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European Court of Justice officer argues against EU Data Retention Directive

DW | December 12, 2013

An EU law requiring companies to log telecommunications data for law enforcement breaches rights, an advocate-general of Europe’s top court has said. Germany in particular had challenged the Data Retention Directive.

Thursday’s opinion at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg responds to challenges against the directive in Ireland and Austria. Adopted the by the EU in 2006 following attacks on the London tube and trains in Madrid , the Data Retention Directive specifies that firms must save telephone and Internet data – user, recipient and length of calls – for a period of up to two years.

“The directive constitutes a serious interference with the fundamental right of citizens to privacy,” Advocate-General Pedro Cruz Villalon said. “The use of those data may make it possible to create a both faithful and exhaustive map of a large portion of a person’s conduct strictly forming part of his private life, or even a complete and accurate picture of his private identity,” he added.

Cruz Villalon argued that the directive increased the risk that corporations and individuals could use the data for unlawful and possibly fraudulent or malicious purposes – even more so as private communication companies controlled the information rather than public authorities. Cruz Villalon also called the directive invalid because it failed to sufficiently specify the circumstances for data access, storage and use – leaving this for member states to define. In addition, Cruz Villalon called one year a disproportionately long time to hold so much information – let alone two.

Relevance, ‘even urgency’

The advocate-general did recognize the “relevance and even urgency” of data retention measures. Should the court decide to follow his opinion, Cruz Villalon suggested that it grant a grace period to change the directive, rather than taking immediate measures against it.

At any given time, the European Court of Justice has nine advocates general, who provide legal but nonbinding opinion ahead of deliberations and decisions by judges.

Germany does not currently comply with the Data Retention Directive, owing in large part to a Constitutional Court ban on the legislation in 2010. The forthcoming grand coalition government hopes to limit data storage in Europe to three months.

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Comments Off on European Court of Justice officer argues against EU Data Retention Directive

For Palestine to Live, Israel Must Die

By Richard Hugus | January 11, 2009

In July 1980, American Indian Russell Means gave a speech at a gathering in the Paha Sapa (Black Hills) in the land of the Lakota (South Dakota). The title of the speech was “For America to Live, Europe Must Die”.1 In his speech, Means spoke to young Indians on the perils of European culture — particularly philosophies of European culture like Marxism and Christianity that appear to be for good things, like ending capitalism and loving one’s neighbor, but end up perpetuating the original problem — European culture itself and its destructive view of the world. Russell Means also spoke recently on the similarity between the genocide of the native Americans and the genocide of the Palestinians.2

Today the world watches helplessly while the Zionist entity slaughters the people of Gaza. This is nothing new — for the past 62 years, the world has watched massacre after massacre, attack after attack, and done nothing about it. In this latest atrocity, at least 900 Palestinians so far have been murdered from afar, with the Zionist’s US-supplied bombs and other weapons, and more weapons are on the way. No one who takes to the streets to denounce this barbarity is to be faulted, but protests taking place under slogans like  “Let Gaza Live” seem to come from the same place that enabled the oppression of Palestine in the first place. Rather than pity the victim, why not stop the aggressor?  Instead of “Let Gaza Live,” why not “Let Israel Die”?  Pity for victims can go on forever; it’s high time to deal with the people who are beating that victim. And it’s time to do more for Palestinians than to just plea for them to be able to live.

The world has supplied relief to Gaza through such organizations as UNRWA for decades. Wouldn’t it have been much more effective to address the obvious cause of Gaza’s suffering at the source, when it began? Wouldn’t it have been better to drop all talk of peace with a belligerent who had proved again and again he wasn’t for peace, and forcibly take the gun out of his hands? Why hasn’t this happened? Why isn’t it happening now?

Perhaps the biggest reason is that this particular aggressor, though small in numbers, has been clever at deception, infiltration, and propaganda. Zionists have talked peace but waged war. They have infiltrated ruling elites in every strategically important country in the world — the US in particular. They have infiltrated the media, the entertainment industry, Wall Street, the government, the corporate power structure, human rights and civil liberties groups, and the antiwar left. They have infiltrated the places and communities where Judaism is observed, so that today one cannot go into a synagogue in the US without seeing the blue and white “Israeli” flag. At least 80% of Jewish people in the US either support the Zionist state or are afraid to criticize it. Yet to make an issue of this would be deemed a monstrous case of religious intolerance.

Judaism has been so thoroughly hijacked by Zionism that it is no longer clear where one ends and the other begins. At the end of December, a demonstration in Boston to condemn the just-begun bombing of Gaza was met with an almost equal number of supporters of the Zionist entity holding both the star of David and the stars and stripes. They carried signs saying “We Stand With Israel” and sang   anthems for both “Israel” and the US. Well-established synagogues and temples have called for gatherings in support of the Zionist state even as the mass murder is carried out.

Support for Zionism is well integrated into US culture, itself built on the unacknowledged genocide its own indigenous people, and of the African slave. In such an environment the mainstream Jewish community is allowed to have it both ways — they can support one genocide, but they can’t be challenged because of their history as the victims of another genocide.  One doesn’t accuse the authority on genocide with the same crime. This would be termed a “hate crime.” With its “No Place For Hate” programs in cities across the US, the Anti-Defamation League, which explicitly supports the Zionist state, has set itself up as the arbiter of any and all persecution and intolerance in American communities.

An even more effective tool of Zionism is its propaganda, built up over the period of 64 years since the end of World War II. This propaganda has elevated the victimhood of Jews at the hands of Nazi Germany to the level of religious belief, so that this genocide is the one above all others in history that counts. Not only must this go unquestioned, it is sacrilege (and now illegal) to do so. So it has come about that Jews who commit the same or worse crimes as the Nazis may do so with impunity. In the US and Europe, Christian guilt, Christian pity, and Christian forgiveness also make this possible. Zionists have exploited both Judaism and Christianity very thoroughly, especially attitudes of exceptionalism found in each religion.

For many people — and the numbers grow daily — the acts and atrocities of Zionism have completely burned up the credit that European Jews accrued in Nazi Germany. The holocaust is an old song that no one wants to hear any more. The victims of the Warsaw ghetto are now the perpetrators of the Gaza ghetto, and the massacre inside it.

The power that Zionists have achieved must be taken away from them, first morally, then physically. No one has a corner on suffering, even the eternal victim. Palestine must be returned to Palestinians, and the Zionist state, which was based on a crime and can only exist as a crime, must be condemned as a whole. For the killing to end, “Israel” has to go.

1. Transcript at http://www.dickshovel.com/Banks.html

2. See http://www.republicoflakotah.com/?p=692

Writings of Richard Hugus

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Comments Off on For Palestine to Live, Israel Must Die

Mass Location Tracking: It’s Not Just For the NSA

By Catherine Crump | ACLU | December 12, 2013

Thanks to Edward Snowden we now understand that the NSA runs many dragnet surveillance programs, some of which target Americans. But a story today from Washington, D.C. public radio station WAMU is a reminder that dragnet surveillance is not just a tool of the NSA—the local police use mass surveillance as well.

DC’s Metropolitan Police Department uses cameras to scan vehicle license plates in huge numbers and saves all the data for two years, even though only a tiny fraction—0.01 %—turn out to be associated with any possible wrongdoing.

In 2012, the police in Washington scanned over 204 million license plates. But only 22,655 were associated with some possible wrongdoing (what the chart refers to as “hits”). And a hit isn’t evidence of guilt. It’s evidence your plate was in a database. And your plate may well be in a database because, as we’ve seen in other areas of the country (check out our report on the use of plate readers nationwide), these databases can include people who violated vehicle emissions programs or are driving on suspended or revoked licenses. These people shouldn’t be on the road, but they are also not major offenders.

The key point is this: 99.9 % of the data pertains to people not suspected of wrongdoing. Why should innocent drivers have their movements stored for two full years?

The new report echoes data first unearthed by the ACLU’s local office and revealed two years ago in testimony to local legislators.

This brings us back to the NSA program. What do the NSA and DC Metropolitan Police Department have in common? As we have discussed before, neither appears to be restrained by any sense of proportionality. The data collection is vast, and the gain is either uncertain or negligible. In the NSA’s case, it is storing records about every single phone call each of us makes and keeping it in a database for 5 years, even in the absence of any credible evidence that mass collection is needed to make us safer. (The MPD refused to comment on the plate reader program.)

When it comes to reforming surveillance, it is programs like these that are particularly good targets. While some may be willing to trade privacy for security, here we appear to be giving privacy away and the government either can’t or won’t make the case that we’re getting anything in exchange.

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Comments Off on Mass Location Tracking: It’s Not Just For the NSA

Israel drops controversial Bedouin relocation plan

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Ma’an – 12/12/2013

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israel is scrapping a controversial draft law to relocate thousands of Bedouin residents of the Negev desert, an official said Thursday.

Benny Begin, tasked with implementing the so-called Prawer Plan, said he had recommended to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “end the debate on the law” in parliament.

“The prime minister accepted this proposal,” he said at a Tel Aviv press conference, days after it emerged the governing coalition was divided on the proposed legislation.

The bill, which would have seen the demolition of some 40 unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev and the relocation of between 30,000 and 40,000 people, passed a preliminary ministerial vote in January.

But it faced intense objection from members of the parliament both from the Right, where lawmakers said the compensation in land and money offered to Bedouins was too generous, and from the Left, which said it was racist and accused the state of usurping the land of indigenous Palestinian inhabitants.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman posted on his Facebook page that the Israeli government “should re-examine the plan and consider a far-reaching plan that would annul the benefits the Bedouin were to receive.”

Following a heated debate this week at the parliamentary interior committee, coalition chairman Yariv Levin of Netanyahu’s Likud party said he would not make the Prawer Plan into law.

The move comes less than two weeks after worldwide protests against the plan, during which Israeli police and soldiers clashed with demonstrators, injuring and arresting dozens across Israel and the West Bank.

According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the plan would have forcibly evicted nearly 40,000 Bedouin and destroy their communal and social fabric, condemning them to a future of poverty and unemployment.

Other estimates had put the number of Bedouin residents at risk at 70,000.

Ma’an staff contributed to this report

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Israel drops controversial Bedouin relocation plan

Israeli immigration denies entry to another Palestine peacemaker team member

CPTnet | December 12, 2013

On the night of December 5, 2013, Israeli immigration authorities denied entry to Patrick Thompson at the Allenby Bridge connecting Jordan to Occupied Palestine. Thompson was attempting to return for another stint on the team in Hebron. He initially told authorities that he was entering as a tourist, to visit Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Tel Aviv, and then points south, before re-entering Jordan. An Israeli official was concerned about his previous stay of four months in Israel.

After detailed questioning over a period of three hours and a search of his computer hard drive, authorities found a logo of CPT and told him they were denying him entry because he had lied to them. Thompson told them that he specifically did not mention his work with CPT or his destination as the West Bank because of the way Israeli authorities had treated many others when they volunteered this information willingly. Authorities denied entry to Jonathan Brenneman, another CPTer, in September, when he declared his membership in CPT and his plans to travel to Hebron. Thompson then waited another hour or so before the authorities officially denied him entry. When he boarded a bus to go back across the border into Jordan it was 1:30 a.m., a full six hours after his arrival at Israeli passport control.

Thompson is the fourth CPTer to whom Israel has denied entry this year. In addition to denying entry to Brenneman in September, authorities turned away two reservists in July because of stamps in their passports from their time with the Iraqi Kurdistan team—even though the Kurdish Regional Government has friendly relations with Israel.

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | Comments Off on Israeli immigration denies entry to another Palestine peacemaker team member

US ‘defence’ budget includes additional military aid for Israel

MEMO | December 12, 2013

Lawmakers in the US Congress reached an agreement on Monday in both the House and the Senate on the proposed federal budget for 2014, which would allocate $520.5 billion for defence spending and $491.8 billion for non-defence.

The defence budget includes an increase in military aid to Israel that will be given as private aid, thus it will be in addition to the $3.1 billion dollars already given annually to Tel Aviv.

The budget is still awaiting formal approval and the exact amount of additional aid to Israel remains unclear.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee had endorsed an increase of $488 million in military aid to Israel to pay for Israel’s procurement and development of additional rocket and missile interception systems. The newspaper noted that this sum is considerably higher than previously expected.

However, Reuters news agency reported that the additional military aid to Israel would exceed $500 million after a compromise defence bill proposed on Monday agreed to boost US spending on missile defence by $358 million to $9.5 billion, mandating another homeland defence radar and increased funding for US-Israeli cooperative efforts.

Israel’s Channel 7 News reported that US President Barack Obama had originally requested $220 million of additional private military aid to Israel to buy extra Iron Dome short-range interceptor missiles and the batteries they are launched from, which was approved.

According to the Israeli media network, in addition to the above, the supplementary aid will allocate $173 million in funding for US-Israeli cooperative missile defence programs, which includes “nearly $34 million to improve the Arrow weapon system and $22 million for work on developing another, more advanced interceptor,” noting that, “The move signals further cooperation between Boeing and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).”

The new budget will also allocate $117.2 million to Israel for the “development of the David’s Sling short-range ballistic missile defence system, which is being developed jointly by Israel’s state-owned Rafael Advanced Defence Systems and the US’s Raytheon.”

Furthermore, “An additional $15 million will be directed for US co-production of Iron Dome components. Raytheon has a joint marketing agreement with Israeli state-owned manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defence Systems for the Iron Dome system.”

Both the US and Israeli media are reporting that the supplemental funds are intended to protect Israel from the increasing threats coming from Iran, Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

In addition to the supplemental aid, US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel has promised Israel that the existing $3.1 billion package of military aid would remain intact, despite US spending cuts.

The final vote on the budget is expected to take place before Congress leaves for the year.

Haaretz noted that, “Despite frequent disputes with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government regarding the peace process with the Palestinians and the Iranian nuclear threat, US President Barack Obama’s administration continues to be extraordinarily generous when it comes to granting military aid. Israeli defence officials see last week’s decision as further evidence of the strength of the relationship between the two countries.”

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Comments Off on US ‘defence’ budget includes additional military aid for Israel

Ukrainian president intends to sign EU deal: Ashton

Press TV | December 12, 2013

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton says Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych “intends to sign” an agreement with the European Union to enhance economic and political relations with the bloc.

Ashton said on arrival for a meeting in Brussels on Thursday after her visit to Kiev that Yanukovych “made it clear to me that he intends to sign the association agreement.”

She added that the short-term economic and financial issues Ukraine faces could be “addressed by the support that not only comes from the EU institutions, but actually by showing that he has a serious economic plan in signing the association agreement.”

Ashton also said that the signature of the deal would help to bring in the kind of investment that the Ukrainian president is in need of.

The executive body of the European Union had said on December 9 that Ashton would travel to Ukraine on December 10 on a two-day visit, with a European Commission spokesperson noting that the visit aims to “support a way out of the political crisis in Ukraine.”

Last month, Kiev refused to sign the agreement with the bloc in a move that triggered major street protests by the opposition supporters, who want Ukraine to become closer to the EU and distance itself from Russia.

Clashes erupted several times between the anti-government protesters and police forces during the demonstrations. Several arrests were made in the course of the protests as well.

In an effort to calm the political unrest, President Yanukovych invited all parties, including the opposition, to engage in dialog. However, Ukrainian opposition leaders on Wednesday turned down his offer of negotiations, calling for dismissal of his government and release of the detained protesters.

On the same day, the US State Department said it is considering sanctions against Ukraine if security forces intensify the crackdown on anti-government protesters in the country.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko had vowed earlier that police would not act against peaceful protesters.

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | Comments Off on Ukrainian president intends to sign EU deal: Ashton

Probing Max Blumenthal’s Goliath

By Jay Knott | Dissident Voice | December 11, 2013

Note: throughout this review I refer to concepts like “racial oppression”, “Jewish supremacy” and so on. None of this is intended to imply that the concept “race” is meaningful, biologically or otherwise. Racial supremacy does not depend on the reality of race, but merely on the belief in it. Whether race is or is not meaningful is a completely separate question from whether Israel is an instance of racial supremacy. I cover this separate question in another article, Invention, Imagination, Race and Nation.

Max Blumenthal just had a book published, entitled Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. He is a left-wing Jewish American journalist. The book assumes that the left/right political dichotomy is meaningful, not only in America, but in the Jewish state. He writes as if Israel can be reformed:

“The Nakba law was only one among a constantly expanding battery of racist and anti-democratic proposals pouring from the legislative offices onto the floor of the Knesset” (page 62).

“Israel’s very existence is threatened by fascism” (Uri Avnery, quoted sympathetically by Max Blumenthal on page 65, complaining about Jewish extremism undermining what is good about Israel).

“…the maintenance of a Jewish demographic majority is Israel’s national priority…” (page 42).

A national priority is something which can be changed. [it changed in south africa] But a Jewish majority is what Israel is.

My point (at least, in this review) is not to criticize reformism as such – normal Western countries can be, and are continually being, reformed. They are critical of their own histories, particularly in regard to racial oppression. Israel stands alone in its self-righteousness.The almost exclusive concern of organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, radical anti-racist groups, and various academic departments, with “white racism”, tends to obscure this. Another article of mine, “The One-Sided View of Hate in Hate Studies,” goes into this question in more detail.

On several occasions in the book, the author criticizes the “settlements” in the “occupied territories” and the “right wing” Israeli politicians who support them. Taken seriously, this argument supports Israel’s fallback position — withdrawal to its 1967 frontiers, before it occupied the “occupied territories”. On page 273, he explains that liberal Zionists mislead us, by claiming that the “source of Israel’s crisis” is in 1967, with the occupation of the West Bank and other areas, rather than with the ethnic cleansing of 1948. But the Nakba was not the “source of Israel’s crisis” – it was the source of Israel!

The book is critical of what it calls Israeli “racism”, for example, on pages 18, 23, 39, 77, 135, 176, 247, 334 and 398. But what would it mean for a state, whose very definition of citizenship is membership of a particular “race”, regardless of geographical origin, leading to the expulsion of non-members of that “race”, who happen to be located within that state’s boundaries, to be “less racist”?

One area where Blumenthal argues there could be improvement, is the mistreatment of Israeli citizens of Palestinian Arab descent.

“…it is hard to find any Arab citizen who travels abroad by air and who has not experienced a discriminatory security check at least once” (page 39).

But, unlike equality for minorities in Western countries like the USA, equality for Israel’s Arab minority would make no difference to the basic fact that Israel, the Jewish state, is an implementation of imagined racial supremacy. They’re a minority because most of them were driven out.

In line with his effort to make Israel look like a Western society, Blumenthal lauds “feisty bands of Israeli radical leftists who had dedicated themselves to direct action against their country’s militaristic policies” (page 67) as if they are analogous to the anti-war movement in the USA. But the war in Vietnam really was a US policy, and that is why it could be changed. Ditto, US aggression in the Middle East. The imposition of Jewish supremacy is not an Israeli policy. It is what Israel is.

On page 116, he contrasts the left-wing shministim with right-wing “Israeli ultra-nationalists”. But what is an “ultra” nationalist in Israel? You either support Jewish power, or you don’t. Uri Avnery confuses the issue further by claiming that the “violence” of the “rightists” is the result of “brainwashing”.

“About fifty Jewish radical leftists brought up the rear of the protest [against a settlement], banging drums and chanting in Hebrew ‘Fascism will not pass!’” (page 50).

One of Blumenthal’s radicals left Israel and landed in London. No, it’s not Gilad Atzmon, whom the author explicitly repudiates. In contrast to Atzmon’s critique of Zionism and Jewish anti-Zionism, Blumenthal’s favorite joined “a radical counterculture” that was “transforming the Western world”, “successfully fusing anti-Zionism into the New Left’s broader struggle against colonialism” (page 265).

He’s right. Subordinating anti-Zionism to anti-racism, etc., has been very successful – in the sense of making it completely ineffective. As a result, the struggle against Zionism has been a complete failure – segregation and apartheid were ended, but Jewish supremacy in Palestine continues.

Blumenthal is, at best, ambiguous; he criticizes Israeli policies and politicians, and sometimes comes close to criticizing the entire project, but never once gets to the point – since the Western countries (the USA, Britain, France, etc.) have repudiated racial supremacy, and enforced compliance with that repudiation, and Israel is, by its very definition, based on racial supremacy, the Western countries should, if they follow their own standards, boycott Israel until it grants citizenship only to those born in Palestine, and those whose recent ancestors were born in Palestine, in other words, ceases to exist.

An example of this ambiguity is the first paragraph on page 74. It starts by saying there is not much to choose between the right and left wing Israeli parties, because they only differ in how to maintain the what he delicately calls the “Jewish demographic majority”. But the same paragraph ends:

In a society where maintaining the tyranny of the ethnic majority formed the underpinnings of national policy, there could be little wonder that an unapologetically supremacist party like Yisrael Beiteinu was able to consolidate a mainstream foothold in such a rapid fashion.

What does claiming the tyranny of the ethnic majority forms the underpinnings of national policy mean? Isn’t it just a roundabout way of saying that racial supremacy is what that nation is? In which case, why does it matter how unapologetic its parties are about their supremacy?

Blumenthal complicates and confuses the issue, but it’s quite simple. There are three major differences between South African apartheid and Israel. One is that, unlike apartheid, Israel exists. The second, is that Israel is Jewish. Finally, South Africa merely had to change its laws, but if Israel abandoned racial supremacy, it would no longer be the Jewish state. The complete contrast between the treatments of these two implementations of racial supremacy means that Jews have special rights in the Western world, and that white gentiles do not. It follows that opposing racial supremacy today therefore means, first and foremost, dismantling Jewish privilege, and that the “anti-racist” industry’s continuing emphasis on the critique of “white privilege” is, to put it charitably, a diversion.

How is Jewish privilege maintained? Blumenthal does briefly mention an example of president Obama having to grovel to the power of the American Jewish lobby on page 275, but only in passing, and with no attempt to help us understand how the organizations of a small ethnic minority can make the most powerful country in the world follow its interests.

~

Jay Knott wrote The Mass Psychology of Anti-Fascism.

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Probing Max Blumenthal’s Goliath

Who is the Boss and Who is the Servant in this Photo?

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By Richard Edmondson | Fig Trees and Vineyards | December 11, 2013

It’s kind of one of those pictures that are “worth a thousand words,” don’t you think? What you’re looking at is Obama onstage with media mogul and Israeli dual national Haim Saban, who has stated previously, “I’m a one issue guy, and my issue is Israel.” The photo was taken last weekend at the Saban Forum, held in Washington. During the event Saban and Obama appeared together for what was billed as a “conversation” on the Middle East, but basically it was a one-on-one press conference—with Saban doing the grilling and Obama doing the answering. Do the facial expressions in the photo, the body language, suggest anything to you—like for instance which of the two figures is dominant and which is submissive?

Saban, of course, has lots of money. In 2002 he provided a $13 million grant which established the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, and which is part of the larger Brookings Institution think tank. Today he is a major funder of political candidates, particularly of the Democratic Party. You can go here and watch a 48-minute video of his “conversation” with Obama, which includes a few questions from the audience towards the end (all of the people selected to ask questions in that closing segment, coincidentally, happen to be Israelis). At one point, Saban jokingly remarks upon how “obedient” Obama is. A little later in the video, Obama states the following:

“The one thing I will say to the people of Israel is that you can be assured, whoever is in the office I currently occupy, Democrat or Republican, that your security will be uppermost on our minds. That will not change.”

Does it not strike you as a curious comment? Why would the security of a foreign nation be “uppermost” in the minds of the leaders of a supposedly sovereign country? But then maybe America is no longer a sovereign nation.

Obama indeed proves his “obedience” by never once bringing up Israel’s nuclear weapons. Much of the conversation is dominated by talk about Iran’s domestic nuclear energy program. The president at one point repeats the standard, stock-in-trade “options-on-the-table” remark—which in essence is nothing more than a threat to attack Iran—yet nowhere, in the entire 48-minute video, does the subject of Israel’s nuclear weapons come up.

A report on the Saban Forum was posted recently at the Mondoweiss blog. While the article mentions the “conversation” between Obama and Saban, much of the piece is devoted to the remarks of John Kerry, who delivered the keynote address for the event. Allison Deger, the author of the report, notes that Kerry expressed the view that Palestinians in the West Bank are deserving of “state institutions” (as opposed to an actual state) of their own, a comment which seems to have prompted Deger to draw the conclusion that “Palestinian statehood is not on the table in the current round of peace talks.” It is a not unreasonable conclusion to draw.

Kerry also referred to Palestinians as a “demographic time bomb” threatening to jeopardize Israel’s “future as a democratic, Jewish state”—apparently the secretary of state’s first public expression of concern over the so-called “demographic threat.” But perhaps most interesting is what Deger reports on comments by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who also attended the event:

Even though Lieberman was amongst a crowd of Washington and Israeli officials familiar with his anti-Arab diatribes, audible gasps could be heard throughout the room when he called to expel Palestinian citizens of Israel. A diplomat from the Russian embassy seated next to me even choked. Another moment of discontent between the plated-dinner audience and Lieberman passed when the foreign minister made a forlorn pun at Sen. Joe Lieberman. Otherwise the foreign minister was amongst allies.

Much has been made of the recent bone of contention between Obama and Netanyahu over the negotiations with Iran, with some suggesting that the US president is beginning to assert himself and to defy the Israeli lobby on some key, important issues. Is it simply wishful thinking on the part of some commentators? I don’t pretend to know the answer to that, but if there was any note of defiance struck at last weekend’s Saban Forum, all I can say is it is extremely difficult to detect.

*

Update-12/11/13:

The following information on Saban comes from Wikipedia:

In March 2008, Saban was among a group of major Jewish donors to sign a letter to Democratic Party house leader Nancy Pelosi warning her to “keep out of the Democratic presidential primaries.” The donors, who “were strong supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign”, “were incensed by a March 16 interview in which Pelosi said that party ‘superdelegates’ should heed the will of the majority in selecting a candidate.” The letter to Pelosi stated the donors “have been strong supporters of the DCCC” [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] and implied, according to The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, that Pelosi could lose their financial support in important upcoming congressional elections.

And also this:

Regarding Jane Harman AIPAC Controversy, in April 2009, New York Times, quoting anonymous sources, said a caller promised her that Saban would withhold campaign contributions to Representative Nancy Pelosi if she did not select Ms. Harman for the intelligence post.”

And additionally this:

Saban says his greatest concern is to protect Israel. At a conference in Israel, Saban described his formula. His three ways to influence American politics were: make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets.

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Who is the Boss and Who is the Servant in this Photo?