US Politicians, Journos, Activists Condemn Saudi Arabia’s Mass Beheadings

By Staff, Agencies

Human rights groups have hit out at the most recent brutal wave of punishment, revealed by the Saudis on Wednesday, in which 37 people killed.

Critics say the majority of those executed were convicted after sham trials that violated international standards and relied on confessions extracted through torture.

They also say the grisly and public punishments are being used as tools to crush pro-democracy campaigners, human rights activists, intellectuals and the Shia minority — to which at least 33 of those executed belonged to.

The mass execution was also denounced by a number of American politicians and journalists. Below are a few statements that went viral on social media:

Senator Dianne Feinstein: an American politician serving as the senior United States Senator from California.

I’m deeply troubled by the Saudi government’s mass execution of 37 prisoners, including 33 members of the kingdom’s Shiite minority. Human Rights Watch has reported that many of the confessions in two mass trials were obtained using torture and the prisoners later recanted.

I’ve called for the US to reconsider our relationship with Saudi Arabia and spoken out against the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the kingdom’s oppression of women’s rights activists and the numerous human rights violations committed by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

These latest reports reinforce my concerns. We can’t look way from Saudi Arabia’s increased use of executions, particularly when so many questions surround the validity of the trials.

 

Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard: US Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district.

Trump/Pence continue to try to hide the truth from their Christian supporters–the terrorist attacks on Christians/Christian churches in Sri Lanka and elsewhere are inspired by the extremist Saudi ideology that Saudi Arabia spends billions propagating worldwide

The tweet also had a video pointing that the Saudis have been spending billions of dollars spreading an “intolerant form of Islam,” which she said inspires terrorist groups such as al Qaeda, the Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym for “ISIS” / “ISIL”], and Boko Haram.

“It’s an ideology that preaches hatred and bias toward Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists, and Muslims who are not followers of that extremist ideology,” Gabbard said. “Yet President Trump and Pence, who pose as defenders of Christians and Christianity, have embraced the Saudis, the purveyors of this anti-Christian jihad.”

Gabbard concluded her video by saying people who believe “in the freedom of religion must demand that President Trump and Vice President Pence give up their unholy alliance with Saudi Arabia.”

 

Ilhan Omar: US Representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district.

This is appalling. We have to stop selling the Saudis weapons and supporting this brutality.

 

Rashida Tlaib: US Representative for Michigan’s 13th congressional district.

Saudi Arabia’s ruler MBS tortures & executes children. Already this year, he has killed 100 people. At least 3 today were arrested as teenagers & tortured into false confessions. He killed them for attending protests! Think about that.

 

Bernie Sanders: US politician and junior United States Senator from Vermont

Yesterday’s mass execution underscores how urgent it has become for the United States to redefine our relationship with the despotic regime in Saudi Arabia, and to show that the Saudis do not have a blank check to continue violating human rights and dictating our foreign policy.

 

Nicholas Kristof: American journalist and political commentator, New York Times Op-Ed Columnist.

Student slated to attend Western Michigan University beheaded in Saudi Arabia, after attending a pro-democracy protest. Remind me, @realDonaldTrump, why are we best buddies with Saudi Arabia?

 

Niraj Warikoo: an American journalist and the religion reporter for the Detroit Free Press.

Mujtaba al-Sweikat, a student slated to attend Western Michigan University, is beheaded in Saudi Arabia. He had been arrested when he was 17 by Saudis in 2012 after taking part in democracy rallies, and tortured while in custody.

 

Seth Abramson: an American professor, poet, attorney, and author.

Now MBS has beheaded a freshman acceptee to Western Michigan University.

 

Kenneth Roth: an American attorney who has been the executive director of Human Rights Watch since 1993.

Among the 37 men just executed by the Saudi government was Mujtaba al-Sweikat who at age 17 was detained at the airport on his way to attend Western Michigan University. His supposed offense was attending a pro-democracy rally during the Arab Spring.

 

Randi Weingarten: an American labor leader, attorney, and educator.

“.@AFTunion joins the international human rights community in condemning the government of #SaudiArabia for forced confessions, torture, beatings and now execution of young student protestor Mujtaba al-Sweikat. @Reprieve @amnesty @AFTIntlAffairs”

 

Lena Sun: the national reporter for The Washington Post.

One of the people executed on Tuesday was arrested at an airport in Saudi Arabia in 2012 as he was preparing to leave the country for a college visit to Western Michigan University, a human rights group said. He was 17 at the time.

 

Steven Metz: an American author and Senior Research Professor of National Security Affairs at the US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute

America needs to limit ties with that dark and backward despotism.

 

Jesse Singal: a Brooklyn-based journalist

This is an utterly horrific regime and in a world that made more sense no US president of any party would feel comfortable getting filmed gladhanding with its tyrants. Student slated to attend Western Michigan University beheaded in Saudi Arabia.

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How Much Pro-Israel Money Politicians Attacking Ilhan Omar Received

March 31, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

How Much Money Israel Lobby Gave Politicians Attacking Ilhan Omar. You watch this entertaining video and make up your mind as to whether it is about the ‘Benjamins’ or not…

Purim Blackface

March 22, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Eve Mykytym

The focus on anti Semitism has become pervasive in the US. Recent backlash to statements by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar have united the left and the right in condemning Jewish stereotypes. But have Jews been held to the same standards when it comes to racism?

According to the Forward, it is not uncommon for Orthodox Jews to dress in blackface for Purim. After someone in blackface attended a Purim party in Los Angeles, Aliza Hausman of Chabad-Lubavitch, who identifies as a mixed-race Dominican Jew, said she believes that the general attitude in the orthodox world is that, “dressing up in blackface for Purim is not racist.”

Nonetheless, it is clear that African Americans find blackface offensive. Blackface isn’t just about a costume, it invokes a racist and painful history.

The first minstrel shows mimicked enslaved Africans on Southern plantations, depicting black people as lazy, ignorant, cowardly or hypersexual.

Later, blackface became a staple of vaudeville, with stereotypes that were fully integrated into American culture. Beyond entertainment, caricatures of mammies and pickaninnies – dark-skinned children with densely coiled hair – as well as grinning, bug-eyed black men adorned everything from postcards to cookie jars.

Then as entertainment evolved, menacing rapists, lazy watermelon eaters, coddling mammies and comic simpletons, all with blackened faces, moved from the stage to the screen. These offensive cultural stereotypes persisted into the 1960s when the civil rights movement was mostly successful in condemning their use.

But, albeit to a lesser degree, blackface has continued and Orthodox Jews are not alone in appearing in the costume.

In 2010, Sarah Silverman tweeted a photo of herself in blackface with the caption “I’m having minstrel cramps.”  (tweet now deleted)

In the last few years, colleges and universities with blackface incidents have included Albright College, Brigham Young, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis ObispoOklahoma State UniversityPurdue UniversityUniversity of Central ArkansasUniversity of Nevada at RenoUniversity of North DakotaUniversity of Oregon and University of Wisconsin at Whitewater,

This year, Ralph Northam, the Democratic governor of Virginia, faced harsh criticism when his medical school yearbook page pictured a man in blackface and a man in a KKK uniform. At the same time, it came out that Attorney General Mark Herring  had also worn blackface in college.

In Florida, Michael Ertel, the Republican secretary of state, resigned after  photos from a 2005 Halloween party showed him in blackface mocking survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

David Pilgrim, director of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University in Michigan says that for the most part, those who wear blackface now, know exactly what it implies. “It’s a part of the privilege of being white in our culture,” he says. “They are doing it in a safe, white space consistent with the mores of their in-group.”

But unlike others ‘caught’ in blackface, the Orthodox present justifications for their behavior. There seem to be three general arguments as to why some believe it is acceptable for Jews to don blackface for Purim.

The first, articulated by Queens College sociologist Samuel Heilman, is that blackface costumes are a response to racial tensions between Orthodox Jews and Black Americans. Heilman claims that because Orthodox Jewish communities have remained in inner city neighborhoods, they’ve borne the brunt of anti-white backlash at various points since the Civil Rights movement. This argument assumes that the racial tensions are not at least partially caused by the behavior of the Orthodox and posits the offender (dressed in blackface) as the victim.

The second explanation is that Orthodox Jews may not know the history of racism because they may not have grown up with people of color. The assertion that insensitivity results from a lack of familiarity contradicts the argument that blackface is a response to tension between the Black and Jewish communities. Avi Shafran, a spokesman for Agudath Israel of America, the leading ultra-Orthodox umbrella group, wrote “The history of minstrelsy is not something familiar to many, if not most, Orthodox Jews. That’s unfortunate, but a fact.”

The third excuse is that Purim is a Jewish holiday. Purim costumes that stereotype other cultures shouldn’t be considered offensive because they’re not about those cultures, they’re about cutting loose for Purim.

This line of thought was illustrated in 2013, when New York State Assembly member, Dov Hikind, an Orthodox Jew, wore a blackface costume to a Purim celebration. Hikind stated that, “If a Jew wears blackface on Purim, it’s certainly not to intentionally insult blacks but only to ‘become’ [an] ‘other, which is what Purim masks are all about.” See Jon Stewart on the subject.

“Purim is a holiday that’s built on collective memory of anti-Semitism and near genocide,” Heilman said. But the story of Purim is not just that Jews were saved from a genocidal plot but that Jews were allowed to slaughter their enemies.

Chabad’s website contains this paragraph about Purim. “On the 13th of Adar that year, the Jews throughout the Persian Empire mobilized and killed the enemies who had wanted to kill them. In Shushan, among the dead were Haman’s 10 sons. Esther asked the king’s permission for the Jews in Shushan to have one more day to destroy their enemy—and the king acceded to her wish. On that day, the 14th of Adar, the Jews worldwide celebrated, and the Jews of Shushan killed more of their enemies, and also hung Haman’s sons. The Jews of Shushan then rested and celebrated on the 15th of Adar… This holiday, called “Purim,” is the most joyous holiday on the Jewish calendar.”

So on this ‘joyous’ holiday, when Jews celebrate their destruction of their enemy, it remains an open question why this celebration may include stereotypes offensive to an ethnic group that, at least at the moment, is far more ‘oppressed’ than the Jews.

source: https://www.evemykytyn.com/writing/2019/3/22/purim-blackface

Hot Off the Press: Israel’s Three Largest Banks Pay Hundreds Of Millions In Fines For Helping US Citizens Evade Taxes

March 17, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Eve Mykytyn

Following a few mild words of dissent by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, the US House of Representatives was almost united in affirming the special relationship between Israel and the US. See, for ex.  So how is “our most reliable and most important ally” treating us? If ‘our’ includes the US treasury, the answer is that Israel’s banks have been accused of and have admitted to actively colluding with wealthy US taxpayers to avoid US taxes.

On March 12, Israel’s third largest  bank, Mizrahi Tefahot, agreed to pay $195 million to the United States to settle charges that the bank knowingly aided tax evasion by US citizens from 2002 until 2012.

Israel’s largest bank, Leumi paid a $400 million dollar fine for similar “criminal activity” that spanned the period from at least 2000 to 2011. Hapoalim, Israel’s second largest bank is presently negotiating a settlement with the US Justice Department. The total settlement from all three banks will amount to over $1 billion.

As conceded by the banks, these tax avoidance schemes have been going on for decades. Israel’s Supervisor of Banks, Hedva Ber, noted the longevity of this practice: “Twenty years ago, Israeli banks did not ask customers about the source of their money and did not ask if they had paid taxes or not.” But the issue is not limited to banks failing to inquire about the source of funds, these admissions of actively aiding tax evasion show that “Israeli banks…..for decades helped Diaspora Jews evade taxes and launder money on a major scale.”

According to Hevda Ber, for many years Israeli banks provided essentially the same services to foreigners that Swiss banks gave, minus Switzerland’s banking secrecy laws. Actually, according to the settlements and to criminal cases against US taxpayers, Israel’s banks not only did indeed offer American customers secrecy for bank accounts, (Leumi admitted to failing to send statements to the US addresses of over 2400 customers) but also provided ways for US citizens to bring untaxed income back to the US without paying US taxes.

For instance, for over twelve years in the 1970s and 1980s, the Antar family, owners of the discount electronics chain Crazy Eddie, laundered money through Bank Leumi. Sam Antar  described to The Times of Israel how he and his family transferred a total of about  $10 million in unreported cash by handing a briefcase full of cash to a Bank Leumi employee in New York and then receiving an equivalent suitcase the next day on an El Al flight to Israel.

Here was the challenge of withdrawing that money as described by Anton.  “Say I had $10 million in Israel, and I needed to use that money over here in New York. They couldn’t wire me the funds because the account is secret. This money is hidden from the US government to evade income taxes.”  So, according to Antar, Bank Leumi in New York would give him a low interest rate loan secured by Antar’s assets in Israel. The paperwork for the loan concealed the fact that Antar had money deposited in Israel.

Similarly, and according to court documents, Elie Waknine, of Huntington Beach, California, held millions of dollars in an account at Bank Leumi.  Waknine’s tax returns falsely claimed he did not have any foreign accounts.  Bank Leumi did not send bank mail to Waknine’s home in the United States. Leumi allowed Waknine to access his accounts through certain ‘loans’  issued by Leumi’s U.S. branch that were secretly secured by funds in his undeclared accounts in Israel.

The Times of Israel notes that the fact that three of Israel’s major banks have been under criminal investigation by the US Justice Department for allegedly helping thousands of US citizens launder money and evade taxes has garnered remarkably little public attention. The Jewish press covered the  Mizrahi Tefahot settlement, but the New York Times gave only a short summary and I could find no mention in the Wall Street Journal.

In comparison, the  2016 Panama Papers leak of offshore bank account holders led to street protests around the world, the resignation of Iceland’s prime minister, and countless investigations.

According to David Shuster, a lawyer who represents a number of American citizens who had undisclosed bank accounts in Israel, the lack of publicity is understandable because none of the actors involved are interested in the limelight.The Department of Justice’s goal is tax enforcement and the banks are “going to say as little as possible. The more they say, the more evidence can be brought against them.”

Mr. Shuster may be right, but he fails to account for the dearth of reporting about Israel’s banks as compared to the Panama Papers or even the recently uncovered money laundering activities of certain European banks. I suspect in the present atmosphere of heightened paranoia over anti Semitism, the press may be reluctant to touch a financial scandal in which most of the participants are Jewish. Maybe they have taken into consideration that much of the outrage over Omar’s observations about Israel was over her accusation that “it’s all about the Benjamins.”

Source: https://www.evemykytyn.com/


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It’s Not ‘Anti-Semitic’ to Question the Influence of AIPAC in American Politics

It’s Not ‘Anti-Semitic’ to Question the Influence of AIPAC in American Politics

ROBERT BRIDGE | 14.03.2019 | WORLD / AMERICAS

It’s Not ‘Anti-Semitic’ to Question the Influence of AIPAC in American Politics

Freshman Democrat lawmaker Ilhan Omar triggered an earthquake in Washington that split the political aisle when she touched the forbidden third rail, which is any discussion of the pro-Israeli lobby’s influence on the US political system.

During a bookstore event hosted by Busboys and Poets, Omar told the assembled guests: “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country. I want to ask why it is okay for me to talk about the influence of the NRA, fossil fuel industries, or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobby that is influencing policy.”

Judging how she prefaced the remark, with a lengthy discussion about “the stories of Palestinians” and how she was being regularly accused of ‘anti-Semitism’ to end all debate on the decades-old standoff, it was clear what lobbying group Omar was referring to.

It was the second time in as many weeks that Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslims to serve in Congress, was accused of allegedly espousing anti-Semitic comments.

In early February, Omar had responded to a tweet by journalist Glenn Greenwald who said it was “stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans.”

Omar responded, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” followed by a musical emoji.

When pushed by another Twitter user to say who she thinks is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel, Omar responded simply, “AIPAC!”

In fact, Omar was wrong. AIPAC does not raise funds for candidates. But its members do, with the group’s powerful endorsement.

On March 3, Omar tweeted to her fellow Congresswoman, Nita Lowey, that she should “not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee…”

Such complaints have been heard before.

In 2014, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney told Press TV that her campaign funding suddenly went “kaput” after she refused to sign a “pledge of allegiance” to Israel while she was in office.

“I refused to toe the line on US policy for Israel,” she said.

On another occasion, in 2006, academics John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt published a paper in the London Review of Books, entitled “The Israeli Lobby and US Foreign Policy.” In it, the authors discussed the influence of pro-Israel organizations in the United States, with primary emphasis on AIPAC, which they described as “the most powerful and well-known.”

Omar’s string of remarks quickly sparked similar debate, but this time inside of the Democratic Party. This demonstrated the potential future impact of a new generation of multiethnic lawmakers, many of whom, as Muslims, are increasingly frustrated by the Israeli-Palestinian crisis and their inability to discuss it.

Omar, however, was quickly upbraided by senior Democrats.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) called out the freshman lawmaker, saying her “use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive… and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments.”

Although Omar did offer contrition, she refused to budge on “the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics,” mentioning the NRA, fossil fuel industry and AIPAC. It seems like a fair criticism, all things considered.

Following the high-profile fallout, the House Democrats passed, with remarkable alacrity, a House Resolution that condemns anti-Semitism as “hateful expressions of intolerance…and anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry against minorities.”

The resolution, while intended to tamp down messages of hate, conspicuously failed to mention Omar’s purportedly anti-Semitic remarks, focusing its attention instead on “white supremacists” and “white nationalists,” who were not even remotely mentioned by Omar during her bookstore comments, thus prompting 23 Republican lawmakers to reject the resolution.

The partisan smashup helped to deflect attention away from the main point of contention with regards to Omar’s claim, which on the face of it does not sound radical: Does the American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC), as well as the other powerful lobbying groups, hold too much sway over US foreign policy? Should AIPAC be ranked as an agent of a foreign power working on behalf of Israeli interests in the US?

Mearsheimer and Walt certainly thought so. In their paper, they quoted a 1997 article in Fortune magazine, which asked members of Congress to name the most powerful lobbies in Washington. AIPAC was ranked second behind only the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), but ahead of the AFL-CIO and the National Rifle Association (NRA). The authors were quick to point out, however, that there was nothing inherently wrong about the way AIPAC operates. “For the most part, the individuals and groups that comprise the Lobby are doing what other special interest groups do, just much better.”

How much better? Well, consider that in 2016, during a breakdown in relations between the Obama White House and Israel over the question of nuclear talks with Iran, AIPAC helped persuade the Republicans to let Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu address a joint session of Congress – without the foreknowledge of then President Barack Obama. As a thought experiment, try and imagine the same privilege being extended to any other leader in the world. The reason it is difficult to imagine is because it’s never been done before precisely because it’s unconstitutional.

“Democrats accuse Boehner of ambushing the president as the Republicans push – with the backing of the pro-Israel lobby in Washington – to strengthen sanctions against Iran,” as the Guardian reported.

Another example came with the push for war against Iraq following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 against the United States. An article in the Forward admitted that as “President Bush attempted to sell the … war in Iraq, America’s most important Jewish organizations rallied as one to his defense.” As Mearsheimer and Walt pointed out, this lobbying influence on behalf of war did not flush with the opinion of the US Jewish population.

“Samuel Freedman reported just after the war started that a compilation of nationwide opinion polls by the Pew Research Center shows that Jews are less supportive of the Iraq war than the population at large, 52% to 62%. Thus it would be wrong to blame the war in Iraq on “Jewish influence,” the academics argued.

Indeed, as Paul Waldman argued in The Washington Post, in the United States today, “a ‘supporter of Israel’ is much more likely to be an evangelical Christian Republican than a Jew.”

Whatever the case may be, the essence of the question remains the same: Does AIPAC, as well as many other lobbying groups, wield too much power in the US political system? The question cannot be casually brushed aside as ‘anti-Semitic,’ any more than questioning the power of Big Pharma, for example, could be dismissed as ‘anti-Doctor,’ or the power of the NRA as ‘anti-Cowboy.’ It makes no sense, and unfairly accuses people who are asking legitimate questions of the most loathsome charges.

With the face of the American political system changing along ethnic and religious lines, it is critical that such issues with regards to political influence get a fair hearing.

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Congresswoman Ilhan Omar: The Shameful Attack that Backfired

Global Research, March 13, 2019

What happened to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was troubling. On the one hand, because she dared to challenge the way supporters of Israel have worked to silence debate on US policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she became a victim of incitement, and the target of legislation meant to shame her. At the same time, however, the heavy-handed tactics employed against her by some pro-Israel members of Congress backfired, exposing new fault lines in the US-Israel relationship.

The weapon of choice utilized by Omar’s opponents was to demonize her as an anti-Semite. Her “sin,” it appears, was her continued umbrage over the double-standard that exists in American policy toward Israel and its treatment of Palestinians.

During Israel’s assault on Gaza, for example, she criticized the failure of the US media to pierce through Israeli propaganda and see what was actually happening to Palestinians in that impoverished strip of land. Once in Congress, she was deemed to have “sinned” again when she challenged the power of AIPAC to intimidate politicians and silence debate on Israel/Palestine.

New to Washington and the “acceptable language” one should use to discuss these issues, she admitted that her word choices had been unfortunate and apologized for the pain she may have caused.

Despite her apology, she remained a target. Because she is a hijab-wearing Muslim, who was critical of Israel, the GOP sought to exploit her in their continuing effort to drive a wedge between the Jewish community and Democrats. For their part, some Democrats reacted with hyperventilated outrage. Extreme language was used to denounce Omar. Her words were described as “bigoted,” “vile,” and, of course, “anti-Semitic slurs.”

Never, in all this time, was there a critical examination of what she actually said. In fact, she never accused the Jewish community of controlling the media (unless one assumes that Israel’s ability to dominate media coverage of events occurring in the occupation can be attributed to the Jewish community). Nor did she accuse the Jewish community of using money to buy influence in Washington (unless one suggests that AIPAC speaks for and acts on behalf of the entire Jewish community). It didn’t matter, her opponents continued to call her an “anti-Semite,” and did so with such frequency that the term stuck, putting her at risk to threats of violence from bigots.

The entire affair came to a head when, at a town hall last week, Omar attempted to explain herself. Asked to address the controversy that had erupted over her advocacy of Palestinian rights, Omar’s colleague, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, spoke first noting that to her the question of Palestine is personal – her grandmother still lives in the West Bank and Congresswoman Tlaib desires that she receive equal justice and recognition of her rights to live in dignity. Reacting to what she had just heard, Omar said that she couldn’t agree with those who fight for human rights and dignity for others and yet exclude Palestinian rights and dignity. For her part, she said, the focus should be universal – leaving no one out. She then chided those in Congress who have pressed her to reject her commitment to call out Israeli abuses and ignore Palestinians rights. Because she is a Muslim, Omar said, her criticism of Israel has been automatically seen as anti-Semitic in order to silence her. Even more troubling she noted was that, as a result of the manufactured controversy over her words, the discussion became whether or not she was an anti-Semite, while ignoring “the broader debate about what is happening in Palestine.”

At that point, Omar said that she resented those who are pushing her to demonstrate allegiance to Israel. She concluded by saying that she wanted to have this conversation about “the political influence in this country that says it’s okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

The reaction to this newest “sin” was near hysteria. Without ever listening to what she actually said, some members of Congress accused her of saying that the Jews had dual-loyalty – despite the fact that she had said no such thing. They demanded that Omar be censured or removed from her committee posts. And the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee proposed a resolution that would have denounced anti-Semitism in a way that was clearly directed at the congresswoman.

What was disturbing about this proposed resolution was that none of “Whereas” clauses included had anything to do with what Omar actually said. She never accused Jews of “dual loyalty because they support Israel”; nor did she display “prejudicial attitudes” towards Jews; nor did she ever make “mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews”.

What she did do was: challenge official American, and in particular, Congressional silence on the suffering of the Palestinians; the efforts by pro-Israel groups to silence debate on this issue; and the way that some have sought to create a virtual identity being pro-Israel and American interests.

Despite the obvious falseness of their claims, Omar’s opponents in Congress plowed ahead with their proposed bill in order “to teach her a lesson.” In their remarks rebuking Omar, they unwittingly made her point. One congressman said, “Questioning support for the US-Israel relationship is unacceptable.” Another said, “there are many reasons to support Israel, but there is no reason to oppose Israel.” While still another said that Democrats and Republicans, alike, are committed to insuring that the “United States and Israel stand as one.”

It is exactly this attitude to which Omar objected when she wrote,

“I am told everyday that I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel…I know what it means to be an American and no one will ever tell me otherwise…I have not said anything about the loyalty of others, but spoke about the loyalty expected of me.”

Because Omar has touched what some have come to say is “the third rail of American politics” she was being exploited by some Republicans and hung out to dry by some Democrats. They put a target on her back. And haters were quick to respond with frightening death threats and shameful bigoted assaults on her as a Muslim woman. There is no question that these threats against Omar were the byproduct of the sustained campaign of incitement.

It’s important to note, however, that outside of the halls of Congress a different reality was unfolding. The attacks on Congresswoman Omar were rejected by many Democrats, including progressive Jewish groups, and a debate was sparked by the issues she raised and the over-reaction to them by Congress.

By week’s end, the entire effort appeared to backfire. Instead of being the “slam dunk” they expected, the proposed resolution ran into blocks. Some members objected to singling out of anti-Semitism, without also denouncing racism, sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, etc. Others protested that Omar was being singled out and put at risk.  And a few of the more prominent Democratic presidential hopefuls (Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris) insisted that charges of anti-Semitism should not be used to silence debate on Israeli policy.

By week’s end, Congress passed a resolution denouncing all forms of hate or intolerance against any religious, ethnic, or religious community. Since it made no mention of Ilhan, it was clearly a loss for those who began the push to shame or punish her

Two final points must be made:

Firstly, Representative Omar is owed an apology. False charges and a manufactured crisis have sullied her name and put her at risk.

And secondly, it is clear that Omar’s courage has helped to open a door enabling a discussion of Israeli policy and the US-Israel relationship. While her opponents attempted to slam it shut, it seems that their behavior and incitement against her backfired stirring a debate that has helped to pry the door even further open.

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Ilhan Omar Is Just Another Victim of Zion’s Politically Lethal Sting

Ilhan Omar Is Just Another Victim of Zion’s Politically Lethal Sting

WAYNE MADSEN | 13.03.2019 | WORLD / AMERICAS

Ilhan Omar Is Just Another Victim of Zion’s Politically Lethal Sting

Freshman US Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota and a Somali-American Muslim, is not the first nor will she be the last victim of Zion’s sting. Omar is merely the latest in a long line of US politicians who have faced the onslaught of Israel’s powerful lobbying vise grip in Washington. In fact, long before there was a state of Israel, American presidents and statesmen fell victim to the power of political Zionism to retaliate against those who failed to back the concept of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East.

On March 5, 1891, President Benjamin Harrison received a visitor to the White House bearing a petition signed by 421 influential American citizens urging the president to recognize Palestine as the “restored” homeland of the Jewish people. The bearer of the petition, evangelical Christian clergyman William E. Blackstone was one of the earliest “Christian Zionists” in proclaiming solidarity with certain Jewish Zionists in support of a Jewish state in the Holy Land. Blackstone was no different than many of today’s Zionists who ensure total fealty of US administrations to Israeli policy, no matter how reprehensible it may be, especially toward the Palestinian people. Blackstone’s petition had been signed by John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, US Supreme Court Chief Justice Melville Fuller, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Thomas Reed, inventor Cyrus McCormick, co-owner and managing editor of The Chicago Tribune Joseph Medill, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Robert Hitt, and US Representative and future president William McKinley.

Blackstone, then the chairman of the Conference of Christians and Jews, wrote in his petition that the Ottoman Empire, which had control over Palestine, could be enticed into handing the territory over to Jewish control through the “funding of a portion of the [Ottoman] National debt by rich Jewish bankers.” Such a clause, today, would result in the same howls of “anti-Semitism” that are being directed at Omar because of her statement that pro-Israel lobbying groups, like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), ensure congressional support for Israel by showering members of Congress and candidates with “benjamins,” a reference to US$100 bills.

Harrison, who was president from 1889 to 1893, was polite to Blackstone and promised to give his petition “careful attention.” Harrison, who had his hands full with civil service reform, the tariff debate, the gold versus silver standard for US currency, voting rights for African-Americans in the South, a US-backed coup in Hawaii, and the death of his wife from tuberculosis, slid the Blackstone petition into a “dead file.” Harrison did name a special commission to Russia to investigate anti-Jewish pogroms taking place in the country, urging Congress to condemn the actions of the czar.

Harrison’s inaction on Palestine contributed to his defeat in the 1892 election by his predecessor, Democrat Grover Cleveland. Cleveland was viewed as a safer bet for Zionism because of his denouncement of Austria-Hungary during his first term. The Habsburg emperor refused to accept the credentials of the US Minister-designate to Vienna, John Kieley, because Kieley’s wife was Jewish.

Omar’s stance was defended by her colleagues, newly-elected Palestinian-American Muslim Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Democratic presidential candidates Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Bernie Sanders of Vermont also issued statements in defense of Omar.

In 2009, AIPAC went to battle stations over a House letter, signed by 54 members, urging President Obama to pressure Israel to lift the inhumane blockade of Gaza. The signatories immediately were called the “anti-Semitic Hamas 54” by AIPAC and their propaganda ciphers at Fox “News” and hate talk radio. In fact, the signatories included two Jewish Democratic members, Bob Filner and John Yarmuth.

Over the years, AIPAC has sought to bring down several politicians who, to varying degrees, criticized Israel. AIPAC, a right-wing organization, put out the word that while the signatures of “pro-Hamas” members like Keith Ellison of Minnesota, America’s first Muslim congressman; Jim McDermott of Washington state (retired); incumbent Barbara Lee of California, and Jim Moran of Virginia(retired after being stripped of House seniority committee assignments) were no surprise, others had to be punished for their criticism of Israel over Gaza. AIPAC smeared “pro-Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)” members like Representatives Carolyn Kilpatrick of Michigan (defeated); Nick Rahall of West Virginia (defeated); Eric Massa of New York (resigned amid a targeted and manufactured scandal concocted with the connivance of AIPAC loyalist Representative Barney Frank; Pete Stark of California (defeated); and Diane Watson of California (retired) and “pro-Islamic sharia” members like William Delahunt of Massachusetts (retired) and John Dingell of Michigan (retired).

America’s political road is littered with those who dared challenge political Zionism’s influence over the American political scene: Democrats and Republicans like Secretary of State and US ambassador to the United Nations Edward Stettinius Jr. (resigned as ambassador over President Harry Truman’s pro-Zionist policies); Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan (failed to secure Republican presidential nomination in 1940 and 1948); New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey (defeated in the 1948 presidential election), Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas (defeated), Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton (lost the 1964 GOP presidential nomination), Illinois Senator Charles Percy (defeated), Iowa Senator Roger Jepsen (defeated), Illinois Senator Adlai Stevenson III (retired), Stevenson’s father, Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson II and twice Democratic presidential candidate, who, in 1955, said of Israeli designs on its neighbors’ lands, “I quietly asserted that it should be the policy of this government not to permit any change in the status quo by force – and the more noisy Zionists have been denouncing me as a traitor ever since, and, frankly, I’m getting damned well fed up with it… Moreover, I’m about the only leading Democrat left with whom Arabs will still talk in confidence.” (defeated twice for the US presidency by Dwight D. Eisenhower, who the Zionists also criticized for failing to back Israel in its 1956 invasion of Sinai and the Suez Canal); President John F. Kennedy, who criticized Israel’s pursuit of nuclear weapons in heated exchanges with Prime Ministers David Ben-Gurion and Levi Eshkol (assassinated in 1963); Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, who, in 1986, in answer to a question that asked, “Is the Israel Lobby too powerful?” replied, “God, yes, way too powerful!” (defeated for president in 1964, retired from the Senate); Alaska Senator Mike Gravel (defeated in Senate primary); Illinois Representative Paul Findlay, who wrote an excellent book on AIPAC’s influence over American politics, “They Dare to Speak Out,” (defeated), South Dakota Senator James Abdnor (defeated), South Dakota Senator James Abourezk (retired), President Jimmy Carter (defeated), California Representative Pete McCloskey (defeated in Senate primary), Ohio Representative James Traficant (indicted and expelled from the House), Alabama Representative Earl Hilliard (defeated), Texas Representative Ron Paul (retired); Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska (retired from the Senate but faced a contentious Senate confirmation hearing for Secretary of Defense based on his comments about the power of the Israel Lobby, and Georgia Representative Cynthia McKinney (defeated).

Those who opposed the Israel Lobby and placed America’s interests ahead of Israel’s were punished politically. However, all of those who stood up to Israel’s arrogance of power in Washington represented a cross section of the American people: Democrats and Republicans, libertarians and democratic socialists, whites and African-Americans, Gentiles and Jews, and those from the Northeast, South, Midwest, and West. Saying no to bullies is an American trait that should be revered and not condemned by those who now find it sporting to take cheap political pot shots at Congresswomen Omar, Tlaib, and Ocasio-Cortez.

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