Hoping to Seize on UAE-Israel Deal, Pompeo and Kushner Head East in Search of New Allies for Israel

By Raul Diego

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Pompeo Kushner Israel

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump adviser Jared Kushner are hitting the road in an attempt to strong-arm more Arab states into normalizing relations with Israel, turning their backs on Palestine and isolating Iran.

U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and unelected advisor to President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, are embarking on a tour of the Middle East beginning with a stop in Israel to discuss “regional security issues related to Iran’s malicious influence” with Prime Minister Netanyahu, followed by visits to Sudan, Bahrain and now official U.S. partner, the United Arab Emirates.

Spun as an effort to speed up a U.S.-brokered “normalization” between Arab countries and Israel, the trip comes just four days after the White House sent the Secretary of State to the U.N. Security Council with the message that all UN sanctions against Iran were to be restored; invoking a clause in the Iran nuclear deal “that allows participants to reimpose UN sanctions on Iran.”

Critics of the move have deemed it illegal, not only because the Trump administration itself withdrew from the deal it is now attempting to enforce, but also because the UN Security Council had previously voted to allow the arms embargo to expire in the fall.

As Pompeo and company land in Jerusalem, tensions are high in the region. Sudan, one of the countries on the itinerary, is in political disarray nearly two years after the ouster of longtime President Omar al-Bashir in 2018. In July, Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, replaced seven senior cabinet officials, including the ministers of finance, foreign, energy, and health. Five days ago, he sacked his official spokesperson for disclosing ongoing talks with Israel during a press conference in which spokesman Haider Badawi said he was “looking forward to concluding a peace agreement” with the apartheid state.

The Sudanese government immediately disavowed Badawi’s comments, asserting that “no one tasked [the spokesman] with making statements on this matter.” Meanwhile, Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen has reportedly confirmed talks with Sudan, adding that “Israel hopes to reach a peace agreement that includes the return of Sudanese refugees to their country,” according to the Al-Ittihad newspaper. Israeli officials have also claimed that Netanyahu himself met with the head of Sudan’s transitional government in Uganda last February for a top-secret meeting to discuss normalizing relations.

The long-time ally

Bahrain, a long-time Atlanticist client state, is also on Pompeo’s diplomatic schedule. The tiny Gulf state of fewer than two million people has played host to the U.S. Navy since 1947 and was the headquarters for the British protectorate of the lower Persian Gulf after World War II. The crown prince of Bahrain, Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa descends from a long line of Al-Khalifas to rule the nation under Britain’s neo-colonial eye and, later, as a sovereign country since 1971. Considered a “strong security partner” by the U.S. and host of the only operating American naval base in the region with 7,800 U.S. troops, the Trump administration recently lifted arms sales restrictions imposed by Obama. Another member of the Al-Kahlifa clan, Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid Al-Khalifa, sat down for an interview with The Times of Israel last summer in which he said he “hoped to visit Israel, when it’s all open, peaceful,” signaling Bahrain’s openness to facilitate normalization between Israel and Arab states.

report updated in June by the U.S. Congressional Research Service (CSR) titled “Bahrain: Unrest, Security, and U.S. Policy,” outlined the country’s human rights record and history of political repression, which should nevertheless be overlooked because the country “has long presented a policy dilemma for the United States because Bahrain is a longtime ally that is pivotal to maintaining Persian Gulf security.”

An easy dilemma

The policy dilemma is limited to whether or not Bahrain, Sudan or any other oil-rich countries wish to abide by Atlanticist dictates for their particular region, which has now shifted to a policy of exclusion of the Palestinian people living under the apartheid regime in Israel and an intensification of the campaign of isolation against Iran.

This is being called normalization and some, like Sudan’s former government spokesman, see nothing wrong with it. In what may be the most disingenuous statement ever made, Haider Badawi told Sky News Arabia that Sudan “shall be able to build an exemplary peace deal to all our neighboring countries in the region, so that they are able to follow our footsteps and do the same with Israel. I would like to note here that even Palestinians have had a long history of diplomatic ties with Israel. So, why should it be right for them and considered wrong for us.”

Pompeo will finalize his trip in the UAE, where he will meet with Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan to discuss the deal signed with Israel a few weeks ago. Jared Kushner’s itinerary, however, has not been made public. He will be accompanied on an ostensibly separate excursion by National Security adviser, Robert O’Brien and special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook in what is only being described as “talks with leaders in the region to encourage more Arab countries to follow in the UAE’s footsteps and move forward with full normalization of relations with Israel.”

The Six-Day War: The Myth of an Israeli David Versus an Arab Goliath

By Miko Peled

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The son of an Israeli General, Miko Peled reflects on the nefarious intent behind what was presented to the world as the heroic triumph of an outmatched Israel vs its aggressive Arab neighbors

June 2, 1967, was a tense day at the Israeli army headquarters in Tel Aviv. For weeks, IDF generals had been pushing the government to initiate a war and the atmosphere was tense. Israel’s Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, who also acted as minister of defense, came to see the generals at the IDF command center. All the generals who made up the IDF high command were present. This meeting became known as the showdown. Years later, some would even accuse the army of an attempted coup d’etat.

A fraud

One of the biggest frauds perpetrated by the Israeli military is the claim that the Six-Day War was initiated by Israel due to an existential threat. The reality though is that in 1967, the Israeli army faced an elected civilian government that was less excited about the prospects of war than the generals were. So, as is clearly seen in the minutes of meetings between IDF generals from those days, minutes that are available in the IDF archives, seeing that the government was hesitant, the military decided to sow fear, and they did it very effectively, claiming that the Jewish state faced an existential threat and that the army must act decisively.

The deception worked and over the following three days, Eshkol was forced to yield. He resigned his post as minister of defense and gave it to retired army Chief of Staff, General Moshe Dayan. The IDF generals got the war they so badly wanted. They initiated a massive assault against Egypt, reducing the Egyptian military to ashes and taking over the entire Sinai Peninsula. As a result, the IDF was able to capture the largest stockpile of Russian made military hardware outside of the Soviet Union.

Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshko Peled

Israel would make good use of the knowledge that came with this loot.

It also captured thousands of Egyptian soldiers who were stationed in the Sinai Desert and caught unprepared. According to the testimonies of Israeli officers, at least two thousand Egyptian prisoners of war were executed right there and buried in the dunes.

But the generals were not satisfied. They seized the opportunity that they were given and decided to make the most of it. Without any discussion, much less approval from the elected civilian government, the army proceeded to take the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and something the generals had been chomping at the bit to take for many years, the fertile water-rich Syrian Golan Heights, tripling the size of the state of Israel. They had finally completed the conquest of Palestine and pushed the eastern border of Israel all the way to the Jordan River.

The military moved like a bulldozer, destroying cities and towns both in the Golan Heights and in the West Bank. As a result, countless Syrians who lived in the Golan Heights, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinian residents of the West Bank and East Jerusalem became refugees.

The myth of the threat

As the generals themselves stated during their meetings prior to the war, the entire affair was about seizing an opportunity to start a war they knew they would win, and not about averting some existential threat. In fact, the word “opportunity” is mentioned several times in their discussions and the word “threat” is not mentioned at all.

One general who was present in the June 2 meeting was my father, General Matti Peled. According to accounts by some of his comrades who were there, accounts that I later verified by reading the minutes of the meetings, he stood up and told Prime Minister Eshkol that the Egyptian army was an ill-prepared army and therefore Israel must seize the opportunity to destroy it. He stated that the Egyptian army, which at the time was recovering from a war in Yemen, would need at least a year and a half to two years before it was prepared for war. The other generals concurred. My father then went further and said that the IDF command “demands to know why this army that has never lost a battle” is being held back. He didn’t say one word about a threat.

General Matti Peled Six-Day War

More of the minutes of the general’s meeting are included in my book, “The General’s Son,” but it is clear that Israel initiated the war, not out of concern for the safety of Israel, but out of a desire to demonstrate its power and use it to achieve territorial gains. For anyone paying attention the result of the war proved that there could not possibly have been a military threat to Israel. However, people were so moved by the story of little David defending himself from the onslaught of the evil Goliath that they let themselves be taken by the fraud.

Divine intervention

There is a story that I heard from Rabbi Moishe Beck, a revered Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi who used to live in Jerusalem and moved to New York. I asked him why he decided to leave after the Six-Day War. He told me that he was sitting in a bomb shelter in Jerusalem’s Me’a Sha’arim neighborhood and there was the sound of shelling not far from there. At one point, people could hear Israeli Air Force planes flying overhead and began referring to the IDF successes as a sign of divine intervention. He found it abhorrent that people would see the Zionist state military force, which he viewed as criminal, as divine intervention. As soon as he was able, he took his family and with very little means, left Jerusalem. He did not want his children to grow up in an atmosphere that idolized the Israeli military, or any military for that matter.

Many years later, while sitting with Ultra-Orthodox friends in New York, I was asked if it was true that the 1967 victory was so unpredictable that even people who were secular saw it as divine intervention. There was nothing divine about the Israeli assault and the theft of Arab lands. Not in 1967 and not at any other time. The Israeli army was well prepared, well-armed, and well trained and the generals knew victory was inevitable.

The writing on the wall

Israel had, in fact, intended to occupy the West Bank and the Golan Heights many years prior to 1967 and the war presented the perfect opportunity. In the memoirs of Israel’s second Prime Minister, Moshe Sharet, he describes a meeting that took place in Jerusalem in 1953 where dignitaries from around the world were present. Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, was also present.

One of the presentations given to this gathering was by my father, then a young and promising IDF officer. He gave the talk in English which he spoke well, and among other things, he stated in no uncertain terms that the IDF was prepared for the moment that the order would be given to “push Israel’s eastern border to its natural place, the Jordan River.” In other words, take the West Bank and complete the conquest of historic Palestine.

Today we know that Israel had plans in place to occupy and impose its own military rule in the West Bank as early 1964. It is also well known that Israel initiated skirmishes with the Syrian army throughout the early 1960s in the hopes that Syria would initiate a war.

The USS Liberty

On the morning of June 8, 1967, in the midst of the war, the USS Liberty was about 17 miles off the Gaza coast, in international waters. Being an intelligence-gathering ship, it had no battle capabilities and was armed only with four fifty caliber machine guns to ward off unwanted boarders. For several hours throughout that day, Israeli Air Force reconnaissance planes had been flying over the Liberty in what seemed like attempts to identify it. The crew felt no threat – quite the opposite, Israel was a U.S. ally.

The General's Son, Journey of an Israeli in PalestineThen, at 14:00 hours, (2:00 PM local time) and without any warning, Israeli fighter jets launched an attack on USS Liberty. The attack included rockets, cannon fire, and even napalm, a toxic, flammable combination of gel and petroleum that sticks to the skin and causes severe burns.

The attack ended with 34 U.S. sailors dead and 174 injured, many seriously. As the wounded were being evacuated, an officer with the Office of Naval Intelligence instructed the men not to talk to the press about their ordeal.

Within three weeks of the attack, the Navy put out a 700-page report exonerating the Israelis, claiming the attack had been accidental and that the Israelis had pulled back as soon as they realized their mistake. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara suggested the whole affair should be forgotten. “These errors do occur,” McNamara concluded. The U.S. desire to see the Soviet arms that Israel had in its possession had something to do with the ease with which the Pentagon swept this affair under the rug.

In 2003, almost forty years after the fact, the “Moorer Commission,” an independent commission chaired by retired Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, United States Navy, was established in order to investigate the attack. The commission included a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a former Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, retired admirals, and a former ambassador. Among its findings are the following:

That Israeli torpedo boats machine-gunned the Liberty’s firefighters, stretcher-bearers and the life rafts that had been lowered into the water to rescue the most seriously wounded.”

That fearing conflict with Israel, the White House deliberately prevented the U.S. Navy from coming to the defense of USS Liberty by recalling Sixth Fleet military rescue support while the ship was under attack […] never before in American naval history has a rescue mission been cancelled when an American ship was under attack.”

That surviving crew members were threatened with “court-martial, imprisonment or worse” if they exposed the truth.”

That due to continuing pressure by the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, this attack remains the only serious naval incident that has never been thoroughly investigated by Congress.”

In five days it was over. The war ended as expected, with a massive Israeli victory. The IDF destroyed the armies of the Arab countries around it. The death toll was 18,000 Arab soldiers and 700 Israeli soldiers.

In retrospect, one would do well to stop calling what took place in June of 1967 a war, but rather an Israeli assault on its neighboring countries. The name Six-Day War was no coincidence. Israel took the name from the Jewish scriptures, more specifically from the prayer book, where one sees reference after reference to the divine creation or The Six Days of creation.

News Stories Avoid Naming Israel

By Philip Giraldi

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There are two stories that seem to have been under-reported in the past couple of weeks. The first involves Michael Flynn’s dealings with the Russian United Nations Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. And the second describes yet another bit of espionage conducted by a foreign country directed against the United States. Both stories involve the State of Israel.

The bigger story is, of course, the dismissal by Attorney General William Barr of the criminal charges against former National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn based on malfeasance by the FBI investigators. The curious aspect of the story as it is being related by the mainstream media is that it repeatedly refers to Flynn as having unauthorized contacts with the Russian Ambassador and then having lied about it. The implication is that there was something decidedly shady about Flynn talking to the Russians and that the Russians were up to something.

In reality, the part left out of the story is that the phone call to Kislyak on December 22, 2016, was made by Flynn at the direction of Jared Kushner, who in turn had been approached by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu had learned that the Obama Administrating was going to abstain on a United Nations vote condemning the Israeli settlements policy, meaning that for the first time in years a U.N. resolution critical of Israel would pass without drawing a U.S. veto. Kushner, acting for Netanyahu, asked Flynn to contact each delegate from the various countries on the Security Council to delay or kill the resolution. Flynn agreed to do so, which included a call to the Russians. Kislyak took the call but did not agree to veto Security Council Resolution 2334, which passed unanimously on December 23rd.

In taking the phone calls from a soon-to-be senior American official who would within weeks be part of a new administration in Washington, the Russians did nothing wrong, but the media is acting like there was some kind of Kremlin conspiracy seeking to undermine U.S. democracy. It would not be inappropriate to have some conversations with an incoming government team and Kislyak also did nothing that might be regarded as particularly responsive to Team Trump overtures since he voted contrary to Flynn’s request.

The phone call made at the request of Israel was neither benign or ethical as the Barack Administration was still in power and managing the nation’s foreign policy. At the time, son-in-law Jared Kushner was Trump’s point man on the Middle East. He and his family have extensive ties both to Israel and to Netanyahu personally, to include Netanyahu’s staying at the Kushner family home in New York. The Kushner Family Foundation has funded some of Israel’s illegal settlements and also a number of conservative political groups in that country. Jared has served as a director of that foundation and it is reported that he failed to disclose the relationship when he filled out his background investigation sheet for a security clearance. All of which suggests that if you are looking for possible foreign government collusion with the incoming Trumpsters, look no further.

And it should be observed that the Israelis were not exactly shy about their disapproval of Obama and their willingness to express their views to the incoming Trump. Kushner went far beyond merely disagreeing over an aspect of foreign policy as he was actively trying to clandestinely subvert and reverse a decision made by his own legally constituted government. His closeness to Netanyahu made him, in intelligence terms, a quite likely Israeli government agent of influence, even if he didn’t quite see himself that way.

Kushner’s actions, as well as those of Flynn, would most certainly have been covered by the Logan Act of 1799, which bars private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments on behalf of the United States and also could be construed as a “conspiracy against the United States.” But in spite of all that the investigation went after Flynn instead of Kushner. As Kushner is Jewish and certainly could be accused of dual loyalty in extremis, that part of the story obviously makes many in the U.S. Establishment and media uncomfortable, so it was and continues to be both ignored and expunged from the record as quickly as possible.

The second story, which has basically been made to disappear, relates to spying by Israel against critics in the United States. The revelation that Israel was again using its telecommunications skills to spy on foreigners came from an Oakland California federal court lawsuit initiated by Facebook (FB) against the Israeli surveillance technology company NSO Group. FB claimed that NSO has been using servers located in the United States to infect with spyware hundreds of smartphones being used by attorneys, journalists, human rights activists, critics of Israel and even of government officials. NSO allegedly used WhatsApp, a messaging app owned by FB, to hack into the phones and install malware that would enable the company to monitor what was going on with the devices. It did so by employing networks of remote servers located in California to enter the accounts.

NSO has inevitably claimed that they do indeed provide spyware, but that it is sold to clients who themselves operate it with the “advice and technical support to assist customers in setting up” but it also promotes its products as being “used to stop terrorism, curb violent crime, and save lives.” It also asserts that its software cannot be used against U.S. phone numbers.

Facebook, which did its own extensive research into NSO activity, alleges that NSO rented a Los Angeles-based server from a U.S. company called QuadraNet that it then used to launch 720 hacks on smartphones and other devices. It further claims in the court filing that the company reverse-engineering WhatsApp, using an program that it developed to access WhatsApp’s servers and deploy “its spyware against approximately 1,400 targets” before “…covertly transmit[ting] malicious code through WhatsApp servers and inject[ing]” spyware into telephones without the knowledge of the owners.”

The filing goes on to assert that the “Defendants had no authority to access WhatsApp’s servers with an imposter program, manipulate network settings, and commandeer the servers to attack WhatsApp users. That invasion of WhatsApp’s servers and users’ devices constitutes unlawful computer hacking.”

NSO, which is largely staffed by former (sic) Israeli intelligence officers, had previously been in the news for its proprietary spyware known as Pegasus, which “can gather information about a mobile phone’s location, access its camera, microphone and internal hard drive, and covertly record emails, phone calls and text messages.” Pegasus was reportedly used in the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Adnan Kashoggi in Istanbul last year and it has more recently been suggested as a resource for tracking coronavirus distance violators. Outside experts have accused the company of selling its technology and expertise to countries that have used it to spy on dissidents, journalists and other critics.

Israel routinely exploits the access provided by its telecommunications industry to spy on the host countries where those companies operate. The companies themselves report regularly back to Mossad contacts and the technology they provide routinely has a “backdoor” for secretly accessing the information accessible through the software. In fact, Israel conducts espionage and influence operations both directly and through proxies against the United States more aggressively than any other “friendly” country, which once upon a time included being able to tap into the “secure” White House phones used by Bill Clinton to speak with Monica Lewinsky.

Last September, it was revealed that the placement of technical surveillance devices by Israel in Washington D.C. was clearly intended to target cellphone communications to and from the Trump White House. As the president frequently chats with top aides and friends on non-secure phones, the operation sought to pick up conversations involving Trump with the expectation that the security-averse president would say things off the record that might be considered top secret.

Politico report detailed how “miniature surveillance devices” referred to as “Stingrays” were used to imitate regular cell phone towers to fool phones being used nearby into providing information on their locations and identities. According to the article, the devices are referred to by technicians as “international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use.”

Over one year ago, government security agencies discovered the electronic footprints that indicated the presence of the surveillance devices near the White House. Forensic analysis involved dismantling the devices to let them “tell you a little about their history, where the parts and pieces come from, how old are they, who had access to them, and that will help get you to what the origins are.” One source observed afterwards that “It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible.”

So two significant stories currently making the rounds have been bowdlerized and disappeared to make the Israeli role in manipulating and spying against the United States go away. They are only two of many stories framed by a Zionist dominated media to control the narrative in a way favorable to the Jewish state. One would think that having a president of the United States who is the most pro-Israel ever, which is saying a great deal in and of itself, would be enough, but unfortunately when dealing with folks like Benjamin Netanyahu there can never be any restraint when dealing with the “useful idiots” in Washington.

“Israel’s” Largest Bank Fined $874mn for Conspiring to Help Americans Hide $7.6 BILLION

“Israel’s” Largest Bank Fined $874mn for Conspiring to Help Americans Hide $7.6 BILLION 

By Staff, Agencies 

After it was implicated in a tax evasion scheme, “Israeli” ‘Hapoalim BM’ top bank will hand over just shy of $900 million to the US Treasury.

The bank was accused of helping Americans to hide billions of dollars in wealth in thousands of foreign accounts.

The “Israeli” bank, as well as its Swiss subsidiary, agreed to pay the damages after submitting a guilty plea over allegations that it concealed some $7.6 billion in over 5,500 secret Swiss and “Israeli” bank accounts, the Department of Justice announced on Thursday. The $874 million sum is the second-largest recovered by the Treasury in an offshore tax evasion case since 2008, the DOJ added.

“Today, Bank Hapoalim is being held accountable for its conduct – it has admitted to its crimes and will surrender all fees it earned, repay the United States for lost tax revenue, and pay a substantial fine,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman.

At least four senior bank executives, including two former board members, were “directly involved” in the tax avoidance scheme, according to US officials. They were implicated in the conspiracy in a years-long joint investigation by the DOJ, the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal division and US attorneys.

“Today’s resolutions and payment of $874 million make clear that tax evasion cannot be taken lightly,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said, adding that “a fair tax system requires even-handed compliance, and honest conduct by all participants in the system.”

In a separate case brought by the US government, Hapoalim was accused of murky dealings with FIFA and laundering over $20 million in kickbacks and bribes to the international football organization’s officials. The bank will pay $30 million for its role in that plot, which was merely one facet of its broader money-hiding operation.

It is worth noting that Hapoalim has some 250 branches in the apartheid entity and manages more than 2.5 million accounts in total, the DOJ said, while the Swiss subsidiary is based in Zurich and at various times during the US investigation kept branches in Geneva, Luxembourg and Singapore.

American Citizens Killed and Tortured by Israel?

By Philip Giraldi

Source

No one is ever held accountable

Mahmoud Shaalan 831be

One of the principal functions of a United States Embassy overseas is to provide citizen services, which includes coming to the assistance of Americans who are treated badly by the local government. It is a responsibility that most embassies take seriously, with the exception of the facility currently located in Jerusalem. One has to understand that that is so because the United States Embassy in Israel is like no other. In other countries, the American Embassy exists to support American travelers, businesses and a broad range of national interests. In Jerusalem the Embassy exists to support Israeli interests and to serve as an apologist every time the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes on a killing spree or does something else that is similarly outrageous, to include bombing neighboring Syria every other day.

America’s current ambassador, former Trump bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman, has funded Israel’s illegal settlements, which did not in any way complicate his confirmation as nearly everyone in Congress and the White House does not believe that the Palestinians actually are human beings. Since taking up his position, Friedman has defended Israel when its army sharpshooters have shot down scores of unarmed Gazans, including children, and has both praised and endorsed out-and-out theft by the Israeli government in Jerusalem, on the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

What the U.S. Embassy under Friedman will not do is put any real pressure on the Israeli government if its security forces or rampaging settlers kill, beat, maim or torture an American citizen, especially if said citizen happens to be of Palestinian descent. Indeed, Friedman is only the latest manifestation of Israel-first-itis among U.S. Ambassadors, the rot having started inevitably with Bill Clinton, who appointed Australian citizen Martin Indyk as the first Jewish ambassador to Tel Aviv. The two most recent ambassadors, Friedman and Daniel Shapiro, both political appointees, have also been Jewish. Shapiro so enjoyed being an Israeli that he decided to remain in the country after his appointment as ambassador was completed. He now works for an Israeli government funded think tank.

The Israeli army and police have in fact killed a number of American citizens without any real pushback from the Department of State or White House. The unwillingness to confront Israel on any level stems from the formidable Jewish power in the United States, which uses money and media control to corrupt the political system at national, state and local levels. The media and the chattering political class worry about Russian interference while ignoring the implications of Haaretz article that appeared on February 12th entitled “AIPAC Must Stop Bernie Sanders – At All Costs!” AIPAC is, of course, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, widely regarded as the chief U.S. lobbying arm of the Jewish state.

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*(Betty McCollum U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 4th congressional district at a women’s roundtable at Hillary for Minnesota Headquarters in St Paul, MN. Credit: Lorie Shaull/ Flickr)

And witness the fate of Congresswoman Betty McCollum from Minnesota, who fell afoul of the Israel Lobby when she introduced H.R.2407, legislation that prohibits American taxpayer money from being used by Israel to arrest and detain Palestinian children. She stated that “Israel’s system of military juvenile detention is state-sponsored child abuse designed to intimidate and terrorize Palestinian children and their families. It must be condemned, but it is equally outrageous that U.S. tax dollars in the form of military aid to Israel are permitted to sustain what is clearly a gross human rights violation against children.” She might have added that the estimated 10,000 Arab children who have been detained since 2000 are frequently tortured by the Israeli authorities. The bill currently has 23 cosponsors and is unlikely to attract more due to fear of the Lobby. It will never reach the House floor for a vote and will never become law.

McCollum’s courage was on display when she was viciously attacked by AIPAC, which posted Facebook ads that referenced “radicals in the Democratic party,” including a photo of McCollum, with the text stating that “It’s critical that we protect our Israeli allies especially as they face threats from Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah ISIS and — maybe more sinister — right here in the U.S. Congress.”  McCollum stood her ground against being called “more sinister” than ISIS and released a statement that describes AIPAC as a “hate group,” which of course it is, but she will find few in the Democratic party brave enough to defend her.

Israel’s willingness to kill Americans in support of what it perceives as its own interests goes back nearly to the founding of the state in 1948. The Lavon Affair of 1954 was an Israeli plot to bomb the U.S. Embassy Information Agency libraries in Alexandria and Cairo Egypt, blaming the attacks on the Egyptians to draw the United States closer to Israel. The bombs were placed by Egyptian Jews acting for Israeli intelligence. They exploded, but fortunately no one was killed.

In June 1967 Israel was at it again, attacking the intelligence gathering U.S. naval vessel the U.S.S. Liberty in international waters, killing thirty-four American sailors, Marines and civilians in a deliberate air and sea onslaught that sought to sink the intelligence gathering ship and kill all its crew. It was the worst attack ever carried out on a U.S. Naval vessel in peace time. In addition to the death toll, 171 more of the crew were wounded in the two-hour assault. The Israelis, whose planes had their Star of David markings covered up so Egypt could be blamed, attacked the ship repeatedly from the air and with gunboats from the sea. When one Israeli pilot hesitated, refusing to attack what was clearly an American ship, he was instructed to proceed anyway.

The most disgusting part of the tale relates to how U.S. warplanes sent to the Liberty’s aid from an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean were called back by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara acting under orders from President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who declared that he would rather see the ship go to the bottom of the sea than embarrass his good friend Israel. Ironically, the first ship to reach the Liberty and offer assistance was from the Soviet Union, an offer that was declined.

More recently there have been a number of killings of Americans. In a bizarre incident in August 1988, an elderly Palestinian-American with a heart condition died after being forced to climb stairs to paint over anti-Israeli graffiti on a school wall. Rebhi Barakat Kaid, 67, of Columbus, Ohio, was on the West Bank visiting relatives. He died of a heart attack after three Israeli soldiers ordered him and his 14-year-old Chicago-born grandson at gunpoint to climb the 22 steep steps that led from the house to the street above without his being allowed to take his heart medicine first.

Much better known is the March 2003 killing of Washington State’s Rachel Corrie, who was deliberately run over by an Israeli military bulldozer when she was protesting the destruction of a Palestinian village. A month later there was an incident in which Brian Avery, a 24-year-old from Albuquerque, New Mexico, was shot in the face in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin by Israeli soldiers in an armored personnel carrier firing machine guns at protesters.

In March 2009 Tristan Anderson, a 37-year-old from Oakland, California, suffered permanent brain damage when Israeli soldiers shot him in the face with a tear gas canister as he watched a protest in the West Bank village of Nilin.

Another American citizen, Furkan Doğan, an 18-year-old born in Troy, New York, was killed aboard the Turkish flagged Mavi Marmara in the Mediterranean Sea in May 2010 as a flotilla of international activists attempted to break Israel’s illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip to deliver humanitarian supplies. The United Nations’ General Assembly Human Rights Council determined that Doğan had been killed by Israeli naval commandos through an “extra-legal, arbitrary and summary execution.” He was shot five times, including once in the face from “point blank range.”

The same day that Israel murdered Furkan Doğan, 21-year-old Emily Henochowicz of Potomac, Maryland, was protesting the attack on the flotilla at the Qalandiya checkpoint near Jerusalem, when an Israeli soldier shot her in the face with a teargas cannister, resulting in the loss of an eye.

And then there was in October 2014 the shooting by Israeli soldiers of Orwa Hammad, a 14-year-old Palestinian-American from Louisiana. The Israeli army claimed that Hammad was throwing a Molotov cocktail at the time of his death, but witnesses stated that he was among a group of children throwing rocks at the heavily armed and armored soldiers.

And most recently, there is the case of Florida-born 16-year-old Palestinian-American Mahmoud Shaalan who was shot repeatedly at an Israeli check point on the West Bank on February 26, 2016 while he was walking to a nearby village to visit his aunt. He was still alive after the shooting, but Israeli soldiers denied him any medical treatment for three hours and he died before an ambulance was allowed to approach him.

Arrest of Palestinians and others without probable cause under “administration detention” guidelines followed by torture has also become a hallmark of Israel’s occupation of Arab land. Torture methods used by Israel include stress positions, severe beatings, sleep deprivation, emotional blackmail, threats of torture of family members and the transfer of detainees to secret prisons where torture is constant. In one case reported to a Human Rights Association “The harsh beating was committed with the intention to kill the detainee.”

In another reported case of torture, nineteen-year-old Mahmoud Zakarner’s testicles were smashed by soldiers in front of his uncle to force the man to provide the names of Palestinian resistance members. Mahmoud is now paralyzed and unable to speak as a result.

Israeli expertise in torture is in demand from authoritarian regimes worldwide, creating a growth industry for the specialized “advisers and technicians.” Many are currently working with right wing regimes in South and Central America. Several even showed up at Abu Ghraib as trainers for U.S. interrogators and were able to suggest refinements like the “Palestinian chair.”

Inside Israel torture of Palestinians is routine on the grounds of “necessity” and absurd “ticking-bomb” scenarios. The courts and the medical profession aid and abet the practice. Over 1200 complaints regarding the torture of Palestinians in Israeli prisons have not resulted in even a single indictment of the torturers.

So, killing Americans as well as many others and torturing prisoners are all in a day’s work for the Jewish state. What is disgraceful, of course, is the fact that the United States government, which has the power to do something about it, instead chooses to do nothing to stop the bleeding or even to demand inquiries to find out who is to blame. Instead, Washington lavishes money and praise on Israel, reportedly America’s best friend and closest ally, while it also avoids looking at the horrors that are evident to most of the rest of the world.

Protesting Israel Is a “Hate Crime” in U.S. Universities

By Philip Giraldi

Source

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The Israel lobby in the United States and its counterparts in Europe have been paying particular attention to curtailing the activities of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS). This is because BDS, which is non-violent and based on established human rights principles, is extremely appealing to college students, who will be tomorrow’s leaders. Israel, which promotes its own largely fictional narrative about itself, is reluctant to allow any competing stories about its foundation and current activities, so it has worked hard to exclude any and all criticism of its practices on college campuses and even among students in public high schools.

Unfortunately, many colleges and universities are all too ready to compromise their principles, such as they are, whenever a representative of Israel or of Jewish groups comes calling. A popular line that has proven to be particularly effective is that Jews on campus feel threatened whenever anyone advocates for the Palestinians or Iranians, intended to convey that their civil rights are being violated.

Even if that type of allegation is actually relevant to whether or not one allows free speech and association, one wonders how violated the Palestinians and Iranians must feel when confronted by the endless stream of hostility emanating from the U.S. media and Hollywood as well as from select politicians representing both parties and the White House.

In the most recent manifestation of suppression of views critical of Israel, the federal government’s Department of Education has ordered Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to reorganize the Consortium for Middle East Studies program run jointly by the two colleges based on their failure to include enough “positive” content relating to Christianity and Judaism. The demand came with a threat to suspend federal funding of Title VI Higher Education Act international studies and foreign language grants to the two schools if the curriculum is not changed.

Of course, the demands have nothing to do with Christian groups demanding inclusion and everything to do with organized Jewish pressure to present Israel in a positive light while also casting aspersions on the Jewish state’s perceived enemies in the region and also on university campuses. Anyone who has even cursory knowledge about the Middle East knows that Christians and Jews constitute only a tiny minority in the region, so the emphasis on teaching about Islam, the Arabs, and the Persians makes sense if the instruction is to have any actual relevance.

One particular event that apparently led to an earlier investigation in June launched by the Education Department consisted of a conference in March called “Conflict Over Gaza: People, Politics, and Possibilities.” A Republican congressman was outraged by the development and asked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to investigate because the gathering was full of “radical anti-Israel bias.”

Even The New York Times acknowledged in their coverage of the story that “Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, has become increasingly aggressive in going after perceived anti-Israel bias in higher education.” Her deputy—who has served as a focal point for the effort to root out anti-Israel sentiment—is Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights Kenneth L. Marcus, who might reasonably be described as “a career pro-Israel advocate.”

Marcus is the founder and president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, a foundation that he has used to exclusively defend the rights of Jewish groups and individuals against BDS and other manifestations of Palestinian pushback against the Israeli occupation of their country. He has not hesitated to call opponents anti- Semites and has worked with Jewish students to file civil rights complaints against college administrations, including schools in Wisconsin and California. In an op-ed that appeared, not surprisingly, in The Jerusalem Post, he observed that even when student complaints were rejected, they created major problems for the institutions involved. “If a university shows a failure to treat initial complaints seriously, it hurts them with donors, faculty, political leaders, and prospective students.”

Last year Marcus reopened an investigation into alleged anti-Jewish bias at Rutgers University that the Obama administration had closed after finding that the charges were baseless. Marcus indicated that the re-examination was called for, as his office in the Education Department would henceforth be using the State Department definition of anti-Semitism that includes “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination,” making much criticism of Israel a hate crime.

In the current North Carolina-Duke case, DeVos and Marcus expressed concern over course content that had “a considerable emphasis placed on understanding the positive aspects of Islam, while there is an absolute absence of any similar focus on the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism, or any other religion or belief system in the Middle East.” The complaint called for balancing content relating to “the historic discrimination faced by, and current circumstances of, religious minorities in the Middle East, including Christians, Jews, Baha’is, Yazidis, Kurds, Druze, and others.”

Zoha Khalili, a staff lawyer at Palestine Legal, explained how the message coming from Washington is actually quite simple and has nothing to do with balance: “They really want to send the message that if you want to criticize Israel, then the federal government is going to look very closely at your entire program and micromanage it to death. . . . [It] sends a message to Middle Eastern studies programs that their continued existence depends on their willingness to toe the government line on Israel.”

The possible consequences are very clear. If you are an educational institution that criticizes Israel in any way, shape or form, you will lose any funding you receive from the federal government. The move has nothing to do with budgetary demands or the national security of the United States or even with the efficacy of the programs that are being funded. It has everything to do with promoting Israeli interests. That a demonstrated and outspoken Israeli advocate like Marcus should be placed in a key position to decide who gets what based on his own biases is a travesty, but it is something that we should all be accustomed to by now, as there is apparently no limit to what the Trump administration is willing to do for Israel and for that monstrous country’s powerful, wealthy, and incessantly vocal supporters in the United States.

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

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

By Philip Giraldi

Source

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Benefiting Israel Tops Congressional Agenda

By Philip Giraldi
Source

 

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu famously was unaware that he was being filmed when he commented that “America is a thing you can move very easily, moved in the right direction.” His predecessor Ariel Sharon was even more to the point when he reportedly said “Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that …don’t worry about American pressure; I tell you, we, the Jewish people, control America and the American people know it!”

If this were only chest thumping rhetoric one might just shrug and go about one’s business, but actions speak louder than words, even in the world of corrupt politicians, where nothing is ever as it seems to be. In the past year alone, the U.S. government has moved its Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, has stopped criticizing the Netanyahu government’s expansion of illegal settlements, and is reportedly currently contemplating recognizing as legal Israel’s illegal occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights. All the moves were and are contrary to actual American interests.

Furthermore, Israel, a country having a European level standard of living to include free education and medical care, has received more than $250 billion in “aid” from Washington. It currently is receiving $3.8 billion yearly from the U.S. Treasury as a base figure guaranteed for ten years, with supplements for special projects and programs. Adding in trade arrangements favorable to Israel and the money it gets from American Jewish donors’ tax-exempt contributions, the real total per annum approaches and may even exceed $10 billion. Much of the donor money, including that from the Kushner Foundation, has gone to fund the illegal settlements on the West Bank in violation of U.S. law. And then there is the $2.7 billion given yearly to Egypt and Jordan, essentially bribes to maintain friendly relations with Israel.

The ultimate irony is that any aid to Israel is illegal in light of the fact that it has violated the Symington and Glenn amendments to the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act due to its undeclared nuclear weapons arsenal and its refusal to sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. Both Congress and the White House have chosen to ignore that complication, one more demonstration of Jewish power in the United States. In truth, Ariel Sharon, if he was quoted correctly, had it right. Jewish Americans do control or at least exercise considerable influence over key sectors in the U.S. They are overwhelmingly disproportionately present on Wall Street, in the entertainment and news industries, in academia, in high value professions and in government at all levels. Their collective power both enriches and protects Israel at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer and genuine national interests. It also enables Israeli agents in the U.S., like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), to avoid scrutiny and regulation under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.

Some federal government agencies exist largely to promote Israeli interests, most notably the Treasury Department’s Office for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, which has only had Jewish Under Secretaries heading it since it was founded in 2004. It is currently run by Israeli Sigal Mandelker. The office has focused on punishing Iran, Israel’s principle enemy, throughout its existence.

Jewish power is most perniciously evident in U.S. foreign policy, where it has a strangle hold on relations between Washington and the Arab countries of the Middle East. Much of this leverage is derived from the fact that the principal donors to both the Democratic and Republican parties – Haim Saban and Sheldon Adelson-are both Jews having very strong ties to Israel. Saban is an Israeli and Adelson may have Israeli citizenship. With both parties more than willing to act on behalf of Israel, the United States has engaged in a number of wars that serve no national interest and which have, on the contrary, brought with them devastating consequences, including the rise of new terrorist groups.

To be sure, many American Jews are not convinced by the love affair with Israel, but they are hard to hear amidst the cacophony coming from the Jewish oligarchs and hundreds of pro-Israel organizations that are constantly singing the praises of Netanyahu and his kleptocratic regime. For many young Jews in particular, it is difficult to empathize with a country that deploys army snipers to shoot thousands of unarmed demonstrators or a government that engages in starvation policies and the arrests, beatings and killings of children. Not to mention a governing system that believes that only Jewish citizens have full rights.

The Jewish oligarchs who manipulate the politicians do so with money, though one should in no way minimize the essential mendacity of the politicians themselves who are willing to sell out the interests of their country in exchange for thirty pieces of silver. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who is not one of the brightest bulbs in congress, is a prime example of a legislator who has been bought and paid for by Israeli interests in the form of campaign donations from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and vulture capitalist Paul Singer.

Rubio’s speech last week supporting Senate bill S.1 for 2019, which he sponsored, was remarkable and should serve as primary evidence for anyone who really wonders why we have a Senate at all. The bill itself should also be read in toto to learn the details of what largesse we give to Israel in exchange for absolutely nothing in return. To put it succinctly, Rubio is all about protecting and nurturing Israel, which he sees as a good move since he has aspirations to become president. S.1 was, notably, the first Senate bill to be considered in 2019 after what once upon a time used to be referred to as the Christmas Recess. The full title of S.1 is the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019, which might be considered a bit of a fraud as it has nothing to do with the United States and is really all about giving Israel money and anything else it might desire, to include destroying the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that has targeted Israel’s apartheid. Rubio openly has admitted that the bill was crafted to help Israel and during his speech he registered his opposition to the impending pullout of U.S. troops from Syria because it would, according to him, “endanger” the Jewish state. Apart from that, the half hour presentation incorporated some remarkable oratory explaining S.1 including:

First of all, let me tell you what it doesn’t do. It doesn’t outlaw BDS. if you’re an American company and you want to boycott or divest from Israel, it doesn’t make it illegal. It doesn’t stop you from doing it. The only thing it says is if there is some city or county or state in this country who wants to support Israel, they have a right to say we are not going to buy services or goods from any company that’s boycotting or divesting from Israel. That’s all it does. It gives cities and counties like these 26 states the opportunity to have their elected officials who respond to the people of those states or cities or counties that elected them to make a decision that they are not going to do business with people who don’t do business with Israel and boycott Israel. In essence, it allows us to boycott the boycotters.

It would be difficult to find a more stupid justification for S.1 than that provided by Rubio. He does not understand that the “state” at all levels is supposed to be politically neutral in terms of providing government services. It is not supposed to retaliate against someone for views they hold, particularly, as in this case, when it involves opposition to the policies of a foreign government that many consider to be guilty of crimes against humanity. Rubio clearly believes that you can exercise free speech but government can then punish you by taking away your livelihood or denying you services that you are entitled to if you do not agree with it on an issue that ultimately has nothing to do with the United States. The ACLU has addressed the issue succinctly, arguing that “Public officials cannot use the power of public office to punish views they don’t agree with. That’s the kind of authoritarian power our Constitution is meant to protect against.”

In any event, the Senate bill failed in two tries last week with a vote of 56 in favor and 45 against followed by a 53 to 43 tally, with 60 votes being needed to advance for a final vote. It was supported by every Republican senator, but never fear, S.1 will surely pass when the government shutdown ends and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, himself a beneficiary of generous pro-Israel PAC donations, brings it up again for yet another vote. The Democrats who voted against S.1 to embarrass President Trump and protest the shutdown included Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Ben Cardin who are unrestrained champions of Israel due to both their ethnic and religious ties. Schumer has described himself as Israel’s “shomer” or protector in the Senate while Cardin has been a key player in advancing any and all pro-Israel legislation. They and most other Democrats will support the bill as they are in thrall to Israel as much as are the Republicans.

Over at the U.S. House of Representatives there was also early action on behalf of Israel. H.R.221- Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act“To amend the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 to monitor and combat anti-Semitism globally, and for other purposes” passed by a margin of 411 to 1 in a mere twelve minutes with only congressman Justin Amash voting “nay.” The bill, which was being pushed by the Israel Lobby, compels President Trump to name an anti-Semitism Special Envoy with Ambassadorial rank to “serve as the primary advisor to, and coordinate efforts across, the U.S. government relating to monitoring and combating anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incitement in foreign countries.” Criticism of Israel is considered to be anti-Semitism.

Another recent and related story reveals the power of Israel and its friends as reflected by their ability to force potential dissidents to fall in line. Senator Rand Paul, a critic of foreign aid in general, rightly received praise for his willingness to step up and block approval of last year’s aid package for Israel. But even there he waffled, his office putting out a statement “While I’m not for foreign aid in general, if we are going to send aid to Israel it should be limited in time and scope so we aren’t doing it forever, and it should be paid for by cutting the aid to people who hate Israel and America.” Apparently Rand Paul believes that the people who hate Israel and America constitute an identifiable group receiving billions of U.S. Treasury dollars.

Senator Paul has also been involved in the current anti-BDS legislation declaring in an op-ed, that the bill would be damaging to first amendment rights. However, he did not back up his words with action, having voted both times in favor of S.1, and he also felt it necessary to preface his op-ed remarks with the usual sucking up to the Jewish state: “I am not in favor of boycotting Israel. Israel has been a good ally. I have traveled to Israel, and it was one of the best and most meaningful trips I have taken with my family. Standing at the Western Wall was special and powerful. Visiting old Jerusalem was incredible, and sailing on the sea of Galilee while a double rainbow glowed above us is something I will never forget. Israel is truly a unique and special place.”

It is disgraceful that the legislature of the United States of America in the midst of a government shutdown is giving first priority to bills granting billions of dollars-worth of benefits to Israel while also appointing an anti-Semitism Czar to interfere with the domestic politics of foreign nations. It is shameful that an American Senator should find himself compelled, if he wants to survive politically, to grovel before a domestic lobby representing a foreign nation. Still worse is the compulsion to apologize to that nation even while honorably critiquing legislation that would do significant damage to freedom of speech in America.

Rand Paul also knows perfectly well, as does every senator, that Israel is not and has never been an “ally” in any real sense and has instead used its considerable political power to corrupt America’s political culture and to entangle the United States in a series of unwinnable and inhumane wars in the Middle East. It is certainly his right to personally refuse to support BDS, but he surely understands that effective nonviolent pressure directed against Israel might well be the only way to deliver even a modicum of justice to the Palestinians. Senator Rand Paul clearly does not care about the Palestinians or about Washington’s misadventures in the Middle East when his more compelling need as an ambitious politician is to placate the powerful Jews who, as Ariel Sharon put it, “control America.” How disappointing. Is there anyone left standing who will actually defend the interests of the American people?

Israel Is Bad for America

By Philip Giraldi
Source

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American journalism has become in its mainstream exponents a compendium of half-truths and out-and-out lies. The public, though poorly informed on most issues as a result, has generally figured out that it is being hoodwinked and trust in the Fourth Estate has plummeted over the past twenty years. The skepticism about what is being reported has enabled President Donald Trump and other politicians to evade serious questions about policy by claiming that what is being reported is little more than “fake news.”

No news is more fake than the reporting in the U.S. media that relates to the state of Israel. Former Illinois congressman Paul Findley in his seminal book They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby observed that nearly all the foreign press correspondents working out of Israel are Jewish while most of the editors that they report to at news desks are also Jews, guaranteeing that the articles that eventually surface in the newspapers will be carefully constructed to minimize any criticism of the Jewish state. The same goes for television news, particularly on cable news stations like CNN.

A particularly galling aspect of the sanitization of news reports regarding Israel is the underlying assumption that Israelis share American values and interests, to include freedom and democracy. This leads to the perception that Israelis are just like Americans with Israel’s enemies being America’s enemies. Given that, it is natural to believe that the United States and Israel are permanent allies and friends and that it is in the U.S. interest to do whatever is necessary to support Israel, including providing billions of dollars in aid to a country that is already wealthy as well as unlimited political cover in international bodies like the United Nations.

That bogus but nevertheless seemingly eternal bond is essentially the point from which a December 26th op-ed in The New York Times departs. The piece is by one of the Times’ resident opinion writers Bret Stephens and is entitled Donald Trump is Bad for Israel.

Stephens gets to the point rather quickly, claiming that “The president has abruptly undermined Israel’s security following a phone call with an Islamist strongman in Turkey. So much for the idea, common on the right, that this is the most pro-Israel administration ever. I write this as someone who supported Trump moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and who praised his decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal as courageous and correct. I also would have opposed the president’s decision to remove U.S. forces from Syria under nearly any circumstances. Contrary to the invidious myth that neoconservatives always put Israel first, the reasons for staying in Syria have everything to do with core U.S. interests. Among them: Keeping ISIS beaten, keeping faith with the Kurds, maintaining leverage in Syria and preventing Russia and Iran from consolidating their grip on the Levant.”

The beauty of Stephens overwrought prose is that the careful reader might realize from the git-go that the argument being promoted makes no sense. Bret has a big heart for the Kurds but the Palestinians are invisible in his piece while his knowledge of other developments in the Middle East is superficial. First of all, the phone call with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had nothing to do with “undermining Israel’s security.” It concerned the northern border of Syria, which Turkey shares, and arrangements for working with the Kurds, which is a vital interest for both Ankara and Washington. And it might be added that from a U.S. national security point of view Turkey is an essential partner for the United States in the region while Israel is not, no matter what it pretends to be.

Stephens then goes on to demonstrate what he claims to be a libel, that for him and other neocons Israel always comes first, an odd assertion given the fact that he spends 80% of his article discussing what is or isn’t good for Israel. He supports the U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem, the end of the nuclear agreement with Iran, both of which were applauded in Israel but which are extremely damaging to American interests. He attacks the planned withdrawal from Syria because it is a “core interest” for the U.S., which is complete nonsense.

Contrary to Stephens’ no evidence assertion, Russia and Iran have neither the resources nor the desire to “consolidate[e] their grip on the Levant” while it is the United States has no right and no real interest to “maintain leverage” on Syria by invading and occupying the country. But, of course, invading and occupying are practices that Israel is good at, so Stephens’ brain fart on the issue can perhaps be attributed to confusion over whose bad policies he was defending. Stephens also demonstrate confusion over his insistence that the U.S. must “resist foreign aggressors…the Russians and Iranians in Syria in this decade,” suggesting that he is unaware that both nations are providing assistance at the request of the legitimate government in Damascus. It is the U.S. and Israel that are the aggressors in Syria.

Stephens then looks at the situation from the “Israeli standpoint,” which is presumably is easy for him to do as that is how he looks at everything given the fact that he is far more concerned about Israel’s interests than those of the United States. Indeed, all of his opinions are based on the assumption that U.S. policy should be supportive of a rightwing Israeli government, that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has recently been indicted for corruption and has called for an early election to subvert the process.

Bret finally comes to the point, writing that “What Israel most needs from the U.S. today is what it needed at its birth in 1948: an America committed to defending the liberal-international order against totalitarian enemies, as opposed to one that conducts a purely transactional foreign policy based on the needs of the moment or the whims of a president.”

Stephens then expands on what it means to be liberal-international: “It means we should oppose militant religious fundamentalism, whether it is Wahhabis in Riyadh or Khomeinists in Tehran or Muslim Brothers in Cairo and Ankara. It means we should advocate human rights, civil liberties, and democratic institutions, in that order.”

Bret also throws America’s two most recent presidents under the bus in his jeremiad, saying “During the eight years of the Obama presidency, I thought U.S. policy toward Israel — the hectoringthe incompetent diplomatic interventionsthe moral equivocationsthe Iran dealthe backstabbing at the U.N. — couldn’t get worse. As with so much else, Donald Trump succeeds in making his predecessors look good.” He then asks “Is any of this good for Israel?” and he answers “no.”

Bret Stephens in his complaining reveals himself to be undeniably all about Israel, but consider what he is actually saying. He claims to be against “militant religious fundamentalism,” but isn’t that what Israeli Zionism is all about, with more than a dash of racism and fanaticism thrown in for good measure? One Israeli Chief Rabbi has called black people “monkeys” while another has declared that gentiles cannot live in Israel. Right-wing religious fundamentalist parties currently are in power with Netanyahu and are policy making for the Israeli Government: Shas, Jewish Home, and United Torah Judaism. None of them could be regarded as a moderating influence on their thuggish serial financial lawbreaker Prime Minister.

And isn’t Israel’s record on human rights and civil liberties among the worst in the world? Here is the Human Rights Watch’s assessment of Israel:

“Israel maintains entrenched discriminatory systems that treat Palestinians unequally. Its 50-year occupation of the West Bank and Gaza involves systematic rights abuses, including collective punishment, routine use of excessive lethal force, and prolonged administrative detention without charge or trial for hundreds. It builds and supports illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, expropriating Palestinian land and imposing burdens on Palestinians but not on settlers, restricting their access to basic services and making it nearly impossible for them to build in much of the West Bank without risking demolition. Israel’s decade-long closure of Gaza, supported by Egypt, severely restricts the movement of people and goods, with devastating humanitarian impact.”

Israel, if one is considering the entire population under its rule, is among the most undemocratic states that chooses to call itself democratic. Much of the population living in lands that Israel claims cannot vote, they have no freedom of movement in their homeland, and they have no right of return to homes that they were forced to abandon. Israeli army snipers blithely shoot unarmed demonstrators while Netanyahu’s government kills, beats and imprisons children. And the Jewish state does not even operate very democratically even inside Israel itself, with special rights for Jewish citizens and areas and whole towns where Muslims or Christians are not allowed to buy property or reside.

It is time for American Jews like Bret Stephens to come to the realization that not everything that is good for Israel is good for the U.S. The strategic interests of the two countries, if they were openly discussed in either the media or in congress, would be seen to be often in direct conflict. Somehow in Stephens’ twisted mind the 1948 theft of Palestinian lands and the imposition of an apartheid system to control the people is in some way representative of a liberal world order.

If one were to suggest that Stephens should move to Israel since his primary loyalty clearly lies there, there would be accusations of anti-Semitism, but in a sense, it is far better to have him stick around blathering from the pulpit of The New York Times. When he writes so ineptly about how Donald Trump Is Bad for Israel the real message that comes through loud and clear is how bad Israel is for America.

 

$10.4 Million US Taxpayer Dollars to Israel Daily

Comment: At the same time the U.S. Administration has not only had the audacity to end funding for UNRWA but also add “the rest of the world  needs to chip in too” when the U.S. and U.K are themselves the culprits behind the belligerent existence of the Zionist entity and the subsequent plight of Palestinians.

Beginning in 2019, Washington will give Israel $3.8 billion annually for the next 10 years, $38 billion in total – plus countless amounts more on request.

Virtually all of it goes to fund Israel’s killing machine, its endless war on Occupied Palestinians and Syria, along with state terrorism against Iran and elsewhere.

The Jewish state’s only enemies are invented ones. Real ones don’t exist.

Yet it gets far more US military aid than any other country, over half of what’s provided worldwide.

A billboard in Richland County, Ohio reads: “$10 million a day to Israel? Our money is needed in America.”

Major media virtually ignore gross misuse of discretionary US tax dollars – largely used for militarism, including the nation’s global empire of bases, wars of aggression, corporate handouts, and military aid to aggressor states like Israel, at the expense of vital homeland needs gone begging.

Military aid to Israel is flagrantly illegal, according to provisions of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act (FAA).

It prohibits aiding governments engaged “in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, or other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, and the security of person, unless such assistance will directly benefit the needy people in such country.”

The Leahy Law provision of the 2001 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act (FOAA) (Sec. 8092 of PL 106-259) states:

“None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to support any training program involving a unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of Defense has received credible information from the Department of State that a member of such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights, unless all necessary corrective steps have been taken.”

FOAA prohibits funding foreign security forces involved in gross human rights violations. It’s proscribed unless “effective measures (are taken) to bring the responsible members of the security forces unit to justice.”

When it comes to Israel, the Saudis, Egypt, Colombia, and other flagrant human rights abusers Washington supports, the above laws don’t apply – no matter how lawless their practices.

Longstanding Israeli human rights abuses need no elaboration. They’re more flagrant than any other country besides America, by far the most abusive worldwide, including at home against its most vulnerable citizens and residents.

It’s global gulag is by far the world’s largest. Torture is official policy as in Israel against Palestinians.

Americans have no say on how they’re governed. One-party rule with two right wings runs things – mindless of the rights and welfare of ordinary people, increasingly abused, neglected and exploited.

Israel operates the same way against Jews. Its Arab citizens are marginalized, isolated, abused, and treated like fifth column threats.

Occupied Palestinians are treated as viciously as Nazis mistreated Jews.

Following the 27th consecutive bloody Friday in Gaza, Israeli naval forces attacked peacefully demonstrating Gazans on Monday with live fire, toxic tear gas, and other terror tactics.

Nearly 100 were injured, including 37 from live ammunition, according to the Strip’s health ministry.

Ambulances and medical personnel trying to help the wounded were fired on.

Striking Palestinians in Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, East Jerusalem, and elsewhere in the West Bank were viciously attacked by Israeli forces.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, five Palestinians were shot with live fire, 10 or more others harmed by toxic tear gas inhalation.

A statement by Joint (Arab) List MK Hassan Jabareen said “(t)he strike sends a message of opposition to the continued discrimination and racism towards the Arab public…We were born in this country and will fight for national equality.”

US major media largely ignore horrendous Israeli human rights abuses against defenseless Palestinians.

The world community consistently does nothing to hold Israel accountable for its high crimes.

By Stephen Lendman
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