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Israel is a ‘Terrorist State’: Seven Times Bolivia and Morales Took a Stance for Palestine

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | November 14, 2019

On November 10 Bolivian President Evo Morales, announced his resignation from office following what was described by his deputy, Álvaro García Linera, as a military coup.

Morales’ 14 years in office have been seen by many as a triumph for the indigenous people of Bolivia; in fact, for indigenous peoples everywhere. Along with late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and late Cuban President Fidel Castro, among other socialist or socialist-leaning South American leaders, Morales represented the hope of an entire generation.

All of this came crashing down following the general election in the country on October 20. Morales’ opponents, who have traditionally received strong backing from Washington, accused the president’s camp of rigging the elections. Following the announcement of the results which gave Morales a 10% point lead over his rival, an orchestrated campaign was launched by the opposition to overthrow the president.

Well-publicized opposition protests resulted in national upheaval, political turmoil, and an army ultimatum to Morales. Fearing further violence and chaos in the country, the president announced his resignation.

It would be safe to argue that this is not the end of Bolivia’s socialism or the people’s-led drive for justice and equality. Bolivia’s grassroots movement is strong and rooted not just in Bolivia itself, but throughout the region and beyond. This is one of the reasons why Palestinians of all backgrounds are watching the developments in Bolivia with much anxiety and concern.

Palestinians see in Bolivia, although geopolitically removed from the Middle East, a true friend, and a trusted ally. On the other hand, the resignation of Morales is welcomed news in Tel Aviv.

Highlighted below are seven instances where Bolivia, under Morales, showed the type of solidarity with the Palestinian people that was, at times, unparalleled anywhere else in the world:

  1. Cutting Ties with Israel:

Even before Bolivia officially recognized Palestine, on January 14, 2009, it cut ties with Israel. Later that same day, Venezuela followed suit. The Bolivian decision was made in response to the destructive Israeli war on Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead. At the time, Morales called for the stripping of the Israeli President Shimon Peres, of his Nobel Peace Prize due to his support of the Israeli crimes in the besieged Gaza Strip.

  1. Recognizing Palestine: 

On December 22, Morales followed his decision of severing ties with Israel with officially recognizing the State of Palestine as an independent and sovereign State. The Bolivian move was clearly part of a coordinated South American effort to show greater solidarity with the Palestinian people, as it came at the heels of a similar decision made by Brazil and Argentina.

  1. Supporting Palestine at the United Nations: 

At his September 21, 2011, UN General Assembly speech in New York, President Morales said, “not only does Bolivia support the Palestinian recognition by the United Nations, our position is to welcome the Palestinians to the United Nations”. Morales also denounced Israel for “bombing, attacking, killing and taking land”, from the indigenous Palestinian people. Bolivia’s support of Palestine at the United Nations remained strong and unfaltering for at least the last decade.

  1. Declaring Israel a terrorist state: 

On July 30, 2014, President Morales went further by declaring Israel a “terrorist state”, following the latter’s most recent war on the Gaza enclave. Morales’ statement was not mere rhetoric as it was coupled with concrete steps to hold Israel accountable for its crimes against occupied and besieged Palestinians. On that day, Bolivia also classified Israel as a “group 3” country, which means that any Israeli wanting to visit Bolivia needed to obtain a visa that required the approval of the National Migration Administration.

  1. Prioritizing Palestine: 

When Bolivia assumed the presidency of the United Nations Security Council in June 2017, it declared Palestine a top priority on its political agenda. “Our priorities: conflict in the Middle East of 50 years of the occupation of Palestine, and non-proliferation of chemical and nuclear weapons,” President Morales tweeted at the time.

  1. Naming Palestinian martyrs: 

On May 15, 2018, the Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations registered one of the most symbolic, yet emotive gestures of solidarity towards Palestine that was ever displayed at international institutions. Sacha Llorenti started his talk at a UN emergency session by naming all 61 Palestinians killed by Israel in Gaza’s Great March of Return. The Palestinian victims were all killed in non-violent popular protests that demanded an end to the Israeli siege on Gaza.

  1. Cooperating with Palestine: 

On June 22, 2019, Bolivia sealed its solidarity with the Palestinian people with the signing of the development cooperation agreement between the two countries. Although free trade and cooperation between both economies is not an easy task, if at all possible, considering that Palestine is under total Israeli control, the agreement was a natural and organic evolution of the political support and the grassroots solidarity with Palestine that has been in the making for many years.

It would be untenable to discount the power of the indigenous movement of Bolivia despite Morales’ abrupt resignation. It would be equally wrong to conclude that the absence of Morales would automatically sever the strong rapport predicated on people’s solidarity and common struggle between Palestine and Bolivia.

– Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of The Palestine Chronicle. His last book is The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story (Pluto Press, London) and his forthcoming book is These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU).

November 14, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 4 Comments

A lesson for the Palestinian leadership: Real reasons behind Israel’s arrest and release of Labadi, Mi’ri

Heba Al-Labadi (C) was released from prison by Israel on 6 November 2019

Jordanian citizen Heba Al-Labadi (C), following detention by Israeli forces, was released from prison and returned to Jordan on 6 November 2019
By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | November 11, 2019

The release on November 6 of two Jordanian nationals, Heba al-Labadi and Abdul Rahman Mi’ri from Israeli prisons was a bittersweet moment. The pair were finally reunited with their families after harrowing experiences in Israel. Sadly, thousands of Palestinian prisoners are still denied their freedom, still subjected to all sorts of hardships at the hands of their Israeli jailers.

Despite the jubilant return of the two prisoners, celebrated in Jordan, Palestine and throughout the Arab world, several compelling questions remain unanswered: why were they held in the first place? Why were they released and what can their experience teach Palestinians under Israeli occupation?

Throughout the whole ordeal, Israel failed to produce any evidence to indict Labadi and Mi’ri for any wrongdoing. In fact, it was this lack of evidence that made Israel hold the two Jordanian nationals in Administrative Detention, without any judicial process whatsoever.

Oddly, days before the release of the two Jordanians, an official Israeli government statement praised the special relationship between Amman and Tel Aviv, describing it as “a cornerstone of stability in the Middle East”.

The reality is that the relationship between the two countries has hit rock bottom in recent years, especially following US President Donald Trump’s advent to the White House and the subsequent, systematic dismantling of the “peace process” by Trump and the Israeli government.

Not only did Washington and Tel Aviv demolish the region’s political status quo, one in which Jordan featured as a key player, top US diplomats also tried to barter with King Abdullah II so that Jordan would settle millions of Palestinian refugees in the country in exchange for large sums of money.

Jordan vehemently rejected US offers and attempts at isolating the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah.

On October 21, 2018, Jordan went even further, by rejecting an Israeli offer to renew a 25-year lease on two enclaves in the Jordan Valley, Al-Baqura and Al-Ghamar. The government’s decision was a response to protests by Jordanians and elected parliamentarians, who insist on Jordan’s complete sovereignty over all of its territories.

This particular issue goes back years. Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1994. An additional annex in the treaty allowed Israel to lease part of the Jordan Valley for 25 years. A quarter of a century later, the Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty failed to achieve any degree of meaningful normalization between both countries, especially as neighboring Palestine remains under Israeli occupation. The stumbling block of that coveted normalization was – and remains – the Jordanian people, who strongly rejected a renewed Israeli lease over Jordanian territories.

Israeli negotiators must have been surprised by Jordan’s refusal to accommodate Israeli interests. With the US removing itself, at least publicly, from the brewing conflict, Israel resorted to its typical bullying, by holding two Jordanians hostage, hoping to force the government to reconsider its decision regarding the Jordan Valley.

Palestinians stage a demonstration in support of Palestinian-Jordanian woman Hiba Al-Labadi, who stages a hunger strike after she was arrested by Israeli forces, in East Jerusalem on 31 October 2019. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]

Palestinians demonstrate in support of hunger striking Hiba Al-Labadi, after her arrest by Israeli forces, in East Jerusalem on 31 October 2019. [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency ]

The Israeli strategy backfired. The arrest of Labadi – who started a hunger strike that lasted for over 40 days –  and Mi’ri, a cancer survivor, was a major PR disaster for Israel. Not only did the tactic fail to deliver any results, it further galvanized the Jordanian people, and government regarding the decision to reclaim Al-Baqura and al-Ghamar.

Labadi and Mi’ri were released on November 6. The following day, the Jordanian government informed Israel that its farmers will be banned from entering Al-Baqura area. This way, Jordan retrieved its citizens and its territories within the course of 24 hours.

Three main reasons allowed Jordan to prevail in its confrontation with Israel. First, the steadfastness of the prisoners themselves; second, the unity and mobilization of the Jordanian street, civil society organizations and elected legislators; and third, the Jordanian government responding positively to the unified voice of the street.

This compels the question: what is the Palestinian strategy regarding the nearly 5,000 Palestinian prisoners held unlawfully in Israel?

While the prisoners themselves continue to serve as a model of unity and courage, the other factors fundamental to any meaningful strategy aimed at releasing all Palestinian prisoners remain absent.

Although factionalism continues to undermine the Palestinian fight for freedom, prisoners are fighting the same common enemy. The famed “National Conciliation Document”, composed by the unified leadership of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in 2006, is considered the most articulate vision for Palestinian unity and liberation.

For ordinary Palestinians, the prisoners remain an emotive subject, but political disunity is making it nearly impossible for the energies of the Palestinian street to be harnessed in a politically meaningful way. Despite much lip service paid to freeing the prisoners, efforts aimed at achieving this goal are hopelessly splintered and agonizingly factionalized.

As for the Palestinian leadership, the strategy championed by Palestinian Authority leader, Mahmoud Abbas, is more focused on propping up Abbas’ own image than alleviating the suffering of the prisoners and their families. Brazenly, Abbas exploits the emotional aspect of the prisoners’ tragedy to gain political capital, while punishing the families of Palestinian prisoners in order to pursue his own self-serving political agenda.

Heba Al-Labadi (C) was released from an Israeli prison on 6 November 2019

Jordanian citizen Heba Al-Labadi (C) was released from an Israeli prison and has returned to Jordan on 6 November 2019

“Even if I had only one penny, I would’ve given it to the families of the martyrs, prisoners and heroes,” Abbas said in a theatrical way during his United Nations General Assembly speech last September.

Abbas, of course, has more than one penny. In fact, he has withheld badly needed funds from the families of the “martyrs, prisoners and heroes.” On April 2018, Abbas cut the salaries of government employees in Gaza, along with the money received by the families of Gaza prisoners held inside Israeli jails.

Heba al-Labadi and Abdul Rahman Mi’ri were released because of their own resolve, coupled with strong solidarity exhibited by ordinary Jordanians. These two factors allowed the Jordanian government to publicly challenge Israel, leading to the unconditional release of the two Jordanian prisoners.

Meanwhile, thousands of Palestinian prisoners, including 500 administrative detainees continue to languish in Israeli prisons. Without united and sustained popular, non-factional mobilization, along with the full backing of the Palestinian leadership, the prisoners are likely to carry on with their fight, alone and unaided.

See also:

Israel and the PA: security relations have never been better 

She deserves our support: Betty McCollum wants US to stop subsidising torture of Palestinian children 

November 11, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

How Amazon Supports Israeli Atrocities

Produced by Chris Smiley of If Americans Knew | November 6, 2019

More news and headlines: https://israelpalestinenews.org/

November 6, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Video | , , | 1 Comment

Hamas: Iran Provided Palestinian Resistance with Weaponry & Money

Hamas leader Yehia Sinwar in Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip January 7, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
Al-Manar | November 4, 2019

Gaza’s Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar Monday gave Iran the greatest credit for supporting the Palestinian resistance and providing it with money, expertise and weaponry.

Sinwar stressed that the Palestinian resistance has developed anti-armored missiles, adding that it can fire missiles at Tel Aviv for six consecutive months.

Sinwar also reiterated that the Deal of the Century aims at eradicating the Palestinian cause, adding that the weekly Return Protests achieved many targets.

November 4, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 3 Comments

‘Defend International Law’ Petition Demands Norway Impose Sanctions on Israel

Sputnik – November 1, 2019

Dozens of Norway’s leading lawyers believe that Israel violates international law and doesn’t deserve the preferential treatment it currently enjoys.

A group of 44 lawyers, including award-winning luminaries and distinguished professionals such as professor Jan Fridthjof Bernt, have called on Norway to impose sanctions on Israel for its violations of international law.

The petition called “Defend international law” was published by the newspaper Dagsavisen.

Israel has annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and has announced the annexation of the Jordan Valley – without having any major consequences, the petition stressed.

Between March 2018 and September 2019 alone, the lawyers emphasised, 309 Palestinians who have participated in protest marches along the Gaza Strip border were killed. In the past year alone, 56 Palestinian children were killed by Israeli forces, again without any repercussions, including from Norway. The number of Palestinians who have died at the hands of the state is comparable to the number of murders in the country: 103 people were victims of homicide in 2018, compared with 136 in 2017, according to the local media. For comparison’s sake, police in the US, which is better known for police killings, fatally shot approximately one person for every 19 murder victims in 2017.

“Norwegian authorities and politicians must restore respect for international law and work to ensure that Israel’s long-standing and systematic breaches of international driving rules are met with sanctions”, the petition said.

The authors of the petition stressed that the absence of an international reaction to Israel’s violation of international law, human rights and humanitarian law raises concerns.

“While Israel’s serious and persistent violations are only verbally criticised, other countries that violate international law are exposed to reactions from the international community through concrete actions and sanctions”, the petition said.

On the contrary, Israel is the only country in the world to have been granted a special status in the Norwegian government’s Granavolden platform that allows Oslo to “facilitate enhanced research and development cooperation, trade, tourism and cultural exchange with Israel”.

“This attitude taken by the Norwegian authorities against serious violations of basic humanitarian and international law principles helps legitimise Israel’s policy based on the occupation and colonisation of Palestinian land, and the collective punishment of Palestinians on the Gaza Strip,” the petition said.

According to lawyer Kjell Brygfjeld, one of the signatories, the are plenty of sanctions Norway could impose on Israel.

“We are already involved in sanctions against Russia, Venezuela, Iran and a number of other countries. All countries should be treated in the same way and with the same severity for violations of international law. We must not make a difference between those we like and those we do not like,” Brygfjeld told the newspaper Klassekampen.

According to him, the Norwegian government has chosen an opposite strategy, where efforts to boost relations are made despite the fact that some Norwegian residents have been denied entry to Israel.

Earlier this week, Oslo’s newly installed “red-green” City Council led by three left-of-the-centre parties, the Socialist Left, Labour and the Greens, announced it was contemplating a ban on the municipality’s procurement of goods and services from Israeli settlements, which it called “an area occupied in violation of international law”.

However, State Secretary Audun Halvorsen of the Conservative Party said he doesn’t believe sanctions are the way to go. He also stressed that Norway expressed concern over Israeli authorities’ excessive use of force and human rights violations, “when there are grounds for doing so”.

Norway was one of the first nations to recognise Israel in 1949. The stance toward Israel is one of the issues that signals the left-right divide between Norwegian parties. While left-wing parties generally favour Palestine, to the point of being ready to boycott goods and services from what they view as territories occupied by Israel. Right-of-the-centre parties by contrast tend to be more supportive of Israel, with Progress Party leader Siv Jensen being a staunch supporter of Israel.

November 1, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Malaysia to open embassy accredited to Palestine

WAFA – October 25, 2019

BAKU – Malaysia will soon open an embassy to Palestine, the country’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced today.

He said that since Israel will ban a Malaysian embassy in the occupied Palestinian territories, Malaysia will open this embassy in Jordan but will be accredited to Palestine, enabling his country to offer aid to the Palestinians more easily.

Addressing the 18th summit of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Azerbaijan, Mahathir criticized the silence of international community for “doing nothing” against Israeli actions, Malaysia’s Bernama news agency reported.

“We know that Israel will not allow Malaysia to open an embassy in the Occupied Territory. As such, we will open the embassy in Jordan,” Mahathir announced.

“I would also like to bring to this occasion on the fate that awaits our poor Palestinian brothers. Palestine remains occupied by a brutal regime. This regime continues to expand illegal settlements on land that rightfully belongs to the Palestinians,” the Malaysian leader said.

“It is unfortunate that a world organization set up by powerful nations now sees those very people ignoring the resolutions of that world body. Now, we see others doing the same,” Mahathir added.

The Malaysia premier slammed Israel for its plans to annex parts of the West Bank well as claiming Jerusalem as its capital.

“Many western countries are supporting this move by relocating or vowing to relocate their embassies there. Malaysia does not agree with this,” he said as he called on NAM member countries that have relocated their embassies in Israel to Jerusalem to reconsider their decision.

October 26, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , | 2 Comments

UK protestors face jail for campaigning against Israel owned arms factory

MEMO | October 23, 2019

Seven people are facing the prospect of three months in prison for protesting against an Israeli-owned arms factory based in the UK.

The case against the seven activists will be heard in a Folkestone Magistrates Court Kent today. They are expected to plead not guilty of the charge of Aggravated Trespass, an offence which carries a maximum sentence of three months in prison. A number of the activists are locally connected to Kent.

The activists were arrested in August following a two-day occupation at the Elbit-Instro arms factory, which is newly situated in Discovery Park business park in Sandwich, Kent. Its parent company Elbit Systems supplies military equipment to Israel and activists claim that its products are the “backbone” of Israel’s drone fleet.

Elbit Systems also supplies weapons to a number of other countries accused of committing war crimes including Saudi Arabia. The weapons manufacturer is Israel’s largest privately-owned arms company. Campaign groups say that it provides 85 per cent of Israel’s drones which were used to attack Gaza’s civilian population repeatedly. Drones were used during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge which killed over 2,300 civilians, including over 500 children.

A statement released by the Stop Elbit-Instro Defendants Solidarity Campaign said: “The skilled engineers of Elbit-Instro could be working to make the world a better place, yet instead they are employed to build machines that incinerate children.” It added: “Shame on them all.”

According to the campaign group locals resent the arms manufacturer and relations between Elbit-Instro and Kent residents soured following its attempted take-over of an airport site.

A spokesperson for East Kent Campaign Against the Arms Trade said: “There are urgent questions about whether Instro’s specialist targeting technology is employed by Israel for targeting Gazan civilians every Friday during the Great Return March civil rights demonstrations, or in maintaining the surveillance of Palestinians along its illegal separation barrier, enabling the occupation’s apartheid infrastructure.”

October 23, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Australian media stages front-page ‘blackout’ to protest against govt clampdown on press freedom

RT | October 21, 2019

In a rare show of unity, all major news outlets in Australia have staged a mass protest against increasingly draconian secrecy laws passed by the government, which are infringing on press freedom and the public’s right to know.

Rivals News Corp Australia and Nine, among others, printed front pages which showed blacked-out, ‘redacted’ text emblazoned with red stamps that read “secret.”

The protest was organized by the Right to Know Coalition, with the support of numerous TV, radio, newspaper and digital outlets.

Collectively, the press are arguing against national security laws which are stifling the freedom of the press and, in doing so, creating a “culture of secrecy” in Australia wherein freedom of information requests relating to even the most trivial government affairs are being denied. Some 60 laws relating to secrecy have been passed in the past two decades.

ABC Managing Director David Anderson warned that “Australia is at risk of becoming the world’s most secretive democracy.” The Australian media argue the government is trying to penalize whistleblowing, criminalize journalism, and infringe upon the public’s right to know.

The protest comes after a series of high-profile raids on the offices of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the home of a News Corp Australia journalist following the publication of articles detailing alleged war crimes and domestic spying carried out by the government.

Three journalists may face prosecution following the raids for their part in the whistleblower articles’ publication.

During these press investigations, it was revealed that the Australian Secret Intelligence Service had bugged the offices of Timor-Leste officials during a multimillion-dollar resource negotiation in 2004.

Meanwhile, Australian Tax Office whistleblower Richard Boyle is facing up to 161 years in prison for revealing abuse of powers by the Australian tax authority apparatus.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that while press freedom was important, it is still subject to the rule of law, adding that “no one was above the law.”

“That includes me, or any journalist, or anyone else.”

A press freedom inquiry is under way, the findings of which will be revealed in parliament next year. The media are fighting for the right to challenge government applications for warrants against journalists, while calling for freedom of information and defamation law reform, and the introduction of special protections for journalists and public sector whistleblowers.

October 21, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism | | 2 Comments

Seoul police ramp up security after protesters break into US ambassador’s residence

RT | October 19, 2019

South Korean police have increased security at the US ambassador’s residence in Seoul after a group of students demonstrating against American troops in the country were able to infiltrate the diplomatic compound.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police agency said Saturday that the number of officers guarding the estate was more than tripled to 110. The beefed-up security comes a day after a group of protesters used ladders to gain entry to the walled-off grounds around Ambassador Harry Harris’ residence. Nineteen students were detained after unfurling banners saying “Leave this soil, Harris.”

“Stop interfering with our domestic affairs,” they shouted, followed by other chants – “Get out,” and “We don’t need US troops” – before being escorted off the property by police.

The group said they were motivated by Washington’s insistence that Seoul should pay [more] to keep US troops on its soil.

A spokesman for the US Embassy in Seoul said that the diplomatic mission was “seriously concerned about the illegal breach” and urged Korean authorities to do more to protect the compound.

American diplomatic and military outposts in the region are regularly targeted by protesters.

Last year, tens of thousands of protesters in Okinawa, Japan marched to stop the planned relocation of a US military base, demanding that the facility be removed from the island entirely.

October 19, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , | 1 Comment

Fighting Back Against the Israel Lobby

Ordinary Americans can organize and win

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • September 24, 2019

During many years of writing about or describing the terrible damage that the “special relationship” with Israel has done to the United States the question occasionally comes up “Given the enormous power of the Zionist lobby, what can we do to bring about change?”

It is a simple question, though one that begs for multiple answers, but it also requires some thinking about how the Establishment, better known as the Deep State, operates in America. The American Deep State, which has as one of its dearest principles eternal nurturing of Israel’s interests, is actually a bundle of individual enterprises that together operate to sustain policies that are mutually beneficial. Its epicenters include financial services and faux news media in New York and the political hub in Washington, but it also is served by Hollywood’s entertainment plus propaganda machine.

And the three parts of the Deep State are essentially interchangeable, with generals and intelligence figures ignorant of finance winding up in the KKR Global investment firm as has General David Petraeus and Michael Morell in Beacon Global Strategies, while leading representatives from Wall Street do a turn in government, particularly at the Treasury Department. Television news and entertainment also feature celebrities from across the Establishment while Hollywood draws on all of the above and works hard to make sure the contrived narrative about American democracy and its wonderful “allies” is promoted at every opportunity.

Which brings us to the Israel Lobby which is an integral part of the Deep State and in some ways one of its most powerful elements as it has a foot in all the other components plus depth that enables it to interfere in American government at the federal, state and local levels. It is indisputably the driving force behind U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and even beyond as it enforces standards on alleged anti-Semitism and engages in Lawfare and other shady practices to protect the Jewish state. It differs somewhat from other parts of the Establishment in that it pretends to have no such power at all, a fiction that it preserves by pretending that its actions are all in defense of U.S. national security against evil nations like Iran. From the Lobby’s expressed point of view, Israeli and American interests just happen to coincide.

By some estimates, there are 600 Jewish organizations active in the United States that have at least as part of their raison d’etre the defense of Israel and Israeli interests. They are supplemented by Christian Zionist groups like Christians United for Israel (CUFI) that claims seven million supporters. The leading predominantly Jewish organizations like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) are largely funded by Jewish oligarchs and exist to promote Israeli interests, to include pressuring the United States into attacking Iran.

The Israel Lobby groups are awash in money, with AIPAC alone having an annual budget of more than $100 million and 200 employees, who are able to blanket Capitol Hill and actually write legislation for lazy congressmen. The salary and benefits of its Executive Director Howard Kohr exceed $1 million. Against that, no organization critical of the Israeli relationship has resources sufficient to do anything beyond surviving at a basic level and trying to get the message out.

So what to do? First of all, there is Congress. Pat Buchanan once referred to Congress as “enemy occupied territory.” He was referring to the Israel Lobby’s ability not only to control the discussion on the Middle East but also to focus its efforts to defeat any congressman who dared criticize the Jewish state. Politicians like Paul Findley, Chuck Percy, William Fulbright, Pete McCloskey, James Traficant and Cynthia McKinney, who were brave enough to stand up against Israel, found themselves out of a job after confronting well-funded and media supported opponents at reelection time, sending the message that it was career ending to do so.

That would suggest that it must be regarded as a given that congressmen and women will be terrified of saying the wrong thing about Israel, but the reality is not quite so simple. I have had numerous contacts with congressmen through the years, first by way of government Congressional Delegations (CODELS) when I was overseas with CIA, and more recently in Washington at various conferences and meetings. A quite surprising percentage of legislators were privately quite willing to express their dislike of Israel and its policies, though none of them were brave enough to go public with such sentiments. Some of them even expressed their desire to see the Israel Lobby effectively destroyed because of its corruption of America’s institutions, surely an admirable viewpoint.

That means that there is an audience in Congress even if it is essentially passive. American citizens who wish to become involved but are disdainful of getting active in political campaigns or in even dealing with congressmen should recall Plato’s warning that “Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” A good friend of mine from California who has worked the congressional circuit on Palestinian issues, most recently in backing the Congresswoman Betty McCollum bill opposing Israel’s military detention of children, believes that it is necessary to be persistent to get through. She calls her congressman and tries to set up an appointment to discuss the Middle East, saying that she is available whenever there is an opening in the schedule and is even willing to fly to Washington if that works best. When she is predictably put off, she persists, calling again and again until she gets an appointment. The appointment itself is usually with a staffer, but when she gets to the office she pushes again for another meeting, this time with the congressman. She repeats the process as necessary.

One might argue that one woman meeting with one congressman has virtually no impact, which may on the surface be true, but it reflects a failure to understand how congress works. If that same congressman gets twenty-five calls on one issue, it is highlighted by the staff and the congressional office begins to pay attention. If there are a hundred calls it is treated seriously. Surely in every congressional district in the U.S. there are one hundred activists willing to bug congress on the issue of the Israel relationship and the wars and devastation that it has brought. If everyone angry about Israel were to call his or her congressmen there would be a panic on Capitol Hill to be sure, but major unrest over the lopsided and dangerous relationship is exactly what is needed. One particular subject to raise with congressmen is the issue of Zionist foundations’ apparent immunity from having to register as foreign agents under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938. Russian media outlets have been forced to comply even though they are in no position to advance policies favorable to Moscow. The Israel Lobby, which even writes legislation favorable to its most favored nation, is only exempted because congress and the White House fear confronting Jewish power.

For activists who identify with the political parties, in a like fashion putting pressure on delegates to next year’s nominating conventions would also be desirable. While the Republican Party’s hawkish representatives would almost certainly be difficult to approach in that fashion, the Democrats could prove to be much more susceptible. There has been considerable criticism of Israel surfacing among the Democratic base, not just from the “Squad in Congress,” most of which is now more sympathetic to the Palestinians than to the Israeli occupiers. An uprising by the party faithful demanding an open discussion of the blank check support for Israel is not inconceivable and it would really shake up the status quo.

The same basic formula works with the media. Send in one letter-to-the-editor criticizing Israel and you will be ignored. Send in letter after letter and one piece might eventually appear. If one hundred newspaper subscribers are sending in letters, the editorial staff will begin to take notice. This has, in fact, been a development in the mainstream media over the past five years. Disenchantment with Benjamin Netanyahu and the horror that he represents has been growing, so much so that the genie is out of the bottle regarding Israeli “democracy.” As a result, it is now possible to read op-eds and editorials highly critical of Israel even in Jewish-owned Establishment pillars like The New York Times. But much, much more of the same is needed.

Finally, people who want to be freed from the Israeli yoke should support organizations that are seeking to do just that and have been in the front line of the struggle. There is my own Council for the National Interest as well as If Americans Knew, The Washington Report and IRMEP just for starters, supplementing the activity of a number of groups that focus on Palestinian rights. Sites like the Ron Paul Institute and Antiwar are also excellent sources of information.

All such organizations do benefit from the support of activists who are willing to speak up and protest over the brutal behavior of the Israeli government, particularly as the Israel Lobby has turned the United States into a co-conspirator for the Jewish state’s war crimes. All the groups are active in holding seminars and speaking events nationwide, information which can be obtained from their websites.

So, the message is that the Israel Lobby is powerful but it is not invulnerable. We have to keep pounding on congress, the political parties and the media if we are ever to be unshackled from the Israeli monster. We have to do it and even more because the very future of our country and what kind of nation we will be is at stake.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

September 23, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , | 4 Comments

Association of Peace Reporters established in Iran with aim of promoting peace

Press TV – September 21, 2019

The Association of Peace Reporters (APR), an international NGO, has been established in Iran to promote and protect peace in the world irrespective of any religious and political orientation.

The APR, which received its official permission for its activities from the Islamic Republic’s Interior Ministry quite recently, has introduced itself as an international group, whose transpartisan activities are aimed at promoting and protecting international peace.

In a statement, the NGO, whose informal activities began in 2017, said that it is composed of “a group of activists of media, culture and arts who are mainly concerned with peace and have taken small yet impressive steps in this regard.”

It also noted that the reason behind its establishment was “to monitor the human rights and human dignity and contribute to their promotion.”

Some of the most significant steps the APR has so far taken are as follows:

  • Raising awareness regarding the dire condition of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar through reading an open letter written by Iranian and foreign journalists at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
  • Establishing a campaign to protest against the detention of Press TV anchor Marzieh Hashemi by the US authorities.
  • Working with several other NGOs across the world in signing a letter protesting against the US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
  • Attending the largest conference of the world’s NGOs in Brazil to raise awareness about the humanitarian situation of women and children in Palestine and Yemen.

September 21, 2019 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | | 1 Comment

Israeli occupation forces raid office of Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network | September 19, 2019

Israeli occupation forces raided today, Thursday, 19 September 2019 at around 2:00am the office of Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association in Ramallah.

The Israeli forces stole five laptops, memory cards, three laptop memories, one laptop card, several books and additionally searching through the belongings of the office.

This is the third incident where the Israeli soldiers have raided the office, the first was in 2002 and the second incident was in 2012.

Addameer reassures that those constant raids will not stand in the face of any duties the organization has for Palestinian political prisoners. The organization will continue to support Palestinian prisoners to flight all human rights violations they suffer from including torture, arbitrary detention and unfair trails.

Addameer sees this raid as a part of ongoing and systematic attacks against the Palestinian civil society organization. Those attacks are targeting the organizations that have a role in facing the occupation’s violations and claiming accountability for those violations. This is additionally a part of the occupation’s campaign to shrink space, delegitimize and de-fund those human rights and civil society organizations.

September 19, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment