Archive | April 20th, 2019

Why ‘Israel’ deserves to be called an apartheid state

Why Israel deserves to be called an apartheid state
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs his weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on April 14. (Ronen Zvulun / AP)

To the editor: One reader’s letter defending Israel against charges of being an apartheid state demands a rebuttal.

First, the apartheid claim rests not on the second-class citizenship of Arab residents within Israel proper (as un-fully democratic as this is), but on a half-century of egregiously discriminatory non-citizenship of Palestinians in the West Bank.

Second, Israel has been flagrantly violating international law since 1967 through its colonizing West Bank settlements.

Third, Palestinians have rejected Israel’s long-term peace proposals because they failed to deal equitably with the settlement issue.

Fourth, while Hamas hasn’t helped its cause inside or outside Gaza, Israel has contributed to the missile crisis through its anti-humanitarian blockade.

Finally, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ultra-nationalist rhetoric and policies may not have caused the two-state solution to be “moribund,” but they may have hammered the final nails into the coffin.

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I fought South African apartheid

I fought South African apartheid. I see the same brutal policies in Israel

I was shut down in South Africa for speaking out, and I’m disturbed that the same is happening to critics of Israel now

 Ronnie Kasrils was a leading member of the African National Congress during the apartheid era and former government minister

A Likud election campaign poster in Haedera, Israel.
‘Benjamin Netanyahu said recently: ‘Israel is not a state of all its citizens … Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people – and them alone.’ Photograph: Amir Levy/Getty Images

As a Jewish South African anti-apartheid activist I look with horror on the far-right shift in Israel ahead of this month’s elections, and the impact in the Palestinian territories and worldwide.

Israel’s repression of Palestinian citizens, African refugees and Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza has become more brutal over time. Ethnic cleansing, land seizure, home demolition, military occupation, bombing of Gaza and international law violations led Archbishop Tutu to declare that the treatment of Palestinians reminded him of apartheid, only worse.

How disgraceful that, despite the lessons of our struggle against racism, such intolerance continues to this day

I’m also deeply disturbed that critics of Israel’s brutal policies are frequently threatened with repression of their freedom of speech, a reality I’ve now experienced at first hand. Last week, a public meeting in Vienna where I was scheduled to speak in support of Palestinian freedom, as part of the global Israeli Apartheid Week, was cancelled by the museum hosting the event – under pressure from Vienna’s city council, which opposes the international movement to divest from Israel.

South Africa’s apartheid government banned me for life from attending meetings. Nothing I said could be published, because I stood up against apartheid. How disgraceful that, despite the lessons of our struggle against racism, such intolerance continues to this day, stifling free speech on Palestine.

During the South African struggle, we were accused of following a communist agenda, but smears didn’t deflect us. Today, Israel’s propaganda follows a similar route, repeated by its supporters – conflating opposition to Israel with antisemitism. This must be resisted.

A growing number of Jews worldwide are taking positions opposing Israel’s policies. Many younger Jews are supporting the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a peaceful mobilisation inspired by the movement that helped to end apartheid in South Africa.

The parallels with South Africa are many. The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, recently said: “Israel is not a state of all its citizens … Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people – and them alone.”

Similar racist utterances were common in apartheid South Africa. We argued that a just peace could be reached, and that white people would find security only in a unitary, non-racist, democratic society after ending the oppression of black South Africans and providing freedom and equality for all.

By contrast, Netanyahu’s Likud is desperately courting extremist parties, and abandoning any pretext of negotiating with the Palestinians. His plan to bring an extremist settler party and Kahanist terrorist party into his governing coalition is obscene. His most serious opponent is a general accused of war crimes in Gaza. As long as a repressive apartheid-like regime rules, things will only worsen for Palestinians and Israelis too.

The anti-apartheid movement grew over three decades, in concert with the liberation struggle of South Africa’s people, to make a decisive difference in toppling the racist regime. Europeans refused to buy apartheid fruit; there were sports boycotts; dockworkers from Liverpool to Melbourne refused to handle South African cargo; an academic boycott turned universities into apartheid-free zones; and arms sanctions helped to shift the balance against South Africa’s military.

As the movement developed and UN resolutions isolated Pretoria’s regime, pressure mounted on trading partners and supportive governments. The US Congress’s historic adoption of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act (1986) was a major turning point. When the Chase and Barclays banks closed in South Africa and withdrew their lines of credit, the battle was well-nigh over.

This required huge organisational effort, grassroots mobilisation and education. Similar elements characterise today’s BDS movement to isolate apartheid-like Israel.

Every step is important – pressing institutions and corporations that are complicit in Israel’s crimes and supporting Palestinians in their struggle for liberation. This is not about destroying Israel and its people but about working for a just solution, as we did in South Africa.

It is the duty of supporters of justice worldwide to mobilise in solidarity with Palestinians to help usher in an era of freedom.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, South AfricaComments Off on I fought South African apartheid

Gaza’s walking wounded


Gaza’s walking wounded: Nazi snipers have shot 6,392 protesters in lower limbs this year.

A wave of sniper fire has left Palestinians of all ages incapacitated or permanently disabled

Israeli snipers have shot and wounded at least 6,392 Palestinian protesters in the lower limbs in eight months of weekly rallies, according to a new tally, leaving the enclave’s streets and hospitals filled with maimed victims.

Since March 30, Palestinians have massed along the shared border with Israel to call for a return to the lands themselves and their relatives were displaced from at the birth of the country in 1948. The rallies have turned deadly with Israeli snipers deliberately targeting the legs to quell the unrest.

Of 10,511 protesters treated since that day in the enclaves hospitals and field clinics, 6,392 were struck in the lower limbs with live ammunition or rubber bullets, according to the Associated Press. That figure does not include the 175 killed by Israeli sniper fire on the border. It total, at least 220 Palestinians have been killed since March in different incidents including air strikes and tank fire. A Palestinian sniper killed one Israeli soldier.

Rights groups and Gazan medics say the number of wounded is so overwhelming that Gaza’s already crippled medical services cannot cope with the fallout, leaving many unrested and at risk of infection or, worse, death.

A visible sight in the territory is now one of incapacitation, young Gazans on crutches or with their legs bound together with a metal frame.

“This many patients would overstretch the best healthcare systems in the world. In Gaza, it is a crushing blow,” Marie-Elisabeth Ingres, Doctors Without Border’s chief for the Palestinian territories, said in a statement last month.

Some of those wounded say they were involved in throwing stones at Israeli soldiers but many say that they were unarmed and not posing any threat to Israeli forces when they were shot.

Israel says it is acting proportionately, stopping border breaches by shooting to maim and not to kill. It holds the rulers of Gaza, Hamas, responsible for the border protests. But rights groups say the open-fire policy breaches international law as it permits soldiers to lethally shoot protesters who pose no mortal threat to military personnel.

The enclave’s health system has been battered by three wars between Hamas and Israel since 2008 and a parallel Israeli siege that has squeezed the territory’s land crossings, its imports and exports, as well as its coastline.


Of the thousands of wounded, Gaza’s Health Ministry says it has carried out 94 amputations, 82 of them on the lower limbs. If wounds are left untreated then many will face amputation

The wave of casualties on the Gaza border has coincided with rising anger of the policies of US President Donald Trump, who moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, effectively recognising the contested city as Israel’s capital, along with other controversial measures to change the reality on the ground.

Anger has also been stoked by the dire economic situation that has left the territory with one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, especially for young people. The United Nations has warned that the territory will become unlivable by 2020 if little change takes place.

Exacerbating the situation in the enclave is a dispute between Hamas and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, which had suspended salaries for thousands of workers.

But Qatar has stepped in to funnel millions of dollars and pay almost 30,000 Gazan civil servants, an intervention that has angered officials in Ramallah after the deal agreed with Israel sidelined the internationally-recognised Palestinian government.

The weekly protests have continued despite wintry weather. Hamas has maintained the rallies, reducing their strength when signs of a truce with Israel are close or it takes steps to ease the blockade.

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Nazi Jewish man convicted of burning Palestinian teenager to death

Mohammed Abu Khdeir murder: Israeli man convicted of burning Palestinian teenager to death in revenge killing

Judges dismissed an insanity plea by Yosef Haim Ben David’s lawyers

Israeli Yosef Haim Ben-David (C), the ringleader of the killing of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir last year, is escorted by Israeli policemen at the district court in Jerusalem on April 19, 2016.Israeli Yosef Haim Ben-David (C), the ringleader of the killing of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir last year, is escorted by Israeli policemen at the district court in Jerusalem on April 19, 2016. ( AFP/Getty Images )

A man has been convicted of burning a Palestinian teenager to death after his plea of insanity was thrown out by an Israeli court.

Yosef Haim Ben David faces life in prison for murdering 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir in July 2014.

A Jerusalem district court ruled that he and two teenagers, who were previously convicted for the killing, kidnapped Abu Khdeir and set him alight in revenge for the murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank.

Mohammed Abu Khdeir was mudered in revenge for the killing of three Israeli teenagers

Their deaths and the ensuing violence set off the chain of events leading to that summer’s 50-day Gaza War.

Ben David’s lawyers had launched a last-minute insanity plea but the court found the 30-year-old was responsible for his actions on Tuesday.

Judges determined that he murdered Abu Khdeir for “nationalistic” motives – a term often used to describe hate crimes committed against Palestinians – the Times of Israel reported.

“The court has found that at the time he committed the offence, the accused was not psychotic, fully understood the facts, was responsible for his actions, had no difficulty in understanding reality and had the capacity to prevent the crime,” a spokesperson for Israel’s ministry of justice said, alleging that Ben David had also attempted to kidnap an eight-year-old Palestinian boy on a separate occasion.

Ben David, who called himself “the messiah” at one court hearing, is to be sentenced next month and could face life in prison.

Video: CCTV footage of the suspects


Abu Khdeir’s father, Hussein Abu Khdeir, called for life imprisonment and argued that Israeli authorities should destroy the murderer’s house “like they do for all other terrorists”.

Two teenagers involved in the killing were sentenced in February in Jerusalem District Court but cannot be named because of reporting restrictions.

A 17-year-old boy was jailed for life and a 16-year-old received a 21-year sentence.

Abu Khdeir was waiting for friends outside a mosque during morning prayers in Shuafat, East Jerusalem, when he was abducted on 2 July 2014.

Surveillance footage showed him being dragged into a car that drove into Jerusalem Forest, where his burned body was discovered just an hour later.

An autopsy showed he had soot in his lungs, indicating he had been burned alive after being beaten and forced to swallow petrol by his attackers.

The defendants confessed to carrying out the murder as a brutal act of revenge for the killing of three Jewish teenagers in the West Bank, who had been buried the previous day.

Ben David called out the names of murdered Israelis, including Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel as the boys beat Abu Khdeir and hit him in the head with a metal bar, the court heard.

The Israeli Defence Ministry recognized Abu Khdeir as a victim of “hostile action”, granting his family the same compensation rights as the victims of Palestinian attacks, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the murder “despicable”.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Nazi Jewish man convicted of burning Palestinian teenager to death

Nazi Fifth Column: Exercising control from inside the government

Israel’s Fifth Column: Exercising control from inside the government

Israel’s Fifth Column: Exercising control from inside the government

Back row, L-R: Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, Stuart Levey, Adam Szubin. Front row, L-R: Ambassador David Friedman, Sigal Pearl Mandelker, David Cohen. Pictured in front of the flag of Israel.

A Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff once said: ‘If the American people understood what a grip Israel has on our government, they would rise up in arms. Our citizens certainly don’t have any idea what goes on’… An attack on a U.S. Navy ship… Top officials in a secretive office in the Treasury Department… A U.S. ambassador and his senior assistant… Wars for Israel… Where does it all end?

By Philip Giraldi, Council for the National Interest

Referring to Israel during an interview in August 1983, U.S. Navy Admiral and former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Thomas Moorer said “I’ve never seen a President — I don’t care who he is — stand up to them. It just boggles the mind. They always get what they want. The Israelis know what is going on all the time. I got to the point where I wasn’t writing anything down. If the American people understood what a grip these people have got on our government, they would rise up in arms. Our citizens certainly don’t have any idea what goes on.”

USS Liberty crew wounded during Israeli attack that killed 34 and injured 174.

Moorer was speaking generally but he had something specific in mind, namely the June 8, 1967, Israeli attack on the American intelligence ship, U.S.S. Liberty, which killed 34 American crewmen and wounded 174 more. The ship was operating in international waters and was displaying a huge stars and stripes but Israeli warplanes, which had identified the vessel as American, even strafed the life rafts to kill those who were fleeing the sinking ship. It was the bloodiest attack on a U.S. Naval vessel ever outside of wartime and the crew deservedly received the most medals every awarded to a single ship based on one action. Yes, it is one hell of a story of courage under fire, but don’t hold your breath waiting for Hollywood to make a movie out of it.

President Lyndon B. Johnson had ordered the recall of U.S. carrier planes sent to aid the stricken vessel, saying that he would prefer the ship go to the bottom rather than embarrass his good friend Israel. Then came the cover-up from inside the U.S. government. A hastily convened and summarily executed board of inquiry headed by Admiral John McCain, father of the senator, deliberately interviewed only a handful of crewmen before determining that it was all an accident. The sailors who had survived the attack as well as crewmen from Navy ships that arrived eventually to provide assistance were held incommunicado in Malta before being threatened and sworn to secrecy. Since that time, repeated attempts to convene another genuine inquiry have been rebuffed by congress, the White House and the Pentagon [and the media]. Recently deceased Senator John McCain was particularly active in rejecting overtures from the Liberty survivors.

Israeli spying gets Israel $10 billion

The Liberty story demonstrates how Israel’s ability to make the United States government act against its own interests has been around for a long time. Grant Smith of IRMEP, cites how Israeli spying carried out by AIPAC in Washington back in the mid-1980s resulted in a lopsided trade agreement that currently benefits Israel by more than $10 billion per year on the top of direct grants from the U.S. Treasury and billions in tax exempt “charitable” donations by American Jews.

If Admiral Moorer were still alive, I would have to tell him that the situation vis-à-vis Israeli power is much worse now than it was in 1983. He would be very interested in reading a remarkable bit of research recently completed by Smith demonstrating exactly how Israel and its friends work from inside the system to corrupt our political process and make the American government work in support of Jewish state interests. He describes in some detail how the Israel Lobby has been able to manipulate the law enforcement community to protect and promote Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s agenda.

Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence: safeguarding Israel’s interests

A key component in the Israeli penetration of the U. S. government has been President George W. Bush’s 2004 signing off on the creation of the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (OTFI) within the Department of the Treasury. The group’s website proclaims that it is responsible for “safeguarding the financial system against illicit use and combating rogue nations, terrorist facilitators, weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferators, money launderers, drug kingpins, and other national security threats,” but it has from its founding been really all about safeguarding Israel’s perceived interests. Grant Smith notes however, how “the secretive office has a special blind spot for major terrorism generators, such as tax-exempt money laundering from the United States into illegal Israeli settlements and proliferation financing and weapons technology smuggling into Israel’s clandestine nuclear weapons complex.

Stuart Levey

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (left) meets with U.S. Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Fnancial Intelligence Stuart Levey, March 4, 2007. Levey operated secretly within the Treasury while coordinating regularly with the Israeli government as well as with pro-Israel organizations like AIPAC, WINEP and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). Levey also traveled regularly to Israel on the taxpayer’s dime, as did his three successors in office.

The first head of the office was Undersecretary of Treasury Stuart Levey, who operated secretly within the Treasury itself while also coordinating regularly both with the Israeli government as well as with pro-Israel organizations like AIPAC, WINEP and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). Levey also traveled regularly to Israel on the taxpayer’s dime, as did his three successors in office.

David Cohen

Levey left OTFI in 2011 and was replaced by David Cohen. It was reported then and subsequently that counterterrorism positions at OTFI were all filled by individuals who were both Jewish and Zionist. Cohen continued the Levey tradition of resisting any transparency regarding what the office was up to. Smith reports how, on September 12, 2012, he refused to answer reporter questions “about Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons, and whether sanctioning Iran, a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, over its internationally-inspected civilian nuclear program was an example of endemic double standards at OTFI.

[Editor’s note: Cohen has been close to Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz and his family from high school. “He practically lived in my house,” Dershowitz says. Dershowitz got Cohen his first job – working for the prominent Washington attorney Nathan Lewin.]

David Cohen began his career defending the right to display menorahs on government property. Cohen was the Obama administration’s top Iran sanctions official as the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. He was next second in command at the CIA.

Adam Szubin and Sigal Pearl Mandelker

Cohen was in turn succeeded in 2015 by Adam Szubin who was then replaced in 2017 by Sigal Pearl Mandelker, a former and possibly current Israeli citizen. All of the heads of OTFI have therefore been Jewish and Zionist. All work closely with the Israeli government, all travel to Israel frequently on “official business” and they all are in close liaison with the Jewish groups most often described as part of the Israel Lobby. And the result has been that many of the victims of OTFI have been generally enemies of Israel, as defined by Israel and America’s Jewish lobbyists. OTFI’s Specially Designated Nationals And Blocked Persons List (SDN), which includes sanctions and enforcement options features many Middle Eastern Muslim and Christian names and companies but nothing in any way comparable relating to Israel and Israelis, many of whom are well known to law enforcement otherwise as weapons traffickers and money launderers . And once placed on the SDN there is no transparent way to be removed, even if the entry was clearly in error.

Adam J. Szubin testifies at Congressional hearing on Iran May 25, 2016 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. See video and transcript here.
Sigal Mandeker testifies against Iran on panel chaired by Deputy Attorney General Ros Rosenstein, March 23, 2018.  Video and transcript here. Mandeker was born in Israel; her current citizenship status is unknown.

Here in the United States, action by OTFI has meant that Islamic charities have been shut down and individuals exercising their right to free speech through criticism of the Jewish state have been imprisoned. If the Israel Anti-Boycott Act succeeds in making its way through congress the OTFI model will presumably become the law of the land when it comes to curtailing free speech whenever Israel is involved.

The OTFI story is outrageous, but it is far from unique. There is a history of American Jews closely attached to Israel being promoted by powerful and cash rich domestic lobbies to act on behalf of the Jewish state. To be sure, Jews who are Zionists are vastly overrepresented in all government agencies that have anything at all to do with the Middle East and one can reasonably argue that the Republican and Democratic Parties are in the pockets of Jewish billionaires named Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban.

Neocons pushed Iraq War, now target Iran

Neoconservatives, most of whom are Jewish, infiltrated the Pentagon under the Reagan Administration and they and their heirs in government and media (Doug Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Scooter Libby, Richard Perle, Bill Kristol) were major players in the catastrophic war with Iraq, which, one of the architects of that war, Philip Zelikow, described in 2004 as being all about Israel. The same people are now in the forefront of urging war with Iran[More info on neocons pushing Iraq war is here]

Advertisement placed in New York Times with the names of the sponsoring groups whose symbols are at the bottom of the ad.

David Friedman

American policy towards the Middle East is largely being managed by a small circle of Orthodox Jews working for presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner. One of them, David Friedman, is currently U.S. Ambassador to Israel. Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer who has no diplomatic or foreign policy credentials, is a Zionist Jew who is also a supporter of the illegal settlements on the West Bank and a harsh critic of other Jews who in any way disagree with the Israeli government. He has contributed money to settlement construction, which would be illegal if OTFI were doing its job, and has consistently defended the settlers while condemning the Palestinians in speeches in Israel.

He endlessly and ignorantly repeats Israeli government talking points and has tried to change the wording of State Department communications, seeking to delete the word “occupied” when describing Israel’s control of the West Bank. His humanity does not extend beyond his Jewishness, defending the Israeli shooting thousands of unarmed Gazan protesters and the bombing of schools, hospitals and cultural centers. How he represents the United States and its citizens who are not dual nationals must be considered a mystery.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman speaks at 2018 AIPAC national conference. Video and more information here. Friedman is a bankruptcy attorney with no previous diplomatic experience.
Palestinians in Gaza carry an injured girl, March 31, 2018. David Friedman defended Israeli shooting of unarmed Palestinian men, women, and children. (For list of all Israelis and Palestinians killed since 2000 go here.)

Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone

Friedman’s top adviser is Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, who is described by the Embassy as an expert in “Jewish education and pro-Israel advocacy.” Once upon a time, in an apparently more enlightened mood, Lightstone described Donald Trump as posing “an existential danger both to the Republican Party and to the U.S.” and even accused him of pandering to Jewish audiences. Apparently when opportunity knocked he changed his mind about his new boss.

Pre-government in 2014, Lightstone founded and headed Shining City, a Jewish advocacy group supported by extreme right-wing money that opposed the Iran nuclear agreement and also worked to combat the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. He is reportedly still connected financially with anti BDS groups, which might be construed as a conflict of interest. As the Senior Adviser to Friedman he is paid in excess of $200,000 plus free housing, additional cash benefits to include a 25% cost of living allowance and a 10% hardship differential, medical insurance and eligibility for a pension.

Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone speaks at Yeshiva Ohr Yitzchok. Lightstone founded and headed Shining City, a Jewish advocacy group supported by extreme right-wing money that opposed the Iran nuclear agreement and also worked to combat the nonviolent BDS movement. As the Senior Adviser to Friedman he is paid in excess of $200,000 plus free housing, additional cash benefits to include a 25% cost of living allowance and a 10% hardship differential, medical insurance and eligibility for a pension.

Nothing for Americans, everything for Israel

So, what’s in it all for Joe and Jill American Citizens? Not much. And for Israel? Anything it wants, apparently. Sink a U.S. warship? Okay. Tap the U.S. Treasury? Sure, just wait a minute and we’ll draft some legislation that will give you even more money. Create a treasury department agency run exclusively by Jews that operates secretly to punish critics of the Jewish state? No brainer. Meanwhile a bunch of dudes at the Pentagon are dreaming of new wars for Israel, and the White House sends an ignorant ambassador and top aide overseas to represent the interests of the foreign government in the country where they are posted. Which just happens to be Israel. Will it ever end?

Philip M. Giraldi is Executive Director of the 501(c)3 tax deductible organization Council for the National Interest. He is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer. Mr. Giraldi was awarded an MA and PhD from the University of London in European History and holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the University of Chicago. He speaks Spanish, Italian, German, and Turkish. An earlier version of this article was posted on Unz Review.



By Uri Blau, Ha’aretz

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman’s senior adviser is a rabbi who previously headed a U.S.-based nonprofit that donated over $1 million to the controversial Israeli right-wing organization Im Tirtzu in 2015.

An embassy spokesperson confirmed to Haaretz that Orthodox Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone is now serving as a senior adviser to Friedman at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

View image on Twitter

Lightstone “has spent the past two decades professionally in the startup, real estate and not for profit worlds,” the spokesperson said, adding, “He is a prolific fundraiser for a myriad of philanthropic, political and issue-based advocacy organizations.”

However, the embassy did not answer Haaretz’s questions about Lightstone’s previous role at Shining City, which donated 3.7 million shekels (about $1 million) to the Im Tirtzu organization during Israel’s last election year, 2015.

Im Tirtzu defines itself as a Zionist movement, but is best known for its media campaign at the end of 2015 when it branded various artists and human rights organizations as foreign agents.

In June, Haaretz revealed Lightstone’s involvement in Shining City, which is what is known as a “dark money” organization. The nonprofit was registered under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(4), which gives a special tax-exemption status to nonprofits involved in promoting social welfare goals, and also enables them to use part of their capital to promote political objectives – without revealing their sources of funding.

Shining City was founded in Virginia in late 2014 to educate the public on “relations between Israel and the USA,” and America’s political relationships in the Middle East, according to organization documents. [more info here.]

It was registered by the Virginia law firm Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky. According to a December 2012 Bloomberg report, the law firm was previously involved in registering companies that donated over $250 million to campaigns connected to the 2012 U.S. presidential election, calling it a “nexus of Republican secret money and power.”

Shining City operated mostly during the 2015 Knesset election campaign in Israel, when the nuclear agreement between six world powers and Iran was under discussion in the United States. At the beginning of 2015, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited to address Congress on why he was against the accord, the nonprofit promoted his speech on social media and lauded Netanyahu.

During that year Lightstone was listed as the executive director of Shining City, and the only one receiving a salary from it ($73,750).

Haaretz also traced U.S. public records indicating that Lightstone filed several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in the name of Shining City, being particularly interested in records concerning the Iran deal.

He asked the U.S. Treasury Department for “all the records from January 1, 2015 to December 4, 2015 concerning Treasury and other government entities regarding the implementation day of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.” He also requested a “signed copy of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action reached on July 14, 2015 by the P5+1, the European Union and Iran.”

Other records show that Lightstone was working as a consultant to a California-based Republican candidate to Congress, Denise Gitsham. [Lightstone also donated to Gitsham’s campaign in 2016.]

Though Shining City is still registered as an active organization, it is hard to find any mention of its current activities. Its official website has been taken down and there have been no tweets on its Twitter account since the end of 2015. Its Facebook page (Shining City Community) still shares posts, though, including statements by Netanyahu like this:

As Haaretz previously reported, Shining City had three directors in 2016 – Phil Rosen, Eliot Lauer and Andrew (Andy) Albstein. All are prominent New York lawyers and at least two of them are close to Netanyahu and the Republican Party.

In a conversation with Haaretz in June, Albstein called Lightstone “one of the nicest young men you will find. He is involved in education, pro-Israel.” Albstein added that he got to know Lightstone through their involvement with the same political figure “who is involved in pro-Israel activity.” However, he refused to name that person.

The actual source of Shining City’s funds is unknown, but Haaretz found that in 2015 it received contributions of more than $3.2 million, all from one organization: Americans For Jerusalem. That group, also a 501(c)(4), was founded under the name One Jerusalem and, according to its 2010 reports to the IRS, operated from the New York address of the philanthropic foundation of businessman and former Netanyahu associate Ronald Lauder. That same organization also donated directly to Im Tirtzu during 2015.

On his LinkedIn page, Lightstone says he was executive director at Shining City for eight months, from July 2014 to February 2015.

On his official page on the Orthodox Union website, meanwhile, Lightstone doesn’t mention his involvement with Shining City but does mention Ivanka Trump.

“Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, formerly Regional Director of New York NCSY, was appointed in April 2017 to serve as advisor [sic] to U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman,” it states. “Since receiving semicha from RIETS, Rabbi Lightstone has been fully engaged in all forms of communal work. A businessman at heart but a klal [people] person in reality, Rabbi Lightstone infuses his entrepreneurial spirit into all of his programs. Over the years, his programs have gained the acclaim of the likes of Ivanka Trump, Senator Joseph Lieberman and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office, among many others.”

In June, Im Tirtzu told Haaretz that most of its donors today “are Israelis, but we are pleased to find private donors from around the world as well (individuals and private foundations) who support our important activity and thereby try to strengthen the Jewish and democratic identity of the State of Israel. The guideline in the movement with regard to raising funds is non-acceptance of money from any foreign state entity or foundations that promote delegitimization of Israeli society.”

Haaretz contacted Lightstone several times in June, but he asked not to be interviewed or to discuss his involvement with Shining City.

“I am not associated with them anymore,” he said, adding that media stories at the time about his appointment as an adviser to Friedman were premature. “I don’t have a job at the moment,” he said.

Lightstone did not respond to phone calls from Haaretz this week for this article.

Top Official at U.S. Embassy in Israel Is Owed Money From Israel Advocacy Group – ProPublica

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Burning of Christian churches justified, far-Right Jewish leader says

Burning of Christian churches in Israel justified, far-Right Jewish leader says
Head of Lehava, known for violent campaign against Jew-Arab assimilation, risks arrest with public defence of setting fire to Holy Land churches
Israeli settler Benzi Gopstein, the leader of the extreme right-wing movement Lehava, Organization for Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land, is escorted to a hearing at a Jerusalem court on December 18, 2014, after he was arrested

Israeli settler Benzi Gopstein, the leader of the extreme right-wing movement Lehava, in court in Jerusalem in 2014 Photo: AFP/Getty

The leader of a far-Right Israeli group has risked arrest by apparently voicing support for arson attacks on Christian churches amid an official crackdown on Jewish extremism.

Benzi Gopstein, the outspoken head of Lehava – which has drawn notoriety for its violent assaults on Jewish-Arab assimilation – made the remarks at a panel discussion for Jewish yeshiva students when asked by a fellow panelist if he believed burning down churches in Israel was justified.

He later tried to evade accusations of inciting his followers to fire-raise, saying it was the government’s responsibility to carry out what he presented as a religious teaching of the 12th century Jewish philosopher, Maimonides.

“Did the Rambam [Maimonides] rule to destroy [idol worship] or not? Idol worship must be destroyed. It’s simply yes – what’s the question?” Mr Gopstein told the panel.

His comment alarmed his questioner Benny Rabinovich, a journalist, who told him: “Benzi, I must say I’m really shocked by what you’re saying here. You are essentially saying we must go out and burn down churches. You’re saying something insane here.”

Told by another panelist, Moshe Klein, rabbi of Israel’s Haddash medical centres, that the discussion was being filmed and that his remarks could lead to his arrest, Mr Gopstein answered: “That’s the last thing that concerns me. If this is truth, I’m prepared to sit in jail 50 years for it.”

He later retreated slightly after a recording of the exchange was posted on Kikar Shabbat, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish website. “I stressed several times I was not calling to take operative steps, but that this is the Rambam’s approach and that it’s the responsibility of the government, not of individuals,” he said in a statement.

Nevertheless, the incendiary comments could not have been more provocatively timed. They came after Moshe Ya’alon, Israel’s defence minister, ordered the detention without trial of Mordechai Meyer, 18, for extremist activities believed to include starting a fire that badly damaged the symbolic Church of Loaves and Fishes in Galilee in June.

He was one of three extremists detained after Benjamin Netanyahu’s government was prompted to launch an unprecedented offensive against “Jewish terrorism” following an arson attack by suspected hardline settlers in the West Bank village of Duma last Friday that killed a one-year-old Palestinian toddler and gravely injured his parents and brother.

Head of a Jewish extremist group Meir Ettinger appears in court in Nazareth Illit , Israel, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015. Head of a Jewish extremist group Meir Ettinger appears in court in Nazareth Illit , Israel, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015.   Photo: AP
Head of a Jewish extremist group Meir Ettinger appears in court in Nazareth Illit (AP)

Also arrested was Meir Ettinger, grandson of the late Meir Kahane, a Jewish rabbi notorious for racist beliefs who was murdered by a Palestinian in 1990.

Mr Gopstein, Lehava’s founder, is a one-time member of Mr Kahane’s Kach party, which was banned because of its racist philosophy.

However, Shin Bet – Israel’s domestic intelligence agency – recently concluded that there are no legal grounds for similarly outlawing Lehava, despite a request from Mr Ya’alon to consider doing so.

Two of the group’s members were recently jailed for setting fire to Jerusalem’s Jewish-Arab Max Rayne Hand in Hand school last November. Hebrew graffiti reading “Kahane was right” was sprayed on a wall of the school.

Mr Gopstein was arrested along with 20 other Lehava members for suspected incitement to violence last last year but has so far not been charged.

Lehava – whose name means “flame” but is also the Hebrew acronym for “prevening assimilation in the Holy Land” – regularly holds open gatherings in Jerusalem’s Zion Square, where members distribute literature warning of the dangers of relationships between Jewish women and Arab men.

The group held a demonstration at which members chanted “death to the Arabs” outside a wedding between a Muslim and Jewish woman who had converted to Islam during last summer’s Gaza war.

It also staged a protest against last week’s gay pride march in Jerusalem, where an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man attacked six participants, leading to the death of a 16-year-old girl.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Burning of Christian churches justified, far-Right Jewish leader says

Time to Break the Silence on Palestine

Martin Luther King Jr. courageously spoke out about the Vietnam War. We must do the same when it comes to this grave injustice of our time.

“We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak,” the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared at Riverside Church in Manhattan in 1967.CreditJohn C. Goodwin
“We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak,” the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared at Riverside Church in Manhattan in 1967.CreditCreditJohn C. Goodwin

On April 4, 1967, exactly one year before his assassination, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stepped up to the lectern at the Riverside Church in Manhattan. The United States had been in active combat in Vietnam for two years and tens of thousands of people had been killed, including some 10,000 American troops. The political establishment — from left to right — backed the war, and more than 400,000 American service members were in Vietnam, their lives on the line.

Many of King’s strongest allies urged him to remain silent about the war or at least to soft-pedal any criticism. They knew that if he told the whole truth about the unjust and disastrous war he would be falsely labeled a Communist, suffer retaliation and severe backlash, alienate supporters and threaten the fragile progress of the civil rights movement.

King rejected all the well-meaning advice and said, “I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice.” Quoting a statement by the Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam, he said, “A time comes when silence is betrayal” and added, “that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.”

It was a lonely, moral stance. And it cost him. But it set an example of what is required of us if we are to honor our deepest values in times of crisis, even when silence would better serve our personal interests or the communities and causes we hold most dear. It’s what I think about when I go over the excuses and rationalizations that have kept me largely silent on one of the great moral challenges of our time: the crisis in Israel-Palestine.

I have not been alone. Until very recently, the entire Congress has remained mostly silent on the human rights nightmare that has unfolded in the occupied territories. Our elected representatives, who operate in a political environment where Israel’s political lobby holds well-documented power, have consistently minimized and deflected criticism of the State of Israel, even as it has grown more emboldened in its occupation of Palestinian territory and adopted some practices reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crow segregation in the United States.

Many civil rights activists and organizations have remained silent as well, not because they lack concern or sympathy for the Palestinian people, but because they fear loss of funding from foundations, and false charges of anti-Semitism. They worry, as I once did, that their important social justice work will be compromised or discredited by smear campaigns.

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Similarly, many students are fearful of expressing support for Palestinian rights because of the McCarthyite tactics of secret organizations like Canary Mission, which blacklists those who publicly dare to support boycotts against Israel, jeopardizing their employment prospects and future careers.

Reading King’s speech at Riverside more than 50 years later, I am left with little doubt that his teachings and message require us to speak out passionately against the human rights crisis in Israel-Palestine, despite the risks and despite the complexity of the issues. King argued, when speaking of Vietnam, that even “when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict,” we must not be mesmerized by uncertainty. “We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.”

And so, if we are to honor King’s message and not merely the man, we must condemn Israel’s actions: unrelenting violations of international law, continued occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, home demolitions and land confiscations. We must cry out at the treatment of Palestinians at checkpoints, the routine searches of their homes and restrictions on their movements, and the severely limited access to decent housing, schools, food, hospitals and water that many of them face.

We must not tolerate Israel’s refusal even to discuss the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, as prescribed by United Nations resolutions, and we ought to question the U.S. government funds that have supported multiple hostilities and thousands of civilian casualties in Gaza, as well as the $38 billion the U.S. government has pledged in military support to Israel.

And finally, we must, with as much courage and conviction as we can muster, speak out against the system of legal discrimination that exists inside Israel, a system complete with, according to Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, more than 50 laws that discriminate against Palestinians — such as the new nation-state law that says explicitly that only Jewish Israelis have the right of self-determination in Israel, ignoring the rights of the Arab minority that makes up 21 percent of the population.

Of course, there will be those who say that we can’t know for sure what King would do or think regarding Israel-Palestine today. That is true. The evidence regarding King’s views on Israel is complicated and contradictory.

Although the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee denouncedIsrael’s actions against Palestinians, King found himself conflicted. Like many black leaders of the time, he recognized European Jewry as a persecuted, oppressed and homeless people striving to build a nation of their own, and he wanted to show solidarity with the Jewish community, which had been a critically important ally in the civil rights movement.

Ultimately, King canceled a pilgrimage to Israel in 1967 after Israel captured the West Bank. During a phone call about the visit with his advisers, he said, “I just think that if I go, the Arab world, and of course Africa and Asia for that matter, would interpret this as endorsing everything that Israel has done, and I do have questions of doubt.”

He continued to support Israel’s right to exist but also said on national television that it would be necessary for Israel to return parts of its conquered territory to achieve true peace and security and to avoid exacerbating the conflict. There was no way King could publicly reconcile his commitment to nonviolence and justice for all people, everywhere, with what had transpired after the 1967 war.

Today, we can only speculate about where King would stand. Yet I find myself in agreement with the historian Robin D.G. Kelley, whoconcluded that, if King had the opportunity to study the current situation in the same way he had studied Vietnam, “his unequivocal opposition to violence, colonialism, racism and militarism would have made him an incisive critic of Israel’s current policies.”

Indeed, King’s views may have evolved alongside many other spiritually grounded thinkers, like Rabbi Brian Walt, who has spoken publicly about the reasons that he abandoned his faith in what he viewed as political Zionism. To him, he recently explained to me, liberal Zionism meant that he believed in the creation of a Jewish state that would be a desperately needed safe haven and cultural center for Jewish people around the world, “a state that would reflect as well as honor the highest ideals of the Jewish tradition.” He said he grew up in South Africa in a family that shared those views and identified as a liberal Zionist, until his experiences in the occupied territories forever changed him.

During more than 20 visits to the West Bank and Gaza, he saw horrific human rights abuses, including Palestinian homes being bulldozed while people cried — children’s toys strewn over one demolished site — and saw Palestinian lands being confiscated to make way for new illegal settlements subsidized by the Israeli government. He was forced to reckon with the reality that these demolitions, settlements and acts of violent dispossession were not rogue moves, but fully supported and enabled by the Israeli military. For him, the turning point was witnessing legalized discrimination against Palestinians — including streets for Jews only — which, he said, was worse in some ways than what he had witnessed as a boy in South Africa.

Not so long ago, it was fairly rare to hear this perspective. That is no longer the case.

Jewish Voice for Peace, for example, aims to educate the American public about “the forced displacement of approximately 750,000 Palestinians that began with Israel’s establishment and that continues to this day.” Growing numbers of people of all faiths and backgrounds have spoken out with more boldness and courage. American organizations such as If Not Now support young American Jews as they struggle to break the deadly silence that still exists among too many people regarding the occupation, and hundreds of secular and faith-based groups have joined the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

In view of these developments, it seems the days when critiques of Zionism and the actions of the State of Israel can be written off as anti-Semitism are coming to an end. There seems to be increased understanding that criticism of the policies and practices of the Israeli government is not, in itself, anti-Semitic.

This is not to say that anti-Semitism is not real. Neo-Nazism isresurging in Germany within a growing anti-immigrant movement. Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States rose 57 percent in 2017, and many of us are still mourning what is believed to be the deadliest attack on Jewish people in American history. We must be mindful in this climate that, while criticism of Israel is not inherently anti-Semitic, it can slide there.

Fortunately, people like the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II are leading by example, pledging allegiance to the fight against anti-Semitism while also demonstrating unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian people struggling to survive under Israeli occupation.

He declared in a riveting speech last year that we cannot talk about justice without addressing the displacement of native peoples, the systemic racism of colonialism and the injustice of government repression. In the same breath he said: “I want to say, as clearly as I know how, that the humanity and the dignity of any person or people cannot in any way diminish the humanity and dignity of another person or another people. To hold fast to the image of God in every person is to insist that the Palestinian child is as precious as the Jewish child.”

Guided by this kind of moral clarity, faith groups are taking action. In 2016, the pension board of the United Methodist Church excluded fromits multibillion-dollar pension fund Israeli banks whose loans for settlement construction violate international law. Similarly, the United Church of Christ the year before passed a resolution calling for divestments and boycotts of companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.

Even in Congress, change is on the horizon. For the first time, two sitting members, Representatives Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, and Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, publicly support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. In 2017, Representative Betty McCollum, Democrat of Minnesota, introduced a resolution to ensure that no U.S. military aid went to support Israel’s juvenile military detention system. Israel regularly prosecutes Palestinian children detainees in the occupied territories in military court.

Relatives of a Palestinian nurse, Razan al-Najjar, 21, mourning in June after she was shot dead in Gaza by Israeli soldiers.CreditHosam Salem for The New York Times
Relatives of a Palestinian nurse, Razan al-Najjar, 21, mourning in June after she was shot dead in Gaza by Israeli soldiers.CreditHosam Salem for The New York Times

None of this is to say that the tide has turned entirely or that retaliation has ceased against those who express strong support for Palestinian rights. To the contrary, just as King received fierce, overwhelming criticism for his speech condemning the Vietnam War — 168 major newspapers, including The Times, denounced the address the following day — those who speak publicly in support of the liberation of the Palestinian people still risk condemnation and backlash.

Bahia Amawi, an American speech pathologist of Palestinian descent, was recently terminated for refusing to sign a contract that contains an anti-boycott pledge stating that she does not, and will not, participate in boycotting the State of Israel. In November, Marc Lamont Hill was fired from CNN for giving a speech in support of Palestinian rights that was grossly misinterpreted as expressing support for violenceCanary Mission continues to pose a serious threat to student activists.

And just over a week ago, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama, apparently under pressure mainly from segments of the Jewish community and others, rescinded an honor it bestowed upon the civil rights icon Angela Davis, who has been a vocal critic of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and supports B.D.S.

But that attack backfired. Within 48 hours, academics and activists had mobilized in response. The mayor of Birmingham, Randall Woodfin, as well as the Birmingham School Board and the City Council, expressed outrage at the institute’s decision. The council unanimously passed a resolution in Davis’ honor, and an alternative event is being organized to celebrate her decades-long commitment to liberation for all.

I cannot say for certain that King would applaud Birmingham for its zealous defense of Angela Davis’s solidarity with Palestinian people. But I do. In this new year, I aim to speak with greater courage and conviction about injustices beyond our borders, particularly those that are funded by our government, and stand in solidarity with struggles for democracy and freedom. My conscience leaves me no other choice.

The Said al-Mis’hal cultural center in Gaza was hit by an Israeli airstrike in August.CreditKhalil Hamra/Associated Press
The Said al-Mis’hal cultural center in Gaza was hit by an Israeli airstrike in August.CreditKhalil Hamra/Associated Press

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Donald Trump is a pro wrestler masquerading as commander-in-chief


What WrestleMania says about the president and American voters

The first time Lexington thought of Donald Trump at WrestleMania this week was when, to the fading strains of “America the Beautiful”, a helicopter flyover churned the night sky over the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Was the president about to make a surprise reappearance at the annual wwe sports-entertainment extravaganza to which he owes so much of his political method? The second time, well into the seven-hour grapplefest, was as the veteran star-wrestler “Triple H” was ripping out his grudge-rival’s nose-rings with a pair of pliers.

That was not only a reflection on how Mr Trump treats his cabinet. Paul Levesque, as Triple H was originally known, these days spends most of his time as a senior executive in the billion-dollar wwe business, having married into the McMahon clan that owns it.

In reality-bending wwestyle, he first married and divorced Stephanie McMahon, daughter of wwefounder Vince, fictitiously. This was part of a story-line in which she and her brother Shane, both wwe executives who appear in wwe productions as villainous executives and wrestlers, tried to steal their parents’ business. Triple H then actually married and had three children with her.

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The Muslim congresswoman said that “without a state, the Palestinian people live in a state of permanent refugeehood.”
Ilhan Omar: Israel is the historical homeland of the Palestinians

U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) takes part with Democratic leaders (including U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, left) during the announcement of the introduction of the Equality Act at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, U.S., March 13, 2019. (photo credit: LEAH MILLIS/REUTERS)
US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has asserted that Israel is the homeland of the Palestinian people.
In an op-ed published late Sunday on The Washington Post website, Omar wrote that “the founding of Israel 70 years ago was built on the Jewish people’s connection to their historical homeland, as well as the urgency of establishing a nation in the wake of the horror of the Holocaust and the centuries of antisemitic oppression leading up to it. Many of the founders of Israel were themselves refugees who survived indescribable horrors.
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“We must acknowledge that this is also the historical homeland of Palestinians,” she continued.
The Minnesota representative said that “without a state, the Palestinian people live in a state of permanent refugeehood and displacement. This, too, is a refugee crisis, and they, too, deserve freedom and dignity.”
Omar, a Muslim, is herself a survivor of war and a refugee. She wrote about how she fled Somalia at age 8 and then lived for four years in a refugee camp in Kenya, “where I experienced and witnessed unspeakable suffering from those who, like me, had lost everything because of war.”
She called on the government to approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a “balanced, inclusive” way that recognizes the shared desire for security and freedom of both peoples.
“I support a two-state solution, with internationally recognized borders, which allows for both Israelis and Palestinians to have their own sanctuaries and self-determination,” she wrote. “This has been official bipartisan US policy across two decades and has been supported by each of the most recent Israeli and Palestinian leaders, as well as the consensus of the Israeli security establishment.”
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She noted that to achieve peace in the region, everyone involved must be held accountable for their actions.
“When I criticize certain Israeli government actions in Gaza or settlements in the West Bank, it is because I believe these actions not only threaten the possibility of peace in the region – they also threaten the United States’ own national security interests,” Omar said.
The column comes on the backdrop of several statements by Omar that were marked as antisemitic by Democrats and Republicans alike. Last month, she accused AIPAC of paying officials to be pro-Israel. She has also appeared as a keynote speaker at more than one event sponsored by anti-Israel and/or Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions-supporting organizations,
Even before taking office, in 2012 she tweeted that Israel had “hypnotized” the world, which many considered bought into age-old antisemitic motifs.


By Cutting Off Relations, South Africa Has Branded ‘Israel’ With the Mark of Cain

FILE PHOTO: A child takes part in a rally against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories in Cape Town, South Africa, August 9, 2014.FILE PHOTO: A child takes part in a rally against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories in Cape Town, South Africa, August 9, 2014.Schalk van Zuydam / AP

Because of the election battle, an important item fell by the wayside that should have resonated here: South Africa has decided to downgrade its relations with Israel to the level of liaison bureau, which will not deal with bilateral relations. Ambassador to Israel Sisa Ngombane, who was recalled to protest the killing of demonstrators in Gaza, will not return. South Africa has essentially severed diplomatic relations with Israel. We’re left with Chad.

One can, of course, take comfort in the arms of the Brazilian president, admire the president of the Philippines, hug the prime minister of Hungary, and take pleasure in U.S. President Donald Trump. But South Africa is not just any country; it’s a symbol of justice, despite all its difficulties, corruption and crime. By cutting off relations it has stamped the mark of Cain on Israel’s forehead.

The Foreign Ministry’s response to the move only illustrates how low Israeli propaganda can go. “It’s a nod toward the country’s Muslim population, because of the approaching elections,” was the unbelievable Israeli explanation for the break. How miserable, how insulting to the intelligence, how ignorant and repulsive that is. It wasn’t the killing of demonstrators in Gaza, or solidarity with the oppressed, or South Africa’s own legacy, just a gesture to the Muslim voter. With pathetic responses like this, it would be better for the Foreign Ministry to continue to disintegrate. We have no need for it.

South Africa’s shameful capitulation to anti-Israel thuggery 
■ ‘Artwashing:’ BDS activists ramp up pressure on Eurovision 2019 in Israel

The severing of relations with the country of Nelson Mandela shouldn’t merely stir up sad thoughts about who Israel’s friends and critics are; South Africa, in a move that generates respect, is teaching Israel an important lesson about instilling the legacy of the past and learning its lessons. By cutting off ties with an occupying, apartheid state, it’s telling Israel: We’ve learned the lessons of our past. What about you?

South Africa's Ambassador to Israel Sisa Ngombane in 2015.
South Africa’s Ambassador to Israel Sisa Ngombane in 2015

The lesson that South Africa has learned is: Never again. In theory it’s similar to the lesson imparted to Israelis from the Holocaust, but actually it’s the opposite. When South Africa says “never again,” it plans to continue battling racism and apartheid everywhere in the world; it isn’t prepared to cooperate with regimes that are racist or apartheid under any circumstances, even if there’s a price to pay.

It’s not simple to sever relations with Israel. Trump might get angry, and there is still a strong Zionist community in South Africa. But South Africa is motivated by more than just interests.

Israel is the total opposite. Its lesson from the Holocaust is, as Golda Meir put it, that Jews are now permitted to do anything. Generations of young people are sent on trips to Auschwitz that corrupt their souls and rot their consciences. They are told their country must be strong, to live only by the sword, and that the whole world is against it. They wrap themselves in flags, cry and swear to live by power and not to rely on anyone.

FILE PHOTO: A group of Jewish people take part in a mach gathering thousands people through Cape Town, South Africa, May 15, 2018
FILE PHOTO: A group of Jewish people take part in a mach gathering thousands people through Cape Town, South Africa, May 15, 2018RODGER BOSCH / AFP

There is no humane message or moral lesson. That’s why Israel can embrace Rodrigo Duterte, stroke Jair Bolsonaro and admire Trump, or supply arms to all the tyrannical countries in the world and ignore the moral and ethical implications of its foreign policy. That’s for wimps.

When South Africa says “No” to Israel, it is speaking in the name of Mandela, who supported the Palestinians in their struggle and felt a moral obligation to assist them, but also tried to maintain good relations with Israel despite its shameful ties to apartheid. There’s no doubt that today Mandela would also support severing relations. South Africa is also speaking for those exemplary Jews who struggled hand in hand with the black freedom fighters, were wounded and jailed with them, and one can assume are already fed up with Israel. We have almost no such brave moralists who will struggle alongside the Palestinians.

The state of conscience has decided to ostracize the State of Israel. Israel doesn’t care. “Cry, the Beloved Country,” wrote Alan Paton about his country during its dark days. In Israel, there isn’t anyone who’ll cry.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, South AfricaComments Off on By Cutting Off Relations, South Africa Has Branded ‘Israel’ With the Mark of Cain

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