍ ذي معنى لحقوق شعبٍ تحت الاحتلال، وبين دعم حقه المشروع والأصيل في مقاومة هذا الاحتلال بكل الوسائل المتاحة، وعلى رأسها المقاومة المسلحة؟

لكن في المحصّلة، يمكن للخارج تقديم ما يستطيع من دعم للداخل الفلسطيني ضمن المتاح في بيئته، وضمن مدى استعداد كل فرد للتضحية، شريطة أن لا يطلب الخارج من الداخل الفلسطيني الالتزام بالسقوف المنخفضة، فتبقى مواجهة المحتل على أرض فلسطين المحتلة وعلى باقي الأراضي العربية المحتلة هي الأصل، سواء أكان الاحتلال صهيونياً أم أميركياً. 

Banning of Palestinian NGOs: How Israel Tries to Silence Human Rights Defenders

November 22, 2021

By Ramzy Baroud & Romana Rubeo

On October 21, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced the issuance of a military order designating six prominent Palestinian human rights groups as ‘terrorist organizations’. Gantz claimed that they are secretly linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a socialist political group that Israel considers, along with most Palestinian political parties, ‘a terrorist organization.’

The Palestinian organizations included in the Israeli order are Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights, Al-Haq, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children Palestine, Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.

Considering the significance of these organizations in Palestine and their global networks among like-minded civil society organizations, the Israeli decision provoked a public outcry. One of the many statements of condemnation was a joint statement by rights groups, Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW), in which they called Gantz’s move an “appalling and unjust decision”, which represents “an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement.”

Strong Words, but No Actions

AI and HRW, which have documented Israeli human rights violations of Palestinians for many years, fully understand that the ‘terrorist’ designation is consistent with a long trajectory of such unlawful moves:

“For decades, Israeli authorities have systematically sought to muzzle human rights monitoring and punish those who criticize its repressive rule over Palestinians. While staff members of our organizations have faced deportation and travel bans, Palestinian human rights defenders have always borne the brunt of the repression. This decision is an alarming escalation that threatens to shut down the work of Palestine’s most prominent civil society organizations.”

Equally important in the world’s leading rights groups’ statement is that it did not fail to highlight that the “decades-long failure of the international community to challenge grave Israeli human rights abuses and impose meaningful consequences for them has emboldened Israeli authorities to act in this brazen manner.”

True to form, the international community did react to Gantz’s decision, albeit it was the kind of ineffectual reaction, which persisted in the realm of rhetoric that is rarely followed by substantive action.

A joint statement by UN experts called the Israeli decision “a frontal attack on the Palestinian human rights movement, and on human rights everywhere”.

Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, criticized the “arbitrary” decision by Israel and warned of the “far-reaching consequences as a result,” in terms of work, funding and support for the targeted organizations.

Many governments around the world also condemned the Israeli move and echoed the sentiment conveyed by UN experts. Even the US expressed its ‘concern’, though, using the same typically cautious and non-committal language.

US State Department spokesman, Ned Price, told reporters on October 23, in Washington, that his country “believe(s) respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and a strong civil society are critically important to responsible and responsive governance.” Instead of an outright condemnation, however, Price said that the US will “be engaging our Israeli partners for more information regarding the basis for these designations.”

However, like other governments, and certainly unlike AI and HRW, Price made no link between the Israeli decision of October 21 and numerous other past practices targeting human rights and civil society groups in Palestine and, more recently, in Israel as well. Also worth noting is that the supposed link between such organizations and the socialist PFLP is not new.

The following are a few examples of how Israel has attempted to silence some of these organizations, which, eventually were declared to be ‘terrorist.’

Raids, Arrests and Death Threats

Addameer – In December 2012, the Israeli army raided the headquarters of Addamer in Ramallah, confiscating laptops and a video camera. The offices of the Union of Palestinian Women Committees were also raided by Israeli occupation forces on the same day. The organization is one of the six now designated by Israel as ‘terrorist.’

In September 2019, Addameer’s offices were raided, once again. The Israeli military raid at the time, however, did not generate as much attention or outrage, despite the accompanying violence, let alone the blatant violation of human rights. Then, Al-Haq – also one of the other six effectively banned Palestinian groups – issued a statement warning that “the private property of human rights organizations in occupied territory is especially protected under Article 46 of the Hague Regulations (1907).”

Expectedly, such legal constraints mattered little to Israel.

Al-Haq – Al-Haq’s staff have faced many restrictions throughout the years. Shawan Jabarin, the General Director of Al-Haq, has been banned from travel on various occasions, starting in 2006.

In March 2009, Jabarin was prevented by Israel from traveling to the Netherlands to receive an award on behalf of his organization. Again, in November 2011, this time, Jabarin was now allowed to travel to Denmark.

The Israeli obstacles began taking even more sinister turns when, in March 2016, Jabarin began receiving death threats over the phone. These anonymous calls began arriving “in the context of increasing harassment of Al-Haq and its members, amid their recent work at the International Criminal Court (ICC) seeking justice for human rights violations being committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” the Front Line Defenders website reported.

Defense for Children International-Palestine – In July, and again August 2021, Israeli forces raided Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) offices in Al-Bireh, in the occupied West Bank. They seized computers, hard drives and other material, alleging a link between the organization and the PFLP.

This allegation had already been advanced in 2018, when UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) persuaded Citibank and the Arab Bank PLC to stop providing banking services to DCIP, providing what they defined as “evidence of the close ties” to the PFLP.

While it is true that the recent Israeli measures against Palestinian NGOs are a continuation of an old policy, there are fundamental differences between the growing perception of Israel, now, as an apartheid state and the misconstrued perception of the past, namely Israel as an oasis of democracy.

Even international entities and groups that are yet to brand Israel an apartheid state are becoming familiar with the Israeli government’s undemocratic nature.

A ‘Tectonic Shift’

In December 2019, and after years of haggling, the ICC resolved that “there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine, pursuant to Article 53(1) of the (Rome) Statute.” Despite intense Israeli and western pressure, the last hurdle in the way of the investigation was removed last February, as the ICC has finally approved the Prosecutor’s request to open legal proceedings regarding war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Gaza.

This legal milestone was cemented by major declarations, one made by Israel’s own rights group, B’tselem, in January, and another by HRW in April, both slamming Israeli policies in Palestine – not just the occupied territories – as ‘apartheid’.

This critical change in the international legal position regarding Israel’s new, unflattering status, was boosted by Israel’s own violent actions in East Jerusalem, Gaza and throughout Palestine in May. Unlike previous wars, the May events have shifted sympathy mostly towards Palestinians, who are fighting for their freedom, homes and other basic human rights.

The change was also notable within the US government itself, which is unprecedented by any account. An increasing number of US lawmakers are now openly critical of the State of Israel, due to a radical change in the US public opinion and, again, unprecedently, they are not paying a heavy price for it as was often the case in the past due to the great influence of the Zionist lobby in Washington.

“The shift is dramatic; it’s tectonic,” the BBC, on May 21, quoted US pollster, John Zogby, as saying. “In particular, younger generations are considerably more sympathetic to the Palestinians – and that age gap has been on full display with the Democratic Party,” the BBC noted.

Israel’s losses are not just sentimental or political, but economic as well. Last July, the international ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s decided to stop selling its products in illegal Jewish settlements while pinpointedly condemning Israeli occupation, a move that was described by Amnesty as “legitimate and necessary”. A few months later, the sports clothing manufacturer, Nike, followed suit, announcing that it will end the sale of its products in Israeli stores starting May 2022, although it did not justify its decision based on political reasoning.

While Israel continues to lash out at its critics, it no longer seems to behave according to a centralized strategy.

Lacking a strong leadership after the dethroning of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the formation of a diverse ‘unity government’, the new Israeli government does not seem capable of holding back international criticism of its conduct in occupied Palestine. The notion that everything that Israel does is justifiable as a form of ‘self-defense’ is simply no longer a strong selling point. The May war is the perfect example of this assertion.

In the case of the banned NGOs, for example, aside from sending a representative from the Israeli intelligence agency, Shin Bet, and another from the Israeli Foreign Ministry to Washington on October 25 with “relevant intelligence” to justify its decision, Tel Aviv continued to carry out the same policies that further exposes its apartheid in the eyes of the international community.

Indeed, on October 27, Israel announced the construction of thousands of new housing units in illegal Jewish settlements, in its first such move during the presidency of Joe Biden.

A perfect illustration of the frantic nature of the Israeli response came on October 29, when the Israeli envoy to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, during his speech at the General Assembly, tore into pieces a report issued by the UN Human Rights Council illustrating Israeli ongoing violations of international law.

“The Human Rights Council attacked and condemned Israel in 95 resolutions compared to 142 resolutions against the rest of the world,” Erdan said. “This distorted and one-sided report’s place is in the dustbin of anti-Semitism,” he ranted.

Branding Israeli Apartheid

We may be at the cusp of a fundamental change in terms of Israel’s relationship with the international community. While Tel Aviv continues to heavily invest in its apartheid infrastructure, the international community is slowly, but clearly, becoming aware that Israel’s apartheid status is a permanent one. The successive statements by B’Tselem, HRW, the joint HRW-Amnesty statement condemning the de facto outlawing of the Palestinian NGOs and, again, the ICC investigation are all indicative of this growing awareness.

The question remains – will Israel be able to use its power, influence and leverage in Western societies to force the world to accept and co-exist with a full-fledged apartheid regime in Palestine? And if yes, then, for how long?

The South African apartheid example showed that, despite decades of apartheid and initial acceptance, if not support, by western societies of legalized racial separation in South Africa, the pendulum eventually turned. Even before the formal end of apartheid in that country in 1994, it was becoming clear that the days of the racist regime of Pretoria were numbered. That realization was possible because of the growing international awareness, especially at grassroot, civil society level, of the evil of apartheid.

A similar scenario seems to be evolving in the case of Israeli apartheid in Palestine as well. A critical mass of support for Palestinian rights is being constructed around the world, thanks to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and hundreds of pro-Palestine civil society groups all around the globe.

For years, Israel seemed keen on countering the influence of Palestine’s solidarity around the world using a centralized strategy. Large sums of money were dedicated, or pledged, towards that end, and a partly government-controlled company was even established, in 2017, to guide the Israeli global campaign. Much of this has amounted to very little, however, as BDS continues to grow, and the conversation on Palestine and Israel is gradually changing from that of a political ‘conflict’ into recognition of Israeli racism, apartheid and utter disregard of international law.

Of course, it will take more time, more decided effort and, certainly, more sacrifices on the part of Palestinians and their supporters to expose Israeli apartheid to the rest of the world. Now that Israel seems to have accepted that there is little it can do to reverse this brand, it is accelerating its colonial efforts, while hunkering down for a long fight ahead.

The onus is now on the international community to force Israel into dismantling its apartheid regime. Though it is ultimately the people who liberate themselves, international solidarity is essential to the process of national liberation. This was the case in South Africa, and will surely be the case in Palestine, as well.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

– Romana Rubeo is an Italian writer and the managing editor of The Palestine Chronicle. Her articles appeared in many online newspapers and academic journals. She holds a Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Literature and specializes in audio-visual and journalism translation.

Palestinian Resistance Factions Launch National Campaign in Face of UK Blacklist Decision against Hamas

November 20, 2021

manar-03573710016374034514

The Palestinian Resistance factions announced on Saturday launching a national campaign and a popular conference in face of the UK decision to label Hamas Movement as a terrorist group.

After holding a meeting in Gaza Strip, the Palestinian factions considered that the UK decision targets all the Palestinians and represents an extension of Britain’s colonial policy.

The Palestinian factions called on the UK authorities to undo their decision, urging the Arab League to reject it.

Member of Islamic Jihad politburo, Mohammad al-Hindi, described the UK decision as unjust and adding that it reflects grudge against all the Palestinians and their resistance.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s Ansarullah movement firmly denounced the UK decision decision against Hamas, voicing support to all the Palestinians and their resistance factions.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Related Videos

MORE ON THIS TOPIC:

%d bloggers like this: