Archive | October 11th, 2014

Why right-wing Christians are actively promoting genocide

NOVANEWS

A leading Evangelical magazine is calling for the destruction of Islam. It’s not the outlier we might like to think

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AlterNetRecently, Charisma magazine, a major media outlet for evangelical and Pentecostal Christians, published an open call to genocide. The article in question, titled Why I Am Absolutely Islamaphobic” [sic] and written by Gary Cass, begins with the premise that “every true follower of Mohammed” wants to “subjugate and murder” non-Muslims, and therefore it’s impossible for Christians to live together peacefully with them.

Cass proposes three solutions to this problem. One is for Muslims to undergo mass conversion to Christianity; the other is mass deportation combined with eugenics – either “force them all to get sterilized” or kick them out of America “like Spain was forced to do when they deported the Muslim Moors.” But he says both of these plans are unlikely to work, so “really there’s only one” solution, which is:

Violence: The only thing that is biblical and that 1,400 years of history has shown to work is overwhelming Christian just war and overwhelming self defense.

Notice Cass’ statement that war has been “shown to work” by “1,400 years of history.” The only thing he could be referring to is the Crusades (presumbly beginning with the Spanish Reconquista, around 700 AD), which often entailed the massacre of civilians in captured areas. Most of us know the Crusades as a bloody and barbaric era in our history and think that a repeat is something to be avoided at all costs, but Cass is openly cheering the idea.

“Overwhelming self defense” is another bizarre and disturbing contradiction in terms. By definition, anything more than the minimum amount of force to stop an imminent threat isn’t self-defense. The idea that self-defense requires waging “overwhelming war” on entirepopulations, rather than against specific aggressors, is the hallmark of paranoid and racist fantasies which believe civilization is under threat by “the other” and must be protected at all costs.

Like many deluded, macho wannabe crusaders, he fantasizes about the collapse of society, urging his readers to buy guns and form militias:

First trust in God, then obtain a gun(s), learn to shoot, teach your kids the Christian doctrines of just war and self defense, create small cells of family and friends that you can rely on if some thing catastrophic happens and civil society suddenly melts down.

Finally, he closes with a bloodcurdling statement that can only reasonably be interpreted as a call for genocide against Muslims:

Now the only question is how many more dead bodies will have to pile up at home and abroad before we crush the vicious seed of Ishmael in Jesus’ Name? …May we be willing to take the lesser pains now so our children won’t have to take greater pains later.

Notice, again, that he envisions “pil[ing] up” dead bodies, and not just “abroad”, but also “at home.” Most assuredly, the irony of this escapes Cass, but he himself is advocating exactly the same thing as what he accuses his enemies of wanting. He wants to subjugate or kill Muslims (with either mandatory sterilization and deportation, or “overwhelming war”). Most chilling, he calls this the “lesser pains” and says it’s necessary so that we won’t have to take even more drastic actions later.

After facing a storm of criticism from both Christians and atheists, Charisma pulled Cass’ article down. But there’s no explanation, no retraction, no apology; the original link now just goes to a 404 error page. Rather than reflect on what that led them to consider this piece reasonable to publish in the first place, or acknowledge they were wrong to run it and say what they’ll do differently in the future, they chose to flush it down the memory hole, to try to pretend it never happened. (It’s still available at its author’s personal website, where it’s prefaced with a banner that reads “Why We Cannot Coexist” — further proof that he’s advocating violence against Muslims in general and not merely those who commit acts of terrorism).

Cass is by no means the first or the only Christian to defend genocide. Phil Robertson (star of the reality TV show Duck Dynasty) appeared on Sean Hannity’s show recently to argue that we should either “convert them or kill them, referring to ISIS. Ironically, this is exactly the choice that ISIS offers to religious minorities under their dominion – either convert to their brand of Islam or die. Robertson, like Cass, is the mirror image of the radical theology he claims to despise.

The roots of this genocidal mindset come from the Bible itself. In the Old Testament, after the Israelites escape from Egypt, they arrive at the promised land only to find that it’s already populated by the Canaanites and other pagan peoples. What follows, according to the biblical book of Joshua, is a campaign of slaughter in which God instructs his people to invade and massacre everyone already living there:

“When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; and when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them.” —Deuteronomy 7:1-2

And, according to the Bible, God’s people did as they were instructed:

“And that day Joshua took Makkedah, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof he utterly destroyed, them, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain… So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded.” —Joshua 10

Prominent Christian apologists such as William Lane Craig have defended these ghastly verses, arguing that if God commands you to do it, you’re justified in committing any act of violence, up to and including the slaughter of helpless men, women and children. (In fact, Craig argues that the most morally troubling part of this is the psychological toll that would have been inflicted on the Israelite soldiers who were tasked with carrying out the mass execution.) As we see with Cass, this genocidal, God-is-on-our-side mindset isn’t purely a matter of ancient history, but continues to inform the beliefs and ideas of Christians today.

Of course, there’s no question that Islamic terrorism does exist. Groups like ISIS are extraordinarily violent and brutal. Moreover, they seem to take sadistic glee in broadcasting proof of their own atrocities, like the killings of journalists. But in the final accounting, they’re no more than a bunch of thugs with guns. They’re no match for America’s military. They can’t invade us, occupy us, or overthrow our government. They pose no existential threat to America or to the world. But they count on us overreacting, lashing out with disproportionate and irrational panic (which is, after all, why they’re called “terrorists” – they seek to accomplish their aims by creating terror). Meanwhile, mundane, ordinary, everyday gun violence kills more Americans every year than international terrorism ever has or ever will.

If ISIS and similar groups are a threat to anyone, they’re first and foremost a threat to other Muslims, who’ve suffered the most from their ruthless and violent quest to impose a harsh theocratic state. But, again, the starkly black-and-white worldview of American fundamentalists doesn’t allow for this kind of nuance. In their eyes, all Muslims think and believe the same way, want the same things, and are all equally and irredeemably evil. Conversely, they believe all true Christians are good and righteous by definition. Good and evil, in the worldview of both Christian and Muslim fundamentalists, has no relation to your actions; it’s solely a matter of whether you profess allegiance to the right side.

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100 Gazan Youths Arrive in Venezuela to Start Medical School

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President Nicolas Maduro said the program is Venezuela

President Nicolas Maduro said the program is Venezuela’s contribution to the people of Palestine (Photo: Reuters).
All of their medical expenses will be paid, on the condition that they provide services to their community after graduation.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced that the country will welcome 100 youths from the Gaza Strip over the next few days to begin medical training, media reported on Thursday.

“I want to announce that in the next few days the first group of 100 students from the Gaza Strip will reach our country. Up to 1,000 medical students from Palestine will join us this academic year,” Maduro said during an official event in Caracas on Wednesday.

The students will attend the Venezuela’s Dr. Salvador Allende Latin American School of Medicine, where 40 Palestinians have already been studying.

The Palestinian students will have all their costs paid, on the condition that they provide services to their community after completing their training, the Palestinian Ambassador to Venezuela Linda Sabeh Ali said in August.

The President has been a strong supporter of Palestine, particularly since the war in the Gaza Strip this summer, what Israel called Operation Protective Edge. Maduro is an outspoken critic of Israel, and called the conflict an “extermination war.”

Maduro also announced in July that Venezuela would create a shelter for Palestinian children who had been orphaned due to the violence, and encouraged Venezuelans to adopt them.

Venezuela and Palestine also have strong bilateral agreements in the fields of politics, agriculture, trade, economics, health, tourism and education, according to EFE.

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Arab World in Uproar over Arab Idol’s Use of Word I$raHell on Map

NOVANEWS

Caution: Trees obscuring view of forest next 5 miles.

Regular readers of TUT will understand why this picture goes so well with this story.

The Saudi MBC TV network was recently forced to apologize to its hundreds of millions of viewers for using the name Israel instead of Palestine.

The apology came after viewers strongly condemned the network and threatened to boycott its programs over the use of a map with Israel’s name on it.

The reason Israel appeared on the MBC’s map was because of the participation of two Arab citizens of Israel in its popular Arab Idol contest. The show, based on the popular British show Pop Idol, is the most widely viewed in the Arab world.

The two Arab Israelis, Manal Moussa, 25 and Haitham Khalailah, 24, are from villages in northern Israel. They are among many contestants from all over the Arab world who are performing songs on stage in front of four judges and the public.

This is the first time that Arab Israelis have participated in the popular show.

When this season’s show began in mid-September, the TV station introduced a map with the names of the contestants’ countries. This year, of course, the map showed Israel as one of the countries taking part in the show.

The Saudi station and directors of the Arab Idol show quickly learned, however, that they had committed a big and unforgivable crime. Within minutes, they were flooded with requests to remove Israel from the map and apologize to all Arabs for this “serious offence.”

The condemnations did not come only from Palestinians, but from nearly all the Arab countries. The protesters demanded that MBC immediately replace “Israel” with “Palestine” or face a massive boycott campaign.

Arab activists did not even wait to hear back from MBC, and launched their own online campaign to boycott the station. One group launched a Twitter campaign entitled “Shut Down Arab Idol.” Another campaign was launched under the banner, “Palestine is Arab, not Hebrew.” A third online campaign carried the title, “Together Against Arab Idol.”

And of course there were the more extreme activists who issued threats against the station and its Saudi owners, whom they dubbed “Zionist Arabs.”

Not surprisingly, embattled MBC managers rushed to issue a statement apologizing for displaying a map that referred to Israel as an existing state. MBC claimed that Israel appeared on the map as a result of a “technical error.” The name Israel was removed from the map, which now uses only the name Palestine.

Israeli citizen Manal Moussa, shown in this image appearing on the “Arab Idol” show, is labeled on-screen with “Palestine” as her country of residence.

But with that, the story did not come to an end. Under pressure from the viewers, the two Arab Israeli singers are now referred to only as Palestinians. There is no mention whatsoever of the fact that both Moussa and Khalailah were raised in Israel and hold Israeli passports.

The uproar that erupted throughout the Arab world over the use of a map with Israel’s name on it is yet another reminder that many Arabs still have not come to terms with Israel’s existence — and apparently are not interested in coming to terms with it.

This refusal is not related to the recent war between Israel and Hamas or to settlement construction. Rather, it is the narrative that has been prevalent in the Arab world since 1948 — a narrative that considers Israel an alien entity that was violently planted in the Middle East and needs to be removed.

The incident with MBC’s Arab Idol show came amid renewed talk of the purported readiness of some Arab countries to make peace with Israel, in light of the increased turmoil and anarchy in the Arab world and the war on the Islamic State terrorist group.

Every now and then, Israel is advised by some of its friends to consider endorsing the 2002 Saudi Peace Initiative, which later became to be known as the Arab Peace Initiative.

In the initiative, the Arab countries say that if Israel withdraws to the pre-1967 lines, they will consider the Arab-Israeli conflict over, sign a peace agreement and establish normal relations with Israel.

These, of course, are just promises made by heads of state and monarchs, most of whom were never elected, and hardly represent the sentiments on the Arab street.

If a powerful TV network such as MBC was unable to face pressure and intimidation and had to remove Israel from its map, how can anyone seriously expect that Arab leaders will be able to win the backing of their people for an initiative that talks about “establishing normal relations” with Israel?

And how can anyone seriously expect that if Israel pulled back to the pre-1967 lines, the Arab world will consider the Israeli-Arab Conflict over?

The protesters who forced MBC to remove Israel from its map were not demanding a two-state solution and an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They were protesting against Israel’s existence; that is what really bothers them.

Their success in forcing MBC to remove Israel from the map is a symbolic victory for those who seek Israel’s destruction. But it is also a reminder that this conflict is not about a settlement or a checkpoint or a fence — but about Israel’s very existence.

In order to make peace with Israel, the Arab world needs to prepare its people for such a move, and not incite violence against Israel and demand that it be removed from maps. Unless that happens, the prospects for real peace will remain as remote as ever.

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British government taken to court over arms exports to Nazi regime

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There have been numerous calls for an arms embargo since Israel launched its unprecedented assault on the Gaza Strip, including by Amnesty, Deputy PM Nick Clegg, and the Trades Union Congress

Arms trade campaigners are taking the government to court over the failure to suspend or revoke export licences for military equipment to Israel. Lawyers representing the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) have told the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) that the failure to freeze the licences was unlawful since there was a risk the equipment would be deployed in Gaza.Andrew Smith, of CAAT, told The Guardian: “The UK government’s response to the bombardment of Gaza was unacceptable. Vince Cable [the business secretary] himself oversaw a review that identified 12 licences for arms that he accepted were likely to have been used in Gaza. Cable refused even to suspend them at the time, saying that he would only do so if the violence continued. The violence continued, more people died, and yet he failed to follow through on his word.”

Rosa Curling of law firm Leigh Day, acting for CAAT, told the paper: “The decision by BIS not to suspend or revoke the 12 existing licences is unlawful. The review that was conducted by the department was flawed as it envisaged considering whether weapons have been used at the point at which ‘significant hostilities’ resume. This is too late.

“The licensing criteria are very clear – that licences should be revoked if there is a clear risk that equipment might be used in violation of international humanitarian law or internal repression. This must be assessed at the time the licensing decision is made. The government must now look at this with urgency and comply with the law on arms export to ensure that UK arms are not responsible for breaches of international law.”

There have been numerous calls for an arms embargo since Israel launched its unprecedented assault on the Gaza Strip, including by Amnesty, Deputy PM Nick Clegg, and the Trades Union Congress. In August, the chair of the parliamentary select committees overseeing British arms wrote to the foreign secretary “requesting details of any military exports that may have been used by the Israeli army during its invasion of Gaza.”

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Portions of the Book of Jeremiah

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The next time someone from the Zionist community talks of the Jews being ‘God’s chosen people’ and how we are all supposed to ‘bless them so that we will be blessed’ and why all the violence and suffering that has been inflicted upon the innocent of the Middle East is justified because of how favored these people are in God’s eyes, temper their delusion with just a few words from the Book of Jeremiah, part of the same ‘Bible’ they use in justifying Israel’s existence–

‘I will pronounce my judgment on these people (the Jews) because of their wickedness in forsaking me…

I brought you into a fertile land, but you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable…

The priests did not ask ‘Where is the Lord?’ …

Those who deal with the law did not know me and the leaders rebelled against me…

Therefore I bring charges against you, your children and against your children’s children…

These people have forsaken me, the spring of living water…

Your wickedness will punish you and your backsliding will rebuke you…

Long ago you broke off your yoke and said ‘I will not serve you!’ Indeed on every high hill, you lay down as a prostitute…

Why did you turn against me and become a corrupt, wild vine?

Although you wash yourself with an abundance of soap the stain of your guilt is still before me…

As a thief is disgraced only when caught, so too is the house of Israel disgraced…they, their kings and officials, priests and prophets have turned their backs to me and not their faces…

You have all rebelled against me…

In vain did I punish these people and yet they did not respond to correction…

Your sword has devoured your prophets like a ravening lion…

These people have forgotten me…Even the worst of women can learn from your ways…

On your clothes men find the lifeblood of the innocent poor, and yet in spite of all this you dare to say ‘I am innocent!’

But I will pass judgment upon you, O Israel…You have lived as a prostitute with many lovers. Look up to the barren heights and see, is there any place where you haven’t been ravaged? By the roadside you sat, waiting for lovers. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness. You have the brazen look of a prostitute and refuse to blush with shame…

These people are fools…They do not know me. They are senseless children and have no understanding. They are skilled in evil and know not how to do good…

Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem…Look around and search her squares…If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth I will forgive this city…

Therefore a lion from the forest will attack them…a wolf from the desert will ravage them…a leopard will lie in wait near their towns to tear to pieces any who venture out, for their rebellion is great and their backslidings many…

Why should I forgive you? Your children have forsaken me. I supplied all their needs and yet they committed adultery and thronged the houses of prostitutes…Should I not punish them for this? Should I not avenge myself upon a nation such as this?

‘O house of Israel’ declares the Lord,

‘I am bringing a distant nation against you,

An ancient and enduring nation,

A people whose language you do not know and whose speech you do not understand…

They will devour your harvests, sons and daughters, your flocks and herds…

With the sword they will utterly destroy the fortified cities in which you trust…

Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see and ears but do not hear…

Should you not fear me? Should you not tremble in my presence?

Among these people (the Jews) are wicked men who lie in wait like men who snare birds…Their house are full of deceit, they have become rich and powerful and have grown fat and sleek and their evil deeds have no limit…

They defend neither the orphans nor the poor…

Should I not punish them for this? Should I not avenge myself upon a nation such as this?

A horrible thing has happened in this land of Israel…

The prophets tell lies and the priests rule by their own authority and my people love it this way…

Therefore this is what the Lord says of Jerusalem–‘This city must be punished, for it is filled with oppression…

As a well pours out its water so Jerusalem pours out her wickedness…Violence and destruction resound in her and her sickness is forever before me…

Take warning, O Jerusalem, or I will make your land desolate so no one can live in it…

And yet, their ears remain closed and the word of the Lord is offensive to them. They find no pleasure in it…

From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain, prophet and priest alike, all practice deceit…

The leaders dress the wound of these people as though it were not serious, and yet, are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all…They do not even know how to blush…

Therefore they will fall among the fallen and will be brought down when I punish them…

I will bring an end to the sounds of joy in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, for the land will become desolate…

Why does Jerusalem always turn away? They cling to deceit and no one repents of his wickedness, saying ‘what have I done?’

Each pursues his own course like a horse charging into battle…How can you say ‘We are wise, for we have the law of the Lord?’ when the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely?

Therefore I will give their wives to other men and their fields to new owners…

No one speaks the truth…They have taught their tongues to lie and they weary themselves with doing evil…

It is because they have forsaken me and instead followed the stubbornness of their hearts that I will make them eat bitter food and drink poisoned water. I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their fathers have known and I will pursue them with the sword until I have destroyed them…

There is a conspiracy among the people of Jerusalem…

They have returned to the evil ways of their forefathers who refused to listen to me…

Therefore I will bring upon them a disaster they cannot escape and although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them…

Do not pray for these people nor plead for them, because I will not listen in the time of distress…Do not pray for the well-being of these people, for I will not listen to their cry…

Instead, I will destroy them with the sword, famine and plague…

The prophets of Israel tell lies in my name…

I have not sent them or spoken to them…

They are prophesying to you false visions and the delusions of their own mind, saying ‘No sword or famine will touch Israel.’

But those prophets will perish by sword and famine and those who listen to them will be thrown into the streets of Jerusalem…

There will be no one to bury them or their wives, their sons or daughters…

I will pour out upon them the calamity they deserve…

Who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem?

Who will mourn for you?

You have rejected me, so I will lay hands on you and destroy you…

I can no longer show you compassion…

I will bring bereavement and destruction on these people for they have not changed their ways…

Your wealth and your treasures I will give away as plunder, because of all the sins of your country…

For my anger will kindle a fire that will burn against you, for I, the sovereign Lord am against you, Jerusalem, and will punish you as your deeds deserve and will kindle a fire in your forests that will consume everything around you…

Through your own fault you will lose the inheritance I gave you, for you have kindled my anger and it will burn FOREVER…

…And of course, what this all proves is that God is a horrible, evil, rotten anti-Semite, neo-Nazi and Hitler apologist, right?

2008 by Mark Glenn

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Given up on being a Jew: Professor Shlomo Sand speaks out

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“I wish to resign and cease considering myself a Jew.”

These are the word of Shlomo Sand, an Israeli professor of history at Tel Aviv University.

Risking opprobrium in a deeply narcissistic society that spares no quarter to those who contradict the worldwide Judaeo-centric groupthink which sees Jews as the chosenÜbermenschen and everyone else, especially the Palestinians, as the Untermenschen, Professor Sand has issued a damning verdict on Israel and the Jewish culture that has emerged within it.

His views on Israeli society – “one of the most racist… in the Western world” – and his realisation that his “fleeting utopian dream that a Palestinian Israeli should feel as much at home in Tel Aviv as a Jewish American does in New York” would never come to pass are outlined in his book, How I Stopped Being a Jew, published by Verso and available at the Guardian bookshop.

Here are extracts from the book:

“I wish to resign and cease considering myself a Jew”

…Now, having painfully become aware that I have undergone an adherence to Israel, been assimilated by law into a fictitious ethnos of persecutors and their supporters, and have appeared in the world as one of the exclusive club of the elect and their acolytes, I wish to resign and cease considering myself a Jew…

Jewish men dancing at the Western Wall

“A small minority in an exclusive club that others have neither the possibility nor the qualifications to join” (Shlomo Sand)

In the light of the historic tragedies of the 20th century, I am determined no longer to be a small minority in an exclusive club that others have neither the possibility nor the qualifications to join…

Israel “one of the most racist societies in the Western world”

I am aware of living in one of the most racist societies in the Western world. Racism is present to some degree everywhere, but in Israel it exists deep within the spirit of the laws. It is taught in schools and colleges, spread in the media, and above all and most dreadful, in Israel the racists do not know what they are doing and, because of this, feel in no way obliged to apologise. This absence of a need for self-justification has made Israel a particularly prized reference point for many movements of the far right throughout the world, movements whose past history of antisemitism is only too well known.

To live in such a society has become increasingly intolerable to me…

From a “fleeting utopian dream” to despair

I am often even ashamed of Israel, particularly when I witness evidence of its cruel military colonisation, with its weak and defenceless victims who are not part of the “chosen people”.

Earlier in my life I had a fleeting utopian dream that a Palestinian Israeli should feel as much at home in Tel Aviv as a Jewish American does in New York. I struggled and sought for the civil life of a Muslim Israeli in Jerusalem to be similar to that of the Jewish French person whose home is in Paris. I wanted Israeli children of Christian African immigrants to be treated as the British children of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent are in London. I hoped with all my heart that all Israeli children would be educated together in the same schools.

Two Israeli Jewish girls with a sign in Hebrew that reads "Hating Arabs is not racism, it’s values"

Two Israeli Jewish girls with a sign in Hebrew that reads “Hating Arabs is not racism, it’s values”

Today I know that my dream is outrageously demanding, that my demands are exaggerated and impertinent, that the very fact of formulating them is viewed by Zionists and their supporters as an attack on the Jewish character of the state of Israel, and thus as anti-Semitism…

Israel’s occupation a “serpent that swallowed too big a victim, but prefers to choke rather than to abandon it”

…In fact, our relation to those who are second-class citizens of Israel is inextricably bound up with our relation to those who live in immense distress at the bottom of the chain of the Zionist rescue operation. That oppressed population, which has lived under the occupation for close to 50 years, deprived of political and civil rights, on land that the “state of the Jews” considers its own, remains abandoned and ignored by international politics. I recognise today that my dream of an end to the occupation and the creation of a confederation between two republics, Israeli and Palestinian, was a chimera that underestimated the balance of forces between the two parties.

Israeli soldier points his gun at a Palestinian woman and her children

“I recognise today that my dream of an end to the occupation and the creation of a confederation between two republics, Israeli and Palestinian, was a chimera that underestimated the balance of forces between the two parties” (Shlomo Sand)

Increasingly it appears to be already too late; all seems already lost, and any serious approach to a political solution is deadlocked. Israel has grown used to this, and is unable to rid itself of its colonial domination over another people. The world outside, unfortunately, does not do what is needed either. Its remorse and bad conscience prevent it from convincing Israel to withdraw to the 1948 frontiers. Nor is Israel ready to annex the occupied territories officially, as it would then have to grant equal citizenship to the occupied population and, by that fact alone, transform itself into a binational state. It’s rather like the mythological serpent that swallowed too big a victim, but prefers to choke rather than to abandon it…

“I am tired, and feel that the last leaves of reason are falling”

I am tired, and feel that the last leaves of reason are falling from our tree of political action, leaving us barren in the face of the caprices of the sleepwalking sorcerers of the tribe. But I cannot allow myself to be completely fatalistic. I dare to believe that if humanity succeeded in emerging from the 20th century without a nuclear war, everything is possible, even in the Middle East…

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I$raHell and the genocide word

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Arab sand niggers

We need a better word than “occupation”

By Jonathan Cook

Israeli officials were caught in a revealing lie late last month as the country celebrated the Jewish New Year. Shortly after declaring the most popular boy’s name in Israel to be “Yosef”, the Interior Ministry was forced to concede that the top slot was actually filled by “Muhammad”.

That small deceit coincided with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech at the United Nations. He outraged Israelis by referring to Israel’s slaughter of more than 2,100 Palestinians – most of them civilians – in Gaza over the summer as “genocide”.

Both incidents served as a reminder of the tremendous power of a single word.

Most Israelis are barely able to contemplate the possibility that their Jewish state could be producing more Muhammads than Moshes. At the same time, and paradoxically, Israel can point to the sheer number of “Muhammads” to demonstrate that at worst it is eradicating the visibility of a Muslim name, certainly not its bearers.

Genocide

As distressing as it is, hundreds of dead in Gaza is far from the industrial-scale murder of the Nazi holocaust.

…Israel’s long-term collective punishment of Palestinians seemed to be designed to “inflict conditions of life calculated to bring about the incremental destruction of the Palestinians as a group”. (Russell Tribunal, September 2014)

But the idea that Israel is committing genocide may not be quite as hyperbolic as is assumed. Last month a “jury” featuring international law experts at a people’s court, known as the Russell Tribunal, into Israel’s recent attack on Gaza concluded that Israel was guilty of “incitement to genocide”.

The panel argued that Israel’s long-term collective punishment of Palestinians seemed to be designed to “inflict conditions of life calculated to bring about the incremental destruction of the Palestinians as a group”.

The tribunal’s language intentionally echoed that of Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jew and lawyer who after fleeing Nazi Europe succeeded in introducing the term “genocide” into international law.

Lemkin and the UN convention’s drafters understood that genocide did not require death camps; it could also be achieved gradually through intentional and systematic abuse and neglect. Their definition raises troubling questions about Israel’s treatment of Gaza, aside from military attacks. Does, for example, forcing the enclave’s two million inhabitants to depend on aquifers polluted with sea water constitute genocide?

The real problem with Abbas’s use of the term – given that it conflicts with popular notions of genocide – is that it made him an easy target for critics. Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, accused the Palestinian leader of “incitement”. The Israeli left, meanwhile, decried his wild and unhelpful exaggeration.

But the critics themselves have contributed more heat than light.

Not only do experts like Richard Falk and John Dugard view Israel’s actions in genocide-like terms, but notable Israeli scholars have done so too. The late Baruch Kimmerling invented a word, “politicide”, to convey more safely the idea of an Israeli genocide against Palestinians.

Ethnic cleansing and apartheid

Israel has nonetheless successfully ringfenced itself from the critical lexicon applied to comparable situations around the globe.

In conflicts where a mass expulsion of an ethnic or national group occurs, it is rightly identified as ethnic cleansing. In Israel’s case, however, respectable historians still equivocate over the events of 1948, even though more than 80 per cent of Palestinians were forced out by Israel as it established a Jewish state on their homeland.

Similarly with “apartheid”. For decades anyone who used the word about Israel was dismissed as an extremist or anti-Semite. Only in the last few years – and chiefly because of former US President Jimmy Carter – has the word gained a tentative foothold.

Even then, its main use is as a warning rather than a description of Israel’s behaviour: die-hard adherents of two states aver that Israel is in danger of becoming an apartheid state at some indefinable moment if it does not separate from the Palestinians.

Instead, we are told to suffice with the label “occupation”. But that implies a temporary state of affairs, a transition before normality is restored – precisely the opposite of what is happening in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, where the occupation is entrenching, morphing and metastasizing.

…almost all residential land in Israel is off-limits to Palestinian citizens, enforced through vetting committees recently given sanction by the Israeli courts.

Those guarding the critical lexicon strip us of a terminology to convey the appalling reality faced by Palestinians, not just as individuals but as a national group. In truth, Israel’s strategy incorporates variants of ethnic cleansing, apartheid and genocide.

Observers, including the European Union, concede that Israel continues with incremental ethnic cleansing – though they prefer the more obscure “forcible transfer” – of Palestinians from so-called Area C, nearly two-thirds of the West Bank, the bulk of any future Palestinian state.

Israel has mastered too a sophisticated apartheid – partly veiled by its avoidance of the more visual aspects of segregation associated with South Africa – that grabs resources, just like its famous cousin, for one ethnic-national group, Jews, at the expense of another, Palestinians.

But unlike South African apartheid, whose fixed legal and institutional systems of separation gradually became torpid and unwieldy, Israel’s remains dynamic and responsive. Few observers know, for example, that almost all residential land in Israel is off-limits to Palestinian citizens, enforced through vetting committees recently given sanction by the Israeli courts.

And what to make of a plan just disclosed by the Israeli media indicating that Netanyahu and his allies have been secretly plotting to force many Palestinians into Sinai, with the US arm-twisting the Egyptians into agreement? If true, the bombing campaigns of the past six years may be better understood as softening-up operations before a mass expulsion from Gaza.

Such a policy would certainly satisfy Lemkin’s definition of genocide.

One day doubtless, a historian will coin a word to describe Israel’s unique strategy of incrementally destroying the Palestinian people. Sadly, by then it may be too late to help the Palestinians.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on I$raHell and the genocide word

Our Judicial Dictatorship

NOVANEWS

US-and-Israel-Flag-Lapel-Pin-US-Israel-Pin

By Patrick J. Buchanan
Do the states have the right to outlaw same-sex marriage?
Not long ago the question would have been seen as absurd. For every state regarded homosexual acts as crimes.
Moreover, the laws prohibiting same-sex marriage had all been enacted democratically, by statewide referenda, like Proposition 8 in California, or by Congress or elected state legislatures.
But today rogue judges and justices, appointed for life, answerable to no one, instruct a once-democratic republic on what laws we may and may not enact.
Last week, the Supreme Court refused to stop federal judges from overturning laws banning same-sex marriage. We are now told to expect the Supreme Court itself to discover in the Constitution a right of men to marry men and of women to marry women.
How, in little more than half a century, did the American people fall under the rule of a judicial dictatorship where judges and justices twist phrases in the Constitution to impose their alien ideology on this once-free people?
What brings the issue up is both the Court decision on same-sex marriage, and the death of my friend, Professor William J. Quirk, of the South Carolina University School of Law.
In “Judicial Dictatorship” (1995), Bill wrote of the revolution that had been imposed against the will of the majority, and of how Congress and the people might rout that revolution.
The instrument of revolution is judicial review, the doctrine that makes the Supreme Court the final arbiter, the decider, of what the Constitution says, and cedes to the Court limitless power to overturn laws enacted by the elective branches of government.
Jefferson said that to cede such authority to the Supreme Court “would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.” Was he not right?
Consider what has transpired in our lifetime.
The Supreme Court has ordered the de-Christianization of all public institutions in what was a predominantly Christian country. Christian holy days, holidays, Bibles, books, prayers and invocations were all declared to be impermissible in public schools and the public square.
Secular humanism became, through Supreme Court edict, our established religion in the United States.
And the American people took it.
Why was there not massive civil disobedience against this anti-Christian discrimination, as there was against segregation? Why did Congress, which has the power to abolish every federal district and appellate court and to restrict the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, not act?
Each branch of government, wrote Jefferson, is “independent of the others and has an equal right to decide for itself what is the meaning of the Constitution in the cases submitted to its action.”
“No branch has the absolute or final power to control the others, especially an unelected judiciary,” added Quirk.
In 1954, the Supreme Court ordered the desegregation of all public schools.
But when the Court began to dictate the racial balance of public schools, and order the forced busing of children based on race across cities and county lines to bring it about, a rebellion arose.
Only when resistance became national and a violent reaction began did our black-robed radicals back down.
Yet the Supreme Court was not deterred in its resolve to remake America. In 1973, the Court discovered the right to an abortion in the Ninth Amendment. Then it found, also hidden in the Constitution, the right to engage in homosexual sodomy.
When Congress enacted the Defense of Marriage Act, Bill Quirk urged it to utilize Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution, and write in a provision stripping the Supreme Court of any right to review the act.
Congress declined, and the Court, predictably, dumped over DOMA.
Republican presidents have also sought to curb the Supreme Court’s aggressions through the appointment process. And largely failed.
Of four justices elevated by Nixon, three voted for Roe. Ford’s nominee John Paul Stevens turned left. Two of Reagan’s, Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy, went wobbly. Bush I’s David Souter was soon caucusing with the liberals.
Today, there are four constitutionalists on the Court. If the GOP loses the White House in 2016, then the Court is gone, perhaps forever.
Yet, the deeper problem lies in congressional cowardice in refusing to use its constitutional power to rein in the Court.
Ultimately, the failure is one of conservatism itself.
Indeed, with neoconservatives in the van, the GOP hierarchy is today in headlong retreat on same-sex marriage. Its performance calls to mind the insight of that unreconstructed Confederate chaplain to Stonewall Jackson, Robert Lewis Dabney, on the failure of conservatives to halt the march of the egalitarians:
“American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. … Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious, for the sake of the truth, and has no idea of being guilty of the folly of martyrdom.”
Amen.
 

Posted in USAComments Off on Our Judicial Dictatorship

The Rise of the New, Liberal Islamophobia

NOVANEWS

Bill Maher, left, and Sam Harris talk about Islam in this screen shot from the Oct. 3 episode of Maher’s HBO show “Real Time with Bill Maher.” (Image: YouTube screen shot)

The recent television kerfuffle involving “Real Time” host Bill Maher and guest Sam Harris over whether Muslims are bad people because their religion is, in the words of Harris, “the mother lode of bad ideas,” is symbolic of the new American Islamophobia.

Muslim-bashing has become a popular sport several times over the last decade and a half, most notably in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; after the election of Barack Obama; over the proposal for the so-called Ground Zero mosque; and now with the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. But this time, it’s not just members of the extreme right, such as Rep. Michele Bachmann and presidential wannabe Herman Cain, equating Islam with terrorism.

Maher, one of the bastions of liberal ideology, is the source of the latest strain of anti-Muslim racism, along with his cohort Harris, a neuroscientist and author whose bigotry was superbly exposed by Chris Hedges in his 2008 book, “I Don’t Believe in Atheists.”

Historian and academic Reza Aslan’s brilliant response to Maher on CNN laid bare Maher’s poor logic in equating the actions of extremists with nearly a quarter of the world’s population who identify as Muslim. But Maher’s sentiments aren’t just dissonant with reality; they lend a liberal veneer to Islamophobia, which in turn casts as increasingly legitimate the ongoing government targeting and public venom aimed at American Muslims.

I have never liked Maher. His comedy has generally catered to a white middle-class male audience that has attempted to reconcile ideals of equality and freedom with moral superiority and American exceptionalism. In that sense he perfectly reflects the hawkish desires of the Democratic Party, which sees war as a just cause in the face of fundamentalism—never mind that U.S. policies have often laid the groundwork for said fundamentalism to flourish in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq and now Syria.

In another incisive rebuttal to Maher, Dean Obeidallah, a stand-up comic, Daily Beast columnist and co-director of the documentary The Muslims Are Coming,” called for the revocation of Maher’s progressive credentials: “My fellow liberals should no longer give Maher a pass. His continuous drumbeat of reckless comments about Muslims is contributing to a climate where American Muslims are increasingly seen as ‘the other’—or worse, as the enemy.”

If the post-9/11 years of Patriot Act barbarism are to be laid at the feet of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and their ilk, today’s anti-Muslim bigotry is a bipartisan affair. It is present in thinly veiled references from the Obama administration to the “enemies” in our midst, via phrases such as “homegrown terrorism.” In fact, under Obama, the nation for the first time specified as part of its national security strategy a focus on those people who might become “radicalized” in the U.S.

While there have been no studies tallying the numbers of U.S. casualties at the hands of incidents perpetrated by Muslims, two high-profile incidents are often cited to justify anti-Muslim policies: the 2009 Fort Hood shooting by U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing being the most high-profile cases, which together resulted in 16 deaths and about 200 injuries. A recent study by the FBI of active shooters in the U.S. found that over a 13-year period, more than 11 shootings per year on average took place, mostly at the hands of non-Muslim Americans.

The FBI study does not include all gun-related violence, which would yield numbers several orders of magnitude higher. In fact, an analysis by Mother Jones of mass shootings between 1982 and 2012 found that in the incidents, in which 530 people were killed, more than 60 percent of the shooters were white males. But we don’t see government efforts aimed at curbing white male violence, or a public backlash against white male gun owners. Rather we are expected to fear “homegrown terrorists” exclusively of the Muslim variety.

Soon after President Obama announced his strategy for the war against IS, Attorney General Eric Holder unveiled a plan to curb recruitment for IS here in the U.S. In the words of the Justice Department, the project will be a “new series of pilot programs in cities across the country to bring together community representatives, public safety officials and religious leaders to counter violent extremism.” Although details of the plan are still being worked out, the preliminary language harks back to the dark days of the Bush administration’s attacks on American civil liberties.

In an interview on “Uprising,” Shahid Buttar, the executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, told me, “It’s eerie to see the resurgence of many of the same dynamics in the public debate that we saw 10 years ago—namely, fears of national security threats justifying overbroad counterterrorism policies.” Most disappointingly, years of work by activists like Buttar to roll back the worst aspects of the USA Patriot Act were gaining steam, only to be halted in the wake of the new war on IS. The USA Freedom Act, which tackled only one small aspect of civil liberties, was passed by the House but is now, per Buttar, “languishing in the Senate.”

In the last few months, our liberal politicians and president have systematically raised the specter of “battle-hardened” American jihadis carrying out terrorist attacks in the U.S. Buttar dismissed this as “propaganda,” and “state talking points advanced through media to build public support for policies that quite frankly have no rational basis.”

The government’s misplaced suspicion of Muslims goes hand in hand with the bigotry of Maher and Harris and ultimately fuels hateful rhetoric and can incite violence. A virulently racist ad campaign in New York City is one of the latest examples of this. The campaign is funded by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a group classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an “active anti-Muslim group.” Among the ads it has paid for are messages such as “Yesterday’s moderate is today’s headline: It’s Not Islamophobia, It’s Islamorealism” alongside a photo of journalist James Foley being beheaded by a member of the Sunni rebel group IS.

If Muslims in the U.S. are being dehumanized by TV hosts, advertisements and political discourse, a war against their ilk on the other side of the planet is more easily digested. In fact, new polls show increasing public support for the war against IS.

How are American Muslims handling being the focus of all this bile? I spoke recently with a man who has spent years dealing with victims of hate crimes and has experienced anti-Muslim racism personally. Shakeel Syed is the executive director of the regional Islamic Shura Council and vice president of the board of the ACLU of Southern California. In an interview on “Uprising” he told me, “These ads have an extremely negative impact on the lives of people.” He called the offensive posters “a complement to the marketing campaign for the war that we have now initiated.”

Syed cited reports that show how, in the past 13 years, the numbers of anti-Muslim hate crimes have yet to drop back down to pre-9/11 levels. “People who are in the public space know this firsthand, such as myself and my family,” said Syed, who has been called “sand-nigger” to his face numerous times. Even in West Los Angeles, where he resides—a relatively progressive part of Southern California—Syed’s wife was “told to go home” while in the parking lot of a shopping center. Syed’s children have also experienced hateful treatment in their schools.

A recent study based on reported incidents against Muslims, Arabs and those perceived to be Muslim, such as South Asians, and Sikhs in particular, found that xenophobic rhetoric has increased in recent years and incidents of hate-based violence remained high, even in states like New York and California, widely considered two of the centers of American liberalism. Police in New York City reported recently that hate crimes against Muslims have jumped a whopping 143 percent within the last year (incidentally, hate crimes against Jews have also increased by 40 percent).

We have been here so many times before: a war against a people overseas and the accompanying “otherizing” of their kin at home. It is a cynical ploy designed to distract us from inequities and drum up support for an endless war. Japanese-Americans understand this political ploy only too well. And Muslims have been witnessing it for more than a dozen years now. Isn’t it time we outgrew such shameful tactics?

Posted in Campaigns, PoliticsComments Off on The Rise of the New, Liberal Islamophobia

Amid Promises to End Afghanistan War, US Bombings Hit Two-Year High

NOVANEWS

Central Command reveals US military carried out 436 air strikes on the country during August alone

A U.S. Army helicopter taking off from Forward Operating Base Shindand, Afghanistan, Oct. 3, 2012. (Photo: DoD/public domain)

A U.S. Army helicopter taking off from Forward Operating Base Shindand, Afghanistan, Oct. 3, 2012. (Photo: DoD/public domain)

Just months away from what President Obama refers to as the “end of the U.S. combat mission” in Afghanistan, the U.S. military escalated its air bombardments on the country.

In response to an information request from the Boston Globe, Central Command revealed that during the month of August, the U.S. carried out 436 “weapons releases” on Afghanistan, referring to air strikes. This is the highest number of air strikes on Afghanistan since August 2012, according to U.S. Central Command’s own data, pictured in the graph below.

central_command_data.jpg

Military officials are still working to compile data for the month of September, officials told the paper.

The data was released just over a week after Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani,approved the U.S. Bilateral Security Agreement, which locks in at least another decade of U.S. military presence in the country, far past the formal “end” to the war at the conclusion of this year. The heightened bombings, furthermore, were revealed the same week the longest war entered its 14th year.

Posted in USA, AfghanistanComments Off on Amid Promises to End Afghanistan War, US Bombings Hit Two-Year High

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