The Hopelessness Discourse: How Palestinian Pessimism Could Spark a Much-Needed Rebellion

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

Palestine’s biggest challenge is not the failure of the people to register as a factor in the liberation of their own land, but their quisling leadership’s inability to appreciate the immense potential of harnessing the energies of Palestinians everywhere to stage a focused and strategic, anti-colonial, liberation campaign.

In a recent TV discussion, a respected pro-Palestine journalist declared that if any positive change or transformation ever occurs in the tragic Palestinian saga, it would not happen now, but that it would take a whole new generation to bring about such a paradigm shift.

As innocuous as the declaration may have seemed, it troubled me greatly.

I have heard this line over and over again, often reiterated by well-intentioned intellectuals, whose experiences in researching and writing on the so-called ‘Palestinian-Israeli conflict’ may have driven some of them to pessimism, if not despair.

The ‘hopelessness discourse’ is, perhaps, understandable if one is to examine the off-putting, tangible reality on the ground: the ever-entrenched Israeli occupation, the planned annexation of occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank, the shameful Arab normalization with Israel, the deafening silence of the international community and the futility of the quisling Palestinian leadership.

Subscribing to this logic is not only self-defeating but ahistorical as well. Throughout history, every great achievement that brought about freedom and a measure of justice to any nation was realized despite seemingly insurmountable odds.

Indeed, who would have thought that the Algerian people were capable of defeating French colonialism when their tools of liberation were so rudimentary as compared with the awesome powers of the French military and its allies?

The same notion applies to many other modern historic experiences, from Vietnam to South Africa and from India to Cuba.

However, the ‘hopelessness discourse’ is not as innocent as it may seem. It is propelled by the persisting failure to appreciate the centrality of the Palestinian people – or any other people, for that matter – in their own history. Additionally, it assumes that the Palestinian people are, frankly, ineffectual.

Interestingly, when many nations were still grappling with the concept of national identity, the Palestinian people had already developed a refined sense of modern collective identity and national consciousness. General mass strikes and civil disobedience challenging British imperialism and Zionist settlements in Palestine began nearly a century ago, culminating in the six-month-long general strike of 1936.

Since then, popular resistance, which is linked to a defined sense of national identity, has been a staple in Palestinian history. It was a prominent feature of the First Intifada, the popular uprising of 1987.

The fact that the Palestinian homeland was lost, despite the heightened consciousness of the Palestinian masses at the time, is hardly indicative of the Palestinian people’s ability to affect political outcomes.

Time and again, Palestinians have rebelled and, with each rebellion, they forced all parties, including Israel and the United States, to reconsider and overhaul their strategies altogether.

A case in point was the First Intifada.

When, on December 8, 1987, thousands took to the streets of the Jabaliya Refugee Camp, the Gaza Strip’s most crowded and poorest camp, the timing and the location of their uprising was most fitting, rational and necessary. Earlier that day, an Israeli truck had run over a convoy of cars carrying Palestinian laborers, killing four young men. For Jabaliya, as with the rest of Palestine, it was the last straw.

Responding to the chants and pleas of the Jabaliya mourners, Gaza was, within days, the breeding ground for a real revolution that was self-propelled and unwavering. The chants of Palestinians in the Strip were answered in the West Bank, and echoed just as loudly in Palestinian towns, including those located in Israel.

PALESTINIAN UPRISING 1987

The contagious energy was emblematic of children and young adults wanting to reclaim the identities of their ancestors, which had been horribly disfigured and divided among regions, countries and refugee camps.

The Intifada – literally meaning the “shake off” – sent a powerful message to Israel that the Palestinian people are alive, and are still capable of upsetting all of Israel’s colonial endeavors. The Intifada also confronted the failure of the Palestinian and Arab leaderships, as they persisted in their factional and self-seeking politics.

In fact, the Madrid Talks in 1991 between Palestinians and Israelis were meant as an Israeli- American political compromise, aimed at ending the Intifada in exchange for acknowledging the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as a representative of the Palestinian people.

The Oslo Accords, signed by Yasser Arafat and Israel in 1993, squandered the gains of the Intifada and, ultimately, replaced the more democratically representative PLO with the corrupt Palestinian Authority.

But even then, the Palestinian people kept coming back, reclaiming, in their own way, their importance and centrality in the struggle. Gaza’s Great March of Return is but one of many such people-driven initiatives.

Palestine’s biggest challenge in the movement is not the failure of the people to register as a factor in the liberation of their own land, but their quisling leadership’s inability to appreciate the immense potential of harnessing the energies of Palestinians everywhere to stage a focused and strategic, anti-colonial, liberation campaign.

This lack of vision dates back to the late 1970s, when the Palestinian leadership labored to engage politically with Washington and other Western capitals, culminating in the pervading sense that, without US political validation, Palestinians would always remain marginal and irrelevant.

The Palestinian leadership’s calculations at the time proved disastrous. After decades of catering to Washington’s expectations and diktats, the Palestinian leadership, ultimately, returned empty-handed, as the current Donald Trump administration’s ‘Deal of the Century’ has finally proven.

I have recently spoken with two young Palestinian female activists: one is based in besieged Gaza and the other in the city of Seattle. Their forward-thinking discourse is, itself, a testament that the pessimism of some intellectuals does not define the thinking of this young Palestinian generation, and there would be no need to dismiss the collective efforts of this budding generation in anticipation of the rise of a ‘better’ one.

Malak Shalabi, a Seattle-based law student, does not convey a message of despair, but that of action. “It’s really important for every Palestinian and every human rights activist to champion the Palestinian cause regardless of where they are, and it is important especially now, ” she told me.

“There are currently waves of social movements here in the United States, around civil rights for Black people and other issues that are (becoming) pressing topics – equality and justice – in the mainstream. As Palestinians, it’s important that we (take the Palestinian cause) to the mainstream as well,” she added.

“There is a lot of work happening among Palestinian activists here in the United States, on the ground, at a social, economic, and political level, to make sure that the link between Black Lives Matter and Palestine happens,” she added.

On her part, Wafaa Aludaini in Gaza spoke about her organization’s – 16th October Group – relentless efforts to engage communities all over the world, to play their part in exposing Israeli war crimes in Gaza and ending the protracted siege on the impoverished Strip.

“Palestinians and pro-Palestinian activists outside are important because they make our voices heard outside Palestine, as mainstream media does not report (the truth of) what is taking place here,” she told me.

For these efforts to succeed, “we all need to be united,” she asserted, referring to the Palestinian people at home and in the diaspora, and the entire pro-Palestinian solidarity movement everywhere, as well.

The words of Malak and Wafaa are validated by the growing solidarity with Palestine in the BLM movement, as well as with numerous other justice movements the world over.

On June 28, the UK chapter of the BLM tweeted that it “proudly” stands in solidarity with Palestinians and rejects Israel’s plans to annex large areas of the West Bank.

BLM went further, criticizing British politics for being “gagged of the right to critique Zionism and Israel’s settler-colonial pursuits”.

Repeating the claim that a whole new generation needs to replace the current one for any change to occur in Palestine is an insult – although, at times, unintended – to generations of Palestinians, whose struggle and sacrifices are present in every aspect of Palestinian lives.

Simply because the odds stacked against Palestinian freedom seem too great at the moment, does not justify the discounting of an entire nation, which has lived through many wars, protracted sieges and untold hardship. Moreover, the next generation is but a mere evolution of the consciousness of the current one. They cannot be delinked or analyzed separately.

In his “Prison Notebooks”, anti-fascist intellectual, Antonio Gramsci, coined the term “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.”

While logical analysis of a situation may lead the intellect to despair, the potential for social and political revolutions and transformations must keep us all motivated to keep the struggle going, no matter the odds.

Why Israel Fears the Nakba: How Memory Became Palestine’s Greatest Weapon

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

Israel is afraid of Palestinian memory, since it is the only facet of its war against the Palestinian people that it cannot fully control.

n May 15, thousands of Palestinians in Occupied Palestine and throughout the ‘shatat’, or diaspora, participated in the commemoration of Nakba Day, the one event that unites all Palestinians, regardless of their political differences or backgrounds.

For years, social media has added a whole new stratum to this process of commemoration. #Nakba72, along with #NakbaDay and #Nakba, have all trended on Twitter for days. Facebook was inundated with countless stories, videos, images, and statements, written by Palestinians, or in global support of the Palestinian people.

The dominant Nakba narrative remains – 72 years following the destruction of historic Palestine at the hands of Zionist militias – an opportunity to reassert the centrality of the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees. Over 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homes in Palestine in 1947-48. The surviving refugees and their descendants are now estimated at over five million.

As thousands of Palestinians rallied on the streets and as the Nakba hashtag was generating massive interest on social media, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, paid an eight-hour visit to Israel to discuss the seemingly imminent Israeli government annexation, or theft, of nearly 30% of the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

“The Israeli government will decide on the matter, on exactly when and how to do it,” Pompeo said in an interview with Israeli radio, Kan Bet, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Clearly, the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu has American blessing to further its colonization of occupied Palestine, to entrench its existing Apartheid regime, and to act as if the Palestinians simply do not exist.

Considering the massive US political sway, why do Palestinians then insist on making demands which, according to the pervading realpolitik of the so-called Palestinian-Israeli conflict, seem unattainable?

Since the start of the peace process in Oslo in the early 1990s, the Palestinian leadership has engaged with Israel and its western benefactors in a useless political exercise that has, ultimately, worsened an already terrible situation. After over 25 years of haggling over bits and pieces of what remained of historic Palestine, Israel and the US are now plotting the endgame, while demonizing the very Palestinian leaders that participated in their joint and futile political charade.

Strangely, the rise and demise of the so-called ‘peace process’ did not seem to affect the collective narrative of the Palestinian people, who still see the Nakba, not the Israeli occupation of 1967, and certainly not the Oslo accords, as the core point in their struggle against Israeli colonialism.

This is because the collective Palestinian memory remains completely independent from Oslo and its many misgivings. For Palestinians, memory is an active process. It is not a docile, passive mechanism of grief and self-pity that can easily be manipulated, but a generator of new meanings.

In their seminal book “Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory”, Ahmad Sa’di and Lila Abu-Lughod wrote that “Palestinian memory is, at its heart, political.”

This means that the powerful and emotive commemoration of the 72nd anniversary of the Nakba is essentially a collective political act, and, even if partly unconscious, a people’s retort and rejection of Donald Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’, of Pompeo’s politicking, and of Netanyahu’s annexation drive.

Despite the numerous unilateral measures taken by Israel to determine the fate of the Palestinian people, the blind and unconditional US support of Israel, and the unmitigated failure of the Palestinian Authority to mount any meaningful resistance, Palestinians continue to remember their history and understand their reality based on their own priorities.

For many years, Palestinians have been accused of being unrealistic, of “never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” and even of extremism, for simply insisting on their historical rights in Palestine, as enshrined in international law.

These critical voices are either supporters of Israel, or simply unable to understand how Palestinian memory factors in shaping the politics of ordinary people, independent of the quisling Palestinian leadership or the seemingly impossible-to-overturn status quo. True, both trajectories, that of the stifling political reality and people’s priorities seem to be in constant divergence, with little or no overlapping.

However, a closer look is revealing: the more belligerent Israel becomes, the more stubbornly Palestinians hold on to their past. There is a reason for this.

Occupied, oppressed and refugee camps-confined Palestinians have little control over many of the realities that directly impact their lives. There is little that a refugee from Gaza can do to dissuade Pompeo from assigning the West Bank to Israel, or a Palestinian refugee from Ein El-Helweh in Lebanon to compel the international community to enforce the long-delayed Right of Return.

But there is a single element that Palestinians, regardless of where they are, can indeed control: their collective memory, which remains the main motivator of their legendary steadfastness.

Hannah Arendt wrote in 1951 that totalitarianism is a system that, among other things, forbids grief and remembrance, in an attempt to sever the individual’s or group’s relation to the continuous past.

For decades, Israel has done just that, in a desperate attempt to stifle the memory of the Palestinians, so that they are only left with a single option, the self-defeating peace process.

In March 2011, the Israeli parliament introduced the ‘Nakba Law’, which authorized the Israeli Finance Ministry to carry out financial measures against any institution that commemorates Nakba Day.

Israel is afraid of Palestinian memory, since it is the only facet of its war against the Palestinian people that it cannot fully control; the more Israel labors to erase the collective memory of the Palestinian people, the more Palestinians hold tighter to the keys of their homes and to the title deed of their land back in their lost homeland.

There can never be a just peace in Palestine until the priorities of the Palestinian people – their memories, and their aspirations – become the foundation of any political process between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Everything that operates outside this paradigm is null and void, for it will never herald peace or instill true justice. This is why Palestinians remember; for, over the years, their memory has proven to be their greatest weapon.

The Virus of Occupation: Israelis Have Taken To Spitting on Palestinians During Coronavirus

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

Now that we know that the deadly coronavirus can be transmitted through saliva droplets, Israeli soldiers and illegal Jewish settlers are working extra hard to spit at as many Palestinians, their cars, doorknobs, and so on, as possible.

If this sounds to you too surreal and repugnant, then you might not be as familiar with the particular breed of Israeli colonialism as you may think you are.

In all fairness, Israelis have been spitting at Palestinians well before the World Health Organization (WHO) lectured us on the elusive nature of the COVID-19 disease and on the critical need to apply ‘social distancing’.

Indeed, if you Google the phrase ‘Israeli spitting’, you will be inundated with many interesting search results, the like of “Jerusalem Judge to Jews: Don’t Spit On Christians“, “Christians in Jerusalem want Jews to Stop Spitting on Them“, and the more recent, “Israel Settlers Spitting on Palestinian Cars Raises Concern over Attempt to Spread Coronavirus”.

Interestingly, most of this coverage throughout the years has been carried out by Israel’s own media, while receiving little attention in Western mainstream media.

One could easily classify such degrading acts as yet another example of the Israelis’ false sense of superiority over Palestinians. But the deliberate attempt at infecting occupied Palestinians with the coronavirus is beneath contempt, even for a settler-colonial regime.

Two particular elements in this story require a pause.

First, that acts of spitting at Palestinians and their properties, by both occupation soldiers and settlers, have been widely reported in many parts of occupied Palestine.

This means that, within a matter of days, the Israeli army and settlers’ cultures so swiftly adapted their pre-existing racism to employ a deadly virus as the latest tool in subjugating and harming Palestinians, whether physically or symbolically.

Second, the degree of ignorance and buffoonery that accompany these racist and degrading acts.

The power paradigm that has governed the relationship between colonial Israel and colonized Palestinians has, thus far, followed a typical trajectory, where Israel’s bad deeds often go unpunished.

Those racist Israelis who are deliberately trying to infect Palestinians with the COVID-19 are not only criminal in their thinking and behavior, but utterly foolish as well.

When Israeli soldiers arrest or beat up Palestinian activists, they are as likely to contract the coronavirus as they are to transmit it.

But, of course, Israel is doing much more to complicate, if not entirely hinder, Palestinian efforts aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus.

On March 23, a Palestinian worker, Malek Jayousi, was tossed out by Israeli authorities at the Beit Sira military checkpoint, near Ramallah, after he was suspected of having the coronavirus.

A video footage of the poor worker huddling near the checkpoint, after he was “dumped like trash”, has gone viral on social media.

PLO Department of Public Diplomacy & Policy@PalestinePDP

Widespread condemnation of inhumane Israeli treatment of this Palestinian worker. He was dumped on the side of the road by an Israeli military checkpoint near Ramallah after his Israeli employer suspected he could have . Malek is now receiving proper care.@ilo

Embedded video

As shocking as that image was, it was repeated in other parts of the West Bank.

Of course, the Palestinian workers were not tested for the virus, but had merely exhibited flu-like symptoms, enough to make Israel dispose of them as if their lives did not matter in the least.

Two weeks later, the Palestinian Governor of the occupied city of Qalqiliya, Rafi’ Rawajbeh,  told reporters that the Israeli army has opened several wastewater tunnels near the northern Palestinian city, with the aim of smuggling Palestinian workers back to the West Bank, without prior coordination with the Palestinian Authority.

Without testing hundreds of those smuggled workers, the PA, already operating with limited capacity to confront the disease, will find it impossible to contain the spread of the virus.

Palestinian claims of Israel’s deliberate attempt at worsening the spread of the coronavirus in Palestine were further confirmed by the Geneva-based Euro-med Monitor, which, on March 31, called on the international community to investigate the ‘suspicious behavior’ of Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers.

During Israeli army raids on Palestinian homes, soldiers “spat at parked cars, ATMs and shop locks, which raises fears of deliberate attempts to spread the virus and cause panic in the Palestinian society,” Euro-Med stated.

Article 56 of the Fourth Geneva Convention does not say anything about the need for members of the Occupying Power to stop spitting at occupied and subjugated communities; most likely, because it is a given that such sordid behavior is completely unacceptable and does not require a separate textual reference.

However, Article 56, as was recently emphasized by UN Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory, Michael Lynk, does require Israel, the Occupying Power, to “ensure that all the necessary preventive means available to it are utilized to ‘combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics.’”

Israel, however, is failing its legal mandate, and horribly so.

Even the Israeli mayor of Jerusalem, Moshe Leon, has himself stressed the inequality in the official Israeli response to the spread of the coronavirus.

In his letter of April 7 to the Israeli Health Ministry Director General, Moshe Bar Siman Tov, Leon warned against “the serious shortage of medical equipment at (Palestinian) hospitals in (occupied) East Jerusalem, particularly protective equipment and equipment to conduct coronavirus testing.”

Despite the severe shortages in East Jerusalem and West Bank hospitals, the situation in the besieged Gaza Strip is simply disastrous, as Gaza’s Health Ministry has declared on April 9 that it has run out of its coronavirus test kits, which never amounted to more than few hundred, in the first place.

This means that the many Gazans who are already under quarantine will not be released any time soon, and that new cases will not be detected, let alone cured.

We have repeatedly warned in the last few weeks that this terrifying scenario was going to happen, especially as Israel is using the coronavirus as an opportunity to further isolate Palestinians and to barter potential humanitarian aid with political concessions.

Without immediate and sustainable intervention from the international community, occupied Palestine, and especially impoverished and besieged Gaza, could become a hotbed for COVID-19 for years to come.

Israel will never relent without international intervention. Without being held accountable, even a deadly virus will never alter the habits of a vile military occupation.

From Electoral Politics to Coronavirus Response: In Israel, Apartheid Mentality Reigns

By Mico Peled

Source

Jerusalem, Palestine — Once again, Benjamin Netanyahu wins big in Israeli politics. Even as his main opponent, former Israeli army chief Benny Gantz was given a mandate to form and head a coalition government, Netanyahu, indicted and presumed to be on his way out, managed to pull in Gantz, break up the Blue and White opposition party, stop the coalition from forming, and remain on top.

Fifteen seats

In an unprecedented upset, the Arab Joint List, a coalition of four predominantly Palestinian political parties, was able to win fifteen seats in the Israeli Knesset. This made them the third largest block within the legislature. They were going to support a Gantz-led government from the outside, which means they would not be a part of the actual coalition government. This is an enormous gesture on behalf of the Joint List, whose constituents are primarily Palestinian citizens of Israel, the country’s most disenfranchised group of citizens.

It was a moment of sweet illusion when, thanks to the recommendation of the members of the Arab Joint List, Gantz was given the mandate to form a government and be the first politician to get Netanyahu out of the Premier seat in over a decade. However, that moment did not last long. It was naive to think that an Israeli politician would agree to rely on Palestinians to advance his political career – this would be a stain he could never erase. It was also naive to believe that there is anyone in Israeli politics that could not be outsmarted by Netanyahu.

General Gantz

Gantz is a good soldier, he had a long career in the service of the Israeli army, which ended after four years of being at its head. Throughout his career, Gantz was responsible for countless dead and injured Palestinians and unspeakable destruction all over Palestine and Lebanon. As army chief, he led the IDF during two bloody massacres in Gaza: one in November of 2012 and another, in the summer of 2014. The second was perhaps the worst massacre of Palestinians ever perpetrated by Israel. It lasted over 50 days in which 2,500 Palestinians were murdered and tens of thousands were injured.

Now, still a good soldier, Gantz obeyed Netanyahu, who was his boss while he was in uniform. He obediently broke up his own political alliance, Blue and White, threw his political allies under the bus, and turned his back on the voters. He also reneged on the one campaign promise that got him elected to begin with: to unseat Netanyahu.

Apartheid is a state of mind.

No Zionist political leader will rely on a Palestinian party. That is because the Israeli apartheid is not just a system of government, it is a state of mind. Israeli racism is deeply institutional and deeply personal to a point where a career politician, in this case, Benny Gantz, gave up the chance to be Prime Minister because it meant he would need to rely on Palestinian citizens of Israel.

One of the criticisms leveled at Gantz was that he was going to rely on the members of the Arab Joint List for his coalition, even though they had made it clear that if it came to a vote, they would never support another assault on Gaza. Furthermore, the members of the Joint List are opposed to the so-called Trump peace plan and are known to support Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. The acclaimed Israeli author David Grossman, considered a beacon of the “Zionist Left,” called on Gantz to work with the Joint List, he added, “even though I find some of their policies reprehensible.”

Apartheid in the time of COVID-19

In light of the outbreak of Covid-19, the Israeli government has called for serious restrictions on movement, cramping the lifestyle of Israelis to levels they had never experienced. It is said that the government, using its intelligence agencies, is collecting information on Israeli citizens who have the virus, and this is raising some objections. In fact, there are several campaigns now demanding “Freedom to Move” be restored and that the intelligence agencies not be involved in collecting data. Five million Palestinians who live no more than a few short miles from Israelis, live in ghettos, not to say concentration camps, and under the shadow of the Israeli intelligence agencies and no one ever hears of Israeli demands to allow them the freedom to move or to end the repression of their rights.

The Tel-Aviv marathon was held recently, just as the coronavirus issue was beginning to spread, and all the foreign runners were prohibited from participating. 40,000 Israeli runners participated in the event and not a word was said about the closures, arrests, water restrictions and lack of rights of millions of Palestinians who live a few miles from there.

It gets worse. Even with the outbreak of the coronavirus, Israeli authorities continue to demolish homes, arrest minors, and shoot protestors and Israeli settler gangs continue to terrorize Palestinians. This video, taken by a photographer from the human rights group, B’tselem shows settlers and soldiers shooting at Palestinians who were defending their home from an attack by settler thugs. The army arrested the photographer and took his camera.

In the Naqab, where over 100,000 Palestinian Bedouin citizens of Israel live in “unrecognized towns,” COVID-19 turned a terrible situation into a potential disaster. Because the Israeli authorities do not recognize these towns, they have no access to the basic most services like clean water, access roads or electricity, much less to health and medical services.

Palestinian Bedouin in the Naqab are all citizens of the state of Israel. They live in crowded conditions because they are prevented from building. The ones who dare to build are under constant fear of demolition and expulsion from their lands. These conditions make it impossible to adhere to the basic most safety precautions needed to stop the spread of Corona.

Schools are now closed and the Israeli Ministry of Education is providing lessons to Israeli citizens via the internet, but over 50 percent of Palestinian citizens of Israel live below the poverty line and have no internet access. In the Naqab, 70 percent of the students don’t even have access to electricity, much less wifi.

Apartheid Israel is alive and well, and at least for now, so is the man leading it.

Revanchist Israel Bent on Territorial Expansion. Towards “Greater Israel”?

Global Research, July 15, 2019

Israel is the only nation without official borders. From its inception it was planned this way to extrajudicially annex more territory.

A territorial expansion plan was drawn up in the 1980s as part of the US/Israel plan to redraw the Middle East map to their advantage, wanting subservient puppet regimes installed in partitioned Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and other Arab countries.

In 2006, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya wrote about “(t)he (US-Israeli) Project for a New Middle East.”

Their objectives remain unchanged, including the creation of “arc of instability, chaos, and violence extending from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria to Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Iran, and borders of” Central Asia and North Africa.

Endless US-led NATO wars rage in this broader region, no end of them in prospect. Beginning weeks after 9/11, what followed was well planned in advance.

The mother of all false flags launched Washington’s escalated imperial agenda in this oil and other resource-rich part of the world.

US forever wars are part of its divide, conquer and control strategy, the human cost of no consequence. Israel shares the same objective regionally that Washington aims for worldwide.

In 1982, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs senior advisor Oded Yinon published a document for regional conquest and dominance — titled “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s.”

Israel Shahak (1933 – 2001) published a translated/edited version titled “The Zionist Plan for the Middle East.”

It’s considered the most explicit, detailed statement of Zionist rage for redrawing the Middle East map to serve Israeli interests.

Its two essential premises include the following:

To survive, Israel must dominate the region and become a world power.

Achieving its imperial aims requires dividing Arab nations into small, easily controlled states – partitioning them along ethnic and sectarian lines as weakened Israeli satellites.

According to Yinon,

“(t)he existence, prosperity and steadfastness of (Israel) depend(s) upon its ability to adopt a new framework for its domestic and foreign affairs,” based on securing its material needs through winnable resource wars and Arab world divisions.

“All the Arab States east of Israel are torn apart, broken up and riddled with inner conflicts even more than those of the Maghreb” (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, and Western Sahara).”

Gulf states are “built upon a delicate house of sand in which there is only oil.” Jordan is in reality Palestine, Amman the same as Nablus.

Other regional states are similar, including Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and others.

The US, NATO, Israeli scheme is all about creating endless regional violence and chaos, exploited to their advantage for gaining control over regional nations and their valued resources.

In 1948, Israel stole 78% of historic Palestine, siezing the rest in June 1967, including Jerusalem, a UN-designated international city the US and Israel consider the exclusive Jewish state capital, no matter how contrary to international law.

Israel illegally occupies most all valued West Bank land and Jerusalem. It always aimed for maximum Jews and minimum Arabs throughout historic Palestine.

On Friday, UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in Occupied Palestine Michael Lynk said actions of the Jewish state “occupying power (are) bent on further (illegal) territorial annexation.”

During a visit to Amman, Jordan, the Netanyahu regime denied him permission to enter Occupied Palestine.

My earlier articles about Israel/Palestine explained the following:

Occupied Palestinians live in limbo, controlled by a repressive foreign army and a system of institutionalized and codified racism.

They’re denied self-determination, the right of citizenship, and control over their daily lives, what’s fundamental for all free socities.

Living in a constant state of fear, they suffer from economic strangulation, collective punishment, denial of free movement and expression, along with enduring virtually every form of indignity, degradation, and crime against humanity imaginable.

Their population centers are isolated from each other for easier control and theft of their land.

They endure curfews, roadblocks, checkpoints, electric fences, other barriers, mass arrests, imprisonments, torture, separation walls, bulldozed homes, and targeted killings.

Their fundamental rights affirmed under international law are denied by oppressive Israeli regimes, ruling by what Edward Said called “refined viciousness.”

They’re punished by inadequate or denied vital services, punitive taxes, regular neighborhood incursions, land, sea and air attacks, imprisonment of lawmakers for belonging to the wrong party, ethnic cleansing, and slow-motion genocide for praying to the wrong God.

Challenging Israeli authority verbally, in writing, or by peaceful demonstrations risks arrest, injury, or death.

Israel is to Palestinians what Nazi Germany was to Jews, slow-motion extermination compared to industrial scale.

Two million besieged Gazans endure the world’s largest open-air prison, an entire population enduring mass suffocation.

Lynk slammed the Netanyahu regime for failing to fulfill its “obligations as a UN member to cooperate fully with Experts of the United Nations.”

He expressed special concern for Gazans, enduring protracted humanitarian crisis conditions enforced by Israel.

“Palestinians seeking redress through the Israeli legal system face a multitude of obstacles such that ultimately, justice is elusive and largely impossible to obtain,” he stressed, adding:

“Israel’s conduct of the 52-year-old occupation is an affront to modern international law.”

“The United Nations has stated on numerous occasions that the Israeli settlements are illegal, its annexation of East Jerusalem is unlawful, and its violations of the human rights of the Palestinians breach international covenants and treaties.”

“Now is the time for the international community to hold Israel fully accountable for its actions, and to determine whether (its) role as the occupying power has crossed the bright red line into illegality.”

There’s no ambiguity about Israeli high crimes of war and against humanity, its vicious persecution of defenseless Palestinians.

Yet the world community has done nothing to hold the Jewish state accountable, nothing to seek redress for the Palestinian people.

As long as Israel has US support, it’ll continue getting away with mass murder and a whole lot more. They’ll be no end to Palestinian suffering.

Fulfillment of Netanyahu’s campaign pledge to annex illegal settlements if implemented will be the latest Israeli affront to their fundamental rights.

Israel has never been held accountable for “its prolonged occupation, annexation and defiance of international (laws, norms, and standards) with respect to settlements, the separation wall, and collective punishment,” said Lynk.

Nor is it likely ahead unless international tribunals fulfill their obligations to hold serial lawbreaker Israel and its officials accountable for their high crimes.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

IAEA Chief Refutes Netanyahu’s Big Lies on Iran

By Stephen Lendman

Last May, in response to numerous times Netanyahu falsely accused Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, notably his latest Big Lie at that time, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman  Bahram Qassemi slammed him strongly, saying:

He’s a “broke and infamous liar who has had nothing to offer except lies and deceits,” adding:

“Netanyahu and the notorious, child-killing Zionist regime must have reached the basic understanding that the people of the world have enough awareness and cognizance.”

He long ago lost credibility. Many Israelis despise him, venting their anger in occasional large-scale street protests against him remaining prime minister.

His shameful accusations against Iran are never supported by credible evidence because there is none. 

Its legitimate nuclear program has no nuclear component. It’s combatting terrorism, not supporting or proliferating it.

It neither threatens or attacks other nations like Washington, NATO and Israel do repeatedly.

Qassemi called Israel an “illegal regime…using battered charlatanism of the ignorance age, (mindless) of world public opinion.”

In response to Netanyahu’s false claim about a “secret atomic warehouse” in his UN General Assembly address, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano refuted the accusation, saying:

“The agency sends inspectors to sites and locations only when needed. The agency uses all safeguards relevant to information available to it but it does not take (so-called intelligence) at face value.” 

Without mentioning Israel or Netanyahu by name, Amano added that “(a)ll information obtained, including from third parties, is subject to rigorous review and assessed together with other available information to arrive at an independent assessment based on the agency’s own expertise.”

“In order to maintain credibility, the agency’s independence in relation to the implementation of verification activities is of paramount importance.”

Since Security Council Resolution 2231 made the JCPOA nuclear deal binding international (and US constitutional law under its Supremacy Clause), Washington alone breached it – straightaway by Obama, notably by Trump’s unlawful pullout.

The IAEA affirmed Iran’s full compliance with JCPOA provisions 12 consecutive times. No nation is more intensively monitored, none more scrupulously in compliance with Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) provisions and its other nuclear obligations.

US use of radiological material in war theaters, along with deploying nukes in Europe and elsewhere flagrantly violate NPT’s letter and spirit.

Moscow slammed its “joint nuclear missions” with NATO imperial allies, saying “this is a direct violation of (NPT) Articles I and II…”

It expressly prohibits transfer of nuclear weapons from one nation to another.

According to the Federation of American Scientists, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Turkey currently host 150 US nukes at six bases.

B61 nukes are the Pentagon’s oldest in its arsenal, in 2020 to be replaced by B61-12 bombs, costing over $10 billion, according to the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Office of Cost Estimating and Program Evaluation.

Moscow’s complaint to Washington about illegally deploying nukes was ignored.

The Trump regime plans an unprecedented nuclear upgrade – unjustifiably justified by a “Russian threat (and) troubling” behavior that doesn’t exist.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned that US behavior “significantly lowers the threshold (for) use of nuclear weapons,” adding:

The “baseless allegations of a growing ‘Russian nuclear threat,’ peddled by Americans, look particularly cynical.”

“The provisions of our military doctrine concerning the use of nuclear weapons are deliberately distorted.”

“The western public is being continuously told that Russia appears to review its stance on the place and the role of the nuclear weapons and focuses more and more on that. This does not correspond to the reality.”

Trump reportedly wants America’s nuclear arsenal increased 10-fold. US nuclear policy under Bush/Cheney, Obama, and Trump assert America’s preemptive right to unilaterally declare and wage future wars using first strike nuclear weapons.

Nuclear armed and dangerous Israel likely has a similar unstated policy.

Iran deplores these weapons, wants them all eliminated. As long as they exist, using them eventually remains an ominous possibility.

Source

BDS is a war Israel can’t win

BDS is a war Israel can’t win

Israel’s apologists would call the BDS campaign “immoral”, but the slander is laughably false.

By Stanley L Cohen

Israeli think-tank fellow Yossi Klein Halevi, writing recently in the Los Angeles Times would have American readers believe that the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement is “immoral” and threatens the peace of “the region’s only intact society”, while simultaneously boasting it can’t touch Israel’s health and global economic integration.

Yet his reasoning from “morals” rings hollow, and amounts to little more than the shilling of the professional apologist industry deployed on Israel’s behalf throughout the Western media, in the never-ending defence of the oppressive status quo in Palestine.

Halevi excoriates BDS, disingenuously, for making the Jewish state “the world’s most pressing problem” today, while extolling Israel’s freedoms and national righteousness. Of course, his complaint manages to engage in both self-pitying and craven boosterism at the same time – a kind of perverse humble-brag.

No, Mr Halevi, Israel is not the world’s greatest problem – rather, Israel is Palestine’s great, existential, enduring problem for a people who have lived their whole lives under the constant, brutal and de-humanising occupation of this enlightened state.

Palestine’s ordeal

Most of the world has been content to overlook Palestine’s ordeal – fatigued by 68 years of this conflict, and understandably inured to the epic suffering of its people, who understand that their tragic condition can only hold its attention briefly.

The endless failed international “peace” efforts, the vicissitudes of negotiations, and periodic spasms of violence have become like the weather – always there.
This is precisely why the BDS movement has come to figure so prominently in Palestinian hopes – it side-steps the moribund “peace process” and banks on people-power as leverage against state and institutional power, applied against a responsive economy, such as Israel’s.

In the view of Palestinians, the state of Israel has never possessed legitimacy, not by international standards, as it was founded on expulsion, land-theft and military occupation. The BDS movement approaches this abstract issue by offering practicable action for citizens in the West, while the official international community dithers away the decades, leaving Palestinians worse off than ever before.

That such leverage should be applied to Israel is entirely justified. After all, autocratic dictatorships with closed economies, lacking – in Halevi’s celebratory words – “an independent judiciary, a free press, universal healthcare and religious freedom” are not typically responsive targets to protest campaigns for justice, like that of the BDS movement.

Citizens in America don’t propose a boycott of North Korea – the US government does that for them, making it illegal to do business with that outlaw state: yes, the very same US government which blocks every effort by the United Nations and international courts to address the illegality of Israeli settlements, military occupation, collective punishment, economic enslavement, and wholesale destruction and murder of a captive population.

Advantages of civil society

If America’s obstruction of international law did not shield Israel from accountability, there would be no need for BDS.

Because Israel possesses all the institutions and advantages of civil society, then presumably its economy and citizens would therefore be responsive to an effective grassroots campaign of boycott and economic push-back.

And if the campaign were to succeed, this same society might be expected to search its collective soul over its choices – and challenge its government’s policies.

This obvious point seems to have escaped Halevi, and others, who brand the movement as “immoral, because it perpetuates the lie that Israel is solely or even primarily to blame” for the Palestinian condition. Yet if we look around the room, who else is there?

Who attacks Palestinians’ cities with warplanes and tanks, walls them in, isolates them from contact with the world, cuts off their electricity, destroys their infrastructure, takes their water, and builds on their land after evicting them?

Who puts their teenagers in jail, takes their farms, cuts down their olive trees? It isn’t North Korea; it isn’t Putin’s Russia; it isn’t a rapacious China. Israel is the author of the present Palestinian condition, as it has been for decades, with its American backers, and there isn’t much point rehashing the failure of Camp David, or Oslo, or the Palestinian leadership since 1936, or 1948, or 1967.

BDS leaves that debate to “think-tank” intellectuals like Halevi and others. Justice for the Palestinians will not be achieved through debating societies.

BDS offers to its supporters a non-violent, crowd-sourced, material response to the intransigence of Israel and her rampant, continuing illegality. Israel’s apologists would call the campaign “immoral”, but the slander is laughably false.

The logic of justice

BDS compels no one to join it; it constrains no one but by force of reason, and the logic of justice.

In Halevi’s topsy-turvy morality, it is the BDS movement that sins against moral law, in persuading people, institutions and governments to vote with their wallets and their consciences on the rights of Palestinians – rather than Israel, which claims legitimacy to the world, even as it continues to build new settlements on Palestinian land, and subjugates its people to military occupation, dispossession and violence, in violation of international law.

The propagandists of Israeli power understand all too well that BDS is the first clear-eyed, internationalist movement of people – not governments, not Western “quartets”, not the UN Security Council – to look at Palestine with fresh eyes and accurate information. It demands that until Israel ceases its occupation and oppression of millions of Palestinians, there cannot, and should not, be any “business as usual” with the regime.

If Israeli critics want to smear BDS as “bigoted” – a dog-whistle for “anti-Semitic” – because of its endorsement of the Palestinian Right of Return, let them address the historical truth: at least 800,000 Palestinians were expelled en masse, in the creation of the Israeli state – that number has since grown to 7,000,000 stateless refugees with another 4 million internally displaced within their own nation.

No effort has ever been made by official Israeli society to acknowledge and address this simple reality – that many elderly Palestinians living in UN camps, or Gaza City slums, or the West Bank, remember their homes in places such as Jaffa, Yibna, or the numerous towns and villages erased from the map.

It serves no use to deny this fact – perhaps a good starting point for intellectuals like Halevi would be in saying, yes, it is not too late to admit those rights and seek redress, together with the Palestinians.

BDS is brave enough to put the Right of Return up front, as a moral position; if Israel were ready to move forward, it could do the same. Who knows – perhaps good things could come from starting from the truth.

And what of Israel’s boast of its progressive freedoms? They do not withstand scrutiny in the slightest – religious freedom, for example, is under clear attack for every Muslim who wishes to worship at al-Aqsa, or travel to Jerusalem, or leave Gaza and return again, with access routinely denied.

Through Israeli military travel bans on Palestinians, families are separated, unable to worship or observe religious rituals together, or attend the mosque of their choice.

Likewise, any progressive Reform Jew or Jewish American visiting will tell you that Orthodox Judaism does not welcome them, either – Israel’s Rabbinate monopolises official control over the very legitimacy of being Jewish, and denies marriage rights to thousands of couples, even going so far as to jail couples marrying illegally, or rabbis conducting such ceremonies.

Orthodox cultural control

Under Orthodox cultural control in Jerusalem and elsewhere, women are subordinated literally to a “back of the bus” status, and segregated without access to full social freedom and the right to work.

As for an independent judiciary, Palestinians never see it, instead enduring the injustices of military courts and the state security apparatus leaving thousands of them including children as permanent political detainees denied the most fundamental rights, while its civil courts refuse jurisdiction over Palestinian complaints.

And Israel’s “free press” leaves much to be desired. Halevi appears to be ignorant of the targeting of Palestinian journalists in recent years for arrest and prosecution in military courts under “incitement” laws; or the Israeli Defence Forces’ censoring of social media in the Occupied Territories.

The absurd equivocation of Halevi and his colleagues in the “Love Israel” industry hits a shrill note, asking American readers to accept that the BDS movement “is itself a crime”.

But free and open debate of the true status of Israeli occupation in Palestine, and the organising efforts to convince states, businesses and people to stop investing in Israel’s bloody enterprise, is hardly criminal. In America, it is known as “the marketplace of ideas”.

We are all free to argue for justice as we see it, and BDS has had more than a decade of mounting success because its arguments convince reasonable people of the truth – no one is buying any more the tired, old brand of “Israel, the Enlightened Democracy”.

BDS is the brave and steady labour of people of conscience to move the stalled, bogus “peace process” forward by applying economic pressure, plain and simple.

The old narrative of a blameless Israel, fighting off Palestinian “terrorists”, is a hard sell, and BDS will continue to build on its successes because Israel’s defenders can no longer suppress the truth, or sweep it under some wishful fantasy of a benevolent, progressive Israel that doesn’t exist, and never has.

Originally appeared in Al Jazeera Opinions

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/07/bds-war-israel-win-160711070045873.html

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**Stanley L. Cohen is a U.S. based attorney and human rights activist who has done extensive work in the Middle East and Africa. He has handled prominent international cases including that of Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook. He has served as a consultant to Middle East governments and Movements including Hamas and Hezbollah and NGO’s and foundations in Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. He has sued Israel, the US and Egypt on behalf of Palestinians for human rights violations and represented Radio Station 786 on a free speech case in South Africa. A frequent visitor to the region Cohen has been the subject of numerous interviews in all media over many years and addressed numerous human rights conferences in the Middle East, Gulf and Africa. The list of those he has defended and worked for throughout his career is extensive and can be found on istanleycohen.org He also has a blog at https://cagedbutundaunted.wordpress.com/

The Blood of the Saints, Pure Evil, and Zionist Preferences

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Ruins left by terrorists at the Greek Catholic Church of Our Lady in the Syrian town of Yabroud in March of 2014

ISIS Sends Parents Rape Video
Plus Body Parts of Their Kidnapped Daughters

“In Syria, if the choice is between Iran and the Islamic State, I choose the Islamic State.”

–Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, as quoted January 20, 2016 in Newsweek

“Al-Qaida control over Syria would be preferable to a victory by Assad over the rebels.”

–Senior Israeli officials, quoted by Israel Hayom in 2013

“The initial message about the Syrian issue was that we always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran…We understand that they are pretty bad guys…still, the greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc. That is a position we had well before the outbreak of hostilities in Syria. With the outbreak of hostilities we continued to want Assad to go.”

–Michael Oren, in 2013 interview with the Jerusalem Post

By Richard Edmondson

Some people have a hard time grasping the concept of “pure evil.” It has such a surreal tendency to boggle the mind that for most people, the notions of “purity” and “evil” are seen as opposites, and the fact that you can combine the two together, and in so doing derive an extract, or a concentrate, so hideous it gives rise to primordial fears in the heart as well as a sickening feeling in the gut–well, this is something that busy, workaday people seldom contemplate.

So perhaps that’s how we might explain the comments above by Israeli officials in their preferential views of ISIS–is that these officials simply haven’t grasped the concept of pure evil.

The other possible explanation, of course, is that they have grasped it all too well.

Events testified to at a recent conference on the plight of Christians in the Middle East would suggest that some of those giving testimony have seen pure evil–up close and personal.

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Jacqueline Isaac (L) with Samia Sleman, a Yazidi girl who at the age of 13 was kidnapped and raped by ISIS terrorists

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And I would think that their views on the matter might be slightly different from those expressed by the leaders of the Jewish state.

“I was in captivity for six months and twelve days, in the hands of the Islamic State,” said fifteen-year-old Samia Sleman during the #WeAreN2016 international conference, held April 27-30 in New York. Sleman is a Yazidi girl who was kidnapped by ISIS from her village of Hardan, Iraq in August of 2014. She was thirteen years old at the time.

“They raped and violated myself and the girls that were with me in captivity. There were thousands of Yazidi girls in captivity in this headquarters, then they separated us into two different groups,” she said, adding that girls as young as seven and eight years were raped, while older women, along with large numbers of Yazidi men, were killed.

The #WeAreN2016 conference was sponsored jointly by In Defense of Christians, CitizenGo, and the Vatican’s permanent mission to the United Nations. The “N” in the name stands for the Arabic letter “nun,” often spray painted on the homes of Christians by ISIS terrorists when they capture an area. The letter is a reference to “Nazarenes,” and the people in such homes usually are killed or forced to pay a special tax known as the Jizya.

A report on the conference by the Catholic News Agency described the testimonies given as “graphic, brutal and raw.” And perhaps the rawest of all was that of California Attorney Jacqueline Isaac, who works with Roads to Success, a nonprofit organization providing aid to Middle Eastern refugees, and who spoke of the calamity that overtook one family in particular.

“They got a knock on their door. They opened that door and they found plastic, black bags. The bags had the body parts of their daughters…and a video–a video of their daughters being raped and tortured,” Isaac said. “They’re parents. They’re just like us. They’re parents. They’re mothers, they’re fathers, these are not numbers.”

Another story told concerned that of a Christian woman in Mosul whose daughter died when the family home was torched by ISIS, while three Christian clergy, Monsignor Jean-Clément Jeanbart, Father Rodrigo Miranda, and Sister María Guadalupe, spoke of ghastly events in Syria, especially in the city of Aleppo.

“We have seen things you cannot understand,” said Jeanbart. “We have seen people killed because they were Christians. We have seen bishops abducted, priests abducted–myself I have been three times in danger of death, two times in my archbishopric, one on my way to Beirut.”

But perhaps the most powerful presentation of all was that given by Sister María, who discussed not only the agony of the people of Aleppo, but also the outright fictions about the conflict pedaled by the media. Her talk is one of the most engaging and riveting  I have seen in recent memory, and what it reveals about the courage and resilience of Aleppo’s Christian martyrs is quite stunning.

It’s interesting that Michael Oren, who formerly served as Israeli ambassador to the US, would express such concern over what he refers to as a “strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut.” Oren is of course referring to the governments of Iran and Syria and to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

I’m sure Israeli intelligence is well aware–and probably even Michael Oren himself knows this as well–that Christians in the Middle East have nothing to fear from either the Syrian or Iranian governments, and I’m guessing they equally are aware that Hezbollah has even forged a political alliance with a Maronite Christian party in Lebanon.

In fact, when I visited Beirut in 2014, I saw the St. Joseph Church, located right in the heart of the Hezbollah neighborhood of Haret Hreik–and I saw no visible sign the church had been vandalized. It was well maintained, looking just as it does in this photo:

maryoussef

No surprise, then, that Hezbollah issued a statement in 2014 denouncing crimes against religious sites–a statement that of course received no coverage in the mainstream media.

Besides posing no threat to Christians, the governments of Syria and Iran and Hezbolla, the “strategic arc” Michael Oren is so paranoid over, have, in combination with Russian air support, done the most by far to defeat ISIS–morethan all 59 countries making up the US-led coalition combined.

In addition to describing the attempts on his life, Jeanbart also talked about the Syrian government of Bashar Assad, defining it as “pluralistic” and “nonconfessional”–describing it as well as a government that had been in need of some changes and reforms, but insisting that these changes could have been achieved peacefully through the political system.

“Changing a few things, mending the Constitution, changing the government–and everyone would have been okay,” he said. “Why did they do all this war to destroy everything in Syria?”

It is an excellent question. Why did they? Another excellent question is why, instead of the present government in Syria, Israeli officials would prefer to see a Middle Eastern nation bordering their own state run by a bunch of blood thirsty maniacs–maniacs with a fondness for dismembering Christian children, and stuffing their body parts in plastic bags, and leaving them on the doorsteps of their families. It almost sounds like an anti-Semitic “blood libel,” doesn’t it? In fact, if you were to hear such a statement made about Israeli leaders in another context you’d likely leap to the conclusion that that must surely be what it is.

 photo mdtrtnetanterrst_zpswdr70kxg.jpg

But it does appear as if this is what they would prefer. Moreover, in addition to the statements quoted above, we’ve had a number of reports of terrorists being treated in Israeli hospitals, while the UN has released reportsdocumenting contacts between Israeli forces and Syrian armed opposition groups in which the Israelis were observed providing assistance to the militants. The reports were compiled by the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force.

“UNDOF sporadically observed armed members of the opposition interacting with IDF across the ceasefire line in the vicinity of United Nations position 85,” said one of them.

A couple of questions here are worth asking:

1. Is Israeli intelligence convinced that such things as “moderate rebels” actually in exist in Syria? If not, then,

2. Have the Israelis intentionally provided assistance, including weapons, to Syrian armed groups, and have they done this knowing the weapons would end up in the hands of ISIS?

Numerous reports have appeared in the past year or so of so-called “moderate rebels” defecting over to Al-Nusra or ISIS and taking their US-supplied weapons with them. In fact, the phenomenon has been discussed in a couple of recent articles.

“While Washington is pouring billions of US taxpayer dollars into various training and arming programs in the Middle East and Central Asia, the US-backed fighters regularly defect to Islamists – Daesh, al-Qaeda, Taliban – taking their weapons and invaluable knowledge to ‘the dark side,’” comments Gordon Duff in a May 5 article published at Veterans Today.

The New Eastern Outlook also published a commentary on the issue, written by Martin Berger, who speculates that the defections are in reality a “planned event.” The idea, says Berger, is that those who’ve undergone US training are then able to pass their knowledge on to the members of the respective terrorist organizations “at a time when Washington was unable to train them openly.”

It’s not an altogether implausible theory. As Berger notes, last August it was revealed that the Pentagon had spent $42 million on two months of training for a group of moderates, half of whom were “immediately” captured by Al-Nusra and agreed to defect.

The only idea that’s farfetched is that a ragtag group of clueless (or maybe diabolical) misfits could arise from out of nowhere, wreak havoc upon the cradle of civilization, flood the Internet with slickly-produced videos…all with no backing or support whatever from any government, and with the intent of killing every “infidel” they can get their hands on but without launching an attack on Israel.

It would seem that these ever-buzzing, ever-replenished minions (of whomever) have a decided predilection for the blood of saints.

Boycott Israel? You Die!!!

boycottdie

By Richard Edmondson

It’s not hard to imagine a dystopian future in which calling for a boycott of Israel can result in the death penalty. Does that sound farfetched?

Last summer, Sheldon Adelson, Haim Saban and other wealthy Jews got together and hosted an anti-BDS summit at Adelson’s luxury Venetian hotel in Las Vegas. Closed to the media and the public, the conference nonetheless was expected to raise millions, and if recent events in France, the UK, and the US are any indication, the efforts of its participants are now starting to bear fruit.

France

One of the most powerful and influential Jewish groups in France is the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions, or CRIF, whose president has issued calls for a ban on all BDS protests.

In a speech before CRIF in January, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, too, echoed similar sentiments, asserting that the BDS movement has created a “nauseating climate” and calling for the adoption of sterner measures.

“It is perfectly obvious how we have shifted from criticism of Israel to anti-Zionism and from anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism,” Valls said.

Specifically, the prime minister was reacting to a protest organized by BDS activists which French police did allow in early January. The protest took place at the Paris Opera Square and was organized in response to a performance by the Israeli Batsheva Dance Company at the nearby Palais Garnier.

boycois

“I think the government must change attitudes towards this type of events,” Valls said. “It seems to me to be part of a nauseating climate, so I’m more attentive about it. I think we’ll make arrangements–but still within the law–to show that enough is enough and that one cannot get away with everything in our country.”

Get away with everything?

The prime minister’s comments came on the heels of a ruling against 12 BDS activists by a French appellate court in a decision which found the activists guilty of “discrimination” and of inciting “hate.” Their crime? Entering a supermarket wearing t-shirts saying, “Long live Palestine, boycott Israel,” and handing out flyers encouraging customers to boycott Israeli goods.

In the wake of the ruling, CRIF’s chief lawyer, Pascal Markowicz, posted a triumphant message on the organization’s website reading: “BDS is ILLEGAL in France.” He added that if Palestine solidarity activists “say their freedom of expression has been violated, now France’s highest legal instance ruled otherwise.”

The twelve activists have been ordered to pay fines totaling $14,500 plus court costs. The law they were prosecuted under is known as the “Lellouche law,” implemented in 2003 and named after French Jew Pierre Lellouche, a political ally of Nicolas Sarkozy.

Named for the Jewish parliamentarian who introduced it in 2003, the law is among the world’s most potent legislative tools to fight the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or BDS, and has catapulted France to the forefront of efforts to counter the movement through legal means.

That’s how the Lellouche law has been described by Haaretz (as quoted here) in an article which also documents the reaction to the French court ruling by European Jewish leaders, some of whom are salivating to see similar measures enacted elsewhere in Europe:

“The French government and judiciary’s determination in fighting discrimination, and the Lellouche law especially, are exemplary for Belgium and other nations where discriminatory BDS is happening,” said Joel Rubinfeld, co-chair of the European Jewish Parliament and president of the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism.

The word “discrimination” is key to understanding the sort of reasoning at work: the Lellouche law extended France’s laws against racial discrimination in a manner that would make them applicable to nations as well as groups of people. The law in question addresses the issue of freedom of the press, but also provides for a fine of up to $50,000 upon those who “provoke discrimination, hatred or violence toward a person or group of people on grounds of their origin, their belonging or their not belonging to an ethnic group, a nation, a race or a certain religion.”

Jewish media outlets were jubilant at the ruling.

“It’s official: BDS is hate speech,” proclaimed the JNS.

The supreme irony, of course, is that CRIF has been a vociferous advocate of sanctions on Iran. In commenting on this case, a number of people have underlined the hypocrisy in that, while also pointing out that it’s perfectly legal to also call for sanctions against Russia or Sudan or any other country in the world. It’s only Israel you are not allowed to “discriminate” against.

In addition to all this taking place at the federal level, the Paris City Council also adopted anti-BDS resolutions opposing “all attempts to isolate Israel from the collective of nations.” The action took place on February 16, and one of the resolutions will bar city departments or city-affiliated organizations from hosting events or fostering ties with the BDS movement. The bill was sponsored by the French Republican Party, which referred to calls for a boycott of Israel as “divisive and hateful” and insisted they “have no place in Paris.”

UK

The UK government is also initiating new measures aimed at BDS. The main thrust seems to be directed at local city councils, some of which, such as Leicester, have adopted independent boycott measures, although publicly funded universities and possibly even student union groups could be facing “severe penalties” as well, according to The Independent.

Under the plan all publicly funded institutions will lose the freedom to refuse to buy goods and services from companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products or Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Any public bodies that continue to pursue boycotts will face “severe penalties”, ministers said.

Senior government sources said they were cracking down on town-hall boycotts because they “undermined good community relations, poisoned and polarised debate and fuelled anti-Semitism”.

The boycott measure adopted by the Leicester City Council was passed in 2014 and was specifically directed at goods produced in Israeli settlements. That same year the Scottish government also published a “procurement notice” directed at local councils in Scotland. The notice “strongly discourages trade and investment from illegal settlements,” and four Scottish councils–Clackmannashire, Midlothian, Stirling, and West Dunbartonshire–all adopted boycott resolutions.

So what will be the next step? If the new measures being pushed by the Cameron government go into effect will all of these councils simply be required to rescind their boycott resolutions? Or will Westminster take compliance a step further and by forcing them to purchase goods from the Israeli settlements?

The answer is not clear, but what is clear is that the pressure coming down on the local councils isn’t just from the central government alone. According to The Independent, two councils in Wales which had also adopted boycott resolutions–Gwynedd and Swansea–rescinded their measures voluntarily after lawsuits were filed by a Jewish organization.

Though The Independent’s report on the new initiative appeared in its Sunday, February 14 edition, it wasn’t until Wednesday February 17 that the UK government made a formal announcement on the matter. And tellingly, that announcement was made not in the UK but in Israel–by UK Minister Matt Hancock who was on an official visit to the Jewish state along with other Parliament members.

UK Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

UK Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“To have over 20 British parliamentarians in Israel at that announcement was very symbolic, and even historic,” said James Gurd, executive director of the Conservative Friends of Israel. “Israel can rest assured that its got friends fighting for it.”

According to the Sunday Times of London (as quoted here), “the rules will allow the government to act against organisations that impose boycotts and make it easier for others to take such bodies to court.”

As may be expected, the announcement met with criticism from the Palestinian side. PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi and Secretary-General Saeb Erekat both issued a joint statement saying the new policies would “empower the Israeli occupation by sending a message of impunity.”

It is “no longer acceptable,” they said, “for any government to claim support for the two-state solution while granting immunity to Israeli crimes and systematic violations of international law and UN resolutions.”

“Those who claim to seek the two-state solution should hold Israel accountable for deliberately destroying the prospects of peace and should work on ending the Israeli occupation rather than rewarding it,” the statement added.

Besides the new measures under consideration, Britain has also passed the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act of 2015, among the provisions of which were to give new impetus to  a controversial “anti-radicalization” program known as Prevent. Previously the program had been voluntary, but now for the first time it’s approach is mandated by statute.

And apparently as a consequence of the new law, a British high school boy found himself under questioning by police after wearing a “free Palestine” badge and wristband to class. Rahmaan Mohammadi reportedly was also in possession of a leaflet put out by a pro-Palestine activist group as well, and he had even  asked permission to fundraise for children living under Israeli occupation. Apparently this caused all sorts of alarm bells to go off for school officials.

However, in a report here, the school in question, Challney School for Boys in Luton, defends itself, saying its concern had not been about the badge or the wristband or the leaflet or the fundraising, and that “the fact of the matter is that the school does not permit the wearing of any accessories that are not part of the school uniform…”

Whatever the facts of the case, it is reported that a number of pro-Palestine activist groups in Britain have had their bank accounts shut down, while more than 200 UK academics have signed onto an open letter opposing the Prevent program on the grounds of its “chilling effect on open debate, free speech and political dissent.”

US

On February 11, the US Senate voted 75-20 in favor of a sweeping trade bill which contains within it an anti-BDS clause that basically conflates Israel and the Occupied Territories into one entity.

Significantly, in its opposition to BDS, the bill makes no distinction between Israel and “Israeli-controlled territories,” and it sets the US government in firm opposition to any and all boycott measures against either. This aspect was criticized by the Obama administration, which announced nonetheless that, in the interest of “bipartisan compromise,” the president will sign the legislation into law anyway.

In articulating the administration’s reservations on the matter, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest clarified that the measure “contravenes longstanding US policy towards Israel and the occupied territories, including with regard to Israeli settlement activity.”

But apparently contravening longstanding policy was no barrier to Obama in putting his signature on the bill, nor apparently was the fact that Congress was in essence “trying to legislate de facto U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty” over the territories, as one analyst puts it:

This law represents, truly, an extraordinary constitutional usurpation by Congress. If left unchallenged, it will compel U.S. trade officials to act as if the U.S. de facto recognizes Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank, even though the executive has granted no such recognition. In doing so, it will transform U.S. trade negotiators into defenders and lobbyists for settlements, contrary to consistent U.S. policy dating back almost half a century, to the birth of the settlement project.

The new law is called the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, or TFTE (HR 644), the full text of which can be found here. Most of it deals with trade matters, but one section, 909, hones in on BDS and seeks to “discourage politically motivated boycotts of, divestment from, and sanctions against Israel and to seek the elimination of politically motivated nontariff barriers on Israeli goods, services, or other commerce imposed on Israel.”

The sponsors of the bill also seem to have taken a cue from French lawmakers (or maybe the French took a cue from them), for the legislation defines BDS measures as being “contrary to the principle of nondiscrimination under the GATT 1994.”

GATT, or the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, set up the World Trade Organization and has been blamed by a number of analysts for the outsourcing of US jobs by corporations into countries with cheaper labor. GATT and NAFTA, the other major trade agreement from the 1990s, have both had disastrous effects on the US economy.

The TFTE sets up a time frame–six months from the date of enactment–in which the president will report to Congress on BDS actions aimed at Israel. Items to be included in this report are:

  • A description of “barriers to trade” being imposed upon any “United States persons” doing business either in Israel, the Occupied Territories, or with any “Israeli entities”;
  • A description of “specific steps” being taken to persuade any “international organizations” who may be involved in BDS advocacy, and any “foreign countries” as well, to “cease creating such barriers and to dismantle measures already in place, and an assessment of the effectiveness of such steps”;
  • A description of “specific steps” being taken to prevent “investigations or prosecutions” of “United States persons” on the basis of doing business with Israel (the legal definition of a “United States person” can include “any agency or branch of a foreign entity located in the United States,” although the law itself seems to offer a more limited definition);
  • Decisions by “foreign persons, including corporate entities and state affiliated financial institutions” who “limit or prohibit economic relations with Israel or persons doing business in Israel or in any territory controlled by Israel.”

The above would suggest Congress may be planning to penalize corporations that curtail or end their business relations with Israel, and could even be contemplating sanctions against countries that issue arrest warrants or war crimes charges against Israeli officials. How, or if, the TFTE might impact such countries as Brazil, for instance, which refused to recognize an Israeli ambassador on the grounds of his affiliation with settlements, is unclear.

One thing is certain, though: the TFTE isn’t the only monstrosity in the pipeline. Other bills that have been introduced include (h/t LobeLog):

  • HR 4514/S 2531–the “Combatting BDS Act of 2016.” The bill seeks to “authorize State and local governments to divest from entities that engage in commerce or investment-related boycott, divestment, or sanctions activities targeting Israel, and for other purposes.”
  • HR 4503–the “Fair Treatment of Israel in Product Labeling Act of 2016.” Would allow the word “Israel” to be used on labels for goods originating from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip.
  • H.Res. 567/S.Res.346–expressing opposition–to the EU initiative requiring goods from the Occupied Territories to be labeled as such–on the grounds that “such actions undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated Israeli-Palestinian peace process”
  • HR 4522/S 2537–the “PLO Accountability Act”–seeks to shut down the PLO office in Washington (the Senate bill was introduced by Ted Cruz);

In addition to the above, there are also anti-BDS measures currently pending or already approved in a number of state legislatures, including New York, Pennsylvania, California, Indiana, Virginia, Florida, Alabama and Tennessee. Doubtless Adelson, Saban, and AIPAC are feeling well pleased with themselves at this point. At the same time it would be unwise for us to assume they aren’t desirous of seeing additional laws with even stronger enforcement mechanisms, or that they won’t work diligently toward that end.

Conclusion

It’s interesting to note that the passage of the TFTE in the US, the approval by the Paris City Council of the anti-BDS measures there, and the UK government’s lowering of the boom on local councils and Hancock’s visit to Israel–all took place within a week of each other. The legislative action in Paris and Hancock’s announcement in Israel occurred within one day of each other–February 16 and 17–while the Senate’s action on TFTE, along with Obama’s announcement he would sign it, came on February 11.

Is the timing of all this just a coincidence, or is it reasonable to assume that some force behind the scenes was maneuvering things in this direction, and that that “something” was the Adelson summit in Las Vegas last summer?

Hard to say for sure, but here is how the Jewish newspaper The Forward reported the summit:

Leading Jewish mega-donors have summoned pro-Israel activists for a closed-door meeting in Las Vegas to establish, and fund, successful strategies for countering the wave of anti-Israel activity on college campuses.

The meeting, taking place this weekend, will be hosted by casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson and was organized by several other top Jewish funders, including Hollywood entertainment mogul Haim Saban, Israeli-born real-estate developer Adam Milstein and Canadian businesswoman Heather Reisman.

Organizers have sought to keep the gathering secret and have declined to respond to inquiries from the Forward that would confirm the upcoming meeting with two separate informed sources.

The conference took place the weekend of June 5-7. The French appellate court’s ruling came on October 20; Valls’ speech before CRIF on January 18; and then finally came the triple mezuzah-on-the-door in February.

And in addition to all this, there is now an anti-BDS measure being debated at the national level in Canada. The measure, which appears on track for passage, has won the support of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as two of the country’s main political parties, and just like French and American lawmakers, Canadian lawmakers are zeroing in on the issue of “discrimination.”

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with Netanyahu

Additionally, anti-BDS steps are being taken in Germany and Spain as well.

It would probably be going too far to attribute credit for all this entirely to Adelson. Clearly, however, pro-Israel lobbies in multiple countries have been working overtime, and what seems likely is that these various national efforts have been coordinated in sync with each other, possibly for the synergistic effect to be derived. “We own the world”–that seems to be the message being transmitted.

Netanyahu, it is reported, plans to come to Washington in March to address the AIPAC conference, scheduled for March 20-22. No word on whether he intends another speech before Congress (which he has addressed three times in the past–1996, 2011, and 2015)–but it’s a safe bet that should the Israeli prime minister venture onto Capitol Hill for a fourth time he will be received like a reigning monarch.

So where is all this leading us? How long before referring to Israel as an apartheid state, or saying the words “free Palestine,” are also made illegal? Perhaps a Jewish lobby will one day succeed in having the kaffiyeh banned as well, perhaps on the grounds that so adorning oneself in public will constitute “hate speech” or “discrimination.”

Israel is more than simply a small cubicle of totalitarian rule where young girls are shot in the street and men in wheelchairs are turned upside down. What is growing increasingly clear is that gradually, piece by piece and country by country, the whole world is coming under its control and the control of its billionaire Jewish supporters.

How such a smothering trend can be turned back and reversed is a matter worthy of debate, but it’s important for people to realize that this struggle is no longer simply about winning the freedom of Palestinians–for the Zionist yoke is around all our necks now.

‘An Outsider’s Inside View’ of the Group That Zionists Loathe and Fear

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Book Review: Hezbollah: An Outsider’s Inside View
by Brenda Heard

Reviewed by Richard Edmondson

Hezbollah is routinely branded a “terrorist” organization by Western media, but if asked, most Americans would probably be hard-pressed to name a single terrorist act the group has committed (armed resistance against a military occupation of one’s country does not constitute terrorism).

Yet the media resolutely go on labeling the group with words like “extremist,” “militant,” “fanatic,” etc. in a deliberate effort to manipulate public opinion. Why?

In her book, Hezbollah: An Outsider’s Inside View,” Brenda Heard gives us an answer to that question. It is an answer that can be found in the words of dozens in the Resistance movement she has interviewed going back to the year 2006—when she first arrived in Lebanon in the immediate aftermath of the July War.

In this book we find the stories of Hezbollah fighters, its health care workers and other support personnel, as well as average, ordinary people in southern Lebanon, some of whom have lived through repeated Israeli onslaughts upon their country. All have a story to share, and make no mistake about it, some of these stories are deeply moving. They entail courage, endurance, sacrifices, and yes, the willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Taken altogether, Heard paints a picture of a movement whose rank and file members are loyal to an ideal and also guided by a deep faith in God, along with a leadership that has, at least thus far, refused to be corrupted. From the perspective of Israel and the US, that’s a dangerous threat.

In other words, what Heard gives us is the story of Hezbollah the mainstream media doesn’t want us to hear.

“We emphasize and focus on integrity and honesty because our religion calls on us to do so,” says Sheik Naim Qassem, whose meeting with Heard is described in chapter four of the book. “To be Hezbollah, we must be frank with others. If we aren’t like that, then we would be something else, but not Hezbollah.”

Described by Heard as “a man at the core of Hezbollah,” Qassem is a co-founder of the organization and has served as its deputy secretary general since 1991. He is also the author of what might perhaps be described as the definitive, go-to book on the group, Hizbullah: The Story From Within, published in 2004. According to Qassem, “we find that the resistance fighter who fights is at the same time a university student, a homemaker, and has social relationships and personal relationships.” He refines the profile even further:

He goes to the ballot and to demonstrations. And he prays and acts in a very honest fashion. All of this is part of our duty. We can never be religious and not have morals in dealing with others. Praying is not enough. Praying is a means to behavior to steer us away from wrong doings.

Heard tells of her first visit to a Hezbollah resistance camp in southern Lebanon in the autumn of 2008, and in the process casts doubt on one of Israel’s most standard, boiler plate claims. “Had I not read allegations that the Resistance hid themselves amongst the civilian populations as shields?” she asks. “Was that not the justification cited for bombing civilian communities? Here I was on the threshold of a Resistance camp, and there was neither sight nor sound of any civilian. The birds were their only companions.”

The author ends up touring the camp in the company of a Hezbollah fighter named Abbas, who she finds helpful, friendly, and open. In fact, her reception in the camp shatters the media stereotypes we so often hear:

I found it ironic that the Western media stated time and again that the men of Hezbollah despised and shunned all things Western. They were supposed to be half-serious, half-crazed men full of hate and judgement. Yet here was a man at the heart of the Hezbollah Resistance, and he talked to me with respect and with kindness…I sensed a graciousness in Abbas, who seemed so proud of his work as he ushered us about the grounds, yet who at the same time seemed so humble when explaining his own role. I picked up a shell casing from the ground and asked if I could keep it. His eyes widened with delight and answered, “of course,” as though I’d merely popped by for a social visit and requested a second cup of tea.

Later, when Abbas walked Heard and her guide back to their car, he bade her farewell with the words, “May God bless you.”

Heard’s experiences are not dissimilar from my own encounters when I visited Beirut last year, during which time I spent several days in the city’s southern suburb of Dahiyeh. The people were friendly and more than willing to stop and offer help to a confused westerner. We are all accustomed to the lies and deceit of the mainstream media, yet I have come to suspect that one of the most malevolent deceits of all is the media’s attempts to equate Hezbollah with ISIS, for what Heard’s book by and large conveys is that the truth may just well be the opposite—and that Hezbollah, if anything, is the complete antithesis of ISIS.

In addition to Abbas and other Resistance people active in the struggle today, Heard also introduces us to Hezbollah veterans of previous conflicts, some of whom gave and sacrificed much in the fight against the Israelis. One of these is Haj Hussein, one of the group’s very first fighters, who is today blind and wheelchair-bound but who says he would do it all over again. Or take Abu Hassan, who in January of 1989 set off on a Hezbollah mission to seize an Israeli command post built on the hill of Beer-Kallab during the Jewish state’s occupation of southern Lebanon. This was still in the early years of that occupation, and Hassan was the only one of his unit of ten men to make it back alive. Spotting their movements down below, the Israelis began to open fire. In Hassan’s words:

For almost an hour, the Israelis, sheltered in their Merkavas, were bombing us. Their 105mm cannons fired shells toward our location. Some shells were just explosive, some poisonous, some packed like cluster bombs with nails. Myself, I was hit with thirty-four nails. Thirty-four. One of our men was hit just once, directly between the eyes. I watched a thin trickle of blood run down his nose, and instantly he was still, and the blood was just frozen there on his nose…

We waited. Many of the men were hit severely. Some were bleeding badly, missing legs and arms. I managed to bring some water from the stream, and I offered it first to one and then another, but each man waved me off and, looking toward the others of our unit, told me to save it for his fellow fighters, as they were worse off and needed it more.

One of our unit, Ahmed, was only eighteen years old. He was popular and clever in school. He was dedicated in religion. He was popular amongst his family and friends. A shell hit him and took off one of his legs completely. He stumbled up and held onto a tree. He said ‘Ya-Hussein, I’m here, I’m ready to go with you.’

Eventually “all the men lay as martyrs around me,” with only Hassan left alive. Then a strange thing happened; a wild animal, a hyena, appeared.

I watched the animal, afraid that it would try to eat the bodies. It walked around them, sniffing. But instead of setting on them as prey, the hyena nestled up to each of them, flipping the bodies over, one by one. It nuzzled them the way a cat will do and then it licked their wounds. The hyena then reached to Ahmed. It watched him for a moment and then turned and walked back toward me.

The hyena continued toward me, stopped and just looked at me. I stood up. It walked in front of me and I followed. I didn’t think about it, I just followed. I knew it was three days walk back to the safe-house in Ein et Tine. I asked Sayyeda Zahra [ed.-the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad] to take care of me. It was snowing. I started walking. The trees, the ground, it was all covered with snow.

The hyena stayed just in front of me and it seemed as if it were guiding me all the way back through the Bekaa Valley. I just followed and ended up back at the safe-house.

Reading Hassan’s words, we kind of get a feeling of what the Arabic word sumud, or “steadfastness,” is all about. From a strategical standpoint the mission was a failure. But Hassan doesn’t view it that way. “That mission was a victory in that we were opening the door for those who would follow,” he says. And follow they did—until eventually, in the spring of 2000, Hezbollah drove the Israelis out of southern Lebanon.

The victory of 2000, and the “’divine victory” which followed in 2006 are also covered in Heard’s work. But in addition to supplying us with war stories, Heard also details the efforts of Hezbollah social services organizations. One of these is the Islamic Health Society. With 102 health centers located throughout Lebanon, the IHS provides all levels of health care, from physical exams to surgeries, making its services available to one and all, without distinction to religious affiliation. “We serve all people,” says Hasan Ammar, IHS assistant general manager. “A human being is a human being, whether he is Shia, Christian, Sunni, whatever, a human being is a human being.”

Another organization is Jihad al Binaa, a construction and engineering firm that undertakes the task of rebuilding homes and infrastructure following each Israeli assault upon the country (al binaa means “the construction” in Arabic). As may be imagined, the firm was faced with monumental challenges in the wake of the 2006 war. Its achievements earned for it the wrath of the US Treasury Department, where Under Secretary Stuart Levey initiated an endeavor to freeze its assets and forbade Americans from engaging in financial transactions with it, this while the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, one of America’s more ignominious think tanks, issued a policy paper, in February 2007, entitled “Shutting Hizbollah’s ‘Construction Jihad.’” Commenting upon it all, Heard states the matter rather succinctly:

The sell line was, in other words, that if Jihad al Binaa were to build a roof over the heads of orphans Ali and Mohammed, heaven only knows what terrorism they may get up to. The rationale was more likely that they had just spent millions of dollars knocking down all those buildings, and down is where they wanted them to stay. And they were certainly not going to tolerate Hezbollah looking like the good guys when they had invested so much time and effort painting them as the bad guys.

Another valuable aspect of the book is an analysis of mainstream media’s almost universally negative portrayals of Hezbollah, and particularly of interest here are the New York Times’ treatment of the Mahdi Scouts, Hezbollah’s youth movement, in two articles published in 2008, as well as a discussion on the film Syriana, a Hollywood production whose objective, in the author’s words, is to “reinforce in the viewer’s mind that Hezbollah is a mafia-styled militia maintaining an oppressive society over which they rule with absolute authority.”

Heard has also set up a website, which functions more or less as an appendix to the book and which includes a number of documents pertaining to various topics covered in the book. Among these is a series of letters exchanged between officials in Lebanon and the World Scout Bureau in Geneva pertaining to the Times’ reporting on the Mahdi Scouts. In one of the letters, the head of the Lebanese Scout Federation assures that the main Times article, headlined “Hezbollah Seeks to Marshal the Piety of the Young” and published on November 21, 2008, “does not rely on any facts or evidences,” and that “the source of these rumors was Israel.”

Heard covers a lot of ground here, and through it all serves up observations of her own that are at times witty and often thought provoking. The author says she wrote the book to answer “the question that has been asked for years by the concerned Westerner: who are those people over there and do we really need to be scared of them?” My answer to that question, after reading her book, is that Americans have much more to fear from the Zionist lobby than from Hezbollah.

Generally speaking, the author has been thorough. However, one criticism I would offer is that nowhere in the book is there any discussion on where Hezbollah gets its funding. Does it levy taxes? Does it perhaps collect religious tithes from the Shia community in Lebanon? We haven’t heard any stories about Hezbollah engaging in drug trafficking, and one would assume that if something of that sort were going on that the media would be all over it like flies on honey.

More than likely there’s a certain amount of foreign assistance from Iran, but does that cover all of its costs, including equipping its soldiers as well as keeping the doors of its 102 medical clinics open? Doubtful—particularly given the sanctions that Iran has been under all these years. Maybe the Lebanese government appropriates some funds for the clinics. That would seem like a reasonable arrangement given the services they provide to the public. Or maybe the answer is simply that “God provides.” Still, it would be nice if the author had offered some information or at least some speculation on the matter.

Be that as it may, if you are interested in how a minority population in an invaded and occupied country defied the odds and kicked out the occupiers, this is a book you should read. Hezbollah: An Outsider’s Inside View was published in 2015. It is available from Arkadia Books, and can be purchased here, here, and here.

 

 

 

 

The Abyss and the Sparrow Hawk: A Visit to the Hezbollah Museum

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By Richard Edmondson

Southern Lebanon is a beautiful place.

The terrain is very hilly and mountainous, offering some breathtaking views, with a latticework of mountaintop villages that look like they could have sprung from the imagination of a Norman Rockwell, or at least his Middle Eastern counterpart.

In short, there is an air of authenticity about the place.

It is here, nestled in the village of Mleeta, one may find what is surely one of the most unique tourist attractions in the world. Run by the Lebanese Association for Tourism and Tradition, it is officially known as the Mleeta Resistance Tourist Landmark, although some  refer to it simply as the Hezbollah Museum.

To get here from Beirut, you follow the coastal road south to Sidon, at which point you will make a turn inland, climbing steadily above sea level while following the caprice of a two-lane, winding road. I made this trip on December 5, on my last full day in the Middle East, in the company of a congenial driver named Ihab.

Southern Lebanon today is under complete control of Hezbollah. Traveling about through here is 100 percent safe, although suffice to say, it wasn’t always this way. During the years of Israeli occupation, the Zionists controlled a series of command posts strategically placed on mountaintops such as the one from which this photo was snapped:

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Strategically ensconced in locations such as this, the Israelis were able to rain murderous barrages of artillery and weapons fire down upon people in the villages below, and often, it is said, did so for sport. Gazing at the picture, one can easily imagine the almost insurmountable military challenge that dislodging the enemy from these positions would have posed, and the villages and roadsides are decorated with posters paying homage to those who gave their lives in the cause. The photo below is one I snapped in the village of Jarjouaa, just a few miles south of Mleeta:

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The names of the martyrs, doubtless all local boys, are: Mouhamad Ahmad Moukaled, Hassan Ahmad Moushawrab, Mouhamad Ali Darwish, Mouhamad Ali Moukaled.

Hezbollah is not just a resistance group or a political party–and it is certainly not a “terrorist organization” as the Zionist media and the US State Department would have you believe–but a way of life. For the people who live here it is very much a part of who they are, and an essential component of the daily fabric of their lives. During our drive south from Beirut, Ihab discusses the prominent role the Resistance plays throughout the region, pointing out several Hezbollah-run schools along the way. Are there, I ask him, such things as Hezbollah soccer leagues and Hezbollah youth groups? He smiles and says that, yes, there are indeed such things. He also informs me that while a wide number of people consider themselves “members” of the Resistance, a great many more (and he includes himself in this latter group) count themselves as “supporters.”

Mleeta is a charming little village, with the museum itself sitting on the summit of a very commanding peak just above it. The entire site–buildings as well as wooded grounds and pathways–comprises what was once an actual Hezbollah military outpost. After we enter the front gate, Ihab and I are joined by an official museum guide who begins telling us a little bit about how the place is laid out.

The museum’s buildings include an Exhibition Hall–basically a gallery of captured Israeli weapons–and an auditorium equipped with a cinema screen. There is also a series of outdoor exhibits, these being The Abyss, The Pathway, The Cave, The Line of Fire, Liberation Square, and The Hill of the Martyrs. Centrally located among these–and perhaps the centerpiece of the entire museum–is The Abyss.

As one writer put it,

The Mleeta site is an amazing mixture of architecture, art and religion. Like a well-planned military operation, nothing looks random. Everything is loaded with symbolism and follows a well-crafted concept.

Everything is indeed loaded with symbolism, and perhaps nowhere is this more true than at The Abyss. Covering an area of more than 3,000 square meters, The Abyss is both a museum exhibit as well as a sculpted work of art. Gazing down into it, we see a variety of captured Israeli military equipment, including a Merkava tank:

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…artillery guns…

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…jeeps, helmets, and the like, as well as what are said to be the remains of an Israeli helicopter…

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All in all there is quite a bit of stuff lying around…

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here, there and everywhere…

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But instead of examining each piece individually, the thing to do is sort of stand back and gaze, from the railing above, upon the collective whole–and this is why I would also describe The Abyss as a gigantic work of impressionistic art–because this, in fact, is what it is. The museum, we are told, was designed by a team of 55 Lebanese architects and engineers, both Christians and Muslims, who began their work in 2007 (the museum officially opened to the public in 2010), and as we stand loftily looking down into The Abyss, our guide talks a bit about the symbology, or the “loaded symbolism,” we see around us…

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“The Abyss”–that is to say the sunken-into-the-ground nature of this vast array of mangled military equipment–represents “the invader’s grave,” the quicksand Israel ultimately fell into in its confrontation with Hezbollah–while the bird you see–the one depicted in the photo above as well as in the museum’s logo–

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…is the sparrow hawk. The sparrow hawk represents the Resistance. It is shown flying upward and out of the abyss, and is described by our guide as an “obstinate, confident, and restless bird that will not retreat or accept defeat.”

“Its meat is bitter like the fruit of the oak tree,” he adds.

But the symbology goes even further. “Where the land speaks to the heavens” is the tourist attraction’s widely-uttered slogan. You see it on the website and all around the park. It is a slogan that seems quite apropos, too, countenanced not only by the prominence of the peaks around us, but also by the blood of the martyrs which watered the ground.

Because the life of the resistance fighters was simple, but deep with meaning and inspiration, Mleeta landmark was structured in a harmonic and similar way to this life. Hence, its foundations embraced great artistic symbols and significance through the scenic and artistic works that mimic the experience of the Mujahedeen in building and camouflaging the concrete fortifications.

The landmark took its quadrate shape in order to mimic the Muslim’s Kiblah, while pointing to four sides: the north and south that represent the journey of the flying birds that seek a warm homeland, the east that points to the sunrise of the resistance and its society, and the west that points to the fading star of the occupation and tyranny.

The words have an unmistakable resonance, do they not? And of course we do seem to be living very much in an age of “occupation and tyranny” that has its origins in the foreign policies of certain Western governments. Can anyone really deny that?

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In addition to depicting “the invader’s grave,” The Abyss–and in this I’m referring especially to its artistic component–is also pointing us to the end of the “fading star,” and toward the coming of a new age. And sure as a whimsical solar corona, that new age is coming.

In an article published just last year, a couple of locals, Dareen and Mhamad, gave their views on the Resistance and the place it holds in their hearts. Both Dareen and her cousin, Mhamad, a local math teacher, lived through the years of the Israeli occupation, which began in 1982 and which saw the rise of local resistance, under the name of Hezbollah, starting in 1984.

“I bring my children to the resistance landmark every now and then, to teach them the history of our land and how we were able to make it our own,” Dareen says. “Watching Israeli soldiers occupying our land and Israeli planes bombing our villages has made me what I am: a devoted member of the resistance, no matter what they say about Hezbollah in London, Paris or Washington.”

Mhamad was also asked to give his views–on Israel. His response is quite illuminative.

“What is Israel?” he asked. “Why not having the Jewish state in Argentina, in Uganda–as it was once planned–or in Eastern Europe? Why here in Palestine, where Israel is like an alien element which is vehemently rejected by its surrounding body?”

I would suggest–to Mhamad, and to anyone else willing to view the issue with an open mind–that wherever the Jewish state might have been established–whether it had been  Uganda, Eastern Europe, Argentina, or anywhere else for that matter–that the result would have been precisely the same: we would have watched, from our perches in various countries around the world, as the Jewish state, much as if it were an “alien element,” became “vehemently rejected by its surrounding body.” I say that not because I’m an “anti-Semite” or a “Jew hater,” but because this has been the historical prototype, a pattern that has played out time and again, in one form or another, over some 2,500 years of Jewish history, and the only thing different now is that the formal establishment of a “Jewish state” in 1948 has brought the pattern into sharp relief, making it all the more glaringly apparent for people to see. Thus, there really is little reason to believe–speaking from my own perspective here, at any rate–that had the state been transplanted into Uganda instead of Palestine the result would have been any different .

In any event, I suppose we can now add Lebanon to the list of countries from which Jews have been expelled.

From The Abyss, the visitor embarks upon a wooded trail, The Pathway, taking you to a number of additional outdoor exhibits, one of these being a tribute to Sayyid Abbas Moussawi, a co-founder of Hezbollah and its first secretary general…

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The lair is little more than a cubbyhole, yet it is said to be the exact spot where Moussawi often retired to to pray. As you look into the quarters, a recording–apparently of Moussawi’s own voice–can be heard playing…

 

 

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Moussawi was killed on February 16, 1992 in an Israeli targeted assassination which also took the lives of his wife, five-year-old son, and four others. What, one might wonder, gives Israelis reason to think they have to right to send hit teams into virtually any country in the world and kill people? Perhaps it is the same virus causing them to hold themselves as “chosen,” some might answer. At any rate, over the years, Israelis have carried out assassinations or attempted assassinations in countries as diverse and geographically dislocated from one another as Uruguay (1965), Dubai (2010), Norway (1973), Belgium (1990), Greece (1973, 1983, 1986), Germany (1960, 1978), France (1972, 1973, 1979, 1980, 1992), and Iran (2010, 2011, 2012). And this is only a partial list. And it doesn’t even begin to take into consideration the almost countless assassinations in Occupied Palestine and neighboring countries. Are we, then, to shake our heads in wonder that such a nation-state now finds itself in the position of an “alien element” being “vehemently rejected by its surrounding body”?

The Pathway eventually takes us to a cave and a tunnel–actually an underground bunker–dug with the most rudimentary tools, reportedly under extreme weather conditions, and running 200 meters deep…

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Here we get a chance to see how the Resistance fighters lived, for instance where they slept…

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…where they prayed…

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…prepared their meals…

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…and planned their operations

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After leaving the tunnel, we emerge into another outdoor series of exhibits known as The Line of Fire. Here we see a variety of weapons utilized by the Resistance, including missile launchers…

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…and a couple of Resistance-built drones…

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The path through The Line of Fire eventually circles back around to the Main Square, and we find ourselves again at The Exhibition Hall. More captured Israeli weapons are on display…

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along with I.D.s of Israeli soldiers…

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Moving in a circular direction around the Exhibition Hall, we also come to an exhibit relating the events of the night of September 5, 1997 when an elite Israeli commando unit suffered a major defeat at the hands of the Resistance. The text on the placard reads as follows:

“The coast extending from Sidon to Tyre was enjoying a remarkable calm during nights of 1997. Everything has fallen asleep in that place before dawn. Under cover of night, amidst all that silence, a commando unit of the Israeli Navy, Shayetet 13, the unit with great fame, the pride of the Israeli Army, has entered the area following a long and high-precision intelligence effort. Everything was calculated, including the sea pebbles and road stones. The area has been drawn in maps that show the minutest details in an operation that had been carefully planned a long time before. This force advanced in the groves toward the town Ansiriya, a quiet southern village located on that coast. For the Shayetet 13 members, the paths were clear in the maps, and the site was thoroughly known. Even the timing. Everything was proceeding as it should be. Suddenly without any preludes, and in a timely manner, there were successive explosions–one batch after another. Bodies were scattered. And those that were not hit by the explosive devices, got their share of the barrages of bullets from the Mujahideen who were lying in wait. Those who had planned, toiled, and chosen the best units, including then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, lost their minds. Netanyahu said, ‘It’s the worst Israeli tragedy, and this is one of the saddest days  in Israel. It is a catastrophe.’ The toughest part of the battle was the pullout of the wounded and the 12 dead, because confusion and disability were prevalent. This stretcher and the other equipment, besides the soldiers’ remains that were left behind on the battlefield, tell the details of that defeat.”

An account of what took place that night is also related in an article at Wikipedia. Here is what it says:

On September 5, 1997, the unit suffered a major blow during a raid in Lebanon. A number of Shayetet 13 commandos landed on Lebanon’s coast, south of Sidon between the towns of Loubieh and Ansariya. Speculation about their mission was that they were trying to assassinate a senior Shia Muslim cleric of the Hezbollah movement. They landed in the dark early hours of that Friday and started moving inland. The army said the force had been “on its way to its mission” when it was struck by a powerful explosive device and came under fire from Hezbollah.[10] The clash took place outside a 15-km deep security zone which Israel occupied in south Lebanon. The force’s commander, Joseph Korakin, was killed in the first burst of fire. Israel immediately dispatched a rescue team in a CH-53 helicopter. A rescue force of helicopters and naval ships arrived, joining in a battle that lasted until dawn as the rescuers evacuated the dead. Mortar shells exploded nearby and shrapnel hit the CH-53, but it was able to take-off. As a result of being hit by an IED, 12 Israeli soldiers of Shayetet 13 were killed including their commander and an unknown number injured. The unfound remains of the Israeli soldiers were returned to Israel on June 25, 1998 in a prisoner exchange deal. After 14 years the Hezbollah organization revealed that they knew the position of the commandos in advance thanks to the interception of video footage broadcast by Israeli spy UAVs that were hovering over the area in the days before the mission. The soldiers were killed as a result of entering an orchard booby-trapped with bombs, that exploded when they entered.

Quite interesting, is it not?–that the Wikipedia account and the account given at the Mleeta Landmark do not differ substantively from each other. I have noted previously (here and here) that articles on Middle East issues at Wikipedia often more closely resemble Zionist propaganda than neutral encyclopedic content, but in this case the “spin” one might normally expect to find on Wikipedia, seems to have been omitted…for whatever reason, perhaps due to the fact that the events are too well known or documented.

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Upward…to The Hill of the Martyrs. The Hill of the Martyrs is the highest point in Mleeta, 1060 feet above sea level. It symbolizes the ascendance of the martyrs. From here you can look down upon the Main Square and see The Abyss just beyond…

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The Hill of the Martyrs is normally the last place you stop when visiting the museum, but I did take one more picture that day–this in the village of Habboush, in its main square, after we had left Mleeta and were making our way back toward the coastline, in our return journey to Beirut…

hmus20

Obviously the Resistance is viewed with paramount respect in the villages of Southern Lebanon–something commented upon, also, by Mhamad:

“Beirut,” he says, “is full of collaborators with Israel. South Lebanon doesn’t figure into these peoples’ business plans. However, in South Lebanon, we don’t fall into this Israeli trap.”

The Resistance is a lot of things to a lot of people, both inside and outside of Lebanon, as well as to those of us in America and other far-distant lands, but perhaps what it is most of all is a weather vane,  pointing out the direction in which humanity’s winds are blowing at this point–this as the Jewish state increasingly loses popular support, even amongst American Christians, while the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement continues to gain momentum.

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations adopted UN Resolution 181, implementing the partition of Palestine and creating the state of Israel. It is probably the single biggest mistake the UN ever made, and less than a year later, on September 17, 1948, Israelis, including one who would go on to become prime minister, repaid the favor by assassinating a UN mediator, Count Folke Bernadotte.

Mistakes are not always easy to undo, and often can be downright difficult. But what seems to be happening now, as Israel’s “legitimacy” enters a state of bottomless free fall, and as more and more people honor the calls for boycott (even all the while as Western governments, one after another, continue passing resolutions, albeit toothless ones, calling for recognition of Palestinian statehood) is a collective effort by humanity to undo the mistake of 1947. All these things, keep in mind,  are occurring hand in hand with the “fading star” of Western tyranny–the anticipation of the new age–as well as the “lands speaking to heavens”…in so many earthly venues, in so many locales, where human hearts long for change and transmutation. It is a massive, collective about-face from the patulous insanity that has gripped the body politic, particularly in America, over the past half century.

And perhaps it would not be too much of a stretch to say that this, too, is what the Lebanese Resistance has come to symbolize.

Pirouette: The Bear and the Star of David

deesuk

By Richard Edmondson

We have heard very little coming from Russia, certainly of late at any rate, concerning Israel—in terms of either its occupation of Palestinian land or its illegal settlement expansions. Correspondingly, Israel seems to be returning the favor by saying nothing about Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

In fact, a strange sort of pirouette seems to be in progress between the two countries.

Commentators at RT have mercilessly skewered the hypocrisy in US foreign policy (not a terribly difficult thing to accomplish these days), while also critiquing the role supposedly played by “corporate America” in manufacturing the crisis in Ukraine, but in both cases the writers carefully omit any mention of the enormous influence exerted by the Israeli lobby in determining US foreign policy.

Meanwhile, on April 14 Haaretz published a report describing the White House as “incensed” over Israel’s failure to publicly express support for NATO objectives in Ukraine.

On March 27, the UN General Assembly discussed the issue of Ukraine, with all the EU member states lining up obediently behind the US position. I commented on the debate at the time, noting that the anti-Russian resolution that was adopted—upholding the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine—passed by a vote of 100 in favor, 11 against, with 58 abstentions. I also noted that 24 nations failed to even show up for the vote that day, and that one of these no-shows, rather conspicuously, was Israel.

It seems that the Obama administration became terribly bent out of shape over the failure of its erstwhile ally to stand at her benefactor’s side and provide support in a crucial vote at the UN:

Haaretz reported on Sunday that Washington is incensed that Jerusalem has not come out openly against Russia’s takeover of the Crimean peninsula. A senior U.S. official said one of the reasons for the White House’s anger was Israel’s absence two weeks ago at a UN General Assembly vote to condemn the Russian invasion and support Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

You can kind of see why the White House might become indignant. For more years than some people can even count, the US has been running interference for Israel at the UN, vetoing measures critical of the Jewish state, and in all that time, US officials have consistently spoken of the “special relationship” and gushed out their undying devotion to the apartheid state. Certainly the US State Department had every reason to be confident the favor would be returned. Ah, but suddenly, with the US in a tense, face-to-face confrontation with Russia, America’s bosom buddy heads for the back door and bails.

According to Haaretz:

The talks over the past two weeks, in which Israel explained its position on Ukraine and why it was absent from the vote, have been taking place both at the working diplomatic level on both sides, but also at a more senior rank. The Israeli official said that while both the U.S. State Department and Congress have shown understanding for Israel’s position, the White House remained unconvinced by the explanations.

American dissatisfaction with Israel’s policy came up in a meeting last week in Washington between Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice. Leiberman explained that Israel had not attended the UN vote because of the Foreign Ministry employees’ strike. He said that during the last strike, three years ago, then-president of Russia Dmitry Medvedev had to call off a planned visit to Israel at the last minute, and the Russians had understood and not been angry. Rice listened to Lieberman, but stressed that the administration was disappointed in Israel’s conduct.

That last sentence—having Rice “listening” to Lieberman and expressing the US government’s “disappointment”—is probably putting it mildly. I’m guessing there was quite a bit of anger in the room at the time.

The story goes on to report that Lieberman and other Israeli officials have pointed out that even if their UN ambassador had shown up that day, his support would have been “only symbolic” insofar as it would not have changed the outcome of the vote. On the other hand, had Israel been there and supported the US measure “it could have meant real damage to Israel’s ties with Russia.”

One official from the Defense Ministry reportedly went on Israel Army Radio this past Sunday morning and averred that “Israel looks at the conflict in Ukraine and focuses on our present and our future…the United States is involved as it is involved, but we don’t have to define our interest as identical to the interest of another entity, even the United States.”

Gee, and all this time US leaders like Joe Biden have been saying “there is no space between the US and Israel,” and telling us that our own national interests and Israel’s interests are identical.

“We are close to the chemical weapons in Syria and the Iranian nuclear program, over which Russia has a decisive influence, and so a clash with Moscow could hurt our security,” the Israelis reportedly told their American counterparts in an effort to justify their absence on the day of the vote.

But I’m guessing that’s just a bit of chicanery. Syria’s chemical weapons are being shipped out of the country as we speak, while Iran would have no wish to start a nuclear war with Israel, even if it had an atomic bomb now or were to make one in the future.

On the other hand, the US is currently led by a hopeless gang of hypocrites and fools who clearly are charting their country on a course for disaster. Certainly the leaders of Israel realize this. Russia is about to sign a major gas deal with China, and the latter is set to become the number one economy in the world at some point over the next few years. BRICS countries are reportedly already setting up their own equivalent to the IMF.

Israel is planning ahead, or as the Defense ministry official put it, focusing “on our present and our future.” When the US empire collapses, the “special relationship,” you can be sure, will finally come to an end. The whore is simply anticipating the prospect, batting her eyelashes in a different direction.

World Jewry vs. Russia

wojewrus

By Richard Edmondson

World Jewry, or at least a substantial portion of it, has declared war on Russia. Jewish-controlled media, from the New York Times to the Washington Post to Tablet Magazine, have all launched vitriolic attacks against Vladimir Putin. The sole exception seems to be the Jewish Daily Forward, normally a voice of reason within the universe of Jewish-owned media, which appears to be holding to a policy of editorial neutrality on the issue.

Looking at media voices outside the sphere of Jewish control provides striking contrast. Asia Times, Press TV, The Times of India, and Xinhua, among others, have published articles critical of Western interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs, challenging the US overthrow of a democratically elected government, and in many cases defending Russia.

Jews, it should be remembered, voiced overwhelming approval at the overthrow of the Viktor Yanukovych, the deposed Ukrainian president, while some Jews, including former members of the Israeli military, even participated in the Maidan protests—this despite the presence of neo-Nazi elements among the opposition; meanwhile Western governments, uniformly pro-Israel in their policies, have begun targeting Russian officials with economic sanctions. What is the explanation for it all? What, if anything, does Ukraine have to do with Israel? Why do so many Jews seem to be moving almost as if in lockstep on this issue? Is all this Zionist kvetching motivated solely by a Russian “land grab” of Crimea, or is something else at stake?

A couple of interesting points were made recently by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich and which are worth recounting here. One is that Israel stands to benefit quite handsomely should sanctions block the sale of Russian natural gas to Europe. Israel has several offshore gas fields as shown in the map below. One alone, the Tamar field, is believed to contain about 275 billion cubic meters of gas—equivalent to about half of what Europe consumes annually—while another, the Leviathan field, is even larger.

gasfields

In the above map, the large western field is controlled by Cyprus, while the eastern ones are all claimed by Israel.

Sepahpour-Ulrich cites the recent comments of Gideon Tadmor, CEO of Avner Oil, a subsidiary of the Israeli-owned Delek Group. Made at a March 11conference in Tel Aviv, Tadmor’s remarks are quite illuminating.

“With recent events in Europe… and the aspiration of different countries to diversify their gas supply, that puts another spotlight on our massive resources and transforms our story into a global one,” he said.

An article here estimates total reserves of almost one trillion cubic meters of gas in the entire “eastern Mediterranean Levant Basin,” worth between $370 to $740 billion, and believed to be enough gas to supply Europe’s needs for more than two years. By global standards, this is not a gigantic supply—but it is significant and enough for a small number of people to become extraordinarily rich.

“There are many challenges, mainly political ones, but…when the economic benefits are overwhelming, those challenges will be overcome,” Tadmor said.

Yet curiously absent from the shrill chorus calling for harsh economic sanctions against Russia is that of the Israeli government, which has been strangely silent on the whole issue of Ukraine—something remarked upon recently in an article at The Forward.

“A Ukrainian Jewish leader opposed to the Russian takeover of Crimea failed to drum up support this week from Israel, which is sitting out the crisis pitting its U.S. ally against Moscow,” the article states. “Edward Dolinsky, head of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, made a lobbying trip to Jerusalem with influential Ukrainian Jewish lawmaker Alexander Feldman. They were not received by officials from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.”

Perhaps this is not surprising, though. After all, how tactful would it look for Israel, which stands to benefit from European sanctions on Russia, to be noisily clamoring at this time for those very sanctions to be firmly put into place? The Jewish state, of course, has no need to do such clamoring; its US and EU puppets are perfectly willing to perform the service for free, something Israeli officials seem acutely conscious of.

“We have good and trusting relations with the Americans and the Russians, and our experience has been very positive with both sides,” said Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. “So I don’t understand the idea that Israel has to get mired in this.”

Another Israeli official, quoted anonymously, insists “there are Jews on both sides of this,” and that “it’s not a clear-cut situation, and we’re taking our lead from the Ukrainian Jewish community.”

There apparently are “Jews on both sides,” as the anonymous official says, but a large number of Jews do seem to be lining up behind the coup government in Kiev. Recently 21 prominent Ukrainian Jews published an “open letter of Ukrainian Jews to Russia Federation President Vladimir Putin” denouncing Russian moves with regard to Crimea, while also  minimizing and downplaying the neo-Nazi elements within the Ukrainian opposition, referring to such elements as “nationalists” rather than Nazis.

“Yes, we are well aware that the political opposition and the forces of social protests who have secured changes for the better are made up of different groups,” they write. “They include nationalistic groups, but even the most marginal do not dare show anti-Semitism or other xenophobic behavior. And we certainly know that our very few nationalists are well-controlled by civil society and the new Ukrainian government.”

The signatories go on to state, in fact, that “we have a great mutual understanding with the new government, and a partnership in the works.” Given Western backing for the coup, one would hardly doubt that to be the case. And given that the regime change buccaneers of the West have become their paymasters, it also stands to reason that the “nationalistic groups” would not “dare show anti-Semitism” overtly either.

In addition to downplaying neo-Nazi participation, the letter, perhaps echoing Western media, engages in a fair amount of demonizing of Putin. In fact the only time the word “Nazi” is used in the entire letter is in reference to “the Russian neo-Nazis, who are encouraged by your (Putin’s) security services.”

“We do not believe that you are easy to fool,” the signatories also state, “You consciously pick and choose lies and slander from the massive amount of information about Ukraine.”

And finally today we have Obama warning Russia not to escalate the situation further—while at the same time escalating the situation further himself by announcing new sanctions. This of course comes one day after Samantha Power did some escalating of her own, likening Russia’s actions on Crimea to thievery.

“A thief can steal property, but that does not confer the right of ownership on the thief,” she said in a meeting at the UN Security Council.

One wonders if Power would equally apply the “thief” analogy to Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank. So far she has never done so, and I wouldn’t hold my breath, although it certainly would have been a brilliant riposte had Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin asked the question of her.

Power, it was reported recently, owes her position as UN ambassador to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who views her and her husband, AIPAC fund raiser Cass Sunstein, as Israel-first stalwarts.

“As part of her continuing gratitude for her ‘dream job,’ as she told an American Jewish Committee convention on 2/10/14 in New York, Ms. Power assured the AJC that the United States ‘strongly supports Israel’s candidacy for a seat on the UN Security Council, and we have pushed relentlessly for the full inclusion of Israel across the UN system,’” Franklin Lamb wrote recently.

For his own part, Power’s hubby, Sunstein, seems chiefly concerned these days with stamping out conspiracy theories—presumably one way or another—having just authored a book on the matter.

“Is it good for the Jews?” is the rhetorical question Jews often ask themselves, and in terms of deposing Vladimir Putin and eliminating Russian sovereignty, the answer seems to be yes.

But in a bit of irony, the $5 billion spent by the US (according to Victoria Nuland) to bring “democracy” to Ukraine actually did achieve its stated purpose…for the people of Crimea. They are now part of Russia. I imagine they are quite grateful.

Dershowitz—Hasbara By The Book

Dershowitz—Hasbara By The Book

by M. Dennis Paul, PhD

Alan Dershowitz on Tuba

Please follow along and, at the end, read http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/Some-hard-questions-about-the-Western-European-double-standard-against-Israel-345171 by Alan Dershowitz, prominent defender of the indefensible, as he surreptitiously attacks two individuals, both Jews, who he would like you to believe, through inference and innuendo, are the leaders of a global Jew-hating, Israel-hating. Anti-Semitic conspiracy. I’m confident you will find, in his article, most, if not all, the elements outlined in the below guidelines for producing Hasbara.

Hasbara By The Book

Start writing your article by proposing a purely concocted hypothesis or statement of issue which is crafted to support the platform for both your attack upon specific individuals or groups and deflection of culpability in all things. Add a little indignation and some whining to give the impression this issue is emotional (traumatically bringing the Holocaust in flashes before your eyes is always a good consideration.. never mind that your connection to the Holocaust is as tenuous as the connection of a Brooklyn brother to a field-boy lashing). Remember that deflection is one of your most important tools as it allows you to refute blame or intent without ever having to explain yourself or put forth any honesty. Keep in mind that it is acceptable, even honorable, to lie to goyim. Once you have established your useful argument for the readers, make sure they understand they have spent many years under a false impression… of Jews, Israel, Zionism, Palestine, international law, or what have you. Then proceed to correct this “false” impression using your tools of deflection, denial, filtering, polarization, catastrophizing, over-generalizing, emotionalizing, global labeling or any of the other many cognitive distortions that work for us. Do not be afraid to manufacture history or distort it to your personal ends.

Insert, wherever appropriate (or not), our brand signature that any communication which offers criticism of Jews, Israel, Zionism, etc are Jew-hating, Israel-hating and Ant-Semitic. Never let an opponent interject the truth of this matter. You must provide this brand a minimum of 3 times in each communication and in as many different ways as possible. Should your opponent interject in any way, immediately deflect and turn issue into something completely different.. perhaps a boring parable.. anything which redirects attention and causes a momentary block of your opponents’ words. Use “Anti-Semite” and “Anti-Semitic” as often as you can.

Create a grouping of statements, greatly removed from context, which you can use to paint a scandalously false picture of the individual(s)/group(s) you wish to attack. Use words like outrageous, irrational, preposterous, and of course, Jew-hater, Israel-hater, Anti-Semite, self-hating Jew. You might also use Jihadist and terrorist and possibly connect them rightly or wrongly to Hamas.

Sneak in a few more brand signature lines (Any and all communication that criticizes Israel, Zionism or Jews is Israel-hating, Jew-hating and Anti-Semitic).

Show how “good” Israel is by deflecting to Syria, Libya, Iraq and plead for understanding of why “no one” protests those trouble areas with all there human rights violations and international law violations pointing out that:

1..Israel is the “only” State that is “picked on” by the world yet,

2..Israel is the “only” democracy in the region, far more advanced and civilized, etc.

Ignore the fact there are protests and aid missions and rights watches for all those areas. It is honorable to lie to goyim (and errant Jews). Be sure not to make any connections to these other areas such as our sending mercenaries and weapons into some areas, selling weapons to some of our supposed enemies, financing terrorists, By no means should you talk about our nuclear capabilities, spying, or torture.

Offer further inaccurate or false historical statements or reiterate the basic narrative you created. You might add some quotes which you can attribute to no one in particular inferring it is evidence in support of your narrative or any part of it. Toss in a bit more victimization of Jews and cast blame on a few more individuals for promoting Antisemitism etc.

Insist that you are aware Israel has its faults but reiterate all the cognitive distortions previously used and highlighting deflection once again. Be sure to impress that no matter what faults Israel has, they pale in comparison to other nations and in no way justify the world conspiracy against Israel.

Finally, make a plea for humanity in dealing with Israel. It is unfair that Israel be singled out for criticism. Impress that loving Israel is admirable, rational and responsible. Also impress that history mandates Israel takes the measures it does.

OK… Now go ahead and read the article by Alan http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/Some-hard-questions-about-the-Western-European-double-standard-against-Israel-345171

or any article by Alan..they’re basically all the same.

The Hypocrisy of the ASA’s Opponents

prestigeu

By Richard Edmondson

A number of respected academic figures, many of them highly-paid university presidents, have expressed opposition to the academic boycott of Israel called for by the American Studies Association. Brandeis University, Penn State-Harrisburg, Indiana University, and Kenyon College all have announced their withdrawal from the organization—while the American Council on Education, the Association of American Universities, and the American Association of University Professors each have issued statements opposing the boycott.

The logic behind much of this is that an academic boycott violates academic freedom.

“Such actions are misguided and greatly troubling, as they strike at the heart of academic freedom,” said Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education.

So far as I’m aware, neither Broad nor any of the other individuals or entities that have condemned the ASA boycott measure have bothered to publicly criticize Israel’s “misguided and greatly troubling” violations of the academic freedom of Palestinians. Those violations are spelled out in some detail in the article below.

Beneath the article, I’ll have some more comments, as well as a video—of Lawrence Summers, of Harvard University, condemning the boycott as “abhorrent.” Keep in mind that for all its supposed “abhorrence,” the boycott measure approved by the ASA is nonbinding on its members—something that very much cannot be said about the closures and restrictions upon travel imposed by Israel against Palestinian students seeking higher education, all of which are discussed here at some length.

***

Israeli Violations of Palestinian Academic Freedom & Access to Education

IMEU, Feb. 6, 2014

As a result of the discriminatory system of ethnic privilege that Israel has instituted in the territories that it controls between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, Palestinians living in different areas face different Israeli-imposed obstacles to exercising their rights to education and academic freedom.

PALESTINIANS IN OCCUPIED & BESIEGED GAZA

    • Although Israel withdrew its approximately 8000 settlers from Gaza in 2005, according to international law the tiny coastal strip remains under Israeli military occupation as Israel retains “effective control” over its airspace, coastline, and borders. Due to Israeli restrictions imposed in cooperation with the government of Egypt, it is extremely difficult for any of Gaza’s 1.7 million Palestinians to travel abroad to study, attend academic conferences, or to leave for other purposes. Entry into Gaza by foreign academics has been similarly limited.
    • Since 2000, Israel has prevented students in Gaza from traveling to study at universities in the West Bank, some of which offer fields of study and degrees not available in Gaza. According to a report from Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, between 2000 and 2012 Israel let just three Gazans travel to study at universities in the West Bank, all of whom had received US government scholarships.
    • In July 2013, Amnesty USA held a week of action in support of Gaza students denied their right to education by Israel. The Amnesty USA campaign announcement noted:

      “Right now, Israel blocks thousands of Palestinian students in the Gaza Strip from pursuing higher education in the nearby West Bank, part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. These students are forced to pursue limited higher education options in Gaza or find resources to travel to other countries. The Gaza blockade is collective punishment and a violation of international law.

      “The total ban on students from Gaza pursuing higher education in the West Bank cannot be considered a proportionate security measure, particularly since the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are considered to be one territory under the Oslo Accords and international humanitarian law.”

    • In January 2014, Israel barred a 21-year-old Palestinian from Gaza from travelling to attend a coexistence program at New York University. The student eventually made it out of Gaza via the Rafah crossing to Egypt.
    • In 2010, amidst great fanfare during a visit to the region, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched a program to provide scholarships for students from Gaza to study in the West Bank. In 2012, after Israel refused to issue travel permits to the students, the Obama administration quietly canceled the program.
    • In May 2008, the US government withdrew seven grants from students in Gaza who had won Fulbright Scholarships to study in the US after Israel denied them permission to travel (eventually four were allowed out by Israel after American pressure).

PALESTINIANS IN THE OCCUPIED WEST BANK

    • Like Palestinians in Gaza, the approximately 2.6 million Palestinians living under Israeli military rule in the West Bank face severe restrictions on their movement, both within the West Bank itself and between the West Bank and the outside world.
    • At any given time, there are hundreds of obstacles to Palestinian movement in the West Bank, an area smaller than Delaware. Checkpoints, roadblocks and other obstacles prevent Palestinian students and teachers from freely accessing educational institutions, as does the illegal West Bank wall that Israel is building.
    • The Israeli military frequently launches aggressive raids on campuses in the West Bank, arresting and injuring students and faculty.
  • Israel makes it difficult for foreign academics to travel to Gaza and the West Bank for professional purposes. In probably the most well known incident involving Israel denying entry to a foreign academic, in May 2010 Israeli authorities stopped internationally renowned intellectual and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Noam Chomsky from entering the occupied West Bank, where he was scheduled to deliver two lectures at Birzeit University. According to Chomsky, he was denied entry following questioning in which interrogators told him he had written things that the Israeli government didn’t like.

PALESTINIANS IN OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM

    • Although Israel annexed East Jerusalem after occupying it in 1967 in a move not recognized as legal by the international community, the city’s approximately 300,000 Palestinian residents do not have Israeli citizenship and face systematic discrimination in the allocation of state funding and other educational resources.
      • In response to a 2011 Israeli Supreme Court ruling calling for the construction of 2200 new classrooms in East Jerusalem by 2016 to address a severe shortage of class space for Palestinians, the Jerusalem municipality and Israeli Education Ministry had only completed 150.
      • A huge disparity in the allocation of school guidance counselors, with only 29 assigned to East Jerusalem, compared to 250 in the western, mostly Jewish, section of the city.

According

        to Ronit Sela, director of ACRI’s East Jerusalem Project:

“The enormous shortage in classrooms, budgets, personnel and educational programming constitutes a serious violation of the right to education of tens of thousands of Palestinian schoolchildren in Jerusalem.”

  • Palestinians from East Jerusalem who travel abroad to study risk losing their residency rights if they stay away too long or are unable to prove that Jerusalem continues to be their “center of life,” according to an Israeli formulation that doesn’t apply to Jewish residents. Since Israel began its occupation of East Jerusalem during the June 1967 War, Israeli authorities have revoked the residency rights of more than 14,000 Palestinians.

PALESTINIAN CITIZENS OF ISRAEL

    • Palestinians make up about 20% of Israel’s population, or about 1.5 million people. Although they are citizens of the state, they face widespread, systematic discrimination in virtually all aspects of public life, including education. This manifests in lower state funding for Arab schools and discrimination against Arab students and faculty at Israeli institutions of higher learning.
    • In July 2013, Haaretz newspaper reported on the disparities in funding between different sectors of the Israeli education system, which is segregated into Arab, religious Jewish, and secular Jewish sectors. The report found that in the largest Arab town in Israel, Nazareth, high schools were allocated an average of about $5400 (USD) per student per year, while right next door in the Jewish town of Upper Nazareth the Israeli Education Ministry spent an average of about $7400 (USD) per student annually. On the national level, the report found that in 2012 each Arab high school student in Israel was allocated on average about $6000 (USD), below the overall national average of about $7200 (USD). At the top end of the scale, religious Jewish high schools received an average of about $7700 (USD) per student per year.
    • Access to most government financial aid for college students is dependent on military service. Because most Palestinian citizens of Israel choose not to serve in the army of a state that represses and discriminates against them and occupies and colonizes their Palestinian brethren in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza, the military service requirement results in the privileging of Jewish students over non-Jewish ones in accessing higher education.
    • In June 2013, the Center for Advancement of Higher Education in Arab Society released a report detailing 14 barriers that young Palestinian citizens of Israel face in obtaining a college education. They include:
      • Discrimination in the awarding of scholarships through the granting of extra credit for army service or residence in so-called “national priority areas,” where few Arabs live.
      • Lack of access to campus housing due to preference given to applicants with military service and growing racism in Israeli society that makes it difficult for Palestinian students to find housing on and off campus.
    • All courses at Israeli universities are given in Hebrew, and books in Arabic are extremely rare. While most Palestinian citizens of Israel are fluent in Hebrew, the lack of access to higher education offered in their native language illustrates the exclusion and discrimination that they face.
  • In September 2013, Haaretz newspaper reported that the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, which is comprised of 108 of Israel’s most distinguished scholars, doesn’t have a single Arab member. The article also reported that only 2% of the 174 senior staff members of state-funded institutions are Arab.

COMPLICITY OF ISRAELI INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN WAR CRIMES & MAINTAINING ISRAEL’S DISCRIMINATORY REGIME

    • While the Israeli government denies Palestinians freedom of education and academic inquiry, Israeli universities and other institutions of higher education are complicit in maintaining Israel’s discriminatory political system and illegal occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands.
    • Quasi-governmental and military think tanks such as the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), associated with Tel Aviv University, help formulate military strategy, political policies, and global propaganda. An INSS Senior Research Fellow helped develop the so-called “Dahiya doctrine,” which was adopted by the Israeli military, calling for the massive, deliberately disproportionate use of force – a war crime – to eliminate enemies and create “deterrence.” The doctrine is named after a heavily populated neighborhood of Beirut that was virtually flattened by the Israeli army during Israel’s assault on Lebanon in the summer 2006. The doctrine was employed during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, which killed approximately 1400 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including more than 300 children.
    • Universities collaborate on military research and the development of weapons used by the Israeli army against Palestinians and others. A prime example is the case of Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. According to a March 2013 article in The Nation magazine:

      Technion conducts research and development into military technology that Israel relies on to sustain its occupation of Palestinian land. For example, Technion developed an unmanned D-9 bulldozer for the Israeli military, which it used during Operation Cast Lead, a war that killed around 1400 Palestinians, mostly civilians… Technion also has partnerships with Israeli arms companies, such as Elbit and Rafael. Elbit provides surveillance equipment for the [West Bank] separation wall, such as cameras and drones, while Rafael manufactures missiles that accompany drones and an armor protection system for the Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) Mk4 battle tank… Technion is also a leader in the development of drone technology, which Israel has deployed in the occupied territories.

      Technion is currently involved in a controversial project with Cornell University to build a joint campus, Cornell NYC Tech, on Roosevelt Island in New York City.

    • Some Israeli schools, like Hebrew University, have campuses partially built on occupied Palestinian land, while Ariel University is located entirely inside the settlement of Ariel on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.
  • It is extremely difficult for Palestinians in the occupied territories to gain access to Israeli universities. Over the protests of human rights organizations and some Israeli academics, in 2009 the Israeli Supreme Court approved “non-security” criteria proposed by the Israeli army for Palestinians from the occupied territories to study at Israeli universities. They include allowing only PhD and Masters students to apply, and only if there is no “practical alternative” to studying in Israel. They also give the army the right to veto applicants even if they meet all required criteria. Other restrictions include a prohibition on the study of subjects that have the potential to be “used against Israel.”

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One of the first to come out and criticize the ASA boycott measure was Lawrence Summers, of Harvard University, who served as the university’s president from 2001-2006. A former chief ecnonmist for the World Bank, Summers also served in several capacities with the Clinton administration, including Secretary of the Treasury. According to Sourcewatch, he also supported the “repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act which lead to the creation of ‘too big to fail’ banks, and fought the regulation of derivatives which later played a key role in the financial crisis.”

Summers, who is Jewish, feels academic boycotts are “abhorrent,” particulary, it seems, when directed at Israel, “one of the very few countries whose neighbors regularly vow its annihilation,” as he puts it. Here he is on the Charlie Rose Show castigating the ASA.

Israel, of course, has not been “annihilated” (the alleged “wiped-off-the-map” remark by Iranian former President Ahmadinejad was a mistranslation, but it is a parrot that continues to squawk thanks to people like Summers), though its government and military very much have annihilated Palestinian lives and freedom through checkpoints, occupation, home demolitions, apartheid policies, routine but deadly military incursions into Gaza,—and yes, of course, denial of academic freedom.

In 1991, when he was with the World Bank, Summers became involved in a controversy over a leaked memo stating that, “the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that…. I’ve always thought that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly underpolluted.” According to Wikipedia, “Lant Pritchett has claimed authorship of the private memo, which both he and Summers say was intended as sarcasm.” Sarcasm over environmental racism. How amusing. By the way, Summers resigned as president of Harvard in 2006 after making remarks that were viewed as derogatory toward women.

But never fear, the current president of Harvard also opposes academic boycotts! (On principle as well, of course.) President Drew Gilpin Faust denounced the ASA resolution in December and received a hearty congratulation from the Harvard Crimson, the school’s student newspaper.

“Academic boycotts subvert the academic freedoms and values necessary to the free flow of ideas, which is the lifeblood of the worldwide community of schollars,” Faust said.

Another opponent of the ASA measure is Gene Block, chancellor of the University of California at Los Angeles. Block believes the boycott violates “principles of independent inquiry and does a disservice…to the state, nation and world we are dedicated to improving.”

One wonders if Block equally would have regarded the boycott against aparetheid South Africa as doing a “disservice” to the improved world he is so committed to building.

Keep in mind that Brandeis University is one of several schools which actually cut its ties to the ASA. Brandeis President Frederick M. Lawrence says his institution values its “many relationships” with Israeli universities, and he vowed not to let the ASA “undermine those relationships or the principle of academic freedom.”

“We find disturbing the uniqueness of the target of the ASA decision, with Israel representing the only nation on the planet whose universities are thereby stigmatized,” Lawrence said, and he also echoed Summers’ contention that boycott calls against the Jewish state are “anti-Semitic in their effect, if not necessarily in their intent.”

Notice the rather curious, inverted logic—the impetus for the boycott calls has been Israel’s racist policies toward the Palestinians, but yet those supporting the boycott are guilty of anti-Semitism, at least “in effect if not intent,” as it were.

At any rate, thus goes the thinking of the ASA’s “sharpest” critics, the “best and the brightest” of an empire that is rapidly on its way to becoming a subjugated colony (if it has not passed that point already).

Maybe there are no surprise here. Human nature being, after all, what it is, valued principles are not always equally upheld in all cases, and sometimes speaking out for the the downtrodden is costly and inconvenient (as the ASA has learned firsthand). Even so, one would think that faculty members at the unfairly “stigmatized” Israeli universities would be eager to become torch bearers for the treasured principle of academic freedom, if for no other reason than to demonstrate to the world their uprightness and their many moralistic virtues, as well as how wrong the rest of us are for singling them out for boycott. But apparently efforts of this nature are not the rule in Israel—at least not when it comes to academic freedom for Palestinians.

Fahoum Shalabi, assistant deputy minister for higher education in the Palestinian National Authority, laments the fact that Israeli academics don’t speak out against the closures and restrictions placed upon Palestinian academia.

“Sometimes you may find a Palestinian university has closed for six months or one year, and what is the reaction of the Israeli researchers about such an event? No reaction,” he said.

One Palestinian academic who underwent such a real-life experience is Professor Karim Tahboub, who teaches in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Palestine Polytechnic University. In 2003, the school, located in Hebron, was closed down by the Israeli military.

“We asked for support from all academics in different countries and we wrote to Israeli professors that they should write to the government. We did not get a single response,” he said. “So we support [the boycott].”

By the way, the ASA isn’t the only academic organization calling for a boycott. The Association for Asian American Studies and the Native American Indigenous Studies Association have also endorsed boycott calls. All three organizations merit the respect of people worldwide.

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