Mexican duo Rodrigo y Gabriela cancel controversial ‘Tel Aviv’ concert

August 12, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

In a series of concert cancellations, Rodrigo y Gabriela has become one of many artists to terminate their show in “Tel Aviv” following an uproar from human rights activists.

Rodrigo y Gabriela (Guitar.com)

Various artists and musicians have been joining hands in canceling shows in apartheid “Israel”, especially in light of the 2021 and 2022 Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip and after a massive global uproar from fans and human rights defenders. 

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a founding member of the BDS movement, welcomed the decision of the Mexican band, Rodrigo y Gabriela, who announced the termination of their upcoming show hours before it was due to take place in the Tel Aviv Culture Center, just a short drive from where the Israeli occupation killed 48 Palestinians including 19 children and injured 360 more.

Chain of cancellations by global musicians 

Even before the attacks on Gaza, Rodrigo y Gabriela had privately told the Palestinian group Le Trio Joubran that they had ditched the Tel Aviv concert. Le Trio Joubran, renowned oud marvels, had appealed last month to the Mexican band to cancel their appearance by urging on social media: “Please Rod and Gabi, take the right decision”.

During the band’s show at the Esperanzah festival in Belgium, fans waved the Palestinian flags and keffiyehs and urged Rodrigo y Gabriela to cancel the concert in the occupied territories. 

Irish actor Steve Wall also appealed to the band, joined by Mexican and Irish human rights defenders. Rodrigo y Gabriela spent eight years living and working in Dublin, after originating in Mexico and becoming known for heavy metal, nuevo flamenco, and rock. 

While the duo did not publicly address their cancellation of the concert in apartheid “Israel”, they posted a tweet two days before it had been due to take place that their tour was now over – now the third apartheid “Tel Aviv” concert to be canceled this summer. 

Another was US band Big Thief who apologized to their fans in June for their announcement of two shows in apartheid “Israel”, and voiced their opposition to “the systematic oppression of the Palestinian people”. That did not sit well with the venue Barby in which they were supposed to play, calling the band a “bunch of miserable, spineless musicians”.

Read more: South Africans call to cancel Justin Bieber’s concert in “Israel”

Canadian group BADBADNOTGOOD followed suit and announced the cancellation of their concert at Barby as well, as a result of appeals from fans and activists which were privately verified. 

The PACBI urged all artists to reject offers from “Israel’s” cultural sector that is complicit in apartheid and to refuse to “art-wash” “Israel’s” massacres. 

“UNDER A VIRTUAL SIEGE” – ACTIVISTS DEMAND PAYPAL OFFER ITS SERVICES TO PALESTINIANS

AUGUST 10TH, 2022

Source

By Jessica Buxbaum

In June, actor Mark Ruffalo joined the campaign calling on online payments platform PayPal to offer its services to Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

“Paypal [sic] operates in Israel’s illegal settlements—but is refusing to provide service to Palestinians in Gaza and West Bank, in direct violation of UN guidelines,” the award-winning actor wrote on Twitter, sharing a link to corporate accountability non-profit SumOfUs’ petition advocating for Palestinian access to PayPal. Nearly 240,000 people have signed the petition thus far.

With a celebrity signature, activists spearheading the campaign have renewed their efforts to target PayPal for its economic censorship and discrimination against Palestinians.

On August 4, 7amleh, The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, in collaboration with SumOfUs and the Muslim grassroots movement, MPower Change, hosted a webinar sharing insights and updates on the #PayPal4Palestine campaign. The panel included speakers Lara Friedman, the Foundation for Middle East Peace president, Mona Shtaya, 7amleh’s advocacy advisor, and MPower Change co-founder Linda Sarsour.

UNDER VIRTUAL SIEGE

Launched in 2016, the #PayPal4Palestine campaign is led by 7amleh along with a number of civil society organizations. According to the campaign’s website, PayPal provides its services to Israeli citizens (including Palestinian citizens of Israel), settlers living in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and Palestinian residents of occupied East Jerusalem. But it does not offer access to Palestinians with bank accounts in the West Bank and Gaza.

“PayPal claims that its services are unavailable to Palestinians on the basis of its ‘Prohibited Countries’ policy, which classifies Palestine and around 30 other countries as ‘high-risk’ areas,” the website reads. Yet the online payment platform operates in over 200 countries including states with human rights violations and political instability, such as Yemen, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Jordan, Somalia, and Venezuela.

During the August 4 panel, 7amleh’s Shtaya explained that PayPal justified the lack of access because high-risk countries must take certain measures to qualify for PayPal services, specifically amending their banking system. A 2018 7amleh report on Palestinian access to PayPal states Palestine implemented several procedures to authorize electronic transactions and combat money laundering and fraud, such as passing the Electronic Transactions Law. According to 7amleh’s communications with the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Monetary Authority, PayPal’s recommendations have been met in the last year, but the platform is still unavailable to Palestinians. PayPal did not respond to MintPress News inquiries on why it denies access to Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. Indeed, earlier this year, PayPal banned MintPress and a number of other alternative media outlets from using their services.

According to 7amleh’s report, SumOfUs, the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, and Jewish Voice for Peace published an online petition in 2016 urging PayPal to provide services to Palestinians. The following year, activists delivered the petition to PayPal’s headquarters in San Jose, California.

“Company representatives that received the petition acknowledged that accusing PayPal of discriminating against Palestinians because of their identity put PayPal in a very uncomfortable situation and that the company never intended to deliberately exclude Palestinians from its services. However, they still refused to commit to any concrete steps to remedy the situation,” 7amleh wrote in their report.

Other groups have also demanded PayPal extend its services to Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the company’s own investors, Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy, and the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network. Yet these efforts were to no avail as PayPal continues to exclude Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories from its platform.

During the webinar, Shtaya described how PayPal barring access to Gazans had put the besieged enclave’s residents under a double blockade.

“Preventing them from accessing PayPal or from having PayPal services means that they also prevent them from having work opportunities beyond [the] Gaza Strip,” Shtaya said. “They are not only under siege on the ground but also under siege virtually.”

Nowhere was this ban felt more acutely than during Israel’s assault on Gaza in May 2021. Shtaya explained that while Israeli rocket fire rained down on Gaza, international activists were blocked from supporting humanitarian organizations in Gaza through Venmo, a subsidiary of PayPal. “In the time of crisis, we’ve seen a huge discrimination against Palestinians, unlike the case of Ukraine and Russia,” Shtaya said.

When war broke out between Ukraine and Russia, PayPal launched a fundraiser to support Ukraine while also suspending its services in Russia.

And while Palestinians in the West Bank cannot open a PayPal account, Israeli settlers just next door can. During the panel discussion, Friedman noted that,

The settlement movement has been dedicated really to taking as much land as possible, putting down an Israeli civilian presence protected by a military presence. And then, over the years, getting us to the point where the Israeli policy, the Israeli government, the Israeli law treats that civilian presence in the West Bank as absolutely indistinguishable from Israelis inside sovereign Israel,”

She explained how Israel’s efforts to normalize the settlements led multinational corporations to treat settlements as part of Israel then and maintain a status quo that is often overlooked.

“You’ve got this two-pronged effort to both isolate the Palestinians and to normalize and weave the settlers into the international communities, a community of nations. And the problem is that organizations or companies like PayPal, I would argue, unwittingly, are absolutely party to that,” she said, noting how the #PayPal4Palestine campaign is part of a larger, global effort to hold international companies responsible for legitimizing settlement activity such as the recent actions against Airbnb and Ben & Jerry’s.

LIMITED OPTIONS FOR PALESTINIANS

Without PayPal, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have few alternatives. PalPay, a local version of PayPal, was established in 2010 by the Bank of Palestine, the First National Bank, and PCNC IT Solutions. Jawwal, the West Bank and Gaza’s largest mobile network provider, partnered with National Electronic Payment Company in 2019 to create Jawwal Pay, an e-wallet allowing individuals to transfer money, pay bills, and shop online.

Yet 7amleh emphasizes in their 2020 report on e-commerce in Palestine that these local electronic payment alternatives remain limited. “In order for these solutions to be more widely adopted in the West Bank and Gaza, they have to be easy to integrate into widely-used international e-commerce platforms,” 7amleh wrote.

Sarsour added that Palestinian business owners also use Western Union or MoneyGram, especially for international transactions. But these wire transfers often cost the entrepreneurs hefty fees and are tracked by the U.S.Treasury Department. As she explained,

A business owner in the United States working with a business owner in occupied Palestine, these wire transfers are very monitored. And sometimes the accounts are stopped. Sometimes the payments are delayed because there’s some sort of investigation into these multiple wire transfers.”

According to 7amleh’s research, PayPal access would not only benefit Palestinians but would also benefit the company itself.

7amleh identified three scenarios where high, middle, and low-income Palestinian households with internet access would spend $644-$1,550 annually, generating about $90 million to $5 billion in payments via PayPal.

“It’s an economic justice issue for me and to be honest, what is PayPal losing?” Sarsour said, highlighting how PayPal is a tangible way for activists abroad to help Palestinians. “It would be a dream for [Palestinian business owners] to be able to participate in PayPal, to be able to have foreigners be able to pay them in a secure way.”

Yet ultimately, what Palestinians are asking for is simply the opportunity to use PayPal.

“In Europe and in the U.S., they are talking about how companies are making profits from their data while we Palestinians, we don’t have the privilege to think about how they are using our data,” Shtaya said. “We are still fighting to have access to PayPal. So, that means that Israel is working systematically to delay or to deny Palestinian access to the digital services and to restrict our activism, our digital engagement.”

WASHINGTON IS THE PROBLEM, NOT THE SOLUTION: WHY MAHMOUD ABBAS IS SEEKING NEW ‘POWERFUL’ SPONSORS

JULY 27TH, 2022

Source

By Ramzy Baroud

To judge US President Joe Biden’s recent visit to Israel and Palestine as a ‘failure’ in terms of activating the dormant ‘peace process’ is simply a misnomer. For this statement to be accurate, Washington would have had to indicate even a nominal desire to push for negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian leadership.

Political and diplomatic platitudes aside, the current American administration has done the exact opposite as indicated in Biden’s words and actions. Alleging that the US commitment to a two-state solution “has not changed”, Biden dismissed his Administration’s interest in trying to achieve such a goal by declaring that the “ground is not ripe” for negotiations.

Considering that the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly announced its readiness to return to negotiations, one can only assume that the process is being stalled due to Israel’s intransigence. Indeed, none of Israel’s top leaders or major parties champion negotiations, or the so-called peace process, as a strategic objective.

However, Israel is not the only party to blame. The Americans, too, have made it clear that they moved on from that political sham altogether, one which they have invented and sustained for decades. In fact, the final nail in the ‘negotiating solution’ coffin was hammered by the Donald Trump Administration, which has simply backed every Israeli claim, thus shunning all rightful Palestinian demands.

The Biden Administration has been habitually blamed by Palestinians, Arabs and progressive voices within the Democratic Party for failing to reverse Trump’s prejudiced moves in favor of Israel: for example, moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, shutting down the US consulate in East Jerusalem, accepting the unfounded Israeli claims regarding its jurisdiction over illegal Jewish settlements built over occupied Palestinian land, and so on.

Even if one assumes that the Biden Administration is capable of reversing some or all of Trump’s unlawful actions, what good would that be in the greater scheme of things? Washington was, and remains, Israel’s greatest benefactor, funding its military occupation of Palestine with an annual gift of $4 billion, in addition to many other schemes, including a massive and growing budget allocated for Israel’s Iron Dome alone.

As horrific as Trump’s years were in terms of undermining a just resolution to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, Biden’s policies are but a continuation of an existing pro-Israel American legacy that surpasses that of Trump by decades.

As for Israel, the ‘peace process’ has served its purpose, which explains the infamous declaration by the CEO of the Jewish settlement council in the occupied West Bank, known as Yesha, in 2018, “I don’t want to brag that we’ve won. (…) Others would say it appears that we’re winning.”

However, Israel’s supposed ‘victory’ following three decades of a fraudulent ‘peace process’ cannot be credited to Trump alone. Biden and other top US officials have also been quite useful. While it is widely understood that US politicians support Israel out of sheer interest, for example, the need to appease the influential pro-Israel lobby in Washington DC, Biden’s, support for Israel stems from an ideological foundation. The US President was hardly bashful when he repeated, upon his arrival at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport on July 13, his famous statement, “You need not be a Jew to be Zionist.”

Consequently, it may appear puzzling to hear Palestinian officials call on the US – and Biden, specifically – to pressure Tel Aviv to end its 55-year occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

Mohannad al-Aklouk, the Palestinian representative at the Arab League, for example, repeated the same cliched and unrealistic language of expecting the US to “exert practical pressure on Israel”, “set the stage for a fair political process based on international law”, and “meet its role as a fair sponsor of the peace process”. Strangely, Mr. al-Aklouk truly believes that Washington, with its dismal track record of pro-Israeli bias, can possibly be the savior of the Palestinians.

Another Palestinian official told The New Arab that PA President Abbas was “disappointed with the results of Biden’s visit,” as, apparently, the Palestinian leader “expected that the US President would make progress in the peace process”. The same source continued to say that Abbas’ Authority is holding meetings with representatives from “powerful countries” to replace the US as sponsors of the once US-sponsored negotiations.

Abbas’ political stance is confusing. The ‘peace process’ is, after all, an American invention. It was a unique, self-serving style of diplomacy that was formulated to ensure Israel’s priorities remain at center stage of US foreign policy in the Middle East. In the Palestinian case, the ‘peace process’ only served to entrench Israeli colonization of Palestine, while degrading, or completely sidelining, legitimate Palestinian demands. This ‘process’ was also constructed with the aim of marginalizing international law as a political and legal frame of reference to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Instead of questioning the entire ‘peace process’ apparatus and apologizing for the strategic plunders of pursuing American mirages at the expense of Palestinian rights, the Palestinian Authority is still desperately clutching on to the same old fantasy, even when the US, along with Israel, have abandoned their own political farce.

Even if, supposedly, China, Russia or India would agree to be the new sponsors of the ‘peace process’, there is no reason for Tel Aviv to engage in future negotiations, when it is able to achieve its colonial objectives with full American support. Moreover, none of these countries have, for now, much leverage over Israel, therefore are unable to sustain any kind of meaningful pressure on Tel Aviv to respect international law.

Yet, the PA is still holding on, simply because the ‘peace process’ proved greatly beneficial in terms of funds, power and prestige enjoyed by a small but powerful class of Palestinians that was largely formulated after the Oslo Accords in 1993.

It is time for Palestinians to stop investing their political capital in the Biden Administration or any other administration. What they need is not a new ‘powerful’ sponsor of the ‘peace process’ but a grassroots-based struggle for freedom and liberation starting at home, one that galvanizes the energies of the Palestinian people themselves. Alas, this new paradigm cannot be achieved when the priorities of the Palestinian leadership remain fixated on the handouts and political validation of Washington and its Western allies.

AS MORE STUDENTS, FACULTY BACK BDS, AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES MAINTAIN APARTHEID TIES

MAY 31ST, 2022

A poster on a closed shop shows an Israeli milk carton and Arabic in red reads: “boycott,” during a general strike, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Palestinians across Israel and the occupied territories are on strike in a rare collective action against Israel’s policies, as the war, now in its second week, showed no signs of abating. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

JESSICA BUXBAUM

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — This month, City University of New York’s (CUNY) law school faculty unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, joining a chorus of American universities advocating for Palestinian rights. Harvard University’s Crimson newspaper endorsed the movement earlier this year, with 50 of the school’s faculty members supporting the decision. And in March, the Middle East Studies Association also voted to endorse the BDS movement.

As college campuses across the U.S. grow in their support for Palestine, their administrations – many still having relations with major Israeli universities complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestine – appear less likely to agree. With that in mind, BDS activists urge supporters to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

HOW ISRAELI UNIVERSITIES ARE COMPLICIT

As illustrated by Visualizing Palestine, a data-driven project crafting graphics on the Palestine-Israel issue, several notable Israeli universities assist the state in maintaining its oppression of Palestinians. Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University, Ariel University, Haifa University, Bar-Ilan University, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and the Technion Institute of Technology all contribute to ongoing colonial violence.

Israeli academic Aparthied

Credit | VisualizingImpact

Israeli academic Aparthied

Credit | VisualizingImpact

For instance, Tel Aviv University invites weapon manufacturers like Elbit Systems to its annual Technology Employment Fair and invites students to Elbit Systems events for the purpose of recruitment. The school has also played a role in establishing the Israeli army’s military doctrines and ethical codes and training students to provide legal defense through its army reserve program. The school’s Greenberg National Institute of Forensic Medicine is currently keeping 63 Palestinian corpses in a medical lab freezer as part of Israel’s policy of withholding bodies to use as bargaining chips in future negotiations.

Technion also works with arms developers, partnering with Elbit Systems and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems on research projects. Technion, Ben-Gurion, and Bar-Ilan all participated in building a humanoid robot with funding provided by the Israeli and U.S. defense departments. Bar-Ilan and Technion also collaborate with the Israeli military to develop equipment used in executing home demolitions.

Hebrew University coordinates with the Israeli police in harassing and surveilling nearby Palestinian communities. Haifa University hosts a program training students on how to become “digital advocates for Israel.” And Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University, Ben-Gurion, and Haifa University offered benefits and scholarships to students who participated in the military assault on Gaza in 2014.

These universities are deeply entwined in Israel’s apartheid, making their American partners also indirectly complicit.

AMERICAN ACADEMIA AND ISRAELI APARTHEID

Despite growing calls from student activists for their schools to support the BDS movement, American universities continue to collaborate with Israel.

“The university is putting itself at risk of importing the racist policies of the Israeli state into university campuses because of the collaboration that’s required,” Nasreen Abd Elal, information designer at Visualizing Palestine, told MintPress News. Abd Elal was referring to Columbia University’s dual degree program with Tel Aviv University, which was launched in 2020. She was involved in the student campaign against it at Columbia.

Columbia isn’t the only American school linked to complicit Israeli universities, though. Many of the U.S.’ leading universities coordinate with Israeli institutions. The following schools have study-abroad exchange programs or research partnerships with Tel Aviv University, in addition to Columbia and CUNY:

Technion and Cornell partnered together to create the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute in 2011. Washington University of St. Louis partners with Technion through its McDonnell International Scholars Academy. The University of Illinois partners with both Tel Aviv and Hebrew University through its research center, Discovery Partners Institute. In 2019 Ariel University, which is located in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, announced a partnership with Florida Atlantic University.

Many of these academic institutions are also heavily invested in Israeli companies, including ColumbiaTuftsUNC, and Urbana-Champaign. Harvard grabbed headlines in April when its newspaper endorsed the BDS movement, but the school maintains investments in several companies listed on the UN’s database of companies involved in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise. These include Bookings Holdings, Expedia, General Mills, and Motorola.

While BDS campaigns across college campuses have gained momentum, to this day no American university has actually divested from Israel.

NOT JUST ACADEMIA

Schools aren’t the only ones associating with Israeli universities. Several American companies also have ties.

Technion has partnered with American corporations Google, IBM, Intel, Nvidia, KLA, Amazon, Medtronic, Cisco, Marvell, and Cadence Design Systems. IBM has also participated in events with Ariel University, according to the research center Who Profits from the OccupationSoftware company PTC began collaborating with Technion on a research and development center in 2021.

BGN Technologies, Ben-Gurion’s technology transfer company, established its Advanced Technologies Park. The park’s tenants include American firms dbMotion and Oracle. BGN Technologies also works with American entities the Georgia Institute of Technology, Nexant, Delek US, Duquesne Light Company, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, and the MITRE Corporation, through its joint consortium related to developing cyber protection infrastructure.

And the Cleveland Clinic Foundation entered into an academic cooperation agreement with the Hebrew University in 2017.

SUPPRESSING PALESTINIAN ACADEMIC FREEDOM

BDS resolutions in academia aren’t passing at a record or even significant rate, but Abd Elal says the administrative reaction to those that have passed demonstrates the movement is working:

The instinctual response of administrators tends to come out swinging in opposition saying, “We’ll never commit to divestment.“ But the fact they feel obliged to respond is provoking that confrontation. Students and faculty are seeing how the university will throw out the democratic mandate because of their interest in maintaining good relationships with their investors.”

Abd Elal added that these campaigns have managed to garner a groundswell of support, and that, in itself, is powerful. “There have been significant strides made in building solidarity on campus and getting people to commit to not going to these institutions and putting pressure on the administration to end [the agreements],” she said.

The call for an academic boycott goes beyond the institutional level, however. “The Israeli state and occupation marginalize Palestinian students and universities and restrict access of international scholars and students to Palestinian universities, which is a significant threat to academic freedom,” Abd Elal said.

In February, the Israeli Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGATpublished new instructions on foreign entry into the West Bank. These guidelines included a swath of new restrictions for individuals wishing to learn or work at Palestinian universities. Foreign lecturers must hold a doctorate and can only teach in certain fields. COGAT will permit only 150 foreign students at Palestinian universities each year and can limit the fields of study open to them.

As detailed above, many American universities have academic agreements with Israeli universities. Yet promoting a free exchange of ideas between Israeli and American academics tends to ignore the crippling hold Israel has on Palestinian education.

Abd Elal explained that Visualizing Palestine’s graphic wasn’t meant to just describe how Israeli universities are complicit in apartheid, but also how the Israeli state has an interest in suppressing Palestinian academic freedom. “The occupation really cuts off Palestinians from the academic community,” she said. “So for that reason, the academic boycott is a key way of standing in solidarity with our academic peers.”

Feature photo | Nasser Nasser | AP

Jessica Buxbaum is a Jerusalem-based journalist for MintPress News covering Palestine, Israel, and Syria. Her work has been featured in Middle East Eye, The New Arab and Gulf News.

Sabbagh: Syria Spared No Efforts to Stand by the Palestinians to Restore their Rights

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

23 June، 2022
New York, SANA

Syria’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Bassam Sabbagh, reiterated that Syria spared no effort to stand by the Palestinians in their struggle to restore their occupied lands and their legitimate rights.

In a statement at the UNRWA Donations Conference, Sabbagh said “Palestine was and still the central cause of Syria, for which Syria spared no effort to stand by the brotherly Palestinians, especially their right to establish their independent state on their land whose capital is Jerusalem, and for Bassam Sabbagh to obtain their rights to return to their homeland in accordance with international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, foremost of which is Resolution No. 194 of 1948.

Ambassador Sabbagh indicated that “terrorism’s destruction of a large part of the infrastructure and vital sectors in a number of Palestinian camps calls for an urgent need to rehabilitate these sectors, which we hope will take place as soon as possible, including schools and health care centers, and UNRWA restores its headquarters and offices to resume managing activities through them”.

Fedaa al-Rhayiah/Amer dawa

The Palestinian ‘Work & See’ Equation Pushes Most ‘Israelis’ to Exodus, Sets Palestine on Track of Liberation

May 31, 2022

By Mohammad Youssef

The so-called ‘Flag March’ organized by the Zionist settlers in the occupied holy city of al-Quds under the protection of the ‘Israeli’ occupation army did not achieve its goals.

The ‘Israelis’ wanted to show their sovereignty over the holy city. They sent thousands of settlers holding the flags of their Zionist entity to show their hegemony and control. Nonetheless, the only thing this parade proved was the deterioration of the ‘Israeli’ entity and the determination of the Palestinian people to hold to their historical right in their land.

The Palestinian people confrontation of the parade was able to send a strong message that there is always an opposite reaction and complete readiness by the Palestinian people to defend their land and protect their sacred right.

Scores of Palestinians were wounded in the confrontations against the ‘Israeli’ enemy soldiers and the settlers, many others, especially the youths were kidnapped by the Zionists.

The ‘Israelis’ have resorted to a new tactic by exposing their criminal attacks on cameras.

Because they know they have an international, namely western and particularly American cover, they think they have immunity to do what they like to preserve their tight grip over the place.

However, the Palestinian resistance forces, with their deep and continuous organized coordination, have shown a greater level of seriousness and prudent responsibility. The harmony among the different resistance factions has caused a real sabotage to the ‘Israeli’ plans.

‘Israel’ that has always wanted to prove to the world and to the Arab people its might and its capability to conquer them in no time, is striving now to prove its capability to hold and consolidate its authority over the different quarters of the city of al-Quds.

This is very telling actually about the continuation of the dwindling and descending ‘Israeli’ capabilities.

In the literature of the struggle against the ‘Israeli’ occupation, there had been a time when the Palestinians and Arabs fought against what used to be called the Bigger ‘Israel’, this used to signify the ‘Israeli’ intentions and plans to occupy the lands from the Nile River in Egypt to the Euphrates River in Iraq.

This expansionist plan of the ‘Israeli’ entity has totally failed and collapsed, thanks to the continuous Arab, particularly Palestinian and Lebanese resistance, namely Hezbollah.

When the ‘Israelis’ failed to achieve their plan of the Bigger ‘Israel’, they turned to an alternative which is the Greater ‘Israel’. Again the ‘Israeli’ leaders have experienced the bitterest taste of defeat. With resolve and determination of the Arab people and their support to the resistance forces, we can simply and proudly say that the Axis of Resistance, which stretches from Palestine to Lebanon and Syria reaching to Iraq, Iran and Yemen, made this second goal a complete failure to the Tel Aviv regime.

There had never been a time in the ‘Israeli’ entity’s history that it was in a position of strategic confusion than the present time. The situation now to ‘Israel’ is dim grim, it is a time of strategic uncertainty. The majority of the ‘Israelis’ have lost faith in their government and army. They have a deep sense of insecurity that cannot be treated easily. They are questioning the basics, and the use about their presence in Palestine. Thus is mounting and it is going to grow bigger and bigger till it becomes a big crisis that will push most of them to an exodus.

This will surely happen, the time is ticking in the Palestinian rhythm. The result will not be anything else but a total victory. It is an equation of wait and see. But the Palestinians, due to their habit of creativity, have turned it to an equation of work and see. That is why we will not wait long before we see, the liberation of Palestine from river to sea.

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74 Years of Historical Injustice: The Creation of “Israel”

18 May 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Hussam AbdelKareem 

The British colonialists viewed the Zionist movement as a tool for their imperial designs and hence the Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917.

74 Years of Historical Injustice: The Creation of “Israel”

“Al-Nakba” is the Arabic term used to commemorate the creation of the “State of Israel” on May 15, 1948. “Al Nakba” literally means “catastrophe”, which best describes how Arab peoples feel about the creation of the Hebrew “state” in Palestine at the expense of its legitimate owners; the Palestinian Arabs.

In 1948, the principles of right and justice were, literally, butchered at the hands of the Zionist gangs and militias known as Haganah, which later turned into the “Israeli Army”. The Jewish Zionists in Palestine, who emigrated mainly from Eastern Europe, were preparing for this day for decades. The Zionists knew very well that they were not welcomed in Palestine and will never be accepted by Arab nations, so conquering the land by force was their sole path to achieving their goals in Palestine. War with the Arabs, in the Zionists’ eyes, was inevitable. Extensive military planning and preparations were undertaken by the Zionists in Palestine since their early arrivals at the beginning of the 20th century and particularly after Great Britain took over Palestine at the end of World War I.

The British colonialists viewed the Zionist movement as a tool for their imperial designs and hence the Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917, confirming Great Britain’s commitment to establishing a “Jewish homeland” in Palestine. The Zionists were receiving full support from the colonial power, which was true to its pledge. Waves of Jewish immigrants arrived from Europe to strengthen the Zionist project in Palestine, and by 1947, when the Palestine partition plan was passed at the UN, the Zionists had a 75,000 semi-army force, which was further aided by another 20,000 Jewish militants in the following year when they waged their war on the Arabs in Palestine in 1948. When the British withdrew their forces from Palestine in 1948, they handed their military installations, camps, and equipment to the Haganah, thus leaving behind them a fully armed and well-trained Jewish army ready to fight the Arabs in Palestine who were practically deprived of weapons and even the slightest means of defense.

The Zionists, who were owning a mere 6% of the land in Palestine in 1948, launched their “war of independence” against the Arabs, which ended in declaring their Jewish “state of Israel” after conquering about 80% of historical Palestine by force and bloodshed. The war was brutal, and the Zionists exhibited utmost forms of savagery and cruelty. Many massacres against civilian Arabs were committed in several cities and villages in Palestine. In one of the most horrible massacres, 254 civilian villagers, including women and children, were killed in cold blood at the hands of Zionist terrorists in the town of Der Yassin, near Jerusalem. Other brutal crimes were also committed in Haifa, Tantura, and Lydd, and the Zionist terror campaign resulted in about 800,000 Palestinian Arabs fleeing their homes and lands and becoming refugees in neighboring Arab countries, namely Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. Total destruction was inflicted by the Haganah on 531 Arab villages all over Palestine. About 85% of the Arabs who lived within the borders of the to-be “State of Israel” were forcefully expelled. It was ethnic cleansing in its ugliest forms.  

The world was watching while these Zionist crimes were happening in Palestine and did practically nothing except some relief efforts and humanitarian aid. Even when “Israel” officially decided to confiscate the Palestinian refugees’ homes, lands, and properties in 1949, the UN did not bother to intervene. Actually, it was no surprise, as the UN was under the domination of the Great Powers of the post-World War II era, particularly the UK and USA, both supporting the new Jewish “state” which was planted in the heart of the Arab world.

After the 1948 war ended, “Israel’ firmly refused to allow the Palestinian refugees to return to their country and demanded they be settled permanently in the other Arab countries. Furthermore, “Israel” refused to admit to the crimes committed by its troops and even declined to acknowledge its responsibility for uprooting the Palestinian Arabs and turning most of them into stateless refugees in miserable camps. The Israeli narrative about the Palestinian refugee problem is that they “voluntarily” left their homes and lands! And “Israel” refused to pay any financial compensation to the refugees whose properties were illegally confiscated and taken over by Jewish settlers. In 1967, another wave of displaced Palestinian refugees was added to the 1948 one to make the problem even worse. Again, the world did nothing apart from some expressions of sorrow for the humanitarian suffering of the refugees. With the help of its patron, the US, “Israel” escaped any accountability for its crimes and actions.

Seven decades have passed, with successive generations, and the status of the Palestinian refugees is still the same; not allowed to return to their historical homeland, not compensated, and not recognized as victims of historical injustice!

“Al-Nakba” will remain the term to be used to describe what happened on May 15, 1948, as long as the Palestinian suffering at the hands of the Israeli occupation continues. It’s a shame that the world allows such a tragedy to go on this long. It’s a shame that “Israel” is left without accountability.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Iraqi Parliament Completes First Reading of a Law That Prohibits Normalization with the ‘Israeli’ Entity

May 12, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies

The Iraqi parliament on Wednesday set a date for the first reading of a proposed law “prohibiting normalization and establishing relations with the Zionist entity.”

Well-informed parliamentary sources in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, revealed to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the committee tasked with preparing a draft law on “criminalizing normalization with the Zionist entity” had finished writing the law.

An official in the legal department of the Iraqi parliament told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that “the law was completed by a legal committee affiliated with the Sadrist bloc in the Parliament, and it includes 10 main articles.” He explained that “the head of the Sadrist bloc in the House of Representatives, Hassan Al-Adhari, is scheduled to hand the law over to the parliament’s presidency, to start the procedures for the first and second readings, before putting it to a vote for approval, after Parliament’s decision to extend the current legislative term for another month.”

The official pointed out that “the most important paragraphs of the law about the criminalization of any kind of political, security, economic, artistic, cultural, sports and scientific cooperation or dealings, and under any activity or title whatsoever, with the Zionist entity.” He added that the law affirms “that Iraq is in a state of war with the occupying power, and all that is issued by individuals, institutions, groups, movements, or parties, that violates this concept, in a way that supports the existence of the occupation, materially or morally, falls within the crimes of high treason that There are sentences between death and life imprisonment, according to the amended Penal Code No. 111 of 1969.

And he indicated that the law also deals with “the prohibition of dealing with companies and institutions that deal with, support or are associated with this entity,” noting that the law “contains important paragraphs about the penalties imposed in case of violation, and there is political consensus to pass it easily.”

McGill University Administration Amps up Anti-Palestinian Campaign

May 7, 2022

McGill University is silencing Silence Palestine Solidarity. (Poster: via BDS Coalition)

By Yves Engler

 – Yves Engler is the author of Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid and a number of other books. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle. Visit his website: yvesengler.com.

The McGill administration and Israel lobby have waged a multiyear campaign against student democracy and Palestinian solidarity and recently threatened the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) financial arrangement after students voted overwhelmingly for the “Palestine Solidarity Policy”.

A month ago, 71% of students voted for a resolution that commits SSMU to take a stand against Israel’s system of racial discrimination. The resolution called for a host of measures including SSMU divesting from and boycotting “corporations and institutions complicit in settler-colonial apartheid against Palestinians.”
In response, B’nai B’rith released a statement labeling “SSMU’s behavior…antisemitic”. It “called on McGill University to immediately cease funding SSMU until it rescinds this bogus referendum result.”

The administration responded by threatening to terminate its Memorandum of Agreement with SSMU, which regulates fees, use of name and other matters between the university and student union. The administration claimed the Palestine Solidarity Policy encourages “a culture of ostracization and disrespect due to students’ identity, religious or political beliefs.” But the resolution does not mention any ethnicity or nationality.

The administration’s bid to portray their student body as anti-Jewish is not new. As students have sought to express support for the long-oppressed Palestinians, they’ve repeatedly made similar claims.

Between 2014 and 2016 there were three votes inspired by the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement at biannual SSMU general assemblies. Fearing students at the prestigious institution would support BDS, the Israel lobby went into overdrive. Among a slew of pressure tactics, they got Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau to tweet that “the BDS movement, like Israeli Apartheid Week, has no place on Canadian campuses. As a McGill alum, I’m disappointed. Enough is Enough.”

In February 2016 a motion mandating the student union support some BDS demands passed the union’s largest ever general assembly. But after the McGill administration, Montreal’s English media and pro-Israel Jewish groups blitzed students the online confirmation vote failed. The resolution’s constitutionality was subsequently challenged by Zionists who sought to have SSMU’s Judicial Board outlaw any motion that expressed support for BDS.

Students challenged the effort to block their ability to collectively challenge Israeli apartheid. An October 2017 challenge of the SSMU Judicial Board’s decision to declare a BDS resolution unconstitutional prompted Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee activist Noah Lew to smear other students. After failing to be re-elected to the Board of Directors Lew claimed he was “blocked from participating in student government because of my Jewish identity and my affiliations with Jewish organizations.” Lew’s claim received international coverage and McGill Principal Suzanne Fortier sent out two emails to all students and faculty concerning the matter.

But an investigation by the administration found no basis for Lew’s claim.

The principal form of racism on display on this subject is the university power structure’s deep-seated anti-Palestinianism. As I previously detailed, McGill administrators openly associated with the Jewish National Fund, an explicitly racist organization that excludes Palestinian citizens of Israel from living on land stolen from Palestinians.

Fortunately, students have persevered in campaigning for Palestinian rights despite the smears, underhanded moves and outside attacks. The large margin that voted for the recent Palestine Solidarity Policy suggests that support for Palestinian rights is growing.

But Israel lobby and administration pressure led SSMU’s unelected judicial board to reject the constitutionality of the Palestine Solidarity Policy. They also impeached the elected president of the student union, Darshan Daryanan, in part due to his sympathy toward student democracy and Palestinian rights.

Happily, there’s some pushback. Students have organized rallies and outside groups have petitioned the administration. Rock legend Roger Waters, author Yann Martel, former MP Libby Davies, author Chris Hedges and 200 others signed a recent public letter criticizing the administration’s threats as anti-democratic and anti-Palestinian. Signed by 40 organizations, the letter also applauds McGill students for pushing their union to fulfill its stated commitment to leadership in “matters of human rights and social justice.”

It’s important for outside forces to publicly embarrass McGill’s administration, pressure wobbly student representatives and embolden the student organizers driving the struggle on campus. As the Israel lobby fully understands, the struggle for Palestinian rights runs through student activism.

“Israel” or the wolf disguised as a sheep

29 Mar 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Mikhael Marzuqa 

“Israel” tried to disguise itself as an honest mediator between Russia and Ukraine, but honesty is a trait that is hard to come by once the occupation’s history is full of atrocities and war crimes.

Chile and other Latin-American countries that subscribe to the UN Charter and its resolutions, as well as international law organizations, including the ICJ, must commit themselves to their own actions

The Russian-Ukrainian conflict comes to revalue the need for the rule of International Law and a renewal of the commitment of the entire international community to subscribe to it.

The defense of the sovereignty of Ukraine revives the neglected relevance of promoting the sovereignty of Palestine based mainly on:

– The withdrawal of the Israeli army from the Palestinian territories declared in resolution 181 of the UN General Assembly of November 29, 1947, that “recommended” the partition of Palestine into two States, but without “Israel” allowing the consolidation of the Palestinian State.

– Allow the return of Palestinian refugees expelled from their homes by “Israel”, according to resolutions 194 of December 11, 1948, and 3236 of November 22, 1974, recognizing the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people.

– Israeli withdrawal from Occupied Palestine, including the Eastern part of occupied al-Quds, is based on Resolution 2334 of December 23, 2016, of the UN Security Council, which emanates from this body and is binding.

– End of colonialism and Israeli apartheid considered a form of racial discrimination according to Resolution 3379 of the UN General Assembly in 1975.

– End of the colonial expansion based on settlements of settlers brought from other nations to Palestine, based on Resolutions 446 of March 22, 1979 and 2334 of December 23, 2016 of the UN Security Council (both binding resolutions).

– Demolition of the Separation Wall or “Shame” that penetrates into Palestinian territory expropriating more territories, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice on July 9, 2004

Since 1948, and even before, with the action of the Zionist terrorist organizations, which later became the Israeli army, “Israel” has systematically invaded Palestine, expelling its original population, periodically bombing and committing crimes against the civilian population, selectively assassinating the political leaders of the Palestinian people including their former president Yasser Arafat, demolished their homes and farm fields, seized water sources, turned the West Bank into a huge concentration camp, violently expelled the residents of al-Quds and other Palestinian cities, changed the names and in general the legal status of the territory, prohibited free expression and the operation of NGOs for the defense of Human Rights, converted Gaza into the largest extermination camp and, ultimately, undermined the possibilities of installing a Free and democratic Palestinian state as declared by the national charter of the Organization for the Liberation of Palestine.

It is ironic to see how “Israel” first offered itself as the venue for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine and currently offers itself as a mediator since it is the state most condemned by the UN and international human rights organizations and one of the key suppliers of weapons to Ukraine. Therefore, ending this international hypocrisy is imperative today, since we run the risk of widening the lock gates of more flagrant inconsistencies and violations of the norms that regulate coexistence among peoples.

Chile and other Latin-American countries that subscribe to the UN Charter and its resolutions, as well as international law organizations, including the ICJ, must commit themselves to their own actions, as well as promote in the regional economic and political organizations of Latin America and The Caribbean, initiatives that lead to oblige “Israel” to cease its violations, respect international laws and adopt UN resolutions without conditions.

It is appropriate that those who have an international tradition to respect and promote international human rights. Along these lines, they are compelled to adhere to the reports of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International and promote the existence of all the facilities for the investigation of the International Criminal Court on war crimes committed by “Israel”.
 
It is important that the Latin American countries deploy a diplomatic crusade at the international level so that the United States, Great Britain and the European Union, mainly, are consistent between their speech and their international action so that, just as they have deployed innumerable and forceful sanctions against Russia, similarly condemn and promote condemnation and similar sanctions against the Israeli regime so that it respects international law. It is pertinent that governments that set themselves up as defenders of democracy, do not jeopardize their declared values ​​of respect for peace, justice, sovereignty, and self-determination, that they assume the moral obligation of consequence between their words and actions and honor the reputation of the states those they represent so as not to be condemned by history as only defenders of interests of power and hegemony.

Promoting the peaceful and respectful coexistence of the legality that the international community has imposed on itself is today transcendent for the world that we are bequeathing to future generations.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

The Israeli Pogrom

1 February 2022)

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Israel’s Violent Squatters

On 21 January 2022, an organized gang of over a dozen masked Zionist “settlers” from the Givat Ronen outpost on the Occupied West Bank attacked Palestinians planting trees near the village of Burin. There were seven Israeli Jewish supporters with the Palestinians. The “settlers” attacked them as well.

I place the term “settler” in quotation marks because what we are really talking about are not settlers but squatters. I will use the term squatter except where settler appears in a quotation.

As is normal in cases of Israeli squatter violence, the Israeli authorities were slow to arrive at the scene of the attack and, subsequently, made no arrests. The Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev explained that “until the army gets there it takes time. Until the [Israeli] police were sent it took time and therefore … the moment the [Israeli] police arrive at the site, the terrorists are no longer there.” The Palestinian police, for their part, could not respond because they are “forbidden from reacting to acts of violence by Israeli settlers.” One can just imagine the army and the police rate of response if it was the Palestinians attacking the squatters. The double standard is obvious.

However, there was something novel in Bar-Lev’s statement. He said that “in my view” the attackers constituted “a terror group.” This designation apparently had nothing to do with the attack on Palestinians, but rather was warranted because the attackers had “targeted and harmed Israeli citizens.”

This might well be something like a “false flag” statement on the part of the public security minister. It was meant to reassure the Europeans and Americans who are concerned by the violence of the Israeli squatter movement. The minister subsequently told a U.S. official that the Israeli government takes the problem seriously and “is taking steps to tackle the phenomenon.” This is almost certainly a lie. Prime Minister Bennett has called squatter violence “insignificant,” and several of Bar-Lev’s fellow ministers criticized him for promoting a “distorted narrative.”

Squatter violence goes back at least into the 1980s. In 1983, an 11-year-old girl from Nablus was murdered by Jewish squatters. “In their defense, the chief rabbi of the Sephardic community reportedly cited a Talmudic text justifying killing an enemy on occasions when one may see from a child’s perspective that he or she will grow up to become your enemy.” One can imagine that a similar logic could justify, in the eyes of some Palestinians, the killing of every Israeli Jewish child.

Subsequently, “in the 21st century, there has been a steady increase in violence and terror perpetrated by Jewish settlers against Palestinians.” In 2008, the Israeli army command in the West Bank acknowledged that “a hard core of a few hundred activists were involved in violence against the Palestinians.” Though the army said it planned to address the situation, the problem persisted and grew worse. In 2011, the Israeli government again acknowledged “a growing problem with extremists.” Again, little was done about it. The United Nations and organizations such as Human Rights Watch have repeatedly voiced concern that the number of attacks were growing. The latter noted that “In many cases, settlers abuse Palestinians in front of Israeli soldiers or police with little interference from the authorities.”

Here is suggested a reason for the lack of any crackdown on squatter violence. It goes on with the tacit consent of the government. To quote B’Tselem, Israel’s main human rights organization, “Israel has been using settler violence as a major informal tool to drive Palestinians from farming and pasture lands in the occupied West Bank.”

Part II—Pogrom

What is the appropriate historical term for “informal,” supposedly “unofficial,” violence nonetheless carried out with the tacit approval of a government? How about pogrom? In this case, we can also call it an obscene embarrassment for all Jews who value human rights.

Pogrom is originally a Russian word which means “to wreak havoc.” Traditionally, it was and continues to be a weapon of intergroup discord, where one group seeks to harm or evict an opposing group of different ethnic or religious makeup. The term came to characterize a government-approved tactic of czarist Russia of the 19th and early 20th centuries. In that case, the traditional victims were Jews.

It would seem that successive Israeli governments have used the same tactic to encourage squatter violence against the Palestinians on the West Bank. The endgame here is not difficult to understand. As B’Tselem explains it, the aim of the Israeli government is to clear Judea and Samaria (the biblical names for the West Bank) of non-Jews. The Israeli army has already confiscated around 42% of this territory, and over time, an informal acceptance at all government levels was reached to allow Israeli squatter violence to help force the Palestinians off of the remaining land. The dismissive reaction of Bar-Lev’s government colleagues to the attack described above is the latest example of this consent.

Part III—A Reversal of Roles

It is painful for progressive Jews to delve into and try to explain why other Jews actively or passively support such tactics. The Zionists have spent a lot of time and energy trying to convince the world that, despite the fact that Israel is ranked the eighth most powerful country in the world, they are the innocent victims of, and also mortally threatened by, Palestinian anti-Semitic violence and hatred. To the extent that they, and the rest of the world, accept this narrative, Israeli tactics can be accepted as both defensive and warranted. But this narrative does not ring true. In fact, there has been a reversal of roles.

Most Zionists see the Palestinians as clones of those who persecuted Jews over the past several hundred years. The Palestinians also stand in the way of the territorial ambitions of the “Jewish state”—territorial ambitions which, once fulfilled, will supposedly provide a secure sanctuary for all the world’s Jews. Anyone standing in the way of this goal becomes, ipso facto, an anti-Semite and, as such, they can be seen as enemies of the Jews. In the case of the Palestinians, they may appear as replicas of the East European and Russian anti-Semites who carried out pogroms—kept contained only by Israeli control.

The suggestion that the Israelis are reversing roles here is sacrilege for the Zionists. Yet the evidence bears this out. Starting in 1917, it was mostly East European Jews who, with British assistance, invaded Arab Palestine and took control of ever increasing amounts of that territory. It is Israeli Jews who now seek to purge the land of non-Jews. Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, harassed in their towns and villages, now play the role the Jews of Europe used to play—victims of pogroms. Some well-placed Israelis recognize the problem. In 2016, Yair Golan, deputy chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, told a public gathering in Israel, “If there is one thing that frightens me about the memory of the Holocaust, it is identifying the revolting trends that occurred in Europe as a whole 70 to 80 years ago … and finding evidence of those trends here, among us, in 2016.” Israeli Jews brave enough to recognize and speak of this reversal of roles have always been rare, and they are getting rarer still: progressive Israelis are emigrating and rightwing governments have become the norm.

Part IV—Conclusion

It must be over twenty years since I spoke to this issue at a public presentation at Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania. I had been invited to do so by a young untenured history professor. I had told him that it was a dangerous move, but for him, it was a matter of academic freedom and integrity. For me, it was part of a need to tell the truth about the Palestinian plight.

It was a full house, certainly over one hundred people. I gave a defense of Palestinian rights within a fact-based historical context. The real trouble came when someone in the audience suggested a comparison between Israeli behavior and that of the Nazis. I said that the comparison was false. The Israelis had neither set up concentration camps nor organized a technologically based slaughter of their enemies. However, what they had done was pushed Palestinians into ghettos and allowed for periodic pogroms. The shocked gasps of the Zionists in the audience were audible. They walked out en masse and my host never got tenure. Yet the pogroms have become more frequent and more dangerous, at once making life more miserable for the Palestinians and perverting the ethical standards Jews have endorsed particularly since the Holocaust. Learning bad habits from their past, the Zionists have made the tactic of pogrom their own.

Artists boycott Sydney Festival 2022 over Israeli funding

9 Jan 2022

Net Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen

In response to the Israeli occupation attempting to art-wash its crimes, various acts boycott the Sydney Festival 2022 in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Protesters wave Palestinian flags during a demonstration against “Israel” at the Town Hall in Sydney on May 15, 2021 (AFP)

30 acts, including bands, individual artists, companies, and panel members, canceled their performances or attendance at Sydney Festival 2022 that kicked off in Australia on Thursday.

The cancellations came over Israeli funding of the festival and the festival’s support for “Israel” while ignoring the regime’s oppression of Palestinians on their indigenous land.

The festival’s board accepted some $14,300 in a donation from the Israeli embassy in Australia, which were given in support of a show based on work by an Israeli choreographer and an Israeli dance company.

The Israeli occupation’s donation earned it a listing as a “star partner” on the website’s festival.

Artists withdrew to boycott the Israeli occupation’s crimes against Palestine and Palestinians, highlighting the occupation’s apartheid practices toward Palestinians.

Those who withdrew include Belvoir theatre production of Black Brass, comedians Tom Ballard and Nazeem Hussain, and other local bands, dancers, and performers.

Ballard explained that his decision to withdraw came “after listening to the calls to boycott the Sydney Festival over its decision to accept funding from and partner with the Embassy of Israel.”

“I love to tell jokes,” he said, “But standing up for human rights and standing against a system of apartheid is more important,” calling on the festival to review its decision and return the funding in question.

Musical artist Marcus Whale announced his withdrawal on Monday, clarifying that it was a boycott.

“The Israeli Embassy […] collaborates with Western cultural institutions to pain Israel as a liberal democracy on one hand, while enforcing brutal occupation and apartheid with the other,” the young artist tweeted.

Some acts did not fully withdraw from the festival, but they announced they would be participating independently, i.e. without sponsorship, and those include the acclaimed play Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner and Return to Sender.

“In light of Sydney Festival seeking and accepting funding from the Israeli embassy, Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner has no other choice but to withdraw and boycott the festival,” the cast said.

“We will not be coerced into complicity,” they added, asserting that they came to this decision together to “stand in solidarity with the Palestinian cause and with all Indigenous People’s right to sovereignty and liberation,” they added in an Instagram post while calling “Israel” “another oppressive settler-colony.”

Despite the artist boycott, the Sydney Festival board said it was keeping the show sponsored by the occupation, claiming it “collectively affirms” its “respect for the right of all groups to protest and raise concerns.”

The Palestinian Justice Movement Sydney had called for a boycott in December upon knowing that the board accepted the donation in May. The campaign said the festival was contributing to the normalization of an apartheid state.

Hamas: Resistance Only Way to Extract Our Rights; Its Flame Will Never Fade

December 8, 2021

By Staff, Agencies

On the 34th anniversary of the First Intifada [uprising], the Palestinian resistance movement “Hamas” affirmed that the flame of the resistance will not fade, stressing the continuity of resisting the ‘Israeli’ occupation.

The resistance group said in a press statement on Wednesday, that the comprehensive resistance, especially the armed one, and the unity of our Palestinian people behind a unified struggle program and a strategy of confrontation with the occupation, is the only and the shortest way to extracting our rights and liberating our land, and detainees.

Hamas added that the occupied city of al-Quds and the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque are the core of the conflict with the Zionist entity, noting that “our people with their valiant resistance will remain an impenetrable dam to protect and defend them by all means.”

Hamas underscored that the detainees languishing in the ‘Israeli’ occupation jails are an integral part of the Palestinian people and that their liberation is a national responsibility that Hamas puts at the forefront of its priorities, and as the resistance excelled in fulfilling its promise to the freed detainees, it is able today to renew its loyalty to the remaining ones in an honorable deal that frees them all.

Hamas renewed its rejection of all settlement schemes and projects of absurd negotiation with the occupation, and security coordination with it, which has proven to be unsuccessful in protecting our people and extracting their rights. Rather, it opened the way for the occupation to expand settlements, escalate aggression, Judaize sanctities, and besiege our people.

It also renewed its rejection and condemnation of all normalization agreements with the ‘Israeli’ occupation entity, and efforts to establish relations with it, and affirmed that these relations are a stab in the back of our people, and a blow to the depth, security, and stability of our nation and that the only beneficiary of it is the occupation.

Hamas further called on the people of the Arab and Islamic nations to confront all forms of normalization with the common enemy of the entire nation.

In its statement, Hamas called on our Arab and Islamic nation, leaders, governments, parties, organizations, and peoples, to act effectively and to strengthen activities and projects of support and solidarity with the Palestinian people and their just cause, in defense of themselves, and protection of their land and holy sites, until the end of the occupation and the liberation of occupied Palestine.

Amazon, Google Employees: Crimes against Palestinians to Get ’Deadlier’ After Tech Giants Contract with ’Israel

October 13, 2021

Amazon, Google Employees: Crimes against Palestinians to Get ’Deadlier’ After Tech Giants Contract with ’Israel

By Staff, Agencies

Over 1,600 employees at tech giants Amazon and Google have urged their employers to pull out of a contract under which they will sell “dangerous technology” to the Zionist entity and its military and cut all ties with the regime over its atrocities against the Palestinian people.

Initially, more than 90 workers at Google and more than 300 at Amazon anonymously signed an open letter published by the Guardian newspaper on Tuesday, demanding the termination of Project Nimbus, which will provide cloud services for the Tel Aviv regime.

“The technology our companies have contracted to build will make the systematic discrimination and displacement carried out by the ‘Israeli’ military and government even crueler and deadlier for Palestinians,” the employees said in the letter.

“We condemn Amazon and Google’s decision to sign the Project Nimbus contract with the ‘Israeli’ military and government, and ask them to reject this contract and future contracts that will harm our users,” they said.

They underlined the need for the two companies to stop contracting with any militarized organization in the US and beyond.

Project Nimbus is a $1.2bn contract awarded last April to Google and Amazon, which succeeded in beating out bids from Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM, to provide cloud services for the ‘Israeli’ occupation regime and its military.

There are fears that the technology would allow for further illegal surveillance of Palestinians and facilitate the expansion of the Zionist regime’s illegal settlements across the occupied territories.

“This contract was signed the same week that the ‘Israeli’ military attacked Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, killing nearly 250 people, including more than 60 children,” said the “employees of conscience,” referring to the ‘Israeli’ regime’s latest war on Gaza which occurred in May and lasted for 11 consecutive days.

“We cannot look the other way, as the products we build are used to deny Palestinians their basic rights, force Palestinians out of their homes and attack Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, actions that have prompted war crime investigations by the international criminal court.”

In another opinion piece posted hours later on NBC, two workers at the tech giants updated the number of signatories, saying that nearly 1,000 anonymous signatories at Amazon and more than 600 at Google have joined the campaign.

“Since we have no ability to guarantee that the technology we build won’t be used to commit human rights abuses against Palestinians, cutting the contracts entirely is the only ethical option left for our companies,” Gabriel Schubiner, software engineer and researcher at Google, and Bathool Syed, content strategist at Amazon, wrote in the article.

The two employees said they agree with the two companies’ stated commitment to ethics, but also pointed to their hypocrisy. “We want to work for companies that do more than pay lip service to ethical business practices,” they noted.

“Instead, our companies signed contracts that they knew would be highly controversial, yet relinquishes their ability to enforce their own publicly stated principles while attempting to deny workers our say in how our labor is used.”

Family Separation Law: Israel’s Demographic War on Palestine Intensifies

July 14, 2021

Palestinians waiting at Qalandia Checkpoint (Photo: Patrick Edgar, Supplied)

By Ramzy Baroud

When the Israeli Knesset (parliament) failed to renew what is commonly referred to as the Family Reunification Law, news reports and analyses misrepresented the story altogether. The even split of 59 MKs voting in favor of the law and 59 against it gave the erroneous impression that Israeli lawmakers are equally divided over the right of Palestinians to obtain permanent residency status or citizenship in Israel through marriage. Nothing could be further away from the truth. 

Originally passed in 2003, the Citizenship and Entry Law was effectively a ban on Palestinian marriage. Under the guise of ‘security’, the law prohibited Palestinians in the West Bank, who marry Israeli citizens, to permanently move to Israel, obtain work, permanent residency and, ultimately, citizenship. 

The law was never made permanent as it was subjected to an annual vote, which successfully renewed it 17 times, consecutively. The 18th vote, on July 6, however, ran into an obstacle. Contrary to the perception given by media coverage, those who voted against the renewal of the ban did so for purely political reasons and not out of concern for the tens of thousands of Palestinian families that have splintered and broken up since the law came into effect.

Since the ousting of former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, at the hands of his protégé, current Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, Israel’s former leader has been determined to topple Bennett’s already fragile coalition. Bennett’s government allies cobble up extreme right-wing parties, including Yamina, the party of the prime minister himself, centrist and even leftist parties, the likes of Meretz. It even hosts an Arab party, United Arab List, or Ra’am, of Mansour Abbas. A coalition of this nature is unlikely to survive long, considering Israel’s tumultuous politics, and Netanyahu – eager for an early election – will do everything in his power to facilitate what he sees as an imminent collapse.

Netanyahu’s Likud party and its allies in the opposition voted against renewing the discriminatory law to score a political point. Their justification, however, was more appalling than the law itself. The Likud wants the temporary law to become a permanent fixture, a Basic Law, to be added to dozens of other similar racially motivated laws that target the very fabric of Palestinian society. 

Welcome to Israel’s demographic war on the Palestinian people. This one-sided war is situated in the belief among Israel’s Jewish majority, that Israel’s greatest challenge is sustaining its demographic advantage which, thanks to a decided campaign of ethnic cleansing that began over seven decades ago, has been held by Jews over Palestinian Arabs. 

Israel’s main fear is not simply a decisive Palestinian majority between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea. Israel’s Jewish ruling classes are also rattled by the real possibility of the growing political influence of Israel’s Palestinian Arab constituency, and are doing everything in their power to ensure Palestinian holders of Israeli citizenship are kept at a minimum. The Citizenship and Entry Law was designed specifically to keep this population in check. 

The general elections of March 2020, in particular, provided a taste of what a doomsday scenario would look like.  Arab Israeli parties unified under the single ticket of the Joint List and emerged with 15 seats, making it the third-largest political bloc in the Israeli Knesset, after Likud and Blue and White. If Palestinian Arabs mastered this much influence, though they represent only 20% of the overall Israeli population, imagine what they could do if the demographic tide continues to shift in their favor.

For Israel, the future of Jewish majority – read: supremacy – is dependent on keeping the population equation in favor of Israeli Jews at the expense of Palestinian Arabs. Most of the laws that discriminate against Palestinians, regardless of where they reside – in fact, anywhere in the world – is motivated by this maxim.  

According to the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah), Israel’s Palestinian Arab population is targeted with 65 different government laws and regulations, which ensure Palestinian Arabs do not prosper as a community, remaining politically disempowered, socio-economically disadvantaged and constantly threatened with the loss of their residency, and even citizenship. 

Palestinians elsewhere suffer an even worse fate. For example, Palestinians living in Jerusalem, who supposedly hold permanent residency status, are subjected to different types of legal harassment, so that Jerusalem can maintain its current Jewish majority. When Israel illegally occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, the city was almost entirely Palestinian Arab. Through numerous tactics, the city’s Arab population is now an ever-shrinking minority. Worse still, in 2018 Israel passed a law that granted the Ministry of Interior the right to revoke the residency of Jerusalemites based on the murky accusation of ‘breach of loyalty’.  

The occupied West Bank and Gaza are confined, as only Israel determines who remains and who is permanently exiled. The Israeli military occupation of these regions has taken population control to a whole new level; it is almost an exact science.

This is also precisely why Israelis abhor the very discussion of the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees, for they consider it an implicit call for the ‘destruction of Israel as a Jewish state’. According to this logic, if millions of Palestinian refugees are allowed to return to their homes and lands in historic Palestine, Israel will no longer exist in its current form, as a Jewish state, but will become a democratic state for all of its citizens, instead.

What is likely to happen next is that Israel’s Interior Ministry will continue to find caveats in Israel’s ever-flexible laws to block the reunification of Palestinian families, until the Knesset officially renews the Citizenship and Entry Law or, worse, make it permanent. Either way, Israel’s demographic war on Palestinians is likely to intensify in the future. Considering that it is a war that cannot rationally be won, Israel is likely to delve deeper into the abyss of apartheid.

As Israel continues to experiment with controlling the Palestinian population, it would be shameful if the international community continued to remain silent. This moral outrage must end. 

 – Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

It’s Time to End the ‘Special Relationship’ With ‘Israel’ – FP

28/05/2021

Source

It’s Time to End the ‘Special Relationship’ With ‘Israel’ - FP

By Staff, Agencies

In an opinion piece published by the Foreign Policy, Stephen M. Walt said the United States should no longer give ‘Israel’ unconditional economic, military, and diplomatic support due to the “zero” benefits of such policy and its rising costs.

“Instead of a special relationship, the United States and ‘Israel’ need a normal one,” Walt wrote in the publication.

Consistent with Zionism’s core objectives, it said, ‘Israel’ privileged Jews over others by conscious design, expanded illegal settlements, denied Palestinians legitimate political rights, treated them as second-class citizens, and used its superior military power to kill and terrorize residents of the Gaza Strip, the occupied West Bank, and Lebanon with near impunity.

“Given all this, it is not surprising Human Rights Watch [HRW] and the human rights organization B’Tselem have recently issued well-documented and convincing reports describing these various policies as a system of apartheid,” it said.

In the aftermath of the latest ‘Israeli’ aggression on Gaza, which began on May 10 and lasted 11 days, the Zionist entity has been increasingly described as an “apartheid” regime, including by HRW, B’Tselem, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions [BDS] movement, and last but not least, by the French government.

However, the United States has continued to back the Zionist regime’s so-called “right to self-defense” which amounted to heavy bombardment of civilians in Gaza, killing at least 254 Palestinians, including 66 children, and displacing over 72,000 people in the besieged enclave.

According to FP, in the past, it was “possible to argue ‘Israel’ was a valuable strategic asset for the United States, though its value was often overstated,” but that argument holds no water any more.

“During the Cold War, for example, backing ‘Israel’ was an effective way to check Soviet influence in the Middle East because ‘Israel’s’ military was a far superior fighting force than the armed forces of Soviet clients like Egypt or Syria. ‘Israel’ also provided useful intelligence on occasion,” according to the author.

“The Cold War has been over for 30 years, however, and unconditional support for Israel today creates more problems for Washington than it solves. ‘Israel’ could do nothing to help the United States in its two wars against Iraq; indeed, the United States had to send Patriot missiles to ‘Israel’ during the first Persian Gulf War to protect it from Iraqi Scud attacks,” he added.

According to the publication, the real costs of the special relationship between the US and ‘Israel’ are political, saying that as demonstrated this month, unconditional support for ‘Israel’ makes it much harder for the United States to claim the moral high ground on the world stage.

FP also made a reference to the United States’ unilateral vetoing of UN Security Council ceasefire resolutions as well as its authorization of sending ‘Israel’ an additional $735 million worth of weapons, saying Washington’s claim to moral superiority stands exposed as “hollow” and “hypocritical.”

“With a normal relationship, the United States would back ‘Israel’ when it did things that are consistent with the United States’ interests and values and distance itself when ‘Israel’ acted otherwise,” FP added.

Social Media Giants Ban Trump, but the Real Censorship is of Palestinians

Facebook censorship

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

“Israel is using this for its political aim to silence Palestinians. They’re using hate speech as a political tool.” —  Alison Ramer, 7amleh 

In the wake of the Capitol Hill insurrection, Facebook and Twitter finally took a principled stand against President Donald Trump by suspending his accounts. While Trump lashed out at the tech giants, media analysts condoned the move—noting stronger moderation of his and other inflammatory posts are long overdue.

Facebook, Twitter, and other social media behemoths have faced criticism over the years for allowing misinformation and dangerous incitement to run rampant on their platforms. Yet while these companies seem to fail at controlling right-wing propaganda, they’ve had no problem suppressing content on Palestine.

Palestinian Facebook pages see 50% drop in reach

According to Palestinian non-governmental organization Sada Social Center, Palestinian Facebook pages saw their content’s reach dip by more than 50%, and in some cases, by more than 80%. Sada Social attributes the steep decline to coverage of Arab countries’ normalization agreements with Israel.

“Most of the pages that brought complaints to us are followed by millions of users through Facebook,” Sada Social wrote in their report. “These pages actively participated in covering the issue of Arab normalization with the Israeli occupation recently.”

The Global Campaign to Return to Palestine and Muslim Scholars were just two of the numerous Facebook pages to have their content blocked or restricted in the last month.

When pressed for an explanation about the recent removals, a Facebook company spokesperson told MintPress News:

We do our utmost to ensure that only content in violation of our Community Standards is removed. Where mistakes are made, due to human or technical error, the content is restored. The Global Campaign for Return to Palestine page was unfortunately removed due to an error – it has now been restored. We were not trying to limit anyone’s ability to post or express themselves.”

In response to the increasing censorship, The Palestinian Content Protection Initiative—a group of media outlets, activists, and journalists working to defend Palestinian content online—called for a two-hour boycott of Facebook on Jan. 9.

“The administrations of social media websites have been pursuing, targeting, and restricting the publishing and access of Palestinian pages and accounts, and in full coordination with the Israeli occupation government,” the Initiative said in a statement. “As a result, Palestinian media have been restricted, and were unable to convey their national message.”

Facebook working with Israel to suppress content

Facebook’s targeting of Palestinian content isn’t new. The social media titan has a long history of working with Israeli authorities to remove Palestinian information.

Under the guise of hate speech, Facebook cracks down on content often related to certain keywords such as “Hamas” or “Zionism,” Alison Ramer, International Relations Manager at 7amleh – The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, explained.

“A lot of times this is done through artificial intelligence, which the companies are really being pushed to use under increasing pressure from governments and the public to respond to hate speech,” Ramer said.

But it’s not just automatic processes that are determining what’s permitted on social media. According to a 2020 7amleh report, the Israeli government has orchestrated a systematic campaign through Facebook to ensure content related to the Palestinian cause is removed.

“The Israeli Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked stated that ‘Facebook, Google, and YouTube are complying with up to 95% of Israel’s requests to delete content that the Israeli government says incites Palestinian violence.’ This shows a significant focus on Palestinian content and efforts to label Palestinian political speech as incitement to violence,” 7amleh wrote.   

These requests are done through the Ministry of Justice’s Cyber Unit, which was established in 2015. Even Facebook’s own personnel appear to be in bed with Israel. Currently, Emi Palmor, Israel’s former Justice Ministry director-general, sits on Facebook and Instagram’s Oversight Board — a committee responsible for content moderation.

Additionally, governmental and non-governmental organizations are urging citizens to report Palestinian content. “Several of these organizations — dubbed “GONGOs” (government-operated NGOs) — are working to conflate criticism of Israel and anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and hate speech and have designed strategies to manipulate social media algorithms with the support of online trolls,” 7amleh wrote.

These efforts not only remove Palestinian content but elevate smear campaigns against Palestinians. As Facebook works diligently to remove white supremacist content, Ramer acknowledged that it leaves hate speech directed toward Palestinians on its site.

“7amleh has documented hate speech directed toward Palestinians in Hebrew, which we have seen left online for many years, while legitimate political speech critical of Israel is being flagged as hate speech and censored,” Ramer said. “We know that the Israeli government and government-supporting NGOs are pushing for tech companies to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, which is leading to increasing censorship of Palestinians and human rights defenders.”

According to Ramer, pressure from the Israeli Lobby is the motivating factor in restricting Palestinian content.  

“There’s pressure on Facebook to expand the definition of anti-Semitism, and we know that the intention of this is to censor those critical of Israel, Palestinians and human rights supporters. And this, obviously, can have a large impact on the development of many other tech companies’ policies,” Ramer said.

Not just Facebook

Facebook is the most popular social media platform for Palestinians, but it’s not the only one restricting their content.

TikTok recently removed the account belonging to Palestinian news organization, Quds News Network (QNN). The account manager, Hamzah al-Shobaki, said it was deleted after sharing 1,200 posts about Arab countries’ normalization with Israel. TikTok has since reinstated the account, claiming a violation error led to the account’s removal.

This isn’t QNN’s first experience with social media censorship, however. In 2019, the news outlet had four of its Twitter accounts deactivated without warning. QNN editors also had their personal Facebook accounts suspended in 2016, reportedly by mistake. Other Palestinian media sources have also had their Twitter and Facebook accounts removed over the years.

YouTube has been accused of violating Palestinian digital rights as well. Research from 7amleh details that the video-sharing platform uses hyper-surveillance tactics referred to as “locative discrimination” to monitor content coming from Palestine.

According to their findings, Palestinian YouTube user Ahmad conducted an online experiment to see if the removal of his content was due to his location:

“I sent the same video which has been deleted from my YouTube account to my friend’s YouTube account in Europe…and YouTube was fine with the video being published from a European country.”

“This simple test showed that content that’s being uploaded in the Palestinian Territories is being treated differently than the content uploaded by Western countries,” 7amleh’s Ramer said. “These policies are discriminatory and overly surveying and censoring Palestinians.”

Ramer emphasized that tech companies should not be the decision-makers regarding freedom of expression. Yet because they control these communication channels, they are ultimately tasked with monitoring what is shared—and Israel is taking full advantage of that.

“Israel is using this for its political aim to silence Palestinians. They’re using hate speech as a political tool,” Ramer said, clarifying that what’s happening not only blacks out Palestinian issues but the global conversation on human rights as a whole.

“This won’t just silence Palestinians, but it’ll silence human rights defenders, and it will show other governments how to use hate speech to silence and censor people.”

Palestinian rights have always been secondary to the ‘national interest’ of Arab regimes

Joseph Massad

28 December 2020 12:18 UTC 

Normalisation with Israel is just the latest example of Arab rulers advancing their own interests at the expense of Palestinians

The Arab League summit meeting held in Mecca on 31 May 2019 (AFP)

Since the First World War, the Palestinians have been used as a bargaining chip by different Arab regimes to advance their own interests by sacrificing Palestinian rights.

Yet, apologists for the Arab regimes, which recently normalised relations with Israel, defend their governments’ decision with the same arguments the earliest normalisers – Egypt and Jordan – used decades ago, namely that these countries made sacrifices since 1948 by placing Palestinian interests above their own “national”, read regime, interests.

Their decisions to normalise with Israel now, they tell us, have finally placed their own national interests first, and yet at the same time in normalising they are also helping the Palestinians!  

American propaganda

A major argument – proffered in this regard – relates to the American-sponsored ideological notion of “peace”, a cornerstone of American propaganda against peoples struggling against colonial and racist oppression, whether in the colonised world or inside the US itself.

Arab regimes have always put their own national interests first and had established ties and collaborated with Israel since 1948

“Peace”, which maintains oppressive colonial and racist relations, we are told, brings prosperity, whereas struggling against injustice and oppression, dubbed “war” in US lingo, brings destruction and poverty.

In contrast with the Arab peoples who have ceaselessly shown solidarity with the Palestinians since Britain issued the Balfour Declaration in 1917, Arab regimes, as I have written in Middle East Eye before, have always put their own national interests first and had established ties and collaborated with Israel since 1948 – in the case of the Hashemite Amir Faisal since 1919. Apologists for Sadat’s surrender to Israel claimed for decades that President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s excessive zeal to defend the Palestinians led Egypt, as  Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi put it in 2014, to sacrifice “100,000 Egyptian martyrs” for the Palestinians.  

In fact, Egypt’s losses in the 1948 war, according to Egyptian military sources, were 1,168 soldiers, officers, and volunteers killed (as mentioned in Ibrahim Shakib’s book: The Palestine War 1948, p432-433), whereas other Egyptian official sources  (noted in Benny Morris’ book, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War, p406-407) put it at 1,400.

Moreover, King Farouk of Egypt entered the war in 1948 not because he placed Palestinian interests ahead of Egypt’s, but as analysts have shown, on account of his rivalry with the Iraqi monarchy for hegemony over the post-colonial Arab world. 

Not only did Nasser not launch a single war against Israel, but also all of Egypt’s subsequent wars were fought to defend Egypt, not the Palestinians. In 1956 and in 1967, Israel invaded Egypt and occupied Sinai.

photo taken on September 9, 1980 in Alexandria shows Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (L) and President of Egypt Anouar el Sadate (R).
Former Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin (L) and President of Egypt Anwar el Sadat (R) in Alexandria on 9 September 1980 (AFP)

Egyptian soldiers died in these wars defending their country, not the Palestinians. Between 1968 and 1970, Israel and Egypt fought the “War of Attrition” in which Egyptian soldiers were killed defending their country against continuing Israeli aggression, a war fought on Egyptian soil; and in 1973, Egypt launched a war to liberate Sinai, not Palestine, and Egyptian soldiers were again killed defending their country against foreign occupation.

Sacrificing Palestinians

When Sadat signed the Camp David Accords in 1978, not only did he not defend the Palestinians, he in fact sacrificed the Palestinians and their right to independence in exchange for the return of Sinai to Egypt (without full Egyptian sovereignty) and a lavish US aid package that served to enrich the Egyptian upper classes and impoverish most of the population.Arab rulers and Israel’s leaders: A long and secret history of cooperationRead More »

The Jordanian regime, whose army was led by a British colonial general, entered the 1948 war to expand its territory, which it did by annexing central Palestine (renamed the “West Bank”) after the war. In 1967, the Israelis invaded Jordan and occupied the West Bank. In both wars, Jordanian soldiers died for Jordanian regime interests, not Palestinian interests. 

When Jordan signed in 1994 its peace treaty with Israel, Palestinian interests were sacrificed yet again by Jordan’s recognition of Israel’s right to exist on stolen Palestinian land, and by securing some sort of Hashemite role over Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.

In exchange, Jordan also received a lavish US aid package benefiting the regime and the upper classes. In contrast with Egypt’s deal, Jordan’s deal was concluded without even requiring Israel to withdraw from any of the territories it occupied in 1967. Jordan’s “peace” with Israel, as a result, legitimised Israeli occupation and conquest and did not reverse any of it. 

While historically Egyptian and Jordanian soldiers might have been told they fought these wars for Palestine, the truth of the matter is that, unbeknownst to them, they fought them for their regime’s interests. As for Sudan, Morocco, Bahrain and the UAE, it remains unclear how they had ever put Palestinian interests before their own.

Peace ‘dividend’

A related argument is the so-called “peace dividend“, heavily marketed by the Americans since the 1970s, wherein we are told all the money spent on wars and armaments with Israel would now be used for economic development and prosperity.

To prove their allegiance to the anti-Palestinian policies of the US and Israel, Gulf officials have ceaselessly attacked Palestinians in the oil-families-owned Gulf media

The irony, of course, is that the military budgets of Egypt and Jordan, abetted by huge US military aid packages as a reward, skyrocketed since they normalised with Israel.  Economic development and state social benefits were in contrast reduced to unprecedented levels in both countries, bringing about massive poverty, and a decline in educational and health services. Even Jordanian officials who support the peace deal claim that Jordan has not properly cashed in on the “peace dividend”.

On the public relations front, as a result of congressional and media hostility to the Saudis and other Gulf countries after 9/11, the oil ruling families decided yet again to benefit at the expense of Palestinian interests by abandoning demands that Israel abide by international law and withdraw from the occupied territories as prerequisites to warmer relations. They quickly cosied up to Israel and its US lobby to stem the tide of such hostility by promising closer relations, which have now become open. 

 Pro-Palestinian protesters wave Palestinian flags and chant slogans against the US and Israel on December 10, 2017 in Rabat against
Pro-Palestinian protesters wave Palestinian flags and chant slogans against the US and Israel in Rabat on 10 December, 2017 (AFP)

None of this is the stuff of the past, but is part of ongoing normalisation, whereby President Trump announced huge SaudiMoroccanBahraini, and UAE purchases of US arms during the preparation and brokering of the normalisation deals in 2019 and after, which will militarise the region more than ever.

To prove their allegiance to the anti-Palestinian policies of the US and Israel, Gulf officials have ceaselessly attacked Palestinians in the oil-families-owned Gulf media and press in the last few years. Such attacks have recently become more vigorous, especially in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

National interests

Ironically, the UAE had hoped to obtain the sophisticated F-35 fighter planes from the US in exchange for its peace with Israel. Israel and its supporters in Congress, however, refuse to allow this. Humiliated by this outcome, the UAE has suggested to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in order to assuage Israeli concerns, that Israeli fighter pilots take charge of the F-35s for a temporary period, after which they would train UAE pilots to replace them. How Gulf states became business partners in Israel’s occupation

Read More »

Morocco has also finally received US legitimisation of its takeover and annexation of the Western Sahara and Sudan was removed from the US list of terrorism-sponsoring countries. Neither country conceded nor sacrificed any part of its national interest to obtain such rewards.

Rather, like other Arab countries since 1948, they sacrificed Palestinian rights enshrined in international law to obtain benefits for themselves.  The  Arab League, an enemy of Palestinian interests since its establishment, also refused to condemn these peace deals even though they contradict its standing policy. 

Rather than sacrifice their national interests to defend the Palestinians, the Arab regimes have used every opportunity to sell out Palestinian rights to advance their own interests without respite.

Starting with the Hashemite Emir Faisal in 1919 who cooperated with the Zionists to ensure their support for his then Syrian kingdom, to King Mohammad VI’s normalisation with Israel to legitimise Morocco’s control of the Western Sahara, the Palestinians have been a God-send to Arab regimes which used and continue to use and abuse them for their own benefit.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.Joseph MassadJoseph Massad is Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University in New York. He is the author of many books and academic and journalistic articles. His books include Colonial Effects: The Making of National Identity in Jordan, Desiring Arabs, The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians, and most recently Islam in Liberalism. His books and articles have been translated to a dozen languages.

The ‘Israel’ Lobby at the University of Sydney

The ‘Israel’ Lobby at the University of Sydney

By Tim Anderson – The American Herald Tribune

Documents released under freedom of information law show that an ‘Israeli’ organization has, over many years, privately contributed millions of dollars to the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences [FASS]. A sub-branch of the ‘Israeli’ World Zionist Organization [the Fund for Jewish Higher Education] contributes around half a million dollars to FASS each year, with contributions peaking at $819,000 in 2019. The WZO is committed to the ‘Israeli’ colony in Palestine, where more than half the population is denied full citizenship rights.

These amounts are way out of proportion to the nominal beneficiaries at the University: Hebrew, Biblical, Jewish and Holocaust Studies, and give the ‘Israeli’ lobby influence with University of Sydney management. This ‘Israeli’ funding is sustained while federal ‘foreign influence’ laws are trumpeted against China, and form part of a much larger private fund pool – one billion dollar plus, announced with pride in the University’s 2019 Annual Report  – at the University, for which there is little public accountability. The door is wide open for corruption, alongside secret foreign influence.

2020 data on the WZO confirms documents provided to me by a whistle-blower within the administration, back in 2018, which showed that the ‘Committee for Jewish Higher Education’ had been the largest single donor [by far] to FASS, with combined donations of $571,000 [in eight separate donations] in the first five months of 2012, all tagged for the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies, including its specialty in Holocaust Studies.  With about 10 academics staff [not all full time] that department represents less than 2% of the 700 or so academic staff in the Faculty.

With all senior managers eligible for performance bonuses, at least in part based on their fund raising, these large undisclosed sums indicate a great potential for corruption, all the more so now that the Federal Court of Australia [in the case brought by the NTEU and myself] has rubber stamped management gag orders, even when they concern public academic work.

The ‘Israel’ lobby, acting through the tabloid media, pressured University of Sydney managers to expel me from my academic position in 2018-2019. The final issue was my graphic linking of one of ‘Israel’s’ Gaza massacres with the racial massacres of Nazi Germany; and my refusal to submit to secret gag orders, effectively made under pressure from the ‘Israel’ lobby. In late 2020 the Federal Court ruled that academics must follow management orders, even when it concerns their research and teaching. I have published some detail on this case and its implications; showing the vulnerability of the corporate university to outside pressures.

‘Israel’ lobby influence on the wider phenomenon of academic ‘cancel culture’ deserves attention. A recent Guardian article cites several British academics on the problem of university managers trying to “silence academics on social media.” This was said to be part of a tension between the corporate university and social media, where “on the one hand unis are pushing their staff to be more active online … but when that individual voice is in conflict with the official brand it creates a tension … it is about brand protection.” The corporate media has discovered that it can use this tension to goad management to move against certain academics.

The ‘Israel’ lobby has spent time and effort in this territory, in particular by trying to vilify as ‘racist’ public figures who criticize ‘Israel.’ The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance [IHRA] has had some success in its attempts to extend the definition of anti-Semitism “to criticism of ‘Israel’ and support for Palestinian rights.” But I am one of many who have written that there is no legitimate basis for conflating criticism of a state or government with inciting hatred against a people.

An ‘Israel’ lobby group in the USA, under the guise of ‘protecting Jewish students’ branded as ‘biased’ more than 200 academics who supported the boycott against ‘Israel.’ Academics and teachers have been hounded from their positions in the USA, the UK, Australia and New Zealand because of their comments on ‘Israel,’ including those who have raised legitimate academic questions about ethno-nationalist settler colonialism” and of “victims becoming perpetrators.”

Jewish writers have not been immune from these attacks. Some have hit back, saying that “unfounded allegations of anti-Semitism [are used to] cover up ‘Israeli’ apartheid.” Last year sixty Jewish and ‘Israeli’ academics condemned the German parliament for its attempts to equate the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement with anti-Semitism.

A 2017 letter signed by more than 200 British academics complained of the ‘Israel’ lobby’s repeated attempts to link academic criticism of ‘Israel,’ and support for the Palestinian people, with anti-Semitism. These moves were “outrageous interferences with free expression” and “direct attacks on academic freedom.” The group said “we wish to express our dismay at this attempt to silence campus discussion about ‘Israel,’ including its violation of the rights of Palestinians for more than 50 years. It is with disbelief that we witness explicit political interference in university affairs in the interests of ‘Israel’ under the thin disguise of concern about anti-Semitism.”

In the USA, President Donald Trump in 2019 signed an executive order to withhold funds from universities which did not do enough to stop “anti-Semitic practices,” which includes criticism of ‘Israel.’ Defense of the ‘Israeli’ colony in Palestine is taken seriously.

‘Israel’ and academic freedom became an issue at the University of Sydney in March 2015, after students shut down a talk by former British Army Colonel Richard Kemp, who had been invited on campus to defend the ‘Israeli’ military’s slaughter of more 2,000 Palestinian civilians in Gaza in 2014. According to the Times of ‘Israel,’ Kemp was to give a lecture about “ethical dilemmas of military tactics and dealing with non-state armed groups.” The ‘Israel’ lobby claimed the protest and student behavior was an attempt to intimidate Jews. A wider debate over the intellectual freedom afforded to visitors like Richard Kemp ensued.

At around this time I looked into the reporting of the slaughter in Gaza, preparing a graphic which showed – from relatively independent sources – that ‘Israeli’ forces had slaughtered more than 1,000 Palestinians [the final count was more than 2,000] of whom, according to UN sources, more than 75% were civilians.

The person who invited Colonel Kemp was former University of Sydney academic Dr. Suzanne Rutland. At her retirement a few months later Provost Stephen Garton praised Suzanne as a person of “moral courage” who had made “an effort to bridge the cultural and political divide, to promote tolerance and understanding … [and] we owe her a debt of gratitude.” Stephen used the occasion to backhand the students who had confronted Kemp, saying that some on campus “confuse academic freedom with the right to disrupt.”

Dr. Rutland had a high profile from her academic and community work. In 2008 she received the Order of Australia for her services to Higher Jewish Education and “interfaith dialogue.” She was also active in campaigns against anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial. However her response to the students who confronted Colonel Kemp was not so tolerant. She denounced them as vicious racists, saying “when they stand there chanting, ‘free Palestine’ what they mean is the dismantling of the Zionist entity which means genocide against ‘Israel’s’ Jewish population.” This is an extreme view.

In fact, the better view is that ‘Israel,’ by its repeated massacres and ethnic cleansing, is engaged in a form of genocide. The US Centre for Constitutional Rights, noting a controversy over this question, wrote that:

“Prominent scholars of the international law [on the] crime of genocide and human rights authorities take the position that ‘Israel’s’ policies towards the Palestinian people could constitute a form of genocide. Those policies range from the 1948 mass killing and displacement of Palestinians to a half century of military occupation and, correspondingly, the discriminatory legal regime governing Palestinians, repeated military assaults on Gaza, and official ‘Israeli’ statements expressly favoring the elimination of Palestinians.”

Attacks on the critics of ‘Israel’ are often aimed at deflecting attention from this.

The now Emeritus Professor Suzanne Rutland was not just an academic, she was a conduit of ‘Israeli’ finance to the university.  Her online CV [now redacted online] listed her as ‘Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Jewish Education for Australia, for the World Zionist Organization.’ The WZO was founded in 1897 with the aim of creating a Jewish ‘state’ and, since the creation of ‘Israel,’ it has become an umbrella group for a range of ‘Israel’ lobbies. The WZO declares its commitment to “‘Israel’ education.”

At the political level the ‘Israel’ lobby remains influential. A 2018 study by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute [APRI] found that an ‘Israeli’ lobby group in Australia [AIJAC] was the biggest single foreign funder of Australian MPs’ overseas travel. MPs from both major parties were beneficiaries of these ‘study tours’. While the public focus of foreign influence in Australia has become China, with special new laws to criminalize ‘foreign influence,’ the APRI study showed that influence peddling from ‘Israel’ has been greater than that from China or the USA. While Australian MPs had been funded for nearly 60 trips to China and 45 to the US, AIJAC had sponsored around 100 visits to ‘Israel,’ “nearly evenly split between Labor and Liberal.”

Against the Witch Hunt: On the Instrumentalization of Antisemitism in Britain’s Labour Party

December 17, 2020

UK Labour Party voted in favor of a motion which could see Britain cease trade with Israel. (Photo: via Twitter)

By Ronnie Kasrils

The assault on free speech within Britain’s Labour Party speaks like a ghost from my past. I was banned from public speaking in apartheid South Africa almost sixty years ago. My crime aged 23, was advocating votes for all. The apartheid government accused those like me of undermining the safety of whites. When all avenues of peaceful change were blocked, we had no option but to turn to armed struggle.

We argued that there was no equivalence between the state violence of the oppressor and the resistance of the oppressed. International solidarity helped bring about the demise of the apartheid system. We empathize with those in the Labour Party today, who are being victimized by a double agenda: for their socialism and defending Palestinian rights. It is astonishing and deplorable that a witch hunt is underway within those ranks – as elsewhere.

I was invited to address a BDS event in Vienna over a year ago which the city council quickly banned. A couple of months ago I was involved in a planned event with Palestinian freedom fighter Leila Khaled, at San Francisco State University, which was blocked. Then attempts to have our discussion broadcast via Zoom, Facebook and YouTube were obstructed. The voice opponents of free speech were desperate to gag was Leila Khaled. The Palestinian narrative being the primary target.

Those who attack human rights, whether in advanced capitalist countries or feudal tyrannies, simultaneously attack Palestinian rights. They follow violent precedents and consequences.

Repressing freedom of speech in South Africa paved the way for the emergence of a terrorist state. Ruthless suppression was instrumentalized in Europe’s colonies, and by USA imperialism on the back of slavery and genocide; and in the colonization and dismantling of Palestine.

The latter context falls within the project to counter the national liberation upsurge of the 20th Century.

The Apartheid regime’s use of anti-communism as a blanket device to smash opposition; along with Joe McCarthy’s witch-hunting; is mirrored in manipulating “anti-Semitism” as a shield to protect Israel. It is an umbrella formula to delegitimize the Palestinian cause and BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign.

Upholding Palestinian rights has been reflected in United Nations resolutions; and statements by Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Tutu, Angela Davis, Arundhati Roy, Noam Chomsky; and back in time Jewish scholars such as Eric Fromm and Martin Buber.

Apartheid alleged the South African struggle was about sweeping whites into the sea and handing the country to Russia. This echoes the claim that giving in on the human and national rights of the dispossessed Palestinians means the extinction of the Jewish people.

Those linking freedom of expression and Palestinian solidarity articulate the same goals as we did in South Africa’s struggle – the objective is about changing a system not destroying a people.

Criticizing Zionism, an exclusivist ethnic-based political doctrine is not anti-Semitic. It is the valid criticism of a reactionary political theory.

Zionism, not the Judaic religion; Israel, not the Jewish people is the focus of criticism.

The anti-communism of apartheid South Africa, and charges of anti-Semitism against Israel’s critics, are terms of Machiavellian elasticity stretched by charlatans to stifle opposition. This is the new taboo. The untouchable holy cow shamelessly peddled in Western countries that preach freedom of expression.

Those who fall prey, who are deceived by the confusion sown, should note the lesson of the boy who cried wolf. When the real monster of anti-Semitism strikes, the most steadfast of opponents, have been on the left of the political spectrum.

False allegations of anti-Semitism weaken the fight against the real demon. This is exactly the pitfall of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) treatise conflating criticism of Israel with hate speech. It is biased and fatally flawed. A dubious, non-internationally represented Eurocentric document, devised by a hand-picked cabal of sophists seeking to be referee and player at the same time. With a veiled attempt at “objectivity,” Israel is given umbrella-like cover, impunity for its crimes and a cudgel to beat its opponents.

In 1948 when Menahem Begin visited New York to raise funds for his party – later to become Sharon and Netanyahu’s ruling Likud – Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt labeled him a “fascist”. After cold-blooded massacres of Palestinians that year, an Israeli cabinet minister, Aharon Cizling, declared “now we too have behaved like Nazis and my whole being is shaken.”

In terms of the IHRA’s guidelines, they would be labeled anti-Semitic. Jeremy Corbyn’s “crime” that accusations of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party have been exaggerated is minuscule by comparison.

Manufacturing mountains out of molehills, characterizes the sophistry of medieval inquisitors, hitching Labour to the Blairite anti-socialist bandwagon. Unopposed this witch hunt will escalate, attacking popular protest wherever humanity opposes injustice.

We say to the deceit of Labour Party leaders, Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner, who misappropriate a sacred trade union principle: Yes! “An injury to one is an injury to all” – but in your denialism you ignore the millions of Palestinians facing the bullets and bombs of Israeli aggression.

The recent statement of prominent Palestinian and Arab figures with regard to the IHRA’s false strictures eloquently attests to how the issue of anti-Semitism should be formulated.

They declare:

“Antisemitism must be debunked and combated. Regardless of pretense, no expression of hatred for Jews as Jews should be tolerated anywhere in the world.”

The left and human rights movement, including Black Lives Matter and formations such as the African National Congress of South Africa, should join those Palestinian and Arab voices in formulating genuinely international guidelines regarding defense of free speech; and in combatting the scourge of anti-Semitism and all forms of racism.

– Ronnie Kasrils, veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, and South Africa’s former Minister for Intelligence Services, activist and author. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle

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