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Airlines are in freefall amid Covid-19 pandemic, but why should taxpayers foot the bill?

RT | April 25, 2020

Airlines are turning to governments for rescue money – but bailing out the massive capitalist ventures makes about as much sense as leaving the middle row empty to avoid the virus.

With the world in a tailspin from Covid-19, airlines are in for a bumpy ride – and some of them are inevitably going to crash and burn. Everything may be up in the air but one thing is for certain: flying will never be the same again.

Air travel will be a much different beast when this lockdown nightmare is over. Some airlines and EU states now want to introduce in-flight social distancing with the middle seats left vacant, as part of a set of new rules to be announced next month. There’s also talk about airlines cancelling or reducing their in-flight food and beverages service to reduce interaction.

There will no doubt be some other regulations, such as compulsory facemasks, tedious longer queues when boarding, and temperature taking – which is almost pointless because some Covid-19 carriers will be asymptomatic.

But the middle seat rule is an “idiotic” proposal, as Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary quite rightly pointed out the other day.

It doesn’t make any sense when we’re all supposed to keep two meters apart, but the distance between seats is only 50cm wide on an average Ryanair plane. Sure, some scientists claim you can catch the virus once you’ve spent 15 minutes in its presence – which, if actually true, would mean it wouldn’t matter if you were sitting beside someone or three rows back.

Its only true effect here is a psychological one, to artificially restore confidence to get bums back on seats. I’m not a fan of the unpopular Irishman – who comes across like the Grinch who stole Christmas at the best of times – but O’Leary made a very valid point when he told the Financial Times: “Either the government pays for the middle seat or we won’t fly.”

The last time I checked, Ryanair was in the business of making money and not burning it, which is exactly what would happen if they’re forced to fly at only 66 percent capacity. Airlines need this like a hole in the head, especially since they’re already grappling with the daunting prospects of less routes and less frequency, which will hike up prices as well.

Some financial experts estimate ticket prices could increase by 50 percent – but I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up being even higher. One thing is certain: the days of cheap flash ticket sales are well and truly over for the foreseeable future.

There would be absolutely no appetite to bailout Ryanair if the airline that people love to hate found itself in troubled waters. Yet there’s a strong desire amongst some British commentators to rescue Virgin Atlantic, which can only be put down to blind patriotism for what would’ve been perceived as a Rule Britannia success story – up until now.

One of the first airlines to slump into administration this week was Virgin Australia and it looks like Virgin Atlantic could be next in line to wave goodbye.

Some airlines have already been bailed out in the US and EU, which is the most foolish move since the banks were rescued in the noughties. These capitalists’ enterprises should live and die by their own sword, which is why I’ve absolutely no sympathy for Richard Branson who sounds out-of-touch to me.

Considering he’s a tax exile, Branson insulted the British people when he went cap in hand – or rather with deeds-to-island in hand – to ask the UK government to bail out “his” airline (Delta owns 49 percent) to the tune of £565mn. The billionaire had some brass neck offering up Necker Island as the collateral as it’s reportedly “only” worth £80mn. But there’s definitely a nice little profit there, considering he purchased it for a low six figures in 1979.

Virgin Atlantic doesn’t appear to have very much in terms of assets, as far as I’m aware, which would make it a risky gamble for the British government if it went belly-up. Branson says his main goal is to save jobs, but in such turbulent times, Boris Johnson would get more of a return on the money by investing it elsewhere to create jobs in more sustainable industries. Surely anything is bound to be less risky than the airline business at the moment.

If Branson is genuinely concerned about saving jobs, as he claims, then his best – and certainly more honourable option – is to offer to sell his interest in Virgin Atlantic to the British government. At this point, it would make more sense to nationalise it.

It speaks volumes that Delta – despite receiving $5.4 billion from the Trump administration already and seeking an additional $4.6 billion loan from US taxpayers – is refusing to invest another dime in Branson’s baby. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater!

The money Branson needs is a drop in the ocean compared to the $10 billion Delta is looking to get its grubby hands on, which makes you wonder if the American airline is either confident Boris Johnson will offer Branson a parachute, or has perhaps already accepted Virgin Atlantic will end up dead in the water sooner or later.

As we face what’s going to be the worst recession since the Great Depression, Transatlantic travel is going to be increasingly more of a luxury than ever before, and business trips will be curtailed, probably more frequently replaced with Zoom, which could eventually kill off Virgin Atlantic in the long run anyway – just like how video killed the radio star.

It’s going to be a hard landing for those airlines lucky enough to survive this crisis, but there’s little or no benefit in any government bailing out any of those that crash and burn now because the market will have significantly shrunk after the pandemic.

Jason O’Toole has worked as a senior feature writer for the Irish Daily Mail, a columnist with the Irish Sunday Mirror and senior editor of Hot Press magazine. He is also the author of several best-selling books.

April 25, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment

Deception – Submarines against Olof Palme

thersites | April 22, 2020

Background:

In the early 1980s, Sweden was haunted by several hundred sightings of mysterious submarines, causing much panic in public opinion and greatly embarrassing the non-aligned Social Democrat government led by Olof Palme and its efforts to create detente in Europe.

In 1981, a Soviet submarine had run aground in Swedish territorial waters, and the Soviets consequently got blamed for every subsequent sighting over the nest half decade,

10 years later, high ranking US and British officials causally revealed in interviews that NATO had sent submarines into Swedish waters – with the Swedish Navy High Command being informed of the matter, but with neither the Swedish militar brass nor US/UK/NATO informing the elected Swedish government.

After the assassination of Olof Palme in 1986 and the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s, the sightings disappeared – only for the submarines turn up again in 2014, during the New Cold War.

(Director; Dirk Pohlmann)

April 25, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Scientific Study Traces the Evolution and Migration of SARS-CoV-2. Where did the Virus Originate?

Review of an Important Peer Reviewed PNAS Study entitled Phylogenetic network analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genomes, by Peter Forster, Lucy Forster, Colin Renfrew, and Michael Forster

By Allen Yu | Global Research | April 24, 2020

Phylogenetic network analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genomes by Peter Forster, Lucy Forster, Colin Renfrew, and Michael Forster published by the Proceedings of the  National Academy of Sciences of the United Sciences of America (PNAS)focuses on a study of the genomes of 160 covid-19 patients.

As readers may know, viruses are RNA-based entities that periodically and regularly undergo mutations. One can study these mutations and almost like clockwork trace their evolution – i.e. their lineage and migration pattern.

The authors specifically employed a methodology known as “character-based phylogenetic networks”. The technique has been used as the “method of choice” to reconstruct prehistoric human population movements, language evolution, various ecological studies, and some 10,000 phylogenetic studies of diverse organisms – and now virology.

This is an early study – the sample size is only 160 humans – with 100 types. However, the results are stunning. Among the key conclusions:

  1. There are three major types of coronaviruses, A, B, and C, with type A being the ancestor of SARS-CoV-2 in humans and showing 96.2% similarly to a particular strain of virus in bats.
  2. Most of the viruses in China and Wuhan are of type B while most of the viruses found in America, Europe and Australia are of type A and C. Type C is not found in Mainland China but is found in significant numbers in Hong Kong, S. Korea, and Taiwan.
  3. While Type B is found in large numbers across Mainland China (including Wuhan), it is not found in significant numbers around the rest of the world.
  4. The methodology used was successfully used to trace several clinically verified cases of virus travel from Wuhan out to various nations, including Brazil and Italy. As such, the authors conclude the “character-based phylogenetic networks” methodology was useful and appropriate for studying the spread and evolution of the coronavirus.
  5. Yet, according to the methodology, the earliest sample of virus studied – collected on December 24 2019 in Wuhan – WAS NOT close to being the ancestor of SARS-CoV-2.

According to the authors:

In a phylogenetic network analysis of 160 complete human severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2) genomes, we find three central variants distinguished by amino acid changes, which we have named A, B, and C, with A being the ancestral type according to the bat outgroup coronavirus. The A and C types are found in significant proportions outside East Asia, that is, in Europeans and Americans. In contrast, the B type is the most common type in East Asia, and its ancestral genome appears not to have spread outside East Asia without first mutating into derived B types, pointing to founder effects or immunological or environmental resistance against this type outside Asia. (To read the complete scientific report in pdf click here)

Some observations…

First, most of the viruses in the West do not seem to have arisen from China. The authors identified Type B as the main virus type found in Mainland China, with that Type mostly confined to Mainland China and Types A and C predominant outside China – including U.S., Europe and Australia.

Two reasons given for why Type B variants (“China’s virus,” if you must) did not expand much beyond Mainland China: one being “complex founder scenario” and second “the ancestral Wuhan B-type virus is immunologically or environmentally adapted to a large section of the East Asian population, and may need to mutate to overcome resistance outside East Asia.”

Since I have yet to see any reputable studies that shows any strains of the coronavirus having any affinity or dislike to any ethnicity of people, let’s focus on “complex founder scenario” and “environment” resistance.

The authors have noted many perplexities in the study. But if we consider the possibility that coronavirus did not originate in Wuhan, those perplexities all go away. More specifically, let’s presume a scenario where the virus was already circulating under the radar in the West and were carried to Wuhan in December or some time before, where it then spread locally within China.

Consider the fact that the authors had noted that Type B variants outside China did not show the “one-month” variations that would have been expected were Type B variants and descents to have traveled out of China to infect the rest of the world.

But if Type B variants – including Type C “descendants” – were already communally established and transmitted outside China, then this paradox easily goes away.

Assuming the virus to have been brought to Wuhan instead of originating from Wuhan would also constitute a “complex founding scenario” that the author hypothesized could solve the riddle.

This assumption also provides an explanation for the “environmental resistance” the author hypothesized. If the virus arrived in Wuhan with the Chinese authorities quickly closing down the city soon afterwards, the virus would not have had chance to spread to the rest of the world. The Chinese government’s shutting down of Wuhan in January could easily form the “environmental resistance” the authors hypothesized for the Type B virus.

Finally, it is important to note that in this study, of the 160 samples, most are from patients in China, only a few from outside Asia. In this study, the authors had tentatively labelled Type C as a descendant of Type B found in China. But while Type B is found mostly in Wuhan, it has also been found in significant numbers outside China. As more data from outside China comes live (one hopes soon), the same methodology will probably reveal that the predecessor to Type B and Type C arose outside not inside China. Type A and Type C thus all arose outside China and independently of China.

While the current study is China-centric (most data are from China), it already has established that the virus did not arise in Wuhan. The authors noted importantly in the data supplement section, “the oldest isolate from 24 December 2019 (brown node, week 0) lies diagonally opposite to the bat virus outgroup root.”

As we get more data, studies such as this will shed a lot of light on the origins of the coronavirus. It is really too bad, such a shame that the U.S. and Europe has missed such critical times testing and tracking the viral flow. It is worth noting that U.S. officials are blaming China for the virus. But even with limited data, the authors have been able draw some preliminary conclusions regarding the geographic origins of the virus.

***

The title of the PNAS article is:

Phylogenetic network analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genomes (pdf)

authors: Peter Forster , Institute of Forensic Genetics, Münster, Germany, Lucy Forster, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, Colin Renfrew, Fluxus Technology Limited, Colchester, UK, and Michael Forster, Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, Christian-Albrecht University of Kiel, Germany

***

Copyright © Allen Yu, Global Research, 2020

April 25, 2020 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment

Israel and World Jewry

By Evan Jones | American Herald Tribune | April 24, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic hits the world. Undeterred, the Israeli forces of Occupation (including the settlers) escalate the rampage and the outrages. Murders, harassment and arrests, home demolitions, destruction and/or theft of virus aid equipment and food and brutalizing of aid workers, Gaza crop poisoning on a grand scale, West Bank crop destruction, etc. Spitting on Palestinians is now de rigueur. Business as usual. Sadism on a grand scale. Whence the motivation? And the collective psychological reward? The Jewish God is a militant deity.

Israel is a pariah state. It is an apartheid state in its construction, [1] from its inception as an ethnocracy, not one for which the label ‘apartheid’ is merely a dangerous prospect on the horizon with a completely colonized West Bank.

How does Israel survive as such, given that apartheid South Africa has disappeared into history. It survives essentially because of support from the institutionalized structures of establishment world Jewry. Period.

Don’t talk Christian Zionists, as they are a side issue, crazies succoured to dilute the central causal lineage.

The US umbrella is tangibly of enormous importance. But behind the White House compliance is the Zionist lobby, from Truman onward (albeit with occasional wobbles). The Zionist lobby owns Congress; those members they don’t own they simply extrude (starting with William Fulbright in 1974, Paul Findley, Pete McCloskey, Cynthia McKinney, etc.). The massive role of the US in supporting Israel is a product of institutionalized American Jewry – now centred on the peak body AIPAC.[2] The argument that US support of Israel is an instrumental means of projecting US power in the Middle East is diversionary; the posited hierarchy of master and proxy won’t wash. Cui bono?

The Zionist lobby only recently destroyed what was left of the integrity of the British Labour Party, installing a functionary at its head. The British state is Zionist-occupied territory; ditto that of France, Germany (hobbled by the Jewish holocaust), Canada and Australia.

Israel, as a racist state, is engaged in criminality sui generis. It was a guaranteed outcome known from the start. Theodore Herzl noted (1896):

‘An infiltration [of Jewish migrants to Palestine] is bound to end badly. It continues to the inevitable moment when the native population feels itself threatened … Immigration is consequently futile unless based on an assured supremacy’. Violence was implicit in Zionism from the outset.[3]

The native population felt itself threatened immediately, but the Zionist movement found solace and then salvation in the arrival of World War, the Balfour Declaration and subsequently the British Mandate over Palestine. Until the Zionists could muster the firepower to create its ‘promised land’ unilaterally by terrorism. That firepower was acquired from British training en masse, just prior to World War II (to quell the Arab rebellion) and during the War itself.

As David Hirst notes, regarding the massacres and bombings by Jewish forces in response to the MacDonald White Paper of May 1939: [4]

‘The ideological roots of ‘gun Zionism reach back to Theodor Herzl himself. It was inevitable, as he foresaw, that armed force would eventually come into its own as the principal instrument of a movement which, in its earlier and weaker phase, could only rely on the protection of an imperial sponsor. That phase was now drawing to a close.’

Israeli criminality must be sheeted home to the personnel within the institutions of the Israeli state – politicians, the military and intelligence services, the judiciary, etc. They are crimes of individuals, groupings, institutionalized, the personnel being uniformly Jewish.

Isn’t this criminality bad for world Jewry and what it means to be Jewish? Apparently not. Establishment Jewish institutions, with one voice, sign up for Israel’s crimes. More, support of Israel is their raison d’être – all while simultaneously shedding crocodile tears about anti-Semitism. The global Jewish community, whether Jewish individuals like it or not, is implicated in Israeli criminality by the dominant Jewish organizations who claim to speak for national Jewish communities.

The Wikipedia entry of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), clearly sanctioned by its subject, notes: ‘The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, represents the interests of the Australian Jewish community to …’. Here’s a representative conflation of the interests of the state of Israel and of a national Jewish community in its entirety.

John Lyons was Middle East correspondent for The Australian newspaper during 2009-15. His Balcony Over Jerusalem [5] is notable for the attention paid to the lobby. Like all budding Middle East correspondents, Lyons was inevitably the subject of attempted seduction and, failing that, subsequently the subject of escalating attacks for his endeavour to fulfil his role as independent reporter. A senior Israeli military officer observed to Lyons: ‘The Israel lobby in Australia is the most powerful lobby in the world in terms of impact it has within its own country’.

The nation-based lobby works to ensure that its own government (whichever Party is in power) remains complacent, acquiescent, if not blood red in support. It also works tirelessly to control the information flow. Because Israel stinks, disinformation (lies, counter-narratives, fairy stories) and censorship have to be an integral part of the lobby’s activities. Lyons recounts how, in particular, AIJAC’s Colin Rubenstein constantly pressured senior management at The Australian to close down his reporting. (Senior management of the Murdoch-owned paper supported Lyons, in spite of the attempted scuttling by a middle level editor).

The other major Australian media chain, Fairfax (now Nine Entertainment), owner of the major Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra dailies, has faced the same pressure. Ditto the publicly-owned television stations ABC & SBS. Fairfax/Nine has persistently caved in, granting privileged access to the opinion and letters pages to pro-Israel apologists. An ex-Fairfax journalist, friend, confirms that the pressure of the lobby on management was relentless and intolerable.

In early January, in the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age we have Rubenstein glorifying the assassination of Qasem Soleimani as ‘arch-terrorist’, presiding over a claimed multi-tentacled terrorist expansionist reach of Iran in the Middle East, destabilising everything in its wake. Rubenstein even has Iran behind the assassination of Lebanon’s Rafiq Hariri in 2005. Surprisingly, the online comments editor allowed multiple responses from ‘woke’ readers to Rubenstein as an Israel front man, whereas editors scrupulously deny such feedback in the print version of the newspaper. In the same issue of the papers we have an AIPAC flunkey claiming on cue that the essential issue behind US-Iran escalating tension is ‘the pressing need to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons’, bizarrely accusing Iran of undermining the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal.

Rubenstein was in the Herald again in late January, claiming that plenipotentiary Jared Kushner’s ‘Middle East Peace Plan (sic)’, in the formulation of which no Palestinian authorities were invited, is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Thus are Australians fed the regular odious drip, very rarely opposed in print, of the innate necessity and justice of Israel’s criminality.

Rather than the association between Israel and its global Jewish community support being severed as the daily brutality of the Israeli forces of Occupation accumulates, the association has recently been reinforced. The notable vehicle for this reinforcement has been the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and its ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism. The Definition skirts over ‘Holocaust Remembrance’ but pays majority attention to the treatment of Israel.

Thus we find that rational criticism, driven by conventional humanitarian principles, of Israel’s criminality is labelled anti-Semitic. More, IHRA personnel and Jewish organizations flog this definition, pressuring, pressuring national governments into submission to accept the definition and to act as repressive agents against free-thinking citizens of those countries.

And to those who object? The issue is concisely contained in a recent skirmish in faraway New Zealand. The brief report on stuff.nz deserves quoting at length. It turns out that the Wellington Jewish Council had requested New Zealand’s capital city to adopt the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism. But the Wellington Progressive Synagogue objected, claiming that the definition ‘had the potential to conflate antisemitism with anti-Zionism (opposition to the state of Israel), as it had already done overseas’. Too kind – not ‘potential’, as the point of the definition is precisely to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

Said Progressive Synagogue spokespersons: ‘Its new effect is to regulate the speech of people like ourselves: law-abiding non-Zionists who call for the unexceptional application of law and human rights in Israel/Palestine; Jews and non-Jews alike’. Quite.

The NZ Jewish Council responded that ‘the IHRA definition explicitly stated criticism of Israel could not be regarded as antisemitic’. A dishonest retort. The text includes the sentence ‘… criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic’. But this is transparently a ruse to deflect from the substance of the definition’s text for which the sentence is an aberration. And the meaning of ‘similar to that levelled against any other country’? Criticisms of Israel are aimed precisely at structures and practices that set it apart from other countries, including some countries that are utterly on the nose. The IHRA mob mean – we will be the arbiters of what is acceptable criticism. But, in truth, what is ‘acceptable’ criticism is an empty set.

But here’s the clincher. The Jewish Council continues: ‘The writers of the opinion piece were “fringe” and did not have a mandate to speak on behalf of the Jewish community – unlike the Jewish Council’.

‘Fringe’? ‘Mandate’? This is it in a nutshell. If you don’t support Israel 100 per cent, you aren’t a real Jew. And on what basis does the Jewish Council’s presumed ‘mandate’ rest?

Michelle Weinroth, author and member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada, nails the fraud and duplicity behind the IHRA push:

‘If the IHRA definition turns a blind eye to the veritable culprits of heinous racism, it nonetheless targets the anti-racist defenders of Palestinian human rights, many of whom are conscientious Jews. … it masquerades as an innocuous, educational, and preventative measure while acting as a penal code that aggresses the advocates of human rights, silencing them with veiled threats. … At its heart sits a false equation between the state of Israel and Jews more generally.’

A false equation between Israel and Jews ‘more generally’. Here’s another one. Recently brought to light, an earlier tussle took place in September 1991 when Israel demanded a $10 billion loan guarantee, which President George H Bush viewed as a means of undermining the forthcoming Madrid peace conference (Blankfort, fn.2). Bush Sr threatened to deny Israel the loan guarantees if the large contingent of migrants from the Soviet Union were to be directed into West Bank settlements. Philip Weiss reports:

‘The Israel lobby group the American Jewish Committee (AJC) decided to support the Israeli government against the White House in 1991 over illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank, even though many officials at the organization privately backed the president. The AJC reasoned that a leading Jewish organization in Washington had a “primary responsibility” to stand up for Israel because the country represents the “collective will” of the Jewish people, an AJC official says.’

Israel represents the collective will of the Jewish people? Were ‘the Jewish people’ consulted?

One of the more remarkable attempts to associate Israel with the ‘collective will’ of the Jewish people, via the conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, is a statement by one Robert Wistrich to the UN Commission on Human Rights, published on 10 September 2004.[6] Wistrich’s parents’ lives were blighted by anti-Semitism, and his subsequent stellar academic career was devoted to this very subject. Yet this statement is a wretched mishmash, devoid of logic and history, and conveniently oblivious to Israeli criminality. And this during the Prime Ministership of noted humanist Ariel Sharon. Wistrich claims:

‘Much of the mobilizing power of “anti-Zionism” derives from its link to the Palestinian cause. Since the 1960s, the [Palestine Liberation Organization] has worked hard to totally delegitimize Zionism and the policy has largely succeeded: this anti-Zionism involves a total negation of Jewish nationhood and legitimate Jewish sovereignty in Eretz Israel …’

Legitimate sovereignty in Eretz Israel? Sure. Wistrich’s tribalism has overridden his rigorous academic training. Curious, there are no Jewish dissenters in his grab bag of mad dog anti-Semites in a pragmatic coalition all aimed at the destruction of Israel.

Wistrich couldn’t really avoid this elephant in the room, so he grabbed the bull by the horns in a 2014 issue of Commentary (preaching to the converted). [7] Well-known Jewish intellectuals who don’t toe the Party line are accused of having been mentally and morally captured by infantile Marxism, etc., and/or anti-Americanism, their left-wing blinkered obsessions then finding its next object of abuse post-Vietnam in Israel. Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, Howard Zinn (‘Hatred for America, the West, and Israel thrives beneath the cloak of human rights and social justice’), Eric Hobsbawm, Shlomo Sand, Ilan Pappé – all are excoriated for their sins.

In particular, Wistrich couldn’t have ignored Shlomo Sand, whose cannon volleys in The Invention of the Jewish People (2009) and The Invention of the Land of Israel (2012) blasted Wistrich’s self-assured self-righteousness to shreds. Wistrich dismisses Sand (‘his pseudoscientific delegitimization of Israel’) as merely having ‘revived long-discredited theories – such as Arthur Koestler’s deranged notion that Ashkenazi Jews sprang from Khazars who converted in the 10th century C.E.’. Wistrich ignored that Sand, in genuine scholarly fashion, put Koestler’s The Thirteenth Tribe (1976) into context with a considerable literature on the same theme.

The rhetoric of these contemptible lefties, claims Wistrich, ‘divorced from historical truth and geopolitical reality, negates any possibility of reform or redress concerning genuine grievances’. Genuine grievances? A chink in the armour? How could there be grievances against Israel that were genuine (the ‘empty set’ again), and who would decide? Evidently not the Palestinian victims or their Jewish sympathizers.

We have a comparable affair when French elder statesman Robert Badinter addressed UNESCO in December 2016,[8] appropriating Holocaust remembrance to plug Israel as synonymous with Jewry per se. Badinter played the same card as Wistrich:

‘What is certain is that in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, anti-Semitism has once again spread widely under the name of anti-Zionism. We must have the lucidity to recognize that under this label that refers to Zionism, it is indeed the Jews, and Jews everywhere, who are targeted. And I would say that anti-Zionism under the surface is nothing but the contemporary expression of anti-Semitism, namely, hatred of the Jews.’

The ‘not in my name’ communities, declining to join wholeheartedly the cause of Israel über alles, have been written out of the story. Einstein, Freud, Arendt, camp survivors like Hajo Meyer; individual authors, bloggers and/or activists; non-compliant Jewish organizations; Israeli human rights organizations; etc. It’s the Spinoza syndrome – ignored if too famous; otherwise excommunicated because ‘self-hating’ Jews, ‘fringe’ elements, etc.

When Hannah Arendt published Eichmann in Jerusalem,[9] highlighting the bureaucrat over the monster, even her fame didn’t save her from damnation. Daniel Maier-Katkin highlights the ongoing character assassination and its character:[10]

‘[A] campaign against the memory of Hannah Arendt continues, and the ideology that rationalizes and justifies ad hominem attacks and menacing gestures against Jews who dare to criticize Israel persists. As Rabbi [Michael] Lerner and Justice [Richard] Goldstone have learned, a Jew who fears that Israel is on a path that leads to destruction, or who is skeptical of a “divine mission to possess the land,” or concerned about the legality or morality of unrelenting military strategies to secure regional domination, will be attacked as self-hating and anti-Semitic.

‘To hate oneself is ipso facto pathological, and this, it is asserted, leads to irrational hatred of Israel, which is seen as the embodiment of the Jewish people. Thus, defenders of Israeli policies aim to exclude Jewish critics from public discourse by defining them as crazy persons, driven to anti-Semitism by self-loathing. In this way Lerner’s criticism of Israel, or Goldstone’s, or Arendt’s is dismissed as arising from psychological or spiritual disturbance rather than reasoned argument or an ethical posture. Calumny, an old-fashioned blend of slander, distortion, and innuendo, has been a recurring instrument of intimidation in post-Holocaust Jewish politics.’

In sum, Israeli state and settler criminality persist because it is supported uniformly by dominant national Jewish bodies, with de facto support and/or passivity from sections of the Jewish population. This institutionalized structure never fails to claim that it acts for Jewry in its entirety. Dissidents from the demand for unqualified support are cast aside from the tribe.

Is it not then possible, indeed probable, that some cool-headed people will reason that it is appropriate to become an anti-Semite? A stance rooted not in a time-worn shibboleth, but on the seeming support of the vast majority of world Jewry for Israeli criminality and inhumanity? Ersatz anti-Semitism (criticism of Israel), manufactured by the Zionist lobby as cover-up, thus potentially fosters substantive anti-Semitism. The real thing.

The Canadian (Jewish) philosopher Michael Neumann earlier nailed the implications:[11]

‘Inflating the meaning of ‘anti-Semitism’ to include anything politically damaging to Israel is a double-edged sword. … The more things get to count as anti-Semitic, the less awful anti-Semitism is going to sound. …

‘Since we are obliged to oppose the settlements, we are obliged to be anti-Semitic. Through definitional inflation, some form of anti-Semitism becomes morally obligatory. It gets worse if anti-Zionism is labelled anti-Semitic… The more anti-Semitism expands to include opposition to Israeli policies, the better it looks.

‘Given the crimes to be laid at the feet of Zionism, there is another simple syllogism: anti-Zionism is a moral obligation, so, if anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, anti-Semitism is a moral obligation.’

The ‘not in my name’ communities, in their myriad dimensions and considerable expenditure of energy, have made not a jot of difference to Israel’s project. Why?

Gideon Levy, long-time Haaretz journalist providing a window into Israel’s soul, has honed in on the denial, conscious amongst its leaders, subliminal amongst the bulk of the populace, that accompanies Israel’s ongoing criminality. And behind it? Here is Levy in March 2018 (he said the same in an Australian lecture tour in November 2017):

‘There are three core values of Israeli culture that enforce the totalitarian discourse.

‘The first value: we are the chosen people. Secular and religious will claim it. Even if they don’t admit it they feel it. If we are the chosen people, who are you to tell us what to do. The second very deeply rooted value: we are the victims, not only the biggest victims, but the only victims around…. I don’t recall one occupation in which the occupier present himself as the victim. Not only the victim– the only victim….

‘There is a third very deep rooted value. This is the very deep belief again everyone will deny it but if you scratch under the skin of almost any Israeli you will find it there, the Palestinians are not equal human beings like us. They don’t love their children like us. They don’t love life like us. They were born to kill, they are cruel, they are sadists, they have no values, no manners… This is very, very deep rooted in Israeli society. And maybe that’s the key issue. As long as this continues, nothing will move. We are so much better than them, so much more developed than them, more human than them.’

One of Sydney’s Jewish schools, Moriah College, has as its ‘core values’ (not atypical):

‘We strive to foster critical thought, cultural interests, tolerance, social responsibility and self-discipline. … Moriah not only aspires to achieve excellence in academic standards, but maintains and promotes among its students an awareness of and a feeling for Jewish traditions and ethics, an understanding of and a positive commitment to Orthodox Judaism and identification with and love for Israel.’

Critical thought, tolerance, social responsibility, and identification with and love for Israel? Take your pick. You can’t have both.

Endnotes

[1] vide Uri Davis’ Apartheid Israel, 2004; itisapartheid.org.

[2] Jeffrey Blankfort has meticulously documented the rise of AIPAC from the 1950s to its current status as the key determining force in US Middle East foreign policy. ‘Rendering unto AIPAC’, Counterpunch magazine, January 2014.

[3] David Hirst, The Gun and the Olive Branch, 1977, third edn., p.140.

[4] Hirst, p.221.

[5] John Lyons, Balcony Over Jerusalem: A Middle East Memoir, with Sylvie Le Clezio, 2017.

[6] The Statement is reproduced in the Jewish Political Studies Review, Fall 2004, and made available online.

[7] Wistrich, ‘Judeophobia and Marxism’, Commentary, December 2014.

[8] Robert Badinter, ‘Antisémitisme: tirer les enseignements de l’histoire’, UNESCO, 6 December 2016, reproduced to mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27 January. The speech in English, ‘Anti-Semitism: Learning the lessons of history’, is reproduced here.

[9] Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, 1963.

[10] Daniel Maier-Katkin, ‘How Hannah Arendt Was Labeled an “Enemy of Israel”’, Tikkun, Nov/Dec 2010.

[11] Michael Neumann, ‘What is Anti-Semitism?’, in Cockburn & St.Clair (eds.), The Politics of Anti-Semitism, 2003.

April 25, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 5 Comments

Energix Exploiting COVID-19 Lockdown in Occupied Golan

PNN | April 25, 2020

Israeli energy company, Energix Ltd. (‘Energix’), is taking advantage of the COVID-19 lockdown in the occupied Syrian Golan (‘Golan’) to develop sites for its harmful wind farm project. Accompanied by Israeli police, Energix representatives are visiting project sites to demarcate plots and erect signs. Meanwhile, due to COVID-19 movement restrictions, Golani Syrians are grounded in their homes, unable to monitor or peacefully protest Energix’s activities. Those that have risked their health to venture out and film Energix and Israeli police visits to project sites have subsequently been harassed and questioned by the police.

Despite countless objections from the Syrian population, Energix obtained approval from the Israeli government in January of this year to build 25 wind turbines on Syrian agricultural land adjacent to two of the remaining Syrian villages in the Golan. With a maximum height of 220m, the approved turbines could be some of the tallest onshore turbines in the world and would occupy around a fifth of the agricultural land still available to Syrians in the Golan.

In addition to violating international law, Energix’s wind energy project has been marked by a strategy to manipulate and intimidate the Syrian population. This culminated in Energix suing Al-Marsad and members of the Syrian population under Israel’s controversial ‘Anti-Boycott Act’ last year in an attempt to silence the organisation and others who expressed concerns about the project’s legality and impact on the Syrian population. Energix has subsequently withdrawn five lawsuits against Golani Syrians and, in March, was ordered by an Israeli court to pay up to $5,000 USD per person for legal expenses. The case against Al-Marsad is ongoing. However, at a February hearing, Al-Marsad rejected a possible settlement that would have meant compromising its work and instead reaffirmed its intention to fight the baseless case.

Meanwhile, the UN Special Rapporteurs on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders; Issue of Human Rights Obligations Relating to the Enjoyment of a Safe, Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment; and, the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression have written to the Israeli government and Energix. In a 12 page letter, the Special Rapporteurs outline their legal concerns with Energix’s project and lawsuits, asking for more information and clarification on nine key issues. The Israeli government responded last month, failing to meaningfully address any of the legal issues that the Special Rapporteurs raised. Israel does not dispute any of the facts in the letter, which implicate various violations of international law, and continues to defend its universally condemned ‘Anti-Boycott Law’ as it is used to supress human rights work. Most strikingly, Israel claims it duly considered objections to Energix’s project prior to the project’s approval, despite the fact that it ignored a petition with over 6,000 signatures rejecting the project and comprehensive legal and environmental problems experts had raised during the project’s licensing phase.

As Energix manipulates a global health crisis, under the direct protection of Israeli security forces, lawful and legitimate protest has been extinguished from the Golan. Still, the Syrian population is seeking to pursue new avenues for justice as more than 20 Syrians are now attempting to nullify land contracts with Energix, and Al-Marsad, with partners, is contemplating a new petition to the Israeli Supreme Court to halt Energix’s work. Al-Marsad calls on the international community, in line with multiple UN Special Rapporteurs, to support its work and the Syrian population in the Golan now more than ever as the risk of irreversible harm by Israel and corporate interests increases.

April 25, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment