Archive | July 9th, 2015

Zionist imposes media blackout on story of mother fighting for her child

Gagging order

Marianne Azizi writes:

You may remember the story of Fanny Vadkin whose five-year-old son was taken from her by the Israeli authorities.

After camping outside the home of Haim Katz, the welfare and social security minister, for five days, Fanny began a hunger strike, was detained by police and served with a 10-day restraining order by Mr Katz. The journalist who followed her story was also arrested and detained.

Undeterred, Fanny moved her protest and set up tents outside the Knesset in Jerusalem. Within days, Channel 1 TV came and filmed her. The story was due to be aired on Saturday 11 July 2015. Shortly after the filming, the Israeli police arrived and ended her lawful protest.

In Israel, when social workers apply to the court to remove children from families, the application has to be signed by lawyers under oath.

But in Fanny’s case the social worker did not tell the truth. He wrote to the court that the boy was violent in the kindergarten, and that the mother would not cooperate with the kindergarten. However, in the same document he quoted a teacher as saying that the mother had cooperated with everyone throughout the year.

An audio recording is also available in which the social worker says the welfare authorities know nothing about Fanny’s home situation in relation to the child and that the child had been taken from her for misbehaving in the kindergarten.

Fanny’s son is still being held in an emergency centre, and in one recorded call he complained of being unable to swallow the large pills he was being given and said they were putting the pills in his food instead.

Fanny went to the court earlier this week and requested a blood test for toxins to establish the truth as she believed her son was being medicated. The response was to be given by the end of the week.

However, today Judge Zvi Sheratski of the Rehavot Juvenile Court made decisions which spell the death knell of any semblance of democracy and freedom in Israel. He decided that, at the request of the welfare authorities, the boy would be held for a further 60 days away from his mother. He also decided that the decision on whether to conducts a blood test would be left to the welfare authorities.

Because of her low income, Fanny had used a state lawyer, who worked very hard on her behalf. But when she made her case to the court, the welfare authorities went to the Legal Aid Bureau and lodged a complaint against the lawyer. So, when Fanny sought to exercise her right to appeal to the District Court, the Legal Aid Bureau refused to fund her lawyer. This is a direct violation of human rights.

Today, the Welfare and Social Services Ministry went to the same judge and requested an injunction to prevent this story from being published anywhere in Israel by any individual or media. The ministry also sought a superinjunction so that the gagging order is not reported. In other words, not only is reporting the story banned, but reporting that the story is banned is also now forbidden. A protest is planned for tonight, with potential arrests for those still speaking out.

Rather than investigate Fanny’s situation, the state has decided to gag, block and make it illegal in Israel for anyone to talk about her story. It has been one month since Fanny’s son was taken from her. Why gag the story now?

Israel’s boast that it is the “only democracy in the Middle East” is turning sour. There is no freedom to publish or protest against a system which is destroying so many families and is in desperate need of change. The few brave activists who are speaking out against corruption and civil rights abuse are being hounded and arrested.

Recently, a complaint was made to the UN regarding the lack of freedom of speech in Israel. However, this resulted in an immediate lawsuit by the attorney-general of Israel which, among other things, accused the complainants of being “against the state”.

Children are not a matter of national security. Currently, 10,000 children are in private institutions. The suicide rate is growing.

Why does Israel constantly refuse to consider reforms? It is widely reported that the family breakdown industry is worth billions of dollars.

This is unreported Israel. If the welfare authorities gag every story nationally, it is no surprise the world has no idea of what is really going on in such a secretive country.

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The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the XXI Century.

Global Research
The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of  the XXI Century.

The following text is an excerpt of the Preface of The Global Economic Crisis. The Great Depression of the XXI Century, Montreal, Global Research, 2010.

Click here to buy the book!

In all major regions of the world, the economic recession is deep-seated, resulting in mass unemployment, the collapse of state social programs and the impoverishment of millions of people. The economic crisis is accompanied by a worldwide process of militarization, a “war without borders” led by the United States of America and its NATO allies. The conduct of the Pentagons “long war” is intimately related to the restructuring of the global economy.

We are not dealing with a narrowly defined economic crisis or recession. The global financial architecture sustains strategic and national security objectives. In turn, the U.S.-NATO military agenda serves to endorse a powerful business elite which relentlessly overshadows and undermines the functions of civilian government.

This book takes the reader through the corridors of the Federal Reserve and the Council on Foreign Relations, behind closed doors at the Bank for International Settlements, into the plush corporate boardrooms on Wall Street where far-reaching financial transactions are routinely undertaken from computer terminals linked up to major stock markets, at the touch of a mouse button.

Each of the authors in this collection digs beneath the gilded surface to reveal a complex web of deceit and media distortion which serves to conceal the workings of the global economic system and its devastating impacts on peoples lives. Our analysis focuses on the role of powerful economic and political actors in an environment wrought by corruption, financial manipulation and fraud.

Despite the diversity of viewpoints and perspectives presented within this volume, all of the contributors ultimately come to the same conclusion: humanity is at the crossroads of the most serious economic and social crisis in modern history.

The meltdown of financial markets in 2008-2009 was the result of institutionalized fraud and financial manipulation. The “bank bailouts” were implemented on the instructions of Wall Street, leading to the largest transfer of money wealth in recorded history, while simultaneously creating an insurmountable public debt.

With the worldwide deterioration of living standards and plummeting consumer spending, the entire structure of international commodity trade is potentially in jeopardy. The payments system of money transactions is in disarray. Following the collapse of employment, the payment of wages is disrupted, which in turn triggers a downfall in expenditures on necessary consumer goods and services. This dramatic plunge in purchasing power backfires on the productive system, resulting in a string of layoffs, plant closures and bankruptcies. Exacerbated by the freeze on credit, the decline in consumer demand contributes to the demobilization of human and material resources.

This process of economic decline is cumulative. All categories of the labor force are affected. Payments of wages are no longer implemented, credit is disrupted and capital investments are at a standstill. Meanwhile, in Western countries, the “social safety net” inherited from the welfare state, which protects the unemployed during an economic downturn, is also in jeopardy.

The Myth of Economic Recovery

The existence of a “Great Depression” on the scale of the 1930s, while often acknowledged, is overshadowed by an unbending consensus: “The economy is on the road to recovery”.

While there is talk of an economic renewal, Wall Street commentators have persistently and intentionally overlooked the fact that the financial meltdown is not simply composed of one bubble the housing real estate bubble which has already burst. In fact, the crisis has many bubbles, all of which dwarf the housing bubble burst of 2008.

Although there is no fundamental disagreement among mainstream analysts on the occurrence of an economic recovery, there is heated debate as to when it will occur, whether in the next quarter, or in the third quarter of next year, etc. Already in early 2010, the “recovery” of the U.S. economy had been predicted and confirmed through a carefully worded barrage of media disinformation. Meanwhile, the social plight of increased unemployment in America has been scrupulously camouflaged. Economists view bankruptcy as a microeconomic phenomenon.

The media reports on bankruptcies, while revealing local-level realities affecting one or more factories, fail to provide an overall picture of what is happening at the national and international levels. When all these simultaneous plant closures in towns and cities across the land are added together, a very different picture emerges: entire sectors of a national economy are closing down.

Public opinion continues to be misled as to the causes and consequences of the economic crisis, not to mention the policy solutions. People are led to believe that the economy has a logic of its own which depends on the free interplay of market forces, and that powerful financial actors, who pull the strings in the corporate boardrooms, could not, under any circumstances, have willfully influenced the course of economic events.

The relentless and fraudulent appropriation of wealth is upheld as an integral part of “the American dream”, as a means to spreading the benefits of economic growth. As conveyed by Michael Hudson, the myth becomes entrenched that “without wealth at the top, there would be nothing to trickle down.” Such flawed logic of the business cycle overshadows an understanding of the structural and historical origins of the global economic crisis.

Financial Fraud

Media disinformation largely serves the interests of a handful of global banks and institutional speculators which use their command over financial and commodity markets to amass vast amounts of money wealth. The corridors of the state are controlled by the corporate establishment including the speculators. Meanwhile, the “bank bailouts”, presented to the public as a requisite for economic recovery, have facilitated and legitimized a further process of appropriation of wealth.

Vast amounts of money wealth are acquired through market manipulation. Often referred to as “deregulation”, the financial apparatus has developed sophisticated instruments of outright manipulation and deceit. With inside information and foreknowledge, major financial actors, using the instruments of speculative trade, have the ability to fiddle and rig market movements to their advantage, precipitate the collapse of a competitor and wreck havoc in the economies of developing countries. These tools of manipulation have become an integral part of the financial architecture; they are embedded in the system.

The Failure of Mainstream Economics

The economics profession, particularly in the universities, rarely addresses the actual “real world” functioning of markets. Theoretical constructs centered on mathematical models serve to represent an abstract, fictional world in which individuals are equal. There is no theoretical distinction between workers, consumers or corporations, all of which are referred to as “individual traders”. No single individual has the power or ability to influence the market, nor can there be any conflict between workers and capitalists within this abstract world.

By failing to examine the interplay of powerful economic actors in the “real life” economy, the processes of market rigging, financial manipulation and fraud are overlooked. The concentration and centralization of economic decision-making, the role of the financial elites, the economic thinks tanks, the corporate boardrooms: none of these issues are examined in the universities economics programs. The theoretical construct is dysfunctional; it cannot be used to provide an understanding of the economic crisis.

Economic science is an ideological construct which serves to camouflage and justify the New World Order. A set of dogmatic postulates serves to uphold free market capitalism by denying the existence of social inequality and the profit-driven nature of the system is denied. The role of powerful economic actors and how these actors are able to influence the workings of financial and commodity markets is not a matter of concern for the disciplines theoreticians. The powers of market manipulation which serve to appropriate vast amounts of money wealth are rarely addressed. And when they are acknowledged, they are considered to belong to the realm of sociology or political science.

This means that the policy and institutional framework behind this global economic system, which has been shaped in the course of the last thirty years, is rarely analyzed by mainstream economists. It follows that economics as a discipline, with some exceptions, has not provided the analysis required to comprehend the economic crisis. In fact, its main free market postulates deny the existence of a crisis. The focus of neoclassical economics is on equilibrium, disequilibrium and “market correction” or “adjustment” through the market mechanism, as a means to putting the economy back “onto the path of self-sustained growth”.

Poverty and Social Inequality

The global political economy is a system that enriches the very few at the expense of the vast majority. The global economic crisis has contributed to widening social inequalities both within and between countries. Under global capitalism, mounting poverty is not the result of a scarcity or a lack of human and material resources. Quite the opposite holds true: the economic depression is marked by a process of disengagement of human resources and physical capital. Peoples lives are destroyed. The economic crisis is deep-seated.

The structures of social inequality have, quite deliberately, been reinforced, leading not only to a generalized process of impoverishment but also to the demise of the middle and upper middle income groups.

Middle class consumerism, on which this unruly model of capitalist development is based, is also threatened. Bankruptcies have hit several of the most vibrant sectors of the consumer economy. The middle classes in the West have, for several decades, been subjected to the erosion of their material wealth. While the middle class exists in theory, it is a class built and sustained by household debt.

The wealthy rather than the middle class are rapidly becoming the consuming class, leading to the relentless growth of the luxury goods economy. Moreover, with the drying up of the middle class markets for manufactured goods, a central and decisive shift in the structure of economic growth has occurred. With the demise of the civilian economy, the development of Americas war economy, supported by a whopping near-trillion dollar defense budget, has reached new heights. As stock markets tumble and the recession unfolds, the advanced weapons industries, the military and national security contractors and the up-and-coming mercenary companies (among others) have experienced a thriving and booming growth of their various activities.

War and the Economic Crisis

War is inextricably linked to the impoverishment of people at home and around the world. Militarization and the economic crisis are intimately related. The provision of essential goods and services to meet basic human needs has been replaced by a profit-driven “killing machine” in support of Americas “Global War on Terror”. The poor are made to fight the poor. Yet war enriches the upper class, which controls industry, the military, oil and banking. In a war economy, death is good for business, poverty is good for society, and power is good for politics. Western nations, particularly the United States, spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year to murder innocent people in far-away impoverished nations, while the people at home suffer the disparities of poverty, class, gender and racial divides.

An outright “economic war” resulting in unemployment, poverty and disease is carried out through the free market. Peoples lives are in a freefall and their purchasing power is destroyed. In a very real sense, the last twenty years of global “free market” economy have resulted, through poverty and social destitution, in the lives of millions of people.

Rather than addressing an impending social catastrophe, Western governments, which serve the interests of the economic elites, have installed a “Big Brother” police state, with a mandate to confront and repress all forms of opposition and social dissent.

The economic and social crisis has by no means reached its climax and entire countries, including Greece and Iceland, are at risk. One need only look at the escalation of the Middle East Central Asian war and the U.S.-NATO threats to China, Russia and Iran to witness how war and the economy are intimately related.

Michel Chossudovsky, Montreal, May 2010

The book can be ordered directly from Global Research


The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century

Contents of this Book

The contributors to this book reveal the intricacies of global banking and its insidious relationship to the military industrial complex and the oil conglomerates. The book presents an inter- disciplinary and multi-faceted approach, while also conveying an understanding of the historical and institutional dimensions. The complex relations of the economic crisis to war, empire and worldwide poverty are highlighted. This crisis has a truly global reach and repercussions that reverberate throughout all nations, across all societies.

In Part I, the overall causes of the global economic crisis as well as the failures of mainstream economics are laid out. Michel Chossudovsky focuses on the history of financial deregulation and speculation. Tanya Cariina Hsu analyzes the role of the American Empire and its relationship to the economic crisis. John Bellamy Foster and Fred Magdoff undertake a comprehensive review of the political economy of the crisis, explaining the central role of monetary policy. James Petras and Claudia von Werlhof provide a detailed review and critique of neoliberalism, focusing on the economic, political and social repercussions of the “free market” reforms. Shamus Cooke examines the central role of debt, both public and private.

Part II, which includes chapters by Michel Chossudovsky and Peter Phillips, analyzes the rising tide of poverty and social inequality resulting from the Great Depression.



With contributions by Michel Chossudovsky, Peter Dale Scott, Michael Hudson, Bill Van Auken, Tom Burghardt and Andrew Gavin Marshall, Part III examines the relationship between the economic crisis, National Security, the U.S.-NATO led war and world government. In this context, as conveyed by Peter Dale Scott, the economic crisis creates social conditions which favor the instatement of martial law.

The focus in Part IV is on the global monetary system, its evolution and its changing role. Andrew Gavin Marshall examines the history of central banking as well as various initiatives to create regional and global currency systems. Ellen Brown focuses on the creation of a global central bank and global currency through the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). Richard C. Cook examines the debt-based monetary system as a system of control and provides a framework for democratizing the monetary system.

Part V focuses on the working of the Shadow Banking System, which triggered the 2008 meltdown of financial markets. The chapters by Mike Whitney and Ellen Brown describe in detail how Wall Streets Ponzi scheme was used to manipulate the market and transfer billions of dollars into the pockets of the banksters.

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Tehran’s anti-Zionist Quds day falls on date of new Iran deadline


israel flag burning

“I invite Muslims all over the globe to consecrate the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as Al Quds day and to proclaim the international solidarity of Muslims in support of the legitimate rights of the people of Palestine” Imam Khomeini (RA).


Regardless of whether the world powers and Iran sign a nuclear deal by the new Friday deadline, chants of “Death to Israel” are expected to reverberate throughout Iran that day as it happens to fall on the anti-israel Quds Day.

Quds day – initiated in 1979 by the Islamic Republic’s founder Ayatollah Khomeini – is an annual event of fiery anti-Israel protests in Iran on the last Friday of Ramadan that attracts tens of thousands of people.

Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Vaezi, one of some 80 members of Iran’s Assembly of Experts that is a supervisory body around Iran’s Supreme Leader, was quoted Wednesday as saying that shouting the “Death to the Zionist regime” chant prevents Israeli “aggression.”

The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) ran a story Wednesday quoting him as saying that Quds Day is a “universal cry against the Zionists.”

“The Zionists never change policy and continue their crimes and aggressions against different nations,” he said.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry, according to the news service, issued a statement to mark the coming day, saying that the “restoration of lasting peace and tranquility in the Middle East can be attained through full observance of legitimate rights of oppressed Palestinian nation.”

The statement called for “resistance” as the only way for the Palestinians to “defend their rights, liberate their motherland and the Holy Quds [Jerusalem].”

The establishment of Quds Day, the statement said, was “one of the enduring and eternal legacies” of Khomeini.

“In such a day, all freedom seekers and Muslims voice their support to the cause of Palestine and express hatred of the Zionist occupiers,” read the statement.

The statement accused Israel not only of “sedition” against the Palestinians, but also “across the Middle East and their support for takfiri [apostate Muslim] groups and their brutality and savagery, which are obviously more visible than ever.”

The statement made clear that the Zionist “occupation of Palestine” has been going on since the establishment of the state in 1948, not only since the Six Day War in 1967 when Israel took control of the territories.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Quds Day is a day of Muslim “unity.”

“The Muslims with their widespread presence in this day tell the world that despite the silence of some people vis-à-vis the indescribable oppressions done against the great nation of Palestine, they will never forget the Holy Quds and the oppressed Palestinian nation,” IRNA quoted him as saying.

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JERUSALEM POST – Does an ‘ally’ have the right to redefine Zionism?

“The fact Obama linked the State of Israel’s legitimization to the Holocaust in that speech [Cairo 2009] was him adopting the Arab narrative: We’re here because of the Holocaust, not because of Jewish roots and 3,000 years of history.” – Former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, June 27, 2015.

Michael Oren’s new book, Ally, has generated lots of attention. The mild mannered historian turned diplomat turned politician is now in the cross-hairs of the Obama administration, his political rivals at home and progressive Jewish figures. What has drawn such animus to Oren from the administration are some unpleasant truths about the US-Israel relationship under President Barack Obama that he reveals. As Newsweek reported, “Oren blames President Barack Obama for the sorry state of US-Israel relations and most of what’s wrong in the Middle East.”

As I have said for several years, I believe the president thinks of Israel as more a strategic liability than a strategic asset, and that his goal since day one of his administration has been to change the relationship with Israel and turn toward the Muslim world, particularly favoring the fundamentalist regime controlling Iran. Or, as Oren put it, to create some daylight between the two long-time allies. The White House has indeed supported some important military aid to Israel during these years, but meanwhile has jeopardized Israel and America’s foreign policy interests in pursuit of a friendship with the reliably unreliable mullahs of Iran.

One revelation that is not entirely new but is essential to address if your vision is a two-state solution based on a respect for both parties’ narratives is Oren’s assertion that the president believes Israel’s raison d’etre is the Holocaust, with only incidental incorporation of other Jewish history. This is very important, because if it becomes part of the mainstream narrative regarding Israel’s founding, Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state can be challenged, making it the only state in the world required to kneel and beg for its right to exist.

The charge that Israel exists only as a consequence of the Shoah has created both a firestorm and confusion among both American Jewry and the wider Jewish Diaspora. This is particularly relevant as the Palestinian Authority is currently attempting to delegitimize Israel by going to the ICC (International Criminal Court) seeking support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to question Israel’s right to exist. Therefore it is imperative to understand and educate America about what Zionism really is, and how the two most pivotal events of the 20th century affecting world Jewry relate to one another. In an era when much of the world, and many on American academic campuses, see Zionism as racism and colonialism it is incumbent upon pro-Israel supporters to communicate the truth clearly.

After President Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech in which he reached out to the Muslim world, his comparison of the plight of Palestinians to the survivors of the Shoah outraged many people.

Anne Bayefsky, who directs the Touro College Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, challenged the president’s assertion that, “The aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied,” for, she said, “around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries. A Jewish homeland in Israel is not rooted in tragedy or in centuries of persecution around the world. It is rooted in a wondrous, unbroken, and spiritual relationship to the land of Israel and to Jerusalem for thousands of years.”

Former ADL leader and Holocaust survivor Abe Foxman responded that the president was implicitly asserting that Israel’s legitimacy is based on the “suffering of the Jewish people’s “tragic history” and not on their historic ties to the Land of Israel. Obama’s choice of words and his decision to mention only the Holocaust as a reason for the creation of the State of Israel “gave fodder to the many in the Arab world who argue against the legitimacy of Israel.”

So if the Holocaust had not occurred, would there be an Israel? According to Tom Segev, a center-left historian and a reliable critic of Israel who has written extensively on the issue, “The State of Israel would have come to being even without the Holocaust. It was a result of 30 years of intensive work by the Zionist movement.”

But rooted in the Muslim world is the irrational contradiction of both denying the Holocaust while perpetuating the narrative that the Arabs were unfairly made to pay the price for the Holocaust in the creation of Israel, with the forced imposition of a non-indigenous Jewish people on the region.

SO DID nations of the UN vote in 1947 to create Israel only out of guilt at their complicity in the genocide of the Shoah? Is Zionism simply a reaction to the Shoah? If, as President Obama and others contend, the creation of Israel is solely due to the Holocaust, then the Palestinians have an argument. It then follows that Zionism is not a many-centuries’ yearning to return to ancient land, but was a simply spur-of-the moment land grab.

Modern Zionism is not a reaction to the Shoah. It began well before WWII and the Holocaust, only partially motivated by the anti-Semitism that preceded the Shoah; recall Herzl’s reactions to the Dreyfus Affair. On the one hand, Zionism is an affirmation of the Jewish people’s 2,000-year-long yearning to return to their ancestral homeland, manifested in the daily prayers of the Jewish people.

On the other hand, the founders of Israel were mostly secular and atheist, seeing themselves as a people, rather than a religion, returning to their homeland.

Jews learned that without a national homeland, nations and communities infected with anti-Semitism offered at best temporary shelter, all too often as tides shifted offering only humiliation, expropriation and expulsion. The horrors experienced over the centuries in the Diaspora, punctuated by pogroms, inquisitions, crusades and culminating in humanity’s descent to its lowest level in the Shoah, made the prayers and hopes for salvation and return to Zion more desperate and poignant, but the yearning to return, “next year in Jerusalem,” was always there, in good times and bad.

Zionism is a modern word to describe an ancient desire to return to the Land of Israel. Necessity and modernity played a part, but the desire for a Jewish homeland started in earnest in the 19th century, and culminated in the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations Mandate for a Jewish national home in Palestine. The European and Russian anti-Semitism of the Kishinev pogroms, the Dreyfus Affair, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and WWI all occurred years before the Shoah.

As Israeli statesman, former defense minister and Haaretz columnist Moshe Arens said, “In the minds of some, the establishment of the State of Israel is linked to the Holocaust, or even seen as a direct result of the Holocaust.” Which is precisely why the writers of Israel’s declaration of Independence purposely omitted any reference to the Shoah.

International organizations and governments did write the international law to help create the modern state of Israel, but shrugged their shoulders when the state was immediately attacked at its birth by five Arab armies. As Holocaust scholar Yehuda Bauer said, “Israel didn’t come into being because of the Shoah, Israel exists in spite of it.”

It was Israelis who fought back and saved the country from extinction. It was a Jewish desire for millennia to return to the Jewish homeland that preserved the dream.

On the Jewish Agency for Israel’s website they ask the question: “Did the State of Israel come about because of the Holocaust? Imagine the Holocaust happening before a single kibbutz was built, before a flourishing Jewish culture had been reestablished in Israel, and without armed Jews fighting to defend themselves in the Land. Would any one have supported Jewish sovereignty in that situation? Surely not!” The Holocaust was a contributing factor to the timing and circumstances of the struggle for independence. It certainly affected the kind of Jewish state that was created, its population mix, its self-perception and its worldview. But the events that underpin its creation are located elsewhere.



Building “Security Walls” To Keep Migrants Out of the EU: Hungary, Immigration and Asylum

Global Research
Flag of Hungary

If you come to Hungary, could you please bring a sane Prime Minister? Gergő Kovács, July poster campaign, 2015

The walling fetish is catching. While the European Union struggles to defend its ideas with the influence of sundering forces at various ends of its membership, Hungary is busy sealing its borders off from so-called irregular migrants.

This seems rather odd for the grandest of transit countries, girded by migratory tendencies. Hungarys special characteristics, notes Judit Juhász, are rooted in this history of fluid borders, as well as the strong migratory tendencies of Hungarian ancestry (Migration Policy Institute, Nov 1, 2003).[1]

For centuries, as a key administrative unit within the Hapsburg Empire, the very idea of borders was deemed absurd. The multi-ethnic state was typified by internal movements to various parts of the empire. Migration, in short, was the ultimate tool of population distribution of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Two world wars put pay to the tradition: borders were established along nationalist lines; evictions were engineered, ethnicities exchanged.

The current fascination with territorial integrity in Hungary is a fundamentally economic one. It all lies in the business of numbers and the perception that sovereignty is taking a battering from a human current stemming from the Middle East and Africa. Some 72,000 migrants have entered the country at least according to government assessments. This compares with 43,000 last year. With a degree of timed alarmism, Interior Minister Sándor Pintér claimed that, Hungary is confronted with the biggest surge of migrants in its history, its capacities are overloaded by 130 percent.

Earlier this month, Hungarys parliament got busy passing laws allowing for the creation of more camp facilities to deal with migrants, accelerating asylum processing and placing limits on judicial review. On Monday, the governing Fidesz party, with the support from the right-wing Jobbik party, got 151 votes to the 41 naysayers. A senior government source has told the BBC that a mere several dozen, or at most a few hundred migrants will be accepted in future.

Such moves come unnervingly close to breaching the UN Refugee Convention of 1951, though government spokesman Zoltán Kovács is convinced that Hungary is, in fact, operating within the letter of the law. With a true managers eye for evasion, he argues that the procedure of processing asylum seekers and migrants will continue, albeit it more speedily. In that, he can refer to precedents across Europe and from further afar.

This becomes even more problematic given the populist designation of all refugees as rapacious economic migrants. The categorisation tends to prove handy to those who wish to lift the drawbridge these migrants, so goes the urgent rhetoric, come from conflict zones to earn a living rather than flee oppression. (Read: pinch local jobs and consume local services.)

Conflict areas such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, are deemed to be procurers of a particular type of migrant. As the UNHCRs Babar Beloch explains, This is a refugee crisis, but its being wrongly described as a migrant crisis by politicians here (BBC, Jul 7).

Hungary has shown form since the end of the Cold War with legislation specifically dealing with illegal border crossings. These have tended to ebb and flow. The Act on Borders and the Border Guards (1997), as suggested by its name, granted guards greater sources and powers.

Then came the Act of Asylum of 1998, specifically removing the geographical limitation to Europe, while also establishing a system of dealing with asylees through processing, shelter and settlement. This invariably led to an increase in non-European applications, notably from Afghanistan, Iraq and Bangladesh. Regulation with the EU came into play in 2002, whereby domestic regulations were brought into line with the union.

Since then, Hungarian governments have overseen an expansion of the immigration detention system, introduced in 2010. Amendments were made to the Asylum Act in July 2013 narrowing the basis for detention, but the Hungarian Helsinki Committee found in April last year that some 40 percent or more of adult males seeking asylum for the first time were detained.

A report released this month by Amnesty International suggests that detention can take place in overcrowded and sometimes degrading conditions.[2] Police also do their bit in affording poor treatment. The report admits that the majority of asylum-seekers are released to open reception centres but absconding is deemed a risk the authorities take seriously.

An overall strategy of designation has been adopted towards Hungarys neighbours. The Balkans and Greece are being frowned upon as safe countries, where poorer authorities are struggling to maintain and process migrants. Better Serbia, Macedonia, and Bulgaria than the authorities in Budapest. Europe, argues Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, fiddles on the subject of migration, while Hungarys borders fray.

Serbia has expressed very public consternation at the move to seal the 175km border between the two countries, promising that it will not follow suit with cutting off Macedonia and Bulgaria. Serbia is not going to close itself in, suggested the countrys irate Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić. Serbia is not going to live in Auschwitz.[3]

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has given meek reassurances that the fence is not directed at the south. A country that was one of the first to rent the Iron Curtain by snipping the barbed wire in 1988 has become one of the foremost critics of open European borders.

Orbáns words after a meeting with Serbian colleagues bear a striking resemblance to those developed countries keen to avoid the matter of processing the impoverished and the oppressed. Its an illusion for anyone to think that people from the African crisis areas will keep arriving in Europe only until the crises there are pacified.[4]

He did not stop there. Fantasies of a deluge, a positive drowning of Hungary, were envisaged. If we allow it, a modern mass migration could take place of millions, even tens of millions and even hundreds of millions.

There is also a tinge of irony in the move, given that young Hungarians are actually leaving their country to find sources of employment elsewhere. The Magyar, as ever, migrates. Current figures suggest that there are 350,000 working abroad. The Hungarian Central Statistics Office has rather striking figures: 31,500 left the country in 2014, constituting an increase of 46 percent from 2013.

There is more than faint speculation that this has been encouraged by the reactionary stance taken by Orbán. That said, he has little desire to find any non-European replacements in a hurry.


[1] http://www.migrationpolicy. org/article/hungary-transit- country-between-east-and-west

[2] file://

[3] public-policy/critics- denounce-plans-to-build-175- km-fence-along-serbian-border/ 24502

[4] International/wireStory/ hungary-serbia-meet-debate- hungarian-border-fence-plan- 32146599

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NAZI Minister to Decide on Deportation of Palestinian MPs

NAZI Deportation of JEWS Photo

NAZI Minister of the Interior was given 30 days by the Supreme Court on Monday to reach a final decision on the possible deportation from East Jerusalem of three Palestinian lawmakers and a former Palestinian Authority Jerusalem affairs minister.

Monday’s hearing was a follow-up to a previous hearing in the same court on May 5, 2015 that discussed the possibility of revoking the Jerusalem residency rights of officials Muhammad Abu Teir, Ahmad Attun, Muhammad Tutah and Khalid Abu Arafeh.

While Abu Arefeh formerly served as the PA’s minister of Jerusalem affairs, the other three are members of Palestine’s parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council.

All four live in occupied East Jerusalem.

NAZI Ministry of the Interior has been threatening to deport the lawmakers and former minister since Hamas won Palestinian legislative elections in 2006.

The pretext for the ruling is disloyalty to the NAZI regime.  the lawmakers said last year.

The four were initially detained along with other lawmakers and, after their release, NAZI police seized their identity documents.

The permanent residency status of 107 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem was revoked in 2014, adding to the 14,309 revoked by NAZI regime since 1967.

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Zio-Nazi committee approves expansion of Jerusalem settlement



A researcher said Tuesday that an NAZI committee for zoning and planning has allocated private Palestinian land to expand the illegal French Hill settlement in East Jerusalem.

Ahmad Sub Laban, a settlement affairs researcher, told Ma’an that 25 dunams (6 acres) of land from Shufat and al-Issawiya has been allocated to the the NAZI Jewish settlement area to establish a commercial zone.

Palestinian residents of Shufat had been trying to obtain licenses to build on the land which was confiscated, but were denied permission by Israel’s Jerusalem municipality.

Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem suffer from a chronic lack of services and severe unemployment as a result of NAZI municipal policies which allocate few resources to the community.

Over 75 percent of Palestinians, and 82 percent of children, live below the poverty line in East Jerusalem, according to the Association for Civil Rights in NAZI.

Only 14 percent of East Jerusalem is zoned for Palestinian residential construction, ACRI says, while one-third of Palestinian land has been confiscated since 1967 to build illegal NAZI Jewish-only settlements.

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New Online Terrorism Reporting Bill Will Harm Minorities, Chill Speech

By Gabe Rottman 

If there’s one thing the First Amendment stands for, it’s that vigorous debate about the issues of the day—even, and perhaps especially, uncomfortable debate about things like racism or terrorism—should be free from government interference. Tragically, that principle has been betrayed repeatedly over the past decade and a half, as law enforcement agencies continue to single out individuals for scrutiny based on speech or association protected by the First Amendment.

And, if the Senate intelligence committee gets its way, we’ll be chalking one more betrayal up on that blackboard. Last week, the press reported that the committee had secretly inserted a provision in a spending bill that would require social media companies to report posts about “any terrorist activity” to the government.

The bill is hopelessly vague on what that means. That’s because it goes far beyond a reporting requirement for wrongful conduct—terrorist activity—and will invariably result in the reporting of speech about terrorism—including by activists and other peaceful people with forceful opinions.

In practice, were this to become law, websites will likely do a couple of things.

First, they will over-correct and start taking down content wholesale. They will monitor posts for keywords like ISIS or “don’t tread on me” (a libertarian slogan that some identify with white supremacist and anti-government ideology) and pull them. That will chill an enormous amount of online debate over sensitive and important topics like the propriety of the Confederate flag memorial in South Carolina.

This is not a theoretical concern. There are numerous cases of large internet content companies taking down uncomfortable—but perfectly legal—speech because of government pressure (far less than the mandatory reporting requirement in this bill). For example, Apple voluntarily blocked applications that permitted users to identify the sites of overseas U.S. drone strikes. Say what you will about the legality, ethics, or wisdom of overseas drone strikes themselves (and we’ve had a lot to say), the free flow of information about drone strikes—such as their locations—is essential to feed vigorous and unfettered debate about this critical issue. One can just imagine what would disappear from the online debate in the face of a must-report law.

Second, and perhaps worse, companies—faced with the proposal’s utter lack of guidance on what the law requires them to report—will apply it inconsistently. Our nation’s history and its recent post-9/11 practices tell us that sensitive issues of particular interest to vulnerable minorities—religious, racial, ethnic, social, political, etc.—will receive more scrutiny, and therefore more censorship.

Consider, for instance, online discussion about the spate of police shootings of unarmed African-American men, and claims by many in law enforcement that the growth of a protest movement against police violence is feeding violence against the police. There have been several indications that the FBI is quite literally treating activists in the #blacklivesmatter initiative as suspected terrorists. Undoubtedly, some social media platforms are going to follow that lead, report that content to the FBI, and thus perpetuate the targeting of minority groups for law enforcement scrutiny based on First Amendment activity.

Free speech means ensuring the public square—which is increasingly migrating online—is open to viewpoints and arguments that we disagree with or find objectionable. Oftentimes, the hurly burly of public debate includes opinions that may make us squirm, but that nevertheless have an important place in a country that values truth above comfort in the marketplace of ideas. We have a right to discuss any issue, even sensitive ones, without fear that our internet provider, social media platform or telephone company is monitoring and reporting what we say. This bill language would lead to the improper monitoring and suppression of constitutionally protected speech.

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Holocaust Hoax Claims Conference Fraud, Likely ‘Much Higher’ Than $57 Million


 The scope of a conspiracy to defraud the world’s largest Holocaust reparations organization, uncovered in 2009, was much greater than previously believed, a former senior official has alleged.

This is one of several recent revelations that are causing a shake-up behind the scenes at the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

Writing to the Claims Conference’s board last week, recently terminated ombudsman Shmuel Hollander asserted that, while reports had said organizational insiders had siphoned off $57 million in German taxpayer funds meant for survivors, “the final sum is in all probability much higher.”

Hollander’s letter was prompted by the board’s decision not to renew his contract – a move that he saw as retribution for his role in preparing a 2013 report that blamed the fraud on “systematic failings and problematic organization behavior.”

For over a decade, a criminal ring within the organization embezzled tens of millions of dollars through false restitution claims.

Two years ago, it emerged that despite stating that he had been unaware of the fraud until 2009, Claims Conference president Rabbi Julius Berman had in fact received an anonymous letter in 2001 tipping him off to the fraud. Soon after the tip-off, Berman launched an internal probe that ultimately concluded that there was no cause for concern.

In 2013 – four years after the fraud’s discovery – Hollander was tasked with writing a report on the internal workings of the Claims Conference.

Hollander’s report to the board exonerated Berman of his critics’ accusations that he had masterminded a cover-up, but it nevertheless presented a severe blow to the organization’s leadership.
In a blistering critique of the Claims Conference’s corporate culture, Hollander asserted in the report that “the absence of professional control systems…constituted a key factor in enabling, and certainly in facilitating, the fraud.”

According to Hollander’s letter last week, Berman had informed him in a June 3 phone call that the decision to discontinue his employment was “in response to the report I [Hollander] prepared for the [board] some two years ago.” During a conference call two weeks after that, a board committee voted not to extend his contract.

“Berman told me the truth,” Hollander told The Jerusalem Post in an interview last Thursday.

“He said he fired me for the report.”

He added that he had never been fired before.

In the interview, Hollander – who had long served as Israel’s Civil Service commissioner – condemned what he sees as a troubled corporate culture.

“The management of the conference very often doesn’t function in a professional manner. It’s very centralized,” he said.

“They wouldn’t listen. When we came to them with systematic problems, like things that weren’t written or implemented equally, they were mad at me.”

Weeks after the report’s submission, Berman, together with executive vice president Greg Schneider and directors Reuven Merhav and Roman Kent, wrote to the German Finance Ministry to repudiate the report.

Berman’s decision to sign the letter to the German government in an official capacity constituted a clear conflict of interest, given that he was a subject of the internal probe, Hollander said. In his letter, Berman informed the Germans that Hollander had “inadequate resources…[and] limited familiarity with the organization” and “could not have sufficiently comprehended the existing and complex administrative structure of the Claims Conference’s three far-flung offices.”

Hollander, meanwhile, accused Berman of falsely claiming that the German government had demanded that he rebut the report.

Asked about the matter, a German spokesman answered somewhat ambiguously, telling the Post last week that the “Federal Ministry of Finance once heard about the mentioned facts in 2013.”

In his letter to the board last week, Hollander wrote that Schneider had perceived him as a “hostile element whose actions must be blocked” and placed “numerous obstacles” in his path, such as withholding information and instructing staffers not to reply to inquiries.

“The Claims Conference is an organization that is incapable of hearing criticism regarding its senior management.

In light of the organization’s conduct toward the Ombudsman’s office, I must conclude that the organization wanted only a ‘yes man’ – a fig leaf or a charade of an Ombudsman.

If this was indeed the goal, I was not the right person to select for the role,” Hollander wrote.
Berman was quick to respond.

Penning his own letter to the board, he accused Hollander of making “many misstatements,” and counter-asserted that had his firing been connected to the report, he would not have had his contract renewed six months after it was authored. Berman also said that he had never refused to meet with Hollander, as the ombudsman had claimed.

Berman also implied that the reason for Hollander’s ouster had to do with budgetary concerns.

In response, Hollander asked why the conference had approved his 2015 budget if it felt he was spending too much.

He expressed the belief that it would have been overly suspicious to fire him so soon after his report, and that it was therefore decided to wait until his contract came up again for renewal.
Board members who spoke with the Post were divided in their assessment of why the ombudsman had been fired.

“The fact is that based on the number and nature of questions and complaints that have been addressed to him during his tenure, it is hard to justify maintaining such a person with support staff on a full-time basis,” said director Rabbi Andrew Baker.

According to Baker, each inquiry directed to Hollander had cost the conference close to $1,000, and as such, “it was decided that this could be handled by someone working on a part-time basis.”

However, director Abe Biderman, who sits on the committee that is looking for Hollander’s replacement, said that Hollander “just wasn’t the right person for the job,” and that the ombudsman’s position would remain full-time.

Jonathan Arkush, who sits on the Claims Conference board representing the British Jewish Community, expressed concern over the firing, telling the Post that “the clear impression is that his contract is not being renewed because he was too independent for the officers. It does not put them in a particularly good light.”

In a document prepared at the request of the World Jewish Congress and obtained by the Post on Tuesday, Robert Goot – president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry – accused Berman of not informing the board’s leadership committee of “any issues with the Ombudsman before ringing him on June 3rd and telling him that he was effectively fired.”

Goot, who did not respond to a request for comment, also wrote that Berman had failed to inform the board of the letter he had sent to the Germans repudiating Hollander’s report.

Berman had emailed Goot earlier Tuesday, stating that he believed sharing that letter with the board “flies in the face and spirit of the board made two years ago… to place the entire divisive episode behind us to the [greatest] extent possible.”

In the same email, Berman also accused Hollander of seeking to create “as much internal division and acrimony as possible and maybe even bring the whole edifice down.”

“Personally, I find Hollander’s tactics despicable and I refuse to participate in furthering the result he is working for,” Berman declared.

In an email to the Post on Sunday, however, the Claims Conference extended its thanks to Hollander and stated that he had “established a valuable infrastructure and developed channels of conscientiously dealing with incoming inquiries from those who suffered and lost so much.”

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Donald Neff: a Journalist Erased From History for Reporting on Palestine

alison weir book
By Alison Weir | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

One of the top journalists to report on Palestine-Israel has died.

Donald Neff passed away on May 10 in his hometown of York, Pennsylvania, at the age of 84. The cause of death was heart disease and diabetes.

Neff was a luminous writer and meticulous reporter. From humble beginnings, he had reached the top ranks of American journalism. When he then turned his formidable talents to writing books and articles about Palestine, his contracts with mainstream American publishers dried up, his income plummeted, and his fame faded.

Today, even many activists in the growing Palestine solidarity movement are unaware of Neff’s groundbreaking work. This is unfortunate, since he exposed critical facts about Palestine with unparalleled precision and elegance. Much of the information he uncovered is still significant today.

During his long career, Neff reported on the Vietnam War from Tokyo and Saigon and was TIME magazine bureau chief in Houston, Los Angeles and Jerusalem. One of the first reporters on the scene at the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana, he also covered the Apollo moon landing and reported on the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island (not far from his hometown). In 1980 he won the Overseas Press Club of America’s prestigious Mary Hemingway Award for best magazine reporting from abroad for a 1979 cover story about Colombia’s cocaine network.

Neff was at TIME from 1965-1979. While based in Jerusalem, he exposed an incident that would change the course of his life.

In “Epiphany at Beit Jala,” an in-depth essay written for the November-December 1995 issue of The Link , Neff wrote about this incident and other eye-opening experiences covering the region.

Like most Westerners, Neff had arrived profoundly sympathetic to Israel. However, he wrote, “As my tour extended into years, I could not ignore a disturbing blindness in some of even the most gentle Israelis. They did not seem to see the Palestinians all around them… In general, this was just as well because when most Israelis did notice Palestinians their reaction to them was one of loathing or fear that quickly could escalate into violence.”

Neff’s experiences also revealed a power dynamic between the U.S. and Israel that he found astonishing.

He reported on Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s frantic attempts to convince Israel to relinquish Egyptian land Israel had acquired through its 1967 war of conquest and had managed to retain through American support during the 1973 “Yom Kippur” war. The U.S. was calling on Israel to return it to Egypt. Israel refused.

“The extent of Israel’s ability to resist U.S. advice,” Neff wrote, “was my first great eye-opener in Israel. I had had little appreciation of the astounding depth and strength of Zionism’s influence in Washington. I was stunned that a country completely beholden to the United States could thumb its nose at Washington.”

Various encounters through the years caused Neff “deep uneasiness” about the views and beliefs of some Israel partisans in the U.S., raising “the question of dual loyalty to a level I had never realized existed.”

A man who had been serving in the U.S. Navy when Israel tried to sink the USS Liberty, killing 34 and injuring over 170 Americans, told Neff that he had been “torn by the dilemma of whether he could actually participate in a U.S. retaliatory attack against Israel.” (This never came.)

Another American Zionist showed Neff his Israeli passport alongside his U.S. one. Neff was taken aback; it had been illegal for Americans to hold dual citizenship. The man proudly informed him that the policy had been changed in 1967 by the Supreme Court, adding with emphasis that the case had been brought by an Israeli and the swing vote was cast by Abe Fortas.

In later researching Fortas, Neff discovered that Fortas was a Zionist and that among his first thoughts when he left the Supreme Court had been to visit Israel. “There was nothing wrong with that,” Neff wrote, “but it did indicate an attachment of such personal importance that he should have recused himself from the dual citizenship case.” This ruling, Neff wrote, “had destroyed a 200-year tradition.”

Neff’s most intense experience, the “epiphany” of his essay title, came in March 1978, when a freelance reporter called to say that she had “heard reports that Israeli troops had just conducted a cruel campaign throughout the West Bank against Palestinian youth. Many Palestinians had suffered broken bones, others had been beaten and some had had their heads shaved.”

When Neff repeated the report to his TIME bureau staff, all Jewish Israelis, they were indignant. The report was obviously false, they said, because “that is what was done to us in the Holocaust.”

Neff decided to check out the facts for himself, taking along a skeptical Jewish American friend who was living in Israel.

“We went into the small hospital and a young Palestinian doctor who spoke English soon appeared. Yes indeed, he said matter-of-factly, he had recently treated a number of students for broken bones. There were 10 cases of broken arms and legs and many of the patients were still there, too seriously injured to leave. He took us to several rooms filled with boys in their mid-teens, an arm or leg, sometimes both, immobile under shining white plaster casts.”

When TIME published Neff’s report, it provoked outrage from both Israeli authorities and American Zionists. The New York Timesfailed to report on the incident, making it seem for awhile that Neff’s report was inaccurate. It wasn’t until an Israeli official investigated the incident and confirmed Neff’s facts that other journalists finally reported on it.

As a result of his reporting, Neff was made an honorary citizen of Bethlehem.

After Neff returned to the U.S. he eventually decided to leave periodical journalism in order to write books. He signed a contract with Simon & Schuster and wrote the first in what was to be a trilogy about the Israeli-Arab wars of 1956, 1967 and 1973

The book, Warriors at Suez: Eisenhower Takes America into the Middle East (1981), received wide acclaim. It was a National Book Award finalist and an alternate selection for both the Book of the Month Club and the History Book Club.

The Chicago Tribune Book World described it as “A true thriller” and said that the story was “as sobering as it is fascinating…. important and compelling reading.”

The Tribune review, however, was to be among the few exceptions to a pattern later described by Ambassador Andrew Killgore, publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

Books on the Middle East that editors disliked, Killgore noted, would be assigned to “a Zionist reviewer… the reviewer usually is Jewish, never a Muslim and only occasionally a Christian. If none of the facts presented in the book can be refuted, the book’s substance has to be ignored.” Often they would simply go un-reviewed.

Neff’s second book, Warriors for Jerusalem: The Six Days That Changed the Middle East, came out in 1985 and was again praised by experts. Former Undersecretary of State George Ball called it indispensable to anyone who wanted to understand “why we are in such a dangerous mess in the Middle East.”

While the Christian Science Monitor called it “one of the most significant contributions to modern historical literature,” most newspapers ignored it.

American Zionists had long disliked Neff’s work. When his report on the Beit Jala incident came out, even some TIME colleagues had complained. Neff was called an anti-Semite to his face, while others shunned him.

The book industry included such Israel partisans, as well. Simon & Schuster did not renew its contract with Neff, and his final book in the trilogy, Warriors Against Israel: How Israel Won the Battle to Become America’s Ally, was published in 1988 by Amana, a much smaller publisher.

Once again, Neff produced a powerful volume. Archibald B. Roosevelt, Jr., a grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, a polyglot who spoke 20 languages, and a former CIA officer with considerable expertise in the Middle East, wrote: “As an observer of Middle Eastern affairs for more than four decades, I was impressed by the originality of Neff’s presentation and surprised by his devastating conclusions, assembled from facts previously known to most of us only piecemeal. It is not only a good read, but essential background for serious students of developments in the Middle East today.”

Neff’s next book, on the history of U.S.-Israel relations, was published in 1995 by the Institute for Palestine Studies, headquartered in Lebanon. A second, updated edition was published in 2002.

Neff himself, and many others, considered this his most important book. Fallen Pillars: U.S. Policy Towards Palestine and Israel Since 1945 provides a detailed history of how Zionists overcame the recommendations of U.S. diplomats, the Pentagon, and intelligence agencies to create today’s uniquely special relationship with Israel.

Citing a multitude of memos and official studies, Neff’s opus details U.S. officials’ failed attempts and frequent frustration at a special interest lobby that held more influence over U.S. policies than they did. Already by 1949 “Israeli officials were openly bragging about the power of the Jewish American community to influence U.S. policy.”

Fallen Pillars shows the deep roots of many current issues. “By 1968,” Neff reported, “the CIA was convinced Israel had produced nuclear weapons, or was capable of doing so, and informed President Lyndon Johnson. His response was to order the CIA not to inform any other members of the administration, including Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and Secretary of State Dean Rusk.”

Although, again, scholarly reviewers praised Neff’s book, most mainstream media chose not to review it. An exception was The Washington Post, which assigned it to Tad Szulc, a Jewish American journalist whose primary expertise was Latin America and Eastern Europe. Szulc called Pillars “deeply flawed” and charged Neff with being “more Palestinian than the Palestinians.”

Neff’s final book, Fifty Years of Israel, was published on the 50th anniversary of Israel’s creation. A collection of the “Middle East History” columns Neff wrote for this magazine beginning in 1993, its short, footnoted chapters were based on a detailed handbook compiled daily of events related to Israel and Palestine from 1947 to the end of the 20th century. (See excerpt in sidebar here.)

Long before Google and other Internet search engines made their appearance, Neff’s computerized database was a frequently called upon source of information for authors and journalists. As the Washington Report’s late executive editor, Richard H. Curtiss, noted in his introduction to Fifty Years: “Over the phone I could hear the ‘click, click’ as he entered into his computer—which seemingly always was turned on—the key words that brought up almost instantaneous answers to whatever questions I asked.”

Donald Neff brought honesty, precision, and courage to a topic of world-shaking significance that most top journalists feared or obfuscated. For this, he paid dearly.

Those working to rectify one of the world’s most significant injustices and causes of ongoing tragedy owe deep gratitude to Donald Neff.

I personally am profoundly indebted. I first stumbled across Neff’s books when I ­visited the Washington Report bookstore in Washington, DC in the spring of 2001. While I had already seen at first-hand Israel’s ferocious treatment of Palestinians, I was largely unaware of Israel’s power in and over the United States. Neff’s work was as enlightening as it was disturbing.

A few years later I had the honor of meeting Donald Neff in person and conducting a long interview with him about his work. (A few minutes from this are on a video If Americans Knew subsequently released.)

I expect that eventually Neff’s books and articles, like those of other journalists who worked to tell Americans about Palestine but were largely erased from public awareness, will be rediscovered, as a new generation intent on justice discovers the power and relevance of his pioneering work.

Neff is survived by his companion of 15 years, Washington Report managing editor Janet McMahon, as well as son Gregory Neff of York; two stepdaughters, Victoria Brett of Northampton, MA, and Abigail Miller of Portland, ME; a granddaughter; and two great-grandsons.



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