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Israeli Minister Urges US Governors to Punish Airbnb for Settlement Delistings

Sputnik – November 28, 2018

Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who heads the government’s response to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, wrote a letter to five US governors asking them to take action against the home-renting service Airbnb after the company removed listings on its platform for properties in the illegally occupied West Bank.

Israeli listings in East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, which are also illegally occupied, were left in place.

Erdan responded almost immediately to Airbnb’s decision by condemning it as “racist.”

“US law permits companies like Airbnb to engage in business in these territories,” the company said in a statement at the time. “At the same time, many in the global community have stated that companies should not do business here because they believe companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced.”

“It is thanks to the hard work of activists in this coalition and around the world that Airbnb will no longer be profiting from Israeli apartheid in the West Bank,” Ariel Gold, national co-director of the anti-war group Codepink and pro-BDS activist, told Sputnik News following Airbnb’s announcement. “Israeli settlements are not only illegal under international law, but they contribute directly to the daily human rights abuses Palestinians face.”

Airbnb’s move came just one day before Human Rights Watch was scheduled to release a report on home rentals facilitated by Airbnb and Booking.com in the West Bank, which the UN considers to be illegally occupied by Israel.

Erdan called on former hosts on the platform to band together and sue Airbnb following the announcement of the company’s decision. He also promised to complain to senior officials in the US and ask them to check whether Airbnb’s move violates laws against boycotting Israel that “exist in over 25 states,” Sputnik News reported.

In Erdan’s letter to the governors of Illinois, New York, Florida, Missouri and California, he said Airbnb had adopted “the anti-Semitic practices and narrative of the boycott movement.” Of the five states the governors represent, four have laws against the BDS movement, the exception being Missouri. Airbnb is headquartered in California.

According to the Israeli TV news outlet Kan, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner requested the state’s investment board to consider divesting from Airbnb, while Florida’s incoming Governor Ron DeSantis vowed to take similar action.

Erdan’s letter forebears a government-wide Israeli response to the de-listings from an inter-ministerial committee comprising officials from Erdan’s Strategic Affairs Ministry as well as the ministries for foreign affairs, tourism, justice, finance and economy.

While Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin called last week for a “special and high tax” on Airbnb, such an action could wind up hurting the owners of the 22,000 Israeli homes that are allowed to continue renting on the platform, something officials would prefer to avoid.

Meanwhile, lawyers in Israel have already heeded Erdan’s call, filing a class action lawsuit against the company last Thursday on behalf of illegal West Bank settlers.

November 28, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel and the Jihadi Connection

Israel’s complex game with Jihadi terror groups pays off as more and more African states look to Israel for protection

By Richard Galustian | The Duran | November 28, 2018

Earlier this year, with little publicity, the official position of Israel on terrorism was explained by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon:

“I would like to see ISIS rule all of Syria (by inference, the whole region – RG); ISIS and its offshoots do not pose a threat to the Israeli State. Iran remains the main enemy!”

Ya’alon was being disingenuous, but the thinking behind his words is actually clear enough from the words themselves. Put simply, Israel’s relentless emphasis on the supposed threat from Iran is simply a diversionary tactic intended to conceal the continuing realisation of the ‘Greater Israel’ Project.

Ya’alon added:

“Iran is a rogue regime with designs on a regional hegemony. Hezbollah is Iran’s proxy, with the ability to declare war. Iran currently has terror infrastructure in place in five continents: Asia, Africa, Europe and both in South and North America.”

Ya’alon’s last comment refers to Iran as a rogue regime. However experienced Middle East observers will no doubt hesitate after reading the totality of his comments, and will wonder whether in light of them it is actually Israel and the US which should be considered the rogue regimes rather than Iran or indeed anyone else,  other than obviously Israel’s and the US’s staunch ally,  the odious Saudi regime.

Many similar comments of this nature  have been made by senior Israeli officials, but one in particular stands out. This is a speech made at the Herzliya Conference by Israel’s military intelligence chief, Major General Herzi Halevy.  He took Israel’s long-standing position that it “prefers ISIS” over the Syrian government to a whole new level, declaring openly that Israel does not want to see ISIS defeated in any war. As quoted in the Hebrew language NRG site, owned by the Maariv Newspaper conglomerate, Major Gen. Halevy actually expressed worry about the recent offensives against ISIS, expressing concern that military offensives in the last three months had placed ISIS in the “most difficult” situation it has known since its inception or at least since its declaration of a caliphate.

Needless to say most people are not aware that Major Gen. Halevy has in effect become a  spokesperson for ISIS.

So what is going on? 

The short answer is that the real ‘game’ in the region is being played out by and on behalf of Israeli interests. An indirect but nonetheless highly revealing clue has just been provided by the recently developing relationship between Israel and Chad. Chad, located south of Libya in the Sahara, faces a mountain of difficulties which Israel can help it deal with. These range from extreme water scarcity to Chad finding itself on the front line in Africa’s fight against Islamist terrorism, be it in the form ISIS, al-Qaeda or Boko Haram. This supplies the reason for Chadian President Idriss Déby recent visit to Israel, which has taken place 46 years after Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi pressured Chad into breaking off diplomatic relations with Israel in 1972, a step which Chad took even before the big wave of African countries severing diplomatic ties with Israel took place, which happened after the 1973 Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur War.

Chad broke off diplomatic relations with Israel in 1972 because it believed that it would gain more by forging close ties with Gaddafi’s Libya than by retaining ties with Israel. Obviously since the fall of Gaddafi that calculation has changed.

However another – obviously unacknowledged – reason is almost certainly Chad’s worry that it might find itself facing the same sort of Islamist terrorism in Chad that Syria has recently experienced. After all if Israeli officials can publicly admit to Israel’s de facto support for Islamist terrorism in Syria why should it be any different in Chad?

So the bottom line is that Chad – and no doubt plenty of other countries in the region – find themselves needing Israel’s help to protect themselves from the Frankenstein’s monster of worldwide Islamist terrorism which Israeli and US policies have conjured up. It amounts to the classic protection racket, with countries like Chad looking to Israel to ‘protect’ them from the very Islamist threat Israeli and US policies are themselves creating.

Given that this is so, and given the extent to which the spread of Islamist terrorist groups across the Middle East and North Africa actually serves Israeli and US interests, there is simply no point looking to Israel and the US for a ‘solution’ to the problem caused by them. Certainly no such solution is going to be found in Palermo, site of the latest Libya peace talks. No such solution is going to be found whilst the ‘protection racket’ serves Israel’s regional interests so well. Indeed Déby’s visit to Jerusalem, as does the rush of other African countries restoring relations with Israel, shows the spectacular success of the ’protection racket’.

In view of this it should come as no surprise that all attempts to change it are furiously resisted. Thus in the US “The Stop Arming Terrorists Act” proposed in early 2017 by Representative Tulsi Gabbard and Senator Rand Paul, which sought to prohibit use of US government funds from providing assistance to terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, ISIS, and the rest, and to those countries which support these organizations, predictably ran into a wall of opposition. As of November 2017 only 14 out of 435 members of the US House of Representatives were prepared to co-sponsor the bill with Gabbard,  whilst in the Senate Rand Paul could find no co-sponsors at all. 

Given the extremely close ties between the US and Israel, there is in fact no possibility of the bill – at least in the form proposed by Gabbard and Rand Paul – being passed.

Given the strong feelings many in the US have about Islamist terrorism – with memories of 9/11 still fresh – one might suppose that this would be an enormous scandal. However – predictably enough – neither the US media nor the global media seem at all interested in it.

November 28, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Zionism, Judaism and the Jewish State of Israel

Zionism, Judaism and the Jewish State of Israel: Separateness, ontological uniqueness and Jewish morality are its characteristics

By Lynda Burstein Brayer | The Saker Blog | November 23, 2018

Western thinking and intellectual endeavor is very much epitomized by formality, rationality and clear boundaries or limits. These qualities no doubt derive from the Aristotelian philosophical and analytical basis of Western Christendom, in which the Excluded Middle of Aristotelian logic reigns supreme when it comes to the formulation of a thesis or argument. Aristotelian logic posits an absolute binary division between opposites. Its basic formula is an either/or contrast. Truth and falsehood are opposites: there is no half-truth or half-falsehood. This binary division permeates all other fields of quantifiable intellectual endeavor and finds expression in such opposites as good/evil, right/wrong, friend/enemy, legal/illegal, etc. There are obvious benefits to such clarity of thought, and no doubt it is this methodology which has contributed to the scientific achievements of the West. While such sharp divisions cannot always be imposed upon contingent reality because it is situational and circumstantial, rather than absolute, when this principle is violated in the law, the outcome is not only, or merely egregious, it defies ordinary human understanding and contributes to an inaccurate, if not corrupt, view of reality.

The Jewish oxymoron as an instrument of overcoming the limits set by Aristotelian logic

One of the binary opposites of Aristotelian classification in modern times is the democracy/dictatorship opposition. Democracy is recognized and understood to be of whole cloth, such that there is no such animal as a “somewhat” democratic state, or a “nearly” democratic state. A political system is not democratic if all the citizens of the country cannot participate on an equal basis. Either a political system is, or is not, democratic. Jewish genius however, has overcome this opposition with a number of oxymoronic legal definitions. The Jewish state of Israel characterizes itself as a “Jewish and democratic” state, although the latest law of the Knesset wishes to raise “Jewishness” above “democracy”. However, it must be blindingly obvious to anyone not in thrall to the ruling narratives, that when a minority of a population is regarded as hostile, is unwelcome and therefore is never part of a governing coalition, democracy must be a casualty, especially when that minority has been singled out for discriminatory and dispossessory treatment, despite the legal somersaulting of the greatest of Jewish legal minds.

The designation of Israel as an apartheid state characterized by apartheid- style laws has been accepted by leading jurists and many international organizations. As a former South African I not only know the meaning of the term in its original language of Afrikaans– separateness- but saw its effects upon the non-White population. In political practice, separate means unequal. It was only many years after my coming to Israel on aliya as a young Jewish woman and subsequent to obtaining a law degree from the Hebrew University and engaging in legal work for Palestinians, that the resemblance of Israeli legal system to South African apartheid really struck me. In fact I was quoted on the front page of the Ha’aretz intellectual daily newspaper as making this comparison. The first person to invoke the comparison was Dr. Uri Davis, an Israeli sociologist, who wrote a book called Israel: An Apartheid State.

I would like to elaborate on those elements which contribute to making Israel not only an apartheid State, apartheid being confined to the law, but rather the wider sociological cultural phenomena of discrimination in which the legal system is placed. The matrix of the society is based on force, violence, and inhumanity which derive from “values” of the Jewish religion.

The basic values of the Jewish religion as the basis of Israeli culture and politics

It can be stated without any fear of contradiction, that the Jewish state of Israel is built upon the principle of separation, which is why the apartheid comparison holds. But it must be understood how and why this is the case as well as the limits of the comparison. It is not an accident, nor a choice based merely upon economic, political or cultural considerations. Rather the principle of separation is at the heart of the Jewish religion itself and Zionism is the political expression of the Jewish religion. Normative Judaism in Israel is Rabbinical Judaism or Talmudic Judaism, which, historically, has been normative for nearly two thousand years. This is the Judaism developed by the Rabbis following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, or who were then known as the Pharisees. This Judaism is not a biblical religion: rather it is a religion based upon the interpretation of the Torah – the relevant parts of the first five books of the Bible from Genesis to Deuteronomy – by a succession of Torah interpreters known as rabbis. I would like to stress that the bible is not normative In Judaism, that is, it is not binding nor is it obligatory for Jews: only the Talmudic rulings are binding. It is for this reason that the politically-concocted “Judeo-Christian” heritage does not hold. Christianity sees the Bible, both Old and New Testaments its standard-setting texts. Not so for Judaism. Judaism and Christianity do not share a parent/child relationship nor an older sibling/younger sibling relationship, as per the politically correct Roman Catholic Church.

The first codification of these interpretations was made in 200 CE and consisted of the six-part Mishnah. To this was subsequently added further interpretations; the Gomorrah and later, the Responsa literature – all products of Jewish community-acknowledged rabbinical experts of the law. This Judaism held a monopoly which began to be challenged only in the mid-nineteenth century in Germany as a result of the influence of what is called the Enlightenment, the source of the secularism of the West and the secularism of a majority of Western Jews, most of whom, nonetheless, have not broken with Judaism’s basic rituals of circumcision, the bar-mitzvah, Jewish divorce and burial.

The late Professor of Biblical studies at the Hebrew University, Shemaryahu Talmon, explained in a lecture to Catholic Christian Zionists, that the basic value of Judaism is the principle of separation. He illustrated his point with the binary opposites of sacred and profane, holy and unholy, Shabbat and non-Shabbat or weekdays, and, of course, kashrut, the laws governing pure and impure food and clothing. All of these pairs are exemplars of the underlying opposition of purity and impurity with purity being the ideal state.

At that meeting He did not however explicate in detail the source and full effects no doubt in deference to his audience. He left out the most significant binary opposition of Rabbinical Judaism: the Jew/Gentile or Jewish/goy opposition, the consequences of which have always been, and remain, central to Jewish life. Talmon did not explain that the principle of separation derives from kadosh – which is translated as holy, but its literal meaning is “set aside” or “separate from”. The separation that both exists and is demanded for Jews is the separation from the “impure”. God is kadosh and His people must be kadosh too. This is the significance of “chosenness” – chosen by God to have the existential quality of purity. The Jew is pure because he possesses a soul – – nefesh in Hebrew. The purpose of all Jewish ritual is to sustain the state of purity of the Jew. Jews are commanded to do all in their power to avoid being contaminated by what is considered impure. In contrast to Jews, goys or goyim, the latter having the same dictionary meaning as gentium, people, fall into the category of the impure because they are not born with souls and are therefore, existentially separated from God without any possibility of “closing the gap”. Hence in the Jewish lexicon the term goy has a pejorative meaning while gentium does not. This is the fundamental reason that the Jew is not required to the treat the goy as an equal because, according to Judaism, he is not equal. In fact, the goy is considered as chattel because chattel do not have souls. The goy is therefore not fully human. In this essay I shall only use the term goy for this reason.

This existential distinction between the Jew and the goy is reflected in the absence of a Jewish universal moral code, an absence which is not found within either Christianity or Islam. Judaism’s moral code is characterized by its particularity: it only binds Jews vis-à-vis Jews, not Jews vis-à-vis goys. The most outstanding exemplar of this system is that a Jew is not bound to save the life of a goy if saving the life requires the use of electricity or travelling in a motor vehicle, such as an ambulance, because such activities are forbidden on the Sabbath as they are considered forms or work, and a Jew may not work on the Sabbath. a Jew may do so for another Jew according to the law known as pikuah nefesh which translates as saving a soul. A Jew not only may break the Sabbath to save a Jewish soul, he is obligated to do so. Pikuah may be translated as to take care of and to oversee, and nefesh means soul: because goys do not have souls, pikuah nefesh cannot be applied. In addition, another exceptional phenomena of the Jewish moral code is that it does also not make truth binding upon the Jew with respect to the goy. There are only two instances where it is recommended that a Jew ought to tell the truth to a goy: when there is a danger to his life, or if it is in the interests of the Jew or the Jewish community.

The question may now be asked as to why this information has been placed as a prolegomena to a description and analysis of the laws and practices of the Jewish state. The reason is quite straightforward: everything that I have described does not fall within the written laws passed by the legislative body of Israel, the Knesset, but serves, rather, as the matrix in which the laws are embedded and out of which the laws spring.

The Israeli legal system

It is this background that serves to explain why Aristotelian logic does not have an exclusive hold on the Israeli legal system and why a formal legal analysis cannot, by definition, grasp the entire experiential reality of the separateness/apartheid of the Jewish state. Once the lives of goys have no more value than chattel, the Jewish Israeli legal system cannot provide value to that which has no value to Jews. The minute a Jewish/goy conflict is encountered, that which is regarded as universal morality does not apply. A personal experience of this nature found expression during a hearing on a petition I submitted to the Supreme Court sitting as the High Court of Justice (Court of Equity concerning Administrative law and practice) requesting the voiding of a sale of Palestinian land by the majority of its owners (the land was not parcellated and therefore owned jointly by all the owners). A Justice in the hearing asked me what was wrong with an affidavit containing a blatant lie concerning the “sale” of Palestinian land to a Jew in militarily occupied territory, which is forbidden in international law. My response was that the perjury occurred to make the sale “kosher” at least in Jewish eyes. So the Justice asked what would happen if we just removed the affidavit to which I answered that the “sale” could not go through. The “sale” was not voided by the Court.

The State of Israel does not recognize the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of Civilians and hors de combat as legally binding upon it, although it is recognized as conventional international law, and not just treaty law, and hence binding upon all states. It is not that the Jewish state denies its conventional status but rather because the preamble refers to “High Contracting Parties” and the Palestinians are not, or at least were not, a High Contracting Party. This is a perfect instance of Talmudic logic – catch on to an irrelevant point and avoid the substance and rationale of the Convention. Therefore the Jewish state denies Palestinians, who are both civilians and hors de combat legal protection whilst living under a brutal military occupation whilst the Jewish appellation of the nature of the military occupation is “a benign military occupation” – one of the many oxymorons of Jewish thinking. Therefore the High Court cannot evoke this Fourth Geneva Convention to protect Palestinians in the militarily occupied territories from the Israeli army and refers instead to “humanitarian” considerations with respect to Palestinians, but never ever spells them out. But how could “humanitarian” considerations apply to Palestinians? After all they are goys, and goys have no souls and are therefore like chattel. They don’t deserve humanitarian considerations. This term therefore, in this context, is no more than flatus vocis – empty air, having no corresponding reality.

It is more than interesting to note, in contrast, that while South African apartheid was motivated by cultural concerns, not to say economic and political ones, it was not based upon an understanding that blacks and whites constitute different species of mankind. In fact, the South African government had to legislate criminal laws to prevent “miscegenation” i.e. the marriage or sexual relationships between people of different races, yet despite the attempts at prohibition, the fact is that as a result of “miscegenation”, a whole new category of “race” or “color” grew up in South Africa numbering in the hundreds of thousands if not millions. The children of such unions were called “Coloreds”.

In contrast to that situation, the marriage ratio of Jew and Arab in Israel is infinitesimal and there are no laws against it. Instead, Israel has preserved the millet system from the Ottomans, millet meaning religious community, according to which people can only marry legally within their own religious group. Naturally this was not considered discriminatory at the time, because secularism had not yet set in. “Mixed marriages” involving Israeli Jews and goys have to take place abroad or abroad by proxy. But any Jewish woman wanting to divorce a non-Jewish man and remarry a Jew, has to have a Jewish divorce. There are special types of divorces for these cases, when they are applicable. Otherwise if she remarries a Jew without obtaining a Jewish divorce, called a get, her children and their descendents will be Jewish bastards and forbidden to marry within the normal Jewish community for ten generations! The Rabbinate keeps a list of the names of bastards.

Amongst the most egregious discriminatory laws are those legislated soon after the establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine. There is a full list of them with comments compiled on the Israeli Arab legal site Adalah and may be accessed by anyone interested. I shall not deal with all of them naturally, but will touch on the most outstanding of them.

One of the first and most crucial of such laws for the Jewish state is the Law of Return 1950. This is another oxymoronic manifestation of Jewish genius. This law says that Jews, who were not born in the Jewish state, may return to it because it is their “land of birth”. The term in Hebrew is moledet the root of which means “to be born”. What the law does is ignore the fact of birth outside of Israel of a Jew, that is, the de facto status of a foreign-born Jew, while assigning to him a de iure legal right of birth in the Jewish state. The legal right overcomes the fact. This translates into a situation that a Jew not born in the Jewish state may return to his land of birth of Israel where he was not born.

An Arab Palestinian refugee, born in Palestine has no right of return to the country of his birth according to the Citizenship Law. One of the mechanisms for the application of this law is the ius sanguinis – the law of blood. That is to say, that if you are born to a Jew you have acquired birthrights in Palestine whether you were born there or not. This is what accounts for the free entrance of Diaspora Jews into Israel.

The Arabs acquire citizenship in Israel according to the ius soli, that is to say, because they were born in this territory – on the soil, so to speak. But these are not inheritable rights. In other words, if a Palestinian Israeli family with Israeli citizenship moves abroad for a few years, any child born abroad has no automatic right of return to Israel, particularly as an adult. This is the law that forbids the return of the 1948 refugees and their descendants. But it must be understood that this law is crucial in order to have a Jewish state in Palestine. You have to keep out Palestinians to keep Israel Jewish.

A second crucial law, also from 1950 is the Absentees Property Law concerned the dispossession of Arab private property within the Jewish State. The state invented a new category of persons, who, despite enjoying de iure property rights prior to the creation of the Jewish state, suddenly found themselves deprived of property rights, a status unheard of elsewhere in the world, seeing as the central significance of the scope of property rights is erga omnes – rights against anyone encroaching on these property rights. Jewish genius not only managed to by-pass this exclusionary factor but transformed the de iure right into a de facto issue with the wave of a pen contingent upon a factual situation. What the Jewish law created was a new status of a “present absentee” for the Arab property owner another somersault defying Aristotle’s Excluded Middle without any difficulty whatsoever. What is a “present absentee”? Well, first of all only an Arab can be an “absentee”, an Arab born in Palestine or in the Ottoman Empire before Palestine was extruded from Greater Syria. It never applies to a Jew born in Palestine nor to Jewish immigrant to Palestine nor to Jews who live abroad but who own property in Israel. The “absentee” of the law, through its labyrinthine twists refers to Arabs who own property in Palestine/Israel but who were absent from their homes, even if for only one day during a period beginning on the 29th November 1947 – even before the Jewish state existed. It refers to those people who fled from the war, who were in “enemy territory” in Palestine and those who were expelled from Palestine itself or were ordered to leave their homes by the Jewish forces. That is to say, even someone who was “absent” from his home since that date, continuing through the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel, but who managed to remain in the Jewish State of Israel, lost his property rights. The villages in Northern Galilee of Ikrit and Bir’in are examples of their populations being expelled by the Jewish forces and who were prevented from returning when the war was over. For the purposes of all other laws in Israel, a Palestinian Arab is “present” in the Jewish state. I estimate that Palestinians have lost more than 90 % of their privately owned land. Since then, the Town Planning Law has been eating away at the rest.

The latest laws which have caused stirs abroad concern the downgrading of the Arabic language from being an official language – in law – but never in practice. And the other law, the National Law posits that the Jewish state of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish nation leaving out all reference to the Palestinian Arab population but I am not sure how it is going to be applicable, particularly as there are other discriminatory pracises to do its business.

The Discriminatory administration of non-discriminatory Laws

What I would like to bring to the reader’s attention here is where the repugnant discrimination, humiliation and deprivation are felt on a daily basis. It must be understood that the outcomes of administrative decisions are deliberate and the destruction they wreak is foreseeable. Administrative law, that is to say, those norms governing the actual administration or laws, is based on equity. Included in equity is treating equals equally, justice, fairness, honesty, and using the law for the said purposes of the law itself. These values are included in what is called “discretionary power”. Discretion is one of the difficult or “hard” issues in laws because it is a power, yet a power which is exercised contingent upon circumstances and the judgment of the person or persons wielding that power. The greatest danger with discretionary power is that it may veer towards its opposite very quickly which is arbitrary power. It is at this juncture of the law and equity that one finds the intrusion of those norms characteristic of Judaism. Compared to the total number of laws on Israel’s law books, the actual number of discriminatory laws, or sections of laws, is not very large, although key with respect to certain subjects, such as land use, ownership, disposition and rights to family. Where the real, hard, anti-Arab forces kick in is in the discretionary or arbitrary application of laws which in themselves make no reference at all to either Jew or Arab.

The budget of the government is unashamedly discriminatory and funds are not distributed proportionately amongst Jews and Arabs. Naturally there has been an unbroken verbal against this situation, but the Arabs have no power at all to change anything. It is important to take cognizance of the fact that no Jewish government has ever gone into coalition with an Arab party in order to form a majority government. This is, or would be, considered treason, to put it mildly. Therefore they have no way of influencing governmental decisions. Although the Arabs constitute approximately one-fifth i.e. 20.9% of the population, their fraction of the national cake, so to speak, is nowhere near proportional to their numbers. See reliable figures from those compiled by the Adva non-profit organization and and from the Mossawa non-profit organization – both of them highly reliable sources. An internet search for budgetary discrimination against Arabs in Israel will yield a rich treasure.

With the discrimination in the budget as the starting point, and keeping it in mind, I would like to concentrate on other areas where this administrative apartheid is not only apparent, but which has had, and continues to have, disastrous effects upon the Arab population in Israel, not to speak of the Occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Arab Land Use

Arab land ownership has been exponentially diminished in the Jewish State. The following is an excellent article on how this was achieved but it is not my intention to further explicate this subject.

I shall only deal with the actual use of Arab-owned land because this remains the chief instrument of deprivation financially and socially as well as actual emotional suffering affecting a person’s well-being, under Israel’s apartheid. The prime weapon in this on-going war against Arab Israeli citizens is the Building and Planning Law of 1965. That it is old-fashioned and dates from the time of the British mandate in its approach, utterly undemocratic, top heavy with apparatchiks, has not prevented its usefulness to the Jewish population. Israel has set up new towns all over Israel proper as well as in the Occupied territories with modern, admirable infrastructure and public spaces. I believe that within the Jewish community women and Jewish institutions may have an input. The importance of this law lies in the fact that it is used as the main administrative tool of control over the Arab population. Town Planning is the central and main tool used for urbanization and therefore modernization, industrialization, socialization and economic development. It developed as a result of the industrial revolution, mass production and urbanization of the peasants and it plays a critical role in a country’s development. Israel has settled most nearly all of its Jewish population – most of which is of course an immigrant population in cities, towns and what are called development towns crucially located within the country according to perceived needs of Jewish society.

In contrast the Arab community has had no town planning in the modern meaning of the word and neither do Arabs have any planning rights. They are also not consulted as to the needs of the communities. The town planners are 90% Jewish with an occasional Arab brought in for appearances sake and their “planning” is devoted to the inhibition of growth Arab “towns” or overgrown villages. The Arab “towns” are actually “townships” equivalent to the South African black townships. I remember Alexandra township just north of Johannesburg way back when. A “township” lacks modern planning for modern facilities and modern land disposition: there is no proper infrastructure of any kind: sewage, drainage, electricity, road design, transportation facilities, and no proper land parcellation and zoning! Modern cadastral zoning takes into account current ownership and possibilities of parcellation, allocation of uses of land and can increase building space. As a striking example, on land taken from Arab owners in the Galilee to build a Jewish settlement as part of the “judaization of the Galilee” building rights on Jewish parcels can range well above 100% as a result of permission to build upwards, while on Arab land in the identical vicinity it was 20%. This is repeated in the entire country. Modern land use builds to height and creates separate private properties within single buildings called condominiums. In Hebrew it is called cooperative housing. Arab land has not been zoned to permit this multiplication of space within the “town” or village limits. In the township in which I live, the population of which is approximately 30,000, there are not more than five buildings taller than three storeys! No public housing has been erected in any of them, no public facilities have been developed and there are no parks, no proper sidewalks nor parking arrangements. It is all higgledy-piggledy. And this is not because the Arabs do not know how to plan or how to build. In contrast to the South African townships where the housing is often leantos, Arab private housing is built up to the most modern standards and can be exceptionally elaborate with attention to aesthetic details. But the building is at strangulation levels. The main intended effect of the lack of planning is that it is almost impossible to get a building license. So the vast majority of all homes are built without licenses: according to the law they can be destroyed by administrative decision. And many are. Many organizations have spoken up against house demolition but they have not questioned the basic cause of such demolitions. Jewish town planning is based on the principle, according to them, of “natural increase”. This principle is totally absent from the town planning for Arabs and one could say that its opposite governs town planning considerations: rather than expansion the aim is restriction and constriction.

Another outcome of this approach is that there is no distinction between industrial zones and city and residential uses of land. What this means, is that the infrastructure required for certain industries, such as the food canning industry, is absent where an Arab has managed to set up a factory. The lack of sewage facilities leads to land pollution with the intendant fines imposed by the government for “breaking the laws”.

The municipal courts are packed full of Arab “scoff law” cases about homes built without building permits. The list of cases in the Jerusalem municipal court hardly mentions Jews and when it does, it is for building a verandah without a license or something similarly negligible.

On the other hand, new Jewish towns and settlements have been planned and built on Arab land such as to not only dispossess Arab owners, but to literally trespass into actual housing. The land allocated to a Jewish settlement includes huge “border” land swathes of hundreds of meters which are not necessarily needed or used for building, but the purpose of which is to prevent Arab building. A visit to the town of Sakhnin illustrates this perfectly. The Jewish settlement is built at the top of the hill whilst its border went through the Arab home’s living room in which I sat at the bottom of the hill.

In another Arab “town plan” a line was drawn through a plot dividing it with no rhyme or reason. It imposed an almost unbearable burden on the owners of the land, because they could not use the land properly. After eight years there were murmurings of it having been a mistake, just like that, but no change was made to the plan.

In a word, every single decision concerning Arab town planning is based on an attempt to make life as difficult and as uncomfortable as possible for Arabs. It also is completely arbitrary and therefore there are no logical or coherent arguments that one can use which are persuasive within the system. Outside the system their rationale is obvious, but not within it and there are no officials to whom they may turn for salvation. And this rationale cannot be used in the courts.

Another result is that there is no building inspectorate because if there is no town plan permitting building, why do you need inspectors? However a vacuum has not been left: in place of an inspectorate used to enhance living, there is a policing of illegal buildings – not for the purposes of safety, efficiency of use, functionality or aesthetics, but rather for the purpose of imposing fines to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars per building. The state sues the person who built illegally, and as a consequence, after a show trial, the owner finds himself having to pay a fine which is about ten or twenty times the size of his monthly earnings. Naturally this is deliberate. Not only shall an Arab man not have his castle, but he shall not have the means to even live comfortably, if not at all lavishly. After one has been present in many of these hearings, they are so transparently evil that it becomes unbearable.

I would like to interject my own personal experience in the municipal court of Jerusalem, in my attempt to prevent the demolition of a home built without a license. The judge was an American Jew who had come on aliya to Israel so he and I shared at least the same language barriers, if not the same language. In defense of my client I quoted a South African court decision, S v. Govender, 1982 of the Transvaal Supreme Court, reported as 1986 (3) SA 969 (T)concerning the Urban Areas Act, which determined which areas or towns or neighborhoods were reserved for which racial groups. Govender, an Indian, had moved into a White area in Johannesburg and the State wished to expel him from that area. Justice Goldstone argued that seeing that housing was a basic need of a human being, and that there was no housing available for Govender, it would be unjust to expel him from the only housing he could find. This case marked the beginning of the collapse of the Urban Areas Act. I used this case, mutatis mutandis, in favor of my client, arguing that there was no housing available for him and that as he owned the land upon which he had built, but which had been zoned as “open landscape area” – a designation absent in all Jewish town plans – he built his house under duress, which is a mitigating circumstance of the Israeli criminal code, in order to protect his family. If the state wanted to destroy this house, it would have to provide alternative dwelling for my client.

Nobody had ever argued this before, and I understand that this was taken up to the Supreme Court behind the scenes, where my argument being dismissed on the grounds that “it was not from Israel’s legal system”. Naturally the moral and existential values included in it played no rôle in the court’s decision rejecting my argument. But there was a quite unexpected outcome to this case. I was called into the Justice’s chambers a short while thereafter and he told me he was leaving the municipal court and going to the family court. When I asked him the reason for this move he looked at me and said “How long can a man sign demolition orders for family homes?”

I wanted to cry and still do, even while writing this. Why? I believe that this Jewish principle of separation, this principle that determines that Jews are not the same species as goys, enforces a psychopathy on its adherents. The justice could not bear what he was doing, so he just ran away. He did not stop and stand up and ask what the hell was going on? Why the hell was a state destroying the housing of human beings? Yet he knew that it was wrong. He knew that it was evil.

It is for this reason that I believe that Zionism has wrought the destruction of the Jewish heart. After all, what is touched when we see the suffering of others? Our hearts. And I discovered that this heartlessness was not confined to Arabs. In a labor case, I represented a man of about 63 who was the head of a government hospital kitchen accused of stealing food. The “food” stolen was the leftovers of chicken soup the bones of which had been through three preparations, together with leftover vegetables on his and others’ plates. He took this “food” home for the thirteen cats which his mentally ill wife looked after in her madness. He was a religious Jew and would not consider putting her in a mental home. The reason for the accusation was that someone wanted his job. After I clarified the nature of the food and provided his history, his having been through four camps during the war, and his wife having lived underground in hiding for a couple of years, I burst out into tears, pointing out how grotesque the entire process was in all its aspects. The prosecutor replied by telling me “not to be so emotional” and my reply to her was that as soon as I no longer felt emotional about human suffering, I would give up the profession of law. I did win the case however, and the judge in the trial always spoke to me fondly when we met in other venues.

This hardness of heart finds expression with respect to the marriage of Arabs – both Christian and Moslem. There is no overall protection of non-Jewish marriage either in the Jewish state or in the militarily occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza. Israel controls all ports and points of entry and exist into the Palestinian territory east of the River Jordan. The Jewish State treats some non-Jewish marriages as neither sacred nor as the basic building block of society. On the contrary. For twelve years now, marriage between Arabs with Israeli citizenship who live in Israel proper with spouses from either the militarily occupied West Bank and Gaza or even from abroad receive no conjugal rights in the Jewish State of Israel. Therefore an Israeli Arab has no rights to create a family in Israel if his spouse is from Palestinian territories or from abroad. West Bank Arabs are not allowed to bring in spouses from Jordan or elsewhere. In other words, Israel does its best to limit demographic growth of Arabs under its control. The hardships are unbearable in most cases: some couples have to split up, others lose their homes and/or their livelihood, are split off from families etc. etc. The barrier wall built on Palestinian land to protect Israel has split towns, village, families and homes to an egregious extent. It can take up to one or two hours for people to make a one-way trip to the other side of the wall.

It is clear therefore that there is a profound cruelty and inhumanity at the basis of the Israeli system and as the one example I gave demonstrated, it is not always confined to Arabs, except in 99% of the cases.

What can be observed from this overview of interlocking fields of endeavor, is that the Jewish regime in Palestine has done and continues to deprive Palestinians of many of their rights in law as well as their rights as human beings. Is it unreasonable to suspect that the Jewish regime has not let up in its efforts to ethnically cleanse Palestine of its non-Jewish residents, following the huge success of the Naqba or Catastrophe, as the Arabs call it, in 1948 when 90% of the Arab Palestinian population was expelled from Jewish-controlled Palestine?

I have been asked as to what I consider to be the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There will never be a freely-agreed upon political solution unless the Jews admit to their theft and destruction of Palestine which nobody can see happening. But I do see Israel “bleeding” its Ashkenazi or “white” population leaving behind a far weaker country with no proper ruling elite. In this case, I do not see how a Jewish State will survive, despite its being a creation of the international banking cartel.

The author is an Israeli lawyer who has represented Palestinians in the Israeli courts. She has lived in Israel/Palestine for over fifty years and considers herself political dissident and lives in an Arab township. She writes out of her own experiences.

November 28, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

Israeli High Court rules to allow, expand use of Torture

By Celine Hagbard | IMEMC | November 29, 2018

In a ruling that directly violates international law and conventions against the use of torture, the Israeli High Court ruled Monday that Israeli intelligence officers were justified in their use of torture against a Palestinian prisoner. The ruling sets a precedent for the future use of torture and the expansion of such techniques used against Palestinians held in Israeli custody.

The case, which involved Palestinian prisoner Fares Tbeish, was brought to the Israeli High Court after lower courts ruled that the torture was justified.

In 2012, the case alleges, Israeli officials from the Shin Bet intelligence agency forced Tbeish into stress positions, inculding arching and tying the body in the “banana” position. They also subjected him to severe physical and mental violence, including beatings.

The ruling was made by a three-justice panel of Yitzhak Amit, David Mintz and Yosef Elron. The three judges ruled that no policy changes needed to be made, and that the current policy and practice regarding torture is sufficient.

According to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, “In interrogating Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories, the Israel Security Agency (ISA, also known by the Hebrew acronyms Shin Bet or Shabak) routinely used methods that constituted ill-treatment and even torture until the late 1990s”.

The group states, “In September 1999, following a series of petitions filed by human rights organizations and by Palestinians interrogated by the ISA, Israel’s High Court of Justice (HCJ) ruled that Israeli law does not empower ISA interrogators to use physical means in interrogation. The justices ruled that the specific methods discussed in the petitions – including painful binding, shaking, placing a sack on a person’s head for prolonged periods of time and sleep deprivation – were unlawful.

“However, they also held that ISA agents who exceed their authority and use ‘physical pressure’ may not necessarily bear criminal responsibility for their actions, if they are later found to have used these methods in a “ticking bomb” case, based on the ‘necessity defense’. Following this ruling, reports of torture and ill-treatment in ISA interrogations did drop. However, ISA agents continued to use interrogation methods that constitute abuse and even torture, relying on the court’s recognition of the “ticking bomb” exception. These methods were not limited to exceptional cases and quickly became standard interrogation policy.”

In December 2017, according to the Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post, a court ruling made it easier for the intelligence agencies to justify torture – but such techniques still violate international law.

According to Al Jazeera, “more than 1,000 complaints from Palestinians have been submitted to a government watchdog body over the past 18 years, but this is the first time one has led to a criminal investigation.

“Many Palestinians are jailed based on confessions either they or other Palestinians make during Shin Bet questioning. Israeli military courts almost never examine how such confessions were obtained or whether they are reliable, say lawyers, contributing to a 99.7 percent conviction rate.

“Last month, in freeing a Palestinian man who was jailed based on a false confession, an Israeli court accused the Shin Bet of using techniques that were “liable to induce innocent people to admit to acts that they did not commit’”.

According to the Electronic Intifada, “The impunity extends to circumstances where there is strong evidence that torture led to the death of a detainee, such as Arafat Jaradat, a 33-year-old father of two who died after an Israeli interrogation in Megiddo prison in 2013.”

Israeli legal scholar Itamar Mann told the Middle East Monitor that this ruling is “probably the most permissive as of yet in terms of accepting physical abuse as a legitimate method of interrogation in national security cases”.

According to Mann, the court’s judgement means that “anyone who is (1) part of a designated terrorist organization (such as Hamas); and (2) is involved in armed activity, may be subject to ‘special methods’ [i.e. torture] if (3) no other way to obtain crucial information is available”.

November 28, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 2 Comments

Academic Journals: High Stakes, Few Safeguards

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | November 28, 2018

If a journal’s decision can make or break your career, its employees wield extraordinary power.

A week ago I discussed a paper that comes right out and says what everyone knows: most academic research eventually gets published in a peer-reviewed journal of some description. After all, there are 34,000 journals out there.

Because universities need criteria by which to award promotions and fast-track careers, it has become accepted wisdom that the most dazzling discoveries are the ones that get published in the most fashionable places. This is a hierarchy, with everyone scrambling for a spot in the high prestige journals at the top of the pyramid.

In the words of a former editor-in-chief of the British Medical Journal, “For an academic, publication in a major journal like Nature or Cell is to win the jackpot.”

As neurobiologist Bjorn Brembs observes, the “underlying assumption is that only the best scientists manage to publish in a highly selective tier of the most prestigious journals.” Where their research appears is “one of the most crucial factors determining their career.”

Government grants get distributed along exactly the same lines. Everyone knows that a scientist whose work has just been accepted by Science has a bright future.

This is an alarming state of affairs. Brilliant minds shouldn’t be sidelined by subjective, unsophisticated snobbery. For his part, Brembs demonstrates that “several lines of evidence” suggest high prestige journals may actually be publishing lower quality research than less prestigious ones.

But there’s actually an entire minefield lurking here. If a journal’s decision can make or break your career, it then follows that the people who work at these journals wield extraordinary power. They exercise that no-fooling power every day. They hold, in their hands, the lives of real people.

We all know power corrupts. We also know the stakes are incredibly high. So what safeguards are in place? What checks and balances prevent journal employees from abusing their power? What mechanisms discourage blatant corruption?

Let us not be naive. As Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, explains:

Whenever the following three conditions are met, you always have rampant cheating:

1. Cheating is easy

2. The payoff is huge.

3. The odds of getting caught are low

Western, affluent societies have placed tremendous trust in institutions of higher learning, in the scholarly publishing industry, and in entities that spend our tax dollars on scientific research.

It takes one’s breath away to comprehend the wobbly foundations on which all three of those now stand.

November 28, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

‘Temples to colonial theft’: Western museums should return looted artifacts to where they belong

Moai sculpture from Easter Island in the British Museum © Veronika Lukasova © Global Look Press
By Danielle Ryan | RT | November 28, 2018

Is it possible to ‘loan’ something back to the person or place you stole it from? The British Museum in London, which houses one of the biggest permanent collections of world art and artifacts, certainly seems to think so.

Last week, responding to an emotional plea from the governor of Easter Island, the museum generously announced that it would consider “loaning” an 800-year-old statue back to the territory, which is now part of Chile.

The Hoa Hakananai’a was stolen — or “taken without permission” as The Guardian more delicately put it — in 1868 by the British HMS ‘Topaze’ and delivered to Queen Victoria. The museum itself uses even more sanitized language. Its online information page about the statue explains that it was “collected” during the frigate’s expedition to Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and was “gifted” by the Queen to the museum a year later.

“This statue would have originally stood on a specially built platform on the sacred site of Orongo,” the museum explains. “It would have stood with giant stone companions, their backs to the sea, keeping watch over the island.”

The reason it doesn’t still serve this purpose, is because the museum refuses to give it back. The 2.4-meter statue has no cultural or emotional significance to British people. To the Rapa Nui people, on the other hand, the Hoa Hakananai’a is extremely culturally and spiritually significant.

“We are just a body. You, the British people, have our soul,” Governor Tarita Alarcon Rapu said through tears during a visit to the museum last week. “You have kept him for 150 years. Just give us some months and we can have it there.”

The Hoa Hakananai’a is just one example of many when it comes to spoils of the British Empire which sit permanently in UK exhibitions. The museum has also refused to return the Rosetta Stone, something the head of Egypt’s new national museum recently called for, and the Parthenon Marbles. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras recently raised the issue with Theresa May, saying that their “natural place” is at the Parthenon. In 2013, India called for the return of the Koh-i-noor diamond, which was taken and given to Queen Victoria in 1850. David Cameron dismissed the notion, saying he did not believe in “returnism.”

Just this week, news reports said that the London museum would temporarily return some of the iconic ancient Benin bronze sculptures to Nigeria. There are more than a thousand of the bronzes sitting in museums across Europe, and successive Nigerian governments have sought their return for decades. France is set to give back 26 of the sculptures permanently, a decision made after a report commissioned by President Emmanuel Macron called for thousands of African artworks to be returned.

“I cannot accept that a large part of the cultural heritage of several African countries is in France,” Macron said last year in Burkina Faso. “There are historical explanations for this but there is no valid, lasting and unconditional justification.”

According to the French report, about 90 percent of Africa’s cultural heritage is situated outside of the continent. When the British Museum returns “some” of their 700 Benin bronzes, however, it will only be on loan.

In a recent article for The Guardian, Tiffany Jenkins, the author of an entire book about why Western museums should refuse to return their stolen treasures, writes that when the first wave of Benin bronzes were created, Benin was an empire and the objects were crafted on the back of the slave trade. Maybe the descendants of the Benin king should apologize for slavery before they are approved as “morally worthy owners of the artefacts,” she writes, rather ironically.

Jenkins argues reductively that history is ugly and tussling over the rights and wrongs of the past is a pointless exercise. If Western countries start returning artifacts looted during the colonial era, she says, “there could be no end to competitive claim-making.”

Well, so be it.

It is not any British or European museum’s right to withhold plundered treasures while it decides who is “morally worthy” of possessing them. The very suggestion reeks of colonial arrogance. Ultimately, Jenkins writes, artifacts in Western museums “enlighten us about the world” and that is the job of our museums. How lovely; stolen cultural heritage enlightens us deserving Westerners, so of course, it has fulfilled its one, true purpose.

The fact that repatriating colonial loot is complicated and uncomfortable is no good reason to avoid facing reality and doing the bare minimum to atone for past sins. This is cultural property we are talking about. It belongs to the peoples and cultures where it originated — and to quote Macron, there is “no valid, lasting and unconditional justification” for refusing their return.

Of course, it is not only British or French museums that house looted art and cultural objects. There has been an ongoing dispute between Russia and Germany over artwork looted when the Red Army conquered Berlin in 1945. Much of the looted items were returned to East Germany after 1945, but not all of them. Moscow claimed the looting was a legitimate response to Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union and its destruction of Soviet national treasures. Germany begged to differ.

In October, the British Museum launched an initiative to counter the perception that everything within its walls is looted treasure — but Twitter users quickly made fun of the effort. ‘We didn’t steal all of it’ is hardly a very persuasive or positive-sounding plea.

That campaign came after art historian Alice Procter made headlines for giving ‘Uncomfortable Art Tours’ in British museums. The tours focus on slavery and colonialism and Porter encourages participants to wear ‘Display It Like You Stole It’ badges as they wander the exhibitions to advocate for more honest descriptions under artifacts. “On most text panels there’s little or no mention of how objects came to be there. Euphemistic language of ‘acquisition’ obscures the truth,” Procter wrote in a piece for The Guardian.

“You can look at the Gweagal shield in the British Museum and have no idea that it is considered crucial to the story of indigenous and settler relations in Australia, that its position in the museum is extremely controversial, and it’s sought by Gweagal people today,” she adds.

Another argument those against repatriation frequently use is that indigenous people, in some cases, offered or sold cultural objects to colonizers in exchange for something they needed more — money or tools, for example. Those items, they argue, can’t be said to be ‘stolen’ — but this completely ignores the power imbalance of the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized.

“Collected,” “acquired,” and “taken without permission” in this context are simply euphemisms for “stolen.” It is clear that the British Museum and people like Jenkins are worried about setting a precedent. Returning just one item would open the floodgates.

The British Museum is nothing short of a temple to colonial theft. If it concedes in one case, where does it end? It will never happen, of course, but in an ideal world, that would be just one extremely tiny — and wholly inadequate — price to pay for hundreds of years of colonial massacre and plunder.

November 28, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Keep politics out! International bodies should not be used to further anti-Russian agendas

By Neil Clark | RT | November 28, 2018

The recent hysteria over a Russian standing for the presidency of Interpol was only the latest example of how Cold War ideologues are seeking to politicize everything in pursuance of their obsessive anti-Russian crusade.

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). And now the election for Interpol president. These international organizations, which do valuable work, should be free from geopolitics. The representatives of some Western countries, I’m afraid, think differently.

The problem, for the US and its closest allies, has been that international bodies don’t always do exactly what they want. Other countries, including horror of horrors Russia, also have a say in them.

That is most undesirable as only the voices of the self-righteous, self-appointed ‘world policemen’ should be heard. Then a geopolitical agenda can be pursued through these hitherto impartial and well-respected organizations.

Let’s take WADA first. World sport needs an anti-doping agency which is independent and will apply the rules and regulations equally to all nations, including, if need be, against the US. But the anti-Russian countries want an anti-doping agency that will single Russia out for special treatment. In July 2016, Reuters revealed how the heads of the US and Canada’s anti-doping bodies had drafted a letter to WADA calling for ALL Russian athletes to be banned from the Rio Olympic Games.

Just imagine if the Russian anti-doping agency had sought to get all US or Canada athletes banned, whether or not they had been found guilty of cheating. They would be accused of playing politics and being terribly unsporting. But it seems it’s OK if Uncle Sam and his allies do it.

It was a similar story with the football World Cup in Russia. That really got the neocons hyperventilating. The process by which FIFA awarded Russia the World Cup had to be ‘illegitimate’. The tournament must be taken away from Russia demanded John McCain and 12 other US Senators.

Russia is a football-loving nation which had never before hosted a World Cup. Its status as host nation was actually long overdue, regardless of one’s views of the policies of the Russian government. But for the Russophobes politics is everything. They never take a break from bear-baiting.

The OPCW has also been affected by the new outlook, whereby everything has to conform to the Western elite’s foreign policy goals.

The UK has pushed (successfully) for a change in the role of the chemical weapons watchdog. Frustrated that the OPCW has, up to now, only been able to say whether or not a chemical weapons attack has taken place, the UK government has managed to politicize the OPCW so that it now will be able to attribute blame for an attack.

We can only imagine the enormous pressure, public and private, that will be put on it to declare ‘guilty’ those who the UK and its allies wish to bomb. “The OPCW is a Titanic which is leaking and has started to sink,” Russian Industry Minister Georgy Kalamanov said. He wasn’t being overly dramatic.

Having ‘done’ the OPCW, the hawks then turned their attentions to Interpol and sabotaging the election of a Russian, Alexander Prokopchuk, as the agency’s president. Prokopchuk was regarded as the frontrunner for the job at the international police agency and rightly so.

He was already Interpol vice-president, the vice-chair for Europe since 2016, and well-respected by his colleagues.

But others were horrified at the prospect of a Russian winning. Financier Bill Browder tweeted a letter from twelve US Senators attacking the candidacy. Unsubstantiated claims were made that Prokopchuk was ex-KGB. If elected he would be ‘Putin’s puppet.’

“This is really quite an extraordinary situation, to find ourselves with the possibility of not just a fox in charge of the hen coop, but actually the assassin in charge of the murder investigation,” fumed MP Tom Tugendhat, the chair of the UK’s House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee and a former member of the Intelligence Corps.

There were threats to set up a rival organization to Interpol if Prokopchuk was elected.

But the smear campaign against him succeeded. Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin press secretary, spoke of “interference in the electoral process of an international organization”. Of course, as it was interference from the UK and the US it didn’t really count. Again, just imagine the uproar if Russian parliamentarians tried to block the election of a British or US candidate.

As if the interference was not enough, we’ve now got Browder calling for countries such as Canada to help kick Russia out of Interpol altogether.

If that sounds familiar, then think back to John McCain’s calls for a ‘League of Democracies’ (i.e. the US and approved allies), to get round Russia’s UNSC veto.

Russia’s great crime is not ‘human rights’ abuses, but the fact that it has effectively blocked the Western elite’s plans for regime change in Syria and has sought to reclaim its self-respect at home and abroad since the disastrous days of the oligarch-friendly Boris Yeltsin.

As a response, the war against Russia, and we have to call it that, has been waged on a number of fronts. Neocon think tanks and commentators urge Russian media, such as RT, to be taken off air and for more sanctions to be imposed.

They call for increased military buildup on Russia’s borders under the guise of ‘protecting European security’. They urge European nations to pull out of beneficial gas pipeline projects with Russia and buy US LNG instead. They cheer on the most anti-Russian forces in Ukraine.

They also seek to get Russia banned or sidelined in international organizations. Which is inimical to the whole notion of internationalism. As Mary Dejevsky wrote last week in the Independent, “what happened over the Interpol presidency should not be dismissed so lightly. It raises questions that deserve answers – questions that may not even be asked, now that a result has been achieved that is deemed satisfactory by the vocal Western world.”

Bodies that only include the US and its allies, or only follow the geopolitical agendas of certain countries, cannot be accepted as the norm. We need to hear all voices and not just the loudest ones.

November 28, 2018 Posted by | Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

US, Europe & NATO risk all-out war by backing unhinged Kiev regime

By Finian Cunningham | RT | November 28, 2018

With the US, EU and NATO all bolstering claims of “Russian aggression” – in face of contrary evidence – the real danger is that the Kiev regime will be emboldened to carry out more reckless provocations leading to all-out war.

It seems indisputable that the three Ukrainian Navy vessels were dispatched last Sunday in order to instigate a security response from Russian maritime border forces. In contrast to normal procedures for passage clearance through the Kerch Strait, the Ukrainian warships refused to communicate with Russian controls and acted menacingly inside Russia’s Black Sea territorial limits.

At a United Nations Security Council emergency meeting on Monday, the US, Britain and France pointedly refused to take on board Russia’s legal argument for why it felt obliged to detain the Ukrainian boats and 24 crew. The Western powers automatically sided with the version of events claimed by President Petro Poroshenko – that the Ukrainian Navy was attacked unlawfully by Russia.

The US, EU and NATO denounced Russia’s “aggression” and demanded that the Ukrainian vessels and crew be repatriated immediately, even though under Russian law there is a case for prosecution.

It is the West’s refusal to acknowledge facts that is part of the problem. Russia is continually accused of “annexing” Crimea in 2014 instead of the Western powers recognizing that the Black Sea peninsula voted in a constitutionally held referendum to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Crimea was prompted to take that historic step because the US, EU and NATO had only the month before backed an illegal coup in Kiev against the elected Ukrainian government. That coup brought to power the present Kiev regime led by Poroshenko and a parliament dominated by neo-Nazi parties.

So, the problem here is a refusal by Western supporters of the dubious Kiev regime to accept the legal, historic reality that Crimea is part of Russia’s territory. Ships passing through the Kerch Strait between Russia’s mainland and Crimea are obliged to notify Russian maritime controls of passage. Russia has since reopened the strait to civilian cargo transport following the naval skirmish at the weekend.

When the Ukrainian Navy vessels violated legal procedures and entered Russian territorial limits, their action was aggressive, not Russia’s response.

Furthermore, there are already emerging signs that the Ukrainian naval transport was orchestrated for the purpose of inciting an incident.

Some of the detained crew members have admitted carrying out orders which they knew would be seen by Russia as provocative.

It has also been reported by US government-owned Radio Free Europe that the Ukrainian secret services (SBU) have confirmed that its officers were among the crew on the boats. The vessels were also armed. If the transfer was an innocent passage, why were secret services involved?

Recall that Ukrainian secret services have previously been caught staging sabotage operations in Crimea.

Another major background factor is the increasing NATO military buildup in eastern Ukraine and the Black Sea.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin officially opened the 19km bridge linking Russia’s mainland with Crimea in May earlier this year, there were calls in US and Ukrainian media for the structure to be sabotaged. Moscow has understandably stepped up security controls around the vital infrastructure, which cost $3.7 billion and is the longest bridge in Europe.

In recent months, the US and Britain have ordered increasing military deployment to the region under the guise of “training” and “assistance” to the Kiev regime forces.

Earlier this year, in July, the NATO alliance held naval drills, Sea Breeze, along with Ukrainian forces in the Black Sea. That’s in spite of the fact that Ukraine is not a member of NATO, although it is aspiring to join the 29-member US-led bloc at some time in the future.

It was the following month, in August, that Russia began stepping up its controls and searches of vessels through the Kerch Strait linking the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov. The latter leads to ports under the control of the Kiev regime such as Mariupol, which is adjacent to the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic. The DPR and Luhansk People’s Republic broke away following the coup in Kiev in 2014 and have been under military attack for the past four years despite the so-called Minsk peace treaties. These are more facts that the Western backers of the Kiev regime refuse to deal with.

More NATO buildup continued in September with the supply of two gunboats by the US to the Ukrainian Navy for deployment in the Sea of Azov. Pentagon-linked publication Defense One described that supply as part of efforts by Washington and Kiev to develop a “mosquito navy” in order to skirmish with Russian forces.

Only four days before the latest naval clash, Britain’s Defense Minister Gavin Williamson announced the Royal Navy was to send HMS ‘Echo’ to patrol with Ukrainian special forces to “defend freedom and democracy.” Williamson said: “As long as Ukraine faces Russian hostilities, the United Kingdom will be a steadfast partner.”

This is background to the simmering tensions in the Black Sea between Ukraine and Russia. The situation has arisen because of Western interference in Ukraine – primarily the coup in Kiev in February 2014. Yet, in all discussions about events since then, the Western powers are in denial of facts and their culpability. The recent militarization of the Black Sea by the NATO alliance is a stark provocation to Russia’s national security, but again the Western powers bury their collective heads in the sand.

Given the reckless indulgence by the US, Europe and NATO of the Kiev regime amid its ongoing violations against the populace in eastern Ukraine, its refusal to abide by the Minsk agreements, and its continual inflammatory and unhinged rhetoric against Russia, it should not be surprising if this same regime feels emboldened to provoke an armed confrontation with Moscow.

Arguably, the Kiev regime and its adulation of World War II Nazi collaborators never had any legitimacy in the first place. It continues to demonstrate its lack of legitimacy from the immense social problems in Ukraine of poverty, corruption, human rights violations, neo-Nazi paramilitaries running amok, and now martial law being imposed.

It remains to be seen if the recent naval provocation was carried out with the tacit approval of Washington and other NATO powers as a pretext for further militarization against Russia. The initial misplaced condemnations of Russia have subsided to more measured calls from US President Donald Trump and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian for “restraint” and “dialogue.”

That might suggest Kiev’s failing President Poroshenko and his security services acted alone to order the naval confrontation as a desperate throw of the dice to escalate NATO and EU support for his shaky regime against Russia.

Trump’s comments hoping that Kiev and Russia would “straighten things out” sound like Washington is not behind the provocation and has no desire for a wider conflict. Just as well, because such a development is a gateway to all-out war.

Nevertheless, such a catastrophe is always a serious risk when Western powers indulge this unhinged Kiev regime.

November 28, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

As Time Runs Out, Poroshenko and the West Poison the Sea of Azov

By Tom LUONGO | Strategic Culture Foundation | 28.11.2018

Trouble has been brewing in the Sea of Azov all year. It started with Ukraine’s seizing a Russian fishing boat and detaining its crew in March. The Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko canceled the Friendship Treaty with Russia. After that he has accepted surplus US naval vessels to prop up a navy that exists in name only.

This is all in response to Russia’s completing the Kerch Strait bridge which Russia can use to block access through. The Kerch strait is Russian territory and, by international law, Russia can limit access to the Sea of Azov.

So, this weekend’s incident in which a tug was rammed, ships fired upon and seized by Russia, ultimately was a proper and legal response to a clear provocation because the Ukrainian military ships refused to announce their intentions.

Let’s not beat around the bush here. This incident is meant to justify further antagonism between the West and Russia on the eve of the G-20 and the planned meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin.

It also was meant to inflame Ukrainian nationalism and drum up support for Poroshenko who is trailing badly in the polls as we approach March elections. Declaring martial law so as to potentially suspend those election, the US satrap is raising the stakes on Russia to it finally responding to these repeated provocations.

At the same time the Ukrainian Army unleashed the heaviest shelling of the Donbass contact line near Gorlovka in years.

There are a number of different angles on this incident and how it will be used to increase tensions between the West and Russia.

Russia is officially taking the position that Poroshenko is doing this to keep his Western backers happy who have dumped billions into him and his government to keep Ukraine a festering wound on Russia’s border.

It is also a desperate attempt to prop up this failing government and potentially suspend March’s elections.

While I am certainly sympathetic to that position, it is also the least interesting part of it because it is so blatantly obvious. I think the deeper gambit here has to do with Poroshenko ending the Friendship Treaty.

According to Rostislav Ishchenko ending the treaty works only in Russia’s favor as it removes the permanence of the boundary between Russia and Ukraine. In effect, it opens up the path to Russia to recognize the breakaway republics of Lugansk and Donetsk.

But, it’s more than that because it also opens up the argument that the Sea of Azov is now International Waters since the border is in dispute. This allows for legal maneuvering by Europe and the US through the UN to find Russia in violation of Ukrainian vessels’ right of passage. I’m not saying this is the case, being no legal scholar on this, but this looks the most likely tack to take to sell the world further on the evil, expansionist Russia narrative.

And that argument can hold weight because no one recognizes Crimea as part of Russia, officially.

The UN Security Council’s usual suspects – Europe and the US – backing Ukraine on this issue was wholly predictable. And the question now will be whether the US got its casus belli to try and force NATO ships into the Sea of Azov under the pretext of keeping the peace in International Waters.

Former British MP George Galloway, writing for RT, suspects this may simply be a ‘Wag the Dog’ moment for not only May but French Poodle Emmanuel Macron and Trump with his Mueller ‘troubles.’ Invoking Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade Galloway muses.

A dangerous constellation of weak, collapsing Western governments and leaders suddenly find their interests coinciding with the tin-pot tyrant Poroshenko. And into the Valley of Death they might just be ready to send their people charging. If they do they will find a resolute Russia far stronger than at Balaclava.

I would go even further at least as it regards Theresa May. This provocation occurred in concert the announcement of British forces being sent to Ukraine next year.

With the May government betraying the British people over Brexit with her awful deal, continuing the distraction of evil Russia is one way to keep support from failing further.

Because, deal or no deal, May is finished once we’re past this and like her accomplishing her mission to betray Brexit, setting NATO on a collision course with Russia is more possible by having British forces on the ground. All manner of false flags can be ginned up to saddle any incoming Labour government with.

Going back to the transition period between the outgoing Barack Obama and the incoming Trump everything imaginable was done to poison Trump’s early days as President. The idea that Trump and Putin could establish normal relations was anathema.

He’s been bogged down ever since.

And who was behind that? British and American Intelligence along with the judiciary who today are slowly being pulled into the limelight of their corruption. This is all part of a carefully stage-managed plan.

Those who cling to power do so out of desperation and will use every trick and point of leverage they have to remain where they are. In that respect Poroshenko is no different than anyone else. He knows if he loses power he will be expendable, to be thrown to the wolves while the US and Europe move to back the next quisling presiding over Kiev.

There doesn’t seem to be much on hope on the horizon regardless of the elections.

The big question at this point is whether Ukraine as a neocon project to destroy Russia is still worth the trouble. That’s what Poroshenko and those behind him hope is the case. I’m not convinced they have enough support to keep this up, given the tepid response from Europe.

If no sanctions are added to Russia over this incident and NATO is not dispatched to ‘calm things down’ in the Sea of Azov then this was nothing more than an attempt by Poroshenko to derail elections and rally Ukrainian nationals. The Verkovna Rada cut his martial law demand down to 3o days from 60 to ensure elections happen on time.

But looking ahead to the G-20, Trump will be saddled with this incident precluding finding any common ground with Putin over anything important. The two need to work out a plan for Syria, Korea, Japan and Iran and now we’re talking about Ukraine.

So, the days pass and nothing of substance changes. Putin knows time is on his side while those arrayed against Russia become increasingly desperate to justify its destruction to a tired and skeptical world.

November 28, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment