Caracas – Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has criticised the U.S. State Department’s “absurd” decision to threaten Latin American countries with sanctions should they engage in trade with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Chavez made the comments following a State Department briefing last week, in which the body’s spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, warned Latin American countries that they would be liable to U.S. sanctions if they were to use Iranian banks or purchase Iranian oil.
”If [decisions behind closed doors] are going to take those countries in the direction of buying more Iranian crude oil and making more use of the banks, then they make themselves vulnerable to U.S. sanctions,” said Nuland, who added that the countries in question wouldn’t have “any doubt that this is not something that the U.S. would think was helpful to the overall global policy”.
“We have… with a number of these [Latin American] countries… difficulties that go well beyond this [and] that need to be worked through,” concluded Nuland.
Presidents Rafael Correa (Ecuador), Raul Castro (Cuba), Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua) and Hugo Chavez all met with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week as he conducted a short tour of Latin America. During his visit to Caracas the Iranian President signed various bilateral agreements with Venezuela in industry, science and technology, and politics.
Addressing viewers on state television channel VTV, Chavez criticised Nuland’s statements and cited them as proof of continued U.S. neo-colonialism in the region.
“This decision is an absurdity… it’s the same absurd history of the U.S., trying to look at us like their back yard and wanting to keep controlling the destinies of Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador and the whole of Latin America,” said the Venezuelan president.
“We are free countries…The United States will end up being what Mao (Tse Tung) said, they will become a paper empire and we; steel tigers,” he added.
That an Australian Senate Complaints Committee will be holding a hearing in February on a complaint about the broadcaster SBS promoting antisemitism for its screening of Kosminsky’s The Promise is testimony to the egregious influence of the Zionist lobby in Australia.
The Promise dramatises the political upheaval in Palestine in the final period of the British Mandate and the Palestinian Nakba through the perspective of a British soldier and also the contemporary ongoing violence of the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine through the perspective of his grand-daughter.
Peter Wertheim, the executive director of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) wrote an epic 31 page complaint to the SBS Ombudsman maintaining it “promotes, endorses and reinforces demeaning stereotypes about Jews as a group.” He makes a hackneyed comparison to the Nazi film ‘Jud Suss’ and takes a clichéd jump to a fantastic conclusion -
“The ancient libel that holds all Jews throughout history to be collectively guilty of killing Jesus has been segued into the equally ludicrous proposition that all Jews are collectively guilty of the wanton shedding of innocent blood, a staple of contemporary Palestinian propaganda.”
Wertheim measures the series’ anti-Semitism from the standards of the “Working Definition of Antisemitism” developed by the EUMC in 2005 which extends the basic definition- that of the hatred and persecution of Jews – to the sanctioned deflection of any criticism of Israel i.e. “denying the Holocaust …. [and] lists ways in which attacking Israel could be antisemitic, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavor, or applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation”[Wikipedia ]
It is ironic that Holocaust denial has been criminalised in many European countries and in Israel, yet in Israel, where thousands of holocaust survivors reside, Nakba denial – the denial of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine with its destruction of over 500 villages and forced deportation under the Zionist transfer plan of over 750,000 indigenous Palestinians by Zionist militia (deemed terrorists by Britain)- is state policy.
In 2009, the Israeli Education Ministry ordered the removal of the word ‘Nakba’ from a school textbook for Arab children.
In March 2011, the Knesset passed the Nakba law: “The Nakba law, once implemented, will make it illegal for public bodies, or agencies that receive funding from the State of Israel, to claim that Israel should not be a Jewish state, and that the practices of the government are not democratic. Furthermore the commemoration of ‘Nakba Day,’ the anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel, following the Yishuv’s ethnic cleansing of the majority of indigenous Palestinians from what became Israel, has also been made illegal.”
This month the Israeli High Court rejected a petition against this controversial ‘Nakba Law’.
The flurry of complaints about the screening of The Promise, in Australia and in Britain, is yet another facet of the Zionist Nakba denial campaign.
On 21 April 2011, the UK broadcast regulator Ofcom dismissed similar complaints in a 10 page report defending The Promise as a “serious television drama, not presented as a historical re-creation which would not incite crime, harm or prejudice against Jews.”
The Promise is not antisemitic. Every enacted or alluded to historic event can be verified… the British attempts to stem Jewish immigration, the hanging of captured Jewish Irgun fighters and the demolition of their homes (a practise copied by Israel ); the Zionist Irgun terrorist attacks on the British forces including The King David Hotel bombing and the massacre of the villagers of Deir Yassin, the forced expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians who still have no right of return….by historians such as in Israeli Ilan Pappe’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine and Professor Adel Safty’s Might over Right.
In the drama’s 2005 setting, the suicide bombings by Palestinians, the Israeli refuseniks, the daily harassment of Palestinians by extremist colonists in Hebron, the demolition of Palestinian homes by Israeli Occupation Forces, the solidarity of Palestinian and Israeli peace activists are well documented.
The Promise fulfils standards of historic truth within its fictional frame and confirms that in the Palestinian tragic narrative, the past and the present are in a vicious grip of death, violence and hasbara.
Wertheim’s treatise on Israel’s history has the imprimatur of the Orwellian Ministry of Truth. According to him the justification for a Jewish state was the attempts by Palestinian and Arab forces to prevent it. Wertheim, unlike reasonable persons, does not consider that such opposition is valid to the imposed colonisation and partition of Palestinian land. Likewise, when in 1939, Isaac Steinberg proposed a Jewish colony in the Australian Kimberley region it was rejected by the Menzies government on the grounds that it ran contrary to ‘the ideal of one Australian family of peoples, devoid of foreign communities.’
While Wertheim accuses Kosminsky of factual omission, he omits mentioning that Britain’s Balfour Declaration favouring the establishment of a Jewish homeland was illegal for it breached the terms of Mandate A which was the temporary administration of ex-Ottoman territories that “have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory” and equally that the United Nations had no legal mandate to partition foreign countries.
The Australian government and mainstream media, including SBS, though the ABC is worse, have shamefully capitulated to Zionist pressure to endorse a pro-Israel bias and the cynically fabricated antisemitic paranoia in Australia.
In 2010, the ABC withdrew its offer to acquire the pro-peace documentary, ‘ Hope in a Slingshot’ by Australian Inka Starfrace on the grounds of preserving its ‘commitment to impartiality’ which wasn’t a moral barrier to its screening of the duplicitous pro-Israeli propaganda ‘documentary’ Gaza – Collision Course (BBC’s Death in the Med) which presented Israel as the innocent victim of its own act of piracy and murder of 9 unarmed aid-workers on the Mavi Marmara flotilla. The ABC reckoned it ‘scrupulously balanced’ though eventually the BBC Trust Committee found three breaches – two related to accuracy, the other to impartiality.
Each victory of Zionist hasbara signifies that truth is abandoned and with it the Palestinian people are abandoned to systematic Israeli brutality which daily violates international law.
Hopefully the Senate Complaints Committee has the intelligence to throw out Wertheim’s absurd charge of antisemitism.
(Peter Wertheim’s letter can be found here)
- Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 and was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.
Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has made a secret visit to Israel despite the fact that Doha and Tel Aviv have no political relations, a video has revealed.
Israeli Kadima leader Tzipi Livni welcomed the Emir and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim Bin Jaber Al Thani during the visit.
The Qatari Emir and his delegation also met several high-ranking Israeli officials.
Signing a new gas export contract and writing Qatari textbooks by Israeli experts were among topics discussed between Sheikh Hamad and Livni.
Sheikh Hamad reportedly stressed the significance of political relations between the two sides.
Livni informed Qatar of its important role in talks between Arabs and Israel.
Qatar and Israel have common viewpoints regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Doha has repeatedly supported Tel Aviv against Iran. Qatar would also be able to assist Israel in the event of a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
It is noteworthy that in April 2008, Livni, who was Israeli foreign minister, used a visit to Qatar to lobby the Arab state to oppose Iran’s nuclear program.
Israeli courts have begun to impose a NIS 20,000 ($5,200) “guarantee” on Palestinian victims who have brought cases related to “Operation Cast Lead,” Israel’s 27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009 offensive on the Gaza Strip which killed 1,400 people and injured and displaced thousands of others.
This tactic constitutes “an insurmountable barrier to justice” according to the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) which represents 1,046 individual claimants. In a release this morning, PCHR wrote:
The courts have begun to impose a court guarantee of 20,000 NIS per claimant. This guarantee must be paid before the case can proceed. PCHR wishes to highlight two factors: first, the amount of this guarantee is far beyond the means of the overwhelming majority of the victims in the Gaza Strip, and so constitutes an insurmountable barrier to justice; second, this guarantee is imposed per claimant, this results in a situation whereby the greater the violation (and so the greater the number of claimants), the greater the financial barrier to justice.
The release also notes that despite the fact that criminal and civil complaints were submitted on behalf of each of the 1,046 victims, “to-date substantive responses have only been received with respect to 2 criminal cases, and 2 civil cases.”
An Israeli aircraft and tank strike on the Gaza Strip killed two Palestinians and wounded another on Wednesday, according to a Hamas spokesman.
“We recovered one martyr and two other people with injuries after the air raid carried out by occupation aircraft in Beit Hanoun,” Adham Abu Selmiya said, naming one of the dead men as Mohammed Abu Awda, 23.
Seventeen-year-old Khaled al-Zaanin was critically wounded in the Israeli attack and later succumbed to his wounds, Abu Selmiya said.
The strike hit a field just east of Beit Hanoun, Palestinian security sources said.
There was no immediate confirmation that the men were indeed Hamas members.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said the target was “a terrorist squad that was attempting to place an explosive device by the security fence” in the second such incident this year.
Israel has conducted a series of offensive strikes on the Gaza Strip in recent weeks, while Hamas has maintained a level of restraint as it presses ahead with reconciliation efforts with Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction.
Israeli General Benjamin Gantz warned last month that Israel should initiate another full-scale war with Hamas in Gaza that would be “swift and painful.”
Israeli airstrikes killed eight Gazans last month. The last deadly incident was on December 30 when Israeli warplanes killed a man near Gaza City.
The Jewish state maintains a siege over Gaza and continues to build illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.