Empires and their puppets including Israel will eventually fall: “Free Gaza Movement” co-founder Greta Berlin

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June 8, 2020 – 12:45
Berlin likens the situation in the occupied Palestinian lands to South Africa under the apartheid regime which will finally be a country for all citizens including Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
 “This kind of situation, like its predecessor in South Africa, will eventually fall apart, and the country will end up being a country for all citizens, Jews/Christians/Muslims,” Berlin, an author and activist, tells the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview:  
This is the text of the interview:
1: Madame Greta Berlin, please tell us what Israel has achieved after 72 years since its establishment. Has it succeeded to win legitimacy?
 A: Israel has achieved what all white/colonial/racist entities have achieved; subjugating, terrorizing, marginalizing, and stealing from the indigenous population to make an illicit country. It’s no different than the U.S. or Canada or South Africa or Australia. 
Israel has the biggest gorilla in the room on its side and that’s the U.S.It’s gotten its legitimacy from the very countries who have done the same thing to a population that was already there and perceived as, somehow, being “less human” than the invaders. After 72 years, it’s only legitimate claim to the land of Palestine has been through force, and all empires and their puppets eventually fall. Israel will as well.  
2: How do you analyze the situation inside Israel?
 A: There are three strata inside Israel; Ashkenazi Jews, the white Jews from Europe/Russia, and the U.S. who control power, politics, and money. The second tier is the Sephardic or Arab Jews who were often forced to immigrate to Israel immediately after Israel was founded on the backs of the Palestinians. Once the European Jews drove out 750,000 Palestinians, they needed workers to come and settle in the land they stole. What better place to find them than the Arab Jews of the Middle East and North Africa? If they didn’t want to come peacefully, Mossad made sure they changed their minds. 
After arriving in Israel, they even made up a name for themselves… Mizrahi… so they didn’t have to be called Arab Jews. They are becoming the largest segment of the population, but they have little power. You’ll often see them as members of the IOF, subjugating the third tier in Israel; the Palestinians, who have no power whether they are Israeli citizens or living in the Bantustans of the occupied West Bank and Gaza. 
Americans are beginning to wake up to the terrorism of the Israeli occupation This kind of situation, like its predecessor in South Africa, will eventually fall apart, and the country will end up being a country for all citizens, Jews/Christians/Muslims. 
 3: Israel plans to annex parts of the West Bank, and Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz are unanimous in this move. Netanyahu has confidently said that annexation will take place within “a few months,” or before the American presidential election in November. What has made Israel behave so unashamedly and intransigently? Don’t you think that an impotent international community or inaction by international bodies have made Tel Aviv so emboldened?
 A: Israel has the biggest gorilla in the room on its side and that’s the U.S. It makes no difference who is President in the U.S., Israel controls Congress, and most politicians will bow to its demands. However, watching what is happening in the U.S., everything is going to change over the next few years, as China emerges triumphant and the U.S. becomes another failed empire like Britain and France. 
Personally, I’m all for a one-state solution and have been for decades. And the sooner, the better for everyone living there. Palestinians already outnumber Jews, and those demographics are only going to improve for Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim.  
 4: You are internationally famous for advocating “justice” for Palestinians since early 1960. What prompted you to highlight the sufferings of the Palestinians?
 A: While in graduate school in 1963, I met and married a Palestinian and had two Palestinian/American children who couldn’t return to Safad, the city where their father was raised, while a Jew from New York City could immigrate there with no other credentials except religion. 
That sense of injustice has challenged me since then. The most outspoken advocate for the rights of marginalized people like Palestinians are often the people who learned the truth after being lied to as children. Like many Americans, I grew up thinking Israel was the victim and Jews had the right to settle in the Holy Land. When I met my husband, and he began telling me the truth of the violent takeover of his land by European terrorist Jews, I became an advocate for justice in Palestine for life.  
 5: You were a co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement and among those brave persons who broke the Gaza siege. Can you please explain your experiences and reactions?
 A: This is such a long story, encompassing two years of planning, buying the boats, sailing to Gaza and so much pain, laughter and delight at finally getting there. It’s a book and a movie and a webinar already. The best way of describing our journey to Gaza is to provide people with these three links.
 6: The U.S. has been blindly defending the illegal behavior of Israel toward Palestinians over the past seven decades. How can such support be justified by a country which proclaims leadership of the free world and defender of democracy and human rights?
 A: The U.S. has never been a defender of democracy and human rights. The country was founded on the genocide of the native population and got rich on the back of slavery. It has had, however, one of the most brilliant PR campaigns of any country in the world. Israel tries to emulate it with many of the same catchphrases such as, “the only democracy in the Middle East.” That’s as big a lie as the U.S. saying it stands for human rights.
However, there is a difference between government propaganda and the citizens of the U.S. Americans, once they wake up, are among the most outstanding advocates for justice for people seeking equal rights, and have put their lives on the line, from the martyrs of the civil rights movement, https://www.splcenter.org/what-we-do/civil-rights-memorial/civil-rights-martyrs
to Rachel Corrie in Palestine. They are the one bright and hopeful beacons of light in the U.S., especially this younger generation. I have great hopes they will become like many of us out of the 1960s, advocates for a better world. 
 7: How is it possible that successive Congresses and to a lesser extent administrations remain so biased in favor of Israel? Does it show that the American people who vote for their representatives are indifferent or ignorant toward the situation of the Palestinians?
A: Bribery, Blackmail, and Benjamins. 
It is true, however, that Americans are beginning to wake up to the terrorism of the Israeli occupation. But to be honest, Americans can barely make it from one paycheck to the next and are overwhelmed with problems in their own back yards. 
And the country is huge, with 331 million people, only 20% who even own a passport. Very few of us travel outside the Northern Hemisphere. America and much of its population are isolated and not very well-educated about other countries.  
 8: And, why anybody who opposes the stealing of the Palestinian lands or criticizes suppression of Palestinians is easily being accused of ant-Semite?
 A: It’s become a badge of honor to be called anti-Semitic. Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, Stephen Hawking, Roger Waters have all been called anti-Semites. I’m proud to be in their company.

On The Road to Gaza: The Freedom Flotilla Will Sail Again

On The Road to Gaza: The Freedom Flotilla Will Sail Again

By Ramzy Baroud – The Palestine Chronicle

What is Gaza to us but an ‘Israeli’ missile, a rudimentary rocket, a demolished home, an injured child being whisked away by his peers under a hail of bullets?

On a daily basis, Gaza is conveyed to us as a bloody image or a dramatic video, none of which can truly capture the everyday reality of the strip, its formidable steadfastness, the everyday acts of resistance and the type of suffering that can never be really understood through a customary glance at a social media post.

At long last, the chief prosecutor of the International of Criminal Court [ICC], Fatou Bensouda, has declared her “satisfaction” that “war crimes have been, or are being, committed in the West Bank, including East ‘Jerusalem’ [al-Quds], and the Gaza Strip”.

As soon as the ICC statement was made on December 20, pro-Palestinian groups felt a rare moment of relief. Finally, ‘Israel’ will stand accused, potentially paying for its recurring bloodbath in the isolated and besieged Gaza Strip, its military occupation and apartheid in the West Bank and much more.

However, it could take years for the ICC to initiate its legal proceedings and render its verdict. Moreover, there are no political guarantees that an ICC decision indicting ‘Israel’ would ever be respected, let alone implemented.

Meanwhile, the siege on Gaza persists, only to be interrupted by a massive war, like the one of 2014, or a less destructive one, similar to the latest Israeli onslaught in November. And with every war, more dismal statistics are produced, more lives shattered and more painful stories are told and retold.

For years, civil society groups across the world labored to destabilize this horrific status quo. They organized, held vigils, wrote letters to their political representatives and so on. To no avail. Frustrated by government inaction, a small group of activists sailed to Gaza in a small boat in August 2008, succeeding in doing what the United Nations has failed to do: they broke, however fleetingly, the ‘Israeli’ siege on the impoverished Strip.

This symbolic action of the Free Gaza movement had a tremendous impact. It sent a clear message to Palestinians in occupied Palestine, that their fate is not only determined by the ‘Israeli’ government and military machine; that there are other actors who are capable of challenging the dreadful silence of the international community; that not all Westerners are as complicit as their governments in the prolonged suffering of the Palestinian people.

Since then, many more solidarity missions have attempted to follow suit, coming across the sea atop flotillas or in large caravans through the Sinai desert. Some have successfully reached Gaza, delivering medical aid and other supplies. The majority, however, were sent back or had their boats hijacked in international waters by the ‘Israeli’ navy.

The outcome of all of this has been the writing of a new chapter of solidarity with the Palestinian people that went beyond the occasional demonstration and the typical signing of a petition.

The second Palestinian Intifada, the uprising of 2002, had already redefined the role of the “activist” in Palestine. The formation of the International Solidarity Movement [ISM] allowed thousands of international activists from around the world to participate in “direct action” in Palestine, thus fulfilling, however symbolically, a role that is typically played by a United Nations protective force.

ISM activists, however, employed non-violent means of registering civil society’s rejection of the ‘Israeli’ occupation. Expectedly, ‘Israel’ did not honor the fact that many of these activists came from countries deemed “friendly” by Tel Aviv’s standards. The killing of US and British nationals Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall in Gaza in 2003 and 2004 respectively, was just the precursor of ‘Israeli’ violence that was to follow.

In May 2010, the ‘Israeli’ navy attacked the Freedom Flotilla consisting of the Turkish-owned ship “MV Mavi Marmara” and others, killing ten unarmed humanitarian workers and wounding at least 50 more. As was the case with the murder of Rachel and Tom, there was no real accountability for the ‘Israeli’ attack on the solidarity boats.

It must be understood that ‘Israeli’ violence is not random nor is just a reflection of Israel’s notoriety and disregard of international and humanitarian law. With every violent episode, ‘Israel’ hopes to dissuade outside actors from getting involved in “‘Israeli’ affairs”. Yet, time and again, the solidarity movement returns with a defiant message, insisting that no country, not even ‘Israel’, has the right to commit war crimes with impunity.

Following a recent meeting in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, the International Coalition of the Freedom Flotilla, which consists of many international groups, has decided to, once more, sail to Gaza. The solidarity mission is scheduled for the summer of 2020, and, like most of the 35 previous attempts, the Flotilla is likely to be intercepted by the ‘Israeli’ navy. Yet, another attempt will likely follow, and many more, until the Gaza siege is completely lifted. It has become clear that the purpose of these humanitarian missions is not to deliver a few medical supplies to the nearly 2 million besieged Gazans, but to challenge the ‘Israeli’ narrative that has turned the occupation and isolation of Palestinians to a status quo ante, to an “‘Israeli’ affair”.

According to the United Nations Office in occupied Palestine, the poverty rate in Gaza seems to be increasing at an alarming speed of 2 per cent per year. By the end of 2017, 53 per cent of Gaza’s population lived in poverty, two-thirds of them living in “deep poverty”. This terrible number includes over 400,000 children.

An image, a video, a chart or a social media post can never convey the pain of 400,000 children, who experience real hunger every single day of their lives so that the ‘Israeli’ government may achieve its military and political designs in Gaza. Indeed, Gaza is not just an ‘Israeli’ missile, a demolished home, and an injured child. It is an entire nation that is suffering and resisting, in near-complete isolation from the rest of the world.

True solidarity should aim at forcing ‘Israel’ to end the protracted occupation and siege on the Palestinian people, sailing the high seas, if necessary. Thankfully, the good activists of the Freedom Flotilla are doing just that.

Cynthia McKinney to ST: Peace has a chance only with a peace leader in national security adviser position or no one at all in it

ST

Wednesday, 11 September 2019 12:03

Former US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has said that it might be better for the position of the national security adviser to remain vacant, hoping that President Donald Trump is about to begin to keep his campaign promises about the folly of the US fighting wars for Israel.

In a statement to the Syria times e-newspaper on the effect of the defenestration of John Bolton as President Trump’s third national security adviser, McKinney said: “Given the President’s poor staffing choices, it might be better for the position to remain vacant. Any appointment from the swamp will continue the same pro-Israel, warmongering, swamp policies.”

She believes that peace has a chance only with a peace leader in that position or no one at all in it.

“Even then, the Lobby for war spans both sides of the aisles, both Republicans and Democrats. I have repeatedly made suggestions for Trump of individuals who understand the swamp and are repulsed by what it is today,” she added.

Asked about the reason behind the defenestration of Bolton, McKinney replied:

“Bolton blew the President’s peace initiatives with North Korea, Syria, and Afghanistan. Let’s hope that the President is about to begin to keep his campaign promises about the folly of the US fighting wars for Israel.”

Yesterday, President Trump pushed out John R. Bolton, his third national security adviser.

Cynthia McKinney is an international peace and human rights activist, noted for her inconvenient truth-telling about the U.S. war machine. She was held for seven days in an Israeli prison after attempting to enter Gaza by sea and traveled to Libya during U.S. bombing and witnessed the crimes against humanity committed against that country’s people. In addition to Libya, she has traveled to Cuba, Syria, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and as she puts it:

“Wherever U.S. Bombs are dropping or U.S. sanctions are biting.”

She is the author or editor of three Clarity Press books: she has written one book Ain’t Nothing Like Freedom and edited The Illegal War On Libya and the 2018 book, How the U.S. Creates Sh*thole Countries.

In 1992, McKinney won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. She was the first African-American woman from Georgia in the U.S. Congress. She was the first Member of Congress to demand an investigation of the events of 9/11/2001. McKinney was criticized and as a result, she was defeated in 2002; however, she ran again and was re-elected in 2004.

In December 2008, Cynthia made international headlines when her boat was rammed by the Israeli military as she was attempting to deliver medical supplies to Gaza. In 2009, Cynthia attempted to reach Gaza again, this time armed with crayons, coloring books, and school supplies. Her boat was overtaken in international waters by the Israeli military and she was kidnapped to Israel where she spent 7 days in an Ramleh Prison. Finally, Cynthia entered Gaza by land in July 2009 with George Galloway’s Viva Palestina USA.

She has over 100,000 followers on FaceBook and more than 30,000 followers on Twitter who live in countries all over the world—from Argentina to Zimbabwe, according to Tweetsmap as of January 2019.

Interviewed by: Basma Qaddour

Freedom Flotilla Missions Will Continue ‘Until Palestine Is Free’

Source

The bold journey of the 2018 Freedom Flotilla Coalition dared Palestinians and the world to dream of peace, dignity and freedom for all. Now, we must keep working to build a culture of nonviolence, writes Elizabeth Murray.

By Elizabeth Murray
Special to Consortium News

In August, the crew and passengers of the Freedom Flotilla ships, Al Awda and Freedom, returned to their home countries after being hijacked, interrogated and imprisoned by Israeli commandos. The outcome may have appeared anticlimactic, since many supporters had hoped for a triumphant arrival by the flotilla ships in Gaza Harbor and a  breaking of Israel’s illegal 12-year land and sea blockade of the small Palestinian enclave.

But in many ways, the 2018 Freedom Flotilla mission has achieved its goals—which were to challenge the Israeli blockade of Gaza, raise public awareness of the blockade and other human rights violations, and let the people of Gaza know that they are not alone.

Of course, had the flotilla ships been able to reach Gaza unhindered, it would have been a remarkable accomplishment and the first time the blockade had been breached in 10 years.

Back then—in August 2008—two boats carrying international solidarity activists sailed into Gaza’s shores to a hero’s welcome from the locals, including children, who swam out to greet them. It was a dramatic display of people-to-people solidarity against the illegal Israeli blockade.

Their arrival in Gaza was momentous and cathartic, and served notice to the people of Gaza that their plight—and Israel’s criminal blockade—had not gone unnoticed by the world. Israel has since shown great resolve in its determination to prevent such a display of humanity and solidarity from ever recurring again—even at the cost of innocent lives.

Since then, Israel has blocked similar solidarity ships from arriving in Gaza, either by hijacking them in international waters (as took place this year) or by pressuring other governments to detain the ships, as when the Greek government compelled the Gaza-bound Audacity of Hope to return to port shortly after its departure from Athens—under threat of armed force.

A Challenge to Israel

In 2010, heavily armed Israeli commandos boarded the Gaza-bound cruise ship Mavi Marmara, assaulting and injuring numerous passengers and killing nine of them, including a U.S. citizen. Despite the clear death threat from Israel, the Freedom Flotilla boats keep coming, including the Estelle in 2012 and the Marianne in 2015, challenging the Israeli blockade.

The Freedom Flotilla phenomenon makes it evident that the movement’s momentum, persistence and staying power have little to do with its actual physical arrival in Gaza and more to do with other less tangible aspects of the journey.

The actual act of challenging Israel’s illegal land and sea blockade of the Gaza Strip is in itself a bold and even revolutionary statement of the need to hold Israel accountable under international law for its human rights violations. These repeated sea-based challenges to Israeli impunity have garnered international attention and admiration from the grassroots public—particularly in view of the unwillingness of governments to acknowledge and confront Israel’s 70-year subjugation and occupation of the Palestinian people.

When will Gaza be free? (freegazaorg / Wikimedia)

The Freedom Flotilla’s international composition—with crew and delegates of numerous nationalities (including New Zealand, Malaysia, Australia, Canada, First Nations, Spain, Israel, United States, Norway, Sweden, etc.) has inspired and energized Palestinians in the diaspora and in their homeland. They realize that this small group of activists willing to undergo significant collective risk to highlight the Palestinians’ plight and break the silence represents the world’s people.

Palestinians have responded by staging bold nonviolent actions of their own, such as the recent series of seaborne flotillas Gaza fishermen initiated to challenge the sea blockade and protest Israel’s arbitrary fishing restrictions and random acts of terrorism against fishers, who are routinely harassed and shot at while they are trying to fish, and whose fishing boats are either shot up or confiscated. Diaspora Palestinians showed up in large numbers to greet, celebrate and host the Freedom Flotilla at every port of call.

United Against Inhumanity

The Freedom Flotilla’s engagement of local grassroots community organizations, media interviews, interaction with the public through boat tours and one-on-one conversations have raised the profile of Gaza’s plight, reminding the outside world that residents of Gaza have no freedom of movement, and that repeated, massive Israeli aerial bombings have disabled the electricity grid, destroyed the sewage treatment plant and rendered 98 percent of the water undrinkable.

Meanwhile, the blockade prevents the entry of critical food, medicine and construction materials—preventing Gazans from rebuilding or repairing their destroyed homes and infrastructure.

Freedom Flotilla delegates were honored at parliamentary sessions and feted by local dignitaries and government officials in several cities along their route, raising the profile of Palestinian suffering under the Israeli blockade. As a result, the Freedom Flotilla earned explicit statements of political support for their anti-blockade mission from the Spanish municipality of Asturias-Gijon and from other grassroots political organizations.

(Gringer / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Some Freedom Flotilla participants have provided media accounts describing abusive treatment at the hands of their Israeli captors, including this piece by United Kingdom-based Al Awda delegate and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Swee Ang. This reporting has outraged the public in their respective countries and redoubled the resolve of many organizations to promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).

Roger Waters, the musician of Pink Floyd fame and an active proponent of BDS, recently invited several Freedom Flotilla crew members to his August concert in Oslo and publically hailed them as his “heroes.”

Indeed, in the wake of the Freedom Flotilla action, the BDS movement has seen several notable successes. At least 15 international bands and artists have withdrawn from an Israeli music festival. Six of 11 invited speakers also have confirmed their withdrawal from a scientific forum at Ariel University, which is built on occupied Palestinian land in an Israeli settlement. Palestinian scholars had urged speakers to withdraw, citing Israeli travel restrictions on Palestinian academics. As Israeli crimes against Palestinians continue unchecked, these developments build on the international outrage.

At the same time, the Freedom Flotilla’s nonviolent challenge to Israel’s blockade coincided with the (still ongoing) weekly protest by Gazans known as the Great March of Return. During this peaceful action—in which unarmed Palestinians have been asserting their rights to liberty and freedom—Israeli snipers have been shooting and killing civilians of all ages, including children, women and medical workers. Casualties now are in the thousands. Images of the victims of Israeli violence have elicited expressions of disgust and outrage toward Israel, as well as sympathy and support for Palestinian freedom.

Giving Palestinians a Voice

These are the atrocities that have moved members of the Freedom Flotilla to risk their own lives to make a change.

First Mate Charlie Andreasson, a red-haired, blue-eyed Swede,explains: “Anything I’ve suffered at the hands of the Israelis is nothing compared to what the Palestinians suffer.”

Asked why he was on his third Freedom Flotilla mission (he was aboard the Estelle and Marianne), Andreasson said: “I have blue eyes and white skin.  I may as well put them to good use.” The remark alluded to an awareness that because of his race and nationality, any suffering he might be subjected to would draw international media attention—unlike the suffering of ordinary Gazans, whose daily tragedies and humiliations pass largely unnoticed by most Western news services.

Charlie Andreasson.

Andreasson noted that historically, change is not initiated by governments, but by ordinary people “who have had enough” and who are “standing united against injustice.” He cited as examples the U.S. civil rights movement, women’s rights, the fall of the apartheid regime in South Africa, and the rights of LGBT persons.

“So I believe we are wasting our energy when time after time we demand that our governments take action instead of getting people united around the world,” he said. “That is why we have to get our asses off the sofa and start to make a change. After all, we want to be able to look at ourselves in the mirror without feeling ashamed that we didn’t do anything.”

Addressing those who might not be up for a sea journey to Gaza, Andreasson counseled: “You don’t have to sail with the Freedom Flotilla, you don’t have to risk your life or take any time off—it can be enough just to refuse to buy Israeli products.”

Divina Levrini, a passenger aboard the Al Awda who also hails from Sweden and, like Andreasson, is a veteran of previous Freedom Flotilla journeys, said she has worked on behalf of the Palestinian cause since her teenage years. It was “a natural thing” for her “to go and try to put an end to the blockade” since she has been educating others about it for so many years. “If it takes Westerners to give the Palestinians a voice, so be it,” she said.

Levrini thought the flotilla “made a difference.” In addition to the “very important” media publicity, the flotilla mission helped bring about political change, she said. “During the two-and-one-half months the flotilla journeyed from port to port, we actually compelled politicians to act,” she said—a reference in part to Navarre becoming the first Spanish state to adopt a BDS resolution.

Pointing to the dire United Nations warning that Gaza would be “uninhabitable” in two years, Levrini stated that political change “is what Gaza needs. They need that change right now. We need to take an extreme course of action to make a change.”

Asked what message she would like to send to Israel, Levrini—who briefly staged a hunger strike during her incarceration in Israel to protest prison conditions—stated: “My only message to Israel is a bold one. The ships will continue to sail until Palestine is free from Israeli terror.”

Right to a Just Future

Before we can move toward any real justice in Gaza, more people need to acknowledge the injustice that exists.

On July 29, Israeli Navy gunboats surrounded the Al Awda as it approached Gaza Harbor with 22 passengers and crew aboard (five days later, the Freedom followed with 12 aboard). Masked commandos armed with machine guns boarded the ship and violently tasered and assaulted several passengers and crew members, including the ship’s captain, Norwegian national Herman Reksten. They did this despite being repeatedly advised by Al Awda crew member Mikkel Gruener by radio that the Al Awda was in international waters and “wanted no business” with Israel.

The Israelis seemed to reserve a special contempt for the mostly Norwegian crew. Not only did they physically assault them, but they tore down the Norwegian flag and trampled it underfoot, deeply offending the crew members, who managed to salvage it.

Both the Al Awda and the boats were purchased, refurbished, and outfitted through the private donations of Freedom Flotilla supporters from around the world. They were to have been delivered to Gaza’s fishers as gifts of friendship and solidarity from the international seafarers. Instead, Israel has confiscated them and looted the personal effects of the passenger and crew on both flotilla ships—taking laptops computers, camera equipment, watches, credit cards, cell phones, clothing and cash.

“They stole everything,” said Levrini, who was reduced to tears after witnessing Israeli commandos savagely beat, head-slam and then threaten to execute Al Awda captain Reksten. First Mate Andreasson tweeted that Israel “stole our private belongings” adding: “Once again, we got to know what it’s like to be Palestinians.”

Three Nobel Peace laureates, from left, Mairead Maguire (Northern Ireland) Shirin Ebadi (Iran) and Tawakkol Karman (Yemen) in Bangladesh in March 2018. (Nashirul Islam / Wikimedia)

Perhaps worst of all has been the Israeli military’s failure thus far to release 114 boxes of medical supplies—including medical gauze and sutures for the Gaza health system—that had been loaded onto the Al Awda just prior to the final leg of its journey. The consignment of medical aid was to have provided needed medical supplies and equipment to a populace being bombed and shot at mercilessly, even as weekly Great March of Return demonstrations at the no-man’s land between Gaza and Israel continue. A petition is circulating to demand that the medical supplies be delivered to Gaza.

The passengers and crew of the Freedom Flotilla boats are people of privilege. We can travel freely and do not have to deal with incessant Israeli repression, violence and humiliation. We know our experience cannot hold a candle to what people living in Gaza are forced to endure under Israel’s suffocating yoke of oppression.

But the bold journey of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition dared Palestinians and the world to dream—to dream of a day when people of the world unite with such fervor for justice and human rights that barriers and obstacles will fall away, and peace, dignity, and freedom will be possible for all.

The sentiment of all those who shared in the Freedom Flotilla’s journey—passengers, crew, and the land-based support teams—perhaps can best be summed up by the words of Irish Nobel Peace Prize recipient Mairead Maguire, a veteran of many Gaza solidarity boat journeys (one of the 2018 Freedom Flotilla ships was named after her) who understands the challenge ahead.

“I believe, with Gandhi, that we need to take an imaginative leap toward fresh and generous idealism for the sake of humanity—that we need to renew this ancient wisdom of nonviolence, to strive for a disarmed world, and to create a culture of nonviolence.”

Elizabeth Murray served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council before retiring after a 27-year career in the U.S. government, where she specialized in Middle Eastern political and media analysis. She is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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“Close Friend” Britain Doesn’t Object to Israel’s Vicious Piracy, nor Does the EU

Reports are coming in that Israel plans to sell off the four mercy boats it violently hijacked on the high seas a few weeks ago. The peaceful, unarmed vessels were sailing with desperately needed medical supplies to the besieged Gaza Strip which has been illegally blockade by Israel for 12 years.

The crews and passengers of these mercy boats were arrested by the Israeli military, beaten up, thrown in jail and had their money and personal belongings stolen while in custody. Among the passengers on the al-Awda, was British citizen Dr Swee Ang, a consultant at the famous Bart’s Hospital, who susteained two cracked ribs.

The boats were intended as a gift to the people of Gaza, probably the fishermen, but Israeli intelligence officials claimed they would end up in the hands of Hamas. So the Israeli Central Court has decided sell the boats – stolen property – and hand the proceeds to Israeli families illegally squatting on Palestinian land.

When diplomacy worked

Back in 2008 two humanitarian vessels actually got through to Gaza. In an article at the time, entitled ‘Keeping the Sea-Lane to Gaza Open’, I wrote…

The success of the ‘Free Gaza’ boats in breaking the siege, and their safe arrival and departure, was due to the intervention and good offices of the British Foreign Office…
Before the peace activists set sail, the British government was asked about “action to ensure the freedom boats’ safe and uninterrupted passage to Gaza considering these are international waters and Palestinian territorial waters”. Any attempt to stop the boats would surely infringe the right to freedom of movement to and from Gaza, and seriously breach the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Israel is a party.  The minister in charge of Middle East affairs Kim Howells… has now revealed that “FCO officials spoke to Israeli officials in advance of the trip and Israel allowed the boats peacefully into Gaza.”

Nearly three years later, as Gaza Freedom Flotilla II prepared to sail, the Zionist conspiracy was determined not to let the boats reach their destination because safe arrival would drive a coach and horses through Israel’s control-freakery. Earlier that year the Mavi Marmara had been assaulted with lethal force in international waters, without a care for how many they killed.

This prompted the following statement by flotilla organizers to the UN Human Rights Council:

“We are determined to sail to Gaza. Our cause is just and our means are transparent. To underline the fact that we do not present an imminent threat to Israel nor do we aim to contribute to a war effort against Israel, thus eliminating any claim by Israel to self-defense, we invite the HRC or any other UN or international agency to come on board and inspect our vessels at their point of departure, on the high seas, or on their arrival in the Gaza port. We will – and must – continue to sail until the illegal siege of Gaza is ended and Palestinians have the same human and national rights those of us sailing enjoy.”
– Steering Committee of the International Coalition for Gaza Freedom Flotilla II

One of the organizers in London told me that when the British boat’s final passenger list was confirmed, the Foreign Office in London would be contacted with details and asked to “act to ensure the safe passage of their citizens”.

In the end Flotilla II didn’t sail.

Caving in to Israel’s criminal intent

Israel is clearly acting illegally by interfering with the peaceful voyages. A UN fact-finding mission, investigating the assault on the Mavi Marmara, declared that “no case can be made for the legality of the interception and the Mission therefore finds that the interception was illegal…. and to constitute collective punishment of the people living in the Gaza Strip and thus to be illegal and contrary to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention”. It could not even be justified even under Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations [the right of self-defence].

The Centre for Constitutional Rights also concluded that the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip was illegal under international law and amounted to collective punishment. “The flotilla did not seek to travel to Israel, let alone ‘attack’ Israel. Furthermore, the flotilla did not constitute an act which required an ‘urgent’ response, such that Israel had to launch a middle-of-the-night armed boarding… Israel could also have diplomatically engaged Turkey, arranged for a third party to verify there were no weapons onboard and then peacefully guided the vessel to Gaza.”

Craig Murray, an internationally recognized authority on these matters, was Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and responsible for giving political and legal clearance to Royal Navy boarding operations in the Persian Gulf following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. He said that Israel had tried to justify previous fatal attacks on neutral civilian vessels on the High Seas in terms of enforcing an embargo under the legal cover given by the San Remo Manual of International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea. “San Remo only applies to blockade in times of armed conflict. Israel is not currently engaged in an armed conflict, and presumably does not wish to be. San Remo does not confer any right to impose a permanent blockade outwith times of armed conflict, and in fact specifically excludes as illegal a general blockade on an entire population.”

At the same time Security Council resolution 1860 (2009) emphasized “the need to ensure sustained and regular flow of goods and people through the Gaza crossings” and called for “the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment”.

But when MEP Kyriacos Triantaphyllides put a question to the EU Commission this was the reply:

Question:
One year after the military action by Israel against a convoy carrying humanitarian aid supplies to Gaza, during which at least ten civilians were killed, another humanitarian aid flotilla to Gaza is now being organised, the principal cargo being supplies of stationery for school pupils. Is the EU and in particular the Commission aware of the new mission that is being organised and what is its position on this matter? Given the participation of EU Member State nationals and the presence of MEPs, will the EU take any measures to ensure that the personal safety of its nationals is not endangered?

Answer:
After the organisation of a flotilla heading to Gaza in May 2010, the Quartet, of which the EU is a member, stated that all those wishing to deliver goods to Gaza should do so through established channels, so that their cargo can be inspected and transferred via land crossings into Gaza. It also stated that there was no need for unnecessary confrontations and that all parties should act responsibly in meeting the needs of the people of Gaza….
The Commission stands by this line. A flotilla is not the appropriate response to the humanitarian situation in Gaza. At the same time, Israel must abide by international law when dealing with a possible flotilla. The EU continues to request the lifting of the blockade on Gaza, including the naval blockade.
EU Member States have the responsibility to protect their citizens abroad via their consular services. This responsibility covers assistance for their citizens who might participate in a possible flotilla….

It could have been scripted in Tel Aviv and not by anyone with Christian principles. The “established channel” for delivering goods to Gaza is of course the time-honoured route by sea, which is protected by maritime and international law and therefore entirely appropriate. There’s nothing “provocative” about unarmed vessels with humanitarian cargoes using it. The organizers had offered their cargoes for inspection and verification by a trusted third party to allay Israel’s fears about weapon supplies. They should not have to dirty their hands dealing with a belligerent regime that’s cruelly waging a starvation war on women and children. Anyone suggesting they must do so seeks to legitimize the blockade, which we all know to be illegal and a crime against humanity.

And where is the UN when their maritime Convention is trashed?

Fast-forward to 2018. Her Majesty’s Government has now abandoned all pretense of upholding the Law of the Seas or even pursuing its 2008 policy of intervening to obtain advance clearance from the Israeli authorities. The Foreign Office appears to have joined the Zionist conspiracy to legitimise the Gaza blockade and support Israel’s control-freakery.

Lord Ahmad for the Government, answering a written question in the House of Lords, said: “Embassy officials discussed the travelling flotilla with the Israeli authorities on 6 June. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to Gaza including the waters off Gaza.”

The waters off Gaza are international waters where neutral civilian vessels are entitled to free passage under the UN Conventional on the Law of the Seas. Why shouldn’t unarmed aid boats be able sail there unmolested? Is the Law of the Seas now dead? Is Britain no longer committed to keeping the sea lanes open to innocent shipping? And why is the UN not upholdings its own Convention?

In particular, what happened to the diplomacy of 2008? If our embassy was discussing the aid flotilla with Israel nearly 2 months before the 2018 hijacking, what were they talking about? Why didn’t they arrange advance clearance as before? Or were they, by any chance, colluding to thwart this mercy mission? Wouldn’t put it past them.

And in reply to a recent petition demanding a debate on Israel’s undue influence on British politics the Foreign Office says:

“The UK is a close friend of Israel and we enjoy an excellent bilateral relationship. This is built on decades of cooperation between our two countries across a range of fields such as education, hi-tech research, business, arts and culture. Trade between our countries is at record levels, and Israel is an important strategic partner for the UK. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not agree with the allegation of improper influence stated in the petition.”
“In 2017 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was made aware of comments made by a member of staff at the Israeli Embassy in 2017 [referring to the Shai Mosat affair] who was being secretly filmed. Following the publication of this video, the Israeli Ambassador apologised and was clear the comments made by this member of staff do not reflect the views of the Embassy or Government of Israel. The UK has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed.”

Mosat was a senior political adviser to the Israeli ambassador. The ambassador is Mark Regev, Israel’s former propaganda chief and a notorious liar.

And in reply to a question from myself, Alister Burt, minister for the Middle East, says the FO advises against all travel to Gaza. “Delivery of aid should be co-ordinated with the UN and Israeli and Egyptian Governments. We expect Israel to show restraint and fully respect international law. If wrongdoing has taken place we expect those responsible to be held to account…. We remain deeply concerned about restrictions on movement and access in Gaza, and the impact that this is having on the humanitarian situation. We have frequent discussions with the Israeli Government about the need to ease restrictions on Gaza. We call on Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt to work together to ensure a durable solution for Gaza.”

Burt goes on to say that he recently visited Gaza and the UK Government has announced a new £38 million pogramme for economic development in Gaza and the West Bank and £38.5 million for UNRWA to help refugees plus £2 million for clean water and sanitation in Gaza.

I had made a point of saying I did not wish to receive the usual pro-forma Foreign Office response, but that is what I got.

“Expects Israel to show restraint and fully respect international law”? When did that ever happen?

“Expects those responsible to be held to account”? But who’s to do it when Israel is such a “close friend”?

We’ll tweak the whiskers of the Russian Bear and slap sanctions on Iran for no good reason. But we fall over backwards to reward Israel for its never-ending evil.

Isn’t it time Government ministers stopped embarrassing us, and themselves, by telling everyone that “we” are “close friends” with a racist endeavour run by a thuggish regime that is contemptuous of international law and the norms of decent behaviour? There’s a name for people who admire that sort of thing.

And by throwing even more British taxpayers’ money at the situation instead of taking punitive action (such as suspending the EU-Israel Association Agreement) we simply legitimize the blockade on Gaza and normalise the decades-long occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. But that’s the whole idea, is it not Mr Burt? Or is Britain really so weak and so lacking in leverage that we cannot do a small favour for the beleaguered women and children of Gaza whose constant misery is largely due to our arrogance and stupidity?

By Stuart Littlewood
Source

israel (apartheid state) an Enemy of Freedom-Loving People Everywhere

August 23, 2018

Israel an Enemy of Freedom-Loving People Everywhere

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

Israel is fighting constantly not only against Gazans, and against Palestinians generally; it is fighting constantly against freedom-loving people everywhere, who oppose dictatorship of any type, and in any country, on principle, irrespective of nationality.

Here’s an example showing how much of a dictatorship and enemy of democrats it is:

Anna Dressler was a ship-hand on a flotilla of two small boats launched from Palermo Italy that were manned by 34 people from 12 countries in international waters and that were seized — stolen — by Israel’s military, on 29 July 2018. They became seized because these boats were carrying medical supplies in violation of Israel’s internationally illegal blockade against food and medicine reaching the residents of Gaza. She was on the boat “Al-Awda,” which was 42 miles from Gaza at the time of seizure-theft. Israel’s troops seizing it were masked, and were armed with machine-guns.

The first video of this incident was released on August 20th.

“Legal and Welfare Update and Appeal” dated August 14th by the Freedom Flotilla, stated that,

The two boats ‘Al Awda’ (The Return) and ‘Freedom’ were hijacked by the Israeli Occupation Forces in international waters 42 and 49 nautical miles respectively off the coast of Gaza. During their unlawful detention, crew, participants and journalists were subjected to a range of physical and emotional violence.

The captain of Al Awda was threatened with execution, 4 people were tasered, 3 people had ribs broken by the Israeli military and one person had his foot broken.

They were all taken against their will to Israel, unlawfully imprisoned and ultimately deported. The Israeli authorities have stolen the boats and the 13,000 Euros worth of medical supplies that we were carrying as gifts, as well as many of the participants’ personal belongings (including clothes, a Bible, credit cards, IDs and mobile phones). Incredibly, they have begun to take legal action to attempt to confiscate the boats.

These people had been in constant communication with their colleagues on land; so, if they’d been killed by the Israelis, it would immediately have become an international incident, enraging 12 countries. They had to be released, and thus they were. These people weren’t Palestinians; they had rights that were cared-about in other countries. Though a gangster-state, Israel recognized that these people couldn’t be simply discarded, like trash — as Palestinians are treated by Israel.

So, here’s how the journey got to that stage:Image result for anna dressler on flotilla

On June 27th, Ms. Dressler, writing in the third person as “she,” had posted, as “Deckhand on Freedom”, her personal background, and presented an explanation, written as impersonally as she could, as to why she was participating in this flotilla (which, though she didn’t note the fact, was manned entirely by volunteers who knew that they were placing themselves in severe jeopardy for doing this):

Anna was born in Germany and is now living in Sweden, but mostly she is out on travels and ‘projects’ around the globe. She is an activist and problem solver – a person with a diversity of professions. In 2012, she was the Project Leader for an anti-money laundering campaign. In 2015-2016, she participated in a private project working with refugees near the Macedonian border and along the Balkan route. She enjoys her freedom wholeheartedly and wants others to have the same opportunity.

On July 18th was posted, by the Freedom Flotilla, the following “Leaving For Gaza – Media Release”:

Four boats from the ‘Right to a Just Future for Palestine’ Freedom Flotilla Coalition are scheduled to leave Palermo, Sicily, to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza, and to assert the Palestinian people’s right to freedom of movement and their right to a just future. …

As always, our boats carry representatives from across the world and messages of love and solidarity for those living under the inhumane, decade-old blockade – the collective punishment on the civilian Palestinian population of Gaza. Given the dire situation in Palestinian hospitals, we are also transporting some urgently needed medical supplies (#Gauze4Gaza).

This need is even more critical given the thousands of people severely wounded by Israeli snipers and tear gas in the past few months during the Great March of Return protests (see 10 July UN report on serious injuries). …

It is also encouraging to see the local welcomes we are being given, including by the Mayor of Palermo who rightly connects our campaign with the Caravana Abriendo Fronteras, who have just arrived from Spain, and similar demands for the opening of borders and freedom of movement from the City Council of Cádiz (Spain) and Naples (Italy).

Spokesperson for the International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza, James Godfrey said: “This Flotilla is necessary to highlight the international community’s failure and its ongoing complicity in the illegal blockade of over two million Palestinians in Gaza, more than half of them children.”

On July 23rd, was posted “Freedom Flotilla Coalition sets sail for a just future for Palestine”, and it reported:

Freedom Flotilla leaves Palermo to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza.

Three boats are sailing with boxes of medical supplies: Al Awda (The Return), a large converted fishing vessel; Freedom to Gaza, a large sailing vessel; and Falestine, a smaller sailing vessel. A fourth boat, Mairead, will not sail at this time. Another Sicilian port Messina, opened its open arms as usual with a series of wonderful community events, and we are grateful for their solidarity.

All three boats making their way to Gaza will be donated to the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, that includes a fisherman’s union that will use the boats to fish in order to feed their families.

Spokesperson for the Swedish Ship to Gaza campaign, Jeannette Escanilla, said the boats would provide important economic and training opportunities for Palestinians trapped in Gaza.

“The illegal Israeli naval blockade has devastated the Palestinian economy, and in particular has hurt the fishing industry in Gaza so these boats will provide important economic opportunities for Palestinians in Gaza, and also training opportunities in sailing, to enable them to gain better qualifications. Currently, the Israeli Occupying Force prevent Palestinians in Gaza from sailing more than a few nautical miles from shore, and routinely attack fishing and other boats from Gaza.”

On July 26th, Dressler posted “ON THE WAY TO GAZA WITH FREEDOM – ANNA DRESSLER (UNITED KINGDOM/GERMANY)”. She said:

Gaza is a zone in the world where human rights seem to be forgotten. I believe that every person can change the world, on their own way, wherever they are and in which way they can. Let’s start here, with a blockade that should never have existed, and continues, along with everyone else, man-made, disasters.

On August 4th was posted to youtube “ANNA DRESSLER – SOS”, in which, six days after the seizure, theft, and assault, by Israel, against these people and their vessels, Anna, speaking in Swedish, publicly demanded that her Government in Stockholm enforce her rights as a Swede, against the Government of Israel, and that the ships and their supplies be at least returned to their owners.

On that same date, August 4th, the Freedom Flotilla itself headlined “SOS – Just Future for Palestine”, and officially notified the foreign ministers of the 12 involved countries whose nationals’ rights had been violated by Israel in this incident. These 12 countries were: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, UK, and U.S.

The following day, August 5th, Jeannette Escanilla wrote, for the Steering Committee, Ship to Gaza Sweden (her official title being “Spokesperson for the Swedish Ship to Gaza campaign”), addressed as follows:

To the Foreign Minister of Sweden; Margot Wallström

To the Prime Minister of Sweden; Stefan Löfven

Ship to Gaza’s sailing ketch “Freedom for Gaza” was approaching the coast of Gaza when it was boarded by Israeli militants on Friday 3 August on international waters, a gross violation of international law. The last reported position of the vessel before boarding was about 40 nautical miles from coast of Gaza at 20:06 (CET).

The Swedish flagged ship and its cargo of medical supplies were seized by Israel and the 12 persons onboard were abducted and led to Israel, a country they did not intend to visit.

Ship to Gaza demands that the captured crew, the ship and its and cargo will be returned to the position where they were boarded and allowed to continue their voyage on international and Palestinian waters without being interupted, in accordance with international law. In this way we can complete the purpose of the journey, which is to hand over “Freedom” as a gift to Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)*, as well as 18 boxes of medical supplies, gauzes and sutures, to the organization My Care in Gaza. The lack of healthcare in the Gaza strip is appalling.

Our long term demands are also that the eleven-year illegal and destructive blockade of the Gaza Strip is finally lifted. The Swedish government has repeatedly backed the requirement of a lifting of the blockade. We now expect that the same government, whose flag is worn by the attacked ship, will also support our specific requirements regarding crew, cargo and ships. Ship to Gaza calls on Israel and Egypt to now meet the demands of large parts of the world community, that the illegitimate and destructive blockade of the Gaza Strip will be lifted after eleven years of isolation and aggression.

There is an obvious discrepancy between that “Friday 3 August” date, which she wrote on 5 August, versus the subsequent claim in the August 20th released video, of “29 July 2018,” as being the date on which their boats were stolen. An explanation is thus needed from them, regarding that discrepancy. However, in any case, the Swedish Ship to Gaza has made public that,

Ship to Gaza has now received an answer to the open letter that we, through our chairman Jeanette Escanilla, have sent to the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallström on August 5th.

The Minister writes:

**

Thank you for your letter dated 5th of August 2018. 

The situation in Gaza is very critical. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has described the situation as a humanitarian crisis. Furthermore, as you wrote, the lack of medical supplies is disastrous, not least since so many people have been injured as Israeli military has been deployed in connection with demonstrations along Gaza’s border in recent months.

Sweden upholds the principle of freedom of the seas and freedom of navigation. The government has been in contact with the Israeli authorities regarding Ship to Gaza, and has expressed that the actions of the Israeli authorities in relation to the Swedish-flagged vessel Freedom and the persons onboard constitutes a breach of international law. The government has also demanded that the ship, its cargo and the persons who were aboard be released. The Swedish Embassy in Tel Aviv is monitoring the imprisoned Swedish citizens’ consular rights and visited all of them on Sunday, August the 5th. 

The Swedish government will continue to work towards an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and towards a fair and sustainable two-state solution in which the two states can co-exist, peacefully, side by side. Ending the isolation of Gaza and providing humanitarian aid to its people are two critical, urgent steps towards that end. 

(Translated by Ship to Gaza)

The Swedish Ship to Gaza commented on that statement:

Ship to Gaza wishes to emphasize that the wording … in principle corresponds with our own demands that the crew, cargo and boat should be returned to the place where they were boarded and be allowed to continue their journey to Gaza. We are now being notified that the activists and crew is being deported from Israel. This is not in agreement with our demands or with the requests of the Swedish government.

We also want to know what the Swedish government is doing now to enforce the demands regarding our ships, cargo and crew, but even more importantly, also with regards to the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

On August 8th, Ms. Dressler posted:

Anna arrived last night at Berlin airport. Read her preliminary report of the cruel and inhumane treatment that the Israeli authorities meted out to her despite having a German passport. “…Can you then imagine how few rights Palestinians have…”

Anna’s resolve is strengthened and she declared that “We will continue to fight for freedom…”.

Please continue to demand the release of all of the Political Prisoners.

On August 13th, the Freedom Flotilla posted “SECOND MEDIA RELEASE ON MEDICAL SUPPLIES NOT REACHING GAZA” and listed, and linked, to the international laws that Israel had violated in this incident.

On August 17th, UK’s Stuart Littlewood headlined at American Herald Tribune “The UK’s Prime Minister-in-Waiting Must Zap the Circling Sharks”, and he reported on the extreme pressure that the progressive UK politician Jeremy Corbyn was facing for his not clearly taking a stand favoring Israel against the Palestinians, and he reported Corbyn’s being accused by Israel of “anti-Semitism” for that (as if it were wrong to recognize that Israel is an enemy nation; as if to recognize this is somehow against Jews or Judaism, instead of being against racist fascism in any nation, and against apartheid in any nation, and against theocracy in any nation, and against the imposition by any nation, of dictatorship — all of which presumptions are clearly lies). Littlewood noted that,

While the mainstream, including the BBC, have been sticking the knife into Corbyn, none of them (as far as I’m aware) reported a much more serious outrage – the hijacking by Israeli Occupation Forces of two vessels heading for Gaza and the violent assault, abduction and imprisonment of the 34 people from 12 countries who were on board – one of them a British consultant from the famous ‘Barts’ Hospital in London.

That is basically where things currently stand on this matter. The other governments involved (among the 12, besides Sweden), have been silent. Only Dressler’s nation has not. But no indication exists that even Sweden is following up with any demand against Israel. The underlying assumption seems to be that governments in The West (including the Sauds and their friends — all also “Western”) will continue simply to side with Israel against the Palestinians, even when their own citizens’ rights have been violated by Israel’s illegal imposition and enforcement of this illegal blockade.

Among the Governments that refused to enforce its citizens’ rights in this matter is the United States. Refusing to enforce its citizens rights that have been illegally violated by Israel, is routine for the U.S. Government to do. Ever since 1967, Israel has been supported by America, though America’s enemy, at war against Americans, and Israel has stayed that way, but the U.S. Government itself (and its news-media) has been keeping that fact, of Israel’s war against Americans — Israel’s being an enemy — a bipartisan secret from the American people (who are required, furthermore, by their Government, to pay to Israel’s Government, $3.8 billion per year, so that it can buy U.S.-made weapons from Lockheed Martin and other politically top-connected American companies — Eisenhower’s “military-industrial complex” — which are the intended beneficiaries of this coercion, by America’s Government, against America’s citizens). It’s the proven and incontrovertible reality, of the U.S. Government’s tyranny, against its own people.

Without such lies as that Israel is America’s friend instead of America’s enemy, and without such hiding of crucial facts from the public (for ‘national-security’ purposes, of course — not for billionaires’ profits), none of this could happen, and could be even credibly called ‘democracy’. This is actually a ‘democracy’ based on lies. But is that really possible, or is it instead just another lie, one to cover-up all the others? If that’s the case, then the problem is, obviously, much deeper than merely Israel versus the Palestinians, and nothing that the mainstream press publishes in The West regarding international relations can be trusted, at all, for its keeping this secret throughout the decades.

Certainly, what you are now reading, on this site, isn’t mainstream in The West. So, you are here reading Western samizdat, forbidden truths — truths that are forbidden to be published in The West. Nonetheless, all of this article is documented to be true. Just click onto a link anywhere that you doubt it. You will find that it’s all true — not just “maybe true” (like mainstream ‘news’ often is) — it is all unequivocally true. And, yet, what politician can say it? What would they be implying if they did say it? Can they say it? Apparently not.

What you’ve read here is, therefore, exposing just the visible tip, of an iceberg, of lies.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Israel an Enemy of Freedom-Loving People Everywhere

August 23, 2018

Israel an Enemy of Freedom-Loving People Everywhere

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

Israel is fighting constantly not only against Gazans, and against Palestinians generally; it is fighting constantly against freedom-loving people everywhere, who oppose dictatorship of any type, and in any country, on principle, irrespective of nationality.

Here’s an example showing how much of a dictatorship and enemy of democrats it is:

Anna Dressler was a ship-hand on a flotilla of two small boats launched from Palermo Italy that were manned by 34 people from 12 countries in international waters and that were seized — stolen — by Israel’s military, on 29 July 2018. They became seized because these boats were carrying medical supplies in violation of Israel’s internationally illegal blockade against food and medicine reaching the residents of Gaza. She was on the boat “Al-Awda,” which was 42 miles from Gaza at the time of seizure-theft. Israel’s troops seizing it were masked, and were armed with machine-guns.

The first video of this incident was released on August 20th.

“Legal and Welfare Update and Appeal” dated August 14th by the Freedom Flotilla, stated that,

The two boats ‘Al Awda’ (The Return) and ‘Freedom’ were hijacked by the Israeli Occupation Forces in international waters 42 and 49 nautical miles respectively off the coast of Gaza. During their unlawful detention, crew, participants and journalists were subjected to a range of physical and emotional violence.

The captain of Al Awda was threatened with execution, 4 people were tasered, 3 people had ribs broken by the Israeli military and one person had his foot broken.

They were all taken against their will to Israel, unlawfully imprisoned and ultimately deported. The Israeli authorities have stolen the boats and the 13,000 Euros worth of medical supplies that we were carrying as gifts, as well as many of the participants’ personal belongings (including clothes, a Bible, credit cards, IDs and mobile phones). Incredibly, they have begun to take legal action to attempt to confiscate the boats.

These people had been in constant communication with their colleagues on land; so, if they’d been killed by the Israelis, it would immediately have become an international incident, enraging 12 countries. They had to be released, and thus they were. These people weren’t Palestinians; they had rights that were cared-about in other countries. Though a gangster-state, Israel recognized that these people couldn’t be simply discarded, like trash — as Palestinians are treated by Israel.

So, here’s how the journey got to that stage:Image result for anna dressler on flotilla

On June 27th, Ms. Dressler, writing in the third person as “she,” had posted, as “Deckhand on Freedom”, her personal background, and presented an explanation, written as impersonally as she could, as to why she was participating in this flotilla (which, though she didn’t note the fact, was manned entirely by volunteers who knew that they were placing themselves in severe jeopardy for doing this):

Anna was born in Germany and is now living in Sweden, but mostly she is out on travels and ‘projects’ around the globe. She is an activist and problem solver – a person with a diversity of professions. In 2012, she was the Project Leader for an anti-money laundering campaign. In 2015-2016, she participated in a private project working with refugees near the Macedonian border and along the Balkan route. She enjoys her freedom wholeheartedly and wants others to have the same opportunity.

On July 18th was posted, by the Freedom Flotilla, the following “Leaving For Gaza – Media Release”:

Four boats from the ‘Right to a Just Future for Palestine’ Freedom Flotilla Coalition are scheduled to leave Palermo, Sicily, to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza, and to assert the Palestinian people’s right to freedom of movement and their right to a just future. …

As always, our boats carry representatives from across the world and messages of love and solidarity for those living under the inhumane, decade-old blockade – the collective punishment on the civilian Palestinian population of Gaza. Given the dire situation in Palestinian hospitals, we are also transporting some urgently needed medical supplies (#Gauze4Gaza).

This need is even more critical given the thousands of people severely wounded by Israeli snipers and tear gas in the past few months during the Great March of Return protests (see 10 July UN report on serious injuries). …

It is also encouraging to see the local welcomes we are being given, including by the Mayor of Palermo who rightly connects our campaign with the Caravana Abriendo Fronteras, who have just arrived from Spain, and similar demands for the opening of borders and freedom of movement from the City Council of Cádiz (Spain) and Naples (Italy).

Spokesperson for the International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza, James Godfrey said: “This Flotilla is necessary to highlight the international community’s failure and its ongoing complicity in the illegal blockade of over two million Palestinians in Gaza, more than half of them children.”

On July 23rd, was posted “Freedom Flotilla Coalition sets sail for a just future for Palestine”, and it reported:

Freedom Flotilla leaves Palermo to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza.

Three boats are sailing with boxes of medical supplies: Al Awda (The Return), a large converted fishing vessel; Freedom to Gaza, a large sailing vessel; and Falestine, a smaller sailing vessel. A fourth boat, Mairead, will not sail at this time. Another Sicilian port Messina, opened its open arms as usual with a series of wonderful community events, and we are grateful for their solidarity.

All three boats making their way to Gaza will be donated to the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, that includes a fisherman’s union that will use the boats to fish in order to feed their families.

Spokesperson for the Swedish Ship to Gaza campaign, Jeannette Escanilla, said the boats would provide important economic and training opportunities for Palestinians trapped in Gaza.

“The illegal Israeli naval blockade has devastated the Palestinian economy, and in particular has hurt the fishing industry in Gaza so these boats will provide important economic opportunities for Palestinians in Gaza, and also training opportunities in sailing, to enable them to gain better qualifications. Currently, the Israeli Occupying Force prevent Palestinians in Gaza from sailing more than a few nautical miles from shore, and routinely attack fishing and other boats from Gaza.”

On July 26th, Dressler posted “ON THE WAY TO GAZA WITH FREEDOM – ANNA DRESSLER (UNITED KINGDOM/GERMANY)”. She said:

Gaza is a zone in the world where human rights seem to be forgotten. I believe that every person can change the world, on their own way, wherever they are and in which way they can. Let’s start here, with a blockade that should never have existed, and continues, along with everyone else, man-made, disasters.

On August 4th was posted to youtube “ANNA DRESSLER – SOS”, in which, six days after the seizure, theft, and assault, by Israel, against these people and their vessels, Anna, speaking in Swedish, publicly demanded that her Government in Stockholm enforce her rights as a Swede, against the Government of Israel, and that the ships and their supplies be at least returned to their owners.

On that same date, August 4th, the Freedom Flotilla itself headlined “SOS – Just Future for Palestine”, and officially notified the foreign ministers of the 12 involved countries whose nationals’ rights had been violated by Israel in this incident. These 12 countries were: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, UK, and U.S.

The following day, August 5th, Jeannette Escanilla wrote, for the Steering Committee, Ship to Gaza Sweden (her official title being “Spokesperson for the Swedish Ship to Gaza campaign”), addressed as follows:

To the Foreign Minister of Sweden; Margot Wallström

To the Prime Minister of Sweden; Stefan Löfven

Ship to Gaza’s sailing ketch “Freedom for Gaza” was approaching the coast of Gaza when it was boarded by Israeli militants on Friday 3 August on international waters, a gross violation of international law. The last reported position of the vessel before boarding was about 40 nautical miles from coast of Gaza at 20:06 (CET).

The Swedish flagged ship and its cargo of medical supplies were seized by Israel and the 12 persons onboard were abducted and led to Israel, a country they did not intend to visit.

Ship to Gaza demands that the captured crew, the ship and its and cargo will be returned to the position where they were boarded and allowed to continue their voyage on international and Palestinian waters without being interupted, in accordance with international law. In this way we can complete the purpose of the journey, which is to hand over “Freedom” as a gift to Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)*, as well as 18 boxes of medical supplies, gauzes and sutures, to the organization My Care in Gaza. The lack of healthcare in the Gaza strip is appalling.

Our long term demands are also that the eleven-year illegal and destructive blockade of the Gaza Strip is finally lifted. The Swedish government has repeatedly backed the requirement of a lifting of the blockade. We now expect that the same government, whose flag is worn by the attacked ship, will also support our specific requirements regarding crew, cargo and ships. Ship to Gaza calls on Israel and Egypt to now meet the demands of large parts of the world community, that the illegitimate and destructive blockade of the Gaza Strip will be lifted after eleven years of isolation and aggression.

There is an obvious discrepancy between that “Friday 3 August” date, which she wrote on 5 August, versus the subsequent claim in the August 20th released video, of “29 July 2018,” as being the date on which their boats were stolen. An explanation is thus needed from them, regarding that discrepancy. However, in any case, the Swedish Ship to Gaza has made public that,

Ship to Gaza has now received an answer to the open letter that we, through our chairman Jeanette Escanilla, have sent to the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallström on August 5th.

The Minister writes:

**

Thank you for your letter dated 5th of August 2018. 

The situation in Gaza is very critical. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has described the situation as a humanitarian crisis. Furthermore, as you wrote, the lack of medical supplies is disastrous, not least since so many people have been injured as Israeli military has been deployed in connection with demonstrations along Gaza’s border in recent months.

Sweden upholds the principle of freedom of the seas and freedom of navigation. The government has been in contact with the Israeli authorities regarding Ship to Gaza, and has expressed that the actions of the Israeli authorities in relation to the Swedish-flagged vessel Freedom and the persons onboard constitutes a breach of international law. The government has also demanded that the ship, its cargo and the persons who were aboard be released. The Swedish Embassy in Tel Aviv is monitoring the imprisoned Swedish citizens’ consular rights and visited all of them on Sunday, August the 5th. 

The Swedish government will continue to work towards an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and towards a fair and sustainable two-state solution in which the two states can co-exist, peacefully, side by side. Ending the isolation of Gaza and providing humanitarian aid to its people are two critical, urgent steps towards that end. 

(Translated by Ship to Gaza)

The Swedish Ship to Gaza commented on that statement:

Ship to Gaza wishes to emphasize that the wording … in principle corresponds with our own demands that the crew, cargo and boat should be returned to the place where they were boarded and be allowed to continue their journey to Gaza. We are now being notified that the activists and crew is being deported from Israel. This is not in agreement with our demands or with the requests of the Swedish government.

We also want to know what the Swedish government is doing now to enforce the demands regarding our ships, cargo and crew, but even more importantly, also with regards to the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

On August 8th, Ms. Dressler posted:

Anna arrived last night at Berlin airport. Read her preliminary report of the cruel and inhumane treatment that the Israeli authorities meted out to her despite having a German passport. “…Can you then imagine how few rights Palestinians have…”

Anna’s resolve is strengthened and she declared that “We will continue to fight for freedom…”.

Please continue to demand the release of all of the Political Prisoners.

On August 13th, the Freedom Flotilla posted “SECOND MEDIA RELEASE ON MEDICAL SUPPLIES NOT REACHING GAZA” and listed, and linked, to the international laws that Israel had violated in this incident.

On August 17th, UK’s Stuart Littlewood headlined at American Herald Tribune “The UK’s Prime Minister-in-Waiting Must Zap the Circling Sharks”, and he reported on the extreme pressure that the progressive UK politician Jeremy Corbyn was facing for his not clearly taking a stand favoring Israel against the Palestinians, and he reported Corbyn’s being accused by Israel of “anti-Semitism” for that (as if it were wrong to recognize that Israel is an enemy nation; as if to recognize this is somehow against Jews or Judaism, instead of being against racist fascism in any nation, and against apartheid in any nation, and against theocracy in any nation, and against the imposition by any nation, of dictatorship — all of which presumptions are clearly lies). Littlewood noted that,

While the mainstream, including the BBC, have been sticking the knife into Corbyn, none of them (as far as I’m aware) reported a much more serious outrage – the hijacking by Israeli Occupation Forces of two vessels heading for Gaza and the violent assault, abduction and imprisonment of the 34 people from 12 countries who were on board – one of them a British consultant from the famous ‘Barts’ Hospital in London.

That is basically where things currently stand on this matter. The other governments involved (among the 12, besides Sweden), have been silent. Only Dressler’s nation has not. But no indication exists that even Sweden is following up with any demand against Israel. The underlying assumption seems to be that governments in The West (including the Sauds and their friends — all also “Western”) will continue simply to side with Israel against the Palestinians, even when their own citizens’ rights have been violated by Israel’s illegal imposition and enforcement of this illegal blockade.

Among the Governments that refused to enforce its citizens’ rights in this matter is the United States. Refusing to enforce its citizens rights that have been illegally violated by Israel, is routine for the U.S. Government to do. Ever since 1967, Israel has been supported by America, though America’s enemy, at war against Americans, and Israel has stayed that way, but the U.S. Government itself (and its news-media) has been keeping that fact, of Israel’s war against Americans — Israel’s being an enemy — a bipartisan secret from the American people (who are required, furthermore, by their Government, to pay to Israel’s Government, $3.8 billion per year, so that it can buy U.S.-made weapons from Lockheed Martin and other politically top-connected American companies — Eisenhower’s “military-industrial complex” — which are the intended beneficiaries of this coercion, by America’s Government, against America’s citizens). It’s the proven and incontrovertible reality, of the U.S. Government’s tyranny, against its own people.

Without such lies as that Israel is America’s friend instead of America’s enemy, and without such hiding of crucial facts from the public (for ‘national-security’ purposes, of course — not for billionaires’ profits), none of this could happen, and could be even credibly called ‘democracy’. This is actually a ‘democracy’ based on lies. But is that really possible, or is it instead just another lie, one to cover-up all the others? If that’s the case, then the problem is, obviously, much deeper than merely Israel versus the Palestinians, and nothing that the mainstream press publishes in The West regarding international relations can be trusted, at all, for its keeping this secret throughout the decades.

Certainly, what you are now reading, on this site, isn’t mainstream in The West. So, you are here reading Western samizdat, forbidden truths — truths that are forbidden to be published in The West. Nonetheless, all of this article is documented to be true. Just click onto a link anywhere that you doubt it. You will find that it’s all true — not just “maybe true” (like mainstream ‘news’ often is) — it is all unequivocally true. And, yet, what politician can say it? What would they be implying if they did say it? Can they say it? Apparently not.

What you’ve read here is, therefore, exposing just the visible tip, of an iceberg, of lies.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Palestinian Resistance’s Strongest Retaliation since 2014: Barrage of Shells Hit Settlements

May 29, 2018

Palestinian fighters

The Palestinian resistance bombed Tuesday morning the settlements of the so-called “Gaza envelope” with dozens of rocket-propelled grenades in response to Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

The Israeli military confirmed that a barrage of more than 28 mortar shells was fired toward the southern occupied territories. Israeli media said the IOF attacked eastern Gaza with artillery fire.

“Rocket sirens were heard around 7 A.M. in several southern Israeli communities, including Eshkol, Shaar Hanegev and Sdot Negev. Residents in the vicinity reported sounds of explosions. About an hour later, a second round of rocket sirens was heard again in Eshkol. A third round of sirens was heard around 9:30 A.M. in the kibbutzim of Nirim and Ein Hashlosha,” Haaretz reported.

Israeli fire has killed more than 110 unarmed Palestinians, during protests against the Israeli aggression, which climaxed on May 14.

On Sunday, Islamic Jihad resistance movement threatened to respond to an IOF attack on Hamas targets in southern Gaza in which three of its fighters were martyred. “The Zionist enemy cannot dictate a new formula in which it will harm our people without a painful response,” the Al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s military wing, threatened.

Source: Websites

 

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Trump To Pick Former Texas Governor Rick Perry as Energy Secretary

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Rick Perry and His De-politicized God

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry apparently is President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to head the Department of Energy–or at least that’s what the New York Times and others are reporting.

The media are making much to do of an on-air gaffe by Perry in 2011 when he was running for the Republican nomination for president (a race he ended up losing to Mitt Romney). At that time, in a televised debate, Perry attempted to name three federal departments he intended to close should he be elected president. The three departments were the departments of Education, Commerce, and Energy (although, ironically, he drew a blank when trying to think of the name of the latter–the very department he apparently will oversee in the Trump administration).

Below is an article I wrote on Perry back during that 2011-2012 campaign season. The article does not deal with his on-air gaffe but rather with a prayer rally he held at Reliant Stadium in Houston in August of 2011. Perry professes himself a Christian, but as I noted in the article, during the prayer rally Jesus was scarcely mentioned at all while God was presented as a deity who overall has no great qualms with America’s wars.

You’ll keep in mind, of course, that at the time I wrote the article, the war in Syria was just getting under way. ISIS had yet to emerge, and widespread killings of Christians had not as yet begun to happen. You might also keep in mind that the policies of Israel and the US have helped to fuel ISIS.

***

The Hypocrite’s Masquerade

By Richard Edmondson

Rick Perry, the exhibitionistic governor of Texas, claims he’s a Christian. On August 6, 2011, in a sports stadium in Houston, Perry held a “prayer and fast rally” which drew some 30,000 people, a day-long affair that had been organized with the aim of praying for a “nation in crisis.” Certainly the U.S. is in a crisis, and as a person of religious faith I obviously think prayer can be a spiritually awakening experience when undertaken from an attitude of genuine and steadfast sincerity and with humility and love for God foremost in one’s mind. But here’s the thing: like all of America’s politicians, Perry is little more than a painted caricature of a human being to whom sincerity seems to be a hazardous chemical compound best discarded and left alone.

In a recent article by Philip Giraldi, we learn that Perry in late June appealed to Attorney General Eric Holder for the prosecution of American citizens who participated in this year’s Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Giraldi observes that the governor, as a potential frontrunner in next year’s presidential campaign, appeared to be “sharpening his foreign policy credentials” and seemed to be doing so “in the traditional way by cozying up to the Israel lobby.” And of course, had Holder undertaken such a prosecution, those who joined this year’s ultimately-thwarted flotilla, as Giraldi correctly notes, could have faced the prospect of “spending the rest of their lives in a federal prison for doing absolutely nothing wrong.”

The governor’s prayer rally was dubbed “The Response,” and in his talk at the event, Perry  professed his love for America, quoted scripture, touted his belief in a “loving God,” his high regard for a “living Christ,” and expressed pointed concern for Americans who have lost jobs and homes:

Our hearts do break for those who suffer, those afflicted by the loss of loved ones, the pain of addiction, the strife that they may find at home, those who have lost jobs, who have lost their homes, people who have lost hope.

It is nice that Perry musters such empathy for out of work Americans, a sad number of whom find themselves coping for the first time in their lives with the experience of living in vehicles or, in worst-case scenarios, directly on the streets. Unmentioned by Perry, quite naturally, is any acknowledgement that this state of affairs came about as a result of decades of public policies favoring the rich over the poor, but of course, such an acknowledgement cannot in any way be made. Why? Because Perry, like many conservative, evangelical Christians, worships a depoliticized god, a god wholly unconcerned with the corrupt practices of those who wield power, even if their decisions result in death, wars, poverty, and widespread misery. As Perry puts it, “His (God’s) agenda is not a political agenda; his agenda is a salvation agenda.” The Texas governor even jokes, somewhat flatly, that God is “wise enough to not be affiliated with any political party.”

In other words, God and politics don’t mix. But such a claim is by its very nature political. If you stand before a crowd and proclaim God’s political neutrality on the multiple wars America is waging in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, you have made an inherently political statement. You are saying that God only cares about the individual’s salvation, not mass killings. This in essence is a validation of the status quo, an affirmation of war—the same wars that have bankrupted the country to the point of causing suffering and job loss to the very Americans Perry claims to be praying for. The governor, despite assertions to the contrary, is injecting politics into the religious debate and religion into the political debate.

And what of Jesus? If God is to be depoliticized, what becomes of Christ and of such overtly political statements as “It is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven”? There doesn’t seem to be much room for them, does there? Is it not odd, that while the Texas governor inserted biblical quotations into his speech—three in all, two from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament book of Ephesians—at no point in his twelve and a half minute oration did he supply a single direct quote from Jesus? Fancy that if you will! No quote from Christ—and at a Christian rally no less! Were Perry a true follower of Jesus, he might well have quoted Christ’s beatitude, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” and issued a call for the wars to end; or perhaps he might have recited the parable of the Good Samaritan as an illustration of why programs to help the needy—programs almost totally gutted in recent years—now, more than ever, need urgently to be restored; or he could have reminded his listeners of Jesus’ uncompromising denunciation of the political leaders of his day—“Woe to you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!”—and called upon all Christians to follow that preeminent example of standing up and speaking truth to power.

The fact that Perry did none of these things should not surprise us, however. Ten days ago I argued that in the Christian Zionist religion, Jews quite literally replace Jesus as an object of veneration and adoration, and that in reality Christian Zionists worship not Jesus—but Jews. Here in part is what I wrote:

In Christian Zionism, Christ is reduced to a minor, almost inconsequential figure. CZs [Christian Zionists] are quick to point out that Jesus was Jewish, and that’s certainly a point in his favor where they are concerned, but the vast majority of his teachings are discarded. For CZs, the real object of worship is the Jewish people in a collective sense. Let me repeat that: CZs do not worship Christ; they worship Jews.

Extremely steeped in the Old Testament, the theology of Christian Zionism is driven by the belief that Jews are God’s “chosen people”, that they are therefore superior, and that it is the obligation of Gentiles to “bless” them (read: “serve” them) as is commanded in Genesis 12:3. Any concerns about Jesus come secondary to this. CZs view the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 as nothing short of a miracle of God, and this is a belief they are likely to retain no matter how many mass murders, genocides, war crimes, and crimes against humanity Israel commits. In fact, the more Israel does these things, the more CZs are likely to approve of it, for the Jews of the Old Testament carried out very similar acts.

A depoliticized god who favors Jews and has no qualms about war—it sounds pretty much like the sort of religion Jews would prescribe for Gentiles. And indeed, as I went on to note, this is what Noahidism is all about. Heavily promoted by the Chabad Lubavitch movement, Noahidism in a nutshell is Christian Zionism with Jesus formally, finally, and irrevocably stripped away. Is this what Christian Zionism is gradually evolving into? Will the two religions merge at some point? It’s hard to say, and I don’t have a crystal ball, but certainly no mention of Jesus can be found in Perry’s closing prayer on August 6. The text of the prayer reads as follows:

Father our heart breaks for America. We see discord at home; we see fear in the market place. We see anger in the halls of govt. As a nation, we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us, and for that we cry out for your forgiveness. We pray for our nation’s leaders, Lord, for parents, for pastors, for the generals, for governors, that you would inspire them. In these difficult times, Father we pray for our president, that you would impart your wisdom upon him, that you would guard his family. We pray for our military and the families who love them, O Father especially for those special operators who lost their lives yesterday [chokes back a sob] in defending our freedoms. You call us to repent Lord, and this day is our response. We give it all to you, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen and amen and amen.

Not surprisingly, the Houston event was attended by busloads of worshippers who had journeyed up from the San Antonio mega-church pastored by Christian Zionist leader John Hagee. One of them, in a curious comment made to David Weigel of Slate, expressed his concern that “Christianity is under attack,” this while at the same time lavishly praising Perry:

“If this is successful here,” he says, “I think other governors, or other politicians, will come out of the closet. Christianity is under attack, and we don’t speak out about it.”

Probably nowhere on earth is Christianity more despised and under attack than in Israel, a fact seemingly lost on Christian Zionists, and we can probably safely assume the irony of the above statement was wholly unrecognized by its speaker. How many Christian Zionists, for instance, are aware that in Israel priests are spat upon or that New Testaments have been burned by mobs of protesters? How many know the extent to which Christ is vilified in the Talmud, or that the Talmud even vilifies him at all? Talmudic treatment of Christ, by the way, is a topic extensively covered in Jesus in the Talmud, by Peter Shäfer, a professor of Jewish studies at Princeton; it is a book few Christian Zionists most likely have bothered picking up. If they did, however, they could read of a loathsome portrayal of Jesus spending eternity in hell boiling in excrement—as well as (rather surprisingly) proud proclamations of Jews being responsible for his death:

On the other hand, we should not forget that it was also the gist of the Baraita’s [non-Mishnaic oral laws’] narrative that the Jews took upon themselves the responsibility for Jesus’ execution. So the later Babylonian discourse may not want to accept the Gospel’s blame for Jesus’ death; rather, like the Baraita but with different reasoning, it may want to convey the message: yes, the Roman governor wanted to set him free, but we did not give in. He was a blasphemer and an idolater, and although the Romans could probably not care less, we insisted that he got what he deserved. We even convinced the Roman governor (or more precisely: forced him to accept) that this heretic and imposter needed to be executed—and we are proud of it.

What we then have here in the Bavli [Babylonian Talmud] is a powerful confirmation of the New Testament passion narrative, a creative reading, however, that not only knows some of its distinct details but proudly proclaims Jewish responsibility for Jesus’ execution. Ultimately and more precisely, therefore, it turns out to be a complete reversal of the New Testament’s message of shame and guilt: we do accept, it argues, responsibility for this heretic’s death, but there is no reason to be ashamed of it and feel guilty for it. We are not the murderers of the Messiah and Son of God, nor of the king of the Jews as Pilate wanted to have it. Rather, we are the rightful executioners of a blasphemer and idolater, who was sentenced according to the full weight, but also the fair procedure, of our law. If this interpretation is correct, we are confronted here with a message that boldly and even aggressively challenges the Christian charges against the Jews as the killers of Christ. For the first time in history we encounter Jews who, instead of reacting defensively, raise their voice and speak out against what would become the perennial story of the triumphant Church. (Jesus in the Talmud, p. 73-740

He needed to be executed—and we are proud of it. Talmudic rabbis are such a pleasant, jocular lot, are they not? And of course these are the “chosen people” to whom the Christian Zionists have pledged their prayerful and unqualified support, Christian Zionists who no doubt, as the one quoted in Slate, voice the occasional fret over Christianity being “under attack.”

At this point we have to ask ourselves is Governor Rick Perry aware of the manner in which Christians are treated on the streets of Jerusalem? Is he aware of how Jesus is depicted in the Talmud? Has he heard? Does he know of these things? Or does he speak in ignorance? Perhaps, most crucially of all, if he did know of these things would it even matter to him? Or would he continue to support Israel? The practice of going about proclaiming themselves followers of Jesus by politicians like Perry is as common as the common flu, yet it is an abomination nonetheless, and Christians need to start recognizing it as such. Followers of Christ would do well to recognize something else as well: that last week’s prayer rally in Houston was a masquerade ball of hypocrites and false prophets preying upon the easily deceived. As Jesus warned, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

Pink Floyd Reunites in Public Support of Palestine

Posted on October 7, 2016

rwaters_apwall

[ Ed. note – As of this writing, Roger Waters’ post on Facebook, which you can find here, has garnered 5,682 shares and 996 comments. Lots of Zionist trolls of course, spitting mad and swarming like flies on a hot summer day. Interesting comments as well, however:

fbcmnt

I have no idea whether we will see a Pink Floyd concert for Palestine, but of course it is fun to dream. ]

By Jason Lemon

Could Pink Floyd be planning a reunion concert in support of Palestine?

Well, band member Roger Waters took to Facebook yesterday, posting a message that suggests that it’s definitely a possibility.

Roger Waters

on Wednesday

“Pink Floyd reunites to stand with the Women of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla”

David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Roger Waters stand united in support of the Women of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, and deplore their illegal arrest and detention in international waters by the Israeli Defense Force.

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Waters’ post references the recent detention of female activists aboard a boat that attempted to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, in an effort to deliver aid to the besieged Palestinian area.

This isn’t the first time that Waters has expressed his support for Palestine. The rock star hasaparthisrael long been vocally opposed to Israeli aggression and has consistently expressed his solidarity with the Palestinian people.

“After visiting Israel in 2005 and the West Bank the following year, I was deeply moved and concerned by what I saw, and determined to add my voice to those searching for an equitable and lawful solution to the problem,” Waters wrote in an op-ed for Salon in 2014.

 

He also expressed his full support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement: “I have determined that the BDS approach is one I can fully support.”

Speaking of Palestine, Waters told The Independent in February: “This is an ancient, brilliant, artistic and very humane civilization that is being destroyed in front of our eyes.”

Earlier this week, Waters also posted a video expressing support for the flotilla heading to Gaza.

In the video, Waters also expressed his support for the fans of the Scottish football team, Celtic, that waived Palestinian flags during a match between the team and an Israeli football club. The Celtic club was fined by the UEFA over the protest, but in response, fans raised more than 130,000 British pounds ($161,748) for Palestinian charities.

Is Erdogan Really Severing Ties with the West?

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A Penitent Sinner or a ‘Viper Who Can’t Be Trusted’?

Is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan really turning his back on the West? Or is what we’re seeing in the media today all just a charade? And if it’s a charade, what is the purpose of it?

Since the failed Turkish coup, we have seen Erdogan seemingly pivoting away from the US and toward Russia. And as this has been happening, we have also observed certain writers and pundits, including some who in the past have offered reasonable analyses, seemingly begin to reassess their views of the Turkish leader. It is almost as if Erdogan’s support for terrorists who have committed unspeakable horrors in Syria over the past five years is now not worth getting too bothered over–and all because Erdogan now seems to have switched his political alliances.

This is the case in Russian media in particular, but Western commentators have been offering similar views–which is why I wanted to post the following video filmed in Syria shortly after the coup attempt.

The people interviewed are Syrians on the street, who speak of the joy they felt upon first hearing of the coup taking place in Turkey…followed by the disappointment and letdown when news came that it had failed. Well can we understand their feelings. They, more so than anyone, are fully cognizant of the depravities Erdogan has unleashed upon their country.

Clearly these Syrians viewed Erdogan’s potential overthrow as a good thing–as something that could have brought an end to the five-year-long Western-waged proxy war that has plagued their country.

But you can go here and view two analysts interviewed on Press TV, both of them (starting at about 15 minutes into the program) expressing the view that it was a good thing the coup failed; or here to read a Counterpunch article whose author asserts confidently, “The Obama administrations (sic) disregard for the national security interests of its allies, has pushed the Turkish president into Moscow’s camp.” Amazingly, the author of the latter piece completely glosses over atrocities committed in Syria and Erdogan’s support for the terrorists who carried them out.

By contrast, Sheikh Imran Hosein has characterized Turkey as a “Trojan horse.” In a talk given in Kuala Lumpur on July 29 (see video here starting at about 35:38), Hosein gives an analysis of the Turkish coup, offering up the view that “Turkey is being prepared to become the Trojan horse for Russia.” He returns to the subject again at the tail end of the program (1:49:27):

This is not a civil war between Muslims and Muslims. You (Turkey and others who have supported NATO) have left Islam when you joined NATO. And you are proud and happy to be a member of NATO. And now you are becoming NATO’s Trojan horse after the failed coup d’état. He (Erdogan) knew the coup d’état was coming. He knew that Fethullah Gulen was part of it. He knew that NATO was a part of it. He knew all of that. And he knew that the coup was going to fail so that he could have a chance now to wipe out all the opposition there is to him in Turkey, so that Turkey now is strong, without any internal opposition, so that Turkey can now play a strategic role in anticipation of the war against Russia. We are not fools. Erdogan should know we are not fools. And I hope Putin knows that this is a Trojan horse.

Important to note here is that Erdogan is scheduled to visit Russia on August 9 for a meeting with Putin. The Turkish Stream gas pipeline is expected to be one of the topics of conversation. The pipeline would make it possible for the Russian company Gazprom to transport gas to Turkey, via the Black Sea, for export into southern Europe. Talks on the project began in 2014, but were suspended last year after the Turkish downing of a Russian Su-24 jet.

I’m not saying this is absolutely going to happen, but suppose Russia and Turkey were to seal an agreement, and suppose as a result Russia were to invest enormous sums of money into building the pipeline–only to see Turkey, once the pipeline is built, switch its alliance back to NATO and the US?

In the following video, most of the speakers, including the show host Peter Lavelle, take the “penitent sinner” view of Erdogan, seeing him, in other words, as one who has finally seen the error of his ways and who should, provided he meets certain stipulations (like sealing the Turkish-Syrian border to terrorists)  be welcomed back into humanity’s fold. The only member of the panel to take an opposing view is Mark Sleboda, who refers to Erdogan as “a viper who can’t be trusted.”

One of the guests, Dimitry Babich, does make an important point, however, and that is that prior to the outbreak of the Syrian conflict in 2011, Turkey had been well-thought of and Erdogan himself a respected figure on the world stage. Babich is correct in this. In 2009, at a World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Erdogan castigated then-Israeli President Shimon Peres over the Jewish state’s brutal assault upon Gaza (in Operation Cast Lead), and even quoted Gilad Atzmon in his comments! When the event moderator, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, tried to cut him off, Erdogan angrily got up and walked out of the event.

The episode made international news. Erdogan left Davos and returned home to a hero’s welcome in Turkey. Thousands of people turned out at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul waving Turkish and Palestinian flags. And it wasn’t only people in Turkey who were cheering at that point. A leader of a country–and not just any country, but a member of NATO–had finally told off the Israelis!

The following year, Erdogan’s esteem grew even higher. This was when a Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, led a humanitarian effort to break the blockade of Gaza. The Israelis attacked the ship, and killed nine people (a tenth died later), all of them Turks, except for Furkan Dogan, who was Turkish-American.

But starting in 2011, Erdogan changed. He began to align himself with what might conceivably be thought of as the powers of darkness. He gave his support to Zionist attempts at regime change in Syria. In essence it was a declaration of war by Turkey upon its southern neighbor. There was no outward reason for this sudden shift in policy. Relations between Syria and Turkey had been cordial up until this point. Why did Erdogan do it? I don’t know the answer to that, but I am reminded here of the temptation of Christ as told of in the gospels. I’ll quote a bit from the Gospel of Matthew:

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

Did the Zionists promise Erdogan “the kingdoms of the world and their splendor” if he would cooperate in the regime change effort in Syria?

Did they promise him a newly-reestablished Ottoman empire in a Middle East with redrawn national boundaries?

Or perhaps fabulous wealth from stolen oil? And is that why US leaders had nothing to say when Turkish troops entered northern Iraq in the latter part of last year? Is it why they still have nothing to say about their presence there now?

Is it also possible this is why they had nothing to say about Turkish support for ISIS–even after Russian surveillance exposed ISIS convoys of stolen oil entering Turkey?

And here is  perhaps the most pertinent question of all: Now that Turkey has carried out a policy of treachery against its Syrian neighbors over the past five years, has it at this time begun to plan a further treachery against Russia?

I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I’m inclined to agree with Sleboda when he offers the opinion that Erdogan is “a viper who can’t be trusted.”

Another point worth making is that most of Erdogan’s opposition is now jailed, which, as Hosein points out, gives the Turkish leader a much freer hand. This means that should he commit some outrage, against Russia or another country, Turkish civil society will be much less able to mount any sort of effective opposition.

Zionism’s Ongoing Campaign Against Free Speech

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Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Shurat HaDin, says the fight against BDS must be expanded “dramatically.”

Shurat HaDin, the Israeli legal organization that has used the tactics of “lawfare” to wage battles against Gaza flotillas and others whom Zionists want to put a stop to, is this week holding a training seminar focusing on the BDS movement.

According to the article below, the seminar is being attended by 70 attorneys from around the world, including the US, and will feature workshops on such topics as how to “combat BDS and other anti-Semitic movements.”

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Shurat HaDin, is quoted as saying that the fight against BDS must be expanded “dramatically.”

So does that mean if I ask a corporation to stop doing business with Israel, or even if I only publicly say, “I support the BDS movement,” that I could be facing a lawsuit?

The first amendment to our constitution is the only reason we haven’t seen holocaust denial laws adopted here in the US–that seems pretty clear. But you know, it occurs to me that it really becomes unnecessary to dismantle the constitution or pass laws banning speech if you can cow enough people into silence.

And one way you can do this is by instilling widespread fears of the prospect of facing a potentially bankrupting lawsuit for expressing your views–for even if you win your case, your legal fees are likely to be astronomical. The sad fact is only the rich can afford civil litigation. When you get sued, you aren’t offered the option of having a court-appointed attorney represent you. That’s one of the major flaws of the American legal system, and back in the nineties they used to call the kind of lawsuits Shurat HaDin seems to be contemplating “SLAPP suits.” (Stratetic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.)

If I publicly declare, “I support the BDS movement,” that is a form of public participation. The BDS movement is a nonviolent movement.  And your right to support it should be guaranteed by the first amendment. You absolutely should not have to worry about having to spend your life savings or mortgaging your house or borrowing money from relatives just to defend yourself against a lawsuit because of it.

People tend to get sorely vexed when they see their free speech rights being trampled upon. This is true pretty much everywhere, but particularly here in the US, where we have a long tradition of speech being protected under the first amendment. How do you suppose the legal antics of Shurat HaDin will factor into this equation? If we start seeing a series of penalizing lawsuits and other legal actions against BDS activists, will it cause the level of “anti-Semitism” to rise even further, possibly even in here America as well?

“Use your legal skills to defend Israel!”

This is how the seminar is promoted on a page at the Shurat HaDin website. The promo additionally describes it as “an intense one week program filled with cutting-edge lectures and workshops taught by accomplished jurists and legal scholars…” In addition to the workshop on BDS, there is also one on how to defend Israeli soldiers against war crimes complaints.

Why such a concern about war crimes charges? Isn’t Israel “the most moral Army in the world”?

The fact, of course, that one of the discussions is on how to “combat BDS and other anti-Semitic movements” would suggest that Shurat HaDin has some concerns about anti-Semitism. If so, are they oblivious to the possibility that intimidating people into silence about Israel is more likely to result in an increase in anti-Semitism than a reduction in it?

If anti-Semitism continues to rise, how will that impact the daily lives of Jews outside Israel, say those living in America, or particularly in Europe? Will it necessitate additional increases in security? Security at Jewish institutions is already pretty high, even in America, and much of it is being paid for out of public funds. How much higher will it need to go?

Perhaps a crucial question US Jews should start asking themselves is whether their continued support for Israel is worth it. Maybe the way to effect substantial change is not by waging a campaign of legal intimidation against the BDS movement; maybe the way to change things is by calling for Israel to dismantle its settlements, lift its blockade of Gaza, and agree to the establishment of a fully sovereign Palestinian state, with international peacekeepers to patrol the border.

This would seem to be a smarter way to bring the anti-Semitism level down. A continuation of Israel’s expansionist policies is almost guaranteed to increase it.

But maybe even better yet would be a complete dismantling of the Jewish state.

And if you happen to be a religious Jew, here is something you might want to consider in that regard.

Think how much more carefree, and less complicated, your life would be had the state of Israel never been founded.


Mossad-Linked Group Holds Anti-BDS Legal Seminar

MEMO

Shurat HaDin, an organisation with links to Israel’s government and security services, is holding a seminar this week in Jerusalem “to train lawyers from abroad to litigate BDS.” The gathering follows a period of intensified attacks by Israeli officials on the Palestinian-led boycott movement, including reports of imminent Justice Ministry-initiated lawsuits.

According to media reports, some 70 lawyers from around the world, including the US, Singapore, the Netherlands, South Africa, Germany, Canada and Belgium, will attend. The goal – to “equip” them with “the tactical tools and broader courtroom strategies they need” to fight BDS.

Continued here

 

 Recent posts

GAZA’S ARK ATTACKED

GA attackedGaza City – GazaAt 3:45 AM Gaza time on April 29th, the night guard on board Gaza’s Ark

received a call to leave the boat because it was going to be attacked.

The guard left, but when nothing happened, he returned after 5 minutes. A few
minutes later, a large explosion rocked the boat causing extensive damage.

The boat sank part way and is now sitting on the shallow sea floor. The guard
was not injured but was taken to hospital for tests.

Mahfouz Kabariti, Gaza’s Ark Project Manager, says: “The extent and nature of
the damage are currently being investigated. We will provide an update when
available.”

“Gaza’s Ark and all our partners in the Freedom Flotilla Coalition are
considering our next move in response to this cowardly act of terrorism, but
our position remains clear: Neither this nor any other attack will stop our
efforts to challenge the blockade of Gaza until it ends,” adds David Heap of
Gaza’s Ark Steering Committee.

“Freedom Flotilla boats have been sabotaged before. This attack comes as we
were almost ready to sail. You can sink a boat but you can’t sink a movement,”
concludes Ehab Lotayef, another member of the Steering Committee.

– 30 –

For information:
Ehab Lotayef +1-514-941-9792
David Heap +1-519-859-3579
Charlie Andreasson +970 (59) 8345327
http://www.gazaark.org
@GazaArk
info@gazaark.org
#GazaArkAttacked

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

"Turkey may have wisely cloaked its narrow retaliatory options in the language of proportionality"


FLC

Syria can deal ‘tit for tat’

[National Interest] “… Turkey’s intelligence-collection capabilities are limited, making target selection difficult and the possibility of air strikes remote. While it could have sent military aircraft to strike Syrian sites, Syria’s capable air defenses complicated the decision. Turkey remembers very well what Syrian air defenses can do to a Turkish fighter jet, and the potential for casualties factored into Turkey’s response.Erdogan and other AKP officials have periodically floated a buffer zone, and in theory, Turkey might have taken advantage of this opportunity to follow through on its oft-repeated threat. Turkey could have argued it needed to invade to push Syrian artillery out of range of Turkish cities and villages. However, deploying ground forces over five civilian deaths would have thrust Turkey even deeper into the Syrian conflict and risked moving too far out in front of its Western and Arab allies. The Erdogan government alone simply could not risk igniting full-scale conflict with Syria, nor could it risk being reined in by the intervention-wary members of NATO. 

The Turkish response likely will continue to be tit-for-tat artillery strikes alongside interventionist rhetoric—feinting to help reestablish deterrence. The response fits neatly into a narrative of proportionality and helps assuage domestic frustration with the AKP’s handling of the crisis. Turkey appears intent on managing tensions with Syria and preventing them from dragging Turkey into Syria’s internal conflict. Thus, Turkey may have wisely cloaked its narrow retaliatory options in the language of proportionality. 

Though the threat of escalation remains remote and the government seems committed to avoiding war, Turkey still faces an impossible situation: its involvement in the Syrian conflict deepens as its policy options fail to broaden. In part, this reflects forces outside Turkey’s control. Within NATO, Turkey invoked Article IV, and the ambassadors released a joint statement condemning Syrian aggression. However, the alliance has shown little appetite for intervention, and Turkey has refrained from invoking Article V, which would obligate NATO to aid in Turkey’s defense, though not necessarily result in a NATO decision to use military force. The United States, for its part, has refused direct Turkish appeals to support the Syrian conflict militarily. 

However, Turkey’s precarious situation stems in part from circumstances of its own making. Caught up in its growing regional stature and increasingly fond of liberal internationalism’s Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine, the AKP government miscalculated deeply in threatening independent action in Syria earlier this year. Such bluster without the considerable tools necessary to carry out its threats constituted a major error in the AKP government’s foreign policy. Turkey’s wisely tempered response to Syria’s brazen downing of the Turkish F-4 merely accentuated the incongruity of its threats and capabilities. Thus, when Syria struck again and killed civilians, Turkey’s unexecuted threats necessitated a response—if only to maintain a shred of credibility. 

Ankara’s options were limited from the outset, but breakdowns in relations with regional neighbors have exacerbated the problem….

Since the Mavi Marmara incident in which Israeli forces clashed with Turkish civilians—killing nine—aboard a ship attempting to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, Turkey has downgraded relations, primarily over Israel’s unwillingness to apologize…… the costs to Turkey have mounted as well. Without access to Israeli military technology, Turkey relies even more heavily on the United States, which contributed minimally in the latest flare-up between Turkey and Syria.
 

… While military confrontation was always unlikely, Assad has appeared unconcerned with Turkish threats on numerous occasions. Damascus quietly dismissed Turkey’s loud proclamations on possible unilateral intervention—eroding the threat of credible action and undermining Ankara’s overall policy objectives. The shelling, therefore, should not be viewed as the precursor to war but as Turkey enacting the most limited means of reprisal….”

Davutoglu tweeted: "The plane violated Syrian airspace, then exited, then lost its ‘consciousness’, then fell in Syrian waters"

Via FLC

Via ‘b’ of course;
(Strong similarities b/w what Ankara said after flotilla incident and Syria jet downing. Not much achieved with Israel)

… Turkish FM Davutoglu: The plane lost its “consciousness” and that’s why it fell in Syria’s waters.
Turkish FM Davutoglu: There is no any single warning to our plane before the shooting.
Turkish FM Davutoglu: Our plane shortly violated Syrian airspace, but not during the shooting time.
Turkish FM Davutoglu: It is possible to violate another state’s air space due to weather conditions, or technical things.
Turkish FM Davutoglu: Turkish plane violated Syria’s air space 15 minutes before the downing of our plane.
Turkish FM Davutoglu: Syria is trying connect the “not ill-intentioned violation” to the shooting of the plane. Irrelevant……
Turkish FM Davutoglu: Syria could have asked our intelligence why Turkish plane violated the Syrian air space. It didn’t happen.
Turkish FM Davutoglu: Syria is saying that “we didn’t know it was a Turkish plane.” Our data suggests otherwise.
Turkish FM Davutoglu: We detected conversations in Syrian side, suggesting that they knew it was a Turkish plane…..
Turkish FM Davutoglu: Our next step after getting the entire picture was to inform the international community. Talked to 10 FMs last night.
Turkish FM Davutoglu: We will hold our consultations with NATO member states, permanent security council members.
Turkish FM Davutoglu: All countries we talked to expressed their solidarity with Turkey. They found us right……
Turkish FM Davutoglu: There was some data leaks from Syria we describe as “disinformation”…..
Turkish FM Davutoglu: There were many violation of Syrian air space by other countries before. But Syria shot down our unarmed plane.
Turkish FM Davutoglu: No country can show courage to test Turkey’s patience.
Turkish FM Davutoglu: If Syria has become an element of instability not only towards its people but in the region, we will respond to that….
Turkish FM Davutoglu: We should not link Syrian crisis and downed Turkish fighter jet……
Turkish FM Davutoglu: Iran FM Salihi called me first and said they will do their best regarding downed Syrian jet.
Turkish FM Davutoglu: I told Iranian foreign minister that Turkey expects clear position from Tehran regarding downed Turkish jet by Syria.
 

MT @MustafaEdib: Strong similarities b/w what #Ankara said after #flotilla incident and Syria jet downing. Not much achieved with #Israel

The critical legal point that could be used to activate a NATO response is “hit 13 miles off the Syrian coast, in international air space”. That does not fit with this amateur video taken on a Syrian beach and uploaded shortly after the incident. It seems to shows anti air gun artillery shooting at the alleged plane. The point where the video was taken is here next to a hill with a white top and cleared anti-air positions. There is no way that any AA artillery Syria has could hit a plane 13 miles out.
 
 
 
It is also irrelevant if the plane was armed or not. Reconnaissance is a military task and to any air defense an unknown low flying fastmover intruding a countries air space is definitely a threat.
 
It seems to me that those who would buy what Davutoglu is trying to sell here would also be prospective customers of this or that Brooklyn bridge sale.


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Criminal Charges Placed against IDF General Ashkenazi

by Roy Tov
Friday, May 25th, 2012

Life sentence requested by Turkish authorities

Ashkenaziturkey1
Gabi Ashkenazi | Criminal Charges against former IDF Chief of Staff



A few days ago I published Hunting down Ashkenazi, where I said: “When the day comes it would be an important testimony in the trial of Barak and Ashkenazi for war crimes by the International Court of Justice.” That sentence cost me a record number of subscribers; yet, it may soon become reality. At the beginning of May 2012, Turkey’s Justice Ministry finished its probe on the IDF’s 2010 Freedom Flotilla raid. Turkish Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin requested then information from the country’s Foreign Ministry on several IDF soldiers; fact reported by the Turkish Today’s Zaman. Yesterday, May 24, it was made public that criminal charges had been placed by Turkey against several IDF officers, demanding life sentences. Among them is former IDF Chief of Staff, General Gaby Ashkenazi.

On May 31, 2010, nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists were killed by IDF soldiers in a confrontation with Shayetet 13 naval commandos that boarded the Mavi Marmara on international waters. The ship was bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza. Israel established the Turkel Committee to conduct an investigation; expectedly, its biased report determined that Israel’s takeover of the flotilla had been legal in terms of international law, but criticized the IDF’s preparations to the flotilla arrival as well as the operation itself.

advocate
Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Avichai Mendelblit
The IDF position was outrageous. Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Avichai Mendelblit addressed the Turkel Committee and claimed that the naval blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza in 2007 was according with international law, and that it was imposed due to pure military considerations and not as a part of economic warfare against Hamas. Showing disregard for the listeners intelligence, he then added: “Every step taken, be it part of classical warfare or economic warfare, aims to bring the other side to do what we want it to do.” Mr. Mendelblit, I am confused. Is there an economic warfare toward civilians or not? Mendelblit’s picture leaves no doubt: he is a Haredi Jew (notice his black kippa). As such, he studied the Talmud, meaning that he has at least a rudimentary understanding of logic. This wasn’t an unintentional mistake of a stupid man, but an attempt to mislead the public with carefully stated lies. In another part of his testimony, he said that “We have no desire to punish the civilian population” and “we won’t fire in an unguided manner into a civilian population.” For those finding these dubious, he added “no one in the IDF would think to violate international law.” Mr. Mendelblit, did you bother to read the Goldstone Report? Or at least the Beit Oranim Transcript? The last is in Hebrew, it should be easy for you. Both speak of repeated and intentional attacks on civilians by the IDF and of systematic violations of international law by the IDF. The Beit Oranim Transcript is disturbing; it describes the cold-blooded assassination of grandmothers, and mothers and their children by IDF soldiers and officers, who then spoke about it in a inner IDF event that took place in Beit Oranim; the report was published by Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Given the circumstances and its content, there is no doubt that the Turkel Committee Report is void of any value. Israel cannot investigate its own crimes.

MaviMarmara
Mavi Marmara | May 22, 2010
In early September 2011, the UN Palmer Report on the Gaza flotilla was published; it claimed that the IDF soldiers acted in self-defense, but used excessive force. Oddly enough, the self-defense of the ship crew and passengers was not properly accounted for by Mr. Palmer. In May 2012, the Turkish inquiry into the raid found that the raid was illegal. Turkish law allows for the trial of people accused of genocide or crimes against humanity even if the crimes are committed abroad; consequently, criminal charges had been placed against several of the IDF officers responsible for the mortal attack on the humanitarian convoy.

The Turkish government bases its charges—presented in a thick document of 144 pages—on the testimonies of around 600 people. 490 of them were on the attacked ship; the others are relatives of the killed. The government is asking ten life sentences for various IDF officers, including Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, back then the IDF Chief of Staff, Major General Eliezer Merom, back then commander of the IDF’s Navy and Major General Amos Yadlin, back then Head of AMAN, the IDF Intelligence Directorate. The next step would be the issuing of international arrest orders against the accused officers. Right now, their entrance into Turkish territory will lead to their arrest and trial.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Turkey seeks life for 4 Israeli generals

Prosecutor: Facebook flotilla attackers list drawn up by İHH
On Wednesday, ahead of second anniversary of Israeli attack on Gaza flotilla, Turkish press reported that İstanbul Specially Authorized Prosecutor Mehmet Akif Ekinci seeks life imprisonment for four Israeli top commanders, involved in a 2010 Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine Turks dead.

The 144-page indictment is on behalf of 490 victims and complainants, including 189 people who were injured in the Israeli commando attacks.

The indictment reportedly seeks 10 aggravated life imprisonment sentences for former Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Chief of General Staff Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Naval Forces commander Vice Adm. Eliezer Marom, Israel’s military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin and Air Forces Intelligence head Brig. Gen. Avishai Levi.

World nations condemned Israel for its piracy at international waters killing nine Turk aid workers and wounding many more. Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Israeli action “inhuman state terror” and called upon the UN Security Council to appoint a committee to investigate the incident and demanded an apology from the Zionist regime.

Israel has lost its legitimacy as a respectful member of the international community. In simplest terms, this is tantamount to banditry and piracy. It is a murder conducted by a state. It has no excuses, no justification whatsoever,” Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkish foreign minister said in a statement.

France at the UNSC supported an investigation that meet international standards. However, Israel’s political poodles in the UNSC, the US and Britain refused to back-up the motion. The UNSC showed its helplessness in face of Israel by just issuing a condemnation of Israeli brutality.

The Zionist regime set up a commission of inquiry of its own headed by Israeli Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel, to investigate the attack. The move was rejected by Ankara and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The ‘Turkal Commission’ in its report released January 23, 2011 – cleared the Zionist regime and Israel Occupation Force (IOF) of wrongdoing. It blamed the aid workers aboard Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara for violence.

Turkey, too, established an inquiry, which concluded, in contrast to the Israeli inquiry, that the Gaza blockade and the Israeli raid are illegal.

Personally, I believe, the said indictment is not going to improve Ankara’s falling popularity among the Arabs and Muslims which have realized by now that Erdogan government is not much diffrent than the western-puppets ruling most of Muslim nation-states, Ankara has long sold its soul to the US-Israel-NATO interests in the Muslim world. Ankara is conducting a USrael proxy war against Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran and Hamas.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Laura Stuart: PSC, Racism and the ‘Two State Solution’

DateWednesday, January 25, 2012 at 11:31AM AuthorGilad Atzmon

www.deliberation.info/

Things can only get worse for the PSC. So far, the PSC leadership have faced just the thin end of a derailment campaign which is sure to intensify now they have shown such willingness to bow to Jewish power tactics. Now that PSC has started to censor its own members on such issues as holocaust revisionism and anti-Semitism, the attacks on an already weakened P.S.C. can only increase. My friends who are still members tell me that lately in regional meetings, all too many hours have been spent discussing these topics and despite hours of what should have been active campaigning time spent on these distractions, as predicted by many it has resulted only with the Zionists emboldened to make even more demands.

Outside, Harry’s Place, The Jewish Chronicle and Anthony Cooper hover and squawk over the PSC’s demise like vultures over a corpse, while within, Tony Greenstein and Naomi Wimbourne- Idrissi pass motions that serve only to hasten PSC’s decomposition. How two self-identifying political Jews, both operating in racially-orientated Jewish political groups (Does J.B.I.G. or J.F.J.F.P. have any Palestinian members or indeed any members who are non-Jews?), can lead a discourse on racism is a question we should all be asking.

It is no coincidence that these attempts to delegitimise PSC should occur after the Freedom Flotilla (Mavi Marmara) which hit the mainstream media highlighting the injustice of the siege of Gaza and proving to the world that Israel Occupation Forces can and will kill with complete impunity. No other action since then has had such a huge impact. However, when the Reut Institute, an Israeli Intelligence Agency in August 2010, wrote its report on the Flotilla, it revealed that Israel had woken up to the fact that Muslims, Christians, Jews, leftists and atheists were able to work together in harmony to organise this huge initiative. So, it was decided that, after the flotilla, the main hasbara aim was to “delegitimize the delegitimizers “. PSC came late to support of the Freedom Flotilla, and was represented by only one delegate Sarah Colbourne who found a place on the Mavi Marmara only at the very last minute. Till then, PSC had not supported or even mentioned the mission.
Here is a quote from the Reut Institute Report:-

However it was the ability of its organizers to mobilize leading figures among the liberal progressive elite in the West that bolstered the Gaza Flotilla and turned it into a global and politically explosive event. The big-tent approach of ‘everyone is invited’ resulted in the participation of both extreme Islamists and European intellectuals; Jews, Christians, and Muslims; Arab citizens of Israel; and others. In all likelihood, the vast majority of those present did not aim to promote the delegitimization of the State of Israel.”

So, according to Israeli intelligence agency The Reut Institute, not all those on board the flotilla were against the existence of the Jewish State. Unbelievably, PSC’s Hugh Lanning confirms this. In the Morning Star he states that the PSC fully supports the “Two-State Solution”

But PSC speaker Hugh Lanning hit back. He stressed the need for two states based on the 1967 borders – a demand recently backed by US President Barack Obama but consistently rejected by Israel. “At the moment there is only one state – Israel,” he said. “A two-state solution objectively means the creation of a free, independent Palestinian state which does not exist right now.”


So there we have it in black and white; PSC supports the “Two State Solution” and at the same time proclaims itself as an organisation which is ‘anti-racist’.

The State of Israel wants to be “The Jewish State” and, as I write, is busily engaged in passing even more apartheid laws to disadvantage non-Jews. Many Israelis state openly their desire for 20% of their population who are Palestinian Arabs to be transferred into what would be the new State of Palestine thus making Israel a Jewish state pure and cleansed of Arabs. “Rein Juedischer Staat” in the equivalent Nazi terminology. So, to accept the Two-State Solution with its implicit renunciation of the right of return is, in my opinion, as full a complicity in racist ethnic cleansing as it is possible to be. Should not the truly non racist vision of One Democratic State, where the claimed Semites, the Jews live side by side in harmony with the real Semites, the Palestinians? So much for the ‘anti-racist’ PSC.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Flotilla Heads to Gaza Amid Turkish Obstruction

In case you missed it: Erdogan voices “support” for glorious “Gazans

Once upon a time he was considering sailing to the Gaza Strip as part of an aid flotilla backed by the Turkish Navy, He is desperate to visit Caza, BUT…Israel warns Erdogan will be committing ‘diplomatic mistake’ if he visits Gaza Instead he visted Cairo, Libya and Tunis,

“Israel’s hell has begun” Thus reacted Khalid Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem


 He threatened arrogant radical Jewish Prime Minister Benji Netanyahu that Turkish Navy will escort the future Turkish aid vessels to Gaza Strip.


“The eastern Mediterranean Sea is not Israel’s private playground. Turkey will defend the rights of its citizens when Israel chooses to intervene and prevent free movement in international waters”.

in case you missed it:  Huseyin Oruç talks to Silvia Cattori- Whenever the Palestinians need it, the Mavi Marmara will go

 Flotilla Heads to Gaza Amid Turkish Obstruction

The boat was unable to take on board all the activists and
 journalists who came to join the campaign,
including this writer.

In this way, Ankara might have sought to maintain its image with regard to the Palestinian cause and at the same time avoided provoking Israel in a direct, public way.”The boat was unable to take on board all the activists and journalists who came to join the campaign, including this writer.

Published Thursday, November 3, 2011
Flotilla activists bent on breaking the Israeli siege of Gaza had to pose as tourists and downsize their crew to overcome Turkish efforts to stall their trip.
Fatiha (Turkey) – Two boats carrying Canadian and Irish activists joined by a handful of journalists managed to leave Turkish waters for Greece to avoid any legal bans that could be imposed by Ankara before declaring their official destination was Gaza.

The two boats, named Tahrir and Saoirse respectively, set sail Wednesday from the Turkish port of Fatiha, loaded with medical aid supplies. The official destination: the Greek Island of Rhodes. The passengers included the captain of the boat and his assistant as well as ten “tourists” with different nationalities.

Immediately upon leaving Fatiha shores, the boat shed its “tourist disguise” and lifted the banner “Wave of freedom for Gaza” to loud cries of “towards Gaza, brothers and sisters!”

The participants had spent many days feeling exhausted and heavy, shifting between hope and despair. They tried as hard as they could to avoid attracting attention and to keep their mission secret.
The boat was unable to take on board all the activists and journalists who came to join the campaign, including this writer.

Attempting to hamper the mission, the Turkish authorities insisted that the boat, which declared the Island of Rhodes as its destination, carry only 11 “tourists” instead of the originally planned 36. The Turkish authorities justified this step by citing the Turkish law that forbids “small” boats to carry more than this number on similar trips.

This insistence posed a dilemma for the organisers. They had to continue negotiations with the authorities to convince the the latter that this trip was for one group of tourists while making the painful choice selecting 11 people out of the 36.

Negotiations with the authorities lead to a total of ten names and one added as “co-captain”, or eleven participants including the captain of Tahrir. Those who were selected for the trip include journalists Casey Koffman and Ayman Zbeir (from the English and Arabic Al Jazeera), Jihan Hafez ( “Democracy Now” radio and television), Hasan Ghani (“Press TV”) Lina Atallah (Al Masri al Youm”). The list also includes activists Kateridge Marlow (the United States), Majd Kayal (Palestinian, 48) Michael Coleman (Australia) and three Canadians, Karen DaVito, Ehab Lotayef and David Heap (registered as co-captain).

The Tahrir boat is accompanied by an Irish boat that carries ten activists. The Irish also followed the same strategy as the Canadians. They traveled for a couple of days in Turkish cities, asked permission to leave Fatiha for Rhodes and before reaching it they turned south in the international waters. The two boats are supposed to take one course in the sea and to reach Gaza at the same time.

Turkish authorities likely knew what was being prepared in the port of Fatiha and in the cities of Dalaman and Gaziantep and the capital, Istanbul. Israel was also seemingly aware of the plan. Agents were always around the activists, wandering around their residences, watching their moves in Turkey.
According to several activists, the Turkish government faced a dilemma when Tahrir began its real work, since it could not forbid the boat from setting sail. That would contradict the previous statements of Turkish leaders concerning Ankara’s pledge to guarantee freedom of navigation in the international waters, nor could it allow the boat to leave easily or indulge the activists considering the effects that could have on its position and current relations in the region.

So the Turkish government was faced with a number of choices, including obstructing the boat’s journey for some time, pressuring the group to limit participation so the size of the campaign and the number of participants in it would decrease. In this way, Ankara might have sought to maintain its image with regard to the Palestinian cause and at the same time avoided provoking Israel in a direct, public way.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Canadian and Irish Freedom boats on their way to Gaza – NOW!

Dear friends,
as you may be aware two boats are currently making their way to Gaza. Please find below the media release issued in support of Tahrir (Canada) and the Saoirse (Ireland).

Please spread the word and support the boats. You can keep update with news on the boats here.

You can also follow the boats progress on twitter the following hashtag/twitter accounts: #FreedomWaves @IrishShiptoGaza @CanadaBoatGaza

You can also track the progress of the boats below via live map tracking.

In solidarity,
Kim

***
http://labs.electronicintifada.net/freedomwaves

This map shows land mass in black and ocean in gray. Territorial waters are outlined in light purple.Canadian and Irish ships set to challenge Israel’s illegal blockade with Freedom Waves to Gaza

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

US drags Palestinians back to the treadmill of doom

 

Mahmoud Abbas Barack Obama
Alexander Cockburn:

Obama isn’t just letting down the Palestinians – he’s risking a serious split with Saudi Arabia
LAST UPDATED 7:50 AM,
SEPTEMBER 22, 2011

…..It’s not hard to understand why Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas may finally be blinking under tremendous pressure. There is now talk on his team of a possible “procedural” delay in submitting his formal request for Palestinian statehood and UN membership, originally scheduled for Friday, immediately after addressing the General Assembly.
Back in 1991, Israelis and Palestinians met for the first time in Madrid to negotiate a peace agreement. UN Resolutions 242 and 338, which call for Israel’s withdrawal from the land it occupied during the 1967 War in exchange for peace, served as the basis for the Madrid conference.
At the end of 1991, there were 132,000 Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem and 89,800 settlers in the West Bank. Two decades later, the numbers of settlers in East Jerusalem has increased by about 40 per cent, while the settlers in the West Bank, according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, have increased by over 300 per cent. Currently, there are about half a million Jewish settlers.
During periods in which the Israeli Labour Party formed the governing coalition, the numbers have been just as high, if not higher, than periods during which Likud or Kadima have been in power. As Neve Gordon, an Israeli activist and the author of Israel’s Occupation points out, “This, in turn, underscores the fact that all Israeli governments have unilaterally populated the contested West Bank with more Jewish settlers while simultaneously carrying out negotiations based on land for peace.”
The Palestinians can see perfectly well that the Jewish settlers, with the backing of every Israeli government and complaisance of every US government, are undermining any future two-state solution, so they have decided not to wait any longer and are asking the United Nations to recognise a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. As Gordon puts it, “If the idea behind a two-state solution is dividing land among the two peoples, how can Israel unilaterally continue to settle the contested land while carrying out negotiations?” Answer: because Israel knows it can get away with it.

At the start of this year, Al Jazeera published documents prepared by Abbas’s negotiators with Israel. Abbas was prepared to cede to Israel nearly all of the illegal colonies that the Zionist state has built east of the 1967 armistice line in and around occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinian Authority officials also agreed to deprive the vast majority of Palestinian refugees of the right – backed by the UN – to return to their homes in what is now Israel. They agreed in principle to accept the repatriation of 100,000 refugees over 10 years, and no more. Israeli contemptuously rejected these astounding concessions.
Why the US government feels it retains any credibility throughout the Middle East on the Palestinian question is baffling, but Obama and Clinton have been desperate to avoid the bludgeon of a veto in the UN Security council (though even here there is a mechanism – the Uniting for Peace process, installed 61 years ago during the Korean crisis – for an over-ride of any such veto by the General Assembly.)
If it ever comes to one, a UN resolution won’t give the Palestinians a viable state, nor solve the problems of refugees, nor the separation between the West Bank and Gaza, nor discrimination within Israel which is now emphasising its legal identity as a Jewish state.

Even so, the Palestinian initiative with the UN underscores the US’s weakening status in the region, whose political geography has been changing before our eyes.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan has kicked out the Israeli ambassador for negotiating in bad faith over the lethal attack on the Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara; he has stopped military cooperation with and military purchases from Israel. He promised to come in person to Gaza on board his navy’s protective fleet. As the Egyptian crowd tore down the wall of the Israeli embassy in Cairo, they hailed Erdogan as “a new Saladin”.

Not to be outdone, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki al Faisal wrote in the New York Times on September 11 – of all days – that “the United States must support the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations this month or risk losing the little credibility it has in the Arab world… Saudi leaders would be forced by domestic and regional pressures to adopt a far more independent and assertive foreign policy. Saudi Arabia will part with the US if it vetoes the Palestinian bid.”

This is not a problem for candidate Perry. But it is a very serious one for the government of the United States.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

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