Archive | February 13th, 2020

At Risk of Losing Their Israeli Citizenship in ‘Deal of the Century,’ These Arabs Are Feeling Betrayed

In ‘Triangle communities’ such as Kafr Qasem and Taibeh, locals voice their dismay at Donald Trump’s idea of transferring their hometowns to a future Palestinian state

Judy Maltz  

Esawi Freige and his daughter Amna at their office in Kafr Qasem, January 30, 2020.
Esawi Freige and his daughter Amna at their office in Kafr Qasem, January 30, 2020.Tomer Appelbaum

Esawi Freige served in the Israeli parliament for six years as a member of the left-wing Meretz party. Yet under U.S. President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century,” he could eventually be stripped of his Israeli citizenship.

Buried deep in the 181-page “Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People” is a paragraph of great relevance for the roughly 350,000 Arabs, like Freige, who live in an area of Israel known as “The Triangle.” Originally designated to fall under Jordanian jurisdiction, this cluster of towns along the Green Line (the pre-1967 borders of Israel) was handed over to Israel as part of the 1949 Armistice agreement. Trump’s new “vision” for peace in the Middle East raises the possibility that Israel would hand it back.

“The Vision contemplates the possibility, subject to agreement of the parties, that the borders of Israel will be redrawn such that the Triangle Communities become part of the State of Palestine,” the document states. “In this agreement, the civil rights of the residents of the triangle communities would be subject to the applicable laws and judicial rulings of the relevant authorities.”

Even though Arab citizens would not be forced out of their homes or off their land, “this proposal is effectively a plan for deportation,” warns Freige.

The former Israeli lawmaker is a resident of Kafr Qasem, a city of some 25,000 residents situated northeast of Tel Aviv and bordering Rosh Ha’ayin (home to Benny Gantz, the man with the best chance of replacing Benjamin Netanyahu as Israeli prime minister). It is one of 10 towns and cities that make up The Triangle.

A mosque in Kafr Qasem, one of 10 Arab towns situated in the Triangle area next to the West Bank.
A mosque in Kafr Qasem, one of 10 Arab towns situated in the Triangle area next to the West Bank.

“My father and I grew up under Israeli rule,” says Freige, 56, speaking in his Kafr Qasem office a few days after Trump’s plan was published last Tuesday. “My grandfather grew up under British rule and my great-grandfather under Ottoman rule. I say, ‘Enough already!’ It’s time we had some stability in our lives.”

Freige, an accountant by profession, served in the Knesset from 2013 until last September. He was sixth on the Meretz slate in last September’s do-over election, but the party only won five seats. He is currently 11th on the newly created Labor-Gesher-Meretz ticket, but, based on recent polls, has even less of a shot at getting in when Israelis vote again in March.

His accountancy office is located next door to the neighborhood elementary school his son attends. And this youngest child, Freige relays, has come home from school with many questions in recent days.

“He tells me all his friends are talking about how they want to kick us out of here, and he keeps asking me whether it’s true,” Freige says. “So I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to calm people down. But deep in my heart, I’ll be honest, I don’t think this is a joke. Maybe it won’t come to pass in my lifetime, but the fact that people are even talking about it worries me deeply.”

Armed with a plate of fresh strawberries, Freige’s 25-year-old daughter Amna, a partner in the family accountancy firm, enters the office and joins the conversation. “I don’t understand why others get to decide for us where we will be citizens,” she says. “We should do here what was done in Northern Ireland [in 1973]: Hold a referendum, and let those of us who live here decide – rather than Trump and Netanyahu.”

A recent graduate of the Hebrew University, she says that, given the choice, she would rather stay put. “Not because things are so great” in Israel, she clarifies, but because she is used to her life in the country “and I don’t want to have everything shaken up.” For someone who spends her days dealing in the intricacies of Israeli tax law, she notes, suddenly finding yourself under the jurisdiction of another country is no trivial matter.

Her father, meanwhile, is not sure how the threat of potentially losing their citizenship might affect Arab citizens’ desire to vote on March 2. “It could go either way,” he says, noting that some voters could boycott the election out of a growing sense of disenfranchisement, while others might feel even more driven to topple the current government headed by Netanyahu, who has firmly embraced the Trump plan.

Eyad Amer, a local high school principal, believes the latter will be the case. “I think we’re going to see an even higher turnout rate in Arab society this time around,” he says.

An Arab woman voting in Kafr Qasem.
An Arab woman voting in Kafr Qasem, April 9, 2019.Moti Milrod

Explaining the logic behind placing residents of the Triangle under Palestinian jurisdiction, the Trump plan notes that they “largely self-identify as Palestinian.” Amer scoffs in response, insisting there is no contradiction between identifying as Palestinian and being a proud holder of Israeli citizenship. “You can be proud of your ethnicity and religion, and still want to be Israeli – even if you don’t necessarily identify with all the symbols of the state,” he says.

“It’s not that we did something bad. And it’s not that there should be this dark stain on us. This is who we are. And I believe that if you ask other Arab citizens, 100 percent of them – not 90 percent, but 100 percent – would not want to give up their citizenship. After all, this is our country too.”

As if to demonstrate how much he feels part of the place, Amer points to the stack of books on his desk. Near the top is a thick, leather-bound copy of the Bible (“the Torah,” he calls it) translated into Arabic. It was given to him as a gift by a prominent Sephardi rabbi. “I love reading it,” he says.

Black humor

Trump’s plan is not the first time such a population transfer has been raised. Indeed, Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman – known for his anti-Arab views and frequent references to Arab citizens as a “fifth column” – is a high-profile advocate. This is the first time, however, that it has appeared in an official U.S. peace proposal.

As residents of Kafr Qasem ponder what it all means and whether they will have a future in Israel, it is almost paradoxical that Roladin – the largest bakery chain in the country – has just set up its first branch in the city.

Kareman Amer, the 35-year-old owner of the local franchise, is busy making sure the place is well stocked for the official grand opening later that day. (In addition to the usual fare of croissants, pastries and cookies, there are also different varieties of hamantaschen – the triangular cookies traditionally eaten on Purim – on display, even though the Jewish holiday is more than a month away.) Asked if she’s not concerned about the Trump plan, the young businesswoman replies: “I don’t take it seriously. I really don’t see anything coming out of it. Anyway, my mind is all full of business today – I can’t even think about politics.”

Eyad Amer in Kafr Qasem.
Eyad Amer in Kafr Qasem.Tomer Appelbaum

Monira Essa, 25, is taking a break from her household chores to have coffee with her older sister at the new café. “I’m not happy at all,” she says when asked about the possibility of being forced to trade in her Israeli citizenship for Palestinian citizenship. “Israel is our country too, and we will not agree to this.” Her sister nods in consent.

At another table, Neveen Omar – a lecturer in the nursing program at the Rabin Medical Center in nearby Petah Tikva – is taking advantage of her maternity leave to hang out with some friends. The 40-year-old mother of four, who wears her hair long and uncovered, can’t help but inject some black humor into the conversation. “What next?” she asks. “Are they going to also throw us in jail?”

On a serious note, she adds: “How can you really call this place a democracy when you’re not allowing people to decide for themselves where they want to be?”

Even though she believes “life wouldn’t be necessarily worse” under Palestinian rule, Omar says she prefers to hold onto her Israeli citizenship. “This is the life I’m used to,” she explains.

Kareman Amer, who owns Kafr Qasem's newly opened branch of the Israeli bakery chain Roladin.
Kareman Amer, who owns Kafr Qasem’s newly opened branch of the Israeli bakery chain Roladin.Tomer Appelbaum

‘Crazy idea’

If the Trump plan is ever put into action, Thabet Abu Rass, co-director of the Abraham Initiatives – a nonprofit that promotes a shared society for Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens – could also see his Israeli citizenship revoked. Abu Rass is from Kalansua, another town in the Triangle. The fact that this is even being discussed, he says, “is a natural continuation” of the nation-state law, passed in 2018 and widely seen by Arab Israelis as an attempt to downgrade them to second-class citizens by prioritizing the state’s Jewish character.

“Just imagine if today Donald Trump would tell Hispanic Americans living in the southwest, in territories annexed to the United States from Mexico in the 19th century, that they are Mexican citizens now and no longer American citizens,” he says. “That is exactly what they are trying to do to us.”

Neveen Omar at a cafe in Kafr Qasem.
Neveen Omar at a cafe in Kafr Qasem. “How can you really call this place a democracy when you’re not allowing people to decide for themselves where they want to be?”Tomer Appelbaum

Maisam Jaljuli, local chairwoman of the Israeli women’s organization Na’amat, lives in Tira – another town that could be affected by this redrawing of Israel’s borders. The day after the plan was announced, she relays, her teenage daughter took part in what is a rite of passage among Israeli high school students: a trip with her entire class to the local branch of the Interior Ministry, to receive her Israeli identity card.

“She called me right after and said, ‘Mom, you wouldn’t believe it – we got green cards instead of blue cards.” (Israeli ID cards come in a blue casing, whereas the Palestinian ones are green.) “She was obviously joking,” says Jaljuli, “but this is the kind of black humor that has become very prevalent in recent days.”

Taibeh is one of the larger cities in the Triangle and its mayor, Shuaa Mansour, says the reaction of his Jewish friends to the plan has disturbed him most. “For so many years, these people were my partners in trying to promote the idea of a two-state solution and of shared society – and suddenly, not a word from them,” he says. “Hardly any response at all to this absolutely crazy idea. Even if they’re in favor of certain parts of the Trump plan, I would have expected them to speak out loudly against the idea of revoking our citizenship.”

This is not the first time Esawi Freige has felt deeply let down by his Jewish friends in recent months either. In last April’s election, he was widely credited with saving Meretz by getting lots of Arabs in Kafr Qasem and other parts of the Triangle to vote for the party. In the following election, though, he wasn’t placed highly enough on the slate to win a Knesset seat. And he was pushed even further down the ticket after the recent merger with Labor-Gesher.

But what bothers him far more these days is the nonresponse of his Jewish friends to this latest affront to Israel’s Arab minority. “It is the silence of the Jews that really bothers me,” he says. “You would have thought that Israel would be the best place in the world to live as a minority – after all, the Jews have always been a minority in other countries and should know how that feels. But in actuality, people here have become blinded by racism. So if you ask me if I’m worried, the answer is yes. Am I panicking? Just a bit. Am I disappointed? Totally.”

Thabet Abu Rass at his home in Kalansua, another Arab city in The Triangle.
Thabet Abu Rass at his home in Kalansua, another Arab city in The Triangle.Amir Levy
Esawi Freige, right, with Meretz's then-leader Tamar Zandberg meeting the electorate in Kafr Qasem on Election Day, April 9, 2019.
Esawi Freige, right, with Meretz’s then-leader Tamar Zandberg meeting the electorate in Kafr Qasem on Election Day, April 9, 2019.

Judy Malt

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on At Risk of Losing Their Israeli Citizenship in ‘Deal of the Century,’ These Arabs Are Feeling Betrayed

Poll: 75% of Americans Oppose Outlawing Boycotts of ‘Israel’

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Poll: 75% of Americans Oppose Outlawing Boycotts of Israel

Illustrative photo of signs calling for the boycott of Israel at an anti-Israel protest in San Francisco, April 2011 (CC BY-dignidadrebelde, Flickr)

Americans in general do not like anti-BDS laws nearly as much as Congress does: just 22.5% of American adults polled favor anti-boycott measure. But Washington and many state legislatures are pushing through legislation that would criminalize boycott of Israel.

by Grant Smith, antiwar.com

New legislation passed in the Senate seeks to legalize the right of individual state governments to force American companies to certify they won’t engage in economic boycotts of Israel as a condition for receiving government contracts.

The “Combating BDS Act of 2019” is embedded as Title IV within the ‘‘Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019’’ (S.1). If signed into law, S.1 would allow states to withhold government funding from entities unwilling to certify they will not boycott Israel. Most existing state anti-BDS measures require pledge forms that contractors must sign as a condition for winning or renewing contracts.

But only 22.5% of American adults favor anti-boycott measures. A new representative IRmep poll conducted through Google Surveys finds that 74.9% of Americans oppose forcing government contractors to forswear boycotts.

Question: Should Congress force American businesses seeking government contracts to first sign a pledge that they won’t boycott Israel for its human rights record and military occupation?

Source: IRmep representative poll of 1,000 American adults through Google Surveys on February 5-9 with a root mean square of 5.1%.

Late in 2018, Senator Ben Cardin, a leading recipient of Israel lobby campaign contributions, attempted to include the Israel Anti-Boycott Act in must-pass spending legislation. The effort was stymied by the government shutdown.

In 2017 Cardin co-sponsored legislation seeking to amend a swath of U.S. laws to outlaw boycotts of Israel. That earlier “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” legislation was also broadly unpopular. 69% of Americans opposed its harsh individual penalties which could have fined Americans up to $1 million or jailed them for up to 20 years. The earlier version also clumsily inserted Israel into laws authorizing US national and economic emergency response.

At least 25 states – many quietly lobbied by local Israel advocacy organizations – have now passed their own laws or started enforcing gubernatorial executive orders prohibiting the flow of state contracts to any business unwilling to sign pledges not to boycott Israel. They also ban compliant contractors from transferring state funding on to subcontractors unwilling to sign such pledges. But some are beginning to fight for their right to boycott as speech protected by the 1st Amendment.

Esther Koontz prevailed in a freedom of speech lawsuit against the state of Kansas which attempted to insert an anti-boycott pledge into her contract to train math teachers. Bahia Amawi sued the state of Texas after refusing to sign an anti-boycott waiver and then losing her contract as a speech pathologist. IT contractor and former Maryland state representative Saqib Ali in January sued over lost business opportunities state of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Attorney General Brian Frosh under Hogan’s anti-BDS executive order over.

Not all such 1st Amendment lawsuits have prevailed. In January, Arkansas Judge Brian Miller dismissed a case filed by the Arkansas Times challenging the state’s anti-BDS law after the newspaper refused to sign waivers as a condition to receive state-funded university ads.

Acknowledging his ruling diverged from federal precedents, the presiding judge found that boycotts are not, in fact, protected by the First Amendment. The Arkansas legislature – which like other state bodies and the Congress is under constant pressure of local and national Israel advocacy organizations – was poised during the lawsuit to undertake modifications to its law until something unchallengeable in court finally emerged.

However, their intense behind-the-scenes support of unpopular anti-BDS measures have put some Israel advocacy organizations under an uncomfortable spotlight. The office of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam released under state sunshine laws in 2018 hundreds of pages of records detailing the questionable activities of the Virginia Israel Advisory Board. VIAB is an opaque taxpayer-funded state entity launched in 1996 that works independently of the commonwealth’s economic development board to secure lucrative opportunities for Israeli businesses. In 2016-2018 VIAB executed a complex reconstitution to hire a new anti-BDS director from Israel – by diluting the governor’s right to influence VIAB’s leadership appointments. A broad coalition of state human rights organizations – the Virginia Coalition for Human Rights – is now calling for a cutoff in all funding to VIAB and an audit of its activities.

In addition to anti-boycott measures S.1 also includes loan guarantees and Israeli access to prepositioned stockpiles of US weapons Israel can use in the event of regional conflict. S.1 augments Israeli access to US space technology, missile defense and anti-UAV support. The measure also expresses opposition to US withdrawals from Syria which the Israeli government strongly opposes.


RELATED READING:

Israel has starring role in H.R.648, “Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019”

Senate Democrats again block pro-Israel S.1 from going to vote during government shutdown

First Senate bill of 2019 would give Israel billions of dollars, combat BDS

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Russia condemns Nazi strikes on Syria’s Damascus

Nazi air strikes in Syria are destabilizing the situation in the country, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during a briefing on Wednesday.

“Israel’s strikes on the Syrian territory are among the destabilizing factors. Not only do such unilateral actions undermine Syria’s sovereignty, they put the lives and security of civilians at risk. This is what took place on February 6, when a passenger aircraft with 172 people onboard nearly came in the line of fire due to the actions of the Israeli air forces,” she said.

Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry informed that on February 6, an Airbus-320 passenger aircraft was in danger of coming into the line of fire of Syria’s air defense systems near Damascus. The plane made an emergency landing at Russia’s Hmeimim airbase.

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Nazi regime is the world’s most racist state it is a nation of murderers

Israel is not only the world’s most racist state it is a nation of murderers

What is it about Israel that makes it so attractive to anti-Semites, fascists and racists such as Trump, Bolsonaro and Duterte? 

Israel is proof that any group of people, including Jews, can, given the right set of circumstances become racists and fascists.
Racism is not biologically inherited. It is a product of society not genetics. Just as Germans today have not inherited a Hitler gene, so the same is true of Israeli Jews. They have no inherited the mantle of the oppressed Jews of Europe but what Israel has done is to transform the traditional image of Jews from the oppressed to the oppressor.

rael the signs of pre-Holocaust Germany

Norman Finkelstein, in a recent interview, quoted Ze’ev Sternhell, a former professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a childhood survivor of the Nazi ghetto of Przemyśl in Poland and a world authority on fascism.According to Sternhell fascists and anti-Semites, amongst whom I include Trump, don’t see Israel as Jewish. The Zionist dream was always to create a nation like all other nations.  They succeeded only too well.  The settler nation that they created is the most right-wing and racist of any nation on Earth.  

Woody Allen – the archetypal Jew of the diaspora

Israel is the only state, bar Liberia, where Donald Trump is more popular than unpopular. Whereas Jews were historically seen as weak, intellectuals, cosmopolitan, erudite, artists, seditious and on the Left, Israel is seen as a warrior state, a military fortress. The archetypal Jew was a Woody Allen, Franz Kafka, Einstein and Marc Chagall. To Hitler the archetypal Jew was Karl Marx. The archetypal Israeli Jew is a racist bigot who revels in murder.

Unlike Rashid  Tlaib and Ilhan Omar he was not banned from Israel

Israel according to Dutch fascist leader Geert Wilders is the front-line in the battle to defend Western civilisation. It is admired by every fascist or far-Right leader on the planet – from Brazil’s Bolsonaro to the Philipine’s Hitler loving President Duterte.

In Britain it is the English Defence League and Tommy Robinson’s Football Lads Alliance who parade with Israeli flags. Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins both admire Israel and the way it combats ‘Islam’.  Katie Hopkins understands this when she justifies the bomb attack against refugee supporting Jews at Pittsburgh whilst at the same time proclaiming her undying devotion to the Israeli state.

Don’t blame Trump, Hopkins wrote in respect of the Pittsburgh shooting. Rather, “Look to the Chief Rabbi and his support for mass migration across the Med[iterranean],” she wrote. “There you will find your truths.”As Finkelstein says Israel isn’t merely an alt-Right state but an alt-Right country. It isn’t simply a question of a far-Right government but a far-Right citizenry. ‘Israel has no left.  Israel has no centre’.  It has a Right, far-Right and further Right still.Israel’s attractions to the alt-Right is that it is an ethno-nationalist state. Which is why the neo-Nazi founder of the alt-Right Richard Spencer described himself as a White Zionist and supported Israel’s Jewish Nation State Law.Israel represents the kind of state, an ethno-nationalist state, that Spencer, Trump and Bannon are trying to build in the United States. Israel provides the model.  It is trying to deport thousands of refugees because they aren’t from the majority ethnic group in Israel and therefore threaten Israel’s Jewish identity.

Finkelstein described Israel as a nation of murderers and he’s not far wrong.  When you have a demonstration in Tel Aviv in the middle of the attack on Gaza in 2014 which chanted ‘there’s no school in Gaza tomorrow, there are no children left’ i.e. boasting about the number of children murdered by Israel, then you realise that this is not a normal nation but a settler colonial state with all that entails. See Far-right Israelis celebrate Gaza kids’ deaths

Efraim Zuroff

The article below is by a Zionist, Efraim Zuroff, from the Simon Wiesenthall Centre.  Even he finds it difficult to stomach the open alliance between Israel and the far-Right and anti-Semitic regimes in Europe today.Israel’s shameful policy on Holocaust issues in Eastern EuropeBibi, when you visit countries that no longer have Jews, maybe don’t praise the first line they give you about how much they’ve fought anti-Semitism since the war
Times of Israel Aug 27, 2019,
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s trip to Ukraine early last week is yet another opportunity to assess Israel’s relations with the post-Communist new democracies of Eastern Europe, and especially those with a Holocaust past of participation in the systematic mass murder of Jews. In this respect, Ukraine in recent years has been one of the worst offenders in terms of distorting the history of the Holocaust, and glorifying individuals who collaborated with the Nazis in implementing the Final Solution. 

Thousands of Ukrainian nationalists hold a torchlight procession across Kiev in honor of Stepan Bandera, a World War II anti-Soviet insurgent, on January 1, 2015 (photo credit: AFP/Genya Savilov)

The deterioration of the situation is directly linked to local politics and the conflict with Russia over the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the ongoing insurgency in Eastern Ukraine. Thus, for example, in May 2015, the Ukrainian Parliament passed a package of laws, one of which outlaws criticism of those who fought for Ukrainian statehood in the 20th century, despite the fact that it is indisputable that militias established in 1941 by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), one of the most important movements that sought to achieve statehood, were active participants in the wave of anti-Jewish violence which swept Western Ukraine during the weeks following the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. In fact, according to Swedish Holocaust historian Per Rudling, the most recent research on the involvement of the OUN in these actions, indicates that they participated in the murder of at least “thousands, perhaps even as many as tens of thousands, of Jews.” 

Netanhahu at Yad Vashem – Israel’s Holocaust Propaganda Museum

This is only one small, but highly indicative, detail of the numerous steps taken by Ukrainian institutions and historians to whitewash the large-scale participation of their nationals in Holocaust crimes. The country is full of memorials and statues to Ukrainian Nazi collaborators and torchlight parades to honor the leaders of the OUN and UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which developed out of the OUN) are a common occurrence. Streets are named for OUN leader Stefan Bandera, whose birthday was recently declared a national holiday. In addition, quite a few Holocaust memorials have been defaced or vandalized in recent years, and not a single perpetrator of such crimes, or any other anti-Semitic acts, has ever been prosecuted, let alone convicted and punished, since Ukraine achieved independence with the fall of the Soviet Union.The question is how should Israel respond, if at all, to these steps and to what extent should the rampant Holocaust distortion affect Israeli-Ukrainian relations? Unlike the situation in other post-Communist new democracies, where, for the most part, our ambassadors have refrained from getting involved in historical issues, our new ambassador in Kyiv, Joel Lion, has criticized initiatives to honor Holocaust perpetrators on at least three occasions, and has done so in at least one case with the Polish ambassador, since the “hero” in question was also involved in murdering Poles.

Netanyahu pays tribute to the Ukrainian regime which is rehabilitating Stefan Bandera and other Nazi collaborators

In retrospect, we are now in a position to assess current Israeli policy regarding Holocaust distortion, following Prime Minister Netanyahu’s state visit to Kyiv. Sad to say, but it strongly reminded me of his trip this past September to Lithuania, another prime offender when it comes to Holocaust-related issues. In fact, for many years, Lithuania was the country most active in initiating the cardinal tenets of Holocaust distortion, i.e., minimizing or hiding the participation of locals in Nazi crimes, promoting the canard of equivalency between Nazi and Communist crimes, glorifying anti-Soviet heroes despite their role in the Shoah, and lobbying for a joint memorial day for all the victims of totalitarian regimes, which would make International Holocaust Remembrance Day superfluous. Instead of drawing attention to these problematic policies, Netanyahu praised his hosts for the manner in which they sought to commemorate the Shoah, and, for good measure, he also lauded their (relatively nonexistent or at best minimal) efforts to fight anti-Semitism.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, right, stand at Babi Yar ravine where Nazi troops murdered tens of thousands of Jews during WWII, in Kyiv, Ukraine, August 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Zoya Shu)

This modus operandi was exactly replicated in Kyiv, which in recent years has by far surpassed Vilnius in its blatant Holocaust distortion and brazen systematic attempts to totally falsify the historical narrative of World War II and the Holocaust. Thus, for example, at Babi Yar, the site of the biggest Holocaust massacre, Netanyahu thanked the Ukrainian government for its efforts to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, and mentioned their (nonexistent) “efforts in the war against anti-Semitism.” The grotesque irony of these comments was noted by Israeli journalist Sam Sokol writing in The Times of Israel. In his analysis of the visit, he pointed out that Babi Yar can serve as an excellent illustration of Ukrainian Holocaust distortion, as the Ukrainians seek to commemorate OUN members there alongside Shoah victims.

If anyone is looking for a silver lining in this sad story, at least Netanyahu did not agree to recognize the Holodomor as a genocide (which it wasn’t) and he mentioned “Nazi collaborators,” several times, although the Ukrainians, like the Lithuanians, might attempt to claim that the term also includes members of the Judenrat and/or the Jewish police in local ghettos.In short, Israeli policy on Holocaust-related issues in post-Communist Eastern Europe remains flawed and shameful, but it remains to be seen, exactly how it can be improved, a subject which I hope to address in a coming op-ed.About the AuthorDr. Efraim Zuroff is the chief Nazi-hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the director of the Center’s Israel Office and Eastern European Affairs.
See also

Netanyahu’s praise of Kyiv’s Holocaust remembrance only tells part of the story

Rights Groups Demand Israel Stop Arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine Ukraine demonstrates that given the choice between Jews and the Jewish state Zionism prefers the latter

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Adelson to donate $100 million to Trump & Repubs, fundraisers say

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Adelson to donate $100 million to Trump & Repubs, fundraisers say

President Donald Trump pats Las Vegas Sands Corporation chief executive and Republican mega donor Sheldon Adelson on the arm before speaking at the Israeli American Council National Summit in Hollywood, Florida on December 7, 2019. (AP photo/Patrick Semansky) 

Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a staunchly pro-Israel campaign donor, expected to give to Super Pacs and ‘dark money’ groups. His donations have in the past been followed by strong pro-Israel policy shifts.

by Peter Stone, reposted from The Guardian

The billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson, an ardent pro-Israel conservative, is expected to donate at least $100m to boost Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election efforts and Republican congressional candidates this fall, say three Republican fundraisers familiar with Adelson’s initial plans.

Adelson’s hefty checks are expected to be written to several Super Pacs – political groups that have to disclose their donors – as well as “dark money” not-for-profit organizations that can keep their donors secret, say the fundraisers.

One source predicted that Adelson, who in tandem with his Israeli-born wife, Miriam, donated more than $100m to Super Pacs and dark money groups in each of the last two presidential cycles, could wind up contributing close to $200m in 2020 given their recent spending patterns and appreciation for Trump’s policies.

Adelson and his wife have been opening their wallets wider in the Trump era.

The Adelsons, who typically give some of their bigger checks towards the end of campaigns, in 2018 spent a personal record of $124m – just in publicly disclosed donations to Super Pacs, campaign committees and candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Ever since the 2016 campaign, Adelson and Trump have courted one another, bonding more closely as Trump has tilted US policies on Israel to favor goals in sync with Adelson and other big conservative donors and activists in the Jewish and evangelical worlds.

With a net worth that Forbes pegs at $39bn, Adelson has long championed several of the hardline pro-Israel moves that Trump has made, including relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and ditching the Iran nuclear deal signed by the Obama administration.

Last month, the Adelsons were at the White House for the unveiling of Trump’s Middle East peace plan, which Palestinians and most Arab countries rejected as too favorable to Israel but Trump dubbed the “deal of the century”.

Before the official ceremony, Adelson met briefly with Trump, according to one source. During his presidency, Adelson has had other meetings with Trump in Washington and Las Vegas, and periodically they talk by phone, say sources.

At least a handful of Super Pacs and not-for-profit groups are expected to receive seven-figure Adelson checks in 2020, including several he has backed heavily in recent cycles that are aimed at helping Trump and congressional candidates.

For instance, Adelson has been a major funder and board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition, a pro-Israel lobbying group that plans a record $10m-plus drive to woo more Jewish voters in key swing states including Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, which Trump is hoping to win again as he did in 2016, say RJC donors.

The RJC is chaired by the ex-senator Norm Coleman, a DC lobbyist with the law firm Hogan Lovells, who is said to have strong ties to Adelson that benefit the RJC and other Super Pacs and dark money outfits where Coleman is a big player.

Coleman helps lead fundraising for a Super Pac, the Congressional Leadership Fund, and a dark money outfit, the American Action Network, that respectively back Republican House members and their policies and have received seven-figure checks from the Adelsons in recent elections.

In 2018, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, the Adelsons gave a whopping $55m to the Congressional Leadership Fund, which spent a total of $138m in the last elections in an unsuccessful effort to hold on to the Republican House majority.

In 2016, the Adelsons gave$82m overall to Super Pacs and committees that backed Trump and Republican candidates, including the Super Pac Future 45, which received $25m from Adelson to run ads against Hillary Clinton, according to public reports. The Adelsons donated tens of millions more to some dark money groups, say Republican donors.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump dance at the Freedom Ball on January 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump dance at the Freedom Ball on January 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

At an inaugural gala, Trump praised the Adelsons, thanking them for ponying up $120m to help his campaign and other GOP candidates in 2016, say two attendees at the event.

Trump has also recognized Adelson’s largesse in some private meetings and periodic phone talks.

The day before Trump announced in May 2018 that the US was pulling out of the nuclear accord with Iran, Adelson flew into DC from his home in Las Vegas and met privately with Trump and a few top aides, including the vice-president, Mike Pence, and the then national security adviser, John Bolton, with whom Adelson had strong ties.

A few days later, Adelson was in Jerusalem with a few dozen fellow board members of the RJC and some top Trump aides, including Jared Kushner, to celebrate the official ceremony marking the US embassy move to Jerusalem, a top priority for Adelson and the RJC.

The veteran GOP fundraiser Mel Sembler, who also sits on the RJC board, thinks Adelson’s input was significant in Trump’s decisions to move the embassy and pull out of the Iranian nuclear deal. “Adelson was an important factor in all these decisions,” Sembler told McClatchy in May 2018.

Coleman also voiced strong support for those two moves.

“From an Israeli perspective, rejecting the Iranian deal and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital [reveal] support for Israel that is unparalleled and deeply appreciated,” Coleman has said.

Miriam Adelson, a physician, has also garnered attention from Trump. In November 2018, Trump named her one of seven recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a DC ceremony, just days after her husband attended a White House party with Trump to view the election results.

The president’s courting of the Adelsons contradicts his claims in 2016, when Trump donned a populist mantle and pledged to “drain the swamp” of big money and lobbying.

“I don’t need anybody’s money,” Trump said in mid-June 2015. “I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using the donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.”


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Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Adelson to donate $100 million to Trump & Repubs, fundraisers say

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