Lying for Israel: Why Nearly Everyone in Washington Does It

By Philip Giraldi

Source

Reuven Rivlin Trump e8554

It is not often that one hears anything like the truth in today’s Washington, a city where the art of dissimulation has reached new heights among both Democrats and Republicans. Everyone who has not been asleep like Rip Van Winkle for the past twenty years knows that the most powerful foreign lobby operating in the United States is that of the state of Israel. Indeed, by some measures it just might be the most powerful lobby period, given the fact that it has now succeeded in extending its tentacles into state and local levels with its largely successful campaigns to punish criticism or boycotting of Israel while also infiltrating boards of education to require Holocaust education and textbooks that reflect favorably on the Jewish state.

Occasionally, however, the light does shine in darkness. The efforts by Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar to challenge the power of the Israel Lobby are commendable and it is worth noting that the two women are being subjected to harassment by their own Democratic Party in an effort to make them be silent. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has attempted to make them the face of the Democrats, calling them “Jew haters” and “anti-Semites” while also further claiming that they despise the United States just as they condemn Israel. This has developed into a Trump diatribe claiming that American Jews who vote for Democrats are “disloyal.” By disloyal he meant disloyal to Israel, in a sense ironically confirming that in the president’s mind Jews have dual loyalty, which, of course, at least some of them do.

And Trump has further exercised his claim to the Jewish vote by accepting the sobriquet “King of Israel” bestowed by a demented talk radio host. As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has already asserted that Trump’s election victory was the result of divine intervention to “save Israel from Iran,” the kingship is presumably an inevitable progression. One can only imagine what will come next.

One Democratic congressman who has apparently become fatigued by all that bipartisan pandering to Israel is Ted Lieu of California. Last Thursday Lieu rebuked Trump’s US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman over his support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal to allow Tlaib and Omar to visit the West Bank where Tlaib’s grandmother lives under Israeli occupation. Friedman had issued a statement saying that the United States “respects and supports” the Israeli action. He went on to elaborate “The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel is not free speech. Rather, it is no less than economic warfare designed to delegitimize and ultimately destroy the Jewish state. [Israel] has every right to protect its borders against those activists in the same manner as it would bar entrants with more conventional weapons.”

As Friedman was describing two thirty-something nonviolent first term congresswomen as nothing less than armed attackers about to be unleashed against the Jewish state because they support a peaceful boycott movement, Lieu apparently felt compelled to courageously respond to the ambassador, tweeting “Dear @USAmbIsrael: You are an American. Your allegiance should be to America, not to a foreign power. You should be defending the right of Americans to travel to other countries. If you don’t understand that, then you need to resign.”

Later that day, on CNN, Lieu explained his objection to Friedman’s actions, saying “Actually, I think he should resign because he doesn’t see to understand that his allegiance is to America, not to a foreign power. He should be defending the right of Americans to go abroad to other countries and to visit their relatives.”

The outrage from the mighty host of friends of Israel came immediately, with accusations that Lieu was accusing Friedman of “dual loyalty,” that greatly feared derogatory label that is somewhat akin to “anti-Semitism” or “Holocaust denial” in the battery of verbal munitions used to silence critics of the Jewish state. Indeed, Lieu was accused of employing nothing less than a “classic anti-Semitic” trope.

Under considerable pressure, Lieu deleted the tweet and then issued something of an apology, “It has been brought to my attention that my prior tweet to @USAmbIsrael raises dual loyalty allegations that have historically caused harm to the Jewish community. That is a legitimate concern. I am therefore deleting the tweet.”

But the reality is, of course, that Friedman does not have dual loyalty. He has real loyalty only to Israel, which he demonstrates repeatedly by uncritically supporting everything the kleptocratic Netanyahu regime does with nary a pause to consider actual American interests. He has supported the weekly slaughter of unarmed Gazan civilians by Israeli sharpshooters, praised the bombing of Syria, pushed for the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, applauded the recognition by Washington of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and is an active supporter of and contributor to the illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank. He has even pressured the State Department into ceasing its use of the word “occupation” when describing the situation on the West Bank. It is now “disputed.” So, it is no surprise that David Friedman, formerly a bankruptcy lawyer before he became ambassador, lines up with Netanyahu rather than with two American Congresswomen who, apart from anything else, have good reasons to travel to a country that is the largest US aid recipient in order to see conditions on the ground. To put it mildly, Friedman is a disgrace and a reflection of the character or lack thereof of the man who appointed him. If he had any decency, he would resign.

There is no benefit for the United States when an American Ambassador excuses the brutality of a foreign government, quite the contrary as it makes Washington an accomplice in what are often undeniably war crimes. Even though Congressman Lieu was clearly read the riot act and made to fly right by his own party’s leadership, it took considerable courage to speak up against both Israel and an American ambassador who clearly is more in love with the country he is posted to than the country he is supposed to represent. Of course, in never-any-accountability Washington a buffoon posing as an ambassador as Friedman does will get away with just about anything and, as the subject is Israel, there will hardly be a word of rebuke coming from anyone, to include the mainstream media. But the tweet by Lieu is nevertheless significant. Hopefully, he will be among the first of many congressmen willing to put at risk their careers at times to speak the truth.

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Exclusive: Rashida Tlaib’s Granny Supports Her Refusal of ‘Israeli’ Conditions

By Al-Ahed Correspondent

Occupied Palestine – Soon after the ‘Israeli’ occupation imposed restrictions on the visit of Democratic US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s visit to the occupied territories, the family anticipating her was totally disappointed.

Tlaib was supposed to visit her grandmother’s home in the village of “Beit Aour al-Fawqa” in the West Bank.

But following the Zionist conditions imposed on the US congresswoman’s visit, Rashida voiced rejection and said in a tweet on her account:

“Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in–fighting against racism, oppression & injustice.”

The lady in her nineties, called Muftiyya, told al-Ahed in an exclusive interview that she is sad that the occupation’s authorities barred Rashida from visiting occupied Palestine without conditions.

“I was happy with her visit, which was supposed to happen in the coming days, but the occupation’s conditions barred her,” she told al-Ahed, adding that “I prepared delicious meals to receive her, but the occupation killed our joy.”

Her family further voiced support for Rashida’s refusal to submit to the Zionist conditions, considering it a restriction of her freedom. They were also proud of the decision Rashida has made.

Tlaib’s uncle supports her decision

For his part, Rashida’s uncle Bassam said that their stance is the same as Rashida: “We reject the humiliating conditions that were put on her visit of family and relatives in Palestine,” adding that “Rashida has the right to visit Palestine without any condition.”

Bassam also hailed the congresswoman’s stance from the Zionist occupation, noting that the Zionist entity rejects the voices calling for people’s right to self-determination, explaining that the enemy wants Rashida to meet with ‘Israeli’ officials before visiting the Palestinian territories, which she rejected.

The Zionist occupation had blocked the visit of Rashida Tlaib and her fellow Ilhan Omar after pressures from US President Donald Trump. However, according to Zionist officials, the block came due to their Boycott, Divestment, Sanction ‘Israel’ BDS movement ties.

Earlier, Tlaib and Omar voiced solidarity with the pro-Palestinian BDS Movement due to the Zionist policies towards Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Tlaib later tweeted: One day @IlhanMN and I will see Bethlehem and InshAllah it will be free when we do. #FreePalestine

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Two US congresswomen barred from visiting Israel for backing BDS

Press TV

Thu Aug 15, 2019 03:31PM [Updated: Thu Aug 15, 2019

US Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (L) and Ilhan Omar (Photo by AP)

US Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (L) and Ilhan Omar (Photo by AP)

Israel has decided to prevent two American congresswomen from traveling to the occupied territories over their support for a boycott of the Tel Aviv regime.

Ilhan Omar, a representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, and Rashida Tlaib, a representative for Michigan’s 13th congressional district, are expected to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories at the weekend.

Omar, with a Somali origin and Tlaib, with Palestinian roots, have openly supported the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and been outspoken in their criticism of the Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

The movement was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations and later became international.

Israeli deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely said on Thursday Tel Aviv had decided not to allow the members of US Congress to enter Israel.

“We won’t allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter Israel. In principle this is a very justified decision,” she told the Kan public broadcaster.

Earlier in the day, AFP quoted an Israel official as saying that prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu held consultations on the visit on Wednesday and a final decision was being weighed.

“There is a possibility that Israel will not allow the visit in its current proposed format,” the official said, adding, “Professional teams and legal counsel in various government ministries are continuing to examine the decision.”

The official further said that according to Israeli law, the interior minister who is now Aryeh Deri has the authority to decide on the issue.

Deri, 60, is the chairman of Shas, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish political party in Israel. Back in 1999, he was convicted of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, and received a three-year prison sentence.

“If Congresswoman Tlaib makes a humanitarian request to visit her family, the decision on her matter will be considered favorably,” the official noted.

Israel’s Knesset in 2017 passed a law banning entry to foreigners who support BDS, which is meant to initiate “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law” and ends its occupation of Palestinian lands.

Omar has accused the Tel Aviv regime of discrimination against Palestinians similar to apartheid.

In January, she enraged the large pro-Israel contingent in Congress, particularly the largely Democratic US Jewish community, by mocking America’s branding of Israel as a democracy.

Additionally on Thursday, American President Donald Trump urged Tel Aviv not to show “weakness” and firmly prevent the pair from visiting Israel.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!

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Israeli decision on US congresswomen ‘outrageous’: Palestinian official

Meanwhile, a senior Palestinian official described Israel’s decision to bar two US congresswomen from visiting the Palestinian territories as “an outrageous act of hostility.”

“The Israeli decision to ban Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from visiting Palestine is an outrageous act of hostility against the American people and their representatives,” Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said in a statement.

“This is a dangerous precedent that defies all diplomatic norms and an assault on the Palestinian people’s right to engage with the rest of the world,” she said.

Both women, who became the first Muslim members of the House of Representatives in January, have faced accusations of anti-Semitism, which they firmly deny.

Israeli ambassador to the US Ron Dermer had previously signaled that the pair would be allowed to visit out of respect for Washington.

Omar and Tlaib’s support for BDS comes at a time when Trump has stepped up ties with Tel Aviv and stopped Palestinian aid.

Israel and its allies in Washington have long railed against calls for people and groups across the world to cut economic, cultural and academic ties to the occupying regime.

 

With Criticism Crushed in the West, Israel Can Enjoy Its Impunity

Global Research, July 29, 2019

Recent events have shone a spotlight not only on how Israel is intensifying its abuse of Palestinians under its rule, but the utterly depraved complicity of western governments in its actions.

The arrival of Donald Trump in the White House two-and-a-half years ago has emboldened Israel as never before, leaving it free to unleash new waves of brutality in the occupied territories.

Western states have not only turned a blind eye to these outrages, but are actively assisting in silencing anyone who dares to speak out.

It is rapidly creating a vicious spiral: the more Israel violates international law, the more the West represses criticism, the more Israel luxuriates in its impunity.

This shameless descent was starkly illustrated last week when hundreds of heavily armed Israeli soldiers, many of them masked, raided a neighbourhood of Sur Baher, on the edges of Jerusalem. Explosives and bulldozers destroyed dozens of homes, leaving many hundreds of Palestinians without a roof over their heads.

During the operation, extreme force was used against residents, as well as international volunteers there in the forlorn hope that their presence would deter violence. Videos showed the soldiers cheering and celebrating as they razed the neighbourhood.

House destructions have long been an ugly staple of Israel’s belligerent occupation, but there were grounds for extra alarm on this occasion.

Traditionally, demolitions occur on the two-thirds of the West Bank placed by the Oslo accords temporarily under Israeli control. That is bad enough: Israel should have handed over what is called “Area C” to the Palestinian Authority 20 years ago. Instead, it has hounded Palestinians off these areas to free them up for illegal Jewish settlement.

But the Sur Baher demolitions took place in “Area A”, land assigned by Oslo to the Palestinians’ government-in-waiting – as a prelude to Palestinian statehood. Israel is supposed to have zero planning or security jurisdiction there.

Palestinians rightly fear that Israel has established a dangerous precedent, further reversing the Oslo Accords, which can one day be used to justify driving many thousands more Palestinians off land under PA control.

Most western governments barely raised their voices. Even the United Nations offered a mealy-mouthed expression of “sadness” at what took place.

A few kilometres north, in Issawiya, another East Jerusalem suburb, Israeli soldiers have been terrorising 20,000 Palestinian residents for weeks. They have set up checkpoints, carried out dozens of random night-time arrests, imposed arbitrary fines and traffic tickets, and shot live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets into residential areas.

Ir Amim, an Israeli human rights group, calls Issawiya’s treatment a “perpetual state of collective punishment” – that is, a war crime.

Over in Gaza, not only are the 2 million inhabitants being slowly starved by Israel’s 12-year blockade, but a weekly shooting spree against Palestinians who protest at the fence imprisoning them has become so routine it barely attracts attention any more.

On Friday, Israeli snipers killed one protester and seriously injured 56, including 22 children.

That followed new revelations that Israeli’s policy of shooting unarmed protesters in the upper leg to injure them – another war crime – continued long after it became clear a significant proportion of Palestinians were dying from their wounds.

Belatedly – after more than 200 deaths and the severe disabling of many thousands of Palestinians – snipers have been advised to “ease up” by shooting protesters in the ankle.

B’Tselem, another Israeli rights organisation, called the army’s open-fire regulation a “criminal policy”, one that “consciously chose not to regard those standing on the other side of the fence as humans”.

Rather than end such criminal practices, Israel prefers to conceal them. It has effectively sealed Palestinian areas off to avoid scrutiny.

Omar Shakir, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, is facing imminent deportation, yet more evidence of Israel’s growing crackdown on the human rights community.

A report by the Palestinian Right to Enter campaign last week warned that Israel is systematically denying foreign nationals permits to live and work in the occupied territories, including areas supposedly under PA control.

That affects both foreign-born Palestinians, often those marrying local Palestinians, and internationals. According to recent reports, Israel is actively forcing out academics teaching at the West Bank’s leading university, Bir Zeit, in a severe blow to Palestinian academic freedom.

Palestinian journalists highlighting Israeli crimes are in Israel’s sights too. Last week, Israel stripped one – Mustafa Al Haruf – of his Jerusalem residency, tearing him from his wife and young child. Because it is illegal to leave someone stateless, Israel is now bullying Jordan to accept him.

Another exclusion policy – denying entry to Israel’s fiercest critics, those who back the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement – is facing its first challenge.

Two US congresswomen who support BDS – Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who has family in the West Bank – have announced plans to visit.

Israeli officials have indicated they will exempt them both, apparently fearful of drawing wider attention to Israel’s draconian entry restrictions, which also cover the occupied territories.

Israel is probably being overly cautious. The BDS movement, which alone argues for the imposition of penalties on Israel until it halts its abuse of Palestinians, is being bludgeoned by western governments.

In the US and Europe, strong criticism of Israel, even from Jews – let alone demands for meaningful action – is being conflated with antisemitism. Much of this furore seems intended to ease the path towards silencing Israel’s critics.

More than two dozen US states, as well as the Senate, have passed laws – drafted by pro-Israel lobby groups – to limit the rights of the American public to support boycotts of Israel.

Anti-BDS legislation has also been passed by the German and French parliaments.

And last week the US House of Representatives joined them, overwhelmingly passing a resolution condemning the BDS movement. Only 17 legislators demurred.

It was a slap in the face to Omar, who has been promoting a bill designed to uphold the First Amendment rights of boycott supporters.

It seems absurd that these curbs on free speech have emerged just as Israel makes clear it has no interest in peace, will never concede Palestinian statehood and is entrenching a permanent system of apartheid in the occupied territories.

But there should be no surprise. The clampdown is further evidence that western support for Israel is indeed based on shared values – those that treat the Palestinians as lesser beings, whose rights can be trampled at will.

*

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A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jonathan-cook.net. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

What Tulsi Gabbard’s caving in to the Israel Lobby really shows

The Saker

July 24, 2019

What Tulsi Gabbard’s caving in to the Israel Lobby really shows

Yes, Tulsi Gabbard’s name was not found in the list of those members of Congress which voted “no” to the resolution condemning the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.  This is the full list as reported by The Forward: Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), Andre Carson (D-Indiana), Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan), Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Illinois), Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona), Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington), Barbara Lee (D-California), Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky), Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota), Gwen Moore (D-Wisconsin), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin), Bobby Rush (D-Illinois), Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-New Jersey).

Thank you, so-called “US free and independent media”!

Truth be told, the Israeli Lobby did a superb job focusing what is left of the mind of those who expose themselves to the corporate Ziomedia’s propaganda on nonsensical pretend-issues such as who is in the so-called “squad”  (Reps. Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez & Rashida Tlaib), on Ilhan Omar alledged anti-Semitism (what else is new?) and on Trump’s brilliant idea to send her “home” (only to disawow it later – in typical Trump style).  As a result, a major chunk of the First Amendement has now been chipped away.

I also note with interest that these 17 Democracts prove that the most pro-Zionist party is the GOP, not the Democrats.  I salute the courage of Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky)!

There were plenty of other signs that showed that for all her very real qualities and her likely sincerity, Tulsi Gabbard does not really dare to speak truth to power.  Here is a very good example of that:

I agree with the slogan she chose: the Kremlin’s darling?  Think again!

A very wise friend of mine wrote this about why Gabbard had to cave in:

I told you she is a single issue politician. It’s about wars without end. Everything else is Realpolitik and nothing is more real than Zionists controlling the politics and legislation in Washington.  She would have no hope of surviving the next round of laws. They are going to make anything “anti-Israel” equal “anti-Semitic” and that will be a crime like it is in France. She has high ideals on only a single issue. It’s a great issue. But you cannot count on a politician to be a noble warrior. Forget anyone doing the right thing all the time.  She shines bright on one issue. If she was really wise or clever, she would have abstained. So, she is neither. 

Again, I can only agree with him.

My personal conclusion from all this is that this is yet another strong indication that the US political system is completely unreformable.  And, furthermore, any political system which cannot adapt to new realities and reform itself is simply condemned to a sudden, catastrophic (and often violent) collapse.

This being said, Gabbard is still the only running candidate who wants to legalize cannabis (at least as far as I know), she wants to reform what is justly called the “US Gulag” system and she backs Medicare For All.  I still think that she is very likable and probably sincere.  But she sure does not have what it takes to tackle what is by far the worst problem of the United States: they are just a subservient and voiceless colony of the last openly racist state on the planet and that is a moral issue.  This is the type of issue in which no compromise is possible, at least for an honest person.  Gabbard chose to compromise on that, and this makes her useless to those who want to free the United States and restore in full their full sovereignty.

Too bad.

The Saker

 

Bibi to Decide Whether to Allow Muslim Congresswomen in Occupied Palestine

By Staff, Haaretz

Democratic US Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are planning a visit to the Occupied Palestine in the coming weeks, but “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have to decide whether they would be allowed to enter, over the support they have voiced for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement [BDS].

The lawmakers’ planned trip has been first reported on Wednesday, noting that Omar said that the “Israeli” occupation of Palestinian territories will be the focal point of the trip: “Everything that I hear points to both sides feeling like there is still an occupation.”

Though, “Israeli” law allows authorities to deny entry into the “Israeli” occupied territories by individuals who support boycotting the entity. However, the entity’s so-called Foreign Ministry has the authority to recommend to the so-called Strategic Affairs Ministry and the Interior Ministry issuing waivers for political or diplomatic figures, if it deems denying them entry would harm the “Israeli” entity’s foreign relations.

Due to the sensitivity of the congresswomen’s planned visit and its possible ramifications on “Israel”-US relations, Netanyahu would be asked to be the one to make the call on the issue.

Omar and Tlaib broke barriers when they were elected as the first Muslim US congresswomen in November. Omar, who was born in Somalia and immigrated at a young age to Minnesota, and Tlaib, who was born in Michigan to Palestinian parents, have been outspoken about their views on the “Israeli”-Palestinian conflict, as both support the BDS movement.

On Tuesday, Omar introduced a House resolution that “opposes unconstitutional legislative efforts to limit the use of boycotts to further civil rights at home and abroad,” and affirms Americans’ right to pursue boycotts “in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad.”

Both Omar and Tlaib hold anti-“Israeli” sentiments. In 2012, Omar tweeted that the “Israeli” entity had “hypnotized the world” to carry out “evil”.

Tlaib conceived of her trip to the West Bank last year, and proposed it as an alternative to AIPAC-organized trips to the “Israeli” entity. She told the Intercept that she was “rejecting [the] ‘Israel’ lobby’s influence over Congress” echoing and that her plan was a “rebuke of a decades-old tradition for newly elected members: a junket to ‘Israel’ sponsored by the education arm” of AIPAC. “I want us to see that segregation and how that has really harmed us being able to achieve real peace in that region,” The Intercept quoted Tlaib as saying.

The trip was reported to be jeopardized on Sunday after the organizing group, the Humpty Dumpty Institute, which describes itself on its website as being “dedicated to tackling difficult global and domestic issues, pulled out of the trip due to scheduling conflicts. Regardless, a spokeswoman for Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress, told the Daily News she was “pretty sure” the trip would still be taking place in August.

“My city [of Beit Ur al-Fauqa] is so excited that I am possibly going to come to see her next month,” Tlaib said, according to Jewish Insider. “She is so happy. And I am going to take my two wonderful boys… and they are going to meet their great grandmother. So I am really, really excited about that.”

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