israeli rabbi: Notre Dame fire divine retribution? Church-burning can be ok

Israeli rabbi: Notre Dame fire divine retribution? Church-burning can be ok

Israeli rabbi: Notre Dame fire divine retribution? Church-burning can be ok

Debris inside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 16, 2019, a day after a fire that devastated the iconic building. (Christophe Petit Tesson/Pool/AFP)

A prominent Israeli rabbi suggests that the Notre Dame Cathedral fire may have been divine retribution, indicates that the burning of churches in Israel may be problematic only in that they may be rebuilt.

by Kathryn Shihadah

Times of Israel reported in Radical rabbi says Notre Dame fire retribution for 13th-century Talmud burning that a prominent extremist rabbi believes the Notre Dame Cathedral fire may have been “divine retribution for the mass-burning of Talmud volumes by French Catholic priests” in 1242.

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, the rabbi of the illegal Beit El settlement, instructs Jews that they need not feel saddened by the fire that devastated the 12th century cathedral, priceless artifacts, and works of art.

Ancient animosity

Aviner said: “Christians must be punished.”

[Christianity] is our number one enemy throughout history. [They] tried to convert us by arguments and by force, carried out an inquisition against us, burned the Talmud, expulsions, pogroms. Western anti-Semitism draws from Christianity’s hatred of the ‘murderers of God.’ It also had a role in the Holocaust.

The first great Talmud burning happened in Paris, right there at the Notre Dame Cathedral square. It was the result of the Paris trial in which Jewish sages were forced to debate Christian sages, and the result was the burning of the Talmud. Volumes of Talmud were brought in 20 carts and burned there, 1,200 Talmud volumes. So [the fire demonstrates] ‘there is justice and there is a Judge.

The 1240 Disputation of Paris, in which rabbis were forced to defend accusations that the Talmud was anti-Christian, was remembered by medieval Jews as a traumatic event. The public “trial” culminated in the burning of some 1,200 volumes of Talmud and other Jewish holy texts in Paris in 1242.

The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports that the burning of Talmuds had been triggered by a Jewish man named Nicholas Donin who had converted to Christianity. Donin traveled to Rome and presented the pope with a list of complaints about the Talmud. Among them the fact that a number of its passages “blasphemed Jesus and Mary, and attacked non-Jews.” During the French disputation about the Talmud, it was Donin who argued against it,* ultimately resulting in the pope’s decree that the books be “burned at the stake.”

Modern directive

In an online discussion as the Notre Dame Cathedral burned, Avner was unwilling to take a definite stand on the “divine retribution” theory. He conceded that “we do not know the secrets of God”; yet he dismissed the possibility that several recent fires in Israel could be punishment.

Aviner does not encourage the burning of churches in general – “for the time being.” However, he hesitated to condemn the practice inside Israel, stating that the  “issue is more complicated” in the Jewish State. When a church is destroyed, it will likely be rebuilt, and building a church in Israel “is a greater transgression than leaving one intact.”

Mondoweiss reports that, far from being a fringe figure, Aviner is “considered to be one most important rabbis of the religious nationalist sector. He is a prolific writer, having published more than 200 books.”

It points out that Aviner does not merely state his own opinion about church-burning, but quotes two sources (Rabbi Menachem Mendel Kasher and the Satmar Rabbi), a fact which “says volumes about the discourse among his followers and students.”

Mondoweiss notes: “Several churches have been burnt in Israel in the last few years, and the police have been spectacularly useless in capturing the arsonists. In several cases, the arson was accompanied by slogans familiar from ‘price tag’ attacks in the West Bank (mostly along the lines of Jewish vengeance).”

The targeting of homes, vehicles, and Palestinian individuals have also been a daily occurrence.


*Editor’s note:

A number of authors have discussed anti-Christian passages in the Talmud. Peter Schäfer’s book Jesus in the Talmud, published by Princeton University Press, notes that the Talmud referred to Jesus as a bastard and his mother Mary as an adulteress; he is depicted as “sitting forever in boiling excrement.”

Israeli author Israel Shahak’s informative book, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, also addresses this, as well as other aspects of the Talmud, stating:

According to the Talmud, Jesus was executed by a proper rabbinical court for idolatry, inciting other Jews to idolatry, and contempt of rabbinical authority. All classical Jewish sources which mention his execution are quite happy to take responsibility for it; in the talmudic account the Romans are not even mentioned.

Shahak reports in another book on the subject that a 1996 Ha’aretz article stated the following (bracketed phrases inserted by Shahak]:

A check of main facts of the [Jewish] historiography of the last 1500 years shows that the picture is different from the one previously shown to us. It includes massacres of Christians [by Jews]; mock repetitions of the crucifixion of Jesus that usually took place on Purim; cruel murders within the family; liquidation of informers, often done for religious reasons by secret rabbinical courts, which issued a sentence of “pursuer” and appointed secret executioners; assassinations of adulterous women in synagogues and/or the cutting of their [the women’s] noses by command of the rabbis. Rosen included in his long article many well-documented cases of massacres of Christians and mock repetitions of the crucifixion of Jesus on Purim, most of which occurred either in the late ancient period or in the Middle Ages. (Some isolated cases occurred in sixteenth-century Poland.)

Shahak added: “Rosen included in his long article many well-documented cases of massacres of Christians and mock repetitions of the crucifixion of Jesus on Purim, most of which occurred either in the late ancient period or in the Middle Ages.”


Kathryn Shihadah is staff writer for If Americans Knew. She blogs at Palestine Home


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Everyone could celebrate Easter in Jerusalem except Palestinian Christians

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Israel’s ‘Rule of the Rabbis’ Who Preach Genocide Fuels Holy War

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israeli (apartheid state) Soldiers Who Beat Detained Palestinians Are Part of a Bigger Evil

Israeli Soldiers Who Beat Detained Palestinians Are Part of a Bigger Evil

Most moral army in the world? Keep tripping

Forget “anti-semitism, this is real racism: israelis ‘undergo Jewish DNA test before being allowed to marry’

Israelis ‘undergo Jewish DNA test before being allowed to marry’

MEMO | March 12, 2019

DNA test sample [File photo]

DNA test sample [File photo]

Israel’s rabbinate “has been performing genetic testing on Israelis from the former Soviet Union, to check if they are ‘genetically Jewish’ as a condition for marriage registration”, according to Ynet.

The new site reported that “at least 20 couples have come forward after having been asked to undergo the procedure in the past year.”

“Although the existence of such tests was initially denied by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau admitted to having requested that some couples prove their Jewish status,” Ynet added, noting that “Lau claimed those were isolated incidents and there was no coercion.”

Ynet’s investigation revealed that “the complicated procedure was undertaken not only by the couples themselves but also by their relatives.”

“In one instance, a young woman who went to the rabbinate before her wedding was asked to conduct a DNA test along with her mother and her aunt, in order to eliminate the possibility that her mother was adopted,” the article stated.

“The young woman was told that if she refused the request, her marriage application would be denied,” Ynet added. “The rabbinate has control over Jewish religious rites in Israel.”

“According to the evidence accumulated by Ynet, these instances are examples of what appears to be a growing phenomenon where those applying to register for marriage, are being asked to undergo genetic testing if they want to have their requests granted,” the paper stated.

“Unfortunately, there are immigrants who, despite their eligibility under the Law of Return, are not defined as Jews according to Halacha,” said Lau in response. “In a few cases, there are those who claim to be Jews, but don’t possess the necessary documents to confirm it…or we find contradictions between their statements and what we would uncover about them”.

“In these cases we suggest undergoing DNA tests that would strengthen their claims,” he said. “It’s never forced upon anyone and only used to assist applicants in the research process.”

Jewish terrorist “If you don’t leave this house, I will slaughter your children”

“If you don’t leave this house, I will slaughter your children” – settler

On the night of February 16, ISM activists joined a number of local Protection Unit activists to go on a night patrol of the old city in Al Khalil. During the night patrol we were brought into the home of of a family who have recently experienced intimidation and harassment from settlers and the military.

Our hosts described to us how settlers, including prominent Hebron settlement spokesperson Noam Arnon invaded the family home by climbing down the stairs from their rooftop, accompanied by the Israeli army. Our host described how, in the presence of the army, Noam Arnon threatened that he would murder the entire family who lived in the house if they did not submit to the demands of the settlers and give up their home. This disgusting threat was allegedly made by the man who is often portrayed as a man of peace, and a reasonable voice in the settler community. Our host went on to describe how Anat Cohen, another prominent settler in Al Khalil, was watching this interaction from a nearby home, encouraging the soldiers and settlers to kill the homeowners.

Nighttime invasions of homes by the military are common throughout occupied Palestine. However, instances like this shine a light on the inner workings of the occupation. The event described above is the occupation in a microcosm: one of the world’s most technologically advanced armies, acting on behalf of a group of extremists with an agenda of ethnic cleansing. There is no justice in an occupation

 

Was Ancient “israel” really some place else, or, more likely, “Never Was…”

Was Ancient “Israel” really some place else, or, more likely, “Never…

By Gordon Duff with Dr. Asraf Ezzat and Jonas Alexis

We just saw a fun video that says Moses crossed the Middle of the Red Sea and that biblical Mt. Sinai was hundreds of miles away from Palestine, meaning Judea and Samaria.

I will put this as short as possible, including the Sputnik article that went with the silly video and a longer piece from two VT regulars with actual qualifications, one an actual Egyptian archaeologist (and MD/pediatrician).

History can’t find a “State of Israel” or “Kingdom of Israel,” they can’t really find any evidence whatsoever that “Israelites” were ever in Egypt as well.

The area Israel claims today at no time was ever home to a Jewish kingdom of any kind, it was all made up.  It was either Egyptian or Babylonian or Assyrian.

Moreover, it has long been accepted that Moses is a myth as well, something that will hit a number of religions and that the Pentateuch, meaning the five books of Moses are utterly fake as well.

Carrying this further, do note that Matthew, Mark and John were never apostles, that the fake apostle Paul never met Jesus and that Christianity has a history that comes from the East, not from Judea, but Iran.

The real history of Christianity and other religions we won’t mention, is quite different than given, so much different that the centuries of wars driven by a fake Moses or a quite disturbed and equally fake Noah and Abraham….

All of it was made up.

What is worse, when we look at real archeology, which can take the roots of just the Western civilizations alone back well over 10,000 years, we find scholarship skewed to fit into biblical crap.

For a century, the universities under the hammer of the Vatican and Rothschilds, have choked off any real scholarship.  If you want 10,000 year old artifacts from Europe, the Vinca’s in Serbia or want to see “Bronze” or “Iron Age” fakery, all of of it thousands of years older than purported, you can just go on Ebay.
Tel Halaf, Syrian-Turkish border, 6000BC – Jim Dean

We can have Jim Dean put some photos up some of his 4500BC Tel Halaf idols (Syria/Turkey border), or some of his new Vinca stuff from Bulgaria and Serbia, 6-7000 years old. And if you have time maybe he can dig out his stone tools, one of them an Oldowan, going back a million years.

I studied archaeology and spent some years , on the ground, in Africa, the Middle East/South Asia and Europe, noting how history had been fictionalized.

The “Celtic” civilizations that can be traced along Europe’s Western exterior, from the Irish shore to Brittany, Spain, Portugal, Malta, and down into Africa, is many thousands of years older than given, making Robert E. Howard, of Conan the Barbarian fame, a better historian than one might have guessed.

A simple run across the now Kurdish held regions of Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran yield evidence of hundreds of settlements thousands of years before “pre-history” while digs in Turkey, rapidly being purposefully misconstrued carbon date to up to 15,000 BC.

Western Sahara, stone tool blades just lying on the ground, 10K to 120K BC, far as the eye can see – Jim Dean

The sad and insane part of it is the attempt to fake a Middle Eastern “homeland” for the millions of Eastern Europeans that are hereditary members of the Jewish faith.

The entire history of the region, when Christianity entered Russia and the Baltic, how those groups interacted with Mongol and other “invaders,” and how Europe as we know it, particularly the languages of Hungary and Finland as evidence, is fake.

So, what we have done is, in order to fit into the mold of the Vatican and the “no-Semitic blood whatsoever” European Jews, who of course look just like the rest of us because that is exactly what they are, we have erased history, quashed scholarship, destroyed any chance of properly investigating our own civilizations and heritage, all to fit into a post-war scenario that requires some questioning as well.

Controlling the media, mass censorship of now two centuries of research, an endless series of fake wars and then religion…

*

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“My first Vinca fertility idol, 16cm, 4500 BC” – Jim Dean

Sputnik/Moscow: The biblical Mount Sinai is traditionally placed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, but some researchers say it could be located over a hundred miles eastwards on the Arabian Peninsula across the Gulf of Aqaba.

Ryan Mauro, the national security analyst at the non-profit anti-extremist Clarion Project, and the Doubting Thomas Research Foundation have released the results of a two-year joint search for the holy site in a documentary titled “Finding the Mountain of Moses: The Real Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia”.

According to the new investigation, the actual place where Moses received the Ten Commandments is in Saudi Arabia, and the Kingdom is well aware of this fact.

The documentary claims, based on several Christian, Jewish, and Islamic sources, that the biblical Mount Sinai is actually located in northwest Saudi Arabia. Ryan Mauro alleges that the Saudi government has been trying to conceal its location from the rest of the world using “fences, police, and a threat of force”.

He has interviewed locals and reached out to a person connected with jihadists to back up his claims.

“When I was in the jihad world, we all knew the Mount Sinai was in Saudi Arabia,” said an unidentified man, who hid his face and used a voice-changing filter. “The people on the outside, even most Muslims, had no idea that it was there. Because we, fighters, didn’t want anyone to know about it.”

“We all knew that the Saudi government hid it and protected it with security, and we all agreed with it. We believe that if a site — even a holy site — is visited by people and used for idolatry, it should be destroyed. But our hiding it, according to the Islamic law, is what saved it so you can see it today and appreciate it.”

Mauro claims key evidence is in jeopardy due to a $500 billion futuristic mega-city project, which is to be built in the coming years. “The Saudis are construction a super city that is planned to be 33 times the size of New York. If all of us don’t take action, Saudi construction in the area may destroy key evidence and prevent excavation for the foreseeable future.”

He has launched a website to try and convince Saudi Arabia to preserve the site.

In this Wednesday, Jan. 7, 1998 file photo, the shadow of Mount Sinai stretches across the valley at the foot of the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai peninsula some 240 miles southeast of Cairo, EgyptIn this Wednesday, Jan. 7, 1998 file photo, the shadow of Mount Sinai stretches across the valley at the foot of the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai peninsula some 240 miles southeast of Cairo, Egypt” src=”https://cdn5.img.sputniknews.com/images/107075/69/1070756926.jpg” alt=”In this Wednesday, Jan. 7, 1998 file photo, the shadow of Mount Sinai stretches across the valley at the foot of the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai peninsula some 240 miles southeast of Cairo, Egypt”
© AP Photo / Enric Marti

 

The analyst believes that Jabal Maqla, one of the tallest mountains in the Arabian Peninsula and a peak on the mountain range of Jabal al-Lawz, is the actual place where Moses received the Ten Commandments.

He invokes Moses’ account from the book of Exodus and cites the blackened top of the mountain, which could have been burnt by the Lord descended on Mount Sinai in fire, as per the Book of Exodus. However, he admits, these could simply be natural volcanic rocks.

He also alleges to have found Elam, the oasis where Moses and the Israelites found water after crossing the Red Sea en route to Mount Sinai, and what could have been several other pieces of evidence, like a rock split by Moses or the remains of an ancient altar where the Israelites worshipped a golden calf while Moses was on top of the mountain.

“Think of how many things line up with the biblical story right here at this mountain,” Mauro concludes, defying a popular theory that the biblical Mount Sinai is located in the Sinai Peninsula.

Egypt Knew No Pharaohs Nor Israelites?

“Bad history makes sweeping generalizations for which there is not adequate evidence and ignores awkward facts that do not fit.”[1]

christopher;Historian Christopher Behan McCullagh argues in his seminal study Justifying Historical Descriptions that there are at least seven tests historians use to determine the best explanation through which to view historical facts and inferences. Here are his arguments:

“The theory is that one is rationally justified in believing a statement to be true if the following conditions obtain:

“1) The statement, together with other statements already held to be true, must imply yet other statements describing present, observable data. (We will henceforth call the first statement ‘the hypothesis,’ and statements describing observable data, observation statements.’)

“2)The hypothesis must be of greater explanatory scope than any other incompatible hypothesis about the same subject; that is, it must imply a greater variety of observation statements.

“3)The hypothesis must be of greater explanatory power than any other incompatible hypothesis about the same subject; that is, it must make the observation statements it implies more probable than any other.

“4) They hypothesis must be more plausible than any other incompatible hypothesis about the same subject; that is, it must be implied to some degree by a greater variety of accepted truths than any other, and be implied more strongly than any other; and its probable negation must be implied by fewer beliefs, and implied less strongly than any other.

“5) The hypothesis must be less ad hoc than any other incompatible hypothesis about the same subject; that is, it must include fewer new suppositions about the past which are not already implied to some extent by existing beliefs.

“6) It must be disconfirmed by fewer accepted beliefs than any other incompatible hypothesis about the same subject; that is, when conjoined with accepted truths it must imply fewer observation statements and other statements which are believed to be false.

“7) It must exceed other incompatible hypotheses about the same subject by so much, in characteristics 2 to 6, that there is little chance of an incompatible hypothesis, after further investigation, soon exceeding it in these respects.”[2]

Peter Lipton of Cambridge constructs similar arguments in his work Inference to the Best Explanation. He argues that

“We infer what would, if true, be the best explanation of our evidence. On this view, explanatory considerations are our guide to inference.”[3]

Over the past ten years or so, I have tried to stay away from unscholarly books—most specifically books that do not abide by historical principles, rigorous testing, explanatory scope, intellectual honesty, and inference to the best explanation.

In fact, people continue to send me books to review, and on a number of occasions I have declined for the very fact that many of those books or essays do not following logical principles and do not take the search for truth seriously.

When I first started reading Ashraf Ezzat’s Egypt Knew No Pharaohs Nor Israelites, I was very interested in seeing the evidence, footnotes, citations, historical documentations, logical and rigorous inferences, and bibliography precisely because the title of the book itself is a claim of knowledge and requires extraordinary evidence. Moreover, the title itself places a huge burden of proof on Ezzat.

I was really eager to examine the full force of Ezzat’s argument and logic. Frankly, I was really disappointed. Let us just cut to the chase and start with some examples.


Ezzat has a chapter entitled “Ancient Egypt Knew No Slavery.” Hopefully the name of that particular chapter will be edited in the second edition of the book, for the statement itself is historically indefensible.[4] We have a plethora of historical evidence indicating that ancient Egypt, like all ancient civilizations, did know slavery.[5] One historian in particular writes,

“A papyrus dating to the late Middle Kingdom…indicates that individuals permanently assigned to government work as punishment could be transferred to private hands through unknown means, and, in the status essentially of ‘slave,’ be inherited and sold like any property as indicated by texts such as ‘I have acquired three slaves…in addition to those that my father granted me.’

“Slaves could be drawn from debtors (including those who sold themselves into slavery to satisfy debts), but most commonly from criminals and, in the New Kingdoms, prisoners of war. Children of slaves were born into servitude, but they could be freed.

“A text regarding inheritance from Deir el Medina indicates that a male slave was considered to be worth twice the value of a female. Slaves were generally associated with the land that they worked. Yet, there is evidence that the unfree could be compensated for their labor.”[6]

Other historians write,

“Slavery was recognized by law in the Late Period and is well illustrated by surviving contracts of sale. Legally the slave owned nothing at all. He was a living chattel who could be bought and sold at will.

“Many slaves would have been foreigners who owned their position to such factors as war, foreign trade, or both, but it was undoubtedly possible for Egyptians themselves to sink to this level—indeed, at Elephantine during the Persian period we find Egyptians even functioning as slaves of Jewish mercenaries.”[7]

As previously suggested, no civilization in the ancient world lacked slavery,[8] and that includes ancient Greece and Rome.[9] Yet Ezzat, without an iota of serious scholarly sources, irresponsibly declares,

“And if we make a quick research about slavery in the ancient Near East we will discover that slavery, where bound humans were regarded as economic property/merchandise liable to transaction, ownership and inheritance, was a common culture in Assyria, Babylon and Syria but most notably all-pervasive in the Arab peninsula.

“As for ancient Egypt, this will surely come as an amazing surprise; slavery was not at all a common tradition. Throughout most of its time span as a united kingdom, slavery was not practiced in ancient Egypt as a legitimate trade. I mean this culture of trading bound humans as profitable goods on public markets was definitely not an Egyptian accepted culture.

“I’m not going to refer to prisoners of war and their slave-like status in captivity in ancient Egypt for our Joseph was certainly not one. Neither will I be talking much about those misinterpreted religious text found carved on Egyptian temple walls in which the priests define themselves as slaves of the supreme god.”

Ezzat provides one link for all these assertions—hardly a serious scholarly source for extraordinary claims such as this.  I will not attempt to respond to this particular link at all. But it was at that point in the book that I realize that Egypt Knew No Pharaohs Nor Israelites was not going to be scholarly and rigorous book as I hope it would be.

What is even more astonishing is that Ezzat asserts that it was slavery, brought on by foreigners, which largely destroyed Egyptian civilization! “Interestingly,” he says, “in a strange way this new culture of slavery heralded the fall of the Egyptian empire.”

The evidence? It was nowhere to be found. You’ve got to take Ezzat’s words.

These are not isolated cases. The book, which purports to be historical, is littered with statements like that. I was quite uncomfortable reading the book largely because of this particular issue.

A book which purports to be historical and which seeks to deconstruct previously known accounts must at least provide enough historical evidence or rigorous methods which can be verified and studied by any serious researcher and expert.

In fact, numerous historians and scholars of various stripes have already addressed many of the issues raised in Egypt Knew No Pharaohs Nor Israelites. The works of those scholars are simply an embarrassment of riches.[10]


There are also too many bold assertions in the book with little evidence or no historical backup. For example, we read that “neither Abraham nor Joseph ever set foot in Egypt or even dreamed about it.” The statement itself is a claim of knowledge, and the historical evidence for this assertion was again weighed and found wanting.

To build his case, Ezzat brings in Herodotus. He rightly admits that Herodotus’ account “is tinged with a brush of exaggerations and misconceptions,” but since Herodotus never discusses Israel in Egypt, therefore his account “is extremely helpful and gives us a documented and rare insight into the land of the Pyramids at the remote point in time.”

In other words, anything that seems to support Ezzat’s thesis will be brought to the fore, though some of those things are without serious analysis.

The fact is that scholars of various stripes have examined Herodotus’ accounts and have come to the conclusion that he was in some instances ignorant of the history of Egypt and had to rely on hearsay.[11] Ezzat admits, “according to the purpose of our research this hearsay documentation is what we really want.”

Sure. Ezzat wants hearsay—and he got it.


We are also told that “Egypt never witnessed any of the stories of the Jewish patriarchs and that the land of the Nile valley knew neither Pharaohs nor any Israelites. Egypt was never the land of the Israelites Exodus nor is Palestine their Promised Land.” According to Ezzat, “if Egypt knew no Pharaohs then it goes without saying that Egypt never knew Moses either.” That again is a claim of knowledge, for which no serious historical evidence was presented.

Moreover, this argument suffers very badly. As French Egyptologist Nicolas Grimal argued, if the Hebrews were actually in Egypt, the lack of evidence for this event should not be “surprising, given that the Egyptians had no reason to attach any importance to the Hebrews.”[12]


What particularly shocks me as I sift through many of the bold assertions in the book is that Ezzat on several occasions dismisses the work of archeologists and experts with one or two sentences with little or no historical research. Sometimes he does not even address the so-called flaws in the work that those people produce. It was really stunning to observe how he quickly dismisses the work of archeologist William F. Albright. Here is how Ezzat dismisses him,

“The Biblical school of archeology headed by the American William F. Albright began misinterpreting many of the places in Palestine and thereby confusing them with Biblical ones. The result was a series of concocted discoveries that instead of verifying the historicity of the Bible added all the more ambiguity.

“By the mid of the 20th century the Albright school of Biblical archeology was condemned as biased and unreliable by a modern trend of scientific and objective Archeology.”

That is all. No interaction with Albright’s work, which is quite massive,[13] no serious argument, and no serious documentation. Ezzat’s conclusion is already built into his presupposition and therefore there is no way that Albright’s massive study is plausible.

In philosophy, this is called question-begging or circular argument. In fact, if you click Albright’s name in Ezzat’s book, you are confronted with one of the most scholarly sources on the face of the planet: Wikipedia! Ezzat makes the same cardinal mistake in his recent article.

This is certainly embarrassing for a book that purports to be historical—and it is even more hysterical when people who obviously know very little of ancient history begin to quote Egypt Knew No Pharaohs Nor Israelites as truth. Those people seem to have been looking for something—anything—that will support their preconceived notion, and the book seems to have been a sigh of relief for them.

Let us be clear here: we are not denying that Wikipedia can be used as a source of information, but from a scholarly perspective, it was Ezzat’s job to interact with the actual work that Albright has produced before he dismisses him. He decided to take the easy route because this quick move presumably will help his case. That certainly should give one the impression that the book should not be taken seriously.

What is quite obvious throughout the book is that scholars who do not support Ezzat’s thesis will be dismissed or ignored without sober thought. But scholars who support his enterprise will be mentioned over and over. But the interesting point is that Ezzat quotes Egyptologist Donald B. Redford approvingly throughout his book, but he could never tell his readers that Redford also believes that ancient Egypt had slaves,[14] a point which Ezzat denies.


This is not the first time that Ezzat has tried to dismiss other people’s work with a few sentences and without historical or rational rigor. In a private correspondence, one individual particularly asked Ezzat what he thought about Colin Humphreys’ The Miracles of Exodus: A Scientist’s Discovery of the Extraordinary Natural Causes of the Biblical Stories. Ezzat responded:

“I’ve read the book The Miracles of Exodus by Colin Humphreys. The man is trying his best to scientifically corroborate the Ten Plagues and the Exodus. Humphreys set out his scientific expedition from Mount Sinai and the Red Sea.

“In his 300-page book he makes good use of all his scholarly skills and tricks, only he overlooked the fact that the Hebrew Bible never mentioned the Red sea or Mount Sinai in the first place (hilarious).

“Our poor Humphreys has been duped (like millions around the world) by the distorted Greek translation of the Hebrew book. Humphreys, like James Cameron in his funny documentary ‘The Exodus Decoded’, is building his mesmerizing thesis on a false premise. Falsification is what Humphreys, Cameron, and hordes of Biblically deluded figures are actually embracing and chivalrously defending.”

Is this how the scholarly world works? Can anyone disprove any scholarly study by saying that a scholar has been “duped” without seriously pointing out the central flaws of the author?

Furthermore, isn’t there an implicit circular argument here as well? I mean, is it not possible to disprove Ezzat’s book by saying that he has been misled without providing serious argument? How could he not see that his argument here is intellectually vacuous?


There are also emotional assertions in the book which seem to suggest that the author is grasping at straws. Consider this:

“There is something mysterious about Ancient Egypt. Something doesn’t seem right; how could the land that witnessed the first dawn of human conscience and righteousness be hit with God’s wrath as said in the Bible? This simply defies common sense to begin with.”

Let us grant that argument for a moment. Isn’t it possible that this principle could also be applied to the Hebrews as well? Didn’t thousands upon thousands of them get “hit with God’s wrath” when they stayed away from the moral law and invented their own codes in the desert and elsewhere? Didn’t the book of Numbers (Numbers 25) say that more than twenty-thousand Hebrews died in just a few days because they got involved with sexual debauchery? Didn’t they go to Babylon numerous times because of their perpetual rebellion?

Through the “Biblical narrative,” Ezzat tells us, “we see nothing in Egypt except absolute tyranny and enslavement of god’s chosen people.” He continues to say that “According to the Bible, ancient Egypt is the land of idolatry, tyranny and slavery.” Is that all we see in the “Biblical narrative”?

If that were the case, why did the writers of this “Biblical narrative” even reveal that Joseph and his brothers went to Egypt in order to have a better livelihood? Why did they account that Joseph and his brothers had a friendly relationship with the Egyptians for years? Why did Joseph have to marry an Egyptian?

Why did the genealogy of Christ include foreigners such as Canaanite and Moabite and Hittite women? In other words, why did the Old Testament have to praise people like Rahab, Ruth, Tamar, Bathsheba, among others? Why did King Solomon have to marry Pharaoh’s daughter? Why was Job, who was not even a Hebrew, part of the canon?

Furthermore, no one was exempt from God’s punishment or chastisement. If Ezzat’s argument is to be taken seriously here, why didn’t he tell his readers that there was tyranny among the Hebrews as well? In fact, the Israelites went to captivity for their constant rebellion and tyranny against their fellow men and for worshiping idols. Listen to this:

“Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward” (Isaiah 1:4).

Hosea also declares,

“Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people: for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God…Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies…O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity” (Hosea 9:1, 10:13, 14:1).

The book of Micah declares that “the house of Jacob, and the princes of the house of Israel” not only “abhor judgment, and pervert all equity,” but “build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity” (Micah 3:9-10). For their wickedness, they were all punished again and again.

“And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.

“Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand.

“And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all [these] he brought to Babylon.

“And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.

“And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia” (2 Chronicles 36:15-20).

Ezzat does not even attempt to address or raise these issues because he probably didn’t think about them before he wrote the book. They obviously weaken his arguments.


“In the Biblical story of Egypt,” Ezzat tells us, “we are faced with a narrative that is not only remote from Egyptologists but absolutely contrary to the moral Egypt and its Maat’s code of conduct the scholars of history and archeology have long discovered.”

Would all Egyptologists make that claim, or is Ezzat making a proposition which he hopes will support his thesis?

Second, having a moral code does not necessitate the idea that kings and nations are going to live according to the moral code. The United States for example has The Constitution and other legal documents, but the government hardly follows what is written in those documents.


Ezzat builds a false dichotomy in the book which certainly deserves some attention:

“Either the Egyptologists’ narrative is mistaken or the Biblical one is falsified. There is not a third option. At least if we want to be logical about it. Some argued that a third option actually exists.

“The way they see it, ancient Egypt was a great civilization throughout most of its time span, except for the period during which this infamous Pharaoh rose to power. But if that argument holds any water, how come everybody, including Egyptologists, is referring to all the kings of Egypt as Pharaohs?

“If that argument is valid, the whole of ancient Egypt would have converted to Judaism instantly after the God of the Israelites had revealed his might by destroying the land and its king (so-called Pharaoh).”

Once again, by “Egyptologists,” Ezzat means people who agree with his thesis. He knows for example a large body of scholars who do not support his premises. In fact, “Prior to the nineteenth century only a few scholars questioned the historicity of the patriarchal narratives of Genesis and stories of the sojourn-exodus and Joshua’s conquest of the land of Canaan.”[15]

Will Durant noted,

“The story of the ‘bondage’ in Egypt, of the use of the Jews as slaves in great construction enterprises, their rebellion and escape—or emigration—to Asia, has many internal signs of essential truth, mingled, of course, with supernatural interpolations customary in all the historical writing of the ancient East.”[16]

More importantly, is the statement that Egypt would have converted to Judaism if the Exodus story was true a sound argument? Is Ezzat familiar with the New Testament, where it is stated throughout that the Jewish people saw Christ’s evidence as the Messiah but rejected him anyway? Is he familiar with the widespread persecutions of Christians throughout the first century by the Pharisees, who ended up exerting a powerful influence on Rome?

If Ezzat’s argument is genuine, then the Jewish people should have accepted Christ as the Messiah by now. But that is not the case. In fact, they as a subversive group began to persecute Christians from the first century and all the way to our modern time, though things got complicated over the centuries. In A.D. 70, the Jewish Temple was destroyed and Josephus himself described the event as the judgment of God upon the Jews. Did they convert as a group?

No. Instead, they began to cook up evidence, forge lies and fabrications, accused Christians on trumped-up charges, assassinate Christians and perceived enemies, put curses and maledictions on Christians,[17] and allied with emperors in order to terrorize Christian communities.[18] Even Josephus agreed that Nero was trying to please the Jewish community and “showed favour to his [Jewish] wife Poppaea” when he started to liquidate Christians.

Historian Herbert B. Workman added:

“The Jews, working probably through Poppaea, the famous mistress and wife of Nero, whose superstitious nature led her to dally with Judaism, or through Alitururs, a favourite Jewish mime, took the opportunity of the great fire and the need for a scapegoat to save themselves and at the same time to wreak vengeance on the Christians.”[19]

“Poppaea’s influence was at the full when on June 9, 62, she obtained an order for the slaughter of Octavia, Nero’s [first] wife.”[20]

Nero’s persecution, says Workman, “stamped itself for ever upon the memory of the Church by reason of its fiendish cruelties as well as its distinguished victims.”[21]

Because they caused so much trouble throughout the empire, the Romans began to despise the Jews.

“Suetonius shows that the Jews were expelled from Rome under Claudius around A.D. 50 for causing riots in confrontations with Christians. The Jews were disliked by the Romans and frequently stirred up trouble in Rome causing them to be expelled from Rome on other occasions.”[22]

So, Ezzat is wrong again when he argues that “Egypt would have converted to Judaism instantly after the God of the Israelites had revealed his might by destroying the land and its king (so-called Pharaoh).” He is operating under the assumption that people will change their views once they see the evidence, but this hypothesis is not entirely true.

On the contrary, we have good evidence which suggests that evidence alone does not necessarily lead people to change their minds. Sometimes ideology is more powerful than evidence.

If anyone would like to challenge that claim, perhaps he should be familiar with the work of people like Aldous Huxley, Richard Lewontin, Victor J. Stenger, and even Paul Davies. Lewontin, a Harvard geneticist, put the issue quite bluntly when he stated in the New York Times Book Reviews more than a decade ago:

“We take the side of science [Darwinian evolution] in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

“It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”[23]

In a similar tone, Huxley declared,

“For myself, as for no doubt most of my contemporaries, the essence of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation…We objected to morality because it interferes with our sexual freedom.”[24]

What kind of evidence will convince people like these? Is there enough information in this world that will help them change their ideological weltanschauung?

The answer is no.


What we are seeing here is that both Ezzat and the genetic theorists seem to misrepresent the stories of the Old Testament. They do not seem to understand that that Zionism and other subversive movements which the Dreadful Few had forged over the centuries cannot be exegetically drawn from the Old Testament but from the Talmud.

On the contrary, the Old Testament is filled with “unpleasant” things to say about rebellious Israel. The children of Israel, we are told over and over, have “a rebellious heart” (Jeremiah 5:23) and are “wise to do evil” (4:22). The children of Israel “committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses. They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour’s wife” (5:7-8). And then this:

“Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter. And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hands of them that seek their lives: and their carcasses will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth. And I will make this city desolate, and an hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of all the plagues thereof.

And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them. And shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter’s vessel, that cannot be made whole again: and they shall bury them in Tophet, till there be no place to bury. Thus will I do unto this place, saith the LORD, and to the inhabitants thereof…” (19:6-9, 11-12).


Like Ezzat—who asserts in several parts of his book that if one happens to take the Exodus story as genuine then he or she is part of the “historically uneducated masses” or the “hordes of gullible and uneducated masses”—the Pharisees and later the rabbis deliberately failed to see that the stories in the Old Testament were universal in scope; that is, the stories discuss unimaginable death, human suffering, injustice, anger, immorality, and ultimately spiritual redemption, which to us got their fulfillment at the foot of the cross.

The Pharisees thought that the Old Testament was about them and their “greatness,” and when they came to Jesus, they hubristically declared that “We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to anyone…”

The Pharisees and rabbis, through the Talmud, ended up distorting the Old Testament and ended up keeping the Jewish people morally and spiritually captive. It is no surprise that they falsely claim that the Old Testament justifies their immoral activity in the Middle East. They are spiritually and intellectually blind, so they used the Old Testament to support their Talmudic carnage and perversion.

This is one reason why the book of Revelation in the first century denounces them as the synagogue of Satan—people who say they are Jews but in reality are liars. And since they also trapped evangelical Christians into the same Talmudic culture, evangelical Christians, since 1948, have defended the genocidal activity of the Israeli regime.

Take for example Looney Tunes such as John Hagee. In order to make the Zionist case, Hagee had to deny that Christ never came to be the Messiah:

 

Shame on these people.


I have recently listen to the moving testimony of a rabbi’s son who actually became a Christian. He said,

“I had a big hatred for Arabs. I used my position in the army when I was stationed in Lebanon to exorcise that hatred.”

But after he became a Christian, everything changed. “I learned how to love all people and my brothers, the Arabs,” he said.

He had huge perks but lost them all shortly after his radical shift. His grandfather and all his family instantly deserted him. Before his grandfather passed away, he offered him about a million dollars if he decided to come back.

“Soon after, my grandfather’s lawyer contacted me and invited me to his office. Because I was the oldest son of my immediate family, my grandfather left me the part of the inheritance that would have gone to my father who had died some years before. 

“I walked into the office, which was also in our Orthodox town of Bnei-Brak, and he said, ‘Your grandfather left you four million shekels (which was then about one million dollars) and he left you land and a part of the house on condition that you sign right here that you don’t believe in Yeshua.

“I said, ‘I won’t do it.’ The lawyer looked at me and said, ‘Nobody’s here, just sign the paper, take the four million and do what you want.’

“I turned to the lawyer and said, ‘God is here.’

“He said, ‘If you don’t sign this paper, that money will be transferred to your family.’ I answered, ‘If that’s God’s will, so be it, but tell them Yeshua gave them the money!’ And I left.

“But the money that I gave up was not half as painful as having lost my grandfather. My own father had passed away when I was 16. I am praying for the salvation of Israel, and very specifically for the rest of my family.”

What would people like Hagee say to a person like that? Here is a son of a rabbi praying for the salvation of Israel, and here is John Hagee praying for the destruction of the Goyim, namely, Iran!

More importantly, what would the people who say that Jewish behavior is genetic say to such a man? One part of me would love to ask him, “So, tell me my brother. I’ve read that you folks have bad genes which make you all behave in a certain way. How did you get rid of them? I would very much like to know.” But the other part of me is saying that I should never insult a human being with such a dumb and morally repugnant statement.


Ezzat and the people he cites approvingly in his book do not seem to understand that the fundamental issue is theological (or Talmudic). The reason the Zionist regime is slaughtering the Palestinians is because they have learned this method from the Talmud, which is a perversion of the Old Testament.

Ezzat is right on target when he criticizes Zionism. But the major premises in his book cannot be taken seriously because they are full of holes.

 


[1] Margaret MacMillan, Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History (New York: Modern Library, 2010), 36.

[2] Christopher Behan McCullagh, Justifying Historical Descriptions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 18-24.

[3] Peter Lipton, Inference to the Best Explanation (New York: Routledge, 1991), 19-20. For similar studies, see for example Martha Howell and Walter Prevenier, From Reliable Sources: An Introduction to Historical Methods (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2001).

[4] From 2001-2009, I spent countless hours researching this very subject. This led me to study the Jewish involvement in nineteenth-century slavery. I have discussed this issue in much detail in Christianity & Rabbinic Judaism, Vol. I (Bloomington: WestBow Press, 2010).

[5] See for example Daniel C. Snell, “Slavery in the Ancient Near East,” Keith Bradley and Paul Cartledge, ed., The Cambridge World History of Slavery, Vol. I (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), chapter 1; Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982); David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966); for similar topics, see for example Paul E. Lovejoy, Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000); Eugen Strouhal and Werner Forman, Life of the Ancient Egyptian (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992), 101.

[6] Douglas J. Brewer and Emily Teeter, Egypt and the Egyptians (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 96; for similar accounts on some of these issues, see for example Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982), 167, 175; David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966), 32, 36, 47, 54.

[7] B. G. Trigger, B. J. Kemp, David O’Connor, and Alan B. Lloyd, Ancient Egypt: A Social History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 315.

[8] See Milton Meltzer, Slavery: A World History (New York: De Capo Press, 1993).

[9] For historical studies on these issues, see for example N. R. E. Fisher, Slavery in Classical Greece (London: Bristol Classical Press, 1993); Joseph Vogt, Ancient Slavery and the Ideal of Man (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975); Thomas Wiedemann, Greek and Roman Slavery (New York: Routledge, 1989); Keith Bradley, Slavery and Society at Rome (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994); Sandra R. Joshel, Slavery in the Roman World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010); K. R. Bradley, Slaves and Masters in the Roman Empire: A Study in Social Control (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987); Peter Garnsey, Ideas of Slavery from Aristotle to Augustine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). I do not generally agree with the conclusions of some of those writers, but the consensus is that slavery was present in ancient Greece and Rome.

[10] For those who are interested in studying these issues, see for example Ian Shaw, ed., History of Ancient Egypt (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000); J. B. Bury, The Cambridge Ancient History: Egypt and Babylonia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011); George Rawlinson, History of Ancient Egypt (London and New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1886);  John Romer, A History of Ancient Egypt: From the First Farmers to the Great Pyramid (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2012); Will Durant, Our Oriental Heritage (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1954); L. W. King, History of Egypt, Chaldea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria in the Light of Recent Discovery (London: British Museum, 1906); Toby Wilkinson, The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt (New York: Random House, 2010).

[11] For an examination of Herodotus’ account, see for example James K. Hoffmeir, Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).

[12] Ibid., ix.

[13] See for example William F. Albright, From Stone Age to Christianity (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1946); Archaeology: Historical Analogy and Early Biblical Tradition (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1966); New Horizons in Biblical Research (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966).

[14] Donald B. Redford, ed., The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, vol. II (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 212, 294, 304, 522.

[15] Hoffmeir, Israel in Egypt, viii.

[16] Will Durant, Our Oriental Heritage (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1950), kindle edition.

[17] See for example Ruth Langer, Cursing the Christians?:  A History of the Birkat Haminim (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011); Israel Jacob Yuval, Two Nations in Your Womb: Perceptions of Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Berkley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2006). For similar historical studies, see for example Elliott Horowitz, Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006); Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity: A Sociologist Reconsiders History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996).

[18] For historical studies on this, see for example W. H. C. Frend, Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church (New York: Oxford University Press, 1965); Douglas R. A. Hare, The Theme of Jewish Persecution of Christians in the Gospel According to St. Matthew (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

[19] Herbert B. Workman, Persecution in the Early Church: A Chapter in the History of Renunciation (London: William Clowes & Sons, 1923), 37.

[20] Ibid., 34.

[21] Ibid., 202-203.

[22] I have discussed these issues in great detail in Christianity & Rabbinic Judaism, Vol. II (Bloomington: WestBow Press, 2013).

[23] Richard Lewontin, “Billions and Billions of Demons,” NY Times Book Reviews, January 9, 1997.

[24] Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means: An Inquiry into the Nature of Ideals and into the Methods Employed for their Realization. (London: Chatoo & Windus, 1946), 273.

“Largest Land Grab Since 1948” — israel (apartheid state) to Expel 36,000 Palestinians From Negev

“Largest Land Grab Since 1948” — Israel to Expel 36,000 Palestinians From Negev

Given the Israeli state’s rejection of their existence, government officials have called the Palestinians living in these villagers “violators” and “squatters” – accusing them of illegally occupying “state lands.”

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — According to an Israeli media report, the Israeli government has completed work on a massive, far-reaching plan that would expel an estimated 36,000 Palestinians from “unrecognized” villages in the Negev Desert. If the plan is approved by the Knesset, Israel’s legislative body, its implementation could begin as soon as this year and would take four years to complete. News of the plan was first published by Israel Hayom – Israel’s largest Hebrew-language newspaper, funded by Sheldon Adelson, the top donor to both U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.The plan — compiled by Uri Ariel, Israel’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and his staff — features the seizure of an estimated 260,00 dunams (64,247 acres) from Palestine’s Bedouins. The size of the territory in question and the high number of Palestinians set to be affected has led some to call the plan the largest “land grab” of Palestinian-inhabited land since 1948, when the state of Israel was founded.

Israel Hayom’s report stated that, per the new plan, the Palestinian villages would be demolished and the ruins of their homes would then become the sites of “national projects,” infrastructure projects, and “security” installations after the forcible “transfer” of the land’s current inhabitants to other “state-approved” settlements such as Tel Sheva, Abu Talul and Umm Batin. The report noted that a major motivation behind the plan’s creation was the transfer of an arms-industry factory from another part of Israel to the Negev, as well as the expansion of the “Trans-Israel Highway” system.

Furthermore, the plan involves calling for a budget increase to boost the presence of law enforcement officials involved in the forcible “transfer” and in the demolition of Palestinian villages.

Rights groups have yet to comment on the newly announced plan targeting Palestinian communities in the Negev. However, Human Rights Watch has previously condemned Israel’s targeting of “unrecognized” Palestinian villages in the region. In 2016, Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division, stated:

The forcible eviction of Bedouin residents to make way for a new Jewish town would be a blatant and ugly episode of discrimination mirroring Israel’s unlawful settlements. Long after most of the rest of the world has such rejected racist policies, the Israeli government keeps building and razing communities on the basis of religion and ethnicity.”

 

No recognition, no rights

The Bedouin Palestinians who inhabit these lands face an uphill battle in any effort to oppose the newly drafted plan. This is because their villages have long been “unrecognized” by the state of Israel, which has claimed that Palestinian Bedouins cannot “prove” their ownership or claim to the land. This has been used to justify the withholding of basic services, such as running water and electricity, from these areas. Residents, even though they are technically Israeli citizens, also lack addresses and their villages do not appear on official Israeli maps.

As a consequence of their lack of formal recognition, Israeli authorities do not regard the Palestinian inhabitants of these villages as having any rights to the land, even though many of the villages were established several decades ago by Palestinians forced from their homes following the creation of the Israeli state in 1948.

Given the state’s rejection of their existence, Israeli government officials have called the Palestinians living in these villagers “violators” and “squatters” – accusing them of illegally occupying “state lands.” As a result, these villages have constantly been under threat of demolition, with the Israeli government even forcing the inhabitants of demolished villages to pay for the destruction of their own homes.

Israel | Palestinians Negev

A Bedouin boy carries timber after demolished his home in the village of El Araqib near the southern Israeli city of Beersheba in 2010. Tsafrir Abayov | AP

 

Pushing towards complete annexation and ethnic cleansing

The newly announced plan is part of a wider Israeli government push to annex Palestinian territory and ethnically cleanse areas that have already been annexed by Israel. With the support of the Trump administration in the United States, right-wing Israeli politicians have been emboldened to introduce and promote measures that would result in the Israeli government’s complete annexation of Palestine’s West Bank, which has been under Israeli military rule since 1967 and has lost substantial amounts of land to the construction of illegal Jewish-only settlements supported by the Israeli government. Those efforts prompted the UN to warn last July that Israel’s government was poised to formally annex the West Bank in the coming years.

In addition, within areas already controlled by Israel, the effort to erase Palestinian communities is also picking up steam, as evidenced by the promotion of this new plan to expel 36,000 Palestinians with Israeli citizenship from their homes.

Last year, an Israeli Supreme Court ruling essentially authorized and justified the Israeli government’s demolition of “unrecognized” Palestinian villages after hearing the case of the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar, located east of Jerusalem. That ruling has now set a precedent that critics claimed would allow the Israeli government to “ethnically cleanse” any Palestinian village within its territory, despite the fact that the practice is considered illegal by international law.

 

A man on a mission

It should be no surprise then that Uri Ariel, who drafted this latest plan, is one of the Israeli government’s top proponents of ethnic cleansing of Palestinian-inhabited territories. A member of the far-right Jewish Home party and vocal proponent of illegal settlements, Ariel stated last June that the Israeli government should forcibly annex 60 percent of the West Bank.

This past December, Ariel then stepped up his rhetoric regarding Palestinian Bedouins in the Negev, stating:

I am happy to announce a revolution in the Negev regarding the illegal construction. The enforcement agencies, together with the proper activities of the Bedouin Settlement Authority according to my instructions, created a new situation in the Negev: in 2019, we will aspire to zero illegal construction in the Negev.

We have increased the means of enforcement, we have demonstrated the validity of an attack along with significant land marketing, and we are on the right path to dramatically reduce and later eliminate the illegal takeover of state land in the Negev. The Negev will no longer be a no-man’s-land area without governance.”

Ariel reiterated this policy in January, stating that he would implement a “zero tolerance” policy for “illegal” Bedouin construction on Bedouin land, and again accusing Bedouin Palestinians of “taking over” Israeli state land.

A recent Haaretz report found that Ariel has been drafting plans to evict Palestinian Bedouins from their homes since the 1970s. Now, with a top post in Netanyahu’s government, Ariel seems to have finally garnered the power and the political support to make his long-planned push to ethnically cleanse Palestinian communities a reality.

Top Photo | Bedouin women sit outside a demolished home by Israeli forces in the southern village of Umm al-Hiran, Jan. 18, 2017. Tsafrir Abayov | AP

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and has contributed to several other independent, alternative outlets. Her work has appeared on sites such as Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire among others. She also makes guest appearances to discuss politics on radio and television. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

Jerusalem Archbishop: ‘Everything Palestinian is targeted by israel’s (apartheid state) occupation’

Jerusalem Archbishop: ‘Everything Palestinian is targeted by Israel’s occupation’

MEMO | February 2, 2019

Archbishop of Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Church, Atallah Hanna, seen during a protest in the West bank city of Hebron, January 22, 2015 [Muhesen Amren / ApaImages]

The Palestinian Archbishop of Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Church, Atallah Hanna, said yesterday that “everything Palestinian in Jerusalem is targeted by the Israeli occupation”.

During a meeting with a delegation from Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders, MSF), Hanna explained the dangers threatening Palestinians’ existence and identity in the Holy City, Al-Wattan Voice reported.

“Everything is in danger in Jerusalem,” Hanna said, adding: “The Islamic and Christian holy sites and endowments are targeted in order to change our city, hide its identity and marginalize our Arabic and Palestinian existence.”

Hanna added that “recently, the Israeli occupation cancelled a planned celebration on the 50th anniversary of establishing Al-Maqased Hospital,” noting that the Israeli occupation had cancelled many other Palestinian events planned to take place in Jerusalem.

The Archbishop said that Palestinians “are living under severe torture and harsh persecution,” pointing to Israel’s closure of Palestinian institutions in the city. “It seems that they wanted us to give up Jerusalem and submit to their polices, measures and practices,” he added.

Hanna continued: “Jerusalem is for us and will remain for us. We will never give up our rights in Jerusalem and we will defend it against Israeli oppression.”

Addressing the MSF staff, he said: “We want you to know closely the suffering of the Palestinians and the oppression inflicted by the Israeli occupation on them in Jerusalem. We want our message to reach all the people around the world as we want more friends for the Palestinians.”

Massive campaign to defend 5 jewish terrorists accused of stoning to death Palestinian mother of nine

Massive campaign to defend Israeli religious students accused of killing Palestinian mother of nine

Jean Shaoul — WSWS Jan 14, 2019

Demonstrations against the detention of the five Israeli Yeshiva students accused of murder. Click to enlarge

Demonstration against the detention of the five Israeli Yeshiva students accused of murder. Click to enlarge

Far-right and ultra-Orthodox groups have created a media storm over the arrest of five Jewish youths on suspicion of carrying out “serious terror offenses,” including the killing of a Palestinian woman last October.

The defence of the accused is being used to stoke nationalist tensions in the run-up to the general election on April 9, and to shift Israeli politics further to the right. All the mainstream parties are complicit.

The five boys, students at the Pri Ha’aretz yeshiva (religious seminary) in the Rehelim settlement in the occupied West Bank, are accused of the stone-throwing attack on a Palestinian car October 12 that killed Aisha Mohammed Rabi, 47, a mother of nine, and injured her husband, Yacoub.

The past year saw a threefold increase in racist attacks on Palestinians over 2017, with 482 politically motivated crimes by Jews reported in the West Bank. These included beating and throwing stones at Palestinians, painting nationalist, anti-Arab or anti-Muslim slogans, damaging homes and cars, and cutting down trees belonging to Palestinian farmers.

The murder and its aftermath highlight the utter lawlessness and racism inherent in the Greater Israel project from which the settler movement stems. Speaking to Ha’aretz after the attack, Yacoub Rabi said, “I don’t have any doubt it was the settlers. There were six or seven of them, and it was clear that they were young.”

As is common in such stoning attacks, the police dragged their feet over their investigation, to the extent that few believed any action would be taken.

According to the public broadcaster Kan, the day after the stoning attack, settlers from Yitzhar broke with the strict religious rule of not driving on the Sabbath and traveled to the Rehelim yeshiva. One of those in the car was reportedly Meir Ettinger, a grandson of the extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane, whom the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, has accused of being a ringleader of an underground group that spawned the racist filth legitimising attacks on Palestinians.

In 2015, Ettinger spent time in administrative detention, which enables the state to order someone’s arrest without informing the detainee of the reason or providing any evidence of wrongdoing, and to detain him for unspecified periods and interrogate him without lawyers in attendance. Administrative detention orders are routinely used against Palestinians, but rarely against Jewish Israelis.

Ettinger’s arrest followed attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank and churches and mosques in Israel by right-wing Jewish extremists, including the torching of a Palestinian family in the West Bank village of Duma, which killed an 18-month-old baby.

The use of administrative detention orders under the pretext of combating militant Jewish nationalists facilitated the introduction of such methods as part of the build-up of repressive measures to be used against the working class.

On October 13, Ettinger and his companions went to the Rehelim yeshiva to brief the assailants before any investigation, arrest or interrogation, and thereby prevent them revealing the details of the stoning attack.

Two weeks ago, Shin Bet, not the police, arrested three of the suspects on suspicion of murder. They also arrested two others who were taking part in a protest in support of the alleged assailants. A gag order was imposed on the media to prevent any reporting on the details of the investigation, and the youths were banned from seeing their lawyers, the far right activist Itamar Ben Gvir and Nati Rom and Adi Kedar of the Honenu NGO, which provides legal aid to Jewish activists suspected of terrorist attacks.

The police also called all the yeshiva students in for questioning after entering the seminary amid claims from the staff that they did not have a search warrant. By last Thursday, 30 students had been questioned.

The settlers and their supporters, including religious leaders and the suspects’ lawyers, issued statements condemning the arrests and organizing protests outside the homes of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other cabinet members, and later demonstrations outside the court proceedings. Neither Netanyahu nor any member of his cabinet had condemned the attack or demanded that those responsible be brought to justice. Rather, they actively encouraged the protests over the arrests and the investigation.

Following an appeal by one of the families over lack of access to lawyers, Ayelet Shaked, justice minister and leader, along with Naftali Bennett, of the newly formed New Right Party, called the mother of one of boys to say that she had discussed his case with State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and urged the mother to “stay strong.”

A week after the youths were taken into custody, they were permitted to meet with their lawyers, who claimed the boys were innocent and accused Shin Bet interrogators of “severe manipulation” and causing “serious trauma.”

The Shin Bet was also forced to lift the gag order on part of the case. In response, it issued statements that it had discovered an Israeli flag with a swastika and “Death to Zionists” scrawled on it in the room of one of the suspects, who were now described as radical anti-Zionists. The lawyer for the five youths, Itamar Ben-Gvir, described this as “a spin” by Shin Bet, stating that there was “no real evidence” against his clients who “are good kids that love the State of Israel.”

On Thursday, a judge ruled that four of the suspects should be released and subject to house arrest, while the fifth should be kept in detention because of the nature of the allegations, the evidence against him and concerns over obstruction of justice.

The Shin Bet claimed that it had respected all the suspects’ rights under law, saying, “Claims of their denial are baseless and aim at diverting the discourse from the serious suspicions for which they were detained and at bringing the service in disrepute.”

The increase in violence and murderous attacks on Palestinians are bound up with the encouragement of all forms of extreme nationalism by Israel’s fascistic settler parties, which sit in Netanyahu’s government, as well as from recently elected municipal leaders. As the World Socialist Web Site explained in its statement on January 3: “The ultra-rightwing government of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel is establishing the closest relations with extreme rightwing regimes and parties throughout the world. These alliances reflect the growing strength of fascist forces within Israel itself.”

The WSWS drew attention to a column in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz on December 31, by the Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard, who warned:

“We have to face reality. We are witnessing the flourishing of a Jewish Ku Klux Klan movement. Like its American counterpart, the Jewish version also drinks from the polluted springs of religious fanaticism and separatism, only replacing the Christian iconography with its Jewish equivalent. Like white racism’s modus operandi, this Jewish racism is also based on fear mongering and violence against its equivalent of Blacks—the Palestinians.”

Such obnoxious and abhorrent phenomena mirror similar trends internationally and demonstrate the bankruptcy and reactionary dead-end of the entire Zionist project.

Source

After years of speculation, IDF chief admits israel (apartheid state) supplied Syrian terrorists with weapons

After years of speculation, IDF chief admits Israel supplied Syrian rebels with weapons

After years of speculation, IDF chief admits Israel supplied Syrian rebels with weapons

RT | January 15, 2019

The outgoing IDF chief of staff has spilled the beans on a poorly guarded secret of the Israeli military, that it has supplied Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar Assad’s government with weapons “for self-defense.”

Gadi Eisenkot, who was the Israeli Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff for the last three years, told the Sunday Times in a farewell interview that Israel had been directly involved in the Syrian conflict on the side of the Syrian rebels, something that Tel Aviv has been reluctant to acknowledge before.

The general, who is retiring from military service, said that Israel supplied rebels at the border with light weapons for the purposes of “self-defense.”

While the direct links between Syrian rebels and Israeli commanders have been officially revealed for the first time, rumors of close military ties between the armed militants and the Israeli government have been circulating for years.

Foreign Policy magazine reported in September that Israel supplied weapons and gave money to at least 12 rebel groups holed up in southern Syria. The arrangement reportedly included Israeli officials also giving $75-per-person monthly allowances to rebel fighters, in addition to the funds their leaders received to procure weapons on the black market.

In return, rebels were expected to deter Hezbollah and Iran proxies from the Israeli-occupied part of the Golan Heights.

The scheme was reportedly in effect throughout Operation Good Neighbor, which officially kicked off in June 2016 and was wrapped up only last November. Within this undertaking, Israel was openly assisting the rebels but claimed that assistance was strictly humanitarian. Israel treated wounded Syrian rebels and their families in its hospitals, provided some 1,524 tons of food, 250 tons of clothes, 947,520 liters of fuel, as well as a huge amount of medical supplies.

However, until recently Israel kept vigorously denying any involvement beyond that. The Jerusalem Post’s report in September on the IDF confirming that it had provided light weapons to Syrian rebels was promptly pulled from its website. The newspaper told RT at the time that it was forced to remove the article by the army’s censor, apparently, “for security reasons.”

In November, Maj. Gen. Gershon Hacohen, a former senior commander with the IDF, revealed that former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon had personally met with a group of Syrian rebels, without specifying the time period. Ya’alon was Israel’s chief of defense from 2013 to May 2016.

The Israeli military seems to have finally begun to reveal the scope of its involvement in the Syrian conflict, previously shrouded in secrecy. In an interview with the New York Times, Eisenkot acknowledged that Israel has been waging a large-scale bombing campaign aimed at degrading Iran’s military influence in the region. In 2018 alone, the IDF dropped 2,000 bombs on alleged Iran-linked targets in Syria. Sorties into the neighboring country’s territory became“near-daily events” after PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s government greenlighted the expansion of the operation in January 2017, according to the retiring general.

Campaign to revoke Jewish National Fund charitable status important

Source

By Yves Engler · January 11, 2019

Last week the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), under pressure from Palestine solidarity activists, began an audit of the Jewish National Fund.

The audit is significant. Beyond weakening the oldest Israel-focused charity in the country, it will put other Israeli charities in Canada on notice and reflects the growth of Palestine solidarity activism.

Fulfilling the time-consuming audit will be a bureaucratic headache for a group that has eleven offices across Canada and has raised $100 million over the past five years. Already, the credibility of the second most powerful Israel-oriented charity in Canada has taken a hit with the CBC exposé headlined “Canadian charity  used donations to fund projects linked to Israeli military” and related  stories. If the CRA revokes the JNF’s charitable status it would be devastating for fundraising and deter politicians/celebrities from attending their events.

Similar to the JNF, other registered charities support the Israeli military in direct contravention of CRA rules. Additionally, some of these organizations — like the JNF — fund projects supporting West Bank settlements, which Global Affairs Canada considers in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

At a broader level, critical attention on the JNF could lead to questioning of why Canadian taxpayers subsidize hundreds of millions of dollars in donations to a wealthy country. Despite a GDP per capita greater than Spain or Italy (and equal to Japan), hundreds of registered Canadian charities deliver hundreds of millions of dollars a year to Israel. How many Canadian charities funnel money to Spain or Japan?

If the CRA revoked JNF’s charitable status it would boost Stop the JNF campaigns elsewhere. In England they convinced former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron to withdraw as patron of the JNF (Theresa May seems to have also stayed away), and 68 members of parliament endorsed a bill to revoke the organization’s charitable status because “the JNF’s constitution is explicitly discriminatory by stating that land and property will never be rented, leased or sold to non-Jews.”

The CRA audit of a charity that’s found favour with numerous Canadian prime ministers is long in the making and reflects the growth of Palestinian solidarity consciousness. Born in a West Bank village demolished to make way for the JNF’s Canada Park, Ismail Zayid has been complaining to the CRA about its charitable status for 40 years. Lebanese Canadian Ron Saba “has been indefatigable over the years in writing to various Canadian government departments and officials, corporations, and media to rescind tax exemption status and endorsement of” what he calls the “racist JNF tax fraud”. During the Liberal party convention in 2006 Saba was widely smeared for drawing attention to leadership candidate Bob Rae’s ties to the JNF. Saba has put in multiple Access to Information requests regarding the JNF, demonstrating government spying of its critics and long-standing knowledge of the organization’s dubious practices. Under the headline “Event you may want to monitor,” Foreign Affairs spokesperson Caitlin Workman sent the CRA a communication about a 2011 Independent Jewish Voices event in Ottawa stating: “author of the Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy, Yves Engler, will give a talk on Canada and the Jewish National Fund.”

Former Independent Jewish Voices coordinator Tyler Levitan was smeared for working diligently on the issue. In addition to important organizing, he discovered that the Ottawa Citizen sponsored JNF galas they covered and, suggesting a formal financial relationship, ran an ad for the JNF’s 2013 Ottawa Gala the day after the event.

At the Green Party convention in 2016 Corey Levine pushed a resolution to revoke the JNF’s charitable status because it practices “institutional  discrimination against non-Jewish citizens of Israel.” The effort brought the issue into the mainstream though she, IJV and the entire Green  Party were smeared  as “hard core  Jew haters” for even considering the resolution.

Fifteen months ago IJV and four individuals filed a detailed complaint to the CRA and Minister of National Revenue over the JNF. For a number of years IJV has run a “Stop the JNF” campaign and for more than a decade activists across the country have picketed local JNF fundraising galas. These efforts have benefited from many in Palestine/Israel, notably the work of Uri Davies and Adalah.

As I have written before, the campaign to revoke the JNF’s charitable status is important beyond winning the specific demand. It draws attention to the racism intrinsic to Zionism and highlights Canada’s contribution to Palestinian dispossession.

The CRA is undoubtedly facing significant behind-the-scenes pressure to let the JNF off with little more than a slap on the wrists. So, it’s important that people send their MP  the CBC exposé and add their name to Independent Jewish Voices’ campaign  to revoke the Jewish National Fund’s charitable status.

israel (apartheid state) Seeks $250 Billion Compensation Related to Stealing Historic Palestine

Source

By Stephen Lendman,

The Jewish state gives chutzpah new meaning. It seeks $250 billion from seven Arab states and Iran in connection to its theft of historic Palestine – one of history’s great crimes.

It took 78% in 1948, the Palestinian Nakba, the remainder in June 1967, including the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem, the UN-declared international city, illegally occupied by Israel, illegally declared its exclusive capital.

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, set the tone during the Nakba for what followed, saying “(e)very attack has to end with occupation, destruction and expulsion” – forcefully eliminating resistance, assuring Israeli control over historic Palestine.

According to Israeli Hadashot TV news, Israel demands Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Syria Tunisia and Yemen correct what it calls a “historic injustice” – a colossal perversion of truth.

It’s reinventing history, blaming countries it attacked and other regional ones for its illegal 1948 and 1967 land grabs – demanding they compensate Jews for the loss of property, assets and other possessions they left behind in Arab countries because of war the Jewish state waged against neighboring ones.

What Ilan Pappe described as “the ethnic cleaning of Palestine in 1948,” Edward Said called its “holocaust,” saying:

“Every human calamity is different, but there is value in seeing analogies and perhaps hidden similarities.” He called Nazi extermination “the lowest point of (Jewish) collective existence.”

Occupied Palestinians “are as powerless as Jews were” under Hitler, devastated by “power used for evil purposes” subjugating them, denying their fundamental rights – compensation due to THEM from the Jewish state, NOT the other way around, NOT from countries harmed by Israeli high crimes, ongoing endlessly with full support and encouragement from the US and West.

Israel’s claim for $250 billion in compensation from other countries would be laughable if the high crimes leading to its creation and throughout its existence weren’t so serious – as pure evil as what Nazis did to Jews.

The Nakba was one of history’s great crimes, state terror on a massive scale against an entire population.

Israel’s 1948 war without mercy depopulated Palestinian cities, towns and villages, massacring innocent victims, raping their women, committing other atrocities – notably burning, bulldozing, blowing up, or stealing homes, property and other possessions, dispossessing around 800,000 Palestinians, preventing them from returning home.

Israel’s 1967 six-day war was planned “16 years in advance,” according to IDF general Mordechai Hod, saying “(w)e lived with the plan. We slept on the plan. We ate the plan. Constantly we perfected it.”

It was all about stealing the remaining 22% of historic Palestine not taken in 1948, including East Jerusalem.

It had nothing to do with self-defense to avoid annihilation, the falsified claim at the time – later debunked by PM Menachem Begin and IDF generals, admitting Israel faced no threats from Arab states.

General Haim Barlev later said

“(w)e were not threatened with genocide on the eve of the six-day war, and we had never thought of such a possibility.”

The world community did nothing to intervene against Israeli aggression, nor at any time throughout the Jewish state’s existence.

Militarism, institutionalized racism, and apartheid rule define the state of Israel, its young (male and female) children indoctrinated to be warriors.

Militarized education begins in kindergarten, at home, and in all other aspects of society – the line between military and civil society blurred.

Children are taught to believe Palestinians must be subjugated, violence against them is OK, along with destroying their property and killing them – notions ingrained in developing minds before they’re able to understand how they’re manipulated.

They’re taught to believe Arabs are inferior and Palestinians are enemies, military service essential, wars and other forms of violence natural, peace unattainable.

The history of the Jewish state isn’t pretty. Over half a century of illegal occupation continues. Israel aims to steal all valued parts of Judea and Samaria.

Its plan calls for confining Palestinians in isolated cantons on worthless scrubland, militarized rule controlling virtually all aspects of their lives, endless war against them continuing without declaring it.

The world community remains dismissive about what’s been going on for decades. The lives, rights and welfare of millions of Palestinians don’t matter.

Israeli law demands any no-peace/peace deal with Palestinians must compensate the Jewish exodus from Arab countries as explained above.

Palestinians are the aggrieved, not Jews. They warrant major compensation for Israel’s theft of their homeland, private property, and other possessions – along with damages for loss of their fundamental rights, illegal occupation, and brutalized treatment.

For over half a century, Palestinians have endured institutionalized Israeli persecution with no power over their daily lives, along with virtually every imaginable form of indignity.

Living under brutalizing occupation, they face daily state terror, economic strangulation, collective punishment, denial of their fundamental rights affirmed under international law, arrest and imprisonment without just cause, torture, assassinations, bulldozing of their home, crops and orchards, along with daily assaults on their dignity for being Arabs in a Jewish state.

With no power to resist, they’re denied redress in international tribunals dismissive of their rights. Endless misery defines their daily lives.

THEY deserve compensation for over half a century of conflict, illegal occupation, dispossession, and forever immiseration, no end of it in sight – no justice unless and until their suffering ends, their fundamental rights restored.

The history of Occupied Palestine is the triumph of wrong over right, a festering injustice, an entire people harmed, no end to their suffering in sight, no interest in their rights and welfare by the world community.

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.

Featured image: Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops during a protest to show solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, Nabi Saleh, West Bank, April 21, 2017. (Flash90)

israeli (apartheid state) Forces Open Fire at School Students in Nablus

Israeli Forces Open Fire at School Students in Nablus

Jewish settlers routinely open fire near schools in the West Bank. (Photo: File)

Israeli soldiers opened live fire and tear-gas bombs targeting Palestinian students who were leaving their school in the northern occupied West Bank village of Tell in Nablus, on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Palestinian security sources said Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian vehicles passing by the main Nablus-Qalqilya road near the illegal Jewish settlement of Yitzhar.

Israeli forces reportedly opened live fire at students of the Tell High School, showering them with tear-gas bombs as they left their school.

No injuries were reported.

Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, said that Jewish settlers threw rocks at Palestinian vehicles near the Yitzhar settlement, causing damages, and blocked the road near Yitzhar.

 

Palestinian towns and villages in the Nablus area are surrounded by Jewish settlements and outposts, many of which are protected by the Israeli military and have gained notoriety for being comprised of the most extremist settlers.

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.

Fired School Employee Sues Over israel (apartheid state) Loyalty Oath

Fired School Employee Sues Over Israel Loyalty Oath

A Texas school employee has sued her school district because it fired her after she refused to sign a loyalty oath to Israel, as Marjorie Cohn reports.

By Marjorie Cohn
Truthout

In a return to the bad old days of McCarthyism, Bahia Amawi, a U.S. citizen of Palestinian descent, lost her Texas elementary school job after refusing to pledge in writing that she would not participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Earlier this month, Amawi sued the school district that fired her.

The BDS movement against Israel has become a hot button issue in the closing month of 2018. A bipartisan group of senators tried to attach the Israel Anti-Boycott Act to the unanimous spending bill that Trump almost signed to avoid the current government shutdown. Meanwhile, Donorbox, a US software company, blocked the BDS fundraising account at the behest of a pro-Israel group.

“The language of the affirmation Amawi was told she must sign reads like Orwellian – or McCarthyite – self-parody, the classic political loyalty oath that every American should instinctively shudder upon reading,” Glenn Greenwald wrote at The Intercept.

Amwai: Knows firsthand oppression. (DemocracyNow/YouTube)

On Dec. 12, the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a lawsuit on Amawi’s behalf in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas against Pflugerville Independent School District, alleging that Texas’ law requiring the oath violates the First Amendment. Amawi’s complaint says the law constitutes an impermissible attempt “to impose an ideological litmus test or compel speech related to government contractors’ political beliefs, associations, and expressions.”

Amawi had contracted with the school district for nine years to work with students with autism and developmental disabilities in Austin. This fall, for the first time, Amawi was required to sign an oath that she would not boycott Israel. When she refused to sign it, she was fired.

“The point of boycotting any product that supports Israel is to put pressure on the Israeli government to change its treatment, the inhumane treatment, of the Palestinian people,” Amawi explained. “Having grown up as a Palestinian, I know firsthand the oppression and the struggle that Palestinians face on a daily basis.”

BDS

The BDS movement was launched by representatives of Palestinian civil society in 2005, calling upon “international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era … [including] embargoes and sanctions against Israel.”

This call specified that “these non-violent punitive measures” should last until Israel fully complies with international law by (1) ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the barrier wall; (2) recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and (3) respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their land as stipulated in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194.

Even though it is a nonviolent movement, Israel sees BDS as a threat to its hegemony over the Palestinians. Israel illegally occupies Palestinian territories, maintaining effective control over Gaza’s land, airspace, seaport, electricity, water, telecommunications and population registry. Israel deprives Gazans of food, medicine, fuel and basic services, and continues to build illegal Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Vikomerson: No progress without pressure on Israel. (Twitter)

“There will not be progress toward a just peace without pressure on Israel to respect Palestinian rights,” said Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace. “Bringing about that pressure, through a global grassroots mobilization, is exactly what BDS is about.”

After Amawi’s firing, The New York Times editorial board wrote,

“It’s not just Israel’s adversaries who find the [BDS] movement appealing. Many devoted supporters of Israel, including many American Jews, oppose the occupation of the West Bank and refuse to buy products of the settlements in occupied territories. Their right to protest in this way must be vigorously defended.”

Omar Barghouti, co-founder of BDS, said in an email to The New York Times, “Having lost many battles for hearts and minds at the grass-roots level, Israel has adopted since 2014 a new strategy to criminalize support for BDS from the top” in order to “shield Israel from accountability.”

Barghouti called Shurat HaDin, the group behind the Donorbox action blocking the BDS account, a “repressive organization with clear connections to the far-right Israeli government” that is “engaging in McCarthyite … tactics … in a desperate attempt to undermine our ability to challenge Israel’s regime of apartheid and oppression.”

Twenty-six U.S. states have anti-BDS laws and 13 others are pending. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which would have to be reintroduced when the new Congress convenes in January, was supported by Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California) opposed the bill.

Boycotts’ 1st Amendment Protection

The law that triggered Amawi’s firing prohibits the State of Texas from entering into government contracts with companies, including sole proprietorships, that boycott Israel. It defines “boycott Israel” to include “refusing to deal with, terminating business activities with, or otherwise taking any action that is intended to penalize, inflict harm on, or limit commercial relations specifically with Israel, or with a person or entity doing business in Israel or in an Israeli-controlled territory.”

Boycotts are a constitutionally protected form of speech, assembly and association. They have long been used to oppose injustice and urge political change. The Supreme Court has held that “speech on public issues occupies the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values, and is entitled to special protection.” The high court ruled that advocating and supporting boycotts “to bring about political, social, and economic change” – like boycotts of Israel – are indisputably protected by the First Amendment.

The National Lawyers Guild, Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights wrote in a legal memorandum challenging anti-BDS legislation in New York that such laws “harken back to the McCarthy era when the state sought to deny the right to earn a livelihood to those who express controversial political views.” The memo says, “The courts long ago found such McCarthy-era legislation to be at war with the First Amendment,” as they “unconstitutionally target core political speech activities and infringe on the freedom to express political beliefs.”

Barghouti: McCarthyite tactics.  (YouTube/BBC)

Even staff members at the right-wing Anti-Defamation League (ADL) opposed anti-BDS laws and admitted they are unconstitutional. Although the leadership officially favors outlawing BDS, ADL staff wrote in an internal 2016 memo that anti-BDS laws divert “community resources to an ineffective, unworkable, and unconstitutional endeavor.”

Greenwald cited the grave danger anti-BDS laws pose to freedom of speech, tweeting, “The proliferation of these laws – where US citizens are barred from work or contracts unless they vow not to boycott Israel – is the single greatest free speech threat in the US.”

Demonstrating the incongruity of allowing Amawi to boycott any entity but Israel, Greenwald noted, “In order to continue to work, Amawi would be perfectly free to engage in any political activism against her own country, participate in an economic boycott of any state or city within the US, or work against the policies of any other government in the world — except Israel.”

The US government remains Israel’s lap dog on the world stage. On December 5 the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. The United States opposed the resolution.

Meanwhile, the BDS movement continues to achieve victories. After more than 24,000 people complained to HSBC, the banking giant pulled out its investments in Israeli arms company Elbit Systems. Elbit sells military equipment, including drones, aircraft, artillery and weapon control systems to the Israeli army, US Air Force and British Royal Air Force. It also provides surveillance equipment to the US Customs and Border Protection agency.

On the legal front, the ACLU has mounted successful court challenges to anti-BDS laws in Kansas and Arizona and has filed litigation in Arkansas and Texas.

Copyright Truthout. Reprinted with permission.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and an advisory board member of Veterans for Peace. Her latest book, Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues, was recently published in an updated second edition.

Report: israel (apartheid state) Tried to Trick Syria Into Shooting Down Civilian Airliners In Christmas Day Attack

Report: Israel Tried to Trick Syria Into Shooting Down Civilian Airliners In Christmas Day Attack
Chris Menahan
Information Liberation

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Israel may have tried to trick Syria into shooting down two civilian airplanes with their latest airstrike carried out on Christmas Day, according to report released Wednesday.

From South Front:

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) carried out its recent airstrikes in Syria when two civilians planes were landing in Beirut and Damascus, putting passengers at risk, Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense (MoD) of Russia told reporters on December 26.

“Provocative acts by the Israeli Air Force endangered two passenger jets when six of their F-16s carried out airstrikes on Syria from Lebanese airspace,” RT quoted the spokesman as saying.

According to Konashenkov, the Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces (SyAADF) delayed the deployment of surface-to-air missiles and electronic jamming “to prevent a tragedy.” Meanwhile, the Damascus air traffic control diverted one of the passenger jets to a reserve airport in Khmeimim in southern Lattakia.

Konashenkov said that 6 Israeli F-16 warplanes used 16 US-made GPS-guided GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs) in the attack, which occurred at the late hours of December 25. Only 2 SDBs managed to hit their targets, while the rest were intercepted by the SyAADF.

Israeli media claimed that Israeli warplanes struck a shipment of Iranian-made Fajir-5 rockets, which was on its way to Hezbollah. However, the Ministry of Defense of Syria said that the “aggression” targeted an ammo depot of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) injuring three service members.

Last September, a Russian Il-20 plane was downed by Syrian air defense firewhen Israeli warplanes used it as a cover to strike targets on the Syrian coast. The recent airstrikes show that Israel is now using the same tactic with civilian planes, which endangers the flights not only over Syria, but also over Lebanon and Jordan.

If Syria had shot down two civilian planes on Christmas Day right after Trump announced he was pulling out of the country, the pressure to reverse his decision would have been tremendous.

I own my Words!

To sign a petition in support of Gilad click here

Lodge a formal complaint with Islington Council: https://www.islington.gov.uk/contact-us/comments-and-complaints?status=inprogress

Email: assemblyhall@islington.gov.uk

Contact the Council: +4420 7527 2000

To support Gilad’s legal battles:  https://donorbox.org/gilad-needs-additional-support

Transcription:

Hello Everybody,

The smear campaign against me didn’t stop for Christmas.  However, it is becoming clear that thousands of people are behind me. So far almost 5000 people have signed a petition expressing their disgust with the Islington council’s decision against me. We are winning this essential battle for freedom.

Despite the orchestrated slander campaign against me, no one has produced a single racist or hateful quote by me. I have challenged those who called me a racist and a holocaust denier to find a single writing or speech by me in which I criticise Jews as a people, an ethnicity,, a  race or for biology.  I have also asked them to show me where I have denied the holocaust? Guess what: No ones found such a reference.

What this means is that in Britain in 2018, you can be accused of a hate crime (even by the mainstream press) without having committed or been charged with a single crime, let alone a hate crime.

The Guardian made an attempt to produce the ‘evidence’ of my most controversial quotes. They quoted my thoughts fairly accurately. This is fine, I actually own each of these quotes with pride. They are my opinions and I substantiate them in my writing.

The Guardian writes, “Atzmon has previously accused Jews of exploiting the Holocaust and distanced himself from his Jewish heritage.”  This is not a quote but it is true. But I am hardly alone. Norman Finkelstein makes a similar point in  ‘The Holocaust Industry’ and in the 1950s, Abba Eban, the legendary Israeli diplomat, coined the famous phrase ‘there is no business like Shoah Business.’ I guess this means that neither Abba Eban nor Norman Finkelstein are allowed to play saxophone in Islington.

In a 2003 essay, Atzmon (me) wrote: “We must begin to take the accusation that Zionists are trying to control the world very seriously.” Surely I should receive an award for saying that three years before Mearsheimer and Walt published their bestseller ‘The Israeli Lobby’ and many years before Bibi Netanyahu disrespected the Obama Administration by giving a sermon to the Joint Houses of Congress in America. I suggest that  Brits here check out how many of your MPs are members of Israel’s friends’ clubs.

The Guardian continues, in another article, he [Atzmon] denounced “the Holocaust religion” and said “Holocaust denial laws should be reconsidered.” Yes, I do believe that history should be subject to open discussion. And, guess what, I am not alone. Deborah Lipstadt, the legendary Jewish historian and probably the strongest opponent  of holocaust denial (as she calls it) also opposes holocaust denial laws. I am against all history laws. I believe that slavery, the Irish Famine, the Holodomor, the Nakba and the Holocaust; everything that happened in the past should be discussed freely.

“Atzmon” the Guardian reports,  “has suggested attacks on synagogues should be considered political acts rather than hate crimes.” “I am here to announce as loudly as I can: there is no antisemitism any more,” he wrote.  “In the devastating reality created by the Jewish state, antisemitism has been replaced by political reaction.” I  accept that some may not like what I’m saying, but this is what I believe. I don’t believe that the present situation is like  the 30s, when people hate Jews because of their genes. This may happen in some corners of society but a lot of the opposition we see to Jewish politics, institutions, political bodies, Israeli lobbying and so on are political reactions.

“I am not saying that synagogues haven’t been attacked, or that Jewish graves have not been brutally smashed up. I am saying that these acts, that are in no way legitimate, should be seen as political responses rather than racially motivated acts or ‘irrational’ hate crimes.”

Now, is this a hateful statement?  Not at all. Is this a call for violence or an incitement to violence? It’s actually the opposite. Why are some people so upset by my statement? Is it because it searches for rationality, reason, cause and effect where others insist upon imposing their view that hatred is always irrational? This is something that we see a lot in the left discourse in the western world. We use the word ‘phobia’ – Islamophobia, Judeophobia, transphobia, gayphobia to label hatred of a group. Once we label a ‘phobia,’ we somehow don’t examine it, we declare it irrational. I suggest that we do the opposite. We can try to understand where hatred is coming from. We are not justifying hatred, instead we try to understand its rationale in order to best tackle it. I insist that ‘rationality,’ the search for reason, is what we have lost in our public debate.

Instead of trying to understand, we are forced to navigate through minefields in which we must not speak without violating the  tyranny of correctness imposed on us by authoritarian forces.

To me, this war  is the most important war we must fight. We must reinstate our elementary freedoms to say what we think, to say what we believe to be true; to exercise our right to make mistakes, and to be corrected through open debate. Silencing and witch-hunts are not the answer. It’s the path towards darkness.

That’s all for today. I’ll meet you again in a few days, with more details on this battle, Thank you so much for

How many more ways can israel (apartheid state) sentence Palestinians to death?

How many more ways can Israel sentence Palestinians to death?

Israel is now considering to bring back capital punishment to crush those resisting its illegal occupation.

A Palestinian protester seen during a protest calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails near at Ofer Prison, Ramallah, West Bank August 31,2009 [File:Fadi Arouri/Reuters]

A Palestinian protester seen during a protest calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails near at Ofer Prison, Ramallah, West Bank August 31,2009 [File:Fadi Arouri/Reuters]

Fifty-seven years ago, Adolf Eichmann, the infamous Nazi SS leader and the “architect” of the Holocaust was sentenced to death by the Jerusalem District Court. He was convicted on 15 counts of crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes against the Jewish people. Some six months later, on June 1, 1962, he was hanged after exhausting all avenues for appeal.

Although the Israeli state inherited the British Mandate penal code, which included the death penalty for several offences; in 1954, the Knesset voted to abolish it in all cases except for war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against the Jewish people. As result of this decision, to this day, Israel’s civilian courts reserve the use of the death penalty for Nazis and Nazi collaborators convicted of committing murder during the Holocaust, while military courts hand out the sentence only if a panel of three judges unanimously agrees to issue the punishment. Eichmann has thus been the only person to have been sentenced to death in Israel – a punishment that was widely supported because of the SS leader’s heinous role in the Holocaust. Indeed, writer and philosopher Hannah Arendt, who attended the trial, described Eichmann as the embodiment of the “banality of evil“.

For a long time in Israel, the current arrangement, which allowed the death penalty to be invoked only in extreme circumstances and with the unanimous approval of a three-judge panel, was accepted by most. Yet more recently, a pro-capital punishment camp has emerged, calling for its use against Palestinian prisoners.

The political might behind this pro-death penalty movement is former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman‘s Yisrael Beitenu, a small but influential right-wing outfit which brought Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s fragile coalition government to the brink of collapse after pulling its support over the recent Gaza ceasefire. They have put forward a bill that would make the death penalty a common punishment for what they call “Palestinian terrorists”. Earlier this year, Netanyahu stated that he would be supporting the bill, saying that “there are extreme cases of people who carry out horrifying crimes, who do not deserve to live. They should feel the full brunt of the law.”

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Israel’s new death penalty bill ‘targets Palestinians’

The bill, an amendment to the existing legislation, passed its first hearing earlier this year in January. It is currently under judicial review in the Knesset, and will then have to go through a second and third hearing before it will be passed into law. While Yisrael Beitenu’s decision to leave the ruling coalition in November appears to have slowed down the bill’s progression, with support from Prime Minister Netanyahu himself, the bill still has a good chance of passing.

If the bill becomes law, it would allow the Israeli military court in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem) to sentence those convicted of terrorism charges to death, only with the approval of a simple majority from the panel of judges. In other words, this amendment will not only give a green light to the military prosecution to demand the use of the death penalty, it will also normalise its use outside of exceptional circumstances.

Liberman and other proponents of the bill describe it as a deterrent against those wanting to commit “terrorist” attacks. Yet in reality, this bill is an attack on Palestinian political prisoners and an attempt to crush those resisting occupation.

What is particularly disturbing is that it is essentially comparing the crimes of the Nazi with Palestinians who have been arrested and accused of terrorism in the illegal Israeli military court system. This is an illegal court system which should not be operating in West Bank at all according to international law. Director of the Palestinian Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer) Sahar Francis explains, the occupying power is not supposed to interfere in legal issues within occupied territory and the Knesset is certainly not allowed to issue new laws in occupied territory. In addition to being illegal, the military court system is often cited as a kangaroo court that does not allow for due legal process with a 99.9 percent conviction rate. It also frequently tries and sentences children – at least 8000 since the year 2000.

In this context, it is alarming that Israel is now discussing to give its military courts the power to sentence Palestinian prisoners to death, but it is not surprising. The Israeli colonial regime is making use of the global rise of right-wing politics and fascism, where such draconian policies are justified and encouraged.

Indeed, Israel has sentenced Palestinians to death in multiple ways prior to this, from extrajudicial executions, siege, starvation and bombing campaigns. This is simply one more effort, an effort which should be rejected by all who adhere to basic principles of human rights.

London’s Islington Council bans pro-Palestinian musician, Gilad Atzman, from performing in response to one israel (apartheid state) flag waver

London’s Islington Council bans pro-Palestinian musician from performing in response to one Israel flag waver

Gilad Atzmon on saxophone

By Gilad Atzmon

Britain’s Islington Council has decided to prevent me from performing with the Blockheads at our annual London Christmas concert on 21 December. This ludicrous decision by the council was in response to pressure from a single pro-Israel campaigner who said he would not attend the concert if I were to go on stage.

Please sign a petition in support of Gilad – click here

The Blockheads have twice written to the council demanding that it reverse its decision. I have played with the Blockheads for 25 years, we’ve performed more than a thousand concerts, including at least two in Islington, without incident. I appealed to the council to reconsider, submitting two detailed letters that countered each claim made against me. In return the council shifted its claimed rationale for banning me and answered my appeals with a blitz of misquotes from my work and claims about me that were at best insulting and at worst slanderous, all of which were suspiciously similar to allegations made by Zionists.

As Jeremy Corbyn and his many supporters discovered, unless you adhere to certain pro-Israel politics, your right to speak your mind or even to make a living is endangered.

Of course, I have never uttered nor been charged with hate speech. Despite my spotless record, Islington Council decided to ban me, in violation of my rights to free speech and to earn a living. Bearing in mind the bizarre reasoning the council used to ban me from playing the saxophone, I am left wondering if I may even use a public toilet in Islington Council-controlled territory or just drive through the borough on my way to a concert at the Vortex Jazz Club on the other side of town.

The war against me has clearly been stepped up: pro-Israel pressure groups have been hard at work trying to bankrupt me by preventing me from pursuing my music and literary careers. I guess that this means I must be doing something right!

However, this isn’t all bad news. In the course of this battle, the council managed to provide me with some precious materials. In the coming days we will examine them closely and see what they reveal about the level of Zionist occupation within British local authorities, in particular Islington Council.

When I landed in Britain in 1994, Britain was a wonderful, free and tolerant space. Sadly, Britain has gradually been reduced to an authoritarian society. As Jeremy Corbyn and his many supporters discovered, unless you adhere to certain pro-Israel politics, your right to speak your mind or even to make a living is endangered. I guess that Orwell’s 1984 was not just a work of fiction but a prophetic text and a prescient description of present-day England.

To support Gilad’s legal battle, click here

To express your disgust with Islington Council’s decision, send an email to: assemblyhall@islington.gov.uk
To lodge a complaint with Islington Council, click here
To call Islington Council, telephone +4420 7527 2000

AIPAC takes newly elected Congress members, CNN’s Setmayer on propaganda trips to israel (apartheid state)

AIPAC takes newly elected Congress members, CNN’s Setmayer on propaganda trips to Israel

AIPAC takes newly elected Congress members, CNN’s Setmayer on propaganda trips to Israel

Newly elected Congressional Reps David Trone, Dan Crenshaw, Elaine Goodman Luria, Tim Burchett, Denver Riggleman, and Susie Lee on a December 2018 AIPAC trip to Israel. AIPAC’s educational arm spends about $10,000 a piece on these trips. By using a nonprofit entity, the Israel lobby gets around a U.S. law intended to prohibit Congressional junkets funded by lobbying groups.

AIPAC’S nonprofit arm is taking a bipartisan group of newly elected Congressional representatives, CNN / ABC commentator Tara Setmayer, & California “progressive leaders” on propaganda trips to Israel

By Alison Weir

The Israel lobby has been busy taking a wide variety of government officials and opinion makers on fully expense paid trips to Israel this month. The trips cost in the range of $10,000 per person.

Six newly elected House members are on a 5-day visit to Israel, a delegation of northern California “progressive leaders” are on a week-long trip, media commentator Tara Setmayer has just returned from such a trip, and a delegation of southern California progressive leaders returned from their trip earlier this month.

The House participants include liberals and conservatives, Jewish representatives and Christian fundamentalists, Trump supporters and Trump opponents: Tim Burchett (R-TN), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Susie Lee (D-NV), Elaine Goodman Luria (D-VA), Denver Riggleman (R-VA) and David Trone (D-MD).

The California participants are County Supervisors John Gioia and Joe Simian, California Democratic Party Executive Committee Member Andrea Beth Damsky, and unknown others. The delegations are named “Northern Pacific Progressive Leaders” and “Southern Pacific Progressive Leaders,” but no one will divulge the rosters.

The AIPAC loophole

The trips are organized and funded by the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), the nonprofit arm of the powerful Israel lobbying group AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee). AIEF was founded in 1989 “to advance the purposes of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.”

AIPAC is widely believed to be the most powerful organization in the US lobbying Congress on behalf of a foreign country. An outgrowth of the 1939 organization “American Zionist Emergency Council,” AIPAC’s annual convention is attended by ambitious politicians from across the political spectrum (see this example; for more on AZEC, read my book on the history of the Israel lobby).

The goal of AIPAC – and of its trips – is to promote American support for Israel despite Israel’s violations of human rights, international law, U.S. law, and discrimination against Christians and others.

In particular, AIPAC is working to keep the over $10 million per day of American tax money going to Israel. While most Americans feel Israel already gets too much money, Congress is about to pass legislation that will increase the gift even further. This will be the largest military aid package in US history; it works out to about $23,000 for each Jewish Israeli family of four, or $7,230 per minute.

While an individual has recently been charged with acting as a foreign agent over her activities with Russia and the NRA, the Israel lobby has worked to influence U.S. policies on behalf of a foreign country for many years, with very few legal consequences. Even when top AIPAC officials were found to have handed over classified documents, the case was dropped (a Pentagon analyst was jailed for 12 years).

The trips to Israel used to be organized by AIPAC itself until Congress enacted legislation in 2007 intended to stop lobbying organizations from taking government officials on fully paid tours. However, the legislation contains a loophole (some call it the “AIPAC loophole“) that allows nonprofit groups to organize such trips, and AIEF officially took over the tours.

An $85 million operation, AIEF takes a wide array of American officials and opinion makers on the all the expense paid trips. It pays for their international flights, hotel accommodations, tourist excursions, meals, drinks, etc. In the past decade it has reportedly spent $12.9 million on bipartisan Congressional trips to Israel.

While some of the more savvy participants may be skeptical of an advocacy organization claiming to give them an unbiased, “educational” look at the region, they seem willing to go along. The Israel lobby is widely known to make or break careers.

Carefully Tailored Trips

The trips by AIEF and similar organizations are carefully tailored for each group. There are trips for military veterans, business leaders of all races and ethnicities, educators, athletes, students, individuals of every sexual and religious persuasion, and politicians at every level of office, from local to national.

The pro-Israel groups treat participants to a lavish tour replete with visits to historic sites, exciting night life, beaches, religious sites, official offices, border areas; whatever will appeal to the group members. LGBTQ advocates meet with gays, fundamentalist Christians are taken on carefully guided trips to Christian sites, military veterans meet with Israeli soldiers.

The meetings even include a few hand-picked “Palestinian representatives” and Druze Israelis, allowing the tours to be pitched as “educational” trips where participants allegedly see “all sides.” They are given inaccurate histories of the region and filtered information about the current situation. Not surprisingly, participants come back spouting the Israeli talking points they’ve been fed. (See some schedules and itineraries here.)

Whether or not they are taken in by the tour, it is likely that politicians understand the political calculus of allying with one of the most powerful lobbies in the U.S.

Most politicians and many others are acutely aware that this is a group that has the money and power to further their careers – or to impede them. As these extravagant trips exemplify, AIPAC and related groups possess hundreds of millions of dollars to devote to cultivating Congressional representatives and others.

Pro-Israel billionaires like Sheldon Adelson, Haim Saban, and Paul Singer donate massive quantities of money to promote Israel in the US. They and others fund numerous projects to inculcate pro-Israel beliefs in Americans. These trips are one of the ways they do it.

israel’s (apartheid state) alleged impersonation of Gaza aid workers raises concern

 

Israel’s alleged impersonation of Gaza aid workers raises concern

Ben White – Al Jazeera Dec 11, 2018

Israeli commandos operated undercover in Gaza disguised as aid workers. Click to enlarge

Israeli commandos operated undercover in Gaza disguised as aid workers. Click to enlarge

Since the exposure of Israeli undercover forces by Hamas fighters in the occupied Gaza Strip on November 11, an incident that triggered the most intense round of escalation since 2014, a number of reports have emerged about the circumstances surrounding Israel’s thwarted raid.

On November 22, Hamas published photos of individuals it said were involved, images that Israel’s military censor immediately subjected to a publication ban.

Since then, a number of articles in Israeli and international media have claimed the Israeli forces impersonated humanitarian workers, used fake ID cards of real Palestinian residents, and operated inside Gaza for weeks with a cover story of distributing medical equipment and wheelchairs.

Such reports have caused consternation; as one Israeli human rights campaigner and journalist put it: “If true, the operation could put bona fide humanitarian operations and employees at risk in the coastal strip, where two-thirds of the population is reliant on humanitarian aid”.

Israel’s actions may also have constituted a violation of international humanitarian law.

“Soldiers who disguise themselves as civilians endanger civilians and thus frustrate the objective of the principle of distinction”, Yael Stein, head of research at Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem, said.

“One danger that the prohibition seeks to prevent is that civilians would be marked for attack because of the suspicion they are combatants in disguise,” she said.

“In this last case, there’s also the danger to the status of international aid workers – that the local population might suspect in the future, putting their lives in danger and their much-needed work in question.”

Stein further noted that while undercover operations can be lawful in the context of law enforcement operations, “since Israel claims there’s a situation of war in Gaza, it cannot claim that these operations are legal”.

Israeli authorities did not respond to several requests for comment.

Undercover forces

For human rights lawyer Eitay Mack, the operation in Gaza “shows the cynicism of the Israeli government, who for years have claimed that Palestinians are using humanitarian disguises for terrorist activity”, allegations even used “as an excuse for rejecting Palestinians seeking exit permits from the Gaza Strip for medical treatment”.

Israeli authorities do indeed frequently claim that Palestinian fighters “deliberately disguise themselves as civilians” – in May, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations told the Security Council that even Great March of Return demonstrators were “terrorists disguised as civilians”.

According to Diana Buttu, a lawyer and former adviser to Palestine Liberation Organization negotiators, “this isn’t the only thing that Israel has lied about”.

“For example, Israel has routinely used Palestinians as human shields and it has routinely covered military targets in civilian areas while wrongly alleging that Palestinians do this”, she said.

The botched mission inside Gaza threw light on the Israeli military’s broader use of undercover forces in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in the West Bank.

In October 2015, Israeli forces were captured on film infiltrating a protest, assaulting Palestinian youths and shooting a detained demonstrator in the leg. Weeks later, undercover forces – including one pretending to a pregnant woman – raided a Hebron hospital and killed an unarmed civilian.

A spokesperson for prisoners’ rights NGO, Addameer, told Al Jazeera “undercover forces are usually seen in protests, raids or arrest operations”, adding that the group sees those kinds of arrests as “more like a kidnapping operation” than an arrest.

Addameer stressed it “considers all arrests in the West Bank to be carried out illegally especially because almost none of them would have a legal arrest warrant to present during the arrest”.

While the NGO does not hold exact statistics as to how many Palestinians are arrested in this manner, it pointed to an example earlier this year of Israeli undercover forces raiding Birzeit University campus – reportedly posing as journalists – to detain the student union head.

No accountability

Such actions, however, generate little to no debate within Israel, according to Mack.

“Nobody is talking about it, what it means in terms of international law,” he said. “And in the case of Gaza, for most Israelis it’s not even that they don’t care – they simply don’t even see that there is a place called Gaza. It’s a blind spot; what happens in Gaza is left in Gaza.”

In the absence of public pressure, there is even less possibility of accountability, observers say.

“In Israel, no one pays for undertaking covert operations, killing Palestinians and placing foreign workers at harm,” Buttu said.

“Sadly, the international community has barely spoken out, preferring instead to focus on ‘ceasefires’ and condemning ‘both sides’.”

Mack similarly believes that the silence of the international community – including “humanitarian organisations” – is part of what emboldens Israel to conduct such operations.

“It’s very, very worrying, because one of the basic principles of international humanitarian law is that the fighting groups will not use humanitarian groups as symbols to shield themselves.”

“This kind of operation always has a risk,” Mack continued, “so if the Netanyahu government felt that there would be international accountability for using a humanitarian NGO as a cover, it wouldn’t do it.”

Yet not only has there been no accountability, but there are signs that the Israeli authorities’ own efforts to censor the story are being supported by Twitter, with a number of accounts ordered to delete tweets pertaining to Israeli undercover forces’ actions in Gaza.

Stein told Al Jazeera she would be surprised if anyone would be held to account for the actions in Gaza.

“According to publications in the press, this operation was approved by high-ranking officers in the army and in the political level”, she said.

“And in any case, as B’Tselem has written in the past, the so-called law enforcement system in the army hardly results in meaningful action against any of the forces involved and is more concerned with whitewashing than with justice and truth”.

Source

israeli (apartheid state) Army Denied Soldiers Threw Gas Canister Into Hebron School. Then a Video Surfaced

Source

Israeli Army Denied Soldiers Threw Gas Canister Into Hebron School. Then a Video Surfaced

A box filled with dozens of used tear gas canisters and stun grenades collected by a school in Hebron after the IDF reportedly shot them into the school over the past few months.

The Israel Defense Forces said their army doesn’t launch stun grenades or tear gas into Palestinian schools, but after a video surfaced it altered its response, blaming “the wind.”

by Yotam Berger, Ha’aretz

An Israeli soldier was filmed shooting tear gas into a Palestinian school in Hebron during school hours, despite military denials. A military source later said the soldier apparently shot in response to rocks thrown by students.

Palestinians have reported that soldiers have been shooting tear gas and stun grenades into schools, but the Israel Defense Forces has denied such incidents. Haaretz obtained a video documenting at least one such incident.

Last week, Palestinians reported to Israeli veterans’ anti-occupation group Breaking the Silence an increase in the scope of tear gas launched at Hebron schools located in an area of Hebron where many schools can be found, including primary schools.

In response to a query posed by Haaretz to the military last week, the IDF spokesperson said that the army does not launch stun grenades or tear gas into schools.

“Riots take place on a weekly basis in the vicinity of schools, where rocks are thrown at forces and civilians. As a rule, no tear gas is used against schools. However, the changes in weather must be taken into account and some of the tear gas smoke might disperse with the wind in different directions,” the spokesperson said.

However, a video taken outside the Al Khalil School for Boys in Hebron refutes the IDF spokesperson’s claim. The video, taken on November 18, shows an Israeli soldier throwing a canister into the school’s yard, followed by tear gas rising from it. Furthermore, teachers told Haaretz that soldiers throw canisters at the school on a daily basis.

The school’s superintendent keeps a box with dozens of used grenades and canisters, which he says were thrown at the school over the past couple of months. Dozens of photographs on display in the school, which teachers say have been taken since 2015, document student arrests and incidents of tear gas canisters thrown at the school.

A security source told Haaretz children throw stones from the school’s facilities and added that that Israeli army has been in touch with the school’s administration concerning this.

The IDF spokesperson altered his response following Haaretz’s query and the recent video. He confirmed the incident, but said it is unusual and will be looked into. “Whenever stone throwing poses a danger, the forces act to disperse the riot using riot control gear and according to operational needs and regulations,” the spokesperson said, adding that the incident documented in the video “will be investigated and regulations clarified.”

Ron Zaidel, director of research for Breaking the Silence, said that “while thousands of Palestinian students are suffocating from tear gas, the IDF spokesperson is trying to put up a smoke screen to hide the reality on the ground from the public. But the thousands of testimonies that we have collected over the years clearly show that violence against children is an unavoidable part of the military dictatorship ruling a civilian population. When the facts are clear and known, each and every one of us must ask ourselves a simple question: Is this reality acceptable to us, or is it not?”

The Breaking the Silence testimonial collection includes a testimony by a former Nahal soldier, a branch of service in which soldiers combine active duty with work in civilian populations in Israel. In 2013, the soldier testified that he was a witness to tear gas canisters thrown at children outside of a school. Haaretz could not reach the witness for comment.


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