Bahrain Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa
The Bahraini foreign minister’s surprising tribute to former Israeli president Shimon Peres who died Wednesday has triggered a wave of outcry in the region where he is known as a criminal.
“Rest in Peace President Shimon Peres, a Man of War and a Man of the still elusive Peace in the Middle East,” Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa posted on his Twitter account.
The tribute drew the ire of many online users as well as opposition figures, given that a large number of Arabs view Peres as the man responsible for the successive wars that have rocked the Middle East.
“The foreign minister is paying tribute and praying for the Zionist terrorist and the killer of children,” complained former opposition lawmaker Jalal Fairooz.
Another critic, Khalil Buhazaa, tweeted, “Diplomacy does not mean rudeness.”
Manama does not have diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv but some Arab states, chiefly Saudi Arabia, have recently moved to warm relations with the Israeli regime.
Bahrain is under the heavy influence of Saudi Arabia which is spearheading the push for rapprochement with Israel.
Among Arab leaders, only Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has offered condolences to Peres’s family, describing him as a partner in peace.
However, many across the world would remember Peres as a “war criminal” especially in light of the 1996 Qana massacre. In that Israeli attack on a southern Lebanese village, at least 106 people were killed. Peres was then prime minister.
Born in Poland in 1923, Peres emigrated to what was then British-mandated Palestine when he was 11. He joined the Zionist movement and met David Ben-Gurion, who would become his mentor and Israel’s first prime minister.
Peres became director general of the nascent ministry of military affairs at just 29. He was also seen as a driving force in the development of the Israel’s undeclared nuclear program.
Palestinians say Peres has their blood on his hands. Like other Zionist leaders, Peres also allowed Israeli settlement construction to take place in Palestinian land during his years in leadership positions.
The impoverished Gaza Strip witnessed two full-scale wars under Peres’s tenure as president, which claimed the lives of more than 3,700 Palestinians in total.
The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has called on Palestinians to hold a “Day of Rage” on Friday which will coincide with the funeral of Peres.
The call is meant to mark the one-year anniversary of the beginning of what is described as the third Intifada throughout the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem al-Quds.
And will the University of Lethbridge ban non-Westerners from its campus?
The holocaust cartoon contest in Iran was attacked in the West, but immensely popular throughout the non-Western world
“East is East
and West is West
and never the twain shall meet.”
– Kipling’s famous lines certainly apply to “the Holocaust.”
In the West – Europe and the temperate lands it genocidally colonized and settled – most people believe that six million Jews, and uncounted others, were systematically exterminated, mostly in hydrogen cyanide gas chambers, by the government of Nazi Germany between 1942 and 1945.
In the East and South – those lands victimized by European imperialism and colonialism where the victims survived in considerable numbers – the great majority does not believe in “the Holocaust.”
The above figures from the ADL’s Global 100 survey show that only about one in five Asians – and one in ten Middle Easterners and Africans – knows of and believes in “the Holocaust.”
(For the story of how I was forced to confront this issue, see my article: Holocaust History Denial: A Clear and Present Danger)
I first became aware of this “Holocaust gap” when I lived in Morocco doing Ph.D. research on a Fulbright scholarship in 1999-2000. My Moroccan colleagues, whether professors or graduate students, sometimes brought up questions like: “What do you think of Robert Faurisson?” I soon learned that Faurisson, who is reviled as a “Holocaust denier” by mainstream Western institutions of power, is an intellectual hero in Morocco – and, as I later learned, the rest of the Islamic world.
No matter how strongly you may disagree with Faurisson and his vast following of North African and Middle Eastern admirers, you must admit that we live in a wildly diverse world in which conflicting beliefs and historical interpretations must coexist, at least until free and open debate leads to consensus.
If Moroccan universities made agreement with Faurisson a litmus test for admission and employment, we North Americans would rightly complain. Yet we are blind to the disgust we evoke in the vast majority of MENA intellectuals by our own refusal to allow Faurisson and those who agree with him to state their actual beliefs, and present their cases, in the North American and European academies.
As I write this, Professor Tony Hall of the University of Lethbridge is under attack by a criminal conspiracy of slanderers and false-evidence-planters who have absurdly framed him as a “holocaust denier.” These individuals appear to have manufactured a hideous “kill all Jews” image, then arranged to have it planted, unbeknownst to Professor Hall, as an obscure comment on his Facebook page. After manufacturing and planting the offensive image, they appear to have conspired with Facebook to have FB blatantly violate its own guidelines by initially refusing to take down the image – a refusal that allowed B’nai Brith to manufacture a scandal.
(For details about this outrageous attempt to smear Professor Tony Hall, read Rafiq’s article Canadian professor libelously targeted as “anti-semite” in coordinated attack)
Since it has emerged that Professor Hall’s detractors, rather than Professor Hall, appear to have manufactured and disseminated the offensive image, they have had to resort to a fallback attack. B’nai Brith Canada, the leaders of the anti-Hall lynch mob, just published an article headlined “Academic Freedom Does Not Include Holocaust Denial.” They label/libel Hall as a “holocaust denier” because, they say, he is “a staunch advocate of launching an ‘open debate on the Holocaust’.”
How is being an advocate of “debating” an issue equivalent to “denying” it?! The claim is self-evidently absurd. The obvious implication is that it is B’nai Brith, not Tony Hall, that doesn’t believe in the holocaust, since they apparently believe the official Western version of the story will implode if debate on it is ever allowed.
B’nai Brith mouthpiece Bernie Farber, in an outrageously libelous article smearing Hall, charges:
In commenting on Menuhin’s Holocaust-denial book Tell The Truth And Shame The Devil, Hall explained, “So, I’m reading that text and having to reassess a lot of ideas.” He went on to say that the book is a “very dramatic re-looking at what happened in Europe in World War Two.”
How is “reassessing ideas” equivalent to “denial” of anything?! Farber, like B’nai Brith, seems to believe that anyone who reads Menuhin’s arguments, and is open to “re-assessing ideas” when exposed to new evidence, will automatically become a “holocaust denier.” So ironically, it seems that the defenders of holocaust orthodoxy are actually closet holocaust deniers! They appear to be terrified that the official Western narrative is so flimsy that it cannot stand even the merest hint of critical scrutiny. What else could possibly explain their behavior?
These Zionist lobbyists are apparently so convinced that the holocaust narrative is fraudulent that they not only feel the need to destroy the reputations and careers of anyone who questions it, but actually make such questioning illegal – and send revisionist historians to prison!
According to Nick Kollerstrom, thousands of people have been prosecuted for “holocaust thoughtcrimes” in Germany alone. The first people who should be imprisoned, I submit, are the Zionists who pushed through these laws – because the fact that they feel the need for these laws proves they do not actually believe in the historicity of the holocaust, and are therefore “holocaust deniers” themselves. If they actually believed what they say they believe, they would obviously be eager to clobber their opponents in a free and fair debate… not with criminal charges and imprisonment.
In fact, I would go one step farther, and assert that anyone who charges anyone else with “holocaust denial” must themselves be a “holocaust denier.” If they actually believed in their version of the holocaust, they would not feel the need to resort to name-calling. Instead, they would muster empirical arguments and evidence.
The rest of the world thinks the West, with its “holocaust denial” obsession, is completely insane. After all, the rest of the world knows that the biggest holocaust of all time has been the Western holocaust of non-Western peoples. For an introduction to that subject, one could do worse than read Professor Tony Hall’s books Earth into Property and The American Empire and the Fourth World. Other key sources include Vltchek and Chomsky’s On Western Terrorism, which documents the 50 to 60 million people murdered by the USA’s CIA and military interventions since World War II; Alfred Crosby’s Ecological Imperialism, which covers the past millennium of Western planetary genocide and ecocide; and Sven Lindqvist’s “Exterminate All the Brutes”: One Man’s Odyssey into the Heart of Darkness and the Origins of European Genocide.
Read these five books, and you will understand how “the holocaust” looks to a non-Westerner.
No wonder they don’t believe Western mainstream “victors’ history.” The West cranks out outrageous lies to disguise its own crimes. Why should World War II historiography be different?
Because they start out as natural skeptics, approaching the holocaust debates with a jaundiced eye, non-Westerners are likely to avoid being swept away by mass-media-orchestrated Hollywood-style emotions and the Western mainstream narrative. Because they have so much emotional distance from the Western history of persecutions between Christians and Jews, non-Westerners can think dispassionately about such things. And because they have seen the outrageous lies the Zionists have used to construct “Israel” (a euphemism for “genocide in Palestine”) they are naturally skeptical about any and all self-serving Zionist assertions.
If the University of Lethbridge expels Professor Tony Hall, it will either have to (1) ban all students and professors from non-Western nations and/or backgrounds, especially the MENA region and the rest of Africa, or (2) force all people from non-Western backgrounds to sign a statement that they will never express their true beliefs about “the holocaust” while they are working or studying at the University.
One month into his stint as New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief, Peter Baker has struck a world-weary tone: In his telling, the turmoil of Palestine-Israel is nothing more than an ancient feud, and the United Nations has grown tired of hearing about it from two intransigent leaders.
The effect of this jaded stance is to leave readers with the impression that Palestinians and Israelis face off over a level playing field and they have been doing so for millennia, two notions that serve to benefit Israel above all.
In a piece about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Baker juxtaposes their comments as if they were two contenders facing off in a boxing ring, hurling invectives at each other. Where Abbas speaks of “heinous crimes” and an “historic catastrophe,” he says, Netanyahu lashes out with charges of “fanaticism” and “inhumanity.”
The two men, Baker writes, are “guilt-tripping” the international community; they are “filled with grievance and bristling with resentment;” and they “summon the ghosts of history from hundreds and even thousands of years ago to make their cases.” But, he states, “the world has begun to move on” as other crises, such as the war in Syria, take center stage.
The tenor is one of fatigue and cynicism, which does a disservice to readers and to the cause of honest journalism. Baker makes no attempt to discern the truth or falsity of any of the statements, dismissing them all as nothing more than rivalry.
When he says that the world has moved on, this implies that the United Nations itself has grown weary of the conflict, but late in his piece Baker quotes Netanyahu on the world body, providing readers with clear evidence that the organization is still very much engaged in the issue.
Baker tells us that the Israeli prime minister bitterly attacked the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and the UN cultural agency, and knowledgeable readers will find the reasons for Netanyahu’s resentment obvious: UN agencies frequently report on Israeli violations of international and humanitarian law, and the UN has granted membership status to Palestine, over the objections of Israel.
Nevertheless, the Times article would have us believe that the Israel-Palestinian conflict has become passé, that the world is tired of these two bitter rivals who refuse to make up.
In presenting the issue in this light, Baker hides the terrible disparity between the two sides and ignores the urgent issues of injustice and international law.
He writes in this vein knowing that Abbas and Netanyahu represent two very different political and military realities. The United States, as the Times has recently reported, provides massive amounts of military aid to Israel each year, but it provides absolutely none to Palestinians. It also supports Israel at the United Nations, wielding its veto power to block resolutions critical of Israel, even those that echo its own policy statements.
Moreover, Baker and Times editors certainly know that Palestinians have no army, air force or navy; no tanks, warships, drones or nuclear arms; and that Israel has all this and more. They also have UN data for 2016, which show that, as of Sept. 19, 89 Palestinians had been killed by Israelis, while 10 Israelis had died at the hands of Palestinians.
Moreover, they know the shocking Gaza death toll from the summer of 2014, in which, according to the Israeli organization B’Tselem, Israeli forces killed 2,202 Palestinians, two-thirds of them civilians and 526 of them children. By contrast, Gaza fighters and rockets killed 72 Israelis, including 62 soldiers and one child.
The disparity is enormous, yet Baker has chosen to present the situation as a conflict between two equal sides. He has also adopted the “ancient hatreds” line that ignores the reality of Palestinian dispossession since 1947 and the present brutality inflicted on an occupied people by the powerful Israeli state.
Two days after his Abbas vs. Netanyahu story appeared, Baker published a piece on soccer in the West Bank, writing in the lead that “the latest battleground in the age-old struggle” between Israelis and Palestinians” was a dispute over whether FIFA rules allow Israeli soccer teams to play in West Bank settlements.
He thus manages to distort history, trivialize Palestinian resistance and maintain the false impression of parity between the two sides, ignoring evidence that pre-Zionist Palestine saw peaceful coexistence between Jews, Christians and Muslims. The “age-old struggle” is actually a recent one.
In dubbing conflict over soccer as “latest battlefield” he turns his back on urgent and immediate issues: recent Palestinian deaths at the hands of Israeli security forces; the state-sponsored destruction of homes and livelihoods (including humanitarian aid donated to struggling communities); and continued attacks on unarmed fishermen and farmers in Gaza.
When Baker suggests that the conflict is fueled by ancient and intractable animosities, that only the two sides take any real interest in its outcome and that it involves petty disputes and little more than a war of words, this serves the Israeli agenda. He is directing our attention away from the core issues, allowing Israel to carry out its brutal regime of dispossession and oppression well under the radar.
Follow @TimesWarp on Twitter.
Bibi wants more and Congress might deliver
As an American it is difficult to imagine a more unseemly bit of political theater playing out than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s appearance before his cabinet to claim that he had gotten every last dollar of military assistance out of the Obama Administration. Netanyahu argued that he had obtained all that was on the table, adding that his bad blood with President Barack Obama had not proven to be detrimental in the bilateral negotiations that had been ongoing for more than a year. The Prime Minister was on the defensive because some of his critics claimed that he might have gotten $100 million more per annum, admittedly chump change on top of the $38 billion over ten years that the Memorandum of Understand will provide Netanyahu from the U.S. Treasury.
The critics also argued that the “real money” obtained from Washington was less than it seemed because of inflation, but the gift of $38 billion to Israel was nevertheless a considerable increase over the roughly $3.3 billion per year that Israel is currently receiving. The protracted negotiations over the exact sum to be handed over were reportedly due to Netanyahu’s demanding much more money, possibly as much as $5 billion per year. The deal did come with a minor problem for the Israeli defense industries, which had become accustomed to skimming 26% off the top of the annual U.S. grant to build and market their own weapons. Someone in Washington finally figured out that the U.S. taxpayer was directly funding foreign competition for its own defense industries, costing thousands of American jobs. But not to worry, the Israeli companies are now setting up U.S. subsidiaries, so the gravy train will almost certainly continue to deliver.
Israel’s argument for more money, such as it was, was based on claims that Obama had weakened its security by coming to an agreement with Iran over that nation’s nuclear program. Israel objected that sharply limiting Tehran’s ability to develop a weapon was not in its own interest, an odd assertion but explicable in terms of Netanyahu’s real objective in dealing with the Mullah’s, which was to have the U.S. take the lead in bombing them into the stone age.
Missing in the discussions was any benefit obtained for the United States by giving Israel all that moolah. America’s largely invisible National Security Adviser Susan Rice spoke of an “unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security” and commented that the agreement was good for the United States because “our security is linked” though she characteristically did not explain exactly why that was so. She called the deal a “win-win,” creating jobs in America and making our “ally and partner” Israel more secure.
In reality, as Rice knows perfectly well, Israel is a strategic liability. Apart from the annual Danegeld paid to it, it also requires the expenditure of considerable American political capital to protect it in the U.N. It also cannot be used as a forward base for the U.S. military. During Desert Storm in 1991, it had to be bribed by Washington to stay out of the conflict against Saddam Hussein to keep America’s Arab allies on board. As Colin Powell’s former aide Colonel Larry Wilkerson has observed there is indeed an unsinkable aircraft carrier in the Middle East that the U.S. relies on to extend the reach of its armed forces. It is called Kuwait, not Israel, while Bahrain hosts the American Sixth Fleet and the U.S. Air Force operates out of Qatar. They are all Arab countries.
Rice also did not mention another important issue. As money is fungible subsidizing Israel’s military frees up cash in the budget to build new settlements on the West Bank, which U.S. policy nominally opposes. Some critics have also noted that medical care and higher education in Israel are free, a benefit that Americans do not enjoy and which derives in part from the U.S. largesse.
And Israel’s reckless foreign policy has to be considered. There is a tendency for Israeli policy makers to actually use new weapons if only to try them out on live targets. The reality is that providing Israel with a ton of money to buy upgraded weapons will also give Netanyahu a lot of shiny new toys to use on his neighbors while also fueling an arms race in the region as other countries try to keep up to enable their own militaries to deter Israel. Iran has, for example, responded to the often repeated Israeli threats by improving its own air defenses with sophisticated Russian made integrated systems that can easily shoot down U.S. warplanes, while other missiles in its arsenal can defeat the defenses of American aircraft carrier groups.
Focusing on Israel’s $38 billion haul has also obscured how the country benefits in other ways. It has long been a development partner with the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security to produce defense technologies that are important to Israel but relatively useless for Washington. This has most recently included Washington’s direct funding of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which Tel Aviv is actively marketing, and anti-tunneling technologies.
Israel also receives billions of dollars every year in the form of charitable contributions from American Jews and Christian Zionists. The money often goes to support foundations that in turn fund settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, developments that are illegal both under international and U.S. law. And then there are direct fund-raisers for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). A 2014 star studded Hollywood gala event raised $33 million tax exempt dollars for an organization known as the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF). FIDF’s slogan is “Their job is to look after Israel. Ours is to look after them.” Similar fundraisers are held all over the United States and there is an annual parade in Manhattan.
As most observers of the odd United States relationship with the Middle East will no doubt agree, when it comes to Israel and the U.S. Treasury “too much” is not part of the vocabulary. Obama’s agreement with Israel stipulated that in return for the guaranteed money every year Israel would not go to Congress seeking more unless there is a war. As “war” was not defined and Israel is both frequently in conflict with its neighbors and also quite capable of cranking up an incident on demand, Netanyahu may have been smiling as he agreed to that stipulation. And knowing that Obama is a lame duck means that the door to the cash vault is closed but will be reopening in January. Given all of that, Netanyahu was apparently willing to back off even though he wanted more money, possibly expecting that the deal will be subject to renegotiation when Hillary invites him to the White House.
And it now appears that many Congressmen also agree that Israel’s leader and America’s best friend did not get what he deserves. Senator Lindsey Graham opined while the negotiations were still in progress that any agreement with Israel would be a base-line, meaning that congress could and should vote additional special appropriations. Currently a bill co-sponsored by Graham and Senators Kelly Ayotte, John McCain, Ted Cruz, Mark Kirk, Marco Rubio and Roy Blunt is moving through the Senate that will do just that. It will allow Congress to give Israel more cash and will lift the restrictions on how it is spent, permitting Netanyahu to continue to directly subsidize his own defense industry with U.S. taxpayer money. If Democratic Israel-firsters like Senators Chuck Schumer and Bob Menendez rally behind the bill it is quite likely to be passed.
The reality is that U.S. military assistance to Israel is actually all about the effectiveness of an extremely powerful domestic lobby. The tie that binds the two countries has nothing whatsoever to do with either nation’s security or interests but it has a great deal to do with tying Washington to Israel no matter what Israel does. Israel is a wealthy country with a per capita gross domestic product of $35,000 that is greater than that of Japan, South Korea or Italy. It could easily survive without that extra cash from Uncle Sam. It is the greatest military power in its region by every possible metric and it is also the only country possessing nuclear weapons to include both ballistic missiles and submarines to deliver the weapons on target. It is in no way threatened.
Massive amounts of aid to Israel constitute a particularly important element of the push to maintain a “special relationship” that seeks to make Israel appear to be an essential American ally, even though it is anything but. American politicians who call Israel the U.S.’s greatest friend and ally know they are lying as Israel is neither. Instead, Israel and its own parochial interests have been key elements in involving Washington in the spiral of violence that has gripped the Middle East since 2001, including the ill-fated invasion of Iraq.
Is it just business as usual in Washington, though admittedly with an extraordinarily large price tag? Perhaps. But an opinion poll reveals that 81% of Americans oppose giving Israel more money. Unfortunately our bifurcated democratic system means that no one will be able to effectively vote on the issue in November as both major parties are lined up squarely behind Israel even if many Democrats are beginning to wobble.
Groveling to Israel is in the American political DNA. Even progressive groups that claim to be supportive of Palestinian rights and opposed to growing fascism in Israel exhibit the usual ambivalence when it comes to issues that might actually have an impact. They go silent and become curiously absent from the debate. Go to the website of Jewish Voice for Peace and you will find no mention of the $38 billion. Code Pink and End the Occupation claim to oppose weapons sales to Israel but seem to have lost sight of the latest outrage. Strange that. Or perhaps not so strange. J Street, which claims to be pro-Israel and pro-peace, “warmly welcomes the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel that will ensure Israel’s security and its qualitative military advantage over any potential enemy for the next 10 years.”
The point is that giving Israel $38 billion over ten years is robbery pure and simple having nothing whatsoever to do with anyone’s security. It is stealing from the American taxpayer because certain politicians aided and abetted by the media and acting in deference to a powerful lobby would have it so. Israel is no ally, has never been an ally, and is being rewarded for doing nothing. The only Americans who benefit from the deal are defense contractors. If it were Goldman Sachs or General Motors doing the stealing there would at least be some outcry. But as it is, because it is Israel, the media and chattering class are silent.
There is massive opposition to Israeli actions in the United States today, particularly importantly in the Jewish community, where there’s been an enormous shift in that discourse.
So you still have organizations, right-wing organizations like AIPAC that include very wealthy donors, no doubt, but they no longer can even make the claim–which was probably never true, but it certainly is no longer true–that they speak for the majority, let alone all, of the Jewish community.
You now have an organization like J Street in the center. You have Jewish Voice for Peace on the left, which has over 200,000 supporters across the country. So you have a very different scenario now of where public opinion is.
— Phyllis Bennis, interviewed on The Real News Network, September 14, 2016
Massive opposition to Israeli actions in the United States? Within the Jewish community? Who does Phyllis Bennis thinks she’s kidding and, as importantly, why is she doing so? That there is no sign of any activity or combination of activities in the US opposing Israel’s actions that qualify as massive among the larger public and definitely not within the Jewish community should be patently as well as painfully obvious.
Her comment becomes even more mystifying since it came on the day that Barack Obama announced that the US would award Israel a record breaking $38 billion in arms over the decade beginning in 2018. What opposition there was to the deal on the part of the public, much less the Jewish community, was barely visible.
This had been reflected a month earlier in the Democratic Party’s decision to bar any reference to Israel’s occupation or illegal settlement construction in its platform which was then approved without so much as a whimper by the convention delegates. A week before, the Republicans, stepping back from their traditional lip service to the two-state illusion, discarded any notion that Israel would be obliged to surrender land to the Palestinians for their own state at any time in the future.
Bennis, speaking to The Real News Network’s Jaisal Noor, incredibly, portrayed the humiliating Democratic platform defeat as a victory:
I think he [Obama] is seriously misreading where the American people are at, where the Democratic Party is, where the public discourse on this question has shifted. I think he’s acting as if this was 20 years ago and no politician could do wrong by being more supportive than the other guy of Israel.
Now that’s not the case anymore. We saw that during the debate over the language on Israel and Palestine in the Democratic Party platform debate. (Emphasis added)
While it is true that there is less support for Israel among the youth and the Democratic Party’s base, what we learned from that debate was the degree to which the Congressional Black Caucus, including one of its most “liberal” members, Barbara Lee, is under the thumb of the Israel Lobby. Lee, appointed to the committee by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, cast the critical vote in the platform committee that eliminated any reference to Israel’s illegal occupation or the ongoing construction of Jewish settlements.
How Bennis could put a positive spin on that outcome should raise concerns not only about her judgment but also her agenda.
Despite the fact that it had been the subject of discussion in the US and Israeli media for more than a year, there was no attempt to mobilize opposition to the arms package for Israel, about which Bennis was being interviewed, by either Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) or the US Campaign to End Israel Occupation (USCEIO), the two largest organizations, ostensibly working for justice in Palestine over which Bennis appears to act as an éminence grise.
Bennis did not mention nor had either organization expressed support for or even note on their websites, the first of its kind lawsuit filed by the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy’s Grant Smith on August 8 that would block the announced arms deal on the basis of long standing US law that prohibits US aid to non-signatories of the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty known to have nuclear weapons.
That Bennis, moreover, presented J Street in a positive light at that moment strongly suggests that projecting a positive image of the Jewish community within the Left and in the eyes of the larger public is her primary motivation.
J Street, after all, is nothing more than a light beer version of AIPAC. It was created for Jewish liberals whose self-image requires the display of an occasional whiff of conscience, but nothing that would jeopardize Israel’s domination of Washington. It was in such full applause mode over the arms deal that it issued a statement, welcoming it, on September 13, the day before the White House officially announced it:
J Street warmly welcomes the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel that will ensure Israel’s security and its qualitative military advantage over any potential enemy for the next 10 years.
We congratulate President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu as well as all those who worked hard to produce this agreement, which represents the biggest pledge of US military assistance made to any country in our nation’s history.
And Jewish Voice for Peace? In a statement on the group’s website, JVP director, Israel-American dual citizen Rebecca Vilkomerson, after acknowledging that the deal had been “in months of negotiation,” declared that, “As a result, the US is effectively underwriting Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies towards the Palestinians.”
True and well said, Rebecca, but what had JVP been doing to stop it during those months? And in the two weeks since, knowing that it is Congress that must ultimately approve the deal? Apparently nothing, judging from the constant stream of requests for money that arrive in my email box daily.
Rather ineffectively, if measured by the paucity of results, it has also been pushing for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) targeting companies doing business in the West Bank, giving it the appearance, if not the substance, of “doing something” for the Palestinian cause.
With steely determination, its leadership was also continuing a behind the scenes campaign to vilify and marginalize an individual and an organization, without the payroll and national outreach of JVP, that was attempting a nation-wide effort to alert the American people to the latest transfer of their earnings to Israel, namely Alison Weir and her organization, appropriately named “if Americans Knew.”
Through billboards, bus cards, bumper stickers, simulated checks, and postcards, carrying the slogan, “Stop the Blank Check for Israel,” Weir has made a tireless effort to inform all Americans, but particularly those without any vested interest in either Israel or Palestine, (who constitute the majority) about what is being done for Israel by the US government and members of Congress in their name. A useful exercise for readers would be to compare the If Americans Knew website with that of Jewish Voice for Peace.
Weir’s crime in the eyes of her critics is that she has ignored the Left choir and its gatekeepers and expressed a healthy willingness to speak to any group or media host that asks for her views on the largely hidden history of Israel’s domestic Zionist operations going back to World War One. Several of those talk show hosts, which amount to a tiny fraction of Weir’s overall efforts, her attackers find objectionable even though some of them have appeared on the same programs.
Weir also has had the temerity to make exposing the cover-up by Congress and the media of Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty off the coast of Egypt during the 1967 war a critical part of her work. The unprovoked assault on a clearly marked intelligence ship by Israel’s air force and navy left 34 US sailors dead and 171 wounded. The subject is as off-limits for Jewish Voice for Peace and the US Campaign to End Israeli Occupation, as well as the entire American Left, as it has been for the Jewish establishment. (The implications of that are worthy of an entire article by itself.)
Weir’s slim but fact-packed, copiously foot noted paperback, “Against Our Better Judgment” detailing the obscured activities of the Zionist Lobby both before and after Israeli statehood, has sold more than 27,000 copies on Amazon and, apart from making them more than a trifle jealous, has, I suspect, been an irritant to JVP and USCEIO whose founder and current policy director, Josh Ruebner, is, like JVP’s Vilkomerson, an Israel-US dual citizen. (This apparently raises no questions as would, say, if white South Africans had played prominent roles in the American anti-apartheid movement.)
What JVP really appears to be about is establishing the acceptable parameters within which those who support justice for Palestine can criticize Israel or Jewish support for it without being labeled anti-Semitic.
The latest target of Vilkomerson is Miko Peled, the son of former Israeli major general, Matti Peled, the only representative of Israel’s top military echelon ever to advocate for Palestinian justice.
Living in San Diego and now a US citizen, Peled has become one of Israel’s most forthright critics and supporters of the BDS movement but fell afoul of Vilkomerson over a tweet that she considered to be anti-Semitic.
Responding to the announcement of the arms deal, Peled tweeted, “Then theyr surprised Jews have reputation 4being sleazy thieves #apartheidisrael doesn’t need or deserve these $$.” Vilkomerson, in turn, tweeted, “No place 4 antisemitism in our movement” and congratulated the Princeton Committee for Palestine for using her tweet as the basis for canceling a scheduled speaking engagement by Peled at the university, “to show our commitment towards educating our campus about Israel-Palestine issues.”
If justification for Peled’s tweet is needed, all one has to do is read the op-ed in the Washington Post (9/14) by former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and the speech before the AIPAC spawn, Washington Inst. For Near East Policy, by former Israeli defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon (Times of Israel, 9/15) in which each of them expressed their fury at Netanyahu for not getting yet more than the record $38 billion. Seriously. There is no limit to their sense of entitlement.
The USCEIO which usually follows JVP’s lead has yet to weigh in on the Peled controversy, but there are dated references to the arms deal for Israel on its website, including a petition to President Obama launched in September, 2015, asking him not to approve it. The petition gathered more than 65,000 signatures but since it was still collecting them the day Obama announced the deal, there is no indication it was ever sent.
Now, two weeks after Obama’s announcement, there is no mention of it on its website nor was there any suggestion that people should go beyond signing a petition and confront the members of Congress in their home districts who will be voting on the $38 billion appropriation.
This is particularly noteworthy while USCEIO will be holding its national conference in Arlington, VA, October 14 to 17, there is no mention of it on its tentative agenda.
That campaigns to stop aid to Israel are missing from the agenda of both USCEIO and JVP, I would argue, is significant given that, in the early 80s, it was a nationwide campaign on the part of Nicaragua solidarity activists to have the public call members of Congress in their districts that produced the Boland Amendment, halting a $15 million appropriation for the Contras.
For reasons that I can only speculate such a grassroots campaign has never been undertaken by either organization over which, as noted above, Phyllis Bennis exerts an outsized influence.
The speculation centers on Bennis’s past history of minimizing the importance of both Congress and the pro-Israel Lobby, most notably AIPAC, in formulating US Middle East policy.
In 2002, at a three-day conference at the University of California in Berkeley, sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine, I took a seat with a friend in the back of a lecture hall where Bennis was speaking on a topic relating to the Israel-Palestine conflict. At one point in her presentation, having apparently seen me enter and looking directly at me, she interrupted her talk to loudly blurt out, “Congress is not Israeli Occupied Territory!”
I quickly assumed she was referring to an essay that I had written 10 years earlier that was published in the 1992 edition of the City Lights Review, entitled, “Occupied Territory: Congress, the Israel Lobby and Jewish Responsibility.” In the essay I had sharply criticized the Left and particularly the Jewish supporters of the Palestinian movement for their failure to deal with the issue of the Israel lobby.
I am not one to interrupt speakers with whom I don’t agree but since her outburst was clearly intended for me, I responded with an immediate “Yes, it is!”. “No it isn’t!” she shouted back, rather displeased, and went on to describe an effort that some members of the Congressional Black Caucus were making regarding the illegal use of US arms by the Israelis against Palestinian civilians (an effort that, of course, went nowhere).
During the question period she seemed anxious to keep me from getting the floor. In an unusually long-winded and virtually content-free response as to what people could do to help the Palestinian cause, she appeared to be hoping time would run out for the session.
What would she have activists do? Believe it or not: write letters to the editor once a week. That’s what she said. As far as calling their members of Congress objecting to their support for Israel, Bennis said nary a word.
Despite an obvious effort on her part to get the moderator who had promised me the next question, to choose someone else–I seized the moment and proceeded to describe four situations in which the Israel lobby had demonstrated its power over Congress. I explained how it had run members of the Black Caucus who criticized Israel out of office and was trying to do the same (and would later succeed) with CBC’s remaining critic of Israel at that time, Atlanta’s Cynthia McKinney.
As I wrote shortly afterward, (Palestine Chronicle 3/26/07) neither Bennis nor her co-panelist, a Jewish professor, said a word when I finished, (although the latter later falsely circulated an email that he had). Since I had known Bennis for 20 years, had previously worked with her in the San Francisco Bay Area on Palestinian issues and, a year earlier had her as a guest on my first radio program on my current station, I went over to say hello and jokingly mentioned that she still had not yet understood the role of the Israel Lobby.
She was neither friendly nor amused. “The issue is dead and has been dead,” she replied. End of conversation and though our paths have crossed over the years we haven’t spoken since.
Though the issue isn’t dead for Jewish Voice for Peace or the US Campaign to End Israeli Occupation, by any measurable standards, it might as well be.
Informing their members or member organizations, in the case of USCEIO, of the extent and methodology of AIPAC’s control over Congress is noticeably missing from their agendas and websites.
There was an exception. In September, 2012, I participated in a workshop on AIPAC and the Israel Lobby at USCEIO’s annual organizing conference in St. Louis. It was the only workshop even remotely related to the subject and had been organized by the now purged Alison Weir, whose If Americans Knew was, at the time, one of USCEIO’s member organizations. With Weir and her organization now gone from the USCEIO, AIPAC has less to worry about.
This guarantees to a certainty that whatever approach it takes to members of Congress with the ostensible goal of changing US policy will continue to end in failure.
This is exemplified in a section on its website– “Building relationships with congressional staff and Members of Congress is critical to enacting policy change”—which links to a step by step process that should ordinarily be followed by anyone seeking an audience with a member of Congress, or her or his chief of staff or legislative aide on most issues. But the Israel-Palestine issue is not like any other.
The notion that politely presenting US legislators or their aides with evidence of Israel’s latest atrocities or the damage that US support for Israel has done to the US image globally will move any of them to change their positions, as if ignorance of the facts is the only obstacle, is naïve at best. Nevertheless, that’s what those attending the USA CEIO’s upcoming conference will do on their day of lobbying on Capitol Hill.
By Einstein’s definition of insanity–doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result–the approach advocated by USCEIO and practiced by JVP, qualifies as insane since nothing has changed with regard to US support for Israel.
A more productive tactic would be to impolitely challenge members of Congress in their home districts, ideally but not necessarily at public events, exposing to the utmost degree possible the amounts of money they have received from pro-Israel sources and circulating statements that they most likely have made expressing their affection for Israel which can usually be found on the internet.
Why hasn’t either the USCEIO, JVP, or for that matter, Phyllis Bennis encouraged such an activity? Well, we already know Bennis’s bold plan; write letters to the editor.
There was nary a word about Congress’s role from Bennis in her latest interview despite telling TRNN’s Paul Jay in December, 2013, that “We have massively changed the discourse in this country,” an exaggeration then as now. She did then acknowledge, “What has not changed is the policy, and that has far more to do“ at which point Jay interrupted, saying, “The policy and the politics, like, congressional politics,” and Bennis replying, “Yes, but that’s where the policy gets made. That hasn’t changed. And that’s the huge challenge that we face. (Emphasis added)
In that same interview, she offered a rare view of AIPAC and the Lobby:
It used to be that AIPAC, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the other pro-Israel lobbies in the Jewish community, could meet with members of Congress and say, look, we’ve got money. We may give you some. Mostly we’re going to hold you hostage, that if you don’t toe the line, we’re going to fund an opponent that you don’t even expect yet.
But we’ll also bring you votes, because we have influence in the Jewish community and people will vote the way we tell them.
They can’t say that anymore. And that’s huge. They still have the money, but they don’t have the votes, because the Jewish community has changed.
Her comment is only partly true and overly simplified, revealing an ignorance that should be embarrassing for someone who has spent so many years in Washington analyzing US Middle East politics.
AIPAC would never promise a politician that it would deliver Jewish votes. It has been mostly about getting them money, expert technical assistance and assigning key, experienced AIPAC members from the legislator’s district to work in his or her campaigns and use their clout with the local media to gain its support.
Bennis then goes on to regurgitate an argument that Noam Chomsky has frequently made but with a twist that fails to make it any more valid. Whereas the professor compares the Lobby’s successful efforts to pushing through an open door, when what it advocates is already White House policy, she compares it to pushing a moving car:
The reason that the lobby often seems so powerful is that, yes, it does have a lot of influence. I don’t–I’m not denying that. But it has been historically pushing in the same direction as the majority of U.S. policymakers want to go.
So imagine if you’re running behind a car, and you start to push the car as it goes forward, and the car starts to go fast. You can claim, wow, I was really strong–I pushed that car 30 miles an hour. You know, maybe you didn’t. Maybe you were pushing it in the direction it wanted to go anyway.
Neither Chomsky nor Bennis have ever shown a willingness to debate their critics but this argument is more an example of “damage control” than fact on their part and can easily be refuted by examining what is nearest to hand, the origins of the Iraq war.
It is well documented that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was on the Israel Lobby’s agenda well before it became US policy. In fact, the first president George HW Bush was reamed by his Jewish critics in the mainstream media; Mortimer Zuckerman, owner of the US News & World Report and the NY Daily News, Abe Rosenthal and William Safire in the New York Times, and Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post, to cite four who come to mind, for not going all the way to Baghdad and taking out Saddam in 1991.
The reason Poppy Bush gave for not overthrowing Saddam was that it would destabilize the entire region, one whose stability was essential to America’s national security and would involve the US military in an endless quagmire That opinion was shared by his Secretary of State, James Baker, his National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who led the ouster of the Iraqi army from Kuwait But what did they know?
The election of his son, George W, did not change the senior Bush’s mind, nor that of his former aides, Baker, Scowcroft and Schwarzkopf. All of them opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a fact ignored by those who claimed it was “a war for oil,” and one that becomes more important when we consider that the war has left hundreds of thousands dead and wounded and millions displaced as refugees across the entire region.
When asked by the late Tim Russert on NBC’s Meet the Press about his father’s opposition to the war, Dubya responded that “I answer to a higher father.” Who or what, in fact, he was answering to was PNAC, the Project for a New American Century, three signatories of which, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and David Wurmser, had contributed to a paper for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996, entitled, “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” which called for the overthrow of Saddam as did the PNAC screed that appeared the following year.
Subsequent to the election of George W Bush in 2000, the three of them were brought into the highest levels of the national security apparatus along with Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis “Scooter” Libby, fellow signatories to the PNAC declaration. They began immediately to plan the invasion of Iraq and create the false intelligence to justify it within days of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, ‘the Pearl Harbor event’ that the PNAC document said was necessary to put its plans of global conquest into action. This scenario is fairly well known and not contested.
It, like subsequent events in the Middle East, seemed consistent with a plan laid out by Oded Yinon, a former member of the Israeli government who, in 1982, wrote a proposal, ‘A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s,” which was published by the World Zionist Council. Yinon’s plan called for dissolution of Iraq and Syria into areas controlled by its respective religious communities. Sound familiar?
Clearly, the war on Iraq was not a case of the Israel Lobby, of which the neocons were and remain a major part, getting behind an already moving car or pushing through an open door but one in which they took over the entire premises.
I have given up expecting Phyllis Bennis to understand this but I assume there are those who read this who will appreciate and nod their heads when reading what Lenni Brenner, the foremost authority on Nazi-Zionist collaboration, told me in the late 90s when I interviewed him on San Francisco’s KPOO radio:
The left is the rear guard of the Israel Lobby.
© Sputnik/ Zahraa Al-Amir
The international community bears responsibility for what is happening in Syria and should do more to help Lebanon hosting a huge Syrian population, an adviser to the Lebanese Democratic Party (LDP) leader told Sputnik.
“They are giving us nothing absolutely… even though the international community is the one responsible now for what is happening to Syria and in Syria,” Saleem Hamadeh said.
Lebanon, alongside Jordan and Turkey, has been a key destination for thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing the five-year-long war in the country.
According to Hamadeh, Lebanon now hosts around 1,750,000 Syrians, which is a third of its own population.
“I think that international community should give us support in this, financial support and give us direct path on how to deal with this serious issue which will affect the demography of the Lebanese people and our country,” Dr. Hamadeh said.
There are concerns that many Syrians plan to stay in Lebanon after the Syrian crisis has been resolved, the adviser to the LDP president said. The UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, estimates that Palestinians living in Lebanese refugee camps make up 10 percent of the country’s population.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton meet in New York, September 25, 2016.
US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has told Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that she opposes a UN-brokered solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, pledging to fight efforts to “delegitimize” the Tel Aviv regime.
The former US secretary of state and Netanyahu met at a hotel in Manhattan, New York, on Sunday evening, hours after the Israeli PM’s meeting with Clinton’s Republican rival, Donald Trump.
During the meeting, Clinton endorsed the two-state solution for the ongoing conflict in Palestine, but also expressed “her opposition to any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution,” including the UN Security Council, her campaign said in a statement.
Clinton doubled down on “her commitment to countering attempts to delegitimize Israel, including through the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement,” the statement further read.
The BDS movement was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations that were pushing for “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”
Since then, thousands of volunteers worldwide have joined the BDS to help promote the Palestinian cause.
The former first lady also backed Washington’s military support for Tel Aviv, saying that a “strong and secure Israel” was vital to the US.
Washington has been providing the Israeli regime with $3.1 billion annually since 2007, under a 10-year agreement with the administration of former president George W. Bush. The figure was recently raised to $3.8 billion for the next decade.
Earlier in the day, Netanyahu went to the Trump Tower in New York City to meet with the billionaire businessman.
During the 90-minute meeting, Trump promised Netanyahu that he will “recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the state of Israel,” the candidate’s campaign said in a statement.
He described East Jerusalem al-Quds, occupied by Israel since 1967, as “the eternal capital of the Jewish people.”
Like Clinton, Trump backed America’s military support for Israel, hailing it as an “excellent investment for America.”
Netanyahu, who was being accompanied by Israeli ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer during the meetings, thanked both candidates for their “friendship and support for Israel.”
The Sunday Express reports: “Jewish community furious at re-election of ‘antisemitic’ Jeremy Corbyn”
Jewish campaigners have reacted with fury to the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn, warning that with the left-winger in charge, the Labour Party is “no longer a safe place for British Jews”. Maybe, but also maybe it is time to accept that Jews don’t feel safe anywhere – not in France, not in Belgium, not in Monroe, NY, not even in Israel despite the IDF being one of the strongest armies in the world. But beware. If Jews do not feel safe anywhere, then making the Labour party into a Jewish safe haven may well be considered an anti-Jewish act.
It’s fair to say that Jews have worked hard to make the Labour party and Corbyn supporters, hostile to their interests and their political-lobbying culture. Yet, despite the intensive Jewish campaign against Jeremy Corbyn, the veteran Left leader again won the mandate by a landslide (62% of the votes). But in a statement released minutes after the result of the leadership contest was announced, Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, blasted: “Though we are an apolitical organisation … the Labour Party is no longer a safe place for British Jews.”
We also learn that Parry Mitchell, a senior Jewish Labour peer has quit the Labour party today over Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘lukewarm’ approach to anti-Semitism. The Jewish peer struggles to cope with the democratic process. “Jeremy has no leadership qualities whatsoever – his little group like him and they think he’s the Messiah, but he will never become the leader and prime minister of this country,” Lord Mitchell told BBC One’s Sunday Politics.
At least the Jewish peer was honest enough to admit that it is his tribal interests that motivates him. “I’m Jewish and I’m very strongly Jewish… he (Corbyn) surrounds himself with a coterie of people who hold violent, violent anti-Israel views, and allied with it they are very hostile to Jews so, in my view, they’re pretty bad guys.” So perhaps now’s the time for the Jewish Labour peer to accept that Israeli brutality is just not consistent with Labour values. After all, is it not only natural for left-leaning people to advocate left ideas even if this only happens rarely?
The Jewish campaign against Corbyn was, as ever, well orchestrated and well-funded. In the last few months we have been following Jewish Labour donor Michael Foster, who thought that £400,000 would be about enough to buy the Labour party, and we learned this week that a new anti-Corbyn group is receiving funding from Tony Blair’s former spin doctor – who now runs Peter Mandelson’s consultancy firm, Electoral Commission. The Independent reported this week that Benjamin Wegg-Prosser, the managing partner at Peter Mandelson’s Global Counsel, a company that helps businesses “trying to influence policy,” has also invested in the destruction of Corbyn’s Labour. On 27 June, Wegg-Prosser loaned Labour Tomorrow Ltd £10,000 – at the same time as MPs resigned en masse from the shadow cabinet in the so-called “coup”.
But British Jews shouldn’t panic yet. Labour’s London Mayor Sadiq Khan has just been nominated for the Annual Shabbos Goy Award when he vowed to spearhead a drive to stop the party being anti-Semitic. Writing for the Holocaust Educational Trust today, Khan says: “Whenever anti-semitism rears its ugly head, I’ll be the first to call it out, condemn it and then work to stamp it out.”
I’ve a hunch Sadiq Khan knows exactly where to find the shekels for his next campaign.
© nationaltheatret beklager / YouTube
Tel Aviv has urged the National Theatre of Norway to deny links to and remove a video in which a fake theater official called for a boycott of Israel and its HaBima Theater. The Norwegian theater denied its part but stopped short of criticizing the clip.
While the theater apparently had no role in producing the video, the Israeli Foreign Ministry demanded that it should “clearly and immediately repudiate” the clip, as well as take “necessary measures to have the video removed from every site.”
It went on to compare the video to “the works of the Reich Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, or the Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl,” adding that it is “actively pursuing the matter with all involved parties.”
In response, the National Theater of Norway wrote in a statement published on its website that it was in no way part of making the video, and does not engage in boycotts.
“The article and video are not made by The National Theater of Norway – and do not represent The National Theater of Norway’s attitude – they are an expression of artistic freedom. The National Theater of Norway still has greater faith in collaboration with artists across national borders and from regimes we are critical to, than boycotts and silence,” it wrote.
Although the six-minute video claims to be from the National Theater of Norway, it was actually created by a group of actors from the art project “Monsters of Reality,” which is part of the 2016 International Ibsen Festival.
In the video, a person claiming to be a spokesperson for the theater lashes out against Israel and its occupation of Palestinian territories. She apologizes on behalf of the playhouse, for collaborating with Israel’s HaBima Theater between 2013 and 2015.
“This is a great day for the National Theater of Norway. It is the day when we publicly apologize for our shameful collaboration with HaBima, the national theater of Israel…” the spokesperson says.
She goes on to state that when the theatre agreed to collaborate with Israel, it did not know “what a powerful role HaBima and other Israeli art institutions play in normalizing the Israeli occupation,” calling Israeli art a “tool” for building an image of “a humanistic nation” instead of an “apartheid state.”
She claims the two theatres were collaborating as Israel “executed its horrific bombing over the Gaza strip,” and that the Norwegian one was unaware of HaBima’s alleged role because it did not do “one single piece of research…we didn’t bother to find out.”
“Five-hundred Palestinian children lost their lives while HaBima was busy entertaining Israeli soldiers,” she says.
In conclusion, the woman posing as spokesperson makes three promises on behalf of the theatre. The first is that it will fully support the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) of Israel, and cancel its membership with the “politically irresponsible” European Theatre Union.
Next, the spokesperson claims the theatre will dedicate all means of production to “work with the situation in the Middle East” from 2017 to 2019. She even promises that the facility’s director will give 50 percent of her salary to Palestinian theatre in the West Bank and Gaza.
The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to “end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law,” according to the Palestinian BDS National Committee’s website.
A 13-year-old girl who was shot five times by Israeli soldiers has told RT she is still haunted by the incident, and hopes that soldiers will restrain themselves from shooting other “innocent children.” Her father says he wants Israel to compensate his family.
Speaking to RT, 13-year-old Bara’a Owaisi said she had traveled to a West Bank checkpoint after dreaming about her aunt, who had been killed there.
“She called to me saying, ‘I want to see you.’ So I went to the checkpoint to see where my aunt died, because I miss her,” Owaisi explained.
“The Israeli soldiers spoke to me, but I couldn’t understand them, so some Arab workers explained. They asked me to take my bag off my back and put it down. I removed my bag. I said I wanted to see where my aunt died. They asked for my aunt’s name and I answered… then they opened fire on me. The two soldiers said, ‘This one is a terrorist,’ and ordered the others to open fire,” she said.
Owaisi went on to say that she constantly replays the incident in her mind.
“I have nightmares. I was terrified of [the soldiers], and I see them in my dreams. They shoot at me all the time. I hope the soldiers don’t shoot at any more innocent children,” she said.
Her father spoke of how incomprehensible it was to shoot his daughter so many times.
“They wanted to kill her. They shot her five times. One bullet is enough to take someone down, not five. They shot her in cold blood. She wasn’t doing anything. The Israeli soldiers were shouting at her without any reason. My daughter can’t do anything.”
He went on to state that his wife must now carry the young girl to the bathroom, and that he hopes his daughter will walk again. He said he wants Israel to pay compensation for the incident.
“I want Israel to pay compensation. It is not the first time this has happened. The Israelis try to kill many Palestinian children, and I want the world to know about this.”
RT reached out to the Israeli Defense Ministry, but received no response. A statement from the ministry following the shooting said the girl told interrogators that she went to the checkpoint “to die.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Republican nominee Donald Trump during a meeting in New York on September 25, 2016. (photo via @IsraeliPM)
Republican nominee Donald Trump promises Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the state of Israel” if he emerges victor in the US 2016 presidential election.
The meeting at the Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, on Sunday took nearly 90 minutes as Trump’s son-in-law and a close adviser, Jared Kushner, was on hand for the meeting along with Israeli ambassador to the US Ron Dermer.
“A Trump administration would finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the state of Israel,” the Trump campaign said in a press release.
The two talked about “the special relationship between America and Israel and the unbreakable bond between the two countries.”
Trump asserted that the US military aid to Israeli missile system is “an excellent investment for America,” further calling Tel Aviv a “vital partner” in the war against “Islamic terrorism,” from which the Israelis have “suffered far too long.”
On the agenda at the meeting was also the nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers, including the United States.
Trump described East Jerusalem al-Quds, occupied by Israel since 1967, as “the eternal capital of the Jewish people.”
Trump’s statement was devoid of any reference to Israel’s heavy-handed crackdown in Palestine or even the so-called two –state solution, pursued in the foreign policy of the administration of President Barack Obama.
“The meeting concluded with both leaders promising the highest level of mutual support and cooperation should Mr. Trump have the honor and privilege of being elected president of the United States,” concluded the statement.
East Jerusalem al-Quds was occupied in 1967 and Israel later annexed it heedless of international condemnations.
The Palestinian Authority, which administers the occupied West Bank, views the city as the capital of its future state. Palestinians have also resisted numerous Israeli plans for exerting full control over the territory.
Al-Quds University journalism student Malik al-Qadi following his release from administrative detention
JERUSALEM – Israeli authorities released former hunger-striking prisoner Malik al-Qadi to Palestinian medics on Saturday to transfer him to a hospital in the occupied West Bank.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said on Saturday morning that its staff was transferring al-Qadi from the Israeli Wolfson Medical Center to the Istishari Arab Hospital in the city of Ramallah.
Al-Qadi is in a dire health condition after going without food for 68 days to protest being held in administrative detention — internment without trial or charges — by Israel.
Al-Qadi ended his hunger strike on Wednesday, along with fellow prisoners Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul, after an agreement with the Israeli prisons services not to renew their administrative detentions.
Muhammad Balboul, 26, had refused food for 77 days since July 7, while his 23-year-old brother Mahmoud had been on hunger strike 79 days since July 5, and al-Qadi, 25, declared his hunger strike on July 16.
Qaraqe said in a statement on Wednesday that Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul were set to be released on Dec. 8, while Malik al-Qadi would be released on Sep. 22, and that all three of their administrative detentions would not be renewed.
The three had initially launched their hunger strikes amid a mass movement across Israeli prisons in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoner Bilal Kayid, who after 71 days suspended his hunger strike after striking a deal with Israel to end his administrative detention sentence. He was reportedly set to be released on Dec. 12.
Kayid was one of the most high-profile hunger strikers since Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq came near death during a 94-day hunger strike protesting his administrative detention order, before he was finally released in May.
Rights groups have claimed that Israel’s administrative detention policy, which allows detention for three- to six-month renewable intervals based on undisclosed evidence, has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, students, and journalists.
Although Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.
According to Addameer, as of August, 7,000 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons, 700 of whom were being held under administrative detention.