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What does Israel have against Palestinian singer, Mohammed Assaf?

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | October 27, 2020

Why does Israel hate Palestinian singer, Mohammed Assaf?

On October 16, Avi Dichter, Israeli Member of Parliament from the right-wing Likud Party, announced that Assaf’s special permit to enter the occupied Palestinian West Bank would be revoked.

Assaf, originally from Gaza, now lives with his family in the United Arab Emirates. He achieved stardom in 2013, when he won the ‘Arab Idol’ singing contest. His winning song, “Raise your Keffiyeh”, represented a rare moment of unity among all Palestinian communities everywhere. As the audience, the judges and millions of Arabs danced along when Mohammed took center stage in Beirut, Palestinian culture, once again, proved its significance as a political tool that cannot be disregarded.

Since then, Mohammed has sung about everything Palestinian: from the Nakba – the catastrophic loss of the Palestinian homeland – to the Intifada, to the pain of Gaza to every Palestinian cultural symbol there is.

Assaf was born and raised in the Gaza Strip. Here, he experienced Israel’s military occupation first-hand, several deadly Israeli wars, and, of course, the ongoing siege. Both his parents are refugees, his mother from Beit Daras and his father from Beir Saba’. The young man’s ability to overcome his family’s painful legacy, yet remaining committed to the cultural values of his society, is worthy of much reflection and praise.

Dichter’s announcement that Assaf would be barred from returning to his homeland is not as outrageous as it may appear.  Israel’s war on Palestinian culture is as old as Israel itself.

Throughout the last seven decades, Israel has proven its ability to defeat Palestinians and whole Arab armies, as well. Moreover, Israel, with the help of its Western benefactors, succeeded in dividing Palestinians into rival groups, while breaking down whatever semblance of Arab unity on Palestine.

Even geographically, Palestinians were divided and isolated into numerous little corners in the hope that each collective would eventually develop a different set of aspirations based on entirely different political priorities. As a result, Palestinians were holed in besieged Gaza, in segregated zones in the West Bank, in East Jerusalem, in economically marginalized communities within Israel, and in the ‘shataat’ – diaspora.

Even diasporic Palestinians, some made refugees multiple times, subsisted in political environments, over which they exercise very little control. The Palestinians of Iraq, for example, found themselves on the run at the onset of the American invasion of that country in 2003; the same happened in Lebanon prior; in Syria later on, etc.

Israel’s incessant attempts at destroying Palestine, in all of its representations, moved from the material sphere to the virtual one, pushing to censor Palestinian voices on social media, removing the reference to Palestine from Google Maps and even from airline menus.

None of this was random, of course, as Israeli leaders understood that destroying the tangible, actual Palestine had to be accompanied by the destruction of the Palestinian idea – the set of cultural and political values that give Palestine its cohesiveness and continuity in the mind of all Palestinians, wherever they are.

Since culture is predicated on myriad forms of expression, Israel has dedicated much energy and resources to eliminate Palestinian cultural expressions that allow Palestine to exist despite the political division, Arab disunity and geographic fragmentation.

There are numerous examples that amply demonstrate Israel’s official obsession with defeating Palestinian culture. As if the physical erasure of Palestine in 1948 was not enough, Israeli officials are constantly devising new ways to erase whatever symbols of Palestinian and Arab culture that remain in place.

In 2009, for example, Israel’s right-wing government began the process of changing the names of thousands of road signs from Arabic to Hebrew. In 2018, the openly racist Nation-State Law degraded the status of the Arabic language altogether.

But these examples are hardly the start of the Israeli war aimed at defacing Palestinian culture. Israel’s founders were aware of the danger that Palestinian culture posed in terms of its ability to unify the Palestinian people, soon after the ethnic cleansing of nearly two thirds of the Palestinian population from their historic homeland.

In an official letter sent to Israel’s first Interior Minister, Yitzhak Gruenbaum, the latter was tasked with swapping the names of newly depopulated Palestinian villages and regions with Hebrew alternatives.

“The conventional names should be replaced by new ones … since, in an anticipation of renewing our days as of old and living the life of a healthy people that is rooted in the soil of our country, we must begin in the fundamental Hebraicization of our country’s map,” the letter said in part.

Soon after, a government commission was assembled and entrusted with the task of renaming everything Palestinian Arab.

Another letter written in August 1957 by an Israeli foreign ministry official urged the Israeli Department of Antiquities to speed up the destruction of Palestinian homes conquered during the Nakba. “The ruins from the Arab villages and Arab neighborhoods, or the blocks of buildings that have stood empty since 1948, arouse harsh associations that cause considerable political damage,” he wrote. “They should be cleared away.”

For Israel, erasing Palestine and writing the Palestinian people out of the history of their own homeland has always been a strategic endeavor.

Fast forward to today, the official Israeli machine remains dedicated to the same colonial mission of old. The agreement signed in 2016 between the Israeli government and the social media platform, Facebook, to end Palestinian ‘incitement’ online is part of that same mission: silencing the voice of the Palestinian people at any cost.

Palestinian culture has served the Palestinian people’s struggle so well. Despite Israeli occupation and apartheid, it has given Palestinians a sense of continuity and cohesion, attaching all of them to one collective sense of identity, always revolving around Palestine.

Israel’s announcement to bar a Palestinian singer from returning, thus performing to other Palestinians under occupation is, from an Israeli viewpoint, not outrageous at all. It is another attempt at disrupting the natural flow of Palestinian culture, which, despite the loss of Palestine itself, is as strong and as real as it has always been.

October 27, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Britain’s Labour Party reprimands MP for occupation ‘crime’ comment

MEMO | October 26, 2020

Labour Party MP Stephen Kinnock has reportedly been given a “dressing down” after saying that profiting from illegal settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is “tantamount to profiting from the proceeds of crime.”

Party leader Keir Starmer was said to be furious at Kinnock’s impassioned speech calling for international law to be upheld. Complaints were made by various pro-Israel groups, including the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who raised concerns with Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy and demanded “clarification”.

Kinnock made his speech in the House of Commons on 24 September, raising concerns about the increasing number and size of Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land. All of Israel’s settlements, official and “outposts”, are illegal under international law.

“The Government must ban all products that originate from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories,” insisted Kinnock, the son of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock. “Profiting from such products is tantamount to profiting from the proceeds of crime, and it must stop. When we trade with these settlements, we are essentially telling the world that international law does not matter, and such trade legitimises and facilitates the existence and expansion of the settlements.”

He went on to criticise the “deal of the century”: “President [Donald] Trump and Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu have come forward with their so-called deal of the century. This is not a deal. It is not a plan. It is not even a starting point for talks. It is a proposal that is fundamentally flawed because it has no basis in law. It is a land and power grab that would mean Israel seizing around 40 per cent of the West Bank, with full military and security control over the Palestinian people and their resources.”

Starmer previously sacked left-leaning socialist MP Rebecca Long-Bailey for sharing an interview on social media with actress Maxine Peake in which she spoke about the Israeli Army’s role in training American police forces. Peake’s comments in the wake of the George Floyd murder were deemed to be “anti-Semitic” by the Labour hierarchy, despite it being a fact that Israel has trained hundreds of US police officers on restraint and other techniques.

October 27, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 1 Comment

Palestinian Teenager Dies after Being Beaten by Israeli Soldiers

Amer Abdul-Rahim Snobar, 18, was beaten to death by Israeli soldiers. (Photo: via Social Media)
Palestine Chronicle | October 25, 2020

A Palestinian teenager was killed early Sunday after he was severely beaten by Israeli occupation soldiers near the village of Turmus-Ayya, near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian security and medical sources.

Israeli occupation forces reportedly chased Amer Abdul-Rahim Snobar, 18, while he was driving near Turmus-Ayya, caught him, and beat him until he died.

Snobar comes from the village of Yatma, near the city of Nablus in the West Bank.

An Israeli military statement said a Palestinian fell while escaping and hit his head while being chased by army forces.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates demanded today the formation of an international commission of inquiry to investigate the incident.

“This crime reflects the extent of brutality and fascism that controls the political, security and military mentality of the ruling establishment in the occupying state, which allows the killing of Palestinians and the takeover of their land and property, in blatant disregard of all international laws, treaties and agreements, including the basic principles of human rights,” said the ministry in a statement.

The Foreign Ministry called on the International Criminal Court to practice its legal and moral responsibilities towards the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation authorities against the Palestinian people, and “to expedite the opening of an official investigation into those crimes, leading to the prosecution of the Israeli war criminals and those behind them.”

October 25, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 11 Comments

Anti-normalization Protests Erupt in Bahrain despite Security Restrictions

MEMO | October 24, 2020

Anti-normalisation protests erupted in the streets of the Bahraini capital of Manama after Friday prayer yesterday.

Protesters held up banners denouncing normalisation, with the unified slogan “Anti-normalisation Friday”, along with a photo of a masked Palestinian militant.

Bahrain’s normalisation agreement with Israel was met with widespread anger, despite tight security restrictions, as well as the summoning of the demonstration organisers and participants, forcing them to sign an order to stay off the streets and not to engage in disruptive activities.

The protesters expressed their rejection of normalisation by carrying banners with the slogans: “Normalisation is treason”, “We reject submission, humiliation and surrender to the instructions of the US and Britain” and “Israel is a cancer that must be eradicated, and we will”. Other slogans stated: “We will never surrender” and “Normalisation is shameful, it is a betrayal”.

After Bahrain announced normalising relations with Israel, the hashtag “Bahrainis against normalisation” was widely circulated by Bahraini activists on Twitter.

The Emirati and Bahraini normalisation agreements with Israel were categorically rejected by the Palestinian authorities and factions, who considered the decision as a betrayal of Al-Aqsa mosque, Jerusalem and the Palestinian cause.

October 24, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , | Leave a comment

US federal court grants pro-Palestinian American group legal victory in terrorism case

MEMO | October 21, 2020

Pro-Palestinian groups in America have won a famous victory after a three-year legal battle against a lawsuit holding them responsible for an act of terrorism carried out in 1996. A federal court ruled that American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and Americans for Justice in Palestine (AJP) are not liable for the $156 million in damages sought by Stanley and Joyce Boim.

The husband and wife, whose teenage son David Boim was fatally shot in 1996 at a bus stop near Jerusalem, was awarded $156 million in damages in a 2004 legal case under the Anti-Terrorism Act. The Boims attempted to collect the sum from the defendants to the original lawsuit, however these entities had become defunct.

In 2017 the Boims went after AMP and AJP claiming that they were “alter egos” of the defunct groups that a jury found liable in 2004 for the death of their 17-year-old son David. The two entities did not exist at the time. AMP was formed in 2009 as a national education and grassroots-based organisation, dedicated to educating the American public about Palestine and its rich cultural, historical and religious heritage. AJP is the legal business name for AMP.

AMP Chairman Dr Hatem Bazian dismissed the 2017 lawsuit as “frivolous” saying that it was an attempt to use “the Islamophobic environment we are in to try to tarnish and defame an organisation that is in good standing, and has been working diligently to provide a perspective on the Palestine cause to the American public.”

In their complaint filed in a Chicago federal court, the Boims said they had collected only a “small fraction” of the judgment, and the defendants should be held civilly liable for the rest under the federal Anti-Terrorism Act. They also continue to insist that “it never was their intention to get rich” from the lawsuit.

The federal court dismissed the suggestion that AMP was in any shape or form liable. The eight-page judgement seen by MEMO says that the Boims “do not present evidence that AMP and AJP and the defunct Boim defendants had substantial continuity in operations, ownership, leadership, the same business purpose or that there was a transfer of assets – nor do they set forth evidence of unlawful motive”.

The judge accused the Boims of offering “speculative allegations” centred mainly around Bazian, who they claimed “fully subscribed” to Hamas. Dismissing their allegations, the court refuses to infer that because Bazian had supported Palestinian issues he was somehow connected to Hamas, as the plaintiffs suggest.

Lawyers from the Constitutional Law Centre for Muslims in America (CLCMA), which defended AMP, spoke of the significance of the victory. “We are thrilled for our clients after this long and hard-fought battle,” commented Christina A. Jump, Civil Litigation Department Head for CLCMA.

“Without CLCMA’s ability to work for non-profits like AMP free of charge, due to the generosity of our operating grant funded by many small donations from across the country, a blameless non-profit would have been forced out of existence solely because of the nationality of its members and the culture which it works to preserve. The right legal decision came through today, after many years, many depositions, and a lot of fishing expeditions in discovery – which all led nowhere. Today we celebrate on behalf of our clients, and look forward to being able to do so even more often in the future.”

October 22, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Islamophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

UAE, Bahrain, Israel ‘Abraham Accords’ should be renamed ‘Benjamin Accords’

By Robert Inlakesh – Press TV – October 22, 2020

The first UAE delegation, since the signing of its infamous normalization deal, traveled to Ben-Gurion airport yesterday, in order to secure trade deals with Israel. Amongst deals regarding travel between the two sides and a pipeline deal, Israel, the US and the UAE also agreed to set up a 3 billion dollar investment fund, headquartered in Jerusalem (al-Quds).

Dubbed by media pundits throughout the Western media as a “peace deal”, the so-called “Abraham Accords” have proven to bear the fruits of economic prosperity, instead of sowing the seeds for peace. It is obvious at this point that the official reasons, according to the United Arab Emirates, the US and Israel, for having signed the deal were a farce, it was not about peace but rather about the Benjamins (slang for currency).

Upon the announcement from the UAE that it was to normalize ties with Israel, the narrative was spun from their side that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, would halt going forward on his campaign promise to annex the West Bank, in return for “peace” with the UAE.

However, Netanyahu instantly positioned himself in front of all available cameras and stated that to the contrary Israel will continue with its annexation. Despite this, it seems that Netanyahu was never truly interested in a de jure annexation of the West Bank and had failed to deliver by the promised date he had set forth to begin accomplishing the task.

Benjamin Netanyahu had won an election, campaigning on the promise of annexation, but had failed and was hesitant to enforce the policy, likely due to a fear of European backlash. Netanyahu needed a distraction, so instead of annexation, he delivered a so-called “historic” peace deal with the UAE and Bahrain, nailing in the hundredth nail into the cothin [coffin] of the “two-state solution”.

Although annexation seems to have been put on the back burner, Israel has since the signing approved for over four thousand new settler units to be constructed, in violation of international law, in the occupied West Bank. This is how Israel truly annexes land in the West Bank, through physical expansion onto that land, which is much more cement than a declaration or signing something on paper. So ultimately, annexation has only escalated, on the ground, since the “peace deal” was signed.

Also, on top of this, Israel, the UAE and the US have agreed to set up a three billion dollar trust fund, which will reportedly allow for the creation of further investment, based in Jerusalem (al-Quds).

In a bid to inject investment into the UAE regime owned airline ‘Emirates’, Israeli citizens will be allowed to travel to the UAE without any visa.

But perhaps the most significant of all in this new series of business deals is the announcement that Emirati Crude is set to be sent from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, this being transported via a pipeline seized by Israel from Iran.

The pipeline was originally built for joint Israeli-Iranian trade, however this no longer became an option after Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979.

A Swiss court ruled in 2016 that Israel was liable for its seizure of this pipeline and was required to pay Iran at least 1 billion dollars in compensation, which Israel continues to refuse to pay.

If oil is transported between the UAE and Israel, it is likely to further inflame tensions between the UAE and Iran. One of the aims of the so-called ‘Abraham Accords’ having been to combat Iran’s influence in the Middle-East.

With major trade deals being secured, via illegally seized pipelines, a joint mission having been set up to exacerbate tensions which could lead to all-out war in the region and with Israel’s ongoing bombardment of Gaza, expansion of settlements and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, it is clear the deal is not about peace.

The UAE has not been forced to end its involvement in the genocidal war waged against the people of Yemen, with Israel now being able to openly cooperate with them on that front.

The “peace deal” is nothing more than corrupt dictators, coming together with opportunistic Western politicians, in a bid to secure greedy business deals and a policy of joint aggression against their enemies in the region, all whilst saving face to their blind and clueless populations who clap along as they fail to recognize that the “peace deal” is in fact a distraction from how they have been lied to.

Robert Inlakesh is a journalist, writer and political analyst, who has lived in and reported from the occupied Palestinian West Bank. He has written for publications such as Mint Press, Mondoweiss, MEMO, and various other outlets. He specializes in analysis of the Middle East, in particular Palestine-Israel. He also works for Press TV as a European correspondent.

October 22, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

Yes, there is a World Zionist Congress – and it’s meeting now

By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | October 21, 2020

I’m sometimes astounded at the fact that a major political movement over a century old is so little known among Americans – especially since it has had a momentous impact on the world in general and on the U.S. in particular, causing multiple wars, vast population displacement, and global instability.

In my travels around the US, I’ve found that most Americans know extremely little about Zionism. I would guess that the vast majority of Americans could not define the term (that was certainly my situation for most of my life), and that a great many may not have even heard of it.

And among those who have heard the term, many may think it refers to some antisemitic conspiracy theory.

The fact is, however, that Zionism – according to the dictionary, “a worldwide Jewish movement that resulted in the establishment and development of the state of Israel and that now supports the state of Israel as a Jewish homeland” – is both very real and extremely significant.

Zionism succeeded in establishing the state of Israel in 1948 after decades of sometimes open and sometimes covert efforts. It promoted a successful, though extremely false, slogan – “a land without a people for a people without a land” – and succeeded in perpetrating one of the major hoaxes of the 20th century, in which victims (indigenous Palestinians) were designated aggressors, and aggressors (Zionist colonists) were portrayed as victims (as documented by diverse authors, and perpetrated through the silencing of others).

And today this movement contains numerous powerful international entities (see the list below), while remaining largely invisible to millions of citizens of the country that gives Israel massive amounts of money, shields Israel internationally, and has fought at least one war  (against Iraq) on Israel’s behalf.

The dictionary definition captures only the simplest meaning of the word, but not its deep impact: how Israel was established and what supporting Israel today enables.

As numerous historians have documented, Israel was established through a war of ethnic cleansing, in the words of a major Israeli historian, in which approximately 750,000 men, women, and children were violently expelled. Hundreds of villages were destroyed and much of the indigenous population was displaced, their ancestral homes and land confiscated and the former owners made into penniless refugees.

1948 photo of Palestinian refugees

Palestinians forced out in 1948 during Israel’s founding war.

Today, in its pursuit of the Jewish identity mentioned in the definition, Israel continues to confiscate Palestinian land, actively discriminates against the remnants of the non-Jewish population that remain in the area, and holds the four and a half million people in the remaining portion of their land (the West Bank and Gaza), in two virtual prisons, their ability to leave and to return to their homes controlled by Israel.

Palestinian villages are invaded daily, people terrorized and abducted, homes and crops are regularly destroyed; for over a year there was a weekly mass demonstration during which Israeli forces shot unarmed demonstrators every week. (To see these actions go here.)

Zionist movement in the US – a century of activism

As I describe in my book, the Zionist movement in the U.S. began in the late 1800s and played a significant role in the events that led to the establishment of Israel.

Today the pro-Israel lobby is probably the most powerful and pervasive special interest group in the U.S. Its members have diverse views and sometimes sharply disagree with one another on aspects of the issue, but all share one goal: support for Israel.

Israel partisans have become extremely influential in both political parties and have obtained numerous US policies of support for Israel. Most recently, they are promoting bills to expend $19 million per day on behalf of Israel; altogether, 90 bills for Israel have been introduced in the current Congress alone. In addition, there is also considerable evidence that Israel partisans were central in pushing the US into invading Iraq, and that many are similarly active in demonizing Iran. (See this, this, this, and this.)

Conspiracy theory?

Since little of the above is known by the general American public (U.S. media rarely report any of this), some Americans are under the impression that even suggesting there is a “world Zionist movement” is an antisemitic conspiracy theory. (In fact, even discussing the Israel lobby in the U.S. can be dangerous to reputations and careers. For example, respected professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt were attacked as “antisemitic” for their scholarly work in detailing the power of the Israel lobby.)

The fact is, however, that the World Zionist Organization has been in existence since the late 1800s, and this is just one of a number of international organizations that work on behalf of Israel.

The First Zionist Congress, held in Basel, Switzerland in 1897

The First Zionist Congress, held in Basel, Switzerland in 1897.

Moreover, all of these are very public – if one knows where to look. Currently, the World Zionist Organization is holding its 38th Congress in an online format from Israel.

World Zionist Organization

While US mainstream media have largely failed to even mention this organization and event, it has been big news in the Israeli and Jewish-American press, with numerous stories leading up to the event. … continue

October 21, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , | 3 Comments

European hypocrisy: empty words for Palestine, deadly weapons for Israel

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | October 20, 2020

In theory, Europe and the United States stand on completely opposite sides when it comes to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. While the US government has fully embraced the tragic status quo created by 53 years of Israeli military occupation, the EU continues to advocate a negotiated settlement that is predicated on respect for international law.

In practice, however, despite the seeming rift between Washington and Brussels, the outcome is, essentially, the same. The US and Europe are Israel’s largest trade partners, weapon suppliers and political advocates.

One of the reasons that the illusion of an even-handed Europe has been maintained for so long lies partly in the Palestinian leadership itself. Politically and financially abandoned by Washington, the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas has turned to the European Union as its only possible saviour.

“Europe believes in the two-state solution,” PA Prime Minister, Mohammad Ishtayeh, said during a video discussion with the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs on October 12. Unlike the US, Europe’s continued advocacy of the defunct two-state solution qualifies it to fill the massive gap created by Washington’s absence.

Ishtayeh called on EU leaders to “recognize the State of Palestine in order for us, and you, to break the status quo.”

However, there are already 139 countries that recognise the State of Palestine. While that recognition is a clear indication that the world remains firmly pro-Palestinian, recognizing Palestine as a State changes little on the ground. What is needed are concerted efforts to hold Israel accountable for its violent occupation as well as real action to support the struggle of Palestinians.

Not only has the EU failed at this, it is, in fact, doing the exact opposite: funding Israel, arming its military and silencing its critics.

Listening to Ishtayeh’s words, one gets the impression that the top Palestinian official is addressing a conference of Arab, Muslim or socialist countries. “I call upon your Parliament and your distinguished Members of this Parliament, that Europe not wait for the American President to come up with ideas … We need a third party who can really remedy the imbalance in the relationship between an occupied people and an occupier country, that is Israel,” he said.

But is the EU qualified to be that ‘third party’? No. For decades, European governments have been an integral part of the US-Israel party. Just because the Donald Trump administration has, recently, taken a sharp turn in favour of Israel should not automatically transform Europe’s historical pro-Israel bias to be mistaken for pro-Palestinian solidarity.

Last June, more than 1,000 European parliamentarians representing various political parties issued a statement expressing “serious concerns” about Trump’s so-called Deal of the Century and opposing Israeli annexation of nearly a third of the West Bank. However, the pro-Israel US Democratic Party, including some traditionally staunch supporters of Israel, were equally critical of Israel’s plan because, in their minds, annexation means that a two-state solution would be made impossible.

While US Democrats made it clear that a Joe Biden administration would not reverse any of Trump’s actions should Biden be elected, European governments have also made it clear that they will not take a single action to dissuade – let alone punish – Israel for its repeated violations of international law.

Lip service is all that Palestinians have obtained from Europe, as well as much money, which was largely pocketed by loyalists of Abbas in the name of ‘State-building’ and other fantasies. Tellingly, much of the imaginary Palestinian State infrastructure that was subsidised by Europe in recent years has been blown up, demolished or construction ceased by the Israeli military during its various wars and raids. Yet, neither did the EU punish Israel, nor did the PA cease from asking for more money to continue funding a non-existent State.

Not only did the EU fail to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing occupation and human rights violations, it is practically financing Israel, as well. According to Defence News, a quarter of all of Israel’s military export contracts (totalling $7.2 billion in 2019 alone) is allocated to European countries.

Moreover, Europe is Israel’s largest trading partner, absorbing one-third of Israel’s total exports and shipping to Israel nearly 40% of its total import. These numbers also include products made in illegal Jewish settlements.

Additionally, the EU labours to incorporate Israel into the European way of life through cultural and music contests, sports competitions and in myriad other ways. While the EU possesses powerful tools that can be used to exact political concessions and enforce respect for international law, it opts to simply do very little.

Compare this with the recent ultimatum the EU has given the Palestinian leadership, linking EU aid to the PA’s financial ties with Israel. Last May, Abbas took the extraordinary step of considering all agreements with Israel and the US to be null and void. Effectively, this means that the PA would no longer be accountable for the stifling status quo that was created by the Oslo Accords, which was repeatedly violated by Tel Aviv and Washington. Severing ties with Israel also meant that the PA would refuse to accept nearly $150 million in tax revenues that Israel collects on behalf of the PA. This Palestinian step, while long overdue, was necessary.

Instead of supporting Abbas’ move, the EU criticized it, refusing to provide additional aid for Palestinians until Abbas restores ties with Israel and accepts the tax money. According to Axios news portal, Germany, France, the UK and even Norway are leading the charge.

Germany, in particular, has been relentless in its support for Israel. For months, it has advocated on behalf of Israel to spare Tel Aviv a war crimes investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC). It has placed activists, who advocate the boycott of Israel, on trial. Recently, it has confirmed the shipment of missile boats and other military hardware to ensure the superiority of the Israeli navy in a potential war against Arab enemies. Germany is not alone. Israel and most European countries are closing ranks in terms of their unprecedented military cooperation and trade ties, including natural gas deals.

Continuing to make references to the unachievable two-state solution, while arming, funding and doing more business with Israel is the very definition of hypocrisy. The truth is that Europe should be held as accountable as the US in emboldening and sustaining the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Yet, while Washington is openly pro-Israel, the EU has played a more clever game: selling Palestinians empty words while selling Israel lethal weapons.

Read also:

Zionist War on Palestinian Festival in Rome is Ominous Sign of Things to Come 

October 20, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Israeli Arms Trade, The Lobby and the Meaning of Chosenness

By Gilad Atzmon | October 20, 2020

“America is willing to sacrifice its young soldiers and national interests and even its economy for Israel,” Gilad Atzmon, who was born in a Jewish family in Israel and grew up in Jerusalem al-Quds, tells the Tehran Times. *

Atzmon, who now lives in Britain, also says, “Israeli pressure groups seem to believe that they are actually more powerful and certainly more important than the American constitution.”
The following is the text of the interview:

Tehran Times: Numerous rights bodies have slammed Western countries’ arms trade with Israel. What is your comment?

Gilad Atzmon: For decades, Israel has been selling killing machines to the most oppressive regimes around the world and this shouldn’t be surprising, as Israel itself is at the forefront of the list of oppressive regimes.

 Embarrassed by the Israeli government’s current arming of Azerbaijan in its war with Armenia, Holocaust scholar Israel W. Charny penned an article for The Times of Israel titled:  Would Israel sell a used drone to a Hitler? Charny admits in his piece that Israel’s conduct is fundamentally unethical. He ends his commentary writing, “to my Armenian colleagues and friends, I can only say that as a Jew and as an Israeli, I am mortified – and angry.”

 I would think that if Israel’s leading genocide historian allows himself to admit in an Israeli nationalist outlet that the Jewish State is profiting from non-ethical arms trade, the rest of us should be entitled to engage with this topic freely and to use every possible platform to denounce Israel or anyone else from profiting from non- ethical practices.

 The issues go well beyond Israel’s arms trade. A few days ago we learned from the Jewish Press about a Bipartisan bill in America that would give Israel a say on Middle East arms sales. The bill “would require the President to consult with the Israeli government to ensure concerns are settled.” If the bill passes, the USA military industrial complex trade would be dependent on Israeli consent.

Tehran Times: How great is the influence of the Zionist and Jewish lobbies in the United States and how can this status quo change?

GA: The facts regarding the immense influence of Israel and the Jewish Lobby in the USA and other Western countries have been established for a while. One can refer to The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, a detailed study by two of the most influential American social scientists  (Prof. John Mersheimer & Prof. Stephen Walt). Another leading American political scientist admired by a generation of academics who also covered the topic is, of course, Prof James Petras in his book The Power of Israel in the United States.

What can be done about the well documented domination of AIPAC? I would like to believe that the most effective method to approach this topic would be to point squarely at The Lobby and its corrosive impact: this entails pointing the finger at the wars the USA fights on behalf of Israel, the sanctions that the USA mounts for Israel, the fact that America is willing to sacrifice its young soldiers and national interests and even its economy for Israel. Theoretically speaking, American citizens are entitled to voice such criticisms as freedom of speech is enshrined in the first amendment of their constitution. Israeli pressure groups seem to believe that they are actually more powerful and certainly more important than the American constitution. A few months ago we learned that Right wing activists attempted to spread new laws across Republican controlled states that would suppress criticism on public university campuses of Israel and its occupation of Palestinian territory.

By now, the USA is practically functioning as a remote and subservient Israeli satellite. I am unable to identify  any genuine political force in the USA that can change this anytime soon. I do not see anyone within American politics who is willing to tackle the matter. But the American people, like the Brits and the French are no fools, they see it all.

Tehran Times: Though Israel is violating and defying international law on a daily basis, its Western supporters and allies continue to support these actions or at least turn a blind eye to what is taking place. How do you assess this double standard?

GA: In general, it’s a good practice not to overestimate people’s intelligence. But Israel and its Lobby make the opposite mistake; they tend to believe that people are far stupider than they are.

People do see what is going on and the general discomfort with Israel and its lobby is growing rapidly. People do notice Israeli criminality, they also notice their politicians on all levels operating as foreign agents for a criminal state. Israel and The Lobby interpret this rise of awareness as ‘growing anti-Semitism,’ but this is hyperbole. A general mass awareness has surfaced. The Israelis and The Lobby know that once you see the full picture, you can’t just un-see it. In that respect, Israel is facing a wall of silent resistance and the consequences of this reality are unpredictable.

It is fascinating to observe the tsunami of mass protests that we see within Israel against Netanyahu and institutional corruption. The Israelis, or at least many of them, are also tired of themselves being themselves. It is very possible that in line with Jewish history, it will actually be the Jews who bring their current empire down. As far as I can tell they are better at that battle than anyone else.

Tehran Times: How do the Western countries exploit Human Rights as a tool to apply their policies and how do they politicize Human Rights?

GA: Human rights issues are close to our hearts. We don’t like to see abuse of others, we hate discrimination, we are appalled by racism of any kind. Seemingly, some were clever enough to attach barcodes to these genuine universal and ethical feelings. As things stand, human rights matters have morphed into a profitable industry. Many human rights campaigns are funded by elements who are themselves dedicated human rights abusers.

Since the Palestinian struggle is close to my heart it took me little time to find out that while the BDS movement was receiving money from George Soros’ Open Society Institute, BDS changed its goal statement and practically gave up on the Palestinian Right of Return.

In 2012 the BDS National Committee in Ramallah made a crucial change to its goal statement. It changed the wording of its original (June 2005) mission statement from “demanding that Israel end its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” to demanding that Israel end “its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967*” My attempt to find out who introduced this change revealed that this new wording first appeared in Omar Barghouti’s 2011 book, ‘BDS: Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: the Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights’ (page 6).

It seems that since 2011, The BDS National Committee basically abandoned the most precious Palestinian right—it drifted away from the commitment to land occupied since 1948 and limited its struggle to the liberation of lands occupied in 1967. Further attempts to clarify who made the change and by what process revealed that this significant change was made in a clandestine manner—it appeared only in English. It has never appeared in Arabic or any other language. It is evident that the change took place behind the backs of the Palestinian people. Despite BDS’ claim to be a ‘civil society’ representing more than 170 Palestinian organizations, Palestinians were totally unaware of the BDS National Committee’s compromise of their mission.

Further investigation revealed that BDS—like most Palestinian NGOs—was funded by George Soros’ Open Society Institute. In 2013 I was asked to review a book titled Israel/Palestine and the Queer International, by Sarah Schulman. It was Schulman who resolved the mysterious change in the BDS goal statement. In her search for funding for a young Palestinian Queer USA tour in support of BDS, Schulman wrote that she was advised to approach George Soros’ Open Society institute. The following account may leave you flabbergasted, as it did me:

“A former ACT UP staffer who worked for the Open Society Institute, George Soros’ foundation, suggested that I file an application there for funding for the tour. When I did so it turned out that the person on the other end had known me from when we both attended Hunter [College] High School in New York in the 1970s. He forwarded the application to the institutes’s office in Amman, Jordan, and I had an amazing one-hour conversation with Hanan Rabani, its director of the Women’s and Gender program for the Middle East region. Hanan told me that this tour would give great visibility to autonomous queer organizations in the region. That it would inspire queer Arabs—especially in Egypt and Iran… for that reason, she said, funding for the tour should come from the Amman office” (Israel/Palestine and the Queer Internationalby Sarah Schulman p. 108).

Here is clear and embarrassing evidence of a crude intervention made by George Soros’ institute in an attempt to shape Arab and Islamic culture and political life. We also learn about the manner in which Soros’ Open Society Institute introduces gay and queer politics to the region. Apparently money for a tour promoting Palestine and BDS is traveling from Soros’ Open Society to Jordan and then back to the USA with the hope that such a manoeuvre would “inspire” gays in Iran.

This makes it clear why BDS had “good reason” to remain silent regarding its funding sources. After all, being funded directly or indirectly by a liberal Zionist philanthropist, a man who also funds the openly Zionist JStreet and was invested in Israeli companies in the West Bank, is indeed embarrassing. But the meaning of it is rather devastating. The discourse of the solidarity of the oppressed is shaped by the sensitivities of the oppressor who funds the movement of the oppressed. We see this in the Palestine solidarity movement, we saw the same thing in Occupy Wall Street and currently in some segments of BLM activity. Instead of genuinely caring for the oppressed, Human rights and solidarity movements often morph into policing forces that dedicate themselves to controlling the so-called opposition.

The case of the language of BDS has a good ending. Though Omar Barghouti didn’t change the words printed in his book where he bluntly compromised on occupied land demands on behalf of the Palestinian people. The BDS movement eventually changed its goal statement once again. It now resembles the original 2005 statement opposing occupation of ALL Arab Land.

Tehran Times: Why doesn’t Israel accept the idea of a nuclear-free zone in the region?

GA: The real meaning of thinking yourself chosen is in attributing a unique sense of impunity to yourself and to no one else. In real politics this means that your Jewish State is the only nuclear power in the region, your Air Force is the only one to fly F-35s, your army is not committed to any recognized ethical standards, your military industry trades with the darkest regimes around. Try to imagine a world where everyone believes themselves to be chosen.

* In the Interview the Iranian outlet refers to me as “a Jewish political activist.” I wrote to the Tehran Times and pointed out that I am neither an activist nor I am a Jew. However, by the time I posted this article, my request is yet to make any impact.

October 20, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We have lived to see Arabs enter Al-Aqsa under Israeli protection

By Abdullah Al-Majali | MEMO | October 19, 2020

We have lived to see Arabs enter Al-Aqsa Mosque under Israeli protection. It is shameful.

Is there any real difference between an Arab delegation visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque under Israeli protection and hordes of extremist Israeli settlers whose incursions and practice of Talmudic rituals there take place under the protection of the same security forces? The crime of these Arabs is arguably greater.

The storming by Israeli extremists under the guns of the Israeli occupation does not whitewash the image of the occupation in the eyes of the world, nor does it give it legitimate sovereignty over the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa. The Arabs’ visit does, however, whitewash the image of the military occupation and is “evidence” that all Muslims can go to Al-Aqsa Mosque. It also shows the world the false image of Israel providing protection for religious sites and allowing religious freedom.

A delegation from normalising Arab countries entered Al-Aqsa last week under the protection of the Israeli police and intelligence agencies, despite the occupation authorities’ closure of the mosque to Palestinian residents of Jerusalem. More dangerous than that, the normalisation delegation entered Al-Aqsa without informing the Religious Endowment Department there, and this ignored the authority of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan over the holy sites in Jerusalem. According to Jerusalemite activist and member of the Silwan Defence Committee, Fakhry Abu Diab, this also withdraws any recognition by these Arab countries of Jordan’s guardianship; instead, these states demonstrated their acceptance of Israeli sovereignty over the holy sites, especially Al-Aqsa.

This exploratory delegation was a faithful implementation of the deal of the century, which speaks with admiration of the Zionist occupation’s management of the Noble Sanctuary. This is a deliberate and blatant falsehood belied by the facts on the ground. “The State of Israel has been a good custodian of Jerusalem,” claims the Trump deal. “During Israel’s stewardship, it has kept Jerusalem open and secure.” This is a lie.

“Unlike many previous powers that had ruled Jerusalem, and had destroyed the holy sites of other faiths, the State of Israel is to be commended for safeguarding the religious sites of all and maintaining a religious status quo,” the text continues. “Given this commendable record for more than half a century, as well as the extreme sensitivity regarding some of Jerusalem’s holy sites, we believe that this practice should remain and that all of Jerusalem’s holy sites should be subject to the same governance regimes that exist today. In particular, the status quo at the Temple Mount/Haram Al-Sharif should continue uninterrupted.”

Unfortunately, the normalising delegation was loyal to its masters by implementing this deal, which was rejected by all the Arab and Muslim peoples who were able to express their opinion freely. It is a deal that buries the right of the Muslims to the third holiest site in Islam, after the Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah, and hands it over to the Israeli occupation on a silver platter. Sadly, it also demonstrated the urgently-issued religious and political opinions urging Muslims to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque with permission from Israeli embassies.

Continuing this naivety and even foolishness, even more Arab delegations are likely to enter Al-Aqsa in collaboration with the Israeli occupation forces and intelligence agencies. They will provide implicit recognition of the occupation’s sovereignty over Al-Aqsa Mosque giving Israel the right to determine who enters the mosque and who is turned away. Everyone already knows the serious restrictions imposed by the Israelis on Jerusalemites and other Palestinians regarding prayers at Al-Aqsa.

READ: Israel exploits normalisation deals to escalate violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque

The new situation places a great responsibility on Jordan, which is the guardian of the holy sites, and its diplomats must act quickly in those Arab countries and explain the threats to the Noble Sanctuary that these delegations pose. If Jordan does not get a response in this regard, then it must tell the Arab and Muslim people explicitly, beginning with the Jordanians and Palestinians, of the dangerous situation that threatens its sovereignty over the sanctities. This is not to absolve itself of responsibility, but to stand together against the danger that is being hatched against Islamic sanctities in Jerusalem in the name of the odious deal of the century.

Translated from Arabi21, 18 October 2020

October 20, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli occupation authority seizes vast West Bank areas after declaring them nature reserves

Palestine Information Center – October 19, 2020

RAMALLAH – The Palestinian Environment Quality Authority has said that the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has imposed its control over 36 areas in the West Bank under the pretext of nature reserves.

Senior official of the authority Issa Mousa told Voice of Palestine radio that there are many West Bank areas that had been declared nature reserves by the IOA with the aim of using them as military posts or Jewish settlements.

Mousa affirmed that the IOA recently announced its decision to seize 11,000 dunums of Palestinian land in the West Bank to turn them into nature reserves, adding that those seized areas are actually fertile agricultural lands in Jericho, southern Jiftlik, Deir Hijleh and eastern Tayasir in Tubas.

He pointed out that the conversion of lands into nature reserves cannot be done by military decisions but rather through field studies, and there are special criteria and conditions for taking such measure according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The Palestinian official said that the Palestinian Environment Quality Authority documented all the Israeli violations in those areas as a prelude to submitting them to the UN General Assembly.

October 19, 2020 Posted by | Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel’s occupation is the main problem, not Iran, says Arab MK

MEMO | October 19, 2020

The head of the Arab Joint List in the Israeli parliament has said that Israel’s occupation of Palestine is a greater problem than Iran in the region.

Knesset member Ayman Odeh made his remark in an interview with a Lebanese television station in which he also slammed the UAE’s normalisation with the Zionist state.

The interview followed last week’s vote by the Arab bloc in parliament against UAE-Israel normalisation. When asked to explain the decision of the bloc to criticise the so-called Abraham Accords, Odeh said that they are based on a flawed assumption.

“The fundamental issue is the Iranian question, not the Palestinian question,” he insisted. “Practically, the Israeli occupation is the fundamental problem. We cannot accept the twisted logic of ‘combating Iran’, either morally or nationally.”

In its statement against the normalisation agreement signed between Israel and the UAE, the Joint List said that, “Replacing the principle of land for peace with Netanyahu’s deceptive vision of ‘peace for peace’ will bring disaster to the country and all its people.”

Eighty members of the Knesset voted in favour of the agreement, with 13 voted against, all of them from the Joint List.

October 19, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment