Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

by William Skink

On almost every foreign front the U.S. is escalating, which I’m guessing is why Obama wants Congress to give him cover for the new war he’s already started with that old, dusty AUMF. Truthout frames it succinctly:

As President Barack Obama presented his proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to Congress, he declared, “I do not believe America’s interests are served by endless war, or by remaining on a perpetual war footing.” Yet Obama’s proposal asks Congress to rubber-stamp his endless war against anyone he wants, wherever he wants.

It’s kind of like how Obama said he ended the war in Afghanistan, but not really. I hope the new AUMF includes a new war against the various factions that have torn Libya apart after that little humanitarian thing that happened a few years ago. Go Hillary 2016 yeah!

I’m not breaking from the mediocre poetry I’ve been keeping myself to here just to toss the usual jabs, no, instead I must commend Obama for what looks like maybe could possibly be a significant push back against apartheid Israel being led by a man who may have finally over-played his hand.

Here’s Mark Gaffney via Counterpunch:

Finally. After many years of official hypocrisy, a US president appears to be playing hardball with Israel. The other day, the US government declassified a 1987 report documenting Israel’s secret nuclear weapons program.

I have been a critic of President Obama, but one has to admire the timing of the release which I suspect was ordered by the White House. Next month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to speak before Congress, at the behest of House speaker Boehner, and the topic of Netanyahu’s address reportedly will be Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. The fact that neither Speaker Boehner nor the Israeli government first cleared the speech with the White House has become controversial, and for good reason. Several prominent members of Congress, among them Senator Leahy, have already indicated they will boycott the speech, which will be a transparent attempt at an end run around the president.

Israeli PM Netanyahu is a smooth talker, but he is in no position to lecture Iran or any other state about nuclear weapons. The just-declassified report shows up Netanyahu for what he is, a liar.

All sixteen US intelligence agencies agree there is no hard evidence that Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons. As a signatory of the nuclear non proliferation treaty, Iran’s nuclear power program is fully safeguarded by IAEA inspections. Israel by contrast is a rogue state that secretly developed nukes while thumbing its nose at the world. Israel has long refused to sign the NPT.

The declassified 1987 report indicates that from the 1980s on the US was well-informed about Israel’s hidden nuclear agenda. Israel’s nuke program is evidently a carbon copy of the US program.

We know that Israel smuggled nuclear technology (triggers, known as krytrons) out of the US, highjacked a ship on the high seas loaded with uranium ore, deceived US inspectors, and much more, all the while lying about its true intentions.

It also appears that Israel provided the IAEA with phony documents about Iran’s nuclear program.

Timing is everything in politics. With the report now public, Obama will be in a stronger position to apply pressure on Israel to sign the NPT and open its nuclear sites to IAEA inspectors; or face the prospect of losing US economic and military aid. Why? Because a US law (the Symington amendment of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act) bars the US from giving aid to nations that engage in clandestine nuclear weapons proliferation. For many years, the US chose to ignore the law. But now that Netanyahu plainly intends to stir up trouble for Obama in Congress over Iran, the president has apparently decided to take off the kid gloves. If Obama follows through, and I hope he does, it will the smartest policy move of his presidency. The president deserves all the support that we the people can give him on this issue.

Damn. I wonder where this will go.

by lizard

I would like to ask every moron who thinks they are championing free speech by going to “The Interview” what they think about some other opportunities to support free speech in America. A decade ago, on the eve of America’s war against Iraq, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks made some comments in London against the war. Conservatives across the nation threw a collective hissy fit:

In March of 2003, the drumbeat for war in Iraq had reached a fevered pitch. Despite massive protests throughout the world, over 70 percent of Americans supported the invasion. In that month, presidential approval also shot over 70 percent, the highest it would be for the remainder of George W. Bush’s tenure in office. Despite these currents, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks spoke out during a London show on the eve of the war, saying “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.”

When media reports about the concert got back to the United States, all hell broke loose. Their record sales plummeted, they fell down the Billboard charts and a full scale boycott swept through their largely right-wing country music fan base. Country radio stations across the U.S. pulled them from circulation, with radio network giant Cumulus banning the Dixie Chicks from its more than 250 local stations. Former fans gathered to burn previously-purchased CDs and even, in one media spectacle, crush them with a giant farm tractor.

Unsurprisingly, conservatives welcomed this effort to economically discipline political speech. President Bush himself said of the debacle: “The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind. They can say what they want to say … they shouldn’t have their feelings hurt just because some people don’t want to buy their records when they speak out. … Freedom is a two-way street. ”

And how about criticizing the brutal, apartheid state of Israel? Chris Hedges recently found out that those nice University speaking gigs can go south when associating Israel with ISIS. From Mondoweiss:

I had been invited to talk next April 3 at the University of Pennsylvania at a peace conference sponsored by the International Affairs Association, but last week after Truthdig published my column “ISIS—the New Israel” the lecture agency that set up the event received this email from Zachary Michael Belnavis, who is part of the student group:

“We’re sorry to inform you that we don’t think that Chris Hedges would be a suitable fit for our upcoming peace conference. We’re saying this in light of a recent article he’s written in which he compares the organization ISIS to Israel (here’s the article in question). In light of this comparison we don’t believe he would be suitable to a co-existence speaker based on this stance he’s taken.”

Being banned from speaking about the conflict between Israel and Palestine, especially at universities, is familiar to anyone who attempts to challenge the narrative of the Israel lobby.

Here is the offending article. And here is another article by Hedges discussing banning dissent in the name of civility:

Dershowitz has called on Israel to use bulldozers to demolish entire Palestinian villages, rather than individual houses, in retaliation for Palestinian terrorist attacks, although collective punishment violates international law. In another context he defends the use of torture and proposes methods that include shoving a “sterilized needle underneath the nail.” He lambastes as an anti-Semite nearly everyone who has criticized the Israeli state; he once said “there is a special place in hell” for former President Jimmy Carter and that South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu is “one of the most evil men in the world.”

When Dershowitz spoke at Penn in 2012, David Cohen, the chairman of the university board of trustees and executive vice president of Comcast Corp., read to the audience a letter written for the occasion by the school’s president, Amy Gutmann, who was in California at the time. In the letter Gutmann praised Dershowitz and castigated the BDS movement, saying “Penn is blessed to have one of the largest and most active Hillel chapters in the country. And we are unwavering in our support of the Jewish state. Let me say it in the clearest possible words: we do not support the goals of BDS.”

The code word that the Israel lobby and its facilitators at universities use to silence critics is “civility.” Israel supporters are permitted to spout hate and calls for indiscriminate violence against Palestinians. Critics of Israel, however, even if they are careful to denounce violence and not to demonize Jews, are banned in the name of “civility.” It is the height of academic duplicity.

There is a similar duplicity at work within the dynamics of the emerging movement to address police brutality. Protestors are in the streets because black lives don’t seem to matter. The list of names is long, unlike the list of cops held accountable for their actions, even when caught on camera. And while the NYPD is busy fomenting an insurrection against the Mayor, the LAPD is investigating an incident that occurred at a party for a retired LAPD officer where a Jim Croce classic was transformed into an ugly piece of racial incitement:

“Michael Brown learned a lesson
about a messin’ with a bad … police man
And he’s, bad, bad Michael Brown
Baddest thug in the whole darn town
Badder than an ol’ King Kong
Meaner than a junkyard dog
Two men took to fightin’
And Michael punched in through the door
and Michael looked like some old Swiss cheese
His brain was splatter on the floor.”

So cops can say and do whatever they want, but when anger and rage is expressed by non-cops, you better believe arrests will be made. According to CNN, 9 people have been arrested in NYC for “making threats”:

Of the arrests, police said, at least three stemmed from postings made on social media, and at least two came from misdemeanor charges of false report incident, in which the suspects allegedly called 911 reporting threats made by a third party that were later debunked.

One arrest was made after the suspect phoned in a direct threat to 911.

And on Wednesday, a man was arrested on weapons, drug and harassment charges after he was overheard threatening to kill cops while talking on his cell phone inside a bank in Queens, according to the NYPD.
That man is accused of saying on the phone that he was going to kill a cop, and that Brinsley should have killed white police officers, according to a criminal complaint filed in court. The complaint says that when police interviewed the suspect, he elaborated that two white officers should have been killed “if the guy really wanted to send a message.”

In a tweet Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio thanked the police department and the civilian who saw something suspicious and acted:

“Thank you to the NYPD officers who today arrested a man who threatened to kill cops, and to the good Samaritan who provided key information.”

So how invested are those moronic movie goers in defending free speech in America? From artists to academics to disgruntled New Yorkers grappling with their wartime police department, speech is banned, marginalized, suppressed and outright criminalized.

It turns out there are different prices to pay for what is allegedly free in America, and that price depends on who has the power. Confused? Here’s a recap.

You can commit war crimes and lie a nation into war with no accountability but if you criticize that war you will be economically punished.

You can talk openly about killing, torturing and sterilizing Arabs and destroying whole villages as collective punishment and still retain an ability to talk to American college kids, but if you point out the depraved nature of the apartheid state of Israel you will be banned from campus.

You can kill black people with impunity if you have a badge and escape indictment nearly every time, even when there is video evidence of the crime, but if you make verbal threats you will be arrested.

Free speech in America, baby. Love it or leave it!

by lizard

The Times of Israel has done critics of the Israeli apartheid state another favor. The first favor was allowing Yochanan Gordon’s piece “When Genocide is Permissible” see the light of day. Sure, it was quickly removed, but if you’re interested in exploring the ugly depths of the racism that permeates Zionism, you can read it at Mondoweiss. If you can’t handle the whole thing, just read his concluding question:

I will conclude with a question for all the humanitarians out there. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clearly stated at the outset of this incursion that his objective is to restore a sustainable quiet for the citizens of Israel. We have already established that it is the responsibility of every government to ensure the safety and security of its people. If political leaders and military experts determine that the only way to achieve its goal of sustaining quiet is through genocide is it then permissible to achieve those responsible goals?

I actually appreciate this explicit grappling with permissible genocide because it states clearly what many Zionists and their American counterparts privately agree with, but have to use crafty rhetoric and euphemisms to dance around stating outright. Bravo Yochanan Gordon!

That favor was gifted to us last August. December’s gift is a helpful guide to the 9 (racist) similarities between Palestinians and Black People in Ferguson. This piece was also removed, so here’s Electronic Intifada providing the online capture of this gem.

EI also takes a look at the Palestinian/Ferguson comparison Palestinian activists started making early on, when the unrest in Missouri first erupted:

Zionist organizations are rattled by the growing displays of solidarity between people in Ferguson, Missouri, and Palestine, but until Wilkes’ outburst they generally focused on slamming the Ferguson-Palestine connection as inaccurate and offensive.

This has been the preferred strategy of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the anti-Palestinian advocacy group that operates under the guise of fighting anti-Semitism and bigotry.

Soon after the Ferguson uprising began, the ADL accused Palestinian rights activists who demonstrated solidarity with Ferguson and Michael Brown of “trying to rouse support for an anti-Israel agenda by attracting like-minded activists.”

The group went so far as to compile lists tracking events and protests promoting unity between Ferguson and Palestine.

Not long after that, the ADL accused the Students for Justice in Palestine national conference of hosting panels that “conflate social justice with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” citing as an example a panel titled ”From Ferguson to Palestine: Resisting State Violence and Racism.”

After a grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson in a purposely defective process, Reggie Bush, running back for the Detroit Lions American football team, posted to Instagram a photo of a Palestinian man holding a sign that says, “The Palestinian people know what mean to be shot while unarmed because of your ethnicity #Ferguson #Justice.”

Damn, another uppity football player. No wonder the ADL is worried.

So what are the similarities you ask? Here’s more from EI:

Wilkes’ piece is as remarkable as it is vile in its appeal to anti-Palestinian and white American racism.

On African Americans and Palestinians, Wilkes writes, “Anger defines them, and anger keeps both mired in failure. Rather than make better choices they prefer to ride the ‘victim’ train to nowhere.”

He continues, “Both wish to undermine the state’s moral authority by provoking violent reactions, then portraying themselves as victims of oppression.”

Mocking Black American leaders as “con artists” and “race-hustlers in a ‘business’ fueled by anger,” Wilkes decries supposedly irrational Black and Palestinian anger as a product of inferior cultures that teach hate.

“Black problems in America,” he argues, “derive from the breakdown of family and unhealthy aspects of black culture.”

These are some of the most pernicious and cliché tropes long employed by liberal and right-wing racists to blame and pathologize people of color as being responsible for their own oppression and disadvantage.

“In both places, the innocent pay the price” for the supposed Black and Palestinian lust for violence, Wilkes claims. “The businesses destroyed in Ferguson belong to hard-working citizens who had nothing to do with the incident in which a policeman shot a robbery suspect in self-defense,” he says, justifying Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson’s August killing of Black youth Michael Brown.

But, Wilkes allows, “The Palestinians are, tragically, far more bloodthirsty.”

Wilkes ends his screed by praising the Israeli army and Missouri police for exercising restraint: “Authorities in both places have their hands tied by their high standards of human rights and reverence for the rule of law.” Of course this last point makes sense given that St. Louis-area police departments have received training from the Israeli security apparatus in recent years.

Tonight in America another grand jury issued another non-indictment on another police officer who killed another black man.

And so it goes.

by lizard

Tomorrow is election day. I plan on voting despite how diminished the impact of my vote has become in this brave new world of dark money.

So what does get results?

I like this story from Electronic Intifada: Bay Area activists declare victory after Israeli carrier cancels all ships. From the link:

On 28 October, San Francisco Bay Area activists organizing to block the unloading of Israeli shipping vessels declared their most significant victory yet: Israel’s Zim Integrated Shipping Services appears to have cancelled all future shipments to the Oakland Port.

This past summer, at the peak of Israel’s brutal bombardment of Gaza, the Bay Area’s Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) mobilized the community in response to the military assault. Deciding to focus on a tangible, highly-visible and big-money target, the group set its sights on Israel’s Zim lines, determined to block the company every time it tried to dock a ship at the busy Port of Oakland.

But they didn’t know it would take only three months to send Israel’s largest shipping company packing — possibly for good — in what looks like an effort to avoid the tireless activists who have consistently out-maneuvered the cargo ships.

Over the summer, AROC spearheaded the original Block the Boat coalition. The movement quickly caught on in major shipping cities along the West Coast, and last week, Los Angeles activists delayed the unloading of a Zim shipping vessel for two days.

The power of the boycott helped break the back of apartheid in South Africa. Now, the BDS movement (boycott, divest, sanction) against the apartheid state of Israel is showing results.

Israel, for it’s part, continues proving why such a movement is absolutely necessary. Here are just a few recent links.

Huge new Israeli settlement in West Bank condemned by US and UK (the Guardian)

Al Aqsa Mosque is closed off for first time in 47 years as tensions flare (Mondoweiss)

Netanyahu’s cabinet backs bill to jail stone-throwers up to 10-20 years (Haartz)

SodaStream says it plans to leave West Bank for Negev, but boycotters promise not to let up (Mondoweiss)

by lizard

While a vigorous debate about yard signs and tv commercials unwinds in the comment thread at Cowgirl’s place, the terrorist tool, ISIS, continues making significant gains.

With the help of alleged allies, like Turkey and Israel, the caliphate is expanding, and now threatens Lebanon. From Moon of Alabama:

In cooperation with Turkey the Islamic State has laid siege on the independent Kurdish enclave Kobane in north east Syria. The city is likely to fall soon just as the Turkish government wants it to. Turkey’s blockade of reinforcement and supplies for the defenders inflames the 15 million strong Kurdish population in Turkey. The fall of Kobane may well lead to an end of the peace process between Turks and Kurds and to a renewed civil war in south east Turkey. Turkey houses many refugees from Syria and is a major logistic hub for the Islamic State.

Thanks Turkey! It’s so worth having you in NATO. Here’s more from MoA:

Jordan, south of Syria, is a major hub of anti-Assad activities. The CIA is running large training programs in Jordan where refugees from south Syria get prepared for fighting the Syrian government. As soon as groups of such “moderate rebels” are send over the border to fight against the Syrian army parts of them inevitably defect to the Islamic State or the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhad al-Nusra (JAN). They take the weapons they were given by the CIA and the supporting Gulf states with them. Chinese FN-6 man-portable air-defense system, supplied by Qatar to such “moderate rebels”, were used in recent days by the Islamic State to shoot down at least three Iraqi army helicopters. While Jordan has mostly isolated the Syrian refugees in desert camps parts of its own population are also sympathetic to the Islamic State. Jordan has now closed its borders to all refugees to isolate itself against further IS infiltration. It might hold out a bit longer before the flood reaches its main cities.

From Jordan “moderate rebels” and Jabhat al-Nusra Islamists have progressed in north-western direction along the Golan height demarcation zone with Israel against Syrian government forces and towards south Lebanon. These groups are protected against Syrian counterattacks by Israeli artillery and do get some of their support, including medical services, directly from the Israeli side. Their task is to infiltrate through the Druze inhabited areas near the Sheba Farm into south Lebanon and to attack the Lebanese Hizbullah positions which are protecting Lebanon from Israel. Israel is also continuously probing those positions by reconnaissance by force. Hizbullah recently publicly acknowledged to counter these probes thereby demonstrating undiminished capabilities despite also being engaged in other areas. Other “moderate rebel” groups supporting Jabhat al-Nusra went north from Jordan and took the important Syrian height of Tar Harrah between the Golan heights and Damascus. Some Syrian army forces are now squeezed between the insurgents on the Golan heights and those around Tal Harrah. Both of these “moderate rebel” thrusts from Jordan progressed due to massive use of U.S. supplied TOW anti-tank missiles.

Thanks Israel! It’s so worth giving you over 233 billion dollars in financial aid over the past 6 decades.

As Kobani gets ready to fall to the Islamic State, the US is busy bombing empty buildings and grain silos:

The U.S. is conducting a curious humanitarian war against ISIS in Syria. While Kobani, the largely Kurdish district that straddles the border with Turkey is being attacked by ISIS forces and facing the very real possibility of mass civilian killings if it falls, U.S. military spokespersons claimed that they are watching the situation in Kobani and have conducted occasional bombing missions but that they are concentrating their anti-ISIS efforts in other parts of Syria. Those other efforts appear to consist of bombing empty buildings, schools, small oil pumping facilities, an occasional vehicle and grain silos where food is stored to feed the Syrian people. Turkey also seems to be watching as the Kurds of Kobani fight to the death against ISIS.

With friends like Turkey and Israel, who needs enemies?

Where is the liberal interventionists R2P crowd when you need them?

by lizard

Yesterday Counterpunch featured a piece by Jonathan Cook detailing the disturbing reach of Israel’s STASI into the lives of Palestinians. We get this peek into the dark underbelly of Israel’s oppression because 43 individuals signed off on a letter describing their moral objections to what they are told to do in their elite unit, Unit 8200:

According to the refuseniks, much Israeli intelligence gathering targets “innocent people”. The information is used “for political persecution”, “recruiting collaborators” and “driving parts of Palestinian society against itself”.

The surveillance powers of 8200 extend far beyond security measures. They seek out the private weaknesses of Palestinians – their sex lives, monetary troubles and illnesses – to force them into conspiring in their own oppression.

“If you required urgent medical care in Israel, the West Bank or abroad, we looked for you,” admits one.

An illustration of the desperate choices facing Palestinians was voiced by a mother of seven in Gaza last week. She told AP news agency that she and her husband were recruited as spies in return for medical treament in Israel for one of their children. Her husband was killed by Hamas as a collaborator in 2012.

The goal of intelligence gathering, the refuseniks point out, is to control every aspect of Palestinian life, from cradle to grave. Surveillance helps confine millions of Palestinians to their territorial ghettoes, ensures their total dependence on Israel, and even forces some to serve as undercover go-betweens for Israel, buying land to help the settlements expand. Palestinians who resist risk jail or execution.

Anyone who thinks what is occurring in Israel’s petri-dish of oppression won’t eventually be applied with the same vigor here in the states is in denial.




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