Israel Bars Entry To Humanitarian Congresswomen – Causes Fractures In US Politics — Rebel Voice

US Representatives, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, a thorn in the side of the American establishment and the pro-Israel lobby have been banned from entering Israel and Palestine. There is no precedent for American congressmen or women being denied entry or as in this case, boarding a flight to Tel Aviv. In the case of… via […]

via Israel Bars Entry To Humanitarian Congresswomen – Causes Fractures In US Politics — Rebel Voice

Advertisements

Feeding the Israel Lobby: Congress Gives the Jewish State Whatever It Wants

By Philip Giraldi

Source

Adam_Schiff_e2719.jpg

If you have been wondering when the twenty Democratic aspirants for the presidency will begin a serious discussion of American foreign policy in the Middle East, where Washington has been bogged down in both current and impending wars, you are not alone. With the honorable exception of Tulsi Gabbard, no one seems keen to touch that particular live wire.

Part of the problem is the journalists who are asking the questions in the debates. To be sure, the publication of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt back in 2007 opened the door to a frank discussion of why the United States is involved in unresolvable conflicts on behalf of a tiny client state. But unfortunately, while it is now possible to find in the mainstream media some honest analysis of Israel’s ability to corrupt policy formulation in Washington, in general the Jewish state continues to get a pass from both the press and politicians on all issues that matter.

And then there is the problem of Congress itself, which is precisely the institution that has been most corrupted by Israel and Jewish money. Almost thirty years ago, American politician Pat Buchanan described Congress as “Israeli occupied territory.” As a result, he was viciously attacked by the mainstream media and the political leadership of both parties, demonstrating beyond all doubt that he was correct in his observation. Today the Israel Lobby in the United States is far more powerful than it was in 1990, so much so that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu actually boasts to his voters that he directs U.S. policy.

The hypocrisy inherent in the Israel-philia of America’s political leadership is such that it sometimes produces comic results. The whiney head of the House Intelligence Committee Congressman Adam Schiff, Democrat of California, was beside himself prior to the Robert Mueller testimony before Congress on July 24th, denouncing Russia and President Donald Trump, saying that the president’s actions amounted to “Disloyalty to country… Those are strong words… But disloyalty to country violates the very obligation of citizenship, our devotion to a core principle on which our nation was founded, that we, the people, not some foreign power that wishes us ill, we decide, who shall govern, us.”

Strong words indeed, but Adam Schiff knows perfectly well that Moscow’s alleged involvement in the 2016 election, which was relatively insignificant, had no measurable impact on the result. And both he and Mueller have been coy about presenting any real evidence that Russia is gearing up to do major damage in 2020, which is what they claim to be the case. By way of contrast, everyone in Washington knows very clearly but will never admit that Israel has seriously corrupted the United States government and its elected officials at all levels. But Schiff did not mention Israel, nor did he express concern that Israel’s clearly unsavory involvement with Trump transition team members General Michael Flynn and Jared Kushner was never thoroughly investigated or included in the final Mueller report. One might assume that a deliberate decision was made by some parties in power to avoid embarrassing Israel. Those parties almost certainly included Schiff.

Schiff, who is Jewish, frequently tells audiences about his love for Israel, sometimes complaining that it is treated unfairly. It might be suggested that if anyone in the government is partial to a foreign power it is Schiff, and that foreign power is Israel, not Russia.

Unfortunately, Schiff is far from unique. Perhaps he and a number of other Congressmen should register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as required by law. Congressmen are not exempt when they work to benefit a foreign nation, though they frequently believe themselves to be not subject to the very laws that they pass. In May a letter was sent to the White House with the signatures of 400 congressmen, purely to express America’s legislature’s solidarity with Israel and to give it a green light to do whatever it wishes vis-à-vis its neighbors. The letter cites some questionable American interests relating to Syria, but it also mentions Israel no less than 13 times.

If that does not convince one that Congress has always been and continues to be Israeli occupied territory, check out some bills that have been working their way through the legislature. The House voted overwhelmingly on July 23rd to formally oppose the Palestinian-backed nonviolent movement to boycott Israel. The measure, H.Res.246 opposes “efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement [BDS] targeting Israel.” The bill had 349 co-sponsors and passed by a 398–17 vote. Sixteen Democrats and only one Republican opposed the bill. The bill is not a law but is rather intended to express the will of congress, which is perhaps the only good thing to say about it.

Other bills have not yet been voted on, presumably because friends of the Jewish state are looking for more goodies to add in. The pending legislative action includes the aid to Israel bill H.R.1837 the “United States-Israel Cooperation Enhancement and Regional Security Act”, which has 279 cosponsors. When the bill is approved, which it will be, it will increase the amount of aid given to Israel over ten years to $38 billion, though this is now regarded as a minimum figure which will be supplemented to meet the Jewish state’s expressed needs. And the aid is now unconditional, meaning that Israel will receive the money no matter how it behaves, while the Jewish state will also be able to use the U.S. taxpayer-provided money to buy weapons from its own arms industry, cutting American defense contractors out of the loop and costing jobs in the United States.

Another bill to benefit Israel is also pending: H.R. 1850, the “Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act of 2019,” a law that would authorize and encourage financially sanctioning any foreign organization or individual that provides “support” to any group, organization or individual considered to be part of the Palestinian resistance. Interestingly, the bill does not even pretend to be based on U.S. national security: it is all about and for Israel. It could mean that foreign supporters of BDS, which is now considered a hostile entity by “the will of” Congress, could be subject to sanctions even though they are non-violent and threaten no one.

One final bit of bipartisan legislation best described as a pander to both Israel and the Jewish community is a bill that has appeared recently in the Senate that will prioritize and pay for health care and nutrition services for those who claim to be holocaust survivors. The bill is entitled the “Trauma-Informed Modernization of Eldercare for Holocaust Survivors Act” or “TIME for Holocaust Survivors Act.” It is intended to “increase the chances that survivors could age in their own homes” and also “to ensure that Holocaust survivors have care and services tailored to their needs.”

Sponsor Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, who is, of course, Jewish, elaborated: “Holocaust survivors came to the United States seeking refuge from unimaginable horrors. They have lived their lives here and enriched our nation. With an average age of 85, we have an obligation to provide Holocaust survivors the community support and special services they need to live out their final days,”

WE have an obligation? How about you and your co-religionists Ben as you seem to have a lot of money to spend on lobbying for Israel and corrupting our government? Special services? Why do they need help? Because, the bill states, “institutionalized settings, with confined spaces or restrictions on food, can induce panic, anxiety, and re-traumatization due to their holocaust experiences.”

What about other elderly American who have problems with “institutionalized settings” or “confined spaces” or “restrictions on food?” How the Senate will justify special benefits for a small group of self-described victims drawn from the wealthiest demographic in the U.S. remains to be seen. If there is anyone who actually needs help, it is the U.S. taxpayer, who has to bear the burden of this utter nonsense, which sets up Jews as a special privileged group within our social services network. So-called holocaust survivors are identified in the bill’s “Findings” as “(2) More than 200,000 Jews fleeing from Nazi-occupied territory found refuge in the United States from 1933 through 1945, and approximately 137,000 additional Jewish refugees settled in the United States from 1945 through 1952. (3) Hundreds of thousands of additional Jewish refugees continued to immigrate to the United States from Europe and countries of the former Soviet Union during the subsequent decades. (4) The number of Holocaust survivors living in the United States at the end of 2018 was approximately 80,000 individuals, down from an estimated 13 127,000 in 2010.”

Thus, Holocaust survivors who will benefit from the bill are inevitably and by intention only Jews – no Christians who went through 1933-1945 in Europe need apply. That one highly privileged group should deserve special benefits from government that other retirees cannot have is a disgrace. So, is the United States Congress Israeli and also, by extension, Jewish occupied territory? I think the question answers itself.

Trump Regime Demand for Palestinian Surrender

By Stephen Lendman
Source

Trump’s so-called “deal of the century” has nothing to do with peace, nothing to do with resolving irreconcilable Israeli/Palestinian differences — everything to do with serving Israeli interests at their expense.

Throughout his tenure, Trump waged war on Palestinian rights, one-sidedly benefitting Israel at their expense.

During a Wednesday Security Council session on the Middle East, Russia’s UN envoy Vassily Nebenzia addressed the issue of Palestinian rights. 

He called for the “terminat(ion) (of) Israel’s occupation of Arab territories that began in 1967 and establish(ment) an independent, viable and integral Palestinian State that would peacefully exist side-by-side with Israel, have safe and acknowledged borders, and have a capital in Eastern Jerusalem. At the same time, Western Jerusalem would be the capital of the State of Israel,” adding:

“We see no alternative to the two-state solution. We believe it is the only realistic prospect to put an end to the confrontation and reciprocal claims of Palestine and Israel.” 

“Other concepts only mislead and obscure prospects to resume political process. We do not think that Palestinians will abandon their legitimate claims to obtain statehood, no matter what they might be promised in return.  Attempts to impose a ready-made solution on the sides will fail.”

Trump regime hardliners have other ideas, polar opposite the position of Russia and majority of world community nations.

The unacceptability of its no-peace/peace plan delayed its release. Its latest wrinkle is releasing it in stages, beginning with a so-called Peace to Prosperity conference in Manama, Bahrain on June 25 and 26. 

The country is a fascist dictatorship. The Saudis, UAE, and likely other officials from regional despotic regimes will attend the so-called “economic workshop” — a PR stunt to sell an unacceptable deal to Arab states and the world community. 

It’s unclear if representatives from Western nations are coming. Participation will show complicity with the US/Israeli plot against fundamental Palestinian rights.

The two-day session is by invitation only, Palestinian officials not invited. According to an Orwellian White House statement:

“ ‘Peace to Prosperity (sic)’ will facilitate discussions on an ambitious, achievable vision and framework for a prosperous future for the Palestinian people and the region.”

The planned event is unrelated to the above statement. It’s all about unveiling part of the Trump regime’s sham proposal in segments, declared dead-before-arrival by Palestinian officials.

Its UN Riyad Mansour envoy called the plan a land grab scheme for Israel to steal all parts of Judea and Samaria not under its control, prelude to annexing its settlements and other Palestinian land it covets.

Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riad Malki categorically rejected what he called “not a peace plan, but rather conditions for surrender.”

PLO official Saeb Erekat said the Trump regime plan leaves core issues unaddressed, notably Palestinian statehood within pre-June 1967 borders, East Jerusalem as their exclusive capital, control over its borders, air, water and resources, the right of return for its diaspora population, and end of illegal Israeli occupation harshness.

Oslo left these and other major issues unresolved, delayed for later final status talks. Over a generation later, Palestinians are still waiting, betrayed time and again by US/Israeli complicity against them, the Trump regime taking Washington’s bad faith to an unprecedented level.

From inception decades earlier, the so-called peace process has been and remains a colossal hoax. Along with the US global war OF terror, not on it, it’s the greatest scam in modern times.

The Trump regime is perpetuating the deception, its scheme amounting to old wine in new bottles, pretending to offer Palestinians economic incentives, a neoliberal hoax similar to John Kerry’s no-peace/peace plan.

He proposed $4 billion in fantasy economic incentives. It was all about attracting exploitive private investments, benefitting Israeli and Western business interests exclusively, imposing greater neoliberal harshness on the Territories than already.

Reportedly, that’s a core element of Trump’s no-peace/deal of the century, its exploitive economic portion to be presented next month in Bahrain, a deceptive scheme no responsible leadership would accept.

According to Erekat, the Trump regime’s plan “is a non-starter for the Palestinians,” adding: “It should be for the rest of the world, as well.”

It’s all about demanding a Palestinian Versailles 2.0, a repeat of the Oslo sellout in Trump regime wrapping.

“There will be no economic prosperity in Palestine without the end of the occupation,” said Erekat, adding: “Notably, the Palestinian leadership was not consulted by any party on this meeting.”

Trump regime hardliners aren’t “seeking…peace. (They want) a Palestinian declaration of surrender,” Zionist ideologues Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt co-maestros of the grand deception.

They don’t give a hoot about Palestinian prosperity and other rights, notably its millions of refugees by cutting off UNRWA funding and slashing it to the PLO. 

They support repressive Israeli apartheid, its illegal occupation and state terror, its militarized control over Palestinian lives and welfare, its slow-motion genocide against suffocating Gazans, its targeted assassinations and belligerence against Palestinians.

Trump’s self-styled “deal of the century” is a scheme only despotic regimes could love — one-sidedly serving Israeli interests, denying Palestinians their fundamental rights.

It bears repeating what I’ve stressed time and again. The US doesn’t negotiate. It demands other nations and people bend to its will — or face the force of its wrath.

 

Was that the Next Palestinian President You Just Banned, Mr Trump?

By Jeremy Salt
Source

image1170x530cropped e1558673681115 ce2e9

Grandma Ashrawi is more than a match for Israel’s stooges in the White House and whatever ‘deal of the century’ they have cooked up for the Holy Land

So the Trump administration will no longer allow Hanan Ashrawi into the US even though she’s a top diplomat, has family there and visits regularly. Why?

A US State Department spokesperson told Haaretz that “visa records are confidential under US law; therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases”, adding that the law “does not authorize the refusal of visas based solely on political statements or views if those statements or views would be lawful in the United States.”

Ashrawi is reported as saying, in her forthright way, that refusal to let her in was a political act and full of “pettiness and vindictiveness.”

Ashrawi, a Palestinian Christian, is something of a hot potato. She was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council representing Jerusalem in 1996 and again in 2006. She has been a member of the Executive Committee of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) for 20 years, becoming the first woman to hold a seat in the highest executive body in Palestine. It is recognised as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people by the 137 states with which it has diplomatic relations. Ashrawi’s father, a physician, was a founder of the PLO.

She has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Literature from the Department of English at the American University of Beirut and completed her education with a PhD in Medieval and Comparative Literature from the University of Virginia. She is also an Honorary Fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford.

Ashrawi has been an official spokes of the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East peace process starting with the Madrid Peace Conference of 1991. In 1996, she was appointed as the Palestinian Authority Minister of Higher Education and Research. Before that she was Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Birzeit University.

In 2003 Ashrawi received the Sydney Peace Prize, an award praised by, among others, Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State. Albright called Ashrawi “a brilliant spokeswoman for her cause”.

Ashrawi, now 72, is a grandmother, and several of her grandchildren live in the United States. So why is America hostile towards her?

Israeli occupation “a most pervasive form of oppression, dispossession and denial”

In a recent article in Al Jazeera, Marwan Bishara reminds us that for the past year and a half Trump and his administration have been showering Benjamin Netanyahu and his apartheid regime with anti-Palestinian ‘gifts’…. like recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv, ending US assistance to UNRWA (the agency that supports millions of Palestinian refugees), quitting the UN Human Rights Council and shutting down the PLO’s office in Washington.

As if that wasn’t enough the Trump administration has stopped describing the West Bank and East Jerusalem (which are Palestinian) as “occupied” and instead calls them “Israeli-controlled”. This gives Netanyahu all the encouragement he needs for expanding Israel’s illegal settlements and pledging to annex them. To cap it all Trump then delivered Netanyahu a splendid election present in recognising Israel’s illegal annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights. Of course, whatever Trump says that territory is still Syria’s.

Western media, when providing ‘balance’ to news on the Israel/Palestine conflict, usually wheel in a Palestinian spokesperson who is unintelligible. Israeli spokespeople on the other hand are media trained and sound very British/American, giving them a huge advantage. Ashrawi has perfect English and is a highly articulate and persuasive woman – an unrivaled expert in Middle East affairs — and capable of reducing Trump and his entourage to mincemeat in any broadcast encounter. Therefore she poses a clear and present danger to their hopes of putting across and maintaining the false narrative that sustains Israel’s rogue dominance in the Middle East.

Haaretz reproduces some of Hanan Ashrawi’s recent tweets. In one she says:

I despise hypocrisy, misogyny, absolutist fundamentalism, populism, racism of all kinds, exclusivity, arrogance & condescension, power politics & militarism, cruelty in any form, & any sense of entitlement & exceptionalism…

In another:

Most of all, I have no tolerance for the Israeli occupation in all its manifestations as a most pervasive form of oppression, dispossession & denial; I have no respect for the enablers of this inhuman condition nor for its apologists…

She tells it straight. And in her tweets she adds:

I’ve met (and even negotiated with) every Sec. of State since Shultz, and every President since George H. W. Bush (present administration excluded); I’ve been a vocal critic of this administration and its underlings; I believe in freedom of speech.

This is one formidable lady! I have her down as the next Palestinian president, head and shoulders above any male candidates. But will the good people of Palestine have a say in the matter? The presidency of Mahmoud Abbas, the quisling loser, should have ended in 2009. But the corrupt system he presides over has allowed him to cling to power indefinitely, to his people’s great detriment.

Netanyahu Took Trump to New Heights of Global Tension and Dropped Him

By Elijah J. Magnier
Source

Natanyahu Trump 08859

Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed he personally convinced the US president Donald Trump to abandon the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA agreement, and wished Iran to “disappear with the help of God”. Israel is much more experienced in dealing with the Middle East than the current US president and his entire team in this administration. Even if Israel itself was not convinced, they evidently managed to convince the Americans that a show of US “superior force with the will to use it” would compel Iran to back off and submit to the US 12 conditions dictated by Secretary Pompeo, as Israel’s former Ambassador to Washington Danny Ayalon said would happen. Israel, the instigator of this strategy that has been refuted by two clear messages from Iran and its allies– is nonetheless coming out unharmed by this rhetorical escalation. Trump seems the only loser, waiting by the phone that is not expected to ring.

It is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s belligerence which obliges Iran to take a strong stand; Netanyahu has boasted that his influence led Trump to give him the Syrian Golan Heights, move the US embassy to Jerusalem, give Jerusalem to Netanyahu, and to revoke the JCPOA deal with Iran. He is also very likely behind the 12 conditions Trump seeks to impose on Iran since, unlike the inept US administration, the Israelis know well that Iran cannot accept them. The US president has sabotaged the peace process and squandered the position of his country as a mediator between the Palestinians and Israel.

When Netanyahu asked Trump to give him all these gifts, the US president did not hesitate to save the Israeli prime minister from criminal prosecution for fraud and breach of trust to boost his re-election and give him what doesn’t belong to him!

And now it is Iran’s turn to be in the US frying pan. Nevertheless, it seems things haven’t turned out the way Trump planned. His own image has been damaged, but not that of Netanyahu, who has instructed his cabinet to keep silent and stay out of the Iran-US contention. The Israeli Prime Minister can wash his hands of the US non-act of war against Iran and watch in silence, keeping Israel out of the Iran-US tensions as though he were far from being involved. He is trying to pretend that the ongoing bras-de-fer between the US and Iran and Trump’s retreat after the al-Fujairah and Aramco attacks have nothing to do with him.

Netanyahu’s military officers are mistaken to believe “Iran has an unsettled account with the Israeli Army because it has delivered several hits (in Syria) to which Tehran has not had the chance to retaliate”. Here again, Israel is far from understanding the Iranian mode of action: In February 2018, Iran shot down an F-16 bombing Syria. Iran delivered to Hamas and the Islamic Jihad the most efficient Kornet, the anti-tank laser-guided missiles and the technology to fire destructive long-range missiles from Gaza. It is arming Hezbollah with the most sophisticated anti-ship, anti-air, surface-to-surface missiles for possible use against Israel oil platforms and harbors and is spending billions to maintain the strength of its allies: Hezbollah, Iraqi non-state actors, the Syrian government, and the Houthis in Yemen, to name but a few.

But from where does Hezbollah derive its legitimate presence and survival? The answer is simple: from Israel’s wars and its violation of Lebanon’s sea, territory, and airspace. Israel is still occupying the Shebaa farms and Kfarshouba, disputing Lebanon’s territorial waters, and it continues to assassinate Hezbollah leaders. Hezbollah would have nothing to do if Israel opted for peace.

In Syria, Moshe Yaalon (former Israel defense minister) says Israel would rather have ISIS on its borders than Assad and Iran. Trump has given Israel a gift, the Syrian Golan, that belongs to neither country. It has bombed the Syrian Army and its allies that were fighting ISIS and al-Qaeda. Assad was negotiating peace with Israel in exchange for land in 2010, as his father did before him. Netanyahu refuses peace, logically enough since the alternative is to manipulate Trump and collect gifts from him, including all of Jerusalem.

If Israel wanted to end the raison d’être of Hezbollah, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and all the non-state actors around it, it could start by implementing the Oslo accords as a first step, recognizing a state of Palestine, as the Palestinians recognized a state of Israel. A next step would be to return the Lebanese and Syrian territories to their owners (President Hafez Assad and his son Bashar were both prepared to sign a peace deal with Israel in exchange for this land) and to refrain from bombing (Israel acknowledges it has bombed over 200 targets in Syria) and violating its neighbours’ sea and airspace (daily violation of Lebanese sovereignty). Then Iran would have no need to build up a necklace of states and non-state allies in the Middle East.

And last but not least, Israel seems to be behind the intelligence misinformation provided to the US, indicating that Iran “is moving missiles by boat”, speeding up the US sending of additional forces to the Middle East. Nevertheless, the US had to find a way out of this seemingly “false flag”, because it says now that “Iran has unloaded missiles from its small boat” to ease the tension.

Iran is unwilling to give Trump an easy escape from the climate of tension he and his team have created. Netanyahu is keeping quiet to avoid criticism from the US, since he is clearly the one who pushed Trump towards confrontation with Iran.

Tehran is aware of the Israeli sabotage and manipulation of the current US administration to its advantage. Trump’s lack of knowledge in foreign affairs and his eagerness to be re-elected in 2020 are allowing Netanyahu to pull him around by the nose. The Iranian leader of the revolution never trusted either the US or Europe to keep their commitments to the JCPOA.

“The US will never keep its promises and the EU is an acolyte of the US. You shall get nothing from them” Sayyed Khamenei told president Rouhani when he signed off the JCPOA deal with the Obama administration – according to a high Iranian official – who, after a few years, agreed with his “Rahbar” (the supreme leader of the revolution).

Israel’s Mossad provided the US with false intelligence that ballistic missiles were being carried on wooden boats, as though Iran doesn’t have enough deserts and places to hide its missiles. Incredibly enough, the Mossad was believed.

This is just one illustration of Israel’s power to manipulate the US government into a lose-lose scenario, while Israel can only win-win. The US will lose prestige from backing down, but will lose much more if it is backed into a senseless and catastrophic war. The 12 demands Netanyahu has persuaded the US to make on Iran are impossible for Iran to comply with, as Israel well knows. If Iran were to submit, it would be a victory for Israel. If not, the US will try to go to war or will impose more sanctions—both beneficial to Israel’s position. Israel can push the US to a confrontation and push Iran to its limits because Netanyahu has nothing to lose in a situation where the US military assumes the risks of his reckless strategy; Israel has no skin in the game. It is Trump confronting the Iranians not Netanyahu. Israel can sit back, eat popcorn, and watch events unfold. It will consider itself the winner whatever the consequences. Israel’s influence over Trump’s incompetent administration is the greatest threat to peace today.

Media Blackout as Israel’s Largest Banks Pay Over $1 Billion in Fines for US Tax Evasion Schemes

By Whitney Webb
Source

F090408AA03 edited 4bd5e

Israel’s three largest banks — Hapoalim Bank, Leumi Bank and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank — have all been ordered to pay record fines, which collectively are set to total over $1 billion, to the U.S. government after the banks were found to have actively colluded with thousands of wealthy Americans in massive tax-evasion schemes.

The scandal, though it has been reported on in Israeli media, has garnered little attention in the United States. The media black-out has been so surprising it was even directly mentioned by the Times of Israel, given that similar revelations about other banks and offshore tax-evasion schemes — such as those contained within the Panama Papers — led to global protests and even the resignations of some world leaders.

The settlements are the end result of a series of Department of Justice (DOJ) probes that were related to the DOJ’s 2007 investigation targeting UBS AG, Switzerland’s largest bank. The focus of the probe turned to Israel a few years later in 2011, when it was determined that the Swiss subsidiaries of several of Israel’s largest banks had actively aided Americans seeking to launder their money.

As the probes advanced, the DOJ found that the three banks — Israel’s largest when ranked by net income and total assets — had a history of collaborating with wealthy Americans in tax evasion schemes, not just in their Swiss subsidiaries but in Israel as well. Most of those wealthy Americans were Jewish Americans or dual U.S.-Israeli citizens who hid their U.S. citizenship from the Israeli banks.

A year after the probes into Leumi, Hapoalim and Mizrahi Tefahot were made public, the U.S. State Department notably listed Israel as a “major money laundering country… whose financial institutions engage in currency transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds from international narcotics trafficking … or other serious crime.”

Settlements reached and pending

Bank Leumi was the first to admit to wrongdoing and reached a deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ in 2014 that eventually resulted in the bank paying $400 million in fines to the U.S. government and the State of New York in order to avoid prosecution. According to the DOJ, the agreement marked “the first time an Israeli bank has admitted to such criminal conduct, which spanned over a 10 year period.”

The investigations into the other two banks, Mizrahi Tefahot and Hapoalim, continued until just last Wednesday, when Mizrahi Tefahot agreed to pay $195 million in fines for “conspiring” with U.S. clients to avoid taxes. Like Leumi Bank, Mizrahi Tefahot admitted its guilt.

A settlement with Hapoalim Bank, Israel’s largest bank, has yet to be reached. The bank had set aside $343 million for a potential settlement as of last February, though that figure has since ballooned to $616 million as of this week. Hapoalim CEO Arik Pinto told reporters on Monday that he “really hopes” that the DOJ probe will be resolved by the end of the year, a sentiment likely motivated by the fact that the probe has weighed on the bank’s profit performance.

Human Rights as Seen by the White House: Concessions to Israel Are Notable

By Philip Giraldi
Source

Pompeo Joins Netanyahu 6165b

The State Department’s just issued annual Human Rights Report for 2018 is a disgrace, a document so heavily politicized by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his crew of hardliners that it might be regarded as a model in how to make something that is black appear to be white. Which is not to say that it is not cleverly composed, quite the contrary, but it uses its choice of words and expressions to mitigate or even dismiss some actual human rights abuses while regarding as more grave other lesser offenses to make political points. And then there is what it does not say, deliberate omissions intended to frame situations in terms favorable to America and its dwindling number of friends in the world.

Not surprisingly, the region that has received the most massaging by the authors of the report is the Middle East, where an effort has been made to depict Israel in a positive light while also denigrating the Palestinians and Iranians. The language used regarding Israel’s occupation of much of the West Bank and the Golan Heights has been particularly welcomed by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and also by the Israeli media. The word “occupation” or “occupied” to describe the status quo of those areas administered by the Israeli military has been dropped in favor of “Israeli controlled.” The difference is important as occupation has specific legal implications defined by the Geneva Conventions in terms of what the occupying power can and cannot do. To starve and dispossess the Arab inhabitants of the occupied area, as the Israelis are doing to build their settlements, is a war crime. Also, an occupation must have a terminus ante quem date whereby the occupation itself must end. It cannot be permanent.

The new language is a gift to Israel on the eve of its April 9th election and it allows incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu to claim that he is the candidate best able to obtain concessions from Washington. America’s so-called Ambassador to Israel is a former Trump bankruptcy lawyer named David Friedman who is more involved in serving up Israeli propaganda than in supporting the actual interests of the United States. He probably believes that what is good for Israelis is good for Americans.

Friedman personally supports the view that the illegal Jewish settlements are legitimately part of Israel, choosing to ignore their expansion even though it has long been U.S. policy to oppose them. He has also long sought to change the State Department’s language on the Israeli control of the West Bank and Golan Heights, being particularly concerned about the expression “occupied” which has previously appeared in U.S. government texts describing the situation in the Israel-Palestine region. Friedman now appears to have won the fight over language, to the delight of the Netanyahu government.

And the elimination of “occupied” will apparently be only the first of several gifts intended to bolster Netanyahu’s chances. Senator Lindsey Graham, who also boasts of his close ties to the Israeli Prime Minister, recently stated his intention to initiate legislative action to go one step further and compel the United States to actually recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the Syrian territory that was annexed after fighting in 1967, but which has not been recognized as part of Israel by any other country or international body.

Last Thursday, President Donald Trump announced that the Senate vote promoted by Graham would not be necessary, that he would order the State Department to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the area.  This will hugely benefit Bibi and further damage America’s standing in the Middle East and beyond. Some sources are already predicting that recognition of the annexation of the Golan Heights will soon lead to U.S. government recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over much of the West Bank, both ending forever any prospect for a Palestinian state and making it clear that the United States is running a foreign policy to benefit Israel.

There is, of course, much more in the Human Rights Report. The executive summary and first section on Israel and Palestine include text that could easily have come from an Israeli government press release or been featured as an editorial in the New York PostWashington Post or Wall Street Journal: “Human rights issues included reports of unlawful or arbitrary killings, including Palestinian killings of Israeli civilians and soldiers…From March 30 to December 5, Palestinian militant groups launched more than 1,150 rockets and mortars from the Gaza Strip toward arbitrary or civilian targets in Israel. Gaza-based militants shot and killed one Israeli soldier, and a rocket launched by Gaza-based militants killed one Palestinian laborer in Ashkelon. More than 200 Israelis required treatment from these attacks, mostly for shock. Beginning on March 30, Israeli forces engaged in conflict with Palestinians at the Gaza fence, including armed terrorists, militants who launched incendiary devices into Israel, and unarmed protesters. This occurred during mass protests co-opted by terrorist organization Hamas and dubbed a ‘March of Return.’ The government stated that since March 30 it had been ‘contending with violent attempts led by Hamas to sabotage and destroy Israel’s defensive security infrastructure separating Israel from the Gaza Strip, penetrate Israel’s territory, harm Israeli security forces, overrun Israeli civilian areas, and murder Israeli civilians.’”

A separate report section on Gaza adds “On March 30, Palestinians in Gaza launched the ‘March of Return,’ a series of weekly protests along the fence between Gaza and Israel. The protests, some of which drew tens of thousands of people, and included armed terrorists, militants who launched incendiary devices into Israel, and unarmed protesters, continued throughout the year. Hamas took control of the weekly protests, and many of the protests were violent as encouraged by Hamas.”

Interestingly, the Report does not even have a dedicated section on Iran, only providing a link to a separate document: “Read the State Department’s new report detailing the magnitude of the Iranian regime’s destructive behavior at home and abroad. The report covers Iran’s support for terrorism, its missile program, illicit financial activities, threats to maritime security and cybersecurity, human rights abuses, as well as environmental exploitation.” A second link is to a speech by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo given before the neocon group United Against Nuclear Iran: “The Iranian regime’s track record over the past 40 years has revealed it as among the worst violators of the UN Charter and UN Security Council resolutions – perhaps, indeed, the worst violator. It is truly an outlaw regime.”

Exonerating perpetual victim Israel of all its misdeeds and blaming the Israel-Palestine problem on the Palestinians while also labeling them as “terrorists” is both delusional and propaganda, not responsible analysis. Nor is damning Iran when speaking before a partisan group and falsely calling it a “worst violator of the U.N. Charter and U.N. Security Council resolutions” exactly informative. It is actually Israel that is the worst violator of U.N. Security Council resolutions, a fact that is not mentioned in the Human Rights Report.

One might well question why to write a Human Rights Report at all, but that is something that can be blamed on Congress, which ordered the State Department to prepare it. And one should note the key omission in the document: there is no admission of causality. The United States foreign and national security policies over the past twenty years have created a “human rights” disaster mostly in Asia but also elsewhere, a virtual tsunami rolling over ruined countries that has killed millions of people while also displacing millions more. In reckoning the terrible circumstances being endured by many in so many places there is no mention of the American role. And, unfortunately, there is no section in the Human Rights Report for “United States of America.

%d bloggers like this: