Aletho News


Turkey’s Erdogan Looks to Expand Terrorist Definition to Include Civilians

Sputnik – March 14, 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Monday that it is necessary to broaden the definition of terrorism to include supporters of terrorism — even people who are not directly involved in any kind of terror activity.

“It’s not only the person who pulls the trigger, but those who made that possible who should also be defined as terrorists, regardless of their title,” said Erdogan, following a bombing in Ankara which killed 37 people, the Daily Star reported. He added that this could be a journalist, an MP or a civil society actor.

Earlier President Erdogan said that Turkey’s “struggle against terrorism will for certain end in success and terrorism will be brought to its knees.”

The bombing was the fifth attack in Turkey in recent several months. The attacks took lives of total of 200 people.

March 14, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Pew Study Exposes Israel Racism: The NY Times Buries It

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | March 14, 2016

When the Pew Research Center found that 48 percent of Israeli Jews would like to expel or transfer Palestinians from their land, the press took notice. Although this finding was one result among many in an extensive poll, media outlets everywhere devoted their headlines to this striking sign of racism in Israeli society.

Groundbreaking Pew Survey: Almost Half of Israeli Jews Back Transfer or Expulsion of Arabs,” the Israeli newspaper Haaretz proclaimed. The British paper The Independent announced, “Nearly half of Israeli Jews believe in ethnic cleansing, survey finds.”

Similar headlines appeared elsewhere, even in Jewish papers within the United States . But there was one notable exception: The New York Times presented readers with this aberrant title: “Deep Rifts Among Israeli Jews Are Found in Religion Survey.”

Readers who dig into the text that follows find no mention of the attitude toward expulsion until they have plowed through eight paragraphs of commentary about divisions between Israeli Jewish groups.

When the author, Isabel Kershner, finally addresses the burning topic of expulsion, she immediately adds that the result should be taken with a grain of salt because the question was not specific enough. She then drops the subject for another 10 paragraphs before circling back to take it up once again.

The fact that she concludes her piece with this topic suggest that it is the data on transfer and expulsion that most concern her, in spite of the diversionary headline and story line.

Readers who stick with Kershner until the end find several paragraphs of commentary aimed at whitewashing Israel’s image: The question about expulsion was too general; other surveys have produced different results; it may be used as a “weapon” by Israel’s critics; and this single result shouldn’t be taken “in isolation.”

These are the final words in the piece, and they are aimed at denying Israel’s problem with racism. But Kershner has omitted other findings from the survey that paint a different picture. Nearly 80 percent of all Israeli Jews agreed that Jews should have “preferential treatment” in Israel, and some 80 percent of Israeli Muslims said discrimination against their group is common.

She also omits Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s comment on the data concerning Palestinians. She provides only his vague quote that Israelis need to “address our problems at home, more than ever,” omitting the fact that he had named the “attitude towards Israel’s Arab citizens” as a singular challenge.

Kershner’s story drew the attention of James Zogby, president of the Arab-American Institute, who wrote in the Huffington Post that her article includes a “classic example of deflection.” After reporting that nearly half of Israeli Jews want to get rid of the Palestinians in their midst, he noted, she immediately adds that “Israeli pollsters found the wording of the question problematic.”

In other words, she couldn’t report the finding in a straightforward way, as she did with the data on other issues dividing various Jewish religious groups.

The entire story, from the headline to the final quote, is built around evasion, beginning with the title and a photo—not of the threatened Palestinian population, but of Jewish citizens at a market. It wanders into sidetracks before reporting the alarming result from the Pew study, then veers away again, coming back to end the piece with a series of quotes meant to deflect the blame from Israel.

Times editors know that many readers never get beyond the headlines and many others read little more than the opening paragraphs of a story. Once again it has buried the real story under piles of diversion, knowing well that few readers will take note.

March 14, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Russia opposes any sanctions on Iran over missile tests


Russia’s envoy to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin
Press TV – March 14, 2016

Russia opposes the imposition of any new sanctions on Iran over its recent ballistic missile tests, saying the missile launches did not violate UN resolutions.

In response to a question on whether new sanctions should be imposed on Iran over its recent missile tests, Russia’s envoy to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said Monday, “The clear and short answer is no.”

He added that Iran did not breach the Security Council Resolution 2231 that endorsed a nuclear agreement between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group of countries on July 14, 2015.

Resolution 2231 (2015) provides for the termination of the provisions of previous Security Council resolutions on the Iranian nuclear program and establishes specific restrictions that apply to all states without exception.

The resolution calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) successfully test-fired two more ballistic missiles on March 9 as part of military drills to assess the IRGC’s capabilities. The missiles dubbed Qadr-H and Qadr-F were fired during large-scale drills, code-named Eqtedar-e-Velayat.

On March 8, Iran fired another ballistic missile called Qiam from silo-based launchers in different locations across the country.

On January 16, Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – started to implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

After the JCPOA went into effect, all nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran by the European Union, the Security Council and the US were lifted. Iran, in return, has put some limitations on its nuclear activities.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hossein Jaberi Ansari, said on March 10 that the test-fire of ballistic missiles was “neither inconsistent with Iran’s commitments under the JCPOA, nor is it against the Security Council Resolution 2231.”

March 14, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

India Carries Out Another Successful Test of Nuclear-Capable Agni-I Missile

Sputnik – 14.03.2016

NEW DELHI – India conducted another successful test of the Agni-I medium range ballistic missile from Abdul Kalam Island off the country’s shores on Monday morning, the missile’s developer said.

“The missile [launch] test was held as a part of the exercise of the Strategic Forces Command and was successful,” the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said as cited by the Indian IANS news agency.

The 15-meter-long missile, capable of carrying a metric-ton conventional payload, is equipped with precise navigation systems and has a 700-kilometer (435-mile) range. The missile can be fired from mobile road or rail launch pads.

The rocket was first test fired in 2002. The last test launch took place in November.

March 14, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | | Leave a comment

Germany approves arms exports to Saudi Arabia

Press TV – March 14, 2016

According to disclosed data, the German government has approved several deals for the export of arms to countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia as the kingdom continues its deadly aggression against the impoverished nation of Yemen.

According to an Economy Ministry letter seen by Reuters on Monday, the EU powerhouse will deliver 23 Airbus military helicopters to Riyadh.

In the letter to lawmakers in the economy committee of the lower house of the parliament, Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel explained that the government’s Federal Security Council had also approved a deal by Heckler & Koch to deliver 130 machine pistols and automatic rifles to the United Arab Emirates and allowed Rheinmetall to export 65,000 mortar cartridges to the country.

The United Arab Emirates is among Saudi Arabia’s allies in their invasion against Yemen.

It also gave the green light for Heckler & Koch’s delivery of 660 machine guns, 660 additional gun barrels and 550 sub-machine guns to Oman.

The government also approved the delivery of five military helicopters by Airbus to Thailand and the export of nearly 490 machine pistols and automatic rifles by Heckler & Koch to Indonesia.

In January, Gabriel had said Germany may look harder at its arms exports to Saudi Arabia after the Persian Gulf kingdom carried out a mass execution causing international outcry.

Saudi Arabia is also widely believed to be financing to Takfiri militants wreaking havoc in the Middle East.

Riyadh has also been engaged in military operations in Yemen since late March last year. At least 8,400 people, among them 2,236 children, have been killed so far in the aggression and 16,015 others sustained injuries. Tens of Saudi solders as well as mercenary forces have been killed in the aggression.

March 14, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Military ‘stealth cloaks’ could breach Geneva Convention – legal expert

RT | March 14, 2016

Military invisibility technology could breach the laws of war if developed and put into use, according to former Royal Air Force (RAF) commodore and legal expert William Boothby.

In a report in the journal Weapons and the Law of Armed Conflict, due to be published by Oxford University Press in March, Boothby examines the legal concerns associated with advancing stealth technology.

He says although normal camouflage measures are lawful, some new technologies may break the rules of warfare.

Boothby fears that technology which deceives the enemy in certain ways could be illegal if one party uses stealth abilities to appear as a non-combatant by making his weapon invisible and uses that appearance to gain a deadly advantage.

“A combatant whose weapon is rendered invisible by its coating is arguably not complying with the minimal requirements [of carrying a weapon openly],” Boothby claims.

Such a move could leave the disguised combatant liable according to what the Geneva Convention terms a “prohibition of perfidy.”

Similar technology could be used to disguise a tank as a civilian vehicle or even render it invisible to surveillance equipment, an ability UK arms firm BAE Systems is currently researching in Sweden.

Boothby explained that a vehicle could be fitted with technology which beats an infrared scan by the enemy by making itself appear to have the same temperature as the background scenery.

“An object can be made to disappear into the background for an observer using an infrared sensor,” Boothby said.

“It can also be used to mimic the infrared reading of a different vehicle, so a tank looks like a civilian car, for example.”

Nations including the US already use a range of stealth technologies on their aircraft. Special ‘metamaterials,’ which bend or alter light, have become multimillion-dollar research areas.

March 14, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | | Leave a comment

Libya military intervention needs UN approval, says Russian FM

Press TV – March 14, 2016

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says any military operation in Libya requires the approval of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Lavrov said during a joint press conference in Moscow with visiting Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui on Monday that Russia is aware of some plans for military involvement in Libya, but insisted that those plans could be implemented only with the permission of the 15-member council.

“We know about what’s being discussed openly and not so openly on plans of military intervention, including with the situation in Libya. Our common position is that this is possible only under the UN Security Council’s decision,” Lavrov said.

The top Russian diplomat also noted that a possible mandate for an operation against the terrorists in Libya must be defined unambiguously so as not to allow misinterpretations.

Russia says that the US-led military alliance NATO abused a United Nations resolution in 2011 to protect Libyan civilians from slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in order to pursue regime change and political assassinations during a popular uprising across the North African country.

The remarks come as New York Times recently reported that the Pentagon and the highly secretive Joint Special Operations Command have provided the White House with “the most detailed set of military options yet” in Libya.

France’s Le Monde newspaper also reported last month that the country’s special forces and members of the country’s external security agency Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE) were in Libya for “clandestine operations” in cooperation with the US and Britain.

Meanwhile, a UN panel is also investigating claims that Turkey, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Sudan have violated an existing arms embargo by providing weapons to warring groups operating in Libya.

In mid-February, Libya’s internationally recognized Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni accused Ankara of interference in his country’s internal affairs.

Since 2014, when militants seized the capital Tripoli, Libya has had two parallel parliaments and governments.

Daesh took advantage of the chaos and captured Libya’s northern port city of Sirte in June 2015, almost four months after it announced its presence in the city, and made it the first city to be ruled by the militant group outside of Iraq and Syria.

March 14, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thomas Friedman blames it on Hamas

By Miko Peled | American Herald tribune | March 14, 2016

Tom Friedman thinks that if it weren’t for Hamas, Gaza would be another Singapore. If you look up Singapore you will find that it is an island city-state off southern Malaysia, with a population of about 5.5 million people and a GDP total of $452 Billion. It is a global financial center, a center for global commerce, and a financial and transportation hub. Its standings include: “Easiest place to do business” (World Bank) most “Technology-ready” nation, “top international meetings” city, city with “Best investment potential”, 2nd-most competitive country, 3rd-largest foreign exchange center, 4th-largest financial center, 3rd-largest oil refining and trading center and one of the top two busiest container ports since the 1990s. Singapore’s best known global brands include Singapore Airlines and Changi Airport, both amongst the most-awarded in their industry.

And there’s more. The Singaporean military is arguably the most technologically advanced in Southeast Asia, and none other than Israel made this possible. As a boy I remember my father, who at the time was still a general in the Israeli army, traveling to Singapore very frequently. Israeli Defense Force (IDF) commanders were tasked with creating the Singapore Armed Forces from scratch, and Israeli instructors were brought in to train Singaporean soldiers. As I write these words, Singapore still maintains strong security ties with Israel and is one of the biggest buyers of Israeli arms and weapons systems.

The Gaza Strip on the other hand is arguably the world’s largest concentration camp and is controlled entirely by Israel. For nearly seventy years it has been a refuge for poor, homeless refugees who were forced out of their homes and off of their land by Israel. The authorities in the Gaza Strip are not permitted to build an airport or seaport, and people have no access to trade or commerce; The UN declared the Gaza Strip as “food insecure” largely because of the siege that is imposed and strictly enforced upon it by Israel; the people of Gaza are victims of constant carpet bombings and massive attacks by the Israeli army. So, how exactly was Gaza going to be like Singapore? One has to wonder, was Thomas Friedman high when he wrote this, or is he really so poorly informed?

It was early in February 2016, when Friedman wrote this piece in the NY Times The piece is broad-stroked and superficial, and his main argument is that everyone is to blame for the collapse of the peace talks and the death of the Two State Solution. But what is particularly nauseating is the following sentence: “Hamas” Friedman writes, “devoted all its resources to digging tunnels to attack Israelis from Gaza rather than turning Gaza into Singapore.” Wow! Hamas prevented Gaza from becoming another Singapore! This means that Hamas at one point had the ability and the resources to create a paradise on earth in Gaza, to establish a major center for finance and commerce, but chose to spend all those resources to attack Israel instead.

So it was Hamas that imposed the siege on Gaza; Hamas that destroyed the water supply in Gaza making the water unfit for human consumption; Hamas is to blame for the massacres Israel committed in Gaza over the past seven decades; Hamas is the reason that Gaza is in ruins; Hamas is the reason that medical facilities cannot function, and that the basic most medicine is impossible to find; Hamas is the reason that schools are in ruins. Hamas is to blame for the fact that for seven decades the refugees have not been able to return to their homes and their land. Or perhaps Tom Friedman is just spewing all this nonsense because that is what liberal Zionists want to believe?

Hamas is certainly the excuse for all of this, but not the reason for any of it. Some tunnels, were built as traps for Israeli soldiers, and during the Israeli invasion into Gaza in 2014 they were used in several daring operations against the Israeli forces. However, the majority of the tunnels were used as a lifeline. They were used to bring in much needed aid, food, medicine, cash and they allowed people (like me for example) to travel in and out of the Gaza strip, albeit “illegally.” The reason Gaza is not Singapore is that Israel, with the aid of the Egyptian and the US governments and the complicity of the international community has created a concentration camp and implemented genocidal policies in Gaza.

While today Israel uses Hamas as an excuse for the murder, destruction and imprisonment of close to two million Palestinians in Gaza, this was not always the case. When Israeli commandos would enter Gaza and commit atrocities there in the early 1950s, the excuse was “infiltrators.” Arabs were infiltrating the newly established Jewish state and had to be stopped. These were refugees who wanted to exercise their right to return to their lands and their homes. But Israeli law made it illegal for them to exercise this right, and the Israeli army established a murder squad to deal with them. It was made up of young, bloodthirsty Jews, headed by the butcher-in-chief Ariel Sharon. They would enter the newly formed Gaza Strip and massacre Palestinians as punishment. Their thirst for Palestinian blood turned out to be unquenchable and they became an embarrassment even by Israeli standards, so this terror squad, called “Unit 101” eventually had to be dismantled.

Later on the excuse for the killing was no longer “infiltrators” but “Fedayeen” or fighters, and later on the name changed again and Israel used the term “terrorists.” The murderous attacks on Gaza continued, many of them led by Ariel Sharon who rose in the ranks of the Israeli Army and would command larger forces during these raids thus increasing the death toll. In recent years Israel has been using Hamas as an excuse for its genocidal policies against the people of Gaza. The firepower utilized by Israel today is the kind of which Sharon could have only dreamed: In 2014 Israeli fighter jets executed six thousands fly overs dropping millions of tons of bombs on Gaza, and that was prior to the massive ground invasion. Yes, Sharon may be dead but his legacy lives on.

So, perhaps Thomas Friedman can explain further how Hamas is at fault that Gaza isn’t another Singapore? Hamas was not yet created when Israel decided that people in Gaza would always live among death and ruins. And while it is true that Hamas is dedicated to fighting Israel, and it is true that Gaza has brave fighters, Tom Friedman might be interested to know that in spite of seven decades of oppression and violence and in spite of the fact that Gazans are forced to live in a concentration camp, people in Gaza have one of the highest literacy rates in the world. Gazans are some of the finest teachers, writers, poets, engineers, doctors and therapists. They are all Gazans, all dedicated to making Gaza livable for its children.

Friedman lays the blame for the death of the “Peace process” on everyone: “So many people stuck knives into the peace process it’s hard to know who delivered the mortal blow.” Indeed? It really isn’t that hard to see the massive building of Jewish only cities and towns, shopping malls and highways in the West Bank. It isn’t that hard to see the ethnic cleansing that goes on in East Jerusalem, spreading Jewish only communities at the expense of Palestinians. And it really isn’t hard to see the ongoing Jewish expansion on Palestinian land taking place in the Naqab desert, the Galilee and everywhere else that Palestinians reside. It certainly isn’t hard to see how Israel has been turning all of Palestine into a single Jewish Apartheid state.

“Bibi won” Friedman writes, “He’s now a historic figure — the founding father of the one-state solution.” As much as Bibi Netanyahu would love for this to be true, it isn’t. Israel’s Labor governments established the One State solution when Bibi was still a boy. The foundations for a single apartheid state in Palestine were laid when Israel occupied the lion’s share of Palestine in 1948, and then it was cemented and made permanent when Israel completed the occupation of Palestine in June 1967.

Miko Peled is an Israeli writer and activist living in the US. He was born and raised in Jerusalem. His father was the late Israeli General Matti Peled. Driven by a personal family tragedy to explore Palestine, its people and their narrative. He has written a book about his journey from the sphere of the privileged Israeli to that of the oppressed Palestinians. His book is titled “The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.” Peled speaks nationally and internationally on the issue of Palestine. Peled supports the creation of a single democratic state in all of Palestine, he is also a firm supporter of BDS.

March 14, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Haaretz Columnists Propose Genocide In Lebanon, Promote Right of ‘Artists’ To Rape Young Girls ‘For Their Art’

This was Haaretz's original headline for the Etzioni article

Haaretz’s original headline for an article by Amitai Etzioni, a noted Israeli-American academic.
By Richard Silverstein | Mint Press | March 10, 2016

SEATTLE — Haaretz is famed in many circles as Israel’s leading liberal newspaper. In 2011, the New Yorker’s managing editor, David Remnick, deemed it “easily the most liberal newspaper in Israel and arguably the most important liberal institution in a country that has moved inexorably to the right in the past decade.”

The newspaper is part of an Israeli journalistic dynasty founded in the 1930s by Gershom Schocken, a Jewish-German immigrant. His son, Amos, is now publisher. Remnick had these glowing things to say about Amos:

“He is … a singular force in Israeli journalism on issues such as free speech, equal rights for Israeli Arabs, the independence of the Supreme Court, and the exposure of military abuse.”

However, analysis of two recent opinion columns published by Israel’s “most important liberal institution” reveals another side to the story.

Distinguished Israeli-American academic calls for annihilation of Lebanon

Amitai Etzioni, a noted Israeli-American academic, published an alarming piece last month arguing that Israel should not endanger its own troops, who he claimed would be expected to identify and dismantle many of Hezbollah’s 100,000 rockets before they could be fired. Rather, Israel should use a devastating weapons system that would save Israeli lives while annihilating large swaths of territory in which Lebanese civilians live.

Etzioni, 87, is the University Professor at George Washington University, where he serves as director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies, a think tank. The noted sociologist is best known for his advocacy of communitarianism, an academic theory which, in some ways, is a perfect distillation of Israeli attitudes toward individual rights. Etzioni argues that while such rights are important, they must be carefully calibrated so they don’t interfere with the interests of society as a whole. This is precisely the way in which the Israeli national security state persuades citizens that protecting their security is a greater good that justifies sacrificing the interests of the individual.

Etzioni’s Haaretz op-ed was originally titled, “Should Israel Flatten Beirut to Destroy Hezbollah’s Missiles?” That title has been significantly softened to tone down the genocidal content of the piece itself; it now reads: “Should Israel Consider Using Devastating Weapons Against Hezbollah Missiles?”

From this brief excerpt, perhaps you can judge for yourselves which title is more accurate and why it was changed:

“I asked two American military officers what other options Israel has. They both pointed to Fuel-Air Explosives [FAE]. These are bombs that disperse an aerosol cloud of fuel which is ignited by a detonator, producing massive explosions. The resulting rapidly expanding wave flattens all buildings within a considerable range.

Such weapons obviously would be used only after the population was given a chance to evacuate the area. Still, as we saw in Gaza, there are going to be civilian casualties.”

Etzioni vastly understates the lethality of what are otherwise known as FAEs or thermobaric weapons. The Guardian quotes a clinical description of their impact from the Marine Corps Gazette :

“Thermobaric, or ‘fuel-air’ weapons … form a cloud of volatile gases or finely powdered explosives. ‘This cloud is then ignited and the subsequent fireball sears the surrounding area while consuming the oxygen in this area. The lack of oxygen creates an enormous overpressure. … Personnel under the cloud are literally crushed to death. Outside the cloud area, the blast wave travels at some 3,000 meters per second. … As a result, a fuel-air explosive can have the effect of a tactical nuclear weapon without residual radiation. …  Those personnel caught directly under the aerosol cloud will die from the flame or overpressure. For those on the periphery of the strike, the injuries can be severe. Burns, broken bones, contusions from flying debris and blindness may result. Further, the crushing injuries from the overpressure can create air embolism within blood vessels, concussions, multiple internal hemorrhages in the liver and spleen, collapsed lungs, rupture of the eardrums and displacement of the eyes from their sockets.’”

Russia used FAEs in Chechnya, and the United States employed them in Fallujah. Some experts on the laws of war have declared the use of FAEs a war crime. In 1992, Michael Ratner, founder of the Center for Constitutional Rights and one of the world’s leading legal experts on these matters, noted that FAEs violate international law:

“The use of asphyxiating gases is prohibited. The U.S. violated this by its use of fuel-air explosive bombs on Iraqi frontline troops; these bombs are terror bombs which can burn the oxygen over a surface of one or two square kilometers, destroying human life by asphyxiation.”

He further noted that FAEs are “outlawed by the Hague and Geneva Conventions, which prohibit the use of weapons causing unnecessary harm to combatants.”

It should’ve been clear to Haaretz editors that they were publishing an op-ed that not only urged Israel to commit war crimes in the next Lebanon war, but that these weapons would also open Israel to charges of genocide given the extraordinarily high death toll that would ensue.

The Israeli Defense Forces itself has developed a similar military strategy for its attacks against Hezbollah. The Dahiya Doctrine, developed by Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, who would go on to become chief of staff of the IDF, argued that Israel must wreak maximum damage on the civilian neighborhoods of Beirut in which Hezbollah was based. Such devastation would force the Islamist group to pay a maximum price for its attacks on Israel, he asserted. This is precisely what happened during the 2006 Lebanon war, when the Shiite neighborhood of Dahiya, in which Hezbollah’s leadership took refuge, was reduced to rubble. Over 1,000 Lebanese civilians were killed in that conflict.

The strategy appears to have had little deterrent effect. Hezbollah now possesses more than double the rockets it did in 2006 and poses an even fiercer threat to Israeli targets when the next war breaks out.

Etzioni’s claim that FAEs would be used only after civilians were warned to evacuate the target area is pure sophistry. Civilians in war zones have no shelter or refuge. There is nowhere they can go to escape the military onslaught. This has been proven repeatedly both in Gaza and Lebanon.

Israel makes no attempt on the battlefield to provide sites where civilians may shelter safely. It has repeatedly attacked locations such as U.N. schools, killing massive numbers of civilians. In Lebanon, it has attacked convoys of civilians fleeing combat zones and U.N. facilities where civilians have taken refuge. Faced with such a dilemma, many civilians would prefer to take their chances and remain in their homes.

Further, Israel’s attempts at “warning” civilians are feeble at best: The IDF sends targeted communities SMS messages and drops fliers from airplanes warning them to flee. How does a frightened resident whose cellphone battery has died or who is too frightened to venture out of his or her home learn about Israeli orders to flee?

The most cruel and calculating portion of Etzioni’s essay is his call for Israel to recruit pro-Israel “experts” to join war games in which they would be called upon to use these diabolical weapons:

“ … The time to raise this issue is long before Israel may be forced to use FAEs. One way this can be achieved is by inviting foreign military experts and public intellectuals, who are not known to be hostile to Israel, to participate in war games in which they would be charged with fashioning a response to massive missile attacks on Israeli high rise buildings, schools, hospitals, and air bases.

In this way, one hopes, that there be a greater understanding, if not outright acceptance, of the use of these powerful weapons, given that nothing else will do.”

This would supposedly condition the world for future Israeli use of FAEs. Etzioni is essentially calling for pre-approval of war crimes. These enablers would be offering Israel a kind of “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” for genocide.

Etzioni: Falsification of historical memory and Nakba denial

Amitai Etzioni has long served as a mouthpiece for the whitewashing of Israel’s moral sins. In March 2014, he wrote an op-ed in the Daily Forward in which he attempted to recount the history of the village where his family settled after fleeing Germany in 1935 and arriving in pre-state Israel:

“In 1935, as Nazi influence grew, my family escaped, joining four other families of the same background to form a new settlement in Palestine in 1936. They named it Kfar Shmaryahu (it’s next to Herzliya). The five families… cleared the rocks, drilled a water well, paved a road before erecting a bunch of modest homes and farming the land. All this was done on previously unoccupied land — land that was lying fallow next to an Arab village called Sidney Alley. …

The relationship between my parents’ village and Sidney Alley varied over the years, ranging from comfortable to tense. However, as far as I recall, no shots were fired, and most assuredly, no one was driven off land or out of a home. Those who lived unmolested in Sidney Alley until 1948 left at that point. We were told that they took with them keys to our homes that they somehow acquired, and had agreed among themselves who will get which of our homes after the seven Arab militaries that attacked the weak and newborn Israel defeated it. I never saw any evidence that supports this tale, but I know firsthand that no Israeli forces drove out the people of Sidney Alley.”

Soon after Etzioni’s account was published, Maher Mughrabi, a Palestinian-Australian foreign news editor for the Australian Age, exposed how woefully inadequate Etzioni’s account and his memory are. In a Letter to the Editor of the Forward, which he also shared with me via email, he wrote:

“Etzioni recalls the neighbouring village’s name as ‘Sidney Alley.’ This surely must strike anyone with an ear for Arab idiom as improbable. … However, if you think a bit about what this place might be called in Arabic, it turns out the mosque is of Sidna (or Sayyidna, meaning ‘our lord’) Ali. And it turns out that if you are not Etzioni, you can remember a history of displacement from this place.”


The mosque of the ethnically-cleansed Palestinian village of Sidna

Further, the Palestinians of Sidna Ali were indeed driven from their homes not just by “shots fired” but by cold-blooded murder.

Zochrot, an Israeli NGO dedicated to memorializing Palestinian villages destroyed in the Nakba, offers a fuller account of the events leading to the tragedy of Sidna Ali. A family in the village owned a dairy and orchard on its outskirts. Their Jewish tenant invited Lehi militants to train on the farm. Someone appears to have reported this to British authorities, who then raided the farm, resulting in the killing of four Jewish militants and a commander.

"Villagers of Sidna Ali drawing water from communal well. (source: Palestine Remembered)

Villagers of Sidna Ali drawing water from communal well (source: Palestine Remembered)

To exact revenge, Lehi returned to Sidna Ali, captured five family members, lined them up against a wall and executed them. The killers deliberately permitted a few members of the family to flee so they could spread the word of the massacre among the Palestinian population. At that point, many remaining villagers saw the handwriting on the wall and fled in terror (this was in the period before the war and ensuring mass expulsions had happened). Those who did not flee were forced to flee later by menacing gunfire sprayed by Jewish forces.

You can see that one of America’s towering academic figures leaves much to be desired when recounting Israeli history. If he wrote as sloppily in his own field as he does on these subjects, he would be labelled a fraud. But instead, the pages of Israel’s leading liberal newspaper are opened wide for him to call for mass murder against Lebanese civilians.

One has to wonder how a newspaper editor decides a contribution from Etzioni about Hezbollah is even relevant. He is not a philosopher of war or ethicist like Asa Kasher or Princeton’s Michael Walzer. He is not an expert on military strategy or Israeli Defense Forces affairs. What is Etzioni’s expertise on the subject?

And even if he had expertise, how does one justify publishing an op-ed calling for genocide? It would appear that Haaretz has, in some fundamental way, gone off the rails.

Haaretz literary editor approves of rape in pursuit of artistic ‘excellence’

This becomes even more clear in the second example of a woefully misguided piece published by Haaretz. In 2013, a popular Israeli entertainer, Eyal Golan, was investigated for allegedly raping teenage girls. His father was later convicted of pimping girls to his cronies, though no charges were ever brought against Golan. In response to an Israeli TV interviewer excoriating him last month for his dissolute personal life, he responded that he made no claim to be a moral exemplar or, as he put it, “the Pope.” On the other hand, and paradoxically, he called himself a “moral man.”

Eyal Golan enjoying the lush life with female admirer.

Eyal Golan enjoying the lush life with female admirer

On March 5, Benny Ziffer, the newspaper’s literary editor, responded to a particularly pugnacious recent Israeli TV interview with Golan by a noted female program host. Ziffer’s column launched a crusade not just to redeem Golan’s reputation, but to claim that it is the right of all artists to engage in antisocial behavior (like raping young girls) as long as they do so for their art. Further, he claims that societies which persecute such creative souls are suppressing freedom of expression and the artistic impulse (my translation is from the Hebrew piece):

“Cultured nations know that in order for art to exist and creativity to flourish, artists must enjoy moral privileges and freedoms not available to others. Even tyrants harboring no tolerance for individual freedom understand that artists must be permitted to live a Bohemian existence; and that this is part of the unwritten agreement between a society and its artists, who are offered extensive latitude under ethical norms which permit wild behavior, especially in the sexual realm.

Artists from Goethe to Eyal Golan hover intoxicatedly in the air above the heights of artistry and creativity. They must feel most intensely those things that are considered the basest sexual urges in life, like intercourse with young female admirers. Without this, there would be no creativity, despite all the pain this is liable to cause these young women, whose lives may have been damaged.”

The journalistic crime committed here is rendered even more severe by the fact that the author is neither freelancer nor columnist, but senior editorial staff.

Again, one must wonder what Ziffer’s editor was thinking when he or she approved such journalistic trash for publication. Besides the claims in this passage being pure intellectual bunkum (since when did Goethe ever justify raping young girls in order to delve deeper into his artistic impulses?), did no one at the paper stop to consider the backlash that would stem from this rape apologia?

Haaretz readers have started a petition (Hebrew) calling for the firing of Ziffer. It’s doubtful this will have any impact on Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken, whose approach to criticism is to dismiss it with hurt indignation.

I can attest to this personally. In 2012, the newspaper published an expose about Israeli museums which did not offer Arabic-language inscriptions for exhibits, as required under a law guaranteeing multi-lingual accessibility for publicly-funded cultural institutions. I wrote to the reporter, asking why Haaretz itself never published in Arabic. I argued that doing so would offer a pioneering statement from the nation’s leading liberal daily about the critical importance of embracing the Arabic-speaking Palestinian minority. I suggested, to that end, Haaretz consider publishing an Arabic-language supplement.

Instead of a response from the reporter, Schocken himself replied disdainfully that if I thought such a project was so important that I should find him funding to support it. It was a response, doubtless to say, I found disingenuous, as it wasn’t my job to secure investments in his newspaper.

The following year, Haaretz published its first article in Arabic, an editorial urging Palestinians to “get out and vote.” Ironically, many members of the Palestinian minority do not vote precisely because the institutions of the Jewish majority (like Haaretz ) are largely closed to them. Generally they enjoy second or third-class rights within society, thanks in part to the patronizing approach of elite Ashkenazi Jewish institutions like it.

Haaretz refuses to publish Ziffer’s column in English edition

It should come as no surprise that Ziffer’s op-ed was not translated into English or published in the paper’s English edition. The editors there perhaps had a better understanding of their own readers and determined there was no need to inflame them. But in truth, this is a form of self-censorship. If you want to publish misogynist trash, why only publish it in Hebrew? Why not proclaim proudly to the rest of the English-speaking world what your journalistic values are?

If, as David Remnick argues, Haaretz is the best of Israeli journalism, what does that tell us about Israeli society in general and its Fourth Estate in particular? It tells us that the weight of being a garrison nation in a state of perpetual war has corroded whatever liberal values Haaretz may have once championed. It tells that no matter how much higher are the standards Haaretz upholds than those of their competitors, they are indelibly stained by historical sins of the their society.

Breaking: Managing editor cancels Ziffer’s weekly column

When reached for comment on this story, Aluf Benn, the newspaper’s managing editor, declined, but he did allude to a major forthcoming development.

Shortly thereafter, on Wednesday, Israeli business news site Globes reported than Benn had decided to cancel Ziffer’s weekly column in response to the March 5 piece.

In his final column, published on Wednesday, Ziffer apologized for what he wrote. He added, oddly, that it was all part of a twisted game he played on behalf of his audience:

“I entered into the role of provocateur [Author’s Note: literally, “playful devil”], and the game was good and yielded rewards. The audience was enthusiastic and begged for more and more columns in which I played the the game of provocateur. I reaped success. Together with the intoxication of success, this blurred within me the boundaries between the game and reality.”

Haaretz later published Ziffer’s apology in its English edition.  But without the context of the original article (published only in Hebrew), readers of the English edition have no idea what “monstrosity” Ziffer is apologizing for.  And that’s probably the way Haaretz’s editors prefer it. Rather than being fully transparent, it has the effect of further concealing the original offense.

Still, Ziffer remains as literary editor of the paper. He will also continue writing other articles for the paper. Presumably, Benn believes that by giving Ziffer a lower profile and “disappearing” his byline, readers — especially female readers — will be able to forget this disaster. In the past heyday of Israeli macho behavior, perhaps Haaretz could’ve gotten away with this. But can you imagine the Washington Post or New York Times in this day and age permitting its literary editor to write such swill and not firing him? The very thought seems preposterous.

March 14, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Livni Hails Blacklisting Hezbollah, Urges Alliance with Gulf States

Al-Manar | March 14, 2016

Livni_Abu GhaitIsraeli former Foreign Minister, Tsipi Livni, hailed Arab League decision to blacklist Hezbollah as a ‘terror group’, calling to conclude alliance between the Zionist entity and some Arab states.

“AL decision to adopt the Gulf Cooperation Council is rightful and represents a positive shift,” Israeli daily, Maariv quoted Livni as saying.

Livni meanwhile, called for concluding an alliance between Israel and “moderate Muslim countries” including Gulf states and some Arab countries which blacklisted Hezbollah, the Israeli paper said.

On the other hand, the Israeli politician called for preventing Hezbollah from taking part in the parliamentary elections in Lebanon, according to Maariv.

“Livni also urged not to make distinction between Hezbollah and ISIL,” the daily added referring to the Takfiri group operating in Iraq and Syria (so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Levant).

March 14, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Severe penalties for anyone backing Hezbollah: Saudi Arabia

Press TV – March 13, 2016

Saudi Arabia says those linked to the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah will be punished in accordance to anti-terrorism laws.

According to an Interior Ministry statement published by the state-run SPA news agency on Sunday, Saudi nationals and foreigners living in the kingdom will face “severe penalties” if they sympathize with, financially support, or harbor any of the group’s members.

“Any citizen or resident who supports, shows membership in the so-called Hezbollah, sympathizes with it or promotes it, makes donations to it or communicates with it or harbors anyone belonging to it will be subject to the stiff punishments provided by the rules and orders, including the terrorism crimes and its financing,” read the statement, adding that expatriates would also be deported.

Riyadh’s move appears to be part of the monarchy’s anti-Shia campaign, including a severe crackdown on nationals residing in Eastern Province. Last year, the kingdom executed prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, which drew widespread condemnation from rights groups and various states.

The Sunday announcement also follows recent decisions by pro-Saudi Arab factions, the Arab League and the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council, to brand Hezbollah as a “terrorist” group.

On Saturday, Hezbollah described such measures as a “declaration of aggression” by Riyadh, which is “putting pressure on others at the Arab foreign ministers meeting to do the same,” said Sheikh Naim Qassem, the deputy secretary general of the resistance movement.

March 14, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 2 Comments