Archive | November 28th, 2018

End Support for the Saudi-led Criminal Military Intervention in Yemen

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

The Democratic Socialists of Americas Calls on the United States to End Support for the Saudi-led Criminal Military Intervention in Yemen

NEW YORK – The National Political Committee, the elected leadership body of the DSA (Democratic Socialists of America), has put out the following statement:

Since 2015, Saudi Arabia and its military “coalition” have been committing atrocities in Yemen on a colossal scale — bombing hospitals, health clinics, schools, factories, markets, weddings, funerals, residential areas, even school buses, and killing thousands of civilians.

This unrelenting assault, coupled with a suffocating naval blockade, has created “the worst man-made humanitarian crisis of our time” in the words of the United Nations, which says Yemen is on the brink of the world’s worst famine in a century, with 12 to 13 million civilians at risk of starvation. The war has also led to the worst cholera outbreak in the world, with roughly 10,000 cases reported per week.

The United States is deeply complicit in this staggering slaughter. It provides the weapons as well as the operational, logistical and intelligence support to the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen. The Pentagon also supports the Saudi campaign in Yemen through a classified operation and is reported to have special operations forces on the ground there.

In 2015, the Obama administration signed off on the Saudi intervention largely as a concession to the kingdom, which was irate about the Iran nuclear deal. Following reports of Saudi war crimes in Yemen, in October 2016 Obama banned the sale of precision-guided military technology to the kingdom. The Trump administration overturned that ban in March 2017.

Trump has deepened US support for the Saudi-Emirati intervention in Yemen, increased arms sales to the Saudi kingdom and emphatically embraced the reactionary agendas and repressive policies of the Gulf monarchies. Amid the global outcry over the Saudi kingdom’s gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Trump administration announced that the US military would no longer refuel Saudi coalition planes.

While this suggests that the administration is feeling the heat from mounting pressure to recalibrate the US-Saudi alliance and US policy on Yemen, Trump continues to give the benefit of the doubt to Mohammed bin Salman, despite the preponderance of evidence that the Saudi Crown Prince directly ordered Khashoggi’s murder.

Congressional efforts to end US support for the criminal Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen have been bolstered both by the Khashoggi affair and the results of the midterm elections. The “Murphy Amendment” introduced by Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and H.Con.Res.138 sponsored by Rep. Ro Khanna of California, a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, would cut off US military assistance to the Saudi-led coalition. We also support the bipartisan legislation Senators Bernie Sanders and Mike Lee are bringing forward, S.J.Res.54.

While these measures have been opposed and circumvented by Republicans in Congress, the tide is now turning. This is a critical moment for the struggle to end US support for this criminal military intervention.

DSA strongly supports these measures and encourages all our members to urge their elected representatives and senators to sign on as co-sponsors. We also encourage DSA members to publicize and politicize this issue by joining the broader movement for peace in Yemen and the entire region.

The Yemen war is a complex conflict, one with internal Yemeni dynamics in addition to the regional and global ones addressed here. Ending the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention in Yemen will not bring the war to a conclusion in and of itself. But it will end a horrific onslaught of war crimes, alleviate the threat of mass starvation and ease the suffering of countless Yemeni civilians.

Without US support, the Saudi-led coalition would lose its lifeline. But Yemenis themselves must bring this war to an end and rebuild their shattered society. Non-combatants are essential to securing peace in Yemen. DSA strongly supports Yemeni civil society and human rights activists in their struggles to end the war and forge a viable future.

Posted in USA, Saudi Arabia, YemenComments Off on End Support for the Saudi-led Criminal Military Intervention in Yemen

Top 5 Ways Trump Put America Last with Whitewash of Saudi Prince

NOVANEWS

Did the exclamation points give it away? Trump began by saying he was putting America first, but that was the last thing he was doing.

Activists last month delivered a petition to the U.S. State Department demanding justice for journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul nearly three weeks ago. (Photo: Ford Fischer/News2Share)

Trump’s statement on his policy toward Saudi Arabia in the wake of the murder in Istanbul of dissident Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi brought a profound shame on the United States that will, as FDR put it, live in infamy. Trump began by saying he was putting America first, but that was the last thing he was doing. He was putting his own personal predilections and policies, and perhaps profit, above the interests of the United States. Here are the ways he put America last:

1. Trump did not wait for the final Central Intelligence Agency report on the Khashoggi killing, elements of which were leaked last Thursday. According to the Washington Post, the CIA has concluded that Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered that Khashoggi be whacked. They have evidence that the prince’s brother, Khalid Bin Salman– the Saudi ambassador in Washington– helped lure Khashoggi to the Istanbul consulate by assuring him it was safe to drop by. By ignoring and putting aside the findings of professional investigators, Trump has weakened US security.

2. Trump admitted that the crown prince may be implicated in the murder: “Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” He went on to say that we will never know what happened at the consulate. But we do know what happened at the consulate, and after the murder one of the thugs said to another, “Let your boss know it is done.” The assassin team leader works for the crown prince. By openly admitting that it is possible that Bin Salman ordered the hit, but declining to take any action, Trump is announcing that the United States government just does not care if its allies use bone saws on US-based journalists working for the Washington Post. The US ought to stand for the first amendment, one of its high values that is admired around the world and which is essential to the functioning of American democracy. Trump has dishonored the Constitution.

3. Trump is unbearably transparent about the financial incentives for him to overlook Khashoggi’s murder. He makes up a completely ridiculous number for new Saudi purchases from or investment in the United States of $450 billion, of which he says $110 billion will “be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors.” First of all, all that money Trump mentioned is vapor, with no reality. The supposed $110 bn in arms purchases are mostly non-binding memoranda of understanding, just expressions of interest. Second of all, arms industry investments produce very few jobs. Saudi money likely produces less than 20K jobs annually. Third of all, filling up the volatile Middle East with sophisticated, high-powered weapons makes the US less secure, not more. The Saudis use that fancy equipment they do buy to destroy countries like Yemen, where the al-Qaeda threat has grown, not receded, because of this chaos.

4. Trump is also clear that he is running interference for the crown prince for the sake of Israel and in order to keep together his coalition against Iran. But Israel would not need to suck up to bone saw murderers if it would make peace with the Palestinians and stop colonizing their land and keeping them stateless. As for Iran, the US had made an epochal settlement with Tehran that mothballed most of its nuclear enrichment program in 2015. Trump trashed that agreement and tried to put Iran behind the eight ball, cheered on by aggressive Saudis willing to fight Iran to the last drop of American soldiers’ blood. Trump created a potential conflict where the was none, and now has to consort with murderers because mafiosi need capos.

5. Trump gave as another reason to wink at Khashoggi’s murder and go on doing business as usual with Mohammed Bin Salman that Saudi Arabia is a key partner in fighting terrorism. The odd assertion frequently met with in Washington, DC, that Iran is the foremost font of terrorism and Saudi Arabia is a useful ally against terrorism is bizarre. Saudi Arabia backed the Bureau of Services in Peshawar in the 1980s, which mounted violence in Afghanistan and evolved into al-Qaeda under the Saudi Usama Bin Laden. (Riyadh and Bin Laden fell out in 1990). Saudi Arabia backed the Army of Islam group in Syria after 2011, which issued bloodthirsty screeds against Shiites and blew stuff up in Damascus and dismissed democracy. Some of the weaponry the CIA passed to the Saudis for Syrian rebels made its way to the al-Qaeda affiliate. Saudi Arabia in its war on Yemen has at times showed little concern about al-Qaeda in that country while concentrating on the Houthi rebels, who hail from a moderate Shiite sect. Saudi Arabia kidnapped the prime minister of Lebanon and attempted to force him to resign under duress. And Saudi Arabia murdered a Washington Post columnist with a bone saw in its Istanbul consulate. With allies like this, who needs enemies? As for Iran, it has acted not as a radical or terroristic force in the past couple decades in the Middle East, but as an enforcer of the status quo. Iran helped keep the Bashar al-Assad government in power and helped defeat al-Qaeda and ISIL in Syria. Iran helped defeat ISIL in Iraq and propped up the Baghdad government. Iran has helped assure that the Israelis don’t just steal southern Lebanon, which they tried to do 1982-2000. Iran has been one of the main pillars of counter-terrorism in the Middle East in the past two decades, at a time when the US has rampaged around bringing al-Qaeda into new countries, as in Occupied Iraq, and contributing to the rise of ISIL. Overlooking Bin Salman’s grisly act of murder on the grounds that Riyadh is needed for counter-terrorism and to block Iran is like everything else in Trump’s ‘statement’ an act of insanity.

Posted in USA, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Top 5 Ways Trump Put America Last with Whitewash of Saudi Prince

Condemning Facebook’s Anti-Semitic and Racist Attacks on Critics

NOVANEWS

Condemning Facebook’s Anti-Semitic and Racist Attacks on Critics, MoveOn Demands Accountability and Real Reform

“These particular concerns exist within a broader context of concern about the threats that Facebook and other social networks and their algorithms and data pose to society and democracy.”

“We were surprised to learn last week that Facebook corporate leadership had hired a right-wing firm specializing in what the New York Times calls the ‘dark arts’ of politics to promulgate anti-Semitic, anti-black, and other attacks on public interest organizations,” MoveOn wrote in a letter on Wednesday. (Photos: Getty Images via CNN Money)

On the heels of an explosive report by the New York Times detailing Facebook’s use of a right-wing public relations firm to spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about its critics, MoveOn.org—which describes itself as “one of the largest political advertisers on Facebook this year”—sent a letter on Wednesday to the social media giant’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, and congressional leaders demanding accountability and urging the company to commit to fundamental reform.

The letter was written by Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn Political Action, and Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn Civic Action.

“We were surprised to learn last week that Facebook corporate leadership had hired a right-wing firm specializing in what the New York Times calls the ‘dark arts’ of politics to promulgate anti-Semitic, anti-black, and other attacks on public interest organizations that have been critical of Facebook,” they wrote. “Of course, these particular concerns exist within a broader context of concern about the threats that Facebook and other social networks and their algorithms and data pose to society and democracy.”

As Common Dreams reported, Facebook’s smear efforts targeted billionaire philanthropist George Soros and his foundations as well as the online racial justice organization Color of Change, which has accused Facebook of placing profits over privacy—particularly that of people of color and religious minorities.

“This is unacceptable and requires accountability,” Sheyman and Galland wrote of the social media behemoth’s attempts to discredit Soros and Color of Change. “How you as Facebook’s leaders respond is vitally important. We request an urgent meeting to discuss these issues with you in person.”

Read MoveOn’s full letter:

Dear Ms. Sandberg and Mr. Zuckerberg,

As leaders of one of the largest political advertisers on Facebook this year, we write to express concern about several of Facebook’s practices.

We were surprised to learn last week that Facebook corporate leadership had hired a right-wing firm specializing in what the New York Times calls the “dark arts” of politics to promulgate anti-Semitic, anti-black, and other attacks on public interest organizations that have been critical of Facebook. As the Times reported, this firm, Definers Public Affairs, has pushed racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in malicious efforts to discredit Color of Change, the Open Society Foundation, and other organizations committed to civil rights and a just society. This is unacceptable and requires accountability.

We also are concerned about Facebook’s ongoing Civil Rights Audit, in which MoveOn has participated. Your audit process lacks anonymity, lacks a commitment to transparency, and includes questions that appear aimed more at helping Facebook defend itself against pressure than improve its processes. We urge you to commit to real change resulting from the audit, including a game plan for operationalizing findings that includes internal resources focused on evaluation and enforcement in an ongoing way.

Finally, as a result of our experience as one of the largest political advertisers on Facebook in 2018 (MoveOn Political Action and our subsidiary MO Research together spent $5.5 million on Facebook ads from May to present), we have identified potential inconsistencies in the application of your advertising standards, including potential differences along lines of race and identity, that warrant investigation.

Of course, these particular concerns exist within a broader context of concern about the threats that Facebook and other social networks and their algorithms and data pose to society and democracy. We have seen in our work the potential that Facebook and other social networks have to be a force for good, but by this point the potential for harm is also clear. How you as Facebook’s leaders respond is vitally important.

We request an urgent meeting to discuss these issues with you in person. Thank you for your prompt attention.

Ilya Sheyman
Executive Director
MoveOn Political Action

Anna Galland
Executive Director
MoveOn Civic Action

CC
Speaker Paul D. Ryan
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, MediaComments Off on Condemning Facebook’s Anti-Semitic and Racist Attacks on Critics

Right on Cue, Saudi Foreign Minister Uses Trump’s Remarks to Legitimize Kingdom’s Denials About Khashoggi Murder

NOVANEWS

“We have the president of the United States saying the reports of the CIA report are not accurate,” said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubier.

The Saudi foreign minister pointed to President Donald Trump’s dismissal of the CIA’s report linking Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (Photo: Twitter)

CNBC interview with the Saudi foreign minister indicated that officials in Saudi Arabia heard President Donald Trump’s Tuesday message about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi loud and clear: that the Trump administration has no interest in holding the Saudis accountable for their admitted murder of the writer and that maintaining his lucrative relationship relationship with the kingdom is Trump’s priority—not protecting human rights, journalists, or other niceties.

Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir toldCNBC Wednesday that while Khashoggi’s killing was a “crime,” it was simply an “unfortunate accident” and “an operation that went wrong”—and pointed directly to Trump’s fact-free statement to acquit Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), who the CIA reportedly has determined ordered of ordering the killing after an in-depth investigation.

On Tuesday, Trump downplayed the CIA’s conclusions and said that the brutal murder “is what it is” and that “we may never know all the facts.” That, apparently, was all the foreign minister needed.

“We have the president of the United States saying the reports of the CIA report are not accurate,” al-Jubier said.

Despite the CIA’s findings—which one State Department official said made MbS’s involvement “blindingly obvious”—Trump said vaguely on Tuesday of the crown prince, “maybe he did and maybe he didn’t” have knowledge of Khashoggi’s murder. Regardless of the answer, the president said, the U.S. must forge ahead with its relationship with the Saudis for the sake of “hundreds of billions of dollars in [weapons] order” and to keep “your oil prices” from going “through the roof.”

The foreign minister’s comments came two days after Middle East Eye reported details regarding Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trip to Riyadh last month, shortly after Turkey revealed that Khashoggi had been killed and dismembered moments after he’d entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

According to a senior Saudi source who spoke with Middle East Eye, the Saudi government is “using a roadmap drawn up by the U.S. secretary of state” to shield themselves from the Khashoggi scandal.

“Mike Pompeo delivered the plan in person during a meeting with Saudi King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, last month in Riyadh, said the source, who is familiar with Pompeo’s talks with the Saudi leaders,” reported David Hearst and Daniel Hilton.

“The plan includes an option to pin the Saudi journalist’s murder on an innocent member of the ruling al-Saud family in order to insulate those at the very top,” the report continued.

Bradley P. Moss

@BradMossEsq

Please don’t let this be real

Pompeo handed Riyadh a plan to shield MBS from Khashoggi fallout: Source | Middle East Eye https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/saudis-using-pompeos-plan-shield-leadership-khashoggi-fallout-says-source-1684431379

Nov 20, 2018

Al-Jubeir’s statement pointing to Trump’s defense of the kingdom provided the latest evidence that the Saudis continue to enjoy U.S. support even as advocates for the free press and other critics are demanding to know how the administration could callously disregard a credible report from an American intelligence agency on the killing of a U.S. resident, in order to protect its financial and diplomatic ties to the kingdom.

Posted in USA, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Right on Cue, Saudi Foreign Minister Uses Trump’s Remarks to Legitimize Kingdom’s Denials About Khashoggi Murder

‘There Is a US Imprint on the Death of Every Child in Yemen’: Sen. Chris Murphy

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

As World Food Program head conveys scenes “of nightmares, of horror” and makes urgent plea for U.S. to end war, lawmakers decry U.S. complicity in civilian deaths.

Prosthetic limbs sit on a shelf at a government health clinic on Sept. 24, 2018 in Aden, Yemen.

Prosthetic limbs sit on a shelf at a government health clinic on Sept. 24, 2018 in Aden, Yemen. A coalition military campaign has moved west along Yemen’s coast toward Hodeidah, where increasingly bloody battles have killed hundreds since June, putting the country’s fragile food supply at risk. (Photo: Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

As the “humanitarian nightmare” gripping Yemen rages on, the head of the United Nations World Food Program pleaded for the United States to “end this war,” while a group of U.S. lawmakers underscored American complicity in civilian deaths.

“What I have seen in Yemen this week is the stuff of nightmares, of horror, of deprivation, of misery. And we—all of humanity —have only ourselves to blame,” World Food Program (WFP) executive director David Beasley told the U.N. Security Council on Friday after finishing a three-day visit to the war-ravaged country.

“This is not on the brink of a catastrophe. This is a catastrophe,” he told reporters.

While the White House recently announced it was ending its policy of refueling Saudi planes, the U.S. continues to provide assistance to the bombing campaign with intelligence and arms—that’s despite increased scrutiny over rights abuses by the kingdom, and despite the fact that the conflict has led to what the U.N. calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

In light of that role, Beasley said to NPR that the U.S. must “end this war.”

In the meantime, the U.S. should provide sufficient funding for the agency to “make certain that every innocent Yemeni who’s not involved in combat has the food they need to keep their children and their family alive,” Beasley said in the interview that aired Monday.

Beasley’s visit to the country included a stop in Hodeidah; it’s a key port because over 80 percent of humanitarian aid passes through there. Yet it’s become “a true militarized combat zone,” he told NPR.

“My heart is breaking after what I saw at the hospital in Hodeidah,” Beasley said in a statement. “Small children, so malnourished they’re little more than skin and bone, lying there with hardly the strength to breathe. In the name of humanity, I urge all warring parties to put an end to this horrific war. Let the children live and let the people start to rebuild their lives.”

UNICEF’s regional director Geert Cappelaere, who had just visited over 50 children at a hospital in Hodeidah, had an equally bleak assessment and said last week the conflict had become become a “war on children.”

Given that impact on the nation’s youngest, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who just saw House Republicans block a vote on his War Powers Resolution to stop U.S. support for the war, dismissed the suggestion that another bid at the resolution could wait until January, when his party retakes contol of the chamber: “13 million Yemeni civilians are at risk of famine and 500,000 children could die in a matter of months,” he stressed. He added, “The deaths of babies and children in Yemen are not abstractions.”

Ro Khanna@RoKhanna

The deaths of babies and children in Yemen are not abstractions. Every member of Congress must read this story of a father watching his 4 month old die. This was entirely preventable. What more must happen to stir the conscience of our Congress to act? https://widerimage.reuters.com/story/yemeni-father-mourns-baby-girl-who-died-of-starvation 

Yemeni father mourns baby girl who died of starvation by Mohamed al-Sayaghi

Saleh al-Faqeh held the wasted arm of his baby girl as she took her last breath on Thursday at the malnutrition ward of the main hospital in Yemen’s capital Sanaa.

widerimage.reuters.com

Ro Khanna

@RoKhanna

Some might think that my Yemen resolution can wait until Democrats take control in January.

But 13 million Yemeni civilians are at risk of famine and 500,000 children could die in a matter of months.

The people of Yemen don’t have the luxury to wait. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/yemen-war-famine-starvation-cholera-children-mukalla-alqaeda-houthis-gulf-a8505156.html 

Similarly stressing the urgency of action was Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif):

Rep. Barbara Lee

@RepBarbaraLee

.@UNICEF is right: the war in Yemen has become a war on children. , and neither can these kids. Congress MUST put an end to US complicity in this horrific war. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/11/14/667805263/why-a-war-on-children-could-get-worse 

Why A ‘War On Children’ In Yemen Could Get Worse

That’s what a UNICEF official calls the conflict. And escalating violence in a key port city is jeopardizing aid to hundreds of

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who’s drawn repeated attention to U.S. involvement in the war, said the U.S. must do more than cut off refueling of Saudi military aircraft. He tweeted Friday: “There is a U.S. imprint on the death of every child in Yemen.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) who, with Murphy, has War Powers Resolution legislation in the Senate to end U.S. involvement in Yemen that could get a vote in the coming weeks, also made recent calls on social media to end the U.S. role in the war:

Bernie Sanders

@SenSanders

The CIA has confirmed what was obvious, that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered at the direction of the Saudi crown prince. The United States must thoroughly reevaluate our relationship with the brutal Saudi dictatorship, and start by ending support for the catastrophic war in Yemen.

The Washington Post

@washingtonpost

The CIA has concluded that the Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination, people familiar with the matter say https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/cia-concludes-saudi-crown-prince-ordered-jamal-khashoggis-assassination/2018/11/16/98c89fe6-e9b2-11e8-a939-9469f1166f9d_story.html 

WFP’s Beasley said the U.S. should end the war—and as William D. Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, argues Monday, it can take clear steps to do so.

“If it wants to make an earnest effort to protect innocent lives, the Trump administration should end all support for the Saudi/UAE war effort. That includes targeting assistance, arms sales, and the provision of spare parts and maintenance for the existing Saudi and UAE arsenals,” he writes in an op-ed at CNN. “Given that the bulk of the Saudi arsenal—including more than half its combat-capable aircraft, tens of thousands of bombs, and 2,000 armored vehicles—is of US-origin, an end to U.S. support could quickly degrade the fighting capability of the Saudi armed forces.”

Meanwhile, the Houthis said Monday they were halting their missile attacks against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, a move seen as a possible “a turning point in peace efforts.”

Posted in USA, Saudi Arabia, YemenComments Off on ‘There Is a US Imprint on the Death of Every Child in Yemen’: Sen. Chris Murphy

A Zionist project to criminalise criticism of ”Israel”

Boycott Israel

By Lawrence Davidson

Some historical background

From the 1920s to the 1990s, the Zionists controlled the storyline in the West on the Israel-Palestine conflict. This meant that their version of history was the only version as far as most of the people in the West were concerned. Consequentially, they had an uncontested media field to label the Palestinians and their supporters as “terrorists” – the charge of anti-Semitism was not yet widely used. Also, as a consequence of their monopoly, the Zionists did not bother to engage in public debate.

Then, over the last 20 years the Zionists slowly lost their monopoly. In part, this was due to the fact that in 1993 the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) recognised Israel’s right to exist and renounced terrorism, and in the following years many of the Arab states made or offered peace. However, the Israelis did not respond in kind. In particular, they failed to respond in a fair and just way to US-sponsored peace efforts. Why so?

The answer to why the Israelis did not, in good faith, take up multiple historic opportunities to make peace with the Palestinians lies in the very nature of the Zionist movement. From its beginning, and certainly from the establishment of the state of Israel, Zionism has been driven by dreams of colonial expansion and religious exclusiveness. Each of these goals is seen as part of Zionism’s God-given mission, and they still prevail. Professor David Schulman of Hebrew University, writing in the New York Review of Books (23 April 2015), describes the consequences of this situation: “The Israeli electorate is still dominated by hyper-nationalist, in some cases proto-fascist, figures. It is no way inclined to make peace. It has given a clear mandate for policies… that will further deepen Israel’s colonial venture.” As a consequence, Israel’s credibility with an increasing number of people in the West has eroded.

This erosion led to a relatively short period of time in the early 2000s when the Zionists attempted to counter the situation by engaging with their critics in public debate. However, the majority of time they lost. Israel’s barbarous behaviour on the ground, combined with the fact that its historical version of events was shown to be full of holes, condemned it to an increasingly weak defensive position. This proved to be intolerable to the Zionists, so they withdrew from the debating field. And, as they did, they began to level charges of anti-Semitism against their critics, even those who are Jewish. These accusations of the worst sort of racism have been with us ever since – which is really ironic because much of what Israel is being criticised for is its own racist, apartheid nature.

This was an important change in tactics for Israel because it opened the way to misusing Western laws to Israel’s advantage. Just as the charge of terrorism has often been misused in a broad and sweeping manner (for instance, levelled against non-violent supporters of Palestinian charitable organisations), so the charge of anti-Semitism can potentially be used in an almost unlimited fashion by over-aggressive, pro-Zionist Western prosecutors against any critic of Israeli behaviour.

The boycott movement

In the West, much of the organised criticism of Israel now comes from campaigns aimed at promoting Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of the Zionist state. So robust has the BDS movement grown that Gilad Erdan, Israel’s newly appointed minister of public security, strategic affairs and public diplomacy, has described it as one of the most “urgent issues” facing Israel. Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, has described the developing academic boycott, just one part of BDS, as a “strategic threat of the first order”.

Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has taken it upon himself to set the tone of Israel’s counter-attack on BDS. He has declared that there is an “international campaign to blacken Israel’s name” and he alleges that it is not motivated by Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians but rather seeks to “delegitimise Israel… and deny our very right to live here”. In other words, he is claiming that present criticism of Israel is really an attack on its existence, and not on its behaviour. For Netanyahu this has to be a form of anti-Semitism. As Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO executive committee, describes Netanyahu’s argument, “If you criticise me you are anti-Semitic… If you accept any kind of punitive measure or sanctions against Israel, you want to destroy Israel.” That is how the prime minister avoids confronting the facts.

As bad as this is, it gets even worse. Declaring the goal of BDS to be the elimination of Israel allows the Zionists to use their influence with Western legislators to make cooperation with the boycott subject to penalties. In the United States, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the most powerful of the Zionist lobbies, is working on legislation similar to that used against Iran and also the Arab boycott of Israel in the 1970s. This legislation would penalise businesses, both at home and abroad, that favourably respond to calls for boycott. If this works we can expect the Zionists to go further and try to subvert the US constitution’s free speech provisions and then go after individuals as well as businesses. In this regard, efforts are also under way in Canada and France.

Money magic

Finally, there is the assumption that money can destroy Israel’s critics. This is a special belief of Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate and enthusiastic backer of Netanyahu. Adelson has taken aim at activity critical of Israel on US college campuses. In the first week of June 2015, he and his supporters convened a “Campus Maccabees Summit”, the purpose of which was “to develop the conceptual framework for the anti-BDS action plan [on college campuses], assign roles and responsibilities to pro-Israel organisations, and create the appropriate command-and-control system to implement it”. Fifty activist Zionist organisations attended the conference, as did 20 donors, each of whom pledged one million dollars to the cause over the next two years.

Conclusion

Prime Minister Netanyahu personifies the problem with Zionist thinking. He is wholly self-centred and seemingly incapable of recognising, much less taking responsibility for, Israel’s racist behaviour. Thus, with the Zionists having spent the last 100 years planning and then actually doing what was needed to deny as many non-Jews as possible the “very right to live in” Palestine, Netanyahu now accuses others of doing the same thing to him and his kin – and labels it a criminal act.

…the ideology that drives Israeli racism and colonial expansion [Zionism] must be done away with, in the same way that apartheid was brought down in South Africa.

The truth is that most Western critics, including supporters of BDS, are not trying to kick the Jews out of Israel. They are trying to bring maximum pressure on the Israeli government to stop kicking non-Jews out, to stop territorial expansion in violation of international law, and to start acting like the democratic state it so questionably claims to be.

Speaking strictly for myself, I don’t believe any of these goals are possible unless Zionism is in fact kicked out of what is now Israel. That is, the ideology that drives Israeli racism and colonial expansion must be done away with, in the same way that apartheid was brought down in South Africa. That did not result in South Africa being destroyed or all white South Africans being deported. But it did result in a democracy being imported. The same scenario is necessary for Israel.

No doubt many Israelis and their supporters would equate this goal of extirpating Zionism with promoting another holocaust. This is not so, but they are scared enough to label the effort of bringing a real democracy to Israel as anti-Semitic, and to try to get it declared illegal in the West.

Finally, besides the public outcry over anti-Semitism, the Zionists are working behind closed doors – the closed doors of American state and federal legislatures and university board rooms – where they do not have to face serious debate. This might prove the most dangerous of their manoeuvres. For behind closed doors the Zionist monopoly resurfaces and truth is all the easier to suppress.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on A Zionist project to criminalise criticism of ”Israel”

Zionist lobby money behind US anti-boycott-”Israel” legislation

Right to BDS

By Lawrence Davidson

Congress moves against

It was bound to happen: an attempt by the US Congress to endorse the attacks on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement already taking place in some states and municipalities.

The strategy is to legitimise an increasingly standard approach to undermining the boycott of Israel, an approach wherein the investment of any state funds, including pension funds, in any business or organisation that boycotts the Zionist state is forbidden.

Two bipartisan pairs of senators – Mark Kirk (Republican, Illinois) and Joe Manchin (Democrat, West Virginia) – and Congressional Representatives – Robert Dold (Republican, Illinois) and Juan Vargas (Democrat, California) – introduced into both houses the Combating BDS Act of 2016” (S.2531 and H.R.4514).

We can be sure that all four of them are doing this at the coordinated behest of Zionist special interests to which they are financially tied. In other words, acting in their official capacity, their behaviour on things that touch on Israel-Palestine is a payback for money and other forms of assistance offered by the Zionists to facilitate the politicians’ elections and re-elections.

…one’s pathway to success is made easier if you don’t know the difference between ethics and your elbow.

Sadly, this is the way the US campaign system works. Unless you are very wealthy, you are constantly scrounging for money. Under such circumstances one’s pathway to success is made easier if you don’t know the difference between ethics and your elbow.

Our four sponsors of the “Combating BDS Act” would, of course, deny any such tainted motives. Rather, they would insist that theirs is an effort to weigh in against anti-Semitism and defend the integrity of the “only democracy in the Middle East”.

If they really believe this is so, the kindest thing that can be said for these legislators is that they are profoundly ignorant about Israel and its true character. It is also possible that they know the truth about their patron, but really don’t care. It is all about the money.

Intimations of the real Israel

For instance, are Senators Kirk and Manchin and Representatives Dold and Vargas aware that the Israeli legislature, the Knesset, recently voted down a billto include the principle of equality among citizens in the wording of the country’s “Basic Law” on Human Dignity and Liberty? Basic Laws stand in for a constitution in Israel.

The bill was introduced by one of the few Arab-Israeli MKs (members of the Knesset), Jamal Zahalka, who noted that “All constitutions in modern countries begin with stressing the principle of equality among their citizens.”

That did not matter to a majority of the Knesset who, following inherently discriminatory Zionist ideals, do not believe in equality between Jewish and non-Jewish citizens.

Yet to Israel’s supporters in Washington the Zionist state remains a “democracy” much like the United States.

Such an unquestioning assumption, so wide of the mark, displays a level of closed-mindedness that ought to require intensive remedial critical-thinking training before allowing someone to stand for office.

Are Senators Kirk and Manchin and Representatives Dold and Vargas aware that the Knesset “Ethics Committee” has suspended three Arab-Israeli MKs, including Mr Zahalka, from participating in legislative sessions because they met with families whose members had been killed while violently resisting Israeli occupation?

The aim of the meeting was to assist the families in recovering from the Israeli authorities the bodies of their slain relatives.

The Israelis refuse to recognise the truism that the violence of the oppressed will eventually reach the level of the violence of the oppressor. Instead, any violent blowback occurring in response to their own violence is conveniently characterised as “terrorism.”

In order for the action of the Arab MKs to make sense to most Israeli Jews and their Zionist supporters abroad, there has to be recognition of the historically established fact that the occupation of Palestinian land is real.

This the Zionists will not do and, apparently, part of their deal with the US politicians in Congress is that they too must echo that same denial.

Are Senators Kirk and Manchin and Representatives Dold and Vargas aware that the respected human rights organisation Amnesty International has recently released a report accusing the Israeli forces of using “intentional lethal force” against Palestinians in situations where such force was “completely unjustified”?

Amnesty spokesman Philip Luther asserted that the Israelis had “ripped up the rulebook” by “flouting international standards” when it came to the use of force.

For the politicians in Washington who have made their pact with the Zionists, such behaviour, if noted at all, is rationalised as self-defence on the part of the Israelis.

However, suppression of resistance to illegal occupation cannot not be judged self-defence either legally or logically. Who in Congress is aware of the Fourth Geneva Convention?

There are many other practices and policies of the state of Israel that must be ignored (including Israel’s support of al-Qaeda in Syria) if Senators Kirk and Manchin and Representatives Dold and Vargas are to carry on with clear consciences.

But this might be based on a false assumption that these politicians have a conscience to which they pay attention. After all, our system of politics, which all but demands submission to special interests, may well select for amoral personalities.

Ignoring the question of constitutionality

The apparent indifference of Senators Kirk and Manchin and Representatives Dold and Vargas goes beyond Israel’s flouting of international law. It carries over to these politicians’ own disregard for the US Constitution, which each gentleman has sworn to uphold.

Ever since the early 1980s the Supreme Court has regarded domestically initiated boycotts as a legitimate form of political speech. There is little excuse for our four defenders of Israel not to know this.

And what are we to say of them if they do in fact know? Only that they, like their patrons, are willing to “rip up the rulebook”. They are willing to act as if what is unconstitutional is, after all, acceptable when it protects the interests of a foreign rogue state on whose payroll they happen to be.

Just how long can they get away with this? Is the answer really just as long as the Zionist money keeps coming?

Congressmen and senators tied to Zionist special interests will eventually have to rethink these alliances.

Their connection with a state that has no compunction about violating international law has led them to become accomplices in the undermining of US law.

Thus, the actions of politicians such as Kirk, Manchin, Dold and Vargas act as a barometer indicating the degree to which under-regulated special interests have corrupted the US government.

Those involved are walking a path that can lead only to ongoing ethical decline and policy failures.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Zionist lobby money behind US anti-boycott-”Israel” legislation

Fraying principles: The hypocrisy of US progressives towards the Palestinians

Senator Cory Booker

By Lawrence Davidson

Fraying Act I

Back in early November the organisation Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), one of the few remaining American Jewish organisations that has the decency to publicly support the human and civil rights of the Palestinian people, put out an urgent notice. The notice asked supporters of the Palestinian cause to protest against the recent action of a progressive US senator.

The urgency was generated by the announcement that, following the murder of 11 Jews killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the Democratic senator from New Jersey Cory Booker, would “support the long-stalled Federal Gag Bill (aka the Israel anti-Boycott Act) as a “response” to rising anti-Semitism”. What makes Booker’s action so questionable is that (1) the Boycott has nothing to do with anti-Semitism and (2) Booker’s mislabelling it as such clashes with his normal support for liberal causes. It represents a fraying of his professed liberal principles.

Booker has a record of consistently supporting socially progressive issues. He has taken a stand in support of the legalisation of same-sex marriage, single-payer health care and women’s rights. But there is a catch. Democratic politicians are often liberal on domestic issues while choosing to be quite illiberal on issues related to foreign policy in the Middle East. This discordance is particularly seen when it comes to the rights of oppressed Palestinians.

Booker decided to play this domestic/foreign policy gambit. He did so by publicly conflating criticism of Israel’s racist and aggressive behaviour with anti-Semitism. This is a decision that mixes apples and oranges (or hatred of Jews with criticism of Israeli state policies) and therefore does not make logical sense, though it is politically expedient.

Why did he do it? The answer is most likely a product of both a friendship and political self-interest. Booker is close to his fellow New Jersey senator, Robert Menendez, who is a strong Zionist, and this friendship may well have helped him understand the political benefits of allying with the pro-Israel lobby. Booker knew that there might be a political price to be paid for coming out in support of the Zionists—the move would cast a shadow over his liberal persona. So, best to make this move at a moment that would likely minimise the blowback.

Thus, it may be that Booker saw the late October murder of 11 Jews at a Pittsburgh synagogue—the most lethal anti-Semitic action in US history—as just the right moment to justify the move. He may have been right. Other than the JVP’s statement, the sound of fraying principles went unnoticed.

Booker is not alone in the cultivation of this particular blind spot. There are other US senators who abandon liberal consistency when it comes to Israel. For instance, there is Robert Casey of Pennsylvania. Casey is also a supporter of liberal domestic legislation, particularly when it comes to health care. Though “pro-life”, he at least has the common sense to support subsidised access to contraception. Nonetheless, in Casey’s opinion Israel is “America’s most trusted ally”, and the boycott of that country constitutes a “pernicious” movement. Casey has never expressed any public criticism of Israel’s illegal treatment of the Palestinians nor its occupation of Palestinian territory in violation of international law.

Fraying Act II

The politically inspired refusal to be consistent to standards of decency is not restricted to the issue of Palestine. Consider the recently published pictureshowing former Democratic Vice-President Joe Biden, whose name has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, presenting George W. Bush, former Republican president (and arguably a war criminal), with the 2018 Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Centre in Philadelphia on 11 November 2018.

The offered reason for Bush’s receiving this honour is in recognition of his “charitable mission helping wounded post-11 September veterans get back on their feet through healing and career training”. Given that most of these veterans were wounded in a war that then-President Bush started under false pretences, one wonders what Biden and the National Constitution Centre’s Board of Trustees were thinking when they decided to honour him in this fashion. After all, the Liberty Metal is designed to recognise those who have “strived to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the world”. I don’t think that anyone with even a little knowledge of the second Iraq war can believe that was George W. Bush’s real motive.

General consequences

We can admit that consistency is a hard thing to achieve for all of us. This would be particularly true for politicians immersed in a system dominated by special interests and “party whips”. Yet the fraying of principles related to human rights that now pervades US politics and particularly the liberals’ readiness to acquiesce in the denial of other people’s rights, speaks to a significant devaluing of conscience and an unconscionable shallowness when it comes to ethical judgement. Perhaps it should give pause to all those Democrats raising glasses of cheap champagne to the party’s victory in the mid-term elections. Just how consistent in their assumed liberal principles will our new US representatives be?

The truth is that these newly elected Democrats are stepping into a struggle for the political soul of their party. Their professed liberality should help move the party in the direction of rational change, both as to its priorities and its leadership. The result should be a shift left to ensure things like health care, gender equality, same-sex marriage, abortion rights, a serious attitude towards climate change, infrastructure investment, and respect for international treaties and laws. This includes an empathetic response to the injustices visited upon the Palestinians by “America’s most trusted ally”.

But, alas, this cannot be done under an old guard that is stuck in the rut of tradition, tied hand and foot to special interests, and insisting on keeping control of a party which, under their leadership, has lost the ability to act with any sort of originality.

Here is where the all too easy fraying of principle threatens the Democratic Party. Will our new Democrat representatives be loyal to their progressive principles, or will they buy into a corrupt status quo by just following their Pied Piper leadership? Time will tell, but if they don’t “rock the boat” now, the prevailing paralysis will bode ill for both their future and ours.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USAComments Off on Fraying principles: The hypocrisy of US progressives towards the Palestinians

European Parliament Panel Approves Whistleblower Protections for all EU Countries

NOVANEWS

Journalists to Receive Whistleblower Protections under Updated Directive

BRUSSELS – On Tuesday, the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) of the European Parliament voted in favor of a proposed Whistleblower Protection Directive, which would create legally binding free speech protections for whistleblowers in all EU member states. Among the compromises within the directive, one of the most notable was the extension of whistleblower protections to journalists –– a progressive move that would surpass whistleblower protections in most developed countries.

Highlights of the Directive include:

  • A comprehensive, continent-wide ban on direct or indirect retaliation against all current or former, public or private workers and volunteers who blow the whistle. as well as those who assist them including Civil Society Organizations and media that report on their evidence
  • Protection against criminal prosecution and corporate lawsuits for damages.
  • Equal rights for national security whistleblowers challenging denial or loss of security clearances;
  • Provision of psychological support to deal with the stress of harassment

Whistleblower advocates are hailing JURI’s decision as a success.

Referring to provisions listed above, Government Accountability Project Legal Director Tom Devine said,  “The European Union Whistleblower Directive voted out of committee today would set the global standard for best practice rights protecting freedom of speech where it counts the most—challenging abuses of power that betray the public trust. If approved, this will be a landmark paradigm shift protecting freedom of speech, and give whistleblowers a meaningful voice to make a difference. The new Directive is far stronger than U.S. whistleblower rights.”

However, the Directive is unclear about its application to certain key contexts, such as ‘duty speech,’ when employees report the same whistleblowing information as part of a job assignment or to a supervisor, rather than as formal dissent. This is where the overwhelming majority of whistleblowing information gets communicated, and where the free flow of truth is needed for healthy organizations. But it also is the setting for the overwhelming majority of retaliation. The current Directive in unclear whether protection extends to that context. It must, or the Directive will only cover the tip and miss the iceberg of what’s needed.”

Posted in Europe, Human RightsComments Off on European Parliament Panel Approves Whistleblower Protections for all EU Countries

Debunking the Claims in Trump’s Nov. 20 Saudi Arabia/Khashoggi Statement

NOVANEWS

Win Without War

WASHINGTON – In respsonse to President Donald Trump’s statement about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi released on Tuesday, November 20, 2018.

CLAIM: “The country of Iran, as an example, is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen. … Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave.”

FACT: Saudi Arabia launched a war against Houthi rebels in Yemen shortly after the Houthis ousted the Saudi-backed government in Sana’a. Iran advised the Houthis not to take over Sana’a, but they did anyway and were able to, not because of Iranian backing, but because of their alliance with forces aligned with the late former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. While the Houthis were and have been only loosely aligned with Iran, having received some weapons and training, Iran’s involvement in the conflict is self-perpetuating — a low cost, high reward venture in which, by spending just pennies on the dollar, it can bog down Saudi Arabia in a drawn-out and expensive conflict without itself taking on much risk.

Iran, for its part, stated its willingness to help find a resolution to the conflict in Yemen six months ago – long before the coalition signaled it was willing to engage in peace talks this fall. Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition launched a costly offensive at Yemen’s vital port of Hodeidah, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in an attempt to improve its military position before engaging in talks. Despite a short ceasefire, the coalition resumed bombing Hodeidah this week.

CLAIM: “After my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. … It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development. … Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors.”

FACT: None of these claims are true. Most of the $110 billion in arms deals “were defined as memorandums of intent, non-binding commitments to buy,” according to Reuters. Trump himself has only inked $4 billion worth of arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

What’s more, any future arms sales are more likely to create jobs in foreign countries and not in the U.S. and canceling any arms agreements, real or otherwise, with Saudi Arabia is unlikely to cut U.S. jobs.

And of this claim that Saudi will invest $450 billion in the U.S.? It’s completely made up.

CLAIM: “If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries.”

FACT: Saudi Arabia’s military equipment is too wedded to U.S.- and British-made supplies that it would be foolish for them to turn to China or Russia as an alternative, and also economically infeasible. “It would take decades to transition from U.S. and U.K. aircraft, for example, to Russian or Chinese aircraft,” one expert has said. “Same is true for tanks, communications equipment and other hi-tech equipment. And the Saudis don’t have time given they are bogged down in Yemen.”

CLAIM: “King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”

FACT: The CIA has actually concluded that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The Saudis have lied through their teeth about their airstrikes not targeting civilians in Yemen, so it is no wonder they are denying any role in the murder of Khashoggi.

CLAIM: Saudi Arabia has been “a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region.”

FACT: Saudi Arabia has repeatedly tried to push American leaders to launch “a full scale military assault” on Iran. War with Iran would be more costly and deadly than the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and would likely spark an “all-out regional war” lasting several years. None of this is in the U.S. national interests. Rather it would only fulfil Saudi Arabia’s desire to fight Iran to the last American.

Posted in USA, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Debunking the Claims in Trump’s Nov. 20 Saudi Arabia/Khashoggi Statement


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