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After 70 Years of Abuse, a Definition of Anti-Palestinian Racism

Is this where the fight-back begins?

By Stuart Littlewood | Dissident Voice | October 10, 2018

What is the matter with the Palestine solidarity movement? Since 1948 (and before that, even) the Palestinians have been viciously abused and dispossessed while the perpetrators and their supporters have continually played the anti-Semitism card.

Bemused spectators have been bored witless by the long and ludicrous propaganda campaign to vilify Jeremy Corbyn, bully the Labour Party into accepting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism as a cornerstone in their code of conduct and stifle discussion of Israel’s crimes against  the Palestinian people. The expected riposte never came.

Anti-Palestinian Racism

Now Jewish Voice For Labour, of all people, have struck back with a useful looking definition of Anti-Palestinian Racism which they decribe as “hatred towards or prejudice against Palestinians as Palestinians”. In a document faintly mocking the pronouncements on anti-Semitism they suggest that manifestations of anti-Palestinian racism might include the denial of Palestinian rights to a state of Palestine as recognised by over 130 member countries of the United Nations and blaming Palestinians for their own plight under brutal military occupation and lock-down. Here’s how they put it:

Contemporary examples of anti-Palestinian racism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

  1. Denying the Palestinian people their right to self-determination and nationhood, or actively conspiring to prevent the exercise of this right.
  2. Denial that Israel is in breach of international law in its continued occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
  3. Denial that Israel is an apartheid state according to the definition of the International Convention on Apartheid.
  4. Denial of the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba and of their right, and the right of their descendants, to return to their homeland.
  5. Denial that Palestinians have lived in what is now the land of Israel for hundreds of years and have their own distinctive national identity and culture.
  6. Denial that the laws and policies which discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel (such as the recently passed Nation State Law) are inherently racist.
  7. Denial that there is widespread discrimination against Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories in matters of employment, housing, justice, education, water supply, etc, etc.
  8. Tolerating the killing or harming of Palestinians by violent settlers in the name of an extremist view of religion.
  9. Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Palestinians — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth of a Palestinian conspiracy to wipe Israel off the map.
  10. Justifying the collective punishment of Palestinians (prohibited under the Geneva Convention) in response to the acts of individuals or groups.
  11. Accusing the Palestinians as a people, of encouraging the Holocaust.

I am not sure how Palestinians, as genuine Semites living there for thousands of years, will react to No.5 which claims their homeland is “now the land of Israel”. Despite being illegally occupied by an apartheid entity most of whose members have no ancestral links to the ancient “land of Israel” it is still Palestine.

For decades activists have been telling the Israel lobby to look in the mirror and address their own racial hatred towards the Palestinians. You must truly hate people to deny them their freedom and even their right to return to their homes and livelihoods. Why has it taken so long for such a simple and obvious weapon to be produced? Doesn’t it make you wonder about the true agenda of those in charge of Palestine solidarity? And why has it taken a group of Jews (bless ’em) to do it?

The question now is how best to deliver this somewhat delayed riposte. It might have been best delivered while the iron was hot, at the height of the anti-Semitism witch-hunt and media onslaught. Many activists wanted Corbyn to turn on his tormentors and tell them to mend their own vile attitude towards Palestinian Arabs before daring to smear others with accusations of  anti-Semitism.

On the other hand it will benefit from careful honing, cool planning and the massing of pro-Palestinian support to make the hit really count.

For reasons we know only too well our politicians won’t adopt it as eagerly as they embraced the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism. But it is at least a starting point in the fight-back especially if deployed by a coalition of genuine pro-Palestine groups and the BDS movement as the centrepiece of their new, combined campaign strategy.

Lies, damned lies….

Meanwhile I hope all those who allowed themselves to be suckered by the Israel lobby will hang their heads in shame when they read this report by the Media Reform Coalition: Labour, Antisemitism and the News – A disinformation paradigm.

The Executive summary says that an analysis of over 250 articles and news segments from the largest UK news providers (online and television) showed:

  • 29 examples of false statements or claims, several of them made by anchors or correspondents themselves, six of them surfacing on BBC television news programmes, and eight on TheGuardian.com
  • A further 66 clear instances of misleading or distorted coverage including misquotations, reliance on single source accounts, omission of essential facts or right of reply, and repeated assumptions made by broadcasters without evidence or qualification. In total, a quarter of the sample contained at least one documented inaccuracy or distortion.
  • Overwhelming source imbalance, especially on television news where voices critical of Labour’s code of conduct were regularly given an unchallenged and exclusive platform, outnumbering those defending Labour by nearly 4 to 1.

In all, there were 95 clear-cut examples of misleading or inaccurate reporting on mainstream television and online news platforms, with a quarter of the total sample containing at least one such example. On TV two thirds of the news segments contained at least one reporting error or substantive distortion.

The report points to “a persistent subversion of conventional news values”. Furthermore, coverage of Labour’s revised code of conduct during the summer of 2018 often omitted critical discussion of the ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism promoted by the IHRA and wrongly described it as universally adopted. “We established through background case research that although the IHRA is an international body with representatives from 31 countries, only six  of those countries have, to date, formally adopted the definition themselves.

  • In spite of a call for local authorities to adopt the definition by the UK’s central government in early 2017, less than a third of councils have responded and several of those have chosen not to include any of the controversial examples contained within the working definition.
  • Several high-profile bodies have rejected or distanced themselves from the working definition, including the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (a successor to the body that drafted the original wording on which the definition is based) and academic institutions including the London School of Economics and the School of Oriental and African Studies.
  • Mainstream academic and legal opinion has been overwhelmingly critical of the IHRA definition, including formal opinions produced by three senior UK barristers and one former appeals court judge. Virtually none of this essential context found its way into news reports of the controversy. Instead, the Labour Party was routinely portrayed by both sources and correspondents as beyond the pale of conventional thinking on the IHRA definition.“

Which all goes to show that Britain’s mainstream media has a hill to climb to get back its self-respect.

October 10, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Aux Barricades Mes Enfants!

Time for the sans-culottes to rise up against Washington’s insanity

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • October 9, 2018

On October 21st there will be a Women’s March on the Pentagon hosted by the Global Women’s Peace Action. My wife and many of our friends will be going and even I will tag along in support in spite of my gender. We participate with some reservations as we have only demonstrated publicly twice since 9/11, once opposing the then about to start Iraq War and once against the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). All too often demonstrations morph into progressive exercises in flagellation of what are now referred to as “deplorable” values with little being accomplished either before, during or afterwards, apart from the piles of debris left behind to be cleaned up by the Park Service. And such events are rarely even covered by the media in Washington, where the Post generally adheres closely to a neocon foreign policy tactic, which means that if you ignore something distasteful it will eventually go away.

Hopefully on this occasion it will be different because the time for talking politics is rapidly being rendered irrelevant by the speed of Washington’s disengagement from reality and Americans of all political persuasions must begin to take to the streets to object to what their government is doing in their name. I am mildly optimistic that change is coming as I find it difficult to imagine that in spite of the relentless flood of mainstream media propaganda there is even a plurality of Americans that supports with any actual conviction what the United States is doing in Syria and what it intends to do in Iran. And apart from a desire to make voting in America safer and insofar as possible interference free, I also believe that most think that Russiagate is a load of hooey and would prefer to be friends with Moscow.

Why now? “Now” is a whole new ballgame, as the expression goes, because the utter insanity coming out of Washington could easily wind up killing most of us here in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Specifically, in a press conference on Tuesday, Kay Bailey Hutchison, a former Senator from Texas who is currently the United States’ ambassador to NATO, declared that Washington was prepared to launch a preemptive attack on Russian military installations as a response to alleged treaty violations on the part of Moscow. Note particularly what Hutchison actually said: “At that point, we would be looking at the capability to take out a missile that could hit any of our countries. Counter measures would be to take out the missiles that are in development by Russia in violation of the treaty. They are on notice.”

And note further what she was implying, namely that Washington, acting on its own authority, has the right to attack a nuclear armed and powerful foreign country based on what are presumably negotiable definitions of what are acceptable weapons to base on one’s own soil. It would be an attack on a neighbor or competitor with whom one is not at war and which does not necessarily pose any active threat. By that standard, any country with a military capability can be described as threatening and one can attack anyone else based purely on one’s own assessment of what is acceptable or not.

It is quite remarkable how many countries in the world are now “on notice” for punishment when they do things that the United States objects to. United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has warned that she will be “taking names” of those United Nations members that criticize U.S. policies in the Middle East. As increasing discomfort with U.S. initiatives there and elsewhere is a worldwide phenomenon, with only Israel, the Philippines, Nigeria and Kenya having a favorable view of Washington, Haley’s list is inevitably a long one. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, when they are not fabricating intelligence and inflating threats, have likewise warned specific countries that they are being judged by Washington and will be punished at a level proportionate to their transgressions.

Hutchison is not known as a deep thinker, so one has to suspect that her expressed views were fed to her by someone in Washington. Her specific grievance against Russia relates to Moscow’s reported deployment of new land-based missiles that have a claimed range of more than 5,000 kilometers, which is enough to hit most targets in Europe. If true, the development would be in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty of 1987 and would definitely pose a potential threat to the Europeans, but the more serious question has to be the rationale behind threatening a nuclear war through preemptive action over an issue that might be subject to renewed multilateral negotiation.

Hutchison and the State Department inevitably went into double-speak mode when concerns were expressed about possible preemption against Russia. She clarified her earlier comments with an almost incomprehensible “My point: Russia needs to return to INF Treaty compliance or we will need to match its capabilities to protect U.S. & NATO interests. The current situation, with Russia in blatant violation, is untenable.”

Spokesman Heather Nauert at State then chimed in “What Ambassador Hutchison was talking about was improving overall defense and deterrence posture. The United States is committed to upholding its arms control obligations and expects Russia to do the very same thing.” Both disclaimers were needed, even if lacking in clarity, but they did not dispel the ugly taste of the initial comment regarding starting a war of preemption. Russia took note of the back and forth, with a Foreign Ministry spokesman drily observing “It seems that people who make such statements do not realize the level of their responsibility and the danger of aggressive rhetoric.” Hutchison and Nauert also do not seem aware of the fact that Russia’s frequently stated defense doctrine is to use nuclear weapons if and when it is attacked by a superior force, which might well be Moscow’s assessment of the threat posed by U.S. led NATO.

The disconnect between the White House’s often expressed desire to improve relations with Russia and the bureaucracy’s tendency to send the opposite message is typical of what has been referred to as Trump’s “dual-track presidency”. Gareth Porter has recently observed how President Trump, for all his faults in so many ways, is indeed desirous of military disengagement in some areas but he is repeatedly being overruled or outmaneuvered by the permanent bureaucracies in government, most notably the Pentagon and intelligence services. Hutchison, Haley, Pompeo and Bolton speak and act for that constituency even when they appear to be agreeing with the president.

So given the danger of war based on what Washington itself says about the state of the world and America’s presumed role in it, it is time to take the gloves off and march. That a high-level official can even stand up and speak about preventive war with a major nuclear power is disgraceful. She should be fired immediately. That she has not been fired means that someone somewhere high up in the bureaucracy agrees with what she said. Nuclear war is not an option. It is an end of all options.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website: www.councilforthenationalinterest.org

October 9, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , | 1 Comment

Help Stop Radioactive Waste Dump and Thousands of Dangerous Shipments Across the US

By John Laforge | CounterPunch | October 5, 2018

The private company Waste Control Specialists (WCS) or “Interim Storage Partners” wants to place a high-level radioactive waste dump site (called a “centralized interim storage facility”) in West Texas.

If approved, opening this high-level waste dump would launch nation-wide transports of a total of 40,000 tons of irradiated reactor fuel (misleadingly known as “spent” fuel), to Texas from all over the country. The shipments are to be by rail, highway, and floating barge (even on Lake Michigan!). The planned-for thousands of such transports create risks for nearly everyone in the United States, because the ferociously radioactive material would pass near schools, hospitals, businesses, and farms, would travel on and over lakes, rivers, and waterways, and go through areas where our food is grown and where families live, play and work. Amazingly, no public meetings on the subject are planned in Texas or elsewhere.

Act now to stop this dangerous nuclear waste dump

Environmental and community right-to-know groups are demanding: 1) public meetings in Texas and along transportation routes across the country; 2) a halt to these transport and dumping plans; and 3) uniform publication of application and related materials in Spanish.  You can add your voice to these urgent demands by writing to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on the license application by WCS until Oct. 19th.

Tell NRC: Listen to the people! No mass radioactive waste shipments to Texas.

Under WCS’s license application, the 40,000 tons of high-level waste from commercial power reactors could move on railroads, highways and even on waterways using barges for decades. Then, because the Texas site is supposedly “temporary,” after being shipped there the waste would have to be packed-up and transported again, to a “permanent” waste dump site — if one is ever approved. This means that new transportation and repackaging dangers will continue for additional decades.

For this reason, experts like D’Arrigo at NIRS and elsewhere recommend against any “interim” storage sites, and instead suggest storage on or near the reactors, until a permanent waste dump is opened.

The Texas region where WCS wants to store the waste (above-ground, and in the open) is prone to earthquakes, intense storms, extreme temperatures, and flooding. West Texas is not the place to store the most hazardous waste in the world.

Under the guise of “managing” this deadly waste from nuclear power reactors, the centralized temporary storage plan would make the problem worse, changing the country forever by ushering in an era of intensely deadly reactor waste transports everywhere, moving regularly through our major cities and rural communities.

Yet, the United States NRC does not want to fully consider the impacts of repeatedly transporting radioactive waste to or from the supposedly “temporary” site. Please tell the NRC to hold public meetings, to extend the comment and intervention deadlines, and to fully consider all the dangers from high-level waste storage and transport in the WCS Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

You can email: WCS_CISF_EIS@nrc.gov.

A sample letter you could submit is available here.

October 5, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

North, South Korea begin removing landmines along border: Seoul

Press TV – October 1, 2018

Seoul says North and South Korea have begun removing landmines along their fortified border in a confidence-building measure under a new agreement reached between the two neighboring states in Pyongyang last month.

South and North Korean troops removed some of the landmines in the Joint Security Area (JSA) in their shared border village of Panmunjom on Monday, according to a statement by the South’s Defense Ministry.

The ministry further said the two sides had agreed to cleanse the JSA of landmines within 20 days.

The JSA is the only spot along the 250-kilometer Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) where troops from both Koreas are face to face. The area is staffed by United Nations peacekeepers.

The measure is part of a deal reached between defense ministers of the two neighbors on the sidelines of a summit last month between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the South’s President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang.

The two sides had also agreed to remove guard posts and weapons from the JSA to follow the removal of the mines, with the troops remaining there to be left unarmed.

Seoul and Pyongyang have already dismantled propaganda loudspeakers and some guard posts along their border.

De-mining projects are also set to begin on Monday in Gangwon Province in eastern South Korea to pave the way for teams to search for the remains of soldiers killed in the 1950-1953 Korean War, the ministry added.

South Korea and its ally, the US, are estimated to have planted over a million landmines south of the DMZ, while North Korea has laid more than 800,000 ones on its own side.

De-mining experts say both neighbors poorly managed their mines and have no precise data on how many landmines they have planted and in what specific locations.

Last month’s deal also provides for the establishment of buffer zones along the land, sea and aerial boundaries where live-fire drills and military flights would be forbidden.

October 1, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , | 1 Comment

Anti-US base candidate wins Okinawa governor elections

RT | September 30, 2018

A staunch opponent of the planned relocation of a US military base within Okinawa Island, where the issue sparked major public protests, has beaten a government-backed competitor in the local governor elections.

Denny Tamaki, a former opposition lawmaker and the son of a US marine, has got a win against Atsushi Sakima, the former mayor of a local city of Ginowan, who was backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party. The vote was largely determined by the issue of the relocation of the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which has been a source of controversy for the locals over the years.

Tamaki vowed to continue fighting against relocation of the US base from the crowded town of Ginowan to the less populated coastal region of Nago, which would put corals and dugongs, the endangered marine mammals, at risk, according to environmental activists. He also pledged to follow the steps of the former Okinawa governor Takeshi Onaga, who had been an outspoken opponent of the relocation until his death in August that prompted early gubernatorial elections.

His major rival in the four-person race, Sakima, also supported the closure of the existing Futenma base but did not clarify his stance on the issue of relocation. Tamaki, meanwhile, vowed to continue fighting for the base to be relocated off the island.

Tamaki’s victory is considered to be a blow to Abe’s plans as the prime minister is pushing for the controversial base relocation plan despite vehement opposition from the locals, the Japanese media report. Okinawa, which amounts to less than one percent of the Japanese total land area, hosts about a half of the 50,000 American troops in Japan.

The US presence on the island has long been a source of discontent for the locals. Okinawans have raised concerns about machinery mishaps, noise, sexual assaults against Japanese women, and even some deadly incidents – all of which triggered massive protests. Onaga also repeatedly clashed with the government over the relocation issue in particular.

In 2015, he revoked an approval for the construction works issued by his predecessor. His decision was overruled by the central government, which went ahead with the project. In August, the local government retracted the permission again. Since then, the work has been suspended.

Following Onaga’s death in August, 70,000 people protested the Japanese government’s plan to relocate the US air base. Participants also held a one-minute silence to pay respect to the late governor.

September 30, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , , | Leave a comment

Hamas: We will remain adherent to option of resistance

Palestine Information Center – September 28, 2018

GAZA – On the 18th anniversary of the Aqsa Intifada (uprising), the Hamas Movement has reiterated its adherence to the option of resistance against the occupation and its support for the March of Return until its intended goals are achieved.

“The reasons for the outbreak of the Aqsa Intifada still exist and escalate as the enemy persists in its crimes under the protection of imperialist powers,” Hamas stated on Friday.

Hamas also expressed its confidence that the Palestinian people would continue defending the Aqsa Mosque and remain vigilant about the dangers threatening it.

The Movement underlined that resisting the occupation is a legitimate right guaranteed by all divine laws and international conventions as a mean to restore the usurped national rights.

It pointed out that “the Aqsa Intifada proved the failure of the settlement process and that the Israeli occupation state only understands the language of force.”

Hamas also highlighted in its statement the issue of the stalled inter-Palestinian reconciliation, calling on the Palestinian Authority leadership to end its sanctions on Gaza and honor the 2011 Cairo agreement and the 2017 Beirut agreement in order to heal the rift in the Palestinian arena.

September 29, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Spectacular Zionist Boomerang

By Gilad Atzmon | September 27, 2018

All that is left for us to do is to thank British Zionist institutions, the BOD, the CAA, the Jewish Chronicle and the Zionist stooges within British media for making the British Labour party not only the biggest and most united political party in Europe but also a party united behind its leader Jeremy Corbyn and unequivocally opposed to Israeli criminality.

Christians United for Israel, an ultra Zionist outlet, complained that  “hundreds of Palestinian flags were flown on the main floor of Labour’s Party conference yesterday despite the British flag not being allowed. The flags, which were flown with approval of the Labour leadership, were handed out to delegates by activists before the Conference passed a motion demanding a freeze on arms sales to Israel and an investigation into the deaths of Palestinians on the Gaza border.”

It is worth mentioning that Israel doesn’t actually need  obsolete British weapons. Likely the British army would also benefit by avoiding the use of locally manufactured lethal toys. But what is crucial is that despite the relentless Zionist campaign against Corbyn and the British media’s shameless compliance with the Zionist call, the Labour party has prevailed magnificently. It is more focused and united than it has been in the past five shameful decades.

Noticeable of late is that Israel firsters are changing their strategy. Tossing antisemitsm accusations against Corbyn and the Labour party was counterproductive, the accusations only ended up contributing to the popularity of Corbyn and the party. So now the Zionist clan is trying to mobilize new opposition by accusing the Labour party and its many supporters of being ‘unpatriotic.’ “Shockingly, earlier in the week Labour constituencies chose to debate ‘Palestine’ with more than 188,000 votes – making it the only international issue to receive a dedicated debate in Liverpool and thousands more votes than for concerns such as the NHS, the welfare system, or Brexit.”

Labour party members waved the Palestinian flag en masse grasping that by now -We Are All Palestinians-like the Palestinians we aren’t even allowed to utter the name of our oppressor. I suspect that blaming Labour for holding a meeting that Israel’s supporters claim failed to pay sufficient attention to the NHS or welfare is not going to work, but obviously, I welcome the new Zionist strategy. As we have seen, each and every one of their acts boomerangs spectacularly.

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , | 3 Comments

Britain’s Labor Party Passes Motion for ‘Arms Embargo’ on Israel

Palestinian flags waved during the Labor party conference in Liverpool. (Photo: Via Twitter)
Palestine Chronicle | September 26, 2018

The British Labor Party conference passed a motion to support an embargo on arms sales to Israel, a first in the country’s history.

As the proposal was put forward, hundreds of pro-Palestinian Labor delegates stood and waved their flags inside the conference hall in Liverpool, chanting “Free Palestine!” and turning the hall into a sea of Palestinian flags.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) Ben Jamal, which has been a key force behind the proposal, said:

“This incredible show of support and this historic motion demonstrate the strength of feeling at the grassroots of the party.”

He added:

“Labour members want to show real solidarity with Palestinians… Given Israel’s continuing use of live fire to kill unarmed Palestinian demonstrators, it is no surprise that there’s clear support for an immediate freeze of arms sales to Israel.”

The motion – moved by Harlow Constituency Labour Party (CLP) and seconded by Wolverhampton South West CLP – is the first on Palestine to be heard at the party’s conference in many years.

Palestine was put forward as the fourth-most important issue by CLPs in the priorities ballot, after housing, the school system and “justice for the Windrush generation” – and above Brexit, the NHS, climate change and social care.

The motion comes amid ongoing protests along Gaza’s border with Israel dubbed the Great March of Return.

Despite the largely peaceful nature of the protests, Israeli snipers have killed more than 170 Palestinians since they began on March 30, with more than 17,500 injured.

More than 68 Palestinians injured by Israeli forces have required amputations of either lower or upper limbs since the protests began.

Palestinians have been calling to return to the homes their families were forced from in 1948, during the military campaign surrounding the creation of Israel.

They are also calling for an end to the decade-long Israel-Egypt blockade that the UN says will make Gaza “unlivable” by 2020.

Tuesday’s motion at the Labour Party conference called for an “independent international investigation into Israel’s use of force against Palestinian demonstrators”, an “immediate and unconditional end to the illegal blockade and closure of Gaza” and “a freeze of UK government arms sales to Israel”.

September 26, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turning Molehills into Mountains

By Eve Myktyn | September 24, 2018

Earlier this month, University of Michigan professor John Cheney-Lippold, told his student, Abigail Ingber, that he would not write a letter of recommendation for her to study in Israel. In declining to write the recommendation, he wrote in part, “As you may know, many university departments have pledged an academic boycott against Israel in support of Palestinians living in Palestine. This boycott includes writing letters of recommendation for students planning to study there.”

This incident has, predictably, led to wild accusations of anti Semitism.

First, it is worth noting that it is unlikely that this refusal caused Ms Ingber any harm. Other professors can write recommendations and the publicity around this incident will not harm her application to be a visiting student at Tel Aviv University.

Without reaching any of the other issues raised, I tend to think that Professor Cheney-Lippold’s refusal was wrong. He is an employee of a public university and part of his job is writing recommendations for deserving students. However deeply the professor supports the BDS movement, this may not excuse his failure to fulfill his obligations as a professor.

The University made a similar point. “It is disappointing that a faculty member would allow their personal political beliefs to limit the support they are willing to otherwise provide for our students.”

But there is something in the psyche of Israel’s supporters that refuses to allow a simple solution (even if it is in their favor) or to miss a chance to rail against perceived anti Semitism and unfair treatment of Israel.

Club Z’, a Zionist facebook page posted Cheney-Lippold’s  explanation for not writing the recommendation and stated through its executive director, Masha Merkulova, that the refusal was anti-Semitic as it came “solely because her chosen destination is Israel.” But Israel is neither a race nor a religion and by conflating the boycott of Israel and Jews, Ms Merkula is doing what the IHRA definition of antisemitism forbids. Or is that definition only applicable to those accused of anti Semitism and not the accusers?

Cheney-Lippold responded he did not regret his decision. “I do not regret declining to write the letter, precisely because I am boycotting injustice… Israeli universities are complicit institutions — they develop weapons systems and military training. Cheney-Lippold denied charges that his refusal was anti Semitic, stating that he is boycotting Israeli institutions, not Jewish students.

A group of 58 religious, civil rights and education advocacy groups, most of them notably Zionist, wrote to the University’s president, “We … call on you to make a public statement specifically stating that this behavior will not be permitted, affirming your commitment to ensuring that no U-M student will be impeded from studying about or in Israel, and detailing the steps you will take to ensure that faculty do not implement an academic boycott of Israel at the University of Michigan.” The letter’s demands go far beyond the facts of this case. It is not clear why a professor, if he or she otherwise fulfills his obligations, is not free to boycott Israel.

The histrionics were abetted by former law professor Alan Dershowitz who weighed in with wild accusations: “imagine a white university professor telling a highly qualified African-American student that he refused to recommend her for a year-abroad program to an African country because he disapproved of the way that country treated its white minority. That professor would be ostracized, boycotted, reprimanded, disciplined or fired.”

This example of a ‘white’ professor supporting a white minority is inapplicable. Cheney-Lippold is not Palestinian, his convictions are ethical, not tribal. Secondly, are African American students really in the habit of crying ‘racist’ at any criticism of Africa? And lastly, what African country locks millions of white people in open air prisons? Are there any African states that deploy snipers against unarmed white protestors?

Dershowitz continues his absurd tale. “Many who support singling out Israel will actively encourage academic contacts with Russian, Cuban, Saudi, Venezuelan, Chinese, Belarusian and Palestinian universities, despite the horrid human-rights records of these undemocratic countries and the discriminatory policies of their universities.” Where is the evidence for this bold statement?

Dershowitz adds another outrageous accusation based on no facts. “This hypocritical professor probably would not hesitate to recommend his student to universities that discriminate against gay and transgender, women, Jewish or Christian students.”

Finally, Dershowitz garners the evidence of  his imaginings to make his point. “Academic freedom may permit a professor to advocate a boycott against Israeli (or any other) universities, misguided as that may be. But it does not permit a professor to actually discriminate against one of his students based on invidious factors. A teacher must treat all of his students fairly and equally, without regard to their religious, political or ethnic views or identities… academic freedom … does not protect him from discriminating against a student who has different views.”

Professor Cheney Lippold did not discriminate against the student for her ethnicity or beliefs, rather he refused to write a recommendation because, as he said, he believed that doing so would support Israel and violate his own commitment to BDS.

It seems that the relatively minor incident of a refusal to write a letter of recommendation based on the boycott of Israel has become the basis of hysterical accusations of anti Semitism. It may be that such extreme reactions serve to inure the public to true anti Semitism.

September 24, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 3 Comments

Univ. of Michigan Professor Cheney-Lippold Receives Death Threats Over Boycott

Palestine Legal | September 19, 2018

University of Michigan professor John Cheney-Lippold, an expert in the field of big data and surveillance, received death threats this week after he told a student he would be unable to write her a recommendation letter for a study abroad program in Israel because he supports the academic boycott for Palestinian rights.

“I wouldn’t cross a union picket line and I can’t cross this one,” said Cheney-Lippold. “I support the Palestinian boycott call because I am appalled at Israel’s continuing violation of Palestinian rights, and our government’s support for those violations. If a student had wanted to do a study abroad at an institution in Apartheid South Africa, I would have declined to write a letter for her as well.”

After an email exchange about deadlines with the student, Cheney-Lippold informed the student on September 5 that for political and ethical reasons he could not write her a recommendation for the program. “Let me know if you need me to write other letters for you, as I’d be happy,” Cheney-Lippold wrote.

A few days later, Club Z, a Zionist organization, posted the email on Facebook. Islamophobe ideologue Pamela Geller and right-wing groups including the Zionist Organization of America called for the professor to be dismissed. The story spread among conservative sites such as Fox News, Breitbart and the Daily Caller and was soon picked up by other sites such as CBS and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Soon after, Cheney-Lippold received over 500 emails, including messages calling for him to be killed.

“It’s not uncommon for professors to decline to write recommendations for ethical, political or academic reasons,” said Radhika Sainath, Senior Staff Attorney with Palestine Legal, who is advising Cheney-Lippold. “A professor is not obligated to write a recommendation letter for organizations complicit in unlawful or unethical activity – whether it’s the NRA, President Trump or Israel institutions complicit in violations of Palestinian rights.”

The Palestinian civil society call for a boycott to protest Israel’s ongoing violations of their human rights includes a call to boycott Israeli academic institutions. This includes study abroad programs in Israel, which it says  “are part of the Israeli propaganda effort, designed to give international students a ‘positive experience’ of Israel, whitewashing its occupation and denial of Palestinian rights.” The boycott guidelines also state that “international faculty should not accept to write recommendations for students hoping to pursue studies in Israel,” given these institutions’ complicity in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.

In 2017, two unconstitutional anti-boycott bills were signed into law by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. The laws apply to narrowly defined state procurement and construction contracts – not professors or an academic boycott.

September 22, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Who Conflates Zionism and Judaism?

Gilad Atzmon | September 16, 2018

Every Sabbath the good people of Ann Arbor protest against their local synagogue. They have been doing it for 15 years.

September 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | 1 Comment

Iran, Russia can cooperate to contain US: Ayatollah Khamenei

Press TV – September 7, 2018

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the developments in Syria and the US defeat in the Arab country show that Washington can be contained.

The Leader made the remarks in a Friday meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who traveled to Tehran to participate in a key trilateral summit on Syria, hosted by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and also attended by Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Cooperation between Iran and Russia on the Syrian issue is a prominent example and a very good experience of bilateral cooperation,” the Leader said.

Ayatollah Khamenei added that the two countries can expand cooperation on global issues, saying, “One of the cases that the two sides can cooperate with each other is to contain the US, because it is a danger to humanity and it is possible to contain it.”

The Leader stated that the Americans suffered a real defeat in Syria and failed to achieve their goals.

Ayatollah Khamenei also said sanctions imposed by the US on Iran, Russia and Turkey are a very strong common ground for strengthening cooperation, and urged Tehran and Moscow to develop political and economic relations and follow up on the agreements of the summit in Tehran.

The Leader stressed the importance of pursuing non-dollar transactions in trade.

Europeans did not fulfill JCPOA commitments: Ayatollah Khamenei

Elsewhere in his remarks, Ayatollah Khamenei said Iran has so far remained committed to a multilateral nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in 2015.

“But the Europeans did not carry out their duties, and it is not acceptable that we completely fulfill our commitments within the JCPOA while they don’t,” the Leader pointed out.

The Leader praised the Russian president’s approach to the nuclear deal, adding that the Islamic Republic would adopt a stance on the JCPOA which would meet its national interests.

Although the US now raises Iran’s missile program and regional developments, their problem with the Islamic Republic relates to issues beyond them, Ayatollah Khamenei said.

The Leader added that the US has been seeking to topple the Islamic Republic over the past 40 years, but Iran has managed to make substantial advancements during this period.

“The resistance of the Islamic Republic and its advances are another successful example that the US can be contained,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

The Leader also pointed to the deplorable situation of the Yemeni people and their killing at the hands of Saudi Arabia, adding, “The Saudis will definitely fail to achieve a result in Yemen and will not be able to bring the resilient Yemeni people to their knees.”

During the meeting, which was also attended by Iranian First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri, the Russian president said he held very fruitful and good negotiations with President Rouhani on mutual issues of interest, including the situation in Syria.

Iran and Russia discussed the expansion of relations in all fields, particularly in the economic and trade sectors, Putin added.

He said the US is putting obstacles, including banking restrictions, in the way of the development of Tehran-Moscow relations, and added that Washington is making a strategic mistake by limiting financial transactions.

The Russian president expressed regret that the remaining sides to the JCPOA failed to fulfill their commitments under the deal after the US withdrawal.

He said although the Europeans announce that they are seeking ways to keep the nuclear accord alive, they are following the US due to their dependence on Washington.

September 7, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 2 Comments