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Learning to Love McCarthyism

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | November 6, 2017

The New York Times has finally detected some modern-day McCarthyism, but not in the anti-Russia hysteria that the newspaper has fueled for several years amid the smearing of American skeptics as “useful idiots” and the like. No, the Times editors are accusing a Long Island Republican of McCarthyism for linking his Democratic rival to “New York City special interest groups.” As the Times laments, “It’s the old guilt by association.”

Yet, the Times sees no McCarthyism in the frenzy of Russia-bashing and guilt by association for any American who can be linked even indirectly to any Russian who might have some ill-defined links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Monday, in the same edition that expressed editorial outrage over that Long Island political ad’s McCarthyism, the Times ran two front-page articles under the headline: “A Complex Paper Trail: Blurring Kremlin’s Ties to Key U.S. Businesses.”

The two subheads read: “Shipping Firm Links Commerce Chief to Putin ‘Cronies’” and “Millions in Facebook Shares Rooted in Russian Cash.” The latter story, which meshes nicely with the current U.S. political pressure on Facebook and Twitter to get in line behind the New Cold War against Russia, cites investments by Russian Yuri Milner that date back to the start of the decade.

Buried in the story’s “jump” is the acknowledgement that Milner’s “companies sold those holdings several years ago.” But such is the anti-Russia madness gripping the Establishment of Washington and New York that any contact with any Russian constitutes a scandal worthy of front-page coverage. On Monday, The Washington Post published a page-one article entitled, “9 in Trump’s orbit had contacts with Russians.”

The anti-Russian madness has reached such extremes that even when you say something that’s obviously true – but that RT, the Russian television network, also reported – you are attacked for spreading “Russian propaganda.”

We saw that when former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile disclosed in her new book that she considered the possibility of replacing Hillary Clinton on the Democratic ticket after Clinton’s public fainting spell and worries about her health.

Though there was a video of Clinton’s collapse on Sept. 11, 2016, followed by her departure from the campaign trail to fight pneumonia – not to mention her earlier scare with blood clots – the response from a group of 100 Clinton supporters was to question Brazile’s patriotism: “It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponents about our candidate’s health.”

In other words, the go-to excuse for everything these days is to blame the Russians and smear anyone who says anything – no matter how true – if it also was reported on RT.

Pressing the Tech Companies

Just as Sen. Joe McCarthy liked to haul suspected “communists” and “fellow-travelers” before his committee in the 1950s, the New McCarthyism has its own witch-hunt hearings, such as last week’s Senate grilling of executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google for supposedly allowing Russians to have input into the Internet’s social networks.

Trying to appease Congress and fend off threats of government regulation, the rich tech companies displayed their eagerness to eradicate any Russian taint.

Twitter’s general counsel Sean J. Edgett told the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism that Twitter adopted an “expansive approach to defining what qualifies as a Russian-linked account.”

Edgett said the criteria included “whether the account was created in Russia, whether the user registered the account with a Russian phone carrier or a Russian email address, whether the user’s display name contains Cyrillic characters, whether the user frequently Tweets in Russian, and whether the user has logged in from any Russian IP address, even a single time. We considered an account to be Russian-linked if it had even one of the relevant criteria.”

The trouble with Twitter’s methodology was that none of those criteria would connect an account to the Russian government, let alone Russian intelligence or some Kremlin-controlled “troll farm.” But the criteria could capture individual Russians with no link to the Kremlin as well as people who weren’t Russian at all, including, say, American or European visitors to Russia who logged onto Twitter through a Moscow hotel.

Also left unsaid is that Russians are not the only national group that uses the Cyrillic alphabet. It is considered a standard script for writing in Belarus, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbo-Croatia and Ukraine. So, for instance, a Ukrainian using the Cyrillic alphabet could end up falling into the category of “Russian-linked” even if he or she hated Putin.

Twitter’s attorney also said the company conducted a separate analysis from information provided by unidentified “third party sources” who pointed toward accounts supposedly controlled by the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), totaling 2,752 accounts. The IRA is typically described in the U.S. press as a “troll farm” which employs tech-savvy employees who combat news and opinions that are hostile to Russia and the Russian government. But exactly how those specific accounts were traced back to this organization was not made clear.

And, to put that number in some perspective, Twitter claims 330 million active monthly users, which makes the 2,752 accounts less than 0.001 percent of the total.

The Trouble with ‘Trolling’

While the Russia-gate investigation has sought to portray the IRA effort as exotic and somehow unique to Russia, the strategy is followed by any number of governments, political movements and corporations – sometimes using enthusiastic volunteers but often employing professionals skilled at challenging critical information or at least muddying the waters.

Those of us who operate on the Internet are familiar with harassment from “trolls” who may use access to “comment” sections to inject propaganda and disinformation to sow confusion, to cause disruption, or to discredit the site by promoting ugly opinions and nutty conspiracy theories.

As annoying as this “trolling” is, it’s just a modern version of more traditional strategies used by powerful entities for generations – hiring public-relations specialists, lobbyists, lawyers and supposedly impartial “activists” to burnish images, fend off negative news and intimidate nosy investigators. In this competition, modern Russia is both a late-comer and a piker.

The U.S. government fields legions of publicists, propagandists, paid journalists, psy-ops specialists, contractors and non-governmental organizations to promote Washington’s positions and undermine rivals through information warfare.

The CIA has an entire bureaucracy dedicated to propaganda and disinformation, with some of those efforts farmed out to newer entities such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) or paid for by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). NATO has a special command in Latvia that undertakes “strategic communications.”

Israel is another skilled player in this field, tapping into its supporters around the world to harass people who criticize the Zionist project. Indeed, since the 1980s, Israel has pioneered many of the tactics of computer spying and sabotage that were adopted and expanded by America’s National Security Agency, explaining why the Obama administration teamed up with Israel in a scheme to plant malicious code into Iranian centrifuges to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program.

It’s also ironic that the U.S. government touted social media as a great benefit in advancing so-called “color revolutions” aimed at “regime change” in troublesome countries. For instance, when the “green revolution” was underway in Iran in 2009 after the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Obama administration asked Twitter to postpone scheduled maintenance so the street protesters could continue using the platform to organize against Ahmadinejad and to distribute their side of the story to the outside world.

During the so-called Arab Spring in 2011, Facebook, Twitter and Skype won praise as a means of organizing mass demonstrations to destabilize governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Syria. Back then, the U.S. government denounced any attempts to throttle these social media platforms and the free flow of information that they permitted as proof of dictatorship.

Social media also was a favorite of the U.S. government in Ukraine in 2013-14 when the Maidan protests exploited these platforms to help destabilize and ultimately overthrow the elected government of Ukraine, the key event that launched the New Cold War with Russia.

Swinging the Social Media Club

The truth is that, in those instances, the U.S. governments and its agencies were eagerly exploiting the platforms to advance Washington’s geopolitical agenda by disseminating American propaganda and deploying U.S.-funded non-governmental organizations, which taught activists how to use social media to advance “regime change” scenarios.

While these uprisings were sold to Western audiences as genuine outpourings of public anger – and there surely was some of that – the protests also benefited from U.S. funding and expertise. In particular, NED and USAID provided money, equipment and training for anti-government operatives challenging regimes in U.S. disfavor.

One of the most successful of these propaganda operations occurred in Syria where anti-government rebels operating in areas controlled by Al Qaeda and its fellow Islamic militants used social media to get their messaging to Western mainstream journalists who couldn’t enter those sectors without fear of beheading.

Since the rebels’ goal of overthrowing President Bashar al-Assad meshed with the objectives of the U.S. government and its allies in Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, Western journalists uncritically accepted the words and images provided by Al Qaeda’s collaborators.

The success of this propaganda was so extraordinary that the White Helmets, a “civil defense” group that worked in Al Qaeda territory, became the go-to source for dramatic video and even was awarded the short-documentary Oscar for an info-mercial produced for Netflix – despite evidence that the White Helmets were staging some of the scenes for propaganda purposes.

Indeed, one argument for believing that Putin and the Kremlin might have “meddled” in last year’s U.S. election is that they could have felt it was time to give the United States a taste of its own medicine.

After all, the United States intervened in the 1996 Russian election to ensure the continued rule of the corrupt and pliable Boris Yeltsin. And there were the U.S.-backed street protests in Moscow against the 2011 and 2012 elections in which Putin strengthened his political mandate. Those protests earned the “color” designation the “snow revolution.”

However, whatever Russia may or may not have done before last year’s U.S. election, the Russia-gate investigations have always sought to exaggerate the impact of that alleged “meddling” and molded the narrative to whatever weak evidence was available.

The original storyline was that Putin authorized the “hacking” of Democratic emails as part of a “disinformation” operation to undermine Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and to help elect Donald Trump – although no hard evidence has been presented to establish that Putin gave such an order or that Russia “hacked” the emails. WikiLeaks has repeatedly denied getting the emails from Russia, which also denies any meddling.

Further, the emails were not “disinformation”; they were both real and, in many cases, newsworthy. The DNC emails provided evidence that the DNC unethically tilted the playing field in favor of Clinton and against Sen. Bernie Sanders, a point that Brazile also discovered in reviewing staffing and financing relationships that Clinton had with the DNC under the prior chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The purloined emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta revealed the contents of Clinton’s paid speeches to Wall Street (information that she was trying to hide from voters) and pay-to-play features of the Clinton Foundation.

A Manchurian Candidate?

Still, the original narrative was that Putin wanted his Manchurian Candidate (Trump) in the White House and took the extraordinary risk of infuriating the odds-on favorite (Clinton) by releasing the emails even though they appeared unlikely to prevent Clinton’s victory. So, there was always that logical gap in the Russia-gate theory.

Since then, however, the U.S. mainstream narrative has shifted, in part, because the evidence of Russian election “meddling” was so shaky. Under intense congressional pressure to find something, Facebook reported $100,000 in allegedly “Russian-linked” ads purchased in 2015-17, but noted that only 44 percent were bought before the election. So, not only was the “Russian-linked” pebble tiny – compared to Facebook’s annual revenue of $27 billion – but more than half of the pebble was tossed into this very large lake after Clinton had already lost.

So, the storyline was transformed into some vague Russian scheme to exacerbate social tensions in the United States by taking different sides of hot-button issues, such as police brutality against blacks. The New York Times reported that one of these “Russian-linked” pages featured photos of cute puppies, which the Times speculated must have had some evil purpose although it was hard to fathom. (Oh, those devious Russians!).

The estimate of how many Americans may have seen one of these “Russian-linked” ads also keeps growing, now up to as many as 126 million or about one-third of the U.S. population. Of course, the way the Internet works – with any item possibly going viral – you might as well say the ads could have reached billions of people.

Whenever I write an article or send out a Tweet, I too could be reaching 126 million or even billions of people, but the reality is that I’d be lucky if the number were in the thousands. But amid the Russia-gate frenzy, no exaggeration is too outlandish or too extreme.

Another odd element of Russia-gate is that the intensity of this investigation is disproportionate to the lack of interest shown toward far better documented cases of actual foreign-government interference in American elections and policymaking.

For instance, the major U.S. media long ignored the extremely well-documented case of Richard Nixon colluding with South Vietnamese officials to sabotage President Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam War peace talks to gain an advantage for Nixon in the 1968 election. That important chapter of history only gained The New York Times’ seal of approval earlier this year after the Times had dismissed the earlier volumes of evidence as “rumors.”

In the 1980 election, Ronald Reagan’s team – especially his campaign director William Casey in collaboration with Israel and Iran – appeared to have gone behind President Jimmy Carter’s back to undercut Carter’s negotiations to free 52 American hostages then held in Iran and essentially doom Carter’s reelection hopes.

There were a couple of dozen witnesses to that scheme who spoke with me and other investigative journalists – as well as documentary evidence showing that President Reagan did authorize secret arms shipments to Iran via Israel shortly after the hostages were freed during Reagan’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 1981.

However, since Vice President (later President) George H.W. Bush, who was implicated in the scheme, was well-liked on both sides of the aisle and because Reagan had become a Republican icon, the October Surprise case of 1980 was pooh-poohed by the major media and dismissed by a congressional investigation in the early 1990s. Despite the extraordinary number of witnesses and supporting documents, Wikipedia listed the scandal as a “conspiracy theory.”

Israeli Influence

And, if you’re really concerned about foreign interference in U.S. elections and policies, there’s the remarkable influence of Israel and its perceived ability to effect the defeat of almost any politician who deviates from what the Israeli government wants, going back at least to the 1980s when Sen. Chuck Percy and Rep. Paul Findley were among the political casualties after pursuing contacts with the Palestinians.

If anyone doubts how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has continued to pull the strings of U.S. politicians, just watch one of his record-tying three addresses to joint sessions of Congress and count how often Republicans and Democrats jump to their feet in enthusiastic applause. (The only other foreign leader to get the joint-session honor three times was Great Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill.)

So, what makes Russia-gate different from the other cases? Did Putin conspire with Trump to extend a bloody war as Nixon did with the South Vietnamese leaders? Did Putin lengthen the captivity of U.S. hostages to give Trump a political edge? Did Putin manipulate U.S. policy in the Middle East to entice President George W. Bush to invade Iraq and set the region ablaze, as Israel’s Netanyahu did? Is Putin even now pushing for wider Mideast wars, as Netanyahu is?

Indeed, one point that’s never addressed in any serious way is why is the U.S. so angry with Russia while these other cases, in which U.S. interests were clearly damaged and American democracy compromised, were treated largely as non-stories.

Why is Russia-gate a big deal while the other cases weren’t? Why are opposite rules in play now – with Democrats, many Republicans and the major news media flogging fragile “links,” needling what little evidence there is, and assuming the worst rather than insisting that only perfect evidence and perfect witnesses be accepted as in the earlier cases?

The answer seems to be the widespread hatred for President Trump combined with vested interests in favor of whipping up the New Cold War. That is a goal valued by both the Military-Industrial Complex, which sees trillions of dollars in strategic weapons systems in the future, and the neoconservatives, who view Russia as a threat to their “regime change” agendas for Syria and Iran.

After all, if Russia and its independent-minded President Putin can be beaten back and beaten down, then a big obstacle to the neocon/Israeli goal of expanding the Mideast wars will be removed.

Right now, the neocons are openly lusting for a “regime change” in Moscow despite the obvious risks that such turmoil in a nuclear-armed country might create, including the possibility that Putin would be succeeded not by some compliant Western client like the late Boris Yeltsin but by an extreme nationalist who might consider launching a nuclear strike to protect the honor of Mother Russia.

The Democrats, the liberals and even many progressives justify their collusion with the neocons by the need to remove Trump by any means necessary and “stop fascism.” But their contempt for Trump and their exaggeration of the “Hitler” threat that this incompetent buffoon supposedly poses have blinded them to the extraordinary risks attendant to their course of action and how they are playing into the hands of the war-hungry neocons.

A Smokescreen for Repression

There also seems to be little or no concern that the Establishment is using Russia-gate as a smokescreen for clamping down on independent media sites on the Internet. Traditional supporters of civil liberties have looked the other way as the rights of people associated with the Trump campaign have been trampled and journalists who simply question the State Department’s narratives on, say, Syria and Ukraine are denounced as “Moscow stooges” and “useful idiots.”

The likely outcome from the anti-Russian show trials on Capitol Hill is that technology giants will bow to the bipartisan demand for new algorithms and other methods for stigmatizing, marginalizing and eliminating information that challenges the mainstream storylines in the cause of fighting “Russian propaganda.”

The warning from powerful senators was crystal clear. “I don’t think you get it,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, warned social media executives last week. “You bear this responsibility. You created these platforms, and now they are being misused. And you have to be the ones who do something about it. Or we will.”

As this authoritarian if not totalitarian future looms and as the dangers of nuclear annihilation from an intentional or unintentional nuclear war with Russia grow, many people who should know better are caught up in the Russia-gate frenzy.

I used to think that liberals and progressives opposed McCarthyism because they regarded it as a grave threat to freedom of thought and to genuine democracy, but now it appears that they have learned to love McCarthyism except, of course, when it rears its ugly head in some Long Island political ad criticizing New York City.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saudi Purge ‘Paves Way for Aggressive Policy Towards Iran’

Sputnik – November 7, 2107

The purge of former Saudi intelligence chiefs and government ministers boosts the danger of war with Iran and permanently higher oil prices, former US Army officer Todd Pierce told Sputnik.

The political purge would give Crown Prince Mohammed far more power to act in a reckless manner and plunge the country into a war with Iran without the traditional checks and balances of the Saudi political system to constrain him, Pierce explained.

“Anyone who pays attention can see that the new coalition of the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, along with their lesser GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] allies, minus Qatar, are vigorously promoting and trying to incite a war with Iran,” Pierce said on Monday. “The purge is part of that, and the combination of heightened war risk can’t help but create conditions where oil prices will rise.”

Pierce said the US policy under both Trump and his predecessor Barack Obama had been to support Saudi Arabia against Iran.

“This US-led aggressiveness is the cause of the higher prices and the expected outcome of this is war with Iran, something that will also boost prices,” Pierce said.

Uncertainty over the political future of Saudi Arabia coupled with well-founded fears about a looming Saudi-Iran war would both drive global oil prices far higher and keep them there, Pierce predicted.

On Saturday, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud issued a decree establishing a new anti-corruption committee in the country chaired by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The committee will investigate corruption cases and is empowered to arrest suspects as well as restrict their movements and freeze their accounts.

Over the weekend, a number of former and incumbent Saudi officials were detained by authorities as part of an anti-corruption purge launched by Riyadh, including 11 princes, four incumbent ministers, and dozens of former senior level officials, local media reported.

Oil prices soared to their highest levels in more than two years after news of the Saudi purge.

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Saudi Arabia accuses Lebanon of being ‘kidnapped’ by Hezbollah & ‘declaring war’ on Riyadh

RT | November 7, 2017

Riyadh has accused Lebanon of “declaring war” on Saudi Arabia by allowing Hezbollah “aggression” against the Gulf Kingdom. Earlier, the Lebanese militant group accused the Saudis of forcing Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri out of office.

Hariri unexpectedly announced his resignation on Saturday in a televised statement recorded in Saudi Arabia. In his resignation speech, Hariri accused Iran and Hezbollah of a “desire to destroy the Arab world.” The next day, the leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, accused Saudi Arabia of forcing the premier out of office and writing his resignation statement for him. Tehran meanwhile firmly rejected Hariri’s accusations, saying that Iran only seeks “peace and stability” and pointing out its “excellent” relationship with Beirut.

Amid the political uncertainty, on Monday the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news network reported that King Salman had met with Hariri in Riyadh, where the monarch shared the details of Hezbollah’s alleged aggression against Saudi Arabia.

According to the Saudi Minister of State for Gulf Affairs, Thamer al-Sabhan, Hezbollah is accused of smuggling drugs and providing terrorist training to Saudi youngsters. During the meeting, King Salman allegedly accused the Lebanese militant group of being involved in “every terrorist act that threatens Saudi Arabia,” Al-Arabiya reported. The ruler of the kingdom also allegedly vowed to use “all political and other means” to confront Hezbollah, which he called the “Party of Satan.”

“We will treat the government of Lebanon as a government declaring war because of Hezbollah militias,” Al-Sabhan told al-Arabiya. “Lebanon is kidnapped by the militias of Hezbollah and behind it is Iran.”

“We expect the Lebanese government to act to deter Hezbollah,” the minister said. “The Lebanese must all know these risks and work to fix matters before they reach the point of no return.”

Al-Sabhan did not clarify what actions Saudi Arabia might take against Lebanon. There was also no immediate reaction from Beirut, where Lebanese President Michel Aoun is yet to accept the prime minister’s resignation. Aoun plans to decide on the issue after Hariri returns to Lebanon from Saudi Arabia, presidential spokesman Nabih Berri told reporters Monday.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia blames Iran for missile launched from Yemen, warns it could be considered ‘act of war’

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

The Two Elie Wiesels

The Two Elie Wiesels

Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, Romanian-born Holocaust survivor and author of the classic novel, “Night.”

Elie Wiesel spoke out eloquently against violence and injustice… except when he endorsed them.

By Kathryn Shihadah | If Americans Knew | November 6, 2017

Elie Wiesel was born in 1928 to a prominent Jewish family in Romania. By the age of 15, he found himself in Auschwitz concentration camp, where his parents and one of his three siblings died. After the liberation of the camp, he spent time in France.

After a short time, Wiesel went to work  as a translator for Irgun, a terrorist group that had a reputation for bombing and shooting innocent Arab Palestinians. It was during Wiesel’s Irgun days that the group participated in the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre, in which over 250 unarmed Palestinian civilians were brutally murdered.

For ten years after the war, Wiesel says he would not speak or write about his experiences. Eventually he wrote a memoir, which was later abridged and translated into English as Night. Despite questions about its truthfulness (“in its central, most crucial scene, Night isn’t historically true, and at least two other important episodes are almost certainly fiction”), It has become a classic.

Eventually, Wiesel became a prominent advocate for peace and justice around the world.

His activism included speaking out for Soviet, Ethiopian, Romanian, and Ukranian Jews, as well as Vietnamese boat people, victims of South African apartheid, genocide in Bosnia, Darfur, and Armenia, and other at-risk groups around the world.

In 1986, Elie Wiesel received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end violence, oppression, and racism. The Nobel Committee stated: “Wiesel’s commitment, which originated in the sufferings of the Jewish people, has been widened to embrace all repressed peoples and races.” His profound experiences, and his profound response, birthed in him the words of his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech:

… When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant… that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe… There is much to be done, there is much that can be done. One person… one person of integrity, can make a difference, a difference of life and death.

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.

In The Watchtower (June 15, 1995), he declared,

The duty of the survivor is to bear testimony to what happened . . . You have to warn people that these things can happen, that evil can be unleashed. Race hatred, violence, idolatries—they still flourish.

Mr. Wiesel must have forgotten his own advice, because in the ensuing years, he missed many opportunities to speak out, to bear testimony – opportunities that were literally right under his nose.

For example, in 1999 he endorsed NATO bombs that were blowing up civilians and journalists in Yugoslavia; in 2003 he advocated for war against Iraq, declaring it a necessary moral act because the situation was “a moral crisis similar to 1938.”

And Wiesel was consistently unmoved when the victims under his nose were Palestinian.

The phenomenon of ignoring Palestinian victims, known in activist circles as PEP—Progressive Except Palestine—is a primary enabler of the ad nauseum occupation of the West Bank, the siege of Gaza, and the systemic oppression of Palestinians within Israel itself. Many groups and individuals that are devoted to justice stop short of defending the oppressed people of the Holy Land.

Mr. Elie Wiesel, the “messenger to mankind,” ought to have been above that kind of limited thinking, but he was not.

Like many, he viewed Israel through rose-colored glasses, despite his first hand knowledge. Wiesel could have, should have spoken out against the oppression of Palestinians, but instead sided with the oppressors. It has become the task of others to correct a Nobel Laureate.

Exhibit A, the Goldstone Report, 2009

Richard Goldstone

Elie Wiesel chose the wrong side when it came to the Goldstone Report, commissioned by the United Nations. The independent fact-finding team, which began its work in April 2009, was headed by Jewish (and Zionist) South African Richard Goldstone. Its task was to investigate alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during Operation Cast Lead. Although the scope of work was originally to examine Israeli actions only, Goldstone insisted on probing the Palestinian side as well.

The 3-week conflict, also known as the Gaza War and the Gaza Massacre, was Israel’s attempt to stop rocket fire and weapon smuggling by Palestinians. Casualties included over 1,400 Palestinians dead and 13 Israelis – 4 from friendly fire.

Prime Minister Netanyahu called the whole investigation a “kangaroo court,” and Israel refused to cooperate with the team or to grant visas for the investigation.

The report, presented in September 2009, concluded that both the Israeli Defense Forces and Palestinian militants had committed war crimes, charging that Israel’s military campaign was “a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate, and terrorize… and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.” It also accused Israel of collective punishment in the years-long economic blockade of Gaza.

The report described “an overall policy aimed at punishing the Gaza population… possibly with the intent of forcing a change [in its support for Hamas].”

(As an aside, the use of violence against civilians to force a political change is the definition of terrorism.)

The report continued:

[T]here appears also to have been an assault on the dignity of the people… in the use of human shields and unlawful detentions… vandalizing of houses… obscenities and often racist slogans, all constituted an overall image of humiliation and dehumanization of the Palestinian population.

The mission further considers that the series of acts that deprive Palestinians in the Gaza Strip of their means of subsistence, employment, housing and water, that deny their freedom of movement and their right to leave and enter their own country, that limit their rights to access a court of law and an effective remedy, could lead a competent court to find that the crime of persecution, a crime against humanity, has been committed.

Israel rejected the report, while Hamas reluctantly accepted it.

Ian Kelly of the US State Department complained that the report (which, keep in mind, addressed a conflict in which Palestinian deaths were 100 times higher than Israeli deaths), “focuses overwhelmingly on Israel’s actions.” Nobel Peace laureate and former prime minister Shimon Pares considered the report a “mockery of history” and accused the team of failing to “distinguish between the aggressor and a state exercising its right to self-defense.”

Israel’s use of white phosphorus in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead was a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. “While the international community might be horrified by the use of phosphorous, this is overlooking the issue that hundreds of half-ton bombs are being dropped on Gaza on civilian targets on a daily basis,” said Raji Sourani, head of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza.

Elie Wiesel joined in the criticism of the Goldstone Report:

One thing is clear to me, that document was unnecessary.

Without explaining his first statement, he added, significantly,

I can’t believe that Israeli soldiers murdered people or shot children. It just can’t be.

(No doubt the families of the 1,400 dead Palestinians – half of them civilians, 252 of them children – would dispute this statement.)

American Jewish journalist Peter Beinart took Wiesel to task for these statements:

Wiesel takes refuge in the Israel of his imagination, using it to block out the painful reckoning that might come from scrutinizing Israel as it actually is… “We are making the lives of millions unbearable,” declares one former Shin Bet head, Carmi Gillon, in the film “The Gatekeepers.” In the West Bank, Israel has become “a brutal occupation force,” notes another, Avraham Shalom. A third, Yuval Diskin, calls the occupation a “colonial regime.”

These men don’t hate Israel; they have dedicated their lives to protecting it. But unlike Wiesel, they are discussing the real Israel, not the one they have constructed in their minds. Why is Elie Wiesel, one of the world’s great champions of human rights, denying the human rights abuses to which even Israel’s own former Shin Bet chiefs have testified?

Rabbi Brant Rosen concurred:

As far as I’m concerned, Justice Richard Goldstone is precisely the kind of courageous Jewish moral hero that Wiesel himself purports to be: someone committed to advocating for universal human rights even when doing so might mean holding our own community painfully to account. As for Wiesel, I’m finding his words and actions increasingly craven. No one begrudges him his opinions – but it’s time he dropped the pretense that he’s somehow beyond the political fray.

Under great pressure from the Jewish community in his home of South Africa, Goldstone eventually backpedaled somewhat on one of the charges. However, he failed to address new evidence that actually reinforced his original findings, as well as a report on Israel’s failure to investigate its violations of the laws of war.

Wiesel declined to acknowledge Israel’s need for censure, expressing that

[Richard Goldstone] has a good name, and I’ve known him for years… He should have refused to head the committee, because of the anti-Israel mandate under which it was established.

This refusal to stand up for the oppressed contradicts the vow he made in his commencement speech at Washington University, St. Louis:

In fact it is the otherness of the other that makes me who I am. I am always to learn from the other. And the other is, to me, not an enemy, but a companion, an ally, and of course, in some cases of grace, a friend. So the other is never to be rejected, and surely not humiliated.

and the words of his Nobel acceptance speech:

None of us is in a position to eliminate war, but it is our obligation to denounce it and expose it in all its hideousness. War leaves no victors, only victims. War dehumanizes, war diminishes, war debases all those who wage it. The Talmud says, “Talmidei hukhamim marbin shalom baolam” (It is the wise men who will bring about peace).

One might expect Mr. Wiesel to lay low for a good, long time after such blatant duplicity. One would be mistaken.

Exhibits B and C: Visit to the White House and public/open letter to Obama, 2010

In May of 2010, Elie Wiesel was invited to the White House for lunch with Israel’s greatest benefactor, the President of the United States. Wiesel, master of persuasion and nuance, decorated for his efforts to end violence, oppression, and racism, had the ear of the leader of the free world.

Wiesel once said,

Mankind needs peace more than ever… Mankind must remember that peace is not God’s gift to his creatures, it is our gift to each other.

According to a recent study, almost 80 percent of IDF forces in the West Bank are there to protect settlements, with the remainder scattered along the Green Line. “[Netanyahu] has been kidnapped by the settler lobby and is pursuing a policy that harms the security of every Israeli,” said Knesset member Erel Margalit in June 2017.

But instead of speaking of peace, he chose as his topic of conversation, “don’t pressure Israel to cease settlement activity in Jerusalem.”

President Obama, who strongly opposed settlements, simply listened politely.

For good measure, Wiesel also undertook a PR campaign in the form of a public letter, which appeared in The International Herald Tribune, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. He painted an idyllic picture of his homeland of Israel:

“[F]or the first time in history, Jews, Christians and Muslims all may freely worship at their shrines. And, contrary to certain media reports, Jews, Christians and Muslims ARE allowed to build their homes anywhere in the city.”

It didn’t take long for the record to be set straight—by prominent Jewish Jerusalemites—who published a letter of their own in the New York Review of Books, correcting Wiesel’s false statements:

We write to you from Jerusalem to convey our frustration, even outrage… We cannot recognize our city in the sentimental abstraction you call by its name.

We invite you to our city to [see that] Arabs are not allowed to build their homes anywhere in Jerusalem. You will see the gross inequality in allocation of municipal resources and services… Sheikh Jarrah, where Palestinian families are being evicted from their homes to make room for a new Jewish neighborhood… Silwan, where dozens of houses face demolition because of the Jerusalem Municipality’s refusal to issue building permits to Palestinians.

Another Israeli who weighed in on the housing issue was former Israeli Cabinet Minister Yossi Sarid, who addressed Wiesel in Ha’aretz,

Someone has deceived you, my dear friend. Not only may an Arab not build “anywhere,” but he may thank his god if he is not evicted from his home and thrown out onto the street with his family and property. 

Israeli Daniel Seidemann, a “one-man early-warning system” for changes in Jerusalem that undermine the peace process, called Wiesel’s words “factually inaccurate” and “morally specious.” He gave specific examples:

So while Wiesel may purchase a home in anywhere in East or West Jerusalem, a Palestinian cannot.

Due to Israeli restrictions, today it is easier for a Palestinian Christian living just south of Jerusalem in Bethlehem to worship in Washington’s National Cathedral than to pray in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Today a Muslim living in Turkey has a better chance of getting to Jerusalem to pray at the Old City’s al-Aqsa mosque than a Muslim living a few miles away in Ramallah.

Another Israeli who called Wiesel out for inaccuracies was Ha’aretz writer Gideon Levy:

If I were Elie Wiesel, such a famous Holocaust survivor, a Nobel Prize laureate whose voice is heard in high places, I would ask my friend in the White House, for the sake of peace, Israel’s future and world peace: Please, Mr. President, be forceful. Israel depends on you as never before. Isolated as never before, it’s as good as dead without American support. Therefore, Mr. President, I would say to Obama over the kosher meal that was served, be a true friend of Israel and extricate it from its misfortune…

Instead… Wiesel haggled for wholesale postponement… To postpone. Postpone and postpone, like Netanyahu, who sent him, asked him to do.

And finally, both European and American Jewish leaders—some of whom had lived in Israel—circulated petitions garnering thousands of signatories,

The European petition, “A Call To Reason,” signed by over 5,000, stated that

the occupation and the continuing pursuit of settlements in the West Bank and in the Arab districts of Jerusalem . . . are morally and politically wrong and feed the unacceptable de-legitimation process that Israel currently faces abroad.

The American petition, “For the Sake of Zion,” echoed the European document, adding,

[W]e abhor the continuing occupation that has persisted for far too long; it cannot and should not be sustained. [W]e call upon Israel immediately to cease construction of housing in the disputed territories.”

Wiesel was apparently unconvinced, rendering hollow his earlier pronouncement that

the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies. To be in the window and watch people being sent to concentration camps or being attacked in the street and do nothing, that’s being dead. (US News & World Reportt, 27 October 1986)

Exhibit D: Ha’aretz ad congratulating settlers in East Jerusalem, 2014

Due to his global fame, Elie Wiesel was offered positions on boards of directors all over Israel. The one he chose to accept was the chair of the board of Elad.

Elad is a right-wing NGO which operates in East (Arab) Jerusalem. The organization has two objectives: to settle Jews in the primarily Arab neighborhood of Silwan, and to operate tourist and excavation sites. The settlement aspect of the project involves expelling Palestinians. Richard Silverstein dubbed Elad’s aggressive settler movement “Jewish jihad, literally a Jewish struggle for dominance of the Holy City.” (For details, read this.)

Israeli police oversee the demolition of a Palestinian home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. Settler organizations Elad and others have worked to take over and demolish Palestinian homes in order to move Jewish families in. (More information here.)

In early October, 2014, Ha’aretz had reported that Elad was in the market for Israeli Jews to temporarily live in 25 recently-purchased apartments in Silwan, guarding them until the new Jewish settlers moved in. The job description: “In principle, you’re supposed to be quiet and simply occupy the compound… As far as we’re concerned, you live in the house, but it’s better if you have a weapon.”

Silwan’s Palestinian residents have, in the last two decades, been subject to eviction, home demolition, and aggressive buy-outs, transforming their neighborhood a Jewish-Israeli controlled enclave. According to Ha’aretz, “Life in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan has become unbearable, both for the Jewish settlers who would like to be able to leave home without being stoned and the Palestinians who suffer the heavy hand of the police and the settlers’ security guards.”

Wiesel and the organization he headed, Elad, placed the following announcement in Ha’aretz on October 10, 2014:

On the eve of Sukkot, we are happy to congratulate the dozens of Jewish families that are joining the Israeli settlement of Ir David [the settlers’ name for Silwan]. We salute the Zionist work of those who take part in this mission. Strengthening Jewish presence in Jerusalem is the challenge for all of us, and by your act of settlement you make us all stand taller.

Ha’aretz once again put the matter in perspective:

We must reckon with Wiesel’s erasure of others’ suffering as seriously as we embrace the remembrance of our own… The memory of our collective suffering, articulated by Wiesel and others, grants us the ability to see and to understand the collective pain of others… What are we to do with the fact that… Wiesel was head of the board of Elad, an organization at the forefront of expelling Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem? That he worked to further a violent religious nationalist agenda?

In fact, Wiesel’s work with Elad was at odds with not only social justice, but even with his own words. In 2011 he had declared at the commencement of Washington University in St. Louis,

The greatest commandment, to me, in the Bible is not the Ten Commandments… My commandment is, “Thou shall not stand idly by.” Which means when you witness an injustice, don’t stand idly by. When you hear of a person or a group being persecuted, do not stand idly by… You must intervene. You must interfere. And that is actually the motto of human rights… And therefore wherever something happens, I try to be there as a witness.

(Except, of course, when the persecuted are Palestinian.)

Exhibit E: Open letter regarding Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, 2015

Early in 2015, as President Obama was hammering out a nuclear agreement with Iran, PM Benjamin Netanyahu wished to bend Congress’ ear to halt the negotiations. Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell essentially arranged the speech behind Obama’s back, to “make sure that there was no interference.”

Once word got out, President Obama declined to attend the speech. Elie Wiesel then went into action, publishing – with the help of pro-Israel Rabbi Shmuley Boteach – an open letter:

Many centuries ago a wicked man in Persia named Haman advised, “There exists a nation… It is not in our interest to tolerate them.” And the order went out to all the provinces to “annihilate, murder, and destroy the Jews. Now Iran, modern Persia, has produced a new enemy…

Should we not show our support for what might be the last clear warning before a terrible deal is struck [between the US and Iran]?… As one who has seen the enemies of the Jewish people make good on threats to exterminate us, how can I remain silent?… Will you join me in hearing the case for keeping weapons from those who preach death to Israel and America?

Ha’aretz stepped up to challenge Wiesel’s assumptions, pointing out that he

makes two assertions, neither of which he makes any effort to prove. The first is that the United States and Iran are on the verge of “a terrible deal.” What makes the deal, which has not even been struck, “terrible?” Wiesel doesn’t say. The second is that a nuclear Iran would likely mean “‘the annihilation and destruction’ of Israel.” This, too, requires evidence that Wiesel does not provide.

The Ha’aretz authors also point out that Wiesel’s appeal to the biblical story of Esther is flawed because it is incomplete. The account states that after Haman fell from power, Persia’s Jews

“with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction… slew of their foes seventy and five thousand.”

If the Book of Esther offers a haunting warning of the violence Jews can suffer, why does it not also warn us of the violence Jews can inflict? And if Wiesel is so alarmed by threats of nuclear annihilation, why does he keep embracing his former patron Sheldon Adelson, who in 2013 urged the United States to drop an “atomic weapon” in the Iranian desert, and then, if the Iranians don’t halt their nuclear program, drop one “in the middle of Tehran” so the Iranians are “wiped out.”

Progressive Jewish American organization J Street reacted strongly to the scheduled speech behind which Wiesel stood so firmly. Responding to Netanyahu’s claim that he would be speaking as a representative of all Jewish people everywhere, the group created a petition entitled “I’m a Jew. Bibi does NOT speak for me.” 20,000 signatures indicated that not all Jews favored his Iran policies or his relationship with the White House.

Wiesel wanted to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of Iran, ignoring the irony of Israel’s own nukes at the ready, and the incongruity of Israel’s de facto “it is not in our interest to tolerate” position toward Palestinians.

But again, Wiesel’s own words were even more haunting than the witness of thousands of other Jews.

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. The Talmud tells us that by saving a single human being, man can save the world.

Conclusion 

We ask, over and over, how a people who have suffered so much could inflict so much suffering on another people. We wonder how a man who has so precisely described evil could not recognize it in front of him, how he could speak so eloquently about compassion but fail to have a morsel of it for his neighbors.

Hussein Ibish, writing for Foreign Policy, makes sense of the moral quagmire of Elie Wiesel’s mind:

[T]he underlying assumption is irredeemably flawed.  It presumes that people, whether individuals or collectivities, somehow learn from their negative experiences not to repeat them.

Of course, that is not the case. “Hurt people hurt people.” Maybe Elie Wiesel was too broken by his experiences to see clearly what his Israel was doing. Maybe he deserves a pass.

In that case, it behooves the new generation of Israelis and pro-Israel individuals and groups to do what Wiesel could not: take off the rose-colored glasses; do the hard work of acknowledging past and present wrongs. Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly. As Wiesel once said,

I have to be self-conscious of what I’m trying to do with my life.


Kathryn Shihadah is a staff writer for If Americans Knew.

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 4 Comments

93 International Jewish Organizations Condemn BDS

Thousands attend an anti-BDS conference at the UN sponsored by the World Jewish Congress and the Israeli mission to the UN on March 29, 2017
If Americans Knew | November 6, 2017

The following press release was distributed on Nov. 6, 2017 by the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE). AICE is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and is the sponsor of the Jewish Virtual Library. The executive director is Mitchell Bard. Bard is often interviewed by news media as an alleged expert on Israel-Palestine (see video here.)

It is press releases such as this that give Americans the false impression that all Jewish Americans support Israel. This is also the reason that some individuals at times refer to the Israel lobby as “the Jewish lobby,” the phrase that is employed in Israel.

Corrections to some of the statements in the release below have been added in brackets. The 93 signatories are listed below the release.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mitchell Bard
Tel: 301-565-3918
Email: mitchellbard@gmail.com
JewishVirtualLibrary.org

93 International Jewish Organizations Condemn BDS

CHEVY CHASE, MARYLAND – As the Jewish community celebrates the 100th anniversary of the issuance of the Balfour Declaration, [go here for info on who was behind the Balfour Declaration] an anti-Semitic [sic] campaign to delegitimize Israel is being pursued by advocates of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. [See facts on BDS here.] While the international community recognized the right of the Jewish people to reestablish a state in their homeland, Israel, BDS advocates seek to deny the Jewish right to self-determination. [See this for a discussion of Israel’s alleged right to expel the indigenous population.] In response, 93 international Jewish organizations have signed a statement condemning BDS.

Statement of Jewish Organizations on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaigns Against Israel

“This important statement demonstrates the international Jewish community’s objection to the campaign to ostracize, punish, and threaten Israel.,” said AICE’s Executive Director Dr. Mitchell Bard. “It is gratifying to see groups from across the political and religious spectrum come together on this issue and rebut BDS advocates who falsely claim to represent ‘the Jews.’”

The statement notes that “academic, cultural and commercial boycotts, divestments and sanctions of Israel are: counterproductive to the goal of peace; antithetical to freedom of speech and part of a greater effort to undermine the Jewish people’s right to self-determination in their homeland, Israel.” It also condemns the extremist rhetoric of the delegitimization movement.

The signatories acknowledge that criticism of Israel is legitimate, but note that criticism becomes anti-Semitism “when it demonizes Israel or its leaders, denies Israel the right to defend its citizens or seeks to denigrate Israel’s right to exist.”

[This distortion of the meaning of antisemitism on behalf of Israel was initiated by an Israeli minister and has been perpetrated through an international campaign.]

The statement expresses particular concern with the BDS movement on campus because it “is antithetical to principles of academic freedom and discourages freedom of speech,” has provoked “deep divisions among students,” and has “created an atmosphere of intolerance and hatred.”

The statement calls on “students, faculty, administrators and other campus stakeholders to uphold the academic and democratic values of a free and civil discourse that promotes peace and tolerance.”

[In reality, the anti-BDS organizations often work to prevent free speech and to block factual events about Israel-Palestine; see this for example.]

“We all believe in peace,” added Dr. Bard, “and that goal cannot be achieved by demonizing and boycotting Israel.”

[Israel partisans have often pushed for wars; see this.]


Below are the 93 signatories (most appear to be Americans]

Prof. Mervin Verbit /
Prof. Samuel Edelman
Academic Council for Israel

Rabbi Steven Burg
Aish HaTorah

Andy Borans
Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity

Dr. Mitchell Bard
American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE)

Gerald Platt
American Friends of Likud

Howard Kohr
The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)

David Harris
American Jewish Committee (AJC)

Herbert Block
American Zionist Movement (AZM)

Charles Jacobs
Americans for Peace and Tolerance

Andrew Goldsmith
AMIT

Jonathan Greenblatt
Anti-Defamation League (ADL)

Dr. Colin Rubenstein / Jeremy Jones
Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council

W. James Schiller
Baltimore Zionist District

Matthew Grossman
BBYO, Inc.

Daniel Citone
B’nai B’rith Europe

Daniel S. Mariaschin
B’nai B’rith International

Stephen Savitsky / George W Schaeffer /
Cheryl Bier
Bnai Zion Foundation

Jonathan Arkush
The Board of Deputies of British Jews

Fred Taub
Boycott Watch

Hazzan Alisa Pomerantz-Boro
The Cantors Assembly

Shimon Koffler Fogel
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)

Malcolm Hoenlein
Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations

Phillip Brodsky
The David Project

Gunnar Bjork
Denmark Lodge, B’nai B’rith

Naomi Mestrum
Dutch Centre for Information and Documentation Israel (CIDI)

Mindy Stein
Emunah of America

Anton Block
Executive Council of Australia

Akiva Tendler
The Fellowship for Campus Safety and Integrity

John.D.A Levy
Friends of Israel Educational Foundation Academic Study Group

Ellen Hershkin
Hadassah

Elliot Mathias
Hasbara Fellowships

Arlene & Sheldon Bearman
The Herbert Bearman Foundation

Mark Hetfield
HIAS

Eric Fingerhut
Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life

Adv. Irit Kohn
The International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists

Jacob Baime
Israel on Campus Coalition

Josh Block
The Israel Project (TIP)

Adam Milstein / Shoham Nicolet
Israeli-American Council

Shawn Evenhaim
Israeli-American Coalition for Action

Doron Krakow
JCC Association

Alan Hoffmann
Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI)

David Hatchwell
Jewish Community of Madrid (CJM)

David Bernstein
Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA)

William Daroff
The Jewish Federations of North America

Michael Makovsky
Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA)

Simon Johnson
Jewish Leadership Council

Russell F. Robinson
Jewish National Fund (JNF)

Henia Vrazda and Board
Coordination Committee (Denmark)

Dov H. Maimon
Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI)

Lori Weinstein
Jewish Women International (JWI)

Yael Mosesson / Nina Tojzner
Jewish Youth Organization in Sweden

Ron Klein
Jews for Progress/National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC)

Kenneth L. Marcus
The Louis D. Brandeis Center For Human Rights Under Law

Ron Carner
Maccabi USA/Sports For Israel

Meara Razon Ashtivker
Masa Israel Journey

Marilyn L Wind / Sarrae G Crane
MERCAZ USA

Chellie Goldwater Wilensky
NA’AMAT USA

Ram Shefa
National Union of Israeli Students

Farley Weiss
National Council of Young Israel

Rabbi Micah Greenland
NCSY

Susan Z. Kasper / Harry Hauser
North American Association of Synagogue Executives (NAASE)

Gerald M. Steinberg
NGO Monitor

Allen I. Fagin
Orthodox Union (OU)

Tzvi Avisar
Over the rainbow–the Zionist movement (OTR)

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld
Rabbinical Assembly

Jacob Sternberg
Realize Israel

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner
Religious Action Center

Rabbi Gideon Shloush
Religious Zionists of America/Mizrachi

Matt Brooks
Republican Jewish Committee (RJC)

Eran Shayshon
Reut: The Reut Group: From Vision to Reality

Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin
The Schechter Institutes, INC., Jerusalem

Asaf Romirowsky
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME)

Andy Huston
Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity

Rabbi Marvin Hier/ Rabbi Abraham Cooper
Simon Wiesenthal Center

Barbara Pontecorvo
Solomon-Osservatorio sulle Discriminazioni (Italy)

Ben Swartz / Mark Hyman
South African Friends of Israel

Wendy Kahn
South African Jewish Board of Deputies

Ben Swartz
South African Zionist Federation

Roz Rothstein
StandWithUs

Rudy Rochman
Students Supporting Israel (SSI)

Jonathan Turner
UK Lawyers for Israel

Josh Holt
Union of Jewish Students (UJS – UK)

Rabbi Rick Jacobs
Union for Reform Judaism (URJ)

Luke Akehurst
We Believe in Israel

Dorrit Raiter
WIZO Denmark

Carol S. Simon
Women’s League for Conservative Judaism

Rabbi Marla J. Feldman
Women of Reform Judaism

Betty Ehrenberg
World Jewish Congress, North America

Yosef Tarshish
World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS)

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
The World Values Network

Laurence A. Bolotin
Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity

Paul Charney
Zionist Federation of the United Kingdom and Ireland

Morton A. Klein
Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | 2 Comments

Glencore’s secret loan for Israeli billionaire to secure Congo mining rights revealed

RT | November 6, 2017

The world’s biggest mining firm Glencore secretly loaned tens of millions of dollars to an Israeli billionaire after enlisting him to secure a controversial mining agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), it has been revealed. The details were leaked as part of the Paradise Papers.

A trove of more than 13 million documents from the world’s leading offshore law firms, including Appleby, was released through the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on Sunday. The documents lay bare the secretive multi-jurisdictional dealings of Glencore, a scandal-plagued, Anglo-Swiss multinational with mining interests across the globe.

As a friend of the Congolese President Joseph Kabila, Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler’s role has been questioned by anti-corruption campaigners since Glencore floated in London in 2011. His notoriety in the resource-rich but conflict-riven and corrupt DRC spans nearly two decades.

Gertler was cited by a 2001 UN investigation, which said that he had given Kabila $20 million to buy weapons to equip his army against rebel groups in exchange for a monopoly on the country’s diamonds. A 2013 Africa Progress Panel report said a string of mining deals struck by companies linked to him had deprived the country of more than $1.3 billion in potential revenue. Last year, he was implicated in a scheme to bribe Congolese officials on behalf of US hedge fund manager Och-Ziff Capital Management, according to Bloomberg.

According to the Guardian, the Paradise Papers confirm that several times during 2008 and 2009, Gertler was called in to negotiate with DRC authorities over the struggling Katanga copper mine in the southeast of the country, which was hampered by stalled talks to secure a joint-venture agreement with DRC’s state-run miner Gecamines.

In 2009, Glencore, through a loan offer, took effective control of Katanga, but also kept Gertler’s interest in the firm by secretly loaning his company Lora Enterprises $45 million in pledged shares for him to take part in the loan. The loan was granted with the caveat that it would be repayable in the event that an agreement was not made with DRC authorities to secure a contract for a company linked to the firm.

While the details of the loan have been previously reported, the new documents show that Gertler was required to secure certain approvals from the government in return, according to the Guardian.

Daniel Balint-Kurti of the Global Witness campaign group told The Times : “Glencore must explain to the world why it used a secret offshore company to pump millions of dollars to a controversial friend of the Congolese president linked to bribery scandals.”

In a written statement, lawyers for Gertler told the Guardian that neither he nor any company or person related to him received any loan funds directly, and any allegation that the $45 million loan was improper “demonstrates misapprehension of international finance transactions.”

“Mr Dan Gertler is a respectable businessman who contributes the vast majority of his wealth and time to the needy and to different communities, amounting to huge sums of money. He transacts business fairly and honestly, and strictly according to the law,” the statement said.

Gertler’s lawyers said there was no basis for the allegation that Katanga received “preferential terms” in its agreement with the DRC as a result of his involvement.

Glencore has dismissed any allegations of impropriety concerning the loan. The loan was made on commercial terms and “negotiated at arm’s length,” it told Bloomberg.

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | 1 Comment

Eva Bartlett Exposes the Lies on Syria

Corbett Report Extras | November 6, 2017

Today we’re joined by Eva Bartlett of InGaza.wordpress.com to discuss her reporting from Syria. We talk about the lies, propaganda and outright fabrications that have attempted to paint the terrorist insurgency as a “civil war” led by “moderate rebels,” including the use of children like Omran Daqneesh and Bana Alabed as unwitting icons for the fake narrative. We also discuss recommended sources for real information about what’s happening in Syria.

SHOW NOTES AND MP3: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=24821

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

From the Battle of Beersheba to the War on Syria: Australia Is Complicit in Israel’s Crimes

By David Macilwain | American Herald Tribune | November 6, 2017

On a sunny Saturday morning in late December 2008, new police recruits were gathered outside the town hall in Gaza city for their graduation ceremony. Tensions were high in the strip because of persistent threats from the IDF that they would strike hard against Hamas militants if any more rockets were fired into Israeli territory, but it was a Jewish holiday and the recruits were relaxed.

Ten minutes later those 40 recruits lay dead, along with 180 others in 24 police stations and in Hamas offices across Gaza, mown down by a barrage of fire from Israeli jets and armed drones. So began the 22 day massacre named “Operation Cast Lead”, during which the IDF slaughtered at least 1400 civilians and laid waste to 40,000 homes as well as Gaza’s water and sewage treatment works and power station.

The inhuman generals and soldiers of the IDF used every tool in their armoury to inflict pain, not on the militants and their home-made rockets – who remained unbowed – but on all the ordinary and defenceless citizens of Gaza – old men and young girls, infants and mothers; whole families even were butchered in this sadistic and unrestrained barbarity.

While one tool in Israel’s armoury – nuclear weapons – didn’t feature in Operation Cast Lead, it was the only exclusion. Gaza was shelled from the sea, and by tanks from behind. Missiles were fired from Predator Drones, and from fighter jets, some with mere explosives and others with “Flechette” shells, DIME shells and White Phosphorus. And when a ground invasion was launched following the initial “softening up”, Israeli snipers and tanks committed more unspeakable crimes, using children as human shields.

Gaza was also hit with 5 tonne bunker busters, putting on a great show for the Israelis who had gathered on a nearby hill at the invitation of the IDF and the Defence Minister Ehud Barak. They were so proud of their skin-eating incendiaries that Barak even used video of the spectacular White Phosphorus showers in his campaign for election. It didn’t work, as Netanyahu was elected, but Israelis never got to see the horrific pictures of children with burns through to the bone caused by the illegal use of this chemical weapon.

Meanwhile in the Western world, which was already well on the way to its current state of “collective unconsciousness” of the state of Palestine thanks to the power of the Israel lobby on Western media, there was no outcry against Israel’s brutality, or calls for it to stop its attack. Israel had carefully framed the narrative months before, breaking a six-month long ceasefire by launching a provocative airstrike on November 4th. Hamas had kept to the ceasefire and controlled the militants responsible for rocket fire, which was the last thing that Israel wanted; a new rocket “attack” on Israel soon followed its provocation as expected, and Israel was “forced to respond in self-defence”.

As the birthplace of Rupert Murdoch and his paper “The Australian”, the view of Australians on Israel’s latest atrocity against its indigenous inhabitants was as ill-informed as in other Western countries. Supporters of Palestine and human rights were pilloried as supporters of “terrorism”, and both parties in Parliament supported “Israel’s right to self-defence”. This was despite near zero casualties of Israelis, who were never seriously threatened by Hamas’ rockets, and the assault went on until just before the inauguration of President Obama when Israel announced a “unilateral ceasefire”.

While there was a group of MPs in the Australian Labor party who supported the Palestinian cause, they also mostly supported groups like Amnesty and Human Rights Watch, as well as the UN. These groups were consistent in calling for “both sides” to refrain from violence, as well as supporting the “Peace Process” and the “two-state solution”; all positions that failed to identify Israel as the aggressor and to hold it responsible for the death and destruction inflicted by its “most moral army in the world”.

There was however a significant amount of protest from other parts of the world, and calls for an investigation at the UN led to an inquiry visiting Gaza and later issuing the “Goldstone Report”, which accused “both sides” of war crimes. The Australian Labor government of Kevin Rudd rejected its findings as biased against Israel, when any fair-minded person could see that Israel had not only committed multiple war crimes but that it had launched the attack on Gaza’s captive population for its own entirely illegitimate reasons – not in “self-defence”.

The defining point in the Australia-Israel relationship however occurred in June 2009, when Deputy PM Julia Gillard visited Israel, as reported in the Melbourne Age:

In front of an elite audience of Israeli politicians, academics and cultural figures at a dinner at the landmark King David Hotel, senior Israeli minister Isaac Herzog paid a warm tribute to Ms. Gillard for her support for Israel during the Gaza conflict in January.

“You stood almost alone on the world stage in support of Israel’s right to defend itself,” enthused Mr. Herzog, an act of courage he said would never be forgotten by the people of Israel.

Ms. Gillard was Acting Prime Minister when Israel launched a three-week offensive against Hamas that resulted in the deaths of more than 1300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

At the time, Ms. Gillard condemned Hamas for shelling southern Israel, but pointedly refused to criticise Israel’s response, although she did urge it to be “very mindful” of civilian casualties.

Lest we forget!

Because the Australia-Israel relationship blossomed last week in a way that should offend the senses of all decent Australians and Israelis, as well as alarm the citizens of Syria and Lebanon who find themselves in Israel’s firing line. Marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba, in which allied forces including hundreds of Australian horsemen overran Turkish defences in the town, marking the beginning of the end of Ottoman control in the Levant, Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull interpreted it like this, for the benefit of his Israeli friends; (no Palestinian representatives were invited to the celebration and re-enactment, despite “Arabs” being partners in the Allied campaign.) – and referencing the Balfour agreement that followed:

“Had the Ottoman rule in Palestine and Syria not been overthrown, the declaration would have been empty words. But this was a step for the creation of Israel.

“While those young men may not have foreseen — no doubt did not foresee — the extraordinary success of the state of Israel, its foundations, its resilience, its determination, their spirit was the same.

“And, like the state of Israel has done ever since, they defied history, they made history, and with their courage they fulfilled history. Lest we forget.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the Anzac soldiers for their bravery, saying the liberation of Beersheba, “allowed the Jewish people to re-enter the stage of history”.

Mr Netanyahu used his address at the solemn ceremony to warn against attacks on Israel, saying, “We attack those who seek to attack us.”

Nice sentiment!

While Turnbull and Netanyahu have evidently forgotten that Israel wasn’t created for another thirty years, or would rather that we “remembered” it as something our brave forbears fought for, neither the Palestinians who were subsequently evicted from their lives in Beersheba and into the Gaza “refugee camp”, nor the Arab cameleers who took part in the assault have forgotten the betrayal. This came with unseemly haste, as the Balfour declaration was issued a mere three days later.

In the days before the Beersheba ceremony, the Australian contingent led by Turnbull, but including the current Labor leader Bill Shorten, had worked hard to forge new partnerships and business links with Israel in the things that Israel does well – surveillance, counter terrorism and defence, and IT industries. Australia already has significant links with Israel in these and other areas, which has made it the focus of some BDS activity at home. But even as conditions in Gaza and the West Bank have continued to worsen and illegal settlements grown into effectively an annexation of Palestinian land, the BDS movement has been stifled.

All of this does not augur well. Australia and Israel are already “collaborating” in Syria, as far as they are both indirectly and directly supporting terrorist groups fighting the Syrian Army and its Hezbollah allies. As recent Israeli actions on the Lebanese-Syrian border and in the occupied Golan Heights demonstrate a bull-headed approach to a conflict that Israel should now be withdrawing from, these moves towards strengthening the alliance with Australia – which already has close links with the UAE and other Persian Gulf states – look all too much like forward planning for a long-feared new war on South Lebanon.

And who could forget the last one, where Hezbollah successfully prevailed against the IDF in 2006? The children of South Lebanon, who lost arms and legs to “dud” cluster bomblets for years afterwards have not forgotten. And those who learnt of his crime at the time have not forgotten the “retribution” commanded by Moshe Kaplinsky, where Israeli aircraft dropped an estimated 3.7 million cluster bombs in the last three days of the assault, and after ceasefire terms had been agreed.

While there were decent men in the IDF who at least recognised this monstrous war crime they had been ordered to commit, it had no ill effect on General Kaplinsky’s “executive” career. Rather the opposite in fact, as an examination of the records of Israel’s leaders would show. It’s not something we should forget.

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Win for Hezbollah as Saudi-backed Lebanese premier resigns

By Sami Moubayed | Asia Times | November 6, 2017

The writing has been on the wall in Lebanon since early summer. Many expected the marriage of convenience between Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and President Michel Aoun to snap — but not as abruptly as it did on Saturday.

Hariri announced his resignation in a televised address delivered from Riyadh. Aoun was neither consulted nor informed beforehand, which sent shockwaves throughout Lebanon. It may well be that Hariri was asked to resign by Saudi Arabia, a country that has long backed him and indeed bankrolled both his own career and that of his father and predecessor, Rafik al-Hariri.

During his previous tenure as premier, he was forced out of office during a meeting at the Oval Office with President Barak Obama. Back then, Hariri’s cabinet collapsed when ministers from Hezbollah and Amal walked out on him, embarrassing him at the White House. His latest resignation may have had an element of revenge.

Weeks after Saudi Arabian State Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer Al Sabhan called for the toppling of Hezbollah, promising “astonishing developments” in the upcoming days, the Lebanese politician blamed his resignation on Hezbollah and Iran.

Hariri was never very fond of Hezbollah, accusing its top command of being behind his father’s 2005 murder. He briefly set aside political differences with its secretary-general, Hasan Nasrallah, back in 2009, creating a cabinet that promised to “protect” Hezbollah’s arms. More recently, in November 2016, he reached another understanding with the group, agreeing to accept their ally – Aoun – as president on the condition that Auon return him to the premiership. This power-sharing formula was regarded as a tentative truce between Iran and Saudi Arabia, but its foundations were shaky, too good to last.

Hariri remained highly critical of Hezbollah’s military involvement in the Syrian conflict, claiming that it had attracted ISIS and other jihadi groups into Lebanese territory. Putting his full weight behind the Syrian Opposition, he repeatedly called on Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to pull his troops out of Syria and famously said he would only visit Syria once the regime of Bashar al-Assad was toppled.

In August, two of his cabinet ministers – members of Hezbollah and its parliamentary ally, the Amal Movement – visited Syria against his will, taking part in a high-level economic function. The two infuriated the prime minister by firing off statements from Damascus in their official capacities. Then, in September, Hariri’s foreign minister, Gebran Bassil, also defied him as he met with his Syrian counterpart, Walid al-Mouallem, at the United Nations. Some weeks later, Hezbollah launched a full-fledged offensive against ISIS pockets near the Lebanese border, without approval from the Lebanese Government.

Another wedge issue has been Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Hezbollah has been pressing hard for their return, claiming that their native cities and towns are now safe. Hariri insists their lives are still in danger back home and wants them to stay. Hezbollah media outlets have accused him of wanting to keep them in Lebanon because they are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslims opposed to the Damascus government, which helps to balance Lebanon’s sectarian dynamics.

In his resignation speech, Hariri lashed out against Hezbollah, saying its arms were targeting the “chests of Lebanese and Syrians.” He repeated a long-held demand that all arms should be in the hands of the Lebanese State, and not with non-state players, be they Shiite or Sunni.

He also lashed out at the Iranians who back Hezbollah, saying: “The evil that Iran spreads in the region will backfire on it.” Hezbollah’s actions, he added, have put Lebanon “in the eye of the storm,” thanks to rising numbers of Islamic fundamentalists in certain pockets since 2014.

Hariri hinted that he feared for his life, saying that Lebanon was living in a climate “similar to the atmosphere that prevailed” at the time of his father’s assassination. “I have sensed what is being plotted covertly to target my life.” He then boomed: “Iran’s arms in the region will be cut off.”

President Aoun has yet to comment on Hariri’s resignation, saying that he will discuss the matter with his Prime Minister once he returns from Saudi Arabia. Many suspect, however, that Hariri will not be returning to Beirut anytime soon.

Constitutionally, Aoun is able to refuse the resignation but this is unlikely, as both he and Hezbollah will be glad to see the end of Hariri. They will likely call on a friendly independent Sunni to assume the premiership, since by convention neither a Shiite nor a Christian can assume the job. Hariri’s departure now gives them a free hand to tailor Lebanese politics to their liking ahead of parliamentary elections set for next May 2018.

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Twitter no longer believes in “speaking truth to power” – updated rules

RT | November 6, 2017

Twitter no longer believes in “speaking truth to power,” according to its latest rules update in the midst of US lawmakers’ frantic hunt for “Russian meddling” in social media.

The microblogging site’s rules, under the section “Abusive Behavior,” currently state: “We believe in freedom of expression and open dialogue, but that means little as an underlying philosophy if voices are silenced because people are afraid to speak up.” On November 2, it read “We believe in freedom of expression and in speaking truth to power.”

Incidentally, on November 1, Twitter, along with Google and Facebook, was grilled by US lawmakers in an ongoing witch-hunt for “Russian influence” that may have led to interference in the 2016 presidential election.

In its testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this week, Twitter revealed it has used a vast array of tenuous criteria to define accounts as “Russia-linked,” and also admitted it had censored the hashtags #PodestaEmails and #DNCLeaks tweets during the 2016 US presidential election campaign in an effort to limit public exposure to leaked documents describing the Democratic National Committee’s efforts to boost Clinton as the Democratic Party’s preferred candidate during the primaries.

Twitter Associate General Counsel Sean Edgett claimed many of those tweets were “automated” and hidden by anti-spam systems. He also admitted that less than 4 percent of them came from potential “Russian-linked” accounts.

Last week, Twitter also announced it was banning all ads from RT and Sputnik, citing the same allegations of meddling in the 2016 US election. That, despite the company previously trying to engage RT in a special US election advertising package, which RT declined.

The changes to Twitter’s rules were apparently made as part of a November 3 attempt to “clarify” them.

In a statement, the company said that it wanted to make it clear that “context is crucial when evaluating abusive behavior and determining appropriate enforcement actions.”

A separate update will be issued on November 14 with more details on how the company reviews and enforces policies, according to Twitter.

RT has reached out to Twitter for comment on the change to the wording of its policy.

Read more:

Censoring #PodestaEmails, defining Russians, DNC advisers: Twitter & Google’s 2016 election tricks

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment