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Claim: $220 Billion “Family Planning” Equivalent to a Trillion Dollars of Climate Tech Investment

Displaced Rohingya people in Rakhine State. By Foreign and Commonwealth Office – Flickr, OGL, Link
By Eric Worrall | Watts Up With That? | May 22, 2018

Family planning charities suggest helping poor women “control their fertility” will save as much CO2 as a trillion dollars of investment in low carbon technologies. But provision of family planning wrapped around a higher purpose has a long and ugly history.

Worried About Climate Change? Investing in Reproductive Health Must Be Part of the Solution

Monday, 21st May 2018
Chris Turner

Since the invention of the contraceptive pill in the 1950’s, access to modern contraception has driven some of the key demographic and social changes in history. It has delivered improved health outcomes for mothers and babies as women are able to wait longer between births or delay having their first child. It created demographic shifts, as populations have fewer dependents and a more productive labour force. It has empowered girls and women to stay in school longer, seek higher education and participate in the formal economy. And now recent research has determined that contraception also has a key role to play in addressing climate change.

Poverty reduction and strengthening economies

When women can exercise reproductive choice, they are more likely to participate in education and the workforce. In most developing countries, female participation in the formal economy has increased as fertility has fallen. Women’s participation in the economy promotes economic growth and economies that are strong are better able to absorb the disturbances of climate change and recover from climate-related events.

Women’s participation and leadership

Women’s participation and leadership is important to climate change preparedness, resilience and action. Enabling women to control their bodies and reproductive health can help create opportunities for women to participate, lead and contribute to the conversation.

As a climate change mitigation strategy, family planning programs are also more cost-effective than other conventional, energy-focused solutions. One study found that $220 billion spent on providing family planning to those with an unmet need would reduce 34 gigatons of global carbon emissions, compared to $1 trillion for a similar outcome if spent on low carbon technologies.

Read more: https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2018/05/worried-climate-change-investing-reproductive-health-must-part-solution/

Regardless of your position on birth control and abortion, I think we can all feel a sense of unease when efforts to provide “family planning” are offered as part of a larger mission to reduce population, rather than placing the interests of the recipients of the medical aid first.

Provision of birth control to poor people has a long, ugly history. For example, consider this Guardian story about the Bangladesh government’s recent efforts to offer sterilisation services to inconvenient Rohingya refugees displaced by ongoing political turmoil in Burma.

Bangladesh to offer sterilisation to Rohingya in refugee camps

Family planning authorities have asked the government to launch vasectomies and tubectomies for women in Cox’s Bazar, where 1m refugees fight for space.

Bangladesh is planning to introduce voluntary sterilisation in its overcrowded Rohingya camps, where nearly a million refugees are fighting for space, after efforts to encourage birth control failed.

More than 600,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh since a military crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar in August triggered an exodus, straining resources in the impoverished country.

The latest arrivals have joined hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled in earlier waves from Myanmar’s Rakhine state, where the stateless Muslim minority has endured decades of persecution.

Most live in desperate conditions with limited access to food, sanitation or health facilities and local officials fear a lack of family planning could stretch resources even further.

Many of the refugees told AFP they believed a large family would help them survive in the camps, where access to food and water remains a daily battle and children are often sent out to fetch and carry supplies.

Others had been told contraception was against the tenets of Islam.

Farhana Sultana, a family planning volunteer who works with Rohingya refugees in the camps, said many of the women she spoke to believed birth control was a sin.

“In Rakhine they did not go to family planning clinics, fearing the Myanmar authorities would give medicine that harms them or their children,” Sultana said.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/28/bangladesh-to-offer-sterilisation-to-rohingya-in-refugee-camps

You could reasonably argue that refugee women having 19 children each is unsustainable. But I doubt the first concern of the Bangladeshi authorities is the well-being of the Rohingya. I suspect the Bangladeshi authorities would be overjoyed if the Rohingya refugee problem just quietly disappeared.

Over zealous family planning doesn’t just occur in poor countries. The USA has experienced domestic scandals in the past related to forced sterilisation, and scandals with the practices of organisations like Planned Parenthood, including accusations of medical racism.

My point is I personally have no problem with women having access to the medical services they need to create a better life for themselves and their families. I understand some people likely have different opinions about reproductive issues, what is an is not acceptable, to myself.

But surely we can all agree that mixing family planning with another mission like reducing humanity’s global carbon footprint creates a horrifying risk that the welfare of patients will not be the top priority. There are many ugly historical examples to support this concern.

May 25, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | Leave a comment

US Stealth Aircraft Manufacturer to Open Preschools in Jerusalem – Reports

Sputnik – 25.05.2018

One of the biggest defense manufacturers in the United States is reportedly moving to invest in kindergarten education in Jerusalem.

Lockheed Martin is about to open several science-oriented preschools in the city of Jerusalem with the backing of the Israeli Ministry of Education, Haaretz reports.

According to the newspaper, the company that produces a wide array of ordnance and military aircraft, including the F-35 stealth fighter, is opening these preschools as part of a larger project called MadaKids.

Also, Lockheed Martin intends to fund robotics courses for first and second graders for children who graduate from these preschools.

The company’s representatives added that Lockheed Martin will only pay for the preschools’ science curriculum.

“We’re supporting them financially, but we don’t have teachers in the preschools and we’re not intervening in the programming or curriculum,” said Joshua Shani, CEO of Lockheed Martin Israel.

While Shani did admit that Lockheed Martin’s involvement in this preschool program “isn’t logical”, he argued that “the moment a commercial company wants to contribute to the community, it becomes worthwhile.”

“We could have set up a research institute on military aviation worldwide, but we went in the direction of education because that’s what fires us up,” he declared.

The Ministry of Education noted that it does not object to commercial enterprises setting up preschools as long as commercial content doesn’t get introduced into curriculum.

The commander of the Israeli Air Force Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin earlier declared that Israel became the first country in the world to carry out an attack using the US-manufactured F-35 stealth fighter.

He claimed that Israel is “flying the F-35 all over the Middle East and have already attacked twice on two different fronts.”

May 25, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel bill seeks to criminalise documentation of soldiers’ actions

Israeli forces disrupt a Palestinian protest against Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands in Bethlehem, West Bank on March 30, 2017. (Issam Rimawi – Anadolu Agency )
MEMO | May 25, 2018

The Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation will discuss, Sunday, a bill that would prohibit the documentation of Israeli soldiers’ human rights violations against Palestinian citizens.

On Thursday, Israel Hayom explained that the chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu bloc in the Knesset, Robert Ilatov, proposed the bill with the support of his party’s leader, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

The bill states, “anyone who shoots a video or a photo, or records soldiers while they are doing their job, with the aim of disturbing the morale of soldiers and citizens, will be sentenced to five years imprisonment. In case this is done with the aim of destabilising the state’s security, the perpetrator will be sentenced to ten years imprisonment.”

In addition, the bill prohibits the sharing of photographs or recorded content on social media or in the media.

Israeli MP Ilatov asserted that his proposal comes as part of an attempt to respond to the movement of left-wing activists in exposing Israeli practices against Palestinian citizens in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

He justified his proposal by saying,

Israel has long been facing a disturbing phenomenon; that of the documentation of Israeli army soldiers, by video shooting or audio recordings by organisations that are hostile to Israel and supportive of the Palestinians, such as B’Tselem, Machsom Watch, Breaking the Silence, BDS and other organisations

He claimed that “the majority of these organisations receive support from associations and governments with anti-Israel agenda, and that they are using these contents to jeopardise Israel and its security.”

He added, “It is unreasonable for an activist or leftist organisation, supported by a foreign entity, to be granted the freedom to document soldiers while doing their duties. The best conditions must be provided for the soldiers to do their duty without worrying about any activist or organisation publishing their photos to intimidate them.”

Read also:

Student societies ask Britain to end arms sales to Israel

May 25, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

MESA: Israeli Government Involved in Cyberbullying US College Students

A letter from the Middle East Studies Association to Israeli Security Minister Gilad Erdan charges Israeli government harassment of American students.

By Judith Tucker | May 25, 2018

Dear Minister Erdan:

We write on behalf of the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) to express our dismay that the Israeli government has been involved in facilitating and directing abusive actions, including cyberbullying, against students at universities in the United States who have been active in campaigns for divestment from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This constitutes unwarranted interference by a foreign power in these students’ free speech rights and threatens academic freedom at institutions of higher education in the United States.

MESA was founded in 1966 to promote scholarship and teaching on the Middle East and North Africa. The preeminent organization in the field, MESA publishes the International Journal of Middle East Studies and has nearly 2,500 members worldwide. MESA is committed to ensuring academic freedom of expression, both within the region and in connection with the study of the region in North America and elsewhere.

The most recent incident of which we are aware took place at George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, D.C. during April 2018. On 16 April 2018, a Student Senate vote on a resolution urging the university to divest from a number of companies (including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Elbit Systems, Caterpillar, CEMEX, General Electric, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Motorola Solutions) was cancelled after students witnessed two unidentified individuals placing threatening posters around the university. The vote was rescheduled for 24 April 2018 and on that date the divestment resolution was approved by a vote of 18-6, with 6 abstentions.

Two men wearing bird costumes and masks, apparently evoking the Canary Mission website which features some two thousand derogatory and generally inaccurate and misleading profiles of students and faculty who have advocated for Palestinian rights, along with someone who appeared to be coordinating their activities, stood outside the room in which the Senate Senators were meeting to vote on the resolution. The clear intent was to intimidate the Senators as well as student supporters of the resolution. These individuals were later seen putting up posters around campus that read, “SJP [Students for Justice in Palestine], you saw two of us, we saw all of you.”

After the vote, administrators of the Act.il app, which media reports indicate your ministry was integrally involved in developing and promoting in order to combat the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, began directing its users to “like” and share a Facebook page set up to threaten and bully the GWU Student Senators who voted in support of the resolution. The Facebook page was taken down soon after the Senate vote, but Act.il did not remove its listing of the cyberbullying campaign as a “mission” to be conducted by anti-BDS activists until it expired.

We note in this connection that you personally promoted the launch of Act.il at the February 2017 Celebrate Israel Parade and that your ministry placed paid articles advertising the app in the Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel (see The Forward ).

Your status as an official of the Israeli government makes your involvement, and that of the ministry you head, in campaigns to try to intimidate American college and university students and to inhibit or suppress their freedom of expression especially egregious. These students have a right to be free of harassment, intimidation and cyberbullying by people who are in effect agents of the Israeli government. We therefore call on you and your ministry to cease promoting or supporting such campaigns of harassment, whether online or in person, and to refrain from interference of any kind when students and faculty in the United States exercise their constitutionally protected right of free speech and their academic freedom rights.

We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Judith E. Tucker
MESA President
Professor, Georgetown University

Amy W. Newhall
MESA Executive Director

Judith E. Tucker is the President of the Middle East Studies Association of North America and writes on behalf of the MESA Committee on Academic Freedom. She is Professor of History at Georgetown University, former Director of the Master of Arts in Arab Studies Program, former Editor of the International Journal of Middle East Studies. 

May 25, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Congressional bill would apply Israel-centric definition of antisemitism to campuses

By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | May 25, 2018

A group of US lawmakers from both houses of Congress introduced legislation on Wednesday to apply an Israel-centric definition of anti-Semitism to the American educational system. If passed, this would likely be used to to censor information on Israel-Palestine on U.S. campuses.

The basic formulation on which the definition is based was originally created by an Israeli official in 2004. Versions have since been inserted into various entities both internationally and in the U.S., where a definition created in Europe in 2005 was adopted by an Israel partisan in the State Department in 2010. This definition is now called “the State Department definition” of antisemitism. It is this version that the current law would apply to U.S. campuses. (For more information see this.)

The current legislation (H.R.6421 & S.2940) is entitled “A bill to provide for the consideration of a definition of anti-Semitism for the enforcement of Federal antidiscrimination laws concerning education programs or activities.” (Text here) The short title is ‘‘Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2018.’’

A similar bill, “Anti-Semitism Act of 2016,” was supported by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Jewish Federations of North America, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center but was not enacted.

Legal experts have warned that such bills would violate the First Amendment. Palestine Legal points out:

The redefinition of antisemitism is so broadly drawn—and its examples so vague—that any speech critical of Israel or supportive of Palestinian rights could conceivably fall within it. For example, a human rights supporter who speaks out for Palestinian rights, citing reports by such bodies as the United Nations or Amnesty International regarding Israeli human rights abuses, could be labeled antisemitic for applying a double standard by requiring of Israel behavior not expected or demanded of others.

If U.S. government entities adopt and apply this overbroad re-definition of antisemitism to censor political viewpoints critical of Israel, they would likely violate the First Amendment.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) stated that the 2016 bill posed “a serious threat to the First Amendment free speech rights of those on campus who may hold certain political views.”

The ACLU stated: “The First Amendment prevents the federal government from using its great weight to impose severe penalties on a person simply for sharing a political viewpoint critical of Israel.”

In some cases legislators may not be fully aware of what the bill contains and how it can be used. A press release from Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers fails to inform the public that the definition is a nontraditional one that when applied to campuses will likely restrict certain factual statements about a foreign country.

The Times of Israel reports that other co-sponsors of the bill are Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Florida), Rep Jerrold Nadler, (D-New York), Rep. Peter Roskam, (R-Illinois), Rep. Doug Collins, (R-Georgia), Sen. Tim Scott, (R-South Carolina), and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania). The previous bill had 23 co-sponsors.

Similar legislation is also being introduced in state legislatures around the country, with South Carolina recently passing it. While most South Carolina state legislators considered the bill an insignificant gesture, their action made headlines in Israel, where it was seen as a major breakthrough for the country.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of “Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.” 


Click image to see video. Hannah Rosenthal adopted the new definition while she served as Antisemitism Envoy in the State Department.

May 25, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Video | , , , , | 1 Comment

Naomi Wolf and Anti-semitism’s Mystification

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | May 24, 2018

My previous post was about the firing of a cartoonist, Dieter Hanitzsch, by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung after its editor became concerned – though, it seems, far from sure – that a cartoon he had published of Benjamin Netanyahu might be anti-semitic. Here is the image again.

As I argued then, the meaning seems pretty clear and uncoloured by any traditional notion of anti-semitism. It shows the danger that Israel, a highly militarised state, will use its win at the Eurovision song contest, and its hosting of next year’s competition in occupied Jerusalem, to whitewash the sort of war crimes it just committed in Gaza, where it has massacred large numbers of unarmed Palestinians.

In fact, the cartoonist is far from alone in highlighting such concerns. The New York Times has reported delight among Israelis at the prospect of what they regard as a “diplomatic victory” as much as musical one. And, according to the Haaretz newspaper, the Eurovision contest organisers have already expressed concern to Israeli broadcasters about likely attempts by Israel to “politicise” the competition.

Among those responding on Twitter to my post was Naomi Wolf, a US Jewish intellectual and feminist scholar whose body of work I admire. She disagreed with my blog post, arguing that the cartoon was, in her words, “kind of anti-semitic”.

In our subsequent exchange she also noted that she was uncomfortable with the fact that the cartoonist was German. (For those interested, the complete exchange can be found here.)

In the end, and admittedly under some pressure from me for clarification, she offered an illustration of why she thought the cartoon was “kind of anti-semitic”. She sent a link to the image below, stating that she thought Hanitzsch’s cartoon of Netanyahu had echoes of this Nazi image of “the Jew” alongside an Aryan German woman.

Frankly, I was astounded by the comparison.

Nazi propaganda

Cartoons in Nazi propaganda sheets like Der Sturmer were anti-semitic because they emphasised specific themes to “otherise” Jews, presenting them as a collective menace to Germany or the world. Those themes included the threat of plague and disease, with Jews often represented as rats; or secret Jewish control over key institutions, illustrated, for example, by the tentacles of an octopus spanning the globe; or the disloyalty of Jews, selling out their country, as they hungered for money.

As Wolf notes, anti-semitic cartoonists would give the portrayed “Jew” grotesque or sinister facial features to alienate readers from him and convey the threat he posed. These features famously included a large or hooked nose, voracious lips, and a bulbous or disfigured head.

So how did the cartoon of Netanyahu qualify on any of these grounds? There is no implication that Netanyahu represents “Jews”, or even Israelis. He is illustrated straightforwardly as the leader of a country, Israel. There is no sense of disease, world control or money associated with Netanyahu’s depiction. Just his well-known hawkishness and Israel’s well-documented status as a highly militarised state.

And there is nothing “grotesque” or “other” about Netanyahu. This is a typical caricature, certainly by European standards, of a world leader. It’s no more offensive than common depictions of Barack Obama, George Bush, Tony Blair, or Donald Trump.

So how exactly is this Netanyahu cartoon “kind of anti-semitic”?

Limiting political debate

What follows is not meant as an attack on Wolf. In fact, I greatly appreciate the fact that she was prepared to engage sincerely and openly with me on Twitter. And I acknowledge her point that judgments about what is anti-semitic are subjective.

But at the same time ideas about anti-semitism have become far vaguer, more all-encompassing, than ever before. In fact, I would go so far as to say the idea of anti-semitism has been metamorphosing before our eyes in ways extremely damaging to the health of our political conversations. It is the current mystification of anti-semitism – or what we might term its transformation into a “kind of antisemitism” – that has allowed it to be weaponised, limiting all sorts of vital debates we need to be having.

It is precisely the promotion of a “kind of anti-semitism”, as opposed to real anti-semitism, that has just forced Ken Livingstone to resign from the Labour party; that empowered Labour’s Blairite bureaucracy to publicly lynch a well-known black anti-racism activist, Marc Wadsworth; that persuaded a dissident comedian and supporter of the Palestinian cause, Frankie Boyle, to use his TV show to prioritise an attack on a supposedly “anti-semitic” Labour party over support for Gaza; that is being used to vilify grassroots movements campaigning against “global elites” and the “1 per cent”; and that may yet finish off Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, currently the only credible political force for progressive change in the UK.

None of this is, of course, to suggest that Wolf would herself want any of these outcomes or that she is trying to misuse anti-semitism. I fully acccept that she has been a strong Jewish critic of Israel and doubtless paid a price for it with friends and colleagues.

But unlike Wolf, those who do consciously and cynically weaponise anti-semitism gain their power from our inability to stand back and think critically about what they are doing, and why it matters. There is an intellectual and cultural blind spot that has been created and is being readily exploited by those who want to prevent discussions not only about Israel’s actions but about the wider political culture we desperately need to change.

Israel and Jews

In fact, the mystification of anti-semitism is not new, though it is rapidly intensifying. It began the moment Israel was created. That was why a Nazi cartoon – drawn before Israel’s establishment in 1948 – could never have been described as “kind of anti-semitic”. It simply was anti-semitic. It attributed menacing or subversive qualities to Jews because they were Jews.

To understand how the current mystification works we need briefly to consider Israel’s character as a state – something very few people are prepared to do in the “mainstream”, because it is likely to result in allegations of … anti-semitism! As I observed in my previous post, this has provided the perfect get-out-jail-free card for Israel and its supporters.

Israel was created as the national homeland of all Jewish people – not of those who became citizens (which included a significant number of Palestinians), or even of those Jews who ended up living there. Israel declared that it represented all Jewish people around the world, including Wolf.

This idea is central to Zionism, and is embodied in its Declaration of Independence; its constitutional-like Basic Laws; its immigration legislation, the Law of Return; its land laws; and the integration into Israel’s state structures of extra-territorial Zionist organisations like the Jewish National Fund, the World Zionist Organisation and the Jewish Agency.

A dangerous confusion

It is also why the rationale for Israel is premised on anti-semitism: Israel was created as a sanctuary for all Jews because, according to Zionists, Jews can never be truly safe anywhere outside Israel. Without anti-semitism, Israel would be superfluous. It is also why Israel has a reason to inflate the threat of anti-semitism – or, if we are cynical about the lengths states will go to promote their interests, to help generate anti-semitism to justify the existence of a Jewish state and encourage Jews to immigrate.

So from the moment of its birth, the ideas of “Israel” and “anti-semitism” became disturbingly enmeshed – and in ways almost impossible to disentangle.

For most of Israel’s history, that fact could be obscured in the west because western governments and media were little more than cheerleaders for Israel. Criticism of Israel was rarely allowed into the mainstream, and when it did appear it was invariably limited to condemnations of the occupation. Even then, there was rarely any implication of systematic wrongdoing on Israel’s part.

That changed only when the exclusive grip of the western corporate media over information dissemination weakened, first with the emergence of the internet and satellite channels like Al Jazeera, and more recently and decisively with social media. Criticism of Israel’s occupation has increasingly broadened into suspicions about its enduring bad faith. Among more knowledgeable sections of the progressive left, there is a mounting sense that Israel’s unwillingness to end the occupation is rooted in its character as a Jewish state, and maybe its intimate ideological relationship with anti-semitism.

These are vital conversations to be having about Israel, and they are all the more pressing now that Israel has shown that it is fully prepared to gun down in public unarmed Palestinians engaging in civil disobedience. Many, many more Palestinians are going to have their lives taken from them unless we aggressively pursue and resolve these conversations in ways that Israel is determined to prevent.

And this is why the “kind of anti-semitic” confusion – a confusion that Israel precisely needs and encourages – is so dangerous. Because it justifies – without evidence – shutting down those conversations before they can achieve anything.

The Livingstone problem

In 2016 Ken Livingstone tried to initiate a conversation about Zionism and its symbiotic relationship with anti-semites, in this case with the early Nazi leadership. We can’t understand what Israel is, why the vast majority of Jews once abhorred Zionism, why Israel is so beloved of modern anti-semites like the alt-right and hardcore Christian evangelicals, why Israel cannot concede a Palestinian state, and why it won’t abandon the occupation without overwhelming penalties from the international community, unless we finish the conversation Livingstone started.

Which is why that conversation was shut down instantly with the accusation that it was “anti-semitic”. But Livingstone’s crime is one no mainstream commentator wants to address or explain. If pressed to do so, they will tell you it is because his comments were perceived to be “offensive” or “hurtful”, or because they were “unnecessary” and “foolish”, or because they brought the Labour party “into disrepute” (Labour’s version of “kind of anti-semitic”). No one will tell you what was substantively anti-semitic about his remark.

Similarly, when pressed to explain how Hanitzsch’s cartoon of Netanyahu was anti-semitic, Wolf digressed to the entirely irrelevant issue of his nationality.

This is the power and the danger of this “kind of anti-semitic” logic, and why it needs to be confronted and exposed for the hollow shell it is.

A mural becomes anti-semitic

The next stage in the evolution of the “kind of anti-semitic” argument is already discernible, as I have warned before. It is so powerful that it has forced Corbyn to concede, against all evidence, that Labour has an anti-semitism problem and to castigate himself, again against all evidence, for indulging in anti-semitic thinking.

Corbyn has been on the defensive since a “controversy” erupted in March over his expression of support back in 2012 for street art and opposition to censorship amid a row over a London mural that was about to be painted over.

After he was elected Labour leader in 2015, the first efforts were made to weaponise the mural issue to damage him. The deeply anti-Corbyn Jewish Chronicle newspaper was – like Hanitzsch’s boss at the Süddeutsche Zeitung – initially unsure whether the mural was actually anti-semitic. Then the newspaper simply highlighted concerns that it might have “anti-semitic undertones”. By spring 2018, when the row resurfaced, the status of the mural had been transformed. Every mainstream British commentator was convinced it was “clearly” and “obviously” anti-semitic – and by implication, Corbyn had been unmasked as an anti-semite for supporting it.

Again, no one wanted to debate how it was anti-semitic. The artist has said it was an image of historical bankers, most of whom were not Jewish, closely associated with the capitalist class’s war on the rest of us. There is nothing in the mural to suggest he is lying about his intention or the mural’s meaning. And yet everyone in the “mainstream” is now confident that the mural is anti-semitic, even though none of them wants to specify what exactly is anti-semitic about it.

The 1 per cent off-limits

Much else is rapidly becoming “anti-semitic”. It is an indication of how quickly this slippage is occuring that repeating now a slogan of the Occupy Movement from only seven years ago – that we are ruled by a “global elite” and the “1 per cent” – is cited as proof of anti-semitism. The liberal New Statesman recently ran an article dedicated to proving that the articulation of basic socialist principles – including ideas of class war and the 1 per cent – was evidence of anti-semitism.

On Frankie Boyle’s popular TV show last week, comedian David Baddiel was allowed to misrepresent – unchallenged – an opinion poll that found 28 per cent of Corbyn supporters agreed with the statement “the world is controlled by a secretive elite”. Baddiel asserted, without any evidence, that when they spoke of a global elite the respondents were referring to Jews. What was this assumption based on? A hunch? A sense that such a statement must be “kind of anti-semitic”?

Lots of young people who support Corbyn have never heard of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and have little idea about Der Sturmer or Nazi propaganda. More likely when they think of a secretive global elite, they imagine not a cabal of Jews but faceless global corporations they feel powerless to influence and a military industrial complex raking in endless profits by engineering endless wars.

The mystification of anti-semitism is so dangerous because it can be exploited for any end those who dominate the public square care to put it to – whether it be sacking a cartoonist, justifying Israel’s slaughter of Palestinians, destroying a progressive party leader, or preventing any criticism of a turbo-charged neoliberal capitalism destroying our planet.

May 25, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 3 Comments

Simple Dreams

Al-Haq | May 24, 2018

May 24, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | 1 Comment

As US Tries to Remake Rather than Rebuild Northern Syria, Local Resistance Groups Emerge

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | May 23, 2018

RAQQA, SYRIA – A handful of groups claiming to resist the U.S.-led occupation of Northeastern Syria have sprung up throughout the region since the year began — targeting U.S. forces as well as the U.S. proxy in the area, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Since last year, the U.S. has been occupying over 30 percent of Syrian territory, as well as most of the country’s oil, gas, agricultural and fresh-water resources.

Most of the groups have sprung up in areas of Syria under U.S. and SDF control, citing the U.S.-appointed local government’s inability to tackle major issues, like restoring water supplies and stemming discrimination against non-Kurdish civilians as the main factors behind their decision to oppose U.S. occupation.

The first Syrian resistance group to target the U.S. occupation, the pro-government Popular Resistance of Raqqa (PRoR), was formed in February in the city of Raqqa, where according to monitors, a U.S.-led battle to retake the city killed over 1,800 civilians. Eighty percent of all of the city’s buildings were destroyed in the battle — including critical infrastructure and its water supply — and the area remains littered with landmines. Since the U.S.-appointed government has taken control, little has been done to improve living conditions in the city.

The PRoR announced in a video statement:

We officially declare the formation of the popular resistance in Raqqa to prevent the American aggression from taking over any part of our beloved Syria after it [the U.S.] gathered terrorists from all over the world as their proxies; who destroyed the city of Raqqa and killed its innocent people.”

The group later called on the people of Raqqa to resist the U.S. and its proxies by “engaging in demonstrations, strikes and opposing all efforts to partition Syria.”

As MintPress has reported over the course of the conflict, partitioning Syria has long been a goal of the U.S.-led coalition and is the driving force behind the U.S. military’s ongoing presence in the region.

PRoR has since attacked U.S. military assets, including a U.S.-occupied Syrian military base near Raqqa, which the group shelled in early April.  Al Masdar Newsreported at the time that the group has also had some success in covertly recruiting locals “who are opposed to the U.S.-appointed government’s policies and the U.S.-backed SDF.”

The message of the PRoR seems also to have taken hold among some of Raqqa’s civilians. Since the group encouraged local resistance in the form of protests and strikes, several civilian protests against the U.S. occupation have taken place in Raqqa, including those that have expressed support for the Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad. The most recent of these protests took place earlier this week.

Resistance to foreign rule no surprise

Though emergence of local resistance may seem to have been an unintended consequence of the U.S.’ occupation of the area, such resistance – namely from Arabs and non-Kurds native to the area – was anticipated by the U.S. and its proxies prior to their taking control of the city.

AsMintPressreported last June, the greatest obstacle that faced U.S./SDF plans to annex Raqqa as part of the Kurdish “autonomous region” was the native population of Raqqa itself, which is historically Arab. At the time, it seemed highly unlikely that any Arab or non-Kurd would willingly choose to live as a second-class citizen under the rule of a Kurdish-dominated and U.S.-appointed council, as opposed to the equal standing they once enjoyed when the city was under Syrian government control.

These concerns were exacerbated by widespread reports of the Kurdish militia “ethnically cleansing” Arabs from villages around Raqqa, as well as the mass deaths of civilians that marked the U.S.-led coalition efforts to retake Raqqa.

However, Kurdish efforts to permanently expel Raqqa’s Arabs failed. Following the city’s liberation from Daesh (ISIS), over 95,000 native inhabitants of Raqqa – many of them Arab – returned. Since then, Russian military sources claim that “the native Arab population is subjected to repression and punishment” by U.S.-appointed leaders, many of whom are Kurdish and not native to Raqqa, causing “sharp discontent among local residents.”

The chief of staff of Russia’s military contingent in Syria, Col. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy, noted “[the commands] of the Syrian Democratic Forces and local governments, appointed by the Americans, do not cope with the need to resolve humanitarian problems.”

Indeed, given that the critical infrastructure destroyed by the U.S. coalition has yet to be restored – including the city’s water supply — and the fact that the U.S. has diverted funds for “rebuilding” the area into more weapons for the SDF, Raqqa’s civilians may soon become convinced that those resisting the U.S. occupation are more interested in their welfare than are their occupiers.

A spreading resistance

Recent events elsewhere in U.S.-occupied Syrian territory have suggested resistance to the U.S. military presence is spreading well beyond Raqqa.

On Monday, three U.S. Army soldiers were killed in the Syrian province of Hasakah, in the country’s Northeast — an area that is currently occupied by the United States and its Kurdish-majority military proxy, the SDF. While the soldiers’ deaths were largely ignored by Western media, local media noted that the deaths occurred after three military vehicles crashed while patrolling the town of Tal Tamr, and suggested a resistance group aimed at ending the U.S. occupation may be to blame.

Th deaths in Hasakah raise questions as to whether popular resistance against the U.S. occupation of the territory is spreading. Indeed, Hasakah has recently suffered from U.S. airstrikes, including one earlier this month that killed 25 civilians and injured 10 more near the town al-Shaddadi in Hasakah’s south. Other reports on the incident claimed an entire family was killed in the strike. Such atrocities are likely to spark further resistance to the U.S. occupation, as has happened on numerous occasions over the course of the U.S.’ “War on Terror.”

Time will tell if resistance to the U.S. occupation is spreading. Regardless, the growing discontent among civilians suggests that the unraveling of the U.S. occupation of Syria may come from internal, not external, forces.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

May 24, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | 3 Comments

US considers further financial cuts to international bodies to silence Palestinians

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | May 24, 2018

Under US President Donald Trump, international organisations have become targets for repression and vehicles by which Israeli oppression is maintained. Following the financial restrictions it imposed upon the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) last year, Washington has now set its sights on cuts in funding to another three organisations. The move follows the statement by UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov that Palestine has submitted applications to join the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Reports by various media, including Press TV and the Times of Israel, quote an unnamed US official saying that, “It has been the consistent position of the United States that efforts by the Palestinians to join international organisations are premature and counterproductive.” Since Trump’s election, the US-Israeli alliance has shed its veneer of restraint in terms of how much visible support should be flaunted internationally.

Financial dependence aside, it is clear that the US aims to leave Palestine with mere spectator status across the international community. It goes without saying that access to international organisations does not translate automatically into prominence for the Palestinians.

America’s move, therefore, is not only a punitive measure targeting and thus threatening the international organisations but also a means of increasing ways to deter Palestinians from pursuing their options in the international community. Nevertheless, whether or not Palestinians will utilise the international platform is still a contentious issue. Speaking about Palestinian accession to international organisations is still presented mainly from an angle that legitimises Israel’s purported anger, as in the case of the International Criminal Court (ICC). To eclipse Palestinian rights by Israel’s anger is a recipe for oblivion.

The same tactic was used when UNRWA faced an existential threat due to the US decision to slash funding. While UNRWA attempted to illustrate how such a decision would exacerbate the existing limitations on its work in support of Palestinian refugees, it was done from an organisational perspective, shifting the Palestinians in the process to a secondary and less visible position.

If international organisations worked independently of a political agenda, Palestine might have a chance to further its cause and development. UNCTAD has a special unit – the Assistance to the Palestinian People Unit (APPU) — which has the mandate to monitor the socio-economic impact of Israel’s military occupation. However, like other organisations, the Palestine issue is restricted to reports that state the obvious. UNCTAD’s April 2018 report, for example, said that Palestinians have been denied the human right to development; its conclusions and recommendations, like those of other organisations, are based upon legislation that Israel routinely and blatantly ignores.

The past seven decades have provided enough proof of the futility of the international community’s safeguarding of Palestinian rights; it is now ridiculed as the subject of mere rhetoric. It is more likely, therefore, that Trump, in coordination with Israel, is sending a message to Palestinians that their presence on international platforms will be hindered and obscured at all costs. One way to do this is to shift attention from Palestinians onto the organisations that might be affected.

This exposes the static structure of such international organisations which, due to their dependence upon financial aid from oppressive powers, prioritise their existence rather than use their position to safeguard Palestinian rights. If one thing is to be taken from the manipulation of financial aid and international institutions for political purposes, it is how the debate generated will also contribute towards marginalising and silencing Palestinians.

May 24, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | 4 Comments

“Skirmishes” – Israel’s Syria Blitz

Media Lens | May 23, 2018

A key ‘mainstream’ media theme in covering the Israeli army’s repeated massacres of unarmed, non-violent Palestinian civilians protesting Israel’s military occupation in Gaza – killing journalists, a paramedic, the elderly and children – has been the description of these crimes as ‘clashes’.

This has been a clear attempt to obfuscate the fact that while two groups of people are involved, only one group is being killed and wounded.

To the casual reader – and many readers do not venture beyond the headlines – a ‘clash’ suggests that both sides are armed, with both suffering casualties. One would not, for example, describe a firing squad as a ‘clash’. There was no ‘clash’ in New York on September 11, 2001, and so on.

Following Israel’s massive blitz on more than 100 targets in Syria on May 10, ‘mainstream’ coverage offered similarly questionable frameworks of understanding.

A Guardian headline read:

Israel retaliates after Iran “fires 20 rockets” at army in occupied Golan Heights (Our emphasis)

For moral, legal and public relations reasons, the issue of which side started a conflict is obviously crucial. If the public recognises that the case for war is unjustified, immoral or illegal – that a country has chosen to launch a war of aggression – they will likely oppose it, sometimes in the millions, as happened in 2002 and 2003 in relation to the Iraq war. It is thus highly significant that the Guardian described Israel as retaliating.

The BBC reported of Israel’s attacks:

They came after 20 rockets were fired at Israeli military positions in the occupied Golan Heights. (Our emphasis)

Reuters took the same line as the Guardian and BBC:

Iran targets Israeli bases across Syrian frontier, Israel pounds Syria

Iranian forces in Syria launched a rocket attack on Israeli forces in the Golan Heights early on Thursday, Israel said, prompting one of the heaviest Israeli barrages in Syria since the conflict there began in 2011. (Our emphasis)

The New York Times also reported:

It was a furious response to what Israel called an Iranian rocket attack launched from Syrian territory just hours earlier. (Our emphasis)

And yet, the report buried a challenge to its own claim that Israel had retaliated in the second half of the piece:

Iran’s rocket attack against Israel came after what appeared to have been an Israeli missile strike against a village in the Syrian Golan Heights late on Wednesday. (Our emphasis)

According to the BBC (see below), the Israeli missile strike had targeted an Iranian drone facility killing several Iranians.

So, actually, it might be said that Iran was retaliating to Israeli attacks – a more reasonable interpretation, given recent history also described by the New York Times:

Israel has conducted scores of strikes on Iran and its allies inside Syria, rarely acknowledging them publicly.

Nevertheless, the corporate media theme has been that Israel retaliated, part of a long-term trend in media coverage. In a 2002 report, Bad News From Israel, The Glasgow University Media Group commented:

On the news, Israeli actions tended to be explained and contextualised – they were often shown as merely “responding” to what had been done to them by Palestinians (in the 2001 samples they were six times as likely to be presented as “retaliating” or in some way responding than were the Palestinians).

Was Iran Skirmishing?

But was Iran even involved at all? The opening, highlighted sentence in a front-page BBC piece by diplomatic editor Jonathan Marcus left the reader in no doubt:

These are the first skirmishes in a potential war between Israel and Iran that promises a fearful level of destruction – even by the standards of the modern Middle East.

So this was a ‘skirmish’, a clash involving Israel and Iran – they were both involved in the combat. And yet, in the second half of the article, Marcus wrote:

The alleged Iranian attack last night – I say alleged because at this stage there is no confirmation from Iranian sources as to the precise authors of the attack – involved a single and relatively short-range system, what appears to have been a multiple-barrelled rocket launcher.

How can the Iranian attack be merely ‘alleged’ half-way down the article but a bald fact in the highlighted opening sentence?

In fact, not only has there been ‘no confirmation’, there has been outright Iranian rejection of the claims. Abolfazl Hassan-Baygi, deputy head of the Iranian parliament’s national security committee, commented:

Iran has nothing to do with the missiles that struck the enemy entity yesterday.

Associated Press (AP ) reported Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi commenting that Israel’s attacks were based on ‘fabricated and baseless excuses’, and were a breach of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.

AP quoted a senior Lebanese politician and close ally of Syria and Iran, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, as saying: ‘this time the Syrian retaliation was in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights but next time it will be in Israel proper. (Our emphasis)

Later in his BBC piece, Marcus wrote:

The immediate tensions stem from an Israeli air strike on what they claimed was an Iranian drone facility at the so-called T-4 air base, near Palmyra, on 9 April, which reportedly killed several Iranian military advisers.

This again challenged the idea that Israel had ‘retaliated’, but again it was not given the kind of prominence that could challenge Israel’s version of events.

So the ‘skirmishes’ may actually have consisted of Israel first attacking an Iranian drone facility killing Iranian personnel, and then launching a massive attack against Iranian positions across Syria, without Iran responding at all. And yet Marcus wrote:

It is a conflict that needs to be averted and the time to do it is now. However Israel and Iran remain on a collision course.

Despite the uncertainty on whether Iran had attacked, Marcus concluded:

Iran’s strategic intent is clear… it is unlikely to be dissuaded from its efforts.

He added:

Israel has drawn its red lines and it is clearly not going to back down either.

Obama also famously drew his ‘red line’ in Syria in 2012, threatening a massive attack in the event of Syrian government use of chemical weapons. But for Marcus, Israel’s actual launch of a massive attack merely constituted the drawing of ‘red lines’.

And again, ignoring his own doubts about what had happened, the required warmongering ‘balance’ was favoured:

For the immediate future, the pattern of strike, attempted riposte, and counter-strike is likely to continue.

If it had started at all! Marcus concluded his article with three ominous lines identifying another threat alongside the danger of Israel drawing more ‘red lines’ with more massive attacks:

One clear danger is that Iran may seek to exact its revenge outside the Middle East.

Pro-Iranian factions have in the past attacked Israeli tourists abroad or Jewish organisations, notably in Latin America.

A successful terrorist attack of this kind would inevitably alter the picture, pushing Israel and Iran to the brink of a full-scale war.

The word ‘terrorist’ thus made its first appearance in the last line of Marcus’s piece, in reference to a hypothetical Iranian atrocity.

The idea that Israel might already have committed terrorist atrocities in Syria by launching unprovoked attacks, by illegal bombings committed completely outside of international law, is unthinkable.

May 24, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blaming the Victims of Israel’s Gaza Massacre

By Gregory Shupak | FAIR | May 17, 2018

Israel massacred 60 Palestinians on Monday, including seven children, bringing to 101 the total number of Palestinians Israel has killed since Palestinians began the Great March on March 30. In that period, Israel has killed 11 Palestinian children, two journalists, one person on crutches and three persons with disabilities.

Monday’s casualties included 1,861 wounded, bringing total injuries inflicted by Israel to 6,938 people, including 3,615 with live fire. Israel is using bullets designed to expand inside the body, causing maximum, often permanent damage: “The injuries sustained by patients will leave most with serious, long-term physical disabilities,” says Médecins Sans Frontières (Ha’aretz, 4/22/18).

On the 70th anniversary of Israel’s so-called “declaration of independence,” the United States opened its new embassy in Jerusalem—a city Israel claims as its own, despite what international law says on the matter—and Palestinians undertook unarmed protests in reaction to the move and as part of the Great Return March. Although to this point, the only Israeli casualty during the entire cycle of demonstrations has been one “lightly wounded” soldier, considerable space in coverage of the massacres is devoted to blaming Palestinians for their own slaughter.

NBC: Scores Dead in Gaza Fence Protest as US Moves Embassy to Jerusalem

NBC (5/14/18) mentions “what Palestinians refer to as their ‘right of return’”; actually, it’s what international law calls it, based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Two of the first three paragraphs in an NBC report (5/14/18) provided Israel’s rationalizations for its killing spree. The second sentence in the article says that the Israeli military

accused Hamas of “leading a terrorist operation under the cover of masses of people,” adding that “firebombs and explosive devices” as well as rocks were being thrown towards the barrier.

A Washington Post article (5/14/18) devoted two of its first four sentences to telling readers that Palestinians are responsible for being murdered by Israel. Palestinian “organizers urged demonstrators to burst through the fence, telling them Israeli soldiers were fleeing their positions, even as they were reinforcing them,” read one sentence. “At the barrier, young men threw stones and tried to launch kites carrying flames in hopes of burning crops on the other side,” stated the next one, as though stones and burning kites released by a besieged people is violence remotely equivalent to subjecting people to a military siege and mowing them down.

The New York Times (5/14/18) said that “a mass attempt by Palestinians to cross the border fence separating Israel from Gaza turned violent, as Israeli soldiers responded with rifle fire,” painting Israel’s rampage as a reaction to a Palestinian provocation. Like FAIR (2/21/18) has previously said of the word “retaliation,” “response” functions as a justification of Israeli butchery: To characterize Israeli violence as a “response” is to wrongly imply that Palestinian actions warranted Israel unleashing its firing squads.

A Yahoo headline (5/14/18) described “Violent Protests in Gaza Ahead of US Embassy Inauguration in Jerusalem,” a flatly incorrect description in that it attributes the violence to Palestinian demonstrators rather than to Israel. The BBC (5/15/18) did the same with a segment called “Gaza Braced for Further Violent Protests.”

Bloomberg: Hamas Vows to Keep Targeting Fence After Gaza Bloodshed

In Bloomberg‘s account (5/14/18), the fence seemed to be the real victim.

One Bloomberg article (5/14/18) by Saud Abu Ramadan and Amy Teibel had the same problem, referring to “a protest marred by violence,” while another one (5/14/18) attributed only to Ramadan is headlined “Hamas Targets Fence as Gaza Bloodshed Clouds Embassy Move,” as though the fence were Monday’s most tragic casualty. Ascribing this phantom violence to Palestinians provides Israel an alibi: Many readers will likely conclude that Israel’s lethal violence is reasonable if it is cast as a way of coping with “violent protests.”

The second paragraph of the Bloomberg article solely written by Ramadan says that

Gaza protesters, egged on by loudspeakers and transported in buses, streamed to the border, where some threw rocks, burned tires, and flew kites and balloons outfitted with firebombs into Israeli territory.

This author—like the rest in the “Palestinians were asking for it” chorus—failed to note that Israel’s fence runs deep into Palestinian territory and creates a 300-meter “buffer zone” between Palestinians and Israeli forces, which makes it highly unlikely that the kites and balloons of the colonized will have an effect on their drone-operating, rifle-wielding colonizers, let alone on people further afield in Israeli-held territory.

The New York Times editorial board (5/14/18) wrote as though Palestinians are barbarians against whom Israel has no choice but to unleash terror:

Led too long by men who were corrupt or violent or both, the Palestinians have failed and failed again to make their own best efforts toward peace. Even now, Gazans are undermining their own cause by resorting to violence, rather than keeping their protests strictly peaceful.

The board claimed that “Israel has every right to defend its borders, including the boundary with Gaza,” incorrectly suggesting that Palestinians were aggressors rather than on the receiving end of 100 years of settler-colonialism.

Moreover, like the Times and Bloomberg articles discussed above, the editorial attempts to legitimize Israel’s deadly violence by saying that it is defending a border that Palestinians are attempting to breach, but there is no border between Gaza and Israel. There is, as Maureen Murphy of Electronic Intifada (4/6/18) pointed out, “an armistice line between an occupying power and the population living under its military rule” that Palestinians are trying to cross in order to exercise their right to return to their land.

WaPo: Hamas Has Launched Another War. Israel Needs a Better Response

The Washington Post (5/15/18) condemned the “cruel, cynical tactic” of trying to exercise the internationally guaranteed right of return.

A Washington Post editorial (5/15/18) called the Palestinians hunted by Israel “nominal civilians.” Apart from being a logical impossibility (one either is or isn’t a civilian), the phrase illuminates how too much of media think about Palestinians:  They are inherently threatening, intrinsically killable, always suspect, never innocent, permanently guilty of existing.

A Business Insider piece (5/14/18) by columnist Daniella Greenbaum described “Palestinian protesters who ramped up their activities along the Gaza strip and, as a result, were targeted by the Israeli army with increasing intensity.” Greenbaum’s use of the phrase “as a result” implies that it was inevitable and perhaps just that Palestinians’ “ramped up activities” led to Israel mowing down a population it occupies, 70 percent of whom are refugees Israel refuses to allow to return to their homes.

Greenbaum then climbs into the intellectual and moral gutter, claiming that

absent from the commentary that children have unfortunately been among the injured and dead are questions about how they ended up at the border. On that question, it is important to recognize and acknowledge the extent to which Palestinians have glorified violence and martyrdom — and the extent to which the terrorist organization Hamas has organized the “protests.”

In her view, dozens of Palestinians died because they are primitive savages who take pleasure in sacrificing their own children, not because Israel maintains the right to gun down refugees in the name of maintaining an ethnostate.

In a rare instance of a resident of Gaza allowed to participate directly in the media conversation, Fadi Abu Shammalah wrote an op-ed for the New York Times (4/27/18) that offered an explanation of why Palestinians are putting their lives on the line to march. Life for the people of Gaza, including for his three young sons, has been “one tragedy after another: waves of mass displacement, life in squalid refugee camps, a captured economy, restricted access to fishing waters, a strangling siege and three wars in the past nine years. ” Recalling the concern for his safety expressed by his seven-year-old child, Shammalah concludes:

If Ali asks me why I’m returning to the Great Return March despite the danger, I will tell him this: I love my life. But more than that, I love you, Karam and Adam. If risking my life means you and your brothers will have a chance to thrive, to have a future with dignity, to live in peace with all your neighbors, in your free country, then this is a risk I must take.

Palestinians have a right to liberate themselves that extends to the right to the use of armed struggle, yet as Shammalah wrote, the Great Return March signifies a “nearly unanimous acceptance of peaceful methods to call for our rights and insist on our humanity.” Nevertheless, based on media coverage, readers could be forgiven for concluding that it was Palestinians, not Israel, who carried out what Doctors Without Borders called “unacceptable and inhuman” violence.

May 23, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Al Awda” (The Return) Boarded & Searched by German Coast Guard en route to Kiel

 Freedom Flotilla Coalition – May 23, 2018

Just before noon local time, the Freedom Flotilla vessel Al Awda (The Return) was boarded by the German Coast Guard, at the orders of the German Ministry of Interior.

They collected all the passports on board, wrote down everyone’s personal data, searched the vessel thoroughly, asked for detailed information about ports of call along the way to Gaza, and inquired about the whereabouts of the Swedish sailing boats traveling with us in parallel.

The Scandinavian crew on this ship are all veterans of earlier Freedom Flotillas and attested that they have previously been harassed by other Coast Guards from European countries.

Of course, our vessel is in international waters and we are doing nothing illegal – and this is by no means standard procedure.

The massive German Coast Guard ship had been tailing Al Awda all morning, and finally sent a rubber dinghy with a crew of four to check it out.

We are within an hour-and-a-half of Kiel, having arrived early, and are moving slowly so that the sailboats can catch up with us and we can all arrive in unison at Kiel harbour.

Reporting from the high seas off the coast of northern Germany.

May 23, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , | Leave a comment