Artists boycott Sydney Festival 2022 over Israeli funding

9 Jan 2022

Net Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen

In response to the Israeli occupation attempting to art-wash its crimes, various acts boycott the Sydney Festival 2022 in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Protesters wave Palestinian flags during a demonstration against “Israel” at the Town Hall in Sydney on May 15, 2021 (AFP)

30 acts, including bands, individual artists, companies, and panel members, canceled their performances or attendance at Sydney Festival 2022 that kicked off in Australia on Thursday.

The cancellations came over Israeli funding of the festival and the festival’s support for “Israel” while ignoring the regime’s oppression of Palestinians on their indigenous land.

The festival’s board accepted some $14,300 in a donation from the Israeli embassy in Australia, which were given in support of a show based on work by an Israeli choreographer and an Israeli dance company.

The Israeli occupation’s donation earned it a listing as a “star partner” on the website’s festival.

Artists withdrew to boycott the Israeli occupation’s crimes against Palestine and Palestinians, highlighting the occupation’s apartheid practices toward Palestinians.

Those who withdrew include Belvoir theatre production of Black Brass, comedians Tom Ballard and Nazeem Hussain, and other local bands, dancers, and performers.

Ballard explained that his decision to withdraw came “after listening to the calls to boycott the Sydney Festival over its decision to accept funding from and partner with the Embassy of Israel.”

“I love to tell jokes,” he said, “But standing up for human rights and standing against a system of apartheid is more important,” calling on the festival to review its decision and return the funding in question.

Musical artist Marcus Whale announced his withdrawal on Monday, clarifying that it was a boycott.

“The Israeli Embassy […] collaborates with Western cultural institutions to pain Israel as a liberal democracy on one hand, while enforcing brutal occupation and apartheid with the other,” the young artist tweeted.

Some acts did not fully withdraw from the festival, but they announced they would be participating independently, i.e. without sponsorship, and those include the acclaimed play Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner and Return to Sender.

“In light of Sydney Festival seeking and accepting funding from the Israeli embassy, Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner has no other choice but to withdraw and boycott the festival,” the cast said.

“We will not be coerced into complicity,” they added, asserting that they came to this decision together to “stand in solidarity with the Palestinian cause and with all Indigenous People’s right to sovereignty and liberation,” they added in an Instagram post while calling “Israel” “another oppressive settler-colony.”

Despite the artist boycott, the Sydney Festival board said it was keeping the show sponsored by the occupation, claiming it “collectively affirms” its “respect for the right of all groups to protest and raise concerns.”

The Palestinian Justice Movement Sydney had called for a boycott in December upon knowing that the board accepted the donation in May. The campaign said the festival was contributing to the normalization of an apartheid state.

Algeria’s coach: We dedicate the Arab Cup to Palestine and Gazans

18 Dec 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen Net

Algeria wins the 2020 Arab Cup championship after winning against Tunisia 2-0, and the Algerian coach dedicates the win to Palestine.

Following the final whistle, Algeria’s coach Madjid Bougherra dedicated the win to Palestine.

Algeria’s national football team grasped the 2021 Arab Cup championship held in Qatar after winning 2-0 over Tunisia’s national team in the extra time.

In front of 60,456 fans present at Al Bayt stadium in Doha, Amir Sayoud scored Algeria’s first goal in the 99th minute of extra time, followed by Yacine Brahimi’s second goal in the 125th minute, crowning their country as Arab champions.


هدف أمير سعيود 🇩🇿 🤯#مونديال_العرب | #FIFArabCup
pic.twitter.com/s1RgTHHXUG— مونديال العرب (@Arabcup21) December 18, 2021

After the final whistle, the Algerian coach Madjid Bougherra said “We dedicate the Arab Cup to the Palestinian people and our people in Gaza.”

Brahimi was named the best player in the championship and received the Golden Ball award for his outstanding performance.

Algeria maintains no diplomatic ties with the Israeli occupation regime and has long been an outspoken and avid supporter of the Palestinian cause.

Last week, Algeria’s national football team celebrated its win over Morocco in the Arab Cup while waving high the Palestinian flag and kufiya.

Algerian athletes boycotting “Israel”

Three Algerian football stars boycotted Friday a match that gathered “legends” in Doha over the participation of an Israeli coach on the sidelines of the 2020 Arab Cup in Qatar, reported Quds News Network.

Rabah Madjer, Rafik Saïfi, and Rafik Halliche were among players on the FIFA Arab Legends’ formation who were supposed to face the FIFA World Legends in a friendly exhibition match.

However, the three Algerians decided not to take part in the match upon Israeli coach Avram Grant’s participation with the World Legends team.

The Israeli coach has previously managed English club Chelsea as well as “‘Israel’s’ national team” between 2002-2006.

Algeria defends Palestine in the Olympics

It is noteworthy that in late November, Algerian Judo champion Fethi Nourine announced his retirement, two months after the International Olympic Committee suspended him from competitions for 10 years on account of his withdrawal from the Tokyo2020 Olympics to avoid facing an Israeli opponent, in solidarity with Palestine.

“I know that international federations have always colluded with Zionist terrorism, especially the International Judo Federation, and perhaps the best evidence is that my punishment remains the same even after filing an appeal,” Nourine stressed.

He affirmed that he “will never stop supporting the Palestinian cause, no matter what.”

Nourine also mentioned that he does not regret his decision and that he is proud of it.

The Algerian champion said he will take advantage “of every opportunity to expose the zionist entity and defend our rights in Palestine.”

Palestinian engineer files lawsuit in Texas to protest antiboycott law

7 Dec  2021

Source: The Guardian

By Al Mayadeen

Palestinian-American engineer Rasmy Hassouna is suing the state of Texas to cancel a law that bans government contractors from boycotting “Israel” and its products.

Hassouna’s case could cost him to lose a certain amount of money of his yearly revenue.

Rasmy Hassouna, Texan civil engineer and contractor for the city of Houston, is fighting the Israeli occupation in his way.

The Palestinian-American citizen 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 as long as working for Houston, reported The Guardian.

“I came here and thought I was a free man. It’s not anybody’s business what I do or what I say, as long as I’m not harming anybody,” Hassouna expressed.

“Why do I have to pledge allegiance to a foreign country?”, he questioned.

In response, Rasmy, 59, decided to take action and file a lawsuit against the Texas state law that bans government contractors from boycotting the Israeli occupation, which is the case in more than 25 US states, mentioned the newspaper. 

According to The Guardian, Hassouna’s company is one out of only two companies to challenge such laws.

The lawsuit will be heard in federal court on Tuesday for violating free speech, and if ruled, the 2019 Texas ban on boycotting “Israel” will be canceled.

However, according to his lawyer, Hassouna’s case could cost him to lose a certain amount of money of his yearly revenue.

Flying to the US as an immigrant in 1988, the engineer became a US citizen in 2005. Back then, he fought his first battle: His citizenship certificate read “Israel” in the place of birth section.

“I went to the lady who was giving the certificates away and told her I didn’t want ‘Israel’ on my certificate,” he explained.

“They told me ‘Palestine was not in the system.’”

After back-and-forth discussions with officials, the immigration office finally granted him a new certificate with the place of birth section saying Gaza Strip.

BDS Movement: “If we abandon Palestine, we abandon ourselves”

December 7, 2021

Source: Agencies + Al Mayadeen Net

By Ahmad Karakira

Amid the shameful wave of normalization with the Israeli occupation and the Arab failure to support the Palestinian cause in favor of the US and “Israel,” the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions movement has proven to be effective.

Boycotting is one form of resistance against the Israeli occupation, but is not and should not be an alternative to armed resistance

On November 25th, after a struggle with cancer, passionate writer and activist Samah Idris passed away. Idris dedicated his life to Palestine and the struggle against normalization with the occupation. He was editor-in-chief of the prominent Al Adab literary magazine from 1992 onward.

Idris was one of the founders of the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of “Israel” in Lebanon after the Jenin massacre in 2002, and played a leading role in furthering the movement’s influence.

He had a strong commitment to Palestine and its cause, which he used as a compass in his battle.

In an interview for Al Mayadeen English, he said, “Lebanon condemns the Israeli occupation which violates universal principles and the right of people to self-governance.”

Even in his final days before his untimely death, Idris continued to denounce those who normalize ties with the occupation as he fought to expose the occupations’ atrocities.

The revolutionary’s death comes amid a shameful recent normalization wave by several Arab countries with “Israel,” the newest of which is the visit of the occupations’ Security Minister Benny Gantz to Morocco.

The visit witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on security cooperation between the two sides, deeming the Moroccan regime as a partner in oppressing Palestinians and betraying the Palestinian cause, and ignoring the history of Moroccan revolutionaries and resistance leaders such as Abdelkarim al-Khattabi who fought against Spanish and French colonialism. 

Morocco is the fourth Arab country, following the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan, to have normalized ties with the Israeli occupation under Washington’s sponsorship.

Originally, in 1945, the Arab League issued a decree to officially boycott Israeli companies and goods in support of Palestine, forcing Arab citizens and companies of an Arab League member to boycott any ties with “Israel.”

Unsurprisingly, the US Congress passed laws in 1977 criminalizing US companies that comply with the Arab boycotting bodies.

However, as a result of Western pressure, several Arab countries have abandoned the boycotting movement and normalized ties with the Israeli occupation.

Therefore, the more the normalization ties increase, the more the work of the BDS movement becomes crucial.

Sally Rooney under attack

A few days ago, some 70 prominent authors, poets, and playwrights have signed a letter of endorsement in support of Irish author Sally Rooney’s decision to prevent Israeli publishing house “Modan” from translating her latest work, “Beautiful World, Where Are You,” into Hebrew.

Rooney indicated that her decision is part of a cultural boycott over Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

She said she “did not feel it would be right” to accept a contract with an Israeli company “that does not publicly distance itself from the apartheid and support the UN-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people.”

Citing human rights reports, Rooney pointed out that “Israel’s system of racial domination and segregation against Palestinians meets the definition of apartheid under international law.”

The author confirmed she supports the “Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS)” movement targeting “complicit” firms and institutions “in response to the apartheid system and other grave human rights violations.”

Rooney explained that the BDS movement is “modeled on the economic and cultural boycott that helped to end apartheid in South Africa.”

Boycotting origins in Palestine

Since the 1920s, Palestinians have mastered boycotting as a way of resisting the British mandate and the Zionist colonization, and in 1936, they organized a huge six-month strike in protest of the British support for Zionism.

In addition, the Resistance factions launched a popular boycott of Israeli products during the first Intifada (1987-1992), which led to a dynamic plunge in Israeli exports.

When all UN resolutions failed to stop “Israel” from violating international laws and continuing its crimes against Palestinian people and land, 170 different Palestinian bodies first launched the BDS movement in 2005. 

The BDS movement website wrote, “Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure ‘Israel’ to comply with international law.”

In an aim to withdraw apartheid in South Africa, several activists, organizations, unions, and politicians pressured the apartheid South African regime through heavy lobbying, isolation, and product boycotting worldwide as a form of achieving liberation. The boycott movement cost the racist regime a great loss and isolation from international events and markets by the demand of many Europeans.

As a result, post-apartheid South Africa has supported the Palestinian cause since the two sides established formal diplomatic relations in 1995, a year after the end of the apartheid regime. South Africa also reduced its diplomatic representation in the so-called “Tel Aviv” in 2019 and withdrew its ambassador.

It is noteworthy that the boycotting movement has been historically used to end oppression, such as Ghandi’s Indian Salt March in 1930 and African Americans’ famous Montgomery Bus Boycott in late 1955. Unlike BDS, these movements are celebrated without being described as “anti-Semitic.”

Its success and effect

“BDS aims to end international support for Israeli violations of international law by forcing companies, institutions, and governments to change their policies. As Israeli companies and institutions become isolated, ‘Israel’ will find it more difficult to oppress Palestinians,” explains the BDS movement.

So far, BDS has achieved several victories against the Israeli occupation on many levels, which led “Israel” to dedicate resources, including money, government staff, and security services to undermine BDS and threaten its activists.

Culturally, thousands of artists, famous of which is Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters from legendary rock band Pink Floyd, have declined to perform in “Israel” as a result of BDS calls and is even an ardent supporter of the movement.

In addition, various academic institutions and unions in the US, Canada, South Africa, and the UK have announced their support for Palestine and the movement.

After respecting the choice of boycotting, renowned British scientist Stephen Hawking withdrew from the Israeli Presidential Conference. Also, after a visit to Palestine, the famous Black activist and academic, Angela Davis, expressed that she “unequivocally endorses the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Campaign.”

Most recently, the South African government announced that it has “withdrawn its support” from the current Miss South Africa (SA) pageant due to fruitless attempts to persuade the pageant to reconsider its plan to participate in the Miss Universe event, which is set to take place in “Israel.”

Economically, a UN report showed that BDS was a major cause of a 46% drop in foreign direct investment in “Israel” in 2014, while the world bank mentioned that the movement resulted in a 24% drop in Palestinian imports from the occupied lands, according to the movement. Moreover, the Israeli occupation government and the Rand Corporation published reports that predict that BDS will cost “Israel” billions of dollars, which it did.

How “Israel” is fighting BDS

Proving to be effective, “Israel’s” policies against BDS and pressure on EU and US have proven the efficiency of the movement and the extent of loss it has caused to the occupation. 

The Zionist lobby worldwide and pro-“Israel” groups have urged governments such as France, Canada, the US, UK to criminalize BDS.

Last but not least, it is important to mention that the BDS movement is one form of resistance out of many against the Israeli occupation, amid the shameful wave of normalization with the Israeli occupation and the Arab failure to support the Palestinian cause in favor of the US and “Israel.”

However, boycotting is not and should not be an alternative to armed resistance as the late Samah Idriss affirmed, “We believe there is no other way to communicate with the Israeli occupation except through boycotting and armed resistance, and nothing else.”

Idris is no longer with us, but his memory will live in the hearts and minds of all the supporters of the Palestinian cause.

Hezbollah Mourns Samah Idriss: Palestine Lost a Solid Defender, Fighter

 November 27, 2021

Hezbollah mourned in a statement released on Friday the righteous fighter and writer Samah Idriss who passed away yesterday after a long struggle with disease.

“Lebanon and the Arab world have lost the fighter and writer Samah Idris,” the statement read, adding that the Palestinian cause lost, with his departure, a hero and a solid defender, who harnessed his culture and literary production in defense of Palestine and the freedom of its people, and in the face of all forms of cultural, political and economic normalization throughout the Arab world.

“Hezbollah is deeply saddened and extends its deepest condolences and sympathy to his family and loved ones and to all strugglers on the same path of resistance and facing normalization,” the statement concluded.

Idriss was a writer, publisher, editor, thinker, editor-in-chief of Al-Adab magazine and co-founder of the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of “Israel” in Lebanon. He constantly amplified the voices of Palestinian political prisoners in the pages of Al-Adab, and his work is known among the prisoners themselves.

He was one of the initiators of the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement and his speech at the Beirut conference was recently published by Al-Akhbar. His last speech contained his hope for the revolutionary future of Palestinian and Arab liberation.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Samah Idris, the writer, novelist, and co-founder of the ‘Campaign to Boycott Supporters of “Israel” in Lebanon’ passed away, but the fight against normalization with the Israeli occupation lives on.

Related Articles

Report Reveals European Firms Have More Than $255B Entwined in Illegal Israeli Settlements

October 21st, 2021

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

The Israeli Jewish-settlement of Maale Adumim, near Jerusalem, Feb. 7, 2017. (AP/Oded Balilty)
The continuous settler takeover of Palestinian land has prevented Palestinians from developing and utilizing their resources and therefore significantly depleted their economy.

OCCUPIED WEST BANK, PALESTINE — Nearly 700 European firms have financial ties worth $255 billion with businesses actively involved in Israeli settlements, according to a new civil society report.

The Don’t Buy Into Occupation (DBIO) coalition is a joint project between 25 Palestinian and European non-governmental organizations investigating the business connections between companies operating in illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPT) and European financial institutions. The coalition’s latest research found 672 European financial institutions had relationships with 50 businesses participating in Israel’s settlement economy. Between 2018 and May 2021, major European firms provided loans and underwritings amounting to $114 billion to these businesses while investing $141 billion.

“The involvement of these corporations with the settlements — through investments, banking loans, resource extraction, infrastructure contracts, and equipment and product supply agreements — provides them with the indispensable economic oxygen they require to grow and thrive,” Michael Lynk, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territory Occupied since 1967, wrote in the report.

The findings

The DBIO coalition found that the top 10 creditors collectively gave $77.81 billion to businesses involved in the Israeli settlements. These firms are BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays, Société Générale, Santander, ING Group, Commerzbank, UniCredit, and Crédit Agricole. And the top 10 investors — Deutsche Bank, Crédit Agricole, Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), Investor AB, BPCE Group, Allianz, Swedbank, Legal & General, AB Industrivärden, and Alecta — contributed $67.22 billion.

The coalition reached out to 138 firms as well as three corporations highlighted in the report and additional businesses the coalition found to be heavily involved in the settlement economy. Booking.com, BNP Paribas, and HeidelbergCement and 21 financial institutions responded to the report’s results.

Replies varied, with some banks wanting to set up meetings to further discuss the findings while other institutions said they’ve already investigated human rights concerns with their business partners. The report’s authors declined to disclose with which institutions they are meeting, but DBIO said they plan to publish updates in the future.

“Some of them claim they did their human rights due diligence, but still decided to be involved in a settlement enterprise, which is quite against any of the suggestions or analysis of human rights experts,” Dr. Anna Khdair — a legal researcher at Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organization, and one of the report’s co-drafters — told MintPress News.

Other institutions said any ties to Israeli settlements are not within their sphere of decision-making because settlements are legal under Israeli law. While they are warranted by Israel, settlements are illegal under international law.

“So, we still have a lot of work to do to explain how the settlement enterprise actually works and how much it is connected to the Israeli economy, [while] Israel itself will not provide enough information or transparency about those links with the illegal settlement enterprise,” Khdair said.

Holding corporations accountable

The Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has experienced incredible mobilization recently. American ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s made headlines over the summer after announcing it will stop selling in Israeli settlements. Two pension companies named in the DBIO report also recently divested from companies linked to the settlement enterprise. In July, Kommunal Landspensjonskasse (KLP), Norway’s biggest pension firm, divested from 16 companies involved in Israeli settlements.

“In KLP’s assessment, there is an unacceptable risk that the excluded companies are contributing to the abuse of human rights in situations of war and conflict through their links with the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank,” KLP said in a statement regarding their decision.

The businesses from which KLP divested are:

  • Ashtrom Group Ltd.
  • Electra Ltd.
  • Alstom SA
  • Bank Hapoalim
  • Bank Leumi
  • Israel Discount Bank
  • First International Bank Israel
  • Bezeq
  • Mizrahi Tefahot Bank
  • Altice Europe
  • Partner Communications
  • Cellcom
  • Delek Group
  • Paz Oil
  • Motorola Solutions
  • Energix Renewable Energies

In September, the Norwegian pension company GPFG announced it will stop working with Elco Ltd., Ashtrom Group Ltd., and Electra Ltd. because of their activities in the Israeli settlements. In the last decade, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, and Barclays have also divested from some companies involved in the settlements.

Nonetheless, Willem Staes, coordinator of the DBIO coalition, noted:

Despite the illegal nature of Israeli settlements under international law, European financial institutions continue to throw a financial lifeline to companies operating in the settlements. European financial institutions should take up their responsibility and follow the example of KLP and GPFG. They should end all investments and financial flows into Israeli settlements, and not buy into the Israeli occupation.

Even with these divestment decisions, however, the aforementioned firms still associate with settlement-entwined businesses. KLP is invested in eight companies involved in the settlement enterprise: Delta Galil Industries, FIBI, Matrix IT, Mivne Group, Rami Levy Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006, Shapir Engineering and Industry, and Shufersal. GPFG still has business dealings with 34 companies linked to the settlements. These businesses are:

  • ACS Group
  • Atlas Copco
  • Bank Hapoalim
  • Bank Leumi
  • Bezeq
  • Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF)
  • Caterpillar
  • Cellcom
  • CNH Industrial
  • Delek Group
  • Delta Galil Industries
  • DXC Technology
  • Energix
  • CETCO Mineral Technology Group
  • Cisco Systems
  • Expedia
  • FIBI
  • General Mills
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)
  • Israel Discount Bank
  • MAN Group
  • Tripadvisor
  • Manitou
  • Shufersal
  • Siemens
  • Matrix IT
  • Mizrahi Tefahot Bank
  • Volvo Group
  • WSP GLobal
  • Motorola Solutions
  • Partner Communications
  • Paz Oil
  • Rami Levy Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006
  • Terex

These ongoing financial relationships put into question the firms’ commitment to human rights.

Maha Abdallah, one of the co-drafters of the report and the International Advocacy Officer at Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, told MintPress News that the DBIO’s findings definitely contradict the institutions’ purported ethical responsibilities.

“These companies and financial institutions claim that they’re committed to human rights, but then we see the facts on the ground and the level of their involvement in the settlements,” Abdallah said. “So clearly these are all in violation of their responsibilities under international law and towards human rights standards.”

Al-Haq’s Khdair speculated, however, that the slow pull-out from the settlement enterprise may stem from fears of political backlash. “We saw how the reaction from [the] Israeli government towards Ben & Jerry’s’ decision was,” Khdair said. “So some companies would be wary of reputational risk and also see [divestment] as problematic for their shareholders. It’s a process of finding the right balance in terms of their gains and their goals.”

All 50 companies named in the report participate in at least one of the activities listed by the United Nations as criteria for inclusion in its database of companies operating in the Israeli settlements. Of the 50 companies implicated, 15 are American. These businesses are:

  • Airbnb
  • Booking Holdings
  • Caterpillar
  • CETCO Mineral Technology Group
  • Cisco Systems
  • CNH Industrial
  • DXC Technology
  • Energix
  • Expedia
  • General Mills
  • HPE
  • Motorola Solutions
  • RE/MAX Holdings
  • Terex Corporation
  • Tripadvisor

Israeli settlements crushing Palestine’s economy

More than 600,000 Israelis live in settlements across the oPT and 42% of the West Bank is under settlement control. Area C of the West Bank abounds with natural resources, but 68% of this region is reserved for Israeli settlements while only 1% is designated for Palestinian use.

The continuous settler takeover of Palestinian land has prevented Palestinians from developing and utilizing their resources and therefore significantly depleted their economy.

Restricted access to the Dead Sea, quarries and mines has led to an over $1 billion annual loss in revenue for Palestine, according to a 2015 policy brief from Palestinian thinktank Al-Shabaka. And companies’ exploitation of West Bank quarries is estimated at $900 million annually. The DBIO report authors write:

The exploitation of natural resources means that the Palestinian people are denied their right to self-determination and permanent sovereignty over their natural resources. By profiting from the depletion of Palestinian finite quarry resources, individual corporate actors may be held criminally liable for complicity in the crimes of appropriation, environmental destruction and the pillage of natural resources.

European Union’s hypocrisy

The EU provided more than $40 million in humanitarian aid to Palestine in 2021. It also follows international law in declaring the Israeli settlements illegal. Yet the EU is Israel’s largest trade partner, with a total of approximately $36 billion in traded goods last year.

“There are conflicting interests even between different European institutions [each with] their [own] priorities,” Khdair said, explaining that the goals of foreign affairs units often clash with human rights entities in the EU.

The EU does not support the UN database on companies complicit in Israeli settlements and continues to block funding to update the resource over budgetary constraints. Yet again in contradictory fashion, an EU court also ruled in 2019 that consumers have a right to know if products sold in EU markets were made in Israeli settlements.

“On the one hand, the EU has a very consistent approach and position on the illegality of settlements and all the associated violations that come along with it that undermine Palestinian rights,” Abdallah said. “But at the same time, we’re seeing that European businesses and financial institutions are still freely and without any consequences are being involved and active with the settlement enterprise.”

For Abdallah, European business activity in the settlements seems in stark contrast to the EU’s stated allegiances to the Palestinian cause. “We know what that means in reality,” Abdallah said. “It means giving them an economic lifeline allowing them to sustain themselves and expand and grow with time because these settlements, at the end of the day, rely on money in order to prosper and sustain and expand.”

Fighting Injustice: A Common Cause for Ireland, Scotland and Palestine

October 13, 2021

Fighting Injustice: A Common Cause for Ireland, Scotland and Palestine

By Mohammad Sleem

Beirut – In Glasgow, during the football matches between the Rangers and Celtic, the famous derby of the Scottish football league, Celtic fans do not hesitate to show every act of solidarity possible with Palestine. Images of fans waving the Palestinian flag and wearing the kufiyah over their shoulders circulate social media platforms, in an act which has been a tradition in Scotland for decades.

On October 9, the ‘Israeli’ football team represnting the Zionist entity played against the Scottish national team for the World Cup qualifications. The match took place in Scotland. The Palestinian flag and kufiyah dominated the seats in the stadium. The event was a great chance to display activities in and outside the stadium to express empathy with the Palestinian Cause. Fans shouted slogans and held banners calling for the boycott of the “Israeli” entity, with “don’t play ball with the ‘Israeli’ apartheid” written on banners.

As the game started, jeering and booing were heard out loud whenever any of the “Israeli” players touched the ball. A winning goal at the last minutes made the scenario even better for the Scottish fans, who celebrate loudly in the face of the “Israeli” fans.

Fighting injustice and calling for independence, are the main common factors bringing the Scots and Palestinians together, as Scotland has been previously colonialized. In addition to the aforementioned, the Palestinian Cause has a popular and political support led by the Scottish National Party, which sees Palestine as a repetition of its experience of independence, following numerous demands for secession from the United Kingdom.

“We want Palestinians to know that we are thinking about them”, that’s how Scots comment on their pro-Palestine activities.

The Scottish people and the Palestinians share a common cause: injustice; both nations have faced suppression and oppression and they share the same values and retell the stories of their sufferings and the experiences they went through.

In a related notion, the Irish also support Palestine since they consider the Palestinian Cause a reflection of their own experience as they have resisted the British occupation for the right to self-determination.

With this being said, we understand the reason behind the empathy of the Scots and the Celtic with Palestine. The Celtic football club founder was an immigrant from Ireland who settled in Glasgow and came up with the idea of founding a football club.

The spokesperson of Celtic expresses the Scottish club’s solidarity with the Palestinian immigrants saying, “They are always welcome in their home”, since we are immigrants and we feel the situation they are in.

Besides, Ireland’s parliament has issued a law to consider all the “Israeli” annexation of Palestinian lands “illegal”. Later on, Irish deputies passed the law and it became official.

The Irish and Scottish are highly knowledgeable when it comes to the Palestinian Case. Not only this, but several activities had also been held in solidarity with oppressed people in different countries such as Africa, to condemn suppression, oppression and ethnic cleansing.

US Made Years-long Efforts to End Boycott of ‘Israeli’ Goods in Yemen

12/07/2021

US Made Years-long Efforts to End Boycott of ‘Israeli’ Goods in Yemen

By Staff, Agencies

The Ministry of Information presented on Sunday a number of official documents that reveal early American efforts to end the boycott of ‘Israeli’ goods in Yemen.

The documents presented by the Ministry of Information revealed the US embassy’s request from the Saleh regime to end the economic boycott of ‘Israeli’ products and not to participate in anti-US-‘Israeli’ activities. They also revealed US-‘Israeli’ annoyance at boycotting their goods in Yemen, while confirming that the majority of American companies have a relationship with the Zionist entity.

A document issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated May 9, 1993 showed that the US State Department carried out a campaign of pressure on the authority to open the country to the goods of the Zionist enemy and the companies associated with it.

The Foreign Ministry’s document showed that the Assistant Undersecretary of the US State Department at the time, called for a “reconsideration of the boycott policy imposed on American companies that have a relationship with ‘Israel’, since most of the important American companies have a strong relationship with ‘Israel’. The companies complain about the conditions imposed by the boycott, which calls for proving the absence of a relationship with ‘Israel’, adding that this is contrary to US laws and deprives Yemen of benefiting from the investments of these companies.”

The brief meeting between Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi and the American ambassador in Sanaa, Thomas Krajeski, on Wednesday, June 1, 2005, showed that the US employed Saleh’s authority for lifting the Arab boycott system against the Zionist entity.

The document stated that the American ambassador conveyed a direct American directive to the authority to take a clear position on the Arab boycott conference, which takes place in the same month in the capital, Damascus. The document stated: “The ambassador made it clear that the US sees the futility of the boycott and the need to lift it, not only boycott of the second and third degree but rather the boycott of the first degree for companies that do business with [‘Israel’].”

The US ambassador said: “There is an increasing number of Arab countries that are working to violate the trade boycott system with [‘Israel’].”

The same document did not show at that time opposing the American pressures. The then foreign minister said that “the boycott system is fragile and there is no real boycott, as many Arab countries have opened commercial offices for ‘Israel’ on their lands,” as stated by al-Qirbi.

The documents include a memorandum classified under “Urgent” issued by the US Embassy in Sanaa on the 4th of November 2007 and addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It stated a number of US directives to the former regime, chief among them: “Not to support or send representatives to the biannual boycott meeting held by the Arab League in the office of the Arab League in the Central District of Damascus.

The embassy memo stated: “The Arab boycott meeting not only represents an obstacle to peace in the Middle East, but also constitutes a barrier to participation in the global economy, attracting foreign investment, expanding trade, and improving relations with the United States and the international community. Yemen’s accession to the World Trade Organization requires that the government of the Republic of Yemen has to abandon its initial boycott of ‘Israeli’ goods and services.”

The same document also reveals that the US administration was implementing a wide campaign of pressure targeting the Arab countries whose people adhere to the boycott. “The time has come for the Arab League to take a decision to close the central district office in Damascus.”

The Ministry of Information, publishing these documents to the public opinion as evidence of the American guardianship imposed on Yemen prior to the September 21 revolution, called on the masses of the Yemeni people to commit to the weapon of economic boycott, which has a high effect on the US-Saudi enemies of the nation, and to continue supporting the Palestinian people and confronting aggression against our country until victory.

Sanctions against Israel, anyone?

Response from UK government has Foreign Office still playing childish game of charades

UK-Israel symbiosis

By Stuart Littlewood -June 10, 2021

…from Stuart Littlewood, Britain

First published June 10, 2021

An online petition was recently sent to the British Government demanding sanctions against Israel. It said: “The Government should introduce sanctions against Israel, including blocking all trade, and in particular arms. Its disproportionate treatment of Palestinians and settlements that are regarded by the international community as illegal are an affront to civilised society.” 385,225 signed.

The Government promises a debate on the petition on 14 June. But its response includes this statement from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office issued yesterday (my comments in italics):

The UK is firmly opposed to boycotts or sanctions against Israel. Our close and varied relationship means we are able to express clearly when we disagree.

HM Government has made its position on sanctions clear. While we do not hesitate to express disagreement with Israel whenever we feel it necessary, we are firmly opposed to boycotts or sanctions. We believe that open and honest discussions, rather than the imposition of sanctions or supporting anti-Israeli boycotts, best supports our efforts to help progress the peace process and achieve a negotiated solution.

• Open and honest discussion with Israel has never worked. You happily slap other nations with sanctions.

HM Government takes its export control responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. We consider all export applications thoroughly against a strict risk assessment framework. We continue to monitor the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and keep all licences under careful and continual review as standard.

• Clearly your risk assessments aren’t strict enough.

The UK welcomed the recent announcement of a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza on 20 May, which is an important step to ending the cycle of violence and loss of civilian life.

During the Foreign Secretary’s visit to the region on 26 May he reiterated the UK’s firm commitment to the two-state solution as the best way to permanently end the occupation, deliver Palestinian self-determination and preserve Israel’s security and democratic identity. The UK will continue our intensive diplomatic efforts in the region, focussed on creating the conditions for a sustainable peace.

• The cycle of violence and loss of civilian life didn’t end after previous ceasefires. Israel continued ‘mowing the lawn’. Why are you committed to the two-state solution when you’ve allowed Israel to establish facts on the ground that make a viable Palestinian state impossible? What do you think a Palestinian state will look like when you eventually get around to recognising one?

Haven’t you yet understood that Israel doesn’t want peace until it has annexed the whole of Palestine and that your stance simply aids the Zionists’ criminal ambition? Haven’t you heard Israeli leaders repeated say they will never allow a Palestinian state? And by the way Israel has no “democratic identity”, it’s a deeply unpleasant ethnocracy.

Israel is an important strategic partner for the UK and we collaborate on issues of defence and security. Our commitment to Israel’s security is unwavering. The UK unequivocally condemns the firing of rockets at Jerusalem and locations within Israel.

We strongly condemn these acts of terrorism by Hamas and other terrorist groups, who must permanently end their incitement and rocket fire against Israel. We are also concerned by reports that Hamas is again using civilian infrastructure and populations as cover for its military operations.

• As long as we are a strategic partner of Israel we will never be trusted in the Middle East. We have no enemies in the region, not even Iran, so why provoke hostility? And given Israel’s track record how can anyone feel comfortable swopping defence and security secrets? You persistently accuse Hamas of incitement when it is the Palestinians who are under illegal military occupation and blockade.

You complain about Hamas firing garden-shed rockets but never condemn the Israelis for bombarding tightly-lacked Gaza with devastating state of the art ordnance deliberately mis-aimed to cause horrendous slaughter of civilians. Also check the definition of terrorist and consider whether it fits the Israeli regime better than Hamas.

We are clear that all countries, including Israel, have a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend their citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and are calibrated to avoid civilian casualties.

• Israel has no comprehension of “proportionate” and no right of self defence against the people it illegally occupies, murders and dispossesses. It has never complied with international Humanitarian Law, whereas the Palestinians have every right under international law to mount an armed resistance, makeshift though it is, against the occupier.

The UK is strongly opposed to the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Movement against Israel, just as we oppose any calls for boycotts which divide people and reduce understanding.

 It is nonsense to claim the UK as a whole is opposed to sanctions against Israel. Only self-serving supporters of the apartheid regime oppose sanctions.

The UK position on evictions, demolitions, and settlements is longstanding and clear. We oppose these activities. We urge the Government of Israel to cease its policies related to settlement expansion immediately, and instead work towards a two state solution. Settlements are illegal under international law, and present an obstacle to peace.

We want to see a contiguous West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as part of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state, based on 1967 borders. Our position was reflected in our support for UN Security Council Resolution 2334 and we continue to urge Israel at the highest level to halt settlement expansion immediately.

• You may well oppose these things but that’s not enough. Haven’t you noticed – the Israelis don’t give a damn? What HM Government wants to see doesn’t matter to them. Their expansion programme is unstoppable except by applying firm and effective consequences. UNSCR 2334 was adopted four and a half years ago. It says Israel’s settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity”.

It demands that Israel stop such activity and fulfill its obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Is Israel biting its nails thinking the sky is about to fall in on them? No, it laughs in the UN’s face. What has the British government and other members of the Security Council done in that time to concentrate Israel’s mind and ensure compliance?

We advise British businesses to bear in mind the British Government’s view on the illegality of settlements under international law when considering their investments and activities in the region. Ultimately, it will be the decision of an individual or company whether to operate in settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but the British Government would neither encourage nor offer support to such activity.

• Nevertheless you continually reward Israel for its crimes against humanity with favoured trading deals and special collaboration agreements.

We have also made clear our concerns about the increasing rate of demolitions and evictions of Palestinians. The UK is focused on preventing demolitions and evictions from happening in the first place through our legal aid programme, which supports Palestinians facing demolition or home eviction.

• The demolitions and evictions have been going on for 73 years. You haven’t in the least been focused on preventing them. And using UK taxpayers’ money to sustain Israel’s criminal policy is utterly gross.

As a strong friend of Israel, and one which has stood up for Israel when it faces bias and unreasonable criticism, we are continuing to urge Israel to not take steps such as these, which move us away from our shared goals of peace and security.

• Why are you “a strong friend” of this apartheid entity in the first place? You shame us all. Israel’s idea of peace and security is far removed from anyone else’s. It’s shocking to hear that you (implying we) “share” their goals.

The occupation will not end and peace will not be achieved by symbolic measures, but by real movement towards renewed peace negotiations which create a viable Palestinian state, living in peace and security side-by-side with Israel.

We will continue to press Israel and the Palestinians strongly on the need to refrain from taking actions, which make peace more difficult. And will continue to encourage further confidence building steps towards meaningful bilateral peace negotiations between the parties.

 What, more lopsided ‘negotiations’ overseen by the most dishonest broker on the planet? Are you SERIOUS? The occupation will end and peace will be achieved only when justice is done and seen to be done. International law has spoken. Now deliver it, please, instead of endless shaming us with your dangerous delusions.

The entire British Government would do well to recall George Washington’s wise words: “The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave… a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils.”

Yes, “slave” fits Israel’s stooges at Westminster admirably.

Stuart Littlewood
9 June 2021

AUTHOR DETAILS

Stuart Littlewood

After working on jet fighters in the RAF Stuart became an industrial marketing specialist with manufacturing companies and consultancy firms. He also “indulged himself” as a newspaper columnist. In politics he served as a Cambridgeshire county councillor and member of the Police Authority. Now retired he campaigns on various issues and contributes to several online news & opinion sites. With a lifelong passion for photography he has produced two photo-documentary books, one of which can be read online at http://www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk.

http://www.radiofreepalestine.org.ukstu@f8.eclipse.co.uk

Solidarity with Palestine: International al Quds Day, 2021

Boycott US Products: How To Confront America’s Brutal Practices Economic Wise

Boycott US Products: How To Confront America’s Brutal Practices Economic Wise

Al-Ahed Exclusive

As part of shedding more light on one form of resistance that is able to cause pain to the nation’s enemy, Al-Ahed News managed to have an exclusive interview with the spokeswoman of Boycott US Products [BUP] organization, who underscored that the journey of boycotting begins with a person choosing not to make business with the US.

How did BUP start?

Boycotting has shown its effectivity in a number of causes throughout history; it’s a means for pressure on establishments, companies and governments, the spokeswoman explained. “As we witness the horrors of US military and economic hegemony against many countries around the world, we find ourselves between two choices: either to wallow in silence or assume the duty to take a stance and defend our homelands.”

The United States has enforced economic blockades and sanctions on countries, waged wars and carried out assassinations around the globe. An economic boycott is the way we chose to confront these brutal practices, Ms. Issa emphasized.

BUP participants, countries

We are a group of young people, intellectuals, media professionals and researchers. We share a common goal which is to defend our homelands and confront all unfair practices against us and the rights of our peoples, Ms. Issa said.

“We have several branches in a number of countries such as Sweden, Russia, Turkey, Lebanon, Tunisia, Iraq, Syria, Azerbaijan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia,” she added.

BUP goal

The US economy to America is what the jugular vein is to the human being: boycotting US products could affect the economy one way or another, which will on the first level enforce the US government to re-examine its practice against nations, the organization’s representative said.

“On another level, it will pressure the American people —as they do not care about their state’s foreign politics; their only concern is the state’s domestic politics and economy— for if we are able to affect the economy through boycott, this will raise awareness among the American people over their government’s aggressive foreign politics which are deemed criminal for their murderous nature.”

Perhaps this will lead the American people to pressure their government to change these policies that are now affecting their economy. “We certainly do not aim to punish a people for their government’s actions but the people must know the consequences of their government’s policies over other nations. We believe in humanity and that people can change the political track of their governments for their brothers/sisters in humanity especially that the American government misleads its citizens through its biased media, keeping them ignorant from the atrocities they commit and the suffering of other people,” she indicated.

Financial support

The organization depends on donations from businessmen who believe in its cause. It accepts donations from people who share its thoughts and empathize with its project.

People’s response

Ms. Issa was clear to point out that reactions vary from one person to another. Some believe in the goals of the movement but view them as impossible to reach. They are still under the effect of the media that the US is a “powerful country that cannot be overpowered nor defeated,” she said, noting that others care about American interest more than their own country.

However, there are people who share our faith and enthusiasm, eagerly working to achieve the goals of the boycott through active participation, Ms. Issa said. 

“They reach out asking “What are American products?” “Give us a list with American products so that we start boycotting.” Such reactions push us to work harder as they increase our faith and fuel the project to continue. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and the journey of boycotting begins with a person choosing not to make business with the US,” she concluded.

US Labels Illegal Jewish Settlement Products as ‘Made in Israel’

December 24, 2020

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: File)

The US has started to label products from illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories as “Made in Israel”. Washington claims that this is to mark goods in accordance with import laws and regulations.

In a statement published yesterday by US Customs and Border Protection, it called for the accuracy of the labeling on products from territories held by Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Gaza to be “consistent with the United States’ foreign policy approach.”

Under the new ruling, all products made and packaged in the areas controlled by Israel and its military – including those in the West Bank formerly held by the PA – are to be marked as Israeli-made. The areas mentioned include the West Bank’s Area C, where around 150,000 Palestinians live under Israel’s full control.

The order came into effect yesterday and follows last month’s landmark visit to a settlement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Prior to Pompeo’s visit, he announced that the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against illegal settlement goods will be branded as “anti-Semitic” by the US.

The labeling of goods from Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories has long been a debated issue. Prior to the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the US required all products from those areas to mention Israel. Since 1995, however, products from the West Bank and Gaza have been required to be labeled from those territories; two years later, they were allowed to have the joint label of “West Bank/Gaza”.

In 2016, under President Barack Obama, it was ruled that wrongly labeling settlement goods as “Made in Israel” could lead to fines being levied.

Even though the new ruling has now come into effect, importers have been given a 90-day grace period to implement the changes to their labels.

This new development ensures that consumers who want to buy products from the Palestinian territories and not Israel or its settlements can do so more easily. Nevertheless, such labeling gives US legitimacy to the settlements, all of which are illegal under international law.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Antisemitism Claims Mask a Reign of Political and Cultural Terror across Europe

December 14, 2020

The German Parliament passes a resolution that designates the BDS movement as antisemitic. (Photo: File)

By Jonathan Cook

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz has run a fascinating long report this week offering a disturbing snapshot of the political climate rapidly emerging across Europe on the issue of antisemitism. The article documents a kind of cultural, political and intellectual reign of terror in Germany since the parliament passed a resolution last year equating support for non-violent boycotts of Israel – in solidarity with Palestinians oppressed by Israel – with antisemitism.

The article concerns Germany but anyone reading it will see very strong parallels with what is happening in other European countries, especially the UK and France.

The same European leaders who a few years ago marched in Paris shouting “Je suis Charlie” – upholding the inalienable free speech rights of white Europeans to offend Muslims by insulting and ridiculing their Prophet – are now queuing up to outlaw free speech when it is directed against Israel, a state that refuses to end its belligerent occupation of Palestinian land. European leaders have repeatedly shown they are all too ready to crush the free speech of Palestinians, and those in solidarity with them, to avoid offending sections of the Jewish community.

The situation reduces to this: European Muslims have no right to take offense at insults about a religion they identify with, but European Jews have every right to take offense at criticism of an aggressive Middle Eastern state they identify with. Seen another way, the perverse secular priorities of European mainstream culture now place the sanctity of a militarized state, Israel, above the sanctity of a religion with a billion followers.

Guilt by Association

This isn’t even a double standard. I can’t find a word in the dictionary that conveys the scale and degree of hypocrisy and bad faith involved.

If the American Jewish scholar Norman Finkelstein wrote a follow-up to his impassioned book The Holocaust Industry – on the cynical use of the Holocaust to enrich and empower a Jewish organizational establishment at the expense of the Holocaust’s actual survivors – he might be tempted to title it The Antisemitism Industry.

In the current climate in Europe, one that rejects any critical thinking in relation to broad areas of public life, that observation alone would enough to have one denounced as an antisemite. Which is why the Haaretz article – far braver than anything you will read in a UK or US newspaper – makes no bones about what is happening in Germany. It calls it a “witch-hunt”. That is Haaretz’s way of saying that antisemitism has been politicized and weaponized – a self-evident conclusion that will currently get you expelled from the British Labour party, even if you are Jewish.

The Haaretz story highlights two important developments in the way antisemitism has been, in the words of intellectuals and cultural leaders cited by the newspaper, “instrumentalized” in Germany.

Jewish organizations and their allies in Germany, as Haaretz reports, are openly weaponizing antisemitism not only to damage the reputation of Israel’s harsher critics but also to force out of the public and cultural domain – through a kind of “antisemitism guilt by association” – anyone who dares to entertain criticism of Israel.

Cultural associations, festivals, universities, Jewish research centers, political think-tanks, museums, and libraries are being forced to scrutinize the past of those they wish to invite in case some minor transgression against Israel can be exploited by local Jewish organizations. That has created a toxic, politically paranoid atmosphere that inevitably kills trust and creativity.

But the psychosis runs deeper still. Israel, and anything related to it, has become such a combustible subject – one that can ruin careers in an instant – that most political, academic and cultural figures in Germany now choose to avoid it entirely. Israel, as its supporters intended, is rapidly becoming untouchable.

A case study noted by Haaretz is Peter Schäfer, a respected professor of ancient Judaism and Christianity studies who was forced to resign as director of Berlin’s Jewish Museum last year. Schäfer’s crime, in the eyes of Germany’s Jewish establishment, was that he staged an exhibition on Jerusalem that recognized the city’s three religious traditions, including a Muslim one.

He was immediately accused of promoting “historical distortions” and denounced as “anti-Israel”. A reporter for Israel’s right-wing Jerusalem Post, which has been actively colluding with the Israeli government to smear critics of Israel, contacted Schäfer with a series of inciteful emails. The questions included “Did you learn the wrong lesson from the Holocaust?” and “Israeli experts told me you disseminate antisemitism – is that true?”

Schäfer observes:

“The accusation of antisemitism is a club that allows one to deal a death blow, and political elements who have an interest in this are using it, without a doubt… The museum staff gradually entered a state of panic. Then of course we also started to do background checks. Increasingly it poisoned the atmosphere and our work.”

Another prominent victim of these Jewish organizations tells Haaretz:

“Sometimes one thinks, ‘To go to that conference?’ ‘To invite this colleague?’ Afterward, it means that for three weeks, I’ll have to cope with a shitstorm, whereas I need the time for other things that I get paid for as a lecturer. There is a type of ‘anticipatory obedience’ or ‘prior self-censorship.’”

Ringing off the Hook

There is nothing unusual about what is happening in Germany. Jewish organizations are stirring up these “shitstorms” – designed to paralyze political and cultural life for anyone who engages in even the mildest criticism of Israel – at the highest levels of government. Don’t believe me? Here is Barack Obama explaining in his recent autobiography his efforts as US president to curb Israel’s expansion of its illegal settlements. Early on, he was warned to back off or face the wrath of the Israel lobby:

“Members of both parties worried about crossing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Those who criticized Israeli policy too loudly risked being tagged as ‘anti-Israel’ (and possibly anti-Semitic) and confronted with a well-funded opponent in the next election.”

When Obama went ahead anyway in 2009 and proposed a modest freeze on Israel’s illegal settlements:

“The White House phones started ringing off the hook, as members of my national security team fielded calls from reporters, leaders of American Jewish organizations, prominent supporters, and members of Congress, all wondering why we were picking on Israel … this sort of pressure continued for much of 2009.”

He observes further:

“The noise orchestrated by Netanyahu had the intended effect of gobbling up our time, putting us on the defensive, and reminding me that normal policy differences with an Israeli prime minister – even one who presided over a fragile coalition government – exacted a political cost that didn’t exist when I dealt with the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, or any of our other closest allies.”

Doubtless, Obama dare not put down in writing his full thoughts about Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu or the US lobbyists who worked on his behalf. But Obama’s remarks do show that, even a US president, supposedly the single most powerful person on the planet, ended up blanching in the face of this kind of relentless assault. For lesser mortals, the price is likely to be far graver.

No Free Speech on Israel

It was this same mobilization of Jewish organizational pressure – orchestrated, as Obama notes, by Israel and its partisans in the US and Europe – that ended up dominating Jeremy Corbyn’s five years as the leader of Britain’s leftwing Labour party, recasting a well-known anti-racism activist almost overnight as an antisemite.

It is the reason why his successor, Sir Keir Starmer, has outsourced part of Labour’s organizational oversight on Jewish and Israel-related matters to the very conservative Board of Deputies of British Jews, as given expression in Starmer’s signing up to the Board’s “10 Pledges”.

It is part of the reason why Starmer recently suspended Corbyn from the party, and then defied the membership’s demands that he be properly reinstated, after Corbyn expressed concerns about the way antisemitism allegations had been “overstated for political reasons” to damage him and Labour. (The rightwing Starmer, it should be noted, was also happy to use antisemitism as a pretext to eradicate the socialist agenda Corbyn had tried to revive in Labour.) It is why Starmer has imposed a blanket ban on constituency parties discussing Corbyn’s suspension. And it is why Labour’s shadow education secretary has joined the ruling Conservative party in threatening to strip universities of their funding if they allow free speech about Israel on campus.

Two Types of Jews

But the Haaretz article raises another issue critical to understanding how Israel and the Jewish establishment in Europe are politicizing antisemitism to protect Israel from criticism. The potential Achilles’ heel of their campaign are Jewish dissidents, those who break with the supposed “Jewish community” line and create a space for others – whether Palestinians or other non-Jews – to criticize Israel. These Jewish dissenters risk serving as a reminder that trenchant criticism of Israel should not result in one being tarred an antisemite.

Israel and Jewish organizations, however, have made it their task to erode that idea by promoting a distinction – an antisemitic one, at that – between two types of Jews: good Jews (loyal to Israel), and bad Jews (disloyal to Israel).

Haaretz reports that officials in Germany, such as Felix Klein, the country’s antisemitism commissioner, and Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, are being allowed to define not only who is an antisemite, typically using support for Israel as the yardstick, but are also determining who are good Jews – those politically like them – and who are bad Jews – those who disagree with them.

Despite Germany’s horrific recent history of Jew-hatred, the German government, local authorities, the media, universities and cultural institutions have been encouraged by figures like Klein and Schuster to hound German Jews, even Israeli Jews living and working in Germany, from the country’s public and cultural space.

When, for example, a group of Israeli Jewish academics in Berlin held a series of online discussions about Zionism last year on the website of their art school, an Israeli reporter soon broke the story of a “scandal” involving boycott supporters receiving funding from the German government. Hours later the art school had pulled down the site, while the German education ministry issued a statement clarifying that it had provided no funding. The Israeli embassy officially declared the discussions held by these Israelis as “antisemitic”, and a German foundation that documents antisemitism added the group to the list of antisemitic incidents it records.

Described as ‘Kapos’

So repressive has the cultural and political atmosphere grown in Germany that there has been a small backlash among cultural leaders. Some have dared to publish a letter protesting against the role of Klein, the antisemitism commissioner. Haaretz reports:

“The antisemitism czar, the letter charged, is working ‘in synergy with the Israeli government’ in an effort ‘to discredit and silence opponents of Israel’s policies’ and is abetting the ‘instrumentalization’ that undermines the true struggle against antisemitism.

Figures like Klein have been so focused on tackling criticism of Israel from the left, including the Jewish left, that they have barely noted the “acute danger Jews in Germany face due to the surge in far-right antisemitism”, the letter argues.

Again, the same picture can be seen across Europe. In the UK, the opposition Labour party, which should be a safe space for those leading the anti-racism struggle, is purging itself of Jews critical of Israel and using antisemitism smears against prominent anti-racists, especially from other oppressed minorities.

Extraordinarily, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, one of the founders of Jewish Voice for Labour, which supports Corbyn, recently found herself suspended by Starmer’s Labour. She had just appeared in a moving video in which she explained the ways antisemitism was being used by Jewish organizations to smear Jewish left-wingers like herself as “traitors” and “kapos” – an incendiary term of abuse, as Wimborne-Idrissi points out, that refers to “a Jewish inmate of a concentration camp who collaborated with the [Nazi] authorities, people who collaborated in the annihilation of their own people”.

In suspending her, Starmer effectively endorsed this campaign by the UK’s Jewish establishment of incitement against, and vilification of, left-wing Jews.

Earlier, Marc Wadsworth, a distinguished black anti-racism campaigner, found himself similarly suspended by Labour when he exposed the efforts of Ruth Smeeth, then a Labour MP and a former Jewish official in the Israel lobby group BICOM, to recruit the media to her campaign smearing political opponents on the left as antisemites.

In keeping with the rapid erosion of critical thinking in civil society organizations designed to uphold basic freedoms, Smeeth was recently appointed director of the prestigious free speech organization Index on Censorship. There she can now work on suppressing criticism of Israel – and attack “bad Jews” – under cover of fighting censorship. In the new, inverted reality, censorship refers not to the smearing and silencing of a “bad Jew” like Wimborne-Idrissi, but to criticism of Israel over its human rights abuses, which supposedly “censors” the identification of “good Jews” with Israel – now often seen as the crime of “causing offense”.

Boy Who Cried Wolf

The Haaretz article helps to contextualize Europe’s current antisemitism “witch-hunt”, which targets anyone who criticizes Israel or stands in solidarity with oppressed Palestinians, or associates with such people. It is an expansion of the earlier campaign by the Jewish establishment against “the wrong kind of Jew”, as identified by Finkelstein in The Holocaust Industry. But this time Jewish organizations are playing a much higher-stakes, and more dangerous, political game.

Haaretz rightly fears that the Jewish leadership in Europe is not only silencing ordinary Jews but degrading the meaning – the shock value – of antisemitism through the very act of politicizing it. Jewish organizations risk alienating the European left, which has historically stood with them against Jew-hatred from the right. European anti-racists suddenly find themselves equated with, and smeared as, fledgling neo-Nazis.

If those who support human rights and demand an end to the oppression of Palestinians find themselves labeled antisemitic, it will become ever harder to distinguish between bogus (weaponized) “antisemitism” on the left and real Jew-hatred from the right. The antisemitism smearers – and their fellow travelers like Keir Starmer – are likely to end up suffering their very own “boy who cried wolf” syndrome.

Or as Haaretz notes:

“The issue that is bothering the critics of the Bundestag [German parliament] resolution is whether the extension of the concept of antisemitism to encompass criticism of Israel is not actually adversely affecting the battle against antisemitism. The argument is that the ease with which the accusation is leveled could have the effect of eroding the concept itself.”

The Antisemitism Industry

It is worth noting the shared features of the new Antisemitism Industry and Finkelstein’s earlier discussions of the Holocaust Industry.

In his book, Finkelstein identifies the “wrong Jews” as people like his mother, who survived a Nazi death camp as the rest of her family perished. These surviving Jews, Finkelstein argues, were valued by the Holocaust Industry only in so far as they served as a promotional tool for the Jewish establishment to accumulate more wealth and cultural and political status. Otherwise, the victims were ignored because the actual Holocaust’s message – in contrast to the Jewish leadership’s representation of it – was universal: that we must oppose and fight all forms of racism because they lead to persecution and genocide.

Instead, the Holocaust Industry promoted a particularist, self-interested lesson that the Holocaust proves Jews are uniquely oppressed and that they, therefore, deserve a unique solution: a state, Israel, that must be given unique leeway by western states to commit crimes in violation of international law. The Holocaust Industry – very much to be distinguished from the real events of the Holocaust – is deeply entwined in, and rationalized by, the perpetuation of the racialist, colonial project of Israel.

In the case of the Antisemitism Industry, the “wrong Jew” surfaces again. This time the witch-hunt targets Jewish left-wingers, Jews critical of Israel, Jews opposed to the occupation, and Jews who support a boycott of the illegal settlements or of Israel itself. Again, the problem with these “bad Jews” is that they allude to a universal lesson, one that says Palestinians have at least as much right to self-determination, to dignity and security, in their historic homeland as Jewish immigrants who fled European persecution.

In contrast to the “bad Jews”, the Antisemitism Industry demands that a particularist conclusion be drawn about Israel – just as a particularist conclusion was earlier drawn by the Holocaust Industry. It says that to deny Jews a state is to leave them defenceless against the eternal virus of antisemitism. In this conception, the Holocaust may be uniquely abhorrent but it is far from unique. Non-Jews, given the right circumstances, are only too capable of carrying out another Holocaust. Jews must therefore always be protected, always on guard, always have their weapons (or in Israel’s case, its nuclear bombs) to hand.

‘Get out of Jail’ Card

This view, of course, seeks to ignore, or marginalize, other victims of the Holocaust – Romanies, communists, gays – and other kinds of racism. It needs to create a hierarchy of racisms, a competition between them, in which hatred of Jews is at the pinnacle. This is how we arrived at an absurdity: that anti-Zionism – misrepresented as the rejection of a refuge for Jews, rather than the reality that it rejects an ethnic, colonial state oppressing Palestinians – is the same as antisemitism.

Extraordinarily, as the Haaretz article clarifies, German officials are oppressing “bad Jews”, at the instigation of Jewish organizations, to prevent, as they see it, the re-emergence of the far-right and neo-Nazis. The criticisms of Israel made by the “bad Jew” are thereby not just dismissed as ideologically unsound or delusions but become proof that these Jews are colluding with, or at least nourishing, the Jew-haters.

In this way, Germany, the UK and much of Europe have come to justify the exclusion of the “wrong Jew” – those who uphold universal principles for the benefit of all – from the public space. Which, of course, is exactly what Israel wants, because, rooted as it is in an ideology of ethnic exclusivity as a “Jewish state”, it necessarily rejects universal ethics.

What we see here is an illustration of a principle at the heart of Israel’s state ideology of Zionism: Israel needs antisemitism. Israel would quite literally have to invent antisemitism if it did not exist.

This is not hyperbole. The idea that the “virus of antisemitism” lies semi-dormant in every non-Jew waiting for a chance to overwhelm its host is the essential rationale for Israel. If the Holocaust was an exceptional historical event, if antisemitism was an ancient racism that in its modern incarnation followed the patterns of prejudice and hatred familiar in all racisms, from anti-black bigotry to Islamophobia, Israel would be not only redundant but an abomination – because it has been set up to dispossess and abuse another group, the Palestinians.

Antisemitism is Israel’s “get out of jail” card. Antisemitism serves to absolve Israel of the racism it structurally embodies and that would be impossible to overlook were Israel deprived of the misdirection weaponized antisemitism provides.

An Empty Space

The Haaretz article provides a genuine service by not only reminding us that “bad Jews” exist but in coming to their defense – something that European media is no longer willing to do. To defend “bad Jews” like Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi is to be contaminated with the same taint of antisemitism that justified the ejection of these Jews from the public space.

Haaretz records the effort of a few brave cultural institutions in Germany to protest, to hold the line, against this new McCarthyism. Their stand may fail. If it does, you may never become aware of it.

Once, the “bad Jews” have been smeared into silence, as Palestinians and those who stand in solidarity with them largely have been already; when social media has de-platformed critics of Israel as Jew-haters; when the media and political parties enforce this silence so absolutely they no longer need to smear anyone as an antisemite because these “antisemites” have been disappeared; when the Jewish “community” speaks with one voice because its other voices have been eliminated; when the censorship is complete, you will not know it.

There will be no record of what was lost. There will be simply an empty space, a blank slate, where discussions of Israel’s crimes against Palestinians once existed. What you will hear instead is only what Israel and its partisans want you to hear. Your ignorance will be blissfully complete.

– Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). Visit his website www.jonathan-cook.net. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

An Encore for Charlie Hebdo

November 13, 2020

Posted by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Insulting Islam

In mid October 2020 a French schoolteacher, 47-year-old Samuel Paty, decided to show his Freedom of Speech class cartoons demeaning Islam’s founding prophet, Mohammed. The cartoons were the same ones originally published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) in 2014-2015. At that time, the magazine’s actions resulted in the murder of twelve of its staff, including the editor, Stephane Charbonnier. The murders were committed by Muslim extremists associated with al-Qaeda. Samuel Paty’s fate turned out to be similar. Shortly after having shown the caricatures of the founder of Islam, the teacher was murdered by an 18-year-old Muslim immigrant. Other attacks have followed.  

In all of these cases, the killings were provoked as well as indefensible. The cartoons in question are all too easy to interpret as gratuitous insults against Islam and therefore against the almost 9% of the French population that are Muslim. Nonetheless, murder is incompatible with stable society. The latter being prima facie true, the next question is, What alternatives were available to those who were/are disgusted by the Charlie Hebdo caricatures? Lawsuits for defamation have been repeatedly filed. Some are still ongoing. However, to date, none have stopped the magazine’s demeaning ways. Well-organized public protests combined with steady political pressure might work in the long run. It was perhaps because such an effort was not forthcoming, at least not consistently, that action defaulted to emotionally driven individual fanatics.

By the way, Charlie Hebdo, with its own brand of fanaticism, is what you might call an equal opportunity defamer. Topics ranging from the Catholic Church to Italians killed in earthquakes have been depicted in distasteful, sometimes semi-pornographic fashion. As it stands, the right to publish gratuitously insulting cartoons is not only legal in France but, because of all the related violence, also now defended as an important expression of French national culture. To make this point clear, French officials have announced the publication of a booklet to include the Charlie Hebdo images. This will be “handed out to high school students as a commitment to defend the values of the Republic.”

Part II—A Trap 

The value referred to in the booklet is freedom of expression. As Charbonnier said in a 2012 interview, “We can’t live in a country without freedom of speech. I prefer to die than to live like a rat.” Of course, it is now obvious that Charbonnier’s ardent determination to avoid a rodent’s fate, and his nation’s embrace of the man’s grossness as a symbol of free speech, has led France into a trap. Here is how the Sorbonne Professor Pierre-Henri Tavoillot puts it: “what is at stake now is France’s laicite—the secularism that underlies its culture. If the nation compromises on laicite in this instance, this cultural principle may well unravel.” Refusal to consider a balanced way out of the situation paints the French into a corner while explicitly tying the culture to often semi-pornographic cartoons. 

The trap has many other dimensions. French enthusiasm for Charlie Hebdo has fueled Islamophobia and led others to use the situation to argue for the restriction of civil rights. France’s interior minister believes that the country is “at war against an enemy who is both inside and outside.” While it is true that the country’s 5.7 million Muslims (the highest number in any Western country) are increasingly alienated and fearful, the vast majority are peaceful. Yet they all have now been placed under suspicion of being terrorists. Now, the mayor of Nice is calling for a “modification of the Constitution” so that the nation can “properly wage war against Islamic extremists.” President Macron has announced a widespread crackdown on “Islamist individuals and organizations.” This includes closing French Muslim civil rights organizations and Arabic language schools. 

The whole affair has also brought France into conflict with Muslim populations and governments around the world. Presently, the French and Turkish governments are now trading insults. In Bangladesh, 40,000 people took part in an anti-French demonstration and called for the boycott of French goods. French goods were removed from shelves in shops in Qatar and Kuwait. 

Part III—Rationalizations

The French will tell you that their take on free expression was born in violence: in “eradicating the power of the monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church” during the French Revolution. Later, a 1905 French law made faith a strictly private matter and secularism the rule for the public sphere. There is nothing wrong with this arrangement. However, over the years the French have generally lost common sense relative to the subject and failed to be consistent in their approach to religion. On the one hand, laicite has caused some French men and women to see religion as a belief system that need not be taken seriously. Criticism of religion is seen as a “dear right.” On the other hand, recent history has led French governments to be very sensitive to even the slightest suggestion of anti-Semitism (which is illegal in France). Except in this case, the stipulation that one should not be critical of someone simply because he is observant is often forgotten.

Against this backdrop, French Muslims, the  most religious of French residents, have been held at arm’s length. Those who retain their traditional dress and ways stand out as outsiders and assimilation has not been made easy even for those Muslims who desire it. 

The French will also tell you that the art of caricature “is an old tradition that is part of our democracy.” French Muslims make the argument that “there should be limits to offensive satire [in the form of demeaning caricature] when it comes to religious beliefs.” They say that this is so because such satire “fuels extremism.” For millions of French Muslims, this suggests that “cartoons putting a prophet who is fundamental to millions of believers in suggestive and degrading postures” should not fall within the right to be satirical.

One can, of course, argue the issue of censorship. Free speech/expression rights are explicitly meant to protect speech we may not approve of. On the other hand, all societies impose some limits on speech—you can’t cry fire in a crowded theater. Who decides when, or if, there should be a legitimate restriction to free speech/expression? How about when there is a present atmosphere that leads to multiple murder and the breakdown of otherwise friendly foreign relations? Under such circumstances, can such competing issues be finessed by the application of common sense? The flamboyant display of such “art” as practiced by Charlie Hebdo, much less its presentation as a cornerstone of French culture, might be such a case.*

Part IV—Conclusion

How many cultures make rudeness a symbol of cultural excellence? It doesn’t seem to be a common practice. Yet, the French have done so in this case. It has gotten them nothing but trouble at home and abroad. 

The problem with the present French position is that it gives wide latitude to people who care little or nothing for cultural awareness. Stephane Charbonnier, the murdered editor of Charlie Hebdo, seemed uninterested in the real cultural consequences of his personal practice of freedom. In truth, he was an extremist who persisted on insulting a religion of 1.8 billion adherents, the vast majority of whom are peaceful folks. As he knew no bounds to his freedom to be brutally insulting, so his behavior activated a small number of Muslim extremists willing to be even more brutal than Charbonnier. This led to his violent death. In death he has become a French cultural icon—in total disregard of the extremist nature of his behavior and the counter-extremism it triggered.

ماكرون عندما ينفذأهداف خصمه أردوغان…!

باريس – نضال حمادة

بعد لعملية الإجرامية التي وقعت أمام كنيسة في مدينة نيس الفرنسية، وفي تصريح جديد له بدا الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون أكثر اعتدالاً اتجاه الجالية الإسلامية في فرنسا ولأول مرة منذ بداية الأزمة عندما أعلن في خطاب له عن أزمة الدين الإسلامي ومن ثم عند حصول جريمة الأستاذ الذي قُتل بسكين شاب شيشاني بسبب الرسوم المسيئة للرسول الأكرم، للمرة الأولى تحدث الرئيس الفرنسي عن مجموعة واحدة في فرنسا هي المجموعة الوطنية، وغيّر من تعابيره عندما تكلم عن الإسلاميين ولم يتكلم عن الإسلام، فيما يبدو انه أتى نتيجة نصيحة بتغيير خطابه، وليس معروفاً لحد الآن مَن نصح ماكرون بتبني خطاب متطرّف وهجوميّ ضدّ الإسلام كدين في بداية الأزمة.

اكتشف ماكرون والمحيطين به بعد عشرة أيام من افتعال الصدام أنه قدّم للرئيس التركي رجب طيب أردوغان كل ما يريده ويتمناه عندما فتح معركة غير مفهومة الأسباب ضد الإسلام، اللهم إلا الأسباب الانتخابية.

لقد أصبح أردوغان المدافع الأول عن النبي الأكرم محمد بسبب سجالاته مع ماكرون وتصريحاته اليومية بهذا الشأن، ويبدو أنّ هناك في أوروبا من نصحه بتغيير لهجته وتعابيره في هذه المعركة، لأنّ خصمه أردوغان هو الرابح الأكبر، كما تشير معلومات صحافية إلى أنّ ألمانيا رفضت الدخول مع فرنسا في موضوع مقاطعة أوروبية لمنتجات دول قد تقاطع البضائع الفرنسية.

فرنسا التي ذهبت إلى ليبيا وأسقطت القذافي ودعمت الإسلاميين المتطرفين هناك ترى بأمّ عينها اليوم روسيا وتركيا تحتلان المشهد الليبي فيما هي غائبة كلياً عنه، وفرنسا أيضاً التي دعمت كلّ الجماعات المتطرفة في سورية لإسقاط النظام هناك وشكلت رأس الحربة في مجلس الأمن الدولي لتكرار التجربة الليبية في سورية، ترى بأمّ عينها روسيا وتركيا تحتلان المشهد السوري فيما هي خارج اللعبة تماماً، ونفسها فرنسا ترفض منذ سنوات التعاون مع الدولة السورية في المجالات الأمنية والآن تلجأ للروس للحصول على معلومات عن سلفيين حاربوا في سورية وعادوا الى أوروبا، أما في لبنان فيبدو أنّ المبادرة الفرنسية انتهت او لن تبصر النور إذا اتخذت الحرب بين فرنسا وسلفييها مساراً تصاعدياً.

في كلّ الأحوال هناك عودة الى العقلانية من جانب الرئيس الفرنسي، في مقاربة الأمور وتوجيه الاتهامات وتوزيع الهجمات يميناً ويساراً بعدما اكتشف أنّ الذي استفاد من هذه الأخطاء خصمهم اللدود تركيا وأردوغان تحديداً. وهذا أمر جيد للعلاقة الفرنسية مع مليار ونصف مليار مسلم عسى أن تستمرّ العقلانية لتنهي هذا الصراع المفتعل والمكلف للجميع…

Gaza Scholars Protest Macron’s Anti-Islam Provocation (PHOTOS)

October 26, 2020

Palestinian religious scholars in Gaza protest inflammatory anti-Islam statements by French President Emmanuel Macron. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

On Monday, Palestinian religious scholars in Gaza joined worldwide protests condemning inflammatory anti-Islamic practices and official statements by French media and government officials. 

Like many Muslims across the world, the Gaza scholars called for an economic boycott of France in response to anti-Muslim comments made by French President Emmanuel Macron, and his decision to circulate defamatory cartoons of Prophet Mohammed.

The Gaza protest was held in front of the French Cultural Center in Gaza City and came in response to a call made by the Palestinian Scholars Union to take a stance against French provocations. 

Some of the placards that the protesters held in Arabic translate to: “Prophet Mohammed stood up against injustice, built solidarity and cooperation” and “Prophet Mohammed laid the foundation for coexistence between Muslims and Non-Muslims”, while others called for immediate “Economic boycott” of France. 

Besides the provocative Prophet Mohammed cartoons, Macron earlier this month claimed that Islam is “a religion in crisis”,  announcing plans for tougher laws to confront the alleged “Islamist separatism” in his country, Anadolu News Agency reported. 

(All Photos: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)

لا حياد بين الأرض والاحتلال

بشارة مرهج

في ما ضى كان كلّ مسؤول أميركي يزور لبنان والمنطقة العربية يقول لأهل البلاد: «ما بالكم تتشبّثون بالمقاطعة والحصار الاقتصاديّ على «إسرائيل»؟ هذا لا ينسجم مع روح المرحلة ومستلزماتها، ولا يتفق مع شروط العصر ومعطياته. فإذا أردتم أن تكونوا داخل الزمن وحركته كونوا واقعيين. اخرجوا من الصندوق وافصلوا بين السياسي والاقتصادي. دعوا الاقتصاد يسبح في فضائه. ضعوا الحصار جانباً. اتكلوا علينا حتى نتمكن من إقناع «إسرائيل» بالحلّ السلمي الذي يعيد إليكم الأرض والسلام والاستقرار».

وكلما كانت الأنظمة العربية تتجاوب وتسترخي مع الدعوات الأميركية الملتبسة، كانت «إسرائيل» تتمرّد وتتطرّف فيأتي الصوت من بعيد: «مهلاً. لماذا الانفعال، لماذا التذمّر؟ أنتم لم تقدّموا بعد ما هو كافٍ لإرضاء «إسرائيل» والمجتمع الدولي حتى تنحلّ العقد وينفتح باب الحلول. على أيّ حال القرار لكم، لكن كلما تفوّق العقل على العاطفة وابتعدتم عن الشعبوية اقتربتم من مدار العصر وحصلتم على مرادكم».

بعد عقود من الوعود المعسولة لم يعد ثمة مساحة للتراجع. لقد أعطت الأنظمة العربية كلّ ما لديها وما استبقت في يدها شيئاً. أما «إسرائيل» التي أخذت فوق ما أعطاها «الكرم» الدولي فلم يعد أمامها ثمة مساحة للتقدّم. بدأ القلق يساورها. فقد بدأ الحديد يحكّ على الحديد وبات الجميع في الزاوية.

في المقلب الآخر واشنطن تنسى كلّ التعليمات والإرشادات التي أصدرتها، وتتجاهل كلّ الاتفاقات والمعاهدات التي سبق ان أشرفت عليها. بعد خضوعها للاستيطان الإجرامي ها هي بقيادة ترامب تغادر آخر درجة من درجات سلّم القيم الذي تدحرج سابقاً على أبواب بغداد ويتدحرج نهائياً اليوم على أعتاب القدس.

واشنطن التي تجاهلت موقع القدس فلسطينياً وعربياً ودولياً.

واشنطن التي تجاهلت موقع القدس مسيحياً وإسلامياً تربط الرسن السياسي بالملف الاقتصادي وتمارس على لبنان أعلى درجات الحصار موزعة «نصائحها» على العواصم العربية ألا شاركوا في هذا الحصار الاقتصادي الذي تطلبه «إسرائيل»… «إسرائيل» التي انكسرت هيبتها وتزلزلت سطوتها على أرض الجنوب المخضب بدماء اللبنانيين وسائر الأشقاء العرب الذين ما بخلوا يوماً على هذه الأرض بالتطوّع والمقاومة والفداء.

عندما تسقط الأمم تجاه ما ترمز إليه مجازر من مستوى مجزرة صبرا وشاتيلا، وعندما تتخلى الأمم عن الحدّ الأدنى الذي كانت تمثله، أو بالأحرى تدّعي أنها كانت تمثله على صعيد المبادئ والأخلاق، تفقد اتزانها وتضيّع طريقها وتعود بالمدينة إلى الأدغال القريبة. أما الذين يتعرّضون للقهر والحصار فبالتأكيد سيشعرون بالألم والمرارة. لكنهم سيعودون الى الصخر يفتتونه ويزرعونه كما فعل أجدادهم من قبل. إذ لا حياد بين الأرض والاحتلال.

*نائب ووزير سابق.

مقالات متعلقة

‘The Deal of Shame’: Thousands in Gaza Protest against Annexation, Urge Boycott of Israel (PHOTOS)

Source

Thousands of Palestinians rally in the besieged Gaza Strip in protest of Israel’s annexation plan. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Thousands of Palestinians on Wednesday rallied in the besieged Gaza Strip in protest of an Israeli government’s plan to annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank. 

The protesters were led by representatives of all Palestinian political groups and civil society organizations. The crowds, which descended from across the Strip, carried Palestinian flags and placards condemning US bias towards Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempt to confiscate more Palestinian land.

Annexing approximately a third of the occupied West Bank means that Israel would officially consider the newly-annexed Palestinian land as part of the Israeli state, similar to Israel’s illegal annexation of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in 1980 and ‘81 respectively.

Annexation also means that some 4.5% of the Palestinian population of the West Bank will be living in isolated enclaves within the annexed territories.

“The annexation is a threat to the Palestinians and violates international legitimacy resolutions,” Saadi Abed of the Palestinian Democratic Union (FIDA) said, addressing the rally in Gaza, TRT News reported. 

“The land grip will give away for a new Palestinian intifada,” he said, going on to call on the Palestinians to close ranks and “end the rift to face occupation plans.”

Netanyahu’s government coalition had set July 1 as the date to begin the implementation of the annexation plan, as part of the US President Donald Trump’s Administration’s so-called ‘Deal of the Century’.

Similar mobilization was reported in the West Bank as well, and many protests have already been scheduled for the coming days. 

Protesters in Gaza held signs in English and Arabic that read in part, “The annexation is contrary to the UN charter and a fundamentally illegal act,” “Palestinian Lives Matter,” “Our People Are United against Annexation,” “No Apartheid No Annexation,” “Down with the Deal of the Century,” “The Deal of Shame,” and “BDS: Boycott Israel.” 

Aside from the political factions that participated in the Gaza rally, women groups, student groups, and many civil society organizations were also present, including representatives from the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).

(All Photos: Fawzi Mahmoud)

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Related

حتمية الحماية الشعبية وفك الارتباط لا لرمي العبء على حزب الله وحده! – عادل سماره

المصدر

حتمية الحماية الشعبية وفك الارتباط لا لرمي العبء على حزب الله وحده! – عادل سماره

صحيح أن السيد نصر الله قد أوصل  الموقف إلى أقصاه حيث كرر سنقتلك ثلاثاً. وهذا يعني أن الحزب أخذ كامل الاستعداد للمواجهة إن لم يكن هناك من سبيل آخر. وفي الحقيقة هذا دور حزب مقاتل. ولكن، حزب الله ليس كل لبنان ولا كل محور المقاومة، ليس هو الشعب، ليس هو المقاول في التصدي والمقاومة وحده على أن يكتفي الجميع بالهتاف.نقرأ ونسمع خطابات ومقالات متحمسة وتُحمِّس ضد قيصر والكيان والتطبيع، ولكن لا نسمع، بل لم نشاهد  في السياسة والاجتماع مواقف ذات مضمون حقيقي مقابل المضمون القتالي لحزب الله.وللتوضيح، فإن التحديات المفروضة والعدوانات الجارية لا تشير إلى حتمية الحرب، وليس صحيحا الاستنامة لحتمية الحرب بالاعتماد فقط على حزب الله.  أي ماذا تعملون؟ 

ألمح السيد في حديثه إلى التوجه شرقا، ولكن هذا يشترط قرار سيادي دولاني لتنفيذه، هذا مع أنه كان يجب أن يحصل منذ عقود. فتحويل وجهة اقتصاد من جغرافيا إلى أخرى لا يتم بقرار  وحسب وإنما بسيرورة مما يجعل هذا القرار، إن تم اتخاذه، رهنا بوقت ليس بالقصير حتى وإن كان في مجال التجارة وليس الإنتاج.يفتح هذا الحديث على وجوب رفد المقاومة المقاتلة بالظهير الشعبي.ليس سهلاً كما يبدو أن تقوم السلطات السياسية في محور المقاومة بانتهاج سياسات جذرية تصل التحول الفعلي مثلا نحو الشرق. هذا إضافة إلى أن التوجه شرقاً هو ايضا يجب أن لا يحتوي في أحشائه بذور نمط من التبعية، حتى لو  كان رحيماً لأن مشروعنا عروبي لنا ولكل الشركاء من غير العرب.ليس سهلاً، لأن هذا كان يجب ان يحصل منذ عقود، أو على الأقل منذ بدء الحروب ضد سوريا ومحور المقاومة عموما، ورغم تكرار الدعوات لذلك لم يحصل.وقد يكون السبب الرئيس وجود قوى في الأنظمة نفسها، قوى طبقية داخل البلد ممسكة بكثير من مفاصله إن لم نقل تلابيبه تعاند هذا التحول وتربح وتضارب. لذا، نكرر المبنى التالي للتوجه إقليميا والتوجه شرقا، أو للقطيعة مع الغرب بأنه في البدء على الأقل  قرار شعبي لا رسمي، هذا معنى حرب الشعب. فالسلطة في أية دولة هي سلطة طبقية، وغالبا في  التشكيلات الإجتماعية الإقتصادية الراسمالية أو الراسمالية المحيطية هي من الطبقة البرجوازية وأحيانا كثيرة من جناحها الكمبرادوري أو جناحها ذي التوجه التنموي بإيديولوجيته القومية. ولتوضيح هذا الحديث، فإن متاجرة الأنظمة قومية وتنموية الاتجاه في مصر وسوريا والعراق في الفترة ما بعد هزيمة حرب حزيران وحتى تسعينات القرن العشرين كانت بنسبة 70 بالمئة مع الغرب رغم أن الغرب كان هو العدو بينما التبادل مع الشرق كان ضئيلا رغم انه كان حليفنا، ولم تختلف متاجرة إيران الشاه عن متاجرة إيران الثورة في الارتباط بالسوق العالمية. هذا الارتباط هو الذي مكَّن الغرب وخاصة أمريكا من فر ض العدوان الذي من قبيل استدخال خطاب العدو أن نقبل بتسميته ” العقوبات” فالعدو يعتدي ولا يعاقب لأنه ليس سيدنا بل عدونا. إذن، نحن اليوم أمام بنية راسخة في علاقات التبعية الاقتصادية/التجارية مع العدو، رغم أننا في صراع سياسي قومي ضده، وهذا يؤكد مجددا، تحريك دور الشعب  للضغط على السلطة بالتوجه إقليميا ما أمكن وشرقا ايضا.يوصلنا هذا إلى المسألة الأساس للحديث وهي وجوب تحريك الشارع وخاصة في سوريا لتبني مسار من درجتين لإنقاذ البلد: 

التزام موديل التنمية بالحماية الشعبية اي المقاطعة ميدانياً في السوق للمنتجات الأجنبية وخاصة العدوة وإنتاج واستهلاك المنتجات المحلية اي الاستهلاك الواعي والملتزم، والتركيز على الإنتاج المحلي، تشكيل فرق شعبية لمنع التجار من عرض المنتجات الأجنبية التي لها نظير محلي. ومعروف بأن مقاطعة منتجات تعني قرار إنتاج محلي بديلا لها فالمقاطعة تفترض الشغل التنموي.

وعليه، إذا كان توازن القوى داخل النظام لا يسمح للسلطة بقرار محاصرة الفساد واستلام السلطة للتجارة الخارجية استلاما تحت رقابة مشددة، فإن المقاطعة الشعبية كجزء من موديل التنمية بالحماية الشعبية هو الذي يساعد السلطة على اتخاذ قرار مقاطعة منتجات الأعداء التي تستوردها طبقة أو شريحة الفاسدين والمضاربين على الدولار، أو يجبر السلطة على ذلك. فلا بد للشعب من أن يشعر بأن عليه ان يدخل حرب المقاطعة لا أن يلقي باللائمة على السلطة فقط. انت موجود إذا كنت مبادرا. إن موديل التنمية بالحماية الشعبية هو إنشغال وتشغيل الشعب في الإنتاج والاستهلاك ضمن بنية اقتصادية غير تابعة لمنطق علاقات الاقتصاد الرسمي الراسمالي، إنه اقتصاد الاعتماد على الذات واقتصاد التعاونيات. وهذا النهج يحاصر التجار المستورِدين ويدفع اقتصاد السلطة/الدولة لتبني هذا النهج عبر ما أسماه سمير امين فك الارتباط. أي أن التنمية موديل التنمية بالحماية الشعبية يعمل أساسا كقاعدة عملية مادية دون تبعية للاقتصاد الراسمال الرسمي وبالتالي يمهد لدفع السلطة إلى فك الارتباط. فك الارتباط هو قرار سياسي سيادي دولاني يمكن للسلطة أن تتخذه بقناعة منها، ويمكن أن تضطر له بضغط القاعدة الشعبية إذا كانت السلطة مؤمنة به لكن تحتاج لدعم او إذا لم تكن مؤمنة به ولكن ضغط الشعب يرغمها على ذلك.هذا ما نقصد به ردف المقاومة المسلحة بحرب الشعب.

هذا الموديل المزدوج المكون من: 

التنمية بالحماية الشعبية

وفك الارتباط 

موديل لا يصلح لسوريا وإيران ولبنان واليمن فقط بل يصلح لمختلف الاقتصادات التابعة والتي تعاني من التبادل اللامتكافىء منجهة وهو تبادل لصالح أعداء علانيين لهذه البلدان نفسها.إن البعد الغائب والضروري في هذا الصراع هو القوى الشعبية الثورية، لنقل الحزب الثوري الاشتراكي بالحد الأدنى الذي عليه الترويج للموديل المزدوج وتبني تنفيذه شعبيا، وهو ومضمونه اشتركي فهو وطني قومي بالضرورة.وهذا يفتح على مسألة هامة وحساسة ايضاً وهي أن هذا الحزب ببرامجه وتحليلاته واستراتيجيته يتجاوز ثرثرة الإعلام التابع والممول، والذي تدور تحليلات مُحلليه حول القضية ولا تضرب عمقها كما قال لينين: “كما يدور القط حول صحن من المرق الساخن”.يجب أن لا يكتفي أحد بنضال أحد ولا أن يتكىء أحد على مجهود أحد.  وإذ كان الحزب غائبا، فتشكيل لجان شعبية لضبط السوق ليس أمرا صعباً، وهذا ما أنجزته اللجان الشعبية في الأرض المحتلة في انتفاضة 1987 رغم عسف العدو.إن دعوات قوى ومنظمات عربية لرفض الحصار وتسيير قوافل إلى سوريا، لا يكفي، وقد لا يصل وقد يكون مصيره كمصير أكذوبة سفينة مرمرة التركية تجاه غزة، ومع ذلك لا باس بالمحاولة. ولكن الحقيقي والطبيعي هو ضرب تسويق منتجات الأعداء في الوطن العربي ضربا على نطاق شامل سواء بحرق هذه المنتجات في الشوارع كما حصل في انتفاضة 1987، أو محاسبة المستوردين، إضافة إلى ضرب مؤسسات الأعداء سواء ثقافية اقتصادية دبلوماسية…الخ.بهذا يصبح ويتم  إشراك الشارع العربي في الحرب الضروس هذه.سيكون كل هذا من الصعوبة بمكان، ولكن المقاومة الشعبية وحدها التي تردف المقاومة المسلحة، وحين تبدأ التجربة سنكتشف السحر الكامن فيها وهو أنها اقل صعوبة مما تخيلنا من بعيد نظراً لعامل التردد. كنعان-  

Washington Struggles to Manage the Crisis, But Israel Continues to Benefit

By Philip Giraldi

Source

Senator Rick Scott b427d

The self-inflicted cultural defenestration of what passes for Western Civilization in the United States continues apace. As George Orwell described the process in 1984 “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present…”

Ironically, even as America’s Founding Fathers are being pilloried through the prism of contemporary values, not every bit of customary behavior is being challenged. Even though the United States is going through a devastating health care and national identity crisis, the Federal Government continues to grind out legislation that is favorable to Israel and to certain Jewish interests. “The Never Again (Holocaust) Education Act,” for example, passed through the House of Representatives (H.R. 943) by a 395-3 vote followed by a unanimous vote in the Senate on S.2085 on May 13th.  It will help to indoctrinate school children regarding an easily challengeable narrative of perpetual victimhood which in turn generates billions of dollars for the racist state of Israel, but it was described by Congressional supporters as merely an instrument to support the already existing educational resources at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), which is also taxpayer funded.

The House bill’s sponsor Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York preened that “Combatting hate and intolerance must always be a priority and I’m glad that the Senate agrees. Passing this bill by unanimous consent today sends a strong message that the Congress is overwhelmingly united in combatting antisemitism…” and the Senate bill’s sponsor Senator Jacky Rosen of Nevada explained how “…the Never Again Education Act will give schools needed resources to cover one of the darkest chapters in our history. Through education, we can provide insight into the past, and use it to prevent anti-Semitism now.”

If Americans Knew has documented how there were 68 pieces of legislation focused on providing goods and services to Israel in 2019, with 18 more added, identified here, so far this year. The most well known piece of legislation is S.3176, “US-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2020 (To amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014 to make improvements to certain defense and security assistance provisions and to authorize the appropriations of funds to Israel, and for other purposes),” which is the upper chamber’s version of House bill H.R.1837, which was passed last July. S.3176 passed out of committee on May 21st and is scheduled for a floor vote. The Senate bill was sponsored by Marco Rubio of Florida, a favorite of the Israel Lobby and its oligarch funders.

The House and Senate bills derive from an agreement entered into by President Barack Obama committing the U.S. Treasury to give Israel a minimum of $3.8 billion a year for the next ten years. The current version of the legislation has tweaked the language to make that $3.8 billion Danegeld a minimum, subject to increase as circumstances dictate. The bill also provides Israel additional military equipment off the books, funds several co-production arrangements and basically commits Washington to supporting Israel militarily even if the Jewish state starts the war.

Other pro-Israel bills include H.R.5595 – the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act (To impose additional prohibitions relating to foreign boycotts under Export Control Reform Act of 2018, and for other purposes),” which includes criminal penalties to target businesses, organizations and individuals who attempt to boycott or disrupt commercial activity operating out of Israel’s West Bank settlements. It was drafted in response to the publication of a United Nations database identifying over 100 Israeli companies doing business in illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. S.Res. 570  “A resolution opposing and condemning the potential prosecution of United States and Israeli nationals by the International Criminal Court,” meanwhile is an attempt to block any consideration by the international court of Israeli as well as American war crimes.

Other legislation (S.3775 “The United States Israel Military Capability Act” involves developing and sharing military technology even though Israel frequently steals what is developed and H.Res.837 “Reaffirming the need for transatlantic cooperation to combat anti-Semitism in Europe” encourages European countries to do more to teach about the so-called holocaust and anti-Semitism.

But the most bizarre resolutions currently circulating on the Congressional circuit are S.3722 and H.R.6829 “To authorize funding for a bilateral cooperative program with Israel for the development of health technologies with a focus on combating COVID-19.” The respective bills were introduced on May 12th and 13th and are now in committee. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has been lobbying Congress hard by playing the China-as-threat card. The House version is consequently dubbed the “Expanding Medical Partnerships with Israel to Lessen Dependence on China Act.”

What the bills will do is establish a partnership with Israel to develop a vaccine and other medical responses to the pandemic virus. The costs will be shared, but Israel’s pharmaceutical industry will market the products, which promises to be enormously profitable if the endeavor succeeds.

And finally, there is Iran, Israel’s bête noire. On June 8th U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran’s shipping network took effect, months after they were announced in December following claims made by the State Department relating to alleged Iranian support for proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Commercial and maritime industries and even governments now risk U.S. sanctions if they do any business with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and/or its Shanghai-based subsidiary, E-Sail Shipping Company. The new sanctions are being touted by Republican Congressmen as the “toughest ever.”

So, what is the average American citizen to do confronted by an avalanche of Congressional action benefitting Israel while the United States is going through its most trying time since the Great Depression? Israeli lobbying groups like AIPAC, Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) have large budgets, hundreds of staff and full and immediate access to Congressional offices. They even write the legislation that is then rubber stamped by the House and Senate, and although they are clearly agents of Israel, they are never required to register as such under Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

One can always contact a Congress-critter and complain but that is generally speaking a waste of time. A brave man and friend of mine who was a survivor of the brutal Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty in 1967 did write to his Senator and ask why, when the nation is in crisis, Congress is spending so much time and money on Israel. This was the reply he got from Senator Rick Scott of Florida:

“Thank you for contacting me regarding our greatest ally, Israel. Florida has maintained a strong relationship with Israel for many generations and I have always worked to improve policies and investments between our two countries.

During my time as Governor of Florida, I visited Israel three times. My first two visits were to promote Florida and to build international trade relationships between Israel and Florida. My third visit was for the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, for which I strongly advocated.

I also signed anti-BDS legislation, secured $2 million for security at our Jewish schools, and I opposed the reckless Iran Deal.

As your United States Senator, I will continue to work every day to protect and support our greatest ally and fight to take actions against those who wish to do them harm.

Again, thank you for your insightful correspondence. I am proud to represent every citizen in Florida and I appreciate the time you took to provide your position on this matter. Should you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me.”

Clearly Senator Scott claims to be proud of representing “every citizen” in Florida, but he regards some citizens as more important than others. Concerning his trade missions, one might be interested in knowing what the balance of trade and job creation between Israel and Florida actually is, as these arrangements are generally heavily loaded to favor Israeli businesses and investors. Also, the good Senator might recall that it was a Florida public school that recently was on the receiving end of a mass shooting, so perhaps the money he so proudly gave to Jewish schools for security was not exactly well spent. And Scott seems to be unaware that Jewish organizations already get over 90% of Department of Homeland Security discretionary grants, so they hardly need more taxpayer money.

Acting on behalf of a foreign country, Senator Scott also is willing to shut down the First Amendment for most Americans in his zeal to crush the non-violent BDS movement. And his rejection of the “Iran Deal” demonstrates that he does not support policies that actually enhance the security of the United States, presumably out of deference to the interests of Israel and at least some of his Jewish constituents.

Finally, Senator Scott should perhaps look into the treaties that Washington has entered into with foreign powers. There is no defense treaty with Israel and the Jewish state is no ally, much less a “greatest ally.” It is, in fact, a major strategic liability, involving Americans in regional wars that need not be fought and demonstrating to all the world the risible reality of a military and economic superpower that is being led to perdition during a time of crisis by a ruthless and irresponsible client state.

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