Category Archives: Israel

Cameron Ennobles Director of British Israel Lobby, 100,000 British Citizens Demand Netanyahu’s Arrest for War Crimes

Israeli Genocide and its Willing Accomplices

By James Petras

August 12, 2014 “ICH” – Outside of Israel and its organized supporters in the major Zionist organizations, world public opinion and most experts in international law see the Jewish State’s invasion of Gaza and its systematic attack on civilians and basic infrastructure as a crime against humanity.

The purpose of this essay is 4-fold: 1. To identify the nature of the crime – the genocidal character of the armed assault and the sequence leading up to it; 2. To identify the direct perpetrators of the war crimes and their domestic and international accomplices; 3. To explain the ties binding leaders, policymakers, propagandists, accomplices and followers, including their ideologies, material interests and organizational structure which make these crimes not only possible, but met so far with impunity and 4. To identify the larger imperial interests with which Israel allies with the US, and in pursuit of which, the Gaza assault is a horrifying dress rehearsal.

The ‘Morality’ of Prison Guards in a Genocidal State

Policymakers in the genocidal state run a highly militarized society where citizens and soldiers, criminals and professionals, torturers and sociopaths can and do coexist within the same person. Cold rationality is harnessed to mass murder, technology to massive devastation, language to euphemisms, and executioners parade themselves as victims (and vice versa). Moral precepts become debased and supplanted by the ethics of mass murder. Moralists, rabbis, and ethical philosophers all join to bless the bombs dropped on hospitals and schools and homes and all living things – even the dead and buried do not rest in peace when the cemeteries are bombed.

Rulers, imbued with a genocidal vision, see only military objectives – an oppressed people do not exist – all human existence and institutions in the target areas are to be demolished. The destruction of human life, of Palestinian daily existence has become the ultimate goal of this obscene operation.

The practical decision to exterminate Palestinians was conscious, planned, and pursued with implacable resolve at the very top and carried out with savage enthusiasm by Israel’s ‘citizen army’.

The unfolding of this deadly plan began with what appeared a ‘generous’ peace offer. In 2004, Israel’s war criminal Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon ‘granted’ the Palestinians self-government in Gaza and in August 2005 withdrew a few thousand Jewish settlers and their Israeli ground troops. The consequence of this benevolence: Over 1.4 million Palestinians were to be locked and crowded into the most densely open air prison in the world: the largest ghetto in history. This was a sickening reminder of the Nazi roundup of Polish Jews herding them into the Warsaw ghetto, where they too were granted ‘self-government’. Once the Jewish settlers were removed (and paid up to $300,000 per family ‘compensation’), Israel’s military closed all of Gaza’s entrances and exits. Land, sea, and airspace were blockaded and total control imposed on the entry of food, medicine, school books and the exit of Palestinians for medical treatment, university studies, normal travel, and commerce of any kind. This mirrored the Nazi policy toward those trapped in the Warsaw ghetto. Palestinian farmers were shot tending their fields, acts of brutality reminiscent of the Nazi starvation blockade of Leningrad. And the world was appalled!

Gaza and the Ghetto were first set up to be open-air prison camps — temporary measures to mask the real plans. Gaza’s young population had grown to over 1.8 million entrapped human beings by 2014. Obviously, if the Gazans could not travel, farm, fish and trade by normal means, they would dig tunnels for supplies and fight against their relegation to the status of caged animals by the Israeli state. The next steps after the successful enclosure would be systematic and pre-meditated: the Zionists, like the Nazis, launched total war against the inevitable acts of resistance by the oppressed. They sent planes, tanks, missiles, and bombs to level populated areas, especially neighborhoods where young fighters rose up to resist this unendurable cruelty. The heroic young fighters of Gaza, like their Warsaw predecessors, resisted their totalitarian enemies time and again. Meanwhile, the vast majority of Israeli Jews cheered the devastation while claiming to be the victims and young overseas Jews volunteered to join the IDF in its slaughter of the Palestinians, just as the German population celebrated, along with the overseas German Bund, their leaders’ totalitarian crimes. Their responses were almost identical although in different times and places: Chosen People and Aryans of the world have united against what they both termed ‘terrorists’ claiming their tunnels will become their graves!

In line with this super race mythology, Israel’s killing machine is really most effective at murdering unarmed civilians — invalids who cannot run, doctors who stay to care for the wounded, and mothers and children in their flimsy shelters — and rather pathetic when it confronts face to face determined armed resistance fighters. As of 6 August 2014, the Israeli Air Force, Navy, and artillery slaughtered 1,594 Palestinian civilians — via long distance high tech warfare — compared to 3 civilians in Israel (one Bedouin, one Thai farm worker and an Israeli Jew), a mind-boggling ratio of over 1,500 Palestinian civilians to one of the ‘Chosen’. But when it came to ‘ground fighting’, 64 Israeli soldiers were killed compared to 281 Palestinian partisans, a 4.4 to 1 ratio. Despite all the Israeli air cover support and high tech protective gear, the Israelis took heavy military casualties when their invasion came down to a more level fighting field where poorly equipped partisans are willing to die for their homes and liberation.

The War Criminals: Who are They and What are their Crimes

Clearly the commanding officers of the Israeli armed forces, the self-styled Israel Defense Forces, who are responsible for the systematic land, aerial, and maritime attacks on civilians, hospitals, schools, refugee sanctuaries are first in line for the war crimes docket. They should be joined by Israeli military strategists and policy makers who systematically and criminally targeted homes, neighborhoods, water purification and sewage plants, electrical grids and power plants in a deliberate planned effort to destroy any possibility of normal daily existence for almost 2 million Palestinians. They have committed grave Crimes against Humanity, according to the Geneva Conventions and legal standards established at Nuremberg. There is eye-witness testimony and documentation showing middle and lower rank soldiers engaged in wanton shootings of school children, shoppers, and mothers with babies fleeing combat zones. War crimes prosecutions cannot be confined merely to a few dozen senior officers – these crimes were committed at all levels of the IDF.

Political leaders and policymakers, starting with Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and his Cabinet, leading Party and Knesset members, who were the prime movers in launching the blitz against Gaza and justified the massive civilian killings, clearly should be at the center of any International War Crimes Tribunal.

But what about the Israeli public, the great mass of Israeli Jews, who view themselves as morally above world public opinion despite a near-universal revulsion over Israel’s crimes? More than 90% of Israeli Jews gave unstinting support to the ongoing blood bath, knowing, indeed cheering daily from grandstands erected on hills overlooking Gaza, the criminal consequences of their support – they also are an essential part of this criminal enterprise. They celebrated the carnage and they violently attacked the few Israelis who openly questioned this ‘war’. Israelis have no claim to ‘innocent ignorance’; they cannot call this a “tragic conflict between two peoples”. No Israeli can absolve himself by claiming ignorance of the nature of the crimes committed in their name – nor do they want to claim ignorance! The majority of informed Israeli Jews demanded this war from the beginning, many joining racist marches with banners and chants demanding ‘Death to Arabs’! They wear their endorsement of the Gaza holocaust as a badge of honor. Ninety percent of the Jewish citizens in Israel rejected any humanitarian ceasefire: Newspaper columnists and the vast majority of letter writers in the daily press argued openly for extermination! Self-declared war criminals are feted as Israeli heroes by their overseas brethren who hasten to endorse or even join the slaughter. Gidon Levy, Haaretz’s lonely dissident journalist, is spat upon in all the fashionable cafes and has to take his coffee at home now.

What can be said about the ‘moralists’, the famous chief rabbis, who have no qualms in piously urging on the mass slaughter: is there a High Court of Religious Authority to hold these “holy men” accountable for their incitement of war crimes? What about the worldwide network of international Zionist organizations who secure billions of dollars of the murderous arms shipments from the corrupt and craven US Congress and Executive? Are they not accomplices to genocide before and after the fact?

However, it is a blatant, conscious lie and fabrication to claim, like some phony critics on the ‘Left’, that ‘America shares responsibility’ for the Israel’s crimes against Gaza. Who asked the American people to endorse this slaughter? When did the American people organize a “lobby” to buy Congressional votes? Did the American people organize multi-million dollar fundraisers at the luxurious Waldorf-Astoria where Republican and Democratic elected leaders pledged to give an additional $225 million dollars in missiles and tanks to Israel, to resupply its arsenal used up in razing thousands of homes and obliterating entire families in Gaza? Any serious researcher, who has looked at American domestic politics, knows that the Presidents of the 52 Major American (sic) Jewish Organizations are complicit in Israel’s terror bombings of Gaza. And polls show that a majority of young Americans sympathize with the rights of the Palestinians…

Is there any clause in the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal proceedings which can bring charges against the overseas accomplices to war crimes? What about prominent leftist academics and ‘progressive’ journalists who cover-up for the overseas accomplices by falsely accusing “America” (and implying the American people) in this slaughter?

The Ties that Bind

We have identified a chain linking Israel’s political elite, military command and the mass of the Israeli public directly to war crimes and genocide with the active material complicity of overseas Zionist organizations. They act as one cohesive force plunging forward into the blood and gore of total war against the Palestinians – the original inhabitants and rightful owners of what is now called ‘Israel’.

The question arises: What unites them in this horrible undertaking? What moral blindness so afflicts them that they ignore the bookshelves cluttered with the writings and humanist teachings of Spinoza, Kant, Babel, or Buber? Are these tribal loyalties derived from Old Testament tales of vengeance and infanticide? Are these expressions of an ethno-religious fanaticism linked to the quest for a regional empire and plunder?

Racist ideology and its virulent expression both from high office and the “Jewish Street” are wide-spread and open. Degrading Palestinians, while claiming to be a superior race above the laws of the rest of the world, serves to justify all crimes against the people of Gaza. Near and far, this expression of “collective Jewish identity and solidarity”, based on ethnic-religious superiority always threatened by hostile, inferior ‘native’ people, accounts for the unflinching support by top Hollywood moguls, Ivy League professors, French intellectuals, British peers and prominent investment Wall Street bankers.

Ideological affinities and ethno-religious loyalties aside, many Israeli Jews also have a major, material stake in robbing and expelling the people of Palestine: Seized Palestinian lands result in new cheap subsidized housing, swimming pools for Jews only, developments on lands where olive groves once flourished and extended families had lived and died. Middle and working class Jews obtain free housing; real estate speculators seize choice ocean front properties for luxury condos and tourist destinations. Building contractors secure lucrative construction contracts from the state. Pillage forms an important material basis for Israel’s high standard of living, many times higher than that of Palestinians, much higher that that of Israel’s non-Jewish population and higher even than the Americans who have been forced to subsidize the ‘Jewish State’ for almost 50 years.

Equally important, Israel’s assault on Gaza serves as a testing ground for its weapons of mass destruction and its anti-missile Dome. In this regard, the slaughter in Gaza serves as a dress rehearsal (and a graphic warning) for new wars across the region in association with the US and its clients. NSA analyst Edward Snowden’s latest documents reveal that Israel works in tandem with the US throughout North Africa, the Middle East, The Persian Gulf, South Asia and Islamic countries in choosing targets and making war plans. Greater Israel is no longer the crackpot dream of Jewish visionaries: it is underway and its bloody beginnings in Gaza foreshadow bigger and bloodier wars against humanity in the future.

Conclusion

Israel’s total war against Gaza has provoked condemnation from millions of people around the world, greater outrage at their crimes against humanity, and calls for an international war crimes tribunal. If such a tribunal were to be convoked, the question arises of how wide the net should be cast – where to draw the line between leaders, soldiers, masses and complicit overseas supporters, all implicated to one degree or another? How many ‘willing accomplices’ to mass murder should be investigated and tried?

The rising horror and indignation has isolated Israel from the greater majority of mankind, including from thousands of Jews — but it has hardened its leaders and aroused its powerful core of influential supporters, especially in the US.

Bitter-enders, in their luxurious suites, are on the counter-offensive. Leading Hollywood producers denounce the morally outraged actors who have dared to criticize Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, labeling them ‘anti-Semites’ and threatening them with a lifetime of blacklists from any further work in ‘film or on stage’. Powerful Zionist organizations, not only secure US opposition to any UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli war crimes, but unanimous (100%) Congressional and White House approval and an ‘emergency allocation’ of over $250 million tax-payer dollars’ to re-supply Israel with the bombs and missiles it had dropped on the people of Gaza. The hardliners, who speak for the Presidents of the 52 Major American Jewish Organizations, have not relented in their support for Israel’s carnage even in the face of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marching around the world to support the rights of the people of Palestine. The hardliners openly flaunt their blind support for Israel’s war crimes. These fanatics are convinced that every critic of Israel’s war crimes, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew or atheist, is an anti-Semite, a pervert or terrorist to be censored or crushed! Inside the Zionist bunker there is an iron-fisted reinforcement of loyalty to Israel, while outside, there is the smooth outpouring of propaganda which minimize Israel’s war crimes and vehement denials of overseas complicity with genocide.

Epilogue: A Dialogue between Zionists

The Right Zionist says to the Left, “Crimes at the service of Greater Israel are virtues.” The Left replies “There are crimes but America is ultimately responsible”.

A shrewd old Zionist observer comments with approval: “It’s our division of labor: the Right Zionists defend Israel, and the Left Zionists confuse its critics.”

James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina, and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books).  He can be reached at:jpetras@binghamton.edu. http://petras.lahaine.org/

Source: ICH

The Crime of Indifference

By Lawrence Davidson
June 30, 2013 “Information Clearing House – Elie Wiesel is a worldwide personality. Through his powerful descriptive writing about the Nazi concentration camps, he has come to personify the suffering of the Holocaust. Among his many insights is the famous observation, “The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.” Wiesel has repeatedly put forth this idea. In a 2011 commencement address at Washington University in St. Louis he told his listeners, “The greatest commandment — to me — in the Bible . . . is ‘Thou shalt not stand idly by.’ Which means when you witness an injustice, don’t stand idly by.” After a Boston lecture in 2012 Wiesel told Boston University students “I think that is the greatest danger, ignorance, which leads to indifference and therefore to detachment. . . .If somebody suffers and I don’t do anything to diminish his or her suffering, something is wrong with me.” 
Unfortunately, Wiesel has identified himself with Zionism and by doing so has inevitably been caught up in contradictions and dilemmas that challenge his reputation as a moral icon. For instance, in May 2010 he made a public appeal to President Obama not to put any pressure on the Israeli government over the issue of Jerusalem even as the Israelis evicted Palestinian residents. In doing so he revealed his own indifference to the real nature of Israeli objectives and behavior. As a result a hundred Israeli intellectuals and activists wrote him a public reply expressing “frustration” and “outrage” at his attitude and actions.
Nonetheless, his comments about indifference and insensitivity are important and insightful and can be used as a standard to judge some of his fellow Zionists, many of whom have been “standing idly by” for decades and thus are examples of Wiesel’s dictum, “if somebody suffers and I don’t do anything to diminish his or her suffering, something is wrong with me.” 
Part II – Israeli Indifference 
Recently there have been several articles calling attention to the fact that, as Uri Avnery puts it, “We [Israelis] have become so accustomed to this situation [an occupation “going on only a few minutes drive from our homes”] that we see it as normal.” Ethan Bronner, the New York Times’ former Jerusalem bureau chief, confirmed this pervasive indifference to the suffering that Israeli policies and discriminatory practices cause. “Few [Israelis] even talk about the Palestinians . . . .Instead of focusing on what has long been seen as their central challenge — how to share this land with another nation — Israelis are largely ignoring it.” 
More specifically they are ignoring such revelations as the fact that since September 2000, when the second Intifada broke out, Israeli forces have killed over 1500 Palestinian children. According to the Middle East Monitor, that means “one child killed by Israel every 3 days for almost 13 years.” In the same time the number of children injured has reached 6000 and the number under the age of 18 arrested is about 9000. The suffering of Palestinians, documented by the United Nations as well as private NGOs such as Human Rights Watch, is ongoing yet apparently unnoticed by the average Israeli. 
Nor is any improvement in the situation likely. While Israelis display indifference to Palestinian suffering, the Israeli government has indicated its intention to keep the regime of suffering going indefinitely. According to Israeli trade minister Naftali Bennett, “a rising star in the Israeli cabinet,” the idea of a Palestinian state is “dead” and Israel should annex large portions of the West Bank. Danny Danon, the deputy defense minister, agrees. “We are a nationalist government, not a government that will establish a Palestinian government in the 1967 lines.” Meanwhile, a significant number of Israelis, whether they think about it or not, are profiting from the expanding, and illegal, occupation of Palestinian land. 
Part III – The Role of Ignorance 
Thus we can ask, using Wiesel’s words, what is wrong with the Israelis that they care little or nothing for the Palestinians’ 65 years of suffering? Wiesel himself has part of the answer when he observes “ignorance . . . leads to indifference and therefore to detachment.” 
Ignorance? Is the average Israeli really ignorant in this matter? At first this assertion appears ridiculous. After all, as Avnery notes, the suffering of the Palestinians is never more than “minutes” from most Israeli backyards, and it now and then violently boomerangs back on Israeli Jews. Nonetheless, a kind of contrived, willful ignorance does come into play. One can be raised in ignorance and educated to a view of history that eliminates others’ suffering as well as one’s role in causing it. Entire populations can be psychologically shaped this way, with those doing the shaping being the truest of the true believers. Such conditioned ignorance lays the foundation for indifference to the fate of others. The Israelis have made an art of this process. 
Yet, this scenario is not original with the Israelis and Zionists. In fact, many Zionists learned how to see the world this way from Americans. Some years back I published a book, America’s Palestine in which this legacy is explored. As it turns out, one of the Zionist themes of the 1920s was that the native Palestinians were the Arab equivalent of hostile American Indians, violently resisting the forces of civilization and modernization. What was the average American’s attitude to the fate of these Indians — to their brutal dispossession and ethic cleansing? It was indifference which has grown greater with time until most Americans do not give the Indians or their fate much thought at all. 
Several years ago, at a debate held at the University of Pennsylvania, I tried to explain this connection to an Israeli vice consul from the Philadelphia consulate and his coterie of Zionist students. I suggested to them that the long-term Zionist strategy was to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians and then count on the world to, over time, get used to and then forget this crime. In a hundred or a hundred and fifty years, who would cry over the Palestinians? About the same number as bemoan the Apache or Cheyenne today? However, I also told them that in our post-imperialist world, this historical scenario was unlikely to repeat itself. The reception to all of this from the Consul and his hangers-on was negative. They walked out. 
Part IV – Conclusion 
The indifference, leading to detachment, that Wiesel so fears can quickly become a habitual part of our lives. After all, so much of our lives are just “a stream of habitual actions” that can be either “rationally useful or irrationally unfit for a given situation.” It is in the latter case that we get into trouble. When Israelis ignore Palestinian suffering they act in a way “irrationally unfit for their given situation” and that means, in Wiesel’s terms, “there is something wrong” with them. As Americans, we should recognize the symptoms, for we too have repeatedly behaved in this fashion. Having modeled this insensitivity for the Zionists, it now stands as a mark of our “special relationship” with the land of Israel. 
Lawrence Davidson was born in 1945 in Philadelphia PA. He grew up in Elizabeth NJ in a secular Jewish household. In 1963 he matriculated at Rutgers University for his BA. At Rutgers, Davidson developed a left leaning activist orientation to the problems facing the US in the 1960s. In 1967 he moved on to Georgetown University for his MA. – www.tothepointanalyses.com/

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U.S. House Passes Bill to Ensure Israel Can Remove Existential "Threats"

By JTA 
June 16, 2013 “Information Clearing House – “Haaretz” – National Defense Authorization Act instructs U.S. to take ‘all necessary steps’ to help Israel defend its vital national interests, among them preventing a nuclear Iran.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a defense authorization bill that would make it U.S. policy to take “all necessary steps” to ensure Israel is able to “remove existential threats,” among them nuclear facilities in Iran.
“It is the policy of the United States to take all necessary steps to ensure that Israel possesses and maintains an independent capability to remove existential threats to its security and defend its vital national interests,” said the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act passed Friday.
The amendment, initiated by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and first reported by Americans for Peace Now weekly legislative roundup, would require the president to report every 90 days on how the policy is being implemented.
That report would identify “all aerial refueling platforms, bunker-buster munitions, and other capabilities and maintenance by Israel of a robust independent capability to remove existential security threats, including nuclear and ballistic missile facilities in Iran, and defend its vital national interests.” 
The language must survive the reconciliation process with the Senate and then be signed by the president in order to become law.
The amendment is similar to a non-binding resolution passed in April in the Senate that urged the president to provide “diplomatic, military, and economic support” to Israel should it be “compelled” to strike Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program.
The House version of the defense authorization act already included a number of Israel-related measures, including tripling Obama’s request for missile defense cooperation funding from $96 million to $284 million.
The whole act passed Friday 315-108 and Roskam’s amendment passed by voice vote.

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Dead In The Water – The Sinking of the USS Liberty

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What was the Israeli Involvement in Collecting U.S. Communications Intel for NSA?

Israeli high-tech firms Verint and Narus have had connections with U.S. companies and Israeli intelligence in the past, and ties between the countries’ intelligence agencies remain strong.
By Haaretz, The Associated Press and Reuters
June 08, 2013 “Information Clearing House – “Haaretz” – Were Israeli companies Verint and Narus the ones that collected information from the U.S. communications network for the National Security Agency?
The question arises amid controversy over revelations that the NSA has been collecting the phone records of hundreds of millions of Americans every day, creating a database through which it can learn whether terror suspects have been in contact with people in the United States. It also was disclosed this week that the NSA has been gathering all internet usage – audio, video, photographs, emails and searches – from nine major U.S. Internet providers, including Microsoft and Google, in hopes of detecting suspicious behavior that begins overseas.
According to an article in the American technology magazine “Wired” from April 2012, two Israeli companies – which the magazine describes as having close connections to the Israeli security community – conduct bugging and wiretapping for the NSA.
Verint, which took over its parent company Comverse Technology earlier this year, is responsible for tapping the communication lines of the American telephone giant Verizon, according to a past Verizon employee sited by James Bamford in Wired. Neither Verint nor Verizon commented on the matter.
Natus, which was acquired in 2010 by the American company Boeing, supplied the software and hardware used at AT&T wiretapping rooms, according to whistleblower Mark Klein, who revealed the information in 2004. Klein, a past technician at AT&T who filed a suit against the company for spying on its customers, revealed a “secret room” in the company’s San Fransisco office, where the NSA collected data on American citizens’ telephone calls and Internet surfing.
Klein’s claims were reinforced by former NSA employee Thomas Drake who testified that the agency uses a program produced by Narus to save the personal electrical communications of AT&T customers. 
Both Verint and Narus have ties to the Israeli intelligence agency and the Israel Defense Forces intelligence-gathering unit 8200. Hanan Gefen, a former commander of the 8200 unit, told Forbes magazine in 2007 that Comverse’s technology, which was formerly the parent company of Verint and merged with it this year, was directly influenced by the technology of 8200. Ori Cohen, one of the founders of Narus, told Fortune magazine in 2001 that his partners had done technology work for the Israeli intelligence.
International intel
The question of whether intelligence communities outside the United States were involved has been raised. According to The Guardian, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Britain’s intelligence agency, secretly collected intelligence information from the world’s largest Internet companies via the American program PRISM. According to a top secret document obtained by The Guardian, GCHQ had access to PRISM since 2010 and it used the information to prepare 197 intelligence reports last year. In a statement to the Guardian, GCHQ, said it “takes its obligations under the law very seriously.”
According to The Guardian, details of GCHQ’s use of PRISM are set out in a 41-page PowerPoint presentation prepared for senior NSA analysts, and describe a “snooping” operation that gave the NSA and FBI access to the systems of nine Internet giants, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo and Skype.
Given the close ties between U.S. and Israeli intelligence, the question arises as to whether Israeli intelligence, including the Mossad, was party to the secret.

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US Zionist Lobby Reels From Resistance al-Qusayr Victory

By Franklin Lamb 
June 07, 2013 “Information Clearing House – Beirut – Although al-Qusayr may not be the decisive battle for Syria, it is irrefutably an important turning point in the crisis which has given the regime much sought military momentum. Plenty of adjectives and some clichés are being bandied about from Washington to Beirut to describe the al-Qusayr battle results and significance. Among them are game-changer, mother of all battles, a new regime approach to fighting, altered balance of power, critical turning point in the civil war, and so on.
It does appear that the victory of the Syrian government forces at al-Qusayr, is a strategic achievement, if also a humanitarian disaster for the civilian population still waiting for the ICRC and SARCS, (Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society) emergency help. Al Qusayr is located in Homs province, an area central to the success of the Syrian government’s military strategy. It is situated along the southern route from Damascus to the coast, at a juncture where regime forces have struggled to maintain control. Rebel control of al-Qusayr had disrupted the regime’s supply lines from Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley and it was open for the cross-border movement of Gulf and Libyan arms to rebels.
Government control of al-Qusayr re-establishes the regime’s line of communication from Damascus to the coast while cutting off access to cross-border weapons supplies to the rebels from Lebanon and provides a ground base for the Assad government to now move to retake control of the north and east of Syria. This cross-roads city just 6 miles from the Lebanese border has many strategic ramifications. ranging from breaking the oppositions 18 month control of much of Homs province, facilitating government forces momentum generally across Syria, to psychological– by raising the morale of exhausted Syrian forces, while energizing the Assad government and its allies to finish the conflict and focus on long promised reforms and try to heal Syria from the past nearly 27 months of hell for its people.
Perhaps less appreciated here in Beirut are al-Qusayr’s effects on the Zionist occupiers of Palestine and their currently traumatized US lobby.
Conversations and emails with former colleagues at the Democratic National Committee, on which this observer served as National Committeeman, elected from Oregon, during the Carter administration, as well as with Congressional insiders, a picture of nearly debilitating angst is sketched among those who are committed, above all else, to propping up the faltering apartheid state in the face of truly historic changes in this region that have only just begun to re-shape the region.
The reactions from various elements of the pro-Israel lobby range from the Arabphobic Daniel Pipes’ in denial fantasy essay in the Washington Times this week, entitled “Happy Israel” to Netanyahu’s increased threats issued from Tel Aviv about what Israel might do if his three UN cartoon presented “ red lines” are breached, to layering more pressure on the White House via Israel’s agents in Congress who are demanding that Obama act immediately to undo “the major damage done at Qusayr”.
Several aspects of “the Qusayr rules and results” are being discussed at the HQ of the racist anti-Defamation League (ADL) which has summoned an emergency gathering of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, to craft a solution to the problem.
The tentative and remarkable agenda reportedly includes for discussion and action the following:
The twin defeats at al-Qusayr and at Burgas, Bulgaria. The latter should not be underestimated, according to one AIPAC activist who works on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, given that it substantially knocks out the props from the lobby’s project to get the European Union to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization thus interfering with Islamist party’s fundraising. The lobby is reacting angrily to Austria’s Chancellor Werner Fayman and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger’s statement about that country’s decision to withdraw its 380 peacekeeping troops, more than one-third of the 1000 United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, (UNDOF) contingent, from the Golan Heights.
The lobby is claiming that Austrian move constituents an existential threat to Israel because it opens the Quneitra crossing, the door to the Golan, for the Syrian civil war to spill over the border into Israel. At the same time it is being argued that al Qusayr lifts pressure off Hezbollah, Iran, Syria as well as the Palestinian resistance and gain all more fighters who sense victory for the current regime and major gains for all in the political dynamics of the region.
The Israel embassy in Washington has chimed in with a statement that the Austrian withdrawal threatened the role of the UN Security Council in any future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, while at the same time encouraging Hezbollah to move into the Golan.
Israel stalwart, Eric Cantor (R-Va) told a ‘brown bag’ lunch gathering in the House Rayburn Building cafeteria late this week that the “fall of al Qusayr, will facilitate the Assad regimes advance on areas north of Homs province and will likely return to Damascus control important rebel-held areas in the north and the east. Cantor claims that the Assad regime victory effectively cuts off an important supply route to the rebels who will leave the armed opposition even more weakened and scattered. Israel is demanding an immediate US supported counter-offensive consistent with the demands made by US Senators John McClain and Lindsay Graham. The apartheid state also is demanding that the White House scrap Geneva II, claiming that Assad is now too strong for the US/Israel to benefit from such a dialogue. “If the international community is serious about seeking to enforce a negotiated settlement, they will have first to do something to decisively change the balance of power on the ground ahead of any serious negotiations”, he added.
When asked about giving US aid to Lebanon, Cantor reportedly sneered, as he expressed his shock that Hezbollah had so many troops and would be very difficult for Israel, without US boots on the ground to defeat, he reportedly replied, “Forget about Lebanon, it never was a real country anyway, just call the whole place over there Hezbollah and let’s send in the marines to finish the job.”
One congressional staffer who attended the meeting winced at the thought of US marines again being sent to Lebanon given their previous experience there nearly 30 years ago.
The Lobby is also concerned about the fact that the Arab League and the Gulf countries might be softening in their ardor to confront Syria and Hezbollah, who they view as now being in this crisis as full partners. A media source at the Saudi Embassy in Washington has complained that the six member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has spent more than a billion dollars on the opposition and have, to date, little to show for their “investment.” Nor does Israel have much to show to date for its deepening role in the crisis given that its air strikes are widely viewed in Washington and internationally as being counterproductive and helping to unite Muslims and Arabs in the face of their common global enemy.
The ADL reportedly wants the White House to act fast “to do something” in light of a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released on 5/5/13, the day of the Syrian government’s victory at al Qusayr, showing that only 15% of Americans polled advocated taking military action, and only 11% supported providing the rebels with arms. A quarter of respondents – 24% — favored taking no action, similar to the White House current position. Abe Foxman, ADL’s President for Life, and inveterate anti-Semite tracker, myopically sees antisemitism, and surely not Israel’s decades of crimes against humanity as the cause for other “anti-Semitic” polls released this week that included the recent one commissioned by the BBC. That poll confirmed that Israel is not only ranked second from the bottom of 197 countries, including as a danger to world peace, and just about the world’s most negatively viewed country, but its support globally continues to evaporate. Views of Israel in Canada and in Australia remain very negative with 57 and 69 per cent of their citizens holding unfavorable views. In the EU countries surveyed, views of Israeli influence are all strongly negative with the UK topping the list with 72 per cent of the population viewing Israel negatively.
As Ali Abunimah noted this week, “ The persistent association of Israel with the world’s most negatively viewed countries will come as a disappointment to Israeli government and other hasbara officials who have invested millions of dollars in recent years to greenwash and pinkwash Israel as an enlightened, democratic and technological “Western” country.
With the 6/5/13 National Lebanese Resistance victory at al-Qusayr, coming as it does 97 years to the month after the Triple Entente’s (UK, France & Russia) May 1916 secret Asia Minor Agreement, generally known as Sykes-Picot , the scheme to control the Middle East following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, has furthered crumbled.
Its ‘Rosemary’s baby’ progeny, the colonialist Zionist occupation of Palestine, is condemned increasingly by history to an identical fate.
According to a growing number of US and European officials and Middle East analysts, as well as ever more public opinion polls, it is solely a matter of time until, like al-Qusayr, Palestine is returned to her rightful inhabitants.
Franklin Lamb is doing research in Syria and Lebanon and is reachable c/o fplamb@gmail.com
This article was originally published at Counterpunch 

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Did An Israel Lobby Front Group Organize McCain’s Trip To Syria?

By Maidhc Ó Cathail
June 05, 2013 “Information Clearing House – In an attempt to dispel embarrassing reports that Senator John McCain’s “surprise” trip to Syria featured a meeting with kidnappers — including Mohammad Nour of the Northern Storm rebel group — behind the 2012 abduction of 11 Lebanese religious pilgrims, The Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin cited Mouaz Moustafa, the executive director of a little-known organization called The Syrian Emergency Task Force:
“Nobody self-identified as Nour, and none of the guys who were standing outside were in the meeting with McCain,” said Mouaz Moustafa, executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, an American nonprofit that helped organize the McCain trip. Moustafa is in the picture and was also inside McCain’s meeting with the rebel commanders, along with Task Force political director Elizabeth O’Bagy.
Rogin’s defense of McCain, of course, rests on the perceived independence of Moustafa’s “NGO.” The Syrian Emergency Task Force, however, appears to have close ties to one foreign government and its powerful American lobby. Not only is Mouaz Moustafa listed as one of the Washington Institute’s “experts,” he recently addressed the AIPAC-created think tank’s annual Soref symposium on the theme of “Inside Syria: The Battle Against Assad’s Regime.”
Even more intriguingly, one of the web addresses for Moustafa’s nonprofit is “syriantaskforce.torahacademybr.org.” The “torahacademybr.org” URL belongs to the Torah Academy of Boca Raton, Florida whose academic goals notably include “inspiring a love and commitment to Eretz Yisroel.”
Of course, none of this will come as any surprise to those familiar with John McCain’s lifelong service to the Land of Israel, a commitment that has invariably been at the expense of U.S. interests.
Update: Asked by a social media friend for his thoughts on my piece, Moustafa tweeted:
“utter BS I was born in a refugee camp denied entry to Palestinian territories by Israel even with American passport”
Perhaps his friends in the lobby can put in a good word for him.
After all, he helped organize their leading American asset’s trip to Syria; he’s a contributor to WINEP’s forum for Arab democrats; and for a dispossessed Palestinian refugee bears remarkably few grudges. “The Jewish American community here has always supported humanitarian causes and has always stood by the right thing,” he recently told the Jewish Daily Forward, “and I hope they’ll continue to do so.”
Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @O_Cathail.

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Take It From the Rabbi’s Mouth

By Gilad Atzmon
May 16, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – Every so often we come across a secular Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist’ who argues that Zionism is not Judaism and vice versa. Interestingly enough, I have just come across an invaluable text that illuminates this question from a rabbinical perspective. Apparently back in 1942, 757 American Rabbis added their names to a public pronouncement titled ‘Zionism an Affirmation of Judaism’. This Rabbinical rally for Zionism was declared at the time “the largest public pronouncement in all Jewish history.”
Today, we tend to believe that world Jewry’s transition towards support for Israel followed the 1967 war though some might argue that already in 1948, American Jews manifested a growing support for Zionism. However, this rabbinical pronouncement proves that as early as 1942, the American Jewish religious establishment was already deeply Zionist. And if this is not enough, the rabbis also regarded Zionism as the ‘implementation’ of Judaism. Seemingly, already then, the peak of World War two, the overwhelming majority of American Rabbis regarded Zionism, not only as fully consistent with Judaism, but as a “logical expression and implementation of it.”
In spite of the fact that early Zionist leaders were largely secular and the East European Jewish settler waves were driven by Jewish socialist ideology, the rabbis contend that “Zionism is not a secularist movement. It has its origins and roots in the authoritative religious texts of Judaism.
Those rabbis were not a bunch of ignoramuses. They were patriotic and nationalistic and they grasped that “universalism is not a contradiction of nationalism.” The rabbis tried to differentiate between contemporaneous German Nationalism and other national movements and they definitely wanted to believe that Zionism was categorically different to Nazism. “Nationalism as such, whether it be English, French, American or Jewish, is not in itself evil. It is only militaristic and chauvinistic nationalism, that nationalism which shamelessly flouts all mandates of international morality, which is evil.” But as we know, just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz the new Jewish State launched a devastating racially driven ethnic-cleansing campaign. Zionism has proven to be militaristic and chauvinistic.
Shockingly enough, back in 1942 as many as 757 American rabbis were able to predict the outcome of the war and they realised that the suffering of European Jewry would be translated into a Jewish State . “We are not so bold as to predict the nature of the international order which will emerge from the present war. It is altogether likely, and indeed it may be desirable, that all sovereign states shall under the coming peace surrender some of their sovereignty to achieve a just and peaceful world society (a Jewish State).”
Some American patriots today are concerned with Israeli-American dual nationality and the dual aspirations of American Jews. Apparently our rabbis addressed this topic too. According to them, there is no such conflict whatsoever. All American Jews are American patriots and all American decision makers are Zionists. “Every fair-minded American knows that American Jews have only one political allegiance–and that is to America. There is nothing in Zionism to impair this loyalty. Zionism has been endorsed in our generation by every President from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and has been approved by the Congress of the United States. The noblest spirits in American life, statesmen, scholars, writers, ministers and leaders of labor and industry, have lent their sympathy and encouragement to the movement.”
Back in 1942 our American rabbis were bold enough to state that defeating Hitler was far from sufficient. For them, a full solution of the Jewish question could only take place in Palestine. “Jews, and all non-Jews who are sympathetically interested in the plight of Jewry, should bear in mind that the defeat of Hitler will not of itself normalize Jewish life in Europe. “
But there was one thing the American rabbis failed to mention – the Palestinian people. For some reason, those rabbis who knew much about ‘universalism’ and in particular Jewish ‘universalism’ showed very little concern to the people of the land. I guess that after all,chosennss is a form of blindness and rabbis probably know more about this than anyone else. 
ZIONISM AN AFFIRMATION OF JUDAISM A Reply by 757 Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Rabbis of America to a Statement Issued by Ninety Members of the Reform Rabbinate Charging That Zionism Is Incompatible with the Teachings of Judaism
THE SUBJOINED REPLY was prepared at the initiative of the following Rabbis who submitted it to their colleagues throughout the country for signature: Philip S. Bernstein, Barnett R. Brickner, Israel Goldstein, James G. Heller, Mordecai M. Kaplan, B. L. Levinthal, Israel H. Levinthal, Louis M. Levitsky, Joshua Loth Liebman, Joseph H. Lookstein, Jacob R. Marcus, Abraham A. Neuman, Louis I. Newman, David de Sola Pool, Abba Hillel Silver, Milton Steinberg, and Stephen S. Wise. 
WE, THE UNDERSIGNED RABBIS of all elements in American Jewish religious life, have noted with concern a statement by ninety of our colleagues in which they repudiate Zionism on the ground that it is inconsistent with Jewish religious and moral doctrine.This statement misrepresents Zionism and misinterprets historic Jewish religious teaching, and we should be derelict in our duty if we did not correct the misapprehensions which it is likely to foster.
We call attention in the first place to the fact that the signatories to this statement, for whom as fellow-Rabbis we have a high regard, represent no more than a very small fraction of the American rabbinate. They constitute a minority even of the rabbinate of Reform Judaism with which they are associated. The overwhelming majority of American Rabbis regard Zionism not only as fully consistent with Judaism but as a logical expression and implementation of it.
Our colleagues concede the need for Jewish immigration into Palestine as contributing towards a solution of the vast tragedy of Jewish homelessness. They profess themselves ready to encourage such settlement. They are aware of the important achievements, social and spiritual, of the Palestinian Jewish community and they pledge to it their unstinted support. And yet, subscribing to every practical accomplishment of Zionism, they have embarked upon a public criticism of it. In explanation of their opposition they advance the consideration that Zionism is nationalistic and secularistic. On both scores they maintain it is incompatible with the Jewish religion and its universalistic outlook. They protest against the political emphasis which, they say, is now paramount in the Zionist program and which, according to them, tends to confuse both Jews and Christians as to the place and function of the Jewish group in American society. They appeal to the prophets of ancient Israel for substantiation of their views.
TREASURING the doctrines and moral principles of our faith no less than they, devoted equally to America and its democratic processes and spirit, we nonetheless find every one of their contentions totally without foundation.
Zionism is not a secularist movement. It has its origins and roots in the authoritative religious texts of Judaism. Scripture and rabbinical literature alike are replete with the promise of the restoration of Israel to its ancestral home. Anti-Zionism, not Zionism, is a departure from the Jewish religion. Nothing in the entire pronouncement of our colleagues is more painful than their appeal to the prophets of Israel—to those very prophets whose inspired and recorded words of national rebirth and restoration nurtured and sustained the hope of Israel throughout the ages.
Nor is Zionism a denial of the universalistic teachings of Judaism. Universalism is not a contradiction of nationalism. Nationalism as such, whether it be English, French, American or Jewish, is not in itself evil. It is only militaristic and chauvinistic nationalism, that nationalism which shamelessly flouts all mandates of international morality, which is evil. The prophets of Israel looked forward to the time not when all national entities would be obliterated, but when all nations would walk in the light of the Lord, live by His law and learn war no more.
Our colleagues find themselves unable to subscribe to the political emphasis “now paramount in the Zionist program.” We fail to perceive what it is to which they object. Is it to the fact that there are a regularly constituted Zionist organization and a Jewish Agency which deal with the mandatory government, the Colonial office, the League of Nations and other recognized political bodies? But obviously, even immigration and colonization are practical matters which require political action. The settlement of a half million Jews in Palestine since the last war was made possible by political action which culminated in the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate. There can be little hope of opening the doors of Palestine for mass Jewish immigration after the war without effective political action. Or is it that they object to the ultimate achievement by the Jewish community of Palestine of some form of Jewish statehood? We are not so bold as to predict the nature of the international order which will emerge from the present war. It is altogether likely, and indeed it may be desirable, that all sovereign states shall under the coming peace surrender some of their sovereignty to achieve a just and peaceful world society.
Certainly our colleagues will allow to the Jews of Palestine the same rights that are allowed to all other peoples resident on their own land. If Jews should ultimately come to constitute a majority of the population of Palestine, would our colleagues suggest that all other peoples in the post-war world shall be entitled to political self-determination, whatever form that may take, but the Jewish people in Palestine shall not have such a right? Or do they mean to suggest that the Jews in Palestine shall forever remain a minority in order not to achieve such political self-determination?
PROTESTING their sympathy both for the homeless Jews of the world and for their brethren in Palestine, our colleagues have by their pronouncement done all these a grave disservice. It may well be that to the degree to which their efforts arc at all effective, Jews who might otherwise have found a haven in Palestine will be denied one. The enemies of the Jewish homeland will be strengthened in their propaganda as a result of the aid which these Rabbis have given them. To the Jews of Palestine, facing the gravest danger in their history and fighting hard to maintain morale and hope in the teeth of the totalitarian menace, this pronouncement comes as a cruel blow.
We do not mean to imply that our colleagues intended it as such. We have no doubt that they are earnest about their fine spun theoretical objections to Zionism. We hold, however, that these objections have no merit, and further that voicing them at this time has been unwise and unkind.
We have not the least fear that our fellow Americans will be led to misconstrue the attitudes of American Jews to America because of their interest in Zionism. Every fair-minded American knows that American Jews have only one political allegiance–and that is to America. There is nothing in Zionism to impair this loyalty. Zionism has been endorsed in our generation by every President from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and has been approved by the Congress of the United States. The noblest spirits in American life, statesmen, scholars, writers, ministers and leaders of labor and industry, have lent their sympathy and encouragement to the movement.
Jews, and all non-Jews who are sympathetically interested in the plight of Jewry, should bear in mind that the defeat of Hitler will not of itself normalize Jewish life in Europe.
An Allied peace which will not frankly face the problem of the national homelessness of the Jewish people will leave the age-old tragic status of European Jewry unchanged. The Jewish people is in danger of emerging from this war not only more torn and broken than any other people, but also without any prospects of a better and more secure future and without the hope that such tragedies will not recur again, and again. Following an Allied victory, the Jews of Europe, we are confident, will be restored to their political rights and to equality of citizenship. But they possessed these rights after the last war and yet the past twenty-five years have witnessed a rapid and appalling deterioration in their position. In any case, even after peace is restored Europe will be so ravaged and war-torn that large masses of Jews will elect migration to Palestine as a solution of their personal problems.
Indeed, for most of these there may be no other substantial hope of economic, social and spiritual rehabilitation. 
THE freedom which, we have faith, will come to all men and nations after this war, must come not only to Jews as individuals wherever they live, permitting them to share freedom on a plane of equality with all other men, but also to the Jewish people, as such, restored in its homeland, where at long last it will be a free people within a world federation of free peoples. 
Of the 757 Rabbis listed below, 214 are members of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform); 247 are members of the Rabbinical Assembly of America (Conservative); and the rest are affiliated with the Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox) or the Union of Orthodox Rabbis. The total represents the largest number of rabbis whose signatures are attached to a public pronouncement in all Jewish history.
To see the scanned image in PDF format with the list of signers, click here
Gilad Atzmon is a musician-composer. He is particularly well-known both for his fiction and his political analysis which is widely published. Gilad – New Book: The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics Gilad.co.uk
Note: A version of the above statement was released to the press on November 20, 1942. By that time 818 rabbis had signed on. It appears in Samuel Halperin’s The Political World of American Zionism. (Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1961) 333.

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The Last of the Semites

It is Israel’s claims that it represents and speaks for all Jews that are the most anti-Semitic claims of all.
By Joseph Massad
May 15, 2013 “Information Clearing House” -“Al Jazeera” – Jewish opponents of Zionism understood the movement since its early age as one that shared the precepts of anti-Semitism in its diagnosis of what gentile Europeans called the “Jewish Question”. What galled anti-Zionist Jews the most, however, was that Zionism also shared the “solution” to the Jewish Question that anti-Semites had always advocated, namely the expulsion of Jews from Europe. 
It was the Protestant Reformation with its revival of the Hebrew Bible that would link the modern Jews of Europe to the ancient Hebrews of Palestine, a link that the philologists of the 18th century would solidify through their discovery of the family of “Semitic” languages, including Hebrew and Arabic. Whereas Millenarian Protestants insisted that contemporary Jews, as descendants of the ancient Hebrews, must leave Europe to Palestine to expedite the second coming of Christ, philological discoveries led to the labelling of contemporary Jews as “Semites”. The leap that the biological sciences of race and heredity would make in the 19th century of considering contemporary European Jews racial descendants of the ancient Hebrews would, as a result, not be a giant one. 
Basing themselves on the connections made by anti-Jewish Protestant Millenarians, secular European figures saw the political potential of “restoring” Jews to Palestine abounded in the 19th century. Less interested in expediting the second coming of Christ as were the Millenarians, these secular politicians, from Napoleon Bonaparte to British foreign secretary Lord Palmerston (1785-1865) to Ernest Laharanne, the private secretary of Napoleon III in the 1860s, sought to expel the Jews of Europe to Palestine in order to set them up as agents of European imperialism in Asia. Their call would be espoused by many “anti-Semites”, a new label chosen by European anti-Jewish racists after its invention in 1879 by a minor Viennese journalist by the name of Wilhelm Marr, who issued a political programme titled The Victory of Judaism over Germanism. Marr was careful to decouple anti-Semitism from the history of Christian hatred of Jews on the basis of religion, emphasising, in line with Semitic philology and racial theories of the 19th century, that the distinction to be made between Jews and Aryans was strictly racial. 
Assimilating Jews into European culture
Scientific anti-Semitism insisted that the Jews were different from Christian Europeans. Indeed that the Jews were not European at all and that their very presence in Europe is what causes anti-Semitism. The reason why Jews caused so many problems for European Christians had to do with their alleged rootlessness, that they lacked a country, and hence country-based loyalty. In the Romantic age of European nationalisms, anti-Semites argued that Jews did not fit in the new national configurations, and disrupted national and racial purity essential to most European nationalisms. This is why if the Jews remained in Europe, the anti-Semites argued, they could only cause hostility among Christian Europeans. The only solution was for the Jews to exit from Europe and have their own country. Needless to say, religious and secular Jews opposed this horrific anti-Semitic line of thinking. Orthodox and Reform Jews, Socialist and Communist Jews, cosmopolitan and Yiddishkeit cultural Jews, all agreed that this was a dangerous ideology of hostility that sought the expulsion of Jews from their European homelands. 
The Jewish Haskalah, or Enlightenment, which emerged also in the 19th century, sought to assimilate Jews into European secular gentile culture and have them shed their Jewish culture. It was the Haskalah that sought to break the hegemony of Orthodox Jewish rabbis on the “Ostjuden” of the East European shtetl and to shed what it perceived as a “medieval” Jewish culture in favour of the modern secular culture of European Christians. Reform Judaism, as a Christian- and Protestant-like variant of Judaism, would emerge from the bosom of the Haskalah. This assimilationist programme, however, sought to integrate Jews in European modernity, not to expel them outside Europe’s geography. 
When Zionism started a decade and a half after Marr’s anti-Semitic programme was published, it would espouse all these anti-Jewish ideas, including scientific anti-Semitism as valid. For Zionism, Jews were “Semites”, who were descendants of the ancient Hebrews. In his foundational pamphlet Der Judenstaat, Herzl explained that it was Jews, not their Christian enemies, who “cause” anti-Semitism and that “where it does not exist, [anti-Semitism] is carried by Jews in the course of their migrations”, indeed that “the unfortunate Jews are now carrying the seeds of anti-Semitism into England; they have already introduced it into America”; that Jews were a “nation” that should leave Europe to restore their “nationhood” in Palestine or Argentina; that Jews must emulate European Christians culturally and abandon their living languages and traditions in favour of modern European languages or a restored ancient national language. Herzl preferred that all Jews adopt German, while the East European Zionists wanted Hebrew. Zionists after Herzl even agreed and affirmed that Jews were separate racially from Aryans. As for Yiddish, the living language of most European Jews, all Zionists agreed that it should be abandoned. 
The majority of Jews continued to resist Zionism and understood its precepts as those of anti-Semitism and as a continuation of the Haskalah quest to shed Jewish culture and assimilate Jews into European secular gentile culture, except that Zionism sought the latter not inside Europe but at a geographical remove following the expulsion of Jews from Europe. The Bund, or the General Jewish Labor Union in Lithuania, Poland, and Russia, which was founded in Vilna in early October 1897, a few weeks after the convening of the first Zionist Congress in Basel in late August 1897, would become Zionism’s fiercest enemy. The Bund joined the existing anti-Zionist Jewish coalition of Orthodox and Reform rabbis who had combined forces a few months earlier to prevent Herzl from convening the first Zionist Congress in Munich, which forced him to move it to Basel. Jewish anti-Zionism across Europe and in the United States had the support of the majority of Jews who continued to view Zionism as an anti-Jewish movement well into the 1940s. 
Anti-Semitic chain of pro-Zionist enthusiasts
Realising that its plan for the future of European Jews was in line with those of anti-Semites, Herzl strategised early on an alliance with the latter. He declared in Der Judenstaat that:
“The Governments of all countries scourged by anti-Semitism will be keenly interested in assisting us to obtain [the] sovereignty we want.”
He added that “not only poor Jews” would contribute to an immigration fund for European Jews, “but also Christians who wanted to get rid of them”. Herzl unapologetically confided in his Diaries that:
“The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies.”
Thus when Herzl began to meet in 1903 with infamous anti-Semites like the Russian minister of the interior Vyacheslav von Plehve, who oversaw anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia, it was an alliance that he sought by design. That it would be the anti-Semitic Lord Balfour, who as Prime Minister of Britain in 1905 oversaw his government’s Aliens Act, which prevented East European Jews fleeing Russian pogroms from entering Britain in order, as he put it, to save the country from the “undoubted evils” of “an immigration which was largely Jewish”, was hardy coincidental. Balfour’s infamous Declaration of 1917 to create in Palestine a “national home” for the “Jewish people”, was designed, among other things, to curb Jewish support for the Russian Revolution and to stem the tide of further unwanted Jewish immigrants into Britain. 
The Nazis would not be an exception in this anti-Semitic chain of pro-Zionist enthusiasts. Indeed, the Zionists would strike a deal with the Nazis very early in their history. It was in 1933 that the infamous Transfer (Ha’avara) Agreement was signed between the Zionists and the Nazi government to facilitate the transfer of German Jews and their property to Palestine and which broke the international Jewish boycott of Nazi Germany started by American Jews. It was in this spirit that Zionist envoys were dispatched to Palestine to report on the successes of Jewish colonization of the country. Adolf Eichmann returned from his 1937 trip to Palestine full of fantastic stories about the achievements of the racially-separatist Ashkenazi Kibbutz, one of which he visited on Mount Carmel as a guest of the Zionists. 
Despite the overwhelming opposition of most German Jews, it was the Zionist Federation of Germany that was the only Jewish group that supported the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, as they agreed with the Nazis that Jews and Aryans were separate and separable races. This was not a tactical support but one based on ideological similitude. The Nazis’ Final Solution initially meant the expulsion of Germany’s Jews to Madagascar. It is this shared goal of expelling Jews from Europe as a separate unassimilable race that created the affinity between Nazis and Zionists all along. 
While the majority of Jews continued to resist the anti-Semitic basis of Zionism and its alliances with anti-Semites, the Nazi genocide not only killed 90 percent of European Jews, but in the process also killed the majority of Jewish enemies of Zionism who died precisely because they refused to heed the Zionist call of abandoning their countries and homes. 
After the War, the horror at the Jewish holocaust did not stop European countries from supporting the anti-Semitic programme of Zionism. On the contrary, these countries shared with the Nazis a predilection for Zionism. They only opposed Nazism’s genocidal programme. European countries, along with the United States, refused to take in hundreds of thousands of Jewish survivors of the holocaust. In fact, these countries voted against a UN resolution introduced by the Arab states in 1947 calling on them to take in the Jewish survivors, yet these same countries would be the ones who would support the United Nations Partition Plan of November 1947to create a Jewish State in Palestine to which these unwanted Jewish refugees could be expelled. 
The pro-Zionist policies of the Nazis
The United States and European countries, including Germany, would continue the pro-Zionist policies of the Nazis. Post-War West German governments that presented themselves as opening a new page in their relationship with Jews in reality did no such thing. Since the establishment of the country after WWII, every West German government (and every German government since unification in1990) has continued the pro-Zionist Nazi policies unabated. There was never a break with Nazi pro-Zionism. The only break was with the genocidal and racial hatred of Jews that Nazism consecrated, but not with the desire to see Jews set up in a country in Asia, away from Europe. Indeed, the Germans would explain that much of the money they were sending to Israel was to help offset the costs of resettling European Jewish refugees in the country. 
After World War II, a new consensus emerged in the United States and Europe that Jews had to be integrated posthumously into white Europeanness, and that the horror of the Jewish holocaust was essentially a horror at the murder of white Europeans. Since the 1960s, Hollywood films about the holocaust began to depict Jewish victims of Nazism as white Christian-looking, middle class, educated and talented people not unlike contemporary European and American Christians who should and would identify with them. Presumably if the films were to depict the poor religious Jews of Eastern Europe (and most East European Jews who were killed by the Nazis were poor and many were religious), contemporary white Christians would not find commonality with them. Hence, the post-holocaust European Christian horror at the genocide of European Jews was not based on the horror of slaughtering people in the millions who were different from European Christians, but rather a horror at the murder of millions of people who were the same as European Christians. This explains why in a country like the United States, which had nothing to do with the slaughter of European Jews, there exists upwards of 40 holocaust memorials and a major museum for the murdered Jews of Europe, but not one for the holocaust of Native Americans or African Americans for which the US is responsible. 
Aimé Césaire understood this process very well. In his famous speech on colonialism, he affirmed that the retrospective view of European Christians about Nazism is that
it is barbarism, but the supreme barbarism, the crowning barbarism that sums up all the daily barbarisms; that it is Nazism, yes, but that before [Europeans] were its victims, they were its accomplices; and they tolerated that Nazism before it was inflicted on them, that they absolved it, shut their eyes to it, legitimised it, because, until then, it had been applied only to non-European peoples; that they have cultivated that Nazism, that they are responsible for it, and that before engulfing the whole of Western, Christian civilisation in its reddened waters, it oozes, seeps, and trickles from every crack. 
That for Césaire the Nazi wars and holocaust were European colonialism turned inwards is true enough. But since the rehabilitation of Nazism’s victims as white people, Europe and its American accomplice would continue their Nazi policy of visiting horrors on non-white people around the world, on Korea, on Vietnam and Indochina, on Algeria, on Indonesia, on Central and South America, on Central and Southern Africa, on Palestine, on Iran, and on Iraq and Afghanistan. 
The rehabilitation of European Jews after WWII was a crucial part of US Cold War propaganda. As American social scientists and ideologues developed the theory of “totalitarianism”, which posited Soviet Communism and Nazism as essentially the same type of regime, European Jews, as victims of one totalitarian regime, became part of the atrocity exhibition that American and West European propaganda claimed was like the atrocities that the Soviet regime was allegedly committing in the pre- and post-War periods. That Israel would jump on the bandwagon by accusing the Soviets of anti-Semitism for their refusal to allow Soviet Jewish citizens to self-expel and leave to Israel was part of the propaganda. 
Commitment to white supremacy
It was thus that the European and US commitment to white supremacy was preserved, except that it now included Jews as part of “white” people, and what came to be called “Judeo-Christian” civilisation. European and American policies after World War II, which continued to be inspired and dictated by racism against Native Americans, Africans, Asians, Arabs and Muslims, and continued to support Zionism’s anti-Semitic programme of assimilating Jews into whiteness in a colonial settler state away from Europe, were a direct continuation of anti-Semitic policies prevalent before the War. It was just that much of the anti-Semitic racialist venom would now be directed at Arabs and Muslims (both, those who are immigrants and citizens in Europe and the United States and those who live in Asia and Africa) while the erstwhile anti-Semitic support for Zionism would continue unhindered. 
West Germany’s alliance with Zionism and Israel after WWII, of supplying Israel with huge economic aid in the 1950s and of economic and military aid since the early 1960s, including tanks, which it used to kill Palestinians and other Arabs, is a continuation of the alliance that the Nazi government concluded with the Zionists in the 1930s. In the 1960s, West Germany even provided military training to Israeli soldiers and since the 1970s has provided Israel with nuclear-ready German-made submarines with which Israel hopes to kill more Arabs and Muslims. Israel has in recent years armed the most recent German-supplied submarines with nuclear tipped cruise missiles, a fact that is well known to the current German government. Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak told Der SPIEGELin 2012 that Germans should be “proud” that they have secured the existence of the state of Israel “for many years”. Berlin financed one-third of the cost of the submarines, around 135 million euros ($168 million) per submarine, and has allowed Israel to defer its payment until 2015. That this makes Germany an accomplice in the dispossession of the Palestinians is of no more concern to current German governments than it was in the 1960s to West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer who affirmed that “the Federal Republic has neither the right nor the responsibility to take a position on the Palestinian refugees”. 
This is to be added to the massive billions that Germany has paid to the Israeli government as compensation for the holocaust, as if Israel and Zionism were the victims of Nazism, when in reality it was anti-Zionist Jews who were killed by the Nazis. The current German government does not care about the fact that even those German Jews who fled the Nazis and ended up in Palestine hated Zionism and its project and were hated in turn by Zionist colonists in Palestine. As German refugees in 1930s and 1940s Palestine refused to learn Hebrew and published half a dozen German newspapers in the country, they were attacked by the Hebrew press, including by Haartez, which called for the closure of their newspapers in 1939 and again in 1941. Zionist colonists attacked a German-owned café in Tel Aviv because its Jewish owners refused to speak Hebrew, and the Tel Aviv municipality threatened in June 1944 some of its German Jewish residents for holding in their home on 21 Allenby street “parties and balls entirely in the German language, including programmes that are foreign to the spirit of our city” and that this would “not be tolerated in Tel Aviv”. German Jews, or Yekkes as they were known in the Yishuv, would even organise a celebration of the Kaiser’s birthday in 1941 (for these and more details about German Jewish refugees in Palestine, read Tom Segev’s book The Seventh Million). 
Add to that Germany’s support for Israeli policies against Palestinians at the United Nations, and the picture becomes complete. Even the new holocaust memorial built in Berlin that opened in 2005 maintains Nazi racial apartheid, as this “Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe” is only for Jewish victims of the Nazis who must still today be set apart, as Hitler mandated, from the other millions of non-Jews who also fell victim to Nazism. That a subsidiary of the German company Degussa, which collaborated with the Nazis and which produced the Zyklon B gas that was used to kill people in the gas chambers, was contracted to build the memorial was anything but surprising, as it simply confirms that those who killed Jews in Germany in the late 1930s and in the 1940s now regret what they had done because they now understand Jews to be white Europeans who must be commemorated and who should not have been killed in the first place on account of their whiteness. The German policy of abetting the killing of Arabs by Israel, however, is hardly unrelated to this commitment to anti-Semitism, which continues through the predominant contemporary anti-Muslim German racism that targets Muslim immigrants. 
Euro-American anti-Jewish tradition
The Jewish holocaust killed off the majority of Jews who fought and struggled against European anti-Semitism, including Zionism. With their death, the only remaining “Semites” who are fighting against Zionism and its anti-Semitism today are the Palestinian people. Whereas Israel insists that European Jews do not belong in Europe and must come to Palestine, the Palestinians have always insisted that the homelands of European Jews were their European countries and not Palestine, and that Zionist colonialism springs from its very anti-Semitism. Whereas Zionism insists that Jews are a race separate from European Christians, the Palestinians insist that European Jews are nothing if not European and have nothing to do with Palestine, its people, or its culture. What Israel and its American and European allies have sought to do in the last six and a half decades is to convince Palestinians that they too must become anti-Semites and believe as the Nazis, Israel, and its Western anti-Semitic allies do, that Jews are a race that is different from European races, that Palestine is their country, and that Israel speaks for all Jews. That the two largest American pro-Israel voting blocks today are Millenarian Protestants and secular imperialists continues the very same Euro-American anti-Jewish tradition that extends back to the Protestant Reformation and 19th century imperialism. But the Palestinians have remained unconvinced and steadfast in their resistance to anti-Semitism. 
Israel and its anti-Semitic allies affirm that Israel is “the Jewish people”, that its policies are “Jewish” policies, that its achievements are “Jewish” achievements, that its crimes are “Jewish” crimes, and that therefore anyone who dares to criticise Israel is criticising Jews and must be an anti-Semite. The Palestinian people have mounted a major struggle against this anti-Semitic incitement. They continue to affirm instead that the Israeli government does not speak for all Jews, that it does not represent all Jews, and that its colonial crimes against the Palestinian people are its own crimes and not the crimes of “the Jewish people”, and that therefore it must be criticised, condemned and prosecuted for its ongoing war crimes against the Palestinian people. This is not a new Palestinian position, but one that was adopted since the turn of the 20th century and continued throughout the pre-WWII Palestinian struggle against Zionism. Yasser Arafat’s speech at the United Nations in 1974 stressed all these points vehemently:
Just as colonialism heedlessly used the wretched, the poor, the exploited as mere inert matter with which to build and to carry out settler colonialism, so too were destitute, oppressed European Jews employed on behalf of world imperialism and of the Zionist leadership. European Jews were transformed into the instruments of aggression; they became the elements of settler colonialism intimately allied to racial discrimination…Zionist theology was utilised against our Palestinian people: the purpose was not only the establishment of Western-style settler colonialism but also the severing of Jews from their various homelands and subsequently their estrangement from their nations. Zionism… is united with anti-Semitism in its retrograde tenets and is, when all is said and done, another side of the same base coin. For when what is proposed is that adherents of the Jewish faith, regardless of their national residence, should neither owe allegiance to their national residence nor live on equal footing with its other, non-Jewish citizens -when that is proposed we hear anti-Semitism being proposed. When it is proposed that the only solution for the Jewish problem is that Jews must alienate themselves from communities or nations of which they have been a historical part, when it is proposed that Jews solve the Jewish problem by immigrating to and forcibly settling the land of another people – when this occurs, exactly the same position is being advocated as the one urged by anti-Semites against Jews. 
Israel’s claim that its critics must be anti-Semites presupposes that its critics believe its claims that it represents “the Jewish people”. But it is Israel’s claims that it represents and speaks for all Jews that are the most anti-Semitic claims of all. 
Today, Israel and the Western powers want to elevate anti-Semitism to an international principle around which they seek to establish full consensus. They insist that for there to be peace in the Middle East, Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims must become, like the West, anti-Semites by espousing Zionism and recognising Israel’s anti-Semitic claims. Except for dictatorial Arab regimes and the Palestinian Authority and its cronies, on this 65th anniversary of the anti-Semitic conquest of Palestine by the Zionists, known to Palestinians as theNakba, the Palestinian people and the few surviving anti-Zionist Jews continue to refuse to heed this international call and incitement to anti-Semitism. They affirm that they are, as the last of the Semites, the heirs of the pre-WWII Jewish and Palestinian struggles against anti-Semitism and its Zionist colonial manifestation. It is their resistance that stands in the way of a complete victory for European anti-Semitism in the Middle East and the world at large.
Joseph Massad teaches Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University in New York. He is the author of The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians.

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Israel Fights America’s Battles?

Why the U.S.-Israel alliance may be returning to its Cold War roots
By Jordan Chandler Hirsch and Sam Kleiner
May 13, 2013 “Information Clearing House” -“The Tablet” – For two weeks in the summer of 1982, U.S. and Soviet jets dueled in the skies over Lebanon in one of the largest aerial dogfights since World War II. The pilots were Israelis and Syrians. In a classic Cold War proxy battle, U.S.-backed Israel humiliated Soviet-backed Syria, downing 86 MiGs without a single loss. It was the finest example of Israel’s strategic value to the United States: In return for the planes, Israel served as America’s shield and a model for the superiority of American-made weaponry.
In the summer of 2013, American-made Israeli jets are humiliating Syria once again. Israel’s ability to evade sophisticated Russian-made anti-aircraft systems to bomb Syrian territory over the past week does not just signal a possible expansion of Syria’s civil war or the latest salvo in the struggle with Iran. It also suggests that the U.S.-Israel alliance may be returning to its Cold War roots—which is good news for both countries.
The strategic bond between the United States and Israel did not begin with the Jewish state’s founding in 1948. Many U.S. officials cautioned against becoming too close with the nascent state, which identified itself as a socialist country, had diplomatic support within the Soviet bloc, and was hated by America’s Arab oil suppliers. As the United States attempted to build a regional security alliance to contain Soviet power in the Middle East, President Dwight Eisenhower pressured Israel to cede a large portion of the Negev Desert so that Egypt and Jordan could link borders. He also forced Israel to abort its military incursion into Egypt to seize the Suez Canal in concert with Britain and France.
But as Cairo and other Arab capitals increasingly sided with Moscow, Washington began to see Jerusalem as a possible bulwark against Soviet influence. In 1962, John F. Kennedy told Golda Meir, then Israel’s foreign minister, “The United States has a special relationship with Israel in the Middle East really comparable only to what it has with Britain over a wide range of world affairs”—a statement that wasn’t true at the time, but did turn out to be prophetic. The Kennedy and Johnson Administrations generally ignored Israel’s development of nuclear weapons during the 1960s and sent moderate amounts of small arms that helped the Jewish state smash Arab armies fighting with Soviet weapons in the Six Day War.
Israel’s victory—largely achieved with French-made jets and homemade Kfir fighters rather than American weapons—suggested the benefits of a strategic alliance with Israel. After the Six Day War, the United States would supply the advanced weapons and Israel would do the fighting. Over the course of the 1970s and 1980s, Israel rescued the U.S.-supported Hashemite monarchy in Jordan from a Syrian invasion, embarrassed the U.S.S.R. by downing Soviet planes over the Suez Canal, and opened its port in Haifa to the U.S. Sixth Fleet to counter the establishment of a Soviet submarine base in Syria. Despite several points of tension, such as U.S. displeasure with Israel’s full-scale invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the partnership between the two countries became a key component of Washington’s Cold War strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean and a powerful advertisement for high-end American arms.
But the end of the Cold War shook the strategic foundations of the U.S.-Israel relationship. No longer worried about the Soviet threat, U.S. officials began to see Israel as an obstacle to building relations with erstwhile enemies in the Arab World. The rise of Palestinian resistance to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank furthered this view. Many in Washington embraced the notion that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict drove anti-American resentment across the Middle East and saw Israel as a chief obstacle to regional harmony. President George H.W. Bush and his Secretary of State James Baker tried to force Israel to make peace with the PLO at the Madrid Peace Conference in the hopes of winning friends among the Arabs. When the United States cobbled together a coalition of Arab nations against Saddam Hussein, it sought desperately to keep Israel out of the war, suggesting that it saw the Jewish state as a strategic burden rather than an asset. The signing of the Oslo Accords on the White House lawn and subsequent negotiations at Wye and Camp David seemed to suggest that Israel’s chief value to the United States was as a source of prestige for presidents who could deliver that most enchanting diplomatic prize, Middle East peace.
The 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah gave the Jewish state its first real opportunity since the end of the Cold War to quiet doubters by applying the classic alliance model. In a new Middle Eastern proxy struggle, this time between the United States and Iran, Israel sought to crush Hezbollah. Yet it did not perform up to its Cold War standard. In a bumbling operation, it fought the Lebanese terrorist group to what many saw as a draw, causing then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, among others, to lose faith in its value as an arm of U.S. deterrence in the region.
The strategic drift between Washington and Jerusalem opened up space for critics to call for an end to a special relationship that had outlived its usefulness on the ground. Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer spearheaded this campaign in 2006 with an explosive articlearguing that there was no longer any strategic rationale for a continued alliance. Although critics rallied against aspects of their work, their basic contention was widely accepted in Washington. In 2010, Gen. David Petraeus, then the head of U.S. Central Command, testified on Capitol Hill that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “foments anti-American sentiment” and “limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships.” Tensions during the Obama Administration’s first term over the stalled peace process and Iran seemed to underscore the idea that official Washington saw the alliance with Israel as a costly political burden that served no evident military or strategic purpose.
But recent events in the Middle East suggest that 20 years of uncertainty about Israel’s strategic value may be ending.
***
The Israeli bombings in Syria over the past week came with Washington’s close coordination and President Obama’s post-strike blessing. Although the United States does not seek any escalation of the war in Syria, it appears to have deputized Israel to police the spread of chemical weapons and advanced Iranian arms bound for Hezbollah.
Iran, to be sure, poses a lesser threat to the United States than the Soviet Union. Yet its drive for regional hegemony comes exactly as the United States is attempting to disengage from the region. That makes the strategic logic of relying on Israel to guarantee U.S. interests more clear than it has been in a generation for Republicans and Democrats alike. Those who want the United States to intervene more actively in the Middle East can take solace in the fact that the United States still has a means of striking back at Iran and containing other possible regional threats, like Syria’s aborted attempt to develop its own nuclear bomb. Those who want the United States to get as far away from the Middle East as possible, meanwhile, can be happy that Israel will do the fighting while America extracts itself.
The Pentagon, at the very least, appears to be embracing the idea of Israel fighting America’s battles in the Middle East in exchange for high-end weapons systems, the same way it did during the Cold War. The strikes in Syria came two weeks after a major arms salebetween the United States and Israel in which the Jewish state will receive anti-radiation missiles designed to target enemy aerial defenses, upgraded radar systems, Osprey helicopters, and air refueling tankers—a sale that U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel described as a “clear signal” to Iran.
The United States has long had moral, emotional, and domestic political reasons to support Israel. The return of the American-Israeli alliance to its Cold War foundations will aid both countries in overcoming their disagreements and coordinating their efforts in Syria and across the Middle East. Just as Israel downed Soviet-made Syrian jets in the Cold War, it will now destroy Iranian-made missiles, bolstering U.S. deterrence as Washington’s proxy war with Tehran approaches its climax.
Jordan Chandler Hirsch is a former Staff Editor at Foreign Affairs. Sam Kleiner received his DPhil in International Relations at Oxford. Both are J.D. Candidates at Yale Law School. Their Twitter feeds are @jordanchirsch and @sam_kleiner.

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Norman Finkelstein Bids Farewell to Israel Bashing

‘It’s become too easy,’ says Norman Finkelstein, talking about his new and surprisingly optimistic book.
By Natasha Mozgovaya
May 12, 2013 “Information Clearing House” -“Haaretz” – In June, Norman Finkelstein will mark 30 years of criticizing Israel. He remembers the exact day – the beginning of the Lebanon war, which ended his indifference to the Middle East’s troubles. He’ll have a new book coming out – “Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel Is Coming to an End” – that focuses on Jewish public figures who represent, in his view, the narrative of beautiful Israel that’s coming to an end. He is sure to make a lot of people mad again.
Jobless since losing his tenure in 2007 at DePaul University’s political science department in an ugly public fight with Alan Dershowitz, Finkelstein remains in demand as a speaker at universities.
Yet if you happened to walk into one of his lectures, you might be surprised to hear him say he is “not going to be an Israel-basher anymore.” It’s not that he’s changed his mind on the conflict, he just says blaming Israel has become too easy.
“Nobody really defends Israel anymore,” he said in an interview. “If you go on college campuses, there are some Hillel faithfuls who are bringing an IDF soldier to try to explain that not all IDF soldiers are war criminals. And among the 60 to 100 people in the audience, there are Palestinian supporters who come with tape over their mouth, and when the soldier starts to speak, many people stand up and walk out.
“They’ve lost the battle for public opinion,” he says. “They claim it’s because American Jews know too little – I claim it’s because they know too much about the conflict, and young liberal Jews have difficulty defending the use of cluster bombs in Lebanon or supporting the Israeli settlements. I was bashing Israel in the past because nobody else was exposing its true record. Many people are doing it now, so I switched hats from a critic of Israel to a diplomat who wants to resolve the conflict. I have not changed, but I think the spectrum has moved.”
Finkelstein’s book is suprisingly optimistic about the chances of settling the confict, and about changing the debate, even among American Jewry. The tide of public opinion is turning against Israel, he says, and once support for Israeli policy becomes widely unacceptable in the United States, the “self-designated voices for Israel,” as he calls them, will quickly drop out. Meanwhile, American Jewish college students are having their eyes opened.
“The academic research on Israel is no longer the footnoted “Exodus,” and younger Jews, when they go to college, are walking away with very different picture of Israel,” he said. “And the American Jewish community that for a long time was a huge obstacle to resolving the conflict is breaking up. If you put forth a reasonable and principled goal, I think a resolution is possible. We might be entering the endgame, but one that might take a long time.”
Loyal to his tradition of combativeness, Finkelstein takes on not only Michael Oren, Jeffrey Goldberg, Benny Morris and others, but also Steven Walt and John Mearsheimer’s book on the Israel lobby.
“I accept that the lobby is very influential and shapes [U.S.] policy on Israel-Palestine. But when Walt and Mearsheimer start generalizing about the influence of the lobby on Iraq, Iran policy and elsewhere – that’s where I think they get it wrong. I just can’t find any evidence for it.”
Finkelstein describes the leadership of J Street as “hopeless”. “It’s simply the loyal opposition. Politically they identify themselves mostly with Kadima.”
Yet he recently clashed with those to the left of J Street, attacking the goals of the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions ) movement.
“I’ve written a little book on Gandhi, and one of the significant insights of his is that it’s important not only for your tactics to be perceived as moral, the public also has to see your goal as moral. And the problem with BDS is the ambiguity of the goal. Their official position is: ‘We take no position on [the legitimacy of] Israel.’ While BDS is a legitimate tactic to force Israel to accept the two-state solution, it has to have a just goal, which means it has to include recognition of Israel as a state. I received mostly hostile reactions from the BDS activists, and that’s OK – I am not out there to please.”
Leftist-turned-rightist historian Benny Morris, who gets a whole chapter in the book, said once that “for Finkelstein the only good Israeli is an evil Israeli.” Is he right?
“I don’t claim to know Israel. I don’t speak Hebrew, my contacts are pretty limited. But I didn’t know Vietnam, I didn’t know Nicaragua, El Salvador or Honduras. It doesn’t mean you can’t reach your conclusions. I don’t study cafe life in Tel Aviv. I visited Israel every year for 16 years until I was denied entrance in 2008. I don’t feel particularly attached to Israel – nationalism, as Noam Chomsky said, is not my cup of tea – but I feel no particular need to demonize it. I do feel a certain amount of disgust, that’s for sure. If my focus was on any other country’s human rights violations, I would be as appalled and disgusted. It’s just unacceptable, and you can’t make excuses for that with ‘other people do it.’ You probably will find the comparison offensive – it’s like going to my parents in the Warsaw ghetto and asking, what do you think about the Volkswagen? Isn’t it great? Don’t ask people in Iraq or Afghanistan to praise Hollywood, or whether Whitney Houston did a beautiful rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.”
Why does he put the blame solely on Israel?
“Because I don’t think both sides are equally responsible. If I were a Palestinian I wouldn’t have accepted what was offered at Camp David. On the critical issues, the Palestinians have been willing to make far greater concessions than are required to by [international] law – 60 percent of settlers to remain in place, largest Jerusalem in Israel’s history. How can a rational person conclude that the Palestinians bear responsibility for the non-resolution of this conflict?”
How about the violence against civilians they turned to after Camp David?
“International law says people fighting for self-determination can use force in order to achieve their independence.”
And targeting civilians?
“They do not have the right to target the civilian population. But now more and more Palestinians are turning to various forms of civil resistance and civil disobedience. This tactic of fasting in prison is going to spread.”
“I do not see other reasonable basis for resolution of this conflict other then the international law. What else can you use? To say, I have the rights, and solve it by force? Or based on needs – but who decides what are the needs? Dennis Ross decided Israel needs whatever it says it needs – and the Palestinians get everything that is left over. It’s a political problem, so it’s up to the international community to apply sufficient pressure to Israel to accept this map that is fair, within the parameters of law – and reasonable. And then the conflict can be solved. With the regional changes, there will be pressure applied by Egypt and Turkey however things settle with the Arab Spring, there will be pressure applied by the Palestinians and the international community, that is weary of this conflict, to resolve it on the basis of international consensus,” he said.

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Israeli Bombing of Syria and Moral Relativism

No universally applied principle justifies the Israeli attack on Damascus. Only self-flattering tribalism does that
By Glenn Greenwald 
May 06, 2013 “Information Clearing House” -“The Guardian” – On Sunday, Israel dropped massive bombs near Damascus, ones which the New York Times, quoting residents, originally reported (then evidently deleted) resulted in explosions “more massive than anything the residents of the city. . . have witnessed during more than two years of war.” The Jerusalem Post this morning quoted “a senior Syrian military source” as claiming that “Israel used depleted uranium shells”, though that is not confirmed. The NYT cited a “high-ranking Syrian military official” who said the bombs “struck several critical military facilities in some of the country’s most tightly secured and strategic areas” and killed “dozens of elite troops stationed near the presidential palace”, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that “at least 42 soldiers were killed in the strikes, and another 100 who would usually be at the targeted sites remain unaccounted for.”
Israeli defenders claim that its air attack targeted weapons provided by Iran that would have ended up in the hands of Hezbollah. Obama officials quickly told media outlets that “the administration is fully supportive of Israel’s airstrikes”. Indeed, Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy noted: “Keep in mind the Israelis are using weapons supplied by us.” There is, needless to say, virtually no condemnation of the Israeli assault in US media or political circles. At this point, the only question is how many minutes will elapse before Congress reflexively adopts a near-unanimous or unanimous resolution effusively praising Israel for the attack and unqualifiedly endorsing all past and future attacks as well.
Because people who cheer for military action by their side like to pretend that they’re something more than primitive “might-makes-right” tribalists, the claim is being hauled out that Israel’s actions are justified by the “principle” that it has the right to defend itself from foreign weapons in the hands of hostile forces. But is that really a “principle” that anyone would apply consistently, as opposed to a typically concocted ad hoc claim to justify whatever the US and Israel do? Let’s apply this “principle” to other cases, as several commentators on Twitter have done over the last 24 hours, beginning with this:
Or, for that matter, if Syria this week attacks a US military base on US soil and incidentally kills some American civilians (as Nidal Hasan did), and then cites as justification the fact that the US has been aiding Syrian rebels, would any establishment US journalist or political official argue that this was remotely justified? Or what if Syria bombed Qatar or Saudi Arabia on the same ground: would any US national figure defend the bombing as well within Syria’s rights given those nation’s arming of its rebels?
Few things are more ludicrous than the attempt by advocates of US and Israeli militarism to pretend that they’re applying anything remotely resembling “principles”. Their only cognizable “principle” is rank tribalism: My Side is superior, and therefore we are entitled to do things that Our Enemies are not. In more honest moments, they admit this. As soon as Hasan tweeted his question, he was instantly attacked by a writer for the Times of Israel and the Atlantic, dutifully re-tweeted by Jeffrey Goldberg, on this ground:
One could say quite reasonably that this is the pure expression of the crux of US political discourse on such matters: they must abide by rules from which we’re immune, because we’re superior. So much of the pseudo-high-minded theorizing emanating from DC think thanks and US media outlets boils down to this adolescent, self-praising, tribalistic license: we have the right to do X, but they do not. Indeed, the entire debate over whether there should be a war with Iran over its nuclear enrichment activities, as Israel sits on a massive pile of nuclear weapons while refusing UN demands to permit any international inspection of it, is also a perfect expression of this mentality.
The ultimate irony is that those who advocate for the universal application of principles to all nations are usually tarred with the trite accusatory slogan of “moral relativism”. But the real moral relativists are those who believe that the morality of an act is determined not by its content by the identity of those who commit them: namely, whether it’s themselves or someone else doing it. As Rudy Giulianiput it when asked if waterboarding is torture: “It depends on who does it.” Today’s version of that is: Israel and the US (and its dictatorial allies in Riyadh and Doha) have the absolute right to bomb other countries or arm rebels in those countries if they perceive doing so is necessary to stop a threat but Iran and Syria (and other countries disobedient to US dictates) do not. This whole debate would be much more tolerable if it were at least honestly acknowledged that what is driving the discussion are tribalistic notions of entitlement and nothing more noble.
Other notes
Former New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, who was one of the loudest and most influential advocates of the attack on Iraq,today demands that the US “get[] over Iraq” and militarily attack Syria. He does so even as he says that his public drum-beating for the Iraq war “turned out to be a humbling error of judgment, and it left [him] gun-shy,” but then argues that the attack on Syria is justified, in part, by the fact that Assad has “apparently” used “chemical weapons” on his own people. The only problem: a UN investigator said yesterday that the widely reported use of sarin gas came from Syrian rebels, not government forces. All of these claims deserve great skepticism, which is precisely why starting wars based on them is so foolish, and why Keller has obviously learned nothing despite his claims to the contrary.
For a nuanced and interesting analysis of the civil war in Syria, see this 2012 Al Jazeera column by the Syrian-Canadian Maher Arar, who was abducted at JFK Airport in 2002 and then imprisoned and tortured in Syria at the behest of the US, even though he was (as everyone now acknowledges) guilty of nothing. Although many important events have developed since that column, the context he provides on the Assad regime, what started the rebellion, and the relationship between the US and Syria are valuable.
Finally, claims of US and western superiority and entitlement are always amazing to behold given the behavior by those countries: seetoday’s Guardian article on how the British systematically abused, tortured and killed Kenyan rebels fighting against colonial rule in the 1950s, then spent decades hiding the evidence of it and lying about it, all in an effort to avoid compensating the victims and having the world know about the atrocities they committed. The parallels between that and today’s War on Terror are obvious and glaring. Whatever descriptive phrases apply to the US, Britain and its allies are, “so objectively superior so as to warrant exemption from or special standing under international law” is most certainly not among them.
Glenn Greenwald is a columnist on civil liberties and US national security issues for the Guardian. A former constitutional lawyer, he was until 2012 a contributing writer at Salon. He is the author of How Would a Patriot Act? (May 2006), a critique of the Bush administration’s use of executive power; A
Tragic Legacy (June, 2007), which examines the Bush legacy; and With Liberty and Justice For Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful.

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My Last Post

Final Thoughts on Zionism’s Success and Arab Failure
Will Masada II be the endgame?
By Alan Hart
May 04, 2013 “Information Clearing House” -“Alan Hart” – I am withdrawing from the battlefield of the war for the truth of history as it relates to the making and sustaining of the conflict in and over Palestine that became Israel, and the following is an explanation of why.
More than three decades ago when I made my commitment to this war effort, in the full knowledge that it would make me persona non grata in the eyes of the mainstream media I had served with some distinction, I believed that the single most amazing thing about the conflict was Zionism’s success in selling its propaganda lies – lies which were told not only to justify anything and everything the Zionist (not Jewish) State of Israel did and does, but also to establish and fix the boundaries of what could and could not be discussed in public discourse about Israel’s policies and actions. (I mean what could and could not be discussed by non-Jews, Europeans and Americans especially, if they didn’t want to be terrorized by smears and false charges of anti-Semitism which could result in them losing their positions and jobs).
What could be called the Mother and Father of Zionism’s propaganda lies is the assertion that all the Jews of the world are descended from the ancient Hebrews and therefore have a common ethnic origin and national heritage. In other words, according to Zionism’s assertion, Palestine is by definition the ancestral homeland of all the Jews of the world; and this, it is further asserted by Zionism, means that Israel has the right to sovereignty over all the land it occupies today and Jews from anywhere have the right to settle on it.
As Israeli historian Shlomo Sand explains in his book The Invention of the Jewish People, that is simply not true. And as I noted in my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews (which was published before Sand’s work), almost all if not all the Jews who went to Palestine in answer to Zionism’s call had no biological connection to the ancient Hebrews. They, like almost all Jews, were the descendants of peoples from many homelands (mainly in Eastern and Western Europe) who converted to Judaism centuries after the brief rule of the ancient Hebrews ended and who, after their conversion, had only their religion and its rituals in common.
Though they subsequently converted to Islam and Christianity, it is possible that when Zionism declared itself to be in existence 1897 there were more Palestinian Arabs than Palestinian Jews who were descended from the ancient Hebrews.
Zionism’s claim that the Jews of the world have a right to the land now occupied by Greater Israel does not bear honest examination.
One of the most influential of Zionism’s follow-up propaganda lies asserted that Israel was given its birth certificate and thus its legitimacy by the United Nations Partition Resolution of 29 November 1947. As I document in detail in my book and have indicated over the years in more than a few articles and presentations of public platforms of all kinds, that is propaganda nonsense.
In the first place the UN without the consent of the majority of the people of Palestine did not have the right to decide to partition Palestine or assign any part of its territory to a minority of alien immigrants in order for them to establish a state of their own.
Despite that, by the narrowest of margins, and only after a rigged vote (rigged by Zionist pressure amounting to blackmail on the leaders and governments of some member states), the UN General Assembly did pass a resolution to partition Palestine and create two states, one Arab, one Jewish, with Jerusalem not part of either. But the General Assembly resolution was only a proposal – meaning that it could have no effect, would not become policy, unless approved by the Security Council.
The truth is that the General Assembly’s partition proposal never went to the Security Council for consideration. Why not? Because the US knew that, if approved, it could only be implemented by force; and President Truman was not prepared to use force to partition Palestine.
So the partition plan was vitiated (became invalid), and the question of what the hell to do about Palestine after the occupying British had been driven out it by Zionist terrorism was taken back to the General Assembly for more discussion. The option favoured and proposed by the US was temporary UN Trusteeship. It was while the General Assembly was debating what to do next that Israel unilaterally declared itself to be in existence – actually in defiance of the will of the organised international community as it then was, including the Truman administration.
The truth of the time was that Israel had no right to exist. It came into existence because Ben-Gurion had done everything necessary to guarantee that his Jewish forces would be more than sufficient in numbers and well enough armed to roll back and defeat any Arab military response to Israel’s unilateral declaration of independence, and that Zionist might would prevail over Palestinian right.
Thereafter Zionism was successful in convincing the Western world that poor little Israel lived in constant danger of annihilation, the “driving into the sea” of its Jews. The truth is that Israel’s existence has never, ever, been in danger from any combination of Arab military force. Despite some stupid, face-saving Arab rhetoric to the contrary, which played into Zionism’s hands, the Arab regimes never, ever, had any intention of fighting Israel to liberate Palestine. (When elements of the armies of the frontline Arab states went to war with Israel in 1948, their objective was not to destroy the “Jewish state” but to hold the land that had been assigned to the Palestinian Arab state by the vitiated partition plan, and they failed miserably, as Ben-Gurion was confident they would, to do that. Also true is that Jordan, whose king had been in secret dialogue with Zionism’s in-Palestine leaders, would not have been a serious party to the Arab war effort if Ben-Gurion had not tried to grab Jerusalem; if, in other words, he had been content for the Holy City not to be part of either the Jewish or Arab state of the vitiated partition plan).
Israel always was the aggressor and oppressor, not and never the victim.
Its assertion, repeated over and over again, that it didn’t have Arab partners for peace was also a big, fat, propaganda lie (as the documented truth of history, including de-classified Israeli state papers, which are ignored by the mainstream media, proves).
When I made my commitment to the war for truth more than three decades ago, I believed that calling and holding Israel to account for its crimes, in order for there to be peace based on justice for the Palestinians and security for all, would remain a mission impossibleunless the citizens of the Western nations, enough of them and Americans especially, were informed about the truth of history.
That seemed obvious to me because it was clear that, unwilling to confront the Zionist lobby in all its manifestations, the governments of the major Western powers were not going to use the leverage they have to oblige Israel to end its defiance of international law unless and until they were pushed to do by informed public opinion – by manifestations of real democracy in action. THE problem was thatmost citizens of the Western nations, Americans especially, were too mis-informed and uninformed to do the pushing. In other words, because they had been conditioned by Zionist propaganda, peddled without question by the mainstream media, most citizens were too ignorant to make their democracies work for justice and peace in the Middle East.
So my starting point was the belief that the real conflict is an information war between Zionism’s masters of deception on the one side and the truth tellers on the other.
The truth tellers were few in number but among those who produced major truth-telling works (books) were Jews of real integrity including, for example, the Jewish-American Alfred M. Lilienthal, the first two Israeli “revisionist” meaning honest historians – Avi Shlaim and Ilan Pappe, the Jewish-American Norman Finkelstein and Auschwitz survivor Hajo Meyer. (In such company the Gentile me felt secure in the frontline trenches of the war for truth. There was also comfort in knowing that we were taking on Zionism from the moral high ground).
Over the last 20 years or so, with their books, articles and public speaking, the truth tellers have made an impact but not on a big enough scale to change the outcome of the war.
The truth today is that the situation of the occupied and oppressed Palestinians is worse than it has ever been and is worsening as Israel continues its defiance of international law and gobbles up more and more Palestinian land and water resources.
Also true today is that there is a rising, global tide of anti-Israelism, but it has little or nothing to do with the work of the truth tellers. It is being provoked by Israel’s policies and actions.
Some people (including perhaps President Obama) hope that Israel’s growing isolation will bring a majority of Israeli Jews to their senses and cause them to insist that their government be serious about peace on terms the Palestinians could accept. That has to be a possibility, but I think it is much more likely that the rising, global tide of anti-Israelism will have an opposite effect. I mean that it will assist Zionism’s deluded leaders to reinforce the message that what is happening is proof of what they have always said – that the world hates Jews, and that Israel’s leaders must therefore do whatever is necessary to preserve and protect their state as an insurance policy, a refuge of last resort, for all Jews everywhere, even if that means telling an American president and the whole world to go to hell.
On reflection today I believe that Zionism could have been contained and defeated by now if the resources (yes, I do mean money) had been available to assist the promotion and spread of the truth of history on the scale necessary to empower the citizens of the Western nations, Americans especially, to make their democracies work for justice and peace, by demanding that their governments end their unconditional support for Israel right or wrong. (In my view, which is based on my own engagements with audiences across the U.S., Americans in great numbers would have been open to the truth of history if they had also been made aware that unconditional support for Israel right or wrong is not in their own best interests).
Because the resources were not made available, the war for the truth of history has remained the most asymmetric of all information wars. Zionism’s masters of deception have, as they always have had, virtually unlimited funds for the co-ordinated promotion of their propaganda lies. The truth-tellers are, as they always have been, without the resources needed to put together and implement a co-ordinated, winning campaign strategy.
The main providers of the resources necessary for winning the information war ought to have been seriously wealthy Arabs in general and seriously wealthy diaspora Palestinians in particular. They ought to have done for Palestine what seriously wealthy Jews did and still do for Zionism.
There are two main reasons why seriously wealthy diaspora Palestinians declined to play their necessary part in funding promotion of the truth of history.
Those who live in Western Europe and America are frightened that any association with the work of people who credibly challenge Zionism’s version of history would invite Zionist retribution which could result in their businesses being damaged and perhaps even destroyed.
Those who live in the Gulf States are frightened that assisting the truth-tellers could put their very comfortable positions and relationships with the rulers of those states at risk because they, the rulers, would not take kindly to blow back hassle from Zionism. (Zionist heavyweights in America do sometimes call Gulf Arab rulers directly to tell them what they should not do or allow. One such call was made to tell a ruler that he should not support Alan Hart and Ilan Pappe. The call was made after Ilan and I had made a joint presentation in the particular state, at its invitation, and had been promised support for our work)
Another possible reason why some seriously wealthy diaspora Palestinians have not assisted the promotion of the truth of history could be that they don’t understand (at all or well enough) that Western governments are not going to confront the Zionist monster unless the citizens of nations, the voters, are informed enough to demand that they do.
It’s also not impossible that some seriously wealthy diaspora Palestinians have not contributed to the information war effort because they believe but dare not say that Palestine has long been a lost cause.
The brutal truth about seriously wealthy non-Palestinian Arabs is that most of them don’t care about the occupied and oppressed Palestinians and the many others, refugees still living in camps, who were dispossessed of their homes, their land and their rights. The Arab masses do care but their elites don’t. (That statement is something of an exaggeration to make a point but it contains much truth).
Today I can quantify the cost of my own commitment to the war for truth.
If I had written a pro-Zionist book, I would have had wealthy Jews throwing money at it and me for global promotion of all kinds. But with Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, (which is a complete re-writing of the entire history of the conflict exposing Zionist propaganda for the nonsense it is and replacing it with the documented truth of history), I was on my own. To fund the research and writing over nearly five years, then the printing and publication of the original, two-volume hardback edition, and then some promotion, I took out a loan against the security of the home my wife and I owned outright and have lived in for a quarter of a century.
At the time I decided to do so (with my dear wife’s complete understanding and support), I didn’t think I was being stupid. My previous book (Arafat, Terrorist or Peacemaker?) had earned me significant income from the sale of the Arabic newspaper serialization rights, and I assumed that my latest book would do the same, enabling me to clear the re-mortgaged debt on my home.
I was, of course, aware that there were truths in Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews that would be more than uncomfortable for the Arab regimes and which they would not want their newspapers to publish. (When I was writing the book I had to be guided by the fact you can’t tell the truth about Zionism with telling the truth about why the Arab states were never a threat to Israel’s existence). But newspaper serialization of a two-volume book (which became three volumes in its updated American edition) would have taken only a relatively small amount of total content. Arab editors doing the serialization could have left out everything that offended their political masters and still had more than enough material to inform and entertain their readers.
But it was no go. My book was not only red-flagged by Zionism and therefore all the major Western publishing houses, this despite the fact that my extremely well connected and respected literary agent had on file letters from the CEO’s of some of them with rare praise for my manuscript. (One of the letters, which I quoted in the Preface to the original hardback edition, described my manuscript as “awesome… driven my passion, commitment and profound learning.” It added, “There is no question it deserves to be published.”). For their part the Arab regimes were at one with Zionism in wanting the full truth of history to be suppressed to the maximum extent possible. They effectively endorsed Zionism’s strategy for dealing with me and my work – “Alan Hart and his book do not exist.” (I think my dear friend Ilan Pappe may well have been right when he said that Zionism was more frightened of my book than any other because of its title, which he described as “the truth in seven words.”)
Today I have to face the cost consequences of my commitment to the truth of history. To avoid being dispossessed of my home and land in the not too distant future because I don’t have the money to pay the principal sum of the outstanding re-mortgaged debt (I have been paying only the interest on it), I now have to sell and downsize. Preparing to downsize will require, among other things, months of my fulltime to sort through and dispose of much of what has been accumulated over decades and could not be accommodated and stored in a much smaller property with little or no land. And that in the proverbial nutshell is why I am withdrawing from the battlefield of the war for truth. The days when I could serve causes beyond self in order to feel that I was doing something useful with my life are gone. Like seriously wealthy diaspora Palestinians and other Arabs, I must now put my own interests, and above all those of my dear wife, first.
Back in the early 1970′s when I was making Five Minutes To Midnight, my documentary on global poverty and its implications for all, I had a verbal boxing match with Mother Teresa in Calcutta. After a day of filming with her as she collected some of those dying from poverty on the pavements to give them a few more days of life with shelter and loving care, she invited my camera crew and I to a frugal evening meal with some of her sisters. The question I posed for discussion over the meal was this: Which is the most important word in any language – love or justice?
Mother Teresa argued with passion, sometimes angry passion, for love. I argued, with equal but not angry passion, for justice. If she was alive today I would say to her, “Mother Teresa, it’s justice not love that is required if the countdown to catastrophe in Palestine that became Israel is to be stopped.”
But it was not only my complete identity with the Palestinians’ irrefutable claim for justice and my admiration of the incredible, almost superhuman steadfastness of the occupied and oppressed that inspired, drove and sustained my commitment to the war for the truth of history.
I feared, as I do even more so today, that if the information war that probably could have been won by now is lost, the end-game will most likely be a final Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine, followed, quite possibly, by another great turning against the Jews, provoked by Zionism’s insufferable self-righteousness and contempt for international law
For three decades I have done my best to contribute to the understanding needed to prevent both obscenities from happening, but I have now reached and passed the outer limits of what I can do when there’s a lack of will on the part of seriously wealthy diaspora Palestinian and other Arabs to assist the promotion and spread of the truth of history.
In the days and weeks to come I will no doubt find myself wondering if I was naive to believe that Palestinian right could be assisted to triumph over Zionist might.
To those all over the world who down the years have expressed appreciation for my books, articles and presentations on public platforms of all kinds – Thank You, your moral support helped to sustain my commitment.
Final Footnote
A Palestinian friend once asked me if, on matters to do with Palestine, I was aware of the main difference between Arabs and Jews. He didn’t wait for me to respond. He said: “Arabs almost never do what they say they will do. Jews often do what they say they will not do.”
I said I thought there was an element of truth in that.
Alan Hart is a former ITN and BBC Panorama foreign correspondent who covered wars and conflicts wherever they were taking place in the world and specialized in the Middle East. Author of Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews: The False Messiah (Zionism, the Real Enemy of the Jews). He blogs onwww.alanhart.net
Note from Tom – If you appreciate Alan’s efforts, then please support him
See also
Zionism’s Jewish Enemy – Video Alan Hart Interviews Professor Ilan Pappe, Israel’s leading “new” or “revisionist” historian.

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US Envoy to UN Says Defending Israel Large Part of Her Job

Susan Rice calls safeguarding Israel’s security and legitimacy ‘crucial work’
By Times Of Israel
April 23, 2013 “Information Clearing House” -“Times Of Israel” – WASHINGTON (JTA) — Susan Rice said a major part of her work as US ambassador to the United Nations is defending Israel’s legitimacy.
“It’s a huge part of my work to the United Nations,” Rice said Sunday evening, launching this year’s Consultation on Conscience, an event for Reform movement social activists organized by the Religious Action Center.
She likened the volume of work to her efforts to coordinate Syria’s isolation and to contain violence and abuses in Sudan.
She said she often works in “lockstep” with the Israeli delegation.
“We will not rest in the crucial work of defending Israel’s security and legitimacy every day at the United Nations,” Rice said.
She said Israel’s success at the United Nations often is not reported, for instance in joining the boards of the UN Development Program and UNICEF, and in advancing development initiatives.
Rice also discussed the US role in brokering the birth of South Sudan and in monitoring continuing abuses in Sudan, and in attempting to rally other nations to isolate the Assad regime in Syria as a means of stemming the carnage in that country.
The Consultation on Conscience features workshops on social action and meetings with government figures.
In addition to Rice, this year’s attendees heard from Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, and will meet Tuesday with top Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Congress.
Featured topics this year include combating genocide, immigration reform, rights of workers and gay rights.

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What Christians Don’t Know About Israel

By Grace Halsell
Note:  This article was written in 1998 by the late Grace Halsell.  Sadly it remains relevant today.
April 10, 2013 “Information Clearing House” –   American Jews sympathetic to Israel dominate key positions in all areas of our government where decisions are made regarding the Middle East. This being the case, is there any hope of ever changing U.S. policy? American Presidents as well as most members of Congress support Israel — and they know why. U.S. Jews sympathetic to Israel donate lavishly to their campaign coffers.
The answer to achieving an even-handed Middle East policy might lie elsewhere — among those who support Israel but don’t really know why. This group is the vast majority of Americans. They are well-meaning, fair-minded Christians who feel bonded to Israel — and Zionism — often from atavistic feelings, in some cases dating from childhood.
I am one of those. I grew up listening to stories of a mystical, allegorical, spiritual Israel. This was before a modern political entity with the same name appeared on our maps. I attended Sunday School and watched an instructor draw down window- type shades to show maps of the Holy Land. I imbibed stories of a Good and Chosen people who fought against their Bad “unChosen” enemies.
In my early 20s, I began traveling the world, earning my living as a writer. I came to the subject of the Middle East rather late in my career. I was sadly lacking in knowledge regarding the area. About all I knew was what I had learned in Sunday School.
And typical of many U.S. Christians, I somehow considered a modern state created in 1948 as a homeland for Jews persecuted under the Nazis as a replica of the spiritual, mystical Israel I heard about as a child. When in 1979 I initially went to Jerusalem, I planned to write about the three great monotheistic religions and leave out politics. “Not write about politics?” scoffed one Palestinian, smoking a waterpipe in the Old Walled City. “We eat politics, morning, noon and night!”
As I would learn, the politics is about land, and the co-claimants to that land: the indigenous Palestinians who have lived there for 2,000 years and the Jews who started arriving in large numbers after the Second World War. By living among Israeli Jews as well as Palestinian Christians and Muslims, I saw, heard, smelled, experienced the police state tactics Israelis use against Palestinians.
My research led to a book entitled Journey to Jerusalem. My journey not only was enlightening to me as regards Israel, but also I came to a deeper, and sadder, understanding of my own country. I say sadder understanding because I began to see that, in Middle East politics, we the people are not making the decisions, but rather that supporters of Israel are doing so. And typical of most Americans, I tended to think the U.S. media was “free” to print news impartially.
‘It shouldn’t be published. It’s anti-Israel.’
In the late 1970s, when I first went to Jerusalem, I was unaware that editors could and would classify “news” depending on who was doing what to whom. On my initial visit to Israel-Palestine, I had interviewed dozens of young Palestinian men. About one in four related stories of torture.
Israeli police had come in the night, dragged them from their beds and placed hoods over their heads. Then in jails the Israelis had kept them in isolation, besieged them with loud, incessant noises, hung them upside down and had sadistically mutilated their genitals. I had not read such stories in the U.S. media. Wasn’t it news? Obviously, I naively thought, U.S. editors simply didn’t know it was happening.
On a trip to Washington, DC, I hand-delivered a letter to Frank Mankiewicz, then head of the public radio station WETA. I explained I had taped interviews with Palestinians who had been brutally tortured. And I’d make them available to him. I got no reply. I made several phone calls. Eventually I was put through to a public relations person, a Ms. Cohen, who said my letter had been lost. I wrote again. In time I began to realize what I hadn’t known: had it been Jews who were strung up and tortured, it would be news. But interviews with tortured Arabs were “lost” at WETA.
The process of getting my book Journey to Jerusalem published also was a learning experience. Bill Griffin, who signed a contract with me on behalf of MacMillan Publishing Company, was a former Roman Catholic priest. He assured me that no one other than himself would edit the book. As I researched the book, making several trips to Israel and Palestine, I met frequently with Griffin, showing him sample chapters. “Terrific,” he said of my material.
The day the book was scheduled to be published, I went to visit MacMillan’s. Checking in at a reception desk, I spotted Griffin across a room, cleaning out his desk. His secretary Margie came to greet me. In tears, she whispered for me to meet her in the ladies room. When we were alone, she confided, “He’s been fired.” She indicated it was because he had signed a contract for a book that was sympathetic to Palestinians. Griffin, she said, had no time to see me.
Later, I met with another MacMillan official, William Curry. “I was told to take your manuscript to the Israeli Embassy, to let them read it for mistakes,” he told me. “They were not pleased. They asked me, “You are not going to publish this book, are you?” I asked, “Were there mistakes?” “Not mistakes as such. But it shouldn’t be published. It’s anti-Israel.”
Somehow, despite obstacles to prevent it, the presses had started rolling. After its publication in 1980, I was invited to speak in a number of churches. Christians generally reacted with disbelief. Back then, there was little or no coverage of Israeli land confiscation, demolition of Palestinian homes, wan ton arrests and torture of Palestinian civilians.
The Same Question
Speaking of these injustices, I invariably heard the same question, “How come I didn’t know this?” Or someone might ask, “But I haven’t read about that in my newspaper.” To these church audiences, I related my own learning experience, that of seeing hordes of U.S. correspondents covering a relatively tiny state. I pointed out that I had not seen so many reporters in world capitals such as Beijing, Moscow, London, Tokyo, Paris. Why, I asked, did a small state with a 1980 population of only four million warrant more reporters than China, with a billion people?
I also linked this query with my findings that The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post — and most of our nation’s print media – are owned and/or controlled by Jews supportive of Israel. It was for this reason, I deduced, that they sent so many reporters to cover Israel — and to do so largely from the Israeli point of view.
My learning experiences also included coming to realize how easily I could lose a Jewish friend if I criticized the Jewish state. I could with impunity criticize France, England, Russia, even the United States. And any aspect of life in America. But not the Jewish state. I lost more Jewish friends than one after the publication of Journey to Jerusalem — all sad losses for me and one, perhaps, saddest of all.
In the 1960s and 1970s, before going to the Middle East, I had written about the plight of blacks in a book entitled Soul Sister, and the plight of American Indians in a book entitled Bessie Yellowhair, and the problems endured by undocumented workers crossing from Mexico in The Illegals. These books had come to the attention of the “mother” of The New York Times, Mrs. Arthur Hays Sulzberger.
Her father had started the newspaper, then her husband ran it, and in the years that I knew her, her son was the publisher. She invited me to her fashionable apartment on Fifth Avenue for lunches and dinner parties. And, on many occasions, I was a weekend guest at her Greenwich, Conn., home.
She was liberal-minded and praised my efforts to speak for the underdog, even going so far in one letter to say, “You are the most remarkable woman I ever knew.” I had little concept that from being buoyed so high I could be dropped so suddenly when I discovered — from her point of view — the “wrong” underdog.
As it happened, I was a weekend guest in her spacious Connecticut home when she read bound galleys of Journey to Jerusalem. As I was leaving, she handed the galleys back with a saddened look: “My dear, have you forgotten the Holocaust?” She felt that what happened in Nazi Germany to Jews several decades earlier should silence any criticism of the Jewish state. She could focus on a holocaust of Jews while negating a modern day holocaust of Palestinians.
I realized, quite painfully, that our friendship was ending. Iphigene Sulzberger had not only invited me to her home to meet her famous friends but, also at her suggestion, The Times had requested articles. I wrote op-ed articles on various subjects including American blacks, American Indians as well as undocumented workers. Since Mrs. Sulzberger and other Jewish officials at the Times highly praised my efforts to help these groups of oppressed peoples, the dichotomy became apparent: most “liberal” U.S. Jews stand on the side of all poor and oppressed peoples save one — the Palestinians.
How handily these liberal Jewish opinion-molders tend to diminish the Palestinians, to make them invisible, or to categorize them all as “terrorists.”
Interestingly, Iphigene Sulzberger had talked to me a great deal about her father, Adolph S. Ochs. She told me that he was not one of the early Zionists. He had not favored the creation of a Jewish state.
Yet, increasingly, American Jews have fallen victim to Zionism, a nationalistic movement that passes for many as a religion. While the ethical instructions of all great religions — including the teachings of Moses, Muhammad and Christ — stress that all human beings are equal, militant Zionists take the position that the killing of a non-Jew does not count.
Over five decades now, Zionists have killed Palestinians with impunity. And in the 1996 shelling of a U.N. base in Qana, Lebanon, the Israelis killed more than 100 civilians sheltered there. As an Israeli journalist, Arieh Shavit, explains of the massacre, “We believe with absolute certitude that right now, with the White House in our hands, the Senate in our hands and The New York Times in our hands, the lives of others do not count the same way as our own.”
Israelis today, explains the anti-Zionist Jew Israel Shahak, “are not basing their religion on the ethics of justice. They do not accept the Old Testament as it is written. Rather, religious Jews turn to the Talmud. For them, the Talmudic Jewish laws become “the Bible.” And the Talmud teaches that a Jew can kill a non-Jew with impunity.
In the teachings of Christ, there was a break from such Talmudic teachings. He sought to heal the wounded, to comfort the downtrodden.
The danger, of course, for U.S. Christians is that having made an icon of Israel, we fall into a trap of condoning whatever Israel does — even wanton murder — as orchestrated by God.
Yet, I am not alone in suggesting that the churches in the United States represent the last major organized support for Palestinian rights. This imperative is due in part to our historic links to the Land of Christ and in part to the moral issues involved with having our tax dollars fund Israeli-government-approved violations of human rights.
While Israel and its dedicated U.S. Jewish supporters know they have the president and most of Congress in their hands, they worry about grassroots America — the well-meaning Christians who care for justice. Thus far, most Christians were unaware of what it was they didn’t know about Israel. They were indoctrinated by U.S. supporters of Israel in their own country and when they traveled to the Land of Christ most all did so under Israeli sponsorship. That being the case, it was unlikely a Christian ever met a Palestinian or learned what caused the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
This is gradually changing, however. And this change disturbs the Israelis. As an example, delegates attending a Christian Sabeel conference in Bethlehem earlier this year said they were harassed by Israeli security at the Tel Aviv airport.
“They asked us,” said one delegate, “Why did you use a Palestinian travel agency? Why didn’t you use an Israeli agency?” The interrogation was so extensive and hostile that Sabeel leaders called a special session to brief the delegates on how to handle the harassment. Obviously, said one delegate, “The Israelis have a policy to discourage us from visiting the Holy Land except under their sponsorship. They don’t want Christians to start learning all they have never known about Israel.”
60 Minutes on the Exodus of Christian Palestinians

Jimmy Carter Unveils Truth About Israel

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The Role of the Israel Lobby in the Growth of “Christian Zionism”

By Alison Weir 
April 03, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – While some individuals, both Jewish and Christian, have talked about a Jewish “return” to Palestine throughout past centuries, today’s version of Christian Zionism was largely invented in the 19th century; adherents of political Zionism, a movement to create a Jewish state, were a major factor in how and why it grew.
As I write in my article on the history of US-Israel Relations, the precursor to today’s pro-Israel lobbying groups, the “American Zionist Emergency Council” (AZEC), played a significant role in creating Christian support for Zionism. Below is an excerpt from my piece:
Secret Zionist funds [by AZEC], eventually reaching $150,000 in 1946, were used to revive an elitist Protestant group, the American Palestine Committee. This group had originally been founded in 1932 by Emanuel Neumann, a member of the Executive of the Zionist Organization. The objective was to organize a group of prominent (mainly non-Jewish) Americans in moral and political support of Zionism.
[AZEC head] Rabbi Abba Silver’s headquarters issued a directive saying, “In every community an American Christian Palestine Committee must be immediately organized.”
The Christian committee’s operations were hardly autonomous. Zionist headquarters thought nothing of placing newspaper advertisements on the clergymen’s behalf without bothering to consult them in advance, until one of the committee’s leaders meekly asked at least for prior notice before public statements were made in their name.”
AZEC formed another group among clergymen, the Christian Council on Palestine. An internal AZEC memo stated that the aim of both groups was to “crystallize the sympathy of Christian America for our cause.”
By the end of World War II the Christian Council on Palestine had grown to 3,000 members and the American Palestine Committee boasted a membership of 6,500 public figures, including senators, congressmen, cabinet members, governors, state officers, mayors, jurists, clergymen, educators, writers, publishers, and civic and industrial leaders.
[For citations, and additional information on the Scofield Annotated Bible – a significant source of Christian Zionist beliefs – see my article.)
In the 1970s the Israeli government gave Jerry Falwell a jet plane, helping him to spread his version of theology.
Numerous Christians, including a great many evangelical pastors and theologians, have long opposed the Christian Zionist interpretation of the Bible.
Among this large and extremely diverse group have been Philip Mauro writing in the 1920s and Rev. Harry Emerson Fosdick and Rev. Henry Sloane Coffin, two of the most celebrated pastors of their day (’20s through the ’50s); William Sloan Coffin in the 1970s; and today’s Gary Burge, Rev. Stephen Sizer, Carl Medearis, members of Sabeel, the organizers of Christ at the Checkpoint, and numerous others. The list could go on and on.
A number of people have made a wide range of documentaries on this topic. Some are specifically from a fundamentalist, evangelical perspective and are particularly intended to reach Christians who hold Christian Zionist beliefs; one, “Christian Zionism, the Tragedy and the Turning,” contains interesting information about the Scofield Bible; another, “With God On Our Side,” has been shown with considerable effect in many churches.
However, none of the above individuals have the jet planes and massive funding of a Jerry Falwell or John Hagee to deliver their views and information to American Christians.
Two final notes: many of the politicians who support Israel do so for the simple reason that the pro-Israel influence in Congress and the media is extremely significant to their chances for re-election rather than out of religious motivation.
North Carolina’s Jesse Helms was an example: he demanded that Palestinians receive a “just settlement of their grievances” until he learned that such a stance would hurt his coverage by the media, at which point he changed it.
It is also important to be aware that numerous members of the Israel Lobby are behind the efforts to create Islamophobia in the American public. Please see CNI’s large, detailed section on this.
While there is a growing focus on Christian Zionism, which leaves out virtually all of the information above, there is a simultaneous coverup on the nature of Jewish fundamentalism and its role in Israel. I discuss this a bit in my article “What Our Taxes to Israel are Funding.”
Israeli author Israel Shahak’s books are esssential reading on this. Both are available online:
Jewish Fundamentalism In Israel, co-authored with Norton Mezvinsky.
Alison Weir is the founder of If Americans Knew, an organization that provides information on topics of importance that are substantially misreported or unreported in the US media; our primary focus is on Israel-Palestine. In particular, we analyze media coverage of this issue, and have conducted a number of statistical studies. alisonweir.org

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U.S., Israel To Negotiate Military Aid Extension

Obama Doubles Down On Bid For Mideast Peace
By BARBARA OPALL-ROME
March 25, 2013 “Information Clearing House” -“Defense News” – JERUSALEM — In an extraordinarily emotive visit here aimed at rallying Israel’s current and future leaders to seize the chance for peace, U.S. President Barack Obama doubled down on U.S. security support with a new agreement to extend annual military aid through 2027.
The pending 10-year military aid package would commit Washington to provide up to $40 billion in additional Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grant assistance to Israel, sources here say. It would automatically kick in at the conclusion of the current 10-year, $30 billion agreement signed in 2007 under President George W. Bush and would bind Obama’s successor to continued military aid to Israel.
The current agreement elevated Israel’s annual grant aid from $2.4 billion to $3.1 billion, and Israeli officials expect the follow-on package to provide incremental boosts to nearly $4 billion per year.
At a joint March 20 news conference here with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama reiterated Washington’s “solemn obligation” to safeguard Israel’s “non-negotiable” security.
“As part of our long-term commitment to Israel’s security, the prime minister and I agreed to begin discussions on extending military assistance. Our current agreement lasts through 2017, and we’ve directed our teams to start working on extending it for the years beyond,” Obama said.
Obama’s unusually early authorization of negotiations for a follow-on aid package is one of the many confidence-building, security-enhancing measures aimed at “encouraging the Israeli government to take those risky, yet necessary steps toward peace,” a U.S. source here said.
In addition to extending annual FMF aid, Obama pledged additional measures to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge. As an example — and in reference to sequestration-mandated budget cuts — Obama said the White House “will take steps” to ensure “no interruption” to some $200 million in 2013 funding for Israel’s Iron Dome active defense system.
Moreover, Obama said his team would continue to work with Congress on future Iron Dome funding, which sources here estimated could result in an additional $600 million over the next two years.
Obama’s visit here in the opening days of Netanyahu’s center-right coalition government was meticulously crafted to accent the commonality of interests and points of agreement on the bilateral agenda. Differences associated with West Bank settlements or the point at which Washington would be prepared to exercise its military option in Iran were intentionally downplayed in White House attempts to set a positive stage for the next four years.
Obama sought to ensure the new government and the public at large that he was prepared to use military force if his preferred combination of sanctions and diplomacy fail to derail Tehran’s nuclear weapons drive.
In a public endorsement of Israel’s claimed right to act unilaterally to pre-empt the nuclear threat from Iran, Obama said, “Each country has to make its own decisions when it comes to the awesome decision to engage in any kind of military action.”
Speaking to reporters here, Netanyahu also sought to assuage public doubts about Washington’s commitment to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.
“I’m absolutely convinced that the president is determined to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons,” he said.
Nevertheless, Netanyahu maintained “Israel’s right and duty to defend itself, by itself, against any threat … including the Iranian threat.”
© 2013, Gannett Government Media Corporation

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The Curse of Chutzpa

By Nahida an Exiled Palestinian 
March 18, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – Gilad Atzmon argues that in order to best support Palestine we must cease to view the Palestinian struggle as “just another apartheid” or “just another colonial project”
What makes the occupation of Palestine “unique” is not the “specialness” of the suffering of Palestinians, nor is it the “uniqueness” of their tragedy or the “importance” of their cause.
What makes it “unique”is the fact that: those Jewish Zionists who occupy Palestine, those Jewish Zionists who support them, and even many of those Jewish anti-Zionists who oppose them view themselves as “unique”.
Many Jewish anti-Zionists view themselves as unique in the sense that they frantically hold on the notion of the “uniqueness” of the “Jewish suffering” and the inevitability of future “multi-holocausts” due to historic, intrinsic and incurable human-condition called “anti-semitism” which is in their view a “special” case of racism of inexplicable “hatred” for Jews.
With a considerable majority, whether hard-core Zionists, soft, liberal, or anti-Zionists, they have acquired a distorted image of themselves, their suffering, their history, their morality, and that of the world.
At the core of this perceived “uniqueness” lies the rotten seed of millennia of indoctrination with the concept of “CHOSEN-NESS” which gave birth to troubling concepts such as the so called “Jewish chutzpa“, the perceived feeling of “exclusivity”, “specialness”, “elitism”, and the illusion of having “special mission”, “higher” morality, “superior” intellect, and “unique” history and suffering.
The failure of Jewish communities -liberal and otherwise- to acknowledge, address and deal with this “heritage” in a sincere and healing manner will provoke severe and unavoidable consequences.
As it appears, many people of those who identify themselves as Jews fail to see the there is a fundamental contradiction and total incompatibility between their claim of humanism and their practices of exclusivity, and their claim of “high Jewish morality” and their real life practices of slander and excommunication when dealing with others whom they disagree with.
How can they talk about such a notion as “Jewish morality” or “Jewish heritage”:
While practicing oppression, either physical -as in the case of Zionist occupiers- or mental and psychological as in the case of anti-Zionists practice of thought oppression;
while viewing “the other” as less able intellectually or morally (i.e inferior) who is in constant need for guidance;
while placing themselves “at the helm” of social progress and imposing themselves as “guardians” of anti-racist campaigns and as “leaders” of liberation movements;
while appointing themselves as the intellectual and moral “elite” with the exclusive privilege to define the meaning of words such as racism and the right to identify who is racist or not;
while granting themselves the irrevocable and the unquestionable right to label, ostracize and excommunicate others as they wish;
Those who are engaged in the above appear to lack the most rudimentary qualities of modesty and humility needed to enable us humans to examine and evaluate our own words, actions and thoughts.
Thus they fail to gain the insight needed to self-reflect, self-criticize, self-improve thus to integrate without causing others to feel intimidated or oppressed.
Sooner or later people of the world (Palestinians included) will have to come to face such dreadful reality and deal with it.
About Nahadia
Born in Al-Quds (Jerusalem), I am Palestinian refugee living in exile for over 45 years. I was forced to leave my homeland, Palestine at the age of seven during the six-day war. More here – https://nahidaexiledpalestinian.wordpress.com
Via – “Gilad Atzmon

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Israel And America: The “Special Relationship” That Isn’t

Now that the dust is starting to settle over the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, it is useful to reflect on the bitter dispute that accompanied it,and to consider what it did – and did not – mean. Not much has been heard from Hagel’s opponents, while his supporters have been trumpeting their victory. But silence does not imply submission, and there are more than a few indicators that claims of victory are at best premature, and at worst misleading, especially as they pertain to the alleged “special relationship” between Israel and the United States.
By Dr. Alan Sabrosky
March 05, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – Whenever Israel’s supporters today speak of a “special relationship” with the US that is supposedly graven in stone, it is useful to remember that something very different existed when Israel came into existence in 1948 on the gutted carcass of Palestine. The US recognized Israel, but that was about it. Hollywood was (and remains) largely a Jewish preserve, but their level of influence elsewhere – in the government, the media and academia – was limited. Prominent American Jews felt no obligation to endorse Israel or Israeli leaders, no matter what happened. Dozens (including Albert Einstein) signed a letter published in the New York Times in 1948 protesting the arrival of Menachem Begin and condemning his actions. And the general American public was largely indifferent to what happened in the Middle East.
The US government echoed these sentiments. Most Israeli military assistance in the 1950s and well into the 1960s came from a scattering of other countries (e.g., the Israeli aircraft that attacked the USS Liberty in June 1967 were procured from France), but not from the US – and American economic aid to Israel during those years was extremely limited. It is noteworthy that in the Suez Crisis of 1956, President Eisenhower – who as General Eisenhower had led the Allied forces in the West that broke Nazi Germany, and was more intimately familiar with the actual situation of European Jews in WWII than any other US president before or since – had no qualms at all about ordering Israel (along with Britain and France) to cease operations against Egypt and to withdraw. Nor did President Kennedy (another WWII veteran, albeit a junior one) hesitate to make it absolutely clear to Israeli leaders that he would not support or condone Israel’s acquisition of a national nuclear force – a position that may well have cost him his life – but also a position consistent with his predecessors that the Israeli tail did not wag the American dog. And the Congress was essentially devoid of Israeli influence – indeed, an Israeli diplomat told me personally that at the time of the 1956 Suez Crisis, Israel had access to “only two minor Congressional offices” (his words).
Contriving A “Special Relationship”
None of this is true today. Both the Constitutional order and the political process in the US have been subverted. The effect is that the US Government is, for all practical purposes, virtually a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of Israel – a de facto colonial administration of a country that graciously allows the two main tribal groups (they are called “Republicans” and “Democrats”) to hold elections to determine which one will send properly screened loyalists to Washington. Like all sensible colonial powers, Israel largely lets Washington deal with domestic public policy as it wishes (usually badly). But on the world scene, what Israel wants from the US, it generally gets: the most advanced military technology, billions in economic assistance annually, and especially diplomatic protection – the US has vetoed scores of UN Security Council resolutions that Israel considered unfavorable, more than the other four permanent members of the Security Council combined, frequently in 14 to 1 votes. Rare efforts to change things, as when President Obama called the situation of the Palestinians “intolerable” and then called for a halt to Jewish settlements in the illegally occupied Palestinian territories, are ignored by Israel with utter impunity.
This situation began to emerge in the 1960s, as AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) morphed into existence and began a concerted effort with other major and minor Jewish organizations to shift public opinion and governmental support in Israel’s favor – with the American Jewish community being a key target audience. It took several directions, first building on Jewish dominance in the film industry (which told a tale of WWII and the Middle East as only Israel would and could want it told), but extending well beyond that area, into television, the mainstream media and the publishing industry. So much of what Americans believe about world events is shaped by fiction and drama, not facts and documentaries, and for nearly four generations now, the message – growing in scope and strength as Jewish leverage in the above areas increased – has been consistent: Nazis and the Holocaust (as they define both) are controlling; Israel is an island of Western democracy defending itself against barbaric Muslims who are the new Nazis; and the land of Israel (what it has and what it wants) is both a divine mandate from the God Jews and Christians share (at least in part), and the sole refuge of and for Jews in an otherwise hostile and “existentially threatening” world.
It’s fascinating to observe how these images have evolved and played out over the decades. Foreign-made films aside, I can think of only two instances in which Arabs have been portrayed in the US by popular actors in a slightly positive light in Hollywood movies: Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia and Sean Connery in The Wind and the Lion – and in both of these, they came on the scene as murderous barbarians, later fighting, respectively, Germany’s Turkish allies in the first instance and (oddly enough) both German and French troops together in the second (I wonder what France did to upset them so?). But Nazis, alone or in concert with Arabs, and Arabs as mindless terrorists, pop up everywhere. It is a message repeated over and over, and it leaves an indelible impression on the viewing audience that increases and solidifies over the generations. We had at the beginning the movie Exodus with its rousing and easily remembered theme song, but we have not had – nor will we ever, as things stand – a movie in the US called Nakba. And one of the more memorable (to me) Hollywood efforts was Death Before Dishonor, pitting US Marines and Mossad operatives together against Arab “terrorists” assisted by neo-Nazis, the latter complete with black outfits and German accents, just in case anyone missed the analogy and the linkage of Nazis and Arabs. From such things are lasting public opinions shaped.
Influence in the mainstream media, both electronic and print, and the publishing industry has likewise grown over the decades, with Zionist ownership now encompassing all of the major networks, all of the major national newspapers, all three weekly news magazines, most of the major political journals, and many of the larger publishing houses. This leverage portrays and reinforces in “fact” and fiction what both the educated public and the general public see, hear and read about politics and history, and especially about the Middle East and Israel. The effect is significant and cumulative, especially when contrary opinions and images rarely appear – and even when they do, are far outweighed numerically by opinions and images favorable to Israeli positions. Just sit and watch portrayals of anything in the Middle East on Fox News or CNN, for example, and contemplate the fate of even senior journalists who criticize Israel openly or endorse anyone Israel does not like, and you’ll understand the implications.
A third area which has often not been fully understood has been Israel’s calculated cultivation of evangelical Protestant pastors in the US, based on the recognition that where the pastors led, their flocks would mostly follow, and with them both money for Israel and votes on Israel’s behalf. Here the hydra-headed Jewish lobby (principally the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, of which the aforementioned AIPAC is only one of forty-nine members) has been exceptionally successful. Money, material gifts, honors and awards, and all-expense-paid trips to the Holy Land for pastors and their spouses have reaped extremely high benefits, culminating in the million-plus member CUFI (Christians United for Israel) and the near-unanimous support of evangelical Protestants for Israel and its causes, a major force within the US generally and a significant force in the state and national Republican Party specifically, which elected politicians defy at their mortal electoral peril. Seeing both US and Israeli flags flown together on the grounds of many evangelical Protestant churches speaks volumes.
Finally, there is the leverage in Washington of AIPAC, reinforced now by a growing number of PACs (Political Action Committees) and the so-called “Super PACs,” freed by a 2010 US Supreme Court decision (Citizens United) from any constraints on the size of their donations to favored elected officials or their rivals. It is the function of lobbies everywhere to promise, reward, threaten and/or punish, depending on the positions taken by elected officials and their campaigns, and AIPAC and its allies perform this function with exceptional success. It helps greatly that they have a single purpose and keep their attention on that purpose, which is to endorse whatever Israel does or wants, no matter what its effect on the US as a country or the American public as a whole. And these people – in or out of the US Government – have had no qualms about spending American lives and treasure in Israel’s interest, always with the proviso that they themselves stay well out of harm’s way personally.
The Zionist Medusa
The net result of this growingly effective and concerted effort over four generations has been to have a Medusa-like effect on any serious discussion about Israel or debate on US support for Israel. Attempts to address openly Israeli transgressions in the press or the public forums are invariably stillborn or muted by an inability to reach the American people, combined with obstacles and assaults from almost-uniformly hostile elected politicians, multimedia press, and mostly Protestant pulpits. Lawsuits and character assassination are the rule. Even those attempting to criticize individual Israeli actions are effectively compelled to do so while loudly proclaiming their support for that Jewish state, or do so because they are essentially part of Israel’s “loyal opposition” – faithful to the state of Israel but worried about its tactics and image. True critics of Israel simply do not get elected or appointed any more, anywhere at the national level in the US.
This has given AIPAC and its friends de facto control of the Congress (witness the twenty-nine standing ovations accorded to Israeli prime minister Netanyahu last year), and especially of the appointments process, the outcome of the Hagel confirmation battle notwithstanding. I cannot recall the last time a prominent member of the Congress – either house, either party or an independent – flatly condemned any Israeli action. It must be so difficult for Israelis, being so pure of heart and perfect in deed, that open criticism of them is politically unthinkable, and any that does occur can only be grounded in anti-Semitism and a lurking wish for genocide – or so they and their lobbies here would have the rest of us believe.
The executive branch is no better off. So many key appointments in the West Wing, the National Security Council, and the Departments of State & Defense (just for openers) are filled by AIPAC protégés or their “fellow travelers.” Even the Obama administration, supposedly so hostile to Israel, counted in its ranks in January 2009 Jews as chief of staff to the President, the First Lady and the Vice President – surely something other than random selection. And candidates for the presidency make what have become obligatory appearances before AIPAC conferences, pledging their support for Israel, and then compete with one another for Jewish monetary and media support. Romney in 2012 was only slightly more obsequious to Israel than his counterparts, while Obama used “no light between us” and “walking in lock-step” so often to characterize the US-Israel relationship that one would have thought his speechwriters were Israelis – and not just their anointed handlers here. Eisenhower and Kennedy must be turning over in their graves.
The “Special Relationship” After Hagel
Perhaps the best way to think of the US-Israel relationship today is not that it is “special,” but rather that it is “unique” – the end product of a concerted effort over decades by a domestic Fifth Column which has effectively captured the US Government from within, and placed it in the service of a smaller foreign country in a modified host-parasite relationship. It actually brings to mind a novel I once read in which an alien creature consisted of two beings linked together: a hulking brute, powerful but with little capacity for independent thought or action, and a tiny but very intelligent bird that inserted its beak into the base of the brute’s skull, drawing its nourishment there and providing guidance for the combined entity. Not a bad situation at all for the parasitic bird, but not one of dignity or honor for the hulking host – if, of course, the host could ever become aware of the situation.
It is somewhat comforting now for some people to assert that Hagel’s confirmation as Secretary of Defense is a defeat for AIPAC and the neo-conservatives, and a refutation of the alleged “special relationship.” I suppose in some sense it is a setback for them, in that they did not get everything they wanted, and actually had to expose themselves publicly and politically when opposing Hagel. A Saturday Night Liveparody of the Hagel hearings captured the ridiculousness of the effort extremely well, and would have doubtless influenced a number of people – had it not been cancelled after its dress rehearsal, shortly before going on the air.
But consider: Not a single criticism of Israel was uttered in those hearings. Any in the public paying attention heard the importance of Israel to the US, and our support of it, reaffirmed by Democrats and Republicans alike – my wife got a letter to that effect from a Republican senator to whom she had complained about the hearings – including Hagel himself. AIPAC and CUFI are still out there and active, and the Democrats – remember that about 80% of Jewish voters are Democrats – are no less sensitive to their continuing activities than their Republican counterparts. Nothing has changed in the media, or in the Executive Branch departments, nor is it likely to change. Embedded influences do not go away of their own accord; they need to be exorcised. Otherwise isolated instances like Hagel’s confirmation are all too likely to prove to be Pyrrhic victories – and the so-called “Iran War Resolution” now being introduced by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham with bi-partisan co-sponsors can easily be the proof of that, especially if it is followed by yet another war Israel wants and the American people do not need.
Alan Sabrosky (Ph.D, University of Michigan) is a ten-year US Marine Corps veteran and a graduate of the US Army War College. He can be contacted at docbrosk@comcast.net

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How Israel Legitimises Torturing Palestinians to Death

Israel’s policy of torture has left many dead and completely lacks accountability.
By Charlotte Silver
Many in the West Bank are in mourning over the passing of Arafat Jaradat, who was tortured to death in an Israeli prison – he leaves behind a pregnant widow and two children [AFP]
February 27, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – (Al-Jazeera) – Six days after Arafat Jaradat was arrested by the Israeli army and the Shin Bet, he was dead. Between the date of his arrest – February 18 – and the day of his death – February 23 – his lawyer Kamil Sabbagh met with Arafat only once: in front of a military judge at the Shin Bet’s Kishon interrogation facility.
Sabbagh reported that when he saw Jaradat, the man was terrified. Arafat told his lawyer that he was in acute pain from being beaten and forced to sit in stress positions with his hands bound behind his back.
When it announced his death, Israeli Prison Service claimed Arafat – who leaves a pregnant widow and two children – died from cardiac arrest. However, the subsequent autopsy found no blood clot in his heart. In fact, the autopsy concluded that Arafat, who turned 30 this year, was in fine cardiovascular health.
What the final autopsy did find, however, was that Jaradat had been pummelled by repeated blows to his chest and body and had sustained a total of six broken bones in his spine, arms and legs; his lips lacerated; his face badly bruised.
The ordeal that Arafat suffered before he died at the hands of Israel’s Shin Bet is common to many Palestinians that pass through Israel’s prisons. According to the prisoners’ rights organisation Addameer, since 1967, a total of 72 Palestinians have been killed as a result of torture and 53 due to medical neglect. Less than a month before Jaradat was killed, Ashraf Abu Dhra died while in Israeli custody in a case that Addameer argues was a direct result of medical neglect.
The legal impunity of the Shin Bet, commonly referred to as the GSS, and its torture techniques has been well established. Between 2001 and 2011, 700 Palestinians lodged complaints with the State Attorney’s Office but not a single one has been criminally investigated.
Writing in Adalah’s 2012 publication, On Torture [PDF], Bana Shoughry-Badarne, an attorney and the Legal Director of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, wrote, “The GSS’s impunity is absolute.”
Israel’s High Court has been extravagantly helpful in securing the Shin Bet with its imperviousness to accountability to international law, and thus enabling widespread and lethal torture.
In August of 2012, Israel’s High Court rejected petitions submitted by Israeli human rights organisations Adalah, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and PCATI to demand that Israeli attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, carry out criminal investigations into each allegation of torture by the Shin Bet.
And in the first week of February, two weeks before Arafat was killed, the High Court of Justice threw out Adalah’s petition that demanded the GSS videotape and audio record all of its interrogations in order to comply with requirements of the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT) to which Israel is a signatory.
In May 2009, UNCAT condemned [PDF] Israel for exempting the Shin Bet’s interrogations from audio and video recording, noting that such oversight is an essential preventative measure to curtail torture. Yet despite this admonition, in 2012 the Knesset extended the exemption for another three years.
Rationalising its failure to comply with this most basic requirement of recording interrogations, the State maintains that it is in the interests of “national security” that its interrogation techniques not be made public.
Arafat was killed under torture. Torture is routine. But the following is not routine: upon the announcement of his death, thousands of Palestinians, already unified in solidarity with the arduous struggle waged by Palestinian hunger striking prisoners, responded in force. At least 3,000 prisoners refused their meals; thousands poured into the streets of Gaza and impassioned demonstrations erupted across the West Bank. While the State of Israel continues to deploy its deadly arsenal of weapons to repress Palestinians, the banality of the evil of this regime is, as it will always be, eclipsed by the mighty Palestinian will for self-determination.
Charlotte Silver is a journalist based in San Francisco and the West Bank. She is a graduate of Stanford University. Follow her on Twitter: @CharEsilver

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“Israel Firsters” on Parade in Chuck Hagel Nomination

By Sean Fenley 
February 25, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – Only the most extreme Likudnik could regard Chuck Hagel as anything but a rock-solid, and implacable friend of Israel. Except for the fact of his saying, at one time, that he was a Senator from the United States of America, and not the state of Israel — that has obviously been questioned. And so, for that “egregious” and “insurmountable sin/error” he is being driven through the coals. No doubt, that brownie points will be earned for those who go the furthest — in gumming up the works for the Defense Secretary nomination — with extensive senatorial anachronistic/byzantine/archaic, and furthermore small-minded maneuvering.
Why Obama, who is as much a tool of the lobby as anyone, has nominated Hagel is an absolute mystery. Hagel may be about as good a friend to Israel as anyone, but he is; of course, not being perceived in many corners that way. So there seems to be some risk for the congenitally/serially timid Obama, in offering up Hagel as his Secretary of Defense nominee. Perhaps Obama is retaliating against Bibi Netanyahu (for his support of Romney in the presidential campaign), this is unlike Obama; however, who typically has no chutzpah, stick-to-itiveness, courage, mettle, wherewithal or spine though. Obama’s modus operandi rather is to typically “lead” from the rear. Better off not to get his hands dirty, apparently, or at least wait until the last minute, to engage in such “burdensome deeds”.
What happens to those who do not show the requisite fealty to the state of Israel (and the Israel lobby), has been well documented by the former Congresswoman from Georgia Cynthia McKinney. Redistricting, via the assistance of the ostensibly civil rights Anti-Defamation League, was a tool used in dislodging the venerable Congresswoman; cancelling fundraisers that the lobby would have conducted on her behalf; and smearing her as palling around with “fringe” Jewish elements — all coalesced in her disreputable ouster. These tribulations were leveled upon her for failing to sign a pledge in support of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (which is illegal under international law), vowing to vote in favor of the United States ensuring Israeli military superiority over its neighboring adversaries, and agreeing to consistently vote in support of the economic aid that Israel deigns. According to McKinney the pledge has since been replaced by a written paragraph — from all congressmembers and senators — that is analogous to the aforementioned (now retired) one.
The exceptional Congresswoman was succeeded by a rather erudite man who thinks that islands can capsize — owing to their overpopulation! But undoubtedly, he duly states his morning oath to the Israeli lobby every day! In other words, what stands in for free, and/or critical thinking when it comes to the “special relationship” between the United States of America, and its “indispensable ally” the state of Israel. This would appear to be a privileged issue over education, war, peace, the general welfare, the overly extensive “defense”/military budget, massive corporate tax evasion, the wealthy paying their fair share, the continued lack of universal health care in America (which Obamacare won’t change), the seemingly ever-growing inequality in America today, and the evisceration of private sector unionization concomitantly with that of the American manufacturing base. Additionally, any number of other issues could be named of which the alleged special relationship, seems to be a burning priority over them.
Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Dr. Paul Craig Roberts has said, “America and the Constitution will be safe the day Cynthia McKinney or a similar person is president of the United States. Until then, we are in great peril.” Chuck Hagel is certainly far-flung from the character of a leader like Cynthia McKinney (and he is of course not being considered for president), but among the atrophied minds of the moribund and ossified career politicians in Washington, he may be a cut above — the garden variety individual — among that sordid breed! For not accepting some of the bromides, and imposed articles of faith of our “utmost” politicians in Washington he appears to undergoing a certain kind of crucifixion! The irony should not be lost that he is experiencing this exceedingly astringent thrashing; coincidentally, by many of the same people, who claim to be devout and pious adherents of Jesus of Nazareth.
My jury is still out about Chuck Hagel, I am certain that he is not a panacea — a salve, however, he might be. The devolved, retrograde, stolid and imperceptive minds of many of the Israel Firsters that overwhelmingly populate the United States Congress undeniably cannot see things this way. And so for that they will make an example out of the former Nebraska Senator! He will eventually be confirmed in my opinion, though, but the dark hearts that are allied against him, will defend the foreign diktats that they adhere to with immense glee! They will go down shrilly; for certainly, but it looks like — when it is all sown up — they will go down (accordingly) inelegantly too.

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Israel Instructs Obama: “Iranian And Syrian Sanctions Are Not Painful Enough!”

By Franklin Lamb
February 24, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – Damascus: On 3/26/2013 Iran is expected to meet with other world powers in Astana, Kazakhstan to discuss its nuclear program. Discussions that the occupiers of Palestine fervently hope will not be successful. It is toward this end that their key demand this week to the US Congress, the White House and the European Union is “to cast responsibility on the Iranians by blaming them for the talks’ failure in the clearest terms possible.”
According to the Al-Monitor of 3/19/13, Israel also demands that the countries meeting in Kazakhstan “make it perfectly clear that slogans such as ‘negotiations can’t go on forever’ are their marching orders to the White House, and they want the Kazakhstan attendees to act “so severely that the Iranians realize that they face a greater threat than just Israeli military action.” “The message must be that this time the entire west, behind Israel’s leadership, is contemplating the launch of a massive military action.” Unsaid is that “the entire West” is expected to confront Iran militarily while Tel Aviv’s forces will mop up Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Syria if necessary.
Pending the above arrangements, Israel this week is further demanding that the Obama White House issue another Executive Order dramatically ratcheting up the US-led Sanctions against Iran and Syria while it prepares for a hoped for “ game changing international economic blockade, including no-fly zones enforced by NATO.
To achieve yet another lawyer of severe sanctions, and at the behest of AIPAC, a “legislative planning” meeting was called by Congressman Eliot Engel, who represents New Yorks 17th District (the Bronx) and who is the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (Florida’s 27th District), Chair of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. The session was held in a posh Georgetown restaurant and participant’s included representatives from AIPAC, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain plus half a dozen Congressional staffers. 
Congressman Engel has co-sponsored virtually every anti-Arab, anti-Islam, anti-Palestinian, anti-Iran, and anti-Syrian Congressional broadside since he entered Congress a quarter-century ago. His campaign literature last fall stated: “I am a strong supporter of sanctions against those who repeatedly reject calls to behave as responsible nations. (Israel excepted-ed). I have authored or helped author numerous bills which have been signed into law to impose sanctions against rogue states including Iran and Syria.” Ros-Lehtinen and Engel led all members with AIPAC donations on the House side in last fall’s Congressional elections. They are ranked number one and two respectively as still serving career recipients of Israel-AIPAC’s “indirect” campaign donations.
Some Congressional operatives accuse Rep. Ros-Lehtinen of being a bit lazy and neglecting the bread and butter needs of her Florida constituents. But others argue that it depends on which constituents one has in mind. Her election mailings and her Congressional website claim that the Congresswoman “led all Congressional efforts tirelessly to generate votes to block what she views as anti-Israel resolutions offered at the former UN Commission on Human Rights.”
A big fan of US-led sanctions against Iran and Syria, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen introduced the Iran Freedom Support Act on January 6, 2005, which increased sanctions and expanded punitive measures against the Iranian people until the Iranian regime has dismantled its nuclear plants. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen also introduced H.R. 957, the Iran Sanctions Amendments Act, which she claims “will close loopholes in current law by holding export credit agencies, insurers, and other financial institutions accountable for their facilitation of investments in Iran and sanction them as well.” In addition, H.R. 957 seeks to impose liability on parent companies for violations of sanctions by their foreign entities. She also co-sponsored H.R 1357 which requires “U.S. government pension funds to divest from companies that do any business with any country that does business with Iran.” Her campaign literature states that, “She was proud to be the leading Republican sponsor of H.R. 1400, the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act. This bill applies and enhances a wide range of additional sanctions.”
In addition, last year Illeana introduced H.R. 394, which enlarges US Federal Court Jurisdiction regarding claims by American citizens their claims in U.S. courts. Unclear is whether she realizes that one consequence of her initiative would be to open even wider US courtroom doors to Iranian-Americans and Syria-Americans who today are being targeted and damaged by the lady’s ravenous insatiable craving for civilian targeting economic sanctions.
But Ileana and Elliot appear to be fretting.
So is Israel.
The reasons are several and they include the fact that the US-led sanctions have failed to date to achieve the accomplishments they were designed to produce. These being to cripple the Iranian economy, provoke a popular protest among the Iranian people over inflation and scarcity of food and medicines, weaken Iran as much as possible before adopting military measures against it, and, most essentially, achieving regime change to turn the clock back to those comfortable days of our submissive, compliant Shah.
Zionist prospects for Syria aren’t any better at the moment. Tel Aviv’s to intimidate the White House into invading Syria have not worked. Plan A has failed miserably according to the Israeli embassy people attending the Engel-Ros Litinen’s informal conflab. Neither did the “how about we just arm the opposition” plan that originated last year with David H. Petraeus and was supported by Hillary Clinton while being pushed by AIPAC. The goal was to create allies in Syria that the US and Israel could control if Mr. Assad was removed from power. Moreover, the White House believes that there are no good options for Obama. It has vetoed 4 recent Israeli proposals including arming the rebels and is said to believe that Syria is already dangerously awash with “unreliable arms.”
The recent shriveling of Israeli prospects for a dramatic Pentagon intervention in Syria reflect White House war weariness. And also Israel’s predilection to bomb targets itself in Syria, as it did recently to assassinate a senior Iranian officer in the Quds force of the Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Hassan Shateri. Contrary to the false story that Israel attacked a missiles convoy, some unassembled equipment was damaged but that was not the primary target according to Fred Hof, a former U.S. State Department official. Gen. Shateri was.
Making matters worse for Tel Aviv, the Israeli military is reportedly becoming skittish due to its deteriorating political and military status in the region and its troops have recently completed subterranean warfare drills to prepare them for a potential clash with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, the Jerusalem Post reported on 2/20/13. “Today during training, we simulated a northern terrain, that included what we might encounter,” Israeli Lt. Sagiv Shoker, commander of a military Reconnaissance Unit of the Engineering Corps, based at the Elikim base in northern Israel near the border with Lebanon explained. Shoker added that his units spent a week focused on how to approach Hezbollah’s alleged underground bunkers and tunnels in South Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley quietly and quickly. Israeli forces commander Gantz has been complaining recently to the Israeli cabinet that Hezbollah Special Forces are gaining much valuable experience in Syria fighting highly skilled and motivated al Nusra jihadists and his troops may not be prepared to face them on the battlefield if a conflict erupts. It has been known since 2006 that Israeli soldiers “are having motivation deficits” as Gantz and others have complained.
Ordinary citizens in Iran and Syria with whom this observer met recently, including some with whom he has shared lengthy conversations while posing many questions, cannot ignore the burden of the US-led sanctions in various aspects of their lives. Nor can the Iranian or Syrian governments or their economic institutions. At the beginning of the summer of 2010, and even more so since the summer of 2012, the US-led civilian targeting sanctions imposed were significantly tightened by the Obama administration and its allies. The administration realized that the sanctions imposed on Iran until then were ineffective and understood that Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear power capability would quickly leave the US with no alternative than the acceptance of a nuclear Iran. But the administration, according to former State Department official Hof, believed that unless it took more drastic measures against Iran, Israel would launch a military strike against Iran which would likely destroy Zionist Israel- a prospect not every US official and Congressional staffer privately laments. Congressional sources report that the White House now feels that Iran has achieved deterrence and that Israel would be dangerously foolhardy to attack the country.
While Israel advocates an economic blockade of Iran and Syria, under binding rules of international and US law, economic blockades are acts of war. They are variously defined as surrounding a nation with hostile forces, economic besieging, preventing the passage in or out of a country of civilian supplies or aid. It is an act of naval warfare to block access to a country’s coastline and deny entry to all vessels and aircraft, absent a formal declaration of war and approval of the UN Security Council.
All treaties to which America is a signatory, including the UN Charter, are binding US law. Chapter VII authorizes only the Security Council to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, or act of aggression (and, if necessary, take military or other actions to) restore international peace and stability.” It permits a nation to use force (including a blockades) only under two conditions: when authorized by the Security Council or under Article 51 allowing the “right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member….until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security.”
As International law Professor Francis Boyle reminds us, Customary International Law recognizes economic blockades as an act of war because of the implied use of force even against third party nations in enforcing the blockade. Writes Boyle, “Blockades as acts of war have been recognized as such in the Declaration of Paris of 1856 and the Declaration of London of 1909 that delineate the international rules of warfare.” America approved these Declarations, thereby are became binding US law as well “as part of general international law and customary international law.” US presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Jack Kennedy, called economic blockades acts of war.
So has the US Supreme Court.
In Bas v. Tingy (1800), the US Supreme Court addressed the constitutionality of fighting an “undeclared war” (read extreme economic sanctions). It ruled the seizure of a French vessel (is) an act of hostility or reprisal. The Court cited Talbot v. Seaman (1801) in ruling that “specific legislative authority was required in the seizure. In Little v. Barreme (1804), the Court held that “even an order from the President could not justify or excuse an act that violated the laws and customs of warfare. Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that a captain of a United States warship could be held personally liable in trespass for wrongfully seizing a neutral Danish ship, even though” presidential authority ordered it.
“The Prize Cases” (1863) is perhaps the most definitive US Supreme Court ruling on economic blockades requiring congressional authorization. The case involved President Lincoln’s ordering “a blockade of coastal states that had joined the Confederacy at the outset of the Civil War. The Court….explicitly (ruled) that an economic blockade is an act of war and is legal only if properly authorized under the Constitution.”
Iran and Syria pose no threat to the US or any peaceful law abiding nation. Imposing a blockade against either violates the UN Charter and settled international humanitarian laws as well as US law. It would constitute an illegal act of aggression that under the Nuremberg Charter is the designated a “supreme international crime” above all others. It would render the Obama administration and every government of other participating nations criminally liable.
Contrary to what the occupiers of Palestine may fantasize, if the White House wants an economic blockade of Iran or Syria it must declare war, letting the American people be heard on the subject and convince the UN Security Council to pass a UNSCR under Chapter 7.
The White House cannot legally, morally or consistently with claimed American humanitarian values continue to target civilian populations with economic sanctions on the cheap.
Franklin Lamb is doing research in Syria and can be reached c/ofplamb@gmal.com

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George Galloway in Anti-Israel "Storm"

Respect MP accused of racism after walking out of West Bank debate at university, saying: ‘I don’t debate with Israelis’

By Warren Murray and Sam Jones


February 22, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – (The Guardian)  –    George Galloway has been accused of racism after walking out of a debate at Oxford University after discovering that his opponent was an Israeli citizen.
Video provided by Cherwell
The Respect party MP for Bradford West – a vocal critic of Israel and its treatment of Palestinian people – had been taking part in the debate at Christ Church college, speaking for the motion that “Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank”, when he learned that Eylon Aslan-Levy, a student opposing it, was Israeli.
Galloway interrupted the third-year philosophy, politics and economics student at Brasenose college when Aslan-Levy used the word “we” in reference to Israel.
“You said ‘we’,” said Galloway. “Are you an Israeli?”
“I am, yes,” Aslan-Levy replied.
“I don’t debate with Israelis. I have been misled, sorry,” Galloway said, standing and putting on his coat, then reiterating as he walked out: “I don’t recognise Israel and I don’t debate with Israelis.”
The Oxford student newspaper Cherwell – which has video footage of Galloway’s exit – quoted Aslan-Levy as saying afterwards: “I am appalled that an MP would storm out of a debate with me for no reason other than my heritage. To refuse to talk to someone just because of their nationality is pure racism, and totally unacceptable for a member of parliament.”
The debate organiser, Mahmood Naji, told Cherwell.org: “At no point during my email exchange with Mr Galloway’s secretary was Eylon’s nationality ever brought up or mentioned.” He added: “Nor do I expect to have to tell the speaker what his opponent’s nationality is.”
Galloway said on his Facebook page: “I refused this evening at Oxford University to debate with an Israeli, a supporter of the apartheid state of Israel. The reason is simple: no recognition, no normalisation. Just boycott, divestment and sanctions, until the apartheid state is defeated. I never debate with Israelis nor speak to their media. If they want to speak about Palestine – the address is the PLO.”
The incident prompted a flurry of Twitter exchanges, with many people expressing surprise and anger at Galloway’s behaviour.
Another Twitter user, who describes herself as a “proud mum” and “progressive Jew”, asked Galloway: “Out of interest would you refuse to meet with a constituent if they had Israeli citizenship?
Galloway reiterated his earlier points in his replies to his questioners, tweeting: “No recognition of Israel. No normalisation. Christ Church never informed us the debate would be with an Israeli. Simple.
The MP has long been a staunch supporter of the Palestinians and trenchant critic of Israel, speaking of his hatred for the “Zionist state” and calling for its dismantling.
Aslan-Levy told the Guardian he had in fact been calling for a solution that would recognise both states.
“As opposition speaker, my case was not that Israel should remain in the West Bank, but that such a withdrawal should not be immediate – ie unilateral – but in the context of a negotiated peace treaty, which would recognise both Israeli and Palestinian states.”
The student moderating the debate also expressed his disappointment at Galloway’s actions, and urged him to think again.
Michael Baldwin, a third-year student at New College, noted that Galloway had once been given an honorary Palestinian passport, and said the MP would be “rightly indignant” if someone refused to debate him because of it. He added: “I would encourage Mr Galloway to reconsider his position, which is open to accusations of xenophobia.”
A spokesman for the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign moved to distance itself from Galloway’s actions, saying the movement rejected “all forms of racism, including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism”.
He added: “BDS does not call for a boycott of individuals because she or he happens to be Israeli or because they express certain views. Of course, any individual is free to decide who they do and do not engage with.”
====
A posting on Mr Galloway’s Facebook page said: “I refused this evening at Oxford University to debate with an Israeli, a supporter of the apartheid state of Israel.
The reason is simple: no recognition, no normalisation. Just boycott, divestment and sanctions, until the apartheid state is defeated. I never debate with Israelis nor speak to their media. If they want to speak about Palestine – the address is the PLO.”
===
Question for ICH readers: “If in 1980’s George Galloway did the same to an Apartheid-supporting-South African, who would we call the racist?” Post your comment below.
See also –
Israel-West Bank’ reality is an apartheid state: Ex Israel’s envoy to South Africa: As long as there is no Palestinian state and Israel rules over the West Bank, Israel is a de facto apartheid state, a former top Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday, using a highly contentious term usually employed only by radical anti-Israel activists.
Graham to Hagel: Did You Say Israel Risked Becoming an Apartheid State?: South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham has just sent a letter to Barack Obama’s defense secretary nominee, Chuck Hagel. Graham asks if, at a 2010 appearance at Rutgers University, Hagel said Israel “was risking becoming an apartheid state.”

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"The Israelis Are Controlling Our Government": Bill Maher


Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xTJOsEXBZBQ
 

MAHER: Based on every statement I’ve heard out of any Republican in the last two years, the Israelis are controlling our government.
Posted February 17, 2013
Transcript
JAMIE WEINSTEIN, EDITOR AT DAILY CALLER: Just yesterday, there was a new speech that they believe in which during the question and answer [session] at Rutgers University, Hagel claimed that the State Department was controlled by the Israeli government. Israeli foreign ministry controls the government.

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: You see, Bill, what they’re doing is they’re going after every —

BILL MAHER, HOST OF “REAL TIME” ON HBO: And it’s not?

WEINSTEIN: Well, there’s two things wrong with that. One is that — it’s, you know, kind of suggesting Israeli power is controlling things. Number two, of all the branches of the government, the State Department being the most pro-Israel branch is ridiculous.

MAHER: Based on every statement I’ve heard out of any Republican in the last two years, the Israelis are controlling our government.

WEINSTEIN: Not the State Department, that’s for sure. (HBO’s Real Time, February 15, 2013)


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Israelis See Their Ownership of US Government in Jeopardy

By Dr. Kevin Barrett
February 17, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s Secretary of Defense nominee, is in trouble. Why? Because he famously said: “The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here… I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States senator.”
On Friday, forty allegedly American Senators blocked Hagel’s nomination with a filibuster. Their message was loud and clear: “We are not United States Senators. We are Israeli Senators.” 
Alan Hart, former lead BBC Mideast correspondent, expressed his disgust at the Israeli Senators’ vote on my radio show, Truth Jihad Radio, this Friday: “This is treason. Serving a foreign nation, rather than one’s own, is not just wrong – it is treasonous.” 
One of the traitors, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Israel), mentioned Israel sixteen times while grilling Hagel. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Israel) mentioned Israel ten times. Altogether, Republican Senators mentioned Israel 64 times during their hostile cross-examination of Hagel. The war in Afghanistan – supposedly America’s most pressing military issue – was only mentioned four times. 
Those forty Senators don’t care about US troops stuck in the Afghan quagmire, the place empires go to die. They don’t care about the US economy – which, like the US troops sent to Middle Eastern quagmires, is bleeding and dying in wars dictated by Israel, imposed on America by Israel… wars whose only purpose is to serve the interests of Israel, at the expense of the interests of the United States. 
Chuck Hagel has pointed out that US interests and Israeli interests don’t always coincide. That is a massive understatement. The truth is that in today’s world, US interests and Israeli interests are in stark opposition to each other.
The US, as Zbigniew Brzezinski suggests in his book The Grand Chessboard, competes with Russia for influence in central Eurasia; and it competes with the rising Asian powers, China and India, for energy and mineral resources. The natural US allies in this part of the world are the Muslim nations. And the most important potential US ally in the region is Iran. According to Brzezinski, the US ought to do everything possible to establish good relations with Iran. His implication is that the US ought to apologize for its terrible past behavior towards Iran, stop bullying the Iranians over Iran’s peaceful nuclear power program, end all sanctions, and give Iran most favored nation status. 
But that won’t happen – even though US geopolitical interests dictate that it must. 
Why not? Because Iran will never stop supporting the Palestinians in their struggle against genocide in Occupied Palestine. And that isn’t acceptable to Israel – which owns and runs the US government. 
The US is bullying Iran on behalf of Israel. In doing so, it is undermining itself. 
But nobody in the US is allowed to mention this. Expressing even the slightest discomfort with Israeli ownership of America, as Chuck Hagel has, is just not kosher. 
US hostility towards Iran is only one example of a self-destructive policy imposed on America by Israel. In fact, the whole “war on terror” – in reality, a war on Islam – is an Israeli fabrication.
Benjamin Netanyahu created the “war on terror” in 1979 at the Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism (JCIT). As scholar Nafeez Ahmed writes, the JCIT “established the ideological foundations for the ‘War on Terror.’” Participants at the conference included George H.W. Bush, Richard Pipes, Sen. Henry M. Jackson, Shimon Peres, and many other high-level Israeli and US military, intelligence, and political personalities. Netanyahu’s JCIT proposed to deceive the American public, and the world, by wildly exaggerating the dangers of “international terrorism” and even manufacturing a nonexistent “terrorist threat” to mobilize Western populations behind aggressive policies.
In 1996, Netanyahu, as Prime Minister of Israel, commissioned a paper entitled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.”The paper’s lead author was neoconservative Zionist extremist Richard Perle. Co-authors included such neocon Israel-first fanatics as Douglas Feith and David Wurmser – the same folks who would lead the War on Terror propaganda campaign after 9/11. 
The “Clean Break” document proposed redrawing the map of the Middle East on behalf of Israel. Iraq would be invaded and shattered into pieces, in accordance with Israel’s Oded Yinon plan to balkanize the Middle East. Other Middle Eastern countries would follow. And though the “realm” that needed to be “secured” was Israel, it would obviously be American troops who would be bleeding and dying. 
The same neocons who wrote the 1996 “Clean Break” paper for Netanyahu produced an even more damning document in September 2000: The infamous “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” paper published by The Project for a New American Century (PNAC), which openly called for a “New Pearl Harbor.” Exactly one year later, PNAC’s avidly-desired “New Pearl Harbor” arrived in the form of the 9/11 false-flag attack. The war on Islam for Israel went into high gear. 
Today, more and more Americans are agreeing with Chuck Hagel: It’s time for the US to stop being Israel’s slave. The 9/11-triggered wars-for-Israel are massively unpopular. Voters sent powerful antiwar messages in the 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2012 elections. Mitt Romney, Netanyahu’s hand-picked candidate, was soundly defeated, despite the overwhelming support he received from Israel and its Zionist Power Configuration. 
The Israelis correctly see that their ownership of the US government is in jeopardy. Their hysterical opposition to Hagel is a sign of desperation. 
When another Hagel vote happens next week, will the treasonous Senators from Israel win again? Or will the Senators from America prevail?
Regardless of whether Hagel is ultimately confirmed, the battle between the Senators from Israel and the Senators from America is educating the American people about who really runs their country.
Dr. Kevin Barrett, a Ph.D. Arabist-Islamologist, is one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror. He is the co-founder of the Muslim-Christian-Jewish Alliance, and author of the books Truth Jihad: My Epic Struggle Against the 9/11 Big Lie (2007) and Questioning the War on Terror: A Primer for Obama Voters (2009). His website is www.truthjihad.com.
This article was originally posted at Press TV

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Israeli "Peace" Process = Expansion Process

Video By Azizi Bin Habeebi

Look at the map

Posted February 15, 2013

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Israeli ‘Prisoner X’ Took Part in Mossad Operation of Killing Hamas Operative in Dubai?

By RT

February 14, 2013 “RT” —  Another layer has been added to Israel’s ‘Prisoner X’ spy story, as new details shed light on Ben Zygier’s dealings with Mossad. An Israeli lawyer says the man – who took his own life in a jail cell – did not seem like he was at risk of suicide.

Zygier’s associations with Mossad are still cloudy, as media agencies report different accounts of his previous work with the organization.
According to Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida, Zygier reportedly took part in the 2010 killing of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mahbouh in Dubai and offered the government information about the operation in return for the United Arab Emirates’ protection.  
Australia’s Fairfax Media reports that Australian security officials suspected Zygier may have been about to disclose Israeli intelligence operations – including the use of fraudulent Australian passports – to the Australian government or the media.
The Israeli government has not confirmed or denied Zygier’s association with Mossad. However, Zygier himself reportedly confided in at least two friends that he had been recruited by Mossad.
“He told me he’d just been recruited,” a friend close to Zygier told Haaretz. “I was in shock. It’s the sort of thing people usually joke about but I had no reason to doubt him at all.”
Zygier’s suicide has shed light on Mossad’s recruitment of foreign-born Jews who could spy under cover on their native passports.
Mossad has come under criticism many times for using the passports and identities of citizens of foreign countries. And despite repeated promises to stop the practices, it seems the organization is refusing to change its ways.  
Just one year ago, The Times of London published two accounts of young men who had emigrated to Israel from Britain and France. During their IDF service, both men were approached by a woman who identified herself as a Mossad official who asked the gentlemen to “lend” their passports for about 18 months while they were still in the army. Once the men reclaimed their passports, they contained stamps from countries including Russia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey, Haaretz reports.
Australian newspapers lead their front pages in Australia on February 14, 2013, with the story of Ben Zygier as Israel confirms it jailed a foreigner in solitary confinement on security grounds who later committed suicide, with Australia admitting it knew one of its citizens had been detained (AFP Photo / William West)
Australian newspapers lead their front pages in Australia on February 14, 2013, with the story of Ben Zygier as Israel confirms it jailed a foreigner in solitary confinement on security grounds who later committed suicide, with Australia admitting it knew one of its citizens had been detained (AFP Photo / William West)

Suspicions from Australia

Zygier was one of at least three Australian-Israeli citizens under investigation by the Australian Security Intelligence Organization over suspicions of espionage for Israel, according to Australian media.
Canberra complained to Tel Aviv in 2010 after Dubai said forged Australian passports were used by the Mossad team. Mahbouh’s killers also had British, Irish, French, and German passports, according to authorities in the United Arab Emirates.
In at least seven cases, it turned out that the passports belonged to Jews who had emigrated to Israel from Britain and Germany. These people were unaware that their identities were being used by Mossad officials in Dubai, Haaretz reported. The identities of at least three Australians had also been used.
More questions than answers
While media agencies report that Prisoner X was, in fact, 34-year-old Ben Zygier, the Israeli government has failed to mention Zygier by name – stating only that a man with dual citizenship was held under a false name for “security reasons.”
Attorney Avigdor Feldman, who met with Zygier a day before he committed suicide, said this very fact raised a red flag.
“I saw this as something inappropriate but I did not take legal measures, based on the assumption that he was in the good hands of the lawyers who were representing him,” he told Channel 10 Television.  
Fedman said Zygier was charged with “grave crimes” and that there were ongoing negotiations for a plea bargain. He did not elaborate as to which “crimes” Zygier had allegedly committed, but said “his status was ‘detained until the completion of proceedings,’” Haaretz reported.
“His interrogators told him he could expect lengthy jail-time and be ostracized from his family and the Jewish community,” Feldman said.“There was no heart string they did not pull, and I suppose that ultimately brought about the tragic end.”
But despite Zygier’s situation, Feldman did not believe Zygier was at risk of taking his own life.
“To my mind, he sounded rational and focused and he spoke to the point. He did not display any special feeling of self-pity”, he said.
The headstone of Ben Zygier is photographed in the Chevra Kadisha Jewish Cemetery, in Melbourne on February 14, 2013 (AFP Photo / Martin Philbey)The headstone of Ben Zygier is photographed in the Chevra Kadisha Jewish Cemetery, in Melbourne on February 14, 2013 (AFP Photo / Martin Philbey)
The attorney was hired by the prisoner’s family to help negotiate a plea bargain. During their meeting, Zygier maintained his innocence to Feldman, but was anxious about the trial.
“He was facing a judiciary crossroads and he asked me to give my opinion about his decision as well…he had been informed that he could very likely expect to be sentenced to an extremely lengthy prison term and to be shunned by his family – and this affects a person’s soul,” said the attorney.
Feldman remains critical of how the authorities handled Zygier’s detention. “Those responsible for him should have taken clear steps to watch over him, especially because he was far from the public eye. The end of the affair is something that needs to be investigated.”
Yet, an Israeli court maintains that no rights were broken during the detention.
“The proceedings on the matter were followed by the most senior Justice Ministry officials and the prisoners’ individual rights were kept, subject to the provisions set by law,” the Israeli court statement said.
However, Israel’s Justice Ministry says a court has ordered an inquiry into possible negligence in Zygier’s death.
The fresh details come after the Israeli government eased a gag order relating to the case. It was lifted after activists, journalists, and politicians protested the order which prevented journalists from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) from reporting about Zygier.
The top-secret case has raised more questions than answers. Australia and Israel must now try to determine what circumstances caused 34-year-old Zygier to move to Israel, supposedly be recruited by Mossad, find himself detained in 2010, jailed secretly for months, and, uiltimately, take his own life.
Despite the new information, no concrete answers have been given by the Israeli government regarding why Zygier was detained, whether he was working for Mossad, or why he resorted to suicide. And of course the question on everyone’s minds remains: Why is it all such a big secret?
A view of Israeli Ayalon prison in Ramle near Tel Aviv (AFP Photo / Jack Guez). A view of Israeli Ayalon prison in Ramle near Tel Aviv (AFP Photo / Jack Guez).
Copyright Russia Today
See also –
Prisoner X planed to disclose intelligence info on Israel: Brisbane Times reports Australian-Israeli who died in Israeli jail planned to reveal information on fraudulent use of Australian of passports for espionage purposes. Israeli intel officials informed Australian counterparts of Zygier’s arrest eight days after Dubai revealed that suspected Israeli agents used passports in Mabhouh hit, report says
Australian authorities were investigating Ben Zygier for espionage months before his arrest in Israel: Ben Zygier, the alleged Mossad agent who committed suicide in Ayalon Prison in December 2010, was under investigation by Australian intelligence months before he was arrested in Israel, media outlets in Australia and the U.K. reported on Wednesday.
Israel’s Prisoner X driven to suicide by interrogation, lawyer suggests: Zygier’s lawyer, Avigdor Feldman, told Israel’s Channel 10 on Thursday that he had seen him the day before his death in 2010 and that he had appeared rational
Zygier said to spill beans on Mossad recruitment: Reports claimed Zygier was involved in Israel’s alleged killing of a Hamas operative in Dubai and said Zygier had been jailed after nearly sharing state secrets with either Australian officials, the media, or officials in Dubai, according to differing foreign reports.


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Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land U.S. Media & the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

How Israel manipulates and distorts American public perceptions
Through the voices of scholars, media critics, peace activists, religious figures, and Middle East experts, Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Landcarefully analyzes and explains how–through the use of language, framing and context–the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza remains hidden in the news media, and Israeli colonization of the occupied terrorities appears to be a defensive move rather than an offensive one.
07/17/06 Runtime 79 Minutes
New comment section added April 07, 2012

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Israeli Myths & Propaganda

Video

Israeli Professor Ilan Pappe reveals the truth about the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Posted February 08, 2013

 

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How Israel is Fueling the Syrian Fire

By Nicola Nasser
February 07, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – The timing of the Israeli air raid early on January 30 on a Syrian target, that has yet to be identified, coincided with a hard to refute indications that the “regime change” in Syria by force, both by foreign military intervention and by internal armed rebellion, has failed, driving the Syrian opposition in exile to opt unwillingly for “negotiations” with the ruling regime, with the blessing of the U.S., EU and Arab League, concluding, in the words of a Deutsche Welle report on this February 2, that “nearly two years since the revolt began, (Syrian President Bashar Al-) Assad is still sitting comfortably in presidential chair.”
Nonetheless, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu keeps saying that Israel is preparing for “dramatic changes” in Syria, but senior Israeli foreign ministry officials accused him of “fear-mongering on Syria” to justify his ordering what the Russians described as the “unprovoked” raid, according to The Times of Israel on January 29. Another official told the Israeli Maariv that no Israeli “red lines” were crossed with regard to the reported chemical weapons in Syria to justify the raid. On January 16 Israel’s National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said there was “no evidence” to any Syrian steps to use such weapons. On last December 8 UN Chief Ban Ki-moon said there were “no confirmed reports” Damascus was preparing to use them. Three days later U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said: “We have not seen anything new” on chemical weapons “indicating any aggressive steps” by Syria. On January 31 NATO Chief Fogh Rasmussen said: “I have no new information about chemical weapons (in Syria).” Syria’s Russian ally has repeatedly confirmed what Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on February 2 that “we have reliable information” the Syrian government maintains control of chemical weapons and “won’t use” them. That’s what Syria itself keeps repeating, and “there is no particular reason why Israel is to be believed and Syria not,” according to a Saudi Gazette editorial on February 3.
More likely Israel is either trying to escalate militarily to embroil an unwilling United States in the Syrian conflict, in a too late attempt to pre-empt a political solution, out of a belief that the fall of the Al – Assad regime will serve Israel’s strategy, according to the former head of the Military Intelligence Directorate, (Major general, reserve) Amos Yaldin, or to establish for itself a seat at any international negotiating table that might be detrimental in shaping a future regime in Syria.
Escalating militarily at a time of political de-escalation of the military solution in Syria will not secure a seat for Israel in any forum. This is the message that the Israeli chief of General Staff, Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, should have heard during his latest five – day visit in the U.S. from his host in Washington, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey; the head of Israel’s National – Security Bureau, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Ya’akov Amidror, who was in Moscow at the same time, should have heard a similar message from his Russian hosts.
The Israeli military intervention at this particular timing fuels a Syrian fire that has recently started to look for firefighters among the growing number of the advocates of dialogue, negotiations and political solutions both nationally, regionally and internationally.
The escalating humanitarian crisis and the rising death toll in Syria have made imperative either one of two options: A foreign military intervention or a political solution. Two years on since the U.S., EU, Turkish and Qatari adoption of a “regime change” in Syria by force, on the lines of the “Libyan scenario,” the first option has failed to materialize.
With the legitimate Syrian government gaining the upper hand militarily on the ground, the inability of the rebels to “liberate” even one city, town or enough area in the countryside to be declared a “buffer zone” or to host the self-proclaimed leadership of opposition in exile, which failed during the Paris – hosted “Friends of Syria” meeting on January 28 to agree on a “government – in – exile,” more likely because of this very reason, the second option of a political solution is left as the only way forward and as the only way out of the bloodshed and the snowballing humanitarian crisis.
The Israeli raid sends a message that the military option could yet be pursued. The rebels who based their overall strategy on a foreign military intervention have recently discovered that the only outside intervention they were able to get was from the international network of al-Qaeda and the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood. No surprise then that the frustrated Syrian rebels are loosing ground, momentum and morale.
An Israeli military intervention would undoubtedly revive their morale, but temporarily, because it does not potentially guarantee that it will succeed in improving their chances where failure doomed the collective efforts of all the “Friends of Syria,” whose numbers dwindled over time from more than one hundred nations about two years ago to about fifty in their last meeting in Paris.
Such intervention would only promise more of the same, prolonging the military conflict, shedding more of Syrian blood, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis, multiplying the numbers of those displaced inside the country and the Syrian refugees abroad, postponing an inevitable political solution, and significantly rallying more Syrians in support of the ruling regime in defending their country against the Israeli occupier of their Syrian Golan heights, thus isolating the rebels by depriving them from whatever support their terrorist tactics have left them.
More importantly however, such an Israeli intervention risks a regional outburst if not contained by the world community or if it succeeds in inviting a reciprocal Syrian retaliation. Both Syrians and Israelis were on record in the aftermath of the Israeli raid that the bilateral “rules of engagement” have already changed.
All the “Friends of Syria” have been on record that they were doing all they could to enforce a “buffer zone” inside Syria; they tried to create it through Turkey in northern Syria, through Jordan in the south, through Lebanon in the west and on the borders with Iraq in the east, but they failed to make it materialize. They tried to enforce it by a resolution from the UN Security Council, but their efforts were aborted three times by a dual Russian – Chinese veto. They tried, unsuccessfully so far, to enforce it outside the jurisdiction of the United Nations by arming an internal rebellion, publicly on the payroll of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, logistically supported by Turkey and the U.S., British, French and German intelligence services and spearheaded mainly by the al-Qaeda – linked Al-Nusra Front, a rebellion focusing on the peripheral areas sharing borders with Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, after the failure of an early attempt to make the western Syrian port city of Latakia on the Mediterranean play the role the city of Benghazi played in the Libyan “change of regime.”
Now, Israel has stepped in the conflict, publicly for the first time, to try its hands to enforce a “buffer zone” of its own in an attempt to succeed where all the “Friends of Syria” have failed.
On February 3, British “The Sunday Times” reported that Israel is considering creating a buffer zone reaching up to ten miles inside Syria, modelled on a similar zone it created in southern Lebanon in 1985 from which it was forced to withdraw unconditionally by the Hezbullah – led and Syrian and Iranian – supported Lebanese resistance in 2000. Israeli mainstream daily Maariv (“evening” in Hebrew) the next day confirmed the Times report, adding the zone would be created in cooperation with local Arab villages on the Syrian side of the UN-monitored buffer zone, which was created on both sides of the armistice line after the 1973 Israeli – Syrian war.
Israel in fact have been paving the way materially on the ground for an Israeli – created buffer zone. Earlier, in a much less publicized development, Israel allowed the UN-monitored buffer zone between Syria and the Israeli – occupied Syrian Golan Heights to be overtaken by the “Islamist” Syrian rebels. The European Jewish Press reported on January 1, 2013 that the Israeli premier Netanyahu, during a visit to the Israeli – occupied Golan Heights, was informed the rebels “have taken up positions along the border with Israel, with the exception of the Quneitra enclave.” Earlier on last November 14 Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was quoted by the AP to confirm that the “Syrian rebels control almost all the villages near the frontier with the Israeli – held Golan Heights.” On December 13 Israeli “The Jerusalem Post” quoted a “senior military source” as saying that “The rebel control of the area does not require changes on our part.”
UN observers monitoring the zone number about one thousand. An “Israeli officer” told a Mcclatchy reporter on last November 14 that the rebels in the zone are “fewer than 1,000 fighters.” Canada withdrew its contingent of monitors last September; Japan followed suit in January. In the previous month, France’s ambassador to the UN, Gérard Araud, warned the UN peacekeeping force on the Golan may “collapse,” according to The Times of Israel, citing the London – based Arabic daily of Al – Hayat.
The 1974 armistice agreement prohibits the Syrian government from engaging in military activity within the buffer zone; if it does it would risk a military confrontation with Israel and, according to Moshe Maoz, professor emeritus at Jerusalem’sHebrew University, “The Syrian army doesn’t have any interest in provoking Israel,” because “Syria has enough problems.”
However it would be anybody’s guess to know for how long Syria could tolerate turning the UN monitored demilitarized buffer zone, with Israeli closed eyes, into a terrorist safe haven and into a corridor of supply linking the rebels in Lebanon to their “brethren” in southern Syria.
Israel did not challenge militarily the presence of the al – Qaeda – linked rebels on its side of the supposedly demilitarized zone nor did it complain to or ask the United Nations for a reinforcement of the UN monitors there.
Ironically, Israel cites the presence of those same rebels along the borders of the Israeli – occupied Golan Heights as the pretext to justify “considering creating a buffer zone” inside Syria!
Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
This article was originally posted at Counterpunch

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US Green Lights Further Israeli Attacks On Syria

Israel targeted multiple targets in recent attack on Syria, U.S. intelligence official tells Time
By Haaretz
February 02, 2013 “Haaretz” — Israeli jets attacked several targets in Syria Tuesday night in addition to the Scientific Studies and Research Center in Jamarya, outside Damascus, Time Magazine reported Friday.
In the hours and days after the airstrike allegedly carried out by the Israeli Air Force conflicting reports surfaced regarding the nature of the strike. Syria accused Israel of attacking the research center in Jamarya but denied that an attack on a convoy transporting SA-17 ground-to-air missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon had taken place as was reported elsewhere.
“At least one to two additional targets were hit the same night,” a Western intelligence official indicated to Time, adding that Israel received a “green light” from the United States to carry out further attacks in the future.

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“The Invention of the Jewish People"

Video – Riz Khan – Changing perspectives on Israel
Despite the fragmented and incomplete historical record, experts pretty much agree that some popular beliefs about Jewish history simply don’t hold up: there was no sudden expulsion of all Jews from Jerusalem in A.D. 70, for instance. What’s more, modern Jews owe their ancestry as much to converts from the first millennium and early Middle Ages as to the Jews of antiquity

Conventional ideas about Jewishness hold that Jews are a single ethnic group (or nationality) with substantial shared biological ancestry going back to the biblical kingdom of Judea, from which they were exiled in waves to scatter widely across the Mediterranean world, then far beyond. The core of Sand’s historical case is that the whole story is a myth: a very elaborate fiction, supported by hordes of eminent scholars, which became foundational and essential for the state of Israel, but mostly a very recent fabrication without much evidence.

Posted December 03, 2009- Broadcast – December 01, 2009
 
Part 2
 
New comment section added February 02, 2013

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Israel Must Remove All Jewish Settlers from Occupied West Bank – UN Inquiry

By RT
February 01, 2013 “RT” — A UN human rights inquiry has called on Israel to remove all Jewish settlers from the West Bank and cease expansion. The report said the settlements violate international law, and are an attempt to drive out Palestinians through intimidation.
“Israel must, in compliance with article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, cease all settlement activities without preconditions,” the report read, adding that Israel must immediately begin to withdraw all settlers from the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT).
The inquiry prompted a strong reaction from Israel who slammed the report as biased.
“The Human Rights Council has sadly distinguished itself by its systematically one-sided and biased approach towards Israel. This latest report is yet another unfortunate reminder of that,” said spokesman Yigal Palmor in a statement.
The 1949 Geneva Convention prohibits the transfer of a civilian population into an occupied area – such an act could constitute war crimes if brought before the International Criminal Court. Following the UN’s de facto recognition of Palestine last December, Israel announced plans to build thousands of homes in the OPT.
In response, Palestine wrote to the UN warning that Israel’s planned expansion into the occupied territorieswould lead to more war crimes being committed.
The UN investigators interviewed over 50 people who were driven from their homes. They described how their livelihoods were destroyed and their land was confiscated, and how they were subjected to continuous violence from Jewish settlers.
Israeli security forces apprehend a Palestinian demonstrator during a protest in Anin village in the West Bank near Jenin city, on January 26, 2013. (AFP Photo / Saif Dahlan)
Israeli security forces apprehend a Palestinian demonstrator during a protest in Anin village in the West Bank near Jenin city, on January 26, 2013. (AFP Photo / Saif Dahlan)

“The mission believes that the motivation behind this violence and the intimidation against the Palestinians as well as their properties is to drive the local populations away from their lands and allow the settlements to expand,” said the report.
The report has the potential to significantly worsen the UN’s already-strained relationship with Israel, particularly after Israeli representatives failed to appear at a UN human rights review two days ago. 
The Israeli government has repeatedly ignored international condemnations of its settlements in the occupied territories, and continues to bar the entry of a Human Rights Council probe to assess the impact of the settlements. Israel has insisted that the organization is biased in favor of the Palestinians, and claimed that historic and biblical ties justify its claim to the territories.

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Israel Attacks Syria Arms Convoy’

Media reports say Israel hit a convoy transporting weapons inside Syria near the Lebanese border.
By Al Jazeera
January 30, 2013 “Al Jazeera” — Israel has conducted an airstrike inside Syria near the border with Lebanon, hitting a convoy of trucks, US and regional officials say.
“The target was a truck loaded with weapons, heading from Syria to Lebanon,” said one Western diplomat on Wednesday. 
A source among rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said an air strike around dawn (0430 GMT) on Wednesday blasted a convoy on a mountain track about 5 kilometres south of where the main Damascus-Beirut highway crosses the border.
The regional officials said Israel had been planning in the days leading up to the airstrike to hit a shipment of weapons bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon.
They said the shipment included sophisticated, Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles, which would be strategically “game-changing” in the hands of Hezbollah.
A US official confirmed the overnight strike hitting a convoy of trucks.
All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the strike.
No comments
The Israeli military declined to comment, and Syrian officials and state media were silent on the issue.
Al Jazeera’s Rula Amin, reporting from Beirut, said that there has yet to be any word from the Syrian government, despite the press reports circulating.
“It also shows the Israelis are very concerned that Syria’s weapons could fall into the hands of either Hezbollah, or groups like Al Qaeda,” she said.
US officials say they are tracking Syria’s chemical weapons and that they still appear to be solidly under regime control.
Among Israeli security officials’ chief fears is that Hezbollah could get its hands on Syrian chemical arms and SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles.
If that were to happen, it would change the balance of power in the region and greatly hinder Israel’s ability to conduct air violations in Lebanon.
Earlier this week, Israel moved a battery of its new “Iron Dome” rocket defense system to the northern city of Haifa, which was battered by Hezbollah rocket fire in the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war.
The Israeli army called that move “routine.”
Airspace violation
The military in Lebanon, which shares borders with both Israel and Syria, said on Wednesday that Israeli warplanes have sharply increased their activity over Lebanon in the past week, including at least 12 sorties in less than 24 hours in the country’s south.
A senior Lebanese security official said there were no Israeli airstrikes inside Lebanese territory. Asked whether it could have been along the border on the Syrian side, he said that that could not be confirmed as it was out of his area of operations. 
He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
A Lebanese army statement said the last of the airspace violations took place at 2 am local time on Wednesday. It said four warplanes which flew in over the southernmost coastal town of Naqoura hovered for several hours over villages in southern Lebanon before leaving Lebanese airspace.
It said similar flights by eight other warplanes were conducted on Tuesday.
A Lebanese security official said the flights were part of “increased activity” in the past week but did not elaborate. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to brief the media.
The area of Lebanon where the flights took place borders southern Syria. 
Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace occur on a daily basis and Lebanese authorities routinely lodge complaints at the UN against the flights.
Syria confirms Israeli airstrike
The Syrian army said an Israeli airstrike targeted a military research center near Damascus.
By Al Jazeera” —
January 30, 2013 — The Syrian army said that an Israeli air strike at dawn targeted a military research centre in Jamraya, near Damascus.
“Israeli fighter jets violated our air space at dawn today and carried out a direct strike on a scientific research centre in charge of raising our level of resistance and self-defence,” the army’s general command said in a statement carried by state news agency SANA.
Earlier on Wednesday, reports emerged that Israel had conducted an airstrike inside Syria near the border with Lebanon, hitting a convoy of trucks, US and regional officials said.
“The target was a truck loaded with weapons, heading from Syria to Lebanon,” said one Western diplomat on Wednesday. 
A source among rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said an air strike around dawn (0430 GMT) on Wednesday blasted a convoy on a mountain track about 5 kilometres south of where the main Damascus-Beirut highway crosses the border.
The regional officials said Israel had been planning in the days leading up to the airstrike to hit a shipment of weapons bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon.
They said the shipment included sophisticated, Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles, which would be strategically “game-changing” in the hands of Hezbollah.
A US official confirmed the overnight strike hitting a convoy of trucks.
All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the strike.
No comments
The Israeli military declined to comment, and Syrian officials and state media were silent on the issue.
Al Jazeera’s Rula Amin, reporting from Beirut, said that there has yet to be any word from the Syrian government, despite the press reports circulating.
“It also shows the Israelis are very concerned that Syria’s weapons could fall into the hands of either Hezbollah, or groups like Al Qaeda,” she said.
US officials say they are tracking Syria’s chemical weapons and that they still appear to be solidly under regime control.
Among Israeli security officials’ chief fears is that Hezbollah could get its hands on Syrian chemical arms and SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles.
If that were to happen, it would change the balance of power in the region and greatly hinder Israel’s ability to conduct air violations in Lebanon.
Earlier this week, Israel moved a battery of its new “Iron Dome” rocket defense system to the northern city of Haifa, which was battered by Hezbollah rocket fire in the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war.
The Israeli army called that move “routine.”
Airspace violation
The military in Lebanon, which shares borders with both Israel and Syria, said on Wednesday that Israeli warplanes have sharply increased their activity over Lebanon in the past week, including at least 12 sorties in less than 24 hours in the country’s south.
A senior Lebanese security official said there were no Israeli airstrikes inside Lebanese territory. Asked whether it could have been along the border on the Syrian side, he said that that could not be confirmed as it was out of his area of operations. 
He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
A Lebanese army statement said the last of the airspace violations took place at 2 am local time on Wednesday. It said four warplanes which flew in over the southernmost coastal town of Naqoura hovered for several hours over villages in southern Lebanon before leaving Lebanese airspace.
It said similar flights by eight other warplanes were conducted on Tuesday.
A Lebanese security official said the flights were part of “increased activity” in the past week but did not elaborate. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to brief the media.
The area of Lebanon where the flights took place borders southern Syria. 
Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace occur on a daily basis and Lebanese authorities routinely lodge complaints at the UN against the flights.
See also –
Israeli aircraft fires missile along Lebanon-Syria border: The Western official and a U.S. official said there is no indication the truck targeted by the Israeli strike was carrying chemical weapons — which have been under intense scrutiny by both the United States and Israel as the brutal, bloody civil conflict in Syria has intensified.

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U.S. Could Strike Iran to Block Nuclear Progress: Ehud Barak

If sanctions fail to halt Tehran’s nuclear weapons development, the Pentagon has plans for a ‘surgical operation’ to end the threat, the Israeli defense minister told The Daily Beast in a wide-ranging interview at Davos.

By The Daily Beast

January 27, 2013 “Daily Beast” —  In a televised interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Christopher Dickey of Newsweek and The Daily Beast noted the American administration’s reluctance to involve itself in another Muslim world war and asked if there were any way Israel could go to war with Iran that did not drag in the United States.

“I don’t see it as a binary kind of situation: either they [the Iranians] turn nuclear or we have a fully fledged war the size of the Iraqi war or even the war in Afghanistan,” said Barak. “What we basically say is that if worse comes to worst, there should be a readiness and an ability to launch a surgical operation that will delay them by a significant time frame and probably convince them that it won’t work because the world is determined to block them.”
“We of course prefer that diplomacy will do,” said Barak, “We of course prefer that some morning we wake up and see that the Arab Springwas translated into Farsi and jumped over the Gulf to the streets of Tehran, but you cannot build a plan on it. And we should be able to do it.” That is, stage a surgical series of strikes.
Barak said he used to mock his American friends in the past. “I used to tell them, you know, when we are talking about surgical operations we think of a scalpel, you think of a chisel with a 10-pound hammer.” But that’s not the case with the Obama administration, Barak said. Under orders from the White House, he noted, “the Pentagon prepared quite sophisticated, fine, extremely fine, scalpels. So it is not an issue of a major war or a failure to block Iran. You could under a certain situation, if worse comes to worst, end up with a surgical operation.”
The Obama administration has said flatly it will not allow Iran to become a nuclear weapons power, but diplomatic progress toward neutralizing the threat has been extremely slow, even as Iran’s nuclear technology and supply of potential materials for weapons continues to grow.
Barak said much more draconian sanctions against Iran need to be applied, including a kind of “quarantine” on imports and exports, but he noted that getting such measures past the Russians and Chinese at the United Nations would be very difficult. Indeed, he said he does not expect the Iranians will bend.
Barak, who previously served as prime minister, still holds the defense and deputy prime minister portfolios in the lame duck Israeli government. Elections earlier this week surprised most analysts—and Barak, he said—by making a new center-left party led by TV anchor Yair Lapid the second largest in the Knesset, and negotiations for a new Cabinet led by a weakened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are now under way. But Barak, for the moment, has ruled himself out of the action and plans to retire from politics, at least for several years. “In Israel it’s never too late to come back,” he half-joked. “In five years’ time, I will still be 15 years younger than [Israeli President] Shimon Peres, and he will be only 95.”
In the wide-ranging interview at the Davos summit, Barak said the rise of Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party was a reflection of the weariness of the Israeli people with a government that has given too many exemptions to religious interests and has moved too slowly, if at all, in the effort to make peace with the Palestinians. There is a powerful need among many Israelis, said Barak, “to see something new or fresh” in politics.
Barak, who tried to strike a grand bargain with the Palestinians in 2000 and failed, nonetheless reiterated his strong support for a two-state solution as the only real way to meet the aspirations of both the Israeli and Palestinian people.
Commenting on what he has read about a controversial new documentary that features interviews with six former heads of the Israeli domestic intelligence and apparatus, the Shin Bet, and is fiercely critical of the Netanyahu government, Barak expressed some sympathy for the views of his former colleagues. They wanted to tell the Israeli public, he said, that “there is a price” for continuing to “reign” over the Palestinians.
Asked how Israeli defense plans have changed because of developments in the Arab world right on Israel’s frontiers—the rise of jihadists, the civil war in Syria, the election of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt—Barak said “it’s like trying to make a priority between the plague and cholera.” And in an interesting twist, he suggested that the failure of the international community to stop the slaughter in Syria could be a lesson to Israel that despite all assurances that the world will act when a certain threshold of atrocity is crossed, sometimes that just doesn’t happen.
© 2013 The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC

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The United States Promotes Israeli Genocide Against the Palestinians

By Francis A. Boyle
January 27, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – In direct reaction to Israel provoking the Al Aqsa Intifada, on October 19, 2000, the then United Nations Human Rights Commission (now Council) condemned Israel for inflicting “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” upon the Palestinian people, some of whom are Christians, but most of whom are Muslims.[i]
This Special Session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights adopted the Resolution set forth in U.N. Document E/CN.4/S-5/L.2/Rev. 1, “Condemning the provocative visit to Al-Haram Al-Shariff on 28 September 2000 by Ariel Sharon, the Likud party leader, which triggered the tragic events that followed in occupied East Jerusalem and the other occupied Palestinian territories, resulting in a high number of deaths and injuries among Palestinian civilians.” The U.N. Human Rights Commission said it was “[g]ravely concerned” about several different types of atrocities inflicted by Israel upon the Palestinian people, which it denominated “war crimes, flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and crimes against humanity.”
In operative paragraph 1 of its 19 October 2000 Resolution, the U.N. Human Rights Commission then:
“Strongly condemns the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force in violation of international humanitarian law by the Israeli occupying Power against innocent and unarmed Palestinian civilians…including many children, in the occupied territories, which constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity;…”
And in paragraph 5 of its 19 October 2000 Resolution, the U.N. Human Rights Commission:
“Also affirms that the deliberate and systematic killing of civilians and children by the Israeli occupying authorities constitutes a flagrant and grave violation of the right to life and also constitutes a crime against humanity;…”
Article 68 of the United Nations Charter had expressly required the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council to “set up” this U.N. Commission (now Council) “for the promotion of human rights.” This was its U.N.-Charter-mandated job.
The reader has a general idea of what a war crime is, so I am not going to elaborate upon that term here. But there are different degrees of heinousness for war crimes. In particular are the more serious war crimes denominated “grave breaches” of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Since the outbreak of the first Intifada in 1987, the world has seen those heinous war crimes inflicted every day by Israel against the Palestinian people living in occupied Palestine: e.g., willful killing of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli army and by Israel’s criminal paramilitary terrorist settlers. These Israeli “grave breaches” of the Fourth Geneva Convention mandate universal prosecution for the perpetrators and their commanders, whether military or civilian, including and especially Israel’s political leaders.
Let us address for a moment Israel’s “crimes against humanity” against the Palestinian people—as determined by the U.N. Human Rights Commission itself, set up pursuant to the requirements of the United Nations Charter. What are “crimes against humanity”? This concept goes all the way back to the Nuremberg Charter of 1945 for the trial of the major Nazi war criminals in Europe. In the Nuremberg Charter of 1945, drafted by the United States Government, there was created and inserted a new type of international crime specifically intended to deal with the Nazi persecution of the Jewish people:
Crimes against humanity: namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.
The paradigmatic example of “crimes against humanity” is what Hitler and the Nazis did to the Jewish people. This is where the concept of “crimes against humanity” originally came from. And this is what the U.N. Human Rights Commission (now Council) determined that Israel is currently doing to the Palestinian people: crimes against humanity.
Expressed in legal terms, this is just like what Hitler and the Nazis did to the Jews. That is the significance of the formal determination by the U.N. Human Rights Commission that Israel has inflicted “crimes against humanity” upon the Palestinian people. The Commission chose this well-known and long-standing legal term of art quite carefully and deliberately based upon the evidence it had compiled.
Furthermore, the Nuremberg “crimes against humanity” are the historical and legal precursor to the international crime of genocide as defined by the 1948 Genocide Convention. The theory here was that what Hitler and the Nazis did to the Jewish people was so horrific that it required a special international treaty that would codify and universalize the Nuremberg concept of “crimes against humanity.” And that treaty ultimately became the 1948 Genocide Convention.
Article II of the Genocide Convention defines the international crime of genocide in relevant part as follows:
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
As documented by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe in his seminal book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006), Israel’s genocidal policy against the Palestinians has been unremitting, extending from before the very foundation of the State of Israel in 1948, and is ongoing and even intensifying against the 1.6 million Palestinians living in Gaza as this book goes to press.
As Pappe’s analysis established, Zionism’s “final solution” to Israel’s much-touted and racist “demographic threat” allegedly posed by the very existence of the Palestinians has always been genocide, whether slow-motion or in blood-thirsty spurts of violence. Indeed, the very essence of Zionism requires ethnic cleansing and acts of genocide against the Palestinians. In regard to the latest 2008-2009 Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza – so-called Operation Cast-lead — U.N. General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, the former Foreign Minister of Nicaragua during the Reagan administration’s contra-terror war of aggression against that country, condemned it as “genocide.”[ii]
Certainly, Israel and its predecessors-in-law—the Zionist agencies, forces, and terrorist gangs—have committed genocide against the Palestinian people that actually started on or about 1948 and has continued apace until today in violation of Genocide Convention Articles II(a), (b), and (c). For over the past six decades, the Israeli government and its predecessors-in-law—the Zionist agencies, forces, and terrorist gangs—have ruthlessly implemented a systematic and comprehensive military, political, and economic campaign with the intent to destroy in substantial part the national, ethnical, racial, and different religious (Jews versus Muslims and Christians) group constituting the Palestinian people.
This Zionist/Israeli campaign has consisted of killing members of the Palestinian people in violation of Genocide Convention Article II(a). This Zionist/Israeli campaign has also caused serious bodily and mental harm to the Palestinian people in violation of Genocide Convention Article II(b). This Zionist/Israeli campaign has also deliberately inflicted on the Palestinian people conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction in substantial part in violation of Article II(c) of the Genocide Convention.
Article I of the Genocide Convention requires all contracting parties such as the United States “to prevent and to punish” genocide. Yet to the contrary, historically the “Jewish” state’s criminal conduct against the Palestinians has been financed, armed, equipped, supplied and politically supported by the nominally “Christian” United States. Although the United States is a founding sponsor of, and a contracting party to, both the Nuremberg Charter and the Genocide Convention, as well as the United Nations Charter, these legal facts have never made any difference to the United States when it comes to its blank-check support for Zionist Israel and their joint and severable criminal mistreatment of the Palestinians—truly the wretched of the earth!
The world has not yet heard even one word uttered by the United States and its N.A.T.O. allies in favor of R2P/humanitarian intervention against Zionist Israel in order to protect the Palestinian people, let alone a “responsibility to protect” the Palestinians from Zionist/Israeli genocide. The United States, its N.A.T.O. allies, and the Great Powers on the U.N. Security Council would not even dispatch a U.N. Charter Chapter 6 monitoring force to help “protect” the Palestinians, let alone even contemplate any type of U.N. Charter Chapter 7 enforcement actions against Zionist Israel – which are actually two valid international legal options for R2P/humanitarian intervention! The doctrine of “humanitarian intervention” and its current “responsibility to protect” transmogrification so readily espoused elsewhere when U.S. foreign policy interests are allegedly at stake have been clearly proven to be a sick joke and a demented fraud when it comes to stopping the ongoing and accelerating Zionist/Israeli campaign of genocide against the Palestinian people.
Rather than rein in the Zionist Israelis—which would be possible just by turning off the funding pipeline—the United States government, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. media, and U.S. taxpayers instead support the “Jewish” state to the tune of about 4 billion dollars per year, without whose munificence this instance of genocide – and indeed conceivably the State of Israel itself – would not be possible. Without the United States, Israel is nothing more than a typical “failed state.” In today’s world genocide is permissible so long as it is done at the behest of the United States and its de jure allies in N.A.T.O. or its de facto allies such as Israel.
I anticipate no fundamental change in America’s support for the Zionist/Israeli ongoing campaign of genocide against the Palestinians during the tenure of the Obama administration and its near-term successors, whether neoliberal Democrats or neoconservative Republicans. Tweedledum versus Tweedledee.
What the world witnesses here is (yet another) case of bipartisan “dishumanitarian intervention” or “humanitarian extermination” by the United States and Israel with the support of the N.A.T.O. states, against the Palestinians and Palestine. While at the exact same time these white racist cowards and hypocrites preach R2P/humanitarian intervention in order to subjugate Libya, now Syria, and perhaps someday soon Iran.
As Machiavelli so astutely advised The Prince in Chapter XVIII of that book:
“…one who deceives will always find one who will allow himself to be deceived.”[iii]
On these dissentient points, this law professor rests his case against the doctrines of “humanitarian intervention” and its imperialist transformation into the demagogic “responsibility to protect.”
Francis A. Boyle teaches law at the University of Illinois. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Harvard Law School. He has advised numerous international bodies in the areas of human rights, war crimes, genocide, nuclear policy, and bio warfare. He received a PHD in political science from Harvard University.
This article was originally posted at Global Research

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Don’t Believe the (Liberal Zionist) Hype: Israel’s Elections Ratified the Apartheid Status Quo

By Alex Kane
January 25, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – The liberal Zionist wing of the American Jewish community are deluding themselves about the results of the Israeli elections.
They see the Israeli elections as a triumph for politicians who are going to revive the peace process with the Palestinians and make vital moves to “save” Israel, in their words, from the scourge of apartheid or a one-state solution with equal rights for all. But their rhetoric about the outcome of the elections represents a fantasy with little bearing in the reality of what the Israeli government is and will continue to be: a settlement expanding, occupation supporting right-wing government that is committed to the suppression of Palestinian rights within the Green Line and in the West Bank and Gaza. The Israeli government, in other words, will remain committed to the status quo of apartheid.
Both J Street and Americans for Peace Now, two reliable barometers of American liberal Zionist opinion, sent out statements hailing the results of the elections. Israel’s election results “provide a new opening for peace and a chance to construct a coalition committed to pursuing a two-state solution. It is important to note that there will be more explicit supporters of the two-state solution in this Knesset than in the last,” crows J Street. “The big winner in the election, the centrist Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party, has already made it clear that one of its key demands is a revival of the peace process. The Labor Party also increased its strength.”
Americans for Peace Now’s statement was similar, if a bit more measured. “The elections revealed an Israeli electorate that, like its counterpart in the United States, voted in large numbers for progressive values, for change and for hope – as demonstrated by the strong showing of Yair Lapid’s new party,” Debra DeLee, the group’s president, said in a statement.
The spin is enough to make your head hurt. What’s the reality?
Let’s start with Yair Lapid, the handsome Israeli television host whose party took everyone by surprise by garnering 19 seats in the Knesset. Lapid has been derided as a man who has no ideological core, willing to go where the wind blows. And the wind is blowing towards joining a government with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose government pummeled the Gaza Strip, killing over 100 civilians. The talk in the Israeli media is that Lapid will likely be Netanyahu’s foreign minister, able to put a pretty face to the world while defending an ugly system.
Lapid’s statements on the Palestinians and where he campaigned tell you all you need to know about this supposedly “centrist” man dedicated to a “peace process” with the Palestinians. The Palestine Center’s Yousef Munnayer points to this statement by Lapid, which shows how the “Liberal Zionist gravitation toward Lapid shows that the movement is by definition more about being anti-Netanyahu than anti-occupation or pro-liberation or anything else”:
While it may be true that the humane thing is to remove the roadblocks and checkpoints, to stop the occupation immediately, to enable the Palestinians freedom of movement in the territories, to tear down the bloody inhumane wall, to promise them the basic rights ensured to every individual. It’s just that I will end up paying for this with my life. Petty of me perhaps to dwell on this point. After all, how important is my life when compared to the chance for peace, justice and equal rights. But still, call me a weakling; call me thickheaded – I don’t want to die.
That statement from Lapid was made in 2007. More recently, he campaigned in the settlement of Ariel, deep into the occupied West Bank and which sits on valuable water reserves stolen from Palestinians. Haaretz reported in October 2012 that “Lapid said the Palestinians would have to recognize that the large settlement blocs of Ariel, Gush Etzion and Ma’aleh Adumim would remain within the State of Israel.” All of these settlements are illegal under international law and effectively foreclose the possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state. And as this site recently noted, Lapid recently said that Israel “must at last get rid of the Palestinians and put a fence between us.”
This is hardly a man interested in genuine peace with the Palestinians. (The hilarious cartoonist Eli Valley has a humorous take on the fiction of Lapid here.)
Then there’s the notion pushed by J Street and Americans for Peace Now that, contrary to the all the media projections, this was an election that did not see a lurch to the right. It’s true that there was not a big leap to the far-right, and you could say that on domestic issues enough Israeli voters went for the center. But on the other hand, Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu still garnered the most seats and the far-right Jewish Home party snagged 12 Knesset seats. So in fact the right remains in power, still deeply committed to the same destructive policies J Street and Americans for Peace Now deplore.
Munayyer debunks this fictional take in this piece on The Daily Beast’s Open Zion blog:
This election outcome does mean that Israel has shifted right. Some breathed a sigh of relief when Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party only garnered 11-12 seats instead of the expected 14-15, and believed this meant that the notion that Israel was shifting right was unfounded. Well, there are two significant problems with this. First, the Jewish Home party significantly exceeded the number of seats—seven—that its components (remnants of the National Union and Jewish Home of 2009) received in 2009. The number of seats they received this time would have been higher if not for an increased turnout in the Tel Aviv bubble, where voters are largely oblivious to the occupation but wary of anything religious.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, the number of seats Bennett’s party receives is not the only metric of rightward shifts in Israel. Take for example the fact that during the primaries for the Likud—which led the self-proclaimed most pro-settlement government in Israeli history—that party elected even more pro-settler elements into its leadership. The Likud, which then merged with Avigdor Lieberman, the man who was routinely referred to as “far-right” and “ultra-nationalist” only one election ago, is the largest party in the Israeli political system and now has others to its right. Last, keep in mind that while the members of the governing coalition and some of their natural allies were openly and staunchly pro-colonization and even annexation, no party in the Zionist opposition vociferously challenged the Israeli settlement enterprise—with the possible exception of Meretz, which took in a grand total of 7 seats. Those 7 seats, by the way, were considered a remarkable and unexpected triumph.
J Street also mentions the the Labor Party, which garnered 15 Knesset seats (compared to the party’s 13 seats in the previous government), as reason for hope. But the Labor Party leader’s Shelly Yachimovich sees no problem with the West Bank colonization project. “I certainly do not see the settlement project as a sin and a crime,” she told Haaretz.
I’ll end with both of these organizations’ praise for Tzipi Livni. Livni, of course, was foreign minister when Israel waged its punishing assault on the Gaza Strip in 2008-09, killing 1,400 Palestinians. Livni is the woman who famously said that it was “good” to go “wild” on Gaza–which is exactly what the Israelis did, as they rained down white phosphorus on a civilian population and killed civilians left and right.
And before the elections, +972 Magazine ran this piece by blogger Idan Landau that conclusively shows why Livni is not going to be the person to bring peace:
Do you remember the Palestine Papers? For a brief moment, in January 2011, the world reeled at the exposure of documents from the talks held between the PA and Ehud Olmert’s government in 2008. The Israeli team at the talks was led by Tzipi Livni, who negotiated with the head of the Palestinian team, Abu Alaa. The embarrassing documents were immediately denied by both parties; after all, they presented the Israeli side as obstinately rejectionist and the Palestinians as sycophantic collaborators.
Livni played a central part in this historical fiasco: it was she who rejected, with unconcealed contempt, Abu Alaa’s meek attempt to discuss the partition of Jerusalem (“Huston [sic], we have a problem,” Livni sneered, apparently unaware she was presenting Israel, not the PA, as afloat in outer space.)
The liberal American Zionists are utterly delusional, grasping at any straw to try and convince the world that there is a possibility for a two-state solution and that Israel can make peace. But “peace” on Lapid and Livni’s terms is no peace at all, let alone justice. Both of those figures who J Street and Americans for Peace Now are celebrating have nothing to offer but continued maintenance of an apartheid status quo. I have the same question that Phil Weiss has: when will liberal Zionists give up their dream? It’s dead in the water right now, with no signs of the (mythical) liberal, democratic Israel they love. And the elections don’t change that reality one bit.
Alex Kane is an assistant editor for Mondoweiss and the World editor for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.
This article was originally posted at Mondoweiss

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The Wandering Who? Israel. Judaism, Zionism and Palestine

Video Interview With Gilad Atzmon

A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics, the lobby, the power and Jewish ‘progressive’ spin in particular

Posted January 20, 2013

Part 2

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Israeli police charge protest movement leader with assault

By Jean Shaoul 
17 January 2013
Last week, police filed charges against 27-year-old Daphni Leef, one of the leaders of Israel’s mass social protest movement in the summer of 2011. This is a profoundly undemocratic move whose official justification turns reality on its head.
Leef stands accused of assaulting a police officer, disrupting the peace and resisting arrest during a demonstration in June 2012. The police claimed that the demonstration was illegal, as it had not been cleared with the authorities, and demonstrators “disturbed the peace in a way that could intimidate the public”.
The indictment added that Leef “led the angry demonstrators and encouraged their acts against [municipal] inspectors and policemen”.
The action against Leef portends a vicious crackdown by Israel’s political elite on opposition to Israel’s pro-business policies that will be stepped up in the 2013 budget. This elite includes the Labour Party, whose leader Shelly Yachimoch is on record as having supported the police’s conduct during the demonstration.
Leef, a video editor, was arrested along with another 11 people after she and several hundred activists had attempted to set up a tent city on Rothschild Boulevard in downtown Tel Aviv. Labour mayor Ron Huldai, who had initially supported the 2011 protests, was determined to prevent another outbreak of mass protests a year later, and municipal inspectors and his “Green Patrol” moved in forcefully.
Ten police officers seized Leef, pinned her down and beat her, before dragging her along the street, throwing her into a police van and taking her to the police station.
The police violence was photographed, causing widespread outrage. The following evening, 7,000 people gathered to voice their opposition to the detention of the 12 activists, Leif’s arrest, and police behaviour. The police responded with force, and angry scuffles and clashes broke out. Shortly afterwards, police chief Yohanan Danino admitted that Leef’s arrest was a mistake and should have been handled differently, although he denied any misconduct and violence against protesters.
Leef only learned about the indictment on January 7, the evening before the hearing at Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court—via a telephone call from the police. She had not received the evidence on which the charges were based. As a result, the court was forced to agree to a postponement of the hearing until January 23, one day after the general election.
Leef rejects the charges and is considering suing the police for injuring her during the demonstration. She ended up with a broken hand and had to be sent for medical treatment. Her defence counsel, Gabi Lasky, said, “The indictment is not just against Daphni; all the protesters are being indicted”.
The police brought the charges after the attorney general refused to indict Leef.
In July 2011, Leef set up a tent in Habima Square following her inability to find an affordable apartment—and her discovery that rents had doubled in the previous five years—to highlight the situation. She was soon joined by thousands of people who pitched their tents in cities across Israel.
However, the leadership of the protest movement articulated the political and social interests of a narrow layer of the better-off. There were just a few isolated pockets of Israel’s Palestinian citizens, workers and youths of Russian, Middle East and North African origin and impoverished ultra-Orthodox families who participated.
Like the Occupy Wall Street and the “Angry Ones” in Spain and Greece, the leaders insisted on “no politics” to ensure that there was no fundamental challenge to the capitalist order within which they sought their own social advancement. The real argument of these forces with Israel’s oligarchs was that they were not sharing the spoils with the upper-middle-class layers, as they had in the past.
The protesters initially won support from established politicians such as Tel Aviv’s mayor Huldai, who when asked to define “affordable housing” forGlobes business magazine, said it “means a solution for the middle class: working people with salaries who still struggle to meet housing prices in the city center. We want to retain this population, which is the city’s heartbeat. There’s a lot of confusion about the term. Affordable housing isn’t socialism; it’s meant for the middle class”.
He added that legislators were “participating in it and there is a realisation that the government will fall if it doesn’t let the middle class live in Israel. Continued success depends on the organisers’ ability to translate the protest to a practical political issue, i.e. to ensure that in the next Knesset elections will vote in people who will strengthen the middle class and create a more equitable and social-democratic society in Israel”.
All these movements have suffered a major decline, largely because many of the leading figures found the niche they sought—leaving the more deeply affected elements increasingly isolated.
Itzik Shmuli, the leader of the National Union of Students who is close to the Histadrut trade union federation, has received US$200,000 from one of Israel’s foremost tycoons for a project.
In November 2011, the daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Leef and another of the protest leaders, 27-year-old journalist Stav Shaffir, decided to establish a fund so that they could draw a salary for continuing their social activism. Last February, Shaffir and two others set up the Israeli Social Movement. But both Shmuli and Shaffir have now joined the Labour Party and are now seeking election to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, where their position on Labour’s list assures them a seat.
Shmuli said, “From my perspective, what started on the street has to end in the ballot box”, adding that he never had any doubts about joining Labour, although his politics made him attractive to other parties.
There they join a leading venture capitalist Erel Margalit, who has long been associated with Labour. One of Israel’s top venture capitalists, Margalit heads Jerusalem Venture Partners, which manages investments approaching US$1 billion.
The protest leaders have splintered, with many, including Shmuli, openly embracing patriotism and militarism. Their rallying cry has become “equal responsibility” in the form of compulsory national service for all men, including religious Jews, until now exempt if they pursue religious studies, and Palestinian Israelis. They insist that everyone should share “equally in the burden of defending the state”.
By taking up the demand for compulsory conscription, Shmuli and other leaders of the social movement are fostering divisions between religious and secular Jews and creating conditions for the persecution of Palestinian Israelis who refuse to serve for obvious political reasons. Above all, they support the militarist line of the Netanyahu government, which also means further cuts in public and social services and tax rises to pay for a defence budget that at 6.5 percent of GDP is one of the highest in the world.

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Netanyahu Headlines Israeli Birthright Rally

Buying Hearts and Minds
Video

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu headlines Jerusalem mega event for thousands of Jewish teenagers on (free) Israel-bonding trip

Posted January 11, 2013

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