Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Donald Trump and Israel: When Does a ‘Passionate Attachment’ Threaten National Security?

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | December 12, 2019

In his Farewell Address, of 1796 America’s first president George Washington famously warned his fellow citizens that “… a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.”

In today’s United States, there is no more “passionate attachment” than that which exists with Israel. The tie that binds is assiduously cultivated by the media and the politically ambitious, so much so that the Jewish state is frequently referred to hyperbolically as America’s best friend and closest ally. But Israel, with its own regional interests driving its policies, is in reality neither a friend nor an ally.

Politicians mired in the past like Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer can see no light between Israel and the United States. Pelosi has declared astonishingly that “I have said to people when they ask me if this Capitol crumbled to the ground, the one thing that would remain is our commitment to our aid… and I don’t even call it aid… our cooperation with Israel. That’s fundamental to who we are.” Biden has repeatedly denounced any reduction in the ridiculously high level of military assistance given to Israel to convince it to modify its behavior as “bizarre,” while Schumer has identified himself as the Jewish state’s “shomer” or guardian in the US Senate.

Many members of the Democratic Party base are no longer enchanted by Israel and one would like to know what politicians like Biden and Pelosi really think about the Jewish state, but it is unlikely that that will ever be revealed. It is nevertheless clear that the adhesion to Israel by Democrats has been far overshadowed by the constant pandering to the Jewish state that has been the hallmark of the current administration of Donald J. Trump. To be sure, the musical chairs line-up of neo-conservatives that has included John Bolton, Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo has been unstinting in its praise of the malignant Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but it is the president himself who has raised the level of adoration to heights previously not observed coming out of the White House.

Donald Trump has overturned long standing foreign policy positions to favor Israel even more than has been the case hitherto. He withdrew from the nuclear pact with Iran, has moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, has recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, has declared the illegal settlements on the West Bank “not illegal,” has cut off funding to the Palestinians and the United Nations and is sending signals that he will approve further moves by the Jewish state to annex much of the remaining Palestinian territory. Along the way, his Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has been making excuses for Israeli shooting of unarmed demonstrators and the everyday brutality inflicted on the hapless Palestinians.

Worse might even be coming, as Secretary of State Pompeo and Netanyahu have recently been discussing a formal defense pact which would obligate the United States to intervene on the side of Israel if it were to go to war, even if the war were initiated by the Jewish state. As Israel is now reportedly considering the value of a possible pre-emptive nuclear strike on Iran, the stakes could not be higher.

But as bad as all that is, nothing outdoes the speech delivered by Trump in Florida last Saturday in front of the Israeli American Council (IAC) National Summit. IAC is a basically right-wing group funded largely by Las Vegas casino multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who is also a close adviser to the president on the Middle East. Its annual gathering included 4,000 mostly well-heeled Israelis and American Jews who cheered and periodically chanted “four more years!” as the president was speaking.

Trump spoke for 45 minutes, most of which consisted of preening over how much he has done for Israel. But he also discussed Jews in America, saying that “We have to get the people of our country, of this country, to love Israel more, I have to tell you that. We have to do it. We have to get them to love Israel more. Because you have Jewish people that are great people — they don’t love Israel enough.” He also said that his audience should be supporting him and not voting for Elizabeth Warren, whom he called “Pocahontas,” saying “You’re not going to vote for the wealth tax… Let’s take 100 percent of your wealth away.”

There was considerable pushback almost immediately coming from Jewish groups and prominent individuals who saw Trump’s words as classic borderline anti-Semitic tropes. Trump, who often speaks to Jewish audiences in the second person, saying “you” rather than “we,” clearly sees the Jewish attachment to Israel as normal and acceptable, but there is an implicit second message about potential disloyalty to the United States. In August he said that American Jews who vote for Democrats show “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”

And Trump also is not reluctant to link Jews with money, a generally taboo subject that he has raised before, most particularly when he was campaigning and he told an audience of Jewish Republicans that “you’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money. You want to control your politicians, that’s fine.” And, of course, the irony is that everyone who has not been asleep knows very well that the Israel Lobby in the US and Europe is indeed all about money. Money buys access to power.

For someone who has spent much of his life around Jews in the New York business world, Donald Trump is remarkably ignorant of their political culture. To be sure there is a group of oligarch billionaires that includes Adelson, Paul Singer, Ron Lauder and Bernard Marcus who are politically conservative and fund Trump as well as other Republicans. They do so not because Trump is good for the United States but because he is a gift to Israel and can easily be bought or persuaded.

But most Jews, while supporting the existence of Israel, do not exactly see things quite that way and many Jews of a liberal persuasion want to see a secure Israel that will deliver justice for the Palestinians. Plus, Trump’s authoritarianism, denigration, and abrasive style offend many Jews, so the president will not be getting many Jewish votes no matter what he does. His approval rating is 29% among Jewish voters nationwide, according to a Gallup poll while only 17% of Jews voted Republican in 2017. And one would have thought even the narcissistic president might have noticed the large number of Jewish witnesses, “experts” and congressmen who seem to be “out to get him” in the impeachment hearings.

Beyond that, Trump’s constant exaltation of the Israelis and of Jews in general as something like a gift to humanity should offend all other Americans. The president is elected to represent the interests of all Americans, not just a wealthy and powerful ethno-religious minority that is able and willing to give him a great deal of money to run his political campaigns. It is unthinkable that a national politician should mount his bully pulpit to praise interminably any specific ethnic group, and so it should be. It is offensive and completely unacceptable, particularly as in this case it is a favor bought that brings with it grave damage to genuine US interests and could easily lead to a major war in which Americans will die.

Nevertheless, the painful issue of who is loyal to what is genuine, particularly when a dedicated and powerful group affiliated with a foreign country is able to game the system to get what it wants. We are all supposed to be Americans first. In her comment on the Trump speech, conservative pundit Ann Coulter maintained that the president didn’t go far enough in impugning the loyalty of some Jews to Israel, writing, “Could we start slowly by getting them to like America?”

December 12, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 10 Comments

European taxpayers’ money going to Israeli entities accused of international law violations

MEMO | December 11, 2019

The European Union (EU) is channelling European taxpayers’ money to Israeli entities accused of international law violations, according to a new briefing by human rights campaigners.

The research, carried out by the Brussels-based group European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP), was published Tuesday.

“EU research funds have been a very important source of funding for Israeli academics, corporations and state institutions, among them a number of military companies and those involved in illegal Israeli settlements”, stated ECCP in a press release launching ‘EU and Israel: The Case of Complicity’.

“For many years European and Palestinian civil society and human rights organisations have been raising concerns over European taxpayers’ money being channelled to Israeli companies and institutions accused of war crimes and involved in violations of international law and human rights”.

According to ECCP, even at the same time as the EU has been criticising Israeli actions over the years in the occupied Palestinian territory, the body has also been “funding the very companies that sustain these unlawful activities”.

Thus, the human rights campaigners add, “when it comes to Israel the EU continues to violate its own directives and commitments to international law by funding Israeli complicit entities at the expense of Palestinians”.

In one example cited in the research, as part of the last funding cycle known as ‘Horizon 2020’, two of Israel’s largest military companies – Elbit Systems and Israeli Aerospace Industry – received almost 10 million Euros of European taxpayers’ money.

Although Israel is not an EU country, Israeli applicants have been able to access EU research funds on the same basis as member states since 1995 through the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

“While Israel, as the Occupying Power, bears the main responsibility to ensure respect for international law and human rights of the occupied Palestinian population”, ECCP states, “third states which are not party to the conflict, such as the EU and its member states, also have an obligation to not aid, assist or recognise bodies that violate international law”.

December 11, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Report: 557 Israeli violations against Palestinian media

MEMO | December 11, 2019

The Israeli occupation has committed 557 violations against Palestinian mass media during 2019 alone, the Government Media Office (GMO) revealed in a report issued on Tuesday.

Commenting on the report, GMO director, Salama Marouf, announced that Palestinian journalists are facing the “worst violations” by the Israeli occupation, noting that a number of them were killed, with some losing body parts or suffering from serious injuries.

The most recent Israeli violation, according to Marouf, was the Israeli shooting of the Palestinian photojournalist from the West Bank, Muath Amarneh, causing serious injuries to his eye leading to its removal.

Marouf also cited the Israeli closure of Palestine TV’s office in Jerusalem, after raiding it and confiscating its contents.

Marouf stressed that the Israeli occupation forces use “direct excessive force” to crackdown on Palestinian journalists and mass media, in order to undermine their coverage of the Israeli violations against the Palestinians.

Recounting only some of the Israeli violations against journalists, Marouf cited “the Israeli occupation forces beat them, insult them, hinder their work, arrest them, raid their homes, confiscate their equipment and impose travel bans on them.”

Marouf also described the Israeli pressure and cooperation with the owners of the different social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, which closed and disabled hundreds of Palestinian pages and accounts, as part of the violations against Palestinian media.

He called for bringing the Israeli occupation to court over its crimes against Palestinian journalists and mass media, and called for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2222, which guarantees the protection of journalists.

December 11, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

The Fraud of Anti-Semitism Exposed

Raja Krishnamoorthi (L) Fiona Hill (R). Credit: PBS NewsHour/ YouTube
By Philip Giraldi | American Free Press | December 9, 2019

“Newspeak” was the expression coined in George Orwell’s novel 1984 to describe the ambiguous or deliberately misleading use of language to make political propaganda and narrow the “thought options” of those who are on the receiving end. In the context of today’s political discourse, or what passes for the same, it would be interesting to know what George would think of the saturation use of “anti-Semitism” as something like a tactical discussion stopper, employed to end all dispute while also condemning those accused of the crime as somehow outside the pale, monsters who are consigned forever to derision and obscurity.

The Israelis and, to be sure, many diaspora Jews know exactly how the expression has been weaponized. Former Israeli Minister Shulamit Aloni explained how it is done: “Anti-Semitic . . . It’s a trick; we always use it.”

Indeed, a claim of anti-Semitism even crept into the current impeachment inquiry in Washington, where Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) questioned National Security Council member Fiona Hill about suggestions from “conspiracy theorists” that Hill herself as well as former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch have been linked to George Soros, and that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a Ukrainian Jew, might not be completely loyal to the United States.

Krishnamoorthi asked, “Would you say that these different theories, these conspiracy theories targeting you, spun in part by people like [Roger] Stone, as well as fueled by Rudy Giuliani and others, basically have a tinge of anti-Semitism to them, at least?”

Hill answered, “Well, certainly when they involve George Soros, they do.”

Krishnamoorthi, who is seeking a career in politics, understands that pandering to Jewish power in America is essential, so his question was more an expression of where his own loyalty lies than serious. And his query is rooted in what appears in the U.S. mainstream media, reflective as it nearly always is of a certain institutional Jewish viewpoint. One would think from the New York Times and Washington Post that there has been a dramatic increase in anti-Semitism worldwide, but that claim is largely a fabrication that is being exploited to support making any criticism of Israel and Jewish group behavior a hate crime.

What has been taking place is not hatred of Jews but rather a rejection of how Israel and major Jewish organizations behave. Foremost is the undeniable fact that Israel has been acting particularly badly, even by its admittedly low standards. Its weekly slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza has been unusually observable in spite of media attempts to avoid mentioning it, plus its frequent attacks on Syria and demands for war against Iran have also raised questions about the intentions of whatever kleptocratic regime emerges in Tel Aviv in the near future.

That all means that the perception of Israel, which boasts that it is the exclusively Jewish state composed of people chosen by God, inevitably raises questions about the international Jewish community that provides much of its support. But it is important to understand that the hostility towards Zionism as a political movement is mostly driven by Israeli behavior, not by Jews as an ethnicity or as a religion.

The alleged increase in anti-Semitic incidents is largely fueled by how those incidents are defined. Israel and its friends have worked hard to broaden the definition, making any criticism of Israel or its activities ipso facto an anti-Semitic incident. The State Department’s working definition of anti-Semitism includes “the targeting of the state of Israel” and it warns that anti-Semitism is a criminal offense. Recent legislation in Washington and also in Europe has criminalized hitherto legal and non-violent efforts to pressure Israel regarding its inhumanity vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Legitimate criticism of Israel thereby becomes both anti-Semitism and criminal, increasing the count of so-called anti-Semitic incidents. That means that the numbers inevitably go up, providing fodder to validate a repressive response.

One might add that Hollywood, the mainstream media, and academia have contributed to the allegations regarding surging anti-Semitism, relentlessly unleashing a torrent of material rooting out alleged anti-Semites, while simultaneously heaping praise on Israel and its achievements.

Professor of Holocaust Studies Deborah Lipstadt has written a book Anti-Semitism: Here and Now about what she regards as the new anti-Semitism, supporting her belief that it is getting markedly worse in both Europe and the U.S. There is also a movie about her confrontation with holocaust critic David Irving called Denial.

All of the media exposure of so-called anti-Semitism has a political objective, whether intended or not, which is to insulate Israel itself from any criticism and to create for all Jews the status of perpetual victimhood which permits many in the diaspora to unflinchingly support a foreign country against the interests of the nations where they were born, raised, and made their fortunes. That is called dual loyalty and, in spite of frequent denials from Israel-apologists, it clearly exists for many American Jews, who are passionate about the Jewish state, including members of the Trump Administration Avi Berkowitz, David Friedman, and Jared Kushner.

Much of the recent activity to silence critics of Israel has, ironically, taken place on university campuses, where free speech has been revoked because some Jewish students have claimed to be threatened by criticism of the Jewish state. The growing non-violent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction movement (BDS) on campus is rightly perceived as a major threat by both the Israeli government and the Israel lobby in the United States. Twenty-seven states and Congress have either passed or intend to vote on legislation penalizing its supporters.

To combat the BDS movement, a recent document entitled A Hotbed for Hate: A Comprehensive Dossier of Antisemitism at Columbia University and Barnard College Since the 2016-2017 Academic Year has been published by a Jewish group in New York City that calls itself “Alums for Campus Fairness.” It claims to be a meticulous documentation of anti-Semitism in action at the two colleges, but when one goes through the entire 33 pages, nearly all the citations relate to protests, speeches, or writing concerning Israel and its inhumane treatment of the Palestinians.

The campaign to eliminate any criticism of Israel or the standard narratives that support the creation of the Jewish state is indeed unrelenting, and where the claim of anti-Semitism is not enough, allegations of Holocaust denial become the ultimate weapons. Karen Pollock of the Holocaust Education Trust said in January, “One person questioning the truth of the Holocaust is one too many.” That is nonsense. Any, and all, historical events should be questioned regularly, a principle that is particularly true regarding developments that carry a lot of emotional baggage. The Israel Lobby would have all Americans believe that any criticism of Israel is motivated by historic hatred of Jews and is therefore anti-Semitism. Don’t believe it. When the AIPAC crowd screams that linking Jews and money is a classic anti-Semitic trope respond by pointing out that Jews and money are very much in play in the corruption of Congress and the media over Israel.

Terrible things are being done in the Middle East in the name of Jews and of Israel, who make the war criminals appear to be victims every time they raise the issue of anti-Semitism. Just recall what the Israeli minister admitted: “It’s a trick; we always use it.”

December 11, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 5 Comments

Hebron Plan is Israel’s Reminder to Palestinians that Settler Power knows no Limits

Proposed destruction of Hebron’s market to make way for a new settlement is Israeli government’s route to refashion its apartheid system as the rule of law

By Jonathon Cook | The National | December 10, 2019

US President Donald Trump told thousands of Israel’s supporters at a rally in Florida at the weekend that some American Jews “don’t love Israel enough”. It is certainly troubling that a US president insists a section of his country’s citizens – the Jewish population – be required to love a foreign state. But then Trump went further, muddying the waters about what constitutes “Israel”.

Echoing remarks made last month by Mike Pompeo, his secretary of state, he described the Jewish settlements in the West Bank as legal – thereby subverting a long-established principle of international law.

US Jews – and the rest of us, it seems – are expected not only to love Israel inside its internationally recognised borders but also to love the Jewish settlements that international law designates as a war crime. Those are the same settlements eating up ever more of the territory supposed to form the basis of a Palestinian state.

When Trump, like his predecessors, told his weekend audience that the US shared an “unbreakable” bond with Israel, what exactly was the “Israel” he referred to? Both the US and Israel have implied in recent declarations and actions that a central plank of the long-delayed Trump peace plan will be Israel’s annexation of the settlements – and with them most of the West Bank.

“Loving Israel” now is meant to include abandoning any hope of Palestinian statehood and accepting that Palestinians will live permanently under an Israeli version of apartheid, with inferior rights to Jews.

The Trump administration seems keen to press ahead with the peace plan – and annexation – but is being hampered by political chaos in Israel.

Mired in corruption scandals and having staged two inconclusive elections this year, Benjamin Netanyahu, the caretaker prime minister, is unable to cobble together a coalition to keep himself in power. The impasse is not over the occupation or the settlements but about who gets to dominate the next government: far-right religious settlers led by Netanyahu or right-wing, secular former army generals?

Nonetheless, Netanyahu is behaving as if Washington has given its blessing to annexation – even without a US peace plan.

That was what Pompeo’s statement last month backing the settlements amounted to. He offered one paltry safeguard, investing responsibility for monitoring and limiting settlement expansion in Israel’s supreme court. But this is the same court that has consistently failed to block settlement growth over five decades. It now includes two judges who actually live in settlements, as well as others who sympathise politically with the settlement project.

Meanwhile, in preparation for a likely third election campaign, the interim Netanyahu government has announced a splurge of new settlement building and boosted settler budgets.

In another fillip for the settlers last month, Netanyahu appointed one of their leaders, Naftali Bennett, to the sensitive role of defence minister. Bennett lost no time in unveiling his latest settlement plan last week, selecting an incendiary spot greatly prized by the settlers: the middle of Hebron, the West Bank’s largest Palestinian city.

For decades, life for Hebron’s 230,000 Palestinians has been forced to a virtual standstill by a few hundred Jewish religious extremists who have taken over the city centre, backed by more than 1,000 Israeli soldiers. Their ultimate goal is to wrestle away the city’s Ibrahimi mosque, the reputed burial site of Abraham, father of the world’s three main monotheistic religions.

After Baruch Goldstein, a settler, shot dead and wounded some 150 Muslim worshippers in 1994, Israel rewarded the settlers twice over.

First, it segregated the mosque site, splitting it into two. Half is now the Jewish Tomb of the Patriarchs. But in practice the Israeli army enjoys absolute control over who can pray there.

And next, Israel declared the surrounding area, including Hebron’s main commercial market, a closed military zone, thereby forcing the Palestinian merchants out. It has been a ghost town ever since, serving as a passageway between the settlement enclaves and the mosque.

For years, the closed market has stood as a potent, silent symbol of the way Israel has been tearing the city apart.

In February, Netanyahu gave the settlers another boost. He shuttered the international observer mission in Hebron, there to witness and record the abuse of Palestinians, especially at the checkpoints that litter the city centre. But still the settlers were not satisfied. They have long wanted to take over the Hebron market for themselves, to expand their enclaves.

So last week, Bennett granted their wish. He announced plans to destroy the market to make way for a settlement serving effectively as a bridge between the existing enclaves and the mosque site. The plan will double the number of settlers in Hebron and complete a wall of Jewish settlement dividing the city in two. This week Palestinian leaders called a citywide strike in protest.

As ever, the Israeli government has tried to put a surreal legal gloss on its criminality, apparently to spare the blushes of its US and European allies. Bennett’s advisers have insisted that Israel has legal title to the air above the roofs of the empty shops. This is where the settlers will supposedly be housed, after the shops have been demolished and rebuilt to support the new apartment blocks.

It emerged this week that Bennett had threatened Hebron’s municipality, warning it would lose property rights to the shops area too if it did not consent to the settler homes above.

Israel is reminding Palestinians that there are now no limits – military, legal, moral or diplomatic – to the settlers’ power. Israel will annex land where it chooses and deceptively refashion the resulting apartheid system as the rule of law.

The material losses to the Palestinians from Israel’s ever-growing settlement enterprise are devastating enough. This month, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development issued a report estimating conservatively that the past 17 years of occupation alone had cost the Palestinians a whopping $48 billion – three times the current size of its economy.

That income would have generated two million job opportunities, freeing Palestinians from a miserable choice between life without work and, if they are issued a permit by Israel, precarious, exploitative casual labour in Israel or the settlements.

Equally significantly, the ever-expanding settlements have stripped Palestinians of their most basic freedoms, such as movement, and undermined their security and right to be treated with dignity.

And no one ought to love that.

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Netanyahu-Pompeo Meeting Solidifies War Plan on Iran

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | December 10, 2019

Ratcheting economic sanctions, military force encirclement, inciting seditious violence and relentless war rhetoric. This all by the US and its allies over the past year towards Iran, yet it is Iran which is portrayed as posing “potential threats” to American interests.

The hastily arranged meeting last week between Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had the hallmarks of a war-plan summit amid a peak in renewed media provocation against Iran.

In the last weeks there has been a flurry of US media reports claiming that Iran is secretly moving ballistic missiles into Iraq and elsewhere across the region. As usual the media credulously cite anonymous intelligence and Pentagon officials on those claims.

Here’s CNN quoting one administration official: “There has been consistent intelligence in the last several weeks,” the official said, referring to “a potential Iranian threat against US forces and interests in the Middle East.”

Last month, the head of US CentCom made a similar dire forecast of Iranian intentions. General Kenneth McKenzie said: “I would expect that if we look at the past three or four months, it’s possible they [Iran] will do something that is irresponsible.”

Notice how General McKenzie tacitly acknowledges the background of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign of economic sanctions and US military force buildup against Iran as if that is somehow normal international conduct. Then he turns all that US aggression on its head by accusing Iran of possibly doing “something that is irresponsible”.

There are worrying signs that the US and Israel are redoubling the pressure of war against Iran. This pressure has to be seen in the context of a formidable deployment of US military forces – troops, warplanes and warships in the region since May this year. The earlier buildup was announced on the basis of unfounded claims that Iran was preparing to launch offensive operations against American interests. Then came a series of mysterious attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf over the summer which Washington blamed on Iran without evidence.

Street protests in Iran since mid-November over fuel-price increases appear to be hijacked by subversive elements. President Trump and other US officials have openly called for the protests to destabilize the Iranian government.

Fresh claims that Iran is sending ballistic missiles to neighboring countries appear to be setting the stage for justifying a pre-emptive US attack on Iran.

No doubt the Iranian government is under severe pressure from the economic hardship that the US has re-imposed unlawfully since Trump dumped the international nuclear accord in May 2018. No doubt too Iran is apprehensive about the relentless military threats against it from Washington and its Israeli ally. Almost certainly, Iran will have mobilized forces in the reasonable calculation that it may come under attack at any moment.

But, perversely, US intelligence and military officials are interpreting Iranian defensive moves as “indications of a potential threat” to American “interests”.

The meeting last week between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signals a foreboding development. Recall that this is in the context of US media reports of Iranian ballistic missiles being deployed and of reports that the Trump administration is considering a doubling of troop levels in the Middle East to 28,000, as well as sending more missiles and warplanes.

Netanyahu met Pompeo in Lisbon, Portugal, on Wednesday, December 04. The meeting was called urgently and was unscheduled. Netanyahu – who is fighting for his political survival over corruption charges – tried to arrange discussions with Pompeo on the sidelines of the NATO summit near London, but according to Israeli media reports there was not enough time for security logistics to be put in place by the British. That indicates the Israeli leader was trying to meet Pompeo in a hurry.

When Netanyahu met with Pompeo in Lisbon, he said at the start of their discussions: “The first subject that I will raise is Iran. The second subject is Iran, and so is the third. And many more.

The Israeli premier added: “We have been fortunate as President Trump has led a consistent policy of exerting pressure on Iran. Iran is increasing its aggression in the region as we speak, even today, in the region. They are trying to have staging grounds against us and the region from Iran itself, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Yemen and we are actively engaged in countering that aggression.”

Netanyahu also gloated that the “Iranian empire [sic] is tottering… let’s make it totter even more.”

For several months Iran has steadfastly refused to take the bait of war laid down by the Trump administration. But with pressures mounting both within the country and externally, it would be imperative for the Iranian authorities to marshall their defenses.

US intelligence and military officials are using contorted logic to accuse Iran of posing a threat, and the American corporate media are ably assisting in the propagation of this oxymoron.

Netanyahu’s hasty meeting with Pompeo last week suggests that the US and Israel are putting the final touches to their malignant masterpiece for provoking a war with Iran.

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Egypt to Hamas: Deal of the century replaced with long-term truce

Ismail Haniyeh press conference in Gaza, on 10 November 2019 [Mohammed Asad-Middle East Monitor]

Ismail Haniyeh press conference in Gaza, on 10 November 2019 [Mohammed Asad-Middle East Monitor]
MEMO | December 9, 2019

Egyptian intelligence officials have told Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh that the US’ peace plan for the Middle East dubbed the “deal of the century” has been completely cancelled, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.

According to informed Egyptian sources, Hamas received confirmation from Egypt that a long-term truce Israel and the Palestinians has replaced the deal.

Hamas did not give its thoughts on the new proposal saying it would do so after Haniyeh completes his international tour which includes visits to Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan, Indonesia and Russia.

While in Cairo, Haniyeh and Egyptian intelligence Chief Abbas Kamel discussed security in Sinai, the Sinai-Gaza borders and the truce with Israel.

December 9, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Preparing the Stage: A Flawed Prospectus for War, This Time With Iran

By Alastair Crooke | Strategic Culture Foundation | December 9, 2019

“This is a historic opportunity”, whispered one of Netanyahu’s insiders into Ben Caspit (a leading Israeli journalist)’s ear this week: “You have no idea what we can wheedle from the Americans now, what a golden opportunity we face when the US is about to enter an election year”.

“Bunker busters”, he mutters to Caspit, who elaborates that: “According to members of Netanyahu’s inner circle, these bombs will be given to Israel once it signs the mutual defence agreement that Netanyahu has been working on.” And though Israel’s security establishment historically have opposed a full pact, Caspit explains that the PM’s associates “are referring to a ‘partial’ defence pact focused on Iran alone.” Netanyahu’s associates insist that “the prime minister wants to make history in the next half year.”

What sort of history might that be? Why six months? Well, Caspit points up: “Netanyahu’s people, headed by minister Yuval Steinitz clearly state that a widespread war is likely to erupt in the next six months between Iran and its adversaries in the region, including Israel”. And the new Defence Minister, Bennett, threatens Iran on an almost daily basis.

“Perhaps Netanyahu simply needs a war with Iran in order to survive politically,” one of the Blue and White leaders told Caspit: “That is scary and dangerous …” .

Yet precisely such an Iran-focussed treaty was to be a key issue on the agenda of hurriedly-arranged talks with Secretary Pompeo, in Lisbon this week – a ‘summit’ that followed in the wake of a notable flock of very high-level, US Defence officials visiting Israel in recent days. In Lisbon, Netanyahu said that his talks with Pompeo had focused on: 1. Iran; 2. Iran, and number 3: Iran.

And in Washington? The Defence establishment is not echoing the Israeli call to early action (with Iran and its allies allegedly mired in wide protest), but they are fretting that Iran is not being sufficiently “deterred”.

And the US Defence Establishment is adding to the Iran hype coming from Netanyahu: “We continue to see indications … that potential Iranian aggression could occur,” John Rood, the Pentagon’s number-three official, said in the wake of a Defense Intelligence Agency report that warned that Tehran is producing “increasingly capable ballistic and cruise missiles” with better accuracy, lethality and range.

Is all this hyped ‘threat’ for real? Iran has been very explicit in saying the purpose to its calibrated push-back is ‘pressure’: i.e. a counter-pressure to force the US to re-think its economic siege policy. That is perfectly understandable, is it not? Or, is this hype just Netanyahu politicking in the lead-up to a possible third round of elections in Israel in the New Year that could see him ousted from power and heading to gaol?

The latter explanation is possible, but events suggest that Netanyahu truly does want to seal his legacy by persuading the US to join with Israel in an attack on Iran. That is a real risk, too.

And if so, again (as in 2003), such an event again will be sold to the US and European public on an entirely false prospectus.

And what is that? Well, here it is: “For a long time it looked like the spread of Iranian influence across the Middle East was unstoppable. Now, the entire Iran-hegemony enterprise is at risk. Protests have been going on in Iraq and Lebanon for weeks, bringing their economies to a near standstill, and forcing their Iran-approved prime ministers to step down. There’s no end in sight to the protests …”.

And hence, the Israeli push – led by the newly-appointed Defence Minister, Bennet, that now – precisely – is the moment for the US to act against Iran. This is the narrative for war.

Certainly, a stage is being set around this narrative: the US is engaged in an epic arm-wrestle with Iran over whom will have the primacy of influence in Iraq. The US and its European allies, too, are holding Lebanon’s economy hostage to a resolution of a financial crisis (aggravated by the deliberate draining of US dollar liquidity from Lebanon to New York), against a US demand for a scission between President Aoun’s Christian party and Hizbullah – an alliance which effectively controls parliament in Beirut, and additionally, that demand that Lebanon concede its position over the East Mediterranean oil and gas demarcation – to Israel.

And, in Syria, US forces are trying to use the Syrian Kurds to block connective links between Iran and Iraq [Lebanon], whilst Israel attacks Iranian infrastructure there, from the air.

In short, we are dealing with New Generation warfare: maximum economic pressure (and siege), to trigger popular protest, and then to leverage these genuine economic grievances suffered by the ordinary populace, through inserting small, trained elements to seed ‘messages’ – and to resort to calibrated violence against symbols of the state (in order to seize media attention) – should popular protests flag, and require reviving.

On the other hand – in what may also be understood as an ‘other’ aspect to a ‘preparing of the stage’, Israel is at work to pacify Gaza (with Gulf cash); and the US is active with the Houthis in trying to tamp down the war with Saudi Arabia: i.e. de-conflicting other potential war fronts.

The economic and governance problems in Iraq and Lebanon are real (and profound) – and they do, to a degree, impinge on Iran’s room for manoeuvre. So, what then, is the ‘false prospectus’?

It lies with the protests in Iran – and the ‘message’ being promoted by the main-stream media which has the “regime” teetering at the brink of collapse, and obliged to use unprecedented violence to quell mass unarmed protests, in the wake of an extraordinarily ineptly managed, fuel-price hike.

What is wrong with this version? Well, what is right is that the hike triggered protests across 100 cities on the Friday, 15 November. The protests were widespread, and the poorer segments of the population (traditional supporters of the state) were heavily represented. But they were not violent.

The rest of the narrative is wrong.

On the day of the truly mass protests against the fuel hike, no one was killed. And, on the following day, the protestors almost wholly vanished from the streets. Instead, small groups of pre-prepared, armed and violent activists – not protestors – attacked the strategic hubs of state infrastructure: banks, petro-chemical plants, the gas network, and fuel storage. These hubs were attacked using rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and sub-machine guns. Other groups took out banks (100s of them), armed with guns, swords and iron bars. (One of these latter groups attacked six banks in the space of just one hour.) Nothing here was spontaneous or ‘populist’.

The security forces reacted militarily – arresting and killing many insurgents. And yes – the internet was shut down. But, not the internal Iranian internet – only the global internet. So, the Iranian equivalent of WhatsApp and Telegraph, and Iranian news channels were still accessible – though the global internet was not. The overseas anger at the external internet shut-down possibly reflected surprise and irritation that Iran had this capability. Likely, it was not a capacity that Iran was thought to possess.

So what was going on? The Iranian government, it seems, had prior knowledge of plans to stage attacks by ‘activists’, as a part of an (externally formulated and resourced) disruption plan. But that original plan indicated that the start of these actions would take place early next year.

What seems to have happened is that when the fuel hike protests began, these ‘activists’ were given the go-ahead to ‘seize the moment’. In other words, they activated all their pre-prepared plans prematurely. This was exactly what the Iranian security forces wanted, and had sought. It enabled them to ‘smoke out’ the plot, and to arrest, or kill the ring-leaders.

In other words, the Iranian government is not teetering at any ‘brink’ – and later internal Iranian polling shows popular anger directed principally towards the violent gangs, and to a lesser extent, towards the Rouhani Administration, for its mis-handling of the fuel-price hike – but not against the state, per se. The latter result is not so surprising as older Iranians will remember how the CIA used similar tactics – violent attacks on shops – to escalate the protests in the 1953 overthrow of PM Mosaddegh, in favour of strengthening the monarchical rule of the Shah.

Here is the question: Have the various instigators of these deliberate, violent attacks, ‘come clean’ about the failure of their plan – and of the unravelling (the arrests and disruption) of their Iranian ‘networks’ to President Trump? Or, is he being presented only with the Netanyahu ‘narrative’ of an Iran cornered ‘and at the brink’?

Iran is not at the brink; its economy is not imploding, and it has not – at least not yet – been cornered in the region. The arm-wrestling between the US and Iran in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon is engaged, but not over. It is not the moment for Israel ‘to count its chickens’ with respect to an imploding Iran.

The other question then, is with all this swelling max-pressure, financialised ‘war’ operations mounted by the US, Israel, and certain Gulf States, across the Middle East, is there a way out? Or, is it likely to end in war? The momentum, as matters stand, must be towards escalation. To avoid that disaster, one or other of the parties must row back.

One ‘off-ramp’ might be that whilst Trump (ignominiously) might be ready to contemplate the disruption, the distress and hardship being administered to the people of Lebanon, Iraq and Syria in the interests of weakening Iran, he may not want to proceed to that ultimate step of war.

US polls show no popular appetite for war with Iran. Yet climbing down from his Iran ‘tree’ for Trump, will not be easy. The other off-ramp might be that Netanyahu does not remain as PM for these vital, coming six months to ‘write history’ and seal his legacy. It would be both “scary and dangerous”, for sure, were Netanyahu (and close associates) to conclude that Netanyahu needs such a war to survive – as Ben Caspit was so clearly warned.

But what is not so likely, is that Iran buckles or implodes.

December 9, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli FM threatens to target Tehran with ‘hundreds of Tomahawk missiles’

Press TV – December 8, 2019

Hawkish Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz has threatened a military operation against Iran with the help of the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Katz said Israeli bombing in Iran was “an option,” making the most brazen threat in years in an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera Saturday on the sidelines of the Mediterranean Dialogues (MED) conference in Rome.

“If Iran crosses the ‘red line’, it will discover a uniform front between Saudi Arabia, UAE and the United States, which will launch hundreds of Tomahawk missiles at Tehran,” he said.

By the red line, Katz meant, “We will not allow Iran to acquire or stockpile nuclear weapons. If that is the last option – we will act militarily.”

Iran has repeatedly enunciated its nuclear program as exclusively civilian, subject to the most intensive UN supervision ever.

Unlike Israel, Iran is a signatory to the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), whose aim is to prevent the spread of nuclear arms and weapons technology.

Israel is the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, but maintains a policy of ambiguity, neither confirming nor denying its atomic bombs.

Nevertheless, Tel Aviv is estimated to have between 200 and 400 atomic warheads in its arsenal.

Tehran signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015 to forge closer cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which has always confirmed the country to be in full compliance.

President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the international accord last year and announced sanctions on Iran in an attempt to wreck the agreement.

Katz criticized European countries for not supporting the hard line Washington has adopted against Tehran.

“As long as the Iranians delude themselves into thinking they have Europe’s backing, it will be more difficult for them to back down,” he said.

In his Friday address to the MED 2019, the top Israeli diplomat claimed that it was “high time” for Western and Arab countries to “create a coalition that would threaten Iran and tell it to stop its nuclear program.”

December 8, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, War Crimes | , , | 3 Comments

‘Shameless Racism’: 13 Countries Change Long-Standing Position on Palestine at UN

Palestine Chronicle – December 5, 2019

For the first time, 13 countries changed their longstanding positions and voted against a pro-Palestine measure at the United Nations on Tuesday.

Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Brazil, and Colombia voted against the annual resolution regarding the “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat”, according to the Times of Israel.

They had previously abstained on the vote.

The resolution, which includes a call to halt to illegal Israeli settlements being constructed in the occupied West Bank, still passed with a large majority voting in favor.

The Palestinian representative told the council: “If you protect Israel, it will destroy you all.” He also said Israel’s character as a Jewish state is “shameless racism”.

The New York-based Division for Palestinian Rights oversees the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Comoros, Cuba, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

The UK, France, and Spain abstained, as they do every year, allowing the resolution to pass with a vote of 87-54, with 21 other abstentions.

The General Assembly adopted five resolutions on the question of Palestine and the Middle East, including one calling on the Member States not to recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regards to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.

December 5, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chief Rabbi’s Pious Bid to Sabotage Corbyn

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis speaking in London, 24 March 2015. Credit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office/ Flickr)
By Stewart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune | December 5, 2019

The mainstream media failed to make the connection between Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’s brazen intervention to damage Jeremy Corbyn’s election chances and the Shai Masot affair three years ago. And, indeed, all the other orchestrated media smears against the Labour Party leader since then.

So who is this interfering rabbi? Mirvis came to the UK via South Africa, Israel and Ireland and succeeded Jonathan Sacks (bizarrely elevated to the Lords) as Chief Rabbi in 2013. Now Mirvis puts the boot in – right in the middle of the general election campaign – with a stinging outburst in The Times.

As I don’t subscribe to The Times I’ll quote from the Jewish Chronicle report:

… the Chief Rabbi said: “The claims by leadership figures in the Labour Party that it is ‘doing everything’ it reasonably can to tackle the scourge of anti-Jewish racism and that it has ‘investigated every single case’ are a mendacious fiction.”

Without referring to Mr Corbyn by name, Rabbi Mirvis asks: “How complicit in prejudice would a leader of Her Majesty’s opposition have to be in order to be considered unfit for high office?”

He then adds: “Would associations with those who have openly incited hatred against Jews be enough?

Rabbi Mirvis insists he decided to speak out on behalf of the Jewish community.

He says: “The Jewish community has endured the deep discomfort of being at the centre of national political attention for nearly four years.

“We have been treated by many as an irritant, as opposed to a minority community with genuine concerns.”

In a sustained attack on Mr Corbyn’s party, he writes: “The party leadership have never understood that their failure is not just one of procedure, which can be remedied with additional staff or new processes.

“It is a failure to see this as a human problem rather than a political one. It is a failure of culture.

“It is a failure of leadership. A new poison – sanctioned from the very top – has taken root in the Labour Party.”

“A failure of culture” (er, whose culture)?

“A new poison”?

“Openly inciting hatred”?

Mirvis is reported to have accompanied Sacks on the annual Jerusalem Day March of the Flags in 2017. Haaretz correspondent Bradley Burston describes it as “an annual, gender-segregated, extreme-right, pro-occupation religious carnival of hatred, marking the anniversary of Israel’s capture of Jerusalem by humiliating the city’s Palestinian Muslims. We knew what was coming from previous years, in which marchers have vandalized shops in Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter, chanted: ‘Death to Arabs’ and ‘The (Jewish) temple will be built, the (Al Aqsa) Mosque will be burned down,’ shattered windows and door locks and poured glue into the locks of shops forced to close for fear of further damage.”

And in 2015 Burston wrote: “The Flag Parade, and with it, Jerusalem Day, has come to symbolize the worst in us. Arrogance, xenophobia, brute dominance, racist hatred. A march of, by, and for, the worst of our worst.”

So we don’t need lectures on culture, poison or racial hatred from people who hobnob with the worst of Israel’s worst.

People in stained-glass houses shouldn’t throw stones

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, tweeted: “That the chief rabbi should be compelled to make such an unprecedented statement at this time ought to alert us to the deep sense of insecurity and fear felt by many British Jews.” As a result of which a leading campaigner against racism immediately resigned from a Church of England advisory body in protest. Gus John, a respected author and academic, said: “As a matter of principle, I cannot continue to work with the Anglican church… after the archbishop of Canterbury’s disgraceful endorsement of the chief rabbi’s unjust condemnation of Jeremy Corbyn and the entire Labour party.” He wrote to the CofE’s national adviser on minority ethnic issues: “Those who occupy houses clad with stained glass should perhaps be a trifle more careful when they join others in throwing stones”.

Ever since Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party, the pro-Israel lobby has been terrified by the possibility that, if he becomes prime minister, Britain’s supine tolerance of Israel’s crimes against Palestinians and other Arab neighbors will end, and so will trade and arms deals.

Over two years ago Israeli insider Miko Peled, a former Israeli soldier and the son of an Israeli general, warned that Israel was going to “pull all the stops, they are going to smear, they are going to try anything they can to stop Corbyn” and the reason anti-Semitism is used is because they have no other argument.

And his prediction was spot-on.

IHRA definition of anti-Semitism ‘is not fit for purpose’, ‘is open to manipulation’, ‘has no legal effect’, ‘should not be adopted’

Since then we’ve had a queue of high profile Labourites and others sticking the knife into Corbyn, including Zionist extremist Sacks and ex-prime minister Gordon Brown, a dedicated pimp for Israel and dyed-in-the-wool Zionist. Brown insisted that the IHRA definition “is something we should support unanimously, unequivocally and immediately.” He urged Corbyn to remove the “stain” of prejudice from Labour by writing the definition and all of its examples into the party’s new Code of Conduct.

He obviously wasn’t paying attention to the Home Office Select Committee which had recommended two caveats or to eminent legal minds Hugh Tomlinson QC and Sir Stephen Sedley who explained how the IHRA’s diktat is trumped by our right to free expression, which is part of UK domestic law by virtue of the Human Rights Act (something every Labour member ought to know and uphold) and other conventions. Added to which Geoffrey Robertson QC warned that the IHRA definition is “not fit for any purpose that seeks to use it as an adjudicative standard. It is imprecise, confusing and open to misinterpretation and even manipulation.”

Robertson added: “The Government’s ‘adoption’ of the definition has no legal effect and does not oblige public bodies to take notice of it. The definition should not be adopted, and certainly should not be applied, by public bodies unless they are clear about Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights which is binding upon them, namely that they cannot ban speech or writing about Israel unless there is a real likelihood it will lead to violence or disorder or race hatred.”

Had everyone forgotten that the state of Israel was founded by terror groups like the one that murdered 91 in an attack on the British mandate government in the King David Hotel and carried out the Deir Yassin massacre? Israel is the expert in terror. As Norman Finkelstein remarked, “It is more than a rogue state. It is a lunatic state… The whole world is yearning for peace, and Israel is constantly yearning for war.”

And the Israeli government was described by one of Brown’s own (Jewish) MPs, the late and much respected Sir Gerald Kaufman, as a ‘gang of amoral thugs’.

Corbyn a loose cannon who had to be ‘spiked’

Mirvis and others of his ilk fail to understand that the mounting dislike of pro-Israel Jews is due to the failure of people like him to condemn the Israeli regime’s decades-long brutal oppression and foul crimes against our Palestinian friends – Muslim and Christian. Has anyone ever heard Mirvis or Sacks or any of the so-called leaders of the Jewish community here call out Netanyahu and these thugs for their hateful behavior and inhumane policies?

Corbyn isn’t the problem, Zionists are. Corbyn has a long record of support for the Palestinians and other justice causes. He has spent a lifetime campaigning against racism. He has met and spoken with Israel’s enemies, and so what? They are no our enemies. But it doesn’t sit well with the eminence grise pulling the strings. As a loose cannon in a carefully controlled political battlefield, he has to be ‘spiked’. The chosen way to do that is to pick off his allies one by one and, with the help of a compliant media, derail his party’s election prospects by weaponizing so-called anti-Semitism against Labour’s naive and easily scared troops.

But why would anyone take allegations of anti-Semitism seriously from bully-boys who themselves practice or support racism? It is long past time Labour’s Friends of Israel were questioned about their shameless support for the criminal state and its land-grabbing Zionist Project. From the start – before Balfour even – this was unashamedly racist in purpose, as illustrated only last year when Israel enacted Nation-State laws that discriminate against its non-Jewish citizens making them distinctly second-class. There is no place in a socialist organization, or in British public life at all, for people who cannot bring themselves to condemn a regime that behaves in such an obscene manner towards its neighbors, defies international law, thinks it’s exempt from the norms of decent conduct and shows no remorse. What does aligning with apartheid Israel really say about them?

And, by the way, who said it’s OK to use any British political party as a platform to promote the interests of a foreign military power? If people holding public office put themselves in a position where they are influenced by a foreign power, they flagrantly breach the Principles of Public Life. There are far too many Labour and Conservative MPs and MEPs who fall into that category and get away with it.

Pattern of subversion

The upsurge in carefully orchestrated allegations of anti-Semitism coincided with the arrival of Mark Regev as Israel’s new ambassador in London. Regev is big trouble – an ace propagandist, the mastermind of Israel’s hasbara Lie Machine and former spokesman for Israel’s extremist prime minister.  Shortly after he took up his post came revelations that a senior political officer at the embassy, Shai Masot, had been plotting with stooges among British MPs and other maggots in the political woodwork to “take down” senior government figures including Boris Johnson’s deputy at the Foreign Office, Sir Alan Duncan.

The Foreign Office and Johnson promptly dismissed the Shai Masot affair, saying: “The UK has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed.” The Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, who is Jewish, also declined to investigate.

But Masot was an employee of the Israeli embassy and probably a Mossad agent. His hostile scheming was captured and exposed by an Al Jazeera undercover investigation and not, as one would have hoped, by Britain’s own security services and press. And this is when the escalation to de-stabilize really began. Funny how the mainstream failed to connect Corbyn’s election as Labour leader in September 2015, Regev’s arrival in April 2016 and Masot’s activities later that year. Subversion peaked again at general election time in 2017 and raises its ugly head yet again at election time right now with Mirvis and the Jewish Labour Movement’s submission of 70 sworn statements by serving and ex-Labour officials to the Equality & Human Rights Commission’s inquiry. The JLM is urging the Commission to make Labour acknowledge that it is “institutionally anti-Semitic”.

OK, so Corbyn isn’t the leader he should be. But who is, in the never-ending parade of élite political screwballs?  I have sympathy with Mirvis’s concerns that the Party is too lackadaisical over its handling of anti-Semitism complaints, having looked into a couple of them myself. They take an absurdly long time to investigate and lack ‘due process’.  And I wonder why the Party, in a situation like this, is so stupid that it cannot provide a running total of cases outstanding, upheld and rejected.

I’d also like to know what happens to the troublemakers who hurl malicious and baseless accusations. Are they exposed and thrown out of the Party too? I don’t suppose so – there’d be even more screams of “anti-Semitism!”

December 5, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | Leave a comment

When holidays bring hate: Sarah’s Day in Occupied Hebron

Extremist and racist propaganda placed around Hebron (H2) ahead of Sarah’s Day, a major Jewish holiday.
International Solidarity Movement | November 28, 2019

Hebron, occupied Palestine – The Jewish holiday of Shabbat Chayei Sarah (Sarah’s day’) took place in Al Khalil (also known as Hebron) over the weekend of 22-23 November. Over the two days around 50,000 Israeli settlers flocked to the city, to celebrate the festival in the place that Zionists believe is their religious right (despite the fact that it is historically Palestinian and is clearly within the demarcation of Palestinian Territories).

For weeks the area was being adapted and prepared to accommodate the thousands of visitors. Israeli settlers from nearby illegal settlement Kiryat Arba were to be joined by other observant Jews from across Israel, as well as from countries abroad such as France, the UK, and the USA. The mood was set by blatant Zionist propaganda adorning the streets, such as a banner proclaiming “Palestine never existed – and never will”. Whole areas of the old city and surrounding areas were taken over by gazebos, tents and caravans for the weekend. Exclusive and expensive VIP tickets to celebrate ‘Sarah’s day’ were available for hundreds of US dollars, enabling attendees to meet and dine with religious leaders, alongside Knesset members, and IDF commanders.

By Friday afternoon, thousands of celebrants had arrived in the city and the already extensive Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) presence (normally 4000 IOF soldiers guard the 400 Israeli settlers) was even greater than usual. Enhanced security measures were in place and major roads were blocked off, obstructing Palestinian movement around the city, and forcing Arab shops to close for business in an already suffocated economic environment (due to businesses and areas being closed by military order, and commerce/tourism heavily suppressed by restrictions on movement through checkpoints).

Many of the visiting settlers were visibly armed, with handguns or automated weapons, in stark contrast to Palestinians for whom it is illegal to carry a weapon, tightly enforced at all of the numerous checkpoints.

Each day International Solidarity Movement (ISM) received reports of serious, violent attacks on Palestinians living in or passing through vulnerable areas where settlers filled the streets.

On Friday evening, on the ‘Prayer Road’, leading up to the large settlement of Kiryat Arba, a group of 8 Palestinians were attacked in a barber shop. ISM spoke to one of the victims, Fayed, who reported a large group of settlers forcing entry to his father’s shop. Despite attempts to persuade the settlers to leave, more arrived to join the attack. Up to 100 settlers sprayed pepper spray, threw stones, chairs and pieces of wood, damaging property and injuring Fayed, his brother, his uncle and father. Fayed’s 21 year old cousin suffered a broken hand, whilst he and his uncle and father sustained injuries to the head and arms, resulting in hospitalization. The police eventually moved the settlers on however no arrests were made. Only basic details of the attack were taken down and there has been no further investigation of the crime.

Later that night there were further reports of violent attacks by groups of settlers in the same area, including an assault on a young old child, who was kicked and sprayed with pepper spray, requiring him to be taken to hospital. A Palestinian bride was also harassed and attacked by settlers as she celebrated her wedding day.

Despite the heaviness of occupation pressing down on them, the brutal and unprovoked attacks from the settlers, and frustration at the lack of protection from the authorities, Fayed and his family are quietly resistant. “Our life here is hard, but we have to resist. We try to be nice to everyone… to treat them nice, we don’t want any violence. Violence is not the solution…. the settlers carry M16 guns. It’s normal for us and our situation here – to be attacked, arrested, killed. We grew up like this. What can we do? We don’t have a lot of power or support. We can’t fight with guns or knives, this is not the solution. How many Palestinians have been killed? Guns and knives are not free, they do not make Palestine free. We are not against Jews, we are against Zionists and settlers, and those that occupy our houses. ”

The following day, the entire old city plus large swathes of the normally unrestricted area (known as ‘H1’) was locked down, making way for thousands of settlers to be given religious tours of the city. Many were intoxicated, chanting provocative anti-Palestinian songs, shouting abuse, and urinating on Palestinian property. As the day progressed, their behavior became increasingly violent, with numerous incidents of settlers throwing rocks, bottles and other items at Palestinian people and homes, as well as unlawfully entering or climbing on Palestinian property. IOF remained passive, merely supervising the passage of the crowds through Palestinian areas.

In one shocking incident, a group of settlers attacked the home of a known Palestinian activist, Imad, who has been frequently targeted since speaking out against the murder of a Palestinian by the IOF several years ago.

Imad and his family are some of the few Palestinians brave enough to continue living in Tel Rumeida, part of an area in the heart of the old city which has been designated a restricted military zone (known as ‘H2’). Since 1968 Al Khalil has been subject to the establishment of illegal Jewish settlements, and over the last 20 years, the area has seen a huge influx of hardcore settlers who believe for religious reasons they have a right to occupy the land. These are some of the most extreme settlers in Israel, who routinely perpetrate abuse and violence against Palestinian residents, including children going to school. Many Palestinians have been forced out of their homes and for those who remain, living in this area is extremely dangerous for Palestinians. There is a daily threat to life and limb.

On Saturday, as the streets of Tel Rumeida were inundated with thousands more armed settlers, the violence and intimidation escalated. There were multiple reports of attacks on Palestinian people and property. Footage was recorded of large groups of drunk settlers climbing on the roofs of Palestinian homes, and abusing and intimidating residents.

On Saturday Imad remained confined at home with his grandchildren, due to the large numbers of settlers who had been marching and congregating in the streets outside, making it unsafe for Palestinians to leave the house. Imad heard settlers climbing on his roof, and trying to enter his home through the entrance way. He called friends to come and help. and unsuccessfully tried to convince the settlers to leave. The large group were shouting abuse, spitting and throwing stones at bottles. Moments later Imad heard crying from where his 18 month old grandson was sleeping. As he ran into the room he discovered that a settler had thrown a stone through the open window, striking the child on the head and wounding him.

Due to the closed and restricted nature of this part of the city, an ambulance was unable to reach the house to attend to the child. The child had to be carried through the streets, protected by a circle of local people from the settlers who continued to try to attack the group as they tried to reach the ambulance.

Imad explains that the IOF soldiers arrived at the house during the attack, however they only stood watching, and failed to intervene to stop the violence. When local Palestinian’s arrived to provide support, the soldiers pushed and held them back, threatening to arrest them. The IOF also failed to provide any first aid or show concern for the injured child.

Despite the heavy IOF and Israeli police presence throughout the city during this weekend, it was abundantly clear that they were there to protect the settlers, and not the Palestinian residents. There was a complete failure to protect the Palestinians under attack. Police also failed to undertake any investigation into the various incidents, or attempt to bring to justice those settlers engaging in violence against Palestinians.

This raises concerns that the IOF are turning a blind eye to the violence, sanctioning and enabling it to occur, or alternatively that they simply have no power or authority to control the settlers’ violence. The risk for Palestinians trying to resist the occupation and violence, such as Imad, is to be punished, singly or collectively, for their defiance in the face of the creeping genocide of the Palestinian land and people.

Whilst trying to document and observe violence and abuse, ISM experienced hostility and aggression from both settlers and the IOF, including physical and verbal threats, restriction of movement as well as having our passports photographed by police and threatened arrest, in a clear attempt to deter us from our work. Pro-Palestinian activists in Israel risk deportation, including a 10 year ban from the country, serving to silence and prevent the documenting of human rights violations in Palestine.

December 4, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment