Aletho News


Hassan Nasrallah’s Tribute to Ahed Tamimi

Speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on February 16th, 2018, during the commemoration of Hezbollah’s martyred leaders (Sheikh Ragheb Harb, Sayyed Abbas Musawi, Hajj Imad Mughniyeh)


[…] In Palestine, the US blockade against the Palestinian people continues. (US) funding of UNRWA is blocked, the aid granted to the Palestinian Authority, which has various social, financial, everyday life responsibilities, etc., gets cut, Palestinian Resistance movements and their leaders are placed on the list of terrorist organizations, new sanctions are taken by the US Congress against Palestinian movements, and still more pressure, but what continues to give hope, and we must underline it and support it strongly, is that the Palestinians unanimously reject the decision of Trump (regarding Al-Quds/Jerusalem) and the Palestinians unanimously (reject) the submission to the so-called “Deal of the century”(sponsored by Trump). Such are their public positions.

And in recent weeks, the Palestinian people have proposed (Resistance) examples. I’ll just give 3 names.

The martyr, son of a martyr, Ahmad Jarrar. It is a particularly prominent and worthy model that not only the Palestinian people but the whole (Islamic) Community should follow. One single young, (Resistance) cadre, facing the Israeli army, its arrogance and its security services, this fighter was (heroically) martyred.

Second, a young woman. The media present her as a child, but she is 17 years old, she is a young woman. The woman Ahed Tamimi, with her bold and courageous stand, she and her family (and the martyr Ahmad of course), the logic (of Resistance) of her father, we heard him in the media. This woman slapping Israeli soldiers and facing them, and facing the Court with her parents who encouraged her to continue to stay strong, to be brave and persevering.

Thirdly, Omar al-Abd, who was sentenced yesterday to four life prison sentences, and the prohibition of including him in any (future) exchange of prisoners, how did he welcome the four life imprisonment sentences? With a smile. And it angered (the Israeli Defense Minister) Lieberman. I noticed in particular the anger of Lieberman. Think of it: he gets condemned to 4 life sentences, they refuse to ever negotiate his release, and he welcomes it with a smile. This is the Palestinian people.

Why do we always talk hopefully of the future and horizon of this conflict? Because we place our hopes in such people. These three (Resistant figures) are the children of their communities, they are not isolated but are just like all Palestinians. […]


See also the previous extracts from this speech: Like Syria, Lebanon Must Shoot Down Israeli Warplanes ; Hassan Nasrallah on the Oil and Gas Wars Raging in the Middle East (1) and (2)

March 11, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Hamas gets one step ahead of ‘deal of the century’ with five-point strategy

Head of the Political Bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh delivers a speech during a press conference in Gaza City, Gaza on 23 January 2017 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]
MEMO | March 9, 2018

Palestinian sources said that the Chief of the Political Bureau of Hamas movement, Ismail Haniyeh, outlined a five pronged strategy to counter the US-led ‘deal of the century’, in a meeting of various Palestinian factions in Cairo.

The first principle of this strategy is to take on the ‘deal of the century’ by holding all Palestinian factions together – including Fatah movement – to a unified position.

The second prong is “the implementation of reconciliation agreements,” especially the comprehensive agreement which was signed on 4 May 2011, and the executive agreement which was signed on 12 October, 2017.

The third axis is “building strength and resistance until the liberation of Palestine.”

The fourth element is based on “establishing open political relations” with the Arab and Islamic countries to develop an Arab-Islamic safety network that includes especially “Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iran, Turkey” as well as other countries.

The fifth aspect consists of “holding an inclusive national conference” following which there would be “an agreement to adopt a joint political program,” then organising the presidential and legislative elections (inside Palestine) and the National Council.

The sources also stated that the representatives of factions present, including those of Fatah, agreed on two points, confronting the ‘deal of the century’ and the need for reconciliation and national unity.

March 9, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Convention provokes rage against NDP machine

By Yves Engler · March 1, 2018

They came, mostly young people, to fight for justice. They came to support the rule of international law, to help solve a longstanding injustice through non-violent means; they came to tell an oppressed people you have not been forgotten; they came to do what is right for a left wing political party; they came to speak truth to power.

And how did the left wing party respond? By using the “machine” — orders from on high, backroom arm-twisting, opaque block voting and procedural manoeuvring — to prevent debate. Silence in class!

While NDP insiders probably feel they dodged the “Palestine Resolution” bullet at their recent convention, many party apparatchiks may come to regret their undemocratic moves. Their naked suppression of debate might stir rage against the machine they’ve proved to be. At a minimum it has provoked many to ask why.

Why, when the Palestine Resolution was endorsed unanimously by the NDP youth convention and by over 25 riding associations, did the powers that be not want it even discussed?

Given the resolution mostly restated official Canadian policy, except that it called for “banning settlement products from Canadian markets, and using other forms of diplomatic and economic pressure to end the occupation” one can only assume that the party machine either supports the indefinite Israeli occupation of Palestinian land or has some sort of problem with boycotts and economic sanctions. Clearly the NDP is not against boycotts and economic sanctions in principle since they’ve recently supported these measures against Russia, Venezuela and elsewhere.

If, after a half-century of illegal occupation, one can’t call for boycotting Israeli settlement goods, then when? After a century? Two?

Or is the problem the particular country to be boycotted? Does the NDP hierarchy believe that anti-Semitism can be the only possible motivation for putting economic pressure on Israel to accept a Palestinian state? Or perhaps it is simply a worry that the dominant media would attack the party?

Whatever the ideological reason the bottom line is the Palestine Resolution was buried to ensure it wouldn’t be discussed. When its proponents sought to push it up the priority list at an early morning session before the main plenary, the party hierarchy blocked it. In a poorly publicized side room meeting they succeeded 200 to 189. NDP House Leader Guy Caron mobilized an unprecedented number of current and former MPs, including Murray Rankin, Randall Garrison, Craig Scott, Tracey Ramsey, Alexandre Boulerice, Hélène Laverdière, Nathan Cullen and others, to vote against debating the most widely endorsed foreign policy resolution at the convention (Niki Ashton was the only MP to support re-prioritizing the Palestine Resolution.)

Apparently, the party leadership discussed how to counter the resolution at two meetings before the convention. In a comment on a Guardian story about the need for the NDP to move left, Tom Allen, a staffer for Windsor Tecumseth NDP MP Cheryl Hardcastle, describes “panicked” planning to defeat the resolution. “As for the part about the ‘party establishment (being) easily able to deflect challenges from the left.’ I would respectfully submit that this is wrong. As an NDP staffer I can tell you that it wasn’t easy at all this time and, especially with regards to the ‘Palestinian Resolution,’ which required a great deal of panicked last minute organizing to defeat (and only then by a close margin).”

Why would the party establishment risk turning off so many young activists, exactly the sort of member new leader Jagmeet Singh claims he wants to attract?

A quick look at some of the more prominent supporters of shutting down debate suggests an answer.

Victoria area MPs (defence critic) Randall Garrison and (justice critic) Murray Rankin who voted against debating the Palestine Resolution are members of the Canada Israel Inter-Parliamentary Group and took a Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs paid trip to Israel in 2016. After the IDF slaughtered 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza in the summer of 2014, Rankin offered words of encouragement to an emergency fundraiser for Israel.

Party foreign critic Hélène Laverdière, who voted to suppress the Palestine Resolution, took a paid trip to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s conference in Washington in 2016 and participated in a Jewish National Fund event in Israel.

British Columbia liaison and critic for democratic institutions, Nathan Cullen also voted against debating the Palestine Resolution. “I am strongly in support of Israel”, Cullen bellowed in a 2016 statement about how people should be allowed to criticize that country. In 2014-15 Cullen’s office took in Daniel Gans through CIJA’s Parliamentary Internship Program, which pays pro-Israel university students $10,000 to work for parliamentarians (Gans then worked as parliamentary assistant to NDP MP Finn Donnelly). In 2014 Cullen met representatives of CIJA Pacific Region to talk about Israel, Iran and other subjects. According to CIJA’s summary of the meeting, “Mr. Cullen understood the importance of a close Canada-Israel relationship.”

Maybe the loudest anti-Palestinian at the convention was former president of the Ontario NDP and federal council member Janet Solberg. Unsatisfied as a settler in Toronto, Solberg pursued a more aggressive colonial experience when she moved to historic Palestine as a young adult.

Just before the convention the President of the Windsor-Tecumseh Federal NDP, Noah Tepperman, sent out an email to all riding associations calling on them to oppose Palestine resolutions. In it he claimed, “boycotts based on religion, nationality or place of origin directly contravene the spirit of inclusiveness to which we in the NDP are committed.” He further alluded to an anti-Jewish agenda by connecting the different solidarity resolutions to “a backdrop of already-high-and-rising antisemitism here in Canada as well as abroad.” But, Tepperman sits on the board of the Windsor Jewish National Fund, which is an openly racist organization.

The truth is pro-Israel-no-matter-what-it-does NDP members in positions of power within the party won a narrow battle. How the war goes will depend on the lessons learned by those seeking a party that’s an instrument of real change, that fights against all forms of racism and oppression.

March 2, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 2 Comments

New Proposal Designed to Confuse Public and Prevent Medicare for All

By Margaret Flowers | HealthOverProfit | February 23, 2018

The Center for American Progress (CAP), a Washington-based Democratic Party think tank funded by Wall Street, including private health insurers and their lobbying group, unveiled a new healthcare proposal designed to confuse supporters of Medicare for All and protect private health insurance profits. It is receiving widespread coverage in ‘progressive’ media outlets. We must be aware of what is happening so that we are not fooled into another ‘public option’ dead end.*

The fact that CAP is using Medicare for All language is both a blessing and a curse. It means Medicare for All is so popular that they feel a need to co-opt it, and it means that they are trying to co-opt it, which will give Democrats an opportunity to use it to confuse people.

This effort could be preparation for the possibility that Democrats win a majority in Congress in 2018 or 2020. It is normal for the pendulum to swing to the party opposite the President’s party during the first term in office. If Democrats win a majority, they will be expected to deliver on health care, but they face a dilemma of having to please their campaign donors, which includes the health insurance industry, or pleasing their voters, where 75% support single payer health care.

The public is aware that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) protects the profits of the medical-industrial complex (private health insurers, Big Pharma and for-profit providers) and not the healthcare needs of the public. “Fixing the ACA” is not popular. Last year during repeal attempts, people made it clear at town halls and rallies that they want a single payer healthcare system such as National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA). By offering a solution that sounds good to the uninformed, “Medicare Extra for All,” but continues to benefit their Wall Street donors, Democrats hope to fool people or buy enough support to undermine efforts for NIMA.

This is an expected development. If we look at the phases of stage six of successful social movements by Bill Moyer (see slide 8), we see that as a movement nears victory, the power holders appear to get in line with the public’s solution while actually attacking it. If the movement recognizes what is happening, that this is a false solution and not what the movement is demanding, then we have a chance to win NIMA. If the movement falls for the false solution, it loses.

Our tasks at this moment are to understand what the power holders are offering, recognize why it is a false solution and reject it.

“Medicare Extra for All” versus National Improved Medicare for All

The basic outline for the new proposal is that people would be able to buy a Medicare plan, a form of ‘public option,’ including the Medicare Advantage plans offered by private health insurers. People who choose to buy a Medicare plan would pay premiums and co-pays, as they do now for private health insurance. The new Medicare system would replace Medicaid for people with low incomes.

Private health insurance would still exist for employers, who currently cover the largest number of people, federal employees and the military. While workers would have the option to buy a Medicare plan, it is unclear how many would do so given that most employers who provide health insurance have their own plans and that private health insurers are experts at marketing their plans to the public.

NIMA, as embodied in HR 676: “The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act,” would create a single national healthcare system, paid for up front through taxes, that covers every person from birth to death and covers all medically-necessary care. NIMA relegates private insurance to the sidelines where it could potentially provide supplemental coverage for those who want extras, but it would no longer serve as a barrier for people who need care.

Here are the flaws in the CAP proposal:

  1. CAP’s plan will continue to leave people without health insurance. Instead of being a universal system of national coverage like NIMA, coverage under the CAP plan relies on people’s ability to afford health insurance. Only people with low incomes would not pay, as they do now under Medicaid. Just as it is today, those who do not qualify as low income, but still can’t afford health insurance premiums, would be left out. Almost 30 million are without coverage today. There is no guarantee that health insurance premiums will be affordable.
  2. CAPS’s plan will continue to leave people with inadequate coverage. Under NIMA, all people have the same comprehensive coverage without financial barriers to care. The CAP plan allows private health insurers to do what they do best – restrict where people can seek health care, shift the cost of care onto patients and deny payment for care. This is the business model of private health insurers because they are financial instruments designed to make profits for their investors. People with health insurance will face the same bureaucratic nightmare of our current system and out-of-pocket costs that force them to delay or avoid health care or risk bankruptcy when they have high health care needs.
  3. CAP’s plan will continue the high costs of health care. NIMA has been proven over and over to have the best cost efficiency because it is one plan with one set of rules. It is estimated that NIMA will save $500 billion each year on administrative costs and over $100 billion each year on reduced prices for pharmaceuticals. As a single purchaser of care, NIMA has powerful leverage to lower the costs of goods and services. The CAP plan maintains the complicated multi-payer system that we have today. At best, it will only achieve 16% of the administrative savings of a single payer system and it will have less power to reign in the high costs of care.
  4. CAP’s plan will allow private health insurers to continue to rip off the government. NIMA is a publicly-financed program without the requirement of creating profits for investors. With a low overhead, most of the dollars are used to pay for health care. The CAP plan maintains the same problems that exist with Medicare today. Private Medicare providers cherry pick the healthiest patients and those who have or develop healthcare needs wind up in the public Medicare plan. This places a financial burden on the public Medicare plan, which has to pay for the most care, while private health insurers rake in huge profits from covering the healthy with a guaranteed payor, the government.
  5. CAP’s plan will continue to perpetuate health disparities. NIMA provides a single standard of care to all people. Because all people, rich and poor (and lawmakers), are in the same system, there are strong incentives to make it a high quality program. CAP’s plan maintains the current tiered system in which some people have private health insurance, those with the greatest needs have public health insurance, some people will have inadequate coverage and others will have no coverage at all.
  6. CAP’s plan will continue to restrict patients’ choices. NIMA creates a nationwide network of coverage and consistent coverage from year-to-year so that patients choose where they seek care and have the freedom to stay with a health professional or leave if they are dissatisfied. CAP’s plan continues private health insurers and their restricted networks that dictate where patients can seek care. Private plans change from year-to-year and employers change the plans they offer, so patients will still face the risk of losing access to a health professional due to changes in their plan.
  7. CAP’s plan does not guarantee portability. NIMA creates a health system that covers everyone no matter where they are in the United States and its territories. CAP’s plan maintains the link between employment and health coverage. When people who have private health insurance lose their job or move, they risk losing their health insurance.
  8. CAP’s plan will perpetuate physician burn-out. NIMA creates a healthcare system that is simple for both patients and health professionals to use. Under the current system, which the CAP plan will perpetuate, health professionals spend more time on paperwork than they do with patients and physician offices spend hours fighting with health insurers for authorization for care and for payment for their services. This is driving high rates of physician burnout. Suicides among physicians and physicians-in-training are higher than the general population.

The new proposal is a ‘public option’ wrapped in a “Medicare for All” cloak. It is a far cry from National Improved Medicare for All. And, contrary to what CAP and its allies will tell you, the CAP plan will delay and prevent the achievement of NIMA.

Co-founders of Physicians for a National Health Program**, Drs. Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein, explained why the public option would not work in the last health reform effort:

“The ‘public plan option’ won’t work to fix the health care system for two reasons.

“1. It forgoes at least 84 percent of the administrative savings available through single payer. The public plan option would do nothing to streamline the administrative tasks (and costs) of hospitals, physicians offices, and nursing homes, which would still contend with multiple payers, and hence still need the complex cost tracking and billing apparatus that drives administrative costs. These unnecessary provider administrative costs account for the vast majority of bureaucratic waste. Hence, even if 95 percent of Americans who are currently privately insured were to join the public plan (and it had overhead costs at current Medicare levels), the savings on insurance overhead would amount to only 16 percent of the roughly $400 billion annually achievable through single payer — not enough to make reform affordable.

“2. A quarter century of experience with public/private competition in the Medicare program demonstrates that the private plans will not allow a level playing field. Despite strict regulation, private insurers have successfully cherry picked healthier seniors, and have exploited regional health spending differences to their advantage. They have progressively undermined the public plan — which started as the single payer for seniors and has now become a funding mechanism for HMOs — and a place to dump the unprofitably ill. A public plan option does not lead toward single payer, but toward the segregation of patients, with profitable ones in private plans and unprofitable ones in the public plan.”

What we must do

The movement for National Improved Medicare for All experienced tremendous growth in the past few years. All of the flaws of the Affordable Care Act are becoming reality as people are forced to pay high health insurance premiums, face high out-of-pocket costs before they can receive care and have their access to health professionals or services denied. There is a strong demand for NIMA that has resulted in more than half of the Democrats in the House of Representatives signing on to HR 676 and a third of the Democratic Senators endorsing the Senate Medicare for All bill. Medicare for All is becoming a litmus test for the 2018 elections and 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Power holders are feeling threatened by support for NIMA. They are looking for ways to throw the movement off track and allow lawmakers who don’t support NIMA to support something that sounds like NIMA. This is why they invented “Medicare Extra for All.” It is common for the opposition to adopt our language when we have strong support.

This is the time when the movement for NIMA needs to remain focused on our goal of NIMA, resist compromising and escalate our pressure for NIMA. We are closer to winning, it’s time to increase our efforts to pass the finish line.

Here are our tasks:

  • We need to expose the reasons for CAP’s proposal. It is designed to protect  health insurance industry profits.
  • We need to educate ourselves and others about the reasons why CAP’s proposal is flawed and deficient.
  • We need to educate and challenge lawmakers and candidates who speak in favor of CAP’s proposal and push them to support NIMA.
  • We need to be loud and vocal in our demand for nothing less than NIMA, as described in HR 676.
  • We need to make support for HR 676 a litmus test in the upcoming elections.

We need to practice “ICU” – being independent of political party on this issue by not tying our agenda to the corporate agenda of major political parties, being clear about what will and what will not solve our healthcare crisis, and being uncompromising in our demand for National Improve Medicare for All.

With a concentrated effort for NIMA, we can overcome this distraction*** and win National Improved Medicare for All. This is the time for all supporters of single payer health care to focus on federal lawmakers from both parties. Movements never realize how close they are to winning and victory often feels far away when it is actually close at hand.

The fact that the Democrats are proposing something that sounds like NIMA means we are gaining power. Let’s use it to finally solve the healthcare crisis in the United States and join many other countries in providing health care for everyone. NIMA is the smallest step we can take to head down the path of saving lives and improving health in our country.



*The ‘public option’ dead end occurred during the health reform process of 2009-10. Faced with widespread public support for National Improved Medicare for All, and 80% support by Democratic Party voters, the power holders had to find a way to suppress that support. They created the idea of a ‘public option,’ a public health insurance for part of the population, and convinced progressives that this was more politically-feasible and a back door to a single payer healthcare system. Tens of millions of dollars were donated to create a new coalition, Health Care for America Now (similar in name to Healthcare-Now, a national single payer organization – this was intentional), that organized progressives to fight for this public option and suppress single payer supporters (they were openly hostile when we raised single payer). Many single payer supporters fell for it, and the movement was successfully divided and weakened. Kevin Zeese and I wrote about this in more detail in “Obamacare: The Biggest Health Insurance Scam in History.”

** Read more about this from Dr. Don McCanne of Physicians for a National Health Program in his Quote-of-the-Day.

*** Read more about intentional distractions through incremental approaches to prevent National Improved Medicare for All in this presentation.

February 25, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Montreal Gazette’s anti-Palestinian bias

By Yves Engler · February 24, 2018

Shame on the Montréal Gazette. Shame on Dan Delmar. Even when McGill’s uber-Israeli nationalist administration dismisses allegations of “anti-Semitism” the paper and its writer uses them to smear freedom promoting students.

In October 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 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. 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 at the same meeting Noah Lew claimed he was “blocked from participating in student government because of my Jewish identity and my affiliations with Jewish organizations.” Lew’s claim received international coverage, including coverage in the Gazette.

As she’s done on previous occasions, McGill Principal Suzanne Fortier echoed the Israel activists’ claims. Fortier sent out two emails to all students and faculty about the incident with one of them noting, “allegations have arisen suggesting that the votes against one or more of those directors were motivated by anti-Semitism.” At the time she announced an investigation into the incident.

Released two weeks ago, the investigation dismissed Lew’s claim of anti-Semitism. After interviewing 38 students over three-and-a-half weeks, former Student Ombudsman Dr. Spencer Boudreau concluded that he could “not substantiate the notion that the vote was motivated by anti-Semitism” and couldn’t find “evidence that would equate students’ protests about Israel’s policies with anti-Semitism.” Rather, Boudreau found that the vote was “motivated by politics, that is, based on his [Lew] support for Israel and Zionism and/or for his view of the BDS movement.”

Instead of covering the investigation, the Gazette repeated the Israel nationalist’s baseless smear. A story headlined “Student says anti-Semitism still an issue in McGill student government” quoted Lew and Israel lobby organizations objecting to the report’s findings. The article barely acknowledged the central conclusion of the investigation and failed to quote from it.

Four days after the news story Gazette columnist Dan Delmar criticized the report in a story titled “If anti-Semitism isn’t the problem on campus, what is?” The long-time anti-Palestinian commentator wrote, “for many if not most Canadian Jews, this writer included, the phenomenon of campus anti-Semitism in Canada is a reality and has been particularly problematic for nearly two decades.”

While the Gazette’s attacks are shameful, they are not surprising. The paper has engaged in a multi-year smear campaign against Palestine solidarity activists at McGill. According to a search of the Gazette’s database, the paper has published 12 stories referring to anti-Semitism at McGill since 2014 (I couldn’t find a single Gazette story detailing anti-Black, Asian or indigenous discrimination at the elite university). Rather than a sudden growth of anti-Jewishness, the spate of anti-Semitism stories are a response to students campaigning to divest from corporations complicit in Israel’s occupation. Between 2014 and 2016 there were three votes inspired by the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement at biannual SSMU General Assemblies. After two close votes, in February 2016 a motion mandating the student union to support some BDS demands passed the union’s largest ever General Assembly, but failed an online confirmation vote after the McGill administration, Montreal’s English media and pro-Israel Jewish groups blitzed students.

Since that vote Lew and other anti-Palestinian activists have sought to have SSMU define BDS resolutions as unconstitutional. Concurrently, the university’s board of governors is seeking changes to its endowment’s social responsibility criteria, which would effectively block the possibility of divesting from companies violating Palestinian rights or causing climate disturbances.

The Gazette has ignored the Israel activists and administration’s extreme anti-Palestinian measures. The paper has also ignored the administration’s pro-Israel orientation. In May Principal Fortier traveled to that country and in November McGill Vice-Principal Innovation Angelique Mannella participated in an event put on by the explicitly racist Jewish National Fund.

In his column Delmar asks, “If anti-Semitism isn’t the problem on campus, what is?” The answer is obvious: Many students feel embarrassed and angry about their university — and other Canadian institutions’ — complicity in Palestinian dispossession. When they try to channel their emotions into non-violent action to help liberate a long-oppressed people they are blocked by powerful institutions and called names. The problem is the anti-Palestinian bias of those institutions, including the Gazette.

February 24, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment

Activist: Time to ‘Formally End the Korean War’ After 65 Years of Armistice

Sputnik – 23.02.2018

The brief respite on the Korean Peninsula seems fated to end with the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang after North Korean leaders canceled a planned secret meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence. Washington is also expected to soon resume postponed military exercises alongside South Korea, exercises that North Korea has labeled provocative.

​Brian Becker and John Kiriakou of Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear were joined by Christine Ahn, a co-founder of the Korea Policy Institute, a think tank that advises American politicians to foster diplomacy and friendship with both Koreas, as well as the International Coordinator of Women Cross DMZ, an organization of peace activists.

“I feel like we’re in a funhouse with a lot of smoke and mirrors and doublespeak and confusion, especially coming from the Trump administration,” said Ahn. “This spin coming from the White House that it’s North Korea that canceled the secret meeting, but [the US] were also noting that they were just going to reiterate their hardline stance — which they publicly did in Tokyo as [Pence] was meeting with [Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe.”

“As for the military exercises — I have heard different things. I have heard that South Korea has now been in conversation that they will consider stalling the military exercises, and we have the US jumping the gun and saying that the exercises are going to resume. We are in a critical window and it is urgent now for the US peace movement to raise our voices and to say we must support the inter-Korean peace process that is underway.”

“We must urge our government to halt the military exercises, to listen to the people of Korea — both North and South — that want the inter-Korean reconciliation to continue. Clearly resuming these military exercises, that include provocative decapitation strikes and regime-change exercises, would intrude on inter-Korean dialogue,” she went on to say.

In response to North Korea’s myriad missile tests, the US, South Korea and Japan launched a series of military exercises on and near the peninsula. This includes December air drills between the US and South Korea that involved hundreds of aircraft, including nuclear-capable B-1B bombers.

“The national security law in South Korea [considers] any contact with North Koreans to be a threat to their national security,” said Ahn. “I think you have a situation where South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has gone to the 2007 summit in North Korea, having his mother come from the northern part of the Korean Peninsula before it was divided, deeply understands the complex situation that South Korea is in.”

“They have this ‘alliance’ with the US which includes wartime operational control over South Korea’s military. I think you also have… this older generation, who are maintaining that Cold War paradigm that has really hobbled the advancement of South Korean democracy.”

“It’s a historic moment, we know that. [Moon] has said he is trying to get a peace treaty between the US and North Korea, as promised under the armistice agreement that was signed in 1953.”

The agreement that ended hostilities on the Korean Peninsula, was not a peace treaty, merely an armistice, so the Korean War technically continues 65 years later. While the stated intention of the armistice was to eventually replace it with a permanent peace treaty, attempts to actually do so have never gotten far.

“It’s time right now for Americans to really put pressure on our government to formally end the Korean War,” said Ahn. “Not just for the Korean people, but also for the soul of this nation.”

February 22, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

The ‘Divide and Conquer’ Campaign Being Waged Against Palestinian Resistance

By Robert Inlakesh | 21st Century Wire | February 17, 2018

I have often asked myself, why there is an impression that some Western activists and pro-Palestinian organisations are working covertly, to divide and weaken the Palestinian cause. Before addressing the primary issue, a little has to be said about the Palestinian cause itself and how many prominent figures side-track real resolutions, with their own ideas as to how Palestinians should act in the face of their foreign occupier.

Whilst many choose to point out the progression of the Palestinian human rights cause in the West – with groups such as the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) movement and others seeing success – the movement at its most essential level, on the ground in Palestine, seems to be at its very weakest.

In order for the world to see a reality in which Palestinians are granted their full human rights, the most important place to see an emergence of change should surely be from within Palestine itself?

No amount of pro-Palestine advocacy from university students, nor rallies for human rights in the West, will result in direct evolution of the struggle on the ground for the Palestinians. It is the Palestinians themselves that will ultimately lead their own way to freedom. Whilst it is absolutely essential to have a strong solidarity movement overseas, this is not the Palestinian cause in its entirety.

The Israeli government have proceeded to massacre, destroy and dispossess the Palestinians for 70 years now and it is unrealistic to believe that they will simply stop what they are doing – suddenly growing a conscience – all because people in Western nations are mad at them.

The only way an apartheid regime such as Israel changes/falls, is when it is forced to do so. History has illustrated that there must be forceful measures executed in order to bring about change when confronted by Western Empire. From the expulsion of the French and the liberation of Algeria, to the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa, to the fight for Irish independence, the point has been illustrated that resistance is the key to freedom.

Palestinians are generally perceived by foreign onlookers as one of two things, victims or terrorists. The ‘Left’ love the idea of the defenseless civilian that must be saved and the ‘Right’ see Palestinians as violent extremists. Those looking in at the Palestinian struggle seem to have two ultra-polarized views, with little space for the idea that Palestinians are human beings in the struggle to liberate their homeland, thus the general consensus amongst the left is to reject the notion of Palestinians as being engaged in a potentially violent battle for their homeland and existence.

There is no simple solution to what is going on – although it is a conflict that is relatively easy to understand – this article is not claiming to provide all the answers, but certainly is of importance in order to understand a very sinister agenda that has been put into practice for some time now in Palestine.

The agenda to divide and conquer the Palestinian people and how this is being carried out.

Many steps have been taken by the Israeli government, in order to destroy the foundations of Palestinian society. Attempts to suppress the populations of the Gaza strip and West Bank pre-date the occupation/besiegement of these territories themselves and have varied in their approach to achieving this aim.

When Shimon Peres (former Israeli Prime Minister and President) established the first settlements in the West Bank and acted upon his plan to economically coerce the Palestinians of the occupied territories, he changed how the Israeli takeover of Palestine would manifest itself.

Instead of all out genocide, Israel began a process of quietly and sneakily conquering the land they sought to capture and hiding their true intentions through the notion of a ceasefire and what would be seen as “relative peace”.

Israel’s Infiltration of Palestinian Resistance is Exposed

After speaking to countless Palestinian activists in the West Bank, on the current state of the Palestinian cause, one theme remained constant, the lack of unity in Palestine today. Almost everyone I spoke to on this issue would reminisce back to the days of the second Intifada (or uprising) – which started in the year 2000 and lasted roughly five years – everyone spoke of how the people came together against the occupation and of the current erosion of that unity.

Intrigued as to how Palestinian unity had dissipated, as was described, I quickly came to the conclusion that the election of Mahmoud Abbas as president of the Palestinian Authority, was a primary factor, then I began to look deeper.

Although the Palestinian Authorities actions had made some impact, I discovered something else lurking behind the scenes. As I travelled from village to village, city to city, everywhere I went I saw division between grassroots organizations and feuds between activists, I saw this often hinder the results of organized demonsrations and campaigns.

After investigating the reasons behind these divisions, I found in every instance the involvement of Western activists and/or organizations.

Palestinians are often offered many things by international organizations/activists, such as celebrity status, money for their families or projects they are working on, the ability to travel to spread their message and much more, but this comes at a price.

These organizations and foreign activists, come with a particular view of how the cause has to be seen and seek to impose boundaries upon those that they promote.

If you would like money and to be highly regarded in the eyes of the many, you are forced to abide to the guidelines you are given, fearing demonization if you do not follow what they prefer you to talk about and focus your energies on.

Other Palestinian activists then often note the capitulation to the boundaries established for those aided by international organizations, this I found to be a primary instigator of infighting.

It is definitely conceivable that these organizations and activists truly believe that what they are doing, is for the good of the people they claim to advocate for. However I cannot simply believe the notion of coincidence without considering a much deeper involvement, one truly insidious in its nature.

If it was happening in one village or two, perhaps I could believe that these wealthy and well established groups were not compromised, but this was persistent throughout the West Bank, in almost every city and village I saw the same trend.

Other than causing feuds between activists and dividing grassroots organizations, the international groups are able to achieve the objective, of forcing those that they “help”, to speak only on very specific issues within occupied Palestine. When the attention is all surrounding one street, or one single instance of a human rights abuse, the wider picture is often fragmented, the wider picture being Israel’s intentions for all of Palestine.

Palestinians are never allowed to voice their opinions on a solution to what Israeli is/has been doing to them and their land, they always must assume the position of a victim, a victim that the West must step in to save. Of course when you depend upon the best friend of the occupier to save the occupied, this is a defeatist cycle.

By allowing these Western organizations – which approach the peaceful solution prospect from a Zionist point of view – to control the Palestinian grassroots organizations, it acts to muddy the water, destroying the foundations of the Palestinian movements.

I would proceed to name specific cases, activists and organizations, but I believe this would do a disservice to the purpose of this article. Rather than encouraging backlash against specific individuals, it is best that the points noted above be circulated in an effort to raise awareness.

Cliques of virtue signalers who seek to make themselves famous or wealthy off of the occupation.

As the Palestinian cause continues to gather support in the West, so does praise for those who choose to stand in solidarity with it. An alarming trend has been sparked recently, with virtue signaling activists who visit occupied Palestine, seeking to draw attention, a following and an income from their short-lived trips.

Insensitive videos have been circulated, by previously unknown activists, in which they feature with smiles on their faces, attempting a happy-go-lucky approach to reporting the horrific crimes committed against the Palestinians. With them, also come those that feel they are entitled to tell Palestinians how they should resist and deal with the occupation they face, otherwise known as the saviour complex.

To illustrate my point about these types of – so called – activists, I would like to share a personal account of my experiences whilst working for a short while with an international activist group.

During my recent visit to Palestine, spanning three months, I decided to get involved with a group called the ISM or International Solidarity Movement (in Hebron or al-Khalil). Whilst the ISM have in the past done some great work, this specific group of entitled university students I encountered, were nothing short of parasitic to the cause they claimed to stand for.

The group that I encountered at this time was five individuals who considered the Israeli firing of tear gas at Palestinian children to be an event to be joked about. This group of individuals brought with them preconceived ideals, feeling that they had a right to better comment on how Palestinians fight their externally imposed occupiers.

After my defending of a Palestinian man’s “legal and moral right” to expel the Israeli occupier with all means available, I was all but told to pack up my stuff and leave the accommodation we were staying in. Having been cast out for my differing views to my western room-mates, I was taken in by a Palestinian family who had none of the advantages of my previous companions but ten times the hospitality and respect for diverging views.

It is my position that Palestinians have every right to choose how they resist their foreign occupier, without the interference of those who claim to be in support of them. The dispute between this group and I took place at a rooftop cafe in the West Bank city of al-Khalil and consisted of them coming from a perspective that Palestinians were not as politically astute as they were.

I later discovered that this push back is a common occurrence when anyone goes against the grain of ISM’s diktat on how the Palestinian cause should be “managed”.

After speaking to many Palestinian friends – such as Iyad Burnat from the village of Bil’in and others – I got the sense that these types of activists were not all that uncommon.

I believe that talking about this issue, of activists who end up doing a great disservice to the Palestinian people, is key to making things better on the ground. One of the most powerful weapons that the Israelis can use against the Palestinians and their supporters – is division through misunderstanding, confusion and lack of education on what these organisations should be trying to achieve in solidarity with the Palestinian resistance – anything else, essentially controlled by the Zionist entity is nothing less than psychological warfare, designed to fragment support for the Palestinians.

It is imperative that we become aware of what division does to a cause that depends upon unity, therefore I wish for this article to be passed on, as a first hand experience. Palestinians often find it difficult making their voices heard, so this report comes from those that wish to communicate this point to the wider community of Palestinian human rights supporters.

Robert Inlakesh recently spent three months in various parts of the West Bank, occupied Palestine, living with Palestinian families and witnessing the crimes of the Zionist occupiers.

February 18, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Public hearing and written comments on draft registration

By Ed Hasbrouk | The Practical Nomad | February 16, 2018

For the first time in decades, a Federal commission is holding open-mike public hearings throughout the USA (starting next Friday, 23 February 2018, in Harrisburg, PA) and taking written testimony (through 19 April 2018, Patriots’ Day) on whether draft registration should be ended or extended to women as well as men; whether there should be a draft of people with medical or other special skills regardless of age or gender; whether a draft would be “feasible” (it wouldn’t, because so many people haven’t registered with the Selective Service System, have moved without notifying the SSS, and/or would resist if drafted); and related issues.

Despite some problems, this is by far your best and most open opportunity in decades to tell the Federal government to end draft registration.

In late 2015, Commander-In-Chief Obama ordered all military assignments opened to women. That order undercut, and probably eliminated, the legal argument that had been used since 1980 to justify requiring only men, but not women, to register for the draft.

That gave members of Congress three options, none of which most of them wanted to take responsibility for, in the run-up to the 2016 elections:

  1. Do nothing and wait for courts to invalidate the requirement for men to register for the draft;
  2. Repeal the requirement for men to register, and abolish the Selective Service System (and risk being attacked as peaceniks); or
  3. Extend the requirement to register for the draft to women as well as men (and risk being attacked by both feminists and sexists).

After elaborate bi-partisan machinations, Congress chose Door Number One (“Do Nothing”). Perhaps members of Congress thought that would allow them to point the finger of “blame” at the courts, and away from themselves, if draft registration was ended. More likely they just wanted to punt this political hot potato past the 2016 elections into the Clinton or Trump Administration.

To provide further political cover for delaying its decision, Congress voted in late 2016 to establish a National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service “to conduct a review of the military selective service process (commonly referred to as ‘the draft’).” The Commission is required to solicit and consider public comments, and to report back to the President and Congress with its recommendations by March 2020 (at which time its recommendations can either be ignored, used, or abused to score points in 2020 election campaigns).

That Commission has now been appointed and held its first public meeting on 18 January 2018.

Today the Commission published:

  • A notice in the Federal Register soliciting written comments (by a Web form or by e-mail to “”, mentioning “Docket No. 05-2018-01” in the subject) though 19 April 2018; and
  • An announcement on the Commission’s Web site of a first public hearing, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. next Friday, 23 February 2018, at the Harrisburg Area Community College, Midtown Trade and Technology Center, Midtown 2, Room 206, 1500 N. 3rd St., Harrisburg, PA.

Pass the word to any of your contacts who might be able to make it to Harrisburg that day.

It’s unclear how the Commission’s hearings will be conducted. So far as I can tell from the announcement it appears that at least the first hearing will be a first-come, first-served, open microphone event, although I have no idea how much time each speaker will be allowed.

The law establishing the Commission requires that:

The Commission shall conduct hearings on the recommendations it is taking under consideration. Any such hearing, except a hearing in which classified information is to be considered, shall be open to the public. Any hearing open to the public shall be announced on a Federal website at least 14 days in advance. For all hearings open to the public, the Commission shall release an agenda and a listing of materials relevant to the topics to be discussed.

The Commission’s first planned hearing in Harrisburg, PA, on 23 February 2018, was announced on the Commission’s Web site on February 16th, only seven days in advance. The Commission appears to be in flagrant violation of the statutory requirement for 14 days’ notice, and the hearing in Harrisburg, if it is held on February 23rd, will be unlawful. As of a week before the planned hearing, no agenda has been released.

Members of the Commission have said it plans to hold public hearings in each of the nine US Census regions over the next two years, but none of the other dates and locations have been announced yet.

February 17, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , | Leave a comment

The Next Logical Step: General Assembly Intervention Plan to End the Maritime Siege of Gaza

Break the Maritime Siege of Gaza | February 15, 2018

Gaza is the largest open air prison in the world, with 2 million people, mostly children. Now it is lacking potable water, with only 2-4 hours of electricity per day. There is severe widespread physical and psychological trauma and illnesses from numerous Israeli bomb attacks and ground invasions. These have killed thousands and left hundreds of thousands homeless, with widespread infrastructure destroyed. Gaza is suffocating. The UN has predicted that Gaza will become uninhabitable within the next 2 years.


In 1967, Israel invaded and occupied the Gaza Strip. The people of Gaza have suffered under a maritime siege ever since. This blockade is inhumane and illegal. It amounts to collective persecution.

Unlike any other seafaring people in the world, Gaza’s Palestinians have been unable to use their ports to conduct any international commerce for over 50 years — since the 1967 Six Day War.  Ships from the Gaza Strip are prevented from leaving Gaza territorial waters, and international cargo is prevented from sailing directly into Gaza. Israel illegally blocks food, medicine, fuel, repair equipment, and other materials to and from Gaza. All goods intended for Gaza must go through Israeli ports, and Israel completely controls what is allowed in and out of Gaza. For the last 11 years, this siege has become extremely severe.

Despite international standards of 20 nautical miles, Gaza fishing vessels are limited to 3-6 nautical miles, depending on the whims of the occupier.  Fishers often suffer violent attacks by Israeli warships.  They have been injured and killed, and many Gazan fishing vessels have been confiscated, damaged and destroyed.

An international civil society group, the Free Gaza Movement, breached this maritime siege by successfully sailing into Gaza five times in 2008. Ever since, attempts to sail additional boats into Gaza by the Free Gaza Movement, and subsequently the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, have been stopped by violent Israeli piracy in international waters. Activists have been injured and killed, thrown into Israeli prisons, and deported. Boats and ships have been hijacked and confiscated by Israel.  In 2014, “Gaza’s Ark,” an international initiative to build a cargo ship in Gaza to sail Gaza merchandise to international markets was crushed when Israeli warplanes completely destroyed the reconstructed ship in Gaza Harbor just before the boat’s renovation was complete. To date, the international community has been unwilling to take any substantial action that could give Gaza the right to maritime commerce like all other countries in the world.

For decades, the U.S. has consistently blocked resolutions at the UN that are critical of Israel. Since the UN Security Council is hopelessly deadlocked with inevitable U.S. vetoes, and since acts of Israeli piracy toward international vessels attempting to reach Gaza occur without consequence, it is time to take the next logical step:  A UN General Assembly Intervention Plan (GAIP) toward ending the maritime siege of Gaza.

A Solution 

Several groups are now proposing General Assembly action under the “Uniting For Peace Doctrine” to permanently and nonviolently end the Israeli maritime blockade against Gaza. U.S. vetoes have prevented the Security Council from solving the decades-long Israeli occupation and oppression of the Palestinians. The international community cannot continue to simply stand by and allow the suffering of the Palestinians to continue, especially in Gaza, where the abuse is so clear and so preventable. The General Assembly can implement this General Assembly Intervention Plan, a flotilla of state-sponsored cargo ships to carry humanitarian supplies to Gaza free of any Israeli interference. The G.A. can also require that the Israeli blockade end under threat of serious sanctions.

The blockade is a clear “breach of the peace.” The Israeli maritime blockade of Gaza is seen by most international experts as illegal. Ironically and to the point, Israel itself identified the creation of a maritime blockade by Egypt in 1967 as being illegal and a casus belli (an act of war). The United States backed that Israeli position in 1967 asserting that uninvolved nations could break an illegal blockade between A and B, and the U.S. President, Lyndon Johnson, proposed such a flotilla of military ships to break what he understood to be an illegal Egyptian maritime blockade of an important Israeli port.

The Uniting for Peace Doctrine states:

“Conscious that (the) failure of the Security Council to discharge its responsibilities where there appears to be a … breach of the peace … does not relieve Member States of their obligations or the United Nations of its responsibility under the Charter to maintain international peace and security, … (The General Assembly states that) in any cases where the Security Council … fails to act as required to maintain international peace …, the General Assembly …. shall … (step in and make) appropriate recommendations to Members for collective measures (of any kind) … to maintain or restore international peace and security.”

This General Assembly action would not be vulnerable to any Security Council veto, because it will not need American approval. This blockade is an issue that can be completely solved by the General Assembly without force or violence. Furthermore, such action would stipulate that the Israeli maritime blockade ends under threat of serious sanctions. It is time to take concrete substantial support for the Palestinians, in particular, for the people of Gaza.

Moving Forward

A group of activists from the U.S. and Sweden went to the United Nations for a week this past November, coinciding with the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Our intention was to bring attention to this General Assembly Intervention Plan for Gaza, gain support, and generate discussion among a number of missions.

While at the UN, along with our allied organizations, we had meetings with officials from the Palestine Mission to the UN and 12 other nations.

Riyad Mansour, the Ambassador for the Palestine Mission to the UN, met with us and gave his blessings. Although he was not able to fully endorse this initiative based on a first meeting, he assured us that he would not oppose it. We also paid visits to several other UN Missions and distributed the 11-page General Assembly Intervention Plan for Breaking the Maritime Blockade of Gaza.

We also were able to make contact with Ambassador Fode Seck of Senegal, who chairs the CEIRPP, Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. On Wednesday, November 29, 2017, we attended the UN sessions of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. At the evening reception, we had informal discussions with other mission representatives and members of civil society supporting Palestinian rights.

In summary, the General Assembly Intervention plan is the next logical step, following the giant footsteps of the Free Gaza Movement and the Freedom Flotilla Coalition. Its goal is to permanently end the 50 year old maritime siege of Gaza. The GAIP is gaining a growing list of endorsers, which include, but are not limited to:

Richard Falk, Rima Khalaf, Hans von Sponeck, Denis Halliday, Miko Peled, Mazin Qumsiyeh, Ramzy Baroud, Rashid Khalidi, Freedom Flotilla Coalition, BDS South Africa and the Rachel Corrie Foundation.

– If you would like to see the full General Assembly Intervention Plan and/or endorse our initiative and/or help move this process forward, please contact us at

February 16, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Journalist, activist Bushra al-Tawil ordered to another four months in prison without charge or trial

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – February 14, 2108

An Israeli occupation military court issued a renewed four-month administrative detention order against Palestinian journalist and prisoners’ rights advocate Bushra al-Tawil on 12 February 2017. Al-Tawil, 26, from el-Bireh, has been jailed by the Israeli occupation without charge or trial since 1 November 2017. Originally ordered to six months in administrative detention, her detention was reduced on appeal to four months; now, an additonal four-month order has been imposed upon her.

Al-Tawil has been detained on several occasions in the past; she is an active defender of Palestinian rights and works with Aneen al-Qaid, an organization that defends Palestinian prisoners. The new order was issued as a “final” order, which ostensibly means it will not be renewed. Administrative detention orders are usually indefinitely renewable, and Palestinians can spend years at a time in jail with no charge or trial under repeatedly renewed orders.

Al-Tawil’s mother said on Tuesday, 13 February, that local and international silence on the prisoners must end, urging unity in action to free the prisoners. Al-Tawil is one of approximately 450 Palestinians currently jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention, among a total of approximately 6,200 Palestinian political prisoners. Administrative detainees have announced that they will boycott Israeli military courts and administrative detention hearings beginning on 15 February.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment

Bahrain Government Committed Nearly 1,000 Abuses in January: Report

teleSUR | February 10, 2018

The monarchy of Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, in Bahrain, committed 995 cases of abuse in January, a new report by the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights (BFHR) has revealed.

The report, published Saturday, states that 121 people, including six minors, were arbitrarily arrested in house raids. Torture and other violent tactics were used against 18 detainees, including eight minors and four women, in police stations and prisons.

A total of 17 Bahrainis were disappeared last month, many having participated in anti-government protests, and 77 opposition protesters were given a total of 679 years in prison for taking part in protests or supporting notable dissidents.

The BFHR also cited the continued ban on Friday prayers in the village of Diraz as a human rights violation. Diraz harbors many people who favor a reform of the Bahraini monarchy.

Since February 2011, Bahrain has been the scene of near-daily protests against the Al Khalifah monarchy, with dozens killed. Many notable opposition figures remain imprisoned.

Despite government bans, people are preparing for protests and demonstrations to commemorate the anniversary of the uprising that began seven years ago.

February 11, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , , | Leave a comment

At Canada’s New Democratic Party Convention, Palestine Is Set to Be Major Flashpoint

By Yves Engler | Palestine Chronicle | February 9, 2018

At next week’s New Democratic Party convention in Ottawa Palestinian rights are set to be a major flashpoint.

The NDP Socialist Caucus has submitted a resolution calling on the party to “actively campaign in support of the demand of Palestinian unions, civil society and unions across Canada and around the world which call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the Israeli state until it dismantles the apartheid wall, allows refugees to return home, ends its demolition of Palestinian homes and olive groves, lifts the siege of Gaza, ends its occupation of Palestinian lands, and terminates its apartheid practices.”

A more moderate “Palestine Resolution: renewing the NDP’s commitment to peace and justice” has been endorsed by two dozen riding associations. The motion mostly restates official Canadian policy, except that it calls for “banning settlement products from Canadian markets, and using other forms of diplomatic and economic pressure to end the occupation.”

Already the Canadian Jewish News, Electronic Intifada, National Post, Ottawa Jewish Bulletin, Toronto Star, Le Devoir, Mondoweiss, Canada Talks Israel Palestine and Rabble have published stories regarding the resolutions. The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs has called on the party leader to “push back against marginal elements within the party” promoting Palestinian rights while the more explicitly antidemocratic Canadian Friends of Simon Wiesenthal has “Urged NDP to Disallow Anti-Israel Resolution at Upcoming Convention”.

Unfortunately, corporate-media-focused party operatives may heed the CIJA/Wiesenthal call. Party insiders will no doubt do everything in their power to avoid discussing the Socialist Caucus BDS resolution and will probably seek to block the Palestine Resolution from being debated publicly on the convention floor. If their backroom procedural shenanigans fail to stop the resolutions from a public airing expect a great deal of concern about associating with the international BDS movement.

For NDPers scared of BDS here is an alternative resolution that places no demands on Israel:

1. The NDP will refrain from excluding electoral candidates who speak up for Palestinian rights.

(During the 2015 federal election the NDP responded to Conservative party pressure by ousting as many as eight individuals from running or contesting nominations to be candidates because they defended Palestinian rights on social media.)

2. NDP MPs will refrain from participating in any Israel parliamentary group until the party is represented on a Nigerian, Algerian or Spanish parliamentary group.

(Vancouver Island MPs Randall Garrison and Murray Rankin are currently members of the Canada Israel Inter-parliamentary Group.)

3. The NDP foreign critic will refuse requests to participate in all expense paid trips to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference.

(Hélène Laverdière spoke at the 2016 AIPAC conference in Washington DC.)

4. NDP MPs will participate in all expense paid lobbying trips to Israel at no greater rate than Paraguay, which is of similar size and distance from Ottawa.

(A 2014 calculation found that 20 NDP MPs had been to Israel with a Zionist lobby organization and 13 months ago recently elected party leader Jagmeet Singh went on an organized trip to the country.)

5. NDP officials will abstain from attending events put on by explicitly racist organizations.

(In 2016 Hélène Laverdière participated in an event in Jerusalem organized by the openly racist Jewish National Fund while NDP MP Pat Martin spoke at a JNF event in Ottawa to “recognize and thank the people that have helped to make JNF Canada what it is today.” Owner of 13 per cent of Israel’s land – which was mostly taken from Palestinians forced from their homes by Zionist forces in 1947-48 – the JNF openly discriminates against the 20% of Israelis who are not Jewish. Its website notes that “a survey commissioned by KKL-JNF reveals that over 70% of the Jewish population in Israel opposes allocating KKL-JNF land to non-Jews, while over 80% prefer the definition of Israel as a Jewish state, rather than as the state of all its citizens.”)

My alternative resolution makes no demands of Israel so it’s hard to link it to the BDS bogeyman. Best of all, the party has the power to immediately implement this small gesture of support for the long-suffering Palestinians.

I will be speaking about “What’s Wrong with NDP Foreign Policy?” on the sidelines of the convention.

–  Yves Engler is the author of Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid and a number of other books.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment