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Injustice – The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five

By Vacy Vlazna | OffGuardian | December 9, 2018

Survive prison I must, for when I come out I would hold no grudges, or hate, or resentment. My belief system tells me that whatever comes upon me is a matter already decreed by Allah. He knows better.”
Shukri Abu-Baker, HLF5

Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five is about a grave and cruel injustice wielded by both the the USA and Israel, and paradoxically the book’s foundations are friendship, human dignity, and trust bound together by the integrity of the author, Miko Peled.

Peled’s credentials, as an Israeli dissident, as uncle of Smadar (13), a victim of a Palestinian suicide bomber and as son of an Israeli General gives compelling credibility to the findings of his comprehensive investigation.

INJUSTICE

A decade of innocence caged. It is now 10 years since a Machiavellian travesty of US justice sentenced, between 15 – 65 years, the innocent Shukri Abu Baker, Ghassan Elashi, Mohammed El-Mezain, Mufid Abdulqader, and Abdulrahman Odeh, who were senior staff of The Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) devoted to “Helping the poor, the orphans, and the widows … one of the pillars of Islamic teachings.”

The HLF was charged with “providing material support for terrorism.” Peled details how the HLF was run with meticulous transparency and with strict adherence to US aid guidelines thus demonstrating that HLF had “no connection to Hamas or any other political or military organizations,”

At the 2007 trial, the prosecution failed to get any convictions.

Undaunted the US government and the FBI mounted a retrial,

The prosecution’s theory was that, by supporting needy Palestinians, HLF had “freed up” Hamas’ own assets to fund terrorist attacks, and that if Palestinians knew that HLF would provide support for their families if assistance became necessary, they would be more likely to become suicide bombers.”

Peled spells out how the spurious charges were backed by questionable documents supplied by Israel, false translations, by cherrypicking ‘documents and phrases until the picture they painted was completely distorted,’ the withholding of ‘secret evidence’ to the defense, unexplained disappearance of crucial records, overt judicial bias towards the prosecution, exploitation of irrelevant and prejudicial testimonies, implausible Israeli ‘experts’, false charges of illegal tax filings, the FBI attempts to recruit collaborators, ‘The FBI even offered me US citizenship and immunity if I testified that HLF was linked to Hamas., ’ and the successful bribing of a key witness for the prosecution by waiving criminal charges of fraud and providing US residency.

Furthermore, the fraudulent manipulations of US justice are mirrored in the injustice that Israel metes out to Palestinians every day. Peled pierces the looking glass to the truth and reality,

I believe that the Palestinian struggle to free all of historic Palestine from the settler-colonialism that is the State of Israel is a just struggle, and I support it wholeheartedly. I accept that the State of Israel in its present form has no legitimacy, and in this I find Hamas’ goal to liberate Palestine completely justified.” Peled

The miscarriage of justice is outrageous. However, when one considers the false evidence the US government made to the UN in the case Iraq’s possession weapons of mass destruction that led to the deaths of half a million-plus innocent Iraqis, one understands that for the government, the collateral damage of 5 innocent Palestinian men sacrificed to further the fake war on terrorism is small potatoes.

FRIENDSHIP & HUMAN DIGNITY

The friendships Peled cultivates with Shukri, Ghassan, Mohammed, Mufid and Abdulrahman are the tour de force that instils intimacy, immediacy and urgency to the injustice they suffer,

I saw how important it is that others come to see them and to understand the background and the context of this story. Only then could anyone understand the travesty and indeed the tragedy that took place here.” ibid.

We accompany Peled on his many visits to the families and to the prisons and thus we empathise with the heartbreaking burden of absence and mutual deprivations suffered by the prisoners and their families; the denial of touch, a kiss, of a father to attend weddings, the burial of a beloved child Sanabel and death of parents, family meals, births of grandchildren.

Peled’s personal accompanying along the journey of injustice generates his moving demonstration of the authenticity of the HLF5’s moral dignity and the raison d’être of their humanitarian work that is grounded in Islam.

Crucially, by sharing respect for Islam embodied in these remarkable men, Peled challenges the the post 9/11 manufactured Islamophobia;

For me, Islam will always be associated with beauty, goodness, and charity. Sadly, the contempt and fear toward Islam, which are a major part of the Jewish-Israeli narrative, has seeped into America and become part of the accepted narrative in the United States as well. Living in the United States, I always felt deprived of the warmth that Islam and the Arab world offer. But when I began working on this book, I met Islam all over again, and in the most unlikely places.”ibid.

Peled repeatedly makes clear the HLF 5 are honourable men. They are not political activists who say ‘No’ to authority, they are activists for Allah-God who say ‘Yes’ and ‘Yes’ and ‘Yes’ to love, to compassion, to loyalty and to selfless care of the poorest of the poor.

“As Ghassan said to me, “What my friends and I did at the Holy Land Foundation was to help Palestinians who are suffering. They are victims because they find themselves living under a brutal, racist regime that practices apartheid. To be persecuted for such noble work is exactly what the prophets had faced at their time. And being reminded of this is how I get through it.” Indeed, their faith has made them un-enslaveable.”

Their plight is not unlike arresting Mother Teresa for bringing attention to and acting on Third World poverty mainly exacerbated by Western colonial and capitalist exploitation.

The answers to why the US government attacked a soft target humanitarian NGO that did not fund Hamas, become apparent. Firstly destroying NGO’s is a tool of ethnic-cleansing making Palestinian life even more unbearable so that they will leave Palestine.

Similarly Mohammed el-Halabi, the World Vision manager accused of diverting cash to Hamas and though an official Australian investigation found no such diversion, he remains incarcerated by Israel since his 2016 unwarranted arrest. Then there is the escalation of the humanitarian crisis inflicted on Gaza, Jerusalem and the West Bank by the recent US withdrawal of funding to UNRWA.

Secondly, their mere existence acts as a perpetual accusation against and evidence of Israeli state terrorism.

Hamas, Peled explains emerged from necessity met by the humane ideals of the Muslim Brotherhood that built,

… an infrastructure of social services, medical clinics, and schools, mostly in the impoverished Gaza Strip. These facilities were sorely needed, due to Israel’s grave failure to live up to its responsibilities as the Occupying Power.

But widespread support for Hamas was not only a result of Israeli ineptitude. Hamas leaders came to embody the honesty, altruism, and dedication that are the hallmarks of Islam.”

Peled’s statement of respect simultaneously discredits the US terrorist designation system, that at Israel’s request, named Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

TRUST

This book is about the sanctity of and also the destruction of trust.

Peled’s thoroughness is trustworthy because it is reinforced by his walking the talk with visits, interviews and research.

For years, the HLF5 deservedly won the trust of the thousands upon thousands of their HLF donors and recipients.

Their trust in their faith that informs their every heartbeat with resilience deserves admiration,

La yukalifu Allah nafsan, ila was’aha – God would not burden a soul with a burden that is beyond its capacity. And so believers accept the burden and carry it with devotion.”

Significantly, Peled reveals that we can’t trust the American Justice System because if it can come for five fine men then we must heed Niemöller’s warning that no-one is safe. Unless we stand together.

By the end of the book, I knew action is imperative. In the spirit of J’Accuse I wrote and will continue to write to the US Attorney General demanding the immediate and unconditional release of the innocent Shukri Abu Baker, Ghassan Elashi, Mohammed El-Mezain, Mufid Abdulqader, and Abdulrahman Odeh.

Miko Peled, Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five is published by Just World Books. Al Jazeera’s two part documentary follows the lawless political trail of the US-Zionist conspiracy to deliberately turn 5 decent innocent family men into political prisoners.


Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters and editor of a volume of Palestinian poetry, I remember my name. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was convenor of Australia East Timor Association and coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.

December 9, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Putin tells Netanyahu of need for ‘strict’ stability in Mideast

Press TV – December 9, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin has reminded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the need to maintain stability following the recent Israeli operations near the Lebanese border.

Speaking over the phone, Putin and Netanyahu discussed the Israeli operations, the Kremlin said in a statement on Sunday.

“The president of Russia stressed the importance of ensuring stability in the region,” the statement said.

Ties between Damascus and Tel Aviv have been strained since Russia’s delivery of the S-300 missile defense system to Syria following the September downing of a Russian spy aircraft during an Israeli airstrike.

Russia has blamed Israel for the incident, which killed 15 Russian crew members. The Defense Ministry has said Israeli jets used the Russian plane as cover to attack Syria.

In their late Saturday talks held at the initiative of Netanyahu, Putin told him that Israel must improve its military coordination with Russia, the Kremlin said.

The Russian leader also emphasized the importance of the upcoming talks between their military experts to examine the circumstances of the September incident.

Israel has recently deployed additional troops along Lebanon’s border under the pretext of “cutting off” Hezbollah tunnels near the occupied territories.

Netanyahu has boasted that the Israeli operation was “only a small piece of the big picture” of what he called efforts to ensure its security.

The operation has drawn rebuke and ridicule even from Israeli leaders, with opposition leader Tzipi Livni criticizing Netanyahu for overdramatizing the campaign “for political gain.”

“We are not now in a situation where our soldiers are behind enemy lines. We are talking about engineering activity …,” she said, accusing the Israeli premier of “blowing the incident out of proportion.”

Intelligence and transport minister Israel Katz said Friday that Israeli forces may need to go into Lebanon to deal with the alleged tunnels.

An Israeli incursion into Lebanon would likely spark a major confrontation with Hezbollah. The Lebanese resistance movement has warned that Israel would “regret” invading Lebanon.

In his talks with Netanyahu, Putin “stressed the importance of ensuring stability in the region in strict accordance with Resolution 1701 of the UN Security Council,” the Kremlin statement read.

He was referring to the 2006 UN Security Council resolution issued after the Second Lebanon War, the last major conflict between Israel and Hezbollah which ended with the victory of the Lebanese movement.

December 9, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Israel propaganda trips target ‘Pacific Progressive Leaders’ – no one will say who’s going

The Israel lobby is working to woo people like Andrea Beth Damsky, second from right. Damsky, active in numerous progressive causes, is a member of the La Mesa, California Environmental Sustainability Commission and on the California Democratic Party Executive Board. She was taken on an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel.
By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | December 8, 2018

An Israel lobby organization is taking “Pacific Northwest Progressive Leaders” to Israel today on an all expense-paid propaganda trip to Israel. Another group just returned on December 2nd from a similar trip, officially billed as an “Educational Seminar in Israel for Southern Pacific Progressive Leaders.” No one will divulge the rosters.

The sponsoring organization is the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), a tax-exempt organization that serves as an arm of the powerful Israel lobbying organization AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee).

Roll Call reports that the AIPAC and AIEF “share leaders, employees and money.” They also share the same address and phone number.

AIPAC used to sponsor such tours itself until it became illegal for lobbying organizations to organize these. A “charitable” arm, AIEF, was then formed to continue the practice. While such trips are now “legal,” they appear to violate the spirit of the law.

Craig Holman of the watchdog group Public Citizen told Roll Call: “The purpose of the 2007 travel restrictions was to remove these types of sponsored trips. Most of these trips tend to be nothing but an extension of lobbying. “ Unfortunately, Holman explains, “When it came to negotiating the travel rules regarding privately funding trips, a huge gaping loophole was written in to exempt nonprofits. … I call it the ‘AIPAC loophole.’”

Israel advocacy organizations have exploited this loophole intensively.

Tailored trips

AIEF is an $85 million operation that takes thousands of American officials and opinion makers on all expense paid trips. It pays for their international flights, hotel accommodations, tourist excursions, meals, drinks, etc. Roll Call estimates the cost of a trip for one Congressional representative to be $10,000.

And AIEF is just one of the many pro-Israel organizations that do this; some others are the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange, Passages Israel, (backed by hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer), the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of Northern California (JPAC), and the American-Israel Friendship League, which has been operating since 1971 and largely targets young people. Last year it gave a special award to potential presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg. A fundraising video featured former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, Elie Wiesel, and others (see below).

A fundraising gala for the American-Israel Friendship League

These and other groups organize tours for every sector of American society, tailoring the trips carefully for each group. There are trips for military veterans, business leaders of all races and ethnicities, educators, athletes, students, etc, and every level of political office.

They treat each chosen group to an exotic, extravagant tour replete with visits to historic sites, exciting night life, beaches, religious sites, official offices, academics; whatever will appeal to the group members. There are meetings with congenial, impressive Israeli hosts of the political and social category that will best fit the visiting delegation, and the meetings even include a few hand-picked “Palestinian representatives” and Druze Israelis who play their role in the skillfully crafted tours.

And through it all those with political, professional, and/or economic ambitions will pick up something more: this is a group that has the money and power to further their careers. The particularly astute trip members will also pick up the converse: this is not a group to alienate.

Such trips are oddly public and secretive at the same time.

On the one hand, there are numerous videos extolling the sponsoring groups’ power and the trips’ effectiveness; diverse, wide-eyed Americans are seen being shown around Israel, and then, on cue, these American visitors describe how much they’ve learned and how wonderful Israel is (see below).

At the same time, however, the trips are sometimes run with extraordinary secrecy. AIEF’S website contains only one paragraph and an email address to contact for information. When we wrote asking who was going on the upcoming delegation for progressive leaders, the response was: “We don’t publicize our trip rosters.” Phone calls were unreturned.

The progressive participants were also unforthcoming about the delegations’ composition; some refused to provide this information, others pled ignorance. None of the participants seem to have publicly announced their trips ahead of time, perhaps aware that many progressive voters today are aware of Israel’s record of brutality against Palestinians, as described by former Israeli soldiers, documented in videos, and reported by human rights organizations.

The California participants

So far we’ve only identified three of the participants on the current progressive trips.

Andrea Beth Damsky – a member of the La Mesa Environmental Sustainability Commission and member of the California Democratic Party executive board and credentials committee – went on the November 24-December 2, 2018 trip for “Southern Pacific Progressive Leaders.” Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia and Santa Clara Supervisor Joseph Simitian are going on the December 8-16 trip.

(Simitian also went on a lobby sponsored trip to Israel in 2005, when he was a Democratic state legislator. He is already in Israel, apparently having departed on Wednesday. It is unknown why Simitian left early and whether AIEF is paying for the extra days, or whether Simitian is paying his own way.)

John Gioia – backrow, glasses blue suit jacket & jeans. From his Facebook page

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian with farmworkers – photo on his campaign page

While it seems implausible that public elected officials would go on a trip without knowing the names of any other participants, staff members at both offices say they “have no idea” who’s going on the delegation. Damsky would not reveal which public officials were on her trip.

While not everyone is taken in by tours organized by advocacy organizations, the probability is that many will be influenced by them, some significantly.  That, of course, is why groups like IEAF shell out millions of dollars for them.

Damsky herself says: “I feel more educated on the issue than I did before.”

When asked if she would go on a trip organized by a group without a pro-Israel agenda, she said she would. However, she said she couldn’t afford to pay for such a trip herself and that the trip would have to be paid for by others.

And that’s the stumbling block.

Palestine solidarity groups don’t have anywhere near the astronomical budgets of the multi-billion dollar Israel lobby.

Therefore, it would seem, those with the most money will provide the free trips, and call the shots on this, as in so many other issues – unless Americans do four things:

Actions to take

(1) Prohibit public officials from going on trips paid for by others. Congress tried this before; now it’s time to close the loophole.  If government officials are going to take trips, let them pay for them out of their own pockets. Until such legislation is forthcoming, there are additional steps that can be taken:

(2) Require transparency from our public officials. They should be required to announce these trips publicly and divulge the details. American tax-exempt corporations should be required to reveal the details of the free tours they provide, including the names of those going on them.

(3) Require fairness. Voters should demand that officials who have gone on such lobby funded junkets afterward meet with people beyond the Israel advocacy crowd, so that they can learn facts the pro-Israel tours may have left out.

For example, some of the reports that came out while the southern delegation was in Israel included the fact that Doctors Without Borders reported that more than1,000 Gazans shot by Israel are at risk of infection, which could lead to permanent disabilities or death; Israel’s Shin Bet admitted the use of torture, and a number of human rights groups have documented the “routine use of torture” by Israeli forces; a report found that Israeli settlers, with IDF complicity, have destroyed 800,000 Palestinian olive trees since 1967.

Such post-trip meetings could inform these progressive officials that Israel was founded – in the words of an Israeli historian – by ethnic cleansing, that its settlements are illegal under international law, and that a typical day for Palestinians looks like this. Officials could be shown a list of those killed and learn about the victims:

Given that the Israel trips last a week or longer, the post-trip meetings should take place over a similar time frame and be accorded equal attention.

It seems possible that Damsky, Simitian, and Gioia would be willing to take part in such meetings, especially if they are invited publicly. These are individuals with a record of caring about human rights and indigenous peoples, and who oppose discrimination and oppression; if so, they will not refuse to learn about the plight of Palestinians.

Damsky, who is Jewish, has already suggested that she would meet with other groups, and Supervisor Gioia has stated that he wishes to learn the full facts. In an email response to questions for this article, he wrote: “My goal in this trip is to hear from many individuals, ask hard questions and critically learn. My learning will not end when the trip is done. I intend to continue to read and speak with those who hold positions on the issue.” Their contact information is below.

Trip participants’ contact info:
Supervisor John Gioia: 510-231-8686 / John.Gioia@bos.cccounty.us
Supervisor Joe Simitian: 408-299-5050 / 650-289-9038 Twitter
Andrea Beth Damsky: 619-884-7918 / abdamsky@yahoo.com

Finally, there is a fourth action that Americans can do about these influence buying trips, and this one is probably the most important:

(4) Support politicians who do not give in to Israel lobby pressure.

Many politicians go on these tours because they feel they have no choice – and they may be right. If they fail to dance to the Israel tune, there is a large likelihood that their opponent will get the money, organization, and media support that is usually required to win an American election.

Until and unless Americans who desire fairness, peace, and justice in Israel-Palestine help on political campaigns and make their wishes known at the ballot box, politicians of all backgrounds will continue to go on these trips, Israel will continue to get American tax money and support, and the tragedy will continue.

Ultimately, it’s up to all of us.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.

December 8, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments

While Israel Lobby Blocks BDS in Chile at the Local Level, National-Level BDS Looms

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | December 7, 2018

SANTIAGO, CHILE — After the Chilean city of Valdivia became the first municipality in Latin America to support the non-violent Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement this past June, the Chilean government has now ruled that it is illegal to boycott Israel at the municipal level throughout the entire country.

The decision was made by Chilean Comptroller Jorge Bermudez Soto on Wednesday after a long legal battle initiated by the Jewish Community of Chile (Comunidad Judía de Chile) over Valdivia’s decision to boycott Israel.

In June, Valdivia unanimously adopted a measure that specifically declared the municipality as an “Apartheid Free Zone” and prohibited the city from working with any business that benefits or is linked to Israel’s occupation of Palestine and/or Israel’s apartheid policy that targets Palestinians.

According to the text of the declaration, the ban on working with such businesses would remain in effect until Israel ends its occupation of Palestine and dismantles the border wall; until Palestinians are granted fundamental human rights by the Israeli state and are treated as equals under Israeli law; and until the right of return of Palestinian refugees is granted, as stipulated by UN Resolution 194. The initiative had been personally introduced by the city’s mayor, Omar Sabat, who is of Palestinian descent.

However, Bermudez Soto – in representing Chile’s national government – determined on Wednesday that, though the Chilean Constitution gives local governments independence on some matters, the head of the Chilean state has the exclusive right to conduct relations with foreign powers. As a result, Valdivia’s boycott of Israel was determined to be illegal.

Bermudez Soto also went on to state that Valdivia’s boycott violated Chilean law for failing to treat anyone participating in a government bidding process in an “equal and non-discriminatory” fashion. Most importantly, Bermudez Soto noted that this decision applies not only to Valdivia but to all Chilean municipalities, making it illegal to support BDS at the municipal level in Chile. As a result, the decision has made Chile the first country in Latin America to ban support for BDS at the local level.

Bermudez Soto’s language in his decision echoes the four legal complaints filed against Valdivia in June by various Zionist organizations in Chile and abroad. The Jewish Community of Chile, which filed three out of the four complaints, argued that Valdivia’s ban on services linked to the Israeli occupation of Palestine or illegal Israeli settlements violated Chilean laws on equality as well as discrimination in economic matters.

Powerful Zionist forces made Valdivia a target

Unsurprisingly, the Jewish Community of Chile has praised the move, claiming that it is the first step in creating a “Chile free from BDS.” Zionist organizations in the U.S. — including StandWithUs, whose controversial behavior was detailed in a recently leaked Al Jazeera documentary — have praised the Chilean government’s edict as “an example for the rest of the world.”

The Jewish Community of Chile is one of the most powerful organizations of the Zionist lobby in Chile, as it is the Chilean branch of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), an influential international Zionist organization that regularly hosts events with the Israeli government and supports illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. The group’s current chairman is David de Rothschild and one of its vice presidents is Argentinian real estate magnate Eduardo Elsztain, who is very close to controversial Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros.

WJC, as evidenced by the presence of several billionaires on its leadership board, is extremely well-funded, with its U.S. offices alone reporting an annual revenue in excess of $22 million. Given the Jewish Community of Chile’s direct association with WJC, it is safe to assume that WJC helped foot the bill for the nearly six-month legal battle aimed at derailing Valdivia’s decision to support BDS in June.

Notably, without this legal action taken by the Jewish Community of Chile and other Zionist lobby organizations in Chile, the June decision to support BDS by Valdivia – a city whose population is under 150,000 – would have likely gone unchallenged.

Prospects good for national BDS action

While the declaration of the illegality of BDS support at the municipal level is being treated by Zionist groups within Chile and beyond as a “BDS fail,” other recent actions at the national level in Chile suggest that Chile could soon follow Ireland and become the next country to support BDS as a nation.

On November 27, the Chilean Congress approved a resolution demanding that the Chilean government “forbid the entry of products manufactured and coming from Israeli colonies in occupied Palestinian territory,” in a vote with 99 in favor and seven against. The resolution mandated that the government explore how a boycott could be implemented nationwide, an important step towards the future passage of a nationwide boycott of Israel. It also recognized East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and accused Israel of being an apartheid state.

Given that the recent decision by Chile’s comptroller to make municipal support for BDS illegal relied on the lack of authority Chilean cities have in regards to foreign relations, the nationwide BDS law – which has a good chance of passing Chile’s Congress – could soon deliver a much larger victory for Palestinian rights activists — and one that could not be challenged on the same grounds that were used to nullify Valdivia’s support for the BDS movement.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

December 8, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment

The Zionist Circular Maze

By Gilad Atzmon | December 7, 2018

On Thursday Israel cheered as the EU called on its member states that have not yet done so “to endorse the non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism employed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).”

Israel called this move a “breakthrough,” the European Jewish Congress hailed the declaration as “unprecedented.” Both are correct: the Europeans ‘adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism is both a ‘breakthrough’ and ‘unprecedented.’ It confirms that Europe has explicitly abandoned its Athenian ethical ethos.

Rather than declaring its opposition to racism as a universal precept and denouncing all forms of discrimination and prejudice against any group or person of any X’ simply for being X’ (for example, a Jew for being a Jew, a Black person for being Black, a Gay person for being Gay, etc.), the EU has fallen into the most banal trap and subscribed to the primacy of Jewish suffering.

A lot has been written criticising the IHRA definition, how it stifles free speech and treats one particular group as exceptional but I think we have failed to address the most important question the IHRA raises. Why are Jewish institutions so enthusiastic about a definition that clearly extinguishes the Zionist promise to make ‘Jews people like all other people.’ The IHRA validates the vile antisemitic claim that Jews are somehow different than others, as no other people have advocated for nor benefit from an IHRA-like definition of prejudice directed solely against them. One should wonder why Jewish institutions see a need to impose such a definition on individuals, organisations, states and even continents.

The answer is circular. Jewish institutions need the IHRA definition simply because they have managed to impose such a definition — since the acceptance of the IHRA definition points at boundless political power, the IHRA definition serves to target and suppress any exploration, discourse or even discussion of such power.

This reflexive reasoning recalls the old rude joke; ‘why does a dog lick its testicles? Because it can.’ Why does the Lobby impose the IHRA definition on us? Because it can.

I wish the effects were merely so simple. The dog joke is amusing because it hints that if men could indulge in a similar gratifying act, the world would be somehow calmer and friendly like the happy dog. The joke is basically a comical illustration of Freud’s pleasure principle. But the IHRA definition is neither funny nor pleasing. It is hardly gratifying for those who have endorsed it, and in some cases its adoption has involved a chain of abuse and harassment (in the British Labour Party, for instance). While the dog is thrilled or titillated by his own act, it is not clear whether Europeans and Americans are at all happy to have to endorse a ‘non legally binding definition’ imposed on them by a powerful foreign lobby. It is reasonable ask why the EU Council has adopted a non universal definition of racism. It has done so because it doesn’t have another option.

This state of affairs is far from simple, harmonious or peaceful. It is in fact, pretty much a situation that incites instability, fear and anger.

December 8, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hamas thanks UN member states for foiling US draft resolution

Palestine Information Center – December 7, 2018

GAZA – The Hamas Movement has expressed its appreciation to all the countries that opposed on Thursday the US-drafted resolution on the Palestinian resistance at the UN General Assembly and defended the justice of the Palestinian cause.

In a statement, Hamas stressed that the real terrorism that must be confronted and condemned by all countries is Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian land.

The Palestinian resistance movement called for condemning Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian land, its displacement of millions of Palestinians from their areas and homes, the massacres and crimes it had committed against them, its Judaization activities in Jerusalem, its construction of settlements, and its refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

Hamas also urged the countries that voted for the US draft resolution at the General Assembly to reconsider their positions and correct what it described as “the historic and dangerous mistake against the oppressed Palestinian people.”

December 7, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Lebanese FM Orders Filing Compliant against Zionist Entity

Al-Manar | December 7, 2018

Lebanese Caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil ordered on Thursday the preparation of a complaint to the United Nations Security Council on the Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty.

National News Agency reported that Bassil has instructed Lebanon’s permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Amal Mudallali, to submit a complaint against the Zionist entity on this matter.

The Lebanese complaint “comes in light of Israeli political and diplomatic campaign in preparation for a military aggression on Lebanon,” NNA quoted a statement by Lebanese Foreign Ministry as saying.

The statement also referred to Israeli violations of Lebanese Mobile network in which the Israeli occupation army sent voice messages to residents of southern town of Kfar Kela warning them of explosions in the Lebanese territory, according to the Lebanese agency.

The Foreign Ministry’s order follows an operation launched by Israel Tuesday to ‘cut off’ what it called ‘attack tunnels’ allegedly dug by Hezbollah in a bid to infiltrate into the Palestinian occupied territories.

In addition to the latest development on the southern border, the Zionist entity has been violating Lebanese airspace and territorial waters for years. A Lebanese Army official previously said that 162 Israeli violations were recorded in south Lebanon in September, including land and maritime infringements, as well as wall-building works, according to a Defense Ministry statement in October.

December 7, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Haley not going out with a bang after US-sponsored anti-Hamas draft fails at UNGA

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley. © AFP / Hector Retamal
RT | December 6, 2018

The US-propelled draft resolution targeting Palestinian Hamas has failed to pass a two-thirds majority threshold at the UN General Assembly vote in what is seen is a major upset for the outgoing US envoy to the UN Nikki Hailey.

The resolution garnered 87 votes in favor and 57 against, thus falling short of securing a required two-thirds majority for the motion to pass. Thirty-six member-states abstained from the vote.

The resolution should have condemned Hamas, which has been in control of the Gaza Strip from 2007 to 2014 and again since 2016. The document was in the works for several days, as Haley was seeking to reconcile the text with the EU and major Arab nations, the US allies.

The final draft denounces Hamas “for repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk,” demands it and other militant groups, such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad “cease all provocative actions and violent activity,” including “airborne incendiary devices.”

Haley has put much personal effort into making sure that what could have been the first-ever UN resolution condemning Hamas found support within the 193-strong body of nations.

It was reported that she had sent letters to all UN missions, saying that the US “takes the outcome of the vote very seriously.”

However, the thinly veiled threat did not sit well with Qatar, which called a procedural vote some 20 minutes before the vote on the resolution, which arguably sealed its fate.

Qatar argued that a two-thirds majority instead of a simple majority should be required for the resolution to pass. The motion, to the dismay of the US, was narrowly approved.

The resolution could have become a swan song for the outgoing diplomat, who abruptly announced her resignation in October, an unnamed Security Council diplomat told AFP.

“She would like to go out with something,” he said.

Haley’s strenuous effort was fully supported by the Trump administration, which has been unapologetic in doing Israel’s bidding at the UN. Hailey repeatedly blasted the UN for its alleged bias against Israel, calling the organization’s treatment of the Jewish state “unfair.”

Ahead of the crucial vote, US Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt attempted to drum up support for the resolution with US allies in the Arab world, reaching out to representatives of Morocco, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt and Qatar, Haaretz reported on Tuesday.

In a letter sent to the Arab missions, Greenblatt reportedly said that the Arab states “have no reason” to oppose the US-sponsored draft if they are against terrorism and for the stability in the region.

Haley has been one of the leading pro-Israel voices in the Trump administration. During her tenure as ambassador, the US quit the UN Human Rights Council, which Haley described as “a cesspool of political bias” and “a protector of human rights abusers”.

“Since its creation, the council has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel than against the rest of the world combined,” Haley charged at the time, slamming the UN body as a “self-serving organization.”

UNGA resolutions are not legally binding for members, but are highly-respected and encouraged opinions.

December 6, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Israeli forces demolish Palestinian primary school in al-Khalil

IMEMC News | December 5, 2018

Israeli soldiers invaded, Wednesday, the Sammoa’ town, south of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, and demolished a Palestinian school.

Media sources in Hebron said the soldiers surrounded Seemia area, north of the Sammoa’ town, and declared it a closed military zone, preventing the Palestinians from entering it.

They added that the soldiers then used their armored bulldozers to demolish the Tahadi 13 small school of several classrooms and their facilities.

The school was sponsored by the Palestinian Ministry of Education through European funding, with a total cost of 40,000 Euros, and was supposed to open in two days.

The Ministry of Education denounced the ongoing Israeli violations, targeting educational facilities and students, and added that the school is located in Area C of the West Bank, under full Israeli military and administrative control.

The school was built to make it easier for students in that area to reach it, especially due to Israeli military roadblocks and restrictions imposed by the military in various areas of Hebron.

It is worth mentioning that the soldiers have demolished many Tahadi schools in that same area, and other parts of the West Bank, as part of Israel’s illegal attempts to confiscate the lands to use them for military purposes and colonialist activities.

December 5, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 3 Comments

The ethnic cleansing of Palestine continues in Fasayil

International Solidarity Movement in coordination with Jordan Valley Solidarity | December 4, 2018

Fasayil al Wusta, Occupied Palestine – The ethnic cleansing of Palestine continues. Dunum by dunum, village by village, house by house, the people of Palestine face a slow, systematic genocide in their homeland. Two houses were demolished in the south of the Jordan Valley, in the village of Fasayil, on Sunday morning. The Israeli government did not issue a warning. The village of 1,300 people has been facing Israeli assaults on their land since the early seventies, with the construction of two settlements on either side, and a huge farmland in front of them, all less than a kilometre away.

But it was in 2010 that the Israelis came and virtually destroyed the entire village of Fasayil al Wusta. The residents have, since then, built the village back up.

Hassan Mohammed Hussein A´Zayed built a house for his son, who suffers from mental disabilities, and is sensitive to hot weather. “That house cost me 15,000 shekels to build, not only because of building materials, but because of the air conditioning (unit),” he said. The house only lasted one year before it was bulldozed on Sunday, the AC unit along with it.

A few metres in front of the newly destroyed house, one can see at least three other piles of rubble that used to be housing units, all belonging to Hassan. This was the seventh time a house of his was demolished. “They keep destroying them. Sometimes with warning, sometimes not. It´s a random policy. There´s no way of knowing what they´re going to do.” Hassan has 8 children.

Aeman Rashaeda, father of four, whose wife teaches at the nearby school, was the next to lose his house, on the same road as Hassan´s. When the Israelis approached him, they told him that it was forbidden to build, and that he was living in a closed military firing zone.

When the complete destruction of the village took place 8 years ago, 10 families immediately fled. This is a village that receives only 1,500 litres of water for each household per week; that can never get a permit to farm or build; that cannot dig a well deeper than 150 meters, enforced by Israeli occupation law.

Before the 1967 invasion of the West Bank, this village shared water from a natural spring 4 kilometers up a nearby mountain. It has, since then, been surrounded by 3 Israeli wells – the water now privatised – controlled for settler use. 60 percent of the Jordan Valley has been closed by the Israeli occupation for “military firing and security zone(s)”, but it´s been well known for years to have actually been used for agribusiness. Pick any one feature of the military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, and you will find a policy of theft, of racism, of genocide.

December 5, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 1 Comment

Canadian Jewish News Promotes ‘Terror Tourism’

By Yves Engler | Palestine Chronicle | December 3, 2018

What should we make of a media outlet that praises those who join or give money to a foreign army, which occupies territory belonging to another people, terrorizes the local population by destroying houses, restricting their movement, subjecting them to military courts and shooting unarmed protesters?

What should we call the Canadian Jewish News, an unfailing flatterer of Canadians who join or finance a military subjugating Palestinians? Would “promoter of terror tourism” be an appropriate description?

Over the past month the CJN has published at least four pieces celebrating Canadian support for the Israeli military. On November 22 it reported, “Bayli Dukes, who recently won the Israel Defence Forces’ Award of Excellence for the Southern Command of the IDF, was a biology student at York University in Toronto less than two years ago. Tired of sitting on the couch and posting on Facebook about the situation in Israel, she decided there was more she could be doing.”

A day earlier it posted an article titled “Hand-knitted  tuques – a very Canadian gift for IDF soldiers” described 80-year olds in Toronto knitting “for charitable causes, such as IDF soldiers in Israel.” Through the Hats for Israeli Soldiers initiative “more than 50,000 hats have been made for combat soldiers on Israel’s front lines”, the CJN reported. The paper quoted IDF soldier Dovid Berger’s thank you letter. “I’m currently a chayal in the 51st brigade of Golani. We are now on our way to a week-long drill in the cold and wet [occupied Syrian] Golan Heights, and last night we received our beautiful black hats you sent us. Thank you so much, some of us have been borrowing each other’s hats and now there’s enough for everyone to have at least one. It really makes a big difference to us to see how people from Canada and the U.S.A. (and everywhere in the world) are really caring about us.”

A photo in its November 14 print edition was titled “Honouring IDF veterans”. The caption read: “former Israeli defense minister Moshe Yaalon … makes presentation to Montrealers who served in the Israel Defence Forces…. during the Canadian Institute for Jewish research’s 30th anniversary Gala.”

An October 30 piece in the community paper reported, “former NHL player Keith Primeau was among more than 100 Canadians who cycled through Israel over five days this month, to raise funds for disabled veterans in that country. This was the 11th Courage in Motion Bike Ride, which is organized by Beit Halochem Canada.”

The CJN regularly promotes that organization. A search of its database for “Beit Halochem” found dozens of stories about fundraisers and other initiatives supporting Aid to Disabled Veterans of Israel. A 2009 story titled “Israeli veterans enjoy 24th visit to Montreal” reported, “the annual visit was sponsored by the 25-year-old Beit Halochem Canada (Aid to Disabled Veterans of Israel), which raises funds for Israel’s Beit Halochem, a network of centres that provide therapy and support to more than 51,000 disabled vets and victims of terror.”

Another military initiative CJN promotes is Israel Defence Forces Widows & Orphans, which is partly funded by the Israeli government. “I served three years in the Nahal Brigade. I was in Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip”, Shlomi Nahumson, director of youth programs at Widows and Orphans, told the paper in advance of a Toronto fundraiser for the group.

Another military initiative popular with CJN is Sar-El, which was founded by Israeli general Aharon Davidi in 1982. “Toronto brothers volunteer for Sar-El at height of war”, “91-year-old volunteers on Israeli army base” and “Toronto artist’s mural unites Israeli army base” are a sampling of the headlines about a program in which about 150 Canadians serve each year as volunteers on Israeli army supply bases.

At least a dozen CJN stories have promoted the Association for the Soldiers of Israel in Canada. “IDF represents all Jews, female general says” and “Community shows support for Israeli soldiers”, noted headlines about a group established in 1971 to provide financial and moral support to active duty soldiers. The later story quoted a speaker claiming, “the IDF saves lives, and not just in Israel — all over the world.”

CJN has published a series of stories sympathetic to Tzofim Garin Tzabar, which recruits non-Israeli Jews into the IDF. A 2004 article about a program supported by the IDF, Israel Scouts, Jewish Agency and Ministry of Absorption was titled “Canadian youths serve in IDF: Motivated by Zionist ideals, love of Israel.” It reported, “[Canadian Yakov] Frydman-Kohl is attending tank school at an Israeli army base somewhere near the West Bank town of Jericho. He recently completed a course in advanced training before his first deployment somewhere in the Gaza Strip.”

CJN lauded Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz’ Heseg Foundation for Lone Soldiers. “Philanthropists aid Israeli ‘lone soldiers’”, was the title of one story about the billionaire Toronto couple providing millions of dollars annually for these non-Israeli soldiers.

More generally, the paper has published numerous stories about Canadian ‘lone soldiers’. “Going in alone: the motivations and hardships of Israel lone soldiers”, “Parents of ‘lone soldiers’ discuss support group” and “Lone soldiers: young idealists and worried parents”, detailed Canadians fighting in the Israeli military. They’ve also publicized numerous books about Canadian and other non-Israelis joining the IDF. In one CJN quoted Abe Levine, an Ontarian who helped drive Palestinians from their homes in 1948, saying, “what I don’t understand is why Israelis don’t send 10 rockets back for every one fired from Gaza.”  The story continued, “during his time in the Machal [overseas military volunteers], Levine saw most Arabs as ‘the enemy.’ Though he said he had lines he would not cross – ‘I wouldn’t kill an Arab if I just saw him standing outside his house.’”

CJN promoted Nefesh B’Nefesh’s (Jewish Souls United) recruitment of Canadians to the IDF. “Nefesh B’Nefesh brings aspiring soldiers to Israel”, noted a headline about a group that facilitates “Aliyah” for those unsatisfied with their and their ancestors’ dispossession of First Nations and want to help colonize another indigenous people.

While CJN provides positive publicity to groups promoting the Israeli military, these groups (often registered Canadian charities) finance the paper. The previously mentioned story about Nefesh B’Nefesh ended with “the reporter’s trip was partly subsidized by Nefesh B’Nefesh.” More significantly, these organizations regularly advertise in the paper. “Express your Zionism by serving as a civilian volunteer on an Israeli army supply base”, read a Sar-El ad while another noted “the Association for the soldiers of Israel invites you to show your support for the brave youth of the IDF at our gala dinner.”

Yet, while it promotes joining and financing a military actively killing Arabs, CJN accuses Palestinian Canadians of supporting terrorism. An August headline noted, “Canadian Arabic-language newspaper criticized for pro-terrorist op-ed” while a 2017 one stated, “B’nai Brith wants a Mississauga teacher fired for backing terrorists”.

The hypocrisy is glaring. While CJN accuses others, it may be this country’s biggest promoter of “terror tourism”.

– Yves Engler is the author of Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid and a number of other books. Visit his website: yvesengler.com.

December 3, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment