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US refuses to call West Bank Israeli occupied territory

MEMO | January 30, 2023

The US State Department refused to describe Palestinians in the West Bank as living under a military occupation during a heated exchange between journalists last week. State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel brushed aside questions about Washington’s view on the status of the occupied West Bank in the wake of an Israeli military raid that killed ten Palestinians in Jenin.

“What is the status of the Palestinian people in the West Bank, including Jenin… and everywhere else in the West Bank?” Said Arikat of Al-Quds newspaper asked Vedant. “It’s a simple question. Are they under occupation?”

Patel refused to answer the question despite being asked repeatedly to clarify the position of the US regarding the status of the West Bank. At one point Patel shockingly said that the status of the Palestinians is that “they reside on those territories.”

Frustrated at not getting an answer, Arikat asked if the West Bank is considered a “different planet” and if the US “subscribes to the fact that they are under military occupation?” Patel refused to answer the question.

“Vedant, are they occupied or are they not occupied? What is the status that you give the Palestinians right at this moment? What kind of status do they have?” Arikat insisted.

Patel again refused to answer, deflecting the question by focusing on the escalation of violence and calling for peace and calm in the region. “I’m not talking about a recent period. I am saying about legally, how do you designate the Palestinians in the West Bank? What is their status?” Arikat asked to know for a fourth time.

“I understand the question you’re asking, and I – as we’ve said previously, it is vital for both sides to take action to prevent even greater loss, and we condemn any violence, escalation, or provocation,” said Patel.

Under International law the West Bank and Gaza is Israeli occupied territory. Experts in international law say that given the length of the occupation and given that Israel has no intention to ever withdraw, the correct designation is that it is an illegal occupation. The International Court of Justice has been asked to issue an opinion on that very matter.

January 30, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 5 Comments

Israeli troops commit massacre in latest raids on Jenin

Raids focused on Jenin but targeted many other areas across the occupied West Bank

The Cradle – January 26 2023

Israeli occupation forces killed ten Palestinians and injured at least twenty on 26 January during violent raids in the occupied city of Jenin and its refugee camp.

The raids began on the evening of 25 January and persisted into 26 January, in what is being described as “one of the deadliest days” in the West Bank since the start of last year.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC), several have been detained throughout the raids and transferred for interrogation by Israel’s security service. As a result of the incursions, intense clashes broke out between Israeli troops and resistance fighters, several of whom sustained bullet wounds.

An elderly woman has also been reported among the dead, according to security officials. Eyewitnesses have referred to the situation as a “massacre.”

Those killed are Majeda Abdel Fattah Obeid (Umm Ziad), brothers Mohammad Ghneim, Nour Ghneim, and Ahmad Ghneim, Mohammad Mahmoud Sobh, Wassim Amjad Jaes, Mutasim Mahmoud Abou Hassan, Ezzedine Yasin Salahat, Abdallah Marwan al-Ghoul, Saeb Issam Azraqi.

The Israeli army cut off the power supply to the Jenin camp, while also blocking journalists and ambulance teams from entering. Health officials have said that injuries are continuing to accumulate.

“There is an invasion that is unprecedented in the past period, in terms of how large it is and the number of injuries … The ambulance driver tried to get to one of the martyrs who was on the floor, but the Israeli forces shot directly at the ambulance and prevented them from approaching him,” Wissam Baker, head of Jenin’s public hospital, told media.

Despite centering around Jenin and its camp, the Israeli raids also targeted several homes and refugee camps across the West Bank, including Ramallah’s Al-Amari camp and Jerusalem’s Shuafat camp, as well as the towns of Silwan, Sur Baher, Al-Tur, and Al-Isawiya.

In response to the Israeli aggression, the Palestinian resistance managed to down a drone as it was flying over the Jenin refugee camp.

According to reports, an Israeli soldier was killed and another injured in the confrontations. Another report says that the Jenin Brigade of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) resistance movement detonated an explosive device inside an Israeli military jeep, resulting in “casualties in their ranks.”

“The military operation in Jenin was launched after intelligence from the Shin Bet about the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement’s intention to carry out a major operation against Israeli targets … the operation aimed to arrest a prominent member of the movement,” Israeli media reported.

The military ended up withdrawing from Jenin, however, the injury toll is expected to rise.

January 26, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

Calls for Khan Al-Ahmar’s demolition speak of colonial violence and privilege

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | January 24, 2023

The former Israeli ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, has told a Likud faction meeting that “illegal Palestinian construction” in the occupied West Bank is “rampant”. He wasn’t being honest.

“Last Friday we made it clear that supporting settlements does not contradict upholding the law,” he claimed. “The defence minister received our backing. We expect the defence minister to act with the same determination in the face of rampant Palestinian illegal construction in the West Bank. We will no longer tolerate discrimination against the settlers.”

Israeli settlements and settlers are, of course, illegal under international law, something that Danon is adept at overlooking when he makes such outrageous claims.

As the Israeli government prepares to submit its response to the High Court over the impending demolition of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan Al-Ahmar, Danon and Likud MK Yuli Edelstein visited the village, calling for its demolition and accusing the government of selective enforcement over the evacuation of the Or Chaim illegal settler outpost in the occupied West Bank.

In an op-ed, Danon described the EU’s funding of infrastructure in Khan Al-Ahmar as “subversive involvement of international entities in Israel’s domestic affairs” and accused the bloc of violating Israel’s sovereignty and international law. “It is part of an ulterior agenda that seeks to delegitimise Israel’s historical claim to its own land,” Danon wrote.

Completely eliminating Israel’s colonial context and the fact that Khan Al-Ahmar is built on Israeli-occupied Palestinian land, Danon referred to the evacuation of Or Chaim and said, “The law is the law and must be applied to all citizens and communities, Jews and Arabs alike.” However, there is no equivalence between the coloniser and the colonised, as Danon knows well.

Khan al-Ahmar has attracted enough international attention to become newsworthy periodically, and the related activism has ensured that Israel’s violations are fully exposed. The village, though, is also part of a long colonial process that seeks to dispossess Palestinians of their land. Its demolition is not an isolated incident. Earlier expulsions and destruction of properties, including the ethnic cleansing from the 1948 Nakba onwards, need to be kept in mind.

Israel benefits from the international community’s differentiation of colonial settlement expansion. It has gained a veneer of legitimacy for the earlier colonial settlements despite the atrocities committed by Zionist paramilitary terror gangs to establish control over Palestinian territory. Israeli law is justifiable only unto itself and the violence it created. In terms of equality and rights, there is no justification for Israel’s colonial expansion. Likewise, there is no equivalence in calling for the demolition of Khan Al-Ahmar because an illegal (even under Israeli law) settlement outpost was dismantled. Palestinians are rarely issued building permits on what remains of their land. Danon’s use of the word “rampant” is totally dishonest. Indeed, his words only reflect his country’s colonial violence and privilege when calling for Khan Al-Ahmar’s destruction, not to mention targeting an integral part of Palestinian resilience in the face of impending demolition orders.

Lest Danon forgets, Khan Al-Ahmar’s residents relocated to the area after being displaced by Israel in 1950, laying bare the lie of delegitimising “Israel’s historical claim to its own land”. Israel wants territorial contiguity to Jerusalem, not demolitions based on equal rights. Erasing the Palestinian landscape through colonial settlement expansion does not erase the fact that Israel’s settler-colonial population cannot lay legitimate claims to Palestinian land, and neither can the Israeli government. The only claim that Israel can make with any degree of accuracy and honesty is that it colonised Palestine and intends to finalise its colonial enterprise. Khan Al-Ahmar stands in the way of its plans, just as other Palestinian towns and villages did decades ago. More than 500 paid the price and were totally destroyed and wiped off the map.

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | Leave a comment

Israel, US start week of military drills involving thousands of troops, nuclear bombers

RT | January 23, 2023

The US and Israeli militaries began their largest-ever joint exercise on Monday, seeking to hone seamless coordination of their forces and prove a point to Iran about their readiness to fight a conflict in the Middle East even as Washington juggles rising tensions with Russia and China.

“I do think that this scale of the exercise is relevant to a whole range of scenarios, and Iran may draw certain inferences from that,” a senior US defense official told reporters. “It would not surprise me if Iran, you know, sees the scale and the nature of these activities and understands what the two of us are capable of doing.”

Dubbed Juniper Oak, the exercise will involve over 140 aircraft, including nuclear-capable bombers and F-35 fighter jets, as well as 12 warships and about 7,500 troops, according to US Central Command (CENTCOM). It’s designed to improve the “interoperability” of both forces.

“What we think this exercise demonstrates is, we can walk and chew gum at the same time,” the unidentified defense official told NBC News. Despite the Pentagon’s growing focus on China and its efforts to help Ukraine defeat Russian forces, he added, “We still have the excess capacity to be able to flex to another high-priority area of responsibility and conduct an exercise on this scale.”

Juniper Oak is an all-domain exercise, meaning it will include naval, land, air, space and electronic-warfare drills. It will run from Monday through Friday in Israel and the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The US will reportedly employ four HIMARS rocket launchers, laser-guided bombs and stealth cruise missiles. The event will culminate with the firing of 180,000 pounds of live munitions while simulating an electronic attack and suppressing enemy air defenses.

“This is a sign that we continue to have Israel’s back at a time when there’s lots of turbulence and instability across the region,” the defense official said. The source added, “If there’s a sense that Americans are distracted, or the Americans are going away from the Middle East, and therefore they have free rein for their malign activities, I think this will disabuse them.”

“I suspect Iran will take note of that, but not only Iran. China will take note of that, Russia will take note of that, other folks will take note of that.”

January 23, 2023 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 2 Comments

Incentivizing Censorship: a Snitch in Every Skull

Traveling the nine circles of thought-police hell with TJ Coles, the cancelled University of Plymouth academic.

Helen of desTroy | January 22, 2023

An informational iron curtain is coming down across the West, and its architects are determined to make examples out of those who refuse to pick a side. Our Democracy™ has adopted a zero-tolerance policy for pollution of the information ecosystem, and the Thought Police are standing by to halt rogue infodemics in their tracks, lest the people lose trust in their institutions. Dr. Tim Coles, a freelance writer and postdoctoral researcher until recently at the University of Plymouth didn’t realize he was in their crosshairs until he found himself locked out of his university email account in October. Tech support was no help; department staff refused to talk to him, closing ranks and sending him a threatening email demanding he cease contact. Clearly, he had violated some unwritten law. But what?

The chain of emails that had culminated in his removal only raised further questions about why an apparent stranger whom Plymouth has refused to name – a university employee, he suspects – had complained about his writing for Australian magazine Nexus to his old PhD examiner. In a Kafkaesque turn, the complaint lacked a single concrete accusation of wrongdoing that Coles could defend himself against, instead equivocating around familiar “conspiracy theorist” tropes.

At any rate, no one had thought to consult Coles, perhaps believing him to be a disgruntled ex-student trading on his old university email rather than a researcher whose work at the university was funded by an outside trust and had nothing to do with his political writing. Rather than pause for clarification, his PhD examiner appeared to jump in with both feet, urging tech staff to help get Coles “off [the university’s] books.”

While a prolific writer on many controversial topics – US funding and training of neo-Nazis in Ukraine, the West’s neocolonial plunder of Africa under the guise of fighting terrorism, and Big Pharma’s giant power-grab under cover of Covid-19 unholy alliance of Big Pharma and Big Tech amid the coronavirus outbreak are just a few – Coles believes he ran afoul of the university censors with a series of articles about intelligence agencies blackmailing people with child sexual abuse that ran in Nexus not long before the cancellation effort began. That particular subject has a tendency to get journalists killed, and Coles wonders if his ejection from Plymouth might be a warning shot from groups displeased with his inquiries. He acknowledges, however, that the timing may be a coincidence – Hope Not Hate and other intelligence-controlled censorship advocates were apparently trying to have Nexus banned in the UK around the same time for its publication of unorthodox views on Covid-19.

While he believes the evidence in the email chain is enough to prove wrongdoing by the university, Coles couldn’t even file a complaint through the normal channels, as his inquisitors had roped the complaints department into their conspiracy by including them in the email chain. He has considered releasing the messages publicly as a last resort, but first plans to employ an outside arbitrator and give the System one last chance – more than he was given, at any rate.

Lessons from The Lobby

Dr. Coles is far from the first to be booted from a British university campus for thoughtcrime. He sees parallels between his case and that of David Miller, the University of Bristol sociology professor who was subjected to a ferocious academic inquisition and ultimately drummed out of his post in late 2021 after the Board of Deputies of British Jews deliberately misinterpreted comments he had made about Israel weaponizing Jewish students abroad. The university’s Union of Jewish Students had been attacking him for years before seizing upon the supposedly discriminatory comment, which they only heard because they had sent in an activist ’spy’ to monitor one of his classes  – ironically validating the professor’s claims better than his own arguments could have.

Like Coles, Miller was never directly confronted by his accuser, who opted for mealy-mouthed pseudo-accusations (“conspiracy theorist,” “inciting hatred”) over potentially-disprovable crimes. Like Plymouth, Bristol took the side of the accuser against its employee almost reflexively. Former Labour MP Chris Williamson, himself a victim of the Israeli lobby’s devastating smear machine, joined the Support David Miller campaign in warning that the university’s failure to stand up for the professor would only encourage “bad faith actors” to pursue further censorship.

Shortly before the lobby finally convinced Miller’s university to mount an investigation into his supposed bigotry, he observed that such pressure tactics were imported from the Israel lobby in the US and pointed out that if any other foreign lobby attempted to wage such total war on its critics, they would be “laughed out of the room.” But Coles’ experience suggests other groups have taken lessons from the Israelis – and that Williamson’s warning was prescient.

Academic “cancel culture” is a well-known scourge of American campuses, where careless tweeting costs lives and professors can be axed for using the wrong pronouns. But while most discussion of the phenomenon centers on the targeting of conservative professors, it has targeted left-wing heterodoxy with equal fury, as tenured New York University media studies professor Mark Crispin Miller discovered when a student demanded his firing via Twitter after taking offense to a discussion questioning the utility of masks in his 2020 class on Propaganda.

Like Coles and his fellow Miller across the pond, Miller was attacked by university colleagues with vague allegations of “attacks on students and others in our community,” “aggressions and microaggressions,” and “explicit hate speech” and an investigation was launched behind his back even in the absence of any specific forbidden act. Administrators went one step further and contacted all his students to remind them of the CDC’s mask guidance, lest their fragile minds have been corrupted by the conspiracy theorist in the classroom. They couldn’t fire him – he was tenured, after all – but they did their best to make his life so miserable that he would leave, forbidding him from teaching his beloved Propaganda class, and he has been on sabbatical since.

Even Kenneth Roth, the former executive director of Human Rights Watch, was recently denied a fellowship at the Carr Center for Human Rights, part of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, on the basis of wrongthink – what its dean described as his “anti-Israel bias.” Roth has toed the line on foreign policy groupthink elsewhere, dutifully demonizing Putin, Assad, Trump, and so on as the needs of Empire demanded. But his refusal to ignore Israel’s increasingly bold apartheid policies got him the David Miller treatment despite years of faithful service. If Roth isn’t safe, many academics have begun to wonder, what the hell are they going to do to me?!

Will Censor for Food

While Dr. Coles questions if universities were ever really the freethinkers’ utopia so many academic misfits yearn for, there is no denying groupthink has tightened its hold in recent years. While an academic might once have been left alone to research controversial subjects on his own time so long as he didn’t embarrass his employer, this laissez-faire approach has been replaced by an administrative panopticon that is both hyper-responsive and reflexively condemnatory – a “cottage industry of shutting people down.” Censorship has been outsourced from the state and its corporate minions to “academics and think tanks who are given a well-funded government hammer so they see everything as a nail of disinformation,” Coles explains. Not simply salaried, they are financially incentivized to bag-and-tag as many pieces of “disinformation” as they can, essentially bounty hunters for inconvenient truths, enabling a much tighter, more granular control of information than was ever possible under a traditional totalitarian model.

These programs and campaigns – with names like Integrity Initiative, Center for Countering Digital Hate, Trusted News Initiative – initially appear to be independent nonprofits that just happen to share a common devotion to fighting fake news. However, their cooperation is more than superficial, with many of the same entities ultimately directing their actions as they work together to artificially muscle the discourse in the desired direction, choking off competing narratives while maintaining plausible deniability regarding their connections to the state.

In this model of soft totalitarianism, the dissident is not so much ordered to cease publishing objectionable ideas, or even threatened with execution or creative torture. He is merely subjected to mounting insults, ‘nudged’ in certain directions, and gradually stripped of resources, especially any public platform he may have had in accordance with his refusal to follow the rules. Amid this complex ballet of carrot and stick, he is constantly reminded that these are his decisions, making him (in his own mind, at least) a willing participant in his own spiritual suffocation.

Fact-checkers, once mere newsroom employees tasked with verifying the details of major stories, have been artificially elevated into a caste of gatekeepers, deemed impartial arbiters of truth even as their donor lists burst with conflicts of interest from Pierre Omidyar to Bill Gates to George Soros. This veneer of independence allows them much greater latitude than any equivalent government body, as the ignominious collapse of the US’ Disinformation Governance Board last year proved. This official Ministry of Truth, which would have operated out of the Department of Homeland Security, was a bridge too far even for the American media establishment, which had long since embraced its unofficial equivalent censoring tweets and Facebook posts to keep the world safe for democracy.

All it took to get English-speaking countries to accept the need for these newly-minted (the International Fact Checking Network was only launched in 2015) cognitive babysitters was for a few pathological liars to blame Trump’s 2016 electoral victory and Brexit on Russian disinformation. Never mind that neither hypothesis was ever substantiated, or that both have since been thoroughly discredited – unfiltered access to information has joined the lengthy list of threats to social harmony, and the fact-checkers, having tasted power, are unlikely to return to the newsroom. Given that a free press is integral to a functioning democracy, it goes without saying that any regime looking to dismantle the latter would want to get the former out of the way.

New Dawn in Old Bottles

No sooner had Dr. Coles been chased out of his university for his writing in one Australian alt-media magazine then he was engulfed in a censorship firestorm over another. An article appeared earlier this month in New Zealand news outlet Stuff excoriating bookstore chain Whitcoulls for carrying the latest edition of New Dawn, a publication which proudly bills itself as a “forum for alternative, non-mainstream ideas that question consensus reality.” Stuff’s coverage berated the bookstore for exposing unsuspecting customers to the jungle of “conspiracy theories” barely restrained within its pages (full disclosure: I have also contributed writing to New Dawn), focusing its rage on Coles’ “The curious case of Brenton Tarrant,” about the Christchurch mosque shooter.

When Whitcoulls did not immediately capitulate, “disinformation expert” Kate Hannah was called in to warn Kiwis who picked up the magazine that they were enabling “dark agendas” seeking to “destabilize liberal democracy.” Reading Coles’ article wasn’t just engaging in wrongthink, but actually committing a crime, she explained, because the article included information on how to access the illegal-in-New-Zealand helmet-cam video Tarrant recorded while shooting his way through the mosque. Just reading about where to find the video might run afoul of hate speech laws, she mused in a radio interview.

Of course, the article includes no such instructions, nor does it – as Hannah claimed – claim Tarrant didn’t shoot anyone. Coles is baffled by the disinfo expert’s disinfo, but suspects the reason they didn’t include his name (standard practice in establishment hit-pieces) in the pressure campaign is that he could justifiably sue for libel. But the mere threat of legal repercussions was sufficient to keep 99.9% of Kiwis away from the forbidden magazine, and perhaps sensing no sales in its future, Whitcoulls finally pulled the issue from its shelves.

New Zealand’s size and isolation make it a perfect experimental laboratory, and the other Four Eyes haven’t hesitated to use it as such. Nor have the Israelis, whose operation was exposed during the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The 2019 shooting that launched the current touchless torture regime was preceded as such events often are by a series of odd ‘coincidences’ and foreshadowings. Just a few months before the massacre, a group of American survivors of the Parkland, Florida high school shooting visited the city to discuss “living through a tragedy” with their Kiwi counterparts; two Parkland survivors and a Sandy Hook survivor allegedly committed suicide in the months following the mosque killings. A police drill just happened to be taking place near the fleeing gunman, allowing participants to “heroically” capture him in what media dutifully described as a “hell of a coincidence.”

The speedy gun-grab that followed the tragedy left citizens helpless in the claws of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and the subsequent clampdown on the internet was unprecedented in any other western “democracy,” with prison sentences meted out for merely sharing a link. Ostensibly to prevent anyone from reading Tarrant’s manifesto or watching the curiously videogame-like footage of the killings, the rules had the effect of banning access to entire video archives, international forums, and other information resources that might have helped the country’s residents make sense of what had just been done to them, and they were designed to be copied by the other four Eyes – or any other country that should want them.

While all five Eyes adopted unprecedented controls on social media during Covid-19, New Zealand went much further than its peers in controlling the actual publication of news. In March 2020, facing rumors that lockdown was imminent, Ardern warned upstanding citizens to avoid all unauthorized sources of information, urging them to stick with the government’s official site as “your single source of truth.” The message didn’t age well – New Zealand was locked down within the week – but her point had gotten across loud and clear. Arrested while protesting Auckland’s return to lockdown in 2021 over just three “cases,” popular radio host and pandemic dissident Vinny Eastwood was only released on the conditions that he remain under house arrest 24/7 and stay off the internet – draconian requirements for a man who made his living live-streaming. He was later permitted back online, but only on the condition that he not advocate against Covid-19 restrictions – a deliberately subjective line in the sand meant to encourage self-censorship above all.

While the media establishment overflowed with praise for Ardern over her iron-fisted suppression of the population – er, pandemic – no one has thought to ask why, if the West questions all Covid-19 stats coming out of China due to government control of all information sources, they believed the numbers coming out of New Zealand. Even news sites like Stuff, which describes itself as “fiercely independent,” are actually public-private partnerships – in this case funded by the New Zealand government and the Google News Initiative, powered by the bonanza of helicopter money that was dumped on the news media in 2020 to fight the “infodemic” of Covid-19 “disinformation.” That the campaign against New Dawn was no organic outrage was clear – Coles’ article is the last in the issue, and the likelihood of an indignant civilian pawing through 70 pages of conspiracy contraband just to find something they can claim is illegal approaches zero. Its favorable result means it will likely become the blueprint for future book-burning campaigns.

But why go after a couple of obscure Australian conspiracy magazines? Especially in New Zealand, but increasingly in the US and Europe, Big Tech no longer allows the average user to stumble upon the kind of content published by New Dawn or Nexus. Even non-Google search results from once-reliable alternatives like DuckDuckGo and Brave have been scrubbed clean of all deviations from the establishment line on topics like Covid-19 or the war in Ukraine, let alone the Christchurch shooting, and as Coles remarked, the censorship is even creeping through time into the Wayback Machine, the internet researcher’s go-to that once contained archives of much of the internet dating back decades – but now increasingly turns up error pages or sloppily retconned fact-checks. However, Kiwis browsing at Whitcoulls had at their fingertips a powderkeg of new information, rendered all the more volatile by three years spent in informational quarantine. Just as a person locked down for months will see her immune system suffer for lack of outside stimulation, any novel pathogens hitting her much harder when she finally goes outside, the Good Citizen who imbibed only Ardern-approved data for three years will likely be unable to muster even the slightest argument against whatever outrageous claims she finds in New Dawn and perhaps become lost to the weak grasp of establishment propaganda forever.

There’s an easy solution to this problem, should New Zealand want to solve it. Teach children to think critically, instead of the dumbed-down “media literacy” programs being promoted by every self-proclaimed “disinfo expert” this side of PropOrNot. Thought-stopping “information hygiene” techniques (Google it! Look it up on Wikipedia!) and reflexive appeals to authority (only a scientist can interpret that study for you!) do not help an individual resist persuasion. But a population armed with the ability to recognize an official lie and dismantle it would not allow themselves to be locked down over a few cases of a disease they were almost 100% certain to survive anyway – so of course New Dawn couldn’t be permitted to question Christchurch. It is the (shaky) foundation on which Ardern’s hastily-constructed police state was built. As rumors fly about her surprise resignation on Thursday and the media establishment rends its garments over how “unfairly” this “icon of many” was treated by “far-right extremists,” it seems clear her departure will be weaponized to further crack down on the increasingly nebulous specter of “hate speech.”

Replacing Replacement Theory   

Americans who believe the New Dawn affair could only have happened in an unarmed, isolated nation like New Zealand should pay attention to what their Congress is up to. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) earlier this month introduced a bill that would criminalize the publication of “antagonism based on ‘replacement theory’” and “hate speech that vilifies or is otherwise directed against any non-White person or group” on social media if it can be said that the perpetrator of a “white supremacy inspired hate crime” had encountered the material before committing the crime – or that if they had encountered the material, it could conceivably have motivated them to take such actions.

Without bothering to define such critical terms as “hate speech” or even “replacement theory,” often trotted out for effect when the speaker needs to strike an emotional chord, the bill leapfrogs pre-crime to a total reversal of cause and effect. A content creator can be charged with conspiracy to commit a white supremacy motivated hate crime so long as the actual criminal can be shown to have engaged with their content before committing the crime. In fact, they don’t even need to engage with it – so long as the content could theoretically motivate a “person predisposed to engaging in a white supremacy inspired hate crime” to, well, you know. It’s completely subjective, based on what a “reasonable person” would do when no “reasonable person” would be caught dead in the same room as this bill. This means if someone reads the nursery rhyme “Baa baa black sheep” – declared ‘problematic’ nearly a decade ago for its racial overtones – then picks up an AR-15 and shoots a black family at church, the nursery rhyme writers could be charged with conspiracy to commit a white supremacy-motivated hate crime. Jackson Lee herself cited the example of “someone making a post online that catches the attention of someone who then drives to North Texas and kills 20 Mexican Americans” to make clear precisely how unhinged she is.

It’s doubtful that such a case would make it to court, or lead to a conviction if it did, but public opinion – a product of think tank fellows rather than crowds – can turn on a dime. What sorority girl getting sloshed on margaritas in an oversized Cinco de Mayo sombrero in 2012 would have thought she’d be sentenced to remedial readings of “White Fragility” in 2022? The aim is not to create more work for the official censors but to spook the target into silence with fear of what could happen. Leaving the definition of “white supremacy” open-ended allows an ever-larger spectrum of opinion to be cordoned off as toxic, banned from university campuses and social media, and finally memory-holed as unthinkable. At the same time, actual racists like Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov Battalion are invited with open arms to travel the US speaking on university campuses, swastika tattoos and all. While the Anti-Defamation League is quick to tar and feather any academic who points out Israeli war crimes, the censorship-loving Jewish organization has issued what amounts to an official indulgence for Ukraine’s biggest Third Reich fanboys.

I know what would look great with that swastika – another swastika!

Given the FBI’s penchant for crafting terrorism plots out of whole cloth, it would be a simple matter to take out all online wrongthinkers in one fell swoop under the white supremacy conspiracy law – just set up the usual militia honeypot for disaffected white boys, hand them the gear and point them at the minority in question, and make sure a manifesto is found nearby conspicuously listing the websites of every influential dissident in America. While last year’s Missouri v. Biden lawsuit proved – and the Twitter Files confirmed – that social media platforms were being used by a dozen or more government agencies to circumvent First Amendment prohibitions on state censorship, this new arrangement would eliminate even the need for that end-run, requiring only the fig leaf of Unacceptable White Supremacist Beliefs™ to justify the most egregious constitutional abuses.

“Replacement theory” – the idea that white Americans and/or Europeans are being deliberately supplanted in “their” nations by swarthy foreign hordes to suit nefarious ruling class purposes – first entered the mainstream discourse when Tarrant, who titled his manifesto “The Great Replacement,” supposedly set out to kill as many Muslims as possible because they were out-breeding Europeans. Tarrant’s manifesto would have gotten quite a few people in trouble as white-supremacy conspirators, many of them dead – it includes poems from Dylan Thomas and Rudyard Kipling, memes, Wikipedia articles, and an infamous passage explicitly citing black conservative commentator Candace Owens as his ideological inspiration. Tarrant and copycats like Payton Gendron (the Buffalo supermarket shooter and friend of the FBI whose manifesto borrowed liberally from Tarrant and others) have helped transform the epithet “conspiracy theory” from CIA-sponsored smear to precursor of violent extremism, though they couldn’t have done it without UNESCO, the World Jewish Congress, and the Council of Europe, who recently joined forces to remind humanity that “conspiracy theories cause real harm to people, to their health, and also to their physical safety.”

Europe has taken the legal lead in equating conspiracy theory to terrorism, banning author David Icke from the entire Schengen Area last year because his scheduled speech at a peace rally in the Netherlands posed a potential “threat to public order.” Rather than stand up to the police state, the media eagerly flew to its side, quoting “experts” who sagely opined that the “danger” posed by Icke’s “conspiracy ideology” was both clear and present and could inflict “lasting harm” upon the country. This is in keeping with the refrain the WHO has kept up all alongside Covid-19 – that a deadly “infodemic” is spreading through sharing unapproved information about the virus, and that good citizens refrain from posting conspiracy theories online because words are equivalent to violence. This is a central part of children’s “media literacy” classes, aimed at building the perfect content filter directly into the child – because Big Brother can’t be everywhere. The idea is to graduate a generation for whom privacy is alien, dissent is criminal, obedience is a competitive sport, and turning in your parents for wrongthink is second-nature, all justified by the vague nonspecific crisis that has been looming in the background since they were born.

The censorship of New Dawn, the university witch-hunts against Dr. Coles and both Millers, the absurd white supremacy conspiracy bill, are all symptoms of the same totalitarian virus gradually sucking the will to resist out of humanity. Just as viruses need host cells to multiply, so does this one require an army of facilitators – “fake news” bounty hunters, “disinformation experts,” and the like – to smooth out humanity’s rough edges into blissful obedience. A pandemic – even an artificially-inflated synthetic one like Covid-19 – has to end, but an infodemic is forever, and this one has proven 100% fatal to human rights.

January 22, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , | Leave a comment

JFK and America’s Destiny Betrayed

A Review of DiEugenio’s “Foreign Policy Coup” Theory

BY LAURENT GUYÉNOT • UNZ REVIEW • JANUARY 21, 2023

I have watched Oliver Stone’s documentary on the assassination of JFK, both the short version, JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, and the long version in four episodes, JFK: Destiny Betrayed. I recommend the latter, which I will discuss here. Although the technical parts (the bullets, the autopsy, Oswald’s CIA handlers) are interesting and partly new, I will focus exclusively on the theory regarding the main culprits and their motive. And I will discuss the larger work of James DiEugenio, who wrote the film—and probably interviewed the different contributors, although Stone appears to be doing it.

James DiEugenio has been investigating the Kennedy presidency and the Kennedy assassination from the time of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), which was largely a consequence of Oliver Stone’s Hollywood film JFK (1991). His first book was Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba, and the Garrison Case (1992, newly edited in 2012). In 1993, he founded Citizens for Truth about the Kennedy Assassination (CTKA), and co-edited Probe Magazine, now replaced by the website KennedysandKing.com.

In 1997, DiEugenio published a powerful two-part book-length article, “the Posthumous Assassination of JFK” (1997). It is still essential reading for anyone interested in the controversies surrounding Kennedy’s presidency and assassination, or puzzled by the unending stream of bizarre Kennedy lore. This is the text you want to send to anyone telling you about the Kennedys’ mafia dealings and unrestrained sex life, their murder of Marilyn Monroe, or Bobby’s irresponsible assassination plots against Castro that backfired on his brother. These stories are so widespread, repeated in well-published and well-reviewed books, that millions of people assume them to be documented. Writing on the occasion of the release of Seymour Hersh’s The Dark Side of Camelot, DiEugenio exposed their fraudulent nature and their true motivation: the obsession to “smother any legacy that might linger,” for “assassination is futile if a man’s ideas live on through others.” This flow of defamation had started in the 70s, as a counter-fire to the Church Committee and the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), and intensified in the 1990s after the ARRB. It never dried up.

Character assassination is only one part of the propaganda unleashed against the Kennedy legacy. Another part has consisted in distorting the historical record of Kennedy’s presidency, and particularly the radical but short-lived innovations of his foreign policy. DiEugenio writes in “Dodd and Dulles vs. Kennedy in Africa” (1999, modified 2016):

a clear strategy of those who wish to smother any search for the truth about President Kennedy’s assassination is to distort and deny his achievements in office. Hersh and his ilk have toiled to distort who Kennedy really was, where he was going, what the world would have been like if he had lived, and who and what he represented.[1]

DiEugenio has provided insightful answers to these questions. A graduate in Contemporary American History, he is probably the best Kennedy historian among Warren Commission critics, and his work has opened the way for other revisionist historians like Monika Wiesak, author of the recent and excellent America’s Last President: What the World Lost When It Lost John F. Kennedy (read DiEugenio’s review here). According to DiEugenio, there has been, in addition to the cover-up about Kennedy’s death, a “cover-up about Kennedy’s foreign policy,”[2] so that even critics of the Warren Commission fairytale have largely failed to grasp the full extent of Kennedy’s changes from the foreign policy of his predecessors—dominated by the Dulles brothers; “by only chasing Vietnam and Cuba, to the neglect of everything else, we have missed the bigger picture.”[3] The bigger picture drawn by DiEugenio includes the Congo, Indonesia, Laos and the Middle East. DiEugenio’s most essential articles on these topics are:

The three scholars who most contributed to DiEugenio’s understanding of the uniqueness of Kennedy’s foreign policy, and who are interviewed in the film JFK: Destiny Betrayed, are:

Kennedy’s Strategy of Peace

Although he praises James Douglass’s JFK and the Unspeakable (2008), DiEugenio rejects his mythical portrayal of JFK as a Cold Warrior converted to peacemaking during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.[4] Despite the contrary impression he made during his televised debates with Nixon in 1960, Kennedy was never a Cold Warrior. The collection of statements published under the title The Strategy of Peace for his presidential campaign proves it.

DiEugenio traces Kennedy’s general ideas on foreign policy back to 1951, when Kennedy toured the Middle East and Asia. His meeting in Saigon with Edmund Gullion, whom he later brought into his cabinet, had convinced him that sending American troops to Indochina was a grave mistake.[5] He would never change his mind on that issue.[6]

By 1957, Kennedy was formulating a radical—by U.S. standard—foreign policy for the Arab world, which he outlined in a speech on the Senate floor denouncing French colonial occupation of Algeria:

In these days, we can help fulfill a great and promising opportunity to show the world that a new nation, with an Arab heritage, can establish itself in the Western tradition and successfully withstand both the pull toward Arab feudalism and fanaticism and the pull toward communist authoritarianism.[7]

Unlike his predecessors Truman and Eisenhower, and in defiance of the doctrine that prevailed in the CIA, the Pentagon and the State Department, Kennedy accepted and welcomed a multipolar world, the only way, in his view, to overcome the dangerous bi-polarization of the Cold War. Had he succeeded, he would have transformed the U.S. into something totally different from what it was starting to become since WWII, and has fully become since he died: an imperial bully feared but hated throughout the world. In “Deconstructing JFK: A Coup d’État over Foreign Policy?” DiEugenio makes the point that:

[Kennedy’s] speeches, correspondence and high-level meetings with emerging Third World leaders reveal his growing antipathy for colonialism, rejection of imperialism, toleration for the non-aligned movement—contrasting markedly with his predecessor—and promotion of nationalistic leaders, albeit ones that were considered to be “responsible” in their moderation.[8]

The first foreign policy reversal that Kennedy made once in office was on the Congo. Patrice Lumumba, Congo’s first democratically elected leader, was killed three days before Kennedy’s inauguration, victim of a coup supported by the CIA. Jacques Lowe’s shot of JFK getting the news of Lumumba’s death on February 13th is, to DiEugenio, the picture that best symbolizes Kennedy’s personal commitment to support the national independence of Third world countries, and the ordeal of his struggle against the CIA’s machinery of assassination and regime change. After U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarksjold was killed (likely murdered) in a plane crash in September 1961, Kennedy carried on his campaign for a free and independent Congo. Lyndon Johnson destroyed this first attempt at a democracy in post-colonial Africa, and backed Josef Mobutu, who turned into a corrupted dictator and allowed his country to be utilized by outside imperial interests.

Kennedy rejected the “with us or against us” mentality of the foreign policy establishment, and this was also demonstrated by his support for Indonesia’s nationalist leader Sukarno, who co-founded the Non-Aligned Movement. In 1958, Eisenhower had authorized the CIA’s attempt at overthrowing Sukarno, but when Kennedy assumed office, he reversed that policy, and helped Sukarno stabilize his country. Less than a year after Kennedy’s death, the CIA was planning again covert action against Sukarno, which led to the killing of at least 500,000 people suspected of communist sympathy. Sukarno was placed under house arrest and CIA-backed Suharto ruled for three decades, turning his people into low-wage workers for foreign companies.[9]

And then, of course, there is Cuba and Vietnam. The story of Kennedy’s resistance to the Pentagon and the CIA’s push for military confrontation and escalation in these countries has been told many times—most eloquently by James Douglass—, so that I do not need to tell it again. Authors of the dominant school of JFK assassination research—and that includes those interviewed in Stone’s documentary—assume that Cuba and Vietnam are, in that order, the most important reasons why Kennedy was killed. DiEugenio agrees, but brings a larger spectrum of motives.

The Middle East

DiEugenio writes in “Nasser, Kennedy, the Middle East, and Israel”:

For decades, the critical community overlooked areas of Kennedy’s foreign policy outside of Vietnam and Cuba. Kennedys and King has attempted to correct that oversight in recent years. We have tried to educate our readers on issues like Kennedy’s policies in Congo, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, and Laos. We have also tried to show how, after his murder, those policies—as well as his policy toward Vietnam and his attempts at detente with Moscow and Havana—were also altered.

But there is still another area of the world about which Kennedy’s reformist foreign policy is overlooked. That area is the Middle East. This is odd since many commentators justifiably perceive that the Middle East is one of the most important areas on the globe.[10]

He writes in his “Introduction to JFK’s Foreign Policy: A Motive for Murder”:

Why is the JFK case relevant today? Well, because the mess in the Middle East now dominates both our foreign policy and the headlines, much as the Cold War did several decades ago. And the roots of the current situation lie in Kennedy’s death, whereupon President Johnson began the long process which reversed his predecessor’s policy there.[11]

In other words, the Middle East is the region of the world where Kennedy’s foreign policy and Johnson’s reversal of that foreign policy have had the most dramatic and most lasting consequences. What was at stake was America’s involvement in the conflict between Israel and the Arab world, and that meant, essentially, between Ben-Gurion and Nasser.

So DiEugenio acknowledges that: 1. LBJ completely reversed JFK’s foreign policy, and 2. the most consequential reversal was in the Middle East, for the longtime benefit of Israel and to the detriment of Egypt. Yet he points, not to Johnson or Ben-Gurion, but to Allen Dulles as the most likely culprit for the Dallas coup. Does he document any evidence that Allen Dulles was interested in switching alliance from Egypt to Israel? None whatsoever. It is true that the Eastern Establishment generally favored Saudi Arabia over Egypt, but it is not the case that they wanted a closer relationship with Israel. So what is unique about Johnson’s pro-Israel policy is that it was not a return to a pre-Kennedy policy, but something new altogether. It was a radical break from all previous administrations. Recall Eisenhower’s resolute reaction to Israel’s invasion of the Sinai in 1956, and contrast it with what happened ten years later, when Johnson greenlighted Israel’s attack on Egypt and expansion, and covered up Israel’s false-flag attack on the USS Liberty designed to draw the U.S. into the war.

Cuba and Vietnam

Allen Dulles’s major interest in foreign policy in the 1960s was over Cuba. Assassinating Castro and/or invading Cuba to restore an American colonial regime was his priority. Like the majority of JFK investigators, DiEugenio considers that Kennedy had so angered the CIA, and Dulles in particular, when he didn’t go along with their plan to invade Cuba—not once but twice, first with the Bay of Pigs landing in 1961, and secondly during the Cuban Missiles Crisis in 1962—that Dulles’s gang decided to assassinate him. But guess what: LBJ did not invade Cuba either. He didn’t give the CIA and Pentagon hawks the retaliatory invasion of Cuba that their plan was supposed to force upon him. He didn’t even try.

This is a major weakness of that semi-mainstream theory to which DiEugenio subscribes, and which he contributed to write. That weakness is partly compensated by the secondary focus on Vietnam. It is true that, in Vietnam, Johnson gave the National Security state what they wanted, and more. As author Peter Dale Scott wrote, Johnson “had been, since 1961, the ally of the Joint Chiefs (and in particular Air Force General Curtis LeMay) in their unrelenting efforts, against Kennedy’s repeated refusals, to introduce U.S. combat troops into Asia.”[12] Yet, that presentation ignores one aspect of the full story.

The strongest push for sending ground troops to Vietnam came from Walt Rostow (“the biggest Cold Warrior I’ve got,” Kennedy said). As deputy to the National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy under Kennedy, Rostow had already weighted heavily on Kennedy’s decision to send military “advisors” to Vietnam. But Kennedy had grown weary of his bellicose advise (“Walt had ten ideas, nine of which would lead to disaster”).[13] Walt Rostow was promoted by Johnson as National Security Advisor, and found in the new president more enthusiasm for his war plans. Rostow was the main promoter of the lie that Johnson’s Vietnam policy was a continuation of Kennedy’s.[14]

Johnson named Walt’s brother Eugene Under-Secretary of State, “appointed precisely to support the coming Israeli war” according to Joan Mellen.[15] Walt and Eugene Rostow, sons of Jewish immigrants, had a good deal of control on U.S. Israeli policy. On June 8, 1967, the very day of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, Walt had recommended to Johnson that Israel be allowed to keep the captured territories.

Why did the Rostow brothers want a Vietnam War? In “Was Vietnam a Holocaust for Zion” I explained why the Vietnam War was good—even crucial—for Israel. But don’t take my word for it. Here is what French president Charles De Gaulle said during his November 27, 1967 press conference:

Without the tragedy of Vietnam, the conflict between Israel and the Arabs would not have become what it has become. And if South-East Asia could experience a renewal of peace, the Middle-East would also find its way to peace, in the climate of détente which would follow such an event.[16]

I am not implying that the shift in policy on Vietnam between Kennedy and Johnson does not support the theory that CIA and Pentagon killed Kennedy. It does. I am merely pointing out that Johnson’s pro-Israel cabinet members were at least as influential as Dulles and LeMay in Johnson’s reversal of Kennedy’s decision to withdraw from Vietnam, a fact which is also consistent with the theory that Israel was the prime mover.

Dimona

In his JFK and the Unspeakable, James Douglass has documented JFK’s deep commitment to prevent nuclear proliferation and even abolish weapons of mass destruction “before they abolish us” (Kennedy’s speech at the UN General Assembly, September 25, 1961). But Douglass makes no mention of JFK’s bitter confrontation with Ben-Gurion and Eshkol on that very issue. In this way, Douglass has proven that the historical school of which he has become a standard bearer is involved in a cover-up. To be generous, I ascribe it to a case of “cognitive inhibition”. I imagine it works somewhat like this: “My work—that is, the truth—is too important to risk it being censored by saying something bad about Israel.” Personally, I prefer to stick to Peter Janney’s principle that “the truth takes no prisoners.”

To his credit, DiEugenio does not eschew the Dimona story. His website links to two articles by Avner Cohen, author of Israel and the Bomb (1998), and William Burr of the National Security Archive, accompanied by declassified documents (here and here).[17] DiEugenio himself writes about Israel’s effort to acquire nuclear weapons in “Nasser, Kennedy, the Middle East, and Israel” (2020):

Ben Gurion and the other Israeli leaders were so devoted to this aim that they resorted to two illicit means in order to secure the goal. First—there is no other way to say this—they involved themselves in a government-wide conspiracy to deceive Kennedy about the true nature of the Dimona reactor.

Israel’s second means to go nuclear was the theft of enriched Uranium from the U.S.:

Through [Roger] Mattson [author of Stealing the Atom Bomb], and also author Grant Smith [author of Big Israel], we know today that Israel had stolen hundreds of pounds of highly enriched uranium out of what was essentially their shell plant in Apollo, Pennsylvania, called NUMEC.[18]

Stone and DiEugenio mention the first of these Israeli deceptions in their film (the long version only, episode 3, 40:50). After a brief reminder of Kennedy’s decision to support the U.N. resolution for the return of Palestinian refugees, we are told:

The other problem Kennedy faced with Israel was the construction of the atomic reactor at Dimona. JFK was strongly against any proliferation of nuclear weaponry. He had been assured by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion that Dimona was designed for peaceful uses of atomic energy. In the spring of 1963, Kennedy demanded full inspections by the US of the Dimona reactor, and threatened to place American aid for Israel in limbo if no agreement was reached. And at the time of his assassination, negotiations were in process for biannual inspections.

That is better than nothing. But since that story is only incidental to the thesis defended by Stone and DiEugenio, it seems to have been included only to immune the authors from the blame of covering it up, that Douglass deserves.

Interestingly, it is Stone who brings up this topic in this interview with Canadian journalist Éloïse Boies. At 34:20, DiEugenio states that “nobody was more anti-nuclear proliferation than John F. Kennedy. This was really a very important issue with him.” At this point, Stone interjects:

He took on Israel. He took on Ben-Gurion in Israel, because they were building a bomb that they’d stolen from us. And he really wanted to put a stop to that, but he, unfortunately died before, and Johnson carried through, knew about it and let it go, till Israel had the bomb by 1968. And even then, in 68, Johnson shut the Pentagon up. He said: “We are not going to announce this. The American people won’t know that Israel has the bomb.”

Notice Éloïse’s reaction: “Let’s talk about [something else].” The point is that, for Stone and DiEugenio, Dimona seems to be anecdotal and hardly relevant to solving the case. At the end (from 50:27), when asked “Who did it, and why?” they stick to the conclusion that Allen Dulles was the mastermind, with perhaps Curtis LeMay. But, they add as an afterthought, Dulles is only “the executioner” and “does get the OK from someone else. … You know who they are: the people with money” … like “David Rockefeller”. Éloïse gets it: “It’s all about money, at the end of the day.” It becomes absolutely ridiculous. When your theory implodes under its own hollowness, it’s time to change. But, as Stone says “once they’re locked in, it’s very hard for historians to go back” (19:10).

It might seem unfair for me to point to an interview rather than to the film itself. But the value of that interview is precisely to reveal the logical fallacies and confusions that are not apparent in the film.

Johnson

In that same interview (from 40:30), Stone says: “I don’t think Johnson was involved in the murder.” DiEugenio adds: “Johnson fell for the CIA story coming out of Mexico City” (an Oswald impersonator visiting both the Soviet and the Cuban embassies in Mexico in October 1963). But then DiEugenio mentions that Edgar Hoover had told Johnson that the Mexico story was impossible, since neither the voice nor the photo provided by the Mexico CIA station fitted the real Oswald. So now “the question becomes: did Johnson really believe this?” This gets confusing. DiEugenio can’t seem to decide whether Johnson believed Oswald’s communist legend or not.

But DiEugenio’s dilemma has no reason to be. For not only Johnson knew the communist Oswald to be bogus; it was he who used this fake communist connection to block all investigations. DiEugenio is an admirer of the work of professor John M. Newman, whose books he reviewed (hereherehere, and here), and whom he interviewed for the film. One contribution of Newman, introduced in the 2008 edition of his book Oswald and the CIA and repeated in the first three volumes of his series The Assassination of President Kennedy, is, in his own words:

An essential element of the plot was a psychological operation to raise the specter of WWIII and the death of forty million Americans. This threat of a nuclear holocaust was then used by President Johnson to terrify Chief Justice Earl Warren and some of the other men who served on the Warren Commission to such an extent that they believed there was no alternative to writing a report stating Lee Oswald alone had assassinated the president.[19]

According to that theory, endorsed by DiEugenio in this review,[20] Oswald’s profile as a communist pro-Castro activist was inbuilt in the plan (by none other than James Jesus Angleton), not for the purpose of starting WWIII, but as a national security pretext that Johnson could use to impose the lone-nut theory, lest the discovery of a conspiracy would “kick us into a war that can kill forty million Americans in an hour,” as Johnson kept repeating.[21] One important implication is that “many of the post-assassination lies and cover-ups were carried out by people who had nothing to do with the pre-existing plot to assassinate the president” and who “thought that what they were doing was in the best interests of the country.”[22] This applies to thousands of people from the Dallas Police to TV networks. But can it apply to Johnson himself? Given Johnson’s quick and efficient mastery of this device, it is much more likely that it was fabricated by Angleton specifically for Johnson and with his foreknowledge.

Yet DiEugenio and other authors on his site are dismissive of investigators who incriminate Johnson, and especially of Phillip Nelson, author of LBJ: The Mastermind of JFK’s Assassination. A big book like that (730 pages) is bound to contain some weak arguments, but the reviews in KennedysandKing.com (here and here) do not do justice to the strong evidence accumulated by Nelson that Johnson was actively involved, not just in the cover-up, but in the preparation of the Dallas ambush.[23] (Read Nelson’s response to KennedysandKing.com here). DiEugenio concurs with Douglass that Johnson was unaware of the conspiracy against his president, but “chose to cover-up everything and surrender to Cold War prerogatives.”[24] He assumes that Johnson was a man who had no clear idea of his own in foreign policy and liked to be told what to do. That is at odds with everything we learn from Johnson’s biographers—especially Robert Caro.

From my viewpoint, which differs from Nelson’s, Johnson’s role in the assassination cannot be understood independently from Israel’s—nor can Angleton’s role. Johnson allowed, and probably planned, the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in 1967, and he excused Israel when the operation failed (“Johnson did not break relations with Israel, and there were no trials held over this atrocity,” notes DiEugenio).[25] Not only that, but, as DiEugenio writes in “Nasser, Kennedy, the Middle East, and Israel”:

As Roger Mattson notes in his book on the subject, when the CIA alerted the new president that it appeared that Israel had now developed the atomic bomb, Johnson barely reacted. (Mattson, p. 97) There was no official investigation launched. In fact, Johnson told the CIA not to alert either State or Defense about the discovery.[26]

For those two acts, Johnson qualifies as a traitor to the country he had been sworn to serve. If Johnson was working for someone, it was not for the “Eastern Establishment,” of which he had never been part; it was for Israel. Johnson was the initiator of a pro-Israel policy that Truman, Eisenhower, the Dulles brothers or the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Kennedy would never have imagined in their worst nightmare. It is today widely known that Johnson is the US president who “firmly pointed American policy in a pro-Israel direction.”

Conclusion

In conclusion, I find several logical flaws in DiEugenio’s general theory, the basis for Stone’s documentary:

  1. DiEugenio recognizes that the change of foreign policy from JFK to LBJ was most consequential in the Middle East, yet he blames the CIA and the Pentagon (Dulles and LeMay) for the assassination, although neither the CIA nor the Pentagon ever advocated the pro-Israel policy that Johnson set up. Johnson’s unprecedented support for Israel, to the point of treason, went against the approach advocated by the CIA, the Pentagon or the State Department. But it was the best foreign policy that Ben-Gurion could dream of.
  2. According to DiEugenio and the dominant school, the CIA’s prime motive for eliminating Kennedy would have been to resume their favored foreign policy toward Cuba, which Kennedy had stubbornly opposed. But that didn’t happen after the assassination. Johnson kept Kennedy’s pledge to Khrushchev not to invade Cuba, which Dulles and LeMay considered pure treason.
  3. DiEugenio agrees that Kennedy was intensely worried about nuclear proliferation, and that Israel posed him the most difficult problem. He also knows that Johnson did nothing to stop Israel from going nuclear, and showed neither surprise nor displeasure when told that Israel made its first nuclear bomb in 1968, with bomb-grade uranium stolen from the U.S. Johnson tried to keep it secret—which obviously was what Israel wanted. Yet DiEugenio does not see Dimona as having been a motive in the assassination, and finds no reason to suspect either Israel or Johnson.
  4. DiEugenio believes that JFK’s assassination was a “coup d’État over foreign policy,” and I agree that this is the only way to make sense of it. But the purpose of a coup d’État is to replace one head of state by another. Therefore, it is self-contradictory for DiEugenio to minimize Johnson’s role and motive in the assassination.

Actually, I think DiEugenio’s notion of a “cover-up about JFK’s foreign policy” needs to be qualified. Not all areas of Kennedy’s foreign policy are equally covered up. The three teachers of DiEugenio—Richard Mahoney, Philip Muehlenbeck and Robert Rakove—are published by Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press: not exactly fringe publishers. Rakove and Muehlenbeck are even included in the bibliography of the Wikipedia article on Foreign policy of the John F. Kennedy administration” (so are James Douglass and John M. Newman). This Wikipedia article is quite accurate and detailed, with one exception for the section about “Israel and Arab States”—a fine hasbara job, probably by Bennett Naftali’s army of Zionist Wikipedia editors. See by yourself:

The real “cover-up about JFK’s foreign policy” is the cover-up about JFK’s Israeli policy. According to DiEugenio’s own logic, that points in the direction that DiEugenio is not looking.

Since DiEugenio sees a link between Kennedy’s assassination and his “posthumous assassination”, I also suggest that he gets a clue about Kennedy’s assassins by looking at the political profile of Kennedy’s “posthumous assassins”. The list includes, next to Seymour Hersh, authors who specialize in trashing the Kennedy family, like Ronald Kessler (The Sins of the Father, 1997), Edward Klein (The Kennedy Curse, 2004), or the incomparable C. David Heymann, the Mossad employee (by his own admission)[27] who wrote the salacious Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story (2009). Is there a pattern here?

What about Howard Zinn, Gar Alperovitz, Martin Peretz, and Noam Chomsky, that DiEugenio blames in “The Left and the Death of Kennedy” (1997) for their defense of the Warren Commission report and their participation in the orgy of Kennedy-bashing. Chomsky, whom DiEugenio sees as the most nefarious liar when it comes to Kennedy’s presidency or his assassination (here and here), has nothing in common with Allen Dulles or Curtis LeMay. He is an anti-imperialist, and as such he should make Kennedy his hero, his icon. But Chomsky has another agenda: one of his specialties is blaming America for the crimes of Israel. As for Martin Peretz, DiEugenio writes that his New Republic buried Kennedy’s death in 1979, then “tried to bury his life.”

It actually made a feature article out of a review of the tawdry Horowitz-Collier family biography The Kennedys. Who did that publication find suitable to review this National Enquirer version of the Kennedy clan? None other than Midge Decter, wife of neo-conservative godfather Norman Podhoretz, mother-in-law of Elliot Abrams.

The Podhoretzs are not Eastern Establishment, but they hate the Kennedys. Their hatred is transgenerational and inextinguishable. If you doubt it, read the piece below, written by Norman’s son a week after the tragic death of John F. Kennedy Jr. The author imagines Satan—or is it Yahweh?—teasing Joe Kennedy in hell and bragging to have killed his grandson—a particularly heinous version of the “Kennedy curse”.

Perhaps DiEugenio should give more serious consideration to the “who” and the “why” of Kennedy’s “posthumous assassination”. But that would take him on the road less traveled, a dangerous path—some say suicidal.

Strangely, though, many other well-trodden roads seem to now converge on the Israeli trail:

  • Investigators tracking Johnson end up finding a snake pit of sayanim in his White House, as did Phillip Nelson in his second and third books (LBJ: From Mastermind to “The Colossus” and Remember the Liberty).
  • Jefferson Morley, investigating Angleton, saw him in cahoots with the cream of the Mossad, who considered him “the biggest Zionist of the lot,” while Robert Amory, head of the CIA Directorate of Intelligence, called him a “co-opted Israeli agent” to his face.
  • David Talbot concludes that RFK was assassinated by the same cabal as his brother, who now used for a patsy an anti-Zionist Palestinian, thereby presenting RFK’s assassination as motivated by “a visceral, irrational hatred of Israel” (but Talbot sees no Israeli fingerprint in there—another case of cognitive inhibition).
  • No one investigating Jacob Rubenstein, known as Jack Ruby, can now ignore his work for the Irgun as a “gangster for Zion” and his repeated declarations that “I did it for the Jews”.[28]
  • Clay Shaw, the only person (beside Oswald) to have been charged with having participated in the assassination, has been found a board member of Permindex, “a Mossad arms trading and money laundering venture” chaired by Louis Bloomfield, a devoted supporter of the Israeli cause and of the Mossad, as shown by Michael Collins Piper.[29]
  • The word is out that Arlen “Magic Bullet” Specter was a dedicated Israel-firster, honored by the Israeli government as “an unswerving defender of the Jewish State,” and by AIPAC, as “a leading architect of the congressional bond between our country and Israel”.[30]
  • It can’t be ignored that Abraham Zapruder, the man whose camera didn’t shiver when Kennedy’s head exploded, had his business office in one of the snipers’ nests, the Dal Tex Building overlooking Dealey Plaza, owned by B’nai B’rith financier David Weisblat.[31]
  • Investigators interested in George DeMohrenschildt cannot fail to learn that, before being found dead with a bullet in his head, he had complained that “the Jewish mafia” was out to get him.[32]

And of course, we must add to the equation Israel’s criminal record for the last sixty years. Thanks to Ronen Bergman, author of Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations, we know that Israeli secret services has never had any inhibition against eliminating anyone perceived as a threat to Israel’s national security, especially when it comes to Israel’s nuclear hegemony in the Middle East. Bergman learned from the assassins themselves because, he writes, “acts that people in other countries might be ashamed to admit to are instead a source of pride for Israelis.”[33]

We now know so much more than Stone and DiEugenio could know when they first got involved in Kennedy assassination research. But those who understood Israel’s power back then already had a clue. In March 1992, commenting critically on Stone’s motion picture JFK, American Congressman Paul Findley noted in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs:

It is interesting — but not surprising — to note that in all the words written and uttered about the Kennedy assassination, Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad, has never been mentioned. … on this question, as on almost all others, American reporters and commentators cannot bring themselves to cast Israel in an unfavorable light — despite the obvious fact that Mossad complicity is as plausible as any of the other theories.

Three years later, Mike Piper filled the gap with Final Judgment: The Missing Link in the JFK Assassination Conspiracy (expanded through five editions until 2005). His work has been ignored by most investigators, but in 2013, historian Martin Sandler (listen to him here) mentioned it in his precious edition of The Letters of John F. Kennedy, to introduce Kennedy’s letter to David Ben-Gurion dated May 18, 1963:

author Michael Collins Piper actually accused Israel of the crime. Of all the conspiracy theories, it remains one of the most intriguing. What is indisputable is that although it was kept out of the eye of both the press and the public, a bitter dispute had developed between Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion, who believed that his nation’s survival depended on its attaining nuclear capability, and Kennedy, who was vehemently opposed to it.[34]

In his previous letter to Kennedy, dated May 12, Ben-Gurion had assured Kennedy that the Egyptians “want to follow the Nazi example,” and begged: “Mr. President, my people have the right to exist… and this existence is in danger.”[35] He also made a bizarre digression about Jordanian King Hussein: “there is always a danger that one single bullet might put an end to his life and regime.”[36]

Notes

[1] DiEugenio, “Dodd and Dulles vs. Kennedy in Africa,” 15 February 1999, last modified 16 October 2016, www.kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-articles/dodd-and-dulles-vs-kennedy-in-africa

[2] “DiEugenio at the VMI seminar,” 16 September 2017, www.kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-articles/jim-dieugenio-at-the-vmi-seminar

[3] DiEugenio, “Introduction to JFK’s Foreign Policy: A Motive for Murder,” 22 December 2014, www.kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-articles/introduction-to-jfk-s-foreign-policy-a-motive-for-murder

[4] “DiEugenio at the VMI seminar, 16 September 2017, www.kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-articles/jim-dieugenio-at-the-vmi-seminar

[5] James Norwood, “Edmund Gullion, JFK, and the Shaping of a Foreign Policy in Vietnam,” 8 May 2018, www.kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-articles/edmund-gullion-jfk-and-the-shaping-of-a-foreign-policy-in-vietnam

[6] James Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, Touchstone, 2008, pp. 107, 102.

[7] Quoted in “DiEugenio at the VMI seminar,” 16 September 2017, www.kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-articles/jim-dieugenio-at-the-vmi-seminar

[8] DiEugenio, “Deconstructing JFK: A Coup d’État over Foreign Policy?” January 14, 2021, covertactionmagazine.com/2021/01/14/deconstructing-jfk-a-coup-detat-over-foreign-policy/

[9] DiEugenio, “Deconstructing JFK: A Coup d’État over Foreign Policy?” January 14, 2021, covertactionmagazine.com/2021/01/14/deconstructing-jfk-a-coup-detat-over-foreign-policy/

[10] DiEugenio, “Nasser, Kennedy, the Middle East, and Israel,” 22 October 2020, www.kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-articles/nasser-kennedy-the-middle-east-and-israel

[11] DiEugenio, “Introduction to JFK’s Foreign Policy: A Motive for Murder,” 22 December 2014, www.kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-articles/introduction-to-jfk-s-foreign-policy-a-motive-for-murder

[12] Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1993, pp. 30-33.

[13] David Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest, Random House, 1972, pp. 156-162.

[14] John K. Galbraith, “Exit Strategy – In 1963, JFK ordered a complete withdrawal from Vietnam,” Oct/Nov 2003, www.bostonreview.net/articles/galbraith-exit-strategy-vietnam/

[15] Joan Mellen, Blood in the Water: How the US and Israel Conspired to Ambush the USS Liberty, Prometheus, 2018, p. 32.

[16] Film of De Gaulle’s press conference on fresques.ina.fr/de-gaulle/fiche-media/Gaulle00139/conference-de-presse-du-27-novembre-1967 at 41 min.

[17] Avner Cohen and William Burr,  Concerned About Nuclear Weapons Potential, John F. Kennedy Pushed for Inspection of Israel Nuclear Facilities,” April 21, 2016, nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/nuclear-vault/2016-04-21/concerned-about-nuclear-weapons-potential-john-f-kennedy and  The Battle of the Letters, 1963: John F. Kennedy, David Ben-Gurion, Levi Eshkol, and the U.S. Inspections of Dimona,” May 2, 2019, nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/nuclear-vault/2019-05-02/battle-letters-1963-john-f-kennedy-david-ben-gurion-levi-eshkol-us-inspections-dimona

[18] DiEugenio, “Nasser, Kennedy, the Middle East, and Israel,” 22 October 2020, www.kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-articles/nasser-kennedy-the-middle-east-and-israel For more detail, read DiEugenio’s review of Roger Mattson’s book Stealing the Atom Bomb (2016), “How Israel Stole the Bomb”, September 11, 2016, on consortiumnews.com/2016/09/11/how-israel-stole-the-bomb/ Read also DiEugenio’s review of Monika Wiesak, America’s Last President.

[19] John Newman, Where Angels Tread Lightly: The Assassination of President Kennedy, volume 1, self-published, 2017, p. xx; repeated in vol. 2, Countdown to Darkness, and in vol. 3, Into the Storm.

[20] DiEugenio’s words: « In his new Epilogue for this 2008 edition, Newman explains why only someone who a.) Understood the inner workings of the national security state, and b.) Understood and controlled Oswald’s files, could have masterminded something as superhumanly complex as this scheme. One in which the conspiracy itself actually contained the seeds that would sprout the cover-up » (DiEugenio, “John Newman, Oswald and the CIA (re-issue),” 01 September 2008, on www.kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-reviews/newman-john-oswald-and-the-cia-re-issue

[21] LBJ in a conversation to Senator Richard Russell on November 29, 1963, quoted in Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, op. cit., p. 83.

[22] John Newman, Where Angels Tread Lightly, op. cit., p. xx.

[23] Phillip Nelson, LBJ: The Mastermind of JFK’s Assassination, XLibris, 2010, p. 377-378

[24] Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, op. cit., p. 81.

[25] DiEugenio, “Deconstructing JFK: A Coup d’État over Foreign Policy?” January 14, 2021, covertactionmagazine.com/2021/01/14/deconstructing-jfk-a-coup-detat-over-foreign-policy/

[26] DiEugenio, “Nasser, Kennedy, the Middle East, and Israel,” 22 October 2020, www.kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-articles/nasser-kennedy-the-middle-east-and-israel

[27] “C. David Heymann,” on spartacus-educational.com/JFKheymann.htm

[28] William Kunstler, My Life as a Radical Lawyer, Carol Publishing, 1994, p. 158.

[29] Michael Collins Piper, Final Judgment: The Missing Link in the JFK Assassination Conspiracy, American Free Press, 6th ed., 2005, chapter 15, pp. 247-269.

[30] Natasha Mozgovaya, “Prominent Jewish-American politician Arlen Specter dies at 82,” Haaretz, October 14, 2012, www.haaretz.com/jewish/arlen-specter-dies-at-82-1.5192779.

[31] That shots came from the Dal Tex was suggested by Jim Garrison in his October 1967 Playboy interview, p. 165-166, ia801307.us.archive.org/20/items/JimGarrisonPlayboyInterview/Jim-Garrison-Playboy-Interview.pdf.

[32] Police report on fr.scribd.com/document/258263723/Police-report-on-sucide-of-de-Mohrenschildt; His wife confirmed to Jim Marrs that her husband thought that “the Jewish Mafia and the FBI” were out to get him: Jim Marrs, Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, Carroll and Graf, 1989, p. 285.

[33] Ronen Bergman, Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations, John Murray, 2019, p. xv.

[34] Martin Sandler, The Letters of John F. Kennedy, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013, p. 333. Listen to Sandler here on this topic on www.c-span.org/video/?c4547313/user-clip-jfk-gurion-mossad-dimona

[35] Avner Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, Columbia UP, 1998, pp. 109 and 14.

[36] Quoted in Monika Wiesak, America’s Last President: What the World Lost When It Lost John F. Kennedy, self-published, 2022, p. 214.

January 22, 2023 Posted by | Book Review, Civil Liberties, Film Review, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel approves decision to demolish school in Masafer Yatta

MEMO | January 19, 2023

An Israeli court has approved a decision by Israeli authorities to demolish a school in Al-Ain Al-Baida in Masafer Yatta, based south of Hebron in the Occupied West Bank, reported Wafa news agency.

Head of the Masafer Yatta Village Council, Nidal Younis, told Wafa that an Israeli court revoked a previous injunction issued against the demolition of the school and gave the Israeli Occupation army 10 days to destroy it.

He noted that the school was built last year with funding from the European Union, which 50 students from local Bedouin communities attend.

On 4 May 2022, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled that there were no legal barriers to the planned expulsion of Palestinian residents from Masafer Yatta to make way for military training.

The UN OCHA said then that this ruling “effectively placed the residents at imminent risk of forced evictions, arbitrary displacement and forcible transfer.”

According to the UN OCHA, in the 1980s, the Israeli Occupation designated part of Masafer Yatta as ‘Firing Zone 918’ and declared it a closed military zone.

Since this declaration, indigenous Palestinian residents have been at risk of forced eviction, demolition and forcible transfer. The two villages of Khirbet Sarura and Kharoubeh no longer exist after their homes were demolished.

“Approximately 20 per cent of the West Bank has been designated as ‘Firing Zones’, affecting over 5,000 Palestinians from 38 communities,” the UN OCHA said.

It added: “Currently, Masafer Yatta is home to 215 Palestinian households, including about 1,150 people, of which 569 are children.”

In an effort to force Palestinians out of the area, the Israeli Occupation has deprived residents of access to basic amenities, including drainage and permission to construct to meet the needs of the growing population.

January 19, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

The content of AIPAC’s recent Political Leadership Forum was largely concealed from the public

By Kathryn Shihadah | If Americans Knew | January 19, 2023

The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) brought together last week 1,000 top political leaders to discuss the new political reality the pro-Israel lobby faces following the swearing-in of Israel’s new, extremist government, and to “strategize for the 2024 election cycle.”

The conference was closed to journalists, and only excerpts of some speeches have been released. Speakers included Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu (via video call) on Monday, and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (in person) on Tuesday. Below is a partial summary of their remarks.

Normalization

PM Netanyahu addressed, among other topics, his hope to see the Trump-era Abraham Accords expand to include more Arab nations (read about the Abraham Accords here). According to the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, he is optimistic because many Arab leaders have changed their perception of Israel and now see it as a partner rather than an enemy.”

Secretary Austin likewise stated his eagerness to “deepen and broaden the Abraham Accords and to forge other normalization agreements.”

Both men overlooked the fact that in a recent UN meeting, all of the Abraham Accords signatories (United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco) – as well as every other Arab country – had voted against Israel on a resolution calling for the International Court of Justice to weigh in on the occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Iran

The Israeli Prime Minister made reference to Iran, which is under worldwide scrutiny at the moment for its brutal suppression of human rights protest. Netanyahu labeled Iran “a terrible regime, depressive and terroristic.”

The US Secretary of Defense similarly stressed Iran’s oppression: “The regime has killed, and beaten, and jailed its own citizens for daring to speak out against its repressive rule,” adding, “we’re working closely with Israel and our allies and partners to impose coordinated pressure on the Iranian regime.”

Neither of the speakers acknowledged Israel’s own brutal suppression of Palestinian protesters and resistors (for  examples, go here). United Nations data shows that in 2022, Israeli troops killed over 150 Palestinians in the West Bank alone (almost 50 in Gaza) – more than any other year since the UN started keeping track.

So far in 2023, at least 14 Palestinians have been killed already. Thousands more are held in prison or administrative detention without charge or trial – and many prisoners are tortured.

“Democracy”

AIPAC issued a statement in late December, immediately after the new Israeli government had been formed, congratulating the state and its new prime minister, adding, “Once again, the Jewish state has demonstrated that it is a robust democracy with the freedoms that Americans also cherish.”

Within a few days after forming the new government in December, PM Netanyahu tweeted the coalition’s intentions – which exclude any language about democracy:

“These are the basic guidelines of the national government headed by me: The Jewish people have an exclusive and unquestionable right to all areas of the Land of Israel. The government will promote and develop settlement in all parts of the Land of Israel – in the Galilee, the Negev, the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria.”

(Note: “the Galilee” is part of the current state of Israel, but less than half of the population is Jewish; “the Golan Heights” and “Judea and Samaria” refer to lands belonging to Syria and Palestine, respectively; the internationally recognized name of “Judea and Samaria” is Occupied Palestinian Territory. 20% of the citizens of Israel and roughly 50% of the population over which Israel exercises control are Palestinian Arabs, largely Muslim and Christian.)

Rather than responding to Netanyahu’s blunt assertion, US Secretary of Defense Austin quoted a statement the Prime Minister had made back in November:”[We] will work for the benefit of all residents of the state of Israel, without exception” – a promise that preceded the formation of a government coalition that included some of the most extremist members in recent memory.

Notably, Israel has defied international law and the demands of the global community since the country’s inception – including its constant drive to build illegal settlements on Palestinian land and transfer Jewish Israeli citizens to that land.

American money for Israel

Austin went on to list the financial perks that the US is providing to Israel, including $3.8 billion annually in military aid (“the highest it’s ever been”). (Note: Congress spends another $3 billion a year on projects that benefit Israel, for a total of about $7 billion a year – $20 million a day.)

While some Congress members have pressed to block aid to Israel while it is in defiance of international (and US) law, the effort has gained little traction.

Full article

January 19, 2023 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments

It has always been a ‘Religious War’: On Ben-Gvir and the adaptability of Zionism

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | January 17, 2023

In a self-congratulatory article published in the Atlantic in 2017, Yossi Klein Halevi describes Israeli behaviour at the just-conquered holy Muslim shrines in Occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 as “an astonishing moment of religious restraint”.

“The Jewish people had just returned to its holiest site, from which it had been denied access for centuries, only to effectively yield sovereignty at its moment of triumph,” Halevi wrote with a lingering sense of pride, as if the world owes Israel a ton of gratitude in the way it conducted itself during one of the most egregious acts of violence in the modern history of the Middle East.

Halevi’s pompous discourse on Israel’s heightened sense of morality – compared to, according to his own analysis, the lack of Arab appreciation of Israel’s overtures and refusal to engage in peace talks – is not in any way unique. His is the same language recycled umpteen times by all Zionists, even by those who advocated for a Jewish state before it was established on the ruins of destroyed and ethnically cleansed Palestine.

From its nascent beginnings, the Zionist discourse was purposely confusing – disarranging history when necessary, and fabricating it when convenient. Though the resultant narrative on Israel’s inception and continuation as an exclusively Jewish state may appear confounding to honest readers of history, for Israel’s supporters – and certainly for the Zionists themselves – Israel, as an idea, makes perfect sense.

When Israel’s new National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir raided Al-Aqsa Mosque on 3 January to re-introduce himself to Jewish extremists as the new face of Israeli politics, he was also taking the first steps in correcting, in his own perception, a historical injustice.

Like Halevi, and, in fact, most of Israel’s political classes, let alone mainstream intellectuals, Ben-Gvir believes in the significance of Jerusalem and its holy shrines to the very future of their Jewish state. However, despite the general agreement on the power of the religious narrative in Israel, there are also marked differences.

What Halevi was bragging about in his piece in the Atlantic is this: soon after soldiers raised the Israeli flag, garnished with the Star of David, atop the Dome of the Rock they were ordered to take it down. They did so, supposedly, at the behest of then-Defence Minister Moshe Dayan, quoted in the piece as saying to the army unit commander: “Do you want to set the Middle East on fire?”

Eventually, Israel conquered all of Jerusalem. Since then, it has also done everything in its power to ethnically cleanse the city’s Palestinian Muslim and Christian inhabitants to ensure an absolute Jewish majority. What is taking place in Sheikh Jarrah and other Palestinian neighbourhoods in Jerusalem is but a continuation of this old, sad episode.

However, the Haram Al-Sharif Compound – where Al-Aqsa Mosque, Dome of the Rock and other Muslim shrines are located – was nominally administered by the Islamic Waqf authorities. By doing so, Israel managed to enforce the inaccurate notion that religious freedom is still respected in Jerusalem even after Israel’s so-called ‘unification’ of the city, which will remain, according to Israel’s official discourse, the “united, eternal capital of the Jewish people”.

The reality on the ground, however, has been largely dictated by the Ben-Gvirs of Israel who, for decades, have laboured to erase the Muslim and Christian history, identity and, at times, even their ancient graveyards from the Occupied city. Al-Haram Al-Sharif is hardly a religious oasis for Muslims but the site of daily protests, whereby Israeli soldiers and Jewish extremists routinely storm the holy shrines, leaving behind broken bones, blood and tears.

Despite American support of Israel, the international community has never accepted Israel’s version of falsified history. Though the Jewish spiritual connection to the city is always acknowledged – in fact, it has been respected by Arabs and Muslims since Caliph Umar ibn Al-Khattab entered the city in 638 – Israel has been reminded by the United Nations, time and again, regarding the illegality of its Occupation and all related actions it carried out in the city since June of 1967.

But Ben-Gvir and his Otzma Yehudit Party, like all of Israel’s major political forces, care little for international law, authentic history or Palestinians’ rights. However, their main point of contention regarding the proper course of action in Al-Aqsa is mostly internal. There are those who want to speed up the process of fully claiming Al-Aqsa as a Jewish site, and those who believe that such a move is untimely and, for now, unstrategic.

The former group, however, is winning the debate. Long marginalised at the periphery of Israeli politics, Israel’s religious parties are now inching closer to the centre, which is affecting Israel’s priorities on how best to defeat the Palestinians.

Typical analyses attribute the rise of Israel’s religious constituencies to the desperation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is arguably using the likes of Ben-Gvir, Bezalel Smotrich and Aryeh Deri to stay in office. However, this assessment does not tell the whole story, as the power of religious parties has long preceded Netanyahu’s political and legal woes. The Zionist discourse has, itself, been shifting towards religious Zionism; this can be easily observed in the growing religious sentiment in Israel’s judicial system, among the rank and file of the army, in the Knesset (Parliament) and, more recently, in the government itself.

These ideological shifts have even led some to argue that Ben-Gvir and his supporters are angling for a ‘religious war’. But is Ben-Gvir the one introducing religious war to the Zionist discourse?

In truth, early Zionists have never tried to mask the religious identity of their colonial project. “Zionism aims at establishing for the Jewish people a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine,” the Basel Program, adopted by the First Zionist Congress in 1897, stated. Little has changed since then. Israel is “the national state, not of all its citizens, but only of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said in March 2019.

So, if Israel’s founding ideology, political discourse, Jewish Nation State Law, every war, illegal settlement, bypass road and even the very Israeli flag and national anthem were all directly linked or appealed to religion and religious sentiments, then it is safe to argue that Israel has been engaged in a religious war against Palestinians since its inception.

The Zionists, whether ‘political Zionists’ like Theodore Hertzl or ‘Spiritual Zionists’ like Ahad Ha’am’ – and now Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir – have all used the Jewish religion to achieve the same end, colonising all historic Palestine and ethnically cleansing its native population. Sadly, a major part of this sinister mission has been achieved, though Palestinians continue to resist with the same ferocity of their ancestors.

The historic truth is that Ben-Gvir’s behaviour is only a natural outcome of Zionist thinking, formulated over a century ago. Indeed, for Zionists – religious, secular or, even atheists – the war has always been or, more accurately, had to be, a religious one.

January 17, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | 2 Comments

Nasrallah: The new Netanyahu government will hasten Israel’s demise

Speech of Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, on January 3, 2023, during the commemoration of the third anniversary of the assassination of Commanders Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Source : video.moqawama.org
Translation: resistancenews.org

Transcript:

[…] I want to conclude on two points. The first point will be to address a message to the new Israeli government, and the second point concerns the presidential elections and the political situation in Lebanon.

First of all, this new government… Of course, we already have many years of experience with Netanyahu. If someone wants to scare us with Netanyahu, with the new (Israeli) Minister of War [Yoav Galant] or with anyone else, (he is wasting his time because) we have already dealt with them in the previous years. Yes, there is something new, namely that this government is a mixture of corrupt people – some of whom have been tried and sentenced to prison for corruption charges – and madmen and extremists, which is new. This level of transparency (in corruption and in fanaticism) is something new. So we are facing a government of corrupt, criminal and extremist fanatics. Of course, such a government does not scare us, and never such governments have been able to scare us in any way.

And more than that, we can even be optimistic about it, contrary to what most (analysts) say: when a new government is composed of corrupt and crazy people, with the grace of God, it will only accelerate the end of this temporary entity. These madmen, whom we have seen for a few days, and until this morning, (desecrate) the Al-Aqsa mosque in the early morning, their Minister of National Security (Ben Gvir), this administration, with the grace of God, will accelerate (the demise of Israel).

As you know, we have spoken many times about the internal dangers within the Israelis (themselves), the sharp divisions (of their society and elites), the lack of trust in the political and military leadership, and even in the religious authorities, the growing corruption, etc., up to the prevalent anxiety in Israel as to whether this entity will exceed 80 years of existence or not [never in history has a Jewish state exceeded 80 years], with the grace of God the Most High and Exalted, and by the grace of this new government composed of madmen, it will accelerate the end of this entity, through mistakes and stupid acts that could drag them to the bottom of the abyss. This is how we see things. In no way does the situation frighten us, on the contrary: we see a great hope in this evil (government). That’s the first point.

Second point, of course, these madmen and fanatics… Their first aim is internal, and concerns Palestine: the colonization of the West Bank, the question of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem). What happened today (desecration of the Al-Aqsa mosque by the new Minister of National Security), and the Palestinian stances as well as the reactions of some Arab and Muslim States and groups in the world confirm that these people are pushing for a (very) dangerous situation. I would like tonight to add the voice of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon (Hezbollah) to that of all the Resistance organizations in Palestine and declare this: desecrating Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Muslim and Christian holy places in Palestine and Bayt al-Maqdis in particular, on the part of these Zionists, will not only explode the situation inside Palestine, but can put the whole region on fire (by triggering a massive counter-strike against Israel). Our peoples will not tolerate such aggression by these madmen against the Muslim and Christian holy places. We have said this before, and we confirm it again. And we declare to all the countries of the world, and (especially) to those who protect this usurping entity, that if you want to avoid a second war in the Middle East in addition to the war in Ukraine, you must keep a tight rein on these extremist and fanatical madmen.

As for the rules of engagement with this new government, as I said, we already have experience with Netanyahu, there is nothing new, but also, since there is a new government, we reaffirm to them that we are alert, vigilant and ready (for anything), and that we will not tolerate any change in the rules of engagement and the balance of deterrence (between Israel and) Lebanon, whatever it may be. Let no one get any ideas or illusions. In any case, they could see a few months ago that we were ready, during the dispute over the maritime border and oil and gas resources, to go as far as possible in the confrontation (up to an all-out war) against this enemy (Israel). And they knew with certainty that we were ready for that (and that we were not bluffing). That is why we will not tolerate any alteration of the rules of engagement (between Hezbollah and Israel), nor any violation of Lebanon’s security, its capabilities or its sovereignty.

See Nasrallah: If Lebanon is denied its oil and gas resources, we will shut down all Israeli platforms

Likewise, we stress the importance for the Lebanese government to pursue its efforts to launch the extraction of (Lebanese) oil and gas. Some feared that Netanyahu’s rise to power would end the border agreement between Lebanon and Israel, but he announced that he would abide by it. The signs from the companies involved (Total, etc.) give cause for optimism. So we are not at all worried on that side.

In truth, with this government, our eyes must rather be turned towards the interior of occupied Palestine, towards Al-Quds (Jerusalem), towards the West Bank, and towards the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the first place. […]

January 16, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel occupation forces bulldoze Greek Orthodox land in occupied Jerusalem

MEMO | January 16, 2023

The Israeli occupation authorities yesterday started to bulldoze a 5,000 square metre plot of land owned by the Greek Orthodox Church in occupied Jerusalem’s Silwan neighbourhood, the Wadi Hilweh Information Centre has reported. The operators of the bulldozers were protected by a large number of Israeli occupation security forces and police.

According to the centre, the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority as well as settler organisations commissioned the bulldozers to uproot fruit-bearing trees and level the land. Illegal settlers and police seized the land on 22 December. The Jewish settlers fenced it off and installed surveillance cameras under police protection.

When Silwan residents rushed to the scene to stop the land theft, they were assaulted by security forces, said the centre, which monitors Israeli violations in the area. The land is owned by the Greek Orthodox Monastery in Silwan, which is part of the city’s Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.

Silwan is home to more than 60,000 Palestinians and is located strategically to the south of Al-Aqsa Mosque. The area has been the target of Israeli settler expansion for years, with hundreds of Palestinian families facing the threat of expulsion, either through lawsuits by powerful settler groups or administrative eviction orders by the Israeli-run Jerusalem municipality.

Middle East Eye has reported that the Greek Orthodox Church has been criticised heavily by Palestinian groups for its dealings with settlers and allegations of bribery and fraud. In 1951, church-owned land in West Jerusalem was rented to the Jewish National Fund for a period of 99 years. Today, the land houses most Israeli state institutions, including Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.

January 16, 2023 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | 1 Comment

China urges Israel to stop ‘incitement’ to avoid escalation

MEMO | January 16, 2023

China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Qin Gang, urged Israel on Sunday to stop its “incitement” in order to avoid escalation with the Palestinians, news agencies have reported.

In a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Cairo, the Chinese minister called on Israel to “stop incitements and provocations, and to refrain from taking uniliteral actions that could worsen the situation.”

Referring to the recent provocative incursion at Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israel’s far-right Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Qin Gang reiterated the importance of “maintaining the status quo” in Jerusalem.

He also reiterated China’s longstanding position on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the “the two-state-solution and the land-for-peace principle.” The international community, he added, should find a “just” solution for the Palestinian people through a return to the negotiation table and resumption of the peace process.

January 16, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment