Presentation by Phil Giraldi at the Council for National Interest Press Briefing, “Questioning Military Aid to Israel”
“The Israeli government is actively engaged in military and industrial espionage in the United States.” That was the conclusion of a Pentagon administrative judge in 2006. One very good reason why Israel should not receive billions of dollars in military assistance annually is its espionage against the United States. Israel, a Socialist country where government and business work hand in hand, has obtained significant advantage by systematically stealing American technology with both military and civilian applications. US-developed technology is then reverse engineered and used by the Israelis to support their own exports with considerably reduced research and development costs, giving them a huge advantage against foreign competitors. Sometimes, when the technology is military in nature and winds up in the hands of a US adversary, the consequences can be serious. Israel has sold advanced weapons systems to China that incorporated technology developed by American companies—including the Python-3 air-to-air missile and the Delilah cruise missile. There is evidence that Tel Aviv has also stolen Patriot missile avionics to incorporate into its own Arrow system and that it used US technology obtained in its Lavi fighter development program—which was funded by the US taxpayer to the tune of $1.5 billion—to help the Bejing government develop their own J-10 fighter.
The reality of Israeli spying is indisputable. Israel always features prominently in the annual FBI report called “Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage.” The 2005 report, for example, states:
“Israel has an active program to gather proprietary information within the United States. These collection activities are primarily directed at obtaining information on military systems and advanced computing applications that can be used in Israel’s sizable armaments industry.”
It adds that Israel recruits spies, uses electronic methods, and carries out computer intrusion to gain the information. The 2005 report concluded that the thefts eroded US military advantage, enabling foreign powers to obtain expensive technologies that had taken years to develop.
A 1996 Defense Investigative Service report noted that Israel has great success stealing technology by exploiting the numerous co-production projects that it has with the Pentagon. “Placing Israeli nationals in key industries … is a technique utilized with great success.” A General Accounting Office (GAO) examination of espionage directed against American defense and security industries, also undertaken in 1996, described how Israeli citizens residing in the US had stolen sensitive technology to manufacture artillery gun tubes, obtained classified plans for a reconnaissance system, and passed sensitive aerospace designs to unauthorized users. An Israeli company was caught monitoring a Department of Defense telecommunications system to obtain classified information, while other Israeli entities targeted avionics, missile telemetry, aircraft communications, software systems, and advanced materials and coatings used in missile re-entry. The GAO concluded that Israel “conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any US ally.”
In June 2006, a Pentagon administrative judge overruled an appeal by an Israeli who had been denied a security clearance, stating, “The Israeli government is actively engaged in military and industrial espionage in the United States. An Israeli citizen working in the US who has access to proprietary information is likely to be a target of such espionage.” More recently, FBI counter intelligence officer John Cole has reported how many cases of Israeli espionage are dropped under orders from the Justice Department. He provides a “conservative estimate” of 125 worthwhile investigations into Israeli espionage involving both American citizens and Israelis that were stopped due to political pressure from above.
Two stories that have been reported in the Israeli media but are strangely absent from the news on this side of the Atlantic demonstrate exactly what is going on and what is at stake. The first report confirms Tel Aviv’s efforts to obtain US technology are ongoing. Stewart David Nozette, a US government scientist who was arrested in an October 2009 FBI sting operation after offering to spy for Israel, has been waiting in jail to go to trial on espionage charges. New documents in the case were presented in the Federal court in Washington last year. The documents confirm that Nozette was a paid consultant for Israeli Aerospace Industries and it is believed that he passed to them classified material in return for an estimated $225,000 in “consulting” fees. Examination of his computer by the FBI revealed that he was planning a “penetration of NASA” the US space agency and that he was also trying to crack into other scientists’ computers to obtain additional classified material. Other documents demonstrate that he was cooperating with two Israeli scientists who were administrators with Israeli Aerospace Industries, Yossi Weiss and Yossi Fishman. Nozette made several trips to Israel without reporting them, which he was required to do because of his high security clearance. The FBI reportedly also has incriminating letters and other documents that were obtained from his computer.
The second story relates to the pending sale of twenty F-35 fighter planes to Israel. The F-35 is one of the most advanced fighter planes in the world. The $130 million planes would be purchased with US military assistance money, which means they would effectively be a gift from the US taxpayer. But Israel is balking at the sale reportedly because it wants to install some of its own local content in the aircraft. The Pentagon has already made some concessions but is disinclined to grant approval for all the changes because to do so would require giving the Israelis full access to the plane’s advanced avionics and computer systems. Israel also wants to independently maintain the aircraft, which would also require access to all systems. It would be nice to think that the Pentagon wants to keep the maintenance in American hands to preserve jobs during these tough economic times, but the Defense Department has never cared about US workers before when the issue is Israel. The real reason for the standoff is that Lockheed-Martin and the Pentagon both know that Israel will steal whatever it can if it gains access. It would then use the technology to market its own products at a price below that of US defense contractors. The result would be a triple whammy for Uncle Sam: the expensive planes are given to Israel free, the technology is then stolen, and future sales vanish as our Israeli friends market their knock down versions of weapons systems reliant on the stolen technology.
I agree with Congressman Ron Paul when he says “We cannot afford to have ‘business as usual’ when we are bankrupt.” The US-Israel military aid entanglement—what we give, sell, and especially what is stolen—is unaffordable and unjustifiable.
Steven Salaita is an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech who has written several books on the failure of liberal civil rights discourse to counter anti-Arab racism, particularly in the United States. In his new book, Israel’s Dead Soul, he evaluates the potential complicity between enlightened ideals and their opposite.
Salaita explores how civil rights discourse has been appropriated by Zionism, the belief that “Jews have the right to a nation-state in historic Palestine that is majority Jewish” (4), in order to legitimize cruel and indeed criminal policies against the Palestinian people. He also forcefully makes a plea — in the tradition of the late Edward Said — for the role of the intellectual as a dissident unaffiliated to power.
Salaita compiles a slew of quotations, some from impeccably liberal sources, lamenting the imminent corruption and/or destruction of Israel’s soul. Unimpressed, he opines that “[n]obody has ever mourned the condition of Israel’s soul without being deeply attached to Israel as an ethnocentric state.” The claim that a state has a soul is an attempt to idealize that state (in Salaita’s language, to “normatize” it) on the basis of “the nostalgia of an invented past … and historical cherry-picking” (3).
Liberal multiculturalism is too closely linked to the state (31), emphasizes tolerance and coexistence rather than political justice and equality, and therefore cannot be an effective site of restance (100). The inclusion and indeed celebration of Zionism within a multicultural context in reality “opt[s] to exclude Palestinians and other advocates of real democracy” (36).
From this perspective Salaita criticizes such Zionist organisations as Hillel, Taglit-Birthright, StandWithUs and The Israel Project. However, the powerful Anti-Defamation League (ADL) merits its own chapter. Founded in 1913, ADL has shifted over the course of the century from the worthy cause of combating rampant anti-Semitism to unconditionally supporting the racist Israeli state.
Salaita analyses the ADL’s own criteria for defining a hate group and finds that, for the most part, they apply to the organization itself: it perpetuates extremism and hatred, its beliefs can lead to violent attacks or terrorism, its actions can affect entire communities or even nations, it believes in racial superiority, it seeks to harm perceived enemies or to undermine American democracy, and it denies any holocaust, such as the Armenian genocide, that doesn’t involve Israel (67-9). Once again, by becoming harnessed to an ethnonationalist project, an ostensibly progressive organization becomes an essentially repressive one.
Turning to individuals, Salaita excoriates two prominent public intellectuals, Princeton University’s Cornel West and Georgetown University’s Michael Eric Dyson, whose scholarship is rooted in socially liberal traditions of black Christianity.
By stressing the liberal vocabulary of tolerance and coexistence while neglecting the colonial violence inherent in the Zionist project, West “decontextualizes the Israel-Palestine conflict … and reifies Israel’s placement in proper multicultural discourse as a legitimate exemplar of Jewish culture” (72). Not alone does West conflate Jewish culture with an oppressive state, Salaita writes, but he “implies that any type of moral transgression committed by Jews arises … from the corrupting presence of the Palestinians” (76).
Meanwhile, Salaita contends that Dyson reduces the conflict to competing moral ideals rather than “the settlement by foreign Jews of Palestinian land” (85). While Salaita concedes that the establishment of a homeland for Jews is in itself an idea “worth moral and philosophical consideration,” Dyson falls into the trap of equating this with “the idea of a Jewish state, as dictated by Zionism” (87).
Dyson and West, both of whom are constantly present on a number of mainstream media outlets, including National Public Radio and CNN, are singled out by Salaita as representatives of the phenomenon of political punditry, which he subjects to a stinging analysis. For pundits, “diversity and multiculturalism have become corporatized” and “can be used as marketing strategies.” They are “a propitious element of West and Dyson’s market niche, not an object of their critical attention” (91). Pundits are “vassal[s] of free market commerce” (80) whereas “all intellectuals should stand firm on the principle that colonization is never acceptable” (93).
It should be noted that since the completion and publication of Salaita’s book, West has taken an important step towards more radical advocacy of the Palestinian cause by endorsing the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
Pinkwashing and “homonational narratives”
In a chapter called “The Paradise of Not Being Arab,” Salaita focuses sharply on Israel’s self-branding as a modern gay paradise, in contrast to the supposedly backward and homophobic Arab and Islamic countries. This process entails what queer theorist Jasbir Puar calls “homonational narratives,” (96) whereby some homosexuals are complicit with oppression (“heterosexual national formations”) rather than opposed to it (113).
Salaita notes that Israeli gays are not allowed to marry, that one rabbi has described gay marriage as worse than the Holocaust, that Israel is home to many influential US Christian Zionists who are adamantly homophobic, and that a 2009 survey “found that 46 percent of Israelis consider homosexuals to be deviant.” With typically caustic humor, Salaita comments that “[i]f gay paradise refers to a nation wherein half the population considers [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] people degenerate, then maybe it is true that, in the immortal words of Meat Loaf, heaven can wait” (116).
In spite of these well-known facts, Israel’s foreign ministry enlisted Israel’s gays in a public relations campaign encouraging “harsher steps” against Iran in 2009. Salaita comments that “economic sanctions or military action against Iran … would result in increased persecution [of gay Iranians] in addition to the needless death of Iranian civilians of all backgrounds” (100). Ultimately, according to Salaita, Zionism’s crass message is “support gay people by becoming racists” (104).
After a lively digression on Zionist cinema, suggestively placed within a template provided by Joseph Conrad’s classic novella Heart of Darkness, Israel’s Dead Soul concludes with the provocative formulation that “Israel’s soul needed to die if the many peoples of the Near East are to continue living.” He reassures us, however, that such an eventuality “does not threaten Israel’s future; it portends the safety and survival of the Jewish and Palestinian people” (141).
While Salaita’s frame of reference may often seem narrowly American, the principles that he enunciates are generally applicable. European activists will easily be able to think of organizations on the ADL model, for example, whereby a seemingly progressive message is fatally compromised and ultimately negated by close linkage with the defense of Israel.
Israel’s Dead Soul is a densely-packed, sometimes knotty little book, that well repays reading and rereading. Salaita provides us with well-honed tools for diagnosing the errors of organizations and embedded pundits alike, as well as the weapons for combating them.
Raymond Deane is a composer and political activist.
Today the media is once again aflutter with the “Sext, Lies, and Weinergate” scandal: Weiner’s wife is pregnant! His fellow Democrats are ready to dump him! His fifth lady friend has come forward! Hour by hour, sordid new details emerge, all breathlessly reported. And yet, as with all sex scandals, the prurient, puritanical thrill of watching a dog go down soon gives way to the feeling that the guy is getting it for the wrong crime. Sure the guy is a sleaze with a serious death wish – or is it God complex? – but what about the fact that he’s also a latter-day Jabotinsky who’s content to lie and deny for the sake of occupation, dispossession, and institutionalized inequality?
On Tuesday, Phil resurrected – and debunked – some of the more outrageous lies Weiner told during a March debate with former Congressman Brian Baird about Gaza and the Goldstone Report. (The debate was sponsored by the Nation Institute on behalf of our book, The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict.) Today we offer you round two of Weiner’s tall tales and outright lies. Among his more outlandish claims: Israel’s blockade of Gaza is legal and not all that bad; Gaza is not occupied; Hamas cast the first stone; and perhaps the biggest head-spinner of all, Israeli settlement activity is not taking place on Palestinian lands but in Israel.
Herewith, lies 6 through 12.
Lies 6 & 7: Israel’s blockade of Gaza is legal and hasn’t caused serious humanitarian hardship anyway.
Weiner: There is a blockade that is legal under the Geneva Convention going on right now by the Israelis and the Egyptians on against Gaza. Why? Because they’re at war! I don’t like that, I wish they weren’t. They’re at war. At times of war, you do not let in things that can be used to build – to build bunkers, to do these other things. Fifteen thousand tons of humanitarian aid flows into Gaza each and every week. That goes in in compliance with the Geneva Conventions.
Let’s start with Falsehood #6, the claim that Israel’s blockade of Gaza is legal. This is simply untrue, and the reasons are several. The first is that blockades are only, or at least primarily, deemed legal in situations of international and armed conflict, which the Israel-Gaza conflict most certainly is not. In fact, because Israel remains the de facto occupying power of Gaza – and this gets us to reason number two – it is required by international law not only to protect the civilians under its control but to guarantee sufficient access to food and medical supplies. The blockade, which has reduced food and other humanitarian supplies to a trickle, clearly violates this obligation, but that’s hardly all. The blockade is also widely considered to be a form of collective punishment inflicted on the people of Gaza for their support of Hamas – a fact that Israel has all but admitted – and collective punishment is not merely not legal, it is a flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions. A war crime.
Or as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has said:
International humanitarian law prohibits starvation of civilians as a method of warfare and … it is also prohibited to impose collective punishment on civilians.
I have consistently reported to member states that the blockade is illegal and must be lifted.
The devastating effect of Israel’s blockade has been well documented by journalists, human rights groups, humanitarian organizations, and, of course, Palestinians. The Goldstone Report also dedicated pages of ink to chronicling the blockade’s humanitarian and human rights toll on the people of Gaza.
But you know what? Why listen to all these sources when you can just listen to Israeli officials themselves, as paraphrased in one of the US cables released by Wikileaks?
“As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed … on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge.”
Lie 8: Israel no longer occupies Gaza.
Weiner: And is Gaza occupied? Let me just clear this up, is Gaza occupied, Brian?
Baird: I think it absolutely is.
Weiner: OK, so right now there are Israelis in Gaza?
Baird: No, but there are US-made F16s and US-made weaponry and a host of other –
Weiner: But not in Gaza.
Baird: On any given day, Israelis can enter Gaza.
Weiner: Yes, on any given day they can enter there, but they are not in Gaza today.
Baird: I don’t know that.
Weiner: They don’t occupy Gaza today. Yet the Goldstone Report characterized Gaza as still being occupied.
This is a popular meme, particularly among Israeli politicians and right-wing Zionists who love to claim that Gaza has not been occupied since Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from the strip in 2005. But pretty much everyone else in the international community, with the probable exception of the United States, continues to regard Gaza as being occupied. And with good reason. When a population is hemmed in on all sides by a foreign power, its borders closed and policed, even its airspace controlled; when that power controls everything from taxes to currency; and when it pays the local population occasional, unexpected visits in the form of military incursions, it’s hard to claim that the foreign power isn’t in control.
Here’s how the Goldstone Report sums up the situation:
Given the specific geopolitical configuration of the Gaza Strip, the powers that Israel exercises from the borders enable it to determine the conditions of life within the Gaza Strip. Israel controls the border crossings … and decides what and who gets in or out of the Gaza Strip. It also controls the territorial sea adjacent to the Gaza Strip and has declared a virtual blockade and limits to the fishing zone, thereby regulating economic activity in that zone. It also keeps complete control of the airspace of the Gaza Strip, inter alia, through continuous surveillance by aircraft and unmanned aviation vehicles (UAVs) or drones. It makes military incursions and from time to time hit targets within the Gaza Strip. No-go areas are declared within the Gaza Strip near the border where Israeli settlements used to be and enforced by the Israeli armed forces. Furthermore, Israel regulates the local monetary market based on the Israeli currency (the new sheqel) and controls taxes and custom duties.
The Goldstone Report’s conclusion? “The ultimate authority over the Occupied Palestinian Territory still lies with Israel.”
Lie 9: Israel’s ongoing settlement activity is not taking place on Palestinian lands but within Israel.
Weiner: There are people who believe that settlement activity is going on in Palestinian territories. There are people who believe that. I don’t believe that.
This one is a real head-scratcher. As Roger Cohen, New York Times columnist and moderator of the Baird-Weiner debate, pointed out at the time, even the Israeli government acknowledges – heck, proclaims – that it is building settlements. So how can Weiner claim there’s no “settlement activity” in Palestinian territories? There’s really only one possible answer, but it’s such an extreme, ludicrous answer, it seems impossible that Weiner could actually believe it. And yet – well, let’s just run the tape.
Cohen: Where do you think the settlement growth is happening right now?
Weiner: What do you mean, where do I think it’s happening?
Cohen: You just said it’s happening in Israel, where in Israel?
Weiner: I don’t follow your question. What do you mean where it’s happening? It’s a matter of fact where the settlement’s happening. I don’t understand your question.
Cohen: Well, I’m asking you whether – you said it’s in Israel, as far as I know, the settlement growth is in the West Bank.
Weiner: I believe it is in Israel.
Baird: Tony, are you saying that wherever there is a settlement it is by definition Israel?
Weiner: I am saying that at some point, and it’s not going to be the three of us, but at some point, Palestinians and Israelis are going to negotiate where development is going to be able to happen, where the border exists; right now the settlement that’s going on is going on in Israel. That’s not a controversial thing to say. I mean, that’s a matter of fact. You may want in the future, where Israeli homes are, to say that’s the Palestinian border but that’s not the case yet.
Cohen: Congressman, where for you is the border of Israel?
Weiner: Where is the border – how – do you want me to describe it on a map?
Cohen: I don’t know, where is it?
Weiner: Mr. Moderator-of-this-Debate, how do you want me to do that?
Cohen: One border is the sea, where is the eastern border?
Weiner: The Jordan River.
Ah-ha! So there it is. Weiner doesn’t think that any “settlement activity” is taking place on Palestinian lands because he doesn’t think that Palestinian lands exist. He thinks that Israel sprawls from the Jordan River to the sea, which is in perfect accord with the views of Bibi Netanyahu, Ariel Sharon, and, well, far too many Israeli administrations, but just happens to contradict International law. In fact, the International Court of Justice has specifically found that Israel’s practice of building settlements — essentially, transferring large chunks of its civilian population into territory it occupies — is a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Apparently, every government in the world, with the exception of Israel, agrees.
Lies 10, 11, and 12: Hamas started the Gaza Conflict by firing rockets into Israel; Israel merely carpet-bombed whole neighborhoods of Gaza in self-defense, a right which the Goldstone Report doesn’t recognize.
Weiner: Yes, it was terrible, it was a terrible, damaging war, but it was initiated by Hamas after 12000 rockets. It is a right of a people to defend themselves and you would not know that reading the Goldstone Report.
Here we have another doozy, a case of three lies in one. Happily for us, Jerome Slater has tackled all of them at one point or another in his many writings on the Gaza conflict and the Goldstone Report. Just read this and this. In particular, he has done a brilliant job of puncturing the self-defense claim, demonstrating how it is both factually and philosophically impossible. The fact part is simple: in the months preceding Operation Cast Lead, Israel and Hamas had a truce that Israel broke (on Nov. 4, 2008) in an attack that killed six men from Hamas; and when Hamas offered to renew the truce in exchange for Israel easing the siege, Israel demurred – and, several weeks later, launched Cast Lead. As to the philosophical argument, it boils down to this: “there can be no right of self-defense when illegitimate and violent repression engenders resistance—and that holds true even when the form of resistance, terrorism (a fair description of Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians) is itself morally wrong.”
As to Weiner’s claim that the Goldstone Report ignores Israel’s right to self-defense, well, anyone who’s read even a fraction of the document knows this isn’t the case. As Slater has written:
“First, while the report condemned the Israeli methods of warfare, it accepted that the purpose of Cast Lead was legitimate: Israel, it said, had a right to “defend itself” against Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks aimed at Israeli towns and villages. In his oped, Goldstone reiterated this argument: “I have always been clear that Israel, like any other sovereign nation, has the right and obligation to defend itself and its citizens against attacks from abroad and within.”
So there you have it. Anthony Weiner showed up to a packed hall in New York this past March and spewed at least twelve big, bogus claims about Israel, Palestine, and the Gaza Conflict. And he clearly hadn’t read the Goldstone Report. But if his brother and sister congresspeople get their way, he might soon have a lot of time on his hands. One way he could fill it? By cracking open the Goldstone Report.
HEBRON — Israeli soldiers on Thursday prevented Palestinian farmers from working on their land near Hebron in the southern West Bank, rights activists said.
Israeli soldiers, accompanied by dogs, forced farmers from Beit Ummar to leave their fields near the illegal Bat Ayin settlement, where they were harvesting vine leaves and pears, Palestinian Center for Human Rights official Hesham Sharabati said.
In the same area on Thursday afternoon, Israeli soldiers stopped Mohammad Da’dush, 85, from spraying pesticides on his crops and seized his pump, Sharabati said.
Sharabati, his colleague Fahmi Shahin and popular committee spokesman Mohammad Awad went to the area to follow up on the complaints.
They said four soldiers appeared shortly after their arrival and took their ID cards, claiming the rights workers had entered a closed military zone.
Many more soldiers then arrived at the scene and surrounded the area, Sharabati said.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said she was not familiar with any incidents in the area.
Meanwhile, settlers from the nearby illegal Karmi Zur set fire to fields planted with wheat and grape vines belonging to Ali Ayyad Awad, the local popular committee spokesman said.
Mohammad Awad said the torched land was near the wall separating Beit Ummar from the settlement. He said settlers, accompanied by soldiers, prevented farmers from extinguishing the fire.
The meaning of the term “antisemite” has significantly changed in recent years. There was a time when this term referred to those who despised Jews. Later, the term referred to those who promoted myths about a global Jewish conspiracy to rule the world. Today the term “antisemite” is used by the ruling elite to lambast human rights activists who advocate equal rights between Jews, Christians and Muslims, the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland and the vision of a common, democratic state for both Palestinians and Israelis. The word “antisemite”, which initially conveyed a negative and even sinister meaning, refers now to positive and highly commendable attitudes that can be carried with honour. One may lament this change of meaning, but one should remember that a word does not carry any particular meaning. It is merely a conventional symbol that refers to external contents. By convention, society could agree to name animosity towards Jews “xakaculca”, democracy “zbzb” and elefants “democracy”.
Advocacy for a just and democratic solution to the conflict in Israel/Palestine is grounded on international human rights norms, including the right to equality and the right of everyone to return to her country. These norms are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (articles 1, 2, 7, 13(2)) and the Preamble of the U.N. Charter. This advocacy also seeks its legitimacy from the constitutional principles that underpin the Western democratic order. According to current terminology, as imposed by those who mould public opinion, the word “antisemitism” now refers to human rights advocacy and to the struggle for democracy. There is no need to combat the new convention. One merely has to adjust to it.
Inasmuch as the term “antisemite” now refers to human rights advocates and radical democrats, I declare myself a radical antisemite.
June 10, 2011
The recent call by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer for increased rail safety funding and the creation of a “no-ride” list for Amtrak trains is yet another reminder of just who is stoking fear of Muslims in America.
In an interview last year with a Jewish radio talk show in New York, Senator Schumer said he believed that HaShem (an Orthodox Jewish term for “God”) gave him the name “Schumer” — which means “guardian” — so that he could fulfill his “very important” role in the U.S. Senate as a “guardian of Israel.” Presumably, Schumer’s God-given role also includes turning the country he is actually paid to represent — the United States — into an Islamophobic police state.
Americans wondering what happened to their freedoms since 9/11 need to understand the key role played by ardent pro-Israelis like Schumer in undermining their civil liberties under the guise of protecting them from terrorism.
On October 11, 2001, exactly one month after 9/11, Senator Joe Lieberman introduced a bill to establish the Department of Homeland Security. Since then, “the No. 1 pro-Israel advocate and leader in Congress” has been the main mover behind such draconian legislation as the Protect America Act of 2007, the Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010, and the proposed Terrorist Expatriation Act, which would revoke the citizenship of Americans accused of providing “material support” to a foreign terrorist organization, i.e. groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah that are legitimately resisting Israeli occupation and aggression. Lieberman, who was Barack Obama’s mentor when he entered the Senate, has even proposed a bill which would give the president the power to kill the Internet in the event of a so-called “national cyber-emergency.”
Although it would be hard to think of anyone who has done more to undermine American freedoms than Joe Lieberman, Michael Chertoff runs him a close second. A mere 45 days after the September 11 attacks, the infamous 342-page document known as the USA PATRIOT Act was signed into law. It was co-authored by Chertoff, then head of the Justice Department’s criminal division. Chertoff, whose mother, Livia Eisen, was an El Al air hostess believed to have had links to the Mossad, was appointed secretary of Homeland Security in 2005, after having been endorsed for the job by Senators Schumer and Lieberman.
Since he left public service in 2009, Chertoff co-founded the Chertoff Group, a security and risk-management firm, whose clients include a manufacturer of full-body scanning machines. After a young Nigerian without a passport — the so-called Christmas Day “underwear bomber” — was allowed, in the words of Haaretz, to “slip through” security at Schiphol Airport by the Israeli security firm, ICTS International (which was established by former members of Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Bet), the former Homeland Security chief was all over the mainstream media touting full-body scanners as the answer to America’s airline security problems.
On September 11, 2001, within hours of planes having struck the World Trade Center (recently leased by an extraordinarily “lucky” Larry Silverstein, a friend of not one but four Israeli prime ministers), the then former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak dropped into the BBC studios in London to interpret what the attacks would mean for travellers’ civil liberties. “In this area, we will suffer,” Barak confidently suggested. “It will not be so easy to go aboard an airplane in the near future. But we have no way but to stand firm facing terror. Otherwise, all our way of life will be threatened.”
Later that evening, Benjamin Netanyahu let slip that the deaths of almost 3,000 Americans was “very good” for Israel. In particular, the mass murder proved to be very good for an emerging sector of the Israeli economy. In “Laboratory for a Fortressed World,” Naomi Klein detailed the post-9/11 “explosion of Israel’s homeland security sector.” Writing in 2007, Klein observed: “Before 9/11 homeland security barely existed as an industry. By the end of this year, Israeli exports in the sector will reach $1.2 billion — an increase of 20 percent.”
Consequently, Americans concerned about what “homeland security” is doing to their civil liberties need to be asking: Exactly whose “homeland” and whose “security” is being protected by the likes of Schumer, Lieberman and Chertoff?
It certainly isn’t America’s.
GAZA CITY — Doctors in Gaza have been forced to cancel surgeries due to critical shortages of medicine and supplies, a health ministry official said Friday.
Ministry undersecretary Hasen Khalef said eye surgeries, and operations on blood vessels and nerves were among those canceled due to the lack of medication.
Gaza Health Minister Bassem Naem said pre-scheduled surgeries — including children’s operations, cardiac catheterization, laparoscopic surgery and bone and nerve operations — would be stopped.
The ministry would reduce medical services including laboratory tests, Naem added.
Khalef said dental clinics and general practice clinics would be forced to close soon, and that health centers would reduce their hours because of the shortages.
On Wednesday, the Gaza health ministry announced a state of emergency due to the shortage of medical supplies.
Medical services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya said Thursday that warehouses had run out of over 178 types of medicine and that over 190 surgical items had either run out or were in short supply.
The health minister in the besieged coastal enclave appealed to human rights organizations to intervene to avert a looming crisis.