IDF war crimes? part 1

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Josh Ruebner is one of the founders of Jews for Peace in Israel and Palestine which later merged with Jewish Voice for Peace. On March 13 he wrote  Timely UN report says IDF soldiers likely committed war crimes and worse against Gaza’s march

This is part of his dispatch

At the end of February, a Commission of Inquiry established by the UN’s Human Rights Council issued a preliminary report on Israel’s response to the first nine months of the Gaza-based Great March of Return that stated that it had reasonable grounds to believe that during the march, “Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” some of which “may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity…”

The 3-member Commission was headed by Santiago Canton of Argentina. It urged Israel to investigate all the killings and injuries inflicted by its soldiers against participants in the march. But it also urged the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide the dossiers on alleged perpetrators to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other bodies.

The Commission’s full report will be issued on March 18. The videos and infographics in this blog-post come from a web portal highlighting the Commission’s work that’s on the the UNHRC’s website.

The Commission noted that during the period March 30 through December 31, 2018, Israeli soldiers had killed 189 unarmed demonstrators, 183 of them with live fire, and had injured 9,204 others, two-thirds of them with live fire.

In dozens of disturbing examples, the commission documented the shocking cruelty and callous disregard for human life exhibited by Israeli soldiers toward unarmed Palestinians demanding their basic human rights. Take, for example, the case of Alaa Dali, a 21-year-old cyclist who was injured during the first day of GMR. Dali “stood holding his bicycle, wearing his cycling kit, watching the demonstrations, approximately 300 m[eters] from the separation fence” when an Israeli sniper’s bullet tore through his leg. “His right leg had to be amputated, ending his cycling career.”

What coursed through the mind of the Israeli sharpshooter as they zeroed in on Dali, decked out in cycling paraphernalia, through the scope of their high-powered rifle? That here was an opportunity to deprive a Palestinian of his possibly sole enjoyment in life, already so precariously deprived and circumscribed by a brutal and unrelenting blockade?

Or, consider the fact that the commission received testimony from many young Palestinian men and women whom Israeli snipers shot in the lower abdomen and groin, rendering them incapable of having children. Was this pattern a coincidence or did certain Israeli soldiers view Palestinians in such a dehumanized and racist fashion as to judge their reproductive capacity a “demographic threat” to continued Israeli Jewish supremacy?

On May 14, 2018, hundreds of US and Israeli officials and dignitaries jubilantly gathered in Jerusalem to witness the Trump administration make good on a key campaign promise: to move the US Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Just 60 miles away, in the Israeli-occupied and -besieged Palestinian Gaza Strip, an entirely different and horrific scene was unfolding. An estimated 35,000 to 40,000 Palestinians protested at 13 sites throughout the enclave in the planned culmination of the GMR, which had initially been planned to last only six weeks.

The Commission’s report quoted one international journalist who was covering the protests as saying:

There was a constant stream of bloody bodies being carried back towards the ambulances. It was surreal and endless. It became almost normal, it was happening so often. A shot, a person falling, people carrying the body away… The number of wounded was astonishing. I couldn’t say how many people I saw who were shot because it was so high. I have covered wars in Syria, Yemen, Libya. I have never seen anything like this. The slow methodical shooting. It was just shocking.

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Ruebner’s query is really ages old and is a deeply human one.the question is hardly unique to Israelis. We now know “good Germans” are everywhere, robots who surrender their humanity in times of combat and war.

It is in no way exceptional that Jews of Conscience are asking it here.

The great Israeli writer Amira Hass wrote in February

Why Are We Israelis So Cruel to So Many? We are doing the opposite of ‘what is ‘what is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.’The cruelty is not innate, it is a form of practicing until you become accustomed. To know and be horrified: From where has this Jewish cruelty sprung? It contradicts so much of what we thought about ourselves for generations.

What is reported in Hebrew in Haaretz passes as if it was never written, and it too is just a thousandth of a percent of the acts that the direct descendants of the Jewish refugees from Europe and Arab countries are always carrying out. We have confiscated land from the Palestinians who are citizens of Israel, and are not allocating them other land to build towns? With special joy did we did so and continue to do so.

The noted Jewish philosopher  Martin Buber privy to the deep racism against Palestinians in 1961 wrote

“Only an internal revolution can have the power to heal ourpeople of their murderous sickness of causeless hatred… It is bound to bring complete ruin upon us.

Not anti-Semitic but a fact

This is but part of Chris Hedges clear-eyed evisceration of the bogus anti-Semitic charges so casually tossed out  by Israel’s defenders.It appeared on Truthdig.

https://www.truthdig.com/author/chris_hedge

The Israel lobby’s buying off of nearly every senior politician in the United States, facilitated by our system of legalized bribery, is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact. The lobby’s campaign of vicious character assassination, smearing and blacklisting against those who defend Palestinian rights—including the Jewish historian Norman Finkelstein and university students, many of them Jewish, in organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine—is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact.

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Twenty-four state governments’ passage of Israel lobby-backed legislation requiring their workers and contractors, under threat of dismissal, to sign a pro-Israel oath and promise not to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact. The shameless decision in 2014 by all 100 U.S. senators, including Bernie Sanders, to pass a Soviet-style plebiscite proposed by the Israel lobby to affirm Israel’s “right to defend itself” during the 51 days it bombed and shelled homes, water treatment plants, power stations, hospitals and U.N. schools in Gaza, killing 2,251 Palestinians, including 551 children, is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact.

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The U.S. refusal, including in the United Nations and other international bodies, to criticize Israel’s apartheid state and routine violation of international law is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact.

The well-funded campaigns by the Israel lobby, which works closely with Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, to discredit any American politician or academic who even slightly deviates from Israeli policy is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact. (One infamous example of a U.S. politician kowtowing was the unconstitutional invitation by then-House Speaker John Boehner to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress in 2015 to denounce President Barack Obama’s Iranian nuclear agreement.) The massive interference in our internal affairs by Israel and the Israel lobby, far exceeding that of any other country, including Russia or China, is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact.

Israel’s lackeys in the political class, along with bankrupt courtiers in the U.S. press, including former American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) employee Wolf Blitzer, are making a serious mistake, however, in refusing to acknowledge Israel’s outsized, transparent and often illegal meddling in the American political system and Israel’s brutal oppression of Palestinians. It is too obvious and too egregious to hide. The longer the ruling elites ignore this reality and censor and attack those such as Rep. Ilhan Omar who have the temerity to name this interference and the human rights abuses perpetrated by Israel, the more it gives credence to the racists, bigots, conspiracy theorists and white hate groups, many rooted in the Christian right, who are the real anti-Semites. Israel and its lobby, rather than protecting Israel and Jews, are steadily nullifying their moral and ultimately political force.

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Criticism of Israel and the ideology of Zionism is not anti-Semitic. Criticism of Israel’s influence and control over U.S. foreign policy, and of Israeli efforts to silence those who champion Palestinian rights, is not anti-Semitic. Criticism of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians or its dangerous campaign to orchestrate a war with Iran is not anti-Semitic. The more Israel and the Israel lobby abuse the charge of anti-Semitism, a charge the Israel lobby has leveled against British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, among many others, the more they lose their effectiveness against the dangerous anti-Semites whose ranks are growing within the far right and across the Muslim world.

Israel and its lobby do not care if its political allies, including those in the Christian right and the Trump White House, possess warped and racist attitudes about Jews. The Christian right and many of those in the White House, while embracing Zionism, are also anti-Semitic. President Donald Trump has called neo-Nazis “very fine people” and once tweeted an illustration of Hillary Clinton against a background of hundred-dollar bills and with the Star of David superimposed near her face. The sole criterion of Israel and the Israel lobby in determining who to support and who to demonize is identifying who backs the far-right agenda of the apartheid state of Israel and who does not.

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Genuine anti-Semitism is irrelevant. For Israel, the world is divided along the fault line of Palestinian rights. Stand up for the Palestinians and you are an anti-Semite. Cheer their marginalization, oppression and murder and you are a friend of the Jews. Have Jewish leaders forgotten their own history? Anti-Semitism is wrong and dangerous not only because it is bad for the Jews, but because the dark forces of ethnic and religious hatred, used by Israel and the lobby against critics, are bad for everyone, including the Jews and the Palestinians. You open this Pandora’s box of evils at your peril.

 

Norman Finkelstein on war crimes

Israeli forces have killed 183 Palestinians since weekly Great March of Return demonstrations began in Gaza nearly a year ago targeting Israel’s heavily militarized separation barrier. That’s according to a new United Nations inquiry that found Israeli forces may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity by targeting unarmed children, journalists and the disabled in Gaza. The report was released by the U.N. Human Rights Council on Thursday.

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Israel always sends out brainwashed  hacks to defend “the only democracy in the Middle East” when it engages in wholesale slaughter. Everybody knows these trolls  lie with bold-face impunity. This is not new. In decades past they had nobody in their hasbara division who could stand up to the towering Plalestinian intellectual Edward Said. The best thy could do according to Robert Fisk the pre-eminent reporter on the Middle East is to trot out that “old artillery-piece Alan Dershowitz.”

There is an extraordinary hubris here and it is shocking to democrats in the west that Israel continues despite all the evidence  to blithely kill, maim, blow up  homes and steal land  while literally the whole world is watching. They simply can not hide it anymore. They have divined, often quite correctly, that their great protector the bought and paid for Senate and House of the USA  government and the Trudeau  government will continue to stand by them.

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Now that Said has died, Norman Finkelstein the scion of  Holocaust survivors shreds all the hasbara  their official spokespeople trot out/ Witness this  Finkelstein speaking on Democracy Now below —but never on CNN, the New York Times, the Globe or the Star.

ironically Finkelstein is the sublect of a hatchet job in todays’s flagship Zionism defender the National Post. The headlines  read Deeply disturbing’: U of T talk by anti-Israel activist Norman Finkelstein. Disturbing to whom one might ask. Finkelstein is in a class by himself as an exhaustive researcher on Israel’s war crimes.

Here he speaks on Democracy Now

Well, Israel has always rejected the reports, whether they come from the United Nations or, more often than not,come from reputable human rights organizations, like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch or the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. So. It’s a report that falls in line with the findings of every reputable human rights organization.

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What most struck me about the report was it was remarkably honest. It was very forthright in its conclusions. And it didn’t fake this kind of balance, which most human rights organizations, even reputable ones, attempt between Israel and the United States. So, just to take a couple of examples, it forthrightly stated that Israel targets intentionally children during these demonstrations. It targets reporters. It targets medical personnel. There is no fake balance

If you look at the proportions, when it looks at the damages done to the people of Gaza, they devote 10 full pages and “Impact on Israel.” It’s three paragraphs. And that’s exactly what the reality shows, that overwhelmingly—in fact, virtually entirely—all the infliction of death and destruction is on the Palestinian side.These are massacres. They’re not conflicts. They’re not engagements. They’re just outright massacres of overwhelmingly unarmed, nonviolent demonstrators.

It’s time to indict Israel.

Another Amos: the prophetic never dies

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Amos Gvirtz, an Israeli Peace activist from Kibbutz Sheffayim, north of Tel Aviv,  is founder of Palestinians and Israelis for Nonviolence and a chairperson for the Israeli Committee against Home Demolitions.

Amos last came to Toronto on April 7, 2015  to speak on behalf of the rights of the indigenous Bedouin Israelis in the Negev. “Being Bedouin in a Jewish state: dispossessing Palestinian- Israeli citizens inside Israel”

Growing up on a kibbutz north of Tel Aviv Gvirtz always heard the lame excuse of many Germans that they did not know what was transpiring in Nazi Germany. He has made it his mission to tell his fellow Israelis and indeed the world, what is happening to the most vulnerable citizens of Israel, the Bedouin, a people who are seeing their land stolen from under them.

It is these poor communities that Amos Gvirtz defends, a true mensch a Jew of Conscience.

Weekly Amos connects with  an international audience with his “Don’t Say We Did Not Know” information about unpublicized events affecting the Palestinian and Bedouin communities. Gvirtz’ new book  of the same title examines the problems resulting from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory.

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These citizens have been in the Negev since Abraham was a baby (about 4,000 years) and they are now called “trespassers on State land” .Their travail is hidden from North Americans who are knee jerk supporters of Israel come what may but their treatment reflects just how low Zionism has sunk and why many North American Jews are getting off this failed movement whose policy is well expressed by historian Ilan Pappé as “incremental genocide.”

Amos,like his biblical precessor from Tekoa  is one of those great israeli Jews of Conscience who simply can not live with the largely hidden war on the real indigenous people of Palestine, the Bedouins.He has become one of their ardent defenders.

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IDF destroying Al Araqib

In November, 2014 We met Amos  in Al Araqib  a Bedouin village which had been destroyed 77 times in four years. Now as of November 1,2018 it has been bulldozed 135 times. Amos became our translator for his good friend Sheikh Sayah Al-Turi. before the sheikh addressed us as per usual among Palestinians, no matter how poor they are, hospitality comes first. And so it was on this day. The Sheikh barely needed a translator as he laid out the outrageous treatment of these Israeli citizens.

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Approximately every two or three weeks, soldiers arrive with bulldozers and raze their living quarters.  According to a report published by Dukium, the Negev Coexistence for Civil Equality “it is part of the government’s broader policy designed to compel Bedouin citizens to abdicate ownership over their ancestral lands and move to recently recognized villages or townships. Though over 70,000 people reside in unrecognized villages in Israel, the state denies their existence.”

As further explained in the report, the villages are not indicated on governmental maps or road signs, and are deprived of public services – electricity, water, health, education and transportation infrastructure and services. Israel destroys about 1,000 of their homes each year to force them into two towns with the highest rates of unemployment and poverty in Israel.

This staggers the imagination that the powerful state who always does what it wants to the weak and oppressed will go to these lengths to hound a poor community struggling to cope with the loss of grazing land for flocks.

@RamzyBaroud

Al-Araqeeb represents the story of all of Palestine and its people.

Israel destroys about 1,000 of their homes each year to force them into two towns with the highest rates of unemployment and poverty in Israel.

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Dozens of Palestinians, including officials, demonstrated yesterday in support of the Palestinian village of Al-Araqeeb which has been demolished by Israeli Occupation Forces more than 130 times, Arab48 reported.

#JewishCrimes #Palestine

Amos rises again in Israel

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While  the book of Amos in the Hebrew scriptures is relatively short it has always been a favourite of many, in particular Martin Luther King Jr who  often used it as a  key prophetic text. I can still hear him intoning: “let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream..

A less sophisticated bible man, though passionately prophetic,  Bernie  Sanders used it when he went into the lions den at  Jerry Falwell’s Liberty College.

Here  I make the connection with two  modern Amoses, Gideon Levy. and Amos Gvirtz.

Gideon Levy

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Like Amos (circa 750 BCE) Levy would make no claim to be a prophet but an honest scribe he surely is. In light of the abysmal state of the rabbinate in Israel particularly in the occupied and illegal territories, Levy like the biblical  prophets of antiquity regularly  excoriates his country’s leadership for its rampant injustice against the indigenous Palestinians.

Like Amos, Levy is native born  from Tel Aviv, a man who exposed to such overwhelming cruelty could no longer hold his tongue. What he discovered when he walked into the occupied territories sent him into a paroxysm of fury. Not  an overtly   religious man, Levy  to me seemed more like Jeremiah than Amos.Year after year in the pages of that wonderful Israeli daily Haaretz he seemed to channel his landsman Jeremiah  who similarly felt ,”something like a burning fire shut up in my bones.”(20:9).

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Amos was  from the small town Tekoa  south of Bethlehem. Today modern Tekoa is an illegal Israeli community confiscated in 1975 from Palestine. The biblical Amos denied  that he was a prophet. He states it unequivocally in 7:14:”I am no prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I a a herdsman and  a dresser of sycamore trees.”Scripture scholars identify these as fig trees

If you know anything about Palestine figs and olives are centuries old staples .See my posts of Feb 1 and Feb.3 for Levy’s Amos-like anger.

Who are the human scum who last Friday drove all-terrain vehicles down to the magnificent olive grove owned by Abed al Hai Na’asan, in the West Bank village of Al-Mughayyir, chose the oldest and biggest row, and with electric saws felled 25 trees, one after another?

Baruch Goldstein mass murderer 25 years later

I did not see any references to the  25th anniversary this week of the mass murder of Palestinians at prayer by the Israeli Kahanist  Baruch Goldstein,

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This is from my book I Was a Catholic Zionist

Even one million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.

 Rabbi Yaacov Perrin at the funeral of Baruch Goldstein who murdered 29 Muslims in the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron on February 25,1994

“Here lies the saintly revered Dr. Baruch Kapel Goldstein… Son of Israel.  He gave his soul for the sake of the people of Israel, The Torah, and the Land.  His hands are clean and his heart good… He was assassinated for the Sanctity of God”

The tomb of Baruch Goldstein

On the Jewish holiday of Purim, February 25,1994, Baruch Goldstein, a doctor in the Israeli army, walked into Hebron’s Mosque of Ibrahim and opened fire on the Muslim worshippers. Twenty-nine people were murdered and 125 were wounded before he was beaten to death by survivors. The horrific mass murder stunned the nation. It also showed how pernicious and deep was Jewish fundamentalism.

It was not as if Goldstein suddenly appeared on the scene. He was already known as an Arab hater who had consistently breached army discipline by refusing to treat non-Jews. usually those who flouted what had become a sacred discipline in Israel, army orders, would get you immediately cashiered. Those in higher places looked the other away. Such was the political power of the ultranationalist religious.

Goldstein was an American born Jew, a Brooklynite from an orthodox family. Already a supporter of the racist rabbi Meir Kahane, he emigrated to Israel at age 25. Sent to Lebanon, he continued his racist behaviour. “I am not willing to treat any non-Jew. I recognize as legitimate only two (religious) authorities: Maimonides and Kahane.” This should have been a red flag.

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In 1984, after a unity government was formed, Goldstein’s insubordination was brought to the attention of Defense Minister Rabin and the Chief of Staff Moshe Levy. Naturally, they wanted to fire him. Easier said than done. When Goldstein’s mass murder was later investigated, it was admitted that the fear of the settlers was a determining factor, so sadly they let it slide, unwilling to face the backlash.

Zionist supporters and Israel firsters in North America have been totally unaware how the dramatic skewering of the Zionist enterprise by Jewish fundamentalism has infected Israeli politics. Goldstein, in death, had to be painted as “a lone wolf”, ”a bad apple”, “a non-non-Jew Jew.” He must have been a psychopath who suffered a momentary breakdown. Rabin, who would later be murdered by another “true messianic believer,” quickly cast him into the nether darkness: “You are not part of the community of Israel…..You are not part of the national democratic camp which we all belong to in this house, and many of the people despise you. You are not partners in the Zionist enterprise. You are a foreign implant. You are an errant weed. Sensible Judaism spits you out.”

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Much of this was, of course, true. A repugnance was felt by most Israelis but the fact remains that the legal national authority in the face of international concern consistently allowed these racist tails to wag the dog of government. Their “bad religion” was full of anti-gentile feeling. According to their halacha, the killing by a Jew of a non-Jew is not regarded as murder. The leader of the Gush, Rabbi Moshe Levinger, who died in May of 2015 commented on the massacre in these terms: “I am sorry not only about dead Arabs but about dead flies.”

Nice comment from a rabbi.

Rabin was correct in saying that “sensible Judaism indeed spat Goldstein out” – but sensible Judaism had long ago departed from Israel. Rabin was wrong in stating that the fanatic settler extremist was “not a partner in the Zionist enterprise.” After the Biltmore Program of 1942, Zionism made it abundantly clear what had often been hidden in the essence of its movement – its original sin was expulsion. Goldstein simply had removed 29.

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Palestinians. State ideology was simply more discreet in its“slow-motion genocide.” Those who lived there, those who visited,were well aware of the coarsening of daily life. Today the racism is endemic.

I Was a Catholic Zionist for sale   

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   info@thebookband.com

Netanyahu: Wallowing in Racist Slime

Keeping hope alive is often very difficult especially when tribalists  hold the levers of power and use massive propaganda to obfuscate and frighten people. It is a very old Orwellian trick used by fascists of all stripes. Such a person is Binyamin Netanyahu the prime minister of Israel.

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with Viktor Orban of Hungary

In every country there are those who keep  the prophetic voice alive. In my city of Toronto the  Star for all its warts has tried to stay close to the Atkinson principles.

From 1899 to 1948, Joe  Atkinson developed his largely Methodist principle his paper should espouse  viz the common good of a society. He was   concerned about injustice, be it social, economic, political, legal or racial.To sum up: comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. That basically should be the role of the 4th estate, critical journalism.

 

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The  great Israeli newspaper Haaretz is one such newspaper.Only 4% of the country reads it. My attitude is that’s always where truth begins, like the  prophetic on the margins of  a propagandized public, too befuddled to grasp the big picture. 4% is what the great prophet Jeremiah  ran at. here is the extraordinary editorial which ran today.

Haaretz Editorial

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Every person of conscience must imagine a leader of any country accusing a political opponent of relying on ‘Jewish votes’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said, in response to polls predicting success for the new Kahol Lavan party, that party leaders “[Benny] Gantz and [Yair] Lapid are relying on a blocking majority of Arab parties that are working to destroy the State of Israel.”

That’s the essence of the ruling party’s talking points, which are being repeated by Likud representatives in the media.

It’s incredible that such racist and base incitement is a common feature in the rhetoric of Israel’s prime minister, whose shocking and false statement last Election Day about “Arabs coming to the polls in droves,” still echoes in the ears of the Israeli public and the whole world.

This racist incitement befits the person who, through a cynical political deal, is bringing Otzma Yehudit, the ideological heirs and admirers of Rabbi Meir Kahane, into the Knesset. This is a racist and violent movement that advocates expelling Arabs and is anathema both in Israel and abroad. The move was even condemned by AIPAC, America’s most pro-Israel lobby.

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But even if this isn’t surprising, its severity must not be underestimated. A democratic state cannot tolerate organized and blatant incitement by the prime minister against a minority that constitutes 20 percent of the population and its elected leadership. Every person of conscience must imagine a leader of any country accusing a political opponent of relying on “Jewish votes.” It is unfortunate that those who see themselves as an alternative to Netanyahu’s racist, xenophobic and anti-democratic regime are distancing themselves in a panic from the Arab parties. Lapid said, in response to Likud’s claims: “Contrary to Netanyahu’s fabrications, no blocking majority has been formed with the Arab parties. Period.”

This is a moral and racist fallacy that presumes all Arab MKs are criminally suspect. Netanyahu, who isn’t even trying to display a semblance of statesmanship or fairness, is an expert in wallowing in racist slime and engaging in sewer politics. He has taken his campaign of delegitimizing Israel’s Arab citizens and extended it to include civic society organizations and supporters of the left. Apologizing or stuttering in response to his racist rhetoric only strengthens it because it affirms his message. From Lapid’s panicked denial one could conclude that there is indeed something illegitimate about cooperating with Arab MKs.

If the Kahol Lavan party seeks to establish a new agenda here, it must erect a strong barrier against the Kahanist fist that has seized control of the ruling party and its leader. Israeli Arab citizens and their elected representatives are a legitimate and important part of Israeli society. Cooperating with them is not some indecent act, but a welcome and desirable step.

Netanyahu is not Jewish

The following abridged article tells you why I love reading Haaretz.

Bradley Burston is an Israeli journalist who writes for the paper.

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This was part of a recent column

They’re Not Jews. They’re MAGA People. And They Run Israel

Make America Great Again

I’d be disheartened but for this: I met the one person who should frighten Bibi more than any other in this world

This thing’s been weighing on my heart for years. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t put it into words. I’m really grateful someone else finally did.

It was my Haaretz colleague, Larry Derfner. In a Facebook post Sunday, he wrote,

“The word ‘Jewish’ has positive connotations for me. I think of warmth, humanity, humility, humor, honesty. When I look at Binyamin Netanyahu’s face, at the coldness, contemptuousness and bottomless cynicism in his eyes, I see none of those qualities. There’s nothing Jewish there.”

And there it is. So profoundly, in so many ways, is Benjamin Netanyahu not a Jew. Neither are many, many of the members of his government. Foul of heart, gutter snide, they have no regard for the teachings of Judaism which forbid shaming, command respect for the non-Jew and the migrant, set out the the ideals of compassion, lovingkindness, universal human rights, charity of spirit and material generosity. Bibi and his close loyalists spit with disgust on the idea that all were created in the image of God – even leftists, Palestinians, journalists.

They are not Jews – the Oren Hazans, the Miri Regevs, the David Amsalems, the David Bitans. Neither are the nominally religious Kahane wannabes aching to claw their way into the Knesset

They are MAGA people. And they run Israel.

They are MAGA people in the worst sense. They ride the asshole to power. He encourages the worst in them, stokes it, milks it, and profits from it. 

Lest there be any doubt in my mind as to which side of the Jewish-MAGA divide they fall on, a Sunday drive to Jerusalem removed any doubt. Approach from the west, and it’s not the city which welcomes you, but Donald Trump. All eight stories of him, in Stalin-grade living color. Drive a bit closer, and Bibi comes into view beside him, same size, hand in hand with Trump. Above it all: “NETANYAHU. A DIFFERENT LEAGUE.”

For once, truth in political advertising. It’s absolutely accurate. Netanyahu is in a different league. Not at all the league of the Jewish people. Not at all the league of a country with the values of the Jewish prophets.

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Neanyahu and Orban

It’s the league of Netanyahu’s friends Viktor Orban in Hungary and Mateusz Morawiecki in Poland and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, and Donald Trump in Mar-a-Lago. It is the league of enablers and exploiters of Holocaust denial, supremacism, Hitler appreciation, misogyny, homophobia, Islamophobia, scorn for the disabled, and outright anti-Semitism.

It is the league which is fast learning to speak MAGA in a wide variety of world dialects. It is the league which prides itself on cruelty as an ideology. A league which thrives and grows on the principle that the only true “ism” is sadism.

No truly Jewish country would put up with this.

And here’s where the irony thickens.

Yes, Bibi retains for himself the title of prime minister not only of Israel, but of the Jewish people as a whole. And yet.

On Bibi’s watch, Israel has become a nation which discriminates against Jews as no other on earth. It tells them how they can worship and how they cannot, whom they can marry and whom they cannot, whether, if female, they can sing in the presence of men, whether, if non-Orthodox, they can be considered Jews at all. Whether, if left-wing, they can enter Israel at all.

The less Jewish Israel becomes, the less its leaders – and especially, its state-paid extremist rabbis – are guided by Jewish values, the more they worship idols in the form of settlements and geography, the more they divide the Jewish people into Jews (the pro-Netanyahu Right) and Negligible, Disloyal Leftists (everyone else), the harder Netanyahu works at passing bills like the Jewish national-state law.

Killing a Palestinian and Investigating

Zvi Bar’el is the Middle Eastern affairs analyst for Haaretz .He is both a columnist and a member of the editorial board. Here he writes on the shockingly embarrassing performance of the democratic state of Israel over its failure to seriously investigate the murder of indigenous Palestinians.

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Writing with bitter irony he describes the “blind eye” which should shame any country which describes itself as a democracy.

Bar’el is not alone in Israel. Sadly he is way ahead of the rabbinate in the Jewish diaspora who see nothing, hear nothing and do nothing.

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When Israeli settlers kill a Palestinian, the story isn’t the murder, but the investigation. We put on a good show, say ‘there is no basis for prosecution,’ and get it over with

Someone killed a Palestinian, and suddenly the country is amazed and in an uproar. Who in the world could have killed this Palestinian? (And who even remembers his name? After all, it happened a long time ago, four days ago.) Settlers? The settlement’s volunteer armed security team? Maybe the army?

The undisputed fact is that the Palestinian “met” his death. That’s how it is with the Palestinians. They seek and meet their death. It’s the same custom that got Aisha al-Rabi killed by a stone thrown at her a few months ago.

But the pure Jewish souls can find no rest. We have to investigate, they say, we have to discover the truth, find the murderers, punish them; the same law applies to everyone, Jews and Palestinians.

Suddenly it turns out that the story isn’t the murder, but the investigation. If only the police didn’t just hold a friendly discussion with the settlers of the Adei Ad outpost but questioned them as people who might be charged with a crime. If only they’d do a ballistics test on the guns, whose barrels have probably already been replaced, if only they’d leave someone in detention for two whole days, we could wash our hands of all this.

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Because it’s allowed to commit the most terrible and despicable acts, to kill a disabled Palestinian when his back is turned to the shooter, to demolish a home inhabited by innocent civilians, to prevent entry to a wheat field or an olive grove, to keep 2 million people closed up in a pen, to cause the deaths of sick people unable to get to a hospital – on condition that everything is done according to the regulations, the instructions and the norms.

Order must be maintained. If Palestinians start getting killed against the regulations, we’ll lose control, all the more so if they continue to seek their deaths at the hands of settlers.

According to the legitimate division of labor, only the army is allowed to kill, to close areas, to prevent passage, to demolish homes or detain civilians. The army is the only entity covered by that thick protective layer known as “reasons of security.”

And when a settler kills a Palestinian, the serious offense isn’t the killing, it’s undermining the army’s monopoly on the use of violence. Ignoring such an important deviation, which is reflected in neglecting to investigate, indifference toward the crime or turning a blind eye, means agreeing to widen the right to kill from those who are authorized “by law” to those who want to kill.

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Such a step might confuse the Palestinians, who have gotten used to the fact that a criminal investigation isn’t part of the agreements and consensus between them and the occupier.

So please, investigate quickly and find some guilty party before the system crashes. Because without an investigation, someone might wonder whether the norms and procedures themselves are legal, whether the settlers’ use of firearms is legal. They might even think the settlers’ living in the territories isn’t exactly based on the law.

Every self-respecting mafia organization has arbitrators who decide whether the murder of a rival was “legal,” whether the bomb placed under the car was done based on the rules for settling accounts. The arbitrators’ job is to find out the truth, because a mafia that doesn’t operate according to the rules loses control over its members and is likely to collapse.

The police must play the game, maybe even involve the Shin Bet security service, because they have to demonstrate seriousness, fill out forms and examine the evidence, if only to let them stand there with a sad expression and say “there is no basis for prosecution.” They must investigate because that’s the only way to grant the settlers the right to kill. Without it they remain unlicensed hit men.

After all, an investigation is also allowed to reach a convenient dead end, or render the crime kosher. Without it the settlers will turn into people who take the illegal law into their hands, and they will lose their status as the writers of the laws. Put on a good show, and let’s get this over with. Incidentally, the name of the man who was killed is Hamdi Talib Naasan.

The Lobby Shhhh

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The USA House of Representatives  for the first time has two Muslim women. No big deal, you say. Well you’re a Canadian.

But in America the fit has hit the Shan because these uppity women are actually supporting BDS. So what.

Glenn Greenwald the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist  spoke to this on Democracy Now

GLEN

This is all so ridiculous. It’s all based upon this demand that we indulge what everybody knows is an utter and complete fiction, which is that we’re allowed to talk about the power of the NRA in Washington, we’re allowed to talk about the power of the Saudis in Washington, we’re allowed to talk about the power of big pharmaceutical companies and Wall Street and Silicon Valley and the fossil fuel industry in Washington, but we’re not allowed to talk about an equally potent, well-organized and well-financed lobby that ensures a bipartisan consensus in support of U.S. defense of Israel, that the minute that you mention that lobby, you get attacked as being anti-Semitic, which is what happened to Congresswoman Omar.

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And I think the context here is really important. For a l long time, the bipartisan piety was not just that the U.S. has to support Israel, but that, in particular, the effort to boycott Israel in protest of its occupation of Palestine is not just misguided, but anti-Semitic. That’s the official position of the Democratic Party, of Hillary Clinton, of Chuck Schumer, of every leading Democrat. And now, suddenly, you have these two really exciting, dynamic, charismatic women of color newly elected to Congress, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, who both are supporters of the boycott of Israel, which the Democratic Party says is bigotry and anti-Semitism, and it’s created this very awkward moment. So, of course, the minute two Muslim women arrive in Congress, they’re going to get attacked as anti-Semitic if they’re critical of Israel, which they are, just like Keith Ellison, the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, got vilified as being an anti-Semite by Haim Saban, the billionaire funder of the Democratic Party, when he tried to be the chairman of the DNC.

What the congresswoman said is very uncontroversial. Everyone knows AIPAC is an extremely intimidating lobby, just like the NRA is. There’s nothing wrong with pointing that out. There’s certainly nothing anti-Semitic about saying that, about criticizing the Israeli government for its aggression and militarism. And anybody who cares about Palestinians and about the ability of Muslims in the United States to be able to speak freely ought to be defending her.

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Marco Rubio $132,000 from AIPAC

And the last point I would add is, my point was, in saying how weird it is, what a priority it is for U.S. politicians to defend Israel, was based on the fact that the very first bill passed by the U.S. Senate was not about helping Americans; it was about empowering states to punish people who support a boycott of Israel, a bill sponsored by Marco Rubio, who got more money from Sheldon Adelson than any other politician in 2016, and then was supported by half of the Democratic Senate Caucus. That’s what I was referring to. And the congresswoman was saying a big reason for that is the monied interests in Washington that demand that. And of course everyone knows that’s true, and to call that anti-Semitic is just obscene.

The Clintons won’t go away

Host Amy Goodman added:

Chelsea Clinton also tweeted, “I will reach out to her tomorrow.” She wrote this last night—Ilhan Omar. “I also think we have to call out anti-Semitic language and tropes on all sides, particularly in our elected officials and particularly now.”

Greenwald

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Yeah. When did—who is Chelsea Clinton to become the spokeswoman about what is and isn’t permissible debate when it comes to Israel? Her parents are the probably the two individuals most responsible for turning the United States into a steadfast defender of an apartheid, murderous and oppressive regime in that region. Her two parents are probably the leading politicians most responsible for ensuring the ongoing repression of the Palestinian people. So, Chelsea Clinton, who I don’t think has any public status other than being the daughter of two famous politicians, really has no place in trying to set the boundaries of what is and isn’t permissible debate, given what her family has done—so much harm—to ensuring that Palestinians don’t live with the basic, minimum dignity and sovereignty to which every human being is entitled.