Archive | October 13th, 2017

Carter Offers to Meet with Kim Jong-un to Prevent War with N.Korea

NOVANEWS

Jimmy Carter wrote that his more than 20 years’ worth of experience in dealing with the North taught him that what the country’s leadership wants more than anything is direct talks with the U.S. that would lead to a permanent peace treaty.

  

With tensions once again flaring up between the United States and North Korea, it was reported Tuesday that former U.S. president Jimmy Carter has offered to meet with leader Kim Jong-un to discuss ways to achieve peace.

The revelation comes by way of South Korean news outlet JoongAng Ilbo, which spoke with Park Han-shik, a prominent scholar on North Korean-related issues. Park previously helped Carter plan diplomatic trips to the country in 1994 and 2010.

JoongAng Ilbo writes that Park met with the former president at his home in Georgia on September 28, and it was there that Carter reportedly expressed his wishes.

“Should former President Carter be able to visit North Korea, he would like to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and discuss a peace treaty between the United States and the North and a complete denuclearization of North Korea,” Park told the outlet, “and contribute toward establishing a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.”

Earlier in September, while speaking before gatherers at his Carter Center in Atlanta, the former president was highly critical of the Trump administration, particularly in the area of foreign policy. Then, last week, Carter penned an editorial for The Washington Post in which he addressed North Korea directly.

Carter wrote that his more than 20 years’ worth of experience in dealing with the North taught him that what the country’s leadership wants more than anything is direct talks with the U.S. that would lead to a permanent peace treaty. Technically, the agreement to cease the Korean War in 1953 was only an armistice, and the two countries are still at war.

The former president says that, indeed, “the preservation of their regime” is priority one for the government in Pyongyang, and current strategies that attempt to de-escalate the situation are failing because the North Korean leadership “believes its survival is at stake.”

Carter says what’s needed now is for the U.S. to “send a high-level delegation to Pyongyang for peace talks or to support an international conference” of all the relevant regional players, including China.

In his piece, Carter doesn’t nominate himself to lead such an effort, but if Tuesday’s report out of South Korea is accurate, he seems willing to fill the role. He would need permission from the federal government, however, as a ban on U.S. citizens traveling to North Korea went into effect in September.

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Five Reasons Why Trump Is Moving Towards War with Iran

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Make no mistake: We do not have a crisis over the Iran nuclear deal. It is working and everyone from Secretary Mattis and Tillerson to the US and Israeli intelligence services to the International Atomic Energy Agency agree: Iran is adhering to the deal. But Trump is about to take a working deal and turn it into a crisis–an international crisis that very likely can lead to war. While the decertification of the Iran deal that Trump is scheduled to announce on Friday in and of itself doesn’t collapse the deal, it does trigger a process that increases the risk of war in the following five ways.

1. If the deal collapses, so does the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program

The nuclear deal, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) took two very bad scenarios off the table: It blocked all of Iran’s paths to a nuclear bomb and it prevented war with Iran. By killing the deal, Trump is putting both of those bad scenarios back on the table.

As I describe in my book Losing an Enemy – Obama, Iran and the triumph of Diplomacy, it was the very real danger of a military conflict that drove the Barack Obama administration to become so dedicated to find a diplomatic solution to this crisis. In January 2012, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta stated publicly that Iran’s breakout – the time it would take from making the decision to build the bomb to having the material for a bomb – was twelve months. In spite of massive sanctions on Iran aimed at both retarding the nuclear program and convincing the Iranians that the nuclear program was too costly to continue, the Iranians aggressively expanded their nuclear activities.

By January 2013, exactly a year later, a new sense of urgency dawned on the White House. Iran’s breakout time had shrunk from twelve months to a mere 8-12 weeks. If Iran decided to dash for a bomb, the United States might not have enough time to stop Tehran militarily. According to former CIA deputy director Michael Morell, Iran’s shrinking breakout time caused the U.S. to be “closer to war with the Islamic Republic than at any time since 1979.” Other countries realized the danger as well.

“The actual threat of military action was almost felt as electricity in the air before a thunderstorm,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told me.

If nothing changed, President Obama concluded, the U.S. would soon face a binary option: Either go to war with Iran (due to pressure from Israel, Saudi Arabia and some elements inside the US) to stop its nuclear program or acquiesce to Iran’s nuclear fait accompli. The only way out of this lose-lose situation was a diplomatic solution. Three months later, the US and Iran held a pivotal secret meeting in Oman where the Obama administration managed to secure a diplomatic breakthrough that paved the way for the JCPOA.

The deal prevented war. Killing the deal prevents the peace. If Trump collapses the deal and the Iranians restart their program, the US will soon find itself facing the same dilemma that Obama did in 2013. The difference is that the President is now Donald Trump, a man who doesn’t even know how to spell diplomacy, let alone conduct it.

2. Trump is planning to take on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps

Decertification is only half the story. Trump also plans to significantly escalate tensions with Iran in the region, including taking a measure that both the Bush and Obama administrations rejected: Designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization. Make no mistake, the IRGC is far from an army of saints. It is responsible for much of the repression against the population inside of Iran and it fought the U.S. military indirectly in Iraq through Shia militias. But it has also been one of the most critical fighting forces against ISIS.

In real terms, the designation does not add much to the pressure the U.S. already is or can impose on the IRGC. But it ratchets things up in a very dangerous way without any clear benefits to the United States. The drawbacks, however, are crystal clear. IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari issued a stern warning last week:

“If the news is correct about the stupidity of the American government in considering the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group, then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the American army to be like Islamic State [ISIS] all around the world.”

If the IRGC acts on its warning and targets U.S. troops – and there are 10,000 such targets in Iraq – we will only be a few steps away from war.

3. Trump is escalating without having any exit ramps

Escalation is under all circumstances a dangerous game. But it is particularly dangerous when you do not have diplomatic channels that ensure that the other side reads your signals correctly and that provides mechanisms for de-escalation. Not having such exit-ramps is like driving a car without a brake. You can accelerate, you can crash, but you can’t brake.

Military commanders understand this. That’s what former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen warned about prior to the Obama administration investing in diplomacy.

“We’ve not had a direct link of communication with Iran since 1979,” Mullen said. “And I think that has planted many seeds for miscalculation. When you miscalculate, you can escalate and misunderstand… We are not talking to Iran, so we don’t understand each other. If something happens, it’s virtually assured that we won’t get it right — that there will be miscalculation which would be extremely dangerous in that part of the world.”

Mullen issued this warning when Obama was president, a man often criticized for being too restrained and too unwilling to use military power. Imagine how nervous and worried Mullen must be today with Trump calling the shots in the situation room.

4. Some US allies want the US to fight their war with Iran

There is no secret that Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been pushing the US for years to go to war with Iran. Israel in particular was not only making threats of preemptive military action itself, its ultimate aim was to convince the United States to conduct the attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities for Israel.

“The intention,” former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak admitted to the Israeli paper Ynet in July of this year, “was both to make the Americans increase sanctions and to carry out the operation.” While the Israeli security establishment today opposes killing the nuclear deal (Barak himself said as much in an interview with the New York Times this week), there are no indications that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has changed his mind on this matter. He has called on Trump to “fix or nix” the deal, though his criteria for how to fix the deal is so unrealistic it virtually ensures the deal will collapse – which in turn would put the US on a path to war with Iran.

The only person who arguably has a worse sense of judgement than Trump is Netanyahu. After all, this is what he told US lawmakers in 2002 as he lobbied them to invade Iraq:

”If you take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region.”

5. Trump’s donors are obsessed with starting war with Iran

Some have suggested that Trump is pursuing the decertification of the Iran deal — in spite of the near consensus advice of his top advisors to not go down this path – as a result of pressure from his base. But there is no evidence that his base cares much about this issue. Rather, as Eli Clifton meticulously had documented, the most dedicated force behind Trump’s obsession with killing the Iran deal is not his base, but a tiny group of top Republican donors.

“A small number of his biggest campaign and legal defense donors have made extreme comments about Iran and, in at least one case, advocated for the use of a nuclear weapon against the Islamic Republic,” Clifton wrote last month.

The billionaire Home Depot founder Bernard Marcus, for instance, has given Trump $101,700 to help pay Trump and Donald Trump Jr.’s legal fees following the probe into Russian election interference. Hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer is another major donor to pro-war groups in Washington who Trump has relied upon for financial support. The most famous billionaire donor, of course, is Sheldon Adelson who has contributed $35 million to pro-Trump Super PAC Future 45. All of these donors have pushed for war with Iran, though only Adelson has gone as far as to suggest the US should strike Iran with nuclear weapons as a negotiating tactic.

Thus far, Trump has gone with the advice of these billionaires on Iran over that of his Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff. None of the above five scenarios were realistic a few months ago. They have become plausible — even likely – because Trump has decided to make them so. Just like with George Bush’s invasion of Iraq, Trump’s confrontation with Iran is a war of choice, not a war of necessity.

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Why North Korea Wants Nuke Deterrence

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The revelation that North Korea hacked into South Korea’s military secrets and found U.S. plans for a preemptive “decapitation” of Pyongyang’s leadership explains its rush to build a nuclear deterrent, says Nicolas J S Davies.

Featured image: North Korean missile launch on March 6, 2017.

The Western media has been awash in speculation as to why, about a year ago, North Korea’s “crazy” leadership suddenly launched a crash program to vastly improve its ballistic missile capabilities. That question has now been answered.

In September 2016, North Korean cyber-defense forces hacked into South Korean military computers and downloaded 235 gigabytes of documents. The BBC has revealed that the documents included detailed U.S. plans to assassinate North Korea’s president, Kim Jong-un, and launch an all-out war on North Korea. The BBC’s main source for this story is Rhee Cheol-hee, a member of the Defense Committee of the South Korean National Assembly.

These plans for aggressive war have actually been long in the making. In 2003, the U.S. scrapped an agreement signed in 1994 under which North Korea suspended its nuclear program and the U.S. agreed to build two light water reactors in North Korea. The two countries also agreed to a step-by-step normalization of relations. Even after the U.S. scrapped the 1994 Agreed Framework in 2003, North Korea did not restart work on the two reactors frozen under that agreement, which could by now be producing enough plutonium to make several nuclear weapons every year.

However, since 2002-03, when President George W. Bush included North Korea in his “axis of evil,” withdrew from the Agreed Framework, and launched an invasion of Iraq over bogus WMD claims, North Korea once again began enriching uranium and making steady progress toward developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles to deliver them.

By 2016, the North Koreans also were keenly aware of the horrific fate of Iraq and Libya and their leaders after the countries did surrender their unconventional weapons. Not only did the U.S. lead bloody “regime change” invasions but the nations’ leaders were brutally murdered, Saddam Husseinby hanging and Muammar Gaddafi sodomized with a knife and then summarily shot in the head.

So, the discovery of the U.S. war plan in 2016 sounded alarm bells in Pyongyang and triggered an unprecedented crash program to quickly expand North Korea’s ballistic missile program. Its nuclear weapons tests established that it can produce a small number of first-generation nuclear weapons, but it needed a viable delivery system before it could be sure that its nuclear deterrent would be credible enough to deter a U.S. attack.

In other words, North Korea’s main goal has been to close the gap between its existing delivery systems and the missile technology it would need to actually launch a retaliatory nuclear strike against the United States. North Korea’s leaders see this as their only chance to escape the same kind of mass destruction visited on North Korea in the first Korean War, when U.S.-led air forces destroyed every city, town and industrial area and General Curtis LeMay boasted that the attacks had killed 20 percent of the population.

Through 2015 and early 2016, North Korea only tested one new missile, the Pukkuksong-1 submarine-launched missile. The missile launched from a submerged submarine and flew 300 miles on its final, successful test, which coincided with the annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises in August 2016.

North Korea also launched its largest satellite to date in February 2016, but the launch vehicle seemed to be the same type as the Unha-3 used to launch a smaller satellite in 2012.

However, since the discovery of the U.S.-South Korean war plans a year ago, North Korea has vastly accelerated its missile development program, conducting at least 27 more tests of a wide range of new missiles and bringing it much closer to a credible nuclear deterrent. Here is a timeline of the tests:

Two failed tests of Hwasong-10 medium-range ballistic missiles in October 2016.

Two successful tests of Pukguksong-2 medium-range ballistic missiles, in February and May 2017. The missiles followed identical trajectories, rising to a height of 340 miles and landing in the sea 300 miles away. South Korean analysts believe this missile’s full range is at least 2,000 miles, and North Korea said the tests confirmed it is ready for mass production.

Four medium-range ballistic missiles that flew an average of 620 miles from the Tongchang-ri space center in March 2017.

Two apparently failed missile tests from Sinpo submarine base in April 2017.

Six tests of Hwasong-12 medium-range ballistic missiles (range: 2,300 to 3,700 miles) since April 2017.

A failed test of a missile believed to be a “KN-17” from Pukchang airbase in April 2017.

Test of a Scud-type anti-ship missile that flew 300 miles and landed in the Sea of Japan, and two other tests in May 2017.

Several cruise missiles fired from the East coast in June 2017.

A test of a powerful new rocket engine, maybe for an ICBM, in June 2017.

North Korea tested two Hwasong-14 “near-ICBMs” in July 2017. Based on these tests, the Hwasong-14 may be capable of hitting city-sized targets in Alaska or Hawaii with a single nuclear warhead, but cannot yet reach the U.S. West Coast.

Four more missiles tested in August 2017, including a Hwasong-12 that flew over Japan and travelled 1,700 miles before breaking up, maybe as a result of a failure in a “Post Boost Vehicle” added to improve range and accuracy.

Another ballistic missile flew 2,300 miles over the Pacific on September 15, 2017.

An analysis of the two tests of the Hwasong-14 in July by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) concluded that these missiles are not yet capable of carrying a 500 kg payload as far as Seattle or other U.S. West Coast cities. BAS notes that a first generation nuclear weapon based on the Pakistani model that North Korea is believed to be following could not weigh less than 500 kg, once the weight of the warhead casing and a heat shield to survive reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere are taken into account.

Global Reaction

Awareness of the role of the U.S. war plan in spurring the dramatic escalation of North Korea’s missile program should be a game changer in the world’s response to the crisis over Korea, since it demonstrates that the current acceleration of the North Korean missile program is a defensive response to a serious and potentially existential threat from the United States.

If the United Nations Security Council was not diplomatically and militarily intimidated by the United States, this knowledge should trigger urgent action in the Security Council to require all sides to make a firm commitment to peaceful and binding diplomacy to formally end the Korean War and remove the threat of war from all the people of Korea. And the whole world would unite politically and diplomatically to prevent the U.S. from using its veto to avoid accountability for its leading role in this crisis. Only a unified global response to potential U.S. aggression could possibly convince North Korea that it would have some protection if it eventually halted its nuclear weapons program.

But such unity in the face of a threat of U.S. aggression would be unprecedented. Most U.N. delegates quietly sat and listened on Sept. 19 when President Donald Trump delivered explicit threats of war and aggression against North Korea, Iran and Venezuela, while boasting about his missile strike against Syria on April 6 over dubious and disputed claims about a chemical weapons incident.

For the past 20 years or more, the United States has swaggered about as the “last remaining superpower” and the “indispensable nation,” a global law unto itself, using the dangers of terrorism and weapons proliferation and highly selective outrage over “dictators” as propaganda narratives to justify illegal wars, CIA-backed terrorism, its own weapons proliferation, and support for its favored dictators like the brutal rulers of Saudi Arabia and other Arab monarchies.

For even longer, the United States has been two-faced about international law, citing it when some adversary can be accused of a violation but ignoring it when the U.S. or its allies are trampling on the rights of some disfavored country. When the International Court of Justice convicted the United States of aggression (including acts of terrorism) against Nicaragua in 1986, the U.S. withdrew from the ICJ’s binding jurisdiction.

Since then, the U.S. has thumbed its nose at the entire structure of international law, confident in the political power of its propaganda or “information warfare” to cast itself as the guardian of law and order in the world, even as it systematically violates the most basic rules spelled out in the U.N. Charter and the Geneva Conventions.

U.S. propaganda treats the U.N. Charter and the Geneva Conventions, the world’s “Never again” to war, torture and the killing of millions of civilians in the Second World War, as relics of another time that it would be naive to take seriously.

But the results of the U.S. alternative — its lawless “might makes right” war policy — are now plain for all to see. In the past 16 years, America’s post-9/11 wars have already killed at least two million people, maybe many more, with no end in sight to the slaughter as the U.S.’s policy of illegal war keeps plunging country after country into intractable violence and chaos.

An Ally’s Fears

Just as North Korea’s missile programs are a rational defense strategy in the face of the threat Pyongyang faces from the U.S., the exposure of the U.S.’s war plan by American allies in South Korea is also a rational act of self-preservation, since they too are threatened by the possibility of war on the Korean peninsula.

Now maybe other U.S. allies, the wealthy countries that have provided political and diplomatic cover for the U.S.’s 20-year campaign of illegal war, will finally reassert their humanity, their sovereignty and their own obligations under international law, and start to rethink their roles as junior partners in U.S. aggression.

Countries like the U.K., France and Australia will sooner or later have to choose between forward-looking roles in a sustainable, peaceful multi-polar world and a slavish loyalty to the ever-more desperate death throes of U.S. hegemony. Now might be a good moment to make that choice, before they are dragged into new U.S. wars in Korea, Iran or Venezuela.

Even Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is afraid that Donald Trump will lead humanity into World War III. But it might come as a surprise to people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and parts of a dozen other countries already engulfed by U.S.-driven wars to learn that they are not already in the midst of World War III.

Perhaps what really worries the Senator is that he and his colleagues may no longer be able to sweep these endless atrocities under the plush carpets of the halls of Congress without a genteel Barack Obama in the White House to sweet-talk U.S. allies around the world and keep the millions being killed in U.S. wars off U.S. TVs and computer screens, out of sight and out of mind.

If politicians in the U.S. and around the world need the ugliness of Donald Trump as a mirror for their own greed, ignorance and temerity, to shame them into changing their ways, so be it – whatever it takes. But it should not escape anyone anywhere that the signature on this diabolical war plan that now threatens to kill millions of Koreans was not Donald Trump’s but Barack Obama’s.

George Orwell might well have been describing the partisan blindness of the West’s self-satisfied, so easily deluded, neoliberal society when he wrote this in 1945,

“Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage – torture, the use of hostages, forced labor, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians – which does not change its color when it is committed by our side… The Nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”

Here’s the bottom line: The United States has been planning to assassinate Kim Jong Un and to launch an all-out war on North Korea. There. You’ve heard it. Now, can you still be manipulated into believing that Kim Jong Un is simply “crazy” and North Korea is the gravest threat to world peace?

Or do you now understand that the United States is the real threat to peace in Korea, just as it was in Iraq, Libya and many other countries where the leaders were deemed “crazy” and U.S. officials (and the Western mainstream media) promoted war as the only “rational” alternative?

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Despite Syrian Government’s Attempts to Unify Country US-backed Kurdish SDF Persist with Land Theft

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The West claims that the Kurds are one of the most moral and dignified forces in the Middle East fighting against Daesh. But if their focus is on defeating Daesh, as they claim, why are they committing genocide against Syrians in the process? Taking this into consideration, it is hard to justify the West’s persistent claim that armed Kurdish terrorist groups are trying to help Syria. The reality on the ground contradicts these empty compliments, which the West uses to save face while supporting these terrorist organizations. This false narrative was in fact used to arm the Kurds in Syria in order to create instability and division.

For separatist Kurds to claim an area that they have lived in or have liberated as being rightfully theirs defies international law and logic.

The U.S. has armed the Kurds and supported their efforts since helping them establish the Syrian Democratic Forces on Oct. 10, 2015. The U.S. needed to fund a group within Syria that was fighting against Daesh, but that was not as extremist as the Free Syrian Army, which was outed as being affiliated with al-Qaeda.

Per South Front on October 1, 2017, Omid Kabar a commander of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said, at a funeral for SDF fighters who were killed in Raqqa city, that the SDF will not handover al-Tabqah town or any other area to the Syrian government.

“The regime says we will hand over our regions or al-Tabqah town to the regime’s army … Our people must realize that within five years of our revolution as the People Protection Units and after our alliance with other factions in the name of Syrian Democratic Forces, we have not handed over any inch of our land… We will never hand it over. Our law is clear. The land that is watered with the blood of the martyrs belongs to the people and we will not hand them over to any force,” Kabar said.

It is strange that the Kurds would be so antagonistic towards Syrians, as the country has largely been welcoming for them. For example, reforms were made in Syria in 2012 to benefit the Kurds.

President Assad issued a decree granting Arab Syrian citizenship to people registered as foreigners in the (governorate of Hassake),” said the SANA news agency.

The measure, which benefited about 300,000 Kurds, came a week after Assad tasked a committee with “resolving the problem of the 1962 census in the governorate of Hassake.”

In January 2015, SANA news reported that then-Syrian Prime Minister Dr. Wael al-Halqi said:

“the Kurds are a deeply-ingrained component of the Syrian society and Ayn al-Arab is part of Syria that is dear to the hearts of all Syrians.”

Al-Halqi’s affirmation came during his meeting with a Kurdish delegation which comprised Kurdish figures. He also urged all to discard violence and spread amity, reiterating that a solution to the Syrian crisis could be achieved “through national dialogue and consolidating national reconciliations,” indicating that dialogue will definitely be “under the homeland’s umbrella away from foreign dictates.”

In 2014, The Civil Democratic Gathering of Syrian Kurds said that the steadfastness of the people of Ayn al-Arab in the face of terrorists was a form of expression of the Syrian Kurds’ commitment to their affiliation to their homeland of Syria. The gathering’s Higher Council of Secretaries said that the steadfastness of Ayn al-Arab was cause for admiration and that attempts to transgress against the territorial integrity of Syria were parts of a plot to cause chaos and division and undermine the resistance axis.

These are just a few examples of the Syrian government’s attempts to unify all of those who live within the country’s borders. But even with these actions of good faith, the SDF has chosen to side with Syria’s enemies rather than work with the Syrian army.

A recent agreement – initiated and brokered by the U.S. between a Free Syrian Army (FSA) faction and the Kurdish-led SDF lays out conditions whereby U.S.-initiated negotiations would allow the FSA faction al-Muatasim Brigade to peacefully take over 11 villages in northern Syria that are controlled by the SDF. The general outlines of this unprecedented agreement were announced on May 10, stating that the U.S.-led coalition had delegated to al-Muatasim the task of being in charge of and administering the designated villages.

Image copied from Mustafa Sejari Twitter Credit

Al-Muatasim is known to be a strong ally of the U.S., which is why it was chosen to be in charge of the designated villages. This further proves the point that the U.S., SDF, and FSA are still working together. Their cooperation is part of an effort to counter the progress being made by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies.

The leaders of the SDF announced that they’ll try to annex the majority-Arab city of Raqqa if they manage to liberate it. The Kurds are ethnically cleansing Arabs from Raqqa en masse in order to pave the way for the city’s annexation to their unilaterally declared “Federation” after its forthcoming capture.

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NY Times Publishes Disingenuous Conflation Of Anti-Semitism And Anti-Zionism

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Image result for Howard Jacobson CARTOON
By Ian Berman | Mint Press

The New York Times recently published an op-ed titled “The Phony Peace Between the Labour Party and Jews” by Howard Jacobson. A novelist and op-ed contributor to the Independent in the UK, Jacobson is relatively unknown. Yet the Times found his allegation of anti-Semitism within the United Kingdom’s Labour Party worthy of the pages of the “newspaper of record.”

Essentially, Jacobson alleges that Labour entertains anti-Semitic ideas and whitewashes its willingness to entertain such ideas with reports that are “a brief and shoddy shuffling of superficies;” he then condemns Labour’s position on Israel as a cover for anti-Semitism.

Mr. Jacobson even pulls out a reverse racism card by noting “condemnation of Zionism was as febrile as ever and any Jew — particularly any Israeli Jew — willing to join in could count on a standing ovation.” In other words, if an Israeli Jew spoke about Israel’s crimes, his opinion must be invalid because of Labour’s hunger for his statement. So instead of challenging the Jewish Israeli speaker’s statement, he infers anti-Semitism is the only possible motive. The condemnation of Labour is then self-fulfilling. Thus Jacobson never has to challenge any content in the anti-Zionist position, which he then fails to do in the entire op-ed.

Apparently not shy of casting aspersions without support, Jacobson uses the Jewish dog whistle of “blood lust” too. He writes, without a single reference or link for support, “Labour Party delegates are hardly crusaders, but the whiff of blood lust rises even from Brighton.”  Jacobson even name-dropped Josef Stalin, writing “How Labour changed roles with the Conservatives as the enemy of the Jews is a tale that cannot be told briefly, but like some of Mr. Corbyn’s closest advisers, it goes all the way back to Stalin.” Yet the connection to Stalin is never mentioned again beyond this unsubstantiated statement.

Perhaps the most fantastic allegation is that an amorphous group of Jews have made some kind of bargain. If Labour “desist[s] from overtly anti-Semitic discourse — invoking the malignancy of our appearance and ambitions — we [the Jews] will allow you [Labour] your anti-Zionism.” To Jacobson, even if this supposed trade did exist, it is simply impossible to fulfill, “for the truth is you cannot keep the Jews out of Zionism.”

Jacobson and I are both Jewish and don’t go to shul. I will go a step further and admit I am not a fan of organized religions, yet I support others in their right and desire to the free exercise of their faith.  Personally, I sense there is a common spirit among mankind. I do appreciate what Jewish culture has provided me, such as critical thinking and an emphasis on education. Yet there is no place for any sense of Jewish supremacy, whether it concerns the placing of anti-Semitism at the same level of concern as far more pervasive crimes or the primacy of Israeli Jews as they oppress an entire nation of Palestinians in the identical lands of Israel and Palestine.

Suggesting that Corbyn’s declaration that “Labour opposes all racism and discrimination” is somehow flawed, Jacobson continues:

The ‘all’ is important. Burying anti-Semitism among offenses such as bullying and sexual harassment is a dodge to equalize things that are not equal and in the process ensure that anti-Semitism is rarely privileged with a mention of its own.”

While it is not exactly clear, the most generous interpretation of Jacobson’s statement is that Corbyn intended to drown out anti-Semitism with far more pervasive and serious crimes, even if Corbyn said no such thing. In essence, Jacobson is implying that while the beating or emotional breakdown of a child by a larger one or a group of children, or the use of power to obtain sexual favors or inflict feelings of inferior status, are critical issues, anti-Semitism is somehow a “privileged” offense that deserves equal time. This despite the fact that actual acts of anti-Semitism are much fewer and farther between today than are the far more pervasive acts of bullying and sexual harassment.

While suggesting Labour’s criticism of Israel is really anti-Semitism, Jacobson’s summation of anti-Zionism is just one short paragraph representing complete denial of the history of Israel. The paragraph begins, “A willful historical ignorance sustains anti-Zionism. In some accounts the Israelis drop out of a clear blue sky in 1967 and occupy the West Bank; in others, Zionism is a recent ideology always contested within Jewish society itself.”

Thus Jacobson believes that “some accounts” is a good representation of anti-Zionists like myself. Yet I’ve never before heard of anything like the reference to Israelis falling from “a clear blue sky,” nor does it even make sense to me now. The comment is a journalistically disingenuous trick to falsely describe those he opposes. Still, I blame the Times more for publishing this than Jacobson for penning such an outlandish description.

So let’s briefly discuss what anti-Zionism is about. Israeli professors — that is, professors who themselves are Israeli, such as Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe, Avi Shlaim and others — have established that Israel ethnically cleansed over 700,000 Palestinians who lived within what is today considered Israel’s internationally recognized borders. Anti-Zionism acknowledges this event and calls for the Right of Return of these Palestinians and their offspring. After all, doesn’t Zionism claim a Right of Return from 1,400 years ago or more? Then how can it deny that right from just 70 years ago?  Especially of people whom Israel itself drove out.

Furthermore, in 1967, Israel launched what it called a preemptive strike against the Egyptian military, thereafter engaging Jordan and Syria. Again historians now agree that, based upon Israel’s own documentation, this was not a defensive strike, but rather an opportunity to crush the Egyptians. Thereafter, the Israelis took the West Bank and the Golan Heights by war. Even if one were to discount that Israel’s war was an offensive one, Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention is explicitly clear: The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” There is no exception for whether the territory was gained through a defensive or offensive war. Thus anti-Zionism stands against the imposition of Military Law upon Palestinians for 50 years and running, and the illegal transfer of colonial settlers who now number over 600,000.

So when Jacobson continues the above-quoted paragraph, “What is elided is the 2,000-year history of Jews returning to the country from which they had been exiled, whether in response to longings for a homeland, to pray where they had once prayed, or to find a place of safety,” he appears to imply anti-Zionists deny this history. Actually, it has nothing to do with the anti-Zionist position. Or maybe a better way to say this is that anti-Zionists focus on the Palestinian “exile” and their “longing for a homeland, to pray where they had once prayed, [and] to find a place of safety.” For the anti-Zionist focus is on what Israel has done and continues to do to Palestinians for the benefit of Israeli Jews.

Perhaps the most ironic statement of the entire op-ed is a standard allegation made by Zionism’s defenders:

That Jews invoke anti-Semitism primarily to silence critics of Israel is a tired canard, but it continues to be pressed into service.”

Yet, except for one bizarre reference to an allegedly anti-Zionist view of one point in time of Israel’s history, Jacobson failed to mention anything about Labour’s position on Palestine. Therefore, all Jacobson did was allege Labour’s anti-Semitism to silence its position on Israel.

As for the Gray Lady, the question remains: How and why, with all the brilliant submissions it receives daily, did The New York Timeschoose this empty hit piece on the Labour Party that includes the most insidious of allegations, anti-Semitism?

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Media, UKComments Off on NY Times Publishes Disingenuous Conflation Of Anti-Semitism And Anti-Zionism

Holocaust against the Palestinians is worse than Nazis

NOVANEWS

The time has come to admit that Israel is a sick society, with an illness that demands treatment, President Reuven Rivlin said at the opening session on Sunday of a conference on From Hatred of the Stranger to Acceptance of the Other.

Both Rivlin and Prof. Ruth Arnon, president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, which organized the conference at its premises on the capital’s Jabotinsky Street, spoke of the painful and bloody summer, and the resultant resurgence of animosity between Arabs and Jews that had escalated to new heights.

Referring to the mutual expressions of hatred and incitement, Arnon said that Jews, who in the Diaspora had been exposed to anti-Semitism and persecution, should be more sensitive to the dangers of incitement. “But are we?” she asked.

Rivlin wondered aloud whether Jews and Arabs had abandoned the secret of dialogue.
With regard to Jews he said: “I’m not asking if they’ve forgotten how to be Jews, but if they’ve forgotten how to be decent human beings. Have they forgotten how to converse? I think that ‘Holocaust’ against Palestinians is worse than Nazis” In Rivlin’s eyes, the academy has a vital task to reduce violence in Israeli society by encouraging dialogue and the study of different cultures and languages with the aim of promoting mutual understanding, so that there can be civilized meetings between the sectors of society.

He urged the academy to take on this challenge and to eradicate the violence that threatens to scar Israel’s image.

Education Minister Shai Piron was confident that differences can be overcome and cited his own family as an example. He grew up in a home in which his father was Sephardi and politically right wing, whereas his mother was Ashkenazi and left wing. And yet, he never detected any antagonism. He did not realize until he was an adult and went out into the world, the extent to which differences can cause havoc, he said.

The Education Ministry is starting a heritage project whereby Jewish and Arab youth, both religious and secular, will study side by side and learn each other’s traditions, Piron said.

Holocaust studies professor Yehuda Bauer of the Hebrew University said that racism based on color is marginal in Israel. Racism in Israel is generally of a nationalist nature, he said. He was most concerned about religious racism and incitement that usually emanates from extremist fringe elements, because these people are often the most violent and most dangerous, he declared.

The most difficult task confronting the academy, Bauer said, out was how to define incitement in relation to freedom of speech. He cautioned that freedom of speech must never be sacrificed on the altar of incitement. His own definition of incitement was when an individual or a group, through speech or written material, harms and humiliates another individual or group, sparking others to engage in physical or psychological violence against them and even going so far as to kill them.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Holocaust against the Palestinians is worse than Nazis

Elections in Germany and Their Impact on the Western Balkans

NOVANEWS
By: Mimoza Ahmetaj, Former Minister of EU Integration of Kosovo, Pristina

The elections in Germany confirmed the victory of the CDU-CSU coalition, albeit with less votes than in past elections. Obviously, the result will not undermine Germany’s role in Europe and in the Balkans, neither Chancellor Angela Merkel’s position. The Chancellor remains a significant figure that is largely supported by the German opinion. This has been proved by these elections and by major support she is enjoying within the CDU itself.

Accepting a million of refugees from Syria, voting for homosexual marriage, early retirement of those who have sufficient work experience, financial aid to Greece of billions of euros to overcome the deep economic crisis, sanctions against Russia, support to Ukraine, condemnation of the Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, and the war against ISIS are just some of the measures taken by the German Chancellor during her previous mandates. All of these decisions are estimated as bold actions undertaken in the right time, despite the high political price. Though economically costly and unpopular, these decisions did not hamper Germany in reducing the unemployment rate and even boosting the GDP, while influencing European and world politics.

Germany will continue to be the axis for European and world policy in the next four years. The partnership between Merkel and Macron (Germany-France), as the two founding states of the EU, represents a message to EU citizens and beyond that the principles on which the Union is founded (liberté, égalité, fraternité) are not negotiable and present the vital foundations which the economy, free movement and all the other civil rights of Europe are based upon.

For Europe and beyond, at a time when the world is facing many challenges, beginning with the North Korea nuclear tests over the sky of Japan, to the immigration crisis, the conclusion of negotiations on Brexit, Crimea and Russia, Islamic radicalism, more sovereignty of national governments within EU, alternation of the Union Treaties, reforms of the Eurozone and the tax system, the ongoing exasperations in the Balkans are more or less the reasons why Europe and beyond need the binomial Merkel-Macron. First and foremost, they will be the driving engine for the whole of Europe, they are required to defend and preserve the integrity of the EU values, which have been challenged on several occasions after the Brexit referendum, and moreover to guarantee that enlargement and the inclusion of the Western Balkan countries is a bright perspective in the near future.

The role of Germany in the Balkans, and Chancellor Merkel’s in particular, continues to be crucial. Germany took under its supervision and facilitation the WB6 (Western Balkan 6) initiative, known also as a “the Berlin Process”. This initiative is based on three principles: regional cooperation between governments (which remains the basic principle in the accession process), connectivity agenda regarding infrastructure and energy projects, and cooperation among youth and civil society. Meanwhile, Germany has presented another initiative, such as “the Marshall Plan for WB” or “Berlin+ Process”, which will be a supplementary factor to the economic development of the countries in the region. The Transport Treaty should be considered an added value to the process of EU enlargement, which was facilitated by the EU but sponsored by Berlin, as well as the Agreement on Free Economic Area. Both are a supplementary factor in the integration process for the entire region of the Western Balkans.

The latest statement of President Juncker that “By 2025 Montenegro and Serbia could join the EU” was an announcement that caught by surprise many high officials in Brussels, and which means that the engine of the EU lies in Berlin and not really in Brussels. Germany continues to be very outspoken and decisive, and made it clear to the countries of the Western Balkans and their governments that there are basic conditions to be met, such as the rule of law, the fight against crime and corruption, good neighborly relations, fundamental human rights, freedom of expression and economic development, which will pave the way toward EU integration process. Beside that, each and every country is in a different stage of the EU accession process and has its own roadmap to follow.

The technical issue, which was later transformed into a political obstacle, such as the border demarcation between Kosovo and Montenegro has kept Kosovo isolated for almost three years and still without a visa regime for its people in the Schengen area. The issue of border demarcation, the continuation of the dialogue with Serbia, the establishment of the association of Serbian municipalities, are a condition that should be fulfilled by the Kosovo institutions, and Berlin has made it already clear both to the ruling and opposition parties in Kosovo. Only after these conditions are met Kosovo will be able to apply for EU candidacy and later on to open the accession negotiations.

On the other hand, Serbia should be committed and constructive in the dialogue with Kosovo, so that it is concluded by a bilateral agreement and a recognition of Kosovo’s independence by Serbia. Both the Kosovo and Serbia paths toward the EU are linked and locked with each other through the dialogue and raprochment.

Montenegro, as the youngest member state of the NATO, continues to be the most advanced country in the region in its negotiation process. Regarding opening accession negotiations with Albania, Germany has made it clear that soon after the election in Germany are over Albania will be able to open accession negotiations. This became possible after Albania demonstrated a determination and willingness to undertake judicial reforms and implement supervision. Germany has been a key factor also with Macedonia by expressing willingness to find a solution over the name issue with Greece. This would later pave the way for Macedonia toward EU negotiations and also NATO membership.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has applied for a candidate status and once they reach an internal consensus and meet sufficiently the Copenhagen criteria it could be anticipated to continue with the integration process.

For the most powerful woman in Europe and beyond, Chancellor Merkel, this mandate will certainly be very challenging and demanding so that Germany can remain a guarantor of peace, security, political stability and economic prosperity.

And last but not least, citizens of West Balkan countries have high expectations that Chancellor Merkel will continue to have enlargement on her agenda and will continue to support the region toward reconciliation, economic prosperity and EU integration. As it was very often said, “the EU is not complete without Balkans”.

*Mimoza Ahmetaj served as Kosovo’s European Integration Minister between February 2017 and September 2017. Her opinion does not represent the views of euinside

Posted in GermanyComments Off on Elections in Germany and Their Impact on the Western Balkans

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