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Could Christian Zionism explain Green Party leader’s threats to resign?

By Yves Engler · August 28, 2016

Elizabeth May’s response to Green Party members voting to oppose Canadian support for Israeli colonialism has been wildly anti-democratic. She has not simply disagreed with a majority of members, which could reflect healthy internal processes, but publicly derided the party’s procedures and members’ clearly expressed opinions. After diluting a resolution about revoking the Jewish National Fund of Canada’s charitable status strongly endorsed by members in an online poll, May threatened to resign if the party didn’t organize another vote on a BDS resolution members strongly backed in a pre-convention online poll, convention caucus and full convention vote.

The possibility of the Green Party leader resigning over BDS has thrust the Israel boycott into the news and will turn into a highly fortuitous development for the Palestinian cause if members remain steadfast. But, May’s actions make little sense from a Green perspective.

As Maclean’s magazine pointed out, the party has more to gain by aligning with the growing number of Canadians critical of Ottawa’s support for Israeli colonialism. Only if one believes May could lose her seat in the House of Commons over the matter, which seems improbable, would embracing Palestine solidarity activism be bad electorally.

According to a poll conducted just before Israel killed 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza in 2014, 16% of Canadians sided with Palestine, while 17% sided with Israel. (The rest were undecided.) The percentage of Canadians who sided with Palestine is almost five times the 3.4% of Canadians who voted for the Greens last year. Additionally, the issue drives NDP activists to the party. The Greens have already gained a number of prominent NDP members disenchanted with that party’s support for Israeli violence.

But, even if you disagree with this electoral calculation, May’s reaction still makes little sense from the party’s perspective. Her actions have upset Palestinian sympathizers yet the media storm over the BDS vote makes it hard to imagine anyone mildly sympathetic to Israeli colonialism would vote, let alone campaign, for the Greens even if May succeeds in modifying the party’s support for BDS at a special convention.

Since her actions make little electoral sense, commentators have speculated May is driven by a combination of ego, fear of Jewish Zionist groups’ accusations of anti-Semitism, a desire to join the Liberal cabinet or her establishment foreign-policy outlook. But, the influence of Christian Zionism represents an unexplored variable in May’s position.

A practicing Anglican, May was studying to become a priest until a few years ago. She’s disparaged abortion and questioned whether Prime Minister Stephen Harper was a practicing Christian. “Being a Christian in politics is part of who I am as a person, so I don’t hide it”, May explained to the Anglican Journal in 2013.

In 2013 she praised the Jewish National Fund for “the great work that’s done in making the desert bloom.” While not explicitly Christian Zionist wording, this (anti-ecological) statement echoes its thinking.

While only May knows exactly what drives her thinking/positions, her church has a long history of Zionism, which began as a Christian movement. “Christian proto- Zionists [existed] in England 300 years before modern Jewish Zionism emerged,” notes Evangelics and Israel. Until the mid-1800s Zionism was an almost entirely non-Jewish movement. And yet it was quite active. Between 1796 and 1800 there were at least 50 books published in Europe about the Jews’ return to Palestine. The movement reflected the more literal readings of the Bible that flowed out of the Protestant Reformation.

One of May’s co-religionists Rev. William H. Hechler, chaplain to the British Embassy in Vienna, arranged for Jewish Zionist leader Theodore Herzl to meet Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II and the Ottoman sultan, which then controlled Palestine. Another Anglican, Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, came up with the infamous Zionist slogan “a land without people for a people without a land”. He wanted Jews to go to their “rightful home” (Palestine) under a British protectorate. According to a Canadian Jewish News review of Allies for Armageddon: The Rise of Christian Zionism, “The Earl of Shaftesbury was the first millennariast, or restorationist, to blend the biblical interest in Jews and their ancient homeland with the cold realities of [British imperial] foreign policy.” He got Britain’s foreign secretary to appoint the first British consul to Jerusalem in 1839.

A speech in England by Anthony Ashley Cooper in 1839 or 1840 was the first encounter with Zionist thinking for Canada’s leading early proponent of the movement. At the time of Confederation Canada’s preeminent Zionist was Henry Wentworth Monk who briefly studied to become an Anglican minister. In A Coat of Many Colours: Two Centuries of Jewish Life in Canada Irving Abella explains: “Henry Wentworth Monk, an eccentric but respected businessman, spent much of his time and money crusading for a Jewish homeland. In the 1870s and 1880s — long before Theodore Herzl, the Austrian founder of [Jewish] Zionism, even thought of a Jewish state — Monk took up a campaign in Canada and England to raise funds to buy land in Palestine for European Jews. In 1881 Monk even proposed setting up a Jewish National Fund. He issued manifestoes, wrote long articles, spoke to assorted meetings and lobbied extensively in England and Canada to realize his dream.” Citing a mix of Christian and pro-British Empire rationale, Monk called on London to establish a “dominion of Israel” similar to the dominion of Canada.

Monk was not alone in Canada. Many public figures, including prime ministers Lester Pearson and Arthur Meighan, expressed Christian Zionist thinking in backing the formation of the Israeli state. The son of a minister, Pearson’s memoirs refer to Israel as “the land of my Sunday School lessons” where he learned that “the Jews belonged in Palestine.”

While Christian Zionism is now associated with right-wingers such as evangelist Charles McVety, who campaigns against sexual education in Ontario schools, Left Christian Zionism has a long history. Future CCF (the NDP’s predecessor) leaders Tommy Douglas and Stanley Knowles, as well as a number of labour leaders, were members of the Canadian Palestine Committee (CPC), a group of prominent non-Jewish Zionists formed in 1943. (Future external minister Paul Martin Sr. and the premier of Alberta, Ernest C. Manning, were also members). Many CPC members’ Zionism was partly motivated by biblical teachings. Both Knowles and Douglas were Protestant ministers and, as an indication of the extent to which religion shaped Douglas, his main biography is titled Tommy Douglas: The Road to Jerusalem. In 1975, Douglas, the “father of Medicare”, told the Histadrut labour federation: “The main enmity against Israel is that she has been an affront to those nations who do not treat their people and their workers as well as Israel has treated hers.” This speech was made eight years into Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and a quarter century after 800,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed in 1947/48.

A decade later Canadian Labour Congress president Dennis McDermott, who referred to himself as a “Catholic Zionist”, denounced a Canadian Senate report that rebuked Israel’s 1982 invasion/occupation of Lebanon and provided mild support for the Palestinian Liberation Organization. McDermott said the 1985 Senate report, which stopped short of calling the PLO the legitimate voice of Palestinians, was an “exercise in bad judgment and, even worse, bad taste.” (A portrait of McDermott hangs in a library named after him at the trade school of the Histadrut.)

Aggressive Christian Zionism still crops up in progressive circles. When I spoke about the Conservatives’ losing their bid for a seat on the UN Security Council to a Council of Canadians meeting in Delta BC, an older woman interrupted me to ask: “are you criticizing Harper’s support for Israel? Doesn’t the Bible say Israel is the Jewish homeland?”

May, of course, would never be so crass. But, she is associated with a religious tradition that has promoted this type of thinking. Recognizing their contribution to Palestinian dispossession, some Christian groups have sought to right a historical wrong by divesting from or boycotting companies enabling Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands. Others have directly challenged Christian Zionism.

In 2013 the Anglican Church of Canada committed itself “to explore and challenge theologies and beliefs, such as Christian Zionism, which support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.” Last year a number of groups organized an important multi-day conference in Vancouver titled “Seeking the Peace of Jerusalem: Overcoming Christian Zionism in the Quest for Justice.”

I can’t say for sure whether Christian Zionism has influenced Elizabeth May’s thinking. But, it’s clear she’s not supporting progressive Anglicans and other Christians reassessing their contribution to Palestinian dispossession.

August 29, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , | 6 Comments

The Financial Times: Megaphone for Mass Murder

By James Petras :: August 28, 2016

The Financial Times editorial page carries a logo that proclaims: “Without fear and without favour”. Indeed the editors have shown no fear when it comes to… fabricating lies, promoting imperial wars decimating countries and impoverishing millions, whether in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and now Venezuela. The fearless “Lies of Our Times” have been at the forefront forging pretexts for inciting imperial armies to crush independent governments.

Despite its pretentious scribblers and prestigious claims, the FT is seen by the Anglo-American financial class as a belligerent purveyor of militarist policies designed for the most retrograde sectors of the ruling elite.

What is most striking about the FT fearless fabrications on behalf of imperial militarism is how often their political and economic prognostications have been incompetent and flat out wrong.

For the past ten years, the FT editorial pages have described China in economic crisis and heading for a fall, while in reality, the Chinese economy has grown at between eight and six percent a year.

For over a decade and a half, the FT editors claimed Russia under President Vladimir Putin presented an international existential threat to ‘the West’. In fact, it was the ‘Western’ armies of NATO, which expanded military operations to the borders of Russia, the US, which financed a neo-fascist coup in Kiev and the US-EU which promoted an Islamist uprising in Syria designed to totally undermine Russia’s influence and relations in the Middle East.

The FT’s economic gurus and its leading columnists prescribed the very catastrophic deregulatory formulas which precipitated the financial crash of 2008-09, after which they played the clownish role of “Mickey the Dunce” – blaming others for the failed policies.

The fearless FT scribes are currently leading a virulent propaganda campaign to promote the violent overthrow of the democratically elected Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro.

This essay will identify the FT’s latest pack of fearless lies and fabrications and then conclude by analyzing the political consequences for Venezuela and other independent regimes.

The Financial Times and Venezuela: From War in the Suites to Terror in the Streets

In covering the crisis in Venezuela, the FT has systematically ignored the ongoing campaign of assaults and assassinations against elected officials, security officers, military and police who have been murdered by the FT’s favored ‘opposition’.

The FT did not cover the horrific murders of an elected Chavista congresswoman and her two young children, who were executed (shot in the head) in broad daylight by opposition-paid hitmen.

These ongoing opposition terror campaigns against the elected government and the general public are systematically ignored in the FTs ‘reports’ and on its editorial pages, which focus more on the shortages of consumer items.

The FT cover-up of right-wing terror extended to inventing a ‘possible’ army or National Guard plan to open fire on opposition demonstrators. In this case, the FT anticipated right-wing violence by laying the blame on the government in advance.

The FT covers-up the opposition business elite’s campaign of hoarding essential goods to create artificial shortages and panic buying. They deny the ongoing price gouging and pin the blame for shortages and long consumer lines exclusively on ‘regime mismanagement’.

The FT conveniently omits to mention that the decline in world oil prices has affected not only the economy of Venezuela but all countries dependent on commodity exports, including the Financial Times favorite neo-liberal regimes in Brazil and Argentina.

The Financial Times cites bogus ‘opinion’ polls, which wildly exaggerate the government’s declining popularity: In the recent elections Maduro’s supporters secured 40% of the popular vote while the FT claims his support to be 7%!

US client regimes (Mexico, Peru, and Colombia) are the largest producers of illegal drugs and US banks are the largest launderers for narco-money. Yet the FT reports on “Venezuela’s role as a conduit for illegal drugs smuggled north to the US and east into Brazil, Africa and thence to Europe”. Drug enforcement experts all agree that Colombia, home to seven US military bases and with a regime closely linked to paramilitary-narco gangs, is the source of drugs smuggled through Venezuela. That Venezuela has become a victim of the violent Colombian narco-trade is never acknowledged by the elegant City of London pen-prostitutes.

The FT blames the re-emergence of ‘malaria and other possible diseases’ on the leftist Maduro government. In fact the recent ‘malaria outbreak’ (also cited by the New York Times propagandists) is based on a single illegal gold miner.

The FT ignores how the US- backed neo-liberal regimes in Argentina and Brazil, which rule by presidential decree, have slashed public health programs setting the stage for much greater public health crises.

The Financial Times: Big Lies for Mass Murder

The Financial Times is waging an all-out propaganda war with one goal: To incite the violent seizure of power in Venezuela by US political clients.

In line with the Obama-Clinton ‘regime-change by any means’ policies, the FT paints a deceptive picture of Venezuela facing ‘multiple crises’, representing a ‘destabilizing’ threat to the hemisphere, and on the brink of a global ‘humanitarian crisis’.

Armed with these deadly clichés, the FT editorial pages demand “a new government soon and certainly before the 2018 elections”.

Recently, the FT proposed a phony legal gimmick — a recall referendum. However, since the opposition cannot initiate the vote in time to oust the elected President Maduro, the FT calls for “events which precipitate changes sooner” – a violent coup!

FT’s scenarios aim to precipitate a violent right-wing “march”, eventually provoking civil bloodshed in early September of this year.

The FT expects that “blood in Caracas will require an active Latin America response”(sic). In other words, the FT hopes that a US-backed military invasion from neighboring Colombia would help eliminate the Chavistas and install a rightist regime.

The Financial Times, which actively promoted the NATO-led destruction of the government in Libya, now calls for a US-led invasion of Venezuela. Never ones to re-assess their promotion of ‘regime change’, the FT now calls for a violent coup in Venezuela, which will exceed that of Libya in terms of the loss of thousands of Venezuelan lives and the brutal reversal of a decade of significant socio-economic progress.

“Without fear and without favor”, the FT speaks for imperial wars everywhere.

Conclusion

The US presidential elections take place just as the Obama-Clinton regime prepares to intervene in Venezuela. Using bogus ‘humanitarian’ reports of widespread hunger, disease, violence and instability, the Obama regime will still need Venezuelan thugs to provoke enough violent street violence to trigger an’ invitation’ for Washington’s Latin American military partners to ‘intervene’ under the auspices of the UN or OAS.

If ‘successful’, a rapid overthrow of the elected government in Caracas could be presented as a victory for Hilary Clinton’s campaign, and an example of her policy of ‘humanitarian-military interventions’ around the world.

However, if Obama’s allied invasion does not produce a quick and easy victory, if the Venezuelan people and armed forces mount a prolonged and courageous defense of their government and if US lives are lost in what could turn into a popular war of resistance, then Washington’s intervention could ultimately discredit the Clinton campaign and her ‘muscular’ foreign policy. The American electorate might finally decide against four more years of losing wars and losing lives. No thanks to the ‘fearless’ Financial Times.

August 29, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Nasrallah explains why Syria & Assad are crucial to Middle East war aims

August 29, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Video, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Saudi Arabian forces never once targeted ISIS militants in Yemen’

RT | August 29, 2016

The latest car bombing is most likely a personal vendetta, probably more of a gang problem inside Aden over who is going to take control, the rebels or Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), political commentator Marwa Osman told RT.

Up to 60 people have been killed in a car bomb attack in the Yemeni city of Aden with dozens more injured. Most of the dead were pro-government troops.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.

RT: What is ISIS trying to achieve in this attack?

Marwa Osman: First, let’s tell people where ISIS targeted. They targeted a school compound which consists of the Popular Committee Forces who are allied with Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who was the president who resigned twice before the war in Yemen. So, they targeted these people who are already in war with “Ansar Allah” also known as the Houthis in the mainstream media. So, they are now targeting supposedly their own allies. And that is because there is a personal vendetta, probably more of a gang problem inside Aden over who is going to take control now. Is it the rebels who are actually backed by Saudi Arabia, who is still bombing and killing people in Saada and Sana’a? Or is it going to be ISIS which is also backed by Saudi Arabia which has been funneling money and arms by Saudi Arabia for the past seven or eight years in Yemen. Who is going to take control? That is the fight that is going on there. It is not a fight of fighting ISIS or fighting people who are there to try and liberate Yemen. No, because the actual thing is that both groups, these popular movements which are Hadi’s supporters and ISIS – they are both fighting “Ansar Allah” which is also getting beaten by the Saudi-led coalition. So, this is more of who is going to control the area.

RT: With this Saudi Arabian involvement you mentioned, is it possible that Saudi Arabia is using ISIS as some sort of proxy army to achieve its desires in that part of the world?

MO: It is not only possible, it is the only fact on the ground because up until now, since March 25, 2015 when the US coalition led by the Saudis ran… all over Yemen, they have never – not even once – targeted all of the Al-Qaeda-ISIS wilayat. They have eight wilayat inside of Yemen and not once have they targeted them. Why? Because they are actually there to run the on-ground incursion for the Saudis. And up until now they have not been able to do that; they were not able to go to Sana’a or to Saada for that matter. They only have been targeting Aden as we just saw today. It is obviously very devastating: 60 people dead because of the explosion. But these two proxy warriors for the war of Al-Saud, both rebels that supposedly represent Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, the former president and also Al-Qaeda. It is the way it is going on in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and also Libya. So, when you talk about Saudi Arabia funding ISIS, it is the only way that it is going to gain any ground incursions on the Yemeni field. And yet this is not happening…

RT: Are you saying that ISIS is de facto a proxy army of mercenaries being used to achieve regime change?

MO: Yes, of course. And that what we have been saying since the beginning of 2010 and all 2011 when Al-Qaeda was changing into ISIS based on the ideology of Wahhabism, which is diffused and brought upon us by the monarchy of Al-Saud. Where they have got their weapons from, where they were funded from? It was obvious; we had all the reports and also the statements from both Qatar and Saudi Arabia. But then Qatar last year started to back off, but Saudi Arabia is still enraged by the incapability of their forces to take any control of Yemen. By God, Yemen is taking land inside of Saudi Arabia; it is that devastating for Al-Saud now. And when we talk about Iraq, Syria as well, it is also the same thing. They are still funding the same group that has the ideology of Al-Saud which is Wahhabism because they have no other choice. They are losing in Yemen; they obviously lost a lot in Syria and Iraq. There is no other place. The Iraqis are asking the Saudis to change their ambassador because he is the main person who is in contact with Al-Qaeda and ISIS inside of Iraq. So, when we talk about this, and talk about the role of Saudi Arabia, I don’t want to just demonize them. There are facts that demonize them. There are facts that Riyadh is still issuing a bloody campaign against Yemen. And there are US and UK so-called consultants inside of Riyadh in the control room of the war on Yemen. And we are still asking if they are funding ISIS or not. How did ISIS come to be if it were not for Al-Saud?

Read more:

At least 60 dead in Yemeni suicide bombing, ISIS takes responsibility

August 29, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli army continue to flout regulations on child detainees

MEMO | August 29, 2016

Following numerous complaints and legal action concerning pain and injury caused by the use of single plastic hand ties by the Israeli military on detainees, including children, the office of the Military Advocate General announced the introduction of new procedures for the use of restraints in 2010. The nature of the complaints prior to the introduction of the new procedures relating to the use of plastic ties included swelling, ties cutting into wrists and severe pain.

Under the new procedures introduced in 2010, hands should be tied from the front, unless security considerations require tying from behind. Three plastic ties should be used; one around each wrist and one connecting the two; there should be the space of a finger between the ties and the wrist; and the restraints should avoid causing suffering as much as possible. The officer in charge is responsible for ensuring compliance.

According to international juvenile justice standards restraints should only be used if the child poses an imminent threat to him or herself, or to others and all other means have been exhausted. Restraints may be used as a precaution against escape during transfer but only for as long as is strictly necessary and must not cause unnecessary pain or suffering. According to UNICEF and a UK report, single plastic hand ties should be prohibited in all circumstances, as should blindfolds.

Approximately three years after the introduction of the new procedures, UNICEF reported that “the ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process”. In reaching this conclusion UNICEF found that children continued to be painfully hand tied and blindfolded on a routine basis contrary to international standards and Israeli military regulations.

In May 2013, the military authorities responded to UNICEF’s findings by issuing a letter to the heads of all Brigades, Divisions, Police and Military Police operating in the West Bank reminding all units of existing standard operating procedures and policies in relation to the arrest of minors. Existing standard operating procedures stipulate that: hand-tying should be done at the discretion of the head of forces and always with three plastic ties in accordance with the 2010 regulations.

According to evidence collected by Military Court watch (MCW) in 2016, 90 percent of children continue to be restrained upon arrest, generally with plastic hand ties, and 85 percent report being blindfolded. In situations where plastic hand ties are used, many children continue to report experiencing pain. In 67 percent of cases where restraints are used, the military regulations for their use continue to be disregarded.

Although UNICEF and the UK reports also recommended that children should never be restrained while attending court except in extreme and unusual circumstances, children continue to be shackled by the ankles during their appearances in the military courts. … Full article

August 29, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , , , | Leave a comment

If Israel wants to be treated like a normal state, it should act like one

pro-Israel-and-pro-Palestinian-protestors-outside-Downing-St-during-Netanyahu-visit-Sep-9-2015-9-Israel-protestor-sunglasses

By Professor Kamel Hawwash | MEMO | August 29, 2016

Israel is not a normal state, but has craved to be treated as such ever since its creation in historic Palestine, against the will of the indigenous Palestinian people, in 1948. It sometimes claims its legitimacy from the UN partition plan, the terms of which bear no resemblance to the area currently controlled by the state; at other times Israelis refer to Biblical connections, which they claim to extend over the whole of Palestine. Exceptionally, proponents of Israel claim that only the followers of Judaism and no other faith are entitled to a state or homeland in the land of their choosing, regardless of who inhabited that land when they claimed it.

To this day, Israel remains a state without declared borders; it is the illegal occupier of another people’s land, whose rights under occupation it has flouted for the past 49 years. Israel claims to be a Western-style “democratic” state but only certain inhabitants of the land it has controlled since 1967 – basically all of historic Palestine – have a right to vote in its elections. It claims to want peace based on a two-state solution but has been implementing policies to ensure that there will only ever be one state, Israel, the borders of which are those of historic Palestine, and where people are defined by a sophisticated system of identity cards, driving cars with differently coloured number plates. It operates different laws for different people; civil law for Israelis but military law for Palestinians in the occupied territories. The law applied to Israeli citizens discriminates between Jews and non-Jews. This discrimination extends to land purchase, which gives Jews rights over non-Jews.

So Israel is clearly not a normal state, because a normal state does not build homes and towns for one ethnic group, to the exclusion of others. Israel does this by building illegally Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Further, in some towns within its nominal border, it allows “admissions committees” to decide whether residents will allow other citizens to live there; it is usually Jewish citizens who make these decisions and non-Jewish citizens who are excluded.

A normal state does not regularly demolish the homes of the people it occupies, or evict their occupants so that it can move its ethnically-chosen citizens into them. Israel does this.

A normal state does not besiege an occupied area for over ten years. Israel has done this with Gaza, the most densely populated place on earth. It controls the entry and exit of goods and people.

A normal state does not then attack the people living under siege repeatedly with the most destructive weapons on earth, short of nuclear warheads. Israel does.

A normal state does not repeatedly attack neighbouring states with impunity. Israel has done this to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

A normal state does not exist in one continent but play its sport in another. Israel does; it is in Asia but plays football in Europe.

A normal state does not violate agreements it signs, as Israel has done with the Oslo agreement and repeated ceasefire agreements with the Palestinians in Gaza.

A normal state does not carry out extrajudicial killings against the people living under its military occupation. Again, Israel does this with impunity.

A normal state does not treat children in the territory it occupies with the cruelty that Israel displays; it abducts children in the night and takes them before military courts in shackles.

The list of abnormal acts that Israel carries out is endless and developing on an almost daily basis. It is therefore hypocritical of it and its leaders to claim that it should be treated as a normal state.

This expectation was tested recently in incidents at the Rio Olympic Games involving the Lebanese team and an Egyptian judo player. The games had not even started when what turned out to be a misguided decision by the organisers became a major incident as teams were making their way to the Maracanã Stadium for the opening ceremony. In this now well-documented incident the Lebanese team refused to share a bus with their Israeli counterparts. Israel saw this as discrimination. “How could they let something like this happen on the eve of the Olympic opening ceremony?” complained one Israeli official. “Isn’t this contrary to what the Olympics stand for? … I’m in shock from the incident.” Those not familiar with the Arab-Israeli conflict would see no problem in any two teams from either end of the globe, let alone neighbours, sharing a bus.

However, this almost paled into insignificance compared to the now famous shunning by Egyptian Judoka Islam El-Shehabi of the extended hand of his Israeli opponent Or Sasson, after his defeat in the qualifying rounds of the 100 kg competition. El-Shehabi himself, who had come under pressure at home not to compete, said: “I have no problem with Jewish people or any other religions or different beliefs but for personal reasons you can’t ask me to shake the hand of anyone from this state, especially in front of the world.” Although the Egyptian’s appearance for the bout was seen as progress by many, this was not the official line. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said El-Shehabi’s action was “contrary to the rules of fair play” and against the spirit of friendship exemplified by the games. He was reprimanded by the IOC and sent home by his team.

However, a normal state would not withhold the Olympic kit of the representatives of the people it occupies and ban their officials from travel, as Israel did. Furthermore, it would not restrict the movement of its sporting teams both within the occupied territories and to the outside world. Israel does this all the time. Its soldiers recently fired tear gas into a stadium where a Palestinian football match was taking place.

Away from the sporting arena, Israel claims that it faces discrimination in many ways, particularly from UN bodies. It insists that the UN Human Rights Council singles it out for special and disproportionate treatment. However, which other state violates so many aspects of international law and international humanitarian law, and has done so since its creation? The answer is simple: not one.

Israel is currently facing a campaign by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which was called for by Palestinian civil society to place pressure on the state to behave in a “normal” way by adhering to international law. The BDS campaign was launched because of the failure of the international community to pressure Israel to conform to “normal” behaviour. Its call for an end to the occupation, equal rights for all citizens and the right of return for Palestinian refugees is peaceful, legal and highly moral. However, Israel has once again cried wolf and claims that BDS is not only discriminatory but also “anti-Semitic” because it targets “the only Jewish state” in the world. The fact is that there would be no need for a BDS movement if Israel behaved like a “normal” state.

Hence, if Israel really does want to be treated like a normal state it must first behave like one. It is currently so far away from such a designation that it merits being seen as the pariah, the rogue state that it is. Its leaders choose this status by their decisions to act in the ways that it does, not its critics. Israel should begin the process of change or risk further isolation and condemnation as even its most loyal allies begin to see what an embarrassment it is to them.

August 29, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Hudson Institute Award to Netanyahu Named for Neocon Who Inspired Dr. Strangelove

By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | August 28, 2016

herman kahn

Herman Kahn as featured in a Life Magazine profile

When Bibi Netanyahu comes to New York next month for the UN General Assembly, the Hudson Institute will bestow its Herman Kahn award on him. Kahn was an early neocon intellectual who advocated U.S. first-use of nuclear weapons. He propounded this theory in his provocatively titled 1960s book, Thinking the Unthinkable.

The Institute is a leading neocon think-tank based in Washington DC. It is a wonky version of the American Enterprise Institute or the Heritage Foundation. It’s senior vice-president is Scooter Libby, a man who barely escaped spending time in a federal prison.

The Hudson Institute is the primary funder (see Didi Remez’s post for a fuller discussion of the funding and relationships) of the far-right Israeli NGO, Institute for Zionist Strategies, which advocate purging “post-Zionist” material from Israeli academic curriculum. They’ve been so successful at pressuring academia to “Zionize” the curriculum that Tel Aviv University President Joseph Klafter promised he would personally examine individual course syllabi for tainted content.

Hudson is also the primary backer of Uzi Arad’s Atlantic Forum, a shadowy Israeli think tank founded by the former Mossad officer. The NGO’s mission is to strengthen Israel’s security relationship with NATO. He’s reputed to have “run” Larry Franklin, the former Defense Department analyst caught with Steven Rosen passing U.S. secrets to the Israelis. Rosen too came within a whisker or two of landing in federal prison. Luckily for him, the Israel Lobby came to his defense and the Justice Department dropped the case against him. Arad worked with Kahn at Hudson in the 1970s.

Bush-era neocon analyst, Meyrav Wurmser, runs Hudson’s Center for Middle East Policy. That explains Hudson’s love affair with Netanyahu and the award he is to receive. In many ways it seems fitting for the Israeli leader to receive an award named for Kahn. Israel is, after all, one of the most dangerous of the nuclear states. One of those most likely to engage in first-use of nuclear weapons would the circumstances arise. One may argue whether that distinction should rather belong to North Korea or Pakistan. But the Koreans don’t yet have the capacity to destroy western Asia as Israel does the Middle East. And Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is child’s play compared to Israel’s estimated 200 nuclear warheads.

herman kahn

Herman Kahn (David Levine)

It may be worth hearing some words said about Kahn’s work. A reader summarized another of his books: “On Thermonuclear War, was ‘a moral tract on mass murder: how to plan it, how to commit it, how to get away with it, how to justify it.’” Some other words of wisdom from Kahn on nuclear deterrence:

“If it is not acceptable to risk the lives of the three billion inhabitants of the earth in order to protect ourselves from surprise attack, then how many people would we be willing to risk?”

Another critic said that the publication of that book “should properly have caused the sequestration of its author into psychiatric care.” A science reporter, reviewing Kahn’s book called him a contemporary version of the devil:

“Not the traditional devil, reeking of brimstone and tempting men to old-fashioned sins, but a slick, talcum-scented, contemporary Satan, rationalising hideous emotions by reference to strategic studies, electronic computers, contingency planning, and all the other gimmicks of paranoiac gamesmanship.”

The following comment by Kahn to a reporter surely served as the inspiration for Terry Southern’s screenplay for Dr. Strangelove: “I can be funny on the subject of thermonuclear war.”  In fact, writing in the NY Times, Fred Kaplan says:

… The real model [for the Strangelove character] was almost certainly Herman Kahn, an eccentric, voluble nuclear strategist at the RAND Corporation, a prominent Air Force think tank. In 1960, Mr. Kahn published a 652-page tome called “On Thermonuclear War,” which sold 30,000 copies in hardcover.

… When Dr. Strangelove talks of sheltering people in mine shafts, President Muffley asks him, “Wouldn’t this nucleus of survivors be so grief-stricken and anguished that they’d, well, envy the dead?” Strangelove exclaims that, to the contrary, many would feel “a spirit of bold curiosity for the adventure ahead.”

Mr. Kahn’s book contains a long chapter on mine shafts. Its title: “Will the Survivors Envy the Dead?” One sentence reads: “We can imagine a renewed vigor among the population with a zealous, almost religious dedication to reconstruction.”

So it is altogether fitting that Bibi Netanyahu be enshrined along with Herman Kahn in a sort of Nuclear War Hall of Fame, as two men prepared to see their region (in Bibi’s case) or world (in Kahn’s) go up in flames in order to “save” their country.

It’s perfectly fitting that a past recipient of the award was Dick Cheney (especially considering his former protege, Scooter Libby works for Hudson).

August 29, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hillary and the Clinton Foundation: Exemplars of America’s Political Rot

By Eric Draitser | CounterPunch | August 29, 2016

Hillary Clinton may be enjoying a comfortable lead in national polls, but she is far from enjoying a comfortable night’s sleep given the ever-widening maelstrom of scandals engulfing her presidential bid.  And while Clinton delights in bloviating about a decades-long “vast, right wing conspiracy” against her, the fact is that it’s the Clinton political machine’s long and storied track record of criminality, duplicity, and corruption that haunts her like Lincoln’s ghost silently skulking through White House bedrooms.

The latest in a string of embarrassing scandals is centered on the powerful Clinton Foundation, and the obvious impropriety of its acceptance of large donations from foreign governments (and wealthy individuals connected to them), especially those governments universally recognized as oppressive dictatorships whose foreign policy orientation places them squarely in the US orbit.

Of particular note are the Gulf monarchies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar whose massive donations belie the fact that their oppression of women runs contradictory to Clinton’s self-styled ‘feminism’ and belief “that the rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21st Century.” Is collaborating with feudal monarchies whose subjugation of women is the stuff of infamy really Clinton’s idea of feminism? Or, is it rather that Clinton merely uses issues such as women’s rights as a dog whistle for loyal liberals while groveling before the high councilors of the imperial priesthood?

What the Clinton Foundation hullabaloo really demonstrates is that Clinton’s will to power is single-minded, entirely simpatico with the corruption of the military-industrial-financial-surveillance complex; that she is a handmaiden for, and member of, the ruling establishment; that Clinton represents the marriage of all the worst aspects of the political class. In short, Clinton is more than just corrupt, she is corruption personified.

Clinton’s Dirty Dealing and Even Dirtier Laundry

In a hilariously pig-headed, but rather telling, statement, former President Bill Clinton responded to allegations of impropriety with the Clinton Foundation by saying, “We’re trying to do good things… If there’s something wrong with creating jobs and saving lives, I don’t know what it is. The people who gave the money knew exactly what they were doing. I have nothing to say about it except that I’m really proud.”

Leaving aside the fact that such an arrogant comment demonstrates Bill Clinton’s complete contempt for ethics and the basic standards of proper conduct, the salient point is that the argument from the Clintons is that the foundation is inherently good, that it helps people around the world, and that, as such, it can’t possibly be corrupt and unethical. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire – except when it comes to the Clintons who stand proudly enveloped in billowing clouds of smoke swearing up and down that not only is there no fire, but anyone who mentions the existence of flames is both a sexist and Trump-loving Putin stooge.

But indeed there is a fire, and it is raging on the American political scene.  And nowhere is the heat more palpable than in the deserts of the Middle East where wealthy benefactors write massive checks for access to America’s 21st Century Queen of Mean (apologies to Leona Helmsley).

Consider the 2011 sale of $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, a gargantuan deal that made the feudal monarchy into an overnight air power.  Were there any doubts as to the uses of the hardware, look no further than the humanitarian nightmare that is Yemen, a country under relentless air war carried out by the Saudis. And, lo and behold, the Saudis had been major contributors to the Clinton Foundation in the years leading up to the sale. And it should be equally unsurprising that just weeks before the deal was finalized, Boeing, the manufacturer of the F-15 jets that were the centerpiece of the massive arms deal, donated $900,000 to the Foundation.

Of course, according to Bubba and Hil, it’s all conspiracy theory to suggest that the Clinton Foundation is essentially a pay-for-play scheme in which large sums of money translate into access to the uppermost echelons of state power in the US. As the International Business Times noted:

The Saudi deal was one of dozens of arms sales approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that placed weapons in the hands of governments that had also donated money to the Clinton family philanthropic empire… Under Clinton’s leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation… That figure — derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) — represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.

The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.

Additionally, as Glenn Greenwald explained earlier this year,

The Saudi regime by itself has donated between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation, with donations coming as late as 2014, as she prepared her presidential run. A group called “Friends of Saudi Arabia,” co-founded “by a Saudi Prince,” gave an additional amount between $1 million and $5 million. The Clinton Foundation says that between $1 million and $5 million was also donated by “the State of Qatar,” the United Arab Emirates, and the government of Brunei. “The State of Kuwait” has donated between $5 million and $10 million.

The sheer dollar amounts are staggering. Perhaps then it comes as no surprise just why nearly every single influential figure in the military-industrial-financial-surveillance complex – from General John Allen to death squad coordinator extraordinaire John Negroponte, from neocon tapeworms such as Max Boot, Robert Kagan, and Eliot Cohen to billionaire barbarocrats like the Koch Brothers, George Soros, and Warren Buffett – is backing Hillary Clinton. Not only is she good for Empire, she’s good for business. And ultimately, that’s what this is all about, isn’t it?

But of course, Hillary’s devotion to the oil oligarchs of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf goes much deeper than simply an exchange of money for weapons. In fact, Hillary is deeply committed to the Saudi royal family’s foreign policy outlook and tactics, in particular the weaponization of terrorism as a means of achieving strategic objectives.

Libya provides perhaps the paragon of Clintonian-Saudi strategy: regime change by terrorism.  Using terror groups linked to Al Qaeda and backed by Saudi Arabia, Clinton’s State Department and the Obama Administration managed to topple the government of Muammar Gaddafi, thereby throwing the former “jewel of Africa” into turmoil and political, economic, and social devastation. To be fair, it was not the Saudis alone involved in fomenting war in Libya, as Hillary’s brothers-from-other-mothers in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates were also directly involved in sowing the seeds of the current chaos in the country.

And of course, this strategic partnership between Clinton and the Gangsters of the Gulf extends far beyond Libya. In Syria, Clinton’s stated policies of regime change and war are aligned with those of Riyadh, Doha, and Abu Dhabi. And, of course, it was during Clinton’s tenure at the State Department that US intelligence was involved in funneling weapons and fighters into Syria in hopes of doing to Syria what had already been done to Libya.

Huma Abedin: Clinton’s Woman in Riyadh

Just in case all the political and financial ties between Clinton and the Gulf monarchies wasn’t enough to make people stop being #WithHer, perhaps the role of her closest adviser might do the trick. Huma Abedin, Clinton’s campaign chief of staff, has long-standing ties to Saudi Arabia, the country where Huma spent her childhood from the age of two. As a Vanity Fair exposé revealed earlier this year:

When Abedin was two years old, the family moved to Jidda, Saudi Arabia, where, with the backing of Abdullah Omar Nasseef, then the president of King Abdulaziz University, her father founded the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, a think tank, and became the first editor of its Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs… After [Abedin’s father] Syed died, in 1993, his wife succeeded him as director of the institute and editor of the Journal, positions she still holds… Abdullah Omar Nasseef, the man who set up the Abedins in Jidda… is a high-ranking insider in the Saudi government and sits on the king’s Shura Council, there are claims that Nasseef once had ties to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda—a charge that he has denied through a spokesman—and that he remains a “major” figure in the Muslim Brotherhood. In his early years as the patron of the Abedins’ journal, Nasseef was the secretary-general of the Muslim World League, which Andrew McCarthy, the former assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the “Blind Sheik,” Omar Abdel Rahman, in the wake of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, claims “has long been the Muslim Brotherhood’s principal vehicle for the international propagation of Islamic supremacist ideology.”

Consider the implications of this information: Clinton’s closest adviser comes from a family connected at the highest levels with the Saudi royal family as well as the Muslim Brotherhood. While right wing pundits portray the Muslim Brotherhood as some sort of straightforward international terror organization, the reality is much more complex as the Brotherhood is more an international political movement whose tentacles stretch into nearly every corner of the Muslim world. Its vast reserves of cash and political influence, backed by Gulf monarchies such as Qatar, allows the Brotherhood to peddle influence throughout the West, while also being connected to more radical salafist elements. An obvious two-for-one for Clinton.

In effect then, Abedin represents a bridge connecting Hillary with both the ruling elites in Riyadh, as well as influential clerics, businesspeople, and political leaders throughout the Middle East. Perhaps then it makes sense why Abedin, in contravention of every standard of ethics, was employed by Teneo Holdings – a pro-Clinton consultancy founded by former Clinton aide Doug Band – while also working for the State Department. Such ethical violations are as instinctive for Hillary as breathing, or calling children superpredators.

Trump, Assange, Putin, and Clinton’s Sleight of Hand

Despite being embroiled in multiple scandals, any one of which being enough to sink the campaign of most other candidates, Clinton and her army of fawning corporate media sycophants, have attempted to deflect attention away from her own misdeeds, corruption, and nefarious ties by instead portraying everyone who opposes them as puppets, stooges, and useful idiots.

Let’s begin with Republican nominee and gasbag deluxe, Donald Trump, who Clinton trolls have attempted to portray as a stooge of Russian President Putin. While it’s indeed quite likely that the Kremlin sees Trump as far less of a threat to Russia’s interests than Clinton – just look at Clinton’s roster of neocon psychopath supporters to see that Putin has a point – the notion that Trump is somehow a creation of Putin, or at the very least is working for him is utterly absurd.

And the “evidence”? Trump’s connections with wealthy Russian oligarchs. I suppose those who have made their homes under rocks these last 25 years might not know this, but nearly every billionaire investor has gone to Russia in that time, forged ties with influential Russians, and attempted to make money by stripping clean the bones of what was once the Soviet Union. Sorry Naomi Klein, I guess the Clintonistas expect no one to have read Shock Doctrine which details the sort of disaster capitalism run amok that took place in Russia in the 1990s.

And then, of course, there’s that great confabulator Julian Assange who has also been smeared as a Putin puppet by the #ImWithHer media somnambulists. I guess the lords of corporate capital didn’t like the fact that Assange and WikiLeaks have managed to expose countless dirty deeds by Clinton’s Tammany Hall of the 21stCentury. From using the DNC as a political appendage of the Clinton campaign (as revealed by the WikiLeaks dump of DNC emails) to his recent promise to make public the “most interesting and serious” dirt on Hillary, Assange has become a thorn in the side – or thumb in the eye, as it were – for Hillary.

And what would a rundown of the specters haunting Clinton’s dreams be without mention of the rabid bear of Russia, big bad Vlad? Clinton recently referred to Putin as the “grand godfather of this global brand of extreme nationalism.” Leaving aside the asinine phraseology, Clinton’s attacks on Putin reveal the weakness of the Democratic nominee, the hollowness of her arguments, and the unmitigated gall of a hypocrite for whom casting stones in glass houses is second nature.

For, at the very moment that she takes rhetorical swipes at Putin, Clinton herself is implicated in a worldwide network of extremism that promotes terrorism, rains death and destruction on millions of innocent civilians, and moves the world closer to global conflict. If Putin represents the éminence grise of a “global brand of extreme nationalism,” then Clinton is the fairy godmother of global extremism and terror. It’s a good thing she has access to the best personal grooming products Goldman Sachs money can buy as it is not easy to wash decades-worth of blood off your hands.

And so, the quadrennial danse macabre that is the US presidential election has turned into an embarrassing sideshow of dull-witted infantilism. But amid the idiocy there is wanton criminality and corruption to be exposed before the world. For while Trump is undoubtedly the bearded lady of America’s freak show, Hillary is the carnival barker.

She knows the ring toss and other games are rigged, but she coaxes the feeble-minded to play nonetheless. She knows the carnies are drunk and reckless, but she urges the children to pay for another ride anyway. She understands that her job is to sell a rigged game, and to call security when someone challenges her lies. And, unfortunately, whether you want it or not, the Hillary Roadshow is coming to a town, or country, near you.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City. You can reach him at ericdraitser@gmail.com.

August 29, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , , , | Leave a comment