JERUSALEM – After Israeli authorities shut down a Palestinian elementary school in the occupied East Jerusalem town of Sur Bahir last Thursday over alleged “incitement” in its study materials, students attended class in the street on Sunday and protested against Israel’s decision to close the school.
Children who were enrolled at al-Nukhba (“the elite” in Arabic) arrived to the campus with their parents in an action organized by the parent committees of Sur Bahir’s schools, holding posters expressing support for al-Nukhba and denouncing Israel’s closure of educational institutions as “tyrannical.”
Last Thursday, head of the school Luay Jamal Bkirat and the school’s financial manager Nasser Hamed were summoned to an Israeli police station for interrogation, when Israeli intelligence officials informed them that the school was being shut down for carrying inciting content in the teaching materials used at the school.
Bkirat denied the claims, saying that al-Nukhba school was “teaching the Palestinian curriculum used in all schools in Jerusalem and that no one of the faculty had ever been summoned for interrogation before over incitement.”
He added that the school — which serves 250 boys from kindergarten to grade six — was opened last year and gained a temporary operating license from the Jerusalem municipality, and that the license was revoked in November for unknown reasons.
Bkirat condemned the decision and said that he would “conduct procedures to stop this decision which aims to destroy education.”
The Times of Israel reported that the school was shut down for being a “Hamas front,” after a months-long joint probe by Israel’s Education Ministry, Jerusalem police, and Israeli intelligence, the Shin Bet.
Israeli authorities from the education ministry claimed the school was established by Hamas with the aim of teaching “content that undermines the sovereignty of Israel,” and that the school’s aims were “consistent with the ideology of the terror organization, which calls for the destruction of Israel,” the Times of Israel said.
According to the Israeli news outlet, the ministry ordered the school not to open in September “and when it continued to operate, issued the closure order.”
Israeli Jews and Palestinians study in separate school systems in occupied East Jerusalem, with the Palestinian schools run by either Israel’s Jerusalem municipality, the Islamic Waqf and administered by the Palestinian Ministry of Education, private institutions, or UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Education, Palestinian children suffer from routine Israeli interference and political pressure to replace Palestinian curricula with an Israeli one in occupied East Jerusalem, where full Israeli military and civil control deprives students from proper and secure educational services.
A 2016 report by Israeli daily Haaretz also said that Palestinian schools in occupied East Jerusalem received less than half the funds that the Jerusalem municipality transferred to Jewish schools in West Jerusalem.
Though Sur Bahir lies beyond the periphery of occupied East Jerusalem, the town remained under full Israeli security and civil control within Israel’s Jerusalem municipality after the territory was illegally annexed in 1967.
A 2011 report by the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ) said that due to a lack of some levels of education in Sur Bahir, many students were forced to attend schools in neighboring villages.
The “public” that allegedly “protested” against this billboard in Ann Arbor, as reported by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, were not the only folks watching DYR.
The SPLC has now included DYR on its Hate Map.
Dan McGowan responds:
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) recently criticized Deir Yassin Remembered (DYR) by including it on the so-called Hate Map, purportedly for the high crime of Holocaust denial.
Apparently if the SPLC disagrees with you, it will label you as a racist or a hatemonger. There is no discussion, no defense, and no chance of winning a defamation suit against it.
The SPLC is the cash cow of the civil rights movement. Last year it took in over $58 million, some of which was added to its bloated endowment of over $328 million held in questionable investments, some in off shore accounts.
Its two chief executives together received over $800,000. Of its nine top executives, none come from minorities.
The SPLC claims to reject hate, embrace diversity, and respect differences. But often the SPLC and the people who believe their fear mongering behave exactly the opposite. The SPLC campaigns to deny free speech and freedom of association to groups of Americans with whom they disagree, often doing so to pander to other groups for more contributions all in the name of promoting “tolerance.” For example, if the British historian David Irving plans a lecture in Syracuse, the SPLC will protest any venue he might select, leaflet cars at his hotel saying, “There is a Nazi staying here,” and photograph and shout at anyone who might try to attend.
SPLC slime is not reserved solely for skinheads and members of the KKK. Dr. Ben Carson got a dose for opposing same sex marriage. SPLC later apologized but the charge never completely goes away, leading Carson to say that fear of being on the SPLC’s list serves to shut people up.
The SPLC makes money out of fear mongering and promoting the idea that Americans are inundated with hateful people, particularly on the radical right. The favorite target is the KKK and white supremacists.
The Baltimore Sun characterizes SPLC operations this way: “Its business is fundraising, and its success at raking in the cash is based on its ability to sell gullible people on the idea that present-day America is awash in white racism and anti-Semitism, which it will ﬁght tooth-and-nail as the public interest law ﬁrm it purports to be.”1
It is understandable that the SPLC will run out of rocks under which to look for old KKK members and skinheads, but why criticize Deir Yassin Remembered, a small not-for-profit organization of Jews and non-Jews working to build a memorial for Palestinians murdered in 1948 on the west side of Jerusalem? DYR is certainly not the radical right. DYR practices and preaches tolerance; it has agreed to the advice of none other than the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem that its memorial show the Christian tenet of forgiveness. Its advisory board boasts diversity; it is composed of half men, half women, half Jews, half non-Jews. It has worked continuously since 1994 for Palestinian human rights, including equal rights of citizenship, with no compensation for any executive and with less than $5,000 of reserves.
The answer lies in the writings of some of the DYR members who have questioned the use of the Holocaust as both the sword and shield of Israel. The Holocaust has been used to justify the need for a Jewish state and its expropriation of Palestinian land; the Holocaust is used to monopolize victimhood and defend Israel from criticism of its brutal and unending occupation.
But it is more than that. The Holocaust has morphed from a historical event to a religion, which must not be contradicted for fear of being branded an apostate or a hater or a denier or an anti-Semite. Religious faith is self-validating, impervious to reason, and regards proposals to scientifically validate its claims as profane in all senses of the word.
So, anyone who is skeptical about the number “six million,” about mass extermination in gas chambers, or about Nazi orders for extermination is to be named and shamed and hated. For this topic, there can be no diversity of opinion and no respect for inquiry or debate.
Don’t tell us that the United States government claimed Hitler murdered over 20 million people until the late 1970s when that number was officially revised downwards and carved in stone at 11 million. Don’t tell us that Jewish historians today claim the 5 million number of non-Jewish victims is overstated. Don’t remind us that the lampshade and the soap-from-human-fat stories were simple gruel propaganda and have no historical significance. Don’t remind us that Elie Wiesel took his violin to Auschwitz and that none of his family was gassed. Don’t remind us that Elie chose to retreat with the Nazis rather than be liberated from Auschwitz as was the father of Anne Frank.
Fear mongering and sliming little organizations like DYR is fake news. It is ridiculous disinformation to keep SPLC campaign money coming in. It foments hate and bigotry and intolerance by the very hypocrites who claim the opposite.
- “The truth about ʻhate crimesʼ and the racial justice racket” by Ron Smith, Baltimore Sun, December 3, 2008.
Deir Yassin Remembered seeks progress on behalf of the over 100 Palestinian men, women, and children who were victims of the Deir Yassin Massacre. Read other articles by Deir Yassin Remembered, or visit Deir Yassin Remembered’s website.
Relatives of Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old Brazilian shot dead by counter-terrorism police in 2005, say the appointment of Cressida Dick as chief of the Metropolitan Police is ‘offensive,’ as she was responsible for the botched operation.
De Menezes was shot in the head 11 times on a train at Stockwell Underground Station, south London, after being mistaken for a terrorism suspect.
His bereaved family say Dick’s appointment proves that “police officers can act with impunity.”
Dick was appointed chief of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on Wednesday, making her the first woman in history to head the UK’s largest police force in its 188-year history.
Although many hailed Dick’s appointment, the de Menezes family hit out at the decision, saying they had “serious concerns” for London’s security under her leadership.
“We had to face a tragedy that no family should ever have to experience; the tragic death of a loved one at the hands of those we entrusted to serve us and protect us,” the family said in a statement.
“At the helm of the police on that fateful day when Jean was killed was Cressida Dick.
“The message of today’s appointment is that police officers can act with impunity.”
The family also pointed out the seriousness of the role.
“The commissioner of the Metropolitan Police is the most senior police officer in the country, a post that is expected to uphold the highest standards of professionalism, to command public confidence and be responsible for ensuring that the police act lawfully and are held to account.”
De Menezes, who worked as an electrician, was killed in 2005 at Stockwell tube station while on his way to work after police reportedly mistook his actions for those of terrorist suspect Hussain Ossman.
De Menezes, was seen entering the station, but then doubled back, one of the acts deemed suspicious by police. However, it was later revealed the station was in fact closed.
Dick said in 2007: “From the behaviors described to me – nervousness, agitation, sending text messages, [using] the telephone, getting on and off the bus – it all added to the picture of someone potentially intent on causing an explosion.”
Despite ordering officers to stop de Menezes, she claims she never ordered that they open fire on him.
While the Met was found guilty of failings when the incident was taken to trial, Dick was spared any personal blame.
The family wrote to London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Friday, warning him Dick would not “command public confidence” if she was given the job.
But Khan, a former human rights lawyer, was among those backing Dick’s candidacy, hailing her appointment as “historic.”
“This is a historic day for London and a proud day for me as mayor … it was absolutely essential that we found the best possible person to take the Met forward over the coming years and I am confident that we have succeeded.”
Prime Minister Theresa May also welcomed Dick’s appointment, saying she has an“outstanding record of public service.”
“[Dick’s skills and insight] will be crucial in shaping the Met as the job of police reform continues, coordinating the national response to the ongoing threat of terrorism and serious criminality as well as keeping Londoners safe,” May said.
Ex-President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych wrote a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Polish President Andrzej Duda, as well as the heads of European bodies.
Ex-President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych calls for a referendum on the status of the southeast Ukrainian region known as Donbass if Kiev does not comply with a set of ceasefire agreements.
“In the event of current Ukrainian authorities failing to observe the Minsk agreements, it is needed to initiate a referendum on the status of Donbass,” Yanukovych wrote in a letter to world leaders obtained by Sputnik.
He offered to include the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in the reconciliation format comprising Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine.
Yanukovych also calls on world leaders to “initiate the creation of a special commission of the Council of Europe to monitor the investigation of crimes committed on the Maidan.”
The letter was addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Polish President Andrzej Duda, as well as the heads of European bodies.
The Donbass conflict erupted in April 2014 as a local counter-reaction to the West-sponsored Maidan coup in Kiev that had toppled legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych in February. Residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held independence referendums and proclaimed the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Kiev has since been conducting a military operation, encountering stiff local resistance.
In February 2015, Kiev forces and Donbass independence supporters signed a peace agreement in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in Donbass, as well as constitutional reforms that would give a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Despite the agreement, the ceasefire regime is regularly violated, with both sides accusing each other of multiple breaches, undermining the terms of the accord.
Israeli Public Security Minister tell Israel’s Channel 10 on Jan.18: “Unequivocally, yes, this is a terror attack.”
BETHLEHEM – More than a month after Israeli police shot and killed Yaqoub Abu al-Qian in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran during a demolition raid, Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan seemingly backtracked on his initial claim that Abu al-Qian was carrying out a vehicular attack motivated by Islamic extremism when he was shot.
Following the incident, multiple eyewitnesses, video footage, and testimonies from Abu al-Qian’s family members contradicted the minister’s claim, saying that Israeli police opened fire on the local high school math teacher when he posed no threat, which caused him to lose control of the vehicle and ram into Israeli policeman Erez Levi, who was also killed.
On Wednesday, Israeli media sites reported that remarks made by Erdan at a police gathering in Beersheba implied that Israeli authorities were no longer classifying the incident as a terror attack.
Israeli daily Haaretz quoted Erdan as referring to the incident as “difficult and regrettable,” adding that “we mustn’t let anyone try to take this particular incident — in which unfortunately both a policeman and a civilian were killed — and draw inferences from it regarding the totality of the relationship between the Bedouin population and the police.”
“We must learn the lessons, once it becomes clear what exactly happened there,” he added, noting that an investigation by Israel’s Justice Ministry on the case was still ongoing. “Then we must go forward, strengthen this relationship, and bolster police services and enforcement against lawbreakers who first and foremost hurt our beloved Bedouin community, with which we want to continue living in coexistence in the Negev.”
The comments seemed to imply that Israeli authorities sought to distance themselves from the minister’s comments immediately following incident, when he said that “the picture arising from the police probe was very clear: This was an attack, a deliberate car-ramming.”
Erdan had also told Israel’s Radio Darom at the time: “After the investigation concludes, if it turns out the police were wrong, I too will demand explanations from them,” he said. “But to present this as if it were one person’s story versus another when a policeman has been murdered in an attack — I think that’s wrong and inappropriate.”
Erdan and Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld had said that during a raid of Abu al-Qian’s home the day of his killing that police found three copies of a Hebrew-language newspaper from 2015 with the headline: “ISIS bomb that took down a plane,” which was presented as the only evidence to back up the claim that the man carried out an attack motivated by Islamic extremism.
However, according to Haaretz, Israel’s internal security agency the Shin Bet reported two weeks after the incident that they had yet to find any actual evidence connecting Abu al-Qian to ISIS.
Human rights organization Adalah responded to Erdan’s recent remarks — which it interpreted as an announcement by police that the Umm al-Hiran killing was not a terror attack — saying: “From the outset, Adalah maintained that the version of events in Umm al-Hiran promoted by the Israeli police and (Erdan) was both false and inflammatory.”
The organization noted that it had filed an appeal to the Israeli Justice Ministry’s Police Investigative Division (PID) on behalf of the Abu al-Qian family on the day of his killing, and that it had also appealed to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit demanding that he open an investigation into Erdan’s “racist incitement against Arab citizens of Israel.”
Responding to reports interpreting Erdan’s comments as backtracking, Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri reiterated in a written statement that an investigation was still ongoing and that “the information being spread to public is one interpretation and incomplete, and fails to include details of the case’s many sides.”
Israeli Police Commissioner Ronnie al-Sheikh also responded to reports, telling Israeli news site Ynet : “I can’t be responsible for any unofficial publications. I do know with certainty, from the head of the Police Investigations Unit, that conclusions have yet to be reached.”
In the wake of the deadly incident, members of the Joint List, which represents parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Knesset, also accused police of intentionally covering up the fact that they shot Abu al-Qian in cold blood.
Joint List MKs had traveled to Umm al-Hiran to help locals attempting to resist the demolitions, when the head of the coalition, Ayman Odeh, was injured after being shot in the head by police with sponge-tipped bullet when clashes erupted with police.
Erdan had accused Odeh of traveling to Umm al-Hiran to “incite violence” and warned that there might be “criminal implications for him.”
Erdan also said on social media that “any attempts to murder police securing a court-ordered evacuation will get the same response,” referring to the killing of Abu al-Qian.
Abu al-Qian’s death and the subsequent demolition of more than a dozen homes in Umm al-Hiran sparked widespread outrage and numerous demonstrations attended by thousands, with protesters calling on Erdan to resign for “lying” to the Israeli public, saying they held him responsible for the two killings. … Full article
British universities have been advised to “manage” Palestinian activism on campus in order to comply with the UK government’s ‘Prevent’ counter-extremism strategy.
“Vocal support for Palestine,” “Opposition to Israeli settlements in Gaza,” and “Criticism of wars in the Middle East” are included in a list of “contentious topics” on the Safe Campus Communities website.
The website includes a training section set up by Universities UK and the government’s now defunct Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to help staff fulfill their Prevent obligations.
Since 2015, Prevent has required public sector workers to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.”
The website says the material is intended to promote free speech by encouraging universities to ensure “topics that may be seen as controversial” may be “debated in a safe environment.”
It advises institutions to take steps to manage events in which “extremist views are likely to be expressed” and ensure such views are challenged by “inviting additional speakers with opposing views.”
“Relevant higher education bodies also need to risk assess and manage events where these or similar views may be expressed,” it says.
Critics fear the guidance could stifle free speech and political expression, according to Middle East Eye.
On Tuesday, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) canceled an ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ event organized for next week by Friends of Palestine because of concerns it would not be “balanced,” Middle East Eye reports.
UCLan said it was concerned that the event, called ‘Debunking misconceptions on Palestine and the importance of BDS [the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement]’, would fall foul of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism adopted by the UK government.
The IHRA defines anti-Semitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews,” including “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”
UCLan said: “We believe the proposed talk contravenes the new definition and furthermore breaches university protocols for such events, where we require assurances of a balanced view or a panel of speakers representing all interests.
“In this instance our procedures determined that the proposed event would not be lawful and therefore it will not proceed as planned.”
Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said it was absurd to single out support for a Palestinian state or opposition to Israeli settlements as controversial or extremist.
“Given that all major political parties in the UK and the overwhelming majority of governments across the world support a Palestinian state and oppose settlements on the basis that they violate international law and are an obstacle to peace it is absurd to define these as extremist views.
“There is an urgent need for the relevant bodies to review these materials and ensure that any training offered to educational establishments truly reflects the stated intention to uphold academic freedom and freedom of expression,” he said.
In the anti-Russian frenzy sweeping American politics and media, Democrats, liberals and mainstream pundits are calling for an investigative body that could become a new kind of House Un-American Activities Committee to hunt down Americans who have communicated with Russians.
The proposed commission would have broad subpoena powers to investigate alleged connections between Trump’s supporters and the Russian government with the apparent goal of asking if they now have or have ever talked to a Russian who might have some tie to the Kremlin or its intelligence agencies.
Such an admission apparently would be prima facie evidence of disloyalty, a guilt-by-association “crime” on par with Sen. Joe McCarthy’s Cold War pursuit of “communists” who supposedly had infiltrated the U.S. government, the film industry and other American institutions.
Operating parallel to McCarthy’s Red Scare hearings was the House Un-American Activities Committee (or HUAC), a standing congressional panel from 1945-1975 when it was best known for investigating alleged communist subversion and propaganda. One of its top achievements was the blacklisting of the “Hollywood Ten” whose careers in the movie industry were damaged or destroyed.
Although the Cold War has long been over – and Russia has often cooperated with the U.S. government, especially on national security issues such as supplying U.S. troops in Afghanistan – Democrats and liberals seem ready to force Americans to again prove their loyalty if they engaged in conversations with Russians.
Or perhaps these “witnesses” can be entrapped into perjury charges if their recollections of conversations with Russians don’t match up with transcripts of their intercepted communications, a tactic similar to ones used by Sen. McCarthy and HUAC to trip up and imprison targets over such secondary charges.
Ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has already encountered such a predicament because he couldn’t recall all the details of a phone conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on Dec. 29, 2016, after Flynn took the call while vacationing in the Dominican Republic.
When Obama administration holdovers at the Justice Department decided to gin up a legal premise to go after Flynn, they cited the Logan Act, a law enacted in 1799 to prohibit private citizens from negotiating with foreign adversaries but never used to convict anyone. The law also is of dubious constitutionality and was surely never intended to apply to a president-elect’s advisers.
However, based on that flimsy pretext, FBI agents – with a transcript of the electronic intercept of the Kislyak-Flynn phone call in hand – tested Flynn’s memory of the conversation and found his recollections incomplete. Gotcha – lying to the FBI!
Under mounting media and political pressure, President Trump fired Flynn, apparently hoping that tossing Flynn overboard to the circling sharks would somehow calm the sharks down. Instead, blood in the water added to the frenzy.
Some prominent Democrats and liberals have compared Trump-connected contacts with Russians to President Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal or President Reagan’s Iran-Contra Affair, an issue that I know a great deal about having helped expose it as a reporter for The Associated Press in the 1980s.
The key difference is that Iran-Contra was an unconstitutional effort by the Reagan administration to finance an illegal war against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government in defiance of a congressional ban. The Trump-connected communications with Russians – to the degree they have occurred – appear to have been aimed at preventing a new and dangerous Cold War that could lead to a nuclear holocaust.
In other words, Iran-Contra was about enabling a paramilitary force to continue its brutal marauding inside a country that was no threat to the United States while the current “scandal” is about people trying to avoid hostilities between two nuclear superpowers, an existential threat that many mainstream and liberal pundits don’t want to recognize.
Indeed, there is a troubling denial-ism about the risks of an accidental or intentional war with Russia as the U.S. media and much of Official Washington’s establishment have lots of fun demonizing Russian President Vladimir Putin and jabbing the Russians by shoving NATO troops up to their borders and deploying anti-ballistic missiles in Eastern Europe. For some crazy reason, the Russians feel threatened.
This Russia-bashing and Russia-baiting have been accompanied by false narratives presented in the major U.S. newspapers, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, to justify increased tensions.
For instance, the Post’s senior foreign affairs writer Karen DeYoung on Friday described the civil war in Ukraine this way: “That conflict began when Russia invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014, then backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in what has become a grinding war, despite a deal to end it, called the Minsk agreement, negotiated with Putin by the leaders of France and Germany.”
But DeYoung’s synopsis is simply not true. The crisis began in the fall of 2013 when Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych backed out of what he regarded as a costly and unacceptable association agreement with the European Union, a move which prompted protests by Ukrainians in Kiev’s Maidan square.
The Obama administration’s State Department, U.S. neocon politicians such as Sen. John McCain, and various U.S.-backed “non-governmental organizations” then stoked those protests against Yanukovych, which grew violent as trained ultra-nationalist and neo-Nazi street fighters poured in from western Ukraine.
In early 2014, a coup to overthrow the democratically elected Yanukovych took shape under the guidance of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt who were caught in a phone call in late January or early February 2014 conspiring to impose new leadership inside Ukraine.
Nuland disparaged a less extreme strategy favored by European diplomats with the pithy remark: “Fuck the E.U.” and went on to declare “Yats is the guy,” favoring Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the new leader. Nuland then pondered how to “glue this thing” while Pyatt ruminated about how to “midwife this thing.”
On Feb. 20, 2014, a mysterious sniper apparently firing from a building controlled by the ultranationalist Right Sektor killed both police and protesters, setting off a day of violence that left about 70 people dead including more than a dozen police.
The next day, three European governments struck a deal with Yanukovych in which he agreed to early elections and accepted reduced powers. But that political settlement wasn’t enough for the U.S.-backed militants who stormed government buildings on Feb. 22, forcing Yanukovych and his officials to flee for their lives.
Instead of standing by the Feb. 21 agreement, which the European nations had “guaranteed,” Nuland pushed for and got U.S. allies to accept the new post-coup regime as “legitimate,” with Yatsenyuk becoming prime minister and several top government posts given to the ultranationalists and neo-Nazis.
In the ensuing days, the right-wing violence spread beyond Kiev, prompting Crimea’s legislature to propose secession from Ukraine and readmission to Russia, whose relationship to the peninsula dated back to Catherine the Great.
Crimea scheduled a referendum that was opposed by the new regime in Kiev. Russian troops did not “invade” Crimea because some 20,000 were already stationed there as part of a basing agreement at the Black Sea port of Sevastopol. The Russians did provide security for the referendum but there was no evidence of intimidation as the citizens of Crimea voted by 96 percent to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia, a move that Putin and the Russian duma accepted.
Eastern Ukrainians tried to follow Crimea’s lead with their own referendum, but Putin and Russia rejected their appeals to secede. However, when the Kiev regime launched an “Anti-Terrorism Operation” against the so-called Donbass region – spearheaded by ultra-nationalist and neo-Nazi militias – Russia provided military assistance so these ethnic Russians would not be annihilated.
Karen DeYoung also framed the Minsk agreement as if it were imposed on Putin when he was one of its principal proponents and architects, winning its approval in early 2015 at a time when the Ukrainian military was facing battlefield reversals.
But Assistant Secretary Nuland, working with Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and the Ukrainian parliament, sabotaged the agreement by requiring the Donbass rebels to first surrender which they were unwilling to do, having no faith in the sincerity of the Kiev regime to live up to its commitment to grant limited autonomy to the Donbass.
In other words, Kiev inserted a poison pill to prevent a peaceful resolution, but the Western media and governments always blame the Minsk failure on Putin.
If Karen DeYoung wanted to boil all this history down to one paragraph, it might go: “The Ukraine conflict began when U.S. officials supported the violent overthrow of elected President Viktor Yanukovych, prompting Crimea to rejoin Russia and causing ethnic Russians in the east to rise up against the U.S.-backed coup regime in Kiev, which then sought to crush the rebellion. The Kiev regime later torpedoed a peace deal that had been hammered out by Russian, Ukrainian and European negotiators in Minsk.”
But such a summary would not have the desired propaganda effect on the American people. It would not present the U.S.-backed side as the “white hats” and the pro-Russia side as the “black hats.”
The simple truth is that the story of Ukraine is far more complex and multi-sided than The Washington Post, The New York Times and most mainstream U.S. news outlets want to admit. They simply start the clock at the point of Crimea’s rejection of the post-coup regime and distort those facts to present the situation simply as a “Russian invasion.”
A Whipped-Up Hysteria
The major media’s distortion is so egregious that you could call it a lie, but it is a lie that has proved very useful in whipping up the current anti-Russian hysteria that is sweeping Official Washington and that has given birth to a New Cold War, now accompanied by a New McCarthyism that deems anyone who doesn’t accept the “groupthink” a “Russian apologist” or a “Moscow stooge.”
Since last November’s election, this New McCarthyism has merged with hatred toward Donald Trump, especially after the outgoing Obama administration lodged unproven accusations that Russia undercut Hillary Clinton’s campaign by hacking into the emails of the Democratic National Committee and those of her campaign chairman John Podesta – and slipped that information to WikiLeaks.
Those emails showed how the DNC undercut the rival campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders and revealed the contents of Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street banks as well as pay-to-play aspects of the Clinton Foundation, information that Clinton wanted to keep from the voters.
But no one thought the emails were a major factor in the Clinton-Trump race; indeed, Clinton blamed her stunning defeat on FBI Director James Comey’s last-minute decision to reopen and then re-close his investigation into security concerns about her use of a private email server as Secretary of State.
But the script on how Clinton lost was flipped during the Trump transition as President Obama’s intelligence agencies floated the Russia-hacked-the-election scenario although presenting no public evidence to support the claims. WikiLeaks representatives also denied getting the material from Russia, suggesting instead that it was leaked by two different American insiders.
A Ministry of Truth
Still, during the post-election period, the anti-Russian hysteria continued to build. In November, The Washington Post highlighted claims by an anonymous group called PropOrNot accusing some 200 Web sites, including Consortiumnews.com and other major independent media outlets, of disseminating Russian “propaganda.”
The New York Times joined in the frenzy by calling for leading technology companies to marginalize Web sites that are deemed to be publishing “fake news,” a vague term that was applied not just to intentionally false stories but to information that questioned official narratives, no matter how dubious those narratives were. The New McCarthyism was morphing into a New Orwellianism.
The movement toward a Ministry of Truth gained further momentum in December when Congress passed and President Obama signed a military authorization bill that included a new $160 million bureaucracy to identify and counter alleged “Russian propaganda.”
The anger of Democrats and liberals toward President Trump in his first month has added more fuel to the Russia-bashing with some Democrats and liberals seeing it as a possible route toward neutralizing or impeaching Trump. Thus, the calls for a full-scale investigation with subpoena power to demand documents and compel testimony.
While the idea of getting to the full truth has a superficial appeal, it also carries dangers of launching a witch hunt that would drag American citizens before inquisitors asking about any contacts – no matter how innocuous – with Russians.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, HUAC also claimed that all it wanted was the truth about whether some Americans were allied with or sympathetic to Moscow. Sen. Joe McCarthy offered a similar rationale when he was trying to root out “disloyal” Americans with the question, “are you now or have you ever been a communist?”
That Democrats and liberals who hold the McCarthy era in understandable disdain would now seek to rekindle something similar reeks of rank opportunism and gross hypocrisy – doing whatever it takes to “get Trump” and build an activist movement that can revive the Democratic Party’s flagging political hopes.
But this particular opportunism and hypocrisy also carries with it the prospect of blindly ramping up tensions with Russia, diverting more taxpayer money into the Military-Industrial Complex and conceivably sparking – whether planned or unplanned – a nuclear Armageddon that could eliminate life on the planet. Perhaps this anti-Trump strategy should be rethought.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.
That the New York Times demonstrates a systematic editorial bias in favor of Israeli state power and against Palestinian demands for self-determination and sovereignty is old news. Whether it is reporting on the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement, the deadly Gaza flotilla raid, cease fire violations between the IDF and Hamas, or any other aspect of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the New York Times reliably acts as a mouthpiece for propagating Israeli hasbara (propaganda). Aside from its “objective” reporting, this editorial bias also manifests itself in the narratives that make their way into the Opinion section. On Tuesday, the paper allowed a spokesperson for the illegal settlers in the occupied territories to openly advocate violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the establishment an apartheid state in Mandatory Palestine.
“A Settler’s View of Israel’s Future” by Yishai Fleisher offers an alternative perspective about the future of the state of Israel than that envisioned by the Israeli government, which established a state nearly 70 years ago by forcibly dispossessing 50 percent of the native inhabitants from their land and subsequently maintaining a Jewish majority by preventing the natives from returning home because they were not Jewish. However, the perspective presented in the pages of the Times is not that of the colonized victims, but that of the settler-colonists who, like the white pioneers of the Plains in the United States, participate in the dispossession.
Unlike the Israeli and U.S. governments, which purport to seek a two-state solution while actively perpetuating the status quo in which Israel takes all the land and resources it wants from Mandatory Palestine while denying rights to the Palestinians, Fleisher makes no pretense of his rejectionist belief that Palestinians do not deserve a state of their own:
But for us settlers, the truth is clear: The two-state solution was misconceived, and will never come to pass, because Judea and Samaria belong to the Jewish people. Our right to this land is derived from our history, religion, international decisions and defensive wars.
The author rejects the position of every single nation on the planet – apart from Israel itself – that the West Bank belongs to its native inhabitants. This was famously imbued with the legitimacy of international law in UN Security Resolutions 242 and 338. The first resolution called unequivocally for the “(w)ithdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict” and the latter resolution demanded the implementation of resolution 242. This is consistent with international law’s prohibition against the acquisition of territory through military conquest.
Though Fleisher references international decisions and defensive wars, he is merely spouting baseless propaganda. UN General Assembly Resolution 181 was not legally binding in the first place, and even if it had been, it never would have withstood challenge in the World Court because a partion plan that granted majority rights to a group that made up a mere 1/3 of the population and owned 7 percent of the land is diametrically opposed to the principle of democracy. Likewise, whole books such as John Quigley’s The Six-Day War and Israeli Self-Defense, have meticulously dismantled the argument that Israel had any claim to self-defense in its 1967 conquest of the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the West Bank.
Fleisher’s real argument for possession of the West Bank is history and religion, i.e., a religious text which he believes provides a more legitimate claim than the rights of the native inhabitants whose ancestors have lived on the land for hundreds of years.
Fleisher goes on to reject the core principle of democracy, that all citizens are inherently equal and should have the same political rights in government:
Arabs can live in Israel, as other minorities do, with personal rights, not national rights. But many Arabs reject that option because they do not recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish State, with or without settlements.
In other words, the country does not belong to its citizens but to an ethnic group that enforces legal discrimination against non-members of the group. This is a political system founded on the notion of ethnic supremacy, as was the state of apartheid South Africa. It is virtually impossible to imagine the Times lending the invaluable real estate of its Opinion section to rationalizations for the denial of civil rights to any other minority. That such overt discrimination can be promoted openly in 2017 is a testament to the rampant racism in popular culture as well as in elite media against Arabs and Muslims, and the persistence of the Orientalist mentality Edward Said analyzed so thoroughly 40 years ago. It seems true indeed that anti-Arab racism is the only type of racism still publicly condoned in American society.
To Fleisher’s credit, he points out rightly that many (actually all) Palestinians reject the idea that their nation should be organized on the principle of ethnic supremacy. However, he portrays this as an example of their intransigence. In reality, Palestinians reject a state that would treat them as second-class citizens because it is inherently unjust and is incompatible with the principles of equality and democracy. It is the same position that any reasonable person would take if they were offered an unfair and inferior political status. It is worth noting that Fleisher refuses to even refer to Palestinians as such, instead using the traditional technique of calling them “Arabs”, rhetorically denying their very existence.
He goes on to state that:
Most settlers say without ambivalence that the two-state solution is dead, and the time has come for a discussion of new options by which Israel would hold onto the West Bank and eventually assert Israel sovereignty there, just as we did with the Golan Heights and eastern Jerusalem. Yes, Israel will have to grapple with questions of the Arab population’s rights, and the issues of the country’s security and Jewish character, but we believe those questions can be worked out through the democratic process.
This represents unapologetic advocacy for violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the formal establishment of an apartheid regime over the territories. By referring to questions worked out through the democratic process, he means the democratic process of the colonizers, with no input from the colonized people who represent the actual owners of the land. This is a conception of democracy so far removed from the meaning of the word that it bears no relation at all to the actual concept.
Fleisher then presents what he calls five “credible” alternatives to the two-state solution, none of which are remotely compatible with international human rights law. One of the alternatives calls for outright ethnic cleansing by banishing Palestinians to Arab countries, rationalized by saying they would be “generously compensated” to emigrate voluntarily. This despite the fact that not only do the 5 million Palestinians in the occupied territory enjoy the inalienable right to live in their lands, but 5 million more Palestinian refugees retain the right of return, per UNGA Resolution 194, to the land they and/or their ancestors were forcibly removed from.
He says the new administration presents a new opportunity to solve the conflict, and opines that John Kerry’s proclamation that “there really is no viable alternative” to the two-state solution is contradicted by its manifest failure.
Indeed, the failure of the two-state plan is undeniable. However, there is another actual solution – apart from the five discriminatory and unjust proposals presented in Fleisher’s column – that goes unmentioned despite its long history. Pronounced in a 1969 PLO resolution, revived in 1999 by Edward Said after the failure of the Oslo Accords, and promoted widely today by Palestinian activists such as Ali Abunimah, it is a solution – indeed the only solution – that would be entirely compatible with international law and the principles of equality, democracy and human rights. The solution is one state with universal citizenship and equal rights for all residents of Mandatory Palestine, be they Jewish, Muslim or any other religion or ethnicity. Unfortunately, Times readers are left with only the fanatically extremist views of the settler-colonists who for decades have stolen Palestinian land and water while denying Palestinians self-determination.
Alison Weir provides the following report back on an event that almost didn’t happen:
After I was invited by the Social Justice Committee of the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists (BFUU) to give a public presentation, extremist pro-Israel activists went to work to get the event canceled. They put up blog posts and even a Craigslist advertisement attacking me, exaggerating inaccurate claims about me by the ADL and, especially, the widely refuted JVP-US Campaign dossier on me.
This has become standard practice for Israel partisans who wish to prevent audiences from hearing my presentation.
A few individuals within the BFUU then took up the JVP-USC false claims, trying to get the event shut down before anyone had the chance to hear me directly. This effort threatened to succeed, but ultimately failed when members committed to social justice and free speech refused to cave in.
Activist songwriter-musician Vic Sadot, former Social Justice Committee Chair Cynthia Johnson, human rights worker Tom Luce, and current Social Justice Committee Chair Gene Herman – all longtime, respected Berkeley human rights activists – didn’t give in to the significant pressure, took a great deal of heat for this, and the event went on.
Nevertheless, they were nervous, particularly after seeing the Craigslist ad that seemed designed to foment hate against me and possibly provoke violence. At a recent event elsewhere in the area, a similar smear campaign had been undertaken against me (including another Craigslist ad), and a few Israel partisans showed up to disrupt the event — to the degree that the police had to be called. One Israel partisan then hit a woman videotaping the incident.
Fortunately, no protesters showed up this time, and I again spoke to a full house. The audience included many members of BFUU – which has a long tradition of peace and human rights activism – who came to hear me for themselves.
At the end of the talk, I was honored and extremely grateful to receive a standing ovation. Numerous audience members said they appreciated the talk, had learned new information, and bought my book. One person told me she hadn’t known any of the information before.
This success only happened because Vic, Cynthia, Tom, Gene and others were willing to stick their necks out, and because the BFUU congregation came down on the side of free speech and against censorship.
It would have been much easier for them to cancel the event entirely, or to bring a less “controversial” speaker. But they didn’t.
This is an example of what a few brave souls can do. Thank you.
UPDATE: I’ve just learned that the event was co-sponsored by Norcal Sabeel, another committed and courageous group.
Israeli police delivered an order from Aryeh Deri, the far-right Israeli Interior Minister, to Salah’s home in Umm al-Fahm, on Tuesday night, banning him from travel or visiting Jerusalem, until 15 July 2017. The order comes as a renewal of the one-month travel ban slapped on Salah on 17 January 2017, immediately upon his release from Israeli prison from a nine-month sentence for “incitement,” for a sermon he delivered in 2007.
The order declares that Salah’s travel abroad poses a “real danger… to state security.” Salah is the leader of the Islamic Movement in Palestine ’48; in 2015, the Israeli state banned the Islamic Movement in an action condemned by Palestinian organizations across the political spectrum as an attack on all Palestinians in ’48 Palestine, who hold Israeli citizenship.
Throughout his imprisonment, Salah was held in solitary confinement and repeatedly interrogated; appeals to end his isolation were denied throughout that time. He was even denied access to magazines, books and other materials brought for him.
While people on both sides of the phoney left/right divide squabble over terrorist boogeymen and Trump’s CIA chief gives Saudi Arabia an award for “counter”terrorism, everyone has lost sight of the bigger picture: The blithering morons who are the face of international terror are aided, funded, controlled and handled by the intelligence agencies. It is all part of the con to get you scared of your own shadow so the terror-industrial complex can laugh all the way to the bank. Today James breaks down the latest chapter in this never-ending psy-op saga.
On Tuesday, eight Democratic senators joined former Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio in introducing a Senate bill attacking the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, BDS, which aims at ending the illegal occupation of Palestine and ongoing violations of human rights by Israeli authorities.
Rubio said the bill, titled The Combatting BDS Act of 2017, will “fight back” against the the growing BDS movement by “affirming the legal authority of state and local governments to take tangible actions to counter economic warfare against Israel.”
The bill would allow state and local governments to withdraw funding for any organization “engaged in BDS conduct,” thus giving them “an offensive capability against entities seeking to economically harm Israel,” according to Rubio’s statement announcing the legislation.
“This bipartisan legislation gives state and local governments a legal way to combat the shameful boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel,” said Democratic senator for West Virginia Joe Manchin, a co-sponsor of the bill.
Rubio also explicitly stated that the proposed legislation is a response to the historic U.N. Security Council resolution calling on Israel to end its construction of illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Rubio’s bill is the first attempt to make national several anti-Palestinian solidarity measures passed by state legislatures in Wyoming and New York. Similar to those attempts, however, this legislation will likely fail any constitutional test.
“The Rubio bill doesn’t solve the fundamental problem with these anti-BDS laws, which is that they violate the First Amendment,” said Rahul Saksena, a staff attorney with Palestine Legal, in an interview with The Electronic Intifada.
“Boycotts have been used throughout U.S. history ― from the Boston Tea Party, to the Civil Rights Movement, to the anti-South African ( Apartheid movement ― to challenge injustice and promote social change,” said Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights in a statement responding to New York State’s so-called “blacklist” bill passed in December of last year.
Launched in 2005 by 170 Palestinian civil society organizations — including unions, refugee networks, women’s organizations and professional associations — and inspired by the anti-Apartheid movement, the BDS movement calls on individuals and organizations to pressure the Israeli government to end its illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, recognize the right of return of Palestinian refugees and guarantee full civil and human rights to Arab-Palestinian citizens of the Israeli state.