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To Be or Not to Be a Jewish State, That is the Question

By Sheldon Richman | CounterPunch | October 28, 2019

Israel’s champions owe us an explanation. First, they insist that Israel is and always must be a Jewish state, by which most of them mean not religiously Jewish but of the “Jewish People” everywhere, including Jews who are citizens of other states and not looking for a new country. To be Jewish, according to the prevailing view, it is enough to have a Jewish mother (or to have been converted by an approved Orthodox rabbi). Belief in one supreme creator of the universe, in the Torah as the word of God, and in Jewish ritual need have nothing whatever to do with Jewishness. (We ignore here the many problems with this conception, such as: how can there be a secular Judaism?)

The definition of Jew has been bitterly controversial inside and outside of Israel since its founding. The point is, as anthropologist Roselle Tekiner wrote, “When the central task of a state is to import persons of a select religious/ethnic group — and to develop the country for their benefit alone — it is crucially important to be officially recognized as a bona fide member of that group.” (This is from the anthology Anti-Zionism: Analytical Reflections, which is not online and is apparently out of print. But see Tekiner’s article, “Israel’s Two-Tiered Citizenship Law Bars Non-Jews From 93 Percent of Its Lands.”)

Second, Israel’s champions insist that Israel is a democracy — indeed, the only democracy in the Middle East. They vehemently object whenever someone demonstrates how Israel-as-the-state-of-the-Jewish-People must harm the 25 percent of Israeli citizens who are not Jewish, most of whom are Arabs.

Israeli law uniquely distinguishes citizenship from nationality. The nationality of an Israeli Arab citizen is “Arab” not Israeli, while the nationality of a Jewish citizen is “Jewish” not Israeli. Are citizens of any other country distinguished in law like that? The prohibition on marriage between Jews and non-Jews is not the result of political bargaining with religious parties but of a desire to protect the Jewish people from impurity. These contortions are required by Israel’s self-declared status as something other than the land of all its citizens. Early Zionists said they wanted Palestine to be as Jewish as Britain is British and France is French — a flagrant category mistake that has had horrific consequences for the Palestinians.

The insistence by Israel’s supporters — that Israel can be both Jewish and democratic — thus is puzzling. What does it mean for Israel to be a Jewish state if that status has no real consequences for non-Jews? If all it meant was that the Star of David was on the flag, we might hear far fewer objections to Israel. But of course it means much more.

To see what it means, one has to look beyond Israel’s Declaration of Independence, Basic Law (its de facto constitution), and specific statutes, which contain language that on its face forbids discrimination against non-Jews. We should know better than to take official documents at face value. What matters in any society is the “real constitution,” the principles that underlie commonly accepted behavior. The old Soviet Union’s constitution listed freedom of the press among the “rights” of Soviet citizens, and the U.S. Constitution says that only Congress may declare war and that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

More pertinent, the 1917 Balfour Declaration, wherein the British government “view[ed] with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,” also stated that “it [was] clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.” We know how that worked out.

So what’s the story inside Israel? (I’m not talking about the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which Israel has occupied for 52 years and where Palestinians have no rights whatever.)

After doing an interview recently about my new book, Coming to Palestine, I was challenged by a listener over my statements that the Israeli government treats Arab and Jewish criminals differently depending on whether they shed “Jewish blood” or “Arab blood” (no such distinction actually exists) and that political parties can’t call for changing Israel from a Jewish state to a state of all its citizens.

Who is right?

Regarding criminal justice, Ha’aretz columnist Gideon Levy shows anecdotally that Arab Israeli citizens who kill Jews can spend more time in prison than Israeli Jewish citizens who kill Arabs. “Arab blood is cheaper in Israel,” Levy wrote in 2014, “and Jewish blood is thicker.” He says things are the same today. Over the years, many articles have been published documenting this de facto, though not de jure, disparity. Indeed, Ha’aretz reported in 2011 that

Arab Israelis who have been charged with certain types of crime are more likely than their Jewish counterparts to be convicted, and once convicted they are more likely to be sent to prison, and for a longer time. These disparities were found in a recent statistical study commissioned by Israels Courts Administration and the Israel Bar Association…. The [unpublished preliminary] study is unique in that it is the first of its kind to be commissioned and funded in part by the courts administration, and in that it sought to examine claims by attorneys that Israeli judges deal more harshly with Arab criminals than with Jews.

Note that government discrimination against non-Jews across the spectrum of issues is not usually written into the law, although it may be. Mostly flagrantly, discrimination is legally applied to the “right of return.” People defined as Jews, no matter where they were born or live, can become Israeli citizens/nationals virtually on arrival, while Arabs driven from their ancestral homes in 1947-48 and 1967 may not go back, much less become full-rights citizens/nationals. Put concretely, I, an atheist born in Philadelphia to Jewish parents born in Philadelphia (with roots likely in the vicinity of the Black Sea), can “return” [sic] to Israel and become an Israeli citizen at once, while my friend Raouf Halaby, a naturalized American citizen born to Arab Christian parents in west Jerusalem three years before Israel was founded, may not. The only difference is that my mother was Jewish, making me, a Spinozist, a Jewish national in Israel’s eyes, and Raouf’s mother was not.

Regarding restrictions on political parties, the Basic Law: The Knesset states:

A candidates’ list [party] shall not participate in elections to the Knesset, and a person shall not be a candidate for election to the Knesset, if the objects or actions of the list or the actions of the person, expressly or by implication, include…:

1. negation of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state;…

Before proceeding, let us note a conundrum. The issue I’m raising here is whether a state be both Jewish and democratic. The root of the word democracy is demos, people. So if the raison d’être of Israel is the welfare of only some of its citizens and millions of certain others who are citizens and residents of other countries, how can Israel be a real democracy? Strictly speaking, considering that word and, the law’s language legitimizes a party that “negat[es] the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish … state” but not as a democratic state. Would the Israeli election authorities accept that distinction? I don’t think so.

In the past the Israeli Supreme Court has reversed government bans on a party’s or candidate’s inclusion in an election. Particular cases will revolve around the exact wording of a party’s mission statement or candidate’s platform, and legal language is subject to endless, unpredictable, and political interpretation. But, regardless, the government has the power to ban at its disposal, and future Supreme Courts may not be so liberal. So the threat of a ban always looms. Incidentally, a party or candidate that engages in “incitement to racism” is also ineligible to participate in elections, yet this provision has yet to be applied to Jewish parties and politicians, such as Likud and Benjamin Netanyahu, that routinely spout racist rhetoric.

Israel’s champions also deny that Arab Israelis — citizens, mind you — have grossly inferior access to land, most of which is owned by a “public” authority and the Jewish National Fund (very little is privately owned); building and village permits; public utilities; education; roads; and other government-controlled services and resources. The Israeli government has carried out programs in the Galilee and Negev, known as Judaization, from which Arab Israelis, especially Bedouins, have been cleared to make way for Jewish Israelis. Such restrictions inside Israel have the stink of apartheid.

In his book Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination, and Democracy, Ben White documents that the Israeli government allocates resources — unsurprisingly — just as one would expect, considering that Israel by its founding doctrine is not the land of all of its citizens but only of some. This doctrine was reinforced last year in the Nation-State Law, which declares that “The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”

So, as Israel’s champions say, all Israeli citizens are indeed equal. It’s just that some — those whose nationality is “Jewish” — are more equal than others — those whose nationality is “Arab” or anything else but “Jewish.”

October 28, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 4 Comments

A Window into Jewish Guilt

By Gilad Atzmon – October 28, 2019

It has become an institutional Jewish habit to examine how much Jews are hated by their host nations and how fearful Jews are of their neighbours. Jewish press outlets reported yesterday that “9 out of 10 US Jews worry about anti-Semitism.”

I, for one, can’t think of another people who invest so much energy in measuring their unpopularity. Despite the scale of Islamophobia and anti-Black racism, we are not subjected to a constant barrage of ‘statistics’ to ‘warn us’ of how hated Blacks are or how unsafe Muslims feel.

The American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) statistics suggest that  “most Jews think that the situation is getting worse.” I find their statistics unlikely but I guess any mathematically inclined person would agree that if 9 out of 10 are fearful, then the situation can’t get much ‘worse’ as 10 out of 10 would constitute only a minor increase (11%).

Assume, for a moment, that the AJC’s statistics reflect reality and that the  overwhelming majority (90%) of 1,200 Jewish respondents, from all political and religious positions, regard Jew-hatred as a serious problem with potentially disastrous consequences.

We might wonder who are the ‘naughty’ one out of ten Jews who, unlike their  brethren, are not scared of their American neighbours. I suspect these are the so-called ‘self-haters,’ that infamous bunch of horrid humanist Jews who support Palestine and are disgusted by the manifold of recent Jewish #MeToo scandals and  paedophilia/organised crime networks.  This small minority (10%) of  disobedient Jews might be disturbed by the opioid scandal that left 400.000 Americans dead, they probably know who were the prime actors in this saga of class genocide. They are likely troubled by a range of  financial crimes from Madoff to Israeli banks evading US taxes, to the Israeli binary options companies that defraud American citizens. These universalist Jewish outcasts are often vocal critics of their people, their culture and their politics. They may denounce AIPAC and the ADL, Soros and even JVP for acting as the controlled opposition. The AJC’s statistics point to the possible existence of  a comic scenario in which 9 out of 10 Jews are intimidated by the 1 out of 10 Jews who speak out.

There is a less humorous, more serious interpretation of the  AJC’s findings. It is possible that the large number of Jews who worry about anti-Semitism indicates that Jews at large are aware of the worrying traits associated with their politics, culture, identity, lobbying and Israeli criminality.

Jews may feel that they are stained as a group by problematic characters such as Weisntein, Epstein and Maxwell. They may feel polluted by Israeli politics and the intensive Zionist lobbying that plunders billions of American taxpayers dollars every year. As the White House seems to turn its back on the Neocons’ immoral interventionism, some Jews may be discomfited by the fact that the Neocon war mongering doctrine has been largely a Jewish project. As Haartez writer Ari Shavit wrote back in 2003: “The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish…” Maybe some Jews now understand that the Zionist shift from a ‘promised land’ to the Neocon ‘promised planet’ doesn’t reflect well on the Jews as a group.

I am trying to point out the possibility that the overwhelming fear of ‘anti-Semitism,’ documented however poorly by the AJC, might well be the  expression of guilt. American Jews may feel communal guilt over the disastrous politics and culture of some sections of their corrupted elite. They might even feel guilty as Americans about the brutal sacrifice of one of America’s prime values, that of  freedom of speech as guaranteed by the 1st Amendment, on the altar of  ‘antisemitsm.’ .

 Obviously, I would welcome AJC’s further investigation of this. It would be interesting to learn about the correlation between the Jewish fear of anti Semitsm and Jewish guilt. It would also be fascinating to find out how Jewish anxiety translates into self-reflection. In that regard, I suggest that instead of blaming the American people, Jews try introspection. US Jews may want to follow the early Zionists, such as Theodor Herzl, who turned guilt into self-examination. Herzl was deeply disturbed by anti Semitism but this didn’t stop him from digging into its causes. “The wealthy Jews control the world, in their hands lies the fate of governments and nations,” Herzl wrote. He continued, “They set governments one against the other. When the wealthy Jews play, the nations and the rulers dance. One way or the other, they get rich.” Herzl, like other early Zionists, believed that Jews could be emancipated from their conditions and even be loved globally by means of a cultural, ideological and spiritual metamorphosis with the aspiration of ‘homecoming.’ Herzl and his fellow early Zionists were clearly wrong in their proposed remedy for the Jewish question, but were absolutely spot on in their adherence to self-reflection and harsh self-criticism.

American Jews have much to learn from Herzl and other early Zionists. They should ask themselves how their American ‘Golden Medina’ their Jewish land of opportunities, has turned into a ‘threatening’ realm. What happened, what has changed in the last few years? Was it the constant cries over anti-Semitism and the desperate and institutional attempts to silence critics that turned their Golden Medina into a daunting space?

October 28, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Wars for Israel | 4 Comments

Israel’s New Moves to airbrush the Occupation

 By Jonathan Cook – The National – October 28, 2019

The United Nations’ independent expert on human rights in the Palestinian territories issued a damning verdict last week on what he termed “the longest belligerent occupation in the modern world”.

Michael Lynk, a Canadian law professor, told the UN’s human rights council that only urgent international action could prevent Israel’s 52-year occupation of the West Bank transforming into de facto annexation.

He warned of a recent surge in violence against Palestinians from settlers, assisted by the Israeli army, and a record number of demolitions this year of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem – evidence of the ways Israel is further pressuring Palestinians to leave their lands.

He urged an international boycott of all settlement products as a necessary step to put pressure on Israel to change course. He also called on the UN itself to finally publish – as long promised – a database that it has been compiling since 2016 of Israeli and international companies doing business in the illegal settlements and normalising the occupation.

Israel and its supporters have stymied the release, fearing that such a database would bolster the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that seeks to end Israel’s impunity.

Lynk sounded the alarm days after Israel’s most venerated judge, Meir Shamgar, died aged 94.

Shamgar was a reminder that the settlers have always been able to rely on the support of public figures from across Israel’s political spectrum. The settlements have always been viewed as a weapon to foil the emergence of a Palestinian state.

Perhaps not surprisingly, most obituaries overlooked the chicanery of Shamgar in building the legal architecture needed to establish the settlements after Israel occupied the Palestinian territories in 1967.

But in a tweeted tribute, Benjamin Netanyahu, the interim prime minister, noted Shamgar’s contribution to “legislation policy in Judea and Samaria”, using the Israeli government’s term for the West Bank.

It was Shamgar who swept aside the prohibition in international law on Israel as an occupying state, transferring its population into the territories. He thereby created a system of apartheid: illegal Jewish settlers enjoyed privileges under Israeli law while the local Palestinian population had to endure oppressive military orders.

Then, by a legal sleight of hand, Shamgar obscured the ugly reality he had inaugurated. He offered all those residing in the West Bank – Jews and Palestinians alike – access to arbitration from Israel’s supreme court.

It was, of course, an occupier’s form of justice – and a policy that treated the occupied territories as ultimately part of Israel, erasing any border. Ever since, the court has been deeply implicated in every war crime associated with the settlement enterprise.

As Israeli lawyer Michael Sfard noted, Shamgar “legalised almost every draconian measure taken by the defence establishment to crush Palestinian political and military organisations”, including detention without trial, house demolitions, land thefts, curfews and much more. All were needed to preserve the settlements.

Shamgar’s legal innovations – endorsing the systematic abuse of Palestinians and the entrenchment of the occupation – are now being expanded by a new generation of jurists.

Their latest proposal has been described as engineering a “revolution” in the occupation regime. It would let the settlers buy as private property the plots of occupied land their illegal homes currently stand on.

Disingenuously, Israeli officials argue that the policy would end “discrimination” against the settlers. An army legal adviser, Tzvi Mintz, noted recently: “A ban on making real-estate deals based on national origin raises a certain discomfort.”

Approving the privatisation of the settlements is a far more significant move than it might sound.

International law states that an occupier can take action in territories under occupation on only two possible grounds: out of military necessity or to benefit the local population. With the settlements obviously harming local Palestinians by depriving them of land and free movement, Israel disguised its first colonies as military installations.

It went on to seize huge swathes of the West Bank as “state lands” – meaning for Jews only – on the pretext of military needs. Civilians were transferred there with the claim that they bolstered Israel’s national security.

That is why no one has contemplated allowing the settlers to own the land they live on – until now. Instead it is awarded by military authorities, who administer the land on behalf of the Israeli state.

That is bad enough. But now defence ministry officials want to upend the definition in international law of the settlements as a war crime. Israel’s thinking is that, once the settlers become the formal owners of the land they were given illegally, they can be treated as the “local population”.

Israel will argue that the settlers are protected under international law just like the Palestinians. That would provide Israel with a legal pretext to annex the West Bank, saying it benefits the “local” settler population.

And by turning more than 600,000 illegal settlers into landowners, Israel can reinvent the occupation as an insoluble puzzle. Palestinians seeking redress from Israel for the settlements will instead have to fight an endless array of separate claims against individual settlers.

This proposal follows recent moves by Israel to legalise many dozens of so-called outposts, built by existing settlements to steal yet more Palestinian land. As well as violating international law, the outposts fall foul of Israeli law and undertakings made under the Oslo accords not to expand the settlements.

All of this is being done in the context of a highly sympathetic administration in Washington that, it is widely assumed, is preparing to approve annexation of the West Bank as part of a long-postponed peace plan.

The current delay has been caused by Netanyahu’s failure narrowly in two general elections this year to win enough seats to form a settler-led government. Israel might now be heading to a third election.

Officials and the settlers are itching to press ahead with formal annexation of nearly two-thirds of the West Bank. Netanyahu promised annexation in the run-up to both elections. Settler leaders, meanwhile, have praised the new army chief of staff, Aviv Kochavi, as sympathetic to their cause.

Expectations have soared among the settlers as a result. Their impatience has fuelled a spike in violence, including a spate of recent attacks on Israeli soldiers sent to protect them as the settlers confront and assault Palestinians beginning the annual olive harvest.

Lynk, the UN’s expert, has warned that the international community needs to act swiftly to stop the occupied territories becoming a permanent Israeli settler state. Sadly, there are few signs that foreign governments are listening.

October 28, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | 2 Comments

U.S. Universities Bow to Pressure

President Trump’s Education Department now says that protesting Israel is a “hate crime.” Incredibly many colleges and universities are bowing to pressure to limit activities of the BDS movement.

By Philip Giraldi | American Free Press | October 24, 2019

The Israel lobby in the United States and its counterparts in Europe have been paying particular attention to curtailing the activities of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS). This is because BDS, which is non-violent and based on established human rights principles, is extremely appealing to college students, who will be tomorrow’s leaders. Israel, which promotes its own largely fictional narrative about itself, is reluctant to allow any competing stories about its foundation and current activities, so it has worked hard to exclude any and all criticism of its practices on college campuses and even among students in public high schools.

Unfortunately, many colleges and universities are all too ready to compromise their principles, such as they are, whenever a representative of Israel or of Jewish groups comes calling. A popular line that has proven to be particularly effective is that Jews on campus feel threatened whenever anyone advocates for the Palestinians or Iranians, intended to convey that their civil rights are being violated.

Even if that type of allegation is actually relevant to whether or not one allows free speech and association, one wonders how violated the Palestinians and Iranians must feel when confronted by the endless stream of hostility emanating from the U.S. media and Hollywood as well as from select politicians representing both parties and the White House.

In the most recent manifestation of suppression of views critical of Israel, the federal government’s Department of Education has ordered Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to reorganize the Consortium for Middle East Studies program run jointly by the two colleges based on their failure to include enough “positive” content relating to Christianity and Judaism. The demand came with a threat to suspend federal funding of Title VI Higher Education Act international studies and foreign language grants to the two schools if the curriculum is not changed.

Of course, the demands have nothing to do with Christian groups demanding inclusion and everything to do with organized Jewish pressure to present Israel in a positive light while also casting aspersions on the Jewish state’s perceived enemies in the region and also on university campuses. Anyone who has even cursory knowledge about the Middle East knows that Christians and Jews constitute only a tiny minority in the region, so the emphasis on teaching about Islam, the Arabs, and the Persians makes sense if the instruction is to have any actual relevance.

One particular event that apparently led to an earlier investigation in June launched by the Education Department consisted of a conference in March called “Conflict Over Gaza: People, Politics, and Possibilities.” A Republican congressman was outraged by the development and asked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to investigate because the gathering was full of “radical anti-Israel bias.”

Even The New York Times acknowledged in their coverage of the story that “Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, has become increasingly aggressive in going after perceived anti-Israel bias in higher education.” Her deputy—who has served as a focal point for the effort to root out anti-Israel sentiment—is Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights Kenneth L. Marcus, who might reasonably be described as “a career pro-Israel advocate.”

Marcus is the founder and president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, a foundation that he has used to exclusively defend the rights of Jewish groups and individuals against BDS and other manifestations of Palestinian pushback against the Israeli occupation of their country. He has not hesitated to call opponents anti- Semites and has worked with Jewish students to file civil rights complaints against college administrations, including schools in Wisconsin and California. In an op-ed that appeared, not surprisingly, in The Jerusalem Post, he observed that even when student complaints were rejected, they created major problems for the institutions involved. “If a university shows a failure to treat initial complaints seriously, it hurts them with donors, faculty, political leaders, and prospective students.”

Last year Marcus reopened an investigation into alleged anti-Jewish bias at Rutgers University that the Obama administration had closed after finding that the charges were baseless. Marcus indicated that the re-examination was called for, as his office in the Education Department would henceforth be using the State Department definition of anti-Semitism that includes “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination,” making much criticism of Israel a hate crime.

In the current North Carolina-Duke case, DeVos and Marcus expressed concern over course content that had “a considerable emphasis placed on understanding the positive aspects of Islam, while there is an absolute absence of any similar focus on the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism, or any other religion or belief system in the Middle East.” The complaint called for balancing content relating to “the historic discrimination faced by, and current circumstances of, religious minorities in the Middle East, including Christians, Jews, Baha’is, Yazidis, Kurds, Druze, and others.”

Zoha Khalili, a staff lawyer at Palestine Legal, explained how the message coming from Washington is actually quite simple and has nothing to do with balance: “They really want to send the message that if you want to criticize Israel, then the federal government is going to look very closely at your entire program and micromanage it to death. . . . [It] sends a message to Middle Eastern studies programs that their continued existence depends on their willingness to toe the government line on Israel.”

The possible consequences are very clear. If you are an educational institution that criticizes Israel in any way, shape or form, you will lose any funding you receive from the federal government. The move has nothing to do with budgetary demands or the national security of the United States or even with the efficacy of the programs that are being funded. It has everything to do with promoting Israeli interests. That a demonstrated and outspoken Israeli advocate like Marcus should be placed in a key position to decide who gets what based on his own biases is a travesty, but it is something that we should all be accustomed to by now, as there is apparently no limit to what the Trump administration is willing to do for Israel and for that monstrous country’s powerful, wealthy, and incessantly vocal supporters in the United States.

October 28, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 9 Comments

Democrats Cheer ‘Hillary Unplugged’ After Clinton Labels Gabbard A Russian Asset

SHADOWPROOF | October 22, 2019

Numerous Democrats and liberal pundits have come to Hillary Clinton’s defense as she faces a backlash from everyone from President Donald Trump to Senator Bernie Sanders for her suggestion that Representative Tulsi Gabbard is a Russian asset.

Lisa Lerer, a New York Times reporter, celebrated Clinton as a “master troll” who “picked a fight” with Gabbard. She’s “living her best life,” as she spreads rumors that a sitting congresswoman is likely an agent of a foreign power. “Welcome to Hillary Unplugged.”

She wrote an article for the Times before the October 15 debate, “What, Exactly, Is Tulsi Gabbard Up To?” It freely cast aspersions on Gabbard for not dropping out of the presidential race and followed a template prevalent in the United States media since Gabbard declared her candidacy.

Zac Petkanas, who was the rapid response director for the Clinton campaign, quipped that it took awhile for Gabbard to react to Clinton because she had to run her response by Vladimir Putin first. “Honestly, it probably sounded better in the original Russian.”

Phillippe Reines, a former Clinton spokesperson, later added, “In three tweets, [Gabbard] called Hillary worse than she has ever called Assad or Putin. If Russian-compromised Trump and third-party menace Jill Stein had a child, it would be Tulsi Gabbard.”

Clinton Democrats have long believed, absent any proof, that the Green Party presidential candidate was a Russian agent whose role in the 2016 election was to ensure Clinton lost to Trump. And Clinton said Russia may want Gabbard to run as a third-party candidate but that depends on whether Stein will give up her role in the party.

Adam Parkhomenko, founder of the Ready For Hillary super PAC, reacted, “Tulsi Gabbard (R-Moscow) is back on the clock,” and, “Tulski Gabbard is wide awake at almost midnight local time in Moscow. For those that want to support the American running against her and lift up our efforts to elect him, let’s add another 250 contributions to his campaign now.”

When Sanders came to Gabbard’s defense, he viscerally reacted, “Fuck Bernie. I’d forgotten how much I despise that asshole. Thanks for the reminder.

Zerlina Maxwell, a former Clinton campaign official and director of SiriusXM’s progressive programming, said she “didn’t go far enough, and we have to decide whether or not we’ll listen to Hillary Clinton.” She added, “In 2016, anchors literally laughed at Hillary Clinton when she said it was Russia” targeting her campaign.

Back in March, it was Maxwell who lied about one of the first speeches Sanders delivered as part of his 2020 presidential campaign. She said he did not mention race or gender until 23 minutes into the speech.

Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin, hosts of “The View,” applauded Clinton and described Gabbard as a “useful idiot” and a “Trojan horse” candidate.

“She told us about Russia, she told us about the probable interference,” Hostin remarked. “She was secretary of state. She has deep world knowledge of world issues. I thought, where’s the lie?”

Similarly, Terry McAuliffe promoted the viewpoint that the public should trust Clinton. Maybe she knows something more that she is not sharing at this moment.

“This is something that she’s been reading a lot about. I don’t know whether Tulsi Gabbard is connected with the Russians,” McAuliffe said on CNN. “But the Russian state media has been very favorable toward her. She won’t come out and really go after [Bashar] Assad, who is a genocidal dictator.”

Media hucksters have tried to play dumb, pretending it was never confirmed that Clinton was referring to Gabbard.

Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart said on MSNBC that Clinton had not named names. However, Gabbard was like, “‘Me! Me! Me! Me!’” (In 2016, Capehart spread false accusations that Sanders shared “fake photos” of himself engaged in civil rights activism.)

As NBC News reporter Jonathan Allen put it, Clinton said there was a Russian asset, didn’t name anybody, and yet Gabbard reacted, “How dare you call me a Russian asset?”

But Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill told reporters, “If the nesting doll fits,” and confirmed she was referring to Gabbard.

Kimberly Atkins, a senior news correspondent for WBUR, appeared on MSNBC’s “Up with Gura” on October 19 and said Gabbard “never denied being a Russian asset.” The panel erupted into nasty laughter.

Behar also said, “She hasn’t denied it. She hasn’t said anything in her tweets. ‘How dare you? It’s outrageous. Of course, I’m not.’ She didn’t say that. She’s just going after Hillary.”

The Daily Beast poured sprinkles on top of this McCarthyist sundae with an article headlined, “The Kremlin’s Strategy For the 2020 U.S. Election: Secure the Base, Split the Opposition.” Though it did not specifically highlight Clinton’s attack on Gabbard, it sought to lend credence to the thrust of what she claimed.

“Russia’s propagandists will seek agents-of-influence, individuals inside the American government and media able to influence national policy,” Daily Beast contributor Clint Watts wrote. “And the agents they seek this time around will largely be across the political left, seeking to amplify and connect their preferred Kremlin message with that of the right.”

It was Clinton and her supporters in and outside of the press, who went after Gabbard and sowed discord. Yet, based upon widespread delusions, many Democrats and liberal pundits would have the public believe this is exactly what Putin wants. He is pleased that Trump, Sanders, and various other Democratic presidential candidates are condemning the presidential nominee Trump defeated.

October 28, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 2 Comments

US Has Officially Gone Insane

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | October 28, 2019

The low-ball mudslinging and pantomime palaver among America’s political class is like a theater of absurd. Any form of vilification is now acceptable. President Trump and his Twitter rants may have helped set the bar of indecency to an all-time low, but Democrats and Republicans have quickly joined the descent into madness.

The sanity test was spectacularly failed recently when former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton lashed out at her party member Tulsi Gabbard, inferring she was a “Russian asset”. The Hawaii congresswoman, who is vying for a run at the presidency in next year’s elections, was defended by some fellow Democratic politicians. But many Clinton aides and media pundits doubled down on Clinton’s smear campaign, reiterating that Gabbard was “working for the Kremlin”.

This bipartisan Russophobia can be traced back decades to the Red Scare paranoia of the Cold War and McCarthyite persecution during the 1950s of suspected Soviet sympathizers in Washington and Hollywood. But for the past three years, since the 2016 election, the Cold War has been crazily enlivened with the “Russiagate scandal” of alleged interference in American political affairs by Moscow. It was the Clinton campaign, establishment media and her intelligence agency supporters that launched that canard against Trump.

Despite lack of evidence and credibility as shown by the vacuous Mueller probe earlier this year, the ridiculous Russiagate narrative and its underlying Russophobia still manages to dominate the views of the US political class, as exemplified by how Clinton’s preposterous smearing of Gabbard was given undue media coverage and supportive commentary. Affording trust and respect for such inane paranoia is surely a sign that America has officially gone insane.

Another symptom of collective madness is seen when truth and factual evidence are presented, but then the truth-teller is pilloried and the facts are blankly ignored.

Tulsi Gabbard told the truth on a recent national TV debate when she said plainly that “the US supports Al Qaeda terrorists”. The incredulous looks from the other Democratic candidates indicated that they are cocooned in a fantasy-world of official American propaganda which claims that US military forces are in Syria and elsewhere to “fight terrorism”.

For speaking such unvarnished truth, veteran servicewoman Gabbard was savaged in media reports and commentary for disseminating disinformation and lies. As well as being labelled a “Russian asset”, she is also denounced as an “Assad apologist”.

However, this week two developments demonstrate that Gabbard is correct in her linking of US support to terror groups in Syria and the Middle East more widely.

First, we had President Donald Trump announcing approval of $4.5 million in aid to the White Helmets, the so-called rescue group operating in Syria. Trump hailed them as “important and highly valued”. Last year, the president also signed off on $6.8 million of aid to the White Helmets.

Despite this group winning an Oscar award for one its propaganda films, the White Helmets have been outed by several investigative reports as a media arm for the Al Qaeda-affiliated Hayat Tahrir al Shams (formerly, Nusra Front) and other Islamic State (ISIS) outfits. The pseudo rescue group only works in the diminished areas that are under the control of the jihadist terror network. The White Helmets are unknown to, or repudiated by, most of the Syrian civilian population. They have been exposed for having mounted false-flag terror attacks with chemical weapons and falsely attributing the attacks to the Syrian Arab Army or allied Russian forces. “They are a complete propaganda construct,” says award-winning journalist John Pilger.

For Trump and other Western governments like the British and French to openly support the White Helmets with millions of dollars is irrefutable proof of the official sponsorship by Western powers of the terrorist network in Syria. Of course, that is consistent with the analysis that these same governments have waged a covert criminal war of regime change against Syria. Again, it is only Tulsi Gabbard among American politicians who has explicitly stated this nefarious involvement of Washington in Syria. Yet she is condemned from all sides as a liar and foreign agent.

The second development this week indicting US links to terror groups – but which is studiously ignored by the Western media – are credible reports of American military force airlifting Al Qaeda-type jihadists out of northeast Syria.

Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu this week confirmed that hundreds of suspected jihadi prisoners had escaped from jails and camps amid the turmoil of the Turkish offensive against Kurdish militia.

Syrian state media reports that, “US occupation continues to transport hundreds of Daesh [ISIS] terrorists from Syria to Iraq”.

Many of the detained terror suspects were lifted by American transport helicopters from the giant Al Houl camp near Hasaka city and relocated to western Iraq. Rather than handing over these illegal militants to advancing Syrian state forces, the Pentagon seems intent on holding on to its proxy assets. Maybe to fight in a renewed insurgency against Syria or elsewhere that Washington designates for regime-change operation.

In separate media reports, US forces are also being relocated from eastern Syria to set up bases in western Iraq. This suggests a concerted consolidation between US military forces and the terror groups which were used to wage the failed war in Syria.

Whenever Washington’s political class has descended into name-calling and smearing based on clueless prejudice and paranoia, and whenever the stark truth of America’s criminal war-making is roundly rejected – indeed twisted to demonize truth-tellers like Tulsi Gabbard – then we surely know that the USA now stands for the United States of [Mental] Asylum.

October 28, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia | , , | 3 Comments

Russia, China & India to set up alternative to SWIFT payment system to connect 3 billion people

RT | October 28, 2019

Members of the BRICS trade bloc Russia, India, and China have decided to connect their financial messaging systems to bypass the SWIFT international money transfer network.

Russia’s financial messaging system SPFS will be linked with the Chinese cross-border interbank payment system CIPS. While India does not have a domestic financial messaging system yet, it plans to combine the Central Bank of Russia’s platform with a domestic service that is in development.

The new system is expected to work as a “gateway” model when messages on payments are transcoded in accordance with a certain financial system.

According to Izvestia, the parties involved will work on a single platform, without experiencing any difficulties with transactions.

Russia began development of SPFS in 2014 amid Washington’s threats to disconnect the country from SWIFT. The first transaction on the SPFS network involving a non-bank enterprise was made in December 2017.

“We have an opportunity to connect both foreign banks and foreign legal entities to the SPFS. Today, about 400 users are participating in the system. Agreements have already been concluded with eight foreign banks and 34 legal entities,” Alla Bakina, the director of the Bank of Russia’s national payment system, was cited as saying by Vesti.

Bakina explained that traffic through the system has been growing and currently accounts for around 15 percent of all internal traffic, up from 10-11 percent last year.

The EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union) countries are currently working with the Bank of Russia on technical options for connecting to the SPFS. Iran, which has officially joined the Russia-led free-trade zone (EAEU) this month also seeks to develop a joint alternative to SWIFT. Last year, SWIFT cut off some Iranian banks from its messaging system.

SWIFT is based in Belgium, but its board includes executives from American banks with US federal law allowing the administration to act against banks and regulators across the globe.

Instead of SWIFT, a system that facilitates cross-border payments between 11,000 financial institutions in more than 200 countries worldwide, Moscow and Tehran will use their own domestically developed financial messaging systems to conduct trade.

October 28, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 2 Comments

Al-Baghdadi Raid is the US Empire “Creating Reality”

The latest attack on Syria, whatever the truth of it, is an exercise in narrative control

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | October 28, 2019

Apparently the United States killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi yesterday. US Special Forces allegedly killed the ISIS leader during a raid on a stronghold in Idlib.

As far as we know, this man was already dead. Maybe twice. He reportedly faked his death once as well.

The debate about whether or not Baghdadi was killed by US Special Forces, killed himself with a suicide vest, is still alive or died years ago has raged all day.

Trump says he died like a coward. The Russians maintain they have no data suggesting any attack was carried out at all. But that is far from conclusive.

From a domestic point of view, the purpose of the attack is fairly obvious: Donald Trump has an election coming up, and potential Presidents like nothing more than being seen to be tough. That means taking out some “bad guys”.

Of course, none of that matters.

It doesn’t matter what happened, it doesn’t matter why it happened and it doesn’t matter whether who it (allegedly) happened to was real, or alive… or otherwise.

Because, as always, the problem is not the specifics. It’s the principle and the precedent.

Let’s just assume that – for the first time in its entire existence – the Pentagon is telling the exact truth about both its actions, and the motives for those actions.

Well, then this is still unacceptable.

The United States is publicly claiming the right to carry out military strikes on foreign soil for the purpose of conducting extra-judicial executions.

This is completely illegal.

Syria is a sovereign state. Whatever the motivation for the alleged raid, carrying it out without the cooperation or permission of the legitimate government of Syria was illegal.

al-Baghdadi was (is?) not a US citizen, or an enemy combatant, and has never been convicted of any crime, in any court, by anyone. Whether or not he is alive… he as a right to be alive under the UN Charter of Human Rights.

And we’re all forgetting that.

Just a few weeks ago Trump announced the US was “pulling out” of Syria. Well, we now know what we suspected at the time, that the announcement is meaningless. This “raid” is their way of saying “just kidding!”

ISIS will still be used as they have always been used: as an excuse for the United States to occupy, attack, destabilise and control the Middle East.

Lost in this hubbub about ISIS, and Hollywood theatricals about daring night-raids on enemy compounds, the United States marched soldiers into North-Eastern Syria to “protect” oil fields.

At the end of the day THAT is really what this was about. Not hurting ISIS, or fighting terrorism, or even making Donald look cool to Rust Belt patriots… it was about an Empire acting as they would, and us letting them. It was about narrative control.

Don’t forget the famous quote from Karl Rove:

We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

When we argue about the specifics we let those in power control the conversation.

The US broke international law, and claim it as an achievement. They ignore borders and treaties and conventions on a whim, and we are so used to it we’re debating their motives and their effectiveness.

They proclaim loudly that they’re above the law. And, in letting them set that conversation, we agree with them. Even in our outrage.

October 28, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , | 3 Comments

Is the ‘Greater Albania’ Project Aimed Against Russia in the Balkans?

Preševo Valley, Serbia.
By Paul Antonopoulos | October 28, 2019

A project for Greater Albania – conspiracy or legitimate? According to a 2010 Gallup Balkan Monitor report, 83% of Albanians in Albania supported the idea of a Greater Albania, with 81% and 53% of Albanians in Kosovo and North Macedonia respectively supporting such an ambition.

The ultimate goal? To have Kosovo and the Preševo Valley in Serbia, southern Montenegro, Epirus in Greece and western North Macedonia into a single Greater Albanian state. Although this may not be official policy of the Albanian Republic, it is ingrained into the Albanian mythos. The very idea of a Greater Albania has roots in the 1913 Treaty of London that left roughly 40% of the Albanian population outside the newly established Albanian country. This has been something that the U.S. could weaponize against Russian influence in the Balkans.

Despite the heroics of Albanian national figure and anti-Ottoman guerrilla leader Gjergj Kastrioti, more commonly known as Skënderbej, the Albanians became loyal Ottoman subjects and were used as colonists in more restive and disloyal areas of the empire, especially those inhabited by the Serbs, Bulgarians and Greeks. They often became a majority over the initial inhabitants, like what happened in Kosovo and western North Macedonia.

Although the idea of a Greater Albania may seem like an exaggerated conspiracy, to the Serbian people this is anything but. The Serbian mythos finds itself in the 1389 Battle of Kosovo, where despite their courage, Serbian Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović was martyred and his forces routed by the Ottoman invaders. Although the Serbs achieved sovereignty over Kosovo with the downfall of the Ottoman Empire, the region had already become an Albanian majority on Ottoman orders to weaken Serbian identity to the region.

Kosovo became an autonomous region of Serbia after the establishment of socialist Yugoslavia in the aftermath of World War Two and retained its Albanian-majority. The 1990’s proved this was always a weak point of Serbia. With the U.S. sponsoring the violent destruction of Yugoslavia in the early 1990’s, the status of Kosovo was left unresolved, culminating in the terrorist-led war against the Yugoslav state (in which Serbia was the successor of) in 1999.

The terrorist ethnic-Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), with the backing of NATO and the Albanian Republic, defeated Yugoslav forces. The United Nations and NATO assumed control of the territory, which eventually declared independence in 2008. Since then the region has become a heroin ‘smugglers paradise,’ and a hub for human trafficking, organ harvesting and arms trafficking.

It is for this reason that in an interview on Saturday, the former Serbian Chief of General Staff, General Ljubisa Dikovic, discussed the project for a Greater Albania. Dikovic believes that the area of ​​the Balkan Peninsula cannot be peaceful because of unresolved issues like Kosovo.

“There can easily be big problems if things get out of hand. I hope that there will be enough wisdom and intelligence and that everyone will do what we do, in terms of strengthening security, cooperation and trust. I am free to say that we are in the lead because I do not see on other sides showing desire to build peace. After all, the issue of ‘Greater Albania’ is a matter of the highest security risk. We can ask why this is happening now with Albania and [North] Macedonia? It might be waiting to create a ‘Greater Albania’,” Dikovic said.

His comments come as the economic situation in Kosovo continues to deteriorate and becomes even more reliant upon foreign aid and donations from the unilateral behaving U.S., their former Ottoman masters in Turkey that had gifted lands to them hundreds of years earlier, and Germany who effectively rules the European Union.

The former military man’s comments also come as Serbia leads Exercise “Slovenian Shield 2019” with Russia. Although some Slavic tribes broke off and headed south into the Balkans sometime at around 600AD, they maintained their Slavic kinship with the Russians and shared Christian Orthodox faith, ensuring Serbia has always had a pro-Russia view. Albanian expansionism has therefore become a natural ally of the U.S. to limit Russian influence in the Balkans.

However, this begs the question then why strong efforts for Albanian independence in Greece, Montenegro and North Macedonia has been weak in comparison to those in Serbia. Greece has been a long-time loyal NATO member, with the exception of the disintegration of Yugoslavia, and therefore does not pose a threat to U.S. hegemony in the Balkans, protecting Greece from destabilization efforts via Albanian expansionism. Although Montenegro and North Macedonia also share Slavic kinship with the Serbs and Russians, as well as the Orthodox faith, they have proven to have Globalist ambitions, wanting to join NATO and the EU.

Serbia remains the only anti-EU/NATO state in the Balkans that is overwhelmingly pro-Russia. It is for this reason that Dikovic wants to renew compulsory military service, stating: “One should not gamble and think that there will be no conflict and risk. It is not only up to us, but we must have an answer to everything.”

Although the overwhelming majority of Albanians want a Greater Albania, it is unlikely to be achieved with Washington’s backing in Greece, Montenegro and North Macedonia as they do not pose a threat to U.S. hegemony in the Balkans, but rather serve it, while not encouraging Russian influence in the region. As Serbia is a pro-Russian island in a hostile region, it will continue to be targeted by Albanian expansionism with U.S. backing. Will this drive for expansionism violently spill over into the Preševo Valley? That remains to be seen.

Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies.

October 28, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Trump Flip-Flops on Syria Withdrawal. Again.

By Ron Paul | October 28, 2019

President Trump is reversing his foreign policy decisions so quickly these days that it almost seems like he overturns himself before making the decision in the first place. Last week he was very clear that the US was pulling its troops out of Syria. “Bringing soldiers home,” he said. “Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand.”

But then he overturned himself later in the same speech. He said: “We’ve secured the oil and therefore a small number of US troops will remain in the area where they have the oil. And we’re going to be protecting it and we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.”

Where does President Trump think he gets the legal or moral authority to send US troops to illegally occupy foreign territory and determine what that foreign country can or cannot do with its resources? After eight years of Obama’s disastrous “Assad must go” policy, during which the US provided weapons and training to radicals and terrorists with a half million people killed as a result, President Trump had the opportunity to finally close that dark chapter of US foreign policy so the Syrian people could rebuild their country.

Instead he sat down on Thursday with Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been wrong in every foreign policy position he’s ever taken, and decided to follow Graham’s advice to take Syria’s oil. Even though Trump himself has said many times that ISIS is 100 percent defeated, he claims we must take Syria’s oil to keep it from ISIS.

The real reason the neocons want the US military to occupy Syria’s oil fields is they are still convinced they can overthrow Assad by carving out eastern Syria for the Kurds. They don’t want to keep the oil from ISIS, they want to keep it from the Syrian government. They don’t want the oil revenue to be used to help rebuild the country because they still want to make life more unbearable for the population through sanctions so they will overthrow Assad. They don’t care how many innocent civilians die.

So instead of bringing the troops home like he promised, President Trump has allowed himself to be convinced to actually expand the US presence in eastern Syria! Instead of ending a foolish mission, he’s giving them an even more foolish mission – and sending in more troops and weapons. Instead of removing the approximately 200 troops in that region as promised, Trump is going to add more troops to equal about a thousand. He’s also sending in tanks and other armored vehicles, according to the Pentagon.

If President Trump believes following neocon advice on Syria is going to produce results different than the past eight years of following neocon advice on Syria, he’s naïve or worse. This new mission is going to cost tens of millions of dollars per month and will only serve to inspire the next generation of radicals. Trump is right that the people of the region, including Russia, Iran, Syria, and Turkey have all the incentive to keep ISIS at bay. So why does he fold like a cheap suit every time the neocons strong-arm him into another dumb foreign policy position?

Copyright © 2019 by RonPaul Institute.

October 28, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment