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Haneyya: Three means to thwart Trump’s decision over Jerusalem

Palestine Information Center – December 14, 2017

GAZA – The head of the Political Bureau of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) Ismail Haneyya has outlined three means to confront Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and topple ‘the deal of the century’, stressing that the Palestinian people, Hamas, and the resistance will work to achieve this objective on the ground.

In a speech during celebrations marking the 30th Hamas founding anniversary in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, Haneyya stressed that his Movement is now working on two parallel goals: to thwart both the Trump decision and ‘the deal of the century’.

He added, “We will work to force the US administration to retreat from its unjust decision, our goal is to break the US position and annul the Trump decision once and for all.”

He praised the Palestinian people in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and in the refugee camps and the diaspora. He saluted the people of all nations from Indonesia to Morocco and all the free people who responded to the call and rose for the sake of Jerusalem.

Objectives of the battle

“No one could take away our sacred sites or change their identity, and no force could grant Jerusalem to the occupier. There is no such thing as the State of Israel in the first place to have a capital called Jerusalem,” he said, stressing that this is not limited to political speeches and positions. Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem, Palestinians in the 1948 occupied territories, the refugee camps and the diaspora, know their role well. Our lives, our people and our homes are sacrificed for Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa.”

He noted that the people of Jerusalem removed the Israeli gates installed at Al-Aqsa and prayed in the streets, adding, “If they alone defeated Netanyahu and broke his decision and victoriously entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque, can’t we as a people and a nation foil the decision? Yes, we can.”

He added, “This ominous decision is no less dangerous than the Balfour Declaration,” stressing that the Palestinian and Arab Muslim generations will not allow for this decision to pass.

Haneyya stressed that the second goal of the uprising of our people and nation along with the world’s free people and their religious and political authorities is to overthrow the so-called ‘deal of the century’, which Palestinian President Abu Mazen described as ‘the slap of the century’.

He said, “We as a people and a nation are able to respond to this slap by thwarting the so-called ‘deal of the century’, because the issue of Jerusalem came at a time of proposing projects that aim at liquidating the Palestinian issue.

Three ways

Haneyya stressed that Hamas needs today to follow three paths, the most prominent of which is the achievement of national unity and partnership in the management of the country, adding, “the most effective response would be a unified Palestinian position.” He reiterated Hamas’s adherence to national reconciliation, which was revived over the last few months, with Hamas making important steps along that the path.

He said: “Achieving unity and reconciliation requires speeding up applying all the measures we have agreed upon in Cairo and Gaza and everywhere, and requires that our people live a decent and dignified life in Gaza. Gaza is the stronghold of resistance and the incubator of the national project. And despite fighting three wars, it comes out today to say we are with the resistance and unity with all of Palestine.”

He added, “We have to deal with the details quickly, the issue is bigger and is more serious. We must agree on a national strategy of struggle that takes all reasons of strength and steadfastness into consideration within the framework of the overall popular resistance to confront the occupier, and on the top of that armed and popular resistance.”

Haneyya stressed the need to work quickly to restructure the PLO, the house that includes under its umbrella all Palestinians, so tas to include all national and Islamic forces under it.

Building alliances

Haneyya stressed the need to build strong alliances at the regional and national levels. He said: “The battle of Jerusalem is not our battle alone; it is the battle of the entire nation.” He welcomed every genuine position that supports Jerusalem and every idea that could build a strong Muslim and Arab front at the regional level.”

He called for the formation of action groups that include all forces and components of the nation, adding, “Our nation is invited to forget its differences and internal conflicts and tears, and to seek to re-establish its connection to Jerusalem and the blessed land of Palestine.”

He stressed that Hamas has started and will continue to build alliances in the region to address the Israeli-American project, noting that that would also include “maintaining the strategy of openness to all Arab and Muslim countries and peoples.”

Continuation of Intifada

The third path is the continuation of the intifada, Haneyya said, stressing that it should not stop. “Netanyahu and the US administration are betting on the exhaustion of the Nation.”

Haneyya called on Arab and Muslim nations to make Friday of every week a day of anger and marches for Jerusalem.

He called on scholars and preachers to make Jerusalem present in their speeches and lessons and to incite people and the free world, until the decision is dropped.

He also called on Christian churches in Palestine and the Levant to devote their prayers on Sunday for Jerusalem, the Church of the Resurrection and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, affirming that “We still stick to the Pact of Omar.”

He called on the youths from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf to form frameworks to organize events monthly and weekly until Trump’s decision is revoked, adding: “We should not suffice with an emotional event, or with a march or a single event, but we want permanence and persistence. Let young people of our nation form national frameworks and design programs and strategies to support Jerusalem and Palestine and to foil Trump’s decision.”

Hamas and the resistance project

Haneyya paid tribute to the Palestinian people in all places of their presence, saluting the participants in the Hamas anniversary, prominent leaders of the national and Islamic factions, who attended the event, and all segments of the Palestinian people.

Haneyya stressed that this unique national presence that takes part in the Hamas anniversary is a proof that “Hamas is a natural extension of the resistance and steadfastness project on our land, and a proof of the blessed resistance that has been going on in our land since the beginning of the last century.”

He pointed out that other forces and factions preceded Hamas in this regard and will continue with it, noting that this national rally is an evidence of the popularity of Hamas, which keeps the identity and principles and stability and mobilization of our people.

He pointed out that Hamas has served as “a qualitative addition to our people and our resistance. Today, we celebrate this anniversary with these masses.”

“Let us emphasize that the Intifada was for Jerusalem and the resistance is for Jerusalem and Jihad is for Jerusalem, so are the martyrs, the blood, the wounded, the prisoners and all the heroic works”, he highlighted.

The Hamas leader said: “The celebration of Hamas is the celebration of a people and a nation and represents a great contribution to the resistance, Jihad and heroism project. Hamas gave the best of its people for the sake of Jerusalem. The entire Muslim nations celebrate this anniversary because they see in Hamas an example to follow that carries the flag of resistance and represents these nations in the battle to liberate Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

He said: “The Palestinian issue is central to our nation and our people and the free world. After many thought that the issue has been overshadowed, and that the people of the nation were preoccupied with their concerns.”

In just eight days, the issue of Jerusalem became the center issue for all Muslims and Arabs, he explained, adding that for the first time in the history of the issue, “the whole world is standing on one side, and Netanyahu and Trump are standing on the other, which asserts that the occupation no longer has an important status even among the European countries.”

December 14, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Renowned South African university cuts ties with Israel

Palestine Information Center – December 13, 2017

PRETORIA – “The Council of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has resolved that TUT will not forge any ties with the State of Israel or any of its organizations and institutions,” TUT spokesman on the issue Professor Rasigan Maharajh told the African News Agency (ANA) during an interview on Wednesday.

A December 7 press release from TUT stated: “As a progressive university in a democratic South Africa, we want to affirm that TUT will not sign any agreements or enter into scientific partnerships until such time that Israel ends its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.

“The university will not stand back and accept the violations of the Israeli government when it confines the movement of Palestinian children and youth on their own land and restricts their ability to access education through destroying their schools,” added the statement.

South African criticism of Israel is growing, the ANA pointed out.

One of the controversial issues to be discussed at the ANC’s forthcoming 54th National Conference in Gauteng, from December 16 to 20, is the possible downgrading, or even closure, of the South African Embassy in Tel Aviv.

“As a constitutional democracy premised on the recognition of human rights, the Republic of South Africa must urgently discuss downgrading the status of its relationship with Israel,” said Maharajh.

TUT’s decision to cut all ties with the Jewish state also comes in the wake of strong condemnation from the South African government, and various political and human rights organizations across the country, following US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem while stating that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel.

Under international law East Jerusalem is occupied territory and all international embassies have based themselves in Tel Aviv until the final status of Jerusalem is negotiated through talks.

“The announcement by the Trump regime of its intentions to establish its embassy in Jerusalem further escalates tensions,” said Maharajh.

“As guided by the founding President of the post-apartheid South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who declared that: ‘We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians’, the Republic of South Africa must also condemn the actions of the Trump regime and work harder at fostering solidarity and cooperation with the people of Palestine.”

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zionism In The Light of Jerusalem

By Jim Kavanagh | The Polemicist | December 13, 2017

Donald Trump’s official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is an embarrassment. A salutary embarrassment.

It’s a clumsy, all-too-obvious unmasking of decades of bipartisan U.S. policy whose contempt for Palestinians has been cloaked with a smile and a handshake.

As such, it’s an embarrassment for the Zionist political and media elite that prefers to operate behind smiles and handshakes, and not flaunt their power.

It’s an embarrassment to liberal Zionists and “peace process” promoters everywhere—in the American political parties and media, in European conservative and social democrat governments, and in Jewish Zionist organizations. For fifty years, they have laser-focused attention on the post-’67 “occupation,” and done all that they can [nothing concrete], in solidarity with the Israeli Jewish peace movement [dwindling to insignificance in an increasingly fascistic political culture], to end the occupation [ minimize its cost to the Jewish state, ‘cause “no concessions, no withdrawals, no Palestinian state” is already proclaimed Israeli policy].

It’s an embarrassment to the Arab monarchs and the Palestinian Authority functionaries, who for decades have collaborated in the task of subduing Palestinian rage as Israel went about its colonizing project, holding out the promise that the good American Daddy and his kinder, gentler Israeli Jewish progeny would one day reward the Palestinians for their good behavior.

It’s an embarrassment to those liberals who want to portray Donald Trump as a uniquely evil interloper imposed on American politics by a foreign power, rather than understand him as the product of an American political culture that they helped to create while obtusely refusing to recognize what they were doing.

The only parties who are not embarrassed are the “hard”—that is, intellectually honest and consistent—Zionists in Israel and the United States (many liberal Democrats included) and Donald Trump himself, who is immune to embarrassment.

All this embarrassment provides a fine example of the positive repercussions of the “Trump-effect” that I discussed in a previous essay, which is steadily eroding the thin remaining patina of America’s “soft power” in the world, an essential support of the Euro-American imperialist alliance.

After all, Israel’s relentless Judaization of East Jerusalem, consistent with its long-held declaration of sovereignty over the entire city, was proceeding swimmingly, with only the feeblest occasional murmurs of protest, accompanied by massive countervailing deliveries of arms and money, from the peace-process-loving governments of Europe and America. Trump’s gratuitous, self-aggrandizing gesture, by unmasking that as the de facto acceptance of annexation that it is, only brings unwanted attention to the whole rotten game, and to the hypocrisy of those governments especially.

Good riddance to the pretense! As Noura Erakat says: “Trump has removed the emperor’s clothes to reveal the farce of the peace process…[He] has finally ended the United States’ double-speak and should have ended any faith that the US will deliver Palestinian independence or that Israel is interested in giving up its territorial holdings captured in war.” And Rashid Khalidi: “Trump may have inadvertently cleared the air. He may have smashed a rotten status quo of US ‘peace processing’ that has served only to entrench and legitimize Israel’s military occupation and colonization of Palestinian land for a quarter-century.”

In other words, Trump has suddenly and single-handedly destroyed American’s pose as the “honest broker” in the Middle east and the Solomonic arbiter of world affairs in general, in a way that forces the European and Palestinian political leaders to make an explicit break from what is now declared American policy. For now, of course, that break is rhetorical, but should it remain so—if European and Palestinian leaders do not work a political strategy independent of, and in opposition to, the United States—there will be no denying their capitulation and servility.

Indeed, Europe, in the person of the German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, has already laid down the markers for itself: “Germany can no longer simply react to U.S. policy but must establish its own position…even after Trump leaves the White House, relations with the U.S. will never be the same.” Even after Trump leaves the White House. This is a recognition that the American regime—not just Trump, but precisely what he is the culmination of—is not a trustworthy and reliable partner for the management of global capitalist stability. This is what Trump is wreaking. And it’s a very good thing.

As excessive and gratuitous as Trump’s Jerusalem announcement was, there is no question that it is the culmination of American politics. It is the perfect example of how Trump is the symptom not the cause of long-festering political rot, the product not the antithesis of American political culture. His recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is the fulfillment, exactly as Trump says, of a promise that’s been de rigueur for presidential candidates, and of the demand of a law (Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995) passed twenty-two years ago by overwhelming majorities in both Houses of Congress. Just six months ago, the Senate—including Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Kamala Harris, and Bernie Sanders—voted 90-0  to demand that Trump “abide by its provisions.” Schumer, who believes he’s on a mission from God to be the guardian of Israel, had last week criticized Trump for his “indecisiveness” about declaring Jerusalem the “undivided capital of Israel” and moving the embassy.

Who can forget the scene at the 2012 Democratic Convention, when an amendment to the platform declaring Jerusalem the Israeli capital was adopted against the clear opposition of the majority? That was shoved down the party’s throat by Obama, who had it shoved down his throat by AIPAC. (It was language Obama had removed from the platform, which AIPAC browbeat him into restoring.) As I discussed in a post at the time, the blithely ignored floor vote was a display of Stalinist party discipline for which Obama was congratulated by an MSNBC roundtable including O’Donnell, Maddow, and Sharpton.

It was Obama, too, who (after becoming first American President to give bunker-buster bombs to Israel. He did that secretly, because he didn’t want it to be known that his really brave and progressive and highly-publicized peace-process demand that Israel stop settlement construction in exchange for such gifts, which Israel of course ignored, was another empty American bluff. And it was Obama who, in 2013, became the first American President to demand that “Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state.” That was a new, gratuitous and excessive demand at the time, foisted on everyone by Netanyahu and AIPAC because they knew it would be unacceptable to the Palestinians. Obama’s adoption of that requirement, which has become locked into American policy, was no less damaging to the ostensible peace-process, with its infinitely-receding goalpost, than Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, and perhaps more contemptuous of the Palestinians. It’s the equivalent of demanding that “Native Americans must recognize that America is a White Man’s state.”

Really. Think about it.

So, whatever the problem is with declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel, it’s not Trump’s. It’s America’s. It’s a problem the Democrats share responsibility for, and will not get us out of.

Past Prologue

Let’s name it clearly: It’s America’s problem with Zionism.

After the “You must accept the Jewish State” insult and the “You must accept Jerusalem as capital of the Jewish State” insult, can we dispense with the diversions? Can we recognize that the problem isn’t how many settlers are in which part of which city, or how long and where exactly the wall should be located, or the Green Line or the Blue Line, or, indeed, the “occupation”? Let’s, without any more fear or hesitation, name and critique the fundamental problem: Zionism.

Zionism is a colonialist project. Israel is a colonial-settler state. The fault lies in colonialism—you know, that thing where a group of people, who want the land somebody else is living on, take it. By subjugating, expelling, and/or exterminating the indigenous population. That’s what has to be named and opposed. Every other problem in the context is a derivative of that.

Zionism has the particular distinction of being the last major initiation of a blatant settler-colonial project. It was possible at the end of WWII (1945-8) because racism and ethno-supremacist colonialism were still integral parts of the Western worldview. The great world powers could still blithely dismiss the lives, land, and humanity of an Arab population as dispensable—secondary both to the aspirations of the largely European Jews who formed the Zionist vanguard and to the guilty consciences of European gentiles. It was compensatory colonialism, with the compensation paid by an expendable third(world) people.

In the post-WWII, post-holocaust context, Zionism had the further peculiar distinction of being able to conjure about itself an aura of virtue that effectively occluded the blatant injustice of the colonialism it is. Thanks to the consistent and intensive Zionist influence on Euro-American political, media, and cultural institutions, that aura has enshrouded Zionism for Westerners’ eyes for 69 years, long past colonialism’s sell-by date. That aura of virtue is what makes breaking up with Zionism so hard to do, for so many, to this day.

I’ve discussed more of the history and arguments about this in a previous essay. At this point, there is so much information available from so many channels, including Israeli scholars, that supporters of Israel who are intellectually-honest have a hard time denying that the Zionist conquest of Palestine was colonialist ethnic cleansing, and Israel a colonial state. Liberal Americans know very well that, if such a project were to be proposed today, they would denounce and reject it—no ifs, ands or buts. Today, any person of a modern, secular, liberal cast of mind recognizes the abolition and rejection of colonialism as one of history’s irrefutably progressive milestones, and would see any attempt at colonial conquest as an unacceptable historical crime.

Yet that is exactly what Israel is doing. Israel is exactly that attempt.

“Attempt” is an important word here. Zionists want to think all the nasty work of ethnic cleansing is in the ancient (1948) or at worst early-modern (1967 when liberal Zionists grudgingly acknowledge, colonial aggression was certainly past its sell-by date) past. They present Israel, whatever its nasty origins, as a finished historical product: a liberal democracy filled with juice bars and tech startups—which would be stable and progressive, if only the fanatical Arabs/Muslims would leave it alone.

Indeed, a favorite Zionist argument I’ve heard delivered as if it’s a killing rhetorical blow packed with irrefutable historical realism, is some version of: “So what, you’re a colonizer, too. American Indians!” Gotcha!

It baffles me that anyone thinks that’s an effective argument. Accepting the damning admission that the relationship between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs today is analogous to that between European settlers and Native Americans from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century (and leaving the ethics of that aside), one might start a reply with the following:

Being historically realist and all, we have to recognize that, tragically, over those four centuries, the Native American population was so completely ravaged that it now constitutes less than 1% of the population. If Native Americans were now the majority of the population in North America under white settler control; if they were engaged in a fierce resistance struggle to prevent being expelled or exterminated; if they had the support of hundreds of millions of their neighbors, as well as of populations and governments throughout the world, as well as of an established international ideological and legal framework that forbade and denounced the colonial project the white settlers were still trying to complete (while demanding that everyone recognize America as the White Man’s State)—then you would have a relevant analogy.

Sorry, but the Zionist project, Israel, is not finished. It is quite unfinished and precarious, and Israeli leaders know it.

Back to the Future

This is so because the Palestinians are not defeated and have not surrendered. Too few of them have been exterminated; they have not been expelled far enough away; they have not been thoroughly enough subjugated. The existence and resistance of Palestinians put the lie to the idea that Israel is a stable, finished state and that the dirty work of Zionist colonialism is in the past. As the rallying cry of many Zionists in Israel today has it, they still have to “finish ’48.”

Israel is profoundly insecure. Not because of any external military threat, but because of the presence of the Palestinians. Their defiant presence is an intrinsic threat to the Zionist project. External threats—whether ideological or economic or military, whether from specific countries or from the international community—derive from the presence of the Palestinians and what that implies about the legitimacy of the Zionist project in an anti-colonial, anti-apartheid world.

Every attack on Gaza, Lebanon, or Syria, all the hair-pulling anxiety over Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, and where the next war will just have to be, and how many Palestinians can be dispossessed or expelled how quickly before somebody in the world—especially Americans, and most especially American Jews—starts to push back, demonstrates that Israel is an unfinished colonial project that hasn’t quite figured out how to achieve the final submission of its colonial subjects. It was as true in 1999, when Edward Said said it, as it was in 1948, and as it is now: “the contest is as alive as ever.”

Indeed, the famous loaded question “Does Israel have a right to exist?” is posed by Zionists so insistently precisely because it is an unsettled question about the future. It’s not only about past events—whether Zionists back in the day had the right to establish the colonial entity they did, but also about a present, aspirational practice—whether they now have the right to establish the colonial entity they would like to. The question, really—and those hard-core, “finish ‘48” Zionists know it—is: Will Israel exist?

The question is also asking us: “Do you agree that it is right for Zionists to be establishing a colonial-settler Jewish State, ethnic cleansing and all?” Are you going to sign on for that?

Israel will only be finished and stable if it achieves that. One can argue that it’s almost there or that it’s a long way off, but done it ain’t.

That’s why we should take the opportunity that Trump’s latest embarrassment of American policy gives us to exit for good the phony two-state peace-process paradigm, to forthrightly name and reject Zionism and the colonialism it is. We need to go back to the future, to a proposal for a single, if bi-national, secular democratic state, a de-colonized polity in the territory of historic Palestine, where Arabs and Jews can live in peace and equality. Something along the lines of the “secular, democratic state” the PLO called for in 1968 and the “full secular democracy” that Edward Said championed again in 1999.

Love It Loud

To be sure: I am not sanguine about this. The political way forward is not clear.

On the one hand, the exhaustion of the peace process and the Palestinian Authority is now a done deal, as I hope everyone now recognizes. At least as important, the de-legitimization of Zionism, is already well-advanced. Politically and ideologically, the actions and discourse of Israel and its partisans themselves do as much as anything to discredit Zionism. And, despite its being kept in the cultural shadows, more Americans are aware of the problems with the dominant Zionist narrative. The BDS movement is strong and growing. On American campuses today, Zionism is losing the all-important ideological battle, especially in the crucial constituency of young Jewish-Americans, and the effects of that are radiating throughout the culture. The reality of this effect is demonstrated by the increased anxiety among the guardians of Zionism, with their increasing efforts to censor and suppress criticism of Israel, to define anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism, and to outlaw anti-Zionism and the BDS movement. The arc of history is not bending toward Zionist colonialism.

To wax ironic, Zionism’s fatal weakness may be the effect of its greatest strength—its tenacious entwinement in our political culture, which is hard to overstate. We live in a country where powerful politicians and the wealthy donors who control them proclaim their fealty to Israel; where Israeli officials enjoy veto power over candidates for office down to the level of State Assembly. where the Secretary of State gives a “devoutly Zionist” speech and is still criticized for not being obsequious enough to Israel, where the Vice-President declares “I am a Zionist,” and where a President who was excoriated for avoiding service in the American army can say “I would personally grab a rifle, get in a ditch, and fight and die” for Israel, and nobody bats an eyelash.

Really, think about it.

Perhaps most vomit-inducing in the present context, it’s a country where the Congress has just overwhelmingly passed a bill de-funding the Palestinian Authority (except, at Israeli insistence, the PA security forces) if they give any support to any family member of a Palestinian convicted of what Israel calls “terrorism” (and others would call anti-colonial resistance), and at the same time that Congress allows the great charitable organization, The Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), to collect $50 million a night, tax-free to itself and tax-deductible to its donors. All that money is needed, over and above the $3.7+ billion the U.S. gives Israel every year, in order to provide extra-comfortable “well-being facilities” for the beleaguered Israeli “coed infantry units” who have the tough job of dragging Palestinian families from their homes and blowing them up—those families the PA is now forbidden to support. Friends of the IDF galas are hosted in New York by Republican billionaire Sheldon Adelson, and in Los Angeles by Democratic billionaire Haim Saban, and entertained by celebrities like Seal and Israeli-born KISS-er, Gene Simmons (Chaim Witz). Bi-partisanship rocks.

America has become a Zionist country. And it shows. And it’s discomfiting. For the most powerful people and institutions in the United States, Zionism has become a core component of American ideology and politics, married, like nothing else is, to capitalism and imperialism as a co-equal existential imperative.

It’s a peculiar relationship because capitalism and imperialism do not need Zionism, and may even be weakened by it. Zionism is a surplus oppression. The excessiveness and gratuity of Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem, which so many people recognize, is only a reflection of the excessiveness and gratuity of Zionism itself, which too many people have for too long taken for granted.

Dragging people from their homes and blowing them up is excessive, an atrocity too far. A partner who is addicted to such behavior will inevitably create trouble for the capitalist-imperialist family, which has enough problems of its own to deal with. It’s the U.S who insists, excessively, on including Zionism in a polyamorous arrangement, and who is, as can be expected in such cases, losing its mind over this misplaced affection, and endangering the core relationship.

This is what the German FM and other members of the European First Wives’ Club see in Trump’s Jerusalem declaration. This is what a lot of people see in all the state-destroying, jihadi-chaos-creating aggression from Iraq to Syria and heading toward Iran—all of which makes no sense until you understand that the American project throughout has been an over-complicated ménage-à-trois: capitalism-imperialism-Zionism.

As Shoshana Bryen says: “The United States military, then, is a Zionist institution.” Bryen is herself a perfect example of the intimate relations between Israel and the American military, having made the rounds as former Director of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA, the prime meeting spot where Israelis entice senior American officers to see the world as Israel does), and as a lecturer at the National Defense University and the U.S. Army War College.

The hope is that it’s all becoming too obvious and too much—an embarrassment of too many riches for Zionism. It’s why Hillary Clinton’s campaign decided not to highlight—except to donors—her passionate love for Israel: “We shouldn’t have Israel at public events. Especially dem (Democratic) activists…. What about this as a base, and then she can drop in Israel when she’s with donors.” While the donors and elite still swoon, the arc of the Democratic base is bending away from Zionism—and the Zionists know it.

There Is No Time

On the other hand, we have to recognize the persistent weaknesses of the Palestinians, who suffer constant, horrendous, human and material losses every day at the hands of a Zionist colonial machine. Israel, the Jewish State, has already established an apartheid regime, the late stage of colonialism, and has made clear that it is determined to extend that as far and as long as it can, with all necessary force. The illusion that America would do something to stop or reverse this has been finally shattered. Though it’s stance may be changing, thanks to the likes of Trump, and it is a medium- to long-term weak spot for Israel, the “international community” still grants Israel effective impunity.

The Arab countries? Ha! Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies, and Egypt will supply the rope and tie the knot. The staunchest Arab supporters of Palestine—Iraq, Libya, and Syria—just happen to be the countries ravaged by that United States military institution. A weakened Syria and (non-Arab) Iran may give some assistance, but really, nobody’s coming to save the Palestinians.

External support in the way of boycott and sanctions will help also, but significant victories can only come from organized resistance by Palestinians themselves. The Palestinian political leadership which, as Noura Erakat says, “has abandoned confrontation with Israel as a matter of policy” would have to be changed. New leadership would have to emerge that renounces Oslo and forges a militant struggle for equal political and social rights, a multi-level strategy of resistance against colonialism and apartheid. This will be very tough, in a community that’s been ground down for decades by the Israeli-PA security apparatus, and the collaborationist mindset and economic interests that support it.

To be thoroughly frank: though militant non-violent civilian resistance must be the core of struggle, it has to be backed by some kind of armed power. The ANC’s victorious fight against South African apartheid was not confined to “terrorist” Nelson Mandela’s prison cell; his comrades were busy outside. A movement to defeat colonialism and apartheid must demonstrate the capacity not only to take punishment, but also to inflict it, to hurt the forces and institutions imposing Zionist oppression and to disrupt the normalcy of Zionist daily life. Everywhere, enemies of the IDF. No “well-being” respite. No justice, no peace. That is the only way victory over colonialism and apartheid ever has, or ever will be, won.

Since the Zionists’ founding spasm of brutal ethnic cleansing—expelling over 700,000 Palestinian Arabs while killing thousands of others—and since colonialism fell into disgrace, Israel has been constrained to pursue further ethnic cleansing in a fitful series of measures, with levels of brutality adjusted for various international political and ideological exigencies. But it has not ceased to probe those limits. Israel is working very hard to compress political time and make it suddenly possible again to exterminate or expel enough Palestinians (we’re talking at least tens of thousands) to stabilize Israel for most of a century. That’s one of the things Israel’s, and its American patron’s, support of jihadi chaos in the region, as well as its attempt to foment war with Iran, is all about. The fat lady hasn’t sung, but the orchestra is in full swing. The Palestinians don’t have forever to stop the music.

So, there’s no room for false hope or assumptions of inevitable victory. There’s an opportunity now for a successful fight to defeat Zionism, pitched precisely as struggle against colonialism and apartheid, and it must be seized quickly. It is also not impossible for Zionism to defeat the Palestinians in some effectively irreversible way, as it keeps trying to do.

It’s just the case—the practical, utterly realistic political case—that nothing, not a thing, can be gained by trying to revive the zombie two-state peace process that has been killed over and over again by the U.S. and Israel themselves. To seal the deal, Donald Trump just drove a stake through its heart. There is no two-state solution. There is only one state: either the one colonial, apartheid state that’s coalescing now, or the one democratic state of equal rights that justice demands.

For American left allies of Palestine, it’s time, past time, to clearly reject, not just the occupation of Jerusalem or the West Bank, but Zionism tout court.

Back to the future it is. Liberal Zionists like to imagine ’48 is finished in some democratically acceptable way. Militant Zionists know they still have to finish ’48 as ruthlessly as possible. Principled anti-Zionists—that is, principled anti-colonialists—have to work very hard to make sure that ‘48 ends in failure, and that Israel never becomes the finished colonial project it wishes to be.

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This article incorporates parts of an earlier related post: Gaza Calling: It’s the Colonialism, Stupid!

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes, Timeless or most popular, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Moroccan MPs propose bill to criminalize normalization with Israel

Palestine Information Center – December 12, 2017

RABAT – Members of the Moroccan parliament on Monday condemned the US president Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem which he has recently recognized as the capital of Israel.

During a parliament session held on Monday and attended by the Palestinian ambassador to Morocco, they called for activating a bill criminalizing normalization with Israel that has been frozen for more than four years.

According to the Moroccan newspaper Lakom, Habib El Malki, the president of the House of Representatives, said that Trump’s decision disregards the United Nations and its resolutions and lacks legitimacy and credibility.

He added that by this move the US has chosen to be a rival rather than a mediator in the negotiation process.

For his part, the president of the House of Counselors, Hakim Benchamach, said in statements quoted by the Moroccan newspaper that the US decision goes in line with the Balfour Declaration and threatens the stability of the international security.

MP for the Democratic Leftist Federation, Omar Balafrej, revealed that the statistics issued by the French-Israeli Chamber of Commerce show that the volume of trade exchanges between Morocco and Israel amounts to $4 million per month.

Balafrej during the meeting supported activating a bill to criminalize normalization with Israel and called for a serious study of the US latest move.

The Moroccan capital of Rabat on Sunday witnessed a mass popular demonstration against the US decision.

Donald Trump on Wednesday officially declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and unveiled his decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem amid Arab and Islamic condemnation and international concerns.

December 12, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment

Tunisians declare boycott of U.S. ships after Trump’s Jerusalem move

Palestine Information Center – December 11, 2017

TUNIS – A Tunisian labor union on Sunday evening announced its decision to boycott U.S. ships docking at a seaport in the country’s southern region of Sfax following Trump’s recognition, on Wednesday, of Occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Spokesman of the Popular Conference for the Palestinians Abroad, Ziad al-Aloul, said on Facebook that the regional executive office of Tunisia’s Trade Unions decided to boycott all American ships docking at Sfax commercial harbor.

As part of the boycott move, workers at the seaport will not empty the shipments onboard boats tied up at Sfax seaport after they had set sail from the U.S.

Prior to the boycott, mass rallies had swept Tunisia with thousands of protesters holding up Palestinian flags and banners. Protesters also burned the U.S. flag and others stepped on images of Israeli flags.

December 11, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , | 1 Comment

Lebanon proposes anti-US sanctions over embassy move

Press TV – December 9, 2017

Lebanon’s foreign minister has told an emergency Arab League meeting that imposing economic sanctions should be considered against the US over its embassy relocation move.

“Preemptive measures (must be) taken against the decision… beginning with diplomatic measures, then political, then economic and financial sanctions,” said Gebran Bassil during an Arab Lague meeting held in Cario on Saturday.

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday defied global warnings and said Washington formally recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel and would begin the process of moving its embassy to the occupied city, breaking with decades of American policy.

“Could this calamity bring us together and wake us from our slumber? Let it be known that history will never forgive us and our future will not be proud of what we have done,” added Bassil.

Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul-Gheit also called on world nations to recognize the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

He added that Trump’s decision raised a question over Washington’s role as a peace mediator, not just in Palestine but the whole world. “The decision amounts to the legalization of occupation,” he added.

“The decision by the US administration is in its essence legitimizing the occupation and admitting and allowing their stance by force. It is a waste of international legitimacy and the principles of justice, and therefore has placed he who took (the decision) in a state of conflict with the collective will of the international community,” he stressed.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki called on members of the league to instruct their UN envoys to submit a draft resolution to Security Council to condemn Trump’s decision, which “betrays its hostility and bias against the Palestinian people.”

He also called on world nations to recognize the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

“I expect from you to commission the Arab block (in the Security council) to immediately act in presenting a draft resolution to the security council that rejects this American decision. We also call upon all Arabs in light of this American decision that challenged, not only Arabs and Muslims, but the world as a whole, to quickly visit Jerusalem, so as not to leave it as a victim to the American decision and Israeli threat,” he added.

Jordanian foreign minister also stressed that there will be no peace and security in the region unless Jerusalem al-Quds is free.

“We want peace as a strategic option, which we demand for all of the region’s peoples completely and indefinitely. However, there will be no peace without a free and independent Palestine, there will be no peace unless Jerusalem is free, and is the capital of Palestine,” said Ayman Al Safadi.

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas’s diplomatic adviser said that Abbas will reject to meet US Vice President Mike Pence during his scheduled visit to the region later in the month.

“There will be no meeting with the vice president of America in Palestine… The United States has crossed all the red lines with the Jerusalem decision,” he added.

Clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters in al-Quds continued on Saturday over the Trump administration’s divisive decision.

Palestinian protestors threw objects at Israeli soldiers and set trash cans on fire, while others held guns to the head of an effigy of Trump, before burning it.

December 9, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The First Intifada: Nostalgia

The First Intifada: Nostalgia

Palestinian women confront Israeli soldiers during the First Intifada [Facebook]
Nadia Naser-Najjab | MEMO | December 9, 2017

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the First Intifada, an event which fundamentally altered the profile and trajectory of the Palestinian national struggle against occupation. It shifted political leadership away from the exiled Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) leadership, reconfigured local political arrangements and, most crucially, challenged the Israeli occupation at its weakest and most vulnerable points.

However, its full significance has not been, to my mind, sufficiently acknowledged, whether by international observers or by younger generations of Palestinians. This is unfortunate, as the Intifada is not purely an historical event – in my view it has much to contribute to discussions that relate to the conceptual framing, theorisation and tactics of contemporary resistance. This article does not, however, propose to engage at any of these points. It has instead been conceived and developed as a personal account which is grounded within my own perspectives and experiences.

In the late 1980s, I lived in the village of Burqa, which is close to Nablus, in the northern West Bank. My home village – like the rest of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip – had been subject to Israeli occupation for two decades. At the time, the wider world knew little of this reality: insofar as it engaged with the Palestinian “question”, it tended to fixate upon the diaspora refugee communities who had been at the forefront of the Palestinian struggle in Lebanon and Jordan. In the aftermath of the Oslo Accords, this emphasis was inverted. The Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) became the focus of international attention and Palestinian refugee communities became, at best, a secondary preoccupation.

For Palestinians in the OPT, there was no possibility that they could be similarly blind to the occupation, whose curfews and collective punishments imposed themselves upon almost every aspect of everyday life. Refuge could not be sought in political quietism: the occupation did not distinguish between the politically active and apathetic. Indeed, this was one of the main oversights of the occupation: it politicised ordinary Palestinians by making resistance an imperative which weighed equally upon every Palestinian man, women and child. My own parents, who had previously shown little inclination to join in revolutionary activities (quite the contrary – they tried to dissuade me and my sisters from participating), joined a protest after Israeli soldiers killed a ten-year-old boy who was playing in his backyard in my home village.

Looking back, I remember how, in imposing collective punishment upon my home village, the Israeli occupiers forced all adult males to congregate in the school courtyard. They made little allowance for age, seniority or status: teachers and doctors were forced to run around while shouting senseless and random words like “tomato” and “potato”. They were sometimes detained for more than six hours, and were not allowed to use the toilet or speak to each other during that entire time. Fathers, brothers, relatives and neighbours were deliberately humiliated in front of each other.

The occupiers inflicted this treatment on my own father. One day, soldiers told him to bring down a Palestinian flag which activists had placed on top of an electricity pole. He was over 60. When he told the soldiers this and tried to make them see how difficult it would be for him to climb the pole, they refused to accept his “excuse” and threatened him with violence if he did not obey. He also knew that if he refused, his ID card would be confiscated and he would have to travel to the military offices in Nablus and wait for hours or even days to get it back.

Israeli soldiers did not therefore always have to resort to direct violence. More often than not, this was unnecessary. In the OPT, violence was an implicit undertone, ever-present in the background. During one prolonged curfew, my sister sneaked out to visit my aunt, who lived around a ten minutes’ walk away. She did not encounter a single Israeli soldier. The Israeli army knew full well that their orders and directives did not require direct enforcement.

This suddenly changed when the First Intifada broke out on 9 December 1987. Yitzhak Rabin declared an “Iron Fist” policy to tame Palestinians, and a man who would later be near-universally venerated as a “dove” of peace openly called upon Israeli soldiers to “break the bones” of Palestinian protestors. This violence also took other forms. Birzeit University, an important centre of popular resistance and struggle, was forced to close. A number of students (myself included) were prevented from graduating on time.

While Rabin’s actions said much about his own considerable capacity for violence and intransigence, they said an equal amount about the settler-colonial mentality. In adhering to its guiding tenets, Israel’s political-military establishment believe that Palestinians cannot be engaged with as equals. Instead, it is more appropriate to engage with “them” with treatment commensurate to their level of personal and social development. Violence presents itself as an appropriate mode of conduct at this point.

While the Israeli political-military establishment continually endeavours to gain insights into the mindset of its Palestinian adversaries, it appears to be structurally predisposed to underestimate Palestinians and their capacity for collective organisation and mobilisation. In other words, the influence of Zionism’s implicit racism and ethnocentrism invariably frustrates the initial aspiration to understand. It is true that the PLO leadership had been similarly blind to the possibilities of mass mobilisation. However, as Frantz Fanon observes, the colonised “…is overpowered but not tamed; he is treated as an inferior but he is not convinced of his inferiority”.

The profound flaws within this misconception were clearly exposed when the United National Leadership of the Uprising (UNLU) took control of what was initially a spontaneous outburst of popular anger and resentment and turned it towards clear ends and purposes. The Intifada rapidly coalesced into a disciplined, broad-based and democratic uprising that was focused upon clear ends and objectives. The uprising became a source of immense pride for Palestinians, and it was characterised by a sense of self-sacrifice and commitment to the wider struggle. Patriotic poems were smuggled from prisons; Palestinian musicians composed Intifada songs, and their tape cassettes helped to raise Palestinian spirits. Sharif Kanaana, a professor at Birzeit University, collected what became known as “Intifada jokes”. He noted that there was a clear difference between jokes told in the pre-Intifada period and those told after it. In the latter instance there was a stronger sense of defiance, and the humour was invariably at the expense of the occupying power.

When the Israeli army closed schools, the popular committees created home schools. When these home schools were then banned, Palestinians continued to operate them underground. One father, whose furniture and television set were confiscated after he refused to pay the occupation tax, spoke of how his son had told him not to protest on his own behalf. He refused to grant the Israelis this minor victory. His son said: “I don’t want to watch cartoons. Do not ask them to keep it.” When I joined solidarity visits to the injured at Al-Makaseed Hospital I was struck by the pride and defiance that shone in the eyes of the injured.

In the current context devoid of any real sense of purpose, it is unsurprising that Palestinians should look back on the Intifada as a “golden age” of Palestinian struggle. However, there is a clear danger that these recollections will romanticise the uprising. It is crucial not to fall into this trap. After all, the Intifada was not entirely cohesive (there were ongoing tensions between the UNLU, the PLO and Hamas) and it could be argued that it was ultimately a failure – after all, its main contribution proved to be the abortive Oslo Accords.

These limitations do not detract from the essential fact that the Intifada has a perhaps unparalleled significance in the history of the occupation, standing apart as the point at which Palestinians gathered the strength and collective sense of purpose which enabled them to confront an occupation which had imposed itself upon Palestinian society for two decades. It will always remain a source of pride for Palestinians, and will always to some extent reside at the level of imagination. In reflecting back upon it, Palestinians should take pride in its many achievements but also resist the temptation to idealise or romanticise. If this caveat is taken into account, then there is every reason to suppose that looking back will produce concrete benefits in the present.

Read also: 250,000 Palestinians injured since First Intifada

December 9, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Catholic University of Leuven announces it will not continue participation in LAW-TRAIN

Photo: Pour la Palestine, Facebook
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – December 7, 2017

Following a wide campaign by a faculty action group, student organizers and a variety of community organizations, the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium (KULeuven) announced that it will not continue future participation in the LAW-TRAIN project, a joint cooperation program with the Israeli police to study interrogation techniques, funded by the EU under the Horizon 2020 program.

Newly elected KULeuven rector Luc Sels released a statement on Wednesday, 6 December stating that no follow-up projects will be pursued in the future, because “The Israeli Ministry of Public Security’s participation does indeed pose an ethical problem in view of the role played by this strong arm of the Israeli government in enforcing an unlawful occupation of the Palestinian territories and the associated repression of the Palestinian population.” While the statement commits to continue the current project until the end of April 2018, it also calls for the creation of a human rights charter to govern the assessment of future proposed projects to avoid such situations.

This is the latest achievement of the international campaign against LAW-TRAIN. The project seeks to develop software to simulate interrogations in a hypothetical international drug trafficking case. The involvement of the Israeli police, headquartered in occupied Jerusalem and including the Border Police that regularly enforce occupation against Palestinians, engage in mass arrests and killings of Palestinians, and are an integral part of the occupation security forces, has sparked resistance to the program in several countries, among activists, scholars and lawyers who note that the program produces a European license for Israeli torture and abuse.

The Israeli police are also known for the use of torture during interrogation as well as the arrest, interrogation and violation of the human rights of Palestinian children. The Israeli police and Tel Aviv University are partners in the project with the Belgian federal police and prosecutor’s office as well as KULeuven and the Spanish Guardia Civil.

Earlier, Portugal was also a partner in the project, but pulled out citing budgetary issues after an extensive and successful campaign by Portuguese and Palestinian organizations highlighting the project’s clear links to human rights violations and the torture and imprisonment of Palestinians. Over 40 Belgian organizations – including Samidoun – joined the campaign to stop LAW-TRAIN, working hand in hand with a campaign on the university’s campus to bring an end to the project and future such collaborations.

Thousands of Belgians signed a petition to stop LAW-TRAIN, while on the university’s campus, dozens of academics participated in protests and appeals, including an intervention in the annual opening academic procession by gowned professors who presented the rector with a cake and the petition signatures.  The Leuven academics’ working group on Palestine led campaigns within the University on scholarly and human rights grounds, and the LAW-TRAIN issue was made a significant one on campus, including leading up to the election of Sels as the university’s new rector earlier in 2017.

Students on campus joined with faculty to hold campus protests, including a street theater action highlighting the realities of interrogation and the human rights abuses of the Israeli police.  LAW-TRAIN was a major focus of Israeli Apartheid Week 2017 on Belgian campuses, which highlighted the situation of Palestinian prisoners and featured a number of talks and presentations by French-Palestinian lawyer and former political prisoner Salah Hamouri, currently jailed once more without charge or trial by the Israeli occupation.

Protests in Leuven, Charleroi and elsewhere highlighted LAW-TRAIN as human rights experts urged not only the university but also the Belgian Ministry of Justice to immediately pull out of the program. A delegation of Belgian lawyers and human rights scholars traveled to Palestine to investigate torture by the Israeli police and published an open letter upon their return, urging Belgium to withdraw from the project.  In addition, hundreds of Belgian academics and cultural workers joined an open letter organized by BACBI, the Belgian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, calling on the government to “withdraw the Belgian Ministry of Justice from this highly contentious project. Such a withdrawal would signal to the Israeli politicians that Europe, and especially Belgium, will no longer tolerate the misdemeanors of their order and security forces against the Palestinian population.”

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network congratulates the Leuven faculty and students and all organizations that have worked on this campaign in achieving this important step from KULeuven. We redouble our call upon the Belgian ministry of justice, federal prosecutor’s office, and police, as well as the Spanish Guardia Civil, to immediately withdraw from this project and to the European Union to end its funding of such programs in collaboration with the Israeli occupation and its security forces. Such programs are an attempt to legitimize the very forces that daily carry out repression, torture and colonization and maintain apartheid and occupation against the Palestinian people. Participation in or funding of LAW-TRAIN or similar programs means direct complicity in the torture and imprisonment of Palestinians. It is long past time to hold the Israeli state accountable and subject it to boycott, divestment and sanctions for its flagrant, decades-long violations of fundamental Palestinian rights, rather than provide it with funding and support that allows it to continue its deadly and devastating attacks on the Palestinian people and their rights with impunity.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Honduran police refuse to obey government orders to curb protest

Press TV – December 5, 2017

Officers of the Honduras National Police have refused to enforce a curfew after days of deadly violence triggered by allegations of electoral fraud.

Honduran police announced on Monday night that they will refuse to obey orders from the government of the incumbent president, Juan Orlando Hernandez, and will remain in their barracks until a political crisis triggered by last Sunday’s contested presidential election has been resolved.

According to reports, all national police as well as hundreds of members of riot police force known as Cobras were refusing to obey the government’s orders during the protests in the capital, Tegucigalpa and instead are striking.

“We want peace, and we will not follow government orders – we’re tired of this,” said a spokesman outside the national police headquarters in Tegucigalpa.

“We aren’t with a political ideology. We can’t keep confronting people, and we don’t want to repress and violate the rights of the Honduran people.”

Crowds of anti-government protesters greeted the announcement with cheers.

The small Central American nation of 10 million, which suffers from chronic violence and prolific gang activity, held the presidential vote last Sunday.

Rival candidate Salvador Nasralla has cried foul and his supporters have been on the streets protesting.

Tensions have been high since shortly afterwards. Nasralla was in the lead with a significant margin before a 24-hour hiatus in the official vote count reversed that trend last week. The opposition candidate soon alleged fraud and called on his supporters to take to the streets.

In recent days, Tens of thousands took to the streets in a show of support for Nasralla, a former TV star.

Authorities then restricted the freedom of movement in the country in an attempt to control widening unrest.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Monday reported that they have received preliminary information on the deaths of 11 Hondurans during the protests.

Meanwhile, the electoral tribunal in Honduras has finished counting votes in the country’s contentious presidential election after more than a week, with incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez having received more votes in the official tally.

Early on Monday, electoral authorities said Hernandez had won 42.98 percent of the votes, compared with opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla’s 41.39 percent, based on 99.96 percent of the votes counted.

But the authorities stopped short of declaring a winner.

December 5, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , , | Leave a comment

McGill University ignores its real racism problem

By Yves Engler · November 23, 2017

While accusations of student anti-Semitism at McGill draw international headlines, the university administration’s open association with the Jewish National Fund has been ignored.

In the latest iteration of a multi-year smear campaign against Palestine solidarity activists at the university, Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee activist Noah Lew cried “anti-Semitism” after he wasn’t voted on to the Board of Directors of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU). At a General Assembly last month Democratize SSMU sought to impeach the student union’s president Muna Tojiboeva. The ad-hoc student group was angry over her role in suspending an SSMU vice president and adopting a Judicial Board decision that declared a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions resolution unconstitutional.

(After two close votes, in February 2016 a motion mandating the student union support some BDS demands passed the union’s largest ever General Assembly, but failed an online confirmation vote after the university administration, Montreal’s English media and pro-Israel Jewish groups blitzed students. The resolution’s constitutionality was subsequently challenged.)

At the recent General Assembly Democratize SSMU’s effort to impeach the president failed. While they couldn’t muster the two thirds of votes required to oust the non-Jewish president of the student union, Democratize SSMU succeeded in blocking the re-election of two Board of Directors candidates who supported the effort to outlaw BDS resolutions.

After failing to be re-elected to the Board of Directors Noah Lew claimed he was “blocked from participating in student government because of my Jewish identity and my affiliations with Jewish organizations.” His claim was reported on by the National Post, Montreal Gazette, Global Television, as well as Israeli and Jewish press outlets. McGill Principal Suzanne Fortier sent out two emails to all students and faculty concerning the matter while the SSMU Board of Directors established a committee to investigate anti-Semitism. The affair was even mentioned in the House of Commons.

While a great deal has been written about alleged student anti-Jewish attitudes, the McGill administration’s open association with an explicitly Jewish supremacist organization passes with nary a comment. On November 28 McGill’s Associate Vice-Principal Innovation Angelique Mannella is scheduled to participate in a Jewish National Fund networking event called Tech Shuk, which connects Jewish capitalists with Montreal start-ups in a “Dragon’s Den” style competition. But, the JNF is a racist organization. Owner of 13 per cent of Israel’s land, it systematically discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up a fifth of the population. According to a UN report, Jewish National Fund lands are “chartered to benefit Jews exclusively,” which has led to an “institutionalized form of discrimination.” The JNF oversees discriminatory land use policies in Israel outlawed in this country 60 years ago.

In 2004 long-time McGill Principal Bernard Shapiro was the honoured guest at JNF Montréal’s annual fundraising dinner (two years later the then former University Principal was master of ceremonies at the event). The current president of JNF Montréal, Michael Goodman, was a member of the advisory board of McGill ASD (Autism spectrum disorder). In 2014 McGill gave an honorary degree to Marvin Corber. The University’s press releaseannouncing its two honorary degree recipients cited an award Corber received from the JNF. Corber has been a JNF Montréal campaign advisor and chair of its annual fundraising dinner.

While the university administration’s ties to the JNF are a stark example of its racial bias, McGill is also entangled in other more subtle forms of anti-Palestinianism. The Montréal university has a memorandum of understanding with Tel Aviv University, which claims to be on “the front line of the critical work to maintain Israel’s military and technological edge.” McGill also has a partnership with Technion, which conducts “research and development into military technology that Israel relies on to sustain its occupation of Palestinian land.”

In 2012 the estate of Simon and Ethel Flegg contributed $1 million to McGill’s Jewish Studies department partly for an “education initiative in conjunction with McGill Hillel.” But, the cultural organization turned Israel lobby group refuses to associate with Jews (or others) who “delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel; support boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the state of Israel.”

Imagine the outcry if a McGill department accepted a large donation to work with an organization that openly excluded Jews and others who “delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Palestine and fail to recognize Palestinians’ UN enshrined rights.”

It’s time to discuss the McGill administration’s support for Jewish supremacy in the Middle East.

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment

India Scraps $500M Military Deal With Israel Amid Rising Popular Concern About India’s Complicity in Israeli Crimes

BDS | November 21, 2017

Yesterday, media reported that the Indian Ministry of Defense scrapped the $500M deal with Israeli arms manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems for its missile systems. Years in the making, the deal had been celebrated in international media and was finalized after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel in July. In August, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and its Indian partner Kalyani Strategic Systems opened a facility in Hyderabad to manufacture the missile systems.

The deal was cancelled after India’s state-run Defense Research Development Organisation asserted that India should not import this Israeli technology.

Jamal Juma’, coordinator of the Palestinian Stop the Wall Campaign and BNC secretariat member said:

India’s decision to scrap this massive arms deal with Israel is a huge blow to the Israeli weapons industry. This $500 million deal would have fueled Israel’s military industry, which is deeply implicated in war crimes against the Palestinian people.

It is also a major setback for Israel’s propaganda hubris that its technology is indispensable for India’s development and modernization. As many Indians are recognizing, Israel is marketing military and agricultural technologies in India and trying to cement Indian dependence on Israel.

Israel seeks a flow of Indian cash for it’s own profit and to help finance its criminal wars and apartheid regime.

India is by far the globe’s biggest importer of Israeli weapons, and Israel is enjoying almost unparalleled influence in the Indian military system. Israel is equipping the Indian army with Israeli guns, the Indian airforce and navy with Israeli airplanes and missiles, and is also providing communication systems and technology in all levels of the Indian military.

Over the last two decades, Indo-Israeli military relations have continuously increased despite various corruption scandals and technical failures.

Similar patterns have started to surface in other sectors as well. India’s 16 million-strong farmer’s union AIKS has endorsed the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) “in order to stand for the rights of the Palestinian people and to resist the corporate takeover of Indian agriculture sector by Israeli companies.”

Members of Telengana’s state assembly last week denounced state-sponsored trips of Indian farmers to Israel as “a wastage of money.”

Omar Barghouti, co-founder of  the BNC said:

We hope this is the beginning of the end of Indian complicity in Israel’s egregious violation of international law and Palestinian human rights. As Palestinians we ask the Indian people to maintain their proud legacy of commitment to independence,  to growing local knowledge and to respecting other people’s struggles for self-determination.

Israel’s regime of oppression can never be a model for the great Indian nation that once led the non-aligned movement and upheld the right of all nations to self determination and freedom. Israel exports to India what it knows best — technology that represses, militarizes and dispossesses people of their land and water rights. India is better off without that.

Last week it was announced that Indian Oil and Natural Gas Corporations are bidding for drilling rights in gas fields claimed by Israel, despite the many controversies linked to territorial disputes in such fields.  In August, India’s Adventz group signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop Israel’s Jerusalem Light Rail, which serves Israel’s settlements in and around occupied East Jerusalem in violation of international law.

Omar Barghouti said:

As large multinationals increasingly abandon their illegal projects in Israel due to effective BDS pressure, Israel has started dragging India into deals fraught with legal and political problems. Indian companies would be well advised to avoid getting sucked into Israel’s human rights violations as more and more international corporations refuse to get involved in such complicity.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights. 

November 21, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Remembering Ishaq Maragha: Martyr of the battle of empty stomachs

Ishaq Maragha
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – November 19, 2107

16 November 2017 marks the 34th anniversary of the death of Palestinian prisoner Ishaq Maragha, one of four Palestinians whose lives were taken – three through forced-feeding – during a hunger strike for justice inside Israeli prisons. Maragha, who died in 1983, three years after he was grievously wounded by Israeli forced feeding, was not only a martyr but a longtime leader of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement and the Palestinian liberation struggle.

Along with Ali al-Jaafari and Rasim Halawa, he was martyred by Israeli force feeding aimed at breaking the hunger strike of Nafha prison in 1980. Fellow prisoner Anis al-Dawla also lost his life in 1980 from fatigue, malnutrition and disease caused by his solidarity strike in Ashkelon prison in support of the prisoners of Nafha.

Born in the town of Silwan near Jerusalem in 1942, he became a member of the Arab Nationalist Movement – the movement founded by George Habash, Wadie Haddad and other Arab and Palestinian young people looking towards liberation, unity and socialism – and was considered one of the first members of the movement in Palestine, joining in 1959 at the age of 17. He had four children, Jamal, Amal, Amina and Musa.

As a member of the ANM, he traveled to Egypt for military training in 1964. He joined the ranks of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine from the very beginning of its foundation on December 11, 1967 from the Palestine Section of the ANM. Shortly over one year later, in February 1969, he was arrested by Israeli occupation forces on charges of being a leader in the PFLP in the Jerusalem area. After three years in Israeli prison including a period of intense torture under occupation, he was released from prison in August 1972.

As Abdel-Nasser Ferwana, Palestinian researcher on prisoners’ affairs notes, this was only a “fighter’s rest” for Maragha. In February 1975 he was once again seized by occupation forces and accused of participating in the resistance to occupation; he was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.

Ferwana recalled meeting Maragha several times while visiting his imprisoned father, who would laer be released in the 1985 prisoner exchange with the Palestinian resistance. Maragha said to him as a young man, “The prisons will be destroyed and your father and I will be liberated.”

During his time in prison, he was transferred to Ramle, Beersheba and Nafha prisons; he was well-known among the prisoners as an example of a dedicated worker and a revolutionary leader. Ferwana caled him a “distinguished leader, loved by everyone, a brilliant instigator and a dedicated fighter…one of the pillars of the prisoners’ movement.” He became one of the leaders of the prison organization of the PFLP, responsible for international relations.

In 1980, Nafha prison was opened as an “exile and cemetery for the prisoners’ movement leaders;” Maragha was one of the first to be transferred there. The prisoners began their strike that year, on 14 July 1980. One of the hunger strikers, Abdel-Rahim al-Noubani, chronicled the development of the strike.

The prisoners demanded:

1. The prisoners demand the installation of beds
2. The prisoners demand access to a radio and television
3. The prisoners demand the improvement of the quality and quantity of food
4. The prisoners demand access to Arabic and Hebrew books and newspapers
5. The prisoners demand the expansion of windows, allowing more sun and air into the cell
6. The prisoners demand an end to the policy of collective and individual punishment, solitary confinement, depriving them food during their isolation, and only providing them with bread and water.
7. The prisoners demand the visiting allowance to be prolonged to one hour every two weeks
8. The prisoners demand access to winter and summer clothes, as well as blankets
9. The prisoners demand permission to buy food and vitamins from the prison canteen, which has been hitherto denied
10. The prisoners demand their walk allowance extend from 15 minutes to an hour

As Shahd Abusalama wrote chronicling her own father’s history in the Nafha strike, “Whenever Palestinian prisoners have gone on hunger strike, the Israeli authorities have responded by punishing them collectively. The Nafha hunger strike was no exception.”

After 10 days of hunger strike which drew growing international and Palestinian support, the Israeli occupation attempted a particularly cruel and dangerous form of force-feeding against 26 prisoners in which boiling water and salt were poured down tubes forced down the prisoners’ throats. In the case of Ishaq Maragha, Rasem Halawi and Ali al-Jaafari, the tube was not fully inserted and instead entered their lungs; the boiling water poured into the tube burned and destroyed their lungs. Halawi and Jaafari died almost immediately, killed by Israeli force feeding on their hunger strike.

Ishaq Maragha, Ali al-Jaafari, Rasem Halawa

Maragha later related the experience to al-Noubani:

“When we were put in the waiting room, the three of us collapsed onto a wooden bench, overcome with extreme exhaustion and fatigue. The pain was ripping our chest and gut apart. But it seemed that Ali Jaafari was the suffering the most; he grabbed the bars of the iron door, his drained voice shouting out to the section’s jailer and clinic doctor alternately, asking them to provide us with emergency assistance and treatment. He then turned to me suddenly and said, ‘Abu Jamal, I’m dying, I’m dying!’ I tried to calm him and raise his spirits, and boost his strength – for I had noticed something in him that I myself did not feel, despite the fact that we had both gone through the same torment.

Ali al-Jaafari started shouting again, ‘Abu Jamal, my legs have died, I can no longer feel them, they’re as cold as ice.’ I was helpless, and could do nothing but say to him, ‘Don’t be afraid, Ali, here comes the doctor, don’t worry.’ He suddenly shouted again, for the third and last time: ‘My arms have died, Abu Jamal.’ I was as drained as he was, and as he said this to me, my eyes filled with tears; I saw his last gasp escape from his deteriorated lung to his broken nose by the zonda hose; canals filled with blood and pain opened up inside him. His head was slightly bent over to his right shoulder and his cold hands were still holding onto the bar of that damned iron door. His gracious self slid away, and his pure soul left his body, and all the while he stood there, like a palm tree that had lasted a hundred years drying out. We rested the body of our martyr on the ground, shaking with sobs. In that moment, Rasem and I forgot we shared the same fate as he.”

Maragha also reported that the prison doctor swore that he would not let him die, not out of concern for his life, but because “I will not let them make you a national hero.”

The strike continued after the martyrdom of al-Jaafari and Halawa; Maragha became a key spokesperson for the strike to lawyers and before the world. After 33 days, the prisoners’ ended their strike with a victory in all of their demands.

Maragha was then transferred to Beersheba prison as his health deteriorated further and without the provision of any treatment until he died on 16 November 1983 of his ongoing injuries and wounds caused by his torture under forced feeding during the Nafha strike, leaving a legacy of struggle, sacrifice and commitment above all to the liberation of Palestine, his land and his people.

Ishaq Maragha was a beloved leader of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement and a symbol of the leading role of Palestinian prisoners in the struggle for the liberation of Palestine, whose bodies and lives are on the line on a daily basis in a direct confrontation with occupation. The hunger strikes of Palestinian prisoners are a collective means of struggle and immense self-sacrifice for dignity and freedom.

On the 34th anniversary of the passing of Ishaq Maragha, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network remembers him, Ali al-Jaafari, Rasim Halawa and the long legacy of the martyrs of the prisoners’ struggle – and their commitment to Palestinian and global liberation. Their deepest and most precious sacrifice must urge all of us around the world who stand with Palestinian rights, freedom and liberation to intensify and escalate our work for the freedom of the imprisoned leaders of the Palestinian people today. As plans for regional warfare and a so-called “deal of the century” promulgated by the United States and Israel with the backing of Saudi Arabia and reactionary forces threaten the Palestinian people, the people of the region and the world, the legacy of Ishaq Maragha and his fellow Palestinian prisoners can and must inspire us all to struggle at this critical moment to defend the Palestinian cause and struggle to achieve their goals of return and liberation.

November 20, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment