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US extends $4bn Israel loan program

Al Akhbar | October 25, 2012

The United States agreed on Wednesday to extend its $4 billion loan guarantee program to Israel until 2016, a gesture that shows continued commitment to the Jewish state less than two weeks before the American presidential elections.

The move allows the United States to provide up to $3.8 billion in future loan guarantees, as part of a $9 billion commitment made by the US in 2003.

The program was meant to expire this year.

The American Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner and Doron Cohen, the director general of the Israeli finance ministry, signed the agreement during a US-Israel Joint Economic Development Group meeting in Washington, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

“The loan guarantees agreement attests to the special economic relationship between Israel and US,” said Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s finance minister.

“I welcome the growing cooperation between the two countries, especially their treasuries,” Steinitz added while thanking Geithner.

The loan guarantees are independent of $10 billion in annual US military assistance to Israel and joint US-Israel missile defense projects. In 2007, US President George W. Bush agreed to a 10-year military aid package costing $30 billion.

According to a March 2012 report by the Congressional Research Service, Israel is “the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II.” The report alleges that Israel had received $115 billion from the United States to date, most of it in the form of military assistance.

The report also stated that US financial assistance to Israel is typically delivered within the first 30 days of the fiscal year, whereas most other recipients receive aid in installments.

Scandal surfaced in Washington earlier this month after 15 church leaders sent a letter to Congress asking for an investigation to ensure American military aid to Israel was not used to commit human rights violations against Palestinians.

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs responded by canceling a long-planned interfaith meeting and by issuing an outraged public statement, in which JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow accused the enquiry of being part of “relentless attacks on the Jewish state” and a sign of “vicious anti-Zionism that has gone virtually unchecked in several of these denominations.”

Presidential incumbent Obama and his contender Mitt Romney have competed in displays of loyalty to the Jewish state over the course of the election campaigns, mentioning Israel dozens of times during the last presidential debate on Monday, which centered on foreign policy. The debate was devoid of criticism of Israel’s repeated human rights abuses against Palestinians.

Obama has hailed Israel as “a true friend and our greatest ally in the region,” later adding that he “will stand with Israel if they are attacked.” Meanwhile, Romney has expressed similar sentiments, his website going so far as to call Israel “a beacon of democracy and freedom in the [Middle East].”

October 25, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Israel Lobby Threatens Church Groups With Congressional Investigation Over Call for Restricting U.S. Military Aid

By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | October 18, 2012

A coalition of U.S. church groups recently made public a letter which called upon the U.S. government to condition future military aid to Israel on its fulfillment of obligations under U.S. law.  The statement was intended to express criticism of Israel’s use of U.S. weapons like cluster bombs in violation of our law and noted that U.S. military assistance provided Israel a buffer against undertaking any actions to advance a just and lasting peace.  For example, its settlement policy, refusal to return to 1967 borders, and refusal to share Jerusalem, all directly contradict international law and stated U.S. policy.

Though these church groups have been critical of Israeli policy in the past, threatening to lobby for withholding military aid would really cut the Israel lobby to the quick,  as it’s a position held by a number of anti-Zionist groups that are much farther to the left.  The fact that mainline Christian denominations, who generally support liberal Zionist positions, would be moving in a more critical direction has to be deeply concerning to the lobby.

Though they refuse to consider or acknowledge it, such a development indicates a growing alienation of American churches from Israel and the draconian positions advanced by its government.  The churches are willing to lose their interfaith dialogue with the Jewish community over such an issue, which indicates how seriously they take their opposition to the Netanyahu regime.

First to lash out in anger was (typically) Abe Foxman followed by one of Israel’s leading hasbara outfits, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.  It appears to be taking the lead in “handling” the BDS efforts of a number of the Christian denominations.  As such, it’s a key player in Israel’s campaign against so-called “delegitimization.”  Those guys at JCPA play hardball.  Not content merely to criticize the churches, they lashed out at the “anti-Judaism” elements within their ranks.  They used terms like “vicious anti-Zionism,” “relentless attacks on the Jewish state,” and “delegitimizers of Israel” to up the ante and level of vitriol.  They also threatened to call out the Congressional dogs through mounting investigations of the groups themselves:

“JCPA is considering as a response asking Congress to investigate delegitimizers of Israel and to issue a resolution against their efforts.”

I’m not sure what this is supposed to gain the lobby.  Do they think that parishioners will be mortified to find their particular denomination is called out by name in a Congressional resolution?  Should these groups then call on their particular Congressional allies to respond tit for tat?

October 18, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , | 4 Comments

Avaaz: Empire Propaganda Mill Masquerading as Grassroots Activism

By Martin Iqbal | Empire Strikes Black | June 9, 2012

‘Activism’ and ‘human rights’ foundation Avaaz blames the Houla massacre on Assad and calls for foreign intervention. A peek into the background of Avaaz explains its pro-empire position, and who is really behind it.

The ultra-shadowy Avaaz Foundation is purportedly a non-governmental organisation that seeks to(1) “close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.”

A mere three days after the Houla Massacre in Syria, while all parties were clamoring to figure out what had happened and who was responsible, Avaaz took the opportunity to speculatively blame the Assad regime as part of an online petition campaign. What is even more disconcerting is that this ‘human rights’ organization also made a thinly-veiled call for foreign intervention – something which would undoubtedly result in astronomical human suffering.

Using emotive and crafty language,(2) Alice Jay (Avaaz’s Campaign Director) blames Assad for the Houla massacre indirectly, by alluding to the decision of several Western governments to expel Syrian diplomats:

Dozens of children lie covered with blood, their faces show the fear they felt before death, and their innocent lifeless bodies reveal an unspeakable massacre. These children were slaughtered by men under strict orders to sow terror. Yet all the diplomats have come up with so far is a few UN monitors ‘observing’ the violence. Now, governments across the world are expelling Syrian ambassadors, but unless we demand strong action on the ground, they will settle for these diplomatic half-measures.

This is immediately followed by a thinly-veiled call for an invasion of Syria by foreign powers:

The UN is discussing what to do right now. If there were a large international presence across Syria with a mandate to protect civilians, we could prevent the massacres while leaders engage in political efforts to resolve the conflict. I cannot see more images like these without shouting from the rooftops. But to stop the violence, it is going to take all of us, with one voice, demanding protection for these kids and their families. Sign the urgent petition on the right to call for UN action now and share this campaign with everyone.

The background of Avaaz sheds light on its unequivocal pro-war and anti-Syrian position.

Avaaz – Shadowy Beyond Belief

Avaaz’s latest 990 form,(3) from 2010, raises a number of questions. Avaaz has only 16 employees, and is listed as a ‘corporation’ for the purposes of the 990 submission. Oddly, for an organization that receives no governmental or corporate funding,(1) Avaaz received over $6.7 million in 2010, and paid its President over $180,000 as a salary (still feel good about donating?). On top of this, in 2010 Avaaz gave Res Publica (more on them later) a $100,000 grant. Avaaz is doing extremely well considering this and the fact that it was established relatively recently, in 2006. Where is all of this money coming from?

Avaaz is “incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)4 organization in the state of Delaware, USA“.(4) The foundation’s office is based in Manhattan, at 857 Broadway – the same address as Res Publica(5) – an entity which co-founded Avaaz along with Ricken Patel.

The background of Res Publica offers a glimpse into the nature of Avaaz. 24 Hours for Darfur and Darfurian Voices (using the same etymology of “Avaaz”, which means “voice” in Farsi and several middle eastern dialects) are two projects of Res Publica. These projects(5) are aimed at drawing international attention to Darfur – with a view to demonizing and vilifying the Arab government of Sudan:

This is part and parcel of a long-standing Israeli policy to split Sudan along ethnic, racial, and religious lines.

The Israelis have been dug into Sudan like ticks ever since the 1950′s,(6) fomenting conflict and orchestrating the secession of South Sudan – effecting the policy of separation of all sovereign (especially Arab) states along ethnic lines.

The funders and partners of Darfurian Voices, 24 Hours for Darfur, and Res Publica are incredibly revealing, and constitute a who’s who of Zionist, globalist, pro-empire organisations and bodies, even including the US State Department.(5)

One such partner, Genocide Intervention, boasts amongst its Board Rabbi Steve Gutow, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs who insists that the government should “support Israel”.(7) Gutow was also the founding regional director of AIPAC’s Southwest Region, and was the founding executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council.

Another Board member is Ruth Messinger – president of American Jewish World Service, and member of Barack Obama’s Task Force on Global Poverty and Development.

Sitting alongside Gutow and Messinger is Joan Platt, who also serves on the board of Human Rights Watch – a prolific propaganda mill that has underpinned the NATO narrative of the wars on Libya and Syria. Human Rights Watch was also funded by Zionist heavyweight George Soros who contributed $100 million in 2010.(8)

Needless to say, George Soros’ Open Society Institute is also listed as one of Res Publica’s partners.

The Zionist ‘democracy promotion’ outfit known as the National Endowment for Democracy – which has been linked to the fraudulent atrocity reports disseminated against Muammar Gaddafi(9) – is also listed as a partner, as is the US State Department. No further comment should be necessary.

Ricken Patel, co-founder of Avaaz, has consulted for the International Crisis Group(10) – another pro-war ‘think tank’. The ICG boasts Israeli war criminal Shimon Peres and former Saudi ambassador to the US as senior advisers,(11) and George Soros as an Executive.(12) The ICG is peppered with such names at the highest levels such as: Shlomo Ben-Ami – Former Foreign Minister of Israel, Zbigniew Brzezinski – Former U.S. National Security Advisor, Stanley Fischer – Governor of The Bank of Israel, Matthew McHugh – Former U.S. Congressman and Counselor to the World Bank President, Lord Robertson of Port Ellen – Former Secretary General of NATO, Morton Abramowitz – Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador to Turkey, and Wesley Clark – Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander (Europe).

The Chair of the ICG, Thomas R Pickering, is Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Russia, India, Israel, Jordan, El Salvador and Nigeria, and Vice Chairman of Hills & Company.

The President & CEO of the ICG is Louise Arbour – Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

What do these people have to do with the prevention of crises? The answer is nothing, absolutely nothing. The ICG is a body that exists to further the aims of its benefactors, which notably include NATO, the United States Government, and Israel.

Res Publica’s ‘About Us’ page also reveals(10) that Patel has consulted for the Rockefeller Foundation and the UN.

Akin to the ICG, Res Publica’s advisory board(13) features financiers, economists, and a former Clinton Chief of Staff.

The fraudulent ‘humanitarian intervention’ concept is built upon atrocious lies and emotive propaganda peddled by these networks of closely interconnected ‘human rights’, ‘democracy promotion’, and ‘crisis prevention’ groups. Before having an emotional knee-jerk reaction to these issues, we must inspect the people behind these voices. Avaaz’s recent petition feverishly entitled “Protect Syria’s Children Now!” currently has over 780,000 signatures. Orwellian ‘human rights’ outfits such as Avaaz have become adept at manipulating well-meaning activists and liberals into supporting the very agenda they purport to oppose – placing them firmly in the same camp as the most virulent Zionists, Neoconservatives, and war hawks one can imagine. This makes the illusory nature of the left-right dichotomy clearer than ever before, but even more worryingly it expedites the march of the NATO-GCC-Israeli war machine that now has Syria in its crosshairs.

Notes

(1) Avaaz.org – ‘About Us’

(2) Avaaz Petition: ‘Protect Syria’s Children Now!’

(3) Avaaz Foundation – Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, 2010

(4) Avaaz.org – ‘Avaaz Expenses and Financial Information’

(5) DarfurianVoices.org – ‘About Us’

(6) ‘Israelis can tell the whole story of Sudan’s division – they wrote the script and trained the actors’ by Fahmi Howeidi

(7) Genocideintervention.net – ‘Board’

(8) HRW.org – ‘George Soros to Give $100 million to Human Rights Watch’

(9) ‘Lies, Damned Lies, and Wikipedia’ by Martin Iqbal

(10) Therespublica.org – ‘About Us’

(11) Crisisgroup.org – ‘Crisis Group Senior Advisers’

(12) Crisisgroup.org – ‘Crisis Group’s Board of Trustees’

(13) Therespublica.org – ‘Advisory Board’

June 9, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 18 Comments