Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

The Forward publishes criticism of Alison Weir, but refuses to publish response

If Americans Knew | June 15, 2017

The website of the Forward newspaper recently published an opinion piece by political hitman Spencer Sunshine, in which he slammed the American Left and specific individuals for alleged antisemitism, including Alison Weir.

Sunshine is a writer/activist who focuses on antisemitism, and specifically on seeking it out — or inventing it — among leftists and supporters of Palestinian rights. (More on Sunshine below.)

While slurring those he disagrees with is Sunshine’s modus operandi (he throws around accusations of bigotry with the abandon of a spoiled schoolboy), we expect better of the Forward. Journalistic ethics require that media allow people to respond when they’ve been criticized, yet the Forward has failed to publish Weir’s response. (More on the Forward below.)

(The right of response is affirmed by the Society of Professional Journalists, the International Principles of Professional Ethics in Journalism, the BBC, MediaWise, the National Conference of Editorial Writers, and many, many others. The American Society of Newspaper Editors states: “Persons publicly accused should be given the earliest opportunity to respond.”)

Below is Weir’s letter responding to Sunshine’s piece:

To the Editor,

I was disappointed to see the Forward chose to publish Spencer Sunshine’s recent reactionary screed “The Left Must Root Out Anti-Semitism In Its Ranks.” However, that Sunshine should attempt to dismiss me as an “anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist” did not surprise me, as Sunshine has a long history of working to silence criticism of Israel and Zionism. At a talk in Portland, Oregon he described virtually every form of Palestine solidarity as anti-Semitic.

Accusations of “left anti-Semitism” have long been used to undermine solidarity with marginalized people, a population Sunshine often seems to ignore. His article about the history of anti-racism in the United States, for example, almost entirely omitted the efforts of communities of color, focusing instead on mostly-white “antifascist” groups.

Of Sunshine’s work, the pieces I’m familiar with are hatchet jobs, misrepresenting his subjects to suit his goals and exploit his audience’s fears and gullibility.

Sunshine seems to operate according to an all-too-often successful principle: if you accuse someone of something bad enough, it doesn’t matter how wrong, sloppy, or biased you are. Certain accusations tend to be show-stoppers, tainting by default–and he employs these with shameless abandon.

Sunshine clearly hopes that simply saying the magic words “conspiracy theory” will prevent others from listening to me directly or examining my work. In fact, my book and multitude of articles and speeches are exhaustively researched and based on serious sources. All of my work is transparent, with sources clearly cited or linked, so others can read more and decide for themselves. While I’m only human and certainly not infallible, I strive to use reliable sources and be as transparent as possible about my sources and the evidence supporting my work.

Sunshine refers to a JVP statement critical of me, but fails to mention that the statement does not claim that I am anti-Semitic.  More important, he fails to make any reference to two open letters rejecting the criticism of me, signed by some incredibly prominent and principled academics, humanitarians, and thousands of activists, including many members of JVP itself. Indeed, I continue to work with many JVP chapters and individuals, who have brought me to speak in their areas and who are accomplishing important work.

Sunshine operates as a hitman for the reactionary forces who would have us never stand up against oppression for fear of not speaking carefully enough and unintentionally giving unfair offense. It is important to try to speak accurately and fairly, but when people are dying and the prospect of peace is rapidly receding for two populations (and everyone else affected by the violence and instability that radiate from the conflict), perfection is no longer the enemy of good but the enemy of peace and life itself.

Let us act, debate and try to solve this tragedy, not police each other’s words to the point of utter inaction. And let us not attack those working for justice, peace and human rights with false and malicious accusations.

If Sunshine showed half the enthusiasm for opposing atrocities and championing human rights for all humans–even Muslims, Palestinians, and people of color–that he shows for thought policing activists, he could make a positive difference In our shared world.

Sincerely,

Alison Weir

More information:

Spencer Sunshine is an early instigator and enthusiastic champion of the campaign to silence Weir, which has been roundly rejected by numerous prominent humanitarians, academics and activists in two open letters (here and here; see also this article on CounterPunch ). He identifies himself as an “anti-fascist writer” and is close to antifa groups, a movement known for celebrating and perpetrating violence (he was apparently unfazed when violence occurred a few months ago at a protest he organized).

The Forward is a venerable newspaper founded towards the end of the 19th Century. It is a leading, or perhaps the leading, publication serving the American Jewish community. It operates as a nonprofit and appears to have assets of over $50 million. The paper leans heavily towards an Israel-centric viewpoint when reporting on Palestine and Israel. Nevertheless, it is a professional publication which should hold itself to the highest journalistic standards.

June 15, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 4 Comments

Israel attempts to block yet another UN report

MEMO | June 15, 2017

Having succeeded in blocking a recent UN report that accused Israel of maintaining a system of apartheid, Israeli officials are now attempting to remove another UN report, which has charged Tel Aviv with carrying out extrajudicial executions along with a list of other human rights violations.

The report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which previously accused Israel of apartheid, has come under fire from Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, because it states that in the period from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 Israeli security forces killed 63 Palestinians, including 19 children, and wounded an additional 2,276 Palestinians including 562 children.

The previous ESCWA report, which had accused Israel of apartheid, was removed by the UN following protests by Danon and US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, who this week described the UN report of “reeking with anti-Israel bias”.

The new report accuses Israeli security forces of using disproportionate force against Palestinians and in some cases of “extrajudicial executions”. The report cites the UN Committee Against Torture and its concern about “Israeli practices towards Palestinian detainees”.

The list of human rights violations included in the report were also “torture or ill-treatment of Palestinian children” and “deprivation of basic legal safeguards for administrative detainees, isolation and solitary confinement of detainees, including minors, punishment and ill-treatment of hunger strikers.” The report also claimed that “no criminal investigation was opened into more than 1,000 complaints of torture or ill-treatment filed since 2001.”

Israeli sources have reported that Danon will work to have this report removed. “This is yet another blood libel against the State of Israel,” Arutz Sheva reported Israel’s envoy to the UN saying. “Just as we succeeded in having the previous preposterous report removed, we will fight relentlessly against this blatantly false distortion of the truth as well.”

Read: The ESCWA Report

June 15, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 3 Comments

Hedge fund billionaire creates charter schools that teach about Israel, “the Jewish miracle of the 20th century”

If Americans Knew – June 14, 2017

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reports that Michael Steinhardt, an atheist, billionaire, and “mega-philanthropist,” has poured millions into projects for American Jews. He is best known as the founder of Birthright Israel, a free, ten-day trip to Israel that is enjoyed by a large percentage of Jewish young adults. He also facilitates programming after the Birthright experience in order to maintain participants’ loyalty to Israel and Jewish culture.

Steinhardt believes that American Jewish education needs to change, and consequently has founded a network of Hebrew-language charter schools.

In these schools, Steinhardt explains, “Jewish kids… will learn a great deal about Israel… and there’s a great deal of emphasis on Israel, Zionism, stuff like that.” He adds that “Jews have accomplished so much, so inexplicably out of proportion to their numbers, in [the last] 300 years, and it’s one of the great failures of Jewish education that that’s not focused on at all.”

When pressed to explain why he, as an atheist, supports a Jewish education, he explained, “The modern state of Israel is the Jewish miracle of the 20th century, but it’s the secular part of Israel that’s the miracle… the development of a society out of nothing using Zionist ideals… Israel has become, for me, the substitute for religion.”

Steinhardt continued, “Israel is a complicated place in a strange part of the world… There are a substantial number of Jews who believe that Israel should leave the settlements, leave the West Bank… The more one understands about Israel, the more comfortable one becomes with the politics of the Israeli government.”

He went on to claim that “Israel is to me the most moral state on this planet, [even] with the occupation.”

If Americans Knew details the effects of the occupation to which Steinhardt refers: “In violation of international law, Israel has confiscated over 52 percent of the land in the West Bank and 30 percent of the Gaza Strip for military use or for settlement by Jewish civilians… From 1967 to 1982, Israel’s military government demolished 1,338 Palestinian homes on the West Bank. Over this period, more than 300,000 Palestinians were detained without trial for various periods by Israeli security forces.”

The occupation itself is illegal according to international law, as are Israeli settlements and their over 500,000 Jewish settlers, the separation wall, restriction of movement, detention without charge—including detention of minors, collective punishment, ethnic cleansing (through forced depopulation and other means), home demolition (close to 50,000 structures have been demolished since 1967), and human rights violations.

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) reports on damaging effects of occupation on the Gaza Strip, including a ten-year, ongoing siege and numerous military attacks, leaving more than 80 percent of the population dependent on international assistance for survival.

AFSC emphasizes that “the situation in Gaza should not be viewed as a humanitarian crisis… [but as a] political crisis that can only be resolved through… ending the blockade and Israel’s continued occupation of the Palestinian territory, which are at the root of the crisis.”

June 15, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments

UN Last Hurdle Before Israel Can Rid Itself of the Palestinians

By Jonathan Cook | CounterPunch | June 15, 2017

Nazareth – Israeli and US officials are in the process of jointly pre-empting Donald Trump’s supposed “ultimate deal” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They hope to demote the Palestinian issue to a footnote in international diplomacy.

The conspiracy – a real one – was much in evidence last week during a visit to the region by Nikki Haley, Washington’s envoy to the United Nations. Her escort was Danny Danon, her Israeli counterpart and a fervent opponent of Palestinian statehood.

Danon makes Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu look moderate. He has backed Israel annexing the West Bank and ruling over Palestinians apatheid-style. Haley appears unperturbed. During a meeting with Netanyahu, she told him that the UN was “a bully to Israel”. She has warned the powerful Security Council to focus on Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hizbollah, instead of Israel.

To protect its tiny ally, Washington is threatening to cut billions in US funding to the world body, plunging it into crisis and jeopardising peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

On the way to Israel, Haley stopped at the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva, demanding it end its “pathological” opposition to Israel’s decades of occupation and human rights violations – or the US would pull out of the agency.

Washington has long pampered Israel, giving it millions of dollars each year to buy weapons to oppress Palestinians, and using its veto to block UN resolutions enforcing international law. Expert UN reports such as a recent one on Israel’s apartheid rule over Palestinians have been buried.

But worse is to come. Now the framework of international laws and institutions established after the Second World War is at risk of being dismembered.

That danger was highlighted on Sunday, when it emerged that Netanyahu had urged Haley to dismantle another UN agency much loathed by Israel. UNRWA cares for more than five million Palestinian refugees across the region.

Since the 1948 war, Israel has refused to allow these refugees to return to their lands, now in Israel, forcing them to live in miserable and overcrowded camps awaiting a peace deal that never arrives. These dispossessed Palestinians still depend on UNRWA for education, health care and social services.

UNRWA, Netanyahu says, “perpetuates” rather than solves their problems. He prefers that they become the responsibility of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which looks after all other refugee populations.

His demand is a monumental U-turn, 70 years in the making. In fact, it was Israel that in 1948 insisted on a separate UN refugee agency for the Palestinians.

UNRWA was created to prevent the Palestinians falling under the charge of UNHCR’s forerunner, the International Refugee Organisation. Israel was afraid that the IRO, formed in the immediate wake of the Second World War, would give Palestinian refugees the same prominence as European Jews fleeing Nazi atrocities.

Israel did not want the two cases compared, especially as they were so intimately connected. It was the rise of Nazism that bolstered the Zionist case for a Jewish state in Palestine and Jewish refugees who were settled on lands from which Palestinians had just been expelled by Israel.

Also, Israel was concerned that the IRO’s commitment to the principle of repatriation might force it to accept back the Palestinian refugees.

Israel’s hope then was precisely that UNRWA would not solve the Palestinian refugee problem; rather, it would resolve itself. The idea was encapsulated in a Zionist adage: “The old will die and the young forget.”

But millions of Palestinian descendants still clamour for a right of return. If they cannot forget, Netanyahu prefers that the world forget them.

As bloody wars grip the Middle East, the best way to achieve that aim is to submerge the Palestinians among the world’s 65 million other refugees. Why worry about the Palestinian case when there are millions of Syrians newly displaced by war?

But UNRWA poses a challenge, because it is so deeply entrenched in the region and insists on a just solution for Palestinian refugees.

UNRWA’s huge staff includes 32,000 Palestinian administrators, teachers and doctors, many living in camps in the West Bank – Palestinian territory Netanyahu and Danon hunger for. The UN’s presence there is an impediment to annexation.

On Monday Netanyahu announced his determination to block Europe from funding Israeli human rights organisations, the main watchdogs in the West Bank and a key data source for UN agencies. He now refuses to meet any world leader who talks to these rights groups.

With Trump in the White House, a crisis-plagued Europe ever-more toothless and the Arab world in disarray, Netanyahu wants to seize this chance to clear the UN out of the way too.

Global institutions such as the UN and the international law it upholds were created after the Second World War to protect the weakest and prevent a recurrence of the Holocaust’s horrors.

Today, Netanyahu is prepared to risk it all, tearing down the post-war international order, if this act of colossal vandalism will finally rid him of the Palestinians.

June 15, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Three Prominent Palestinian Organizers, Journalists Ordered to Further Imprisonment without Charge or Trial

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – June 8, 2017

Three prominent Palestinian activists were ordered to additional periods of administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. Palestinian journalist Hasan Safadi, youth organizer Hassan Karajah and leftist community leader Rami Fadayel, all of Ramallah, were ordered to further imprisonment without charge or trial by Israeli military courts.

Fadayel, 37, has been imprisoned for 18 months under administrative detention; this is the fourth time the order against him has been renewed. He has spent over seven years in total in Israeli prisons and was ordered to another four months of imprisonment without charge or trial. He was hit with another four-month detention order on Wednesday,  7 June.

Rami Fadayel

Haneen Nassar, Fadayel’s wife and an organizer with the Palestinian Prisoners’ Committee, a popular organization in Palestine that works to support the prisoners’ struggle and demand their freedom, said that she and her husband have never been able to enjoy a free and safe life since their marriage. Fadayel has been arrested repeatedly; they marked their engagement while he was imprisoned. She noted that their daughter, Mays, 10, has not seen her father in their home for nearly half of her life.

Fadayel is well-known in Ramallah as a leader in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestinian leftist political party. Nasser noted that his administrative detention has been repeatedly renewed under the pretext of a “secret file;” all of the appeals of his lawyer have been rejected.

Palestinians held without charge or trial under administrative detention orders can be detained indefinitely; these one- to six-month orders can be repeatedly renewed on the basis of so-called “secret evidence.” There are currently over 500 Palestinian administrative detainees imprisoned by the Israeli occupation. Some Palestinians have spent years at a time under administrative detention on the basis of this so-called secret evidence. Over 50,000 administrative detention orders have reportedly been issued since 1967; the practice dates from the colonial British mandate over Palestine and was re-imposed by the Israeli occupation.

Hasan Safadi

Meanwhile, Hasan Safadi, Palestinian journalist and the Arabic media coordinator of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association was also ordered on 8 June 2017 to another six months in administrative detention by an Israeli occupation military court. He had been scheduled for release on 8 June, but was instead hit with another arbitrary detention renewal.

Safadi, 26, has been imprisoned since 1 May 2016, when he was seized by Israeli occupation forces as he crossed the Karameh/Allenby bridge between Jordan and Palestine, returning from an Arab youth conference organized in Tunisia. After 40 days of interrogation in the Moskobiyeh interrogation center, he was ordered to administrative detention without charge or trial, which has since been renewed twice. His new administrative detention order is scheduled to expire on 8 December 2017.

Hassan Karajah

Hassan Karajah, a prominent youth activist with the Stop the Wall Campaign and a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activist, was seized by Israeli occupation forces on 12 July 2016 at a military checkpoint west of Ramallah. He has been held under administrative detention without charge or trial since that time; his detention was also renewed on 7 June 2017 for the third time for a four-month period.

Karajah was previously arrested on 23 January 2013 and freed on 19 October 2014, accused of participation in a prohibited organization and contact with an enemy state, an allegation frequently used to target Palestinians who travel to conferences and events in Lebanon and other Arab countries.

These orders came after the Ofer military court confirmed even more administrative detention orders on Wednesday, 7 July. The military court approved six-month detention orders against Raed Abd al-Admu of al-Khalil, Tayseer Maher Hamed, Mohammed Badr al-Alouneh, Islam Fayeq Nimer of Ramallah and Suhaib Ahmed Mohammed of Tulkarem. It approved four-month imprisonment orders against Nidal Hashim Abdel Hadi and Yousef Ahmed Nasser of Jenin and Khalil Hassan Hamed, Ayman Naim Hamed, Hamza Ibrahim Zahran and Omar Mohammed Abu Latifa of Ramallah. It also affirmed a two-month detention order against Rabie Mohammed Musallah of Jenin.

June 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

Is Michael Foster a Chameleon?

By Gilad Atzmon | June 13, 2017

The utterly repellent Michael Foster who has spent the last 2 years waging a relentless campaign against Jeremy Corbyn has now apparently become a Corbyn supporter. Foster now admits that he was “wrong on Corbyn.”  The Jewish labour donor used the notorious Zionist Times of Israel to “tip his hat to the leader’s success”

In a spectacular admission that portrays total cultural and political detachment Foster says, “I was wrong on that his brand of leadership and socialism would not appeal.”

The same character who a year ago professed that he despised Corbyn and labelled his supporters “Sturm Abteilung” (Nazi storm troopers) has conveniently changed his spots.

However, don’t let the sly Foster mislead you. Foster is not a chameleon. He didn’t transform into a British patriot who cares for the working people or the resurrection of the NHS. Foster is a Jewish ethnic campaigner. Foster is interested in only one thing: Jewish tribal interests.

“To the future, Jeremy (note the shift to personal language) from my point of view has two things that matter to me, to deal with. He must continue to stamp out any sign of anti Semitism within Labour; and he must on that score make I think more of an effort, both private and public to meet with, and meet the legitimate fears of, the Jewish Community.”

And now the warning: “Jeremy’s legitimacy as a leader of all factions within Britain will in part depend on him achieving this. He can make the Jews of Britain feel safe, without in any way abandoning his strong and righteous belief in the need for a self governing and free, Palestinian homeland.”

Can he? Will the Fosters of this world let Corbyn be? Will they let him support Palestine and denounce Israeli brutality? Seemingly Foster and the Jewish lobby have yet to read the picture. Corbyn’s success means that although every Jewish institution in the kingdom was determined to destroy him, Corbyn was able to prevail by turning Labour into a popular movement. He is likely to become PM within a year.

Corbyn proved that Western politics can survive without an injection of shekels. This must be devastating news for the Lobby, for AIPAC, ADL, BOD, LFI, CFI, Criff and for the Michael Fosters. However, for the rest of us, it is  encouraging news, it arouses a spirit of emancipation.

June 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

Russia warns US against attacks on Syrian forces

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | June 12, 2017

Diplomats dissimulate, journalists exaggerate, politicians waffle, but an army general has no reason to obfuscate the stark ground reality. Therefore, the rare remarks by the commander of Russian forces in Syria, General Sergey Surovikin, merit great attention. Excerpts are reproduced below:

  • The US-led coalition lets militants of the Islamic State terrorist group leave Raqqa instead of killing them… The US-led coalition enters into collusion with ringleaders of the ISIS, who give up their settlements without fighting and head to the provinces where the Syrian government forces are active… The Russian force in Syria sees in the Raqqa area militants leaving the city and its suburbs unhindered. In early June, ISIS terrorists left the populated localities 19 kilometers southwest of Raqqa offering no resistance and headed toward Palmyra.
  • The Americans are using ISIS to robustly block the movement of government troops… The aviation of the US-led coalition is impeding the struggle of Syrian government forces against terrorists… They have blocked the way of government forces, who are eliminating ISIS militants and setting up border posts along the border with Iraq to the north-east of Al-Tanf.

The long and short of Gen. Surovikin’s chilling account is that although President Donald Trump vows to fight the ISIS with tooth and nail, Pentagon guys may have other ideas. They continue to use the ISIS with a hidden agenda where the Syrian government (and Iran) is the number one enemy. The US objective appears to be two-fold in Syria: a) create a buffer zone in southern Syrian regions bordering Israel and Jordan, which will be dominated by “good terrorists”; and, b) take control of the entire Syrian-Iraqi border on a North-South gradient so that Iran’s logistical capability to render help to the beleaguered Syrian government forces is sharply reduced.

Indeed, a ‘frozen conflict’ would effectively balkanize Syria. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank which is closely associated with the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (a pro-Israel lobby group in Washington), featured a commentary recently, entitled Growing Risk of International Confrontation in the Syrian Desert. It implicitly warns Moscow of dire consequences if Russian forces intervene to disrupt the efforts by the US to prevent a Syrian government consolidation in the Al-Tanf / Deir Ezzur — Palmyra region.

However, no matter what the pro-Israeli think tankers in Washington pontificate, General Surovikin’s remarks underscored that Moscow is seized of the strategic importance of the Syrian government forces succeeding in re-establishing control over the country’s border with Iraq. Russia had earlier adopted a wary approach vis-a-vis the scramble for control of the Syrian desert regions bordering Iraq. But that seems to be changing — although Russian priority is to work with the Americans.

On Saturday, Russia has put the US on notice that the Syrian government forces intend to advance on Al-Tanf itself. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that US air strikes on the Syrian government forces are unacceptable. He called for “concrete measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.”

A Syrian army statement went a step further to announce on Saturday their intent to advance to the Iraqi border north of Al-Tanf. It warned the western forces in the area against interfering — “The general command of the army and armed forces warn of the risks of repeated attacks of the so-called ‘international coalition’ and their efforts to block the advances of the Syrian Arab Army and its allies in their war on terror.”

The planned Syrian operations north of Al-Tanf will scuttle the US plans to stage a ground operation with “good terrorists”, aimed at reaching Deir Ezzur city ahead of the government forces who are advancing in easterly direction from Palmyra. The Iranian reports suggest that Russian jets are actively backing the Syrian government operations in the region to the northeast of Palmyra.

Simply put, Iran is creating new facts on the ground in southeastern Syria, which the US (and Israel) will have to learn to live with. An Iranian war dispatch says thatthousands of (Syrian) army men and Hezbollah combatants entered the countryside of Palmyra city to resume a fresh phase of one of the army’s greatest operation in Homs (province) in recent years.”

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel blocks road to Bedouin village, preventing 100 children from going to school

Children in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev
Ma’an – June 12, 2017

BETHLEHEM – A recently installed guardrail on an Israeli highway has isolated a Bedouin community in southern Israel for days, preventing 100 Bedouin children from attending school, NGO Adalah reported on Sunday.

According to the group, which focuses on the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel, Israeli authorities effectively sealed off Umm Bidoun, a Bedouin community in the Negev desert unrecognized by Israel, by blocking off the only dirt road connecting the village to Highway 31 with a guardrail.

The road surface markings on the highway near other passage out of Umm Bidoun have also recently been changed, making it illegal for vehicles to cross the road, Adalah added.

The recent changes have effectively prevented any vehicles, including school buses, from accessing the village, Adalah said.

As a result, the legal NGO stated that, due to the absence of schools in Umm Bidoun, 100 children who study in the village of al-Furaa 15 kilometers away have been unable to go to school for days.

Adalah said on Sunday it had contacted officials from the Israeli Education Ministry, the al-Qasoum regional council, and Netivei Israel, the national roads authority, to demand that the obstacles to freedom of movement for the residents of Umm Bidoun be lifted.

Adalah field researcher Marwan Abu Freih told Ma’an on Monday that Netivei had told the organization that it was examining the issue.

Spokespersons from the Ministry of Education did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the case on Monday.

“It is inconceivable that some 100 students can — in such a sudden and arbitrary manner — be prevented from attending school without any advance notice to or consultation with parents,” Abu Freih said on Sunday. “Adalah and the families demand that the Education Ministry act immediately to correct this situation.”

Abu Freih added on Monday that members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, representing Palestinian citizens of Israel, had reached out to Adalah to offer their assistance in resolving the case.

Bedouin villages were established in the Negev soon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war following the creation of the state of Israel. Many of the Bedouins were forcibly transferred to the village sites during the 17-year period when Palestinians inside Israel were governed under Israeli military law, which ended shortly before Israel’s military takeover of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967.

Between 160,000 and 170,000 Bedouins are believed to reside in the Negev today, more than half of whom reside in unrecognized villages, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

The classification of their villages as “unrecognized” prevents Bedouins from developing or expanding their communities, while Israeli authorities have also refused to connect unrecognized Bedouin villages to the national water and electricity grids, and have excluded the communities from access to health and educational services.

A Knesset report on Bedouins in Israel noted that “(school) dropout rates are high, among various reasons due to lack of access and public transportation to their schools.”

Meanwhile, Jewish-Israeli communities in the Negev continuously expand, with five new Jewish plans approved last year. According to an investigation undertaken by Israeli rights groups ACRI and Bimkom, two of the approved communities are located in areas where unrecognized Bedouin villages already exist.

Rights groups have claimed that Israeli policies in Bedouin communities are specifically aimed at depopulating the Negev of its Bedouin residents to make room for the expansion of Jewish Israeli communities.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Saudi Arabia teams up with Israel in anti-Qatar lobbying in the US Congress

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali – Journal of America – June 10, 2017

US proposed  legislation – Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act of 2017 – threatening to sanction Qatar for its support of the so-called “Palestinian terror” was sponsored by 10 lawmakers who received more than $1m over the last 18 months from lobbyists and groups linked to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, Al Jazeera reported Friday.

The HR 2712 bill was introduced to the US House of Representatives on May 25, but the text wasn’t available until Friday morning, hours after Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt put 59 people and 12 institutions linked to Qatar on a “terror list”, Al Jazeera said.

HR 2712’s sponsors received donations totaling $1,009,796 from pro-Israel individuals and groups for the 2016 election cycle alone, according data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, an independent research group tracking money in US politics and its effect on elections and public policy, and then compiled by Al Jazeera.

Sponsors of the bill are: Congressmen Brian Mast (FL-18), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (CA-39) and Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (NY-16). The bill is co-sponsored by Congressmen Brad Sherman (CA-30), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Ted Poe (TX-2), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Ted Deutch (FL-22) and Thomas Suozzi (NY-3).

Al Jazeera reported that Royce received $242,143 from pro-Israel sources for the 2016 election cycle, $190,150 went to Engel. Mast, who volunteered with the Israeli military after he finished serving in the US Army, received $90,178.

“Following my service in the U.S. Army, I chose to volunteer alongside the Israeli Defense Forces because our countries share the common ideals of freedom, democracy and mutual respect for all people. Hamas preaches destruction to Israel and death to the values we hold dear in the United States. They have murdered more than 400 Israelis and at least 25 American citizens.” Rep. Mast was quoted as saying.

According to Trita Parsi, the founder of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a nonprofit that aims to strengthen the voice of US citizens of Iranian descent, there are similarities between the US-allied Arab nations’ “terror list” and HR 2712 show[ing] growing cooperation between Gulf Arab states and Israel.

“The coordination between hawkish pro-Israel groups and UAE and Saudi Arabia has been going on for quite some time,” Parsi told Al Jazeera. What is new, he continued, is pro-Israel groups such as the Foundation for Defense of Democracies “coming out with pro-Saudi [articles] and lobbying for them on Capitol Hill”.

Parsi was quoted as saying that the sponsors of the bill are traditional pro-Saudi lawmakers, however they are in the pro-Likud camp. Likud  is the party of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

President is required

The Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act requires the President to submit to Congress an annual report for the next three years identifying foreign persons, agencies or instrumentalities of a foreign state who knowingly and materially assist Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or an affiliate or successor of one of those organizations.

After identifying the organizations, the President must impose two or more sanctions, including denying

a) Export-Import guarantees,
b) defense support under the Arms Export Control Act,
c) export of munitions to any agreement to which a person identified is a part,
d) export of goods or technology controlled for national security reasons,
e) loans more than $10 million, or
f) seizure of property held within the United States.

The bill also requires the President to report to Congress on each government that provides support for acts of terrorism and provides material support to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or any affiliate or successor organization, or the President determines to have engaged in a significant transaction to knowingly and materially provide support to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad or any affiliate or successor organization.

After identifying the governments, the President must suspend U.S. assistance to that government for one year, instruct the executive directors of each international finance institution to vote against any loan or technical assistance to that government and prohibit any munitions export to that government for one year.

Additionally, the President must prohibit that government’s transactions in foreign exchanges that are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and prevent that government’s transfers of credits or payments between financial institutions subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

Important Sections of the HR 2712 Bill

Section 2: Findings and Statement of Policy

Subsections (a)(3) and (4) state that “Hamas has received significant financial and military support” from Qatar and that the Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence confirmed that “Qatar, a longtime US ally has for many years openly financed Hamas.” The bill also finds that Qatar hosts a number of high-ranking Hamas officials, including Khaled Mashal.

Subsections (a)(5) through (7) outline Iran’s material and financial support and subsections (8) through (10) detail Iranian support to the PIJ.

Section 3: Imposition of Sanctions with Respect to Foreign Persons and Agencies and Instrumentalities of Foreign States Supporting Hamas, the PIJ, or Any Affiliate or Successor Group

No later than 120 days after H.R. 2712 is enacted—then once a year for no more than three years—the president must report to Congress the foreign persons, agencies, and instrumentalities of foreign states that provide support to the aforementioned groups. Two exceptions are reserved for the president, however. If the president notifies Congress 15 days prior to completing a “significant transaction” with a foreign entity or agency that is in the “national interest” of the United States, the foreign entity or agency may be exempt from sanctions. The other exception is reserved for the president to issue waivers that would exempt a foreign entity or agency from sanctions for 120 days, as long as Congress is notified seven days prior.

Set forth in this bill are sanctions on the following:

  • Banking and financing (e.g., extensions of credit, guarantees, insurance, etc.)
  • Defense-related sales (including munitions, defense services, and construction services)
  • Goods and technologies regulated through the Export Administration or included in the US Munitions List
  • Medical, agricultural, and humanitarian goods and services are not included among sanctioned items.

Section 4: Imposition of Sanctions with Respect to Foreign Governments That Provide Material Support to Hamas, the PIJ, or Any Affiliate or Successor Thereof

Much like Section 3, Section 4 sets a 120-day deadline after enactment for the president to report to Congress any governments the Secretary of State has determined “repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” This report must be resubmitted, with relevant information, every 180 days.

The sanctions set forth in this section include the prohibition or suspension of the following for one year:

  • US aid to the foreign government
  • Extension of loans and financial or technical services
  • Export of items on the US Munitions List or Commerce Control List
  • Transactions in foreign exchanges in which the United States has jurisdiction
  • Transfers of credit or payments between one or more financial institutions subject to US jurisdiction
  • Should the president determine it is in US security interests and notify Congress seven days in advance, he can waive any foreign government sanctions for 180 days.

Section 5: Report on Activities of Foreign Countries to Disrupt Global Fundraising, Financing, and Money Laundering Activities of Hamas, the PIJ, or Any Successor or Affiliate Thereof

This bill outlines a reporting requirement for the president, no later than 180 days after the bill’s enactment. The president must report a list of foreign countries providing support for the aforementioned organizations and further assessments including:

  • Steps the foreign government is taking to freeze assets of these groups
  • Any reasons the government is not taking adequate steps to freeze assets
  • Measures taken by the United States to freeze assets
  • List of countries where the aforementioned groups fundraise and steps those countries are taking to disrupt the fundraising efforts
  • List of countries from which the groups receive surveillance equipment and what measures are being taken to disrupt the acquisition.

To borrow from Marcus Montgomery, an Analyst at the Washington DC-based Arab Center, the language of HR 2712 is interesting since it introduces sanctions for actions likely already covered under existing legislation. Hamas and the PIJ are both designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) and Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) by the State and Treasury Departments, respectively. With that in mind, it is already illegal for US entities or institutions to support such groups. Thus, the sanctions proposed in this bill that pertain to US jurisdiction are redundant.

Formally targeting Iran is redundant as well because Tehran has been declared a state sponsor of terror by the State Department and prohibitions against exports of arms, financial and technical services, and US aid to Iran are already in place.

For Marcus Montgomery, Qatar would be the truly new target under this legislation, but as an ally with which the United States has economic and military ties, it is tough to see many in the Senate agreeing to label Qatar a de facto state sponsor of terror.

Erdogan vows to stand by ‘Qatari brothers’

Interestingly, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan Friday called for full removal of a Saudi-led blockade of Qatar after approving the deployment of Turkish troops there, saying Riyadh needed to put brotherhood ahead of animosity.

Erdogan said isolating Qatar would not resolve any regional problems and vowed to do everything in his power to help end the regional crisis. “We will not abandon our Qatari brothers,” Erdogan told members of his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party at a fast-breaking meal on Friday in Istanbul during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“I also have a special request from the Saudi administration. You are the largest and most powerful state in the Gulf. We call you the Custodian of the Holy Places. You especially should work for brotherhood, not animosity. You have to work for bringing brothers together. This is what we expect from Saudi, the Custodian of the Holy Mosques,” Erdogan was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying.

“I say it should be lifted completely,” Erdogan said of the embargo.

Turkey, which has maintained good relations with Qatar, as well as several of its Gulf Arab neighbors, offered food and water supplies to stave off possible shortages. “There are those who are uncomfortable with us standing by our Qatari brothers, providing them with food. I’m sorry, we will continue to give Qatar every kind of support,” Erdogan said, adding that he had never witnessed Doha supporting “terrorism”.

On Wednesday, Turkey’s parliament ratified two deals on deploying troops to Qatar and training the Gulf nation’s security forces. The deal to send Turkish soldiers in Qatar, aimed at improving the country’s army and boosting military cooperation, was signed in April 2016 in Doha.

After an initial deployment of Turkish soldiers at a base in Doha, Turkish fighter jets and ships will also be sent, the mass-circulation Hurriyet newspaper said on its website on Friday.

“The number of Turkish warplanes and Turkish warships going to the base will become clear after the preparation of a report based on an initial assessment at the base,” Hurriyet said.

A Turkish delegation will go to Qatar in the coming days to assess the situation at the base, where about 90 Turkish soldiers are currently based, Hurriyet said adding: there were plans send some 200 to 250 soldiers within two months in the initial stage.

Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Corbyn and the Jews

By Gilad Atzmon | June 11, 2017

British Jews have made no secret of their united political opposition to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party under his direction. Since Corbyn’s selection as its leader, the Labour party has been subjected to a relentless defamation campaign by the MSM and Jewish bodies. The Jewish anti Corbyn campaign rapidly devolved into a ruthless purge conducted by the Jewish Labour Movement and the Labour Friends of Israel. And then it didn’t take long before we saw some clear evidence that the assault against Corbyn was directed by Tel Aviv.

The reaction of many prominent Jewish voices and Jewish media outlets to Corbyn’s recent electoral success leaves no room for doubt – we are witnessing an emerging clash between the Brits and Judea.

On June 9th just a few hours after Corbyn’s popularity amongst Brits was formally established, Stephen Pollard, the editor of the staunch Zionist Jewish Chronicle, wrote in The Daily Telegraph (AKA The Daily Tel Aviv ) an extended tirade about the Brits, the gist of which is captured in the headline:  “to the millions of people who voted for Jeremy Corbyn: you scare me.”

Pollard is tormented by the democratic choice of almost half of the British voters. “In fact forgive me, please, if I say this to each of the 12.8 million people who voted Labour on Thursday: you scare me.”

Pollard is distressed by Ken Livingstone’s truth telling about Zionism’s early collaboration with Hitler. He is dismayed that so many young Brits are excited by Corbyn’s platform of truthfulness and universal cooperation.

To support his argument Pollard asks us to engage in a “thought experiment.” Imagine that instead of having a problem with Jews, “many Corbyn supporters were misogynists. Instead of tweeting about ‘Zios’ they tweeted about ‘bitches’ who had got above themselves.”

I will help Pollard out. It wasn’t women’s lobbies that pushed us into immoral interventionist wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Iran. It was Lord Cashpoint Levy and the LFI that dominated Blair’s government’s fundraising when Britain launched its criminal war in Iraq. It was David Aaronivitch and Nick Cohen, two of Pollard’s Jewish Chronicle writers, who advocated these wars in the media.

Being kind natured, I’ll use this opportunity to advise Pollard that pretty much half of British adults go to bed every night with a woman. They form families with them and bring up kids together. We see women as our partners; something we cannot say about Stephen Pollard, Jonathan Pollard, Michael Foster, Lord Janner or Sir Philip Green. Pollard should spend some time and produce a better analogy in support of his ludicrous tribal politics.

Pollard is not alone. James Rubin, a former American diplomat and the ‘husband of’ is also scared of Corbyn.

“Who’s Afraid of Jeremy Corbyn? Me that’s who,” was the title of Rubin’s  Politico article. Unlike Pollard who is scared as a Jew, Rubin claims to be scared on behalf of all Americans. According to Rubin “all Americans who fear for the future of the West” should be fearful of Corbyn. Rubin attempts to spread a duplicitous message that Corbyn puts the West at risk.

Rubin is kind enough to enumerate Corbyn’s ‘crimes: he has been “a public opponent of British and American foreign policy for some 25 years, and so his record and his views are impossible to hide.” He has “made a career of attacking U.S. foreign policies time and again.”

Rubin misses the point. Corbyn was supported last Thursday by more than 12 million Brits, in large part because he has a clear record of opposition to Anglo-American Zio-con immoral interventionist wars.

Rubin goes on, Corbyn has always found a way “to be supportive of America’s enemies and critical of American policies.” Correct and this is exactly why close to half of the British voters trusted him last Thursday. I would take it further, would Corbyn be brave enough to call a spade a spade and name our foreign wars for what they are: Israeli wars, his share of the vote would increase from 40% to 70%. Corbyn would be the British Prime Minster by Friday and the Tories would be reduced to a marginal political entity.

Rubin complains that Corbyn finds that “America is almost always in the wrong for the wrong reasons.” If so, Corbyn is absolutely right. America is too often on the wrong side, capitulating to AIPAC’s demands or desperately attempting to appease the Goldman Sachs and Soroses of this world.

Those who still fail to see that British Jews are at war with Corbyn and the Labour party should read The Jewish Algemeiner. According to Ben Cohen, it was the Jewish vote in London that saved Theresa May. Despite the popular swing towards Labour in most of London, it was the “voters in four London districts with significant Jewish populations have likely made it much easier for embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May to form a coalition government.”

Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis released a statement that the election demonstrated the dramatic polarization of British society: “The General Election results make it quite clear that it is not only our political representatives who are sharply divided on what is in the best long term interests of our country, but also that the electorate is similarly divided.”

I am not convinced at all that Britain is ‘divided’ as the chief Rabbi claims. If anything, the election reveals a growing unity amongst young Brits who are disgusted by the politics of Theresa Je Suis Juif May and her Zio-friendly government.

“As Theresa May seeks to form a new Government, my prayer is that she be blessed with the insight and the wisdom to lead the country with a spirit of understanding and a commitment to the common good,” the Rabbi added. I can advise the British Jewish leader that his prayers may fall short of delivering the good. What Theresa May needs at this stage is divine intervention and the Jewish institutions rallying for her and her dirty politics is a curse rather than a blessing.

June 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , | 5 Comments

Israel’s Yinon Plan, Saudi Wahhabism & US Wars: Arab Christians Pushed Into Mass Exodus

“The real danger lies in whether the Christian world loses the last early Christians… the last ancient souls of the earth.” Such is the dire prediction by one writer regarding the ongoing exodus of Arab Christians from the Middle East – an exodus triggered by Western neo-colonialism and Zionist expansion that suits the military-industrial complex.

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press | June 2, 2017

In the United States, religion is a major part of public life – so much so that it often finds its way into politics. At the national level of politics, it has historically been difficult to win an election, particularly at the national or state level, if one follows a faith not shared by the vast majority of religious Americans: Christianity.

This phenomenon became even more pronounced following the rise of the “moral majority” in the 1980s. But despite the importance of Christianity in the public and private lives of American citizens and politicians, American Christians have raised little concern regarding the fate of Christianity in the religion’s birthplace – the Middle East.

The religious landscape of the Middle East has shifted significantly in recent years, as key religious groups, including Christians, have been making mass exoduses elsewhere. According to Todd Johnson, director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Christians are expected to compose 3.6 percent of the region’s population by 2025. A century prior, however, Christians represented 13.6 percent of the Middle East’s population.

Most reports on the subject have cited emigration as the leading cause of Christianity’s sharp decline in the Middle East, while few reports cite other factors that have pushed many Middle Eastern Christians to seek new lives abroad. Many mainstream investigations of the phenomenon have blamed both Sunni-Shiite conflicts and terrorism for pushing Christians and other religious minorities to leave.

But they have also neglected to mention the role of foreign intervention and U.S.-led regime change efforts in creating these very crises. While most of the “Christian” politicians in the U.S. are careful to avoid pointing this out, Middle Eastern Christians are all too aware that foreign intervention by Western governments has made it nearly impossible for them to continue living in the Middle East.

Marwa Osman, a lecturer at Lebanon International University and political commentator, argued as much in an interview with MintPress News :

“The ‘moral’ fights of Christians in the West are mainly over abortion, birth control, transgender and same-sex marriage, where your beliefs rarely subject you to political and physical persecution. When ethnic or religious groups are subjected to organized violence and persecution because of who they are, their plight should be addressed urgently, because this is how genocide starts and this what the West is not doing. Rather, the West keeps investing in more wars that would directly result in a Christian exodus from the Middle East.”

Christianity’s beginnings in the Middle East

The Middle East is much more than just the birthplace of Christianity. It was also the region where the religion first took hold and where the foundation was laid that transformed the teachings of Jesus Christ into one of the world’s dominant faiths. The entire region is dotted with thousand-year-old Christian communities, some of which were founded by early church fathers and, in some cases, disciples of Jesus himself.

For instance, tradition holds that Christianity was first brought to Iraq by St. Thomas and his cousin Addai in the first century, later becoming a stronghold for a patchwork of Christian groups, including the Gnostics. It is also believed that St. Peter and St. Paul brought Christianity to Syria, where – in Antioch – the term “Christians” to denote followers of Jesus was used for the first time.

In the earliest centuries of the last millennium, it was the Middle East that dominated Christian leadership and fellowship. When the Catholic church was officially formed at the Council of Nicea, there were more bishops in the Middle East than in Western Europe.

While the ascension of Islam would soon drastically alter the region’s religious landscape, Christianity has retained an important role in the region in the centuries since – especially in countries where it has maintained prominence, such as Egypt and Lebanon. Even in nations with Muslim majorities, Christians proved to be an economically important minority, gaining political prominence as a result.

But the Arab Christians of the Middle East have by no means had it easy. For much of the last 2,000 years, the region’s Christians have been persecuted by multiple parties, including the Ottoman Empire of the 19th and 20th centuries, whose brutal campaign against Arab Christians claimed the lives of over two million people.

Having suffered so much, the resilience and endurance of the Mideast’s Christians is legendary. But it was Muslims in Syria, Iran, Lebanon and Palestine who provided refuge to the Christians being persecuted by the Ottomans as they established and expanded their empire.

Owing to this troubled history, the presence of Arab Christians throughout the region has been a factor in the proliferation of Arab secularism in select countries, namely Syria, pre-invasion Iraq, Iran and Lebanon. After so many centuries of being targeted and persecuted, Christians in the Middle East have still been some of the most ardent supporters of secularism in the region.

Abdo Haddad, a Syrian Christian writer now living in Europe, made this plain in an interview with MintPress News, stating “[as] the Christians of the East developed a political sense of survival over the years, their first choice was to secure and support a strong state run by laws and, preferably, with a secular administration.”

But if Christians continue to leave the region in large numbers, secularism itself could become a relic of the region’s rich history. As Todd Johnson told the Wall Street Journal, “The disappearance of such minorities sets the stage for more radical groups to dominate in society. Religious minorities, at the very least, have a moderating effect.”

Haddad added that the greatest threat is even more grave. “The real danger lies in whether the Christian world loses the last early Christians, the last guards, the last ancient souls of the earth. If killing such a unique and profound community and civilization passes as easily as it looks, imagine what would become in your own nations once you dare to announce your faith or origin…,” he said.

Christianity and regime change in Iraq, Syria and Iran

Interestingly enough, the very countries that have protected religious minorities in the name of Arab secularism are those that have found themselves the targets of U.S.-led regime change efforts over the years.

Syria is a prime example, having been targeted by the U.S. since the 1980s. The most recent aggression has manifested in a massive war in which foreign-funded extremist “rebels” have sought to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since 2011. Syria’s Christians, protected by the Syrian government’s commitment to secularism, have overwhelmingly supported Assad throughout the affair.

As Haddad observed, those familiar with the Syrian crisis are well-aware that Syrian Christians overwhelmingly support the Syrian government in its fight against extremist militias. “The Syrian People including Christians, like their President and see in him hopes for the future. This doesn’t mean Christians don’t want reforms and change, but they want them in a civilized, gradual and progressive manner (unlike what happened in Libya).”

Osman asserted that Syrian Christians support the government in part because government-controlled regions of Syria are the only regions in which its 2.5 million Christians are safe and treated as equals alongside the nation’s Muslims. “The regime’s downfall would have been followed by massive carnage, by new waves of refugees heading west, and by the imposition of an Islamist dictatorship. Whether it would had been controlled by the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra front or by the vanishing ISIS would be irrelevant to the Christians who would have been murdered, exiled, or enslaved.”

The alternative to Assad offers little to Syria’s Christians, as armed opposition forces are overwhelmingly allied with Wahhabism and extremism, having frequently called for the establishment of an Islamic state that would adhere to a colonialist ideology funded by Western nations like the UK and the United States.

This would ultimately end the nation’s longstanding commitment to secularism and endanger the many religious minority groups that have long inhabited Syria. For instance, the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist group with ties to al-Qaeda, has repeatedly targeted Christians in Syria. Al-Nusra was recently taken off of terror watchlists in both the U.S. and Canada after simply changing its name.

Even “rebels” directly armed by the U.S., such as the Free Syrian Army, have massacred villages of Christians throughout the course of the war. In 2013, the Free Syrian Army raided the Christian-majority al-Duvair village near the Lebanese border, massacring all of its civilian residents, including women and children.

As Osman told MintPress : “In Syria the U.S. government remains committed to supporting the ‘rebels,’ although there are no “moderates” among them: all meaningful forces on the ground are Wahhabi fundamentalists who persecute Christians.”

Iraq is another example of how U.S.- and UK-led regime change has influenced the exodus of Christians from the Middle East. The invasion displaced millions of Iraqis, many of whom have yet to return, and also removed many Iraqis’ ability to feed themselves by essentially annihilating the nation’s once-sizable agricultural industry. During and after the invasion, Christians were considered close to Saddam Hussein’s regime, given that his former foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, is a Chaldean Christian. The Chaldean Christian community, which stood at around 1.4 million before the 2003 invasion, was said to have been treated preferentially under Hussein. Following his ouster and in the chaos since, the Iraqi Christian population has dwindled to less than 300,000.

Dahlia Wasfi, an Iraqi-American activist, told MintPress News that the Iraqi regime supported by the U.S. after the invasion has also played a major role in triggering the Christian exodus. Wasfi asserted that “the greatest threat to specifically Christian (as well as Sunni) families was the conservative Shia government brought to power in Iraq by U.S. administrators in 2005 (elections were run by the occupiers). In the years that followed, government-backed death squads terrorized the population, driving many Christian and Sunni families out.”

“Recent assaults on the Iraqi cities of Fallujah, Ramadi and the ongoing so-called ‘liberation’ of Mosul,” Wasfi argued, “are a continuation of the conservative Shia government’s efforts to change the demographics on the ground and consolidate its rule.”

Interestingly, many of the death squads Wasfi referenced were directly trained by the U.S., suggesting that the U.S. military had a key role in the targeting of Christians within Iraq.

Aside from the clear examples of Syria and Iraq, Iran – whose Christian communities are thriving – is the latest country to be targeted by Western neo-conservatives, as evidenced by rhetoric delivered by President Donald Trump during his first foreign trip.

While Iran has long been characterized as being discriminatory towards Christians in U.S. media, its Chaldean and Armenian Christian communities are protected by its constitution and guaranteed political representation in parliament. Jews and Zoroastrians are also similarly protected. However, evangelical Christians in Iran have been persecuted, particularly for allegedly proselytizing Muslims and members of other non-Christian religions. The total Christian population in Iran is difficult to accurately estimate, with some groups claiming there are 450,000 while others claim that there are as many as 1 million.

While secularism is hardly the driving factor behind U.S.-led regime change in the Middle East, the West’s targeting of Middle Eastern secular nations that protect Christians is an undeniable factor in prompting the exodus of the region’s Christians.

Persecution of Christians rampant in Saudi Arabia, Israel

However, other Middle Eastern nations – especially those supported by the West – are well-known for their persecution of religious minorities. Nowhere is this truer than in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in the apartheid state of Israel.

In Saudi Arabia, the government openly condemns any person who fails to conform to the Wahhabi sect of Islam embraced by the House of Saud and a product of British colonialism to topple of the Ottoman Empire. It is a puritanical religious and political policy that targets not only those of different faiths but other Muslims. As Human Rights Watch noted in its World Report for 2013: “Saudi Arabia does not tolerate public worship by adherents of religions other than Islam and systematically discriminates against its Muslim religious minorities, in particular, Shia and Ismailis. The chief mufti in March called for the destruction of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula.”

In 2014, the Saudi government detained 28 Christians for worshiping in a private home in the city of Khafji. Their whereabouts still remain unknown. At the time, Nina Shea, director of the Washington-based Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, told Fox News: “Saudi Arabia is continuing the religious cleansing that has always been its official policy.”

But worse than the Saudis’ treatment of religious minorities within their own borders is their exportation of their intolerant Wahhabi ideology abroad. Many extremist terror groups – including Daesh (ISIS) and al-Qaeda – are followers of Wahhabism, and both are major beneficiaries of Saudi funding, which neither the Saudi government nor those of its allies in the West have sought to end. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest exporter and fundraiser of radical Wahhabi terrorism. These groups, as has been made clear by their actions in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, tend to target religious minorities, particularly Christians.

Another chief ally of the West in the Middle East is also known for targeting Christians. Israel, best known for its persecution of the Palestinians,– whom are both Muslim and Christian– targets non-Jews due to its status as an apartheid ethno-religious state. As Wasfi explained to MintPress, “the military occupation by the colonial settler state of Israel, supported by Western governments” has been a major factor in the exodus of Christians from the Middle East.

Israel’s government has a long history of desecrating churches and persecuting the historic Palestinian Christians. For example, following the capture of Jaffa by European Zionist-Jewish forces in May 1948, Catholic Palestinian priest Father Deleque reported: “Jewish soldiers broke down the doors of my church and robbed many precious and sacred objects. Then they threw the statues of Christ down into a nearby garden.” He added that, while Jewish leaders had reassured that religious buildings would be respected, “their deeds do not correspond to their words.”

That same year, the Christian Union of Palestine publicly complained that British backed European Zionist-Jewish forces had used several Christian churches and humanitarian institutions in Jerusalem as military bases and had desecrated them. They added that three priests and more than 100 women and children had been killed by the indiscriminate shelling of their places of worship by European Zionist-Jewish forces.

Israel’s discrimination against Palestinian Christians has continued ever since. For instance, in 1982, the Baptist Church in Jerusalem burned down, a target of arson. No one was ever charged. When the Baptists sought to rebuild the church, groups of Jews demonstrated against the project and the district planning commission refused to grant a building permit. Three years later, the Israeli Supreme Court advised the Baptists to leave the “all-Jewish” area.

Such acts continue today. Pastor Steven Khoury, an Arab-Israeli Christian, said that “There’s no persecution in the Holy Land … unless you share your faith,” in an interview with the Voice of the Martyrs, a Christian non-profit that highlights the persecution of Christians worldwide. Khoury said he had witnessed church members being attacked because of their faith on many occasions.

Watch 60 Minutes’ Investigation into Israel’s Persecution of Christians in Palestine:

Palestinian Christians, due to their ethnicity, have been even more heavily targeted by the Israeli state, fleeing their homeland as a result along with thousands of their non-Christian countrymen. When European Zionist militias invaded Palestine to create the state of Israel in 1948, Palestinian Christians numbered 200,000. By 1995, Christian Palestinians living in the region numbered only 50,0000. Now, of an estimated 400,000 Christian Palestinians, most live abroad, mainly in the Americas.

Zionist plan for Israeli superiority excludes Christians

So why has the West targeted mostly secular nations while simultaneously supporting countries and extremist groups that persecute religious minorities, particularly Christians? While the attack on secularism in the Arab world could be a consequence of Western neo-colonialism in the region, long-held plans for Israel’s regional dominance – a goal strongly supported by the West, particularly the U.S. – shed light on potential reasons for the West’s reluctance to respect religious diversity in the Middle East.

The Yinon Plan, as it is known, is a strategy intended to ensure Israel’s regional superiority in the Middle East that chiefly involves reconfiguring the entire Arab world into smaller and weaker sectarian states.

As Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya noted in a 2011 article for Global Research :

“Israeli strategists viewed Iraq as their biggest strategic challenge from an Arab state. This is why Iraq was outlined as the centerpiece to the balkanization of the Middle East and the Arab World. In Iraq, on the basis of the concepts of the Yinon Plan, Israeli strategists have called for the division of Iraq into a Kurdish state and two Arab states, one for Shiite Muslims and the other for Sunni Muslims.”

This plan has been widely supported by numerous U.S. politicians – most notably by former Vice President Joe Biden, who pushed a non-binding resolution through the Senate that called for carving Iraq into the same states laid out in the Yinon Plan.

However, the plan to partition Iraq included no territory for Iraq’s Christians or its other religious minorities.

The Yinon Plan seeks to divide more than just Iraq. Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt would all be partitioned, according to the plan, with parts of these countries being subsequently absorbed into “Greater Israel.” This can already be seen playing out in the Syrian conflict, where Israel’s involvement in the war largely revolves around its desire to claim the occupied Golan Heights as its own.

Thus, it could very well be the West’s commitment to the Yinon Plan that has helped to shape its policy of feigned ignorance regarding the plight of the region’s Christians. Middle Eastern Christians’ commitment to and strong preference for secularism has no place in a neo-colonial Middle East that built into sectarian states intended to be kept in constant war with one another. Israel’s desire to dominate the region – a goal abetted by their Western allies – may hold much of the blame for the continued exodus of Mideast Christians.

But ultimately, the continuing exodus of Christians is endemic of a larger crisis facing the region as years of conflict and modern warfare have taken into toll on the people as well as the environment.

Wasfi pointed to U.S military aggression as the main culprit for this burgeoning crisis. “In the bigger picture, the overall loss of life and devastation of what is historically known as the ‘Fertile Crescent’ by Western invasion, occupation, and continuous war is the great tragedy. […] The sooner U.S. military aggression in the region ends, the sooner the healing can begin.

June 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel’s Netanyahu calls for UN Palestinian refugee agency to be shut down

RT | June 11, 2017

The UN Palestinian relief agency “perpetuates” the refugee issue instead of solving it and should be “dismantled,” the Israeli PM stated, adding that he had conveyed the idea to the US envoy to the UN. The agency dismissed his proposal as “fantasy.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the comments on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) during a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

“It is time UNRWA be dismantled and merged with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,” Reuters quoted Netanyahu as saying.

According to the Israeli PM, as cited by the Jerusalem Post, “in various UNRWA institutions there is a lot of incitement against Israel, and therefore the existence of UNRWA – and unfortunately its work from time to time – perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem rather than solve it.”

Netanyahu added that he had already conveyed the idea of shutting the agency down to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley during her visit earlier this week.

“I told her it was time the United Nations re-examine UNRWA’s existence,” Netanyahu said.

The UNRWA was established by the UN General Assembly in 1949, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were evicted from their homes during the 1948 war which followed the emergence of the state of Israel. The agency currently helps over five million registered Palestinian refugees across the region, according to the UNRWA’s own statistics.

The UNRWA’s chief spokesman, Chris Gunness, dismissed Netanyahu’s ideas, stating that dismantling the agency lays outside both of his and Haley’s powers and that only the General Assembly, by a majority vote, could change the agency’s mandate.

“In December 2016, UNRWA’s mandate was extended for three years by the General Assembly by a large majority,” Gunness told Reuters in an emailed statement.

A Gaza-based spokesman for the UNRWA, Adnan Abu Hasna, said that Netanyahu was pursuing a “fantasy.”

Netanyahu’s remarks came two days after the UNRWA said it had uncovered an alleged Hamas-built tunnel running under two agency-managed schools in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. The UNRWA condemned the construction of the tunnels as a violation of its neutrality and protested it to Hamas. The Islamist organization, however, denied involvement.

“UNRWA condemns the existence of such tunnels in the strongest possible terms. It is unacceptable that students and staff are placed at risk in such a way,” the agency said in a statement. “The construction and presence of tunnels under UN premises are incompatible with the respect of privileges and immunities owed to the United Nations under applicable international law, which provides that UN premises shall be inviolable. The sanctity and neutrality of UN premises must be preserved at all times.”

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon submitted a letter of protest to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council, urging them to label Hamas a terrorist organization and “safeguard” the UNRWA, as well as other agencies “from abuse by terrorist organizations.”

READ MORE:

Israel is ‘key driver’ of Palestinian hardships in occupied territories – UN report

June 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments