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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

More Americans Questioning Official 9/11 Story As New Evidence Contradicts Official Narrative

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | September 11, 2019

Today the event that defined the United States’ foreign policy in the 21st century, and heralded the destruction of whole countries, turns 18. The events of September 11, 2001 remains etched into the memories of Americans and many others, as a collective tragedy that brought Americans together and brought as well a general resolve among them that those responsible be brought to justice.

While the events of that day did unite Americans in these ways for a time, the different trajectories of the official relative to the independent investigations into the September 11 attacks have often led to division in the years since 2001, with vicious attacks or outright dismissal being levied against the latter.

Yet, with 18 years having come and gone — and with the tireless efforts from victims’ families, first responders, scientists and engineers — the tide appears to be turning, as new evidence continues to emerge and calls for new investigations are made. However, American corporate media has remained largely silent, preferring to ignore new developments that could derail the “official story” of one of the most iconic and devastating attacks to ever occur on American soil. 

For instance, in late July, commissioners for a New York-area Fire Department, which responded to the attacks and lost one of their own that day, called for a new investigation into the events of September 11. On July 24, the board of commissioners for the Franklin Square and Munson Fire District, which serves a population of around 30,000 near Queens, voted unanimously in their call for a new investigation into the attacks.

While the call for a new investigation from a NY Fire Department involved in the rescue effort would normally seem newsworthy to the media outlets who often rally Americans to “never forget,” the commissioners’ call for a new investigation was met with total silence from the mainstream media. The likely reason for the dearth of coverage on an otherwise newsworthy vote was likely due to the fact that the resolution that called for the new investigation contained the following clause:

Whereas, the overwhelming evidence presented in said petition demonstrates beyond any doubt that pre-planted explosives and/or incendiaries — not just airplanes and the ensuing fires — caused the destruction of the three World Trade Center buildings, killing the vast majority of the victims who perished that day;”

In the post-9/11 world, those who have made such claims, no matter how well-grounded their claims may be, have often been derided and attacked as “conspiracy theorists” for questioning the official claims that the three World Trade Center buildings that collapsed on September 11 did so for any reason other than being struck by planes and from the resulting fires. Yet, it is much more difficult to launch these same attacks against members of a fire department that lost a fireman on September 11 and many of whose members were involved with the rescue efforts of that day, some of whom still suffer from chronic illnesses as a result.

Another likely reason that the media monolithically avoided coverage of the vote was out of concern that it would lead more fire departments to pass similar resolutions, which would make it more difficult for such news to avoid gaining national coverage. Yet, Commissioner Christopher Gioia, who drafted and introduced the resolution, told those present at the meeting’s conclusion that getting all of the New York fire districts onboard was their plan anyway.

“We’re a tight-knit community and we never forget our fallen brothers and sisters. You better believe that when the entire fire service of New York State is on board, we will be an unstoppable force,” Gioia said. “We were the first fire district to pass this resolution. We won’t be the last,” he added.

While questioning the official conclusions of the first federal investigation into 9/11 has been treated as taboo in the American media landscape for years, it is worth noting that even those who led the commission have said that the investigation was “set up to fail” from the start and that they were repeatedly misled and lied to by federal officials in relation to the events of that day.

For instance, the chair and vice-chair of the 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, wrote in their book Without Precedent that not only was the commission starved of funds and its powers of investigation oddly limited, but that they were obstructed and outright lied to by top Pentagon officials and officials with the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). They and other commissioners have outright said that the “official” report on the attacks is incomplete, flawed and unable to answer key questions about the terror attacks.

Despite the failure of American corporate media to report these facts, local legislative bodies in New York, beginning with the fire districts that lost loved ones and friends that day, are leading the way in the search for real answers that even those that wrote the “official story” say were deliberately kept from them.

Persuasive scientific evidence continues to roll in

Not long after the Franklin Square and Munson Fire District called for a new 9/11 investigation, a groundbreaking university study added even more weight to the commissioners’ call for a new look at the evidence regarding the collapse of three buildings at the World Trade Center complex. While most Americans know full well that the twin towers collapsed on September 11, fewer are aware that a third building — World Trade Center Building 7 — also collapsed. That collapse occurred seven hours after the twin towers came down, even though WTC 7, or “Building 7,” was never struck by a plane.

It was not until nearly two months after its collapse that reports revealed that the CIA had a “secret office” in WTC 7 and that, after the building’s destruction, “a special CIA team scoured the rubble in search of secret documents and intelligence reports stored in the station, either on paper or in computers.” WTC 7 also housed offices for the Department of Defense, the Secret Service, the New York Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management and the bank Salomon Brothers.

Though the official story regarding the collapse of WTC 7 cites “uncontrolled building fires” as leading to the building’s destruction, a majority of Americans who have seen the footage of the 47-story tower come down from four different angles overwhelmingly reject the official story, based on a new poll conducted by YouGov on behalf of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth and released on Monday.

WTC 7 fall animation GIF

Source | Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth

That poll found that 52 percent of those who saw the footage were either sure or suspected that the building’s fall was due to explosives and was a controlled demolition, with 27 percent saying they didn’t know what to make of the footage. Only 21 percent of those polled agreed with the official story that the building collapsed due to fires alone. Prior to seeing the footage, 36 percent of respondents said that they were unaware that a third building collapsed on September 11 and more than 67 percent were unable to name the building that had collapsed.

Ted Walter, Director of Strategy and Development for Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, told MintPress that the lack of awareness about WTC 7 among the general public “goes to show that the mainstream media has completely failed to inform the American people about even the most basic facts related to 9/11. On any other day in history, if a 47-story skyscraper fell into its footprint due to ‘office fires,’ everyone in the country would have heard about it.”

The fact that the media chose not to cover this, Walter asserted, shows that “the mainstream media and the political establishment live in an alternative universe and the rest of the American public is living in a different universe and responding to what they see in front of them,” as reflected by the results of the recent YouGov poll.

Another significant finding of the YouGov poll was that 48 percent of respondents supported,  while only 15 percent opposed, a new investigation into the events of September 11. This shows that not only was the Franklin Square Fire District’s recent call for a new investigation in line with American public opinion, but that viewing the footage of WTC 7’s collapse raises more questions than answers for many Americans, questions that were not adequately addressed by the official investigation of the 9/11 Commission.

The Americans who felt that the video footage of WTC 7’s collapse did not fit with the official narrative and appeared to show a controlled demolition now have more scientific evidence to fall back on after the release of a new university study found that the building came down not due to fire but from “the near-simultaneous failure of every column in the building.” The extensive four-year study was conducted by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alaska and used complex computer models to determine if the building really was the first steel-framed high-rise ever to have collapsed solely due to office fires.

The study, currently available as a draft, concluded that “uncontrolled building fires” did not lead the building to fall into its footprint — tumbling more than 100 feet at the rate of gravity free-fall for 2.5 seconds of its seven-second collapse — as has officially been claimed. Instead, the study — authored by Dr. J. Leroy Hulsey, Dr. Feng Xiao and Dr. Zhili Quan — found that “fire did not cause the collapse of WTC 7 on 9/11, contrary to the conclusions of NIST [National Institute of Standards and Technology] and private engineering firms that studied the collapse,” while also concluding “that the collapse of WTC 7 was a global [i.e., comprehensive] failure involving the near-simultaneous failure of every column in the building.”

This “near-simultaneous failure of every column” in WTC 7 strongly suggests that explosives were involved in its collapse, which is further supported by the statements made by Barry Jennings, the then-Deputy Director of Emergency Services Department for the New York City Housing Authority. Jennings told a reporter the day of the attack that he and Michael Hess, then-Corporation Counsel for New York City, had heard and seen explosions in WTC 7 several hours prior to its collapse and later repeated those claims to filmmaker Dylan Avery. The first responders who helped rescue Jennings and Hess also claimed to have heard explosions in WTC 7. Jennings died in 2008, two days prior the release of the official NIST report blaming WTC 7’s collapse on fires. To date, no official cause of death for Jennings has been given.

Still “crazy” after all these years?

Eighteen years after the September 11 attacks, questioning the official government narrative of the events of those days still remains taboo for many, as merely asking questions or calling for a new investigation into one of the most important events in recent American history frequently results in derision and dismissal.

Yet, this 9/11 anniversary — with a new study demolishing the official narrative on WTC 7, with a new poll showing that more than half of Americans doubt the government narrative on WTC 7, and with firefighters who responded to 9/11 calling for a new investigation — is it still “crazy” to be skeptical of the official story?

Even in years past, when asking difficult questions about September 11 was even more “off limits,” it was often first responders, survivors and victims’ families who had asked the most questions about what had really transpired that day and who have led the search for truth for nearly two decades — not wild-eyed “conspiracy theorists,” as many have claimed.

The only reason it remains taboo to ask questions about the official narrative, whose own authors admit that it is both flawed and incomplete, is that the dominant forces in the American media and the U.S. government have successfully convinced many Americans that doing so is not only dangerous but irrational and un-American.

However, as evidence continues to mount that the official narrative itself is the irrational narrative, it becomes ever more clear that the reason for this media campaign is to prevent legitimate questions about that day from receiving the scrutiny they deserve, even smearing victims’ families and ailing first responders to do so. For too long, “Never Forget” has been nearly synonymous with “Never Question.”

Yet, failing to ask those questions — even when more Americans than ever now favor a new investigation and discount the official explanation for WTC 7’s collapse — is the ultimate injustice, not only to those who died in New York City on September 11, but those who have been killed in their names in the years that have followed.

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

September 11, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Solidarity and Activism | , | 6 Comments

Syria Lashes out at Netanyahu’s Annexation Pledge: Some Arabs Bear Historical Responsibility

Al-Manar | September 11, 2019

Syria strongly condemned Israeli prime minister’s pledge to annex Palestinian territories in the occupied West Bank to the Zionist entity, affirming that this comes in context of the expansionist nature of the Zionist regime.

SANA news agency quoted a source at the foreign ministry as saying in a statement that Benjamin Netanyahu’s declaration is a new step in the aggression against the rights of the Palestinian people and aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause.

“The Syrian Arab Republic strongly condemns the declaration of the occupation entity’s prime minister on his intention to annex Palestinian territories in the occupied West Bank to the Zionist entity in a flagrant violation of the international legitimacy and its resolutions with regard to the legal status of the occupied Palestinian territories.”

The source went on saying that Damascus renews its full standing by the Palestinian people in their struggle to restore their legitimate rights and to liberate their territories from the clutches of the occupation and establish their independent state with Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as its capital.

Syria also asserts that the current Arab status quo has enabled the occupation entity to go forwards in its continued aggression against Palestine, according to the source.

“Some Arabs who rush and promote for the free normalization with this entity bear the historical responsibility for its rogue behavior,” the source added, affirming that the choice of resistance and steadfastness only will preserve the Arab rights and will defend the present of the nation and guarantee its future.

September 11, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Hundreds Take Part in Direct Action against UK Arms Trade with Israel

IMEMC News & Agencies – September 3, 2019

The UK Department for International Trade has officially invited the government of Israel to DSEI, despite a UN report earlier in the year stating that Israel’s repression of unarmed Palestinian protestors may have constituted “war crimes or crimes against humanity”.

Organizers Palestine Solidarity Campaign and War On Want are seeking to highlight Israel’s systematic violations of human rights and international law and call on the UK Government to implement a 2-way arms embargo with Israel.

Hundreds of human rights activists are currently protesting the UK’s trade in arms with Israel outside Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI), the world’s largest arms fair, held at ExCel London every two years.

Under the banner “Stop Arming Israel”, a day of creative action and protest organised by campaigning groups Palestine Solidarity Campaign and War on Want is taking place outside the fair throughout Monday 2nd September. Protesters have blocked roads in order to stop trucks carrying weapons from getting inside the fair.

Organisers of the event claim that DSEI is a site where violations of international law and human rights are flaunted by companies, including Israel’s Elbit Systems, who market their weapons as ‘battle-tested’, meaning that they have been tried and tested in attacks on Palestinian civilians.

They are also voicing opposition to the UK Government’s role in co-hosting the event. Israel has appeared for the first time on the Department of International Trade’s list of official invitees for DSEI, only months after the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Gaza protests found evidence indicating that Israeli forces fired on unarmed Palestinian protestors unlawfully, using force that may have constituted war crimes or crimes against humanity.

Ryvka Barnard, Senior Campaigns Officer (Militarism and Security) at War on Want, said: “The DSEI arms fair brings together the most destructive elements of the global arms trade, responsible for countless deaths and immeasurable destruction around the world.

Companies displaying their wares include the likes of Israel’s Elbit Systems, which has produced internationally banned weapons such as white phosphorous and artillery systems that can be used for cluster munitions. Elbit and other countries boast that their weapons are battle-tested, meaning that they fine-tune their products by testing in live combat situations. The people of London don’t want our city to be used as a marketplace for companies turning crimes against humanity into profit.”

Huda Ammori, Campaigns Officer at Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “The UK Government can talk all it wants about respecting human rights, but its deadly arms trade with Israel reveals the truth. The UK Government is showing a total disregard for Palestinian lives, and is fully complicit in the atrocities committed against them by the Israeli state. We need a 2-way arms embargo now, and we need all other complicit companies and institutions – from HSBC to UK universities – to cut ties with the Israeli arms trade too and to stand on the side of human rights. That’s why we’re taking action at the DSEI arms fair.”

Activities throughout the day include street theatre, political discussions, banner-making and dabke dancing (Arab folkloric dance). The day’s events will lead into a street party this evening featuring a performance by award-winning poet Sabrina Mahfouz and a DJ set from Ben Smoke.

The ‘Stop Arming Israel’ protests begin a week-long set of protests against the DSEI arms fair, with a different theme each day, highlighting the diverse communities opposing the hosting of DSEI in London, PNN reports.

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Does FIFA really believe in human rights?

MEMO | August 28, 2019

The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) has had some good reasons to thank football’s world governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), for its help. The PFA admission to FIFA in 1994, at the time of the Oslo Accords, was in itself a major encouragement to Palestinian football.

In 2008, FIFA was instrumental in building the national Faisal Al-Husseini Stadium in Ramallah, and has supported other investment in Palestinian football grounds through its GOAL programme. In 2012, the world body played an important background role in the release of the Palestine national team’s star player, Mahmoud Sarsak, from his three year detention under Israel’s Unlawful Combatants Law.

FIFA set up a Monitoring Committee in 2015 in response to the PFA’s complaint that at the 2013 FIFA Congress it had not been allowed to explain to member associations how severely Israeli actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories repressed Palestinian football. These actions included obstacles to movement of players and officials nationally and internationally, restrictions on the import of equipment, injuries to and imprisonment of players, and the existence of settlement club teams based on occupied Palestinian land playing in the Israeli leagues. South Africa’s former ANC minister and footballer, Tokyo Sexwale, was asked to chair the Committee and produce a set of recommendations for FIFA to act upon.

Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA

All of these initiatives were taken under the presidency of Sepp Blatter who had carefully controlled the way that FIFA supported the Palestinians against a background of Israeli interventions. Further action was crucial, but when Gianni Infantino succeeded Blatter as FIFA president in 2016, events took a turn for the worse:

Despite strong opposition from Israel, Sexwale’s Monitoring Committee finally presented its report in 2017. It addressed the removal of the settlement clubs from Israeli leagues for contravening both FIFA statute 72.2 and international law. However, the report suffered a number of mysterious delays and was not presented in time for discussion at the 2017 Annual FIFA Congress. It was then shelved.

The PFA, sensing that Sexwale’s recommendations would be delayed or neutered, tabled its own motion with similar objectives at the 2017 Congress. By careful manipulation of the procedural rules, later endorsed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, FIFA managed to block this motion and pass it to a subsequent meeting of the FIFA Council which duly considered it to be too political for discussion, claiming that a decision would impinge on the “final status negotiations” concerning the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Council thus ignored international law. The Palestinian motion was also shelved. That statement by the FIFA Council concluded with an undertaking to “facilitate the movement of players, officials and football equipment in, out of, and within Palestine.” Nothing has been heard from FIFA on the fulfilment of this pledge.

This FIFA process was almost certainly influenced by a telephone call from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Infantino just days before the 2017 Congress. The exact details of the call are not known, but Israeli interests were duly served. Crucially, FIFA had adopted a position which reflected Israeli political imperatives and ignored Palestinian rights.

Furthermore, in January 2019 the FIFA Ethics Committee forwarded to the PFA a thirty-page document, produced by an Israeli organisation called Palestine Media Watch (PMW), which criticised PFA President Jibril Rajoub and called on him to step down. The Ethics Committee’s cover letter accompanying the PMW document highlighted the main complaints, thereby giving the impression that FIFA endorsed them. These included “incitement to violence”, “glorification of terrorism”, “prohibiting football as a bridge to peace” and “using football to promote a political agenda”.

Jibril Rajoub, President of the Palestinian Football Association

Jibril Rajoub, President of the Palestinian Football Association

PMW is actually a rather unscrupulous political organisation headed by an Israeli settler with no position in the football world, and is financed by the Israeli government. It has an appalling track record. In 2000, PMW tried to challenge the Palestinian Authority in an Israeli court and was rebuffed in no uncertain terms by the judge. In 2016, PMW called for the resignation of Jibril Rajoub from his position as President of the Palestinian Olympic Committee, based on a thirty-page document of “evidence” similar to the one sent to FIFA. The International Olympic Committee gave it short shrift.

The reality is that the PMW is dedicated to attacking Palestinian leaders and organisations. This should have been obvious to the FIFA Ethics Committee. The fact that it chose to accept and proceed with the PMW report appears to be FIFA’s way of saying that it accept Israel’s political arguments and rejects Palestinian rights.

Just last month, the Sixth Palestinian Cup finals were to be played between the winners of the Gaza and West Bank leagues. The West Bank’s Balata FC was able to travel to Gaza, and drew 1-1 with Khadamat Rafah on 30 June, but when it came to the second leg to be played in the West Bank on 3 July, thirty-one of the Gaza squad of thirty-four were refused permission to travel by the Israelis. The match was postponed and has still not been rescheduled.

Delaying tactics by the Israeli border authorities have been encountered in the past, but in each case an appeal by the PFA to FIFA was effective; the world body’s pressure on the Israeli authorities led to the players being allowed to travel. In this latest incident, though, the PFA appeal to FIFA has not been successful. It appears that FIFA has not been diligent in pressing the Israeli authorities to act, when above all else it needs to insist that the return leg is allowed to be played. It may be that the earlier Israeli entreaties to Infantino have had a continued influence, but we can be certain that, once again, Palestinian rights have been disregarded.

In conclusion, it seems that Israel’s accusations have been accepted at face value by FIFA and not regarded as politically motivated, whereas Palestinian arguments are deemed political and inappropriate for consideration. FIFA now appears to be subservient to Israeli demands.

Palestinian players forced to leave the field after an Israeli tear gas attack January 2019

Palestinian players forced to leave field after Israeli tear gas attack, January 2019

The recently introduced FIFA Statute No. 3 requires respect for human rights. In the case of Palestine, football’s world governing body seems to be ignoring its own rules. Over the past year, the repression of Palestinian football has worsened substantially. Specifically, games have been interrupted, the installation of pitches has been delayed, officials have been arrested and international visits have been disrupted.

The need for action is even more important now than it was in 2015. It is essential that these issues are addressed. FIFA must insist on a positive response from the Israeli authorities. If this is not forthcoming then a number of sanctions can and must be applied by FIFA. International teams, for example, can be banned from having friendlies with Israeli teams, which can also be banned from international tournaments; ultimately, the Israel FA can be suspended from FIFA until the rights of Palestinians and international law are observed.

Britain’s Red Card Israeli Racism (RCIR) campaign has joined together with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the international Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel to lobby FIFA for effective action in accordance with its own statutes and its avowed respect for human rights. Now is the time for football’s world governing body to demonstrate that it does indeed believe in human rights, and is prepared to take action when these are abused.

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August 28, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Defend the #Right2Boycott

Omar Baddar | August 8, 2019

Free Speech is under attack by politicians who prioritize pandering on Israel ahead of protecting the Constitution.

August 25, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

We must boycott Israeli sports as we did with Apartheid South Africa

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | August 14, 2019

The Palestinian Football Association is struggling to survive. Combined US-Israeli pressure on Palestinian organisations that provide aid and support to the Palestinian people is now felt in the field of sports as well. In recent months, the association’s budget has been slashed by more than half, and the new football season may be cancelled entirely.

In Palestine, football in particular, represents more than just a game. It provides respite, continuity, hope, and unity.

The Palestine Football Association has been in existence since 1928, that is 20 years before Israel was founded on destroyed Palestinian cities, towns and villages. But, not even the tragic Nakba would end the sport in Palestine. When Palestine was admitted as a full member of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) in 1998, a rare moment of triumph prevailed over the sense of political stagnation. The Palestinian national team became a representation of a collective sense of pride and defiance. It meant that despite Israeli military restrictions, the targeting of Palestinian athletes and the bombing of stadiums and sports facilities, Palestinians continue to embrace life and thrive.

Even after the factional clash between Fatah and Hamas and the subsequent political disconnect between Gaza and the West Bank, sports continued to provide a critical outlet for unity. While Gaza and the West Bank have their own football leagues, they still competed in a final match to determine the winner of the Palestine Cup.

Alas, last month, Israel prevented the Rafah football team from reaching the West Bank, to meet its Balata Youth Centre rivals in the Cup’s final match.

Israel’s restrictions on Palestinian sports is relentless and is part of a long record of making it nearly impossible for Palestinians to pursue activities that should have no bearing on “Israel’s security”.

The Palestine national team is possibly the most beleaguered football team in the world today.

“Due to Israeli restrictions, the Palestinian national team has been banned from playing their home games in Palestinian stadiums for many years and is forced to host them in nearby Arab countries,” wrote Hazem Balousha in Arab News. Effectively, this means that all Palestinian football training camps have to be held outside Palestine, often with the team’s Gaza squad unable to join their peers. Meanwhile, no foreign trainers are allowed to enter besieged Gaza.

Moreover, the occasional news of a Palestinian footballer being shot, beaten or imprisoned, though tragic, is routine news for Palestinians.

Israel has, however, hardly received any serious reprimand for its unlawful actions. Despite Tel Aviv’s constant violations of Palestinian sports rights, FIFA and other international sports federations continue to treat Israel with kid gloves. Worse, instead of being punished for violating international law regarding sports, Israel is often rewarded. The fact that Israel’s Football Association includes six teams from illegal Jewish settlements (colonies that are built on stolen Palestinian land) seems to be of no consequence to FIFA’s bosses.

Recently, the sports brand, Puma has replaced Adidas as the sponsor of Israel’s national football teams. The decision indicates that the company is completely oblivious to sports apartheid in Israel. Puma’s lack of sportsmanship is now the subject of a major international boycott campaign led by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Over 200 Palestinian sports clubs support the call on Puma to end its dealings with Israel, in an attempt to pressure Israel to put an end to its violations of Palestinian human rights.

In fact, Israel should be boycotted in every possible way until it relents and respects international law regarding the rights and freedom of the Palestinian people. Often, however, we overlook the centrality of sports boycott in the overall boycott strategy.

Sports boycott engages, not only politicians and intellectuals but also ordinary people around the world. “The case for football boycott of Israel is just as compelling as that of football boycott of South Africa,” BDS wrote on its homepage. For one, “boycott would spread awareness of Israeli racism and abuse of Palestinian human rights across the football community worldwide.”

Moreover, boycotting Israeli sports, especially football, will deny Israel an important tool aimed at normalising its military occupation, apartheid, and racism. It will force ordinary Israelis to think about the consequences of their support of right-wing racist governments. It could, in fact, it will espouse a serious debate in Israel.

This same logic worked in Apartheid South Africa and was a powerful tool in the international support for the anti-Apartheid movement in that country.

But with FIFA and others turning a blind eye to Israeli violations, Palestinians continue to suffer while Israel continues to sell itself as a sports-loving member of FIFA and other sports organizations.

“Divestment and boycotts are familiar tactics from the international anti-apartheid movement, but they didn’t match the psychological power of the sports boycott,” wrote Tony Karon in the National.

“Rugby was an essential part of the identity of the South African regime’s base, and denying their ability to compete on an international stage was one of the most painful sanctions in the minds of many apartheid supporters.”

As for FIFA, it suspended the membership of the Football Association of South Africa in 1961, followed by a decision, in 1968 by the United Nations General Assembly that called for boycotting all sports bodies in South Africa that practiced apartheid. The pressure continued to mount, uniting international solidarity around clear and achievable objectives.

Many organisations have taken the lead in their respective countries to create a similar movement for Palestine. Israel must not be allowed to participate in international sports while simultaneously cementing its apartheid, racist regime in Palestine.

August 14, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment

London council cancels pro-Palestine event over anti-Semitism claims

MEMO | August 5, 2019

London Borough of Tower Hamlets refused to host the closing rally of the annual bike ride raising money for Palestinian children in the besieged Gaza over claims it would breach the IHRA’s anti-Semitism criteria, the Guardian reported on Saturday.

The council told the Big Ride for Palestine, which was established on the first anniversary of Israel’s 2014 offensive on Gaza and which has raised nearly £150,000 for sports equipment for children in the enclave, that the event could not go ahead in the borough “without problems”.

However, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign won a Freedom of Information battle in an effort to discover the reasons behind the council’s refusal to host the event. Internal emails revealed that council staff agreed not to make public “anti-Semitism concerns”.

While the council officials, according to the Guardian, told the organisers that there was a risk speakers might express views which contradicted the council’s policies on community cohesion and equality, behind the scenes the council attributed the reasons to “real risk” of violating IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism.

The council’s concerns were linked to the Big Ride’s website describing Israel’s illegal occupation and siege of the Gaza Strip as “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing”.

When considering how to explain the decision, the Guardian said, one council official said it would be wise to “avoid the anti-Semitism aspect… as this could open a can of worms and come back to bite us”.

The Guardian reported a council spokesman saying: “The council gave the application careful consideration and decided not to host the event, because we do not host rallies with political connotations, albeit without direct links to political parties.”

However a spokesperson for the charity said its work was focused on helping the 300,000 children in Gaza showing signs of severe psychological distress.

The spokesperson added: “It’s a dreadful thing when an over-scrupulous interpretation of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is used behind closed doors to prevent awareness raising of the situation in Palestine and the need for humanitarian support.”

It’s not too late to donate, follow this link and give what you can.

August 5, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 3 Comments

Mass Rally For Evo Morales in Opposition Stronghold

teleSUR – August 2, 2019

Bolivia’s leftist president, Evo Morales, was greeted by a huge rally in the eastern city of Santa Cruz. Hundreds of thousands of people attended despite the city normally being known as a stronghold of the right wing opposition. The rally was in support of Evo Morales’s Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party, and to celebrate the anniversary of the country’s land reform.

President Morales addressed the crowd on Friday, saying, “We are rallied here so that Bolivia is never again in a state of dependency. So that the Bolivian people will never have to beg again. We are here sisters and brothers, so that neoliberalism nor U.S. military bases ever return.”

The MAS also presented their list of parliamentary candidates for the Santa Cruz region. Leading the list is Adriana Salvatierra, the 29-year-old President of the Senate, tipped by many as a possible successor to Morales.

The rally itself was organized by the local labor union federation, whose general secretary Rolando Borda, stood alongside Morales on stage. The day before Borda had laid out what he believes the mobilization represents.

“It is a ratification of our consciousness, and so that the economy of the country continues to grow and that the victory of October 20th is overwhelming,” he said.

Though the focus of the rally was the upcoming elections, the country was also celebrating the “Day of the Agrarian Revolution” falling on the anniversary of the Morales’ land reform, which redistributed millions of hectares to landless campesinos.

The main beneficiaries were the CSUTCB, the largest Indigenous campesino union. Their members were also in attendance at Friday’s rally, mostly Coca growers from the nearby Chapare region.

A buoyant economy has Morales well ahead of his rivals in opinion polls, however, none have indicated that a first round victory is certain. For that, Morales would need either 50 percent of the vote, or 40 percent if the second place candidate is behind by 10 points or more. Most polls have Morales just short of 40 percent, but leading his rivals by a comfortable margin of over 10.

August 3, 2019 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , | Leave a comment

Any military aggression against Iran will drag entire Mideast into chaos: Nasrallah

Press TV – July 19, 2019

The secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has warned the US that any military aggression against Iran will drag the entire Middle East into disarray, stressing that Washington will definitely not be the one who determines the end of such a scenario.

“As Leader of the Islamic Revolution (Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei) has said, the US is not capable of imposing a military war on Iran. The White House knows that if a war against Iran happens, the entire region will get entangled, and the US will not be the one who finishes it,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a meeting with the visiting Iranian parliament speaker’s special advisor on international affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, in Beirut on Friday.

Tensions have been running high between Tehran and Washington since last year, when US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Recently, the US has taken a quasi-warlike posture against Iran and stepped up its provocative military moves in the Middle East, among them the June 20 incursion of an American spy drone into the Iranian borders.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) shot down the advanced US-made RQ-4 Global Hawk over Iran’s territorial waters off the coastal province of Hormozgan after the unmanned aircraft breached the country’s airspace on a spying mission.

Nasrallah then described resistance as the sole and most efficient option in the face of the Israeli regime’s crimes, acts of aggression and excessive demands.

He also lauded Iran’s political and democratic plan for a referendum among all historic residents of Palestine, inclusive of Muslims, Christians and Jews, as realistic and logical.

“The occupying Zionists, however, are the most irrational creatures on the earth, and do not understand anything other than the discourse of resistance,” the Hezbollah chief noted.

He further termed Trump’s controversial proposal for “peace” between the Israeli regime and Palestinians, dubbed “the deal of the century,” as hollow, stating that the Zionists are the root cause of corruption and insecurity in the region.

Nasrallah also highlighted that Hezbollah bears no grudge against Jews, warning members of the religious community not to play in the hands of Zionists’ land grab policies.

The Hezbollah secretary general emphasized that the anti-Israel resistance front is now in its best form even though the US and the Israeli regime continue with their fiendish moves in the region.

“Americans are seeking to impede the purge of the last remnants of terrorists in Syria, and are prolonging the (Syrian) crisis through various means in a bid to prevent the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland. They will fail in their interventionist policies in the region though,” Nasrallah concluded.

Amir-Abdollahian, for his part, congratulated Hezbollah’s victory during the 33-day war in July 2006, and discussed latest regional and international developments besides bilateral political and parliamentary relations between Tehran and Beirut with the Hezbollah chief.

July 19, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment