Archive | April 15th, 2020

JVP: ‘ISRAEL’S’ JEWISH “NATION-STATE” LAWS CONFIRMS IT IS AN APARTHEID STATE

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Sonya E Meyerson-Knox | sonya@jvp.org | 929-290-0317

July 19, 2018 – Jewish Voice for Peace issued the following statement on the passage of Israel’s Nation-State bill in the Knesset:

The Nation-State law establishes that racist and discriminatory practices against Palestinians and non-Jews are legal. The law states that in Israel only Jewish people have the right to self-determination, demotes Arabic from an official language to “special status,” places national value on the development of “Jewish settlement” and confirms that the state “will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.”

JVP Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson:

“This law is a reflection of what Israel is today: a state which denies the full and equal rights of many of its citizens while anxiously tightening its grip on its system of hierarchy and dominance over millions of people living under its control. In the name of maintaining a “Jewish identity,” Israel is institutionalizing discrimination, displacement and disenfranchisement.”

JVP Deputy Director Rabbi Alissa Wise:

“Today we put to bed once and for all the illusion that Israel is a democracy. The Nation-State bill that Israel passed today cements Israel as an apartheid state–from the West Bank to Gaza to Jerusalem to Haifa. Palestinians, no matter where they live, are controlled by an Israeli government and military that robs them of basic rights and freedoms.

Jewish Voice for Peace has been covering Israel’s Nation-State bill for over a year. Read our previous press release in 2017.

###

Jewish Voice for Peace is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. JVP has over 200,000 online supporters, over 70 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on JVP: ‘ISRAEL’S’ JEWISH “NATION-STATE” LAWS CONFIRMS IT IS AN APARTHEID STATE

Guilt and Impunity: Gaza and COVID-19

by JUDITH DEUTSCH

Plague has entered the Holy Land. During the week of Easter and Passover there is an uncanny conjuncture of dire threat and insouciance. Easter in the West is a cheery time of pastel eggs, chocolate, and death denial, of not grappling with Jesus’ last cry to God-the-Father: “Why hast thou forsaken me?” Nor is there any soul-searching, or torment, about the cry of Passover to “Let my people go” and dayenu – “enough suffering.” Passover celebrates Jewish people fleeing from enslavement to save their firstborn sons, while the State of Israel and its willing complicitors, for 13 years, has laid siege to Gaza, an open-air prison that holds two million people hostage to a pandemic, to military assault, to immiseration.

The week’s festive religious sentiments could not be more distant from the reality. The sentiments of Easter and Passover smooth away guilt and responsibility.  Jesus, we are reminded each year, died to expiate our sins, and many among the self-proclaimed progeny of the Exodus see themselves as exceptions, entitled to perpetrate radical destructiveness because of having been victims. Former Prime Minister Golda Meir’s deranged eye-for-an-eye talion displaces Israeli guilt for killing children onto the Palestinian parent: “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.” In the 2014 war, according to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 551 Palestinian children were killed compared to one Israeli child. God-the-Father and Golda Meir, patriarch and matriarch, kill children. Parenthood is different: in psychoanalytic work with families, we find that the capacity for usable guilt is the distinctive indication of readiness for parenthood. [1]

Gaza is cruelly exploited in the neoliberal global order in which Israel plays a pivotal role in exporting battle-tested technology and strategies for population control. In this neoliberal nightmare, the common people along with public intellectuals like Chomsky, Galeano, Arundhati Roy, Mike Davis, Jeff Halper, are considered disposable, unpeople, superfluous, warehoused, nobodies. Corporations are legal persons and their shareholders accrue increasing power, wealth, and legal impunity. Worldwide, millions of people are incarcerated in occupied territories like Gaza, in prisons, detention centers, refugee camps, and at borders. These are places that provide minimal provisions for survival. And despite years of national and international laws, salutary institutions, and political actions to serve people, the situation worsens. Trapping people is a death sentence at a time of COVID-19. This is conceivably preventable because most people are decent and able to realistically understand emergency.

THE CURRENT COVID-19 SITUATION IN Gaza

As of April 4, there were twelve COVID-19 cases in Gaza. There is little space for social distancing because of high population density. Jabalia is the largest of Gaza’s eight refugee camps; 110,000 people live in an area that is 1.4 square km. The Hamas government has ordered the closure of all restaurants and cafes, wedding halls, and the suspension of Friday prayers and weekly markets. Food is still entering Gaza through Karm Abu Salem crossing

At this time, a field hospital partly funded by the World Health Organization has been established at the Rafah Crossing. It has a 38-bed treatment facility including 6 ICU beds. There are only 70 ICU beds in all of Gaza and 2500 hospital beds altogether. So far, only 92 tests have been administered. This video from We Are Not Numbers describes current pharmaceuticals in Gaza.

In order to treat patients with COVID-19, Gaza will need equipment that is prohibited by Israel from entering. There is an immediate need for some 150 ventilators. Dr. Mona El-Farra, the health chair of the Palestine Red Crescent Society in Gaza, said “We have, up to this minute, just around 20 kits for diagnosis [and] at the moment we have 2,500 people in quarantine.”

According to Munir al-Bursh, head of the pharmacy department at Gaza’s Ministry of health, hospitals, pharmacies and clinics are short of 149 medicines, equipped with only 69 percent of what is needed. Food insecurity affects 72% of households and half the population relies on food distribution by the United Nations. Exports from Gaza are almost completely blocked, imports and transfers of cash are severely restricted, and the flow of all but the most basic humanitarian goods are suspended.

Israel’s destruction of Gaza’s water and sewage system makes it much harder to maintain the required standards of hygiene.

Physicians for Human Rights/Israel has called for the immediate provision of basic antiseptics, intensive care beds, ventilators, and alternatives for patients who need critical surgery or treatment that is currently unavailable. Read more.

Qatar has begun distributing aid to hundreds of residents in the Gaza Strip who are in isolation centers as part of the continued effort in the coastal enclave to deal with the coronavirus. The Qatari envoy to the Gaza Strip, Muhammad al-Amadi, said that the aid is part of the $150 million aid that the Emir of Qatar recently announced, which will be distributed over six months. The assistance provided includes food, appliances, and power supply to the isolation centers.

PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS SIEGE AND WAR

The modern history of Gaza is well researched, starting with the ethnic cleansing of Palestine that was in the planning stage before WWII. The 1948 partition and subsequent war led to the expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinian people from their villages, with between 160,000 and 190,000 people fleeing to the Gaza Strip. The second large wave of refugees into Gaza came with the 1967 Six Day War. At this time Israel took control of all water sources in Palestinian territories. Military order #92 gave the military all authority over water. Order #158 gave the military authority over the permit system for houses, roads and water infrastructure, allowing the military to confiscate water resources and destroy wells and rooftop cisterns. Israel prohibits Gaza from developing and using the offshore natural gas fields discovered in the 1990s.

In 2005 Israel unilaterally dismantled 21 Israeli settlements in Gaza but maintained full control of all land, sea, and air access to Gaza. Israel claimed that it was no longer an occupying power answerable to international law, but every UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories affirmed that Israel remains the occupying power, subject to the provisions of the Geneva Conventions. After this 2005 disengagement, Israel planfully diminished the capacity of Gaza’s health system and prohibited  a long list of so-called “dual-use” items, claiming possible military purposes. These include medical supplies like glycerin and hydrogen peroxide, which is used as a disinfectant. By 2006, there were no first line pediatric antibiotics available, most diagnostic laboratory equipment was not functioning, and 19% of essential medicines were unavailable

After Hamas was democratically and lawfully voted into power, Israel launched four wars against Gaza, and in 2007 Israel imposed a draconian siege: Operation Summer Rains (2006), Cast Lead (2008-9), Pillar of Sand (2012), and Protective Edge (2014). In these wars, Israel used disproportionate force against a civilian population that had nowhere to flee, used unconventional weapons, and destroyed the power infrastructure which disabled water purification and sanitation.

In these wars, Israel targeted the health sector, bombing hospitals and ambulances, the medical depot of Shifa Hospital, killed medics and clearly identified doctors, prevented evacuation of the wounded, and used unconventional weapons such as white phosphorus and Dense inert Metal Explosives (DIME). The 2014 war against Gaza left 500,000 displaced people, the destruction or severe damage of more than 20,000 Palestinian homes, 148 schools, and 45 primary health-care centres. As many as 247 factories and 300 commercial centres were destroyed. Israeli propaganda, hasbara, propagates lies about these wars, but there are many accurate accounts; see for example Henry Siegman’s Israel’s Lies, or Finkelstein’s Gaza: An Inquest into its Martyrdom. Israel’s military targets clearly identified medical workers in the Great March of Return.

Under the siege, 70% of infants aged nine months suffer from anemia. 13% to 15% of Gaza’s children are stunted in growth due to malnutrition. In late 2008, Amnesty International reported that Israel barred infants from leaving Gaza for life-saving cardiovascular surgery. About 290 Palestinian patients died within two years after the imposition of the siege, with 35% of the deaths being children. To date, parents of children admitted to Israel for medical care are generally prohibited from accompanying their children.

Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children is particularly malicious. In Israel’s wars, children were targeted and killed as they played on the beach or on the rooftops of their homes. Defense for Children International has long documented Israel’s punitive judicial and military practices against Palestinian children. Israeli air force nightly sonic booms over Gaza caused night terrors and bedwetting. From 2000, it was reported that Israeli soldiers targeted the knees and eyes of children and adults, intentional injury that caused lifelong crippling.[2] The late Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai memorializes the killing of a Palestinian child by an Israeli sniper and writes of the militarized brutality infusing Israeli society in his poem J’Accuse.

AN INCREMENTAL GENOCIDE

Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has called Israel’s strategy the “incremental genocide” of Palestinian people. There are many examples of intentional planning by senior Israeli officials. Senior Israeli General Gadi Eisenkot describes the terrifiying“Dahiya Doctrine”: “We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, and cause immense damage and destruction. From our perspective, these are military bases… This isn’t a suggestion. This is a plan that has already been authorized.” Reminiscent of Nazi doctors, in 2012 it was revealed that in early 2008, Israeli authorities drew up a document calculating the minimum caloric intake necessary for Palestinians to avoid malnutrition so that Israel could limit the amount of foodstuffs allowed into Gaza without causing outright starvation.

Also well-documented is silence and complicity from the international community: despite extensive documentation of Israel’s atrocities, powerful nation states, the UN Security Council, innumerable professional bodies, anti-nuclear weapons organizations, and even human rights NGO’s obfuscate, exceptionalize Israel, or remain silent about Israel’s crimes.

Israeli leaders brazenly and sadistically, overtly and covertly, carry out their matrix of control, securitization, and incremental genocide. This article raises the question of guilt. Eyal Weizman [3] explores the moral depravity wherein a lesser evil is justifiable if it prevents a greater evil. Michael Ignatieff, human rights scholar and once the leader of Canada’s Liberal Party, defended the use of torture on this basis, and also said that he did not lose sleep over Israel’s massacre of 57 people, including 37 children, in the Lebanese village of Qana in 2006. Israel has bombed, with impunity, the entire life-sustaining infrastructure of Gaza, and unless the siege is entirely dismantled, there are many warnings that the Covid-19 pandemic could well be a holocaust.

The question is, of course, what to do to end the siege. The Left is now confronted with emergencies that require urgent global action against great economic and military power. In January 2009 Israeli journalist Gideon Levy wrote “someone has to stop this rampant madness. Right now.”[4] There is no one sure-fire strategy, but there is also no backing away and delaying.

Notes

[1] Erna Furman. (1988) Helping Young Children Grow. Madison, Ct. International Universities Press.

[2] Tanya Reinhart. (2005) Israel/Palestine: How to end the war of 1948. New York. Seven Stories Press. P. 112-16.

[3] Eyal Weizman. (2011), The Least Possible Evils: Humanitarian Violence from Arendt to Gaza. London. Verso.

[4] Gideon Levy. (2010) The Punishment of Gaza. London. Verso. P. 106.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Gaza, Health, Human RightsComments Off on Guilt and Impunity: Gaza and COVID-19

UK: The Best Description of Trump I’ve Read

By VT

British Writer Pens The Best Description Of Trump I’ve ReadMarch 8, 2019 ~ Michael StevensonWe thought everyone always knew every single bit of this:Someone on Quora asked “Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?” Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England wrote the following response:A few things spring to mind.Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace – all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed.So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing – not once, ever.I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility – for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman.But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is – his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults – he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface.Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront.Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world, no soul.And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist.Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that.He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat.He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully.That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a snivelling sidekick instead.There are unspoken rules to this stuff – the Queensberry rules of basic decency – and he breaks them all. He punches downwards – which a gentleman should, would, could never do – and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless – and he kicks them when they are down.So the fact that a significant minority – perhaps a third – of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think ‘Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:• Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are.• You don’t need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss.After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum.God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart.In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws – he would make a Trump.And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfuls of hair and scream in anguish:‘My God… what… have… I… created?If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set.Source: jobsanger: British Writer Pens The Best Description Of Trump I’ve Read

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Take your “ultimate authority” and stick it up your enormous fat ass

By VT Editors 

We are currently being told that Donald will save us all. I have chosen to save myself, by paying as little attention to that degenerate moron as possible.

Andrew Cuomo@NYGovCuomo

Any plan to reopen society MUST be driven by data and experts, not opinion and politics.

We will learn from the warning signs from other countries.

We will take every precaution.

We will work together as a region.25.5K4:56 PM – Apr 13, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy4,820 people are talking about this

Emily Thies@ejthies15

🤦🏻‍♀️

The President of the United States hasn’t heard of the 10th Amendment. He seems to think he has ultimate authority over all the states when he does not.

.@realDonaldTrump read up! Here’s a simplified version. #TrumpVirus #TrumpLiesPeopleDie #TaskForce

View image on Twitter

8412:01 AM – Apr 14, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy42 people are talking about this

Donald Trump has ZERO legal authority to tell any state what to do and there are NO provisions of any kind.  Even if we did, does anyone think he is going to be taken seriously now?

Ask the first lady?

Here in Michigan, we are doing our best with absolutely nothing but interference from an out of control Federal government run by gangsters.

Jennifer T. Senick@carebear021781

Raise your hand if you think the founding fathers of this country are all rolling over in their graves right now because Trump thinks he has the ultimate authority over the states. Kudos to @kaitlancollins for trying to get him to answer about who told him that.212:09 AM – Apr 14, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacySee Jennifer T. Senick’s other Tweets

Trump’s authority stops at the District of Columbus line. Russia Today:
“New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and five regional governors have banded together to decide when to reopen their economies. The move clashes with President Donald Trump’s insistence on making that call himself.

A Texan in Kentucky@JeffRussell10

#PressBriefing Who the hell told Trump he has the ultimate authority?

View image on Twitter

512:17 AM – Apr 14, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacySee A Texan in Kentucky’s other Tweets

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Cuomo announced that he would work together with the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island to decide together when to lift the quarantine measures in their respective states.

Each state will nominate a public health official and an “economic health” official, who will lift restrictions in the region after consulting with the group as a whole. No date was given for the economic restart, with Cuomo stating that the decision will be made “smartly,” based on “the facts” as they present themselves.

All six governors are Democrats, and the decision to ignore federal directions and work together will likely set them up for a showdown with President Trump.

Earlier on Monday, Trump insisted on Twitter that “it is the decision of the president” when to reopen the economy, “and for many good reasons.” Trump has said that he will lift lockdown measures on May 1, a goal considered unrealistic by his own coronavirus task force.

Cuomo defended his decision to go it alone. “Let’s see what the federal government’s plan is,” he told reporters. Trump “left it to the states to close down. Without any guidance really, he took the position that it was the states’ decision.”

‘If they want to change the model, they can change the model,’ he said.

Cuomo’s working group will meet on Tuesday to discuss a date for the reopening. The governor did not suggest a date, but said he wishes to lift the lockdown ‘ASAP.’”


Michael StevensonWe thought everyone always knew every single bit of this:Someone on Quora asked “Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?” Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England wrote the following response:A few things spring to mind.

Rudy?

Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace – all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed.

So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing – not once, ever.

I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility – for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman.But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is – his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.

Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults – he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.

There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface.Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront.Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world, no soul.

And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist.

Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that.He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat.He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.

And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully.That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a snivelling sidekick instead.

There are unspoken rules to this stuff – the Queensberry rules of basic decency – and he breaks them all. He punches downwards – which a gentleman should, would, could never do – and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless – and he kicks them when they are down.

So the fact that a significant minority – perhaps a third – of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think ‘Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:• Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are.• You don’t need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss.After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss.

He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum.God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart.In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws – he would make a Trump.And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfuls of hair and scream in anguish:‘My God… what… have… I… created?If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set.

Posted in USAComments Off on Take your “ultimate authority” and stick it up your enormous fat ass

The Arrogance of Zionist Power

Openly Demonstrating that the Tribe Always Comes First

by Phil Giraldi,

[ Editor’s Note: One thing I like about Phil, so rare these days, is that he does not choke when it comes to grabbing one of the biggest third rails in journalism, the Israel Lobby.

Its many groups have escaped having to register as foreign agents for Israel, while not only openly promoting anything and everything that Israel wants out of the US but also attacking those who object to Israeli supremacism in the American political arena.

No other religious, ethnic, or racial group does this on the scale of the Israel Lobby and gets a free pass from any and all regulation. This includes, sadly, many decades Israeli espionage operations here in the US that are the butt of jokes, pardon the expression, of intelligence agents all over the world. Bibi Netanyahu has been reported to have been part of a nuclear espionage ring here.

Israeli penetration is so deep inside Congress that the Lobby minions write their own bills each year for their incessant demands. Recently they wanted all living Holocaust survivors in the US, people from a group that has average incomes of six figures, to get stipends from the US government for surviving the Holocaust which was WWII, that killed over 50 million people.

Mind you there was not a “means or need test” to get these funds. If they were Jewish and alive in Europe during WWII, they were qualified. I have not checked to see if it passed, as I have never heard of any of their bills not passing.

Such bills are submitted every year to Congress to demonstrate to all that they can humiliate the country any time they want. But alas there is no resistance.

The Lobby cannot lay a glove on Phil, as it can’t on VT. It would just give us a bigger platform to tell more of what we know, and they don’t want to go to that show, to have us tell more of what we know, so they leave us alone 

DMFI president Mark Mark Mellman

– First published … April 12, 2020 –

There are two recent stories that involve the arrogance of the Jewish community in the United States. The first involves a lobbying group in Washington and the second concerns a hospital in New York City.

It has often been observed that some Jews of the Alan Dershowitz persuasion boast about how powerful Jews are in the U.S. When challenged, they would argue that the Judaization of American culture and politics has been a good thing, bringing with it liberal values that have particularly benefited other minority groups in particular.

What is not discussed much is the quid pro quo, whereby Jews reward themselves for their goodness by allocating to the tribe top positions in high profile and richly remunerated professions where they are hugely over-represented.

Much of the Jewish self-congratulation takes place behind the scenes, at events that are for Jews only or in discussions inside the Jewish media, but of late the empowering of Zionist and Jewish interests by President Donald Trump and the success in shutting down criticism of Israel has served to embolden those who like to boast of the tribe’s accomplishments.

The latest bit of bragging rights in respect to Jewish power in the U.S. belongs to a group called the Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI). The DMFI is a registered political action committee (PAC) that lobbies on behalf of the Jewish state. It was organized in 2019 by Democratic Party activists to counter what was perceived to be pro-Palestinian sentiment within the party’s progressive wing.

In 2016 the Democratic Party dodged the bullet on Israel by a cheap maneuver which included not permitting a floor vote on a proposed platform plank that would have expressed support for Palestinian statehood.

Opinion polls do indeed suggest that half of Democrats who are aware of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement approve of it. Criminalizing BDS has been a principal target of Jewish groups in the U.S., to include both AIPAC and DMFI.

The DMFI has particularly chosen to go after Senator Bernie Sanders who, more than anyone running for the nomination to run for president, has emphasized the suffering of the Palestinians and has suggested withholding money from Israel until its behavior improves.

On the morning after Sanders withdrew from the race DMFI president Mark Mellman sent out an email to supporters expressing his pleasure over the result. He also took some credit for the outcome “Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign for president. That’s a big victory — one you helped bring about.”

Mellman also reminded his associates that the victory was only a first step in making sure that the Democratic Party platform continues to be pro-Israel, writing that,

“Extreme groups aligned with Sanders, as well as some of his top surrogates — including Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar — have publicly declared an effort to make the platform anti-Israel. As a career political professional, I will tell you that if Democrats adopt an anti-Israel platform this year, the vocabulary, views, and votes of politicians will shift against us dramatically. We simply can’t afford to lose this battle.”

The destruction of Bernie Sanders by the Democratic Party establishment, to include DMFI, is eerily reminiscent of what was done to Jeremy Corbyn by similar pro-Israel groups in Britain. Mellman in effect admits that he has interfered with the electoral process of the Democratic Party on behalf of a foreign government, but no one is disturbed by it.

That he is actively engaged in politicking from inside the Democratic tent to destroy one candidate purely because he is mistrusted by a foreign government appears to bother no one in the mainstream media, nor on the Democratic National Committee.

Nor has the Treasury Department required Mellman to register under the terms of the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) of 1938. In fact, no pro-Israel organization has ever been required to register under FARA in spite of the fact that they are clearly visible and quite open in their advocacy.

The other story is somewhat more bizarre and it involves Jews in Brooklyn receiving priority treatment at a taxpayer funded hospital. Maimonides Medical Center is Brooklyn’s largest hospital, and, in spite of the name, it is non-sectarian.

Brooklyn is one of the epicenters of coronavirus and many of the patients are Hasidic Jews who refuse to comply with the government orders to stay at home and not attend large gatherings.

A number of recent weddings and other celebrations have been attended by hundreds of people in New York and New Jersey, leading to sharp jumps in positive tests among the participants as well as among other local residents. According to Deborah Lipstadt, Jews are unwilling to forego large gatherings that endanger them and the people around them due to the “Holocaust.”

New York City has an ultra-orthodox Jewish volunteer ambulance service called Hatzalah which is in part taxpayer funded and was founded due to “cultural differences” between extreme orthodox Jews and gentiles. Hatzalah has somehow managed to obtain 50 ventilators, which are used in the extreme cases of coronavirus to assist the patient’s breathing. It is projected that ventilators will be in short supply as the number of sick patients increases.

At Maimonides, Hatzalah has given the ventilators to the hospital but only under the condition that Jews will get first access to them. In cases where an elderly Jewish patient is dying and a gentile child might be able to recover using a ventilator, the Jew has to be allowed to retain his ventilator until he dies.

Jewish power is the real deal in the United States. It is well known in political circles that Israel interferes in U.S. politics more than any other country, though it is not considered safe to mention that fact if one is running for office.

And it is also true that American Jewish organizations are active in that process, in this case working to eliminate a candidate for office solely because his views on Israel are considered to be suspect.

And if you should happen to live in Brooklyn and become ill enough with coronavirus to need a ventilator, pray you don’t wind up in Maimonides Medical Center. Ventilators are Jewish-only.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on The Arrogance of Zionist Power

Coronavirus: how to clean your home effectively

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Coronavirus: how to clean your home effectively

We reveal how to keep your home hygienic and protect against COVID-19, plus the extra steps to take while self-isolating

By Anna

With many of us now spending more time at home, it’s important to keep up good home hygiene habits to stay healthy, especially if someone in your household is self-isolating. Get our tips on what to focus on when cleaning, what cleaning products are effective, and why you don’t need to splurge on specialist antibacterial products.

What do you need to clean?

Focus on the high traffic areas that enable pathogens to spread around the home. These include your hands, and frequent touch areas such as: Door handles and light switches Appliance handles and dials – e.g. kettle handle, fridge door, oven and microwave dials TV remotes Shared computer equipment such as keyboards Toilet and tap handles Food prep areas and bathroom surfaces You also need to think about things that can spread germs, such as sponges and cleaning cloths. Professor Sally Bloomfield, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, notes that, rather than cleaning the house, the goal is: ‘to prevent the person-to-person spread of infection, which requires good respiratory and hand hygiene [washing hands and covering your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough] and good hygiene of contact surfaces.’ Coronavirus latest: get the latest specialist news and advice from our money, travel and health experts Coronavirus: how to protect yourself and others – we reveal the products you do and don’t need

Which cleaning products work against coronavirus?

As with cleaning your hands, good old soap and water are actually some of the most effective options for cleaning surfaces.

Dr Primrose Freestone, Associate Professor in Clinical Microbiology at the University of Leicester explains: ‘COVID-19 is an enveloped RNA (ribonucleic acid) virus, meaning that proteins and lipids are part of its structure. Therefore, detergents by themselves – such as soap and even washing-up liquid – work very well at disrupting the virus structure by dissolving the lipids, which in turn inactivates the virus by stopping it binding to our cells.’

The alcohol in hand sanitiser works in a similar way, by dissolving lipids in the virus coating (as long as it’s 60% alcohol).

Cleaning surfaces to prevent infection:

Current evidence suggests that COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) may survive on surfaces for hours or days – research is still ongoing. Studies have found that similar coronaviruses like SARS and MERS can persist on hand surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for days. But they can be killed within one minute if cleaned and disinfected. You should first clean hard surfaces with warm, soapy water and then disinfect them.

Which disinfectant products to use;

For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions (hydrogen peroxide or sodium hypochlorite), alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and certain anti-viral household disinfectants should be effective. You don’t need to spend extra money on specialised disinfectant products, though.

Dr Freestone says that regular detergent and diluted bleach are fine for combating COVID-19. If you are buying disinfectant, check the product information to make sure it says it combats viruses including influenza and human coronaviruses – an example is Dettol surface cleanser.

Check the usage instructions for best results:

It’s also important to follow the instructions carefully. Some products may require you to leave the product on for a set amount of time for it to work properly.

Ventilating the room while you clean is also a good idea. You should also never mix different cleaning products together as they could create harmful fumes.

Do antibacterial products work against COVID-19?

Many products marketed as antibacterial won’t work against a virus like COVID-19. They need to contain at least 70% alcohol to have any impact on viruses, as opposed to bacteria like E.coli or salmonella.

As above, if you’re buying specific disinfectant products like spray or wipes, check first if they say they work against viruses as well as bacteria.

A lot of these products are in high demand right now and might be out of stock, so it’s not worth stressing yourself out trying to hunt them down, as soapy water and bleach or alcohol-based cleaners will also work.

What about cleaning clothes and laundry?

To kill germs you need to use a bleach or other disinfectant-based laundry detergent containing active oxygen bleach.

Liquid detergents don’t contain bleach, so you’ll need to choose a laundry powder that contains a bleaching agent. Biological powders tend to have more bleaching agents than non-biological powders.

Wash reusable cloths and tea towels at 60 degrees or more between uses, and change frequently. You can also put washing up sponges on a hot cycle in the dishwasher.

Do you need to disinfect groceries and packaging?

Dr Freestone told us ‘a recent laboratory study showed the virus could be detected in a viable and so infectious form for up 24hrs on cardboard, and 2-3 days on plastics.’ Though the WHO says that the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low.

Postal workers and couriers have been briefed on minimising contact during deliveries and taking precautions with handling packages, but to be on the safe side you should dispose of packaging and wash your hands afterwards.

The FSA says that it is very unlikely that people could catch COVID-19 from food, and it is not known to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging.

You should take care to wash your hands before preparing food, and rinse fruit and veg before eating it, as usual.

What to do if you are living with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms

You’ll need to exercise extra caution if you are living with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus. Especially as everyone in a household where someone has symptoms is required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Dr Freestone says it’s not excessive to disinfect food prep areas, and frequently used door handles (such as the living room, kitchen, and toilet), every few hours if someone in the house has the virus.

You also shouldn’t share any towels, including hand towels and tea towels.

Coughs and sneezes should be caught in tissues, which are then immediately discarded, and hands washed straight after.

Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/03/coronavirus-how-to-clean-your-home-effectively/ – Which?

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Midnight on Planet Lockdown: Dylan Strikes Again

Like a shot ricocheting at Heaven’s Door, Bob Dylan has released a masterpiece dissecting JFK’s assassination

By Pepe Escobar

Global Research,

What spectacular timing. Like a shot ricocheting at Heaven’s Door as a virus pandemic rages and Planet Lockdown is the new normal, Bob Dylan has produced a stunning 17-minute masterpiece dissecting the November 22, 1963, assassination of JFK – releasing it at midnight US Eastern Standard Time on Thursday.

For baby boomers, not to mention obsessive Dylanologists, this is the ultimate sucker punch. Countless eyes will be plunged into swimming pools revisiting all the memories swirling around “the day they blew out the brains of the king / Thousands were watching, no one saw a thing.”  But that’s not all: the Dylanmobile takes us on a magical mystery tour of the 60s and 70s, complete with the Beatles, the Age of Aquarius and the Who’s “Tommy.”

If there’s any cultural artifact capable of sending a powerful jolt across a discombobulated America trying to come to grips with a dystopic Desolation Row, this is it, the work of America’s undisputed, true Exceptionalist. The times, they are-a-changin’. Oh, yes, they are.

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There are so many nuggets in Dylan’s lyrics they would be worthy of a treatise, tracking the vortex of music, literature, film references and interlocking Americana.

This is essentially an incantatory mantra set to piano, sparse percussion and violin. We have two narrators: a dying Kennedy (“Ridin’ in the backseat next to my wife / Headin’ straight on in to the afterlife / I’m leanin’ to the left, got my head in her lap / Oh Lord, I’ve been led into some kind of a trap”) and Dylan himself.

Or this can be read as Dylan playing Kennedy’s doppelganger, plus occasional interventions, such as Kennedy’s would-be killers (“Then they blew off his head while he was still in the car / Shot down like a dog in broad daylight / Was a matter of timin’ and the timin’ was right / You got unpaid debts we’ve come to collect / We gonna kill you with hatred, without any respect / We’ll mock you and shock you and we’ll grin in your face / We’ve already got someone here to take your place”).

The pearl at the heart of the mantra is nothing sort of apocalyptic: “They killed him once and they killed him twice / Killed him like a human sacrifice / The day that they killed him someone said to me, / ‘Son, The Age of the Antichrist has just only begun.’”

Extra words to define it would be idle. Wherever you are in Planet Lockdown, sit back in stay at home social distancing mode, turn on, tune in and time travel. There will be blood on the tracks.

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Protest Demands the Release of Prisoners

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

from a member of the Revolution Club, Chicago

On Monday we learned that 101 prisoners at the Cook County Jail had tested positive for the coronavirus. Members of the Revolution Club here (almost all of us “sheltering in place” in different places, and not having physically seen each other for over two weeks) began calling each other to discuss this and figure out what should we do.

The Cook County Jail is the largest single site jail in the country. There are currently 4,600 people imprisoned in this hell hole which is notorious for its brutal conditions. Lawyers, religious leaders and community activists have been pushing to get prisoners released since the first prisoner tested positive last month. Several hundred prisoners have been released, but thousands must be released or this could become a death camp.

We decided to organize a “COVID-19 safe” car caravan to demand the release of prisoners from the jail. Organizing a protest in the midst of the pandemic was challenging. We could not all come together, make posters and plans like in the past. We decided that each of us would make our own signs and posters with whatever materials we had on hand which wasn’t much. One member had a great idea. He suggested that we could fly our club shirts from our car windows to let people know who was doing this. The shirts are iconic and widely recognized here, especially by youth on the South Side where we do a lot of our work, many of whom are among those locked up in this jail.

One club member wrote a call which we used as the basis for a press release and sent out in an email.

Here is what she wrote:

101 people. 101 lives that hang in a balance of a completely preventable force. Trump did not create this virus but he sure as hell has made it worse.

Chicago has a special place in the fabric of the United States past and present with the brutal torturing and framing innocent Black men and others. Now they have taken an already deadly natural virus, easily spread, and subjugated those very prisoners to be needlessly and preventably infected by COVID 19. To allow the cramped conditions and unsafe hygienic practices of such a scourge upon these Men and women behind bars is a sentiment that rightly revokes your humanity.

We, the Revolution Club are calling on you to demand that our people behind bars be treated with dignity and respect for their lives. We stand with Refuse Fascism, and anyone whose rocked by this, “[to] demand the Government, …4. Ensure health and safety from the virus of all those in jail, prison or ICE detention camps; immediate release of everyone not convicted of violent crime, and asylum seekers and families.”

To show how much we’d like to make this known, be part of showing out at Cook County Court on 26th and California, Wednesday April 1st at 1PM. We call on all people with a conscience to bring your car, decked out with signage to display protesting that prisoners be released. We are taking this virus seriously thus why we are abiding by the social distancing measures recommended by the CDC. By no means does that mean that what will be doing literally taking the streets is something unachievable; Because we are under such measures to quarantine our action will reverberate even louder. Measures we know are not being and were not taken in the Cook County Jail leading to the infections of 110 inmates and more yet to be tested. What we do and don’t do matter.

Let’s use this time under quarantine, to call out, struggle with family and friends and put the truly putrid system of Capitalism Imperialism on its most deserved blast. To learn more about how we are tackling that follow us on social media, watch “The RNL Show: The Revolution Nothing less Show” on YouTube and take initiative to report and suggest ideas to have this really reach hundreds and thousands now.

Two TV stations showed up with cameras, and a club member (in mask and gloves) who doesn’t drive came to film us. We couldn’t do a standard press conference. We agreed in advance not to leave our cars and to have only one person per vehicle unless people already sheltered together. We got our message out to the press via our sound system on top of the lead vehicle. (Unfortunately, we are not sure the coverage made it on the news.)

We had three cars from the club committed in advance and were really pleased when five more cars joined us—one another club member, one from Refuse Fascism, one a supporter of the club responding to our text, another a well-known activist who must have gotten the text and finally an unknown car and driver who may simply have bumped into our action and joined for one circle around the jail.

While our visual presence left something to be desired, we got our message out loudly and in a new way. The driver of the lead van positioned the club’s half mile hailer on the roof with the mic inside. A club member also in the van could speak over the mic but also called the drivers of other cars and held his phone to the mic enabling everyone who wanted to have their voice heard. Tio Hardiman of the Violence Interrupters, who was not able to make it to the protest, phoned in and conveyed a message of support over the loudspeaker as we circled the jail.

We felt this was a successful, if beginning, action in the midst of the pandemic.

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The President and His Mob: the Autopsy of Governance

by MELVIN GOODMAN

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

President Trump’s current campaign of reprisal against his critics within the federal bureaucracy has become a Soviet-style purge, a vendetta, that resembles the actions of an old-fashioned Mafia boss targeting perceived enemies. Former FBI director James Comey, who started his career in government fighting crime families, warned us in 2018 that an early encounter with the president was reminiscent of these bosses. In his book, “A Higher Loyalty,” Comey described Trump’s requirement of a “silent circle of assent.  The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and above the truth.”

The campaign against government Inspector Generals (IG) is merely the latest phase of a war against governance that has been waged for the past three years.  The campaign initially was against the Department of Justice and the justice system itself, undermining the foundations of our rule of law.  Trump’s war against the intelligence community was designed to politicize intelligence, which will compromise our national security.  His anti-intellectual campaign against science and reason has put all of us at risk in the pandemic crisis.  The vendetta against all those who testified against him in the impeachment trial or brought news critical of him now includes the IGs and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), far more serious targets than is commonly understood.

The mainstream media have insufficiently explained the fundamental importance of the role of the Inspector General, particularly in the national security bureaucracy that dominates discretionary spending and can resort to secret funding.  National security institutions, such as the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency, are reluctant to admit that they have made mistakes, let alone allow the lifting of the veil on illegal practices. There are institutional concerns that drive this reluctance: vulnerability to legal action; reduced budgets, setbacks to programs considered important; and the possibility of holding high-level individuals accountable.

Secret institutions are even more reluctant than most to acknowledge fault, and they have more opportunities to evade responsibility than less opaque institutions. They can control the message with classification barriers; claims of national security protection, such as the omnipresent “need-to-know;” and a publication review process that restricts military and intelligence personnel from legitimate criticism of their institutions.

The Inspector General’s role is to ensure that his/her organization functions effectively, efficiently, and in compliance with law and regulation. The IG is charged with holding individuals within an organization accountable when they transgress, and holding the institution accountable when it fails to comply with law, regulations, and its own professional standards. The Senate intelligence committee could never have produced its authoritative study of the CIA’s unconscionable use of torture and abuse without the research of the Office of the Inspector General at the CIA. The unfairly maligned and censored IG investigation of the 9/11 intelligence failure led to unacceptable pressure on the CIA’s OIG by the Bush and Obama administrations prior to the current campaign.

Indeed, the IG is important to any government agency, but none more so than those in the Intelligence Community, where effective oversight is difficult at the best of times.  The public has no access to the secrets of these organizations; the media are granted only the access the organization permits; and congressional oversight committees are carefully cultivated by senior managers of the agencies they monitor. Until I testified to the Senate intelligence committee in 1991, the committee didn’t even have full access to relevant IG reports.

The IG is the best line of defense against transgressions, but it is the rare director of an agency who is willing to protect the inspectors and investigators of its Office of the IG.  Smart managers should recognize that their IGs can help them stay within legal and regulatory boundaries—and help them operate more effectively.

Until very recently, President Trump paid little attention to the work of the IGs.  In his first three years in the White House, he failed to use his statutory powers to name more than a dozen IGs to key institutions, and was particularly critical of the role of intelligence.  In his first year in the White House, Trump proclaimed that he knew “a lot more than intelligence people do,” and then- presidential press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders explained that “intelligence has never played a role in Donald Trump’s life.”  Truer words.

But the courageous work of the IG for the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson, who made sure that the CIA whistleblower’s complaint reached the Senate intelligence community, despite the opposition from the Attorney General and the Office of Legal Counsel, has highlighted two weeks of reprisals against the kind of truth-telling that IGs as well as intelligence officials must command.  The acting director of national intelligence, Thomas Maguire, was removed merely for allowing one of his deputies to brief the congressional intelligence committees on continued Russian interference in U.S. governance, a neuralgic subject to the president.  The $2.2 trillion stimulus bill will not be thoroughly scrutinized because Trump has corrupted several layers of oversight with the removal of Glenn Fine, a professional IG, who was appointed by a senior group of IGs to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, and the insertion of a Trump loyalist in the White House, Brian Miller, to oversee a $500 billion rescue fund for distressed industries created as part of the coronavirus stimulus bill.

The Congress must investigate Trump’s personnel actions.  It is unlikely that the Senate intelligence committee, which is led by Richard Burr, (R/NC), who is facing his own ethics issues, will do so. When I testified against the confirmation of Robert Gates as CIA director in 1991, several Senators who opposed Gates refused to challenge the nomination because they were facing ethics charges as part of the “Keating Five,” the savings-and-loan scandal in the 1980s. So, once again, it is up to Rep. Adam Schiff, (D/CA), to lead the way.  At the closing of the impeachment trial in February, Schiff warned that “If truth doesn’t matter, we are lost.  And if right doesn’t matter, we are lost. The Framers couldn’t protect us from ourselves if right and truth don’t matter.”

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A Pandemic May be Reported Like a War, But They’re Very Different

by PATRICK COCKBURN

Photograph Source: Photographer Robert Capa during the Spanish civil war, May 1937. Photo by Gerda Taro – Public Domain

I was walking in the early evening down an empty street in Canterbury, wondering how residents were coping with fear and isolation stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. People living there must have been in their houses judging by the cars parked outside, but there were few lights in the windows suggesting that they were in their kitchens out the back.

The silence was complete aside from the twitter of birds, eerie but magical, reminding me of streets in Beirut or Baghdad during a lull in the fighting. But then Lebanese and Iraqis have all had too much experience of crises when it was too risky to set foot outside one’s own home. For people in Canterbury it is a new and worrying experience.

I had my worst experience of loneliness when I was six years old in 1956 and I caught polio in an epidemic in Cork. An ambulance took me to a ward in St Finbarr’s hospital in Cork city which only doctors, nurses and clergy were allowed to enter. I had grown up within a tight family group and felt frightened and bewildered. One day I saw my parents waving their hands frantically and with manically cheerful smiles on the other side of an oval window in a door leading into the ward.

I discovered early on that reading was the easiest way to escape from an unappealing world. As a child, I would become wholly absorbed in historical adventure stories by the once vastly popular G A Henty and, rather more contemporary ones set in or around the two world wars by Captain WE Johns, featuring the war heroes Biggles and Gimlet.

As a foreign reporter my luggage used to be weighed down with books to fend off potential tedium. A hazard for journalists specialising in the Middle East was once a call from a Libyan diplomatic mission saying that one had been granted an exclusive interview with the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

This sounded too good to be true and so it was, but was difficult to turn down, even though one was aware that the Libyans had probably made the same promise of exclusivity to a dozen journalists and there was a better than even chance that none of us would see the mercurial Gaddafi. Since the only way to find this out for sure was to go to Tripoli and wait, I travelled with a full helping of Jane Austen. I would lie on my bed in the hotel in Tripoli reading Pride and PrejudiceEmma or Mansfield Park, disappearing into the country house world of the early 19th century English gentry.

More fraught situations required a less genteel reading list: wars require boring periods of waiting for something to happen and I discovered that an effective antidote to tedium or self-pity was books about even nastier conflicts, like the battles of Verdun or Stalingrad, showing that, however bad things might be for oneself, they had been a great deal worse for others.

In the coronavirus pandemic, as has happened in past wars, politicians make irritating efforts to evoke wartime spirit and camaraderie. The media highlights upbeat items designed to demonstrate national solidarity and raise morale.

The tone is unnecessarily patronising since most people are capable of dealing with a solitary or uncertain existence so long as it does not go on too long and they and their family are together and not under direct threat. The worst affected in most crises are people who were not doing too well pre-crisis: an adviser in a Citizens Advice Bureau told me that she was most worried about what would happen to her mentally ill clients who not only could not operate online, but are frightened of telephones.

Curiously, the pandemic has re-established the use of the telephone as the best way of keeping in touch with friends and colleagues. I have always found emails to be a chilly and not very satisfactory way of making contact with people. In the present lockdown, many others have reached the same conclusion. Telecommunication companies in the US say that they had expected a big increase to be in the use of the internet, but found instead that the number of phone calls has increased much faster and are twice what they used to be.

My experience of coping with isolation and loneliness has to do mostly with armed conflict in places like Belfast, Grozny, Baghdad, Beirut and Benghazi. At first glance, this would seem to fit in neatly with what happens to people facing lockdown and possible infection today. Certainly there are points in common, but the analogy is not as helpful as it might seem.

The Covid-19 pandemic is really not like a war despite innumerable comparisons: the number of fatalities caused by the virus worldwide totals around 100,000 compared to an estimated 20 million deaths in the First World War and 56 million in the 1939-45 conflict.

In one respect, however, the pandemic is very similar to a war: they are reported the same way by the media. War reporting tends to mislead, not so much because of “the fog of war” or propaganda, but because it dwells so exclusively on melodrama; reports of epidemics are equally sensationalist and catastrophist.

“If it bleeds, it leads” is a well-established principle of the news business and always will be. Political leaders, for their part, revel in threat inflation as it puts them centre stage and enables them to extend their authority without opposition. The cruellest current example of this epidemic-fuelled authoritarianism is in India, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a lockdown with only four hours’ notice, forcing millions of unemployed migrant labourers to take to the roads in a desperate bid to reach their home villages. In South Africa shanty towns, police beat people for not staying in their houses full time even when their house consists of a few pieces of plywood and corrugated iron.

As with war reporting, objective and substantiated information is difficult to come by despite, or even because of, the tidal wave of news. How far, for instance, does the death rate in each country exceed the normal death rate for this time of year? The vulnerable health service workers in every country are being rightly lauded for their selfless courage, but does the significantly lower death rate in Veneto compared to Lombardy reflect the fact that fewer patients are hospitalised in the former region and the hospitals themselves may be a prime source of fatal infections?

There is a politics of pandemics, just as there is a politics of war in which conspiracy theories abound. In the small but vicious polio epidemic in Cork, where I caught the disease, as in Wuhan today, local people were convinced that the authorities were lying about the number of fatalities and were secretly burying the dead in mass graves.

A pandemic, like a war, requires decision making in circumstances in which crucial information is scant or unreliable. The cooperation of many countries and individuals is needed to stop a war or an epidemic disease, which explains why it takes so long to end them.

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