Aletho News


Why Boycotting Israel is So Important and Necessary

DePaul students don’t want their tuition dollars invested in weapons manufacturers who supply the Israeli government, army and prison services

By Stuart Littlewood | Dissident Voice | May 26, 2014

Nothing, it seems, is too ridiculous for Nick Clegg, UK Deputy Prime Minister, to contemplate. See him in this painful video ‘Nick Clegg welcomes the Jewish Manifestoaimed at EU election candidates and voters.

Fortunately Clegg received a bloody nose yesterday in the EU elections. His infatuation with the EU and all its rotten works caused his party (the Liberal Democrats) to be almost wiped out at the polls. His days as leader are probably numbered.

If you’re wondering what the Jewish community’s EU Manifesto says, you can read it here. This propaganda effort is a prime example of the ‘hasbara’ scribbler’s art. It tries to shrug off Israel’s sickening human rights abuses and unending dispossession and oppression of its Palestinian neighbours and urges Members of the European Parliament to side with the apartheid regime.

“We urge MEPs and prospective MEPs to resist calls for boycotts of Israel. By their very nature, such measures attribute blame to only one side of the conflict, and through this stigmatisation they perpetuate a one-sided narrative. This in turn prompts intransigence from both sides.”

It also whinges about the European Commission’s guidelines that exclude Israeli settlements from EU funding programmes, accusing the EU of trying to dictate Israel’s borders. As most people know by now, Israel refuses to declare its borders because it hasn’t finished expanding them. The EU’s action, it says, is hurting the peace process “by perpetuating intransigence on the Palestinian side and could cause the Palestinian leadership to become less likely to make concessions”.  The Palestinians have been robbed of everything, including their freedom. Why should they be asked to make more “concessions” to the thief?

The document also prods MEPs to oppose EU funding to Non Governmental Organisations who support boycott campaigns.

Campus ‘lies’?

So, after Clegg’s spineless capitulation, it was heartening to read today that students at DePaul University in Chicago have voted in favour of a referendum calling for divestment from companies “that profit from Israel’s discriminatory practices and human rights violations” and help “violate people’s rights to life, movement, healthcare, education and freedom.”

They are calling on the university to divest its funds from “corporations that manufacture weapons and provide surveillance technology to the Israeli government, army and prison services”, including Hewlett-Packard, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Caterpillar.

Students say the vote was won despite a massive counter-campaign of intimidation and disinformation by pro-Israel lobbyist group StandWithUs and the Israeli consulate general in Chicago. “It is clear that DePaul students do not wish to have their tuition dollars invested in weapons manufacturers,” said a student organizer.

Following the DePaul vote, StandWithUs announced on their website: “We have seen divestment create this toxic campus environment wherever it rears its ugly head, as it has on several American campuses. Divestment advocates bring lies about Israel to campus, and display extreme ignorance about the complexities of the Middle East conflict, about Palestinian terrorist groups like Hamas, about the anti-Semitic incitement in Palestinian society, and about Israel’s repeated efforts to make peace. This movement singles out Israel and targets and intimidates pro-Israel and Jewish students, and resonates with anti-Semitism.” The words sound like they are scripted by the Lie Machine in Tel Aviv.

The ‘world’s most moral army’ and its war on students

DePaul students are to be congratulated for not flinching under Zio-pressure.  Other Western students, and indeed students and academics all round the world, who face the same bully-boy tactics when debating the question of boycott and disinvestment against Israel, need only remember what the Israelis do to Palestinian students.

The last thing Israel wants is masses of bright and clever young Palestinians next-door in the shredded remains of the Occupied Territories. But that’s exactly what Palestinian youngsters are… bright and clever, given half a chance. So they need repressing. They need humiliating constantly. They need to be discouraged. They need to have their education disrupted big-time, so that they become a broken, dispirited, docile mass without ambition, easily controlled and utterly dependent (as they are now) on a few crumbs of comfort from Western taxpayers.

So the Israeli authorities make spiteful war on students especially, as well as women and children generally. To get to Bethlehem University, or any other, many students have to run the gauntlet of Israeli checkpoints. “Sometimes they take our ID cards and they spend ages writing down all the details, just to make us late,” said one. Students are often made to remove shoes, belt and bags. “It’s like an airport. Many times we are kept waiting outside for up to an hour, rain or shine, they don’t care.” The soldiers attempt to forcibly remove students’ clothes or they swear and shout sexual slurs at female students.

Some tell how they are sexually harassed and spend the rest of the day worrying what the Israelis will do to them on their way home.

This daily abuse undermines student motivation and concentration. Many other obstacles are put in their way by the Occupation. Here are just three cases, about which I have written before, that illustrate why it is so vitally important for the Palestinians to achieve independence and security.


Merna was an honours student in her final year majoring in English. Israeli soldiers frequently rampaged through her Bethlehem refugee camp in the middle of the night, ransacking homes and arbitrarily arresting residents. They took away her family one by one. First her 14-year-old cousin and best friend was shot dead by an Israeli sniper while she sat outside her family home during a curfew.

Next the Israelis arrested her eldest brother, a 22 year-old artist, and imprisoned him for 4 years.  Then they came back for Merna’s 18-year-old brother. Not content with that the military came again, this time to take her youngest brother – the ‘baby’ of the family – just 16. These were the circumstances under which Merna had to study.

Israeli military law treats Palestinians as adults as soon as they reach 16, a flagrant violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Israeli youngsters, on the other hand, are not regarded as adults until 18. Palestinians are dealt with by Israeli military courts, even when it’s a civil matter. These courts ignore international laws and conventions, so there’s no legal protection for individuals under Israeli military occupation.

As detention is based on secret information, which neither the detainee nor his lawyer is allowed to see, it is impossible to mount a proper defence. Besides, the Security Service always finds a bogus excuse to keep detainees locked up “in the greater interest of the security of Israel”. Although detainees have the right to review and appeal, they are unable to challenge the evidence and check facts as all information presented to the Court is classified.

Under huge mental stress Merna nevertheless determined to carry on with her studies. The “most moral army in the world”, as the Israelis call their uniformed thugs, may have robbed her brothers of an education, but she would still fight for hers. Sleepless and tearful, Merna went to university next day as usual.

A fellow student recalled that when chatting to Merna online in the evenings, she often had to leave the computer because the military had barged into her home. But even if she’d been up all night while Israeli soldiers trashed her house and questioned her family, she always came to school the next day. “Coming to school is a way of getting away from what is happening in the refugee camp,” said Merna. “It’s like an oasis here for me.”  But her thoughts were never far from her cousin and brothers. “I only wish they were allowed this opportunity.”

She became a senior member of the Bethlehem University Student Ambassadors Programme and an example to fellow classmates. Young minds like Merna’s continue to persevere against the odds. Though greatly distracted by the cruel fate of her close family, the ordeal forged a steely resolve. The purposeful way she lived her university life, say the Brothers at Bethlehem Uni, gave her added strength and confidence. Merna managed to turn the tables on adversity. Her loss was actually her gain.


This Christian girl, a 4th year Business Administration student, was originally from Gaza but lived  in the West Bank after receiving a travel permit from the military to cross from Gaza to the West Bank. She was snatched by the Israeli military while returning from a job interview in Ramallah. The 21 year-old, due to graduate in a few weeks’ time, was suddenly deported to Gaza “for trying to complete her studies at Bethlehem University”. She was about to be robbed of her degree at the last minute.

The “most moral army in the world” blindfolded and handcuffed her, loaded her into a military jeep and drove her from Bethlehem to Gaza, despite assurances by the Israeli Military Legal Advisor’s office that she would not be deported before an attorney from Gisha (an Israeli NGO working to protect Palestinians’ freedom of movement) had the opportunity to petition the Israeli court for her return to classes in Bethlehem.

When they’d crossed the border the world’s most moral army dumped Berlanty in the darkness late at night and told her: “You are in Gaza.”

“I had refrained from visiting my family in Gaza for fear that I would not be permitted to return to my studies in the West Bank,” she told Gisha on her mobile phone before the soldiers confiscated it. “Now, just two months before graduation, I was arrested and taken to Gaza in the middle of the night, with no way to finish my degree.”

The Israeli embassy in London, when asked for an explanation, said that Berlanty held a permit that had expired and she’d been living in the West Bank illegally. “As you probably know, every Gaza resident who stays in the West Bank requires a permit, failing to do so is a breach of the law.” If she wished to complete her studies at Bethlehem, she should apply for a permit to the relevant authorities. However, Bethlehem University told me that of the 12 students from Gaza who had applied to attend the University NOT ONE had received permission from the Israeli authorities.

Her appeal, handled by Gisha, was turned down. It was a classic example of how Israel’s administrative ‘laws’ are framed to ride rough-shod over citizens’ rights enshrined in international law. For example, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are internationally recognized as one integral territory and under international law everyone has the right to freely choose their place of residence within a single territory. The state of Israel also has an obligation under the Oslo Agreements to “respect and preserve without obstacles, normal and smooth movement of people, vehicles and goods within the West Bank, and between the West Bank and Gaza Strip”.

While Israel’s embassy here in London pronounced the ruling on Berlanty’s fate, their Ambassador was whining about a warrant issued in London for the arrest of ex-foreign minister Tzipi Livni for alleged war crimes. Livni had overseen the murderous assault on Gaza the previous December/January, which killed 1400, including a large number of women and children, maimed thousands more and left countless families homeless.

If Berlanty, who had committed no crime, could not come and go as she pleased in her own country — the Holy Land – what made Israel’s Ambassador think that the blood soaked Livni, and others like her, should be allowed to come and go as they pleased in the UK? But that’s another shameful story.


A few months before he was due to graduate the Israeli military arrested Samer and threw him in jail… for 6 long years. Then, at 27, he returned to campus to finish what he started.  “I feel like a regular student again,” he said with a wide grin. “I have a university notebook and textbooks.  I can ask and answer questions freely.  I can communicate openly with students, professors, and staff.  It’s a real life, an authentic life.”

When imprisoned he was denied access to a lawyer for 55 days, then moved from one Israeli jail to another for more than six years. He was tortured on numerous occasions, he says, and regularly interrogated eight hours a day for four to five days, in just a T-shirt, squatting on the cold ground with his hands tied and an air conditioner blowing on his back.  He was held in solitary confinement for more than a year.

Membership of a student group in Palestine is outlawed under Israeli  military law, and students who engage in campus politics risk arrest by Israel’s uniformed gangs who barge into Palestinian society and academic life to abduct them. Many Western leaders began their political careers making a name for themselves at the Oxford Union and similar student debating groups or taking part in demos. How would they have reacted to being clapped in irons for it?

A good many of them, to their everlasting shame, are now signed-up Friends of Apartheid Israel. Members of the Israeli cabinet went to university too, presumably. Are we to believe that they never engaged in student politics?

Samer’s experience is similar to that of hundreds of Palestinian students who find themselves political prisoners.  Many are left to rot in jail indefinitely, denied due process, a fair trial and legal representation. Some wait up to two years to be charged. Others are charged under Israeli military law, which falls a long way short of the justice standards required under international law.

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society reckoned that seven Bethlehem University students were at that time in Israeli prisons for taking part in ‘student activities’. In Samer’s case, he was abducted for joining Fatah’s resistance movement after the 2000 Intifada (uprising). It is, of course, perfectly legitimate to resist an illegal occupier.

Coming back to university after prison is no easy thing. Samer suffered the cruel effects of six years’ incarceration and was often tired, depressed, stressed and jumpy. But he knew that the University was his anchor, the main hope in his young life.

So there you have it…. the evil of Israel’s ‘snatch squads’ that prey on Palestine’s young people, and the regime’s cruel disregard for their well being and education while in its clutches.  The apartheid regime, after 66 years, still hasn’t emerged from the swamp.

May 26, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Zapatistas Retire Subcommander Marcos

HAVANA TIMES — May 26, 2014

Subcommader Marcos has spoken “his last words in public,” reads a statement from the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN). According to the statement, the figure of Marcos is “no longer necessary,” reported Pulsar news agency.

Marcos announced he will no longer be the spokesperson for the EZLN and will change names to subcommander Galeano, in tribute to the indigenous leader killed on May 2 during an attack on the small farmer and farm worker organization Central Independiente de Obreros Agrícolas y Campesinos Histórica (Cioac).

The new Zapatista spokesperson is subcommander Moses, explained Marcos. He noted that “the baton of command is not passed on due to illness or death or by internal displacement, purging or cleansing, it is due to internal changes that took place and take place in the EZLN.”

Recalling the birth of the character “subcommander Marcos”, he said it was “a complex maneuver of distraction, a trick of terrible and wonderful magic, a malicious move of the native heart.”

“The character was created and now its creators, the Zapatistas, destroy it,” said Marcos.

“It is our belief that to rebel and fight that neither leaders, political bosses, messiahs or saviors are necessary. To fight it just takes a little sense of shame, a bit of dignity and a lot of organization,” concludes the Zapatista statement.

May 26, 2014 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , | Leave a comment

Iran DM Hits back at Hagel: Our Missile Program Not for Negotiation

Al-Manar | May 26, 2014

Iranian Defense Minister hit back at his US counterpart Chuck Hagel’s demand that Iran’s missile program should come under negotiation in talks between Tehran and the world powers, stressing that the Islamic Republic’s missile program is not for negotiations.

“Iran’s missile capability is defensive, conventional and deterrent and not negotiable,” Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan said.

He noted that if any issue is due to be discussed after the nuclear talks, it should be the full annihilation of the Zionist regime’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons to create a Middle-East free from the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) followed by the destruction of the nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of the United States as the first country which has used these “dreadful weapons”.

“We ask our nuclear negotiators to focus their utmost efforts on the complete annihilation of the Zionist regime’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as the biggest danger posed to the region and world security as well as the US nuclear disarmament based on paragraph 6 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) alongside their negotiations with the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany),” Dehqan said, according to Fars news agency.

Moreover, the Iranian DM expressed pleasure that the Zionist regime is concerned about Iran’s deterrent power, and said if such deterrence didn’t exist, the usurper regime would seize control of the Middle-East through war and bloodshed.

Dehqan underlined that it is a shame for the US which claims to be a superpower that its defense secretary announces “Israelis have allowed us to find a way to exit from (the deadlock over) Iran’s nuclear issue”.

Earlier, Hagel said that the negotiations between Iran and the world powers should focus on the country’s missile program after the settlement of the disputes over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Iran confirms its program is for peaceful ends only insisting that is its right under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) while Israel, which is believed to be the sole nuclear power in the Middle East with more than 200 nuclear heads, is not a signatory for this treaty.

May 26, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

The business behind Ukraine’s new billionaire president

RT | May 26, 2014

One of Ukraine’s richest men, newly elected President Pyotr Poroshenko, has a long history of mixing business with politics. The tycoon has vowed to give up his business interests, and campaigned to align closer to Europe.

In 1991, the Odessa native took over an old state-run sweet factory shortly after the Soviet Union collapsed, and now the ‘Roshen’ candy company has made the 48-year old one of the country’s richest men, with his fortune estimated at $1.3 billion by Forbes.

He will be in charge of reviving Ukraine’s moribund economy, which has been in free-fall for the better part of a year. Poroshenko will have to juggle huge debts, a nearly empty treasury, and a sinking investment climate.

Primarily Poroshenko will be tasked with helping Ukraine manage its $17 billion International Monetary Fund aid program, which will likely include unpopular austerity measures like gas subsidy cuts. Ukraine has been promised over $27 billion in economic aid from various sources, including the European Commission, World Bank, and the United States government.

The chocolate tycoon has expressed his willingness to mend ties with Russia, even after it imposed a ban on the sale of his chocolate, as well as shut down one of his warehouses in southern Russia on criminal charges.

However, Poroshenko has vowed to unite the unruly east, which has deep business and cultural ties to Russia. His company, Rosen, though it wants to focus on the European market, is deeply rooted in the east. Rosen operates confectionery factories in Kiev, Vinnytsia, Mariupol, and Kremenchuk, the Bershadmoloko dairy producer, a stud farm in Ukraine and confectionary facilities in Klaipeda, Lithuania and Lipetsk, Russia

“I assure you, as soon as we’ll achieve stability in the east and these problems in Ukraine will be solved, the investment boom will immediately begin,” Poroshenko declared at a press conference in Zaporozhye on May 18.

Poroshenko has worked across the political spectrum. Originally, he served in pro-Russian governments, and then he played a big role in the 2004-2005 ‘Orange Revolution’ along with Yulia Tymoshenko, which ended up bringing Viktor Yushchenko to the presidency. Later, in 2012, he served as an economics minister to Viktor Yanukovich, but when Yanukovich was ousted, he sided with the Maidan.

The expert’s opinion “Petro Poroshenko is a bright representative of the Ukrainian oligarchy. He was actively participating in the financing of Maidan and he has a certain support abroad,” Andrey Pilko, the director of the Eurasian communication center told RT by phone.

Poroshenko’s program is aimed “to provide Ukrainian production access to the world markets. To sign the economic part of the free trade agreement with EU, and to implement its provisions in a short time…The agrarian side may become a breakout point for the Ukrainian economy”.

Poroshenko described relations with Russia as “the most difficult”.

“I don’t remember such a crisis between our countries for the last 200 years. Nevertheless, the negotiations are progressing it is the Geneva format. I think that today we can conduct negotiations with Russia involving the US, EU and in other formats,” the billionaire said.

He also promised to sell-off his business if he won the presidency.

“I would like to put an example to others when the elected president publicly sells business assets belonging to him in order to achieve a complete concentration on state service,” Poroshenko said.

However, he remarked that he does not see any problems when a successful businessman begins making policy, “when he is the person who has experience in the real economy, who has created jobs. Who is the largest taxpayer and is able to build factories and plants and applies the experience to lift the economy and the country”.

May 26, 2014 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

‘Ukraine must pay gas debts’ – EU Energy Commissioner

RT | May 26, 2014

EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said Ukraine needs to begin repaying its $3.5 billion gas debt to Russia and proposed a fair ‘market price’ of between $200-$400 per 1,000 cubic meters to resolve the dispute.

“The bills are on the table, and they must be paid,” Oettinger said on German radio station SWR on Monday after holding talks in Berlin with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Gazprom Deputy CEO Aleksandr Medvedev.

Oettinger suggests Ukraine use some of the $3.2 billion from its first IMF aid tranche and other EU assistance programs to start paying off its debt to Gazprom.

Ukraine owes Russian state-owned Gazprom more than $3.5 billion, as it has not paid its gas bills in full since July 2013. Russia has even given Ukraine 10 billion cubic meters of gas free of charge, as much as Russia delivers to Poland in a year.

President Vladimir Putin said that Russia is only ready to discuss a new gas discount for Ukraine once it starts paying off its debt.

Oettinger said that a “fair and suitable market price” to resolve the dispute would be between $200-$400, which the commissioner considers “common for the European market.”

Kiev has said it is ready to pay Russia as long as Gazprom lowers its current rate of $485 per 1,0000 cubic meters. The price climbed when Gazprom canceled two gas discounts from the $268.50 per 1,000 cubic meters rate it paid in the first three months of 2014.

After June 1, Ukraine will have to prepay for any gas deliveries, as Gazprom said it won’t let any more debt accumulate.

“There are some barriers to indulgence, some things we cannot afford,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said speaking at the 18th annual St. Petersburg Economic Forum on Saturday.

Europe sources about one third of its total energy supply from Russia, 50 percent of which flows through Ukraine. Any possible disruption therefore not only affects the pipeline host country, but all of Europe.

“We all know who is to blame – the transit country, Ukraine has abused its position. Ukraine insists on benefits it is not entitled to,” Putin said at the forum on Saturday.

Oettinger has been a major player in brokering a deal between the two embittered nations, but so far no concrete negotiation has been reached.

May 26, 2014 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Eurosceptic parties win dozens of European Parliament seats

May 26, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Video | , , | 1 Comment

Egypt revokes citizenship of Associated Press journalist


Award-winning photojournalist Khalil Abdel-Kader Abu Hamra
MEMO | May 26, 2014

The Egyptian cabinet decided Sunday to revoke the Egyptian citizenship from a Palestinian Associated Press photojournalist on charges of membership in a foreign militant group.

Award-winning AP photojournalist Khalil Abdel-Kader Abu Hamra said in statements Sunday that he had lived in Egypt for a long time, and was never harassed by authorities whenever he travelled abroad. The Ministry of Interior stated that Hamra left Egypt on November 27, 2013 and never came back. It accused him of “membership in a foreign militant group that aims at disrupting social and economic order of the Egyptian state.”

Hamra, whose mother is Egyptian and his father Palestinian, obtained Egyptian citizenship since 2012 in accordance with Egyptian law, which allows Palestinians with Egyptian mothers to receive citizenship.

Hamra said he has been in vacation in Jordan for few days, and travelled from Egypt and returned without facing any problems by airport authorities.

He added that he has no political affiliations, and that he is merely a journalist by profession.

Hamra said he will take necessary legal measures to appeal the “unjustified” decision.

May 26, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

China to ditch US consulting firms over espionage suspicion

RT | May 26, 2014

State-owned Chinese companies will cease to work with US consulting companies like McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group over fears they are spying on behalf of the US government.

US consulting companies McKinsey, BCG, Bain & Company, and Strategy&, formerly Booz & Co., will all be snubbed by state-owned Chinese companies, the Financial Times reported, citing sources close to senior Chinese leaders.

“The top leadership has proposed setting up a team of Chinese domestic consultants who are particularly focused on information systems in order to seize back this power from the foreign companies,” a senior policy adviser to the Chinese leadership was quoted by the FT as saying.

“Right now the foreigners use their consulting companies to find out everything they want about our state companies,” the adviser said.

Last Thursday China announced that all foreign companies would have to undergo a new security test. Any company, product or service that fails will be banned from China. The inspection will be conducted across all sectors – communications, finance, and energy.

China has already banned Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system from government computers, according to Chinese state media agency Xinhua.

“Under President Xi Jinping, technology and implementation will look to be converging, so foreign tech firms should be very worried about their prospects,” Bill Bishop, an independent consultant based in Beijing, told the FT.

Chinese officials have said that government ministries, companies, universities, and telecoms networks are victims of US hacking, and will try to avoid using US technology in order to protect “public interest”.

The dictate follows the US Justice Department’s indictment of five Chinese military officers it suspects of committing cyber crimes against a number of major US companies, including US Steel, Westinghouse and Alcoa. The US accused the army officers of stealing trade secrets and even published their photos.

Beijing responded by calling the US a ‘robber playing cop’, and more recently said the US is a “mincing rascal” and involved in “high-level hooliganism”.

The US-China fallout came after revelations made by NSA contractor Edward Snowden that the US uses economic cyber espionage to spy on international competitors, including China.

The dispute is only the latest setback in relations between the world’s two largest economies. Issues like Ukraine, Syria, and North Korea have been divisive topics between the two superpowers.

May 26, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment