Sport is often regarded as a “no go” area for politics, especially by those states intent on portraying an air of normality around their regimes on the world stage. The best opportunities for this sort of charade are presented at international sporting and cultural events. Bizarrely, in Israel’s case this means European sporting platforms even though the Zionist State is not part of Europe; it is squatting in the Middle East, shoehorned into parts of historic Palestine between Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt.
As the international community becomes more aware of the injustices meted out on the Palestinian people by Israel, protests have increased, despite the best attempts of the state and its supporters to silence dissenting voices. Efforts to stifle free speech and the right to protest in the democratic world does not go down very well.
Hence, when the fans of Scottish champions Glasgow Celtic Football Club were instructed not to fly Palestinian flags during a match between their team and Israel’s Hapoel Beer-Sheva the outcome was fairly predictable; thousands of flags were waved by the crowd in defiance of the UEFA diktat. Now Celtic FC faces a penalty from the European governing body of the sport after the mass flag-waving during a Champions League playoff match; Celtic won 5-2, by the way.
If UEFA goes ahead and fines the Scottish club it will expose double-standards at play in the sporting world. The organisation’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Committee fined Celtic two years ago when fans also waved Palestinian flags during a match. The committee took action based on Article 16 (2) (e) of its regulations, which forbids political, ideological and religious messages at sports events.
However, the same disciplinary committee regularly turns a blind eye to the racism and violence meted out by some of Israel’s fans at home and away. Palestinian or Muslim footballers playing in matches against Beitar Jerusalem have been met with chants of “Death to Arabs” from the stands; as far as I’m aware, UEFA has failed to take any action against the club and its fans.
Furthermore, thugs in the crowd at Beitar — encouraged by the silence of the Israel Football Association to sanction the club for its fans’ behaviour — continue with their abuse. As a result, Beitar remains a sanctuary for racism in Israel. Its fans wave banners proclaiming “Beitar forever pure”, which is their way of pointing out that it does not sign any Arab players even though 20 per cent of Israeli citizens are Palestinian Arabs.
Assaults against Palestinians on match days, including women and children, are regular occurrences, but neither the Israel FA nor UEFA appear to be willing to end such racism. Attempts by Israel to stop Palestinian football fixtures have been well documented in Middle East Monitor, with interference regularly crossing the jurisdiction between UEFA and football’s world ruling body, FIFA.
The Israel FA not only remains silent when attacks against Palestinian sports are committed routinely, but it is also complicit with the occupation, having accepted five teams from illegal Israeli settlements. All of this is not lost on ordinary football and sporting fans around the world who refuse to be silent about such injustice. Many believe that sporting events should be used as platforms to promote peace and not to whitewash the occupation of Palestinian lands or the brutal actions of an apartheid state.
It is not Celtic FC which should be punished, but the State of Israel; it should be excluded not just from football competitions but also from major tournaments like the Olympic Games. Six members of the Palestinian team, including the 55-year-old dressage rider and German businessman Christian Zimmerman, had their official uniforms and equipment impounded by Israeli customs.
Before the games began in Rio, Munther Masalmeh, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Olympic Committee, told the media that the team’s gear had not cleared customs. “We got one shipment several months ago and we have not been able to bring it in,” he explained. “We were forced to travel without our equipment and to buy it in Brazil instead.”
In a further act of interference in the Palestinian Olympic team, Issam Qishta, the head of the Palestinian delegation, was banned by the Israeli authorities from leaving the Gaza Strip to join the Rio-bound group. The more that Tel Aviv meddles in the sporting affairs of Palestine, the more that genuine fans of sport around the world will rise up and protest.
The only common goal achieved by the Zionist State is that young Palestine athletes and their supporters resent their occupiers and are reminded constantly — on a daily basis — of the injustices of the Israeli occupation. Instead of thinking about fining courageous Celtic fans thousands of miles away in Scotland, UEFA should pressure Israel by threatening to expel it from European football.
The democratic world should also add pressure on Israel through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement until Palestinian athletes are free to train, play and compete at the highest levels of international sport without being impeded or having their training or equipment stopped by Israeli oppression. The amazing show of support for Palestinians this week was organised via a Facebook group called “Fly the flag for Palestine, for Celtic, for Justice”. Organisers called on Celtic fans to support the BDS movement and oppose what they called “Israeli apartheid, settler colonialism and countless massacres” of the Palestinian people.
“When someone represents Israeli institutions it is sadly never merely a game,” they said. “Football, UEFA, and Celtic FC are being used to whitewash Israel’s true nature and give this rogue state an air of normality and acceptance it should not and cannot enjoy until its impunity ends and it is answerable to international law and faces sanctions for the countless UN resolutions it had breached.”
During its Apartheid years, South Africa, where most sports were segregated based on race, found itself barred from the Olympics, suspended from world football and excluded from cricket tours. International rugby teams also came under strong pressure to stay away.
Until similar sporting boycotts are imposed on Israel it seems that the Zionist State will continue to persecute and target Palestinian athletes. If Palestinians cannot play sport freely, then the world’s governing bodies will be seen as legitimising Israel’s continued occupation, oppression and apartheid policies. The fans of Celtic FC may be ordinary men and women, but they are extraordinary human beings for standing up for justice.
The Celtic football team faces a penalty from UEFA after the Scottish club’s fans waved Palestinian flags during a Champions League playoff match against Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva. The not-so-warm welcome was followed by a defeat for Israel: Celtic FC won the match 5-2.
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) forbids political statement displays at football matches. Prior to showdown, fans had been warned that any political protest inside the stadium would result in repercussions from the governing authority, which could lead to fines or even Celtic Park stadium closure.
Scottish police urged fans to not bring Palestinian flags, threatening them with arrest, the Daily Record reported. Under Scottish law anyone found guilty of inciting “hatred against a group of persons based on their membership (or presumed membership) of a group,” could be detained.
But despite the UEFA warning, the Scottish fans went on to display Palestinian flags at the match, handed out prior to the game by “Palestine Alliance” activists.
The mass action to show support for the Palestinian cause was organized via a Facebook group titled “Fly the flag for Palestine, for Celtic, for Justice”, which according to the group registered over 1,200 in attendance.
In organizing the event the activists called on Celtic fans to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, and what the group called “Israeli apartheid, settler colonialism, and countless massacres of the Palestinian people.”
The activists also urged UEFA to join their cause and not support Israel and its policies.
“When someone is representing Israeli state institutions it is sadly never merely a game; football, UEFA, and Celtic FC are being used to whitewash Israel’s true nature and give this rogue state an air of normality and acceptance it should not and cannot enjoy until it’s impunity ends and it is answerable to international law and faces sanctions for the countless UN resolutions it had breached,” the group said on Facebook.
By Robert Fantina | Aletho News | August 17, 2016
In 2015, after much ado, and with great, international fanfare, the United States and 5 other nations (China, France, Russia, Great Britain and Germany) entered into an agreement with Iran, regulating that country’s nuclear activities. This was not an easy sell to the U.S. Congress, which, apparently, exists to serve Israel first, and U.S. citizens only after Israel’s needs have been satisfied.
A group of 47 senators succeeded in humiliating the nation by sending a letter to Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian Foreign Minister, purportedly explaining U.S. law.
Mr. Zarif, a U.S. constitutional expert, responded by schooling them.
Then, none other than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress, telling its members, yet again, for the umpteenth time in the last ten years, that Iran was only ‘months away’ from having a nuclear weapon.
Democratic members of Congress particularly beholden to Israel but not wanting to embarrass a Democratic president, danced to a particularly awkward tune as they waited to see if the agreement had enough votes in the Senate to pass. Once it was apparent that the agreement would be approved by a Congressional majority, they were at liberty to express their opposition to it, knowing that doing so would please their Israeli masters, and not impact the vote, thus embarrassing President Barack Obama.
Now, the bizarre reasoning behind why Iran, a nation that hasn’t invaded another country in decades, should be forbidden from developing nuclear weapons, when Israel, a brutal, apartheid regime with more blood on its hands than a doctor after a botched surgery, can, is a topic for another essay. Our purpose today is to examine the agreement that was made with Iran, what concessions were made on each side, and how each is following through.
Iran, which never claimed it had the development of nuclear weapons as its goal, agreed to major reductions in its nuclear development program. It also agreed to allowing an international monitoring team to verify compliance. In return, the U.S. agreed to lift decades-old sanctions that, like most of U.S. sanctions, did little to impact the government, but caused untold suffering among the Iranian population.
It seems, however, that Iran overlooked an important aspect in its negotiations with the U.S. While there is a mechanism in place to monitor Iranian compliance with the agreement, no such measures exist to monitor U.S. compliance.
The U.S., in its usual hypocritical way, has released the obligation of European banks to avoid doing business with Iran, yet maintains some sanctions, thus effectively preventing the banks from conducting any business with that country. As reported by CNN Money in May of this year, “HSBC, Standard Chartered and France’s BNP Paribas have all been in trouble before — and paid billions in fines — for dealing with Iran while U.S. sanctions were in place. So while they may see attractive commercial opportunities in the country of about 80 million people, they’re treading very carefully because some sanctions still linger, including a ban on conducting transactions with Iran in U.S. dollars.”
So while the U.S. adheres to the letter of the law, it violates the spirit of it, and as a result, Iran is getting next to nothing for the concessions it made. “We hold the US responsible for all violations [of the nuclear agreement]. The US must accept responsibility for reneging on its promises on the international level,” Alaeddin Boroujerd, Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, stated on August 1. He further emphasized that the U.S., despite Iran’s adherence to the terms of the agreement, continued to damage “Iran’s economic relations with other countries.”
Now, isn’t the U.S. the land of the free and the home of the brave? Does it not proclaim its moral superiority around the globe, even as it bombs innocent men, women and children? Is its word not worth gold?
The U.S. does not want Iran to have nuclear weapons, because doing so would provide an equal, yet opposing, force to Israel in the Middle East. Current Democratic candidate, the corrupt former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has made support for Israel a cornerstone of her campaign. She has stated that the best way to serve Israel is to topple the government of Syrian president Bashar Assad. So if U.S. government officials will go so far as to overthrow foreign governments (please see Ecuador, Guatemala, Brazil, Bolivia (twice), Portugal, Nicaragua, etc.), with all the killing, mass arrests and oppression that accompanies each coup, certainly crippling the economy of one of Israel’s enemies, and violating its word in order to do so, is a trivial matter by comparison.
When one party to any contract violates the terms of that contract, the other party is no longer bound by it. So when Iran decides that it need not slow its nuclear program, because the U.S. hasn’t respected its side of the agreement, we will all watch U.S. members of Congress proclaiming “I told you so! Those Iranians can’t be trusted!’, when, in fact, it is the U.S. that can’t be trusted. But the corporate-owned media will only report on what it will see as Iran’s violations of the agreement, without mentioning that the U.S. violated it first.
U.S. citizens will gasp in horror at the perfidy of Iran; after all, most Iranians are Muslim, and as the news media either hints at, or boldly proclaims, all Muslims are terrorists. And the way will be open for another U.S. imperial misadventure, something to match the tragedy of Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam or the countless other places where the U.S. has disastrously and illegally intervened. Countless innocent people will suffer and die, the Middle East will be further destabilized, and military contractors’ profits soar. It will be business as usual in the mighty, corrupt U.S.A.
Israeli army withdraws from Al-Fawwar, after killing one Palestinian, injuring 59, and searching dozens of homes
The Israeli army withdrew, late on Tuesday at night, from the al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, after concluding a massive military invasion, leading to the death of one Palestinian, while at least 59 others have been injured and dozens of homes invaded and ransacked.
Dr. Waleed Zalloum, the general director of the Hebron Governmental hospital, said 38 Palestinians were moved to the medical center, and that most of them were shot in their legs, thighs and arms.
Zalloum added that one Palestinian, identified as Mohammad Yousef Saber Abu Hashhash, 17, was fatally shot in the chest and died shortly after being moved to a hospital.
Dozens of residents, including many children and elderly, suffered severe effects of tear gas inhalation, and received the needed treatment.
Dr. Yousef Takrouri, the general director of the Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron, said five Palestinians were moved to the medical center; all were shot with live rounds, four in the legs and one in the chest.
In addition, one Palestinian was moved to the Rafidia Hospital, in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, after the soldiers shot him with an expanding bullet in the leg, and another was moved to a hospital in Ramallah, when the soldiers shot him with a similar round in his left shoulder.
Many Palestinian families said the soldiers violently invaded their homes and searched them, and accused the military of stealing gold and cash during the searches.
Amjad Najjar, the head of the Hebron office of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said the soldiers invaded his home in the al-Fawwar refugee camp, before forcing him and his family in one room, and violently searched the property, causing excessive damage.
Najjar added that the soldiers stole gold and cash from the family home, and that the search of the property lasted for more than four hours.
During the invasion into the refugee camp, the soldiers conducted home-to-home searches, causing excessive property damage, in addition to interrogating dozens of families and photographing them.
The Israeli invasion into the camp was initiated at dawn, Tuesday; the army said it was looking for weapons and claimed that the soldiers “located two pistols, one commando knife, sound bombs and dozens of live rounds.
Israeli and American Jewish media have become willing facilitators of yet another fraud perpetrated by right-wing MKs and their NGO counterparts. The Knesset foreign affairs committee began the fraud by titling the hearing, “Singling Out Jewish Students by BDS on U.S. Campuses.” MK Anat Berko, who touts herself as a former IDF colonel and “expert” on Islamist terror, made flagrantly false claims that the BDS movement compiled lists of Jewish students along with their addresses. Berko is the solon who claimed Palestine doesn’t exist because there is no “P” in Arabic. Not to be outdone, MKs from Yesh Atid and Labor also chimed in supporting this hash of a hearing. The charges were formulated as if this were BDS’ first step toward a Final Solution of the Israel Problem. For those pro-Israelists without a sense of humor, the above sentence was meant entirely ironically.
Arutz 7, a settler website, ran this headline: Jews Persecuted Around the World. A video of some of the proceedings (in Hebrew) is here. NGO Monitor, a group whose leader was sued successfully for libel by an Israeli Palestinian non-profit group, even claimed that BDS’ anti-Semitic activism could be criminal in nature. Another NGO, Reservists to the Front, which was founded to combat Breaking the Silence, joined in claiming (without any evidence) that there were 941 anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. in 2015. 90 were committed on campuses. He added, for good measure:
Jewish students are the most persecuted minorities on U.S. campuses, bar none.
Former Shin Bet chief and current Likud MK testified not just to his histrionic view of BDS, but his abject racism:
“BDS is an anti-Semitic wave against Jews. To my sorrow, it exists in nations considered enlightened and campuses considered intellectual [sic]. The style of BDS activists bring an Olympic judo medal, but nothing respectable. A great portion of BDS activism springs from the frustration of recent years when the subject of Palestine has sunk from the international agenda.”
Dichter continued his delusional rant thanking the Reservists group for the fake claims they offered: “The things done against Jewish students are carried out with the intent of harming Israel.”
The former domestic security agency chief was alluding to a bit of guerilla theater in which Students for Justice for Palestine (SJP) placed “eviction notices” under the dormitory room doors of students at NYU. Jewish students who received the notices filed complaints with the administration that they were targeted because they were Jews. In reality, two dormitories received the flyers. One of them contained a Shabbat elevator for observant Jewish students. Both buildings contained both Jewish and non-Jewish students and there is no evidence that Jewish students were the only ones targeted for the notices.
NGO Monitor claimed that SJP deliberately distributed eviction notices to non-Jewish students so it could not be prosecuted for a hate crime. Again, an evidence-free claim. This action did not involve, as the media reports allege, any lists of Jewish students, their mail or e-mail addresses. None of the reports substantiate this claim with any evidence whatsoever. There is no evidence. Even the ADL, not known for its fondness for BDS acknowledged this in the Forward :
“According to our research, there is no evidence pointing to Students for Justice in Palestine compiling specific lists of Jewish students.”
Even more virulent pro-Israel groups stepped back from Berko’s hoax:
… Officials from the Zionist Organization of America and Stand With Us…. told the Forward they had no knowledge of this sort of activity taking place.
But that didn’t stop other members of the pro-Israel media. The Times of Israel (which Jeffrey Goldberg calls a “highly credible” publication):
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a pro-Palestinian student advocacy group, has been compiling lists of Jewish students on college campuses in North America and detailing their dorm address information, raising fears for the students’ safety, Israel Radio reports.
The report came as the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee met earlier Tuesday to discuss Israel boycott efforts at US colleges.
Israel HaYom also went to town on the report. It’s come to smell like a bunch of flies buzzing around a corpse of a story. That’s what all the lies amount to. Defending the indefensible. You get tired of having to defend Israel’s oppression and so you turn the tables and blame the accusers, the victims. They’re not the real victims, you are. They hate you. Want you dead. You? You did nothing wrong. It’s all their fault. Focus it all on them. Then they won’t be able to shine the light back at you and what you’ve done.
In 1894 the French Zionist intellectual Bernard Lazare published his monumental book ‘Anti-Semitism, its Causes and History.’
Like most of his contemporary early Zionists, Lazare realised that anti-Semitism had its roots in the bad behaviour of Jews.
Four and a half decades before the Shoah, Lazare discerned what it was about the Jews that made them hated in so many disparate places and time periods. Lazare and most of his fellow early Zionists understood that the Jews were often complicit, if unwittingly, in their own victimisation. They were actually pretty effective in bringing disasters on themselves.
Those who want to learn how Jews bring disasters on themselves should follow the activities of Michael Foster, a man who identifies himself as a prominent “Labour Jewish donor.”
The Jewish Labour donor Foster suffers from the belief that the Labour party is a private matter for Jews. He “despises” Corbyn as well as his supporters. He presumes that the £400, 000 he has spent on the Labour party entitles him to dismiss what seems to be the democratic choice of the vast majority of Labour party members. Foster’s recent Daily Mail commentary, ‘Why I despise Jeremy Corbyn and his Nazi stormtroopers‘ provides us with a spectacular illustration of Jewish bad behaviour.
Consistent with the most distasteful supremacist tribal conduct, Foster dismisses Corbyn followers as a ‘circus’ and as ‘Corbynistas,’ he calls them “disciples” to imply that Corbyn followers are a religious cult rather than a rational political movement. The Jewish donor goes so far as to label Corbyn supporters as Sturm Abteilung (Nazi stormtroopers).
In fact, the only contemporary collectives that resemble Sturm Abteilung are West Bank Jewish settlers and the Beitar Jerusalem football fans who chant en masse “Here we are, we’re the most racist football team in the country!”
In a bizarre twist, Foster who is an active and prominent operator for a foreign lobby (LFI), dares to call Corbyn’s politics “alien to this country.” Foster imagines that the man who is supported by a huge majority within the Labour party membership is “divisive and aggressive.”
What makes the Corbynistas divisive and aggressive? Foster answers, “if you are like me, a Jewish donor to Labour, you are smeared as a Blairite conspirator, plotting to falsely use the accusation of anti-Semitism to damage the Left.” But Foster has been behaving exactly as he describes openly and intensively for over a year. Maybe Lazare’s compendium of Jewish bad behaviour needs an updated revision. It is sadly symptomatic of a Jewish political merchant to be oblivious to the effects of his own actions. Michael Foster self-identifies as a Jewish Labour donor and overtly operates against Corbyn, the democratic choice of the Labour party. Foster proclaims his £400, 000 investment in the Labour Party and then protests that he is deeply offended when he is singled out by some of Corbyn’s supporters for his behaviour.
At least Michael Foster has added a precious contribution to our understanding of Jewish politics and power. For obvious reasons not many Jewish mammonites are stupid enough to acknowledge their conspiratorial agenda. Foster is doing so for free.
Bernard Lazare published Anti-Semitism, its Causes and History four decades before Hitler came to power. Instead of reading Lazare and attempting to remedy their position, Jewish institutions labeled Lazare as a self-hater and ignored his invaluable study. Lazare didn’t know Michael Foster but he identified the Jewish supremacist symptoms that are, unfortunately, attached to Jewish culture, politics, collectivism and lobbying. Lazare identified the self-aggrandising belief in his own superiority that fuels Michael Foster. But there is one symptom Lazare failed to identify; the choseness that is an unfortunate and severe form of blindness. Choseness, like supremacy, disables any form of mirroring or self-reflection.
Will Hungary be the next nation to exit the dysfunctional European Union? The question isn’t at all as far-fetched as it might seem. On October 2, voters in Hungary will participate in a nationwide referendum to vote whether they agree to the forced settlement of migrants in Hungary by the EU or not. It’s a major issue in Hungary, a land of proud and staunchly independent-minded people who have endured 150 years of Ottoman rule; wars with Habsburg Austria until the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 created a peaceful coexistence under the dual Monarchy of Austria–Hungary. After that, Hungarians were subject to the Soviet Union since 1945, initially under the dreaded Mátyás Rákosi, until it became the first Warsaw Pact communist country to declare a constitutional republic in October, 1989 and open its borders to Austria, setting in motion the domino fall of East Germany and then of the entire Warsaw Pact and, ultimately, the Soviet Union. Like every nation, they have a very special history.
It might well be said that Hungarians, always an ethnic melting-pot population whose parliament enacted the first laws of ethnic and minority rights in the world in 1849, are not a passive people when they sense something is wrong in the way they are being treated. So it is today regarding the Brussels proposal that Hungary and other EU member states must accept a Brussels-determined number of political war refugees from the Middle East and pay for all their costs whether they want them or not. Countries that refuse to take their quota would face severe financial penalties. In 2015 some 400,000 refugees arrived in Hungary in 2015 before a four-meter high razor wire fence was erected on the border with Serbia.
About half, or 200,000, attempted to gain asylum in Hungary, and after government procedures, only 264 refugees were granted political asylum. Since the erection of the fence the inflow via the so-called Balkan Route has all but stopped. The Austrian government has also decided to cooperate with the Orban government in jointly patrolling their common border.
Hungary is joined in opposing the Brussels mandatory refugee quota proposal by the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland–the so-called Visegrad Four group. So far only Hungary has decided on a national referendum on the issue. Polls show well over 66% opposed to the mandatory quotas, including Orban, who has urged a No vote.
Hungary’s outspoken Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, the only prime minister since 1989 to serve a full term and be re-elected, is very popular among Hungarians for speaking his mind against what he feels are wrong policies coming out of Brussels. Many Hungarians see him as a modern David pitted against the far larger Goliath, the faceless, unelected EU Commission.
On October 2 Hungarians will vote on a single question in a special national referendum: “Do you want the European Union to prescribe the mandatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary even without the consent of Parliament?”
Orban: ‘terror risk…’
On the war refugee issue Orban minces no words: “Hungary does not need a single migrant for the economy to work, or the population to sustain itself, or for the country to have a future,” he said in a recent interview. On the contrary, he stated, “Every single migrant poses a public security and terror risk. This is why there is no need for a common European migration policy.” Whoever needs migrants can take them, but don’t force them on us, we don’t need them.” As far as Hungary is concerned, he stated in an interview with RT, “migration is not a solution but a problem… We don’t need it and won’t swallow it.” The Hungarian government insists that the right to decide refugee issues should be reserved exclusively for national governments.
Hungary and three other central European states that constitute the Visegrad Four group, which includes Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, have been opposing the mandatory quotas the EU wants to impose on each member state. Last December Hungary filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Justice to thwart the EU’s attempt to redistribute incoming arrivals across the European Union. A decision could take years. The referendum is intended to give a broad popular mandate against Brussels’ forced quota attempts.
First step to EU Exit?
Clear to all from Brussels to Berlin to Budapest is that Hungarians will vote an overwhelming No to refugee forced quotas. At that point the real question will be whether Hungarians hold a second referendum, as the British did recently, to vote on leaving the EU or not when it becomes clear that Brussels will ignore the Hungarian vote with their usual deafening silence. The idea of a Hungarian EU exit is not unthinkable at all at this point now that Britain has become “first out the door,” establishing the precedent exit is possible.
The Orban government to date has moved with a certain directed caution to test the limits of EU rules. Far from a “right-wing tyrant” as Brussels bureaucrats and politically-correct mainstream EU media have portrayed him, the Oxford-educated Orban is a highly-sophisticated, apparently not corrupt (a real novelty in today’s politics if true) genuine democrat who always turns to his voters on key policy decisions to be sure he has them with him, something anathema to the unelected Brussels oligarchy.
Viktor Orban’s views on the current refugee crisis, which media deliberately misnames the far more benign-sounding mass migration situation of the EU, he outlined in detail in his February 28 annual State of the Union address to the nation, midway into his third term as (elected) Prime Minister.
Referring to the country’s recent experience extricating itself from the destructive decades of communist rule, now as an EU member state since 2004, Orban notes, “we are concerned as to how we should protect our national interests within the European Union.” This sounds reasonable enough unless one realizes that the aim of the EU as an institution is precisely the opposite–to ultimately destroy any and all national interests in favor of a top-down Brussels-centered autocracy of the unelected.
As so much about the true Hungary and Orban’s actual accomplishments is either ignored or distorted by mainstream non-Hungarian media, it’s first useful to note some of what Viktor Orban has accomplished in the first term from 1998-2002 when his Fidesz Party won in a coalition with the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) and the Independent Smallholders, Agrarian Workers and Civic Party (FKGP) and in his sole majority government since 2010. After 8 years out of office, Orban’s Fidesz Party won an overwhelming popular mandate of 53% of the vote and two-thirds of Parliament seats in 2010 and re-election in 2014 to the present.
As Orban notes in his February address to the nation, “within three years we had consolidated the budget, stabilized the economy, avoided bankruptcy, curbed inflation and reduced unemployment – the latter not marginally, but from 11.5% to 6.2%. We sent the IMF packing, repaid our loan ahead of schedule, and this year we shall also repay the last blessed penny of our debt to the European Union. All in all, in 2014 we rounded off this period of stabilization with economic growth of 3.7%, and opened a new chapter.”
In addition, under Orban’s term, the government managed “in five years to reduce personal income tax from 35% to 15%, and in five years we have left 1,300 billion forints in the pockets of families. We have reduced household utility bills by 25%, and in five years the minimum wage in Hungary has increased by 50%. We have achieved this together: the state and the market; the Government and the business sector; employers and employees; Hungarian micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises and the local subsidiaries of global conglomerates… Compared with 2010, we have allocated forty per cent more funding to health care. We have halved waiting lists. We have allocated more than five hundred billion – more than five hundred billion forints – to the development of our hospitals.”
That is the background of Hungary’s present economy under Orban’s term and the background to understand why the population supports his call for a no to mandatory refugee quotas. Now his remarks on the refugee crisis are relevant.
‘name of this danger is mass migration…’
Orban continues, “I would now like to explain why I have said all this. In summary, it is because all of this is now in danger. The financial stability we have worked so hard for is in danger… Our nationally-oriented foreign policy – which has been built with such painstaking attention to detail – is in danger. Restored public order and public security free of terrorist threats are in danger. And our national culture… is also in danger.”
He gets precise: “The name of this danger is mass migration… The year 2015 brought to an end an age in which, believing that it was under Europe’s control, we took the protection and safety of our continent for granted. One year ago, on this same occasion, we were already warning that a new age of mass migration had begun. We were mocked mercilessly, and insulted by friends, allies and rivals alike… The reality is that those coming here have no intention whatsoever of adopting our way of life, because they see their own as more valuable… And why, indeed, would they give it up? The reality is that they will not provide the supply of labor needed by the factories of Western Europe. Facts show that, across entire generations, the unemployment rate is much higher – sometimes several times higher –among those born outside Europe. The reality is that the European nations have been unable to integrate even the masses who arrived from Asia and Africa gradually, over a number of decades. How could they succeed in doing so now, so rapidly and for such large numbers?”
All those statements can be argued. But here is the core point on which Orban bases his strategy of Referendum, and the ultimate reason he will next be forced after October 2 to begin preparing a ‘Huexit’ from the EU for Hungary:
“… it is hardly the migrants whom we should be so angry with. The majority of them are also victims: victims of their countries’ collapsing governments, victims of bad international decisions, victims of people smugglers. They are doing what they see as being in their own interests. The problem is that we Europeans are not doing that which would be in our own interests. There is no better word for what Brussels is doing than “absurd”. It is like a ship’s captain heading for collision who, instead of wanting to take avoiding action, is more interested in deciding which lifeboats should be non-smoking. It is as if, instead of repairing the leaking hull, we are arguing about how much water should flood into which cabins…”
Orban then continues:
“It is a big enough problem that Brussels is not capable of organizing the defense of Europe, but it is an even bigger problem that it lacks the intent to do so. In Budapest, Warsaw, Prague and Bratislava it is difficult for us to understand how we have reached a point at which it is even possible that those wanting to come here from other continents and other cultures can be let in without controls. It is difficult to understand the weakening of our civilization’s natural and fundamental instinct for the defense of ourselves, our families, our homes and our land… This is Europe. Europe is Hellas, not Persia; it is Rome, not Carthage; it is Christianity, not a caliphate. When we say this we are not claiming that we are better, but that we are different. To point to the existence of an independent European civilization does not mean that it is better or worse; it only means that “we are like this, and you are like that.”
This move by Hungary, its Prime Minister and its population is no superficial political ploy to bargain for a better deal from Brussels as David Cameron intended with his Brexit fiasco (seen from Cameron’s view). It’s a fundamental drawing of a line in the sand of the entire European Union between countries who believe in a dissolved national sovereignty in favor of a supranational Brussels-based United Europe, and those countries who fiercely intend in the wake of this refugee crisis and all its ramifications, to demand essential national sovereign rights.
Brussels, and clearly Merkel’s Berlin, will oppose Hungary tooth-and-nail to defend their supranational concept. They will do that with the backing of George Soros and his European Council on Foreign Relations think tank. Not surprising, Viktor Orban has repeatedly openly opposed Hungarian-born billionaire speculator George Soros and his NGOs for trying to destabilize Hungary. Soros money also funded the document known as the Merkel Plan, which is the direct opposition to Orban’s defense of national sovereignty over the admission of refugees.
At this point the unfortunate experiment known as the European Union is flying apart in every direction. Hungary may well be forced to rethink its EU identity after October 2 if not well before as events are going, and that will ineluctably feed the forces of dissolution in the EU, perhaps a not at all bad consequence.
An Israeli university has hosted a hasbara hackathon, which saw students gather to create ways to improve Israel’s image and undermine the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
The ‘iHack’ event, held at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, is the latest example of Israeli students and institutions of higher education enlisting themselves in Israel’s global PR offensive.
According to organisers, the event sought to “bring together a community of creative, technical and passionate individuals to work together in teams to create media, content, campaigns, and apps for Israel advocacy.”
The goal was “developing products to promote” three objectives: “making Israel advocacy more accessible to the public”; “countering the BDS movement”; and “positively branding Israel.”
The Technion students behind the project are all part of the ‘Israel Fellowship’ scheme run by Israel advocacy organisation StandWithUs.
The hackathon was run with the help of think-tank the Reut Institute. According to Reut, “the aim is to enhance and develop tools which can be used by activists and organizations fighting against the BDS Campaign and Israel’s delegitimization across the world.”
According to a report in The Jerusalem Post, the Technion-hosted event was also held in collaboration with arms company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, as well as “the Student Union and the Entrepreneurship Centre of the Technion.”
The director of public diplomacy at Israel’s Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Ministry was also in attendance.
Rafael provided 20 employees as “mentors”, along with “other experts in the fields of software and engineering, political science, marketing and graphic design.”
Under the direction of Rafael employee ‘Ezra’ (“whose last name was withheld”), one group created a “diplomatic Iron Dome.” According to the paper, “the team envisioned anti-Israel expression as the missile, and their app as the Iron Dome that must intercept it.”
The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) votes almost unanimously for Owen Smith over Jeremy Corbyn to become the next leader of the party.
In an overwhelming victory for Smith, 92 percent of the JLM voted in favor of Smith, compared to just 4 percent backing Corbyn.
According to its website, the JLM is a “formal affiliate of the Labour Party in the UK since 1920,” which “campaigns within the party and the wider community to support Labour values within the UK, Israel and internationally.” It also works closely with “the Zionist Federation of the UK.”
Corbyn has been rocked by several accusations of anti-Semitism in the party since taking over as leader in September of 2015. The row gained mass media coverage and led to the party suspending a number of its key figures for condemning Israeli crimes.
Reacting to the uproar, Corbyn launched an inquiry into anti-Semitism within the Labour Party. Even former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, was suspended by Corbyn in April for denouncing Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people and arguing that Adolf Hitler, the former leader of Nazi Germany, was a supporter of Zionism.
Writing an article for the Mail over the weekend, a Jewish Labour donor compared Corbyn’s inner circle to “Nazi stormtroopers”. Michael Foster, who gave Labour £400,000 at the last election, wrote of his hatred for Corbyn and penned his support for Smith.
Smith, a former shadow work and pensions secretary, announced his decision to run in the Labour leadership election last month. Smith had resigned earlier this year from Corbyn’s shadow cabinet before challenging for the leadership.
Corbyn’s opponents challenged his leadership for what they call inadequate efforts to keep the UK in the European Union.
Corbyn has until September 21 to appeal to voters and defeat Smith. The results will be announced in a Liverpool conference three days later.
The Boston Globe recently ran an article by Alan Dershowitz that was full of imperatives for the membership of Black Lives Matter, telling them in what they “must” do to make things right with supporters of Israel and to avoid being cast into the “dustbin of history”.
Well I’ve got news for Mr. Dershowitz.
Those of us that support Black Lives Matter are not particularly interested in anything that he—a serial bully, sycophant to the rich and famous and arch-apologist for Israel’s long and constant history of ethnic cleansing—says to us.
Indeed, many us of find the pose he adopts, the all-too-familiar one of the Zionist—which is to say a person beholden to an ideology that grants civil rights on the basis of a person’s bloodlines—telling us what we can and cannot say about this or that subject to be not only offensive, but borderline comical.
The days of profligately abusing loaded terms like “anti-semitism” and “blood libel” to try and control the parameters of thinkable thought on Israel are, thankfully, coming to a close. Unlike previous generations, younger people fully understand the mechanics of this long-running and all-too-successful thought control gambit and will not put up with it any more.
Not that I think any of this will stop the famously self-involved Mr. Dershowitz from writing such breathtakingly arrogant pieces in the future, nor his enablers at the Globe and other major media outlets from publishing them.
History is full of figures and organizations that were unable to recognize that the ideas and methods that catapulted them to notoriety and power in one phase of their existence had become largely, if not yet loudly, discredited in their later years.
It seems that Mr. Dershowitz and the Globe are determined to add to this long and unfortunate list of tragically blinkered thinkers and social institutions.
Thomas S. Harrington is a professor of Iberian Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and the author of the recently released Livin’ la Vida Barroca: American Culture in a Time of Imperial Orthodoxies.
The Henry Jackson Society is a neoconservative London-based think tank set up in the wake of the July 2005 London bombings. Earlier this year it contributed towards the expenses for former Justice Secretary Michael Gove and his family to attend pro-Israel events in the United States. On a trip to receive an award from the right-wing online magazine The Algemeiner, parliamentary records show that Gove, his wife and two children, as well as a member of staff, received thousands of pounds worth of flights, taxi journeys, accommodation and dinners.
The Algemeiner itself paid £124 for Gove and his entourage to travel in taxis, £2,525 on flights and a dinner costing £856. There was also a huge reception at which Michael Gove, Bernard Henri-Levy and Rupert Murdoch were the speakers. The Henry Jackson Society then topped up the contribution by paying for accommodation, amounting to £2,764 for the week’s lodgings. The Lisa and Michael Leffel Foundation, which is famed for its association with a number of pro-Israel causes as well as support for Israel soldiers’ charities, also took Gove and his political adviser out for a separate meal costing £185. The pair were wined and dined for a third time by Alisa Swidler, also a small-time Tory donor, at a cost of over £200.
Gove, who has made a flushed retreat to the backbenches following a bungled attempt to become prime minister in the wake of Brexit, and then being fired as Justice Minister by the new Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, has long been a celebrity amongst Algemeiner staff. In 2013, they opined that his views were “more favourable to Israel than those of any other mainstream British politician, current or past.” He has won awards from their editorial board consistently for championing the cause of Israel in London and, particularly of late, trying to delegitimise the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The Henry Jackson Society’s world view has become well-established in Westminster, although the group is small and not well-regarded by many Tory MPs; its pro-Israel stance is well known.
Since Israel’s 2006 war in Lebanon, when the Conservatives were still in opposition in Westminster, the then planning minister Michael Gove allied with George Osborne in convincing the formerly ambivalent David Cameron that British support for Israel must be redoubled, despite the ruling Likud Party’s ties with far-right parties. Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague sparked a bitter rift between neoconservative figures like Gove and more sombre realists. “In some instances, such as attacks on the Lebanese army or on parts of the civil infrastructure, Israeli actions have been disproportionate,” Hague wrote, “and our Foreign Office should not be afraid to say so; our position in international affairs may often be linked to that of the United States but it does not have to be identical to it.”
According to one friend, this incensed Gove, who was on the cusp of publishing his first book as a Member of Parliament; he called it “Celsius 7/7” (his right-wing echo of Michael Moore’s film “Fahrenheit 9/11”), which called for a strengthening of ties with Israel. The mood at the Henry Jackson Society was equally angry. When the Israeli air force began pounding military and civilian targets in southern Lebanon, a crowd of two hundred HJS supporters at the launch event of its inaugural collection of neoconservative essays (“The British Moment”) rather coarsely “cheered to the rafters”, according to one person who was there. “I hope this book will ensure that the case for foreign policy with a conscience, grows in strength,” Gove wrote in his dedication for the tome.
The Spectator also insinuated that Hague’s reaction to the 2006 Lebanon war may have had an immediate financial impact, veering towards the kind of anti-Semitic tropes of which Gove has been such a fierce critic. A Tory donor was reported as saying that Hague’s position was “the latest in a long line of rebuttals for people like us, and the things we believe in.” Fraser Nelson at the Spectator (now editor of the magazine) judged that “of the £12 million the party normally raises each year (£25 million in an election year)… about a tenth comes from donors who are Jewish or have Jewish associations.” Apparently, he spoke with three donors who were planning to withhold funds from the Tories, prompted by a threatening letter by major donor Lord Stanley Kalms, who responded to Hague’s comments thus: “William Hague’s usual good sense has deserted him. Criticising Israel for being disproportionate without serious consideration of the alternatives merely mouths the buzzwords of the ignorant armchair critic. Think again, William, for whom you speak. How do you deal with the Hezbollah leader Nasrallah, who is committed to Israel’s total destruction (not a single Jew to remain alive in Israel) and who rains thousands of rockets on Israel, keeping the population in shelters, devastating industry, kidnapping and killing Israeli soldiers within Israeli territory?”
As the 2010 elections drew closer — after which the Conservatives took office as the major party in a coalition — the debate between Gove and his party opponents over whether Israel should be supported or rebuffed raged on. One former associate wrote that he remained “a purist neo-con, believing that the best way of tackling the rise of radical Islam is to oppose totalitarian regimes and back democracy in the Middle East, with Israel as its beacon.” Meanwhile, Hague — who would serve as Foreign Secretary, a role coveted deeply by Gove — took the realpolitik view that Syria should be courted as an ally, if only Damascus could be convinced to cut ties with Iran. Despite the withdrawal of donations from apparently pro-Israel donors, Cameron persisted and at one stage called Gaza a “prison camp” while insisting that the Israelis allow in more humanitarian aid.
Gove and Osborne eventually convinced Cameron to change tack; in fact, by the time of the 2015 General Election, Cameron’s persecution of the BDS movement and insouciance to credibly-alleged Israeli war crimes was earning him praise from the American right, Tel Aviv and the Israeli media. “Is David Cameron the most pro-Israeli [British] PM ever?” asked a Haaretz headline shortly before the polls opened.
The Henry Jackson Society is thought by many to be the stately home of British Neoconservatism, and as staunchly pro-American as it is pro-Israel. Gove and Robert Halfon, at that time Chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel, were, according to a co-founder of the think tank, “The only two active trustees at the start,” playing a role in securing early-stage funding. A core part of its activity has been around promoting pro-Israel views in the halls of Westminster and in the media; its Associate Director Douglas Murray is a regular broadcaster in defence of Israel during its recurrent military offensives against the Gaza strip.
The international patrons of HJS include American neoconservative figures like the journalists Robert Kagan and William Kristol (son of Irving Kristol, “godfather” of the neoconservatives, and Gertrude Himmelfarb, his wife, and also a prominent neoconservative), as well as the politically-minded American businessman Richard Perle. With a career spent drifting through mid-level Washington politics, Perle acted as a special adviser to the think tank’s namesake, the US Democrat Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, the “patron saint” of the neocon movement for his hawkish stance during the Cold War; the right-wing Perle would later play a key part in convincing George W. Bush to invade Iraq.
The Henry Jackson Society’s efforts to promote Israel since 2005, as well as those of politicians like Michael Gove and George Osborne, and supportive journalists, have not been entirely successful. While Cameron has expressed support for Israel’s “right of self-defence” and thus condoned high Palestinian casualties in Gaza, and dampened his calls for humanitarian assistance to Palestine, the pro-Israel lobby has been unable to slow the rising BDS movement, failed to stop a non-binding Parliamentary vote to recognise the state of Palestine, and failed to stop the Iran nuclear deal. With figures like Gove and Osborne now relegated to the backbenches, the lobby is in crisis as it tries to find new allies with the ear of the prime minister. Trips to America may be a good way to pass the time, but at the moment they may well be a waste of money with scant return for the lobbyists.
Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, is showing consistency in her subservience to the Israel-First-hidden-hand of government. At a recent Green Party convention, Ms. May voted against the majority of delegates who approved a motion offering the party’s support for Boycotts, Sanctions and Divestment movement. The BDS campaign is being mounted worldwide in response to the anti-Palestinian apartheid policies of Israel.
I say congratulations to the Green Party membership! I share the position of the majority who voted for the Green Party to support BDS. This vote demonstrates that Elizabeth May does not speak for the majority of the Green Party membership and therefore she should resign.
With her vote against BDS, Elizabeth May has demonstrated where her loyalties lie. Ms. May also demonstrated those loyalties in her recent reaction to my “Sorry Mom, I was wrong about the holocaust” video. Ms. May did the federal state’s bidding in her media hit job on me. She issued a press release condemning me without any recognition of my years of dedicated work for the Green Party of Canada. My contributions included several runs for elected office as a Green Party candidate federally and provincially.
Ms. May misrepresented the facts about the 2015 election, saying they denied my candidacy when in fact I had already formally separated myself from the GPC. Ms. May also distorted reality by declaring that the GPC would terminate my membership at the earliest opportunity, when in fact I had rescinded my membership a year earlier. I had resigned on matters of principle, based in part on Ms. May’s untenable position on 9/11. An excerpt from my letter of resignation is published here.
Elizabeth May has shown her true colours. “The hastily adopted [BDS] policy could draw accusations of anti-Semitism” she said. Voltaire described this type of behaviour best: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize”.
My understanding of the roots of the Green Party is that we stood for peace, and that we agreed we would not align our political organization with the genocidal war agenda of the biggest bullies on the planet. Elizabeth May has betrayed the vision of the Green Party founders by showing where she stands on Canada-Israeli relations.
Monika Schaefer is a violin teacher living in Jasper Alberta in Japer National Park. She has been very active as a political activist in the peace movement, the environmental movement, the 9/11 truth movement and now in the movement for Open Debate on the Holocaust.