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Witness Report, Video: Israeli War Crimes Against Palestinian Youth in Hebron

International Solidarity Movement | December 15, 2017 

al-Khalil, Occupied Palestine – Witness accounts and video footage confirm that the Israeli army has been and is committing war crimes in dealing with the current wave of protests against the occupation, colonization, and ethnic cleansing in Palestine.

On Friday, December 8, 2017 around 4:30 PM, ISM activists clearly witnessed and filmed a unit of of around 40 Israeli soldiers and commanders in the H1 area of Hebron – which, according to the 1997 Hebron agreement, should be fully controlled by the Palestinian Authority – intentionally injuring the backs, shoulders, and heads of two randomly arrested teens. Much of this occurred after they had been handcuffed, blindfolded, and were held in custody. … Full article

December 15, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Renowned South African university cuts ties with Israel

Palestine Information Center – December 13, 2017

PRETORIA – “The Council of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has resolved that TUT will not forge any ties with the State of Israel or any of its organizations and institutions,” TUT spokesman on the issue Professor Rasigan Maharajh told the African News Agency (ANA) during an interview on Wednesday.

A December 7 press release from TUT stated: “As a progressive university in a democratic South Africa, we want to affirm that TUT will not sign any agreements or enter into scientific partnerships until such time that Israel ends its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.

“The university will not stand back and accept the violations of the Israeli government when it confines the movement of Palestinian children and youth on their own land and restricts their ability to access education through destroying their schools,” added the statement.

South African criticism of Israel is growing, the ANA pointed out.

One of the controversial issues to be discussed at the ANC’s forthcoming 54th National Conference in Gauteng, from December 16 to 20, is the possible downgrading, or even closure, of the South African Embassy in Tel Aviv.

“As a constitutional democracy premised on the recognition of human rights, the Republic of South Africa must urgently discuss downgrading the status of its relationship with Israel,” said Maharajh.

TUT’s decision to cut all ties with the Jewish state also comes in the wake of strong condemnation from the South African government, and various political and human rights organizations across the country, following US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem while stating that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel.

Under international law East Jerusalem is occupied territory and all international embassies have based themselves in Tel Aviv until the final status of Jerusalem is negotiated through talks.

“The announcement by the Trump regime of its intentions to establish its embassy in Jerusalem further escalates tensions,” said Maharajh.

“As guided by the founding President of the post-apartheid South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who declared that: ‘We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians’, the Republic of South Africa must also condemn the actions of the Trump regime and work harder at fostering solidarity and cooperation with the people of Palestine.”

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moroccan MPs propose bill to criminalize normalization with Israel

Palestine Information Center – December 12, 2017

RABAT – Members of the Moroccan parliament on Monday condemned the US president Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem which he has recently recognized as the capital of Israel.

During a parliament session held on Monday and attended by the Palestinian ambassador to Morocco, they called for activating a bill criminalizing normalization with Israel that has been frozen for more than four years.

According to the Moroccan newspaper Lakom, Habib El Malki, the president of the House of Representatives, said that Trump’s decision disregards the United Nations and its resolutions and lacks legitimacy and credibility.

He added that by this move the US has chosen to be a rival rather than a mediator in the negotiation process.

For his part, the president of the House of Counselors, Hakim Benchamach, said in statements quoted by the Moroccan newspaper that the US decision goes in line with the Balfour Declaration and threatens the stability of the international security.

MP for the Democratic Leftist Federation, Omar Balafrej, revealed that the statistics issued by the French-Israeli Chamber of Commerce show that the volume of trade exchanges between Morocco and Israel amounts to $4 million per month.

Balafrej during the meeting supported activating a bill to criminalize normalization with Israel and called for a serious study of the US latest move.

The Moroccan capital of Rabat on Sunday witnessed a mass popular demonstration against the US decision.

Donald Trump on Wednesday officially declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and unveiled his decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem amid Arab and Islamic condemnation and international concerns.

December 12, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment

Bethlehem Mayor Responds to Israeli Report on Christmas

IMEMC | December 12, 2017

The mayor of Bethlehem, lawyer Anton Salman, on Monday, made comments about an Israeli report which portrayed Bethlehem city as if it were simply celebrating Christmas and separating itself from the Palestinian struggle, and the ongoing political situation, while there are protests and clashes currently ongoing in all Palestinian cities,  against Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.

“Israeli attempts to create false illusions about the unity of the Palestinian people through promoting  deceptive videos will be futile,” Salman told PNN in an exclusive interview.

He added that the content and timing of the video and interviews were manipulated, where the report showed that there have  been celebrations and tree-lighting, following the Trump declaration on 6 December, while the actual date of lighting the tree was over a week ago, on 2 December 2017.

Meanwhile, the interview was filmed on 28 November.

The report was published on 8 December, two days after the start of the protests and the Trump declaration, and 10 days after the interview was recorded.

Salman added that, as a sign of protest, the tree lights were turned off for three days, following the decision, since it offends all Palestinians, including Christian Palestinians.

Salman said the Bethlehem municipality would file a lawsuit, in the Palestinian and Israeli courts, against the Israeli channel and its crew, as well as take measures to prevent Israeli journalists from entering Bethlehem because of the abuse and falsification it takes to the media.

Salman called on all Palestinian media and journalists to react responsibly, especially in light of the difficult circumstances and targeting of the Palestinian cause and society, considering all these practices an attempt to attack Palestinian society in the media.

On the matter of the visit of US Vice President Mike Pence, the mayor of Bethlehem said that the municipality had already released statements explaining that the same position in line with the official stance, which denounced the visit  saying that they will not receive him following the move, which has been denounced by the international community.

December 12, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Advocating for Israel pays well: Salaries of nonprofit heads

Rabbi Marvin Hier (center) and his wife Marlene with actor Dustin Hoffman at the premiere of “Against the Tide” on February 4, 2009 in Los Angeles. The Hiers and their son receive total annual compensation of $1.4 million.
If Americans Knew | December 12, 2017

Heads of nonprofits that support Israel receive compensation in the hundreds of thousands of dollars up to, in a few cases, over a million dollars.

Politicians reaping money from the Israel lobby (e.g. Tom Cotton received close to a million dollars from the Emergency Committee for Israel; Haim Saban and his wife donated $11.5 million to pro-Clinton super PACs, along with large sums to the Clinton Foundation) are not the only ones to benefit from supporting Israel.

Executive directors of nonprofits that support Israel receive compensation in the hundreds of thousands of dollars up to almost $2 million.

The Forward recently compiled a list of their earnings. It reported that Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center received $818,148 and that his spouse and his son also work for the center, giving them an annual total $1.4 million.

According to the Forward the Hiers were not alone in surpassing a million dollars compensation – in 2016, the CEO of the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland received compensation of $1.3 million, and in 2014 the CEO of Boston’s Jewish federation received almost $2 million.

Below are some members of the Forward’s list for 2016

(All the individuals below head up organizations that spend part or all of their time in activities supportive of Israel):

Simon Wiesenthal Center
$818,148
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
$735,1811
American Israel Public Affairs Committee
$720,194
The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore
$664,489
Jewish Federations of North America
$636,559
Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston
$634,572
Republican Jewish Coalition
$632,950
Birthright Israel Foundation
$609,0561
Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metro Chicago
$564,955
Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland
$546,515
Anti-Defamation League
$545,441
American Jewish Committee
$539,016
UJA Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York
$530,000
Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles
$525,594
Greater Miami Jewish Federation
$519,436
Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County
$507,430
Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life
$495,307
Jewish Federation of Greater Washington
$487,4501
Foundation for Jewish Camp
$460,501
The Israel Project
$460,160
Conference of Presidents Of Major Jewish Organizations
$452,693
Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco
$449,7502
Zionist Organization of America
$448,063
Jewish Community Centers Association of North America
$445,0002
Jewish National Fund
$435,011
Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia
$432,199
Hadassah
$409,818
B’nai Brith International
$405,708
United Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh
$351,7981
United Jewish Communities of MetroWest New Jersey
$352,236
American Jewish World Service
$330,000
Center for Jewish History
$325,0002
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit
$323,065
Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
$315,0003
CLAL (National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership)
$309,7343
Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta
$308,5781
CLAL (National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership)
$289,9843
J Street
$259,203
Stand With Us
$246,127
ORT America
$235,0001
Bend The Arc
$233,579
Americans for Peace Now
$228,866
Agudath Israel of America
$220,058
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
$205,160
Hazon
$202,811
Keshet
$153,462
Israeli-American Council
$135,6723

For full list go to The Forward.

December 12, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli security interests dominate EU diplomacy

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | December 12, 2017

The EU Foreign Policy Chief has told Benjamin Netanyahu that there will be no mass relocation of embassies to Jerusalem. Federica Mogherini insisted that this will be the case in response to the Israeli Prime Minister’s comment that most European countries would follow Donald Trump’s unilateral decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv.

However, there was no recognition from the EU regarding the shift in political dynamics, particularly with regard to the negotiations and the two-state paradigm. On the contrary, Mogherini exposed the EU’s intent to persist in diplomatic engagement within the obsolete framework, for the sake of Israel’s security interest.

As quoted in the Times of Israel, Mogherini stated: “We believe it is in Israel’s interest, especially its security interest, to find a sustainable and comprehensible solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is why the European Union will increase its work… to relaunch the peace process, even if it seems [that these are] difficult times.”

In keeping with its usual stances, Wafa news agency also reported that the EU is seeking compensation of €30,000 from Israel for the confiscation and destruction of structures funded by Brussels. The news would have been a diversion, even at a less drastic moment, given that the EU is apparently willing to go on paying for Israel’s penchant for demolition. However, in the current circumstances, the EU’s demand is more of an assertion that the cycle of abuse and plunder is set to continue as usual, with demands unmet by Israel and the further depletion of Palestinian rights.

Despite refuting Netanyahu’s statement, which speaks about a hypothetical future and within the context of a majority of countries prioritising relations with Israel above ending its colonisation of Palestine, Mogherini’s reasons do not frame the response as any kind of solidarity with the Palestinians. The EU has embarked upon the most convenient narrative and the easiest one to articulate. If it can promote the two-state compromise as the best option to protect Israeli interests, the essence behind such reasoning does not oppose Trump’s action. In different ways, the US and the EU have promoted a distorted concept of peace which complements each other’s and, particularly, Netanyahu’s aims of using the euphemism as a veneer for Israel’s ongoing violence.

The EU might be less willing to overtly affirm agreement. Its reticence, however, should not be misconstrued as support. Eliminating the possibility of considering — let along affirming — decolonisation as the necessary process for peace, turns every decision taken by the EU into an advantage for Israel. There is no need for other diplomatic belligerence to affirm support for the Zionist state’s colonial project; the reiteration of Israeli security interests dissociated from the circumstances created by the colonial entity itself is enough.

A current rejection of Netanyahu’s hypothesis is a weak response to the threat unleashed by Trump. If the EU is to take a stance of unequivocal rejection, it has to match its rhetoric with a complete change of policy which would construct peace according to Palestinian demands based upon international law. Relaunching the peace process as the means to protect Israeli security interests makes a mockery of the losses suffered by Palestinians since the initial colonial process started more than 100 years ago and conveys flagrant contempt for the legitimate rights of the indigenous population of occupied Palestine.

December 12, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , | Leave a comment

Khader Adnan seized by Israeli occupation forces, launches immediate hunger strike

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network- December 11, 2017

Prominent Palestinian leader, organizer and former prisoner and hunger-striker Khader Adnan was seized on Monday morning, 11 December, by Israeli occupation forces at his home in Arraba, Jenin. He immediately launched an open hunger strike to demand his release.

Randa Moussa, his wife, told Palestine Today that he had announced an immediate strike on food, drink and speech after his arrest. She said that four patrols, an armored troop carrier and a jeep surrounded their home at 2:30 am and invaded the home violently, trying to break down the door of the home, and that they hit Adnan on the back and hand, throwing him on the ground before handcuffing him. He was then interrogated in a closed room of the house before being taken away to an undisclosed location.

Adnan, prominent political activist from the town of Arraba near Jenin, has been arrested 10 times and spent six years in Israeli prison, all in administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial. In 2012 and 2015, he carried out 66-day and 56-day hunger strikes, respectively, winning his liberation from arbitrary Israeli imprisonment.

The Islamic Jihad movement said in a statement that “the arrest of leaders and popular and national symbols will not weaken our people or break their will…. this is a desperate attempt to suppress the uprising of Jerusalem,” as Palestinians inside and outside Palestine have risen up against US President Donald Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is the “capital of Israel” in the eyes of the US.

Khader Adnan is a Palestinian and international symbol of steadfastness within the prisons who has inspired widespread international solidarity. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network demands the immediate release of Khader Adnan and will announce further actions as we receive more news and information from Palestine on Adnan’s detention. The struggle for the freedom of Palestinian political prisoners is at the forefront of the struggle to defend Jerusalem and liberate Palestine.

December 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

IsraelGate: The Arrogance of Jewish Power in the United States

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | December 11, 2017

The revelation that the Trump transition team colluded with Israel to sabotage a foreign policy initiative by the Obama White House made the news, sort of, when the story broke at the end of November. But it has since died, pushed down by the relentless pressure in the media to “disappear” all things critical of Israel or its behavior.

Thanks to the ongoing investigation of Russiagate by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, we Americans have learned that prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration, some of his closest advisers responded to Israeli solicitation to derail a United Nations vote on illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. The effort to help Israel was implemented behind the scenes and in opposition to the official U.S. foreign policy.

Possible collusion with a foreign state has produced an avalanche of negative press coverage and congressional baying for blood related to Moscow and its President Vladimir Putin but similar action on the part of Israel has produced little to nothing in terms of a response from the Fourth Estate and political class.

Perhaps not too surprising, the story has actually taken a different turn, producing some opinion pieces, mostly from American Jews, insisting that Jared Kushner, the presidential son-in-law who was behind the effort, did the right thing because it was done “for Israel.” It is a sure sign of the invulnerability of those exercising Jewish power in the United States that something very close to treason involving a foreign country can be applauded with impunity. This is in spite of the fact that successful attempts to bury the story and even to justify what was done inevitably raises the issue of “dual loyalty” on the part of some American Jews who clearly see Israel as something that has to be protected and cherished even when it means doing serious damage to the American people and U.S. national interests.

One of the most illustrative opinion pieces written by an “Israel firster” appeared recently in Forward, America’s leading Jewish news and information website. It was entitled “Jared Kushner Was Right To ‘Collude’ with Russia – because he did it for Israel” before it was changed in the online edition to “Was Kushner doing the right thing?” The author, Daniel Kohn, lives in San Diego California. The article is particularly interesting as it makes a grotesque convoluted effort to not only justify what took place but also to sing the praises of Israel and all its works.

The extent to which the op-ed is characteristic of American-Jewish thinking regarding Israel is, of course, difficult to estimate but I would suspect that most Jews in the U.S., who are generally self-described progressives, would find much of it rather dubious, though many would be reluctant to openly criticize or counter the arguments being made for fear of ostracism by their community.

Kohn constructs a straw man around the fact that previous incoming presidential administrations have communicated with foreign governments during their transition periods. This is certainly true and even sensible. But, at the same time, meeting representatives of other countries cannot be allowed to undercut the policies being pursued by the White House team that is actually still in power. In this case, President Barack Obama had made clear that his opposition to the Israeli settlement expansion would be expressed through U.S. abstention on a United Nations Security Council vote condemning such activity.

In response, the government of Israel asked Jared Kushner to use Trump’s potential leverage to bring about a veto or delay in the resolution. Kushner clearly approached his task with some zeal, instructing incoming National Security Adviser Mike Flynn to contact the U.N. delegations of the countries on the Security Council to do just that, undercutting what Obama was doing. That is how the phone call from Flynn to Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak came about.

Kohn also critiques the applicability of the Logan Act, which blocks American citizens from negotiating with foreign governments on behalf of the United States by claiming that it “would likely not be a successful litigation path.” He argues that Kushner was “already acting in an official capacity,” which is flat out untrue as he had no official status. If Kushner had in fact been an honest broker he would have gone through the State Department, but he was instead working covertly to subvert a policy being pursued by the legally-in-power President of the United States. There is no other way to look at it.

Finally, Kohn argues that the U.N. Resolution 2334 that was approved in spite of Flynn’s call, gives the Palestinians both “more leverage” and “moral authority” in any future negotiations with the Israelis. He sees this as a bad thing, that Kushner was therefore rightly “pursuing a moral agenda that would help Israel’s security.” This is really the crux of the matter as Kohn sees the Middle East in very simple terms: Israeli dominance is a good thing, enabling Netanyahu to dictate both the pace and consequences arising from the endless peace talks that only continue to sustain land thefts and human rights violations by powerful Jews in dealing with virtually powerless Arabs. That is just the way Kohn and the Israelis want things to be, and, unfortunately President Donald Trump has now made clear that he endorses “that reality.”

There are altogether too many American Jews like Daniel Kohn who reflexively think as he does. Israelis are cheering in Jerusalem over Donald Trump’s surrender to them over the location of their capital, but real Americans should be mourning. The arrogance of Jewish power in the United States, exemplified by Kushner in regards to the United Nations and more recently concerning Jerusalem, means that U.S. citizens will be less secure when they travel, American businesses will have to think twice when seeking overseas markets, and diplomats and soldiers working in foreign Embassies and military bases will become targets. If there is an actual positive American interest concealed somewhere in the packages of concessions to Israel, I certainly cannot find it.

*(Benjamin Netanyahu, Jared Kushner and U.S. President Donald Trump are seen during their meeting at the King David hotel in Jerusalem. Monday, May 22, 2017. Image credit: Kobi Gideon / GPO/ Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs/ flickr)

December 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US and Israel ‘Isolated’ at UN Security Council Meeting on Jerusalem

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley at the United Nations Security Council on December 8, 2017. | Photo: AFP
teleSUR | December 8, 2017

In an emergency meeting convened by the United Nations Security Council on the crisis prompted by President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the U.S. stood isolated as other members unanimously condemned the decision.

The meeting was called by Bolivia, Uruguay, Italy, Senegal, Egypt, France and the United Kingdom on Friday.

Bolivian Ambassador Sacha Llorenti offered the strongest words of condemnation. Llorenti is known for his outspoken support of the Palestinian people, having debated the issue at the U.N. wearing a Keffiyah: a black-and-white scarf that has become a symbol of Palestinian resistance.

“While there are two parties in this conflict, they are not on a level playing field,” Llorenti said. “One is an occupying power, the other is an occupied people.

“One party builds illegal settlements… One party puts a seige on Gaza… One party takes over the water resources and farmlands of the other …. One of the parties engages in forced displacement. Bolivia opposes the unilateral decision of the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

Other representatives, including France, Japan, Russia, and Sweden, expressed their dismay at the decision, saying that it would lead to violence and potentially ruin chances at the peace process that President Trump claims to favor.

Egyptian Ambassador Amr Aboulatta said he expected the decision to have a “grave” impact on peace.

The U.N. special coordinator for the peace process, Nickolay Mladenov said: “The United Nations has repeatedly declared that any unilateral decision that seeks to alter the character and status of Jerusalem… could seriously undermine current peace efforts and may have repercussions across the region.”

Despite resounding criticism from the rest of the international community, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley maintained that Trump’s move was “simple common sense,” and that the president remains “committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement.” She also accused the U.N. of being “hostile” towards Israel.

Israel’s ambassador was the only other party who praised the decision, calling it “courageous” and demonstrating a “true understanding of justice.”

Since Trump’s announcement, Palestinians have resolutely condemned the decision and erupted in mass “days of rage” protests. Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has called for a “new intifada,” or uprising, against Israeli occupation, a plea backed by Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah.

Protests in various parts of occupied Palestine have met with violence by Israeli armed forces. At least two Palestinians have been killed and hundreds more injured. On Friday, the Red Crescent said they have so far attended 767 injuries in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza.

December 9, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 15 Comments

Do You Hold Dual Citizenship? You Can Serve in Congress–but not the Israeli Knesset!

By Richard Edmondson | Fig Trees and Vineyards | December 8, 2017

A few days ago I posted an article entitled Zionists Form Group to Promote Kurdish Statehood, about the latest efforts underway to carve up the Middle East. In the course of researching that article I made a rather interesting discovery: that Israel has a law prohibiting holders of dual citizenship from serving in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

Needless to say, we need such a law here in the US, but of course anyone who suggests this gets accused of anti-Semitism.

A couple of years ago when talk show host Diane Rhem interjected a discussion about dual Israeli citizenship into an interview with Senator Bernie Sanders, Rhem was subjected to withering criticism. The ADL, among others, jumped into the fray, accusing Rhem of playing into “classic anti-Semitic charges of dual loyalty,” and the talk show host was forced to issue an apology.

And this kind of thing doesn’t just happen in America. When an official in South Africa proposed a law that would revoke South African citizenship under certain circumstances, one of them being if dual citizens were to serve in the armed forces of the other country, the reaction from South African Jews was about what you’d expect:

South African Jewish community leaders have expressed outrage at an African National Congress (ANC) official’s recent announcement of possible plans to ban dual citizenship.

While Obed Bapela, head of the ANC’s national executive committee’s subcommittee on international relations, has countered that the idea includes anybody with dual citizenship without discrimination, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and South African Zionist Federation have issued a joint communication condemning the move as discriminatory towards Jews.

But dual citizens are banned from serving in the Israeli Knesset and no one seems to get too upset over it.

In my article of a few days ago, I mentioned a Knesset member by the name of Ksenia Svetlova, who is passionately advocating the formation of a Kurdish state. According to a Times of Israel article, Svetlova held dual Israeli-Russian citizenship until 2015, when she was elected to the Knesset, at which time she was forced to formally renounce her Russian citizenship.

“While Israelis may hold dual citizenship, a Basic Law passed in 1958 states that Knesset members cannot pledge allegiance as parliamentarians unless their foreign citizenship has been revoked under the laws of that country,” the article states.

Another Israeli politician, who was elected at the same time as Svetlova is Rachel Azaria, who was also forced to renounce her foreign citizenship–in the US! Again from the Times of Israel :

Azaria, a 38-year-old Jerusalem deputy mayor, renounced her American citizenship, which she had held by virtue of her mother having been born in the US.

It is astounding, is it not? Israel gets billions of dollars per year courtesy of US taxpayers–but anyone holding US citizenship is barred from serving in the Knesset! But we are not allowed to have a similar law here in the US banning Israeli citizens from serving in Congress!

And not only do we not have a similar in the US, but apparently Freedom of Information Act requests aimed at finding out which Congress members do in fact hold dual citizenship–are denied. The following is a 2015 article that was published at Counterpunch.

***

Dual Citizens in Congress?

By L. Michael Hager

Is dual citizenship in the U.S. Congress and administration creating potentially serious conflicts of interest?

My Counterpunch piece of November 12, 2014 described a failed effort to identify members of Congress who hold dual citizenship and to ascertain the second nationality of those members. I mentioned the then outstanding Freedom of Information Act request that I filed with the Congressional Research Service (CRS) last October.

This week I received the information I sought, in the form of a telephone call from a legal officer of the Library of Congress. After reminding me that Congress (and the CRS by its connection with Congress) is exempt from FOIA requests, he verbally confirmed my suspicion that CRS does not currently collect dual citizenship data.

That’s bad news for those of us who believe that citizens should know if their representatives in Congress (and senior government officials and judges, for that matter) owe allegiance to any other nation. For example, when a Senator, a House Member or a high USG official speaks out, submits bills or determines policy on an issue of importance to a second country, shouldn’t constituents (and citizens at large) be able to judge whether there is or is not a conflict (or apparent) conflict of interest?

Without transparency on dual citizenship, Americans remain in the dark, free to speculate on which representatives may have divided loyalties. Current entries on the Internet reveal a wide range of such speculation. The lack of transparency is dangerous, for it erodes trust in government, creating credibility doubts where there should be none and allowing some conflicts to continue undetected, without question or debate.

Thus the first requirement is transparency. We need a government agency (presumably the CRS) or a non-governmental organization to disclose the names and non-U.S. national affiliations of Members of Congress and senior government officials and to track and report on this issue.

Secondly, we need more media attention to the subject of dual citizenship. Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Michelle Bachman both received wide press coverage, when they renounced their Canadian and Swiss nationalities, respectively.

Stanley Fischer, who currently serves as vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, became an Israeli citizen in 2005 while retaining his American citizenship. Prior to his appointment to the Fed in 2014, he served for eight years as governor of the Bank of Israel. Although the New York Times article of March 13, 2014 reporting on his then upcoming confirmation hearings, disclosed his dual nationality, it failed to ask the obvious question of why one appointed to such a senior policy position should not be required to renounce his Israeli citizenship. Why has the mainstream media largely ignored the potential conflict of interest inherent in dual citizen Members of Congress and Executive Branch officers?

What about those members and government officials who fail even to disclose their second or more nationalities?  As mentioned in my previous article on this subject, U.S. officials and government officers with Jewish identity may acquire Israeli citizenship without much or any formality under the Israeli Law of Return.  Thus it is possible, if not probable, that some of such officials hold Israeli citizenship.

Beyond the threshold issue of transparency are equally important questions of whether a dual citizen elected to Congress or appointed to a senior USG position should be required to renounce his or her citizenship in the second nation. Even if American law continues to allow the government service of dual citizens, should it not require such persons at least to recuse themselves from participating in decisions or policy debates that relate to their second nationality?

To address these question we need accurate information on who are the dual citizens in our government.  To obtain such data will require a vigorous campaign by interested citizens and NGOs, first to have elected Members disclose any non-U.S. citizenship they hold and second to have the CRS begin to track and report on the presence of dual citizens in Congress and in the higher levels of Government.

Conflicts of interest and apparent conflicts by public officials erode trust in government. Allowing dual citizenship in Congress (and in the Executive and Judicial Branches) to flourish under cover of non-disclosure puts our democracy at risk.

It’s time to bring this issue  into open debate.

 L. Michael Hager is co-founder and former director general of the International Development Law Organization, Rome

December 8, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 9 Comments

House passes bill about Taylor Force, ignores 34 other Americans who were killed by Israel

By Kathryn Shihadah | If Americans Knew | December 7, 2107

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the Taylor Force Act (text here), a bill that reduces funding to the Palestinian Authority. The bill next goes to the full Senate, where it is expected to pass.

The Taylor Force Act is named for U.S. army veteran Taylor Force, who was killed by a Palestinian in Tel Aviv in March, 2016 while Force was visiting Israel as part of a Vanderbilt University MBA program.

The bill targets the PA’s so-called “pay-to-slay” policy which Israel believes incentivizes terrorism, and would strip the PA of much of its US aid if local officials can not certify that they have stopped making these payments.

Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, commented on the unanimous approval of the Taylor Force Act, calling it

a giant step toward ending the Palestinian Authority’s grotesque practice of ‘pay-for-slay.’ This system of encouraging and incentivizing terrorism has gone on for far too long, and the Taylor Force Act is a critical step toward ending this murderous scheme.

Diament’s statement is problematic.

First of all, the word “practice” implies that Palestinians are regularly killing Israelis and Americans. This is decidedly not the case.

In fact, since January of 2009, Palestinians have killed 168 Israelis, while Israelis have killed 18 times more Palestinians—a total of 3,143. In 2016, the year of Taylor Force’s untimely death, 16 Israelis died at the hands of Palestinians and 110 Palestinians—many posing no threat whatsoever—died at the hands of Israelis. If any group has a “grotesque practice” of killing, perhaps it is not the Palestinians.

Diament’s “pay-for-slay” phrase is also both inaccurate and offensive.

The family of Taylor Force’s killer did indeed receive a stipend after his death, as have the families of other terrorists. Such financial assistance is often crucial since Israeli forces demolish their family homes, even though the slayer’s children, wife, nieces and nephews (these homes are usually inhabited by extended families) had nothing to do with their violent action.

Most of the world has a practice of paying a “death gratuity” to the families of service members killed or injured in the line of duty. The US does; Israel does too. Both Israeli and U.S. forces have killed numerous civilians, yet families of fallen soldiers still receive funding.

The Palestinian Territories are forbidden from having armed forces: their resistance against the occupation is carried out by civilians. In the event of death, injury, or imprisonment, their families face the same financial struggles any service member’s family would face, and the Palestinian Authority provides for them.

Qadora Fares, who works with the system, explains, “This is a kind of social protection for the family. The children of the prisoners and martyrs and wounded have the right to go to schools, hospitals and get food.”

Moreover, the vast majority of recipients of payments in this program are made to families not of attackers, but of victims. Children injured by stray bullets while walking to school, young men detained while participating in a peaceful demonstration, husbands killed while sitting on their front porch – anyone killed, injured, or imprisoned as a result of Israel’s brutality.

“Straining out gnats, swallowing camels”

But the greatest problem with Diament’s statement—and many like it—is the hypocrisy behind it. It is absurd to suggest that the Palestinian Authority has a problem with violence and needs to be cut off financially from American aid, while Israel, which receives approximately one hundred times more aid ($3.1 billion/year vs. $363 million), is responsible for a significantly higher number of deaths (see above, and here, for example).

Israel and pro-Israel organizations say they care deeply about the death of American ex-serviceman Taylor Force at the hands of an outlaw Palestinian, but would rather not discuss the USS Liberty, in which 34 innocent American servicemen died and 174 were wounded by our “closest ally,” Israel.

Israel’s Arutz Sheva news organization reports “Jewish groups welcome Taylor Force Act,” noting that AIPAC (the American Israeli Public Affairs Council; the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (OU), “the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization;” and the American Jewish Congress all lauded the legislation. The ADL (Anti-Defamation League) also applauded the bill.

If Americans Knew contacted these organizations to ask whether they also supported USS Liberty survivors, but did not receive replies. The ADL opposed a billboard near New Haven, Connecticut billboard honoring Liberty veterans; a similar billboard honoring Liberty veterans in New Bedford was taken down when the company received complaints from Israel partisans. It would appear that only certain service members’ deaths matter to these organizations.

Hypocrisy is alive and well in the US Congress too.

Our lawmakers – the same ones who rallied behind the Taylor Force Act – were silent about other Americans who were killed and maimed in Israel and refused to investigate the USS Liberty incident. When a Palestinian is at fault, we punish; when Israel is guilty, there is no accountability. We look the other way.

Our Senators and Representatives know full well how much money they have approved to be sent to Israel – no strings attached – year after year. They know how much is spent on advanced weaponry for use on an essentially unarmed Palestinian population. Our Congressmen and Congresswomen should know that occupation is illegal, but resistance to occupation is a legal right according to the Fourth Geneva Convention. Consequently, Israel should cease and desist its occupation, rather than expecting the Palestinians to cease and desist from their resistance against the occupation.

Instead of bowing to AIPAC and punishing the Palestinians for the violent actions of a a rogue young man with no terrorist affiliation against a young American man, Congress should assess the actual damage in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and stop footing the bill for the ongoing murder of Palestinians.


Kathryn Shihadah is a staff writer for If Americans Knew


Related Reading:

The Legitimacy of Compensation for Family Members for Palestinians Killed, Injured, and Imprisoned

Instead of Taylor Force Act, Congress should consider Rachel Corrie Act, Orwah Hammad Act

The strange, sad saga of the Taylor Force Act

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Trump Team Didn’t Just Collude with Israel, Kushner was Acting as Foreign Agent for Tel Aviv

By Patrick Henningsen | 21st Century Wire | December 7, 2107

Much was made this week in the American media about Michael Flynn’s recent guilty plea to making false statements to the FBI, as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s never-ending “Russia probe.”

Although court documents show Flynn has acknowledged to previously giving false statements in reference to reaching out to Russia’s ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak – the mere act of reaching out to foreign officials is neither illegal, nor is it a violation of ethics. This is normal practice for members of any incoming US administration. Even if Flynn had promised to the Russian Ambassador, as claimed this week by Resistance leader Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, that a Trump government would “rip-up sanctions,” such a promise by Flynn would not be unlawful. Anyone can make a promise, we should point out here that neither Flynn, nor Donald Trump would be in any position to make good on such a promise without the blessing of the US Congress and Senate. Just look at what happened when Trump took office. Were any sanctions lifted?

That said, after 18 months of fabricating fake news about Russian hacking, Russian meddling and Russian collusion, it’s not surprising that the New York Times would get the Flynn story wrong too, and on an even bigger scale than many of their past made-up stories about Trump scandals. Here we have yet another hand-wringing Resistance writer, Harry Litman, claiming that Flynn’s testimony will go in down history next to Watergate and Iran-Contra:

“The repercussions of the plea will be months in the making, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that the events to which Mr. Flynn has agreed to testify will take their place in the history books alongside the Watergate and Iran-contra scandals.”

He might be right, if only the media coverage and the federal hearing would focus on the correct country with whom the Trump team was colluding, which unfortunately was not Russia. Funny how partisan writer Litman did not even mention the word Israel once in his report. In fact, we can now better see why certain persons in Washington like Adam Schiff and John McCain, along with their corrupt media counterparts like CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times have been incessantly pushing their fictional “Russia did it” narrative for the last 18 months – because Russiagate served as a convenient cover for Israelgate.

Mehdi Hassan from The Intercept writes:

“… Why aren’t more members of Congress or the media discussing the Trump transition team’s pretty brazen collusion with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to undermine both U.S. government policy and international law? Shouldn’t that be treated as a major scandal? Thanks to Mueller’s ongoing investigation, we now know that prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration, members of his inner circle went to bat on behalf of Israel, and specifically on behalf of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, behind the scenes and in opposition to official U.S. foreign policy. That’s the kind of collusion with a foreign state that has gotten a lot of attention with respect to the Kremlin – but colluding with Israel seems to be of far less interest, strangely.”

Yes, you heard that right. This was at minimum collusion with Israel. But it goes much deeper than that. If this story is accurate, and we every reason to believe it is (especially by the large silence in the American media, usually a positive indication of media avoidance), this would indicate that the then President-elect’s close advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was clearly acting as a foreign agent – on behalf of the state of Israel.

Granted, this is a very serious charge – which comes with some serious consequences if Kushner would ever be indicted, but the facts clearly demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt, that then President-elect’s son-in-law was using his proximity to the incoming Commander and Chief to execute a series of highly sensitive foreign policy maneuvers at the request of a foreign country.

The history of Israeli spying and outright meddling in US affairs is no secret to anyone willing to research it (unofficially a forbidden topic in US mainstream media), but this latest episode with Trump and Kushner is even more disturbing considering this week’s East Jerusalem announcement.

Beyond this, many will argue that the radical fundamentalist Zionist agenda which Kushner is aggressively pursuing on behalf of Tel Aviv is not in the interest of the wider Middle East, nor is it good for America’s European partners, and may even contribute to a further destablization of the region – as evidenced by recent violence which has erupted following Trump’s provocative move. That result is not necessarily in America’s interests, even if it is certainly in Israel’s interests.

Author Mehdi Hassan continues:

Here’s what we learned last week when Mueller’s team unveiled its plea deal with Trump’s former national security adviser, retired Gen. Michael Flynn. In December 2016, the United Nations Security Council was debating a draft resolution that condemned Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied territories as a “flagrant violation under international law” that was “dangerously imperiling the viability” of an independent Palestinian state.

The Obama administration had made it clear that the U.S. was planning to abstain on the resolution, while noting that “the settlements have no legal validity” and observing how “the settlement problem has gotten so much worse that it is now putting at risk the … two-state solution.” (Rhetorically, at least, U.S. opposition to Israeli settlements has been a long-standing and bipartisan position for decades: Ronald Reagan called for “a real settlement freeze” in 1982 while George H.W. Bush tried to curb Israeli settlement-building plans by briefly cutting off U.S. loan guarantees to the Jewish state in 1991.)

Everyone expected that the upcoming UN vote on illegal Israeli settlements was going to be a divisive issue, but with only weeks before Trump’s fast approaching inauguration, Israel had its trojan horse in position. Hassan goes on to explain Tel Aviv’s covert mechanism for manipulate the UN vote:

“On or about December 22, 2016, a very senior member of the Presidential Transition Team directed Flynn to contact officials from foreign governments, including Russia, to learn where each government stood on the resolution and to influence those governments to delay the vote or defeat the resolution,” reads the statement of offense against Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. “On or about December 22, 2016, Flynn contacted the Russian Ambassador about the pending vote. Flynn informed the Russian Ambassador about the incoming administration’s opposition to the resolution, and requested that Russia vote against or delay the resolution.”

So who was this very senior member of Trump’s team who sought to execute orders from the office of Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu? Hassan explains:

Who was the “very senior member” of the transition team who “directed” Flynn to do all this? Multiple news outlets have confirmed that it was Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and main point man on the Middle East peace process. “Jared called Flynn and told him you need to get on the phone to every member of the Security Council and tell them to delay the vote,” a Trump transition official revealed to BuzzFeed News on Friday, adding that Kushner told Flynn “this was a top priority for the president.”

According to BuzzFeed : “After hanging up, Flynn told the entire room [at the Trump transition team HQ] that they’d have to start pushing to lobby against the U.N. vote, saying ‘the president wants this done ASAP.’” Flynn’s guilty plea, BuzzFeed continued, revealed “for the first time how Trump transition officials solicited Russia’s help to head off the UN vote and undermine the Obama administration’s policy on Middle East peace before ever setting foot in the White House.”

Even during the height of the Neocon era, with multiple Israeli loyalists in the cabinet (including some dual passport holders) shaping White House Middle East policy – ultimately into a ditch with Iraq, the level of manipulation wasn’t this overt. Trump’s decision to reverse successive US administrations’ new policy on East Jerusalem is inconceivable, if not for some other x-factor which even the PNAC-dominated George W. Bush could not manage.

The facts of the case against Kushner have not been contested, and in fact Kushner has even been gloating out on the speaking circuit, with his doting wife Ivanka proudly advertizing her husband’s ‘accomplishment’ on behalf Israel.

None of this has been contested. In fact, on Sunday, Kushner made a rare public appearance at the Saban Forum in Washington, D.C., to discuss the Trump administration’s plans for the Middle East and was welcomed by the forum’s sponsor, the Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban, who said he “personally wanted to thank” Kushner for “taking steps to try and get the United Nations Security Council to not go along with what ended up being an abstention by the U.S.” Kushner’s response? The first son-in-law smiled, nodded, and mouthed “thank you” to Saban.

Meanwhile, the Israelis have been pretty forthcoming about their own role in all of this, too. On Monday, Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. and a close friend and ally of Netanyahu, told Politico’s Susan Glasser that, in December 2016, “obviously we reached out to [the Trump transition team] in the hope that they would help us,” and “we were hopeful that they would speak” to other governments “in order to prevent this vote from happening.”

According to these reports, Kushner was using his position in the transition team to act on Israel’s behalf – outside of any governmental framework of accountability. If Flynn is guilty of anything, it would be going also with Kushner’s Israel First scheme ahead of the United Nations vote. What is odd though, is why the entire US mainstream media is not interested in this part of the story. Even the Never Trump “Resistance” seem to be afraid of taking this narrative on. I guess even the Resistance has its limits. Rather than go for a case where the evidence is sitting right there on a silver Salva, instead they will go for the Russian conspiracy theory. Alas, old habits die hard.

This series of events is all the more pertinent when considering this week’s announcement by President Trump that the US is to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and with be moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to East Jerusalem. Many are already calling this “the kiss of death” to the Israel-Palestine peace process. In a predictable succession of events, the Jerusalem provocation was a fait accompli after Trump had announced in October that the US would be withdrawing from support for UNESCO, the UN body which is meant to help maintain the neutrality of Jerusalem as an internationally protected area. The Trump administration justified its resignation from the key UN agency on the ground that is “biased against Israel.” But the neutrality of Jerusalem is an essential policy for maintaining peace in a less than ideal situation with Palestine still under a brutal military occupation by an illegitimate and illegal (by international law and successive UN Resolutions) Israeli jackboot.

In addition to all this, this past summer the United States announced the establishment of a permanent military installation inside of Israel. What’s scary is how many people do not know this has happened.

So Trump’s éminence grise, the wunderkind, who some people have called the President In-Law, is really Israel’s man inside the White House.

What is Jared Kushner’s experience in international affairs and diplomacy that he has been charged with negotiating Middle East affairs for the United States of America? His only visible qualification is that he’s married to the President’s daughter. That’s really it.

Credit where credit’s due though. Aside from marrying into the dynasty, Kushner is also the former owner of a mediocre website, The New York Observer, and has also managed to parlay his family status to help finance a number of high-profile New York City property deals (no doubt with the help of his father-in-law),

Isn’t that what Kushner is doing now – using his inherited clout to help “close friend” Benjamin Netanyahu secure a highly illegal property deal in the Middle East, with the United States as the guarantor? It certainly looks that way. The question is, will anyone in the US do anything about it?

When this latest episode of hubris by the White House and Israel eventually unravels, the public and the media might then turn on Kushner and Trump, but by then the damage will have already been done.

Until then, Netanyahu can feel safe in the knowledge that Israel, not Washington, is currently in control of US foreign policy.

One final note to brave Never Trump Resistance: if any foreign state actor is blackmailing this President or the White House, it’s probably not Russia.

***

Author Patrick Henningsen is an American writer and global affairs analyst and founder of independent news and analysis site 21st Century Wire, and is host of the SUNDAY WIRE weekly radio show broadcast globally over the Alternate Current Radio Network (ACR). He has written for a number of international publications and has done extensive on-the-ground reporting of the conflict Syria, Iraq and the Middle East.

SEE ALSO: The Genealogy of Trump’s U-Turn on Palestine

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment