Iran says the latest report by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the implementation of last July’s nuclear agreement between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group of countries violates the letter and spirit of the deal.
Speaking ahead of a scheduled meeting of the UN Security Council in New York on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Qasemi, dismissed as unbalanced and biased the UN chief’s report about the implementation of the council’s Resolution 2231 that endorsed the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“This report runs counter to the letter and spirit of the JCPOA and even the Resolution 2231,” Qasemi said, adding, “This report has been drawn up under obvious pressure by the US on the United Nations secretariat and the allegations made in it against Iran are baseless.”
On July 7, Reuters quoted a confidential report by the UN secretary general as saying that Iran’s ballistic missile launches “are not consistent with the constructive spirit” of the JCPOA.
Ban, however, said that it is up to the UN Security Council to decide if Iran’s missile launches violated the resolution the Security Council adopted last year as part of the nuclear agreement.
“I call upon Iran to refrain from conducting such ballistic missile launches since they have the potential to increase tensions in the region,” the UN chief wrote in his first biannual report to the 15-member Security Council.
The Iranian spokesperson further described as a positive move the UN chief’s inclusion in his report of the failure of the US and the Western sides to fulfill their obligations under the JCPOA.
“However, it is regrettable that the report ignores such cases very easily and refrains from making a serious request on the P5+1 members to remain committed to their obligations,” Qasemi added.
He emphasized that the international community expects the UN chief to explicitly state the cases of the failure of the US and some members of the P5+1 to fulfill their JCPOA obligations, an issue which has been verified by many countries.
“The expression of concern by the report about Iran’s missile tests was a completely spiteful and biased move because the secretary general has made comments about the issue in blatant violation of the very content of Resolution 2231 and by merely resorting to criteria declared by the US, which violate all professional principles,” the spokesman said.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran once again emphasizes that Iran’s ballistic missiles by no means fall within the jurisdiction of Resolution 2231, because they have not been designed to carry nuclear warheads and the Islamic Republic of Iran will, therefore, not allow anyone to even opine about its defense system,” Qasemi pointed out.
He said the JCPOA was the outcome of long-term collective measures in order to find a diplomatic solution to a fabricated and unnecessary crisis, adding that the agreement’s longevity requires the political will of all sides to remain committed to their obligations as well as professional and supportive measures by bodies such as the UN.
He once again reiterated Iran’s commitment to its obligations but emphasized that the country would “take exigent reciprocal action” in case the other sides fail to honor their part of the deal.
Qasemi emphasized that it has been repeatedly proved that the adoption of hostile approaches by the UN Security Council against Iran will bear no fruit.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran warns that repetition of previous experiences will poison the spirit of the JCPOA and the positive atmosphere created as its result and this will never be beneficial to any side and the international community,” he said.
On March 9, Iran successfully test-fired two ballistic missiles as part of military drill to assess its defense capabilities. The missiles dubbed Qadr-H and Qadr-F were fired during a large-scale drill, code-named Eqtedar-e-Velayat.
A day earlier, the country’s Armed Forces had fired another ballistic missile called Qiam from silo-based launchers in different locations across the country.
The US claims that Iran’s missile tests violate the UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
Resolution 2231 adopted on July 20, 2015 provides for the termination of the provisions of previous Security Council resolutions on the Iranian nuclear program and establishes specific restrictions that apply to all states without exception.
The resolution calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.
Palestinian journalist Samah Dweik has been sentenced by the Israeli Jerusalem court to six months and one day in prison, on charges of “incitement” for posting on her Facebook page. She was arrested on 10 April 2016 from her home in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood of Silwan, Jerusalem, in a pre-dawn raid in which occupation soldiers invaded and ransacked her home, accused of posting in support of the intifada on Facebook.
She is one of hundreds of Palestinians targeted for arrest and persecution on the basis of postings on social media. Dweik, 25, is a freelance journalist who works with Quds News Network. She is one of over 20 Palestinian journalists detained and imprisoned by Israel, including Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate leader Omar Nazzal, Addameer media coordinator Hasan Safadi, and multiple journalists accused of “incitement” for posting on social media.
Dweik is one of over 60 Palestinian women imprisoned by Israel, held in HaSharon and Damon prisons. On Saturday, 16 July, two more Palestinian women were arrested: Banan Mahmoud Mafarjah, 21, a medical student at Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, Jerusalem, was arrested at an Israeli occupation “flying checkpoint” west of Ramallah; while Amal Masalmah of al-Khalil was among 10 Palestinians detained in late night and pre-dawn raids on 17 July.
… I reported yesterday on an investigation that has caught up Netanyahu, his son, Yair, possibly his wife, Sara, and his former chief of staff Ari Harow. …
Today, a Channel 2 news report snares a new player in the scandal, Shlomo Rechnitz. There’s a baseball saying: you can’t tell the players without a scorecard. As this criminal probe expands, I’ll try to keep the players clearly identified and offer some background.
Rechnitz comes from a wealthy, extended ultra-Orthodox family based in California. The scion of the family and Shlomo’s uncle, is Robert Rechnitz, a real estate investor who founded the Bomel Companies and an Israeli subsidiary, Bomel Israel. He has been vice chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition and founded a Congressional lobbying group on behalf of Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system (or should I say, “racket system?) the Iron Dome Tribute. He even developed a branding slogan: “the Humane Defensive Weapon.” I always thought the words “humane” and “weapon” were oxymorons. But not in the topsy-turvy world that is pro-Israel advocacy.
I learned all this not from Wikipedia or Rechnitz’s corporate biography, but from the corporate PR firm Rechnitz hired to polish his image, the Friedlander Group. Unfortunately, he didn’t hire them to monitor the reputation of his children and close family members. Because now two of them are in very hot water.
His nephew, Shlomo owns the largest nursing home conglomerate in California: Brius Healthcare Services (brius is the Yiddish version of the word for “health”). The State of California has investigated his firm numerous times for violations of health regulations. He was the subject of a class-action suit. His Pasadena nursing care facility was accused of recruiting felons as patients. Several employees faced criminal charges from that escapade. He complained once to the Sacramento Bee that the charges against him made him out to be “the Charles Manson of the nursing home business.” I’m guessing no one from Friedlander was available to accompany him to this interview. That image really sticks in your mind.
Not to mention the time he announced that his employees, for whom he’d purchased 18,000 Powerball tickets, had won the Powerball jackpot. The NY Times even featured him in a major story. Well, it turns out it wasn’t true. It was all a hoax, supposedly perpetrated by the son of one of the “winning” employees.
Rechnitz is also reported to have bought the anti-Haredi blog, Failed Messiah, written for years by Shmaryahu Rosenberg. Rechnitz and many of his associates had been skewered in its posts for years. Though conditions of the sale were not made public, they apparently bar Rosenberg from creating a new blog; or at least one covering the same subject as his old one. That online property promptly disappeared from the internet. Clearly, the Haredi community had withstood the slings and arrows of outrageous (mis)fortune from Rosenberg’s pen for too long. The tycoon stepped in to end the attacks. Lately, a new iteration of the blog, Lost Messiah, was launched by readers of the old blog who wished to maintain the service it had done to the Orthodox community and the Jewish world.
Rechnitz appears to be playing a lead role in the Scandal of the Day as a major donor to Netanyahu and the Likud. His uncle, Robert, was the western chair of American Friends of the Likud, which would mean he both donated and raised massive sums from Orthodox Jews on behalf of the Israel far-right. As such, the elder Rechnitz would’ve worked closely with Ari Harow, the man in the spotlight of the current scandal. That’s how Shlomo would’ve come to the attention of the Israeli police investigating the money-laundering operation.
I haven’t dug deeply into the background of Victor Deutsch, Harow’s former business partner. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he too is Orthodox and perhaps a close friend of the Rechnitz family. If this guess turns out to be true, Deutsch would have excellent motive to benefit Harow and the Likud by the sort of fraudulent business transaction they’re accused of arranging, in selling the latter’s company for $3-million in largely unaccounted-for funds.
Another Rechnitz facing the glare of bad PR is Jona, Robert’s son and cousin to Shlomo. Jona attended Yeshiva University and was photographed during his student days visiting the Cave of the Patriarch, a venerated settler holy site where Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Palestinian worshippers.
Jona began his career in real estate working for Lev Leviev’s Africa Israel. Leviev, who began his own career as a blood diamond merchant to the stars, also maintains vast real estate holdings in the U.S., Britain and Israel. His company has also built Israeli settlements. Jona helped manage the Leviev real estate portfolio in New York until they had a falling out. After that, Rechnitz formed his own company, JSR Capital.
Jona and another wealthy Hasidic Jew have been swept up in the bribery and corruption scandal which has rocked the De Blasio administration in New York City. They did favors for the corrupt head of the city prison officers union, Norman Seabrook, and offered gifts and benefits to senior police officers in the precinct where they lived. Among the crooked deals was a $60,000 payment to Seabrook (paid in a $1,000 Ferragamo hand bag) in return for the union boss’ steering $20-million to a Rechnitz associate’s investment fund. Seabrook was miffed as he’d been told he could net $150,000 from the arrangement.
Among other favors were all-expenses paid gambling junkets to Las Vegas on a private jet. Another part of the entertainment provided was a prostitute dressed as a flight attendant whose “services” included far more than providing drinks and snacks.
Presumably, Rechnitz did this so he could gain favorable service response and attention from local police personnel in Brooklyn Orthodox neighborhoods. But he had even bigger ambitions, which led him and his associate to make six-figure donations to various DeBlasio political fundraising vehicles once he’d won the Democratic mayoral primary.
Jona lobbied the City Council and succeeded in gaining a $655,000 “discretionary” allocation to underwrite a “cultural sensitivity” police training seminar hosted by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which was Rechnitz’ pet project. Presumably, part of the curriculum was learning sensitivity to the special interests of the Haredi community. You certainly won’t find any sensitivity to the Muslim community in this program.
All of this paints a portrait of a wealthy Haredi family parlaying money into political clout on a local, national and international scale. Unlike other American families in which wealth is wielded within discrete nuclear families, in the Haredi world extended families (clans) unite to pursue objectives that benefit both their families personally and their extended Orthodox communities. It’s certainly cleaner and less deadly than the old Italian mob. But as the Netanyahu investigation shows, it’s no less venal and corrupt.
Palestinian journalist ordered to administrative detention, campaign launched for syndicate leader’s release
The Israeli Ofer military court issued a thee-month administrative detention order against Palestinian journalist Adib al-Atrash on Sunday, 17 July, as the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate launched an international effort to free syndicate leader Omar Nazzal, also held under administrative detention without charge or trial.
Al-Atrash, who recently graduated from Eastern Mediterranean University in Cyprus, was arrested by Israeli occupation forces on Monday, 20 June from his family’s home in Al-Khalil. Al-Atrash and Nazzal are two of over twenty Palestinian journalists detained and imprisoned by the Israeli occupation.
Nazzal was arrested by Israeli occupation forces on 23 April 2016, as he attempted to cross at the Karameh crossing from Palestine’s West Bank to Jordan, to travel to the European Federation of Journalists’ annual general meeting in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Nazzal, a member of the PJS’ general secretariat, was representing the syndicate at the conference; he was also ordered to four months’ administrative detention without charge or trial.
The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate is working with the International Federation of Journalists and international syndicates of journalists to campaign for freedom for Nazzal and his imprisoned colleagues. The IFJ has called for the release of Nazzal and other imprisoned Palestinian journalists, including former hunger striker and administrative detainee Mohammed al-Qeeq.
Al-Atrash and Nazzal are among nearly 750 Palestinians held under administrative detention without charge or trial, out of a total of 7,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Administrative detention orders, issued for periods of one to six months on the basis of secret evidence, are indefinitely renewable.
The Jewish Holocaust occupies a unique position in modern Western society, in that questioning the facts of the Holocaust is suppressed and vilified on a global scale as no other topic of human history. Why is research into the Holocaust so problematic? Why is it that serious research by scientists, historians and other academics is rejected out of hand as immoral? Why is the suppression of research into ANY aspect of history acceptable?
At present there are 14 countries that criminalise ‘Holocaust denial’, i.e. publicly questioning, or disseminating research that questions, any aspect of the approved Holocaust narrative: Canada plus 13 European countries including Germany, Austria and France. In many of these countries legislation was passed decades after the end of WWII, in France only in 1990. As recently as 2015 a German court convicted 87 year old Ursula Haverbeck of ‘Holocaust denial’ and sentenced her to 10 months prison. Other revisionists who have served jail sentences include the German publisher Ernst Zündel and the British historian David Irving, who was arrested, sentenced and imprisoned in Austria in 2005. Academic Robert Faurisson was convicted in France of holocaust denial in 2006 and given a three month suspended sentence. In Germany convictions are rising steadily: in 2000 there were more than 2,666 violations of the Holocaust denial law STGB 130, as compared with 437 in 1987.
Even where Holocaust revision is legal, those who are involved in it or support it in any way are liable to be vilified, persecuted and generally treated as lepers. British academics like Irving and Nicholas Kollerstrom saw their careers destroyed, and every effort is made to deny revisionists any sort of platform; it goes without saying that they are subjected to vindictive trolling on social media. Some, like Faurisson and Zündel, have been physically assaulted on more than one occasion. After pro-Palestine activist Paul Eisen wrote an article ‘The Holocaust Wars’ in which he suggested there were questions to answer about the Holocaust, he experienced an extraordinary campaign of vilification and ostracism, especially from the pro-Palestine movement he had given so much to. That he was Jewish himself was no defence against the charge of antisemitism. As Eisen himself says, ‘I had metamorphosed into that lowest of animal life forms, the maggot at the bottom of the food chain – a Holocaust denier’.
Paul Eisen saw an unexpected rise in his profile during the 2015 campaign for election of the leader of the UK Labour Party. It was discovered that Jeremy Corbyn had had some links with Eisen in the past, including appearing on the same platform as him. The media, who had hardly been supportive of Corbyn’s candidature, had a field day accusing Corbyn of associating with a Holocaust denier. Jeremy Corbyn’s response to accusations of an association with Eisen was unequivocal : ‘had I known he was a Holocaust denier I would have had nothing to do with him […]. Obviously Holocaust denial is vile and wrong’. (From 2.47 mins in the following)
There are two principle assumptions relating to the Holocaust, both implicit in Corbyn’s denial of Paul Eisen:
- It is an an indisputable fact that Adolf Hitler planned to exterminate the Jews of Europe, that he did so by gassing them with cyanide in specially constructed gas chambers, and that he was thus responsible for the deaths of 6 million Jews
- People who question any of these premises, do so ONLY because they are neo-Nazis and white supremacists, who wish to conceal the crimes of the Nazis while at the same time sharing their ideology. They are ‘Holocaust deniers’, and all Holocaust deniers are of necessity antisemitic.
The immutability of these two premises leads to another, that anyone who questions any aspect of the Holocaust or who supports the right of others to question the Holocaust, is at best morally compromised, and probably downright evil, deserving responses ranging from suspicion, condemnation, vilification, isolation, hate mail, through to arrest and imprisonment, sometimes for many years. Those who accept unreservedly the two premises are automatically morally superior to anyone who smells a rat.
In 2012 Piers Morgan interviewed the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and asked him about his attitude to the Holocaust. I say ‘asked’, but Morgan puts his own position very clearly.
Morgan states that ‘it is an indisputable fact’ that over 6 million Jews were annihilated by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. ‘Do you dispute that 6 million Jews died or no.’ Although Ahmadinejad tries to voice his suspicions about the narrative, aroused principally because so much effort goes into suppressing research, Morgan is unmovable: the Holocaust is a fact: either you believe in it or not (subtext: and if you don’t it’s because you choose to, because you are a bad person).
The biologist Richard Dawkins sees Holocaust debate in precisely the same terms as Piers Morgan:
So according to Richard Dawkins, too, the Holocaust’ is an immutable fact, and those who question it are intellectually on a par with people who think the earth is flat, and morally on a par with racists. Again, the Holocaust is presented as just one fact, a single package – you either believe in it or you don’t.
What is particularly interesting about Dawkins’ position is that he is one of the leaders of the New Atheist movement, ostensibly dedicated to pointing out all that’s wrong with religion. One might have thought he would be sensitive to the features of the Holocaust narrative and the protectors of its memory that are evocative of the most intolerant religions, for example Catholicism in medieval times. Criminalising Holocaust denial is like burning Bruno Giordano at the stake for claiming that the earth goes round the sun.
A number of writers have in fact analysed the parallels between the Holocaust and religion, most notably the Israeli writers Yeshayahu Leibowitz, Shraga Elam, Gilad Atzmon, and Yoshua Shalev. Their arguments have been summarised as follows: Most Jews today are either atheists or shun the religion of Judaism. Therefore, the Jewish people had to adopt belief in the ‘Holocaust’ as their new religion. They have spread this religion all over the world. ‘Holocaust’ museums are the new houses of worship and are present in most major cities. The new religion has its commandments, its decrees, its prophets, its high priests, its circle of saints, its rituals and its pilgrimages. It knows neither mercy, nor forgiveness, nor clemency but only the duty of vengeance. The Holocaust religion is coherent enough to define the new ‘antichrists’ (the Deniers) and it is powerful enough to persecute them (Holocaust denial laws).
The ‘Ten Commandments’ of this ‘Holocaust Religion’ have been enunciated as follows:
- Remember what Amalek (the Non-Jews) has done to thee.
- Thou shalt never compare THE HOLOCAUST with any other Genocide.
- Thou shalt never compare the Nazi crimes with those of Israel.
- Thou shalt never doubt the number of 6 million Jewish victims.
- Thou shalt never doubt that the majority of them died in gas chambers.
- Thou shalt not doubt the central role of SATAN Hitler in the extermination of the Jews.
- Thou shalt never doubt the right of Israel to exist as the Jewish state.
- Thou shalt not criticize the leading Jewish organizations and the Israeli government.
- Thou must never criticize Jewish organizations and the Zionist leadership for abandoning the European Jewry in the Nazi era
- Thou shalt take these commandments literally and never shew mercy to them that doubt!
So what if you question this Holocaust religion? There is an almost universal assumption that if you don’t believe in the Holocaust it is not because you have an inquiring mind, it’s because you are innately evil. The belief underlying the draconian legislation relating to Holocaust denial would seem to be that the Holocaust is only questioned by neonazis, whose ‘denial’ is motivated by hate and so they should be locked up before they contaminate anyone else.
I have to confess that when I recently learned of the existence of Ursula Haverbeck and her prison sentence for ‘Holocaust denial’, in a European country in the 21st century, for carrying out, as I saw it, serious research into history, I was shocked to the core. I mentioned this to various acquaintances here in Wellington, who were equally horrified, not at the imprisonment of Ursula Haverbeck, but at the thought that I appeared to be questioning the Holocaust narrative. I was quickly made to understand that if I thought there was something worrying, something odd about this punitive response to historical research, it indicated a moral flaw in my makeup.
Soon after I had a twitter exchange with one Daniel Finkelstein, peer of the British realm, ex-editor of The Times. I came across his savage indictment of a prolific tweeter, who had defended David Irving, the notorious ‘Holocaust denier’. When I commented that the said person ‘opposes land theft (in Palestine), ethnic cleansing and child abuse – what’s not to like? Finkelstein, twitter handle ‘Dannythefink’, responded by asking me what I thought of the Holocaust. The exchange continued as follows:
It comes as no surprise that Daniel Finkelstein, who is in total support of dispossession, ethnic cleansing and cruelty in Palestine, assumes morally superiority to me, since I have spoken in defense of a man who has spoken in defense of a man who does research into a field of history. And of course I have refused to commit myself to the undeniability of the Holocaust package …
One can assume that all these experts on the Holocaust, who know enough to be confident of the immutable truth of the Holocaust narrative, whether it be Piers Morgan, Dawkins, or Daniel Finkelstein, would also know another immutable truth about the Holocaust, that the Director of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss was tortured for three days and three nights, and that his testicles were smashed beyond repair,as happened to 137 out of 139 Germans ‘interrogated’ before the Nuremberg trials. One can assume that this makes no difference to their perception of the Holocaust narrative, and they will remain confident of their moral superiority to those of us who are distressed and alarmed by the knowledge that German witness statements at Nuremberg were obtained under the most brutal torture. (From Höss’s confession was derived the figure of 4 million deaths at Auschwitz; the figure was later revised down to 1 million.)
‘Holocaust denial’ is generally conflated with antisemitism, ‘Jew hate’ or racism, and so automatically deserving of vilification. However, even if revisionism is considered to be intrinsically antisemitic, protectors of the Holocaust narrative like to bolster their case by pointing to more general indicators of racism in the culprit.
To the uninitiated the best-known Holocaust revisionist is probably the British historian David Irving, who was convicted of Holocaust denial in an Austrian court and sentenced to three years in prison. Irving was interviewed by Tim Sebastian on the BBC’s Hardtalk in 2000. The programme’s style is intended to be aggressive, but when I watched the programme in 2000, knowing nothing about either Irving or Holocaust denial, I was repelled by Sebastian’s overt hostility to Irving, and I believe that any other impartial person would be too. (Sebastian underlined his antagonism by refraining from shaking Irving’s hand at the end of the interview.)
Sebastian suggests that to deny the gas chambers is hurtful and tasteless (Holocaust denial is immoral per se). But like many others he feels the need to shore up this assumption by showing that there is other evidence that David Irving is a racist, and though he has few examples to work with he is relentless on this point. Irving’s suggestion that he is no more racist than millions of other people is brushed aside with the rather strange claim from the interviewer that there is no evidence for this whatsoever (so only Holocaust deniers are racist). Furthermore, it would appear that honest but naive David Irving confessed in an interview with the Independent that he once called someone a ‘nigger’, something he immediately regretted and remained bitterly ashamed of. As someone put it in the comments below the YouTube video, David Irving is probably the most honest person on the planet.
Another protector of the Holocaust narrative is Max Blumenthal, an American Jew who has a profile as a supporter of the rights of Palestinians. Blumenthal has attracted criticism from some pro-Palestine activists, who see him as an ‘antizionist’ zionist (AZZ), or gatekeeper, due to his attacks on other activists such as Alison Weir and Gilad Atzmon, his opposition to criticism of Jewish power, his prioritising of antisemitism and Holocaust denial, and his peddling of the NATO narrative on Syria; Gilad Atzmon sees him as racist, agressive and supremacist. In 2008 Blumenthal attended a meeting by David Irving when he was touring the States, and created this video:
The video is interesting for several reason. Blumenthal has interspersed his footage with clips from old German propaganda films promoting Germans superiority – of course if you question the Holocaust you must be a Nazi and white supremacist. Like Piers Morgan he presents the question of the Holocaust in bald holistic terms, with no allowance for individual aspects, or degrees of doubt. ‘Are you a Holocaust denier’, he asks, pretty much as one might ask ‘are you a paedophile?’
And as Holocaust denial is such a heinous crime, Blumenthal is justified in first finding out the location of the meeting (given freely to him by David Irving), and then outing Irving to the Vicar of the church hosting the meeting as a ‘Holocaust denier’. The smugness, the self-satisfaction of Blumenthal are palpable; he clearly sees himself as a hero, where others might just see a manipulative sneak. In any case we are left in no doubt that Max Blumenthal, the anti-German racist, the Palestine activist who along with Israel promotes the destruction of Syria, is morally superior to the ‘Holocaust denier’ David Irving, regardless of the latter’s transparent integrity.
The claim that ‘Holocaust denial’ is innately antisemitic was blown out of the water when Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, took into his head to declare that the Holocaust was the brainchild of the Palestinian grand mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin Husseini (so not Hitler afterall), that Hitler only wanted to expel the Jews, not exterminate them (thereby breaking Commandment 6, see above). There was anger and ridicule in Israel and amongst Jews abroad and Netanyahu was forced to climb down. Although Netanyahu was in general accused of ‘playing into the hands of Holocaust deniers’, he was actually guilty of Holocaust denial as it is defined, ie questioning an aspect of the Holocaust discourse – any German who made Netanyahu’s claim would be arrested. If one accepts the ruling that says ‘Holocaust denial’ is antisemitic, Netanyahu must be antisemitic. Which is clearly nonsense – Netanyahu’s racism does not lie in antisemitism, but in an overweening belief in Jewish exceptionalism.
It could be that those protecting the approved version of the Holocaust with such intolerance, aggression, and hate are absolutely right, that 6 million Jews died, in gas chambers, according to a plan drawn up by Adolf Hitler. I wouldn’t know – I haven’t done the research necessary for me to form an opinion.
However it is manifestly clear that those who question or deny the Holocaust are not united by a common neo-Nazi philosophy, of a type that on the one hand insists that Hitler was not guilty of the crimes attributed to him and on the other claims ‘Hitler was right’ to commit these crimes. Mainstream Holocaust revisionists are academics, philosophers, German patriots or Palestine activists. They do not necessarily support the far-right – many of them probably vote for left of centre parties. Some of them are notable for their immense compassion, such as Paul Eisen, who has always been a strong advocate of justice for Palestine. All of them have shown great courage and integrity, and are prepared to look for the truth and to speak it as they see it.
Regardless of the facts of the matter, criminalisation of responsible research into the Holocaust, and the vilification and isolation of those who carry it out, or even those who simply support their right to do so, is an outrageous denial of academic endeavour and historiography as a discipline. Anyone who supports such criminalisation, vilification and isolation is NOT morally superior but in fact morally and intellectually compromised. Furthermore, any honourable person with a modicum of intelligence and a modicum of courage will fight for the right of all people to carry out research into any branch of history, without treating one particular aspect as sacred and therefore exempt from scrutiny.
A main suspect in the failed coup against the Turkish government formerly served as a military attaché to Israel, reports say.
General Akin Öztürk, also the former commander of Turkey’s air force, was arrested on Saturday along with at least five other generals in connection to the failed coup.
From 1998 to 2000, Öztürk served in Turkey’s Tel Aviv embassy and later went on to serve as the air force commander until he stepped down last year. He then retained his seat on Turkey’s Supreme Military Council.
Turkey has announced that Öztürk and his alleged partners will be tried over treason charges.
According to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, those behind the coup will not face the death penalty as it is against the country’s constitution, but constitutional changes are being considered to block future coups.
Prior to the coup, Öztürk was a celebrated military figure, honored by medals from his own country and NATO.
The coup attempt started on Friday evening when tanks took up positions on two bridges over the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, blocking traffic.
On Saturday, Turkey announced that the failed attempt to seize control of the country by a faction of the armed forces is now over, with 2,839 soldiers, including high-ranking officers being arrested.
Yildirim also said that 161 people had been killed and 1,440 wounded in clashes in the night he called a “black stain on Turkish democracy.”
In the aftermath of last night’s bizarre ‘terrorist’ attack in Nice, France, one of the most poplar talking points which appears throughout much of the western media coverage is this idea that terrorism is now a ‘normal part of our everyday lives’ and that a permanent state of military alert at home is something the public needs to get used to.
One of the central voices of this police state talking is French Prime Minister and avid Israeli advocate Manuel Valls. Earlier today Valls stated that, “France has to learn to live with terrorism.”
In this way, the security state is attempting to integrate terrorism as a day-to-day 24/7, 365 day per week agenda issue – which is said to require a hyper-militarized security state, just like Israel (notice how Israel is invoked by neoconservatives and western Zionist supports ad nauseam in the security conversation), to deal with ‘the threat.’
This seems to be the cornerstone of Valls’ political relevance, which he has basically repeated over and over, for the better part of the last two years despite the fact that both the Charlie Hebdo and Paris Bataclan events exhibited very clear signs of GLADIO-style domestic terror stage play.
Back in February, at the Munich Security Conference he stated the exact same thing:
“We have entered – we all feel it – a new era characterised by the lasting presence of ‘hyper-terrorism.’
“We must be fully conscious of the threat, and react with a very great force and great lucidity. There will be attacks. Large-scale attacks. It’s a certainty. This hyper-terrorism is here to stay.”
TERROR SUMMIT: Admitted Zionist Manuel Valls pictured together with Israel’s fundamentalist Zionist leader Benjamin Netanyahu
In January 2016, while addressing an Israeli lobby delegation, Valls read off a list of ‘ISIS’ terrorist attacks along with other ‘terrorist’ incidents in Israel, claiming that this was proof that, “we are in a world war”, while not ever uttering a word about Israel’s brutal, militarized occupation and their systematic ethnic cleansing regime waged against the native Palestinian residents since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
Israeli CRIF spokesman Roger Cukierman applauded Valls’s single-sided adherence to the Israeli lobby, by saying, “On a number of occasions, you said very powerful things: That anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, that France without its Jews is no longer France,” Cukierman said. “This makes you a dear politician.”
Is this a case of the state and its transnational security conglomerates manipulating the public into unquestioningly accepting an indefinite siege mentality and a permanent, full-blown police state?
It appears once again, that we are witnessing an attempt to transform large parts of western society – through a further realignment of public and state political and economic priorities into what is commonly referred to as “security theatre,” which, in reality, has nothing to do with actual security, and everything to do with domestic political and geopolitical theatre.
Hebron, Occupied Palestine – In occupied al-Khalil (Hebron), possibilities for Palestinian children to play are scarce. With the help of the Playgrounds for Palestine project, a brand-new playground was installed at Qurtuba school in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of al-Khalil.
Right to play – can you imagine that as a child, when playing, you’d need to be scared of being attacked, your parents worried whenever you’re out playing, and playing with your friends and enjoying something that is denied to you by a foreign occupying army?
The Tel Rumeida neighborhood is in the H2 area of al-Khalil, under full Israeli military control. After more than six months of collective punishment by the means of a ‘closed military zone’, deliberately designed to affect only the Palestinian population, this measure was officially lifted on 14th May 2016. Despite the lifting of some of the measures intended to forcibly displace the Palestinian population – and thus only a slightly disguised attempt at forced displacement, many of the restrictions applying on Palestinians have remained in place.
A staircase leading to Qurtuba school at the end of the tiny strip of Shuhada Street where Palestinian pedestrians are still allowed to be, is still under a complete closure – for Palestinians, whereas settlers, Israeli forces and anyone resembling a tourist is allowed to pass freely. This apartheid measure severs all the families accessing their homes through these stairs, as well as visitors to the Muslim cemetery and a weekly second-hand market of their main access, forcing them to take long detours. The many restrictions have also forced the project to carry large amounts of the materials through the neighborhood, as Palestinian cars are not allowed in the area. On one day, the workers were prevented from continuing their work on the playground and forced to leave by Israeli forces.
For the children growing up in this area, childhood is short. Child-arrests, even of children less than 12 years and thus illegal even under Israeli military law that is universally applied on the Palestinian population in the Israeli occupied West Bank, are not uncommon, as are humiliations and intimidations by the Israeli forces and settlers under the full protection of the Israeli forces.
The right to play, for Palestinian children, is only a theoretical concept, that often lacks any practical meaning, when growing up next to illegal settlements under a foreign military occupation. Playing on the streets of their neighborhood for most children is dangerous, as settlers do not even restrain from attacking children. In a nearby Palestinian kindergarten, Israeli settlers overnight stole a large roll of artificial grass intended to be part of the play-area for the children attending the kindergarten. With no institution to address this, the artificial grass is merely lost and missing in the play-area.
The installation of the playground at Qurtuba school, thus, is a sign of hope for the Palestinian children. An opportunity for the children to be exactly that: children. To play with their friends and enjoy their childhood, have fun and laugh.
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has denounced sanctions on Lebanese banks and other financial institutions as a form of Israeli aggression.
Speaking at the Lebanese Emigrants Economic Conference in Beirut on Thursday, Berri said Israel is constantly trying to destroy Lebanon’s infrastructure and economy.
Berri was apparently making reference to the US law, which calls for the closure of bank accounts of individuals and organizations suspected of links to Hezbollah.
Hezbollah is credited with defending Lebanon against two wars launched by Israel – the US’s staunchest ally in the region – in 2000 and 2006.
Berri said Lebanon, through the assistance of its diaspora, will eventually emerge triumphant over a plot seeking to harm the country’s economy.
“We only have hope from the expatriates, and right now we no longer have hope but from you,” he said.
Berri further lashed out at Arab states for failing to commit to promised funds to Lebanon following Israel’s war on the country in the summer of 2006, saying only a third of the aid has been paid.
In February, Riyadh suspended USD 3 billion in military assistance to the Lebanese military and another USD 1 billion to the country’s internal security forces.
The kingdom also imposed sanctions on some Lebanese firms and individuals it accused of having links with Hezbollah.
Last month, Governor of Bank of Lebanon Riad Salameh stated that 100 bank accounts linked to Hezbollah members and legislators had been closed.
Hezbollah criticized the Central Bank of Lebanon for submitting to US pressures, saying the measures violated Lebanon’s sovereignty.
The worst disservice Sanders has done to his supporters, other than to lead them on a wild goose chase for real change, is to virtually ignore his rival’s vaunted “experience.” He need not have mentioned Hillary Clinton’s Senate record, since there was nothing there; her stint as law-maker was merely intended to position her for a run for the presidency, according to the family plan. But there was a lot in her record as Secretary of State.
As she recounts in her memoir, she wanted a heftier “surge” in Afghanistan than Obama was prepared to order. Anyone paying attention knows that the entire military mission in that broken country has been a dismal failure producing blow-back on a mind-boggling scale, even as the Taliban has become stronger, and controls more territory, than at any time since its toppling in 2001-2002.
Hillary wanted to impose regime change on Syria in 2011, by stepping up assistance to armed groups whom (again) anyone paying attention knows are in cahoots with al-Nusra (which is to say, al-Qaeda). In an email dated Nov. 30, 2015, she states her reason: “The best way to help Israel…is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.”
In her memoir she criticizes Obama for not doing more to oust the secular Assad regime. She has repeatedly stated during her campaign that she favors a no-fly zone over Syria, like the one she advocated for Libya. That means conflict with Russia, which is bombing sites in Syria, with the permission of its internationally recognized government, under what Russia’s leaders (and many rational people) consider to be terrorists’ control.
Sanders–sorry, I cannot call him “Bernie” anymore, since he has become precisely as avuncular as Dick Cheney—could have effectively attacked Hillary the Skjaldmær (Old Norse for “Shield-maiden,” referring to an often berserk warrior-woman) for her role in the destruction of Libya. But no! Always referring to her deferentially as “Secretary Clinton”–as though her actions in that role merit respect—he rarely alluded to her greatest crime at all. That’s unforgivable.
(Yes, in one debate he mentioned Libya in passing–timidly, and with no follow-up. While he repeatedly mentioned how The Secretary had voted for the Iraq War and he hadn’t, he hardly exuded moral outrage about that or any other Clinton decision. His campaign was all about her Wall Street ties and well-paid, secret talks, the transcripts of which he once wanted to see but has now apparently lost interest. It was never about “foreign policy,” which is supposedly her forte. He may call himself a “socialist,” but he’s no anti-imperialist. He has voted in favor of every “defense spending” bill, supported the NATO assault on Serbia in 1999, supported Israel’s attack on Gaza in 2014, etc.)
He could have attacked Clinton savagely–with the savagery of mere matter-of-fact honesty–by citing those emails exchanged between Clinton and her vicious confidant and former adviser Anne-Marie Slaughter, in which the latter—under the subject line “bravo!”–congratulates her on engineering Obama’s agreement for the bombing of Libya. (On March 19, 2011, as the bombing of Libya began, Slaughter wrote: “I cannot imagine how exhausted you must be after this week, but I have NEVER been prouder of having worked for you. Turning [Obama] around on this is a major win for everything we have worked for.”
He could have quoted that email from Sidney Blumenthal, that Svengali figure who has long been Clinton’s unofficial mentor (along with Henry Kissinger and others): “No-fly! Brava! You did it!” (Brava, if you’re interested, is the feminine form of Bravo.)
He could have repeatedly used that damning clip that reveals Hillary’s joy at the grotesque murder of Muammar Gaddafi–who had become a friend of Tony Blair, Silvio Berlusconi, and the CIA as of 2011–at the hands of Islamist thugs, who rammed a stick and knife up his anus on camera just to make it more humiliating. His ads could have started with some appropriately edited version of this:
And ended with this:
And left the people to draw their own conclusions.
He could have asked, “Why the hell did you appoint Dick Cheney aide Victoria Nuland as Under Secretary of State for Eurasia, and support and fund that coup in Ukraine in 2014 in your goddamn ambition to expand NATO?”
But no. He didn’t have it in him. And now he wants his youthful erstwhile followers to transfer their support to someone who is not only the embodiment of Wall Street, with all its blood-sucking and all its crookedness, but the personification of U.S. imperialism in an era when its depth of crisis has produced a state of perpetual war.
Savvy people in Syria and elsewhere surely understand what the Sanders endorsement means: Syria is the next Libya.
Hillary in the Oval Office, Binyamin Netanyahu at her side, will laugh as Assad gets her knife up his ass, chaos deepens, the draft is re-instated, and boys and girls–of all ethnicities, gay and straight together–march off to fight the Brava Wars drastically reducing youth unemployment and making legions more eligible for the GI Bill.
Even if Sanders doesn’t vote for the war (and why should there be a vote, after all, in this post-constitution era?), he will share responsibility.
Shame! And shame on any once “Bernie” supporter who follows him into his moral morass.
*****Feel the burn. The burn of the rigged system. Why be drawn into it—the object of Hillary’s praise, for switching so readily from him to her (for the sake of “unity”)?
What is there to unite with, but more corruption, exploitation, and wars based on lies?
The votes that matter are the votes on the street. Either Trump or Clinton will provoke mass upheaval. The key contribution of the Sanders campaign has been to lay bare for idealistic youth the magnitude of the rot in the system itself, while raising (however dishonestly) the prospect of “political revolution.”
It’s the hope Sanders has sold out. But yes, that’s what we need. Social, economic, and political revolution. Too bad he’s chosen the other side.
Gary Leupp is a Professor of History at Tufts University, and author of numerous works on Japanese history. He can be reached at: email@example.com
Fares Khader al-Rishq
RAMALLAH – A Palestinian youth was killed and another injured by Israeli forces while a third was detained early on Wednesday, as soldiers opened fire at the youths’ vehicle in the town of al-Ram in the occupied West Bank’s Jerusalem district.
The youth who was killed was identified as Anwar al-Salaymeh, 22, and the two survivors were identified as Fares Khader al-Rishq, 20, who remains critically injured, and Muhammad Nassar, 20, who was detained by Israeli forces after the incident.
Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces opened fire at three Palestinians youths, all residents of al-Ram, in a vehicle inside the town around dawn, as the three were seemingly unaware that Israeli forces were deployed in the town and conducting raids.
An Israeli army spokesperson said that the presence of Israeli authorities in the town was due to the fact that Israeli forces, border guards and police reportedly found a blacksmith workshop in al-Ram that manufactured weapons.
Witnesses confirmed that Israeli forces and military vehicles raided al-Ram, closed the main street and raided a blacksmith workshop in the area.
The Israeli spokesperson added that during the military raid, border guards allegedly “saw a speeding vehicle heading towards them” and opened fire, killing one of the passengers and injuring another while a third was detained and transferred for interrogation.
According to locals, al-Rishq’s vehicle arrived near the area where the raid was taking place, and Israeli soldiers opened fire at the car from a close distance, injuring al-Rishq and al-Salaymeh, who later died.
Witnesses said that Israeli forces prevented Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances from reaching the injured.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that an unidentified teen from al-Ram succumbed to his wounds after being critically injured by Israeli live fire aimed at the car, while another was injured during the same incident.
Locals added that clashes erupted between youths and Israeli forces, while soldiers opened live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and tear-gas bombs.
An unidentified youth was also reportedly detained during clashes.
Syria’s envoy to the UN has called on the international community to draw up an effective mechanism to end Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights and its continued exploitation of the natural resources of the territory.
Speaking at a UN Security Council session on Tuesday, Bashar al-Ja’afari said Israeli forces continue to arbitrarily detain Syrian nationals and loot water and petroleum resources in the Golan Heights in flagrant violation of international law and regulations.
He urged the UN to force Israel to end its occupation of the Golan Heights and withdraw from the area in compliance with the Security Council Resolution 497, which was adopted unanimously on December 17, 1981, and which declares Tel Aviv’s annexation of Golan as “null and void and without international legal effect.”
The top Syrian diplomat also pointed to Israel’s land expropriation policies in the Golan Heights, arguing that Israeli officials have created 750 farms and accommodated 90 settler households there since the beginning of the current year, and are planning to lodge 150 families every year in a bid to change the demographic identity of the area.
Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and later occupied and annexed it.
Ja’afari further criticized the international community’s inaction toward Israel’s subversive acts, and its support for al-Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda.
He also lashed out at some European countries over their support for Takfiri terrorism, highlighting that they have fallen victim to acts of terror themselves.
Russia ‘to continue assisting Syria in terror fight’
Meanwhile, Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, has said his country is set to provide Syria with all necessary assistance in the campaign against terrorism.
“For our part, we are going to continue providing the Syrian government with assistance in fighting terrorist groups, led by Daesh and the Nusra Front. Undoubtedly, there should be neither delays nor concessions in this struggle,” Churkin said at the Tuesday’s Security Council meeting.
He further described the free movement of terrorists through borders, the flow of weapons and money to terrorist outfits as well as access to chemical warfare agents as the main challenges in the anti-terror fight.
Syria UN envoy ‘shirking responsibilities’
Separately, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has criticized UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, saying the envoy has failed to fulfill his responsibilities and convene a new round of peace talks for Syria.
“We are concerned that the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has been shying away from his duties recently, not calling another round of intra-Syrian talks, and starting to make public statements on the need for Russia and the United States to agree on how to proceed with the political settlement in Syria, and then the UN will convene a new round of intra-Syrian talks. This is the wrong approach,” Lavrov said.
“Replacing the intra-Syrian dialogue with a Russia-US duet is impossible and I believe this is a very harmful signal that is being sent to the irreconcilable opposition in the so-called High Negotiations Committee, which just keeps voicing ultimatums on [Syrian President Bashar] Assad’s resignation and some sort of deadlines. This is not helping the case,” Lavrov said, referring to a Saudi-backed group of Syrians opposing Assad.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011.
De Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict. The UN has stopped its official casualty count in Syria, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.