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

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

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

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

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

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

–Senior Israeli officials, quoted by Israel Hayom in 2013

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

–Michael Oren, in 2013 interview with the Jerusalem Post

By Richard Edmondson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A couple of questions here are worth asking:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Zionist Desperation and the Coming Societal Pivot

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By Richard Edmondson

We are approaching a pivotal time in America. With the aging of the older generation–that is to say those who grew up prior to the age of the Internet–the percentage of the population relying mainly upon mainstream media for its news will slowly diminish. A younger generation, consisting of those accustomed to getting most of their news and information off the Internet, will gradually begin to outnumber them.

What this means in practical terms is that Israel and its supporters will find it increasingly harder to dominate mainstream political discourse.

If we take 1990 as the base year or starting point of the information age, those who today are 26 years of age or younger will have grown up in households where computers, for the most part, are/were as commonplace as were TV sets in the 1960s.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, America’s population at the time of the last census, in 2010, stood at 308,745,538. Those aged 29 or younger comprised 125,955,404, or roughly 40.8% of the population. And that was in 2010. Today the US population is estimated at some 323,000,000–meaning those in the post-1990 age group are likely to make up an even higher percentage of the population. At some point in the near future, their numbers are going to top the 50% mark. That this has been discussed with a sense of gravity by Israeli lobbyists and strategists is almost certain.

Certainly we have seen a proliferation of disinformation websites, but truth has a way of resonating in a way that lies do not–and even when people don’t immediately recognize it as truth per se, the resonance is still there. What the Internet offers, then, is a means by which truth can be viewed on an equal footing with lies, much as it once was in the centuries before mass media began to play such a dominant role in society. And this is obviously having its impact upon the public.

According to a poll conducted last year, 70 percent of Americans disagree with the statement that the media “tries to report the news without bias.” The poll was conducted by the Newseum Institute, which found that trust in the media had dropped by 17 percentage points from a similar poll conducted just the year previous, and by 22 points since 2013. “In fact, the 24% who now say the media try to report news without bias is the lowest since we began asking this question in 2004,” the study states. Perhaps most significant of all, confidence in the media was lowest among those ages 18 to 29–only 7 percent.

A sense of desperation clearly is overtaking Israel and its supporters in the West these days. This is most visible in the multitude of attacks we have seen recently on the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, or BDS movement. And there are indications now that the Jewish state may be about to carry these attacks to a higher level.

According to a report here, Israel will pour $26 million this year into covert cyber operations aimed at combating BDS, with Israeli tech companies planning to introduce, among other things, “sly algorithms to restrict these online activists circle of influence.” The initiative will be accompanied simultaneously with distribution of a flood of “content that puts a positive face on Israel,” a nonprofit called Firewall Israel being the main spearhead of this latter. Presumably Israel’s already-considerable force of paid Internet trolls is about to be increased–perhaps substantially. Firewall Israel, by the way, is sponsored by the Israeli think tank, the Reut Institute.

“The delegitimization challenge and the BDS Movement are global and require a global response,” Reut asserts on its website. The site goes on to add:

Victory will be achieved when there is a political firewall around Israel and the right of the Jewish People to self-determination, meaning that delegitimization of Israel brings with it a heavy political, societal, and personal price due to its being seen and framed as an act of prejudice and anti-Semitism. Because of its anti-Semitic foundations, delegitimization cannot be eliminated, but it can be contained and kept at bay. As mentioned, because of the network architecture of the BDS Movement, there is no silver bullet against it, and victory will be achieved incrementally through countless of small wins.

In other words, BDS will be “framed” as anti-Semitic, a tour de force that will be achieved through cyber attacks as well as mainstream media power, with BDS supporters paying a heavy “personal price” by result. The final victory, Reut believes, will be achieved not all at once but through “countless small wins” racked up by the Zionists, wins that will erect a “political firewall” around the apartheid paradise, making it immune or insulated from global criticism.

That’s the theory at any rate. How it all plays out in reality remains to be seen, but clearly new BDS battles are cropping up virtually everyday. One of these is a movement at Vassar College, whose student body association, the VSA, just this past Sunday voted to approve a resolution expressing support for the BDS movement. The resolution was accompanied by an amendment that would also have prohibited purchases from 11 companies that profit from or explicitly support the occupation. While the resolution itself passed by a wide majority, 15 to 7, the amendment, which needed a two-thirds majority to pass, failed by a vote of 12 in favor to 10 opposed. Were you to take a wild guess that the amendment’s failure was due to pressure by the college administration, you would be right.

“The VSA could stand to lose all funding if the student body votes to pass the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Amendment, the center of an ongoing campus-wide debate,” the student newspaper reported on March 5, one day before the scheduled vote.

The article reports on a meeting between the college president and the VSA’s Executive Board, with members of the latter being specifically warned of the cutoff in funding. After the meeting, the president and one of the college deans issued a joint statement clarifying their position on the matter.

“All along, we have said that the VSA has the right to endorse the BDS proposal, given our commitment to free speech.  But the college cannot use its resources in support of a boycott of companies,” they wrote. “Were the VSA to adopt the amendment currently proposing such a policy, the college would have to intervene in some way.”

Vassar College is located in Poughkeepsie, New York. Last year in June, the New York State Legislature passed an anti-BDS measure, and then in November asecond measure, creating in effect a blacklist of BDS supporters, was also introduced and is now in committee. The language of the measure passed in June is Orwellian, citing BDS– rather than Israel’s occupation–as being “damaging to the causes of peace, justice, equality, democracy, and human rights for all peoples in the Middle East.” And similar measures are making their way through legislatures in other states as well.

Obviously, the Vassar College administration has seen the writing on the wall, but at the same time, Vassar faculty members are summoning the courage to push back in a show of support for the BDS movement and the vote taken by the VSA. Forty-one of them have signed onto a statement of support that reads in part, “We emphatically condemn any form of intimidation tactics from all individuals or parties who have threatened students supporting BDS or any other form of conscientious objection.”

While BDS quite obviously is high on the Zionist list of priorities, what’s also emerging now is a drive to clamp down on any criticism at all of Israel or voicing of support for Palestinian rights–and colleges and universities dependent upon wealthy private donors seem especially vulnerable to this.

A case in point is Harvard Law School, which recently saw $250,000 yanked by a funder who took exception to a panel discussion entitled “The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack,” sponsored by the campus Justice for Palestine group. The program reportedly began with a “3-minute video of students and professors discussing how they were censored, punished or falsely accused of anti-Semitism for taking a principled stance for Palestinian rights.”

But it isn’t only speech that can arouse Zionist ire. The public display of a piece of art can also result in loss of funding. Such happened at York University in Toronto when Canadian TV and film  industry executive Paul Bronfman took exception to a painting hanging in the university’s student center. The painting depicts a Palestinian holding rocks in his hand as an Israeli bulldozer is about to destroy an olive tree.

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The text at the bottom of the painting features the words “justice” and “peace” written in various languages. Bronfman complained about the artwork to the university’s president, and, after failing to win a commitment to have it removed, accused the school of “allowing hate propaganda to be displayed” and pulled all assistance to its Cinema and Media Arts department.

“The upshot is that if that poster is not gone by the end of day today,” fumed the media mogul, “then William F. White (Bronfman’s film company) is out of York. York is going to lose thousands of dollars of television production equipment used for emerging student filmmakers…”

But much like at Vassar, the faculty at York has come out in favor of freedom of expression, noting–in a statement signed by 91 full-time faculty and nine retired faculty–that the painting depicts “one artist’s response to the ongoing dispossession of Palestinians under Israeli occupation and the feeling that there is no end in sight.”

Roger Waters has also waded into the controversy with an open letter sent to the York University Graduate Students Association in which the musician accuses Bronfman of “trying to use his economic muscle” to have the painting removed. He also observes:

 The figure in the foreground appears to be a protester considering throwing a stone or stones at a bulldozer about to destroy an olive tree. The protester may be Palestinian. If the scene depicted is anywhere in the territories occupied since 1967, this person has a legal and moral right, under the terms of article 4 of the Geneva conventions to resist the occupation of his homeland.

As may be expected, a concerted effort appears underway in some media outlets to exact the aforementioned “heavy political, societal, and personal price” upon York, with the Toronto Sun, for one, publishing charges that the university “has  been infiltrated with anti-Semitism” and has become one of the “most hostile campuses” in North America.

But in the attack on academic freedom, universities aren’t the only entities being hit with smear campaigns. Individual professors are also being singled out. Attacks on professors who criticize Israel of course are not new. Steven Salaita lost his job at the University of Illinois after posting tweets against Israel’s Gaza onslaught in the summer of 2014, and other professors have faced similar repercussions over the years. But what seems to be emerging now is an intensification of the character assaults, with Jewish and mainstream media ganging up en masse on targeted academics.

One such academic is Oberlin College Professor Joy Karega, who, like Salaita, has taken heat over social media postings. But the hostilities directed at Karega have incorporated a level of volume and viciousness not formerly seen in the Salaita case. This in part is because Karega’s criticisms of Israel have been stronger. She has accused the Zionist state of being behind 9/11. She has also discussed the Rothschild banking empire, depicted ISIS as a CIA/Mossad front group, suggested the Charlie Hebdo attack was a false flag, and she has even, courageously, taken on the issue of Zionist control of the mainstream media.

But her comments on 9/11 are probably the ones that have set off the most alarm bells, or at least seem to be among the most consistently cited. Accusations that her views are “anti-Semitic and abhorrent” have been aired by the New York Times, while Fox News posted an article referring to her, in the headline no less, as a “crackpot prof.” The Washington Post, Slate Magazine, the Times of Israel, and others have also piled on.

Karega has her defenders, however, and one of them is Kevin Barrett, author of the book We Are Not Charlie Hebdo. In two articles published at Veterans Today (see here and here ) Barrett accused the Oberlin professor’s detractors of hurling ad hominem insults at her rather than “using logic and evidence.” In one article he particularly took to task the Jewish newspaper, The Forward, which published a singularly virulent attack piece entitled, “Inside the Twisted Anti-Semitic Mind of Oberlin Professor Joy Karega.” The piece quotes an Oberlin alumna who says, patronizingly, that she thought Karega had perhaps expressed her views out of “ignorance” and that maybe she was “not educated on the history of anti-Semitism.” Barrett’s response was that The Forward article itself “drips” with a certain amount of  “implicitly racist condescension toward proud African-American intellectual Joy Karega.”

The piece also accuses Karega of spreading “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories,” which leads us to wonder: Is it really possible The Forward’s writers haven’t heard of the 5 dancing Israelis or that their virgin eyes never saw a controlled demolition video on the Internet? Is it conceivable their suspicions were not aroused in the slightest by Larry Silverstein’s $4.5 billion pay-out bonanza on a property filled with asbestos and worth not nearly what it was insured for? If so, then the editorial staff at The Forward must surely be among the most credulously uninformed in the province of professional journalism.

Barrett also sent an email to a number of recipients at Oberlin, including the president and key faculty and administrators, defending Karega and offering to meet any one or more of her slanderers in an on-campus debate on “these critically important issues.” The email was sent February 29. Barrett says he still has not received a response. His defense of the embattled professor has, however, led to an attack–on both him and Veterans Today–in a Jewish media outlet, The Tower Magazine.

“Kevin Barrett, a writer for Veterans Today, a website that prominently features anti-Israel conspiracy theories, offered his support for Karega and her 9/11 theories last week,” Tower said in an article that makes no mention of Barrett’s debate challenge but which attempts to link him to “the neo-Nazi website Stormfront.”

And so the ad hominem attacks flow like lava down the side of a spewing volcano while the Zionist defamers and detractors don surgical masks to avoid any and all dangerous contact with “logic and evidence.” Meanwhile the societal pivot draws closer.

Creating a “firewall” around Israel in effect means a concerted assault upon free speech, or at least upon the freedom to speak freely, if we might phrase it that way. It means making sure a “heavy personal price” is paid by anyone who criticizes Israel.  As Voltaire said, “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you’re not allowed to criticize,” and as more and more Americans learn who they’re not allowed to criticize (many of course already know), the inevitable result will be an increasing spread of “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories” about Jewish power.  Has the Reut Institute thought of this? Or was that maybe the general ideal all along?

At any rate, by publicly aligning themselves with politicians widely viewed as corrupt, Israel is probably speeding up the process of its own “delegitimization.” What after all is the net effect when Americans watch their Congress members routinely expressing their fervent support for Israel, extolling its putative “shared democratic values”–the same Congress members who day after day go on capitulating to Wall Street and other big-moneyed interests? Does this result in Israel’s gaining support among the public…or losing it? I would say probably more of the latter. And the fact that the very same state–which people like Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton voice their adoration for–engages in relentless war crimes and extrajudicial executions while spitting on international law with impunity only serves to aggravate the situation even further.

Yet in spite of all this, Israeli strategists somehow believe, or at least are hoping against hope, they can put a “firewall” around the Jewish state by attacking BDS, flooding the Internet with “content that puts a positive face on Israel,” and exacting a “heavy personal price” from outspoken critics like Karega. It is either, a) a naive hope, or, b) a vastly overblown confidence in the extent and reach of their own power.

Or maybe it’s a little of both. Yes, they may achieve some “small wins” in the short term. But one fact cannot be hidden, no matter how much hasbara you try to bury it under, and that is that Israel stole the land upon which its state was founded in 1948. And not only did it not pay reparations to the land’s rightful owners, but it has gone on stealing more and more from them, bit by bit, piece by piece, settlement by settlement, up until this very day. And if support for Palestine is growing, it probably, at least in part, has to do with the fact that most of us have little trouble imagining a scenario in which we, ourselves, could be forced out of our homes and end up in the streets homeless.

As for the allegations about 9/11, the evidence that the buildings were brought down by controlled demolition, and that one of them never was even hit by an airplane, is irrefutable, and the more people become aware of this (which is happening because of the Internet), the harder it’s going to be for Israel to keep the lid on everything. And the more stridently and vociferously the media gang up to attack scholars and academics for simply talking about the matter, the more  it’s ultimately going to serve only to raise public consciousness even further.

Perhaps it’s time for Israel’s supporters to take some anti-anxiety medication and to start looking at reality. And maybe, too, they should keep in mind the words of P.T. Barnum: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time.”

Dunk on Hate and Mad at the World

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Israel’s Diplomatic Wars of Aggression

By Richard Edmondson

Israel these days seems to be increasingly at odds with a good portion of the rest of the world. In just the past few months it has quarreled with:

  • Spain over arrest warrants issued for Netanyahu and six other Israeli officials for the 2010 attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla;
  • Sweden over comments by its foreign minister who has called for an investigation into extrajudicial executions of Palestinians;
  • college campus student groups supporting the BDS movement;
  • academic associations who have issued calls for academic boycotts of Israeli universities;
  • Brazil over its refusal to recognize an Israeli ambassador who hails from the right-wing Israeli settler movement;
  • The EU over labeling of products from Israeli settlements.
  • The UN over Ban Ki-moon’s recent criticism of the settlements

And really, if truth be known, Israel is probably not too happy just now with Italy either, which recently received Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on a state visit, resulting in a number of agreements between the two countries’ energy sectors as well as cooperation on a future high-speed rail project. Naor Gilon, the Israeli ambassador to Italy, complained that Rouhani was being treated like “the king of the world.”

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Zvi Zameret accuses Wallström of ‘ignorance and arrogance’ and suggests she might meet a violent end

War with Sweden

All in all, Gilon’s comments would have to be viewed as rather tame, however–at least by comparison. For some of the statements issuing from Israelis now, particularly those aimed at Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, are positively chilling in their level of malice expressed, and frankly it might behoove the Swedish official to consider hiring a bodyguard at this point, if she hasn’t already done so.

As I noted in an article five days ago, Wallström is now regarded in Israel as “public enemy number 1” (the Jerusalem Post’s words, not mine) because of remarks she has made critical of Israel, including a recent call for an investigation into extrajudicial killings of Palestinians.

Now it seems there may be those in Israel hankering for the foreign minister’s blood–literally. If you haven’t read my article, Swedish Media Target Country’s Foreign Minister Following Her Remarks on Israel, I suggest you do so as it will place what follows into greater perspective. One day after posting that article, I became aware of two other articles, one by blogger Richard Silverstein and the other by Jonathan Ofir and posted at Mondoweiss, both of which discuss what appears to have been a scarcely veiled threat on Wallström’s life by a former Israeli official.

The comment was made by Zvi Zameret, a former official in the Israeli Ministry of Education, in an op-ed piece he wrote for an Israeli newspaper owned by Nevada casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. In the article, Zameret waxes lyrical on the 1948 assassination of Swedish diplomat Folke Bernadotte, and then goes on to suggest that Wallström might meet a similar fate. Here is a bit from Silverstein’s commentary on the matter:

Zvi Zameret, the former director for instruction for the Israeli education ministry has written an op-ed in Makor Rishon, Sheldon Adelson’s pro-settler newspaper, praising the 1948 assassination of UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte by Yitzhak Shamir’s Lehi gang. Zameret accuses Bernadotte of being an anti-Semite and claims that his views originated in a Swedish society that was suffused with this perspective.  He claims that ridding the world of the Swedish Count was necessary to protect Israel’s new existence.

He wends his way through a long historical discourse involving material already well-known related to Bernadotte’s proposals, which were rejected by Arabs and Jews alike.  Then he brings us up to the present day by alleging that remarks of the current Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallstrom, demanding that Israel be held accountable for the 160 Palestinians killed over the past two months in the latest Intifada, stem from the same well of Swedish anti-Semitism.

Silverstein says Zameret “hints that Wallström herself should share a similar fate to Bernadotte” and then gives us a direct quote from his article as per its English translation:

“What do the things I have mentioned attest about Bernadotte? [They indicate] covert anti-Semitism, ignorance and arrogance, collaboration with senior elements in Israel [Hebrew University President Judah Magnes] and interests that play a decisive role. Has anything changed in the Swedish DNA in the decades following Bernadotte’s death? Nothing has changed.

The Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallstrom, in the covert anti-Semitism which characterizes her, along with her ignorance and arrogance, and anticipation of the interests of her future Muslim voters–she too is attempting to battle against the basic foundation of the State of Israel.  I am certain that her intentions will be defeated, just as were those of the disreputable Count Bernadotte.

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Count Folke Bernadotte

Bernadotte was assassinated by Lehi, also known as the Stern Gang, the same Jewish terrorist group that carried out the Deir Yassin massacre. Zameret’s glorification of his murder doesn’t seem entirely lucid or rational–during World War II Bernadottenegotiated the release of 31,000 prisoners from German concentration camps, including a large number of Jews. After the war, he became the UN Security Council’s unanimous choice, in a vote on May 20, 1948, to try and mediate a settlement in the Palestine-Israeli conflict.

His murder took place September 17, 1948, carried out by a four-man team of assassins. The Stern Gang had been around since 1940. Its stated goal was to terminate the British mandate in Palestine and set up  a “new totalitarian Hebrew republic,” and one of its members, Yithak Shamir, ended up becoming an Israeli prime minister. It was Shamir, in fact, who ordered Bernadotte’s assassination. The man who actually pulled the trigger, Yehoshau Cohen, later became a close confidante of David Ben Gurion and was never charged in the case.

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Margot Wallström

In October of 2014, shortly after Wallström took over as foreign minister, Sweden became one of the first Western countries to recognize Palestinian statehood. Wallström called it “an important step that confirms the Palestinians’ right to self-determination”  and added that “We hope that this will show the way for others.”

In November of last year, shortly after the Paris terror attacks, Wallström suggested that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians could be helping to fuel terrorism. She followed that up with a comment in December about Israeli “extrajudicial executions,” and this month called for an investigation of Israel.

“Whether Zameret advocates Wallstrom’s demise explicitly or implicitly is hardly important,” comments Silverstein. “Even if you accept the argument that he isn’t explicit, clearly the reason Bernadotte failed in his mission is that Jewish terrorists assassinated him.  When you say you wish her intentions to be defeatedjust as his were, the line between murder and political defeat becomes exceedingly murky.”

Boycott Sweden! say Israeli Mayors

But of course it isn’t just Zameret. Lots of people in Israel despise Wallström and have “vociferously attacked her contentious words,” as an article here puts it. And this apparently applies to a good many Israeli officials. The same article goes on to give us the low-down on a “boycott movement” launched by 15 Israeli mayors and aimed at Sweden. The mayors were planning to attend a conference in the Scandinavian country in March, but recently announced they have cancelled, while former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has also called for a boycott of Ikea.

War With Spain

In November of last year, a Spanish judge issued arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and six other officials in connection with Israel’s 2010 raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, a violent episode in international waters which resulted in the deaths of 10 people.

The warrants were issued by Judge Jose de la Mata, and in  effect meant that should any of the seven officials set foot on Spanish soil they would be subject to arrest.

“Spain is just the latest member of the international community to accuse Israel of war crimes and pursue Israeli officials over the affair,” the Jerusalem Postreported at the time. And that is indeed correct. Both South Africa and Turkey had previously issued similar warrants.

Predictably, the Israeli government expressed hostility and outrage.

“We consider it to be a provocation,” said an Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson. “We are working with the Spanish authorities to get it cancelled. We hope it will be over soon.”

What do you suppose the words “working with Spanish authorities” might imply? Did it include issuing threats? Whatever it was, it took only two months to accomplish. The arrest warrants were in fact cancelled, according to a report published January 13 by the Adelson-owned Israel Hayom newspaper.

War with Brazil

Brazil, on the other hand, seems to be showing a little more resilience. According to a report here, “Israel and Brazil remain at loggerheads five months after Brazil refused to recognize Israel’s appointment of a right-wing settler as its next envoy to the South American country.”

“Settlers are Zionist agents that the world cannot accept, they steal others’ land, they are an insult to Brazil, to the government, and to millions of Brazilians with roots in the Arab world,” said Brazilian parliament member Carlos Maron.

Maron isn’t alone. A group of 40 retired Brazilian diplomats signed a statementagainst the appointment of Dani Dayan, who lives in the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Shomron, in the Occupied West Bank. Dayan is an advocate of the settler movement and has made no secret of his views, having widely published articles in the mainstream media, including the New York Times.

“We consider it unacceptable that the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has publicly announced the name of the person he intended to appoint as his country’s new Ambassador to Brazil before submitting it, in accordance to the norm, to our Government,” said the diplomats. The announcement of Dayan’s appointment was reportedly posted initially on Twitter rather than being communicated directly to the Brazilian government.

The statement continues:

This rupture with a diplomatic practice seems to have been on purpose, an attempt to establish facts, since the appointed, Dani Dayan, between 2007 and 2013, was the President of the Yesha Council, responsible for the settlements in the West Bank, which are considered illegal by the international community, and has already declared himself contrary to the creation of the Palestinian State, which counts on the support of the Brazilian Government and was already recognized by over 70% of the UN member States.

Reportedly a group of 200 Brazilian academics have also endorsed a boycott of Israel. Netanyahu has refused to withdraw Dayan’s nomination or to appoint someone more acceptable to the Brazilians. If the Brazilian government stands its ground, it will mean a de facto end to diplomatic relations between the two countries.

War with the EU

On January 18, the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council reaffirmed requirements that export products from the Israeli settlements be labeled as such. More or less as with Sweden, Spain, and Brazil, the EU’s action has prompted cries of Israeli outrage. Netanyahu pronounced his unwillingness to “accept the fact that the EU labels the side being attacked by terror,” while ‘Justice’ Minister Ayelet Shaked called the EU measure “anti-Israel and anti-Jewish.”

Likewise, opposition party leader Isaac Herzog (supposedly a liberal) compared it to the “Zionism equals Racism” resolution passed by the UN in 1974, while Yair Lapid, another opposition party member, denounced the EU for “capitulating to the worse elements of jihad.”

War Against the BDS Movement

In summer of 2015, ‘Justice’ minister Shaked announced she was preparing lawsuits against BDS activists. The announcement was reported at the time by theTimes of Israel in a story which also mentions that Shaked has expanded one of the departments within her ministry in order to “push ahead with the program as soon as possible.”

Ministry officials believe that legal circumstances present the option of suing activists for damaging Israeli trade, and for discrimination and racism, based upon laws as they currently exist in various countries, the report said.

So far as I’m aware, no lawsuits have been filed against individual activists, however Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home Party, seems to be generally in support of the idea of striking back in some manner at the BDS movement.

“Let it be clear to any company or organization that’s considering boycotting us: We will hit back. We will attack our attackers. We will boycott our boycotters,” Bennett said.

“The boycott weapon is a double-edged sword,” he added. “If you’re thinking of boycotting Israel, keep in mind that there are tens of millions of Israel supporters around the world — Jews and non-Jews — with considerable buying power and boycott power. Whoever boycotts Israel will be boycotted. Whoever hits Israel, will be hit back. We will no longer remain silent.”

Bennett’s comments about the “tens of millions of Israel supporters around the world” are perhaps salient. Also last summer, Adelson hosted an anti-BDS summit in Las Vegas with the aim of establishing and funding “successful strategies for countering the wave of anti-Israel activity on college campuses.” Held at the billionaire’s Venetian hotel on the Vegas strip, the conference was attended by a number of wealthy Jews, including Haim Saban.

“The key decision reached at the conference was that there would be a concerted effort to curtail BDS,” reported the Jerusalem Post.

Though Netanyahu did not attend, a letter from him was read aloud to the conference participants. “De-legitimization of Israel must be fought, and you are on the front lines. It’s not about this or that Israeli policy. It’s about our right to exist here as a free people,” the letter stated.

Reportedly the Israeli government intends to allocate NIS 100 million, or roughly $25.2 million, to the anti-BDS effort.

War Against Academic Associations

At a business meeting held in November, members of the American Anthropological Association voted overwhelmingly (88.4 percent) in favor of a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions. A similar measure was passed that same month by the National Women’s Studies Association Executive Committee. These aren’t the first boycott actions taken by academic organizations in the US. The American Studies Association, The Association for Asian American Studies, and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association have all passed academic boycott measures against Israel. And this is just in the US.

Measures have also been passed by academic organizations in Brazil, South Africa, Canada, the UK, and, of course, in Palestine, and probably elsewhere. And perhaps most recently a group of 71 British doctors have called upon the World Medical Association to expel the Israeli Medical Association. The physicians have accused Israeli doctors of “medical torture” on Palestinian patients and want to see a ban on joint projects with Israeli universities.

On January 20, the Science and Technology Committee of the Israeli Knesset held a meeting to discuss the issue (H/T Helvena). A press release on the discussion which took place can be found here on the Knessett’s website. One of those who gave input at the meeting was Peretz Lavie, president of Technion, or the Israeli Institute of Technology.

“We have no complaints against the global academic leadership; our problem is the campuses,” Lavie said. “Initially it was insignificant campuses, but it quickly spread to leading campuses in the United States.”

When Lavie says he has “no complaints against the global academic leadership” he is probably referring to the Association of American Universities, which on January 14, in response to the vote by the Anthropological Association, re-issued an earlier statement in opposition to academic boycotts. The AAU is an organization whose leadership consists of the presidents and chancellors of the 60 universities (in both the US and Canada) that are its members. Membership is by invitation only. The group’s statement opposing boycotts was initially released in 2013 in response to the boycott actions taken by the American Studies and Native American and Indigenous Studies associations.

The group’s re-release of that canned statement from more than two years ago was described by the Jerusalem Post as “a blow to the BDS movement.”

“Students who are exposed to this activity will be the next generation`s senators, and therein lies the great danger in the long term,” Lavie went on in his testimony before the Science and Technology Committee.

“In its report, the American Anthropological Association referred to us as universities of apartheid and decided to conduct a survey on whether the Israeli academia should be boycotted. We have to reach all 12,000 members of the Association. It is a symptom, and if we do not act now, it will spread. There must be one entity that will concentrate all the efforts related to this issue,” he added.

Another person who gave testimony was Ze’ev Feldman of the Israel Medical Association. It was Feldman who informed the committee of the recent statement by the 71 British doctors.

”The sword of the boycott is being raised on the Israeli scientific-medical community,” he said.

Ariel University Chancellor Yigal-Cohen Orgad asserted that Israel has “a real problem with governments, including western governments that encourage boycotts,” while Professor Zvi Ziegler warned, “We are unable to stop anyone with our meager resources.”

Several committee members are also quoted, including Chairman Uri Maklev:

“There is no doubt that the academic boycott phenomenon is expanding and is connected to the financial and consumer boycotts on Israel. Economic and commercial boycotts are associated with politics, but an academic boycott by educated and moderate people has a very strong effect.”

But rather than calling for an end to the settlements, most of the committee members seemed to be of the opinion that the Israeli government needed to devote more resources to fighting the boycott movement. The one exception to this was Arab Knesset member Basel Ghattas:

The world considers the settlements to be illegitimate. You can think differently from the entire world, it is your right, but it is also the world`s right to take measures in order to force you to establish two states.

War with the UN

On October 1, 2015, Netanyahu gave a speech before the United Nations General Assembly that was marked by a 45-second segment during which he paused and projected hostile glares out at those present:

On January 26, 2016, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon broke the UN’s “deafening silence” and, in a rare display of courage, issued a scathing criticism of Israel’s settlement policies.

Progress towards peace requires a freeze of Israel’s settlement enterprise.

Continued settlement activities are an affront to the Palestinian people and to the international community.  They rightly raise fundamental questions about Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution.

I am deeply troubled by reports today that the Israeli Government has approved plans for over 150 new homes in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

This is combined with its announcement last week declaring 370 acres in the West Bank, south of Jericho, as so-called “state land”.  These provocative acts are bound to increase the growth of settler populations, further heighten tensions and undermine any prospects for a political road ahead.

The inevitable furious response came quickly, with Netanyahu excoriating the UN chief for helping to “stoke terror.”

“There is no justification for terrorism,” he said. “The Palestinian terrorists don’t want to build a state; they want to destroy a state, and they say that proudly. They want to murder Jews everywhere and they state that proudly. They don’t murder for peace and they don’t murder for human rights.”

He went on to assert that the UN has “lost its neutrality and its moral force, and these statements by the Secretary-General do nothing to improve its situation.”

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It seems Israel is now at war with the UN as well.

A Lack of Imagination?

 Perhaps most striking in all this is the Israeli lack of imagination–or at least that is one way of looking at it. Nowhere in his hostile comments aimed at his various enemies on the global stage does Netanyahu give the slightest indication of having once thought about halting the settlements and pulling back to Israel’s internationally recognized pre-1967 borders. Ditto with the other Israeli officials quoted above, with the lone exception of the Arab Knessett member. It is almost as if the idea has never even occurred to them.

If that  is the case, one could perhaps ascribe all of this to a lack of imagination. Certainly at this point, after 68 years of oppression, is probably does indeedrequire considerable imagination to conceive of how the two peoples could live at peace. But of course it wasn’t always so. And had Israel, starting in 1967, respected the people of the West Bank, and above all else respected their space rather than crowding them in with settlements and walls and soldiers, a peaceful resolution to the conflict probably could have and would have been achieved by this time.

Yet even now, it isn’t too late. Though it would be politically difficult, Israel coulddismantle its settlements (anything is possible when the national will is present) and pull back to the pre-1967 borders–basically the terms of the Arab Peace Initiative proposed back in 2002. If necessary, and it probably would be for a lengthy period of time, UN peacekeeping troops could be deployed along the border.

But Israel’s response to the Arab Peace Initiative was to call it a “non-starter,” and that seems to be its position today as well. And not only is there little prospect of dismantling of presently-existing settlements, but we see even a refusal to halt the construction of new ones. All of which would suggest that Ban Ki-moon is correct and that the settlement enterprise raises “fundamental questions about Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution.”

Or in other words, Israel has no intentions of making peace.

Certainly it’s possible that things could change, and that a new slate of leaders could arise in Israel with the imagination necessary to see the wisdom of complying with international norms of conduct. And that is what its more liberal Jewish supporters in America seem to be hoping for. But failing this, Israel’s wars with the rest of the world are likely to grow in stridency and ferociousness, and at some point could expand from the realms of diplomacy and/or covert operations fully outright into the military arena.

‘Bastards!’…Andre Vltchek Pens Hate-Filled Screed Against Christianity

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Writer, journalist and filmmaker Andre Vltchek

By Richard Edmondson

Andre Vltchek, a writer whose commentaries appear on a number of sites including RT and Telesur, has published a vitriolic screed against Christianity in which he refers to Christians as “bastards” and accuses the faith of spreading a “monstrous dogma.”

The article was posted Christmas day under the title “The Barbarity of Christianity and the West” at the Dissident Voice, a site touting itself as “a radical newsletter in the struggle for peace and social justice.”

Throughout his article, Vltchek seems to equate Christianity with what he refers to as the “Christian West,” accusing Christians of electing “near fascist governments” which then proceed to unleash destruction throughout much of the world.

“Hundreds of millions, all over the world, have died so that the ‘message of Jesus’ could live,” he asserts. “Millions are still dying now, so that Christian fundamentalists can manipulate, rule and plunder the world, unopposed…”

“The only reason why the Christian West prospered and won countless colonialist battles is because it behaved like a beast, a true animal, in short: like the most brutal and barbarous thug on the face of the Earth,” he adds.

Vltchek is particularly concerned, and of course justifiably so, at events taking place today in the Middle East, but rather than look for other possible causes, such as the geopolitical ambitions of certain national leaders and/or powerful political lobbying groups, he seems to place the entire blame upon Christianity. Moreover, his hatred of the Christian religion appears at times to rise to an almost pathological level:

What a sick world they have been creating!

“Our dogmas, our religion raped you. Pray to it for your salvation!” Bastards!

At one point in the article he even seems to advocate violence against Christians:

How to neutralize them? How to get rid of them? During and after their revolutions, the French and then the Russians used to hang them on streetlamps. It is not done like this, anymore.

On Sunday, I contacted Vltchek by email in an effort to get a clarification on his views. Specifically I posed four questions to him. Though he refused to answer any of the questions, he did respond to my email within a few hours. Here is what he wrote:

Dear Mr. Edmondson

I definitely do not intend answering your questions, as I don’t like the tone in which your email is written. All your questions are already answered in my essays, and it appears that you are leading this somewhere where I don’t want to go.

Anyway, my essay is not an attack, or a mockery. It is a list of horrors performed by Christianity for centuries. Nothing abstract or emotional, just concrete, rational stuff.

Regards,

Andre Vltchek

Here is the email I had sent to Vltchek, and which includes the four questions:

Dear Mr. Vltchek,

I am writing about your article on Christianity, posted December 25 at Dissident Voice. I’m thinking of posting a commentary on it on my blog (link below), and was wondering if you would care to answer a few questions.

  1. You rightfully express concern about events in the Middle East. I’m wondering does your concern extend to Christians in Syria and Iraq who have been kidnapped and murdered by ISIS, and has it occurred to you that your anti-Christian vitriol, as posted now on the Internet, could possibly make things even more dangerous for them?
  1. Do you think that generally speaking it’s acceptable to express hostility and contempt for other peoples’ religious beliefs? Specifically, I’m wondering about cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Were those acceptable, in your view, and do you see your attack on Christianity as being any different from that?
  1. I agree with you that the West has unleashed a horrendous amount of destruction in the Middle East, but are you sure Christianity is the main driving force behind that? Are you aware of the extent to which the pro-Israel lobby shapes US foreign policy? I ask the question because you don’t seem to mention either AIPAC or Israel in your article.
  1. Any other comment or point of clarification you would care to make?

Sincerely,

Richard Edmondson

richardedmondson.net

Vltchek also refers to “all the horrors committed by Christianity” and insists as well that there is something “encoded in Christianity” that has resulted in “the greatest crimes against humanity, committed, again and again, until this very moment.”

Whatever may be the psychological or underlying causes of Vltchek’s apparently deep-seated hatred, he does describe what he refers to as a “‘Christian episode’ from my youth” in which he encountered a Polish priest who he says attempted to molest him on a train ride from New York to Washington D.C. According to Vltchek, the man’s “insane face was twisted by lust” as his “hands kept grabbing me, searching for the zipper of my fly.” Vltchek narrates that he then stood up and “punched him straight in the face, with all my strength.”  Afterwards, as he relates it, a “reasonable, good-humored African-American man” working as a conductor on the train proceeded to pat him (Vltchek) on the shoulder while confiding, “I was molested in my church on several occasions.”

The piece finally closes with what some readers conceivably might construe as another call for violence. Here Vltchek warns ominously that “without stopping this monstrous dogma,” Christianity in another few decades “could easily devour another 10 or 20 million human lives.”

One need not wonder what the response would have been had the word “Christianity” been replaced in Vltchek’s article with the word “Judaism.” Were someone affiliated with a major media outlet to refer to Jews as “bastards,” and to talk about hanging them from streetlamps, that person would be fired in a heartbeat. No prominent broadcast or Internet news provider, either mainstream or alternative, would continue to offer a platform to such a person.

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A screen shot of Vltchek’s article at the Dissident Voice

The article “The Barbarity of Christianity and the West” seems to have been published at the Dissident Voice website alone. Perhaps Vltchek wrote it especially for them. I do not know. However, you can go here and here to see other articles he has written and which have been published at RT and Telesur respectively. He has also appeared on Veterans Today radio programs, and it is said that he has done work for Press TV as well, though I could not find anything on Press TV’s site, only a video segment uploaded to YouTube more than a year ago in which he was interviewed as a guest commentator. My hunch is that probably Veterans Today, RT, Press TV, and Telesur are all unaware of his views on Christianity, or at least unaware of the extreme nature of them.

Certainly Christianity, in its past, has things such as the crusades for which it should be held responsible, and certainly as well there are Christians today who harbor misguided views on a number of subjects. At the same time there are also Christians who do wonderful work helping to provide for the poor. Catholic Charities, for instance, operates more than 160 local agencies nationwide serving millions of people per year.

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Volunteers at the St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen, Scranton, Pennsylvania

The major shortcoming of Christian leaders in America today–and I have said this many times–is their reluctance to stand up and speak truth to power and to denounce America’s invasions and wars of aggression. There are a good many Western Christians today who have openly opposed these wars. Here and here are but two examples. Would that the leaders of the churches they attend might find the courage to speak out in the same way, but alas, for the most part, they don’t.

At the same time, I’m not aware of Obama or any current member of Congress actually citing passages from Christian texts to justify their wars, either–and largely religion seems to be left out of debates on the floor of Congress. (Yes, it’s true Congressional sessions traditionally are opened with a prayer, mainly as a mere formality, but these have been delivered by Christian clergy, Jewish rabbis, Muslim Imams, and, on at least one occasion, by the Dalai Lama.)

By contrast, one might look to Israel where numerous people, including within the government, do appear to use Judaism as justification for Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Or…you could perhaps look to Myanmar, where Buddhists are carrying out a campaign against the Rohingya people that has been described by some as genocide.

The point I’m trying to make is that we live in a corrupt age, and that all religions, to some degree, have become corrupted. But this doesn’t just apply to religions. The corruption spreads across the board–to governments, education systems, the media, the legal system–pretty much you name it. Corruption is in virtually every fiber of the West’s being these days. There are all kinds of ideas on why things have reached this state, but one thing most sensible people would agree on is that it is wrong to blame all members of a group for the crimes or misdeeds of some.

US Seeks to Amass More Forces in Syria…But for Which War?

nucelarwinter

By Richard Edmondson

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is appealing for other nations to send their troops to fight a big war in Syria and Iraq.

“I personally reached out to my counterparts in 40 countries around the world in the coalition and asked them to contribute more,” Carter said Wednesday, Dec. 9, in testimony before the Senate (see video below starting at about 2:00).

Carter professes to be recruiting these additional forces for the war against ISIS, but one wonders if perhaps he might not actually have a different war in mind–say a war against Russia, or at any rate a direct attack on the Syrian Army, which could easily escalate into the same thing, as doubtless Carter would realize.

The removal of Syrian President Bashar Assad has been a primary US and Israeli objective for at least the past five years, and possibly much longer if we go by thenow-famous words of General Wesley Clark. Syria’s fall quite probably would have been achieved by this time were it not for Russia.

That US military efforts against ISIS have been waged insincerely, that it’s airstrikes have been carried out in pursuit of some purpose other than that stated publicly, and that the Obama administration all along seems to have had a goaldifferent from that of defeating the terrorist army, strictly speaking–these also have been apparent for some while. Over the past year as US planes were purportedly hitting ISIS targets, the power of the terrorists grew, the areas under their control in Iraq and Syria for the most part expanding (despite some defeats–thanks not to the US but to efforts of the Syrian Army and Hezbollah). It wasn’t until Russia entered the fray on September 30 that ISIS began to suffer major setbacks, including the bombing of its oil tankers.

Projecting perhaps their own scheming chicanery onto others, US officials at the time expressed doubts about the true intentions of the Russians, while Western media published widespread reports on deaths of civilians, reports based largely upon flimsy claims by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and other dubious sources.

“The result of this kind of action will inevitably, simply be to inflame the civil war in Syria,” Carter asserted in September.

In the video above, the Secretary of Defense expresses some nominal concerns over Turkey’s “often porous borders,” but following revelations of Turkish involvement in ISIS oil smuggling, including by members of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s own family, US officials appeared totally unperturbed. Likewise were they unperturbed with Turkey’s shoot-d0wn of a Russian jet, and, most recently, with its military incursion into Iraq (although it seems now at least someof the Turkish forces may be withdrawing). Turkey has been widely condemned by people around the world, but nothing it ever does seems to bother the US too much.

A Nest of Spies and Traitors?

Back on December 5, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered the keynote address at the Brookings Institution’s annual Saban Forum in Washington. In his talk, Kerry discussed the Syrian conflict and likened Russia and Iran to “problem children” for their support of the Assad government.

“If Russia and Iran stand as a block and allow Assad to simply stiff the process, and we get no transition at all, then it will be clear who the problem children are, and our options will be narrowed and we will have to make some tough choices,”said Kerry.

The arrogance on display was emblematic. That the US, rather than the Syrian people, has the right to choose who leads Syria, and to even oversee and engineer the country’s elections–these were the assumptions underlying Kerry’s remarks. And anyone who disagrees is a “problem child” and must be dealt with accordingly.

But the purported “urgency of defeating Daesh” wasn’t the only subject touched upon in the speech. Kerry also discussed the US relationship with Israel, touting America’s determination to “stand with” the Jewish state, presumably no matter how high its crimes against humanity may mount up.

The full text of Kerry’s remarks may be found here, and judging at least from the friendly acknowledgements issued in his opening comments, it seems to have been a largely Jewish affair, with perhaps a few token Gentiles present. Said Kerry:

Steny and Nita I know are here, and Jolie Ruben, my former colleague and longtime friend, and I think Bogie Ya’alon is out there somewhere. And Bogie, good to see you, my friend. And also Bougie Herzog is somewhere here. And oh my gosh, yes, madam, thank you for leading Wilson and all you’ve been doing. Appreciate it very, very much, Jane. Thank you. I’m really pleased that I could come here to be with you before I head back to Paris, where on Monday we sort of get into the ministerial period of the climate change negotiation. Let me just begin by thanking my very good friend, Martin Indyk. As we all know, Martin has invested literally decades of his extraordinary career in exploring ways and turning over every stone to try to help Israelis and Palestinians to find the path to lasting peace.

The two “Bogie/Bougie” men mentioned would presumably be Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Israeli Labor Party leader Issac Herzog. “Steny and Nita” would refer to Jewish Congresswoman Nita Lowey from New York and Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer. Hard to say for sure about the Jolie Ruben mentioned, but perhaps it’s the New York Times staffer by that name. In addition, Kerry also made references to the late Sandy Berger, as well as to Haim Saban, who according to Wikipedia is a US/Israeli dual national, along with Saban’s wife Cheryl.

Indyk, by the way, who you see seated next to Kerry in the video here, is a former AIPAC staffer and a founder of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who later scampered through the revolving door into government, serving on the National Security Council and also as ambassador to Israel. In 2000, Indyk’s government security clearance was revoked over allegations he had violated security procedures but was restored a month later by Jewish Secretary of State Madelaine Albright. You can also go here to view an interview Indyk did with Andrea Mitchel in 2010 in which he asserted that Israel should allow Tony Blair to assist with its internal investigation into the Mavi Marmara attack, this so as to give the investigation “more credibility.”

Berger, too, prior to his departure from this world two weeks ago, had a career somewhat tarred by controversy. In 1997 he paid a civil penalty to settle conflict of interest charges over his ownership of stock in a US oil company; in 1999 he landed in hot water over accusations he had failed to inform President Clinton that US nuclear secrets had been acquired by China; and in 2004 he was investigated for removing classified documents from the National Archives prior to testifying before the 9/11 Commission, and then lying about it afterward to investigators.

“I also want to pay tribute to somebody that we all wish could have been with us today,” said Kerry. “Sandy Berger was a friend to me and I’m sure to many of you.”

Quite possibly he’s right on that. The Saban Forum took place at the Willard Hotel, roughly a six-minute walk from the White House, and it’s tempting to think of the event as little more than a gathering of those with, shall we say, less than complete loyalty to the United States (Joseph McCarthy, where are you when we need you?).

“We have given [to Israel] privileged access to advanced military equipment such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter,” proclaimed Kerry. “Israel is the only nation in the Middle East to which the United States sold this fifth generation aircraft. And earlier this year the president authorized a massive arms resupply package featuring air-to-air missiles and other advanced munitions.”

The comment about Russia and Iran being “problem children” came near the end of the address, during a question-and-answer session (with Indyk alone asking the questions). At one point Kerry seemed to allude to “promises” the US had made with regard to removal of Assad–though without specifying to whom these promises were made:

I think Russia understands and I think Iran is coming to understand that no matter how much you might want to keep Assad, even if we were the most Machiavellian in the world and we went back on our promises and everything else – which we’re not about to do, I want to emphasize – but let’s say we said we want Assad. Okay, let’s keep him for a while and see what happens, and go fight Daesh. Couldn’t do it. You can’t do it. There is no way to stop the support for the Sunni fighters – and remember, most of this is on that side of the ledger. There is no way to stop them from attacking and going after Assad, as long as he’s there.

In addition to chiding certain countries for being “problem children,” Kerry berated Russia as having “just plunked itself in, gone into the fight to, quote, support their friend, Assad.” He added:

“So I think there are reasons that we all have to want to end this as fast as possible. And what we’ve tried to set up is a transitional negotiation where Assad has to, under the Geneva communique, begin to devolve some power. The election is fixed. We’ve all said we’re going to have an election. Even Iran and Russia have accepted that. Iran actually had its own proposal of a ceasefire, constitutional rewrite, a unity government, and election. So even Iran is pushing for a transition of some kind.

And the question here is: When and how can we get to the point where it is clear that really Assad has to make a choice? And you can have a smooth transition, where the Alawi are protected, the Christians are protected, the Druze are protected, the Ismaili are protected, the Sunni are protected, and you have all segments of a society.

In other words, submit to US/Israeli policy in the region, and everyone will be “protected.” It sounds a bit like a mafia protection racket. The terror troops will be sicced upon those who fail to comply or pay up. And just maybe they were–five days later.

‘Godspeed, Mr. Kerry’

Kerry’s comment that “the election is fixed” may have been part Freudian slip as well. Earlier in the talk he describes the proposed election as one that “will be supervised by the United Nations under the highest standards of international law and of elections, with fair, full, transparency and accountability, in order for even the diaspora to be able to vote for future leadership.” Perhaps one day Russian and Iranian elections might need to be “supervised by the United Nations” as well.

Should there be any doubts about the UN’s hypocrisy and double standards, consider the Security Council’s rejection over the weekend of a Russian motion calling for condemnation of a terror attack which took place last Thursday in the Syrian city of Homs.

The attack occurred one day after a truce was brokered between the Syrian government and hundreds of rebels who had occupied parts of Homs since as far back almost as the outset of the conflict in 2011. The agreement reached, considered a major breakthrough toward peace and reconciliation, is discussed by the commentator in the video below:

On December 10, the same day the above video was uploaded, the following took place in Homs:

It is now known that a total of 22 people were killed. As the Press TV anchor noted, the blast occurred near a hospital. Responsibility has been claimed by ISIS.

On Saturday, Russia introduced a motion in the Security Council condemning the attack, this after a plea for UN action by the Syrian Foreign Ministry. “Russia has prepared a draft statement for the UN Security Council in connection with the attack in Homs,” an unnamed diplomatic source was quoted as saying. “The proposal was rejected,” the source added.

The UN Security Council is currently chaired by the US.

The final word at the Saban Forum on December 5 was an articulation of gratitude toward Kerry expressed by Indyk.

“Mr. Secretary, as you head off to Paris again, I think I could speak for everybody here,” Indyk said. “We wish you godspeed and thank you for all that you do.”

**

The featured graphic accompanying this article is entitled “Nuclear Winter,” by EmilisB.

American Jews at the Service of Netanyahu

[Ed. – The following rather remarkable commentary concerning American Jews was published recently in Haaretz. The writer doesn’t come right out and use the word “fifth column,” but that essentially seems to be what he is talking about. He does, however, use the term “dual loyalty,” and asserts that “boundaries” have been “blurred.”

Keep in mind, this was published in an Israeli newspaper. It did not originate from the Occidental Observer or some other similar-type website. I will add one other comment as well: when and if a war breaks out between the US and Iran, it will not be Israeli troops doing the fighting and the dying. Nor for the most part will it be the children of the members of the Jewish organizations who have pledged their support to Netanyahu. It will be Gentiles, many of whom couldn’t afford to go to college and were forced into the military through the poverty draft…or else lured by the propaganda serenade…]

American Jews at the Service of Netanyahu

By Uri Misgav

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared jihad on the U.S. president and the Iran nuclear accord, bringing things to a climax this past week. There’s no point expecting him to take stock following the debacle or consider its ramifications. Netanyahu doesn’t recognize the concept of introspection or the notion of accountability. However, it is appropriate to suggest that America’s Jewish population and the organizations representing it look inward and do some serious reflection. Even if we attribute only the best of intentions to them, these intentions again lead to a well-known place.

It’s hard to overstate Netanyahu’s insolence. In a Web speech given from his office and with the Israeli flag behind him, he called on American Jews to unite against the accord, “regardless of your political affiliation.” It’s even harder to understand how the leaders representing these Jews didn’t recognize the trap Netanyahu was leading them into – regardless of their political affiliation. The apex was the surreal meeting between 20 U.S.-Jewish leaders and President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. I can’t recall a meeting between a U.S. president and vice president with U.S.-German leaders in order to discuss American relations with Europe. Or a conversation with U.S.-Japanese businessmen prior to the signing of a trade agreement between the United States and Japan.

It’s unclear who these Jewish leaders were actually representing in the Oval Office. Certainly not me or the half of Israelis who didn’t want Netanyahu as prime minister. In any case, they can’t represent Israeli interests. They may donate generously to projects in Israel or send their children and grandchildren for a rousing Zionist week arranged by Taglit-Birthright. But neither they nor their flock live here. And they didn’t even pretend to represent Americans of Jewish descent, since what was on the table was the implications of the nuclear deal for Israel. In other words, the assumption is that the clear-cut interest of the Jewish people everywhere is expressed only via the Israeli interest.

But thanks to Netanyahu and his irresponsible call, boundaries were again blurred. It’s no longer clear who is representing whom. Are American Jews supposed to be functioning as Israel’s arm in the midst of the world’s greatest superpower? Or is Israel their delegate, the aircraft carrier of the Jewish people, floating in the distant and stormy seas of the Middle East? Both options are obviously bad and distorted ones. This game squarely places U.S. Jews in the twilight zone of dual loyalty. How symbolic that the awful show on Capitol Hill took place at the end of a week in which the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard was announced.

It’s time for U.S. Jews to consider the harmful message that emanates from the trap Netanyahu is pulling them into, as well as the harm done by the lobbying, arm-twisting, as well as their political and financial machinations. Let’s avoid sanctimoniousness – Obama made time for them in his busy schedule as leader of the Free World because they represent voters and donors. Didn’t it occur to these Jewish leaders that their actions concerning the nuclear deal might reinforce classic anti-Semitic narratives such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion?

American-Jewish leaders celebrate a Passover seder with the president at the White House every year. That should suffice. They shouldn’t drag the nuclear deal there as well.

EU Allies Pay for America’s Global Conflict and Refugees, time for the EU to tell the USA to get lost

EU Allies Pay for America’s Global Conflict and Refugees

Europe’s refugee crisis is just another American bill for the latter’s legacy of global conflict – a bill that is being dumped at the European allies’ door to pay. Years of US-led wars waged in Central Asia, through the Middle East and across North Africa are arguably the major factor in the droves of migrants now straining the European Union, as they seek refuge from raging conflicts and deprivation. The nationalities of the refugees mirror the trail of countries that America has pulverised over the past decade. 

The situation of Europe bearing the brunt of costs for its American ally’s recklessness not only finds its manifestation in the growing refugee crisis facing the European Union. The same disproportionate repercussions – «Europe pays while the US slays» – is seen with regard to the Ukraine conflict and the increasingly perilous confrontation with Russia.

As with the growing refugee calamity, in the conflict over Ukraine and the dangerous stand-off with Russia, it is Europe that is mainly incurring the manifold problems that have been created largely by Washington’s policies.

Germany’s farmers alone are reckoned to have lost € 600 million in export business to Russia from the sanctions and counter-sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. The total economic repercussions across the EU from the debilitating standoff with Russia are multiples more.

The Brussels bureaucracy and certain US-lackey European leaders indeed signed off the anti-Russian trade sanctions. But, it has to be said, that the hostile sanctions policy towards Moscow ever since the alleged annexation of Crimea in March 2014 has largely been initiated and pushed by Washington. The Europeans, somewhat pathetically, have allowed themselves to be railroaded into adopting the Washington-directed policy, with a lot of arm-twisting by the Obama administration.

But the bottom-line is this: it is European workers, farmers, businesses and the wider public who are suffering from the US-led sanctions on Russia. America’s bilateral trade is a fraction of Europe’s trade with Russia, and so the impact and repercussions of anti-Russian sanctions and counter-sanctions are consequently felt most painfully by Europe – not the US.

In other words, it is all very well for Washington to embark on Russian hostilities because from Washington’s cynical point of view it is not the one who is picking up the economic and social bill for the confrontation. Instead, it is the European «allies» who are picking up the American tab, so to speak. And how the arrogant Americans must be having a good old laugh at that too! It’s like taking pals out for a slap-up meal and rounds of drinks, and then at the end of the night the loud-mouth boor sits with his hands in his pockets and gets the sucker pals to settle the bill.

The same goes for the upsurge in the Mediterranean refugee crisis – a crisis that is threatening to overwhelm EU countries, economically and logistically. The crisis may even herald a collapse among political establishments across Europe from fuelling the rise of far-right and anti-immigrant political parties.

Xenophobic, racial tensions are escalating across Europe as incoming migrants are perceived as «stealing jobs» and social benefits, as well as bringing «alien cultures». Europe is fast becoming a nasty continent of racial discontent, far removed from its supposed humanitarian and enlightenment values. The rise of German anti-immigrant movement, Pegida, and other fascistic groups across Europe is a sign of the malevolent mood.

This week some 1,200 would-be migrants perished in the Mediterranean Sea when their overcrowded, dilapidated vessels capsized after leaving the North African coast in the dark of night. The Geneva-based International Organisation for Migration estimates that by the end of this year, the death toll from refugees trying to reach Europe by this route may reach 30,000 – making it by far the worse year on record – 10 times the death toll for the previous record year in 2014.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants – 275,000 in 2014 estimated by Italian authorities – who are lucky enough to survive the journey to mainland Europe, land first on the so-called frontline states of Spain, Italy, Malta and Greece. From there, they travel on to other EU members.

In a Washington Post report on April 21, headlined ‘New migration crisis overwhelms European refugee system’, the article is billed as «examining the causes and impact of a global wave of migration driven by war, oppression and poverty».

The Post reports: «As Europe confronts a rapidly escalating migration crisis driven by war, persecution and poverty in an arc of strife from West Africa to Afghanistan, even high-level European officials are beginning to admit the obvious… The region’s refugee management system is broken.»

But what should be even more obvious, which the Washington Post astoundingly avoids examining and European leaders seem in denial of, is this: the «arc of strife from West Africa to Afghanistan» has been created directly by America’s warmongering across the globe. Strife-torn Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Yemen, through to Libya are all part of the dubious legacy of American «war on terrorism» or covert «regime change» operations.

In these pernicious military adventures, the US has been assisted by its European NATO allies and its Persian Gulf Arab client states, primarily Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

As Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov commented this week, the conflict and terrorism raging across these regions are a direct result of illegal US warmongering, both overt and covert. Why are European statesmen so blind to making similar deduction of the glaring truth? Is collective guilt inhibiting them?

For in the US-induced mayhem, the European Union is not blameless, of course. Britain and France in particular have been major players in perpetrating the US-led militarism in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. France has singlehandedly contributed to the global «arc of strife» by conducting illegal military operations in Mali, Central African Republic and the Ivory Coast in recent years, where Paris launched those interventions/invasions without having a mandate from the United Nations Security.

All of those conflicts have greatly added to the surge in international refugee numbers that are now making their way to the European mainland. US-led and EU, Arab-assisted warmongering is by no means the sole cause. Among the migrants caught up in the Mediterranean maelstrom are Ethiopians, Eritreans, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, among others, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. This latter group are most readily explained as «economic migrants». But what is unmistakable is that the major share of the refugees are those nationals where America and its allies have been directly responsible for sowing conflict.

In the deadly boat-sinking this past week, for example, in which nearly 800 were drowned off Libya, most of the victims were reportedly from Syria. And Libya itself would not have become a launch-pad for human-traffickers had it not been for the US-NATO blitzkrieg on that country during 2011, which led to the overthrow of the central government in Tripoli and its degeneration into tribal and extremist chaos.

Who can blame the legions of desperate people in their attempt to reach the relative safety of Europe? Facing deadly hazards of extremist militias, unscrupulous human traffickers, scorching deserts and treacherous sea crossings, the desperate refugees keep on coming. It is estimated by Italian authorities that up to one million migrants are awaiting to board rickety vessels in Libya alone in order to make the perilous journey to Europe.

Germany – the EU’s strongest economy – has been a magnet for the refugees who eventually make it to Europe. With a population of 82 million, Germany has given shelter to 173,000 non-Europeans last year, according to the Washington Post report cited above. That compares with the United States’ intake figure for Mexican and other migrants of only 121,000 for the same period, yet the US has four times the total population of Germany. That is, despite a much greater capacity for accommodating refugees, the US is taking in less migrants than Germany, never the whole of the EU.

So while US wars and conflict-sowing are being waged in an arc from Central Asia, the Middle East and to Africa, it is Europe that is absorbing the humanitarian «collateral damage», not the US.

EU leaders this week are holding emergency meetings to find ways of addressing the refugee crisis that is assailing the bloc’s economic resources and logistics for accommodating the newcomers. Priority is being given to security measures to stop-and-search vessels off the North African coast and to turn back those suspected of being involved in people smuggling. Such narrow security measures are unlikely to work in the long term because they do not address the root causes of the problem: conflict and deprivation in the countries from where the migrants originate.

EU leading members, including Britain, France and Germany, have gone along with, indeed fully supported, Washington’s global militarism and conflict-making over the past decade. Just as those same European states have also done with regard to Washington’s meddling in Ukraine and aggression towards Russia. But in all these machinations, it is Europe that is picking up the huge bill for Washington’s baleful policies, as can be seen from the flood of refugees and the repercussion on Europe’s economy from anti-Russian sanctions.

It is high time Europe developed some independent foreign policy backbone and stopped being a colossal sucker for Washington’s warmongering. Repudiating Washington’s belligerence would be a start to addressing a whole swathe of problems afflicting Europe.

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