Archive | June 12th, 2015

Zio-Wahhabi ‘ISIS’ savages force children to watch limb amputations


A new Saudi Zio-Wahhabi ‘ISIS’ video shows the cruel methods they’re using to brainwash children into thinking the terrorist group’s brutality is normal. Hand amputation is the punishment for thieves under sharia law.


In the video, a crowd of kids are forced to watch the punishment which unfolds in the public square. The people being punished, three alleged thieves, disturbingly enough appear to be reconciled with having their hands chopped off by a massive blade.

After one thief loses his hand, he exclaims:


In addition, throughout the video the terrorists cite Islam’s prophet Mohammed Peace upn Him and the Holy Qur’an to justify their actions.

It’s been reported that after the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi jihadists chop off the hands of an alleged thief, they pour water bottles full of sterilizer over the wound.

Again, we see why Saudi Zio-Wahhabi ‘ISIS’ has no place in the civilized world and needs to be crushed: Not just for the welfare of the people they rule with an iron fist, but for humanity as a whole.

Posted in Middle East, Iraq, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Zio-Wahhabi ‘ISIS’ savages force children to watch limb amputations

Since 1967: 95,000 Palestinian Children Incarcerated By Nazi regime

Since martial law was imposed in the West Bank 48 years ago, some 95,000 children have been detained, of which 59,000 are likely to have been subjected to some form of physical violence.

Israeli forces  arrest a Palestinian child

Israeli forces, including soldiers disguised as Palestinians, violently arrest a Palestinian child in occupied Jerusalem on October 24, 2014.

A human rights group submitted, on Wednesday, a report to UN about Israeli torture and mistreatment of Palestinian children.

Military Court Watch (MCW) lodged the submission with the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, annexing over 300 pages of evidence relating to the treatment of children held in Israeli military detention.

“the ill-treatment of children, who come in contact with the military detention system, appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalised.”

The MCW said, according to Days of Palestine, that the evidence included the cases of 200 minors detained by the Israeli military in the West Bank between January 2013 and May 2015.

Following a review of the evidence, the submission confirmed an earlier finding by UNICEF that “the ill-treatment of children, who come in contact with the military detention system, appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalised.”

“This finding is based on recent evidence that shows that intimidation, threats, verbal abuse, physical violence and the denial of basic legal rights are still commonplace within the system,” MCW said.

Based on data provided by the Israeli military and the UN, the submission estimated that since martial law was imposed in the West Bank 48 years ago, some 95,000 children have been detained, of which 59,000 are likely to have been subjected to some form of physical violence.

In addition, MCW said: “Based on the evidence, the submission also drew a link between this industrial scale abuse and the maintenance of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

“The submission concluded that in order to enable 370,000 Israeli settlers to live in the West Bank in violation of international law without serious interference, the military is required to adopt a strategy of mass intimidation and collective punishment.”

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Since 1967: 95,000 Palestinian Children Incarcerated By Nazi regime

Election 2016: Left, Right Or Center, All Major Candidates Toe The Line On Palestine

The pickings are slim for voters looking for a presidential candidate who isn’t looking to maintain the status quo in Israel-U.S. relations, not to mention one actively opposed to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine.

WASHINGTON — To become president in the United States, a potential candidate must be at least 35 years of age, a natural-born citizen of the U.S., and a U.S. resident for at least the last 14 years. But judging by the field of candidates for the 2016 election, one could almost believe there is one other requirement: wholehearted support for Israel’s illegal occupation and oppression of Palestine.

Below is a survey of the three leading candidates from each party, based on a May 2015 Washington Post-ABC News poll, and their perspective on Palestine.

The Democrats

Bernie Sanders: Many American liberals are looking to the independent senator from Vermont, who announced his intention to seek the Democratic Party nomination in May, to provide an alternative to standard, Wall Street-driven party politics. But while Sanders may oppose the influence of Citizens United on American politics, he’s still a supporter of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. During last summer’s brutal assault by Israel on Gaza, which killed over 2,000 Palestinians — mostly civilians — and left hundreds of thousands homeless, the entire U.S. Senate, including Sanders, unanimously voted to show their support for Israel.

Bustle’s Chris Tognotti reported last month on a tense confrontation between Sanders and supporters of Palestine at a 2014 town hall event in Vermont. While Sanders condemned Israel for attacking United Nations targets, he still voiced support for the deadly Israeli offensive:


Hillary Clinton: The leading candidate for the Democratic Party nomination, Clinton’s position on Israel is closely aligned with that of the White House. As Secretary of State, she oversaw numerous meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu under an administration that supported Israel with billions of dollars in military aid per year. Both during and after her tenure as the country’s top diplomat, she openly supported military action against Iran, a key element of Israeli foreign policy. The Washington Post in 2014 quoted her as claiming solidarity with Jewish oppression while ignoring the ongoing oppression of the Palestinians:

“‘When Americans of all faiths look at Israel, we see a homeland for a people long oppressed and a democracy that has to defend itself at every turn,’ Clinton said. ‘In Israel’s story, we see our own.’”

More recently, MintPress News’ Ramona Wadi reported on Clinton’s attendance at the Zionist Saban Forum, where the event’s wealthy founder Haim Saban called her an individual who “embodies support for Israel.”

Joe Biden: Vice President Joe Biden has publicly expressed interest in running for president, and he remains a popular possible candidate in the polls. Although he has previously voiced support for a Palestinian state, he’s also made appearances at pro-Israel events and expressed his desire to supply the country with more military aid, even though that aid is inevitably used to assault Palestinian civilians. At an “Israeli Independence Event” in Washington in April, Biden promised to supply Israel with the latest military weaponry, saying:

“Next year we will deliver to Israel the F-35 joint strike fighter, our finest, making Israel the only country in the Middle East with a fifth-generation aircraft.”

The Republicans

Jeb Bush: The former governor of Florida is an enthusiastic supporter of Israel. He’s made repeated visits to the country with his family and openly attacks Obama for making even the slightest criticisms of Israel. In a March editorial for the conservative National Review, Bush accused Obama of mistaking “friend and foe”when it came to Israel and Iran, and put forth his support for both Israel’s violent aggressions and its illegal expansion of Jerusalem settlements into Palestinian territory:

“Israel’s elections should be something to celebrate. If only the rest of the region were able to hold peaceful and vibrant multi-party elections … Yet instead of recognizing Prime Minister Netanyahu’s reelection and the achievement of Israel’s multi-party, multi-ethnic democracy, the White House issued half-hearted congratulations. […] But this is consistent with a pattern of diplomatic scolding of Israel. The Obama administration has insisted that Israel make concessions just to get the Palestinian leaders to the negotiating table. The Obama administration treats announcements of new apartment buildings in Jerusalem like acts of aggression. […] Anyone who claims to pursue peace in the region — especially between Israel and her neighbors — must know that Israel will make no sacrifices for peace when she feels threatened.”

Rand Paul: The senator from Kentucky is often regarded as a maverick in the Republican Party, openly opposing the NSA’s mass surveillance programs and the police militarization caused by the “war on drugs.” Like fellow “maverick” Sanders, Paul helped unanimously pass the 2014 resolution supporting Israel’s attack on Gaza. However, he’s gone further as a presidential candidate, dehumanizing Palestinians by referring to the population as “terrorists” on his website, and posting a video to reaffirm that support for Israel is a key part of his platform:

Scott Walker: The Wisconsin governor is freshly returned from a trip to Israel, which he told the media showed him that the region is “not ready” for a Palestinian state. “The security risks are very real, and I think going forward there’s got to be a way to have secure borders for the state of Israel itself,” he said. The five-day visit was described as a “listening tour,” where Walker could visit major sites in Israel and have private meetings with officials, without the press scrutiny that normally comes with a public trip to the country.

Meanwhile, Walker hired Robert O’Brien, former advisor to Mitt Romney, to guide the foreign policy of his campaign. In 2012, O’Brien voiced his strong support for what he called Israel’s “commitment to human rights” and democracy — a stark contrast to the reality on the ground for Palestinians.

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Washington Post Plays Ukraines Lapdog

Global Research

Image: The Washington Post building. (Photo credit: Daniel X. ONeil)

There once was a time when the U.S. news media investigated U.S. imperial adventures overseas, such as Washington-sponsored coups. Journalists also asked tough questions to officials implicated in corruption even if those queries were inconvenient to the desired propaganda themes. But those days are long gone, as the Washington Post demonstrated again this week.

On Wednesday, the Posts editorial board had a chance to press Ukraines Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk about the U.S. governments role in the Feb. 22, 2014 coup that elevated him to his current post after he was handpicked by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who declared Yats is the guy in a pre-coup intercepted phone call.

Wouldnt it have been interesting to ask Yatsenyuk about his pre-coup contacts with Nuland and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt and what their role was in fomenting the regime change that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych and hurtled Ukraine into a civil war? Sure, Yatsenyuk might have ducked the questions, but isnt that the role that journalists are supposed to play, at least ask? [See Consortiumnews.coms What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis.]

Or why not question Yatsenyuk about the presence of neo-Nazis and other right-wing extremists who spearheaded the violent coup and then were deployed as the shock troops in Ukraines anti-terrorism operation that has slaughtered thousands of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine? Wouldnt that question have spiced up the interview? [See Consortiumnews.coms Wretched US Journalism on Ukraine.]

And, since Ukraines Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko was at the editorial board meeting as well, wouldnt it have made sense to ask her about the propriety of her enriching herself while managing a $150 million U.S.-taxpayer-financed investment fund for Ukraine over the past decade? What kind of message does her prior work send to the people of Ukraine as theyre asked to tighten their belts even more, with cuts to pensions, reduction of worker protections, and elimination of heating subsidies?

How would Jaresko justify her various schemes to increase her compensation beyond the $150,000 limit set by the U.S. Agency for International Development and her decision to take court action to gag her ex-husband when he tried to blow the whistle on some improprieties? Wouldnt such an exchange enlighten the Posts readers about the complexities of the crisis? [See Consortiumnews.coms Ukraine Finance Ministers American Values.]

Yet, based on what the Post decided to report to its readers, the editorial board simply performed the stenographic task of taking down whatever Yatsenyuk and Jaresko wanted to say. There was no indication of any probing question or even the slightest skepticism toward their assertions.

On Thursday, the Post combined a news article on the visit with an editorial that repeated pretty much as flat fact what Yatsenyuk and Jaresko had said. So, after Yatsenyuk alleged that Russia had 10,000 troops on the ground inside Ukraine, the Posts editorial writers simply asserted the same number as a fact in its lead editorial, which stated: Russia … has deployed an estimated 10,000 troops to eastern Ukraine and, with its local proxies, attacks Ukrainian forces on a near-daily basis.

Though both assertions are in dispute with many of the cease-fire violations resulting from Ukrainian government assaults around the rebel-controlled Donetsk Airport the Post had no interest in showing any skepticism, arguably one of the consequences from the failure to impose any accountability for the Posts similarly biased writing prior to the Iraq War.

In 2002-03, editorial-page editor Fred Hiatt repeatedly declared as flat fact that Saddam Hussein possessed stockpiles of WMDs, thus supposedly justifying the U.S.-led invasion. After the invasion failed to locate these WMD stockpiles, Hiatt was asked about his editorials and responded:

If you look at the editorials we write running up [to the war], we state as flat fact that he [Saddam Hussein] has weapons of mass destruction, Hiatt said. If thats not true, it would have been better not to say it. [CJR, March/April 2004]

Yes, journalists generally arent supposed to say something is a fact when it isnt and when a news executive oversees such a catastrophic error, which contributed to the deaths of nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, you might expect him to be fired.

Yet, Hiatt remains the Posts editorial-page editor today, continuing to push neoconservative propaganda themes, now including equally one-sided accounts of dangerous crises in Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere. [See Consortiumnews.coms Why WPosts Hiatt Should Be Fired.]

On Ukraine although the risks of neocon tough-guy-ism against nuclear-armed Russia could mean extermination of life on the planet the Post refuses to present any kind of balanced reporting. Nor apparently will the Post even direct newsworthy questions to Ukrainian officials.

Posted in USA, UkraineComments Off on Washington Post Plays Ukraines Lapdog

BRITISH volunteer who went to Syria



Thousands of foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq have left their comfortable lives in the West to take up arms with the Zio-Wahhabi (ISIS) savages. But  a few western foreigners have gone to Syria, too, but they are fighting alongside Kurdish forces, battling against the jihadist group in northern Syria.

Harry was a former currency trader, with no military experience. Tall and slim, his curly-haired head would stick out a mile in north-eastern Syria. And what Saudi Zio-Wahhabi ‘ISIS’ would have done to get their hands on 28-year-old, terribly well-mannered Harry.

Having beheaded most of their Western hostages, Saudi Zio-Wahhabi ‘ISIS’ would have viewed Harry as a trophy whom they might have burned alive in a cage or beheaded for the whole world to see.

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Jewish groups slam radio host for Sanders’s ‘Israeli’ accusation



B’nai B’rith, other organizations accuse Diane Rehm of propagating Jewish stereotype of dual loyalties

Times of Israel

Jewish groups broadcast their unhappiness Thursday with a public radio host who accused Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders of holding dual citizenship a day earlier, calling the question “offensive.”

Diane Rehm, who interviewed Sanders on her show this week, accused the Jewish senator of holding Israeli citizenship, saying that he had appeared “on a list” of dual citizens.

“Senator,” the senior reporter said Wednesday, “you have dual citizenship with Israel.”

Sanders, who does not, quickly corrected Rehm. “No, I do not have dual citizenship with Israel. I’m an American,” he said. “I don’t know where that question came from. I am an American citizen, and I have visited Israel on a couple of occasions. No, I’m an American citizen, period.”

Sanders also called the question offensive during the interview, though on Thursday he said he liked Rehm.

“I don’t know where she got it. I suspect that her staff gave her a list of questions, and she messed up,” he said.

In an interview with the Christian Science Monitor Thursday, Sanders said that he was “not particularly religious” but that as a child being Jewish taught him “in a very deep way what politics is about.”

“A guy named Adolf Hitler won an election in 1932,” he told the Monitor. “He won an election, and 50 million people died as a result of that election in World War II, including 6 million Jews. So what I learned as a little kid is that politics is, in fact, very important.”

In a Facebook post, Rehm apologized for the mistake, saying that she “had read in a comment on Facebook” that Sanders held dual citizenship.

That comment in question appears to have been published on the Facebook page of pro-Palestinian activist Vittorio Arrigoni and links to a website run by a man named Mike Ruark.

Ruark’s website, which he operated from 2011 to 2012, features long, rambling blog posts on American and international policy, including statements like, “Everyone knows how much the Jews love money.”

Most of the other politicians listed on Ruark’s website are also not Israeli. Some, like John Bolton, are not even Jewish.

Even a cursory glance of the source of this rumor should have been enough to prevent Rehm’s question, a variety of Jewish groups have said.

“This goes well beyond poor journalistic judgment,” the B’nai B’rith organization said in a statement. “We’ve seen this dual loyalty issue come up again and again.”

The Anti-Defamation League demanded an apology from NPR for the statement.

“It is appalling that in today’s age, a longtime Jewish elected official would face implications that he splits his loyalty between the United States and Israel for no other reason that his religion,” the National Jewish Democratic Council chairman Greg Rosenbaum said Wednesday.

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Poll suggests Obama’s latest wooing of Jews not working



As US-Zionist ties remain frosty, president’s targeted charm offensive has little effect on his approval ratings

ed note–why–if in fact Jews do not constitute an overwhelming force majeure in American politics, as we are constantly told by disinformation groups such as ADL–does the most powerful man in the world need to ‘woo’ them? Does he ‘woo’ Arab/Islamic groups? Catholics? Hindus? Buddists? Druids? Why only the Jews?

But then, it is anti-semitic for us to even ask such a reasonable question.


It’s early days for the White House’s latest charm offensive among American Jews, but a new poll suggests that the wooing effort is having little effect.

The poll, published Wednesday by J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group that generally backs President Barack Obama’s Middle East policies, shows Obama stuck at the same mid-50s approval ratings he was registering in April, when US-Israel tensions were prominently in the news.

Jim Gerstein, whose GBA Strategies conducted the poll, suggested that Obama and his supporters face an environment among Jews that has been shaped largely by the president’s critics.

“The balance of criticism against the president on issues related to Israel has far outweighed the statements of support for the president, certainly among the organizations that have the largest reach,” Gerstein told reporters on Wednesday.

The 56 percent approval rating among Jews that Obama scored in the GBA poll is still about 10 points higher than the national average. It’s also not the first time he has scored in the 50s among Jews. Obama’s numbers among voting-age Jewish Americans have fluctuated throughout his seven years in office.

This poll, however, follows a high profile and intensive effort by the administration to reassure American Jews that he has the best interests of Israel and Jews worldwide at heart.

The White House launched the outreach in April after weeks of public tensions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the emerging Iran nuclear deal. Netanyahu’s decision to accept an invitation from the Republican leadership to address Congress in March, and remarks by the Israeli leader during his reelection campaign that appeared to reject a two-state solution and denigrate Arab-Israeli voters, further irked the White House.

Wednesday’s poll, conducted between May 31 and June 3 among 1,000 Jewish adults, showed just a gain of just 2 points — well within the 3.1 percent margin of error — over an April 10 Gallup poll that showed Obama with a 54 percent approval rating among American Jews.

The latest numbers come after Obama gave interviews to two prominent Jewish journalists — The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman and The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg — in which he discussed his closeness to Israel, and another with a leading Israeli television journalist, Ilana Dayan. He marked Jewish American Heritage Month with an impassioned speech on May 22 at the Adas Israel Congregation, a Conservative synagogue here.

The president’s top aides have made sure to address virtually every major Jewish conference in recent weeks. Most recently, Jacob Lew, the Treasury secretary, endured boos at the annual conference organized by The Jerusalem Post — a gathering notable in the past for attracting Obama’s most acerbic critics.

The theme of Obama’s messaging is that he sees Israel as a key strategic ally, and also has an emotional attachment to the country and the Jewish people.

“To a young man like me, grappling with his own identity, recognizing the scars of race here in this nation, inspired by the civil rights struggle, the idea that you could be grounded in your history, as Israel was, but not be trapped by it, to be able to repair the world — that idea was liberating,” Obama said in the speech at the synagogue.

“The example of Israel and its values was inspiring,” he said. “So when I hear some people say that disagreements over policy belie a general lack of support of Israel, I must object, and I object forcefully.”

Obama bristles when he is told he is not reaching Israelis and Jews on the gut level.

“Well, the people here think I’m a pretty good hugger,” he told Dayan after she revealed to him that a confidant of his had told her that Obama is “not a hugger.”

Over the years, the White House has pushed back against perceptions that Obama is cool on Israel, noting that the levels of defense assistance and cooperation between the countries are unprecedented and casting disagreements over Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking and the Iran nuclear talks as tactical, not strategic.

Still, the president’s critics in the right-wing pro-Israel community have found traction with a narrative built on real and perceived gaps in the relationship.

Some of the criticisms have been grounded in fact, including the Obama administration’s decision to keep details of the emerging Iran deal from Israel, in part because it believed that the Israelis were leaking the details to media.

But others are more fable, such as the claim that in 2010, Obama thanked six nations assisting Haiti following the earthquake there but did not mention Israel. Obama incurred the wrath of groups like the Zionist Organization of America over Haiti, even though the president’s statement in that case was made before Israeli relief crews landed in the country. Nevertheless, the idea that Obama deliberately snubbed Israel’s Haiti relief has persisted, and reportedly is making an appearance in former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren’s forthcoming account of the US-Israel relationship.

The narrative of Obama’s ill intent has appeared to help shape perceptions among Jewish-Americans.

While 57 percent of respondents in the J Street poll agreed that Obama “has repeatedly demonstrated his support for the state and the people of Israel” and he has “led unprecedented military and security cooperation between the United States and Israel,” a substantial 43 percent agreed that he “unfairly undermines Israel’s interests and does not sufficiently support the Jewish state” and “has gone too far in his criticism of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his criticism sends the wrong message to Israel’s enemies.”

Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster, said the numbers were strong and it was unrealistic to expect a change in attitudes so soon.

“President Obama is doing substantially better in the Jewish community than he is in the public at large,” Mellman said in an interview, noting the gap between the 56 percent approval rating the president scores among Jews and the 45 percent on average among the wider American public. “It’s unreasonable to expect the Adas speech would have much impact.”

Mark McNulty, the spokesman for the Republican Jewish Coalition, a group that has advanced the narrative that Obama cares little about Israel, said the poll showed that Jewish-Americans needed more than rhetoric.

“A charm offensive is not going to do anything to paper over the wounds that have developed over the last six years,” he said.


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Who’s investigating the Rabbis? Jews of Conscience are

(Photo: International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network)
Photo: International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network)

This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

It’s an amazing witch hunt right now. Rabbi’s are under scrutiny for ethical violations. Peeping Rabbis in the mikvah and assorted violations relating to sex. All for the good I suppose.

Other ethical violations are under reported or, actually, never mentioned. Like rabbis enabling congregants to flaunt International Law by supporting Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territory. Or, going back further, rabbis helping deflect their congregants conscience from the birth of Israel in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948.

So who’s investigating rabbis who cross the line is quite relevant when the red line is identified and expanded. But, then, if the entire Jewish establishment is in denial of these war crimes committed by Jews in the name of the Jewish people, who will investigate them?

The Jewish case is much like the police and the need for independent investigations of crimes committed by the police. Since the blue line of silence is hardly ever crossed by the police themselves, independent investigations are a must. Other government agencies have to step in. In the case of the Jewish establishment until now the only watchdogs have been progressive Jews who, it turns out, deflect the same crimes the Jewish establishment deflects. Only with the emergence of Jews of Conscience has the Jewish establishment been called to task. Unfortunately, Jews of Conscience don’t have subpoena power.

Jews of Conscience don’t even have a court, except one. The court of Jewish history. And it seems that this court, though lacking material power in the present, is drawing an incredible amount of attention by establishment Jews in America and Israel, including the rabbis. For aren’t Jews involved in the BDS movement, say, Boycott From Within, or Ilan Pappe’s, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, declaring historic judgments against the abuse of Jewish power meted out to the Palestinian people?

So the answer to the question of who’s investigating rabbis who cross the line is clear. Jews are. In the name of Jewish history. And that judgment is already in. The rabbinate, broadly considered, at the most crucial juncture in Jewish history, after the Holocaust and after Israel and what Israel has done and is doing to the Palestinian people, is a scandal to Jewish history. Sex is the least of it.


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Jeffrey Goldberg has never faced ‘pundit reckoning’ for pushing Iraq war

Jeffrey Goldberg
Jeffrey Goldberg

Ken Silverstein has a pro-Hezbollah piece up at the Observer. Yeah, you read that right. The world is changing. The piece contains an excellent discussion of the achievements of Jeffrey Goldberg, the leading American journalist on Israel/Palestine issues, granted access by President Obama lately (because he speaks to the Israel lobby). Silverstein says he is an awful reporter who fabricated a moral case for invading Iraq.

Much of the American media’s coverage of the Middle East is simplistic and boring, and is naively sympathetic toward one side or the other. Among the most awful of all reporters covering the Middle East—and naturally among the most successful—is Jeffrey Goldberg. During the run-up to the Iraq War he authored a series of highly influential and resoundingly inaccurate pieces, which made and advanced the Bush administration’s case for invasion.

(I’m not the most impartial analyst of Mr. Goldberg’s oeuvre. Over the years, I’ve written about his excesses and distortions for various news outlets. In response, he has, among other things, derided me as “ethically challenged” because I once went undercover to pose as a foreign businessman who was seeking to hire a lobbying firm in D.C. to see how far—and how low—major D.C. lobby shops would go to secure a lucrative contract from a dictatorial regime. Short answer: Very far and very low.)

Mr. Goldberg strenuously sought to tie together Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, and he also fabricated a “moral” case for invading Iraq on the grounds that Saddam was nothing less than a latter-day Hitler. Not only did he air the unconfirmed WMD allegations of Ahmed Chalabi as unassailable inside intelligence, he also propagated as gospel the ravings of a Kurdish prisoner who claimed to have proof of the Saddam-Al Qaeda link. But unlike some reporters—for example, Judith Miller, who covered Iraq forThe New York Times—Mr. Goldberg never faced a moment of pundit reckoning. Instead, he’s failed steadily upward, gliding seamlessly from The New Yorker to Atlantic Monthlyand now writing for a variety of publications. In writing about the Middle East, Mr. Goldberg has consistently served as a mouthpiece for the Israeli point of view.

It’s worth examining a two-part series Mr. Goldberg wrote for The New Yorker in 2002 when he traveled to Lebanon and elsewhere to report on Hezbollah. His resulting lurid two-part series won a National Magazine Award—a distinction that now looks like the journalistic equivalent of Henry Kissinger winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

In the first of the two stories, very little happens. Mr. Goldberg travels to the land of thehijab to meet a shadowy Hezbollah operative who allegedly kidnapped Americans 20 years ago. He never did meet the operative, but he stared down a “stiff and unhappy-looking man” whom Hezbollah had sent to “assess my intentions.” Our hero then returns to Beirut after downing three Pepsis at a café.

In the second story, Mr. Goldberg followed his terrorist quarry back to the New World, seeking evidence of Hezbollah sleeper cells in America and Paraguay. He found very little to support his thesis. Mr. Goldberg’s most sensational revelation concerned a Hezbollah cell in Charlotte, N.C., led by a Lebanese immigrant named Mohamad Youssef Hammoud. “In the course of a year and a half [the cell] sold $7.9 million worth of cigarettes illegally in Michigan and sent some of the profits to Hezbollah in Lebanon,” Mr. Goldberg reported. What he didn’t note was that of that money, a paltry $3,500 was sent to Lebanon. Hammoud said money he helped send to Lebanon went to support Hezbollah’s efforts to distribute books at schools and improve public water systems.

Mr. Goldberg closed his story with this chilling discovery:

“Investigators in North Carolina found anti-American propaganda among the belongings of several of the cell members … [and] a series of photographs taken in Washington, D.C. In one of them, a member of the cell stands in front of the Washington Monument, smiling. In another, two members are posing in front of the White House.”

Probably half of the American population has similar photographs taken during trips to Washington. An astute analyst of Middle Eastern affairs will recognize, however, that Arab-American cigarette smugglers don’t smile while standing in front of monuments unless they’re planning to blow them up. (The case went to trial soon after the 9/11 attacks. Even at this moment of maximum public alarm, a North Carolina jury was deadlocked on the charge that Hammoud actually lent material support to a terrorist group. It came back with a conviction only after the judge ordered jurors to keep deliberating. Hammoud is still serving time but maintains his innocence. (His brother, Chawki Hammoud, was found guilty of charges that included cigarette smuggling and racketeering.)

More than a dozen years later, Mr. Goldberg remains a respected commentator on the Middle East. It’s a pity, because his work obscures rather than illuminates, and in fundamental ways.

Well lots of folks have not had their pundit reckoning, even as Jeb Bush gets pummeled, justly, for vacillating on whether the war was a bad thing. Last night at the 92nd Street Y, Ari Shavit twice twitted Peter Beinart for the fact that Beinart also supported the disastrous Iraq war, once saying he had “messianic” ideas about the war. Beinart nodded, seeming to acknowledge responsibility. Jim Fallows has tried to enforce some accountability re Bill Kristol.

“Genuine Q: What is the track record of accurate predictions or principled commentary that keeps getting B Kristol onto Sunday talk panels?”

IMHO this accounting is all incomplete without talking about the Israel piece. Beinart, Kristol and Goldberg (among others) approved an American invasion and occupation in the Middle East, I believe, because they care deeply about Israel and they wanted the U.S. doing Israel-like things and deposing an enemy of Israel along the way– and because Kristol’s father said that a weak US military was a threat to Israel. This disastrous background is the reason that Chuck Schumer, who also supported that war, now feels called upon as a Jewish leader and Zionist to disentangle the American and Israeli interests in going to war with Iran.


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Why is this boycott different from all other boycotts?

Peter Beinart (Photo: New America Foundation/Flickr)
Peter Beinart (Photo: New America Foundation/Flickr)

This past Thursday, Yousef Munayyer and Peter Beinart held a debate on the solution to the Palestine/Israel conflict at the New America Foundation in New York City. During his segments, Beinart reiterated his opposition to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement on the grounds that it allegedly implies a single-state solution. Beinart’s arguments have been productively critiqued in numerous forums, including by Munayyer himself in the course of the debate and on this website, from his desire to separate different classes of refugees to his fundamental misunderstanding of the goals of the BDS movements.

However, listening to Beinart, what strikes me is how nonsensical his argument is, even on its own terms. That is to say, even if we accept Beinart’s proposal to distinguish between Israel’s systematic legal discrimination against Palestinians within the Green Line and the undoubtedly even more severe systematic legal discrimination practiced by Israel against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; even if we are willing to countenance his desire to forgo international humanitarian law by establishing distinctions between first- and second-generation refugees; and even if we are willing to entertain his increasingly isolated opinion that drawing a border to divide Palestine from Israel would be a relatively simple matter – in other words, even if we grant every single questionable claim Beinart makes – his conclusion to oppose BDS remains continues to defy all logic.

Let’s begin by briefly reviewing his stated position on Palestine-Israel: Beinart is willing to recognize “the unjust, immoral one state reality that exists today.” In other words, he is willing to acknowledge that the Israeli state maintains an apartheid system in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. He also acknowledges that systematic legal discrimination exists within the Green Line, although he does not classify what he calls “Israel proper” as an apartheid system. Therefore, while Beinart supports a boycott of settlement products, he is unwilling to endorse a wider boycott effort. As becomes clear in the course of the debate, for Beinart, this is not simply a question of tactics. Adopting the talking points of apologists for Israeli human rights violations, Beinart argues, that the BDS movement has unfairly “singled-out” Israel and applied a “double-standard,” as there exist other countries which violate human rights that are not subject to similar international boycott campaigns.

For those of us who have worked on labor and human rights campaigns in the past, Beinart’s criticism of the BDS movement displays a shocking ignorance of how a boycott – any boycott – actually works.

First, boycotts target those responsible for maintaining oppressive systems, in the hope that such pressure will cause those responsible for these injustices to change their ways.

To be effective, a boycott must focus on those who (a) are responsible for maintaining oppressive situations and (b) have the power to change that situation. However, because all countries and companies are engaged in diverse activities at any one time, bringing effective pressure to bear on those who violate basic human rights entails boycotting not only the specific activities that are the immediate impetus for the action, but the company or country itself. For instance, few years back, farm workers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers launched a consumer boycott of Taco Bell, a major consumer of Florida tomatoes, demanding that the company leverage its buying power in order to insist that workers be paid better wages and improve working conditions. Of course, Taco Bell serves many products that do not contain tomatoes and, as far as I know, no one had called for a boycott of any of their other ingredients. But, as a major purchaser of tomatoes, Taco Bell was responsible for running a system that exploited farm workers. The boycott – whose demands were fully met in March 2005 – targeted the responsible entity because it ran an unjust system. Calls to boycott clothing companies who manufacture some of their products in unsafe factories in Bangladesh following the collapse of a factory in that country in 2013 followed a similar logic. Consumers were not asked to check the labels of individual shirts to ensure they were not sourced from these dangerous factories. Rather, the companies responsible for maintaining an exploitative system were held responsible for their actions. Just as boycotting Taco Bell’s tomatoes while eating the rest of their menu would be nonsensical, so too is Beinart’s call to only boycott settlement products. If, as Beinart readily admits, the Israeli state is responsible for maintaining an apartheid system, then it is the Israeli state and its complicit institutions which must be targeted with nonviolent direct actions. Doing any less would undermine the basic logic that undergirdsall boycotts.

Second, boycotts do not work by ranking and comparing suffering. Instead, they select target that is violating somebody’s rights and mobilize people to pressure that target, in the hope that these actions will force them towards displaying the basic moral behaviors that they should have been upholding all along. In other words, all boycotts necessarily “single out” a target for direct action. In fact, it is precisely this focus that allows these movements to achieve success. For instance, Colombian activists have called for a boycott of Coca-Colaproducts, due to their partnering with paramilitary groups that murder and intimidate union organizers. (This despite the fact that Coca-Cola products in the USA are not manufactured in Colombia.) Is Coca-Cola the single worst violator of labor rights in the world today? Who knows? Who cares? Workers at Coca-Cola asked for international solidarity in order to uphold their basic human rights. Similarly, over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations have asked us to stand with them as they demand that their own basic human rights be respected. Asking any boycott to wait in line for other struggles to be addressed first is anathema to the very concept of solidarity, which undergirds allboycotts.

If Peter Beinart believes that Palestinians’ basic rights are not being violated or simply does not care, then he is free to scab. However, if, as he claims, Beinart truly is willing to acknowledge that the state of Israel is running an apartheid system – even if he believes that it is only in the West Bank and Gaza Strip – then he has a responsibility to endorse the nonviolent solution which actually targets the responsible party: boycotting, divesting from, and bringing sanctions to bear on Israel itself.

The objections raised by Beinart against the BDS movement are not actually objections to this boycott so much as they are objection to all boycotts. Assuming Beinart does not think boycotts are an inherently illegitimate political tactic, it is he, rather than the BDS movement, which is applying a double-standard.


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