Archive | October 11th, 2017

Zionist-led “Women’s Peace March” Criticized as Normalization

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By Celine Hagbard – IMEMC 

A two-week march led by Israeli women calling for peace culminated in a rally in Jerusalem Sunday, although the march was largely boycotted by Palestinians who called it a part of the ‘normalization’ of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

The organizers of the march called for a return to the failed negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority – negotiations that were harshly criticized by most Palestinians for the power imbalance they maintained between the occupier and occupied.

‘Normalization’ is a term used by Palestinians to refer to efforts that claim to promote ‘peace’ without recognizing or addressing the extreme injustice of the Israeli military occupation. Some have criticized the ‘Women Wage Peace’ movement for its failure to advocate for Palestinian equal rights, instead issuing a vague call for ‘peace’.

Many of the participants in the march voiced a desire to have reconciliation with Palestinians, and said they hoped to meet with Palestinian women, with organizer Anat Negev saying that, “We all want a safe future for our children.” But Palestinian women’s organizations and civil society leaders said that the march was naive in issuing a call for peace without a clear call for justice, and for the end to the Israeli military occupation.

Some women marched for two weeks, in different parts of the West Bank, Israel and Jerusalem – but most of the locations of the march were closed to Palestinians who did not obtain special permits months in advance to be able to enter.

In response to the march and rally, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees issued a statement opposing the event, saying that Palestinian women were being used as props and tokenized by the Israeli women organizing it. The statement also said, “This activity is a shameless fraud that seeks to forcibly impose normalization with the occupier upon Palestinian women, in clear violation of the sacrifices of our women martyrs, prisoners, wounded and strugglers to liberate our people from that occupier. Our position as a Palestinian women’s movement in occupied Palestine against normalization is very clear, as is our demand for the boycott of occupation in all forms, including economic, cultural, academic and all other forms of boycott.”

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Nazi Markets ‘Essentially Failing’ Iron Dome Missile Defense System to US Army

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The Iron Dome, the missile defense system innovated by Israel, is currently being showcased to US army chiefs, in the hope military top brass purchase the structure – despite previous expert analysis suggesting the system is “essentially failing” and intercepts perhaps five percent of the rockets fired at Tel Aviv.

Israel’s missile defense system, the Iron Dome, has gone on display in Washington, DC at a three-day Association of the US Army (AUSA) meeting, a showcase of the latest radar technology and operational launchers.

The summit, which opened October 9, connects the US Army to a wide range of industry products and services, offered by international suppliers.

​Designed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aircraft Industries, the rocket interceptor is said to have attracted the attention of the US Department of Defense on the basis the US does not possess a similar unmanned system capable of shooting down incoming rockets, planes, helicopters and drones. Military chiefs have expressed a wish to construct a similar protective measure for forces stationed in Eastern Europe.

The Iron Dome system is designed to hit rockets traveling with interceptors six inches wide and 10 feet long, using sensors and real-time guidance systems to zero in on the rockets. When an interceptor gets close to an incoming rocket, a proximity fuse triggers the interceptor to detonate, spraying out metal rods intended to strike and detonate the rockets’ warheads, neutralizing their ability to maim and destroy.

Collaboration

The AUSA meeting is attended by high-ranking government officials, who will inspect the system first-hand at the head office of US dense giant Raytheon, which collaborated with its Israeli counterparts in its design, development and production.

The new system was part of a collaborative manufacturing agreement, signed on the condition Israel would receive substantial financial assistance for the system, while Raytheon would be tasked with manufacturing 50 percent of its components on American soil.

Cooperation with Raytheon is pivotal to selling the Iron Dome to the US Army, which rarely acquires weapons systems directly from foreign companies unless products are developed in conjunction with US firms. Nonetheless, the Israeli company is competing with other weapons-manufacturing giants, including Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

Trial Runs

In 2016, the US successfully conducted tests with the Iron Dome, which intercepted a drone using a missile nicknamed the “Tamir” — and on September 4, a new series of US tests began in New Mexico, using a variety of missile defense systems, including the Iron Dome, to provide cover for soldiers in drills and exercises.

It has been claimed by Israeli officials the system’s roll-out has been a success, registering 1,500 interceptions of various types of rockets fired at the country, with a direct hit rate of 90 percent.

If the US does adopt the technology, it will be the only other country in the world to maintain such a structure.

In 2014, Theodore A. Postol, a professor of science, technology, and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), may have provided the answer.

After studying a variety of publicly available data, Professor Postol argued the Iron Dome’s intercept rate, defined as destruction of a rocket’s warhead, was “perhaps as low as five percent but could well be lower.”

​He moreover foresaw “significant insurance claims” arising in areas successfully defended by Iron Dome, as a successful intercept can at rare best destroy explosive warheads carried by artillery rockets, not pieces of debris from the artillery rocket itself, which will fall whether or not an artillery rocket has been intercepted. The Israelis, he noted, had not provided “any evidence of a reduction in ground damage” that would necessarily accompany the “amazing success rates” claimed for Iron Dome.

Professor Postol’s conclusion was stark — the Israeli government was “not telling the truth about” the Dome to its own population, or the US, which “provided the Israeli government with the bulk of the funding needed” to design and build the “much-heralded but apparently ineffective” rocket-defense system.

Postol’s conclusions were broadly confirmed by Richard Lloyd, a weapons expert formerly employed by Raytheon, who said interceptions “certainly [did] not” detonate rockets’ warheads, so the system was “essentially failing.”

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Zionism is and always has been a Jewish form of Anti-Semitism

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Steve Bannon to Speak at Annual Zionist Organization of America Gala: ‘He’s So pro-Israel’

Steve Bannon is Donald Trump’s former Strategic Advisor, once the most powerful man in the White House after Trump himself.  Having been fired he has gone back to edit the far-right Breitbart News, house magazine of America’s White Supremacist Alt-Right.  Bannon perhaps more than any other figure represented all that is toxic in Trump’s Administration – the racism, the misogyny and bigotry.

 

It is also clear that Trump was loathe to dismiss Bannon and he only did so only because his new Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, insisted on it as the ‘globalists’ (for which read military hawks and  imperialists) isolated the ‘economic nationalists’.

The disputes between one set of warmongers and another are unimportant.  Both  factions are equally despicable.  What is of note however is how Bannon has been adopted by the Zionists, in particular the Zionist Organisation of America headed by Mort Klein.

Last year the ZOA also invited Bannon but a large Jewish demonstration, led by Jewish Voices for Peace and IfNotNow, two left-wing anti-Zionist Jewish organisations, led him to stay away. Despite this ZOA have renewed their invitation to Bannon for thisyear’s gala dinner.

What one wonders are the attractions of Bannon and the movement he represents to the Zionists. It is barely in dispute that Breitbart is a sewer of racism, misogyny and bigotry with articles such as that by Milo Yiannopoulos, a former Associate Editor, Does Feminism Make Women Ugly?

Yiannopoulous, before he was forced to resign as a result of his advocacy of paedophilia was, despite his half-Jewish parentage, a died in the wool anti-Semite.  In an interview with David Rubin he explained how “Like the Jews run everything. Well we do. The Jews run all the banks. Well we do. The Jews run the media. Well we do. You know they’re right about all that stuff.” Yiannopoulos insisted that Jewish control over finance and the media is “not in debate,” explaining that “Jews completely dominate the media. Vastly disproportionately represented in all of these professions. That’s just a fact, it’s not anti-Semitic to point out statistics.”

 
Milo Yiannopoulous

It is quite understandable that Yiannopoulous was looked on favourably at Breitbart given the views of his Bannon himself.  Bannon’s former wife, Mary Louise Piccard, testified during her 2007 divorce proceedings that Bannon didn’t want his children going to school with ‘whiny Jews’ and complained that there were too many Jewish students at the elite Archer School for Girls.

The biggest problem he had with Archer is the number of Jews that attend,” Bannon’s ex-wife said.   The  comments were first reported by the New York Daily News.

“He said that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiny brats’ and that he didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews,” Piccard wrote.

Bannon complained that another elite school had too “many Hanukkah books” in its library. [Steve Bannon Didn’t Want Children Going to School With ‘Whiny’ Jews, Forward 14.11.16.]  See also Will Steve Bannon Be the Anti-Semitic Firebrand in Donald Trump’s Inner Circle?Forward StaffNovember 14, 2016

But if Bannon and Breitbart are anti-Semitic and supporters of White Supremacism they are also ardently pro-Zionist and pro-Israel.

Liberal Zionist papers like Forward found this hard to understand and there were articles, subsequent to Trump’s election asking how this could be.  Zionists who had spent the best part of their lives equating ‘anti-Semitism’ and anti-Zionism found it a shock that you could be ardently pro-Israel and Zionist  and still dislike Jews.

Naomi Zeveloff  almost seemed to be in shock as she explained that ‘though it would seem impossible to hate Jews but love the Jewish state, these two viewpoints are not as contradictory as they appear.’  She interviewed Steven M. Cohen, a sociologist at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, who explained to her that ‘There is actually “little correlation” between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, according To be sure, anti-Semitism is found among the anti-Zionist left. But it is also found among the Zionist right’ 

You could almost see the scales falling from Zeveloff’s eyes as Cohen told her that ‘many people who dislike Jews like Israel and many people who are critical toward Israel are affectionate toward Jews,”  This was clearly not what she had been brought up to believe.  [How Steve Bannon and Breitbart News Can Be Pro-Israel — and Anti-Semitic at the Same Time, Forward 15.11.16.]

 
Steve Bannon – racist, anti-Semitic but ardently pro-Zionist
To those of us who are longstanding anti-Zionists this is nothing new.  Historically Zionists and anti-Semites have got on like a house on fire, even if it was Jews who did the burning.  From Theodor Herzl, with his trip to see von-Plehve, the author of the Kishinev pogroms in Russia to Ze’ev  Jabotinsky, who allied with the White Russian leader, Petlyura who had up to ¼ million Jewish deaths on his hands, Zionists have always found a strategic ally in anti-Semites.  The collaboration between Zionism and Nazism was not an aberration.  On the contrary it was simply a continuation of this historic relationship.

Why is this the case?  Primarily because Zionism began as a separatist reaction to anti-Semitism which accepted the terms of debate that the anti-Semites set.  Zionis began from the premise that anti-Semitism couldn’t be fought, the non-Jews were inherently anti-Semitic and therefore you had to come to terms with them.  The anti-Semites said that the Jews didn’t belong and the Zionists agreed.

 
Mort Klein of the Zionist Organisation of America – has no problem working with neo-Nazis and anti-Semites as long as they are Zionists

The anti-Semites were more than happy to support Zionism.  Indeed they were often passionate about the fact that Jews should go to Palestine.  In Poland and elsewhere in Europe anti-Semites demonstrated with the chant ‘Jews to Palestine’ just as today Israeli Jews chant ‘Death to the Arabs.’  The belief that Jews belonged in Palestine, not the countries of their birth, was the fundamental basis of their agreement and sometimes, if you didn’t know who was speaking, it could either be a Zionist or an anti-Semite.

To take but 3 examples Israel’s first Justice Minister, Pinhas Rosenbluth described Palestine as ‘an institute for the fumigation of Jewish vermin’.[1] Chaim Weizmann, the longstanding President of the World Zionist Organisation and 1st President of Israel  described German Jewish refugees as ‘the germ-carriers of a new outbreak of anti-Semitism.’[2] Jacob Klatzkin, editor of Die Welt and co-founder of the Encyclopedia Judaica, held that Jews were ‘a people disfigured in both body and soul – in a word, of a horror… some sort of outlandish creature… in any case, not a pure national type…. some sort of oddity among the peoples going by the name of Jew.’ [3]

When Bannon was appointed, the Anti-Defamation League, a thoroughly Zionist group initially spoke out against the appointment but the major pro-Israel lobby group, AIPAC, kept quiet and refused to say anything.  The Zionist Organisation of America, which boasted Alan Dershowitz as a guest at its last dinner, has welcomed Bannon, despite (or maybe because of?) his anti-Semitism.

 
Sebastian Gorka

Their PR adviser, Arthur Schwartz, wrote “we’re honored to have him as a guest.”  His tweet was quoted by Sebastian Gorka, another former Trump adviser who was dismissed from the White House and like Bannon, is close to the American far right. “Can’t wait,” Gorka wrote. “Thank you to Mort Klein and all his team. Patriots, all.”

Gorka has been a life lmember and adviser to far-Right anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi Hungarian groups.  Other speakers at the ZOA dinner alongside Bannon will be American ambassador to Israel David Friedman and former Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman.

“Steve is one of the best friends that Israel has had in any administration,” claimed Schwartz.  Also on the guest list is Gorka.  Vanity Fair described how Gorka was a member of Vitézi Rend, a far-right Hungarian military organization that supported the Nazis during World War II and how he wore a medal honoring the group to an inauguration party.  Gorka defended the group as historically anti-Communist, which of course could be said for any neo-Nazi group. “First I am an Islamophobe, then I’m an anti-Semite, then I am a fascist. Next I am going to be a Martian, you know, subversive,” he said to The Telegraph, calling himself a political victim.

Although Bannon and Gorka are welcomed by Zionist organisations in the United States Jewish anti-Zionist and socialist groups can be expected to demonstrate outside the ZOA’s annual gala dinner come November.

Tony Greenstein

[1]           1. Joachim Doron, p.169, ‘Classic Zionism and modern anti-Semitism: parallels and influences’ (1883-1914), Studies in Zionism 8, Autumn 1983.

[2]           2.  Edwin Black, p.259, The Transfer Agreement, citing Palestine Post 5.7.33.

[3]           3.  Arthur Herzberg, The Zionist Idea, p. 322/323, Temple, Atheneum, New York 1981.

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Sputnik and RT Under Investigation

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Is it news or propaganda? And what about the First Amendment?

Philip Giraldi • Unz Review 

Somehow everything keeps coming back around to Russia. In one of its recent initiatives, the Justice Department (DOJ) appears to be attacking the First Amendment as part of the apparent bipartisan program to make Vladimir Putin the fall guy for everything that goes wrong in Washington. In the past month, the DOJ has revealed that the FBI is investigating Russian owned news outlets Sputnik News and RT International and has sent letters to the latter demanding that one of its business affiliates register as a foreign agent by October 17th. The apparent line of inquiry that the Bureau is pursuing is that both are agencies of the Russian government and that both have been spreading disinformation that is intended to discredit the United States government and its institutions. This alleged action would make them, in the DOJ view, a propaganda arm of a foreign government rather than a news service. It also makes them subject to Department of the Treasury oversight under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.

Sputnik, which is owned by a Russian government media group headed by Putin consigliere Dimitri Kiselyov, has been under investigation due to the accusations made by a fired broadcaster named Andrew Feinberg. Feinberg, the former Sputnik White House correspondent, reportedly took with him a thumb drive containing some thousands of internal business files when he left his office. He has been interviewed by the FBI, has turned over his documents, and has claimed that much of the direction over what the network covered came from Moscow.

RT America, more television oriented than Sputnik, operates through two business entities: RTTV America and RTTV Studios. The Department of Justice has refused to identify which of the businesses has been targeted by a letter calling for registration under FARA, but it is believed to be RTTV America, which provides both operational support of the broadcasting as well as the production facilities. Both companies are actually owned by Russian-American businessman Alex Yazlovsky, though the funding for them presumably comes from the Russian government.

I have noticed very little pushback in the U.S. mainstream and alternative media regarding the Department of Justice moves, presumably because there is a broad consensus that the Russians have been interfering in our “democracy” and have had it coming. If that assumption on my part is correct, the silence over the issue reflects a certain naïvete while also constituting a near perfect example of a pervasive tunnel vision that obscures the significant collateral damage that might be forthcoming.

News organizations are normally considered to be exempt from the requirements of FARA. The Department of Justice action against the two Russian major media outlets is unprecedented insofar as I could determine. Even Qatar owned al-Jazeera, which was so vilified during the early stages of the Afghan War that it had its Kabul offices bombed by the U.S., did not have to register under FARA, was permitted to operate freely, and was even allowed to buy a television channel license for its American operations.

The DOJ is in effect saying that RT and Sputnik are nothing more than propaganda organs and do not qualify as journalism. I would have to disagree if one goes by the standards of contemporary journalism in the United States. America’s self-described “newspapers of record” the New York Times and the Washington Post pretend that they have a lock on stories that are “true.” The Post has adopted the slogan “Democracy Dies in Darkness” while the Times proclaims “The truth is more important now than ever,” but anyone who has read either paper regularly for the past year knows perfectly well that they have been as often as not leading propaganda organs for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, pushing a particular agenda and denigrating Donald Trump. They differ little from the admittedly biased television news reporting provided by Fox News and MSNBC.

What exactly did the Russians do? According to last January’s report signed off on by the FBI, CIA and NSA, which may have motivated the DOJ to take action, RT and Sputnik “consistently cast President-elect Trump as the target of unfair coverage from traditional U.S. media outlets that they claimed were subservient to a corrupt political establishment.” Well, they certainly got that one right and did better in their reporting of what was going on among the American public than either the Washington Post or New York Times.

Regarding Sputnik, Feinberg claimed inter alia that he was “pushed” to ask questions at White House press briefings suggesting that Syria’s Bashar al-Assad was not responsible for some of the chemical attacks that had taken place. One wonders at Feinberg’s reluctance as Sputnik and RT were not the only ones expressing skepticism over the claims of Syrian involvement, which have been widely debunked. And why is expressing a credible alternative view on an event in Syria even regarded as propaganda damaging to the American public?

There is a difficult to distinguish line between FARA restricted “trying to influence opinion” using what is regarded a fake news and propaganda and legitimate journalism reporting stories where the “facts” have been challenged. Even real journalists choose to cover stories selectively, inevitably producing a certain narrative for the viewer, listener or reader. All news services do that to a greater or lesser extent.

I have considerable personal experience of RT in particular and, to a lesser extent, with Sputnik. I also know many others who have been interviewed by one or both. No one who has done so has ever been coached or urged to follow a particular line or support a specific position insofar as I know. Nor do I know anyone who has actually been paid to appear. Most of us who are interviewed are appreciative of the fact that we are allowed to air views that are essentially banned on the mainstream media to include critique of maladroit policies in places like Syria and Afghanistan and biting critiques of the war on terror.

Sputnik, in my opinion, does, however, lean heavily towards stories that are critical of the United States and its policies, while RT has a global reach and is much more balanced in what it covers. For sure, it too criticizes U.S. policies and is protective of the Russian government, but it does not substantially differ from other national news services that I have had done interviews for. I find as much uniquely generated negative reporting about the U.S. (usually linked to violence or guns) on BBC World News, France24 and Deutsche Welle as I do on RT International. To describe it as part of an “influence campaign” driven by a “state-run propaganda machine” has a kernel of truth but it is nevertheless a bit of a stretch since one could make the same claims about any government financed news service, including Voice of America. Governments only get into broadcasting to promote their points of view, not to inform the public.

There is a serious problem in the threats to use FARA as it could advance the ongoing erosion of freedom of the press in the United States by establishing the precedent that a foreign news services that is critical of the U.S. will no longer be tolerated. It is also hypocritical in that countries like Israel that interfere regularly in American politics are exempt from FARA registration because no one dares to take such a step, while Russia is fair game.

Going after news outlets also invites retaliation against U.S. media operating in Russia and, eventually, elsewhere. Currently Western media reports from Russia pretty much without being censored or pressured to avoid certain stories. I would note a recent series that appeared on CBS featuring the repulsive Stephen Colbert spending a week in Russia which mercilessly lampoonedboth the country and its government. No one arrested him or made him stop filming. No one claimed that he was trying to undermine the Russian government or discredit the country’s institutions, even though that is precisely what he was doing.

And then there is the issue of the “threat” posed by news media outlets like RT and Sputnik. Even combined the two services have limited access to the U.S. market, with a 2014 study suggesting that they have only 2.8 million actual weekly viewers. RT did not make the cut and is not included on the list of 100 most popular television channels in the U.S. and it has far less market penetration than other foreign news services like the BBC. It can be found on only a limited number of cable networks in a few, mostly urban areas. It does better in Europe, but its profile in the U.S. market is miniscule. As even bad news is good news in terms of selling a product, it probably did receive higher ratings when the intelligence agency report slamming it came out on it in January. Everyone probably wanted to learn what RT was all about.

So it seems to me that the United States’ moves against RT and Sputnik are little more than lashing out at a problem that is not really a problem in a bid to again promote the Russian “threat” to explain the ongoing dysfunction that prevails in America’s democratic process. One keeps reading or hearing how the American government has “indisputable” proof of Moscow’s intentions to subvert democracy in the U.S. as well as in Europe but the actual evidence is still elusive. Will Russiagate end with a bang or a whimper? No one seems to know.

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Power Corrupts: A Culture of Compliance Breeds Despots and Predators

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By John W. Whitehead | Rutherford Institute 

“All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.”― Frank Herbert

Power corrupts.

Worse, as 19th-century historian Lord Acton concluded, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about a politician, an entertainment mogul, a corporate CEO or a police officer: give any one person (or government agency) too much power and allow him or her or it to believe that they are entitled, untouchable and will not be held accountable for their actions, and those powers will eventually be abused.

We’re seeing this dynamic play out every day in communities across America.

A cop shoots an unarmed citizen for no credible reason and gets away with it. A president employs executive orders to sidestep the Constitution and gets away with it. A government agency spies on its citizens’ communications and gets away with it. An entertainment mogul sexually harasses aspiring actresses and gets away with it. The U.S. military bombs a civilian hospital and a school and gets away with it.

Abuse of power—and the ambition-fueled hypocrisy and deliberate disregard for misconduct that make those abuses possible—works the same whether you’re talking about sexual harassment, government corruption, or the rule of law.

For instance, 20 years ago, I took up a sexual harassment lawsuit on behalf of a young woman—a state employee—who claimed that her boss, a politically powerful man, had arranged for her to meet him in a hotel room, where he then allegedly dropped his pants, propositioned her and invited her to perform oral sex on him.

Despite the fact that this man had a well-known reputation for womanizing and this woman was merely one in a long line of women who had accused the man of groping, propositioning, and pressuring them for sexual favors in the workplace, she was denounced as white trash and subjected to a massive smear campaign by the man’s wife, friends and colleagues (including the leading women’s rights organizations of the day), while he was given lucrative book deals and paid lavish sums for speaking engagements.

William Jefferson Clinton eventually agreed to settle the case and pay Paula Jones $850,000.

Here we are 20 years later and not much has changed.

We’re still shocked by sexual harassment in the workplace, the victims of these sexual predators are still being harassed and smeared, and those who stand to gain the most by overlooking wrongdoing (all across the political spectrum) are still turning a blind eye to misconduct when it’s politically expedient to do so.

This time, it’s Hollywood producer Harvey Weinsteinlongtime Clinton associate and a powerhouse when it comes to raising money for Democrats—who is being accused of decades of sexual assaults, aggressively sexual overtures and harassment.

I won’t go into the nauseating details here. You can read them for yourself at the New York Times and the New Yorker.

Suffice it to say that it’s the same old story all over again: man rises to power, man abuses power abominably, man intimidates and threatens anyone who challenges him with retaliation or worse, and man gets away with it because of a culture of compliance in which no one speaks up because they don’t want to lose their job or their money or their place among the elite.

From what I’ve read, this was Hollywood’s worst-kept secret.

In other words, everyone who was anyone knew about it. They were either complicit in allowing the abuses to take place, turning a blind eye to them, or helping to cover them up.

It’s not just happening in Hollywood, however.

And it’s not just sexual predators that we have to worry about.

For every Harvey Weinstein (or Roger Ailes or Bill Cosby or Donald Trump) who eventually gets called out for his sexual misbehavior, there are hundreds—thousands—of others in the American police state who are getting away with murder—in many cases, literally—simply because they can.

The cop who shoots the unarmed citizen first and asks questions later might get put on paid leave for a while or take a job with another police department, but that’s just a slap on the wrist. The shootings and SWAT team raids and excessive use of force will continue, because the police unions and the politicians and the courts won’t do a thing to stop it. Case in point: The Justice Department will no longer attempt to police the police when it comes to official misconduct. Instead, it plans to give police agencies more money and authority to “fight” crime.

The war hawks who are making a profit by waging endless wars abroad, killing innocent civilians in hospitals and schools, and turning the American homeland into a domestic battlefield will continue to do so because neither the president nor the politicians will dare to challenge the military industrial complex. Case in point: Rather than scaling back on America’s endless wars, President Trump—like his predecessors—has continued to expand America’s military empire and its attempts to police the globe.

The National Security Agency that carries out warrantless surveillance on Americans’ internet and phone communications will continue to do so, because the government doesn’t want to relinquish any of its ill-gotten powers. Case in point: The USA Liberty Act, proposed as a way to “fix” all that’s wrong with domestic surveillance, will instead legitimize the government’s snooping powers.

Unless something changes in the way we deal with these ongoing, egregious abuses of power, the predators of the police state will continue to wreak havoc on our freedoms, our communities, and our lives.

Police officers will continue to shoot and kill unarmed citizens. Government agents—including local police—will continue to dress and act like soldiers on a battlefield.

Bloated government agencies will continue to fleece taxpayers while eroding our liberties. Government technicians will continue to spy on our emails and phone calls. Government contractors will continue to make a killing by waging endless wars abroad.

And powerful men (and women) will continue to abuse the powers of their office by treating those around them as underlings and second-class citizens who are unworthy of dignity and respect and undeserving of the legal rights and protections that should be afforded to all Americans.

As Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at the at the University of California, Berkeley, observed in the Harvard Business Review, “While people usually gain power through traits and actions that advance the interests of others, such as empathy, collaboration, openness, fairness, and sharing; when they start to feel powerful or enjoy a position of privilege, those qualities begin to fade. The powerful are more likely than other people to engage in rude, selfish, and unethical behavior.”

After conducting a series of experiments into the phenomenon of how power corrupts, Keltner concluded: “Just the random assignment of power, and all kinds of mischief ensues, and people will become impulsive. They eat more resources than is their fair share. They take more money. People become more unethical. They think unethical behavior is okay if they engage in it. People are more likely to stereotype. They’re more likely to stop attending to other people carefully.”

Power corrupts.

And absolute power corrupts absolutely.

However, it takes a culture of entitlement and a nation of compliant, willfully ignorant, politically divided citizens to provide the foundations of tyranny.

As researchers Joris Lammers and Adam Galinsky found, those in power not only tend to abuse that power but they also feel entitledto abuse it: “People with power that they think is justified break rules not only because they can get away with it, but also because they feel at some intuitive level that they are entitled to take what they want.”

That sense of entitlement and immunity from charges of wrongdoing dovetails with Richard Nixon’s belief that “when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

For too long now, America has played politics with its principles and allowed the president and his colleagues to act in violation of the rule of law.

“We the people” are paying the price for it now.

Americans have allowed Congress, the White House and the Judiciary to wreak havoc with our freedoms. They have tolerated an oligarchy in which a powerful, elite group of wealthy donors is calling the shots. They have paid homage to patriotism while allowing the military industrial complex to spread death and destruction abroad. And they have turned a blind eye to all manner of wrongdoing when it was politically expedient.

This culture of compliance must stop.

The empowerment of petty tyrants and political gods must end.

For starters, let’s go back to the basics: the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Let’s recommit to abiding by the rule of law.

Here’s what the rule of law means in a nutshell: it means that everyone is treated the same under the law, everyone is held equally accountable to abiding by the law, and no one is given a free pass based on their politics, their connections, their wealth, their status or any other bright line test used to confer special treatment on the elite.

Let’s demand scrutiny and transparency at all levels of government, which in turn will lead to accountability.

We need to stop being victimized by these predators.

As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, I’m not just talking about the political predators in office, but the ones who are running the show behind the scenes—the shadow government—comprised of unelected government bureaucrats whose powers are unaffected by elections, unaltered by populist movements, and beyond the reach of the law.

There is no way to erase the scars left by the government’s greed for money and power, its disregard for human life, its corruption and graft, its pollution of the environment, its reliance on excessive force in order to ensure compliance, its covert activities, its illegal surveillance, and its blatant disdain for the rule of law.

“We the people”—men and women alike— have been victims of the police state for so long that not many Americans even remember what it is to be truly free anymore. Worse, few want to shoulder the responsibility that goes along with maintaining freedom.

Still, we must try.

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Trump is sinking in the quicksand of West Asia

NOVANEWS
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By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline 

An amazing week is unfolding in West Asian politics. It began with three dramatic developments on Monday – Turkish troops crossing the border into Syria’s Idlib province; announcement in Moscow on agreement to sell the S-400 missile defence system to Saudi Arabia; and, the freeze on visas by the US and Turkey for each other’s nationals. And the week promises to be climactic in the US-Iranian relations.

On Monday Iranian Foreign Ministry warned that any move by the Trump administration to impose sanctions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps will be a “strategic mistake” and Tehran’s response will be “firm, decisive and crushing”. It echoed a warning by the head of the IRGC, General Mohammad Ali Jafari that if the US designated his organization as terrorist, Iran will regard the US forces anywhere as the allies of the Islamic State and target them. Indeed, the weekend is slated to witness the refusal by US President Donald Trump to meet the October 15 deadline for endorsing Washington’s participation in the Iran nuclear deal. The common thread that runs through all these developments is the US’ standing in West Asia vis-a-vis the three most important regional states — Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Syria: The Turkish military operation in Idlib is directed against the al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front. The operation stems from the Astana process where Russia, Turkey and Iran have worked out the establishment of a ‘de-escalation zone’ in Idlib. The US is the odd man out looking in. The backdrop is provided by the upswing in Turkish-Russian relations and the recent Turkish-Iranian rapprochement. Turkey and Iran have common interest to counter the US-Israeli encouragement to Kurdish separatism. Clearly, the Turkish-Iranian rapprochement is having positive fallout on the Syrian situation.

Saudi-Russian ties: The announcement in Moscow on Monday regarding the sale of the S-400 missile defence systemto Saudi Arabia signifies a tectonic shift in the Middle East politics. Saudi Arabia has been a ‘pivotal state’ in the US’ Middle East strategies since the mid-forties. It is now embarking on a ‘non-aligned’ foreign policy. The visit by King Salman to Russia last week, Aramco’s dealings with Rosneft and Gazprom, OPEC-Russia agreement to cut oil production – these suggest that the US-Saudi axis is steadily dissolving. Interestingly, Tehran is calmly viewing the Saudi-Russian rapprochement. These trends put a dagger at the heart of the entire US strategy in the Gulf, which had historically fostered a ‘bloc mentality’ among the Sunni states by fuelling their tensions vis-à-vis Iran.

Sensing that Saudi Arabia and Russia might clinch a deal over the S-400 missile defence system, Washington hurriedly announced last Friday that it proposed to accede to the pending request from Riyadh for purchase of the rival THAAD missile system. (Due to Israeli pressure Washington was dragging its feet on the $15 billion deal.) A keen tussle is developing and its outcome will be a litmus test of the US’ capacity to influence Saudi decision-making.

Turkish-American spat: Last week Turkish security nabbed a local employee of the US Consulate in Istanbul for alleged links with the Islamist preacher Fetullah Gulen who is living in the US and whom the Turks suspect as having been involved in the US-backed coup attempt last July against Erdogan. Washington went ballistic. From all appearances, Turkish intelligence may have nabbed a key accomplice of the CIA who had acted as go-between during the failed coup attempt last year. The statement by the US ambassador in Ankara, here, betrays nervousness. Woven into this is Washington’s support of Kurdish separatist groups, which Erdogan sees as the ‘hidden agenda’ of Americans to destabilize Turkey. The Turkish-American relations are in serious difficulty.

Iran nuclear deal: Trump is about to announce this weekend that Iran is not in compliance with the July 2015 nuclear deal. If that happens, US lawmakers have a 60-day window to decide whether to re-impose sanctions against Iran. The Israeli lobby is active on the Capitol Hill. To be sure, pressure will mount on Tehran to respond and retaliate somehow. There is an influential section of opinion within the Iranian establishment that never trusted the US intentions. Clearly, the door is closing on a gestation process over confidence-building that might have incrementally led to a US-Iranian normalization. (Read an insightful opinion piece in the New York Times by Wendy R. Sherman, a former Undersecretary of State for political affairs, who was the US’ lead negotiator for the Iran nuclear agreement – Trump Is Going to Make a Huge Mistake on the Iran Deal.)

All in all, the US is running out of friends and allies in West Asia – with the solitary exception of Israel. Its traditional Cold War-era NATO ally Turkey is turning unfriendly; Iran is preparing to confront the US; GCC is in turmoil but the US is watching helplessly; and, most important, Saudis are exploring the seamless potentials of a non-aligned foreign policy. Trump’s record in West Asia is proving dismal.

Posted in USA0 Comments

US offers $12 mln bounty on two Hezbollah leaders, cites ‘homeland’ threat

NOVANEWS
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The US has offered a total of $12 million in rewards for the capture of two senior Hezbollah officials, saying the Iranian-backed group is plotting attacks inside the US. The announcement comes as Washington mulls canceling the Iran nuclear deal.

A $7 million bounty applies to Talal Hamiyah, head of Hezbollah’s external operations. Another $5 million is being offered for Fuad Shukr, the group’s senior military official, accused of masterminding the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing that killed 241 US Marines.

Hezbollah is “focused on US interests, including here in the homeland,” National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas J. Rasmussen told reporters at the State Department Tuesday.

While he declined to comment on any specific, credible or imminent threats, Rasmussen said the US intelligence community continues to see “activity on behalf of Hezbollah here inside the homeland.”

“It’s our assessment that Hezbollah is determined to give itself a potential homeland option as a critical component of its terrorism playbook,” he added.

The FBI arrested two Hezbollah operatives in June, one in New York and another in Michigan, said Counterterrorism Coordinator Nathan A. Sales.

Asked whether this would affect Washington’s financial support to the government of Lebanon, which includes several Hezbollah members, Sales replied that it will not. He added that the US does not recognize any distinctions within the group.

“Hezbollah has no political wing. It is a single organization, a terrorist organization, and it is rotten to its core,” Sales said, pointing to Iran as the group’s chief sponsor.

The State Department designated Hezbollah – or Hizballah, as the US government spells it – as a foreign terrorist organization in October 8, 1997. In February this year, the US offered a $5 million bounty for Mohammed Ali Hamadei, a Hezbollah member who allegedly took part in the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847 in which US sailor Robert Stethem was killed.

Although the bounties were officially announced Tuesday, news of their existence was reported Monday by the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv. … Full article

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The Tragic Failure of Ken Burns Vietnam

NOVANEWS
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By Christopher Koch | Medium 

There is so much to love about this series. The uncompromising scenes of combat, the voices of both Americans and Vietnamese, the historical context, the exposure of the utter incompetence of our military leaders, the terrific music that is frequently exactly where it should be, the slowly revealed powerful still images and Peter Coyote’s wonderful narrative voice. Its tragic failure is its inability to hold anyone responsible for their actions.

Burns and Novick tell us that the war was begun “in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and …” whatever the current threat. That’s probably true of most wars. However, as we used to teach our children, you have to be accountable for your actions. If you kill someone speeding the wrong way down a one way street you’ll get charged with manslaughter even if you’re rushing someone to the hospital.

It’s the lack of accountability, the failure to prosecute those who lied to get us into the war, who encouraged battlefield tactics that resulted in the massacre of women and children, who authorized the indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets, who drenched Vietnam in chemical poisons that will cause birth defects and death for generations.

In order to maintain this central lie, Burns and Novick must establish a false balance between good and evil on both sides. Every time the United States is shown doing something bad, Burns and Novick show us how the Vietnamese also did bad things. In one absurd example, Coyote intones something like, “we called them ‘Dinks,’ ‘Gooks,’ ‘Mamasans;’ they called us ‘invaders’ and ‘imperialists.’” The GI terms are dehumanizing, but the Vietnamese terms are accurate. People who cross 3,000 miles of ocean to attack a country that has done them no harm, are accurately called ‘invaders.’ I suppose you could argue about the ‘imperialist’ charge.

Vietnamese soldiers killed some 58,000 Americans and wounded a couple of hundred thousand more. Burns and Novick put the number of Vietnamese we killed at 3 million, but most experts say it was more like 4 million and Vietnam says its 6 million, with more people continuing to die from unexploded ordinance and Agent Orange. We destroyed 60% of their villages, sprayed 21 million gallons of lethal poisons, imposed free fire zones (a euphemism for genocide) on 75% of South Vietnam. They attacked US military bases in their country and never killed an American on American soil. There are no equivalences here.

Burns and Novick do a good job of explaining that the United States worked with Ho Chi Minh during World War II and that Ho hoped to get our support after the war. They do not mention that having friendly relations with Communist countries was a successful strategy we used with Yugoslavia, because although it was Communist, Yugoslavia was also independent and a thorn in the Soviet Union’s side. Any minimal understanding of Vietnam’s history would have identified Vietnam’s fiercely independent streak. Intelligent leaders (anyone with half a brain) would have adopted the Yugoslav strategy in Vietnam.

This brings us to another central problem of the Burns and Novick series, Leslie Gelb’s smiling recollection (he looks so smug) that nobody knew anything about Vietnam and didn’t for several years. In fact, throughout the series, many people say “we should have known better.” Is ignorance really a good excuse for launching a brutal war and the war crimes that followed? Unmentioned is how easy it was to gather information on Vietnam. French historians and journalists had studied every aspect of the country and its culture during and after their defeat in the French Indo China war. Much of this material had been translated into English. That’s how I figured out in 1965 that we were going to lose the war in Vietnam.

Burns and Novick fail to mention my trip to North Vietnam in 1965 nor any of the other trips to North Vietnam by members of the American peace movement such as Tom Hayden, Staughton Lynd and Herbert Aptheker who went in January 1966 and members of Women’s Strike for Peace who went later. They only show us Jane Fonda’s trip in 1972, when she broadcast to US troops asking them to stop the bombing and was photographed sitting on an anti-aircraft gun. No one else who went to North Vietnam did either of these things.

Our earlier trips to North Vietnam were important, because we were the only Americans to witness the destruction being rained down on North Vietnam. Burns’ documentary shows lots of aerial shots of bombs and napalm going off (Mussolini’s son called them rosebuds blooming in the desert when he attack Ethiopia) but very few shots of the bomb’s effects on the ground in North Vietnam. We hear talk of precision bombing, but those of us who traveled to North Vietnam observed hospitals, schools, churches, markets, and working class neighborhoods utterly destroyed. And this was ten years before the war ended!

The Burns’ documentary doesn’t show us the makeshift hospitals with children and old people without arms and legs or suffering from horrendous burns, all victims of American bombing attacks. The documentary focuses our compassion on the American pilots who dropped the bombs.

In fact, the only heroes in Ken Burns’ Vietnam are American GI’s. Almost everyone else is their enemy: the Vietnamese they fought, the officers whose absurd strategy sent them to their deaths, and the American peace movement that struggled to end the war and bring them home. Burns and Novick portray the peace movement in the worst possible terms. In at least three places, they have moving sound bites about how returning soldiers were spit on or in other ways disrespected. It’s a false memory, at least in any general sense. They couldn’t find any visual support, no signs about baby killers, because it didn’t happen, or happened extremely rarely.

To me, this is the central flaw of Burns and Novick’s film, their failure to deal truthfully and equally with the peace movement. Six million Americans took part in the anti-war effort (only 2.7 million Americans served as soldiers). Everyone I knew in the peace movement honored the veterans and wanted justice for them. They studied books, took part in teach-ins, and watched newsreels. But Burns and Novick, with a couple of notable exceptions, characterize the peace movement as uninformed, chaotic, disrespectful, self absorbed and violent. At one point, they intercut 1969 pictures of kids at Woodstock wallowing in great music with soldiers fighting in Vietnam. What was that supposed to mean?

The kids who refused to go (many out of righteous opposition), who fled into exile in Canada or Sweden, or who, like boxer Muhammad Ali lost his right to fight for three years, or the Fort Hood 3 who went to prison, or the professors and journalists who lost their jobs, the protestors beaten by riled up construction workers, Martin Luther King who went public with his opposition in 1967, the priests who raided draft offices and burned their records, Alice Hertz and two other Americans who burned themselves to death in honor of the Buddhist monks who did the same in South Vietnam protesting our puppet regime — these are not worth profiling, all tinged by the same brush, they are the bad guys who disrespected our troops and went violent. What a wonderful authoritarian message that gives to viewers. Don’t protest an evil war or your country’s war crimes.

The only heroes in Burns and Novick’s Vietnam are American servicemen and I am thrilled to see them finally recognized for what they went through. We have moving back stories of their homes, their motives for joining, their families waiting for them.

None of the six million participants in the American peace movement gets similar treatment. The same is true, incidentally, of the Vietnamese. While the sound bites are great, there are no Vietnamese back stories either.

Without the peace movement, there is no moral center to this series. The lack of accountability is fatal. That an American general can watch from a helicopter the massacre at Mai Lai (as the films tells us) and suffer no consequences is sickening. If military courts had aggressively prosecuted violators of human rights, or even if we only had held detailed and accurate reconciliations where the truth came out, there would have been a chance that our reckless invasions of Iraq with its policy of torture and the invasion of Afghanistan would not have followed so easily. When people are held accountable for their actions, perpetrators of questionable violent acts think twice.

Last week on NPR an American general in Afghanistan announced that we are not trying to occupy territory in Afghanistan, we are simply trying to kill terrorists. Here, again, is the same rationale of the body count that led to disaster in Vietnam. We are reliving the Vietnam War because no one was ever really held responsible for its horrors.

The moral center of the Vietnam War was held by those who opposed it. Several people I’ve talked to say the series is depressing. I had the same feeling of despair at the end. Burns and Novick suggest Vietnam’s a tragedy. It’s not. In tragedy a powerful human makes a terrible mistake and suffers the consequences. No one suffered any consequences for Vietnam. Burns and Novick assure us that even if people did wrong, they didn’t mean to. America is still the shining city on the hill and we can do no wrong.

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Russia ready to mediate talks between Saudi Arabia & Iran

 NOVANEWS
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RT 

Russia is ready and willing to mediate in establishing relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov has stated.

“We tried several times and offered [to help Iran and Saudi Arabia sit down at the negotiating table], but we do not impose our intermediary role,” Bogdanov told reporters.

“But we have always told our partners in both Saudi Arabia and Iran that we are ready to provide both a platform for contacts and friendly services.”

Bogdanov added that Moscow has always highlighted the need to resolve the issues between the two countries.

“Many problems would have been much easier to resolve had there been mutual understanding and trust between Tehran and Riyadh,” Bogdanov said.

He added that the situation in the entire region, especially regarding antiterrorism efforts, depends on mutual understanding and cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Bogdanov stressed that Russia always tells Saudi Arabia and Iran that it is ready to report something from one side to another or to organize their bilateral contacts. “These proposals remain on the table both with our Saudi and Iranian partners,” he said.

In May, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman accused Saudi Arabia of supporting terrorism and seeking confrontational policies in the region. He was responding to comments by the Saudi deputy crown prince, who earlier ruled out dialogue with Tehran. Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud, the kingdom’s defense minister, said it was impossible to mend relations between his country and Iran due to Tehran’s “extremist ideology” and ambitions to “control the Islamic world.”

Diplomatic ties between the two countries were severed in 2016 after Iranian protesters attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran, following the execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister responded by accusing Iran of setting up “terrorist cells” inside the kingdom. Iran then issued a warning that “divine vengeance” would come to Saudi Arabia as a punishment for Nimr’s execution as well as for Riyadh’s bombings in Yemen and support for the Bahraini government.

In February of this year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, while on a visit to Saudi ally Kuwait, said that Tehran would like to restore relations and improve ties with all its Gulf Arab neighbors.

One area where Moscow and Riyadh disagree is Iran’s involvement in Syria.

Riyadh, a main backer of the Syrian opposition, is against the actions of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Hezbollah group in Syria. According to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir, these groups influence the situations in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, the Gulf countries, and Yemen, and have no place in Syria or any other part of the world. Riyadh’s primary objective has been to put an end to Iran’s involvement in the region.

Meanwhile, Russia has argued that Iran and Hezbollah are operating in Syria at the official request of President Bashar Assad.

“We don’t see Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. We believe that both of them [Iran and Hezbollah] – like Russia’s air forces – came to Syria following the request of the legitimate government,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed in April.

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The Centre for I$raHell and Jewish Affairs: Stoking Islamophobia and Defending Racism

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By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice 

Would a farmer ask a fox to help design a security system for her free-range chickens?

A group that stokes Islamophobia and defends an explicitly supremacist organization shouldn’t be part of a Public Consultation on Systemic Discrimination and Racism in Québec. The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) should be removed from the “list of selected organizations” for this important initiative.

While groups participating in the just launched consultation are supposed to “develop concrete proposals to combat systemic discrimination and racism”, last summer CIJA campaigned aggressively against a Green Party of Canada resolution calling on the Canada Revenue Agency to revoke the charitable status of an explicitly racist organization. The Green’s motion described the Jewish National Fund’s (JNF) “discrimination against non-Jews in Israel through its bylaws which prohibit the lease or sale of its lands to non-Jews.” Owner of 13 percent of Israel’s land – mostly seized from Palestinians in 1948 – the JNF systematically discriminates against the 20% of non-Jewish Israeli citizens. JNF racism is not the all too common ‘personal’ or even ‘structural’ variety, rather a legalistic discrimination outlawed in Canada six decades ago.

CIJA and the JNF Canada often work together and sponsor each other’s events. Additionally, JNF Canada CEO Lance Davis previously worked as CIJA’s National Jewish Campus Life director.

Beyond defending racist land-use policies in Israel, CIJA has stigmatized marginalized Canadians by hyping “Islamic terror” and targeting Arab and Muslim community representativespapers, organizations, etc. In response to a truck attack in Nice, France, last year CIJA declared “Canada is not immune to … Islamist terror” and in February they highlighted, “those strains of Islam that pose a real and imminent threat to Jews around the world.”

In a bid to deter organizations from associating with the Palestinian cause or opposing Israeli belligerence in the region, CIJA demonizes Canadian Arabs and Muslims by constantly accusing them of supporting “terror”. Last week the lobbying arm of Canada’s Jewish Federations said it was “shocked” Ottawa failed to rescind the charitable status of the Islamic Society of British Columbia. CIJA alleges that the Vancouver area mosque supports Hamas, which the federal government considers a terrorist organization but Palestinians (and most of the world) consider a political/resistance organization.

In 2014 CIJA pushed to proscribe as a terrorist entity Mississauga-based IRFAN (International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy). The Jewish group’s press release about the first Canadian-based group ever designated a terrorist organization boasted that “current CIJA board member, the Honourable Stockwell Day … called attention to IRFAN-Canada’s disturbing activities nearly a decade ago.”

In the early 2000s pro-Israel groups and the Conservative Party accused a charity that supported thousands of orphans in a dozen countries of working for Hamas. But, a Canada Revenue Agency audit failed to substantiate the claim. As the two-year audit was about to wrap up at the end of 2004, Stockwell Day and the Canadian Coalition of Democracies (CCD) held a press conference where they accused IRFAN of being a front for Hamas, which prompted a defamation suit (CCD eventually retracted the allegation while Day was protected by parliamentary privilege).

When Day’s Conservatives later took power the CRA renewed their investigation of IRFAN in what appeared to be an effort to prove that Muslim Canadians financed “Hamas terror”. In 2011 the CRA revoked the group’s charitable status, claiming “IRFAN-Canada is an integral part of an international fundraising effort to support Hamas.” A big part of the CRA’s supporting evidence was that IRFAN worked with the Gaza Ministry of Health and Ministry of Telecommunications, which came under Hamas’ direction after they won the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. The Canadian organization tried to send a dialysis machine to Gaza and continued to support orphans in the impoverished territory with the money channelled through the Post Office controlled by the Telecommunications Ministry.

This author cannot claim any detailed knowledge of the charity, but on the surface of it the charge that IRFAN was a front for Hamas makes little sense. First of all, the group was registered with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank when the Fatah-controlled PA was waging war against Hamas. Are we to believe that CRA officials in Ottawa had a better sense of who supported Hamas then the PA in Ramallah? Additionally, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) viewed the Canadian charity as a legitimate partner. In 2009 IRFAN gave UNRWA $1.2 million to build a school for girls in Battir, a West Bank village.

In a sign of how the campaign against IRFAN stigmatized a marginalized group, the CRA’s findings were used to smear the 2012 edition of the Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference in Toronto because IRFAN was one of 17 sponsors of one of the largest Muslim gatherings in North America.

While quick to attack Arabs and Muslims’ support for “terror” or “anti-Semitism”, CIJA clams up when explicit Jewish Islamophobia is brought to their attention. In 2012 the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) asked for CIJA’s help with an aggressively anti-Muslim textbook used at Joe Dwek Ohr HaEmet Sephardic School in Toronto. It described Muslims as “rabid fanatics” with “savage beginnings”, but CIJA refused to respond.

In a more recent example of the group stoking anti-Muslim sentiment, CIJA aligned itself with the backlash against the term “Islamophobia” in bill M-103, which called for collecting data on hate crimes and studying the issue of “eliminating systemicracism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia.” CEO Shimon Fogel said the “wording of M-103 is flawed. Specifically, we are concerned with the word ‘Islamophobia’ because it is misleading, ambiguous, and politically charged.” It takes chutzpah for a Jewish community leader to make this argument since, as Rick Salutin points out, anti-Semitism is a more ambiguous term. But, Fogel would no doubt label as anti-Jewish someone who objected to the term anti-Semitism as “misleading, ambiguous, and politically charged”.

An initiative promoted by committed anti-racist campaigners, the Public Consultation on Systemic Discrimination and Racism in Québec is important. It should not include a group that stokes Islamophobia and defends an explicitly supremacist organization.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Politics0 Comments


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